|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
Skepticism and Pseudoscience > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing
|News||An introduction to Neoliberalism||Recommended books||Recommended Links||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||Definition of neoliberalism||Globalization of Financial Flows|
|Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich||Brexit||Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism||Casino Capitalism||Neoliberal Brainwashing||Neoclassical Pseudo Theories||Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult|
|Key Myths of Neoliberalism||Lawrence Summers||Robert Rubin, the man who helped to convert the USA into banana republic||Phil Gramm||Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy||Sandy Weill: the banker who bought Bill Clinton||Milton Friedman -- the hired gun for Deification of Market|
|Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Neoliberalism and Christianity||New American Militarism||Neocons||Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime||Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People||Gangster Capitalism|
|Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism||Neoliberal corruption||Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy||Corruption of Regulators||In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers||"Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries||Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'|
|Elite Theory||The Iron Law of Oligarchy||Compradors||Fifth column||Color revolutions||Anti-globalization movement||Inverted Totalitarism|
|Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization||Alternatives to neoliberalism||If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths||Jeremy Grantham On The Fall Of Civilizations||Super Capitalism as Imperialism||Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA||Neoliberalism and inequality|
|Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump||The Deep State||IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement||Blaming poor and neoliberalism laziness dogma||Predator state||Disaster capitalism||Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"|
|The Great Transformation||Harvard Mafia||Two Party System as polyarchy||Republican Economic Policy||Monetarism fiasco||Small government smoke screen||Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure|
|Libertarian Philosophy||Media domination strategy||Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment||History of neoliberalism||Humor||Etc|
Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare. “There’s class warfare, all right, "Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."
Make no mistake, the neo-Liberal fuckers are just as bad as the Stalinists
GB: once a great cultured nation, now a poorly-educated gangster mafia state, ruled by oligarchs and inhabited by soccer hooligans
Due to the size the introduction was moved to a separate page -- Neoliberalism: an Introduction
|Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2016||Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2015||Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014||Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013||Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011||Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009||Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008|
Aug 28, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
R.L.Love : August 27, 2016 at 09:49 AM
PK has nearly lost all of his ability to see things objectively. Ambition got him, I suppose, or maybe he has always longed to be popular. He was probably teased and ridiculed too much in his youth. He is something of a whinny sniveler after-all.
Then too, I doubt if PK has ever used a public restroom in the Southwest, or taken his kids to a public park in one of the thousands of small towns where non-English speaking throngs take over all of the facilities and parking.Or had his children bullied at school by a gang of dark-skinned kids whose parents believe that whites took their land, or abused or enslaved their distant ansestors. It might be germane here too... to point out that some of this anti-white sentiment gets support and validation from the very rhetoric that Democrats have made integral to their campaigns.
As for not knowing why crime rates have been falling, the incarceration rates rose in step, so duh, if you lock up those with propensities for crime, well, how could crime rates not fall? And while I'm on the subject of crime, the statistical analysis that is commonly used focuses too much on violent crime and convictions. Thus, crimes of a less serious nature, that being the type of crimes committed by poor folks, is routinely ignored. Then too, those who are here illegally are often transient and using assumed names, and so they are, presumably, more difficult to catch. So, statistics are all too often not as telling as claimed.
And, though I'm not a Trump supporter, I fully understand his appeal. As would PK if he were more travelled and in touch with those who have seen their schools, parks, towns, and everything else turn tawdry and dysfunctional. But of course the nation that most of us live in is much different than the one that PK knows.
likbez -> R.L.Love
> And, though I'm not a Trump supporter, I fully understand his appeal
I wonder why everybody is thinking about this problem only in terms of identity politics.
This is a wrong, self-defeating framework to approach the problem. which is pushed by neoliberal MSM and which we should resist in this forum as this translates the problems that the nation faces into term of pure war-style propaganda ("us vs. them" mentality). To which many posters here already succumbed
IMHO the November elections will be more of the referendum on neoliberal globalization (with two key issues on the ballot -- jobs and immigration) than anything else.
If so, then the key question is whether the anger of population at neoliberal elite that stole their jobs and well-being reached the boiling point or not. The level of this anger might decide the result of elections, not all those petty slurs that neoliberal MSM so diligently use as a smoke screen.
All those valiant efforts in outsourcing and replacing permanent jobs with temporary to increase profit margin at the end have the propensity to produce some externalities. And not only in the form "over 50 and unemployed" but also by a much more dangerous "globalization of indifference" to human beings in general.
JK Galbraith once gave the following definition of neoliberal economics: "trickle down economics is the idea that if you feed the horse enough oats eventually some will pass through to the road for the sparrows." This is what neoliberalism is about. Lower 80% even in so-called rich countries are forced to live in "fear and desperation", forced to work "with precious little dignity".
Human beings are now considered consumer goods in "job market" to be used and then discarded. As a consequence, a lot of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: "without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape" (pope Francis).
And that inevitably produces a reaction. Which in extreme forms we saw during French and Bolsheviks revolutions. And in less extremist forms (not involving lampposts as the placeholders for the "Masters of the Universe" (aka financial oligarchy) and the most obnoxious part of the "creative class" aka intelligentsia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligentsia ) in Brexit vote.
Hillary and Trump are just symbols here. The issue matters, not personalities.
okie farmer | Aug 27, 2016 8:23:27 AM | 80OTHoarsewhisperer | Aug 27, 2016 11:06:17 AM | 85
GENEVA - The United States and Russia say they have resolved a number of issues standing in the way of restoring a nationwide truce to Syria and opening up aid deliveries, but were unable once again to forge a comprehensive agreement on stepping up cooperation to end the brutal war that has killed hundreds of thousands.
After meeting off-and-on for nearly 10 hours in Geneva on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov could point to only incremental progress in filling in details of a broad understanding to boost joint efforts that was reached last month in Moscow.
Their failure to reach an overall deal highlighted the increasingly complex situation on the ground in Syria - including new Russian-backed Syrian government attacks on opposition forces, the intermingling of some of those opposition forces with an al-Qaida affiliate not covered by the truce and the surrender of a rebel-held suburb of Damascus - as well as deep divisions and mistrust dividing Washington and Moscow.
The complexities have also grown with the increasing internationalization of what has largely become a proxy war between regional and world powers, highlighted by a move by Turkish troops across the Syrian border against Islamic State fighters this week.
Kerry said he and Lavrov had agreed on the "vast majority" of technical discussions on steps to reinstate a cease-fire and improve humanitarian access. But critical sticking points remain unresolved and experts will remain in Geneva with an eye toward finalizing those in the coming days, he said.
Lavrov echoed that, saying "we still need to finalize a few issues" and pointed to the need to separate fighters from the al-Nusra Front, which has ties to al-Qaida, from U.S.-backed fighters who hold parts of northwest Syria.
"We have continued our efforts to reduce the areas where we lack understanding and trust, which is an achievement," Lavrov said. "The mutual trust is growing with every meeting."
Yet, it was clear that neither side believes an overall agreement is imminent or even achievable after numerous previous disappointments shattered a brief period of relative calm earlier this year.
The inability to wrest an agreement between Russia and the U.S. - as the major sponsors of the opposing sides in the stalled Syria peace talks - all but spells another missed deadline for the U.N. Syria envoy to get the Syrian government and "moderate" opposition back to the table.
In a nod to previous failed attempts to resurrect the cessation of hostilities, Kerry stressed the importance of keeping the details secret.
And, underscoring deep differences over developments on the ground, Kerry noted that Russia disputes the U.S. "narrative" of recent attacks on heavily populated areas being conducted by Syrian forces, Russia itself and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia. Russia maintains the attacks it has been involved in have targeted legitimate terrorist targets, while the U.S. says they have hit moderate opposition forces.
At the same time, the Obama administration is not of one mind regarding the Russians. The Pentagon has publicly complained about getting drawn into greater cooperation with Russia even though it has been forced recently to expand communication with Moscow. Last week, the U.S. had to call for Russian help when Syrian warplanes struck an area not far from where U.S. troops were operating.
U.S. officials say it is imperative that Russia use its influence with Syrian President Bashar Assad to halt all attacks on moderate opposition forces, open humanitarian aid corridors, and concentrate any offensive action on the Islamic State group and other extremists not covered by what has become a largely ignored truce.
For their part, U.S. officials say they are willing to press rebels groups they support harder on separating themselves from the Islamic State and al-Nusra, which despite a recent name change is still viewed as al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria.
Those goals are not new, but recent developments have made achieving them even more urgent and important, according to U.S. officials. Recent developments include military operations around the city of Aleppo, the entry of Turkey into the ground war, Turkish hostility toward U.S.-backed Kurdish rebel groups and the presence of American military advisers in widening conflict zones.
Meanwhile, in a blow to the opposition, rebel forces and civilians in the besieged Damascus suburb of Daraya were to be evacuated on Friday after agreeing to surrender the town late Thursday after four years of grueling bombardment and a crippling siege that left the sprawling area in ruins.
The surrender of Daraya, which became an early symbol of the nascent uprising against Assad, marks a success for his government, removing a persistent threat only a few miles from his seat of power.Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 27, 2016 8:23:27 AM | 80james | Aug 27, 2016 4:27:25 PM | 99
Re: Geneva negotiations...
Love the goto clause:
"In a nod to previous failed attempts to resurrect the cessation of hostilities, Kerry stressed the importance of keeping the details secret."
Yeah, keeping the details secret so that next time the Yankees backstab Russia, observers won't immediately realise that they were, in fact, just shooting themselves in the foot. Again.@92 harrylaw...i agree with you..
russia sees this bs crap about 'moderate' for what it is... just another shell game to play hide and seek, switch flags, etc, etc... until the 'moderate' opposition drop their military arms, it ain't 'moderate'... would 'moderate' opposition to the usa leadership be allowed to use weapons? that's the answer to that bs...
as for turkey, clearly the apk has a 'get rid of the kurds' agenda.. works well in their alliance with isis up to a point.. as for turkish/usa alliance and a no fly zone - if russia goes along with this, they better get a hell of a trade off out of it.. i can't see it, although i see the usa continuing on in their support of saudi arabia etc, using their mercenary isis army and saudi arabia to continue to funnel arms sales and weaponry... it is what they do best, bullshite artists that they are...
james | Aug 27, 2016 4:32:33 PM | 100for the latest dose of bullshite - watch
8 minute propaganda video.. one could flip it around to say the usa supports isis, al nusra, and all the other 'moderate' terrorists they are arming... amazing how these state dept. spokespeople can lie so continuously and not be called out on any of it by the corporate media journalists.. obviously those journalists are paid to go along with the lies, keep their mouth shut, and not ask any hard questions...
...She is, after all, a favorite of the giant banks, the CEOs and hedge funds she now was castigating. Between 2009 and 2014, Clinton's list of top 20 donors starts out with Citigroup and includes JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, whose chief Lloyd Blankfein has invested in Clinton's son-in-law's boutique hedge fund. These donors are, as the website Truthout's William Rivers Pitt notes, "the ones who gamed the system by buying politicians like her and then proceeded to burn the economy down to dust and ash while making a financial killing in the process."
They're also among the deep-pocket outfits that paid for speeches and appearances by Hillary or Bill Clinton to the tune of more than $125 million since they left the White House in 2001. It could hardly escape some in that crowd on Roosevelt Island, catching a glimpse of the towers of power and might across the river: Can we really expect someone so deeply tethered to the financial and business class – who moves so often and so easily among its swells – to fight hard to check their predatory appetites, dismantle their control of Congress, and stand up for the working people who are their prey?
Consider the two Canadian banks with financial ties to the Keystone XL pipeline that fully or partially paid for eight speeches by Hillary Clinton. Or her $3.2 million in lecture fees from the tech sector. Or the more than $2.5 million in paid speeches for companies and groups lobbying for fast-track trade. According to TIME magazine and the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2014, "Almost half of the money from Hillary Clinton's speaking engagements came from corporations and advocacy groups that were lobbying Congress at the same time… In all, the corporations and trade groups that Clinton spoke to in 2014 spent $72.5 million lobbying Congress that same year."
Then look at David Sirota's recent reporting for the International Business Times, especially the revelation that while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, her department "approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data… nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush's second term."
Those nations include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, each of which "gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents."
Further, American defense contractors like Boeing and Lockheed who sold those arms and their delivery systems also shelled out heavily to the $2 billion Clinton Foundation and the Clinton family. According to Sirota, "In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton's State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors' donations, making a more precise accounting impossible."
The Washington Post reports that among the approximately 200,000 contributors there have also been donations from many other countries and corporations, overseas and domestic business leaders, the odious Blackwater Training Center, and even Rupert Murdoch of celebrity phone hacking fame.
Meredith McGehee, policy director of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, told David Sirota: "The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation."
We pause here to note: All of these donations were apparently legal, and as others have written, at least we know who was doling out the cash, in contrast to those anonymous sources secretly channeling millions in "dark money" to the chosen candidates of the super rich.
... ... ..
We see "exactly Washington's problem" in how, during the 1990s, Bill Clinton became the willing agent of Wall Street's push to deregulate, a collaboration that enriched the bankers but eventually cost millions of Americans their homes, jobs, and pensions.
Thanks to documents that came to light last year (one even has a handwritten note attached that reads: "Please eat this paper after you have read this."), we understand more clearly how a small coterie of insiders maneuvered to get President Clinton to support repeal of the New Deal-era Glass-Steagall Act that had long protected depositors from being victimized by bank speculators gambling with their savings. Repeal led to a wave of Wall Street mergers.
As you can read in stories by Dan Roberts in The Guardian and Pam and Russ Martens online, the ringleader of the effort was Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, who breathlessly persuaded the president to sign the repeal and soon left office to join Citigroup, the bank that turned out to be the primary beneficiary of the deal. When it overreached and collapsed, Citigroup received the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of U.S. finance. Rubin, meanwhile, earned $126 million from the bank over ten years.
According to The New York Times, Rubin "remains a crucial kingmaker in Democratic policy circles" and, as an adviser to the Clintons, "will play an essential role in Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign for president…"
Hillary Clinton, as a young Methodist growing up in Park Ridge, Illinois, was weaned on the social ethics of John Wesley, a founder of Methodism and a courageous champion of the poor and needy; we have her word for it and the witness of others. "Do all the good you can," the Methodist saying goes, "in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."
But over time, Hillary Clinton achieved superstar status among Washington's acculturated class – that swollen colony of permanent denizens of our capital who may have come from the hinterlands but can hardly resist the seductive ways of a new and different culture in which the prevailing mindset is: It's important to do good but more important to do well.
Lawrence Lessig believes she is an unlikely reformer – "which is precisely why she might be a particularly effective one." But her way of life has marinated for a long time now in the culture of wealth, influence, and power - and a way of thinking engrained deeply in our political ethos, one in which one's own power in democracy is more important than democracy itself.
... ... ...
Sep_Arch • 9 months agoThe Clinton foundation is basically a money-laundering operation for an influence-peddling scam. When Hillary is President, just as when she was Senator and Secretary of State, she will base her decisions mostly on what will put more money into her family's pockets. After all, they are hobnobbing with billionaires now. She will tell herself she is "pro-business" and being "realistic" as she guts the middle class and puts all of her power behind the TPP, big corporations, and Wall Street. And too many liberals will remain deaf, dumb and blind....Guest Reader • a year agoI will not be supporting Clinton either because of the financial interests behind her. Also because of the record of the Democrats on many issues over the years, a group she has been deeply with ... so this is not entirely about Clinton herself, but even Obama, you could say, since the two were fairly similar policy-wise, and now we've had eight years of this already.vallehombre • a year ago
I don't want more of the same. Plus, her campaign is based on this mythology that the country is doing so much better, economically, and nothing could be further from the truth. This mythology being pushed, because she running for office following a Democrat's administration, and one in which she has been part of.
Again, to me, this is about domestic economics. I am deeply disappointed and exhausted by the health care dispute. We should have an improved expanded Medicare for all, and, with dental and vision, like any other developed nation.
We should NOT be going into more of these so-called "free" trade agreements. They are destroying the standard of living for Americans, hitting people at the bottom the hardest.The current system allows a range of only two possibilities in electoral choices - between the far right and the farther right.oneski > vallehombre • a year ago
HRC is channeling Goldwater via PNAC and then some while Sanders is Eisenhower light at best, trying to catch some Huey Long soundbites on the way by. Yet we are supposed to act as if any of this is news.
The allowed candidates are products of the state of our disappearing Republic and citizens have been so effectively conditioned to accept our situation that we stumble to our destruction as meekly compliant as the folks of an earlier generation shuiffled weeping into gas chambers.
There is no perspective presented here or anywhere other than that of our self identified elites for the simple reason it has become the sole ethos of our existence. To fault a single person, HRC in this case, for promoting arms sales and profiting personally from them ignores the structure of the entire system, the anticipated "benefits" almost every citizens has come to expect as a natural right (if not divinely ordained) and a "good life" that in real terms resembles little more than a long, drawn out narcissistic display of communal suicide.
If it is true people create the government they deserve, or maybe accept, then the choice between the far right and the farther right more accurately reflect the state of our nation than we care or dare to admit.falken751 • a year ago... and a "good life" that in real terms resembles little more than a long, drawn out narcissistic display of communal suicide.
Quite the diagnosis! And there's the added bonus of enriching the lives of others whilst attempting to postpone the inevitable.
The Swiss own one of the world's largest food companies and the world's largest elevator company. It's a safe bet both their customers are easy to identify.This is what is coming in this country politicians, better get ready for it, especially Clinton and her Republican buddies. We don't need or want and millionaire politicians like her and her husband.Bassy Kims of Yesteryear • a year ago
"A massive and growing anti-austerity movement will take to the streets of London on Saturday, June 20, with demonstrators demanding "an alternative to austerity and to policies that only benefit those at the top."
Tens of thousands are expected to march from the Bank of England to Parliament Square on Saturday, protesting the conservative government's "nasty, destructive cuts to the things ordinary people care about-the [National Health Service], the welfare state, education and public services."
Organized by The People's Assembly-a politically unaffiliated national campaign against austerity-the demonstration comes in the wake of UK elections in early May that saw the Conservative (Tory) Party seizing the majority of Parliamentary seats and Prime Minister David Cameron sweeping back to power."
Get ready politicians, and watch your backs.The utter sellout of the Democratic Party over these last decades is entirely responsible for the harrowing slide of the USA to the Right. The Republican flavor of bacon isn't even worth mentioning, as those meatpuppets sold their souls many decades ago.Fool_me_twice_shame_on_ME • a year ago
The rape of the poor and the middle class, the Neocon wars, the offshoring... all the worst things in this nation stem directly from our betrayal by the Democratic Party. The upcoming passage of the TPP, blacked out all across the MSM and across most of the alternative media, is proof positive of this.
The sellout of the Democratic Party, and how we must respond to that sellout, must be the root of any article on our oppression, and any article on how to respond to our national rape. Step One is raising the consciousness of the DNC's rubes. They must understand their betrayal in order to rise above it, and to consider alternatives such as Jill Stein, alternatives such as work stoppages and demonstrations. Otherwise, there is no hope for America - none at all.All this is blatantly obvious and yet there are still so many Americans who remain clueless and believe she has their interests at heart because they are gullible enough to believe her incredibly empty campaign rhetoric. Well, there's the willful ignorance, coupled with the unbelievable shallowness of basing her single qualification for the Oval Office on the type of genitalia she has, or on name recognition alone, or the very telling amount of favoritism she gets in the CORPORATE media and their need to vote for "the winning candidate," regardless of values and priorities. If a voter wants genuine effort and concern in championing middle class causes, there is Bernie Sanders. His voting record and history go back 30 years and it didn't just get completely revamped by focus groups for the up-coming election. Simple logic should alert voters to Hillary, Inc.'s loyalties. Why is it that in spite of all of Hillary's new-found list of concerns in her "populist" rhetoric (which seem to only come about after Bernie Sanders speaks to them) her long list of Wall Street campaign financiers still choose her as their favorite choice in the election? Could it be she is only saying these things to pander for votes, with no intention of keeping any promises after the election (just like Obama did)? To the corporate funders of her campaign it's just the cost of doing business. They spend a few million on her and get billions back when she wins the White House. It's a great return on investment, but just like Obama, the voters will always come a distant second to Wall Street demands. This is NOT how you fix things in Washington. This is how you guarantee "business as usual."Avatar Ken • a year ago"Can she really stand above the cesspool that is Washington - filled not with criminals but with decent people inside a corrupted system trying to do what they think is good"Popillius > pgathome1 • a year ago
What a fcuking load of shite! They´re predominantly a load of rapacious, venal sociopaths who should be in one of the prisions they love to build to house the poor. And Killary´s at the top of the heap.I have no illusions about HRC - I loathe some of her positions. As for you boyz who fell for BHO (in spite of his neoliberalism being on full display) - you haven't learned a thing. You are going to honestly swallow that somebody heard that somebody heard from somebody in their "inner circle" that Bill Clinton said that about his wife? What evidence do you have that is true? Do you not see the mountains of ratfucking garbage out there about the Clintons? Their policies aside - which can absolutely be loathesome - you are going to go online and breathlessly assert that you heard someone heard that someone close to the Clintons said that? No wonder you fell for BHO so hard.Sarah Jackson • a year agoDemocrats are in a lying frenzy, just as much so as the other faithful party. Moyers doesn't really have anything left to say of any value unless it too is a lie of sorts. As an example, he revises the obliteration of New Deal regulation by implying the President was mislead into doing so. No, that's not what happened. And we don't have a Democracy. But when we don't live in a Democracy, it is the news media's role to produce something less than honest. We're supposed to forget Sirota was a part of AIPAC, and Moyers was part of an administration that served corporations dedicated to genocide.
The Connecting the Dots series has convincingly shown a number of interconnected reasons why the global system is in crisis, and why there is no way out without a structural transformation of the dominant neoliberal system. In our contribution, we want to stress the key importance of what we call a "value regime," or simply put, the rules that determine what society and the economy consider to be of value. We must first look at the underlying modes of production - i.e. how value is created and distributed - and then construct solutions must that help create these changes in societal values. The emerging answer for a new mode of value creation is the re-emergence of the Commons.
With the growing awareness of the vulnerability of the planet and its people in the face of the systemic crises created by late-stage capitalism, we need to ready the alternatives and begin creating the next system now. To do so, we need a full understanding of the current context and its characteristics. In our view, the dominant political economy has three fatal flaws.
The first is the characteristic need for the capitalist system to engage in continuous capital accumulation and growth. We could call this pseudo-abundance, i.e. the fundamental article of faith, or unconscious assumption, that the natural world's resources are infinite. Capitalism creates a systemic ecological crisis marked by the overuse and depletion of natural resources, endangering the balance of the environment (biodiversity extinction, climate change, etc).
The second characteristic of capitalism is that it requires scarce commodities that are subject to a tension between supply and demand. Scarcity engineering is what we call this continuous attempt to undo natural abundance where it occurs. Capitalism creates markets by the systemic re-engineering of potentially or naturally abundant resources into scarce resources. We see this happening with natural resources in the development of "terminator seeds" that undo the seeds' natural regeneration process. Crucially, we also see this in the creation of artificial scarcity mechanisms for human culture and knowledge. "Intellectual property" is imposed in more and more areas, privatizing common knowledge in order to create artificial commodities and rents that create profits for a privileged "creator class."
These first two characteristics are related and reinforce each other, as the problems created by pseudo-abundance are made quite difficult to solve due to the privatization of the very knowledge required to solve them. This makes solving major ecological problems dependent on the ability of this privatized knowledge to create profits. It has been shown that the patenting of technologies results in a systemic slowdown of technical and scientific innovation, while un-patenting technologies accelerates innovation. A good recent example of this "patent lag" effect is the extraordinary growth of 3D printing, once the technology lost its patents.
Perpetually Increasing Social Injustice
The third major characteristic is the increased inequality in the distribution of value, i.e. perpetually increasing social injustice.
As Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century shows us, the logic of capital is to concentrate more and more wealth into fewer hands through compound interest, rent seeking, purchasing legislation, etc. Our current set of rules are hardwired to increase inequality and injustice.
www.truth-out.orgThe genius of the corporate coup that has overtaken US democracy is not that it dominates the GOP - the party that has long favored corporate power anyway - but that it has maneuvered even the opposition party into submission as well. The brightest minds on Wall Street are experts at hedging bets, and they play politics just as they play finance. Such dynamics are key to understanding not only the role of the Clinton candidacy in the eyes of corporate America, but the perceived threat posed by the Sanders campaign with its persistent advocacy for people over corporations.
Clinton, who once served on the board of Walmart, the gold standard of predatory corporatism, is so tight with corporate power that she's now making efforts to downplay her relationships. CNBC reports that she is postponing fundraisers with Wall Street executives, no doubt concerned that voters are awakening to the toxic influence of corporations on politics and government. Already in the awkward position of explaining six-figure checks from Wall Street firms for speaking engagements and large charitable donations from major banks, Clinton realizes that she must try to distance herself from her corporate benefactors.
And the fat cats fully understand. "Don't expect folks on Wall Street to be offended that Clinton is distancing herself from them," CNBC reports. "In fact, they see it as smart politics and they understand that Wall Street banks are deeply unpopular."
Indeed, everyone knows the game, and few are worried that Clinton - whose son-in-law is a former Goldman Sachs executive who now runs a hedge fund - is any kind of threat to the power structure. This explains why a leading banking executive called Clinton's tough talk about Wall Street "theatrics" made necessary in response to the Sanders campaign, adding that he predicts she'll be known as "Mrs. Wall Street" if elected.
These realities show that the "rigged system" concerns of ordinary voters are not overblown. In a stroke of strategic brilliance, corporate power has created a playing field where even its perceived opponents are advancing its agenda. And the fiction is propagated with impressive expertise, as moderate, corporate-friendly Democrats are portrayed in the mainstream media as "flaming liberals." Even though Barack Obama, for example, filled his administration with Wall Street veterans and stalwarts after his election in 2008 - including Tim Geithner, Michael Froman, Larry Summers and a host of others - he is frequently described as a liberal not just by those on the right, but even in mainstream media.
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient," says noted activist and author Noam Chomsky, "is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."...
This is what has happened during the centrist Obama administration, which bailed out Wall Street without prosecuting even one executive responsible for bringing about the 2008 economic collapse. It also happened in the centrist administration of Bill Clinton, who was attacked by conservatives as an "extreme liberal" while doing little to earn the designation. The Clinton administration, with vocal support from the first lady, deregulated telecommunications and the financial sector, pushed hard for passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement - a tremendous gift to corporate interests and a major blow to the working class - and passed legislation on crime and welfare that was anything but liberal.
Such is the role that corporate America wants Hillary Clinton to play today. Defined as a liberal, she is in fact a consummate establishment Democrat: a hawkish corporate apologist who happens to be pro-choice. Yes, she is to the left of the GOP candidates - she doesn't deny climate change, wants to preserve Obamacare and won't entertain outlandish ideas like privatizing Social Security - but she's still well within the bounds of acceptability to the US corporate oligarchy that does not want fundamental, systemic change. Rest assured, under her watch the system will stay rigged.<
David Niose is an attorney and author of Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason.
26 April 2016 00:00 teleSUR | Video ReportDigging deep into Hillary's connections to Wall Street, Abby Martin reveals how the Clintons' multi-million-dollar political machine operates.
This episode chronicles the Clintons' rise to power in the '90s on a right-wing agenda; the Clinton Foundation's revolving door with Gulf state monarchies, corporations and the world's biggest financial institutions; and the establishment of the hyper-aggressive "Hillary Doctrine" while secretary of state.
Learn the essential facts about the great danger she poses, and why she's the US Empire's choice for its next CEO.
zapster , August 13, 2016 at 11:04 pmLambert Strether Post author , August 12, 2016 at 5:02 pm
And again, everyone is just pretending that the monumental election fraud that just occurred is completely irrelevant. I'm mystified as to why. To me, it's a national catastrophe that a party can simply suspend democracy completely, flip machine counts, deregister or reregister hundreds of thousands of Bernie voters (and yes, it was very specifically Bernie voters), subtract votes during the count and add them to Clinton in real time–and everyone accepts this as entirely legitimate?
Doesn't the complete cancellation of democracy by a dynastic family bother anyone??? Why even vote?dcblogger , August 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm
You're confusing the left with Democrats. One of the clarifying things about this year is how clear it is that's not true.aab , August 12, 2016 at 7:23 pm
You're confusing the left with Democrats. One of the clarifying things about this year is how clear it is that's not true.
so good, it had to be repeatedpretzelattack , August 13, 2016 at 6:31 am
Today's reminder that the Democratic Party (which, as Lambert points out below, is NOT the same as "the left") did not nominate an Iraq War supporter through any kind of democratic process. There is ample evidence that a solid majority of those identifying as or tending to generally vote Democratic (not quite the same as party registration, but in less openly corrupt and weird times, that was how polling defined D voters) rejected Hillary Clinton as a candidate, but were prevented from knowing about her opponent, being able to vote in the primary, or having their completed ballot counted as they had marked it.Mark John , August 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm
the dnc's contempt for it's own voters takes a backseat to nobody! usa! usa!rich , August 12, 2016 at 6:50 pm
My question is why should a progressive vote for Hillary Clinton?
If a progressive wants to show the strength of her movement and also the number of folks who represent her values, a progressive would vote for Stein.
Perhaps it could be argued that if a certain progressive lives in a swing state, she should consider voting for Clinton to prevent Trump from taking office, but that is no most progressive voters.
But, in general, a progressive voting for a candidate such as Clinton who is so actively courting big money and establishment Republicans. . .that would dilute and weaken the progressive presence in my view.Arizona Slim , August 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm
Now that HRC released her taxes can we expect the transcripts, too? Hillary Clinton has been looking into releasing her transcripts for paid speeches to Wall St. and other special interests for 189 days http://iwilllookintoit.com/Steve C , August 12, 2016 at 8:26 pm
Bernie's endorsement should have been tied to the release of those speeches. After all, he made quite a big deal about those speeches during his campaign appearances.Pavel , August 13, 2016 at 1:09 am
That sure would have been gutsy, and a great idea.Kim Kaufman , August 12, 2016 at 7:34 pm
They got to Bernie somehow. Cf the scene in Godfather II where the mobster sees his Sicilian relative sitting in the back of the room and changes his story.Lambert Strether Post author , August 13, 2016 at 2:25 am
More details of the organizing efforts: A Bernie Sanders Delegate Tells a Very Different Story About the DNC to the one We've Been Fed
There's another side to the story… http://www.lifeandnews.com/articles/a-bernie-sanders-delegate-tells-a-very-different-story-about-the-dnc-to-the-one-weve-been-fed-by-the-party-and-media-at-large/
That's very good. We're getting a lot of stories like this, including from our own #SlayTheSmaugs. At some point, I'd like to aggregate them. Readers, do you know of any other field reports from Philly?
www.truth-out.org...Everyone knows the expression "a wolf in sheep's clothing." Now, it seems the United States will invent the macho Republican in feminist, Democratic clothing.
Many authors have quoted a sentence by Bill Clinton:
We're all Eisenhower Republicans here, and we are fighting the Reagan Republicans. We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn't that great?
Eisenhower Republicans were, by today's standards, quite moderate. The quote refers to the 1990s, and already Bill Clinton had triangulated his presidency to Republican-hood. He had demolished Aid to Families With Dependent Children and bought into the bash-the-poor rhetoric of the right wing. He had passed a crime bill that targeted people of color; he had destroyed FDR's legacy, notably by abolishing the Glass-Steagall Act. And he was so "tough on crime" that during the 1992 presidential campaign season, he had gone back to his home state of Arkansas to witness the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, who was "mentally deficient." Bill Clinton might not have inhaled marijuana, but he certainly had inhaled the poison of right-wing ideas.
As we all know, Hillary Clinton openly supported many of Bill Clinton's political measures. She used the terrible expression "superpredators," supported the crime bill and made a hash of health insurance reform. Liza Featherstone talks about Hillary Clinton's faux feminism, and she links her critique to class themes, which is as it should be. Feminists cannot be elite feminists or 1% feminists if they want to defend the rights of all women.
Hillary Clinton's track record on issues of poverty, racial justice and justice for women is appalling. As a former member of the board of Walmart, she sided with the rich and powerful, which she also does when she gives speeches for Wall Street. The really important question is how someone who has constantly sided with the rich can campaign as a progressive, as a friend of people of color and even as a feminist? Michelle Alexander exposed the hypocrisy of the situation in arguing that "Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve the black vote."
On foreign policy issues, Hillary Clinton is not even an Eisenhower Republican, but a war hawk whose philosophy and shortsightedness is evidenced by the flippant way in which she advocated for war in Libya and the way in which she celebrated. "We came, we saw, he died," she said and laughed loudly. This cruel statement does not take into account the mess and mayhem left behind after the intervention, something President Obama calls a "shit show" and his worst mistake. But it is the companion piece to her major fellow elite "feminist" Madeleine Albright declaring that killing half a million Iraqis is worth it.
Hillary Clinton, like true neoliberals in the GOP, supported the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), so as Bill had said she supported the bond market and free trade. Now, she claims she did not, but, of course, she is lying. Her lies also have to do with Wall Street (she has not released the text of her speeches), support for people of color and her feminism.
... ... ...
Feminism cannot be only about the equality of CEO compensations. Equality in CEO compensations in general should exist at a much-reduced level. In his book Listen, Liberal, Thomas Frank tells the story of a Clinton convention meeting he attended and what he witnessed was Hillary Clinton as "Ms. Walmart," pretending she cares about all women. Frank, who is genuinely worried about rising inequality in the United States and racial justice, suggests that elite feminism is worried about the glass ceiling for CEOs, but does not even worry about working-class women who have "no floors" under them. Hillary Clinton is a 1% millionaire who now talks the progressive talk, but never really walked the progressive walk.
It would indeed be a symbolic change if the US elected a woman president, but for the symbol not to be empty, something more is needed. If a woman president does not improve the lot of the majority of women, then what is the good of a symbol?
Hillary Clinton is actually to the right of President Dwight D. Eisenhower -- "Ike." He refused to use the atom bomb in Asia, showing more geopolitical prudence than Hillary "we came and he died" Clinton. He also wanted to preserve the FDR advances that the Clintons have done so much to cancel or erase.
...the Republicans -- starting with Hillary Clinton's youth idol Barry Goldwater -- and the Democrats calling themselves "New Democrats" vied with each other to dismantle the New Deal and the Great Society programs that Democrats had set up. Noam Chomsky argues that the GOP is not a political party any longer, but a radical insurgency, for it has gone off the political cliff. The Democrats have become the Old Republicans and Hillary Clinton is more neocon than traditional conservative of the Eisenhower type.
So Hillary Clinton, the Republican, is poised to win in November, but her Republicanism is closer to George W. Bush's and even more conservative than Ronald Reagan's -- except on the societal issues that have now reached a kind of quasi-consensus like same-sex marriage. She is a pro-business, Koch-compatible lover of Wall Street who uses feminism like some pinkwashers or greenwashers use progressive agendas to sell regressive policies. Author Diana Johnstone calls her the "Queen of Chaos." Clinton is the queen of deception, faux feminism and faux progressivism, whose election will be made easier by her loutish, vulgar, sexist loudmouth of an opponent.
In his book The Deep State, Mike Lofgren quotes H.L. Mencken, who gave away what explains the success of the political circus: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives were past masters at this creation of hobgoblins, but now Hillary Clinton, the opportunist, can outdo them and out-Republicanize them. I think Ike would not like her; she might now be even more reactionary than Goldwater. Indeed, Charles Koch (whose hatred of progressivism is well documented by Jane Meyer in her book, Dark Money) expressed some admiration for Bill and Hillary Clinton and said he could vote for Hillary this time around.
... ... ...
Pierre Guerlain is a professor of American studies at Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre, France.
August 16, 2016 | Of Two Minds
What happens if the Deep State pursues the usual pathological path of increasing repression? The system it feeds on decays and collapses.
Catch-22 (from the 1961 novel set in World War II Catch-22) has several shades of meaning (bureaucratic absurdity, for example), but at heart it is a self-referential paradox: you must be insane to be excused from flying your mission, but requesting to be excused by reason of insanity proves you're sane.
The Deep State in virtually every major nation-state is facing a form of Catch-22: the Deep State needs the nation-state to feed on and support its power, and the nation-state requires stability above all else to survive the vagaries of history.
The only possible output of extreme wealth inequality is social and economic instability.
The financial elites of the Deep State (and of the nation-state that the Deep State rules) generate wealth inequality and thus instability by their very existence, i.e. the very concentration of wealth and power that defines the elite.
So the only way to insure stability is to dissipate the concentrated wealth and power of the financial Deep State. This is the Deep State's Catch-22.
What happens when extremes of wealth/power inequality have been reached? Depressions, revolutions, wars and the dissolution of empires. Extremes of wealth/power inequality generate political, social and economic instability which then destabilize the regime.
Ironically, elites try to solve this dilemma by becoming more autocratic and repressing whatever factions they see as the source of instability.
The irony is they themselves are the source of instability. The crowds of enraged citizens are merely manifestations of an unstable, brittle system that is cracking under the strains of extreme wealth/power inequality.
Can anyone not in Wall Street, the corporate media, Washington D.C., K Street or the Fed look at this chart and not see profound political disunity on the horizon?
Aug 26, 2016 | www.amazon.com
Donald Trump isn't a politician -- he's a one-man wrecking ball against our dysfunctional and corrupt establishment. We're about to see the deluxe version of the left's favorite theme: Vote for us or we'll call you stupid. It's the working class against the smirking class.Frank A. LewesFrank A. Lewes
No pandering! The essence of Trump in personality and issues ,
August 23, 2016
Ms. Coulter explains the journey of myself and so many other voters into Trump's camp. It captures the essence of Trump as a personality and Trump on the issues. If I had to sum Ms. Coulter's view of the reason for Trump's success in two words, I'd say "No Pandering!" I've heard many people, including a Liberal tell me, "Trump says what needs to be said."
I've voted Republican in every election going back to Reagan in 1980, except for 2012 when I supported President Obama's re-election. I've either voted for, or financially supported many "Establishment Republicans" like Mitt Romney and John McCain in 2008. I've also supported some Conservative ones like Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani. In this election I'd been planning to vote for Jeb Bush, a superb governor when I lived in Florida.
Then Trump announced his candidacy. I had seen hints of that happening as far back as 2012. In my Amazon reviews in 2012 I said that many voters weren't pleased with Obama or the Republican Establishment. So the question became: "Who do you vote for if you don't favor the agendas of either party's legacy candidates?" In November 2013 I commented on the book DOUBLE DOWN: GAME CHANGE 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heileman:
Mr. Trump occupies an important place in the political spectrum --- that of being a Republican Populist.
He understands that if we're ever going to get our economy back on its feet the wage-earning middle class will have to prosper along with investors, who are recovering our fortunes in the stock market.
IMO whichever party nominates a candidate like Trump that really "gets" the idea that the economy is suffering because the middle class can't find employment at livable wages, will be the party that rises to dominance.
Mr. Trump, despite his flakiness, at least understood that essential fact of American economic life.
November 7, 2013
Ms. Coulter says it more eloquently: "The Republican establishment has no idea how much ordinary voters hate both parties." Like me, she's especially annoyed with Republicans, because we think of the Republican Party as being our political "family" that has turned against us:
The RNC has been forcing Republican candidates to take suicidal positions forever…They were happy to get 100 percent of the Business Roundtable vote and 20 percent of the regular vote.
…when the GOP wins an election, there is no corresponding "win" for the unemployed blue-collar voter in North Carolina. He still loses his job to a foreign worker or a closed manufacturing plant, his kids are still boxed out of college by affirmative action for immigrants, his community is still plagued with high taxes and high crime brought in with all that cheap foreign labor.
There's no question but that the country is heading toward being Brazil. One doesn't have to agree with the reason to see that the very rich have gotten much richer, placing them well beyond the concerns of ordinary people, and the middle class is disappearing. America doesn't make anything anymore, except Hollywood movies and Facebook. At the same time, we're importing a huge peasant class, which is impoverishing what remains of the middle class, whose taxes support cheap labor for the rich.
With Trump, Americans finally have the opportunity to vote for something that's popular.
That explains how Trump won my vote --- and held on to it through a myriad of early blunders and controversies that almost made me switch my support to other candidates.
I'm no "xenophobe isolationist" stereotype. My first employer was an immigrant from Eastern Europe. What I learned working for him launched me on my successful career. I've developed and sold computer systems to subsidiaries of American companies in Europe and Asia. My business partners have been English and Canadian immigrants. My family are all foreign-born Hispanics. Three of my college roommates were from Ecuador, Germany, and Syria.
BECAUSE of this international experience I agree with the issues of trade and immigration that Ms. Coulter talks about that have prompted Trump's rising popularity.
First, there is the false promise that free trade with low-wage countries would "create millions of high-paying jobs for American workers, who will be busy making high-value products for export." NAFTA was signed in 1994. GATT with China was signed in 2001. Since then we've signed free trade with 20 countries. It was said that besides creating jobs for Americans, that free trade would prosper the global economy. In truth the opposite happened:
American companies used free trade with low-wage countries as an opportunity to close their American factories and relocate the jobs to lower-paying foreign workers. Instead of creating product and exporting it to other countries, our American companies EXPORTED American JOBS to other countries and IMPORTED foreign-made PRODUCTS into America! Our exports have actually DECLINED during the last five years with most of the 20 countries we signed free trade with. Even our exports to Canada, our oldest free trade partner, are less than what they were five years ago.
We ran trade SURPLUSES with Mexico until 1994, when NAFTA was signed. The very next year the surplus turned to deficit, now $60 billion a year. Given that each American worker produces an average of $64,000 in value per year, that is a loss of 937,000 American jobs to Mexico alone. The problem is A) that Mexicans are not wealthy enough to be able to afford much in the way of American-made product and B) there isn't much in the way of American-made product left to buy, since so much of former American-made product is now made in Mexico or China.
Trade with Japan, China, and South Korea is even more imbalanced, because those countries actively restrict imports of American-made products. We run a 4x trade imbalance with China, which cost us $367 billion last year. We lost $69 billion to Japan and $28 billion to South Korea. Our exports to these countries are actually DECLINING, even while our imports soar!
Thus, free trade, except with a few fair-trading countries like Canada, Australia, and possibly Britain, has been a losing proposition. Is it coincidence that our economy has weakened with each trade deal we have signed? Our peak year of labor force participation was 1999. Then we had the Y2K collapse and the Great Recession, followed by the weakest "recovery" since WWII? As Trump would say, free trade has been a "disaster."
Why do Establishment Republicans join with Democrats in wanting to diminish the future with the WRONG kind of "free trade" that removes jobs and wealth from the USA? As Ms. Coulter reminds us, it is because Republican Establishment, like the Democrat establishment, is PAID by the money and jobs they receive from big corporations to believe it. Ms. Coulter says:
The donor class doesn't care. The rich are like locusts: once they've picked America dry, they'll move on to the next country. A hedge fund executive quoted in The Atlantic a few years ago said, "If the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile [that] means one American drops out of the middle class, that's not such a bad trade."
Then there is immigration. My wife, son, and extended family legally immigrated to the USA from Latin America. The first family members were recruited by our government during the labor shortage of the Korean War. Some fought for the United States in Korea. Some of their children fought for us in Vietnam, and some grandchildren are fighting in the Middle East. Most have become successful professionals and business owners. They came here LEGALLY, some waiting in queue for up to 12 years. They were supported by the family already in America until they were on their feet.
Illegal immigration has been less happy. Illegals are here because the Democrats want new voters and the Republicans want cheap labor. Contrary to business propaganda, illegals cost Americans their jobs. A colleague just old me, "My son returned home from California after five years, because he couldn't get construction work any longer. All those jobs are now done off the books by illegals."
It's the same in technology. Even while our high-tech companies are laying off 260,000 American employees in 2016 alone, they are banging the drums to expand the importation of FOREIGN tech workers from 85,000 to 195,000 to replace the Americans they let go. Although the H1-B program is billed as bringing in only the most exceptional, high-value foreign engineers, in truth most visas are issued to replace American workers with young foreigners of mediocre ability who'll work for much less money than the American family bread-winners they replaced.
Both parties express their "reverse racism" against the White Middle Class. Democrats don't like them because they tend to vote Republican. The Republican Establishment doesn't like them because they cost more to employ than overseas workers and illegal aliens. According to them the WMC is too technologically out of date and overpaid to allow our benighted business leaders to "compete internationally."
Ms. Coulter says "Americans are homesick" for our country that is being lost to illegal immigration and the removal of our livelihoods overseas. We are sick of Republican and Democrat Party hidden agendas, reverse-racism, and economic genocide against the American people. That's why the Establishment candidates who started out so theoretically strong, like Jeb Bush, collapsed like waterlogged houses of cards when they met Donald Trump. As Ms. Coulter explains, Trump knows their hidden agendas, and knows they are working against the best interests of the American Middle Class.
Coulter keeps coming back to Mr. Trump's "Alpha Male" personality that speaks to Americans as nation without pandering to specific voter identity groups. She contrasts his style to the self-serving "Republican (Establishment) Brain Trust that is mostly composed of comfortable, well-paid mediocrities who, by getting a gig in politics, earn salaries higher than a capitalist system would ever value their talents." She explains what she sees as the idiocy of those Republican Establishment political consultants who wrecked the campaigns of Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz by micromanaging with pandering.
She says the Republican Establishment lost because it served itself --- becoming wealthy by serving the moneyed interests of Wall Street. Trump won because he is speaking to the disfranchised American Middle Class who loves our country, is proud of our traditions, and believes that Americans have as much right to feed our families through gainful employment as do overseas workers and illegal aliens.
"I am YOUR voice," says Trump to the Middle Class that until now has been ignored and even sneered at by both parties' establishments.
I've given an overview of the book here. The real delight is in the details, told as only Anne Coulter can tell them. I've quoted a few snippets of her words, that relate most specifically to my views on Trump and the issues. I wish there were space to quote many more. Alas, you'll need to read the book to glean them all!Bruce, I would also add that the Republican Establishment chose not to represent the interests of the White Middle Class on trade, immigration, and other issues that matter to us. They chose to represent the narrow interests of:Frank A. Lewes
1. The corporate 1% who believe that the global labor market should be tapped in order to beat American workers out of their jobs; and that corporations and the 1% who own them should be come tax-exempt organizations that profit by using cheap overseas labor to product product that is sold in the USA, and without paying taxes on the profit. Ms. Coulter calls this group of Republican Estblishmentarians "locusts: once they've picked America dry, they'll move on to the next country."
2. Pretending to care about the interests of minorities. Of course, the Republican Establishment has even less appeal to minorities than to the White Middle Class (WMC) they abandoned. Minorities are no more interested in losing their jobs to foreigners or to suffer economic stagnation while the rich have their increasing wealth (most of which is earned at the expense of the middle class) tax-sheltered, than do the WMC.
The Republican Establishment is in a snit because Trump beat them by picking up the WMC votes that the Establishment abandoned. What would have happened if Trump had not come on the scene? The probable result is that the Establishment would have nominated a ticket of Jeb Bush and John Kasich. These candidates had much to recommend them as popular governors of key swing states. But they would have gone into the election fighting the campaign with Republican Establishment issues that only matter to the 1%. They would have lost much of the WMC vote that ultimately rallied around Trump, while gaining no more than the usual 6% of minorities who vote Republican. It would have resulted in a severe loss for the Republican Party, perhaps making it the minority party for the rest of the century.
Trump has given Republicans a new lease on life. The Establishment doesn't like having to take a back seat to him, but perhaps they should understand that having a back seat in a popular production is so much better than standing outside alone in the cold.It's funny how White Men are supposed to be angry. But I've never seen any White men:
1. Running amok, looting and burning down their neighborhood, shooting police and other "angry White men." There were 50 people shot in Chicago last weekend alone. How many of those do you think were "angry white men?" Hint: they were every color EXCEPT white.
2. Running around complaining that they aren't allowed into the other gender's bathroom, then when they barge their way in there complain about being sexually assaulted. No, it's only "angry females" (of any ethnicity) who barge their way into the men's room and then complain that somebody in there offended them.
Those "angry white men" are as legendary as "Bigfoot." They are alleged to exist everywhere, but are never seen. Maybe that's because they mostly hang out in the quiet neighborhoods of cookie-cutter homes in suburbia, go to the lake or bar-be-que on weekends, and take their allotment of Viagra in hopes of occassionally "getting lucky" with their wives. If they're "angry" then at least they don't take their angry frustrations out on others, as so many other militant, "in-your-face" activist groups do!
Aug 21, 2016 | Defend Democracy Press
U.S. "think tanks" rile up the American public against an ever-shifting roster of foreign "enemies" to justify wars which line the pockets of military contractors who kick back some profits to the "think tanks," explains retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce.
The New York Times took notice recently of the role that so-called "think tanks" play in corrupting U.S. government policy. Their review of think tanks "identified dozens of examples of scholars conducting research at think tanks while corporations were paying them to help shape government policy."
Unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, while the Times investigation demonstrates well that the U.S. is even more corrupt – albeit the corruption is better disguised – than the many foreign countries which we routinely accuse of corruption, the Times failed to identify the most egregious form of corruption in our system. That is, those think tanks are constantly engaged in the sort of activities which the Defense Department identifies as "Information War" when conducted by foreign countries that are designated by the U.S. as an enemy at any given moment.
Information warfare uses disinformation and propaganda to condition a population to hate a foreign nation or population with the intent to foment a war, which is the routine "business" of the best known U.S. think tanks.
There are two levels to this information war. The first level is by the primary provocateur, such as the Rand Corporation, the American Enterprise Institute and the smaller war instigators found wherever a Kagan family member lurks. They use psychological "suggestiveness" to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the U.S. population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover.
Once that fear and paranoia is instilled in much of the population, it can then be manipulated to foment a readiness or eagerness for war, in the manner that Joseph Goebbels understood well.
The measure of success from such a disinformation and propaganda effort can be seen when the narrative is adopted by secondary communicators who are perhaps the most important target audience. That is because they are "key communicators" in PsyOp terms, who in turn become provocateurs in propagating the false narrative even more broadly and to its own audiences, and becoming "combat multipliers" in military terms.
It is readily apparent now that Russia has taken its place as the primary target within U.S. sights. One doesn't have to see the U.S. military buildup on Russia's borders to understand that but only see the propaganda themes of our "think tanks."
The Role of Rand
A prime example of an act of waging information war to incite actual military attack is the Rand Corporation, which, incidentally, published a guide to information war and the need to condition the U.S. population for war back in the 1990s.A scene from "Dr. Strangelove," in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.
Rand was founded by, among others, the war enthusiast, Air Force General Curtis LeMay, who was the model for the character of Gen. Buck Turgidson in the movie "Dr. Strangelove." LeMay once stated that he would not be afraid to start a nuclear war with Russia and that spirit would seem to be alive and well at Rand today as they project on to Vladimir Putin our own eagerness for inciting a war.
The particular act of information warfare by Rand is shown in a recent Rand article: "How to Counter Putin's Subversive War on the West." The title suggests by its presupposition that Putin is acting in the offensive form of war rather than the defensive form of war. But it is plain to see he is in the defensive form of war when one looks at the numerous provocations and acts of aggression carried out by American officials, such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and General Philip Breedlove, and the U.S. and NATO military buildup on Russia's borders.
Within this Rand article however can be found no better example of psychological projection than this propagandistic pablum that too many commentators, some witless, some not, will predictably repeat:
"Moscow's provocative active measures cause foreign investors and international lenders to see higher risks in doing business with Russia. Iran is learning a similar, painful lesson as it persists with harsh anti-Western policies even as nuclear-related sanctions fade. Russia will decide its own priorities. But it should not be surprised if disregard for others' interests diminishes the international regard it seeks as an influential great power."
In fact, an objective, dispassionate observation of U.S./Russian policies would show it has been the U.S. carrying out these "provocative active measures" as the instigator, not Russia.
Nevertheless, showing the success that our primary war provocateurs have had in fomenting hostility and possibly war is that less militaristic and bellicose Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), ostensibly working for "peace," have adopted this false propaganda theme uncritically.
The Carnegie Moscow Center Foundation, which includes Russians on its staff, is a prime example. Lately, it has routinely echoed the more provocative and facially false accusations made against Russia by the outright militaristic and war instigating U.S. think tanks. An example is in a recent article of Carnegie, entitled: "Russia and NATO Must Communicate Better."
It begins: "The risk of outright conflict in Europe is higher than it has been for years and the confrontation between Russia and the West shows no sign of ending. To prevent misunderstandings and dangerous incidents, the two sides must improve their methods of communication."
Unfortunately, that is now true. But the article's author suggests throughout that each party, Russia and the U.S./NATO, had an equal hand in the deterioration of relations. He wrote: "The West needs to acknowledge that the standoff with Russia is not merely the result of Russia turning authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive," as if Western officials don't already know that that accusation was only a propaganda theme for their own populations to cover up the West's aggressiveness.
So Americans, such as myself, must acknowledge and confront that the standoff with Russia is not only not "merely the result of Russia turning authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive," but it is rather, that the U.S. is "turning authoritarian, nationalistic," and even more "assertive," i.e., aggressive, toward the world.
Suz Tzu wrote that a "sovereign" must know oneself and the enemy. In the case of the U.S. sovereign, the people and their elected, so-called representatives, there is probably no "sovereign" in human history more lacking in self-awareness of their own nation's behavior toward other nations.
So fanatics like the U.S. Generals whom we've seen at the recent political conventions and even worse, General Breedlove, are encouraged to be ever more threatening to the world's populations.
When that then generates a response from some nation with a tin-pot military relative to our own, with ours paid for by the privileged financial position we've put ourselves into post-WWII, our politicians urgently call for even more military spending from the American people to support even more aggression, all in the guise of "national defense."
Recognizing that must then be coupled with recognition of a U.S. law passed in 2012 providing for military detention of journalists and social activists as the Justice Department conceded in Hedges v. Obama. Add to that what the ACLU recently compelled the U.S. government to reveal in the "Presidential Policy Guidance" and it is plain to see which nation has become most "authoritarian, nationalistic, and assertive." It is the United States.
The Presidential Policy Guidance "establishes the standard operating procedures for when the United States takes direct action, which refers to lethal and non-lethal uses of force, including capture operations against terrorist targets outside the United States and areas of active hostilities."
What other nation, besides Israel probably, has a governmental "Regulation" providing for assassinations outside "areas of active hostilities?"
It should readily be evident that it is the U.S. now carrying out the vast majority of provocative active measures and has the disregard for others complained of here. At least for the moment, however, the U.S. can still hide much of its aggression using the vast financial resources provided by the American people to the Defense Department to produce sophisticated propaganda and to bribe foreign officials with foreign aid to look the other way from U.S. provocations.
It is ironic that today, one can learn more about the U.S. military and foreign policy from the Rand Corporation only by reading at least one of its historical documents, "The Operational Code of the Politburo." This is described as "part of a major effort at RAND to provide insight into the political leadership and foreign policy in the Soviet Union and other communist states; the development of Soviet military strategy and doctrine."
As this was when the Politburo was allegedly at its height in subverting and subjugating foreign countries as foreign policy, it should be exactly on point in describing current U.S. foreign policy.
That U.S. think tanks, such as Rand and the American Enterprise Institute, put so much effort into promoting war should not come as a surprise when it is considered their funding is provided by the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) which President Eisenhower warned us about. That this U.S. MIC would turn against its own people, the American public, by waging perpetual information war against this domestic target just to enrich their investors, might have been even more than Eisenhower could imagine however.
Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. [This article first appeared at http://original.antiwar.com/Todd_Pierce/2016/08/14/inciting-wars-american-way/]
- Is There a Unifying Alternative to the Empire of Chaos A World Philosophy Synopsis - Defend Democracy Press
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Aug 24, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.comBy Lambert Strether of Corrente .
I haven't posted on higher education before, and a series of posts on credentialism really should focus on the institutions where those credentials are, in the main, granted. But rather than a serious analytical piece on the state of the university, this will be a light-hearted romp through some spectacular examples of executive malfeasance at NYU, Baylor, and Penn State. (Tomorrow I'll look at the adjunct system, and potential effects of yesterday's NLRB decision . And there will be more posts to come on this topic, as I come to understand it better.)
Before I begin, though, let's recall Zephyr Teachout's definition of corruption. Not a quid pro quo - that's the Citizen's United doctrine, now supported by the Clinton campaign - but the use of public office for private ends. What does corruption look like in a university setting, given that some universities are private to begin with, and that "ends," in the ancient and tricky academe, may not always be immediately evident?
Here's a story from the University of Maine, Maine's "flagship" university. Our last President, Robert Kennedy, gave the contract for sports broadcasting to ClearChannel, thereby moving the profits out of state, because he took the contract away from Stephen King's radio station (yes, that Stephen King). Naturally, this ticked King off, and King - up to that point the university's largest donor, and the funder of many good works round the state, like dental clinics and libraries - decided he would no longer give to the university. (Kennedy then rotated out to the University of Connecticut, for a hefty salary increase, where he was shortly axed by the Regents for a cronyism scandal . Dodged a bullet, there, Maine!)
Dollying back to the larger picture, King came up through the much despised and derided English Department, in the humanities, which powerful institution forces in the administration and the Board of Trustees are shifting resources away from, in favor of more pragmatic, "business-friendly," corporate majors (graduates, that is, that they themselves can hire. Even though King was the university's largest donor.)
Is there corruption here? I would argue yes, but I'm not sure that Teachout's definition quite meets the case. The corruption I'm going to describe seems more along the lines of converting a public institution to serve private purposes (assuming higher education to be a public institution, which I do, because education is a public good). This is evident from the King story in two ways. First, Kennedy is only one of many university administrators who stay a couple years at an institution, punch their ticket, and move on to a higher salaried position elsewhere. Second, optimizing university curricula, grounds, personnel decisions, etc. for corporate ends is about as corrupt as you can get (as are the concomitant rationalizations and cover-ups that occur when scandal breaks). Now, human nature being what it is, a certain amount of empire-building and concern for one's rice bowl has always been inevitable, but when greed for one's self, or one's class, becomes the institutional driver, it's time for a thorough cleansing.
With that, let's look at the case of John Sexton, once President of NYU. (NYU is an important nexus for the Democrat nomenklatura , so we'll have more to say about NYU in the future.)
John Sexton, NYU
John Sexton (salary: $1.5 million ) was President of New York University from 2002 to 2015, and for a portion of that time doubel-dipped as Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. For the connoisseur of corruption, his long tenure provides an embarrassment of riches - the union busting , the faculty no-confidence votes , the Abu Dhabi debacle (among other issues, the campus was built using slave labor ), the lavish compensation packages , the tacos made from endangered shark meat - but I'm going to focus on just one. The apartments. No, I don't mean the faculty apartment NYU remodeled for Sexton's son :
NYU gave president's aspiring actor son apartment on campus
Jed Sexton, whose sole affiliation with NYU was his status as the president's son, for years enjoyed a spacious faculty apartment while the university experienced a "severe" housing shortage, The Post has learned.
In spring 2002, NYU ordered that a pair of one-bedroom apartments normally reserved for law school faculty be combined into a lavish, two-story spread in the heart of Greenwich Village, property records show.
The Harvard-educated Sexton, who was a 33-year-old aspiring actor at the time, shared the new duplex with his newlywed wife, Danielle Decrette, for the next five years, according to documents and people briefed on the situation.
That's despite the fact that NYU officials, just weeks earlier, had warned in a written report of a "severe housing shortage" for faculty, "especially of larger units."
How cozy! No, I mean the vacation properties, plural, that NYU under Sexton doled out as perks to insiders :
NYU Offers Top Talent a Path to Beachfront Property
New York University students carry some of the highest debt loads in the nation, a fact they are bound to remember through gritted teeth when they read the New York Times report about the school's loans to top faculty for vacation homes in places like Fire Island and the Hamptons. The loans, which have gone to at least five faculty members in the medical and law schools as well as university president John Sexton, sometimes get forgiven over time as their recipients continue to work at the university. Mortgage loans apparently aren't unheard of as compensation packages for professors and executives in tight real estate markets, but they're usually for homes, not vacation properties.
From the New York Times , which broke the story, it seems that Sexton gifted himself a house, an "an elegant modern beach house that extends across three lots":
The house, which is owned by John Sexton, the president of New York University, was bought with a $600,000 loan from an N.Y.U. foundation that eventually grew to be $1 million, according to Suffolk County land records.
Others, too :
Since the late 1990s, at least five medical or law school faculty members at N.Y.U. have received loans on properties in the Hamptons or Fire Island, in addition to Dr. Sexton.
NYU's Chief Financial Officer Martin Dorph argued that arrangements like this are necessary to retain top personnel :
While that feeling is understandable, it is important to note the economic truth that the markets for different positions often dictate different levels of compensation, whether that is embodied in salary payments, loans, or an overarching agreement about terms of employment. And, when we commit to provide such compensation, we do so only when we are sure
that the benefit to the University far exceeds the cost.
First, CEO compensation and shareholder returns are inversely correllated ; even if we grant Dorph's premise, and a corporate model for the university, it's just not clear that top compensation means top talent. Second, why doesn't NYU simply pay its talent more? Why complicate matters by bringing in vacation housing? Why not just write a fatter check? The answer can only be arbitrage of some sort: NYU giving access to property that otherwise isn't on the market, tax advantages of some kind, a better rate on the mortgage, or whatever; some way in which NYU uses its muscle on behalf of the compensated. But that is, precisely, converting a public institution to serve private purposes. Not to mention Sexton openly using NYU facilities to house his son and for his own vacation home on Fire Island. Come on. Why is that not self-dealing? And the rest of looks suspiciously like powerful faculty members feathering their own nests. "Why not? We deserve it."
Naturally, NYU has learned nothing, and is in fact doubling down: " N.Y.U. President's Penthouse Gets a Face-Lift Worth $1.1 Million (or More) ." For Sexton's successor, Andrew Hamilton (salary: not disclosed):
The 19th and topmost floor of the building will be turned into a master-bedroom suite, where Dr. Hamilton will have private exits - one from the bedroom and one from the bathroom - onto a terrace overlooking Washington Square and, to the south, the financial district skyline, according to documents filed with New York City.
"Private exits." Perhaps he'll need them.
Ken Starr, Baylor University
We now turn to the simpler case of Baylor President Ken Starr (salary: $1 million ), last seen unloading a dumpster-load of lascivious footnotes onto the steps of Capitol Hill during the Lewinsky matter (thank you, Monica, for helping to save Social Security from Bill Clinton ). Former Manhattan assistant DA Bennett L. Gershman has a good summation, in full "What did he know, and when did he know it?" mode:
Baylor University, the country's largest Baptist university and a bastion of Christian values, has just been denounced in a blistering report by the University's Board of Regents for "mishandling" - covering up might be a more apt description - credible allegations of horrific sexual violence against female students, especially alleged assaults by members of the football team. The Board of Regents said it was "shocked," "outraged" and "horrified" by the extent of the acts of sexual violence on the campus, which covered years 2012 through 2015, and the failure of the University to take appropriate action to punish violators and prevent future violations. The Board issued an "apology to Baylor Nation," fired the football coach, and "transitioned" (the Regents' term) Baylor's President, Kenneth Starr, to the role of Chancellor. Starr also was allowed to retain his lucrative Chair and Professorship of constitutional law at Baylor's law school….
As Baylor's president from 2010 to 2016, the vexing question is the level of Starr's culpability for the "shocking," "outrageous," and "horrendous" sex scandal. What exactly did Starr know? The allegations of sexual violence on the campus were rampant and notorious, especially by the football players. Starr had to know something about the extent of the University's response to the complaints, and most likely the failure to address these complaints properly. Indeed, there were several Title IX investigations by the Justice Department at the time that Starr must have known about. Moreover, there are plenty of egregious examples of sexual violence on the campus that had to have been reported. In one egregious case, an All-Big 12 football player was accused in 2013 of sexual violence against a student. Although Waco police contacted university officials, nobody in the university investigated the case until two years later, after a Title IX investigation was underway, and media reports highlighted the case. This was after several other Baylor football players were indicted and convicted of sexual assaults. It was only then that the University hired an outside investigator. Notably, the headlines also prompted a public outcry, and a candlelight vigil at Starr's residence.
The Board of Regents Report describes the breadth of the independent investigation into the university's failure to properly address the University's dereliction. The investigators interviewed numerous University officials, but there is no mention whether they interviewed Starr, and if so, what he may have said. … Starr may have claimed to be unaware of the repeated failures of university officials to investigate these complaints, but is that contention credible? Starr presumably had to know that aggressively investigating these allegations - indeed, as aggressively as he investigated the sexual misdeeds of President Clinton - might have interfered with his intensive multi-million dollar fundraising efforts to build a new and lavish football stadium, which opened in 2014. And Starr may have believed that getting too deep into the mud of the roiling sexual scandal would undermine the public perception of Baylor's "Christian commitment within a caring community" - again the Board of Regents' description - as well as compromise the heroic efforts of the Baylor football team to win a national championship.
So Starr is no longer the university's president. To be sure, it's a demotion of sorts. He was allowed to keep his Chancellorship, which he just relinquished, but he still gets to keep his Chair and Professorship at the Law School. One might think this is not a very harsh result, certainly not if Starr knowingly violated federal law, or by his deliberate indifference allowed serious criminal conduct to take place at the university he led.
Alternet is, as one would expect, a bit more direct in connecting the dots :
Not to put too fine of a point on it, but Ken Starr is accused of ignoring sexual violence at Baylor University mostly because doing something about it would have jeopardized a cash cow.
(Note that the disgraced Baylor football coach's salay, $6 million , was six (6) times college President "Judge Starr." Starr will also retain his position on the faculty. Priorities!) The New York Times says what Alternet says , in its own more muffled language:
[Baylor] also fired the football coach, Art Briles, whose ascendant program brought in millions of dollars in revenue but was dogged by accusations of sexual assault committed by its players - an increasingly familiar combination in big-time college sports.
"Was dogged by." What we have here is a football team acting as a standalone, dominating entity , rather like a parasite controlling the behavior of the host univeristy:
Among the firm's findings was that football coaches and athletics administrators at the school in the central Texas city of Waco had run their own improper investigations into rape claims and that in some cases they chose not to report such allegations to an administrator outside of athletics.
By running their own "untrained" investigations and meeting directly with a complainant, football staff "improperly discredited" complainants' claims and "denied them a right to a fair, impartial and informed investigation."
Starr wanted the revenues. Briles wanted the revenues, the facilities, the salaries, the ticket to be punched, etc. Again, this is quite directly converting a public institution to serve private purposes. And like NYU, Baylor appears to have learned nothing. Starr still has a job, and was never censured. The full report was never released. And from an ad taken out by Baylor alumni : "Thank You Judge Ken Starr - For your integrity, leadership, character and humble nature."
Eric Barron, Penn State
Finally, we come to Eric Barron, President of Penn State (salary: $1.2 million with incentives ). I'm not going to focus on whether Penn State hiring Barron in the wake of his dubious handling of a festering rape scandal at Florida State was odd , or not. And I'm not going to focus on climatologist Barron's relationship with Koch Brothers funding . Or his conflation of "incredulous" with "incredible"; who among us, etc. No, I'm going to focus on this amazing piece of puffery. From an interview with Barron on "entrepreneurship" and "proactive leadership" :
ERIC J. BARRON: We actually have launched a whole program, which is titled " Invent Penn State ," and there are several different elements of this. One is to do more to incentivize people on campus to get their ideas out into the marketplace. We have many, many student events that are competitions and have scholarship funds at the end of it. The second part of it is to add more visibility to our intellectual property. A third part is to build an ecosystem around our campuses that promote startups and partnerships with communities.
A general view, in my opinion, is that many universities are focused on this topic as a source of revenue, not as educational experiences for students and opportunities for them to do startups. We have a lot of effort on the student side. The minors have expanded. I think we have six or seven entrepreneurship minors now that are embedded in curriculum for different colleges if you want. Last year, we started having any student with any major to be able to get all the credits equivalent to a minor in business. There's a lot on that side plus startup weeks and other activities with a scholarship side of it.
We have funded but have not yet cut the ribbon on a total of 20 incubators and accelerators around the state of Pennsylvania associated with our campuses. In March, we cut the ribbon on what's called Happy Valley Launch Box, which is here in State College, with the idea of having 30 startups in there at any one time. I think we had about 15 before even 30 days. All of these have gone through some sort of vetting process or competition for which they were winners. It's growing just left and right. Many of them, we've given them seed money and they've gotten many times more money from their community and other partners that want to enable the students.
Never mind converting an entire student population into "winners" and "losers." Never mind that 90% of start-ups fail . Never mind that when startups succeed, it's as much a matter of luck, and especially the luck of having been born into the right social network. Thomas Frank has already described Barron's program, and where it leads. This is the innovation cult ! Quoting Frank once more:
I just finished Thomas Frank's excellent Listen, Liberal , and he has a great rant about "innovation," of which I will show a great slab here, from p 186 et seq. Frank even helpfully quotes the more egregious bullshit tells, so I don't have to highlight them! Do read it in full. After visiting hollowed out mill town Fall River, Frank goes to Boston:
Let's also leave aside the issue of whether "innovation" culture increases "income inequality." Suppose Penn State structures its curriculum to optimize for startups (and not for education as such; critical thinking skills, the construction of narratives, the sciences, research, even (relatively) humdrum majors like accounting). What happens to the students when 90% of their startups fail, as history tells us they will? What will they have to fall back on, if everything has been optimized for startups, and the rest of the university's assets have been stripped?
The future lies ahead on that question. For now, I'm uncertain whether "the innovation" cult is corrupt as such, or not. Certainly it provides almost limitles opportunities for backscratching, logrolling, bezzle creation, and so forth. And Barron seems to conceive of it as a big revenue generating opportunity for Penn State (rather like the football team, if it comes to that). If the program fails, and is seen to fail, will Penn State learn from the experience? It's hard to know, but Barron's handling of the fallout from the Sandusky matter does not inspire confidence .
So, what we've got here is an NYU President handing a New York apartment, meant for faculty, to his son, and what looks rather like powerful faculty members feathering their own nests with cheap housing; we've got a Baylor President not wanting to cross a powerful and wealthy football team, even to the extent of failing to handle a rape scandal; and at Penn State we've got a President who's a member of the "innovation cult," when it's not at all clear this will benefit the student body as a whole. Have any of these institutions learned from these experiences? No. Are these college Presidents personally responsible for corruption at their universities - for converting a public institution to serve private purposes? Sexton and Start, yes. For Barron, the jury is still out.
And these are the institutions of higher education that are granting credentials. Not a good look. More examples from readers welcome!
pretzelattack, August 24, 2016 at 1:11 pm
-  I should disclose my priors and/or prejudices: I'm a university brat with a humanities background. Family tradition mandates that I instinctively distrust college administrators, Big Football, fraternities, and sororities (and, my parents would urge, for very good reasons). Only the first two will be at issue here.
-  That is, they're creating hires, as opposed to creating graduates some of whom might be creative enough to come up with businesses that compete with their own.
-  If you think that implies that neoliberalism is intrinsically corrupt, since it will put everything up for sale, including itself, you're not wrong.Anonymous, August 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm
iirc starr's work as independent counsel helped (was the biggest factor maybe) in getting the job at baylor.trent, August 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm
'First, Kennedy is only one of many university administrators who stay a couple years at an institution, punch their ticket, and move on to a higher salaried position elsewhere.'
I think this perfectly describes what I've observed with public school superintendents also. They are like 'The Music Man.' Selling dreams that our children will be smarter, better looking, and above average if we just get with the program. While our school district has a local in charge who appears to be here for the long term, a neighboring district had a 'Music Man' or rather, woman, who got the city to float a $10 million bond issue so every fourth grader could have an I-Pad. She then left to do the same (for a higher salary) in another state. Another, much poorer, district nearby wanted to get rid of a super who had allegedly threatened subordinates with bodily harm: they bought out her contract for $300,000. In a county with a population of 20,000 and ten percent unemployment.
It is not only at the college level that those in charge are engaging is questionable behavior. It is a society wide problem.Anonymous, August 24, 2016 at 3:06 pm
'The Music Man.'
so fraud?Jagger, August 24, 2016 at 8:51 pm
For willing dupes.Arizona Slim, August 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm
It is not only at the college level that those in charge are engaging is questionable behavior. It is a society wide problem.
That is my impression as well-corruption is a society wide problem from top to bottom. The small town mayors, courts, police, newspapers, insiders, etc may be playing with small potatoes but corruption is corruption whether it is $1000 or a $1,000,000. I know it can't be everyone with a little power but way too many. Makes you doubt the whole system.a different chris, August 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm
Greetings from one of those coworking spaces that Mr. Frank took to task in Listen, Liberal .
Let me tell you a dirty little secret about this place. And, no, I'm not talking about who left a lunch in the fridge for too long. This is an even dirtier secret. Here it is:
Most of us are not innovators.
That's right. I said it.
The truth is, most of us are working on things that are, well, pretty run of the mill. Guy behind me is doing digital marketing work for his out-of-state employer, an ad agency. Lady over there is doing marketing for a resort in Mexico. Oh, and the guy who's my best friend here? We're both photographers. His other main hustle is graphic design and mine is writing for business.
We have a handful of what could be described as startups, but those businesses are definitely in the minority.Wait, we pay you enrich yourself?, August 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm
Well we don't need a sh&t pot full of "innovators"…. we need people that can do what they do well. Does everybody have to create something "new"?? I don't think so.* Edison wasn't the greatest guy in the world overall, but as he said getting something up is 99% perspiration and only 1% inspiration – I think he would have spit at the word "innovation", btw.
In fact, he has another lesson for the "innovators" in that a lot of his perspiration was generated due to his efforts in stealing ideas from other people. Which is going to happen to almost all of the (if we take their optimistic slices) 10% that do come up with something anybody cares about.
*For a good example, I love the improvement of the American pub scene over the past few decades. But the best beer and grub isn't the best because it is "innovative" - sometimes it is a bit different, sometimes not - but because it is very, very well done.Arizona Slim, August 24, 2016 at 4:00 pm
Slim, in your home town town there is one of the perfumed princes that could have fit nicely into Lambert's post. Us AZ residents are paying neoliberal scumbag a premium price for their "talents" of enriching themselves.
Super scum: https://www.azpm.org/p/featured-news/2016/4/6/85310-arizona-lawmakers-call-for-ua-presidents-resignation-following-board-appointment-to-for-profit-college-company/
Oh, and if you are referring to the same work space, I worked for a total pump and dump "startup", there.Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm
Oh, brother. Ann Weaver Hart. Don't get me started.
Okay, I am started. So, here goes …
A couple of summers ago, I was meeting with a longtime acquaintance and potential client on the University of Arizona campus. Madame Presidente was about to move her office into Old Main, which is the UA's oldest building. It's revered as this sacred space. Or something like that.
Any-hoo, I was in a pretty spacious office in a building near Old Main. But my meeting host told me that Ann Weaver Hart's Old Main *bathroom* was bigger than that office.
Oh, as for the work space, were you involved in the one that had a pirate theme? Because that place was - and is - full of pump -n- dump startups.Jim Haygood, August 24, 2016 at 1:23 pm
I considered writing Anne Weaver Hart up, but the other ones were worse. There's only so much one can do to shovel back the tide…Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 2:50 pm
'King came up through the much despised and derided English Department, in the humanities.'
Although not a product of the English department at my alma mater, Whatsamatta U., I knew some professors in the department.
To a naive student with no experience in institutional politics, their stories of resentment, gossip, backbiting, and the politics of personal reputational destruction were like a glimpse into an unimagined world.Wait, we pay you to enrich yourself?, August 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm
I know, I know. So totally unlike the corporate environment.Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 3:41 pm
It used to be that there was a saying in academe: the competition is so great because the stakes are so low. But, if there is a path to six or seven figures, now I see that there is serious cash to be banked to justify working in the university racket.Uahsenaa, August 24, 2016 at 5:12 pm
And if you're an administrator, you can redistribute the budget to your own advantage by screwing the faculty, especially adjuncts.DanB, August 24, 2016 at 2:05 pm
Nowadays I bristle when someone describes me as "faculty," even though it's technically correct, because it papers over the fact that some of the people doing the exact same job as me have full employment, a full salary, and fringe benefits, where the people in my position get paid per credit with no benefits. We are "permitted" to buy into university health insurance, at full cost, but that's the extent of our bennies.
If you're getting to the employment situation in a further post, I'll save my more extensive comments for that.Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 2:51 pm
Update: one of the articles cited in this essay says Ken Starr resigned from Baylor Law School and severed all ties with the university this past Friday.
As someone who has a university background, as a grad student in three different universities, and short stints as a faculty member and an administrator (I was shoved out/left in disgust from administration)- I attest that this kind of neoliberal thinking, which automatically generates converting public responsibility to private advantage, is commonplace. As readers here know, the university is a place where one must strive to present oneself - and simultaneously fool oneself - as creative and independent-minded within the confines of the matrix. This is most pronounced in the professional school because they are most beholden to corporate money. A final note: you will find the best to the worst of humanity in universities.Torsten, August 24, 2016 at 6:45 pm
So, karma works. Thanks for the update.allan, August 24, 2016 at 2:35 pm
David Riesman: "I would never advise anyone to go into teaching because the people are so nice."Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 2:53 pm
One more for the honor roll: West Virginia University's former president Michael Garrison, who ordered the granting of an M.B.A. to
moral leperMylan CEO and Epi-Pen price optimizer Heather Bresch in 2007,
even though she had fewer than half the credits required.trent, August 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm
Blue Dog Joe Manchin's daughter . All things work together for good, don't they?DrBob, August 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm
seems like she's only where she is because of daddyallan, August 24, 2016 at 4:37 pm
This particular CEO (and Senator's daughter) has a history of using Congress for favorable outcomes:
https://theintercept.com/2016/08/24/epipen-uproar-highlights-companys-family-ties-to-congress/KurtisMayfield, August 24, 2016 at 3:21 pm
To paraphrase Harry Reid, Joe's with us on everything except
the warbasic human decency.Torsten, August 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm
You forgot to mention she was a Senator's daughter. That one is a combo of both government, corporate, and university corruption. Well done!Ulysses, August 24, 2016 at 3:48 pm
I have to repeat my favorite historical anecdote here (h/t the late, great Paul Goodman, from his Compulsory Miseducation, I believe).
It seems that in the summer of 1650, while the faculty was away helping in the fields, Henry Dunster sold Harvard to a group of Boston businessmen, creating the first Corporation in the New World, and making himself "President" thereof.
Now Wikipedia claims that Dunster "set up as well as taught Harvard's entire curriculum alone for many years, graduating the first college class in America, the Class of 1642". So perhaps Dunster was simply ahead of his time in creating the prototype for Trump University.ekstase, August 24, 2016 at 4:11 pm
Administrators in academia hold themselves to the same high ethical standards as officials in government. In other words, they do whatever they can get away with, and then sputter about future "transparency," and "doing better," when their misdeeds come to light.
This blather from Austin, Texas, could just as well have come from Washington, D.C.:
"I've read the report a half-dozen times in totality, and I found no willful misconduct , no criminal activity on the part of any of the folks at the University of Texas at Austin, and have told the Board of Regents that I intend to take no disciplinary action," he said.
"Can we do things better? You bet," he continued. "Should we have been more transparent? Absolutely. Are we going to get this fixed? No doubt about it."
Mr. Powers pushed back against the report's suggestion that he had not been forthcoming, saying he had been "truthful and not evasive" in his dealings with investigators.
Investigators took a different view…. "
http://chronicle.com/article/Admissions-Report-Chips-at/190021/Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm
Just a hypothetical question: what would one do if they felt they were losing some of their idealism?Foppe, August 24, 2016 at 4:22 pm
I very rarely laugh out loud; thanks, it's good for the health!Foppe, August 24, 2016 at 4:44 pm
My $2c; apologies that they're a bit unpolished: One question you/we might ponder is how (a desire for) obvious nepotism engenders privatization, versus more "principled" demands for privatization of public goods/services. To give a very brief summary of the developments since WWII inspired by my reading of David Harvey's The Enigma of Capital : privatization became important once western economies 'matured', because of how this meant that there were ever fewer (obvious) opportunities for growth. And secondly because, once more and more people started getting degrees, there was an explosion in the number of people who were "trained" (only) for middle/upper management positions; for who there was fairly little demand in public institutions, probably because workers had decent unions/voice, so that the people who ran those places couldn't easily justify managerial metastasis and the taking away of job-related autonomy (to create demand for "decision-makers") by creating cultures of institutionalized distrust (via yammering about the importance of "accountability"). (Though the latter was/is still an issue, it gets worse the more neoliberalized the organizational mode gets, because of neoliberalisms implicit (rational-actor) misanthropic world view.) Those developments strike me as separate from the more narcissistic ( professional class/meritocratic-reasoning )-related forms of corruption/grift/etc. that you discuss above, though.Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 4:50 pm
(To clarify, Harvey doesn't talk about professionalization; that's just me combining observations made by Graeber with those made by Tom Frank in Listen, Liberal .)Foppe, August 24, 2016 at 5:22 pm
Graeber, or Harvey? The Harvey book looks interesting.petal, August 24, 2016 at 4:28 pm
Harvey's book is great; as for Frank & Graeber, I was thinking of Graeber's remarks about what he (in Debt) calls the crisis of inclusion (which he's also talked about elsewhere, e.g. in the Army of Altruists essay in Revolutions in Reverse ). Graeber there (as I assume you recall) only talks about the fact that those who don't belong to what Frank calls the professional class (and those who self-identify with them), only have the army and the church open to them if they wish to pursue goals other than accumulating money/power; yet the higher-ed explosion must've also had enormous consequences for the supply of people with managerial and similar training. But I only started pondering that question recently, after reading Frank woke me up to the obvious.Lord Koos, August 24, 2016 at 4:37 pm
Ugh can we tack The World Bank's Jim Kim(former Dartmouth pres) on there, too?Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 4:51 pm
How about Cooper Union president Jamshed Bharucha - who managed to screw up the school's endowment that had been in place since 1859. Check out the movie "Ivory Tower".Fool, August 24, 2016 at 4:38 pm
See here .Lambert Strether Post author , August 24, 2016 at 4:54 pm
NYU is a school run by money, and it's so transparent that for a board populated by billionaires, run by a press-shy guy who helped a lot of them become billionaires, that they prop up the flamboyant Sexton's supposed fundraising abilities and "imperial" presidency. Fortunately for Sexton and NYU, he's paid enough money to take the press's lashings like a good boy.
But surely such a mediocre pedant isn't the mastermind behind the bloated, technocratic, real estate development company and vanity project (which also offers classes, which are taught by #publicintellectuals).Michael Fiorillo, August 24, 2016 at 6:47 pm
New York real estate is a clean business, right? No story there….relstprof, August 24, 2016 at 7:41 pm
NYU: a real estate development company with a tax-exempt higher education subsidiary.Carolinian, August 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm
http://columbiaspectator.com/spectrum/2016/04/07/concerned-residents-push-back-against-jts-uts-plans-sell-property-developersAnon, August 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm
Pam Martens has written several posts at Wallstreetonparade talking about NYU's corruption, connections to Wall St, and Jack Lew. Don't have links handy but easy to Google.relstprof, August 24, 2016 at 6:44 pm
I would like to point out that Chancellors Linda Katehi (UC Davis)and Nicholas Dirks (UC Berkeley) have both recently resigned under pressure from UC Top Honcho Janet Napolitano. It seems Administrator transgressions (impunity and self-dealing) are finding its way into the "sunlight".Knute Rife, August 24, 2016 at 8:56 pm
Good stuff. Really looking forward to future posts.
Some people starting up can get "small loans" of $1,000,000 from the old man and have those kinds of resources to fall back on if they flop. The other 99.99% of us? Not so much. How is this innovation dogma supposed to work for those of us who can't buy our way into the Creative Class?
Aug 25, 2016 | www.theguardian.comphilipsiron 46m agoI would like to vote for Hillary because she's already harmless and looks friendly with her mild seizures, it's like nehi-nehi Indian dance. But I am so afraid of her corporate backers that they will exploit Hillary and Bill's weakness as ageing senior illuminati couple, how can you unite the Fed with CIA, FBI and US military, not too mention Wall Street.shockrah 54m agoThe real problem here is a political vacuum so huge you could fit trump's ego inside it. Just a guess but from what I've seen this last year about half of trump supporters are wwhat could be called die-hard racists. The one major failing of the workers movement that Sanders started in the US was an inability to pull off the 50% of trump supporters who are not fundamentally racist. TWynberg 1h ago
here was no major appeal to the more rural agricultural communities by Sanders that I ever heard. They may only represent 20% of the population but they are the backbone of the US as they are unable to compete with large scale corporate farming they suffer the same ideological loss that the rest of the working class suffer from. If the progressive movement cannot or will not appeal to this group through small farming and organic farming subsidies then they will go with someone like trump even though he promises them nothing. T
hey will, in the absence of an alternative political path just choose 'f**k you' for their candidate. Probably too late this time around but in the future the progressive movement needs to include these people or they will be the 'third rail' the left dies on.Dear Dorothy,stoneshepherd 44m ago
My husband is a liar and a cheat. He has cheated on me from the beginning and when I confront him, he denies everything. What's worse, everyone knows he cheats on me. It's so humiliating.
Also, since he lost his job 14 years ago, he hasn't even looked for a new one. All he does all day is smoke cigars, play golf, cruise around and shoot ball with his buddies and has sex with hookers, while I work so hard to pay our bills.
Since our daughter went away to college and then got married; he doesn't even pretend to like me, and hints that I may be a lesbian. What should I do?
Grow up and dump him.
You don't need him anymore!
Good grief woman, you're running for President of the United States!People here seem to be posting without thinking things through. Do they really want another Clinton in the White House? Especially this warmonger?SerbCanada Ulmus Glabra 1h ago
Maybe they should try a dose of reality and read John Pilger's op ed over here https://www.rt.com/op-edge/356846-provoking-nuclear-war-media /
We shouldn't be sleepwalking into another disastrous war just to please the shareholders and CEOs of the major armament manufacturing companies.
[PS Please read Pilger's op ed before trolling this post]Are you talking about Hillary and Bill Clinton? Your are describing Hillary and her politics of corruption, bad judgment; incompetence, job outsourcing and total disregard for American people. if anyone is remotely suitable to become POTUS it is her. Only those who really hate America will be happy with its further decline and will vote for Hillary. However, Trump will become America's next President.unlywnted kieran2698 1h ago
Listen to his peaches - that would be time better spent than to spend time of defending Hillary, who soon be either behind the bars or forgotten.thinlizzie mkevinf 1h ago
After 40 years of EU lies they are more than imbued to being lied to by politicians - no wonder the people are utterly and totally disillusioned with the established parties who show such appalling contempt for the people and democracy. Nothing better explains the growing success of mavericks like Trump and Farage: frankly the people need them as a safety valve for their frustrations.Nigel is not making any threats to USA as Obama did in UK (you'll be in back of the queue). It was not Nigel who spoke about obama's ancestry. America has a tough choice Trump/Clinton. My brother lives in Florida - he says he wouldn't vote for Clinton.Maitreya2016 MrIncredlous 1h ago
I voted UKIP and for LEAVE and think Nigel Farage will go down in history as one of the most important men in politics for a very long time. We supported him because he spoke for us and the other politicians stopped listening to us. These snidey nasty comments are typical of leftie guardian readers. After all - they're probably going to vote for Corby who hasn't a cat in hells chance of ever being PM!Yes, you're right. It's this sentiment that has pushed the proletariat into the arms of Trump and Farage. Funnily enough, during my time working with the EU there was a very strong push towards less democracy and more population management. Most of it is being done via education and other soft power platforms - reforming children's attitudes, self-awareness training, behavioral feedback and gender confusion. This is being done under the guise of tolerance, diversity and identity politics. It keeps the masses fighting amongst themselves while those in charge of them steal everything.DanBlues 3h agoOk, let's forget that Farage was the only major political party leader to stand up for democracy. We also should forget that, despite all the horrific personal abuse he suffered, he carried on year after year against the almighty power of the establishment and managed to win us our sovereignty back. We definitely must forget that he is a libertarian and his party is the ONLY major political party that bans all previous members of racist parties from applying.musolen 3h ago
Now hand me some of that racism juice and point me to the bandwagon!Karega 3h ago
... ... ...
Her beliefs change with her lobbyist's wishes, she lies openly on camera and in office, puts donors and enormous backhanders before the electorate that voted for her, uses her Clinton Foundation as a cream skimming perk where all cash is welcome and Gov policy a Clinton Foundation sellable asset and entertains despots, juntas and murderous thugs using State Dept as a gun-for-hire.
... ... ...I see the Bremain crowd still out for some revenge. And who would Hillary invite from "Brits?" Let's face it most Americans have no clue about other foreign leaders unless they are being splashed across their TV screens as some evil incarnates ready to be bombed by American bombs. Thus Guardian cheap shot at Farage as unknown is just cheap.MelindaHaye 3h ago
Indeed the whole reporting of that meeting between Farage and Trump is distasteful for a newsmedia like Guardian. Purely designed to belittle Farage and, of course, portray Trump as a non-starter in the race for White House.
Btw, i was going through list of media giants that have contributed and donated to the Clinton Foundation. Let me confirm whether Guardian or its associates/affiliates are on the list!Wobbly 4h ago
Alternative media is so valuable.
The MSM is trying to make Hillary look popular at the few rallies she conducts when the reality is her crowds are tiny. You then have Trump doing multiple rallies a day where he regularly fills large sports stadiums.
It just goes to show how corrupt the MSM is and how they manipulate footage to create false impressions.
Lots of people are releasing stuff on this topic.Neocons seek power through creating social division so can never win more than a small majority and only for a short time. Exhibit A: Tony Useless Abbott, worst PM in Australia's history.camcitizen 4h agoIsn't it strange to see so much bile and bitterness being directed towards Mr Farage? We've had the referendum and Brexit won. Please can the many complainers here show some respect to the millions who voted and who did so of the own volition (and without the nonsense of being under some spell cast by imaginary bogeymen!). Can those complaining not accept that after 40 years of effort to make the EU work people are entitled to say - sorry, its over - but hopefully we can still be friends.inquisitor16 4h agoSailinghomeo 4h ago
Farage was a good choice for a support speaker. He is the one person in Europe who has produced a stunning electoral upset and then quit the scene. All the pollsters got it wrong.
It's distressing that some members of the audience knew nothing about the Brexit, despite efforts by The Guardian and many others to relieve their ignorance. However, might not the same criticism be applied to most American voters, of whatever ilk?Quote: "For the duration of my appointment as Secretary if I am confirmed, I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which The William J. Clinton Foundation (or the Clinton Global Initiative) is a party or represents a party, unless I am first authorized to participate," -- Hillary Clinton.
The ethics pledge Hillary violated at least 85 times, but go ahead and believe that she won't ever do it again...
"[T]he Obama administration has been careful not to let the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership fall by the wayside. Instead, an enormous amount of work - including regular, bi-weekly communication between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström - has been ongoing" [Politico]. "While the administration is optimistic about its own ability to work hard as a creative negotiating partner, it remains an open question as to whether the Europeans are ready to go, the official said." Ouch!
"Why the TPP Deal Won't Improve Our Security" [Clyde Prestowitz, New York Times]. "If anything, America is too often at the end of those chains, as the global consumer of last resort. It's not investing in domestic, let alone global, infrastructure. It is the world's largest debtor, and its role in the world economy is primarily to borrow and consume…. the administration is absolutely right that America needs tools to counter China's growing influence in Asia and around the world. But until America can come close to matching China's dynamism, it has no hope of countering its economic and geopolitical influence with old-fashioned trade agreements, no matter how monumental they are said to be."
CWA staffer and Sanders advisor Larry Cohen: "It was May of 2015. I'd been criticizing TPP at the time and they said, "He'd like to talk to you." What [Obama] told me was: 'I am too far down the road to change.' He repeated it over and over" [Mother Jones]. Terrific interview, well worth reading in full.
"When Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton announced her opposition to TPP last fall, Mr. Obama was furious. He believed she was making a political, not substantive, decision that was designed to diminish an advantage her then-primary opponent Bernie Sanders, who opposed the trade deal, had with Democratic voters" [Wall Street Journal]. No. With Obama, it's about nobody ever making him look bad. Clinton's "political" "decision" was to issue a statement filled with lawyerly parsing designed to allow her to do the deed if Obama can't.
UPDATE "'You can get rid of Manafort, but that doesn't end the odd bromance Trump has with Putin,' Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement" [Washington Post]. That's our Democrats; gin up a war scare all to win Eastern Europeans in a swing state (Ohio). That's what this article, read closely, boils down to, read carefully. (I love Mook's "bromance," so reminiscent of the Clinton campaign's vile BernieBro smear.)
UPDATE "Republicans in North Carolina are pulling out all the stops to suppress the state's reliably Democratic black vote. After the Fourth Circuit court reinstated a week of early voting, GOP-controlled county elections boards are now trying to cut early-voting hours across the state. By virtue of holding the governor's office, Republicans control a majority of votes on all county election boards and yesterday they voted to cut 238 hours of early voting in Charlotte's Mecklenburg County, the largest in the state. 'I'm not a big fan of early voting,' said GOP board chair Mary Potter Summa, brazenly disregarding the federal appeals court's opinion. 'The more [early voting] sites we have, the more opportunities exist for violations'" [The Nation]. Bad Republicans. On the other hand, if the Democrats treated voter registration like a 365/24/7 party function, including purchasing IDs in ID states for those who can't afford them, none of this would be happening.
...the British politician, who was invited by Mississippi governor Phil Bryant, will draw parallels between what he sees as the inspirational story of Brexit and Trump's campaign. Farage will describe the Republican's campaign as a similar crusade by grassroots activists against "big banks and global political insiders" and how those who feel disaffected and disenfranchised can become involved in populist, rightwing politics. With Trump lagging in the polls, just as Brexit did prior to the vote on the referendum, Farage will also hearten supporters by insisting that they can prove pundits and oddsmakers wrong as well.
This message resonates with the Trump campaign's efforts to reach out to blue collar voters who have become disillusioned with American politics, while also adding a unique flair to Trump's never staid campaign rallies.
The event will mark the first meeting between Farage and Trump.
Arron Banks, the businessman who backed Leave.EU, the Brexit campaign group associated with the UK Independence party (Ukip), tweeted that he would be meeting Trump over dinner and was looking forward to Farage's speech.
The appointment last week of Stephen Bannon, former chairman of the Breitbart website, as "CEO" of Trump's campaign has seen the example of the Brexit vote, which Breitbart enthusiastically advocated, rise to the fore in Trump's campaign narrative.
Speaking to a local radio station before the joint rally, Farage urged Americans to "go out and fight" against Hillary Clinton.
"I am going to say to people in this country that the circumstances, the similarities, the parallels between the people who voted Brexit and the people who could beat Clinton in a few weeks time here in America are uncanny," Farage told Super Talk Mississippi. "If they want things to change they have get up out of their chairs and go out and fight for it. It can happen. We've just proved it."
"I am being careful," he added when asked if he supported the controversial Republican nominee. "It's not for me as a foreign politician to say who you should vote for ... All I will say is that if you vote for Hillary Clinton, then nothing will change. She represents the very politics that we've just broken through the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom."
Jul 10, 2016 | www.theguardian.comComments from: Vitriol in American politics is holding the nation back' by Megan Carpentier
ID6808749 , 11 Jul 2016 12:03
Oh, and I suppose Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton's vitriol is okay, right? Typical [neo]liberal ranting. Point the finger at someone else, but do the same thing and it's okay.
The only difference today is that Donald Trump doesn't take the finger pointing and Democratic vitriol laying down, he fires it right back at them and guess what, he keeps winning!
Dale Roberts 11 Jul 2016 11:59Vitriolic and polemical speech has been a ubiquitous ritual since the earliest democracies. When candidates wish to distinguish themselves or appeal to various segments of the electorate, there is nothing like a lot of demagoguery and fear mongering to bring attention to a candidate and his issues. In the end, self-interest motivates voters, and fear is the biggest self-interest of all. Using the specter of the opposition to scare small children and those who think like them is a time honored tradition and well alive today. Further, as groups begin to prosper and start being assimilated into the broader society, the individual self-interests diverge and it becomes harder to hold them together as a cohesive group whose votes can be counted on. It then becomes all the more necessary to drive hysteria and to rely on fear and the hyped common threat to maintain solidarity. While some may fantasize about a society run by women, what we know from experience is that women in power act and speak just like men, that is, they also act solely in their own parochial personal political interest and say whatever is necessary to win their next election.Roger Dafremen 11 Jul 2016 3:56Noam Chomsky talked about this in "The Corporation." Our division and increased level of emotional isolation is a direct result of marketing attacks on the human psyche designed to get us to buy more products and services. I'm not sure how much of it is Machiavellian and how much is just pure greed reaping it's inevitable harvest.barbkay -> Roger Dafremen 11 Jul 2016 7:19A smart comment. Greed and fear are indeed the primary drivers of behaviour in many arenas now, and it's partly driven by corporations. This-or-that, black-and-white thinking is largely a product of high emotion, which essentially makes us 'stupid' and unable to reason.JVRTRL 11 Jul 2016 3:16
The impact of viewing - consciously or unconsciously - dozens of ads a day on the Internet, or hours of tranced staring at screens, may be shown to be a major factor in the increasingly mesmerised state of the populace.
That and, as these venerable politicos point out, the demise of political nous generally.Many excellent points. I think the divisions are easier to exploit in part because the society has become so greatly divided based of income inequality. People have completely different frames of reference in terms of their experience, and anxieties, and so it becomes easier to dismiss the concerns of others out-of-hand as illegitimate. You can also overlay racism as part of the equation, which has always been present with varying degrees of intensity in the U.S.ServiusGalba 11 Jul 2016 3:06
WWII's impact on media tended to paper over many of the differences and tensions that have been present in American life. Aside from the period during WWII and in the few decades after, vitriol has been the norm in U.S. media going back to the 1790s.
The idea of a media culture that was objective and bipartisan is a newer idea. It was codified by things like the Fairness Doctrine as well, which tended to moderate, and censor, public discussion through broadcast media. When the Fairness Doctrine fell apart you had people like Limbaugh go national with a highly partisan infotainment model.
The media became more fragmented as well. Broadcast media also used to be seen as a public service. But in the 1970s the major networks started to understand that it could also be a profit center -- and you had another shift in values, where the public function took a back-seat to profit maximization. The market also has become more cut-throat as the media environment has become more fragmented.[Neo]Liberals are largely to blame - they regarded their opponents as "uneducated" "swivel-eyed" etc. They ruthlessly played "identity politics" for all it was worth. They shut down meaningful debate. Now it's come back to bite them in the form of Donald Trump. They don't like it now they are on the receiving end.ionetranq -> ServiusGalba 11 Jul 2016 6:44sdgreen 10 Jul 2016 20:51
[Neo]Liberals are largely to blame
This is the type of over-stating a position that they are prone to. But saying that "liberals" are largely to blame is no different to them pointing the finger at "the right" for all the issues.
There's plenty of blame to go around, and it's evenly spread.
They ruthlessly played "identity politics" for all it was worth. They shut down meaningful debate.
This is very true. Screaming racist at anyone challenging the liberal orthodoxy of black = victim and white = oppressor .
A prime example of one of the issues is BLM. Pushing the view that any black person killed by the police as dying at the hand of a racist cop.
Using whole population stats to compare the chances of being shot by the police, instead of comparing socio-economic groups. It's not exactly unbiased to compare the chances of a poor black man, and a white lawyer, of being stopped or shot by the police.
The same is true of ignoring the many black lives that are ended by the type of people the police frequently come into contact with - other young black men.
Until both sides are truthful about what's happening, nothing is going to change. Both sides - police and young black men - currently approach an interaction with each other fearful of the other. This is made worse on both sides by the rhetoric.
If you listen to BLM and its supporters, then every cop is racist and wamnts to kill them. Why would you do what the police officer tells you if you think you're just opening yourself up to a racist cop killing you?
On the other side, the police apparently often assume that every young black man they encounter both has a gun, and thinks they're racist, and therefore operates on that assumption and goes for a shoot first and be safe option.
Neither of these will get any better while there is this lying and entrenched positions on either side. You could also ask why anyone who's white would support an organization which doesn't appear to care about the white victims of the police (of which AIUI there are an equal number). Or the black murder victims who aren't killed by the police.Politics: policies are never discussed in detail in ANY election. The WHAT, HOW, WHERE, WHEN, WHY and COST is never provided in detail by the politicians. Every thing in the politicians mind is open ended, and may or may not be adopted, considered, or maybe a totally different thing than what they were elected for.GorCro -> sdgreen 11 Jul 2016 15:15
That is the disaster that what current politicians totally fail. That needs to change. Will such, I doubt it. The current so called political platforms or manifestos, are basically useless and used only for propaganda.You left out WHO does the dirty work of the politicians.pipspeak 10 Jul 2016 16:26I largely blame the media (sorry Guardian) for what's happening... the endless need for attention and eyeballs creates an ever louder echo chamber of increasingly extreme opinions masquerading as news, which simply creates a similarly extreme public discourse.1iJack -> pipspeak 10 Jul 2016 22:41
Even my beloved Guardian is succumbing, publishing more and more pointless newsy opinion pieces and less and less fact-based, hard news. I don't want to read five takes on a single world event. I'd rather read the facts about five different world events and feel more informed at the end of the day.I have always wondered if "spin" is taught in journalism schools, or if it is taught by newspapers after graduation from journalism school.pipspeak 10 Jul 2016 16:26
It gets so far out, you wonder what journalists think the readers think. It would be great to be in on a backroom discussion about headlines and all paraphrasing in articles at the Washington Post and Guardian.
I'll bet they sit around and chuckle as they try to cook up positive or negative spins. Its more than facts.I largely blame the media (sorry Guardian) for what's happening... the endless need for attention and eyeballs creates an ever louder echo chamber of increasingly extreme opinions masquerading as news, which simply creates a similarly extreme public discourse.Reddenbluesy 10 Jul 2016 9:13
Even my beloved Guardian is succumbing, publishing more and more pointless newsy opinion pieces and less and less fact-based, hard news. I don't want to read five takes on a single world event. I'd rather read the facts about five different world events and feel more informed at the end of the day.I suspect we're seeing the consequences of two events... one political, the other financial (heavily determined by the political, which happened first).1iJack -> PrinceVlad 10 Jul 2016 10:37
Politically, the Reagan/Thatcher period broke the socially-democratic post-WWII consensus in favour of economic neo-liberalism, which became the new consensus... and once the Cold War was over, there was no real 'peace dividend' and the agreements for global free-trade/globalisation were struck.
That lead to the banking crisis/collapse in 2008, and to the 'solution' whereby most governments imposed 'austerity' and debt on ordinary people to keep most of the bankers 'functional' and 'solvent' ...and not only were the bankers not adequately regulated to curtail their activities, but they carried on paying themselves mega-currency bonuses for using taxpayer guarantees to rescue their dysfunctional businesses.
As the UK-EU Referendum result has proved, populist politicians spouting bullsh*t can succeed in this environment; especially when 'decent politicians' abdicate their responsibilities.I agree, its an entirely artificial construct. And the globalists are in a position to punish countries like Britain for its Brexit decision. But they cannot destroy Britain. Rather, it is the globalists who may be destroyed by the nationalism spreading across the globe. Many globalists are actually terrified by all this. General Electric has read the tea leaves and is already reacting:bluepanther -> 1iJack 10 Jul 2016 17:46
GE's Immelt Signals End to 7 Decades of Globalization http://fortune.com/2016/05/20/ge-immelt-globalization/Fascinating link. The global corporate overlords only respond to sustained political pressure. Brexit was a wakeup call for them and the November election in the U.S. may be another...
BreitbartContrary to Kristol, far from being a non-interventionist, Obama conducted two interventions against dictators in Egypt and Libya with disastrous consequences. The intervention in Libya, which Kristol supported, has created two million refugees, hundreds of thousands of corpses, and a terrorist state. One might suppose that a little re-thinking of interventionism would be in order. Trump's readiness to rethink interventionism is hardly the same as Obama's strategy of retreat and surrender.
Contrary to Kristol's assertion, Trump is not opposed to all interventions against dictators. He has promised to do what it takes to destroy ISIS, which includes bombing its oil facilities and destroying its headquarters, and is obviously only possible with interventions in Syria and Iraq. Destroying ISIS would also be an action to prevent mass slaughter, despite Kristol groundless claim.
As for Trump proposing "another re-set with Putin's Russia," there was no re-set with Russia under Obama. Attempting a serious re-set - a re-set from strength - would seem reasonable and prudent, and would hardly be a repeat of Obama's policies. It would be just the opposite.
"Getting out of the nation-building business and instead focusing on creating stability in the world" is hardly an Obama policy, as Kristol suggests. Obama's intervention in Eygpt, put the Muslim Brotherhood in power; when the Egyptian military then overthrew the Brotherhood, Obama sided with the Brotherhood and alienated the most important power in the Middle East. These acts, together with Obama's withdrawal from Iraq and waffling in Syria, created a power vacuum that spread instability throughout the region.
"Avoiding nation-building, while focusing on creating stability" is a foreign policy any true constitutional conservative would support - unless that conservative was driven by an irrational hatred of Trump. Finally, Trump's promise to put American interests first and restore respect for America through rebuilding American strength can only be described as a "national retreat" by a very unprincipled - and careless - individual.
All these dishonesties and flim-flam excuses pale by comparison with the consequences Kristol and his "Never Trump" cohorts are willing to risk by splitting the Republican vote. Obama has provided America's mortal enemy, Iran, with a path to nuclear weapons, $150 billion dollars, and the freedom to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver the lethal payloads. Trump has promised to abandon the Iran deal, while Hillary Clinton and all but a handful of Democrats have supported this treachery from start to finish. Kristol is now one of their allies.
I am a Jew who has never been to Israel and has never been a Zionist in the sense of believing that Jews can rid themselves of Jew hatred by having their own nation state. But half of world Jewry now lives in Israel, and the enemies whom Obama and Hillary have empowered - Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, ISIS, and Hamas - have openly sworn to exterminate the Jews. I am also an American (and an American first), whose country is threatened with destruction by the same enemies. To weaken the only party that stands between the Jews and their annihilation, and between America and the forces intent on destroying her, is a political miscalculation so great and a betrayal so profound as to not be easily forgiven.
Aug 22, 2016 | naked capitalism
Yves here. It's hardly a secret that employers have become more abusive towards employees because they can get away with it. The difficulty of finding new employment, particularly for mid and senior level jobs, combined with the fact that most workers (even comparatively well paid ones) are only a paycheck or two away from financial desperation, means bosses have tremendous leverage over workers. And more and more firms embrace coerciveness as a virtue. In the past, it's more often taken the form of cultishness, which is a very effective business model, as Goldman and Bain attest, but more recently, outright mistreatment is becoming common. For instance, Amazon has so successfully cultivated a "culture of fear" that t he overwhelming majority of employees cry at work .
Note the claim in the article about elevated suicide rates at Apple supplier Foxconn is contested; some contend that statistically, its rate of suicides is no higher than for other employers. However, many of the dorms apparently had mesh canopies to prevent suicides, so one wonders if direct comparisons are apt.
By Sarah Waters, a Senior Lecturer in French Studies, University of Leeds and Jenny Chan, a Departmental Lecturer in Sociology and China Studies, University of Oxford. Originally published at The Conversation
A Paris prosecutor recently called for the former CEO and six senior managers of telecoms provider, France Télécom, to face criminal charges for workplace harassment. The recommendation followed a lengthy inquiry into the suicides of a number of employees at the company between 2005 and 2009. The prosecutor accused management of deliberately "destabilising" employees and creating a "stressful professional climate" through a company-wide strategy of "harcèlement moral" – psychological bullying.
All deny any wrongdoing and it is now up to a judge to decide whether to follow the prosecutor's advice or dismiss the case. If it goes ahead, it would be a landmark criminal trial, with implications far beyond just one company.
Workplace suicides are sharply on the rise internationally, with increasing numbers of employees choosing to take their own lives in the face of extreme pressures at work. Recent studies in the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, India and Taiwan all point to a steep rise in suicides in the context of a generalised deterioration in working conditions.
Rising suicides are part of the profound transformations in the workplace that have taken place over the past 30 years. These transformations are arguably rooted in the political and economic shift to globalisation that has radically altered the way we work.
In the post-war Fordist era of industry (pioneered by US car manufacturer Henry Ford), jobs generally provided stability and a clear career trajectory for many, allowing people to define their collective identity and their place in the world. Strong trade unions in major industrial sectors meant that employees could negotiate their working rights and conditions.
But today's globalised workplace is characterised by job insecurity, intense work, forced redeployments, flexible contracts, worker surveillance, and limited social protection and representation . Zero-hour contracts are the new norm for many in the hospitality and healthcare industries , for example.
Now, it is not enough simply to work hard. In the words of Marxist theorist Franco Berardi, "the soul is put to work" and workers must devote their whole selves to the needs of the company.
For the economist Guy Standing, the precariat is the new social class of the 21st century, characterised by the lack of job security and even basic stability. Workers move in and out of jobs which give little meaning to their lives. This shift has had deleterious effects on many people's experience of work, with rising cases of acute stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, burnout, hopelessness and, in some cases, suicide .
Holding Companies to Account
Yet, company bosses are rarely held to account for inflicting such misery on their employees. The suicides at France Télécom preceded another well-publicised case in a large multinational company – Foxconn Technology Group in China – where 18 young migrant workers aged between 17 and 25 attempted suicide at one of Foxconn's main factories in 2010 (14 of whom died ).
The victims all worked on the assembly line making electronic gadgets for some of the world's richest corporations, including Samsung, Sony and Dell. But it was Apple that received the most criticism, as Foxconn was its main supplier at the time.
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upstater , August 22, 2016 at 10:36 amSwendr , August 22, 2016 at 2:10 pm
One of our son's best friends from high school was a funny, bright kid that got a BS/MS in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) a few years ago. He did his first coop at a software firm in Boston that dealt with electricity demand management.
Then he went to work for Apple, first as a coop then as an employee.
Last April the poor kid killed himself in a conference room at Apple's HQ .
By the time his name was announced to the media, everything about him on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc had disappeared. They scrubbed him off the internet. We don't know if he posted anything before his death, but our son said his pages were pretty generic for a 25 year old.
Let it suffice to say something went terribly wrong in the libertarian paradise of Silicon Valley, really just a ritzier version of FoxConn. Having known him through high school and occasional visits thereafter, one never would have thought such an end would have been possible.
RIP, Ed.nobody , August 22, 2016 at 11:40 am
It's happening on the job, at school, and damn near any other social institution where the stakes can be ratcheted up in intensity. Suicide is one end of the spectrum of dysfunction. Going postal is another. Our elites don't like wet work much, so they find other ways to get rid of the undesirables. I doubt they planned it this way, but isn't it sweet that all you have to do is stop being fake-nice as a boss and the problem takes care of itself?nobody , August 22, 2016 at 12:06 pm
It's not only corporations, of course, that have problems with endemic abuse and need to be taking responsibility, nor is the issue restricted to institutions where profits take precedence über alles. Here is the link for the site "Academia Is Killing My Friends," which is described in the "About" section like this:I am a final year PhD student in the Social Sciences. Last year a fellow PhD student committed suicide after being harassed by a lecturer. I got angry and made this site. This site is a response to the cultures of violence, fear and silence I have witnessed and experienced in my academic community. Sexual harassment, mental illness and unpaid labor are the accepted and expected norms. Abusive academics are well known and yet remain in the community. We are powerless and afraid of backlash, unemployment and failure. All of this gets worse as public spending is cut and universities become increasingly neoliberal institutions. This site is a 'fuck you' to the silence and fear. It is, I hope, a space where we can share our stories of abuse, exploitation and suffering in academia.
There are now 104 stories and counting. An excerpt from a recent post (#103):I started out an idealistic and hopeful student. Worked to pay for college, good grades, got into a good PhD program. Worked hard, had a good mentor, published, moved on to postdoc. I thought that I could keep working hard, publish and move into some reasonable career trajectory. Right?
Well, we all know why we're here. I can't even go into the details. It's a familiar story – sexism, racism. Abuse by an advisor, with nowhere to turn. Rampant discrimination and harassment. When I looked for help (from the wrong people, apparently), I was told to suck it up, work harder. Constant financial worries. Every little setback used up my savings. I got sick and never really recovered… stress and overwork guaranteed that. I was good at living modestly, but that wasn't enough to sustain me. Now, I'm just trying to pick up the pieces. I feel floored by the lack of opportunities and support through most of my career. I had no idea how much a career in academia would rely on having money to begin with. I feel like this work has stolen my life away. And I'm not the only one – I know plenty of people who have had a similar experience. The best people leave early.
Worst of all, I don't even feel that I can tell my story. Nobody wants to hear it. Nobody would lift a finger to protect me from retribution. Nobody wants to address problems like this. I feel so much grief for the good I might have done in another profession, the life I could have lived. I don't know what to do with this grief.Arizona Slim , August 22, 2016 at 12:47 pm
Where did the link go? Well, here it is:
http://academiaiskillingmyfriends.tumblr.com/Softie , August 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm
Some of the worst abuse I ever experienced was in academia. Here's an example:
During the mid-1980s, I was on the staff of a journal at the University of Pittsburgh. My boss, the departmental librarian, must have come from the Attila the Hun School of Management, because that's how she treated people. Shortly after I started my job, I got on her bad side. I have no idea why this happened. Thirty years late, I still can't figure it out.
It may have had something to do with the introductory meeting we were supposed to have with the journal's publisher.
Well, being the good little employee that I thought I was, I had my office clock set to the correct time. I didn't know it at the time, but the library clock was 10 minutes fast. Yep, the same trick that bars pull on their customers. Getting them out the door before the official closing time.
So, I got to the library a few minutes before 9 a.m. Plenty of time to for the boss and me to walk over to the publisher's office. Bossola was SEETHING. I was LATE! Just look at that CLOCK! It was already after nine!
Over to the publisher's office we walked, and guess what. They weren't even ready for us. So we sat in the waiting area for a while.
The publisher and his staff couldn't have been nicer. The polar opposite of my boss.
During the 15 months that I worked at Pitt, I felt the brunt of this lady's abuse. She'd call me into the office, launch into a blistering tirade, and I would sit there, stunned. And, to her, that was another cause for anger. Why was I just sitting there and not reacting?
During her final tirade, when she told me to start looking for another job, I'd had enough. I told her that I was going to start looking for another city.
Well, guess who sat there, stunned.
She insisted that I didn't have to do anything THAT drastic. But my mind was made up. I was done with her, done with Pitt, and done with Pittsburgh.
Three and a half months and several wonderful bicycling miles later, I landed in Tucson, and I'm still here. Without that nasty boss, I probably wouldn't be in this wonderful city.
As for Ms. Nasty, she left Pitt and went on to become the head librarian at Chatham College, which was nearby. Small women's college. Known for its caring, friendly, and supportive environment. Ms. Nasty didn't last very long there.
And she didn't last very long at St. Michael's College in northern Vermont. I think that she was fired from that institution, but I'm not sure. Let's just say that I hope she was, because she deserved a taste of her own medicine.Nelson Lowhim , August 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm
Here is a story that scared shit of Academia's organized crime ring for a little while in the early 90s.
"The University of Iowa shooting took place at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa on November 1, 1991. The gunman was Gang Lu, a 28-year-old former graduate student at the university. He killed four members of the university faculty and one student, and seriously wounded another student, before taking his own life."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Iowa_shootingPlutoniumKun , August 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm
Damn. Thing is I've heard this from Actuarials and docs. It's everywhere the "well, just work harder". But some of it is on the employees. None have the frame of mind to kick back, to unionize, and hard (when was unionizing ever easy?). None. All have the neoliberal view that: work hard and you'll be fine. And so when that button is pushed, they go for broke until burned out. It's that or be labeled lazy. Well, being unemployed is also an issue, but there's also the matter of having the language to fight back, to not feel guilty for working less than 100 hours a week etc.FluffytheObeseCat , August 22, 2016 at 7:14 pm
I think an important point about Unions which people forget is that they provide an opportunity for people to vent and let off frustration. I've been a Union rep at various places and many times I would have people come in to have a rant about a certain manager or policy. At the end I would say 'do you want to make a formal complaint?' and the answer would be no – the person just wanted to get it off their chest in a confidential manner.
And to know that if they needed it, there was back up. Non-union places I've worked in, even good ones, lack that safety valve.inode_buddha , August 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm
The last post on this tumblr is from February of 2016. It's been inactive for half a year. The links may be valuable however.thump , August 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm
I'm in the process of paying a personal price for this BS as I type this, having walked off the job a few months ago. I'm not gonna drive 30 miles each way for 1/2 of what I should be making only to be treated like shit by management brown-nosers. Bad news is, I'm mid-career and not a spring chicken. Considering leaving the field altogether or doing my own startup. But if I had known then what I know now, I would have had the voice recorder app on my phone, recording everything….larry , August 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm
Thanks for posting about the blog "Academia is Killing My Friends," but I couldn't find the link, so here it is:
http://academiaiskillingmyfriends.tumblr.com/PQS , August 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm
The authors fail to get to the real fundamentals of this phenomenon. The two ends of the spectrum that they delineate can be housed under a single umbrella, that of neoliberalism. And it is obvious that neoliberalism can kill. And Durkheim would have agreed readily that ideas can kill, and not just via suicide.inode_buddha , August 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm
Ugh. After twenty years in commercial construction, I thought our industry was an outlier for abuse, psychotic management, and general HR mayhem. Apparently not. Arizona Slim, I could have profiled Mrs. Nasty at any number of firms I worked for…she's not unusual.
I stay at smaller companies with good people for less money because I just can't handle the high pressure and abusive environment of Big Time Construction Firms. I also have zero interest in big projects anymore – too many psycho Owners who appear to delight in torturing the contractor as a hobby. The men I work with think I'm nuts to turn down some work. I tell them, there's no reward for it. No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, no big promotion – just health problems and more commuting for the same old, same old.ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 2:11 pm
You too? Abuse, and psycho management is why I'm considering leaving the trade altogether, too bad I've invested 30 years and a few schools into it…. but of course, nobody *made* me invest in myself and believe in the american dream /sarcredleg , August 22, 2016 at 8:20 pm
Give yourself a break inode_buddha. Thirty years ago, you, and myself as well, made a rational decision as to what direction to take. At the time, construction and the associated trades were honourable and respectable. A decent living could be made, and a future was in sight. Neo-Liberalism has, since then, destroyed most things that benefited anyone other than the criminal management classes. Humanity has had to stand up and fight for decency and equality throughout history.ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 2:01 pm
The decent living in the construction trades, for me anyways, has started and (so far) ended as a contract employee. I'm at the cusp of 50 and am looking at disaster if I can't find something permanent. My spouse has her dream job (that unfortunately comes with mediocre pay) so moving the fam for a job is our of the question. I'm one dropped contract away from my professional expiration date – too old for entry level, not experienced enough for management, unable to move to a better job market if such a thing existed.
But at least I paid off my student loans, so that's not hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles.PQS , August 22, 2016 at 3:01 pm
Living on the road, out of town, at the jobsite, etc. etc. There's a reason why so many of the Superintendents and Foremen I've encountered on big jobs drink to excess.
I've had my share of Mz/Mr Nasty bosses. The worst thing one can do to one of these persons, as I learned one afternoon, is to laugh at them when they "put you in your place." The program is going south anyway. If the wherewithall is available for a drive home, go ahead and let 'them' know you're not going to put up with abuse anymore. (Easier said than done, I'll agree, but, as long as you and yours aren't starving, why not? You'll sleep better at night. Take my word for it.)
Smaller outfits are, from my experience, easier to get along with because the manager is often the owner or family and not divorced from the ground floor experience. Reason is used instead of formula.
I used to hold the same belief about construction being the bilge of the work world. Then I worked for the USPS for almost three years. Then the dreaded Lowes Home Improvement set its avernal brand sizzling on my soul.
Ah my, what a picaresque novel all this would make.Jim Haygood , August 22, 2016 at 8:42 pm
Picaresque novel or hilarious TV show. I've written the scripts in my head a thousand times….clueless architects, raging Owners, ridiculous Inspectors, overfed upper management/sales staff, etc. etc.
I agree that laughter is truly the best medicine in this business. As a friend once told me, "Sometimes you gotta let the crazy people be crazy."ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 10:09 pm
'what a picaresque novel all this would make"
Charles Bukowski [lowbrow NC spell checker don't know him] has covered the USPS bit.
Over to ambrit for the Lowe's sequel. :-)Arizona Slim , August 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm
Some titles: "Faking, Inc.," "Department of Imaginary Tools," "Bargain Employee of the Month," and the annual winner, "Going Out of Business Sale: Season Three."
Since I'll need to go back to work for a few years, until my miniscule SS kicks in, I might do a Home Depot Equal Opportunity for Exploitation Edition.
(When I grow up I want to be a Day Trader! Maybe I'll take a flutter in pork bellies on the Chicago Exchange.)Synoia , August 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm
In her own strange way, Ms. Nasty had quite a positive effect on my life. As our relationship deteriorated, I started piling up the savings. I was planning my escape, even before that final tirade.
My last six weeks at Pitt were amazing. After I tended my resignation (on Friday, February 13, 1987), the whole department was impressed with how relaxed and happy I was. It was as if a different Slim had moved into my body.
Yes, there was that farewell luncheon where Ms. Nasty refused to raise her glass in a toast, but you know what? I was going to be out the door in a few hours, so I no longer cared. In fact, I found her refusal rather amusing.
What came next was even better. That pile of savings was deployed for something I really enjoyed. Long-distance bike touring! Rode thousands of miles in a little over three months! And then I settled here in Tucson!
Where I found a job similar to my Pitt job, but with a nice boss. That was my last FT job. I've been a freelancer since 1994.
So, Ms. Nasty, thanks for the motivation. And I do hope that you learned how to be nice to people who are, ahem, beneath you.Roquentin , August 22, 2016 at 1:49 pm
That's what Labor (or socialist) political parties used to do, and Corbyn's trying to re-institute in the UK.
One cannot be pro-trade (as currently defined) and pro democratic not pro citizen, not pro-labor.
The US has never permitted socialism, and prefers crony capitalism, which is actually close to fascism.
The whole defense Military Industry Complex of Government and Industry is a definition of fascism in the US. I place no regard on Ike's warning about the MIC as he did noting until the end of his reign, and then made a speech.DarkMatters , August 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm
At long last I've finally managed to get out of a job I couldn't stand after working there for nearly a decade. The pay was ridiculously low, even relative to the industry standard. Management routinely promoted narcissistic, ignorant cronies who never told them the word "no." I couldn't be happier it's finally over. They've had so much turnover in the past couple of years entire departments are composed of entirely new people. The CEO cares about nothing except looking good to the shareholders and owners, and that's pretty much the attitude from the top on down. Look good to the people with power and to hell with the rest.
I'd be surprised if the company still existed 5-10 years from now.Nelson Lowhim , August 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm
Soooo glad I'm retired. I was starting to see more and more of this over the last couple of decades, and it escalated as times worsened. I wish libertarians and free-marketers would contemplate the situations described here, and consider what kind of a world it would be if financial oligarchs held even more power. What hope would there be to counter this sort of abuse?kareninca , August 22, 2016 at 7:56 pm
This works perfectly into their view of "weaker" elements being discarded. Pretty fascist at the end of the day.Yves Smith Post author , August 23, 2016 at 5:41 am
I wouldn't exactly call myself a libertarian (I'm not sure what I am), but I think that the libertarian response would be that if there were fewer pointless regulations people would be much more readily able to work for themselves, and not for an abusive boss. It is unbelievably hard to start a business now, even a solo one, due to regs. And I'm not talking about reasonable regs (don't dump toxins in waterways). I'm talking about regs that have been invented by big existing businesses to keep upstarts from starting.
A number of years ago there was an article about someone who tried to start a storage company in the CT/RI area and how they eventually gave up because the regs made the process insane; there's not much that's simpler than a storage company. Most small business owners I know tell me they could not start now because it has all gotten too complicated; they have been able to cobble together responses to the new regs as they go, but starting at this point would be impossible for them.
Picture what it would be like if you could look at your skill set, and go out and work for yourself without a huge amount of extremely complex taxes and paperwork. A strange thought, isn't it?
I'm not saying this would be an option for most people ( not at all ), but it does not now even exist as an escape valve. Now you have to have millions in start-up funds to start some BS company (e.g. one more stupid company that delivers food to patron's homes) that isn't actually meant to make money (it just exists to get money from investors), and you need that much to deal with the paperwork.
And, if someone wants to pop up and say "the paperwork is not so bad and complicated," please remember that you are a NC poster and are in the top ten percent of the population for ability to deal with paperwork.cyclist , August 23, 2016 at 10:47 am
I have to tell you, as a small business owner myself, this "regulations are burdensome" argument is a crock. Lobbyists in DC learned decades ago that the best way to put a sympathetic face on their efforts to get waivers for big businesses is to have small business owners act as their mouthpieces. And there are enough extreme libertarians everywhere that it's not hard to find someone to screech that the regulations he is subject to are horrible irrespective of how much a burden they really are.
Specifically, regarding a storage business, I can't fathom your view that storage companies should not be regulated. If I am putting my valuable stuff in the hands of someone else, I sure as hell want protection that they won't cut all the locks and run off with everything, or find more legitimate ways of stealing, like create excuses to jack up my storage costs by 10X and hold my goods hostage. And what about requiring them to have adequate fire protection and security? Even if they aren't crooks, cheap and reckless will also result in my property being stolen or damaged.
In general, entrepreneurship is way oversold in America to legitimate the bad treatment of workers: "If things are as bad as you say, why put up with it? Go start your own business!" That's ridiculous since staring your own business requires that you be both a good salesman and a good general manager, and good salesmen are almost without exception terrible managers, as anyone in Corporate America will tell you. And it's extremely hard to make partnerships work unless the principals worked together in the same company for years (ie, they grew up with the same training and rules, and so will default to the same assumptions as to how things are done). Even in consulting, I've seldom seen people who come of of different large firms work well together absent a strong organization around them.
The proof that pretty much no one should go into business for themselves is 9 out of every 10 businesses fail within three years. The percentabe is no doubt higher if you extend the time frame to five years. I've started two successful businesses in the US and one that didn't work out in Oz, but an overseas launch is much harder and it seemed too dodgy to go beyond the two years I'd invested (as in I might have made it a go had I kept on, but I decided it was more prudent to cut my losses).
And I don't know where you get your information about new business from. It's pretty clear you aren't in that world. You don't need millions in funds. The overwhelming majority of new ventures are funded from savings, credit cards, and loans from friends and family.
And if you aren't able to handle regulatory filings (or find a lawyer or accountant who can help) you aren't competent to be in business for yourself. Running a business means you run into obstacles all the time and need to find ways around them. Do you not think that private firms also require paperwork, like vendor approval processes and documenting your invoices? If you can't handle paperwork, you need to stay on a payroll.jrs , August 22, 2016 at 8:39 pm
While I agree with Yves that there is too much libertarian bitching about regulations, there are a lot of really stupid laws on the books that we could easily do without. As an example, I was recently looking at an RFP from a public agency in the state of MI. One of the requirements for bidders responding was to provide a notarized affidavit that the company was not controlled by the Republic of Iran! Apparently this is Michigan Public Act 517 of 2012. BTW, the winning bidder, a large US corporation, certified they are not secretly controlled by the evil Ayatollahs.Softie , August 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm
yes but most people won't be able to work until they are dead, because they aren't able to or because noone is going to hire them (it's why people collect social security at 62, it's not because this is the smartest financial plan, it's clearly not) and I hope most don't take the "therefore middle aged or senior aged suicide" route.
If you are able to work until you die a natural death good for you I guess (even better to be able to choose to retire of course), but it's not going to be an option for many people even if they want it to be, health or the job market WILL force them out.ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 10:13 pm
"Perhaps this world is another planet's hell." – Aldous Huxley. Yes, it is definitely. Perhaps pretty soon they will start strip search employees when they come to work.Chauncey Gardiner , August 22, 2016 at 4:12 pm
"Out of the Silent Planet" by C. S. Lewis.nobody , August 22, 2016 at 6:13 pm
Excellent and timely article. As the writers observe, the problem is global in nature. If you work in or have worked in corporate America, you likely have personally experienced or seen the results of the deliberate creation of a stressful professional climate and workplace environment, abusive psychological bullying, and intentional destabilization of employees.
Increasing numbers of suicides are one outcome of these environments. But as the writers point out, there are a number of other symptoms associated with these toxic workplaces, none good. They range from physical and mental health issues, to various forms of addiction, burnout, and secondary effects on employees' personal lives and those of their family members or partners.
Although it seems that individuals with psychopathic characteristics often rise in management in many of these organizations, I believe the roots of the problem lie in a broader and deeper systemic failure. I agree that neoliberal ideology, globalization, and the basic structures of our debt-based economy all play a key role in enabling the intentional development of these organizational environments.Tony Baloney , August 22, 2016 at 7:02 pm
It may be a global problem, but it seems particularly acute in the US. Ian Welsh's observations ring true to me:One of the most striking things about much of American culture is the simple meanness of it. The cruelty… There is also a culture of punching down… America has a high-violence, high-bullying society… [Y]ou can have a high-violence society in which it is considered unacceptable to attack the weak (doing so is viewed as cowardice), but that's not the case in America. In American culture, the weak are the preferred target. Failure is punishable by homelessness, suffering, and death… You'd better get down on your knees and do whatever your boss wants, because if you're fired or let go you may never work again, and if you do hang on at a bottom-wage job, well, your life will suck… Having learned that the right way to treat anyone who is weaker than them is with demands for acquiescence and dominance displays, to many Americans, to interpret any sign of weakness as requiring them, as a moral duty, to dominate and hurt the weak person. People become what is required of them. They learn from authority figures how to behave… The entire process makes America a far more unpleasant place to live or visit than is necessary. The structure of dominance, meanness and cruelty is palpable to the visitor, and distressing; even as it warps the best inhabitant.James Kroeger , August 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm
You nailed it "nobody".so , August 22, 2016 at 7:05 pm
I believe the roots of the problem lie in a broader and deeper systemic failure.
Yes, a systemic failure, but to be more precise, it is ultimately a particular kind of market failure that gives employers an incentive to abuse their employees.
The best way to understand what I mean is to imagine a labor market where there are always more jobs available than there are people to fill them. In an economy that is experiencing a chronic labor shortage, employers would have a market incentive to actually start treating their employees with respect.
In markets where labor surpluses are carefully maintained (virtually every market you've ever known), business owners/managers feel free to express anger at any employee shehe feels a 'power advantage' over. They sense they have this advantage when/if they believe the employee fears losing hiser job more than the employer fears losing the employee.
It really would force a profound change in employer-employee relations, generally. Employers would be compelled by the marketplace to not only find ways to motivate their employees to work hard, but also to find ways to make them feel content , psychologically.
In an economy that is experiencing a sustained labor shortage, the crudest and least sympathetic methods of motivating employees would be gradually phased out.
'Bottom feeders' in the competition for scarce labor would have a constant incentive to try to retain employees, and to 'go the extra mile' to work with people who are having problems. Individuals who are having personal problems would not be simply cast aside, as they are now.
The national government could do something to help those businesses that are struggling within very [price-] competitive markets, providing counseling services, etc., to help those employees who are struggling with various problems outside of the job environment.
In our current labor surplus economy, lawsuits may give some employers an incentive to treat their people with respect, but it won't get anywhere close to providing THE solution to the problem that we would experience if we were to create and indefinitely maintain a labor shortage in the economy.Jim Haygood , August 22, 2016 at 8:53 pm
humans sure do have a long way to go.perpetualWAR , August 22, 2016 at 10:06 pm
Low end, dead end, godsend, pretend
it don't matter anyway
Perfect chorus of a country song.ambrit , August 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm
Quiet desperation. Isn't that the life of most Americans?redleg , August 23, 2016 at 12:08 am
And to think that Pink Floyd recorded the verse; "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way." Back in 1968.
Quiet desperation is a characteristic of a declining society.veganjules , August 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm
As far as I can tell quiet desperation is the life of most people.
This article highlights suicide, but drug and alcohol abuse are just as much a result of poor employment outcomes as suicide and for the same reasons.
When people stop being quietly desperate is when change happens.
I refer to CCR's Effigy although as a Gen-X -er I Prefer the Uncle Tupelo version
Guys. You're also forgetting that if the U.S. took in the Nazi Scientists and Death Specialists and used them and their techniques to crush real democratic, fair, egalitarian societies in Latin America (Chomsky) and then learned to transmute overt war (+nazi techniques) and colonialism into Finance (Hudson)–then we are currently dealing with something 'worse than Nazi Germany' (my 90 year old neighbor).
Submitted by Karen Kwiatkowski via LewRockwell.com,
So, after getting up late, groggy, and feeling overworked even before I started, I read this article . Just after, I had to feed a dozen cats and dogs, each dog in a separate room out of respect for their territorialism and aggressive desire to consume more than they should (hmm, where have I seen this before), and in the process, forgot where I put my coffee cup. Retracing steps, I finally find it and sit back down to my 19-inch window on the ugly (and perhaps remote) world of the state, and the endless pinpricks of the independent media on its vast overwhelmingly evil existence. I suspect I share this distractibility and daily estrangement from the actions of our government with most Americans .
We are newly bombing Libya and still messing with the Middle East? I thought that the wars the deep state wanted and started were now limited and constrained! What happened to lack of funds, lack of popular support, public transparency that revealed the stupidity and abject failure of these wars?
Deep state.Something systemic, difficult to detect, hard to remove, hidden. It is a spirit as much as nerves and organ. How do your starve it, excise it, or just make it go away? We want to know. I think this explains the popularity of infotainment about haunted houses, ghosts and alien beings among us. They live and we are curious and scared.
The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured.
My summary of the long Jeffrey Goldberg piece is basically that Obama has become more fatalistic (did he mean to say fatal?) since he won that Nobel Peace Prize back in 2009 . By the way, the "Nobel prize" article contains this gem, sure to get a chuckle:
"Obama's drone program is regularly criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability, especially considering incomplete intelligence means officials are often unsure about who will die. "
[M]ost individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names," Micah Zenko, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times."
This is about all the fun I can handle in one day. But back to what I was trying to say.
The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state.
Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business.
Can a lack of public support reduce the deep state, or impact it? Well, it would seem that this is a non-factor, except for the strange history we have had and are witnessing again today, with the odd successful popular and populist-leaning politician and their related movements. In my lifetime, only popular figures and their movements get assassinated mysteriously, with odd polka dot dresses, MKULTRA suggestions, threats against their family by their competitors (I'm thinking Perot, but one mustn't be limited to that case), and always with concordant pressures on the sociopolitical seams in the country, i.e riots and police/military activations. The bad dealings toward, and genuine fear of, Bernie Sanders within the Democratic Party's wing of the deep state is matched or exceeded only by the genuine terror of Trump among the Republican deep state wing. This reaction to something or some person that so many in the country find engaging and appealing - an outsider who speaks to the growing political and economic dissatisfaction of a poorer, more indebted, and more regulated population – is heart-warming, to be sure. It is a sign that whether or not we do, the deep state thinks things might change. Thank you, Bernie and especially Donald, for revealing this much! And the "republicanization" of the Libertarian Party is also a bright indicator blinking out the potential of deep state movement and compromise in the pursuit of "stability."
Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command.
Maybe we will one day soon be able to debate how deep the deep state really is, or whether it was all just a dressed up, meth'ed up, and eff'ed up a sector of society that deserves a bit of jail time, some counseling, and a new start . Maybe some job training that goes beyond the printing of license plates. But given the destruction and mass murder committed daily in the name of this state, and the environmental disasters it has created around the world for the future generations, perhaps we will be no more merciful to these proprietors of the American empire as they have been to their victims. The ruling class deeply fears our judgment, and in this dynamic lies the cure.Jim in MN Tallest Skil Aug 20, 2016 8:22 PM
I made a list of steps that could be taken to disrupt the Beast. It's all I can offer but I offer it freely.
4:00 AM October 6, 2011
Kitchen Table, USA
LIST OF DEMANDS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FROM FINANCIAL CATASTROPHE
I.CURB CORRUPTION AND EXCESSIVE POWER IN THE FINANCIAL ARMS OF THE US GOVERNMENT
A. FEDERAL RESERVE
1. Benjaman Bernanke to be removed as Chairman immediately
2. New York Federal Reserve Bank and all New York City offices of the Federal Reserve system will be closed for at least 3 years
3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation
4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels
5. Interest rate manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years
6. Balance sheet manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years
7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years
B. TREASURY DEPARTMENT
1. Timothy Geithner to be removed as Secretary immediately
2. All New York City offices of the Department will be closed for at least 3 years
3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation
4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels
5. Market manipulation/intervention to be prohibited for at least five years
7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years
II. END THE CORRUPTING INFLUENCE OF GIANT BANKS AND PROTECT AMERICANS FROM FURTHER EXPOSURE TO THEIR COLLAPSE
A. END CORRUPT INFLUENCE
1. Lifetime ban on government employment for TARP recipient employees and corporate officers, specifically including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase
2. Ten year ban on government work for consulting firms, law firms, and individual consultants and lawyers who have accepted cash from these entities
3. All contacts by any method with federal agencies and employees prohibited for at least five years, with civil and criminal penalties for violation
B. PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM FURTHER HARM AT THE HANDS OF GIANT BANKS
1. No financial institution with assets of more than $10billion will receive federal assistance or any 'arm's-length' bailouts
2. TARP recipients are prohibited from purchasing other TARP recipient corporate units, or merging with other TARP recipients
3. No foreign interest shall be allowed to acquire any portion of TARP recipients in the US or abroad
III. PREVENT CORPORATE ACCOUNTING AND PENSION FUND ABUSES RELATED TO THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
A. CORPORATE ACCOUNTING
1. Immediately implement mark-to-market accounting rules which were improperly suspended, allowing six months for implementation.
2. Companies must reserve against impaired assets under mark-to-market rules
3. Any health or life insurance company with more than$100 million in assets must report on their holdings and risk factors, specifically including exposure to real estate, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and other exotic financial instruments. These reports will be to state insurance commissions and the federal government, and will also be made available to the public on the Internet.
B. PENSION FUNDS
1. All private and public pension funds must disclose their funding status and establish a plan to fully fund accounts under the assumption that net real returns across all asset classes remain at zero for at least ten years.
Winston Churchill -> Sam Clemons Aug 20, 2016 7:26 PM
Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't.
sinbad2 -> Winston Churchill Aug 20, 2016 7:58 PM
Sir Humphrey Appleby: You know what happens when politicians get into Number 10; they want to take their place on the world stage.
Sir Richard Wharton: People on stages are called actors. All they are required to do is look plausible, stay sober, and say the lines they're given in the right order.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Some of them try to make up their own lines.
Sir Richard Wharton: They don't last long.
rlouis Aug 20, 2016 7:47 PM
The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.
The failed coup in Turkey is a significant indication of institutional weakness and also vulnerability. The inability to exercise force of will in Syria is another. The list of failures is getting too long.
October 03, 2006 | Big Medicine
TEHRAN, Feb. 14 (MNA) -- Most of the neoconservatives in the United States advocate globalization and the neoliberal economic model. What's wrong with this picture?
At first glance, nothing is wrong with the statement because it is basically true. At second glance, everything is wrong with it.
Liberal and conservative used to be opposites. Now we have neoliberal neoconservatives. If the neocons are also neoliberals, how do we avoid confusion when using the words liberal and conservative?
It is natural for language to evolve, but when antonyms become synonyms, there is a problem.
The situation is similar to the Newspeak and doublethink of George Orwell's book 1984. Newspeak was a language meant to control people by decreasing their power of reasoning through oversimplification of the language and doublethink.
Orwell wrote: "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."
There are now countless examples of this in the English language.
In war, civilian casualties are called collateral damage. The use of the expression collateral damage allows people to avoid the unpleasantry of having to think about innocent civilians being killed.
Every country used to have a war ministry, but they all later changed the name to the defense ministry or the defense department. In 1984, it was called the Ministry of Peace, or Minipax in Newspeak.
Try this simple exercise. Imagine you are listening to the radio and the newscaster says: "The war minister has just issued a statement."
Now suppose the newscaster said: "The defense minister has just issued a statement." Notice how a change of one word changed your reaction.
Consider the many acronyms that have entered the language such as NATO, NAFTA, and CIA. Their complete names, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, North American Free Trade Agreement, and Central Intelligence Agency, contain the words treaty, free, free trade, agreement, and intelligence. On hearing these words, the mind naturally makes many free associations that cannot occur when the acronyms are used.
The neoliberal neocons themselves use a form of Newspeak.
The most glaring example of this is when neoliberal neocon officials in the United States tell citizens that they must take away some of their freedom in order to protect their freedom. Shades of Orwell's "freedom is slavery".
U.S. officials have spoken of the need to cancel elections in order to safeguard democracy if a serious crisis arises. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that in a national emergency the U.S. Constitution may have to be temporarily suspended in order to protect the civil liberties enshrined in that document.
Bizarrely, very few U.S. citizens are protesting. Apparently, they have already learned how to employ doublethink.
Language is being used to control people. People are actually subconsciously brainwashing themselves through the language they use.
The word neocon itself is Newspeak since its use in place of the longer form eliminates all the connotations of the words neoconservative and conservative.
Let's look at a few more quotes from 1984 to get a better understanding of what is happening today.
"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink."
"The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be for ever averted -- if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently -- then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity."
"The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought -- that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc -- should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words."
"Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum."
"But the special function of certain Newspeak words, of which oldthink was one, was not so much to express meanings as to destroy them."
"The intention was to make speech, and especially speech on any subject not ideologically neutral, as nearly as possible independent of consciousness."
"Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all."
The advocates of globalization often use a form of Newspeak.
When government officials and economists say the economy of a Third World country is booming, despite the fact that they know the masses live in abject poverty, and the media repeat the lie, that is doublethink through Newspeak. Of course, the economy of the country in question is only booming for the globalist and local upper classes, and perhaps also for the middle classes, but somehow almost nobody questions the lie. And the neoliberal globalists are laughing all the way to the bank.
The acceptance of such a lie by the general public is an even greater real-life catastrophe than the fictional one described in 1984. Worse still, some people acknowledge that it is a lie but respond with apathy or slavish resignation in the belief that nothing can be done about the situation.
Do we want to live in dystopia, the worst of all possible worlds, the doubleplusungood of all possible worlds?
If not, we should watch our language and take care that we are still using our higher brain centers.
SOURCE: Mehr News
Aug 19, 2016 | latimes.com
"You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose" by voting for Trump? the candidate asked. "At the end of four years, I guarantee I will get over 95% of the African American vote."
The statement – highly unlikely given how poorly Republicans fare among black voters – continues a theme the GOP presidential nominee has pounded this week as he courted African American voters. He said Democrats take black voters for granted and have ignored their needs while governing cities with large African American populations.
"America must reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton, who sees communities of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future," he said of his Democratic opponent.
... ... ...
Trump argued that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's policies on issues such as immigration and refugee resettlement harm African Americans.
Aug 19, 2016 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by Alex Christoforou via TheDuran.com,
Last week we reported on the DC Leaks hack of what was over 2,500 documents detailing how George Soros and his NGOs influence world leaders, drive foreign policy, and help to create unrest in sovereign nations, that many times leads to chaos and civil war.
One country of particular focus for George Soros and his NGOs is Ukraine. It is now accepted fact that Soros was deeply involved in the Maiden protests in 2014 and the violent coup, that saw a democratically elected government overthrown in the name of "EU values". What is even more troubling, as revealed by the DC Leaks hack, is how Soros and his network of "non-profit organisations" worked to lobby EU member states into not only buying his Ukraine "Maidan" narrative, but to also disavow any ties and support for Russia.
Leaked documents show that George Soros was active in mapping out the Greek media landscape with generous grants, so as to further his Ukraine project, while also using his deep pockets to get Greek media to turn against the Russian Federation…in what can only be described as a well-funded and orchestrated smear campaign.
In one document entitled: "Open Society Initiative For Europe (OSIFE). Mapping the Ukrainian debate in Greece" (Ukraine and Europe-greece-tor ukraine debate mapping greece.docx), Soros offers a consultant a remuneration of $6,500 (gross) for "at least 15 full working days in carrying out this task" plus all expenses paid.
The aim of this task:
The consultant is expected to chart the main players in the Greek debate on Ukraine, outline the key arguments and their evolution in the past 18 months. Specifically, the report will take stock of any existing polling evidence provide a 'who is who?' with information about at least
– 6 newspapers,
– 10 audiovisual outlets (TV and radio),
– 6 internet sites,
– About 50 opinion leaders and trends in social networks.
Categorize the main strains of discussion and eventually identify different sides / camps of the discussion.
Provide a brief account of how Russia has tried to influence the Greek debate on Ukraine through domestic actors and outlets
Include a section with recommendations on
– What are the spaces OSF should engage and would most likely to have impact?
– What are the voices (of reason or doubt) that should be amplified?
Open Society Initiative For Europe (OSIFE) selected Iannis Carras for the Greek media mapping grant. The justification why he was chosen…
All contracts were for the same amount. We needed to find highly specialized researchers to map the debate on Ukraine in Europe, therefore we identified a shortlist of candidates in consultation with colleagues in the Think Tank Fund, OSEPI and in consultation with members of the OSIFE board and chose the most qualified who could produce the report in the time allowed. I n the case of Greece we agreed that Iannis Carras, an economic and social historian of Balkan and Russian relations with expert knowledge of Greece's NGOs and social movements, was the best suited to the task.
What is even more interesting is not the grant from OSIFE, but a letter from grant winner Carras to a person named Mathew (another Greek speaker???), outlining his plan in detail for pushing Soros' Ukraine agenda in Greece.
Of significance is how Carras tells Mathew about Greek society's overall suspicion of The Open Society after the roll in played in seeding unrest in Yugoslavia. Carras even tells Mathew to not mention The Open Society in Greece.
"Do you want your name to appear alongside mine on the paper? Do make comments on all of the below.
In general, and at your discretion, do not say you are doing this for Open Society because it is likely to close down doors. There's a lot of suspicion about Open Society in Greece, mainly because of its positions vis-à-vis the former Yugoslavia. As I am simultaneously writing an article for Aspen Review Eastern Europe that can be used as the organisation for which research like this is taking place."
Carras then goes on to outline his approach in manipulating Greek society, covering topics such as:
2. Political parties and think tanks
3. Opinion polls.
4. Business relations.
5. Religious and cultural ties.
6. Migration and diaspora.
7. Greece and Ukraine in the context of Greece's economic crisis.
8. Greece, Ukraine and the Cyprus issue.
9. Names and brief description of significant actors: a 'who is who?' with information on at least 50 opinion leaders
Carras notes how Russia has much goodwill in Greece, exercising "significant soft power". Carras notes that Greece is, at this moment, a weak player in the Ukraine debate and the Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias realises this.
Summary: I am working on the hypotheses largely born out by the interviews carried out so far that Russia has significant soft power in Greece though this does not easily convert into hard power (e.g. vetoing EU sanctions). Greeks are basically not very interested in Ukraine and the crisis there. They reflect and understand that conflict through their own economic crisis and their relations with Europe (nowadays primarily Europe and not US). To the extent that relations with Europe remain the focus and do not go off the rails, Greece will bark but will not bite. If they improve, Greece might not even bark (as can be seen with Greece's policy on Israel, Kotzias can be very much a realist).
Carras does warn that should Greece's economic situation deteriorate further, than Greece may very well look to Russia for support, and this has implications on the Ukraine plan.
If they deteriorate however, Greece will be looking to Russia for increased support and will alter its Ukraine policies accordingly. Do you agree with these hypotheses? Can you find confirmation for or against them in the media outlets examined?
Carras places extra emphasis on influencing the media in Greece, citing various large news outlets that the Soros NGO can target, including approaching left wing and right wing blogs.
This is the bulk of the work (we have to think about how to divide the work up). We have to provide a 'who is who?' with information about at least 6 newspapers, 10 audio-visual outlets (TV and radio) and 6 internet sites. Some of these will be obvious, but, even in these cases, change over time (at least eighteen months) is an important consideration. Here are some suggestions for newspapers: Kathimerini, Avgi, Ta Nea, Vima, Efymerida Syntakton, Eleutherotypia, Proto Thema, Rizospastis? etc. What else? Protagon? Athens Review of Books? (info on Kotzias). As for TV, we'll just do the main ones. What about left wing blogs? What about commercial radio stations? I think we should cover Aristera sta FM. Sky. What else? Anything from the nationalist and far right? My choice would be Ardin (already looking at this) which at least tries to be serious. Patria is even more unsavoury. I'll deal with the religious web sites in the culture and religion appendix. I think we should interview Kostas Nisenko ( http://www.kathimerini.gr/757296/article/epikairothta/kosmos/viaih-epi8e... ) and Kostas Geropoulos of New Europe to get into the issues involved… not at all sure though that it's advisable to talk to the Russia correspondents Thanasis Avgerinos, Dimitris Liatsos, Achileas Patsoukas etc. (I know all of them). Also if we come across articles with interesting information on any one of the topics, we should mail them to one another.
Attention is placed on influencing political parties. Carras sees this as a more difficult task, as parties in Greece would not be warm towards turning their back on Russia.
Who if anyone deals with Russia / Ukraine within each of the political parties? How important are political parties in formulating policies? (my hunch is totally unimportant). I must admit I have little idea of how to proceed with this one, but I have written to the academic Vassilis Petsinis and I hope I'll get to skype with him soon. Think-tanks are easier, and, I think, more important. I have already interviewed Thanos Dokos (director Greek foreign policy institute, ELIAMEP) in person.
Carras notes how he has approached various religious leaders, academics and actors, to gauge a sense of how deep Russia's influence and "soft power" runs in Greek society and culture.
So far I have interviewed by telephone Metropolitan John of Pergamum (one of the top figures in the inner circle of the Istanbul based Ecumenical Patriarchate). I have read Metropolitan Nektarios of the Argolid's recent book (2014), "Two bullets for Donetsk". I have tried but so far not succeeded in contacting Metropolitan Nektarios himself, and have started work on two of the main religious news websites romfea.gr and amen.gr .
With respect to culture I intend to contact Georgos Livathinos, leading director of Russian and other plays and Lydia Koniordou, actress. Also the management of the Onassis Centre, particularly Afroditi Panagiotakou, the executive vice-director who is quite knowledgeable in this field having travelled to both Ukraine and Russia.
In 2016 Greece and Russia will be hosting each other as the focus of cultural events in the two respective countries. I will be looking to understand the extent to which Russia's unparalleled cultural soft-power might translate into Greek policy making.
Greek military is the final point of influence, with Carras interviewing Ambassadors and policy decision makers.
Foreign policy and the Greek military. So far I have interviewed in person Ambassador Elias Klis (formerly ambassador of Greece to Moscow, advisor to the current Foreign Minister, advisor to the Greek Union of Industrialists. He is perhaps the single most important person for understanding Greek-Russian diplomatic relations at present). Ambassador Alexandros Philon (formerly ambassador of Greece to Washington, to whom I am related). Captain Panos Stamou (submarines, extensive contacts in Crimea, also secretary and leading light of the Greek-Russian historical association) who emphasised the non-political tradition of the Greek armed forces. Tempted to talk to Themos Stoforopoulos for a nationalist left wing view. I have also read foreign minister Kotzias' latest book. All of this has provided me with useful insights for appendices 7 and 8, and particularly for the connection to the Cyprus issue (which at the moment Greece is very keen to downplay).
Carras places an emphasis on Cyprus, perhaps recognising the islands affinity to support Russia and its large Russian diaspora community.
The recommendations will be for the medium and the short term, cited here based on interviews carried out so far. Medium term recommendations will include a cultural event (to be specified later) and a one-day conference on Ukraine and international law, citing precedents for dealing with the situation in Ukraine (particularly Cyprus). Recommendations may include capacity building for local Ukrainian migrant spokesperson(s). Short term recommendations will include an action pack on what Greece has at stake in Ukraine, and ways to narrate parallels in interactions between nation and empire vis-à-vis Greece / Ukraine. Think about whether these work / what else we might recommend?
Both of the documents are below...
Lupita 08.04.16 at 4:23 am 167
I think Trump is afraid the imperial global order presided by the US is about to crash and thinks he will be able to steer the country into a soft landing by accepting that other world powers have interests, by disengaging from costly and humiliating military interventions, by re-negotiating trade deals, and by stopping the mass immigration of poor people. Plus a few well-placed bombs .
Much has been written about the internet revolution, about the impact of people having access to much more information than before. The elite does not recognize this and is still organizing political and media campaigns as if it were 1990, relying on elder statesmen like Blair, Bush, Mitterrand, Clinton, and Obama to influence public opinion. They are failing miserably, to the point of being counterproductive.
I don't think something as parochial as racism is sustaining Trump, but rather the fear of the loss of empire by a population with several orders of magnitude more information and communication than in 2008, even 2012.
Layman 08.04.16 at 11:59 am
Rich P: "Neoliberals often argue that people should be glad to lose employment at 50 so that people from other countries can have higher incomes…"
I doubt this most sincerely. While this may be the effect of some neoliberal policies, I can't recall any particular instance where someone made this argument.
Rich Puchalsky 08.04.16 at 12:03 pm
"I can't recall any particular instance where someone made this argument."
No one has literally argued that people should be glad to lose employment: that part was hyperbole. But the basic argument is often made quite seriously. See e.g. outsource Brad DeLong .
engels 08.04.16 at 12:25 pm
While this may be the effect of some neoliberal policies, I can't recall any particular instance where someone made this argument
Maybe this kind of thing rom Henry Farrell? (There may well be better examples.)
Is some dilution of the traditional European welfare state acceptable, if it substantially increases the wellbeing of current outsiders (i.e. for example, by bringing Turkey into the club). My answer is yes, if European leftwingers are to stick to their core principles on justice, fairness, egalitarianism etc…
Lupita 08.04.16 at 2:42 pm
Large numbers of low-income white southern Americans consistently vote against their own economic interests. They vote to award tax breaks to wealthy people and corporations, to cut unemployment benefits, to bust unions, to reward companies for outsourcing jobs, to resist wage increases, to cut funding for health care for the poor, to cut Social Security and Medicare, etc.
The same thing has happened in Mexico with neoliberal government after neoliberal government being elected. There are many democratically elected neoliberal governments around the world.
Why might this be?
In the case of Mexico, because Peña Nieto's wife is a telenovela star. How cool is that? It places Mexico in the same league as 1st world countries, such as France, with Carla Bruni.
Patrick 08.04.16 at 4:32 pm
To the guy who asked- poor white people keep voting Republican even though it screws them because they genuinely believe that the country is best off when it encourages a culture of "by the bootstraps" self improvement, hard work, and personal responsibility. They view taxing people in order to give the money to the supposedly less fortunate as the anti thesis of this, because it gives people an easy out that let's them avoid having to engage in the hard work needed to live independently.
They see it as little different from letting your kid move back on after college and smoke weed in your basement. They don't generally mind people being on unemployment transitionally, but they're supposed to be a little embarrassed about it and get it over with as soon as possible. They not only worry that increased government social spending will incentivize bad behavior, they worry it will destroy the cultural values they see as vital to Americas past prosperity. They tend to view claims about historic or systemic injustice necessitating collective remedy because they view the world as one in which the vagaries of fate decree that some are born rich or poor, and that success is in improving ones station relative to where one starts. Attempts at repairing historical racial inequity read as cheating in that paradigm, and even as hostile since they can easily observe white people who are just as poor or poorer than those who racial politics focuses upon. Left wing insistence on borrowing the nastiest rhetoric of libertarians ("this guy is poor because his ancestors couldn't get ahead because of historical racial injustice so we must help him; your family couldn't get ahead either but that must have been your fault so you deserve it") comes across as both antithetical to their values and as downright hostile within the values they see around them.
All of this can be easily learned by just talking to them.
It's not a great world view. It fails to explain quite a lot. For example, they have literally no way of explaining increased unemployment without positing either that everyone is getting too lazy to work, or that the government screwed up the system somehow, possibly by making it too expensive to do business in the US relative to other countries. and given their faith in the power of hard work, they don't even blame sweatshops- they blame taxes and foreign subsidies.
I don't know exactly how to reach out to them, except that I can point to some things people do that repulse them and say "stop doing that."
bruce wilder 08.04.16 at 5:50 pm
The extent to which "poor white people" vote against their alleged economic interests is overblown. To a large extent, they do not vote at all nor is anyone or anything on the ballot to represent their interests. And, yes, they are misinformed systematically by elites out to screw them and they know this, but cannot do much to either clear up their own confusion or fight back.
The mirror image problem - of elites manipulating the system to screw the poor and merely middle-class - is daily in the news. Both Presidential candidates have been implicated. So, who do you recommend they vote for?
There is serious deficit of both trust and information among the poor. Poor whites hardly have a monopoly; black misleadership is epidemic in our era of Cory Booker socialism.
bruce wilder 08.04.16 at 7:05 pm
Politics is founded on the complex social psychology of humans as social animals. We elevate it from its irrational base in emotion to rationalized calculation or philosophy at our peril.
T 08.04.16 at 9:17 pm
I think you're missing Patrick's point. These voters are switching from one Republican to another. They've jettisoned Bush et. al. for Trump. These guys despise Bush.
They've figured out that the mainstream party is basically 30 years of affinity fraud.
So, is your argument is that Trump even more racist? That kind of goes against the whole point of the OP. Not saying that race doesn't matter. Of course it does. But Trump has a 34% advantage in non-college educated white men. It just isn't the South. Why does it have to be just race or just class?
Ronan(rf) 08.04.16 at 10:35 pm
"I generally don't give a shit about polls so I have no "data" to evidence this claim, but my guess is the majority of Trump's support comes from this broad middle"
My understanding is trumps support disproportionately comes from the small business owning classes, Ie a demographic similar to the petite bourgeoisie who have often been heavily involved in reactionary movements. This gets oversold as "working class" when class is defined by education level rather than income.
This would make some sense as they are generally in economically unstable jobs, they tend to be hostile to both big govt (regulations, freeloaders) and big business (unfair competition), and while they (rhetorically at least) tend to value personal autonomy and self sufficiency , they generally sell into smaller, local markets, and so are particularly affected by local demographic and cultural change , and decline. That's my speculation anyway.
T 08.05.16 at 3:12 pm
Patrick, you're right about the Trump demographic. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/
Layman - Why are these voters switching from Bush et al to Trump? Once again, Corey's whole point is that there is very little difference between the racism of Trump and the mainstream party since Nixon. Is Trump just more racist? Or are the policies of Trump resonating differently than Bush for reasons other than race?
Are the folks that voted for the other candidates in the primary less racist so Trump supporters are just the most racist among Republicans? Cruz less racist? You have to explain the shift within the Republican party because that's what happened.
Anarcissie 08.06.16 at 3:00 pm
Faustusnotes 08.06.16 at 1:50 pm @ 270 -
Eric Berne, in The Structures and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups, proposed that among the defining characteristics of a coherent group is an explicit boundary which determines whether an individual is a member of the group or not. (If there is no boundary, nothing binds the assemblage together; it is a crowd.) The boundary helps provide social cohesion and is so important that groups will create one if necessary. Clearly, boundaries exclude as well as include, and someone must play the role of outsider. While Berne's theories are a bit too nifty for me to love them, I have observed a lot of the behaviors he predicts. If one wanted to be sociobiological, it is not hard to hypothesize evolutionary pressures which could lead to this sort of behavior being genetically programmed. If a group of humans, a notably combative primate, does not have strong social cohesion, the war of all against all ensues and everybody dies. Common affections alone do not seem to provide enough cohesion.
In an earlier but related theory, in the United States, immigrants from diverse European communities which fought each other for centuries in Europe arrived and managed to now get along because they had a major Other, the Negro, against whom to define themselves (as the White Race) and thus to cohere sufficiently to get on with business. The Negro had the additional advantage of being at first a powerless slave and later, although theoretically freed, was legally, politically, and economically disabled - an outsider who could not fight back very effectively, nor run away. Even so, the US almost split apart and there continue to be important class, ethnic, religious, and regional conflicts. You can see how these two theories resonate.
It may be that we can't have communities without this dark side, although we might be able to mitigate some of its destructive effects.
bruce wilde r 08.06.16 at 4:28 pm
I am somewhat suspicious of leaving dominating elites out of these stories of racism as an organizing principle for political economy or (cultural) community.
Racism served the purposes of a slaveholding elite that organized political communities to serve their own interests. (Or, vis a vis the Indians a land-grab or genocide.)
Racism serves as an organizing principle. Politically, in an oppressive and stultifying hierarchy like the plantation South, racism not incidentally buys the loyalty of subalterns with ersatz status. The ugly prejudices and resentful arrogance of working class whites is thus a component of how racism works to organize a political community to serve a hegemonic master class. The business end of racism, though, is the autarkic poverty imposed on the working communities: slaves, sharecroppers, poor blacks, poor whites - bad schools, bad roads, politically disabled communities, predatory institutions and authoritarian governments.
For a time, the balkanization of American political communities by race, religion and ethnicity was an effective means to the dominance of an tiny elite with ties to an hegemonic community, but it backfired. Dismantling that balkanization has left the country with a very low level of social affiliation and thus a low capacity to organize resistance to elite depredations.
engels 08.07.16 at 1:02 am
But how did that slavery happen
Possible short answer: the level of technological development made slavery an efficient way of exploiting labour. At a certain point those conditions changed and slavery became a drag on further development and it was abolished, along with much of the racist ideology that legitimated it.
Lupita 08.07.16 at 3:40 am
But how did that slavery happen
In Mesoamerica, all the natives were enslaved because they were conquered by the Spaniards. Then, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas successfully argued before the Crown that the natives had souls and, therefore, should be Christianized rather than enslaved. As Bruce Wilder states, this did not serve the interests of the slaveholding elite, so the African slave trade began and there was no Fray Bartolomé to argue their case.
It is interesting that while natives were enslaved, the Aztec aristocracy was shipped to Spain to be presented in court and study Latin. This would not have happened if the Mesoamericans were considered inferior (soulless) as a race. Furthermore, the Spaniards needed the local elite to help them out with their empire and the Aztecs were used to slavery and worse. This whole story can be understood without recurring to racism. The logic of empire suffices.
Format: PaperbackThomas Frank's The Wrecking Crew is another classic. This work, along with his more notable What's The Matter With Kansas?, is another ground breaking examination into a major phenomenon of American politics by one of America's foremost social analysts and critics. While What's The Matter With Kansas? looked more at cultural behavior in explaining why Red State Americans have embraced corporate elitist ideology and ballot casting that militates against their own economic self-interest, even their very survival, this title deals more with structural changes in the government, economy, and society that have come about as a result of a Republican right wing agenda. It is a perplexing and sorry phenomenon that deserves the attention of a first rate pundit like Frank.
Neoliberal ideology is championed on behalf of corporate elites who have now secured total control, even ownership, of the federal government. The Wrecking Crew is about a Republican agenda to totally eliminate the last vestiges of the New Deal and Great Society, which have provided social safety nets for ordinary working class Americans through programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Corporate elites want to demolish only that part of government that doesn't benefit the corporation. Thus, a huge military budget and intrusive national security and police apparatus is revered, while education, health, welfare, infrastructure, etc. are of less utility for the corporate state. High taxes on the corporations and wealthy are abhorred, while the middle class is expected to shoulder a huge tax burden. Although Republicans rail against federal deficits, when in office they balloon the federal deficits in a plan for government-by-sabotage. (Page 261)
Elites need federal government revenue transferred to their realm via fat government contracts and juicy subsidies. They want government without regulation, and they want taxation imposed on the masses without real representation, but not on them. The big government they rail at is the same government they own and benefit from. They certainly do not want the national security state (the largest part of government) or the national police system to go away, not even the IRS. How can they fight wars without a revenue collection system? The wellspring of conservatism in America today -- preserving connections between the present and past -- is a destroyer of tradition, not a preserver. (Page 267)
Neoliberals drew up a long term strategy to sabotage and disrupt the liberal apparatus. There ensued a vast selling-off of government assets (and favors) to those willing to fund the neoliberal movement. The strategy was concocted as a long term plan - the master blueprint for a wholesale transfer of government responsibilities to private-sector contractors unaccountable to Congress or anyone else. An entire industry sprung up to support conservatism - the great god market (corporate globalism) replaced anti-communism as the new inspiration. (page 93)
Market populism arose as business was supposed to empower the noble common people. But capitalism is not loyal to people or anything once having lost its usefulness, not even the nation state or the flag. (page 100) While the New Deal replaced rule by wealthy with its brain trust, conservatism, at war with intellectuals, fills the bureaucracy with cronies, hacks, partisans, and creationists. The democracy, or what existed of it, was to be gradually made over into a plutocracy - rule by the wealthy. (Page 252) Starting with Reagan and Thatcher, the program was to hack open the liberal state in order to reward business with the loot. (Page 258) The ultimate neoliberal goal is to marketize the nation's politics so that financial markets can be elevated over vague liberalisms like the common good and the public interest. (Page 260)
According to Frank, what makes a place a free-market paradise is not the absence of governments; it is the capture of government by business interests. The game of corporatism is to see how much public resources the private interest can seize for itself before public government can stop them. A proper slogan for this mentality would be: more business in government, less government in business. And, there are market based solutions to every problem. Government should be market based. George W. Bush grabbed more power for the executive branch than anyone since Nixon. The ultra-rights' fortunes depend on public cynicism toward government. With the U.S. having been set up as a merchant state, the idea of small government is now a canard - mass privatization and outsourcing is preferred. Building cynicism toward government is the objective. Neoliberals don't want efficient government, they want less competition and more profits - especially for defense contractors. Under Reagan, civil servants were out, loyalists were in.
While the Clinton team spoke of entrepreneurial government - of reinventing government - the wrecking crew under Republicans has made the state the tool of money as a market-based system replaced civil service by a government-by-contractor (outsourcing). Page 137 This has been an enduring trend, many of the great robber barons got their start as crooked contractors during the Civil War. Contractors are now a fourth branch of government with more people working under contracts than are directly employed by government - making it difficult to determine where government stops and the contractors start in a system of privatized government where private contractors are shielded from oversight or accountability. (Page 138)
The first general rule of neoliberal administration: cronies in, experts out. The Bush team did away with EPA's office of enforcement - turning enforcement power over to the states. (Page 159) In an effort to demolish the regulatory state, Reagan, immediately after taking office, suspended hundreds of regulations that federal agencies had developed during the Carter Administration. Under Reagan, a philosophy of government blossomed that regarded business as its only constituent. In recent years, neoliberals have deliberately piled up debt to force government into crisis.
Watergate poisoned attitudes toward government - helping sweep in Ronald Reagan with his anti-government cynicism. Lobbying and influence peddling proliferated in a privatized government. Lobbying is how money casts its vote. It is the signature activity of neoliberal governance - the mechanism that translates market forces into political action. (Page 175)
It is the goal of the neoliberal agenda to smash the liberal state. Deficits are one means to accomplish that end.- to persuade voters to part with programs like Social Security and Medicare so these funds can be transferred to corporate contractors or used to finance wars or deficit reduction.. Uncle Sam can raise money by selling off public assets.
Since liberalism depends on fair play by its sworn enemies, it is vulnerable to sabotage by those not playing by liberalism's rules/ (Page 265) The Liberal State, a vast machinery built for our protection has been reengineered into a device for our exploitation. (Page 8) Liberalism arose out of a long-ago compromise between left-wing social movements and business interests. (Page 266) Neoliberalism speaks of not compromise but of removing adversaries from the field altogether. (Page 266) No one dreams of eliminating the branches of state that protect Neoliberalism's constituents such as the military, police, or legal privileges granted to corporations, neoliberals openly scheme to do away with liberal bits of big government. (Page 266)
Liberalism is a philosophy of compromise, without a force on the Left to neutralize the magneticism exerted by money, liberalism will be drawn to the right. (Page 274)
Through corporate media and right wing talk show, liberalism has become a dirty word. However, liberalism may not be dead yet. It will have to be resurrected from the trash bin of history when the next capitalist crisis hits. One should never forget that it was Roosevelt's New Deal that saved capitalism from itself. Also, one should not forget that capitalism came out of the classical liberal tradition. Capitalists had to wrest power away from the landowning nobility, the arch neoliberal tradition of its time.
kidneystones 08.03.16 at 12:37 am 87
84@ The problem with just sitting back and let you invade any country you like is that we all have to live in the world you make. You're certainly correct to point out that there are many things 'we foreigners' don't understand about America.
What we do know is that whatever you tell yourself about the sacrifices US soldiers are making in your peacemaking wars in the ME, the overwhelming majority of those killed and wounded in modern US led military actions are not Americans. I fully believe that many Americans are intensely patriotic and love their country. I also believe that there are many subcultures within America that 'we foreigners' cannot understand.
What is also clear from your comment is that you, and perhaps some others, believe that this love of country and rich tapestry of subcultures somehow makes Americans very, very special and beyond criticism.
We understand this much: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – 68 civilian casualties.
The US response: "..on the night of March 9-10, 1945…LeMay sent 334 B-29s low over Tokyo from the Marianas. Their mission was to reduce the city to rubble, kill its citizens, and instill terror in the survivors, with jellied gasoline and napalm that would create a sea of flames. Stripped of their guns to make more room for bombs, and flying at altitudes averaging 7,000 feet to evade detection, the bombers, which had been designed for high-altitude precision attacks, carried two kinds of incendiaries: M47s, 100-pound oil gel bombs, 182 per aircraft, each capable of starting a major fire, followed by M69s, 6-pound gelled-gasoline bombs, 1,520 per aircraft in addition to a few high explosives to deter firefighters.  The attack on an area that the US Strategic Bombing Survey estimated to be 84.7 percent residential succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of air force planners…
The Strategic Bombing Survey, whose formation a few months earlier provided an important signal of Roosevelt's support for strategic bombing, provided a technical description of the firestorm and its effects on Tokyo: The chief characteristic of the conflagration . . . was the presence of a fire front, an extended wall of fire moving to leeward, preceded by a mass of pre-heated, turbid, burning vapors . . . . The 28-mile-per-hour wind, measured a mile from the fire, increased to an estimated 55 miles at the perimeter, and probably more within. An extended fire swept over 15 square miles in 6 hours . . . . The area of the fire was nearly 100 percent burned; no structure or its contents escaped damage."
The survey concluded-plausibly, but only for events prior to August 6, 1945-that
"probably more persons lost their lives by fire at Tokyo in a 6-hour period than at any time in the history of man. People died from extreme heat, from oxygen deficiency, from carbon monoxide asphyxiation, from being trampled beneath the feet of stampeding crowds, and from drowning. The largest number of victims were the most vulnerable: women, children and the elderly."
The raids continue for all the 'best' military reasons…
"In July, US planes blanketed the few remaining Japanese cities that had been spared firebombing with an "Appeal to the People." "As you know," it read, "America which stands for humanity, does not wish to injure the innocent people, so you had better evacuate these cities." Half the leafleted cities were firebombed within days of the warning. US planes ruled the skies. Overall, by one calculation, the US firebombing campaign destroyed 180 square miles of 67 cities, killed more than 300,000 people and injured an additional 400,000, figures that exclude the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." (My italics) http://apjjf.org/-Mark-Selden/2414/article.html
kidneystones 08.03.16 at 12:59 am
@ 86 Both my parents served. My grand-fathers served, and most of my uncles and great-uncles served – you know, the whole mess from being shot to dying in hospitals years after the war from gas attacks. And I served, nothing special about any of this.
You believe your nation's commitment to its military is somehow special? Prove it. Instead we get American exceptionalism proudly on display.
Should all the foreigners in your debt salute, or simply prostrate ourselves in awe?
Glenn 08.02.16 at 5:01 pm
@William Meyer 08.02.16 at 4:41 pm
Legislators affiliated with the duopoly parties should not write the rules governing the ballot access of third parties. This exclusionary rule making amounts to preserving a self-dealing duopoly. Elections are the interest of the people who vote and those elected should not be able to subvert the democratic process by acting as a cartel.
Democracy demands that ballot access rules be selected by referendum, not by the very legacy parties that maintain legislative control by effectively denying ballot access to parties that will pose a challenge to their continued rule.
Of course any meaningful change would require a voluntary diminishment of power of the duopoly that now has dictatorial control over ballot access, and who will prevent any Constitutional Amendment that would enhance the democratic nature of the process.
bruce wilder 08.02.16 at 8:02 pm
I think the U.S. Party system, in the political science sense, shifted to a new state during George W Bush's administration as, in Kevin Phillip's terms the Republican Party was taken over by Theocrats and Bad Money.
Ronan(rf) 08.04.16 at 10:35 pm
"I generally don't give a shit about polls so I have no "data" to evidence this claim, but my guess is the majority of Trump's support comes from this broad middle"
My understanding is trumps support disproportionately comes from the small business owning classes, Ie a demographic similar to the petite bourgeoisie who have often been heavily involved in reactionary movements. This gets oversold as "working class" when class is defined by education level rather than income.
This would make some sense as they are generally in economically unstable jobs, they tend to be hostile to both big govt (regulations, freeloaders) and big business (unfair competition), and while they (rhetorically at least) tend to value personal autonomy and self sufficiency , they generally sell into smaller, local markets, and so are particularly affected by local demographic and cultural change , and decline. That's my speculation anyway.
bruce wilder 08.06.16 at 4:28 pm
I am somewhat suspicious of leaving dominating elites out of these stories of racism as an organizing principle for political economy or (cultural) community.
Racism served the purposes of a slaveholding elite that organized political communities to serve their own interests. (Or, vis a vis the Indians a land-grab or genocide.)
Racism serves as an organizing principle. Politically, in an oppressive and stultifying hierarchy like the plantation South, racism not incidentally buys the loyalty of subalterns with ersatz status. The ugly prejudices and resentful arrogance of working class whites is thus a component of how racism works to organize a political community to serve a hegemonic master class. The business end of racism, though, is the autarkic poverty imposed on the working communities: slaves, sharecroppers, poor blacks, poor whites - bad schools, bad roads, politically disabled communities, predatory institutions and authoritarian governments.
For a time, the balkanization of American political communities by race, religion and ethnicity was an effective means to the dominance of an tiny elite with ties to an hegemonic community, but it backfired. Dismantling that balkanization has left the country with a very low level of social affiliation and thus a low capacity to organize resistance to elite depredations.
bruce wilder 08.06.16 at 4:31 pm
Watching Clinton scoop up bankster money, welcome Republicans neocons to the ranks of her supporters does not fill me with hope.
bruce wilder 08.11.16 at 5:33 pm 618F Foundling @ 605: The 'self' one can rely on is mostly features of temperament and style, not policy. The 'brand' is also to a large extent about style, not substance, and it is subject to change, too.
The handful of politicians I have known personally have had fewer and lighter personal commitments to political policy preferences, than most, say, news junkies. They are trying to get political power, which rests at the nexus of conflicting forces. They have to put themselves at the crossroads, so to speak, and - maybe this is one of the paradoxes of power -- if they are to exercise power from being at a nexus, they have to be available to be used; they have to be open to persuasion, if they are to persuade.
Ideology or political philosophy may matter to the skilled politician, but it matters less as a matter of conviction than as the précis of a novel's plot. It is like a key they use to encode rhetorical poses for the occasion, to signal that they understand the concerns of whatever group they are speaking to.
T: If inequality remains the same or increases and growth remains low (and I believe they are very much linked) there will be new challengers from both the right and left and one of them will win. It did take a good 70 yrs to vanquish the robber barons.
If there's a perennial lodestar for politics, it is this: the distribution of income, wealth and power. Follow the money is a good way to make sense of any criminal enterprise.
F. Foundling: For decades already, so-called centre-left parties all over the world (can't vouch for *every* country) have been engaged to varying extents in deregulation, privatisation, welfare state reduction, TTIP-style neoliberal globalism and now, most recently, austerity (not to mention a slavish pro-US foreign policy).
It is one of the odd (to me) features of political attitude formation that so many people have amnesia where there should be some basic appreciation for what politics, at base, is about. (Politics is about who gets what, when, how, in Harold Lasswell's immortal title.)
I suspect that William the Conqueror had scarcely summered twice in England before someone was explaining to the peasantry that he was building those castles to protect the people.
Neoliberalism is possibly the most important set of political phenomena -- certainly the most consequential -- in our generation's experience of political ideas and movements, and yet a common impulse is to deny it is exists or labels anything more meaningful than a catch-all "don't like it".
RP: A lot of what people seem to be talking about is Overton Window stuff. I'm not convinced.
I do think think there's something to the contention that a political re-alignment is underway and the iron hold that neoliberalism has on the Media discourse is rusting. Rusting or not, the structures of propaganda and manipulation remain highly centralized, so even if the rhetorical tropes lose their meaning and emotional resonance, it isn't clear that the structures of authority won't continue, their legitimacy torn and tattered but not displaced. Because there's no replacement candidate, yet.
By replacement candidate, I mean some set of ideas about how society and political economy can be positively structured and legitimated as functional.
I agree, of course, that Marxism is obsolete. But, it does furnish a model of what an ideology can do to explain political economy and its possibilities, providing a rally point and a confession of faith. The contrast to our present common outlook highlights that several things are clearly missing for us now: one is economic class antagonism, the idea that the rich are the enemy, that rich people make themselves rich by preying on the society, and that fundamental, structural remedies are available thru politics.
I do think there's a reservoir of inchoate anger about elite betrayal and malfeasance. The irony of being presented the choice of Trump and Clinton as a remedy is apparently not fully appreciated by our commenters, let alone the irony of rummaging the attic and bringing down Sanders, like he was a suit of retro clothes last worn by one's grandfather.
bruce wilder 08.11.16 at 10:36 pmLee A. Arnold: I don't think I've met anyone over the age of consent who doesn't know what politicians are all about.
Above, Layman reminds us that George W Bush sold himself as a compassionate conservative. Quite a few adults voted for him I understand. Supposedly quite a few did so thinking that dry drunk would be a good fellow to have a beer with. Because . . . I guess some pundits thought to tell them that that is what politics is about, having a guy in the most powerful office in the federal government that you identify with - a guy who cuts brush at his ranch with a chainsaw. How many times did Maureen Dowd tell the story of dog strapped to the roof on the Romney family vacation?
In my comment, you may have read "politician" but I actually wrote, "politics". And, I did not write that there was only inchoate anger. You added "only".
stevenjohnson 08.12.16 at 3:45 pmIncidentally, historical amnesia also includes forgetting Barack Obama was the boss when Clinton was secretary and forgetting Barack Obama is still president pursuing insane war-mongering policies long after Clinton is gone and forgetting Barack Obama is still president, and won't even be a lame duck till November.
Historical amnesia means forgetting the Democratic Party isn't socialist or leftist, despite Bernie Sanders' long career as a sort of socialist (only informally a Democrat.)
Historical amnesia means forgetting to even ask what "Watergate" was, and if or how it mattered (or didn't.)
Historical amnesia means forgetting all foundations are ways for the wealthy to shelter money and exercise influence, Koch's, Rockefeller's, Carnegie's, Ford's, Soros', not just Clintons'. Historical amnesia means forgetting this government has always conducted foreign policy at the behest of special interests.
(Yes, Lupita believes that imperialism actually pays off for the whole country, which presumably is why when her preferred rich people try to get their own she'll be for that. Nonetheless, the idea is bullshit. At this point, I can only imagine people don't call her out on that because they actually agree that "we" are all in it together with our owners.)
Historical amnesia includes forgetting Trump has run for president before, with the same personality and the same tactics and the same party base. It is unclear how the essentially racist nature of the vile masses has changed so much in four years.
Vilifying millions of people in preference to even asking if Trump hasn't got massive elite support is deeply, profoundly reactionary. Divide et impera has been the rulers' game for centuries.
Layman, 08.11.16 at 2:19 pmengels @ 595
That's a story about contributions of $200 or more. I'm guessing those contributions buy no influence at all. In fact, I'm not guessing: I, personally, donated a total of $9600 to Obama's campaigns, which were so influential that I was able to score 7 (so far) White House Christmas cards, genuinely autopenned by President and Mrs. Obama.
These are of course very nice, but what I was hoping to buy was an end to things like rendition, torture, and death by killer robots from the sky. I guess it takes more money to buy nice things like that.
crookedtimber.orgRich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 4:15 pm 683"Once again, if neo-liberalism is partly defined by the free flow of goods, labor and capital - and that has been the Republican agenda since at least Reagan - how is Trump a continuation of the same tradition?"
You have to be willing to see neoliberalism as something different from conservatism to have the answer make any sense. John Quiggin has written a good deal here about a model of U.S. politics as being divided into left, neoliberal, and conservative. Trump is a conservative (or right populist, or whatever), and draws on that tradition. He's not a neoliberal.
... ... ...
T 08.12.16 at 5:52 pmRP @683
That's a bit of my point. I think Corey has defined the Republican tradition solely in response to the Southern Strategy that sees a line from Nixon (or Goldwater) to Trump. But that gets the economics wrong and the foreign policy too - the repub foreign policy view has not been consistent across administrations and Trump's economic pans (to the extent he has a plan) are antithetical to the Nixon – W tradition. I have viewed post-80 Dem administrations as neoliberals w/transfers and Repub as neoliberals w/o transfers.
Trump is too incoherent to really represent the populist view. He's consistent w/the trade and immigration views but (assuming you can actually figure him out) wrong on banks, taxes, etc.
But the next populists we see might be more full bore. When that happens, you'll see much more overlap w/Sanders economic plans for the middle class. Populists have nothing against gov't programs like SS and Medicare and were always for things like the TVA and infrastructure spending. Policies aimed at the poor and minorities not so much.
bruce wilder 08.12.16 at 7:47 pm 689T @ 685: Trump is too incoherent to really represent the populist view.
There's always tension along the lead running between the politician and his constituents. The thing that seems most salient to me at the present moment is the sense of betrayal pervading our politics. At least since the GFC of 2008, it has been hard to deny that the two Parties worked together to set up an economic betrayal. And, the long-running saga of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also speak to elite failure, as well as betrayal.
These are the two most unpopular candidates in living memory. That is different.
I am not a believer in "the fire next time". Trump is a novelty act. He represents a chance for people who feel resentful without knowing much of anything about anything to cast a middle-finger vote. They wouldn't be willing to do that, if times were really bad, instead of just disappointing and distressing.
Nor will Sanders be back. His was a last New Deal coda. There may be second acts in American life, but there aren't 7th acts.
If there's a populist politics in our future, it will have to have a much sharper edge. It can talk about growth, but it has to mean smashing the rich and taking their stuff. There's very rapidly going to come a point where there's no other option, other than just accepting cramdown by the authoritarian surveillance state built by the neoliberals. that's a much taller order than Sanders or Trump have been offering.<
Michael Sullivan 08.12.16 at 8:06 pm 690Corey, you write: "It's not just that the Dems went after Nixon, it's also that Nixon had so few allies. People on the right were furious with him because they felt after this huge ratification that the country had moved to the right, Nixon was still governing as if the New Deal were the consensus. So when the time came, he had very few defenders, except for loyalists like Leonard Garment and G. Gordon Liddy. And Al Haig, God bless him."
You've studied this more than I have, but this is at least somewhat at odds with my memory. I recall some prominent attackers of Nixon from the Republican party that were moderates, at least one of whom was essentially kicked out of the party for being too liberal in later years. There's also the fact Reagan tapped a fair number of Nixon people, as did W years later. Reagan went after Nixon in the sense of running against him, and taking the party in a much more hard-right direction, sure. But he was repudiated largely because he got caught doing dirty tricks with his pants down.
To think that something similar would happen to Clinton (watergate like scandal) that would actually have a large portion of the left in support of impeachment, she would have to be as dirty as Nixon was, *and* the evidence to really put the screws to her would have to be out, as it was against Nixon during watergate.
OTOH, my actual *hope* would be that a similar left-liberal sea change comparable to 1980 from the right would be plausible. I don't think a 1976-like interlude is plausible though, that would require the existence of a moderate republican with enough support within their own party to win the nomination. I suppose its possible that such a beast could come to exist if Trump loses a landslide, but most of the plausible candidates have already left or been kicked out of the party.
From what I can tell - the 1972 election gave the centrists in the democratic party power to discredit and marginalize the anti-war left, and with it, the left in general. A comparable election from the other side would give republican centrists/moderates the ability to discredit and marginalize the right wing base. But unlike Democrats in 1972, there aren't any moderates left in the Republican party by my lights. I'm much more concerned that this will simply re-empower the hard-core conservatives with plausbly-deniable dog-whistle racism who are now the "moderates", and enable them to whitewash their history.
Unfortunately, unlike you, I'm not convinced that a landslide is possible without an appeal to Reagan/Bush republicans. I don't think we're going to see a meaningful turn toward a real left until Democrats can win a majority of statehouses and clean up the ridiculous gerrymandering.
Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 9:18 pmVal: "Similarly with your comments on "identity politics" where you could almost be seen by MRAs and white supremacists as an ally, from the tone of your rhetoric."
That is 100% perfect Val. Insinuates that BW is a sort-of-ally of white supremacists - an infuriating insinuation. Does this insinuation based on a misreading of what he wrote. Completely resistant to any sort of suggestion that what she dishes out so expansively to others had better be something she should be willing to accept herself, or that she shouldn't do it. Ready even now to whine that she's a victim and that the whole community is at fault and that people are picking on her because she's a woman, rather than because she has a habit of making accusations like this every time she comments.
That is a perfect example of predatory "solidarity". Val is looking for dupes to support her - for people to jump in saying "Why are you being hostile to women?" in response to people's response to her comment.
Peter T 08.10.16 at 7:08 amside comment:
neo-liberalism has been dying for over a decade. It's just that these transitions are a slow process (think of how most western countries are still adjusting to the fact that the 30-year growth spurt 1950-80 is well and truly over).
Increased border controls, concessions to anti-immigrant feeling, withdrawal by middle-tier Asian nations from the consensus, alternative institutions fostered by the BRICs, Brexit, revivals of western interest in industry policy, increasing questioning of the financial industry – all moves away from the platform.
It won't be fast, it won't be all (or mostly) in directions the left wants, it won't be a consistent or continuous change, but it is happening.
stevenjohnson 08.09.16 at 3:46 pmCriticizing Clinton from the right is just as reactionary as criticizing Trump from the right. Further, assigning an individual such personal responsibility denies the reality of a bipartisan system that administers an imperialist government with only a formal simulacrum of popular support. That is, this "criticism" is fundamentally from the right.
In particular, criticizing Clinton by falsely assigning her responsibility for Obama's policies fails because it's so transparently dishonest. The notion that Clinton made Libya policy for the UN ambassador Power is dubious enough. The careers of Stevenson and Bolton alone show that the potential importance of security council veto means the President reserves direct supervision for himself, no matter what an organizational chart may say.
The further implication that she manipulated Obama is silly on the face of it. It was Obama who dealt with Cameron and Sarkozy, who were above her pay grade. The Syrian policies continued after she was gone, nearly coming to open war entirely without her. The implication that for a Secretary of State to sell weapons to foreign nations isn't constituent service borders on the silly. Besides, isolationism is not left win, never has been, never was.
And the implication that the any US government would ever favor supporting a leftish president in Latin America because of its commitment to democracy thoroughly falsifies the nature of the US government. Disappearing left criticism of Obama is thoroughly reactionary.
Also, the insistence on using the years of nonsense dispensed by rabid right wingers spouting all sorts of crazed BS about how crooked Billary is, is endorsing the Mighty Wurlitzer. Jerry Falwell was speaking truth to power when he ranted about Vince Foster? Buying into this is buying decades of reactionary propaganda. I suppose this is mindlessness enough to satisfy people who alleged that SYRIZA was going to save Greece (the rock that should by the way have sunk Jacobin magazines credibility, leaving next to the Titanic,) or Bernie Sanders was starting a revolution.
It is of course true that Trump isn't unprecedented. His great precedent is of course Richard Nixon, who also had a plan. I suppose F. Foundling eager awaits Trump's great "Nixon goes to China" moment. I have no idea why.
Whether Trump or Clinton, the next president is very likely to be impeached and convicted. As to which one it is, there has really never been much doubt that Clinton in the end will gain enough minority support to carry the big cities. But if the reactionaries depress the turnout enough, Trump has a shot at an electoral college victory, especially given the precedents on how votes are counted.
The infunny thing is, either Pence (a Ted Cruz without testicles,) or Kaine (an Obama DNC chair and thoroughly vetted Armed Service committeeman,) are nightmares.
Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 1:41 pm674CR: "that strategy actually runs the risk of harming down-ballot Democrats running for office in Congress and state legislatures. It may help Clinton, but it's not good for the party."
It's Obama redux. Remember how he wanted to work with his friends across the aisle in a Grand Bargain that would bring moderation and centrist agreement to all things? He validated budget-balance mania during austerity and would have bargained away Social Security if he could have. He predictably lost the Congress in the first mid-term election and did nothing to build the party back up.
People don't yet understand that this is just how neoliberals are. The two fundamental loyalties in a state party system have nothing to do with solidarity: they're loyalty up, and loyalty down. Neoliberals are happy to accept whatever loyalty up they are given by fools and suckers: they have no loyalty down at all and will never do the elementary political operations of repaying their base or creating a party that will work for anyone else. This goes beyond ordinary political selfishness to the fact that they don't really want a populist party: that would push them to harm the interests of their real base.
And people don't react to this, fundamentally, because they don't really do politics outside of 4-year scareathons. Look at LFC's description above about how people should march if candidates don't follow through on their promises. Why aren't they marching now: why haven't they in the Obama years?
bruce wilder 08.12.16 at 6:39 pm 687Rich Puchalsky @ 674William Timberman 08.12.16 at 7:45 pm 688
I am with you on your main thesis, but I thought I would offer this sidenote.
On solidarity: solidarity isn't about the (hierarchy of) relationships among politicians or political operatives. Solidarity is about membership, not leadership.
Solidarity can feel good. "We are all in this together, united." Or, it can feel constricting, as it demands conformity and senseless uniformity, obeisance to unnecessary authority. Resentments are its solvent and its boundary-keepers. Social affiliation and common rituals are its nurturers in its fallow times, which can be historically frequent and long. Solidarity is the means to great common, coordinated efforts, that is to trust in leadership and that great solvent of political stalemate: sacrifice to the common good.
Solidarity is a powerful force, sometimes historically an eruptive force, and though not by itself intelligent, not necessarily hostile to intelligent direction, but it calls on the individual's narcissism and anger not rational understanding or calculation. It is present as a flash in riots and a fire in insurrections and a great raging furnace in national wars of total mobilization. Elites can fear it or be enveloped by it or manipulate it cynically or with cruel callousness. Though it is a means to common effort and common sacrifice, it demands wages for its efforts and must be fed prodigious resources if it is long at work.
As American Party politics have degenerated, solidarity has come to have a fraught relationship with identity politics. In both Parties.
I don't see anything in the conceptual logic driving things forward. I see this state of affairs as the playing out of historical processes, one step after another. But, this year's "scareathon" puts identity politics squarely against the economic claims of class or even national solidarity. The identity politics frame of equal opportunity exploitation has Paul Krugman talking up "horizontal inequality". Memes float about suggesting that free trade is aiding global equality even if it is at the expense of increasing domestic inequality. Or, suggesting that labor unions were the implacable enemy of racial equality back in the day or that FDR's New Deal was only for white people. Hillary Clinton's stump speech, for a while, had her asking, "If we broke up the big banks tomorrow, . . . would that end racism? would that end sexism?"
It is convenient politics in several ways. First, no one can hold Clinton responsible for not ending racism and sexism any more than GWB could be held responsible for not winning the war on terrorism. These are perpetual struggles by definition.
Second, it combines the display of righteous do-good ism with a promise of social progress that might actually benefit directly the most ambitious, even if it leaves most people without support. People who have done well in the system, or who might expect to, can feel good about themselves. And, ignore the system or rationalize away the system's manifest shortcomings. The people who are complaining are racists! BernieBros! It is all about the loss of status being experienced by white men, and they shouldn't be heard anyway.
The moral righteousness of identity politics adds in an element that goes way beyond the lazy failure to hold politicians accountable or the tendency to explain away their more Machiavellian maneuvers. There's both an actual blindness to the reactionary conservatism of equal opportunity exploitation and a peremptory challenge to any other claim or analysis. If police practices and procedures are trending in an authoritarian direction, they can only be challenged on grounds of racist effect or intent. The authoritarianism cannot be challenged on its own merit, so the building of the authoritarian state goes on unimpeded, since the principle that is challenged is not authoritarianism, but a particular claim of racism or sexism.What we've got here is a distorted or atrophied sense of the relationship between solidarity and the consent of the governed, between democracy and legitimacy, or more generally, between the individual and the collective. I suppose you could argue that we've evolved beyond what we were when we first came to understand these relationships in the abstract (in the 18th century?), and that, accordingly, they can no longer be understood in the way we once thought we understood them.
If so, maybe we ought to try being a little more honest about what we're willing to pay as individuals for what we get as members of a group. Otherwise, it's hard to see how we can come to terms with our confusion, or survive the malignancies that being confused has introduced into all our group dynamics, not just the overtly political ones.
crookedtimber.orgbruce wilder 08.12.16 at 11:38 pm 714engels @ 706: Narcissism by definition involves a failure to connect with others whereas solidarity requires it. So I find the claim the two are linked more than a little baffling.
Narcissism gets a bad rap from its associations with attempts to pathologize normal human functioning. A healthy narcissism expressed in a pride in one's appearance, confidence in one's own capacities is nothing bad. People should seek and find ways to admire themselves and to be selfish - it is important to finding a center and balance.
Narcissism, strictly speaking, is not the failure to connect with others, but the failure to distinguish the self from others. In that sense, solidarity, which is identifying one's self with the group of which one is a member, is narcissistic. Un pour tous, tous pour un, as the Musketeers said.
Pathological narcissism may be hinted at in the form of parental praise used as a cliche in America in place of expressions of admiration: "I'm so proud of you." As if your achievements were somehow the speaker's achievements.
Pejorative uses of narcissism as a synonym for selfish tend to emphasize narcissism as excessive, but actual pathological narcissism is pathetic: it is the normal capacity to be self-centered broken: the beautiful woman insatiably seeking admiration but who cannot stand to be touched.
bruce wilder 08.13.16 at 12:34 amF Foundling @ 705: In any case, [solidarity] doesn't need to be irrational or to have to do with narcissism (as suggested in 687) any more than acting in your own personal interests needs to be irrational or to have to do with narcissism.
Thank you for thoughtful remarks @ 705 and @694.
"Rational" and "irrational" can be a cause of great confusion. It is not some virtue I wish to ascribe, but, rather, to my mind, a matter of gamesmanship. As a strategy, not an ethic, solidarity is a way of committing one's self irrationally to not reconsider one's interests.
The rat, betraying solidarity, is rational and selfish and calculating. Upholding solidarity requires an irrational ethic to trump strategic reconsideration.
There can certainly be an element of enlightened self-interest in a commitment to solidarity. We hope this gift of the self to the community is not done stupidly or without some deliberate consideration of consequences.
But, in the game, in the political contest where solidarity matters, where elite power is confronted, solidarity entails a degree of passionate commitment and even self-sacrifice. Whether expressed as an individual act of "altruistic punishment" or the common unwillingness to cooperate with the powers-that-be in a labor strike, there has to be a willingness to bear costs and forego opportunities.
People have to be a bit mad to want justice.
bruce wilder 08.13.16 at 12:47 am 719Appreciate Michael Pettis on the Trump phenomenon. He wrote this piece back in March and for reasons I cannot quite fathom he tried to tie in the Jacksonians - as if Donald Trump is some faded reprint of Andrew Jackson. But, ignore the part about the Jacksonians in American history and pay attention to what he says about his friend who is a supporter of Trump. It will complement Doug Henwood nicely, I suspect.
And, Pettis has nothing nice to say about Trump - so no fear!
F. Foundling 08.13.16 at 1:30 am@ bruce wilder 718
> The rat, betraying solidarity, is rational and selfish and calculating. Upholding solidarity requires an irrational ethic to trump strategic reconsideration.
Well, this presupposes that pursuing one's self-interest as an end in itself is natural, self-evident and hence purely rational, whereas striving to further the interests of someone else as an end in itself or striving to adhere to ethical behaviour as an end in itself is abnormal and irrational. I see no particular reason to assume this view. Assessment of rationality is possible with respect to the choice of means to a given end, but not in the choice of the end itself. Second, even in terms of self-interest, it is far from clear in each particular case whether solidary behaviour will be beneficial or harmful to the individual on balance, and whether the forgoing of costs will not result in better opportunities in the long run (the various Prisoner's Dilemma scenarios and suchlike are anything but straightforward and depend on many variables).
On selfishness and solidarity again:
The way I see it, pursuing one's own interests is not selfishness, but just a matter of practical division of labour and responsibilities. Everyone deserves well-being equally, but by default everyone is entrusted with his own well-being – it's simply the most practical arrangement. To take an extreme and comical example, I can recognise that my digestion is objectively no more important/valuable than that of any other person, but in practice it is obviously most efficient that *I* should take it upon myself to chew the food that *I* will digest, and *others* should take care of the chewing of *their* food. :) Selfishness begins where you consider yourself and your needs to have greater value than others, which may result in potentially unethical choices where interests conflict (say, taking others' food, not sharing the food fairly, letting others starve, etc.).
In that sense, solidarity might be said to include a measure of this sort of responsiblity on a collective level. It is understood that if someone in my neighbourhood needs help, it's up to *me* to volunteer to help first, not to someone living in a different city altogether. This need not imply that I consider a person to be more valuable just because he lives closer to me, or that I should defend him if he wrongs someone living in a different city. The first would be extended personal responsibility, the second would be extended selfishness and narcissism, but both can be described as 'solidarity (at neighbourhood level)'.
kidneystones 08.12.16 at 7:00 am 669@ 668 "Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors."
"But there's more evidence that he's batshit crazy. He declaimed that he knew more about ISIS than all the generals. He will trust no one's judgment but his own."
So, your argument is that Obama (your Muslim socialist) should never have been trusted to be in the Oval Office.
And that by these, your standards, Trump is no crazier than the current Democratic president.
kidneystones 08.12.16 at 7:39 am 671@670 "I won't even look up the quote"
Oh, you don't need to. That boat sailed the moment you decided to make Obama level hubris grounds for ineligibility. Obama's 'accomplishments prior to entering the Senate in 2004 are the stuff of legend to the clueless, of course.
How many ordinary Americans under the age of 40 can look in the mirror and find the stuff of not one, but two autobiographies? That certainly speaks a remarkable level of – what shall we call it? Well, probably not modesty.
My life twice – plenty for everyone like to learn from! The perfect preparation for a great presidency. That and my love of basketball. That's what makes me so smart! Did anyone notice I'm young, black and handsome? Ignore that, please.
And we are where we are. I've elided the 'if you don't support O, you're David Duke in a dress' stuff. No need to dredge up the practical politics of Hope and Change at this late date.
Trump in 2016!
The American ConservativeMcConnell's wit, especially sharp when cutting up his former comrades, had me laughing out loud. Describing Fred Barnes's Rebel in Chief , a hagiography of George W. Bush, he writes : "For readers who might wonder what it is like to be a North Korean and required to read formulaic biographies of great helmsman Kim Il Sung and his son, an afternoon spent with Rebel in Chief should provide a proximate answer."
If the New York Post is their Pravda , then The Weekly Standard is the neocons' Iskra , where the ideological twists and turns of the Party Line are explicated at some length, and not without some elegance, as McConnell notes. The weekly's key role in diverting the Bush administration into Iraq after the 9/11 attacks is here laid out in all its Machiavellian sinuosity. And the distinctly Soviet air of the Kristolian style is illustrated quite nicely by McConnell's description of the magazine's covers, a typical one being "George W. Bush, gesticulating before an audience of troops, arm extended in a Caesarian pose. 'The Liberator,' the Standard headline proclaimed. Flatter the leader who will do your bidding."
Yet there is a bit more to the literature of the courtier than appears on the surface. Flatter the king, get close enough to whisper in his ear-and then, if necessary, bury the knife deep in his back. Barnes depicts Bush as the bold leader who defied "the crabbed views of experts. And lest we forget, it is Bush alone who has done this, not his advisors. The cynical might suspect that this last is a form of neoconservative special pleading, designed to spirit the war party intellectuals away from the scene when the Bush policy goes down in flames." Which is precisely what happened, as McConnell chronicles in detail.
The damage this political cult has done to the American polity, and to the Middle East, cannot even be calculated: how much, after all, is a human life worth? What about hundreds of thousands of lives? Yet they never seem to be finally defeated: as McConnell puts it , "if disrespecting the neoconservatives is emerging as a minor national sport, it should be enjoyed and tempered with realism." Sure, "the last few years have been difficult for the faction," but "they have other options." As they stream back into the Democratic Party after being steamrollered by Donald Trump- Robert Kagan and Max Boot are shilling for Hillary, with more of their comrades soon to follow-the former Scoop Jackson Democrats have come full circle, their survival skills fully intact.
They "certainly won't disappear in the way that American communism or segregation have," says McConnell , and one big reason is because "Perhaps most importantly neoconservatism still commands more salaries-able people who can pursue ideological politics as fulltime work in think tanks and periodicals-than its rivals." Which means "the reports of the movement's demise"-and I've authored a few of those-"are thus very much exaggerated."
Well, yes, that's unfortunately true. We've heard of the neocons' demise so many times that the prospect has now become somewhat hopeless: they just keep reincarnating themselves in another form. But that shouldn't stop us from hoping against hope.
In spite of this book's title, there is much more to it than the storied history of the neocons as seen from inside the tent. There are sections on Israel, the run up to the Iraq war, President Obama, reflections on history, Russia and NATO, racial politics, and more. McConnell is at his best when he writes in the first person: a trip through Syria and Palestine, detailed in " Divided and Conquered ," reveals a perception honed to the finest detail, and a sensitivity and compassion that invariably breaks through a reserved WASP-y persona. McConnell isn't just an observer, with a keen eye for detail: he projects himself into these geopolitical conundrums, imbued with the sort of empathy that connects both himself and the reader to real human suffering, a quality that makes him a trenchant critic of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
That critique is laid out in a long essay, " The Special Relationship With Israel: Is It Worth the Cost? " in which the history and consequences of our protracted and expensive patronage of the Jewish state is analyzed and detailed in ways you haven't seen or read before. McConnell likes the Israelis, supports their right to nationhood, and yet insists that we treat them as a normal country, not a pampered child who throws tantrums to get what it wants. He is measured, rational, compassionate, and, most of all, very well informed. We find out many things along the way, such as the real nature of the "good deal" that Yasser Arafat rejected, and rightly so.
At the end of a long " Open Letter to David Horowitz on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict ," in which the author takes apart the irascible pro-Israel fanatic's argument that the Palestinians aren't really a people and should just get lost, he writes; "David, I hope you know this letter is written in a spirit of friendly, even comradely, disagreement and that it comes from someone who has plenty of appreciation for everything you have done since you came out as a 'Lefty for Reagan' seventeen years ago, and who was an avid Ramparts reader a dozen years before that."
For my part, he gives Horowitz far too much credit, but that's an essential part of the author of Ex-Neocon : a gentleness that allows him to appreciate the talent and achievements of his ideological opposite numbers, even as he tears their arguments to shreds. His personality comes through in a way that is understated and yet strong. Here he is in Virginia Beach , canvassing for Obama during the 2012 election, riding around with a bunch of female volunteers, two black and one white:
It was a curiously moving experience. … I have led most of my life not caring very much whether the poor voted, and indeed have sometimes been aware my interests aligned with them not voting at all. But that has changed. And so one knocks on one door after another in tiny houses and apartments in Chesapeake and Newport News, some of them nicely kept and clearly striving to make the best of a modest lot, others as close to the developing world as one gets in America. And at moments one feels a kind of calling-and then laughs at the Alinskian presumption of it all. Yes, we are all connected.
So what was this ex-neocon, former campaign manager for Pat Buchanan's last presidential run, and former editor of The American Conservative doing canvassing for Barack Obama? You really have to read this book to find out.
Justin Raimondo is editorial director of Antiwar.com and the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement .
jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.comThere is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past."But they maintain a firm grasp on information and power, for their own sake, and sidetrack and stifle any meaningful reform.
In October 2000 Thomas Frank published a prescient critical social analysis titled, One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy .
In the video below from 2015, Thomas Frank looks back over the past 15 years to when he wrote this insightful book, and ends with this observation."I want to end with the idea that the market is capable of resolving all of our social conflict, fairly and justly. That is the great idea of the 1990's. And we all know now what a crock that is. I think what we need in order to restore some kind of sense of fairness is not the final triumph of markets over the body and soul of humanity, but something that confronts markets, and that refuses to think of itself as a brand ."The book was not received well at the time in the waning days of the Clinton revolution and the birth of the era of the neo-cons in foreign policy and neo-liberals in economics.
This religion of the markets had yet to suffer the serial failures and decimation of the real economy which it would see over the next sixteen years.
This is an ideology, a mindset, and as Frank calls it a religion, of taking market capitalism to such an extreme that it dispenses with the notion of restraints by human or policy consideration. It comes to consider the market as a god, with its orthodoxy crafted in think tanks, its temples in the exchanges and the banks, and its oracles on their media and the academy.
This extreme form of market capitalism, also called neo-liberalism in economics and neo-conservatism in foreign policy, has worked its way into the mindset of the ruling elites of many of the developed nations, and has taken a place in the public consciousness through steady repetition. I has become the modern orthodoxy of the fortunate few, who have been initiated into its rites, and served and been blessed by their god.
It is the taking of an idea, of a way of looking at things, that may be substantially practical when used as a tool to help to achieve certain outcomes, and placing it in such an extreme and inappropriate place as an end in itself, as the very definition and arbiter of what is good and what is not, that it becomes a kind of anti-human force that is itself considered beyond all good and evil, like a natural law.
It is born of and brings with it an extreme tendency that kills thought, and stifles the ability to make distinctions between things. If not unfettered capitalism then what, communism ? The adherents become blind by their devotion to their gods.
This is not something new. It is a madness that has appeared again and again throughout history in the form of Mammon, the golden idol of the markets. It is a way of looking at people and the world that is as old as Babylon, and as evil as sin.
Mar 30, 2016 | YouTube
Thomas Frank, Author, What's the Matter with Kansas? and Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?
James Taylor, Ph.D., Director of African American Studies and Professor of Political Science, University of San Francisco-Moderator
Come hear the best-selling author of What's the Matter with Kansas? echo that question as it relates to the Democratic Party. Frank says liberals like to believe that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, then the country will be on the right course. But he says this view fundamentally misunderstands the modern Democratic Party. Frank says that the Democrats have in fact done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, he argues that Democrats have occupied the White House for 16 of the last 24 years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated, Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.
In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats back to their historic goals-what he says is the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America. A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper's, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and writes regularly for Salon.
Kristin Lee, 2 days agoSocial mobility was stunted by the onslaught of neoliberalism, which simultaneously celebrates self-cultivation while pulling the ladder up on millions of people, burdening them with credit card and student debt, lowering the quality of public education, raising the costs of healthcare and devising clever Wall St strategies that raid commercial banks and now the SS fund. It's a theatre of cruelty, as Henry Giroux describes it. More to the point, it is economic fascism.joanofarc33, 12 hours ago,Well if Trump signals the death of the Republican Party then surely the Clinton dynasty will mark the death of the Dem party. The working class people of this country, the environment cannot survive another neoliberal Clinton and their TPP, this is endgame stuff right here. TPP means the inability to peacefully change the system.Chet Roman, 1 month agoTaylor states that Obama was the most progressive president between 2008 and 2010 and then the conservatives, Tea Party and others attached him. What utter nonsense. During that period of time Obama and the Democrats controlled both houses of the Congress and he did almost nothing to advance a "liberal" agenda. He wouldn't even allow single payer advocates a seat at the negotiating table and Obamacare was essentially drafted by a healthcare/insurance industry lobbyist. Obama gave a "free get out of jail card" to all the financial criminals on Wall Street. Obama chose James Rubin, son of #1 financial crook Robert Rubin, to fill all his administration's financial positions, Obama chose the very smart but incompetent knucklehead Larry Summers. Obama won "Ad Age Marketer of the Year" award for his 2008 campaign. That says it all; it was an ad campaign much like selling a breakfast serial that is just sugar and empty carbohydrates but tastes good. He was groomed and supported very early on by a couple of very wealthy families (Pritzkers and Crowns) and had the support of Wall Street. He received more funds from Wall Street than his opponent, John McCain, much more.
Hillary For Prison 2016
The word "union" wasn't simply attacked by the right. It was also eroded by the corruption within its own ranks. Unions lost power when NAFTA was enacted, so they simply kept collecting dues even though they couldn't do a fucking thing. If they had told their workers to strike, the company would have moved to another location and union popularity would go down anyway. No one wants to pay dues to someone who makes their family suffer only to lose the battle. So instead, unions sucked up to management and just kept collecting dues so the company would stick around here..where they CAN collect dues. They don't collect dues in Mexico or Canada. THAT's why the word "union" stinks anymore. It means "sell out who ignores the problems of their team mates to save their own skin."
New Concerned Leadership Needed.
consortiumnews.comAugust 15, 2016 | Consortiumnews
The U.S. foreign policy establishment and its mainstream media operate with a pervasive set of hypocritical standards that justify war crimes - or what might be called a "normalization of deviance," writes Nicolas J S Davies.
Sociologist Diane Vaughan coined the term "normalization of deviance" as she was investigating the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986. She used it to describe how the social culture at NASA fostered a disregard for rigorous, physics-based safety standards, effectively creating new, lower de facto standards that came to govern actual NASA operations and led to catastrophic and deadly failures.
Vaughan published her findings in her prize-winning book , The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture and Deviance at NASA , which, in her words, "shows how mistake, mishap, and disaster are socially organized and systematically produced by social structures" and "shifts our attention from individual causal explanations to the structure of power and the power of structure and culture – factors that are difficult to identify and untangle yet have great impact on decision making in organizations."
President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.
When the same pattern of organizational culture and behavior at NASA persisted until the loss of a second shuttle in 2003, Diane Vaughan was appointed to NASA's accident investigation board, which belatedly embraced her conclusion that the "normalization of deviance" was a critical factor in these catastrophic failures.
The normalization of deviance has since been cited in a wide range of corporate crimes and institutional failures, from Volkswagen's rigging of emissions tests to deadly medical mistakes in hospitals. In fact, the normalization of deviance is an ever-present danger in most of the complex institutions that govern the world we live in today, not least in the bureaucracy that formulates and conducts U.S. foreign policy.
The normalization of deviance from the rules and standards that formally govern U.S. foreign policy has been quite radical. And yet, as in other cases, this has gradually been accepted as a normal state of affairs, first within the corridors of power, then by the corporate media and eventually by much of the public at large.
Once deviance has been culturally normalized, as Vaughan found in the shuttle program at NASA, there is no longer any effective check on actions that deviate radically from formal or established standards – in the case of U.S. foreign policy, that would refer to the rules and customs of international law, the checks and balances of our constitutional political system and the experience and evolving practice of generations of statesmen and diplomats.
Normalizing the Abnormal
It is in the nature of complex institutions infected by the normalization of deviance that insiders are incentivized to downplay potential problems and to avoid precipitating a reassessment based on previously established standards. Once rules have been breached, decision-makers face a cognitive and ethical conundrum whenever the same issue arises again: they can no longer admit that an action will violate responsible standards without admitting that they have already violated them in the past.
This is not just a matter of avoiding public embarrassment and political or criminal accountability, but a real instance of collective cognitive dissonance among people who have genuinely, although often self-servingly, embraced a deviant culture. Diane Vaughan has compared the normalization of deviance to an elastic waistband that keeps on stretching.
At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as "shock and awe."
Within the high priesthood that now manages U.S. foreign policy, advancement and success are based on conformity with this elastic culture of normalized deviance. Whistle-blowers are punished or even prosecuted, and people who question the prevailing deviant culture are routinely and efficiently marginalized, not promoted to decision-making positions.
For example, once U.S. officials had accepted the Orwellian "doublethink" that "targeted killings," or "manhunts" as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called them, do not violate long-standing prohibitions against assassination , even a new administration could not walk that decision back without forcing a deviant culture to confront the wrong-headedness and illegality of its original decision.
Then, once the Obama administration had massively escalated the CIA's drone program as an alternative to kidnapping and indefinite detention at Guantanamo, it became even harder to acknowledge that this is a policy of cold-blooded murder that provokes widespread anger and hostility and is counter-productive to legitimate counterterrorism goals – or to admit that it violates the U.N. Charter's prohibition on the use of force, as U.N. special rapporteurs on extrajudicial killings have warned .
Underlying such decisions is the role of U.S. government lawyers who provide legal cover for them, but who are themselves shielded from accountability by U.S. non-recognition of international courts and the extraordinary deference of U.S. courts to the Executive Branch on matters of "national security." These lawyers enjoy a privilege that is unique in their profession, issuing legal opinions that they will never have to defend before impartial courts to provide legal fig-leaves for war crimes.
The deviant U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy has branded the formal rules that are supposed to govern our country's international behavior as "obsolete" and "quaint", as a White House lawyer wrote in 2004 . And yet these are the very rules that past U.S. leaders deemed so vital that they enshrined them in constitutionally binding international treaties and U.S. law.
Let's take a brief look at how the normalization of deviance undermines two of the most critical standards that formally define and legitimize U.S. foreign policy: the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions.
The United Nations Charter
In 1945, after two world wars killed 100 million people and left much of the world in ruins, the world's governments were shocked into a moment of sanity in which they agreed to settle future international disputes peacefully. The U.N. Charter therefore prohibits the threat or use of force in international relations.
As President Franklin Roosevelt told a joint session of Congress on his return from the Yalta conference, this new "permanent structure of peace … should spell the end of the system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, the spheres of influence, the balance of power, and all the other expedients that have been tried for centuries – and have always failed."
The U.N. Charter's prohibition against the threat or use of force codifies the long-standing prohibition of aggression in English common law and customary international law, and reinforces the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy in the 1928 Kellogg Briand Pact . The judges at Nuremberg ruled that, even before the U.N. Charter came into effect, aggression was already the "supreme international crime."
No U.S. leader has proposed abolishing or amending the U.N. Charter to permit aggression by the U.S. or any other country. And yet the U.S. is currently conducting ground operations, air strikes or drone strikes in at least seven countries: Afghanistan; Pakistan; Iraq; Syria; Yemen; Somalia; and Libya. U.S. "special operations forces" conduct secret operations in a hundred more . U.S. leaders still openly threaten Iran, despite a diplomatic breakthrough that was supposed to peacefully settle bilateral differences.
President-in-waiting Hillary Clinton still believes in backing U.S. demands on other countries with illegal threats of force, even though every threat she has backed in the past has only served to create a pretext for war, from Yugoslavia to Iraq to Libya. But the U.N. Charter prohibits the threat as well as the use of force precisely because the one so regularly leads to the other.
The only justifications for the use of force permitted under the U.N. Charter are proportionate and necessary self-defense or an emergency request by the U.N. Security Council for military action "to restore peace and security." But no other country has attacked the United States, nor has the Security Council asked the U.S. to bomb or invade any of the countries where we are now at war.
The wars we have launched since 2001 have killed about 2 million people , of whom nearly all were completely innocent of involvement in the crimes of 9/11. Instead of "restoring peace and security," U.S. wars have only plunged country after country into unending violence and chaos.
Like the specifications ignored by the engineers at NASA, the U.N. Charter is still in force, in black and white, for anyone in the world to read. But the normalization of deviance has replaced its nominally binding rules with looser, vaguer ones that the world's governments and people have neither debated, negotiated nor agreed to.
In this case, the formal rules being ignored are the ones that were designed to provide a viable framework for the survival of human civilization in the face of the existential threat of modern weapons and warfare – surely the last rules on Earth that should have been quietly swept under a rug in the State Department basement.
The Geneva Conventions
Courts martial and investigations by officials and human rights groups have exposed "rules of engagement" issued to U.S. forces that flagrantly violate the Geneva Conventions and the protections they provide to wounded combatants, prisoners of war and civilians in war-torn countries:
–The Command's Responsibility report by Human Rights First examined 98 deaths in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. It revealed a deviant culture in which senior officials abused their authority to block investigations and guarantee their own impunity for murders and torture deaths that U.S. law defines as capital crimes .
Although torture was authorized from the very top of the chain of command, the most senior officer charged with a crime was a Major and the harshest sentence handed down was a five-month prison sentence.
–U.S. rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan have included: systematic, theater-wide use of torture ; orders to "dead-check" or kill wounded enemy combatants; orders to "kill all military-age males" during certain operations; and "weapons-free" zones that mirror Vietnam-era "free-fire" zones.
A U.S. Marine corporal told a court martial that "Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency", nullifying the critical distinction between combatants and civilians that is the very basis of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
When junior officers or enlisted troops have been charged with war crimes, they have been exonerated or given light sentences because courts have found that they were acting on orders from more senior officers. But the senior officers implicated in these crimes have been allowed to testify in secret or not to appear in court at all, and no senior officer has been convicted of a war crime.
- –For the past year, U.S. forces bombing Iraq and Syria have operated under loosened rules of engagement that allow the in-theater commander General McFarland to approve bomb- and missile-strikes that are expected to kill up to 10 civilians each. But Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network has documented that U.S. rules of engagement already permit routine targeting of civilians based only on cell-phone records or "guilt by proximity" to other people targeted for assassination. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has determined that only 4 percent of thousands of drone victims in Pakistan have been positively identified as Al Qaeda members, the nominal targets of the CIA's drone campaign.
- –Amnesty International's 2014 report Left In The Dark documented a complete lack of accountability for the killing of civilians by U.S. forces in Afghanistan since President Obama's escalation of the war in 2009 unleashed thousands more air strikes and special forces night raids.
Nobody was charged over the Ghazi Khan raid in Kunar province on Dec. 26, 2009, in which U.S. special forces summarily executed at least seven children, including four who were only 11 or 12 years old.
More recently, U.S. forces attacked a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, killing 42 doctors, staff and patients, but this flagrant violation of Article 18 of the Fourth Geneva Convention did not lead to criminal charges either.
Although the U.S. government would not dare to formally renounce the Geneva Conventions, the normalization of deviance has effectively replaced them with elastic standards of behavior and accountability whose main purpose is to shield senior U.S. military officers and civilian officials from accountability for war crimes.
The Cold War and Its Aftermath
The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy is a byproduct of the disproportionate economic, diplomatic and military power of the United States since 1945. No other country could have got away with such flagrant and systematic violations of international law.
But in the early days of the Cold War, America's World War II leaders rejected calls to exploit their new-found power and temporary monopoly on nuclear weapons to unleash an aggressive war against the U.S.S.R.
General Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech in St. Louis in 1947 in which he warned, "Those who measure security solely in terms of offensive capacity distort its meaning and mislead those who pay them heed. No modern nation has ever equaled the crushing offensive power attained by the German war machine in 1939. No modern nation was broken and smashed as was Germany six years later."
But, as Eisenhower later warned, the Cold War soon gave rise to a "military-industrial complex" that may be the case par excellence of a highly complex tangle of institutions whose social culture is supremely prone to the normalization of deviance. Privately, Eisenhower lamented, "God help this country when someone sits in this chair who doesn't know the military as well as I do."
That describes everyone who has sat in that chair and tried to manage the U.S. military-industrial complex since 1961, involving critical decisions on war and peace and an ever-growing military budget . Advising the President on these matters are the Vice President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of National Intelligence, several generals and admirals and the chairs of powerful Congressional committees. Nearly all these officials' careers represent some version of the "revolving door" between the military and "intelligence" bureaucracy, the executive and legislative branches of government, and top jobs with military contractors and lobbying firms.
Each of the close advisers who have the President's ear on these most critical issues is in turn advised by others who are just as deeply embedded in the military-industrial complex, from think-tanks funded by weapons manufacturers to Members of Congress with military bases or missile plants in their districts to journalists and commentators who market fear, war and militarism to the public.
With the rise of sanctions and financial warfare as a tool of U.S. power, Wall Street and the Treasury and Commerce Departments are also increasingly entangled in this web of military-industrial interests.
The incentives driving the creeping, gradual normalization of deviance throughout the ever-growing U.S. military-industrial complex have been powerful and mutually reinforcing for over 70 years, exactly as Eisenhower warned.
Richard Barnet explored the deviant culture of Vietnam-era U.S. war leaders in his 1972 book Roots Of War . But there are particular reasons why the normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy has become even more dangerous since the end of the Cold War.
In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. and U.K. installed allied governments in Western and Southern Europe, restored Western colonies in Asia and militarily occupied South Korea . The divisions of Korea and Vietnam into north and south were justified as temporary, but the governments in the south were U.S. creations imposed to prevent reunification under governments allied with the U.S.S.R. or China. U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam were then justified, legally and politically, as military assistance to allied governments fighting wars of self-defense.
The U.S. role in anti-democratic coups in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, Chile and other countries was veiled behind thick layers of secrecy and propaganda. A veneer of legitimacy was still considered vital to U.S. policy, even as a culture of deviance was being normalized and institutionalized beneath the surface.
The Reagan Years
It was not until the 1980s that the U.S. ran seriously afoul of the post-1945 international legal framework it had helped to build. When the U.S. set out to destroy the revolutionary Sandinista government of Nicaragua by mining its harbors and dispatching a mercenary army to terrorize its people, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) convicted the U.S. of aggression and ordered it to pay war reparations.
The U.S. response revealed how far the normalization of deviance had already taken hold of its foreign policy. Instead of accepting and complying with the court's ruling, the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the binding jurisdiction of the ICJ.
When Nicaragua asked the U.N. Security Council to enforce the payment of reparations ordered by the court, the U.S. abused its position as a Permanent Member of the Security Council to veto the resolution. Since the 1980s, the U.S. has vetoed twice as many Security Council resolutions as the other Permanent Members combined, and the U.N. General Assembly passed resolutions condemning the U.S. invasions of Grenada (by 108 to 9) and Panama (by 75 to 20), calling the latter "a flagrant violation of international law."
President George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher obtained U.N. authorization for the First Gulf War and resisted calls to launch a war of regime change against Iraq in violation of their U.N. mandate. Their forces massacred Iraqi forces fleeing Kuwait , and a U.N. report described how the "near apocalyptic" U.S.-led bombardment of Iraq reduced what "had been until January a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society" to "a pre-industrial age nation."
But new voices began to ask why the U.S. should not exploit its unchallenged post-Cold War military superiority to use force with even less restraint. During the Bush-Clinton transition, Madeleine Albright confronted General Colin Powell over his "Powell doctrine" of limited war, protesting, "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?"
Public hopes for a "peace dividend" were ultimately trumped by a "power dividend" sought by military-industrial interests. The neoconservatives of the Project for the New American Century led the push for war on Iraq, while "humanitarian interventionists" now use the "soft power" of propaganda to selectively identify and demonize targets for U.S.-led regime change and then justify war under the "responsibility to protect" or other pretexts. U.S. allies (NATO, Israel, the Arab monarchies et al) are exempt from such campaigns, safe within what Amnesty International has labeled an "accountability-free zone."
Madeleine Albright and her colleagues branded Slobodan Milosevic a "new Hitler" for trying to hold Yugoslavia together, even as they ratcheted up their own genocidal sanctions against Iraq . Ten years after Milosevic died in prison at the Hague, he was posthumously exonerated by an international court.
In 1999, when U.K. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Secretary of State Albright the British government was having trouble "with its lawyers" over NATO plans to attack Yugoslavia without U.N. authorization, Albright told him he should "get new lawyers."
By the time mass murder struck New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, the normalization of deviance was so firmly rooted in the corridors of power that voices of peace and reason were utterly marginalized.
Former Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz told NPR eight days later, "It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done. … We must make a distinction between punishing the guilty and punishing others. If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don't approve of what has happened."
But from the day of the crime, the war machine was in motion, targeting Iraq as well as Afghanistan.
The normalization of deviance that promoted war and marginalized reason at that moment of national crisis was not limited to Dick Cheney and his torture-happy acolytes, and so the global war they unleashed in 2001 is still spinning out of control.
When President Obama was elected in 2008 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, few people understood how many of the people and interests shaping his policies were the same people and interests who had shaped President George W. Bush's, nor how deeply they were all steeped in the same deviant culture that had unleashed war, systematic war crimes and intractable violence and chaos upon the world.
A Sociopathic Culture
Until the American public, our political representatives and our neighbors around the world can come to grips with the normalization of deviance that is corrupting the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, the existential threats of nuclear war and escalating conventional war will persist and spread.
President George W. Bush pauses for applause during his State of the Union Address on Jan. 28, 2003, when he made a fraudulent case for invading Iraq. Seated behind him are Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (White House photo)
This deviant culture is sociopathic in its disregard for the value of human life and for the survival of human life on Earth. The only thing "normal" about it is that it pervades the powerful, entangled institutions that control U.S. foreign policy, rendering them impervious to reason, public accountability or even catastrophic failure.
The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy is driving a self-fulfilling reduction of our miraculous multicultural world to a "battlefield" or testing-ground for the latest U.S. weapons and geopolitical strategies. There is not yet any countervailing movement powerful or united enough to restore reason, humanity or the rule of law, domestically or internationally, although new political movements in many countries offer viable alternatives to the path we are on.
As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned when it advanced the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 3 minutes to midnight in 2015, we are living at one of the most dangerous times in human history. The normalization of deviance in U.S. foreign policy lies at the very heart of our predicament.
Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq . He also wrote the chapters on "Obama at War" in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader.
... ... ...
By Daniela Gabor is associate professor in economics at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website
Since the 1980s, central banks have been increasingly freed from fiscal dominance , the obligation to monetize government debt. The new regime of monetary dominance celebrated the (price) stability benefits of insulating scientific monetary policy from poorly theorized, highly politicized fiscal policy. Yet the growing dominance of the 'monetary science, fiscal alchemy' view in both academia and policy circles played a critical role in the rapid rise of shadow banking. The untold story of shadow banking is the story of (failed) attempts to separate monetary from fiscal policy, and of the bordeland that connects them, mapped onto the repo market .
While the state withdrew from economic life, privatizing state-owned enterprises or state banks, and putting macroeconomic governance in the hands of independent central banks, its role in financial life grew bigger. Sovereign debt evolved into the cornerstone of modern financial systems, used as benchmark for pricing private assets, for hedging and as base asset for credit creation via shadow banking . The state's role as debt issuer, passive and systemic at once, has been reliant, beyond the arithmetic of budget deficits, on the intricate workings of the repo trinity.
The repo trinity captures a consensus in central bank circles emerging after the 1998 Russian crisis, the first systemic crisis of collateral-intensive finance, that financial stability requires liquid government bond markets and liberalized repo markets (fig. 1).
Figure 1 The repo trinity
The repo-government bond market nexus took shape in the 1980s. In the US, securities dealers preferred repos to secured lending against collateral because market convention treated repos as outright sales and repurchases of collateral that allowed dealers to re-use collateral for a wide range of activities (short-selling, hedging, selling to a third party). When bankruptcy courts decided that repos would be subjected to automatic stay rules, Paul Volcker, then the Federal Reserve chairperson, successfully lobbied Congress to exempt repos with US Treasuries (UST) and agency securities collateral. Then, Salomon Brothers short-squeezed the UST market in 1991 by becoming the only repo supplier of a two-year note. This allowed Salomon to fund securities through repo transactions at exceptionally low rates. The ensuing public enquiry into the Salomon scandal showed little appetite for regulating repos. Rather, the Fed and the Treasury introduced new practices to fix gaps in repo plumbing, celebrating repos as innovative, liquidity enhancing instruments that would support the state in the post fiscal-dominance era.
The UST blueprint diffused rapidly to Europe. Pressured to adjust to a world of independent central banks, market-based financing and global competition for liquidity, European states embarked on a project of creating modern government bond markets, with modernity understood to mean the structural features of the US government bond market: regular auctions, market-making based on primary dealers and a liberalised repo market.
Central banks were at first divided on the benefits of opening up repo markets. While Banque de France followed the US Fed in assuming a catalyst role for the repo-sovereign bond market nexus, Bundesbank and Bank of England worried that deregulated repo markets would unleash structural changes in finance that could undermine the conduct of monetary policy and financial stability. In the architecture of the US government bond market, the Bundesbank saw the conditions nurturing short-term , fragile finance. Seeking to keep banks captive on the uncollateralized segment of interbank markets, Bundesbank imposed reserve requirements on repo liabilities. In parallel, as government's fiscal agent, Bundesbank followed a conservative strategy, with irregular auctions, issuance concentrated at long maturities and repo rules that increased the costs of funding bunds via repos. German banks responded by moving (bund) repo activities to London and warned that France's open repo strategy would make it into the benchmark sovereign issuer for the Euroarea. For similar reasons, the Bank of England exercised strict control over the repo gilt market for 10 years after the 1986 Big Bang liberalisation of financial markets. Under intense pressure from the financial industry and Ministries of Finance, the two central banks liberalized repo markets by 1997.
As the fragilities of the new, collateral-intensive world became apparent in the 1998 Russian crisis, central banks working together in the Committee on the Global Financial System subscribed to the policy goals of the repo trinity. The CGFS argued that financial stability in market-based finance required global safe assets, issued in government bond markets, in turn 'lubricated' by free repo markets with carefully designed (but not regulated) risk management regimes.
In pursuing the objectives of the repo trinity, central banks helped consolidate the critical role that sovereign bonds play in modern financial markets. Throughout the 2000s, the shortage of US government bonds saw the trinity extended to include securitization markets, while the Euro project galvanized consensus for a European repo trinity, whereby central banks encouraged the European banks dominating the repo market to treat all Euro sovereign debt as high-quality collateral .
After Lehman, central banks and the Financial Stability Board recognized the impossible nature of the repo trinity, attributing cyclical leverage, fire sales and elusive liquidity in collateral markets, including government bond markets, to free repo markets. Central banks, with the Bank of England leading the way, now accept that financial stability means supporting liquidity in collateral markets in times of stress rather than supporting banking institutions as in the traditional lender of last resort (LOLR) model. Paradoxically, LOLR support, implemented through repo loans, can destabilize (shadow) banks where central banks' collateral framework follows collateral market valuations (figure 2).
Figure 2 The impossible repo trinity
The quiet revolution in crisis central banking that involves direct support for core markets may appear like, but does not entail a return to, fiscal dominance. Rather, it creates financial dominance , defined as asymmetric support for falling asset prices. While financial dominance should be addressed by direct regulatory interventions, the quest for biting repo rules has so far proved illusive. The precise impact of Basel III liquidity and leverage rules is yet to be determined, whereas the failed attempts to include repos in the European Financial Transactions Tax and the FSB's watered-down repo proposals suggest that (countercyclical) collateral rules are only possible once states design alternative models of organizing their sovereign debt markets. Paradoxically, new initiatives in Europe suggest that a return to the repo trinity is rather more likely: the Capital Market Union plans to create Simple, Transparent and Standardized ( STS ) securitisation again illustrate the catalyst role that central banks choose to play in market-driven solutions to safe asset shortages.
For a detailed account see Gabor, D. (2016) The (impossible) repo trinity : the political economy of repo markets, Review of International Political Economy, doi 10.1080/09692290.2016.1207699ArkansasAngie , August 13, 2016 at 7:49 amhemeantwell , August 13, 2016 at 7:59 am
Intrinsically, that is authoritative … fascism,
Can't trust politicians or voters to make the right choices.
That's not a slippery slope … it's a dad gum cliff
Take decision making away from politicians and their constituents and place it in the hands of unelected yahoos.
That's a bridge to far …IMHO
Where have we seen these seeds? Why the European Union.
A troika coming to your town?beene , August 13, 2016 at 8:57 am
Uhhh. The article is one of the rare "too short, wish it was longer" breed.
I'll hazard a remark: how can securitization be "transparent" if, as one of the articles yesterday discussed, central banks intervene to support banks so as to allow them to avoid having the market deliver a price verdict on asset value?financial matters , August 13, 2016 at 8:37 am
Any time you let central banks like the Federal Bank of NY create money from debt; bankruptcy is on the horizon. This has only been proven true for around five thousand years.
For a recent example have a look at the difference in government debt in Canada now verses when it had a public banking system.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtRiKFrqgMcJesper , August 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm
I think this is an important point:
"Throughout the 2000s, the shortage of US government bonds saw the trinity extended to include securitization markets,"
This started treating asset based securities similar to US Treasuries
"fire sales and elusive liquidity in collateral markets, including government bond markets,"
I don't think the European government bond market can be treated as sovereign government bonds as they don't have that guarantee of backing from a central bank.
Quite simply, US Treasuries can be put to much better use than supporting asset prices and other financial products.
The first target should be unemployment.sunny129 , August 13, 2016 at 5:21 pm
Repos hide risk and makes it possible to increase leverage. Why would anyone but financial institutions want that?
But since financial institutions rule all then I suppose that repos will continue and as a gesture of goodwill (dressed up as something else) they'll just become more and more complex – those (high) fees for the professionals enabling the practice has to be justified somehow…nothing but the truth , August 13, 2016 at 5:01 pm
More complex invites, less transparency, more instability and volatility!
Until RESET or forced of gravity of reversion to the mean, over power the CBers, this charade will go on!
the forced identity between credit and currency is the root of a lot problems.
it should not be the taxpayer funded mandate of the the govt to enforce this identity.
www.counterpunch.orgAs the current US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner prepares to leave office with a record of a Tuesday morning kill list, unconscionable drone attacks on civilians, initiating bombing campaigns where there were none prior to his election and, of course, taunting Russian President Vladimir Putin with unsubstantiated allegations, the US-backed NATO has scheduled AEGIS anti ballistic missile shields to be constructed in Romania and Poland, challenging the integrity of INF Treaty for the first time in almost thirty years.
In what may shed new light on NATO/US build-up in eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov denied US charges in June, 2015 that Russia had violated the Treaty and that the US had "failed to provide evidence of Russian breaches." Commenting on US plans to deploy land-based missiles in Europe as a possible response to the alleged "Russian aggression" in the Ukraine, Lavrov warned that ''building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful.' Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov suggested the United States was leveling accusations against Russia in order to justify its own military plans.
In early August, the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration authorized the final development phase (prior to actual production in 2020) of the B61-21 nuclear bomb at a cost of $350 – $450 billion. A thermonuclear weapon with the capability of reaching Europe and Moscow, the B61-21 is part of President Obama's $1 trillion request for modernizing the US aging and outdated nuclear weapon arsenal.
Isn't it about time for the President to do something to earn that Peace Prize?
Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU's Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC.
August 13, 2016 | Antiwar.com
As for Morell's claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin is somehow controlling Donald Trump, well, even Charlie Rose had stomach problems with that and with Morell's "explanation." In the Times op-ed, Morell wrote: "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."
Let the bizarreness of that claim sink in, since it is professionally impossible to recruit an agent who is unwitting of being an agent, since an agent is someone who follows instructions from a control officer.
However, since Morell apparently has no evidence that Trump was "recruited," which would make the Republican presidential nominee essentially a traitor, he throws in the caveat "unwitting." Such an ugly charge is on par with Trump's recent hyperbolic claim that President Obama was the "founder" of ISIS.
Looking back at Morell's record, it was not hard to see all this coming, as Morell rose higher and higher in a system that rewards deserving sycophants. I addressed this five years ago in an article titled "Rise of Another CIA Yes Man." That piece elicited many interesting comments from senior intelligence officers who knew Morell personally; some of those comments are tucked into the end of the article.Read more by Ray McGovern
- Will Hillary Clinton Get Favored Treatment? – June 6th, 2016
- Clinton's Imperious Brush-Off of Email Rules – May 26th, 2016
- Price for Witnessing Against War – May 8th, 2016
- A Need To Clear Up Clinton Questions – May 5th, 2016
- Hillary Clinton's Damning Emails – May 1st, 2016
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He is a 30-year veteran of the CIA and Army intelligence and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern served for considerable periods in all four of CIA's main directorates.
www.counterpunch.orgAs the current US President and Nobel Peace Prize winner prepares to leave office with a record of a Tuesday morning kill list, unconscionable drone attacks on civilians, initiating bombing campaigns where there were none prior to his election and, of course, taunting Russian President Vladimir Putin with unsubstantiated allegations, the US-backed NATO has scheduled AEGIS anti ballistic missile shields to be constructed in Romania and Poland, challenging the integrity of INF Treaty for the first time in almost thirty years.
In what may shed new light on NATO/US build-up in eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov denied US charges in June, 2015 that Russia had violated the Treaty and that the US had "failed to provide evidence of Russian breaches." Commenting on US plans to deploy land-based missiles in Europe as a possible response to the alleged "Russian aggression" in the Ukraine, Lavrov warned that ''building up militarist rhetoric is absolutely counterproductive and harmful.' Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov suggested the United States was leveling accusations against Russia in order to justify its own military plans.
In early August, the US Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration authorized the final development phase (prior to actual production in 2020) of the B61-21 nuclear bomb at a cost of $350 – $450 billion. A thermonuclear weapon with the capability of reaching Europe and Moscow, the B61-21 is part of President Obama's $1 trillion request for modernizing the US aging and outdated nuclear weapon arsenal.
Isn't it about time for the President to do something to earn that Peace Prize?
F. E. Dec, 8 hours ago
The US/European/Saudi/Israeli policy in the ME and Central Asia can be summed up by one word: Destabilization. Or what the neocon globalists call "creative chaos". What did it create? Artificially high oil prices to line the pockets of the House of Saud and the House of Bush. It created the conditions for ramping up heroin production from Afghanistan, pipelined through the DIA/CIA with military assets. (The US government is the largest drug cartel ever). It is providing a steady stream of military-age Sunni males to sow ever more creative chaos (terrorism, crime and other forms of "cultural enrichment") in the European and American homelands. Obama and Hillary have been faithful servants of this policy. The architects of this policy will not allow it to be derailed by some big-mouth real-estate developer.
Bill, 7 hours ago
Defense Intelligence Agency document declassified last year shows that the Obama administration was warned in August of 2012 that if it continued it's policies, a radical Islamic regime could form in eastern Syria. Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State at this time.
The report said "There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition wants, in order to isolate the Syrian regime". Lt. General Michael Flynn said; "it was a willful decision to do what they're doing. Supporting Salafist's, Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood". So in my humble opinion, not only are Obama and Clinton the founders of ISIS, they are the parents that gave birth to his freak of nature known as ISIL/ISIS.
Al, 14 hours ago
When America was attacked on 911, the world inhaled waiting for our response. It could have been anything from a nuke on Afghanistan's mountains where the Taliban and Al Qaeda came together with Osama, or an invasion of Afghanistan and the rounding up of all these thugs for hangings.
The world would never have said even a word, including Russia. But, no Bush had to invade...of all countries....Iraq....while the perpetrators of 911 were in Afghanistan, and in the Saudi Royal family which bankrolled the 911 operation. The invasion and destruction of Iraq, the phony elections of leaders who walked away with pallets of US dollars, only handed Iraq to Iran through the Shii'ia imams.
Bush started a war in the wrong country, this makes him one of the worst presidents in History...
May 06, 2016 | www.theguardian.com
Kevin P Brown Carly435 , 2016-05-05 19:28:39Robin is relentless is arguing AGAINST, but he is quite light on arguing for anything. It is an interesting question as to what he stands for.Kevin P Brown RobInTN , 2016-05-05 19:19:20
His main argument is that zero information from "right wing" press is true. He seems unaware that at times, actual facts are presented or not presented or suppressed by either media outlet, depending on their corporate ownership and management slant of what should be reported. Me? I read everything and decide if something is a fact. It is strange that factual reporting about the actual many many FOIA lawsuits only gets printed in right wing press. They of course have an agenda, but does not negate the facts they report. Like Clinton being allowed to be deposed in a civil FOIA suit. That is a fact, with quotes from the Judge. CNN? I guess they couldn't afford to report this factual development.
When you only read the press looking for a partisan set of narratives, you end up being partisan and ill informed. When you read all the flavours of press in an desire to inform yourself, when your goal is not a narrative but factual accounts of the truth, then you can be better informed. So we have partisans, who only view Fox and we also have partisans who only view CNN. Both are as bad as each other. One must be capable of decreeing the motives of each, and discarding the nonfactual narratives, and then one can be fully informed.
Robin makes the assumption that facts only occur in his selected set of informational partisan sources. Why? Because he is partisan. This then enables him to argue against a narrative, rather than support his own narrative. He plays the neat trick of simply discarding any factual reporting from places like Breibart. One can see interesting lacks of coverage on google search."Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person's reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession."dutchview lsbg_t , 2016-05-05 18:17:57
So surely in America, Clinton with her wealth would take some legal action? I would if I had her money, and wealth. Interesting that she has not? Perhaps you could write to her and suggest she defend herself in a real and palpable way?Yes and a lot of the press are trying to bury the news about another Sanders success. When you look at how many voting districts he comes out top in, in is a large percentage. Clinton tends to get closer or take the district if their is a higher population density.Vladimir Makarenko digit , 2016-05-05 17:00:45
The influence of the super delegates is a scandal in a "democratic process".First I would be very careful taking what G gives, it is nowadays "fixing" news like Fox. Most reliable, if speaking about polls the word can be used, is results of metastudies:luminog simpledino , 2016-05-05 12:48:54
Both give today's Clinton of 6% when Sanders is whopping 13+%
So when Hillary's shills preaching how easily she "beats" Trump, they lie. Only Bernie can do this or or see Oval Office moved to Atlantic City.If Bernie does not get the nomination it will be the wilderness for the Democrats - no young voters no independents - unless they can conjure a principled candidate somehow from somewhere.Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 12:23:14
Clinton won't cut it and she won't beat Trump. Trump will out her on every crooked deal she has been involved in.You'll then cycle back to the lesser of two evils, that Democrats like Obama and Clinton are needed to help the poor blacks and minorities. To me this is a myth. The poor get fucked no matter what party is in office.Kevin P Brown Kevin P Brown , 2016-05-05 12:16:44
Is this is a Fox News plant article? yeah yeah, let's vote Clinton who promises a continuation of Obama's policies. Will Trump make this much worse? Maybe. Trump or Clinton will in my opinion do little to improve these issues quoted below. You have a different opinion. Great.
" http://www.blackpressusa.com/is-black-america-better-off-under-obama /
"Like the rest of America, Black America, in the aggregate, is better off now than it was when I came into office," said President Obama on December 19, in response to a question by Urban Radio Networks White House Correspondent April Ryan.
What planet African Americans are doing "better off" on is unknown. What is known is that President Obama is about to leave office with African Americans in their worst economic situation since Ronald Reagan . A look at every key stat as President Obama starts his sixth year in office illustrates that.
- Unemployment. The average Black unemployment under President Bush was 10 percent. The average under President Obama after six years is 14 percent. Black unemployment, "has always been double" [that of Whites] but it hasn't always been 14 percent. The administration was silent when Black unemployment hit 16 percent – a 27-year high – in late 2011 .
- Poverty. The percentage of Blacks in poverty in 2009 was 25 percent; it is now 27 percent. The issue of poverty is rarely mentioned by the president or any members of his cabinet. Currently, more than 45 million people – 1 in 7 Americans – live below the poverty line.
- The Black/White Wealth Gap. The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites in America is at a 24-year high. A December study by PEW Research Center revealed the average White household is worth $141,900, and the average Black household is worth $11,000. From 2010 to 2013, the median income for Black households plunged 9 percent.
- Income inequality. "Between 2009 and 2012 the top one percent of Americans enjoyed 95 percent of all income gains, according to research from U.C. Berkeley," reported The Atlantic. It was the worst since 1928. As income inequality has widened during President Obama's time in office, the president has endorsed tax policy that has widened inequality, such as the Bush Tax cuts.
- Education: The high school dropout rate has improved during the Obama administration. However, currently 42 percent of Black children attend high poverty schools, compared to only 6 percent of White students. The Department of Education's change to Parent PLUS loans requirements cost HBCU's more than $150 million and interrupted the educations of 28,000-plus HBCU students.
- SBA Loans. In March 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that only 1.7 percent of $23 billion in SBA loans went to Black-owned businesses in 2013, the lowest loan of SBA lending to Black businesses on record. During the Bush presidency, the percentage of SBA loans to Black businesses was 8 percent – more than four times the Obama rate."All the equations showed strikingly uni- form statistical results: racism as we have measured it was a significantly disequalizing force on the white income distribution, even when other factors were held constant. A 1 percent increase in the ratio of black to white median incomes (that is, a 1 percent decrease in racism) was associated with a .2 percent decrease in white inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient. The corresponding effect on top 1 percent share of white income was two and a half times as large, indicating that most of the inequality among whites generated by racism was associated with increased income for the richest 1 percent of white families. Further statistical investigation reveals that increases in the racism variable had an insignifi- cant effect on the. share received by the poorest whites and resulted in a decrease in the income share of the whites in the middle income brackets."Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 12:16:13"What I said, and still maintain, is that the struggle against racism is as important as the struggle against other forms of oppression, including those with economic and financial causes."digit Vladimir Makarenko , 2016-05-05 12:07:33
We can agree on this statement. However, do we need to recognise that legislation alone will not solve racism. A percentage of poor people turn against the "other" and apportion blame for their issues.
Try reading this.
" that campaign finance and banking reform will fix everything"
Of course not. But when you have an issue you can continually put bandaids on the symptoms or you can perform a root cause analysis and then proceed to fix these root causes. The fact is that politicians are disinclined to put the needs of voters first, they tend to pay lip service to the needs of voters, while spending 60% of their time interacting with rich donors, who are very good are articulating their needs, as they hand over large sums of money. This system creates a log jam to reform. If we can return the immutable link to the voters interests, and congress them reform of economic distortions that support racism become far far easier. Motive of change and motives of votes become transparent.
"The various forms of discrimination are not separable in real life. Employers' hiring and promotion practices; resource allocation in city schools; the structure of transportation sys- tems; residential segregation and housing quality; availability of decent health care; be- havior of policemen and judges; foremen's prejudices; images of blacks presented in the media and the schools; price gouging in ghetto stores-these and the other forms of social and economic discrimination interact strongly with each other in determining the occupational status and annual income, and welfare, of black people. The processes are not simply additive but are mutually reinforcing. Often, a decrease in one narrow form of discrimination is accompanied by an increase in another form. Since all aspects of racism interact, an analysis of racism should incorporate all its as- pects in a unified manner."
My thesis is this: build economic equality and the the pressing toxins of racism diminish. But yeah dismiss Sanders as a one issue candidate. he is a politician, which I acknowledge. He has a different approach to clinton who will micro triangulate constantly depending on who she in front of. I find his approach ore honest. Your mileage may vary.
" money spent on campaigns does not correlate very highly to winning"
No but overall money gets to decide on a narrow set of compliance in the candidates. But it still correlates to winning. Look at the Greens with no cash. Without the cash, they will never win. Sanders has proved that 1. We do not need to depend on the rich power brokers to select narrowly who will be presented as a candidate. 2. He has proved that a voter can donate and compete with corporate donations. I would rather scads of voter cash financing rather than corporate cash buying influence. ABSCAM was a brief flash, never repeated to show us what really happens in back rooms when a wad of cash arrives with a politician. That we cannot PROVE what happens off the grid, we can and should rely on common sense about the influence of money. 85% of the American people believe cash buys influence. The only influence on a politician should be the will of the people. Sure, corporates can speak. Speech is free. Corporate cash as speech is a different matter. It is a moral corruption.
"most contributions come after electoral success"
Yes part of the implied contract of corporates and people like the Koch Brothers: Look after us and we will look after you. We will keep you in power, as long as you slant the legislation to favour us over the voters.
You do realise the Clinton Foundation bought the assets of the DLC, a defunct organisation. Part of the assets are the documents and records that contain the information about the Koch Brothers donations and their executives joining the "management" of the DLC. Why would a Charity be interested in the DLC documents? Ah it is a Clinton Foundation. Yeah yeah, there is no proof of anything is there. No law was broken. Do I smell something ? Does human nature guide my interpretation absent a clear statement from the Foundation of this "investment"?? Yes.
We have to start SOMEWHERE. Root causes are the best place to start.
Democrat or Republican, Blacks and Whites at the bottom are thrown in a race for the bottom and this helps fuel the impoverishment of both. It is fuel to feed racism. My genuine belief.Sorry, I mean, here .buttonbasher81 o_lobo_solitario , 2016-05-05 12:06:44Why is it wrong for democrats to pick their own party leader? Also Obama beat Hilary last time so what's Bernies problem now? Also why moan about a system that's been in place for decades now, surely the onus was on Sanders to attract more middle of the road dem voters? Finally I'm sure republicans would also love to vote in Sanders, easy to demolish with attack ads before the election (you'll note they've studiously ignored him so far).Longasyourarm Genpet , 2016-05-05 11:47:49the world is divided in two, half who are nauseated by the above and the other half who purr in admiration at the clever way Clinton has fucked the public once again. As Mencken said democracy is that system of government in which it is assumed that the common man knows what he wants and deserves to get it good and hard.Longasyourarm nemesis7 , 2016-05-05 11:44:57explain to me why the blacks and Hispanics vote for her because it is a mystery to me. She stands for everything they have had to fight against. So you have a 1%er-Wall St.-invade Iraq-subprime-cheat the EU-Goldman Sachs-arms dealing-despot cuddling-fuck the environment coalition. And blacks and Hispanics too? Are they out of their minds?Eric L. Wattree , 2016-05-05 09:19:27BERNIE SANDERS - OR ZIG AGAINST ZAGKevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-05 08:20:53
If the American people don't come to their senses and give Bernie Sanders the Democratic nomination, we're going to end up with a choice between Zig and Zag. Zig is Donald Trump, and Zag is Hillary Clinton. To paraphrase Mort Sahl back in the sixties, the only difference between the two is if Donald 'Zig' Trump sees a Black child lying in the street, he'd simply order his chauffeur to run over him. If Hillary 'Zag' Clinton saw the kid, she'd also order her chauffeur to run over him, but she'd weep, and go apologize to the NAACP, after she felt the bump.
WAKE UP, BLACK PEOPLE!!!
IF YOU DON'T, YOU'LL BE SORRY - AGAIN.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1057244620990215&set=a.136305753084111.28278.100001140610873&type=3&theaterGiving aid to the Republicans? If you honestly believe that any criticisms I have is worse than what I discuss, you need to give up politics and get a hobby. Trump will for example use her FOIA/email issues like a stick to beat her with. This is not Soviet Russia where we all adopt the party line. I'm not not ever have been a member of the Democratic Party. I COULD have been this year. Now? Never. The solution to the nations problems will come from outside this party.SavvasKara irishgaf , 2016-05-05 05:32:13
I prefer neither. You love fearmongering about how worse it will be under trump. Hmmm. I don't buy that tale. Take Black family incomes. In the toilet. Under either party it goes south. Abortion? Like slavery nothing ...... Nothing is going to change. It's too late to change that one. But it's a useful tool to make us believe ONLY Clinton can protect us. Economically the Democrats are essentially the same as the Republicans, more of the same corporate welfare. Would Clinton cut Social Security? Maybe. I don't believe her core statements. Sorry but as a person I just can't buy into the package. Both republicans and democrats on a vague macro level will try to lower unemployment but neither will talk about falling participation. Clinton had already proved she's probably as likely as Trump to get bullets flying. It's her judgement. She's part of the same old we need to intervene yet never understanding the real issues. I despise her unflinching support of Saudi Arabia. That policy is insane!!! Etc etc etc.
You believe a black family gays and women will sing Kumbaya under Clinton and all will be well.
I believe both parties represent essentially the same with small regional differences .It would be perhaps remotely marxist if he said comrades. But even that was used by democrats, socialists and even fascists and nazists so I would say that no, there is nothing marxist about it. One of his central messages is that we need to come together and improve our society, that we are all the same, without race or religion, with the same needs and fears as humans.Carly435 RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 05:28:00
I even disagree with people saying that he promotes class struggle, he is talking about fair share and he is an ardent supporter of following the laws even when they are against his ideology, which is something that radicals do not tend to do. Radicals do not give a damn about laws and neither do Marxists or far-right wingers, fascists etc. Those groups believe in changing the society through struggle into a model that fits their idea of the world whatever that may be. He simply states his beliefs and suggests laws to adjust the society to human needs, to eat, to live, to prosper in an equal footing.Carly435 RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 05:06:51One wonders what makes them call themselves Democrats? Their stance on gun and abortion issues? Certainly not economic and political justice, peace, democracy, or integrity in governance.
It is a rather sad commentary on how the bar of integrity and honesty has been so lowered that it doesn't even faze them
Yes, it's been the single most shocking revelation of the entire election year for me as well. Not just the cynicism of the rank-and-file, but the arrogance and isolation of our corrupt Democratic party elite, many of whom still don't seem to grasp that a revolt by progressive Democrats and Independents is already under way. This is one of the forms it may take.Recharging is always a good idea ... and never more so than in an election year as turbulent, crazy, uplifting, disillusioning, energizing, maddening and fascinating as this one. I'll also be away (for weeks) toward the end of this month.nemesis7 , 2016-05-05 03:24:50
Before you go, here's Carl Bernstein's interview with Don Lemon, in case you missed it:
http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/05/03/bernstein-there-will-be-very-damaging-leaks-from-hillary-email-investigation-her-actions-reckless-and-entitled /Hilary Clinton has various comments that reveals somebody who certainly fits the psychopath spectrum. Among the lowest of the low was "We came, we saw, he died!" Accompanied by a cackle of laughter. This was announced in full view of the media and public when Gadhaffi was overthrown by US assistance.macktan894 RobInTN , 2016-05-05 02:29:31
Are some Democrats so brainwashed that they think a woman president is the answer regardless of what kind of person that woman is? Since when do decent people in politics exult in death like this? Libya's murdered leader was no angel but Hitler he was not and as older people have told me, the deaths of Hitler and Stalin and the like were greeted publicly with muted and dignified relief by western representatives. Add to that the continual lies that are being aired in public and this is why the USA has lost its way.
Hillary will not see that one criminal in the financial world of the USA will face justice for their mafia-like actions and destruction of billions of dollars and assets while stealing the savings of Americans and non Americans. President Obama hasn't done it and he is not the buddy Hilary is to these people.
And since when does the USA have the ethical superiority to attack countries like Russia for cronyism etc? This is unbelievable - a presidential nominee candidate is being investigated by the FBI and she doesn't stand down?
Wake up Democrats. At least read a book called The Unravelling by an American journalist whose name I forget. This heartbreaking book says it all about the realities for the non privileged and non powerful in todays' America.
I recall David Bowie's beautiful song This Is Not America. The Bernie supporters understand that, all power to him, those who think like him, and his supporters.Please. She lost that race in South Carolina when her husband, along with Geraldine Ferraro, called Obama being president a fairy tale and an affirmative action candidate, respectively. You can't win with only minority support, but you can't win without any of it if you are a Dem. Up until SC, the Clintons had minority support in the bag--most black people had never heard of Obama. Things changed real fast.Allan Barr , 2016-05-05 02:21:15Like its not obvious? There is now no paper trail to enable ensuring computer votes are true. A man on the moon can now ensure who is going to be President, that was said by a premier computer security expert.Carly435 RobertHickson2014 , 2016-05-05 02:05:34
Along with extensive disenfranchisement, numerous ways its pretty clear these outcomes are preordained. Guess I am not going to be voting for either of the two appointed runners, its pointless. I will vote for Bernie when its time in California.And to branch out a bit, there are so many empty stock phrases to choose from in her 2016 campaign alone, including "I'm with her" and "Breaking down barriers" courtesy of her 2008 campaign manager, Mark Penn. Speaking of Penn, there's a hilarious little passage in "Clinton, Inc" (p. 65) which describes Penn running through possible campaign slogans for 2008. "Penn began to walk through all the iterations of Hillary slogans: Solutions for America, Ready for a change, Ready to lead, Big challenges, Real Solutions; Time to pick a President... but then he seem to get a little lost...Working for change, Working for you. There was silence, then snickers as Penn tried to remember all the bumper stickers which run together sounded absurd and indistinguishable. The Hillary I know."....John W , 2016-05-05 01:42:54
But to pick out my favorite Hillary statement of the week, in honor of her close associate and fellow gonif, Hillary superdelegate, Sheldon Silver, who recently got 12 years in the slammer:
In 2000, Silver was integral in Clinton's Senate campaign. According to The New York Times, Silver helped Hillary lobby members of the state assembly for their support
So I guess the former speaker of the NY assembly is just gonna have to vote for Hillary from behind bars, instead of at the DNC? How "super-inconvenient."Sanders is also leading in the West Virginia polls, which is the next primary. He just might be able to squeak out a victory.Robin Crawford Rouffian , 2016-05-05 01:07:15If Clinton is the Dem nominee it does more than give me shivers. Heck, I view Hillary as demonstrably more dangerous with foreign policy. Both use identity politics as a decisive issue- which only is a distraction from their lack of policy.nomorebanksters Jonah92 , 2016-05-04 23:43:43
Both their economic/domestic policies do little or worse for the current situation. Both are untrustworthy and any rhetoric on policy is highly questionable (although Clinton is certainly the worst in this regard). About the only good thing between either is that Trump is willing to question our empire abroad, which is well overdue (meanwhile Clinton seems to want to expand it).
If it's between those two I vote Green and take the 'Jesse Ventura' option: vote anyone not Dem or Rep. Both parties are two corrupt subsidiaries of their corporate masters.You are obviously misinformed about Bernie Sanders:Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 23:10:01
Most effective senator for the last 35 years and as Mayor or Burlington stopped corporate real estate developers from turning Burlington into Aspen east coast version.
She voted for the Iraq war, being investigated by the FBI for her emails, there was Benghazi, turning Libya into a ISIS hotbed, allowed a military junta to assassinate a democratically elected president in Honduras and said nothing, takes $675k from Goldman for 3 speeches and refuses to disclose the transcripts because she KNOWS it'll hurt her, voted for trade deals that's gutted manufacturing in the USA....should I go on?So please please explain how Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to wave a wand and fix racism? I already know she will not fix poverty, she will slap a few ersatz bandaids onto bills that won't pass and like the spoiled child will seek praise every time mommy gets him to shit on the potty. You might recall a guy called Martin Luther King. he had some words about economic fairness and poverty.nomorebanksters TehachapiCalifornia , 2016-05-04 23:04:08
"" In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike . "
nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. The belief that nothing in the world has a real existence.
You love that word but rejection of the dysfunctional state of DNC politics is NOT nihilism. Moral corruption around campaign finance is real. Moral corruption around money and lobbyists is real. The desire to fix this, this is real. Seeking real change is not nihilism. But yes, if it pleases you to continue in every other post with this word, do so. It's misuse says more about you than Sanders.Please tell me exactly how much HRC has done for the U.S.? I'm from NYC and when she brought her carpet bagging ass here and as a 2 term senator she pushed 3 pieces of legislation thru. If you look at Bernie Sanders voting record:nomorebanksters nolashea , 2016-05-04 22:57:13
He's been one of the most effective senators in Congress and has been able to get things done with cooperation from both sides of the aisle.
So tell me again, what's she done that's so notable?Uh huh and your supporting a person: That voted for the Iraq War, destabilized Libya, Benghazi, gave tacit approval to a military junta in Honduras as Secretary of State, called black youth super predators, supports trade agreements that destroy our own manufacturing jobs, takes more money from special interests than her constituency, has made millions in speeches from the bank lobby and won't disclose the transcripts......yeah she's real HONEST......riiigggghhhhttttt....Kevin P Brown hillbillyzombie , 2016-05-04 22:31:08"Are you really sure that money buys votes"
Money buys the influence to be selected as a candidate. Normally. 99% of the time. Sometimes a Huey Long populist breaks through the process and scares the fuck out of the power structures. But you know how candidates are selected. Poor smart people never get to run for president unless they build a populist power base. The existing political parties defer to donors. Donors like the Koch Brothers, who happily funded Bill Clinton and the DLC made their preferences clear. They didn't invest in a fit of altruistic progressivism. They wanted the DNC to swing right. And voila it did and Bill was anointed as the "one" to run. Don't be so naive.
Aug 12, 2016 | bbc.com
One in three female students in the UK has a mental health problem, a survey suggests. This compared with about a fifth of male undergraduates, the YouGov survey of 1,061 students found. Overall, some 27% of the students said they had a mental health problem. This rose to 45% among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
Universities UK said institutions were working hard to develop good services that linked in with the NHS.
Of those students who said they had a mental health problem:
- In May, statistics published by the ONS showed student suicides had risen to their highest level since numbers were first recorded in 2007.
- These figures - for 2014 - showed there were 130 suicides in England and Wales among full-time students aged 18 or above. Of those, 97 deaths were for male students and 33 were females.
There has been concern about the level of mental health support services provided by universities. But the survey showed students were broadly aware of the mental health services offered by their universities.Seeking help
Anyone affected by mental health issues can contact a number of organisations, such as:
Some 18% of students had already made contact with university mental health services, and, of those who had, nearly nine out of 10 had seen a counsellor.
Of those surveyed, 30% of males and 27% of females said they would not feel comfortable in talking about their mental illness with friends or family.
Chief executive of Universities UK Nicola Dandridge said universities took student mental health "very seriously". "For some students, an unfamiliar higher education environment can be stressful, particularly for those who already have an underlying illness. "Some students are reluctant to disclose their difficulties, which can also present a challenge for universities seeking to support them."
But she added that the development of policies and anti-stigma campaigns was beginning to address these issues. "The challenge for universities is to build on the support services and external links that exist already, enabling referral to the NHS where necessary," she said. "It is important to remember that university wellbeing services, however excellent, cannot replace the specialised care that the NHS provides for students with mental illnesses."
Universities UK also said it had issued guidance to all universities last year with advice on dealing with students with mental health issues.
Mar 17, 2013 | www.huffingtonpost.com
If President Obama's second term includes decision making as bold and intelligent as his nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, his presidency might finally fulfill the promise of audacity and change that rallied so many to his campaign five years ago. In fact, the more ridiculous the claims being made by Hagel's critics become, the more the real reasons they don't want him -- and the wisdom of the choice -- come into stark relief.
The latest canard is about Hagel's supposed "temperament." The charge was made this past Sunday by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, appearing on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.Ah yes, his temperament. It's a modern-day male version of the old dig that used to be directed at women, that they might be "PMSing" and therefore shouldn't be put too close to big boy military equipment. It's also worth pointing out that this line of attack is coming from a party that thoroughly approved of that shrinking violet of a Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. It's further worth noting that the opposition to Hagel is being led partly by Senator John McCain, the same guy who thought it prudent to potentially put Sarah Palin second in line to the presidency -- and whose own "temperament" has often been called into question.
"I think another thing, George, that's going to come up is just his overall temperament," said Corker, "and is he suited to run a department or a big agency or a big entity like the Pentagon?" Given that this was a new one, Stephanopoulos asked, slightly incredulously, "Do you have questions about his temperament?" Corker replied, "I think there are numbers of staffers who are coming forth now just talking about the way he has dealt with them."
But if Hagel's temperament is somehow relevant, it puts me in mind of the quote by Lincoln who, when approached by some of Grant's critics about the general's drinking, is supposed to have said: "Let me know what brand of whiskey Grant uses. For if it makes fighting generals like Grant, I should like to get some of it for distribution."In response to Corker's charge, Politico's Playbook quoted an email from a senior administration official: "This line of attack is a new low. By contrast, Sen. Hagel intends to take the high road in the confirmation process as he defends his strong record." Well, it's certainly a contemptible charge, but whether it's a new low is debatable. There's already been plenty of competition for that title.
Now, I'm not saying Chuck Hagel is perfect or that I agree with every position he's ever taken, but leadership isn't about conforming to a checklist. Hagel is being nominated for a particular job, and for that job, he has a strong record. And this is exactly why his critics are grasping for straws -- because they don't want to discuss that record, nor what this debate is really about: the Iraq War.Yes, then-Senator Hagel voted for the resolution to authorize the war. But even before the vote, he expressed more reservations than most of his colleagues. "You can take the country into a war pretty fast," he said in 2002, "but you can't get us out as quickly, and the public needs to know what the risks are." In his 2008 book America: Our Next Chapter he writes that he voted to authorize military force only as a last option, but the Bush administration had not tried to "exhaust all diplomatic efforts," and that "it all comes down to the fact that we were asked to vote on a resolution based on half truths, untruths, and wishful thinking."
And after the war began, he became one of the administration's most vocal critics. Among his statements over the course of the war:
- That Iraq was "a hopeless, winless situation."
- That Iraq was "an absolute replay of Vietnam."
- That "Iraq is not going to turn out the way that we were promised it was."
- That the Iraqi people "want the United States out of Iraq."
- That the Iraq War was "ill-conceived" and "poorly prosecuted."
As I wrote back in 2006, criticisms like these were much stronger than what most Democrats were saying at the time. And Hagel was right. We often bemoan the fact that those in Washington who get it wrong never seem to be held accountable, and those who get it right (even if not right away) always seem to be marginalized. Well, this nomination is how the system should -- but seldom does -- work. That's why this nomination, even though Hagel is a Republican, shouldn't be looked at as another attempt by President Obama to curry favor with the opposition. It's the best kind of decision -- one made not to placate some interest group, but, rather, in the interest of the country. As Senator Jack Reed said of the nomination on Sunday, "Chuck has the wherewithal and the ability to speak truth to power. He's demonstrated that throughout his entire career. That is a value that is extraordinarily important to the president." And to the country."When I think of issues like Iraq," Hagel said in 2006, "of how we went into it -- no planning, no preparation, no sense of consequences, of where we were going, how we were going to get out, went in without enough men, no exit strategy, those kinds of things -- I'll speak out. I'll go against my party."
And that kind of thinking is all the more powerful coming from a man with two Purple Hearts -- and who still has shrapnel lodged in his chest as a reminder, not that he needs one, of what war is really like."Chuck knows that war is not an abstraction," the president said when announcing the nomination. "He understands that sending young Americans to fight and bleed in the dirt and mud, that's something we only do when it's absolutely necessary. 'My frame of reference,' he has said, is 'geared towards the guy at the bottom who's doing the fighting and the dying.'" That's why, in the lead up to the Iraq War, Hagel pointed out the fact that decisions were being made by those who hadn't "sat in jungles or foxholes and watched their friends get their heads blown off." And for that he was called an "appeaser."
The president added that it was in the Senate where he came to admire Hagel's "courage and his judgment, his willingness to speak his mind -- even if it wasn't popular, even if it defied the conventional wisdom."And if you doubt whether Hagel's views go against the conventional wisdom, at least in Washington, just witness the hysterical, desperate pushback to his nomination. This isn't about temperament, or abortion or gay rights (not that those aren't important issues). It's about the path U.S. foreign policy took at the beginning of the last decade, directed by the neocons. As the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg put it, "The campaign now being waged against Mr. Hagel's nomination as secretary of defense is in some ways a relitigation of that decade-old dispute."
He's right -- to an extent. Where I think he's off is that this isn't a relitigation -- because the disaster that was, and is, the Iraq War was never actually litigated in the first place. We've never really had that debate. Those who conceived it (badly) and executed it (even more badly) were never held accountable. And they are now the ones trying to torpedo the very idea that someone who is thoughtful and careful about sending our soldiers to die might actually have a role in that decision.Rutenberg writes that this debate is "a dramatic return to the public stage by the neoconservatives whose worldview remains a powerful undercurrent in the Republican Party." That is some undercurrent. If it's below the surface, then what is the top current?
It's not like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are back-benchers. The latter called Hagel's nomination an "in-your-face nomination" and an "incredibly controversial choice." Sadly, in today's Washington the idea that someone who is skeptical and cautious about the consequences of U.S. military intervention should lead the Pentagon is indeed "incredibly controversial." Turning around conventional wisdom in Washington is no small endeavor, which is why this nomination is so important.A week later, with an almost comical lack of self-awareness, Senator Graham contrasted Hagel's decision making with that of Graham's BFF, Senator McCain. "I think [Hagel] was very haunted by Vietnam," Graham said, unlike McCain who "doesn't look at every conflict through the eyes of his Vietnam experience -- you know, 'We shouldn't have been there, it went on too long, we didn't have a plan.'" Yes, thank God we left that kind of thinking back in Vietnam -- no instances of it since then, right?
The relationship between Hagel and McCain goes back a long time. McCain was one of Hagel's earliest supporters and Hagel was one of the few who jumped on the "Straight Talk Express," back when McCain was taking on what he called "agents of intolerance" in the Republican Party. Unlike McCain, Hagel managed to stay on the Straight Talk Express. And now McCain is grasping at straws over Hagel's skepticism about success of the surge strategy in Iraq, something McCain finds "bizarre." Back when it was being considered, Hagel said "This is a Ping-Pong game with American lives," and that "we better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder."Since then it's become accepted gospel in Washington that the surge was successful. Accepted gospel that is, once again, wrong. Doug Ollivant was an army planning officer in Iraq who was one of those who actually implemented the surge. "The surge really didn't work, per se," Ollivant, now with the New America Foundation, says, adding, "Fundamentally, it was the Iraqis trying to find a solution, and they did."
A study by U.S. Special Forces officer Maj. Joshua Thiel came to the same conclusion. Thiel looked at where and when the additional surge troops were deployed and compared that to subsequent drops in violence. As Foreign Policy's Robert Haddick put it,Thiel concluded that there was no significant correlation between the arrival of U.S. reinforcements and subsequent changes in the level of violence in Iraq's provinces... the connection between surge troops and the change in the level of incidents seems entirely random.Another straw being grasped at by McCain is the question, "Why would [Hagel] oppose calling the Iranian revolutionary guard a terrorist organization?"
He's referring to the fact that Hagel didn't sign a letter to the European Union designating Hezbollah a terror group. Hagel's defense was that he "didn't sign on to certain resolutions and letters because they were counter-productive and didn't solve a problem." In other words, Hagel refused to posture. A cardinal sin in Washington. Just as he also said that use of reductivist buzzwords and phrases like "cut and run" cheapen the debate and debase the seriousness of war. How refreshing. And it points to the fact that not only do we need better military policy, we also need a more intelligent way of talking about that policy as a means of making it better.But the lowest point his critics have gone to is to insinuate, or even claim outright, that Hagel is an anti-Semite. That slanderous charge is being led by Elliott Abrams. He's now a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, but you might remember him as the man convicted in 1991 of two counts of withholding information from Congress (he was pardoned by outgoing President George H.W. Bush). He claims that Hagel "seems to have some kind of problem with Jews," and, in the Weekly Standard, offers as evidence "the testimony of the Jewish community that knew him best is most useful: Nebraskans. And the record seems unchallenged: Nebraskan Jewish activists and officials have said he was hostile, and none -- including Obama supporters and Democratic party activists -- have come forward to counter that allegation."
Actually, it has been challenged -- by, among others, activist Gary Javitch, who, according to the Forward is "considered by locals to be an expert on the local Jewish political scene." Though Javitch is no fan of Hagel, when asked by the Forward if he though Hagel was biased against Jews, he said "no." He also said that "to make such an accusation you need to be very careful," and that Hagel "never demonstrated anything like that in all the meetings I had with him."What's amazing is that the Council on Foreign Relations would allow its credibility to be used to advance an accusation like this. In response, a CFR official told Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen that the views of their experts are "theirs only" and that "the Council on Foreign Relations takes no institutional position on matters of policy." But this isn't policy, it's character assassination. Does the Council take no official position on that? As the Daily Beast's Ali Gharib writes:Abrams should be challenged by media and by his fellow scholars in the think tank world to find any member in good standing of the Nebraska Jewish community who will say on the record that they consider their former Senator an anti-Semite. Failing that, Abrams should issue a public apology to Hagel for making this scurrilous charge.Of course, the reason the opposition to Hagel is so desperate and so focused on side-issues or made-up charges is because they don't want a debate that would shine a spotlight on their spectacular and disastrous failure in Iraq. "This is the neocons' worst nightmare," says Richard Armitage, who was Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell, "because you've got a combat soldier, successful businessman and senator who actually thinks there may be other ways to resolve some questions other than force."
A nightmare for some but a welcome change for the country. This week, HuffPost is launching a new series focusing on President Obama's second term called "The Road Forward: Obama's Second Term Challenges."In the first installment, Howard Fineman writes that "Obama is in an unusually strong position to deliver on the potential of his second term -- but only if he has the will and wherewithal to turn ballot-box victory into real-life results," and asks whether Obama "will be shrewd, persistent and tough enough to turn great promise into true greatness."
We'll see. But if the nomination of Chuck Hagel is any indication, the road forward is looking much better than what's behind us. Though the upcoming hearings on Hagel's nomination are unlikely to feature the real debate on Iraq that the country deserves, hopefully his tenure will indeed be the departure from the kind of thinking that got us into it that his critics so desperately fear.Follow Arianna Huffington on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ariannahuff
December 28, 2015Thomas DiLorenzo
There's always a lot of competition for the title of "Lying Neocon War Propagandist." I would like to nominate for this week's award, one George Will. In the course of a long-winded hissy fit over Donald Trump's political success to date published in Jewish World Review, Will goes berserk over Trump's intransigence over the neocon agenda of starting a war with Russia. Smoke must have been coming out of his ears when he quoted Trump as saying that the U.S. government has killed a lot of people, too, referring to all of the government's endless military interventions in the Middle East, after being told of the alleged killing of journalists in Russia.
George Will responded to this by saying: "Putin kills journalists, the U.S. kills terrorists." Will is not stupid; he cannot possibly believe that all deaths in the Middle East caused by U.S. military intervention over the past quarter of a century have been of "terrorists." There are numerous sources of the civilian death count there, and it is safe to say that Donald Trump is right and George Will is wrong: The civilian death count is in the hundreds of thousands. This includes at least 200 journalists such as Tareq Ayoub, who was killed on April 3, 2003 when a U.S. warplane bombed the Al Jazeera offices in Baghdad. And of course the U.S. military also bombs hospitals, as the entire world learned a few months ago. (Thanks to Chris C. for info on the bombing of the Al Jazeera offices).
And by the way, there is obviously no evidence that Putin ordered the murder of journalists. ABC News "journalist" (Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!) George Stephanopoulos repeated this latest neocon talking point in an interview with Trump. When Trump asked him for proof, he had NONE). This doesn't prove that Putin did not order the murder of journalists, something the U.S. government has done hundreds of times, but it does prove what a liar and establishment shill George Stephanopoulos is.
5:35 pm on December 28, 2015 Email Thomas DiLorenzo
The US Ambassador to Ankara explains why his country knew nothing about what was going to happen in Turkey
In the meantime Austrian and German politicians compare the coup in Turkey with the Reichstag fire in 1933. But they don't know who set the fire
A leftist politician in Germany wants sanctions against Turkey
According to our information this is only the first step. German parliamentarians are preparing to ask for sanctions against the USA, Britain and France also. According to those parliamentarians, by implementing the Chaos Strategy in the Middle East, in order to "promote democracy", as they kept saying, Washington, London and Paris are directly responsible for the refugee crisis, the terror attacks and the whole pattern of instability which has now engulfed Turkey as well.
According also to our information, top US and Israeli officials are outraged at what is happening. They now have to cancel all family vacation planning and concentrate on how to handle an unbelievable new situation. Mr. Erdogan, President of one of the most important NATO countries, did not meet any of his Western counterparts, but he is going to Russia to meet President Putin, and his closest advisors are proposing that he should institute an alliance with Russia, like Kemal, and wage war against "the Crusaders".
Radicals around Erdogan call for war "against Crusaders"
The perspective of a strategic alliance between Ankara and Moscow is the definition of a nightmare for US and Israeli planners. They certainly did not start all those wars just to see a bloc of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria being formed in the Middle East, not to mention, potentially, a huge crisis in NATO.
We are still not there and nobody knows if we will reach that point. Russia and Turkey, as history proves, have seriously conflicting interests. As for Erdogan himself, he cannot win over the Kurds by military means and neither can the Kurds win what they want by war. All that is certain is that we are heading straight for very serious conflicts.
Fortunately for them, and probably for us also, European politicians do not consider any alteration of their vacation programs. They are continuing their enjoyment of their holidays, waiting for Washington to take its decisions.
Defend Democracy Press
www.bostonglobe.comBecause we interpreted the end of the Cold War as the ultimate vindication of America's economic system, we intensified our push toward the next level of capitalism, called globalization. It was presented as a project that would benefit everyone. Instead it has turned out to be a nightmare for many working people. Thanks to "disruption" and the "global supply chain," many American workers who could once support families with secure, decent-paying jobs must now hope they can be hired as greeters at Walmart. Meanwhile, a handful of super-rich financiers manipulate our political system to cement their hold on the nation's wealth.Enrique Ferro's insight:Moments of change require adaptation, but the United States is not good at adapting. We are used to being in charge. This blinded us to the reality that as other countries began rising, our relative power would inevitably decline. Rather than shifting to a less assertive and more cooperative foreign policy, we continued to insist that America must reign supreme. When we declared that we would not tolerate the emergence of another "peer power," we expected that other countries would blithely obey. Instead they ignore us. We interpret this as defiance and seek to punish the offenders. That has greatly intensified tensions between the United States and the countries we are told to consider our chief adversaries, Russia and China.
Patient Observer , August 7, 2016 at 4:48 pmIsn't it interesting that the communists of China are seeking a long-term partnership with Russia – a nominally capitalist country? Of course, Russia is seeking the same with China.marknesop , August 7, 2016 at 8:28 pm
July 1, China marked an important date on July 1. It was the 95th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. Chairman Xi Jinping addressed the solemn meeting devoted to this event. In addition to the praises of "Long live!" (And deservedly so, since the CCP has much to be proud of) there was Chairman Xi's speech which was short, but very important.
"The world is on the verge of radical change. We see how the European Union is gradually collapsing, as is the US economy - it is all over for the new world order. So, it will never again be as it was before, in 10 years we will have a new world order in which the key will be the union of China and Russia. "
If the above translation is accurate I wonder what is meant by …key will be the union of China and Russia . In any event, it appears that ideology is not at the core of the unity; its something much deeper and more resilient. I offer that it is a shared view that embraces a realization that the world can no longer accept global hegemony from the West otherwise catastrophe is virtually certain in the form of (pick one or two): nuclear war, financial or ecological collapse. Their mission is basically to save the world from Western insanity which handily trumps anything that may separate them.
And, I think that the Chinese and Russians are far too wise to seek global hegemony for themselves. The trick for them will be taking down the Western house of cards without triggering a catastrophic miscalculation by the West. …Whew, now time for an hot fudge sundae.I think it's mutual disgust with the USA's blatant and shameless rigging of the playing field in every contest. If America can't win, then it's a loss for all of mankind. And it blabbers constantly and loudly about its values, and then does things which completely contradict those supposed values, and never appears to notice anything unusual or untoward about it.
www.usnews.comIn addition, the issues are similar between the two campaigns: The number one issue fueling the leave vote was immigration – a lot like Trump's wall against Mexico. The number two issue was lack of accountability of government: Leavers believe that the EU government in Brussels is unaccountable to voters. For Trump supporters, resentment towards a distant and unaccountable Washington government ranks high as well. The Brexit constituency and the Trump constituency are both motivated by the same sense of loss and vulnerability.
In both the U.S. and the U.K., a large and growing segment of voters has not prospered in today's complex, technology-driven global economy. Their wages have stagnated and in many cases fallen. Too few good-paying jobs exist for people lacking a college degree, or even people with a college degree, if the degree is not in the right field. These people are angry, frustrated, and afraid -- and with very good reason. Both countries' governments have done little to help them adapt, and little to soothe the sting of globalization. The voter's concerns in both places are mostly the same even though these concerns have coalesced around a policy issue ("leave") in the U.K. whereas here in the U.S. they have coalesced around a candidate (Trump).
In both countries, political elites were caught flat-footed. Elites lost control over the narrative and lost credibility and persuasiveness with angry, frustrated and fearful voters. The British elites badly underestimated the intensity of public frustration with immigration and with the EU. Most expected the vote would end on the side of "remain," up to the very last moment. Now they are trying to plot their way out of something they never expected would actually happen, and never prepared for.
Similarly, the elite insiders of the Republican Party and their business allies badly underestimated Trump. Establishment candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush failed terribly. Now the Republican political insiders are trying to make sense of a presumptive nominee who trashes free trade, one of the fundamental principles of the party, and openly taunts one of most important emerging voting blocks.
How did the elites lose control? There are many reasons: With social media so pervasive, advertising dollars no longer controls what the public sees and hears. With unrestricted campaign spending, the party can no longer "pinch the air hose" of a candidate who strays from party orthodoxy.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the impotence of today's political elites is that elites have trashed the very idea of competent and effective government for 35 years now, and the public has taken the message to heart. Ever since Reagan identified government as the problem, conservative elites have attacked the idea of government itself – rather than respecting the idea of government itself while criticizing the particular policies of a particular government. This is a crucial (and dangerous) distinction. In 1986, Reagan went on to say "the nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
Reagan booster Grover Norquist is known for saying, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." Countless candidates and elected officials slam "Washington bureaucrats" even though these "bureaucrats" were none other than themselves. It's not a great way to build respect. Then the attack escalated, with the aim of destroying parts of government that were actually mostly working. This was done to advance the narrative that government itself is the problem, and pave the way for privatization. Take the Transportation Security Administration for example. TSA has actually done its job. No terrorist attacks have succeeded on U.S. airplanes since it was established. But by systematically underfunding it , Congress has made the lines painfully long, so people hate it. Take the Post Office. Here Congress manufactured a crisis to force service cuts, making the public believe the institution is incompetent. But the so-called "problem" is due almost entirely to a requirement, imposed by Congress, forcing the Postal Service to prepay retiree's health care to an absurd level, far beyond what a similar private sector business would have to do. A similar dynamic now threatens Social Security. Thirty-five years have passed since Reagan first mocked the potential for competent and effective government. Years of unrelenting attack have sunk in. Many Americans now distrust government leaders and think it's pointless to demand or expect wisdom and statesmanship. Today's American voters (and their British counterparts), well-schooled in skepticism, disdain and dismiss leaders of all parties and they are ready to burn things down out of sheer frustration. The moment of blowback has arrived.
www.nakedcapitalism.combluecollarAl , June 2, 2016 at 10:06 amtegnost , June 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm
I am almost 70 years old, born and raised in New York City, still living in a near suburb.
Somehow, somewhere along the road to my 70th year I feel as if I have been gradually transported to an almost entirely different country than the land of my younger years. I live painfully now in an alien land, a place whose habits and sensibilities I sometimes hardly recognize, while unable to escape from memories of a place that no longer exists. There are days I feel as I imagine a Russian pensioner must feel, lost in an unrecognizable alien land of unimagined wealth, power, privilege, and hyper-glitz in the middle of a country slipping further and further into hopelessness, alienation, and despair.
I am not particularly nostalgic. Nor am I confusing recollection with sentimental yearnings for a youth that is no more. But if I were a contemporary Rip Van Winkle, having just awakened after, say, 30-40 years, I would not recognize my beloved New York City. It would be not just the disappearance of the old buildings, Penn Station, of course, Madison Square Garden and its incandescent bulb marquee on 50th and 8th announcing NYU vs. St. John's, and the WTC, although I always thought of the latter as "new" until it went down. Nor would it be the disappearance of all the factories, foundries, and manufacturing plants, the iconic Domino Sugar on the East River, the Wonder Bread factory with its huge neon sign, the Swingline Staples building in Long Island City that marked passage to and from the East River tunnel on the railroad, and my beloved Schaeffer Beer plant in Williamsburg, that along with Rheingold, Knickerbocker, and a score of others, made beer from New York taste a little bit different.
It wouldn't be the ubiquitous new buildings either, the Third Avenue ghostly glass erected in the 70's and 80's replacing what once was the most concentrated collection of Irish gin mills anywhere. Or the fortress-like castles built more recently, with elaborate high-ceilinged lobbies decorated like a kind of gross, filthy-wealthy Versailles, an aesthetically repulsive style that shrieks "power" in a way the neo-classical edifices of our Roman-loving founders never did. Nor would it even be the 100-story residential sticks, those narrow ground-to-clouds skyscraper condominiums proclaiming the triumph of globalized capitalism with prices as high as their penthouses, driven ever upward by the foreign billionaires and their obsession with burying their wealth in Manhattan real estate.
It is not just the presence of new buildings and the absence of the old ones that have this contemporary Van Winkle feeling dyslexic and light-headed. The old neighborhoods have disintegrated along with the factories, replaced by income segregated swatches of homogenous "real estate" that have consumed space, air, and sunlight while sucking the distinctiveness out of the City. What once was the multi-generational home turf for Jewish, Afro-American, Puerto Rican, Italian, Polak and Bohunk families is now treated as simply another kind of investment, stocks and bonds in steel and concrete. Mom's Sunday dinners, clothes lines hanging with newly bleached sheets after Monday morning wash, stickball games played among parked cars, and evenings of sitting on the stoop with friends and a transistor radio listening to Mel Allen call Mantle's home runs or Alan Freed and Murray the K on WINS 1010 playing Elvis, Buddy Holly, and The Drifters, all gone like last night's dreams.
Do you desire to see the new New York? Look no further than gentrifying Harlem for an almost perfect microcosm of the city's metamorphosis, full of multi-million condos, luxury apartment renovations, and Maclaren strollers pushed by white yuppie wife stay-at-homes in Marcus Garvey Park. Or consider the "new" Lower East Side, once the refuge of those with little material means, artists, musicians, bums, drug addicts, losers and the physically and spiritually broken - my kind of people. Now its tenements are "retrofitted" and remodeled into $4000 a month apartments and the new residents are Sunday brunching where we used to score some Mary Jane.
There is the "Brooklyn brand", synonymous with "hip", and old Brooklyn neighborhoods like Red Hook and South Brooklyn (now absorbed into so desirable Park Slope), and Bushwick, another former outpost of the poor and the last place I ever imagined would be gentrified, full of artists and hipsters driving up the price of everything. Even large sections of my own Queens and the Bronx are affected (infected?). Check out Astoria, for example, neighborhood of my father's family, with more of the old ways than most but with rents beginning to skyrocket and starting to drive out the remaining working class to who knows where.
Gone is almost every mom and pop store, candy stores with their egg creams and bubble gum cards and the Woolworth's and McCrory's with their wooden floors and aisles containing ordinary blue collar urgencies like thread and yarn, ironing boards and liquid bleach, stainless steel utensils of every size and shape. Where are the locally owned toy and hobby stores like Jason's in Woodhaven under the el, with Santa's surprises available for lay-away beginning in October? No more luncheonettes, cheap eats like Nedicks with hot dogs and paper cones of orange drink, real Kosher delis with vats of warm pastrami and corned beef cut by hand, and the sacred neighborhood "bar and grill", that alas has been replaced by what the kids who don't know better call "dive bars", the detestable simulacra of the real thing, slick rooms of long slick polished mahogany, a half-dozen wide screen TV's blaring mindless sports contests from all over the world, over-priced micro-brews, and not a single old rummy in sight?
Old Rip searches for these and many more remembered haunts, what Ray Oldenburg called the "great good places" of his sleepy past, only to find store windows full of branded, high-priced, got-to-have luxury-necessities (necessary if he/she is to be certified cool, hip, and successful), ridiculously overpriced "food emporia", high and higher-end restaurants, and apparel boutiques featuring hardened smiles and obsequious service reserved for those recognized by celebrity or status.
Rip notices too that the visible demographic has shifted, and walking the streets of Manhattan and large parts of Brooklyn, he feels like what walking in Boston Back Bay always felt like, a journey among an undifferentiated mass of privilege, preppy or 'metro-sexed' 20 and 30-somethings jogging or riding bicycles like lean, buff gods and goddesses on expense accounts supplemented by investments enriched by yearly holiday bonuses worth more than Rip earned in a lifetime.
Sitting alone on a park bench by the river, Rip reflects that more than all of these individual things, however, he despairs of a city that seems to have been reimagined as a disneyfied playground of the privileged, offering endless ways to self-gratify and philistinize in a clean, safe (safest big city in U.S., he heard someone say), slick, smiley, center-of-the-world urban paradise, protected by the new centurions (is it just his paranoia or do battle-ready police seem to be everywhere?). Old ethnic neighborhoods are filled with apartment buildings that seem more like post-college "dorms", tiny studios and junior twos packed with three or four "singles" roommates pooling their entry level resources in order to pay for the right to live in "The City". Meanwhile the newer immigrants find what place they can in Kingsbridge, Corona, Jamaica, and Cambria Heights, far from the city center, even there paying far too much to the landlord for what they receive.
New York has become an unrecognizable place to Rip, who can't understand why the accent-less youngsters keep asking him to repeat something in order to hear his quaint "Brooklyn" accent, something like the King's English still spoken on remote Smith Island in the Chesapeake, he guesses
Rip suspects that this "great transformation" (apologies to Polanyi) has coincided, and is somehow causally related, to the transformation of New York from a real living city into, as the former Mayor proclaimed, the "World Capital" of financialized commerce and all that goes with it.
"Financialization", he thinks, is not the expression of an old man's disapproval but a way of naming a transformed economic and social world. Rip is not an economist. He reads voraciously but, as an erstwhile philosopher trained to think about the meaning of things, he often can't get his head around the mathematical model-making explanations of the economists that seem to dominate the more erudite political and social analyses these days. He has learned, however, that the phenomenon of "capitalism" has changed along with his city and his life.
Money, it seems to him, has somehow changed its role. It has "increased" (is that possible, he asks?) while at the same time it has become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. It appears to seek to become an autonomous and dominating sector of economic life, functionally separated from production of real things, almost all of which seem to come from faraway places. "Real" actually begins to change its meaning, another topic more interesting still. This devotion to the world of money-making-money seems to have obsessed the lives of many of the most "important" Americans. Entire TV networks are devoted to it. They talk about esoteric financial instruments that to the ordinary citizen look more like exotically placed bets-on-credit in the casino than genuine ways to grow real-world business, jobs, wages, and family income. The few who are in position to master the game live material lives that were beyond what almost any formerly "wealthy" man or woman in Rip's prior life could even imagine
Above all else is the astronomical rise in wealth and income inequality. Rip recalls that growing up in the 1950's, the kids on his block included, along with firemen, cops, and insurance men dads (these were virtually all one-parent income households), someone had a dad who worked as a stock broker. Yea, living on the same block was a "Wall Streeter". Amazingly democratic, no? Imagine, people of today, a finance guy drinking at the same corner bar with the sanitation guy. Rip recalls that Aristotle had some wise and cautionary words in his Politics concerning the stability of oligarchic regimes.
Last year I drove across America on blue highways mostly. I stayed in small towns and cities, Zanesville, St. Charles, Wichita, Pratt, Dalhart, Clayton, El Paso, Abilene, Clarksdale, and many more. I dined for the most part in local taverns, sitting at the bar so as to talk with the local bartender and patrons who are almost always friendly and talkative in these spaces. Always and everywhere I heard similar stories as my story of my home town. Not so much the specifics (there are no "disneyfied" Lubbocks or Galaxes out there, although Oxford, MS comes close) but in the sadness of men and women roughly my age as they recounted a place and time – a way of life – taken out from under them, so that now their years are filled with decayed and dead downtowns, children gone away and lost to either the relentless rootlessness of the trans-national economy or the virtual hell-world of meth and opioids and heroin and unending underemployed hopelessness.
I am not a trained economist. My graduate degrees were in philosophy. My old friends call me an "Eric Hoffer", who back in the day was known as the "longshoreman philosopher". I have been trying for a long time now to understand the silent revolution that has been pulled off right under my nose, the replacement of a world that certainly had its flaws (how could I forget the civil rights struggle and the crime of Viet Nam; I was a part of these things) but was, let us say, different. Among you or your informed readers, is there anyone who can suggest a book or books or author(s) who can help me understand how all of this came about, with no public debate, no argument, no protest, no nothing? I would be very much appreciative.Michael Fiorillo , June 2, 2016 at 3:13 pm
I'll just highlight this line for emphasis
"there are no "disneyfied" Lubbocks or Galaxes out there, although Oxford, MS comes close) but in the sadness of men and women roughly my age as they recounted a place and time – a way of life – taken out from under them, so that now their years are filled with decayed and dead downtowns, children gone away and lost to either the relentless rootlessness of the trans-national economy or the virtual hell-world of meth and opioids and heroin and unending underemployed hopelessness."
my best friend pretty much weeps every day.Left in Wisconsin , June 2, 2016 at 3:24 pm
As a lifelong New Yorker, I too mourn the demise of my beloved city. Actually, that's wrong: my city didn't die, it was taken from me/us.
But if it's any consolation, remember that Everyone Loses Their New York (even insufferable hipster colonizers)…Softie , June 2, 2016 at 4:14 pm
I don't have a book to recommend. I do think you identify a really underemphasized central fact of recent times: the joint processes by which real places have been converted into "real estate" and real, messy lives replaced by safe, manufactured "experiences." This affects wealthy and poor neighborhoods alike, in different ways but in neither case for the better.
I live in a very desirable neighborhood in one of those places that makes a lot of "Best of" lists. I met a new neighbor last night who told me how he and his wife had plotted for years to get out of the Chicago burbs, not only to our city but to this specific neighborhood, which they had decided is "the one." (This sentiment is not atypical.) Unsurprisingly, property values in the neighborhood have gone through the roof. Which, as far as I can tell, most everyone here sees as an unmitigated good thing.
At the same time, several families I got to know because they moved into the neighborhood about the same time we did 15-20 years ago, are cashing out and moving away, kids off to or out of college, parents ready (and financed) to get on to the next phase and the next place. Of course, even though our children are all Lake Woebegoners, there are no next generations staying in the neighborhood, except of course the ones still living, or back, at "home." (Those families won't be going anywhere for awhile!)
I can't argue that new money in the hood hasn't improved some things. Our formerly struggling food co-op just finished a major expansion and upgrade. Good coffee is 5 minutes closer than it used to be. But to my wife and me, the overwhelming feeling is that we are now outsiders here in this neighborhood where we know all the houses and the old trees but not what motivates our new neighbors. So I made up a word for it: unsettling (adj., verb, noun).Jim , June 2, 2016 at 4:25 pm
Try to read this one:
"If public life can suffer a metaphysical blow, the death of the labor question was that blow. For millions of working people, it amputated the will to resist."
- Steve Fraser, The Age of AcquiescenceJDH , June 2, 2016 at 4:28 pm
Christopher Lash in "Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy" mentions Ray Oldenburg's "The Great Good Places: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts and How they Got You through the Day."
He argued that the decline of democracy is directly related to the disappearance of what he called third places:,
"As neighborhood hangouts give way to suburban shopping malls, or, on the other hand private cocktail parties, the essentially political art of conversation is replaced by shoptalk or personal gossip.
Increasingly, conversation literally has no place in American society. In its absence how–or better, where–can political habits be acquired and polished?
Lasch finished he essay by noting that Oldenburg's book helps to identify what is missing from our then newly emerging world (which you have concisely updated):
"urban amenities, conviviality, conversation, politics–almost everything in part that makes life worth living."ekstase , June 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm
The best explainer of our modern situation that I have read is Wendell Berry. I suggest that you start with "The Unsettling of America," quoted below.
"Let me outline briefly as I can what seem to me the characteristics of these opposite kinds of mind. I conceive a strip-miner to be a model exploiter, and as a model nurturer I take the old-fashioned idea or ideal of a farmer. The exploiter is a specialist, an expert; the nurturer is not. The standard of the exploiter is efficiency; the standard of the nurturer is care. The exploiter's goal is money, profit; the nurturer's goal is health - his land's health, his own, his family's, his community's, his country's. Whereas the exploiter asks of a piece of land only how much and how quickly it can be made to produce, the nurturer asks a question that is much more complex and difficult: What is its carrying capacity? (That is: How much can be taken from it without diminishing it? What can it produce dependably for an indefinite time?) The exploiter wishes to earn as much as possible by as little work as possible; the nurturer expects, certainly, to have a decent living from his work, but his characteristic wish is to work as well as possible. The competence of the exploiter is in organization; that of the nurturer is in order - a human order, that is, that accommodates itself both to other order and to mystery. The exploiter typically serves an institution or organization; the nurturer serves land, household, community, place. The exploiter thinks in terms of numbers, quantities, "hard facts"; the nurturer in terms of character, condition, quality, kind."
I also think Prof. Patrick Deneen works to explain the roots (and progression) of decline. I'll quote him at length here describing the modern college student.
"[T]he one overarching lesson that students receive is the true end of education: the only essential knowledge is that know ourselves to be radically autonomous selves within a comprehensive global system with a common commitment to mutual indifference. Our commitment to mutual indifference is what binds us together as a global people. Any remnant of a common culture would interfere with this prime directive: a common culture would imply that we share something thicker, an inheritance that we did not create, and a set of commitments that imply limits and particular devotions.
Ancient philosophy and practice praised as an excellent form of government a res publica – a devotion to public things, things we share together. We have instead created the world's first Res Idiotica – from the Greek word idiotes, meaning "private individual." Our education system produces solipsistic, self-contained selves whose only public commitment is an absence of commitment to a public, a common culture, a shared history. They are perfectly hollowed vessels, receptive and obedient, without any real obligations or devotions.
They won't fight against anyone, because that's not seemly, but they won't fight for anyone or anything either. They are living in a perpetual Truman Show, a world constructed yesterday that is nothing more than a set for their solipsism, without any history or trajectory."
Dave , June 2, 2016 at 10:21 am
Wow. Did this hit a nerve. You have eloquently described what was the city of hope for several generations of outsiders, for young gay men and women, and for real artists, not just from other places in America, but from all over the world. In New York, once upon a time, bumping up against the more than 50% of the population who were immigrants from other countries, you could learn a thing or two about the world. You could, for a while, make a living there at a job that was all about helping other people. You could find other folks, lots of them, who were honest, well-meaning, curious about the world. Then something changed. As you said, you started to see it in those hideous 80's buildings. But New York always seemed somehow as close or closer to Europe than to the U.S., and thus out of the reach of mediocrity and dumbing down. New York would mold you into somebody tough and smart, if you weren't already – if it didn't, you wouldn't make it there.
Now, it seems, this dream is dreamt. Poseurs are not artists, and the greedy and smug drive out creativity, kindness, real humor, hope.
It ain't fair. I don't know where in this world an aspiring creative person should go now, but it probably is not there.RUKidding , June 2, 2016 at 11:06 am
Americans cannot begin to reasonably demand a living wage, benefits and job security when there is an unending human ant-line of illegals and legal immigrants willing to under bid them.
Only when there is a parity or shortage of workers can wage demands succeed, along with other factors.
From 1925 to 1965 this country accepted hardly any immigrants, legal or illegal. We had the bracero program where Mexican males were brought in to pick crops and were then sent home to collect paychecks in Mexico. American blacks were hired from the deep south to work defense plants in the north and west.
Is it any coincidence that the 1965 Great Society program, initiated by Ted Kennedy to primarily benefit the Irish immigrants, then co-opted by LBJ to include practically everyone, started this process of Middle Class destruction?
1973 was the peak year of American Society as measured by energy use per capita, expansion of jobs and unionization and other factors, such as an environment not yet destroyed, nicely measured by the The Real Progress Indicator.
Solution? Stop importing uneducated people. That's real "immigration reform".
Now explain to me why voters shouldn't favor Trump's radical immigration stands?tegnost , June 2, 2016 at 12:24 pm
Maybe, but OTOH, who is it, exactly, who is recruiting, importing, hiring and training undocumented workers to downgrade pay scales??
Do some homework, please. If businesses didn't actively go to Central and South America to recruit, pay to bring here, hire and employ undocumented workers, then the things you discuss would be great.
When ICE comes a-knocking at some meat processing plant or mega-chicken farm, what happens? The undocumented workers get shipped back to wherever, but the big business owner doesn't even get a tap on the wrist. The undocumented worker – hired to work in unregulated unsafe unhealthy conditions – often goes without their last paycheck.
It's the business owners who manage and support this system of undocumented workers because it's CHEAP, and they don't get busted for it.
Come back when the USA actually enforces the laws that are on the books today and goes after big and small business owners who knowingly recruit, import, hire, train and employee undocumented workers… you know, like Donald Trump has all across his career.RUKidding , June 2, 2016 at 12:47 pm
This is the mechanism by which the gov't has assisted biz in destroying the worker, competition for thee, but none for me. For instance I can't go work in canada or mexico, they don't allow it. Policy made it, policy can change it, go bernie. While I favor immigration, in it's current form it is primarily conducted on these lines of destroying workers (H1b etc and illegals combined) Lucky for the mexicans they can see the american dream is bs and can go home. I wonder who the latinos that have gained citizenship will vote for. Unlikely it'll be trump, but they can be pretty conservative, and the people they work for are pretty conservative so no guarantee there, hillary is in san diego at the tony balboa park where her supporters will feel comfortable, not a huge venue I think they must be hoping for a crowd, and if she can't get one in san diego while giving a "if we don't rule the world someone else will" speech, she can't get one anywhere. Defense contractors and military advisors and globalist biotech (who needs free money more than biotech? they are desperate for hillary) are thick in san diego.tegnost , June 2, 2016 at 2:12 pm
I live part-time in San Diego. It is very conservative. The military, who are constantly screwed by the GOP, always vote Republican. They make up a big cohort of San Diego county.
Hillary may not get a big crowd at the speech, but that, in itself, doesn't mean that much to me. There is a segment of San Diego that is somewhat more progressive-ish, but it's a pretty conservative county with parts of eastern SD county having had active John Birch Society members until recently… or maybe even ongoing.
There's a big push in the Latino community to GOTV, and it's mostly not for Trump. It's possible this cohort, esp the younger Latino/as, will vote for Sanders in the primary, but if Clinton gets the nomination, they'll likely vote for her (v. Trump).
I was unlucky enough to be stuck for an hour in a commuter train last Friday after Trump's rally there. Hate to sound rude, but Trump's fans were everything we've seen. Loud, rude, discourteous and an incessant litany of rightwing talking points (same old, same old). All pretty ignorant. Saying how Trump will "make us great again." I don't bother asking how. A lot of ugly comments about Obama and how Obama has been "so racially divisive and polarizing." Well, No. No, Obama has not been or done that, but the rightwing noise machine has sure ginned up your hatreds, angers and fears. It was most unpleasant. The only instructive thing about it was confirming my worst fears about this group. Sorry to say but pretty loutish and very uninformed. Sigh.Bob Haugen , June 2, 2016 at 10:35 am
part timer in sd as well, family for hillary except for nephew and niece….I keep telling my mom she should vote bernie for their sake but it never goes over very wellequote , June 2, 2016 at 10:43 am
Re Methland, we live in rural US and we got a not-very-well hidden population of homeless children. I don't mean homeless families with children, I mean homeless children. Sleeping in parks in good weather, couch-surfing with friends, etc. I think related.Take the Fork , June 2, 2016 at 11:07 am
Fascism is a system of political and social order intended to reinforce the unity, energy and purity of communities in which liberal democracy stand(s) accused of producing division and decline. . . . George Orwell reminded us, clad in the mainstream patriotic dress of their own place and time, . . . an authentically popular fascism in the United States would be pious and anti-Black; in Western Europe, secular and antisemitic, or more probably, these days anti-Islamic; in Russia and Eastern Europe, religious, antisemitic, and slavophile.
Robert O. Paxton
In The Five Stages of Faschism
"… that eternal enemy: the conservative manipulators of privilege who damn as 'dangerous agitators' any man who menaces their fortunes" (maybe 'power and celebrity' should be added to fortunes)
It Can't Happen Here page 141pissed younger baby boomer , June 2, 2016 at 11:57 am
On the Boots To Ribs Front: Anyone hereabouts notice that Captain America has just been revealed to be a Nazi? Maybe this is what R. Cohen was alluding to… but I doubt it.rfam , June 2, 2016 at 11:59 am
The four horse men are, political , social, economic and environmental collapse . Any one remember the original Mad Max movie. A book I recommend is the Crash Of 2016 By Thom Hartmann.TedWa , June 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm
From the comment, I agree with the problems, not the cause. We've increased the size and scope of the safety net over the last decade. We've increased government spending versus GDP. I'm not blaming government but its not neoliberal/capitalist policy either.
1. Globalization clearly helps the poor in other countries at the expense of workers in the U.S. But at the same time it brings down the cost of goods domestically. So jobs are not great but Walmart/Amazon can sell cheap needs.
2. Inequality started rising the day after Bretton Woods – the rich got richer everyday after "Nixon Shock"
https://www.google.com/search?q=gini+coefficient+usa+chart&client=safari&rls=en&biw=1371&bih=793&tbm=isch&imgil=tRkxcVEo17ID8M%253A%253B-Lt3-YscSzdOaM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.the-crises.com%25252Fincome-inequality-in-the-us-1%25252F&source=iu&pf=m&fir=tRkxcVEo17ID8M%253A%252C-Lt3-YscSzdOaM%252C_&usg=__bipTqXhWx0tXxke6Xcj5MUAcn-o%3D&ved=0ahUKEwjY18rm2onNAhUPeFIKHREjAS4QyjcILw&ei=nFdQV9iZCo_wyQKRxoTwAg#imgrc=tRkxcVEo17ID8M%3Ategnost , June 2, 2016 at 12:35 pm
Hi rfam : To point 1 : Why is there a need to bring down the cost of goods? Is it because of past outsourcing and trade agreements and FR policies? I think there's a chicken and egg thing going on, ie.. which came first. Globalization is a way to bring down wages while supplying Americans with less and less quality goods supplied at the hand of global corporations like Walmart that need welfare in the form of food stamps and the ACA for their workers for them to stay viable (?). Viable in this case means ridiculously wealthy CEO's and the conglomerate growing bigger constantly. Now they have to get rid of COOL's because the WTO says it violates trade agreements so we can't trace where our food comes from in case of an epidemic. It's all downhill. Wages should have risen with costs so we could afford high quality American goods, but haven't for a long, long time.RUKidding , June 2, 2016 at 12:57 pm
Globalization helps the rich here way more than the poor there. The elites get more money for nothing (see QE before you respond, if you do, that's where the money for globalization came from) the workers get the husk. Also the elite gets to say "you made your choices" and other moralistic crap. The funny(?) thing is they generally claim to be atheists, which I translate into "I am God, there doesn't need to be any other" Amazon sells cheap stuff by cheating on taxes, and barely makes money, mostly just driving people out of business. WalMart has cheap stuff because they subsidise their workers with food stamps and medicaid. Bringing up bretton woods means you don't know much about money creation, so google "randy wray/bananas/naked capitalism" and you'll find a quick primer.JustAnObserver , June 2, 2016 at 2:51 pm
The Walmart loathsome spawn and Jeff Bezos are the biggest welfare drains in our nation – or among the biggest. They woefully underpay their workers, all while training them on how to apply for various welfare benefits. Just so that their slaves, uh, workers can manage to eat enough to enable them to work.
It slays me when US citizens – and it happens across the voting spectrum these days; I hear just as often from Democratic voters as I do from GOP voters – bitch, vetch, whine & cry about welfare abuse. And if I start to point out the insane ABUSE of welfare by the Waltons and Jeff Bezos, I'm immediately greeted with random TRUE stories about someone who knew someone who somehow made out like a bandit on welfare.
Hey, I'm totally sure and in agreement that there are likely a small percentage of real welfare cheats who manage to do well enough somehow. But seriously? That's like a drop in the bucket. Get the eff over it!!!
Those cheats are not worth discussing. It's the big fraud cheats like Bezos & the Waltons and their ilk, who don't need to underpay their workers, but they DO because the CAN… and they get away with it because those of us the rapidly dwindling middle/working classes are footing the bill for it.
Citizens who INSIST on focusing on a teeny tiny minority of real welfare cheats, whilst studiously ignoring the Waltons and the Bezos' of the corporate world, are enabling this behavior. It's one of my bugabears bc it's so damn frustrating when citizens refuse to see how they are really being ripped off by the 1%. Get a clue.
That doesn't even touch on all the other tax breaks, tax loopholes, tax incentives and just general all-around tax cheating and off-shore money hiding that the Waltons and Bezos get/do. Sheesh.Vatch , June 2, 2016 at 6:54 pm
This statement –
"I'm immediately greeted with random TRUE stories about someone who knew someone who somehow made out like a bandit on welfare."
is the key and a v. long term result of the application of Bernays' to political life. Its local and hits at the gut interpersonal level 'cos the "someones" form a kind of chain of trust esp. if the the first one on the list is a friend or a credentialed media pundit. Utterly spurious I know but countering this with a *merely* rational analysis of how Walmart, Amazon abuse the welfare system to gouge profits from the rest of us just won't ever, for the large majority, get through this kind emotional wall.
I don't know what any kind of solution might look like but, somehow, we need to find a way of seriously demonising the corporate parasites that resonates at the same emotional level as the "welfare cheat" meme that Bill Clinton and the rest of the DLC sanctified back in the '90s.
Something like "Walmart's stealing your taxes" might work but how to get it out there in a viral way ??Anonymous Coward , June 2, 2016 at 12:04 pm
"random TRUE stories about someone who knew someone who somehow made out like a bandit on welfare."
Hmm. Your acquaintances might need to be educated about urban legends .Judith , June 2, 2016 at 12:06 pm
Wait, you mean we don't all enjoy living in Pottersville?
For anyone missing the reference, you clearly haven't been subjected to It's a Wonderful Life enough times.Steve Sewall , June 2, 2016 at 12:07 pm
People may be interested in an ongoing project by the photographer Matt Black (who was recently invited to join Magnum) called the Geography of Poverty. http://www.mattblack.com/the-geography-of-poverty/hunkerdown , June 2, 2016 at 5:40 pm
What a comment from seanseamour. And the "hoisting" of it to high visibility at the site is a testament to the worth of Naked Capitalism.
seanseamour asks "What does that have to do with education?" and answers "Everything if one considers the elitist trend…" This question & answer all but brings tears to my eyes. It is so utterly on point. My own experience of it, if I may say so, comes from inside the belly of the beast. As a child and a product of America's elite universities (I have degrees from Harvard and Yale, and my dad, Richard B. Sewall, was a beloved English prof at Yale for 42 years), I could spend all morning detailing the shameful roles played by America's torchbearing universities – Harvard, Yale, Stanford etc – in utterly abandoning their historic responsibility as educators to maintaining the health of the nation's public school system.*
And as I suspect seanseymour would agree, when a nation loses public education, it loses everything.
But I don't want to spend all morning doing that because I'm convinced that it's not too late for America to rescue itself from maelstrom in which it finds itself today. (Poe's "Maelstrom" story, cherished by Marshall McLuhan, is supremely relevant today.)
To turn America around, I don't look to education – that system is too far gone to save itself, let alone the rest of the country – but rather to the nation's media: to the all-powerful public communication system that certainly has the interactive technical capabilities to put citizens and governments in touch with each other on the government decisions that shape the futures of communities large and small.
For this to happen, however, people like the us – readers of Naked Capitalism – need to stop moaning and groaning about the damage done by the neoliberals and start building an issue-centered, citizen-participatory, non-partisan, prime-time Civic Media strong enough to give all Americans an informed voice in the government decisions that affect their lives. This Civic media would exist to make citizens and governments responsive and accountable to each other in shaping futures of all three communities – local, state and national – of which every one of us is a member.
Pie in the sky? Not when you think hard about it. A huge majority of Americans would welcome this Civic Media. Many yearn for it. This means that a market exists for it: a Market of the Whole of all members of any community, local, state and national. This audience is large enough to rival those generated by media coverage of pro sports teams, and believe it or not much of the growth of this Civic media could be productively modeled on the growth of media coverage of pro sports teams. This Civic Media would attract the interest of major advertisers, especially those who see value in non-partisan programming dedicated to getting America moving forward again. Dynamic, issue-centered, problem-solving public forums, some modeled on voter-driven reality TV contests like The Voice or Dancing with the Stars, could be underwritten by a "rainbow" spectrum of funders, commericial, public, personal and even government sources.
So people take hope! Be positive! Love is all we need, etc. The need for for a saving alternative to the money-driven personality contests into which our politics has descended this election year is literally staring us all in the face from our TV, cellphone and computer screens. This is no time to sit back and complain, it's a time to start working to build a new way of connecting ourselves so we can reverse America's rapid decline.
OK, so I hear some of you saying, corporate America will never let this Civic Media get off the ground. My short answer to this is that corporations do what makes money for them, and in today's despairing political climate there's money to be made in sponsoring something truly positive, patriotic and constructive. And I hear a few others saying that Americans are too dumbed down, too busy, too polarized or too just plain stupid to make intelligent, constructive use of a non-partisan, problem-solving Civic Media. But I would not underestimate the intelligence of Americans when they can give their considered input – by vote, by comment or by active participation – in public forums that are as exciting and well managed as an NFL game or a Word Series final.Sound of the Suburbs , June 2, 2016 at 12:36 pm
"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello BiafraSound of the Suburbs , June 2, 2016 at 1:04 pm
I am paying an exorbitant subscription for the UK Financial Times at the moment. Anyway, the good news is that very regular articles are appearing where you can almost feel the panic at the populist uprisings.
The end is nigh for the Neo-Liberals.perpetualWAR , June 2, 2016 at 1:18 pm
Whatever system is put in place the human race will find a way to undermine it. I believe in capitalism because fair competition means the best and most efficient succeed.
I send my children to private schools and universities because I want my own children at the top and not the best. Crony capitalism is inevitable, self-interest undermines any larger system that we try and impose.
Can we design a system that can beat human self-interest? It's going to be tricky.
"If that's the system, how can I take advantage of it?" human nature at work. "If that's the system, is it working for me or not?" those at the top.
If not, it's time to change the system.
If so, how can I tweak it to get more out of it?
Academics, who are not known for being street-wise, probably thought they had come up with the ultimate system using markets and numeric performance measures to create a system free from human self-interest.
They had already missed that markets don't just work for price discovery, but are frequently used for capital gains by riding bubbles and hoping there is a "bigger fool" out there than you, so you can cash out with a handsome profit.
(I am not sure if the Chinese realise markets are supposed to be for price discovery at all).
Hence, numerous bubbles during this time, with housing bubbles being the global favourite for those looking for capital gains.
If we are being governed by the markets, how do we rig the markets?
A question successfully solved by the bankers.
Inflation figures, that were supposed to ensure the cost of living didn't rise too quickly, were somehow manipulated to produce low inflation figures with roaring house price inflation raising the cost of living.
What unemployment measure will best suit the story I am trying to tell?
U3 – everything great
U6 – it's not so good
Labour participation rate – it hasn't been this bad since the 1970s
Anything missing from the theory has been ruthlessly exploited, e.g. market bubbles ridden for capital gains, money creation by private banks, the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income and the fact that Capitalism trickles up through the following mechanism:
1) Those with excess capital collect rent and interest.
2) Those with insufficient capital pay rent and interest.
Neo-Liberalism – It's as good as dead.Softie , June 2, 2016 at 2:26 pm
I just went on a rant last week. (Not only because the judge actually LIED in court)
I left the courthouse in downtown Seattle, to cross the street to find the vultures selling more foreclosures on the steps of the King County Administration Building, while above them, there were tents pitched on the building's perimeter. And people were walking by just like this scene was normal.
Because the people at the entrance of the courthouse could view this, I went over there and began to rant. I asked (loudly) "Do you guys see that over there? Vultures selling homes rendering more people homeless and then the homeless encampment with tents pitched on the perimeter above them? In what world is this normal?" One guy replied, "Ironic, isn't it?" After that comment, the Marshall protecting the judicial crooks in the building came over and tried to calm me down. He insisted that the scene across the street was "normal" and that none of his friends or neighbors have been foreclosed on. I soon found out that that lying Marshall was from Pierce County, the epicenter of Washington foreclosures.
The scene was totally surreal. And unforgettable.EGrise , June 2, 2016 at 2:31 pm
You need to take a photograph or two using your above words as caption.Softie , June 2, 2016 at 3:09 pm
And nobody cares
As long as they get theirsSoftie , June 2, 2016 at 2:16 pm
The kernel of Neoliberal Ideology: "There is no such a thing as society." (Margaret Thatcher).LeitrimNYC , June 2, 2016 at 2:25 pm
"In this postindustrial world not only is the labor question no longer asked, not only is proletarian revolution passé, but the proletariat itself seems passé. And the invisibles who nonetheless do indeed live there have internalized their nonexistence, grown demoralized, resentful, and hopeless; if they are noticed at all, it is as objects of public disdain. What were once called "blue-collar aristocrats"-skilled workers in the construction trades, for example-have long felt the contempt of the whole white-collar world.
For these people, already skeptical about who runs things and to what end, and who are now undergoing their own eviction from the middle class, skepticism sours into a passive cynicism. Or it rears up in a kind of vengeful chauvinism directed at alien others at home and abroad, emotional compensation for the wounds that come with social decline…If public life can suffer a metaphysical blow, the death of the labor question was that blow. For millions of working people, it amputated the will to resist."
- Steve Fraser, The Age of AcquiescenceperpetualWAR , June 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm
One thing I don't think I have seen addressed on this site (apologies if I have missed it!) in all the commentary about the destruction of the middle class is the role of US imperialism in creating that middle class in the first place and what it is that we want to save from destruction by neo-liberalism. The US is rich because we rob the rest of the world's resources and have been doing so in a huge way since 1945, same as Britain before us. I don't think it's a coincidence that the US post-war domination of the world economy and the middle class golden age happened at the same time. Obviously there was enormous value created by US manufacturers, inventors, government scientists, etc but imperialism is the basic starting point for all of this. The US sets the world terms of trade to its own advantage. How do we save the middle class without this level of control? Within the US elites are robbing everyone else but they are taking what we use our military power to appropriate from the rest of the world.
Second, if Bernie or whoever saves the middle class, is that so that everyone can have a tract house and two cars and continue with a massively wasteful and unsustainable lifestyle based on consumption? Or are we talking about basic security like shelter, real health care, quality education for all, etc? Most of the stories I see seem to be nostalgic for a time when lots of people could afford to buy lots of stuff and don't 1) reflect on origin of that stuff (imperialism) and 2) consider whether that lifestyle should be the goal in the first place.Praedor , June 2, 2016 at 3:57 pm
I went to the electronics recycling facility in Seattle yesterday. The guy at customer service told me that they receive 20 million pounds per month. PER MONTH. Just from Seattle. I went home and threw up.hunkerdown , June 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm
It doesn't have to be that way. You can replace military conquest (overt and covert) with space exploration and science expansion. Also, instead of pushing consumerism, push contentment. Don't setup and goose a system of "gotta keep up with the Joneses!"
In the 50s(!!!) there was a plan, proven in tests and studies, that would have had humans on the mars by 1965, out to Saturn by 72. Project Orion. Later, the British Project Daedalus was envisioned which WOULD have put space probes at the next star system within 20 years of launch. It was born of the atomic age and, as originally envisioned, would have been an ecological disaster BUT it was reworked to avoid this and would have worked. Spacecraft capable of comfortably holding 100 personnel, no need to build with paper-thin aluminum skin or skimp on amenities. A huge ship built like a large sea vessel (heavy iron/steel) accelerated at 1g (or more or slightly less as desired) so no prolonged weightlessness and concomitant loss of bone and muscle mass. It was all in out hands but the Cold War got in the way, as did the many agreements and treaties of the Cold War to avoid annihilation. It didn't need to be that way. Check it out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)
All that with 1950s and 60s era technology. It could be done better today and for less than your wars in the Middle East. Encourage science, math, exploration instead of consumption, getting mine before you can get yours, etc.Left in Wisconsin , June 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm
Or, we could replace Western liberal culture, with its tradition to consume and expand by force an unbroken chain from the Garden of Eden to Friedrich von Hayek, with the notion of maintenance and "enough". Bourgeois make-work holds no interest to me.jrs , June 2, 2016 at 5:52 pm
My understanding of the data is that living standards increased around the world during the so-called golden age, not just in the U.S. (and Western Europe and Japan and Australia…). It could be that it was still imperialism at work, but the link between imperialism and the creation of the middle class is not straightforward.
Likewise, US elites are clearly NOT robbing the manufacturing firms that have set up in China and other low-wage locations, so it is an oversimplification to say they are "robbing everyone else."
Nostalgia is overrated but I don't sense the current malaise as a desire for more stuff. (I grew up in the 60s and 70s and I don't remember it as a time where people had, or craved, a lot of stuff. That period would be now, and I find it infects Sanders' supporters less than most.) If anything, it is nostalgia for more (free) time and more community, for a time when (many but not all) people had time to socialize and enjoy civic life.catlady , June 2, 2016 at 5:12 pm
those things would be nice as would just a tiny bit of hope for the future, our own and the planet's and not an expectation of things getting more and more difficult and sometimes for entirely unnecessary reasons like imposed austerity. But being we can't have "nice things" like free time, community and hope for the future, we just "buy stuff".Skippy , June 2, 2016 at 6:50 pm
I live on the south side, in the formerly affluent south shore neighborhood. A teenager was killed, shot in the head in a drive by shooting, at 5 pm yesterday right around the corner from my residence. A white coworker of mine who lives in a rich northwest side neighborhood once commented to me how black people always say goodbye by saying "be safe". More easily said than done.Jim , June 2, 2016 at 8:10 pm
I thought neoliberalism was just the pogrom to make everyone – rational agents – as subscribed by our genetic / heraldic betters….. putting this orbs humans and resources in the correct "natural" order….
Disheveled Marsupial… for those thinking neoliberalism is not associated with libertarianism one only has to observe the decades of think tanks and their mouth organs roaming the planet…. especially in the late 80s and 90s…. bringing the might and wonders of the – market – to the great unwashed globally… here libertarian priests rang in the good news to the great unwashed…Skippy , June 2, 2016 at 10:09 pm
I would argue that neoliberalism is a program to define markets as primarily engaged in information processing and to make everyone into non-agents ( as not important at all to the proper functioning of markets).
It also appears that neoliberals want to restrict democracy to the greatest extent possible and to view markets as the only foundation for truth without any need for input from the average individual.
But as Mirowski argues–carrying their analysis this far begins to undermine their own neoliberal assumptions about markets always promoting social welfare.Rick Cass , June 2, 2016 at 7:32 pm
When I mean – agents – I'm not referring to agency, like you say the market gawd/computer does that. I was referencing the – rational agent – that 'ascribes' the markets the right at defining facts or truth as neoliberalism defines rational thought/behavior.
Disheveled Marsupial… yes democracy is a direct threat to Hayekian et al [MPS and Friends] paranoia due to claims of irrationality vs rationally…seanseamour , June 3, 2016 at 4:32 am
Neo-liberalism could not have any power without legal and ethical positivism as the ground work of the national thought processes.dk , June 3, 2016 at 8:08 am
I have trouble understanding the focus on an emergence of fascism in Europe, focus that seems to dominate this entire thread when, put in perspective such splinter groups bear little weight on the European political spectrum.
As an expat living in France, in my perception the Front National is a threat to the political establishments that occupy the center left and right and whose historically broad constituencies have been brutalized by the financial crisis borne of unbridled anglo-saxon runaway capitalism, coined neoliberalism. The resulting disaffection has allowed the growth of the FN but it is also fueled by a transfer of reactionary constituencies that have historically found identity in far left parties (communist, anti-capitalist, anarchist…), political expressions the institutions of the Republic allow and enable in the name of plurality, a healthy exultury in a democratic society.
To consider that the FN in France, UKIP in the UK and others are a threat to democratic values any more that the far left is non-sensical, and I dare say insignificant compared to the "anchluss" our conservative right seeks to impose upon the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
The reality in Europe as in America is economic. The post WWII era of reconstruction, investment and growth is behind us, the French call these years the "Trente Glorieuses" (30 glorious years) when prosperity was felt through all societal strats, consumerism for all became the panacea for a just society, where injustice prevailed welfare formulas provided a new panacea.
As the perspective of an unravelling of this golden era began to emerge elites sought and conspired to consolidate power and wealth, under the aegis of greed is good culture by further corrupting government to serve the few, ensuring impunity for the ruling class, attempting societal cohesiveness with brash hubristic dialectics (America, the greatest this or that) and adventurism (Irak, mission accomplished), conspiring to co-opt and control institutions and the media (to understand the depth of this deception a must read is Jane Mayer in The Dark Side and in Dark Money).
The difference between America and Europe is that latter bears of brunt of our excess.
The 2008 Wall St / City meltdown eviscerated much of America' middle class and de-facto stalled, perhaps definitively, the vehicle of upward mobility in an increasingly wealth-ranked class structured society – the Trump phenomena feeds off the fatalistic resilience and "good book" mythologies remnant of the "go west" culture.
In Europe where to varying degrees managed capitalism prevails the welfare state(s) provided the shock absorbers to offset the brunt of the crisis, but those who locked-in on neoliberal fiscal conservatism have cut off their nose in spite leaving scant resources to spur growth. If social mobility survives, more vibrantly than the US, unemployment and the cost thereof remains steadfast and crippling.
The second crisis borne of American hubris is the human tidal wave resulting from the Irak adventure; it has unleashed mayhem upon the Middle East, Sub Saharan Africa and beyond. The current migrational wave Europe can not absorb is but the beginning of much deeper problem – as ISIS, Boko Haram and so many others terrorist groups destabilize the nation-states of a continent whose population is on the path to explode in the next half century.
The icing on the cake provided by a Trump election will be a world wave of climate change refugees as the neoliberal establishment seeks to optimize wealth and power through continued climate change denial.
Fascism is not the issue, nationalism resulting from a self serving bully culture will decimate the multilateral infrastructure responsible nation-states need to address today's problems.
Broadly, Trump Presidency capping the neoliberal experience will likely signal the end of the US' dominant role on the world scene (and of course the immense benefits derived for the US). As he has articulated his intent to discard the art of diplomacy, from soft to institutional, in favor of an agressive approach in which the President seeks to "rattle" allies (NATO, Japan and S. Korea for example) as well as his opponents (in other words anyone who does not profess blind allegiance), expect that such modus operandi will create a deep schism accompanied by a loss of trust, already felt vis-a-vis our legislature' behavior over the last seven years.
The US's newfound respect among friends and foes generated by President Obama' presidency, has already been undermined by the GOP primaries, if Trump is elected it will dissipate for good as other nations and groups thereof focus upon new, no-longer necessarily aligned strategic relationships, some will form as part as a means of taking distance, or protection from the US, others more opportunist with the risk of opponents such as Putin filling the void – in Europe for example.Murica Derp , June 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm
Neoliberalism isn't helping, but it's a population/resource ratio thing. Impacts on social orders occur well before raw supply factors kick in (and there is more than food supply to basic rations). The world population has more than doubled in the last 50 years, one doesn't get that kind of accelerated growth without profound impacts to every aspect of societies. Some of the most significant impacts are consequent to the acceleration of technological changes (skill expirations, automations) that are driven in no small part by the needs of a vast + growing population.
Note that the vertical scale in the of the first graph is logarithmic.
I don't suggest population as a pat simplistic answer. And neoliberalism accelerates the declining performance of institutions (as in the CUNY article… and that's been going on for decades already, neoliberalism just picked up where neoconservatism petered out), but we would be facing issues like homelessness, service degradation, population displacements, etc regardless of poor policies. One could argue (I do) that neoliberalism has undertaken to accelerate existing entropies for profit.
Thanks for soliciting reader comments on socioeconomic desperation. It's encouraging to know that I'm not the only failure to launch in this country.
I'm a seasonal farm worker with a liberal arts degree in geology and history. I barely held on for six months as a junior environmental consultant at a dysfunctional firm that tacitly encouraged unethical and incompetent behavior at all levels. From what I could gather, it was one of the better-run firms in the industry. Even so, I was watching mid-level and senior staff wander into extended mid-life crises while our entire service line was terrorized by a badly out-of-shape, morbidly obese, erratic, vicious PG who had alienated almost the entire office but was untouchable no matter how many firing offenses she committed. Meanwhile I was watching peers in other industries (especially marketing and FIRE) sell their souls in real time. I'm still watching them do so a decade later.
It's hard to exaggerate how atrociously I've been treated by bougie conformists for having failed/dropped out of the rat race. A family friend who got into trouble with the state of Hawaii for misclassifying direct employees of his timeshare boiler room as 1099's gave me a panic attack after getting stoned and berating me for hours about how I'd wake up someday and wonder what the fuck I'd done with my life. At the time, I had successfully completed a summer job as the de facto lead on a vineyard maintenance crew and was about to get called back for the harvest, again as the de facto lead picker.
Much of my social life is basically my humiliation at the hands of amoral sleazeballs who presume themselves my superiors. No matter how strong an objective case I have for these people being morally bankrupt, it's impossible to really dismiss their insults. Another big component is concern-trolling from bourgeois supremacists who will do awfully little for me when I ask them for specific help. I don't know what they're trying to accomplish, and they probably don't, either. A lot of it is cognitive dissonance and incoherence.
Some of the worst aggression has come from a Type A social climber friend who sells life insurance. He's a top producer in a company that's about a third normal, a third Willy Loman, and a third Glengarry Glen Ross. This dude is clearly troubled, but in ways that neither of us can really figure out, and a number of those around him are, too. He once admitted, unbidden, to having hazed me for years.
The bigger problem is that he's surrounded by an entire social infrastructure that enables and rewards noxious, predatory behavior. When college men feel like treating the struggling like garbage, they have backup and social proof from their peers. It's disgusting. Many of these people have no idea of how to relate appropriately to the poor or the unemployed and no interest in learning. They want to lecture and humiliate us, not listen to us.
Dude recently told me that our alma mater, Dickinson College, is a "grad school preparatory institution." I was floored that anyone would ever think to talk like that. In point of fact, we're constantly lectured about how versatile our degrees are, with or without additional education. I've apparently annoyed a number of Dickinsonians by bitterly complaining that Dickinson's nonacademic operations are a sleazy racket and that President Emeritus Bill Durden is a shyster who brainwashed my classmates with crude propaganda. If anything, I'm probably measured in my criticism, because I don't think I know the full extent of the fraud and sleaze. What I have seen and heard is damning. I believe that Dickinson is run by people with totalitarian impulses that are restrained only by a handful of nonconformists who came for the academics and are fed up with the propaganda.
Meanwhile, I've been warm homeless for most of the past four years. It's absurd to get pledge drive pitches from a well-endowed school on the premise that my degree is golden when I'm regularly sleeping in my car and financially dependent on my parents. It's absurd to hear stories about how Dickinson's alumni job placement network is top-notch when I've never gotten a viable lead from anyone I know from school. It's absurd to explain my circumstances in detail to people who, afterwards, still can't understand why I'm cynical.
While my classmates preen about their degrees, I'm dealing with stuff that would make them vomit. A relative whose farm I've been tending has dozens of rats infesting his winery building, causing such a stench that I'm just about the only person willing to set foot inside it. This relative is a deadbeat presiding over a feudal slumlord manor, circumstances that he usually justifies by saying that he's broke and just trying to make ends meet. He has rent-paying tenants living on the property with nothing but a pit outhouse and a filthy, disused shower room for facilities. He doesn't care that it's illegal. One of his tenants left behind a twenty-gallon trash can full to the brim with his own feces. Another was seen throwing newspaper-wrapped turds out of her trailer into the weeds. They probably found more dignity in this than in using the outhouse.
When I was staying in Rancho Cordova, a rough suburb of Sacramento, I saw my next-door neighbor nearly come to blows with a man at the light rail station before apologizing profusely to me, calling me "sir," "man," "boss," and "dog." He told me that he was angry at the other guy for selling meth to his kid sister. Eureka is even worse: its west side is swarming with tweakers, its low-end apartment stock is terrible, no one brings the slumlords to heel, and it has a string of truly filthy residential motels along Broadway that should have been demolished years ago.
A colleague who lives in Sweet Home, Oregon, told me that his hometown is swarming with druggies who try to extract opiates from local poppies and live for the next arriving shipment of garbage drugs. The berry farm where we worked had ten- and twelve-year-olds working under the table to supplement their families' incomes. A Canadian friend told me that he worked for a crackhead in Lillooet who made his own supply at home using freebase that he bought from a meathead dealer with ties to the Boston mob. Apparently all the failing mill towns in rural BC have a crack problem because there's not much to do other than go on welfare and cocaine. An RCMP sergeant in Kamloops was recently indicted for selling coke on the side.
Uahsenaa's comment about the invisible homeless is spot on. I think I blend in pretty well. I've often stunned people by mentioning that I'm homeless. Some of them have been assholes about it, but not all. There are several cars that I recognize as regular overnighters at my usual rest area. Thank God we don't get hassled much. Oregon is about as safe a place as there is to be homeless. Some of the rest areas in California, including the ones at Kingsburg and the Sacramento Airport, end up at or beyond capacity overnight due to the homeless. CalTrans has signs reminding drivers that it's rude to hog a space that someone else will need. This austerity does not, of course, apply to stadium construction for the Kings.
Another thing that almost slipped my mind (and is relevant to Trump's popularity): I've encountered entrenched, systemic discrimination against Americans when I've tried to find and hold menial jobs, and I've talked to other Americans who have also encountered it. There is an extreme bias in favor of Mexican peasants and against Americans in the fields and increasingly in off-farm jobs. The top quintile will be lucky not to reap the whirlwind on account of this prejudice.
www.nakedcapitalism.comSally Snyder , August 5, 2016 at 11:57 amJEHR , August 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm
Here is an article that explains the key reason why economic growth will be slow for the foreseeable future:
No matter what central banks do, their actions will not be able to create the same level of economic growth that we have become used to over the past seven decades.David , August 5, 2016 at 1:25 pm
Economic growth does not come from the central banks; if government sought to provide the basics for all its citizens, including health care, education, a home, and proper food and all the infrastructure needed to give people the basics, then you could have something akin to "growth" while at the same time making life more pleasant for the less fortunate. There seems to be no definition of economic growth that includes everyone.jgordon , August 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm
This seems a very elaborate way of stating a simple problem, that can be summarised in three points.
The living standards of most people have fallen over the last thirty years or so because of the impact of neoliberal economic policies. Conventional politicians are promising only more of the same. Therefore people are increasingly voting for non-conventional politicians.
And that's about it.I Lost at Jeopardy , August 5, 2016 at 6:57 pm
Neoliberalism has only exacerbated falling living standards. Living standards would be falling even without it, albeit more gradually.
Neoliberalism itself may even be nothing more than a standard type response of species that have expanded beyond the capacity of their environment to support them. What we see as an evil ideology is only the expression of a mechanism that apportions declining resources to the elites, like shutting shutting down the periphery so the core can survive as in hypothermia.nothing but the truth , August 6, 2016 at 11:46 am
I really don't have problem with this. Let the financial sector run the world into the ground and get it over with.
In defference to a great many knowledgable commentors here that work in the FIRE sector, I don't want to create a damning screed on the cost of servicing money, but at some point even the most considered opinions have to acknowledge that that finance is flooded with *talent* which creates a number of problems; one being a waste of intellect and education in a field that doesn't offer much of a return when viewed in an egalitarian sense, secondly; as the field grows due to, the technical advances, the rise in globilization, and the security a financial occuptaion offers in an advanced first world country nowadays, it requires substantially more income to be devoted to it's function.
This income has to be derived somewhere, and the required sacrifices on every facet of a global economy to bolster positions and maintain asset prices has precipitated this decline in the well being of peoples not plugged-in to the consumer capitalist regime and dogma.
Something has to give here, and I honestly couldn't care about your 401k or home resale value, you did this to yourself as much as those day-traders who got clobbered in the dot-com crash.
the capitalist economy is more and more an asset driven one. This article does not even begin to address the issue of asset valuations, the explicit CB support for asset inflation and the effect on inequality, and especially generational plunder.
the problem of living standards is obviously a Malthusian one. despite all the progress of social media tricks, we cannot fool nature. the rate of ecological degradation is alarming, and now irreversible. "the market" is now moving rapidly to real assets. This will eventually lead to war as all war is eventually for resources.
www.nakedcapitalism.comThe first comment gives a window into the hidden desperation in America that is showing up in statistics like increasing opioid addiction and suicides, rather than in accounts of how and why so many people are suffering. I hope readers will add their own observations in comments.
seanseamour, June 1, 2016 at 3:26 am
We recently took three months to travel the southern US from coast to coast. As an expat for the past twenty years, beyond the eye opening experience it left us in a state of shock. From a homeless man convulsing in the last throes of hypothermia (been there) behind a fuel station in Houston (the couldn't care less attendant's only preoccupation getting our RV off his premises), to the general squalor of near-homelessness such as the emergence of "American favelas" a block away from gated communities or affluent ran areas, to transformation of RV parks into permanent residencies for the foreclosed who have but their trailer or RV left, to social study one can engage while queuing at the cash registers of a Walmart before beneficiaries of SNAP.
Stopping to take the time to talk and attempt to understand their predicament and their beliefs as to the cause of their plight is a dizzying experience in and of itself. For a moment I felt transposed to the times of the Cold War, when the Iron Curtain dialectics fuzzed the perception of that other world to the west with a structured set of beliefs designed to blacken that horizon as well as establish a righteous belief in their own existential paradigm.
What does that have to do with education? Everything if one considers the elitist trend that is slowly setting the framework of tomorrow's society. For years I have felt there is a silent "un-avowed conspiracy", why the seeming redundancy, because it is empirically driven as a by-product of capitalism's surge and like a self-redeeming discount on a store shelf crystalizes a group identity of think-alike know-little or nothing frustrated citizens easily corralled by a Fox or Trump piper. We have re-rcreated the conditions or rather the reality of "Poverty In America" barely half a century after its first diagnostic with one major difference : we are now feeding the growth of the "underclass" by lifting ever higher and out of reach the upward mobility ladder, once the banner of opportunity now fallen behind the supposedly sclerotic welfare states of Europe.
Praedor, June 1, 2016 at 5:37 pmPraedor , June 2, 2016 at 3:31 pm
So Richard Cohen now fears American voters because of Trump. Well, on Diane Reem today (NPR) was a discussion on why fascist parties are growing in Europe. Both Cohen and the clowns on NPR missed the forest for the trees. The reason Trump and Sanders are doing well in the US while fascists are doing well in Europe is the same reason: neoliberalism has gutted, or is in the process of gutting, societies. Workers and other formerly "safe" white collar workers are seeing their job security, income security, retirement security all go up in smoke. Neoliberals are trying to snip and cut labor protections, healthcare, environmental regulations all for corporate profit. In Europe this is all in addition to a massive refugee crisis itself brought on by neoliberalism (neocon foreign policy is required for neoliberal social policy, they go hand-in-hand). The US and NATO destabilize countries with the intent of stealing their resources and protecting their markets, cause massive refugee flows which strain social structures in Europe (which falls right into the hands of the gutters and cutters of neoliberalism). Of course the people will lean fascist.
In the US we don't have the refugees, but the neoliberalism is further along and more damaging. There's no mystery here or in Europe, just the natural effects of governments failing to represent real people in favor of useless eater rich.
Make the people into commodities, endanger their washes and job security, impose austerity, and tale in floods of refugees. Of COURSE Europeans stay leaning fascist.WorldBLee , June 2, 2016 at 6:06 pm
According to NPR's experts, many or most of those parties are "fascist". The fascist label is getting tossed around a LOT right now. It is slung at Trump, at UKIP, or any others. Fascist is what you call the opposition party to the right that you oppose. Now I don't call Trump a fascist. A buffoon, yes, even a charlatan (I still rather doubt he really originally thought he would become the GOP nominee. Perhaps I'm wrong but, like me, many seemed to think that he was pushing his "brand" – a term usage of which I HATE because it IS like we are all commodities or businesses rather than PEOPLE – and that he would drop by the wayside and profit from his publicity).
Be that as it may, NPR and Co were discussing the rise of fascist/neofascist parties and wondering why there were doing so well. Easy answer: neoliberalism + refugee hoards = what you see in Europe.
I've also blamed a large part of today's gun violence in the USA on the fruits of neoliberalism. Why? Same reason that ugly right-wing groups (fascist or not) are gaining ground around the Western world. Neoliberalism destroys societies. It destroys the connections within societies (the USA in this case). Because we have guns handy, the result is mass shootings and flashes of murder-suicides. This didn't happen BEFORE neoliberalism got its hooks into American society. The guns were there, always have been (when I was a teen I recall seeing gun mags advertising various "assault weapons" for sale…this was BEFORE Reagan and this was BEFORE mass shootings, etc). Machine guns were much easier to come by BEFORE the 1980s yet we didn't have mass killings with machine guns, handguns, or shotguns. ALL that stuff is a NEW disease. A disease rooted in neoliberalism. Neoliberalism steals your job security, your healthcare security, your home, your retirement security, your ability to provide for your family, your ability to send your kids to college, your ability to BUY FOOD. Neoliberalism means you don't get to work for a company for 20 years and then see the company pay you back for that long, good service with a pension. You'll be lucky to hold a job at any company from month-to-month now and FORGET about benefits! Healthcare? Going by the wayside too. Workers in the past felt a bond with each other, especially within a company. Neoliberalism has turned all workers against each other because they have to fight to gain any of the scraps being tossed out by the rich overlords. You can't work TOGETHER to gain mutual benefit, you need to fight each other in a zero sum game. For ME to win you have to lose. You are a commodity. A disposable and irrelevant widget. THAT combines with guns (that have always been available!) and you get desperate acting out: mass shootings, murder suicides, etc.John Zelnicker , June 3, 2016 at 12:24 am
There are actual fascist parties in Europe. To name a few in one country I've followed, Ukraine, there's Right Sector, Svoboda, and others, and that's just one country. I don't think anyone calls UKIP fascist.Jacob , June 3, 2016 at 11:35 am
@Praedor – Your comment that Yves posted and this one are excellent. One of the most succinct statements of neoliberalism and its worst effects that I have seen.
As to the cause of recent mass gun violence, I think you have truly nailed it. If one thinks at all about the ways in which the middle class and lower have been squeezed and abused, it's no wonder that a few of them would turn to violence. It's the same despair and frustration that leads to higher suicide rates, higher rates of opiate addiction and even decreased life expectancy.Disturbed Voter , June 2, 2016 at 6:49 am
"Machine guns were much easier to come by BEFORE the 1980s yet we didn't have mass killings with machine guns, handguns, or shotguns. ALL that stuff is a NEW disease. A disease rooted in neoliberalism."
Easy availability of guns was seen as a serious problem long before the advent of neoliberalism. For one example of articles about this, see U.S. Government Tried to Tackle Gun Violence in 1960s . Other examples include 1920s and 1930s gangster and mob violence that were a consequence of Prohibition (of alcohol). While gun violence per-capita might be increasing, the population is far larger today, and the news media select incidents of violence to make them seem like they're happening everywhere and that everyone needs to be afraid. That, of course, instills a sense of insecurity and fear into the public mind; thus, a fearful public want a strong leader and are willing to accept the inconvenience and dangers of a police state for protection.Jeff , June 2, 2016 at 7:58 am
First they came for the blue collar workers …
America has plenty of refugees, from Latin America …
Neo-liberal goes back to the Monroe Doctrine. We used to tame our native workers with immigrants, and we still do, but we also tame them by globalism in trade. So many rationalizations for this, based on political and economic propaganda. All problems caused by the same cause … American predatory behavior. And our great political choice … iron fist with our without velvet glove.Seb , June 2, 2016 at 8:07 am
Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Israel, Australia come to mind (if one is allowed to participate in a European song contest, one is supposed to be part of Europe :) They all have more or less fascist governments.
Once you realize that the ECB creates something like 60 billion euros a month, and gives nothing to its citizens nor its nation-states, that means the money goes to corporations, which means that the ECB, and by extension the whole EU, is a fascist construct (fascism being defined as a government running on behalf of the corporations).BananaBreakfast , June 4, 2016 at 5:28 pm
That's a fallacy. Corporatism is a feature of fascism, not the other way around.
None of the governments you mention, with the possible exception of Israel and Turkey, can be called fascist in any meaningful sense.
Even the anti-immigration parties in the Western European countries you mention – AfD, Front National, Vlaams Belang – only share their nationalism with fascist movements. And they are decidedly anti-corporatist.tgs , June 2, 2016 at 9:46 am
The problem here is one of semantics, really. You're using "fascist" interchangeably with "authoritarian", which is a misnomer for these groups. The EU is absolutely anti-democratic, authoritarian, and technocratic in a lot of respects, but it's not fascist. Both have corporatist tendencies, but fascist corporatism was much more radical, much more anti-capitalist (in the sense that the capitalist class was expected to subordinate itself to the State as the embodiment of the will of the Nation or People, as were the other classes/corporate units). EU technocratic corporatism has none of the militarism, the active fiscal policy, the drive for government supported social cohesion, the ethno-nationalism, or millenarianism of Fascism.
The emergent Right parties like UKIP, FNP, etc. share far more with the Fascists, thought I'd say they generally aren't yet what Fascists would have recognized as other Fascists in the way that the NSDAP and Italian Fascists recognized each other -perhaps they're more like fellow travelers.Jeff , June 2, 2016 at 10:05 am
True, I posted a few minutes ago saying roughly the same thing – but it seems to have gone to moderation.
Another key feature of fascism is territorial expansionism. As far as I am aware, none of the nationalist parties advocate invading other countries or retaking former colonies. Once again, contemporary neoliberalism is far closer to fascism. But you are correct about both Israel and Turkey – our allies. They are much closer to the genuine article. But you won't hear those complaining about the rise of fascism in Europe complaining too much about them.Jim , June 2, 2016 at 1:57 pm
When I was young, there were 4 divisions:
* who owned the means of production (public or private entities)
* who decided what those means were used for.
If it is a 'public entity' (aka government or regime) that decides what is built, we have a totalitarian state, which can be 'communist' (if the means also belong the public entities like the government or regional fractions of it) or 'fascist' (if the factories are still in private hands).
If it is the private owner of the production capacity who decides what is built, you get capitalism. I don't recall any examples of private entities deciding what to do with public means of production (mafia perhaps).
Sheldon Wolin introduced us to inverted totalitarism. While it is no longer the government that decides what must be done, the private 'owners' just buy the government, the judiciary, the press, or whatever is needed to achieve their means.
When I cite Germany, it is not so much AfD, but the 2€/hour jobs I am worried about. When I cite Belgium, it is not the fools of Vlaams Belang, but rather the un-taxing of corporations and the tear-down of social justice that worries me.TedWa , June 2, 2016 at 10:19 am
But Jeff, is Wolin accurate in using the term "inverted totalitarianism" to try to capture the nature of our modern extractive bureaucratic monolith that apparently functions in an environment where "it is no longer the government that decides what must be done..simply.."private owners just buy the government, the judiciary, the press, or whatever is needed to achieve their means."
Mirowski argues quite persuasively that the neoliberal ascendency does not represent the retreat of the State but its remaking to strongly support a particular conception of a market society that is imposed with the help of the State on our society.
For Mirowski, neoliberalism is definitely not politically libertarian or opposed to strong state intervention in the economy and society.jan , June 2, 2016 at 10:54 am
Inverted totalitarianism is the mirror image of fascism, which is why so many are confused. Fascism is just a easier term to use and more understandable by all. There is not a strict adherence to fascism going on, but it's still totalitarian just the same.schizosoph , June 2, 2016 at 9:28 am
I live in Europe as well, and what to think of Germany's AfD, Greece's Golden Dawn, the Wilder's party in the Netherlands etc. Most of them subscribe to the freeloading, sorry free trading economic policies of neoliberalism.myshkin , June 2, 2016 at 11:28 am
There's LePen in France and the far-right, fascist leaning party nearly won in Austria. The far right in Greece as well. There's clearly a move to the far right in Europe. And then there's the totalitarian mess that is Turkey. How much further this turn to a fascist leaning right goes and how widespread remains to be seen, but it's clearly underway.Lexington , June 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm
Searched 'current fascist movements europe' and got these active groups from wiki.
National Bolshevik Party-Belarus
Parti Communautaire National-Européen Belgium
Bulgarian National Alliance Bulgaria
Nova Hrvatska Desnica Croatia
National Socialist Movement of Denmark
La Cagoule France
National Democratic Party of Germany
Fascism and Freedom Movement – Italy
Fiamma Tricolore Italy
Forza Nuova Italy
Fronte Sociale Nazionale Italy
Movimento Fascismo e Libertà Italy
Norges Nasjonalsosialistiske Bevegelse Norway
National Radical Camp (ONR) Poland
National Revival of Poland (NOP)
Polish National Community-Polish National Party (PWN-PSN)
Noua Dreaptă Romania
Russian National Socialist Party(formerly Russian National Union)
Barkashov's Guards Russia
National Socialist Society Russia
Nacionalni stroj Serbia
Otačastveni pokret Obraz Serbia
Slovenska Pospolitost Slovakia
España 2000 Spain
Falange Española Spain
Nordic Realm Party Sweden
National Alliance Sweden
Swedish Resistance Movement Sweden
National Youth Sweden
Legion Wasa Sweden
Blood and Honour UK
British National Front UK
Combat 18 UK
League of St. George UK
National Socialist Movement UK
Nationalist Alliance UK
November 9th Society UK
Racial Volunteer Force UKOpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , June 2, 2016 at 4:39 pm
"Fascism" has become the prefered term of abuse applied indiscriminately by the right thinking to any person or movement which they want to tar as inherently objectionable, and which can therefore be dismissed without the tedium of actually engaging with them at the level of ideas.
Most of the people who like to throw this word around couldn't give you a coherant definition of what exactly they understand it to signify, beyond "yuck!!"
In fairness even students of political ideology have trouble teasing out a cosistent system of beliefs, to the point where some doubt fascism is even a coherent ideology. That hardly excuses the intellectual vacuity of those who use it as a term of abuse, however.Jim , June 2, 2016 at 7:40 pm
Precisely 3,248 angels can fit on the head of a pin. Parsing the true definition of "fascism" is a waste of time, broadly, fascism is an alliance of the state, the corporation, and the military, anyone who doesn't see that today needs to go back to their textbooks.
As far as the definition "neo-liberalism" goes, yes it's a useful label. But let's keep it simple: every society chooses how resources are allocated between Capital and Labor. The needle has been pegged over on the Capital side for quite some time, my "start date" is when Reagan busted the air traffic union. The hideous Republicans managed to sell their base that policies that were designed to let companies be "competitive" were somehow good for them, not just for the owners of the means of production.
The only way they have avoided complete revolt has been endless borrowing to fund entitlements, once that one-time fix plays out the consequences will be apparent. The funding mechanism itself (The Fed) has even morphed into a neo-liberal tool designed to enrich Capital while enslaving Labor with the consequences.Lexington , June 2, 2016 at 10:31 pm
"Every society chooses how resources are allocated between capital and labor." More specifically, isn't it a struggle between various political/economic/cultural movements within a society which chooses how resources are allocated between capital and labor.
Take, for example, the late 1880s-1890s in the U.S. During that time-frame there were powerful agrarian populists movements and the beginnings of some labor/socialist movements from below, while from above the property-production system was modified by a powerful political movement advocating for more corporate administered markets over the competitive small-firm capitalism of an earlier age.
It was this movement for corporate administered markets which won the battle and defeated/absorbed the agrarian populists.
What are the array of such forces in 2016? What type of movement doe Trump represent? Sanders? Clinton?Roger Smith , June 2, 2016 at 7:13 am
fascism is an alliance of the state, the corporation, and the military, anyone who doesn't see that today needs to go back to their textbooks
Which textbooks specifically?
The article I cited above in Vox canvasses the opinion of five serious students of fascism, and none of them believe Trump is a fascist. I'd be most interested in knowing what you have been reading.
As for your definition of "fascism", it's obviously so vague and broad that it really doesn't explain anything. To the extent it contains any insight it is that public institutions (the state), private businesses (the corporation) and the armed forces all exert significant influence on public policy. That and a buck and and a half will get you a cup of coffee. If anything it is merely a very crude descriptive model of the political process. It doesn't define fascism as a particular set of beliefs that make it a distinct political ideology that can be differentiated from other ideologies (again, see the Vox article for a discussion of some of the beliefs that are arguably characteristic of fascist movements). Indeed by your standard virtually every state that has ever existed has to a greater or lesser extent been "fascist".
My objection to imprecise language here isn't merely pedantic. The leftist dismissal of right wing populists like Trump (or increasingly influential European movements like Ukip, AfD, and the Front national) as "fascist" is a reductionist rhetorical device intended to marginalize them by implying their politics are so far outside of the mainstream that they do not need to be taken seriously. Given that these movements are only growing in strength as faith in traditional political movements and elites evaporate this is likely to produce exactly the opposite result. Right wing populism isn't going to disappear just because the left keeps trying to wish it away. Refusing to accept this basic political fact risks condemning the left rather than "the fascists" to political irrelevance.allan , June 2, 2016 at 7:44 am
"…the gutters and cutters of neoliberalism"
This phrase is pure gold.sleepy , June 2, 2016 at 7:56 am
The neoliberals are all too aware that the clock is ticking. In this morning's NYT, yet more talk of ramming TPP through in the lame duck.weinerdog43 , June 2, 2016 at 8:25 am
I moved to a small city/town in Iowa almost 20 years ago. Then, it still had something of a Norman Rockwell quality to it, particularly in a sense of egalitarianism, and also some small factory jobs which still paid something beyond a bare existence.
Since 2000, many of those jobs have left, and the population of the county has declined by about 10%. Kmart, Penney's, and Sears have left as payday/title loan outfits, pawnshops, smoke shops, and used car dealers have all proliferated.
Parts of the town now resemble a combination of Appalachia and Detroit. Sanders easily won the caucuses here and, no, his supporters were hardly the latte sippers of someone's imagination, but blue collar folks of all ages.Jim Haygood , June 2, 2016 at 12:08 pm
My tale is similar to yours. About 2 years ago, I accepted a transfer from Chicagoland to north central Wisconsin. JC Penney left a year and a half ago, and Sears is leaving in about 3-4 months. Kmart is long gone.
I was back at the old homestead over Memorial Day, and it's as if time has stood still. Home prices still going up; people out for dinner like crazy; new & expensive automobiles everywhere. But driving out of Chicagoland, and back through rural Wisconsin it is unmistakeable.
2 things that are new: The roads here are deteriorating FAST. In Price County, the road commissioner said last night that their budget allows for resurfacing all the roads on a 200 year basis. (Yes, that means there is only enough money to resurface all the county roads if spread out over 200 years.) 2nd, there are dead deer everywhere on the side of the road. In years past, they were promptly cleaned up by the highway department. Not any more. Gross, but somebody has to do the dead animal clean up. (Or not. Don't tell Snotty Walker though.)
Anyway, not everything is gloom and doom. People seem outwardly happy. But if you're paying attention, signs of stress and deterioration are certainly out there.Mary Wehrheim , June 2, 2016 at 8:32 am
"the road commissioner said last night that their budget allows for resurfacing all the roads on a 200 year basis"
… while the fedgov spends north of 5 percent of GDP on global military dominance.
We're the Soviets now, comrades: shiny weapons, rotting infrastructure.
Today in San Diego, the Hildabeest will deliver a vigorous defense of this decadent, dying system.uahsenaa , June 2, 2016 at 9:58 am
This Trump support seems like a form of political vandalism with Trump as the spray paint. People generally feel frustrated with government, utterly powerless and totally left out as the ranks of the precariat continue to grow. Trump appeals to the nihilistic tendencies of some people who, like frustrated teens, have decided to just smashed things up for the hell of it. They think a presidency mix of Caligula with Earl Scheib would be a funny hoot.
You also have the more gullible fundis who have actually deluded themselves into thinking the man who is ultimate symbol of hedonism will deliver them from secularism because he says he will. Authoritarians who seek solutions through strong leaders are usually the easiest to con because they desperately want to believe in their eminent deliverance by a human deus ex machina. Plus he is ostentatiously rich in a comfortably tacky way and a TV celebrity…beats a Harvard law degree. And why not the thinking goes …the highly vaunted elite college Acela crowd has pretty much made a pig's breakfast out of things. So much for meritocracy. Professor Harold Hill is going to give River City a boys band.Praedor , June 2, 2016 at 3:41 pm
Someone at American Conservative, when trying to get at why it's pointless to tell people Trump will wreck the place, described him as a "hand grenade" lobbed into the heart of government. You can't scare people with his crass-ness and destructive tendencies, because that's precisely what his voters are counting on when/if he gets into government.
In other words, the MSM's fear is the clearest sign to these voters that their political revolution is working. Since TPTB decided peaceful change (i.e. Sanders) was a non-starter, then they get to reap the whirlwind.hunkerdown , June 2, 2016 at 4:29 pm
Your phrase "Trump is political vandalism" is great. I don't think I've seen a better description. NPR this morning was discussing Trump and his relationship with the press and the issues some GOP leaders have with him. When his followers were discussed, the speakers closely circled your vandalism point. Basically they said that his voters are angry with the power brokers and leaders in DC and regardless of whether they think Trump's statements are heartfelt or just rhetoric, they DO know he will stick it to those power brokers so that's good. Vandalism by a longer phrase.Dave , June 2, 2016 at 11:04 am
Meritocracy was ALWAYS a delusional fraud. What you invariably get, after a couple of generations, is a clique of elitists who define merit as themselves and reproduce it ad nauseam. Who still believes in such laughable kiddie stories?
Besides, consumers need to learn to play the long game and suck up the "scurrilous attacks" on their personal consumption habits for the next four years. The end of abortion for four years is not important - lern2hand and lern2agency, and lern2cutyourrapist if it comes to that. What is important is that the Democratic Party's bourgeois yuppie constituents are forced to defend against GOP attacks on their personal and cultural interests with wherewithal that would have been ordinarily spent to attend to their sister act with their captive constituencies.
If bourgeois Democrats hadn't herded us into a situation where individuals mean nothing outside of their assigned identity groups and their corporate coalition duopoly, they wouldn't be reaping the whirlwind today. Why, exactly, should I be sympathetic to exploitative parasites such as the middle class?Jack Heape , June 2, 2016 at 10:00 am
There are all good ideas. However, population growth undermines almost all of them. Population growth in America is immigrant based. Reverse immigration influxes and you are at least doing something to reduce population growth.
How to "reverse immigration influxes"?
- Stop accepting refugees. It's outrageous that refugees from for example, Somalia, get small business loans, housing assistance, food stamps and lifetime SSI benefits while some of our veterans are living on the street.
- No more immigration amnesties of any kind.
- Deport all illegal alien criminals.
- Practice "immigrant family unification" in the country of origin. Even if you have to pay them to leave. It's less expensive in the end.
- Eliminate tax subsidies to American corn growers who then undercut Mexican farmers' incomes through NAFTA, driving them into poverty and immigration north. Throw Hillary Clinton out on her ass and practice political and economic justice to Central America.
I too am a lifetime registered Democrat and I will vote for Trump if Clinton gets the crown. If the Democrats want my vote, my continuing party registration and my until recently sizeable donations in local, state and national races, they will nominate Bernie. If not, then I'm an Independent forevermore. They will just become the Demowhig Party.TedWa , June 2, 2016 at 10:56 am
Here's a start…
- Campaign Finance Reform: If you can't walk into a voting booth you cannot contribute, or make all elections financed solely by government funds and make private contributions of any kind to any politician illegal.
- Re-institute Glass-Steagall but even more so. Limit the number of states a bank can operate in. Make the Fed publicly owned, not privately owned by banks.
- Completely revise corporate law, doing away with the legal person hood of corporations and limit of liability for corporate officers and shareholders.
- Single payer health care for everyone. Allow private health plans but do away with health insurance as a deductible for business. Remove the AMA's hold on licensing of medical schools which restricts the number of doctors.
- Do away with the cap on Social Security wages and make all income, wages, capital gains, interest, and dividends subject to taxation.
- Impose tariffs to compensate for lower labor costs overseas and revise industry.
- Cut the Defense budget by 50% and use that money for intensive infrastructure development.
- Raise the national minimum wage to $15 and hour.
- Severely curtail the revolving door from government to private industry with a 10 year restriction on working for an industry you dealt with in any way as a government official.
- Free public education including college (4 year degree).tegnost , June 2, 2016 at 11:56 am
Obama and Holder, allowing the banks to be above the law have them demi-gods, many of whom are psychopaths and kleptocrats, and with their newly granted status, they are now re-shaping the world in their own image. Prosecute these demi-gods and restore sanity. Don't and their greed for our things will never end until nothings left.TedWa , June 2, 2016 at 12:35 pm
This is why Hillary is so much more dangerous than trump, because she and the demi gods are all on the same page. The TPP is their holy grail so I expect heaven and earth to be moved, especially if it looks like some trade traitors are going to get knocked off in the election, scoundrels like patty murray (dino, WA) will push to get it through then line up at the feed trough to gorge on k street dough. I plan to vote stein if it's not Bernie, but am reserving commitment until I see what kind of betrayals the dems have for me, if it's bad enough I'll go with the trump hand grenade.hunkerdown , June 2, 2016 at 4:44 pm
Totally agree tegnost, no more democratic neoliberals ! Patty Murray (up for re-election) and Cantwell are both trade traitors and got fast track passed.Sluggeaux , June 2, 2016 at 9:13 am
"they are now re-shaping the world in their own image" Isn't this intrinsic to bourgeois liberalism?Vatch , June 2, 2016 at 11:04 am
Two things are driving our troubles: over-population and globalization. The plutocrats and kleptocrats have all the leverage over the rest of us laborers when the population of human beings has increased seven-fold in the last 70 years, from a little over a billion to seven billions (and growing) today. They are happy to let us freeze to death behind gas stations in order for them to compete with other oligarchs in excess consumption.
This deserves a longer and more thoughtful comment, but I don't have the time this morning. I have to fight commute traffic, because the population of my home state of California has doubled from 19M in 1970 to an estimated 43M today (if you count the Latin American refugees and H1B's).seanseamour , June 3, 2016 at 7:59 am
Thank you for mentioning the third rail of overpopulation. Too often, this giant category of problems is ignored, because it makes people uncomfortable. The planet is finite, resources on the planet are finite, yet the number of people keeps growing. We need to strive for a higher quality of life, not a higher quantity of people.paul whalen , June 2, 2016 at 9:19 am
The issue goes beyond "current neoliberals up for election", it is most of our political establishment that has been corrupted by a system that provides for the best politicians money can buy.
In the 1980's I worked inside the beltway witnessing the new cadre of apparatchiks that drove into town on the Reagan coattails full of moral a righteousness that became deviant, parochial, absolutist and for whom bi-partisan approaches to policy were scorned prodded on by new power brokers promoting their gospels in early morning downtown power breakfasts. Sadly our politicians no longer serve but seek a career path in our growing meritocratic plutocracy.
America has always been a country where a majority of the population has been poor. With the exception of a fifty five year(1950-2005) year period where access to large quantities of consumer debt by households was deployed to first to provide a wealth illusion to keep socialism at bay, followed by a mortgage debt boom to both keep the system afloat and strip the accumulated capital of the working class, i.e. home equity, the history of the US has been one of poverty for the masses.
Further debt was foisted on the working class in the form of military Keynesianism, generating massive fiscal deficits which are to be paid for via austerity in a neo-feudal economy.
Jul 1, 2016 | Salon.com
...he makes very legitimate critiques of neoliberal trade agreements like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which have benefited multinational corporations at the expense of average working-class citizens.
TPP, a global neoliberal trade pact that was written in secret with the input of powerful corporations, but without the input of the citizens who will actually be impacted it, has been described as "a gift to corporations" and "NAFTA on steroids." Labor groups and unions warn it will undermine workers' rights and lead to further outsourcing of jobs, destroying local economies as corporations find cheaper labor to exploit - not to mention how it will threaten Medicare and jeopardize the environment.
The fact that the Democratic president, Barack Obama, has staunchly pushed for TPP has alienated large segments of the working class, as have the overall neoliberal policies of the Democratic Party, which embraces privatization and austerity.
On trade, then, Trump is running to the left of the mainstream Democratic Party. He uses this position, in conjunction with his scapegoating of immigrants and even non-migrant Americans of color for economic problems caused by neoliberalism, to stir up popular support.
... ... ...
Harris traveled through economically depressed rural areas of the U.K., interviewing working-class voters, many of whom formerly voted Labour, but were turned off by its embrace of pro-corporate neoliberal policies under former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and now vote UKIP.
"This is about so much more than the European Union. It is about class, and inequality, and a politics now so professionalised that it has left most people staring at the rituals of Westminster [the site of the U.K. Parliament] with a mixture of anger and bafflement," he explained.
Person after person told Harris the same thing: They were voting out, and not just because of immigration, but because of outsourcing, a diminishing standard of living, unemployment, dwindling social services and more.
The Guardian created incredibly insightful short documentaries featuring interviews with working-class supporters of Brexit and Trump:
... ... ...
"Most of all," Harris wrote, "Brexit is the consequence of the economic bargain struck in the early 1980s, whereby we waved goodbye to the security and certainties of the postwar settlement, and were given instead an economic model that has just about served the most populous parts of the country, while leaving too much of the rest to anxiously decline."
That economic bargain struck in the 1980s was neoliberalism. The Cold War was coming to an end, the Soviet Union was on the verge of implosion and Deng Xiaoping had put China on the path toward capitalist restoration.
During the Cold War, Western capitalist societies had to provide some degree of social services for their populations, in order to compete against socialist alternatives. With capitalism's victory, this was no longer necessary.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the mother of neoliberalism, famously declared, "There is no alternative." American President Ronald Reagan, its father, soon followed. The welfare state was whittled back and neoliberalism took hold. After Reagan, the "New Democrat" followed: President Bill Clinton wholeheartedly embraced privatization, eagerly gutting welfare and signing NAFTA, leading us to where we are today.
... ... ...
Sanders himself understands exactly what is going on. He warned the Democratic Party in an op-ed in The New York Times mere days after the Brexit vote that, unless it changes its ways and abandons its neoliberal policies, it will face the same far-right defeat seen in the U.K.
... ... ...
Ben Norton is a politics staff writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.
lodger16, Jul 2, 2016
Neoliberalism is not just for the far right. Obama and Hillary are neoliberals, as are the rest of the DC DEM leadership. DEMs have pretty much accepted the debt/deficit hysteria that supposedly justifies austerity.
It's a great indictment of our educational system and media that so many Hillary supporters think she is progressive.
Signe_S, Jul 2, 2016
The financial crisis was not caused by austerity. 'Austerity' became a response to the financial crisis (not a good response mind you, but that was the order in which it happened).
'Austerity' is just another way to say 'bail out the 1% at the expense of the rest.
Signe_S. Jul 2, 2016
I'm not talking about bailing out the government. What is happening is this. The government is bailing out (or subsidizing) the 1% through monetary policy as well as direct bailouts, subsidies and no-bid contracts etc. Then it is telling the working class it has to replenish the government coffers because we are in debt. We are in debt largely (but not exclusively) because we bailout and subsidize the 1% ... the politically connected elite. This is what happened in Greece and other places in the EU and it happens here too. So we are not "bailing out the government". We are bailing out the 1%.
Salon.comA year ago, in my book The Age of Acquiescence, I attempted to resolve a mystery hinted at in its subtitle: "The rise and fall of American resistance to organized wealth and power." Simply stated, that mystery was: Why do people rebel at certain moments and acquiesce in others?
Resisting all the hurts, insults, threats to material well-being, exclusions, degradations, systematic inequalities, over-lordship, indignities, and powerlessness that are the essence of everyday life for millions would seem natural enough, even inescapable, if not inevitable. Why put up with all that?
... ... ...A "silent majority" would no longer remain conveniently silent. The Tea Party howled about every kind of political establishment in bed with Wall Street, crony capitalists, cultural and sexual deviants, free-traders who scarcely blinked at the jobs they incinerated, anti-taxers who had never met a tax shelter they didn't love, and decriers of big government who lived off state subsidies. In a zip code far, far away, a privileged sliver of Americans who had gamed the system, who had indeed made gaming the system into the system, looked down on the mass of the previously credulous, now outraged, incredulously.
...it was The Donald who magically rode that Trump Tower escalator down to the ground floor to pick up the pieces. His irreverence for established authority worked. ...worked for millions who had grown infatuated with all the celebrated Wall Street conquistadors of the second Gilded Age.
... .. ..
In the face-off between right-wing populism and neoliberalism, Tea Party legions and Trumpists now find Fortune 500 CEOs morally obnoxious and an economic threat, grow irate at Federal Reserve bail-outs, and are fired up by the multiple crises set off by global free trade and the treaties that go with it.
... ... ...
The Sanders campaign had made its stand against the [neo]iberalism of the Clinton elite. It has resonated so deeply because the candidate, with all his grandfatherly charisma and integrity, repeatedly insists that Americans should look beneath the surface of a liberal capitalism that is economically and ethically bankrupt and running a political confidence game, even as it condescends to "the forgotten man."
Steve Fraser's new book, "The Limousine Liberal: How an Incendiary Image United the Right and Fractured America" is being published on May 10 by Basic Books. His other books include Every Man a Speculator, Wall Street, and Labor Will Rule, which won the Philip Taft Award for the best book in labor history. He also is the co-editor of The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, The Nation, The American Prospect, Raritan, and the London Review of Books. He has written for the online site Tomdispatch.com, and his work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Salon, Truthout, and Alternet, among others. He lives in New York City.
R B, Jun 4, 2016
I truly believe that this author, Steve Fraser through his writings has clearly revealed his role as that of a member of the elite class or even worse one of the blood sucking hounds that pit the lower classes against each other!!! He defends the capitalists by indicating that for anyone to think or speak of any form of socialism is a crime against America and that it is counter to everything this nation has EVER stood for! I couldn't disagree more with this parasite that is attempting to twist history, so as to continue the elitist programming of youth with more distorted understanding of their heritage!
Our Fore Fathers wrapped this society in a specific form of government that encouraged free-enterprise, not capitalism! Guess what Americans, they are different in goals! These Fore Fathers recognized that a healthy society included a system of economic stimulation, but more importantly that it has a sense of unity and equality, that left no one to beg in the streets! They achieved this even in those early and rugged days of colonialism through a system that the capitalists and republicans have always hated and have done everything in their power to destroy in the past century! If you doubt me then do a little research it what the foundation of 'May Day' is all about! Where it began and what it was based upon, who celebrated the day and how it came to be drowned out of American society. Then check and see how many modern nations all over the world celebrate it as a national holiday (over 100) and then ask why it is not celebrated in America, where it was founded on the blood and sweat of American workers!
Yes, there was a socialist system built into this nation and that system was called a society based upon a 'Commonwealth' that translated into todays terminology could be defined as a 'Democratic Socialism'!! So Mr. Fraser, I state that you have been writing not to enlighten the general citizenry of the reality to their world, but to the continued domination of the 'One Percent'!!!
trt3, Jun 3, 2016
@Blueflash The author does not use the term in its proper context ether. I wish people would stop using the term at all. It does not mean new liberal as in neoconservative, neo-fascist, or neo-nazi. History of the term can be found here:
Over the last year or so many commenters have attempted to paint HRC's economic platform as neoliberalism as a smear because she takes donations from Wall Street.. Or, that Bill Clinton, because he had to work with the congress of Newt Gingrich, worked to deregulate investment bankers.
If you want to see the effects of modern day neoliberalism look at Kansas and the devastation that the Chicago school of economics brings, (as opposed to California with a more Keynesian economic approach).
Tristero1, Jun 3, 2016
@trt3 @Blueflash From below:
"As Chomsky says, 'neoliberalism isn't new and it isn't liberal.' (the 'liberal' refers to the markets, not the politics of its purveyors - Reagan, Thatcher, Clinton were all NLs)"
If there are no more conservatives, "They're all the same" rules the day and the artists formerly known as conservatives rule the planet.
Jayne Cullen, Jun 3, 2016
Soon, very soon, Sanders shall do what he keeps promising to do, and endorse the dangerous Warmonger of Wall Street, with whom he pretends to disagree, on so many issues. He might even be her Vice Presidential choice, in order to better neuter his supporters, and to minimize the political contortions that he'll have to go through, to convince his supporters to vote for her. Gird yourselves.
Faulkner, Jun 3, 2016
The IMF and German banks of the neoliberal international aristocracy are forcing Greece to rescind its social safety net and assets in order to keep making interest payments - a scheme to keep them debt slaves to the new financial imperialism, similar to what is happening to Puerto Rico and the US.
This is neoliberalism's endgame - to create a modern day feudalism, which is why it must be stopped.
johnie2xs, Jun 3, 2016
If you keep in mind that Capitalism is a Pyramid Scheme, the whole thing makes better sense. Just the same way your older brother or sister beat the snot outta you playing monopoly as a kid, so are the richest among us, burying us, in debt, and in isolation. Now back in TR's day there was a little better sense about fair play, and helping your fellow man. That was not an overwhelming altruistic thought that swept the country, at that time, but rather it grew out of years of degrading abuse imposed by rich Industrialists. This caused a backlash, and corrections were made.
The problem today is that the worship of money has taken on such proportions, that even the least among us has thoughts of riches coming their way, at any moment, even if it's the false hope of winning the "Lottery", the big one!! And as long as they have those dreams, the cognition of what is happening around them is dulled. There will be riots, I am sure. If this persistent process of moving money to the top, and appreciably nowhere else, the backlash will be inevitable, and harsh. The longer it takes, the harsher it will be. And if you think not, you've been watching too many Disney Movies.
cactusbill, Jun 3, 2016
I have neighbors who play the state lottery every week. Now and then I mention to them that buying lotto tickets is a fools bet. They reply like trained parrots "you can't win if you don't play", and mumble something about lotto proceeds and "education".
So when you notice the glazed eyes and fist pumping at a Drumpf rally, remember how many Americans spend rent and food money on lotto tickets.
It's the same people.
AJS197, Jun 3, 2016
@Joel Graham As Chomsky says, 'neoliberalism isn't new and it isn't liberal.' (the 'liberal' refers to the markets, not the politics of its purveyors - Reagan, Thatcher, Clinton were all NLs). A closer read and you will recognize he implicates both parties in the neoliberal ascent:
"But Republicans have more than shared in this; they have, in fact, often taken the lead in implanting a market- and finance-driven economic system that has produced a few "winners" and legions of losers. Both parties heralded a deregulated marketplace, global free trade, the outsourcing of manufacturing and other industries, the privatization of public services, and the shrink-wrapping of the social safety net."
AJS1972, Jun 3, 2016
Yes. Reagan was a neoliberal. Both Bushes too... wanna hear something really crazy? Hillary is both a neoliberal AND a neoconservative... true story.
After the financial crash of 2007-2008 caused an economic collapse, and after it became clear that the Bush and Obama administrations were unwilling to actually investigate, prosecute and incarcerate financial and banking executives for the crimes committed, many politically active people in USA and other countries began to dig deep into the philosophy of political economy that had allowed the financial industry to occupy such an overwhelming position of dominance over the rest of the economy.
The philosophical wreckage they have been excavating has generally come to be called "neoliberalism." It is a word which confuses many people, because it serves as a name for a set of economic beliefs and policies which are more easily recognized as being associated with political conservatism and libertarianism: the opening of the Wikipedia entry on "neoliberalism" is accurate enough on these economic beliefs and policies, which "include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy." Generally, neoliberals believe that markets with untrammeled pricing mechanisms are a much fairer and more efficient means of allocating society's resources than any level of government oversight and intervention.
Neoliberals themselves actively seek to add to the confusion by denying they have a shared, coherent philosophy. A good, recent example-and from someone who is a self-professed "liberal" not a conservative-was this comment on DailyKos this past week: "Neoliberalism is not actually a thing." It is exactly what neo-liberals themselves say. It is a smokescreen, intended to confuse and stymie inquiry. Philip Mirowski, a historian of economic thought at Notre Dame, and co-editor of one of the best expositions of neo-liberalism (The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective, Harvard University Press, 2009; now available in paperback), took on this deception earlier this year in a paper entitled, The Political Movement that Dared not Speak its own Name.
Mirowski's response to the severe reaction of neoliberals to his paper was posted to Naked Capitalism in April 2016: Philip Mirowski: This is Water, or Is It the Neoliberal Thought Collective?
I do not recommend anyone go read the above links right now, unless you are already familiar with the debate over neoliberalism and are prepared for some hefty intellectual lifting. For those people unfamiliar with the term "neoliberalism" and seeking to understand how it differs from liberalism, I recommend this excellent review of another book, including many of the comments in the thread, on
Naked Capitalism in March 2015: Comments on David Harvey's "A Brief History of Neoliberalism".
These are all excellent discussions and expositions of neoliberalism. Also excellent is the work of Corey Robin. See, for example, When Neoliberalism Was Young: A Lookback on Clintonism before Clinton, from April 2016, and Robin's response to critics. Robin puts his finger on a diseased main artery in our political discourse today, when he writes neoliberals, even those, such as Barack Obama and the Clintons, who refuse to call themselves neoliberals,
would recoil in horror at the policies and programs of mid-century liberals like Walter Reuther or John Kenneth Galbraith or even Arthur Schlesinger, who claimed that "class conflict is essential if freedom is to be preserved, because it is the only barrier against class domination."
My own conclusion thus far is that much confusion will persist until neoliberalism is understood in the historical context of USA political economy, along with three other terms crucial to understanding this history:
My firm conviction is that people cannot, and do not, understand what an insidious, and potent, danger neoliberalism thought is, until they understand republicanism. And in political economy, you also need to understand mercantilism, and how the USA theory and practice of republicanism interacted with, and changed, mercantilism. As for liberalism, for now suffice it to note that contemporary neoliberal thought has more to do with economic liberalism, than it does political liberalism. In fact, to some extent-and at the risk of my only adding further to the confusion-it may be useful to assert here that there is a strain of European political liberalism that developed in opposition to the USA theory and practice of republicanism. This strain of European political liberalism resulted in granting the right to vote to most subjects of polities which remained monarchies, as an expedient for the necessity imposed by modern warfare for mass mobilization of a country's male population. The obvious period is that of World War One. In USA, at similar type of political liberalism arose in response to the acquisition and consolidation of monopolistic economic power by the trusts led by John D. Rockefeller, the Morgan banking interests, and other misnamed, so called "captains of industry" of the Gilded Age.
In my Introduction to my annotated abridgement of The Power to Govern: The Constitution -- Then and Now, by Douglass Adair and Walton H. Hamilton (W.W. Norton & Co., New York, NY, 1937, available on Amazon as a Kindle ebook, here), I write that the creation the American republic and its Constitution must be understood in the
context of the shift from the economic and political systems of feudalism, to mercantilism and modern nationalism. The ecclesiastical and warlord authoritarianism of feudal Europe was being reluctantly and painfully dragged off the stage of world history, making way for national states. In the process, these national states developed-without, Hamilton and Adair note, much theoretical foundation-an accretion of laws and policies generally called mercantilism, intended to ensure economic activity added to, rather than detracted from, a nation's wealth and power. Hamilton and Adair present the evidence that the Framers were entirely familiar with mercantilist policies, and that the intent behind the Constitution was most emphatically not laissez faire and unregulated market capitalism, but a careful and deliberate plan to ensure that all economic activity was channeled and directed to the promotion of the general welfare and national development….
The words "mercantilist" and "mercantilism" are generally used whenever government powers are used to promote a state's economic powers. By specifying in the Constitution that government powers are used to promote a state's economic powers in promotion of the general welfare, the American republic made a sharp break from European mercantilism, in which the welfare of a sole monarch or small group of oligarchs was often conflated with the general welfare of a state or nation….
As a body of economic thought, liberalism developed as the economic and political philosophy of a revolt by a rising middle class against the power and privileges of European ruling oligarchs and monarchs, who used their connections and influence at royal courts to gain economic monopolies and other privileges (in other words, the system of mercantilism.) The intent of classical economic liberalism was to sweep away, or at least greatly circumscribe, the power of these oligarchical and monarchical elites and states to make room for greater economic freedoms and property rights for the rising middle class.
In this sense, the culmination of liberalism was the creation of the American republic, However-let me stress again-it is crucial to note that under the Constitution of the new American republic, economic freedoms and property rights were subject to the Constitutional mandate to promote the general welfare.
In advanced industrial economies, the way a sovereign nation-state promotes and protects the general welfare is by imposing environmental, workplace, and consumer regulations on economic activity.
This is where we should discuss the concept of republicanism. Remember, the United States is established as a republic, not as a democracy. But what does that mean?
In a monumental book that is crucial to understanding the historical and cultural context we are here examining, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969), Gordon Wood wrote, "Republicanism meant more for Americans than simply the elimination of a king and the institution of an elective system. It added a moral dimension, a utopian depth, to the political separation from England - a depth that involved the very character of their society."
To eighteenth-century American and European radicals alike, living in a world of monarchies, it seemed only too obvious that the great deficiency of existing governments was precisely their sacrificing of the public good to the private greed of small ruling groups.... The sacrifice of individual interests to the greater good of the whole formed the essence of republicanism and comprehended for Americans the idealistic goal of their Revolution.... "The word republic," said Thomas Paine, "means the public good, or the good of the whole, in contradistinction to the despotic form, which makes the good of the sovereign, or of one man, the only object of the government."
(The first two thirds of "Republicanism," Chapter II from Gordon Wood's The Creation of the American Republic, has been posted online here. I highly recommend it as a very productive and uplifting Sunday read. Also, here is the Wiki-summary of the entire book.)
In the closing decades of the 1700s, there was general agreement that for republicanism to work as a system of government, the citizens of the republic needed to be virtuous. There