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

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA looks more and more like a single party state -- it is governed by  Neoliberal party with two factions
 "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals"(Republican Party)

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Demexit Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking The Deep State Donald Trump
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Anti Trump Hysteria Bernie Sanders Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
Predator state Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Myth about intelligent voter Electoral College Non-Interventionism US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

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

-- Leonard Pinkney

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

-- Daniel Estulin

 

 

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

Summary

I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitled to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ?  Or  in election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means. Is the democracy possible, if elections use "the first after the post" rule?  Another important question is "democracy for whom". There are always part of society living under the dictatorship and excluded from the democratic process.

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

The "first after the post" system provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force.  No less effective the Societ one party rule, but more subtle and more acceptable to the population. Which is all what is needed to continuation of the rule of the oligarchy.  The same is true for the parties themselves. Iron law of olgarchy was actualy discovered by observing the evolution of the party leadership.

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

The situation when the current ruling elite (or in less politically correct term oligarchy) experienced difficulties with the continuation of its rule and the existing methods of suppression and indoctrination of the lower part population stop working is called  "revolutionary situation". Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what was essentially an independent candidate -- Donald Trump.  It was clear that there is a widespread feeling that the current system is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wont to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda does not work anymore " a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings twice, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".

 In such cases, often the ruling elite decides to unleash a foreign war and use "rally around the flag" effect  to suppress dissent and to restore the control (that's the real meaning of Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"). The pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016 in neoliberal MSM suggest that some part of the US elite is not totally hostile to this solution even in nuclear age. As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.”

In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Even by promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems. The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the level achieved by communist propagandists in best days of the USSR.  And that happened because this time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. (at least partially) "paleoconservative", who rejects the idea of neoliberal globalization and by extension the necessity of fighting constant wars for the expansion of the US led global neoliberal empire.   This heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state, and the hissy fit in neoliberal media and the just of intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" of political process (hackingate") were to be expected.

There is also an interesting question what kind of democracy the competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demonstrates. And not only "democratcy for who" -- it is clera tha thtis is democracy for the top 1% or at best top 20% of population.

Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience. They use university course in economics in the same (or more correctly slightly more subtle; using mathematics as smoke screen for indoctrination into neoliberal ideology)  way Soviet universities use the course of philosophy. In the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy were obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin; but there were problem here -- as Marx famously said he was not a Marxist.  The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentially a bridge between Marxism and national socialism.  This problem was solved by carefully pre-selecting "classics" works to only a subset that felt in like with Bolshevism.

But deteriorating economy and stagnation make this propaganda less effective, much like happened with neoliberal propganda in the USA in 2016. And people were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming.  Similar things happened inthe USA after 2008. Eventhoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion, started to have doubts.  And like Soviet population resorted to the alternative sources of information (for example Guardian, RT, Asia Times, to name a few).

But still the general level  political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is much lower then it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marxs and Lenin much like modern incarnations of Jesus Christ in Soviet state). Let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs neoliberal platform. Or define what the term "neoliberal" means. It is difficult also because the terms "neoliberalism" and "Paleoconservatism" are expunged from MSM. Like Trotsky writings were in the USSR. Assuming that this might well be the key difference between two frontrunner in the last Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.

The myth about intelligent voters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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[Jul 19, 2017] 'Cultural Marxism' is usually a euphemism for political correctness and identity politics which the right-wing commentariat see rooted in 1960s counter culture supposedly influenced by French and Frankfurt School marxian philosophy.

Jul 19, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

, GalahadThreepwood

, 21 Aug 2016 02:16
This is a good analysis. Given the author's not insignificant role in the surreptitious imposition of the cultural Marxism under which we all live today in which the expression of any ideas by those in public life which run counter to the cultural and economic consensus are greeted with loud indignation, feigned offence and derision, frequently leading to social ostracism, one wonders how the new ideas are to be even debated, let alone taken up.

Pikkety (?) is a good example of original thinking, with whom I don't personally agree, but the way in which he has been derided in most MSM or, worse, completely ignored shows up shallowness of modern political and philosophical discourse.

, panchozecat GalahadThreepwood , 21 Aug 2016 03:07
I have no idea what you mean by 'cultural Marxism', it seems you're way off beam. We have lived through a period of hegemony dominated by neo liberal capitalism - as Martin describes so well. Share Facebook Twitter
, zibibbo panchozecat , 21 Aug 2016 10:38
'Cultural Marxism' is usually a euphemism for political correctness and identity politics which the right-wing commentariat see rooted in 1960s counter culture supposedly influenced by French and Frankfurt School marxian philosophy.
, Marscolonist , 21 Aug 2016 02:17
Similarly Malcolm Turnbull, the ultimate symbol of the success of greed who promoted massive tax cuts to the corporations as an election strategy, was stunned by his rejection at the last election and by the rise of Pauline Hanson, an individual who represents an Australian version of Donald Trump.

Meanwhile other neo-liberal reactionaries like the Premier of NSW, Mike Baird, continue to sell public assets such as the electricity supply, dismantle and dismiss democratically elected local councils, give business owners two votes in Sydney City council elections, tear down functional buildings such as the Power House Museum and the Entertainment center in order to hand the sites to property developers and approves coal mines on prime agricultural land and in areas of great natural beauty yet imagines that he will get away with what he is doing.
He may well discover that come the next election, even the ordinary members of his own party will desert him as the revolt against his destructive and arrogant mis-government catches up with him.

[Jul 17, 2017] This Is The Most Dangerous Time Ever Ex-CIA Boss Says US To Blame For Scourge Without Parallel ISIS

Notable quotes:
"... Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall." ..."
"... My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil. ..."
"... I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them. ..."
"... Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so. ..."
"... The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list. ..."
"... CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection. ..."
"... CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings. ..."
"... No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today! Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame. ..."
"... The Devil's Chessboard ..."
Nov 23, 2015 | Zero Hedge

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before.

According to The Hill,

"I think this is the most dangerous time in terms of sustained violence," he said on "The Cats Roundtable" in an interview airing Sunday on New York's AM-970.

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Devine cited the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an unprecedented threat in terms of its wanton disregard for human life...

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

"You have a group in ISIS today that is frankly uncivilized. These folks could get stronger and stronger. We basically have to destroy ISIS over there," Devine said.

Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall."

Devine, who mainly served during the Cold War, said ISIS is a scourge without parallel because it has no concern for self-preservation.

"There is nothing that can be compared with nuclear weapons and their use," he said of tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

"[But] people felt safe in the sense there was countervailing balance," he added. "Early in our contest with the Russians, it was clear we had checks and balances."

Finally Devine admits...

"If there's blame to be put, it's on our failure to have done that by this point."

Selected Skeptical Comments

i_call_you_my_base

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s..."

"And by dealt I mean trained and funded."

Looney

John Kerry to the MSM:

Do not use "Al Qaeda" or "Al Nustra" - just call them "Allies" (pronounced Al Lies). ;-)

Looney

Vatican_cameo

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

By small group he means CIA, Right? I thought he would have been a little clearer.

Occident Mortal

My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil.

Paveway IV

"...once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe..."

I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them.

The U.S. blocked the first Iran pipeline (called the Persian Pipeline) FROM IRAN to Iraq in 2010 by forcing the Swiss company that partnered with Iran to back out due to Israeli - ooops, 'Western' sanctions on Iran. The second Iran-sourced NG pipeline from Iran through Iraq and Syria - called the Friendship Pipeline - was agreed to in 2012 by the countries involved. That's when the U.S. launched it's failed coup attempt in Syria and let its ISIS mad-dogs loose in Iraq. Tyler usually refers to this by the derogatory label of "Islamic Pipeline" - a snide label that Kagan-PNAC and Western oil companies used. Tyler never refers to the Western-backed Qatari pipeline as the Jihadi Pipeline, nor does he refer to the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline as the Jewish Pipeline. I'm not sure about the inconsistency - maybe he's trying to make some point.

Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so.

goldhedge

The CIA guy doesn't mention the House of Saud.

Pfft.

Jack Burton

Good catch! And there never do.

CIA and House of Saud have done a long term deal to look out for each other in this world. The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list.

CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection.

CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings.

scrappy

Somewhere it's 3:00 AM

Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton Claims Saudi Arabia is the Largest Donor to "Salafism Terrorists" Worldwide

http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2015/11/wikileaks-hillary-clinton-cl...

Clinton Foundation's Colombian 'Private Equity Fund' Deletes Website

http://investmentwatchblog.com/clinton-foundations-colombian-private-equ...

sgt_doom

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today!

Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame.

Recommended reading (to better understand why the USA is known as the Great Satan):

The Devil's Chessboard, by David Talbot

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+devil%27s+chessboard&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=78875381302&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2565125617248777980&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_34lcz93rcf_e_p4

logicalman
Funny how these fucks can come out and say this kind of shit and get away with it. The fucker's basically pleading guilty to murder, FFS.
Ms No
They didn't kill anybody in South America my ass.... The school of Americas, Operation Condor, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador .... who the hell are they kidding? The CIA has always been covered and nobody ever cared.
Perimetr
"If there's blame to be put. . ."

It's on the CIA for running its global terrorist operations, funded by the $1 trillion dollars a year coming from its Afghanistan heroin operation.

Noplebian

US Gives Their Proxy Army ISIS 45 Minute Warning Before Air Strikes......

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

blindman

sirs and madams,
.
"Christmas celebration this year is going to be a charade because the whole world is at war. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.

It's all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be-a little here, a little there-there is no justification.

What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers."

Francis I
.
http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2015/11/here-is-british-banned-...

Dinero D. Profit

Ladies and gentlemen of ZH.

In history, what must be, will be.

The discovery of America by Europe had to happen. The savages had to be eliminated and The Revolutionary War had to happen. Slavery had to begin, and after it, segregation had to begin, but, what must be, will be, slavery and segregation had to end. Old School colonization of poor nations had to happen. The Boer War had to happen. The Spanish American War had to happen. The Main had to be sunk. WWI had to happen. Calvary charges had to end. Totalitarian Communism had to happen. Germany's 20's depression had to happen, reactionary jingoism had to happen, and Kristallnacht and the Reichstag fire had to happen. The Allies had to win WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to be publicity stunts, and the Cold War had to begin. JFK had to be wacked, the Vietnam War had to happen, the FED still was happening. Civil Rights laws had to be passed. Recognition of China had to happen, going off the gold standard had to happen, and Nixon had to be kicked out of office. Corporate Globalization had to begin. After Carter an actor had to be President. Unions had to be stifled. Perestroika and glasnost had to happen. The Berlin Wall had to come down. The MIC had to find another enemy, and suddenly 9/11 had to happen.

Over population has to happen, poisoning the environment has to happen, and the NWO has to happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, the NWO is here, and there is nothing you can do, and nothing you could have done to stop it.

Edit. I see none of our supposed enemies 'truth bombing' 9/11, 7/7, and the 13th Paris attacks. I see no trade embagoes, I see no arguments in the Security Council over the illegality of US/Nato bombing in Syria.

blindman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_79...
Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy
Posted: 08/03/2015 11:48 am EDT
.
On July 28, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an afterthought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:

It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we've just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. ... At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell." ...
.
it is the money "system", man.

blindman

corporations and hoodwink powers ride on the indifference of the damned, the silence of the dead and doomed.

Dinero D. Profit

The Satus Quo can rely upon the loyalty of their employees, Congress, the military, the military industrial contractors, their workers and family members, the crime control establishment, all Uniersity professors and employees, and every employee of all publically traded companies, and every person employed by the MSM.

The dead and doomed are irrelevant. If you have an establishment job, you'll obey and ask no vital questions.

Dick Buttkiss
Sunnis and Shiites hate each other far more than they hate Christians, Jews, or anyone else. If it weren't for oil, the USG wouldn't give a flyiing fuck if they anihilated each other. Instead, it conspires with them in ways far beyond its ability to comprehend, much less navigate. Thus is the US ship of state heading for the shoals of its destruction, the only question being how much of the country and the outside world it takes down with it.
ross81
thats bullshit Western propaganda that Shiites hate Sunnis and vice versa. In the same way that the Brits stirred up Protestant hatred of Catholics in Ulster for centuries, the US/Israel/Saudi does the same with Sunnis vs Shiites on a much bigger scale in the Middle East. Divide and Conquer.
geno-econ
This is getting scary in that one or two more attacks will result in travel freezes, flow of Middle East oil and result in huge increase in military as well as Homeland security costs. A depression or economic collapse a real possibility Perhaps time for a Peace Conference of all interested parties. The US started this shit and should be the first to call for a Peace Conference. Macho talk will only make things worse.
moonmac
We can print trillions out of thin air at the drop of a hat but we can't kill a small group of terrorists. Got it!
sgt_doom
Or, we pour billions of dollars every year into the CIA, NSA, and DIA, and only a poor old fart such as myself can figure out that Bilal Erdogan is the ISIS connection to oil trading (Turkish president, Erdogan's son) and Erdogan's daughter is with ISIS?
GRDguy
Ex-CIA boss gets it wrong, again.

"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

should be:

"When you have a small group of financial sociopaths willing to lie-to, steal-from and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

and you'll probably be punished, jailed or shot for tryin' to protect yourself and your family.

Ban KKiller
War profiteer. That is it. Along wth James Comey, James Clapper, Jack Welch and the list is almost endless...
BarnacleBill
"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Simply take out the word "their", and the description perfectly fits the CIA, MI6 and their like. For them, it's all a business deal, nothing more - a massive slum-clearance project. Destroy people's houses, provide accommodation and food, ship them somewhere else; do it again and again until the money-printing machine conks out. It's money for old rope.

http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2015/11/slum-clearance-on-massive-scale.html

And, yes, we're all vulnerable. The man got that right.

Duc888
"You get the politicians you deserve."

CIA types are appointed, not elected.

Duc888
I do not know if there are any Catherine Austin Fitts fans on this web site but this is definitely worth the time. The FEDGOV came after her non stop for 6 years when she worked for HUD under Bush Sr. If nothing else this lady is tenacious. In this presentation she uncorks exactly HOW the deep black budgets are paid for...and it ain't your tax dollars. What she uncovered while at HUD was simply amazing..... and she made an excellent point. At the top... it's NOT "fraud" because that's how it was all deigned right from the get go after wwII. It brings to mind the funny computer saying....."it's a feature, not a bug".

She digs right into how the CIA was funded... Truly amazing stuff. ...of course the dick head brigade will come along here and deride her because of the conference she is speaking at.... well, who the fuck cares, her presentation is excellent and filled with facts.

Yes it is 1 hour 20 minutes long but imho it is well worth the watch...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0mimIp8mr8

Dragon HAwk
After reading all these posts my only question is why does the CIA allow Zero Hedge to Exist ?

except of course to collect names...

[Jul 13, 2017] Progressive Democrats Resist and Submit, Retreat and Surrender by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" ..."
"... Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: " Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'. ..."
"... Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints. ..."
"... Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more! ..."
"... Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen! ..."
"... Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party. ..."
"... This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary. ..."
"... Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.) ..."
"... Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches. ..."
"... They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. ..."
"... Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act ..."
Jul 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990's progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US's corporate for-profit medical system into a national 'Medicare For All' public program. They condemned the notorious Wall Street swindlers and denounced police state legislation and violence. But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Over time this political contrast between program and practice led to the transformation of the Progressives. And what we see today are US progressives embracing and promoting the politics of the far right.

To understand this transformation we will begin by identifying who and what the progressives are and describe their historical role. We will then proceed to identify their trajectory over the recent decades.

Progressives by Name and Posture

Progressives purport to embrace 'progress', the growth of the economy, the enrichment of society and freedom from arbitrary government. Central to the Progressive agenda was the end of elite corruption and good governance, based on democratic procedures.

Progressives prided themselves as appealing to 'reason, diplomacy and conciliation', not brute force and wars. They upheld the sovereignty of other nations and eschewed militarism and armed intervention.

Progressives proposed a vision of their fellow citizens pursuing incremental evolution toward the 'good society', free from the foreign entanglements, which had entrapped the people in unjust wars.

Progressives in Historical Perspective

In the early part of the 20th century, progressives favored political equality while opposing extra-parliamentary social transformations. They supported gender equality and environmental preservation while failing to give prominence to the struggles of workers and African Americans.

They denounced militarism 'in general' but supported a series of 'wars to end all wars' . Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas. By the middle of the 20th century, different strands emerged under the progressive umbrella. Progressives split between traditional good government advocates and modernists who backed socio-economic reforms, civil liberties and rights.

Progressives supported legislation to regulate monopolies, encouraged collective bargaining and defended the Bill of Rights.

Progressives opposed wars and militarism in theory until their government went to war.

Lacking an effective third political party, progressives came to see themselves as the 'left wing' of the Democratic Party, allies of labor and civil rights movements and defenders of civil liberties.

Progressives joined civil rights leaders in marches, but mostly relied on legal and electoral means to advance African American rights.

Progressives played a pivotal role in fighting McCarthyism, though ultimately it was the Secretary of the Army and the military high command that brought Senator McCarthy to his knees.

Progressives provided legal defense when the social movements disrupted the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

They popularized the legislative arguments that eventually outlawed segregation, but it was courageous Afro-American leaders heading mass movements that won the struggle for integration and civil rights.

In many ways the Progressives complemented the mass struggles, but their limits were defined by the constraints of their membership in the Democratic Party.

The alliance between Progressives and social movements peaked in the late sixties to mid-1970's when the Progressives followed the lead of dynamic and advancing social movements and community organizers especially in opposition to the wars in Indochina and the military draft.

The Retreat of the Progressives

By the late 1970's the Progressives had cut their anchor to the social movements, as the anti-war, civil rights and labor movements lost their impetus (and direction).

The numbers of progressives within the left wing of the Democratic Party increased through recruitment from earlier social movements. Paradoxically, while their 'numbers' were up, their caliber had declined, as they sought to 'fit in' with the pro-business, pro-war agenda of their President's party.

Without the pressure of the 'populist street' the 'Progressives-turned-Democrats' adapted to the corporate culture in the Party. The Progressives signed off on a fatal compromise: The corporate elite secured the electoral party while the Progressives were allowed to write enlightened manifestos about the candidates and their programs . . . which were quickly dismissed once the Democrats took office. Yet the ability to influence the 'electoral rhetoric' was seen by the Progressives as a sufficient justification for remaining inside the Democratic Party.

Moreover the Progressives argued that by strengthening their presence in the Democratic Party, (their self-proclaimed 'boring from within' strategy), they would capture the party membership, neutralize the pro-corporation, militarist elements that nominated the president and peacefully transform the party into a 'vehicle for progressive changes'.

Upon their successful 'deep penetration' the Progressives, now cut off from the increasingly disorganized mass social movements, coopted and bought out many prominent black, labor and civil liberty activists and leaders, while collaborating with what they dubbed the more malleable 'centrist' Democrats. These mythical creatures were really pro-corporate Democrats who condescended to occasionally converse with the Progressives while working for the Wall Street and Pentagon elite.

The Retreat of the Progressives: The Clinton Decade

Progressives adapted the 'crab strategy': Moving side-ways and then backwards but never forward.

Progressives mounted candidates in the Presidential primaries, which were predictably defeated by the corporate Party apparatus, and then submitted immediately to the outcome. The election of President 'Bill' Clinton launched a period of unrestrained financial plunder, major wars of aggression in Europe (Yugoslavia) and the Middle East (Iraq), a military intervention in Somalia and secured Israel's victory over any remnant of a secular Palestinian leadership as well as its destruction of Lebanon!

Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act, thereby opening the floodgates for massive speculation on Wall Street through the previously regulated banking sector. When President Clinton gutted welfare programs, forcing single mothers to take minimum-wage jobs without provision for safe childcare, millions of poor white and minority women were forced to abandon their children to dangerous makeshift arrangements in order to retain any residual public support and access to minimal health care. Progressives looked the other way.

Progressives followed Clinton's deep throated thrust toward the far right, as he outsourced manufacturing jobs to Mexico (NAFTA) and re-appointed Federal Reserve's free market, Ayn Rand-fanatic, Alan Greenspan.

Progressives repeatedly kneeled before President Clinton marking their submission to the Democrats' 'hard right' policies.

The election of Republican President G. W. Bush (2001-2009) permitted Progressive's to temporarily trot out and burnish their anti-war, anti-Wall Street credentials. Out in the street, they protested Bush's savage invasion of Iraq (but not the destruction of Afghanistan). They protested the media reports of torture in Abu Ghraib under Bush, but not the massive bombing and starvation of millions of Iraqis that had occurred under Clinton. Progressives protested the expulsion of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but were silent over the brutal uprooting of refugees resulting from US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the systematic destruction of their nations' infrastructure.

Progressives embraced Israel's bombing, jailing and torture of Palestinians by voting unanimously in favor of increasing the annual $3 billion dollar military handouts to the brutal Jewish State. They supported Israel's bombing and slaughter in Lebanon.

Progressives were in retreat, but retained a muffled voice and inconsequential vote in favor of peace, justice and civil liberties. They kept a certain distance from the worst of the police state decrees by the Republican Administration.

Progressives and Obama: From Retreat to Surrender

While Progressives maintained their tepid commitment to civil liberties, and their highly 'leveraged' hopes for peace in the Middle East, they jumped uncritically into the highly choreographed Democratic Party campaign for Barack Obama, 'Wall Street's First Black President'.

Progressives had given up their quest to 'realign' the Democratic Party 'from within': they turned from serious tourism to permanent residency. Progressives provided the foot soldiers for the election and re-election of the warmongering 'Peace Candidate' Obama. After the election, Progressives rushed to join the lower echelons of his Administration. Black and white politicos joined hands in their heroic struggle to erase the last vestiges of the Progressives' historical legacy.

Obama increased the number of Bush-era imperial wars to attacking seven weak nations under American's 'First Black' President's bombardment, while the Progressives ensured that the streets were quiet and empty.

When Obama provided trillions of dollars of public money to rescue Wall Street and the bankers, while sacrificing two million poor and middle class mortgage holders, the Progressives only criticized the bankers who received the bailout, but not Obama's Presidential decision to protect and reward the mega-swindlers.

Under the Obama regime social inequalities within the United States grew at an unprecedented rate. The Police State Patriot Act was massively extended to give President Obama the power to order the assassination of US citizens abroad without judicial process. The Progressives did not resign when Obama's 'kill orders' extended to the 'mistaken' murder of his target's children and other family member, as well as unidentified bystanders. The icon carriers still paraded their banner of the 'first black American President' when tens of thousands of black Libyans and immigrant workers were slaughtered in his regime-change war against President Gadhafi.

Obama surpassed the record of all previous Republican office holders in terms of the massive numbers of immigrant workers arrested and expelled – 2 million. Progressives applauded the Latino protestors while supporting the policies of their 'first black President'.

Progressive accepted that multiple wars, Wall Street bailouts and the extended police state were now the price they would pay to remain part of the "Democratic coalition' (sic).

The deeper the Progressives swilled at the Democratic Party trough, the more they embraced the Obama's free market agenda and the more they ignored the increasing impoverishment, exploitation and medical industry-led opioid addiction of American workers that was shortening their lives. Under Obama, the Progressives totally abandoned the historic American working class, accepting their degradation into what Madam Hillary Clinton curtly dismissed as the 'deplorables'.

With the Obama Presidency, the Progressive retreat turned into a rout, surrendering with one flaccid caveat: the Democratic Party 'Socialist' Bernie Sanders, who had voted 90% of the time with the Corporate Party, had revived a bastardized military-welfare state agenda.

Sander's Progressive demagogy shouted and rasped on the campaign trail, beguiling the young electorate. The 'Bernie' eventually 'sheep-dogged' his supporters into the pro-war Democratic Party corral. Sanders revived an illusion of the pre-1990 progressive agenda, promising resistance while demanding voter submission to Wall Street warlord Hillary Clinton. After Sanders' round up of the motley progressive herd, he staked them tightly to the far-right Wall Street war mongering Hillary Clinton. The Progressives not only embraced Madame Secretary Clinton's nuclear option and virulent anti-working class agenda, they embellished it by focusing on Republican billionaire Trump's demagogic, nationalist, working class rhetoric which was designed to agitate 'the deplorables'. They even turned on the working class voters, dismissing them as 'irredeemable' racists and illiterates or 'white trash' when they turned to support Trump in massive numbers in the 'fly-over' states of the central US.

Progressives, allied with the police state, the mass media and the war machine worked to defeat and impeach Trump. Progressives surrendered completely to the Democratic Party and started to advocate its far right agenda. Hysterical McCarthyism against anyone who questioned the Democrats' promotion of war with Russia, mass media lies and manipulation of street protest against Republican elected officials became the centerpieces of the Progressive agenda. The working class and farmers had disappeared from their bastardized 'identity-centered' ideology.

Guilt by association spread throughout Progressive politics. Progressives embraced J. Edgar Hoover's FBI tactics: "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" For progressives, 'Russia-gate' defined the real focus of contemporary political struggle in this huge, complex, nuclear-armed superpower.

Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: "Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'.

Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints.

The Progressives' far right - turn earned them hours and space on the mass media as long as they breathlessly savaged and insulted President Trump and his family members. When they managed to provoke him into a blind rage . . . they added the newly invented charge of 'psychologically unfit to lead' – presenting cheap psychobabble as grounds for impeachment. Finally! American Progressives were on their way to achieving their first and only political transformation: a Presidential coup d'état on behalf of the Far Right!

Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!

In return, President Trump began to 'out-militarize' the Progressives by escalating US involvement in the Middle East and South China Sea. They swooned with joy when Trump ordered a missile strike against the Syrian government as Damascus engaged in a life and death struggle against mercenary terrorists. They dubbed the petulant release of Patriot missiles 'Presidential'.

Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!

Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen!

Conclusion

Progressives turned full circle from supporting welfare to embracing Wall Street; from preaching peaceful co-existence to demanding a dozen wars; from recognizing the humanity and rights of undocumented immigrants to their expulsion under their 'First Black' President; from thoughtful mass media critics to servile media megaphones; from defenders of civil liberties to boosters for the police state; from staunch opponents of J. Edgar Hoover and his 'dirty tricks' to camp followers for the 'intelligence community' in its deep state campaign to overturn a national election.

Progressives moved from fighting and resisting the Right to submitting and retreating; from retreating to surrendering and finally embracing the far right.

Doing all that and more within the Democratic Party, Progressives retain and deepen their ties with the mass media, the security apparatus and the military machine, while occasionally digging up some Bernie Sanders-type demagogue to arouse an army of voters away from effective resistance to mindless collaboration.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

Recently from Author
Of Related Interest Democrats in the Dead Zone Jeffrey St. Clair June 23, 2017 1,500 Words

WorkingClass > , July 12, 2017 at 9:21 pm GMT

But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party.

This piece accurately traces the path from Progressive to Maoist. It's a pity the Republican Party is also a piece of shit. I think it was Sara Palin who said "We have two parties. Pick one." This should be our collective epitaph.

exiled off mainstreet > , July 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm GMT

This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary.

alan2102 > , July 13, 2017 at 2:04 am GMT

EXCELLENT.

Astuteobservor II > , July 13, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

at this point, are they still progressives though? they are the new far right

CCZ > , July 13, 2017 at 5:30 am GMT

"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"

Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Carlton Meyer > , Website July 13, 2017 at 5:56 am GMT

The great Jimmy Dore is a big thorn for the Democrats. From my blog:

Apr 29, 2017 – Obama is Scum!

Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.)

Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches.

Obama gets over $200,000 a year in retirement, just got a $65 million deal, so doesn't need more money. Why would a multi-millionaire ex-president fly around the globe collecting huge speaking fees from world corporations just after his political party was devastated in elections because Americans think the Democratic party represents Wall Street? The great Jimmy Dore expressed his outrage at Obama and the corrupt Democratic party in this great video.

jilles dykstra > , July 13, 2017 at 6:27 am GMT

Left in the good old days meant socialist, socialist meant that governments had the duty of redistributing income from rich to poor. Alas in Europe, after 'socialists' became pro EU and pro globalisation, they in fact became neoliberal. Both in France and the Netherlands 'socialist' parties virtually disappeared.
So what nowadays is left, does anyone know ?

Then the word 'progressive'. The word suggests improvement, but what is improvement, improvement for whom ? There are those who see the possibility for euthanasia as an improvement, there are thos who see euthanasia as a great sin.

Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.

Call me Deplorable > , July 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm GMT

They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. But, hey, the brother now has five mansions, collects half a mill per speech to the Chosen People on Wall Street, and parties for months at a time at exclusive resorts for billionaires only.

Obviously, he's got the world by the tail and you don't. Hope he comes to the same end as Gaddaffi and Ceaușescu. Maybe the survivors of nuclear Armageddon can hold a double necktie party with Killary as the second honored guest that day.

Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.

Properly defining the concepts would impede the system's ability to keep you confused.

Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas.

You left out the other Roosevelt.

Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act

Hilarious!

Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!

This is a huge myth. All that really happened is that the INS changed some of its internal terminology to make it sound as though they were deporting more people: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/21/lies-damned-lies-and-obamas-deportation-statistics/?utm_term=.7f964acd9b0d

Stephen Paul Foster > , Website July 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT

The Progressives now, failing electorally, are moving on to physical violence.

See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/07/trumps-would-be-assassins.html

annamaria > , July 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer Obama, a paragon of American scoundrel

Anonymous IV > , July 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig Agree on the bit about Obama as "deporter in chief." Even the LA Times had to admit this was misleading

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-deportations-20140402-story.html

so it's not just conservative conspiracy theory stuff as some might argue.

Still, the overall point of this essay isn't affected all that much. Open borders is still a "right wing" (in the sense this author uses the term) policy–pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business. So Obama was still doing the bidding of the donor class in their quest for cheap labor.

I've seen pro-immigration types try to use the Obama-deportation thing to argue that we don't need more hardcore policies. After all, even the progressive Democrat Obama was on the ball when it came to policing our borders, right?! Who needed Trump?

Agent76 > , July 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

"Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!" Nathan Meyer Rothschild

June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?

A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44864.htm

"Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people." Henry Kissenger

Alfa158 > , July 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer If Jimmy keeps up these attacks on Wall Street, the Banksters, and rent-seekers he is going to get run out of the Progressive movement for dog-whistling virulent Anti-Semitism. Look at how the media screams at Trump every time he mentions Wall Street and the banks.

yeah > , July 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm GMT

Mr. Petra has penned an excellent and very astute piece. Allow me a little satire on our progressive friends, entitled "The path to hell is paved with good intentions".

The early socialist/progressive travellers were well-intentioned but naïve in their understanding of human nature and fanatical about their agenda. To move the human herd forward, they had no compulsions about resorting to harsher and harsher prodding and whipping. They felt entitled to employ these means because, so they were convinced, man has to be pushed to move forward and they, the "progressives", were the best qualified to lead the herd. Scoundrels, psychopaths, moral defectives, and sundry other rascals then joined in the whipping game, some out of the sheer joy of wielding the whip, others to better line their pockets.

So the "progressive" journey degenerates into a forced march. The march becomes the progress, becoming both the means and the end at the same time. Look at the so-called "progressive" today and you will see the fanatic and the whip-wielder, steadfast about the correctness of his beliefs. Tell him/her/it that you are a man or a woman and he retorts "No, you are free to choose, you are genderless". What if you decline such freedom? "Well, then you are a bigot, we will thrash you out of your bigotry", replies the progressive. "May I, dear Sir/Madam/Whatever, keep my hard-earned money in my pocket for my and my family's use" you ask. "No, you first have to pay for our peace-making wars, then pay for the upkeep of refugees, besides which you owe a lot of back taxes that are necessary to run this wonderful Big Government of ours that is leading you towards greener and greener pastures", shouts back the progressive.

Fed up, disgusted, and a little scared, you desperately seek a way out of this progress. "No way", scream the march leaders. "We will be forever in your ears, sometimes whispering, sometimes screaming; we will take over your brain to improve your mind; we will saturate you with images on the box 24/7 and employ all sorts of imagery to make you progress. And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time."

TheJester > , July 13, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT

Knowing who is "progressive" and know who is "far-right" is like knowing who is "fascist" and who is not. For obvious historical reasons, the Russian like to throw the "fascist" slogan against anyone who is a non-Russian nationalist. However, I accept the eminent historian Carroll Quigley's definition of fascism as the incorporation of society and the state onto single entity on a permanent war footing. The state controls everything in a radically authoritarian social structure. As Quigley states, the Soviet Union was the most complete embodiment of fascism in WWII. In WWII Germany, on the other hand, industry retained its independence and in WWII Italy fascism was no more than an empty slogan.

Same for "progressives". Everyone wants to be "progressive", right? Who wants to be "anti-progressive"? However, at the end of the day, "progressive" through verbal slights of hand has been nothing more than a euphemism for "socialist" or, in the extreme, "communist" the verbal slight-of-hand because we don't tend to use the latter terms in American political discourse.

"Progressives" morphing into a new "far-right" in America is no more mysterious than the Soviet Union morphing from Leninism to Stalinism or, the Jewish (Trotskyite) globalists fleeing Stalinist nationalism and then morphing into, first, "Scoop" Jackson Democrats and then into Bushite Republicans.

As you might notice, the real issue is the authoritarian vs. the non-authoritarian state. In this context, an authoritarian government and social order (as in communism and neoconservatism) are practical pre-requisites necessity to force humanity to transition to their New World Order.

Again, the defining characteristic of fascism is the unitary state enforced via an authoritarian political and social structure. Ideological rigor is enforced via the police powers of the state along with judicial activism and political correctness. Ring a bell?

In the ongoing contest between Trump and the remnants of the American "progressive" movement, who are the populists and who the authoritarians? Who are the democrats and who are the fascists?

I would say that who lands where in this dichotomy is obvious.

RobinG > , July 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm GMT

@Alfa158 Is Jimmy Dore really a "Progressive?" (and what does that mean, anyway?) Isn't Jimmy's show hosted by the Young Turks Network, which is unabashedly Libertarian?

Anyway, what's so great about "the Progressive movement?" Seems to me, they're just pathetic sheepdogs for the war-crazed Dems. Jimmy should be supporting the #UNRIG movement ("Beyond Trump & Sanders") for ALL Americans:

On 1 May 2017 Cynthia McKinney, Ellen Brown, and Robert Steele launched

We the People – Unity for Integrity.

The User's Guide to the 2nd American Revolution.

Death to the Deep State.

https://www.unrig.net/manifesto/

Ben Banned > , July 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm GMT

Petras, for some reason, low balls the number of people ejected from assets when the mafia came to seize real estate in the name of the ruling class and their expensive wars, morality, the Constitution or whatever shit they could make up to fuck huge numbers of people over. Undoubtedly just like 9/11, the whole thing was planned in advance. Political whores are clearly useless when the system is at such extremes.

Banks like Capital One specialize in getting a signature and "giving" a car loan to someone they know won't be able to pay, but is simply being used, shaken down and repossessed for corporate gain. " No one held a gun to their head! " Get ready, the police state will in fact put a gun to your head.

Depending on the time period in question, which might be the case here, more than 20 million people were put out of homes and/or bankrupted with more to come. Clearly a bipartisan effort featuring widespread criminal conduct across the country – an attack on the population to sustain militarism.

peterAUS > , July 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT

@yeah Nice.

If I may add:
"and you also have to dearly pay for you being white male heterosexual for oppressing all colored, all the women and all the sexually different through the history".

"And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time. If we see that you still don't get with the program we will reeducate you. Should you resist that in any way we'll incarcerate you. And, no, normal legal procedure does not work with racists/bigots/haters/whatever we don't like".

Reg Cæsar > , July 14, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT

@CCZ

"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"
Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee

which itself was a progressive invention. There was no "right wing" anywhere in sight when it was estsblished in 1938.

[Jul 04, 2017] Economics of the Populist Backlash naked capitalism

Populism is a weasel word that is use by neoliberal MSM to delitimize the resistance. This is a typical neoliberal thinking.
Financial globalization is different from trade. It is more of neocolonialism that racket, as is the case with trade.
Notable quotes:
"... Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour. ..."
"... I suggest that the fact that these two countries are arguably the most unequal in the advanced world has something to do with this. Also, on many measures I believe these two countries appear to be the most 'damaged' societies in the advanced world – levels of relationship breakdown, teenage crime, drug use, teenage pregnancies etc. I doubt this is a coincidence. ..."
"... Forced Free Trade was intended to be destructive to American society, and it was . . . exactly as intended. Millions of jobs were abolished here and shipped to foreign countries used as economic aggression platforms against America. So of course American society became damaged as the American economy became mass-jobicided. On purpose. With malice aforethought. ..."
"... "Populism" seems to me to be a pejorative term used to delegitimize the grievances of the economically disenfranchised and dismiss them derision. ..."
"... In the capitalist economies globalization is/was inevitable; the outcome is easy to observe ..and suffer under. ..."
"... they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives ..."
"... This piece was a lengthy run-on Econ 101 bollocks. Not only does the writer dismiss debt/interest and the effects of rentier banking, but they come off as very simplistic. Reads like some sheltered preppy attempt at explaining populism ..."
"... But like almost all economists, Rodrik is ignoring the political part of political economy. Historically, humanity has developed two organizational forms to select and steer toward preferred economic destinies: governments of nation states, and corporations. ..."
"... The liberalization of trade has come, I would argue, with a huge political cost no economist has reckoned yet. Instead, economists are whining about the reaction to this political cost without facing up to the political cost itself. Or even accept its legitimacy. ..."
"... Second, there are massive negative effects of trade liberalization that economists simply refuse to look at. Arbitration of environmental and worker safety laws and regulations is one. ..."
"... As I have argued elsewhere, the most important economic activity a society engages in us the development and diffusion of new science and technology. ..."
"... Rodrik is also wrong about the historical origins of agrarian populism in USA. It was not trade, but the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances of the Grangers, Farmers Alliances after the Civil War. ..."
"... The salient characteristic of populism is favoring the people vs. the establishment. The whole left/right dichotomy is a creation of the establishment, used to divide the public and PREVENT an effective populist backlash. As Gore Vidal astutely pointed out decades ago, there is really only one party in the U.S. – the Property Party – and the Ds and Rs are just two heads of the same hydra. Especially in the past 10 years or so. ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

'Populism' is a loose label that encompasses a diverse set of movements. The term originates from the late 19th century, when a coalition of farmers, workers, and miners in the US rallied against the Gold Standard and the Northeastern banking and finance establishment. Latin America has a long tradition of populism going back to the 1930s, and exemplified by Peronism. Today populism spans a wide gamut of political movements, including anti-euro and anti-immigrant parties in Europe, Syriza and Podemos in Greece and Spain, Trump's anti-trade nativism in the US, the economic populism of Chavez in Latin America, and many others in between. What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance.

The populist backlash may have been a surprise to many, but it really should not have been in light of economic history and economic theory.

Take history first. The first era of globalisation under the Gold Standard produced the first self-conscious populist movement in history, as noted above. In trade, finance, and immigration, political backlash was not late in coming. The decline in world agricultural prices in 1870s and 1880s produced pressure for resumption in import protection. With the exception of Britain, nearly all European countries raised agricultural tariffs towards the end of the 19th century. Immigration limits also began to appear in the late 19th century. The United States Congress passed in 1882 the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act that restricted Chinese immigration specifically. Japanese immigration was restricted in 1907. And the Gold Standard aroused farmers' ire because it was seen to produce tight credit conditions and a deflationary effect on agricultural prices. In a speech at the Democratic national convention of 1896, the populist firebrand William Jennings Bryan uttered the famous words: "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

To anyone familiar with the basic economics of trade and financial integration, the politically contentious nature of globalisation should not be a surprise. The workhorse models with which international economists work tend to have strong redistributive implications. One of the most remarkable theorems in economics is the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, which generates very sharp distributional implications from opening up to trade. Specifically, in a model with two goods and two factors of production, with full inter-sectoral mobility of the factors, owners of one of the two factors are made necessarily worse off with the opening to trade. The factor which is used intensively in the importable good must experience a decline in its real earnings.

The Stolper-Samuelson theorem assumes very specific conditions. But there is one Stolper-Samuelson-like result that is extremely general, and which can be stated as follows. Under competitive conditions, as long as the importable good(s) continue to be produced at home – that is, ruling out complete specialisation – there is always at least one factor of production that is rendered worse off by the liberalisation of trade. In other words, trade generically produces losers. Redistribution is the flip side of the gains from trade; no pain, no gain.

Economic theory has an additional implication, which is less well recognised. In relative terms, the redistributive effects of liberalisation get larger and tend to swamp the net gains as the trade barriers in question become smaller. The ratio of redistribution to net gains rises as trade liberalisation tackles progressively lower barriers.

The logic is simple. Consider the denominator of this ratio first. It is a standard result in public finance that the efficiency cost of a tax increases with the square of the tax rate. Since an import tariff is a tax on imports, the same convexity applies to tariffs as well. Small tariffs have very small distorting effects; large tariffs have very large negative effects. Correspondingly, the efficiency gains of trade liberalisation become progressively smaller as the barriers get lower. The redistributive effects, on the other hand, are roughly linear with respect to price changes and are invariant, at the margin, to the magnitude of the barriers. Putting these two facts together, we have the result just stated, namely that the losses incurred by adversely affected groups per dollar of efficiency gain are higher the lower the barrier that is removed.

Evidence is in line with these theoretical expectations. For example, in the case of NAFTA, Hakobyan and McLaren (2016) have found very large adverse effects for an "important minority" of US workers, while Caliendo and Parro (2015) estimate that the overall gains to the US economy from the agreement were minute (a "welfare" gain of 0.08%).

In principle, the gains from trade can be redistributed to compensate the losers and ensure no identifiable group is left behind. Trade openness has been greatly facilitated in Europe by the creation of welfare states. But the US, which became a truly open economy relatively late, did not move in the same direction. This may account for why imports from specific trade partners such as China or Mexico are so much more contentious in the US.

Economists understand that trade causes job displacement and income losses for some groups. But they have a harder time making sense of why trade gets picked on so much by populists both on the right and the left. After all, imports are only one source of churn in labour markets, and typically not even the most important source. What is it that renders trade so much more salient politically? Perhaps trade is a convenient scapegoat. But there is another, deeper issue that renders redistribution caused by trade more contentious than other forms of competition or technological change. Sometimes international trade involves types of competition that are ruled out at home because they violate widely held domestic norms or social understandings. When such "blocked exchanges" (Walzer 1983) are enabled through trade they raise difficult questions of distributive justice. What arouses popular opposition is not inequality per se, but perceived unfairness.

Financial globalisation is in principle similar to trade insofar as it generates overall economic benefits. Nevertheless, the economics profession's current views on financial globalisation can be best described as ambivalent. Most of the scepticism is directed at short-term financial flows, which are associated with financial crises and other excesses. Long-term flows and direct foreign investment in particular are generally still viewed favourably. Direct foreign investment tends to be more stable and growth-promoting. But there is evidence that it has produced shifts in taxation and bargaining power that are adverse to labour.

The boom-and-bust cycle associated with capital inflows has long been familiar to developing nations. Prior to the Global Crisis, there was a presumption that such problems were largely the province of poorer countries. Advanced economies, with their better institutions and regulation, would be insulated from financial crises induced by financial globalisation. It did not quite turn out that way. In the US, the housing bubble, excessive risk-taking, and over-leveraging during the years leading up to the crisis were amplified by capital inflows from the rest of the world. In the Eurozone, financial integration, on a regional scale, played an even larger role. Credit booms fostered by interest-rate convergence would eventually turn into bust and sustained economic collapses in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland once credit dried up in the immediate aftermath of the crisis in the US.

Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour.

The populist backlash may have been predictable, but the specific form it took was less so. Populism comes in different versions. It is useful to distinguish between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism, which differ with respect to the societal cleavages that populist politicians highlight and render salient. The US progressive movement and most Latin American populism took a left-wing form. Donald Trump and European populism today represent, with some instructive exceptions, the right-wing variant (Figure 2). What accounts for the emergence of right-wing versus left-wing variants of opposition to globalization?

Figure 2 Contrasting patterns of populism in Europe and Latin America

Notes : See Rodrik (2017) for sources and methods.

I suggest that these different reactions are related to the forms in which globalisation shocks make themselves felt in society (Rodrik 2017). It is easier for populist politicians to mobilise along ethno-national/cultural cleavages when the globalisation shock becomes salient in the form of immigration and refugees. That is largely the story of advanced countries in Europe. On the other hand, it is easier to mobilise along income/social class lines when the globalisation shock takes the form mainly of trade, finance, and foreign investment. That in turn is the case with southern Europe and Latin America. The US, where arguably both types of shocks have become highly salient recently, has produced populists of both stripes (Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump).

It is important to distinguish between the demand and supply sides of the rise in populism. The economic anxiety and distributional struggles exacerbated by globalisation generate a base for populism, but do not necessarily determine its political orientation. The relative salience of available cleavages and the narratives provided by populist leaders are what provides direction and content to the grievances. Overlooking this distinction can obscure the respective roles of economic and cultural factors in driving populist politics.

Finally, it is important to emphasise that globalization has not been the only force at play - nor necessarily even the most important one. Changes in technology, rise of winner-take-all markets, erosion of labour market protections, and decline of norms restricting pay differentials all have played their part. These developments are not entirely independent from globalisation, insofar as they both fostered globalization and were reinforced by it. But neither can they be reduced to it. Nevertheless, economic history and economic theory both give us strong reasons to believe that advanced stages of globalisation are prone to populist backlash.

Anonymous2 , July 3, 2017 at 6:43 am

An interesting post.

One question he does not address is why the opposition to globalization has had its most obvious consequences in two countries:- the US and the UK with Trump and Brexit respectively.

I suggest that the fact that these two countries are arguably the most unequal in the advanced world has something to do with this. Also, on many measures I believe these two countries appear to be the most 'damaged' societies in the advanced world – levels of relationship breakdown, teenage crime, drug use, teenage pregnancies etc. I doubt this is a coincidence.

For me the lessons are obvious – ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected, not just some; act to prevent excessive inequality; nurture people so that their lives are happier.

John Wright , July 3, 2017 at 9:39 am

re: "ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected"

Note that for the recent TPP, industry executives and senior government officials were well represented for the drafting of the agreement, labor and environmental groups were not.

There simply may be no mechanism to "ensure the benefits are distributed among all affected" in the USA political climate as those benefits are grabbed by favored groups, who don't want to re-distribute them later.

Some USA politicians argue for passing flawed legislation while suggesting they will fix it later, as I remember California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein stating when she voted for Bush Jr's Medicare Part D ("buy elderly votes for Republicans").

It has been about 15 years, and I don't remember any reform efforts on Medicare Part D from Di-Fi.

Legislation should be approached with the anticipated inequality problems solved FIRST when wealthy and powerful interests are only anticipating increased wealth via "free trade". Instead, the political process gifts first to the wealthy and powerful first and adopts a "we'll fix it later" attitude for those harmed. And the same process occurs, the wealthy/powerful subsequently strongly resist sharing their newly acquired "free trade" wealth increment with the free trade losers..

If the USA adopted a "fix inequality first" requirement, one wonders if these free trade bills would get much purchase with the elite.

different clue , July 4, 2017 at 4:14 am

Forced Free Trade was intended to be destructive to American society, and it was . . . exactly as intended. Millions of jobs were abolished here and shipped to foreign countries used as economic aggression platforms against America. So of course American society became damaged as the American economy became mass-jobicided. On purpose. With malice aforethought.

NAFTA Bill Clinton lit the fuse to the bomb which finally exploded under his lovely wife Hillary in 2016.

Ignacio , July 3, 2017 at 7:35 am

The big problem I find in this analysis is that it completely forgets how different countries use fiscal/financial policies to play merchantilistic games under globalization.

Doug , July 3, 2017 at 7:41 am

Yves, thanks for posting this from Dani Rodrik - whose clear thinking is always worthwhile. It's an excellent, succinct post. Still, one 'ouch': "Redistribution is the flip side of the gains from trade; no pain, no gain."

This is dehumanizing glibness that we cannot afford. The pain spreads like wildfire. It burns down houses, savings, jobs, communities, bridges, roads, health and health care, education, food systems, air, water, the 'real' economy, civility, shared values - in short everything for billions of human beings - all while sickening, isolating and killing.

The gain? Yes, as you so often point out, cui bono? But, really it goes beyond even that question. It requires asking, "Is this gain so obscene to arguably be no gain at all because its price for those who cannot have too many homes and yachts and so forth is the loss of humanity?

Consider, for example, Mitch McConnell. He cannot reasonably be considered human. At all. And, before the trolls create any gifs for the Teenager-In-Chief, one could say the same - or almost the same - for any number of flexians who denominate themselves D or R (e.g. Jamie Gorelick).

No pain, no gain? Fine for getting into better shape or choosing to get better at some discipline.

It's an abominable abstraction, though, for describing phenomena now so far along toward planet-o-cide.

Thuto , July 3, 2017 at 7:56 am

"Populism" seems to me to be a pejorative term used to delegitimize the grievances of the economically disenfranchised and dismiss them derision.

Another categorization that I find less than apt, outmoded and a misnomer is the phrase "advanced economies", especially given that level of industrialization and gdp per capita are the key metrics used to arrive at these classifications. Globalization has shifted most industrial activity away from countries that invested in rapid industrialization post WW2 to countries with large pools of readily exploitable labour while gdp per capita numbers include sections of the population with no direct participation in creating economic output (and the growth of these marginalized sections is trending ever upward).

Meanwhile the financial benefits of growing GDP numbers gush ever upwards to the financial-political elites instead of "trickling downwards" as we are told they should, inequality grows unabated, stress related diseases eat away at the bodies of otherwise young men and women etc. I'm not sure any of these dynamics, which describe perfectly what is happening in many so called advanced economies, are the mark of societies that should describe themselves as "advanced"

Yves Smith Post author , July 3, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Sorry, but the original populist movement in the US called themselves the Populists or the Populist Party. Being popular is good. You are the one who is assigning a pejorative tone to it.

Hiho , July 4, 2017 at 1:32 am

Populism is widely used in the mainstream media, and even in the so called alternative media, as a really pejorative term. That is what he means (I would say).

witters , July 3, 2017 at 7:56 am

"What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance."

On the other hand:

"What all these share is an establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the elites against the people, support for liberal economics and globalisation, and always a penchant for authoritarian governance."

Wisdom Seeker , July 3, 2017 at 1:29 pm

You nailed it. Let me know when we get our Constitution back!

Eclair , July 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

"Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour."

So, translated, Rodrick is saying that the free flow of money across borders, while people are confined within these artificial constraints, results in all the riches flowing to the fat cats and all the taxes, famines, wars, droughts, floods and other natural disasters being dumped upon the peasants.

The Lakota, roaming the grassy plains of the North American mid-continent, glorified their 'fat cats,' the hunters who brought back the bison which provided food, shelter and clothing to the people. And the rule was that the spoils of the hunt were shared unequally; the old, women and children got the choice high calorie fatty parts. The more that a hunter gave away, the more he was revered.

The Lakota, after some decades of interaction with the European invaders, bestowed on them a disparaging soubriquet: wasi'chu. It means 'fat-taker;' someone who is greedy, taking all the best parts for himself and leaving nothing for the people.

sierra7 , July 4, 2017 at 12:04 am

"So, translated, Rodrick is saying that the free flow of money across borders, while people are confined within these artificial constraints .."

Nailed it!! That's something that has always bothered me it's great for the propagandists to acclaim globalization but they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives .there should be a murderous outrage against this kind of globalized exploitation and the consequent sufferings. Oh, but I forgot! It's all about the money that is supposed to give incentive to those who are left behind to "recoup", "regroup" and in today's age develop some kind of "app" to make up for all those losses .

In the capitalist economies globalization is/was inevitable; the outcome is easy to observe ..and suffer under.

Left in Wisconsin , July 4, 2017 at 11:09 am

they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives

That's a feature, not a bug. Notice that big corporations are all in favor of globalization except when it comes to things like labor law. Then, somehow, local is better.

edr , July 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

"The economic anxiety and distributional struggles exacerbated by globalization generate a base for populism, but do not necessarily determine its political orientation. The relative salience of available cleavages and the narratives provided by populist leaders are what provides direction and content to the grievances. "

Excellent and interesting point. Which political party presents itself as a believable tool for redress affects the direction populism will take, making itself available as supply to the existing populist demand. That should provide for 100 years of political science research.

Anonymous2 : "For me the lessons are obvious – ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected, not just some; act to prevent excessive inequality; nurture people so that their lives are happier."

Seems so simply, right ?

Anonymous2 , July 3, 2017 at 11:09 am

It ought to be but sadly I fear our politicians are bought. I am unsure I have the solution . In the past when things got really bad I suspect people ended up with a major war before these sorts of problems could be addressed. I doubt that is going to be a solution this time.

Kuhio Kane , July 3, 2017 at 10:10 am

This piece was a lengthy run-on Econ 101 bollocks. Not only does the writer dismiss debt/interest and the effects of rentier banking, but they come off as very simplistic. Reads like some sheltered preppy attempt at explaining populism

Hiho , July 4, 2017 at 2:27 am

Well said.

washunate , July 4, 2017 at 9:35 am

Yep, Rodrik has been writing about these things for decades and has a remarkable talent for never actually getting anywhere. He's particularly enamored by the neoliberal shiny toy of "skills", as if predation, looting, and fraud simply don't exist.

Left in Wisconsin , July 4, 2017 at 11:11 am

And yet, in the profession, he is one of the least objectionable.

Tony Wikrent , July 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

This is a prime example of what is wrong with professional economic thinking. First, note that Rodrik is nominally on our side: socially progressive, conscious of the increasingly frightful cost of enviro externalities, etc.

But like almost all economists, Rodrik is ignoring the political part of political economy. Historically, humanity has developed two organizational forms to select and steer toward preferred economic destinies: governments of nation states, and corporations.

Only nation states provide the mass of people any form and extent of political participation in determining their own destiny. The failure of corporations to provide political participation can probably be recited my almost all readers of NC. Indeed, a key problem of the past few decades is that corp.s have increasingly marginalized the role of nation states and mass political participation. The liberalization of trade has come, I would argue, with a huge political cost no economist has reckoned yet. Instead, economists are whining about the reaction to this political cost without facing up to the political cost itself. Or even accept its legitimacy.

Second, there are massive negative effects of trade liberalization that economists simply refuse to look at. Arbitration of environmental and worker safety laws and regulations is one. Another is the aftereffects of the economic dislocations Rodrik alludes to.

One is the increasing constriction of government budgets. These in turn have caused a scaling back of science R&D which I believe will have huge but incalculable negative effects in coming years. How do you measure the cost of failing to find a cure for a disease? Or failing to develop technologies to reverse climate change? Or just to double the charge duration of electric batteries under load? As I have argued elsewhere, the most important economic activity a society engages in us the development and diffusion of new science and technology.

FluffytheObeseCat , July 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Intellectually poisoned by his social environment perhaps. The biggest problems with this piece were its sweeping generalizations about unquantified socio-political trends. The things that academic economists are least trained in; the things they speak about in passing without much thought.

I.e. Descriptions of political 'populism' that lumps Peronists, 19th century U.S. prairie populists, Trump, and Sanders all into one neat category. Because, social movements driven by immiseration of the common man are interchangeable like paper cups at a fast food restaurant.

sierra7 , July 4, 2017 at 12:15 am

Agree with much of what you comment .I believe that the conditions you describe are conveniently dismissed by the pro economists as: "Externalities" LOL!! They seem to dump everything that doesn't correlate to their dream of "Free Markets", "Globalization", etc .into that category .you gotta love 'em!!

Tony Wikrent , July 3, 2017 at 11:16 am

Rodrik is also wrong about the historical origins of agrarian populism in USA. It was not trade, but the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances of the Grangers, Farmers Alliances after the Civil War.

In fact, the best historian of USA agrarian populism, Lawrence Goodwyn, argued that it was exactly the populists' reluctant alliance with Byran in the 1896 election that destroyed the populist movement. It was not so much an issue of the gold standard, as it was "hard money" vs "soft money" : gold AND silver vs the populists' preference for greenbacks, and currency and credit issued by US Treasury instead of the eastern banks.

A rough analogy is that Byran was the Hillary Clinton of his day, with the voters not given any way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or the House of Morgan.

Massinissa , July 3, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Honestly I would say Bryan is more an unwitting Bernie Sanders than a Hillary Clinton. But the effect was essentially the same.

flora , July 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm

"the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances "

That power was expressed in total control of the Congress and Presidential office. Then, as now, the 80-90% of the voters had neither R or D party that represented their economic, property, and safety interests. Given the same economic circumstances, if one party truly pushed for ameliorating regulations or programs the populist movement would be unnecessary. Yes, Bryan was allowed to run (and he had a large following) and to speak at the Dem convention, much like Bernie today. The "Bourbon Democrats" kept firm control of the party and downed Jennings' programs just as the neolib Dem estab today keep control of the party out of the hands of progressives.

an aside: among many things, the progressives pushed for good government (ending cronyism), trust busting, and honest trade, i.e not selling unfit tinned and bottled food as wholesome food. Today, we could use an "honest contracts and dealings" act to regulate the theft committed by what the banks call "honest contract enforcement", complete with forges documents. (Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle (1906) about the meatpacking industry. What would he make of today's mortgage industry, or insurance industry, for example.)

washunate , July 3, 2017 at 11:26 am

For an author and article so interested in international trade, I'm fascinated by the lack of evidence or argumentation that trade is the problem. The real issue being described here is excessive inequality delivered through authoritarianism, not international trade. The intra-city divergence between a hospital administrator and a home health aid is a much bigger problem in the US than trade across national borders. The empire abroad and the police state at home is a much bigger problem than competition from China or Mexico. Etc. Blaming international trade for domestic policies (and opposition to them) is just simple misdirection and xenophobia, nothing more.

Wisdom Seeker , July 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

I take exception to most of Prof. Rodrik's post, which is filled with factual and/or logical inaccuracies.

"Populism appears to be a recent phenomenon, but it has been on the rise for quite some time (Figure 1)."

Wrong. Pretending that a historical generic is somehow new Populism has been around since at least the time of Jesus or William Wallace or the American Revolution or FDR.

"What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance."

Wrong. Creating a straw man through overgeneralization. Just because one country's "populism" appears to have taken on a certain color, does not mean the current populist movement in another part of the world will be the same. The only essential characteristics of populism are the anti-establishment orientation and seeking policies that will redress an imbalance in which some elites have aggrandized themselves unjustly at the expense of the rest of the people. The rest of the items in the list above are straw men in a generalization. Rise of authoritarian (non-democratic) governance after a populist uprising implies the rise of a new elite and would be a failure, a derailing of the populist movement – not a characteristic of it.

"Correspondingly, the efficiency gains of trade liberalisation become progressively smaller as the barriers get lower."

If, in fact, we were seeing lower trade barriers, and this was driving populism, this whole line of reasoning might have some value. But as it is, well over half the US economy is either loaded with barriers, subject to monopolistic pricing, or has not seen any "trade liberalization". Pharmaceuticals, despite being commodities, have no common global price the way, say, oil does. Oil hasn't had lowered barriers, though, and thus doesn't count in favor of the argument either. When China, Japan and Europe drop their import barriers, and all of them plus the U.S. get serious about antitrust enforcement, there might be a case to be made

"It is useful to distinguish between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism"

Actually it isn't. The salient characteristic of populism is favoring the people vs. the establishment. The whole left/right dichotomy is a creation of the establishment, used to divide the public and PREVENT an effective populist backlash. As Gore Vidal astutely pointed out decades ago, there is really only one party in the U.S. – the Property Party – and the Ds and Rs are just two heads of the same hydra. Especially in the past 10 years or so.

About the only thing the author gets right is the admission that certain economic policies unjustly create pain among many groups of people, leading to popular retribution. But that's not insightful, especially since he fails to address the issue quantitatively and identify WHICH policies have created the bulk of the pain. For instance, was more damage done by globalization, or by the multi-trillion-$ fleecing of the U.S. middle class by the bankers and federal reserve during the recent housing bubble and aftermath? What about the more recent ongoing fleecing of the government and the people by the healthcare cartels, at about $1.5-2 trillion/year in the U.S.?

This is only the top of a long list

PKMKII , July 3, 2017 at 2:28 pm

What arouses popular opposition is not inequality per se, but perceived unfairness.

Which is the primary worldview setting for the neo-reactionary right in America. Everything is a question of whether or not ones income was "fairly earned."

So you get government employees and union members voting for politicians who've practically declared war against those voters' class, but vote for them anyway because they set their arguments in a mode of fairness morality: You can vote for the party of hard workers, or the party of handouts to the lazy. Which is why China keeps getting depicted as a currency manipulator and exploiter of free trade agreements.

Economic rivals can only succeed via "cheating," not being industrious like the US.

Livius Drusus , July 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

That describes a number of my relatives and their friends. They are union members and government employees yet hold hard right-wing views and are always complaining about lazy moochers living on welfare. I ask them why they love the Republicans so much when this same party demonizes union members and public employees as overpaid and lazy and the usual answer is that Republicans are talking about some other unions or other government employees, usually teachers.

I suspect that the people in my anecdote hate public school teachers and their unions because they are often female and non-white or teach in areas with a lot of minority children. I see this a lot with white guys in traditional masculine industrial unions. They sometimes look down on unions in fields that have many female and non-white members, teachers being the best example I can think of.

tongorad , July 3, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Economists understand that trade causes job displacement and income losses for some groups.

No, no they don't.

[Jul 03, 2017] Identity politics and cultural marxism

Notable quotes:
"... Among the sources of division are the various forms of identity politics that have swamped academia and popular culture, and which the alt-right sees as "inclusive" of everyone except white people many of whom are clearly "have nots." In this world, some, as George Orwell (1903 – 1950) predicted, are clearly more equal than others. ..."
Jul 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Among the sources of division are the various forms of identity politics that have swamped academia and popular culture, and which the alt-right sees as "inclusive" of everyone except white people many of whom are clearly "have nots." In this world, some, as George Orwell (1903 – 1950) predicted, are clearly more equal than others.

The Left, frustrated by Trump's rise and its inability to control the public conversation, has reached the point where violence is acceptable (Richard Spencer has been physically sucker-punched on video).

Its representatives in dominant media, including social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, are doing everything they can to censor the alt-right, including making it difficult for its most visible leaders to function in public.

As I finish this essay, Spencer was verbally confronted by - who else? - a female academic while working out in a gym, minding his own business. She demanded - and got - his membership in the gym revoked!

[Jul 03, 2017] boots-on-the-ground report

Notable quotes:
"... To put it perhaps bluntly, neoconservatism serves the Washington war machine, where the prevailing idea of "American exceptionalism" is "liberal democracy" forced on a reluctant world at gunpoint. Mainstream Republicans have also promoted the dominance of neoconservatism's flipside which we mentioned earlier, neoliberalism. Neoliberal economics underwrites the global capitalist consensus, as its public intellectuals, the first of whom were Hayek and Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006), championed the unregulated market, rejected all forms of state-directed central planning (though they seemed okay with planning if corporations were doing it), lauded the privatization of public services (even prisons!), and recommended austerity to deal with public debt. Neoliberalism could be described by anyone who sought to do so as the triumph of the real Masters even if they'd never heard of Hegel: global-corporate CEOs able to buy political classes, tech billionaires often in bed with the deep state, hedge fund billionaires, corporate media pundits assuring us that all is well in the ship of state (or was until Trump got elected), Hollywood celebrities to keep us titillated and distracted, well-paid court economists and other court intellectuals to scold us against "populist" inclinations because, after all, There Is No Alternative! ..."
Jul 03, 2017 | www.stirjournal.com
and understand why working class whites voted so overwhelmingly for Trump. ( Note : that author was not supporting Trump and probably finds the alt-right horrifying.)

The alt-right, we should note, rejects the "movement" conservatism of the mainstream GOP as dead - compromised, intimidated, out of ideas, having no idea what it wants to conserve. For decades now mainstream Republicans have been walking gingerly around issues like affirmative action, because they are scared of their shadows of being called racists - a fact hardly lost on the Left. The result is a movement that has spent itself, and has little left to say. Think again of last year's GOP debates and how Trump owned them. Mainstream Republicans floundered helplessly in the face of his command of both mass media and social media. At the same time, one heard no new ideas at all from Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush or even Mitt Romney at one point. Mostly they just embarrassed themselves (and in the case of Bush, the original favorite of corporate insiders, wasted over $100 million in donor money).

Moreover, the bulk of GOP "satellite" institutions, the many "think tanks" (e.g., Heritage) and its major publications (e.g., National Review , Human Events , "conservative" syndicated columnists such as George Will, etc.), attacked Trump, but communicated no forward-looking path for the country. This was not lost on the alt-right.

The mainstream GOP has furthered not conservatism but neo conservatism. The differences are, uh, huge ! To put it perhaps bluntly, neoconservatism serves the Washington war machine, where the prevailing idea of "American exceptionalism" is "liberal democracy" forced on a reluctant world at gunpoint. Mainstream Republicans have also promoted the dominance of neoconservatism's flipside which we mentioned earlier, neoliberalism. Neoliberal economics underwrites the global capitalist consensus, as its public intellectuals, the first of whom were Hayek and Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006), championed the unregulated market, rejected all forms of state-directed central planning (though they seemed okay with planning if corporations were doing it), lauded the privatization of public services (even prisons!), and recommended austerity to deal with public debt. Neoliberalism could be described by anyone who sought to do so as the triumph of the real Masters even if they'd never heard of Hegel: global-corporate CEOs able to buy political classes, tech billionaires often in bed with the deep state, hedge fund billionaires, corporate media pundits assuring us that all is well in the ship of state (or was until Trump got elected), Hollywood celebrities to keep us titillated and distracted, well-paid court economists and other court intellectuals to scold us against "populist" inclinations because, after all, There Is No Alternative!

Against all this, the alt-right raises its fist and says, Hell No, We Won't Go! We demand our identity as white Americans, the right to preserve our own culture, and the right to live and associate with those of our choice!

So after all of this explication, why do I see the alt-right as an understandable and perhaps even justifiable response to our current situation, but otherwise at least partly wrongheaded, philosophically and culturally?

Recent history should help clarify matters. Generalized open borders policies born of a multiculturalist mindset do not result in stable mass societies. If they fail for a society of around 67 million people (roughly the population of France), then assuredly they won't work for one of over 325 million people (that of the U.S.). Such policies cannot work for those who do not consciously choose them, which is most people. The term the masses sounds derogatory. It need not be. It simply means the majority, those who are average , who go off experience and habit, whose lives are circumscribed by what affects them directly (family, work, church, filing a tax return once a year, etc.), who rarely think outside the boxes these supply, and who bring to the table the talents and skills they have, along with their individual hopes, dreams, fears, sweet spots, and pain points. They are often very good at what they've learned to do. Most can generally take care of themselves, so long as their lives are not disrupted by forces they neither understand nor can control. Most prefer the company of people like them, who think like them, who can relate to them, will trust them because they've known each other all their lives in some cases, and with whom they would be comfortable sharing a beer.

Interfere with these people, force them down paths not of their choosing, and barring the appearance of a Donald Trump you might not have a rebellion on your hands, but you will almost surely get slow but increasing dysfunction, as is the clearly the case with many working class white people who voted for Trump: the one population whose fortunes are shrinking along with their numbers, and whose tendencies toward chronic health problems, substance abuse, suicide, etc., are rising.

Other things being equal, I'd allow them (including those white people who find that the alt-right is making sense) to live as they see fit and be left alone. If they wish to separate, then let them separate. This is what the alt-right gets "right."

But before they depart I'd ask them: instead of rejecting just left-wing Hegelianism, why not reject the entire Hegelian paradigm? The embrace of right-wing Hegelianism is what the alt-right gets "wrong." The Master-Slave dichotomy may have seemed necessary, but never truly was. It was always an academic construct laid on top of a far more complex reality. Slave-consciousness may be overcome, in time, by self-reliance consciousness: a large frontage road alongside the Enlightenment superhighway of modernity, less traveled but fruitful for those who did. What is good and right about self-reliance consciousness is its absence of ethnic or gender specificity. White Europeans of various nationalities other than British chose it for decades when they came to the U.S. as immigrants with nothing but the shirts on their backs. They devoted themselves to the ways of their new home, learning English, and in many cases became successful business owners. Asians followed suit. They had a rougher ride, but also succeeded. Their children went on to earn doctorates in physics and engineering. "White privilege" did not stop them.

In American mass political culture, however, self-reliance was replaced by a sense of entitlement: government should take care of us . The Fabian-inspired New Deal has proven to have its dark side, this being chronic dependency on government (i.e., on taxpayers) and, in practice, has rendered ever more people vulnerable to being taken advantage of by predatory corporations (Big Insurance, Big Pharma). Obvious example: health care. One could write extensively on the dangers of too much comfort and convenience, especially for those who grow up immersed in it, absent any sense of the work that went into producing it. But that, too, is an essay for another day.

But just note in passing - and this is of crucial importance : before separating, one must consider that the price of separation and community self-determination in a world dominated by globalized power elites is self-reliance at a community level .

For example, speaking hypothetically, were a state or group of states to secede from the U.S. today, they would relinquish any right their people might have thought they had to Social Security, Medicare, and so on. Relinquishing these systems of dependency would be part of what they'd signed off on. What to put in place of those until they could transition back to self-reliance would become a major issue, and quickly!

Moreover, "populist" economics requires self-reliance because if "populists" are elected in a country, the economically powerful pull their investments and/or remove their operations, understandably fearful of the nationalization which happened in Chile when Salvador Allende was elected president in 1970. When a Hugo Chávez becomes president in a Venezuela, the corporate movers and shakers pull out. What happens: the economy tanks. Jobs vanish. Distribution systems collapse. Goods become scarce; price inflation soars. The "populists" are blamed for the debacle.

Without self-reliance at both an individual and community level, especially after decades of living in a relatively advancing civilization, it is a given that one's standard of living will drop. Venezuela has learned this the hard way! In the real world, there are only two ways of maintaining a given standard of living. One is to depend on others to supply it. The other is to work to sustain it. One of these might be sustainable in the long run. The other is not. Readers who have followed me this far will be intelligent enough to discern which is which.

[Jul 02, 2017] Beyond Inauthentic Opposition by Paul Street

Notable quotes:
"... Des Moines Register's ..."
"... only a small part of politics ..."
"... not just once every four years ..."
"... secondary to serious political action ..."
"... two minutes once every two or four years. ..."
"... before and after those two minutes ..."
"... whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice ..."
"... people would blame the war on McCain and the Republicans and continue with the delusion that elections can be our salvation ..."
"... "whoever is in the White House, in Congress" to "chang[e] national policy on matters of war and social justice." ..."
"... cerdo por excelencia ..."
"... less than half that level ..."
Jun 30, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

The More Effective Evil

I've cast presidential ballots for the Green Party from the at least technically contested state of Iowa in the last three elections. I've long and consistently used a metaphor from the original version of Upton Sinclair's famous Socialist novel The Jungle, describing the Democrats as one of "two wings of the same [capitalist and imperialist] bird of prey."

I've distanced myself from Lesser-Evilism and written and spoken about some of the ways in which the dismal, dollar-drenched Dems (the DDDs) are the greater and (in Glen Ford's words) "more effective evil." The domestically (but not anti-imperially) leftish Bernie F-35 Sanders candidacy (which seduced even the officially Trotskyist group Socialist Alternative during last year's presidential primaries) could not entice me back into my parents' and grandparents' party. (Any slight chance Sanders had of getting me on board was lost by his refusal to meaningfully confront the Pentagon system, which undermines the nation's potential for social-democratic policy by sucking up more than half the nation's federal discretionary spending in the process of murdering and maiming millions around the world to maintain a global Empire that accounts for nearly half the planet's military spending and bears the planet's single largest institutional carbon footprint.)

In a forthcoming print essay on "The State of the Left," I approvingly quote James Kavanagh on the perfidy of the DDDs in California, where they hold the governor's office and both legislative houses and where top Dems recently shot down a single-payer health insurance care measure supported by 65% of that giant state's population, including 75% of its Democrats :

"This is the Democratic Party. Lying losers who will do anything to avoid taking an effective stance for a healthcare policy that would immediately solve one of the worst horrors American families face Passing single-payer in California and fighting for it everywhere else would guarantee the Democrats electoral victories. But they will not do it because they are fervent supporters of the capitalist market system in healthcare (and everything else), and they are corrupt agents of the health insurance and pharma industries Because it captures and cages the energies of so many well-meaning progressives, the Democratic Party is the most effective obstacle to, and enemy of, single-payer, and it has to be fought. This is not a Trump problem, and not a Republican problem, it's a bipartisan capitalist elite problem."

My sentiments, exactly. (What would the older Upton Sinclair, leader of the Depression-era End Poverty in California movement, say?)

Beyond Two Minutes Once Every Four Years: Voting v. Serious Political Action

So why did I check the Des Moines Register's final state poll to make sure that there was no real contest between the major party candidates in Iowa before making my third-party vote? Why would I have considered making myself vote "for" Democratic candidates I loathed (Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016) if I thought it would have made any difference in which of the two major party candidates were going to prevail?

Part of the answer is that for me electoral politics is distantly secondary to long-haul social movement-building. I see voting (or not) as little more than a tactical adjunct to the primary task. It's not some terrible sin to not "vote your conscience," as if U.S. electoral politics had anything to do with morality and conscience. I agree wholeheartedly with something Noam Chomsky wrote on the eve of the 2004 presidential election:

"Americans may be encouraged to vote, but not to participate more meaningfully in the political arena. Essentially the election is a method of marginalizing the population. A huge propaganda campaign is mounted to get people to focus on these personalized quadrennial extravaganzas and to think, 'That's politics.' But it isn't. It's only a small part of politics The urgent task for those who want to shift policy in progressive direction – often in close conformity to majority opinion – is to grow and become strong enough so that that they can't be ignored by centers of power. Forces for change that have come up from the grassroots and shaken the society to its foundations include the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the women's movement and others, cultivated by steady, dedicated work at all levels, every day, not just once every four years election choices are secondary to serious political action . The main task is to create a genuinely responsive democratic culture, and that effort goes on before and after electoral extravaganzas, whatever their outcome" (emphasis added)

"Take the Bernie Sanders campaign," Chomsky told Abby Martin eleven years later. It "ought to be directed to sustaining a popular movement that will use the election as a kind of an incentive and then go on, and unfortunately it's not. When the election's over," Chomsky said, the movement is going to die a serious error. The only thing that's going to ever bring about any meaningful change is ongoing, dedicated, popular movements that don't pay attention to the election cycle."

"The really critical thing," the great American radical historian Howard Zinn once sagely wrote, "isn't who's sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in-in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating-those are the things that determine what happens."

However you vote (and I honestly don't know that my head could ever make my right hand mark a ballot for a Democrat again), the act takes two minutes once every two or four years. What do you do with the rest of your political life? As Zinn argued in a reflection on "the election madness" he saw "engulfing the entire society including the left" in the Obama-mad spring of 2008:

" before and after those two minutes [in a voting booth], our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war." (H. Zinn, "Election Madness," The Progressive , April 8, 2008)

Since I agree with Chomsky and Zinn, I do not morally fetishize the American ballot fox, which the Marxist historian Alan Dawley once aptly described as a "coffin of class consciousness."

To See That Things Still Suck with the Democrats in Office

Another part of the answer to the question of why I might try to make myself vote for a Democratic presidential candidate in a contested state also has nothing to do with what W.E.B. DuBois called "the game of lesser evils." There's a different, rarely noted strategic and radical case for wanting the Democratic wing of the capitalist-imperialist duopoly in office. It's about exposing the corporate and imperial Democrats for what they really are. Call it a vote for the hope of more radical and bipartisan disillusionment.

How are the Democrats best revealed and exposed as agents of the unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire? Which is better for the development of "serious political action" (grassroots, and non-co-opt-able citizen and workers' activism and organization) beyond the masters' quadrennial electoral extravaganzas, radically regressive Republicans holding nominal power or dismal dollar Democrats sitting atop the symbolic ship of state?

On domestic political matters, at least (maters are least clear on foreign policy, I readily admit), the answer is the latter. I wanted Obama back in 2013 and Hillary back in 2017 (and might have tried to vote for them if I thought it would have made any difference) because of my sense that the presence of another white male Republican in the White House would just encourage liberals and progressives and others to blame everything wrong in America on "those insane evil Republicans." Bringing back a Republican to the White House, I reflected, would just reinforce the longstanding liberal claim that installing Democrats in power is the cure to the national malaise.

I want Americans (young ones above all) to come into regular visible contact with the bipartisan nature of the U.S. ruling class. I wanted them subjected to the reality that, to quote the Marxist commentator Doug Henwood in early 2008, "everything still pretty much sucks" when Democrats hold the top political offices – that the basic underlying institutional realities of capitalist and imperial rule stay the same. As the antiwar activist, author, and essayist Stan Goff wrote seven years ago, "I'm glad Obama was elected. Otherwise, people would blame the war on McCain and the Republicans and continue with the delusion that elections can be our salvation ."

My dark dialectical hope for Obama was born out to some extent by the remarkable rise and spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, which fed off youthful disillusionment with Obama and the Democrats-a bursting of political "hope" bubbles that followed two years after the bursting of the real estate and financial bubble to fuel disenchantment with the underlying profits system. We don't know how far Occupy would have gone had it not been crushed by the state, including Obama's Department of Homeland Security in collaboration with Democratic-run city governments across the country.

But Obama was at least for a time a great object lesson on how "everything still pretty much sucks" when Democrats hold down the White House. Eschewing the left-leaning progressive potential he was handed (Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and an angry, "pitchfork"-wielding populace at the gates), the nation's first half-white president and his neoliberal, Robert Rubin-appointed team followed George W. Bush in continuing to give the corporate-managed citizenry qua electorate what William Greider called "a blunt lesson about power, who has it and who doesn't. In a March 2009 Washington Post editorial titled "Obama Asked Us to Speak, Is He

Listening?" Greider wrote about how "Americans watched Washington rush to rescue the very financial interests that caused the catastrophe. They learned that government has plenty of money to spend when the right people want it. 'Where's my bailout,' became the rueful punch line at lunch counters and construction sites nationwide. Then to deepen the insult, people watched as establishment forces re-launched their campaign for 'entitlement reform' – a euphemism for whacking Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid."

Americans also watched as Obama moved on to pass a health insurance reform, the so-called Affordable Care Act, that only the big insurance and drug companies could love, kicking the popular alternative (single payer "Medicare for All") to the curb while rushing to pass a program drafted by the Republican Heritage Foundation and first carried out in Massachusetts by the arch 1 percenter Mitt Romney. As Kavanagh points out, citing the work of Marcy Wheeler, Hillary Clinton "fatal slide in the [2016 presidential election] polls began before [James] Comey's notorious letter of October 28th, and coincided with the announcement, four days before, of steep Obamacare premium increases."

Californication: Can't Blame Republicans

With their killing of single-payer in California, that state's top Democrats distilled down their dismal, dollar-drenched dastardliness for millions to bitterly digest. So what if two-thirds of that giant jurisdiction's residents and three-fourths of its Democrats want a state version of Medicare for All? Who cares? Not California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Renden or his Governor Jerry Brown. "The dissembling Democrats," James Kavanagh observes, "are throwing away just about the most popular policy anyone could imagine something people are literally dying for" – this because of their transparent captivity to the big insurance and drug companies and their financial backers.

But here's the thing. The "Lying Losers" can't hide their cringing servility to their corporate masters quite so easily when they hold nominal power. They can try to blame the Republicans for their abject refusal to defy corporate donors and enact a critical policy backed by the popular majority, but that looks ridiculous when they hold the big legislative cards on "the Left Coast." They are exposed as servants of capital in sharper and bolder relief than if they were minority party.

I am reminded of a passage in Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. Under the rule of "the bourgeoisie" (capitalism), Marx wrote, "all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind." The profaning of the Democratic Party by "the bourgeoisie" – the drowning of all its heavenly progressive pretense in the "city waters of egotistical [capitalist] calculation" – is made most clear when the DDDs hold the reins of nominal power.

Left radicals like me want workers and citizens to grasp that the real taproot problem is not which of the two major party wings holds majority political office but the rule of capital and Empire behind the plutocratic charade that passes for "our great democracy." Having Democrats in office can assist because it helps bring that lesson home.

The Fake Resistance

The Inauthentic Opposition Party – as the late Sheldon Wolin rightly described the Democrats – is more adept at deadly and co-optive leftish-progressive affectation it is out of power and its leaders feel the need to deceptively pose as a party and movement of the people against the establishment. That's when the Democrats' populist and progressive masquerade is most dangerous and crippling. It's much easier to pose as an Opposition Party when you are out majority power in government.

Look at the current political situation in the U.S. The Twitter-addicted malignant narcissist and quasi-fascistic Donald Trump (talk about insane and evil) and the ever more radically right-wing Republican Party are straight out of central casting when it comes to making the neoliberal and imperial Democrats look decent, democratic, and progressive. It helps the leftish pose that the Republicans and their vast right-wing noise machine love to absurdly call the Democrats and just about everything else to the portside of Charles Grassley (e.g. the New York Times and the Washington Post) "The Left."

The Democrats have been seizing the moment to close off the potential for serious, actually Left opposition. With MSNBC's arch-Russophobe Rachel Madoff in the propaganda vanguard, Democratic elites have responded to the Trump ascendancy by concocting a fake "Resistance" movement. It's a curious formation, devoid of any real progressive meaning beyond "bipartisan" opposition to Donald Trump. "The Resistance" grants loyalty to Hillary Clinton, a One Percent champion and a leader in the War Party's calls for deadly confrontation with Russia and for regime change around the world. By Danny Haiphong's incisive account on Black Agenda Report:

"'the resistance' is entangled in the non-profit industrial complex and its attending Democratic Party paymasters. 'The Resistance' has significant support from the non-profit industrial complex and the Wall Street-stuffed coffers of the Democratic Party. Such support is evident in the organizations MoveOn.org, the Town Hall Project, and Indivisible. The Democratic think-tank Center for American Progress (CAP) assists each of these so-called anti-Trump focused organizations. On CAP's Board of Directors sits Democratic Party elites Madeline Albright and John Podesta Podesta was Hillary Clinton's campaign chair during her losing Presidential campaign in 2016. Leaked Podesta emails revealed that the Clinton campaign rigged the Democratic primaries against Bernie Sanders. They also outlined how Clinton used her extensive connections with Wall Street firms to expand the influence of the Clinton Foundation "

Indivisible: "A Devastating Impact"

With more than 6000 chapters by early February, the classic Astroturf organization "Indivisible," set up by two Democratic Congressional staffers, has worked to channel popular anger into manageable mainstream channels that offer no challenge to the nation's unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money, class, empire, race, gender, and ecocide. Indivisible talks about the need to get past "ideology" and unite Americans across partisan lines to "get big things done" through government – standard "pragmatic" neoliberal language. An activist and attorney from California's Monterey County recently wrote me on how Indivisible is a "mechanism for co-opting the anti-Trump resistance and channeling opposition to Trump into support for the Democratic Party." By the activist's account, Indivisible "has had a devastating impact on local organizing. A broad-based and diverse coalition was developing here in the first few months after the election; it collapsed as soon as Indivisible appeared." Further:

"Here in Monterey County, we were on our way to building a broad-based, inclusive and diverse progressive coalition. Then Indivisible came along and killed it. By the end of January, there were over a dozen Indivisible groups operating in this congressional district The largest one has a Facebook page with over 1000 members (huge by local standards). I was a member for a while, but I just couldn't stand it. [Democratic Congressman Jimmy] Panetta's very first vote as our new congressman was to condemn the UN for its stand against Israel's illegal settlements. This put Panetta in opposition to the state policy of the Obama administration and in support of Trump's position. When I asked on the Indivisible Facebook page if we intended to hold him accountable for this vote, several people tore me a new one. Indivisible is now promoting a June March for Truth,' calling for an independent commission to investigate Russiagate .the Indivisibles have pretty much acted like they are the only game in town and have managed to suck most of the oxygen out of the room. One of their big activities seems to be writing postcards to Panetta, Harris and Feinstein telling them what a great job they're doing.,"

"I had been involved in the local March for Science. A couple of weeks before the March, the planning committee was taken over by the Indivisibles. By this point, I'd had enough. I decided I just couldn't work with them and I dropped out. They ended up attracting about 1000 people (at least 900 of whom were white). An activist from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom wanted to give a short speech about the link between militarism and environmental destruction, but the organizers wouldn't let her It looks to me like Indivisible is a well-funded AstroTurf group. It walks and talks exactly like it would if it had been deliberately designed by some joint DNC-COINTELPRO committee to channel popular outrage into support for the Democratic Party and for a war with Russia. Locally, no other group has the resources to compete with them. I've learned a valuable lesson, but a bit too late, I fear. I naively thought that leftists could work in a united front with Democrats. I thought that Democrats could be part of a broader coalition. But, I underestimated the Democrats ability to co-opt the movement."

I've received similar reports from other correspondents. One of my favorite ones comes from South Florida, where an Indivisible chapter invited as a speaker its notorious right-wing corporate-Democratic Congressperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz – an arch-neoliberal Democrat who led the rigging of the primaries against Sanders as Democratic National Committee chair and who has openly pledged allegiance to big money campaign donors over single-payer health insurance. As Florida progressive Taylor Raines reported last May 2nd, "not only did this group invite one of the most divisive women in liberal politics to speak at their meeting, but they openly prepared to silence dissent by banning signs, and promptly removed protestors who spoke up against her." Any angry Floridian who had the accurate audacity to note that Wasserman-Schultz wing of the Democratic Party essentially elected Trump (Sanders would likely have defeated the orange-tinted beast) was evicted from the gathering – in the name of "one nation, under God, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Such testimony jibes with my experience in and around the bright-blue campus town of Iowa City, where an initial upsurge of popular protest at Trump's election and inauguration collapsed in the spring as Russiagate took hold on CNN and MSNBC and in the New York Times and Washington Post. The local academic-professional class headed off on to their annual summer European vacations secure in the belief that those great progressive heroes the FBI and CIA and their corporate media allies would join with such left people's champions as Charles Schumer and Nancy ("we're capitalist and that's just the way it is") Pelosi would soon remove the Trump regime.

That's the Inauthentic Opposition Party (IOP) doing its job, a central part of which is functioning as a the "graveyard of social movements" – a role it plays even better when it is out of office than when it's in.

"You're Toast in 2020"

One thing that is particularly jarring about "Indivisible" is its claim to be non-partisan and beyond electoral politics when it clearly represents the reigning right and neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party and is gearing "progressive" energies for the Congressional and presidential election cycles.

I would not be surprised to learn that Indivisible or some other one of the Astroturf Democratic Party entities posting as grassroots movement recently put an angry citizen in a Town Hall meeting to finish his denunciation of Republicans' attempt to repeal Obamacare with the following threat to a GOP Senator: "pack your bags, you're toast in 2020" – when voters, the outraged citizen hopes, will put in a dismal dollar Democrat. In 2020? God how the election cycle rules consciousness – with its absurdly holy elevation of two minutes spent marking ballots for a narrowly pre-selected group of ruling class candidates. People need to connect with Chomsky and Zinn's call for movements that "shake the society to its foundations" (Chomsky) and compel "whoever is in the White House, in Congress" to "chang[e] national policy on matters of war and social justice."

At least that bitter armed lunatic James T. Hodgkinson – an epitome of the feckless and self-destructive rebellion that often occurs without attachment to a real popular movement – tried to make some vicious right-wing Congressmen (and one Tyson Foods lobbyist) into toast in the present moment, not three years from now. He had the wrong method but at least he fell off the election cycle trap.

Tres Cerdos Grandes

The major party confusion and related electoral obsession carries across national boundaries. Nobody made bigger fools out of themselves over the fake-progressive and fake-peacemaker promise of Barack Obama in 2008 than the Western Europeans. It was awesome to see Roger Waters brilliantly and epically skewer the nativist piggy-nesh of Trump before no less than 300,000 people in Mexico City's Zocalo Square last October , one month before the 2016 elections. The masses roared their approval as a giant Trump pig-blimp floated above the crowd and a colossal video-screen flashed images of Trump in drag and put up Spanish translations of some of the "Charade's" more absurd statements. But we might recall that it was the Democratic presidency of the neoliberal globalist uber- cerdo por excelencia Bill Clinton who mercilessly assaulted Mexican campesinos with the North American so called Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Bill Clinton then joined with the Republicans to begin construction of a great Wall on the southern U.S. border to stem the flow north of desperate economic refugees. And it was "free trade" Hillary Clinton who as Secretary of State sponsored the right-wing business coup that overthrew a democratically elected populist government in Honduras, which deepened misery in that nation to the point where tens of thousands of "unaccompanied minors" piled up on Mexico's southern border three summers ago – a crisis that continues to his day.

"We're Dying Out Here Enough with Russia!"

Even with Trump in the White House, the IOP's fake-progressive charade is now facing popular push-back. The Democrats and their many corporate media allies and faux peoples' "movement" (led by Indivisible) have advanced an all-too easy and convenient explanation for their epic electoral decline: it isn't about the dismal, dollar-drenched neoliberal inauthenticity of their purported progressivism, it's because of Russia and its dastardly chief Putin. The bear ate their homework. So what if there's been no real evidence of relevant Russian interference in "our" purported "great democracy"? It was just too irresistible to the DDDs: Russiagate was designed by Democratic Party elites (including John Podesta) from the night of Hillary Clinton's epic electoral fail to take the heat off the IOP's corporate and professional class nothingness and place all the blame for their outward "failure" (the "lying losers" continue to be very well paid for their sell-out – ask Obama) on a demonized foreign Other. It was crafted, among other things, to shut-down the progressive challenge within their own party

But now they've gone too far in playing the Russia card, perhaps.

The mad neo-McCarthyite Moscow obsession has moved them too far off issues that any self-respecting Left or even self-respecting liberal Opposition would be fighting on: racism, racist voter suppression (which may have elected Trump, by the way), the police and prison state. immigrant rights, economic exploitation and inequality, sexism, environmental ruination – stuff like that. According to the Washington political journal The Hill, "Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia, rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare." Imagine that. As the left writer Craig Gordon notes, the Democrats ae pissing in the wind of Russiagate while millions of ordinary working- and middle-class Americans are screaming like Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon "Hey, I'm Dying Over Here enough with Putin and Russia, we can't afford health care our jobs are in the tank."

Russiagate, it appears, may have been something of a xenophobic conspiracy trap for the Democrats themselves. Not that they care. The money keeps rolling in. Ask Obama, who is regularly rubbing progressives' face in the dirt and giving FOX News and Brietbart new talking points with his relentless big cash-in, telling us all that "nothing says Show Me the Money like POTUS on your resume."

"Ordinary Citizens Have No Influence"

Just what "great American democracy" was it that the IOP's bet noire Vladimir Putin supposedly intervened against, anyway? This is an ever more openly oligarchic nation where: the top tenth of the upper 1 Percent owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent; 15 million children – 21% of all U.S. children – live at less than the federal government's notoriously inadequate poverty level (more than 1 in 10 U.S. children ages 0-9 is living at less than half that level ); half the population is poor or near-poor and without assets; millions drink from poisoned water systems; an imperial military devours more than half of all discretionary federal spending and accounts for nearly half the world's military spending; more people are incarcerated (in extremely racially disproportionate ways) than in any nation in history (a curious achievement for the self-described homeland and headquarters of "liberty"); a deeply entrenched corporate and financial sector is leading the world over the environmental cliff through the championing of endless growth and attendant "anthropogenic" (really capitalogenic) climate destruction. A recent Harvard University survey finds that 51 percent than half of U.S. Millennials (18-to-29-year-olds) "do not support capitalism," intimately related to Harvard's finding that half of the cohort thinks "the American Dream is dead" for them.

You don't have to be a Leftist radical like the present writer to know that the United States' political order is a corporate and financial plutocracy. Just ask the establishment liberal political scientists Martin Gilens (Princeton) and Benjamin Page (Northwestern). Over the past three plus decades, these leading academic researchers determined three years ago, U.S. political system has functioned as "an oligarchy," where wealthy elites and their corporations "rule." Examining data from more than 1,800 different policy initiatives in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Gilens and Page found that wealthy and well-connected elites consistently steer the direction of the country, regardless of and against the will of the U.S. majority and irrespective of which major party holds the White House and/or Congress. "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy," Gilens and Page wrote , "while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence." As Gilens explained to the liberal online journal Talking Points Memo three years ago , "ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States."
The Kremlin didn't do that. U.S. capitalism did that.

The Main Left Deficit

Am I recommending that people vote for the IOP, he DDDs, in 2018 and 2020? No, not really. I can't tell people to do something I've never been able to do (well, except once, 2004, the first time I ever voted in a contested state). And I realize that my clever and dialectical if somewhat half-hearted argument for Dems in office doesn't really apply to foreign policy, intimately related to domestic oppression here in the "homeland" (a lovely imperial term). Let's get down to the "serious political action" Chomsky referred to 13 years ago – to movement-building beneath and beyond the quadrennial electoral spectacles. It's all rather moot in the absence of a real and serious grassroots Left in this country. The building of such a Left, it seems to me, is a project and task far closer to our real "sphere of influence" than the alternating problem of which of the two major-party wings hold most of the nation's elected offices.

In the year marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, it is worth remembering that Lenin's famous 1902 pamphlet What is to be Done? said nothing either on reforms under capitalism (or under Russian Tsarist rule) or on what an alternative, post-capitalist society might look like. It was focused entirely on the question of revolutionary organization: how to build such institutions and what they should look like.

The top thing missing in "The [U.S.] Left" (where is it, really?) isn't a positive policy agenda or a vision of an alternative society. The main deficit is institutional and organizational.

This gap must be addressed in what is still the world's most powerful and destructive capitalist state, in a time when five absurdly rich people now possess as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity and the U.S.-headquartered global profits system is speeding humanity to a lethal, Antarctic-dissolving 500 carbon parts per million by 2050 if not sooner. It's "socialism or barbarism if we're lucky" at this stage of capitalist ecocide. "The uncomfortable truth," Istvan Meszaros rightly argued 15 years ago, "is that if there is no future for a radical mass movement in our time, there can be no future for humanity itself." Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Paul Street

[Jun 30, 2017] The present empty suit is proof that the POTU$ really doesnt matter

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, but why are liberals so outraged at Trump? Is it only because they don't like his manners..his vulgarity? I really don't get it. All these spineless, gutless wonders in world capitals going on about what an evil guy Trump is etc. ..."
"... I don't get where the hysteria is coming from because Trump is hardly uniquely evil...he's just more direct and vulgar Oh the horror! ..."
Jun 30, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Temporarily Sane | Jun 29, 2017 8:02:38 PM | 58 Temporarily Sane | Jun 29, 2017 8:18:54 PM | 59

@57 Ben
The present "empty suit", is proof, IMO, that the POTU$ really doesn't matter. The ship of state is controlled by a corporate cabal, that pursues the business interests of the empire,( U$A/NATO) regardless of who the POTUS is. Enriching the business elites globally, is the agenda. Join the club, or face destruction.

Yes, but why are liberals so outraged at Trump? Is it only because they don't like his manners..his vulgarity? I really don't get it. All these spineless, gutless wonders in world capitals going on about what an evil guy Trump is etc. but when he says "jump!" they say "how high?" Even American "opponents" of Trump really only get upset at his rhetoric and his "Muslim ban" (killing Muslims is fine though, encouraged even). And the border wall of course.

But Obama was known as the "deporter in chief" and there is already a 700-mile fence along the U.S. - Mexico border.

I don't get where the hysteria is coming from because Trump is hardly uniquely evil...he's just more direct and vulgar Oh the horror! Can it be they are afraid people will be more alert to slick (or otherwise) politicians trying to pull the wool over their eyes after four or eight years of Trump's nonsense?

Somebody help me out here...

DemiJohn | Jun 29, 2017 9:19:34 PM | 60
V. Arnold quotes : "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. "
Besides the point but my favorite variant is : "Power corrupts, absolute power is even better".

[Jun 30, 2017] The Russians are coming narrative is an attempt to reassert the control by neoliberal elite after Trump election

Notable quotes:
"... i think it's because the rump 'came in through the bathroom window' ... defying 'both parties'. the uniparty is trying to reassert control, somehow. what would happen if people noticed that the uniparty was not only not needed, was in fact the engine of malfeasance and misrule, what if people decided to 'do it themselves' ... platform, primaries, elections ... the whole nine yards? ..."
Jun 30, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

jfl | Jun 29, 2017 9:35:53 PM | 62

@59 ts

i think it's because the rump 'came in through the bathroom window' ... defying 'both parties'. the uniparty is trying to reassert control, somehow. what would happen if people noticed that the uniparty was not only not needed, was in fact the engine of malfeasance and misrule, what if people decided to 'do it themselves' ... platform, primaries, elections ... the whole nine yards?

so 'the Russians are coming!' anything to reassert a narrative it can control.

[Jun 30, 2017] Elections Absenteeism, Boycotts and the Class Struggle

Notable quotes:
"... who won or who lost' ..."
"... Oligarchs compete and alternate with one another over controlling and defining who votes and doesn't vote. They decide who secures plutocratic financing and mass media propaganda within a tiny corporate sector. 'Voter choice' refers to deciding which preselected candidates are acceptable for carrying out an agenda of imperial conquests, deepening class inequalities and securing legal impunity for the oligarchs, their political representatives and state, police and military officials. ..."
"... The politicians who participate in the restrictive and minoritarian electoral system, with its predetermined oligarchic results, celebrate 'elections' as a democratic process because a plurality of voters, as subordinate subjects, are incorporated. ..."
"... deplorables' ..."
"... New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... overwhelming victory' ..."
"... political elite election ..."
"... The striking differences in the rate of abstention in France, Puerto Rico and the UK reflect the levels of class dissatisfaction and rejection of electoral politics. ..."
"... Corbyn's foreign policy promised to end the UK's involvement in imperial wars and to withdraw troops from the Middle East. He also re-confirmed his long opposition to Israel's colonial land-grabbing and oppression of the Palestinian people, as a principled way to reduce terrorist attacks at home. ..."
"... In other words, Corbyn recognized that introducing real class-based politics would increase voter participation. This was especially true among young voters in the 18-25 year age group, who were among the UK citizens most harmed by the loss of stable factory jobs, the doubling of university fees and the cuts in national health services. ..."
"... In contrast, the French legislative elections saw the highest rate of voter abstention since the founding of the 5 th Republic. These high rates reflect broad popular opposition to ultra-neo-liberal President Francois Macron and the absence of real opposition parties engaged in class struggle. ..."
"... The established parties and the media work in tandem to confine elections to a choreographed contest among competing elites divorced from direct participation by the working classes. This effectively excludes the citizens who have been most harmed by the ruling class' austerity programs implemented by successive rightist and Social Democratic parties ..."
"... The vast majority of citizens in the wage and salaried class do not trust the political elites. They see electoral campaigns as empty exercises, financed by and for plutocrats. ..."
"... Most citizens recognize (and despise) the mass media as elite propaganda megaphones fabricating 'popular' images to promote anti-working class politicians, while demonizing political activists engaged in class-based struggles. ..."
"... Brexit' ..."
"... Modern "Democracy" is a system for privatizing power and socializing responsibility. The elites get the power, the masses have to take responsibility for the consequences. because, of course, it's a 'democracy.' ..."
Jun 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

The most striking feature of recent elections is not ' who won or who lost' , nor is it the personalities, parties and programs. The dominant characteristic of the elections is the widespread repudiation of the electoral system, political campaigns, parties and candidates.

Across the world, majorities and pluralities of citizens of voting age refuse to even register to vote (unless obligated by law), refuse to turn out to vote (voter abstention), or vote against all the candidates (boycott by empty ballot and ballot spoilage).

If we add the many citizen activists who are too young to vote, citizens denied voting rights because of past criminal (often minor) convictions, impoverished citizens and minorities denied voting rights through manipulation and gerrymandering, we find that the actual 'voting public' shrivel to a small minority.

As a result, present day elections have been reduced to a theatrical competition among the elite for the votes of a minority. This situation describes an oligarchy – not a healthy democracy.

Oligarchic Competition

Oligarchs compete and alternate with one another over controlling and defining who votes and doesn't vote. They decide who secures plutocratic financing and mass media propaganda within a tiny corporate sector. 'Voter choice' refers to deciding which preselected candidates are acceptable for carrying out an agenda of imperial conquests, deepening class inequalities and securing legal impunity for the oligarchs, their political representatives and state, police and military officials.

Oligarchic politicians depend on the systematic plundering Treasury to facilitate and protect billion dollar/billion euro stock market swindles and the illegal accumulation of trillions of dollars and Euros via tax evasion (capital flight) and money laundering.

The results of elections and the faces of the candidates may change but the fundamental economic and military apparatus remains the same to serve an ever tightening oligarchic rule.

The elite regimes change, but the permanence of state apparatus designed to serve the elite becomes ever more obvious to the citizens.

Why the Oligarchy Celebrates " Democracy "

The politicians who participate in the restrictive and minoritarian electoral system, with its predetermined oligarchic results, celebrate 'elections' as a democratic process because a plurality of voters, as subordinate subjects, are incorporated.

Academics, journalists and experts argue that a system in which elite competition defines citizen choice has become the only way to protect 'democracy' from the irrational 'populist' rhetoric appealing to a mass of citizens vulnerable to authoritarianism (the so-called ' deplorables' ). The low voter turn-out in recent elections reduces the threat posed by such undesirable voters.

A serious objective analysis of present-day electoral politics demonstrates that when the masses do vote for their class interests – the results deepen and extend social democracy. When most voters, non-voters and excluded citizens choose to abstain or boycott elections they have sound reasons for repudiating plutocratic-controlled oligarchic choices.

We will proceed to examine the recent June 2017 voter turnout in the elections in France, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico. We will then look at the intrinsic irrationality of citizens voting for elite politicos as opposed to the solid good sense of the popular classes rejection of elite elections and their turn to extra-parliamentary action.

Puerto Rico's Referendum

The major TV networks (NBC, ABC and CBS) and the prestigious print media ( New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times and Washington Post ) hailed the ' overwhelming victory' of the recent pro-annexationist vote in Puerto Rico. They cited the 98% vote in favor of becoming a US state!

The media ignored the fact that a mere 28% of Puerto Ricans participated in the elections to vote for a total US takeover. Over 77% of the eligible voters abstained or boycotted the referendum.

In other words, over three quarters of the Puerto Rican people rejected the sham ' political elite election '. Instead, the majority voted with their feet in the streets through direct action.

France's Micro-Bonaparte

In the same way, the mass media celebrated what they dubbed a ' tidal wave ' of electoral support for French President Emmanuel Macron and his new party, 'the Republic in March'. Despite the enormous media propaganda push for Macron, a clear majority of the electorate (58%) abstained or spoiled their ballots, therefore rejecting all parties and candidates, and the entire French electoral system. This hardly constitutes a 'tidal wave' of citizen support in a democracy.

During the first round of the parliamentary election, President Macron's candidates received 27% of the vote, barely exceeding the combined vote of the left socialist and nationalist populist parties, which had secured 25% of the vote. In the second round, Macron's party received less then 20% of the eligible vote.

In other words, the anti-Macron rejectionists represented over three quarters of the French electorate. After these elections a significant proportion of the French people – especially among the working class –will likely choose extra-parliamentary direct action, as the most democratic expression of representative politics.

The United Kingdom: Class Struggle and the Election Results

The June 2017 parliamentary elections in the UK resulted in a minority Conservative regime forced to form an alliance with the fringe Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a far-right para-military Protestant party from Northern Ireland. The Conservatives received 48% of registered voters to 40% who voted for the Labor Party. However, 15 million citizens, or one-third of the total electorate abstained or spoiled their ballots. The Conservative regime's plurality represented 32% of the electorate.

Despite a virulent anti-Labor campaign in the oligarch-controlled mass media, the combined Labor vote and abstaining citizens clearly formed a majority of the population, which will be excluded from any role the post-election oligarchic regime despite the increase in the turnout (in comparison to previous elections).

Elections: Oligarchs in Office, Workers in the Street

The striking differences in the rate of abstention in France, Puerto Rico and the UK reflect the levels of class dissatisfaction and rejection of electoral politics.

The UK elections provided the electorate with something resembling a class alternative in the candidacy of Jeremy Corbyn. The Labor Party under Corbyn presented a progressive social democratic program promising substantial and necessary increases in social welfare spending (health, education and housing) to be funded by higher progressive taxes on the upper and upper middle class.

Corbyn's foreign policy promised to end the UK's involvement in imperial wars and to withdraw troops from the Middle East. He also re-confirmed his long opposition to Israel's colonial land-grabbing and oppression of the Palestinian people, as a principled way to reduce terrorist attacks at home.

In other words, Corbyn recognized that introducing real class-based politics would increase voter participation. This was especially true among young voters in the 18-25 year age group, who were among the UK citizens most harmed by the loss of stable factory jobs, the doubling of university fees and the cuts in national health services.

In contrast, the French legislative elections saw the highest rate of voter abstention since the founding of the 5 th Republic. These high rates reflect broad popular opposition to ultra-neo-liberal President Francois Macron and the absence of real opposition parties engaged in class struggle.

The lowest voter turn-out (28%) occurred in Puerto Rico. This reflects growing mass opposition to the corrupt political elite, the economic depression and the colonial and semi-colonial offerings of the two-major parties. The absence of political movements and parties tied to class struggle led to greater reliance on direct action and voter abstention.

Clearly class politics is the major factor determining voter turnout. The absence of class struggle increases the power of the elite mass media, which promotes the highly divisive identity politics and demonizes left parties. All of these increase both abstention and the vote for rightwing politicians, like Macron.

The mass media grossly inflated the significance of the right's election victories of the while ignoring the huge wave of citizens rejecting the entire electoral process. In the case of the UK, the appearance of class politics through Jeremy Corbyn increased voter turnout for the Labor Party. However, Labor has a history of first making left promises and ending up with right turns. Any future Labor betrayal will increase voter abstention.

The established parties and the media work in tandem to confine elections to a choreographed contest among competing elites divorced from direct participation by the working classes. This effectively excludes the citizens who have been most harmed by the ruling class' austerity programs implemented by successive rightist and Social Democratic parties.

The decision of many citizens not to vote is based on taking a very rational and informed view of the ruling political elites who have slashed their living standards often by forcing workers to compete with immigrants for low paying, unstable jobs. It is deeply rational for citizens to refuse to vote within a rigged system, which only worsens their living conditions through its attacks on the public sector, social welfare and labor codes while cutting taxes on capital.

Conclusion

The vast majority of citizens in the wage and salaried class do not trust the political elites. They see electoral campaigns as empty exercises, financed by and for plutocrats.

Most citizens recognize (and despise) the mass media as elite propaganda megaphones fabricating 'popular' images to promote anti-working class politicians, while demonizing political activists engaged in class-based struggles.

Nevertheless, elite elections will not produce an effective consolidation of rightwing rule. Voter abstention will not lead to abstention from direct action when the citizens recognize their class interests are in grave jeopardy.

The Macron regime's parliamentary majority will turn into an impotent minority as soon as he tries carry out his elite promise to slash the jobs of hundreds of thousands of French public sector workers, smash France's progressive labor codes and the industry-wide collective bargaining system and pursue new colonial wars.

Puerto Rico's profound economic depression and social crisis will not be resolved through a referendum with only 28% of the voter participation. Large-scale demonstrations will preclude US annexation and deepen mass demands for class-based alternatives to colonial rule.

Conservative rule in the UK is divided by inter-elite rivalries both at home and abroad. ' Brexit' , the first step in the break-up of the EU, opens opportunities for deeper class struggle. The social-economic promises made by Jeremy Corbyn and his left-wing of the Labor Party energized working class voters, but if it does not fundamentally challenge capital, it will revert to being a marginal force.

The weakness and rivalries within the British ruling class will not be resolved in Parliament or by any new elections.

The demise of the UK, the provocation of a Conservative-DUP alliance and the end of the EU (BREXIT) raises the chance for successful mass extra-parliamentary struggles against the authoritarian neo-liberal attacks on workers' civil rights and class interests.

Elite elections and their outcomes in Europe and elsewhere are laying the groundwork for a revival and radicalization of the class struggle.

In the final analysis class rule is not decided via elite elections among oligarchs and their mass media propaganda. Once dismissed as a 'vestige of the past', the revival of class struggle is clearly on the horizon. (Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

Brás Cubas Show Comment Next New Comment June 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm GMT

A much needed analysis by Mr. Petras. Here in Brazil it is becoming increasingly apparent that extra-electoral manifestations are the only path left for the destitute classes. The only name to which the Left seems able to garner votes is the eternal Luiz da Silva, who has pandered to Capital all through his political career, and will possibly become inelectable anyway, by upcoming criminal convictions.

WorkingClass Show Comment Next New Comment June 29, 2017 at 5:18 pm GMT

"In the final analysis class rule is not decided via elite elections among oligarchs and their mass media propaganda. Once dismissed as a 'vestige of the past', the revival of class struggle is clearly on the horizon."

Globalism is the new Feudalism. In the U.S. the serfs still think they are "middle class".

Only the working class can help the working class. This truism is being re-learned.

jilles dykstra Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 7:26 am GMT

We see in any country with a district voting system how democracy does not function: USA, GB and France.
The Dutch equal representation system is far superior, the present difficulties of forming a government reflect the deep divisions in Dutch society.
These deep divisions should be clear anywhere, now that the struggle between globalisation and nationalism is in full swing.

jilles dykstra Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 7:28 am GMT

@Brás Cubas In nearly the whole of S America elections just reflect the struggle between two or more groups of rich people for power.

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 9:05 am GMT

The vast majority citizens (sic) in the wage and salaried class do not trust the political elites. They see electoral campaigns as empty exercises, financed by and for plutocrats.

And they'd be correct.

What amazes me is how many "professional" people still smugly retain faith in an obviously rigged and parasitic system even as their independence is relentlessly eroded. Also, most of them, even the non-TV watchers, seem to slurp the usual propaganda about who the enemies supposedly are.

Self reflection obviously ain't their shtick. Maybe there's comfort in denial and mythology.

Expletive Deleted Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 11:38 am GMT

The DUP would be very quick to insist that they are not para-militaries. As would their Tweedledee, Sinn Féin (invariably referred to as 'Sinn-Féin-I-R-A' by the Unionist factions; not even banter).

It is undeniable that in the past they have had links to UVF/UDA, both straight-up rightwing paramilitary thug outfits formed to mirror and combat the Provisionals and latterly the Continuity IRA and self-styled "Real IRA" nationalist/socialist thugs. And presumably do so to this day.

"Everybody knows" that each political group is pretty much furtively hand-in-glove with their respective heavy mobs, and who's in which one. It's a wee tiny place, the Six Counties.

Expletive Deleted Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 11:59 am GMT

Corbyn has definitely struck a rich vein of popularity (if not populism) among the "don't vote it just encourages them" tendency, and a healthy majority of wealthy and not so wealthy young Brits. Listen to the Glasto crowd. He gets this everywhere now in public (and maybe at home, IDK).

Remarkable transformation for somebody who only few years ago was a dull grey teadrinker from Camden Council, with a half-century-old cardigan and a Catweazle beard.

Even The Demon Blair could never raise this sort of adulation.

eD Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 12:56 pm GMT

I want to like the article, but Petras gives three examples, all of which are bad examples for different reasons.

In the case of Puerto Rico, opposition parties campaigned, not for people to vote and to vote against the government position, but to abstain altogether. This is a long standing political tactic of opposition parties and other examples can be found. Its not used that often because its usually a better tactic to just try to get people to get out and vote against the government. However, it can work if there is a minimum turnout requirement for the election to be valid, which is often the case in referenda and seems to be here. But this is evident of people rejecting the government position, not the entire system. Voters obviously responded to the pro-Commonwealth status campaign. By the way, usually referenda on things like independence, or in this case statehood, get unusually high turnout, it was the opposite this time because of the opposition tactic.

On the other hand, in the 2017 French elections there really was a high amount of non-organized or dis-organized abstention on the part of pissed off voters. The problem with Petras account is that this was in fact widely covered in French media and by French political analysts, with commentary along the lines of "these people must be really pissed off not to vote!".

In the recent UK elections turnout was both quite high and increased, so I have no idea wtf Petras is talking about here.

If the examples used weren't so ridiculously bad the article could be OK I guess.

High abstention rates occur when big chunks of the electorate suspect that the elections are rigged, usually by means of vote counting fraud, but effective or legal restrictions on who can run or who can vote can do the job. The rigging might even take the form of discarding ballots, which is the most common form in the US, which means turnout would be recorded as low even if people tried to vote!

Keep in mind that with universal suffrage, it seems consistently that about a quarter of the electorate has no interest in participating in electoral politics whatever the situation. If forced to vote by law, they will spoil their ballots, vote for parties that campaign to end the democratic system, or not vote anyway and suffer whatever legal penalties are imposed. Reasonably healthy democracies can get to turnouts of around 70% fairly consistently. Anything less should be taken as evidence of widespread electoral fraud.

TG Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm GMT

Modern "Democracy" is a system for privatizing power and socializing responsibility. The elites get the power, the masses have to take responsibility for the consequences. because, of course, it's a 'democracy.'

Bottom line: political systems are to a great extent irrelevant. Putting your faith in any system: monarchy, socialism, representative democracy, parliamentary democracy, checks and balances, etc., is a mistake. There is (almost) no system that cannot be made to muddle through if the elites have some consideration for the society as a whole. And there is absolutely no system that cannot be easily corrupted if the elites care only about themselves.

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 3:21 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

In nearly the whole of S America elections just reflect the struggle between two or more groups of rich people for power.

The same could be said for the revolution of 1776, and it continues in the US today.

I said, "No, there is a great difference. Taft is amiable imbecility. Wilson is willful and malicious imbecility and I prefer Taft."
Roosevelt then said : "Pettigrew, you know the two old parties are just alike. They are both controlled by the same influences, and I am going to organize a new party " a new political party " in this country based upon progressive principles.
"Roosevelt then said : "Pettigrew, you know the two old parties are just alike. They are both controlled by the same influences "

- R. F. Pettigrew, "Imperial Washington," The story of American Public life from 1870 to 1920 (1922), p 234

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt/search?q1=amiable;id=yale.39002002948025;view=1up;seq=7;start=1;sz=10;page=search;orient=0

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 3:26 pm GMT

I recommend not voting because it is not ethical to send a non-corrupt person to Washington. The United States is too powerful.

Good recommendation and for a good reason.

I'd say that it's unethical to send anyone to Washington since there is too much wealth and power concentrated in the hands of too few, ethical or not.

In fact, the record shows that few men are worthy to wield much power at all and a system such as we have is almost guaranteed to produce hideous, irresponsible monsters if not downright sadistic ones (like Hillary, for instance).

Instead of talking about draining the swamp, we should have flushed the toilet long go. Now we have to live with the stench.

Wally Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm GMT

@Expletive Deleted Looks like a Trump rally.

http://a.abcnews.com/images/Politics/AP_Donald_Trump_Rally_hb_160310_4x3_992.jpg

Wally Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 4:44 pm GMT

@Daniel Thom Hmmm.

President Trump Has Now Signed 40 Pieces Of Legislation As He Moves To Enact His Agenda

http://dailycaller.com/2017/06/25/president-trump-has-now-signed-40-pieces-of-legislation-as-he-moves-to-enact-his-agenda/

bluedog Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra Yes indeed just like it is here in the election between Clinton and Trump, two packs of wolves fighting over the sheep

unpc downunder Show Comment Next New Comment June 30, 2017 at 11:06 pm GMT

The primary reason why lots of working class people don't vote is because they dislike the liberal policy combinations offered by the elite-controlled political parties. Most working class people are socially conservative and economically moderate, while most wealthy, educated people are socially and economically liberal, so mainstream political parties only offer liberal policy packages.

Modern representative democracy was designed in the late 19th Century to allow for some democratic representation for the middle class while protecting the bourgeois elites from the rule of the mob. That may have been a reasonable concern at the time, but it now means tyranny of the liberal elites.

The solution is to reduce the power of political parties, either by making political parties more accountable to their grass roots supporters or getting rid of political parties and directly electing government ministers.

Wizard of Oz Show Comment Next New Comment July 1, 2017 at 12:20 am GMT

@eD A well informed comment without the kind of Marxist or other blinkers on that Petras wears. But I question the last sentence. Electoral fraud could work to add votes as well as destroy or lose them and vigilance is needed anyway. Are there highly numerate and worldly wise psephologists with adequate research funding who are acting plausibly to keep a check on the way the bureaucratic guardians of our electoral processes do their job? (All sorts of factors could make a big difference in the proportion who vote. Is it part of the culture one was broùght up in to believe that one had a duty to do one's modest best to participate? Are there a lot of elections at sometimes inconvenient times within a short space of time? Is there a genuine problem deciding between the only candidates who might win on either grand moral or national policy grounds or even simple self interest? Is it assumed only one candidate can possibly win the seat? That last is one of the few arguments for proportional representatiion because a dutiful voter who has a preference for one party will make his infinitesimal contribution by voting).

Even Australia with its 80 to 90+ per cent turnouts to vote in sometimes complicated elections with mixed Alternative Vote/Preferential and proportional representation for the different houses of parliament (and not much "informal" voting as protest) exhibits the growing weaknesses of democracies. That is, as I propose to write in another comment, the corruption of respect for the oligarchs (whether traditional upper and upper middle classes or labour bosses), the replacement of the class that went into politics as a duty by professiinal calculating careerists – plus opportunistic extremists – and the growth of a sense of entitlement which ptobably adds up by now to 150 per cent of all that is or can be. Thanks to China's huge appetite for Australian resources and products Australian democracy can stagger on with scope even for absurd fantasies e.g. about Australia's proper level of masochism in rejecting coal for energy when it can make absolutely no difference to Australia – except to make it poorer.

Wizard of Oz Show Comment Next New Comment July 1, 2017 at 12:49 am GMT

@unpc downunder Your version of history differs from mine. 1832 and even 1867 in the UK still built in some protection from the unpropertied lower orders (and 100 per cent from women – publicly anyway) but Australian colonial suffrage was typically the alarming manhood suffrage with only property qualification for some upper house elections as a break on the masses' savage expropriatory instincts – not too much to be feared amongst ambitious colonial strivers in fact. The general assumption that everyone with an IQ of 100 and a degree in Fashionable Jargon-ridden Muddled Thinking is as worth listening to as anyone from the tradional educated bougeois or landed elite has inevitably put politics into the hands of the ruthless, often arriviste careerists.

Please think again about your last par. which I suggest is a prescription for (even worse) disaster. The idea of getting rid of political parties (how?) is as unrealistic as having the bored populace vote directly for membership of the executive government who, in parliamentary systems at least, have to command legislative majorities to be effective. And why do you think responsiveness to those few who join political parties is likely to benefit the wider public when you consider what has been wrought in the UK Labour Party by election of the leader by a flood of new young members wlling to pay £3 to join!! I believe the Tories have also moved in that idiotic direction. Imagine even the comparatively simple business of making motor cars being headed by a CEO who had campaigned for votes amingst all workers who had been employed for more than 4 weeks with promises of squeezing shareholders and doubling wages.

Wizard of Oz Show Comment Next New Comment July 1, 2017 at 1:00 am GMT

@jilles dykstra Your observation seems to depend for its truth on people (and you?) seeing politics and national life as a zero sum game with no chance of increase in wealth or other good things of life. That seems to be a logical attitude only in countries which sre still Malthusian like say Niger with its TFF of 7! Is that a tealistic assessment of 2017 South America, or most of it?

Wizard of Oz Show Comment Next New Comment July 1, 2017 at 1:21 am GMT

@jilles dykstra We see in any country with a district voting system how democracy does not function: USA, GB and France.
The Dutch equal representation system is far superior, the present difficulties of forming a government reflect the deep divisions in Dutch society.
These deep divisions should be clear anywhere, now that the struggle between globalisation and nationalism is in full swing. I had in mind your comment when writing part of my last par in #17 which I won't repeat.

But allow me to expŕess astonishment at the idea that a truly sovereign nation benefits from an electoral system which so represents irreconcilable differences in society that a government cannot be formed. The Netherlands comfortable position as a minor feature of the EU makes it perhaps less of a problem than, at least potentially, it is for Israel. Whenever Israel handles anything really stupidly it is a good bet that it is during wrangling over putting together a majority government.

Another problem with PR well illustrated by Israel that you don't mention is that citizens have no local member who has to show that he cares about his constituents' concerns and actually gets to know about them. That, for the average citizen has to be a really important matter. In Australia we have just seen a pretty dodgy Chinese government aligned businessman/ donor to the New South Wales Labor Party rewarded with nomination to a winnable place in the PR election of the Senate. There is no way he would be put forward to win votes in a local electorate of thousands of voters rather than millions.

[Jun 30, 2017] Why The Elites Hate Putin by Justin Raimondo

Notable quotes:
"... So it doesn't matter who wins the presidential election, and inhabits the White House, because the national security bureaucracy is forever, and their power is – almost – unchallengeable. And so, given this, Putin's answer to Stone's somewhat tongue-in-cheek question, "Why did you hack the election?", is anti-climactic. The answer is: why would they bother? Putin dismisses the question as "a very silly statement," and then goes on to wonder why Western journalists find the prospect of getting along with Russia so problematic. ..."
"... "And I think that Obama's outgoing team has created a minefield for the incoming president and for his team. They have created an environment which makes it difficult for the new president to make good on the promises he gave to the people." ..."
"... it's not about one single truck – there are thousands of trucks going through that route. It looks as if it were a living pipeline." ..."
"... Putin reveals how US aid reaches jihadists: "According to the data we received, employees of the United States in Azerbaijan contacted militants from the Caucasus." In a letter from the CIA to their Russian counterparts, the Americans reiterated their alleged right to funnel aid to their clients, and the missive "even named the employee of the US Special Services who worked in the US embassy in Baku." ..."
"... it reveals the Russian leader's instinctual pro-Americanism, despite his objections to the policies of our government. ..."
"... Early on, Stone asks "What is the US [foreign] policy? What is its strategy in the world as a whole?" To which Putin replies: "Certainly, I am going to reply to this question very candidly, in great detail – but only once I retire." In speaking about Washington's unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty, Stone remarks: ..."
"... "You know, the American Indians made treaties with the US government and they were the first to experience the treachery of the US government. You're not the first." ..."
"... To which Putin replies: "We wouldn't like to be the last." And he laughs. ..."
"... Stone has been pilloried in the US media, by all usual suspects, but what's very telling is that none of his critics delve into the content of the interviews: they simply accuse Stone of being a " useful idiot ," a phrase from the lexicon of the cold war that's being revived by the liberals who used to be labeled as such. ..."
"... And yet when you get down in the weeds, as I have tried to do in this series, one begins to realize the enormity of the hoax that's been perpetrated on the American people. Putin is routinely described in our media as the principal enemy of the United States: our military brass has been pushing this line, for budgetary reasons, and the Clinton wing of the Democratic party has been pushing it for political reasons. And yet the lasting impression left by "The Putin Interviews" is of a man who greatly admires the United States, and sees the vast potential of détente between Moscow and Washington, a potential he would like very much to bring to realization. ..."
Jun 30, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

On Oliver Stone's The Putin Interviews (Part III)

by Justin Raimondo Posted on June 30, 2017 June 29, 2017 As the "Russia-gate" farce continues to dominate the American "news" media, and President Trump's foreign policy veers off in a direction many of his supporters find baffling, one wonders: what the heck happened? I thought Trump was supposed to be "Putin's puppet," as Hillary Clinton and her journalistic camarilla would have it.

The Russian president, in his extended interview with filmmaker Oliver Stone, has an explanation: "Stone: Donald Trump won. This is your fourth president, am I right? Clinton, Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama, and now your fourth one. "Putin: Yes, that's true. "Stone: What changes? "Putin: Well, almost nothing."

Stone is surprised by this answer, and Putin elaborates:

"Well, life makes some changes for you. But on the whole, everywhere, especially in the United States, the bureaucracy is very strong. And bureaucracy is the one that rules the world."

This is a reiteration of something the Russian president said earlier in the context of Stone's questions about the US election. Stone asks what he thinks of the various candidates: Trump's name doesn't come up, but Stone does ask about Bernie Sanders. Putin replies:

"It's not up to us to say. It's not whether we are going to like it or not. All I can say is as follows the force of the United States bureaucracy is very great. It's immense. And there are many facts not visible about the candidates until they become president. And the moment one gets to the real work, he or she feels the burden."

So it doesn't matter who wins the presidential election, and inhabits the White House, because the national security bureaucracy is forever, and their power is – almost – unchallengeable. And so, given this, Putin's answer to Stone's somewhat tongue-in-cheek question, "Why did you hack the election?", is anti-climactic. The answer is: why would they bother? Putin dismisses the question as "a very silly statement," and then goes on to wonder why Western journalists find the prospect of getting along with Russia so problematic.

Trump and his campaign, says Putin, "understood where their voters were located" – a reference, I believe, to the surprising results in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Clinton's supporters "should have drawn conclusions from what they did, from how they did their jobs, they shouldn't have tried to shift the blame on to something outside." This is what the more perceptive progressives are saying – but then again I suppose that they, too, are "Putin's puppets."

This section of the interviews occurred in February, and so it's interesting how Putin predicted what would happen to the Trump presidency and the conduct of his foreign policy:

"And I think that Obama's outgoing team has created a minefield for the incoming president and for his team. They have created an environment which makes it difficult for the new president to make good on the promises he gave to the people."

To say the least. There is much more in this series of interviews, including some real news that has been ignored by the "mainstream" media, including:

Joint US-Russian efforts to eliminate ISIS in Syria were on the agenda even before Trump took the White House, "But at the last moment," says Putin, "I think due to some political reasons, our American partners abandoned this project." (This is yet another vindication of my theory of " libertarian realism ," by the way.) Putin tells Stone that the Ukraine snipers who shot at both the government forces and the anti-government crowds in Kiev – an event that signaled the end of the Yanukovych regime – were trained and financed in the West: "[W]e have information available to us that armed groups were trained in the Western parts of Ukraine itself, in Poland, and in a number of other places." Putin has evidence of Turkish support for ISIS : "During the G20 summit, when the journalists left the room, I took out photos and from my place where I was sitting I showed those photos [of ISIS oil being transported to Turkey] to everyone. I showed it to my counterparts. I showed them the route I mentioned earlier. And we have shown these photos to our American counterparts . Everyone knew about everything. So trying to open a door which is already open is simply senseless. It's something that is absolutely evident. So it's not about one single truck – there are thousands of trucks going through that route. It looks as if it were a living pipeline." At one point, Putin takes out his cell phone and shows Stone a video of a Russian attack on ISIS forces, remarking "By the way, they were coming from the Turkish side of the border." Putin reveals how US aid reaches jihadists: "According to the data we received, employees of the United States in Azerbaijan contacted militants from the Caucasus." In a letter from the CIA to their Russian counterparts, the Americans reiterated their alleged right to funnel aid to their clients, and the missive "even named the employee of the US Special Services who worked in the US embassy in Baku."

And then there's one specific instance in which the news is anticipated: Stone brings up the Snowden revelation that the Americans have planted malware in Japanese infrastructure capable of shutting that country down, and he speculates that Washington has surely targeted Russia in the same way. Which brings to mind a recent Washington Post story reporting that this is indeed the case .

There's a lot more in these interviews than I have space to write about: my favorites are the instances in which Stone's leftism comes up against Putin's paleoconservatism. At several points the issue of "anti-Americanism" comes up, and the debate between the two is illuminating in that it reveals the Russian leader's instinctual pro-Americanism, despite his objections to the policies of our government. I had to laugh when Putin asked Stone: "Are you a communist?" Stone denies it: "I'm a capitalist!"

There is also a lot of humor here: Stone insists on showing Putin a scene from "Dr. Strangelove," the part where the mad scientist rides a nuke, laughing maniacally. The sardonic expression on Putin's face speaks volumes. Early on, Stone asks "What is the US [foreign] policy? What is its strategy in the world as a whole?" To which Putin replies: "Certainly, I am going to reply to this question very candidly, in great detail – but only once I retire." In speaking about Washington's unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty, Stone remarks:

"You know, the American Indians made treaties with the US government and they were the first to experience the treachery of the US government. You're not the first."

To which Putin replies: "We wouldn't like to be the last." And he laughs.

Putin's sense of humor is a bit dark, and things get darker still as he predicts what the consequences for Stone will be when "The Putin Interviews" is released:

"You've never been beaten before in your life?," says Putin. "Oh yes, many times," says Stone. I think Putin was talking about being physically beaten, but, anyway, the Russian leader goes on to say: "Then it's not going to be anything new, because you're going to suffer for what you're about to do." "No, I know," says Stone, "but it's worth it. It's worth it to try to bring some more peace and consciousness to the world."

Stone has been pilloried in the US media, by all usual suspects, but what's very telling is that none of his critics delve into the content of the interviews: they simply accuse Stone of being a " useful idiot ," a phrase from the lexicon of the cold war that's being revived by the liberals who used to be labeled as such.

And yet when you get down in the weeds, as I have tried to do in this series, one begins to realize the enormity of the hoax that's been perpetrated on the American people. Putin is routinely described in our media as the principal enemy of the United States: our military brass has been pushing this line, for budgetary reasons, and the Clinton wing of the Democratic party has been pushing it for political reasons. And yet the lasting impression left by "The Putin Interviews" is of a man who greatly admires the United States, and sees the vast potential of détente between Moscow and Washington, a potential he would like very much to bring to realization.

What we have witnessed in the past few months, however, is that this potential benefit to both countries is being denied by some very powerful forces. The entire "Deep State" apparatus, which Putin is very much aware of, is implacably opposed to peaceful cooperation, and will do anything to stop it. But why?

There are many factors, including money – the military-industrial complex is dependent on hostility between the US and Russia, as are our parasitic "allies' in Europe – as well as cultural issues. Russia is essentially a conservative society, and our "progressive" elites hate it for that reason. Which brings us to the real reason for the Russophobia that infects the American political class, and that is Putin's commitment to the concept of national sovereignty.

Nationalism in all its forms is bitterly opposed by our elites, and this is what sets them against not only Putin but also against President Trump. Their allegiance isn't to the United States as a separate entity, but to the "Free World," whatever that may be. And their foreign allies are even more explicit about their radical internationalism, bitterly clinging to transnational institutions such as the European Union even as populist movements upend them.

This is the central issue confronting the parties and politicians of all countries, the conflict that separates the elites from the peoples they would like to rule: it is globalism versus national sovereignty. And this is not just a foreign policy question. It is a line of demarcation that puts the parties of all countries on one side of the barricades or the other.

In his famous essay, " The End of History ," neoconservative theorist Francis Fukuyama outlined the globalist project, which he saw as the inevitable outcome of human experience: a "universal homogenous State" that would extend its power across every civilized country and beyond. But of course nothing is inevitable, at least in that sense and on that scale, a fact the elites who hold this vision recognize all too well. So they are working day and night to make it a reality, moving their armies and their agents into this country and that country, encircling their enemies, and waiting for the moment to strike. And Putin, the ideologue of national sovereignty, is rightly perceived as their implacable enemy, the chief obstacle to the globalist project.

That's why they hate him. It has nothing to do with the annexation of Crimea, or the alleged "authoritarianism" of a country that now has a multi-party system a few short decades after coming out of real totalitarianism. Even if Russia were a Jeffersonian republic, and Putin the second coming of Gandhi, still they would demonize him and his country for this very reason.

As to who will win this struggle between globalism and national particularism, I would not venture a guess. What I will do, however, is to remind my readers that if ever this worldwide "homogenous State" comes into being, there will be nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, no way to escape its power.

Editorial note : This is the third and last part of a three-part series on Oliver Stone's "The Putin Interviews." The first part is here , and the second part is here . You can get the book version – which contains some material not included in the film – here .

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

You can check out my Twitter feed by going here . But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.

I've written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement , with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey , a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon ( ISI Books , 2008).

You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here .

Read more by Justin Raimondo Vladimir Putin: A Suitor Spurned – June 27th, 2017 Who Tried to Kill Putin – Five Times? – June 25th, 2017 A Brief Missive – June 22nd, 2017 Our Rush to War in Syria – June 20th, 2017 Hodgkinson's Disease: Politics and Paranoia in the Age of Trump – June 18th, 2017

[Jun 28, 2017] Trump Has Been Continuing Obamas Syria-Policy by Eric Zuesse

Jun 27, 2017 | off-guardian.org

U.S. President Donald Trump, who during the election-campaign ferociously condemned Barack Obama's foreign policies, while asserting nothing concrete of his own, has, as the U.S. President, committed himself quite clearly to continuing Obama's publicly stated policy on Syria, which policy was to place, as the first priority, the elimination of ISIS, and as the policy to follow that, the elimination and replacement of Syria's government. I have previously indicated that on June 19th "Russia Announces No-Fly Zone in Syria - War Against U.S. There" , and that the early indications are that Trump has changed his Syria-policy to accommodate Russia's demands there; but, prior to June 19th, Trump was actually following Obama's publicly stated Syria-policy.

As also will be shown here, Obama's publicly stated policy - to destroy ISIS and then to overthrow Syria's President Bashar al-Assad - was actually less extreme than his real policy, which was to overthrow Assad and to use the jihadist forces in Syria (especially Al Qaeda in Syria) to achieve that objective. Trump, at least until 19 June 2017, has been adhering to Obama's publicly stated policy. Russia's warning was for him not to adopt and continue Obama's actual policy (to overthrow Assad).

Here is the part, of the by-now-famous 12 August 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analysis of the intelligence regarding Iraq and in Syria, that the press (despite its extensive reporting about the document) has not yet reported from the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures (which had included that document and many others), but which part of it shows even more than the part that has been reported from the document, Obama's having made an informed choice actually to protect Al Qaeda in Syria, so as to bring down and replace the Syrian government - Obama's actual prioritization (contrary to his publicly stated one) of overthrowing Assad, even above defeating the jihadists in Syria; and this was clearly also a warning by the DIA to the Commander-in-Chief, that he can have either an overthrow of Assad, or else a non-jihadist-controlled Syria, but not both, and that any attempt to bring down Assad by means of using the jihadists as a proxy army against him, would ultimately fail:

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version.pdf

page 69 of 100:

D. AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq], through spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) Abu Muhammed Al Adnani, declared the Syrian regime as the spearhead of what he is naming Jibha Al Ruwafdh (forefront of the Shiites) because of its (the Syrian regime) declaration of war on the Sunnis. Additionally, he is calling on the Sunnis in Iraq, especially the tribes in the border regions (between Iraq and Syria), to wage war against the Syrian regime, regarding Syria as an infidel regime for its support to the infidel party Hezbollah, and other regimes he considers dissenters like Iran and Iraq.

E. AQI considers the Sunni issue in Iraq to be fatefully connected to the Sunni Arabs and Muslims.

page 70:

A. The [Syrian] regime will survive and have control over Syrian territory.

page 71:

B. Development of the current events into a proxy war: with support from Russia, China, and Iran, the regime is controlling the areas of influence along coastal territories (Tartus and Latakia), and is fiercely defending Homs, which is considered the primary transportation route in Syria. On the other hand, opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these [jihadist] efforts

And here is from the part that the press did report:

https://www.facebook.com/ayssar.midani/posts/10152479627582395

Ayssar Midani, May 23, 2015 · Paris, France:

"C: If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime."

The "supporting powers" are: western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey The DIA warns that the creation of such an Salafist principality would have "dire consequences" for Iraq and would possibly lead to the creation of an Islamic State and: create the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi.
These DIA folks really earned their salary.

The Obama administration, together with other supporter of the Syrian "opposition", knew that AQ was a large part of that "opposition" from the very beginning. The U.S. and others wanted a Salafist [i.e., fundamentalist Sunni] principality in east Syria to cut Syria and Lebanon off from a land route to Iran. It was warned that such a principality would create havoc in Iraq and to the return of AQ in Iraq (today the Islamic State) to Mosul and Ramadi.

I quoted from that part in December 2016 , which was the time when the two Presidents, Obama and Turkey's Erdogan, began their joint effort to relocate ISIS from Mosul Iraq, into Der Zor Syria, in order to culminate their (and the Sauds') joint plan to use ISIS so as to bring down Assad. Then, I headlined, on 30 April 2017, that they had actually completed this task of moving Iraq's ISIS into Syria, "How Obama & Erdogan Moved ISIS from Iraq to Syria, to Weaken Assad" . That's why the Syrian government is now fighting to take Der Zor back from ISIS control.

Other portions of the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures which received little or no press-coverage (and that little being only on far-right blogs - not mainstream 'news' sites) add still further to the evidence that Obama was using Al Qaeda and its friends, as a proxy army of jihadists to overthrow Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and replace him by a jihadist regime that would be loyal to America's fundamentalist-Sunni 'allies', the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia, and the Thanis who own Qatar. (Of course, now, the Sauds are trying to destroy the Thanis, too.)

These unpublished or little-published portions from the Judical Watch disclosures, also add to the ample published evidence that the Obama regime was transporting (as these documents acknowledged on page 4) "weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya" which "were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria," for use by Obama's 'moderate rebels' (a.k.a.: jihadists) in Syria. Specifically:

page 4:
18 Sep 2012

2. During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amounts of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.

3. The weapons shipped from Libya to Syria during late-August 2012 [i.e., the period immediately prior to this memo] were sniper rifles, RPGs, and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles.

It's now clear that Trump (at least until June 19th) has been continuing Obama's stated policy of killing ISIS and then overthrowing Assad. But of course no one can yet know whether or not he would be continuing it in precisely the way that Hillary Clinton made clear that she would do, which is to announce a no-fly zone in Syria and thus grab control over some portion of the sovereign nation of Syria. That way would result, now after 19 June 2017 ( Russia's warning to shoot down U.S. aircraft that attack Syrian government-allied forces ), either in U.S. retreat or else shooting down Russian planes in Syria, and war between U.S. and Russia, ending in nuclear war.

When I presented, in my December 2016 report, what I referred to above as "the part of the 12 August 2012 DIA analysis of the intelligence regarding Iraq and in Syria that the press has not yet reported from the Judicial Watch FOIA disclosures," I didn't mention then that one news-medium did report a part of that section, and it was a rabidly pro-Republican site, Glenn Beck and his "The Blaze," which headlined about this matter, very appropriately, "'It Is Damn Near Criminal': Glenn Beck Says the U.S. Is Using Islamic State as a 'Pawn'," which point, Beck presented rather well in the video accompanying it. Unfortunately, however, closed-minded 'liberals' and 'progressives' paid no attention to this and to the other evils perpetrated by Obama ( such as these ). Regardless of how untrustworthy Beck is, his statements about that particular matter were actually spot-on.

Obama was using ISIS in this way, but after Russia started bombing ISIS in Syria on 30 September 2015, Obama joined in so as not to make obvious to the world that he had been protecting and even arming ISIS until that date, and that prior to Russia's bombing ISIS, the U.S. had actually ignored ISIS.

Now that ISIS in Syria seems to be on its last legs there, only Kurds and Al Qaeda in Syria ( and their backers especially the U.S. and Sauds ) remain as big threats to Syria's sovereignty, and the evidence at least till June 19th, has been that Trump definitely backs the Kurds there, and might also be backing Al Qaeda there as well. If he continues backing the Kurds and Al Qaeda there, after Russia's warning on June 19th (which the neoconservative Washington Post called only "bluffing" and the neoconservative CNBC called "bluster" ), then the U.S. will be at war not only against Russia, but also against Turkey, and also against Iran, and it would be World War III because it would be U.S.-v.-Russia. Turkey is already at war against the Kurds; and, if America is fighting for the Kurds, to break up Syria, then Turkey - a member of the NATO anti-Russia alliance - will paralyze NATO; and the U.S. will then be waging its war without NATO's support.

Trump would need to be very stupid to do such a thing. It would be an intelligence test which, if Trump fails, the world will end, in nuclear winter - with or without support from the rest of NATO. But, nonetheless, some in the American 'elite' and its employees, say that it would merely be a recognition of Russia's "bluffing" and "bluster." One wonders what objective this 'elite' believes to be worthy of taking the risk that they're wrong. What do they actually hope to 'win', fighting on the side of the Sauds (and their Israeli agents), in order to conquer Syria? Why are they so desperate, to do that?

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .

Eric Blair says June 27, 2017

Moon of Alabama commented yesterday on the US and its allies defeat (so far) in S.E. Syria. At an MSM ignored DoD press conference the US military admitted as much. From MoA's article:

Q: [ ] [W]hat potential threat do you believe these Iranian backed militias and regime forces continue to pose to your forces and your partner forces in the At Tanf - Abu Kamal area?

COL. DILLON: Well if the Syrian regime - and it looks like they are making a concerted effort to move into ISIS held areas. And if they show that they can do that, that is not a bad sign. We are here to fight ISIS as a coalition, but if others want to fight ISIS and defeat them, then we absolutely have no problem with that. And as they move eastward toward Abu Kamal and to Deir Ezzour, if we - as long as we can de-conflict and make sure that we can focus on what it is we're there to do, without having any kind of strategic mishaps with the regime or with pro-regime forces or with Russians, then that is - we're perfectly happy with that.

In a later part the spokesperson also concedes that the forces in al-Tanf are now very constricted in their movement:

if the regime is - has moved into an area that is towards Abu Kamal, then we are going to be limited to how far out we do patrols [from al-Tanf] with our partner forces.

Somewhat later the point is made again and even clearer – al-Tanf is now useless and the Syrian army is free to do what it does:

COL. DILLON: So what I was saying about that is that, out of the At Tanf area, we have used that to train our partner forces and to continue to - to fight ISIS, you know, if they are in and around that area.

You know, now that the regime has moved in, and they have made some significant, you know, progress, as it looks, towards moving to Abu Kamal and perhaps Deir Ezzour, if they want to fight ISIS in Abu Kamal and they have the capacity to do so, then, you know, that - that would be welcome.

We as a coalition are not in the land-grab business. We're in the killing ISIS business, and that is what we want to do. And if - if the Syrian regime wants to do that, and they are going to, again, put forth a concerted effort and show that they are - are doing just that in Abu Kamal or Deir Ezzour or elsewhere, that means that we don't have to do that in those locations.

So I guess that - what I'm saying is, in the At Tanf area, we will continue to train our partner forces. We will continue to do patrols in and around At Tanf in the Hamad desert. But if our access to Abu Kamal is shut off because the regime is there, that's okay.

Hmm the US military standing down? I haven't looked at the entire transcript yet but this seems almost too good to be true. Of course these press conference proclamations need to be washed down with a generous helping of delicious salt. Even if the statements are sincere, the interventionists, their media "partners" and think tank propagandists will keep on pushing for "regime change" (a coup by any other name ) and the destruction of Syria.

On the bright side US/NATO uncontested domination of the globe was stopped in its tracks by the Russian military in Syria on 30.09.2015 and there is simply no way Washington can bribe, threaten or beat every nation in the world into submission.

bevin says June 26, 2017
This is a culture at the end of its tether: it simply cannot put up with dissent or contradiction, so brittle is it. It is all part of a refusal to face ugly reality, symptomatic of which is the relegation-to Die Welt's Sunday edition- of Seymour Hersh's latest investigation of US state mendacity its irresponsibility in the matter if the recent "Sarin" attack blamed on Assad.
Ray McGovern has a piece at Counterpunch today in which he reveals that "Even the London Review of Books, which published Hersh's earlier debunking of the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin-gas incident, wouldn't go out onto the limb this time despite having paid for his investigation.

"According to Hersh, the LRB did not want to be "vulnerable to criticism for seeming to take the view of the Syrian and Russia governments when it came to the April 4 bombing in Khan Sheikhoun." So much for diversity of thought in today's West."
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/26/hershs-big-scoop-bad-intel-behind-trumps-syria-attack/

captain Swing says June 27, 2017
Very interesting article from Counterpunch. Thanks.
Jerry Alatalo says June 27, 2017
bevin,
The facts Seymour Hersh's article lays out pushes one in the direction that Trump – totally ignoring his intelligence and military experts telling him their was no certainty Assad was responsible – had knowledge the event was a false flag. Trump couldn't be so stupid as to not understand what his experts were telling him. After launching the 50 Tomahawk missiles, he lied through his teeth to the world, saying "we know we have the evidence..", then UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (like Colin Powell, before the illegal Iraq War) blasted Assad falsely, held up pictures at the Security Council of dead children which were quickly plastered on the front pages of newspapers globally,, and literally warned Syria's Bashar al-Jaafari of impending war.

Hersh's article shows Trump, Haley and the U.S. administration, UK/France and other United Nations representatives were lying about "we have the evidence", and owe their citizens and the world an explanation, plus an apology. These psychopath liars are extremely dangerous and must become held to account for their deceptions.

archie1954 says June 26, 2017
If the US were to persist in this dangerous dance with the devil, I could imaging NATO being split by Turkey, refusing to get involved any further and even separately protecting Europe from Russian retaliation by entering into a defense treaty with Russia. The US then would be shouldering the whole foolish confrontation by itself and perhaps having to deal with China and North Korea at the same time. Now that would be an interesting scenario.
Michael Leigh says June 26, 2017
I think the worthy Historian, Eric Zuesse has not considered the possibility that a new midlle East regional grouping, offers the best chance of allowing the USA to gracefully avoid the ultimate failure of its Middle East policy by conceding to the combined alliance, of the major traditional Nations and their forces of the Middle East; being Egypt, Iran and Turkey.

Currently divided by a false religious and secular division, posed by primarily Great Britain and the USA, it was the British who over 100 years ago financed and invented the Sunni Wahhabi division which sunni division represents the most murderous of the current Islamic terrorist outrages financed also by the USA and Saudi Arabia throughout the region and globe.

Similarly, the Anglo-Franco financed and hosting of the Muslim Brotherhood to further frustrate and end Turkey's leadership of the declining Otterman Empire, formally lead by Turkey.

The most important factor against a new alignment of those three aforementioned regional leaders; is the current illegimate counter-alliance of " the lawless Hebrew State of Israel " and the Teflon-guarded deep state, which appears to own and really run the also infamous North America State?

[Jun 24, 2017] Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided by Todd E. Pierce

Notable quotes:
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

[Jun 21, 2017] If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003

Jun 21, 2017 | www.unz.com

lavoisier June 21, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

@Pissedoffalese

Disgusted "liberal". Am I even a "liberal" anymore? I loathe the I-word and the J-word now with a purple passion. If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003. What the hell AM I? I despise Republicans, but the Dems didn't oppose their wars. Now I despise the Dems, and the right-wingnuts are starting to make sense. Is this cognitive dissonance? Bizzaro-world? I am one CONFUSED puppy.

Thank you PG Thoughtful comment.

The Democrats are every bit as much on board with the wars and the destruction of the working class as are the Republicans.

Where are the respectable liberals in this country?

I despise Democrats as you despise Republicans.

Now I despise them both. I have little loyalty for my government and do not trust anything that they do.

Our Republic is on life support.

[Jun 19, 2017] Sam Adonis, El Santo and Donald Trump by Linh Dinh

Notable quotes:
"... So there you have it. Trump has a professional wrestling mindset. ..."
"... 's Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog . ..."
Jun 19, 2017 | www.unz.com

Like millions of other Americans, Sam believed Trump to be genuine and uncompromising. To the San Jose Mercury News, however, Sam hinted at a deeper insight, "He's kind of embraced his position, as you like me or you don't, but I'm not changing. It is almost a professional wrestling mentality and I have a sympathy for that." So there you have it. Trump has a professional wrestling mindset.

... ... ...

Jesse Ventura, a wrestler turned politician, has repeatedly pointed out the similarity between American politics and professional wrestling. In 2010, Ventura said, "Politics today is pro wrestling. It is pro wrestling, and you know what I mean by that? I mean by that that the Dems and Repubs in front of you [reporters] and in front of the public is going to tell you how they hate each other, and how they're different, but as soon as the camera is off, in the backroom, they're all going out together, and they're all buddies cutting deals. It's just like pro wrestling. In front of the public, we hate each other, we're going to rip our heads off, but in the locker room, we're all friends. I'm suggesting politics is fake."

In 2016, Ventura told The Atlantic, "Many of these elected officials are just like wrestlers in the public and then they're the opposite in private. Case in point, do you remember a few years ago who was some congressman from Florida who voted against every gay bill and it turned out he was gay, do you remember that? Yeah, so there's a classic example of it. This guy who was gay hid the fact that he was gay, voted like he hated gays, and so he created a personality that was completely averse to what he really was. And wrestling's the same way."

Though American politicians are phonies, and American elections are farcically rigged, Americans continue to rabidly support their favorite political puppet, whether Obama, Hillary, Sanders, Trump or whoever. Going berserk over each cartoon savior or villain, most Americans don't even know they're being force-fed lucha libre.

Linh Dinh 's Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog .

[Jun 17, 2017] Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to Medicate U.S. Crisis of Governance Black Agenda Report

Jun 17, 2017 | blackagendareport.com
Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to "Medicate" U.S. "Crisis of Governance"

Submitted by Nellie Bailey a... on Tue, 06/13/2017 - 00:10

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https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/327874351&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false

The U.S. is engulfed in a "crisis of governance" that has been "intentionally misunderstood" by the corporate media and the political elite, said Danny Haiphong , a contributing political analyst at BAR.

Anti-Russian hysteria has been whipped up "to medicate political consciousness." "They don't want to discuss how Russia has absolutely nothing to do with the millions of incarcerated people in the U.S., or the fact that it is the U.S. monopoly capitalist economy, not the emerging capitalist economy of Russia, which has automated many of the jobs and siphoned much of the wealth that once belonged to a privileged sector of U.S. workers," said Haiphong. "This system has run its course. War is all the system has left."

[Jun 17, 2017] Why Bernie Sanders is an Imperialist Pig by Glen Ford

Notable quotes:
"... "The United States does not have a national health care system worthy of the name, because it is in the war business, not the health business or the social equality business." ..."
"... The United States is a predator nation, conceived and settled as a thief, exterminator and enslaver of other peoples. The slave-based republic's phenomenal geographic expansion and economic growth were predicated on the super-exploitation of stolen African labor and the ruthless expropriation of native lands through genocidal wars, an uninterrupted history of plunder glorified in earlier times as "Manifest Destiny" and now exalted as "American exceptionalism," an inherently racist justification for international and domestic lawlessness. ..."
"... "The U.S. state demands fealty to its imperial project as a substitute for any genuine social contract among its inhabitants." ..."
"... "The first Black U.S. president, Barack Obama, was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history." ..."
"... in opposition to their own interests ..."
"... "Race relations in the U.S. cannot be understood outside the historical context of war, including the constant state of race war that is a central function of the U.S. State." ..."
"... "We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world," Sanders told voters in Iowa." ..."
"... Sanders is a regime-changer, which means he thinks the U.S., in combination with self-selected allies, is above international law, i.e., "exceptional." ..."
"... According to Politico , "As late as 2002," Sanders' campaign website declared that "the defense budget should be cut by 50 percent over the next five years." But all the defense-cutting air went out of his chest after Bush invaded Iraq. Nowadays, Sanders limits himself to the usual noises about Pentagon "waste," but has no principled position against the imperial mission of the United States. "We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world," Sanders told voters in Iowa, during the campaign. ..."
"... Like Paul Street said, he's an "imperialist...Democratic Party company man." ..."
"... "A Sanders-led Party would still be an imperialist, pro-war party." ..."
"... BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com . ..."
Jun 17, 2017 | blackagendareport.com

Leftish Democrats insist they can reform the corporate-run, Russia-obsessed Democratic Party from the inside, but most pay little attention to war. However, "War is not a side issue in the United States; it is the central political issue, on which all the others turn." Some think Bernie Sanders should run with the Peoples Party. But, "Sanders is a warmonger, not merely by association, but by

"The United States does not have a national health care system worthy of the name, because it is in the war business, not the health business or the social equality business."

The United States is a predator nation, conceived and settled as a thief, exterminator and enslaver of other peoples. The slave-based republic's phenomenal geographic expansion and economic growth were predicated on the super-exploitation of stolen African labor and the ruthless expropriation of native lands through genocidal wars, an uninterrupted history of plunder glorified in earlier times as "Manifest Destiny" and now exalted as "American exceptionalism," an inherently racist justification for international and domestic lawlessness.

Assembled, acre by bloody acre, as a metastasizing empire, the U.S. state demands fealty to its imperial project as a substitute for any genuine social contract among its inhabitants – a political culture custom-made for the rule of rich white people.

The American project has been one long war of aggression that has shaped its borders, its internal social relations, and its global outlook and ambitions. It was founded as a consciously capitalist state that competed with other European powers through direct absorption of captured lands, brutal suppression of native peoples and the fantastic accumulation of capital through a diabolically efficient system of Black chattel slavery – a 24/7 war against the slave. This system then morphed through two stages of "Jim Crow" to become a Mass Black Incarceration State – a perpetual war of political and physical containment against Black America.

"The U.S. state demands fealty to its imperial project as a substitute for any genuine social contract among its inhabitants."

Since the end of World War Two, the U.S. has assumed the role of protector of the spoils of half a millennium of European wars and occupations of the rest of the world: the organized rape of nations that we call colonialism. The first Black U.S. president, Barack Obama, was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history -- defending the accumulated advantages that colonialism provided to western European nations, settler states (like the U.S.) and citizens -- having launched an ongoing military offensive aimed at strangling the Chinese giant and preventing an effective Eurasian partnership with Russia. The first phase of the offensive, the crushing of Libya in 2011, allowed the United States to complete the effective military occupation of Africa, through AFRICOM.

The U.S. and its NATO allies already account for about 70 percent of global military spending, but Obama and his successor, Donald Trump, demand that Europeans increase the proportion of their economic output that goes to war. More than half of U.S. discretionary spending -- the tax money that is not dedicated to mandated social and development programs -- goes to what Dr. Martin Luther King 50 years ago called the "demonic, destructive suction tube" of the U.S. war machine.

"The first Black U.S. president, Barack Obama, was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history."

The United States does not have a national health care system worthy of the name, because it is in the war business, not the health business or the social equality business. The U.S. has the weakest left, by far, of any industrialized country, because it has never escaped the racist, predatory dynamic on which it was founded, which stunted and deformed any real social contract among its peoples. In the U.S., progress is defined by global dominance of the U.S. State -- chiefly in military terms -- rather than domestic social development. Americans only imagine that they are materially better off than the people of other developed nations -- a fallacy they assume to be the case because of U.S. global military dominance. More importantly, most white Americans feel racially entitled to the spoils of U.S. dominance as part of their patrimony, even if they don't actually enjoy the fruits. ("WE made this country great.") This is by no means limited to Trump voters.

Race relations in the U.S. cannot be understood outside the historical context of war, including the constant state of race war that is a central function of the U.S. State: protecting "American values," fighting "crime" and "urban disorder," and all the other euphemisms for preserving white supremacy.

War is not a side issue in the United States; it is the central political issue, on which all the others turn. War mania is the enemy of all social progress -- especially so, when it unites disparate social forces, in opposition to their own interests , in the service of an imperialist state that is the tool of a rapacious white capitalist elite. Therefore, the orchestrated propaganda blitzkrieg against Russia by the Democratic Party, in collaboration with the corporate media and other functionaries and properties of the U.S. ruling class, marks the party as, collectively, the Warmonger-in-Chief political institution in the United States at this historical juncture. The Democrats are anathema to any politics that can be described as progressive.

"Race relations in the U.S. cannot be understood outside the historical context of war, including the constant state of race war that is a central function of the U.S. State."

Bernie Sanders is a highly valued Democrat, the party's Outreach Director and therefore, as Paul Street writes , "the imperialist and sheep-dogging fake-socialist Democratic Party company man that some of us on the 'hard radical' Left said he was." Sanders is a warmonger, not merely by association, but by virtue of his own positions. He favors more sanctions against Russia, in addition to the sanctions levied against Moscow in 2014 and 2016 for its measured response to the U.S-backed fascist coup against a democratically elected government in Ukraine. Rather than surrender to U.S. bullying, Russia came to the military aid of the sovereign and internationally recognized government of Syria in 2015, upsetting the U.S. game plan for an Islamic jihadist victory.

Back in April of this year, on NBC's Meet The Press, Sanders purposely mimicked The Godfather when asked what he would do to force the Russians "to the table" in Syria:

"I think you may want to make them an offer they can't refuse. And that means tightening the screws on them, dealing with sanctions, telling them that we need their help, they have got to come to the table and not maintain this horrific dictator."

Of course, it is the United States that has sabotaged every international agreement to rein in its jihadist mercenaries in Syria.

"We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world," Sanders told voters in Iowa."

Sanders is a regime-changer, which means he thinks the U.S., in combination with self-selected allies, is above international law, i.e., "exceptional."

"We've got to work with countries around the world for a political solution to get rid of this guy [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] and to finally bring peace and stability to this country, which has been so decimated."

During the 2016 campaign, Sanders urged the U.S. to stop acting unilaterally in the region, but instead to collaborate with Syria's Arab neighbors -- as if the funding and training of jihadist fighters had not been a joint effort with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, all along.

According to Politico , "As late as 2002," Sanders' campaign website declared that "the defense budget should be cut by 50 percent over the next five years." But all the defense-cutting air went out of his chest after Bush invaded Iraq. Nowadays, Sanders limits himself to the usual noises about Pentagon "waste," but has no principled position against the imperial mission of the United States. "We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world," Sanders told voters in Iowa, during the campaign.

Like Paul Street said, he's an "imperialist...Democratic Party company man."

"A Sanders-led Party would still be an imperialist, pro-war party."

At last weekend's People's Summit , in Chicago, National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro endorsed Sanders for a mission he finds impossible to accept: a run for president in 2020 on the Peoples Party ticket. Sanders already had his chance to run as a Green, and refused. He is now the second most important Democrat in the country, behind the ultra-corrupt Bill-Hillary Clinton machine -- and by far the most popular. On top of that, Sanders loves being the hero of the phony left, the guy who gimmick-seeking left-liberals hope will create an instant national party for them, making it unnecessary to build a real anti-war, pro-people party from scratch to go heads up with the two corporate machines.

Sanders doesn't even have to exert himself to string the Peoples Party folks along; they eagerly delude themselves. However, a Sanders-led Party would still be an imperialist, pro-war party.

The U.S. does need a social democratic party, but it must be anti-war, otherwise it commits a fraud on social democracy. The United States is the imperial superpower, the main military aggressor on the planet. Its rulers must be deprived of the political ability to spend trillions on war, and to kill millions, or they will always use the "necessity" of war to enforce austerity. The "left" domestic project will fail.

For those of us from the Black Radical Tradition, anti-imperialism is central. Solidarity with the victims of U.S. imperialism is non-negotiable, and we can make no common cause with U.S. political actors that treat war as a political side show, an "elective" issue that is separate from domestic social justice. This is not just a matter of principle, but also of practical politics. "Left" imperialism isn't just evil, it is self-defeating and stupid.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .

[Jun 17, 2017] Sanders is with neocon lobby and supports Russian sanctions

Jun 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

rickee | Jun 16, 2017 12:47:19 AM | 33

@15 You mistate/misunderstood: "There was a simultaneous vote..." There was not.

S.Amdt. 232 (increase sanctions on Russia and limit Trump) was an amendment to S. 722 (the Iranian sanctions bill).

Sanders voted for 232 because, frankly, he's all on board the Russia-Russia-Russia hysteria and demonizing Syria. He voted against 722 for the potential damage to the multi-lateral nuclear agreement with Iran. From his senate.gov website today:

" I am strongly supportive of the sanctions on Russia included in this bill. It is unacceptable for Russia to interfere in our elections here in the United States, or anywhere around the world. There must be consequences for such actions. I also have deep concerns about the policies and activities of the Iranian government, especially their support for the brutal Assad regime in Syria.

I have voted for sanctions on Iran in the past, and I believe sanctions were an important tool for bringing Iran to the negotiating table. But I believe that these new sanctions could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners and Iran in 2015. That is not a risk worth taking, particularly at a time of heightened tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies. I think the United States must play a more even-handed role in the Middle East, and find ways to address not only Iran's activities, but also Saudi Arabia's decades-long support for radical extremism."

@10 is correct: they're all in...

[Jun 17, 2017] The Collapsing Social Contract by Gaius Publius

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it. ..."
"... Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur. ..."
"... But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.) ..."
"... American Psycho ..."
"... The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America. ..."
"... unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do. ..."
"... our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture. ..."
"... That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us. ..."
"... Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal. ..."
"... "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability. ..."
"... Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? ..."
"... JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed. ..."
"... Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets. ..."
"... Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away. ..."
"... My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. ..."
"... The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. ..."
"... There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation. ..."
"... The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. ..."
"... "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." ..."
"... "Four Futures" ..."
"... Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good". ..."
"... Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I have been saying for some years that I did not think we would see a revolution, but more and more individuals acting out violently. That's partly the result of how community and social bonds have weakened as a result of neoliberalism but also because the officialdom has effective ways of blocking protests. With the overwhelming majority of people using smartphones, they are constantly surveilled. And the coordinated 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street shows how the officialdom moved against non-violent protests. Police have gotten only more military surplus toys since then, and crowd-dispersion technology like sound cannons only continues to advance. The only way a rebellion could succeed would be for it to be truly mass scale (as in over a million people in a single city) or by targeting crucial infrastructure.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

"[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017 , the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
-Paul Buchheit, Alternet

"Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
-NBC News, June 14, 2017

"4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
-ABC7News, June 14, 2017

"Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
-MarianneW via Twitter

"We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
-SamT via Twitter

"If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
- Yours truly

When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

Then where will we be?

America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"​ if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down - physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

The pot isn't boiling yet - these shootings are random, individualized - but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way in which to be a denier of change.

These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state ; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump. The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.

elstprof , June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am

But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.)

"If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?"

Not necessarily. What Lacan called the "Big Other" is quite powerful. We internalize a lot of socio-economic junk from our cultural inheritance, especially as it's been configured over the last 40 years - our values, our body images, our criteria for judgment, our sense of what material well-being consists, etc. Ellis's American Psycho is the great satire of our time, and this time is not quite over yet. Dismemberment reigns.

The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America.

The idea that agency could be a collective action of a union for a strike isn't even on the horizon. And at the same time, these same students don't bat an eye at socialism. They're willing to listen.

But unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Most of the elite do not understand the money system. They do not understand how different sectors have benefitted from policies and/or subsidies that increased the money flows into these. So they think they deserve their money more than those who toiled in sectors with less support.

Furthermore, our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture.

jefemt , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

BAU, TINA, BAU!! BOHICA!!!

Dead Dog , June 16, 2017 at 3:09 am

Thank you Gaius, a thoughtful post. That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us.

Of tangential interest, Turnbull has just announced another gun amnesty targeting guns that people no longer need and a tightening of some of the ownership laws.

RWood , June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

So this inheritance matures: http://www.nature.com/news/fight-the-silencing-of-gun-research-1.22139

willem , June 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

One problem is the use of the term "social contract", implying that there is some kind of agreement ( = consensus) on what that is. I don't remember signing any "contract".

Fiery Hunt , June 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

I fear for my friends, I fear for my family. They do not know how ravenous the hounds behind nor ahead are. For myself? I imagine myself the same in a Mad Max world. It will be more clear, and perception shattering, to most whose lives allow the ignoring of gradual chokeholds, be them political or economic, but those of us who struggle daily, yearly, decadely with both, will only say Welcome to the party, pals.

Disturbed Voter , June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal.

Each person does what is right in their own eyes, but the net effect is impoverishment and destruction. Life is unfair, indeed. A social contract is a mutual suicide pact, whether you renegotiate it or not. This is Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club, is we don't speak of Fight Club. Go to the gym, toughen up, while you still can.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

"Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability.

Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? Recalling that as my Contracts professor in law school emphasized over and over, in "contracts" there are no rights in the absence of effective remedies. It being a Boston law school, the notion was echoed in Torts, and in Commercial Paper and Sales and, tellingly, in Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction, and even in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. No remedy, no right. What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?

When honest "remedies under law" become nugatory, there's always the recourse to direct action of course with zero guarantee of redress

sierra7 , June 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

"What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?" Ah yes the ultimate remedy is outright rebellion against the highest authorities .with as you say, " zero guarantee of redress."

But, history teaches us that that path will be taken ..the streets. It doesn't (didn't) take a genius to see what was coming back in the late 1960's on .regarding the beginnings of the revolt(s) by big money against organized labor. Having been very involved in observing, studying and actually active in certain groups back then, the US was acting out in other countries particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, against any social progression, repressing, arresting (thru its surrogates) torturing, killing any individuals or groups that opposed that infamous theory of "free market capitalism". It had a very definite "creep" effect, northwards to the mainstream US because so many of our major corporations were deeply involved with our covert intelligence operatives and objectives (along with USAID and NED). I used to tell my friends about what was happening and they would look at me as if I was a lunatic. The agency for change would be "organized labor", but now, today that agency has been trashed enough where so many of the young have no clue as to what it all means. The ultimate agenda along with "globalization" is the complete repression of any opposition to the " spread of money markets" around the world". The US intends to lead; whether the US citizenry does is another matter. Hence the streets.

Kuhio Kane , June 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed.

bdy , June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

The Social Contract, ephemeral, reflects perfectly what contracts have become. Older rulings frequently labeled clauses unconscionable - a tacit recognition that so few of the darn things are actually agreed upon. Rather, a party with resources, options and security imposes the agreement on a party in some form of crisis (nowadays the ever present crisis of paycheck to paycheck living – or worse). Never mind informational asymmetries, necessity drives us into crappy rental agreements and debt promises with eyes wide open. And suddenly we're all agents of the state.

Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets.

Solidarity, of course. Hard when Identity politics lubricate a labor market that insists on specialization, and talented children of privilege somehow manage to navigate the new entrepreneurism while talented others look on in frustration. The resistance insists on being leaderless (fueled in part IMHO by the uncomfortable fact that effective leaders are regularly killed or co-opted). And the overriding message of resistance is negative: "Stop it!"

But that's where we are. Again, just my opinion: but the pivotal step away from the jackpot is to convince or coerce our wealthiest not to cash in. Stop making and saving so much stinking money, y'all.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

The pension system is based on profits. Nothing will change until the profits disappear and the top quintile starts falling off the treadmill.

Susan the other , June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

and there's the Karma bec. even now we see a private banking system synthesizing an economy to maintain asset values and profits and they have the nerve to blame it on social spending. I think Giaus's term 'Denier' is perfect for all those vested practitioners of profit-capitalism at any cost. They've already failed miserably. For the most part they're just too proud to admit it and, naturally, they wanna hang on to "their" money. I don't think it will take a revolution – in fact it would be better if no chaos ensued – just let these arrogant goofballs stew in their own juice a while longer. They are killing themselves.

roadrider , June 16, 2017 at 8:33 am

There's a social contract? Who knew?

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game. -Learned Hand

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away.

My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Meanwhile, I just got a message from my car-share service: They are cutting back on the number of cars on offer. Too much vandalism.

Are these things caused by pressure from above? Yes, in part: The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

JEHR , June 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

DJG: My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Yes, the trash bit is hard to understand. What does it stand for? Does it mean, We can infinitely disregard our surroundings by throwing away plastic, cardboard, metal and paper and nothing will happen? Does it mean, There is more where that came from! Does it mean, I don't care a fig for the earth? Does it mean, Human beings are stupid and, unlike pigs, mess up their immediate environment and move on? Does it mean, Nothing–that we are just nihilists waiting to die? I am so fed up with the garbage strewn on the roads and in the woods where I live; I used to pick it up and could collect as much as 9 garbage bags of junk in 9 days during a 4 kilometer walk. I don't pick up any more because I am 77 and cannot keep doing it.

However, I am certain that strewn garbage will surely be the last national flag waving in the breeze as the anthem plays junk music and we all succumb to our terrible future.

jrs , June 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Related to this, I thought one day of who probably NEVER gets any appreciation but strives to make things nicer, anyone planning or planting the highway strips (government workers maybe although it could be convicts also unfortunately, I'm not sure). Yes highways are ugly, yes they will destroy the world, but some of the planting strips are sometimes genuinely nice. So they add some niceness to the ugly and people still litter of course.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean.

Basically, the world people care about stops outside their dwellings, because they do not feel it is "theirs" or that they participate in its possession in a genuine way. It belongs to the "town administration", or to a "private corporation", or to the "government" - and if they feel they have no say in the ownership, management, regulation and benefits thereof, why should they care? Let the town administration/government/corporation do the clean-up - we already pay enough taxes/fees/tolls, and "they" are always putting up more restrictions on how to use everything, so

In conclusion: the phenomenon of litter/trash is another manifestation of a fraying social contract.

Big River Bandido , June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good.

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

I live in NYC, and just yesterday as I attempted to refill my MetroCard, the machine told me it was expired and I had to replace it. The replacement card doesn't look at all like a MetroCard with the familiar yellow and black graphic saying "MetroCard". Instead? It's an ad. For a fucking insurance company. And so now, every single time that I go somewhere on the subway, I have to see an ad from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

And as a result, people no longer care about it - they do not feel it is their commonwealth any longer.

Did you notice whether the NYC subway got increasingly dirty/littered as the tentacles of privatization reached everywhere? Just curious.

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. From Yves's posting of Yanis Varoufakis's analysis of the newest terms of the continuing destruction of Greece:

With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices.

I see! "Safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining" refers, of course, to the 2012 removal of the right to collective bargaining and the end to trades union representation for each and every Greek worker. Our government was elected in January 2015 with an express mandate to restore these workers' and trades unions' rights. Prime Minister Tsipras has repeatedly pledged to do so, even after our falling out and my resignation in July 2015. Now, yesterday, his government consented to this piece of Eurogroup triumphalism that celebrates the 'safeguarding' of the 2012 'reforms'. In short, the SYRIZA government has capitulated on this issue too: Workers' and trades' unions' rights will not be restored. And, as if that were not bad enough, "collective dismissals" will be brought "in line with best EU practices". What this means is that the last remaining constraints on corporations, i.e. a restriction on what percentage of workers can be fired each month, is relaxed. Make no mistake: The Eurogroup is telling us that, now that employers are guaranteed the absence of trades unions, and the right to fire more workers, growth enhancement will follow suit! Let's not hold our breath!

Daniel F. , June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

The so-called "Elites"? Stand down? Right. Every year I look up the cardinal topics discussed at the larger economic forums and conferences (mainly Davos and G8), and some variation of "The consequences of rising inequality" is a recurring one. Despite this, nothing ever comes out if them. I imagine they go something like this:

A wet dream come true, both for an AnCap and a communist conspiracy theorist. I'm by no means either. However, I think capitalism has already failed and can't go on for much longer. Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief.

I'd very much like to be proven wrong.

Bobby Gladd , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

"Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." Frase's Quadrant Four. Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (From "Four Futures" )

Archangel , June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good".

oh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Our country is rife with rent seeking pigs who will stoop lower and lower to feed their greed.

Vatch , June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

In today's Links section there's this: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-super-rich-are-even-richer-than-we-thought which has relevance for the discussion of the collapsing social contract.

Chauncey Gardiner , June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.

Here in the US the New Deal and other legislation helped preserve social order in the 1930s. Yves also raises an important point in her preface that can provide support for the center by those who are able to do so under the current economic framework. That glue is to participate in one's community; whether it is volunteering at a school, the local food bank, community-oriented social clubs, or in a multitude of other ways; regardless of whether your community is a small town or a large city.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

" Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks."

None of which applies to the Imperium, of course. There's glue, all right, but it's the kind that is used for flooring in Roach Motels (TM), and those horrific rat and mouse traps that stick the rodent to a large rectangle of plastic, where they die eventually of exhaustion and dehydration and starvation The rat can gnaw off a leg that's glued down, but then it tips over and gets glued down by the chest or face or butt

I have to note that several people I know are fastidious about picking up trash other people "throw away." I do it, when I'm up to bending over. I used to be rude about it - one young attractive woman dumped a McDonald's bag and her ashtray out the window of her car at one of our very long Florida traffic lights. I got out of my car, used the mouth of the McDonald's bag to scoop up most of the lipsticked butts, and threw them back into her car. Speaking of mouths, that woman with the artfully painted lips sure had one on her

[Jun 16, 2017] Political Disorder Syndrome - Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal

Notable quotes:
"... It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Endgame Napoleon - Stuck on Zero , Jun 15, 2017 10:10 PM

A lot of the debate by the MSM focuses on the careerist power struggle of elites at the top. That is not what brought Trump to power, nor is ideological purity of any kind the reason, although college students at elite universities may be motivated by ideology.

Many people who voted for Trump said they had not bothered to vote since Perot. That was the last time serious economic issues were addressed head-on. There were many cross-over voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere, voting for Trump because their party, when not focused on one more layer of welfare/taxfare for single moms, focuses on racism, sexism and xenophobia.....

....in a "racist" era with a twice-elected Black president, where many government agencies have 80% Black staff and managers

.....in a "sexist"' era where more than half of the MDs are women, as are half of the managers, in general, when wealth has never been more concentrated due to assortative mating

....in a "xenophobic" era, where even illegal immigrants are treated much better than millions of citizens, leading to $113 billion per year in welfare/taxfare expenditures for the illegal immigrants alone, not counting all of the freebies for 1 million legal immigrants admitted per year, particularly for those who reproduce

CRM114 - Killtruck , Jun 15, 2017 9:08 PM

When do you think it was crossed?

End of the Cold War, I reckon. That's the last point when politicians being vaguely competent mattered.

VWAndy - nmewn , Jun 15, 2017 8:56 PM

Its a big club. An you and me aint in it. The left vs right thing is just a trick.

Kyddyl , Jun 15, 2017 8:44 PM

As I said in response to another article I've been off on a kick of reading about the American unCivil War. The heated rhetoric led up to violence far before either "side" was ready. It proved to be a messy disaster. Very few thought ahead far enough to even have their own families survive it. Be very careful of what you wish for. John Michael Greer's "Twilight's Last Gleaming" and "Retrotopia" should give us serious pause for thought. Our just in time grocery supply system would fail, fuel delivery from the few states with refineries would crawl and with all those nuclear power plants needing constant baby sitting everybody needs to settle down and really think this mess out. Inter US civil divisions would need careful and peaceful negotiations.

Forbes , Jun 15, 2017 8:53 PM

The messaging Henninger identifies was rampant for eight years of Obama ("Get in their faces!" and the Chicago Way--"They bring a knife, you bring a gun.") Social media is/was no different. Remember the Rodeo Clown wearing an Obama mask who was summarily fired. Any critique of Obama was automatically racist. I could go on and on with examples. The Left never policed its own, was constantly on-guard against the Right, with enforcement of political correctness job #1.

The ankle-biting mainstream media is part and parcel the opposition and the resistence--and the Establishment Republicans at the WSJ are just now noticing?? Someone alert Captain Renault...

Let it Go , Jun 15, 2017 9:00 PM

In reality no intelligent plans have been written or are moving through the halls of Congress. It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets.

http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2017/06/polarized-america-taking-course-of.html

TeethVillage88s , Jun 15, 2017 9:05 PM

But, But, ... that sounds like RINOs, DINOs, NeoCons, Neoliberals, those that think Economics is a Hard Science... Sounds like Propaganda by the Most Powerful Corporations and Family Dynasties...

"Political Disorder Syndrome - "Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal"

PDS - won't get traction since TPTB have to approve of this kind of thing!

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/jimmy-buffett/banana-republics.html

- Borders Are Destroyed to Attack the US Labor Rate (Deserved or Undeserved) - Globalism, CAFTA, NAFTA, Fast-Track by Bill Clinton, deployed to destroy US Labor Rate & US Jobs & US Middle Class = PROOF that Democrats are Treasonous, are working against the Worker (Either Communist Worker or Other worker) - US National Security is destroyed by the cost of MIC, $1 Trillion Annually - US Constitutional Republic is Destroyed, replaced by Globalism Ideology & Propaganda Deep Program to hide this Fact from Middle Class, from Workers, from Job Losers, from Voters, from Students, from Youth who will not see the entry level jobs...

IT IS A REAL MESS, Propaganda is the name of the Problem! We all know the history of Propaganda. We know that Hillary Clinton engaged in an INFO-War long, long ago. 1971 William Renquist Memo pointed out to Republicans that they must gear up for Foundations to fight Democrats who were much stronger in Political Organizations at this time.

Makes you think.

ElTerco , Jun 15, 2017 10:26 PM

I think main street has been extremely patient. I think after three decades of being slowly and consistently shit on though, enough is enough, and they are starting to lose it.

[Jun 15, 2017] The basic thread running through all of the workshops and demagogic speeches was the fiction that the Democratic Party -- a party of Wall Street and the CIA-can be transformed into a peoples party

Jun 15, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Northern Star , June 13, 2017 at 10:51 am
"The event was a political fraud from beginning to end. The basic thread running through all of the workshops and demagogic speeches was the fiction that the Democratic Party-a party of Wall Street and the CIA-can be transformed into a "people's party."
LOL!!! Totally spot the F on!!!!!

"Sanders lent his support to the neo-McCarthyite campaign of the Democrats and the military-intelligence apparatus, which sees Russia as the chief obstacle to US imperialism's drive for regime change in Syria and Iran. "I find it strange we have a president who is more comfortable with autocrats and authoritarians than leaders of democratic nations," Sanders said. "Why is he enamored with Putin, a man who has suppressed democracy and destabilized democracies around the world, including our own?"

Sanders?? No fool like an old fool and tool of TPTB

marknesop , June 13, 2017 at 11:42 am
Oh, I doubt he's a fool; the creed of the western political class is recognition of its own and their interests over the interests of the majority. It is technically true that Putin is destabilizing governments around the world – 'democracies', if you will – but it would presuppose that western leaders are his accomplices. Because it is through them and their crackdowns and restrictions and surveillance, which they say they must introduce for our own protection (because, you know, freedom isn't free) that discontent and destabilization are born. Reply

[Jun 14, 2017] WOW: President of Russia Vladimir Putin Says US Presidents Are Puppets, Men in Dark Suits Rule Washington with The Same Orders

Jun 14, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Warren , June 13, 2017 at 3:56 am

https://twitter.com/Lukewearechange/status/874035691570835457

Luke Rudkowski ‏ Verified account @ Lukewearechange Jun 11

Luke Rudkowski @Lukewearechange

WOW: President of Russia Vladimir Putin Says US Presidents Are Puppets, 'Men in Dark Suits' Rule Washington with The Same Orders

6:48 PM - 11 Jun 2017 · Brooklyn, NY 1,370 1,370 Retweets 1,624 1,624 likes

[Jun 13, 2017] Bait and switch artist as Barack Obama authentic self

Notable quotes:
"... I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?). ..."
"... Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
clarky90 , , , June 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I believe that Hillary Clinton IS being, and broadcasting her authentic self. I support her 100% in this . I am not being snide. The curtains are being pulled aside on The Incompetent, Wizards of Oz (The Corrupt Over-class). Hillary C will be remembered as the Foolish Wizard who could not keep her curtain drawn! We got a glimpse into the innards of the Heath Robinson, Control Booth, Political Contraption. (George Soros playing with himself!)

I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?).

Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent.

References

(1) "One-third of world now overweight, with US leading the way"
?????????????????? ..
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/12/health/global-obesity-study/index.html

Tvc15 , , June 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Clarky90 said, " We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent." Exactly!

And the only solace I have from the Trump show is that the curtains will be pulled back completely to expose the puppeteers of this charade they call a democracy.

OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL , , June 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Which should make it much easier to generate authentic opposition, doncha think? Trump was The Great Reveal, next up is The Great Reveal for Dems: that they too love War and Billionaire Corporo-Fascism

roxy , June 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

"Everybody Needs to Stop Telling Hillary Clinton to Shut Up"

Throughout the campaign, culminating in the mindbogglingly stupid "deplorables" remark, Clinton's contempt for anyone who questioned her was clear. Her post election tour brings more of the same. So yeah, people are sick of hearing it, and have every right to say so.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 12, 2017 at 6:31 pm

She should be grateful that there are still people who bother to tell her to be quiet.

Me? I have ears but do not hear when it comes to her. Her spells can never penetrate my thick skull.

[Jun 13, 2017] Three Takeaways From Bernie Sanders Speech At The Peoples Summit

Jun 13, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

RGC June 13, 2017 at 08:31 AM

Three Takeaways From Bernie Sanders' Speech At The People's Summit

"He may not be the leader of the free world, but to the 4,000 activists gathered at The People's Summit in Chicago, Sen. Bernie Sanders reigns supreme.

The former presidential candidate and senator from Vermont headlined the progressive activist conference Saturday night, drawing whoops, hollers, and standing ovations from the crowd that fought alongside him on the road to the White House. Sanders' new calling: turning the 'resistance' movement into action in the face of a president he's called a "fraud."

Sanders took aim at President Trump, the Democratic Party, and the outsized role of corporations in American politics, hitting the major themes from his campaign stump speech and introducing some new ones.

https://www.bustle.com/p/three-takeaways-from-bernie-sanders-speech-at-the-peoples-summit-63549

[Jun 11, 2017] A new factor in US politics: the downward spiral of distrust between citizens and elites, in which citizens treat "corrupt" and "establishment" as interchangeable terms.

Jun 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. June 09, 2017 at 02:01 PM

No, this isn't the Onion.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/9/15768314/public-participation-cant-save-american-democracy

What if "more public participation" can't save American democracy?

It's time to make peace with reality and develop a new plan.

Updated by Lee Drutman Jun 9, 2017, 12:00pm EDT

American democracy is in a downward spiral. Well, really two downward spirals.

The first is the downward spiral of bipolar partisanship, in which both sides increasingly demonize each other as the enemy, and refuse to compromise and cooperate - an escalating arms race that is now going beyond mere gridlock and threatening basic democratic norms.

The second is the downward spiral of distrust between citizens and elites, in which citizens treat "corrupt" and "establishment" as interchangeable terms. The public consensus is that politicians are self-serving, not to be trusted. In this logic, only more public participation can make politicians serve the people.

...
Gibbon1 - , June 09, 2017 at 07:06 PM

> in which both sides increasingly demonize each other as the enemy

Yes but the fascist right is the enemy and the centrist right openly supports. And centrist left engages in nothing but appeasement.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 10, 2017 at 05:23 AM
The public consensus seems fairly accurate, but then so does Gibbon1.

[Jun 11, 2017] Failure as a Way of Life by William S. Lind

Notable quotes:
"... Sadly the Cheneyite rot is so deep at this point that we'll simply have to ride it out . . . Svechin wrote about the corrupting influence of a political elite overwhelmed by its own decadence and delusions that it confuses its own interests with those of the country that it rules ..."
Jun 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

February 15, 2016

The fault line in American politics is no longer Republican vs. Democrat nor conservative vs. liberal but establishment vs. anti-establishment. This is an inevitable result of serial failure in establishment policies. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the establishment's repeated military interventions abroad in wars against non-state opponents. When such interventions fail in one place-first Somalia, then Iraq, then Afghanistan, then Libya, now Syria-it does the same thing again somewhere else, with the same result.

Why has the establishment allowed itself to be trapped in serial failure? Once we understand how it works, the answer is plain: it cannot do otherwise. On Capitol Hill, the legalization of bribery-"campaign contributions"-means money rules. That puts business as usual in the driver's seat because that is where the money is. If a member of Congress backs, say, the F-35 fighter/bomber, he can count on campaign contributions from its manufacturers and jobs for his state or district. (The Pentagon calls that "strategic contracting.") If instead he calls for reforming our military so it can perform better in Fourth Generation wars, where fighter/bombers are useless, there's no money.

My long-time colleague Paul Weyrich and I both began our Washington careers as Senate staff, Paul in the late 1960s and me in 1973. Shortly before his death in 2008, I said to him, "When we arrived on the Hill, at least half the members of the Senate thought their job had something to do with governing the country. Now that figure is at most 10 percent. All the rest think about is having a successful career as a professional politician and retiring very, very rich." Paul agreed.

Just as money locks in current policy, so does ideology. To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image. Other peoples see this, rightly, as an attempt to ram the Brave New World down their throats. Many are willing to fight to prevent it. But if a member of the Washington establishment dares question the ideology and suggests a policy based on realism, he immediately loses his establishment membership.

Over breakfast in Denver several years ago I said to my old boss, Sen. Gary Hart, "If you are a member of the establishment and you suggest more than five degrees rudder change in anything, you cease to be a member of the establishment." He replied, "I'm exhibit A."

Below these factors lies the establishment's bedrock. It is composed overwhelmingly of people who want to be something, not people who want to do something. They have devoted their lives to becoming members of the establishment and enjoying the many privileges thereof. They are not likely to endanger club membership by breaking its rules. Beyond following money and adhering to its ideology, the rules are three.

The first is, don't worry about serial failure. Within the Beltway, the failure of national policies is not important. Career success depends on serving interests and pleasing courtiers above you, not making things work in flyover land. As in 17th-century Spain, the court is dominated by interests that prosper by feeding off the country's decay.

Second, rely on the establishment's wealth and power to insulate its members from the consequences of policy failure. The public schools are wretched, but the establishment's children go to private schools. We lose wars, but the generals who lose them get promoted. The F-35 is a horrible fighter, but no member of the establishment will have to fly it. So long as the money keeps flowing, all is well.

Third and most important, the only thing that really matters is remaining a member of the establishment. This completes the loop in what is a classic closed system, where the outside world does not matter and is not allowed to intrude. Col. John Boyd, America's greatest military theorist, said that all closed systems collapse. The Washington establishment cannot adjust, it cannot adapt, it cannot learn. It cannot escape serial failure.

The public is catching on to all this and, on both sides of the political spectrum, turning to anti-establishment candidates. If we are fortunate, some will win. If the establishment manipulates the rules to hold on to power indefinitely, when it collapses it may take the state with it.

William S. Lind is the author, as "Thomas Hobbes," of Victoria: a Novel of Fourth Generation War .

  • Christopher Manion , says: February 15, 2016 at 8:02 am
    Paul Weyrich is still an inspiration, as Bill recounts here. He tried to make that ninety percent do the right thing, appealing to their better natures but threatening their heart's desires. It was, and is, a constant battle.

    As for the closed system – the only way to drain DC's Bipartisan Hot Tub is from the outside. That's where the plug is – no one on the inside can reach it, and none there really wants to.

    That's our job.

    Colorado Jack , says: February 15, 2016 at 8:11 am
    "To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image."

    They may spout it, but they don't believe it and they don't act on it. They have learned the lesson of Iraq. Here's Donald Rumsfeld in 2015, with the advantage of hindsight: "I'm not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories. The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic."

    The establishment cheerfully tolerates and supports Saudi Arabia's regime. No one in the establishment thinks it wise to press for democracy in any serious way. Ditto for Egypt, where our aid violates US law under any fair reading.

    Lind has a point but way overstates it.

    TB , says: February 15, 2016 at 9:35 am
    "If the establishment manipulates the rules to hold on to power indefinitely, when it collapses it may take the state with it."
    ___________________________

    I agree but, as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet says, "I spy a kind of hope". I believe a tipping point in our political culture was reached in 2008 when the electorate chose a young and inexperienced black man with a VERY scary name over a mainstream war hero and did so by a wide margin. I expect Bernie to be nominated and then win by margins that make BHO's victory look close.

    ged2phd , says: February 15, 2016 at 10:45 am
    Great article. It's long been apparent that the "establishment" seems oblivious to the consequences of their wasteful and foolish policies, but when you point out the foolishness has no (immediate) consequences for them, and even a positive impact on their careers, it all makes sense. Long term, though, it's a sure descent into the abyss for all of us. Of course, the "little people" are falling first and faster, so the elites no doubt are calculating they'll land on top of us so we'll cushion their landing.
    Richard L Harrell , says: February 15, 2016 at 10:57 am
    The real definition of the Establishment is clear and simple. They are the scum of the Earth.
    JohnG , says: February 15, 2016 at 11:26 am
    As depressing the picture painted here may be, I actually think it's optimistic.

    To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image.

    Now, could someone explain to me how Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, or Iraq are now more conformant to some American ideal? I believe the truth is much worse than giant corporations having interest in perpetual wars: The establishment has become a vast network of private rackets that uses the American military & economic might as the ultimate extortion tool. Just ask the two worst secretaries of state in history posing (and seeking cover) as ultra-feminists.

    It was under Mad Albright's tenure that the US started to support (and bomb on behalf of) the shadiest of the terrorist figures in Kosovo, accused by several UN personnel of butchering Serbian and (traitor) Albanian prisoners to harvest organs for trade. You can't make this stuff up, it's beyond horrific. And, surprise, madam secretary leaves her post to turn into a hedge fund manager with investments and interests in the region. Payback for help, anyone? Who wouldn't want to harness the US Air force for its private goals? And would anybody be surprised if HRC took this model one step beyond to make payments to the Clinton Foundation pretty concurrent with the "services" provided by the State Department? And how is this different (other than organ trafficking) from our senators and congressmen retiring vastly richer than when they went into politics? Just where did that money come from?

    In summary, it's NOT just evil corporations, it's the vastly concentrated power of an out of control and overreaching government. Once you have that, you are bound to have individuals and networks trying to harness that power for their private purposes. So yes, let's clean up political financing, but let's also go back to the idea of limited government. And stay vigilant to keep it limited, because, you always end up in trouble otherwise.

    Fran Macadam , says: February 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm
    It couldn't have been said better or more succinctly – or more truthfully.
    seydlitz89 , says: February 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm
    Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality. John Boyd "America's greatest military theorist"? Ok, E-M theory of aerial combat is significant, but that is mathematics-based and has to do with aircraft design (quite limited really) which is not strategic theory at all, is it? But confusion among US (a)strategic thinkers is the norm and has been for some time . . . interests cloud their little heads . . . But then Dick Cheney is Boyd's greatest follower . . . so . . . follow the leader . . .

    After reading Jeffrey Sach's blog post . . . I asked myself "why did I waste my time on this" . . .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-clinton-and-the-s_b_9231190.html

    Rossbach , says: February 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm
    Given the realities of the 2-party system, with the neocons dominating GOP foreign policy and liberal interventionists controlling the Democratic side, it's not hard to see how this total lack of accountability has persisted for so long. Hopefully, the pushback that the establishment candidates of both parties are experiencing from the voters will have its effect on national policy – if not in this election cycle, perhaps in the next one.
    connecticut farmer , says: February 15, 2016 at 6:59 pm
    Well put, JohnG. The system is thoroughly corrupt and given the divisions within American society may well be beyond repair. If so, we are doomed. Maybe the HRC email controversy will expose not only her personal corruption but that of the whole system, though I wouldn't bet on it. She may only be the tip of the iceberg and as such only the worst of a bad lot whose numbers are legion.
    Fred Bowman , says: February 15, 2016 at 11:43 pm
    The LAST thing the Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex want is for ANY War to end, as it cut off their justication for a bloated military budget that continues to enriched them and their cronies for God know how long.
    Kurt Gayle , says: February 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm
    @ seydlitz89, who wrote:

    "Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality."

    From my perspective Bill Lind's 4th Generation War explanation for the long string of US defeats by non-state opponents matches up well with the facts.

    To be sure, our taking seriously Lind's "4GW notions" would necessarily lead to (1) a different US foreign policy and (2) a radically scaled-back flow of money to the shadow military-industrial state and their hired politicians.

    So might it be, seydlitz89, that your discomfort is less with Lind's "4GW notions" than it is with (1) or (2), or both?

    Frand Liebkind , says: February 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm
    Ironic, isn't it, that many of the late Col Boyd's air combat theories have become establishment doctrine, almost half a century later. I can only assume that Boyd was sharp enough to realize that they have little application to today's fourth generation warfare. But I may be wrong.
    cdugga , says: February 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm
    Democratic government is supposed to be answerable to the people. But there are 2 big problems with that. One, the people have to stay informed and know what the issues are as well as what potential representatives believe. Is there any reason to move on to the second big problem? Okay, just for discussion, the second problem is that the first problem allows for all the following problems forever after amen. Holding our representatives accountable requires that we hold ourselves accountable for electing the correct representative. Ain't gonna happen, simply because the correct representative, the one telling us that we are the ones responsible, is never going to be elected. The one that will get elected is the one that says others, like immigrants, blacks, elites and those who are not true christians, true patriots, or core americans, are the cause of all our policy and economic problems. That's the guy we want to lead us. We may get him. And he might do what we want, but it is unlikely he will do anything we need to have done to bring back america. Bringing back america is our job after all, and who wants that responsibility. The supposed anti-establishment candidates are simply the ones that say they will take care of the problems we allowed to happen. And we already know they won't or can't because we would never demand so much from ourselves.
    Iowa Scribe , says: February 16, 2016 at 4:56 pm
    We are nearning the end of "the rule of political spoilsmen," but are we also nearing the end of the American experiment or, perhaps, even the catastrophic interruption of the progress of human civilization?

    71:3.10 The ideals of statehood must be attained by evolution, by the slow growth of civic consciousness, the recognition of the obligation and privilege of social service. At first men assume the burdens of government as a duty, following the end of the administration of political spoilsmen, but later on they seek such ministry as a privilege, as the greatest honor. The status of any level of civilization is faithfully portrayed by the caliber of its citizens who volunteer to accept the responsibilities of statehood.

    stephen laudig , says: February 18, 2016 at 1:52 am
    for the US political and military establishments . "there's no success like failure failure's no success at all". There are many, many causes, the one highlighted this year is an electoral law system that only allows for "coke and pepsi" and holds up, in effect bails out or life-supports, the two moribund parties [one may actually die this year, and the other will follow shortly thereafter, extinction of the dinosaurs] by not allowing replacements to grow. cheers.
    seydlitz89 , says: February 18, 2016 at 8:30 am
    @ Kurt Gayle

    Regarding 4GW I think you putting the wheelless cart before the dead horse. 4GW started as a list of speculations published in an article in the Marine Corps Gazette in 1989, that is there wasn't originally any "theory" at all. In 1991, Martin van Creveld published the "The Transformation of War" (TTW) since he needed to divorce war from politics for political/propaganda reasons (Israel's occupation of Palestinian land). Formerly MvC had promoted Clausewitzian strategic theory, had in fact presented a paper in 1986 entitled "The Eternal Clausewitz". TTW provided 4GW with some actual "theory", although Lind claims that 4GW actually exists (reification) and is not theory at all.
    Lind also talks about the "moral being the highest level of war" and claims that's Boyd's view, but according to Chet Richards Boyd never said anything of the kind. We had a long discussion on this back on the sonshi forum about a decade ago.

    Clausewitz became a problem for Dick Cheney and the Neocons since strategic theory links political purpose (not limited to those of "the state") with military aims achieved through military means. Too often states or other political entities wish to hide their actual involvement (not to mention their goals) in wars and thus 4GW comes in handy as a cover for that, but useless in understanding strategy . . . read the Sachs article . . .

    I would also add that 4GW became a useful excuse for US military incompetence since the generals could claim, "How could we have won, it was 4GW!".

    As to Boyd, OODA loops don't really provide anything other than a model for friction above the tactical . . .

    The Russians don't fall for any of this, following instead Svechin, the great Russian Clausewitzian strategic theorist and understanding the uses and limits of organised violence. They understand the nature of the conflict they are involved in in Syria and are acting strategically, something the US hasn't been able to achieve since the end of the Cold War/First Gulf War . . . that is since the rise of 4GW confusion . . .

    Kurt Gayle , says: February 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm
    Thank you, seydlitz89, for taking the time to give so much background history regarding this discussion of Fourth Generation War, etc.
    For those of us who find William Lind's 4GW arguments convincing, it's very useful to read counter-positions presented so well by someone as well-versed in the subject as you obviously are. Sincerely. Thank you.
    peter connor , says: February 19, 2016 at 6:20 pm
    "Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality."
    The reality has been hitting us in the face for more than 60 years but as Lind points out, reality means nothing to Washington insiders, or other devotees of country wrecking military-industrial profiteering.
    I will make this very simple for you, seydlitz89. If the people of a country you are trying to occupy or control don't want you there, it will be ruinously expensive for you to stay there, and eventually you will leave. Got it?
    seydlitz89 , says: February 19, 2016 at 6:44 pm
    @ Kurt Gayle

    Thank you for the kind words. Sadly the Cheneyite rot is so deep at this point that we'll simply have to ride it out . . . Svechin wrote about the corrupting influence of a political elite overwhelmed by its own decadence and delusions that it confuses its own interests with those of the country that it rules . . . 4GW is part of/has become a pawn of that larger phenomenon . . . the greater confusion . . .

    ObiJohn , says: February 21, 2016 at 3:05 am
    The problem here is that our political leaders, by and large, do not understand grand strategy or military strategy, and do not wish to do so and risk opprobrium from other elites. Elite culture insists acceptance to the belief that violence solves nothing, and never can. Unfortunately, our foes disagree, with the backing of history. We lost in Iraq because Obama ceded victory by abandoning the battlefield, as if saying a war was over could possibly end it on favorable terms the same mistake we made in Vietnam. Rather, the problem in the Middle East is that we haven't killed enough extremists the mistake we didn't make in WWII and so the battle-hardened jihadis that remain believe they can win if they only endure. So far, they seem to be right. The real problem here is the creation of an elite that is isolated from ordinary Americans, from the realities of the global economy, from their own failure as leaders due to their dysfunctional worldview based on a life of privilege, freedom from want, and a belief that all of that is deserved istead of the result of winning the birth lottery. Their unconscious embrace of socialist policies is more about their unease of their fortunate privilege, and it stops when the pain starts they call for the elimination of private property but insist their iPads are exempt as 'personal' property rather than private property. They call for equality of opportunity but aren't willing to give up their spot at an Ivy League university. They call for more taxes but incorporate in Ireland, or dock their yacht in Rhode Island to avoid Massachusetts taxes. They no longer support enlightened self-interest but instead push for restrictions on freedom of speech, call for more gun control, and seek to restrict political opposition all in the name of peace and freedom and happiness. They are the modern Marie Antoinettes, and the mob is sharpening the pitchforks.
    Eric , says: February 24, 2016 at 8:15 am
    seydlitz89 "The Russians don't fall for any of this, following instead Svechin, the great Russian Clausewitzian strategic theorist and understanding the uses and limits of organised violence"

    Svechin? Really? Most of his work was borrowed from the pre 1914 Nikolai General Staff Academy. The bigger Soviet thinker at the time was Verhovsky. Someone got very excited about Svechin at Fort Leavenworth in the late 1970s/early 1980s (probably because someone decided to translate him) but in the Russian context he's a relative minor figure – no one follows him.

  • [Jun 11, 2017] Bernie would have won.

    Jun 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Christopher H., June 09, 2017 at 06:29 PM

    "Alas the pretend progressives here cannot be bothered."

    PGL you're the only "pretend progressive" here. Real leftists do well in an election and so PGL throws a little temper tantrum. You can't make him discuss it! He won't admit he was wrong! He supported Corbyn even though he didn't talk about the election once during the entire campaign. What a tedious phoney.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/09/opinion/how-jeremy-corbyn-proved-the-haters-wrong.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

    How Jeremy Corbyn Proved the Haters Wrong

    By RACHEL SHABI
    JUNE 9, 2017

    LONDON - Among the many satisfying outcomes of Britain's general election has been the roll call of pundits reeling out apologies for getting it so wrong. The Labour Party has, against all odds, surged to take a 40 percent share of the vote, more than it has won in years. And so the nation's commentariat, who had confidently thought that the party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership would be wiped off the political map, are now eating giant slices of humble pie.

    Nobody is in politics to gloat. Labour's leadership team and supporters alike want the party to win not for the sake of winning, but in order to bring Labour's economic and social agenda to Britain, to measurably improve people's lives. Still, a little schadenfreude is definitely in order.

    Mr. Corbyn, from the left of the party, unexpectedly took its helm in 2015 after a rule change allowed, for the first time, rank-and-file members to have an equal vote for their leader. And he has been ridiculed, dismissed and bemoaned ever since. Cast as an incongruous combination of incompetent beardy old man and peacenik terrorist sympathizer, Mr. Corbyn faced down a leadership challenge from his own party about a year ago and constant sniping, criticism and calls for him to quit throughout.

    The political and pundit classes, in their wisdom, thought it entirely inconceivable that someone like him - so unpolished, so left wing - could ever persuade voters. After Britain's referendum decision, last June, to leave the European Union, more scathing criticism was piled upon the Labour leader for his decision to, well, accept the democratic referendum decision, however bad it was.

    By the time Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election six weeks ago, her party ran a 20-point poll lead ahead of Labour and her personal approval ratings were sky high while Mr. Corbyn's were abysmally low. Liberal pundits were aghast at the thought of the Labour Party self-destructing under Mr. Corbyn's supposedly toxic leadership. He was once again urged to step down.

    Then the campaign started - and every prediction was turned on its head. The well-funded, hyper-efficient Conservatives and their chorus of supporters in Britain's mostly right-wing press ran a terrible campaign. Mrs. May came across as robotic and out of touch; she didn't seem to like engaging with the press, much less the public. The more people saw of her, the more her ratings sank.

    For Mr. Corbyn, the opposite was true. His detractors said his appeal was limited to a niche of radical left activists, but in reality his quiet confidence, credibility and integrity - so refreshing at a time when politicians are viewed as untrustworthy careerists - drew crowds of enthusiastic supporters to ever-growing rallies. At one point, arriving to a televised debate just over a week before the election, he was greeted with solid cheers en route to the event. That was when his leadership team sensed something significant was taking place.

    Part of this extraordinary success was a result of the party's campaign. Fun, energetic, innovative and inspiring, it created its own momentum, with organic support mushrooming out of the most unlikely places, flooding social media with viral memes and messages: Rappers and D.J.s, soccer players, economists and television personalities alike climbed aboard the Corbyn project. Momentum, a grass-roots organization of Corbyn supporters, activated the party's estimated 500,000 members - many of whom had joined because Mr. Corbyn was elected as leader - into canvassing efforts across the country, including, crucially, in up-for-grabs districts. Supporters were further encouraged by the sight of Labour candidates demolishing long-hated Conservatives on television, appearances that were swiftly turned into video clips and raced around the internet.

    But the main mobilizer of support was the party's politics. For decades, Labour has been resolutely centrist, essentially offering a slightly kinder version of neoliberal consensus politics. Those on the left had long said that this was what had caused the party's slow decline, a hemorrhaging of support from its traditional working-class voters. With Mr. Corbyn at its helm, the party tacked firmly to the left, proposing to tax the few for the benefit of the many and offering major national investment projects, funding for the welfare state, the scrapping of university tuition fees and the re-nationalization of rail and energy companies.

    It was a hopeful vision for a fairer society, offered at a time when the country is experiencing wage stagnation and spiraling living costs, with many buckling under because of the economic crash of 2008 and the Conservative Party's savage austerity cuts that followed. Given the chance for the first time in decades to vote for something else, something better, a surprising number of voters took it. Young people, in particular, seized this offer: With youth turnout unusually high at 72 percent, it's clear that Labour brought them to the ballot box in droves.

    Labour's shock comeback has tugged the party, along with Britain's political landscape, and the range of acceptable discourse back to the left. In a hung Parliament, the Conservatives still came out of the election as the main party, and now looks set to go into coalition government with the homophobic, anti-abortion Democratic Unionist Party. But the Conservatives are now a maimed party with a discredited leader - weaknesses to be seized upon and exploited by a now united and empowered Labour party.

    Christopher H. - , June 09, 2017 at 06:34 PM
    Bernie would have won.
    im1dc - , June 09, 2017 at 06:56 PM
    Bernie couldn't beat Hillary therefore Bernie would not have won b/c he DIDN'T.
    Christopher H. - , June 09, 2017 at 07:45 PM
    Bernie would have won if he had been the nominee. Not my fault the establishment Democrats wanted to lose again.
    Gibbon1 - , June 10, 2017 at 03:31 AM
    The grifters in the party didn't lose you dope. They all got paid. It's all so very much like making a movie. So what if it didn't break even at the box office, everyone involved got theirs.

    Seriously though you are correct. Sanders would have won against Trump. Everyone knows that, except the die hard centerist Democrats that are trying hard not to look in mirror.

    Sanjait - , June 10, 2017 at 08:47 AM
    You wingnuts cant seem to comprehend that the Democratic primaries
    was a series of state elections in which Hillary legitimately got more voters to vote for her. They picked Hillary, for all your bleating about "elites."
    Christopher H. - , June 10, 2017 at 09:39 AM
    Sandy, Sandy, so naive.
    RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 10, 2017 at 09:46 AM
    Krugman posited once that Bernie might win the nomination by beating Hillary with disaffected white voters in the red states despite being ultimately unelectable because of his radical views in the general election. Of course that is not at all what happened.
    Christopher H. - , June 10, 2017 at 10:09 AM
    This is what Krugman wrote, which turned out to be exactly wrong.

    https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/populism-and-the-politics-of-health/

    "....This ties in with an important recent piece by Zack Beauchamp on the striking degree to which left-wing economics fails, in practice, to counter right-wing populism; basically, Sandersism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Why?

    The answer, presumably, is that what we call populism is really in large degree white identity politics, which can't be addressed by promising universal benefits. Among other things, these "populist" voters now live in a media bubble, getting their news from sources that play to their identity-politics desires, which means that even if you offer them a better deal, they won't hear about it or believe it if told. For sure many if not most of those who gained health coverage thanks to Obamacare have no idea that's what happened.

    That said, taking the benefits away would probably get their attention, and maybe even open their eyes to the extent to which they are suffering to provide tax cuts to the rich.

    In Europe, right-wing parties probably don't face the same dilemma; they're preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open."

    RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 11, 2017 at 03:55 AM
    I recall something more damning, but have not been able to find it after repeated attempts. My belief is that it was obviously so far off the mark that it has been taken down off Krugman's NYT blog and maybe any reference to it here at EV as well.

    [Jun 10, 2017] The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway

    Notable quotes:
    "... "Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security..." Sheldon Wolin, Inverted Totalitarianism ..."
    Jun 07, 2017 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
    "The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. I do not speak of your 'little men,' your baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned men, mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945

    ===

    "Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security..." Sheldon Wolin, Inverted Totalitarianism

    ===

    "It seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances.

    The fact that the foolish person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him.

    He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the foolish person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings."

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers From Prison

    ===

    "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

    Samuel Johnson

    [Jun 10, 2017] Democratic candidates are carefully vetted by insiders--the DNC, the DCCC, and the DSCC. Like Bernie, no one gets any party support unless they heel to the neoliberal agenda.

    Jun 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    Christopher H. , June 09, 2017 at 11:13 AM

    https://newrepublic.com/minutes/143236/labours-success-shows-left-can-win

    Labour's success shows how the left can win.

    by Sarah Jones

    Jeremy Corbyn may have hung the British Parliament. In doing so, the Labour Party leader defied most expectations, but his success should not be such a shock-and provides a lesson for American progressives. Corbyn deprived Theresa May of the Conservative majority, which she had hoped to expand with Thursday's snap-election, with a vibrantly left-wing rejection of austerity.
    Labour's challenge will be to maintain its momentum. But May's earliest moves already secured the likelihood of another backlash to her government: She is attempting to form a coalition government with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which once launched a campaign to "Save Ulster from Sodomy" and vigorously opposed marriage equality and abortion rights. May's catastrophic performance only left her with the option to pivot further right and away from the youth vote that supported Labour. The left should never rest too confidently in victory, but it is in a strong position to reclaim the government from Tory rule.

    This contradicts predictions from a number of liberal British commentators and from Labour's centrist faction. In April, commentator Nick Cohen warned Corbynites: "You don't have a radical programme that a 20th-century Marxist or any other serious thinker would recognise. All that's left of the far left is a babble of sneers and slogans." Former Prime Minister Tony Blair repeatedly refused to endorse Corbyn, saying in April that the Labour leader posed "zero" threat to Theresa May's government. "My view about the right-wing populism is very, very clear. It can only be defeated by progressive forces building out from the center," he told Politico. Après moi, le déluge.

    And what a flood it is! Corbyn won more seats than Ed Miliband did in 2015. The Evening Standard reports that it was the party's biggest vote share since Blair's 2001 win, and according to The Independent a larger share than the victory that put Blair in 10 Downing Street in 2005. Exit polling projects that youth turnout increased 12 points from Miliband's shambolic performance in 2015, a reaction to Brexit and to the Conservative Party's austerity kink. But Labour's success is not restricted to youth. It won gains in deeply conservative areas, unseating Conservatives in Canterbury and likely Kensington-two seats the party's never held. In Ipswich, they unseated Brian Gummer, who wrote the Conservatives' electoral manifesto.

    The parallels between British and American politics are obviously inexact, but they do exist. Like America, the U.K. is recovering from a shock victory for the populist right. It sits crushed by a conservative government unapologetically committed to a platform of austerity; Trump's infamous skinny budget is a Tory wet dream. Tories are steadily whittling the U.K. welfare state down to nothing, bleeding the poor while bloating the rich. And if Labour had adopted the tactics of the Democratic Party-if it had run a centrist candidate, if it had dismissed cries for equitable access to health care and education as the utopian ambitions of misguided youth-then Theresa May would likely have a majority government.

    There are lessons here, if Democrats wish to learn them. But they will have to radically reorient the party. Health care is their best wedge issue: Trumpcare is unpopular, and the Affordable Care Act, though inadequate, is a tangible benefit that voters are reluctant to lose. The party should similarly focus on youth turnout, and that means paying more attention to the policies of Senator Bernie Sanders: free public college tuition (not Andrew Cuomo's milquetoast alternative), and student debt forgiveness. That's how you win young voters.

    Democrats face a difficult path to victory. So did Labour, but it achieved massive gains by putting forward an authentically progressive manifesto that promised tangible improvements to people's lives. They positioned themselves unapologetically in accordance with their name: They are the party of labor, and not of capital, and so they are the party of the many and not the few. They did not shirk from utopianism, or from hope; they treated young and old alike with serious consideration, and made reasoned, convincing appeals for their votes.

    JohnH - , June 09, 2017 at 01:14 PM
    Corbyn was elected by Labour's membership.

    Democratic candidates are carefully vetted by insiders--the DNC, the DCCC, and the DSCC. Like Bernie, no one gets any party support unless they heel to the neoliberal agenda.

    [Jun 10, 2017] In Europe, right-wing parties are preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for selected groups. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats

    Jun 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Christopher H. June 09, 2017 at 11:09 AM https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/populism-and-the-politics-of-health/

    Populism and the Politics of Health
    MARCH 14, 2017 1:43 PM
    by Paul Krugman

    ...

    This ties in with an important recent piece by Zack Beauchamp on the striking degree to which left-wing economics fails, in practice, to counter right-wing populism; basically, Sandersism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Why?

    The answer, presumably, is that what we call populism is really in large degree white identity politics, which can't be addressed by promising universal benefits. Among other things, these "populist" voters now live in a media bubble, getting their news from sources that play to their identity-politics desires, which means that even if you offer them a better deal, they won't hear about it or believe it if told. For sure many if not most of those who gained health coverage thanks to Obamacare have no idea that's what happened.

    That said, taking the benefits away would probably get their attention, and maybe even open their eyes to the extent to which they are suffering to provide tax cuts to the rich.

    In Europe, right-wing parties probably don't face the same dilemma; they're preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open." Reply Friday, Christopher H. - , June 09, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    There has been a silence from the center left during the Corbyn campaign and now after it is over. Luckily they have Comey to talk about. I will be curious to hear from Chris Dillow.
    libezkova - , June 09, 2017 at 10:22 PM
    "In Europe, right-wing parties probably don't face the same dilemma; they're preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trumpism is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open"

    this is an interesting observation.

    [Jun 09, 2017] Some people were raising the question, what is genuine populism?

    This sound like neofascism, not so much as populism...
    Notable quotes:
    "... One major component is offering simplistic solutions to complex problems: remove government regulations to create more jobs, restrict foreign imports to create more jobs, ban immigration from certain countries to curtail terrorism, build a wall to prevent illegal immigration, ban teaching contraception to prevent teenagers from having sex, allow guns to let armed citizen vigilantes defend us against mass murderers, privatize education, government services and infrastructure to make them more "economical", etc... ..."
    "... And most of all: elect a strong leader who is not bound by laws to come in and kick ass and make the country great again. ..."
    Jun 09, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

    ralphieboy | Jun 9, 2017 10:55:08 AM | 7

    "Some people were raising the question, what is genuine populism?"

    One major component is offering simplistic solutions to complex problems: remove government regulations to create more jobs, restrict foreign imports to create more jobs, ban immigration from certain countries to curtail terrorism, build a wall to prevent illegal immigration, ban teaching contraception to prevent teenagers from having sex, allow guns to let armed citizen vigilantes defend us against mass murderers, privatize education, government services and infrastructure to make them more "economical", etc...

    And most of all: elect a strong leader who is not bound by laws to come in and kick ass and make the country great again.

    [Jun 08, 2017] Taken In: Fake News Distracts Us From Fake Election

    Notable quotes:
    "... There are numerous clues that point to the 2016 US Presidential Election as having been a set-up. Few seem willing to take a close look at these facts. But it is necessary for an understanding of the world we live in today. ..."
    "... Sanders as sheep-dog Black Agenda Report called Sanders a sheep-dog soon after he entered the race . ..."
    May 31, 2017 | jackrabbit.blog
    There are numerous clues that point to the 2016 US Presidential Election as having been a set-up. Few seem willing to take a close look at these facts. But it is necessary for an understanding of the world we live in today.

    Trump's first 100 days has come and gone and he has proven to be every bit the faux populist that Obama was (as I explained in a previous post). In hind-sight we can see how a new faux populist was installed.

    Evidence

    1. Sanders as sheep-dog Black Agenda Report called Sanders a sheep-dog soon after he entered the race . Sanders made it clear from the start that he ruled out the possibility of running as an independent. That was only the first of many punches that Sanders pulled as he led his 'sheep' into the Democratic fold. Others were:

      >> "Enough with the emails!"

      >> Not pursuing Hillary's 'winning' of 6 coin tosses in Iowa;

      >> Virtually conceding the black and female vote to Hillary;

      >> Not calling Hillary out about her claim to have NEVER sold her vote;

      >> Endorsing Hillary despite learning of Hillary-DNC collusion;

      >> Continuing to help the Democratic Party reach out to Bernie supports even after the election.

      As one keen observer noted: Sanders is a Company Man .

    2. Trump as Clinton protege

    [Jun 08, 2017] Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with French publication Le Figaro, has revealed that a US president is more often than not just a figurehead of government

    Jun 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

    Agent76 , June 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm GMT

    May 31, 2017 "Men in dark suits" rule the US – Putin on Deep State

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with French publication Le Figaro, has revealed that a US president is more often than not just a figurehead of government.

    Mar 6, 2017 Zakharova warns of Orwellian US Media 2.03.17

    Have a listen to what Zakharova has to say in relation to "fake news". Is there a deliberate campaign to undermine trust in all traditional media, so that the public can no longer form an opinion?

    [Jun 04, 2017] How things work: betrayal by faux Populist leaders

    Notable quotes:
    "... Citizen's United, the 2011 law that made money speech and corporations people, means that US democracy is a sham. In our money-driven duopoly, both flavors of politician serves the money – not the people. ..."
    "... Although distrust of the political establishment is at a record high, many STILL are not cynical enough to see the games that are played. ..."
    "... (Trump supported Hillary in 2008) ..."
    "... (that is not to say that Obama wasn't keen on serving the establishment – he was) ..."
    Jun 04, 2017 | jackrabbit.blog
    In What Fascism Talk Really Accomplishes Peter Berkowitz of Stanford misses the duopoly forest for the partisan trees.

    Razzel-dazzel faux populist leaders need a reason to betray their base, excuse their caving, and otherwise toe the establishment line. I call shill opposition to a faux populist President enforcers . They are joined by apologists who try to explain away betrayals and caving on issues.

    Trump is a 'fascist' as much as Obama was a 'Muslim socialist'.

    Trump wasn't turned by the Deep State as apologists claim. He knows how faux populist politics works because he was close to the Clintons and led the 'birther movement'.

    Corruption today is as well engineered and covered-up as it was during Tamany Hall in late 1800's New York City:

    It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization.

    Citizen's United, the 2011 law that made money speech and corporations people, means that US democracy is a sham. In our money-driven duopoly, both flavors of politician serves the money – not the people.

    Although distrust of the political establishment is at a record high, many STILL are not cynical enough to see the games that are played.

    Interestingly, much of the establishment games seem to center on the Clintons. The Hillary camp (Trump supported Hillary in 2008) helped to keep Obama in line, as much as the Republican opposition (that is not to say that Obama wasn't keen on serving the establishment – he was) . And Hillary's Democratic Party has been the principal force that provided Trump with excuses to betray his base.

    But here's the rub: if Bernie was a sheep-dog for Hillary and Trump's populism was sure to overcome Hillary's negatives and negativism, then what real choice did American voters have?

    Cover Photo: 1871 Cartoon by Tomas Nast depicts Tammany as a ferocious tiger killing democracy. The image of a tiger was often used to represent the Tammany Hall political movement.

    [Jun 03, 2017] Either they dont understand the damage theyre doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt

    Jun 03, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

    libezkova, June 03, 2017 at 01:05 PM

    Another interesting quote from Putin speech:

    "What surprises me is that they are shaking up the domestic political situation using anti-Russian slogans,"

    "Either they don't understand the damage they're doing to their own country, in which case they are simply stupid, or they understand everything, in which case they are dangerous and corrupt."

    Putin I Can Prove Trump Did Not Pass Secrets to Russia

    [May 25, 2017] Justin Murphys The psychology of prohibiting outside thinkers

    Notable quotes:
    "... cordon sanitaire ..."
    "... cordon sanitaire ..."
    "... Human Ethology Bulletin ..."
    "... Culture of Critique ..."
    "... The Bell Curve." ..."
    "... The Culture of Critique ..."
    "... The Occidental Quarterly ..."
    May 21, 2017 | www.unz.com
    117 Comments

    Here is Justin Murphy describing his background, research, and activism:

    Why is there not more rebellion against status quo institutions? How have economic and political processes pacified our capacity for radical collective action? As a political scientist, I am interested in the roles played by information, communication, and ideology in the pacification of political resistance and conflict. Before joining the faculty of Politics and IR at the University of Southampton in the UK, I did my PhD at Temple University in the US. There I was active in Occupy Wall Street , some civil disobedience and shutting down of things , some longer-term campaigns against the big U.S. banks , and sundry other works and deeds , including a radical warehouse project where I lived for nearly three years.

    So Murphy is an academic on the left. He is therefore part of the establishment, a card-carrying member of the institutional structure that dominates intellectual discourse in the West. But, unlike the vast majority of his academic brethren, he is quite aware that the left is now the status quo and that it is doing everything it can to preserve its elite status - and that its self-preserving tactics are at base nothing more than irrational assertions of power and privilege. Murphy makes these claims in a blogpost: " The psychology of prohibiting outside thinkers . " Part of the subtitle says it all: " The real motivation of respectable progressivism is managing guilty conscience and conserving bourgeois privileges ."

    What's so refreshing about this is that instead of "exclud[ing] independent right-wing intellectual work on moral grounds," he would actually "enjoy thinking" with intellectuals on the right. Indeed, moral indictments have become the stock in trade of establishment intellectuals - as noted in my three-part " Moralism and Moral Arguments in the War for Western Survival ." Moral condemnations are easy. No intellectual heavy lifting required. All one need do is appeal to conventional moral intuitions as shaped by the the same institutions that are now the status quo - the media and academic culture.

    As I note, those who dissent from the status quo are "not only misguided, [they are] malevolent consumed by hatred, anger and fear towards non-Whites, gays, women and the entire victim class pantheon, or so goes the stereotype And that's the problem. Being cast as evil means you are outside the moral community. There's no need to talk with you, no need to be fair, or even worry about your safety. You are like an outlaw in Old Norse society - 'a person [who] lost all of his or her civil rights and could be killed on sight without any legal repercussions.'"

    Back to Murphy:

    Very simply, ["institutional intellectuals"] are imposing a cordon sanitaire that is instrumentally necessary to the continuation of their unjustified intellectual privileges in the institutional order. I am increasingly convinced there is simply no other public function to this political repetition compulsion. The reason this is important, from the left, is that this cordon sanitaire is straightforwardly a mechanism to conserve the status quo, everything progressives pretend to be interested in overthrowing. This is why neo-reactionary intellectuals speak of the status quo political order as dominated by a left-progressive "Cathedral."

    The religious analogy is quite apt. Like moral pronouncements, religious dogmas are not refutable and need not be justified empirically. They are nothing more than intellectually shoddy ex Cathedra pronouncements that take advantage of a pre-existing intellectual consensus.

    First, it seems to be a fact that the genuinely intellectual wings of the alt-right or neo-reaction (NRx) or whatever you want to call it, are probably too intelligent and sophisticated for bourgeois intellectual workers to engage with, let alone compete with. So if those essays are actually pretty smart and a legitimate challenge to your institutional authority as a credentialed intellectual-you are functionally required to close ranks, if only with a silent agreement to not engage.

    Now, as soon as anyone from this non-institutional world produces effects within the institutional orbit, it is actually a really serious survival reflex for all institutionally privileged intellectuals to play the morality card ("no platform!"). If all these strange, outside autodidacts are actually smart and independently producing high-level intellectual content you don't have the time to even understand, let alone defeat or otherwise control, this is an existential threat to your entire livelihood. Because all of your personal identity, your status, and your salary, is based directly on your credentialed, legitimated membership card giving your writings and pontifications an officially sanctioned power and authority. If that door is opened even a crack by non-credentialed outsiders, the whole jig is up for the respectable bourgeois monopoly on the official intellectual organs of society.

    This comment really strikes home with me. I wrote three books on Judaism from an evolutionary perspective, the first of which was reviewed positively in academic journals; the second was less widely reviewed , and the third was basically ignored apart from a favorable review by Frank Salter in the Human Ethology Bulletin . Instead I was subjected to a vicious witch hunt spearheaded by the SPLC, joined by a great many of the faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, especially the Jewish faculty. In all of the exchanges on faculty email lists there was never any attempt to deal with the academic soundness of these books. Labels like "anti-Semitic" sufficed. So now, nearly 20 years after publication, Culture of Critique remains ignored by the academic establishment even as it gains traction on the Alt Right.

    The same can be said about Murray's The Bell Curve . It is referenced at times but almost always with the adjective 'discredited' even though the data are rock solid. I know a liberal academic who commented, "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Murphy:

    An interesting question is, because respectable intellectuals are often pretty smart and capable, why are they so fearful of outside intellectual projects, even if they are as evil as some fear? They are smart and capable intellectuals, so you'd think they would embrace some interesting challenge as an opportunity for productive contestation. Why don't they? Well, here's where the reality gets ugly. The reason respectable intellectuals so instinctively close ranks around the moral exclusion of NRx intellectuals is that currently working, respectable intellectuals privately know that the intellectual compromises they have made to secure their respectability and careers has rendered most of their life's work sadly and vulnerably low-quality.

    I suspect this is quite true. There is a replication crisis centering on psychology and particularly in social psychology , the most blatantly politicized field within psychology. This is my summary of Prof. Jonathan Haidt's comments on the topic:

    when scholarly articles that contravene the sacred values of the tribe are submitted to academic journals, reviewers and editors suddenly become super rigorous. More controls are needed, and more subjects. It's not a representative sample, and the statistical techniques are inadequate. This use of scientific rigor against theories that are disliked for deeper reasons is a theme of Chapter 2 of The Culture of Critique where it was also noted that standards were quite lax when it came to data that fit the leftist zeitgeist.

    Whole areas of education and sociology doubtless have similar problems. For example, in education, there have been decades of studies "discovering" panaceas for the Black-White academic achievement gap - without any success. But, as Prof. Ray Wolters notes ("Why Education Reform Failed," The Occidental Quarterly [Spring, 2016]) , hope springs eternal because there are always new wrinkles to try. Fundamentally the field fails to deal with IQ or with genetic influences on IQ and academic performance.

    The same is likely true of huge swaths of the humanities where verbal brilliance, post-modern lack of logic and rigor, and leftist politics have created wonderlands of inanity. All this would be swept away if the outsiders triumphed. I strongly suggest following @RealPeerReview on Twitter to get a feeling for what is now going on in academia. Remember, these people are getting jobs and students are paying exorbitant tuition to hear them lecture.

    Murphy:

    To convince status-quo cultural money dispensers to give you a grant, fourr instance, any currently "successful" academic or artist has to so extensively pepper their proposal with patently stupid words and notions that knowingly make the final result a sad, contorted piece of work 80% of which is bent to the flattery of our overlords. But we falsely rationalize this contortion as "mature discipline" which we then rationalize to be the warrant for our privileged status as legitimate intellectuals.

    And then, twisting the knife:

    Because we know deep down inside that our life's work is only half of what it could have been had we the courage to not ask for permission, if there ever arise people who are doing high-level intellectual work on the outside, exactly as they wish to without anyone's permission or money, then not only are we naturally resentful, but we secretly know that at least some of these outsiders are likely doing more interesting, more valuable, more radically incisive work than we are, because we secretly know that we earn our salary by agreeing to only say half of what we could.

    Can't think of a better way to end it. What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    (Reprinted from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 4:28 am GMT

    "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests. You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see. You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it – i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    joe webb , May 24, 2017 at 4:50 am GMT

    The left used to call the intellectual enablers of capitalism "bourgeois intellectuals." This included various professions like economics, political science, etc.

    Since Sociology was the Revolution Party led by Jews, it got a pass.

    Today, with commies like the handsome negro Van Jones, at one of the major networks, and these networks nothing more than Pravda Dem Party hackworks, we need a new term for the media-Left-Revolutionary minority-racist-jewish-liberal-anti-fa, academic , etc. cultural revolution.

    The fact that , per this article, it has become so trendy as to attract opportunists of many colors, it arguably is in danger of strident internal divisions, like the LGBTxyz, loonies that have self-destructed. Something that denotes the internal instability of the Dem coalition would be useful.

    The bizarre connection with international capital as a theoretical vehicle for inauguration of the great Age of Globalism and One World of racial group-groping should be captured in any such term of the cultural revolution II that we are experiencing.

    Dunno, but the Brave New World needs a catchy term. Liberal Opportunism also must be compassed in the term. Liberal World Equality Trashniks, etc.
    Joe Webb

    ThereisaGod , May 24, 2017 at 8:35 am GMT

    Yup. careerism is spiritual whoredom. As somebody once said, "I was only following orders".

    Randal , May 24, 2017 at 9:04 am GMT

    Excellent stuff. The hard truths that our society refuses to listen to and tries its best to suppress.

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Not hard to understand – genetic interests are not individual interests unless the individual chooses to make them so. Many of these people are childless, as a result of lifestyle choices – choosing to engage in homosexual or recreational activity instead of reproductive for hedonist reasons, postponing childbirth until too late for career materialist reasons. Such people have turned away from the instinctive objective of reproduction in the most fundamental way, and have no direct interest in the future beyond their own brief lives. No wonder they are free to engage in the profound selfishness of destructive altruism.

    Others think their children will be sheltered from the consequences by their own establishment status, or genuinely believe the dogmas they have repeated for so long.

    Robert Magill , May 24, 2017 at 9:26 am GMT

    Being cast as evil means you are outside the moral community. There's no need to talk with you, no need to be fair, or even worry about your safety. You are like an outlaw in Old Norse society - 'a person [who] lost all of his or her civil rights and could be killed on sight without any legal repercussions.'"

    Projection of such an incredible amount of animus directed at one individual must be an indicator of a huge lacking in our culture. Common decency aside, the simple repetition of such hostility must be masking other ills. S.H.I.T. Happens! Self. Haters. Impugning. Trump. Happens! Examined here:

    https://robertmagill.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/s-h-i-t-examined/

    Anonymous , May 24, 2017 at 9:39 am GMT

    I actually bought three books by Prof. Macdonald via Amazon about 7 years ago. I read the books. IMHO, they are quite informative.
    1) https://www.amazon.com/Culture-Critique-Evolutionary-Twentieth-Century-Intellectual/dp/0759672229/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    2) https://www.amazon.com/Separation-Its-Discontents-Evolutionary-Anti-Semitism/dp/1410792617/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    3) https://www.amazon.com/People-That-Shall-Dwell-Alone/dp/0595228380/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

    jilles dykstra , May 24, 2017 at 10:15 am GMT

    One wonders if psychologists are ignorant of history.

    So there is nothing special in the christian culture about no independent thought. On top of that, as Chomsky states: in any culture there is a standard truth, if this truth is not considered, no debate is possible, but between those who know better.

    We see this right now, much wailing about the indeed horrible carnage in Manchester, that the USA, Predators with Hellfire, causes such carnage every week three or fout times, it cannot be said. Terrorism is caused by the Islam, not by the west.

    anonHUN , May 24, 2017 at 11:55 am GMT

    @AaronB "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests. You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see.
    You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it - i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    Anon , May 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm GMT

    @jilles dykstra Even more important to me seems the question 'who wanted WWII ?'.

    Charles A. Beard, 'American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932 – 1940, A study in responsibilities', New Haven, 1946

    A J P Taylor, 'The Origins of the Second World War', 1961, 1967, Londen

    Mark Green , May 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm GMT

    This is a fascinating take on the true Establishment, if not the 'counter-culture'; both of which are politically correct and engineered to be self-perpetuating.

    The progressive Trojan Horse has penetrated the kingdom's walls. Tolerance! (Do not resist.)

    These progressive movements are also censorious, authoritarian and highly exclusive.

    'We are all One'. Bigotry will not be tolerated!

    At their core, these liberal movements and their rainbow collection of accompanying values represent the subversive interests of an invasive species.

    benjaminl , May 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm GMT

    Like moral pronouncements, religious dogmas are not refutable and need not be justified empirically. They are nothing more than intellectually shoddy ex Cathedra pronouncements that take advantage of a pre-existing intellectual consensus.

    This is a bit unfair to religious dogma. From Justin Martyr and Irenaeus to Augustine and Aquinas, many theologians did their most notable work, precisely in arguing against people who did not share their views.

    Tulip , May 24, 2017 at 2:40 pm GMT

    I hope Murphy already has tenure. . .

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm GMT

    @anonHUN Can you elaborate? You mean they aspire to be saints, and sacrifice themselves or to repent for the sins of their fathers? (by going extinct?) Well true, Christianity introduced this kind of nutjobs to the world who aimed to die without resisting "evil" and expecting to win that way on the metaphysical plane. Progressives don't believe in such things though.

    Ace , May 24, 2017 at 3:12 pm GMT

    @Anon Nothing like recent, cutting-edge research to support your viewpoint.

    Agent76 , May 24, 2017 at 3:57 pm GMT

    Dec 7, 2011 Council on Foreign Relations – The Power Behind Big News

    One version says that the CFR is an organization sister to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Britain), both founded in 1921 right after World War I when the League of Nations idea failed. The sole purpose of such organizations is to condition the public to accept a Global Governance which today is the United Nations.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT

    @Santoculto I agree absolutely, no doubt it's more and more ''spiritual'' than just ''evolutionary''. Yes, existentialism is one of the ''plague'' that is destroying west BUT existentialism should be a good thing, a emancipation from childish belief systems, less for people who hasn't been selected to be mature, so instead a clear evolution of ''spirit'' be beneficial, it's become maladaptative. '''They''' create a moral game that is impossible for those who can't think in ''multiple' perspectives to win.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm GMT

    @utu I would never put Kevin MacDonald in the same bag with Derbyshire and Sailer. Unlike them MacDonald had courage to tackle the ultimate subject of the Jews. And he did it very thoroughly w/o holding any punches. He did it the way his training as a evolutionary sociologist permitted him which was by putting more emphasis on genes then cultural memes. This is unfortunate because cultural memes dominate. But writing about genes is a bit safer than about memes because one can fall on and hide behind presumably objective scientific narrative. That's why also Derbyshire and Sailer rather yap about genes than cultural memes.

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 5:10 pm GMT

    @Randal


    There is no instinct for reproduction.
    Seems pretty unlikely to me, based upon simple observation. The evidence for an instinct to reproduce seems to be obvious in the widespread desire for children/grandchildren of one's own. Any reason to deny the obvious presumption?
    Though of course it's not really relevant to the point I was making, since "instinct for reproduction" could as easily have been written "genetic imperative for reproduction" without affecting the point.
    MBlanc46 , May 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT

    So academic Leftists are now what pass for professional revolutionaries. V.I. Ulyanov would be appalled.

    Wizard of Oz , May 24, 2017 at 5:17 pm GMT

    @utu I would never put Kevin MacDonald in the same bag with Derbyshire and Sailer. Unlike them MacDonald had courage to tackle the ultimate subject of the Jews. And he did it very thoroughly w/o holding any punches. He did it the way his training as a evolutionary sociologist permitted him which was by putting more emphasis on genes then cultural memes. This is unfortunate because cultural memes dominate. But writing about genes is a bit safer than about memes because one can fall on and hide behind presumably objective scientific narrative. That's why also Derbyshire and Sailer rather yap about genes than cultural memes.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:28 pm GMT

    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare.

    It's not incredibly pathetic, it's just disgustingly pathetic. As you've said, they're all intellectual whores. That's what the public sector has always been comprised of. I know. I worked for three governments (briefly) and I devoted an even shorter part of my one and only life to appointments at three universities, including two of the World's top 30 (according to the Times Higher Ed) research schools.

    But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field?

    The idealism remains, but those young idealistic scholars, realizing what a degraded, sordid, bureaucratic world the university has become, went out into the real world, whether to drop out, make money, or pursue the intellectual life with real, personally paid for, freedom.

    Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes?

    They are far from the brightest of the bunch and they are, as we already said, intellectual whores.

    How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    How many kids does Frau Merkel have? How many kids does Frau Theresa May have? Why would they care about the future of their own people. Same problem with a lot of female quota academics.

    There's no solution other than to tie the feminists in bags and dump them in the Bosphorus, and the same with the academic eunochs, the scoundrel academic deans, and the slimebag university presidents and vice presidents. Screw the whole dirty lot of them.

    Trump could make a start by ending all Federal support for universities.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:44 pm GMT

    @AaronB As you probably realize, the West isn't engaged in altruistic self-sacrifice, but in suicide. There is a big difference. One is good, the other bad.

    One is based on love and compassion, the other on self-disgust. If we were capable of love we would defend our way of life, not destroy it - if we could love, our life would have some meaning, and some happiness. Love is a transcendent, non-materialist, value.

    What the West is doing is motivated by hate, not compassion.

    This isn't Christian, either. Suicide is forbidden in Christianity, nor can one force others to sacrifice themselves, as in forcing entire unwilling nations to self-destruct.

    Also, our policies are obviously increasing misery, hatred, and bloodshed, in the long run, and the short run. If we were motivated by compassion, we could send money, aid, entire teams, to other countries. But that would not serve our true purpose.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm GMT

    Meantime, if you want to take a kick at the crooks in academic administration, go over to the blog of Professor John McAdams - booted from the Marquette U, supposedly a Christian institution, for the terrible crime of standing up for a student who wished to make a case against gay marriage in a philosophy class - and give him your encouragement and support.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:12 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy Meantime, if you want to take a kick at the crooks in academic administration, go over to the blog of Professor John McAdams - booted from the Marquette U, supposedly a Christian institution, for the terrible crime of standing up for a student who wished to make a case against gay marriage in a philosophy class - and give him your encouragement and support.

    Tulip , May 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm GMT

    There is an interesting point in the life of any maturing intellect when one discovers the gap between how the Academy insists on "explaining" how the world works and how the world really works. It is very hard to resist the urge to talk about it. [Even harder to look at the raw scientific data "no platformed" out of the dialogue.]

    Unfortunately, Mr. Murphy's new enemies already know how the world works, and will only double down on their "explanation" because it serves their group interests. Further, Murphy will likely face professional backlash for discussing the Emperor's attire. This will be exciting for a young scholar, but likely will sour with time. Cordelia was the youngest of Lear's daughters, and Socrates probably got the fate he deserved.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 6:45 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy

    What the West is doing is motivated by hate, not compassion.
    Yeah, hate by the globalist elite for the mass of mankind (aka what Bill Clinton's history mentor, Carroll Quigley called the Money Power), which is rather different from self-hatred, although self-hatred or at least the lust for what is self-destructive is what a mass-hating elite seeks to instill in the masses.

    Societies don't live or die according to the minds of the mass, but according to the wisdom and ambitions of the leadership. So let's forget the BS about a lack of spirituality, let's recognize who are the bastards driving the West to destruction and how they and their agents are to be exposed and destroyed.

    Sean , May 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT

    I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.

    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Be that as it may, I think phrasing opposition in terms of anything pertaining to genes is disastrous . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 6:58 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 7:10 pm GMT

    @iffen There is no genetic imperative for reproduction.

    There is a genetic imperative to have sex.

    FKA Max , May 24, 2017 at 7:36 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right - Sailer in particular seems to admire Jewish "success" - which shows he does not understand what it is based on.

    Kevin deserves admiration, but his analysis is vitiated by his materialism. He does not understand White vulnerability - because as a materialist, he cannot.

    His materialism also limits his ability to understand Jews.

    Genetic determinism has severe limits in explaining history - the idea that Whites are uniquely altruistic is historically ignorant, for instance. Also, it is a serious misunderstanding to describe current White behavior as altruistic.

    Further, there can be no evolutionary logic for a group to preserve itself under pressure - survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating - a fact, by the way, which seems easily grasped by our current-day White materialists.

    Group-survival can only be a non-materialist transcendental value. But then, the identity of the group - not its genetic material, which will survive anyhow - must bee felt as worth preserving.

    These, and other defects, must be swept under the rug if one is to be an extreme materialist.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm GMT

    @annamaria What the West is doing is motivated by greed (and the superiority complex).
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com

    "... Muslim fundamentalism is such a strong growth that it needed no Western provocation to set it in motion. We have not only removed or weakened the regimes that inhibited, more or less, that growth. What we have done is to encourage Jihad to flourish on an immensely greater scale. That increased scale increases its glamour and its pull for our English Muslims many times over.

    ... Western countries have been arming and training Muslim fighters knowing full well that those fighters were Jihadis, and were more than likely to join even more extreme Jihadi units. Knowing full well also that some of those Jihadis, but now trained in killing and invigorated by contact with other true believers, would return to their countries of origin and do what harm they could.

    ... We see ragged groups of thugs using, often inexpertly, the deadly equipment we give them or the supply of which we facilitate. ... For there is now no doubt that the flood of foreign Jihadis that have wreaked such havoc in Syria and neighbouring countries was released by us or with our active complicity. It could not have happened but for Western assistance. We do not acknowledge it."

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 7:52 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    survival on the genetic level would seem most assured by assimilating – a fact ...
    Oh sure!

    Just what a globalist shill for European genocide would say.

    The truth, however, is quite the opposite.

    Thus, if in a territory of fixed carrying capacity, indigenous females are impregnated by alien settlers, then in the next generation, the proportion of indigenous genes in the gene pool will be diminished.

    Some survival strategy!

    That that is a strategy for self-genocide is why Jews won't "marry out" and insist on having a Jewish state.

    And the genocidal effect is the same if you merely have mass immigration, especially when combined with below replacement birth rates as have been engineered throughout the West by government policy on abortion, divorce, toleration of immigrant polygamy, and the promotion of sexual perversion under the guise of sex "education." Under those circumstances, it doesn't matter who the indigenous people mate with, their genes in the gene pool will be diluted, eventually to extinction.

    Even if the indigenous mate only with one another, the frequency of their genes in the gene pool will be diminished both proportionally and in total, unless the population grows without limit.

    Then there is the cultural genocide, better known as multi-culturalism. First you invite in the adherents of the religion of love, next thing you know is the bastards are yelling Europe is the Cancer, Islam is the Answer , and terror bombing indigenous kids .

    annamaria , May 24, 2017 at 8:01 pm GMT

    @Sean I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.


    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    nickels , May 24, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right, and it is the Western intellectual elite that had turned against itself by the time of the late 19th century. Precisely the ones who engage most deeply with Western ideas, and are most affected by them.

    In the 19th century, a Baudelaire and a Rimbaud may have been horrified at the banality and dreariness of life in a mechanized society, but the masses, though obscurely suffering, were not so deeply affected.

    But today, the masses have caught up - obesity, the opioid epidemic, etc.

    The "bastards" who are responsible - unfortunately, you can't hunt down materialism.

    If you don't see the significance of our lack of spirituality, you will never be able to break free.

    Santoculto - but you see, "beauty" is a metaphysical concept - it transcends mere matter. Materialism has no use for beauty. We see this today - with the loss of metaphysics, our architecture, our art, has become ugly. Beauty is "useless".

    We have some "thing" driving us forward - selfish materialism. If you don't like it, and wish to escape it, then what drives you forward cannot be a "thing".

    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 8:13 pm GMT

    @AaronB You are right, and it is the Western intellectual elite that had turned against itself by the time of the late 19th century. Precisely the ones who engage most deeply with Western ideas, and are most affected by them.

    In the 19th century, a Baudelaire and a Rimbaud may have been horrified at the banality and dreariness of life in a mechanized society, but the masses, though obscurely suffering, were not so deeply affected.

    But today, the masses have caught up - obesity, the opioid epidemic, etc.

    The "bastards" who are responsible - unfortunately, you can't hunt down materialism.

    If you don't see the significance of our lack of spirituality, you will never be able to break free.

    Santoculto - but you see, "beauty" is a metaphysical concept - it transcends mere matter. Materialism has no use for beauty. We see this today - with the loss of metaphysics, our architecture, our art, has become ugly. Beauty is "useless".

    We have some "thing" driving us forward - selfish materialism. If you don't like it, and wish to escape it, then what drives you forward cannot be a "thing".

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 8:46 pm GMT

    @reiner Tor People love having grandkids, even feminist Hillary Clinton (who otherwise didn't care much for reproduction) begged her only daughter to produce grandkids for her. Childless spinsters are often quite bitter, and most folk psychologists give at least two reasons why, with one of them being bitter about not having children. What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 8:56 pm GMT

    @ FKA Max – thanks, that sounds interesting. I don't know if Europeans are less altruistic than others, but I do know that the Muslims whom the Crusaders came into contact with considered Europeans to be especially ethnocentric.

    In my view, genetic determinism is simply a limited view – nations change their character, often dramatically, over time. Examples are numerous – dishonest Germans, lazy Chinese, etc, etc.

    To ignore this, truly one must do violence to one's mind.

    @Nickels – yes, but that is the materialist trap. One cannot simply choose not to be a materialist for prudential reasons – as prudence itself is a materialist value. Materialism certainly undermines itself in many ways, though. It is, even, self-contradictory (if our minds are evolutionary, we can't assume it produces truth – but then our minds produced the theory of evolution, which we then have no basis to believe in, and so on. It's circular, and self-undermining.)

    – but beauty is not a physical thing – it is a relation between things, a certain proportion, an arrangement of things. Therefore, it is metaphysical – i.e above physics.

    Agree with you about the Vatican – though beautiful, it represent power and wealth, values utterly foreign to Christianity.

    utu , May 24, 2017 at 9:03 pm GMT

    @AaronB You're not thinking it through.

    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide. I am offering my analysis out of a desire to avoid just that. I just think your analysis is badly superficial.

    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group" - if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity - religion, etc - then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam - assimilate - you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam - many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically. Genetically, females will be in no way worse off.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason - our distinct identity must be felt as worth preserving. This fact is implicitly admitted by our materialist Western elites, by their behavior.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger - the optimum strategy was for tribes to merge into "hordes", which happened in many cases. A tribe that wanted to retain its distinct identity had to have a reason - it did not make genetic sense.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them, which makes no genetic sense. Take Israel - attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them. There is an interesting film on youtube called "checkpoint", where you see Israeli soldiers of Arab descent hitting on (boderline sexually harrassing), young Palestinian women crossing their military checkpoint, and talking about how attractive they find them. Yet the women scorn them.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women - both groups felt their own identity was worth preserving, for the most part.

    Yes - Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this. This is why "assimilation" is so deplored by the Rabbis, who strive to provide a metaphysical reason for avoiding it - they know no materialist explanation can suffice. It is also why the Torah makes such strict and severe rules against Jews associating with gentiles - it understands well that every genetic imperative promotes assimilation, and only metaphysical considerations have a chance of providing a countervailing tendency. And the 50% intermarriage rate of secular Jews strongly illustrates this point.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.

    And so on and so forth.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you. So much that is puzzling to people like Kevin Mcdonald slip nicely into place.

    reiner Tor , Website May 24, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT

    @iffen What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    No scientific evidence.

    I think it would have turned up by now.

    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 9:24 pm GMT

    @AaronB You're not thinking it through.

    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide. I am offering my analysis out of a desire to avoid just that. I just think your analysis is badly superficial.

    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group" - if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity - religion, etc - then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam - assimilate - you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam - many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically. Genetically, females will be in no way worse off.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason - our distinct identity must be felt as worth preserving. This fact is implicitly admitted by our materialist Western elites, by their behavior.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger - the optimum strategy was for tribes to merge into "hordes", which happened in many cases. A tribe that wanted to retain its distinct identity had to have a reason - it did not make genetic sense.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them, which makes no genetic sense. Take Israel - attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them. There is an interesting film on youtube called "checkpoint", where you see Israeli soldiers of Arab descent hitting on (boderline sexually harrassing), young Palestinian women crossing their military checkpoint, and talking about how attractive they find them. Yet the women scorn them.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women - both groups felt their own identity was worth preserving, for the most part.

    Yes - Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this. This is why "assimilation" is so deplored by the Rabbis, who strive to provide a metaphysical reason for avoiding it - they know no materialist explanation can suffice. It is also why the Torah makes such strict and severe rules against Jews associating with gentiles - it understands well that every genetic imperative promotes assimilation, and only metaphysical considerations have a chance of providing a countervailing tendency. And the 50% intermarriage rate of secular Jews strongly illustrates this point.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.

    And so on and so forth.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you. So much that is puzzling to people like Kevin Mcdonald slip nicely into place.

    Jason Liu , May 24, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT

    This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level - the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    Anon , May 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm GMT

    @utu And who are these Jews who... Got a source for that?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFE0qAiofMQ


    I think there is a resurgence of anti-Semitism because at this point in time Europe has not yet learned how to be multicultural. And I think we are going to be part of the throes of that transformation, which must take place. Europe is not going to be the monolithic societies they once were in the last century. Jews are going to be at the centre of that. It's a huge transformation for Europe to make. They are now going into a multicultural mode and Jews will be resented because of our leading role. But without that leading role and without that transformation, Europe will not survive .
    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 10:04 pm GMT

    @AaronB @ FKA Max - thanks, that sounds interesting. I don't know if Europeans are less altruistic than others, but I do know that the Muslims whom the Crusaders came into contact with considered Europeans to be especially ethnocentric.

    In my view, genetic determinism is simply a limited view - nations change their character, often dramatically, over time. Examples are numerous - dishonest Germans, lazy Chinese, etc, etc.

    To ignore this, truly one must do violence to one's mind.

    @Nickels - yes, but that is the materialist trap. One cannot simply choose not to be a materialist for prudential reasons - as prudence itself is a materialist value. Materialism certainly undermines itself in many ways, though. It is, even, self-contradictory (if our minds are evolutionary, we can't assume it produces truth - but then our minds produced the theory of evolution, which we then have no basis to believe in, and so on. It's circular, and self-undermining.)

    @Santoculto - but beauty is not a physical thing - it is a relation between things, a certain proportion, an arrangement of things. Therefore, it is metaphysical - i.e above physics.

    Agree with you about the Vatican - though beautiful, it represent power and wealth, values utterly foreign to Christianity.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm GMT

    @utu Your genes will most certainly not perish.

    I do not like the BS about gene survival. But if you have 1 child only only 50% of your genes survive if you mate with dog. But if you mate with random person from Africa more than 50% of your genes will survive because probably you share some genes with Africans. But even more of your genes will survive if you mate with somebody from your ethnic/racial group. But if you want to really maximize your gene survival try incest.

    AaronB , May 24, 2017 at 10:29 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    First, you have misunderstood me badly if you think I support European genocide.
    I didn't say what I thought you support. I said that what you were saying was consistent with the objective of those who do seek European genocide.

    if the indigenous group agrees to assimilate to the invaders identity – religion, etc – then the indigenous group need not suffer any loss of genetic frequency.
    That's a clever piece of bullshit. What your saying is, as long as the indigenous Europeans agree to become part of some other group then the loss of their genes does not matter because, hey, they agreed in advance to merge and be submerged and ultimately eliminated.

    As for


    You are badly conflating "group identity" with "genetic group"

    More clever bullshit, since it is you who are doing the conflating.

    Even today, if you convert to Islam – assimilate – you will be provided a wife in many places. Your genes will most certainly not perish. Rather the opposite, for many young Western males.
    So you are crassly advocating conversion of Europe to Islam on the preposterous falsehood that it will increase European genes in the European gene pool, which is mathematical nonsense. If a European turns Muslim in Europe, it's most likely that he will marry a European or several, and if it is several, so much the worst for the genes of those European males who might otherwise have married but who will have to make do without a wife at all.

    Consider, also, that females of conquered tribes frequently despise the conquerors and refuse to mate with them
    Bollocks. Tell that to the 40 million living descendants of Ghengis Kahn.

    Take Israel
    Please do.

    There can be no genetic, materialist reason to resist Islam – many low-status Western males will have improved chances of reproduction, and elite Western males will compose a valued intellectual and technocratic class, as happened historically.
    I've already exploded that idiotic fallacy in an earlier comment (see #52, above). I'm not engaging in a 'tis 'tisn't dispute.

    To retain our distinct group identity we need a metaphysical reason
    Any group thinking the way you want the Europeans to think will be wiped from the page of history in very short order.

    attractive Palestinian women should be rushing into the arms of Israeli men in droves. They are a conquered nation. Israeli men of Arab descent would love to pair with them.
    The Palis haven't surrendered yet. They want to kill everyone of you Jews or at least drive you back wherever the Hell you came from.

    Historically, if you merged with your neighbor tribe, you became larger and stronger
    You certainly pack a lot of BS into one comment. The optimum strategy depends greatly on circumstances. Genocide, as practiced by the Jews of old against the original inhabitants of Israel, involving slaughter of the males and post menopausal females, and impregnation of the females is often the optimum strategy, but circumstances alter cases in a vast number of different ways, so your comment is, frankly, fatuous.

    European colonialists in Asia also did not typically have to fend off high-quality local women
    There was no European colonization of Asia, so what are you talking about?

    Yes – Jews retain a distinct identity, but it is highly obvious that the genetic survival of individual Jews is not served by this.
    There is no such thing as the genetic survival of individual Jews or anyone else. All that counts, in the evolutionary sense, are genes, and the share of your gene in the gene pool, and what is apparently "highly obvious" to you is not the case.

    In Europe for most of history, Jewish genes would obviously have done far better by converting to Christianity and assimilating.
    "Obviously"? Usually a sign of bunk to be asserted. You have no arguments at all. Mere ridiculous and uninformed comment that happens to conform exactly with the globalist project for the destruction of the independent, sovereign, democratic, and by tradition Christian, European states.

    And so on and so forth.
    Yes, very good. That typifies the deficiency in fact and logic of your entire spiel.

    Once you liberate yourself from the straitjacket of materialism, it is amazing the vistas that open up before you.
    And once you open yourself up to unadulterated bullshit, it's amazing how quickly you can inadvertently destroy your own people and posterity.
    Agent76 , May 24, 2017 at 10:30 pm GMT

    May 22, 2017 The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party

    Did you know that the Democratic Party defended slavery, started the Civil War, founded the KKK, and fought against every major civil rights act in U.S. history? Watch as Carol Swain, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, shares the inconvenient history of the Democratic Party.

    Kevin O'Keeffe , May 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm GMT

    @AaronB "This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests."

    Both are selfish materialistic interests.

    You will never be able to understand why Whites are committing suicide if this is all you can see.

    You are doomed to eternal puzzlement and perplexity, like Derbyshire, like Sailer. Eternally scratching your heads, yet unwilling to question your premises, trapped in the sterile circle of materialism.

    You yourself admit you cannot understand it - i.e it cannot be explained in terms of your premises. One would think when one has reached the limits of one's premises explanatory power, its time to think beyond them.

    Yet how seldom that happens. People just circle endlessly their central premise, unable to break free.

    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.

    SFG , May 24, 2017 at 10:58 pm GMT

    @Jason Liu This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level -- the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:14 pm GMT

    @Anon So one Jew speaks for the whole group? Does Ted Bundy speak for you?

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:15 pm GMT

    @utu Your genes will most certainly not perish.

    I do not like the BS about gene survival. But if you have 1 child only only 50% of your genes survive if you mate with dog. But if you mate with random person from Africa more than 50% of your genes will survive because probably you share some genes with Africans. But even more of your genes will survive if you mate with somebody from your ethnic/racial group. But if you want to really maximize your gene survival try incest.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 24, 2017 at 11:18 pm GMT

    @Sean I think liberals would disagree with a lot of this post. They see themselves as protecting the individual to live as they choose within a principle of no harm, whereby a problem of groups in competition does not arise, which is fair enough within a state, but falls apart if applied across borders and separate polities.

    The intellectual consensus against heterodox thinkers, especially those of Prof. MacDonald's ilk, is due to the principle of no harm, taken as mandating an open society and global utility. But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.


    What its really incredibly pathetic is that really challenging this regime from within the academic world is vanishingly rare. Or perhaps it's not so surprising given the above. But what happened to all that idealism that young scholars have when they really get interested in a field? Why don't professors in evolutionary science, who know well how natural selection works when there is an invasive species or sub-species - why don't these White people become vocal opponents of the current multicultural zeitgeist that is actively selecting against European genes? How can they just watch or even applaud the demise of their own people?

    This for me is the hardest to understand. Careerism over their obvious genetic/evolutionary interests.

    Be that as it may, I think phrasing opposition in terms of anything pertaining to genes is disastrous . And the proof of that is the virtually open borders advocates constantly try to bring up genetic and related arguments as what lies behind all calls for immigration restriction. They want us to make the hereditary/ genetic/white/ nordic argument. All these terms denote supremacy and are identified with a philosophical error ( essentialism).

    Border security is self-defence for the national state communities that aspire to protect their polity (sovereign country), but liberals are assuming a global delimited polity (one world ) with a principle of no harm; they have to save the immigrants. The case for immigration restriction should be put as relating to a democratically ratified state's borders. A citizen's right to cross the border has a corollary in relation to foreigners having no such right.

    "I don't have to read Mein Kampf to know it is evil. Same with The Bell Curve."

    Kampf has a bit where Hitler talks of the conquest and colonisation of space, but predicts the globe will spin through space devoid of life if Jews are allowed to direct its development. I wonder, liberalism and nation speaking peace toward nation is going to make the open and technologically innovative Western counties a mulch cow for the world, one can imagine a much more internationally cooperative spirit becoming de rigueur , and progress harnessed to the hypercapitalism as foreseen by Nick Land. At which time pursuit of a technological singularity will be brought well within striking distance for that generation.

    The great silence from the Universe (we're all alone) and it seeming that, contrary to what evolutionist say, evolution does seem to have an upward direction to it (nervous systems having evolved twice ) plus we now we know that bacteria can survive meteorite crash landings all points toward life forms being self exterminiting by getting a little too advanced.

    Perhaps his expectation of the aforementioned advances in globalism and invention (or rationalist morality and inteligence) is why Professor Stephen Hawking thinks life on Earth will be extinguished within a century . As Yoda, or was it Revilo Oliver, said "night must fall".

    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:34 pm GMT

    @jilles dykstra One wonders if psychologists are ignorant of history.
    Some 300 years BCE a Greek calculated the circumference of the earth at 39.000 km, the right figure is 40.000.
    Yet Columbus' sailors were afraid to fall of the earth.
    For some 1600 years the christian church prevented all independent thought, in 1600 the pope had Giordano Bruno burned alive, for heretic thoughts, about the universe, about the holy trinity.
    At about the same time Calvin burned Servetius, the man who discovered blood circulation, alive to death, also about the trinity.
    So Servetius was unable to tell the world about the blood circulation.
    Galileo got away with house arrest.
    Even around 1860 the pope declared that philosophical thinking not controlled by the church was illegal.
    So there is nothing special in the christian culture about no independent thought.
    On top of that, as Chomsky states: in any culture there is a standard truth, if this truth is not considered, no debate is possible, but between those who know better.
    We see this right now, much wailing about the indeed horrible carnage in Manchester, that the USA, Predators with Hellfire, causes such carnage every week three or fout times, it cannot be said.
    Terrorism is caused by the Islam, not by the west.

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 11:41 pm GMT

    @reiner Tor


    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    If I paid you $10,000 and gave you a day, could you come up with a rough back-of-the-envelope model where people would have a hardwired genetic predisposition to wanting to have many kids yet end up having a different number of kids under different circumstances?

    Actually, I could come up with such models for free.

    Santoculto , May 24, 2017 at 11:46 pm GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.
    Except, as you forgot to mention, the survival of the European people. But liberals, of course, are always ready to sacrifice European people for whatever depraved cause they may have in mind.
    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm GMT

    @iffen What makes you think it's not hardwired?

    No scientific evidence.

    I think it would have turned up by now.

    In 2-3 generations, people go from having 10-12 kids to having 0,1,2.

    How would that work genetically?

    iffen , May 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm GMT

    @Kevin O'Keeffe


    Yet to anyone who isn't a materialist, how obvious it is why Whites are committing suicide.
    Seeing as how the future of Western civilization is at stake, now may not be the best time to be keeping us in suspense.
    Alden , May 24, 2017 at 11:58 pm GMT

    @annamaria A case in point - Libya: http://theduran.com/hillary-clinton-bears-responsibility-for-the-manchester-atrocity/
    "The illegal NATO war against Libya was Hillary Clinton's war above all others. It was her who took a stable, prosperous, secular socialist country and turned it into a failed state and a terrorist playground. Gaddafi warned that he was the rampart holding back al-Qaeda from Europe, but Hillary Clinton did not care. She even laughed about Gaddafi's inhumane, barbaric execution at the hands of terrorists.
    Had Hillary Clinton not been able to convince Barack Obama and his useful war propagandists David Cameron in Britain and Nicholas Sarkozy, the dead children in Manchester might be with us today.
    Hillary Clinton famously said of Gaddafi's illegal execution, "We came, we saw, he died". Indeed, she came, she saw, he died and now thousands of more have died in Libya, many others have died in Europe because of this, including those who recently perished in Manchester."

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 12:10 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    But, restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates is a terrible mistake from every point of view.
    Except, as you forgot to mention, the survival of the European people. But liberals, of course, are always ready to sacrifice European people for whatever depraved cause they may have in mind.
    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 12:13 am GMT

    So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged .

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    iffen , May 25, 2017 at 12:22 am GMT

    @Alden Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT

    Classic case of how PC can make white psychology stupid and gullible.

    https://altright.com/2017/05/24/blacks-mastermind-criminal-uses-white-guilt-to-steal-iphones-from-unsuspecting-liberals/

    Fact is blacks are more likely to lie, cheat, steal, and rob.

    They have less conscience and inhibition.

    Evolution made them that way. They had to survive in a world of competition with hyenas, leopards, crocodiles, and hippos.

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT

    @Alden You're too intelligent to keep repeating Calvinist and enlightenment propaganda. Columbus and his sailors knew that the earth was round and if they just keep sailing west they would eventually run into Asia about 5,000 miles from The coast of Spain.

    What Columbus didn't know was that the Americas are between Europe and Asia.

    Why is the calendar used today called the Georgian calendar? Because the calendar needs to be adjusted every 1, 500 years. It was adjusted around 40 BC when Juluus Cesear was Emperor. By 1500AD it needed further adjustment. That adjustment was done in the best observatory in the world at the time by the beat astronomers and mathmeticians in the world. The work was done in the Vatican observatory. The astronomers and mathematicians were Vatican priests.

    I very heard of the scientific method? It was created around 1100 AD by priests and monks at the Roman Catholic University of Paris Sorbonne.

    Your own country the Netherlands was under the North Sea in 500 AD. It was Roman Catholic monks who settled on the beaches and began a thousand year process of land reclamation that literally built the land now called the Netherlands.

    Every university established in Europe before 1800 was established by the church. During those 1600 years you cite the only libraries in Europe belonged to the church

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT

    @iffen instinctive objective of reproduction

    There is no instinct for reproduction.

    There is an instinct to have sex.

    iffen , May 25, 2017 at 12:48 am GMT

    @AaronB So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged....

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 12:50 am GMT

    @AaronB You know, if we adopt the genetic perspective, then none of this matters at all.

    Behaviors get selected for in a vast impersonal process that doesn't care about the outcome.

    I do not see why the conscious *I* should give one whit about my genes.

    If someone has inherited a concern with his genetic transmission, or if someone has not, is a neutral fact with no significance from this point of view. If that person's genes don't make it to the next generation, that is a fact - it is without value. We have banished value, and created a world of impersonal facts.

    There can be no discussion, because there are no values, there are no reference points - it is all a vast impersonal process that is utterly blind.

    You cannot derive value from fact - and your attempt to do so is merely the metaphysical instinct hard at work, trying to derive meaning from the concepts available to you, even if those concepts cannot yield meaning.

    Such is the strength of man's metaphysical instinct (the search for value and meaning) - finally, after much toil and effort, we arrive at a world view which banishes all metaphysics, yet we try immediately to sneak it in through the back door.

    Tell me, why *should* I care about my genes? Ah, but with that word "should", we are back into metaphysics, and out of the genetic world-view.

    These double-binds and knots that Western thinking has finally tied itself into - if we cannot untie these knots, we are doomed to death.

    Because this talk of genetic transmission will not give us the motivation to save ourselves.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 12:56 am GMT

    @AaronB So iffen mocks me, and CanSpeccy fumes in silence, with his back to me.

    I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged....

    Its unfortunate. If we cannot even tolerate challenges to materialism, we are without hope.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world, full of faith, replaces us.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 12:57 am GMT

    @Alden There is a theory that Hildabeast attacked Libya on orders from the bankers because Ghaddafi took Libya out of the international monetary system.

    America needs a leader like Ghaddafi, a leader who cares about his own people and nation.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:02 am GMT

    @Jason Liu This is exactly why "neoreaction" should have been the face and force behind the Alt-Right, not the Stormfront types. You can tell by just how afraid the academic left is when equality is questioned on an ideological level -- the immediate reaction to accuse their opponents of moral sin indicates an insecurity in their ideas.

    Barring all-out, society-wide nationalism, it's the Dark Enlightenment nerds who will produce the cultural change necessary to bring down the left. Pepe and beating up Antifa will only get you so far.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:04 am GMT

    @utu The anti Catholic propaganda was particularly strong in The Netherlands: "Liever Turks dan Paaps"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liever_Turks_dan_Paaps

    dcite , May 25, 2017 at 1:04 am GMT

    "Childless spinsters are often quite bitter, and most folk psychologists give at least two reasons why, with one of them being bitter about not having children. "

    You sure understand more about the person using certain vocabulary, than the subject they are opining about. Chuckling at the images he's conjuring up. To judge from what I've seen, those "spinsters" probably got more action than most properly married and childed women.
    There are lots of other reasons to be bitter than not having kids. Like having kids you wish you'd never had. Some of the bitterest people I've ever met have been parents. Both kinds.
    It is common to overestimate the desire of women to reproduce. I was flabbergasted at the young women I met years ago who declared with absoluteness, they wanted no children. That seemed so final and I couldn't get why they didn't see the potential in raising super-kids. They said it with absolute conviction and awareness that they would probably not die young and would be old without kids. Today, most are just fine. Most do not seem bitter. Maybe they should for the good of society you want high quality people to reproduce. But these are the very types least concerned, and by and large they are just fine with the situation. What is convenient for the individual is not always good for society; but it does make for a happy individual.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:09 am GMT

    @iffen Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Why would you use birth control if you have an 'instinct" to reproduce?

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:15 am GMT

    @iffen Don't forget about reliable birth control.

    Why would you use birth control if you have an 'instinct" to reproduce?

    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 1:16 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    I do not see why the conscious *I* should give one whit about my genes.
    Doesn't matter whether you see why or not. The genes of those who do care are more likely to be represented in succeeding generations than the genes of those who do not. Caring about such things is largely a cultural matter. Hence, as
    Raphael Lemkin who coined the term genocide explained, genocide can be achieved by:

    a coordinated plan aimed at destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups so that these groups wither and die like plants that have suffered a blight. The end may be accomplished by the forced disintegration of political and social institutions, of the culture of the people, of their language, their national feelings and their religion. It may be accomplished by wiping out all basis of personal security, liberty, health and dignity. When these means fail the machine gun can always be utilized as a last resort.
    That is exactly what the European peoples are exposed to now. In arguing for the Islamification of Europe, through mass immigration you are promoting genocide of the Europeans, for whatever reasons, maybe hatred of Europeans, or maybe it pays - for you to raise a family and thus increase the representation of your genes in the gene pool.
    utu , May 25, 2017 at 1:18 am GMT

    @Alden Better Turks than Papists? That must be why the Netherlands revolt against the Spanish Empire occurred just in time to distract the Spanish from the very important naval war against the Turks which culminated in the Catholic victory of Lepanto which made the Mediterranean and Atlantic safer for Europeans.

    I don't know why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes against the Catholic Church. None of his allegations are true, just 400 yr old enlightenment propaganda. Columbus consulted the priests at the university of Salmonacca. The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right. That's quite an achievement for an anti science religion.

    Once Columbus realized that he could sail that distance he was able to raise funds from the Spanish crown. Of course Dysktra will heap scorn on the scientists of Salmonacca for not realizing the Americas were between Spain and Asia.

    Even American fundamentalists and Jews have ratcheted down the anti Catholic Calvinist rhetoric in the last 80 years.

    AaronB , May 25, 2017 at 1:20 am GMT

    @iffen I get the sense committed materialists really do not like being challenged .

    I love a challenge, more than most.

    Faith failed.

    Case closed.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:21 am GMT

    @MarkinLA I just think Hillary was looking to her Presidential run in 2016 and saw an opportunity to burnish her "foreign policy" bonafides. She thought it would be a cake walk and successful and could then brag in 2016 how she was head and shoulders above everybody else in foreign policy. Benghazi happened and everything was supposed to go down the memory hole.

    MarkinLA , May 25, 2017 at 1:21 am GMT

    @Alden Better Turks than Papists? That must be why the Netherlands revolt against the Spanish Empire occurred just in time to distract the Spanish from the very important naval war against the Turks which culminated in the Catholic victory of Lepanto which made the Mediterranean and Atlantic safer for Europeans.

    I don't know why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes against the Catholic Church. None of his allegations are true, just 400 yr old enlightenment propaganda. Columbus consulted the priests at the university of Salmonacca. The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right. That's quite an achievement for an anti science religion.

    Once Columbus realized that he could sail that distance he was able to raise funds from the Spanish crown. Of course Dysktra will heap scorn on the scientists of Salmonacca for not realizing the Americas were between Spain and Asia.

    Even American fundamentalists and Jews have ratcheted down the anti Catholic Calvinist rhetoric in the last 80 years.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:35 am GMT

    @utu why Jilles Dykstra keeps injecting his trite 1700s diatribes

    I think he genuinely believes it. Several centuries of incessant propaganda and brain washing. In England it was not much better.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 1:52 am GMT

    @Anon So one Jew speaks for the whole group? Does Ted Bundy speak for you?

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 1:54 am GMT

    Hilarious.

    What Progs SAY is a means to cover up what they DO.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/black-farmer-calls-liberal-racism-191552524.html

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 2:02 am GMT

    @Alden I know but the English stopped the anti Catholic nonsense when they stopped attending their Protestant churches. But Dykstra just keeps posting the same old same old.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 2:11 am GMT

    @utu


    restricting immigration on the grounds he advocates
    I think it would be useful to go through all possible arguments in favor of controlling immigration. Why does it seem so that so many arguments are stigmatized and have negative connotations? Different argument will work with different people. Some arguments will fall on deaf ears in the US but might be persuasive in some European countries.

    Cultural arguments (destruction of cultures of both of the host and that of the immigrant, irreconcilable religious and cultural differences)

    Economic arguments (group and individual impact of immigration, who benefits and who does not)

    Legal arguments (sovereignty, ownership of land and country, national home, who can live in it and who can decide if every citizen is a part owner of the country, rule of reciprocity and 1st categorical imperative: what if everybody did this)

    Biological arguments (irreversibility of miscegenation, loss of natural biological diversity)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfxL_wuYtSg

    utu , May 25, 2017 at 2:15 am GMT

    @MarkinLA The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right.

    Uh, no. The Atlantic is about 3000 miles, the Continental US is about 3000 miles and the Pacific is about 5000 miles.

    CanSpeccy , Website May 25, 2017 at 2:29 am GMT

    @AaronB I am not at all arguing for the Islamization of Europe - quite the opposite!

    I was merely pointing out that if we remain self-interested materialists, we will have no really compelling reason to make the necessary self-sacrifice to resist.

    "The genes of those who do care are more likely to be represented in succeeding generations than the genes of those who do not. Caring about such things is largely a cultural matter. "

    So is it genetically determined, or a cultural attitude, subject to change? Since you distinguish between the two, I assume you do not think culture is genetically determined - otherwise the two sentences are identical.

    If it is genetically determined, then the European population is clearly composed of people who do not possess the gene that makes one care about the survival of one's group - and then, what are you hoping for?

    Anon , May 25, 2017 at 2:33 am GMT

    ROTFL.

    The nuttery just gets better and better.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447906/christine-fair-accosts-richard-spencer-gym

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 2:53 am GMT

    @Wizard of Oz You unfairly snipe at SS and JD for some reason. My tecollection is that Steve was brought up Catholic but his genetic father is Jewish. But i can't see in any case why he should be expected to write to your prescription.
    Also you seem to have missed the Derbyshire piece about the Jews in America who still mrntally live in 1880 Russia hiding from the Cossacks.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:13 am GMT

    @utu Various prejudices and misconceptions function in popular culture. Nobody really question them. You can find them in Monty Python.

    Arriving in England, I went from a country where religion was everywhere, but of little interest to me, to a country that had little interest in religion, but still defined me by my purported beliefs. Modern Britain is a country founded in large part on anti-Catholicism.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/aug/22/pope-visit-catholic-prejudice

    And then you have this:

    Although there is a popular perception in Scotland that Anti-Catholicism is football related (specifically directed against fans of Celtic F.C.), statistics released in 2004 by the Scottish Executive showed that 85% of sectarian attacks were not football related. Sixty-three percent of the victims of sectarian attacks are Catholics, but when adjusted for population size this makes Catholics between five and eight times more likely to be a victim of a sectarian attack than a Protestant. (wiki)

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:21 am GMT

    @CanSpeccy


    I am not at all arguing for the Islamization of Europe – quite the opposite!

    I was merely pointing out that if we remain self-interested materialists, we will have no really compelling reason to make the necessary self-sacrifice to resist.

    What is this self-sacrifice?

    What sacrifice is there in closing the door to rape-culture refugees?

    What sacrifice is there in closing the door to H1b visa entrants to the US who take decent jobs from Americans?

    What sacrifice is there to closing the door to people from Asia, Africa and the Middle-East - perfectly fine people for the most part, I am sure - who will take any job that a European has and do the work for a lower wage?

    The only sacrifice you are saying "we" have to make is actually the sacrifice that the greedy globalist shysters such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and all the other billionaire globalist bastards have to make. No more off-shoring of jobs to maximize profits, no more trade deals that override national law, and no more mass immigration either as a source of cheap labor or as a genocidal instrument of national destruction to make way for an undemocratic global governance regime.

    It is the greed and unconstrained ambition of the plutocracy and their paid agents, the Clintons, the Blairs, and all the other bought "representatives of the people," not the materialism of the people themselves that is driving mass immigration and the destruction of the European peoples both racially and culturally. Indeed, it is only through the exploitation of the generosity of a gullible population that the crime of national genocide by mass immigration has been taken to the point of no return in many parts of the formerly European world.

    Alden , May 25, 2017 at 3:39 am GMT

    @MarkinLA The priests calculated the distance between Spain and Asia. They got the distance right.

    Uh, no. The Atlantic is about 3000 miles, the Continental US is about 3000 miles and the Pacific is about 5000 miles.

    Wizard of Oz , May 25, 2017 at 4:04 am GMT

    @Alden Here is the real reason the Jews fled Russia in the 1880s. It was draft evasion. I forget the exact date, but around 1880 Jews got their full civil rights. Unfortunately that included civil obligations such as conscription. That's why the Jews left, not programs, not affirmative action for the goyim, not crackdowns on usury.

    In the foreign affairs/ state department archives of every country in Europe and the Americas are reports from diplomats stationed in Russia that there was no persecution and that the stories about programs were just stories intended to get sympathy so as to facilitate immigration to other countries. That's why the Russian Jews swarmed England, the USA and Latin American countries that did not have the draft. They didn't go to Germany, Austria, France, Italy or Spain because all those countries had conscription.

    Russia's draft was for 25 years which is horrible to contemplate unless one is down and out and desperate for 3 hots and a cot. But the other European countries had just a few years draftee enlistment and the Jews didn't go to those countries, they went to draft free England and America.

    That's why they left.

    [May 25, 2017] The electoral college was put in place to keep the major population centers from determining the vote

    May 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

    anarchyst , May 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm GMT

    @Svigor

    I keep trying to explain this "popular vote" thing: The Electoral College system is essentially mandatory voting: every person casts a vote via the electoral college, whether they actually fill out a ballot or not. Choosing not to fill out a ballot is a vote for "I'll go with the majority's decision."

    The entire population of the United States of America is represented in this process: everyone is either a proxy (voter), or has his vote cast by a proxy.

    The "popular vote" mantra is the scuzzbucket Democrat way of dismissing the legitimacy of the people who vote by proxy. It's Democrats' way of saying these people don't matter. And this from the party that claims to support mandatory voting!

    The will of the people is expressed in the Electoral College. And in the 2016 election, that will very much favored Trump over Clinton.

    geokat62 , May 22, 2017 at 3:31 pm GMT

    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 50 states

    That's the theory. The reality is more like:

    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 15 battleground states

    or better still:

    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 5 states (CO, FL, NV, OH, VA) that have been truly competitive over the last five presidential elections

    Joe Franklin , May 22, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT

    @anarchyst The electoral college was put in place to keep the major population centers from determining the vote. Without the electoral college, the prospective presidential candidates would only have to cater to the major population centers and could safely ignore "flyover country", as the east and west coasts would have enough "clout" to determine the direction of the vote.
    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 50 states...

    utu , May 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm GMT

    @anarchyst The electoral college was put in place to keep the major population centers from determining the vote. Without the electoral college, the prospective presidential candidates would only have to cater to the major population centers and could safely ignore "flyover country", as the east and west coasts would have enough "clout" to determine the direction of the vote.
    The electoral college is the "equalizer" which forces the candidates to campaign in all 50 states...

    [May 24, 2017] All Power to the Banks!

    This is not a new trick, but still it was impressive. Macron played his hand well and brought extreme neoliberals to power using threat of fascism, while his neoliberal views might be even closer to neo-fascism then LePen's.
    "Divide and conquer" and "bait and switch" proved again very effective tools. In other words Macron victory is another neoliberal coup after Argentina and Brazil. Neoliberal zombies do not want to die. The power of neoliberal propaganda is still substantial -- the population can be brainwashed despite the fact that must now understand that neoliberal promised are fake and the redistribution of wealth up destroys middle class and impoverishes lower 60-80% of population
    Notable quotes:
    "... Les Républicains (LR), ..."
    "... In reality, both have adopted neoliberal economic policies, or more precisely, they have followed European Union directives requiring member states to adopt neoliberal economic policies. Especially since the adoption of the common currency, the euro, a little over fifteen years ago, those economic policies have become tangibly harmful to France, hastening its deindustrialization, the ruin of its farmers and the growing indebtedness of the State to private banks. ..."
    "... The most thoughtful reaction has been to start realizing that it is the European Union itself that imposes this unpopular economic conformism. ..."
    "... To quell growing criticism of the European Union, the well-oiled Macron machine, labeled "En Marche!" ..."
    "... The destruction of the Socialist Party was easy. Since the "Socialist" government was so unpopular that it could not hope to win, it was easy to lure prominent members of that party to jump the sinking ship and rally to Macron, who had been economics minister in that unpopular government, but who was advertised by all the media as "new" and "anti-system". ..."
    "... Fillon still cared about preserving France, and favored an independent foreign policy including good Canard Enchainé ..."
    "... These "civil society" newcomers tend to be successful individuals, winners in the game of globalized competition, who will have no trouble voting for anti-labor measures. Macron is thus confirming Marine Le Pen's longstanding assertion that the two main parties were really one big single party, whose rhetorical differences masked their political convergence. ..."
    "... Macron won in part because older voters in particular were frightened by his opponents' hints at leaving the European Union, which they have been indoctrinated to consider necessary to prevent renewal of Europe's old wars. But only the hysterical anti-fascist scare can explain why self-styled leftist "revolutionaries" such as François Ruffin, known for his successful anti-capitalist movie "Merci Patron", could join the stampede to vote for Macron – promising to "oppose him later". But how? ..."
    "... Later, after five years of Macron, opposition may be harder than ever. In recent decades, as manufacturing moves to low wage countries, including EU members such as Poland and Rumania, France has lost 40% of its industry. Loss of industry means loss of jobs and fewer workers. When industry is no longer essential, workers have lost their key power: striking to shut down industry. Currently the desperate workers in a failing auto-works factory in central France are threatening to blow it up unless the government takes measures to save their jobs. But violence is powerless when it has no price tag. ..."
    "... The Macron program amounts to a profound ideological transformation of the French ideal of égalité ..."
    "... Macron is sufficiently Americanized, or, to be more precise, globalized, to have declared that "there is no such thing as French culture". From this viewpoint, France is just a place open to diverse cultures, as well as to immigrants and of course foreign capital. He has clearly signaled his rejection of French independence in the foreign policy field. ..."
    "... Macron echoes the Russophobic line of the neocons. He broke tradition on his inauguration by riding down the Champs-Elysées in a military vehicle. A change of tone is indicated by his cabinet nominations. The title of the new foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who served as defense minister in the Hollande government, is "Minister of Europe and of Foreign Affairs", clearly giving Europe preference in the matter. Sylvie Goulard, an ardent Europeist who has remarked that "she does not feel French", has been named Minister of Armies and Minister of Defense. Clearly national defense is an afterthought, when the main idea is to deploy the armed forces in various joint Western interventions. ..."
    "... Mélenchon ran a spectacularly popular campaign, leaving the Socialist Party far behind (the party he personally left behind years ago). Initially, as he seemed to be taking votes away from Le Pen as well as from the Socialists, he got friendly media coverage, but as he came closer to making it to the decisive second round, the tone started to change. Just as Le Pen was finally knocked out as a "fascist", there is little doubt that had Mélenchon been Macron's challenger, he would have been increasingly denounced as "communist". ..."
    "... La France Insoumise ..."
    "... categories populaires ..."
    "... Marine Le Pen would have tried to enact measures to save French industry and the jobs it provides, provide various benefits for low-income people, withdraw from NATO, and even promote a peaceful world, starting with friendly relations with Russia. She would even have begun to prepare her compatriots for escape from the euro. ..."
    "... A "color revolution" was ready to be stirred up. The deep state is vigilant in NATOland. ..."
    May 24, 2017 | www.unz.com
    A ghost of the past was the real winner of the French presidential election. Emmanuel Macron won only because a majority felt they had to vote against the ghost of "fascism" allegedly embodied by his opponent, Marine Le Pen. Whether out of panic or out of the need to feel respectable, the French voted two to one in favor of a man whose program most of them either ignored or disliked. Now they are stuck with him for five years.

    If people had voted on the issues, the majority would never have elected a man representing the trans-Atlantic elite totally committed to "globalization", using whatever is left of the power of national governments to weaken them still further, turning over decision-making to "the markets" – that is, to international capital, managed by the major banks and financial institutions, notably those located in the United States, such as Goldman-Sachs.

    The significance of this election is so widely misrepresented that clarification requires a fairly thorough explanation, not only of the Macron project, but also of what the (impossible) election of Marine Le Pen would have meant.

    From a Two Party to a Single Party System

    Despite the multiparty nature of French elections, for the past generation France has been essentially ruled by a two-party system, with government power alternating between the Socialist Party, roughly the equivalent of the U.S. Democratic Party, and a party inherited from the Gaullist tradition which has gone through various name changes before recently settling on calling itself Les Républicains (LR), in obvious imitation of the United States . For decades, there has been nothing "socialist" about the Socialist Party and nothing Gaullist about The Republicans.

    In reality, both have adopted neoliberal economic policies, or more precisely, they have followed European Union directives requiring member states to adopt neoliberal economic policies. Especially since the adoption of the common currency, the euro, a little over fifteen years ago, those economic policies have become tangibly harmful to France, hastening its deindustrialization, the ruin of its farmers and the growing indebtedness of the State to private banks.

    This has had inevitable political repercussions. The simplest reaction has been widespread reaction against both parties for continuing to pursue the same unpopular policies. The most thoughtful reaction has been to start realizing that it is the European Union itself that imposes this unpopular economic conformism.

    To quell growing criticism of the European Union, the well-oiled Macron machine, labeled "En Marche!" has exploited the popular reaction against both governing parties. It has broken and absorbed large parts of both, in an obvious move to turn En Marche! into a single catch-all party loyal to Macron.

    The destruction of the Socialist Party was easy. Since the "Socialist" government was so unpopular that it could not hope to win, it was easy to lure prominent members of that party to jump the sinking ship and rally to Macron, who had been economics minister in that unpopular government, but who was advertised by all the media as "new" and "anti-system".

    Weakening the Republicans was trickier. Thanks to the deep unpopularity of the outgoing Socialist government, the Republican candidate, François Fillon, looked like a shoo-in. But despite his pro-business economic policies, Fillon still cared about preserving France, and favored an independent foreign policy including good Canard Enchainé to be revealed at a critical moment in the campaign. The uproar drowned out the issues. To an electorate already wary of "establishment politicians", these revelations were fatal. The impression that "politicians are all corrupt" played into the hands of Emmanuel Macron, too young to have done anything worse than make a few quick millions during his passage through the Rothschild Bank, and there's nothing illegal about that.

    In France, the presidential election is followed by parliamentary elections, which normally give a majority to the party of the newly elected president. But Macron had no party, so he is creating one for the occasion, made up of defectors from the major defeated parties as well as his own innovation, candidates from "civil society", with no political experience, but loyal to him personally. These "civil society" newcomers tend to be successful individuals, winners in the game of globalized competition, who will have no trouble voting for anti-labor measures. Macron is thus confirming Marine Le Pen's longstanding assertion that the two main parties were really one big single party, whose rhetorical differences masked their political convergence.

    The Macron victory demoralized Republicans. Weakening them further, Macron named a Republican, Edouard Philippe, as his Prime Minister, in a government with four Socialist and two Republican, alongside his own selections from "civil society".

    Transforming France

    Macron won in part because older voters in particular were frightened by his opponents' hints at leaving the European Union, which they have been indoctrinated to consider necessary to prevent renewal of Europe's old wars. But only the hysterical anti-fascist scare can explain why self-styled leftist "revolutionaries" such as François Ruffin, known for his successful anti-capitalist movie "Merci Patron", could join the stampede to vote for Macron – promising to "oppose him later". But how?

    Later, after five years of Macron, opposition may be harder than ever. In recent decades, as manufacturing moves to low wage countries, including EU members such as Poland and Rumania, France has lost 40% of its industry. Loss of industry means loss of jobs and fewer workers. When industry is no longer essential, workers have lost their key power: striking to shut down industry. Currently the desperate workers in a failing auto-works factory in central France are threatening to blow it up unless the government takes measures to save their jobs. But violence is powerless when it has no price tag.

    Emmanuel Macron has said that he wants to spend only a short time in political life, before getting back to business. He has a mission, and he is in a hurry. If he gains an absolute majority in the June parliamentary elections, he has a free hand to govern for five years. He means to use this period not to "reform" the country, as his predecessors put it, but to "transform" France into a different sort of country. If he has his way, in five years France will no longer be a sovereign nation, but a reliable region in a federalized European Union, following a rigorous economic policy made in Germany by bankers and a bellicose foreign policy made in Washington by neocons.

    As usual, the newly elected French president's first move was to rush to Berlin to assert loyalty to the increasingly lopsided "Franco-German partnership". He was most warmly welcomed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, thanks to his clear determination to force through the austerity measures demanded by the Frankfurt budget masters. Macron hopes that his fiscal obedience will be rewarded by German consent to a European investment fund for stimulating economic growth, but this implies a degree of federalism that the pfennig-pinching Germans show little sign of accepting.

    First of all, he has promised to complete the dismantling of the French labor code, which offers various protections to workers. This should save money for employers and the government. For Macron, the ruin of French industry and French farming seem to be welcome steps toward an economy of individual initiative, symbolized by startups.

    The Macron program amounts to a profound ideological transformation of the French ideal of égalité , equality, from a horizontal concept, meaning equal benefits for all, to the vertical ideal of "equality of opportunity", meaning the theoretical chance of every individual to rise above the others. This is an ideal easily accepted in the United States with its longstanding myth of the self-made man. The French have traditionally been logical enough to understand that everyone can't rise above the others.

    Horizontal equality in France has primarily meant institutional redistribution of wealth via universal access to benefits such as health care, pensions, communications and transportation facilities, allocations for families raising children, unemployment insurance, free education at all levels. These are the benefits that are under threat from the European Union in various ways. One way is the imposition of "competition" rules that impose privatization and favor foreign takeovers that transform public services into profit-seekers. Another is the imposition of public budget restrictions, along with the obligation of the State to seek private loans, increasing its debt, and the loss of tax revenue that all end up up making the State too poor to continue providing such services.

    Very few French people would want to give up such horizontal equality for the privilege of hoping to become a billionaire.

    Macron is sufficiently Americanized, or, to be more precise, globalized, to have declared that "there is no such thing as French culture". From this viewpoint, France is just a place open to diverse cultures, as well as to immigrants and of course foreign capital. He has clearly signaled his rejection of French independence in the foreign policy field. Unlike his leading rivals, who all called for improved relations with Russia, Macron echoes the Russophobic line of the neocons. He broke tradition on his inauguration by riding down the Champs-Elysées in a military vehicle. A change of tone is indicated by his cabinet nominations. The title of the new foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who served as defense minister in the Hollande government, is "Minister of Europe and of Foreign Affairs", clearly giving Europe preference in the matter. Sylvie Goulard, an ardent Europeist who has remarked that "she does not feel French", has been named Minister of Armies and Minister of Defense. Clearly national defense is an afterthought, when the main idea is to deploy the armed forces in various joint Western interventions.

    The Divided Opposition

    Unless the June parliamentary elections produce stunning surprises, the opposition to Macron's catch-all governance party appears weak and fatally divided. The Socialist Party is almost wiped out. The Republicans are profoundly destabilized. Genuine opposition to the Macron regime can only be based on defense of French interests against EU economic dictates, starting with the euro, which prevents the country from pursuing an independent economic and foreign policy. In short, the genuine opposition must be " souverainiste ", concerned with preserving French sovereignty.

    Two strong personalities emerged from the presidential election as potential leaders of that opposition: Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen. But they are drastically divided.

    Mélenchon ran a spectacularly popular campaign, leaving the Socialist Party far behind (the party he personally left behind years ago). Initially, as he seemed to be taking votes away from Le Pen as well as from the Socialists, he got friendly media coverage, but as he came closer to making it to the decisive second round, the tone started to change. Just as Le Pen was finally knocked out as a "fascist", there is little doubt that had Mélenchon been Macron's challenger, he would have been increasingly denounced as "communist".

    Mélenchon is intelligent enough to have realized that the social policies he advocates cannot be achieved unless France recovers control of its currency. He therefore took a stand against both NATO and the euro. So did Marine Le Pen. Mélenchon was embarrassed by the resemblance between their two programs, and contrary to other eliminated candidates, refrained from endorsing Macron, instead calling on his movement, La France Insoumise , to choose between Macron and abstention. Finally, 25% of Mélenchon voters abstained in the second round, but 62% voted for Macron – almost exclusively motivated by the alleged need to "stop fascism". That compares with the final total results of 66% for Macron and 34 % for Le Pen.

    That vote confirmed the impossibility of forming a unified souverainiste opposition and allows Marine Le Pen to strengthen her claim to be the leader of a genuine opposition to Macron. She has admitted her own mistakes in the campaign, particularly in her debate with Macron, who beat her hands down with his arrogant performance as the economic expert. But despite her mere 34%, she retains the most loyal base of supporters in a changing scene. The problem for Mélenchon is that his electorate is more versatile.

    Despite his loud appeal to "youth", Macron was elected by France's huge population of old people. Among voters over 65, he won 80% against 20% for Le Pen. Marine Le Pen did best with the youngest age group, 18 to 24, winning 44% against Macron's 56%. [1] According to poll of 7,752 representative voters by Le Figaro/LCI,

    The differences were also significant between socio-professional categories. Macron won a whopping 83% of the votes coming from the "superior socio-professional categories" – categories where the "winners" in competitive society are largely ensconced. But in what are described as " categories populaires ", a French term for ordinary folk, with less education, the vote was 53% in favor of Le Pen. And she confirmed her position as favorite candidate of the working class, winning 63% of workers' votes.

    Note that the "superior socio-professional categories" are where the significance of these results will be defined. Individuals from that category – journalists, commentators and show business personalities – are all in a position to spread the word that this vote indicates that the workers must be "racist", and therefore that we have narrowly escaped being taken over by "fascism".

    One of the many odd things about the latest French presidential election is the rejoicing among foreign "leftists" over the fact that the candidate of the rich roundly defeated the candidate of the poor. It used to be the other way around, but that was long ago. These days, the winners in the competitive game comfort themselves that they morally deserve their success, because they are in favor of diversity and against racism, whereas the less fortunate, the rural people and the working class, don't deserve much of anything, because they must be "racist" to be wary of globalization.

    The fact that Paris voted 90% for Macron is natural, considering that real estate prices have pushed the working class out of the capital, whose population is now overwhelmingly what is called "bobo" – the bohemian bourgeoisie, many of whom are employed in various branches of the dominant human rights ideology fabrication business: journalists, professors, teachers, consultants, the entertainment industry. In these milieux, hardly anyone would even dare speak a positive word about Marine Le Pen.

    What if Marine Le Pen had won?

    Since politics is largely fantasy, we may as well try to imagine the unimaginable: what if Marine Le Pen had won the election? This was never a realistic possibility, but it is worth imagining.

    It could have had one, perhaps only one, extremely positive result: it could have freed France from its paralyzing obsession with the nonexistent "fascist threat". The ghost would be exorcised. If the word has any meaning, "fascism" implies single party rule, whereas Marine Le Pen made clear her desire to govern by coalition, and selected the leader of a small Gaullist party, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, as her prospective prime minister. Poof! No fascism. That would have been an immeasurable benefit for political debate in France. At last genuine issues might matter. Real threats could be confronted.

    Another advantage would have been the demise of the National Front. Since Marine Le Pen took over the notorious party founded by her reactionary father, it has kept a precarious balance between two opposing wings. There is the right wing in the southeast, along the Riviera, the bastion of the party's founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a region represented in the outgoing parliament by his conservative granddaughter Marion Maréchal Le Pen. In the old industrial northeast region, between Arras and Lille, Marine Le Pen has built her own bastion, as champion of ordinary working people, where she won a majority of votes in the presidential election.

    This is not the only time in history when an heiress has gone away with the heritage to join someone of whom her father disapproves. All those who want to cling to their comforting hatred of the left's official Satan have trouble believing that Marine Le Pen broke with her reactionary father to go her own way (just as U.S. hawks couldn't believe in Gorbachev). This change owes everything to her encounter with Florian Philippot, an intellectual who gave up on the ability of the Socialists to face the real issues. Marine has the personal qualities of a leader, and Philippot provided the intellectual substance she needed. Marine has decisively chosen Philippot as her advisor and co-leader, despite grumblings by Jean-Marie that she has been led astray by a gay Marxist. Had Marine won, her left wing would have been strengthened enough to enable her and Philippot to scrap the National Front and found a new "Patriot Party". However, by scoring below 40%, she has weakened her authority and must try to hold the troublesome party together in order to win seats in the new parliament – which will not be easy.

    Marine Le Pen would have tried to enact measures to save French industry and the jobs it provides, provide various benefits for low-income people, withdraw from NATO, and even promote a peaceful world, starting with friendly relations with Russia. She would even have begun to prepare her compatriots for escape from the euro.

    But not to worry, none of this "fascist" program would ever have come to pass. If she had won, bands of protesting "antifascists" would have invaded the streets, smashing windows and attacking police. The outgoing Socialist government was preparing to use the resulting chaos as a pretext to stay in power long enough to manage the parliamentary elections, [2] "Si Le Pen avait été élue le plan secret pour 'protéger la République'", Le Nouvel Observateur, May 17, 2017 , ensuring that President Marine Le Pen would be held in check. A "color revolution" was ready to be stirred up. The deep state is vigilant in NATOland.

    Diana Johnstone is co-author of " From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning ", by Paul H. Johnstone, her father. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

    [May 23, 2017] Tulsi Gabbard: Citizens United worsened the crisis of dark money influencing our country. We need to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics.

    May 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

    L.K , May 23, 2017 at 2:30 am GMT

    Tulsi Gabbard‏ on twitter, May 19:

    Citizens United worsened the crisis of dark money influencing our country. We need to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics.

    I've decided to stop accepting PAC/lobbyist $$. Bottom line: we can't allow our future to be driven and shaped by special interests.

    It always amazes me so few zamericans seem to even discuss these basic themes; with such a completely corrupt political system, there is little chance even a solid, well meaning president could accomplish much.

    In fact , such corrupt system hardly produces any good statesmen to begin with

    [May 23, 2017] Populism organizing political principle was a moral fight between the common man and a few moneyed elites who exploited the masses for personal gain

    "Universalist Democrat"="Neoliberal Democrats" or Clinton wing of the party.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Rhetorically, universalist Democrats often end up appealing for a party that offers a space for everyone to voice their concerns. Hillary Clinton is a great example of this ..."
    "... Populists, according to Gerring's categories, were the dominant force in national Democratic politics from 1896 to 1948. ..."
    "... Their organizing political principle was a moral fight between the common man and a few moneyed elites who exploited the masses for personal gain. Populists often targeted trusts. They used moral language, explicitly calling policies "right" or "wrong" and believed that the government was the only force strong enough to restrain big business, ensure that the basic needs of citizens were met and bring people into a state of true equality." ..."
    May 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    [ RealClearPolitics ] Interesting ideological formulation:

    "Gerring writes that universalism started to take hold in the Democratic Party in the postwar era as national Democrats shifted away from an anti-elitist, populist message and toward rhetoric centered on unity, peace and prosperity.

    Universalists tend to see abstract concepts rather than specific people or institutions as problems - think of the efforts to stop poverty, end racism or reduce income inequality. Universalist Democrats cast themselves as managers of the welfare state rather than crusaders against a powerful elite, and they often championed the rights and causes of a wide array of individual groups.

    Democrats' focus on LGBT rights, civil rights protections for African-Americans, comprehensive immigration reform, women's rights and more can all be thought of as part of as a universalist commitment to the particular needs of groups.

    Rhetorically, universalist Democrats often end up appealing for a party that offers a space for everyone to voice their concerns. Hillary Clinton is a great example of this" .

    "Sanders, however, doesn't ultimately trace his policy positions to a fight with poverty or for better health care, but to a fight against Wall Street bankers or pharmaceutical companies. His economic narratives have clear and present antagonists . In these ways, Sanders is more of a populist than many modern Democrats. Populists, according to Gerring's categories, were the dominant force in national Democratic politics from 1896 to 1948.

    Their organizing political principle was a moral fight between the common man and a few moneyed elites who exploited the masses for personal gain. Populists often targeted trusts. They used moral language, explicitly calling policies "right" or "wrong" and believed that the government was the only force strong enough to restrain big business, ensure that the basic needs of citizens were met and bring people into a state of true equality."

    [May 22, 2017] The current divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They dont align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, are calling the shots and operate outside election cycle.

    Notable quotes:
    "... The real relations and divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They don't align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections anymore. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence & surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, they're all playing power-circle games. ..."
    "... The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in the bureaucracy running all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region. ..."
    "... These are the functionaries and apparatchiks of a stagnating system, which is what's been going on in the U.S. for awhile now. Trump was just too much of an outsider to be accepted by the insiders, and his threats to change the status quo led to the current situation. ..."
    "... This is exactly how leadership selection in the old Soviet Union went on, too. And Trump is no master of bureaucratic infighting, unlike say, Putin. He's just flailing at this point. ..."
    www.moonofalabama.org

    nonsense factory | May 18, 2017 4:58:30 PM | 56

    Anon

    The real relations and divisions in Washington seem to turned into the Soviet system under Brezhnev. They don't align with the political parties and the mostly stage-managed elections anymore. The domestic federal bureaucracy, the government contractors, the intelligence & surveillance sector, the overseas military, Wall Street, they're all playing power-circle games. This is how the system has operated - Cheney ran it under Bush, Clinton ran it under Obama, it's all bureaucractic infighting. If you read about Soviet history you see the same thing:

    The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in the bureaucracy running all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region.

    These are the functionaries and apparatchiks of a stagnating system, which is what's been going on in the U.S. for awhile now. Trump was just too much of an outsider to be accepted by the insiders, and his threats to change the status quo led to the current situation. Pence, they figure, will be far more amenable to control. Even though Trump has been going along with the standard Republican domestic agenda, he's just viewed as too unpredictable for their tastes. This is exactly how leadership selection in the old Soviet Union went on, too. And Trump is no master of bureaucratic infighting, unlike say, Putin. He's just flailing at this point.

    I'm not concerned about it though, if the grossly corrupt federal government is locked up with this nonsense for the next four years, that's fine. Perhaps state governments can step up and work together to solve problems while Washington gnaws its own belly, that's about the best we can hope for.

    [May 22, 2017] Th>e best technique of obtaining soundbytes and posturing for neoliberal elite is based on so-called wedge issues

    Notable quotes:
    "... Calibrate your position so it is a good scrap of meat for your "base" while it drives the adversaries to conniptions, the conniptions provide talking points and together, drive the clueless in your direction. Wash, repeat. ..."
    www.moonofalabama.org
    Piotr Berman | May 18, 2017 10:04:50 PM | 77
    "Donald Trump used alt-right messaging to get into the White House but he and his third-rate staff haven't the slightest clue of what gave rise to the deplorables in the first place and how to address the root despair of the western working class." VietnamVet

    I do not know how highly rated the staff was, but it was sufficiently high. If the opponent has fourth-rate staff, it would be wasteful to use anything better than third-rate. Figuring what gave rise to the deplorable is a wasted effort, sociologist differ, and in politics the "root causes" matter only a little.

    And all authorities suggest to exploit the despair with soundbites and posturing. Granted, this is a platitude, but how to obtain compelling soundbites and posturing? I think that the best technique is based on so-called wedge issues.

    A good wedge issue should raise passions on "both sides" but not so much in the "center", mostly clueless undecided voters.

    Calibrate your position so it is a good scrap of meat for your "base" while it drives the adversaries to conniptions, the conniptions provide talking points and together, drive the clueless in your direction. Wash, repeat.

    [May 22, 2017] Faux populist model of governance

    Notable quotes:
    "... My thesis is this: both Obama and Trump are faux populists and are part and parcel of a 'faux populist model of governance'. Elements of this model are ..."
    "... A craven narcisstic egotistic Leader (Obama, Trump) that is a willing tool because he/she intends to capture a future payoff for himself. ..."
    "... Establishment-friendly VP as insurance. Both Biden and Pence are seen as 'reliable hands' by TPTB. ..."
    "... crazy opposition that is intended to weaken a faux populist leader and energize apologists. I call them "enforcers". ..."
    "... A compliant media ..."
    "... This is a toxic mix because it sends the message that neither your vote nor your opinion matters so why waste your time seeking out truth? ..."
    "... a sort of 5th column of folks working on behalf of 5th columnists, subverting government in favor of the lucrative process of policy misdirection itself. ..."
    May 22, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

    Jackrabbit | May 20, 2017 2:10:15 PM | 89

    Anon @83

    I think you misread or misunderstood what I wrote.

    My thesis is this: both Obama and Trump are faux populists and are part and parcel of a 'faux populist model of governance'. Elements of this model are :

    1. A craven narcisstic egotistic Leader (Obama, Trump) that is a willing tool because he/she intends to capture a future payoff for himself. They signal their willingness via:

    > forgiving past abuses ("no-drama Obama"; Trump's not prosecuting Hillary)

    > constraining their own power: Obama's bi-partisanship (termed "11-dimensional chess" by critics), Trump's brashness/recklessness that gives his opponents fodder ("tapes" on Comey, etc.)

    2. Establishment-friendly VP as insurance. Both Biden and Pence are seen as 'reliable hands' by TPTB.

    3. crazy opposition that is intended to weaken a faux populist leader and energize apologists. I call them "enforcers". By crazy opposition, I mean

    > Obama: 'birthers' and smears like "socialist muslim".

    Trump: Russia probe; smears like "the new Hitler"

    4. apologists that take as a given that the President wants to fulfill the promises, both spoken and unspoken, that he has made to the people.

    PS I wrote about this on my blog.
    Jackrabbit | May 20, 2017 2:47:50 PM | 90
    And, of course:
    5. A compliant media
    Other considerations: This is a toxic mix because it sends the message that neither your vote nor your opinion matters so why waste your time seeking out truth?
    jfl | May 20, 2017 7:04:53 PM | 92
    in what's termed the second of a series, someone named Jonathan Marshall makes the crucial point about the various 'lobbies' in the usofa ... How China Lobby Shaped America

    In 1949, two members of Congress called for an investigation of the lobby's "brazen power." Rep. Mike Mansfield, a Montana Democrat who would later become Senate majority leader, accused Nationalist Chinese officials - who had fled the mainland for Taiwan that year in the wake of the communist revolution - of diverting U.S. aid to fund political propaganda in the United States.

    Ironically, a timely dispensation of $800,000 from Nationalist Chinese officials in Taiwan to their New York office financed a successful campaign to squelch that proposed investigation.

    ... they are self-funding operations. once the money starts to flow a portion is set aside for kickbacks, bribes, and efforts to protect the mainstream funding itself. it is truly a parasitic operation that feeds on the fruits of its effort on others' behalf, and thus strengthens itself, becoming a stand-alone operation.

    there are tens of thousands of people in ac/dc working in these operations, looking out for taiwan's interests, israel's interests, making sure that russia stays demonized ... all the various corporate issues ... but at base and before all else, looking out for number one.

    a sort of 5th column of folks working on behalf of 5th columnists, subverting government in favor of the lucrative process of policy misdirection itself.

    with a gang like that at the core of our government what, as they say, could go wrong?

    [May 19, 2017] Did Seth Rich Contact WikiLeaks

    Notable quotes:
    "... The other story, however, is something our spooks don't want you to even know about. Fox News reported earlier today [Wednesday] that the private investigator hired by the family of Seth Rich – but paid for by a third party – is now saying there's solid evidence that Rich – a former DNC employee, embedded in their computer operations – was in contact with WikiLeaks. ..."
    "... Rich was murdered in the wee hours of July 10, 2016. His wallet, his watch, and valuables were still on him, despite claims it was a botched robbery. Days later, WikiLeaks published the DNC emails. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of his murderers. ..."
    "... "An FBI forensic report of Rich's computer – generated within 96 hours after Rich's murder – showed he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time, the federal source told Fox News. "'I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,' the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department." ..."
    "... Speaking of WikiLeaks: a largely overlooked email from John Podesta's leaked account has him saying: "I am definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker." It kind of makes you think, doesn't it? ..."
    May 16, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

    Two stories are now dominating the headlines: one is something the Establishment wants you to pay attention to, and the other is something they want to bury. First off, to the former:

    The Washington Beltway is in an uproar over the latest Deep State attempt to tar the President of the United States as a Russian agent: they're claiming Trump gave super-duper Top Secret information –provided, it turns out, by the Israelis – to the Russians during a meeting with the Kremlin's Foreign Minister and their ambassador at the White House.

    There are two problems with this story: if the anonymous former and currently serving "intelligence officials" cited by the Washington Post were really concerned about the damage done to our "sources and methods," they would never have leaked this story in the first place. Secondly, everyone in the room at the time, including National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, denies it.

    Far from proving Trump is either the Manchurian candidate and/or is playing fast and loose with our national security, it merely shows – once again – that the "intelligence community" is out to depose him by any means necessary. Add to this Israel's amen corner, which is now screeching that Trump "betrayed" Israel.

    The other story, however, is something our spooks don't want you to even know about. Fox News reported earlier today [Wednesday] that the private investigator hired by the family of Seth Rich – but paid for by a third party – is now saying there's solid evidence that Rich – a former DNC employee, embedded in their computer operations – was in contact with WikiLeaks.

    Rich was murdered in the wee hours of July 10, 2016. His wallet, his watch, and valuables were still on him, despite claims it was a botched robbery. Days later, WikiLeaks published the DNC emails. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the capture of his murderers.

    Fox News is reporting that Rich's computer shows "44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between DNC leaders" passed between Rich and WikiLeaks. They cite not only Rod Wheeler , a former Washington DC homicide detective hired by the Rich family to solve the case, but also a "federal investigator" who corroborates Wheeler's claims:

    "An FBI forensic report of Rich's computer – generated within 96 hours after Rich's murder – showed he made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and director of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time, the federal source told Fox News.

    "'I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,' the federal investigator told Fox News, confirming the MacFadyen connection. He said the emails are in possession of the FBI, while the stalled case is in the hands of the Washington Police Department."

    Speaking of WikiLeaks: a largely overlooked email from John Podesta's leaked account has him saying: "I am definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker." It kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

    I've said from the beginning that 1) There is no convincing evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC, or fooled John Podesta into giving out his email account password, and 2) It was most likely an inside job. While it may be an overstatement to say that this latest story confirms it, it certainly calls the Russian conspiracy theory into serious question.

    Yet both the House and the Senate have launched investigations designed to prove "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin – to say nothing of the FBI probe. Will the same attention be paid to the Rich-MacFayden correspondence?

    Of course not.

    The Rich family is denying that there's any evidence their son was in contact with WikiLeaks: but their official spokesman – yes, they have one – is one Brad Bauman , a self-described " crisis consultant " for the Democrats. Which is very appropriate, since these new revelations do indeed constitute a crisis for the Democrats, who have based their entire post-election strategy on a flimsy conspiracy theory that has been debunked by cyber-security experts (the ones who aren't in the pay of the DNC, that is)..

    Wheeler says that a local police officer in Washington "looked me straight in the eye" and told him they had been ordered to "stand down" on Rich's case. As for the "mainstream" media, they don't have to be told to stand down – they're doing it instinctively.

    But no worries! Antiwar.com was founded to blast through the "mainstream" media wall of silence. That's our job, and we've been doing it for over 20 years. But we can't continue to do it without your help. This Russia conspiracy theory is just plain bonkers, and is clearly the creation of political opportunists and Deep State spooks who have a vested interest in pushing it.

    Well, we have a vested interest in the truth. And so do you. That's why supporting Antiwar.com should be near the top of your agenda right now: because a site like this has never been more necessary.

    But it doesn't come free! We depend on you, our readers, to donate the funds we need to continue. So don't let the "mainstream" media pull the wool over America's eyes – make your tax-deductible donation today.

    Postscript: By the way, the Fox News story on the Seth Rich-Wikileaks connection, by reporter Malia Zimmerman, went through several interesting iterations since its original publication. See here .

    [May 19, 2017] Centrist Macron Yes, a dead-center insider for global capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... The media says what??? Hillary Clinton complains about the media? Which media says that? Give us ONE single example Hillary! Just one where the media says you can't talk about that. Just pure hypocrisy ..."
    "... Superficially, there is a semblance of variance from the political establishment. Macron formed his En Marche (Forward) movement only a year ago. He has never held elected political office. And until three years ago hardly anyone had ever heard of him. ..."
    "... Paradoxically, Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, congratulated the French people for "choosing liberty, equality and fraternity, and saying no to fake news." Paradoxical because everything about Emmanuel Macron's "meteoric rise" through elite banking and his equally stellar crossover to politics smacks of fabrication and fakery. ..."
    "... Former banking colleagues recall that he wasn't particularly capable in his four years at Rothschild's while on a multi-million-euro income. But he "mastered the art of networking." In a Financial Times profile published before the election, a senior banker is quoted as saying: "What Mr Macron lacked in technical knowledge and jargon at first, he made up for with contacts in government." Other sources recall that "it was never quite clear who Macron worked for." ..."
    "... Macron's En Marche does not have any members in parliament. His government will thus likely be comprised of patronage and technocrats selected from years of networking in the financial and Élysée Palace establishment. ..."
    May 10, 2017 | www.eutimes.net

    Everything about France's new president Emmanuel Macron suggests a theatrical production of hype and illusion. He is being "sold" to the masses as an "outsider" and "centrist", a benign liberal.

    In reality, enter the economic hitman who will blow French society apart in the service of the oligarchy.

    At age 39, Macron has been described as a "political wonderboy" and France's "youngest leader since Napoleon Bonaparte." The former Rothschild banker who reportedly once had the nickname "the Mozart of Finance" is now promising to renew France and bring the nation together, where people will no longer "vote for extremes."

    Fittingly for the Mozart of Finance, the new president used the "grandest of backdrops for entrance on the world stage," when he made his victory speech on Sunday night in the courtyard of the Louvre, noted the Financial Times. His dramatic walk to the stage through the world-famous museum courtyard took a full four minutes. The night lights and shadows played with Macron's unsmiling, stoney face as he strode purposely forward amid the strains of Beethoven's Ode to Joy. The choice of the European Union's national anthem, rather than France's, is a harbinger of Macron's political project and the globalist interests he serves.

    The media says what??? Hillary Clinton complains about the media? Which media says that? Give us ONE single example Hillary! Just one where the media says you can't talk about that. Just pure hypocrisy

    Geographically, the Louvre is situated midway between the traditional political venues of the Place de la Concorde for the right, and La Bastille for the left. Here was Macron intimating once again, as he did during his campaign, that he represents neither right or left. He has vowed to overturn the bipartisan structure of French politics, creating a new "centrist" movement. Just like his other moniker of being an "outsider," however, this image of Macron is a deftly manicured illusion.

    Superficially, there is a semblance of variance from the political establishment. Macron formed his En Marche (Forward) movement only a year ago. He has never held elected political office. And until three years ago hardly anyone had ever heard of him. Now he is to become the eighth president of the French Fifth Republic.

    Paradoxically, Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, congratulated the French people for "choosing liberty, equality and fraternity, and saying no to fake news." Paradoxical because everything about Emmanuel Macron's "meteoric rise" through elite banking and his equally stellar crossover to politics smacks of fabrication and fakery. With his elite education at the Ecole National Academie (ENA) where future French political leaders are groomed, to his precocious elevation in investment banking, followed by his seamless entrance into top-flight government politics, Macron is evidently a person with powerful guiding forces behind him.

    Former banking colleagues recall that he wasn't particularly capable in his four years at Rothschild's while on a multi-million-euro income. But he "mastered the art of networking." In a Financial Times profile published before the election, a senior banker is quoted as saying: "What Mr Macron lacked in technical knowledge and jargon at first, he made up for with contacts in government." Other sources recall that "it was never quite clear who Macron worked for."

    As the Financial Times noted: "At the bank, Mr Macron navigated around the numerous conflicts of interest that arise in close-knit Parisian business circles, making good use of his connections as an Inspecteur des Finances - an elite corps of the very highest-ranking graduates from ENA."

    After quitting private finance, Macron joined the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande, where he at first served as a "special advisor." In 2014, Hollande appointed him as economy minister where he drew up a draconian program to undermine French employment rights in favor of corporate profits. Macron resigned from his ministerial post only last year when he set up his own political party in anticipation of contesting the presidential election.

    Macron's En Marche does not have any members in parliament. His government will thus likely be comprised of patronage and technocrats selected from years of networking in the financial and Élysée Palace establishment. What little is known about Macron's policies is his stated commitment to more stringent economic austerity, promises to slash €60 billion in public spending over the next five years and axe up to 120,000 state sector jobs. He is also setting to drive through more "business friendly" changes in labor laws that will allow bosses to more easily hire and fire employees. He is giving companies license to negotiate increased working hours and lower salaries outside of statutory law. So, the notion that Macron is some kind of benign "centrist" is an insult to common intelligence. He is a "centrist" only in the sense of illusory corporate media branding; in objective terms, Macron is a dedicated economic hitman for global capitalism.

    Whatever one might think of his defeated rival Marine Le Pen of the Front National, she certainly had Macron accurately summed up when she referred to him as the "candidate of finance." Independent Socialist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was narrowly knocked out in the first round of the election on April 23, predicts that Macron will be a "disaster" for French society, blowing apart economic inequality and social contracts to turn the country into the kind of poverty-wage slavery seen in the US and Britain.

    There is sound reason why the French and European political establishment exulted in Macron's victory. He is no outsider, overturning the status quo for a more democratic outcome. He is in fact a consummate insider who will pursue policies pandering to elite interests, at the expense of the great majority.

    Macron's "centrist [sic] victory brought joy to Europe's political establishment," reported the New York Times, while the BBC informed of "palpable relief among European leaders." Outgoing President Francois Hollande – the most unpopular French leader ever – warmly congratulated Macron, as did incumbent prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve and other senior government figures. Macron had been endorsed by Hollande's so-called Socialist Party and the center-right Republicans. So much for his vaunted "outsider" image. Macron was also endorsed prior to the weekend vote by former US President Barack Obama and European leaders, including Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    The irony of such brazen "electoral interference" is of course that this was what such Western leaders have accused Russia of. Again, it also shows that Macron will be a "centrist" in more ways than is meant. He will serve as a "dead-center" advocate of the transatlantic politics of Washington-led neoliberal capitalism and NATO militarism. The French President-elect published a political autobiography earlier this year entitled 'Revolution'. The only thing "revolutionary" about Macron's victory is that the political establishment has invented an image for itself that upturns reality.

    The intense media marketing of Macron as a "centrist outsider" is a coup against the meaning of words and plain language. It is also worth noting that over 16 million French voters abstained or spoiled their votes against the 20 million who opted for Macron. French society, as for other Western nations, is riven by the ravages of global capitalism. And now here comes the "Mozart of Finance" to allegedly bring harmony from the appalling discord he and others like him have sown.

    Source

    [May 19, 2017] Notes From an Emergency Tech Feudalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... ByMaciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guywho livesin San Francisco and runs a bookmarking site called Pinboard. Originally published at Idle Words ..."
    "... This is the text version of a talk I gave on May 10, 2017, at the re:publica conference in Berlin. ..."
    "... The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda. ..."
    "... Facebook is the dominant social network in Europe, with 349 million monthly active users. Google has something like 94% of market share for search in Germany. The servers of Europe are littered with the bodies of dead and dying social media sites. The few holdouts that still exist, like Xing , are being crushed by their American rivals. ..."
    "... And so Trump is in charge in America, and America has all your data. This leaves you in a very exposed position. US residents enjoy some measure of legal protection against the American government. Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously. ..."
    "... But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it. ..."
    "... A very cleverly designed trap, and one in which the cattle to be slaughtered all believe they are choosing their own destiny even as they are herded inexorably closer to the slaughterhouse. ..."
    May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Posted on May 19, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a wide-ranging, lively, sobering talk about the implications of tech feudalism and what we can do about it.

    ByMaciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guywho livesin San Francisco and runs a bookmarking site called Pinboard. Originally published at Idle Words

    This is the text version of a talk I gave on May 10, 2017, at the re:publica conference in Berlin.

    The good part about naming a talk in 2017 'Notes from an Emergency' is that there are so many directions to take it.

    The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda.

    Depending on where you live, the rise of this new right wing might be nothing new. In the United States, our moment of shock came last November, with the election of Donald Trump. The final outcome of that election was:

    65.8 million for Clinton
    63.0 million for Trump

    This was the second time in sixteen years that the candidate with fewer votes won the American Presidency. There is a bug in the operating system of our democracy, one of the many ways that slavery still casts its shadow over American politics.

    But however tenuously elected, Trump is in the White House, and our crisis has become your crisis. Not just because America is a superpower, or because the forces that brought Trump to power are gaining ground in Europe, but because the Internet is an American Internet.

    Facebook is the dominant social network in Europe, with 349 million monthly active users. Google has something like 94% of market share for search in Germany. The servers of Europe are littered with the bodies of dead and dying social media sites. The few holdouts that still exist, like Xing , are being crushed by their American rivals.

    In their online life, Europeans have become completely dependent on companies headquartered in the United States.

    And so Trump is in charge in America, and America has all your data. This leaves you in a very exposed position. US residents enjoy some measure of legal protection against the American government. Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously.

    But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it.

    This is an astonishing state of affairs. I can't imagine a world where Europe would let itself become reliant on American cheese, or where Germans could only drink Coors Light.

    In the past, Europe has shown that it's capable of identifying a vital interest and moving to protect it. When American aerospace companies were on the point of driving foreign rivals out of business, European governments formed the Airbus consortium , which now successfully competes with Boeing.

    A giant part of the EU budget goes to subsidize farming , not because farming is the best use of resources in a first-world economy, but because farms are important to national security, to the landscape, to national identity, social stability, and a shared sense of who we are.

    But when it comes to the Internet, Europe doesn't put up a fight. It has ceded the ground entirely to American corporations. And now those corporations have to deal with Trump. How hard do you think they'll work to defend European interests?

    The Feudal Internet

    The status quo in May 2017 looks like this:

    There are five Internet companies-Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Together they have a market capitalization just under 3 trillion dollars.

    Bruce Schneier has called this arrangement the feudal Internet . Part of this concentration is due to network effects, but a lot of it is driven by the problem of security. If you want to work online with any measure of convenience and safety, you must choose a feudal lord who is big enough to protect you.

    These five companies compete and coexist in complex ways.

    Apple and Google have a duopoly in smartphone operating systems. Android has 82% of the handset market , iOS has 18%.

    Google and Facebook are on their way to a duopoly in online advertising. Over half of the revenue in that lucrative ($70B+) industry goes to them, and the two companies between them are capturing all of the growth (16% a year).

    Apple and Microsoft have a duopoly in desktop operating systems. The balance is something like nine to one in favor of Windows , not counting the three or four people who use Linux on the desktop, all of whom are probably at this conference.

    Three companies, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, dominate cloud computing. AWS has 57% adoption , Azure has 34%. Google has 15%.

    Outside of China and Russia, Facebook and LinkedIn are the only social networks at scale. LinkedIn has been able to survive by selling itself to Microsoft.

    And outside of Russia and China, Google is the world's search engine .

    That is the state of the feudal Internet, leaving aside the court jester, Twitter, who plays an important but ancillary role as a kind of worldwide chat room.

    Google in particular has come close to realizing our nightmare scenario from 1998, a vertically integrated Internet controlled by a single monopoly player. Google runs its own physical network, builds phone handsets, develops a laptop and phone operating system, makes the world's most widely-used browser, runs a private DNS system, PKI certificate authority, has photographed nearly all the public spaces in the world, and stores much of the world's email.

    But because it is run by more sympathetic founders than Bill Gates, because it builds better software than early Microsoft did, and because it built up a lot of social capital during its early "don't be evil" period, we've given it a pass.

    Security

    It's not clear that anyone can secure large data collections over time. The asymmetry between offense and defense may be too great. If defense at scale is possible, the only way to do it is by pouring millions of dollars into hiring the best people to defend it. Data breaches at the highest levels have shown us that the threats are real and ongoing. And for every breach we know about, there are many silent ones that we won't learn about for years.

    A successful defense, however, just increases the risk. Pile up enough treasure behind the castle walls and you'll eventually attract someone who can climb them. The feudal system makes the Internet more brittle, ensuring that when a breach finally comes, it will be disastrous.

    Each of the big five companies, with the important exception of Apple, has made aggressive user surveillance central to its business model. This is a dilemma of the feudal internet. We seek protection from these companies because they can offer us security. But their business model is to make us more vulnerable, by getting us to surrender more of the details of our lives to their servers, and to put more faith in the algorithms they train on our observed behavior.

    These algorithms work well, and despite attempts to convince us otherwise, it's clear they work just as well in politics as in commerce. So in our eagerness to find safety online, we've given this feudal Internet the power to change our offline world in unanticipated and scary ways.

    Globalism

    These big five companies operate on a global scale, and partly because they created the industries they now dominate, they enjoy a very lax regulatory regime. Everywhere outside the United States and EU, they are immune to government oversight, and within the United Statesl the last two administrations have played them with a light touch. The only meaningful attempt to regulate surveillance capitalism has come out of the European Union.

    Thanks to their size and reach, the companies have become adept at stonewalling governments and evading attempts at regulation or oversight. In many cases, this evasion is noble. You don't want Bahrain or Poland to be able to subpoena Facebook and get the names of people organizing a protest rally. In other cases, it's purely self-serving. Uber has made a sport of evading all authority, foreign and domestic, in order to grow.

    Good or bad, the lesson these companies have drawn is the same: they need only be accountable to themselves.

    But their software and algorithms affect the lives of billions of people. Decisions about how this software works are not under any kind of democratic control. In the best case, they are being made by idealistic young people in California with imperfect knowledge of life in a faraway place like Germany. In the worst case, they are simply being read out of a black-box algorithm trained on God knows what data.

    This is a very colonial mentality! In fact, it's what we fought our American War of Independence over, a sense of grievance that decisions that affected us were being made by strangers across the ocean.

    Today we're returning the favor to all of Europe.

    Facebook, for example, has only one manager in Germany to deal with every publisher in the country. One! The company that is dismantling the news industry in Germany doesn't even care enough to send a proper team to manage the demolition.

    Denmark has gone so far as to appoint an ambassador to the giant tech companies, an unsettling but pragmatic acknowledgement of the power relationship that exists between the countries of Europe and Silicon Valley.

    So one question (speaking now as an EU citizen): how did we let this happen? We used to matter! We used to be the ones doing the colonizing! We used to be a contender!

    How is it that some dopey kid in Palo Alto gets to decide the political future of the European Union based on what they learned at big data boot camp? Did we lose a war?

    The lack of accountability isn't just troubling from a philosophical perspective. It's dangerous in a political climate where people are pushing back at the very idea of globalization. There's no industry more globalized than tech, and no industry more vulnerable to a potential backlash.

    China and Russia show us that the Internet need not be a world-wide web, that it can be subverted and appropriated by the state. By creating a political toolkit for authoritarian movements, the American tech giants may be putting their own future at risk.

    Irreality

    Given this scary state of the world, with ecological collapse just over the horizon, and a population sharpening its pitchforks, an important question is how this globalized, unaccountable tech industry sees its goals. What does it want? What will all the profits be invested in?

    What is the plan?

    The honest answer is: rocket ships and immortality.

    I wish I was kidding.

    The best minds in Silicon Valley are preoccupied with a science fiction future they consider it their manifest destiny to build. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are racing each other to Mars. Musk gets most of the press, but Bezos now sells $1B in Amazon stock a year to fund Blue Origin. Investors have put over $8 billion into space companies over the past five years, as part of a push to export our problems here on Earth into the rest of the Solar System.

    As happy as I am to see Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos fired into space, this does not seem to be worth the collapse of representative government.

    Our cohort of tech founders is feeling the chill breath of mortality as they drift into middle age. And so part of what is driving this push into space is a more general preoccupation with 'existential risk'.

    Musk is persuaded that we're living in a simulation, and he or a fellow true believer has hired programmers to try to hack it.

    Peter Thiel, our most unfortunate German import, has built a survival retreat for himself in New Zealand .

    Sam Altman hoards gold in Big Sur .

    OpenAI, a religious cult thinly disguised as a research institution, has received $1B in funding to forestall the robot rebellion.

    The biggest existential risk, of course, is death, so a lot of money is going to make sure that our big idea men don't expire before the world has been received the full measure of their genius.

    Google Ventures founded the very secretive life extension startup Calico , with $1.5B dollars in funding. Google loses $4B a year on its various "moon shots", which include life extension. They employ Ray Kurzweil, who believes we're still on track for immortality by 2045 . Larry Ellison has put $370M to anti-aging research , as anybody would want to live in a world with an immortal Larry Ellison. Our plutocrats are eager to make death an opt-out experience.

    Now, I'm no fan of death. I don't like the time commitment, or the permanence. A number of people I love are dead and it has strained our relationship.

    But at the same time, I'm not convinced that a civilization that is struggling to cure male-pattern baldness is ready to take on the Grim Reaper. If we're going to worry about existential risk, I would rather we start by addressing the two existential risks that are indisputably real-nuclear war and global climate change-and working our way up from there.

    But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives.

    The tech industry enjoys tearing down flawed institutions, but refuses to put work into mending them. Their runaway apparatus of surveillance and manipulation earns them a fortune while damaging everything it touches. And all they can think about is the cool toys they'll get to spend the profits on.

    The message that's not getting through to Silicon Valley is one that your mother taught you when you were two: you don't get to play with the new toys until you clean up the mess you made.

    The circumstances that have given the tech industry all this power will not last long. There is a limited time in which our small caste of tech nerds will have the power to make decisions that shape the world. By wasting the talents and the energies of our brightest people on fantasy role play, we are ceding the future to a more practical group of successors, some truly scary people who will take our tools and use them to advance a very different agenda.

    To recap: the Internet has centralized into a very few hands. We have an extremely lucrative apparatus of social control, and it's being run by chuckleheads.

    The American government is also being run by chuckleheads.

    The question everybody worries about is, what happens when these two groups of chuckleheads join forces?

    The Winter

    For many Americans, the election was a moment of profound shock. It wasn't just Trump's policies that scared us. It was the fact that this unserious, cruel, vacant human being had been handed the power of the American presidency.

    Scariest to me was how little changed. No one in the press or in social media had the courage to say "we fucked up." Pundits who were stunned by the election result still made confident predictions about what would happen next, as if they had any claim to predictive power.

    After the election both Facebook and Google looked at the mountains of data they had collected on everyone, looked at the threats the Trump Administration was making-to deport 11 million people, to ban Muslims from entering the country-and said to themselves, "we got this."

    The people who did worry were tech workers. For a moment, we saw some political daylight appear between the hundreds of thousands of people who work in the tech sector, and the small clique of billionaires who run it. While the latter filed in to a famously awkward meeting with Trump and his children at the top of his golden tower, the former began organizing in opposition, including signing a simple but powerful pledge to resign rather than help Trump fulfill one of his key campaign promises: barring Muslims from the United States.

    This pledge was a small gesture, but it represented the first collective action by tech workers around a political agenda that went beyond technology policy, and the first time I had ever seen tech workers come out in open defiance of management.

    A forest of new organizations sprung up. I started one, too, called Tech Solidarity, and started traveling around the country and holding meetings with tech workers in big cities. I had no idea what I was doing, other than trying to use a small window of time to organize and mobilize our sleepy industry.

    That feeling of momentum continued through when Trump took office. The Women's March in January brought five million people out onto the streets. America is not used to mass protests. To see the streets of our major cities fill with families, immigrants, in many cases moms and daughters and grandmothers marching together, that was a sight to take your breath away.

    Hard on the heels of it came the travel ban, an executive order astonishing not just in its cruelty-families were split at airports; in one case a mom was not allowed to breastfeed her baby -but in its ineptitude. For a week or two lawyers were camped out at airports, working frantically, sleeping little, with spontaneous efforts to bring them supplies, get them funding, to do anything to help. We held a rally in San Francisco that raised thirty thousand dollars from a room of a hundred people. Some of the organizations we were helping couldn't even attend, they were too busy at the airport. It didn't matter.

    The tech companies did all they could to not get involved. Facebook has a special ' safety check ' feature for exactly this kind of situation, but never thought of turning it on at airports. Public statements out of Silicon Valley were so insipid as to be comical .

    Employees, however, were electrified. It looked like not only visitors but permanent residents would be barred from the United States. Google employees staged a walkout with the support of their management; Facebook (not wishing to be left behind) had its own internal protest a couple of days later, but kept it a secret. Every time the employees pushed, management relented . Suddenly top executives were going on the record against the travel ban.

    People briefly even got mad at Elon Musk , normally a darling of the tech industry, for his failure to resign from the President's advisory council. The silent majority of tech employees had begun to mobilize.

    And then nothing happened. This tech workforce, which had gotten a taste of its own power, whose smallest efforts at collective action had produced immediate results, who had seen just how much sway they held, went back to work. The worst of Trump's travel ban was blocked by the court, and we moved on. With the initial shock of Trump in office gone, we now move from crisis to crisis, but without a plan or a shared positive goal.

    The American discomfort with prolonged, open disagreement has set in.

    When I started trying to organize people in November, my theory was that tech workers were the only group that had leverage over the tech giants.

    My reasoning went like this: being monopolies or near-monopolies, these companies are impervious to public pressure. Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life.

    Several of these companies are structured (unusually for American corporations) in such a way that the board can't control the majority of votes. At Google and Facebook, for example, the ultimate say goes to the founders. And since Google and Facebook are the major online publishing outlets, it's unlikely that the press would ever criticize them, even if journalists were capable of that kind of sustained attention.

    So that leaves just one point of leverage: employees. Tech workers are hard to find, expensive to hire, take a long time to train, and can have their pick of jobs. Tech companies are small compared to other industries, relying heavily on automation. If even a few dozen workers on an ops team acted in concert, they would have the power to shut down a tech giant like Google. All they had to do was organize around a shared agenda.

    Workers seemed receptive to the argument, but confused about how they could make collective action a reality. Trade unions in the United States have been under attack for decades. There is almost no union culture in technology. Our tech workers are passive and fatalistic.

    So here I am in Europe, wondering, what on Earth can we do?

    And I keep coming back to this idea of connecting the tech industry to reality. Bringing its benefits to more people, and bringing the power to make decisions to more people.

    Closing the Loop

    After Communism collapsed in Poland, I started visiting the country every eight months or so. Even in the darkest period of the 1990's, it was striking to see people's material standard of living improve. Suddenly people had cars, phones, appliances. These gains were uneven but broad. Even farmers and retirees, though they were the hardest hit, had access to consumer goods that weren't available before. You could see the change in homes and in public spaces. It was no longer necessary for office workers in Kraków to change their shirts at lunchtime because of soot in the air. The tap water in Warsaw went from light brown to a pleasant pale yellow.

    For all the looting, corruption, and inefficiency of privatization, enough of the new wealth got through that the overall standard of living went up. Living standards in Poland in 2010 had more than doubled from 1990.

    In the same time period, in the United States, I've seen a whole lot of nothing. Despite fabulous technical progress, practically all of it pioneered in our country, there's been a singular failure to connect our fabulous prosperity with the average person.

    A study just out shows that for the median male worker in the United States, the highest lifetime wages came if you entered the workforce in 1967 . That is astonishing. People born in 1942 had better lifetime earnings prospects than people entering the workforce today.

    You can see this failure to connect with your own eyes even in a rich place like Silicon Valley. There are homeless encampments across the street from Facebook headquarters . California has a larger GDP than France , and at the same time has the highest poverty rate in America , adjusted for cost of living. Not only did the tech sector fail to build up the communities around it, but it's left people worse off than before, by pricing them out of the places they grew up.

    Walk the length of Market Street (watch your step!) in San Francisco and count the shuttered store fronts. Take Caltrain down to San Jose, and see if you can believe that it is the richest city in the United States , per capita. The massive increase in wealth has not connected with a meaningful way with average people's lives even in the heart of tech country, let alone in the forgotten corners of the country.

    The people who run Silicon Valley identify with progressive values. They're not bad people. They worry about these problems just like we do; they want to help.

    So why the failure to do anything?

    Like T.S. Eliot wrote :

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow

    As I said earlier, the tech industry hates messy problems. We'd rather dream up new problems we can solve from scratch.

    One reason nothing happens is a culture of tax evasion. There's a folk belief in American business that if you pay full taxes, you're not doing your fiduciary duty, and your board will fire you.

    Apple now has a quarter trillion dollars offshore that it refuses to put into direct productive use in the United States. Apple boasts that its products are designed in California-they will sell you a $300 book called Designed By Apple In California . But they do their damndest to make sure that California never sees a penny of their overseas profits.

    You in the EU are all too familiar with this brand of tax evasion. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft have all been under investigation or in court on charges of evading European taxes.

    Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

    The richest 20 people in tech control a fortune of half a trillion dollars in personal wealth, more than the GDP of Sweden.

    This small subculture of wealthy technophiles promotes investment into luxury goods for rich people, or into "mom as a service" types of companies that cater to spoiled workaholics in the tech industry. And so we end up with things like a $120M juice squeezer , or three startups competing to deliver organic baby food .

    Silicon Valley brings us the worst of two economic systems: the inefficiency of a command economy coupled with the remorselessness of laissez-faire liberalism.

    One reason it's been difficult to organize workers in the tech industry is that people have a hard time separating good intentions from results. But we have to be cold-blooded about this.

    Tech companies are run by a feckless leadership accountable to no one, creating a toolkit for authoritarianism while hypnotized by science-fiction fantasy.

    There are two things we have to do immediately. The first is to stop the accelerating process of tracking and surveillance before it can do any more harm to our institutions.

    The danger facing us is not Orwell, but Huxley. The combo of data collection and machine learning is too good at catering to human nature, seducing us and appealing to our worst instincts. We have to put controls on it. The algorithms are amoral; to make them behave morally will require active intervention.

    The second thing we need is accountability. I don't mean that I want Mark Zuckerberg's head on a pike, though I certainly wouldn't throw it out of my hotel room if I found it there. I mean some mechanism for people whose lives are being brought online to have a say in that process, and an honest debate about its tradeoffs.

    I'm here today because I believe the best chance to do this is in Europe. The American government is not functional right now, and the process of regulatory capture is too far gone to expect any regulations limiting the tech giants from either party. American tech workers have the power to change things, but not the desire.

    Only Europe has the clout and the independence to regulate these companies. You can already point to regulatory successes, like forcing Facebook to implement hard delete on user accounts. That feature was added with a lot of grumbling, but because of the way Facebook organizes its data, they had to make it work the same for all users. So a European regulation led to a victory for privacy worldwide.

    We can do this again.

    Here are some specific regulations I would like to see the EU impose:

    With these rules in place, we would still have Google and Facebook, and they would still make a little bit of money. But we would gain some breathing room. These reforms would knock the legs out from underground political ad campaigns like we saw in Brexit, and in voter suppression efforts in the US election. They would give publishers relief in an advertising market that is currently siphoning all their earnings to Facebook and Google. And they would remove some of the incentive for consumer surveillance.

    The other thing I hope to see in Europe is a unionized workforce at every major tech company. Unionized workers could demand features like ephemeral group messaging at Facebook, a travel mode for social media, a truly secure Android phone, or the re-imposition of the wall between Gmail and DoubleClick data. They could demand human oversight over machine learning algorithms. They could demand non-cooperation with Trump.

    And I will say selfishly, if you can unionize here, it will help us unionize over there.

    If nothing else, we need your help and we need you to keep the pressure on the tech companies, the Trump Administration, and your own politicians and journalists, so that the disaster that happened in the United States doesn't repeat itself in Germany.

    You have elections coming soon. Please learn from what happened to us. Please stay safe.

    And please regulate, regulate, regulate this industry, while you can.

    Thank you.

    DJG , May 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Definitely worth reading and reading again. What popped on first reading is the description of the rise of income in Poland and the stagnation of income in the U S of A. What pops for me on seccond reading is these paragraphs about tax evasion and income inequality: >>

    One reason nothing happens is a culture of tax evasion. There's a folk belief in American business that if you pay full taxes, you're not doing your fiduciary duty, and your board will fire you.

    Apple now has a quarter trillion dollars offshore that it refuses to put into direct productive use in the United States. Apple boasts that its products are designed in California-they will sell you a $300 book called Designed By Apple In California. But they do their damndest to make sure that California never sees a penny of their overseas profits.

    You in the EU are all too familiar with this brand of tax evasion. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft have all been under investigation or in court on charges of evading European taxes.

    Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

    [Tax evasion isn't just a folk belief: It is taught in U.S. law schools and in business schools, along with union busting.]

    Jef , May 19, 2017 at 10:52 am

    What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game;

    It has a begining when anything is possible.
    A middle when a broad spectrum of players prosper and there is extra money for infrastructure and public amenities.
    Then an end where wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the waste stream has taken its toll.

    justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 10:23 am

    A long but brilliant article that everyone should take the time to read! I want all the techies in my family to read it because it points out some of the uneasiness even techies feel about the their industry.

    My favorite paragraph (although there were many close seconds):

    "But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives."
    Yep .

    Thomas Williams , May 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Nice piece: Two things to note

    – The Clintons, Bush & Obama presided over this mess and aided in it's creation but the albatross of abuse is being hung on Trump.

    – He shares an enormous egotistical blind spot common to tech workers. He wants unionization and strength for tech workers but seems to advocate for a globalized work forc