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Neoliberalism as a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

 The ideology that dare not speak it's name

Version 6.3

Skepticism and Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News An introduction to Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberalism war on organized labor Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Globalization of Financial Flows
Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Neoliberal rationality Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura Neoliberalism and Christianity Key Myths of Neoliberalism Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Anti-globalization movement
Zombie state of neoliberalism and coming collapse of neoliberalism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism  Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Definitions of neoliberalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories  US Presidential Elections of 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocons New American Militarism Casino Capitalism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism War is Racket Inverted Totalitarism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Neoliberal corruption Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Corruption of Regulators "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries   Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization
Alternatives to Neo-liberalism Elite Theory Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions  Key Myths of Neoliberalism Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Gangster Capitalism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality Blaming poor and neoliberalism laziness dogma Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime
Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump The Deep State Predator state Disaster capitalism Harvard Mafia Small government smoke screen Super Capitalism as Imperialism
The Great Transformation Monetarism fiasco Neoliberalism and Christianity Republican Economic Policy  In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy Milton Friedman -- the hired gun for Deification of Market
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few YouTube on neoliberalism History of neoliberalism Humor Etc


Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare. “There’s class warfare, all right, "Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."

- New York Times

Make no mistake, the neo-Liberal fuckers are just as bad as the Stalinists

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

GB: once a great cultured nation, now a poorly-educated gangster mafia state, ruled by oligarchs and inhabited by soccer hooligans

The Kremlin Stooge

Greatly simplifying Neoliberalism = Casino Capitalism = "Transnational elites, Unite!"  It is a neo-Trotskyism with the word "proletarians" substituted by the word "elites"
 in famous  slogan  "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" and permanent "Color revolutions" as a variation and enhancement of Trotsky idea of  "Permanent revolution"

Neoliberalism is a very interesting social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and socialism (and facilitated the dissolution of the USSR by buying out Soviet nomenklatura, including KGB brass). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow is prohibited by MSM to mention.  In this system, like under socialism, the state play the leading role in enforcing the social system upon the people, brainwashing them with wall-to-wall 24 x 7 USSR-style propaganda an, if necessary, by state violence. So instead of regulating predatory tendencies  of capitalism like under New Deal, state became just a corrupt policeman that serve large corporations and against the people. In this sense any neoliberal country is to certain extent is an "occupied country" and the neoliberal regime is occupying regime, much like Bolsheviks were in USSR space. Much like during Robber barons era, when the state helped to squash West Virginia miner upraising in 1912-21.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, who exercise they political power mainly buying and selling, the process which supposedly rewards merit (producing market winners) and punishes inefficiency. It postulates that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. In a way "market" is a all powerful deity under neoliberal which makes its a secular religion. As such it is very hostile to Christianity. Among other things it denigrates the power of human compassion.  See Neoliberalism and Christianity

This social system can be viewed as dialectical denial of socialism and represents the other extreme in classic triad "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis". We do not know yet what the synthesis will be like, but neoliberal social system after 2008 shows definite cracks. Much like the USSR after the second world war when people serving in Red Army discovered what the standard of living was in Central and Western European workers. And that helped decimated communist propaganda once and for all, although Bolshevism as a social system still limpers another 40 years or so. Like Bolshevism before it, neoliberalism proved to be unstable social system, which already run into its first crisis in 2008.  It managed to recover but for how long nobody know. In any case glory days of triumphal march of neoliberalism all over globe are over. First of all die to decimation of middle class and lowering standard of living of people outside top 10-20%. Which led to impoverishment of lower 80% of the society, creating of a third world country within the USA,  and the rise of far right nationalism. After approximately 40 years of global dominance is shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became strong enough to provide upsets, albeit temporary  and demonstrated itself in Brexit, election of Trump ( which did not last long and in six months morphed into Bush III ).   Neoliberalism did not meet its obligations and promises of rising standard of living  (and the idea behind raising of inequality was "rising water lift all boats" or  as Kenneth Galbraith famously defined “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” ). Current opiod epidemics in the USA is not that different from epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR under Brezhnev's "well developed socialism".

Neoliberalism is a somewhat  fuzzy concept which defy simple definition (and it does evolve, much like Bolshevism evolved from Leninism to Stalinism and then to Brezhnev's socialism  ). In various countries it can morph into quite different "regimes", despite common core.  The simplest way to define is is to view it as "socialism for the rich, feudalism for the poor" or, more correctly "Trotskyism for the rich" ("Elites of all countries unite !"  instead of “Proletarians of all countries, Unite! ...).  So Stalins's ide of socialism in a single country mutated into "socialism for the upper strata of population". In this sense neoliberal as "interlionalistic" as communists, and may be even more. they just uset the term "globalism" instead. and "Neoliberal International" accepts the elite from any country, but only a very narrow strata of the elite and only on a certain conditions. Much like Comintern.  Although spyting capabilities of "Neoliberal International" via "five eyes" are tremendously more powerful then the rudimentary capabilities of Comintern and the technology of staging color revolutions is more polished the Trotskyite approach to staging proletarian revolutions. Neoliberal also have more money and that matters. 

The key idea of obtaining power by training the cadre of "professional revolutionaries" introduced by social-democratic parties and, especially, Bolsheviks  are replaced with no less effective the network of neoliberal think tanks. In other words neoliberalism borrowed and perverted almost all major ideas of social-democratic parties. The party core typical for Bolsheviks, and instrumental to the success of their coup d'état in October 1917 against Provisional government by Kerensky was essentially replaced by the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored. Monte Perelin society (the initial neoliberal think tank)  explicitly tried to adapt successful idea of western social democratic parties and Bolsheviks to neoliberal doctrine. One such "appropriations" is the level of secrecy and existence of "underground" part of the party along with "legal" parliamentary faction (a set of honorable (in a sense, what hey such politicians for example in the USA congress (honorable politician is the one who after he was bought stays bought) politicians are just a tip of the iceberg), . Some important work was also done by renegade Trotskyites in the USA (aka neoconservatives, especially by James Burnham as well as staunch neoliberals like James Buchanan (The Guardian)

The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential”. Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical “reforms”... Gradually they would build a [well-paid] “counter-intelligentsia”, allied to a “vast network of political power” that would become the new establishment.

It also created it's own Neoliberal newspeak  and a set of myths ("greed is good", "invisible hand", "the efficient markets hypothesis", "rational expectations scam", Shareholder value scam, supply side voodoo aka "rising tide lifts all boats", etc).  In "neoliberal newspeak" the term "freedom" is used as the excuse for ripping down public protections on behalf of the very rich.  For example "free market" means the market free from any coercion by the state (read regulation) which makes it the corporate jungle where the most powerful corporation dictate the rules of the game and eat alive small fish with complete impunity.  In now way neoliberal "free market" is fair.  It has distinct Social Darwinism flavor and  enforces scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed

It facilitates over-consumption and getting into the debt both on the country (neo-colonialism)  and on the individual workers (debt-slavery) levels, and has sophisticated mechanisms  of  enforcing this situation on unsuspecting population (IMF, World banks on the level of the countries), credit card companies, mortgages, student debt on individual level. And a worker with a large debt is, essentially,  a debt-slave. Atomization (neoliberalism is openly and forcefully anti-union) and enslavement of the workforce is exactly what neoliberalism is about: recreation of the plantation economy on a new technological and social levels. Not that unions are without problems in their own right, but crushing the union is the goal of every neoliberal government starting with Thatcher and Reagan. The same model that is depicted in famous song  Sixteen Tons. With replacement  of the company store debt and private corporate currencies with credit card debt. 

Like Trotskyism it is pretty militaristic creed and the dream of global Communist empire led from Moscow was replaced by the dream of global neoliberal empire led by Washington.  Neocons in this sense is just a specific flavor of neoliberals --" neoliberals with the gun" as in Al Capone maxim "You Can Get Much Further with a Kind Word and a Gun than with a Kind Word Alone" ;-). This "institualised gangsterism" of the US neocons represents probably the greatest threat to the survival of modern civilization.  

Due to the size the introduction was moved to a separate page --  Neoliberalism: an Introduction


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[Sep 24, 2017] A German Election Analysis

Sep 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The result is bad for the top-candidates Merkel (CDU) and Schulz (SPD). The CDU lost 9 percentage points compared to the 2013 election, the SPD lost 5.

Voter migration analysis will show that the CDU loss was caused by Merkel's centrist policies and especially her gigantic immigration ("refugees") mistake. It caused the right-wing CDU voters to go over to the new right-wing party AFD.

Her party will punish Merkel for this catastrophic result. I doubt that she has two years or more years left in her position. Her party will shun her and move away from the center and back into its traditional moderate-right corner.

The voters lost by the formerly moderate-left, now also centrist SPD went over to the liberal-leftish FDP. The FDP is back in the game after having been kicked out of parliament is the 2013 elections.

The Greens and the Left Party results are mostly unchanged.

Over the last 20 years both of the traditionally big parties, CDU and SPD, had moved from their moderate-right, respectively moderate-left positions towards centrist neo-liberalism. In consequence The Left split off the SPD and now the AFD from the CDU.

The AFD is by no means a "Nazi" party though a few Nazis may try to hide under its mantle. The voters are mostly traditionalist, staunch conservatives and anti-globalization. They were earlier part of the CDU.

The SPD will not want to enter another government coalition with Merkel, It played Merkel's junior partner over the last eight years and that led to ever increasing voter losses. It nearly killed the party. The mistake of selecting the colorless Schulz as top-candidate will lead to some (necessary) blood loss in the party's leadership. SPD head Gabriel will, like Schulz, have to step back from leadership positions.

Merkel will have difficulties forming a coalition. She will avoid the AFD as her campaign had discriminated that party as "Nazi" (in itself a huge strategic mistake). She will try to build a coalition with the Green and the FDP. It will be enough to rule for a while but is a somewhat unstable configuration.

We will likely have new elections within the next two years.

Anon | Sep 24, 2017 1:53:15 PM | 1

Just like the American election with Clinton, western media doing everything to uncritically support Merkel and demonize, especially AFD, the oppostional parties. Propaganda all over.
dan of steele | Sep 24, 2017 2:10:19 PM | 2
having just been exposed to the AFD party and somewhat taken aback by their huge gains, I used the google to find out a bit about them. one of the first hits is from the Intercept where they talk about a very wealthy woman who just happens to be a Trump supporter as well funneling money and fake news to support this "scary" new party. B wrote about how right wing parties gained support because the traditional left has abandoned them. this is probably the case in Germany as well with the SPD being quite disappointing to many. The FDP seems to have gained a bit due to time passing and people not remembering how badly they got screwed by Westerwelle and his crew some years back.

anyway, for what it is worth, here is the link to the Intercept story

[Sep 24, 2017] Mark Ames When Mother Jones Was Investigated for Spreading Kremlin Disinformation by Mark Ames

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Adam Hochschild, the founding editor of Mother Jones (and author of some great books including King Leopold's Ghost), responded publicly to the threats coming out of the Senate in the early Reagan years. In a New York Times op-ed published in late 1981, "Dis-(Mis-?)Information", Hochschild wrote about a Republican Senate mailer sent out to 290 radio stations that accused Mother Jones of being Kremlin disinformation dupes. ..."
"... "In it, the writer Arnaud de Borchgrave accuses Mother Jones, the Village Voice, the Soho News, the Progressive magazine of serving as disseminators of K.G.B. 'disinformation' – the planting of false or misleading items in news media. "Mr. de Borchgrave provided no specific examples of facts or articles. But, then, the trouble with the K.G.B. is that you don't know what disinformation it is feeding you because you don't know who its myriad agents are. So the only safe thing is to distrust any author or magazine too critical of the United States. Because anyone who is against, say, the MX or the B-1 bomber could be working for the Russians." ..."
"... The communist/leftist imagery is there for a reason. In case you haven't noticed, Clinton supporters have waged a crude PR campaign to blame their candidate's loss on leftists, whom they equate with neo-Nazis and Trump. I've been smeared as "alt-left" by a Vanity Fair columnist, who equated me with Breitbart and other far-right journalists, for the crime of not sufficiently supporting Hillary Clinton. The larger goal of this crude PR effort is to equate opposition to Hillary Clinton with treason and Nazism. Which was exactly the goal of Reagan's "Kremlin disinformation" hysteria - the whole point was to smear critics of Reagan and his right-wing politics as pro-Kremlin traitors, whether they knew it or not. ..."
"... Even the words and the terminology are plagiarized from the Reagan Right witch-hunting campaign - "Kremlin active measures"; "Kremlin disinformation"; "Kremlin dupes" - terms introduced by right-wing novelists and intelligence hucksters, and repeated ad nauseam until they transformed into something plausible, giving quasi-academic cover to some very old-fashioned state repression, harassment, surveillance . . . and a lot of ruined lives. That's what happened last time, and if history is any guide, it's how this one will end up too. ..."
"... The Reagan Era kicked off with a lot of dark fear-mongering about the Kremlin using disinformation and active measures to destroy our way of life. Everything that the conservative Establishment loathed about 1970s - defeat in Vietnam, Church Committee hearings gutting the CIA and FBI, the cult of Woodward & Bernstein & Hersh, peace marchers, minority rights radicals - was an "active measures" treason conspiracy. ..."
"... The image at the top of this article comes from a lead article in Columbia University's student newspaper, the Spectator, published a few weeks after Reagan took office, on SST committee's assault on Mother Jones. The headline read: The New McCarthyism / Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been and the the full-page article begins, If you subscribe to Mother Jones, give money to the American Civil Liberties Union, or support the Institute for Policy Studies, Senator Jeremiah Denton's new Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism may be interested in you. ..."
"... It describes how in the 1970s Americans finally got rid of HUAC and the Senate Internal Security Committee, the Red Scare witch-hunting Congressional committees - only to have them revived one election cycle later in the Reagan Revolution. ..."
"... Sexual immorality -- it's a common theme in all the Russia panics of the past 100 years-whether the sexually liberated Emma Goldmans of the Red Scare, the homosexual-panic of the McCarthy witch-hunts, the hippie orgies of Denton's nightmares, or Trump's supposed golden shower fetish with immoral Russian prostitutes in our current panic. . . . ..."
"... To fight the Kremlin disinformation demons, Denton set up the Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism (SST), with two other young Republican senators-Orrin Hatch, who's still haunting Capitol Hill today; and John East of North Carolina, a Jesse Helms protege who later did his country a great service by committing suicide in his North Carolina garage, before the end of his first term in office in 1986. ..."
"... Sen. East's staffers leaned Nazi-ward, like their boss. One Sen. East staffer was Samuel Francis - now famous as the godfather of the alt-Right, but who in 1981 was known as the guru behind the Senate's "Russia disinformation" witch hunt. Funny how that works - today's #Resistance takes its core idea, that America is under the control of hostile Kremlin disinformation sorcerers - is culturally appropriated from the alt-Right's guru. ..."
"... Another staffer for Sen. East was John Rees, one of the most loathsome professional snitches of the post-McCarthy era, who collected files on suspected leftists, labor activists and liberal donors. I'll have to save John Rees for another post - he really belongs in a category by himself, proof of Schopenhauer's maxim that this world is run by demons. ..."
"... These were the people who first cooked up the "disinformation" panic. You can't separate the Sam Francises, Orrin Hatches, John Easts et al from today's panic-mongering over disinformation - you can only try to make sense of why, what is it about our culture's ruling factions that brings them together on this sort of xenophobic witch-hunt, even when they see themselves as so diametrically opposed on so many other issues. ..."
"... The subversion scare and moral panic were crucial in resetting the culture for the Reagan counter-revolution. Those who opposed Reagan's plans, domestically and overseas, would be labeled "dupes" of Kremlin "active measures" and "disinformation" conspiracies, acting on behalf of Moscow whether they knew it or not. The panic incubated in Denton's subcommittee investigations provided political cover for vast new powers given to the CIA, FBI, NSA and other spy and police agencies to spy on Americans. Fighting Russian "active measures" grew over the years into a massive surveillance program against Americans, particularly anyone involved in opposing Reagan's dirty wars in Central America, anyone opposing nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants, and anyone involved in providing sanctuary to refugees from south of the border. The "active measures" panic even led to FBI secret investigations into liberal members of Congress, some of whom wound up in a secret "FBI terrorist photo album". ..."
"... 'Russia is a bigger threat to America than Islamic State.' is almost certainly true. If one insists, as the US has done, on standing at the border of the bears lair and poking it with a very short stick, then there may well be consequences. On the other hand, Islamic State is no threat to the US in any way, shape or form. ..."
"... The Cold War is over, so now the US can reveal its truly feral nature. ..."
"... American slogan Violence R Us. Not judging, just being honest. We were no more interested in the common good of the Vietnamese back then, any more than we are interested in the common good of the Syrians today. ..."
"... It's always 'Russia this, Russia that', how we're going to bring democracy to some other part of the world, how some country's leader is a dictator. These are excuses we can do reverse Robin Hood wherever we can and enrich the 1%. ..."
"... It's my duty to point out that the glaring similarities in this brand of cold war Russophobia with that of pre-WW2 anti-Comintern material coming out of Nazi Germany (or even the anti-Semitic material from the early 1900s) are no coincidence. ..."
"... Among the Nazi intelligence officers and scientists we spirited away before the Russians could get their hands on them [ Operation Paperclip ] were a few sly operators who immediately started filling our elected leaders' ears with stories of Reds under the bed. One of these reps was Senator Joe McCarthy and the rest, as they say ..."
"... American-produced historical documentaries tell it like we were united as a country in support of Stalin against Hitler. This reluctance is usually credited to not wanting to get into another bloodbath like WW1 but let's be straight- about half the country (proto-deplorables?) wanted nothing to do with helping the commies beat the Nazis and actually thought the Germans weren't the bad guys. Anti-communism, big brother to anti-unionism and first cousin to anti-Semitism, was all the rage before we helped Uncle Joe beat Hitler, making it all the easier to revive after the war was over and it looked like the only threat to US world domination was a war-weakened Soviet Union. ..."
"... A few years ago, with the advent of internet freeness, I'd added MJ ..."
"... It is sensible but really too polite to say that NATO expanded because "that is what bureaucracies do and it became a way for U.S. presidents to show their 'toughness.'" To expand a bureaucracy by subversion of Ukraine and false reports of Russian aggression, to show toughness by aggression rather than defense, requires the mad power grasping of tyrants in the military, the intel agencies, the NSC, the administration, Congress. and the mass media. ..."
"... They are joined in a tyranny of inventing foreign monsters, to pose falsely as protectors, and to accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty, as Aristotle warned. This is the domestic political power grab of tyrants, a far greater danger. ..."
"... Apart from NATO and a few other treaties, the US would have no constitutional power to wage foreign wars, just to repel invasions and suppress insurrections, and that is the way it should be. Any treaty becomes part of the Supreme Law of the land, and must be rigorously restricted to defense, with provisions for international resolution of conflicts. NATO has been nothing but an excuse for warmongering since 1989. ..."
"... I think this is much closer to the mark than the association of the anti-russia fearmongering with sincere xenophobia. Russia is the go-to foreign enemy because there is such a huge and convenient stockpile of propaganda material lying around in stockpiles, but left unused because of the tragic and abrupt end of Cold War 1.0. And Russia is a great target because it is distant, and has a weird alphabet. Anyone who knows enough about Russia to contradict the disinformation (like by mentioning that they are not commies, but US-style authoritarian oligarchs) is suspicious ipso facto ..."
"... Both parties being pro wall street deficit and war hawks differing in perhaps degree .with the Demos supporting a more generous portion of calf's foot jelly being distributed to peasants of more varied hue as they also support privatization, more subtle tax cuts and deregulation for the rich, R2P wars, and globalization's race to the bottom. People seem to inhabit their own Plato's Cave each opposing their own particular artfully projected phantom menace. ..."
"... Brilliant, as Ames usually is. Especially the point that this is a manifestation of consistent anti-left sentiment within the establishment whether R or D. The confounding of Putin's Russia with some imagined communist threat always amazes me. D's got to keep up the hippie-punching at all times though! ..."
"... The Russophobia is stuck on an endless loop. I wish they'd at least come up with new lies or some fresh enemy for us all to fear. ..."
"... Without defending Trump, it is wrong of the Dems to push this stuff when Ukrainians helped Clinton's campaign and Clinton approved Uranium One getting 20% of US uranium when they gave $100 million to the Foundation. ..."
Jun 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Mark Ames, founding editor of the Moscow satirical paper The eXile and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast with Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan). Subscribe here. Originally published at The eXiled

Mother Jones recently announced it's "redoubling our Russia reporting"-in the words of editor Clara Jeffery. Ain't that rich. What passes for "Russia reporting" at Mother Jones is mostly just glorified InfoWars paranoia for progressive marks - a cataract of xenophobic conspiracy theories about inscrutable Russian barbarians hellbent on subverting our way of life, spreading chaos, destroying freedom & democracy & tolerance wherever they once flourished. . . . because they hate us, because we're free.

Western reporting on Russia has always been garbage, But the so-called "Russia reporting" of the last year has taken the usual malpractice to unimagined depths - whether it's from Mother Jones or MSNBC, or the Washington Post or Resistance hero Louise Mensch.

But of all the liberal media, Mother Jones should be most ashamed for fueling the moral panic about Russian "disinformation". It wasn't too long ago that the Reagan Right attacked Mother Jones for spreading "Kremlin disinformation" and subverting America. There were threats and leaks to the media about a possible Senate investigation into Mother Jones serving as a Kremlin disinformation dupe, a threat that hung over the magazine throughout the early Reagan years. A new Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism (SST for short) was set up in 1981 to investigate Kremlin "disinformation" and "active measures" in America, and the American "dupes" who helped Moscow subvert our way of life. That subcommittee was created to harass and repress leftist anti-imperial dissent in America, using "terrorism" as the main threat, and "disinformation" as terrorism's fellow traveller. The way the the SST committee put it, "terrorism" and "Kremlin disinformation" were one and the same, a meta-conspiracy run out of Moscow to weaken America.

And Mother Jones was one of the first American media outlets in the SST committee's sites.

Adam Hochschild, the founding editor of Mother Jones (and author of some great books including King Leopold's Ghost), responded publicly to the threats coming out of the Senate in the early Reagan years. In a New York Times op-ed published in late 1981, "Dis-(Mis-?)Information", Hochschild wrote about a Republican Senate mailer sent out to 290 radio stations that accused Mother Jones of being Kremlin disinformation dupes. The mailer, on Senate letterhead, featured a tape recording of an interview between the chairman of the SST subcommittee, Sen. Jeremiah Denton of Alabama, and a committee witness- a "disinformation expert" named Arnaud de Borchgrave, author of a bestselling spy novel called "The Spike" - about a fictional Kremlin plot to subvert the West with disinformation, and thereby rule the world.

Here's how Hochschild described the Republican Senate mailer in his NYTimes piece:

"In it, the writer Arnaud de Borchgrave accuses Mother Jones, the Village Voice, the Soho News, the Progressive magazine of serving as disseminators of K.G.B. 'disinformation' – the planting of false or misleading items in news media. "Mr. de Borchgrave provided no specific examples of facts or articles. But, then, the trouble with the K.G.B. is that you don't know what disinformation it is feeding you because you don't know who its myriad agents are. So the only safe thing is to distrust any author or magazine too critical of the United States. Because anyone who is against, say, the MX or the B-1 bomber could be working for the Russians."

Here, the Mother Jones founder describes the menacing logic of pursuing the "Kremlin disinformation" conspiracy: any American critical of US military power, police power, corporate power, overseas power . . . anyone critical of anything that powerful Americans do, is a Kremlin disinformation dupe whether they know it or not. That leaves only the appointed accusers to decide who is and who isn't a Kremlin agent.

Hochschild called this panic over Kremlin disinformation another "Red Scare", warning,

"[T]o accuse critical American journalists of serving as its unwitting dupes makes as little sense as Russians accusing rebellious Poles of being unwitting agents of American imperialism. When Mr. de Borchgrave accuses skeptical journalists of being unwitting purveyors of disinformation, the accusation is more slippery, less easy to definitively disprove, and less subject to libel law than if he were to accuse them of being conscious Communist agents.

" Although if you believe the K.G.B. is successfully infiltrating America's news media, then anything must seem possible."

It's a damn shame today's editorial staff at Mother Jones aren't aware of their own magazine's history.

Then again, who am I fooling? Mother Jones wouldn't care if you shoved their faces in their own recent history - they're way too donor-deep invested in pushing this "active measures" conspiracy. Trump has been a goldmine of donor cash for anyone willing to carry the #Resistance water.

PutinTrump was a project set up last fall by tech plutocrat Rob Glaser, CEO and founder of RealNetworks, to scare voters into believing that voting for Trump is treason. God knows I can't stand Trump or his politics, but of all the inane campaign ideas to run on - this?

One would've thought that the smart people would learn their lesson from the election, that running against a Kremlin conspiracy theory is a loser. But instead, they seem to think the problem is they didn't fear-monger enough, so they're "redoubling" on the Russophobia. Donor money is driving this - donor cash is quite literally driving Mother Jones' editorial focus. And it really is this crude.

Take for example a PutinTrump section titled "Russian Expansion" - the scary Red imagery and language are lifted straight out of the Reagan Cold War playbook from the early-mid 80s, when, it so happens, Mother Jones was targeted as a Kremlin dupe. Featuring a lot of shadowy red-colored alien soldiers over an outline of Crimea, Mother Jones' donor-partner promotes a classic Cold War propaganda line about Russian/Soviet expansionism-a lie that has been the basis for so many wars launched to "stop" this alleged "expansionism" in the past, wars that Mother Jones is supposed to oppose. Here's what MJ's partner writes now:

RUSSIAN EXPANSION

Through unknowing manipulation, or by direct support, Trump will become an accessory to the continual expansionism committed by Putin. Might does not equal right-and it never has for Americans-but Putin's Russia plays by different rules. Or maybe no rules at all.

The communist/leftist imagery is there for a reason. In case you haven't noticed, Clinton supporters have waged a crude PR campaign to blame their candidate's loss on leftists, whom they equate with neo-Nazis and Trump. I've been smeared as "alt-left" by a Vanity Fair columnist, who equated me with Breitbart and other far-right journalists, for the crime of not sufficiently supporting Hillary Clinton. The larger goal of this crude PR effort is to equate opposition to Hillary Clinton with treason and Nazism. Which was exactly the goal of Reagan's "Kremlin disinformation" hysteria - the whole point was to smear critics of Reagan and his right-wing politics as pro-Kremlin traitors, whether they knew it or not.

* * *

What's kind of shocking to me as someone who was alive in the Reagan scare is how unoriginal this current one is. Even the words and the terminology are plagiarized from the Reagan Right witch-hunting campaign - "Kremlin active measures"; "Kremlin disinformation"; "Kremlin dupes" - terms introduced by right-wing novelists and intelligence hucksters, and repeated ad nauseam until they transformed into something plausible, giving quasi-academic cover to some very old-fashioned state repression, harassment, surveillance . . . and a lot of ruined lives. That's what happened last time, and if history is any guide, it's how this one will end up too.

Today we're supposed to remember how cheerful and optimistic the Reagan Era was. But that's now how I remember it, it's not how it looked to Mother Jones at the time - and it's not how it looks when you go back through the original source material again and relive it. The Reagan Era kicked off with a lot of dark fear-mongering about the Kremlin using disinformation and active measures to destroy our way of life. Everything that the conservative Establishment loathed about 1970s - defeat in Vietnam, Church Committee hearings gutting the CIA and FBI, the cult of Woodward & Bernstein & Hersh, peace marchers, minority rights radicals - was an "active measures" treason conspiracy.

As soon as the new Republican majority in the Senate took power in 1981, they set up a new subcommittee to investigate Kremlin disinformation dupes, called the Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism. Staffers leaked to the media they intended to investigate Mother Jones. Panic spread across the progressive media world, and suddenly all those cool Ivy League kids who invested everything in becoming the next Woodward-Bernsteins - the cultural heroes at the time - got scared. The image at the top of this article comes from a lead article in Columbia University's student newspaper, the Spectator, published a few weeks after Reagan took office, on SST committee's assault on Mother Jones. The headline read: The New McCarthyism / Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been and the the full-page article begins, If you subscribe to Mother Jones, give money to the American Civil Liberties Union, or support the Institute for Policy Studies, Senator Jeremiah Denton's new Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism may be interested in you.

It describes how in the 1970s Americans finally got rid of HUAC and the Senate Internal Security Committee, the Red Scare witch-hunting Congressional committees - only to have them revived one election cycle later in the Reagan Revolution.

By the end of Reagan's first year in office, there was still no formal investigation into Mother Jones, but the harassment was there and it wasn't subtle at all - such as the Republican Senate mailer accusing the magazine of being KGB disinformation dupes. At the end of 1981, MJ editor/founder Adam Hochschild announced he was stepping aside, and in his final note to readers and the public, he wrote:

To Senator Jeremiah Denton, chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism: If your committee investigates Mother Jones, a plan hinted at some months ago, I demand to be subpoenaed. I would not want to miss telling off today's new McCarthyites.

So here we are a few decades later, and Mother Jones' editor Clara Jeffery is denouncing WikiLeaks - yesterday's journalism stars, today's traitors - as "Russia['s] willing dupes and propagandists" while Mother Jones magazine turned itself into a mouthpiece for America's spies peddling the same warmed-over conspiracy theories that once targeted Mother Jones.

* * *

Jeremiah Denton - the New Right senator from Alabama who led the SST committee investigation into Kremlin "disinformation" and its dupes like Mother Jones - believed that America was being weakened from within and had only a few years left at most to turn it around. As Denton saw it, the two most dangerous threats to America's survival were a) hippie sex, and b) Kremlin disinformation. The two were inseparable in his mind, linked to the larger "global terrorism" plot masterminded by Moscow.

To fight hippie sex and teen promiscuity, the freshman senator introduced a "Chastity Bill" funding federal programs that promoted the joys of chastity to Americans armies of bored, teen suburban long-hairs. A lot of clever people laughed at that, because at the time the belief in linear historical progress was strong, and this represented something so atavistic that it was like a curiosity more than anything - Pauly Shore's "Alabama Man" unfrozen after 10,000 years and unleashed on the halls of Congress.

Less funny were Denton's calls for death penalty for adulterers, and laws he pushed restricting women's right to abortion.

Jeremiah Denton was once a big name in this country. Americans have since forgotten Denton, because John McCain pretty much stole his act. But back in the 70s and early 80s, Denton was America's most famous Vietnam War hero/POW. Like McCain, Denton was a Navy pilot shot down over Vietnam and taken prisoner. Denton spent 1965-1973 in North Vietnamese POW camps-two years longer than McCain-and he was America's most famous POW. His most famous moment was when his North Vietnamese captors hauled him before the cameras to acknowledge his crimes, and instead Denton famously blinked out a Morse code message: "T-O-R-T-U-R-E".

In the 1973 POW exchange deal between Hanoi and Nixon, "Operation Homecoming," it was Denton who was the first American POW to come off the plane and speak to the American tv crews (McCain was on the same flight, but not nearly as prominent as Denton). I keep referring back to McCain here because not only were they both famous Navy pilot POWs, but they both wind up becoming the most pathologically obsessive Russophobes in the Senate. Just a few days ago, McCain said that Russia is a bigger threat to America than Islamic State. Something real bad must've happened in those Hanoi Hiltons, worse than anything they told us about, because those guys really, really hate Russians - and they reallywant the rest of us to hate Russians too.

Everything they loathed about America, everything that was wrong with America, had to be the fault of a hostile alien culture. There was no other explanation for what happened in the 1970s. The America that Denton came home to in 1973 was under some kind of hostile power, an alien-controlled replica of the America he last saw in 1965. Popular morality had been turned on its head: Hollywood blockbusters with bare naked bodies and gutter language! Children against their parents! Homosexuals on waterskis! Sex and treason! Patriots were the enemy, while America-haters were heroes! Denton re-appeared like some reactionary Rip Van Winkle who went to sleep in the safe feather-bed world of J Edgar Hoover's America - only to wake up eight years later on Bernadine Dohrn's futon, soaked in Bill Ayers' bodily fluids. For Denton, the post-60s cultural shock came on all at once - as sudden and as jarring as, well, the shock so many Blue State Americans experienced when Donald Trump won the election last November.

Sex, immorality & military defeat-these were inseparable in Denton's mind, and in a lot of reactionaries' minds. Attributing all of America's social convulsions of the previous 15 years to immorality and a Kremlin disinformation plot was a neat way of avoiding the complex and painful realities - then, as now.

"No nation can survive long unless it can encourage its young to withhold indulgence in their sexual appetites until marriage." - Jeremiah Denton

What hit Denton hardest was all the hippie sex and the pop culture glorification of hippie sex. It's hard to convey just how deeply all that smug hippie sex wounded tens of millions of Americans. It's a hate wound that's still raw, still burns to the touch. A wound that fueled so much reactionary political fire over the past 50 years, and it doesn't look like it'll burn out any time soon.

Back in 1980, Denton blamed all that pop culture sex on Russian active measures, and he did his best to not just outlaw it, but to demonize sex as something along the lines of treason.

Just as so many people today cannot accept the idea that Trumpism is Made In America-so Denton and his Reagan Right constituents believed there had to be some alien force to explain why Americans had changed so drastically, seeming to adopt values that were the antithesis of Middle America's values in 1965. It had to be the fault of an alien voodoo beam! It had to be a Russian plot!

And so, therefore, it was a Russian plot.

A 1981 Time magazine profile of the freshman Senator begins, Denton believes that America is being destroyed by sexual immorality and Soviet-sponsored political 'disinformation'-and that both are being promoted by dupes, or worse, in the media. By the mid-1980s, he warns, "we will have less national security than we had proportionately when George Washington's troops were walking around barefoot at Valley Forge."

Sexual immorality -- it's a common theme in all the Russia panics of the past 100 years-whether the sexually liberated Emma Goldmans of the Red Scare, the homosexual-panic of the McCarthy witch-hunts, the hippie orgies of Denton's nightmares, or Trump's supposed golden shower fetish with immoral Russian prostitutes in our current panic. . . .

To fight the Kremlin disinformation demons, Denton set up the Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism (SST), with two other young Republican senators-Orrin Hatch, who's still haunting Capitol Hill today; and John East of North Carolina, a Jesse Helms protege who later did his country a great service by committing suicide in his North Carolina garage, before the end of his first term in office in 1986.

Sen. East's staffers leaned Nazi-ward, like their boss. One Sen. East staffer was Samuel Francis - now famous as the godfather of the alt-Right, but who in 1981 was known as the guru behind the Senate's "Russia disinformation" witch hunt. Funny how that works - today's #Resistance takes its core idea, that America is under the control of hostile Kremlin disinformation sorcerers - is culturally appropriated from the alt-Right's guru.

Another staffer for Sen. East was John Rees, one of the most loathsome professional snitches of the post-McCarthy era, who collected files on suspected leftists, labor activists and liberal donors. I'll have to save John Rees for another post - he really belongs in a category by himself, proof of Schopenhauer's maxim that this world is run by demons.

These were the people who first cooked up the "disinformation" panic. You can't separate the Sam Francises, Orrin Hatches, John Easts et al from today's panic-mongering over disinformation - you can only try to make sense of why, what is it about our culture's ruling factions that brings them together on this sort of xenophobic witch-hunt, even when they see themselves as so diametrically opposed on so many other issues. I don't think this is something as simple as hypocrisy - it's actually quite consistent: Establishment faction wakes up to a world it doesn't recognize and loathes and feels threatened by, and blames it not on themselves or anything domestic, but rather on the most plausible alien conspiracy they can reach for: Russian barbarians. Anti-Russian xenophobia is burned into the Establishment culture's DNA; it's a xenophobia that both dominant factions, liberal or conservative, view as an acceptable xenophobia. When poorer "white working class" Americans feel threatened and panic, their xenophobia tends to be aimed at other ethnics - Latinos and Muslims these days - a xenophobia that the Establishment views as completely immoral and unacceptable, completely beyond the pale. The thought never occurs to them that perhaps all forms of xenophobia are bad, all bring with them a lot of violence and danger, it just depends on who's threatened and who's doing the threatening

The subversion scare and moral panic were crucial in resetting the culture for the Reagan counter-revolution. Those who opposed Reagan's plans, domestically and overseas, would be labeled "dupes" of Kremlin "active measures" and "disinformation" conspiracies, acting on behalf of Moscow whether they knew it or not. The panic incubated in Denton's subcommittee investigations provided political cover for vast new powers given to the CIA, FBI, NSA and other spy and police agencies to spy on Americans. Fighting Russian "active measures" grew over the years into a massive surveillance program against Americans, particularly anyone involved in opposing Reagan's dirty wars in Central America, anyone opposing nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants, and anyone involved in providing sanctuary to refugees from south of the border. The "active measures" panic even led to FBI secret investigations into liberal members of Congress, some of whom wound up in a secret "FBI terrorist photo album".

I'll get to that "FBI Terrorist Photo Album" story later. There's a lot of recent "Kremlin disinformation" history to recover, since it seems every last memory cell has been zapped out of existence.

After Reagan's inauguration (the most expensive, lavish inauguration ball in White House history), Senator Denton sent a chill through the liberal and independent media world with all the talk coming out of his committee about targeting activists, civil rights lawyers and journalists. Denton tried to come off as reasonable some of the times; other times, he came right out and said it: "disinformation" is terrorism: When I speak of a threat, I do not just mean that an organization is, or is about to be, engaged in violent criminal activity. I believe many share the view that support groups that produce propaganda, disinformation or legal assistance may be even more dangerous than those who actually throw the bombs.

Congratulations Mother Jones, you've come a long way, baby! Next post, I'll recover some of the early committee hearings, and the rightwing hucksters, creeps and spooks who fed Denton's committee.

glmmph , June 3, 2017 at 7:00 am

I think that John McCain may well be correct, if for the wrong reasons. 'Russia is a bigger threat to America than Islamic State.' is almost certainly true. If one insists, as the US has done, on standing at the border of the bears lair and poking it with a very short stick, then there may well be consequences. On the other hand, Islamic State is no threat to the US in any way, shape or form.

Disturbed Voter , June 3, 2017 at 7:23 am

This is now, that was then. There is no comparison. The Cold War is over, so now the US can reveal its truly feral nature. It seems both parties are struggling to bring back the 1960s with Cold War 2.0. We need to pull out of the Middle East, and invade Vietnam, again ;-( And yes, probably even back then, Mother Jones was controlled opposition. They just don't bother hiding it anymore.

John Zelnicker , June 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm

@Disturbed Voter – Dontcha know. We just signed deals with Viet Nam that will bring "billions of dollars" to the U.S. Trump said so last week after meeting with the Vietnamese Prime Minister, so it must be true. They're safe for now. :-)

witters , June 3, 2017 at 7:29 am

"Might does not equal right-and it never has for Americans-" Is there a Darwin Award for this?

Disturbed Voter , June 3, 2017 at 9:30 am

American slogan Violence R Us. Not judging, just being honest. We were no more interested in the common good of the Vietnamese back then, any more than we are interested in the common good of the Syrians today.

oh , June 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Our nation worries about other countries' problems but we never care about ours! It's always 'Russia this, Russia that', how we're going to bring democracy to some other part of the world, how some country's leader is a dictator. These are excuses we can do reverse Robin Hood wherever we can and enrich the 1%.

Magazines (tabloids) and (fake)news organization are cheer leaders to this effort because they cash in on the chant du jour.

Baby Gerald , June 3, 2017 at 8:16 am

Thank you so much for exposing in such great detail the hypocrisy regarding MJ s recent neo-Red Scare leanings. If only the editorial staff at dear MJ would educate themselves not only about their own organization's history, but history in general, they might avoid looking like complete fools and enemies to their own institution's founding principles when we collectively reminisce on this bizarre era at some point in the future.

It's my duty to point out that the glaring similarities in this brand of cold war Russophobia with that of pre-WW2 anti-Comintern material coming out of Nazi Germany (or even the anti-Semitic material from the early 1900s) are no coincidence.

Among the Nazi intelligence officers and scientists we spirited away before the Russians could get their hands on them [ Operation Paperclip ] were a few sly operators who immediately started filling our elected leaders' ears with stories of Reds under the bed. One of these reps was Senator Joe McCarthy and the rest, as they say

American-produced historical documentaries tell it like we were united as a country in support of Stalin against Hitler. This reluctance is usually credited to not wanting to get into another bloodbath like WW1 but let's be straight- about half the country (proto-deplorables?) wanted nothing to do with helping the commies beat the Nazis and actually thought the Germans weren't the bad guys. Anti-communism, big brother to anti-unionism and first cousin to anti-Semitism, was all the rage before we helped Uncle Joe beat Hitler, making it all the easier to revive after the war was over and it looked like the only threat to US world domination was a war-weakened Soviet Union.

As a kid in the 80s I remember MJ being singled out as a leftist commie rag by Reaganites of the day. Through college this was about all I knew about the magazine– as an epithet for what hippie commie liberals read before trying to ruin our country. Despite it leaning to my political inclinations, I never paid it any attention.

A few years ago, with the advent of internet freeness, I'd added MJ to my news stream. Once Sanders- then later Trump- started looking like an actual threat to the Clinton campaign, their headlines started turning snippy and trite toward her opposition. I turned them off my feed last year, so the only exposure to their drivel is thanks to the links here at NC . Now with the advent of twitter, their staff have taken the extra step of proving how twisted their personal Russophobian views really are. Between just Corn and Jeffery, there's enough material to make any McCarthyite proud.*

[* – I was going to close with ' and make Adam Hochschild roll in his grave' but then I googled him and discovered that he's still alive. Wonder what he thinks about this current turn at the magazine he co-founded?]

Damson , June 3, 2017 at 8:40 am

Reposting a comment that IMV, snapshots the reality of Russophobia far better than Ames (it was in response to a Ray McGovern article on Trump's visit to NATO HQ) :

"Ray has written well to the general audience, bridging the information gap for those heavily propagandized. He has properly shown the expansion of NATO as an act of calculated betrayal, a policy of aggression in the face of zero threat.

It is sensible but really too polite to say that NATO expanded because "that is what bureaucracies do and it became a way for U.S. presidents to show their 'toughness.'" To expand a bureaucracy by subversion of Ukraine and false reports of Russian aggression, to show toughness by aggression rather than defense, requires the mad power grasping of tyrants in the military, the intel agencies, the NSC, the administration, Congress. and the mass media.

They are joined in a tyranny of inventing foreign monsters, to pose falsely as protectors, and to accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty, as Aristotle warned. This is the domestic political power grab of tyrants, a far greater danger.

Tyranny is a subculture, a groupthink of bullies who tyrannize each other and compete for the most radical propositions of nonexistent foreign threats. They fully well know that they are lying to the people of the United States to serve a personal and factional agenda that involves the murder of millions of innocents, the diversion of a very large fraction of their own and other nations' budgets from essential needs, and they have not an ounce of humanity or moral restraint among them. Those who waver are cast aside, and the worst of the bullies rise to the top. This is why the nation's founders opposed a standing military, and they were right.

Apart from NATO and a few other treaties, the US would have no constitutional power to wage foreign wars, just to repel invasions and suppress insurrections, and that is the way it should be. Any treaty becomes part of the Supreme Law of the land, and must be rigorously restricted to defense, with provisions for international resolution of conflicts. NATO has been nothing but an excuse for warmongering since 1989.

Let us hope that Trump pulls the plug on NATO interventionism, accidentally or otherwise. The Dem leaders have now joined the Reps in their love of bribes for genocide, but at the least the Reps still don't like paying for it. Perhaps the last duopoly imitation of civilization."

nowhere , June 3, 2017 at 11:26 am

Hmm "but at the least the Reps still don't like paying for it." I strongly disagree. War is the only thing Rs don't mind openly supporting.

Ptolemy Philopater , June 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm

One can not repeat often enough: War Crimes Tribunals! How to disincentivize the madness.

Skip Intro , June 4, 2017 at 2:14 am

I think this is much closer to the mark than the association of the anti-russia fearmongering with sincere xenophobia. Russia is the go-to foreign enemy because there is such a huge and convenient stockpile of propaganda material lying around in stockpiles, but left unused because of the tragic and abrupt end of Cold War 1.0. And Russia is a great target because it is distant, and has a weird alphabet. Anyone who knows enough about Russia to contradict the disinformation (like by mentioning that they are not commies, but US-style authoritarian oligarchs) is suspicious ipso facto .

Mary Wehrhein , June 3, 2017 at 9:40 am

Having lived in Kansas for 60 some years which is the poster-child for trickle-down necromancy and a land heavily infused with rural, German-Catholic sensibilities, I can vouch for the deeply felt attitudes towards sex as a primary issue. "Family Values" being the code word for the whole sex and reproductive moral prism.

Like Cuba with its 50s autos, the conservatives have never given up their 60s conception of the Democrats as the party of free love, peace-nicks (soft on commies hard on guns) and tax and spend bleeding hearts coddling dependent malingerers.

The GOP here campaigns against a democrat party that no longer exists (if it ever did). They seem oblivious to the fact that the democrats have become the moderate republicans of yore. Both parties being pro wall street deficit and war hawks differing in perhaps degree .with the Demos supporting a more generous portion of calf's foot jelly being distributed to peasants of more varied hue as they also support privatization, more subtle tax cuts and deregulation for the rich, R2P wars, and globalization's race to the bottom. People seem to inhabit their own Plato's Cave each opposing their own particular artfully projected phantom menace.

GERMO , June 3, 2017 at 9:42 am

Brilliant, as Ames usually is. Especially the point that this is a manifestation of consistent anti-left sentiment within the establishment whether R or D. The confounding of Putin's Russia with some imagined communist threat always amazes me. D's got to keep up the hippie-punching at all times though!

Pespi , June 3, 2017 at 10:33 am

This is a great piece. The Russophobia is stuck on an endless loop. I wish they'd at least come up with new lies or some fresh enemy for us all to fear. Tell me about why South African dupes are causing all the problems in society, tell me that the people of the Maldives each own a nuclear capable artillery piece and are burning American flags.

Susan the other , June 3, 2017 at 11:25 am

Thanks for this post down memory lane. I assumed MJ was liberal. And Jane Fonda was a conservative. And by 1981 I was completely confused about where the media stood on any given issue. And now finally the mask is coming off and we can see (Phillip K. Dick style) that left is right and right is left. And we are all fascists. Will the real Atilla please stand up? #Resistance is a little over the top and so is putintrump. But what looks like actual progress is the fact that Bernie was not completely destroyed by the state paranoia. There has to be a certain bed-rock decency that can rise above this eternal crap. Just a note of interest on the young Orrin Hatch being on the SST as a freshman senator. Orrin was the subject of local rumors that claimed he had been put in the senate by the mafia (some mormon-mafia connection in las vegas) and the fact that they did use entrapment with a hooker to disgrace his opponent was mafia-enough to make the story convincing. The story died out fast. But we should all remember that the mafia was involved in its own anti-commie terrorist tactics for decades.

Susan the other , June 3, 2017 at 2:28 pm

file under Too Weird: 15 minutes after I posted the above I got a call from Orrin Hatch's robo-computer inviting me to a local discussion call me paranoid.

John Zelnicker , June 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm

@Susan the other – It's not paranoia if someone really is out to get you. Or, to get all of us. Or, demonstrates that they have the ability to do so at will.

REDPILLED , June 3, 2017 at 11:39 am

Only 16% of people surveyed are very worried about climate change.

Corporate news is consumed with covering the Trump/Russia affair, but whatever the truth of all this turns out to be, it pales in significance to the real existential threat that is upon us. Largely due to a lack of coverage by corporate television news, there is a dangerous lack of public awareness of it.

Susan the other , June 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

land of the free and home of the brave you have to be brave to live in this free-for-all. Just want to pass on this killer quote from Discover Magazine: "It is sometimes argued that the illusion of free will arises from the fact that we can't adequately judge all possible moves with the result that our choices are based on imperfect or impoverished information." what a nightmare world.

mpalomar , June 3, 2017 at 9:43 pm

"It is sometimes argued that the illusion of free will arises from the fact that we can't adequately judge all possible moves with the result that our choices are based on imperfect or impoverished information."

Accepting that premise does not rule out the possibility of free will, it only suggests that our free will is likely mired in a blind stumbling, darkness of unknowing.
Hallelujah.

sunny129 , June 3, 2017 at 1:57 pm

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. George Orwell. Every one has that 'right', right or wrong! But it is your right & duty to develop 'critical' thinking to DISCERN the difference

Darn , June 4, 2017 at 4:48 am

Without defending Trump, it is wrong of the Dems to push this stuff when Ukrainians helped Clinton's campaign and Clinton approved Uranium One getting 20% of US uranium when they gave $100 million to the Foundation. The book "Shattered" says her campaign did internal polling which found Uranium One was the most damaging line to use against Clinton so she decided to get her retaliation in first and use the Russia charge at every opportunity. And on election night when they realised they had been defeated they decided to blame Russia again. What has Trump done for Russia so far? He's kept up sanctions and bombed their client state Syria. Whereas Clinton had a pattern of arms sales to Foundation donors. Prefer Clinton? Fine, but not over this.

[Sep 23, 2017] The Crazy Imbalance of Russia-gate by Robert Parry

Notable quotes:
"... In response to this political pressure – at a time when Facebook is fending off possible anti-trust legislation – its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg added that he is expanding the investigation to include "additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states." ..."
"... But why stop there? If the concern is that American political campaigns are being influenced by foreign governments whose interests may diverge from what's best for America, why not look at countries that have caused the United States far more harm recently than Russia? ..."
"... After all, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Wahabbi leaders have been pulling the U.S. government into their sectarian wars with the Shiites, including conflicts in Yemen and Syria that have contributed to anti-Americanism in the region, to the growth of Al Qaeda, and to a disruptive flow of refugees into Europe. ..."
"... Although the military disaster in Iraq threw a wrench into those plans, the Israeli/neocon agenda never changed. Along with Israel's new regional ally, Saudi Arabia , a proxy war was fashioned to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. ..."
"... Israel's influence over U.S. politicians is so blatant that presidential contenders queue up every year to grovel before the Israel Lobby's conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In 2016, Donald Trump showed up and announced that he was not there to "pander" and then pandered his pants off. ..."
"... And, if you want a historical review, throw in the British and German propaganda around the two world wars; include how the South Vietnamese government collaborated with Richard Nixon in 1968 to sabotage President Lyndon Johnson's Paris peace talks; take a serious look at the collusion between Ronald Reagan's campaign and Iran thwarting President Jimmy Carter's efforts to free 52 American hostages in Tehran in 1980; open the books on Turkey's covert investments in U.S. politicians and policymakers; and examine how authoritarian regimes of all stripes have funded important Washington think tanks and law firms. ..."
"... But the Russia-gate investigation is not about fairness and balance; it's a reckless scapegoating of a nuclear-armed country to explain away – and possibly do away with – Donald Trump's presidency. Rather than putting everything in context and applying a sense of proportion, Russia-gate is relying on wild exaggerations of factually dubious or relatively isolated incidents as an opportunistic means to a political end. ..."
"... As reckless as President Trump has been, the supposedly wise men and wise women of Washington are at least his match. ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

The core absurdity of the Russia-gate frenzy is its complete lack of proportionality. Indeed, the hysteria is reminiscent of Sen. Joe McCarthy warning that "one communist in the faculty of one university is one communist too many" or Donald Trump's highlighting a few "bad hombres" raping white American women.

It's not that there were no Americans who espoused communist views at universities and elsewhere or that there are no "bad hombre" rapists; it's that these rare exceptions were used to generate a dangerous overreaction in service of a propagandistic agenda. Historically, we have seen this technique used often when demagogues seize on an isolated event and exploit it emotionally to mislead populations to war.

Today, we have The New York Times and The Washington Post repeatedly publishing front-page articles about allegations that some Russians with "links" to the Kremlin bought $100,000 in Facebook ads to promote some issues deemed hurtful to Hillary Clinton's campaign although some of the ads ran after the election.

Initially, Facebook could find no evidence of even that small effort but was pressured in May by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia. The Washington Post reported that Warner, who is spearheading the Russia-gate investigation in the Senate Intelligence Committee, flew to Silicon Valley and urged Facebook executives to take another look at possible ad buys.

Facebook responded to this congressional pressure by scouring its billions of monthly users and announced that it had located 470 suspect accounts associated with ads totaling $100,000 – out of Facebook's $27 billion in annual revenue.

Here is how the Times described those findings: "Facebook officials disclosed that they had shut down several hundred accounts that they believe were created by a Russian company linked to the Kremlin and used to buy $100,000 in ads pushing divisive issues during and after the American election campaign." (It sometimes appears that every Russian -- all 144 million of them -- is somehow "linked" to the Kremlin.)

Last week, congressional investigators urged Facebook to expand its review into "troll farms" supposedly based in Belarus, Macedonia and Estonia – although Estonia is by no means a Russian ally; it joined NATO in 2004.

"Warner and his Democratic counterpart on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, have been increasingly vocal in recent days about their frustrations with Facebook," the Post reported

Facebook Complies

So, on Thursday, Facebook succumbed to demands that it turn over to Congress copies of the ads, a move that has only justified more alarmist front-page stories about Russia! Russia! Russia!

In response to this political pressure – at a time when Facebook is fending off possible anti-trust legislation – its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg added that he is expanding the investigation to include "additional Russian groups and other former Soviet states."

So, it appears that not only are all Russians "linked" to the Kremlin, but all former Soviet states as well.

But why stop there? If the concern is that American political campaigns are being influenced by foreign governments whose interests may diverge from what's best for America, why not look at countries that have caused the United States far more harm recently than Russia?

After all, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Wahabbi leaders have been pulling the U.S. government into their sectarian wars with the Shiites, including conflicts in Yemen and Syria that have contributed to anti-Americanism in the region, to the growth of Al Qaeda, and to a disruptive flow of refugees into Europe.

And, let's not forget the 8,000-pound gorilla in the room: Israel. Does anyone think that whatever Russia may or may not have done in trying to influence U.S. politics compares even in the slightest to what Israel does all the time?

Which government used its pressure and that of its American agents (i.e., the neocons) to push the United States into the disastrous war in Iraq? It wasn't Russia, which was among the countries urging the U.S. not to invade; it was Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Indeed, the plans for "regime change" in Iraq and Syria can be traced back to the work of key American neoconservatives employed by Netanyahu's political campaign in 1996. At that time, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and other leading neocons unveiled a seminal document entitled " A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm ," which proposed casting aside negotiations with Arabs in favor of simply replacing the region's anti-Israeli governments.

However, to make that happen required drawing in the powerful U.S. military, so after the 9/11 attacks, the neocons inside President George W. Bush's administration set in motion a deception campaign to justify invading Iraq, a war which was to be followed by more "regime changes" in Syria and Iran.

A Wrench in the Plans

Although the military disaster in Iraq threw a wrench into those plans, the Israeli/neocon agenda never changed. Along with Israel's new regional ally, Saudi Arabia , a proxy war was fashioned to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

As Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren explained , the goal was to shatter the Shiite "strategic arc" running from Iran through Syria to Lebanon and Israel's Hezbollah enemies.

How smashing this Shiite "arc" was in the interests of the American people – or even within their consciousness – is never explained. But it was what Israel wanted and thus it was what the U.S. government enlisted to do, even to the point of letting sophisticated U.S. weaponry fall into the hands of Syria's Al Qaeda affiliate.

Israel's influence over U.S. politicians is so blatant that presidential contenders queue up every year to grovel before the Israel Lobby's conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. In 2016, Donald Trump showed up and announced that he was not there to "pander" and then pandered his pants off.

And, whenever Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to show off his power, he is invited to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress at which Republicans and Democrats compete to see how many times and how quickly they can leap to their feet in standing ovations. (Netanyahu holds the record for the number of times a foreign leader has addressed joint sessions with three such appearances, tied with Winston Churchill.)

Yet, Israeli influence is so engrained in the U.S. political process that even the mention of the existence of an "Israel Lobby" brings accusations of anti-Semitism. "Israel Lobby" is a forbidden phrase in Washington.

However, pretty much whenever Israel targets a U.S. politician for defeat, that politician goes down, a muscle that Israel flexed in the early 1980s in taking out Rep. Paul Findley and Sen. Charles Percy , two moderate Republicans whose crime was to suggest talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

So, if the concern is the purity of the American democratic process and the need to protect it from outside manipulation, let's have at it. Why not a full-scale review of who is doing what and how? Does anyone think that Israel's influence over U.S. politics is limited to a few hundred Facebook accounts and $100,000 in ads?

A Historical Perspective

And, if you want a historical review, throw in the British and German propaganda around the two world wars; include how the South Vietnamese government collaborated with Richard Nixon in 1968 to sabotage President Lyndon Johnson's Paris peace talks; take a serious look at the collusion between Ronald Reagan's campaign and Iran thwarting President Jimmy Carter's efforts to free 52 American hostages in Tehran in 1980; open the books on Turkey's covert investments in U.S. politicians and policymakers; and examine how authoritarian regimes of all stripes have funded important Washington think tanks and law firms.

If such an effort were ever proposed, you would get a sense of how sensitive this topic is in Official Washington, where foreign money and its influence are rampant. There would be accusations of anti-Semitism in connection with Israel and charges of conspiracy theory even in well-documented cases of collaboration between U.S. politicians and foreign interests.

So, instead of a balanced and comprehensive assessment of this problem, the powers-that-be concentrate on the infinitesimal case of Russian "meddling" as the excuse for Hillary Clinton's shocking defeat. But the key reasons for Clinton's dismal campaign had virtually nothing to do with Russia, even if you believe all the evidence-lite accusations about Russian "meddling."

The Russians did not tell Clinton to vote for the disastrous Iraq War and play endless footsy with the neocons ; the Russians didn't advise her to set up a private server to handle her State Department emails and potentially expose classified information; the Russians didn't lure Clinton and the U.S. into the Libyan fiasco nor suggest her ghastly joke in response to Muammar Gaddafi's lynching ("We came, we saw, he died"); the Russians had nothing to do with her greedy decision to accept millions of dollars in Wall Street speaking fees and then try to keep the speech contents secret from the voters; the Russians didn't encourage her husband to become a serial philanderer and make a mockery of their marriage; nor did the Russians suggest to Anthony Weiner, the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, that he send lewd photos to a teen-ager on a laptop also used by his wife, a development that led FBI Director James Comey to reopen the Clinton-email investigation just 11 days before the election; the Russians weren't responsible for Clinton's decision not to campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan; the Russians didn't stop her from offering a coherent message about how she would help the struggling white working class; and on and on.

But the Russia-gate investigation is not about fairness and balance; it's a reckless scapegoating of a nuclear-armed country to explain away – and possibly do away with – Donald Trump's presidency. Rather than putting everything in context and applying a sense of proportion, Russia-gate is relying on wild exaggerations of factually dubious or relatively isolated incidents as an opportunistic means to a political end.

As reckless as President Trump has been, the supposedly wise men and wise women of Washington are at least his match.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

This article was first published by Consortium News -

[Sep 23, 2017] The Exit Strategy of Empire by Wendy McElro

Highly recommended!
Garrett 's book The People's Pottage The Revolution Was-Ex America-Rise of Empire i ncludes a timeless quote on U.S. foreign policy. "You are imperialistic all the same, whether you realize it or not... You are trying to make the kind of world you want. You are trying to impose the American way of life on other people, whether they want it or not." The "Rise of Empire" opens with the sentence "We have crossed the boundary between Republic and Empire." It contains a critical view of President Truman's usurpation of Congress' power to declare war. Some of the "distinguishing marks" of an empire taken from history were "Domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy" and " A system of satellite nations". I think most of us are would be familiar with those two in modern context. His labeling of this policy as the "Empire of the Bottomless Purse" was historically accurate.
The book was printed in 1953. What's amazing is how little some political ideology has changed since then. Take this quote; "And the mere thought of 'America First', associated as that term is with 'isolationism', has become a liability so extreme that politicians feel obliged to deny ever having entertained it." Think back to Ron Paul's 2008 campaign and how he was labeled an "isolationist" for similar views of nationalism.
Notable quotes:
"... These are not sequential stages of Empire but occur in conjunction with one another and reinforce each other. That means that an attempt to reverse Empire in the direction of a Republic can begin with weakening any of the five characteristics in any order. ..."
"... Deconstructing these executive props, one by one, weakens the Empire. When all five components are deconstructing, the process presents a possible path to dissolving Empire itself. ..."
"... That was why Garrett does not deal with how to reverse the process of Empire. Once an empire is established, he argues, it becomes a "prisoner of history" in a trap of its own making. He writes, "A Republic may change its course, or reverse it, and that will be its own business. But the history of Empire is a world history and belongs to many people. A Republic is not obliged to act upon the world, either to change it or instruct it. Empire, on the other hand, must put forth its power." ..."
"... Collective security and fear are intimately connected concepts. It is no coincidence that the sixth component of Empire -- imprisonment -- comes directly after the two components of "a system of satellite nations" and, "a complex of vaunting and fear." ..."
"... An empire thinks that satellites are necessary for its collective security. Satellites think the empire is necessary for territorial and economic survival; but they are willing to defect if an empire with a better deal beckons. America knows this and scrambles to satisfy satellites that could become fickle. Garrett quotes Harry Truman, who created America's modern system of satellites. "We must make sure that our friends and allies overseas continue to get the help they need to make their full contribution to security and progress for the whole free world. This means not only military aid -- though that is vital -- it also means real programs of economic and technical assistance." ..."
"... Garrett also emphasizes how domestic pressure imprisons Empire. One of the most powerful domestic pressures is fear. An atmosphere of fear -- real or created -- drives public support of foreign policy and makes it more difficult for Empire to retreat from those policies. ..."
"... Empire has "'less control over its own fate than a republic,' he [Garrett] commented because it was a 'prisoner of history', ruled by fear. Fear of what? 'Fear of the barbarian.'" ..."
"... It does not matter whether the enemy is actually a barbarian. What matters is that citizens of Empire believe in the enemy's savagery and support a military posture toward him. Domestic fear drives the constant politics of satellite nations, protective treaties, police actions, and war. Foreign entanglements lead to increased global involvement and deeper commitments. The two reinforce each other. ..."
"... The fifth characteristic of Empire is not merely fear but also "vaunting." Vaunting means boasting about or praising something excessively -- for example, to laud and exaggerate America's role in the world. Fear provides the emotional impetus for conquest; vaunting provides the moral justification for acting upon the fear. The moral duty is variously phrased: leadership, a balance of power, peace, democracy, the preservation of civilization, humanitarianism. From this point, it is a small leap to conclude that the ends sanctify the means. Garrett observes that "there is soon a point from which there is no turning back .The argument for going on is well known. As Woodrow Wilson once asked, 'Shall we break the heart of the world?' So now many are saying, 'We cannot let the free world down'. Moral leadership of the world is not a role you step into and out of as you like." ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org
The Exit Strategy of Empire Written y Friday September 22, 2017
The Roman Empire never doubted that it was the defender of civilization. Its good intentions were peace, law and order. The Spanish Empire added salvation. The British Empire added the noble myth of the white man's burden. We have added freedom and democracy.

-- Garet Garrett, Rise of Empire

The first step in creating Empire is to morally justify the invasion and occupation of another nation even if it poses no credible or substantial threat. But if that's the entering strategy, what is the exit one?

One approach to answering is to explore how Empire has arisen through history and whether the process can be reversed. Another is to conclude that no exit is possible; an Empire inevitably self-destructs under the increasing weight of what it is -- a nation exercising ultimate authority over an array of satellite states. Empires are vulnerable to overreach, rebellion, war, domestic turmoil, financial exhaustion, and competition for dominance.

In his monograph Rise of Empire, the libertarian journalist Garet Garrett (1878–1954), lays out a blueprint for how Empire could possibly be reversed as well as the reason he believes reversal would not occur. Garrett was in a unique position to comment insightfully on the American empire because he'd had a front-row seat to events that cemented its status: World War II and the Cold War. World War II America already had a history of conquest and occupation, of course, but, during the mid to late 20th century, the nation became a self-consciously and unapologetic empire with a self-granted mandate to spread its ideology around the world.

A path to reversing Empire

Garrett identifies the first five components of Empire:

These are not sequential stages of Empire but occur in conjunction with one another and reinforce each other. That means that an attempt to reverse Empire in the direction of a Republic can begin with weakening any of the five characteristics in any order.

Garrett did not directly address the strategy of undoing Empire, but his description of its creation can be used to good advantage. The first step is to break down each component of Empire into more manageable chunks. For example, the executive branch accumulates power in various ways. They include:

Deconstructing these executive props, one by one, weakens the Empire. When all five components are deconstructing, the process presents a possible path to dissolving Empire itself.

A sixth component of Empire

But in Rise of Empire, Garet Garrett offers a chilling assessment based on his sixth component of Empire. There is no path out. A judgment that renders prevention all the more essential.

That was why Garrett does not deal with how to reverse the process of Empire. Once an empire is established, he argues, it becomes a "prisoner of history" in a trap of its own making. He writes, "A Republic may change its course, or reverse it, and that will be its own business. But the history of Empire is a world history and belongs to many people. A Republic is not obliged to act upon the world, either to change it or instruct it. Empire, on the other hand, must put forth its power."

In his book For A New Liberty, Murray Rothbard expands on Garrett's point: "[The] United States, like previous empires, feel[s] itself to be 'a prisoner of history.' For beyond fear lies 'collective security,' and the playing of the supposedly destined American role upon the world stage."

Collective security and fear are intimately connected concepts. It is no coincidence that the sixth component of Empire -- imprisonment -- comes directly after the two components of "a system of satellite nations" and, "a complex of vaunting and fear."

Satellite nations

"We speak of our own satellites as allies and friends or as freedom loving nations," Garrett wrote. "Nevertheless, satellite is the right word. The meaning of it is the hired guard." Why hired? Although men of Empire speak of losing China [or] Europe [how] could we lose China or Europe, since they never belonged to us? What they mean is that we may lose a following of dependent people who act as an outer guard."

An empire thinks that satellites are necessary for its collective security. Satellites think the empire is necessary for territorial and economic survival; but they are willing to defect if an empire with a better deal beckons. America knows this and scrambles to satisfy satellites that could become fickle. Garrett quotes Harry Truman, who created America's modern system of satellites. "We must make sure that our friends and allies overseas continue to get the help they need to make their full contribution to security and progress for the whole free world. This means not only military aid -- though that is vital -- it also means real programs of economic and technical assistance."

In contrast to a Republic, Empire is both a master and a servant because foreign pressure cements it into the military and economic support of satellite nations around the globe, all of which have their own agendas.

Garrett also emphasizes how domestic pressure imprisons Empire. One of the most powerful domestic pressures is fear. An atmosphere of fear -- real or created -- drives public support of foreign policy and makes it more difficult for Empire to retreat from those policies. In his introduction to Garrett's book Ex America, Bruce Ramsey addresses Garrett's point. Ramsey writes, Empire has "'less control over its own fate than a republic,' he [Garrett] commented because it was a 'prisoner of history', ruled by fear. Fear of what? 'Fear of the barbarian.'"

It does not matter whether the enemy is actually a barbarian. What matters is that citizens of Empire believe in the enemy's savagery and support a military posture toward him. Domestic fear drives the constant politics of satellite nations, protective treaties, police actions, and war. Foreign entanglements lead to increased global involvement and deeper commitments. The two reinforce each other.

The fifth characteristic of Empire is not merely fear but also "vaunting." Vaunting means boasting about or praising something excessively -- for example, to laud and exaggerate America's role in the world. Fear provides the emotional impetus for conquest; vaunting provides the moral justification for acting upon the fear. The moral duty is variously phrased: leadership, a balance of power, peace, democracy, the preservation of civilization, humanitarianism. From this point, it is a small leap to conclude that the ends sanctify the means. Garrett observes that "there is soon a point from which there is no turning back .The argument for going on is well known. As Woodrow Wilson once asked, 'Shall we break the heart of the world?' So now many are saying, 'We cannot let the free world down'. Moral leadership of the world is not a role you step into and out of as you like."

Conclusion

In this manner, Garrett believed, Empire imprisons itself in the trap of a perpetual war for peace and stability, which are always stated goals. Yet, as Garrett concluded, the reality is war and instability.

It is not clear whether he was correct that Empire could not be reversed. Whether or not he was, it is at its creation that Empire is best opposed.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation .


Related

[Sep 23, 2017] In simple terms, MSM owners decide that a particular topic is a taboo subject and filter everything related to it out

Sep 23, 2017 | www.unz.com
Miro23 > > , September 5, 2016 at 10:15 pm GMT

@Mr. Anon

"Only a child – or its intellectual equivalent, i.e., a low information infotainment consumer – could believe in the official version of 9/11."

That is clearly false, as plenty of people who are smart - smarter than you actually - do in fact believe just that.

Or maybe a lot of smart people pretend to believe the official 9/11 story because that's where their interest lies. MSM journalists know for sure that articles that deviate from the official line on 9/11 are career ending moves .

In simple terms, MSM owners have decided that 9/11 is a taboo subject (same as USS Liberty) and they decide what gets published.

[Sep 23, 2017] MSM journalists know for sure that articles that deviate from the official line are career ending moves .

Notable quotes:
"... In late July 2010, longtime Canadian journalist Eric Margolis was told his column would be dropped, and just a few weeks later he published a double-length piece expressing strong doubts about 9/11, the first time he'd articulated that position: ..."
"... In 2007, the parent company of The Chicago Tribune announced it had accepted a leveraged-buyout takeover bid by investor Sam Zell, who planned a massive wave cost-cutting layoffs, which eventually wrecked the company. In late 2007, the Chicago Tribune suddenly ran a very long piece regarding the Liberty Attack, about the only time I've ever seen it discussed in the MSM. ..."
www.unz.com

Ron Unz > , September 6, 2016 at 8:33 pm GMT

@Miro23

Or maybe a lot of smart people pretend to believe the official 9/11 story because that's where their interest lies. MSM journalists know for sure that articles that deviate from the official line on 9/11 are career ending moves .

In simple terms, MSM owners have decided that 9/11 is a taboo subject (same as USS Liberty) and they decide what gets published.

Well, I haven't read through all of this enormously long discussion-thread, but I happened to notice this particular comment. Not having been an MSM journalist myself, I can't say whether or not it's true, but a couple of interesting, possibly coincidental, examples come to mind

In late July 2010, longtime Canadian journalist Eric Margolis was told his column would be dropped, and just a few weeks later he published a double-length piece expressing strong doubts about 9/11, the first time he'd articulated that position:

http://www.unz.com/article/911-the-mother-of-all-coincidences/

In 2007, the parent company of The Chicago Tribune announced it had accepted a leveraged-buyout takeover bid by investor Sam Zell, who planned a massive wave cost-cutting layoffs, which eventually wrecked the company. In late 2007, the Chicago Tribune suddenly ran a very long piece regarding the Liberty Attack, about the only time I've ever seen it discussed in the MSM.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-liberty_tuesoct02-story.html

[Sep 23, 2017] Marginalization of other opionins is important, so that those few who become aware of a conspiracy do not have enough social capital to muster any significant action against it

Notable quotes:
"... The history of the 20th and 21st centuries is largely what it is because of political conspiracies, wherein the state does one thing or another using covert methods and then sells the opposite story to the gullible public. It is basically a form of military deception by other means. ..."
"... There is no doubt that the public (the real enemy of the state) sure are gullible. ..."
"... a conspiracy, as Mr Unz indicates, is just a perjorative term used by the state to divert attention from what are otherwise normal covert operations. The real issue is that these events have had massive, gigantic global consequences but operate completely below the radar of the intellectual classes. ..."
"... This is an old clip showing admittance of the CIA that they use the mainstream media to manipulate the thoughts and ideas of American citizens in the USA. This has not changed obviously and is good to know happened in the past due to our reality today. http://youtu.be/5ED63A_hcd0 ..."
"... 9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony in full: https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee ..."
"... Secrecy is important to the extent that people would be in a position to thwart the conspiracy should they come to know about it. To minimize the need for secrecy, the conspirators might try to foster a general, childlike ignorance about public affairs, so that the public would not recognize a conspiracy even if it were being discussed openly. ..."
"... In this regard, the capture of major media (pace Mr. Unz) would be key to achieving this aim. Marginalization is another strategy, so that those few who become aware of a conspiracy do not have enough social capital to muster any significant action against it. ..."
"... "The creation of a peril usually starts with mysterious "sources" and unnamed officials who leak information, float trial balloons, and warn about the coming threat. Those sources reflect debates and discussions taking place within government. Their information is then augmented by colorful intelligence reports that finger exotic and conspiratorial terrorists and military advisers. Journalists then search for the named and other villains. The media end up finding corroboration from foreign sources who form an informal coalition with the sources in the U.S. government and help the press uncover further information substantiating the threat coming from the new bad guys. ..."
"... following the collapse of Soviets, they have been looking for an enemy that they were finding raising its heads in Algeria, Iran, Sudan, and even in Malayasia back in 1992. ..."
"... Conspiracy theory -- is absolutely commonplace but rendered a bogus term . It is common and practiced by the government all the time. It is used by people who have agenda and find resistance to agenda . The moment they use false narrative, weird scenario, create unknown fear and offer solution abusing the authorities, abusing the institutional but previous records and inserting propaganda preaching journalist ( CIA had more than 400 in 1975 per Bernstein) , they are engaging in conspiracy. ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

Kirt > , September 5, 2016 at 4:26 am GMT

Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan. Secrecy may be needed for the success of a conspiracy, but it is not essential to the definition. Were it essential to the definition, you could never prove the existence of a conspiracy. Either secrecy would be maintained and there would be little or no evidence or secrecy would not be maintained and the plan would become known and by definition not be a conspiracy.

Langley > , September 23, 2017 at 2:16 am GMT

The phrase "conspiracy theory" seems to have existed before 1960.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=conspiracy+theories&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cconspiracy%20theories%3B%2Cc0

However, the CIA may have stumbled across it and used it to their advantage.

Anon > , Disclaimer September 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm GMT

The history of the 20th and 21st centuries is largely what it is because of political conspiracies, wherein the state does one thing or another using covert methods and then sells the opposite story to the gullible public. It is basically a form of military deception by other means.

There is no doubt that the public (the real enemy of the state) sure are gullible. I think Mr Unz is trying to work out in his own mind why it is that the sell job always works and is so successful.

Consider the following false flag events:

These events are all clearly 'conspiracies', but a conspiracy, as Mr Unz indicates, is just a perjorative term used by the state to divert attention from what are otherwise normal covert operations. The real issue is that these events have had massive, gigantic global consequences but operate completely below the radar of the intellectual classes.

Agent76 > , December 26, 2016 at 3:46 pm GMT

(1975) CIA Admits Using News To Manipulate the USA

This is an old clip showing admittance of the CIA that they use the mainstream media to manipulate the thoughts and ideas of American citizens in the USA. This has not changed obviously and is good to know happened in the past due to our reality today. http://youtu.be/5ED63A_hcd0

9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony in full: https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee

Greg > , December 25, 2016 at 6:34 pm GMT

@Kirt

... ... ...

Secrecy is important to the extent that people would be in a position to thwart the conspiracy should they come to know about it. To minimize the need for secrecy, the conspirators might try to foster a general, childlike ignorance about public affairs, so that the public would not recognize a conspiracy even if it were being discussed openly.

In this regard, the capture of major media (pace Mr. Unz) would be key to achieving this aim. Marginalization is another strategy, so that those few who become aware of a conspiracy do not have enough social capital to muster any significant action against it. Believing that a conspiracy needs secrecy is the perhaps optimistic belief that neither dumbing down the general public nor marginalizing the watchdogs is sufficient: there's still a significant chance that public exposure could derail the conspirators.

KA > , September 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm GMT

@Boris

after my asking you what the strongest evidence available for the official story
As I've already shown, you asked me "what records?" The ticket is among the records that support the official story. It is sad that you keep lying about this. We both agree--and have from the beginning--that the ticket is necessary, but not sufficient. You keep pretending otherwise for some reason. Your behavior is downright weird.

"The creation of a peril usually starts with mysterious "sources" and unnamed officials who leak information, float trial balloons, and warn about the coming threat. Those sources reflect debates and discussions taking place within government. Their information is then augmented by colorful intelligence reports that finger exotic and conspiratorial terrorists and military advisers. Journalists then search for the named and other villains. The media end up finding corroboration from foreign sources who form an informal coalition with the sources in the U.S. government and help the press uncover further information substantiating the threat coming from the new bad guys.

A series of leaks, signals, and trial balloons is already beginning to shape U.S. agenda and policy. Congress is about to conduct several hearings on the global threat of Islamic fundamentalism.(14)

The Bush administration has been trying to devise policies and establish new alliances to counter Iranian influence: building up Islamic but secular and pro-Western Turkey as a countervailing force in Central Asia, expanding U.S. commitments to Saudi Arabia, warning Sudan that it faces grave consequences as a result of its policies, and even shoring up a socialist military dictatorship in Algeria.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-177

Printing a ticket and getting a Passport ,if all that you have, then you are in the right league . Join those in NYT, WaPo, Hoover Institue and speak to George Will, Jim Hoagland, because following the collapse of Soviets, they have been looking for an enemy that they were finding raising its heads in Algeria, Iran, Sudan, and even in Malayasia back in 1992.

Conspiracy theory -- is absolutely commonplace but rendered a bogus term . It is common and practiced by the government all the time. It is used by people who have agenda and find resistance to agenda . The moment they use false narrative, weird scenario, create unknown fear and offer solution abusing the authorities, abusing the institutional but previous records and inserting propaganda preaching journalist ( CIA had more than 400 in 1975 per Bernstein) , they are engaging in conspiracy. It follows a script. So it has a theory to follow . It is a conspiracy theory.

KA > , September 12, 2016 at 2:50 am GMT

The biggest hoax ever perpetrated is the gradual evolution of the alleged threat from Islam . Its a multilayered multi focal interconnected open production of a vast conspiracy – achieved without any shred of evidence or even plausible reason for the existence of any such threat .

This is a quote from an article published in 1992 and quotes 90 sources .

" In addition, think tanks studies and op-ed pieces add momentum to the official spin. Their publication is followed by congressional hearings, policy conferences, and public press briefings. A governmental policy debate ensues, producing studies, working papers, and eventually doctrines and policies that become part of the media's spin. The new villain is now ready to be integrated into the popular culture to help to mobilize public support for a new crusade. In the case of the Green Peril, that process has been under way for several months.(13)

THE GREEN PERIL
Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat
Leon T Hadar ,a former bureau chief for Jerusalem Post.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-177.html

"WaPo, NYT, WSJ, Washington Times, ABC news and Economist all gathered the Islamic experts out of the same offices that used to house the Soviet experts, painted them green removed the red markings and asked them to follow the direction . ( Well I made this up But that's exactly what happened .)

[Sep 23, 2017] A conspiracy theory is a theory based on facts but without MSM backing. Theres no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight.

Notable quotes:
"... So, a conspiracy theory is a theory without media backing. There's no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight. ..."
"... People need to remember than by definition, the ratio of what you don't know to what you do know is infinity to one. Be more open minded. "They shall find it difficult, they who have taken authority as truth rather than truth for authority". ..."
www.unz.com
LondonBob > , September 6, 2016 at 5:39 pm GMT

@Paul Jolliffe Mr. Unz,

Here is a link to Carl Bernstein's definitive 1977 Rolling Stone article "CIA and the Media" in which he addresses - and confirms - your worst fears. You are very right, and no less a figure than Bernstein has said so for nearly four decades . . .

http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php No coincidence that all the CIA agents involved in the JFK assassination are known to be experts in 'black ops' and news media specialists. Jim Angleton, Cord Meyer, David Atlee Phillips and E. Howard Hunt, who confessed his involvement, all made their names in black propaganda or news management.

Abraham > , September 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm GMT

@Lot Given how easy it is to create a conspiracy theory, most of them will be crazy.

Another problem with elite conspiracies is that elites usually do not have to act in secret because they already are in control. For Kennedy, a centrist cold warrior, his views already reflected those of elites, maybe even more so than Johnson.

The other problem is that actual criminal conspiracies by elites quite often are discovered, such as Watergate and Iran Contra. Given how easy it is to create a conspiracy theory, most of them will be crazy.

A statement that appears straight out of the CIA's playbook.

Another problem with elite conspiracies is that elites usually do not have to act in secret because they already are in control.

Such control does not imply they have nothing to hide, particularly when exposure of the deed would have damaging repercussions for them.

For Kennedy, a centrist cold warrior, his views already reflected those of elites, maybe even more so than Johnson.

It didn't reflect that of Israel's elites. After JFK's assassination, American foreign policy vis a vis Israel was completely reversed under Johnson, who hung the crew of the USS Liberty out to dry.

The other problem is that actual criminal conspiracies by elites quite often are discovered, such as Watergate and Iran Contra.

How is this a problem?

WorkingClass > , September 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm GMT

The CIA is the presidents private secret army. Nothing it does is legal.

Ron Unz > , September 6, 2016 at 9:53 pm GMT

For those without convenient access to a copy of the deHaven-Smith book, I've discovered there are some lengthy extracts available on the web:

https://off-guardian.org/2016/09/04/are-you-a-mind-controlled-cia-stooge/

Boris > , September 6, 2016 at 10:48 pm GMT

@biz

He is really very good.

He has a book https://www.amazon.com/Guilt-Association-Deception-Self-Deceit-America/product-reviews/098213150X/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=recent

anti_republocrat > , September 7, 2016 at 1:48 am GMT

@Chief Seattle So, a conspiracy theory is a theory without media backing. There's no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight.

Maybe it's true, maybe not, but if the roles had been reversed, the media would be telling its proponents to take off their tin foil hats. Note also that the allegations immediately become "fact" because they were reported by someone else. As Business Insider reported, "Amid mounting evidence of Russia's involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee ," without any specificity whatsoever as to what that "mounting evidence" was (most likely multiple reports in other media) never mind that the article goes on to quote James Clapper, " we are not quite ready yet to make a call on attribution." WTF! Here, read it yourself: http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-dnc-hack-black-propaganda-2016-7

Totally mindless. So not only is Russia hacking, but we know it's intention is to influence US elections!!! And now their hacking voter DBs and will likely hack our vote tabulating machines. You can't make this s ** t up.

Nathan Hale > , September 7, 2016 at 4:12 am GMT

@Jason Liu

...In the corporate world, it often seems that upper management spends a bulk of their time conspiring against one another or entering into secret talks to sell the company to a rival, unbeknownst to the employees or shareholders.

NoseytheDuke > , September 7, 2016 at 4:32 am GMT

@Alfred1860 I find it quite amusing how, in an article supporting of the existence of conspiracy theories, so many comments consist of hurling insults at people making skeptical comments about what are obviously very sacred cows.

People need to remember than by definition, the ratio of what you don't know to what you do know is infinity to one. Be more open minded. "They shall find it difficult, they who have taken authority as truth rather than truth for authority".

Gerald Massey

Ed Rankin > , Website September 7, 2016 at 8:42 pm GMT

In Dispatch 1035-960 mailed to station chiefs on April 1, 1967, the CIA laid out a series of "talking points" in its memo addressing the "conspiracy theorists" who were questioning the Warren Commission's findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. They include the following:

I have found numerous examples of these exact points being made in televised news segments, newspapers, magazines and even some academic articles and scholarly books.

Additionally, some of the most influential and frequently-cited authors who are the most critical of "conspiracy theorists", both academic and lay people, have very direct ties to government, foundations and other institutions of authority.

While we can't know if the CIA was primarily responsible for the creation of the pejorative, but what we do know from the Church Committee hearings, was that the Agency did have paid operatives working inside major media organizations as late as the 1970s. In fact, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has acknowledged ties to the CIA.

With recent lifting of restrictions on the government's use of domestic propaganda with the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, I think reasonable people would expect this type of pejorative construction to resume if in fact, it ever ceased.

Bill Jones > , September 7, 2016 at 9:47 pm GMT

A nice little piece on one of the players in the big conspiracy: https://www.corbettreport.com/911-suspects-philip-zelikow/

Marie > , September 8, 2016 at 4:01 am GMT

Literally every article I've ever read about conservatives and/or the conservative movement within the pages of the New Yorker – and I've read going back decades, unfortunately – has judiciously referenced 'The Paranoid Style in American Politics'.

I mean, EVERY SINGLE article regarding Republicans, conservatives and/or opposition to leftism has the Hofstadter quote somewhere – it must be a staple on the J-School syllabi.

It seems Prof. Hofstadter was something of an adherent to the Frankfurt School nonsense – Marxism-meets-dime-store-Freud being every New Yorker writer's stock in trade, of course

Hippopotamusdrome > , September 9, 2016 at 8:21 am GMT

@biz Actually, there is no symmetry in conspiracy theories as you imply.

The definition of a conspiracy theory is an explanation of events that traces them to a secret network, and when presented with contradictory evidence, simply enlarges the network of supposed conspirators rather than modifying the explanation.

... ... ...

[Sep 23, 2017] Although most Americans today reject the official (lone gunman) account of the Kennedy assassination, they also have doubts about conspiracy theories and those who believe them. This means the CIA program was successful, for its aim was not to sell the Warren Commission, but to sow uncertainty about the commission's critics. Today, people are not only uncertain, they have given up ever learning the truth

Sep 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

anon, Disclaimer September 6, 2016 at 2:10 am GMT

deHaven Smith is not that impressive on several counts.

one example: book opens:

"Although most Americans today reject the official (lone gunman) account of the Kennedy assassination, they also have doubts about conspiracy theories and those who believe them. This means the CIA program was successful, for its aim was not to sell the Warren Commission, but to sow uncertainty about the commission's critics. Today, people are not only uncertain, they have given up ever learning the truth. "

At least one high-profile person and an entire community that supports him does not have doubts, has not given up. Cyril Wecht blasted holes in Arlen Specter's "one bullet" theory in 1965. He's still at it. In 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of JFK's assassination,

"about 500 people gathered at Duquesne University for a JFK symposium sponsored by the university's Institute of Forensic Science and Law, which is named for Wecht. Appearances by Stone and a doctor who tended to Kennedy brought national attention.

People sneered when they mentioned Specter's name or the single-bullet theory.

Across the state, the Single Bullet exhibit opened on Oct. 21. It's the first exhibition in Philadelphia University's Arlen Specter Center for Public Policy. Willens, the former Kennedy aide, delivered a speech. The center's coordinator, Karen Albert, said he was looking forward to defending his conclusion on the 50th anniversary. " http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5017529-74/wecht-commission-specter

Smith did not even mention Wecht or Specter and the single-bullet theory in his book. The omission is important insofar as its inclusion would have demonstrated that for many years the populace has been aware of the dishonesty of the US government and some have been raising their voices against and continue to do so.

That knowledge should give encouragement to activists such as those who demand accountability for Israel's attack on the USS Liberty and the deliberate killing of 34 US sailors and other personnel.

(Specter has been useful to the deep state in other ways: he protected Zalman Shapiro, former head of NUMEC, from prosecution for his part in smuggling uranium to Israel. http://israellobby.org/numec/ 0

[Sep 23, 2017] American Pravda How the CIA Invented "Conspiracy Theories" by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... Even for most educated Americans, theorists such as Beard, Popper, and Strauss are probably no more than vague names mentioned in textbooks, and that was certainly true in my own case. But while the influence of Beard seems to have largely disappeared in elite circles, the same is hardly true of his rivals. Popper probably ranks as one of the founders of modern liberal thought, with an individual as politically influential as left-liberal financier George Soros claiming to be his intellectual disciple . Meanwhile, the neo-conservative thinkers who have totally dominated the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement for the last couple of decades often proudly trace their ideas back to Strauss. ..."
"... The best strategy is to foster implausible conspiracy theories to create a cloud of disinformation. This technique was used very effectively after 9/11, such that it's very hard to discuss a coverup without being labeled a truther. ..."
"... It should also be noted that Irving Kristol was sponsored by -- on the payroll of – the CIA while still in Britain. Kristol has acknowledged that CIA support got his movement off the ground. ..."
"... Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in. ..."
Sep 05, 2016 | www.unz.com

A year or two ago, I saw the much-touted science fiction film Interstellar , and although the plot wasn't any good, one early scene was quite amusing. For various reasons, the American government of the future claimed that our Moon Landings of the late 1960s had been faked, a trick aimed at winning the Cold War by bankrupting Russia into fruitless space efforts of its own. This inversion of historical reality was accepted as true by nearly everyone, and those few people who claimed that Neil Armstrong had indeed set foot on the Moon were universally ridiculed as "crazy conspiracy theorists." This seems a realistic portrayal of human nature to me.

Obviously, a large fraction of everything described by our government leaders or presented in the pages of our most respectable newspapers!from the 9/11 attacks to the most insignificant local case of petty urban corruption!could objectively be categorized as a "conspiracy theory" but such words are never applied. Instead, use of that highly loaded phrase is reserved for those theories, whether plausible or fanciful, that do not possess the endorsement stamp of establishmentarian approval.

Put another way, there are good "conspiracy theories" and bad "conspiracy theories," with the former being the ones promoted by pundits on mainstream television shows and hence never described as such. I've sometimes joked with people that if ownership and control of our television stations and other major media outlets suddenly changed, the new information regime would require only a few weeks of concerted effort to totally invert all of our most famous "conspiracy theories" in the minds of the gullible American public. The notion that nineteen Arabs armed with box-cutters hijacked several jetliners, easily evaded our NORAD air defenses, and reduced several landmark buildings to rubble would soon be universally ridiculed as the most preposterous "conspiracy theory" ever to have gone straight from the comic books into the minds of the mentally ill, easily surpassing the absurd "lone gunman" theory of the JFK assassination.

Even without such changes in media control, huge shifts in American public beliefs have frequently occurred in the recent past, merely on the basis of implied association. In the initial weeks and months following the 2001 attacks, every American media organ was enlisted to denounce and vilify Osama Bin Laden, the purported Islamicist master-mind, as our greatest national enemy, with his bearded visage endlessly appearing on television and in print, soon becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the world. But as the Bush Administration and its key media allies prepared a war against Iraq, the images of the Burning Towers were instead regularly juxtaposed with mustachioed photos of dictator Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden's arch-enemy. As a consequence, by the time we attacked Iraq in 2003, polls revealed that some 70% of the American public believed that Saddam was personally involved in the destruction of our World Trade Center. By that date I don't doubt that many millions of patriotic but low-information Americans would have angrily denounced and vilified as a "crazy conspiracy theorist" anyone with the temerity to suggest that Saddam had not been behind 9/11, despite almost no one in authority having ever explicitly made such a fallacious claim.

one of our most prominent scholars and public intellectuals had been historian Charles Beard , whose influential writings had heavily focused on the harmful role of various elite conspiracies in shaping American policy for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many, with his examples ranging from the earliest history of the United States down to the nation's entry into WWI. Obviously, researchers never claimed that all major historical events had hidden causes, but it was widely accepted that some of them did, and attempting to investigate those possibilities was deemed a perfectly acceptable academic enterprise.

However, Beard was a strong opponent of American entry into the Second World War, and he was marginalized in the years that followed, even prior to his death in 1948. Many younger public intellectuals of a similar bent also suffered the same fate, or were even purged from respectability and denied any access to the mainstream media. At the same time, the totally contrary perspectives of two European political philosophers, Karl Popper and Leo Strauss , gradually gained ascendancy in American intellectual circles, and their ideas became dominant in public life.

Popper, the more widely influential, presented broad, largely theoretical objections to the very possibility of important conspiracies ever existing, suggesting that these would be implausibly difficult to implement given the fallibility of human agents; what might appear a conspiracy actually amounted to individual actors pursuing their narrow aims. Even more importantly, he regarded "conspiratorial beliefs" as an extremely dangerous social malady, a major contributing factor to the rise of Nazism and other deadly totalitarian ideologies. His own background as an individual of Jewish ancestry who had fled Austria in 1937 surely contributed to the depth of his feelings on these philosophical matters.

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.

Even for most educated Americans, theorists such as Beard, Popper, and Strauss are probably no more than vague names mentioned in textbooks, and that was certainly true in my own case. But while the influence of Beard seems to have largely disappeared in elite circles, the same is hardly true of his rivals. Popper probably ranks as one of the founders of modern liberal thought, with an individual as politically influential as left-liberal financier George Soros claiming to be his intellectual disciple . Meanwhile, the neo-conservative thinkers who have totally dominated the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement for the last couple of decades often proudly trace their ideas back to Strauss.

So, through a mixture of Popperian and Straussian thinking, the traditional American tendency to regard elite conspiracies as a real but harmful aspect of our society was gradually stigmatized as either paranoid or politically dangerous, laying the conditions for its exclusion from respectable discourse.

Kirt > , September 5, 2016 at 4:26 am GMT

Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan. Secrecy may be needed for the success of a conspiracy, but it is not essential to the definition. Were it essential to the definition, you could never prove the existence of a conspiracy. Either secrecy would be maintained and there would be little or no evidence or secrecy would not be maintained and the plan would become known and by definition not be a conspiracy.

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 4:55 am GMT

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

–William Casey, CIA Director, from a first staff meeting in 1981

You can read the context of that quote according to the person who claims to be its original source here:

https://www.quora.com/Did-William-Casey-CIA-Director-really-say-Well-know-our-disinformation-program-is-complete-when-everything-the-American-public-believes-is-false

I think it's worth pointing out what I've never seen explained about that quote, a quote with as much currency in the conspiracy theory fever swamps as any single quote has ever had. The point of the disinformation campaign was not to manipulate the public but to manipulate the soviets. Because our CIA analysts spent so much time unriddling the soviet media, we figured their CIA analysts were doing the same thing with ours.

FKA Max > , September 5, 2016 at 4:56 am GMT

Mr. Unz,

this study/paper might by of interest to you: http://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/CONSPIRE.doc

[MORE]

Note: This paper was published in Political Psychology 15: 733-744, 1994. This is the original typescript sent to the journal, it does not include any editorial changes that may have been made. The journal itself is not available online, to my knowledge.

Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Ted Goertzel1

Running Head: Belief in Conspiracy Theories.

KEY WORDS: conspiracy theories, anomia, trust

Table Three
Means Scores of Racial/Ethnic Groups on Attitude Scales
White[W] Hispanic[H] Black[B]
Scale
Belief in Conspiracies 2.5[W] 2.8[H] 3.3[B]
Anomia 3.4[W] 3.8[H] 4.1[B]
Trust 3.7[W] 3.3[H] 3.1[B]
Note: All scales varied from 1 to 5, with 3 as a neutral score.

One of the most interesting discussions of the paper:

It is puzzling that conspiratorial thinking has been overlooked in the extensive research on authoritarianism which has dominated quantitative work in political psychology since the 1950s. One possible explanation is that much of this work focuses on right-wing authoritarianism (Altmeyer, 1988), while conspiratorial thinking is characteristic of alienated thinkers on both the right and the left (Citrin, et al., 1975; Graumann, 1987; Berlet, 1992). Even more surprisingly, however, conspiratorial thinking has not been a focus of the efforts to measure "left-wing authoritarianism" (Stone, 1980; Eysenck, 1981; LeVasseur & Gold, 1993) or of research with the "dogmatism" concept (Rokeach, 1960) which was intended to overcome the ideological bias in authoritarianism measures.
On a more fundamental level, the difficulty with existing research traditions may be their focus on the content of beliefs rather than the res[p]ondent's cognitive processes or emotional makeup. As I have argued elsewhere (Goertzel, 1987), most studies of authoritarianism simply ask people what they believe and then assume that these beliefs must be based on underlying psychological processes which go unmeasured. Since these scales ask mostly about beliefs held by those on the right, it is not surprising that they find authoritarianism to be a right-wing phenomenon. Research with projective tests (Rothman and Lichter, 1982) and biographical materials (Goertzel, 1992), on the other hand, has confirmed that many aspects of authoritarian thinking can be found on both the left and the right.

Lot > , September 5, 2016 at 5:14 am GMT

Given how easy it is to create a conspiracy theory, most of them will be crazy.

Another problem with elite conspiracies is that elites usually do not have to act in secret because they already are in control. For Kennedy, a centrist cold warrior, his views already reflected those of elites, maybe even more so than Johnson.

The other problem is that actual criminal conspiracies by elites quite often are discovered, such as Watergate and Iran Contra.

Chief Seattle > , September 5, 2016 at 5:17 am GMT

So, a conspiracy theory is a theory without media backing. There's no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight.

Maybe it's true, maybe not, but if the roles had been reversed, the media would be telling its proponents to take off their tin foil hats.

Miro23 > , September 5, 2016 at 5:20 am GMT

The British and Americans have been the victims of conspiracies (False Flag operations) for years.

For example:

The Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (headquarters of the British Mandate Government of Palestine) in which Zionist activists dressed as Arabs placed milk churns filled with explosives against the main columns of the building killing 91 people and injuring 44. Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu, attended a celebration to commemorate the event.

Operation Susannah (Lavon Affair) where Israeli operatives impersonating Arabs bombed British and American cinemas, libraries and educational centers in Egypt to destabilize the country and keep British troops committed to the Middle East.

Or June 8, 1967, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty with unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats. 34 men were killed and 171 wounded, with the attack in international waters following over nine hours of close surveillance. When the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime. Original plan to blame the sinking with all lives lost on the Egyptians and draw the US into the war.

Or Israelis and U.S. Zionists appearing all over the most recent WTC 9/11 "Operation" with Israelis once again impersonating Arabs in a historic deception/terror action of a type that seems to carry a lot of kudos with old Israeli ex-terrorist Likudniks. Israeli agents were sent to film the historic day (as they later admitted on Israeli TV), with the celebrations including photos of themselves with a background of the burning towers where thousands of Americans were being incinerated.

Iraq was destroyed as a result of 9/11 but unfortunately for the conspirators, the momentum wasn't sufficient for a general war including Iran. Also the general war would have included the nuclear angle and justified the activation of a neo-con led Emergency Regime (dictatorship) in the US enforced with the newly printed Patriot Act and Homeland Security troops – or maybe that's just another Conspiracy Theory?

Emblematic > , September 5, 2016 at 7:17 am GMT

I get the sense Ron's building up to something. For those who haven't seen it, can I recommend Ryan Dawson's 'War by Deception':

polistra > , September 5, 2016 at 8:03 am GMT

Simplifying one "contradiction": Our elites have never been primarily anti-Russian or pro-Russian. Since 1946 our elites have been purely GLOBALIST, and their secondary feelings toward Russia strictly follow from this primary goal.

At first Russia was an obstacle to globalism, blocking much of the UN's efforts. Our elites were anti-Russian. After 1962 or so, Russia became the main driver of the UN, so our elites were pro-Russian. Since 1989, Russia has been the guiding star for ANTI-globalist forces, so our elites are FEROCIOUSLY anti-Russian.

smiddy > , September 5, 2016 at 8:13 am GMT

Mr. Unz's direct confrontation with this topic leads me to feel a sense of sentimentality or coming full circle as my "red-pilled" experience literally started with his The Myth of American Meritocracy a little over 2 years ago (I finally looked into the "white privilege" I was "highly exposed" to in college).

Long story short, I was a lazy liberal beforehand, now a highly motivated conservative; nothing helps one get their ish together better than understanding the trajectory at which our society is heading. The Myth of American Meritocracy singularly led me to have a more open mind in understanding how non-congruent the mainstream narrative can be with man's shared universal reality, and having spent way too much time in school learning research methodology, I finally applied it via whim thereafter to criminal statistics (but we know where this story ends), then WW2, the mainstream narrative of which I grew up worshiping

For someone who, when I was naive, hung on to every word one heard or read in the countless amount of hours I've spent in American history classes, for me to learn the hard way of Operation Keelhaul, the Haavara Agreement, the disease epidemic, the migrant crisis (before hand), the hand THE banksters probably played (in playing both sides), and so on, it becomes all too clear how amazingly systematically corrupt our academic system has become. Not once did I ever hear one smidgen about those extremely large plot points; they're so consistently implicitly left out of the script its terrifying.

Alternating to my freshman year of high school now, when I was still naive, I complained to our just hired 22 year old (conveniently) Jewish teacher (fresh out of the Ivy League but back to sacrifice where he had graduated high school, he had always reminded us) over having to read about the Little Rock 9 and Ann Frank for literally (in my case) the 4th time (each). Point is, even when I was entirely clueless, and had no defensive instinct at all, it still didn't feel healthy to read over and over again; I was emotionally exhausted already. I accepted their stories at face value, faced the guilt, and just wanted to move on, yet according to my teacher I "lacked empathy" (so if only we were taught about how the Irish were treated in the 17th we'd be fine). It really is this kind of dwelling on the past that has been institutionalized, and its borderline brain-washing, regardless of the said tragedy's validity.

There is one such particular event of WW2 that, once naive, I've personally cried over more than any other historical event easily (perhaps even more than anything subjectively experienced), much in thanks to programmed televising So what's so weird about all of this, is its like a meta-intellectual betrayal, but with all the emotional connotations of a woman who wronged you in all the worse ways (and she's inevitably waiting in seemingly every dark corner of history you delve into, thus the "endless rabbit hole" you fall through). And its this implicit brand of deceit that is patently feminine which can be inductively read from the MSM to "read the tea leaves"

I could go on and on but really I initially just wanted to thank you Mr. Unz, your publication, and your current and past writing staff. I don't even want to imagine a world where I had never stumbled upon your work!

JL > , September 5, 2016 at 10:40 am GMT

Perhaps the media tried too hard, were too eager to be complicit, and now they've completely lost the plot. The rise of Trump, in the face of a completely and uniformly hostile media, suggests that a large part of the American public, consciously or not, now completely rejects entire media narratives and assumes the exact opposite to be true. And they're panicking. Not knowing what to do, they double and triple down on the same fail that got them into this mess. Truly interesting times.

Thanks, Mr. Unz, for your "small webzine".

Gene Tuttle > , September 5, 2016 at 10:41 am GMT

I've often used the argument myself that conspiracies inevitably have short shelf lives in the US because it was so difficult for Americans to keep secrets. The article makes a useful point in suggesting that secret plots, even after being revealed, may nevertheless remain widely ignored. Ideology, group-think, pack journalism etc. are powerful forces, often subconsciously at work, preventing alternative theories from developing legs.

Though long an admirer of Karl Popper, I hadn't strongly associated him with attacks on conspiracy theories per se. As an American "outsider" living abroad most of my adult life, I've all too often encountered those who assumed my background alone explained an argument of mine that they didn't like. Popper had hit the nail on the head when he wrote about

"a widespread and dangerous fashion of our time of not taking arguments seriously, and at their face value, at least tentatively, but of seeing in them nothing but a way in which deeper irrational motives and tendencies express themselves." It was "the attitude of looking at once for the unconscious motives and determinants in the social habitat of the thinker, instead of first examining the validity of the argument itself."

The powerful nazi and communist ideologies of his day assumed that one's " blood " or " class " precluded "correct" thinking. Those politically incorrect challengers to their own totalitarian weltanschauung were (to put it mildly) persecuted as conspirators. No doubt, as Ron Unz notes, Popper's personal experience "contributed the depth of his feelings" ! I would say skepticism – about conspiracy claims.

But the author of the " Open Society " had an open mind and I suspect he'd find the thesis reasonable that real conspiracies can both be uncovered and largely ignored because so many simply opt to ignore them. In such cases, evidence and "not taking arguments seriously" often reflects "intellectual groupieism," emotions, professional insecurities as well as venal collective interests.

anonymous > , Disclaimer September 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm GMT

One conspiracy theory is that some of the wilder, more incredible notions of what may have taken place are deliberately circulated so as to muddy the waters and discredit those who question the party line. For example, outlandish claims by some that no planes were crashed on 9-11 but were really just holograms are seized upon by supposed debunkers as being representative of all skeptics, overshadowing the more reasonable types who question the narrative. This seems to be quite deliberate.

The mainstream American press is the freest in the world, we've been told endlessly, and at some point I realized that I was reading these accolades to itself in the very same press. Not the most objective source one comes to realize. Now on the internet it seems there are those who appear to fan out everywhere to influence the discussion, spread their slogans and shout down opposing ideas. Paid trolls and others?

Conspiracies exist. Consider the Gulf of Tonkin fabrication which certainly involved many actors and yet the general public was kept in the dark about the real facts. The results need not be rehashed yet again. There's a streak of denial in most people. They don't want to contemplate the idea that FDR may have deliberately allowed American servicemen to die at Pearl Harbor in order to get the war he wanted. Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm GMT

@Emblematic I get the sense Ron's building up to something.

For those who haven't seen it, can I recommend Ryan Dawson's 'War by Deception':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK6VLFdWJ4I

I get the sense Ron's building up to something.

One can only hope. This time he mentioned 9/11! so that base is covered; no need to say more about that than that; besides I doubt even he could add to what has already been published and posted on this site re that Big Lie. I would like to see how he weighs all the evidence on RFK's assassination, what he would be willing to call what looks like nothing as much as what MK-Ultra was about.

Wizard of Oz > , September 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm GMT

@Miro23 The British and Americans have been the victims of conspiracies (False Flag operations) for years.

For example:

The Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (headquarters of the British Mandate Government of Palestine) in which Zionist activists dressed as Arabs placed milk churns filled with explosives against the main columns of the building killing 91 people and injuring 44. Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu, attended a celebration to commemorate the event.

Operation Susannah (Lavon Affair) where Israeli operatives impersonating Arabs bombed British and American cinemas, libraries and educational centers in Egypt to destabilize the country and keep British troops committed to the Middle East.

Or June 8, 1967, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty with unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats. 34 men were killed and 171 wounded, with the attack in international waters following over nine hours of close surveillance. When the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime. Original plan to blame the sinking with all lives lost on the Egyptians and draw the US into the war.

Or Israelis and U.S. Zionists appearing all over the most recent WTC 9/11 "Operation" with Israelis once again impersonating Arabs in a historic deception/terror action of a type that seems to carry a lot of kudos with old Israeli ex-terrorist Likudniks. Israeli agents were sent to film the historic day (as they later admitted on Israeli TV), with the celebrations including photos of themselves with a background of the burning towers where thousands of Americans were being incinerated.

Iraq was destroyed as a result of 9/11 but unfortunately for the conspirators, the momentum wasn't sufficient for a general war including Iran. Also the general war would have included the nuclear angle and justified the activation of a neo-con led Emergency Regime (dictatorship) in the US enforced with the newly printed Patriot Act and Homeland Security troops - or maybe that's just another Conspiracy Theory? I accept that your explanation of the attack on USS Liberty is relatively plausible but another which runs it close is that Israel had to ensure that there was no proof left of the true order of events which were not in accordance with the Israeli official version. So I ask what are your sources?

Likewise, if you are saying that suicidal hijackers flew planes into buildings on 9/11 but that it was organised by Mossad or other Israelis your story needs a lot of filling out and evidence to be credible. Or are you merely saying the Israelis knew what was going to
happen and let it go ahead because it could be turned to their advantage?

SolontoCroesus > , September 5, 2016 at 1:24 pm GMT

@anonymous One conspiracy theory is that some of the wilder, more incredible notions of what may have taken place are deliberately circulated so as to muddy the waters and discredit those who question the party line. For example, outlandish claims by some that no planes were crashed on 9-11 but were really just holograms are seized upon by supposed debunkers as being representative of all skeptics, overshadowing the more reasonable types who question the narrative. This seems to be quite deliberate.
The mainstream American press is the freest in the world, we've been told endlessly, and at some point I realized that I was reading these accolades to itself in the very same press. Not the most objective source one comes to realize. Now on the internet it seems there are those who appear to fan out everywhere to influence the discussion, spread their slogans and shout down opposing ideas. Paid trolls and others?
Conspiracies exist. Consider the Gulf of Tonkin fabrication which certainly involved many actors and yet the general public was kept in the dark about the real facts. The results need not be rehashed yet again. There's a streak of denial in most people. They don't want to contemplate the idea that FDR may have deliberately allowed American servicemen to die at Pearl Harbor in order to get the war he wanted. Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.

Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.

Is this built-in deceit and manipulation unique to American life, or ! beyond the usual understandings about human nature ! is the systematic or institutionalized "deceit and manipulation" present in all cultures? in western cultures? in some but not all cultures? If the lattermost, in which cultures is "deceit and manipulation" less systematic and institutionalized?

Was "deceit and manipulation" institutionalized into American life from the beginning ! by the Founders, or did USA deviate from its intended path at some point? If so, at what point? How did it happen?

Is there the possibility of redemption?

Wizard of Oz > , September 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus


Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.
Is this built-in deceit and manipulation unique to American life, or -- beyond the usual understandings about human nature -- is the systematic or institutionalized "deceit and manipulation" present in all cultures? in western cultures? in some but not all cultures? If the lattermost, in which cultures is "deceit and manipulation" less systematic and institutionalized?

Was "deceit and manipulation" institutionalized into American life from the beginning -- by the Founders, or did USA deviate from its intended path at some point? If so, at what point? How did it happen?

Is there the possibility of redemption? It would be worth considering the different contributions to truth telling and also honest scepticism of the Puritan and other Protestant culture, and of the Enlightenment for a start. Some subjects were difficult – like whether there is a God for all Christians and of course the one that must have addled many brains: slavery.

godfree roberts > , September 5, 2016 at 2:18 pm GMT

Agreed. This is an exemplary piece of scholarship and also an enthralling re-telling of our recent past. Highly recommended.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm GMT

Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss.

The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall–and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?–is on Thoughts on Machiavelli . Strauss does so, first and foremost, because conspiracy is a major theme of Machiavelli's and the subject of the two longest chapters of his two most important books ( Prince 19 and Discourses III 6). Strauss further develops the idea that modern philosophy begins as a conspiracy between Machiavelli and (some of) his readers. Strauss simply never said anything like this:

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.

As for his relationship with neoconservatism, you also overstate that considerably. Yes, there are many neoconservative Straussians. But there are also Straussian paleos, tradcons, liberatarians, liberals, and moderates. There are many who are apolitical and interested only in abstract philosophy. There are Straussian religious conservatives, agnostics and atheists. Christians, Jews and Muslim. Catholic, Protestants and Mormons. The neocons just get all the attention–owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration, which everyone today believes without having read, or even being aware of (have/are you?).

If "neocon" has any meaning, it means, first, a former intellectual liberal who has drifted right. Second, a domestic policy scholar who focuses on data-driven social science. And third, a foreign policy hawk.

None of these really apply to Strauss, who spent his who career studying political philosophy, with an intense focus on the Greeks. He voted Dem in every election in which he could vote, until his last, 1972, when he voted for Nixon out of Cold War concerns. You might say that makes him a "hawk" but he never wrote any essays saying so. He simply told a few people privately that McGovern was too naïve about the Soviets. You might also say that is evidence that he "drifted right" but he didn't think so. He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death. As for data-driven social science, he famously attacked it in of the very few of his writings that ever got any attention in mainstream political science ("An Epilogue").

You may well be right about the CIA's role in popularizing the phrase "conspiracy theory." But Leo Strauss had nothing to do with it. Or, if he did, he hid his role exceptionally well, because there is no evidence of such in his writings.

Connecticut Famer > , September 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm GMT

@Gene Tuttle I've often used the argument myself that conspiracies inevitably have short shelf lives in the US because it was so difficult for Americans to keep secrets. The article makes a useful point in suggesting that secret plots, even after being revealed, may nevertheless remain widely ignored. Ideology, group-think, pack journalism etc. are powerful forces, often subconsciously at work, preventing alternative theories from developing legs.

Though long an admirer of Karl Popper, I hadn't strongly associated him with attacks on conspiracy theories per se. As an American "outsider" living abroad most of my adult life, I've all too often encountered those who assumed my background alone explained an argument of mine that they didn't like. Popper had hit the nail on the head when he wrote about

"a widespread and dangerous fashion of our time...of not taking arguments seriously, and at their face value, at least tentatively, but of seeing in them nothing but a way in which deeper irrational motives and tendencies express themselves." It was "the attitude of looking at once for the unconscious motives and determinants in the social habitat of the thinker, instead of first examining the validity of the argument itself."
The powerful nazi and communist ideologies of his day assumed that one's " blood " or " class " precluded "correct" thinking. Those politically incorrect challengers to their own totalitarian weltanschauung were (to put it mildly) persecuted as conspirators. No doubt, as Ron Unz notes, Popper's personal experience "contributed the depth of his feelings" -- I would say skepticism – about conspiracy claims.

But the author of the " Open Society " had an open mind and I suspect he'd find the thesis reasonable that real conspiracies can both be uncovered and largely ignored because so many simply opt to ignore them. In such cases, evidence and "not taking arguments seriously" often reflects "intellectual groupieism," emotions, professional insecurities as well as venal collective interests. "But the author of the "Open Society" had an open mind and I suspect he'd find the thesis reasonable that real conspiracies can both be uncovered and largely ignored because so many simply opt to ignore them. In such cases, evidence and "not taking arguments seriously" often reflects "intellectual groupieism," emotions, professional insecurities as well as venal collective interests."

Possibly as in the JFK case? I actually watched Lee Harvey Oswald get drilled by the man who was later identified as Jack Ruby (real surname "Rubenstein") live on television. The minute it happened and even at age 16 at the time I smelled a rat. Who was ultimately behind it all is something which I can't answer and care not to speculate upon, but to this day I remain suspicious about the circumstances surrounding Oswald's death and Ruby's subsequent dissembling.

Jacques Sheete > , September 5, 2016 at 2:46 pm GMT

Superb article.

It's good to see that Mr. Beard is getting some well deserved good press. It's also good to have people put on alert about Leo Strauss; his name should be a household word, and that of derision. I first learned of the fool at LewRockwell.com, and I feel it's worth investigating him as a source of the goofy neocon outlook that the world's been suffering under for decades. "Strauss, who opposed the idea of individual rights, maintained that neither the ancient world nor the Christian envisioned strict, absolute limits on state power. Straussian neoconservatism is not conservatism as it has ever been understood in America or anywhere else "

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2004/09/thomas-woods/the-neocon-godfather/

Paul Jolliffe > , September 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm GMT

Mr. Unz,

Here is a link to Carl Bernstein's definitive 1977 Rolling Stone article "CIA and the Media" in which he addresses – and confirms – your worst fears. You are very right, and no less a figure than Bernstein has said so for nearly four decades . . .

http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php

Clearpoint > , September 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm GMT

Popper and Strauss. Neoliberal thought unites with neoconservative thought. Explicitly different rationales, but the same goals and the same method of achieving those goals. Sounds like target marketing of the two biggest target markets of American exceptionalism – dumb and dumber. Apparently critical thinkers are a minority that they believe can be easily marginalized.

John Jeremiah Smith > , September 5, 2016 at 2:58 pm GMT

@JL Perhaps the media tried too hard, were too eager to be complicit, and now they've completely lost the plot. The rise of Trump, in the face of a completely and uniformly hostile media, suggests that a large part of the American public, consciously or not, now completely rejects entire media narratives and assumes the exact opposite to be true. And they're panicking. Not knowing what to do, they double and triple down on the same fail that got them into this mess. Truly interesting times.

Thanks, Mr. Unz, for your "small webzine".

The rise of Trump, in the face of a completely and uniformly hostile media, suggests that a large part of the American public, consciously or not, now completely rejects entire media narratives and assumes the exact opposite to be true. And they're panicking.

Are they? Or, have they simply fired the first few rounds of easily-dispatched, easily-targeted artillery? I do note that this is the most massive full-court press in support of the oligarchy that I have ever seen. But, I sense that political wars have moved from the court of public opinion and perception, into the courtyards of the moneyed elite. Inasmuch as no rich person has ever believed that he or she has enough money and power, the national political conflict is now composed solely of issues that affect the wealth and power of the 0.1%, which is itself segmented into areas of economic focus and varying forms of wealth acquisition. For example, if air transport systems threaten the wealth and power of ocean-based shipping, that competition between oligarchs will morph into politically-expressed contexts.

There is absolutely no concern, anywhere within the dominion of the 0.1%, with human values, human rights, or any of that sort of ethically-principled hoo-hoo.

John Jeremiah Smith > , September 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.
Is this built-in deceit and manipulation unique to American life, or -- beyond the usual understandings about human nature -- is the systematic or institutionalized "deceit and manipulation" present in all cultures? in western cultures? in some but not all cultures? If the lattermost, in which cultures is "deceit and manipulation" less systematic and institutionalized?

Was "deceit and manipulation" institutionalized into American life from the beginning -- by the Founders, or did USA deviate from its intended path at some point? If so, at what point? How did it happen?

Is there the possibility of redemption?

Is there the possibility of redemption?

Of what is "redemption" constituted? Considering that fewer than 20% of American residents during the Revolution were actually involved in the revolt, with an estimated 40% preferring to retain the colony under monarchy, and considering that the ethical and political awareness of the Average American and the Average Illegal Resident Alien have gone downhill from there, can it honestly be said that there's enough true flavor of human rights and equal access/opportunity to redeem?

biz > , September 5, 2016 at 3:10 pm GMT

@John Jeremiah Smith

The definition of a conspiracy theory is an explanation of events that traces them to a secret network, and when presented with contradictory evidence, simply enlarges the network of supposed conspirators rather than modifying the explanation.
LOL x 2. I think you're saying that the above is YOUR definition of "conspiracy theory", not to be confused with any real and accurate definition of "conspiracy theory". No what I have put is the generally accepted definition used in journalistic and sociological works about conspiracy theory culture, e.g. this book .
CanSpeccy > , Website September 5, 2016 at 3:22 pm GMT

Good epistemological analysis.

The great flaw in the Western system of "democratic" government is that hardly anyone knows the meaning of the word "epistemology", let alone have any grasp of the underlying challenge of knowing what they know, or rather knowing how little they know beyond what they know from direct personal experience. This is a challenge made vastly more difficult in the modern age when almost everything we know is derived not from personal experience, or from other people of whose character and intellectual competence we have some personal knowledge, but from the arrangement of ink on paper or of pixels on a video screen. To this problem, there is probably no solution, although either a sharp restriction of the franchise to those of some maturity and education, or a division of the franchise according to what each particular individual could be expected to know something about, would be a step in the right direction.

As it is, we will, inevitably, continue to be the target of high powered manipulation by corporate owned media and other powerful interests.

Professor Lance Haven de Smith, whose book you mention is an expert on SCADS, or state crimes against democracy. An article by him on this topic is available here . There is some interesting academic material about SCADs here .

nsa > , September 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm GMT

In spook circles, leaving [false] clues is referred to as inoculation. Refer to the work of Bill McGuire in the late 50s and early 60s. For example, we here in Langley and Ft. Meade have left intact on the internet the early picture of the 20′ entry hole left by the "757″ in the facade of the pentagon before the explosion and complete collapse of the exterior wall ..inviting the conspiratorial question " where are the wings, the mangled cadavers, the tail?". This is all just too easy

Alden > , September 5, 2016 at 3:27 pm GMT

Highly reccomend Chris Buckley's book. "Little Green Men" The plot is that the entire UFO thing was set up after WW3 by the DOJ to keep the money flowing. Like all Buckley's books, it's a great read. I stopped believing in anything written in newspapers around 1966 because they were so pro black criminal and anti police

Have fun on Labor Day

John Jeremiah Smith > , September 5, 2016 at 3:45 pm GMT

@biz No what I have put is the generally accepted definition used in journalistic and sociological works about conspiracy theory culture, e.g. this book .

No what I have put is the generally accepted definition used in journalistic and sociological works about conspiracy theory culture, e.g. this book.

Journalism? Sociological works? You choose to quote even bigger liars as defining "conspiracy theory"?

"A conspiracy theory is a belief that a secret conspiracy has actually been decisive in producing a political event or evil outcome which the theorists strongly disapprove of. The conspiracy theory typically identifies the conspirators, provides evidence that supposedly links them together with an evil plan to harm the body politic, and may also point to a supposed cover up by authorities or media who should have stopped the conspiracy. The duty of the theorist is to pick from a myriad of facts and assumptions and reassemble them to form a picture of the conspiracy, as in a jigsaw puzzle. A theorist may publicly identify specific conspirators, and if they deny the allegations that is evidence they have been sworn to secrecy and are probably guilty."

Similar, agreed, but with noteworthy differences.

SolontoCroesus > , September 5, 2016 at 4:12 pm GMT

@Decius Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss.

The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall--and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?--is on Thoughts on Machiavelli . Strauss does so, first and foremost, because conspiracy is a major theme of Machiavelli's and the subject of the two longest chapters of his two most important books ( Prince 19 and Discourses III 6). Strauss further develops the idea that modern philosophy begins as a conspiracy between Machiavelli and (some of) his readers. Strauss simply never said anything like this:

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.
As for his relationship with neoconservatism, you also overstate that considerably. Yes, there are many neoconservative Straussians. But there are also Straussian paleos, tradcons, liberatarians, liberals, and moderates. There are many who are apolitical and interested only in abstract philosophy. There are Straussian religious conservatives, agnostics and atheists. Christians, Jews and Muslim. Catholic, Protestants and Mormons. The neocons just get all the attention--owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration, which everyone today believes without having read, or even being aware of (have/are you?).

If "neocon" has any meaning, it means, first, a former intellectual liberal who has drifted right. Second, a domestic policy scholar who focuses on data-driven social science. And third, a foreign policy hawk.

None of these really apply to Strauss, who spent his who career studying political philosophy, with an intense focus on the Greeks. He voted Dem in every election in which he could vote, until his last, 1972, when he voted for Nixon out of Cold War concerns. You might say that makes him a "hawk" but he never wrote any essays saying so. He simply told a few people privately that McGovern was too naïve about the Soviets. You might also say that is evidence that he "drifted right" but he didn't think so. He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death. As for data-driven social science, he famously attacked it in of the very few of his writings that ever got any attention in mainstream political science ("An Epilogue").

You may well be right about the CIA's role in popularizing the phrase "conspiracy theory." But Leo Strauss had nothing to do with it. Or, if he did, he hid his role exceptionally well, because there is no evidence of such in his writings. C Bradley Thompson was educated/trained as a Straussian neoconservative, then got mugged by reality and started to re-assess his own philosophical orientation.

One of the most interesting points Thompson makes in this discussion of his book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, occurs in the Q&A segment when he demonstrates that Strauss was, indeed, an acolyte of Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt

Laurel > , September 5, 2016 at 4:22 pm GMT

The best strategy is to foster implausible conspiracy theories to create a cloud of disinformation. This technique was used very effectively after 9/11, such that it's very hard to discuss a coverup without being labeled a truther.

SolontoCroesus > , September 5, 2016 at 4:24 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus C Bradley Thompson was educated/trained as a Straussian neoconservative, then got mugged by reality and started to re-assess his own philosophical orientation.

One of the most interesting points Thompson makes in this discussion of his book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, occurs in the Q&A segment when he demonstrates that Strauss was, indeed, an acolyte of Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oh6DmjQaho @ 12 min, Thompson asserts that "Leo Strauss was the most important influence on Irving Kristol's intellectual development. My book reveals for the first time the importance of Kristol's 1952 review of Strauss's Persecution and the Art of Writing . For me this is the Rosetta Stone . . .for understanding the deepest layer of neoconservative political philosophy."

It should also be noted that Irving Kristol was sponsored by -- on the payroll of – the CIA while still in Britain. Kristol has acknowledged that CIA support got his movement off the ground.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus C Bradley Thompson was educated/trained as a Straussian neoconservative, then got mugged by reality and started to re-assess his own philosophical orientation.

One of the most interesting points Thompson makes in this discussion of his book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, occurs in the Q&A segment when he demonstrates that Strauss was, indeed, an acolyte of Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oh6DmjQaho No. Strauss and Schmitt were friendly in the 1930s but Strauss was critical of Schmitt's work even then and said so. Schmitt himself said that Strauss had "seen right through" his arguments. Strauss was no acolyte of Schmitt's, he was a greater and deeper thinker and Schmitt -- something Schmitt himself acknowledged.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus @ 12 min, Thompson asserts that "Leo Strauss was the most important influence on Irving Kristol's intellectual development. My book reveals for the first time the importance of Kristol's 1952 review of Strauss's Persecution and the Art of Writing . For me this is the Rosetta Stone . . .for understanding the deepest layer of neoconservative political philosophy."

---

It should also be noted that Irving Kristol was sponsored by -- on the payroll of - the CIA while still in Britain. Kristol has acknowledged that CIA support got his movement off the ground. So what? That's one guy. How do we even know Kristol interpreted Strauss correctly? Kristol's concerns–data-driven social science–were not Strauss's. And so on and on.

But all that is a re-frame anyway. The charge from Unz is that Strauss is responsible, partly, for the way Americans think about conspiracy today because Strauss advocated for elite conspiracy. That's false and Unz can't back it up.

5371 > , September 5, 2016 at 4:45 pm GMT

@Decius No. Strauss and Schmitt were friendly in the 1930s but Strauss was critical of Schmitt's work even then and said so. Schmitt himself said that Strauss had "seen right through" his arguments. Strauss was no acolyte of Schmitt's, he was a greater and deeper thinker and Schmitt--something Schmitt himself acknowledged. This is complete nonsense. Schmitt is a powerful and original thinker, Strauss a weak and derivative one whose real sweet spot was academic politics.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 4:54 pm GMT

@5371 This is complete nonsense. Schmitt is a powerful and original thinker, Strauss a weak and derivative one whose real sweet spot was academic politics. Schmitt disagreed with you.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm GMT

@5371 This is complete nonsense. Schmitt is a powerful and original thinker, Strauss a weak and derivative one whose real sweet spot was academic politics. At any rate it's sort of absurd to watch you people chase your tails. All that you "know" or think you know is that Strauss is bad. But Schmitt is good. But Strauss is derivative of Schmitt. Doesn't that make Strauss good, or Schmitt bad?

Schmitt is famous for arguing in favor of the essential particularity of politics -- i.e., against alleged neocon universalism. So if Strauss is derivative of Schmitt, how can he be a neocon universalist?

Strauss in fact agrees with Schmitt on the essential particularity of politics and says so, but finds a deeper source, with deeper arguments, in Plato. Schmitt admitted that his own attempt to fortify his particularism was build on the quick-sandy foundation of modern rationalism, which Strauss taught him to see through.

Hibernian > , September 5, 2016 at 5:02 pm GMT

@anonymous Pearl Harbor (covered in "Day of Deceit") is good starting point. I strongly encourage Mr. Unz to read Robert Stinnet's book next before moving on.

FDR never intended that 2,400 Americans would die there. He just thought that if Japan "struck first", he could justify our entry into WWII to the public. What's really fascinating (and almost wholly unknown) is the sequence of events and headlines from December 8 to December 11, 1941, the date Hitler declared war on the USA.

While Pearl Harbor meant war with Japan, it did not necessarily guarantee war with Nazi Germany. For 72 hours, no one could be sure that Germany would declare war on us. Did FDR manipulate events post-Pearl Harbor to ensure it did happen? "FDR never intended that 2,400 Americans would die there."

Did he think our forces at Pearl, lacking needed intelligence, would limit the losses to a lesser number?

SolontoCroesus > , September 5, 2016 at 5:07 pm GMT

@Decius So what? That's one guy. How do we even know Kristol interpreted Strauss correctly? Kristol's concerns -- data-driven social science -- were not Strauss's. And so on and on.

But all that is a re-frame anyway. The charge from Unz is that Strauss is responsible, partly, for the way Americans think about conspiracy today because Strauss advocated for elite conspiracy. That's false and Unz can't back it up.

The charge from Unz is that Strauss is responsible, partly, for the way Americans think about conspiracy today because Strauss advocated for elite conspiracy. That's false and Unz can't back it up.

Can't back it up or has not done so, so far?

The day is young . . . the moon has not yet appeared in the eastern sky.

Carlton Meyer > , Website September 5, 2016 at 5:20 pm GMT

Some conspiracies are eventually acknowledged. For recent examples, our government finally admitted that our CIA overthrew the government of Iran in the 1950s. The sinking of the Lusitania because it carried tons of munitions and weapons during WW I has been mostly accepted since 1982, after the sunken ship was discovered and searched by divers. For example, Encyclopedia Britannica:

"The Lusitania was carrying a cargo of rifle ammunition and shells (together about 173 tons), and the Germans, who had circulated warnings that the ship would be sunk, felt themselves fully justified in attacking a vessel that was furthering the war aims of their enemy. The German government also felt that, in view of the vulnerability of U-boats while on the surface and the British announcement of intentions to arm merchant ships, prior warning of potential targets was impractical."

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lusitania-British-ship

One of the newest has got little attention, the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was a computer guy leaking info to Wikileaks.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/08/10/assange-implies-murdered-dnc-staffer-was-wikileaks-source.html

If we truly had aggressive news competition in the USA, this story would remain in the headlines, but of course its implications are not acceptable. However, stories about Russian hackers persist with no hard evidence.

JL > , September 5, 2016 at 5:27 pm GMT

@John Jeremiah Smith

The rise of Trump, in the face of a completely and uniformly hostile media, suggests that a large part of the American public, consciously or not, now completely rejects entire media narratives and assumes the exact opposite to be true. And they're panicking.
Are they? Or, have they simply fired the first few rounds of easily-dispatched, easily-targeted artillery? I do note that this is the most massive full-court press in support of the oligarchy that I have ever seen. But, I sense that political wars have moved from the court of public opinion and perception, into the courtyards of the moneyed elite. Inasmuch as no rich person has ever believed that he or she has enough money and power, the national political conflict is now composed solely of issues that affect the wealth and power of the 0.1%, which is itself segmented into areas of economic focus and varying forms of wealth acquisition. For example, if air transport systems threaten the wealth and power of ocean-based shipping, that competition between oligarchs will morph into politically-expressed contexts.

There is absolutely no concern, anywhere within the dominion of the 0.1%, with human values, human rights, or any of that sort of ethically-principled hoo-hoo. I suppose my comment came off somewhat like unbridled, naive optimism. Your points are unquestionably valid, however, and I am disinclined to argue. Of course Trump represents the interests of certain groups of elites and is not merely the essence of a popular movement. I'll be honest, though, I'm having a tough time determining who these groups are, exactly.

Just like with Brexit, these events don't happen without powerful manipulation from somewhere within the 0.1%. Still, it's tough for me to imagine what a Trump presidency will even look like. Who will be in his cabinet, from what backgrounds will they come?

There is absolutely no concern, anywhere within the dominion of the 0.1%, with human values, human rights, or any of that sort of ethically-principled hoo-hoo.

Certainly not. What are fundamentally important questions for us are merely means to an end for them.

Jeffrey S. > , Website September 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm GMT

Beard was an interesting guy, but's let's not forget that his central thesis regarding the founding of this country doesn't hold up to historical scrutiny:

http://www.libertylawsite.org/2014/10/10/charles-beard-living-legend-or-archaic-icon/

Meanwhile, I think it helps to think about conspiracies philosophically ! rigorous thought can help clear up sloppy thinking (which is found in many such theories):

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/01/trouble-with-conspiracy-theories.html

Mulegino1 > , September 5, 2016 at 5:35 pm GMT

With respect to conspiracies, there are two equally absurd extreme views which distract from reality: one is the childish rejection of all conspiracy theories and the other the childish belief that every appreciable newsworthy event with a political, economic or social impact is the result of a nefarious conspiracy. The truth, of course, is to be found in the middle....

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 5:43 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus

The charge from Unz is that Strauss is responsible, partly, for the way Americans think about conspiracy today because Strauss advocated for elite conspiracy. That's false and Unz can't back it up.
Can't back it up or has not done so, so far? The day is young . . . the moon has not yet appeared in the eastern sky. I know Strauss's books. I am guessing that Unz does not because if he did, he would not attribute to Strauss what he did. At any rate, even if Unz does know the books, I fail to see what passages he could cite to support the paragraph that I highlighted. As noted, the claim sounds vaguely derivative of Drury, who hates Strauss (and gets everything wrong) but even she doesn't quite say what Unz says.
Ron Unz > , September 5, 2016 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Decius Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss.

The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall--and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?--is on Thoughts on Machiavelli . Strauss does so, first and foremost, because conspiracy is a major theme of Machiavelli's and the subject of the two longest chapters of his two most important books ( Prince 19 and Discourses III 6). Strauss further develops the idea that modern philosophy begins as a conspiracy between Machiavelli and (some of) his readers. Strauss simply never said anything like this:

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.
As for his relationship with neoconservatism, you also overstate that considerably. Yes, there are many neoconservative Straussians. But there are also Straussian paleos, tradcons, liberatarians, liberals, and moderates. There are many who are apolitical and interested only in abstract philosophy. There are Straussian religious conservatives, agnostics and atheists. Christians, Jews and Muslim. Catholic, Protestants and Mormons. The neocons just get all the attention--owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration, which everyone today believes without having read, or even being aware of (have/are you?).

If "neocon" has any meaning, it means, first, a former intellectual liberal who has drifted right. Second, a domestic policy scholar who focuses on data-driven social science. And third, a foreign policy hawk.

None of these really apply to Strauss, who spent his who career studying political philosophy, with an intense focus on the Greeks. He voted Dem in every election in which he could vote, until his last, 1972, when he voted for Nixon out of Cold War concerns. You might say that makes him a "hawk" but he never wrote any essays saying so. He simply told a few people privately that McGovern was too naïve about the Soviets. You might also say that is evidence that he "drifted right" but he didn't think so. He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death. As for data-driven social science, he famously attacked it in of the very few of his writings that ever got any attention in mainstream political science ("An Epilogue").

You may well be right about the CIA's role in popularizing the phrase "conspiracy theory." But Leo Strauss had nothing to do with it. Or, if he did, he hid his role exceptionally well, because there is no evidence of such in his writings.

Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss. The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall–and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you? .The neocons just get all the attention–owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death.

I'll candidly admit I haven't read a single one of Strauss's own books, nor even that very influential James Atlas article you dislike so intensely. Instead, I was merely summarizing the extensive arguments of Prof. deHaven-Smith, who, as a prominent political scientist, is presumably quite familiar with Strauss, though I don't doubt that his views might differ considerably from your own.

But on your second point, I do remember seeing a very amusing private letter of Strauss that came to light about a decade or so ago. Written shortly after his arrival in America, it was addressed to a fellow ultra-rightwing Jewish exile from Europe, and in it he praised fascism and (I think) Nazism to the skies, arguing that their regrettable deviation into "anti-Semitism" (which had precipitated his own personal exile from Germany) should in no way be considered a refutation of all the other wonderful aspects of those political doctrines. This leads me to wonder if Strauss was truly the "liberal" you suggest, or perhaps was instead engaging in exactly the sort of "ideological crypsis" that seems such an important part of his political philosophy

It's likely my faulty memory may have garbled important aspects of the letter I mention, and given your expertise on Straussian issues, I'm sure you should be able to locate it and easily correct me.

Mulegino1 > , September 5, 2016 at 5:48 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.
Is this built-in deceit and manipulation unique to American life, or -- beyond the usual understandings about human nature -- is the systematic or institutionalized "deceit and manipulation" present in all cultures? in western cultures? in some but not all cultures? If the lattermost, in which cultures is "deceit and manipulation" less systematic and institutionalized?

Was "deceit and manipulation" institutionalized into American life from the beginning -- by the Founders, or did USA deviate from its intended path at some point? If so, at what point? How did it happen?

Is there the possibility of redemption? To my mind, the real point of deviation in the history of the United States is the Spanish American War, and the transformation of America from a tellurocratic to a thallasocratic power. America's traditional role had been that of a vast, continental, land based power, eschewing intervention in the affairs of Europe and the rest of the world outside the Western Hemisphere. (This is largely the reason that the Russian Czar allied with the Union in the American Civil War).

Unfortunately, America's traditional tellurocratic role was abandonded – thanks to the likes of Admiral ("Victory through Sea Power") Mahan, John Hay, and the loopy Teddy Roosevelt, inter alia – and the nation went on to embrace the role of international arbiter and busybody, and became insatiable in the pursuit of empire, with catastrophic results for the world.

Sam Shama > , September 5, 2016 at 5:59 pm GMT

@5371 This is a good piece which deserved an acceptable level of mental hygiene in the comment section. Unfortunately, two of the first nine comments are from morons spamming their "no lunar landing" drivel. In all probability the "no nuclear weapons" clowns will also be here imminently. Oh well, a delicious sweet dish will attract a fly as much as a gourmet. [Oh well, a delicious sweet dish will attract a fly as much as a gourmet.]

LOL. I'll compile a mental list of both. Aren't the comments missing someone btw?

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm GMT

@Ron Unz

Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss. The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall–and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?....The neocons just get all the attention–owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration...He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death.
I'll candidly admit I haven't read a single one of Strauss's own books, nor even that very influential James Atlas article you dislike so intensely. Instead, I was merely summarizing the extensive arguments of Prof. deHaven-Smith, who, as a prominent political scientist, is presumably quite familiar with Strauss, though I don't doubt that his views might differ considerably from your own.

But on your second point, I do remember seeing a very amusing private letter of Strauss that came to light about a decade or so ago. Written shortly after his arrival in America, it was addressed to a fellow ultra-rightwing Jewish exile from Europe, and in it he praised fascism and (I think) Nazism to the skies, arguing that their regrettable deviation into "anti-Semitism" (which had precipitated his own personal exile from Germany) should in no way be considered a refutation of all the other wonderful aspects of those political doctrines. This leads me to wonder if Strauss was truly the "liberal" you suggest, or perhaps was instead engaging in exactly the sort of "ideological crypsis" that seems such an important part of his political philosophy...

It's likely my faulty memory may have garbled important aspects of the letter I mention, and given your expertise on Straussian issues, I'm sure you should be able to locate it and easily correct me. The letter you are referring to is a letter to Karl Lowith from 1933. The most sustained–not to say serious–attempt to make it say that Strauss is coming out as a fascist has been the work of William Altman. I don't think he even comes close to making his case.

The letter can more charitably and reasonably read as a frank acknowledgement of the failure of Weimar liberalism and of liberalism generally precisely to take into account nationalist sentiment but instead to "universalize" all particulars without due attention to differing conditions, circumstances, "matter," and so on. In other words, Strauss is defending the "concept of the political" both from liberal universalism and from the simple-minded identification of particularism (or nationalism) with fascism. Sound familiar? All nationalist sentiment is fascism, Trump is a Nazi, and so on. An "argument" as old as hills and which Strauss saw through immediately.

Once again, though, the tail is chased. How can Strauss be both a universalist neo-con and a particularist-nationalist-fascist at the same time? The only common thread is: Strauss is bad.

In my view, Strauss is good. More to the point, I find stronger intellectual support in Strauss for my own nationalist leanings and pro-Trumpism than I find in any other intellectual source of any depth. I am in the minority among Straussians in thinking so, but I am not alone. Morevoer, I think in open debate, I have a stronger case for Straussian particularism than others can make for Straussian universalism.

And, not incidentally, none of this points to any such views on conspiracy as you put into Strauss's mouth.

Robard > , September 5, 2016 at 6:04 pm GMT

If government doesn't believe in conspiracies, why have secret services in the first place? Either they want to thwart conspiracies or they are creating their own or both.

Jacques Sheete > , September 5, 2016 at 6:24 pm GMT

@Ron Unz

Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss. The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall–and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?....The neocons just get all the attention–owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration...He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death.
I'll candidly admit I haven't read a single one of Strauss's own books, nor even that very influential James Atlas article you dislike so intensely. Instead, I was merely summarizing the extensive arguments of Prof. deHaven-Smith, who, as a prominent political scientist, is presumably quite familiar with Strauss, though I don't doubt that his views might differ considerably from your own.

But on your second point, I do remember seeing a very amusing private letter of Strauss that came to light about a decade or so ago. Written shortly after his arrival in America, it was addressed to a fellow ultra-rightwing Jewish exile from Europe, and in it he praised fascism and (I think) Nazism to the skies, arguing that their regrettable deviation into "anti-Semitism" (which had precipitated his own personal exile from Germany) should in no way be considered a refutation of all the other wonderful aspects of those political doctrines. This leads me to wonder if Strauss was truly the "liberal" you suggest, or perhaps was instead engaging in exactly the sort of "ideological crypsis" that seems such an important part of his political philosophy...

It's likely my faulty memory may have garbled important aspects of the letter I mention, and given your expertise on Straussian issues, I'm sure you should be able to locate it and easily correct me. While I've read nothing by Prof. deHaven-Smith, from what you've written, he and DiLorenzo would probably agree.

Here's a short but readable eval of Strauss' ideas, and DiLorenzo is one academician whom I somewhat trust.:

Moronic Intellectuals
By Thomas DiLorenzo

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2004/09/thomas-woods/the-neocon-godfather/

John Jeremiah Smith > , September 5, 2016 at 6:29 pm GMT

@JL I suppose my comment came off somewhat like unbridled, naive optimism. Your points are unquestionably valid, however, and I am disinclined to argue. Of course Trump represents the interests of certain groups of elites and is not merely the essence of a popular movement. I'll be honest, though, I'm having a tough time determining who these groups are, exactly.

Just like with Brexit, these events don't happen without powerful manipulation from somewhere within the 0.1%. Still, it's tough for me to imagine what a Trump presidency will even look like. Who will be in his cabinet, from what backgrounds will they come?


There is absolutely no concern, anywhere within the dominion of the 0.1%, with human values, human rights, or any of that sort of ethically-principled hoo-hoo.
Certainly not. What are fundamentally important questions for us are merely means to an end for them.

Of course Trump represents the interests of certain groups of elites and is not merely the essence of a popular movement. I'll be honest, though, I'm having a tough time determining who these groups are, exactly.

Yes, and how many players, each with what orientation and degree of focus? The 0.1% population contains 10,000 – 50,00o potential players, globally.

It is my opinion that the extremely-high degree of corruption, within the mighty engine of resource consumption and bribery that is the US government, contributes greatly to the "big picture" of ongoing conflict among the members of the oligarchy.

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm GMT

@Decius Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss.

The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall--and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?--is on Thoughts on Machiavelli . Strauss does so, first and foremost, because conspiracy is a major theme of Machiavelli's and the subject of the two longest chapters of his two most important books ( Prince 19 and Discourses III 6). Strauss further develops the idea that modern philosophy begins as a conspiracy between Machiavelli and (some of) his readers. Strauss simply never said anything like this:


Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.
As for his relationship with neoconservatism, you also overstate that considerably. Yes, there are many neoconservative Straussians. But there are also Straussian paleos, tradcons, liberatarians, liberals, and moderates. There are many who are apolitical and interested only in abstract philosophy. There are Straussian religious conservatives, agnostics and atheists. Christians, Jews and Muslim. Catholic, Protestants and Mormons. The neocons just get all the attention--owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration, which everyone today believes without having read, or even being aware of (have/are you?).

If "neocon" has any meaning, it means, first, a former intellectual liberal who has drifted right. Second, a domestic policy scholar who focuses on data-driven social science. And third, a foreign policy hawk.

None of these really apply to Strauss, who spent his who career studying political philosophy, with an intense focus on the Greeks. He voted Dem in every election in which he could vote, until his last, 1972, when he voted for Nixon out of Cold War concerns. You might say that makes him a "hawk" but he never wrote any essays saying so. He simply told a few people privately that McGovern was too naïve about the Soviets. You might also say that is evidence that he "drifted right" but he didn't think so. He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death. As for data-driven social science, he famously attacked it in of the very few of his writings that ever got any attention in mainstream political science ("An Epilogue").

You may well be right about the CIA's role in popularizing the phrase "conspiracy theory." But Leo Strauss had nothing to do with it. Or, if he did, he hid his role exceptionally well, because there is no evidence of such in his writings. Actually I don't think Ron is so far off. And I think, at best, you must be overeducated. Strauss held that authentic philosophy is a conspiracy . From there, certain practical advice about how to carry out the philosophy of the true philosopher follows. Such advice would about seem to be how Ron said it was.

I have not read the essay by Atlas. But for the duration of the Bush Administration I did read the Weekly Standard. I recall in particular one time when the editors recommended what books to bring to the beach, and Bill Kristol said "anything by Leo Strauss." My impression is that the Weekly Standard's brazen propaganda back then was the way certain editors understood themselves to be acting like Strauss's true disciples.

And of course now Krystol is hocking a former spook to run against Trump in Utah.

Ron Unz > , September 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm GMT

@Decius The letter you are referring to is a letter to Karl Lowith from 1933. The most sustained--not to say serious--attempt to make it say that Strauss is coming out as a fascist has been the work of William Altman. I don't think he even comes close to making his case.

The letter can more charitably and reasonably read as a frank acknowledgement of the failure of Weimar liberalism and of liberalism generally precisely to take into account nationalist sentiment but instead to "universalize" all particulars without due attention to differing conditions, circumstances, "matter," and so on. In other words, Strauss is defending the "concept of the political" both from liberal universalism and from the simple-minded identification of particularism (or nationalism) with fascism. Sound familiar? All nationalist sentiment is fascism, Trump is a Nazi, and so on. An "argument" as old as hills and which Strauss saw through immediately.

Once again, though, the tail is chased. How can Strauss be both a universalist neo-con and a particularist-nationalist-fascist at the same time? The only common thread is: Strauss is bad.

In my view, Strauss is good. More to the point, I find stronger intellectual support in Strauss for my own nationalist leanings and pro-Trumpism than I find in any other intellectual source of any depth. I am in the minority among Straussians in thinking so, but I am not alone. Morevoer, I think in open debate, I have a stronger case for Straussian particularism than others can make for Straussian universalism.

And, not incidentally, none of this points to any such views on conspiracy as you put into Strauss's mouth.

The letter you are referring to is a letter to Karl Lowith from 1933. The most sustained–not to say serious–attempt to make it say that Strauss is coming out as a fascist has been the work of William Altman.

Well, I decided I might as well google up the letter, and found this extended discussion in Harpers by someone who clearly dislikes Strauss and the Neocons, with a link to a full translation of Strauss's controversial missive.

http://harpers.org/blog/2008/01/will-the-real-leo-strauss-please-stand-up/

Offhand, it does indeed seem like I misremembered some of the details. Strauss apparently didn't seem to like the Nazis very much, but it certainly sounds like he had positive feelings towards the Fascists. In any event, the following excerpt makes me wonder whether he was actually a "liberal," or merely pretended to be since his income probably depended upon liberal donors and institutions

And, what concerns this matter: the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l'homme(5) to protest against the shabby abomination There is no reason to crawl to the cross, neither to the cross of liberalism, as long as somewhere in the world there is a glimmer of the spark of the Roman thought.

Buzz Mohawk > , September 5, 2016 at 6:48 pm GMT

By reading Ron's American Pravda series of columns, I am learning things that otherwise I would not have known. I am developing a clearer understanding of the real truth . This is an important contribution to my understanding of of reality! And I trust this because of the quality and earnestness of the source. This is all very much appreciated.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 6:50 pm GMT

@Ron Unz

The letter you are referring to is a letter to Karl Lowith from 1933. The most sustained–not to say serious–attempt to make it say that Strauss is coming out as a fascist has been the work of William Altman.
Well, I decided I might as well google up the letter, and found this extended discussion in Harpers by someone who clearly dislikes Strauss and the Neocons, with a link to a full translation of Strauss's controversial missive.

http://harpers.org/blog/2008/01/will-the-real-leo-strauss-please-stand-up/

Offhand, it does indeed seem like I misremembered some of the details. Strauss apparently didn't seem to like the Nazis very much, but it certainly sounds like he had positive feelings towards the Fascists. In any event, the following excerpt makes me wonder whether he was actually a "liberal," or merely pretended to be since his income probably depended upon liberal donors and institutions...

And, what concerns this matter: the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l'homme(5) to protest against the shabby abomination...There is no reason to crawl to the cross, neither to the cross of liberalism, as long as somewhere in the world there is a glimmer of the spark of the Roman thought.
What is a liberal? That's not a troll question. Strauss was above all a Socratic and Socratic philosophy begins with "what is" questions. One of Strauss's books is entitled Liberalism Ancient and Modern .

Strauss was apparently a liberal in the US context in that he mostly voted for Dems. He also wrote one acerbically critical letter to National Review.

However, a mid-20th-century American liberal may have been many things, but unpatriotic or nationalistic they were not. When liberalism turned with McGovern, Strauss looked elsewhere, and then died a year later, so we don't know how his political outlook would, or would not, have changed longer term. But at least in the 40s-60s, he was quite OK with Cold War American liberals. That's perfectly consistent with the nationalist sentiment expressed in the letter to Lowith. Also, Strauss was appalled by the dissoluteness of Weimar–and would become appalled by the dissoluteness of the late 1960s. But America prior was not yet dissolute. And he was appalled by Weimar's weakness. But America pre-Vietnam was not weak. Again, perfectly consistent with the letter.

Strauss supported the Cold War because he thought the USSR was a real threat in the near term and because he feared, on a higher plane, the imposition of "the universal and homogenous state." He was opposed to that, whereas those to his left were for it. So was he conservative?

Strauss transcends all these distinctions. That's not to say that they are meaningless. Indeed, he would be the first to say that they are meaningful. But, like Tocqueville, Strauss aimed to see not differently but further than the parties.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 6:54 pm GMT

@Pat Casey Actually I don't think Ron is so far off. And I think, at best, you must be overeducated. Strauss held that authentic philosophy is a conspiracy . From there, certain practical advice about how to carry out the philosophy of the true philosopher follows. Such advice would about seem to be how Ron said it was.

I have not read the essay by Atlas. But for the duration of the Bush Administration I did read the Weekly Standard. I recall in particular one time when the editors recommended what books to bring to the beach, and Bill Kristol said "anything by Leo Strauss." My impression is that the Weekly Standard's brazen propaganda back then was the way certain editors understood themselves to be acting like Strauss's true disciples.

And of course now Krystol is hocking a former spook to run against Trump in Utah. The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious. Yes, Bill K loves Strauss. That really doesn't prove much about Strauss either way. I believe, though of course cannot prove since Strauss can't speak, that Strauss would have opposed the Iraq War. He would have seen it as imprudent and prudence is the supreme virtue of the statesman.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).

Yngvar > , September 5, 2016 at 6:59 pm GMT

So as a means of damage control, the CIA distributed a secret memo to all its field offices requesting that they enlist their media assets in efforts to ridicule and attack such critics as irrational supporters of "conspiracy theories."

And what do you know, the term "conspiracy theories" was non-existent in books before JFK's assassination but took off right after, according to Google's Ngram Viewer: https://is.gd/GYioQZ

utu > , September 5, 2016 at 7:38 pm GMT

@Decius The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious. Yes, Bill K loves Strauss. That really doesn't prove much about Strauss either way. I believe, though of course cannot prove since Strauss can't speak, that Strauss would have opposed the Iraq War. He would have seen it as imprudent and prudence is the supreme virtue of the statesman.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points). Unless you give some evidence that Strauss was a Reptilian or at least that he was a skeptic about the Moon landing there is no need for further discussion on Strauss here.

Erik Sieven > , September 5, 2016 at 7:40 pm GMT

@Kirt Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan. Secrecy may be needed for the success of a conspiracy, but it is not essential to the definition. Were it essential to the definition, you could never prove the existence of a conspiracy. Either secrecy would be maintained and there would be little or no evidence or secrecy would not be maintained and the plan would become known and by definition not be a conspiracy. "Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan." but probably everything think that what he does is good, not evil

art guerrilla > , Website September 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm GMT

@Chief Seattle So, a conspiracy theory is a theory without media backing. There's no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight.

Maybe it's true, maybe not, but if the roles had been reversed, the media would be telling its proponents to take off their tin foil hats. ahhh, but 'Russkie!/squirrel!' worked, didn't it ? ? ?
virtually NOTHING about the actual content of the emails
what was hysterical, was a followup not too long afterwards, where pelosi 'warned' that there might be a whole raft of other emails which said bad stuff and stuff, and, um, they were -like- probably, um, all, uh, fake and stuff
it really is a funny tragi-comedy, isn't it ? ? ?
then why am i crying inside

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm GMT

@Decius The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious. Yes, Bill K loves Strauss. That really doesn't prove much about Strauss either way. I believe, though of course cannot prove since Strauss can't speak, that Strauss would have opposed the Iraq War. He would have seen it as imprudent and prudence is the supreme virtue of the statesman.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).

The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious.

That's not what I did. Don't do that. You seemed to be saying the neo-cons do not hail from the school of Strauss as this Atlas fellow said they did. I was saying they do, according to them.

It was pretty obvious back then that the weekly standard was acting as an organ of the bush administration more than a member of the media. I remember there was even a tepid discussion about how we as journalist should feel about these fellas with one foot in the media and one foot in the politics. Does that have anything to do with the style Strauss bespoke? My understanding is that Strauss addressed his philosophy not to Princes but certain among the reading public. That turns out to first of all mean political journalists who will sacrifice the integrity of their profession for the sake of a particular kind of proud story about the USA polity and its villains. Yes I do think people like Bill Krystol and Michael Ledeen saw themselves in terms as dramatic as that.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).

You mean I was right about Strauss having a conspiracy theory of philosophy. I didn't say anything about the second half. I read Paul Gottfried and I agree Strauss was a ridiculous scholar. Of course I believe you when you say in so many words that Strauss did not like philosophies that license mass movements of true believers. Full stop right there. Now we can count back from all them and make this an exercise in splitting hairs. What audience to be precise did Strauss exactly have in mind? Actually I don't think he deserves that much credit; I don't think he really knew who he was writing for.

Jacques Sheete > , September 5, 2016 at 9:43 pm GMT

@Pat Casey

The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious.
That's not what I did. Don't do that. You seemed to be saying the neo-cons do not hail from the school of Strauss as this Atlas fellow said they did. I was saying they do, according to them.

It was pretty obvious back then that the weekly standard was acting as an organ of the bush administration more than a member of the media. I remember there was even a tepid discussion about how we as journalist should feel about these fellas with one foot in the media and one foot in the politics. Does that have anything to do with the style Strauss bespoke? My understanding is that Strauss addressed his philosophy not to Princes but certain among the reading public. That turns out to first of all mean political journalists who will sacrifice the integrity of their profession for the sake of a particular kind of proud story about the USA polity and its villains. Yes I do think people like Bill Krystol and Michael Ledeen saw themselves in terms as dramatic as that.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).
You mean I was right about Strauss having a conspiracy theory of philosophy. I didn't say anything about the second half. I read Paul Gottfried and I agree Strauss was a ridiculous scholar. Of course I believe you when you say in so many words that Strauss did not like philosophies that license mass movements of true believers. Full stop right there. Now we can count back from all them and make this an exercise in splitting hairs. What audience to be precise did Strauss exactly have in mind? Actually I don't think he deserves that much credit; I don't think he really knew who he was writing for.

I don't think he really knew who he was writing for.

Love it.

My theory is that they basically wrote anything that came to mind so long as no one could pin 'em down to specifics, allowed them to keep paying the bills , afforded them a chance to sound "profound," and to be somebody.

Pretty much all of the type are frauds and only fools (especially the pompous quasi-scientific, pseudo intellectual, ones) take 'em seriously. I agree that the ancients were much more honest but even they were recognized as BSers of high degree by the likes of Aristophanes and Lucian of Samosata to name only two. (I named them because they make particularly entertaining reading.)

I think the 20th century should be known as the Age of Pathetic Charlatans and I'm glad it's over. May it and the endless gaggle of cheap morons it spawned never return.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 10:12 pm GMT

@Pat Casey

The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious.
That's not what I did. Don't do that. You seemed to be saying the neo-cons do not hail from the school of Strauss as this Atlas fellow said they did. I was saying they do, according to them.

It was pretty obvious back then that the weekly standard was acting as an organ of the bush administration more than a member of the media. I remember there was even a tepid discussion about how we as journalist should feel about these fellas with one foot in the media and one foot in the politics. Does that have anything to do with the style Strauss bespoke? My understanding is that Strauss addressed his philosophy not to Princes but certain among the reading public. That turns out to first of all mean political journalists who will sacrifice the integrity of their profession for the sake of a particular kind of proud story about the USA polity and its villains. Yes I do think people like Bill Krystol and Michael Ledeen saw themselves in terms as dramatic as that.


You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).
You mean I was right about Strauss having a conspiracy theory of philosophy. I didn't say anything about the second half. I read Paul Gottfried and I agree Strauss was a ridiculous scholar. Of course I believe you when you say in so many words that Strauss did not like philosophies that license mass movements of true believers. Full stop right there. Now we can count back from all them and make this an exercise in splitting hairs. What audience to be precise did Strauss exactly have in mind? Actually I don't think he deserves that much credit; I don't think he really knew who he was writing for. Kristol is a Straussian because he got a PhD in PolPhil from Harvard under Mansfield, who is a Straussian. There is no necessary connection between Strauss's thought any of the main tenets of Neo-conservatism. I've said, and you've all ignored, that Strauss attacked data-driven social science, which is the original hallmark of neo-conservatism. A later hallmark (which emerged after Strauss's death) was foreign policy hawkism. Unless you want to say that Strauss's opposition to the USSR makes him a neo-con, in which case every Cold War liberal going back to Truman was a neo-con. At which point the term has no meaning.

Strauss addresses scholars and potential philosophers. He has almost nothing to say about the transient issues of his age. Based on his comments on what other thinkers had to say about war (Thucydides above all) I believe we can infer that Strauss was generally in favor of preparedness and wariness but otherwise anti-war in the general sense. If we may analogize the Iraq War to the Sicilian Expedition we may say that Strauss probably would have opposed the former as imprudent, just as he tacitly endorses T's judgement that the latter was imprudent.

Strauss openly characterizes Machiavelli's approach to philosophy as a conspiracy, using that word, but does not say it about any other thinker. However, his teaching that philosophy is an inherently elite and very small enterprise may be fairly characterized as a "conspiracy." however, before modernity, the nature of the conspiracy was to protect the conspirators and the philosophic life, not a reform campaign. that's what it becomes under modernity, which Strauss opposes. One of Strauss's aims in writing was to revive the ancient idea of philosophy, its proper scope, and its proper relationship to society, which he believed modernity had corrupted.

It is unfortunate that Strauss became a bogey-man to so many who have no idea what he said or why. It happened rather recently and based on some very thin scholarship. Most of the thing people try to pin on him are things that I and my friends oppose too. We just know they don't trace to Strauss. In fact, the opposite is often true.

Konga > , September 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm GMT

@Miro23 The British and Americans have been the victims of conspiracies (False Flag operations) for years.

For example:

The Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (headquarters of the British Mandate Government of Palestine) in which Zionist activists dressed as Arabs placed milk churns filled with explosives against the main columns of the building killing 91 people and injuring 44. Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu, attended a celebration to commemorate the event.

Operation Susannah (Lavon Affair) where Israeli operatives impersonating Arabs bombed British and American cinemas, libraries and educational centers in Egypt to destabilize the country and keep British troops committed to the Middle East.

Or June 8, 1967, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty with unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats. 34 men were killed and 171 wounded, with the attack in international waters following over nine hours of close surveillance. When the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime. Original plan to blame the sinking with all lives lost on the Egyptians and draw the US into the war.

Or Israelis and U.S. Zionists appearing all over the most recent WTC 9/11 "Operation" with Israelis once again impersonating Arabs in a historic deception/terror action of a type that seems to carry a lot of kudos with old Israeli ex-terrorist Likudniks. Israeli agents were sent to film the historic day (as they later admitted on Israeli TV), with the celebrations including photos of themselves with a background of the burning towers where thousands of Americans were being incinerated.

Iraq was destroyed as a result of 9/11 but unfortunately for the conspirators, the momentum wasn't sufficient for a general war including Iran. Also the general war would have included the nuclear angle and justified the activation of a neo-con led Emergency Regime (dictatorship) in the US enforced with the newly printed Patriot Act and Homeland Security troops - or maybe that's just another Conspiracy Theory? So true!
But you forgot the two missiles shot from a NATO naval and HQ base in Spain towards Damascus, shot down by the Russians (two weeks before the "agreement" on chemical weapons, remember?) and then attributed to Israel's drills turned wrong

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm GMT

A good book, BTW, is Robert Howse's Leo Strauss: Man of Peace . Howse is liberal, FWIW.

ten miles > , September 5, 2016 at 10:20 pm GMT

One resents (first), and eventually hates whom they have to lie to. In what regard would our elites, in our electoral democracy, hold us voters in (by now)?
Kinda answers itself doesn't it?

map > , September 5, 2016 at 11:03 pm GMT

Popper's point about conspiracy theories really makes no sense. This is the assumption that a conspiracy is like a start-up, one that requires lots of transparency to work because of the need to recruit members for the conspiracy. As soon as one member disagrees, the conspiracy falls apart.

The problem is that a conspiracy is not like a start-up. The purpose of the start-up is the start-up itself. The purpose of the conspiracy is not the conspiracy itself. Conspiracies are simply vehicles by which like minded people actually find each other. The secrecy is built-in because they are like-minded.

Kirt > , September 5, 2016 at 11:15 pm GMT

@Erik Sieven "Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan." but probably everything think that what he does is good, not evil "probably everything think that what he does is good, not evil"

Yeah, that's true. I think that it was Saint Thomas Aquinas who said that evil is always done under an aspect of good. Hence no one will consider himself a conspirator other than perhaps in a legal sense if he is aware that what he is doing is illegal. Apart from that the charge of conspiracy will always come from opponents; e.g. Hilly's charge of "a vast right-wing conspiracy".

Ron Unz > , September 5, 2016 at 11:27 pm GMT

@Paul Jolliffe Mr. Unz,

Here is a link to Carl Bernstein's definitive 1977 Rolling Stone article "CIA and the Media" in which he addresses - and confirms - your worst fears. You are very right, and no less a figure than Bernstein has said so for nearly four decades . . .

http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php

Here is a link to Carl Bernstein's definitive 1977 Rolling Stone article "CIA and the Media" in which he addresses – and confirms – your worst fears. You are very right, and no less a figure than Bernstein has said so for nearly four decades

Thanks so much for the excellent reference to the Bernstein article, of which I hadn't been aware. I found it fascinating, not least because of all the speculations floating around over the last decade or two that Bernstein's famed collaborator, Bob Woodward, had had an intelligence background, and perhaps Watergate represented a plot by elements of the CIA to remove Nixon from the White House. As for the 25,000 word article itself, I'd suggest that people read it. Since quite a lot of this comment-thread is already filled with debates about the supposed liberalism of Leo Strauss and an alleged Moon Landing Hoax, I might as well provide a few of the provocative extracts:

http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php

He was very eager, he loved to cooperate." On one occasion, according to several CIA officials, Sulzberger was given a briefing paper by the Agency which ran almost verbatim under the columnist's byline in the Times. "Cycame out and said, 'I'm thinking of doing a piece, can you give me some background?'" a CIA officer said. "We gave it to Cy as a background piece and Cy gave it to the printers and put his name on it." Sulzberger denies that any incident occurred. "A lot of baloney," he said.

[MORE]

Stewart Alsop's relationship with the Agency was much more extensive than Sulzberger's. One official who served at the highest levels in the CIA said flatly: "Stew Alsop was a CIA agent." An equally senior official refused to define Alsop's relationship with the Agency except to say it was a formal one. Other sources said that Alsop was particularly helpful to the Agency in discussions with, officials of foreign governments!asking questions to which the CIA was seeking answers, planting misinformation advantageous to American policy, assessing opportunities for CIA recruitment of well‑placed foreigners.

The New York Times. The Agency's relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper's late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy!set by Sulzberger!to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.

When Newsweek waspurchased by the Washington Post Company, publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director of the Agency. "Frank Wisner dealt with him." Wisner, deputy director of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965, was the Agency's premier orchestrator of "black" operations, including many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to boast of his "mighty Wurlitzer," a wondrous propaganda instrument he built, and played, with help from the press.) Phil Graham was probably Wisner's closest friend. But Graharn, who committed suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said.

The Agency played an intriguing numbers game with the committee. Those who prepared the material say it was physically impossible to produce all of the Agency's files on the use of journalists. "We gave them a broad, representative picture," said one agency official. "We never pretended it was a total description of the range of activities over 25 years, or of the number of journalists who have done things for us." A relatively small number of the summaries described the activities of foreign journalists!including those working as stringers for American publications. Those officials most knowledgeable about the subject say that a figure of 400 American journalists is on the low side of the actual number who maintained covert relationships and undertook clandestine tasks.

From the twenty‑five files he got back, according to Senate sources and CIA officials, an unavoidable conclusion emerged: that to a degree never widely suspected, the CIA in the 1950s, '60s and even early '70s had concentrated its relationships with journalists in the most prominent sectors of the American press corps, including four or five of the largest newspapers in the country, the broadcast networks and the two major newsweekly magazines. Despite the omission of names and affiliations from the twenty‑five detailed files each was between three and eleven inches thick), the information was usually sufficient to tentatively identify either the newsman, his affiliation or both!particularly because so many of them were prominent in the profession.

The Alarmist > , September 5, 2016 at 11:43 pm GMT

@Darin If moon landings were fake, why hadn't USSR or China revealed it? This would discredit USA before the whole world and won the Cold War in one stroke.

If USSR was also part of the plot, then whole Cold War was fake - and in this case there would be no need for the small Apollo fake.

Sometimes, stupid conspiracy theories are just stupid conspiracy theories - or smart fakes, designed to discredit conspirational thinking and distract them from the real conspiracies. Take your pick.

" then whole Cold War was fake."

Wow, now here's a conspiracy theory to sink one's teeth into. That would make a great Matrix/MI/Bourne sequel.

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 11:48 pm GMT

@Decius Kristol is a Straussian because he got a PhD in PolPhil from Harvard under Mansfield, who is a Straussian. There is no necessary connection between Strauss's thought any of the main tenets of Neo-conservatism. I've said, and you've all ignored, that Strauss attacked data-driven social science, which is the original hallmark of neo-conservatism. A later hallmark (which emerged after Strauss's death) was foreign policy hawkism. Unless you want to say that Strauss's opposition to the USSR makes him a neo-con, in which case every Cold War liberal going back to Truman was a neo-con. At which point the term has no meaning.

Strauss addresses scholars and potential philosophers. He has almost nothing to say about the transient issues of his age. Based on his comments on what other thinkers had to say about war (Thucydides above all) I believe we can infer that Strauss was generally in favor of preparedness and wariness but otherwise anti-war in the general sense. If we may analogize the Iraq War to the Sicilian Expedition we may say that Strauss probably would have opposed the former as imprudent, just as he tacitly endorses T's judgement that the latter was imprudent.

Strauss openly characterizes Machiavelli's approach to philosophy as a conspiracy, using that word, but does not say it about any other thinker. However, his teaching that philosophy is an inherently elite and very small enterprise may be fairly characterized as a "conspiracy." however, before modernity, the nature of the conspiracy was to protect the conspirators and the philosophic life, not a reform campaign. that's what it becomes under modernity, which Strauss opposes. One of Strauss's aims in writing was to revive the ancient idea of philosophy, its proper scope, and its proper relationship to society, which he believed modernity had corrupted.

It is unfortunate that Strauss became a bogey-man to so many who have no idea what he said or why. It happened rather recently and based on some very thin scholarship. Most of the thing people try to pin on him are things that I and my friends oppose too. We just know they don't trace to Strauss. In fact, the opposite is often true. Thanks for that response, gave me a better perspective of the man. I guess he did know who he was writing for. And I do think the way to write for history is to write history by disregarding topical preoccupations, except to damn them with faint praise. I have a master like that I always go back to on the topic I care about most.

And actually the one work of Strauss's I have picked up, years ago, is his Machiavelli; it's one of the thousands of books I've read! not though one of the few I finished. Brushing up just now by way of wikipedia, it doesn't look like Strauss staked his claim strong enough, if an original reading is what he was writing.

By the way, I know the Irishman John Toland was the first to publish on the esoteric-exoteric distinction, and coined the term pantheist on a related occasion when he named what new beast Spinoza had born. That was when an esoteric mode of writing was really needed, and you will hear The Ethics called esoteric or cryptic, but I know the work well, and it is no more esoteric than any work of genius that teaches you to read closely right at the start.

Is The Prince an esoteric work? Did it entertain a conspiracy with special readers? I suppose only if Machiavelli had individuals in mind who might wonder were they all the while in mind when he was writing about how to dispose of them. The point is, there's nothing profound about observing that, it's almost common sense if you take into account the first thing about Machiavelli's circumstance.

I won't be glib and write Strauss's method off as typically paranoid; it's creative, but bound to be too creative by half. I think it might lead readers to have more fun than's good for learning.

Wizard of Oz > , September 6, 2016 at 12:15 am GMT

@Decius Kristol is a Straussian because he got a PhD in PolPhil from Harvard under Mansfield, who is a Straussian. There is no necessary connection between Strauss's thought any of the main tenets of Neo-conservatism. I've said, and you've all ignored, that Strauss attacked data-driven social science, which is the original hallmark of neo-conservatism. A later hallmark (which emerged after Strauss's death) was foreign policy hawkism. Unless you want to say that Strauss's opposition to the USSR makes him a neo-con, in which case every Cold War liberal going back to Truman was a neo-con. At which point the term has no meaning.

Strauss addresses scholars and potential philosophers. He has almost nothing to say about the transient issues of his age. Based on his comments on what other thinkers had to say about war (Thucydides above all) I believe we can infer that Strauss was generally in favor of preparedness and wariness but otherwise anti-war in the general sense. If we may analogize the Iraq War to the Sicilian Expedition we may say that Strauss probably would have opposed the former as imprudent, just as he tacitly endorses T's judgement that the latter was imprudent.

Strauss openly characterizes Machiavelli's approach to philosophy as a conspiracy, using that word, but does not say it about any other thinker. However, his teaching that philosophy is an inherently elite and very small enterprise may be fairly characterized as a "conspiracy." however, before modernity, the nature of the conspiracy was to protect the conspirators and the philosophic life, not a reform campaign. that's what it becomes under modernity, which Strauss opposes. One of Strauss's aims in writing was to revive the ancient idea of philosophy, its proper scope, and its proper relationship to society, which he believed modernity had corrupted.

It is unfortunate that Strauss became a bogey-man to so many who have no idea what he said or why. It happened rather recently and based on some very thin scholarship. Most of the thing people try to pin on him are things that I and my friends oppose too. We just know they don't trace to Strauss. In fact, the opposite is often true. Fascinating. A reminder that one should five lives lived to 120 so one can lots of stories right .

Bill Jones > , September 6, 2016 at 1:04 am GMT

@Gene Tuttle I've often used the argument myself that conspiracies inevitably have short shelf lives in the US because it was so difficult for Americans to keep secrets. The article makes a useful point in suggesting that secret plots, even after being revealed, may nevertheless remain widely ignored. Ideology, group-think, pack journalism etc. are powerful forces, often subconsciously at work, preventing alternative theories from developing legs.

Though long an admirer of Karl Popper, I hadn't strongly associated him with attacks on conspiracy theories per se. As an American "outsider" living abroad most of my adult life, I've all too often encountered those who assumed my background alone explained an argument of mine that they didn't like. Popper had hit the nail on the head when he wrote about

"a widespread and dangerous fashion of our time...of not taking arguments seriously, and at their face value, at least tentatively, but of seeing in them nothing but a way in which deeper irrational motives and tendencies express themselves." It was "the attitude of looking at once for the unconscious motives and determinants in the social habitat of the thinker, instead of first examining the validity of the argument itself."
The powerful nazi and communist ideologies of his day assumed that one's " blood " or " class " precluded "correct" thinking. Those politically incorrect challengers to their own totalitarian weltanschauung were (to put it mildly) persecuted as conspirators. No doubt, as Ron Unz notes, Popper's personal experience "contributed the depth of his feelings" -- I would say skepticism – about conspiracy claims.

But the author of the " Open Society " had an open mind and I suspect he'd find the thesis reasonable that real conspiracies can both be uncovered and largely ignored because so many simply opt to ignore them. In such cases, evidence and "not taking arguments seriously" often reflects "intellectual groupieism," emotions, professional insecurities as well as venal collective interests. Nice try.

The Manhattan Project was successfully kept secret despite its scope and the fact that it consumed 17% of the electricity production of the entire US.

exiled off mainstreet > , September 6, 2016 at 1:14 am GMT

@Miro23 The British and Americans have been the victims of conspiracies (False Flag operations) for years.

For example:

The Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (headquarters of the British Mandate Government of Palestine) in which Zionist activists dressed as Arabs placed milk churns filled with explosives against the main columns of the building killing 91 people and injuring 44. Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu, attended a celebration to commemorate the event.

Operation Susannah (Lavon Affair) where Israeli operatives impersonating Arabs bombed British and American cinemas, libraries and educational centers in Egypt to destabilize the country and keep British troops committed to the Middle East.

Or June 8, 1967, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty with unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats. 34 men were killed and 171 wounded, with the attack in international waters following over nine hours of close surveillance. When the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime. Original plan to blame the sinking with all lives lost on the Egyptians and draw the US into the war.

Or Israelis and U.S. Zionists appearing all over the most recent WTC 9/11 "Operation" with Israelis once again impersonating Arabs in a historic deception/terror action of a type that seems to carry a lot of kudos with old Israeli ex-terrorist Likudniks. Israeli agents were sent to film the historic day (as they later admitted on Israeli TV), with the celebrations including photos of themselves with a background of the burning towers where thousands of Americans were being incinerated.

Iraq was destroyed as a result of 9/11 but unfortunately for the conspirators, the momentum wasn't sufficient for a general war including Iran. Also the general war would have included the nuclear angle and justified the activation of a neo-con led Emergency Regime (dictatorship) in the US enforced with the newly printed Patriot Act and Homeland Security troops - or maybe that's just another Conspiracy Theory? The Israelis learned their false flag lesson from the Nazis, who used concentration camp inmates dressed as Polish soldiers as part of a phony attack on the frontier radio station "Sender Gleiwitz" a day or so before they invaded Poland.

exiled off mainstreet > , September 6, 2016 at 1:44 am GMT

@Darin Yes, why?

If you want to start a war, would you want to start with great defeat and loss of your fleet?

In the thirties, there were three cases of false flag attacks created to justify a war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukden_Incident
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleiwitz_incident
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelling_of_Mainila

In none of these cases the attacker actually killed thousands of his own soldiers, what would be the point? I didn't notice Gleiwitz was mentioned in another posting before I mentioned it. I tend go along with you and suspect incompetence rather than purpose was the cause of the Pearl Harbor disaster, though the incompetence may have included failure to adequately warn those on the ground at Pearl Harbor. Personally, I don't back the "truther" version of the twin towers because that would have required a broader conspiracy than I think could have succeeded. My guess is that the neighboring building was destroyed as part of the cleanup effort. I do think, however, that the authorities knew something was up, didn't believe it could ever succeed and used it as a sort of Reichstag Fire incident to brush aside constitutional democracy in the US. I also suspect that the Mossad knew more than they let on. My guess is that if Gore rather than Bush had been in power that history would have been far different. I suspect that the anthrax thing was more likely started by the yankee regime as a home-grown conspiracy.

Decius > , September 6, 2016 at 1:51 am GMT

@Pat Casey Thanks for that response, gave me a better perspective of the man. I guess he did know who he was writing for. And I do think the way to write for history is to write history by disregarding topical preoccupations, except to damn them with faint praise. I have a master like that I always go back to on the topic I care about most.

And actually the one work of Strauss's I have picked up, years ago, is his Machiavelli; it's one of the thousands of books I've read--- not though one of the few I finished. Brushing up just now by way of wikipedia, it doesn't look like Strauss staked his claim strong enough, if an original reading is what he was writing.

By the way, I know the Irishman John Toland was the first to publish on the esoteric-exoteric distinction, and coined the term pantheist on a related occasion when he named what new beast Spinoza had born. That was when an esoteric mode of writing was really needed, and you will hear The Ethics called esoteric or cryptic, but I know the work well, and it is no more esoteric than any work of genius that teaches you to read closely right at the start.

Is The Prince an esoteric work? Did it entertain a conspiracy with special readers? I suppose only if Machiavelli had individuals in mind who might wonder were they all the while in mind when he was writing about how to dispose of them. The point is, there's nothing profound about observing that, it's almost common sense if you take into account the first thing about Machiavelli's circumstance.

I won't be glib and write Strauss's method off as typically paranoid; it's creative, but bound to be too creative by half. I think it might lead readers to have more fun than's good for learning. First, if you are at all interested in esotericism, I cannot recommend highly enough Philosophy Between the Lines by Meltzer. The only thing critical I can say about this book is that, if one is really an expert in one of the thinkers that Meltzer treats, one will read the passages on that thinker that Meltzer cites and say "So what? I've known that for years. He's shed no new light." Which is true. But irrelevant to what he's trying to do. The book presents an unassailable case that philosophy has been esoteric since Plato. Esotericism long predates Spinoza and has been discussed since ancient times. Strauss simply revived a concept that had been forgotten. Toland (who I am not that familiar with) wrote before esotericism as it were "lapsed." Strauss says that Goethe and Lessing were the last to write this way. When Strauss revived knowledge of esotericism in the late 1930s with the first Xenophon article, he was considered nuts.

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.

I would recommend in addition Strauss's book on Spinoza and especially the much later preface that he wrote when he felt he finally understood Spinoza's esotericism.

Yes, the Prince (and the Discourses , and Art of War , and Florentine Histories ) are esoteric. It's too complex to argue in a comment thread. Suffice it to say for now that the outrageous "kill that dude" teachings serve and exoteric purpose.

anonymous > , Disclaimer September 6, 2016 at 2:18 am GMT

@exiled off mainstreet I didn't notice Gleiwitz was mentioned in another posting before I mentioned it. I tend go along with you and suspect incompetence rather than purpose was the cause of the Pearl Harbor disaster, though the incompetence may have included failure to adequately warn those on the ground at Pearl Harbor. Personally, I don't back the "truther" version of the twin towers because that would have required a broader conspiracy than I think could have succeeded. My guess is that the neighboring building was destroyed as part of the cleanup effort. I do think, however, that the authorities knew something was up, didn't believe it could ever succeed and used it as a sort of Reichstag Fire incident to brush aside constitutional democracy in the US. I also suspect that the Mossad knew more than they let on. My guess is that if Gore rather than Bush had been in power that history would have been far different. I suspect that the anthrax thing was more likely started by the yankee regime as a home-grown conspiracy.

My guess is that if Gore rather than Bush had been in power that history would have been far different.

Joe Lieberman was Gore's running mate. Lieberman had the Patriot Act on a shelf waiting for an opportunity !

While holding the chair of the "Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs," Lieberman introduced on October 11, 2001, Senate Bill 1534, to establish the US Department of Homeland Security.

Anticipating the bill's certain passage, Lieberman gave himself automatic chairmanship after he changed the name of his committee to, "The Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Government Affairs."

Since then, Lieberman has been the main force behind legislation such as:
-1- The USA Patriot Act
-2- Protect America Act
-3- National Emergency Centers Establishment Act
-4- The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation Act
-5- The Terrorist Expatriation Act, and the proposed
-6- Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act.

Rurik > , September 6, 2016 at 2:40 am GMT

Thank you Mr. Unz, for this excellent- and circumspect and salient- article.

His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.

I'll just add that from what I've glimmered, (I'm definitely no expert on Leo Strauss), Strauss' philosophy contained more than just a careful consideration of 'conspiracy theories' and how they should be handled, but that what he advocated was a small group of highly motivated elite zealots (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, et al) who would not just use power to control the narrative vis-a-vis conspiracy theories, but more to the point, would be the men who would conspire to alter the realities that required a mocking of "conspiracy theories" in the first place.

From what I understand, one of his motivating themes was that his acolytes would come to understand that they shouldn't be guided by trite, pedestrian notions of morality when being the agents of change in the world. And that rather, they should use his teachings as a way to see the world as exceptional men, who would boldly do things others might shrink from, out of hackneyed notions of probity.

Perhaps the best quote I know of to describe Straussianism (as I understand it) was made by a man who wasn't one of his actual students, but who certainly would have been well acquainted and worked closely with others who were; Karl Rove, when speaking to an aid:

"That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality!judiciously, as you will!we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

that quote for me, describes Straussianism to a T. And if so, certainty dovetails with what happened during the reign of Bush-the lesser. Especially with something as audacious as 911.

That at least, is how I've seen it

As for the control of the media, I think most of your readers are certainly aware of that particular conundrum and its consequences. It is literally impossible to be too cynical as regards our media and government and CIA and other shenanigans, IMHO.

Thanks again sir.

SolontoCroesus > , September 6, 2016 at 2:50 am GMT

@Decius First, if you are at all interested in esotericism, I cannot recommend highly enough Philosophy Between the Lines by Meltzer. The only thing critical I can say about this book is that, if one is really an expert in one of the thinkers that Meltzer treats, one will read the passages on that thinker that Meltzer cites and say "So what? I've known that for years. He's shed no new light." Which is true. But irrelevant to what he's trying to do. The book presents an unassailable case that philosophy has been esoteric since Plato. Esotericism long predates Spinoza and has been discussed since ancient times. Strauss simply revived a concept that had been forgotten. Toland (who I am not that familiar with) wrote before esotericism as it were "lapsed." Strauss says that Goethe and Lessing were the last to write this way. When Strauss revived knowledge of esotericism in the late 1930s with the first Xenophon article, he was considered nuts.

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.

I would recommend in addition Strauss's book on Spinoza and especially the much later preface that he wrote when he felt he finally understood Spinoza's esotericism.

Yes, the Prince (and the Discourses , and Art of War , and Florentine Histories ) are esoteric. It's too complex to argue in a comment thread. Suffice it to say for now that the outrageous "kill that dude" teachings serve and exoteric purpose.

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.

Nonsense.

Maurizio Viroli has dedicated his life to scholarship on Machiavelli. He reads and understands The Prince (and Machiavelli's other works and life) in the context in which they were written, taking account of the finest details of Machiavelli's human, psychological, and spiritual evolution in the course of career and writing. Viroli walks in Niccolo's footsteps; like Machiavelli, he "puts on the garments" of 15th century Florence, and Rome, and the French and Germanic cities where Machiavelli traveled to represent Florence.

Strauss may satisfy those inclined to engage in exercise in Talmudic argument, but Machiavelli was Italian, Florentine, and Roman; Dante was his constant companion; he was also conversant in Old and New Testament literature and, less extensively, with the relatively newly rediscovered Greek philosophers.

Strauss does not understand Machiavelli's thoughts on religion because he fails to separate Niccolo's Christian, Danteian spirituality from his disgust with the corruption of the Roman Catholic papacy and institutional church.

If you want intellectual showmanship and hair-splitting, Strauss on Machiavelli's your man. If you want to understand the soul of Niccolo Machiavelli and the complexities of political life in the Florence, Italy he lived in and loved, you can't do better than Maurizio Viroli.

Machiavelli and Republicanism

http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/history/history-ideas-and-intellectual-history/machiavelli-and-republicanism?format=PB

Redeeming the Prince

http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/681223

For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism

http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0198293585.001.0001/acprof-9780198293583

(Strauss twists Machiavelli's love of country into an evil act because it is not universal. Yet, as one reviewer noted of Strauss, "I would make the case that the best defense of Strauss lies in an understanding of Aristotle and Israel." https://www.amazon.com/German-Stranger-Strauss-National-Socialism/dp/0739147382 )

CanSpeccy > , Website September 6, 2016 at 2:50 am GMT

@biz


you are too quick to conflate 9/11 and the moon landings
Actually, it was Unz himself who stated a while back that if we admit that one of them is possible, then all are possible, or something more or less to that effect.

In an case, the 9/11 controlled demolition / missile / flight 93 is in a hangar in Cleveland stuff is just as implausible as faking the moon landings. Too many people and organizations and countries needing to be in on it, etc. biz, you obviously missed it. Bill Jones, above , debunked your argument even before you made it.

Pat Casey > , September 6, 2016 at 3:31 am GMT

@Rurik Thank you Mr. Unz, for this excellent- and circumspect and salient- article.


His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.
I'll just add that from what I've glimmered, (I'm definitely no expert on Leo Strauss), Strauss' philosophy contained more than just a careful consideration of 'conspiracy theories' and how they should be handled, but that what he advocated was a small group of highly motivated elite zealots (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, et al) who would not just use power to control the narrative vis-a-vis conspiracy theories, but more to the point, would be the men who would conspire to alter the realities that required a mocking of "conspiracy theories" in the first place.

From what I understand, one of his motivating themes was that his acolytes would come to understand that they shouldn't be guided by trite, pedestrian notions of morality when being the agents of change in the world. And that rather, they should use his teachings as a way to see the world as exceptional men, who would boldly do things others might shrink from, out of hackneyed notions of probity.

Perhaps the best quote I know of to describe Straussianism (as I understand it) was made by a man who wasn't one of his actual students, but who certainly would have been well acquainted and worked closely with others who were; Karl Rove, when speaking to an aid:

"That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality!judiciously, as you will!we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

that quote for me, describes Straussianism to a T. And if so, certainty dovetails with what happened during the reign of Bush-the lesser. Especially with something as audacious as 911.

That at least, is how I've seen it...

As for the control of the media, I think most of your readers are certainly aware of that particular conundrum and its consequences. It is literally impossible to be too cynical as regards our media and government and CIA and other shenanigans, IMHO.

Thanks again sir. Nice job. You roped the quote that ran across my mind! I swear these things are in the air. How do you say, the ghost of Leo Strauss was moving men to do what you can't pin on his memory? Well you said it and that settles it. Thank goodness.

Astuteobservor II > , September 6, 2016 at 3:32 am GMT

after snowden, every conspiracy theory got a 99% boost in credibility. he confirmed the big bad boogeymen watching and spying on us all. nothing else is impossible, nothing. every theory is now possible, everything.

Decius > , September 6, 2016 at 3:55 am GMT

@Pat Casey Nice job. You roped the quote that ran across my mind--- I swear these things are in the air. How do you say, the ghost of Leo Strauss was moving men to do what you can't pin on his memory? Well you said it and that settles it. Thank goodness. Wait, a quote from Rove that doesn't even mention Strauss explains everything about Strauss? Are you serious?

I gather you just need a boogeyman and Strauss is the one you've selected. Or, more accurately, have allowed others to select for you.

Decius > , September 6, 2016 at 4:03 am GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.
Nonsense. Maurizio Viroli has dedicated his life to scholarship on Machiavelli. He reads and understands The Prince (and Machiavelli's other works and life) in the context in which they were written, taking account of the finest details of Machiavelli's human, psychological, and spiritual evolution in the course of career and writing. Viroli walks in Niccolo's footsteps; like Machiavelli, he "puts on the garments" of 15th century Florence, and Rome, and the French and Germanic cities where Machiavelli traveled to represent Florence.

Strauss may satisfy those inclined to engage in exercise in Talmudic argument, but Machiavelli was Italian, Florentine, and Roman; Dante was his constant companion; he was also conversant in Old and New Testament literature and, less extensively, with the relatively newly rediscovered Greek philosophers.

Strauss does not understand Machiavelli's thoughts on religion because he fails to separate Niccolo's Christian, Danteian spirituality from his disgust with the corruption of the Roman Catholic papacy and institutional church. If you want intellectual showmanship and hair-splitting, Strauss on Machiavelli's your man. If you want to understand the soul of Niccolo Machiavelli and the complexities of political life in the Florence, Italy he lived in and loved, you can't do better than Maurizio Viroli.

(Strauss twists Machiavelli's love of country into an evil act because it is not universal. Yet, as one reviewer noted of Strauss, "I would make the case that the best defense of Strauss lies in an understanding of Aristotle and Israel." https://www.amazon.com/German-Stranger-Strauss-National-Socialism/dp/0739147382 ) First, you are wrong that Strauss thinks Machiavelli's patriotism is in itself evil. Strauss says the exact opposite at several points. But he also says that recourse to patriotism does not in itself excuse Machiavelli's recommendations to do evil. Strauss himself comes up with the most persuasive justifications (which are higher than excuses) for Machiavelli's evil sayings. But to understand Strauss's arguments, you would have to read the book and spend a lot of time with it because it is hard.

Viroli is a scholar I respect for a lot of reasons, but not for philosophic depth. The argument about "context" diminishes Machiavelli (and all great thinkers) by presupposing that their thought is time-bound or that they could not think past the horizon of their time. The greatest minds transcend their times and even create new times. There aren't very many such, but Nick was one.

pyrrhus > , September 6, 2016 at 5:37 am GMT

The CIA's Project Mockingbird had all the network news anchors using the words "conspiracy theory" like the brainless parrots that they were. And Americans remain well brainwashed, although it's actually hard to get anything significant done without a "conspiracy."

Pat Casey > , September 6, 2016 at 5:37 am GMT

@Decius First, if you are at all interested in esotericism, I cannot recommend highly enough Philosophy Between the Lines by Meltzer. The only thing critical I can say about this book is that, if one is really an expert in one of the thinkers that Meltzer treats, one will read the passages on that thinker that Meltzer cites and say "So what? I've known that for years. He's shed no new light." Which is true. But irrelevant to what he's trying to do. The book presents an unassailable case that philosophy has been esoteric since Plato. Esotericism long predates Spinoza and has been discussed since ancient times. Strauss simply revived a concept that had been forgotten. Toland (who I am not that familiar with) wrote before esotericism as it were "lapsed." Strauss says that Goethe and Lessing were the last to write this way. When Strauss revived knowledge of esotericism in the late 1930s with the first Xenophon article, he was considered nuts.

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.

I would recommend in addition Strauss's book on Spinoza and especially the much later preface that he wrote when he felt he finally understood Spinoza's esotericism.

Yes, the Prince (and the Discourses , and Art of War , and Florentine Histories ) are esoteric. It's too complex to argue in a comment thread. Suffice it to say for now that the outrageous "kill that dude" teachings serve and exoteric purpose. Steve weighed in on this a while back and made the point that what we have, what has been handed down to us, that probably is the esoteric stuff. I don't think he even mentioned in the piece how interesting it is that what we have of Aristotle seem to be lecture notes. I suspect that is just because: Aristotle taught Alexander!the teacher knew no felt need to live on as a writer like Plato did. One thing we can say about those lecture notes, we can pretty well imagine they were not written in his prime, hence we're still learning how much good stuff is there; if you know your stuff, you know as late as the late Richard Taylor that the philosopher was yet outdoing us moderns in a point he makes like an afterthought but could not matter more. But so anyways, what we have is the distilled Aristotle probably from his golden years; if we also had it in any other form, it might read comparatively mercilessly for being too esoteric. As we know him it is impossible to imagine Aristotle writing dialogues, debating other voices ; one need not name rivals when one has none and he was the King's philosopher. What you can't say is no he was being disorganized on purpose to be esoteric, right?

But take Plato. I assume if you could read ancient Greek as well as Plato could, you would find many a double meaning at crucial turns but I really have no idea save the gut instinct that the man was an inspired writer when he wrote which is to say a poet. And what a poet does is let the muse speak and summon such nice lines as "The Beauty is not the Madness/ Though my errors and wrecks lie about me/and I am not a demigod, I cannot make it cohere." The errors that lie about him strewn about him as it were, they lie about how good he was when he was at his best. A tongue like a double-bladed sword says the Bible. I imagine some of Ezra Pound's radio rants need a second listen with less tense nerves; they say the Italians suspected he was transmitting code. Anyways. Imagine how much can be said for the stories we tell ourselves .how many former selves does any one wind up with? you have to ask your self.

Scholasticism, well you could almost say that's all about no secret handshake shit. Make sure them key words get nailed down and no tricks or to the tower you got cause to go.

Spinoza, oh we know exactly where his mystery lies. Edwin Curley said:

"In responding to this objection, I think I had best begin by confessing candidly that in spite of many years of study, I still do not feel that I understand this part of the Ethics at all adequately. I feel the freedom to confess that, of course, because I also believe that no one else understands it adequately either"

What objection? The one that says, nothing of the mind should remain eternal after the body has been destroyed if there is only one substance! We could have gone to grad school on this paper is what the man said, but first pay respects to what that meant to him personally, cause he probably escaped with his life when he did, but he knew his disciples would keep his mind alive. But seriously I should touch this up and send it somewhere:

It must be said that the elegance of this deduction is striking. God's idea of the human body corresponds with the mind's idea of the human body. The crucial move that turns the correspondence into a startling claim is that God's idea expresses the essence of the body, while the mind's idea expresses the essence of the mind. Through the initial correspondence, God's eternal essence expressed as an idea of the body adopts the essence of the mind. Thus, when the body dies, something of the essence of the mind remains eternal. With that, Spinoza culminates his masterpiece.

" Since what is conceived, with a certain eternal necessity, through God's essence itself, is nevertheless something, this something that pertains to the essence of the mind will necessarily be eternal." Besides being an Eternalist, Spinoza is also an Idealist. It fits then that he should leave something of the mind remaining eternally, rather than what a strict Eternalist would leave, that is, something of the mind and body. But recall that Spinoza's something that pertains to the essence of the mind is the idea of the body . In the final analysis, his system coheres.

That's terribly poignant too, because it shows he went back to his roots in the end: "The soul will blame the body for its actions."

Anyways I've spent myself and who wants to talk about Nietzsche, really. That guy was an antenna for a frequency that was broadcasting Noh drama directly into his soul while he wrote his Zarathustra, and I don't believe he ever came back from that!he had all the inside jokes he could tell to himself in perpetuity. But I gotta say, one time I ran into this guys blog who had let Nietzsche drive him insane, and he had comprehensively worked out to an absolute end the thesis his whole philosophy was to understand that a formal Matriarchy was what's good and here's why that's the necessity. If that is true its too hysterical to ever argue with no hint of mania. So I felt bad for the guy.

But what the other guy said rings truest to me. And I'd just add that Paul Gottfried's observation that Strauss winds up treating a text a lot like the Deconstructions do does not entirely fail Strauss for me. The fundamental truth to them is something every one of us around can understand: these words we type, the ain't alive on quick lips, which is what gets some of us into more trouble than others.

I definitely check out the book, but one must be cautious when resurrecting phantoms.

Pat Casey > , September 6, 2016 at 6:18 am GMT

@Decius Wait, a quote from Rove that doesn't even mention Strauss explains everything about Strauss? Are you serious?

I gather you just need a boogeyman and Strauss is the one you've selected. Or, more accurately, have allowed others to select for you. Don't miss my longer reply, in the cue, plus this one, but put the boogeyman business to bed and put your defenses down . I can't say it any other way: I think the spirit of Leo Strauss may well have moved men to move mountains and mountains otherwise called federal bureaucracies and divisions of armies. It might explain not "everything" about Strauss but indeed whats essential about Strauss, which is that you are right, I suspect he was special. Step back for a second and forget that those Bush bastards were bastards and just estimate the nerve it takes to pull off 9/11 and then go into Afghanistan and Iraq. We can all at least agree, that's somthin.

5371 > , September 6, 2016 at 6:20 am GMT

@Decius At any rate it's sort of absurd to watch you people chase your tails. All that you "know" or think you know is that Strauss is bad. But Schmitt is good. But Strauss is derivative of Schmitt. Doesn't that make Strauss good, or Schmitt bad?

Schmitt is famous for arguing in favor of the essential particularity of politics--i.e., against alleged neocon universalism. So if Strauss is derivative of Schmitt, how can he be a neocon universalist?

Strauss in fact agrees with Schmitt on the essential particularity of politics and says so, but finds a deeper source, with deeper arguments, in Plato. Schmitt admitted that his own attempt to fortify his particularism was build on the quick-sandy foundation of modern rationalism, which Strauss taught him to see through. When you can pin Strauss down to a definite meaning, it is false, banal or both. He is usually too obfuscatory to be pinned down. Schmitt is easy to understand and shows you true things you had not thought of before.

dismasdolben > , September 6, 2016 at 6:23 am GMT

My favourite historical conspiracy is the so-called "Gunpowder Plot," which is still, despite all of the evidence that has been discovered in more modern times, represented in history books, as being exclusively the work of disgruntled Catholic noblemen and their Jesuit confessors. It was actually a government projection of the Cecil ministry, completely riddled with moles who nurtured it along, right up until the point when it could be revealed to the public for maximum political effect, and to the King, so that he would become more terrorified, and, thus, more dependent upon the Cecils and their "constitutionalist" Puritan proteges. The "evidence" has, indeed, always been in plain sight, and it has been dealt with in numerous books, such as The Gunpowder Plot, Faith and Treason , by Antonia Fraser, and another book, entitled "God's Secret Agents,' but, still, to this day, the myth of conspiring priests is still propagated in atavistic anti-Catholic British history.

Wizard of Oz > , September 6, 2016 at 7:42 am GMT

@Miro23 Being smart has nothing to do with it.

For example the government says that WTC7 completely collapsed in 7 seconds due to fire. You don't need to be smart to see something is wrong here (hint: most of the structural pillars were untouched by fire). I see the biggest problem about a conspiratorial explanation for the WTC 7 collapse is motive. How does it make sense for those who wanted the big splash that hitting buildings 1 and 2 would give? The other major difficulty is the video footage of fires burning all day which had to have heated the steel and therefore potentially weakened it to a critical point. Where's the mystery?

Old fogey > , September 6, 2016 at 8:28 am GMT

@Laurel The best strategy is to foster implausible conspiracy theories to create a cloud of disinformation. This technique was used very effectively after 9/11, such that it's very hard to discuss a coverup without being labeled a truther. Thank you for inserting the word "truther" into the conversation. It has always fascinated me that someone searching for the truth about a political issue is now automatically considered a conspiracy theorist.

Moi > , September 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm GMT

@Rehmat There are more so-called "conspiracy theories" claimed by the US government, CIA, and organized Jewry than the Jews may have been killed by the Nazis. The "conspiracy theorists" like the "terrorists" are chosen by the Zionist-controlled mainstream media.

Like the September 11, 2001 attacks, the lie that Iran's president Ahmadinejad called, WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP, is still kept alive by the Organized Jewry even though Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor admitted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said Iran wanted to "wipe Israel off the face of the map" in an interview with Al Jazeera in April 2012.

American investigative writer and author, Robert Parry, claimed on September 19, 2009 that Ahmadinejad never denied Holocaust. He just challenged Israel and the western powers to allow an open debate to find the truth behind the Zionist Holy Cow, "Six Million Died".

In reality, the only country that has been 'wiped off the map' is the 5,000-year-old Palestine by Europe's unwanted Jews.

Iran's current president Dr. Hassan Rouhani like Dr. Ahmadinejad, is also blamed for denying the Zionist Holy Holocaust as parroted by Wiesel, which he never did, saying it's up to historians to decide who's lying.

https://rehmat1.com/2013/09/28/holocaust-the-word-rouhani-never-uttered/ If the Zionists can lie so much about Israeli history (e.g. The Arabs encouraged Palestinians to flee, that the Arabs were about to attack Israel in 1967, land without a people for a people without a land, etc.), one can only wonder about the official holocaust narrative of 6M dead, gas chambers, etc.).

I've not read Elie Weisel's book Night, but I understand that no where does he mention gas chambers in Auschwitz .

[Sep 21, 2017] Hysteria in America -- Congress Filled With Totalitarians Who Oppose

Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, American legislators have published a bill that could potentially block Russian broadcasters from being shown in the US. It could allow US content providers to break their contracts, leaving Russian channels without any legal recourse. ..."
"... "prohibit multichannel video programming distributors from being required to carry certain video content that is owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation" ..."
"... Why the focus on Russia, in what's supposed to be an annual defense spending bill? ..."
"... As we mentioned, various foreign governments fund TV channels in America, but only Russia gets a mention in this bill. Is that a case of double-standards? Should the attention just solely be on Russia? ..."
"... Does it look like this measure has been deliberately buried in a huge defense bill to avoid scrutiny? Or do you expect debate on this? ..."
"... 'Investigate Russia' ..."
"... Reprinted with permission from RT . ..."
Sep 21, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

'Free Market of Ideas' by RT

There are members of Congress who don't want anyone on TV saying America's foreign policy is a disaster and it costs a fortune, Daniel McAdams, executive director, Ron Paul Institute, told RT.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2018, which passed the US Senate earlier this week, carries some added provisions that have little in common with the military.

Indeed, American legislators have published a bill that could potentially block Russian broadcasters from being shown in the US. It could allow US content providers to break their contracts, leaving Russian channels without any legal recourse.

The plan is buried inside a tiny amendment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The part about Russia is summarized in just a few lines, between details on funding of the US military.

Amendment No 1096 , which aims to "prohibit multichannel video programming distributors from being required to carry certain video content that is owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation" .

RT: Why the focus on Russia, in what's supposed to be an annual defense spending bill?

Daniel McAdams: There is an obsession on Capitol Hill and within the mainstream media with RT because RT is effective and RT is watched. But also, and this is very important because RT carries perspectives that are not available in the mainstream media. Commentators on RT that I know would say the same thing that they say on RT if they were invited by any of the mainstream media, but they won't. The matter of fact is that John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the people who were behind this amendment, the Atlantic Council and the others are trying to silence RT. They are the totalitarians, they are the enemies of free speech; they're the enemies of the First Amendment; they don't want anyone coming on television saying that America's foreign policy is a disaster; it is broken; it is making us more vulnerable to attack, and it's costing a fortune. It cannot stand competition in the area of ideas.

RT: As we mentioned, various foreign governments fund TV channels in America, but only Russia gets a mention in this bill. Is that a case of double-standards? Should the attention just solely be on Russia?

DM: The attention should be on none of these stations. It should be viewer beware. If you're watching RT and you know that it is funded, or its funding comes from the Russian government, you take that into consideration just as any intelligent person would do. When I watch France 24, when I watch the BBC, I know that that takes the perspectives of the British government into consideration, because it is funded by that.

This is a free market of ideas; this is what this is all about. But the people on Capitol Hill are again totalitarians – they don't want a free market in ideas. They want to control the debate. They don't want Americans to wake up and see that the foreign policy that they are pushing is resulting in a charred Earth and a disaster that is coming home to roost.

RT: Does it look like this measure has been deliberately buried in a huge defense bill to avoid scrutiny? Or do you expect debate on this?

DM: This is how it's done, absolutely. I have read a million defense spending bills in my 15 years on the Hill. This is called planting a seed – you plant this kernel, and it starts to grow. If someone objects, later on, you can say – this is already passed in the defense bill; you've already voted on this; this is already part of the law; this is just suggesting, clarifying, or going further. This is how they do things: you bury it in a huge bill like this; you plant a seed and you watch it grow.

I don't know the exact language in the bill; I am sure Russia is not only the flavor of the month, it is the flavor of the year. There is the 'Investigate Russia' committee , where a bunch of Hollywood liberals got together with a bunch of neocons and are finding reds under our beds. There is a hysteria going on in America. I still would like to believe that the average American thinks it's absolutely nuts; I hope it stays that way. Hopefully, this will blow over at some point, and not blow up .

Hollywood was once on the receiving end of McCarthyism in the 50s, and now it looks like they want to dish out McCarthyism on everyone else.

Reprinted with permission from RT .


Related

[Sep 21, 2017] Neoliberalism has had its day. So what happens next? by Martin Jacques

This article sounds pretty true almost a year after its initial publication with the exception of Trump, who easily betrayed his election platform.
The point of the article is that what you call the left ceased to be social democrats when they embraced neo-liberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight. ..."
"... But how did neoliberalism manage to survive virtually unscathed for so long? Although it failed the test of the real world, bequeathing the worst economic disaster for seven decades, politically and intellectually it remained the only show in town. Parties of the right, centre and left had all bought into its philosophy, New Labour a classic in point. They knew no other way of thinking or doing: it had become the common sense. It was, as Antonio Gramsci put it, hegemonic. But that hegemony cannot and will not survive the test of the real world. ..."
"... The effect of the financial crisis was to undermine faith and trust in the competence of the governing elites. It marked the beginnings of a wider political crisis. ..."
"... But by far the most disastrous feature of the neoliberal period has been the huge growth in inequality. ..."
"... As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable. ..."
"... Brexit, too, was primarily a working-class revolt. Hitherto, on both sides of the Atlantic, the agency of class has been in retreat in the face of the emergence of a new range of identities and issues from gender and race to sexual orientation and the environment. The return of class, because of its sheer reach, has the potential, like no other issue, to redefine the political landscape. ..."
"... The re-emergence of class should not be confused with the labour movement. They are not synonymous: this is obvious in the US and increasingly the case in the UK. Indeed, over the last half-century, there has been a growing separation between the two in Britain. The re-emergence of the working class as a political voice in Britain, most notably in the Brexit vote, can best be described as an inchoate expression of resentment and protest, with only a very weak sense of belonging to the labour movement. ..."
"... The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007; the United States has done better but even its growth has been anaemic. Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation ..."
"... A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers. But since the western financial crisis, the centre of gravity of the intellectual debate has shifted profoundly. This is most obvious in the United States, with economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs becoming increasingly influential. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century ..."
"... He proposes that US corporations should be required to invest their cash reserves in the US. He believes that the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) has had the effect of exporting American jobs to Mexico. On similar grounds, he is opposed to the TPP and the TTIP. And he also accuses China of stealing American jobs, threatening to impose a 45% tariff on Chinese imports. ..."
"... To globalisation Trump counterposes economic nationalism: "Put America first". His appeal, above all, is to the white working class who, until Trump's (and Bernie Sander's) arrival on the political scene, had been ignored and largely unrepresented since the 1980s. Given that their wages have been falling for most of the last 40 years, it is extraordinary how their interests have been neglected by the political class. Increasingly, they have voted Republican, but the Republicans have long been captured by the super-rich and Wall Street, whose interests, as hyper-globalisers, have run directly counter to those of the white working class. With the arrival of Trump they finally found a representative: they won Trump the Republican nomination. ..."
"... Another plank of Trump's nationalist appeal – "Make America great again" – is his position on foreign policy. He believes that America's pursuit of great power status has squandered the nation's resources. He argues that the country's alliance system is unfair, with America bearing most of the cost and its allies contributing far too little. He points to Japan and South Korea, and Nato's European members as prime examples. He seeks to rebalance these relationships and, failing that, to exit from them. ..."
Aug 21, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

he western financial crisis of 2007-8 was the worst since 1931, yet its immediate repercussions were surprisingly modest. The crisis challenged the foundation stones of the long-dominant neoliberal ideology but it seemed to emerge largely unscathed. The banks were bailed out; hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes; and the price of their behaviour was duly paid by the taxpayer. Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight.

After almost nine years, we are finally beginning to reap the political whirlwind of the financial crisis. But how did neoliberalism manage to survive virtually unscathed for so long? Although it failed the test of the real world, bequeathing the worst economic disaster for seven decades, politically and intellectually it remained the only show in town. Parties of the right, centre and left had all bought into its philosophy, New Labour a classic in point. They knew no other way of thinking or doing: it had become the common sense. It was, as Antonio Gramsci put it, hegemonic. But that hegemony cannot and will not survive the test of the real world.

The first inkling of the wider political consequences was evident in the turn in public opinion against the banks, bankers and business leaders. For decades, they could do no wrong: they were feted as the role models of our age, the default troubleshooters of choice in education, health and seemingly everything else. Now, though, their star was in steep descent, along with that of the political class. The effect of the financial crisis was to undermine faith and trust in the competence of the governing elites. It marked the beginnings of a wider political crisis.

But the causes of this political crisis, glaringly evident on both sides of the Atlantic, are much deeper than simply the financial crisis and the virtually stillborn recovery of the last decade. They go to the heart of the neoliberal project that dates from the late 70s and the political rise of Reagan and Thatcher, and embraced at its core the idea of a global free market in goods, services and capital. The depression-era system of bank regulation was dismantled, in the US in the 1990s and in Britain in 1986, thereby creating the conditions for the 2008 crisis. Equality was scorned, the idea of trickle-down economics lauded, government condemned as a fetter on the market and duly downsized, immigration encouraged, regulation cut to a minimum, taxes reduced and a blind eye turned to corporate evasion.

It should be noted that, by historical standards, the neoliberal era has not had a particularly good track record. The most dynamic period of postwar western growth was that between the end of the war and the early 70s, the era of welfare capitalism and Keynesianism, when the growth rate was double that of the neoliberal period from 1980 to the present.

But by far the most disastrous feature of the neoliberal period has been the huge growth in inequality. Until very recently, this had been virtually ignored. With extraordinary speed, however, it has emerged as one of, if not the most important political issue on both sides of the Atlantic, most dramatically in the US. It is, bar none, the issue that is driving the political discontent that is now engulfing the west. Given the statistical evidence, it is puzzling, shocking even, that it has been disregarded for so long; the explanation can only lie in the sheer extent of the hegemony of neoliberalism and its values.

But now reality has upset the doctrinal apple cart. In the period 1948-1972, every section of the American population experienced very similar and sizable increases in their standard of living; between 1972-2013, the bottom 10% experienced falling real income while the top 10% did far better than everyone else. In the US, the median real income for full-time male workers is now lower than it was four decades ago: the income of the bottom 90% of the population has stagnated for over 30 years .

A not so dissimilar picture is true of the UK. And the problem has grown more serious since the financial crisis. On average, between 65-70% of households in 25 high-income economies experienced stagnant or falling real incomes between 2005 and 2014.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot

The reasons are not difficult to explain. The hyper-globalisation era has been systematically stacked in favour of capital against labour: international trading agreements, drawn up in great secrecy, with business on the inside and the unions and citizens excluded, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being but the latest examples; the politico-legal attack on the unions; the encouragement of large-scale immigration in both the US and Europe that helped to undermine the bargaining power of the domestic workforce; and the failure to retrain displaced workers in any meaningful way.

As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot, as graphically illustrated by the support for Trump and Sanders in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK. This popular revolt is often described, in a somewhat denigratory and dismissive fashion, as populism. Or, as Francis Fukuyama writes in a recent excellent essay in Foreign Affairs : "'Populism' is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don't like." Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both.

Brexit is a classic example of such populism. It has overturned a fundamental cornerstone of UK policy since the early 1970s. Though ostensibly about Europe, it was in fact about much more: a cri de coeur from those who feel they have lost out and been left behind, whose living standards have stagnated or worse since the 1980s, who feel dislocated by large-scale immigration over which they have no control and who face an increasingly insecure and casualised labour market. Their revolt has paralysed the governing elite, already claimed one prime minister, and left the latest one fumbling around in the dark looking for divine inspiration.

The wave of populism marks the return of class as a central agency in politics, both in the UK and the US. This is particularly remarkable in the US. For many decades, the idea of the "working class" was marginal to American political discourse. Most Americans described themselves as middle class, a reflection of the aspirational pulse at the heart of American society. According to a Gallup poll, in 2000 only 33% of Americans called themselves working class; by 2015 the figure was 48%, almost half the population.

Brexit, too, was primarily a working-class revolt. Hitherto, on both sides of the Atlantic, the agency of class has been in retreat in the face of the emergence of a new range of identities and issues from gender and race to sexual orientation and the environment. The return of class, because of its sheer reach, has the potential, like no other issue, to redefine the political landscape.

The working class belongs to no one: its orientation, far from predetermined, is a function of politics

The re-emergence of class should not be confused with the labour movement. They are not synonymous: this is obvious in the US and increasingly the case in the UK. Indeed, over the last half-century, there has been a growing separation between the two in Britain. The re-emergence of the working class as a political voice in Britain, most notably in the Brexit vote, can best be described as an inchoate expression of resentment and protest, with only a very weak sense of belonging to the labour movement.

Indeed, Ukip has been as important – in the form of immigration and Europe – in shaping its current attitudes as the Labour party. In the United States, both Trump and Sanders have given expression to the working-class revolt, the latter almost as much as the former. The working class belongs to no one: its orientation, far from predetermined, as the left liked to think, is a function of politics.

The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007; the United States has done better but even its growth has been anaemic. Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation .

Worse, because the recovery has been so weak and fragile, there is a widespread belief that another financial crisis may well beckon. In other words, the neoliberal era has delivered the west back into the kind of crisis-ridden world that we last experienced in the 1930s. With this background, it is hardly surprising that a majority in the west now believe their children will be worse off than they were. Second, those who have lost out in the neoliberal era are no longer prepared to acquiesce in their fate – they are increasingly in open revolt. We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era. It is not dead, but it is in its early death throes, just as the social-democratic era was during the 1970s.

A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers. But since the western financial crisis, the centre of gravity of the intellectual debate has shifted profoundly. This is most obvious in the United States, with economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs becoming increasingly influential. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been a massive seller. His work and that of Tony Atkinson and Angus Deaton have pushed the question of the inequality to the top of the political agenda. In the UK, Ha-Joon Chang , for long isolated within the economics profession, has gained a following far greater than those who think economics is a branch of mathematics.

Meanwhile, some of those who were previously strong advocates of a neoliberal approach, such as Larry Summers and the Financial Times 's Martin Wolf, have become extremely critical. The wind is in the sails of the critics of neoliberalism; the neoliberals and monetarists are in retreat. In the UK, the media and political worlds are well behind the curve. Few recognise that we are at the end of an era. Old attitudes and assumptions still predominate, whether on the BBC's Today programme, in the rightwing press or the parliamentary Labour party.

Following Ed Miliband's resignation as Labour leader, virtually no one foresaw the triumph of Jeremy Corbyn in the subsequent leadership election. The assumption had been more of the same, a Blairite or a halfway house like Miliband, certainly not anyone like Corbyn. But the zeitgeist had changed. The membership, especially the young who had joined the party on an unprecedented scale, wanted a complete break with New Labour. One of the reasons why the left has failed to emerge as the leader of the new mood of working-class disillusionment is that most social democratic parties became, in varying degrees, disciples of neoliberalism and uber-globalisation. The most extreme forms of this phenomenon were New Labour and the Democrats, who in the late 90s and 00s became its advance guard, personified by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, triangulation and the third way.

But as David Marquand observed in a review for the New Statesman , what is the point of a social democratic party if it doesn't represent the less fortunate, the underprivileged and the losers? New Labour deserted those who needed them, who historically they were supposed to represent. Is it surprising that large sections have now deserted the party who deserted them? Blair, in his reincarnation as a money-obsessed consultant to a shady bunch of presidents and dictators, is a fitting testament to the demise of New Labour.

The rival contenders – Burnham, Cooper and Kendall – represented continuity. They were swept away by Corbyn, who won nearly 60% of the votes. New Labour was over, as dead as Monty Python's parrot. Few grasped the meaning of what had happened. A Guardian leader welcomed the surge in membership and then, lo and behold, urged support for Yvette Cooper, the very antithesis of the reason for the enthusiasm. The PLP refused to accept the result and ever since has tried with might and main to remove Corbyn.

Just as the Labour party took far too long to come to terms with the rise of Thatcherism and the birth of a new era at the end of the 70s, now it could not grasp that the Thatcherite paradigm, which they eventually came to embrace in the form of New Labour, had finally run its course. Labour, like everyone else, is obliged to think anew. The membership in their antipathy to New Labour turned to someone who had never accepted the latter, who was the polar opposite in almost every respect of Blair, and embodying an authenticity and decency which Blair patently did not.

Labour may be in intensive care, but the condition of the Conservatives is not a great deal better

Corbyn is not a product of the new times, he is a throwback to the late 70s and early 80s. That is both his strength and also his weakness. He is uncontaminated by the New Labour legacy because he has never accepted it. But nor, it would seem, does he understand the nature of the new era. The danger is that he is possessed of feet of clay in what is a highly fluid and unpredictable political environment, devoid of any certainties of almost any kind, in which Labour finds itself dangerously divided and weakened.

Labour may be in intensive care, but the condition of the Conservatives is not a great deal better. David Cameron was guilty of a huge and irresponsible miscalculation over Brexit. He was forced to resign in the most ignominious of circumstances. The party is hopelessly divided. It has no idea in which direction to move after Brexit. The Brexiters painted an optimistic picture of turning away from the declining European market and embracing the expanding markets of the world, albeit barely mentioning by name which countries it had in mind. It looks as if the new prime minister may have an anachronistic hostility towards China and a willingness to undo the good work of George Osborne. If the government turns its back on China, by far the fastest growing market in the world, where are they going to turn?

Brexit has left the country fragmented and deeply divided, with the very real prospect that Scotland might choose independence. Meanwhile, the Conservatives seem to have little understanding that the neoliberal era is in its death throes.

Dramatic as events have been in the UK, they cannot compare with those in the United States. Almost from nowhere, -> Donald Trump rose to capture the Republican nomination and confound virtually all the pundits and not least his own party. His message was straightforwardly anti-globalisation. He believes that the interests of the working class have been sacrificed in favour of the big corporations that have been encouraged to invest around the world and thereby deprive American workers of their jobs. Further, he argues that large-scale immigration has weakened the bargaining power of American workers and served to lower their wages.

He proposes that US corporations should be required to invest their cash reserves in the US. He believes that the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) has had the effect of exporting American jobs to Mexico. On similar grounds, he is opposed to the TPP and the TTIP. And he also accuses China of stealing American jobs, threatening to impose a 45% tariff on Chinese imports.

To globalisation Trump counterposes economic nationalism: "Put America first". His appeal, above all, is to the white working class who, until Trump's (and Bernie Sander's) arrival on the political scene, had been ignored and largely unrepresented since the 1980s. Given that their wages have been falling for most of the last 40 years, it is extraordinary how their interests have been neglected by the political class. Increasingly, they have voted Republican, but the Republicans have long been captured by the super-rich and Wall Street, whose interests, as hyper-globalisers, have run directly counter to those of the white working class. With the arrival of Trump they finally found a representative: they won Trump the Republican nomination.

The economic nationalist argument has also been vigorously pursued by -> Bernie Sanders , who ran Hillary Clinton extremely close for the Democratic nomination and would probably have won but for more than 700 so-called super-delegates, who were effectively chosen by the Democratic machine and overwhelmingly supported Clinton. As in the case of the Republicans, the Democrats have long supported a neoliberal, pro-globalisation strategy, notwithstanding the concerns of its trade union base. Both the Republicans and the Democrats now find themselves deeply polarised between the pro- and anti-globalisers, an entirely new development not witnessed since the shift towards neoliberalism under Reagan almost 40 years ago.

Another plank of Trump's nationalist appeal – "Make America great again" – is his position on foreign policy. He believes that America's pursuit of great power status has squandered the nation's resources. He argues that the country's alliance system is unfair, with America bearing most of the cost and its allies contributing far too little. He points to Japan and South Korea, and Nato's European members as prime examples. He seeks to rebalance these relationships and, failing that, to exit from them.

As a country in decline, he argues that America can no longer afford to carry this kind of financial burden. Rather than putting the world to rights, he believes the money should be invested at home, pointing to the dilapidated state of America's infrastructure. Trump's position represents a major critique of America as the world's hegemon. His arguments mark a radical break with the neoliberal, hyper-globalisation ideology that has reigned since the early 1980s and with the foreign policy orthodoxy of most of the postwar period. These arguments must be taken seriously. They should not be lightly dismissed just because of their authorship. But Trump is no man of the left. He is a populist of the right. He has launched a racist and xenophobic attack on Muslims and on Mexicans. Trump's appeal is to a white working class that feels it has been cheated by the big corporations, undermined by Hispanic immigration, and often resentful towards African-Americans who for long too many have viewed as their inferior.

A Trump America would mark a descent into authoritarianism characterised by abuse, scapegoating, discrimination, racism, arbitrariness and violence; America would become a deeply polarised and divided society. His threat to impose 45% tariffs on China , if implemented, would certainly provoke retaliation by the Chinese and herald the beginnings of a new era of protectionism.

Trump may well lose the presidential election just as Sanders failed in his bid for the Democrat nomination. But this does not mean that the forces opposed to hyper-globalisation – unrestricted immigration, TPP and TTIP, the free movement of capital and much else – will have lost the argument and are set to decline. In little more than 12 months, Trump and Sanders have transformed the nature and terms of the argument. Far from being on the wane, the arguments of the critics of hyper-globalisation are steadily gaining ground. Roughly two-thirds of Americans agree that "we should not think so much in international terms but concentrate more on our own national problems". And, above all else, what will continue to drive opposition to the hyper-globalisers is inequality.

thetowncrier , 21 Aug 2016 00:51

In the 1970s attacks on social democracy, at least in the UK, were treated with the same disdain by the political and media establishments as attacks on monetarism are today. Thatcher, as it happens, was widely pilloried within her own party for articulating a departure from contemporary economic orthodoxy, and the Tory establishment used their lackeys in the press to continue their assault on her after she became Party Leader.

The lesson, dare I say it, is twofold. Firstly, whether they are wedded to one economic system or another, the ruling classes are inherently conservative, reluctant to sanction change and fearful of anything that chips away at their privilege. Secondly, the press, far from playing a watchdog role on the state and its corporate masters, actually helps to sustain them. This should be clear to anyone who has witnessed the Guardian's reporting of Jeremy Corbyn, but it goes far beyond this newspaper to every title in the country. The same process can be witnessed in the US, and throughout the Eurozone.

You might think this settles the matter, but there is a limit to media propaganda that journalists simply cannot see, which is why so many have scratched their heads at the ascendance of Sanders and Corbyn. I don't think either of these men will ever lead their respective countries, but as you say at the end of this piece the overridding reasons that put them there - an inefficient, corrupt and backwards economic system - are not going away any time soon. They are actually going to get worse, because the establishments in Europe, the UK and the US have cornered their respective electoral 'markets', sponsoring obedient politicians who will gladly do their bidding. These people have no courage and no foresight, and will drag the West further into decline precisely as they claim to advance it.

maxfisher -> thetowncrier , 21 Aug 2016 01:40

Precisely. Jonathan Cook's uses Kuhn's paradigm shift thesis to describe exactly that which you adumbrate:

Importantly, a shift, or revolution, was not related to the moment when the previous scientific theory was discredited by the mounting evidence against it. There was a lag, usually a long delay, between the evidence showing the new theory was a better "fit" and the old theory being discarded.
The reason, Kuhn concluded, was because of an emotional and intellectual inertia in the scientific community. Too many people – academics, research institutions, funding bodies, pundits – were invested in the established theory. As students, it was what they had grown up "knowing". Leading professors in the field had made their reputations advancing and "proving" the theory. Vast sums had been expended in trying to confirm the theory. University departments were set up on the basis that the theory was correct. Too many people had too much to lose to admit they were wrong.
A paradigm shift typically ocurred, Kuhn argued, when a new generation of scholars and researchers exposed to the rival theory felt sufficiently frustrated by this inertia and had reached sufficiently senior posts that they could launch an assault on the old theory. At that point, the proponents of the traditional theory faced a crisis. The scientific establishment would resist, often aggressively, but at some point the fortifications protecting the old theory would crumble and collapse. Then suddenly almost everyone would switch to the new theory, treating the old theory as if it were some relic of the dark ages.


http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2016-07-22/why-corbyn-so-terrifies-the-guardian /
janonifus -> thetowncrier , 21 Aug 2016 01:59

Brilliant. A comment which engaged with the article and says a lot which is sensible. But I disagree with your final conclusion.

I agree that neither Corbyn nor Sanders (nor Trump) will lead their countries but I don't believe their parties will remain stranded on electoral territory which is increasingly infertile. They will move and better, stronger candidates will emerge.

That's not optimism though, or at least not unbridled optimism. I'd welcome a better representation of the left wing's alternative to economic liberalism but a more determined, organised and coherent successor to Trump? That's obviously frightening.

bourdieu , 21 Aug 2016 01:03

I often like Jacques's writing but its Anglocentrism needs to be challenged. Neo-liberalism has earlier origins than Reagan and Thatcher - East Asia in the late 1950s and Latin America in the late-60s and 70s. This matters because it is in Asia especially that the new ideas for a post-neo-liberal era will be found.

And the Sanders-Trump-Brexit trinity of insurgency against neo-liberalism needs to had Xi Jinping added to it. For what it Xi other than China's Donald Trump? A different political persona - avuncular Xi Dada etc. - but his China Dream, making China great again, his Maoist revival, and more all speak of someone overturning China's own post-Mao translation of global neo-liberalism (Socialism with Chinese characteristics).


thetowncrier
, 21 Aug 2016 01:08

As for the economics, the problem with the current economic model is really very simple. Too much money is going to the top 10% in Western societies, and most of this money is not being invested back into the economies in which it is generated or redistributed to the populace through taxation. Great chunks, indeed, get siphoned out of the West and end up in tax havens, where its owners languish like the bloated feudal overlords they are.

This system cannot sustain itself, and is ripe for another global meltdown. Every major recession in capitalist history has come about in the wake of an accumulation of wealth at the top end of society and a corollary decline in earnings and disposable income at the bottom and middle rungs. If you give a minority of people too much money, or at least access to too much money (as was the case in the banks in 2007-8), expect to count the cost soon enough. The system of social democracy allows policymakers to mitigate this problem by redistributing wealth through taxation, and that is precisely what governments should be doing now. However, to expect them to do so when they are in hock to corporations is roughly equivalent to expecting the Pope to talk authoritatively on evolutionary biology. It won't happen, not with the cowards and shysters who dominate our political systems, and it will probably take another major world war to bring about the change we need.

Lancasterwitch , 21 Aug 2016 01:19

The problem is TPTB aka the 1% are in charge and they think that Reagan/Thatcher/Friedman economics has been a huge success. So it doesn't matter who or what the 99% vote for - they can even vote for no more austerity (as in Greece) or even no more EU - the 1% are not going to give up, because most of them don't appear on any ballot paper.
So, as Tony Benn famously asked, "How do we get rid of you?"


CitizenDrob
-> blimeyoreilley
, 21 Aug 2016 01:57

Nevertheless change is coming, not to debate it or plan for its arrival would be irresponsible and ultimately disastrous for us all. Inequality in any system cannot be sustained indefinitely and that rule will apply to the internal politics and economies of nations as well as between nation states.
One way or another there will be a rebalancing of economies, it's inevitable, we can either take advantage of the necessary changes or it will lead to anarchy.
Head in the sand is an option but not the clever one - history will judge us poorly if we do not at least attempt to take proper control of our resources now and at least try to correct the imbalances in our economies.

GutsandGlory , 21 Aug 2016 01:30

Brexit is a classic example of such populism. It has overturned a fundamental cornerstone of UK policy since the early 1970s. Though ostensibly about Europe, it was in fact about much more: a cri de coeur from those who feel they have lost out and been left behind

Quit with the patronising assumption that we voted Brexit because we felt 'left behind', and didn't have the brain power to understand what we were voting for. Everyone in my work, neighbourhood, flat share and extended family were discussing nothing but the EU, it's pros and cons, and arguing their positions right up until the referendum.

CheeseHeads -> GutsandGlory , 21 Aug 2016 02:17

Totally agree. Many on the left still think of Brexiters as knuckle dragging idiots who have destroyed a liberal utopia called the EU. They still think of the working class as something to be pitied that needs guidance because of their own ignorance.
Well BREXIT was a real boot up the arse for them.

abugaafar , 21 Aug 2016 01:33

I found this a very well written and interesting article, but curiously parochial given that it's about globalisation. If you just consider Europe and the United States it seems irrefutable that globalisation has grossly enriched a fortunate few and left many more to struggle with stagnating and insecure incomes. The problem, in that context, is clearly inequality. But was inequality, on a global scale, not the problem before globalisation was conceived, and has globalisation not done much to reduce global inequality? It is not surprising if the reduction has been at the expense of the world's relatively rich, the middle and working classes of the western world. But the winners are not just the rich western elite, but also the millions who have benefitted from free migration and the transfer of capital and jobs to what used to be the third world. If the remedy for western economic ills is, effectively, deglobalisation, there will be losers there too as well as, we hope, winners at home.

[Sep 20, 2017] The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarized as the conflict between its two ideologies -- Keynesian social democracy and neoliberalism, which managed to displace Keyneseanism as a dominant ideology in 70th and in turm entered the crisis in 2008

What Monbiot called 'stories" and "powerful political narratives" are actually ideologies. Neoliberal ideology won in 70th and managed to destroy the weakened and discredited social democratic/Keynesean model and Bolshevism on late 80th early 90th. After 2008 neoliberalism as ideology is as dead as Stalinism was after 1945. You can even view Trump as kind of farcical Nikita Khrushchev who while sticking to neoliberalism "in general" at the same time denounced some key postulates of neoliberalism such as neoliberal globalization with outsourcing and offshoring components and free movement of labor. For Khrushchev that ended badly -- he was deposed and replaced by Brezhnev in 1964. The same might happen to Trump.
You can get better idea about what Monbiot is talking about replacing the word "stories" with the word "ideologies." An ideology is a coherent set of interconnected ideas or beliefs shared by a large group of people (often political party or nation). It may be a connected to a particular philosophy (Marxism in case of Socialism and Communism, Randism and neo-classical economics in case of neoliberalism) . Communism, socialism, and neoliberalism are major political/economical ideologies. Ideology prescribes how a country political system should be organized and how country economics should be run.
Notable quotes:
"... The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarised as the conflict between its two great narratives: the stories told by Keynesian social democracy and by neoliberalism. ..."
"... When the social democracy story dominated, even the Conservatives and Republicans adopted key elements of the programme. When neoliberalism took its place, political parties everywhere, regardless of their colour, fell under its spell . ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: George Monbiot: how do we get out of this mess?

Is it reasonable to hope for a better world? Study the cruelty and indifference of governments, the disarray of opposition parties, the apparently inexorable slide towards limate breakdown, the renewed threat of nuclear war, and the answer appears to be no. Our problems look intractable, our leaders dangerous, while voters are cowed and baffled. Despair looks like the only rational response. But over the past two years, I have been struck by four observations. What they reveal is that political failure is, in essence, a failure of imagination. They suggest to me that it is despair, not hope, that is irrational. I believe they light a path towards a better world.

The first observation is the least original. It is the realization that it is not strong leaders or parties that dominate politics as much as powerful political narratives. The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarised as the conflict between its two great narratives: the stories told by Keynesian social democracy and by neoliberalism. First one and then the other captured the minds of people across the political spectrum. When the social democracy story dominated, even the Conservatives and Republicans adopted key elements of the programme. When neoliberalism took its place, political parties everywhere, regardless of their colour, fell under its spell . These stories overrode everything: personality, identity and party history.

This should not surprise us. Stories are the means by which we navigate the world. They allow us to interpret its complex and contradictory signals. We all possess a narrative instinct: an innate disposition to listen for an account of who we are and where we stand.

... ... ...

The social democratic story explains that the world fell into disorder – characterised by the Great Depression – because of the self-seeking behaviour of an unrestrained elite. The elite's capture of both the world's wealth and the political system resulted in the impoverishment and insecurity of working people. By uniting to defend their common interests, the world's people could throw down the power of this elite, strip it of its ill-gotten gains and pool the resulting wealth for the good of all. Order and security would be restored in the form of a protective, paternalistic state, investing in public projects for the public good, generating the wealth that would guarantee a prosperous future for everyone. The ordinary people of the land – the heroes of the story – would triumph over those who had oppressed them.

The neoliberal story explains that the world fell into disorder as a result of the collectivising tendencies of the overmighty state, exemplified by the monstrosities of Stalinism and nazism, but evident in all forms of state planning and all attempts to engineer social outcomes. Collectivism crushes freedom, individualism and opportunity. Heroic entrepreneurs, mobilising the redeeming power of the market, would fight this enforced conformity, freeing society from the enslavement of the state. Order would be restored in the form of free markets, delivering wealth and opportunity, guaranteeing a prosperous future for everyone. The ordinary people of the land, released by the heroes of the story (the freedom-seeking entrepreneurs) would triumph over those who had oppressed them.

... ... ...

But the best on offer from major political parties is a microwaved version of the remnants of Keynesian social democracy. There are several problems with this approach. The first is that this old story has lost most of its content and narrative force. What we now call Keynesianism has been reduced to two thin chapters: lowering interest rates when economies are sluggish and using countercyclical public spending (injecting public money into the economy when unemployment is high or recession threatens). Other measures, such as raising taxes when an economy grows quickly, to dampen the boom-bust cycle; the fixed exchange rate system; capital controls and a self-balancing global banking system (an international clearing union ) – all of which John Maynard Keynes saw as essential complements to these policies – have been discarded and forgotten.

This is partly because the troubles that beset the Keynesian model in the 1970s have not disappeared. While the oil embargo in 1973 was the immediate trigger for the lethal combination of high inflation and high unemployment (" stagflation ") that Keynesian policies were almost powerless to counteract, problems with the system had been mounting for years. Falling productivity and rising cost-push inflation (wages and prices pursuing each other upwards) were already beginning to erode support for Keynesian economics. Most importantly, perhaps, the programme had buckled in response to the political demands of capital.

Strong financial regulations and controls on the movement of money began to weaken in the 1950s, as governments started to liberalise financial markets . Richard Nixon 's decision in 1971 to suspend the convertibility of dollars into gold destroyed the system of fixed exchange rates on which much of the success of Keynes's policies depended. The capital controls used to prevent financiers and speculators from sucking money out of balanced Keynesian economies collapsed. We cannot hope that the strategies deployed by global finance in the 20th century will be unlearned.

But perhaps the biggest problem residual Keynesianism confronts is that, when it does work, it collides headfirst with the environmental crisis. A programme that seeks to sustain employment through constant economic growth, driven by consumer demand, seems destined to exacerbate our greatest predicament.

... ... ...

[Sep 20, 2017] It appears that for the foreseeable future the Neocons will continue to focus their energy on trying to impeach Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Since when did Trump become an expert on political science and world history anyway? Who does he think he is lecturing? Yet another US middle school classroom?! Does he not realize that a good number of the countries represented at the UN consider themselves Socialist?! Furthermore, while I don't necessarily disagree with the notion that Socialist and Communist ideas have often been a disaster in the 20th century, Socialism in the 21st century is an entirely different beast and the jury is still very much out on this issue, especially when considering the social, political, economic, ecological, psychological and even spiritual disaster Capitalism is now proving to be for much of the planet. Being the President of a country as dysfunctional as the US, Trump would be well-advised to tone down his arrogant pontifications about Socialism and maybe even open a book and read about it. ..."
"... My guess is that all they want is to send a clear messages to the Comprador elites running most countries that this is the "official ideology of the AngloZionist Empire" and if they want to remain in power they better toe the line even if nobody takes this stuff seriously. Yup, back to a 1980s Soviet kind of attitude towards propaganda: nobody cares what everybody else really thinks as long as everybody continues to pretend to believe the official propaganda. ..."
"... Ever since the Neocons overthrew Trump and made him what is colloquially referred to as their "bitch" the US foreign policy has come to a virtual standstill. ..."
"... Because, and make no mistake here, if the US cannot get anything constructive done any more, they retain a huge capability to disrupt, subvert, create chaos and the like. ..."
"... However, the US themselves are now the prime victim of a decapitated Presidency and a vindictive and generally out of control Neocon effort to prevent true American patriots to "get their country back" (as they say) and finally overthrow the regime in Washington DC. ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.unz.com

...then he suddenly decided to share this outright bizarre insight of his:

The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented. From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure.

Since when did Trump become an expert on political science and world history anyway? Who does he think he is lecturing? Yet another US middle school classroom?! Does he not realize that a good number of the countries represented at the UN consider themselves Socialist?! Furthermore, while I don't necessarily disagree with the notion that Socialist and Communist ideas have often been a disaster in the 20th century, Socialism in the 21st century is an entirely different beast and the jury is still very much out on this issue, especially when considering the social, political, economic, ecological, psychological and even spiritual disaster Capitalism is now proving to be for much of the planet. Being the President of a country as dysfunctional as the US, Trump would be well-advised to tone down his arrogant pontifications about Socialism and maybe even open a book and read about it.

I won't even bother discussing the comprehensively counter-factual nonsense Trump has spewed about Iran and Hezbollah, we all know who Trump's puppet-masters are nowadays so we know what to expect. Instead, I will conclude with this pearl from The Donald:

In remembering the great victory that led to this body's founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they love. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain.

Echoing the nonsense he spoke while in Poland, Trump is now clearly fully endorsing that fairytale that "The West" (in which Trump now hilariously includes Poland!) has defeated Hitler and saved the world. The truth is that the Nazis were defeated by the Soviets and that all the efforts of the Poles, French, Brits and even Americans were but a minor (20% max) sideshow to the "real event" (Those who still might believe in this nonsense can simply read this ). Yet again, that the Americans would feel the need to appropriate for themselves somebody else's victory is, yet again, a clear sign of weakness. Do they expect the rest of the planet to buy into this nonsense? Probably not.

My guess is that all they want is to send a clear messages to the Comprador elites running most countries that this is the "official ideology of the AngloZionist Empire" and if they want to remain in power they better toe the line even if nobody takes this stuff seriously. Yup, back to a 1980s Soviet kind of attitude towards propaganda: nobody cares what everybody else really thinks as long as everybody continues to pretend to believe the official propaganda.

[Sidebar: When my wife and I watched this pathetic speech we starting laughing about the fact that Trump was so obscenely bad that we (almost) begin to miss Obama. This is a standing joke in our family because when Obama came to power we (almost) began to miss Dubya. The reason why this is a joke is that when Dubya came to power we decided that there is no way anybody could possibly be worse than him. Oh boy where we wrong! Right now I am still not at the point were I would be missing Obama (that is asking for a lot from me!), but I will unapologetically admit that I am missing Dubya. I do. I really do. Maybe not the people around Dubya, he is the one who truly let the Neocon "crazies in the basement" creep out and occupy the Situation Room, but at least Dubya seemed to realize how utterly incompetent he was. Furthermore, Dubya was a heck of a lot dumber than Obama (in this context being stupid is a mitigating factor) and he sure did not have the truly galactic arrogance of Trump (intelligence-wise they are probably on par)].

In conclusion, what I take away from this speech is a sense of relief for the rest of the planet and a sense of real worry for the US. Ever since the Neocons overthrew Trump and made him what is colloquially referred to as their "bitch" the US foreign policy has come to a virtual standstill. Sure, the Americans talk a lot, but at least they are doing nothing. That paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the internal infighting, is a blessing for the rest of the planet because it allows everybody else to get things done. Because, and make no mistake here, if the US cannot get anything constructive done any more, they retain a huge capability to disrupt, subvert, create chaos and the like.

But for as long as the US remains paralyzed this destructive potential remains mostly unused (and no matter how bad things look now, Hillary President would have been infinitely worse!). However, the US themselves are now the prime victim of a decapitated Presidency and a vindictive and generally out of control Neocon effort to prevent true American patriots to "get their country back" (as they say) and finally overthrow the regime in Washington DC.

Step by step the US is getting closer to a civil war and there is no hope in sight, at least for the time being. It appears that for the foreseeable future Trump will continue to focus his energy on beating Obama for the status of "worst President in US history" while the Neocons will continue to focus their energy on trying to impeach Trump, and maybe even trigger a civil war. The rest of us living here are in for some very tough times ahead. As they say in Florida when a hurricane comes barreling down on you "hunker down!".

Dan Hayes > , September 19, 2017 at 11:36 pm GMT

The Saker,

Netanyahu has spoken, stating that Trump has given the boldest, most courageous UN speech that he has ever heard.

Well that settles that with the prescient oracle rendering his definitive and omnipotent judgement!

FKA Max > , Website September 20, 2017 at 2:02 am GMT

For What It's Worth, Trump Great On Immigration, Refugees At U.N. Today

http://www.vdare.com/posts/for-what-its-worth-trump-great-on-immigration-refugees-at-u-n-today

A lot of old friends didn't like President Trump's UN speech today because it didn't break cleanly with UniParty foreign policy!e.g. Paul Craig Roberts' comments here. But it did contain these revolutionary comments on immigration and refugee policy !the latter especially significant because Trump has to set the quota for U.S. quota for refugees (actually expedited, subsidized, politically favored immigrants) in the next few days. Who knows what Trump will do!but Hillary would never even have said it
[...]
For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.
[...]
For decades, the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere. We have learned that, over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.

For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms.

For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.

peterAUS > , September 20, 2017 at 2:35 am GMT

Disagree with most of the article, of course.

Agree with these three:

.the Americans talk a lot, but at least they are doing nothing. That paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the internal infighting .

. no matter how bad things look now, Hillary President would have been infinitely worse!) ..

The rest of us living here are in for some very tough times ahead.

Fidelios Automata > , September 20, 2017 at 3:13 am GMT

I still maintain that the worst President in history (excluding possibly Woodrow Wilson) was Bill Clinton (strongly influenced, no doubt, by Hillary.) Sure, the 90′s were a great time in America, but Clinton's evil actions (signing NAFTA, the Crime Bill, ignoring Bin Laden, and repealing Glass-Steagall to name just a few) had not yet come to fruition.

Robert Magill > , September 20, 2017 at 3:40 am GMT

Assuming the keen political insight Trump exhibited to get himself the job he sought still exists, perhaps all this insane blather is proof it continues. Consider that the scene he bought into is the product of 70 years of constant propaganda aimed at the American psyche and how successful that has been. Then imagine Trump feeding the ravenous American mindset for the status quo while actually working around it. Brilliant!
Then again, if he truly means what he says, all is lost.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

FKA Max > , Website September 20, 2017 at 3:52 am GMT

@FKA Max

The speech was reportedly written by Stephen Miller, a.k.a. Darth Vader to many in the mainstream media,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trumps-strikingly-conventional-un-speech/2017/09/19/876cb41a-9d75-11e7-9c8d-cf053ff30921_story.html?utm_term=.6df8b480a4d8

Thank you Stephen Miller! He must be reading Peter Singer:

International support for countries bearing the greatest refugee burden also makes economic sense: it costs Jordan about €3,000 ($3,350) to support one refugee for a year; in Germany, the cost is at least €12,000.

http://www.unz.com/isteve/im-not-sure-why-but-this-headline-cracks-me-up/#comment-1746720

Another threat to the Church is the illegal immigration control movement. If this movement succeeds, and what is perceived by Latin Americans and other governments as an escape valve is shut off, these governments would logically say, "Our demographic course cannot continue." These governments would have little choice but to confront the Church and say, "If we are to survive as governments, then we must get serious about population growth control. Otherwise, we in Latin America are destined to become a sea of chaos. We, as Latin Americans, must make family planning and abortion services fully available and encourage their use." Turning off the valve to illegal immigration is therefore a serious threat to the power of the Church.

http://www.unz.com/article/rule-or-ruin/#comment-1623864

Talha > , September 20, 2017 at 4:27 am GMT

We will be spending almost $700 billion on our military and defense.

Yeah – this ain't your grandpa's government-sponsored transgender surgery – inflation, let me tell ya! Yuge!

Peace.

Cyrano > , September 20, 2017 at 5:18 am GMT

If Kim Jong-un is the Rocket Man, then Trump definitely has to be the Space Oddity, which means that they could be a perfect match – they are both out of this world. Maybe they can randevu somewhere in outer space where they'll both be sitting in their tin can, so they can resolve their differences there.

Jokes aside, for the current situation I blame the Koreans, no, not those Koreans – the South Koreans. How do you allow US to interject itself into a family dispute? US operate strictly on the basis of traitors. Every country has them: they can be called different names: opposition groups, dissidents, rebels, democratic reformers – whatever.

There is one simple test for all of them to do in order to find out if they are doing something right for their country. If any of those groups, anywhere in the world, in any country find themselves that they are being supported by US – that means that they are doing something wrong and harmful for their country and they should stop their activity immediately and make 180 degrees adjustment. Same thing goes for South Korea – the mere fact that they are supported by US means that they are wrong. It's as simple as that.

anon > , Disclaimer September 20, 2017 at 5:23 am GMT

Saker, where is the value in taking a nuanced speech and then hammering at pieces of it out of context? Trump didn't insult all nations which incorporate socialist policies – he mentioned, rightly, that full blown socialism/communism has been used to repress the freedom and ingenuity of peoples all over the world – and he did so to highlight that it's being done in Venezuela.

As for criticism of America's ideals because of mistakes and over-reach in her history – it's foolish to expect Trump to refrain from preaching good ideas because of the sins of others.

I hope you continue to enjoy living your attack mode life. Meanwhile, the world must get on with it.

anon > , Disclaimer September 20, 2017 at 5:32 am GMT

Oh, and one more thing – of course WWII would have turned out differently had Stalin not callously sacrifices millions of his subjects. As it would have had America not made its efforts.
Shame on you for giving credit for victory to only one party.

Realist > , September 20, 2017 at 7:47 am GMT

@peterAUS Hillary would not have done anything different than Trump. Trump is a dumb shit sycophant of the Deep State just like Hillary.

FKA Max > , Website September 20, 2017 at 10:50 am GMT

@FKA Max


The speech was reportedly written by Stephen Miller, a.k.a. Darth Vader to many in the mainstream media,
- https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trumps-strikingly-conventional-un-speech/2017/09/19/876cb41a-9d75-11e7-9c8d-cf053ff30921_story.html?utm_term=.6df8b480a4d8

Thank you Stephen Miller! He must be reading Peter Singer:


International support for countries bearing the greatest refugee burden also makes economic sense: it costs Jordan about €3,000 ($3,350) to support one refugee for a year; in Germany, the cost is at least €12,000.
- http://www.unz.com/isteve/im-not-sure-why-but-this-headline-cracks-me-up/#comment-1746720

Another threat to the Church is the illegal immigration control movement. If this movement succeeds, and what is perceived by Latin Americans and other governments as an escape valve is shut off, these governments would logically say, "Our demographic course cannot continue." These governments would have little choice but to confront the Church and say, "If we are to survive as governments, then we must get serious about population growth control. Otherwise, we in Latin America are destined to become a sea of chaos. We, as Latin Americans, must make family planning and abortion services fully available and encourage their use." Turning off the valve to illegal immigration is therefore a serious threat to the power of the Church.
- http://www.unz.com/article/rule-or-ruin/#comment-1623864 This is Michael Anton on Trump's UN speech:

President Trump's Message: Make The United Nations Great

In fact, he's strengthened our alliances in meetings in Washington with key allies, by going to foreign capitals - the trip to France and the Bastille Day with America's oldest ally, with which the United States has in recent years had something of a rocky relationship – was strengthened enormously by that visit to Paris this year. And the president has, you know, both on a personal level and on an alliance level, really strengthened the alliance with France and with President Macron. In fact, he met with him yesterday and had a very, extremely positive and friendly meeting where they talked substantive business, but they also talked about the history of the alliance and reminisced a bit about the grandeur of that trip to Paris in July.

http://www.npr.org/2017/09/19/552025707/president-trumps-message-make-the-united-nations-great

The French president's suggestion that African women are breeding like animals and must be restrained by an enlightened elite awakens primordial terrors in the hearts of the mainstream Left and Right.
[...]
If Europeans are replaced with Africans, Western Civilization will disappear. The choices are simple: The West, yes or no? The white race, yes or no? Our rulers have exhausted all other options.

http://www.unz.com/article/trumps-warsaw-speech-and-the-real-clash-of-civilizations/#comment-1946225

Peter Singer on How Political Correctness Let African Population Growth Run Amok for a Generation

The outrage evoked by Macron's remark, however, appears to have little to do with its inaccuracy. Macron violated a taboo that has been in place since the International Conference on Population and Development, held under the auspices of the UN in Cairo in 1994. The conference adopted a Programme of Action that rejected a demographically driven approach to population policies, and instead focused on meeting the reproductive-health needs of individuals, especially women. Population targets were out; rights were in.

http://www.unz.com/isteve/peter-singer-on-how-political-correctness-let-african-population-growth-run-amok-for-a-generation/

I would like to explain what led me to conclude that Emmanuel Macron has an "Alt Right" worldview.

http://www.unz.com/article/collateral-damage/#comment-1955020

Don't lose hope
[...]
I shared this video here at the Unz Review before, but I would like to share it again, because it best encapsulates and captures what I personally associate with term "Alt Right"

http://www.unz.com/article/the-system-revealed-antifa-virginia-politicians-and-police-work-together-to-shut-down-unitetheright/#comment-1967326

French army band medleys Daft Punk following Bastille Day parade

The Scalpel > , Website September 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm GMT

"Step by step the US is getting closer to a civil war"

That pretty much says it all. All it will take is for US troops to get an unexpected butt kicking somewhere, sometime.

Studley > , September 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm GMT

Churchill himself, one of a long list of Anglo-genocidal killers (according to The Saker's last post) admitted that, "The Red Army tore the guts out of The Wehrmacht." Is this even in dispute?

In Russian thinking therefore, with only 20% contribution by American/UK Commonwealth forces, we subtract that, and this is the diplomatic question. Why would Stalin's T34s not have rolled up to The English Channel and installed compliant Communist regimes in France/Belgium/Holland as they did in Eastern Europe?

They did the same in North Korea by installing the grandfather (Kim Il-Sung) of this young 'Rocket Man' in 1945 at the conclusion of the fighting against Japan in the far-east.

[Sep 19, 2017] Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath Donald Trumps triumph: How a ruthless network of super-rich ideologues killed choice and destroyed people's faith in politics by George Monbiot

Notable quotes:
"... The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek . Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism . It saw competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of winners and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant tax, regulation, trade union activity or state provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would trickle down to everyone. ..."
"... But by the time Hayek came to write The Constitution of Liberty, the network of lobbyists and thinkers he had founded was being lavishly funded by multimillionaires who saw the doctrine as a means of defending themselves against democracy. Not every aspect of the neoliberal programme advanced their interests. Hayek, it seems, set out to close the gap. ..."
"... He begins the book by advancing the narrowest possible conception of liberty: an absence of coercion. He rejects such notions as political freedom, universal rights, human equality and the distribution of wealth, all of which, by restricting the behaviour of the wealthy and powerful, intrude on the absolute freedom from coercion he demands. ..."
"... The general thrust is about the gradual hollowing out of the middle class (or more affluent working class, depending on the analytical terms being used), about insecurity, stress, casualisation, rising wage inequality. ..."
"... So Hayek, I feel, is like many theoreticians, in that he seems to want a pure world that will function according to a simple and universal law. The world never was, and never will be that simple, and current economics simply continues to have a blindspot for externalities that overwhelm the logic of an unfettered so-called free market. ..."
"... "Neoliberalism" is entirely compatible with "growth of the state". Reagan greatly enlarged the state. He privatized several functions and it actually had the effect of increasing spending. ..."
"... As for the rest, it's the usual practice of gathering every positive metric available and somehow attributing it to neoliberalism, no matter how tenuous the threads, and as always with zero rigour. Supposedly capitalism alone doubled life expectancy, supports billions of extra lives, invented the railways, and provides the drugs and equipment that keep us alive. As though public education, vaccines, antibiotics, and massive availability of energy has nothing to do with those things. ..."
"... I think the damage was done when the liberal left co-opted neo-liberalism. What happened under Bill Clinton was the development of crony capitalism where for example the US banks were told to lower their credit standards to lend to people who couldn't really afford to service the loans. ..."
Nov 16, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
he events that led to Donald Trump's election started in England in 1975. At a meeting a few months after Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party, one of her colleagues, or so the story goes, was explaining what he saw as the core beliefs of conservatism. She snapped open her handbag, pulled out a dog-eared book, and slammed it on the table . "This is what we believe," she said. A political revolution that would sweep the world had begun.

The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek . Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism . It saw competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of winners and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant tax, regulation, trade union activity or state provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would trickle down to everyone.

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

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

Democracy, by contrast, "is not an ultimate or absolute value". In fact, liberty depends on preventing the majority from exercising choice over the direction that politics and society might take.

He justifies this position by creating a heroic narrative of extreme wealth. He conflates the economic elite, spending their money in new ways, with philosophical and scientific pioneers. Just as the political philosopher should be free to think the unthinkable, so the very rich should be free to do the undoable, without constraint by public interest or public opinion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

justamug -> Skytree 16 Nov 2016 18:17

Thanks for the chuckle. On a more serious note - defining neoliberalism is not that easy since it is not a laid out philosophy like liberalism, or socialism, or communism or facism. Since 2008 the use of the word neoliberalism has increased in frequency and has come to mean different things to different people.

A common theme appears to be the negative effects of the market on the human condition.

Having read David Harvey's book, and Phillip Mirowski's book (both had a go at defining neoliberalism and tracing its history) it is clear that neoliberalism is not really coherent set of ideas.

ianfraser3 16 Nov 2016 17:54

EF Schumacher quoted "seek first the kingdom of God" in his epilogue of "Small Is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered". This was written in the early 1970s before the neoliberal project bit in the USA and the UK. The book is laced with warnings about the effects of the imposition of neoliberalism on society, people and the planet. The predictions have largely come true. New politics and economics needed, by leaders who place at the heart of their approach the premise, and fact, that humans are "by comparison with any other animals, are both remarkably social and remarkably unselfish". It is about reclaiming our humanity from a project that treats people as just another commodity.


Filipio -> YouDidntBuildThat 16 Nov 2016 17:42

Whoa there, slow down.

Your last post was questioning the reality of neoliberalism as a general policy direction that had become hegemonic across many governments (and most in the west) over recent decades. Now you seem to be agreeing that the notion does have salience, but that neoliberalism delivered positive rather than negative consequences.

Well, its an ill wind that blows nobody any good, huh?

Doubtless there were some positive outcomes for particular groups. But recall that the context for this thread is not whether, on balance, more people benefited from neoliberal policies than were harmed -- an argument that would be most powerful only in very utilitarian style frameworks of thought (most good for the many, or most harm for only the few). The thread is about the significance of the impacts of neoliberalism in the rise of Trump. And in specific relation to privatisation (just one dimension of neoliberalism) one key impact was downsizing (or 'rightsizing'; restructuring). There is a plethora of material, including sociological and psychological, on the harm caused by shrinking and restructured work-forces as a consequence of privatisation. Books have been written, even in the business management sector, about how poorly such 'change' was handled and the multiple deleterious outcomes experienced by employees.

And we're still only talking about one dimension of neoliberalism! Havn't even touched on deregulation yet (notably, labour market and financial sector).

The general thrust is about the gradual hollowing out of the middle class (or more affluent working class, depending on the analytical terms being used), about insecurity, stress, casualisation, rising wage inequality.

You want evidence? I'm not doing your research for you. The internet can be a great resource, or merely an echo chamber. The problem with so many of the alt-right (and this applies on the extreme left as well) is that they only look to confirm their views, not read widely. Open your eyes, and use your search engine of choice. There is plenty out there. Be open to having your preconceptions challenged.

RichardErskine -> LECKJ3000 16 Nov 2016 15:38

LECKJ3000 - I am not an economist, but surely the theoretical idealised mechanisms of the market are never realised in practice. US subsidizing their farmers, in EU too, etc. And for problems that are not only externalities but transnational ones, the idea that some Hayek mechanism will protect thr ozone layer or limit carbon emissions, without some regulation or tax.

Lord Stern called global warming the greatest market failure in history, but no market, however sophisticated, can deal with it without some price put on the effluent of product (the excessive CO2 we put into the atmosphere).

As with Montreal and subsequent agreements, there is a way to maintain a level playing field; to promote different substances for use as refrigerants; and to address the hole in ozone layer; without abandoning the market altogether. Simple is good, because it avoids over-engineering the interventions (and the unintended consequences you mention).

The same could/ should be true of global warming, but we have left it so late we cannot wait for the (inevitable) fall of fossil fuels and supremacy of renewables. We need a price on carbon, which is a graduated and fast rising tax essentially on its production and/or consumption, which has already started to happen ( http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/document/SDN/background-note_carbon-tax.pdf ), albeit not deep / fast / extensive enough, or international in character, but that will come, if not before the impacts really bite then soon after.

So Hayek, I feel, is like many theoreticians, in that he seems to want a pure world that will function according to a simple and universal law. The world never was, and never will be that simple, and current economics simply continues to have a blindspot for externalities that overwhelm the logic of an unfettered so-called free market.

LionelKent -> greven 16 Nov 2016 14:59

And persistent. J.K. Galbraith viewed the rightwing mind as predominantly concerned with figuring out a way to justify the shift of wealth from the immense majority to an elite at the top. I for one regret acutely that he did not (as far as I know) write a volume on his belief in progressive taxation.

RandomLibertarian -> JVRTRL 16 Nov 2016 09:19

Not bad points.

When it comes to social safety net programs, e.g. in health care and education -- those programs almost always tend to be more expensive and more complicated when privatized. If the goal was to actually save taxpayer money, in the U.S. at least, it would have made a lot more sense to have a universal Medicare system, rather than a massive patch-work like the ACA and our hybrid market.

Do not forget that the USG, in WW2, took the deliberate step of allowing employers to provide health insurance as a tax-free benefit - which it still is, being free even from SS and Medicare taxes. In the post-war boom years this resulted in the development of a system with private rooms, almost on-demand access to specialists, and competitive pay for all involved (while the NHS, by contrast, increasingly drew on immigrant populations for nurses and below). Next, the large sums of money in the system and a generous court system empowered a vast malpractice industry. So to call our system in any way a consequence of a free market is a misnomer.

Entirely state controlled health care systems tend to be even more cost-effective.

Read Megan McArdle's work in this area. The US has had similar cost growth since the 1970s to the rest of the world. The problem was that it started from a higher base.

Part of the issue is that privatization tends to create feedback mechanism that increase the size of spending in programs. Even Eisenhower's noted "military industrial complex" is an illustration of what happens when privatization really takes hold.

When government becomes involved in business, business gets involved in government!

Todd Smekens 16 Nov 2016 08:40

Albert Einstein said, "capitalism is evil" in his famous dictum called, "Why Socialism" in 1949. He also called communism, "evil", so don't jump to conclusions, comrades. ;)

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

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

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

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

zavaell -> LECKJ3000 16 Nov 2016 06:28

The problem is that both you and Monbiot fail to mention that your "the spontaneous order of the market" does not recognize externalities and climate change is outside Hayek's thinking - he never wrote about sustainability or the limits on resources, let alone the consequences of burning fossil fuels. There is no beauty in what he wrote - it was a cold, mechanical model that assumed certain human behaviour but not others. Look at today's money-makers - they are nearly all climate change deniers and we have to have government to reign them in.

aLERNO 16 Nov 2016 04:52

Good, short and concise article. But the FIRST NEOLIBERAL MILESTONE WAS THE 1973 COUP D'ETAT IN CHILE, which not surprisingly also deposed the first democratically-elected socialist government.

accipiter15 16 Nov 2016 02:34

A great article and explanation of the influence of Hayek on Thatcher. Unfortunately this country is still suffering the consequences of her tenure and Osborne was also a proponent of her policies and look where we are as a consequence. The referendum gave the people the opportunity to vent their anger and if we had PR I suspect we would have a greater turn-out and nearly always have some sort of coalition where nothing gets done that is too hurtful to the population. As for Trump, again his election is an expression of anger and desperation. However, the American voting system is as unfair as our own - again this has probably been the cause of the low turn-out. Why should people vote when they do not get fair representation - it is a waste of time and not democratic. I doubt that Trump is Keynsian I suspect he doesn't have an economic theory at all. I just hope that the current economic thinking prevailing currently in this country, which is still overshadowed by Thatcher and the free market, with no controls over the city casino soon collapses and we can start from a fairer and more inclusive base!

JVRTRL -> Keypointist 16 Nov 2016 02:15

The system that Clinton developed was an inheritance from George H.W. Bush, Reagan (to a large degree), Carter, with another large assist from Nixon and the Powell Memo.

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

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

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

JVRTRL daltonknox67 16 Nov 2016 02:00

There is no iron law that says a country has to run large trade deficits. The existence of large trade deficits is usually a result of policy choices.

Growth also hasn't gone into the tank. What's changed is the distribution of the gains in GDP growth -- that is in no small part a direct consequence of changes in policy since the 1970s. It isn't some "market place magic". We have made major changes to tax laws since that time. We have weakened collective bargaining, which obviously has a negative impact on wages. We have shifted the economy towards financial services, which has the tendency of increasing inequality.

The idea too that people will be "poorer" than in the 1920s and 1930s is just plain ignorant. It has no basis in any of the data. Wages in the bottom quartile have actually decreased slightly since the 1970s in real terms, but those wages in the 1970s were still exponentially higher than wages in the 1920s in real terms.

Wages aren't stagnating because people are working less. Wages have stagnated because of dumb policy choices that have tended to incentives looting by those at the top of the income distribution from workers in the lower parts of the economy. The 2008 bailouts were a clear illustration of this reality. People in industries rigged rules to benefit themselves. They misallocated resources. Then they went to representatives and taxpayers and asked for a large no-strings attached handout that was effectively worth trillions of dollars (e.g. hundreds of billions through TARP, trillions more through other programs). As these players become wealthier, they have an easier time buying politicians to rig rules further to their advantage.


JVRTRL YinxxXing 16 Nov 2016 01:50

Part of the problem is a quirk of the U.S. system. We have an electoral college system, which was originally adopted over 200 years ago, in part, in order to help to preserve slavery. If the presidential election was based on a national vote, I suspect we would have higher participation rates, because every vote in every state would carry equal weight.

As things stand now, in 35-40 states in any election cycle, there usually isn't much doubt about the result of the presidential race.

On top of this, there are all kind of obstacles that tend to make voting more difficult. e.g. voting on a weekday, voter IDs, voter suppression efforts.

JVRTRL -> RandomLibertarian 16 Nov 2016 01:44

"The tyranny of the 51 per cent is the oldest and most solid argument against a pure democracy."

"Tyranny of the majority" is always a little bizarre, given that the dynamics of majority rule are unlike the governmental structures of an actual tyranny. Even in the context of the U.S. we had minority rule due to voting restrictions for well over a century that was effectively a tyranny for anyone who was denied the ability to participation in the elections process. Pure majorities can go out of control, especially in a country with massive wealth disparities and with weak civic institutions.

On the other hand, this is part of the reason to construct a system of checks and balances. It's also part of the argument for representative democracy.

"Neoliberalism" is entirely compatible with "growth of the state". Reagan greatly enlarged the state. He privatized several functions and it actually had the effect of increasing spending.

When it comes to social safety net programs, e.g. in health care and education -- those programs almost always tend to be more expensive and more complicated when privatized. If the goal was to actually save taxpayer money, in the U.S. at least, it would have made a lot more sense to have a universal Medicare system, rather than a massive patch-work like the ACA and our hybrid market.

Entirely state controlled health care systems tend to be even more cost-effective. Part of the issue is that privatization tends to create feedback mechanism that increase the size of spending in programs. Even Eisenhower's noted "military industrial complex" is an illustration of what happens when privatization really takes hold.

daltonknox67 15 Nov 2016 21:46

After WWII most of the industrialised world had been bombed or fought over with destruction of infrastructure and manufacturing. The US alone was undamaged. It enjoyed a manufacturing boom that lasted until the 70's when competition from Germany and Japan, and later Taiwan, Korea and China finally brought it to an end.

As a result Americans born after 1950 will be poorer than the generation born in the 20's and 30's.

This is not a conspiracy or government malfunction. It is a quirk of history. Get over it and try working.

Arma Geddon 15 Nov 2016 21:11

Another nasty neoliberal policy of Reagan and Thatcher, was to close all the mental hospitals, and to sweeten the pill to sell to the voters, they called it Care in the Community, except by the time those hospitals closed and the people who had to relay on those institutions, they found out and are still finding out that there is very little care in the community left any more, thanks to Thatcher's disintegration of the ethos community spirit.

In their neoliberal mantra of thinking, you are on your own now, tough, move on, because you are hopeless and non productive, hence you are a burden to taxpayers.

Its been that way of thinking for over thirty years, and now the latest group targeted, are the sick and disabled, victims of the neoliberal made banking crash and its neoliberal inspired austerity, imposed of those least able to fight back or defend themselves i.e. vulnerable people again!

AlfredHerring GimmeHendrix 15 Nov 2016 20:23

It was in reference to Maggie slapping a copy of Hayek's Constitution of Liberty on the table and saying this is what we believe. As soon as you introduce the concept of belief you're talking about religion hence completeness while Hayek was writing about economics which demands consistency. i.e. St. Maggie was just as bad as any Stalinist: economics and religion must be kept separate or you get a bunch of dead peasants for no reason other than your own vanity.

Ok, religion based on a sky god who made us all is problematic but at least there's always the possibility of supplication and miracles. Base a religion on economic theory and you're just making sausage of your neighbors kids.

TanTan -> crystaltips2 15 Nov 2016 20:10

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

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

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

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

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

YouDidntBuildThat -> Filipio 15 Nov 2016 20:06

Filipo

You argue that a great many government functions have been privatized. I agree. Yet strangely you present zero evidence of any downsides of that happening. Most of the academic research shows a net benefit, not just on budgets but on employee and customer satisfaction. See for example.

And despite these privitazation cost savings and alleged neoliberal "austerity" government keeps taking a larger share of our money, like a malignant cancer. No worries....We're from the government, and we're here to help.

Keypointist 15 Nov 2016 20:04

I think the damage was done when the liberal left co-opted neo-liberalism. What happened under Bill Clinton was the development of crony capitalism where for example the US banks were told to lower their credit standards to lend to people who couldn't really afford to service the loans.

It was this that created too big to fail and the financial crisis of 2008. Conservative neo-liberals believe passionately in competition and hate monopolies. The liberal left removed was was productive about neo-liberalism and replaced it with a kind of soft state capitalism where big business was protected by the state and the tax payer was called on to bail out these businesses. THIS more than anything else led to Trump's victory.


[Sep 19, 2017] Is this the beginning of the end for neoliberalism?

Notable quotes:
"... East Twickenham, Middlesex ..."
"... International officer, GMB ..."
"... Wallington, Surrey ..."
"... Leamington Spa, Warwickshire ..."
Apr 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF. Her claims that the IMF helped avoid another great depression in 2008 are challenged

Your editorial on the French elections ( 11 April ), with its encouraging mention of the rise of the higher tax and spend candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, failed to mention possibly his biggest electoral draw: the fact that he is a leftwing protectionist . Prior to the 2012 election, polls showed that over 80% of French across the political spectrum thought that free trade had a negative impact on employment. So it's not just immigration that is fuelling ever-broadening support for Marine Le Pen, it is also the fact that she too is an overt protectionist.

These trends have obviously not been lost on the unholy trinity of free trade pushers the IMF, WTO, and the World Bank ( Report , 11 April). Having forced nations across the world to accept their open-borders, export-led growth mantra they are now busy crying crocodile tears for the "left behind", the inevitable result of their policies. They still rail against protectionism, despite the fact that if it has a progressive end goal, it could enhance the economic and social conditions of the globally disadvantaged.

In terms of the relevance of all this to the UK, and at the risk of intruding on public grief, what are the Labour party's views on these under-publicised protectionist trends? The likes of Trump and Le Pen have been able to turn it into a politically potent and successful issue, so why are so many progressives over here absent from this pivotal debate?
Colin Hines
East Twickenham, Middlesex

The attempt by the World Bank , IMF and WTO to defend the role of "free" trade merely serves to underline their role as advocates of a neoliberal order that impoverishes the many and benefits the few. The call for a "robust global trading system based on the WTO" is aimed at locking in countries to a system that removes decision-making from sovereign states and places it instead in the boardrooms of transnational corporations. When their report states that trade is good for growth, what they really mean is that it is good for corporate balance sheets. And when they refer to helping those "left behind", they are inviting us to believe in discredited theories of trickle-down economics which holds that what is good for the rich is good for the poor.

As we move into the uncertainties of a new post-Brexit trading regime, it is incumbent upon us to develop alternative models to outdated concepts that automatically equate GDP growth with increased wellbeing. And it's also time to not only challenge the WTO's direction of travel but also to recognise it for what it is and campaign for its abolition, replacing it instead with a consensual model of economic integration based on the needs and aspirations of independent states and their regional priorities. As Donald Trump preaches protectionism, he would do well to heed his far wiser predecessor, Thomas Jefferson, when he said: "Peace commerce and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none."
Bert Schouwenburg
International officer, GMB

We must not lose sight of the downsides to globalisation and world trade. The rampant consumerism which is driving economic growth is certainly lifting incomes for some while also lining the pockets of global corporations. But only recently ( Pollutionwatch , 10 April) you reported that our consumption of Chinese products causes about 55,000 early deaths from air pollution across China every year. While the three organisations say that they want to pay attention to disadvantaged individuals and communities, they will not be able to "lift up those who have been left behind" if they are dead.
Fiona Carnie
Bath

"We worked together to ensure that the great recession did not become another great depression", says Christine Lagarde of the IMF. The truth is quite the opposite – they and their supporters in the US, the World Bank and the WTO, brought about the crash in 2008 with their insistence on deregulation of the finance business. The aftermath of 2008 is still penalising the poor and what used to be the better-off, both in the rich and poor worlds.
Michael McLoughlin
Wallington, Surrey

Doughnut economics is very compelling, but George Monbiot ( Opinion , 12 April) and, presumably, Kate Raworth, seem not to have encountered A Blueprint for Survival. This remarkable document was published by the Club of Rome, with spadework by MIT, in 1969. It postulated that pollution would end matters if the world proceeded on its continual pursuit of economic growth. That hasn't happened, but not for our want of trying. But the important message was how to create a no-growth, vibrant successful economy by pouring all the world's efforts into recycling, making things that lasted as long as possible and general encouragement of invention centred on conservation of resources and environment.

I and my colleagues teaching general studies in FE spent some enlightening weeks with our students exploring the validity of the proposals. I also wrote to my MP asking what the government's attitude was; I got a nondescript reply. And that's where matters shuddered to a permanent halt. I do hope Kate Raworth has better luck for all our sakes.
Ted Clark
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

[Sep 19, 2017] When all parties want 'an economy that works', you know neoliberalism is kaput by Tim Jackson

May 31, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Tim Jackson Free-market economics has undermined the fabric of society and left millions behind – and manifestos across the political spectrum recognise it

'Privatised gain and socialised loss is the defining story of capitalism over the last decades.'

When all parties want 'an economy that works', you know neoliberalism is kaput Tim Jackson Free-market economics has undermined the fabric of society and left millions behind – and manifestos across the political spectrum recognise it

Something strange is happening in British politics. I'm not talking about the divisive quagmire of Brexit or the frightening rise of xenophobia. I'm talking about a broad cross-party agreement that the economic model of the last half a century has failed. I'm referring to an (almost) ubiquitous call across the multi-coloured manifestos of the 2017 election to start building "an economy that works" – for everyone.

Isn't it a bit odd to find this exact same turn of phrase across the political spectrum: blue , red , orange , green ? (Only Ukip has no truck with an economy that works.) It looks a little bit like someone has been copying someone else's homework; and it isn't entirely clear who. When Theresa May first used the phrase, on the steps of Downing Street back in July 2016 , she made it sound like her own idea. But in fact she lifted the language – lock, stock and barrel – from a speech Jeremy Corbyn gave at the launch of Labour's inaugural state of the economy conference . He promised to "create an economy that works for all, not just the few".

A careful archivist could uncover a longer pedigree. The phrase appeared on the Green party's website long before Corbyn and May borrowed it. Interesting. The Greens picked it up from a campaign launched by the Aldersgate Group – an alliance of leaders driving action for a sustainable economy. Curiouser and Curiouser. Ultimately, we can trace it to the worldwide chorus of disapproval against the " age of irresponsibility " that created the financial crisis.

Almost a decade on, it seems kind of obvious that something different is needed . An economy that works has to be a good thing, right? Meaningful work, decent incomes, good life chances, reliable access to healthcare and education, affordable housing, resilient communities, inclusive societies, living in a world that doesn't trash the climate or the rivers or the soils. What's not to like about this vision – a tantalising promise to create a "good society"?

Of course it rather depends who you are. And what your life chances happen to be at the time of asking. There's a minority who have done rather well from an economy that doesn't work at all. The much reviled 1% . A financial (and political) elite who've managed to benefit massively from the machinery of growth: globalisation, financial deregulation, asset price speculation, collateralised debt obligations, credit default swaps. An impenetrable language hiding a tale of human misery. Not just to benefit, indeed, but to use their considerable power in persuading a captive state to stack the odds in their favour and sweep the risks under the public carpet. Privatised gain and socialised loss is the defining story of capitalism over the last decades.

But it also depends how you set about translating vision into practice. How, for instance, does an economy that works, actually work? What does work itself look like in the economy of tomorrow? Work is more than just the means to a livelihood. It's a vital ingredient in our connection to each other – part of the "glue" of society. Good work offers respect, motivation, fulfilment, involvement in community and in the best cases a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

The reality, of course, is often different. Too many people are trapped in low-quality jobs with insecure wages . If they're lucky. Two-thirds of European countries now have youth unemployment rates higher than 20%. In Greece and Spain , youth unemployment in 2015 was close to 50%. This enormous waste of human energy and talent is also a recipe for civil and social unrest. It undermines the creativity of the workforce and threatens social stability. The long-term implications are nothing short of disastrous.

Some of this is on the radar. Matthew Taylor's review of employment practices will be one of the first things to arrive on the next prime minister's desk. The chances are it will be an immensely useful document, particularly if it goes beyond the vaguely puritanical promises to crack down on tax evasion in the gig economy that currently pepper the blue manifesto. Even more so, if it dares to talk about the quality of work. Or if it begins to question the prevailing assumption that a hi-tech digitalised world of robots and AI is going to save us.

Let's be clear. Technical innovation can deliver us a better quality of life, freedom from drudgery, the ability to be more productive. But there are also places where it makes no sense. Certain kinds of tasks rely inherently on people. The care and concern of one human being for another is a case in point. Its quality rests primarily on the attention paid by one person to another. And yet compassion fatigue is a rising scourge in a health sector hounded by meaningless productivity targets.

Craft is another example. It is the accuracy and detail inherent in crafted goods that endows them with lasting value. It is the attention paid by the carpenter, the tailor and the designer that makes this detail possible. Likewise it is the time spent practising, rehearsing and performing that gives creative art its enduring appeal. What – aside from meaningless noise – is to be gained by asking the London Philharmonic to reduce their rehearsal time and play Beethoven's 9th Symphony faster and faster each year?

An economy that works must have something to do with investing in work itself. Care, craft, culture, creativity: these sectors offer a new vision of enterprise: not as a speculative, profit-maximising, resource-intensive division of labour, but as a form of social organisation embedded in the community, working in harmony with nature to deliver the capabilities that allow us to prosper.

Much of this exists in the rainbow manifestos of the 2017 election, but there are differences of course. Labour, remarkably, has fully costed the vision. The Tories appear somewhat arrogant in failing completely to do so. The Lib Dems have understood that the vision needs to be personal. The Greens have gone furthest in offering innovative policy to deliver it. Their proposals to trial a land tax, to challenge executive remuneration and to introduce a universal basic income are radical, pragmatic and extremely timely in dealing with the challenges ahead.

Manifestos will come and go but one startling realisation persists. The failed experiment of free-market, neoliberal economics that has haunted modern politics, undermined the fabric of society, disempowered government and left millions behind, may just be coming to an end. Building an economy that works for everyone has become a precise, definable and meaningful task.

Tim Jackson is the author of Prosperity without Growth (Routledge)

JudeSherry , 20 Jul 2017 07:16

We give our power to corporations and governments. This can be given through consumerism or a vote. Indeed we need to stop believing this is the only way we give or take back power. But to ignore that both of these very important actions is irresponsible and delusional.

Indeed we need collective action and what biggest collective action do we take part in every day then the energy & stuff we consume.

In a neo-liberal world view 'the market' wins every time, and if we keep driving, eating meat, flying 'the market' will provide this for us with as much profit for shareholders. This in turn will give corporations & shareholders more resources to lobby for less regulations and more data to argue that this is what people want, so we should ensure they get what they want. In turn ensuring governments have no option but to continue as as they are.

We can make personal choices to earn a living in a responsible manor, to not partake in excessive consumption, to live a life based on real needs not fickle ego wants. We can do all this while also taking part in collective action. In fact I believe choosing a life of less will free us up to do more. I feel much more energised reducing my consumption than the depression I was in when living a life I knew made others suffer through the job I had, the stuff I bought etc.

The idea that we cannot do individual and collective action is insulting to every human. We all have a responsibility in the actions we take, we are not afforded the same privilege of ignorance that previous generations had, our material wealth comes at a cost, a cost we in privileged countries do not pay.

Andre Piver , 19 Jul 2017 13:45
Yes left out of the general conversation , sad and obvious, once stated; Inseparable from the lifeblood of our long supply lines (including political donations and wages for enslaved debtors) being corporate. These are new cancerous multi-organismal organisms rampaging......not an idle metaphor, but actually sharing many specific properties, no limits on reproduction of the pattern, no attachment to place and likely to wipe out the larger host planet...is there any better hope than collapse sooner than later? Unfortunately, amongst individuals more information than ever available but little experiential preparation, sense of connection and belonging necessary to spark a material revolution rather than just more information sharing.
Eddiel899 , 19 Jul 2017 11:14
Everything in the world today revolves around ownership and ownership rights. Is it not strange therefore that there are many people who would like us to believe that there is no such thing as ownership of human life.
Yet these people would like us to believe that all life is based on evolutionary principles of survival of the fittest and of course the fittest are those who set themselves no limit to their exploitation of human life and the human environment.
And these are the same people who tell us that they are the only ones who can be trusted to manage our lives and our environment.
Lame0912 , 19 Jul 2017 05:48
Neoliberalism has conned us. Fullstop.
By fragmenting society (do you remember "There is no such a thing as a society"? I'm sure you all do) into millions of individual atoms, power is left in the hand of the very few.
And we are conned into believing we can better our work situation by individually bargaining, or that we can fend for ourselves individually in every important aspect of life (say education or health just to name two) where, in fact, we are confronting a concentration of power never seen in human history.
chasadel , 19 Jul 2017 00:24
Personally, I think the point at which the corporate world will wake up & listen is when living costs rise so much that us plebs won't have any free cash to buy their products any longer and their diminished profit margins will start to tell the story. The world is raped & poisoned almost beyond repair while these corporate pigs have only one thing on their minds - increased growth & profits. This is happening now with many of us surviving by only buying food and necessities and forced to forego luxuries such as holidays & dining out etc. This is the stark reality of living in this corporate greed driven world. I am now in my late 50s, grew up with Thatcher and am still hearing this neoliberalism garbage and wondering why my fellow citizens continue to vote these idiots in to run our country (I live in Australia now which has similar issues). There is a tipping point that many of us are fast approaching. This whole neoliberalism crap has got to stop before we self-destruct and destroy our planet! The corporate world must accept responsibility for this situation and must be held accountable, as many have made fortunes from their irresponsible attitudes towards the planet's resources. I agree with the author of this piece, but lets start with voting in governments who govern for their people and NOT the greedy corporations. The younger generations, who have been politically ambivalent so far, are slowly waking up to what is happening and will only act when they realise what the corporations have done to our world and the limited opportunities that await them. Where is Monsieur Guillotine when you need him?
GreyBags , 18 Jul 2017 22:57
The self centred greed merchants will fight to the last breath for their right to destroy the planet for personal gain. Those who are not already rich and powerful who push denialist lines are the right wing equivalent of Stalin's 'Useful Idiots'.

It is time the farmers and the small business owners realise that right wing parties only funnel more and more money into the unquenchable maw of big business. What is good for big business is bad for everyone and everything else on the planet.

diggerdigger , 18 Jul 2017 22:31
If you, as a comfy middle class First World urban individual, can't even be bothered to switch off all unused appliances at the wall because it is inconvenient, then you lose all entitlement to complain about the cost of energy - both monetary and climatically. You also lose your entitlement to complain that "corporate" energy providers aren't being forced to do more to reduce their carbon footprint.

A Choice report in 2016 estimated that one act alone could reduce your personal GHG emissions by 1000kg/yr as well as at least $100 off your electricity bill. Not a big difference on its own, but if there are 10 million households in Oz doing that, then that's 10Mt less GHG emissions every year, and you can claim the moral high ground when demanding the onus for action be put back on government and private industry.

Of course, the reality is that virtually no-one in the First World (me included) does this because when it comes down to it, we choose convenience over cost, and would rather sheet home all responsibility and obligation for "doing something about it" to someone else. Preferably those "big evil faceless capitalists" who provide all those things that we poor powerless disenfranchised individuals want and demand.

I'm sorry - but if you want change you have to take responsibility for your own individual contribution to the problem. We're like drug addicts claiming its not our problem or our fault that we're hooked on the shit of every day consumption ...

BTW - I accept I'm a glass house dweller with a handful of stones - I can't be arsed turning stuff off or choosing inconvenience over moral superiority, but then I don't complain when I get my electricity bill, or get stuck in traffic.

https://www.choice.com.au/home-improvement/energy-saving/standby-energy-savers/articles/standby-energy

Matt Quinn -> Lawrie Griffith , 18 Jul 2017 21:55
Cheating is the game. Sooner or later the cheats outweigh wealth producers, a crash ensues until enough 'aspirationals' are shaken out of the elite, and it starts over. The devil is in the details, and we all need to know them:

Resources for seekers of economic truth, the pre-requisite for justice:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
How land barons, industrialists and bankers corrupted economics - Review and outline of "Progress and Poverty" & "Corruption of Economics", links below.

The Corruption of Economics , Gaffney & Harrison (1994) - How you were Robbed.
Progress and Poverty , Henry George (1879) - The Cause(singular) of Poverty.
Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy , Mosler (2010) - How $'s Work.

Iamfuture , 18 Jul 2017 18:25
Neo-Liberalism aka Neo Colonialism is empowered by the Vatican/Crown-Bar/Banker/Global Militia-Police States and THEIR governments, IMF/World Bank to DRIVE the masses to naively wrongly believe via their small collective efforts we can cut emissions sufficiently to stop Climate Change. As the articles published New York Times...The Uninhabitable Earth...correctly assesses C/C changes thus far and their projected amplification going forwards, that we are passing the point of no return to save ourselves and planet. In the mean time, the public, politicians, bankers, wealthy, poor, slaves and owners of oil and gas industry care not for any change to current systems. They do this while well knowing to continue as is to destroy the planet. yet each one individually may we be terrified of the consequences for their children and generations and know they are powerless to stop the rot. Others in turn who have spent millions of their own as well as others money to invent develop the required emissions reduction tech & renewable energy system, have wisely after finding out there is no Public/Private/Government/Banks money available for such noble pursuits, long given up with their efforts. Be these people individuals of small teams they resign themselves to giving up such effort to save the planet with a new understanding that no matter what they seek to do, be it disruptive or paradigm changing they now KNOW those in power via governments, banks, military, police state are under orders to STOP them. It is curious that Guardian Journo's, Writers, Reporters, Invites appear to be afraid of confronting the reality that we humans are in a full blown war with very ancient evil actors and off-worlders in league with equally corrupt evil humans who have little compunction to sell humanity down the road for a price. It is only when closeted 'fraidy cat' news men and women grow some courage will we see publication about real matters few want to appear in media, they having spent centuries using the vast wealth and influence and arms covering up, the mankind would remain in the dark. Do if able fellow Man/Women...do if able awaken from the subtle spell cast over your mind, via global electronic transmissions systems which is preventing you from seeing past the veil of deception hard at work killing your species and world.
Eddiel899 , 18 Jul 2017 13:17
What is needed is recognition of the truth in regard to human life and the position it holds in the world in which we live.
At present there are two rather extreme positions:
1. the liberal democracy position that sees human life as no different to any other form of life and insists that all forms of life have equal value and therefore all life should be treated equally.
2. The neo-liberal position that see human life as no different to any other form of life but due its position on the evolutionary table it must insist on complete dominance of not only all other forms of life but also over the weaker or more docile individuals of the human species.
But there is a third position based on the Christian position where human life is entitled by its nature to dominate all other forms of life but because human life has a value and a destiny that nothing in this world can confer it has a responsibility for sustaining and nourishing all future generations of human life through nourishing and cherishing what is available in all other forms of life.
RobinS -> Lawrie Griffith , 18 Jul 2017 10:08
My, non-economist, understanding of the consequence of Hayek/Rand/Friedman et al thinking - essentially selfishness, individuality and greed - is Commons Tragedy. E are now experiencing many such Tragedies - atmospheric and ocean pollution (CO2, plastics etc), species extinctions, ever greater failure of antibiotics, bonus culture....

This is the ghastly consequence of 'There is no alternative' religious ideological mantra. It has to be denounced but few are doing so. When has a senior politician, elder statesman or mainstream journalist ever denounced the dogma? Those who try, are lampooned, ridiculed and rubbished.

"Thinking is difficult; that's why most people judge," said Carl Jung. I'm trying to think about what's going on - as above - but what judgement is given?

Lawrie Griffith , 18 Jul 2017 09:07
This has to be one of the best articles ever published in the Guardian.
Articulated within it is a core truth about human affairs.
When those who wield power make everyone responsible for everything, we end up with no one responsible for anything.
Look at the lie the powerful tell our children:
You can be anything you want. Yeah right.
Code for: Your life is crap because you are a loser .
The media is soaked with the lesson that only rule breakers succeed, that co-operation is antisocial and will crush an individuals opportunity. Lies.
This is a disease that is rampant in an America that got rich fighting two world wars and never left victorian era capitalism behind.
Even middle of the road media and political parties like the lib-dems etc. hold to this myth, when the truth is that economic fundamentalism (and its hand maiden religion) crush individual opportunity through economic inequality.
Democracy is the enemy of unfettered power, and democracy is collective behaviour.
Martin Lukacs is correct.
We will all do our part, (and I will do my bit) but the battle to save the planet will only be achieved through political means.
freeman69 -> jeroenspeculaas , 18 Jul 2017 08:11
Excellent points. By the same token, the established trade unions were also cleverly absorbed in to the system such that they have become, in many instances, agents of neo-liberalism. Same for New Labour. But there is now an appetite for a pull back and hopefully the momentum can continue.
pacoguerilla , 18 Jul 2017 06:02
Globalisation intensifies transport of material and goods, polluting air, sea, ground. Growing population increases demand for cheap goods produces regardless of the consequences on the environment. Pressure on natural ressources leads to destruction of biodiversity, e.g. cutting down forest to grow palm trees. Electrification is supported bu nuclear lobbies, leading to other Fukushima accidents. Large scale investments are urgently need to complete Inga hydroelectric dawn, to produce electricity for central Africa. This can only be done by rich governments, able to tax multinational companies. But, these escape to taxes by hiding their profits in fiscal paradises. Individuals need to unite to force government to act in the common and public interests, not for private interests.
redactedusername , 18 Jul 2017 04:52
The author makes some refreshing observations about the way that we have been 'trained' to not think systemically. One might go even further and propose that if we did think systemically, we may not be in the mess we are currently in because we would have recognised that - as Barry Commoner put it way back in 1971 - "there's no such thing as a free lunch in nature" (I paraphrase).

Gregory Bateson, again back in the late 60s and early 70s, was adamant that a species that destroys its environment destroys itself, because the unit of survival is the organism plus its environment, not one without the other.

Even Darwin understood this, and his claim that evolution was the survival of the fit does not mean the ascendancy of alpha individuals, but rather the continuous process of species adapting (i.e., fitting) their environmental niches.

In other words, everything is interconnected, and when we lose sight of those webs of connectivity we begin to die out, in one way or another. We see this in habitat fragmentation - when habitats become fragmented, the species that are connected within those habitats are impacted and begin to die out - the percolation theory, in effect.

The point being is that thinking systemically is not news ... or rather, it shouldn't be. So when this author (correctly) points to the neoliberal agenda as divide and conquer he is quite right to do so, because that division separates us from each other and us all from the planetary systems on which we quite literally depend. Chief Seattle is alleged to have observed that once the last tree has been cut down and the last fish fished, we will realise that one cannot eat money. We seem to have forgotten this basic and fundamental wisdom of who we are, and more critically, our ontological status as a species .

The emphasis in the modern day on individual action is all well and good, and should be continued. But we should not overlook the elephant in the room, and I think that this is the author's main point: we are almost all participants in an exploitive economic model that recasts the world as a vast resource base that belongs to no-one so therefore is free for the taking. But these commons are by definition, held in common for all of us, and for those who have yet to be born.

There are plenty of examples from around the world compiled by Elinor Ostrom and colleagues, of communities who have banded together in self-organising groups to care for these common pool resources (e.g. irrigation, plantation, and other resource systems) in novel ways that undermine Hardin's so-called 'tragedy' of the commons that could only be resolved via government intervention or private ownership, and these groups deal effectively with the free-rider problem and violators of the group normative agreements.

I'm pleased to note that ecological economics has begun the process of recalibrating the linear models of classical economic theory, and while the notion of valuing ecosystem services is very anthropocentric, it is still at least a start for those who only think in terms of profit and loss to begin to attribute inherent value to the complex and interwoven systems that have, for so long, been taken for granted and abused. Kate Raworth's "Doughnut economics" is an excellent starter to begin thinking about these issues.

By reconnecting the different nodes in the network, by looking at the ripple effect of actions at a local scale traveling out towards wider, more spatially and temporally remote areas, and holding those who treat the planet as their corporate profit enhancing vehicle to account, calling upon our politicians to be clear about what they are going to do to address this rot, perhaps these may prove to be the more effective measures in the long run.

But, of course, we don't have that much time according to the rapidly accumulating evidence. Therein lies the rub. Moreover, those who stand to lose out through changes in the dominant economic paradigm are not going to surrender without a fight, and unfortunately, they have the capacity to call on politicians and the police and military forces to do their bidding and to defend their interests.

Nevertheless, all credit to this author for naming the elephant in the room: working in groups and communities, making the inter-connections explicit between what happens to my patch and what happens elsewhere, physically and socially, economically and culturally, these seem to offer the best hope in trying to preserve something for those who have yet to follow and who will inherit whatever we bequeath them.

sierrasierra , 18 Jul 2017 04:43
"Neoliberalism has not merely ensured this agenda is politically unrealistic: it has also tried to make it culturally unthinkable. Its celebration of competitive self-interest and hyper-individualism, its stigmatization of compassion and solidarity, has frayed our collective bonds. It has spread, like an insidious anti-social toxin, what Margaret Thatcher preached: "there is no such thing as society."

There's another word for this and it's called 'cancer' the metaphoric kind in addition to the physical and emotional kinds.

ColinKnight -> TheSnial , 18 Jul 2017 03:07

Unfortunately, that's not true. Brexit was organised by ultra-neoliberals who see the EU as a barrier to tearing down the state. Their goal is to inflict a form a Shock Doctrine on the country which pushes us into the arms of a right-wing Anglosphere and the same sort of anti-environmental policies pursued by Trump, Abott and Harper. It's a delusion to think that Brexit represents anything else: no country is an island, even though we literally are surrounded by sea.

You're basing your statements on what you would like to believe, driven by the romanticism of family, rather than the facts.

You could start by recognising that the EU is a protectionist trading area. Set up from the very beginning to protect both French farming and German manufacturing, in a time when world tariffs were relatively high.

Whilst world tariffs have have since reduced drastically to typically 3 to 5%, those EU tariffs are still unrealistically very high, at typically 20% on EU agricultural imports and 10% on EU manufacturing imports, which the UK has to pay as party to the customs union. The beneficiaries of those EU tariffs are not the citizens and consumers of the EU, who as a result have to pay a lot more for non-EU products, but the organisations that the high tariffs protect.

Due to their protectionism, that harms EU citizens, the EU tariffs are now way out of step with typical low and reducing world tariffs.

Consequently, when we leave the EU, and are outside the high EU tariff walls of the customs union, many products will be far cheaper, and UK consumers will benefit greatly. Those benefits will increase even further, when we leave the customs union, as we are able to progressively agree unilateral low tariff trade deals with multiple nations that are outside the EU.

conguruous , 18 Jul 2017 02:18
Fine words, intelligent ideas, excellent analysis of the neoliberal mad house we live in. Consumerism and greed, narcissistic megalomania and political apathy all mixed into a pot of poison that is infecting the entire planet and, through solution and abuse, all its life forms. Each generation, each civilisation faces its nemesis and ours is well understood; but like all those who went before us, we will face our extinction unable to do much about it. In pursuit of happiness, it behoves us all to reflect in philosophical and spiritual ways; to understand the wounds and suffering we each bear and to find compassion for ourselves and each other. Even though we must try, all our political and material attempts to solve our problems fall into the same bottomless hole. So little we can do out there; so much we can do within.
Gonebush , 18 Jul 2017 01:45
Excellent article. Big business corporations are becoming the effective governments of nations and will soon be able to enforce their interests without government restraints--unless people take committed, collective action against their encroaching powers. Many governments have sunk alarmingly into isolation, incompetence and ineffectiveness, not to mention dependence on corporate donations. They must now be disregarded as guardians and promoters of their peoples' interests.
LeftyMcPitchfork , 18 Jul 2017 01:41
Holy Guacamole you're so oblivious to your own neoliberal tendency to absolve your first world capitalist consumption from blame for the ills of the world, I actually had to create a Guardian account to express my incredulous disgust that you'd actually attempt to use socialism as an excuse for individuals to weasel out of responsibility for their consumer choices.

Anarchist, vegan and far left groups have known for decades in a capitalist market economy like ours YOU MUST OPT OUT. It's as simple as not joining a murderous street gang.. You also don't buy the products or from companies killing the earth.

Buy local food, and ethical small business. Recycle, trade, buy used goods, use less fuel, stop eating meat, drink coffee at home or at a local cafe instead of in a disposable Starbucks cup. Its the only way to build a new healthy culture. You can't keep blaming corporations if you keep lining their pockets.

It is both. I find this article dangerously simplistic and as some one who is really far left, disgusted that you'd use socialism as an excuse to passively keep participating in corporate capitalism. Nothing could be more neoliberal than that!

quokkaZ -> iruka , 18 Jul 2017 01:23

That's exactly why some people get so incandescently angry at Green Parties

How about we drop the psycho babble and cut to the chase. Some environmentalists are angry at green parties because of their stupid anti-science polices on very important questions inclusing nuclear power and GMOs.

And a great deal more people are angry at Green Parties because a large percentage of people on the planet consume too little rather than too much. They live in an unacceptable state of poverty. There is only one fix for that - economic development. All this talk of consumption presupposes that there is some plausible reduction of consumption in developed countries that could compensate for the economic development in the rest of the world. Manifestly there cannot be. In the end western green ideology cannot end up with any other logical conclusion than keeping vast swathes of the worlds population poor - for the sake of the environment. Despite all protestations and rationalizations the conclusion is inevitable. They cannot combine humanism and environmentalism and if you can't do that you will fail.

And an inevitable conclusion entirely missed by greens - the climate problem is just as much (or even more) a problem of production rather than consumption. France does not have a lower per person carbon emissions footprint because they are frugal, or more ethical or any of the rest of the nonsense. It's because of nuclear power.

iruka , 18 Jul 2017 00:15
Green consumerism clearly invites comparisons to religion, as described by Marx: "..the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions..."

It's a way of achieving a sense of wholeness and purity in a corrupt world, and a sense of having taken substantive action in a world that has rendered us powerless. It's an excuse for believing that we aren't - collectively, passively - dooming our grandchildren to a world in which the living, to quote Merkin Muffley, will envy the dead. Individual green piety is the opiate of the people.

Of course for that matter: individualism and consumerism themselves, pursued within the atomising conditions of any modern society, are for most people not fields of dumb, solipsistic egoism. They're means of negotiating and establishing some sense of being a moral creature. They're ways of conforming, of touching some sort of (wholly imaginary) shared consciousness. They're forms of pious religious conformity in their own right.

That's exactly why some people get so incandescently angry at Green Parties, or at exhortations to consume less: it isn't that their self-indulgence or their selfishness is being called out. It's that their habitual sense of being a moral person is being undermined.

The anger is almost inevitable given how rudimentary and self-contradictory a sense of one's own goodness that's rooted wholly in conformity is bound to be (see: "only following orders...")

Federalist10 , 17 Jul 2017 23:55

...it is time to stop obsessing with how personally green we live...

Martin, this is dangerously off base.

As the Laudato Si encyclical reminds us, personal responsibility is the root of all moral action. Indeed, we have barely begun to obsess.

Yes, neoliberalism is killing us, and we have a moral duty to fight corporate desecration in all its forms. But this alone won't let us personally off the hook.

stanphillips , 17 Jul 2017 22:16
This is a great article, although it is wishful thinking to imagine that it would be anything but difficult to counter the attacks that corporations, many governments and the conservative media would use to stifle attempts to at organizing opposition to the oligarchies, their cronies in power and nationalizing power grids, water supply and public transport, to name a few.

Population growth is not given enough attention, given that in western societies that has generally been on the decline. Not so in other parts of the world, particularly South and Central America, parts of Africa and the Indian sub-continent.

Therein lies the difficulty, because to effect the changes mentioned in the article would be difficult enough in western nations. To enable them in countries where the rule of law and natural justice is transient and either flexible or non-existent depending on who is in power would be well nigh impossible, although use of resources per capita in those countries can be much less than the so-called "affluent" west. Most importantly, female rights in those countries (as they still are to a degree in western countries) are often ignored and they are paramount to solving environmental problems.

In no way can a habitable biosphere be achieved or maintained without the empowerment of women, without women occupying positions of power across the board on their own terms and absolutely having control over their own persons and reproductive rights

GabrielM -> bobkolker 17 Jul 2017 21:13

But most scientific and technological innovation is government funded, because it's far too risky for hedge funds or the like to take any interest until there are proven results. Then the corporate world cashes in: on a much safer developmental basis. Read Mariana Mazzucato of Sussex University about this. Conventional wisdom flogs the lie that entrepreneurs take all the risk -- they don't: governments do.

GabrielM -> biggshoson 17 Jul 2017 20:20

Maybe it was his intention to say that individual effort is "not enough" but my impression was that his anger at the divide-and-rule, atomising effects on us as consumers of products of large corporations, made him overstate his case: that neoliberalism exemplified by corporations was blinding us to the pointlessness of individual action as a "feel-good" factor only, with no real relevance to the scope of the problem.

I think this is misguided on two counts: first that this so-called "individual" action might accurately reflect a solitary situation e.g. sorting stuff for recycling, but it's essentially undertaken with a collective understanding that resources are limited, that the way we dispose of what we regard as "waste" which could also be regarded as a resource, has consequences in terms of eg pollution.

Second, that such individual-but-also-collective actions do in aggregate make a tangible difference to available resources and pollution; it's not just an inconsequential ritual. And the dividing lines between personal and political are often far from clear, in a context where local government often sets the parameters of what is or is not possible: e.g. provision or not of recycling facilities, of allotments for flat dwellers, etc for growing the carrots. It doesn't necessarily take a delegation to raise issues with a local Council or MP: a few concerned and persistent individuals can make sure something gets attended to.

The individual can be very political just by writing well-informed letters and refusing to take silence or no for an answer. We have more power than we think we do, and organising is even better.

[Sep 19, 2017] The political project of neoliberalism, brought to ascendence by Thatcher and Reagan, has pursued two principal objectives. The first has been to dismantle any barriers to the exercise of unaccountable private power. The second had been to erect them to the exercise of any democratic public will

Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The political project of neoliberalism , brought to ascendence by Thatcher and Reagan, has pursued two principal objectives. The first has been to dismantle any barriers to the exercise of unaccountable private power. The second had been to erect them to the exercise of any democratic public will.

Its trademark policies of privatization, deregulation, tax cuts and free trade deals: these have liberated corporations to accumulate enormous profits and treat the atmosphere like a sewage dump, and hamstrung our ability, through the instrument of the state, to plan for our collective welfare.

Anything resembling a collective check on corporate power has become a target of the elite: lobbying and corporate donations, hollowing out democracies, have obstructed green policies and kept fossil fuel subsidies flowing; and the rights of associations like unions, the most effective means for workers to wield power together, have been undercut whenever possible.

At the very moment when climate change demands an unprecedented collective public response, neoliberal ideology stands in the way. Which is why, if we want to bring down emissions fast, we will need to overcome all of its free-market mantras: take railways and utilities and energy grids back into public control; regulate corporations to phase out fossil fuels; and raise taxes to pay for massive investment in climate-ready infrastructure and renewable energy -- so that solar panels can go on everyone's rooftop, not just on those who can afford it.

Neoliberalism has not merely ensured this agenda is politically unrealistic: it has also tried to make it culturally unthinkable. Its celebration of competitive self-interest and hyper-individualism, its stigmatization of compassion and solidarity, has frayed our collective bonds . It has spread, like an insidious anti-social toxin, what Margaret Thatcher preached: "there is no such thing as society."

Studies show that people who have grown up under this era have indeed become more individualistic and consumerist . Steeped in a culture telling us to think of ourselves as consumers instead of citizens, as self-reliant instead of interdependent, is it any wonder we deal with a systemic issue by turning in droves to ineffectual, individual efforts? We are all Thatcher's children.

Even before the advent of neoliberalism, the capitalist economy had thrived on people believing that being afflicted by the structural problems of an exploitative system – poverty, joblessness, poor health, lack of fulfillment – was in fact a personal deficiency.

Neoliberalism has taken this internalized self-blame and turbocharged it. It tells you that you should not merely feel guilt and shame if you can't secure a good job, are deep in debt, and are too stressed or overworked for time with friends. You are now also responsible for bearing the burden of potential ecological collapse.

Of course we need people to consume less and innovate low-carbon alternatives – build sustainable farms, invent battery storages, spread zero-waste methods. But individual choices will most count when the economic system can provide viable, environmental options for everyone!not just an affluent or intrepid few.

If affordable mass transit isn't available, people will commute with cars. If local organic food is too expensive, they won't opt out of fossil fuel-intensive super-market chains. If cheap mass produced goods flow endlessly, they will buy and buy and buy. This is the con-job of neoliberalism: to persuade us to address climate change through our pocket-books, rather than through power and politics.

Eco-consumerism may expiate your guilt. But it's only mass movements that have the power to alter the trajectory of the climate crisis. This requires of us first a resolute mental break from the spell cast by neoliberalism: to stop thinking like individuals.

The good news is that the impulse of humans to come together is inextinguishable – and the collective imagination is already making a political come-back. The climate justice movement is blocking pipelines, forcing the divestment of trillions of dollars, and winning support for 100% clean energy economies in cities and states across the world. New ties are being drawn to Black Lives Matter, immigrant and Indigenous rights, and fights for better wages. On the heels of such movements, political parties seem finally ready to defy neoliberal dogma.

None more so than Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour Manifesto spelled out a redistributive project to address climate change: by publicly retooling the economy, and insisting that corporate oligarchs no longer run amok. The notion that the rich should pay their fair share to fund this transformation was considered laughable by the political and media class. Millions disagreed. Society, long said to be departed, is now back with a vengeance.

So grow some carrots and jump on a bike: it will make you happier and healthier. But it is time to stop obsessing with how personally green we live – and start collectively taking on corporate power.

[Sep 19, 2017] How neoliberalism left a toxic legacy

Notable quotes:
"... Henllan, Denbighshire ..."
"... Wallington, Surrey ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Reading your long read on liberalism, it crossed my mind that Friedrich Hayek must be turning in his grave ( The big idea that defines our era , 19 August). Neoliberalism has demolished Hayek's theory of markets. Markets are not free: they are controlled by a wealthy minority of state-sized corporations. Markets are not efficient: they generate mountains of waste as corporations walk away from every abandoned disaster, expecting someone else to clear up the mess. Markets are not competitive: mergers, acquisitions, takeovers and buyouts reduce competition and choice for the consumer. Multinational corporations and international banks so dominate national governments that criminality is tolerated and, in the case of banks, even accepted as normal.

The 2008 crash showed that only the insiders of the financial services industry know what is going on. When a combination of incompetence and greed wrecked the international economy, taxpayers/consumers had to fund a colossal bailout. If big government hadn't organised a rescue, the neoliberal marketplace would have disappeared up its own rectum. The "market economy" is not an "objective science". Hayek's big idea is fatally flawed.
Martin London
Henllan, Denbighshire

Hayek's may have been "the big idea that defines our era", but economies run by governments favouring his ideas, broadly those since Thatcher and Reagan, have been far less successful providing for the majority of their people than those that favoured John Maynard Keynes. Albert Camus wrote that his generation's task was to prevent the world destroying itself. Today it requires a triumph of hope over experience to believe that free marketeers will address climate change. And if the "invisible hand" should always decide, it was odd that its manifestation, almost immediately after WWII, was the finance sector recruiting (directly or indirectly) economists, journalists and politicians to reverse Keynes's theories and policies and to denounce him as a "tax and spender".
David Murray
Wallington, Surrey

What is neoliberalism? It's that moment when you ought to step in to do something about the dehumanised, exploited fast food courier, pedalling furiously along the busy pavement to the beat of the algorithm (past the homeless in their sleeping bags, the slaves in their nail bars and massage parlours, and the private security officers patrolling the "investment properties" that were once homes) before he ploughs into the arthritic, mentally ill woman painfully inching her way to humiliation at an "independent" work capability assessment – but you don't bother because you know the market's invisible hand will sort things out for you.
Ian McCormack
Leicester

[Sep 19, 2017] Goodbye neoliberalism, hello common good by Robin Le Mare

Notable quotes:
"... Allithwaite, Cumbria ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The academic, political and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust, argues Robin Le Mare Margaret Thatcher and Ronal Reagan great believers in neoliberilsm.

The academic, political and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust, argues Robin Le Mare

Letters

Sunday 6 August 2017 13.22 EDT Last modified on Sunday 6 August 2017 17.00 EDT At last, a clear indication of the neoliberal revolution coming to an end ( How Britain fell out of love with the free market , 5 August). I wish it were more clearly stated by politicians and in the questions journalists ask them. It is high time to denounce those behind the whole scheme – one which is so obviously leading to many tragedies of the commons.

The academic (Friedman, Hayek, Buchanan et al), political (Reagan, Thatcher ...) and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust. The hypocrisy of that idea is astounding, the more so that it gained such following and influence, as every one of those who supported it had families, lived in communities, joined clubs and depended on others every day.

The article mentions the corruption of 2007-08 banking. The consequences from it, and neoliberalism generally, being many examples of tragedies of the commons: bonus culture, plastics pollution, accelerated species extinctions, atmospheric chaos and oceanic acidification, wars and mass migration. There's a great deal of highly damaging social and ecosystem free riding in play, and directly related to the perverse economic philosophy that is currently dominant.

Failed models need to be denounced and rejected, but that is inadequate without a clear statement of alternatives. The ghastly "there is no alternative" has to be rebuked, as there are and have to be alternatives. I would start by emphasising Elinor Ostrom's analysis of economic governance, especially the commons, for which she was awarded the Nobel prize in 2009. I encourage people to ask their councillors and MPs how policies benefit the common good. I want journalists to ask every politician how their actions benefit the common good.

Discussions about the boundaries between public, private and common need to be promoted in churches, pubs, town halls and parliament. Every policy is conducted with reference to the economy, but rarely are questions asked about the externalities involved in the policy. I look forward to a Guardian long read describing "alternatives to the orthodox".
Robin Le Mare
Allithwaite, Cumbria

Your excellent long read last Saturday could also have included a further casualty of capitalism – welfare services. In the late 80s, when I was working in Bolton's social services, I remember the arrival of the purchaser-provider split doctrine when some key health service manager colleagues were barred from our regular joint health and social services meetings because they were providers.

This approach of introducing the market economy started to affect us in social services in the early 1990s when we, too, were obliged by the government to restructure our departments and separate purchasing staff from providing staff.

It always intrigued me how introducing the market economy into the provision of welfare services would do anything but drive costs down rather than improve and increase our services to meet ever-increasing demand and expectations. So much so, that I chose to examine what differences a Labour government would bring to the delivery of social services and whether it would continue with a market economy approach, when I began my M Phil at Lincoln University in 1998.

Needless to say, when I completed my study three years later, I could only conclude that Labour continued to promote the concept of trading and a welfare industry driven by market forces, which has now led to the current crisis of a decimation of so many of the services we were once so proud of.

Your article implies that there is "a stirring among genuine Conservatives that capitalism is against place and home" I would add that capitalism is also against welfare.
Nick Thompson
Liverpool

[Sep 19, 2017] Boston Startups Are Teaching Boats to Drive Themselves by Joshua Brustein

Notable quotes:
"... He's also a sort of maritime-technology historian. A tall, white-haired man in a baseball cap, shark t-shirt and boat shoes, Benjamin said he's spent the last 15 years "making vehicles wet." He has the U.S. armed forces to thank for making his autonomous work possible. The military sparked the field of marine autonomy decades ago, when it began demanding underwater robots for mine detection, ..."
"... In 2006, Benjamin launched his open-source software project. With it, a computer is able to take over a boat's navigation-and-control system. Anyone can write programs for it. The project is funded by the U.S. Office for Naval Research and Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit. Benjamin said there are dozens of types of vehicles using the software, which is called MOOS-IvP. ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | www.msn.com

Originally from: Bloomberg via Associated Press

Frank Marino, an engineer with Sea Machines Robotics, uses a remote control belt pack to control a self-driving boat in Boston Harbor. (Bloomberg) -- Frank Marino sat in a repurposed U.S. Coast Guard boat bobbing in Boston Harbor one morning late last month. He pointed the boat straight at a buoy several hundred yards away, while his colleague Mohamed Saad Ibn Seddik used a laptop to set the vehicle on a course that would run right into it. Then Ibn Seddik flipped the boat into autonomous driving mode. They sat back as the vessel moved at a modest speed of six knots, smoothly veering right to avoid the buoy, and then returned to its course.

In a slightly apologetic tone, Marino acknowledged the experience wasn't as harrowing as barreling down a highway in an SUV that no one is steering. "It's not like a self-driving car, where the wheel turns on its own," he said. Ibn Seddik tapped in directions to get the boat moving back the other way at twice the speed. This time, the vessel kicked up a wake, and the turn felt sharper, even as it gave the buoy the same wide berth as it had before. As far as thrills go, it'd have to do. Ibn Seddik said going any faster would make everyone on board nauseous.

The two men work for Sea Machines Robotics Inc., a three-year old company developing computer systems for work boats that can make them either remote-controllable or completely autonomous. In May, the company spent $90,000 to buy the Coast Guard hand-me-down at a government auction. Employees ripped out one of the four seats in the cabin to make room for a metal-encased computer they call a "first-generation autonomy cabinet." They painted the hull bright yellow and added the words "Unmanned Vehicle" in big, red letters. Cameras are positioned at the stern and bow, and a dome-like radar system and a digital GPS unit relay additional information about the vehicle's surroundings. The company named its new vessel Steadfast.

Autonomous maritime vehicles haven't drawn as much the attention as self-driving cars, but they're hitting the waters with increased regularity. Huge shipping interests, such as Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, Tokyo-based fertilizer producer Nippon Yusen K.K. and BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, have all recently announced plans to use driverless ships for large-scale ocean transport. Boston has become a hub for marine technology startups focused on smaller vehicles, with a handful of companies like Sea Machines building their own autonomous systems for boats, diving drones and other robots that operate on or under the water.

As Marino and Ibn Seddik were steering Steadfast back to dock, another robot boat trainer, Michael Benjamin, motored past them. Benjamin, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a regular presence on the local waters. His program in marine autonomy, a joint effort by the school's mechanical engineering and computer science departments, serves as something of a ballast for Boston's burgeoning self-driving boat scene. Benjamin helps engineers find jobs at startups and runs an open-source software project that's crucial to many autonomous marine vehicles.

He's also a sort of maritime-technology historian. A tall, white-haired man in a baseball cap, shark t-shirt and boat shoes, Benjamin said he's spent the last 15 years "making vehicles wet." He has the U.S. armed forces to thank for making his autonomous work possible. The military sparked the field of marine autonomy decades ago, when it began demanding underwater robots for mine detection, Benjamin explained from a chair on MIT's dock overlooking the Charles River. Eventually, self-driving software worked its way into all kinds of boats.

These systems tended to chart a course based on a specific script, rather than sensing and responding to their environments. But a major shift came about a decade ago, when manufacturers began allowing customers to plug in their own autonomy systems, according to Benjamin. "Imagine where the PC revolution would have gone if the only one who could write software on an IBM personal computer was IBM," he said.

In 2006, Benjamin launched his open-source software project. With it, a computer is able to take over a boat's navigation-and-control system. Anyone can write programs for it. The project is funded by the U.S. Office for Naval Research and Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit. Benjamin said there are dozens of types of vehicles using the software, which is called MOOS-IvP.

Startups using MOOS-IvP said it has created a kind of common vocabulary. "If we had a proprietary system, we would have had to develop training and train new employees," said Ibn Seddik. "Fortunately for us, Mike developed a course that serves exactly that purpose."

Teaching a boat to drive itself is easier than conditioning a car in some ways. They typically don't have to deal with traffic, stoplights or roundabouts. But water is unique challenge. "The structure of the road, with traffic lights, bounds your problem a little bit," said Benjamin. "The number of unique possible situations that you can bump into is enormous." At the moment, underwater robots represent a bigger chunk of the market than boats. Sales are expected to hit $4.6 billion in 2020, more than double the amount from 2015, according to ABI Research. The biggest customer is the military.

Several startups hope to change that. Michael Johnson, Sea Machines' chief executive officer, said the long-term potential for self-driving boats involves teams of autonomous vessels working in concert. In many harbors, multiple tugs bring in large container ships, communicating either through radio or by whistle. That could be replaced by software controlling all the boats as a single system, Johnson said.

Sea Machines' first customer is Marine Spill Response Corp., a nonprofit group funded by oil companies. The organization operates oil spill response teams that consist of a 210-foot ship paired with a 32-foot boat, which work together to drag a device collecting oil. Self-driving boats could help because staffing the 32-foot boat in choppy waters or at night can be dangerous, but the theory needs proper vetting, said Judith Roos, a vice president for MSRC. "It's too early to say, 'We're going to go out and buy 20 widgets.'"

Another local startup, Autonomous Marine Systems Inc., has been sending boats about 10 miles out to sea and leaving them there for weeks at a time. AMS's vehicles are designed to operate for long stretches, gathering data in wind farms and oil fields. One vessel is a catamaran dubbed the Datamaran, a name that first came from an employee's typo, said AMS CEO Ravi Paintal. The company also uses Benjamin's software platform. Paintal said AMS's longest missions so far have been 20 days, give or take. "They say when your boat can operate for 30 days out in the ocean environment, you'll be in the running for a commercial contract," he said.

... ... ...

[Sep 19, 2017] Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world by Stephen Metcalf

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The word ["neoliberalism"] has become a rhetorical weapon, but it properly names the reigning ideology of our era – one that venerates the logic of the market and strips away the things that make us human. ..."
"... Last summer, researchers at the International Monetary Fund settled a long and bitter debate over "neoliberalism": they admitted it exists. Three senior economists at the IMF, an organisation not known for its incaution, published a paper questioning the benefits of neoliberalism ..."
"... The paper gently called out a "neoliberal agenda" for pushing deregulation on economies around the world, for forcing open national markets to trade and capital, and for demanding that governments shrink themselves via austerity or privatisation. The authors cited statistical evidence for the spread of neoliberal policies since 1980, and their correlation with anaemic growth, boom-and-bust cycles and inequality. ..."
"... In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, it was a way of assigning responsibility for the debacle, not to a political party per se, but to an establishment that had conceded its authority to the market. For the Democrats in the US and Labour in the UK, this concession was depicted as a grotesque betrayal of principle. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, it was said, had abandoned the left's traditional commitments, especially to workers, in favour of a global financial elite and the self-serving policies that enriched them; and in doing so, had enabled a sickening rise in inequality. ..."
"... Peer through the lens of neoliberalism and you see more clearly how the political thinkers most admired by Thatcher and Reagan helped shape the ideal of society as a kind of universal market ..."
"... Of course the goal was to weaken the welfare state and any commitment to full employment, and – always – to cut taxes and deregulate. But "neoliberalism" indicates something more than a standard rightwing wish list. It was a way of reordering social reality, and of rethinking our status as individuals. ..."
"... In short, "neoliberalism" is not simply a name for pro-market policies, or for the compromises with finance capitalism made by failing social democratic parties. It is a name for a premise that, quietly, has come to regulate all we practise and believe: that competition is the only legitimate organising principle for human activity. ..."
"... No sooner had neoliberalism been certified as real, and no sooner had it made clear the universal hypocrisy of the market, than the populists and authoritarians came to power ..."
"... Against the forces of global integration, national identity is being reasserted, and in the crudest possible terms. What could the militant parochialism of Brexit Britain and Trumpist America have to do with neoliberal rationality? ..."
"... It isn't only that the free market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Brexit and Trump. There was, from the beginning, an inevitable relationship between the utopian ideal of the free market and the dystopian present in which we find ourselves; ..."
"... That Hayek is considered the grandfather of neoliberalism – a style of thought that reduces everything to economics – is a little ironic given that he was such a mediocre economist. ..."
"... This last is what makes neoliberalism "neo". It is a crucial modification of the older belief in a free market and a minimal state, known as "classical liberalism". In classical liberalism, merchants simply asked the state to "leave us alone" – to laissez-nous faire. Neoliberalism recognised that the state must be active in the organisation of a market economy. The conditions allowing for a free market must be won politically, and the state must be re-engineered to support the free market on an ongoing basis. ..."
"... Hayek had only his idea to console him; an idea so grand it would one day dissolve the ground beneath the feet of Keynes and every other intellectual. Left to its own devices, the price system functions as a kind of mind. And not just any mind, but an omniscient one: the market computes what individuals cannot grasp. Reaching out to him as an intellectual comrade-in-arms, the American journalist Walter Lippmann wrote to Hayek, saying: "No human mind has ever understood the whole scheme of a society At best a mind can understand its own version of the scheme, something much thinner, which bears to reality some such relation as a silhouette to a man." ..."
"... The only social end is the maintenance of the market itself. In its omniscience, the market constitutes the only legitimate form of knowledge, next to which all other modes of reflection are partial, in both senses of the word: they comprehend only a fragment of a whole and they plead on behalf of a special interest. Individually, our values are personal ones, or mere opinions; collectively, the market converts them into prices, or objective facts. ..."
"... According to the logic of Hayek's Big Idea, these expressions of human subjectivity are meaningless without ratification by the market ..."
"... ociety reconceived as a giant market leads to a public life lost to bickering over mere opinions; until the public turns, finally, in frustration to a strongman as a last resort for solving its otherwise intractable problems. ..."
"... What began as a new form of intellectual authority, rooted in a devoutly apolitical worldview, nudged easily into an ultra-reactionary politics ..."
Aug 18, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The word ["neoliberalism"] has become a rhetorical weapon, but it properly names the reigning ideology of our era – one that venerates the logic of the market and strips away the things that make us human.

Last summer, researchers at the International Monetary Fund settled a long and bitter debate over "neoliberalism": they admitted it exists. Three senior economists at the IMF, an organisation not known for its incaution, published a paper questioning the benefits of neoliberalism . In so doing, they helped put to rest the idea that the word is nothing more than a political slur, or a term without any analytic power. The paper gently called out a "neoliberal agenda" for pushing deregulation on economies around the world, for forcing open national markets to trade and capital, and for demanding that governments shrink themselves via austerity or privatisation. The authors cited statistical evidence for the spread of neoliberal policies since 1980, and their correlation with anaemic growth, boom-and-bust cycles and inequality.

Neoliberalism is an old term, dating back to the 1930s, but it has been revived as a way of describing our current politics – or more precisely, the range of thought allowed by our politics . In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, it was a way of assigning responsibility for the debacle, not to a political party per se, but to an establishment that had conceded its authority to the market. For the Democrats in the US and Labour in the UK, this concession was depicted as a grotesque betrayal of principle. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, it was said, had abandoned the left's traditional commitments, especially to workers, in favour of a global financial elite and the self-serving policies that enriched them; and in doing so, had enabled a sickening rise in inequality.

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world – podcast

Over the past few years, as debates have turned uglier, the word has become a rhetorical weapon, a way for anyone left of centre to incriminate those even an inch to their right. (No wonder centrists say it's a meaningless insult: they're the ones most meaningfully insulted by it.) But "neoliberalism" is more than a gratifyingly righteous jibe. It is also, in its way, a pair of eyeglasses.

Peer through the lens of neoliberalism and you see more clearly how the political thinkers most admired by Thatcher and Reagan helped shape the ideal of society as a kind of universal market (and not, for example, a polis, a civil sphere or a kind of family) and of human beings as profit-and-loss calculators (and not bearers of grace, or of inalienable rights and duties). Of course the goal was to weaken the welfare state and any commitment to full employment, and – always – to cut taxes and deregulate. But "neoliberalism" indicates something more than a standard rightwing wish list. It was a way of reordering social reality, and of rethinking our status as individuals.

Still peering through the lens, you see how, no less than the welfare state, the free market is a human invention. You see how pervasively we are now urged to think of ourselves as proprietors of our own talents and initiative, how glibly we are told to compete and adapt. You see the extent to which a language formerly confined to chalkboard simplifications describing commodity markets (competition, perfect information, rational behaviour) has been applied to all of society, until it has invaded the grit of our personal lives, and how the attitude of the salesman has become enmeshed in all modes of self-expression.

In short, "neoliberalism" is not simply a name for pro-market policies, or for the compromises with finance capitalism made by failing social democratic parties. It is a name for a premise that, quietly, has come to regulate all we practise and believe: that competition is the only legitimate organising principle for human activity.

No sooner had neoliberalism been certified as real, and no sooner had it made clear the universal hypocrisy of the market, than the populists and authoritarians came to power. In the US, Hillary Clinton, the neoliberal arch-villain, lost – and to a man who knew just enough to pretend he hated free trade . So are the eyeglasses now useless? Can they do anything to help us understand what is broken about British and American politics? Against the forces of global integration, national identity is being reasserted, and in the crudest possible terms. What could the militant parochialism of Brexit Britain and Trumpist America have to do with neoliberal rationality? What possible connection is there between the president – a freewheeling boob – and the bloodless paragon of efficiency known as the free market?

It isn't only that the free market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Brexit and Trump. There was, from the beginning, an inevitable relationship between the utopian ideal of the free market and the dystopian present in which we find ourselves; between the market as unique discloser of value and guardian of liberty, and our current descent into post-truth and illiberalism.

Moving the stale debate about neoliberalism forward begins, I think, with taking seriously the measure of its cumulative effect on all of us, regardless of affiliation. And this requires returning to its origins, which have nothing to do with Bill or Hillary Clinton. There once was a group of people who did call themselves neoliberals, and did so proudly, and their ambition was a total revolution in thought. The most prominent among them, Friedrich Hayek, did not think he was staking out a position on the political spectrum, or making excuses for the fatuous rich, or tinkering along the edges of microeconomics.

He thought he was solving the problem of modernity: the problem of objective knowledge. For Hayek, the market didn't just facilitate trade in goods and services; it revealed truth. How did his ambition collapse into its opposite – the mind-bending possibility that, thanks to our thoughtless veneration of the free market, truth might be driven from public life altogether?


When the idea occurred to Friedrich Hayek in 1936, he knew, with the conviction of a "sudden illumination", that he had struck upon something new. "How can the combination of fragments of knowledge existing in different minds," he wrote, "bring about results which, if they were to be brought about deliberately, would require a knowledge on the part of the directing mind which no single person can possess?"

This was not a technical point about interest rates or deflationary slumps. This was not a reactionary polemic against collectivism or the welfare state. This was a way of birthing a new world. To his mounting excitement, Hayek understood that the market could be thought of as a kind of mind.

Adam Smith's "invisible hand" had already given us the modern conception of the market: as an autonomous sphere of human activity and therefore, potentially, a valid object of scientific knowledge. But Smith was, until the end of his life, an 18th-century moralist. He thought the market could be justified only in light of individual virtue, and he was anxious that a society governed by nothing but transactional self-interest was no society at all. Neoliberalism is Adam Smith without the anxiety.

That Hayek is considered the grandfather of neoliberalism – a style of thought that reduces everything to economics – is a little ironic given that he was such a mediocre economist. He was just a young, obscure Viennese technocrat when he was recruited to the London School of Economics to compete with, or possibly even dim, the rising star of John Maynard Keynes at Cambridge.

The plan backfired, and Hayek lost out to Keynes in a rout. Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, was greeted as a masterpiece. It dominated the public discussion, especially among young English economists in training, for whom the brilliant, dashing, socially connected Keynes was a beau idéal . By the end of the second world war, many prominent free-marketers had come around to Keynes's way of thinking, conceding that government might play a role in managing a modern economy. The initial excitement over Hayek had dissipated. His peculiar notion that doing nothing could cure an economic depression had been discredited in theory and practice. He later admitted that he wished his work criticising Keynes would simply be forgotten.

... Hayek built into neoliberalism the assumption that the market provides all necessary protection against the one real political danger: totalitarianism. To prevent this, the state need only keep the market free.

This last is what makes neoliberalism "neo". It is a crucial modification of the older belief in a free market and a minimal state, known as "classical liberalism". In classical liberalism, merchants simply asked the state to "leave us alone" – to laissez-nous faire. Neoliberalism recognised that the state must be active in the organisation of a market economy. The conditions allowing for a free market must be won politically, and the state must be re-engineered to support the free market on an ongoing basis.

That isn't all: every aspect of democratic politics, from the choices of voters to the decisions of politicians, must be submitted to a purely economic analysis. The lawmaker is obliged to leave well enough alone – to not distort the natural actions of the marketplace – and so, ideally, the state provides a fixed, neutral, universal legal framework within which market forces operate spontaneously. The conscious direction of government is never preferable to the "automatic mechanism of adjustment" – ie the price system, which is not only efficient but maximises liberty, or the opportunity for men and women to make free choices about their own lives.

As Keynes jetted between London and Washington, creating the postwar order, Hayek sat pouting in Cambridge. He had been sent there during the wartime evacuations; and he complained that he was surrounded by "foreigners" and "no lack of orientals of all kinds" and "Europeans of practically all nationalities, but very few of real intelligence".

Stuck in England, without influence or respect, Hayek had only his idea to console him; an idea so grand it would one day dissolve the ground beneath the feet of Keynes and every other intellectual. Left to its own devices, the price system functions as a kind of mind. And not just any mind, but an omniscient one: the market computes what individuals cannot grasp. Reaching out to him as an intellectual comrade-in-arms, the American journalist Walter Lippmann wrote to Hayek, saying: "No human mind has ever understood the whole scheme of a society At best a mind can understand its own version of the scheme, something much thinner, which bears to reality some such relation as a silhouette to a man."

It is a grand epistemological claim – that the market is a way of knowing, one that radically exceeds the capacity of any individual mind. Such a market is less a human contrivance, to be manipulated like any other, than a force to be studied and placated. Economics ceases to be a technique – as Keynes believed it to be – for achieving desirable social ends, such as growth or stable money. The only social end is the maintenance of the market itself. In its omniscience, the market constitutes the only legitimate form of knowledge, next to which all other modes of reflection are partial, in both senses of the word: they comprehend only a fragment of a whole and they plead on behalf of a special interest. Individually, our values are personal ones, or mere opinions; collectively, the market converts them into prices, or objective facts.

... ... ...

The more Hayek's idea expands, the more reactionary it gets, the more it hides behind its pretence of scientific neutrality – and the more it allows economics to link up with the major intellectual trend of the west since the 17th century. The rise of modern science generated a problem: if the world is universally obedient to natural laws, what does it mean to be human? Is a human being simply an object in the world, like any other? There appears to be no way to assimilate the subjective, interior human experience into nature as science conceives it – as something objective whose rules we discover by observation.

... ... ...

More than anyone, even Hayek himself, it was the great postwar Chicago economist Milton Friedman who helped convert governments and politicians to the power of Hayek's Big Idea. But first he broke with two centuries of precedent and declared that economics is "in principle independent of any particular ethical position or normative judgments" and is "an 'objective' science, in precisely the same sense as any of the physical sciences". Values of the old, mental, normative kind were defective, they were "differences about which men can ultimately only fight". There is the market, in other words, and there is relativism.

Markets may be human facsimiles of natural systems, and like the universe itself, they may be authorless and valueless. But the application of Hayek's Big Idea to every aspect of our lives negates what is most distinctive about us. That is, it assigns what is most human about human beings – our minds and our volition – to algorithms and markets, leaving us to mimic, zombie-like, the shrunken idealisations of economic models. Supersizing Hayek's idea and radically upgrading the price system into a kind of social omniscience means radically downgrading the importance of our individual capacity to reason – our ability to provide and evaluate justifications for our actions and beliefs.

As a result, the public sphere – the space where we offer up reasons, and contest the reasons of others – ceases to be a space for deliberation, and becomes a market in clicks, likes and retweets. The internet is personal preference magnified by algorithm; a pseudo-public space that echoes the voice already inside our head. Rather than a space of debate in which we make our way, as a society, toward consensus, now there is a mutual-affirmation apparatus banally referred to as a "marketplace of ideas". What looks like something public and lucid is only an extension of our own pre-existing opinions, prejudices and beliefs, while the authority of institutions and experts has been displaced by the aggregative logic of big data. When we access the world through a search engine, its results are ranked, as the founder of Google puts it, "recursively" – by an infinity of individual users functioning as a market, continuously and in real time.

... ... ...

According to the logic of Hayek's Big Idea, these expressions of human subjectivity are meaningless without ratification by the market – as Friedman said, they are nothing but relativism, each as good as any other. When the only objective truth is determined by the market, all other values have the status of mere opinions; everything else is relativist hot air. But Friedman's "relativism" is a charge that can be thrown at any claim based on human reason. It is a nonsense insult, as all humanistic pursuits are "relative" in a way the sciences are not. They are relative to the (private) condition of having a mind, and the (public) need to reason and understand even when we can't expect scientific proof. When our debates are no longer resolved by deliberation over reasons, then the whimsies of power will determine the outcome.

This is where the triumph of neoliberalism meets the political nightmare we are living through now. "You had one job," the old joke goes, and Hayek's grand project, as originally conceived in 30s and 40s, was explicitly designed to prevent a backslide into political chaos and fascism. But the Big Idea was always this abomination waiting to happen. It was, from the beginning, pregnant with the thing it was said to protect against. Society reconceived as a giant market leads to a public life lost to bickering over mere opinions; until the public turns, finally, in frustration to a strongman as a last resort for solving its otherwise intractable problems.

... ... ...

What began as a new form of intellectual authority, rooted in a devoutly apolitical worldview, nudged easily into an ultra-reactionary politics. What can't be quantified must not be real, says the economist, and how do you measure the benefits of the core faiths of the enlightenment – namely, critical reasoning, personal autonomy and democratic self-government? When we abandoned, for its embarrassing residue of subjectivity, reason as a form of truth, and made science the sole arbiter of both the real and the true, we created a void that pseudo-science was happy to fill.

... ... ...

[Sep 19, 2017] Con Of The Century by Rod Dreher

Notable quotes:
"... Within the next 18 months, US Steel announced that the nation's largest steel producer was also shutting down 16 plants across the nation including their Ohio Works in Youngstown, a move that eliminated an additional 4,000 workers here. That announcement came one day before Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp. said they were cutting thousands of jobs at their facilities in the Mahoning Valley, too. ..."
"... Within a decade 40,000 jobs were gone. Within that same decade, 50,000 people had left the region, and by the next decade that number was up to 100,000. Today the 22 miles of booming steel mills and the support industries that once lined the Mahoning River have mostly disappeared -- either blown up, dismantled or reclaimed by nature. ..."
"... Candidate Trump promised to create millions of new jobs, vowing to be "the greatest jobs president that God ever created." Cohn, as Goldman Sachs's president and COO, oversaw the firm's mergers and acquisitions business that had, over the previous three years, led to the loss of at least 22,000 U.S. jobs, according to a study by two advocacy groups. Early in his candidacy, Trump described as "disgusting" Pfizer's decision to buy a smaller Irish competitor in order to execute a "corporate inversion," a maneuver in which a U.S. company moves its headquarters overseas to reduce its tax burden. The Pfizer deal ultimately fell through. But in 2016, in the heat of the campaign, Goldman advised on a megadeal that saw Johnson Controls, a Fortune 500 company based in Milwaukee, buy the Ireland-based Tyco International with the same goal. A few months later, with Goldman's help, Johnson Controls had executed its inversion. ..."
"... "There was a devastating financial crisis just over eight years ago," Warren said. "Goldman Sachs was at the heart of that crisis. The idea that the president is now going to turn over the country's economic policy to a senior Goldman executive turns my stomach." Prior administrations often had one or two people from Goldman serving in top positions. George W. Bush at one point had three. At its peak, the Trump administration effectively had six. ..."
"... Politically, 2016 would prove a strange year for Goldman. Bernie Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton for pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from Goldman, while Trump attacked Ted Cruz for being "in bed with" Goldman Sachs. (Cruz's wife Heidi was a managing director in Goldman's Houston office until she took leave to work on her husband's presidential campaign.) Goldman would have "total control" over Clinton, Trump said at a February 2016 rally, a point his campaign reinforced in a two-minute ad that ran the weekend before Election Day. An image of Blankfein flashed across the screen as Trump warned about the global forces that "robbed our working class." ..."
"... It's Cohn's influence over the country's regulators that worries Dennis Kelleher, the financial reform lobbyist. "To him, what's good for Wall Street is good for the economy," Kelleher said of Cohn. "Maybe that makes sense when a guy has spent 26 years at Goldman, a company who has repaid his loyalties and sweat with a net worth in the hundreds of millions." Kelleher recalls those who lost a home or a chunk of their retirement savings during a financial crisis that Cohn helped precipitate. "They're still suffering," he said. "Yet now Cohn's in charge of the economy and talking about eliminating financial reform and basically putting the country back to where it was in 2005, as if 2008 didn't happen. I've started the countdown clock to the next financial crash, which will make the last one look mild." ..."
"... Trump ( and the GOP generally) are running the William Henry Harrison routine. Talk about the plain common working people, mix in some log cabins and hard cider, describe anyone who wants to raise wages as an effete elitist, and the downsize, merge, consolidate, offshore, the better to profit from the misery of others. ..."
Sep 17, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Michele Paccione/Shutterstock Salena Zito has a moving NYPost piece about the day that began the destruction of Youngstown, Ohio, and "sowed the seeds of Trump." Excerpts:

From then on, this date in 1977 would be known as Black Monday in the Steel Valley, which stretches from Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio eastward toward Pittsburgh. It is the date when Youngstown Sheet and Tube abruptly furloughed 5,000 workers all in one day.

The bleeding never stopped.

Within the next 18 months, US Steel announced that the nation's largest steel producer was also shutting down 16 plants across the nation including their Ohio Works in Youngstown, a move that eliminated an additional 4,000 workers here. That announcement came one day before Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp. said they were cutting thousands of jobs at their facilities in the Mahoning Valley, too.

Within a decade 40,000 jobs were gone. Within that same decade, 50,000 people had left the region, and by the next decade that number was up to 100,000. Today the 22 miles of booming steel mills and the support industries that once lined the Mahoning River have mostly disappeared -- either blown up, dismantled or reclaimed by nature.

If a bomb had hit this region, the scar would be no less severe on its landscape.

More:

The events of Black Monday forever changed not only the Steel Valley, but her people and eventually American culture and politics. Just last year the reverberations were felt in the presidential election when many hard-core Democrats from this area broke from their party to vote for Donald Trump, a Republican who promised to bring jobs back to the Heartland.

Even today, after the election, the Washington establishment still hasn't processed or properly dissected its effects. Economic experts predicted that the service industry would be the employment of the future. Steel workers were retrained to fill jobs in that sector, which was expected to sustain the middle class in the same way that manufacturing did.

It did not. According to a study done by the Midwest Center for Research the average salary of a steel worker in the late 1970s was $24,772.80. Today, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor statistics, the medium household income in the Mahoning Valley is $24,133.

Now that they have the working man's champion in the White House, what's he doing for them? Here are Gary Rivlin and Michael Hudson, writing in The Intercept , about how Goldman Sachs more or less runs the Trump administration. Excerpts:

Trump raged against "offshoring" by American companies during the 2016 campaign. He even threatened "retribution,"­ a 35 percent tariff on any goods imported into the United States by a company that had moved jobs overseas. But [Gary] Cohn laid out Goldman's very different view of offshoring at an investor conference in Naples, Florida, in November. There, Cohn explained unapologetically that Goldman had offshored its back-office staff, including payroll and IT, to Bangalore, India, now home to the firm's largest office outside New York City: "We hire people there because they work for cents on the dollar versus what people work for in the United States."

Candidate Trump promised to create millions of new jobs, vowing to be "the greatest jobs president that God ever created." Cohn, as Goldman Sachs's president and COO, oversaw the firm's mergers and acquisitions business that had, over the previous three years, led to the loss of at least 22,000 U.S. jobs, according to a study by two advocacy groups. Early in his candidacy, Trump described as "disgusting" Pfizer's decision to buy a smaller Irish competitor in order to execute a "corporate inversion," a maneuver in which a U.S. company moves its headquarters overseas to reduce its tax burden. The Pfizer deal ultimately fell through. But in 2016, in the heat of the campaign, Goldman advised on a megadeal that saw Johnson Controls, a Fortune 500 company based in Milwaukee, buy the Ireland-based Tyco International with the same goal. A few months later, with Goldman's help, Johnson Controls had executed its inversion.

With Cohn's appointment [as his economic adviser], Trump now had three Goldman Sachs alums in top positions inside his administration: Steve Bannon, who was a vice president at Goldman when he left the firm in 1990, as chief strategist, and Steve Mnuchin, who had spent 17 years at Goldman, as Treasury secretary. And there were more to come. A few weeks later, another Goldman partner, Dina Powell, joined the White House as a senior counselor for economic initiatives. Goldman was a longtime client of Jay Clayton, Trump's choice to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission; Clayton had represented Goldman after the 2008 financial crisis, and his wife Gretchen worked there as a wealth management adviser. And there was the brief, colorful tenure of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director: Scaramucci had been a vice president at Goldman Sachs before leaving to co-found his own investment company.

Even before Scaramucci, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., had joked that enough Goldman alum were working for the Trump administration to open a branch office in the White House.

"There was a devastating financial crisis just over eight years ago," Warren said. "Goldman Sachs was at the heart of that crisis. The idea that the president is now going to turn over the country's economic policy to a senior Goldman executive turns my stomach." Prior administrations often had one or two people from Goldman serving in top positions. George W. Bush at one point had three. At its peak, the Trump administration effectively had six.

Ex-Goldmanista Steve Bannon's White House agenda was not in Goldman's interest, though. But now he's gone. More:

The Trump economic agenda, it turns out, is largely the Goldman agenda, one with the potential to deliver any number of gifts to the firm that made Cohn colossally rich. If Cohn stays, it will be to pursue an agenda of aggressive financial deregulation and massive corporate tax cuts -- he seeks to slash rates by 57 percent -- that would dramatically increase profits for large financial players like Goldman. It is an agenda as radical in its scope and impact as Bannon's was.

The story tracks Gary Cohn's impressive rise from an aluminum siding salesman to a Goldman Sachs top leader. In the mid-2000s, Goldman saw that the housing market was a bubble waiting to pop, and arranged its position to take advantage of the coming collapse. The Intercept continues:

Cohn was a member of Goldman's board of directors during this critical time and second in command of the bank. At that point, Cohn and Blankfein, along with the board and other top executives, had several options. They might have shared their concerns about the mortgage market in a filing with the SEC, which requires publicly traded companies to reveal "triggering events that accelerate or increase a direct financial obligation" or might cause "impairments" to the bottom line. They might have warned clients who had invested in mortgage-backed securities to consider extracting themselves before they suffered too much financial damage. At the very least, Goldman could have stopped peddling mortgage-backed securities that its own mortgage trading desk suspected might soon collapse in value.

Instead, Cohn and his colleagues decided to take care of Goldman Sachs.

Goldman would not have suffered the reputational damage that it did -- or paid multiple billions in federal fines -- if the firm, anticipating the impending crisis, had merely shorted the housing market in the hopes of making billions. That is what investment banks do: spot ways to make money that others don't see. The money managers and traders featured in the film "The Big Short" did the same -- and they were cast as brave contrarians. Yet unlike the investors featured in the film, Goldman had itself helped inflate the housing bubble -- buying tens of billions of dollars in subprime mortgages over the previous several years for bundling into bonds they sold to investors. And unlike these investors, Goldman's people were not warning anyone who would listen about the disaster about to hit. As federal investigations found, the firm, which still claims "our clients' interests always come first" as a core principle, failed to disclose that its top people saw disaster in the very products its salespeople were continuing to hawk.

What follows is an amazing, very detailed story about how Goldman maneuvered successfully through the rubble of the economic collapse, and came out on top. And then, get this:

Politically, 2016 would prove a strange year for Goldman. Bernie Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton for pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from Goldman, while Trump attacked Ted Cruz for being "in bed with" Goldman Sachs. (Cruz's wife Heidi was a managing director in Goldman's Houston office until she took leave to work on her husband's presidential campaign.) Goldman would have "total control" over Clinton, Trump said at a February 2016 rally, a point his campaign reinforced in a two-minute ad that ran the weekend before Election Day. An image of Blankfein flashed across the screen as Trump warned about the global forces that "robbed our working class."

So Trump won -- and staffed up with Goldman machers -- Gary Cohn most important of all:

There's ultimately no great mystery why Donald Trump selected Gary Cohn for a top post in his administration, despite his angry rhetoric about Goldman Sachs. There's the high regard the president holds for anyone who is rich -- and the instant legitimacy Cohn conferred upon the administration within business circles. Cohn's appointment reassured bond markets about the unpredictable new president and lent his administration credibility it lacked among Fortune 100 CEOs, none of whom had donated to his campaign. Ego may also have played a role. Goldman Sachs would never do business with Trump, the developer who resorted to foreign banks and second-tier lenders to bankroll his projects. Now Goldman's president would be among those serving in his royal court.

Finally:

It's Cohn's influence over the country's regulators that worries Dennis Kelleher, the financial reform lobbyist. "To him, what's good for Wall Street is good for the economy," Kelleher said of Cohn. "Maybe that makes sense when a guy has spent 26 years at Goldman, a company who has repaid his loyalties and sweat with a net worth in the hundreds of millions." Kelleher recalls those who lost a home or a chunk of their retirement savings during a financial crisis that Cohn helped precipitate. "They're still suffering," he said. "Yet now Cohn's in charge of the economy and talking about eliminating financial reform and basically putting the country back to where it was in 2005, as if 2008 didn't happen. I've started the countdown clock to the next financial crash, which will make the last one look mild."

Read the whole thing. Please, do. It is staggering to think that here we are, a decade after the crash, and here we are.

Tonight (Sunday), PBS begins airing Ken Burns' and Lynn Novick's long Vietnam War documentary. I'll write more about it this week. I've watched it, and to call it landmark television is to vastly undersell it. It comes to mind reading the Goldman-Trump piece because it revealed, however inadvertently, how little we Americans learned from the Vietnam experience when it came time to invade Iraq.

Twenty, thirty years from now, don't be surprised if some American president proposes a "this time, it's different" invasion of another foreign country. And don't be surprised if we the people cheer for him. We're suckers for this kind of thing. Here's Kevin Williamson, on Trump's epic flip-flop on immigration and DACA:

What did they expect? Trump is a serial bankrupt who has betrayed at least two-thirds of the wives he's had and who lies compulsively -- who invented an imaginary friend to lie to the press on his behalf. He has screwed over practically everyone who has ever trusted him or done business with him, and his voters were just another in a long series of marks. They gave him that 280ZX with no down payment -- and no prospect of repossessing it until 2020 at the earliest. Poor Ann Coulter is somewhere weeping into her gin: "I bet on a loser," she explains.

It was a dumb bet.

With no market-oriented health-care reform and no hawkish immigration reform and the prospects of far-reaching tax reform looking shaky -- even though Republicans exist for no obvious purpose other than cutting taxes -- Trump is still looking for his big win. Even those who were willing to suspend the fully formed adult parts of their brains and give him the benefit of the doubt are coming around to the realization that he has no beliefs and no principles, and that he will sell out any ally, cause, or national interest if doing so suits his one and only true master in this life: his vanity. He didn't get rolled by Pelosi and Schumer: His voters got rolled by him. That's the real deal.

Cheers to you, Youngstown!

When Youngstown (so to speak) figures out what's been done to it, politics in this country is going to get very, very interesting. In the meantime:

Some of Trump's base is happy to let him cut deals with Pelosi and Schumer so long as he tweets gifs of Hillary and CNN logos. WWE BS.

! Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 17, 2017

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js 116 Responses to Con Of The Century ← Older Comments Newer Comments →

grumpy realist , says: September 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

Given Trump's history of betraying everyone he's been involved with (wives, businesses, family members) why are people surprised?

And no, I don't suspect Trump supporters to ever turn on him. Whatever he does, they'll find a way to excuse it and cast the blame of "the media", "those liberals", "those people", and "them" instead. It's easier for them to allow themselves to be ripped off, over and over again, than to admit to themselves that they were fools who fell victim to a con man.

(And no, I don't place much credence in Ann Coulter's hissy fit. She's just trying to keep the TV cameras on her as long as possible. Like usual.)

Roy Fassel , says: September 18, 2017 at 10:32 am
The world has changed. It used to be ."what is good for General Motors is good for America."

Multinational corporations tend to have most of their revenue growth outside of the USA today. Some companies like Apple manufacture their phones overseas, and most sales are overseas. This complicates all historical comparisons. The world is much more interconnected these days and we are all "God's children" living in all parts of the globe. Nationalism that is practiced by Trump eventually ends with a 1930s in Europe. BLAME creates hatred which then becomes to great uniter.

This all will not end on the plus side.

Sam M , says: September 18, 2017 at 10:33 am
Matt W

"Be charitable. It's VERY hard for someone to admit that they were fooled. It will be interesting to see all the mechanisms of denial."

Will it be interesting? Or entirely predictable? We have a model: All the ostensibly progressive people who for years voted Democrat and essentially ended up with a huge bait and switch. Which is not the divide in the Democratic Party, with the social justice left now ascendant and angry, because they got an awful lot of Dont Ask, Don't Tell and Clinton-era mass incarceration for their loyalty. While the union-wing got Goldman Sachs stuff.

All those people got rolled the same way Trump is rolling people now. So now we have BLM and Bernie Sanders and basically nothing in between.

So yeah. That's what we will get on the right.

Roger II , says: September 18, 2017 at 10:39 am
Trump has always been an ethically-challenged con man. I would still like to hear someone identify an actual policy that would help Youngstown. The truth is that steel industry jobs are gone, and they aren't coming back. Illegal immigration had nothing (or next to nothing) to do with that and has next to nothing to do with the fact that Youngstown has not developed other jobs for its citizens. Trump never proposed any concrete solutions, but quite frankly neither has JD Vance. Democrats have -- Obamacare, training programs, increased minimum wage, financial aid, more support for unions -- but by and large the white working class has rejected those policies. So maybe Youngstown should figure out what it wants from Trump or anyone else.
Allen , says: September 18, 2017 at 10:51 am
"The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; every man hunts his brother with a net. That they may successfully do evil with both hands-the prince asks for gifts, the judge seeks a bribe, and the great man utters his evil desire; so they scheme together." Micah 7:2-3 (NKJV)

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

collin , says: September 18, 2017 at 11:14 am
Trump raged against "offshoring" by American companies during the 2016 campaign. He even threatened "retribution,"­ a 35 percent tariff on any goods imported into the United States by a company that had moved jobs overseas.

Again, can somebody explain to me how in the hell this is going to be done as free trade is 50%+ popular and any changes in a deal, such as NAFTA, will have serious negative economic consequences in certain parts of the nation. Rip up NAFTA, Iowas LOSES BIG!

Also, in terms of employment the steel industry is not that large anymore. It has about 80K workers today which is significantly about 90% less in the 1980s. And we produce almost (about ~95%) as much steel today as in the 1980s. So steel tariffs will increase steel jobs by 10% which is 8K workers and construction will lose 1% of 730K which is almost 8K workers. So somebody has to show me the benefit of steel tariffs as I don't see it.

Purple Tortoise , says: September 18, 2017 at 11:29 am
[NFR: But that's not really the point. The point is that Trump *specifically* ran against Goldman Sachs and what it represents. And now look. It simply won't do to say, "But Hillary would have been worse." Maybe so, but at this point, that strikes me as a way of rationalizing Trump's failure to keep his promises. -- RD]

Actually, I see it as rationalizing on the part of the NeverTrumpers for why they were justified in offering the voters a sh*t sandwich and why the voters were wrong to go with Trump in the hope of not being forced to eat a sh*t sandwich. Now that Trump has gone back on his promises, the NeverTrumpers are rationalizing that it proves they were right all along because the voters didn't escape the promised sh*t sandwich.

Jeff R , says: September 18, 2017 at 11:35 am
I would dearly love to help them out, and rebuild their cities. It would be the right thing to do. But as long as they keep voting for republicans (and yes, republicans are more corporate and Wall Street friendly then the democrats, Hillary Clinton notwithstanding), they are going to continue to decline.

As a Baltimore resident, I find this statement hilarious.

BlairBurton , says: September 18, 2017 at 11:37 am
http://www.thedailybeast.com/i-told-you-so-trump-is-a-conman-in-chief

"As members of the reviled Never Trump movement, it's not just an end-zone celebration play to say we warned you. We warned you over and over that Trump's brand isn't success; it's betrayal. We warned you that he believes in nothing, and so he will break any promise, shaft any ally, and abandon any position. Hate us all you want, but if you think this is the last time he'll shank his faithful, you might want to review the last 40 years of his personal and business behavior."

Donald , says: September 18, 2017 at 11:37 am
"There is a subset of voters who look upon their politician in an unhealthy God-like/3rd world fashion; much more tangible on the Left, but there on the Right as well."

This is correct, except for that ludicrous claim that it is worse on the Left. It's obvious on both sides and it's been that way forever.

I despise Trump. I am glad he is making deals with Democrats, but the Goldman Sachs thing is horrible. There was always a faint chance he could have governed as a populist, pushing massive infrastructure projects to create jobs, for instance. I thought that would appeal to his vanity as someone who builds things. No such luck.

Sawbuck , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:02 pm
It isn't just the steel industry. You underestimate the level of rage out there in flyover country – and the towns where the service workers live next to the towns where the 1% live because the workers cannot afford the uptown costs – they really will be fine if the whole system burns to ash.

They are used to being poor and will last longer.

Richard Morton , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm
VikingLS (at 10:19pm) hits the mark, IMO. I'd be interested to hear more. Playing the "con man" card gets stale & tiresome fast. Thanks also to Rob G for recommended reading (at 7:08am). So, Rod, won't a good shot of Ben Op faith and virtue also help make America industrious again? It is hard work, but is it impossible to imagine or too complex to do? If you think so, I think you underestimate us–and our Lord.
Captain P , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:15 pm
So long as the Clintonistas don't find a new figurehead, bet on Sanders winning in 2020. If anyone's a true opponent of neoliberal economic policies, he is.
Phillip , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm
Yes, Trump is bad, is going back on promises, etc. etc.

But what's the freaking alternative?

Give me an actual name that is not worse.

Siarlys Jenkins , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:31 pm
Trump ( and the GOP generally) are running the William Henry Harrison routine. Talk about the plain common working people, mix in some log cabins and hard cider, describe anyone who wants to raise wages as an effete elitist, and the downsize, merge, consolidate, offshore, the better to profit from the misery of others.

Now, what could have been done in 1977? That was the beginning of Jimmy Carter's term, his first year in office. At the time, he was a conservative southern Democrat, America's first born-again Christian president, despised by liberals, who tried to run Ted Kennedy against him in the 1980 Democratic primary, producing plenty of material for Ronald Reagan campaign commercials in the general election.

It would have taken a VERY comprehensive plan and some long-term investments. The steel plants were aging and uncompetitive. The companies laid off thousands because they didn't think it worth investing billions in new plants, new technology, etc. A few plants that employees pooled their hard-earned savings to buy turned out to be unsustainable too. A good stop TOWARD a more sensible socialist economy would have been a law providing that IF a company employing more than 1000 workers wanted to shut a plant, a government agency has first option to buy, at a price no greater than original investment minus all depreciation taken on corporate tax returns (that is, next to nothing).

Then it would have taken billions in federal financing to do the upgrade. Why do this? Well, considering the economic and social costs of all the crime, drug networks, drug treatment, alcoholism, etc. in the forty years since, it might have been a net cost savings. This is how socialism becomes a paying proposition, rather than "running out of other people's money."

But a sustainable program has to be geared to production people will actually need and use and want and buy. Production of stuff that piles up because there is no market for it is not sustainable. Something could have been done, but there was no will. Democrats were, then as now, afraid of their own shadow, and addicted to putting band-aids on long-term problems. Republicans, then as now, were addicted to "market forces," which, of course, are what triggered the catastrophe. What passed for a "left" at that time was too busy debating whether Deng or the Gang of Four were the true heroes of proletarian revolution and holding May Day picnics where 90 percent of participants were college graduates. They weren't reading the business pages.

It is also the case that Hillary Clinton was in bed with Goldman.

True, and relevant, but hardly in contradiction with what Dux Bellorum said.

Dux Bellorum, Austinopole , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:33 pm

[NFR: This is simplistic trolling and you know it. It is also the case that Hillary Clinton was in bed with Goldman. Remember the private Wall Street speech she gave, released by Wikileaks, in which she talked about how one needed to have "a public and a private position"? We would have been equally screwed by a Clinton.2 presidency, and a conventional Republican one. My anger at Trump over this is that he promised to be something different -- and, being fabulously wealthy, he didn't depend on the largesse of financial titans to make his living. He was in a position to change things -- yet on economic issues, he's turned out to be as bad or worse than those he ran against in both parties. -- RD]

It would be trolling if we were describing a single election, sure, but the comment refers to the very, very long alliance between social conservatives and business conservatives, which, in the south, goes back to the nineteenth century. Institutional Christian powers have been taking money and power from business interests to enforce their particular visions of what everyone should live like, and it's had the effect of giving them more and more power over an ever-shrinking and ever more miserable kingdom.

There's that lovely idea that by their fruits shall one know ideas, I think that Youngstown, in synecdoche, is a great example of the fruits of that particular idea.

$0.02,

DBA

Weldon , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm
The problem with this line of thought is that it would lead you to expect that Trump won Rust Belt voters whose chief concern was jobs and the economy. But he didn't; Clinton (narrowly) did. Trump won Rust Belt voters whose chief concern was "cultural decline".

Somehow the economic narrative got way off from what the data actually show: on election day, Trump underperformed recent Republican candidates in every economic cohort *except* households making $70K-$100K. This is the group you need to look at to explain his appeal.

Donald , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:45 pm
"Just shocking that a politician went back on a campaign promise. Throw the bum out. Shocking."

And this silly sort of cynicism is exactly why politicians think they can get away with breaking any and every promise they make.

Deplorable MD , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm
These can be true:

1. I am unhappy with certain (even "many") Trump decisions.
2. I remain happy I voted for Trump over Clinton.

What would it take for me to instead have wished I voted Clinton over Trump?..some combination of the following:

1. An increase in taxes on the working and professional class.
2. An offensive ground invasion of foreign country.
3. The nomination and Senate approval of a doctrinaire Liberal to the Supreme Court.
4. Policies that would lead to increased working class and poor immigrants to our country.

I imagine there are more, but these are some of the important points. I can muddle through a temporary ill mannered President and don't have a problem getting dirty to avoid the above.

BD , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:54 pm
Judging from the reaction of Trumpers in this comment thread it's pretty clear that there is literally nothing he could do that would cause them to abandon him. They will rationalize anything he does.

During the campaign, some of them said "well if he betrayed us on immigration then we'd leave him" and the biggest crimes committed by the Rubios of the world was that they cut deals far better (from restrictionist points of view) than this. So it's clear how they react to a betrayal–simply pretend it's not a betrayal, or that any non-Trump alternative would have been worse.

It's looking like they have become a cult.

Venice , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm
I'm always amazed at how loyal Trump supporters are. At times he was voted in to totally disrupt Washington, at other times he was supposed to make deals to keep the peace.
Look, Trump was always part of Wall Street. This was always going to happen. I don't think it's a bad thing but I do feel bad for the people who voted for him expecting anything different.
BD , says: September 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm
"It's not whether he makes deals. It's on whether they are good deals. The DACA deal would not be a good one if it follows what has been outlined."

That's not true. It's an excellent deal for the Democrats and Republican immigration doves.

For immigration restrictionists? Well, for them this puts them next on the long list of people who made the mistake of trusting Donald Trump.

BD , says: September 18, 2017 at 1:06 pm
"It's easy to criticize but a lot more difficult to say what they should have done. So tell me, who should they have supported? And don't say "Anybody but Trump" – that's not an answer."

This is a fair question, but they easily could have organized around another candidate who represented what they believed in (surely Trump is not the only person in the world who favored cutting back immigration–it's a very popular position in the GOP grass roots). Pat Buchanan ran on it in the '90s.

But to say "let's get behind the guy whose track record practically screams at you that you're going to get backstabbed" seems worse than even staying home. What are the chances now that next time a candidate runs on those issues anyone is going to believe him?

TR , says: September 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm
I suggest taking Wes seriously ("Could be better, could be much worse"). I have a suspicion his position is probably the norm.

In any case, some politicians pay for their "sins," some don't. I have an awful feeling, Trump will fall into the latter category.

TR , says: September 18, 2017 at 1:22 pm
A side note: John_M's correction of the steel plant closures makes sense. At the time they happened, it was not unusual to point out that American steel was uncompetitive even in a fair market (which didn't exist). Failure to modernize was a big factor.

And even if evil capitalism and elitist government may have been behind the closings, one should point out that a lot of less bright capitalists lost their shirts.

Potato , says: September 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm
They know they're getting screwed, in Youngstown and elsewhere. For some reason they don't care. They'll stick with Trump to the bitter end.
EngineerScotty , says: September 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm
And the standards keep getting lower and lower
Loudon is a Fool , says: September 18, 2017 at 1:46 pm
+1000 @ Old West

Any legislation. Congress doesn't need to pass some thing. They could pass any thing. Except they can't pass any thing. Not a single thing. They're incapable of governing. It's thoroughly depressing. As Williamson has noted previously, the wily McConnell is just the wrong man for the job. Trump's broken promises are nearly 100% McConnell's leadership failures. Could any other GOP president overcome McConnell's incompetence? Maybe. But that's a lot of incompetence to overcome. The Democrats are terrible human beings. But they know how to pass legislation. So if you want to pass some legislation and your choices are the Democrats or McConnell do you really have a choice as to the party you're going to approach?

Rosita , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm
Have to agree with all the Trump voters and supporters on this thread. None of them voted on principles; as they have stated, more on emotion, affinity and bread and butter issues. Your points about Trump's betrayals ring hollow. Everybody understood that Trump's positions are malleable and that was part of the package. Even when his policies begin to hurt his supporters, that will be a necessary evil to shore up the cultural and social solidarity that Trump represents. Plain and simple.
Polichinello , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:16 pm
All of this info was there–and being spouted loudly by the left–during the campaign.

This is the deal you (not you, Rod, since you didn't vote for him..) made for Gorsuch. We'll all get to see how bad a deal it was in the next years.

Given the Left's attitude to free speech these days and judicial overreach, totally worth it. Totally.

Hound of Ulster , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:23 pm
Everyone who voted for Trump based on ANYTHING he said during the campaign is a sucker. We warned you, but you wouldn't listen and just wanted to watch the 'libtards' cry.

Fools

Polichinello , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:25 pm
To be honest, I never understood how Trump was going to bring these jobs back as automation was the primary cause and the connection of Illegal Immigrants was not significant. Please show the direct lines of DACA Immigrants to manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt?

They increase the labor pool that will compete with those people whose jobs have been eliminated by automation. Moreover, they require the same public spending (actually more), so now those people affected by automation are left with less government succour, as resource now have to be diverted to people who entered the country illegally.

I, for one, understand that some sort of compromise solution will need to be reached to deal with the Dacaritos, but let's not wave our hands and pretend this is all the fault of Skynet and that inflating the number of no- to low-skilled people in the pool will have no effect.

Be aware, too, that we're NOT discussing just a few hundred thousand people here, as the deals being thrown around will go up into the millions, once you factor in chain migration, as well as the knock on effect of encouraging yet more illegal immigration with the promise of future amnesties.

Alex Curbelo , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:26 pm
Mr. Dreher routinely gets into the pitfall of context denial when it comes to Trump.

Given the state of the country, and especially what the Republican and Democratic parties have given us for the last 40 years, no one (including Mr. Dreher) will ever be able to make the case that supporting Trump was not the rational way to go despite the risks. It was the right way to go under the circumstances and given the horrid alternatives that the GOP gave us in the primaries and the Democratic Party gave us for the general.

More importantly, just because Trump may be fake doesn't mean he did not tap into real issues. The reason Trump won is that, again, he tapped into very real issues.

YM , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm
Since I discovered your blog, Rod, I have wondered, why would you have your blog on such a lame website. Now I know – its your way or the highway. No choosing between imperfect choices.
ludo , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:39 pm
Just as the Clinton campaign disintegrated into a vacuous, visionless, vapor which the ultimately voters did not care to inhale, so too the Trump administration is in the premature process of decay into an amorphous, gelatinously unrecognizable politico-administrative life-form ("neither fish nor foul," "because you are lukewarm!neither hot nor cold "), perhaps to better camouflage and disguise the creedless (nihilistic) plutocratic pillaging of what remains of the non-oligarchically captured corpse (or, at least, despoiled and desecrated body) of a once proud and productively positive Middle Class government and state.
The Color of Celery , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:46 pm
Maybe Elizabeth Warren needs to be president if there is going to be something done about Goldman Sachs.

[NFR: If she weren't so fanatically down-the-line liberal on social issues, I'd strongly consider voting for her. -- RD]

Alex Curbelo , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:48 pm
A deal with Pelosi/Schumer would make sense on infrastructure but not DACA. Trump will not survive this betrayal on DACA. People aren't stupid.

There is a debate in the informed pro-Trump community -- is Trump a con artist, sell out, traitor, or man who means well but whose hands are tied. On one side, you have people bending over backwards to defend pretty transparently treacherous moves by Trump's on the grounds that he has little real choice. The argument is that because Trump's Jacksonian agenda is being monolithically and implacably opposed by the top leadership of both parties, the courts, the military, the IC, the banks and big corps, etc. (our true rulers), Trump has to bide his time, cut deals, and play Nth dimensional chess until he can move forward with his real populist agenda.

The other side of the argument is that Trump is just a con artist. When pro-Trump people try to argue to me that Trump's hands are tied, I also counter by pointing out the factors that are under Trump's control. Trump can't control Ryan, McConnell, etc. but what can he control. Trump can certainly control who works for him! Which means the strongest evidence that Trump never meant it can be found just by looking at who he has working for him. He gave top jobs to establishment figures like McMaster, Kelly and Cohn.

I can understand the claim that CIA and other deep state figures, McConnell, etc. won't go along with Trump and have been working overtime to sabotage Trump -- those things are true -- but what then is Trump's excuse for giving jobs to people like McMaster and Cohn?

Kushner and Cohn (and really most likely Lloyd Blankfein himself) have mostly neutralized Trump's economic, immigration and trade agenda in areas where the president has a lot to autonomy to act independent of the courts and Congress, while McMaster has done the same on the foreign policy front. And John Kelly, by all accounts, now has Trump under de facto house arrest, having reportedly cut off Trump from all of his remaining advisors that support the original MAGA agenda.

These are dark days for anyone who recognizes that the issues that propelled Trump to victory are real. Nothing ever changes because our true rulers are not the people we elect.

Finally, the idea that Trump pulled off the con of the century does not hold up. That honor belongs to the post-1980 Republican party for pulling off the longest and greatest con over the largest number of people ever. Trump can't come close.

Noah172 , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm
Who did Kevin Williamson favor in the 2016 primaries? Jeb? Rubio? Cruz?

Here is the reality that Williamson and his ilk refuse to acknowledge. If any of Trump's Republican rivals were in his position now:

The federal government would not be appreciably smaller.

Obamacare would not be fully repealed/replaced.

A bigger amnesty would be at least under consideration, if not already enacted.

The personal income tax would not be abolished or turned into a flat tax.

We'd be in a regime change war with Assad (and thus Putin).

Paul Ryan-ish "entitlement reform" would not be enacted.

Latinos and millenials would not love the Republican Party.

Homosexual marriage would not be rolled back.

These other Republicans (most to all of whom would have lost to HRC) would not have been so successful enacting the movement con agenda, which is unpopular and internally contradictory.

Voucherize Medicare + open borders + neocon wars + free trade + PC pandering = balanced budgets, prosperity for all, and a "permanent Republican majority"?

And Trump is the con man?

walking horse , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:54 pm
"Just shocking that a politician went back on a campaign promise. Throw the bum out. Shocking."

This is in fact shocking. It's shocking at least on the order of Bush the Elder's reversal of "read my lips: no new taxes", which cost him a second term.

I see that Trump has opened a US military base in Israel, the first ever, which is one of the stupidest acts in recent American history.

all of which suggests that Trump will soon be history himself

swb , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:59 pm
Given the comment section, there is no indication that his voters are judging his progress based on any criteria that is usually applied to normal politicians. Real benefits are not actually a criterion used by his voters. If trump can find enough scapegoats to blame for things, I believe that qualifies as progress for his voters because that makes them feel better. Since he is adapt at generating controversy and thereby creating appropriate new groups to blame I do not really see reason why this virtuous cycle could not continue for two terms.

I mean seriously, bush junior sent off their sons and daughters to vacation in the desert and thousands of them did not come back and he got two terms. Trumps voters are not going to be upset just because he lies to them.

lllurker , says: September 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm
"Or cancelling Obama regulations such as the one that required any buildings re-built with federal money needs to take rising sea levels into account?"

I didn't even know that was a thing. (The regs themselves.)

As I followed the Houston and then FL news, once I would get past all the human suffering my mind always seemed to end up in the same place: "We're not really so stupid that we're actually gonna rebuild in these same low-lying places?"

I know this only applies to certain areas, and that the storm over Houston was pretty freakish and perhaps a one-of-a-kind. But some of these areas are destined to flood so much over the coming decades that they will eventually have to be abandoned, at least as building sites. So in the meantime how many billions are we going to put on Uncle Sam's credit card, to be paid by coming generations, for rebuilding doomed structures?

I hope there are controls in place that at least force the people who in the worst places to move elsewhere.

Mike Alexander , says: September 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm
Kronstein1963 writes:
It's easy to criticize but a lot more difficult to say what they should have done. So tell me, who should they have supported?

They should have voted for Sanders in the primaries and then the GOP nominee in the general. By doing this they would have helped further the economic nationalist message by demonstrating significant support for a serious anti-Wall street message. By putting Trump in there they established empirically that

populist economic nationalism = Goldman Sachs.

Populist economic nationalism is now a dead letter

Noah172 , says: September 18, 2017 at 3:18 pm
I'm in holding mode on Trump right now. I'm wait-and-see on where DACA negotiations go, and I'll call my Representative and Senators to voice my opposition to amnesty (and support for some of the restrictionist bills pending). Here's the possibilities of what the past week's DACA drama means to me:

Looks, quacks like a duck: Trump sincerely wanted to agree to amnesty, with little in return, with the Democrats, got blowback from his troops, and backtracked by seeming to insist on tougher demands.

Total sellout: Trump will go for amnesty, with no meaningful concessions, base voters (and small donors) be damned.

4D chess: Trump was using talk of amnesty and delaying a fight over the wall to lure the Democrats into negotiation so he could then drop tougher demands on them (end to chain migration), which he knows they will reject, setting them up to look like extremists and have a government shutdown fight (which, e.g., Congressman Luis Gutierrez openly wants) right before Christmas.

In the first possibility, I'm upset and undecided for 2020, but at least Trump listened to his troops after only a few days of Breitbart and Twitter screaming at him. That's more than you can say for GWB, John McCain, or Paul Ryan.

In the second possibility, I'm through with Trump, for good.

In the third, I'm OK with political chess-playing in principle, but you gotta do it right. It's dangerous, especially for Trump, hated as he is by all TPTB, even in his own party, to demoralize and confuse your core fan base (and small donation base, I repeat) in attempt to lure the opposition into a political trap.

I can't tell if possibility 1 or 3 is the truth (2 is unlikely but frighteningly possible). In any case, I don't see a DACA amnesty happening because too few Republicans will risk it, Trump seems to be offering a trade which the Democrats will never ever accept (only DACA applicants for RAISE Act and maybe wall or some interior enforcement), and some Democrats (Gutierrez and company) are so stupid and greedy and fanatical that they think they are entitled to a massive amnesty with literally nothing in return, not even fake border enforcement (Schumer and Pelosi are trying to talk sense into their backbenchers, we'll see to what avail).

Rusty , says: September 18, 2017 at 3:23 pm
It's almost as though the last 40 years of Youngstown citizens felt *entitled* to having those good jobs replaced, in their town, w/o having to move or re-invent themselves.
cdugga , says: September 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm
I am not buying the we were fooled thing in the least. Like, the don is putting health care and DACA in the hands of republican legislators and all they have to do is legislate. They have not and cannot. Now we are reading about the don's betrayal of labor on TAC? This is not any sort of news whatsoever. Someday, maybe after some environmental disaster in appalachia, we will read about how the don betrayed the amerian people by crippleing regulations designed to protect their air and water. As if that was something new too. No, what we are seeing here is what I have been seeing since the rise of the don. If he is successful, it is because we supported and voted for him. If he does what anyone paying attention saw him doing already, then we can say, well, he never was a true conservative anyway. All this, is just more of the same ole lies of omission and lies to deny responsibility and place blame on anyone but ourselves. How many columns have I read here about how the don was the fault, not of the people that actually voted for him, but the fault of those gay transgender mexican muslim blacks and their secularist enablers. And the beat goes on.
Oh, and I was mortified when trump was elected but not at all surprised. He followed every standard GOP strategy including the tried and true decisive pander to the NRA. If he did do anything different, it was to claim in a much more outright manner that we were being victimized by immigrants and all those other non-deserving people. He even set the bait for people like me, by saying he would go after wall street and the hedge funds that shorted the whole world in the financial collapse.
But in this pile on, we should give the don credit where it is due. He has successfully exposed the republican party for what it has always been about. And putting healthcare and DACA into republican legislator's hands is going to be much more revealing about who has been fooling the fools than anything the don himself has done.
lllurker , says: September 18, 2017 at 3:39 pm
"Steel workers were retrained to fill jobs in that sector, which was expected to sustain the middle class in the same way that manufacturing did.

It did not. According to a study done by the Midwest Center for Research the average salary of a steel worker in the late 1970s was $24,772.80. Today, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor statistics, the medium household income in the Mahoning Valley is $24,133."

There seems to be some misperceptions regarding the wages that were paid in old-line manufacturing industries vs modern service jobs. The most important thing to understand is that the once strong wages and benefits in the steel and auto and other similar industries had nothing to do with the sort of work the people were doing. The pay and benefits were a direct result of the employees having strong unions and the unions having favorable federal legislation in place.

The truth is that the jobs themselves were often awful, especially in steel. And dangerous. But the jobs didn't require any more experience or ability from a new hire than the fast food industry requires today.

It is just a quirk of the way the industrialization of the country played out that the industrial sector ended up, at least for awhile, with employee-friendly compensation packages. In fact had it all gone the other way, and the service sector grown first, before manufacturing, many of the problems the non-college educated crowd face today wouldn't even exist. Manufacturing has become especially sensitive to labor costs because companies can choose to build factories in other countries where salaries are low. Most of the country's service industry isn't like that.

VikingLS , says: September 17, 2017 at 8:59 pm
"When Youngstown (so to speak) figures out what's been done to it, politics in this country is going to get very, very interesting."

Rod what are you going to do to change this? The Ben Op doesn't help.

[NFR: I dunno, Viking, I guess I'm waiting on you to tell me what to do. You know perfectly well that the Benedict Option is not about changing American politics, but about the life of the church. Besides, it is not the case that I or anybody else has to have a "solution" to offer before we can criticize what we see. I doubt very much you apply that standard to your own judgments of the world. -- RD]

Planet Albany , says: September 17, 2017 at 9:03 pm
Since I voted for Trump and you did not, doesn't that put me in a better position to judge whether Trump's willingness to make deals with Dems on DACA, taxes and infrastructure amounts to betrayal? Answer: It doesn't. It's what I want him to do. He campaigned on making deals, including with Russia, which I also want to see to keep the peace. Just hold the line on social issues, and we're good.
Trey , says: September 17, 2017 at 9:08 pm
But I thought we were a bunch of hicks that did not understand the constitutional checks and balances and the need for compromise and when we found out Trump was not able to be a dictator we would turn on him.
Corwin , says: September 17, 2017 at 9:35 pm
The problem is Youngstown won't figure it out. They, and so many other small and industrial towns across the country, are looking for a solution on their terms. They have had the last 30 plus years to update, and some have, like Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the people who have figured this out left for greener pastures a long time ago.

I would dearly love to help them out, and rebuild their cities. It would be the right thing to do. But as long as they keep voting for republicans (and yes, republicans are more corporate and Wall Street friendly then the democrats, Hillary Clinton notwithstanding), they are going to continue to decline.

Francis E Blangeard , says: September 17, 2017 at 9:36 pm
To a large extent Goldman Sachs is the 'Deep State'.
Adamant , says: September 17, 2017 at 9:40 pm
I was in Youngstown just the other week. You could no more thoroughly destroy a city than if you had the Air Force flyover and reduce it to rubble via saturation bombing. You could say the exact same thing about 1000 other towns here in the Rust Belt. The main source of economic activity is methamphetamine production and heroin trafficking, and the ruination of generations yet unborn is baked in.

"So Trump won -- and staffed up with Goldman machers -- Gary Cohn most important of all"

As did Obama, and Bush, and Clinton, and on and on unti the heat death of the universe. Wall. Street. Always. Wins. Like the Military Industrial Complex always wins.

And they will continue to win until we can decide as a people to put our cultural distinctions and differences aside and defeat them. Because they are going to exsanguinate your tribe of traditionalist Christian conservatives as surely as they will my tribe. Say what you want about the political praxis of Occupy Wall Street, at least they were yelling at the right buildings.

I'd like to bring an old word back into our political currency: solidarity.

Wes , says: September 17, 2017 at 10:17 pm
Still a happy Trump supporter here; unphased by the presence of Goldman Sachs employees (the horror!) or of deals with Democrats. Could be better, could be much worse.
VikingLS , says: September 17, 2017 at 10:19 pm
[NFR: I dunno, Viking, I guess I'm waiting on you to tell me what to do. You know perfectly well that the Benedict Option is not about changing American politics, but about the life of the church. Besides, it is not the case that I or anybody else has to have a "solution" to offer before we can criticize what we see. I doubt very much you apply that standard to your own judgments
of the world. -- RD]

Actually I do try and hold myself to a standard along those lines. People don't always like my suggestions, but I do have them. I wouldn't have asked you that question if I didn't have an idea what I think you, or at least somebody at TAC, needs to do.

Someone needs to talk about what Trump getting elected as a Republican with his platform says about the voters, even if he himself seems to have pulled a bait and switch. Not what liberals say it means ("Clinton was a bad candidate" at best "America is racist" at worst.) This is conference worthy.

Nothing against you and Larrison, you're both fine writers, but is it possible to get the other writers here to write more? What's the difference between yourself and say, Bill Kaufman in TAC's structure?

Someone, it doesn't have to be you, but someone, needs to spend serious time looking at the Conservative movement in new media. That's looking like where the future is, not the New York Times op-ed page. There really are people who supported Trump who are both aware that Trump isn't keeping his campaign promises, and are discussing what their next move is going to be.

Try and resist the temptation to write variations of "Trump voters must feel stupid now". As opposed to what? Having Clinton as president? Do you honestly think if Clinton was president you wouldn't be writing some version of "Wow, I knew Clinton was going to be bad, but I didn't realize she'd be THIS bad." In a little over 3 years, it will be a different story, but for a lot of people a Clinton presidency where she kept her promises would be worse.

I am going to write you a personal email. I actually have taken a pretty serious personal professional hit because of this election, and I STILL don't regret my vote. This is not all academic for me.

Old West , says: September 17, 2017 at 10:41 pm
Trump would have signed any legislation a GOP controlled House and Senate passed.

ANY.

It wouldn't even need to have been good.

Making a deal with the Dems is his way of punishing the GOP for being incompetent.

At this point I'm still feeling betrayed by them. But I reserve the option of adding him to the list.

Sam M , says: September 17, 2017 at 10:42 pm
It's hilarious how selective people are about economics. Nothing to be done about the steel industry. Just how markets work. Too bad so sad Youngsville.

Unless you are cool. Like Amazon. And cities will slobber all over themselves to say to hell with the market, we need to subsidize development. And give the richest guy in the world free stuff:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/technology/amazon-headquarters-north-america.amp.html

Elon Musk has received at least $5 billion in subsidies:

https://www.google.com/amp/www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-musk-subsidies-20150531-story,amp.html

Hmm. It's almost like it's only poor schmucks who have to suffer the ups and downs of the free market.

collin , says: September 17, 2017 at 10:51 pm
I am sorry but this happened almost 40 years ago and I remember when conservatives like Reagan were dancing on the death of union graves in the 1980s. Conservative loved when Reagan fired union air traffic controllers. And one reason why I voted for Bill Clinton because in 1992 he campaigned on the jobs of tomorrow as was honest to the American people that many of these jobs were not coming. (And the second fall in manufacturing was occurring in 1992 as well.) To be honest, I never understood how Trump was going to bring these jobs back as automation was the primary cause and the connection of Illegal Immigrants was not significant. Please show the direct lines of DACA Immigrants to manufacturing jobs in the Rust Belt?

Agreed, as long as he rub in his Grand Victory over HRC, conservatives will take anything from Trump.

The Sicilian Woman , September 17, 2017 at 11:16 pm
Just hold the line on social issues, and we're good.

Such was/is the hope of social conservatives with whom I share the same values but who voted for Trump and whom I suspect will be badly betrayed.

Purple Tortoise , September 17, 2017 at 11:16 pm
I didn't vote for or against Trump -- the election winner was foreordained in my state -- but I am surprised to hear these "I told you sos". Despite Trump's betrayals, I am not at all convinced that the situation would be any better now had Hillary Clinton or an establishment Republican been elected. In fact, being cozy with Wall Street and immigration amnesty is exactly what Hillary Clinton or an establishment Republican would have done. So I can see how Trump is now and always has been a worse alternative from the viewpoint of the Republican establishment, but I can't see how Trump even now is a worse alternative than the Republican establishment or Hillary Clinton from the viewpoint of the typical Trump voter.

[NFR: But that's not really the point. The point is that Trump *specifically* ran against Goldman Sachs and what it represents. And now look. It simply won't do to say, "But Hillary would have been worse." Maybe so, but at this point, that strikes me as a way of rationalizing Trump's failure to keep his promises. -- RD]

The Owners , says: September 17, 2017 at 11:19 pm
@Planet Albany – "Since I voted for Trump [ ] Trump's willingness to make deals with Dems on DACA, taxes and infrastructure amounts to betrayal? Answer: It doesn't. It's what I want him to do. He campaigned on making deals, including with Russia, which I also want to see to keep the peace. Just hold the line on social issues, and we're good."

I voted for him too. Making deals witn Dems on DACA isn't "holding the line on social issues", obviously.

Trump's a total prisoner of DC, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley now. We need a new president. Thanks for Neil Gorsuch, Donnie. 'Bye.

Kronsteen1963 , September 17, 2017 at 11:19 pm
So, who were the people of Youngstown supposed to support? Hillary Clinton and a Democratic party that is visciously hostile to their social values? Jeb Bush and a Republican Party that's indifferent to their plight, and considers them to be lazy losers? Both parties support immigration and trade policies that are killing these people because it benefits their corporate and Chamber of Commerce contributors. Only one guy spoke to their situation: Donald Trump.

I don't like Trump – never have. And I didn't vote for him. I lived in Maryland – Clinton was going to win that state easily. My vote didn't matter so I voted 3rd party as a protest vote. But, I understand why people voted for Trump. They were desperate and he was THE ONLY CANDIDATE in either party that talked to their struggles. This is not a failure of the voters. It's the criminally negligent failure of both political parties to address the problems facing ordinary America.

It's easy to criticize but a lot more difficult to say what they should have done. So tell me, who should they have supported? And don't say "Anybody but Trump" – that's not an answer.

Walter Sobchak , September 17, 2017 at 11:24 pm
Shapiro is right. Planet Albany is one of the Trumpeters who love the personality, and who would not care if Trump shot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue. Their problem is that Trump can flip the Bird at the Media and the Cultural elite all he wants, but he will not affect system in the slightest, because he has no understanding of its structure and no plane to affect it in any way.
Glaivester , says: September 17, 2017 at 11:32 pm
Since I voted for Trump and you did not, doesn't that put me in a better position to judge whether Trump's willingness to make deals with Dems on DACA, taxes and infrastructure amounts to betrayal? Answer: It doesn't. It's what I want him to do.

It's not whether he makes deals. It's on whether they are good deals. The DACA deal would not be a good one if it follows what has been outlined.

John_M , says: September 17, 2017 at 11:47 pm
Trump is taking his supporters for a ride.

When I got out of graduate school I was offered a job by a steel company research lab – so yes, I was somewhat of a steel metallurgist. I went into micro-electronics instead. When I turned down their job offer, I told them that they would survive the Japanese competition, but that I thought that the mini-mills would decimate them.

The research lab closed down 3 years later as the steel company restructured.

Even without import competition, the steel industry we knew in the 1970's was doomed. The facilities were antique and the development of the basic oxygen furnace and the sophisticated electric arc remelt furnaces obsoleted much of the existing infrastructure. If you look at a Nucor mill now, you won't see many employees.

Even without any import issues, there would not have been many employees left.

Imports were – and are – a problem. But the carnage was done by technology and automation. The politicians do not seem to be very willing to discuss this – automation doesn't give the simple villain of the Chinese, Indians, Ukrainians, .

Philly guy , says: September 17, 2017 at 11:53 pm
If you look at the present day, we are still fighting over theVietnam war, as the pro and con sides are roughly the same as 40 years ago, middle class hippies vs "working class whites".
ANDREW ALLADIN , September 17, 2017 at 11:53 pm
Hillary Clinton would have easily defeated Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Jeb Bush. Cruz is still stuck in his Reagan impersonation; Rubio wants to go to war with Russia over Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia, Syria, etc; and Jeb couldn't even bring himself to criticize the war in Iraq because of family loyalty.

Ben Shapiro charges $10,000 to give the same speech over and over again to college students. It's always the same: SJWs are whiny children, Millennials need to grow up, socialism sucks, the Alt-Right are losers, blah! blah! blah! A nice living if you can get it and he's got it.

Trump was and is still the lesser of two evils. I think of Trump the same way Christians in Syria think of Assad. Or Christians in Iraq thought about Saddam Hussein. There's always someone worse waiting to take over.

Some fellow Christians are facing bankruptcy because they refuse to provide services for a gay wedding. This isn't some whiny college campus SJW showdown. That's where my concern is. I really couldn't care less about Goldman Sachs. I don't earn enough to care. Don't care about DACA or The Wall either. Sorry.

Christian liberty is the only issue I'm voting on. And Trump will always be the lesser of two evils. Always. Always. Always.

Alex Brown , says: September 17, 2017 at 11:54 pm
So Trump is a crook, and Hillary too. I suspect much of 'Youngstown' knew that. When other choice did the system offered, from 150 millions eligible potential candidates?

Yes, things may get even more interesting. Haven't tried Sanderistas yet, have we?

ADC Wonk , says: September 18, 2017 at 12:44 am
Just hold the line on social issues, and we're good.

@Planet Albany -- how do you feel about tax "reform" that blows the budget even more, and gives the bulk of the benefit to the top 1%-ers? Or cancelling Obama regulations such as the one that required any buildings re-built with federal money needs to take rising sea levels into account? Or p!ssing off Mexico so much that that they are turning to Argentina and Brazal to purchase their wheat and corn (NAFTA uncertainties).

cecelia , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:10 am
good Rod get angry see what is happening maybe when people see how they have been betrayed then maybe they will be open to something honest
KS , says: September 18, 2017 at 2:13 am
@planet Albany,

What would Trump have to do that would make you feel he has betrayed you? Don't worry he will do it, but somehow I suspect you and the rest of the Trump faithful will stick by him anyway. This is a cult, not a political following. He is one of 'you' and so anything he does is ok.

Dux Bellorum, Austinopole , says: September 18, 2017 at 3:09 am
Those people who are dying in Youngstown because of a government working in cooperation with corporate interests to enrich shareholders no matter the cost of American lives may take great solace in the knowledge that the people making those decisions and benefitting from them said some words sometimes about how gay relationships are objectively disordered, and those outside of the zones of suffering may feel sad for those deaths, but must understand that they are martyrs who gave their lives in the war to prevent gay people from getting health insurance for their families.

$0.02,

DBA

[NFR: This is simplistic trolling and you know it. It is also the case that Hillary Clinton was in bed with Goldman. Remember the private Wall Street speech she gave , released by Wikileaks, in which she talked about how one needed to have "a public and a private position"? We would have been equally screwed by a Clinton.2 presidency, and a conventional Republican one. My anger at Trump over this is that he promised to be something different -- and, being fabulously wealthy, he didn't depend on the largesse of financial titans to make his living. He was in a position to change things -- yet on economic issues, he's turned out to be as bad or worse than those he ran against in both parties. -- RD]

Deplorable MD , September 18, 2017 at 6:51 am
Con? We are always being conned by politicians. There is a subset of voters who look upon their politician in an unhealthy God-like/3rd world fashion; much more tangible on the Left, but there on the Right as well.

I voted Trump fully expecting to be conned, hopeful that one or two promises would become reality. So far I am pleased with the level of duplicity.

Ping Lin , says: September 18, 2017 at 6:55 am

Twenty, thirty years from now, don't be surprised if some American president proposes a "this time, it's different" invasion of another foreign country. And don't be surprised if we the people cheer for him.

20 or 30 years?? Try three. We're barreling towards war with North Korea and half the country will be cheering the President (whoever it is) on.

Sam (A Different One) , says: September 18, 2017 at 6:59 am
So because Trump has failed to deliver on promises to the working class, said working class should abandon Trump for whom? The Liberals, who hate them? The GOP types, like Williamson, who also hate them?
Rob G , says: September 18, 2017 at 7:08 am
re: Youngstown, etc., The New Minority by Justin Gest is worth a read. It's a sociological study of the white working class in two comparable areas, Youngstown and East London, and what happened when industry failed. The book was written before DT won the GOP nomination, but it does take Trump's primary run into consideration. The work that Gest did is based on survey results and interviews he conducted with residents during time spent as an "embedded" researcher.
Liam , says: September 18, 2017 at 7:18 am
None of which should be a surprise to anyone who paid even a modicum of critical attention.
markw , says: September 18, 2017 at 7:33 am
For many years we have heard U.S. politicians sanctimoniously intoning that Chinese politicians legitimacy depended on their creating jobs. This last election Jeb Bush and others found out this applies to them also, to their astonishment. Trump has the wind at his back on this front with the economy going forward, but can't count on this continuing thru the next election.
Michelle , says: September 18, 2017 at 7:34 am
For those of us who always thought Trump was a huckster with no principles other than self-aggrandizement, his behavior as president comes as no surprise. He's never made a promise he couldn't break. But, like all successful hucksters, he knows his mark and knows, on an instinctive level, how to appeal to their hopes and fears to close the sale. I'm not sure what it would take to break through the rationalizations of his base, but it would have to be something pretty spectacular.
markw , says: September 18, 2017 at 7:35 am
The comment that stuck with me in the first PBS segment was that Diem owned us. This seems to apply today to Israel, probably Saudi, and who else?
Matt W , says: September 18, 2017 at 7:38 am
Be charitable. It's VERY hard for someone to admit that they were fooled.

It will be interesting to see all the mechanisms of denial. I suspect that the reality of Trump will be dismissed in the same way as the reality of Climate Change.

1. God would never allow such a terrible event to happen to His beloved USA
2. It's all the fault of (NON-WHITE) foreigners
3. FAKE NEWS!
4. It's actually a good thing

Philly guy , says: September 18, 2017 at 7:40 am
As during the Vietnam war, the real battle continues, middle class hippies vs white working class.
Jack B. Nimble , September 18, 2017 at 7:42 am
' When Youngstown (so to speak) figures out what's been done to it, politics in this country is going to get very, very interesting .'

Republicans know what they are doing, and as long as there are more scapegoats available and more vote suppression techniques to be tried, they aren't worried about losing elections. Consider this example:

Mr. Dreher's own senior US senator is pushing a last-ditch ACA repeal and replace bill, called GCHJ, that would strip federal $$ from states like Louisiana that expanded Medicaid on the federal dime. How much money is involved?

In 2026 alone, La. would lose $3.2 billion while Texas, Mississippi and Alabama would collectively gain 11.3 billion in new federal $$. Put another way, La. with its 1.4% of the US population would shoulder 4% of the total cuts mandated by GCHJ in 2026. Then a tidal wave of more federal cuts arrives in 2027.

Why would Dr. Bill Cassidy, who formerly worked in Louisiana's notorious charity hospital system before entering politics and reaching the US Senate, seek to hurt his own constituents this way? In brief, many in Louisiana oppose Medicaid and food stamps because they see the federal benefits going mostly to 'those people.' If voters in La. are conned, it is because they have conned themselves.

Source: https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/like-other-aca-repeal-bills-cassidy-graham-plan-would-add-millions-to-uninsured

MH - Secular Misanthropist , says: September 18, 2017 at 7:54 am

When Youngstown (so to speak) figures out what's been done to it, politics in this country is going to get very, very interesting.

It will be Snowball's fault!

[NFR: Perfect! -- RD]

Prof. Woland , says: September 18, 2017 at 8:31 am
If any of this is surprising to people on the right, it's because of willful denial during the campaign.

All of this info was there–and being spouted loudly by the left–during the campaign.

This is the deal you (not you, Rod, since you didn't vote for him..) made for Gorsuch. We'll all get to see how bad a deal it was in the next years.

PS–Trump's base will never leave him. If he were to eat a live baby on TV, they'd find a way to justify it.

connecticut farmer , September 18, 2017 at 8:40 am
" how little we Americans learned from the Vietnam experience when it came time to invade Iraq."

Amen! As in the lyrics of that Pete Seeger song "Where Have All The Flowers Gone"?":

"When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"

Polichinello , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:06 am
He didn't get rolled by Pelosi and Schumer: His voters got rolled by him. That's the real deal.

This is the part where the Never-Trumpers are overplaying their hand. They act as if they were offering a better alternative. They were not. On trade, immigration and foreign policy, all other 16 candidates were worse–significantly worse. Each promised to re-run the Bush Administration, except they'd make Putin the new Saddam Hussein.

It's as if they were the team that lost conference championship, and then gloated when the the team that won it went on to lose the Super Bowl. How about they spend a little more time looking at their own positions and trying to figure out why a significant plurality (often a large majority in a number of states) outright rejected them?

None of them have done this. They dare not anger their Boomer donors, I guess. Got to keep those cruises going!

Again, even if everything they say about Trump is true, he is still better than them.

Philip Martin , September 18, 2017 at 9:12 am
The money power of Wall Street infiltrated and changed the Democratic Party sometime after the LBJ years. As a result, we have a one-party-system with a lib and a con wing. The wings differ on social issues, and they sweep the crumbs off the table to different constituencies.

However, after 40 years of this BS, can we really expect the children and grandchildren of displaced steelworkers (who symbolize all the outsourced, discarded workers in the U.S.) to rise in anger with torches and pitchforks? Sad to say, but the victims of this betrayal so far are passively standing by. I am not calling for violent revolution, but instead for a party that puts the needs and aspirations of the average person at the head of the table. If the Democratic Party won't do it, and yet won't go away, then a serious effort needs to made to foster a new party.

Polichinello , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:13 am
It's worth noting, too, that the Trump base has been melting down phone lines in Washington protesting Amnesty.

Obviously, it's your blog, Rod, so you can do what you like with it, but why not take a look at this issue itself instead of post after post taking victory laps about that Horrible Mr. Trump? What do you think would be a good deal? Should there be some limited amnesty (which I favor)?

Uncle Billy , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:19 am
Goldman Sachs is the fourth branch of government. They are indeed "too big to fail." Perhaps we should stop fighting them and try to somehow get them working for the common good. I don't know how this could be done, but it is worth a try.
Wes , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:20 am
[NFR: But that's not really the point. The point is that Trump *specifically* ran against Goldman Sachs and what it represents. And now look. It simply won't do to say, "But Hillary would have been worse." Maybe so, but at this point, that strikes me as a way of rationalizing Trump's failure to keep his promises. -- RD]

Putting things into context is precisely the point.

ROB , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:23 am
Just shocking that a politician went back on a campaign promise. Throw the bum out. Shocking.
KD , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:33 am
No Quarter, Rod!
Sheldon , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:36 am
I'm not remotely surprised to read in these precincts that the Democrats, particularly Clinton, are just as much in the bag for Wall Street as Trump and the Republicans. Too bad it's completely untrue. Even if Clinton were so inclined, which she certainly wouldn't be to nearly the same extent, major elements in the Democratic party and Congress would be pushing for policies far removed from the plutocratic – as they have for years, for increased financial and antitrust regulation, higher taxes on the 1%, limits on CEO pay, environmental controls, minimum wage, and on and on and on. There is no such significant political element among Republican officeholders, either at the state or federal level. The argument that "Democrats (especially evil Hillary) are just as bad" – all evidence to the contrary – is really just an after-the-fact rationalization to justify one's prior support for what is clearly one of the most financially and morally corrupt administrations in our history.
KingP , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:44 am
It is amazing how much research and
socio-political commentary is necessary in order to prove that an amoral, egomaniac MTV-era pseudo-celebrity apparently intends to govern the country like an amoral, egomaniac MTV-era pseudo-celebrity. In other words, he is a narcissistic goofball who will tell anyone anything in order to get press or money.

Who knew? Apparently not enough of us to prevent the cartoon presidency.

Daniel R. Baker , September 18, 2017 at 9:56 am
And when the people of Youngstown realize Trump has betrayed them, they will turn left, and turn hard. The next Bernie Sanders cannot be stopped, for the same reason Trump couldn't be stopped: because he will simply take the party away from the establishment. As I said last year, when you elect Marius, Sulla follows.

I'm not surprised that Trump can't see this coming. I am a bit surprised that Goldman Sachs apparently doesn't either.

KD , says: September 18, 2017 at 9:58 am
The politics of immigration restriction is interesting. The restrictionists have clear and strong preferences.

"Popular opinion" may be against restrictionism (or not given the media lens), but at the end of the day, most of public against restrictionism has a soft level of support mostly for virtue signalling purposes. They don't actually care.

The business lobby cares a lot, and the ethnonationalist/racialist wing of the Democrats, and that is about all.

Playing games with DACA is going to open the GOP to nasty primary battles, which judging from 2016, the Establishment candidates will be vulnerable. Also, supporting these schlock sentimental policies aren't going to win them any votes, anymore than giving money to refugee assistance or homeless shelters.

I don't think the Establishment has any idea of the level of dissatisfaction and discontent there is in the electorate, as their plan is short to mid-term doom. (Polling has 9% of Americans identifying as "Alt-Right" post-Charlottesville, and about another 30% you can describe as "Alt-Lite". These are mostly the people who will vote in GOP Primaries in 2018.)

[Sep 19, 2017] Time for a Conservative Anti-Monopoly Movement by Daniel Kishi

Sep 19, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Amazon, Facebook and Google: The new robber barons?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2010. Credit: /CreativeCommons/SteveJurvetson Earlier this month Amazon, announced its plans to establish a second headquarters in North America. Rather than simply reveal which city would become its second home, the Seattle-based tech company opted instead to open a bidding war. In an eight page document published on its website, Amazon outlined the criteria for prospective suitors, and invited economic developers to submit proposals advocating for why their city or region should be the host of the new location.

Its potential arrival comes with the claim that the company will invest more than $5 billion in construction and generate up to 50,000 "high paying jobs." Mayors and governors, hard at work crafting their bids, are no doubt salivating at the mere thought of such economic activity. Journalists and editorial teams in eligible metropolises are also playing their parts, as newspapers have published a series of articles and editorials making the case for why their city should be declared the winner.

Last Tuesday Bloomberg reported that Boston was the early frontrunner, sending a wave of panic across the continent. Much to the relief of the other contenders, Amazon quickly discredited the report as misinformation, announcing in a series of tweets on Wednesday that it is "energized by the response from cities across [North America]" and that, contrary to the rumors, there are currently no front-runners on their "equal playing field."

That Amazon is "energized" should come as no surprise. Most companies would also be energized by the taxpayer-funded windfall that is likely coming its way. Reporters speculate that the winner of the sweepstakes!in no small part to the bidding war format!could be forced to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local subsidies for the privilege of hosting Amazon's expansion.

Amazon has long been the beneficiary of such subsidies, emerging in recent years as a formidable opponent to Walmart as the top recipient of corporate welfare. According to Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C. organization dedicated to corporate and government accountability, Amazon has received more than $1 billion in local and state subsidies since 2000. With a business plan dedicated to amassing long-term market share in lieu of short-term profits, Amazon, under the leadership of its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, operates on razor-thin profit margins in most industries, while actually operating at a loss in others. As such, these state and local subsidies have played an instrumental role in Amazon's growth

Advocates of free market enterprise should be irate over the company's crony capitalist practices and the cities and states that enable it. But more so than simply ruffling the feathers of the libertarian-minded, Amazon's shameless solicitation for subsidies capped off a series of summer skirmishes in the Democratic left's emerging war against monopolies.

Earlier this summer when Amazon announced its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, antitrust advocates called upon the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission's Antitrust Division to block the sale and update the United States government's legal definition of monopoly. Although the acquisition!which was approved in August!only gives Amazon a 1.5 percent market share in the grocery industry, it more importantly provides the tech giant with access to more than 450 brick-and-mortar Whole Foods locations. Critics say that these physical locations will prove invaluable to its long term plan of economic dominance, and that it is but the latest advance in the company's unprecedented control of the economy's underlying infrastructure.

Google also found itself in the crosshairs of the left's anti-monopoly faction when, in late June, the European Union imposed a $2.7 billion fine against the tech company for anti-competitive search engine manipulation in violation of its antitrust laws. The Open Markets Program of the New America Foundation subsequently published a press release applauding the EU's decision. Two months later, the Open Markets Program was axed . The former program director Barry Lynn claims that his employers caved to pressure from a corporation that has donated more than $21 million to the New America Foundation. The fallout emboldened journalists to share their experiences of being silenced by the tech giant, and underscores the influence Google exerts over think tanks and academics

Most recently, Facebook faced criticism after it was discovered that a Russian company with ties to the Kremlin purchased $100,000 in ads from the social media company in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. Facebook, as a result, has become the latest subject of interest in Robert Mueller's special investigation into Russian interference in last fall's election. But regardless of whether the ads influenced the outcome, the report elicited demands for transparency and oversight in a digital ad marketplace that Facebook, along with Google, dominates . By using highly sophisticated algorithms, Facebook and Google receive more than 60 percent of all digital ad revenue, threatening the financial solvency of publishers and creating a host of economic incentives that pollute editorial autonomy.

While the Democratic left!in an effort to rejuvenate its populist soul !has been at the front lines in the war against these modern-day robber barons, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, suggests that opposition to corporate consolidation need not be a partisan issue. In a piece published in The Atlantic , Mitchell traces the bipartisan history of anti-monopoly sentiment in American politics. She writes :

If "monopoly" sounds like a word from another era, that's because, until recently, it was. Throughout the middle of the 20th century, the term was frequently used in newspaper headlines, campaign speeches, and State of the Union addresses delivered by Republican and Democratic presidents alike. Breaking up too-powerful companies was a bipartisan goal and on the minds of many voters. But, starting in the 1970s, the word retreated from the public consciousness. Not coincidentally, at the same time, the enforcement of anti-monopoly policy grew increasingly toothless.

Although the modern Republican Party stands accused of cozying up with corporate interests, the history of conservative thought has a rich intellectual tradition of being skeptical!if not hostile!towards economic consolidation. For conservatives and libertarians wedded to the tenets of free market orthodoxy!or for Democrats dependent on campaign contributions from a donor class of Silicon Valley tycoons!redefining the legal definition of monopoly and rekindling a bipartisan interest in antitrust enforcement are likely non-starters.

But for conservatives willing to break from the principles of free market fundamentalism, the papal encyclicals of the Roman Catholic Church, the distributist thought of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, the social criticism of Christopher Lasch, and the observations of agrarian essayist Wendell Berry provide an intellectual framework from which conservatives can critique and combat concentrated economic power. With a respect for robust and resilient localities and a keen understanding of the moral dangers posed by an economy perpetuated by consumerism and convenience, these writers appeal to the moral imaginations of the reader, issuing warnings about the detrimental effects that economic consolidation has on the person, the family, the community, and society at large.

The events of this summer underscore the immense political power wielded by our economy's corporate giants. To those who recognize the dangers posed by our age of consolidation, the skirmishes from this summer could serve as a rallying cry in a bipartisan war for independence from our corporate crown.

Daniel Kishi is an editorial assistant at The American Conservative . Follow him on Twitter at @DanielMKishi

[Sep 18, 2017] The NYT's Yellow Journalism on Russia by Rober Parry

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times is prepping the American people for what could become World War III. The daily message is that you must learn to hate Russia and its President Vladimir Putin so much that, first, you should support vast new spending on America's Military-Industrial Complex and, second, you'll be ginned up for nuclear war if it comes to that. ..."
"... At this stage, the Times doesn't even try for a cosmetic appearance of objective journalism. Look at how the Times has twisted the history of the Ukraine crisis, treating it simply as a case of "Russian aggression" or a "Russian invasion." The Times routinely ignores what actually happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 when the U.S. government aided and abetted a violent coup that overthrew Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych after he had been demonized in the Western media. ..."
"... The Times and much of the U.S. mainstream media refuses even to acknowledge that there is another side to the Ukraine story. Anyone who mentions this reality is deemed a "Kremlin stooge" in much the same way that people who questioned the mainstream certainty about Iraq's WMD in 2002-03 were called "Saddam apologists." ..."
"... Many liberals came to view the dubious claims of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election as the golden ticket to remove Trump from the White House. So, amid that frenzy, all standards of proof were jettisoned to make Russia-gate the new Watergate. ..."
"... For one, even if the U.S. government were to succeed in destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia sufficiently to force out President Putin, the neocon dream of another malleable Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin is far less likely than the emergence of an extreme Russian nationalist who might be ready to push the nuclear button rather than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia. ..."
"... The truth is that the world has much less to fear from the calculating Vladimir Putin than from the guy who might follow a deposed Vladimir Putin amid economic desperation and political chaos in Russia. But the possibility of nuclear Armageddon doesn't seem to bother the neocon/liberal-interventionist New York Times. Nor apparently does the principle of fair and honest journalism. ..."
"... America's Stolen Narrative, ..."
"... The Trans-Atlantic Empire of banking cartels rest upon enmity with the only other Great Powers in the World: Russia and China, while keeping USA thoroughly within their orbit, relying on our Great Power as the engine that powers this Western Bankers' Empire (the steering room lies in City-of-London, who has LONG maneuvered, via their Wall Street assets, to bring us into Empire). Should peaceful, cooperative and productive relations break out between USA, Russia, and China, this would undermine everything the Western Empire has worked to build. ..."
"... THIS is why the phony Russiagate issue is flogged to get rid of Trump (who seeks cooperation with Russia and China), AND keeping Russia as "The Enemy", keeping the MIC, Intel community, various police-state ops, in high demand for "National Security" reasons (also positioned to foil any democratic uprisings, should they see past the progs daily curtain and see their plight). ..."
"... The funny thing about living through the 'fake news' era, is that now everyone thinks that their news source is the correct news source. Many believe that outside of the individual everyone else reads or listens too 'fake news'. It's like all of a sudden no one has credibility, yet everyone may have it, depending on what news source you subscribe to. I mean there's almost no way of knowing what the truth is, because everyone is claiming that they are getting their news from reputable news outlets, but some or many aren't, and who are the reputable news sources, if you don't mind my asking you this just for the record? ..."
"... To learn how to deal with this 'fake news', I would suggest you start studying the JFK assassination, or any other ill defined tragic event, and then you might learn how to decipher the 'fake news' matrix of confusion to learn what you so desire to learn. I chose this route, because when was the last time the Establishment brokered the truth in regard to a happening such as the JFK assassination? Upon learning of what a few well written books has to say, you will then need to rely on your own brain to at least give you enough satisfaction to allow you to believe that you pretty well got it right, and there go you. In other words, the truth is out there, hiding in plain sight, and if you are persistent enough you just might find it. Good luck. ..."
Sep 18, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The NYT's Yellow Journalism on Russia September 15, 2017

Exclusive: The New York Times' descent into yellow journalism over Russia recalls the sensationalism of Hearst and Pulitzer leading to the Spanish-American War, but the risks to humanity are much greater now, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Reading The New York Times these days is like getting a daily dose of the "Two Minutes Hate" as envisioned in George Orwell's 1984, except applied to America's new/old enemy Russia. Even routine international behavior, such as Russia using fictitious names for potential adversaries during a military drill, is transformed into something weird and evil.

In the snide and alarmist style that the Times now always applies to Russia, reporter Andrew Higgins wrote – referring to a fictitious war-game "enemy" – "The country does not exist, so it has neither an army nor any real citizens, though it has acquired a feisty following of would-be patriots online. Starting on Thursday, however, the fictional state, Veishnoriya, a distillation of the Kremlin's darkest fears about the West, becomes the target of the combined military might of Russia and its ally Belarus."

This snarky front-page story in Thursday's print editions also played into the Times' larger narrative about Russia as a disseminator of "fake news." You see the Russkies are even inventing "fictional" enemies to bully. Hah-hah-hah -- The article was entitled, "Russia's War Games With Fake Enemies Cause Real Alarm."

Of course, the U.S. and its allies also conduct war games against fictitious enemies, but you wouldn't know that from reading the Times. For instance, U.S. war games in 2015 substituted five made-up states – Ariana, Atropia, Donovia, Gorgas and Limaria – for nations near the Caucasus mountains along the borders of Russia and Iran.

In earlier war games, the U.S. used both fictitious names and colors in place of actual countries. For instance, in 1981, the Reagan administration conducted "Ocean Venture" with that war-game scenario focused on a group of islands called "Amber and the Amberdines," obvious stand-ins for Grenada and the Grenadines, with "Orange" used to represent Cuba.

In those cases, the maneuvers by the powerful U.S. military were clearly intended to intimidate far weaker countries. Yet, the U.S. mainstream media did not treat those war rehearsals for what they were, implicit aggression, but rather mocked protests from the obvious targets as paranoia since we all know the U.S. would never violate international law and invade some weak country -- (As it turned out, Ocean Venture '81 was a dress rehearsal for the actual U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983.)

Yet, as far as the Times and its many imitators in the major media are concerned, there's one standard for "us" and another for Russia and other countries that "we" don't like.

Yellow Journalism

But the Times' behavior over the past several years suggests something even more sinister than biased reporting. The "newspaper of record" has slid into yellow journalism, the practice of two earlier New York newspapers – William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's New York World – that in the 1890s manipulated facts about the crisis in Cuba to push the United States into war with Spain, a conflict that many historians say marked the beginning of America's global empire.

Except in today's instance, The New York Times is prepping the American people for what could become World War III. The daily message is that you must learn to hate Russia and its President Vladimir Putin so much that, first, you should support vast new spending on America's Military-Industrial Complex and, second, you'll be ginned up for nuclear war if it comes to that.

At this stage, the Times doesn't even try for a cosmetic appearance of objective journalism. Look at how the Times has twisted the history of the Ukraine crisis, treating it simply as a case of "Russian aggression" or a "Russian invasion." The Times routinely ignores what actually happened in Ukraine in late 2013 and early 2014 when the U.S. government aided and abetted a violent coup that overthrew Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych after he had been demonized in the Western media.

Even as neo-Nazi and ultranationalist protesters hurled Molotov cocktails at police, Yanukovych signaled a willingness to compromise and ordered his police to avoid worsening violence. But compromise wasn't good enough for U.S. neocons – such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland; Sen. John McCain; and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman. They had invested too much in moving Ukraine away from Russia.

Nuland put the U.S. spending at $5 billion and was caught discussing with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who should be in the new government and how to "glue" or "midwife this thing"; McCain appeared on stage urging on far-right militants; and Gershman was overseeing scores of NED projects inside Ukraine, which he had deemed the "biggest prize" and an important step in achieving an even bigger regime change in Russia, or as he put it: "Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

The Putsch

So, on Feb. 20, 2014, instead of seeking peace , a sniper firing from a building controlled by anti-Yanukovych forces killed both police and protesters, touching off a day of carnage. Immediately, the Western media blamed Yanukovych. Sen. John McCain appearing with Ukrainian rightists of the Svoboda party at a pre-coup rally in Kiev.

Shaken by the violence, Yanukovych again tried to pacify matters by reaching a compromise -- guaranteed by France, Germany and Poland -- to relinquish some of his powers and move up an election so he could be voted out of office peacefully. He also pulled back the police.

At that juncture, the neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists spearheaded a violent putsch on Feb. 22, 2014, forcing Yanukovych and other officials to flee for their lives. Ignoring the agreement guaranteed by the three European nations, Nuland and the U.S. State Department quickly deemed the coup regime "legitimate."

However, ethnic Russians in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, which represented Yanukovych's electoral base, resisted the coup and turned to Russia for protection. Contrary to the Times' narrative, there was no "Russian invasion" of Crimea because Russian troops were already there as part of an agreement for its Sevastopol naval base. That's why you've never seen photos of Russian troops crashing across Ukraine's borders in tanks or splashing ashore in Crimea with an amphibious landing or descending by parachute. They were already inside Crimea.

The Crimean autonomous government also voted to undertake a referendum on whether to leave the failed Ukrainian state and to rejoin Russia, which had governed Crimea since the Eighteenth Century. In that referendum, Crimean citizens voted by some 96 percent to exit Ukraine and seek reunion with Russia, a democratic and voluntary process that the Times always calls "annexation."

The Times and much of the U.S. mainstream media refuses even to acknowledge that there is another side to the Ukraine story. Anyone who mentions this reality is deemed a "Kremlin stooge" in much the same way that people who questioned the mainstream certainty about Iraq's WMD in 2002-03 were called "Saddam apologists."

But what is particularly remarkable about the endless Russia-bashing is that – because it started under President Obama – it sucked in many American liberals and even some progressives. That process grew even worse when the contempt for Russia merged with the Left's revulsion over Donald Trump's election.

Many liberals came to view the dubious claims of Russian "meddling" in the 2016 election as the golden ticket to remove Trump from the White House. So, amid that frenzy, all standards of proof were jettisoned to make Russia-gate the new Watergate.

The Times, The Washington Post and pretty much the entire U.S. news media joined the "resistance" to Trump's presidency and embraced the neocon "regime change" goal for Putin's Russia. Very few people care about the enormous risks that this "strategy" entails.

For one, even if the U.S. government were to succeed in destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia sufficiently to force out President Putin, the neocon dream of another malleable Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin is far less likely than the emergence of an extreme Russian nationalist who might be ready to push the nuclear button rather than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia.

The truth is that the world has much less to fear from the calculating Vladimir Putin than from the guy who might follow a deposed Vladimir Putin amid economic desperation and political chaos in Russia. But the possibility of nuclear Armageddon doesn't seem to bother the neocon/liberal-interventionist New York Times. Nor apparently does the principle of fair and honest journalism.

The Times and rest of the mainstream media are just having too much fun hating Russia and Putin to worry about the possible extermination of life on planet Earth.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

jo6pac , September 15, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Amerikas way of bring the big D to your nation. Death

http://www.globalresearch.ca/unknown-snipers-and-western-backed-regime-change/27904

Thanks RP for reading the times so I don't have to not that would.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for the link, I knew about the use of snipers in Venezuela '02, did not realize there were so many more.

BayouCoyote , September 18, 2017 at 11:13 am

Kinda reminds me of what our only "Ally in the ME" did to our Marines in Iraq.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIiGfUjZnbU

JWalters , September 16, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Bingo -- In a surely related story, the mainstream press is equally relentless in AVOIDING telling Americans the facts about Israel, and especially about its control over the American press.
"Israel lobby is never a story (for media that is in bed with the lobby)"
http://mondoweiss.net/2017/09/israel-lobby-never/

Virtually everything average Americans have been told about Israel has been, amazingly, an absolute lie. Israel was NOT victimized by powerful Arab armies. Israel overpowered and victimized a defenseless, civilian Arab population. Military analysts knew the Arab armies were in poor shape and would be unable to resist the zionist army. Muslim "citizens" of Israel do NOT have all the same rights as Jews. Israelis are NOT under threat from the indigineous Palestinians, but Palestinians are under constant threats of theft and death from the Israelis. Israel does NOT share America's most fundamental values, which rest on the principle of equal human rights for all.

How has this gigantic package of outright lies has been foisted upon the American public for so long? And how long can it continue? It turns out they did not foresee the internet, and the facts are leaking out everywhere. So it appears they're desperately coercing facebook and google to rig their rankings, trying to hide the facts. But one day soon there will be a 'snap' in the collective mind, and everybody will know that everybody knows.

For readers who haven't seen it yet,
"War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror"
http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

Common Tater , September 17, 2017 at 3:48 am

JWalters
I can tell you are angry. I too was angry when I figured it out.
Long before I figured it out, I was a soldier. Our unit was prepared for an exercise and we were all sleeping at the regiment compound, the buses would arrive at zero-dark thirty. I was reading a book about the ME(this was shortly after 9-11). A friend, came up and asked what I was reading. I told him I was reading about the Balfour paper and how that had a significant effect on the ME. He began explaining to me how the zionist movement had used the idea that no one lived on that land, to force the people from that land, out of that land.
I quickly responded that Israel had defended that land against 5 Arab armies and managed to hold on to that land. I informed him he was mistaken.
He agreed to disagree, and walked away.
This happened way back in 2002 if only I could pick his mind now. How did he know about this, way back before the internet was in any shape to wake people up?
There is hope still that guys who are young as i was, will say "Fuck You I defend this line and no further."
Without their compliance, there can be no wars.

Bernard Fisher , September 17, 2017 at 8:57 am

CommonTater your story parallels mine -- I was in the military, went to Vietnam to 'defend our nation against communism', felt horror at the Zionist stories of how Palestinians rocketed them, was told by senior officer about what Zionism is really about and I, like you, disbelieved him. That was in 1974 -- -- Now, with all the troubles in the world I won't read the MSP but look towards the alternative news sources. They make more sense. But as I try to educate others on what I have learned I am as disappointed as my senior officer must have been back them. Articles such as this one reproduced by ICH are gems: I save and print them in a compendium detailing ongoing war crimes.

Common Tater , September 17, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Bernard Fisher
Thanks for your response.
Good Idea to save and print these "gems" on consortiumnews.
Hopefully they wake more Americans.
Cheers

michael fish , September 15, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Thanks Mr. Parry,
You are a voice in the hurricane of hatred and lies propagated by the richest people on the planet.
Eventually some moron who believes this new York Times garbage will actually unleash the bomb and we will all be smoke.
That has always been the result of such successful propaganda. And it is very successful. It has almost occluded any truth for the vast majority of westerners .
Michael Fish

Yomamama , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 am

Agreed. I wish this clear and comprehensive article could be stapled on every American voter's door (wanted to say forehead but violence is bad). Many would toss it in the trash. Many would not agree even with full comprehension because of their own horrid beliefs. But maybe a few would read it and have an epiphany. It's very hard work to find an avenue to change the minds of millions of people who've been inculcated by nationalist propaganda since birth. Since 4 years old seeing the wonderful National Anthem and jets fly over the stadium of their favorite sports team. Since required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school.

I refused to stand for or recite the Pledge when I was seven or eight years old. I was sent to detention. My awesome mom though intervened and afterwards I could remain seated while most or all other kids stood up to do the ritual. I refuse to stand up and place hand-on-heart and remove cap during any sporting contests when the Anthem is played. I've been threatened with physical violence by many strangers around me.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/exclusive-documents-expose-direct-us-military-intelligence-influence-on-1-800-movies-and-tv-shows-36433107c307

Thanks Mr. Parry, your voice is appreciated, your articles and logic are top-notch. Very valuable stuff, available for the curious, the skeptical. Well, until Google monopolizes search algorithms and calls this a Russian fake news site, perhaps or Congress the same

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Excellent link, Yomamama.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

My hat is off to you sir, I have not been to any sporting events since I woke up, but I imagine it would be very difficult to remain seated and hatted during the opening affirmation of nationalism. My waking up coincides with a drastic drop in sports viewing. I used to be an NFL fan, rooted for the Niners (started watching NFL in the late eighties), the last full season I followed was the 2013-14 season.

It was the Ukraine coup that woke me up. It started when watching videos on youtube of guys stomping on riot cops, using a fire hose on them like a reverse water cannon. Then I realized these guys were the peaceful protesters being talked about on t.v. It was like a thread hanging in front of me, I began pulling and pulling until the veil in front of my eyes came apart. It was during this time I discovered consortiumnews.com.

Thomas Dickinson , September 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Mr Common Tater–just appreciating reading that someone else "woke up". That is the way it has felt to me. For me it was Oct 2002 and Bush's speech that was clearly heading us to war in Iraq. The "election" (appointment) of Bush in 2000 though was the first alarm clock that I started to hear. Most recent wake up is connected to Mr Parry's relentless (I hope) and necessary debunking of the myth of Russian nastiness and corresponding myth of US rectitude. Been watching The Untold History of the United States and have been dealing with the real bedrock truth that my government invented and invents enemies as a tactic in a game–ie. it's a bunch of boys thinking foreign relationship building is first and foremost a game. It has been hard to wash away all this greasy insidious smut from my life.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Thomas Dickinson

It sucks to wake up, in a way. Once one gets past the denial, Tom Clancy novel type movies lose some of it's fun, although still entertaining. One secretly knows the audience in the cinema is just eating it all up and loving it. The American hero yells "yippie kayay mother f -- -r" as he defeats the post-Soviet Russian villain in Russia blowing up buildings, and destroying s–t as he saves the world for democracy. The Russian authorities amount to some guy in Soviet peaked hat, and long coat, begging for a bribe.

Oliver Stone's series is really good, it turns history on his head and shakes all the pennies out his pockets. Another good reporter is John Pilger, he has a long list of docs he has done over several decades.

Cheers

Homer Jay , September 16, 2017 at 5:44 pm

I have been watching that same series, about 3 episodes in. The most mind blowing part to think about is how the establishment consipired to block the nomination of the progressive Henry Wallace as a repeat VP for Roosevelt, leading instead to Harry Truman's nomination as VP, and then you know the rest of the story.

Funny how history repeated itself with the nomination of Clinton instead of Sanders. Btw, after Sanders mistakenly jumped on the Russia bashing bandwagon he was one of the few who voted against the recent sanctions being imposed against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. So yeah, I'd feel alot better with a Sanders president at this point.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Apart from the obvious Exceptionalist and Zionazi imperative to destroy Russia and China in order that God's Kingdom of 'Full Spectrum Dominance' be established across His world by his various 'Chosen People', the USA always needs an enemy. Now, more than ever, as the country crumbles into disrepair and unprecedented inequality, poverty and elite arrogance, the proles must be led to blame their plight on some Evil foreign daemon.

Only this time its no Saddam or Gaddaffi or Assad that can be easily bombed back to that Stone Age that all the non-Chosen must inhabit. This time the bullying thugs will get a, thermo-nuclear, bloody nose if they do not back off. Regretably, their egos refuse to withdraw, even in the interest of self-survival.

Paranam Kid , September 16, 2017 at 6:13 am

" It has almost occluded any truth for the vast majority of westerners."

You are so right about that, I notice it every day on other forums on which I discuss current affairs with others: the US views are the accepted ones, and I get a lot of stick for stating different views. It is actually frightening to see how few people can think for themselves.

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The American people are being systematically lied to, and they don't have a clue that it is happening. There is no awake and intelligent public to prevent what is unfolding. The worst kind of criminals are in charge of our government, media, and military. The sleeping masses are making their way down the dark mountain to the hellish outcome that awaits them.

"These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur
of the mass
Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it
seem monstrous
To admire the tragic beauty they build.
It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and
kissing.
I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
To change the future I should do foolishly. The beauty
of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain."

Robinson Jeffers

HopeLB , September 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

Great, Dark and Accurate poem -- Thank You -- Think I'll send it to Rachel Maddow, Wapo and the NYTimes.Might do them some good. Wouldn't that be lovely.

Patrick Lucius , September 16, 2017 at 12:42 am

Which poem is that? Not Shine, perishing Republic, is it?

Thomas Dickinson , September 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Rearmament by Robinson Jeffers. I liked that a lot, too, so looked it up. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/rearmament/

Jeff Davis , September 18, 2017 at 11:35 am

Fabulous reply. Back atcha:

Dulce et Decorum Est
BY WILFRED OWEN

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas -- GAS -- Quick, boys -- -- An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

******************************

And this, from Bob Dylan's "Jokerman" .

Freedom just around the corner for you
But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?

******************************

I love life and am by nature a cockeyed optimist, but I find myself intermittently gloomy, my optimism overwhelmed by cynicism, when I see the abundance of moronic belligerence so passionately snarled out in the comments sections across the internet. Clearly, humans are cursed with an addiction to violence For my part, I am old and will die soon and have no children, plus I live in a quiet backwater far away from the nuclear blast zone. Humanity seems on course for a major "culling". Insane and sad.

Mike Morrison , September 15, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Over three years now the war in Donbass, Ukraine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BoKj39HKls

Dr. Ando Arike , September 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm

I'd like to see more investigative reporting on the NYT's and other major media outlets' links to the CIA and other Deep State info-war bureaus. What the Times is doing now is reminiscent of the Michael Gordon-Judith Miller propaganda in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Operation Mockingbird, uncovered during the mid-70s Church Hearings, is an ongoing effort, it would seem. Revealing hard links to CIA information ops would be a great service to humanity.

SteveK9 , September 15, 2017 at 7:22 pm

After 'Michael Gordon-Judith Miller' I stopped reading the Times.

Beard681 , September 18, 2017 at 11:52 am

I am amazed at how many conspiracy types there are who want to see some sort of oligarch, capitalist, zionist or deep state cabal behind it all. (That is a REALLY optimistic view of the human propensity for violent conflict.) It is just a bunch of corporate shills pushing for war (hopefully cold) because war sells newspapers.

Rich Rubenstein , September 15, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Robert Parry has gotten this exactly right -- I'm a regular NYTimes subscriber /-have been for years -- and I have NEVER read anything about Russia that has not been written by professional Russia-haters like Higgins. Frankly, I don't get it. What accounts for this weird and dangerous bias?

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Have you looked into who owns the NYT?

Paranam Kid , September 16, 2017 at 6:32 am

Why do you keep reading the NYT? Not only the Russia stories are heavily biased, but all their stories are. Most op-ed's about Israel/Palestine are written by zealous pro-Israel/pro-Zionists, against very few pro-Palestine people.

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:07 am

The Trans-Atlantic Empire of banking cartels rest upon enmity with the only other Great Powers in the World: Russia and China, while keeping USA thoroughly within their orbit, relying on our Great Power as the engine that powers this Western Bankers' Empire (the steering room lies in City-of-London, who has LONG maneuvered, via their Wall Street assets, to bring us into Empire). Should peaceful, cooperative and productive relations break out between USA, Russia, and China, this would undermine everything the Western Empire has worked to build.

THIS is why the phony Russiagate issue is flogged to get rid of Trump (who seeks cooperation with Russia and China), AND keeping Russia as "The Enemy", keeping the MIC, Intel community, various police-state ops, in high demand for "National Security" reasons (also positioned to foil any democratic uprisings, should they see past the progs daily curtain and see their plight).

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Progs=propaganda stupid iPad.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Here in Aust-failure I read the papers for many years until they became TOO repulsive, particularly the Murdoch hate and fear-mongering rags. I also, and still do, masochistically listen to the Government ABC and SBS. In all those years I really cannot recall any articles or programs that reported on Russia or China in a positive manner, save when Yeltsin, a true hero to all our fakestream media, was in charge. That sort of uniformity of opinion, over generations, is almost admirable. And the necessity to ALWAYS follow the Imperial US ('Our great and powerful friend') line leads to some deficiencies in the quality of the personnel employed, as I one again reflected upon the other day when one hackette referred to (The Evil, of course)Kim Jong-un as 'President Un', several times.

Jeff Davis , September 18, 2017 at 12:31 pm

"What accounts for this weird and dangerous bias?"

Several points:

The Russian -- formerly Commie -- -- boogieman is a profit center for the military, their industrial suppliers, and the political class. That's the major factor. But also, the Zionist project requires a bulked up US military "tasked" with "full spectrum" military dominance -- the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the American jackboot on the world's throat forever -- to insure the eternal protection of Israel. Largely unseen in this Israeli/Zionist factor is the thousand-year-old blood feud between the Jews and Russians. They are ancient enemies since the founding of Czarist Russia. No amount of time or modernity can diminish the passion of that animus. (I suspect that the Zionist aim to "destroy" Russia will eventually backfire and lead instead to the destruction of Israel, but really, we shouldn't talk about that.)

mike k , September 15, 2017 at 6:26 pm

The richest man in the world has the controlling interest in the NYT. Draw your own conclusions.

http://freebeacon.com/issues/mexican-billionaire-carlos-slim-becomes-top-owner-of-new-york-times/

Brad Owen , September 16, 2017 at 8:36 am

Mexico, ground zero for the world fascist movement in the 20s and 30s (going by name Synarchy Internationale still does) throuout Ibero-America, centered in PAN. The Spanish-speaking World had to contend with Franco, and Salazar being in power so long in the respective "Mother Countries" of the Iberian Peninsula. This was the main trail for the ratlines to travel.

I saw a dead coyote on the side of the road the other day. I know you know what that means to me, Mike. Omens are a lost art in these modern times, and I have no expertise in these matters, but it struck my attention hard. It was on the right side of the road: trouble for Trump coming from The Right? They are more potent than the ineffective Left, so this might be the way Trump is pulled down.

Sfomarco , September 16, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Carlos Slim (f/k/a Salim)

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:31 pm

Yes, but who bankrolls Slim?

Stiv , September 15, 2017 at 6:51 pm

I wouldn't even need to read this to know what's going to be said. After the last article from Parry, which was very good and interesting .plowing new ground for him he's back to rehashing the same old shit. Not that it's necessarily wrong, only been said about a hundred times. Yawn

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:46 am

After months of so many people pointing out how and why the "Russia stole the election" claim is false, it came roaring back (in liberal media) in recent days. It demands a response.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:26 am

No one is required to read anything on CN.

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 1:58 pm

RP brought lots of new things into play in his article and showed how they mesh together and support one another "against Trump." I almost skipped it because so familiar with the topic, but RP brought new light to the subject, in my humble opinion.

Common Tater , September 16, 2017 at 2:40 pm

I do not need to read or watch established "news" media to know what's going to be said. After the last b.s. story from the usual talking heads which was low brow and insulting to the intelligence of the audience, they are back at it again same ol'shit by the same talking heads. It is most definitely wrong, and it needs to be countered as much as possible not yawning.

Gregory Herr , September 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm

That's what struck me just how absurdly insulting will the Times get?

And I think the point that trying to destabilize the Russian Federation may very well bring about a more militant hardline Russia is important to stress.

anon , September 17, 2017 at 9:02 am

"Stiv" is a troll who makes this junk comment every time. Better to ignore him.

Colin , September 18, 2017 at 11:54 am

Were you planning to contribute anything useful to the discussion?

SteveK9 , September 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm

I always wonder what motivation the accusers believe you have when they call you a 'Putin stooge'. Why would you be one? Are you getting paid? Of course not, so this is just a judgment on your part. They could call you a fool, but accuse you of 'carrying water for the Kremlin' as I heard that execrable creature, Adam Schiff say to Tucker Carlson? That just makes no sense. Of course, none of it is rational.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:38 pm

They're insane. A crumbling Empire which was supposed to rule the world forever, 'Under God' through Full Spectrum Dominance, but which, in fact, is disintegrating under its own moral, intellectual and spiritual rottenness, is bound to produce hate-crazed zealots looking for foreign scape-goats. Add the rage of the Clintonbots whose propaganda had told then for months that the She-Devil would crush the carnival-huckster, and her vicious post-defeat campaign to drive for war with Russia (what a truly Evil creature she is)and you get this hysteria. Interestingly, 'hysteria' is the word used to describe Bibi Nutty-yahoo, the USA's de facto 'capo di tutti capi', in Sochi recently when Putin refused to follow orders.

David Grace , September 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm

I have another theory I'd like to get reviewed. These are corporate wars, and not aimed at the stability of nations. It is claimed that in 1991, at the fall of the Soviet Union, the oligarchs were created by the massive purchasing of the assets of the collapsing nation. The CIA was said to have put together a 'bond issue' worth some $480 Billion, and it was used to buy farms, factories, mineral rights and other formerly common holdings of the USSR. This 'bond issue' was never repaid to the US taxpayers, and the deeds are in the hands of various oligarchs. Not all of the oligarchs are tied to the CIA, as there were other wells of purchasers of the country, but the ties to Trump are actually ties to dirty CIA or other organized crime entities.

The NY Times may be trying to capture certain assets for certain clients, and their editorial policy reflects this.

I'd appreciate feedback on this.

Thanks,
David

David Grace , September 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm

There are many on-line videos on this theme. Searching 'Black Eagle Trust' is one form. Here is one link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhBZJEqoe0A

stephen sivonda , September 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm

David Grace . what have we here, a thinking man? I like your premise, and I haven't even watched the link you supplied. That being said, I'll sign off and investigate that link.

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:39 am

Conspiracy theories upon conspiracy theories, ensuring that the public will never be able to root out the facts. People still argue about the Kennedy assassination 54 years later.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm

There is no rational 'argument' about what really happened to JFK.

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Most conspiracy theories are fantasy fiction. If you have real evidence, based on verifiable facts, then it's not a theory any more. But most of the conspiracy theories popular in the USA just serve popular vanity. We never have to accept our mistakes, our crimes against humanity, etc. It's always THEIR fault.

We Americans over all are like small children, always making excuses.

mark , September 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Some of the material on the Black Eagle Trust are suspect. It gives figures for stolen Japanese war loot, for example, that are simply ludicrous. Figures of so many thousand tons of gold, for example, when the references should probably be to OUNCES of gold.

RBHoughton , September 15, 2017 at 8:03 pm

One sniper in Ukraine overthrew the democratic government. Previously one sniper in Dallas overthrew another democratic government. Are there any other examples?

Is our infatuation with democracy just a propaganda thing – to fool citizens into supposing they have value beyond their labour?

AshenLight , September 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm

> Is our infatuation with democracy just a propaganda thing – to fool citizens into supposing they have value beyond their labour?

It's about control -- those who know they are slaves will resist and fight, but those who mistakenly believe they are free will not (and if you give them even just a little comfort, they'll tenaciously defend their own enslavement). It turns out this "inverted totalitarianism" thing works a lot better than the old-fashioned kind.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:19 am

Indeed. Gurdjieff told the tale of a farmer whose sheep were always wandering off due to his being unable to afford fences to keep them in. Then he had an idea, and called them all together. He told some of them they were eagles, and others lions etc. They were now so proud of their new identities that it never occurred to them anymore to escape from their master's small domain.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:23 am

MLK is another example, as is Robert Kennedy.

Anna , September 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The American patriots are coming out: "CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHbrOg092G That would be the end of the Lobby, mega oilmen and the FedReserve criminals

mark , September 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Yes, snipers on rooftops in Deraa, southern Syria, in 2011. These mysterious figures fired into crowds, deliberately targeting women and young children to inflame the crowd. At the same time the same snipers killed 7 police officers. Unarmed police had been sent in to deal with unrest without bloodshed. These police officers were armed only with batons.

This is a standard page from the CIA playbook. The mysterious snipers in Maidan Square in 2014 are believed to have been Yugoslavian mercenaries hired by the CIA.

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:14 pm

The US has had oligarchy since 1789.

BobH , September 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm

We all have some kind of a bias but fortunately most of us here know the difference between bias and propaganda. Bias based on facts and our own values is often constructive but the N.Y. Times(like most msm) has descended into disseminating insidious propaganda. Unfortunately the search for truth requires a bit more research and time than most people are willing to invest. Thankfully, Robert Parry continues his quest but the dragons are not easy to slay. My own quest for truth once led to a philosophical essay. The cartoon at the bottom(SH Chambers) sums it up.
https://crivellistreetchronicle.blogspot.com/2016/07/truth-elusive-concept.html

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 7:13 am

I put a comment on your blog.

BobH , September 16, 2017 at 11:15 am

Mike, thanks so much, I'll look forward to reading it(so far, I don't see it Moderation?)

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

If we have a bias towards honesty, that helps. It keeps one's mind more open and provides a willingness to entertain various points of view. It's not naivete, however, but thoughtful consideration coupled with awareness and that protects one from being easily manipulated. But then, oppositely, there's a human tendency to want to be popular which inclines one towards groupthink. But why that so entrenches itself, making people impervious to truth, is a conundrum -- Maybe if the "why" can be answered, the "how" will become apparent -- how to reach individuals with the truth as so oft told, though hard on the ears, at CN.

Jacob Leyva , September 15, 2017 at 10:12 pm

So what do you think of the Russia-Facebook dealings? When will we get an article on that?

Fuzzy , September 18, 2017 at 7:19 am

Really? You think this is important?

http://davidswanson.org/warlist/?link_id=3&can_id=ed31bf4cbc8f991980718b21b49ca26d&source=email-how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928-2&email_referrer=email_232560&email_subject=how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928

John , September 15, 2017 at 10:47 pm

The Russian /Iranian vs the Ashkenazi has been going on for many, many years ..The USA is to a large extent controlled by the Ashkenazi / Zionist agenda which literally owns most of the MSM outlets .Agendas must be announced through propaganda to sway the sleeping public toward conformity .The only baffling question that remains is why do Americans allow Zionist to control such a large part of their great republic ?

Art , September 16, 2017 at 1:43 am

Robert, you come from intelligence. Why don't you look at Russia-gate from all possible angles?
I suggest the following. Putin is an American spy. Russia-gate is created to make him a winner, a hero.
And the specious confrontation is a good cover for Putin.
This is in a nutshell.
I can obviously say mu-uch more.

D.H. Fabian , September 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

Throughout 2017, we've seen a surge of efforts by both parties -- via the media that serve them -- to build support for a final nuclear war. The focus jumps from rattling war sabers at China (via Korea, at the moment) to rattling them at Russia, two nuclear-armed world powers. This has been working to bring Russia and China together, resolving their years of conflict in view of a potential world threat -- the US. Whatever their delusions, and regardless of their ideology, our political leaders are setting the stage for the deaths of millions of us, and the utter destruction of the US.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:59 am

Our political leaders have betrayed us.

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Thermo-nuclear war would cause human extinction, not just billions of casualties.

Jim Glover , September 16, 2017 at 3:15 am

It is the same now with North Korea and China. So what would happen if those nations were destabilized by Sanctions or worse Russia, China Iran and more would support Kim. How to make peace?

Dennis Rodman has the guts to suggest call and talk with Kim or "Try it you might like it better than total mutual destruction". Think Love and Peace it can't hurt like all the war, hate and fear the media keeps pushing for advertising profits. War and Fear is the biggest racket on the planet. What can I do? Fighting a losing battle but it is fun tryin' to win.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:57 am

We may be losing now, but who knows? It ain't over till it's over. Hang in there.

GMC , September 16, 2017 at 3:20 am

Great article- again . I used to live in the US, I used to live in Alaska, I used to live in Crimea, Ukraine but now I live in Crimea, Russia and Smolensk, Ru. I watched this all go down but it took awhile to see the entire picture. I seldom get any more emails from the states – even my brother doesn't get it. They think I'm now a " commie" , I guess. I see it as the last big gasp of hot, dangerous air from an Empire -- Exposed. Unfortunately, its not over yet and maybe we/you will have more bad times ahead. Crimea this summer is doing well with much work going on – from the badly needed new infrastructure to the new bridge, the people are much better off than in Ukraine. They made the right choice in returning to Mother Russia even though it was a no-brainer for them. The world is lucky to have free writers like, Parry, Roberts, Vltchek, Pepe', the Saker and the intelligent commenters are as important as the writers in spreading the Pravda. Spacibo Mr. Parry

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

Thanks for sharing with us GMC. And good luck to you.

ranney , September 16, 2017 at 4:22 am

YES -- -- -- -- -- Yes to all that you wrote Robert -- Thank you again for writing clearly and saying what obviously needs to be said, but no one else will. We've been down this road before -i.e. the media pulling us into wars of Empire – first the Spanish- American one, then a bunch of others working up to Viet Nam, and then Iraq. Each one gets worse and now we're reaching for a nuclear one. Keep writing; your voice gives some of us hope that just maybe others will join in and stop the media from their constant "messages of hate" and the urging of the public to a suicidal conflagration.

Joe Tedesky , September 16, 2017 at 8:55 am

The funny thing about living through the 'fake news' era, is that now everyone thinks that their news source is the correct news source. Many believe that outside of the individual everyone else reads or listens too 'fake news'. It's like all of a sudden no one has credibility, yet everyone may have it, depending on what news source you subscribe to. I mean there's almost no way of knowing what the truth is, because everyone is claiming that they are getting their news from reputable news outlets, but some or many aren't, and who are the reputable news sources, if you don't mind my asking you this just for the record?

Come to think of it, the 'fake news' theme is brilliant considering that now we have no bench mark for what the truth is, and by not having that bench mark for the truth we all go our separate ways believing what we believe, because certainly my news source is the only truthful one, and your news source is beyond questionable of how the news should be reported.

People read headlines, but hardly do they ever read the article. Many hear news sound bites, but never do they do the research required, in order to verify the stories accuracy. Hear say works even more to rain in the clouds of mass deception. Then there are those who sort of buy whatever it is the established news outlets are selling based on their belief that it doesn't much matter anyway, because 'the establishment' lies to us all the time as a rule, so what's the big deal to keep up on the news, because it's all obviously one big lie isn't it? So not only do we have irresponsible news journalist, we also have a very large number of a monopolized unqualified news gatherers who must accept what the various news agencies report, regardless of what the truth may be. It's better the Establishment keep it this way, because then the Establishment has better control over the 'mob grabbing the pitchforks and sickles' and crying out justice for somebody's head. It's kind of like job security for the Establishment, but in their case it's more like a 'keeping your elitist head' security, if you know what I mean.

To learn how to deal with this 'fake news', I would suggest you start studying the JFK assassination, or any other ill defined tragic event, and then you might learn how to decipher the 'fake news' matrix of confusion to learn what you so desire to learn. I chose this route, because when was the last time the Establishment brokered the truth in regard to a happening such as the JFK assassination? Upon learning of what a few well written books has to say, you will then need to rely on your own brain to at least give you enough satisfaction to allow you to believe that you pretty well got it right, and there go you. In other words, the truth is out there, hiding in plain sight, and if you are persistent enough you just might find it. Good luck.

mike k , September 16, 2017 at 11:29 am

The truth has never been that easy to find Joe. Actually all the beyond obvious propaganda on the MSM might wake some people up to do the searching necessary to get closer to what is really happening in their world. Maybe the liars have finally overplayed their hand? Or are we the people really that dumb? (I am scared to hear the answer to that one -- )

Joe Tedesky , September 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I could be a wise guy, and say to you 'or so you say' in reply to your kind comment, but then that would make me a troll.

All I'm saying mike is that in this era of 'fake news' we are all running about on different levels, and never shall the two of us meet. That is unless you and I get our news from the same source, but what are the odds of all of us getting the same news? It's impossible, and I'm not quite that sure that that would be what we want either. Still without an objective, and honest large media to set the correct narrative we end up in this place, where you might find yourself doing a spread sheet study to come to some conclusion of what is true, and what isn't.

Case in point, read about Russia-Gate here on consortiumnews, and then go listen to Rachel Maddow report on the same thing. Two different sets of stories. Just try and reconcile what you read on sites like this one concerning Ukraine, then go watch MSNBC or CNN. Never a match. So you mike read consortiumnews, and your in laws read the NYT and watch CNN, and there you go, a controversy arises between you and the in laws and with that life goes on, but where is the correct news to be found to settle the score?

Once upon a time the established news agencies such as CNN, and the NYT, were the hallmark of the news, and sites such as this one were the ones on the edge, now I'm convinced this conviction has reversed itself.

Thanks mike for the reply. Joe

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 9:07 am

Wouldn't it be hilarious mike, if the dumbed down people attacked the Bastille under false pretense? Especially if the lie had been concocted by the blinded by their own hubris sitting powers to be. Talk about poetic justice, and well placed irony. Priceless --

Virginia , September 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Joe, Apparently people take the easy way out. And that's just it -- "the way out." Extinction -- Maybe they haven't learned there's something worth learning about and living for. I'm gonna concentrate on that. Open eyes that they might see

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 8:08 am

You are right Virginia, it is probably 'a way out', and God bless them for it. My late Mother was like that, but I'll tell you why. When my Mother was growing up in a family of eleven children, her father would rent out their street level basement to the voting polls. A block away my uncle who was quite older than my Mother owned a corner saloon. Now on Election Day my Mother said how the men in suits would pull up in their big expensive cars, and they would descend upon my uncles corner bar. Soon after one by one drunks would come out of the tavern wearing Republican buttons then they would go into grandpap's basement voting booth, and vote. Not long after my Mom said, the same drunks would come pouring out of my uncles tavern and this time they were wearing Democratic buttons, and they would go vote once or as many times as it would take to thank the big guys in the suits for the free drinks. My Mom said this went on all day. She said a lot dead people voted whether they knew it or not, and that's the truth. She would follow up by saying, 'yeah a lot of politicians won on the drunk vote'.

So Virginia some can't take the decept and lying, and with that they give up. I myself don't feel this way, but then there are the times I can't help but think of how my dear sweet Mother probably did have it right for the sake of living your life in the most upright and honest way. Sadly, there is no virtue in politics, or so it seems.

Oh yeah, that uncle who owned the corner saloon, he did go into politics holding nominee appointed positions, until he got wise and got a honest job, as he would jokingly say.

For the record my Mother did vote, but she was the lady standing in line who looked reluctant and pissed off to be there, but never the less my Mum was a voter. Oh, the candidate my Mother loved the most was JFK. John F Kennedy's was the only presidential picture my Mother ever hung in our humble home.

My message here, was only meant to give some cover, and an explanation for those who shy away from politics, and not an excuse to stay uninvolved. For even my non political Mum did at least in the end break down, and do the right thing. We should all at least try, and keep up on the events of our time, and vote with the best intentions we can muster up.

Okay, I'm sorry for the length of my reply, but you are always worth taking time for me to give a reasonable answer to. I also hope I'm entertaining with these stories I seem to tell from time to time. Take care Virginia. Joe

Tannenhouser , September 17, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Humans are approximately 90% water, give or take depending on evaporation (Age). Water always takes the path of least resistance. Oh I wish and hope for the day when most realize they are much more than 'just' water:)

Mulga Mumblebrain , September 16, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The fakestream media lies incessantly, and has for generations. Chomsky and Herman's 'Manufacturing Consent' outlines the propaganda role of the 'mass media', and is twenty-five years old, in which period things have gotten MUCH worse (just look at the fate of the UK 'Guardian' for an example). Yet the fakestream presstitutes STILL have the unmitigated gall to call others 'fake' and demand that we believe their unbelievable narratives. That's real chutzpah.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 8:26 am

You know Mulga you are correct, many generations have listened to many, many, lies upon their way to the voting booths. It goes without saying, how the aristocrats when they find it necessary, as they often do find it necessary, they lie to their flock for a whole host of reasons. Why we could pick anytime in history, and find out where lies have paved the way to a leaders greater conquest, or a leaders said greater conquest if not met with defeat, but never the less the public was used to propel some leaders wishes onward and upward whether for the good or the bad.

But here we are Mulga, you and the rest of us here, straddling on the fence over what might be right to what possibly could be wrong. Without a responsible press you and us Mulga need to learn from each other. Like when comment posters leave links, that's always been something good for me to follow through on.

We live in a unique time, but a time not that unique, as much as it is our time. Our great, great, grandparents were straddling the same fence, and I'm guessing they too relied on each other to navigate there way through the twisting maze of politics, and basically what they all wanted, was a little peace on earth. So Mulga I also guess that you and we the people are just carrying on a tradition that us common folk have been assigned too continue.

Like reading your comments Mulga, good to see you here. Joe

Zhu Bajie , September 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Fake news has always been common. Critical thinking has never been popular because Occam's Razor might slice your favorite story to shreds. Personally, I give full credence to few things in life, but suspect many more, to some degree. I trust my own experiences more than what I read in the media and try to reject conventional wisdom as much as possible.

Herman , September 16, 2017 at 9:39 am

Observing Putin's behavior, you have to be impressed with his continue willingness to extend the olive branch and to seek a reasonable settlement of differences. His language always leaves open the possibility of détente with the understanding that Russia is not going to lay down to be run over. On the contrary, the language of Obama and Trump, and their representatives is consistently take it or leave and engaging in school yard insults of Russia, Putin, Lavrov and others. We have consistently played the bully in the school yard encouraging others to join in the bullying. We talk about the corrosive discourse at home, but observe the discourse in foreign affairs. Trump and his associates are guilty, but slick talking Obama and his subordinates was often worse. .As has so often been said, we have only two arrows in our foreign affairs quiver, war and sanctions. We lack the imagination and will to actually engage in civil discussions with those on our enemies' list.

Parry is of course correct in his opinion of the New York Times but it doesn't stop there, only that the New York Times undeservedly is the "newspaper of record." His citing of Orwell is on the mark. Just turn your TV on for the news and see for yourself.

Dave P. , September 16, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Very well said, Herman. Very true.

Patricia Victour , September 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

I don't subscribe to the NYT for this reason, and it is galling to me that our local rag, "The Santa Fe New Mexican," while featuring excellent local coverage for the most part, gets all it's "national" news from the likes of the NYT, WaPo, and AP. These stories, much of it "fake news" in my opinion, are offered as gospel by the "New Mexican", with no journalistic effort to print opposing views. People I know seem so proud of themselves that they subscribe to "The Times," and I don't even dare try to point out to them that they are being duped and propagandized into believing the most outrageous (and dangerous) crap.

To add another dimension, these sources are so jealous of their position as the ultimate word on what Americans are to believe, and also so worried about their waning influence, that now RT and Sputnik, both Russia-sponsored news outlets, may be forced to register as "foreign agents" in the U.S. I am not familiar with Sputnik, but I have been watching RT on TV for several years and find it to be an excellent source of national and foreign news. Stories I see first on RT are usually confirmed soon after by other reliable sources, such as this excellent site – Consortiumnews. At no point did I feel I was being coerced by Russia during the 2016 election – I needed no confirmation that both Trump and Clinton were probably the worst candidates ever to run for President.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 9:31 am

You know what I find interesting is how a reporter such as Robert Parry will pinpoint his details to a critique of say the NYT, but when or if a NYTer is to write a likewise article of the Alternative Internet Press the NYTer will just simply critique their internet rival as a 'conspiracy theorist' or as now as in 2017 they refer to them as 'fake news artist'. I mean no rebuttal back referencing certain details such as what Parry mentioned, but just rhetorical words written over tabloid written headlines finalized under the heading of 'fake news'. This must be being taught in journalism school these days, because it's popular in the MSM.

Just like you have never heard or read from the MSM a detailed answered rebuttal to the pointed questions of say the '911 Truthers' or a 'JFK Assassination Researcher' a valid bona fide answer. No, but you do hear the masters and mistresses of the corporate media world call writers such as Parry, Roberts, and St Clair, 'fake newscasters', 'Putin Puppets', and or a whole host of other nasty names, as they feel fit to write, but never a honest too goodness rebuttal. Then they talk about Trump not sounding or acting presidential hmm the nerve of these wordsmiths.

BTW, I don't care much for Trump, and I even care less for our MSM. Just wanted to get that straight.

Nice comment Patricia. Joe

hatedbyu , September 16, 2017 at 10:57 am

let's not forget about the nytimes grossly negligent reporting on syria and libya. judith miller? russian doping scandal. lying about the holdomor . man i could do this all day ..

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 10:12 am

You mean the on air hours of punditry explaining away their professions mistakes, or the honest rebuttal? It's at those particular times and occurrences of ignored self reflection our honorable (not) MSM falls back on Orwell's 1984. Like it never happened. The dog didn't eat no home work, because there never was a dog, nor was there any homework .stupid us. Life goes on uninterrupted and non commercial time can be filled with an update on Bill Cosby's past alleged sexual predator attacks, and this is our professional news casting doing its best to entertain us, not inform us god forbid, but entertain us the ignorant masses of their workless society.

One day hatedbyu the ignorant masses may just show the corporate infotainment duchess and dudes that they 'the people' ain't so ignorant, and things must change. Well at least that's the dream, but it's still a work in progress, and then there's the historical seesaw.

I think it's the power of empire to expand, just like a balloon, until it reaches it's bursting point. But just what that bursting point is, is without a doubt the most disputable of arguments to be made. I am coming to the belief we are, as always, continually getting to that point, and we may of course be very close to igniting that spark in the not so far off future. I would prefer the spark to be completely financial, and dealt with accordingly, but I'm a dreamer purest and a conspiracy theorist, so that means when the crap starts going down, I'll be the old man on the hill lighting up a big fat doobie cue soundtrack 'Fool On the Hill'.

Sorry just had to get carried away, but it's Sunday morning hatedbyu and I'm home alone and nobody's trying to break in .. Good comment hatedbyu. Joe

Stephen J. , September 16, 2017 at 11:27 am

A Compilation Not seen in Corporate Media: See Link Below:
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
US Wars and Hostile Actions: A List
By David Swanson

http://davidswanson.org/warlist/?link_id=3&can_id=ed31bf4cbc8f991980718b21b49ca26d&source=email-how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928-2&email_referrer=email_232560&email_subject=how-outlawing-war-changed-the-world-in-1928

Bob Van Noy , September 16, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Stephen J. Thank you for introducing me to David Swanson. Great link.

Joe Tedesky , September 17, 2017 at 11:29 am

Im with you on that Bob, Stephen J providing the Swanson link should be a must read, to keep things fair and balanced. I also do wonder if Swanson's message isn't getting out there, and we all don't already know it? I'm a glass half full kind of guy, but what do we really know about each other, other than what the corporate media instills on us? I wish cable news would air a program made up of Swanson, Pilger, and Parry, for that at least could put some well needed balance finality back, if it ever was there in the first place, back into the public narrative .but there go I.

Good to see you Bob. Joe

Hank , September 16, 2017 at 11:32 am

The deep state sticks with what