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Neoliberalism as a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

Neoliberalism = Casino Capitalism = "Transnational elites, Unite!"
(It is a neoTrotskyism with the word "proletarians" substituted by the word "elites"
 in famous "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" slogan
and "Color revolutions" instead of Communist  "Permanent revolution"  )

Version 6.1

Skepticism and Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

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

- New York Times

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

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

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

The Kremlin Stooge

Neoliberalism is a very interesting social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and socialism (and facilitated the dissolution of the USSR). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow is prohibited by MSM to mention.  It is also unstable social system which led to impoverishment of lower 80% of the society and the rise of far right nationalism. After approximately 40 years of global dominance is shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became really strong and demonstrated itself in Brexis, election of Trump is defeat of Italian referendum.

It can be defined as "socialism for the rich, feudalism for the poor" or, more correctly "Trotskyism for the rich"("Elites of all countries unite !"  instead of “Proletarians of all countries, Unite! ...). Due to the size the introduction was moved to a separate page --  Neoliberalism: an Introduction


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(Research materials to the paper Neoliberalism: an Introduction)

Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2016 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2015 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[Jan 24, 2017] One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings

Notable quotes:
"... People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded. ..."
"... As the market becomes an abstraction, so does democracy, but the real playing field is somewhere else, in the realm of actual economic exchange-which is not, however, the market. We may say that all exchange takes place on the neoliberal surface. ..."
Jan 24, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova -> jonny bakho... January 23, 2017 at 04:55 PM , 2017 at 04:55 PM
You are wrong. Your definition of neoliberalism is formally right and we can argue along those lines that Hillary is a neoliberal too (Her track record as a senator suggests exactly that), it is way too narrow.

"One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings." (see below)

"Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them."

"In the current election campaign, Hillary Clinton has been the most perfect embodiment of neoliberalism among all the candidates, she is almost its all-time ideal avatar, and I believe this explains, even if not articulated this way, the widespread discomfort among the populace toward her ascendancy. People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded.

This is the dark side of neoliberalism's ideological arm (a multiculturalism founded on human beings as capital), which is why this project has become increasingly associated with suppression of free speech and intolerance of those who refuse to go along with the kind of identity politics neoliberalism promotes.

And this explains why the 1990s saw the simultaneous and absolutely parallel rise, under the Clintons, of both neoliberal globalization and various regimes of neoliberal disciplining, such as the shaming and exclusion of former welfare recipients (every able-bodied person should be able to find work, therefore under TANF welfare was converted to a performance management system designed to enroll everyone in the workforce, even if it meant below-subsistence wages or the loss of parental responsibilities, all of it couched in the jargon of marketplace incentives)."

In this sense Hillary Clinton is 100% dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal and neocon ("neoliberal with the gun"). She promotes so called "neoliberal rationality" a perverted "market-based" rationality typical for neoliberalism:

See

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2017/01/links-for-01-23-17.html#comment-6a00d83451b33869e201bb09706856970d

== quote ==
When Hillary Clinton frequently retorts-in response to demands for reregulation of finance, for instance-that we have to abide by "the rule of law," this reflects a particular understanding of the law, the law as embodying the sense of the market, the law after it has undergone a revolution of reinterpretation in purely economic terms.

In this revolution of the law persons have no status compared to corporations, nation-states are on their way out, and everything in turn dissolves before the abstraction called the market.

One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings. Democracy becomes reinterpreted as the market, and politics succumbs to neoliberal economic theory, so we are speaking of the end of democratic politics as we have known it for two and a half centuries.

As the market becomes an abstraction, so does democracy, but the real playing field is somewhere else, in the realm of actual economic exchange-which is not, however, the market. We may say that all exchange takes place on the neoliberal surface.

Neoliberalism is often described-and this creates a lot of confusion-as "market fundamentalism," and while this may be true for neoliberal's self-promotion and self-presentation, i.e., the market as the ultimate and only myth, as were the gods of the past, I would argue that in neoliberalism there is no such thing as the market as we have understood it from previous ideologies.

The neoliberal state-actually, to utter the word state seems insufficient here, I would claim that a new entity is being created, which is not the state as we have known it, but an existence that incorporates potentially all the states in the world and is something that exceeds their sum-is all-powerful, it seeks to leave no space for individual self-conception in the way that classical liberalism, and even communism and fascism to some degree, were willing to allow.

There are competing understandings of neoliberal globalization, when it comes to the question of whether the state is strong or weak compared to the primary agent of globalization, i.e., the corporation, but I am taking this logic further, I am suggesting that the issue is not how strong the state is in the service of neoliberalism, but whether there is anything left over beyond the new definition of the state. Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them.

Of course the word hasn't gotten around to the people yet, hence all the confusion about whether Hillary Clinton is more neoliberal than Barack Obama, or whether Donald Trump will be less neoliberal than Hillary Clinton.

The project of neoliberalism-i.e., the redefinition of the state, the institutions of society, and the self-has come so far along that neoliberalism is almost beyond the need of individual entities to make or break its case. Its penetration has gone too deep, and none of the democratic figureheads that come forward can fundamentally question its efficacy.

[Jan 24, 2017] The Definitive Demise of the Debunked Dodgy Dossier on The Donald

Notable quotes:
"... of Corrente . ..."
"... Do you see the name of an actual business, owned by Trump? ..."
"... For Donald Trump, all attempts to gain a foothold in the USSR and then in Russia in 30 years of travel and negotiations failed. Moscow did not have a Trump Tower of its own, although Trump boasted every time that he had met the most important people and was just about to invest hundreds of millions in a project that would undoubtedly be successful. ..."
"... Trumps' largest business success in Russia was the presentation of a Trump Vodka at the Millionaire Fair 2007 in Moscow. This project was also a cleansing; In 2009 the sale of Trump Vodka was discontinued. ..."
"... puts his name on stuff ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
by Lambert Strether of Corrente .

In the midst of the hysteria about Russian interference in the 2016 election - 52% of Democrat voters believe it's definitely or probably true that "Russia tampered with vote tallies" , a view for which there is no evidence whatever, and which is a depressing testimony to the power of propaganda to produce epistemic closure in liberals as well as conservatives - came Buzzfeed's 35-page "dodgy dossier" on Donald Trump, oppo that the researcher, Christopher Steele , peddled during the election proper, but was unable to sell, not even to an easy mark like Jebbie. (There's a useful debunking of Steele's report in the New York Review of Books , of all places.) Remember the piss jokes? So two-weeks ago Amazingly, or not, a two-page summary to Steele's product had been included in a briefing given to Trump (and Obama). A weary Obama was no doubt well accustomed to the intelligence community's little ways, but the briefing must have been quite a revelation to Trump. I mean, Trump is a man who knows shoddy when he sees it, right?

In any case, a link to the following story in Hamburg's ridiculously sober-sided Die Zeit came over the transom: So schockiert von Trump wie alle anderen ("So shocked by Trump like everyone else"). The reporter is Alexej Kowaljow , a Russian journalist based in Moscow. Before anyone goes "ZOMG! The dude is Russian !", everything Kowaljow writes is based on open sources or common-sense information presumably available to citizens of any nation. The bottom line for me is that if the world is coming to believe that Americans are idiots, it's not necessarily because Americans elected Trump as President.

I'm going to lay out two claims and two questions from Kowaljow's piece. In each case, I'll quote the conventional, Steele and intelligence community-derived wisdom in our famously free press, and then I'll quote Kowaljow. I think Kowaljow wins each time. Easily. I don't think Google Translate handles irony well, but I sense that Kowaljow is deploying it freely.

(1) Trump's Supposed Business Dealings in Russia Are Commercial Puffery

Here's the section on Russia in Time's article on Trump's business dealings; it's representative. I'm going to quote it all so you can savor it. Read it carefully.

Donald Trump's Many, Many Business Dealings in 1 Map

Russia

"For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia," Trump tweeted in July, one day before he called on the country to "find" a batch of emails deleted from Hillary Clinton's private server. Nonetheless, Russia's extraordinary meddling in the 2016 U.S. election-a declassified report released by U.S. intelligence agencies in January disclosed that intercepted conversations captured senior Russian officials celebrating Trump's win-as well as Trump's complimentary remarks about Russian President have stirred widespread questions about the President-elect's pursuit of closer ties with Moscow. Several members of Trump's inner circle have business links to Russia, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who consulted for pro-Russia politicians in the Ukraine. Former foreign policy adviser Carter Page worked in Russia and maintains ties there.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's incoming national security adviser, has been a regular guest on Russia's English-language propaganda network, RT , and even dined with Putin at a banquet.

During the presidential transition, former Georgia Congressman and Trump campaign surrogate Jack Kingston told a gathering of businessmen in Moscow that the President-elect could lift U.S. sanctions.

According to his own son, Trump has long relied on Russian customers as a source of income. "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets," Donald Trump Jr. told a Manhattan real estate conference in 2008 , according to an account posted on the website of trade publication eTurboNews. "We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia." Back to map .

Read that again, if you can stand it. Do you see the name of an actual business, owned by Trump? Do you see the name of any businessperson who closed a deal with Trump? Do you, in fact, see any reporting at all? At most, you see commercial puffery by Trump the Younger: "Russians [in Russia?] make up a pretty [qualifier] disproportionate [whatever that means] cross-section [whatever that means] of a lot of [qualifier] our assets."

Now Kowaljow (via Google Translate, so forgive any solecisms):

For Donald Trump, all attempts to gain a foothold in the USSR and then in Russia in 30 years of travel and negotiations failed. Moscow did not have a Trump Tower of its own, although Trump boasted every time that he had met the most important people and was just about to invest hundreds of millions in a project that would undoubtedly be successful.

Trumps' largest business success in Russia was the presentation of a Trump Vodka at the Millionaire Fair 2007 in Moscow. This project was also a cleansing; In 2009 the sale of Trump Vodka was discontinued.

Because think about it: Trump puts his name on stuff . Towers in Manhattan, hotels, casinos, golf courses, steaks. Anything in Russia with Trump's name on it? Besides the failed vodka venture? No? Case closed, then.

(2) Zhirinovsky Is The Very Last Person Putin Would Use For A Proxy

From The Hill's summary of Russian "interference" in the 2016 election:

Five reasons intel community believes Russia interfered in election

The attacks dovetailed with other Russian disinformation campaigns

The report covers more than just the hacking effort. It also contains a detailed list account of information warfare against the United States from Russia through other means.

Political party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who the report lists as a "pro-Kremlin proxy," said before the election that, if Trump won, Russia would 'drink champagne' to celebrate their new ability to advance in Syria and Ukraine.

Now Kowaljow:

The report of the American intelligence services on the Russian interference in the US elections, published at the beginning of January, was notoriously neglected by Russians, because the name of Vladimir Zhirinovsky was mentioned among the "propaganda activities of Russia", which had announced that in the event of an election victory of Trump champagne to want to drink.

Such a delicate plan – to reach the election of a President of the US by means of Zhirinovsky – ensures a skeptical smile for every Russian at best. He is already seventy and has been at the head of a party with a misleading name for nearly thirty years. The Liberal Democratic Party is neither liberal nor democratic. If their policies are somehow characterized, then as right-wing populism. Zhirinovsky is known for shrill statements; He threatened, for example, to destroy the US by means of "gravitational weapons".

If, therefore, the Kremlin had indeed had the treacherous plan of helping Trump to power, it would scarcely have been made known about Zhirinovsky.

The American equivalent would be . Give me a moment to think of an American politician who's both so delusional and such a laughingstock that no American President could possibly consider using them as a proxy in a devilishly complex informational warfare campaign Sara Palin? Anthony Weiner? Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Na ga happen.

And now to the two questions.

(3) Why Would Russian Intelligence Agencies Sources Have Talked to Steele?

Kowaljow:

But the report, published on the BuzzFeed Internet portal, is full of inconsistencies and contradictions. The problem is not even that there are a lot of false facts. Even the assumption that agents of the Russian secret services are discussing the details with a former secretary of a hostile secret service in the midst of a highly secret operation by which a future President of the US is to be discredited appears strange.

Exactly. For the intelligence community and Democrat reliance on Steele's dossier to be plausible, you have to assume 10-foot tall Russkis (1) with incredibly sophisticated strategic, operational, and technical capabilities, who have (2) performed the greatest intelligence feat of the 21st and 20th centuries, suborning the President of the United States, and whose intelligence agencies are (3) leakly like a sieve. Does that make sense? (Of course, the devilish Russkis could have fed Steele bad data, knowing he'd then feed it to the American intelligence agencies, who would lap it up, but that's another narrative.)

(4) How Do You Compromise the Uncompromisable?

Funny how suddenly the word kompromat was everywhere, wasn't it? So sophisticated. Everybody loves to learn a new word! Regarding the "Golden Showers" - more sophistication! - Kowaljow writes:

But even if such a compromise should exist, what sense should it have, since the most piquant details have long been publicly discussed in public, and had no effect on the votes of the elected president? Like all the other scandals trumps, which passed through the election campaign, they also remained unresolved, including those who were concerned about sex.

This also includes what is known as a compromise, compromising material, that is, video shots of the unsightly nature, which can destroy both the political career and the life of a person. The word Kompromat shines today – as in the past Perestroika – in all headlines; It was not invented in Russia, of course. But in Russia in the Yeltsin era, when the great clans in the power gave bitter fights and intensively used the media, works of this kind have ended more than just a brilliant career. General Prosecutor Jurij Skuratov was dismissed after a video had been shown in the country-wide television channels: There, a person "who looks like the prosecutor's office" had sex with two prostitutes.

Donald Trump went on Howard Stern for, like, decades. The stuff that's right out there for whoever wants to roll those tapes is just as "compromising" as anything in the dodgy dossier, or the "grab her by the pussy" tape, for that matter. As Kowaljow points out, none of it was mortally wounding to Trump; after all, if you're a volatility voter who wants to kick over the table in a rigged game, you don't care about the niceties.

Conclusion

It would be nice, wouldn't it, if our famously free press was actually covering the Trump transition , instead of acting like their newsrooms are mountain redoubts for an irrendentist Clinton campaign. It would be nice, for example, to know:

1) The content and impact of Trump's Executive Orders.

2) Ditto, regulations.

3) Personnel decisions below the Cabinet level. Who are the Flexians?

4) Obama policies that will remain in place, because both party establishments support them. Charters, for example.

5) Republican inroads in Silicon Valley.

6) The future of the IRS, since Republicans have an axe to grind with it.

7) Mismatch between State expectations for infrastructure and Trump's implementation

And that's before we get to ObamaCare, financial regulation, gutting or owning the CIA (which Trump needs to do, and fast), trade policy, NATO, China, and a myriad of other stories, all rich with human interest, powerful narratives, and plenty of potential for scandal. Any one of them worthy of A1 coverage, just like the Inaugural crowd size dogpile that's been going on for days.

Instead, the press seems to be reproducing the last gasps of the Clinton campaign, which were all about the evils of Trump, the man. That tactic failed the Clinton campaign, again because volatility voters weren't concerned with the niceties. And the same tactic is failing the press now. Failing unless, of course, you're the sort of sleaze merchant who downsizes the newsroom because, hey, it's all about the clicks.

[Jan 23, 2017] re F@ck Work naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Demanding a no-strings-attached welfare system, the left seeks to cut government out of social provisioning while at the same time relying on government for regular financial support. ..."
"... How will we provide adequate human and material resources for our growing elderly populations? How can we meaningfully restructure social production to address climate change? ..."
"... no amount of volunteerism, goodwill, or generous welfare payments can adequately meet these demands. Indeed, only government can afford to mobilize the persons and materials needed to answer such demands. ..."
"... I really need to be kicked out of the house, to go someplace and do something I don't really want to do for 8 hours a day. ..."
"... Interesting read society has become so corrupt at every level from personal up through municipal, regional and federal governments that it cant even identify the problem, let alone a solution ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Scott Ferguson, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida. He is also a Research Scholar at the Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. His current research and pedagogy focus on Modern Monetary Theory and critiques of neoliberalism, aesthetic theory; the history of digital animation and visual effects; and essayistic writing across media platforms. Originally published at Arcade

James Livingston has responded to my critique of his Aeon essay, " Fuck Work ." His response was published in the Spanish magazine Contexto y Accion . One can find an English translation here . What follows is my reply:

Livingston and I share many political aims. We each wish to reverse wealth polarization, to alleviate systemic poverty, and to enable diverse forms of human flourishing. The professor and I disagree, however, on the nature of contemporary economic reality. As a consequence, we propose very different political programs for realizing the sort of just and prosperous society we both desire.

In his rejoinder to my critique, Livingston proudly affirms his commitment to Liberalism and makes a Liberal understanding of political economy the basis of his proposed alternative to the neoliberal catastrophe. Deeming government an intrinsically authoritarian institution, he situates civil society as a realm of self-actualization and self-sufficiency. The problem, as he formulates it, is that while capitalist innovation has made it possible to increasingly automate production, the capitalist class has robbed us of our purchasing power and preserved a punishing wage relation. This prevents us from enjoying the fruits of automated labor. Livingston's solution is to reject an outmoded Protestant work ethic; tax the unproductive corporate profits that fuel financial markets; and redistribute this money in the form of a Universal Basic Income (UBI). The result: each member of civil society will be liberated to associate, labor, or play as they please.

Like Livingston, the left has long flirted with Liberal dreams that autonomous and self-regulating associations might one day replace the difficulties of political governance. After the Great Recession, these dreams have returned . They imagine algorithms and robots to be politically neutral. They seek a life of shared luxury through automatically dispensed welfare payments. This sounds nice at first blush. However, such reveries are at best naive and, at worst, politically defeatist and self-destructive. Abandoned and abused by neoliberal governance, today's pro-UBI left doubles down on neoliberalism's do-it-yourself caretaking. It envisions delimited forms of monetary redistribution as the only means to repair the social order. Above all, it allows anti-authoritarianism to overshadow the charge of social provisioning.

Livingston's articulation of this dream is especially fierce. As such, it crystallizes UBI's central contradiction: Demanding a no-strings-attached welfare system, the left seeks to cut government out of social provisioning while at the same time relying on government for regular financial support. This position, which fails to rethink the structure of social participation as a whole, leaves disquieting political questions unanswered: How will we provide adequate human and material resources for our growing elderly populations? How can we meaningfully restructure social production to address climate change? How do we preserve a place for the arts outside of competitive MFA programs and speculative art markets?

Such questions are unforgivingly realistic, not pie-in-the-sky musings. And no amount of volunteerism, goodwill, or generous welfare payments can adequately meet these demands. Indeed, only government can afford to mobilize the persons and materials needed to answer such demands. And while algorithms and robots are powerful social instruments, we cannot rely on automation to overcome extant logics of discrimination and exclusion . To do so is to forget that social injustice is politically conditioned and that government alone holds the monetary capacity to transform economic life in its entirety.

... ... ...

Carlos , January 23, 2017 at 2:31 am

I really need to be kicked out of the house, to go someplace and do something I don't really want to do for 8 hours a day.

I've already got too much time to fritter away. I'm fairly certain, giving me more time and money to make my own choices would not make the world a better place.

Dogstar , January 23, 2017 at 7:44 am

Hmm. No "sarc" tag Really?? More free time and money wouldn't be a benefit to you and your surroundings? That's hard to believe. To each their own I guess.

MtnLife , January 23, 2017 at 8:39 am

I can see it both ways. Most people see that as sarcasm but I have more than a few friends whose jobs are probably the only thing keeping them out of jail. Idle hands being the devil's plaything and all.

For instance, the last thing you want to give a recovering addict is a lot of free time and money.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , January 23, 2017 at 11:51 am

As a recovering addict, I must vehemently disagree with ur statement. I would love to have as much money and free time on my hands to work on the fun hobbies that keep me sober like Political Activism, Blogging, Film, etc.

Marco , January 23, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Many MANY folks take drugs and alcohol specially BECAUSE of their jobs

JohnnyGL , January 23, 2017 at 10:46 am

At no point in the "Job Guarantee" discussion did anyone advocate forcing you to go to work. However, if you decide to get ambitious and want a paid activity to do that helps make society a better place to live, wouldn't it be nice to know that there'd be work available for you to do?

Right now, that's not so easy to do without lots of effort searching for available jobs and going through a cumbersome and dispiriting application process that's designed to make you prove how much you REALLY, REALLY want the job.

For me, the real silver bullet is the moral/political argument of a Job Guarantee vs. Basic Income. Job Guarantee gives people a sense of pride and accomplishment and those employed and their loved ones will vigorously defend it against those who would attack them as 'moochers'. Also, defenders can point to the completed projects as added ammunition.

Basic income recipients have no such moral/political defense.

jrs , January 23, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The guaranteed jobs could be for a 20 or 30 hour week. I fear they won't be as most job guarantee advocates seem to be Calvinists who believe only work gets you into heaven though.

skippy , January 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Totally flippant and backhanded comment jrs, might help to substantiate your perspective with more than emotive slurs.

disheveled . Gezz Calvinists – ????? – how about thousands of years of Anthro or Psychology vs insinuations about AET or Neoclassical

jrs , January 23, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Don't forget commute another 2 hours because you can't afford anything close by!

tony , January 23, 2017 at 6:06 am

It's a common 'argument' by people defending status quo. They claim something is ridiculous and easily disproven and then leave it at that. They avoid making argument that are specific enought to be countered, because thay know they don't actually have a leg to stand on.

fresno dan , January 23, 2017 at 8:37 am

Furzy
January 23, 2017 at 4:19 am

http://www.pragcap.com/modern-monetary-theory-mmt-critique/

UserFriendly , January 23, 2017 at 6:57 am

Limitless may not have been the best word. Of course the government can print money till the cows come home; but MMT recommends stopping when you approach the real resource constraint.

skippy , January 23, 2017 at 7:39 am

Taxes to mop up . but that's theft in some ideological camps .

disheveled must have printing presses down in the basement .

Ruben , January 23, 2017 at 7:58 am

Sloppy language does not help so thank you. So the next question is how do constraints (natural or other) affect spending power under MMT, is it asymptotic, is there an optimum, discontinuities?

The other major issue is that although spending power is controlled by legislatures it must be recognized that wealth creation starts with the work of people and physical capital, not by the good graces of gov't. MMT makes it sound as if money exists just because gov't wills it to exist, which is true in the sense of printing pieces of paper but not in the sense of actual economic production and wealth creation. Taxes are not the manner in which gov't removes money but it really is the cost of gov't sitting on top of the economic production by people together with physical capital.

Jamie , January 23, 2017 at 9:55 am

Help me understand your last sentence. So, if I'm a farmer, the time I spend digging the field is economic production, but the time I spend sitting at my desk planing what to plant and deciding which stump to remove next and how best to do it, and the time I spend making deals with the bank etc, these are all unproductive hours that make no contribution to my economic production?

susan the other , January 23, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Yes, Jamie. And as you point out, Ferguson is giving us a better definition of "productive". He is not saying productivity produces profits – he is saying productive work fixes things and makes them better. But some people never get past that road bump called "productivity."

vlade , January 23, 2017 at 5:28 am

The author is making some assumptions, and then goes and takes them apart. It's possilble (I didn't read the article he refers to), that the assumptions he responds to directly are made by the article, but that doesn't make them universal assumptions about UBI.

UBI is not a single exact prescription – and in the same way, JG is not a single exact prescription. The devil, in both cases, is in details. In fact, there is not reason why JG and UBI should be mutually exclusive as a number of people are trying to tell us.

and if we talk about governance – well, the super-strong governance that JG requires to function properly is my reason why I'd prefer a strong UBI to most JG.

Now and then we get a failed UBI example study – I'm not going to look at that. But the socialist regimes of late 20th century are a prime example of failed JG. Unlike most visitor or writers here, I had the "privilege" to experience them first hand, and thanks but no thanks. Under the socialist regimes you had to have a job (IIRC, the consitutions stated you had "duty" to work). But that become an instrument of control. What job you could have was pretty tightly controlled. Or, even worse, you could be refused any job, which pretty much automatically sent you to prison as "not working parasite".

I don't expect that most people who support JG have anything even remotely similar in mind, but the governance problems still stay. That is, who decides what jobs should be created? Who decides who should get what job, especially if not all jobs are equal (and I don't mean just equal pay)? Can you be firedt from your JG job if you go there just to collect your salary? (The joke in the socialist block was "the government pretends to pay us, we pretend to work"). Etc. etc.

All of the above would have to be decided by people, and if we should know something, then we should know that any system run by people will be, sooner or later, corrupted. The more complex it is, the easier it is to corrupt it.

Which is why I support (meaningfull, meaning you can actually live on it, not just barely survive) Basic Income over JG. The question for me is more whether we can actually afford a meaningful one, because getting a "bare survival one" does more damage than good.

PKMKII , January 23, 2017 at 9:27 am

That's why any JG would have to be filtered through local governments or, more ideally, non-profit community organizations, and not a centralized government. New York City's Summer Youth Employment Program offers a good model for this. Block grants of money are delivered to a wide range of community organizations, thus ensuring no one group has a monopoly, and then individual businesses, other community groups, schools, non-profits, etc., apply to the community organizations for an "employee" who works for them, but the payment actually comes from the block grant. The government serves as the deliverer of funds, and provides regulatory oversight to make sure no abuses are taking place, but does not pick and choose the jobs/employers themselves.

Praedor , January 23, 2017 at 5:42 am

I don't see it as either/or. Provide a UBI and a job guarantee. The job would pay over and above the UBI bit, if for some reason, you don't want to work or cannot, you still have your Universal BASIC Income as the floor through which you cannot fall.

Private employers will have to offer better conditions and pay to convince people getting UBI to work for them. They wouldn't be able to mistreat workers because they could simply bolt because they will not fall into poverty if they quit. The dirtbags needing workers won't be able to overpay themselves at the expense of workers because they feel completely free to leave if you are a self worshipping douche.

Dblwmy , January 23, 2017 at 11:03 am

It seems that over time the "floor through which you cannot fall" becomes just that, the floor, as the effect of a UBI becomes the universal value, well floor.

jerry , January 23, 2017 at 11:12 am

Was going to be my response as well, why such absolute yes or no thinking? The benefit of the UBI is that is recognizes that we have been increasing productivity for oh the last couple millenia for a REASON! To have more leisure time! Giving everyone the opportunity to work more and slave away isn't much of a consolation. We basically have a jobs guarantee/floor right now, its called McDonalds, and no one wants it.

Labor needs a TON of leverage, to get us back to a reasonable Scandinavian/Aussie standard of living. Much more time off, much better benefits, higher wages in general. UBI provides this, it says screw you employers unless you are willing to offer reasonable conditions we are going to stay home.

Anti-Schmoo , January 23, 2017 at 6:02 am

Why the Job Guarantee versus Universal Basic Income is not about work, BUT ABOUT GOVERNANCE!

Yep, agree 100%. We live in a capitalist society which is dependent on a (wage) slave population.

UBI? Are you mad?

I for one am mad, give me UBI! Time to end the insanity of U.S. capitalism

Mrs Smith , January 23, 2017 at 6:08 am

I'm curious to know if either of these systems work if there is no guarantee of "free" access to healthcare through single-payer or a national insurance? I'm only marginally informed about UBI or MMT, and haven't found adequate information regarding either as to how healthcare is addressed. It seems clear that neither could work in the US, specifically for the reason that any UBI would have to be high enough to pay insane insurance premiums, and cover catastrophic illnesses without pushing someone into bankruptcy.

Can anyone clarify, or point me in the direction of useful information on this?

UserFriendly , January 23, 2017 at 7:02 am

There are different flavors of UBI, most don't mention healthcare at all. Milton Friedman's UBI flavor prefers that it replace all government spending on social welfare to reduce the government's overall burden. MMT says there is no sense in not having single payer.

Stephanie , January 23, 2017 at 7:06 am

My thought on the last thread of this nature is that if UBI were ever enacted in the U.S., healthcare access would become restricted to those with jobs (and the self-employeed with enough spare income to pay for it). You don't have to be healthy to collect a subsistence payment from to the government.

HotFlash , January 23, 2017 at 11:18 am

Here in Canada we have universal healthcare, as well as a basic income guarantee for low income families with children and seniors. There is a movement to extend that as well, details of one plan here .

In theory, I think it could be possible for the JG to build and staff hospitals and clinics on a non-profit basis or at least price-controlled basis, if so directed (*huge* question, of course - by what agency? govt? local councils?). Ditto housing, schools, infrastructure, all kinds of socially useful and pleasant stuff. However, the way the US tends to do things, I would expect instead that a BIG or a JG would, as others have pointed out, simply enable employers to pay less, and furthermore, subsidize the consumption of overpriced goods and services. IOW, a repeat of the ACA, just a pump to get more $$ to the top.

The problem is not the money, but that the Americans govern themselves so poorly. No idea what the cure could be for that.

Praedor , January 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Fixing worker pay is actually VERY easy. It's purely a political issue. You tie corporate taxes to worker compensation. More specifically, you set the maximum compensation for CEOs at NO MORE than (say) 50x average worker pay in their corporation (INCLUDING temps AND off-shored workers IN US DOLLARS no passing the buck to Temp Agencies or claiming that $10/day in hellhole country x is equivalent to $50k in the US. NO, it is $10/day or $3650/yr, period). At 50x, corporate taxation is at the minimum (say something like 17%). The corporation is free to pay their top exec more than 50x but doing so will increase the corporate tax to 25%. You could make it step-wise: 51-60x average worker pay = 25% corporate tax, 61-80x = 33% corporate tax, etc.

It is time to recognize that CEO pay is NOT natural or earned at stratospheric levels. THE best economic times in the US were between the 50s to early 70s when top tax rates were much higher AND the average CEO took home maybe 30x their average worker pay. We CAN go back to something like that with policy. Also, REQUIRE that labor have reps on the Board of Directors, change the rules of incorporation so it is NOT mainly focused on "maximizing profit or shareholder value". It must include returning a social good to the local communities within which corporations reside. Profits and maximizing shareholder value must be last (after also minimizing social/environmental harm). Violate the rules and you lose your corporate charter.

There is no right to be a corporation. Incorporation is a privilege that is extended by government. The Founders barred any corporate interference in politics, and if a corporation broke the law, it lost its charter and the corporate officers were directly held responsible for THEIR actions. Corporations don't do anything, people in charge of corporations make the decisions and carry out the actions so NO MORE LLCs. If you kill people due to lax environmental protections or worker safety, etc, then the corporate officers are DIRECTLY and personally responsible for it. THEY made it happen, not some ethereal "corporation".

BeliTsari , January 23, 2017 at 6:32 am

Durned hippys imagine an IRON boot stamping on a once human face – forever. OK, now everybody back to the BIG house. Massa wanna reed yew sum Bible verses. We're going to be slaves to the machines, ya big silly!

PlutoniumKun , January 23, 2017 at 7:09 am

I'm sceptical whether a guaranteed job policy would actually work in reality. There are plenty of historical precedents – for example, during the Irish potato famine because of an ideological resistence to providing direct aid, there were many 'make work' schemes. You can still see the results all along the west coast of Ireland – little harbours that nobody has ever used, massive drainage schemes for tiny amounts of land, roads to nowhere. It certainly helped many families survive, but it also meant that those incapacitated by starvation died as they couldn't work. It was no panacea.

There are numerous practical issues with make work schemes. Do you create a sort of 2-layer public service – with one level permanent jobs, the other a variety of 'temporary' jobs according to need? And if so, how do you deal with issues like:

1. The person on a make work scheme who doesn't bother turning up till 11 am and goes home at 2.

2. Regional imbalances where propering region 1 is desperately short of workers while neighbouring region 2 has thousands of surplus people sweeping streets and planting trees.

3. What effect will this have on business and artistic innovation? Countries with strong welfare systems such as Sweden also tend to have a very high number of start ups because people can quit their jobs and devote themselves to a couple of years to develop that business idea they always had, or to start a band, or try to make a name as a painter.

4. How do you manage the transition from 'make-work' to permanent jobs when the economy is on the up, but people decide they prefer working in their local area sweeping the street?

I can see just as many practical problems with a job guarantee as with universal income. Neither solution is perfect – in reality, some sort of mix would be the only way I think it could be done effectively.

Torsten , January 23, 2017 at 7:33 am

Yes. Not either/or but both/and.

To provide some context for passers-by, this seemingly too-heated debate is occurring in the context of the upcoming Podemos policy meeting in Spain, Feb 10-12.. Podemos seems to have been unaware of MMT, and has subscribed to sovereign-economy-as-household policies. Ferguson, along with elements of the modern left, has been trying to win Podemos over to MMT-based policies like a Jobs Guarantee rather than the Basic Income scheme they have heretofore adopted rather uncritically.

(Of course Spain is far from "sovereign", but that's another matter :-(

aj , January 23, 2017 at 7:48 am

1) Fire them
2) Prospering region 1 isn't "short on workers" they just all have private jobs.
3) What a good argument to also have single payer healthcare and some sort of BIG as well as the JG
4) private companies must offer a better compensation package. One of the benefits of the JG is that it essentially sets the minimum wage.

Murph , January 23, 2017 at 9:08 am

Yeah, those are pretty good answers right off the bat. (Obviously I guess for #1 they can reapply in six months or something.)

Plutonium- I feel like true progress is trading shitty problems for less shitty ones. I can't see any of the major proponents like Kelton, Wray or Mitchell ever suggesting that the JG won't come with it's own new sets of challenges. On the overly optimistic side though: you could look at that as just necessitating more meaningful JG jobs addressing those issues.

aj , January 23, 2017 at 11:17 am

I was writing that on my phone this morning. Didn't have time to go into great detail. Still, I wanted to point out that just because there will be additional complexities with a JG, doesn't mean there aren't reasonable answers.

PlutoniumKun , January 23, 2017 at 10:42 am

1. If you fire them its not a jobs guarantee. Many people have psychological/social issues which make them unsuitable for regular hours jobs. If you don't have a universal basic income, and you don't have an absolute jobs guarantee, then you condemn them and their families to poverty.

2. The area is 'short on workers' if it is relying on a surplus public employee base for doing things like keeping the streets clean and helping out in old folks homes. It is implicit in the use of government as a source of jobs of last resort that if there is no spare labour, then you will have nobody to do all the non-basic works and you will have no justification for additional infrastructure spend.

3. You miss the point. A basic income allows people time and freedom to be creative if they choose. When the Conservatives in the early 1990's in the UK restricted social welfare to under 25's, Noel Gallagher of Oasis predicted that it would destroy working class rock n roll, and leave the future only to music made by rich kids. He was proven right, which is why we have to listen to Coldplay every time we switch on the radio.

4. This ignores the reality that jobs are never spread evenly across regions. One of the biggest problems in the US labour market is that the unemployed often just can't afford to move to where the jobs are available. A guaranteed job scheme organised on local govenment basis doesn't address this, if anything it can exacerbate the problem. And the simplest and easiest way to have a minimum wage is to have a minimum wage.

aj , January 23, 2017 at 11:39 am

1) Kelton always talks about a JG being for people "willing and able to work." If you are not willing I don't really have much sympathy for you. If you are not able due to psychological factors or disability, then we can talk about how you get on welfare or the BIG/UBI. The JG can't work in a vacuum. It can't be the only social program.

2) Seems unrealistic. You are just searching to find something wrong. If there is zero public employment, that means private employment is meeting all labor demands.

3) I have no idea what you are going on about. I'm in a band. I also have a full-time job. I go see local music acts all the time. There are a few that play music and don't work because they have rich parents, but that's the minority. Most artists I know manage to make art despite working full time. I give zero shits what corporate rock is these days. If you don't like what's on the radio turn it off. There are thousands of bands you've never heard of. Go find them.

4) Again, you are just searching for What-If reasons to crap on the JG. You try to keep the jobs local. Or you figure out free transportation. There are these large vehicles called busses which can transport many people at once.

Yes these are all valid logistical problems to solve, but you present them like there are no possible solutions. I can come up with several in less than 5 minutes.

oho , January 23, 2017 at 8:04 am

For a more practical first step--how about getting rid of/slashing regressive and non-federal income tax deductible sales taxes? shifting that tax burden to where income growth has been.

Democratic Party-run states/cities are the biggest offenders when it comes to high sales taxes.

universal basic income in the West + de facto open borders won't work. just making a reasonable hypothesis.

Dita , January 23, 2017 at 8:06 am

Make-work will set you free?

voteforno6 , January 23, 2017 at 8:32 am

There might be a psychological benefit to a jobs guarantee vs. UBI. There are a lot of people that would much rather "earn" their income rather than directly receiving it.

BeliTsari , January 23, 2017 at 8:46 am

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( ) ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, fast car

Norb , January 23, 2017 at 9:15 am

A JG would begin to rebuild the trust and cooperation needed to have a society based on justice instead of might makes right. Human life is based on obligations- we are all responsible to one another for the social system to work. The problem is always about how to deal with cheaters and shirkers. This problem is best solved by peer pressure and shaming- along with a properly functioning legal system.

I get a kick out of the "make work" argument against a JG. With planned obsolescence as the foundation of our economic system, it's just a more sophisticated way of digging holes and filling them in again. Bring on robotic automation, and the capitalist utopia is reached. Soul crushing, pointless labor can be sidelined and replaced with an unthinking and unfeeling machine in order to generate profits. The one problem is people have no money to buy the cheep products. To solve that dilemma, use the sovereign governments power to provide spending credits in the form of a UBI. Capitalism is saved from is own contradictions- the can is kicked farther down the road.

The obligations we have to one another must be defined before any system organization can take place. Right now, the elite are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

jerry , January 23, 2017 at 11:23 am

Well said!

Jamie , January 23, 2017 at 9:25 am

I agree with those who see a need for both programs. I think the critique of UBI here is a good one, that raises many valid points. But I have trouble with a portion of it. For instance:

by eliminating forced unemployment, it would eradicate systemic poverty

treats 'poverty' as an absolute when it is a relative. No matter what programs are in place, there will always be a bottom tier in our hierarchical society and those who constitute it will always be 'impoverished' compared to those in higher tiers. This is the nature of the beast. Which is why I prefer to talk about subsistence level income and degrees above subsistence. The cost of living may not be absolutely fixed over time, but it seems to me to be more meaningful and stable than the term 'poverty'. On the other hand, in a rent seeking economy, giving people an income will not lift them out of poverty because rents will simply be adjusted to meet the rise in resources. So UBI without rent control is meaningless.

Another point is that swapping forced unemployment for forced employment seems to me to avoid some core issues surrounding how society provides for all its members. Proponents of the JG are always careful to stress that no one is forced to work under the JG. They say things like, "jobs for everyone who wants one". But this fails to address the element of coercion that underlies the system. If one has no means to provide for oneself (i.e. we are no longer a frontier with boundless land that anyone can have for cheap upon which they may strike out and choose the amount of labor they contribute to procure the quality of life they prefer-if ever was such the case), then jobs for "everyone who wants one" is simply disingenuous. There is a critical "needs" versus "wants" discussion that doesn't generally come up when discussing JG. It's in there, of course, but it is postponed until the idea is accepted to the point where setting an actual wage becomes an issue. But even then, the wage set will bear on the needs versus wants of the employed, but leaves out those foolish enough to not "want" a job. Whereas, in discussing UBI, that discussion is front and center (since even before accepting the proposal people will ask, how much?, and proper reasons must be given to support a particular amount-which again brings us to discussing subsistence and degrees above it-the discussion of subsistence or better is "baked in" to the discussion about UBI in a way that it is not when discussing the JG).

PKMKII , January 23, 2017 at 9:44 am

While UBI interests me as a possible route to a non-"means of production"-based economy, the problem I see with it is that it could easily reduce the populace to living to consume. Given enough funds to provide for the basics of living, but not enough to make any gains within society, or affect change. It's growth for growth's sake, not as to serve society. Something is needed to make sure people aren't just provided for, but have the ability to shape the direction of their society and communities.

Teacup , January 23, 2017 at 9:48 am

Where I work @3/4 of the staff already receives social security and yet it is not enough seems to me human satisfaction is boundless and providing a relative minimum paper floor for everyone is just. Yet the way our market is set up, this paper floor would be gobbled back up by the rentier class anyway. So unless there is a miraculous change in our economic rent capture policies, we are screwed

So yes, just describe to people precisely what it is – a 'paper' floor not something that has firm footing yet acknowledges inequities inherent in our current currency distribution methods. And of course couple this with a jobs guarantee. I have met way too many people in my life that 'fall through the cracks' .

Portia , January 23, 2017 at 10:24 am

why is no one bemoaning the rabid over-consumption of the complainers who suck up much more than they will ever need, hoarding and complaining about people who do not have enough? the real problem is rampant out of control parasites

Teacup , January 23, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Must be a capital gains 'earner' . and a professional projectionist

Portia , January 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm

both ends see the other as a parasite

Ignacio , January 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

But Ferguson should also adknowledge that Livingston has some points.

Why on earth we politically put limits to, for instance, public earning-spending while do not put any limit to the net amount that one person can earn, spend and own?

Upward redistribution is what occurs in the neoliberal framework. UBI is distribution. Bear in mind that even in the best employment conditions, not everybody can earn a salary. 100% employment is unrealistic.

LT , January 23, 2017 at 11:58 am

The people marketing UBI and MMT have hundreds of years of attempted social engineereing to overcome. I referring to the " why people want what they want and why do they believe what they believe." Why?

The only suggestion I have is that, since everybody has a different relationship to the concept of work, the populations involved need to be smaller. Not necessarily fewer people, but more regions or nation states that are actually allowed to try their ideas without being attacked by any existing "empire" or "wanna be empire" via sanctions or militarily.

It is going to take many different regions, operating a variety of economic systems (not the globalized private banking extraction method pushed down every one's throat whether they like it or not) that people can gravitate in and out of freely.

People would have the choice to settle in the region that has rules and regulations that work most for their lives and belief systems (which can change over time).

Looking at it from the perspective that there can be only one system that 300 million plus people (like the USA) or the world must be under is the MAIN problem of social engineering. There needs to be space carved out for these many experiments.

schultzzz , January 23, 2017 at 12:05 pm

First, congratulations to everyone who managed to read this all the way through. IMO both this (and the guy he's responding to), seem like someone making fun of academic writing. Perhaps with the aid of a program that spits out random long words.

FWIW, when I lived in Japan, they had a HUGE, construction-based make-work program there, and it was the worst of both worlds: hard physical labor which even the laborers knew served no purpose, PLUS constant street obstruction/noise for the people in the neighborhoods of these make-work projects. Not to mention entire beautiful mountains literally concreted over in the name of 'jawbs'.

Different thought: I'm not sold on UBI either, but wouldn't it mess up the prostitution/sex trafficking game, almost as a side effect? Has anyone heard UBI fans promote it on that basis?

Ben , January 23, 2017 at 12:31 pm

The sound and fury of disagreement is drowning out what both authors agree on: guaranteed material standards of living and reduced working time. If that's the true goal, we should say so explicitly and hammer out the details of the best way to attain it.

MIB , January 23, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Interesting read society has become so corrupt at every level from personal up through municipal, regional and federal governments that it cant even identify the problem, let alone a solution

all forms of government and their corresponding programs will fail until that government is free from the monetary influences of individuals / corporations and military establishments, whether it be from donations to a political establishment or kick backs to politicians and legislators or government spending directed to buddies and cohorts

I don't pretend to understand the arguments at the level to which they are written, but at the basic level of true governance it must but open and honest, this would allow the economy to function and be evaluated, and then at that point we could offer up some ideas on how to enhance areas as needed or scale back areas that were out of control or not adding value to society as a whole

We stand at a place that has hundreds of years of built in corruption into the model, capable so far of funneling money to the top regardless of the program implemented by the left or the right sides of society

first step is to remove all corruption and influence from governance at every level until then all the toils toward improvement are pointless as no person has witnessed a "free market " in a couple hundred years, all economic policy has been slanted by influence and corruption

we can not fix it until we actually observe it working, and it will never work until it is free of bias / influence

no idea how we get there . our justice system is the first step in repairing any society

[Jan 23, 2017] When there is no viable alternative to neoliberalism, nationalism is the only game in town for the opposition forces

Notable quotes:
"... Trump may be a Nationalist, but he is also an anti-regulatory elite with no regard for business ethics or accountability to the community. He is also for "greedy take all" and against fair distribution of profits in the economy. ..."
"... The key point here is that as long as there is no viable alternative to neoliberalism, nationalism is the only game in town for the opposition forces. That's why trade union members now abandoned neoliberal (aka Clintonized ) Democratic Party. ..."
"... Traditionally, Neoliberalism espouses privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade and reduction in government spending. ..."
"... One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings. Democracy becomes reinterpreted as the market, and politics succumbs to neoliberal economic theory, so we are speaking of the end of democratic politics as we have known it for two and a half centuries. ..."
"... As the market becomes an abstraction, so does democracy, but the real playing field is somewhere else, in the realm of actual economic exchange-which is not, however, the market. We may say that all exchange takes place on the neoliberal surface. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is often described-and this creates a lot of confusion-as "market fundamentalism," and while this may be true for neoliberal's self-promotion and self-presentation, i.e., the market as the ultimate and only myth, as were the gods of the past, I would argue that in neoliberalism there is no such thing as the market as we have understood it from previous ideologies. ..."
"... it seeks to leave no space for individual self-conception in the way that classical liberalism, and even communism and fascism to some degree, were willing to allow. ..."
"... I am suggesting that the issue is not how strong the state is in the service of neoliberalism, but whether there is anything left over beyond the new definition of the state. Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them. ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
reason , January 23, 2017 at 01:03 AM

Worth reading - perhaps controversial but unfortunately there is an element of truth in what he writes.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/22/trumps-nationalism-response-not-globalization

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> reason , January 23, 2017 at 04:05 AM

I will go with worth reading. I don't think that is controversial at all and there is way more than an element of truth in it. But knowing is one thing and organizing politically in a manner sufficient to bring about change is entirely another.
jonny bakho -> reason, January 23, 2017 at 05:30 AM
They are correct. We need an alternative to Nationalism and Trump.

They are not correct about mysterious elites controlling things.

The elites pursued anti-regulatory policies that allowed them to reap short term profits without regard for stability or sustainability. It is not government control but lack of regulation that allowed BIgF to run wild and unaccountable.

Trump may be a Nationalist, but he is also an anti-regulatory elite with no regard for business ethics or accountability to the community. He is also for "greedy take all" and against fair distribution of profits in the economy.

The plant closures are headlined and promote the mistaken belief that globalization is the prime cause of job loss. These large closures are only 1/10th of the job losses and dislocations due to automation and transformation from manufacturing to service economies. Wealthy elites are allowed to greedily hoard all the profits from automation and not enough is being invested in the service economy. Austerity is not a policy to control the masses, it is a policy to protect the wealth accumulated by elites from fair distribution.

Trump is not going to bring manufacturing plants back to American rural backwaters. Those left behind must build their own service economy or relocate to a sustainable region that is making the transition.

libezkova -> jonny bakho, January 23, 2017 at 09:40 AM
Jonny,

The key point here is that as long as there is no viable alternative to neoliberalism, nationalism is the only game in town for the opposition forces. That's why trade union members now abandoned neoliberal (aka Clintonized ) Democratic Party.

All Western societies now, not only the USA, experience nationalist movements Renaissance. And that's probably why Hillary lost as she represented "kick the can down the road" neoliberal globalization agenda.

An important point also is that nationalism itself is not monolithic. There are at least two different types of nationalism in the West now:

As for your statement

"Trump may be a Nationalist, but he is also an anti-regulatory elite with no regard for business ethics or accountability to the community. He is also for "greedy take all" and against fair distribution of profits in the economy."

This might be true, but might be not. It is not clear what Trump actually represents. Let's give him the benefit of doubt and wait 100 days before jumping to conclusions.

jonny bakho -> libezkova, January 23, 2017 at 11:38 AM
Stop spreading Fake News.

Traditionally, Neoliberalism espouses privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade and reduction in government spending.

What exactly did Clinton want to privatize? What budget did she propose slashing? Did she want to deregulate banks or environmental regulations?
She supported some trade liberalization, but also imposing sanctions. What government spending did she want to reduce?

Fact: She supported the opposite of most of these policies.

Donald Trump promised to pursue all of these Neoliberal policies. The GOP and their propaganda megaphone is very good at tarring the opposition as supporting the very policies they are enacting. They made Al Gore into a liar, John Kerry into a coward with a purple band aid and Hillary into a Wall Street shill. None of this is true. But Trump and his GOP are doing all the things you accuse Democrats of doing.

ilsm -> jonny bakho , January 23, 2017 at 04:24 PM
Neither Reagan nor Thatcher could meet your narrow ideal neolib

Clinton is more neocon, in thrall of Wall St and War Street. Follower of Kagan wife since Bill did Bosnia.

Of course Clintons have no convictions. Neocon neolib mix them and you get the Wall St progressives. Pick and choose labels and definitions.

libezkova -> jonny bakho January 23, 2017 at 04:55 PM
You are wrong. Your definition of neoliberalism is formally right and we can argue along those lines that Hillary is a neoliberal too (Her track record as a senator suggests exactly that), it is way too narrow. There is more to it:

"One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings." (see below)

"Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them."

"In the current election campaign, Hillary Clinton has been the most perfect embodiment of neoliberalism among all the candidates, she is almost its all-time ideal avatar, and I believe this explains, even if not articulated this way, the widespread discomfort among the populace toward her ascendancy. People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded.

This is the dark side of neoliberalism's ideological arm (a multiculturalism founded on human beings as capital), which is why this project has become increasingly associated with suppression of free speech and intolerance of those who refuse to go along with the kind of identity politics neoliberalism promotes.

And this explains why the 1990s saw the simultaneous and absolutely parallel rise, under the Clintons, of both neoliberal globalization and various regimes of neoliberal disciplining, such as the shaming and exclusion of former welfare recipients (every able-bodied person should be able to find work, therefore under TANF welfare was converted to a performance management system designed to enroll everyone in the workforce, even if it meant below-subsistence wages or the loss of parental responsibilities, all of it couched in the jargon of marketplace incentives)."

In this sense Hillary Clinton is 100% dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal and neocon ("neoliberal with the gun"). She promotes so called "neoliberal rationality" a perverted "market-based" rationality typical for neoliberalism:

See http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2017/01/links-for-01-23-17.html#comment-6a00d83451b33869e201bb09706856970d

== quote ==
When Hillary Clinton frequently retorts-in response to demands for reregulation of finance, for instance-that we have to abide by "the rule of law," this reflects a particular understanding of the law, the law as embodying the sense of the market, the law after it has undergone a revolution of reinterpretation in purely economic terms.

In this revolution of the law persons have no status compared to corporations, nation-states are on their way out, and everything in turn dissolves before the abstraction called the market.

One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings. Democracy becomes reinterpreted as the market, and politics succumbs to neoliberal economic theory, so we are speaking of the end of democratic politics as we have known it for two and a half centuries.

As the market becomes an abstraction, so does democracy, but the real playing field is somewhere else, in the realm of actual economic exchange-which is not, however, the market. We may say that all exchange takes place on the neoliberal surface.

Neoliberalism is often described-and this creates a lot of confusion-as "market fundamentalism," and while this may be true for neoliberal's self-promotion and self-presentation, i.e., the market as the ultimate and only myth, as were the gods of the past, I would argue that in neoliberalism there is no such thing as the market as we have understood it from previous ideologies.

The neoliberal state-actually, to utter the word state seems insufficient here, I would claim that a new entity is being created, which is not the state as we have known it, but an existence that incorporates potentially all the states in the world and is something that exceeds their sum-is all-powerful, it seeks to leave no space for individual self-conception in the way that classical liberalism, and even communism and fascism to some degree, were willing to allow.

There are competing understandings of neoliberal globalization, when it comes to the question of whether the state is strong or weak compared to the primary agent of globalization, i.e., the corporation, but I am taking this logic further, I am suggesting that the issue is not how strong the state is in the service of neoliberalism, but whether there is anything left over beyond the new definition of the state. Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them.

Of course the word hasn't gotten around to the people yet, hence all the confusion about whether Hillary Clinton is more neoliberal than Barack Obama, or whether Donald Trump will be less neoliberal than Hillary Clinton.

The project of neoliberalism-i.e., the redefinition of the state, the institutions of society, and the self-has come so far along that neoliberalism is almost beyond the need of individual entities to make or break its case. Its penetration has gone too deep, and none of the democratic figureheads that come forward can fundamentally question its efficacy.

[Jan 23, 2017] Karl Roves Prophecy

Notable quotes:
"... "that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ..."
"... "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... Rush To Judgment ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | www.unz.com
by Karel van Wolferen Karl Rove. Credit: Jay Godwin/Wikimedia Commons [We're very pleased to run this provocative new piece by Karel van Wolferen , who has spent decades as one of Holland's most distinguished international journalists.]

In a famous exchange between a high official at the court of George W. Bush and journalist Ron Suskind, the official – later acknowledged to have been Karl Rove – takes the journalist to task for working in "the reality-based community." He defined that as believing "that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." Rove then asserted that this was no longer the way in which the world worked:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." (Ron Suskind, NYTimes Magazine, Oct. 17, 2004).

This declaration became popular as an illustration of the hubris of the Bush-Cheney government. But we could also see it as fulfilled prophecy. Fulfilled in a manner that no journalist at that time would have deemed possible. Yes, the neoconservatives brought disrepute upon themselves because of the disaster in Iraq. Sure, opposition to the reality Rove had helped create in that devastated country became a first rung on the ladder that could lead to the presidency, as it did for Barack Obama. But the neocons stayed put in the State Department and other positions closely linked to the Obama White House, where they became allies with the liberal hawks in continuing 'spreading democracy' by overthrowing regimes. America's mainstream news and opinion purveyors, without demurring, accommodated the architects of reality production overseen by Dick Cheney.

This did not end when Obama became president, but in fact with seemingly ever greater eagerness they gradually made the CIA/neocon-neoliberal created reality appear unshakably substantial in the minds of most newspaper readers and among TV audiences in the Atlantic basin. This was most obvious when attention moved to an imagined existential threat posed by Russia supposedly aimed at the political and 'Enlightenment' achievements of the West. Neoconservatives and liberal hawks bent America's foreign-policy entirely to their ultimate purpose of eliminating a Vladimir Putin who had decided not to dance to Washington's tune so that he might save the Russian state, which had been disintegrating under his predecessor and Wall Street's robber barons.

With President Obama as a mere spectator, the neocon/liberals could – without being ridiculed – pass off as a popular revolution the coup d'état they fomented in the Ukraine. And because of an unquestioned Atlanticist faith, which holds that without the policies of the United States the world cannot be safe for people of the Atlantic basin, the European elites that determine policy or comment on it joined their American counterparts in endorsing that reality.

As blind vassals the Europeans have adopted Washington's enemies as their own. Hence the ease with which the European Union member states could be roped into a system of baseless economic sanctions against Russia, much to the detriment of their own economic interests. Layers upon layers of anti-Russian propaganda have piled up to bamboozle a largely unsuspecting public on both sides of the Ocean.

In the Netherlands, from where I have been watching all this, Putin was held personally responsible in much of the media for the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner flying over the Ukraine, which killed 298 people. No serious investigation was undertaken. The presentation of 'almost definitive' findings by the joint investigation team under Dutch leadership has neither included clues supplied by jet fighter cannon holes in the wrecked fuselage nor eyewitness stories, which would make the government in Kiev the prime suspect. Moscow's challenging the integrity of the investigation, whose agreed-upon rules included publication of findings only if Kiev agreed with them, were met with great indignation by the Dutch Foreign and Prime Ministers.

As the fighting in Syria reached a phase when contradictions in the official Washington/NATO story demanded a stepping back for a fresh look, editors were forced into contortions to make sure that the baddies stayed bad, and that no matter how cruel and murderously they went about their occupation in Aleppo and elsewhere, the jihadi groups fighting to overthrow the secular Assad government in Damascus remained strictly labeled as moderate dissidents worthy of Western support, and the Russians as violators of Western values. Architects of an official reality that diverges widely from the facts you thought you knew must rely on faits accompli they achieve through military or police violence and intimidation, in combination with a fitting interpretation or a news blackout delivered by mainstream media.

These conditions have been widely obtained in the Atlantic basin through a gradual loss of political accountability at top levels, and through government agencies protected by venerated secrecy that are allowed to live lives of their own. As a result American and European populations have been dropped into a fantasy world, one under constant threat from terrorists and an evil dictator in Moscow. For Americans the never ending war waged by their own government, which leaves them with no choice but to condone mass murder, is supposedly necessary to keep them safe. For Europeans, at least those in the northern half, the numerous NATO tanks rolling up to the border of the Russian Federation and the massing of troops in that area are an extra guarantee, on top of the missiles that were already there, that Vladimir Putin will restrain his urges to grab a European country or two. On a smaller scale, when every May 4th the 1940-45 war dead are remembered in the Netherlands, we must now include the fallen in Afghanistan as if they were a sacrifice to defend us against the Taliban threat from behind the Hindu Kush.

Ever since the start of this millennium there has been a chain of realities as prophesied by Karl Rove, enhanced by terrorist attacks, which may or may not have been the work of actual terrorists, but whose reality is not questioned without risking one's reputation. The geopolitical picture that they have helped build in most minds appears fairly consistent if one can keep one's curiosity on a leash and one's sense of contradiction sufficiently blunt. After all, the details of the official reality are filled in and smoothed out all the time by crafty campaigns produced in the PR world, with assistance from think tanks and academia.

But the question does reappear in one's thoughts: do the politically prominent and the well-positioned editors, especially those known for having once possessed skeptical minds, actually believe it all? Do those members of the cabinet or parliament, who can get hot under their collar as they decry the latest revelation about one or other outrage committed by Putin, take seriously what they're saying? Not all of them are believers, I know that from off the record conversations. But there appears to be a marked difference between the elite in government, in the media, in prominent social positions, and ordinary people who in these recent times of anguish about populism are sometimes referred to as uneducated. Quite a few among the latter appear to think that something fishy is going on. This could be because in my experience the alert ones have educated themselves, something that is not generally understood by commentators who have made their way through the bureaucracy of standard higher education.

A disadvantage of being part of the elite is that you must stick to the accepted story. If you deviate from it, and have your thoughts run rather far away from it, which is quite inevitable once you begin with your deviation, you can no longer be trusted by those around you. If you are a journalist and depend for your income on a mainstream newspaper or are hired by a TV company, you run the risk of losing your job if you do not engage in self-censorship.

Consequently, publications that used to be rightly known as quality newspapers have turned into unreadable rags. The newspaper that was my employer for a couple of decades used to be edited on the premise that its correspondents rather than authorities were always correct in what they were saying. Today greater loyalty to the reality created in Washington and Langley cannot be imagined. For much of northern Europe the official story that originates in the United States is amplified by the BBC and other once reliable purveyors of news and opinion like the Guardian , the Financial Times and the (always less reliable) Economist .

Repetition lends an ever greater aura of truth to the nonsense that is relentlessly repeated on the pages of once serious publications. Detailed analyses of developments understood through strings of false clues give the fictions ever more weight in learned heads and debates in parliament. At the time of writing, the grave concern spread across the opinion pages on my side of the Atlantic is about how Putin's meddling in upcoming European elections can be prevented.

The realities Rove predicted have infantilized parliamentary debates, current affairs discussion and lecture events, and anything of a supposedly serious nature on TV. These now conform to comic book simplicities of evil, heroes and baddies. They have produced a multitude of editorials with facts upside-down. They force even those who advise against provoking Moscow to include a remark or two about Putin being a murderer or tyrant, lest they could be mistaken for traitors to Enlightenment values or even as Russian puppets, as I have been. Layers of unreality have incapacitated learned and serious people to think clearly about the world and how it came to be that way.

How could Rove's predictions so totally materialize? There's a simple answer: 'they' got away with momentous lies at an early stage. The more authorities lie successfully the more they are likely to lie again in a big way to serve the purposes of earlier lies. The 'they' stands for those individuals and groups in the power system who operate beyond legal limits as a hydra-headed entity, whose coordination depends on the project, campaign, mission, or operation at hand. Those with much power got away with excessive extralegal use of it since the beginning of this century because systems of holding the powerful to account have crumbled on both sides of the Atlantic. Hence, potential opposition to what the reality architects were doing dwindled to almost nothing. At the same time, people whose job or personal inclination leads them to ferret out truth were made to feel guilty for pursuing it.

The best way, I think, to make sense of how this works is to study it as a type of intimidation. Sticking to the official story because you have to may not be quite as bad as forced religious conversion with a gun pointed at your head, but it belongs to the same category. It begins with the triggering of odd feelings of guilt. At least that is how I remember it. Living in Tokyo, I had just read Mark Lane's Rush To Judgment , the first major demolishing in book form of the Warren Report on the murder of John F. Kennedy, when I became aware that I had begun to belong to an undesirable category of people who were taking the existence of conspiracies seriously. We all owe thanks to writers of Internet-based samizdat literature who've recently reminded us that the pejorative use of the conspiracy label stems from one of the greatest misinformation successes of the CIA begun in 1967.

So the campaign to make journalists feel guilty for their embarrassing questions dates from before Dick Cheney and Rove and Bush. But it has only reached a heavy duty phase after the moment that I see as having triggered the triumph of political untruth.

We have experienced massive systemic intimidation since 9/11. For the wider public we have the absurdities of airport security – initially evidenced by mountains of nail-clippers – reminding everyone of the arbitrary coercive potential that rests with the authorities. Every time people are made to take off their belts and shoes – to stick only to the least inane instances – they are reminded: yes, we can do this to you! Half of Boston or all of France can be placed under undeclared martial law to tell people: yes, we have you under full control! For journalists unexamined guilt feelings still play a major role. The serious ones feel guilty for wanting to ask disturbing questions, and so they reaffirm that they still belong to 'sane' humanity rather than the segment with extraterrestrials in flying saucers in its belief system. But there is a confused interaction with another guilty feeling of not having pursued unanswered questions. Its remedy appears to be a doubling down on the official story. Why throw in fairly common lines like "I have no time for truthers" unless you feel that this is where the shoe pinches?

You will have noticed a fairly common response when the 9/11 massacre enters a discussion. Smart people will say that they "will not go there", which brings to mind the "here be dragons" warning on uncharted bits of medieval maps. That response is not stupid. It hints at an understanding that there is no way back once you enter that realm. There is simply no denying that if you accept the essential conclusions of the official 9/11 report you must also concede that laws of nature stopped working on that particular day. And, true enough, if you do go there and bear witness publicly to what you see, you may well be devoured; your career in many government positions, the media and even academia is likely to come to an end.

So, for the time being we are stuck with a considerable chunk of terra incognita relating to recognized political knowledge; which is an indispensable knowledge if you want to get current world affairs and the American role in it into proper perspective.

Mapping the motives of those who decide "not to go there" may be a way to begin breaking through this disastrous deadlock. Holding onto your job is an honorable motivation when you have a family to maintain. The career motivation is not something to scorn. There is also an entirely reasonable expectation that once you go there you lose your voice publicly to address very important social abuse and political misdeeds. I think it is not difficult to detect authors active on internet samizdat sites who have that foremost in mind. Another possible reason for not going there is the more familiar one, akin to the denial that one has a dreadful disease. Also possible is an honorable position of wishing to preserve social order in the face of a prospect of very dramatic political upheaval caused by revelations about a crime so huge that hardly anything in America's history can be compared to it. Where could such a thing end – civil war? Martial law?

What I find more difficult to stomach is the position of someone who is worshiped by what used to be the left, and who has been guiding that class of politically interested Americans as to where they can and cannot go. Noam Chomsky does not merely keep quiet about it, but mocks students who raise logical questions prompted by their curiosity, thereby discouraging a whole generation studying at universities and active in civil rights causes. One can only hope that this overrated analyst of the establishment, who helps keep the most embarrassing questions out of the public sphere, trips over the contradictions and preposterousness of his own judgments and crumples in full view of his audience.

The triumph of political untruth has brought into being a vast system of political intimidation. Remember then that the intimidater does not really care what you believe or not, but impresses you with the fact that you have no choice. That is the essence of the exercise of brute power. With false flag events the circumstantial evidence sometimes appears quite transparently false and, indeed could be interpreted as having been purposeful. Consider the finding of passports or identity papers accidentally left by terrorists, or their almost always having been known to and suspected by the police? What of their death through police shooting before they can be interrogated? Could these be taunting signals of ultimate power to a doubting public: Now you! Dare contradict us! Are the persons killed by the police the same who committed the crime? Follow-up questions once considered perfectly normal and necessary by news media editors are conspicuous by their absence.

How can anyone quarrel with Rove's prophecy. He told Suskind that we will forever be studying newly created realities. This is what the mainstream media continue to do. His words made it very clear: you have no choice!

A question that will be in the minds of perhaps many as they consider the newly sworn in president of the United States, who like John F. Kennedy appears to have understood that "Intelligence" leads a dangerously uncontrolled life of its own: At what point will he give in to the powers of an invisible government, as he is made to reckon that he also has no choice?

Karel van Wolferen is a Dutch journalist and retired professor at the University of Amsterdam. Since 1969, he has published over twenty books on public policy issues, which have been translated into eleven languages and sold over a million copies worldwide. As a foreign correspondent for NRC Handelsblad , one of Holland's leading newspapers, he received the highest Dutch award for journalism, and over the years his articles have appeared in The New York Times , The Washington Post , The New Republic , The National Interest , Le Monde , and numerous other newspapers and magazines.

[Jan 23, 2017] Students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand.

Jan 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
L , January 23, 2017 at 2:29 pm

"Other findings show that pen and paper have an edge over the keyboard. Research by Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles, published in 2014, showed that the pen is indeed mightier than the keyboard. In three studies, researchers found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. Those who took written notes had a better understanding of the material and remembered more of it because they had to mentally process information rather than type it verbatim" [BBC]. Wait. Computers make you stupid?

Not surprising. The basic upshot is that computers encourage distraction and even when that is controlled for they encourage people to type down what they hear (i.e. transcribing) and not to encode, or distill it down to the important concepts. This latter is important because it means you are listening at a deeper level and thinking about what you are getting and are thus more likely to recall and use the knowledge later.

[Jan 23, 2017] The US government was a big fracking cheerleader and helped to create shale oil bubble in the USA and associated smaller junk bond bubble.

Jan 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
B.T. : , January 23, 2017 at 08:44 AM
More fracking

=

Lower emissions

US C02 emissions are down 7% since 2005 thanks to natural gas from fracking displacing coal in electricity generation.

Yet backwards placing like Europe and NY ban fracking.

And don't get me started on nukes (zero emissions).

Chris G -> B.T.... , January 23, 2017 at 09:27 AM
Setting aside ground water contamination issues associated with fracking, barring a major reduction in per capita energy use even if (when) you replace coal with natural gas the CO2 emission rate is still a problem. Switching to non-fossil fuel sources needs to be on the to-do list.
B.T. -> Chris G ... , January 23, 2017 at 09:44 AM
EPA said fracking isn't having "widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water."

Even with non-fossil fuel sources, C02 emissions rate will still be a problem. You still need to build the wind turbines and transport them to locations, you can't get do that until the transportation sector reduces emissions.

Chris G -> B.T.... , January 23, 2017 at 09:47 AM
I'm not so sanguine re long-term ground water contamination. Agreed re other points though.
libezkova -> B.T.... , January 23, 2017 at 01:28 PM
The US government was a big fracking cheerleader and helped to create "shale oil bubble" in the USA and associated smaller "junk bond" bubble.
libezkova -> B.T.... , January 23, 2017 at 01:35 PM
B.T.

My impression is that the current price of natural gas in the USA is unsustainable. It is a kind of "subprime gas".

A side effect (externality if you wish) of fracking is junk bonds bubble. At one point anybody with a lease can get a loan to drill. Not that different from subprime, just much smaller. Many people are not aware about it.

-->

[Jan 23, 2017] A key aspect of energy quality is usability, which is the degree to which the supply of power matches the real-time demand. Intermittent and invariable baseload power sources

Jan 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova -> point... January 23, 2017 at 05:05 PM , 2017 at 05:05 PM
ERoEI is an important concept here, that is usually ignored by solar enthusiasts. One problem with wind and solar is the EroEI is low:

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

== quote ==

In physics, energy economics, and ecological energetics, energy returned on energy invested (EROEI or ERoEI); or energy return on investment (EROI), is the ratio of the amount of usable energy (the exergy) delivered from a particular energy resource to the amount of exergy used to obtain that energy resource.[1][2] It is a distinct measure from energy efficiency as it does not measure the primary energy inputs to the system, only usable energy.

A fuel or energy must have an EROEI ratio of at least 3:1 to be considered viable as a prominent fuel or energy source.[3][4]

EROEI = (Energy Delivered)/(Energy Required to Deliver that Energy)


When the EROEI of a resource is less than or equal to one, that energy source becomes a net "energy sink", and can no longer be used as a source of energy, but depending on the system might be useful for energy storage (for example a battery). A related measure Energy Store On Energy Invested (ESOEI) is used to analyze storage systems.[6][7]

libezkova -> libezkova... , January 23, 2017 at 05:11 PM
A useful comment from

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/eroi-behind-numbers-energy-return-investment/

== quote ==
3. Cliff Claven May 18, 2013

This article does a good job of introducing a very complex subject, but a bad job of actually comparing alternatives. As the author lays out, there are EROIs, FERs, EERs and other measures of energy balance that all have different boundaries and tell a different story. One cannot cherry-pick one source's EROI to compare with another's EER. It is long past time, but the physics community is finally getting involved.

There is an excellent paper just published that goes the furthest yet in developing a rigorous, apples-to-apples comparison of electrical power generations alternatives (Weißbach et al. "Energy Intensities, EROIs (energy Returned on Invested), and Energy Payback Times of Electricity Generating Power Plants." Energy 52 (April 1, 2013): 210–221. doi:10.1016/j.energy.2013.01.029).

The key they have found is to normalize not just across power quantity, but also quality.

A key aspect of quality is "usability," which is the degree to which the supply of power matches the real-time demand. Intermittent and invariable baseload power sources must be adjusted for the amount of buffering necessary to match their output to the real world of variable demand.

The study authors did this by requiring each source to have the overcapacity and storage necessary to be compatible with a large international European grid scenario, and they used pumped-hydro power storage parameters since it is today's most cost-effective option for storage and buffering. The study is behind a paywall but the results have been posted online and are being updated as newer data is reviewed ( https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aux2QwQckeWEdE9UbHNKR3l6THItNi1RTUdxa1RrdUE#gid=0). In their analysis, they found that a minimum EROI of 7:1 was necessary for economic viability. With that in mind, here are their results:

  1. PV solar 2.3:1
  2. Biomass Boiler: 3.5:1
  3. Onshore Wind: 3.9:1
  4. CSP Solar : 9.6:1
  5. Natural Gas: 28:1
  6. Coal: 30:1
  7. Run-of-River Hydro: 35:1
  8. PWR Nuclear: 75:1

[Jan 23, 2017] P rivate car fleet eclectic might be OK outside of northern states (where you can freeze in the electrical car in winter) and might be even preferred solution for southern states if (and only if) the Federal government provides a couple of hundred billion for the grid upgrade. Thats much less that was spend on Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So I think this is doable.

Jan 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
jonny bakho -> pgl...

Maybe they don't read Scientific American or Bloomberg?
He is certainly not a Commie nor is his newspaper.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-02/by-the-numbers-china-s-clean-energy-investments-show-big-strides

Here is SciAm
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-china-is-dominating-the-solar-industry/

Between 2008 and 2013, China's fledgling solar-electric panel industry dropped world prices by 80 percent, a stunning achievement in a fiercely competitive high-tech market. China had leapfrogged from nursing a tiny, rural-oriented solar program in the 1990s to become the globe's leader in what may soon be the world's largest renewable energy source.

The future is renewable electric. Dirty BigOil is the past.
BigAuto knows it is true. Everyone is working on electric autos.

Reply Monday, January 23, 2017 at 07:43 AM pgl -> jonny bakho... , January 23, 2017 at 08:01 AM
Nice sources. Thanks again for a real discussion.
libezkova -> jonny bakho... , -1

"The future is renewable electric. Dirty BigOil is the past.

BigAuto knows it is true. Everyone is working on electric autos."

This is not IT, and you are wrong. For private car fleet eclectic might be OK outside of northern states (where you can freeze in the electrical car in winter) and might be even preferred solution for southern states if (and only if) the Federal government provides a couple of hundred billion for the grid upgrade. That's much less that was spend on Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So I think this is doable.

The key problem is that the current grid is unable of delivering the necessary among of electricity at night (where most of eclectic car should be charged) if the density of electrical cars become sizable, let's say one out of ten.

At this moment you need not only expand "renewable" energy capacity (wind and solar, preferably wind) but also to build a lot of "buffer" gas fired generating stations to balance wind and solar energy stream and accommodate "bad days" (no wind, no sun) as well as high voltage East-West lines to take advantage of solar output dependence on the time zone.

To charge 24KW Leaf battery you need 24/8=3 KW/h socket in your house. At 110v that's 27 ampere. Something like an eclectic stove up all the night or additional three 1 KW air conditioners. That's a lot ...

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[Jan 23, 2017] what is the current share of solar in the US electricity balance?

Jan 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
sanjait -> pgl... , January 23, 2017 at 10:41 AM
Take a big picture view.

Solar capacity is growing exponentially in this country. Prices for installed capacity have collapsed at a Moore's Law-like rate. Employment in the sector is large and expanding. It employs more people than the coal industry.

Tom says solar entrepreneurship has always "ended badly", but I think he is looking at the wrong metrics. Over enthusiastic investors have lost a bunch on solar, but the benefit to the American people is great.

Similarly, if we just focus on comparatives with China we can also find bad things, like how they are installing more capacity and net exporters of panels. But again those are not great metrics. Panel manufacturing is now so inexpensive that its commodified and there is little profit in it. Smile curve stuff. And their advantage in installed capacity and capacity growth is a huge net positive for the world's climate. We should try to catch up, not because we need to beat them, but rather because we all need to get clean.

Tom aka Rusty -> sanjait... , January 23, 2017 at 10:44 AM
Please note I did not say it had to end badly in the future.
sanjait -> Tom aka Rusty... , January 23, 2017 at 12:48 PM
You said it had always ended badly in the past, but in the past we've seen collapsing prices and rising employment and capacity, which in a big picture view is a huge success already.

Like I said ... it depends on the metrics one looks at.

libezkova -> sanjait... , January 23, 2017 at 02:13 PM
I like your enthusiasm ;-)

Do you know what is the current share of solar in the US electricity balance?

http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

== quote ==
In 2015, the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity.1 About 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum).

Major energy sources and percent share of total U.S. electricity generation in 2015:1
• Coal = 33%
• Natural gas = 33%
• Nuclear = 20%
• Hydropower = 6%
• Other renewables = 7% • Biomass = 1.6%
• Geothermal = 0.4%
• Solar = 0.6%
• Wind = 4.7%

• Petroleum = 1%
• Other gases = <1%

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[Jan 23, 2017] Oil depletion might take care of the climate change

Jan 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova : January 23, 2017 at 01:26 PM , 2017 at 01:26 PM
It might well be that "human induced climate change" enthusiasts are barking to the wrong tree.

Oil depletion might take care of the "climate change" (as well as "excessive" humans) even without Trump or and other politician. This is probably a matter of a decade or two.

The key here is proactive switching the use private car fleet to more economical models and without draconian measures such as $4 per gallon gas or $1K per cubic centimeter of engine volume tax the process is very slow.

Obama administration was pretty inactive in this area, despite all rhetoric.

There is no justification of using full size SUV or light truck for communizing to work unless you agree to pay extra for this privilege.

-->

[Jan 23, 2017] President Trump Kills TPP Once and for All with Executive Order Officially Withdrawing withdrawing from the trade deal negotiations

Jan 23, 2017 | www.breitbart.com

It came as a part of series of three separate executive actions that President Trump took on Monday.

"The first is a withdrawal of the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership," White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said, explaining the first executive action President Trump was taking in the list of three. The other two were one freezing hiring of all federal employees except in the military, and one that restores the Mexico City policy.

As President Trump signed the executive action killing the TPP, he announced for the cameras in the oval office that it was a "great thing for the American worker, what we just did."

Trump campaigned heavily against TPP, so it's only fitting he'd crush it once and for all on his first business day as President of the United States. It's his efforts campaigning against it-and the efforts of failed presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)-that shook Washington's political establishment, and eventually forced failed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton to come out against the deal that was supposed to be a legacy achievement of now former President Barack Obama.

Trump hammered TPP repeatedly throughout his campaign and even leading up to it in speeches and interviews, including many exclusive interviews with Breitbart News.

[Jan 23, 2017] We need an alternative to Trumps nationalism. It isnt the status quo

Notable quotes:
"... The era of neoliberalism ended in the autumn of 2008 with the bonfire of financialisation's illusions. The fetishisation of unfettered markets that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan brought to the fore in the late 1970s had been the necessary ideological cover for the unleashing of financiers to enable the capital flows essential to a new phase of globalisation in which the United States deficits provided the aggregate demand for the world's factories (whose profits flowed back to Wall Street closing the loop nicely). ..."
"... when the bottom fell out of this increasingly unstable feedback loop, neoliberalism's illusions burned down and the west's working class ended up too expensive and too indebted to be of interest to a panicking global establishment. ..."
"... Thatcher's and Reagan's neoliberalism had sought to persuade that privatisation of everything would produce a fair and efficient society unimpeded by vested interests or bureaucratic fiat. That narrative, of course, hid from public view what was really happening: a tremendous buildup of super-state bureaucracies, unaccountable supra-state institutions (World Trade Organisation, Nafta, the European Central Bank), behemoth corporations, and a global financial sector heading for the rocks. ..."
"... Their purpose was to impose acquiescence to a clueless establishment that had lost its ambition to maintain its legitimacy. When the UK government forced benefit claimants to declare in writing that "my only limits are the ones I set myself", or when the troika forced the Greek or Irish governments to write letters "requesting" predatory loans from the European Central Bank that benefited Frankfurt-based bankers at the expense of their people, the idea was to maintain power via calculated humiliation. Similarly, in America the establishment habitually blamed the victims of predatory lending and the failed health system. ..."
"... It was against this insurgency of a cornered establishment that had given up on persuasion that Donald Trump and his European allies rose up with their own populist insurgency. They proved that it is possible to go against the establishment and win. Alas, theirs will be a pyrrhic victory which will, eventually, harm those whom they inspired. The answer to neoliberalism's Waterloo cannot be the retreat to a barricaded nation-state and the pitting of "our" people against "others" fenced off by tall walls and electrified fences. ..."
"... This is all about globalisation, specifically wage deflation for the working classes from competing with emerging markets and freedom of movement, and also from offshoring of working class jobs to emerging markets. ..."
"... Until there is a viable alternative economic philosophy, nationalism is the future, whether we like it or not. ..."
"... Enough is enough. Globalisation is now only working for the rich and powerful. The model is simple - globalisation lowers the cost for consumers of everything, because the lowest cost geography produces everything (China, India etc), which is great until nobody has a job any more, so nobody can afford anything. ..."
"... The challenge is not to stick with the status quo, it's to find an alternative to nationalism that works for everyone. ..."
"... Fine words, but we're along way from that right now. What's happening in Europe, and across the Atlantic, is really only just getting started. Our elites may well be suffering from a crisis of legitimacy, and yet they are still very much in control. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is based on the acceptance that the rich elite are deserving of their wealth and privileges. The elite have used their mouthpieces, such as tabloids and think tanks, to ram this home; but the banking crisis of 2008 helped disabuse people of this myth that justifies rampant inequality in the US and the UK in particular. ..."
"... Trump and Brexit are expressions of the paradigm shift that is underway; but up till now, rather ironically, a billionaire and a rich former stockbroker have been the voice of protest, because it is they who have the money, connections and vanity to ensure they are heard. ..."
"... These classes of "globalization losers," particularly in the United States, have had little political voice or influence, and perhaps this is why the backlash against globalization has been so muted. They have had little voice because the rich have come to control the political process. The rich, as can be seen by looking at the income gains of the global top 5 percent in Figure 1, have benefited immensely from globalization and they have keen interest in its continuation. But while their use of political power has enabled the continuation of globalization, it has also hollowed out national democracies and moved many countries closer to becoming plutocracies. Thus, the choice would seem either plutocracy and globalization – or populism and a halt to globalization. ..."
"... Some of the gains of the top 5 percent could go toward alleviating the anger of the lower- and middle-class rich world's "losers." ..."
"... the history of the last quarter century during which the top classes in the rich world have continually piled up larger and larger gains, all the while socially and mentally separating themselves from fellow citizens, does not bode well for that alternative ..."
"... Social Neoliberals (mass immigration, family breakdown, individualism etc) combine with economic Neoliberals (profit maximisation, global capital movements etc) to get their way. ..."
"... I'm fairly sure that in time it will be shown that thier is a cabal of think-tanks and supranationalists who have perverted everything to thier own benefit. How and why does a Labour Peer get free accomodation on Baron Rothschilds' estate? How and why does the royal bank Coutts get bailed out by the taxpayer with no strings attached? ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
The answer to neoliberalism's Waterloo cannot be a retreat to barricaded nation-states and the pitting of 'our' people against 'others' fenced off by high walls

A clash of two insurgencies is now shaping the west. Progressives on both sides of the Atlantic are on the sidelines, unable to comprehend what they are observing. Donald Trump's inauguration marks its pinnacle.

  1. One of the two insurgencies shaping our world today has been analysed ad nauseum. Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen and the broad Nationalist International that they are loosely connected to have received much attention, as has their success at impressing upon the multitudes that nation-states, borders, citizens and communities matter.
  2. However, the other insurgency that caused the rise of this Nationalist International has remained in the shadows: an insurrection by the global establishment's technocracy whose purpose is to retain control at all cost. Project Fear in the UK, the troika in continental Europe and the unholy alliance of Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the surveillance apparatus in the United States are its manifestations.

The era of neoliberalism ended in the autumn of 2008 with the bonfire of financialisation's illusions. The fetishisation of unfettered markets that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan brought to the fore in the late 1970s had been the necessary ideological cover for the unleashing of financiers to enable the capital flows essential to a new phase of globalisation in which the United States deficits provided the aggregate demand for the world's factories (whose profits flowed back to Wall Street closing the loop nicely).

Meanwhile, billions of people in the "third" world were pulled out of poverty while hundreds of millions of western workers were slowly sidelined, pushed into more precarious jobs, and forced to financialise themselves either through their pension funds or their homes. And when the bottom fell out of this increasingly unstable feedback loop, neoliberalism's illusions burned down and the west's working class ended up too expensive and too indebted to be of interest to a panicking global establishment.

Thatcher's and Reagan's neoliberalism had sought to persuade that privatisation of everything would produce a fair and efficient society unimpeded by vested interests or bureaucratic fiat. That narrative, of course, hid from public view what was really happening: a tremendous buildup of super-state bureaucracies, unaccountable supra-state institutions (World Trade Organisation, Nafta, the European Central Bank), behemoth corporations, and a global financial sector heading for the rocks.

After the events of 2008 something remarkable happened. For the first time in modern times the establishment no longer cared to persuade the masses that its way was socially optimal. Overwhelmed by the collapsing financial pyramids, the inexorable buildup of unsustainable debt, a eurozone in an advanced state of disintegration and a China increasingly relying on an impossible credit boom, the establishment's functionaries set aside the aspiration to persuade or to represent. Instead, they concentrated on clamping down.

In the UK, more than a million benefit applicants faced punitive sanctions. In the Eurozone, the troika ruthlessly sought to reduce the pensions of the poorest of the poor. In the United States, both parties promised drastic cuts to social security spending. During our deflationary times none of these policies helped stabilise capitalism at a national or at a global level. So, why were they pursued?

Their purpose was to impose acquiescence to a clueless establishment that had lost its ambition to maintain its legitimacy. When the UK government forced benefit claimants to declare in writing that "my only limits are the ones I set myself", or when the troika forced the Greek or Irish governments to write letters "requesting" predatory loans from the European Central Bank that benefited Frankfurt-based bankers at the expense of their people, the idea was to maintain power via calculated humiliation. Similarly, in America the establishment habitually blamed the victims of predatory lending and the failed health system.

It was against this insurgency of a cornered establishment that had given up on persuasion that Donald Trump and his European allies rose up with their own populist insurgency. They proved that it is possible to go against the establishment and win. Alas, theirs will be a pyrrhic victory which will, eventually, harm those whom they inspired. The answer to neoliberalism's Waterloo cannot be the retreat to a barricaded nation-state and the pitting of "our" people against "others" fenced off by tall walls and electrified fences.

The answer can only be a Progressive Internationalism that works in practice on both sides of the Atlantic. To bring it about we need more than fine principles unblemished by power. We need to aim for power on the basis of a pragmatic narrative imparting hope throughout Europe and America for jobs paying living wages to anyone who wants them, for social housing, for health and education.

Only a third insurgency promoting a New Deal that works equally for Americans and Europeans can restore to a billion people living in the west sovereignty over their lives and communities.


bag0shite

This is all about globalisation, specifically wage deflation for the working classes from competing with emerging markets and freedom of movement, and also from offshoring of working class jobs to emerging markets.

Liberalism has created so much wealth for the west and has dramatically reduced inequality over the last century, however it is no longer working for those on lower incomes in the west.

Until there is a viable alternative economic philosophy, nationalism is the future, whether we like it or not.

chantaspell -> bag0shite 1d ago

nationalism is the future, whether we like it or not.

No it's not. Because what we've got, although flawed, is far superior to Nationalism's false promises. Nationalism will, or perhaps already has, peaked.

bag0shite -> chantaspell

... go and tell that to all the families who don't have a job because their roles were offshored to Eastern Europe or China. Got and tell that to truck drivers who earn a pittance because there is essentially an infinite supply of Poles willing to do it for peanuts.

Enough is enough. Globalisation is now only working for the rich and powerful. The model is simple - globalisation lowers the cost for consumers of everything, because the lowest cost geography produces everything (China, India etc), which is great until nobody has a job any more, so nobody can afford anything.

The challenge is not to stick with the status quo, it's to find an alternative to nationalism that works for everyone.

MMGALIAS -> bag0shite 1d ago

This is all about globalisation, specifically wage deflation for the working classes from competing with emerging markets and freedom of movement, and also from offshoring of working class jobs to emerging markets.

The working classes have voted against their own interests in the last 3 decades, now we are all supposed to feel sorry for them when the neoliberal policies they have voted for have come back to bite them?

Northman1

"The answer can only be a Progressive Internationalism that works in practice on both sides of the Atlantic. To bring it about we need more than fine principles unblemished by power. We need to aim for power on the basis of a pragmatic narrative imparting hope throughout Europe and America for jobs paying living wages to anyone who wants them, for social housing, for health and education.

Only a third insurgency promoting a New Deal that works equally for Americans and Europeans can restore to a billion people living in the West sovereignty over their lives and communities".

These are fine aspirations. You precede them by saying that we cannot:

"...retreat to a barricaded nation-state and the pitting of 'our' people against 'others' fenced off by tall walls and electrified fences".

This presumably refers to physical barriers to prevent illegal immigration and tariff barriers to prevent free trade.

Tell me though how you can achieve the aspirations you set out whilst allowing millions of people from the third world to flood into Europe at an enormous economic and social cost and also trading freely with countries that don't trade fairly (e.g. China with its currency manipulation, government subsidies, product dumping and lack of environmental/ safety/ worker protection regulations)

greenwichite -> Northman1

He's brilliant on the problem...lame on the solution.

And wrong.

The answer is to only trade freely with countries that play by the same environmental, currency and labour-rights rules as we do.

Otherwise, we are just allowing ourselves to be undercuts by cheats.

That's not "barricading" oneself anywhere...it's basic common sense, which has unfortunately eluded our leaders for decades. In Thatcher's case, I think she was quite happy for mercantilist, protectionist Asian powers to destroy our industry, for her own party-political purposes.

MMGALIAS -> Northman1

and also trading freely with countries that don't trade fairly (e.g. China with its currency manipulation, government subsidies, product dumping and lack of environmental/ safety/ worker protection regulations)

The West doesn't trade freely either, just ask the African farmers who are tariffed into poverty by the EU.

Tiresius -> legalizefreedom

I agree. It's a well argued piece and I agree with the conclusion that neither the neo liberal free trade consensus , nor its reaction , will provide an answer to the worsening economic condition of the blue collar west. I also am convinced that in the longer term the only real answer is a return to the principles of social democracy and equity of opportunity.

This will however be a long march. Neo liberalism has been in the ascendant for over 30 years , it has brought some significant benefits to a few in the west , and many elsewhere , and of course a lot of Chinese billionaires , a large number of western voters have lost or are losing faith in a system that has failed to deliver rising living standards for them , incurred high levels of debt and reduced social mobility.

It is a failure of the narrative of the centre left that those people are persuaded by increasing protectionism rather than social democracy. So now we will see where the reaction to free trade liberalism takes us , it has to run its course before the prescriptions of social democracy can be reformulated , hopefully with more inspiring leaders than at present.

Andrew Skidmore

'Only a third insurgency promoting a New Deal that works equally for Americans and Europeans can restore to a billion people living in the West sovereignty over their lives and communities.'

Fine words, but we're along way from that right now. What's happening in Europe, and across the Atlantic, is really only just getting started. Our elites may well be suffering from a crisis of legitimacy, and yet they are still very much in control.

From the Trump administration Whitehouse website:

'The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration. President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.'

Hmmmmmm....?

thetowncrier -> Andrew Skidmore

As ever, a master of subtlety. I expect the American Stasi to come into being by the end of next week, with a brand new special 'badge' to go with their black shirts.

2bveryFrank

Neoliberalism is based on the acceptance that the rich elite are deserving of their wealth and privileges. The elite have used their mouthpieces, such as tabloids and think tanks, to ram this home; but the banking crisis of 2008 helped disabuse people of this myth that justifies rampant inequality in the US and the UK in particular.

Trump and Brexit are expressions of the paradigm shift that is underway; but up till now, rather ironically, a billionaire and a rich former stockbroker have been the voice of protest, because it is they who have the money, connections and vanity to ensure they are heard.

They, however, are very unlikely to deliver and then true and genuine voices of the people will emerge - voices that will target the root causes of discontent rather than convenient, nationalistic scapegoats such as immigration.

ReasonableSoul -> 2bveryFrank

"and then true and genuine voices of the people will emerge - voices that will target the root causes of discontent rather than convenient, nationalistic scapegoats such as immigration."

So working class people who struggle to compete for the low wage jobs and strained welfare services that are taken by migrants are not allowed to protest immigration policy?

Recent mass migrations (of the last 30 years) are unprecedented.

In Europe, whole towns have been transformed, particularly culturally.

Imposing huge demographic changes on a people is a form of authoritarian social engineering.


SeenItAlready

This is covered by a report in YaleGlobal (and a similar one in the Harvard Business Review) from 2014 which adds a few stats showing how middle-class salaries in the 'Western World' were the only ones to stagnate in the period 1998 to 2008 (and obviously drop post 2008, but that isn't covered):
http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/tale-two-middle-classes

This is the last section of that report:

The populists warn disgruntled voters that economic trends observed during the past three decades are just the first wave of cheap labor from Asia pitted in direct competition with workers in the rich world, and more waves are on the way from poorer lands in Asia and Africa. The stagnation of middle-class incomes in the West may last another five decades or more.

This calls into question either the sustainability of democracy under such conditions or the sustainability of globalization.

If globalization is derailed, the middle classes of the West may be relieved from the immediate pressure of cheaper Asian competition. But the longer-term costs to themselves and their countries, let alone to the poor in Asia and Africa, will be high. Thus, the interests and the political power of the middle classes in the rich world put them in a direct conflict with the interests of the worldwide poor.

These classes of "globalization losers," particularly in the United States, have had little political voice or influence, and perhaps this is why the backlash against globalization has been so muted. They have had little voice because the rich have come to control the political process. The rich, as can be seen by looking at the income gains of the global top 5 percent in Figure 1, have benefited immensely from globalization and they have keen interest in its continuation. But while their use of political power has enabled the continuation of globalization, it has also hollowed out national democracies and moved many countries closer to becoming plutocracies. Thus, the choice would seem either plutocracy and globalization – or populism and a halt to globalization.

Another solution, one that involves neither populism nor plutocracy, would require enormous effort at the understanding of one's own longer-term self-interest. It would imply more substantial redistribution policies in the rich world. Some of the gains of the top 5 percent could go toward alleviating the anger of the lower- and middle-class rich world's "losers." These need not nor should be mere transfers of money from one group to another.

Instead, money should come in the form of investments in public education, local infrastructure, housing and preventive health care. But the history of the last quarter century during which the top classes in the rich world have continually piled up larger and larger gains, all the while socially and mentally separating themselves from fellow citizens, does not bode well for that alternative

Personally I see the whole US election here... written a couple of years before it happened:


moranet -> Rusty Woods

Just as in the 1920s early 30s, when centrist governments attempting mild redistributive banking reforms -MacDonald, Herriot, Van Zeeland, Azaña- came up against a "Wall of Money" when the financial markets reacted, and were overthrown in favour of orthodox liberal governments (the 'technocratic insugency' described by Prof. Varoufakis). And when public opinion inevitably lost its patience, propelling harder nosed reformers close to power... that's when political and financial elites discovered rule by executive decree and the adjournment of parliaments.

So we know very well what happens next in Europe, when liberal capitalism and liberal-democracy find themselves on opposing teams.

anewdawn

There are two sorts of nationalism in my view. There is the nasty, evil, Nazi style that promotes the insane social darwinism, and superiority, but a hypocritical imperialism towards other states and countries.

There is another type of nationalism that good decent people who really care about democracy would approve of however. It is the sort that seeks to protect the poor and the middle classes by stopping global corporations from off shoring their jobs to sweatshops in countries that have lower human rights records for the purpose of cheap labour and more profit. There is the sort of nationalism that promotes local democracy as opposed to tying countries up to TTIP and TPP which undermines the governments and laws of individual countries. There is a type of nationalism that seeks to protect their neighbors by insisting on fair trade and good treatment of workers in other countries.

If you listen to Trumps speech, he seems to be the second type when he promises to bring back jobs to the rust belt, but only time will tell if he really is of the first type - it will surface soon in his attitude to invasions of the middle east and control of the global corporations.

ID0118186 -> anewdawn

But those same middle classes are part of the problem, they want their consumer goods, their iPods and iPhones and iPads, but they don't want to pay the real cost of them if they were made by well-paid and well-trained skilled workers in their own country.

You have to address the whole issue: you can't have cheap prices and protectionism, unless you let wages fall to near the same level that they are in developing countries - also unpopular.

So if you want nationalism as you describe it, be willing to pay 50 to 100% more for many goods and services; or buy a lot less, which kills your economy anyway.

epidavros -> anewdawn

And then there is also the phoney internationalism of the EU - which is really a turbo charged nationalism of what will soon be 27 countries bent on protectionism, technocratic rule and a firmly closed mindset with a firmly debunked ideology.

toadalone -> anewdawn

I like your description of the two nationalisms. I think Varoufakis' point is that that kind of nationalism can't survive on its own, as an island in a globalised world: nationalists of that kind have to work together with their neighbouring counterparts to make their respective benign nationalisms function. It's a very difficult proposal to bring to fruition, even though I think it's right.

As for Trump: I think that seasoning campaign speeches with a flavour of benign nationalism is, sadly, little more than a well-established PR technique. I don't believe what Trump says for an instant (partly because he constantly breaks the fourth wall by saying the complete opposite a few days later).

Other leaders who deploy this flavour of nationalism are more complicated. Viktor Orbán, for instance. It's very difficult to tell, with him, how much of his protectionist-nationalist rhetoric is genuine (but impossible to implement, given Hungary's membership of the EU), and how much of it is just more of the same dangle-shiny-things-in-front-of-the-voters-while-doing-what-you-want. And as with Trump, Orbán's "benign" nationalism comes as just one flavour in a dish also heavily flavoured with demented backward-looking authoritarian nationalism, with Kulturkampf and all the other trimmings.

The weird thing about Trump is how he turns these contradictions into a kind of conscious performance art. It's possible to view Orbán as someone who's cracking up a bit under the pressure of believing six impossible things before breakfast. Trump is more healthy (from the Trump's own point of view, of course, not from ours). He's embraced the crazy completely, and revels in it. While probably reserving some quiet time for himself, in which he can privately drop the mask, or rather the 500 different masks.

QuayBoredWarrior -> ReubenK1

Perhaps you should read this bit again:

The answer can only be a Progressive Internationalism that works in practice on both sides of the Atlantic. To bring it about we need more than fine principles unblemished by power. We need to aim for power on the basis of a pragmatic narrative imparting hope throughout Europe and America for jobs paying living wages to anyone who wants them, for social housing, for health and education.

Only a third insurgency promoting a New Deal that works equally for Americans and Europeans can restore to a billion people living in the West sovereignty over their lives and communities.

If you need to know what the New Deal involved, I suggest you Google it or buy a book about it. If there is a library still open near you, you might able to borrow a book for free.

I think what is suggested is a new New Deal, an interventionist strategy to replace the laissez-faire, the-market-knows-best approaches of the 80s/90s/00s. The details of which will need to be hammered out as we progress. BTW, the New Deal was a haphazard and piecemeal programme that was often based on hope over accepted wisdom. The aim was stabilisation and an end to the mass impoverishment of American workers. If we have this aim, I'm sure we can work out what needs to be done. It won't only be professors who come up with suggestions but all those who coalesce behind these aims.

The first thing necessary is to loosen the grip of those who bang on about deficit reduction above all else. This counter-productive approach needs to be crushed. It works for no one and it doesn't work for the future. The services being destroyed will have to be built up again and the deficit-above-all-else proselytisers have no strategy for this at all. It's as if their true aim is to see them destroyed forever.

SeenItAlready

Their purpose was to impose acquiescence to a clueless establishment that had lost its ambition to maintain its legitimacy. When the UK government forced benefit claimants to declare in writing that "my only limits are the ones I set myself", or when the troika forced the Greek or Irish governments to write letters "requesting" predatory loans from the European Central Bank that benefited Frankfurt-based bankers at the expense of their people, the idea was to maintain power via calculated humiliation. Similarly, in America the establishment habitually blamed the victims of predatory lending and the failed health system.

Not only that...

They also came out with the wheeze of getting the poor to fight amongst themselves

I'm convinced that is what is behind the explosion in Identity Politics we have seen over the last few years - where different groups are encouraged to dislike each other on gender, gender-orientation and and racial lines. Of course social class is kept well out of any of these discussions... in spite of it being the source of most of the real repression

SeenItAlready -> SeenItAlready

different groups are encouraged to dislike each other on gender, gender-orientation and and racial lines. Of course social class is kept well out of any of these discussions... in spite of it being the source of most of the real repression

Likewise immigration where the immigrants themselves are made an issue of and blamed or defended... of course in reality salary dumping and job losses have nothing to do with them

The wealthy class who encouraged the immigration of cheap labour, who did not provide any protection for workers impacted by it and who then effectively sacked local workers in favour of cheaper labour have again pulled-off a very neat trick by shifting the terms of the debate to the innocent immigrants who were simply following opportunity and invitations. Likewise the immigrants feel that they are being persecuted by the locals...

And so the rich sit back and rub their hands with glee... poor immigrants and poor locals fighting, poor men and poor women fighting, poor whites and poor non-whites fighting. No chance of the pitchforks arriving for quite a while, if ever...

FreddySteadyGO -> SeenItAlready

And so the rich sit back and rub their hands with glee... poor immigrants and poor locals fighting, poor men and poor women fighting, poor whites and poor non-whites fighting. No chance of the pitchforks arriving for quite a while, if ever...

Absolutely, its all far too convenient.

Social Neoliberals (mass immigration, family breakdown, individualism etc) combine with economic Neoliberals (profit maximisation, global capital movements etc) to get their way.

I'm fairly sure that in time it will be shown that thier is a cabal of think-tanks and supranationalists who have perverted everything to thier own benefit. How and why does a Labour Peer get free accomodation on Baron Rothschilds' estate? How and why does the royal bank Coutts get bailed out by the taxpayer with no strings attached?

SeenItAlready -> FreddySteadyGO

My reply to you got totally deleted, it seems that saying to much about this subject is not acceptable to these people, which I guess is no surprise considering...

I said in my removed message that I didn't think there was any 'conspiracy' and that it was the normal divide-and-conquer behaviour which people in power have applied since time immemorial to those they would wish to control

Now I've changed my mind...

mysterycalculator

Could it be that Francis Fukuyama got it wrong with his historicist vision of liberal democracy as the final stage in a Hegelian dialectic? Should he have gone with Marx's interpretation of Hegel's dialectic instead, arguing that political freedom without economic freedom is not enough? If so, then the argument for a redistributive social justice has to be the way forward. Though as Karl Popper was keen to point out, Hegal and historicist visions are bunk. Though interestingly Popper had much more time for Marx. A redistributive social justice within the checks and balances of a liberal democratic internationalist social order - that might be a way forward!

Sven Ringling

As long as this problem is seen as a left vs right, we won't address it. Trump's ideas are in many cases very left. He wants to subsidise jobs through tarifs/trade wars/ anything that reduces imports and therefore benefits job creation in their large market with a large trade deficit in the short run.
Corbyn wants to subsidise the poorer part of the population directly or through public services taking the money directly from businesses and the rich - though he is not disinclined to isolationism either.

Both recipies work in the short run, both are likely to backfire in the long run the way they are currently pushed.

It was Labour's big mistake to think UKIP is on the right and therefore a risk for the Tories only.

And this Greek clown considered left is not far from that American clown. Clowny-ness is actually their mist defining feature.

ReasonableSoul

Maintaining funcional borders is not a "retreat to a barricaded nation-state and the pitting of 'our' people against 'others' fenced off by tall walls and electrified fences."

Even liberal Sweden became so overwhelmed by the endless stream of migrants/refugees arriving that it had to shut the border.

ID614534 1d ago

2

3

Why does every debate about the nation state have to be economic? Peoples of the world are often tied to their places of birth by language religion and culture. Not every song has to be sung in an American accent and we don't all want to replace Nan's pie recipe with a Big Mac and fries.

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epidavros 1d ago

6

7

Fine words, but the problem is that there is no progressive internationalism and there are no real progressives. The response to the EU referendum widely seen to have been a call to end unmanaged migration and undue interference of those very supra national, unaccountable elite bodies you mention has been to call for the UK to be punished, to pay the price, to be treated entirely differently from trade partners like Canada and dealt with as a pariah. Not progressive. Not international. And very much the problem, not the cure.

The huge irony here is that with all this talk of populism and barricading behind borders the UK and USA are seeking to tear theirs down, while the EU is erecting ideological barricades to protect its elite and their project.

One thing is for sure - the solution is not the status quo. Either in the USA or the EU.

[Jan 23, 2017] About rich bastards in Finance and Sillycon Valley going all Prepper, figuring out ways to safeguard their wealth and comfort and privilege if/when society collapses.

Jan 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Praedor , January 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm

File this under "Class Warfare" too.
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/doomsday-prep-for-the-super-rich?mbid=synd_digg&utm_source=digg&utm_medium=email

About rich bastards in Finance and Sillycon Valley going all Prepper, figuring out ways to safeguard their wealth and comfort and privilege if/when SHTF and our society collapses.

The good news: IF SHTF in a way such as they fear, the gloves get to come off and there'd be no law enforcement to protect them. It becomes 1%er hunting season.

River , January 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm

The selfishness is amazing. Instead of preventing this scenario from unfolding they encourage it by withdrawing. Ounce of prevention/pound of cure.

What will happen when the servants they take with them revolt, since your currency is worth zip. They serve you because .?

A bunch of green backs or gold coins that are worth as much as toilet paper won't be of much use.

jrs , January 23, 2017 at 4:25 pm

The thing is I really truly suspect that this is how the rich think. It's enough to make one sensibly and rationally hate the rich, if one didn't already that is.

"In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change."

never mind the absurdity of imagining there are private FB groups, native Americans are facing down the full force of the police state to protect the environment and their land out of a larger purpose and these rich people who may actually have some influence make it their priority to just personally be somewhere safe from the effects of climate change (as if that were possible haha). Like Gandhi is rumored to have said: Western civilization – it would be a good idea.

River , January 23, 2017 at 4:40 pm

I think you're right in how they think. "I would rather spend 1,000 dollars on myself then give 1 dollar to help someone else (and protect myself in the long run)" does seem to be the thought process.

To continue in that vein. "But you would be saving $999 if you gave $1";

"What did they do to *earn* my largesse?"

Truly baffling when looked at rationally, but as a species we're not all that rational.

RMO , January 23, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Awww it's touching isn't it? The naive way the billionaires think their pilots and armed guards would continue to obey their orders in a doomsday/survival scenario

River , January 23, 2017 at 4:44 pm

Ya, they really should play some Fallout. The real life "vault-builders" may have other ideas.

Plus, the Machiavellian maxim about fortresses not being all that safe, but the respect of the people being a true safeguard for a prince.

I mean if I was a multi-billionaire, I'd move to Detroit rebuild the infrastructure, and turn the city into an estate with loyal citizens. I keep them safe now, SHTF, they keep me safe. If nothing happens, then they benefit greatly, and I'll be remembered by history as a decent person.

Andrew Watts , January 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm

That's ridiculous! The fictional America in the Fallout series was run by a fascist government hellbent on winning the war with China at any cost

Uhh, so they were just a bit more competent at achieving their aims I guess?

NotTimothyGeithner , January 23, 2017 at 5:37 pm

I have to be "that guy," but the Vault Tec vaults were built as elaborate social experiments to determine how to best transport colonists on theorized, future spacecraft. The U.S. didn't intend to launch a mass nuclear strike, but the Chinese saw the start of the vault experiment as preparation for a first strike. The fascists didn't even under their own experiments properly.

River , January 23, 2017 at 5:45 pm

That's ok. I love the Fallout Lore. Is the space colony Bethesda lore or Interplay lore?

I like that even the Vault-ride showing the colonies .they were doing experiments on ride patrons, and the scientists doing the experiments were having experiments performed on them!

Praedor , January 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Fun fact to keep in mind: those silos or other fancy bunkers with air filtration to clean out chemical, biological, or nuclear contaminants will not block carbon monoxide or any oxygen displacing gas. So, once rich Silicon Valley or Wall St piece of shit bunkers down, you pull a car or truck up to their air intakes and start pumping your exhaust in. Fill the fancy bunker with carbon monoxide, halon, etc.

Bastards deserve the had chamber of their own making.

Kokuanani , January 23, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Seeing how the billionaires and cent-millionaires choose to use their money for this makes a strong case for increasing taxes on them A LOT.

[For those who haven't read the article, it's about some entrepreneurial Doomsdayers creating "condos" in abandoned missile silos near Wichita. Or moving to New Zealand.]

I did love the part about how you need to take the family of the pilot who's manning your escape helicopter with you as you depart from the crashing "civilization."

Massinissa , January 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Wow. There is some weird stuff in there.

Some of them think they are prepping by

STOCKING UP ON BITCOINS!!!!!!

Derp, apparently they forgot that Bitcoins arnt accessible if theres no electricity or internet. God, that makes the guys who stock up on gold coins look like geniuses in comparison.

[Jan 23, 2017] This is our neoliberal nightmare Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and why the market and the wealthy win every time - Salon.com

Notable quotes:
"... everything ..."
"... loves ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | www.salon.com
Neoliberalism has been more successful than most past ideologies in redefining subjectivity, in making people alter their sense of themselves, their personhood, their identities, their hopes and expectations and dreams and idealizations. Classical liberalism was successful too, for two and a half centuries, in people's self-definition, although communism and fascism succeeded less well in realizing the "new man."

It cannot be emphasized enough that neoliberalism is not classical liberalism, or a return to a purer version of it, as is commonly misunderstood; it is a new thing, because the market, for one thing, is not at all free and untethered and dynamic in the sense that classical liberalism idealized it. Neoliberalism presumes a strong state, working only for the benefit of the wealthy, and as such it has little pretence to neutrality and universality, unlike the classical liberal state.

I would go so far as to say that neoliberalism is the final completion of capitalism's long-nascent project, in that the desire to transform everything -every object, every living thing, every fact on the planet-in its image had not been realized to the same extent by any preceding ideology. Neoliberalism happens to be the ideology-unlike the three major forerunners in the last 250 years-that has the fortune of coinciding with technological change on a scale that makes its complete penetration into every realm of being a possibility for the first time in human history.

From the early 1930s, when the Great Depression threatened the classical liberal consensus (the idea that markets were self-regulating, and the state should play no more than a night-watchman role), until the early 1970s, when global instability including currency chaos unraveled it, the democratic world lived under the Keynesian paradigm : markets were understood to be inherently unstable, and the interventionist hand of government, in the form of countercyclical policy, was necessary to make capitalism work, otherwise the economy had a tendency to get out of whack and crash.

It's an interesting question if it was the stagflation of the 1970s, following the unhitching of the United States from the gold standard and the arrival of the oil embargo, that brought on the neoliberal revolution, with Milton Friedman discrediting fiscal policy and advocating a by-the-numbers monetarist policy , or if it was neoliberalism itself, in the form of Friedmanite ideas that the Nixon administration was already pursuing, that made stagflation and the end of Keynesianism inevitable.

It should be said that neoliberalism thrives on prompting crisis after crisis, and has proven more adept than previous ideologies at exploiting these crises to its benefit, which then makes the situation worse, so that each succeeding crisis only erodes the power of the working class and makes the wealthy wealthier. There is a certain self-fulfilling aura to neoliberalism, couched in the jargon of economic orthodoxy, that has remained immune from political criticism, because of the dogma that was perpetuated- by Margaret Thatcher and her acolytes-that There Is No Alternative (TINA) .

Neoliberalism is excused for the crises it repeatedly brings on-one can think of a regular cycle of debt and speculation-fueled emergencies in the last forty years, such as the developing country debt overhang of the 1970s , the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s , the Asian currency crisis of the 1990s , and the subprime mortgage crisis of the 2000s-better than any ideology I know of. This is partly because its very existence as ruling ideology is not even noted by the population at large, which continues to derive some residual benefits from the welfare state inaugurated by Keynesianism but has been led to believe by neoliberal ideologues to think of their reliance on government as worthy of provoking guilt, shame, and melancholy, rather than something to which they have legitimate claim.

It is not surprising to find neoliberal multiculturalists- comfortably established in the academy -likewise demonizing, or othering, not Muslims, Mexicans, or African Americans, but working-class whites (the quintessential Trump proletariat) who have a difficult time accepting the fluidity of self-definition that goes well with neoliberalism, something that we might call the market capitalization of the self.

George W. Bush's useful function was to introduce necessary crisis into a system that had grown too stable for its own good; he injected desirable panic, which served as fuel to the fire of the neoliberal revolution. Trump is an apostate-at least until now-in desiring chaos on terms that do not sound neoliberal, which is unacceptable; hence Jeb Bush's characterization of him as the "candidate of chaos. " Neoliberalism loves chaos, that has been its modus operandi since the early 1970s, but only the kind of chaos it can direct and control.

To go back to origins, the Great Depression only ended conclusively with the onset of the second world war, after which Keynesianism had the upper hand for thirty-five years. But just as the global institutions of Keynesianism, specifically the IMF and the World Bank, were being founded at the New Hampshire resort of Bretton Woods in 1944, the founders of the neoliberal revolution, namely Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, and others were forming the Mount Pelerin Society (MPS) at the eponymous Swiss resort in 1947 , creating the ideology which eventually defeated Keynesianism and gained the upper hand during the 1970s.

So what exactly is neoliberalism, and how is it different from classical liberalism, whose final manifestation came under Keynesianism?

Neoliberalism believes that markets are self-sufficient unto themselves, that they do not need regulation, and that they are the best guarantors of human welfare. Everything that promotes the market, i.e., privatization, deregulation, mobility of finance and capital, abandonment of government-provided social welfare, and the reconception of human beings as human capital, needs to be encouraged, while everything that supposedly diminishes the market, i.e., government services, regulation, restrictions on finance and capital, and conceptualization of human beings in transcendent terms, is to be discouraged.

[Jan 23, 2017] January 23, 2017 at 04:55 PM

Notable quotes:
"... People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded. ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
, 2017 at 04:55 PM
You are wrong. Your definition of neoliberalism is formally right and we can argue along those lines that Hillary is a neoliberal too (Her track record as a senator suggests exactly that), it is way too narrow.

"One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings." (see below)

"Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them."

"In the current election campaign, Hillary Clinton has been the most perfect embodiment of neoliberalism among all the candidates, she is almost its all-time ideal avatar, and I believe this explains, even if not articulated this way, the widespread discomfort among the populace toward her ascendancy. People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded.

This is the dark side of neoliberalism's ideological arm (a multiculturalism founded on human beings as capital), which is why this project has become increasingly associated with suppression of free speech and intolerance of those who refuse to go along with the kind of identity politics neoliberalism promotes.

And this explains why the 1990s saw the simultaneous and absolutely parallel rise, under the Clintons, of both neoliberal globalization and various regimes of neoliberal disciplining, such as the shaming and exclusion of former welfare recipients (every able-bodied person should be able to find work, therefore under TANF welfare was converted to a performance management system designed to enroll everyone in the workforce, even if it meant below-subsistence wages or the loss of parental responsibilities, all of it couched in the jargon of marketplace incentives)."

In this sense Hillary Clinton is 100% dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal and neocon ("neoliberal with the gun"). She promotes so called "neoliberal rationality" a perverted "market-based" rationality typical for neoliberalism:

See

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2017/01/links-for-01-23-17.html#comment-6a00d83451b33869e201bb09706856970d

== quote ==
When Hillary Clinton frequently retorts-in response to demands for reregulation of finance, for instance-that we have to abide by "the rule of law," this reflects a particular understanding of the law, the law as embodying the sense of the market, the law after it has undergone a revolution of reinterpretation in purely economic terms.

In this revolution of the law persons have no status compared to corporations, nation-states are on their way out, and everything in turn dissolves before the abstraction called the market.

One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings. Democracy becomes reinterpreted as the market, and politics succumbs to neoliberal economic theory, so we are speaking of the end of democratic politics as we have known it for two and a half centuries.

As the market becomes an abstraction, so does democracy, but the real playing field is somewhere else, in the realm of actual economic exchange-which is not, however, the market. We may say that all exchange takes place on the neoliberal surface.

Neoliberalism is often described-and this creates a lot of confusion-as "market fundamentalism," and while this may be true for neoliberal's self-promotion and self-presentation, i.e., the market as the ultimate and only myth, as were the gods of the past, I would argue that in neoliberalism there is no such thing as the market as we have understood it from previous ideologies.

The neoliberal state-actually, to utter the word state seems insufficient here, I would claim that a new entity is being created, which is not the state as we have known it, but an existence that incorporates potentially all the states in the world and is something that exceeds their sum-is all-powerful, it seeks to leave no space for individual self-conception in the way that classical liberalism, and even communism and fascism to some degree, were willing to allow.

There are competing understandings of neoliberal globalization, when it comes to the question of whether the state is strong or weak compared to the primary agent of globalization, i.e., the corporation, but I am taking this logic further, I am suggesting that the issue is not how strong the state is in the service of neoliberalism, but whether there is anything left over beyond the new definition of the state. Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them.

Of course the word hasn't gotten around to the people yet, hence all the confusion about whether Hillary Clinton is more neoliberal than Barack Obama, or whether Donald Trump will be less neoliberal than Hillary Clinton.

The project of neoliberalism-i.e., the redefinition of the state, the institutions of society, and the self-has come so far along that neoliberalism is almost beyond the need of individual entities to make or break its case. Its penetration has gone too deep, and none of the democratic figureheads that come forward can fundamentally question its efficacy.

[Jan 23, 2017] I'm pretty sure, to discredit whatever protest they are parasitic upon. Undercover cops behaving badly for a paycheck.

Jan 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
NeoGeshel , January 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

The point about surveillance cameras is silly. The purpose of such strategic violence is to draw attention to the protest in a way that peaceful demonstration doesn't. Producing footage of their actions is the whole point. And, obviously, they are wearing masks.

Kurt Sperry , January 23, 2017 at 3:35 pm

The idea is, I'm pretty sure, to discredit whatever protest they are parasitic upon. Undercover cops behaving badly for a paycheck.

ambrit , January 23, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Well, false flag or not, do notice how "high profile" the forces of the State are when the venue of the action is in upper class areas, such as trendy down towns, Government zones, and high rent suburbs. Contrast that with the almost hands off attitude when the burning people, places and things are lower class.
Feedback requested. I'm wondering if my thesis is sound or not.
ambrit

[Jan 23, 2017] Give Trump a Chance

From amazon review of his book In the Jaws of the Dragon "Anyone who has read "The World is Flat" should also read "In The Jaws Of The Dragon" to understand both sides of the issues involved in offshoring. Eamon Fingleton clearly defines the differences between the economic systems in play in China and Japan and the United States and how those differences have damaged the United States economy. The naive position taken by both the Republicans and the Democrats that offshoring is good for America is shown to be wrong because of a fundamental lack of knowledge about who we are dealing with. Every member of Congress and the executive branch should read this book before ratifying any more trade agreements. The old saying of the marketplace applies: Take advantage of me once, shame on you. Take advantage of me twice, shame on me."
Notable quotes:
"... Similar miscommunication probably helps explain the European media's unreflective scorn for Donald Trump. Most European commentators have little or no access to the story. They have allowed their views to be shaped largely by the American press. ..."
"... That's a big mistake. Contrary to their carefully burnished self-image of impartiality and reliability, American journalists are not averse to consciously peddling outright lies. This applies even in the case of the biggest issues of the day, as witness, for instance, the American press's almost unanimous validation of George Bush's transparently mendacious case for the Iraq war in 2003. ..."
"... Most of the more damning charges against Trump are either without foundation or at least are viciously unfair distortions. Take, for instance, suggestions in the run-up to the election that he is anti-Semitic. In some accounts it was even suggested he was a closet neo-Nazi. Yet for anyone remotely familiar with the Trump story, this always rang false. After all he had thrived for decades in New York's overwhelmingly Jewish real estate industry. Then there was the fact that his daughter Ivanka, to whom he is evidently devoted, had converted to Judaism. ..."
"... In appointing Jared Kushner his chief adviser, he has chosen an orthodox Jew (Kushner is Ivanka's husband). Then there is David Friedman, Trump's choice for ambassador to Israel. Friedman is an outspoken partisan of the Israeli right and he is among other things an apologist for the Netanyahu administration's highly controversial settlement of the West Bank. ..."
"... As is often the case with Trumpian controversies, the facts are a lot more complicated than the press makes out. ..."
"... So far, so normal for the 2016 election campaign. But it turned out that Kovaleski was no ordinary Trump-hating journalist. He suffers from arthrogryposis, a malady in which the joints are malformed. For Trump's critics, this was manna from heaven. Instead of merely accusing the New York real estate magnate of exaggerating a minor, if troubling, sideshow in U.S.-Arab relations, they could now arraign him on the vastly more damaging charge of mocking someone's disability. ..."
"... In any case in responding directly to the charge of mocking Kovaleski's disability, Trump offered a convincing denial. "I would never do that," he said. "Number one, I have a good heart; number two, I'm a smart person." ..."
"... other much discussed Trumpian controversies such as his disparaging remarks about Mexicans and Muslims. In the case of both Mexican and Muslims, an effort to cut back immigration is a central pillar of Trump's program and his remarks, though offensive, were clearly intended to garner votes from fed-up middle Americans. ..."
"... In reality, as the Catholics 4 Trump website has documented, the media have suppressed vital evidence in the Kovaleski affair. ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | www.unz.com
Battlefield communications in World War I sometimes left something to be desired. Hence a famous British anecdote of a garbled word-of-mouth message. As transmitted, the message ran, "Send reinforcements, we are going to advance." Superior officers at the other end, however, were puzzled to be told: "Send three and four-pence [three shillings and four-pence], we are going to a dance!"

Similar miscommunication probably helps explain the European media's unreflective scorn for Donald Trump. Most European commentators have little or no access to the story. They have allowed their views to be shaped largely by the American press.

That's a big mistake. Contrary to their carefully burnished self-image of impartiality and reliability, American journalists are not averse to consciously peddling outright lies. This applies even in the case of the biggest issues of the day, as witness, for instance, the American press's almost unanimous validation of George Bush's transparently mendacious case for the Iraq war in 2003.

Most of the more damning charges against Trump are either without foundation or at least are viciously unfair distortions. Take, for instance, suggestions in the run-up to the election that he is anti-Semitic. In some accounts it was even suggested he was a closet neo-Nazi. Yet for anyone remotely familiar with the Trump story, this always rang false. After all he had thrived for decades in New York's overwhelmingly Jewish real estate industry. Then there was the fact that his daughter Ivanka, to whom he is evidently devoted, had converted to Judaism.

Now as Trump embarks on office, his true attitudes are becoming obvious – and they hardly lean towards neo-Nazism.

In appointing Jared Kushner his chief adviser, he has chosen an orthodox Jew (Kushner is Ivanka's husband). Then there is David Friedman, Trump's choice for ambassador to Israel. Friedman is an outspoken partisan of the Israeli right and he is among other things an apologist for the Netanyahu administration's highly controversial settlement of the West Bank. Trump even wants to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This position is a favourite of the most ardently pro-Israel section of the American Jewish community but is otherwise disavowed as insensitive to Palestinians by most American policy analysts.

Many other examples could be cited of how the press has distorted the truth. It is interesting to revisit in particular the allegation that Trump mocked a disabled man's disability. It is an allegation which has received particular prominence in the press in Europe. But is Trump really such a heartless ogre? Hardly.

As is often the case with Trumpian controversies, the facts are a lot more complicated than the press makes out. The disabled-man episode began when, in defending an erstwhile widely ridiculed contention that Arabs in New Jersey had publicly celebrated the Twin Towers attacks, Trump unearthed a 2001 newspaper account broadly backed him up. But the report's author, Serge Kovaleski, demurred. Trump's talk of "thousands" of Arabs, he wrote, was an exaggeration.

Trump fired back. Flailing his arms wildly in an impersonation of an embarrassed, backtracking reporter, he implied that Kovaleski had succumbed to political correctness.

So far, so normal for the 2016 election campaign. But it turned out that Kovaleski was no ordinary Trump-hating journalist. He suffers from arthrogryposis, a malady in which the joints are malformed. For Trump's critics, this was manna from heaven. Instead of merely accusing the New York real estate magnate of exaggerating a minor, if troubling, sideshow in U.S.-Arab relations, they could now arraign him on the vastly more damaging charge of mocking someone's disability.

Trump's plea that he hadn't known that Kovaleski was handicapped was undermined when it emerged that in the 1980s the two had not only met but Kovaleski had even interviewed Trump in Trump Tower. That is an experience I know something about. I, like Kovaleski, once interviewed Trump in Trump Tower. The occasion was an article I wrote for Forbes magazine in 1982. If Trump saw my by-line today, would he remember that occasion 35 years ago? Probably not. The truth is that Trump, who has been a celebrity since his early twenties, has been interviewed by thousands of journalists over the years. A journalist would have to be seriously conceited – or be driven by a hidden agenda – to assume that a VIP as busy as Trump would remember an occasion half a lifetime ago.

In any case in responding directly to the charge of mocking Kovaleski's disability, Trump offered a convincing denial. "I would never do that," he said. "Number one, I have a good heart; number two, I'm a smart person." Setting aside point one (although to the press's chagrin, many of Trump's acquaintances have testified that a streak of considerable private generosity underlies his tough-guy exterior), it is hard to see how anyone can question point two. In effect Trump is saying he had a strong self-interest in not offending the disabled lobby let alone their millions of sympathisers.

After all it was not as if there were votes in dissing the disabled. This stands in marked contrast to other much discussed Trumpian controversies such as his disparaging remarks about Mexicans and Muslims. In the case of both Mexican and Muslims, an effort to cut back immigration is a central pillar of Trump's program and his remarks, though offensive, were clearly intended to garner votes from fed-up middle Americans.

In reality, as the Catholics 4 Trump website has documented, the media have suppressed vital evidence in the Kovaleski affair.

For a start Trump's frenetic performance bore no resemblance to arthrogryposis. Far from frantically flailing their arms, arthrogryposis victims are uncommonly motionlessness. This is because relevant bones are fused together. As Catholics 4 Trump pointed out, the media should have been expected to have been chomping at the bit to interview Kovaleski and thus clinch the point about how ruthlessly Trump had ridiculed a disabled man's disability.

The website added: "If the media had a legitimate story, that is exactly what they would have done and we all know it. But the media couldn't put Kovaleski in front of a camera or they'd have no story."

Catholics 4 Trump added that, in the same speech in which Trump did his Kovaleski impression, he offered an almost identical performance to illustrate the embarrassment of a U.S. general with whom he had clashed. In particular Trump had the general wildly flailing his arms. It goes without saying that this general does not suffer from arthogryposis or any other disability. The common thread in each case was merely an embarrassed, backtracking person. To say the least, commentators in Europe who have portrayed Trump as having mocked Kovaleski's disability stand accused of superficial, slanted reporting.

All this is not to suggest that Trump does not come to the presidency unencumbered with baggage. He is exceptionally crude – at least he is in his latter-day reality TV manifestation (the Trump I remember from my interview in 1982 was a model of restraint by comparison and in particular never used any expletives). Moreover the latter-day Trump habit of picking Twitter fights with those who criticize him tends merely to confirm a widespread belief that he is petty and thin-skinned.

Many of his pronouncements moreover have been disturbing and his abrasive manner will clearly prove on balance a liability in the White House. That said, the press has never worked harder or more dishonestly to destroy a modern American leader.

Let's give him the benefit of the doubt, therefore, as he sets out to make America great again. The truth is that American decline has gone much further than almost anyone outside American industry understands. Trump's task is a daunting one.

Eamonn Fingleton is an expert on America's trade problems and is the author of In Praise of Hard Industries: Why Manufacturing, Not the Information Economy, Is the Key to Future Prosperity (Houghton Mifflin, Boston). A version of this article appeared in the Dublin Ireland Sunday Business Post.

America's fate looks dicey in the showdown with the Chinese juggernaut, warns this vigorous jeremiad. Fingleton (In Praise of Hard Industries) argues that China's "East Asian" development model of aggressive mercantilism and a state-directed economy "effortlessly outperforms" America's fecklessly individualistic capitalism

[Jan 22, 2017] Trumps inaugural speech – promises, hopes and opportunities

Am nteresting thought (replace imperialism with neoliberalism) : "I think that it is possible that Trump has come to the conclusion that imperialism has stopped working for the USA, that far from being the solution to the contradictions of capitalism, imperialism might well have become its most self-defeating feature. "
Revival of far right in Europe also is connected with the crisis of neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... This might be something crucial: I cannot imagine Trump trying to simply do "more of the same" like his predecessors did or trying to blindly double-down like the Neocons always try to. ..."
"... I am willing to bet that Trump really and sincerely believes that the USA is in a deep crisis and that a new, different, sets of policies must be urgently implemented. ..."
"... I think that it is possible that Trump has come to the conclusion that imperialism has stopped working for the USA, that far from being the solution to the contradictions of capitalism, imperialism might well have become its most self-defeating feature. ..."
"... Is it possible for an ideological system to dump one of its core component after learning from past mistakes? I think it is, and a good example of that is 21 st Century Socialism , which has completely dumped the kind of militant atheism which was so central to the 20 th century Socialist movement. In fact, modern "21st Century Socialism" is very pro-Christian. Could 21 st century capitalism dump imperialism? Maybe. ..."
"... Furthermore, the Trump inaugural speech did, according to RT commentators, sound in many aspects like the kind of speech Bernie Sanders could have made. And I think that they are right. Trump did sound like a paleo-liberal ..."
"... Today, when Trump pronounced the followings words " We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first " he told the Russians exactly what they wanted to hear: Trump does not pretend to be a "friend" of Russia and Trump openly and unapologetically promises to care about his own people first, and that is exactly what Putin has been saying and doing since he came to power in Russia: caring for the Russian people first. After all, caring for your own first hardly implies being hostile or even indifferent to others. ..."
"... All it means is that your loyalty and your service is first and foremost to those who elected you to office. This refreshing patriotic honesty, combined with the prospect of friendship and goodwill will sound like music to the Russian ears. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | www.unz.com
Just hours ago Donald Trump was finally sworn in as the President of the United States. Considering all the threats hanging over this event, this is good news because at least for the time being, the Neocons have lost their control over the Executive Branch and Trump is now finally in a position to take action. The other good news is Trump's inauguration speech which included this historical promise " We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow ". Could that really mean that the USA has given up its role of World Hegemon? The mere fact of asking the question is already an immensely positive development as nobody would have asked it had Hillary Clinton been elected.

The other interesting feature of Trump's speech is that it centered heavily on people power and on social justice. Again, the contrast with the ideological garbage from Clinton could not be greater. Still, this begs a much more puzzling question: how much can a multi-billionaire capitalist be trusted when he speaks of people power and social justice – not exactly what capitalists are known for, at least not amongst educated people. Furthermore, a Marxist reader would also remind us that " imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism " and that it makes no sense to expect a capitalist to suddenly renounce imperialism.

But what was generally true in 1916 is not necessarily true in 2017.

For one thing, let's begin by stressing that the Trump Presidency was only made possible by the immense financial, economic, political, military and social crisis facing the USA today. Eight years of Clinton, followed by eight years of Bush Jr and eight years of Obama have seen a massive and full-spectrum decline in the strength of the United States which were sacrificed for the sake of the AngloZionist Empire. This crisis is as much internal as it is external and the election of Trump is a direct consequence of this crisis. In fact, Trump is the first one to admit that it is the terrible situation in which the USA find themselves today that brought him to power with a mandate of the regular American people (Hillary's "deplorables") to "drain the DC swamp" and "make America", as opposed to the American plutocracy, "great again". This might be something crucial: I cannot imagine Trump trying to simply do "more of the same" like his predecessors did or trying to blindly double-down like the Neocons always try to.

I am willing to bet that Trump really and sincerely believes that the USA is in a deep crisis and that a new, different, sets of policies must be urgently implemented. If that assumption of mine proves to be correct, then this is by definition very good news for the entire planet because whatever Trump ends up doing (or not doing), he will at least not push his country into a nuclear confrontation with Russia. And yes, I think that it is possible that Trump has come to the conclusion that imperialism has stopped working for the USA, that far from being the solution to the contradictions of capitalism, imperialism might well have become its most self-defeating feature.

Is it possible for an ideological system to dump one of its core component after learning from past mistakes? I think it is, and a good example of that is 21 st Century Socialism , which has completely dumped the kind of militant atheism which was so central to the 20 th century Socialist movement. In fact, modern "21st Century Socialism" is very pro-Christian. Could 21 st century capitalism dump imperialism? Maybe.

Furthermore, the Trump inaugural speech did, according to RT commentators, sound in many aspects like the kind of speech Bernie Sanders could have made. And I think that they are right. Trump did sound like a paleo-liberal, something which we did not hear from him during the campaign. You could also say that Trump sounded very much like Putin. The question is will he now also act like Putin too?

There will be a great deal of expectations in Russia about how Trump will go about fulfilling his campaign promises to deal with other countries. Today, when Trump pronounced the followings words " We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first " he told the Russians exactly what they wanted to hear: Trump does not pretend to be a "friend" of Russia and Trump openly and unapologetically promises to care about his own people first, and that is exactly what Putin has been saying and doing since he came to power in Russia: caring for the Russian people first. After all, caring for your own first hardly implies being hostile or even indifferent to others.

All it means is that your loyalty and your service is first and foremost to those who elected you to office. This refreshing patriotic honesty, combined with the prospect of friendship and goodwill will sound like music to the Russian ears.

Then there are Trump's words about " forming new alliances " and uniting " the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth ". They will also be received with a great deal of hope by the Russian people. If the USA is finally serious about fighting terrorism and if they really wants to eradicate the likes of Daesh, then Russia will offer her full support to this effort, including her military, intelligence, police and diplomatic resources. After all, Russia has been advocating for " completely eradicating Radical Islamic Terrorism from the face of the Earth " for decades.

There is no doubt in my mind at all that an alliance between Russia and the USA, even if limited only to specific areas of converging or mutual interests, would be immensely beneficial for the entire planet, and not for just these two countries: right now all the worst international crises are a direct result from the "tepid war" the USA and Russia have been waging against each other. And just like any other war, this war has been a fantastic waste of resources. Of course, this war was started by the USA and it was maintained and fed by the Neocon's messianic ideology. Now that a realist like Trump has come to power, we can finally hope for this dangerous and wasteful dynamic to be stopped.

The good news is that neither Trump nor Putin can afford to fail. Trump, because he has made an alliance with Russia the cornerstone of his foreign policy during his campaign, and Putin because he realizes that it is in the objective interests of Russia for Trump to succeed, lest the Neocon crazies crawl back out from their basement. So both sides will enter into negotiations with a strong desire to get things done and a willingness to make compromises as long as they do not affect crucial national security objectives. I think that the number of issues on which the USA and Russia can agree upon is much, much longer than the number of issues were irreconcilable differences remain.

So yes, today I am hopeful. More than anything else, I want to hope that Trump is "for real", and that he will have the wisdom and courage to take strong action against his internal enemies. Because from now on, this is one other thing which Putin and Trump will have in common: their internal enemies are far more dangerous than any external foe. When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump , I get very, very concerned and I ask myself "what does Horowitz know which I am missing?". What is certain is that in the near future one of us will soon become very disappointed. I just hope that this shall not be me.

Mao Cheng Ji , January 21, 2017 at 10:15 am GMT \n

100 Words

Could that really mean that the USA has given up its role of World Hegemon?

Well, another author here, David Chibo, seems to think that the intent is exactly the opposite: for the US (the nation) to become World Hegemon. As opposed to what we have today, to multinational capital being World Hegemon

Anonymous , January 21, 2017 at 2:17 pm GMT \n
100 Words

When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump

Saying someone's a "rabid maniac" without giving any reason for one's statement is so mainstream media like.
So far as I know, the mature-age Horowitz has written some interesting books: I can recommend Hating Whitey , One party classrooms , Left illusion . His autobiography ( A point in time ot something like that) is a good book too.

He is also a very active anti-crazy left activist, and runs a site with a list of leftist anti-white hate groups.

I hope I said enough for you to understand why I am surprised and not particularly pleased by seeing him called a "rabid maniac".

alexander , January 21, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT \n
300 Words

Yes Saker,

The United States is in a deep crisis which nobody except Trump had the courage to discuss.

The United States Government has been overspending what is has been taking in by an average of 875 billion dollars, per year, for last decade and a half.

Our national debt has ballooned to a hair under 20 trillion dollars in 16 years. from 5.7 trillion in 2000.

Our Gross Domestic Product, on the other hand, is only 18.7 trillion having merely doubled from 9.3 trillion in 2000.

A general crisis point for the solvency of a nation is when its national debt eclipses its GDP, which happened to us two years ago .and the spread is growing, not tightening.

If this continues at its present course, the world will no longer wish to purchase our debt and begin selling off our treasury bonds. The credit worthiness of the United States will be in serious jeopardy and the US dollar may be sacrificed as the worlds currency.

I am not sure how President Trump wishes to tackle this but it will be his number one job to save the United States from its ruinous policies of perpetual war and insolvency and chart a new course , hopefully one of peace and prosperity.

There will be no more wars of choice because we simply cannot afford them.

So one can be optimistic, the era of reckless war and obscene war spending is over but its really almost ten years to late for this.

Do not lose heart, however, there are many ways we can pay down our debt,quickly, without raising income taxes.

And if we can GROW the economy at a healthy pace,without generating too much inflation, we should be able to dodge the bullet.

I hope The Donald , and his cabinet, put their thinking caps on, and undertake policies which are highly successful.

It is so important to us all.

bluedog , January 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm GMT \n
200 Words @alexander Yes Saker,


The United States is in a deep crisis which nobody except Trump had the courage to discuss.

The United States Government has been overspending what is has been taking in by an average of 875 billion dollars, per year, for last decade and a half.

Our national debt has ballooned to a hair under 20 trillion dollars in 16 years. from 5.7 trillion in 2000.

Our Gross Domestic Product, on the other hand, is only 18.7 trillion having merely doubled from 9.3 trillion in 2000.

A general crisis point for the solvency of a nation is when its national debt eclipses its GDP, which happened to us two years ago....and the spread is growing, not tightening.

If this continues at its present course, the world will no longer wish to purchase our debt and begin selling off our treasury bonds. The credit worthiness of the United States will be in serious jeopardy...and the US dollar may be sacrificed as the worlds currency.


I am not sure how President Trump wishes to tackle this but it will be his number one job to save the United States from its ruinous policies of perpetual war and insolvency ...and chart a new course , hopefully one of peace and prosperity.

There will be no more wars of choice because we simply cannot afford them.

So one can be optimistic, the era of reckless war and obscene war spending is over...but its really almost ten years to late for this.

Do not lose heart, however, there are many ways we can pay down our debt,quickly, without raising income taxes.

And if we can GROW the economy at a healthy pace,without generating too much inflation, we should be able to dodge the bullet.


I hope The Donald , and his cabinet, put their thinking caps on, and undertake policies which are highly successful.

It is so important to us all.

Guess you didn't watch the debate where Trump said there is a very large bubble over wall street, and its bigger than the housing bubble (my words not Trumps) and our GDP the figures the government puts out as David Stockman Reagan budget director said is very suspect to say the least, for I have seen it stated anywhere from $16 trillion to $18 trillion and change much like the BLS report I suspect.
Not much wiggle room for Trump a crashing bubble on wall street almost 100,000,000 un-employed per the Lay-Off-List, no that fails to jibe with the figure the government puts out, much like the GDP I suspect, and there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the debt will grow under Trump as he re-builds the military, as more tax dollars are flushed down the drain to keep company with the trillions already there.
Chalmers Johnson was right in his excellent books from Blowback to The Sorrows of Empire Militarism,Secrecy,and the End of the Republic and our 900+ bases around the globe, can Trump change that close at least half of those bases that cost us billions of dollars we don't have or will it be the status quo I suspect it will be the later

Dan Hayes , January 21, 2017 at 8:08 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Anonymous
When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump
Saying someone's a "rabid maniac" without giving any reason for one's statement is so... mainstream media like.
So far as I know, the mature-age Horowitz has written some interesting books: I can recommend Hating Whitey , One party classrooms , Left illusion . His autobiography ( A point in time ot something like that) is a good book too.

He is also a very active anti-crazy left activist, and runs a site with a list of leftist anti-white hate groups.

I hope I said enough for you to understand why I am surprised and not particularly pleased by seeing him called a "rabid maniac".

Anonymous:

I can back up Horowitz being termed "a rapid maniac". Some time ago I met him at one of his book signings. At that time I would be regarded as one of his disciples, i.e. his camp followers. That changed once I actually met him. His eyes were those of a crazed man. Enough said!

Mao Cheng Ji , January 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm GMT \n

Fuck Horowitz, he certainly is a rabid maniac and a scumbag.

As for the main topic, there's also this, the Masters of the Universe vs. the deep state:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/heres-how-the-trump-presidency-will-play-out/5570021

Anon , January 22, 2017 at 2:29 am GMT \n
100 Words

"After all, caring for your own first hardly implies being hostile or even indifferent to others. All it means is that your loyalty and your service is first and foremost to those who elected you to office. This refreshing patriotic honesty, combined with the prospect of friendship and goodwill will sound like music to the Russian ears."

But it could mean NOT putting Zionist-Globalist interest first.
And that's what it's all about.

Gentiles don't mind each nation putting its interest first. But that means gentiles putting their national interests above Jewish elitist interest.
Since nationalism favors gentile interests, Jews have pushed globalism and Zionism. That way, all gentile nations are to favor globalism(that favors Jewish worldwide networking) over nationalism and favor Zionism(Jewish nationalism) over any gentile nationalism.

Beckow , January 22, 2017 at 8:11 am GMT \n
100 Words

The problem is that the issues between Russia and US are not that easy to resolve. For example, will US keep the "anti-Iran" missile defense systems in East Europe? Will they continue to state that Ukraine and Georgia will be in NATO? Will the recent NATO troops in Poland, Baltic states and Romania stay? There are a few others, like the Ukraine problem – Crimea, Donbass, economic collapse.

None of those issues are suitable for a deal. A deal requires things that either side can let go. We don't have that here. Most likely the tensions will recede, some summits will be held, a few common policies will be attempted (e.g. Middle East), but none of the really big issues (missiles, NATO expansion, Crimea, Ukraine) will be addressed. US has gone too far down that road to backtrack now – it is all logistics at this point. And logistics don't change short of something like a war.

So we are stuck. But at least we are no longer heading towards a catastrophe.

Miro23 , January 22, 2017 at 8:41 am GMT \n
200 Words @alexander Yes Saker,


The United States is in a deep crisis which nobody except Trump had the courage to discuss.

The United States Government has been overspending what is has been taking in by an average of 875 billion dollars, per year, for last decade and a half.

Our national debt has ballooned to a hair under 20 trillion dollars in 16 years. from 5.7 trillion in 2000.

Our Gross Domestic Product, on the other hand, is only 18.7 trillion having merely doubled from 9.3 trillion in 2000.

A general crisis point for the solvency of a nation is when its national debt eclipses its GDP, which happened to us two years ago....and the spread is growing, not tightening.

If this continues at its present course, the world will no longer wish to purchase our debt and begin selling off our treasury bonds. The credit worthiness of the United States will be in serious jeopardy...and the US dollar may be sacrificed as the worlds currency.


I am not sure how President Trump wishes to tackle this but it will be his number one job to save the United States from its ruinous policies of perpetual war and insolvency ...and chart a new course , hopefully one of peace and prosperity.

There will be no more wars of choice because we simply cannot afford them.

So one can be optimistic, the era of reckless war and obscene war spending is over...but its really almost ten years to late for this.

Do not lose heart, however, there are many ways we can pay down our debt,quickly, without raising income taxes.

And if we can GROW the economy at a healthy pace,without generating too much inflation, we should be able to dodge the bullet.


I hope The Donald , and his cabinet, put their thinking caps on, and undertake policies which are highly successful.

It is so important to us all.

I am not sure how President Trump wishes to tackle this but it will be his number one job to save the United States from its ruinous policies of perpetual war and insolvency and chart a new course , hopefully one of peace and prosperity.

There will be no more wars of choice because we simply cannot afford them.

That's an interesting point, the US does have creditors and it has reached its credit limit, and hasn't exactly been making good investments with the money that was borrowed.

The real issues seem to be making spending efficient (for example US healthcare that costs about 2x the Canadian rate per person for the same result), and rebasing production in the US (more US taxpayers).

The Socialist UK government was in a similar position in the early 1970′s with a "welfare state" that it couldn't afford, general industrial strife and a "class war". When the UK's creditors saw that things weren't going to change they sold off government bonds and the country got the "Sterling Crisis" with Sterling losing what was left of its Reserve Currency status.

At least Trump is indicating a political will for change, but he needs to act quickly.

Realist , January 22, 2017 at 9:07 am GMT \n
@Anonymous
When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump
Saying someone's a "rabid maniac" without giving any reason for one's statement is so... mainstream media like.
So far as I know, the mature-age Horowitz has written some interesting books: I can recommend Hating Whitey , One party classrooms , Left illusion . His autobiography ( A point in time ot something like that) is a good book too.

He is also a very active anti-crazy left activist, and runs a site with a list of leftist anti-white hate groups.

I hope I said enough for you to understand why I am surprised and not particularly pleased by seeing him called a "rabid maniac".

For one thing Horowitz is a goofy ass russophobe.

Timur The Lame , January 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm GMT \n
100 Words

I listened to Trump's speech live on headphones while power walking on a country road. Something about that scenario allowed me to give it a focus that I may not have had if I was watching it on the idiot box or reading a transcript.

If I'm not mistaken, he literally called most of his esteemed guests ( ex-presidents especially) corrupt criminals, frauds and traitors. An unbelievable moment where the mob was reminded that politicians are not to be fawned over. They work for the people.

The rest of the speech of course was lyrics for a remake of the song 'Dream the Impossible Dream'. But still, if the population wasn't attention deficit affected, that part of his speech could have been right up there with Ike's MIC moment.

Anatoly Karlin , Website January 22, 2017 at 3:26 pm GMT \n
200 Words NEW!

This is a very good article. I agree with it almost entirely.

Is it possible for an ideological system to dump one of its core component after learning from past mistakes? Could 21st century capitalism dump imperialism? Maybe.

When would it be possible for the anti-imperialist ideological system to dump its core belief that, Lenin's demented (and unoriginal) ramblings to the contrary, capitalism has intrinsically zilch to do with imperialism?

Because from now on, this is one other thing which Putin and Trump will have in common: their internal enemies are far more dangerous than any external foe. When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump, I get very, very concerned and I ask myself "what does Horowitz know which I am missing?".

David Horowitz merely demonstrated that, unlike " renegade Jews " such as the Kristols and the Krauthammers, he is a patriot of his own country (the USA) first and a Jewish nationalist second. I consider that perfectly fine and worthy of respect.

Seamus Padraig , January 22, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT \n
100 Words

@Chet Roman "drain the DC swamp" and "make America", as opposed to the American plutocracy, "great again"

While I am hopeful and will give Trump the chance to prove himself. Unfortunately, he like Obama before him, has appointed most the same plutocrats/neoliberal parasites in his administration that are part of what the Saker calls the "AngloZionist Empire". Will they, like the patrician FDR, promote policies against their own class interests? Time will tell but, after the same betrayal by "Hope and Change" Obama I would not bet on it.

Not that I'm very sanguine about all the Goldman Sachs people in Trump's cabinet either, but if you're looking for reasons for optimism: At least Trump–unlike Clinton, Bush and Obama–hasn't appointed any retreads; i.e., people who've served in previous cabinets. That may indicate that some change is in the offing. Let's hope it's a change for the best.

alexander , January 22, 2017 at 9:53 pm GMT \n
400 Words

Annamaria,

The key to US solvency and credit worthiness is the "ratio" of Debt to GDP ..Our GDP should ALWAYS be in the plus column, and when its not . it's bad news.

Like today, it is bad news (Debt 19.9 T / GDP 18.7 T) it is such bad news our big media has refused to discuss it ..The only person to bring it up , ever, was the Donald.

The big media does not want to say the wars they lied us into bankrupted our nation because it makes them accountable.

The scaly truth is that they "are" accountable.

Ironically,Donald Trump (who knows this too) now has the power as President to generate over two trillion dollars in revenues, literally overnight, and move our Debt to GDP ratio right back in the plus column.

Do you want to know how ?

He goes on record that the Iraq War "lies" constituted a defrauding of the American people , our country, and the brave men and women who fought and died there .and he has chosen to recognize this "defrauding " as a supreme terrorist act against the wellbeing of our nation ,our citizenry and the values that make us who we are ..

He goes on to say that ALL the perpetrators will be held accountable for this despicable act of deception , so that it may never happen again.

Then he proceeds with operation "Clean Sweep" and takes down all the back room billionaire oligarchs who jockeyed for the war and profited from it .

Lets say by the time he is done he has arrested 700 belligerent oligarchs and media moguls and seizes all their assets .If they are each worth, on average, 4 billion dollars .

then 700 x 4 billion = 2.8 trillion dollars

If this 2.8 trillion goes to paying down the national debt .then "bingo" our Debt to GDP ratio is right back in the" plus column" .

Our National debt is reduced by 2.8 T and the GDP stays the same ..the new ratio is 17.1 T Debt/ 18.7 T GDP.

Our credit worthiness, as a nation, is now out of the" danger zone".

Whatever assets the criminal oligarchs had, are auctioned off and redistributed to all the good people who would never "lie us into war".

This sends an enormously reassuring message throughout the world that we are able to take care of business at home, and clean house when necessary.

This would also serve as a much needed tonic within the entire "establishment" community, as they would be intensely fearful of ever defrauding the American people again.

Would you do it ? ..If you were President, Anna, would you demand accountability ?

Skeptikal , January 22, 2017 at 11:37 pm GMT \n
300 Words @Anon "After all, caring for your own first hardly implies being hostile or even indifferent to others. All it means is that your loyalty and your service is first and foremost to those who elected you to office. This refreshing patriotic honesty, combined with the prospect of friendship and goodwill will sound like music to the Russian ears."

But it could mean NOT putting Zionist-Globalist interest first.
And that's what it's all about.

Gentiles don't mind each nation putting its interest first. But that means gentiles putting their national interests above Jewish elitist interest.
Since nationalism favors gentile interests, Jews have pushed globalism and Zionism. That way, all gentile nations are to favor globalism(that favors Jewish worldwide networking) over nationalism and favor Zionism(Jewish nationalism) over any gentile nationalism.

"Gentiles don't mind each nation putting its interest first. But that means gentiles putting their national interests above Jewish elitist interest.
Since nationalism favors gentile interests, Jews have pushed globalism and Zionism. That way, all gentile nations are to favor globalism(that favors Jewish worldwide networking) over nationalism and favor Zionism(Jewish nationalism) over any gentile nationalism."

That seems to be true.
I was shocked to read a letter in the current London Review of Books, actually a rebuttal to another letter, by Adam Tooze. Tooze had written a review of a book by Wolfgang Streeck. In his rebuttal Tooze attacked Streeck as an anti-Semite because Streeck had *dared* to write a book that presents arguments for the primacy of the nation-state as opposed to globalist forces. Tooze's argument basically came down to: nation-state = chauvinism = anti-Semitism, where globalization = "Semitism," I suppose, and Tooze actually more or less accused Streeck of anti-Semitism on this basis: that you cannot defend the idea of the nation-state without being in effectively anti-Semitic. He didn't show any other evidence but just this supposed syllogism, all of it theoretical. Interestingly Tooze was the one making the equation of globalism and Jews-not Streeck! But still, Streeck was the guilty one. Tooze spent a lot of breath on the word "Volk" for "people." Of coure, Streeck in German, and that is the German word for "people." Any other overtones "Volk" has acquired in English are the fault of the English, as English has its own second word, "folk," which German does not, and so English speakers didn't have to take over the German word and demonize it. They could have demonized their own word . . . Tooze's pedantry and intellectual sloppiness were quite startling. I look forward to seeing a rebuttal and maybe counterattack from Streeck in the next LRB . . .

SmoothieX12 , Website January 22, 2017 at 11:40 pm GMT \n
100 Words

Like today, it is bad news (Debt 19.9 T / GDP 18.7 T)

These are bad news, but the news which are even worse is the fact that of these 18.7 Trillion of nominal GDP, probably third (most likely more) is a virtual GDP–the result of cooking of books and of financial and real estate machinations. Trump knows this, I am almost 99% positive, even 99.9%, on that.

Skeptikal , January 22, 2017 at 11:42 pm GMT \n
@Anatoly Karlin

This is a very good article. I agree with it almost entirely.

Is it possible for an ideological system to dump one of its core component after learning from past mistakes?... Could 21st century capitalism dump imperialism? Maybe.
When would it be possible for the anti-imperialist ideological system to dump its core belief that, Lenin's demented (and unoriginal) ramblings to the contrary, capitalism has intrinsically zilch to do with imperialism?
Because from now on, this is one other thing which Putin and Trump will have in common: their internal enemies are far more dangerous than any external foe. When I see rabid maniacs like David Horowitz declaring himself a supporter of Donald Trump, I get very, very concerned and I ask myself "what does Horowitz know which I am missing?".
David Horowitz merely demonstrated that, unlike " renegade Jews " such as the Kristols and the Krauthammers, he is a patriot of his own country (the USA) first and a Jewish nationalist second. I consider that perfectly fine and worthy of respect.

" one other thing which Putin and Trump will have in common: their internal enemies are far more dangerous than any external foe. "

True also of Kennedy and Khrushchev.

Seraphim , January 23, 2017 at 12:39 am GMT \n
100 Words @Diogenes

"Make America Great Again"- is just an empty political slogan like bait on a fishing hook that only dumb fish would be attracted to.

I suggest readers look at an article by Andrew Levine, a very insightful Jewish American political commentator and regular contributor to Counterpunch.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/20/when-was-america-great/

"the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth".

What has ISIS done to America or Trump that he should want to totally obliterate them? Before you denounce or pronounce me as dumb heretical dissenter, read on.

Sunni Arabs in the Middle East have been exploited and controlled by racially arrogant European interlopers and colonists since the fall of the Ottomans. They have been especially mistreated and ravaged by vengeful Americans since 2001. They also facilitated a revival of Shia-Sunni sectarian conflict in Syria and Iraq. Now the displaced and persecuted Sunni minority want to form their own state, free from foreign interference to practice their chosen religion and way of life. I grant you that they are also vengeful and violent to those who persecuted them by using terrorist methods and that they practiced "ethnic cleansing" but that does not make them "uncivilized", the civilized Americans and Europeans did the same when conquering their settler colonies. So why not let them have their own land, just like the Jewish Europeans were given and make peace with time provided they renounce their goal of spreading Wahhabi Muslim empire by force?

The Arab states which emerged after the dissolution of the Ottoman Caliphate were not meant to be replaced by an Arab Caliphate. The fight of the Sunnis is not the fight of a 'persecuted' minority, but of the former dominant minority for the re-establishment of their dominant position in the frame of the Caliphate, with wet dreams of world domination. ISIS is but the tip of the iceberg. Their eradication would cool down the overheated minds of the Caliphate dreamers.

Cloak And Dagger , January 23, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT \n
400 Words @alexander Annamaria,

The key to US solvency and credit worthiness is the "ratio" of Debt to GDP.....Our GDP should ALWAYS be in the plus column, and when its not.... it's bad news.

Like today, it is bad news (Debt 19.9 T / GDP 18.7 T)...it is such bad news our big media has refused to discuss it .....The only person to bring it up , ever, was the Donald.

The big media does not want to say the wars they lied us into bankrupted our nation because it makes them accountable.

The scaly truth is that they "are" accountable.


Ironically,Donald Trump (who knows this too) now has the power as President to generate over two trillion dollars in revenues, literally overnight, and move our Debt to GDP ratio right back in the plus column.

Do you want to know how ?


He goes on record that the Iraq War "lies" constituted a defrauding of the American people , our country, and the brave men and women who fought and died there....and he has chosen to recognize this "defrauding " as a supreme terrorist act against the wellbeing of our nation ,our citizenry and the values that make us who we are.....

He goes on to say that ALL the perpetrators will be held accountable for this despicable act of deception , so that it may never happen again.

Then he proceeds with operation "Clean Sweep" and takes down all the back room billionaire oligarchs who jockeyed for the war and profited from it .

Lets say by the time he is done he has arrested 700 belligerent oligarchs and media moguls and seizes all their assets....If they are each worth, on average, 4 billion dollars .......

then 700 x 4 billion = 2.8 trillion dollars

If this 2.8 trillion goes to paying down the national debt....then "bingo" our Debt to GDP ratio is right back in the" plus column" ....

Our National debt is reduced by 2.8 T and the GDP stays the same .....the new ratio is 17.1 T Debt/ 18.7 T GDP.

Our credit worthiness, as a nation, is now out of the" danger zone".

Whatever assets the criminal oligarchs had, are auctioned off and redistributed to all the good people who would never "lie us into war".

This sends an enormously reassuring message throughout the world that we are able to take care of business at home, and clean house when necessary.

This would also serve as a much needed tonic within the entire "establishment" community, as they would be intensely fearful of ever defrauding the American people again.


Would you do it ?.....If you were President, Anna, would you demand accountability ?

Would you do it ? ..If you were President, Anna, would you demand accountability

Not to speak for Anna, but maybe I would – if blessed with balls of titanium, or perhaps by underestimating the capacity of the deep state to slice them off. Being human, one can only hope that Trump will do what I cannot, or could not in his shoes.

One thing he cannot do is feign ignorance or pretend to be unaware of the critters festering in the swamp – after all, he campaigned on the promise of draining it. Where hope falters is in seeing the cabinet he is building with characters unlikely to do much in the swamp-draining department. Without a strong cadre of testicular fortitude surrounding him in his cabinet, his most sincere attempts at swamp-drainage will be quixotic at best.

So, where does one place hope lest one becomes a blathering cynic or a nattering nabob of negativity?

Ego ! That is where my chips are stacked. Nothing defines or motivates Trump more than his self-perception. I believe that it is much more than showmanship that propels his self-promotion, and nothing would be more devastating to the man than to be ridiculed or perceived as a failure. I doubt that Netanyahu could do to him what he did to Obama and survive the retaliatory deluge that would follow. I think Trump's hidden strength is his desire for vengeance against those that wrong him (I expect there to be tribulations in HRC's future). If the deep state doesn't do him in first, there is the strong possibility of damage on the deep state – one that they may never recover from in this world of instant information that wilts night-flowers.

He may redefine victory on occasion for outcomes that are too difficult for him to accept, but in the end, he will "Make Trump Great Again," and if fortune favors us, help the US benefit in the process, if not the rest of the world.

That does not rule out that his naiveté may cause him to stumble and fall, perhaps more than once, and he has not always succeeded in business, but it seems that he does build on his failures, and is unlikely to make the same mistake twice.

Doesn't appear like a lot to cling to, but in this dystopic world, it is the best we have. Is it enough?

[Jan 22, 2017] Neoliberalism may have been in part so successful because it appeals to (and tries to explain many things in terms of) a narrative of competition (and assignment of reward and acknowedlgement) by merit

Neoliberals seem very concerned not to have a label. I posit this is because the founders of the malign ideology didn't want their victims be able to reliably identify them. The deliberately and misleadingly promote the view of the economy as an isolated scientific subject, like the interior of a test tube, and treat politics and policy as a sort of exterior force, that can be isolated from the world of the chemist and pushed off-to-one side. Neoclassic economists consistently and deliberately blinds itself to politics and the dynamics of power, despite the deep entanglement of politics with everything economic. "I look at politics and the economy and see one thing, not two things, and I am astonished at the extent to which economists focus on the part they like to play with intellectually, while deliberately looking away from what is probably the more important part. "
Notable quotes:
"... when left-wing people say that economists are defenders and supporters of the current order of things, they have a point: ignoring power relationships and their impact on the world supports the continued existence of those relationships. ..."
"... Neoliberalism may have been in part so successful because it appeals to (and tries to explain many things in terms of) a narrative of competition (and assignment of reward and acknowedlgement) by merit. ..."
"... Most people, esp. when young (still largely sheltered) or (still) successful, probably have an exaggerated assessment of their own merit (absolute and relative) - often actively instilled and encouraged by an "enabling" environment. ..."
"... It promises a lake Wobegon of sorts where everybody (even though not all!) are above average, and it is finally recognized. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

William Meyer, Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 12:49 PM

What Wren-Lewis misses, I think, is that something I've noticed in my roughly a decade of reading economic blogs on the Internet. Economists have blinkers on. They want to view the economy as an isolated scientific subject, like the interior of a test tube, and treat politics and policy as a sort of exterior force, that can be isolated from the world of the chemist and pushed off-to-one side. It seems fairly clear to me that the two elements--politics and the economy--are obviously continuously co-mingled, and have all sorts of feedback loops running between them.

The discipline really consistently and deliberately blinds itself to politics and the dynamics of power, despite the deep entanglement of politics with everything economic. Wren-Lewis admits that macroeconomists "missed" the impacts of very high financial sector leverage, but finds that now that economists have noticed it, and suggested remedies, that the power of bank lobby prevents those remedies from being enacted. But shouldn't the political power of the finance lobby been a part of economic analysis of the world along with the dangers of the financial sector's use of extreme leverage? Does he think the two phenomena are unrelated?

Shouldn't economics pay more attention to the ongoing attempts of various groups to orient government policy in their favor, just like they pay attention to the trade deficit and GDP numbers?

I look at politics and the economy and see one thing, not two things, and I am astonished at the extent to which economists focus on the part they like to play with intellectually, while deliberately looking away from what is probably the more important part. Its like economists obsessively focus on the part that can be studied via numbers (money) and don't' want to think about the part that is harder to look quantify (political policy). And there is a political issue there, which Mr. Wren-Lewis, keeps ignoring in his defense of "mainstream economics."

The neoclassical economics tendency of not looking at power relationships makes power imbalances and their great influence on economics seem like "givens" or "natural endowments", which is clearly an intellectual sin of omission.

Many people, even within the halls of mainstream economics, note economists are "uncomfortable" with distributional issues.

Whether they like the implication or not, economists need to acknowledge that this discomfort has a profoundly conservative intellectual bias, in the sense that it make the status quo arrangement of society seem "natural" and "normal", when it is obviously humanly constructed and not in any sense "natural." So when left-wing people say that economists are defenders and supporters of the current order of things, they have a point: ignoring power relationships and their impact on the world supports the continued existence of those relationships.

Mr. Wren-Lewis seems like a nice guy, but he needs to take that simple home truth in. I'm not sure why he seems to struggle so with acknowledging it.

KPl, January 21, 2017 at 11:37 PM

"...but failing to ignore their successes,..."

Oh you mean the success of being able to raise asset prices without the growth in wages, make education costly and unaffordable without student loans, not chargeable under bankruptcy, spruce up employment figures by not counting the people who have stopped look for jobs because they cannot find one, make people debt serfs, make savers miserable by keeping interest rates at zero and making them take risks that they may not want to take though it is picking pennies in front of a steamroller, keeping wages stagnant for decades and thus impoverishing people.

The list of successes is endless and you should be glad we are NOT talking about them. Because if we do, the clan called economists might well be torched.

cm -> cm... , January 22, 2017 at 08:40 AM
Neoliberalism may have been in part so successful because it appeals to (and tries to explain many things in terms of) a narrative of competition (and assignment of reward and acknowedlgement) by merit.

Most people, esp. when young (still largely sheltered) or (still) successful, probably have an exaggerated assessment of their own merit (absolute and relative) - often actively instilled and encouraged by an "enabling" environment.

A large part is probably the idea that "markets" are "objective" or at least "impartial" in bringing out and rewarding merit - also technology and "data driven" technocratic management, which are attributed "objectivity". All in the explicitly stated or implied service of impartially recognizing merit and its lack.

It promises a lake Wobegon of sorts where everybody (even though not all!) are above average, and it is finally recognized.

libezkova : , January 22, 2017 at 07:11 PM
"Neoliberalism may have been in part so successful because it appeals to (and tries to explain many things in terms of) a narrative of competition (and assignment of reward and acknowedlgement) by merit."

A very important observation. Thank you !

[Jan 22, 2017] why many non-experts believe academic economists' pretensions to science and accuracy is BS.

Notable quotes:
"... Starting with three classic papers in the same 1982 issue of the Journal of Economic Theory, a large literature in economics has dealt with the implications for rational behavior of interacting with parties who, with small likelihood, may not be rational." ..."
"... It's why many non-experts believe academic economists' pretensions to science and accuracy is BS. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K, January 22, 2017 at 11:46 AM
http://rajivsethi.blogspot.com/2016/12/thomas-schelling-methodological.html

Sethi on Shelling:

"Similarly, in bargaining situations, "the sophisticated negotiator may find it difficult to seem as obstinate as a truly obstinate man." And when faced with a threat, it may be profitable to be known to possess "genuine ignorance, obstinacy or simple disbelief, since it may be more convincing to the prospective threatener."

Starting with three classic papers in the same 1982 issue of the Journal of Economic Theory, a large literature in economics has dealt with the implications for rational behavior of interacting with parties who, with small likelihood, may not be rational."

It's why many non-experts believe academic economists' pretensions to science and accuracy is BS.

Like Simon Wren-Lewis's blog-post the other day defending mainstream economics.

It's like they come up with the political answer they want and then rationalize it via math and rhetoric in a way that would make Kellyanne Conway proud.

[Jan 22, 2017] Economist's View Attacking Economics is a Diversionary Tactic

Simon Wren-Lewis does not understand (or more correctly does not want to understand) that there is no economics, only political economy and that neoclassical economics are stooges and propagandists of the Grand neoliberal Party, which pay them handsomely for role they are playing. Hiding ideology under the smoke screen of economics is not new, but under neoliberalism it is became status quo.
Notable quotes:
"... I have had a sense that during the 1970s conservative economists, "Chicago School" economists, become distinctly influential both in the field of economics and for policy makers. ] ..."
"... Economists have blinkers on. They want to view the economy as an isolated scientific subject, like the interior of a test tube, and treat politics and policy as a sort of exterior force, that can be isolated from the world of the chemist and pushed off-to-one side. ..."
"... It seems fairly clear to me that the two elements--politics and the economy--are obviously continuously co-mingled, and have all sorts of feedback loops running between them. The discipline really consistently and deliberately blinds itself to politics and the dynamics of power, despite the deep entanglement of politcs with everything economic. ..."
"... Wren-Lewis admits that macroeconomists "missed" the impacts of very high financial sector leverage, but finds that now that economists have noticed it, and suggested remedies, that the power of bank lobby prevents those remedies from being enacted. But shouldn't the political power of the finance lobby been a part of economic analysis of the world along with the dangers of the financial sector's use of extreme leverage? Does he think the two phenomena are unrelated? Shouldn't economics pay more attention to the ongoing attempts of various groups to orient government policy in their favor, just like they pay attention to the trade deficit and GDP numbers? ..."
"... I look at politics and the economy and see one thing, not two things, and I am astonished at the extent to which economists focus on the part they like to play with intellectually, while deliberately looking away from what is probably the more important part. Its like economists obsessively focus on the part that can be studied via numbers (money) and dont' want to think about the part that is harder to look quantify (political policy). And there is a political issue there, which Mr. Wren-Lewis, keeps ignoring in his defense of "mainstream economics." ..."
"... The neoclassical economics tendency of not looking at power relationships makes power imbalances and their great influence on economics seem like "givens" or "natural endowments", which is clearly an intellectual sin of omission. Many people, even within the halls of mainstream economics, note economists are "uncomfortable" with distributional issues. ..."
"... I don't see it as attacking economics as science tied to nature, as much as attacking economists who pick one "natural law" and apply it generally far outside the limits for which it applies, ignoring all the other laws that constrain it. ..."
"... "...but failing to ignore their successes,..." ..."
"... Oh you mean the success of being able to raise asset prices without the growth in wages, make education costly and unaffordable without student loans, not chargeable under bankruptcy, spruce up employment figures by not counting the people who have stopped look for jobs because they cannot find one, make people debt serfs, make savers miserable by keeping interest rates at zero and making them take risks that they may not want to take though it is picking pennies in front of a steamroller, keeping wages stagnant for decades and thus impoverishing people. The list of successes is endless and you should be glad we are NOT talking about them. Because if we do, the clan called economists might well be torched. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Attacking Economics is a Diversionary Tactic Simon Wren-Lewis :
... ... ..

7. So given all this, why do some continue to attack economists? On the left there are heterodox economists who want nothing less than revolution, the overthrow of mainstream economics. It is the same revolution that their counterparts were saying was about to happen in the early 1970s when I learnt my first economics. They want people to believe that the bowdlerised version of economics used by neoliberals to support their ideology is in fact mainstream economics.

8. The right on the other hand is uncomfortable when evidence based economics conflicts with their politics. Their response is to attack economists. This is not a new phenomenon, as I showed in connection with the famous letter from 364 economists. With austerity they cherry picked the minority of economists who supported it, and then implemented a policy that even some of them would have disagreed with. (Rogoff did not support the cuts in public investment in 2010/11 which did most of the damage to the UK economy.) The media did the rest of the job for them by hardly ever talking about the majority of economists who did not support austerity.

... ... ...

anne -> anne... , January 21, 2017 at 12:39 PM
So given all this, why do some continue to attack economists? On the left there are heterodox economists who want nothing less than revolution, the overthrow of mainstream economics. It is the same revolution that their counterparts were saying was about to happen in the early 1970s when I learnt my first economics. They want people to believe that the bowdlerised version of economics used by neoliberals to support their ideology is in fact mainstream economics.

-- Simon Wren-Lewis

[ This is an important criticism that as such can surely be further explained and analyzed at length.

The reference to the work of "heterodox economists" in the 1970s is completely unknown to me and I would be interested in knowing more. After all, I have had a sense that during the 1970s conservative economists, "Chicago School" economists, become distinctly influential both in the field of economics and for policy makers. ]

anne -> anne... , January 21, 2017 at 02:28 PM
On the left there are heterodox economists who want nothing less than revolution, the overthrow of mainstream economics....

[ Since my understanding of heterodox economics is that it ranges from cultural to ecological perspectives to various degrees of institutional planning, I do not understand what revolution Simon Wren-Lewis has in mind. Also, again I do not understand what heterodox economics was in the 1970s. ]

pgl -> anne... , January 21, 2017 at 03:21 PM
"heterodox economists" is sort of like "neoliberal". We are talking what political types call a Big Tent. Alas the hyper political types here cast this tent over everyone they might disagree with. Which is sort of Simon's point.
William Meyer : , January 21, 2017 at 12:49 PM
What Wren-Lewis misses, I think, is that something I've noticed in my roughly a decade of reading economic blogs on the Internet. Economists have blinkers on. They want to view the economy as an isolated scientific subject, like the interior of a test tube, and treat politics and policy as a sort of exterior force, that can be isolated from the world of the chemist and pushed off-to-one side.

It seems fairly clear to me that the two elements--politics and the economy--are obviously continuously co-mingled, and have all sorts of feedback loops running between them. The discipline really consistently and deliberately blinds itself to politics and the dynamics of power, despite the deep entanglement of politcs with everything economic.

Wren-Lewis admits that macroeconomists "missed" the impacts of very high financial sector leverage, but finds that now that economists have noticed it, and suggested remedies, that the power of bank lobby prevents those remedies from being enacted. But shouldn't the political power of the finance lobby been a part of economic analysis of the world along with the dangers of the financial sector's use of extreme leverage? Does he think the two phenomena are unrelated? Shouldn't economics pay more attention to the ongoing attempts of various groups to orient government policy in their favor, just like they pay attention to the trade deficit and GDP numbers?

I look at politics and the economy and see one thing, not two things, and I am astonished at the extent to which economists focus on the part they like to play with intellectually, while deliberately looking away from what is probably the more important part. Its like economists obsessively focus on the part that can be studied via numbers (money) and dont' want to think about the part that is harder to look quantify (political policy). And there is a political issue there, which Mr. Wren-Lewis, keeps ignoring in his defense of "mainstream economics."

The neoclassical economics tendency of not looking at power relationships makes power imbalances and their great influence on economics seem like "givens" or "natural endowments", which is clearly an intellectual sin of omission. Many people, even within the halls of mainstream economics, note economists are "uncomfortable" with distributional issues.

Whether they like the implication or not, economists need to acknowledge that this discomfort has a profoundly conservative intellectual bias, in the sense that it make the status quo arrangement of society seem "natural" and "normal", when it is obviously humanly constructed and not in any sense "natural."

So when left-wing people say that economists are defenders and supporters of the current order of things, they have a point: ignoring power relationships and their impact on the world supports the contined existence of those relationships. Mr. Wren-Lewis seems like a nice guy, but he needs to take that simple home truth in. I'm not sure why he seems to struggle so with acknowledging it.

anne -> William Meyer... , January 21, 2017 at 01:04 PM
Really fine criticism.

The sense that the study of economics is a political-economic study appears as a rejection of what is supposed to be technocratic, supposed to be the study of the mechanics of capitalism in a pure frame as though capitalist mechanics were not continually defined. The mechanics of pure capitalism dictates a technocratic politics:

http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2012/08/should-erskine-bowles-be-treasury-secretary-i-say-no.html

August 10, 2012

My judgment isn't a left-wing judgment: it is a technocratic-political judgment. I speak as a card-carrying neoliberal long-run budget-balancer....

-- Brad DeLong

pgl -> William Meyer... , January 21, 2017 at 03:23 PM
The point being we cannot ignore the politics? Simon gets the politics but he still tries to get the analysis straight. I find this to be a very important thing to do but then the hyper political types call getting the analysis right lying. Or something like that.
William Meyer -> pgl... , January 21, 2017 at 05:26 PM
No, you pretty much seem to be missing my point completely. It's not about getting the economics right and the politics right as two separate exercises, it's about taking seriously the interactions between the two. Who knows, maybe if someone had modelled the positive feedback loops between lobbying expenditures, industry-friendly public policy, and industry profits for, say, the financial industry, someone might have correctly predicted the financial crisis of 2008, and perhaps even predicted that it would also be almost impossible for the government to take the necessary action to correct the problem politically, and that this would result in a sluggish economy post-crisis. Whereas, keeping these issues separate as we currently do makes it pretty much a sure bet that no one will have a very good insight into how the real world will unfold in the future.
anne -> William Meyer... , January 21, 2017 at 05:33 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/business/dealbook/george-osborne-britain-blackrock-adviser.html

January 19, 2017

Former Top British Official to Join BlackRock as an Adviser
By CHAD BRAY

The move by George Osborne, the former chancellor of the Exchequer, is the latest example of British politicians taking financial jobs.

anne -> William Meyer... , January 21, 2017 at 05:36 PM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/business/dealbook/george-osborne-britain-blackrock-adviser.html

January 19, 2017

Former Top British Official to Join BlackRock as an Adviser
By CHAD BRAY

Other recent moves from Westminster, where Britain's government is based, to the City, as the historical London financial district is known, include:

William Hague, the former British foreign minister, who this week announced that he was joining Citigroup as a senior adviser.

Alistair Darling, a former member of Parliament and the chancellor before Mr. Osborne, joined Morgan Stanley's board of directors last year.

Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister, joined a global advisory board at Pimco last year. The advisory board's members include Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman.

Tony Blair, the British prime minister before Mr. Brown, joined JPMorgan Chase as a part-time senior adviser in 2008.

Gibbon1 -> pgl... , January 21, 2017 at 06:21 PM
You think what's needed is a perfect plan. You are so wrong because you lack life experience. Tip for the neoliberal pgl from the world of business, engineering, war and politics.

A bad plan executed well beats a good plan executed badly.

pgl -> Gibbon1... , January 22, 2017 at 03:01 AM
A perfect plan? Sorry dude but this is a complete misrepresentation of what we "neoliberals" are saying.
BenIsNotYoda : , January 21, 2017 at 12:58 PM
You want to know why economists are being attacked. The Yellen Fed is rapidly digressing into a political entity. The Fed is allegedly independent of politics, but Janet Yellen's latest statements leave no doubt that she is more of a political operative than an economist.

Three months ago, on October 14 2016, Yellen stated the following:

Yellen Cites Benefits to Running Economy Hot for Some Time

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen offered an argument for running the U.S. economy hot for a period to ensure moribund growth doesn't become an entrenched feature of the business landscape. That would mean letting unemployment fall lower and spurring faster growth to boost consumer spending and business investment.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Compare this language to Yellen's statement from last week.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen backed a strategy for gradually raising interest rates, arguing that the central bank wasn't behind the curve in containing inflation pressures but nevertheless can't afford to allow the economy to run too hot. Still, she saw dangers in permitting the economy to overheat and inflation expectations to get out of control. "Allowing the economy to run markedly and persistently 'hot' would be risky and unwise," she said.

Source: Bloomberg.

So three months ago, running the economy "hot" was a good idea. But today, it's a massive risk that we cannot afford to take.

What changed in those three months?

Core inflation rose 0.1%. And the US closed 2016 with a sub-2% growth rate for the year. Neither of those would qualify as remotely "hot."

The main change? The GOP took the House, Senate, and White House.

Bear in mind, Yellen's statement came a mere 24 hours after then President-elect Donald Trump commented that the US Dollar was "too strong."

So we have a Fed chair performing a 180% on running a "hot" economy within three months and openly defying the new administration's views on the US Dollar at a time when the data doesn't support any of her claims.

Yellen may be seeing something everyone else is not, but it is difficult to see this as anything other than political hackery.

TrumpisaJew -> BenIsNotYoda... , January 21, 2017 at 02:09 PM
Uh dude, CPI is running at 2.1% yry and will rise further when the 2016 oil "mirage" is removed unless we can get another price collapse. Inflation was firming right under your noise.

The economy from a monetary pov is indeed running hot. This is what you do not understand. The structural issues deal with the plutocratic tyranny that began under Reagan and the zionist Trump cabal want to take to another level. Jack London called it the Iron Heel.

BenIsNotYoda -> TrumpisaJew... , January 21, 2017 at 02:40 PM
First of all, core CPI (which according to the Fed is a better measure) has been above 2% level since Nov 2015. So CPI inflation around 2% level is NOT NEW NEWS. If rates should rise because of inflation, then why did she not raise them a lot before? Answer - because Obama was in office. The plan was to get HRC into office and run a high pressure economy with low unemployment and high inflation. That all changed when the GOP won. Those are the facts. Yellen is nothing but a disgusting political operative.

Your handle is offensive. But hey, this is a free country. Or was, till the liberal left decided that the first amendment only applies if you agree with them.

TrumpisaJew -> BenIsNotYoda... , January 21, 2017 at 02:51 PM
liberal left? maybe if you would stop being a fixated little shit and understand how bad "hot" monetary expansions are, you would grow a pair.

The Friedman era is over.

mulp -> BenIsNotYoda... , January 21, 2017 at 03:02 PM
Yet again, bad economics are behind most Fed related policy proclamations justifying and criticizing Fed policy.

Do don't think even Milton Friedman would accept any of it, unless he let politics blind him to what was clear to him in the 50s and 60s.

In the 50s and 60s, he would be debating the cratering velocity, it's causes, and remedies. He would not be blindly calling for increasing or decreasing the growth in money supply.

Scott summer is calling blindly for higher growth in money supply by blindly advocating "NGDP targeting" while ignoring the exporting of "capital" and importing of labor, and ignoring the falling velocity of money.

The two are likely closely tied, in that money created that flows out of the US as "capital" where is pays no workers in the US, thus never adding to US GDP, means the Fed can't boost NGDP.

The reality is the Fed can have no significant impact on the economy by any normal policy moves. Changing the interest rates by purchase and repo trades to US Treasuries at 4% would not impact the economy because of the new market interest rates, but the reaction of interest payers will impact the economy. Everyone assumes higher interest payments will mean less paid to workers, because the way to cut the burden of interest payments is to cut revenue so interest becomes a higher share of revenue. In reality, what is cut is buying goods with future wages and working hard to repay borrowed labor costs. Keynes notes that the individual self interest reaction is both collectively and individually harmful.

The high level of debt from consumption in a growing economy is extremely harmful, yet Fed policy has been promoting job killing debt funded consumption by doing less of what Scott Summer advocates it should do to create jobs.

BenIsNotYoda -> mulp... , January 21, 2017 at 03:12 PM
I am not debating policy. Just pointing out how Yellen has changed her colors as soon as her beloved HRC lost.
pgl -> BenIsNotYoda... , January 21, 2017 at 03:18 PM
She would claim we are now at full employment. But as you may well know - I think we are far from full employment.
BenIsNotYoda -> pgl... , January 21, 2017 at 03:31 PM
You and I are in full agreement that we are NOT at full employment.
BenIsNotYoda -> BenIsNotYoda... , January 21, 2017 at 03:32 PM
and I am incensed that Yellen would think of raising rates quicker just because Trump won.
pgl -> BenIsNotYoda... , January 21, 2017 at 03:36 PM
Fair enough. I think we are in agreement that monetary policy should be based on the state of the economy and not politics even if we have a genuine disagreement about the state of the economy. But at least you and I are having a principled discussion. Something others here should emulate.
anne : , January 21, 2017 at 01:57 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterodox_economics

Heterodox economics refers to methodologies or schools of economic thought that are considered outside of "mainstream economics", often represented by expositors as contrasting with or going beyond neoclassical economics. "Heterodox economics" is an umbrella term used to cover various approaches, schools, or traditions. These include socialist, Marxian, institutional, evolutionary, Georgist, Austrian, feminist, social, post-Keynesian (not to be confused with New Keynesian), and ecological economics among others.

Mainstream economics may be called orthodox or conventional economics by its critics. Alternatively, mainstream economics deals with the "rationality–individualism–equilibrium nexus" and heterodox economics is more "radical" in dealing with the "institutions–history–social structure nexus". Many mainstream economists dismiss heterodox economics as "fringe" and "irrelevant", with little or no influence on the vast majority of academic economists in the English-speaking world.

mulp -> anne... , January 21, 2017 at 02:14 PM
Heterodox is in the eye of the beholder.

It seems mainstream to argue that a high tax rate and costly regulations kill jobs, and that cutting taxes and regulations will create jobs because rewarding higher profits from reducing labor costs far below prices, and eliminating all the labor costs to comply with regulations will create jobs, because lower labor costs mean more workers being paid higher wages.

But can someone explain the mainstream economic theory of reducing labor costs resulting in more workers getting paid more??? Looks like voodoo to me.

anne -> mulp... , January 21, 2017 at 03:00 PM
But can someone explain the mainstream economic theory of reducing labor costs resulting in more workers getting paid more???

[ This is precisely what technological progress has allowed since the beginning of the industrial revolution. ]

Gibbon1 -> anne... , January 21, 2017 at 10:43 PM
Last 40 years though proves that increase in productivity != high wages.
mulp : , January 21, 2017 at 02:08 PM
Echoing Simon, and rehashing my criticisms:

I don't see it as attacking economics as science tied to nature, as much as attacking economists who pick one "natural law" and apply it generally far outside the limits for which it applies, ignoring all the other laws that constrain it.

For example demand price theory and elasticity is sound natural law. It's like Boyles Law of gases. Boyles law applies over a range of pressures and temperature for which the gas remains a gas. It has limits, the point the "gas" becomes liquid or solid.

The idea that lower prices will create jobs applies only for a limited range of prices and quantities, but once outside those bound, lower prices MUST KILL JOBS.

The Laffer curve is an elasticity curve that covers the entire range of tax rates. A carbon tax works by moving up the curve to the point zero tax revenue is generated. The higher the tax, the cheaper it is to pay workers to build substitutes that do not burn fossil fuels, and instead of paying taxes, you pay the cheaper payroll of more workers.

Likewise, a high tax rate on economic aka monopoly profits, and on rents, the cheaper paying workers to build tax dodging depreciating capital becomes, which in the long run increases the capital stock, the product quantity, and thus prices are driven to cost eliminating economic profit and economic rents.

The point of high tax rates, tax rates of 50% and up, is not to raise revenue but to cause paying workers for substitutes.

On the other hand, government is a product, the general welfare, so, to increase the quantity of general welfare, tax rates need to be high enough to pay workers. The cost of general welfare is certainly much less than 50% of the economy in the long run, so tax rates are at all points in the lower part of the Laffer curve so lowering rates will reduce the quantity of general welfare that can be produced. And the general welfare is always from paying workers.

So, economists across the board are pretty universally wrong about tax rates and about prices levels, and the impact of raising and lowering them.

At the micro level, the theory is clear. At the micro level, the principle of zero sum is held as a natural law constraint.

Moving to macro does not eliminate any of the natural laws of micro, but instead moves economics from the micro theory of the two body problem, two bodies of mass rotating about each other, to macro theory of the n-body problem of sun, planets, solar systems, galaxies all rotating around each other. At this level, many natural laws come into play, like general relativity in its many forms including imputing mass to energy, going far beyond Newtonian physics, yet not discarding it.

Macro economists have either blindly and wishfully forgotten or ignored fundamental micro laws, or intentionally eliminated them from the macro proclamations to deceive.


When Bernie Sanders argues a carbon tax can pay for vast welfare state benefits, is he intentionally lying, or has he been deceived by self deceiving economists who wishfully seek a free lunch economic system where money comes from nothing?

When Milton Friedman argued in 1970 lower tax rates would generate the same tax revenue and create more jobs and output, was he intentionally lying, or self deceiving himself?

Milton Friedman in arguing against high tax rates made a point of all the jobs and wage income that resulted from the high tax rates, jobs and income he considered wasteful spending promoted by the tax policy. He even noted that the high wage income increased demand for goods and services, consumption he considered wasteful.

So, as the father of the macro economic policy of tax (rate) cuts, how can it be a policy to boost gdp and jobs to cut taxes as Friedman argued?

Trump seems to latch onto simplified macro economic half baked policy ideas an run with them to the max. The economists who crafted the policy statements he has extracted his proclamations from are horrified by what he is doing with their policy proclamations. Proclamations that are half baked and thus violate natural law.

Take the economists at Econlog from which Trump gets a lot of his economics. They are horrified. Yet their economic "theory" clearly does not work. Trade theory in particular. The micro theory of trade exchanges labor for labor, ie, your labor makes goods traded for goods I make with my labor. But trade today swaps labor for capital, so jobs are moved from one nation to another in exchange for reducing the wealth of the other.

Saudi Arabia is the simplest example. It sells it's natural capital and then imports labor goods at prices lower than Saudi workers can hope to produce them, thus killing jobs in Saudi Arabia. The crisis in Saudi Arabia is a lack of opportunity for the Saudi people who are multiplying as if it were still an undeveloped nation with high mortality rate.

Since Reagan, the US has become more like Saudi Arabia, selling off capital to buy cheap goods from less developed economies where labor is relatively cheaper and sending back capital, killing jobs in the process and eliminating economic opportunity to Trump voters.

Milton Friedman argued that this was a good policy because we as a nation were better off from China effectively gifting us cheap goods and that on the whole, the US is better off from jobs lost in the US. He hinted at using the consumer surplus of cheap imports to pay welfare to those who lost jobs, but those advocating job killing trade imbalance also condemn welfare payments, blaming those who lost jobs as being at fault.

So, Trump is going back to micro economics and promising to make sure trade is going to create jobs in the US. But he also grabs onto and clings to the cheap price concept that requires killing jobs. Trump is going to ensure energy is cheap, which means he will never ban oil imports or put a $50 a barrel tariff on oil imports.

What policy could Trump do to create jobs quickly? A $50 a barrel tariff on imported oil, say phase it in over a year, $20 starting April 1, $30 July 1, $40 Oct 1, $50 Jan 1 2018. This time, ExxonMobil will not have high profits from $4 gasoline and heating oil because they will be paying 25,000 more direct workers to drill baby frack, plus ten times as many supporting jobs, as they build assets they can rapidly depreciate or expense to wipe out taxable profits. At the same time, incumbents drillers will return to high gear. If Trump rebates a tariff on exported refined oil products, it would delay NAFTA sanctions as oil products consumed in Mexico and Canada will be cheaper but exports will not be reduced much. On the global market, the results will be devastating with oil prices crashing. Putin would likely target Trump for going to war on the Russian people and economy.

Bernie would likely attack Trump for his policy hiking the price of heating oil to the working poor of Vermont. But you can't pay more American workers without higher energy prices. Vermont's working poor will end up with better pay if energy efficiency investments are made in Vermont because neither Chinese nor Saudi workers can eliminate the need for oil to keep housing warm in Vermont.

And the $50 a barrel tariff on imported oil will generate no revenue for government to spend by 2020 if oil product exports get tariff rebates.

anne : , January 21, 2017 at 02:19 PM
https://mainly macro.blogspot.com/2017/01/attacking-economics-is-diversionary.html

January 21, 2017

Attacking economics is a diversionary tactic

The financial crisis in the UK was the result of losses by banks on overseas assets, originating from the collapse in the US subprime market. It was not a result of excessive borrowing by UK consumers, firms or our government. As the Bank's Ben Broadbent points out, "Thanks to the international exposure of its banks the UK has been, in some sense, a "net importer" of the financial crisis." This overseas lending caused a crisis because banks were far too highly levered, and so could not absorb these losses and had to be bailed out by the government.

This is why UK macroeconomists failed to pick up the impending crisis. They did routinely monitor personal, corporate and government borrowing, but not the amount of bank leverage. Macroeconomists generally acknowledge that they were at fault in ignoring the crucial role that financial sector leverage can play in influencing the macroeconomy. There has been a huge increase in the amount of research on these finance-macro linkages since the crisis.

But supposing economists had ensured that they knew about the increase in bank leverage and had collectively warned of the dangers of excessive risk taking that this represented. Would it have made any difference? There are good reasons for thinking it would not.

The main evidence for this is what has happened after the crisis. Admati and Hellweg have written persuasively that we need a huge increase in bank capital requirements to bring the 'too big to fail' problem to an end and avoid a future banking crisis, and the work of David Miles in the UK has a similar message. I have not come across an academic economist who seriously dissents from this analysis, but it has no impact on policy at all. The power of the banking lobby is just too strong....

KPl : , January 21, 2017 at 11:37 PM
"...but failing to ignore their successes,..."

Oh you mean the success of being able to raise asset prices without the growth in wages, make education costly and unaffordable without student loans, not chargeable under bankruptcy, spruce up employment figures by not counting the people who have stopped look for jobs because they cannot find one, make people debt serfs, make savers miserable by keeping interest rates at zero and making them take risks that they may not want to take though it is picking pennies in front of a steamroller, keeping wages stagnant for decades and thus impoverishing people. The list of successes is endless and you should be glad we are NOT talking about them. Because if we do, the clan called economists might well be torched.

DeDude : , January 22, 2017 at 06:51 AM
If you attack the idea of facts, knowledge and expertise, then it becomes a lot easier to manipulate people and society.

[Jan 22, 2017] Is Global Equality the Enemy of National Equality

Notable quotes:
"... You can't get something from nothing but, believe it or not, the money is there, somewhere to make $10 jobs into $20. Bottom 45% of earners take 10% of overall income; down from 20% since 1980 (roughly -- worst be from 1973 but nobody seems to use that); top 1% take 20%; double the 10% from 1980. ..."
"... Top 1% share doubled -- of 50% larger pie! ..."
"... One of many remedies: majority run politics wont hesitate to transfer a lot of that lately added 10% from the 1% back to the 54% who now take 70% -- who can transfer it on down to the 45% by paying higher retail prices -- with Eisenhower level income tax. In any case per capita income grows more than 10% over one decade to cover 55%-to-45% income shifting. ..."
"... Not to mention other ways -- multiple efficiencies -- to get multiple-10%'s back: squeezing out financialization; sniffing out things like for-profit edus (unions providing the personnel quantity necessary to keep up with society's many schemers; snuffing out $100,000 Hep C treatments that cost $150 to make (unions supplying the necessary volume of lobbying and political financing; less (mostly gone) poverty = mostly gone crime and its criminal justice expenses. ..."
"... IOW, labor unions = a normal country. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Denis Drew : January 22, 2017 at 02:01 PM
Simple, adequate if not perfect -- but adequate -- answer -- in any rate the only answer by now -- to losing manufacturing jobs to outsourcing or automation:

Doubling of per capita income since 1968 -- when fed min wage was $11 -- means the labor market will support; means the ultimate consumer will pony up for a high enough price: to allow most jobs (e.g., stacking shelves at WalMart) to pay $20 (jobs that now pay $10).

THE MONEY IS THERE SOMEWHERE

You can't get something from nothing but, believe it or not, the money is there, somewhere to make $10 jobs into $20. Bottom 45% of earners take 10% of overall income; down from 20% since 1980 (roughly -- worst be from 1973 but nobody seems to use that); top 1% take 20%; double the 10% from 1980.

Top 1% share doubled -- of 50% larger pie!

One of many remedies: majority run politics wont hesitate to transfer a lot of that lately added 10% from the 1% back to the 54% who now take 70% -- who can transfer it on down to the 45% by paying higher retail prices -- with Eisenhower level income tax. In any case per capita income grows more than 10% over one decade to cover 55%-to-45% income shifting.

Not to mention other ways -- multiple efficiencies -- to get multiple-10%'s back: squeezing out financialization; sniffing out things like for-profit edus (unions providing the personnel quantity necessary to keep up with society's many schemers; snuffing out $100,000 Hep C treatments that cost $150 to make (unions supplying the necessary volume of lobbying and political financing; less (mostly gone) poverty = mostly gone crime and its criminal justice expenses.

IOW, labor unions = a normal country.

ALSO HEALTH CARE IS GROWING BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS AND CAN TAKE UP MANUFACTURING'S SLACK.

Males need to be less afraid of formerly "feminine" rolls like nurse. Was in urgent-care walk in last week -- nurses or something like: one, big guy with dagger into skull tattoo on one forearm, "RESPECT" on other. Other looked very male too. Health care conveniently for labor market spread evenly everywhere -- hopefully to be covered by gov (next Dem Congress).

HERE'S HOW TO UNION-UP

America should feel perfectly free to rebuild labor union density one state at a time -- making union busting a felony. Republicans will have no place to hide.

Suppose the 1935 Congress passed the NLRA(a) intending to leave any criminal sanctions for obstructing union organizing to the states. Might have been because NLRB(b) conducted union elections take place local by local (not nationwide) and Congress could have opined states would deal more efficiently with home conditions -- or whatever. What extra words might Congress have needed to add to today's actual bill? Actually, today's identical NLRA wording would have sufficed perfectly.

Suppose, again, that under the RLA (Railroad Labor Act -- covers railroads and airlines, FedEx) -- wherein elections are conducted nationally -- that Congress desired to forbid states criminalizing the firing of organizers -- how could Congress have worded such a preemption (assuming it was constitutionally valid)? Shouldn't matter to us. Congress did not!

Note well: it is not mostly the organizer's job loss to be punished; it is much more the interference with all employees' bargaining power -- working them for less.

For more musings on what and how else to dump the Trump boys by banging loudly and everywhere on the labor union drum, see here (work permanently in progress): http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

Ann; you know often I do 4,000-5,000 spam mails -- mostly journalists, state legislators, unions -- if I get one or two click-backs of something of my own that's good.

This one I only sent out maybe 2,000 -- concentrated mostly on Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota -- and this week got an unheard of 80 click-backs on this link (hopefully some looked at the blog too).

So, maybe something's stirring. So try to relax -- all in fun. :-) Planning to blanket every state -- may take couple of months.

anne -> Denis Drew ... , January 22, 2017 at 02:15 PM
I will always support your work, even if I complain.
anne -> Denis Drew ... , January 22, 2017 at 02:17 PM
http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2016/12/wet-backs-and-narrow-backs-irish.html

December 16, 2016

Wet backs and narrow backs (Irish immigrants' native born kiddies)
By Denis Drew

[Jan 22, 2017] All oil producers will eventually need $75-$80 per barrel to maintain the current level of production, to say nothing to expand it.

Notable quotes:
"... Saudi Arabia's oil minister Khalid Al-Falih says it may not be necessary to extend the deal reached by the group and some non-member nations to cut oil supply by around 1.8 million barrels a day beyond its initial six months, and that doing so could create a shortage. That seems a very quick and painless solution to an oversupply problem that has bedeviled the oil market for the past two years, brought several producers to the brink of collapse and tipped others over it. ..."
"... Saudi oil usage has dropped as natural gas replaces around a third of what it uses for power generation ..."
"... But that changed last year. The start-up of the Wasit gas plant allowed the kingdom to slash the use of crude in power generation by as much as a third -- freeing that oil up for export. In addition, the kingdom cut fuel subsidies, pushing down oil consumption by 2 percent year-on-year in the first eleven months of 2016. That's the first dip since at least 2003, when JODI records begin. ..."
"... In other words oil producers can not afford more then a decade or so with the current oil prices. That means the price in 2026 should be closer to $100 then to $50 per barrel. ..."
"... Also existing wells decline at the rate that can vary from 2% to 16% per year (shale oil) unless you use infill drilling and other measures to stem the decline. The latter requires money or access to junk bond market (business model for the USA shale oil producers). ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
im1dc : January 22, 2017 at 10:44 AM
, 2017 at 10:44 AM
This is intriguing breaking Crude Oil information and news we need to be aware of

https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2017-01-22/why-saudi-arabia-may-walk-away-from-opec-deal-by-june

"Why Saudi Arabia May Unravel OPEC's Big Deal"

By *Julian Lee...Jan 22, 2017...3:00 AM EST

"OPEC's big drama may well be just a one-act light opera.

Saudi Arabia's oil minister Khalid Al-Falih says it may not be necessary to extend the deal reached by the group and some non-member nations to cut oil supply by around 1.8 million barrels a day beyond its initial six months, and that doing so could create a shortage. That seems a very quick and painless solution to an oversupply problem that has bedeviled the oil market for the past two years, brought several producers to the brink of collapse and tipped others over it.

It took a lot for the Saudis to agree to this deal in November, but the rationale seemed at least to make sense. Brimming supply had created financial difficulties for the kingdom, and also complicated the forthcoming IPO of a small part of Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Crude Exports

Crude oil exports hit a 13-year high in November, as OPEC met to agree output cuts

Graphic

The latest numbers from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative offer a different, and compelling, narrative. It turns out that, as the deal was being thrashed out, Saudi Arabia was enjoying a 35-year high in total oil exports.

One big factor was a huge drop in the amount of oil the country needs to burn to generate electricity. The punishing Saudi summers boost demand for electricity -- mostly to run air-conditioners -- to a level that previously required vast amounts of oil-fired generating capacity to be brought into use. The direct burning of crude oil in power stations would roughly double to about 900,000 barrels a day at the height of the season.

Burning Crude

Saudi oil usage has dropped as natural gas replaces around a third of what it uses for power generation

Graphic

But that changed last year. The start-up of the Wasit gas plant allowed the kingdom to slash the use of crude in power generation by as much as a third -- freeing that oil up for export. In addition, the kingdom cut fuel subsidies, pushing down oil consumption by 2 percent year-on-year in the first eleven months of 2016. That's the first dip since at least 2003, when JODI records begin.

This left Saudi Arabia with an embarrassment of riches as the OPEC negotiations were underway last year. Unless it cut output, it would start flooding the market during the first half of 2017. The stars were aligned for it to solve the problem by persuading others to share the burden in a way that has not been seen since the financial crisis of 2008, while at the same time restoring its credentials as a team player within OPEC.
Demand Contraction

We really don't know, and never will, what the true Saudi motivation for agreeing to production cuts was or is. But this new read on the Saudis' motivations for agreeing to the deal has the benefit of explaining why Al-Falih is looking for a six-month time line and why the kingdom has been prepared to make such a deep cut in its production. Its surplus will have disappeared by that time, at which point it can start to boost production again in order to get exports back to the level it wants to maintain.

Such a move could easily be the catalyst for the whole deal to fall apart by June. And there's no way the global backlog of inventory will be dealt with at that time. This seems a situation designed to antagonize the rest of the group and create a raft of bad feeling.

If maintaining exports is more important to Saudi Arabia than balancing the market, then so is a willingness to back out on a hard-won deal that took the kingdom and its partners a lot of political capital to achieve."

'This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners'

*Julian Lee is an oil strategist for Bloomberg First Word. Previously he worked as a senior analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies

libezkova -> im1dc... , January 22, 2017 at 02:04 PM
"*Julian Lee is an oil strategist for Bloomberg First Word. Previously he worked as a senior analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies"

That tells you a lot. Bloomberg playing oil short for the last two and half years and probably will continue to do so.

For Us shale oil "break even" price is over $55. For oil sands this "price red line" is probably higher -- $65 per barrel or more.

One cent lower gas prices for a year mean one billion saved for the USA economy. So this "oil stimulus" for the last two and half years of Obama presidency was simply enormous. And in this sense playing Iran card was probably the most brilliant move Obama ever made. That's probably why economy looks slightly better right now and we are not in the recession. So all Yellen noises about 2017 rate hikes are what they are -- politically inspired noise.

In 2017 "oil stimulus" will decline. EIA average for WTI are $43.33 for 2016 and $52.50 for 2017 (forecast), the rise of around 20%. That's around 200 billion taken from the US economy. Oil closed Friday 53.18, so EIA forecast for 2017 might be too conservative.

The key problem with "low oil price forever" hypothesis this is that there are very few places where you can get oil out of the ground for less then $55 per barrel and get a reasonable profit (or balance state budget for oil states).

And BTW Saudis needs around $75-80 per barrel to balance the budget. Probably more (close to $100 per barrel) with Yemen war. Their own oil consumption also continue to grow.

They can sell oil below this price point only as long as they have foreign currency reserves and can accumulate debt. If they tighten the belts they can probably survive on $55-$65 per barrel. But no more military adventures and huge purchases of arms from the USA. Parasitic Saudi nobility appetites also need to be curbed.

And KSA case is pretty much what we can expect in the future: all oil producers will eventually need $75-$80 per barrel to maintain the current level of production, to say nothing to expand it.

And the world consumption still grow annually by 1-1.5 Mb/d (million barrels per day) and this pace will probably continue for the next decade.

In other words oil producers can not afford more then a decade or so with the current oil prices. That means the price in 2026 should be closer to $100 then to $50 per barrel.

Also existing wells decline at the rate that can vary from 2% to 16% per year (shale oil) unless you use infill drilling and other measures to stem the decline. The latter requires money or access to junk bond market (business model for the USA shale oil producers).

Exploration requires money too and all of this stopped in 2015 with the negative effects probably three-four years down the road.

It is also not unconceivable that we are close to so called "Seneca Cliff" when all those stop gap measures will stop working simultaneously and we enter the phase of a steep decline.

[Jan 22, 2017] It's urgent Democrats stop squabbling and recognize seven basic truths:

Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova : January 22, 2017 at 10:12 AM , 2017 at 10:12 AM
Robert Reich:

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/reich-7-hard-truths-democrats-future-bleak-without-radical-reforms

It's urgent Democrats stop squabbling and recognize seven basic truths:

1. The Party is on life support. Democrats are in the minority in both the House and Senate, with no end in sight. Since the start of the Obama Administration they've lost 1,034 state and federal seats. They hold only governorships, and face 32 state legislatures fully under GOP control. No one speaks for the party as a whole. The Party's top leaders are aging, and the back bench is thin.

The future is bleak unless the Party radically reforms itself. If Republicans do well in the 2018 midterms, they'll control Congress and the Supreme Court for years. If they continue to hold most statehouses, they could entrench themselves for a generation.

2. We are now in a populist era. The strongest and most powerful force in American politics is a rejection of the status quo, a repudiation of politics as usual, and a deep and profound distrust of elites, including the current power structure of America.

That force propelled Donald Trump into the White House. He represents the authoritarian side of populism. Bernie Sanders's primary campaign represented the progressive side.

The question hovering over America's future is which form of populism will ultimately prevail. At some point, hopefully, Trump voters will discover they've been hoodwinked. Even in its purist form, authoritarian populism doesn't work because it destroys democracy. Democrats must offer the alternative.

3. The economy is not working for most Americans. The economic data show lower unemployment and higher wages than eight years ago, but the typical family is still poorer today than it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation; median weekly earning are no higher than in 2000; a large number of working-age people-mostly men-have dropped out of the labor force altogether; and job insecurity is endemic.

Inequality is wider and its consequences more savage in America than in any other advanced nation.

4. The Party's moneyed establishment-big donors, major lobbyists, retired members of Congress who have become bundlers and lobbyists-are part of the problem. Even though many consider themselves "liberal" and don't recoil from an active government, their preferred remedies spare corporations and the wealthiest from making any sacrifices.

The moneyed interests in the Party allowed the deregulation of Wall Street and then encouraged the bailout of the Street. They're barely concerned about the growth of tax havens, inside trading, increasing market power in major industries (pharmaceuticals, telecom, airlines, private health insurers, food processors, finance, even high tech), and widening inequality.

Meanwhile, they've allowed labor unions to shrink to near irrelevance. Unionized workers used to be the ground troops of the Democratic Party. In the 1950s, more than a third of all private-sector workers were unionized; today, fewer than 7 percent are.

5. It's not enough for Democrats to be "against Trump," and defend the status quo. Democrats have to fight like hell against regressive policies Trump wants to put in place, but Democrats also need to fight for a bold vision of what the nation must achieve-like expanding Social Security, and financing the expansion by raising the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes; Medicare for all; and world-class free public education for all.

And Democrats must diligently seek to establish countervailing power-stronger trade unions, community banks, more incentives for employee ownership and small businesses, and electoral reforms that get big money out of politics and expand the right to vote.

6. The life of the Party-its enthusiasm, passion, youth, principles, and ideals-was elicited by Bernie Sanders's campaign. This isn't to denigrate what Hillary Clinton accomplished-she did, after all, win the popular vote in the presidential election by almost 3 million people. It's only to recognize what all of us witnessed: the huge outpouring of excitement that Bernie's campaign inspired, especially from the young. This is the future of the Democratic Party.

7. The Party must change from being a giant fundraising machine to a movement.It needs to unite the poor, working class, and middle class, black and white-who haven't had a raise in 30 years, and who feel angry, powerless, and disenfranchised.

ilsm -> libezkova... , January 22, 2017 at 11:02 AM
1. the party is run by crooks

2. the party is f the bankers

3. our bankers are doing very well

4. our bankers are the party

5. we don't have anything that sells except for our bankers

6. DNC crooks are the life of the party

7. party needs more GLBT and abortion issues to get the plundered to buy in

Peter K. -> libezkova... , January 22, 2017 at 11:29 AM
Some uncomfortable truths from Reich.

"6. The life of the Party-its enthusiasm, passion, youth, principles, and ideals-was elicited by Bernie Sanders's campaign."

point -> libezkova... , January 22, 2017 at 11:44 AM
Cruising all my lefty bookmarked sites, this is the only one (Reich's bog) that comes even close to saying the Democratic Party is risking permanent irrelevance unless sufficient grass roots anger topples the leadership wholesale and rebuilds from the bottom.
Peter K. -> point... , January 22, 2017 at 11:50 AM
That's what happened to the Republican party. Trump toppled the establishment by tapping into people's anger about the "carnage." Now we'll see what he actually does. I don't think think even he knows what he'll do.

Meanwhile establishment Democrats deny that there is any carnage.

Brexit and Trump only happened b/c of a weird uptick in racism and sexism. B/c of social media.

LOLWUT?

[Jan 22, 2017] Disruption of neoliberal status quo and sending Hillary and some other neocon warmongers packing is already an imporatn Trump achievement, not matter how successful he might be in domestic economic policy

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's success of failure will be measured by one thing: number of factory jobs added or lost, series MANEMP at the St. Louis FRED website.* If he doesn't create at least about 100,000 a year, he's in trouble. ..."
"... Disruption of neoliberal status quo and sending Hillary and some other neocon warmongers packing is already an achievement, not matter how you slice it. ..."
"... And a hissy fit that some factions of CIA demonstrated just before inauguration (it should not be considered as a monolithic organization; more like feudal kingdom of competing and often hostile to each other and to Pentagon and FBI factions ) was a reaction to this setback to neoconservatives in Washington. ..."
"... If Trump does what he promised in foreign policy: to end the wars for the expansion of neoliberal empire and to end of Cold War II with Russia it will be a huge achievement, even if the US economics not recover from Obama's secular stagnation (oil prices probably will go higher this year, representing an important headwind) . ..."
"... While we are writing those posts nuclear forces of both the USA and Russia are on high alert, and if something happen (and proliferation of computers make this more rather then less likely), the leaders of both countries have less then 20 minutes to decide about launching a full scale nuclear war. Actually Russia now has less time because of forward movement of NATO forces. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
New Deal democrat -> Fred C. Dobbs...January 22, 2017 at 07:10 AM
Trump's success of failure will be measured by one thing: number of factory jobs added or lost, series MANEMP at the St. Louis FRED website.* If he doesn't create at least about 100,000 a year, he's in trouble.

*assuming the data continues to be reported if it goes south on him, or he doesn't insist that the method of measuring change. Something that is a real fear.

Slightly OT, there is one well-known wonky government data site I am watching. I think there are better than 50/50 odds it disappears within the next two weeks.

libezkova -> New Deal democrat... , January 22, 2017 at 09:04 AM
Disruption of neoliberal status quo and sending Hillary and some other neocon warmongers packing is already an achievement, not matter how you slice it.

And a hissy fit that some factions of CIA demonstrated just before inauguration (it should not be considered as a monolithic organization; more like feudal kingdom of competing and often hostile to each other and to Pentagon and FBI factions ) was a reaction to this setback to neoconservatives in Washington.

If Trump does what he promised in foreign policy: to end the wars for the expansion of neoliberal empire and to end of Cold War II with Russia it will be a huge achievement, even if the US economics not recover from Obama's secular stagnation (oil prices probably will go higher this year, representing an important headwind) .

No further escalation in geopolitical conflicts represents an important tailwind and might help.

While we are writing those posts nuclear forces of both the USA and Russia are on high alert, and if something happen (and proliferation of computers make this more rather then less likely), the leaders of both countries have less then 20 minutes to decide about launching a full scale nuclear war. Actually Russia now has less time because of forward movement of NATO forces.

Professor Stephen Cohen thinks that this is worse then Cuban Missile Crisis and he is an expert in this area.

[Jan 22, 2017] Bernie Sanders just said on CBS that he is ready to work with Trump on lowering drug price, infrastrcture projects and better trade deals

Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
BenIsNotYoda : , January 22, 2017 at 07:59 AM
Bernie Sanders just said on CBS that he is ready to work with Trump on
1) lowering drug prices by purchasing drugs from abroad and Medicare negotiate prices
2) infrastructure projects
3) better trade deals

Lets see if entrenched interests in the GOP and Democrat party let them work together. My guess is NOT.
What that would accomplish is lay bare the corruption that is part of both parties.

Peter K. -> BenIsNotYoda... , January 22, 2017 at 08:31 AM
Let's see if Trump actually wants to do any of those things Sanders wants. In other words will he "reach across the aisle."

Let's see if Republicans in Congress cooperate.

I think it's unlikely although not impossible (as Krugman etc do)

Trump thinks of himself as a reality TV star. He likes the drama. But he seems to have no interest in the details of policy. He found the border tax his advisers were floating as too complicated.

[Jan 22, 2017] The policy of imperialism threatens to change the temper of our people, and to put us into a permanent attitude of arrogance, testiness, and defiance towards other nations

Notable quotes:
"... Alarmed by the spread of anti-imperialist ideas, Lodge invited his closest friend, Governor Theodore Roosevelt of New York, to join him in Boston to launch a counterattack. On Oct. 31, 1899, both spoke to the Republican Club of Massachusetts at the cavernous Music Hall on Winter Street. "We have got to put down the insurrection!" Roosevelt cried. "If we are men, we can't do otherwise!" Lodge portrayed anti-imperialists as not only defeatist, but complicit in the killing of American soldiers. ..."
"... Tides ran in favor of the expansionist idea. Prominent anti-imperialists lost elections. War in the Philippines slowly reached its bloody end. Americans began focusing on other problems. The United States had leaped from continental empire to overseas empire. ..."
"... That war - which is actually a war against war - has never ended. The debate over American intervention abroad, which began at Faneuil Hall in 1898, is still raging. It will shape the new administration in Washington and, through it, the world. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs :

How (When?) Boston fought the empire
http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/01/22/how-boston-fought-empire/mWNyIXXDIdogeh9guKDnzN/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - Stephen Kinzer - January 22, 2017

Where better to launch a patriotic uprising than Faneuil Hall in Boston? It is a lodestone of American liberty, a cathedral for freedom fighters. That is why a handful of eminent Bostonians chose it as the place to begin a new rebellion on the sunny afternoon of June 15, 1898.

Like all Americans, they had been dizzied by the astonishing events of recent weeks. Their country had suddenly burst beyond its natural borders. American troops had landed in Cuba. American warships had bombarded Puerto Rico. An American expeditionary force was steaming toward the distant Philippine Islands. Hawaii seemed about to fall to American power. President William McKinley had called for 200,000 volunteers to fight in foreign wars. Fervor for the new idea of overseas expansion gripped the United States.

This prospect thrilled some Americans. It horrified others. Their debate gripped the nation. The country's best-known political and intellectual leaders took sides. In the history of US foreign policy, this is truly the mother of all debates.

When we argue over whether we should depose a government in Iraq or Syria or Libya, whether we should wage war in Afghanistan, whether we should encourage the bombing of Yemen, or whether we should seek to bend Russia to our will, we are arguing the same question that was at the center of this original debate. Every argument about foreign intervention that we make today - on both sides - was first made in the period around 1898. Today's debates are amazingly precise repetitions of that first one. The central question is the same: Should the United States project power into faraway lands? Yes, to guarantee our prosperity, save innocent lives, liberate the oppressed, and confront danger before it reaches our shores! No, intervention brings suffering and creates enemies!

Boston was the epicenter of that original debate. Bostonians played such a large role in the national debate that one California newspaper called anti-imperialists "the kicking Bostonese." Several hundred of them turned out for the Faneuil Hall meeting. One speaker, the Rev. Charles Ames, a theologian and Unitarian pastor, warned that the moment the United States seized a foreign land, it would "sacrifice the principles on which the Republic was founded."

The policy of imperialism threatens to change the temper of our people, and to put us into a permanent attitude of arrogance, testiness, and defiance towards other nations. ... Once we enter the field of international conflict as a great military and naval power, we shall be one more bully among bullies. We shall only add one more to the list of oppressors of mankind.

At the end of that afternoon, one of the meeting's organizers came to the podium and read a resolution. "Resolved, that the mission of the United States is to help the world by an example of successful self-government, and that to abandon the principles and the policy under which we have prospered, and embrace the doctrine and practices now called imperial, is to enter the path which, with other great republics, has ended in the downfall of free institutions," it declared. "Resolved, that our first duty is to cure the evils in our own country." The resolution was adopted by acclamation.

At the very moment these words were shaking Faneuil Hall, debate on the same question - overseas expansion - was reaching a climax in Congress. It is a marvelous coincidence: The first anti-imperialist rally in American history was held on the same day that Congress voted, also for the first time, on whether the United States should take an overseas colony. The colony in question was Hawaii, but all understood that the real question was immensely greater. It was nothing less than the future of the Republic: whether or not the United States should become a global military power and seek to shape the fate of faraway lands.

On that day, as expected, the House of Representatives voted to annex Hawaii. Yet the great debate had only begun. Working from offices in Boston, anti-imperialists spent the summer and fall of 1898 writing letters to potential sympathizers across the country.

Their work came to fruition on Nov. 18, when an eager crowd packed a law office on Milk Street to witness the founding of the Anti-Imperialist League. George Boutwell, who had been a passionate abolitionist as well as a congressman, US senator, and governor of Massachusetts, was chosen by acclimation as the league's first president. In his mind, every abolitionist was a natural anti-imperialist, since anyone who opposed keeping human beings as slaves must also oppose ruling other peoples against their will.

At the end of 1898, American negotiators forced the defeated Spanish to sign the Treaty of Paris, in which they surrendered Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. On Jan. 4, 1899, President McKinley submitted the treaty for Senate ratification. That set off a monthlong debate over what one senator called "the greatest question that has ever been presented to the American people." The dominant figure on each side was a brilliantly articulate Republican senator from Massachusetts.

George Frisbie Hoar of Worcester led the anti-imperialist charge. The United States, he insisted, must not "rush madly upon this new career," lest it become "a cheap-jack country raking after the cart for the leavings of European tyranny." He ended his speech in a crescendo: "The poor Malay, the poor African, the downtrodden workman of Europe will exclaim, as he reads this new doctrine: 'Good God! Is there not one place left on earth where, in right of my manhood, I can stand up and be a man?' "

Hoar's sharpest opponent was Henry Cabot Lodge of Beacon Hill and Nahant. Lodge told the Senate that since many foreign peoples were unequipped to govern themselves wisely, they should submit to American guidance and trust "the American people, who have never failed in any great duty or feared to face any responsibility, to deal with them in that spirit of justice, humanity, and liberty which has made us all that we are today or can ever hope to be."

From their bustling office on Kilby Street, leaders of the Anti-Imperialist League fed information to friendly senators and heavily lobbied the handful who remained undecided. The league also published a stream of pamphlets, called Liberty Tracts, aimed at bringing its arguments to a larger audience. Often their titles were questions. "Which shall it be, nation or empire?" asked one. Another: "Is it right for this country to kill the natives of a foreign land because they wish to govern themselves?"

On Feb. 6, 1899, despite these intense efforts, senators ratified the Treaty of Paris - by just one vote more than the required two-thirds majority. Armed rebellion broke out immediately in the Philippines. Tens of thousands of American troops were sent to suppress it. President McKinley faced a difficult task: explain to a divided nation why taking foreign lands was no betrayal of the American idea. He decided to deliver a speech in Boston, home of the Anti-Imperialist League and thus the heart of enemy territory. To assure himself a friendly audience, however, he chose as his platform the Home Market Club, one of the country's most potent agglomerations of corporate power.

A crowd led by Mayor Josiah Quincy cheered as McKinley emerged from South Station around midday on Feb. 15, 1899. The next night, nearly two thousand guests packed Mechanics Hall for the largest banquet ever staged in the United States. In his speech, McKinley asserted that the essential goodness of the American people is the supreme and sole necessary justification of whatever the United States chooses to do in the world. This goodness, he acknowledged, might not be clear to the "misguided Filipino," but soon the islands would prosper under the rule "not of their American masters, but of their American emancipators."

"Did we need their consent to perform a great act for humanity?" he asked. "We had it in every aspiration of their minds, in every hope of their hearts."

These words disgusted the philosopher William James. In an anguished letter to Boston newspapers, he called McKinley's speech a "shamefully evasive" attempt to obscure the central truth of the age: "We are cold-bloodedly, wantonly, and abominably destroying the soul of a people who never did us an atom of harm in their lives. It is bald, brutal piracy."

Alarmed by the spread of anti-imperialist ideas, Lodge invited his closest friend, Governor Theodore Roosevelt of New York, to join him in Boston to launch a counterattack. On Oct. 31, 1899, both spoke to the Republican Club of Massachusetts at the cavernous Music Hall on Winter Street. "We have got to put down the insurrection!" Roosevelt cried. "If we are men, we can't do otherwise!" Lodge portrayed anti-imperialists as not only defeatist, but complicit in the killing of American soldiers.

"I vote with the army that wears the uniform and carries the flag of my country," he said. "When the enemy has yielded and the war is over, we can discuss other matters!"

Tides ran in favor of the expansionist idea. Prominent anti-imperialists lost elections. War in the Philippines slowly reached its bloody end. Americans began focusing on other problems. The United States had leaped from continental empire to overseas empire.

"Well, we are defeated for the time," admitted the Cambridge anti-imperialist Charles Eliot Norton. "But the war is not ended, and we are enlisted for the war."

That war - which is actually a war against war - has never ended. The debate over American intervention abroad, which began at Faneuil Hall in 1898, is still raging. It will shape the new administration in Washington and, through it, the world.

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 22, 2017 at 07:23 AM
Few want Manifest Destiny to stop short of an American world.
anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , -1
Splendid essay.

[Jan 22, 2017] Jack Ma said the poor plight of American economy was due to the costly wars waged by Washington and has nothing to do with trade ties with Beijing

Notable quotes:
"... Jack Ma said the poor plight of American economy was due to the costly wars waged by Washington and has nothing to do with trade ties with Beijing. The US adopted a strategy to control intellectual property rights and select brands three decades ago, leaving lower-level works to the rest of the world.... Microsoft and IBM have created hundreds of millions in profits through globalisation. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
jonny bakho -> ilsm... , January 22, 2017 at 09:41 AM
FWIW from Jack Ma Aliba founder:

Jack Ma said the poor plight of American economy was due to the costly wars waged by Washington and has nothing to do with trade ties with Beijing. The US adopted a strategy to control intellectual property rights and select brands three decades ago, leaving lower-level works to the rest of the world.... Microsoft and IBM have created hundreds of millions in profits through globalisation.

This large sum could have been invested in infrastructure and employment, but was instead put towards 13 wars, he said. The US simply failed to allot the funds reasonably." , Ma said his meeting with Trump was much more productive than expected the discussions mainly focused on .... American enterprises selling in Asia through Alibaba's platform, which will provide about one million jobs for Americans in various ways.

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/JrmTPAOTPEFwXT2xGujjQN/Blame-costly-wars-not-China-for-poor-state-of-US-economy.html

ilsm -> jonny bakho... , January 22, 2017 at 10:34 AM
What have we got for $4.6T since 2001? Security from Taliban!

I agree, wars* are opportunity lost and should only be entered in to when society is in harm's way.

US since Pearl Harbor has used the fake excuse+ that any attack on Osan or Estonia is a threat to its existence.

+Unwarranted influence was paid at huge expense to the US at large.

*Eternal vigilance and preparedness for wars is hugely profitable and wasteful to those not profiting.

anne -> jonny bakho... , January 22, 2017 at 12:01 PM
http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2016/Costs%20of%20War%20through%202016%20FINAL%20final%20v2.pdf

September, 2016

US Budgetary Costs of Wars through 2016: $4.79 Trillion and Counting
Summary of Costs of the US Wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan and Homeland Security

By Neta C. Crawford

Summary

Wars cost money before, during and after they occur - as governments prepare for, wage, and recover from them by replacing equipment, caring for the wounded and repairing the infrastructure destroyed in the fighting. Although it is rare to have a precise accounting of the costs of war - especially of long wars - one can get a sense of the rough scale of the costs by surveying the major categories of spending.

As of August 2016, the US has already appropriated, spent, or taken on obligations to spend more than $3.6 trillion in current dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and on Homeland Security (2001 through fiscal year 2016). To this total should be added the approximately $65 billion in dedicated war spending the Department of Defense and State Department have requested for the next fiscal year, 2017, along with an additional nearly $32 billion requested for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, and estimated spending on veterans in future years. When those are included, the total US budgetary cost of the wars reaches $4.79 trillion....

[Jan 22, 2017] CIA to be a single organization. It is more like a loose association, conglomerate of several feuding groups each with its own agenda and political goals, which drive the US foreign policy

Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
A Boy Named Sue : , January 21, 2017 at 12:50 AM
>Under Obama the US has been at war for his entire presidency.

FFS, grow up. I take back my positive comments about you.

Do you think he asked for it?

Plus he tried normalize our relationships with Iran and Cuba.

ilsm -> A Boy Named Sue... , January 21, 2017 at 04:23 AM
Yes, the day he became CinC he should have given the order: "mobilize the transports, evacuate the forces".

That was too hard, it would have reduced the plunder his backers take. It was against his hidden neocon!

Obama is responsible for as much evil, fraud, waste and murder as W and immensely more than Bill Clinton.

The Old Testament warning: "Let them stand the judgement".

libezkova -> A Boy Named Sue... , January 21, 2017 at 09:43 PM
"Plus he tried normalize our relationships with Iran and Cuba."

You are trying to change the subject. While in relations with Iran and Cube Obama did achieve some progress, this not the whole story and this is not a major story. The major story is as following: in relations with Russia Obama was a very dangerous neocon warmonger, who actually put even more dangerous warmonger Hillary in charge of his foreign policy for a long four years period. And who has a track record in Ukraine and Syria which is the track record of a typical neocon.

Both Russia and the USA nuclear forces are now on high alert, while you typing your staff. That means that if something happens (and the sophistication of modern computers chances are higher then before) leaders of the country have less then 20 min to prevent nuclear war. Less for Russia as the USA got way too close and literally encircled Russia. Do you see the problem ? This Nobel Peace Price winner does not give Russia enough time for measured response. Is not his a warmonger with a typical neoconservative ambitions?

This is what recently Professor Steven Cohen told us. He think that this the current situation is close or even worse then the Cuban Nuclear Crisis.

He also told a very interesting thing: it is wrong to consider CIA to be a single organization. It is more like a loose association, conglomerate of several feuding groups each with its own agenda and political goals, which can be even in fight with each other and with Pentagon and FBI.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op6Qr7uuMy8

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

And they are really ready to put the world on fire for their narrow goals (such as neocon goal of world dominance; or deposing Assad in Syria).

[Jan 22, 2017] Can a new geopolitical alliance arise consisting of Russia, the new ottoman and the US.

Notable quotes:
"... "But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." ..."
"... Moscow-Ankara-Washington axis........ How about a Beijing-Moscow-Berlin axis, what have the Turks got to offer? ..."
"... Clinton was to solve global warming with nuclear winter. Sheesh! read Obama's neocon anthem aka the speech he gave in Stockholm where he conned the Nobel committee. ..."
"... Putin's 'interventions' are minimalist and defensive, the Clinton neocons would push NATO up to Smolensk with feckless disregard for any entity in the way of US empire. ..."
"... Neoliberal is starting wars because the empire sees "unjust peace" as excuse to engage with shock and awe despite the dbody count. ..."
"... Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has questions the whole "Putin did it" narrative, demanding evidence: "we strongly suspect that the evidence your intelligence chiefs have of a joint Russian-hacking-WikiLeaks-publishing operation is no better than the "intelligence" evidence in 2002-2003 – expressed then with comparable flat-fact "certitude" – of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 07:28 AM
Not in touch with Tunis.

The rest of spring time for jihadis are known bollux: Libya, Egypt*, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan...... Lebanon outside spring time for jihadis it is under Shiite wraps not so bollux.

*CIA and generals jailed the jihadis to keep Camp David bribes coming.

JF -> Ben Groves... , January 21, 2017 at 08:21 AM
I am terribly worried that a move of the US embassy to Jerusalem is part if a set of provocations leading to US military interventions to eliminate the threats as this group defines them to be (radical islamists). This would immediately make the US and Russian oil industries more valuable as the middle east becomes enflamed.

A new axis arises: Russia, the new ottoman and the US.

I just cant help thinking that this is the plan, you will be measured on your patriotism and allegiances here. Dismaying.

EMichael -> JF... , January 21, 2017 at 08:29 AM
I know you and I both hope you are wrong.

But it does go hand in hand with this "America First" schtick.

"But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

― Hermann Göring

im1dc -> JF... , January 21, 2017 at 08:41 AM
I don't think you are wrong.
Peter K. -> JF... , January 21, 2017 at 09:32 AM
"I am terribly worried that a move of the US embassy to Jerusalem is part if a set of provocations leading to US military interventions to eliminate..."

You could be right, but most of Trump's campaign talk was isolationist, if contradictory. The Iraq adventurism was a disaster, etc.

He doesn't like diplomacy, like the Iran deal, so there could be more brinkmanship which is dangerous. But a war would be very unpopular. Again he may not care since war could be used as a distraction.

Authoritarian allies like the Arab dictatorships are happy in that a Trump administration won't criticize them about human rights violations or freedom of the press. Russia and China will be happy about that as well.

Trump is basically a real-estate developer/tax fraud etc. I don't see war as a foregone conclusion.

JF -> Peter K.... , January 21, 2017 at 10:25 AM
He used the word 'to protect' in his inaugural. That is definitely not isolationism especially after declaring that he will eliminate radical Islam from the earth (close to a direct quote, I'm pretty sure).

And isn't he the one who said during the campaign that we ought to just sieze the oilfields?

So just provoke a few things, a few will do, then announce the alliance wuth russia to settle this in the region, once and for all, so we are protected.

Who indeed will step up and say no, they will not do this type of thing?

ilsm -> JF... , January 21, 2017 at 11:53 AM
Moscow-Ankara-Washington axis........ How about a Beijing-Moscow-Berlin axis, what have the Turks got to offer?

US dumb* to ignore and be left out!

*neocon PNAC bat$#1^ crazy

ilsm -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 04:19 AM
Clinton was to solve global warming with nuclear winter. Sheesh! read Obama's neocon anthem aka the speech he gave in Stockholm where he conned the Nobel committee.

Putin's 'interventions' are minimalist and defensive, the Clinton neocons would push NATO up to Smolensk with feckless disregard for any entity in the way of US empire.

Neoliberal is starting wars because the empire sees "unjust peace" as excuse to engage with shock and awe despite the dbody count.

Clinton would be mobilizing to crush Russia using the exploded the image of a few suffering Balts to tilt with nuclear winter.

JohnH -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 07:06 AM
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has questions the whole "Putin did it" narrative, demanding evidence: "we strongly suspect that the evidence your intelligence chiefs have of a joint Russian-hacking-WikiLeaks-publishing operation is no better than the "intelligence" evidence in 2002-2003 – expressed then with comparable flat-fact "certitude" – of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/another_demand_for_russian_hacking_20170119

But this JohnH-come-lately drinks whatever Kool-Aid the establishment gives him...

JohnH -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 07:16 AM
Obama starts to walk back his claim that 'Putin did it:' https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/20/obama-admits-gap-in-russian-hack-case/
ilsm -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 07:29 AM
Con artist, the super party hack*.

*low techie

im1dc -> JohnH... , January 21, 2017 at 08:45 AM
When ilsm agrees with you then you are wrong.

Russia did hack to influence the election. Whether they were decisive or not no one can say.

More likely imo Comey's violation of the Hatch Act 6 days before the Election knocking Hillary's Poll lead from 12 to 5 cost her the election.

Comey will pay for his treachery.

Accept and move on.

JohnH -> im1dc... , January 21, 2017 at 09:59 AM
"Does the Russian government hack, as many other governments do? Of course. Did it hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee? Almost certainly, though it was likely not alone in doing so. In the Internet age, hacking is the bread and butter of intelligence agencies. If Russian intelligence did not do so, this would constitute gross misfeasance, especially since the DNC was such easy pickings and the possibility of gaining important insights into the U.S. government was so high. But that is not the question.
It was WikiLeaks that published the very damaging information, for example, on the DNC's dirty tricks that marginalized Sen. Bernie Sanders and ensured that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. What remains to be demonstrated is that it was "the Russians" who gave those emails to WikiLeaks. And that is what the U.S. intelligence community doesn't know."
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/20/obama-admits-gap-in-russian-hack-case/

Democrats want to blame Russia for their ineptitude and their lousy candidate.

Democrats want to blame Russia for exposing the DNC's rigging of the primaries...by blaming Russia for rigging the general elections [abject hypocrisy.]

Neither Democrats nor the intelligence services know who gave the documents to WikiLeaks or, if they do, they don't want you to know who it was.

ilsm -> im1dc... , January 21, 2017 at 12:11 PM
im1dc,

You don't have to agree, we have diverse experiences.

when did Podesta and Wasserman Schultz, those crooks, become "the election". Even if it was the Russians!!!

As to Comey: let the new AG do his or her duty on the crimes of a cabinet officer, with a jury and judge.

My training and experience suggest Clinton will do time.

I am reminded of Job38-41: "Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?....."

Chatham House Rule -> libezkova... , January 21, 2017 at 09:39 AM

reject all war. We are all extremely fortunate that Hillary Clinton will not be taking office this weekend. Had Hillary been elected we would be facing a crisis over Syria. Hillary wants to overthrow the
"

Her victims are our cousins. Each of us emanates from the same living cell. Within Minkowski-time-space we remain connected as one animal. No!

We cannot open up our American hospitality to suspected terrorists. What we can do is open up our homeland to foreigners who are moving over to make space for her victims. Ceu

When South Africa takes in Syrians, we can take in an equal number of South Africans or other foreigners who are demonstrating their love for our cousins, our cousins now victimized by our own Mama-War-Bucks. Tell me something!

Was the HRC-email-server moved to her private home so that SWH, Slick Willie himself could control the World? Hey!

Americans

are not
blind
!

El Chapo Guapo -> Chatham House Rule... , January 21, 2017 at 11:04 AM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-dimensional_space#/media/File:8-cell-simple.gif

[Jan 22, 2017] As Trump takes office, Mass. manufacturers talk globalization

Notable quotes:
"... The strongest advocates for bringing offshore manufacturing back to the United States acknowledge automation's effect on the workforce but say it doesn't negate the need for more domestic factories. Harry Mosser, founder of the Reshoring Institute, which encourages companies to bring manufacturing operations back to the United States, said that even a highly automated factory is better for workers than no factory at all. ..."
"... These days it is more about planned/welcomed obsolescence - the product basically works, but some critical parts may be low grade, making it break after a while so you have to buy something new. This also affects "brands that used to be good". ..."
"... The internet also has played a role - online stores could underbid brick and mortar, then the latter had to cheapen and cut their offerings, driving more customers to the internet, etc. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : January 21, 2017 at 05:04 AM

As Trump takes office, Mass. manufacturers talk globalization
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/01/20/trump-takes-office-mass-manufacturers-talk-globalization/M3KFU50bFaKQfcr83SeowN/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - Adam Vaccaro - January 20, 2017

SOUTHBRIDGE - A mainstay of Massachusetts manufacturing since the late 1800s, the Hyde Group tool company made a big leap overseas in 2010, when it outsourced production of its mass market putty knives and wallpaper blades to China.

"At heart, we're manufacturers. It was the hardest thing for us to do, us in a fourth-generation family," said Bob Clemence, vice president of sales at Hyde Group, and great-grandson of the man who bought the company in the 1890s. "In order for us to stay in business and still employ people, we had to move our low-end business off-shore. It really was like a stab in the heart."

But the cost advantage of China has been steadily shrinking; it's now 40 percent cheaper to make the tools there than in Southbridge. And if that continues to fall, then Hyde might be able to help President Donald Trump fulfill a central campaign promise: bringing manufacturing back to the United States.

"Forty percent [savings] is a huge number to overcome," Clemence said. "We've determined that if it's 20 percent or less, we're going to do it domestically."

As Trump cajoles American companies into returning production to US soil, experiences like Hyde's illustrate the complex, multifaceted decisions manufacturers face as they choose where to build their products.

The president has talked of using lower taxes, fewer regulations, and higher tariffs to bring about a renaissance of American manufacturing. But for factory owners, it's not simply about cheaper labor. The costs of energy and raw materials, the emergence of global competitors, and the location and demands of suppliers and customers all weigh on these decisions, a myriad of cross currents that will make it difficult to fix the factory economy with just a few bold prescriptions.

"It's going to be not an easy job," said Enrico Moretti, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, who predicted that even if factories stay in the United States, production will be increasingly automated. "I'm not sure there is one explicit policy, a magic switch, that executive power in Washington can switch to retain jobs in the US."

In the eyes of factory owners, singling them out won't necessarily solve the problem. Some say they were forced to move production overseas by their customers. At Hyde, it was the retail stores that carry its tools demanding lower prices.

"It doesn't matter what they say about made in the USA, it's all about price," Clemence said. "They've taken some basic items and said there are commodity products and said, 'We only buy them by price.' "

In Norwood, the Manufacturing Resource Group opened a second factory just across the US border in Mexico in 2011 because customers demanded cheaper versions of its cable assemblies, wire harnesses, and other electric components.

"The decision to open in Mexico wasn't ours," MRG president Joe Prior said. "We were told that, 'You need to have a low-cost option, or we're not going to be able to do business with you.' "

The Norwood and Mexico factories nearly mirror one another, each employing about 70 people, with mostly the same equipment and capabilities. The Norwood factory still accounts for most of its business, as MRG's local customers are willing to pay more for quicker shipping and customer service. But other customers simply want a cheaper product - wages at the Mexico factory are a quarter the cost of Norwood, while health care costs about 90 percent lower.

Prior said if Trump does impose a high tariff on imported products, as he has threatened, then that cost would probably be shouldered by customers of the Mexican factory.

"If there is a tax, it just has to be passed on to our customers and they'd have to make a decision about whether it makes sense for them anymore," he said.

Since many US companies sell to customers around the world, a high tariff might bring some production back home - but at a cost. For Eastern Acoustic Works, that might mean losing international customers for its sound equipment.

The Whitinsville company is closing its factory here, laying off 27 workers and outsourcing most production of speaker systems and subwoofers to a contract manufacturer in China. There were just too many competitors around the world making similar equipment for Eastern Acoustic to justify charging higher prices for its US-made products, general manager TJ Smith said. Eastern Acoustic will instead concentrate on new sales, marketing, and R&D initiatives, creating white-collar jobs that will help it grow.

"Running a factory takes a lot of focus and energy," Smith said. "We have to ask ourselves, what are we good at? What do we want to call our competencies?"

Smith said Eastern Acoustic might be forced to bring production back to the United States if the Trump tariff goes into effect. However, that move might also prompt the company to drop its international clients - Asia accounts for 30 percent of Eastern Acoustic's sales - because the US-made products wouldn't be competitive in overseas markets.

"It would split my business up too much, so I couldn't support" an overseas factory, Smith said. "For our scale, I would lean toward [choosing] the domestic market at this point because that's what I know and I'm closer to it."

But the higher tariffs might help Eastern Acoustic in another way - by raising prices on products its European competitors are selling to US customers. "So that might increase my near-term opportunity domestically," Smith said.

Raw materials, such as steel or energy, is another area Trump would have to address. Foreign steel, especially, is so much cheaper that it is very difficult for manufacturers not to use. But Trump's promise to promote more domestic oil and gas production could be a major boon to factories.

For example, US companies are benefiting from very cheap domestic natural gas; that's especially important in processing industries that use a lot of chemicals in their production. ...

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 05:08 AM
Trump wants to fight the effects of trade, but what about automation?
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/01/20/trump-wants-fight-effects-trade-but-what-about-automation/qYt2WjQo4VAXWRWCYkfNeK/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - Adam Vaccaro - January 21, 2017

President Donald Trump has spoken often about trade's effect on US manufacturing employment but has said comparatively little about another economic force that has caused factories to shed jobs: high-tech machines and automation.

At the Hyde Group's Southbridge factory, the amount of work that 100 employees do now would have required 180 workers more than a decade ago, said Bob Clemence, the company's vice president of sales.

While the number of blue-collar assembly-line jobs at US factories has been dropping in huge numbers for decades, Enrico Moretti, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said the number of engineers working in factories has about doubled. Future manufacturing jobs will probably require engineering skills and training, Moretti said.

At Hyde, the typical factory worker might operate two or three computerized machines at a time, and the work generally requires an associate's degree or some college education, Clemence said. That's a far cry from 20 years ago, when the factory used to host night classes to help employees earn high school degrees.

"We could still do the GED," Clemence said. "But I need someone coming in the door that already has that degree information. I don't need somebody that is only running a fork truck."

In his presidential farewell address Jan. 10, President Obama highlighted the effects of technology on the workforce, noting "the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete." He also called for ensuring higher-level education, as well as stronger labor unions, to blunt the effect.

Even if future manufacturing employees are trained to handle robots and high-tech machines, the math is simple enough: Machines and robots require fewer workers on factory floors. When the appliance maker Carrier, a division of United Technologies Corp., agreed to keep in Indiana about 800 jobs it had planned to send to Mexico, it marked an early public relations win for Trump. Within days, however, United Technologies' chief executive said new investments in the Indiana factory would probably result in automation and eventual job losses.

The strongest advocates for bringing offshore manufacturing back to the United States acknowledge automation's effect on the workforce but say it doesn't negate the need for more domestic factories. Harry Mosser, founder of the Reshoring Institute, which encourages companies to bring manufacturing operations back to the United States, said that even a highly automated factory is better for workers than no factory at all.

"If you bring back any manufacturing, you bring back some employment," he said.

run75441 -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 07:53 AM
Just a random question:

"At Hyde, the typical factory worker might operate two or three computerized machines at a time, and the work generally requires an associate's degree or some college education,"

What are "computerized machines," Fred? and why only two or three?

Fred C. Dobbs -> run75441... , January 21, 2017 at 08:34 AM
In my personal experience (as an IT guy) observing electronic techs in computer manufacturing (some decades ago) monitoring several 'computerized' testing machines at once. (Made for interesting challenges trying to measure productivity.)

Why only two or three? When an 'event' happens, prompt operator response is usually called for.

run75441 -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 06:13 PM
Fred:

No, a cnc cell will typically have 4 or 5 cnc machines. You just need labor to feed, stack and turn one off if there is an issue. One will do. Injection molding can be 2 to 4 presses. This is why Labor should have been paid more as they are replacing 3 and 4 people.

We already have this environment and plants are not crawling with engineers. They are needs for programming only and even then an operator might be able to do it.

im1dc -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 08:52 AM
Outsourcing to China means Quality will suffer, if not immediately then eventually.

US Made goods are generally better made, higher grade, and of more consistent quality.

The opposite happens in China even if initially Chinese goods are of equal quality.

Fred C. Dobbs -> im1dc... , January 21, 2017 at 09:18 AM
Haven't had problems with various
hi-tech items (all from China?)
purchased in recent years.
cm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 03:26 PM
"We could still do the GED," Clemence said. "But I need someone coming in the door that already has that degree information. I don't need somebody that is only running a fork truck."

Translation: "We will not pay for upgrading the skills of fresh hires as long as we still have older workers in their 50's+ with existing skills *who are not leaving*."

And that aspect is hinted at right above - 20+ years ago, when today's 50+ were 20/30-ish, they paid for their education, and those people are still in the accessible labor pool.

But they *will* age out, and then they hand wringing and wailing about skill shortages will intensify (and you better believe companies will *then* arrange the skill upgrades).

Chris G -> Fred C. Dobbs... , January 21, 2017 at 05:47 AM
> In the eyes of factory owners, singling them out won't necessarily solve the problem. Some say they were forced to move production overseas by their customers. At Hyde, it was the retail stores that carry its tools demanding lower prices. "It doesn't matter what they say about made in the USA, it's all about price," Clemence said. "They've taken some basic items and said there are commodity products and said, 'We only buy them by price.' "

Yup. Consumers matter. So long as we care more about getting the lowest price than whether the workers who made the widget were getting a fair deal the problem will persist.

cm -> Chris G ... , January 21, 2017 at 03:36 PM
It was said elsewhere in the article that "customers" actually meant retail chains.

With many products, including food, the origin of the product or its ingredients is not properly disclosed. "Made for", "distributed by", "packed in", "packaging printed in", are not actionable.

Then with advances in manufacturing and material sciences, it has become harder to judge the expected quality and workmanship of a product by its external appearance - most look well finished and spiffy, parts are fitting well, etc.

About 20+ years that wasn't the case, and it was much easier to tell that something is cheap junk (when looking good on the outside it may still be junk inside, but at least there was a way of identifying the lowest category).

These days it is more about planned/welcomed obsolescence - the product basically works, but some critical parts may be low grade, making it break after a while so you have to buy something new. This also affects "brands that used to be good".

Then one can only go by price, as that's a difference that can still be discerned. And obviously there is a feedback dynamic - stores observe what sells, and slowly remove variety and "mid range" products.

The internet also has played a role - online stores could underbid brick and mortar, then the latter had to cheapen and cut their offerings, driving more customers to the internet, etc.

[Jan 22, 2017] Weepy Globalist To Be Replaced By Rumbustious Working Class Hero At Noon Friday

An interesting quote: "So, given that the US is under GLOB occupation, Americans should welcome ANY foreign interference that loosens this grip and empowers the historical white majority. "
Notable quotes:
"... the antecedent for "it" seems to be the danger to us from terrorism and foreign dictators–JD ..."
"... Watch: 'You Have Made Me Proud' – President Obama's Farewell Speech Is a Powerful Road-Map for Upholding Democracy , ..."
"... Donald Trump's News Conference: Full Transcript and Video, ..."
"... On the suggestion that Vladimir Putin helped Trump get elected: ..."
"... On the allegations in the BuzzFeed file about stuff he had paid those honey-trap hookers to do in Moscow: ..."
"... On whether he thinks the American public is concerned about him not releasing his tax returns: ..."
"... On Lindsey Graham proposing a bill for tougher sanctions on Russia: ..."
"... That's the Trump we know and love. So was his reaction when a CNN reporter kept demanding to ask a question: "Don't be rude. No, I'm not going to give you a question You are fake news! " ..."
"... One of the reasons low-income Americans admire rich people is that they are do-ers who seem to live gilded lives, and not on the backs of the poor. It's the professional classes they don't like-the lawyers and doctors and teachers, who invade their lives with bills and lectures. The people who look and sound like Hillary Clinton. Trump was showing that he, too, was under the cosh of the miserable lawyers-he even had one come to the podium. ..."
"... Bad news, Trump haters: This bonkers show has made him even MORE popular, writes JUSTIN WEBB. He played to the gallery with something bordering on genius , ..."
"... Watch your back, Mr. President-Elect. Richard Nixon was way less rumbustious than you are; but they took down Nixon . ..."
"... BBC is still in nonstop 'take down Trump' mode, every other day the headline starts 'Donald Trump has provoked outrage' . ..."
"... From time to time I make a resolution never to vote for any person who has shed tears in public. ..."
"... Yes, but you and your wife are IMMIGRANTS. Unwanted. Undesired. Doesn't matter if you are white or non-white. ..."
"... All this talk of Russian hacking and Russian interference emanating from the Progs misses the point. I don't believe in most of it. But surely Russians did what they could to favor Trump. But what's wrong with that, at least from our perspective? ..."
"... The fact is the US is not ruled by Americans but by the GLOB, or Globalist Tyranny. Though the GLOB is a diverse bunch of globalist-elites, the top dogs are Zionists, homos, and Anglo-Cuck-Collaborators. And these people have ZERO feeling for the historical white majority of the Americans. Anglo-Collaborators are too cucked out to have any white sentiments. They are like Joe Biden who will sell his ma down the river for his cookies and creams. These cucks are willing to turn all historically white nations into EU and US into non-white majority nations AS LONG AS they and their children are assure of privilege and power in the New Order. They are globo-quislings. ..."
"... So, given that the US is under GLOB occupation, Americans should welcome ANY foreign interference that loosens this grip and empowers the historical white majority. ..."
"... Now, the Russian role in 2016 was nothing like French role in the War of Independence, but it may have tipped the balance. White Americans should rejoice and thank the Russians. ..."
"... American Media are not American. It is mostly GLOB. And it means that as long as US is under Glob power, it is under alien tyranny. Indeed, even with Trump as president, the most powerful force in the US is Jewish-Glob power. ..."
"... Trump's tweets are an act of genius. He has rocked the whole liberal establishment by stating his own opinions and speaking directly to those who have been ignored for years. ..."
"... This is revolutionary, Trump could never have survived a Presidential run in the past, he would have been unable to fight back, no one would be able to hear him. ..."
"... Who would have thought that a President could ignore and ridicule major media players in an age where careers are destroyed by the media because they disagree with gay marriage... ..."
"... The Zionists, CIA and FBI could finish with Trump in no time at all, but the problem is that it's not just Trump, he's only riding a wave. Eliminate Trump and they could get something much worse, so they probably calculate that it's better to try to corrupt Trump ( he's a dealmaker) despite his connection to the thing that they fear the most i.e. Radical Anglo Nationalism. ..."
"... Americans are generally aware of the founders of this country. However, immigrants like the Irish, Italians, and Slavs were considered to be "garbage" by nativists at various points in time. Millions of immigrants who came to the States had little money, but a strong work ethic and the willingness to embrace our customs and our political traditions. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.unz.com

Credit: VDare.com

This is the Week of the Two Presidents- Donald Trump succeeds Barack Obama at noon on Friday January 20. Both men recently addressed major gatherings: Barack Obama made his official farewell to the nation, Donald Trump held his first formal press conference since being elected. Each event was highly characteristic. My take: I for one am glad we have heard the last of Obama. And Trump's rumbustiousness is thrilling .

Obama stepped out in front of a huge audience in Chicago and delivered a long, gassy speech-51 minutes and 10 seconds. That's 10 minutes longer than the Farewell Addresses of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan combined .

Bush 41 did not technically give a farewell address, although his speech to West Point cadets, the last of his presidency, is sometimes cited as such. I don't know its duration, but the transcript runs to 3,300 words. The transcript of Obama's farewell address is just short of 5,000 words, so he left Poppy Bush in the dust, too. This is a guy who really likes the sound of his own voice.

The gold standard in political speeches, so far as I'm concerned, was the one Calvin Coolidge delivered to the Massachusetts Senate 102 years ago, after being elected President of that body. It consisted of forty-four words, thus :

Honorable Senators: My sincerest thanks I offer you. Conserve the firm foundations of our institutions. Do your work with the spirit of a soldier in the public service. Be loyal to the Commonwealth and to yourselves, and be brief; above all things, be brief.

That makes the Gettysburg Address , at 272 words, look positively flabby. It makes Obama's farewell address look morbidly obese.

What did Obama's speech actually contain? Well, there was lots of "hope" and "change": five "hopes" and sixteen "changes" by my count. I couldn't actually pin down anything declarative about "hope", but there was definitely a consistent theme on "change." Change is good! Don't be afraid of change! -

Constant change has been America's hallmark; that it's not something to fear but something to embrace It [ the antecedent for "it" seems to be the danger to us from terrorism and foreign dictators–JD ] represents the fear of change; the fear of people who look or speak or pray differently

If you fear change you are a bad person!

I'm sorry, Mr. President, but that is inane. Some change is good, some isn't. Saying, "Change is good!" makes as much sense as saying, " Weather is good!" or "Vegetation is good!" If an asteroid were to strike the earth and wipe out the human race, that would be a major change, wouldn't it? Not many of us would consider it good, though.

And just as change is not necessarily good, fear is not necessarily bad. We have the fear instinct for a very good reason: to preserve ourselves against dangers. We may argue about whether some one particular phenomenon is or is not dangerous, but fear itself is useful and valuable, not a failing or a weakness .

Take for example that "fear of people who look or speak or pray differently." If people who look different from me in some one particular way have a homicide rate seven times that of people who look the same as me, and a robbery rate thirteen times, isn't fear of those people rational? If violent acts of terrorism against innocent civilians are almost exclusively committed by people who pray a certain way, is not fear of people who pray that way justified?

And look at Obama's illogical assumptions:

If we're unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don't look like us, we will diminish the prospects of our own children-because those brown kids will represent a larger and larger share of America's workforce.

Note the patronizing conflation of "immigrants" with "brown kids." I'm an immigrant; my wife is an immigrant; neither of us is brown.

Note also the meteorological approach to immigration. It's like the weather! Can't do anything about it! In fact immigration is just a policy, that we can change at will. We could, without any offense to the Constitution, stop all immigration and require all noncitizens to leave our territory.

How would that be for "change"! To fear it would, of course, be weak and un-American.

And then there are Obama's characteristic weaselly little half-truths:

I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are.

I have no problem with the first half of that. I too reject discrimination against American citizens who are Muslims.

At the same time, and without any inconsistency I can see, I think we have all the Muslims we need. Islam doesn't fit comfortably into non-Muslim nations. It creates problems that we'd be wise to avoid. Let's stop all further settlement of Muslims in the U.S.A.

Again, I don't know of any constitutional reason why we can't do that.

But the second half, Obama's assertion that Muslims are just as patriotic as we are, is open to question. It's true in the sense that some Muslims, like some non-Muslims, are patriotic, while others aren't. The proportions in each case bears examining. The non-patriotism of Muslim non-patriots is of a seriously different kind from the non-patriotism of Episcopalian, Catholic, Baptist, Congregationalist, Unitarian, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, and Wiccan non-patriots.

This slippery sleight of mouth is very Obamaesque. And personally, I could do without all the girlish emoting that Obama went in for towards the end of the speech. By the time he'd gotten through gushing over all the hope and change he'd generated, and over his wife and daughters, etc., there was, as several news outlets noted, not a dry eye in the house.[ Watch: 'You Have Made Me Proud' – President Obama's Farewell Speech Is a Powerful Road-Map for Upholding Democracy , Black Entertainment Television, January 11, 3017]

From time to time I make a resolution never to vote for any person who has shed tears in public. Then I recall that this is somewhat un-American of me, and feel a bit ashamed. My fellow Americans mostly like that kind of thing, and I ought to yield to their taste.

I just can't, though. I'm from a nation and a time that admired reserve, fortitude, and the stiff upper lip. "I have lost my leg, by God!" Lord Uxbridge told the Duke of Wellington on the field of Waterloo, as cannonballs whizzed by. "By God, and have you!" replied the Duke.

Those are my people. They're dead now, or old, even in the Mother Country. But they had something that's been lost, and the loss of which I regret very much.

Trump's presser was comparable in wordage to Obama's speech.

The questions and answers, not counting the nested presentation by Trump's lawyer, were seventy-four hundred words, of which by far the majority were Trump's. So chances are Trump spoke more words than Obama. And they were pure Trumplish: unfiltered, demotic, boastful, pugnacious in self-defense, hyperbolic in praise, brutal in scorn, sometimes contradictory, occasionally nonsensical.

When he didn't want to answer a question he just blustered. Would Obamacare guarantee coverage for current beneficiaries? Trump:

Donald Trump's News Conference: Full Transcript and Video, NYT, January 11, 2017

The information content of that answer is, let's be frank, zero. You could in fact, in the spirit of Coolidge, you could make an economical translation of that 430-word answer from Trumplish into Coolidgean using just three words: "Wait and see."

That's OK, though. Donald Trump is by no means the first President to answer a reporter's question with blustery evasion-by no means.

It was Trump's style and demeanor at the presser that had us Trumpians clapping along with him. Those, and his one-liners. Four sample one-liners:

That's the Trump we know and love. So was his reaction when a CNN reporter kept demanding to ask a question: "Don't be rude. No, I'm not going to give you a question You are fake news! " Similarly with BuzzFeed, which Trump said is, quote, "a failing pile of garbage." Along the lines of the old joke about Harry Truman and the word "manure," I guess America should be glad he used the word "garbage."

Of all the commentary on Trump's presser, I think the one that got to the heart of the matter was Justin Webb's in the Daily Mail , January 12th, pertaining to the point in the presser where Trump brought up his lawyer to explain about his business interests:

One of the reasons low-income Americans admire rich people is that they are do-ers who seem to live gilded lives, and not on the backs of the poor. It's the professional classes they don't like-the lawyers and doctors and teachers, who invade their lives with bills and lectures. The people who look and sound like Hillary Clinton. Trump was showing that he, too, was under the cosh of the miserable lawyers-he even had one come to the podium.

And he was demonstrating that, despite this, he had admirably emerged with his businesses intact. I am no psychology professor, but this seemed to me to be playing to the gallery-i.e. those "ordinary" Americans who are so fed up with the political class-with something bordering on genius.

Bad news, Trump haters: This bonkers show has made him even MORE popular, writes JUSTIN WEBB. He played to the gallery with something bordering on genius , By Justin Webb, The Daily Mail, January 13, 2017

Mail man Webb then goes on to warn that Trump might be too combative, too much the Alpha Male, for the suits in D.C. to put up with for long, so that they will find a way to force him out. Webb concludes:

If they succeed, it would be a bitter blow to the millions of working-class Americans who voted for Trump, folk who felt he alone among politicians understood their aspirations, and who would have been thrilled by his extraordinary, rumbustious performance this week. It would again confirm their view that the political establishment looks after its own-while the "little people" are brushed aside.

I don't think I count as working-class. My hands are rather soft , and I only wear boots for hiking or shoveling snow . I'll admit that I was thrilled by Trump's performance, though, just as much as Justin Webb's hypothetical working-class Americans.

And yes, like Webb, I worry that Trump's don't-give-a-damn rumbustiousness may be too much for the seat-warmers and log-rollers of Washington, D.C.-among which category I would include our intelligence agencies -to the degree that they will find some way to unseat him. Watch your back, Mr. President-Elect. Richard Nixon was way less rumbustious than you are; but they took down Nixon .

And in case you're wondering, listeners, "rumbustious" is indeed a word- I looked it up .

John Derbyshire [ email him ] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. ) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books . He's had two books published by VDARE.com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT ( also available in Kindle ) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013 . His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com .

(Reprinted from VDare.com by permission of author or representative)

jivilov , January 17, 2017 at 8:40 am GMT

Another great article by El Derbo. BTW an alternate version of Wellington's reply to Uxbridge goes, "By Jove, so you have!" Whatever his merits the Duke was not strong on empathy. But if he was, w0uld he have been such a winning general?

Anonymous Nephew , January 17, 2017 at 10:18 am GMT

Justin Webb was the BBCs US correspondent for years ( as was his father ) . He's also one of the presenters of the R4 Today programme.

( BBC is still in nonstop 'take down Trump' mode, every other day the headline starts 'Donald Trump has provoked outrage' . Today on R4 we had the Observer's literary editor in conversation about Trump with Malcolm Gladwell – I wonder if that was positive or negative?)

polistra , January 17, 2017 at 11:40 am GMT

I'm somewhat less worried about Fort Marcy. Important difference between Trump and Nixon or Reagan: Trump has his own security forces, both physical and cyber. He doesn't have to rely on the Deepstate-owned Secret Service.

He clearly understands how these things work, as demonstrated by his discussion of paper messages vs email. He's been 'controversial' for decades and he's been watching his back effectively for decades.

TomSchmidt , January 17, 2017 at 2:01 pm GMT

I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans who are just as patriotic as we are.

Perhaps he accepts discrimination against Muslim Americans whose patriotism differs, or is less than, "us," whoever that is? It's a slimy, unctuous, political phrase.

Randal , January 17, 2017 at 2:28 pm GMT

Another good piece that ought to be gracing the pages of the Spectator and the Telegraph, if those publications were still traditionalist conservative and weren't firmly in the grip of pc censorship and neoconnery.

From time to time I make a resolution never to vote for any person who has shed tears in public. Then I recall that this is somewhat un-American of me, and feel a bit ashamed. My fellow Americans mostly like that kind of thing, and I ought to yield to their taste

I agree entirely, and I don't have the burden of having to try to assimilate to a foreign country's culture, so I can say so without qualification. I don't like men who openly display sentimentality and don't respect them as leaders.

Women are a different matter, but with a few unusual exceptions they don't make good leaders anyway.

By the way, here's a matter that affects both your country of origin and your adopted one: how remarkable is it that supposedly serious people ("Theresa May's advisers") are reported as putting David Cameron forward as a candidate for Secretary General of NATO? The man who repeatedly displayed his complete unsuitability for any role in strategic decision making by not only pushing the disastrous destruction of Libya's government in 2011 but, only two years later and with the costs of that earlier blunder in full view, actually wanted to do the same to Syria! Worse, not only did he evidently want to do it, but he lacked the competence to manage a compliant Parliament into giving him the required rubber stamp!

Of course, it's not all that remarkable if one ditches the naïve idea that those "advising May" are not either incompetent themselves or acting out of ulterior motives that are incompatible with any genuine British national interest.

An optimist might suggest that perhaps clever subversion rather than stupidity is the explanation here. What better way to further undermine an institution that has long outlived its original purpose and has become a vehicle for troublemaking and disorder, yet has such deep institutional roots and serves such a useful role for nefarious US deep state purposes that it cannot be rooted out, than to put at its helm an individual so patently unsuited to such a role?

But that is surely hopelessly optimistic. Most likely the obvious explanation is correct, that it is just another instance of the trademarked mix of incompetence and evil that seems to have been running US sphere foreign policy since the 1990s.

Anonymous , January 17, 2017 at 2:38 pm GMT

Weepy Globalist to be Replaced By Rumbustious Working Class Hero At Noon Friday Can D.C. Suits Stand It?

One of the best headers ever. (Answer: yes, but barely. "It could be the end of think tanks as we know them", they have been heard soughing.)

Bragadocious , January 17, 2017 at 3:54 pm GMT

If we're unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants, just because they don't look like us "

This is precisely the error made by progressives immersed in the scuzzy identity politics bathtub. I don't want to "invest" in the children of Irish illegal immigrants either. And they look a lot like me. Their parents are likely to be moronic leftists who arrived here with disdain and contempt for rule of law, no different than the parents of MS-13 gangbangers in Brentwood. Very basically, if you can't stand in line like everyone else, you're not worth investing in.

WorkingClass , January 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm GMT
@polistra

There will likely be gunplay at the Inaugural. At Maidan snipers shot people on both sides of the conflict. Maidan is the model for the coup against Trump. Either there will be an Erdogan style purge, or Trump will be impeached, imprisoned or martyred.

Corvinus , January 17, 2017 at 6:36 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain

"Secession is just around the corner it's a comming."

That is a pipe dream. Now, Derby "This is a guy who really likes the sound of his own voice." Pot, meet kettle.

"Note the patronizing conflation of "immigrants" with "brown kids." I'm an immigrant; my wife is an immigrant; neither of us is brown."

Yes, but you and your wife are IMMIGRANTS. Unwanted. Undesired. Doesn't matter if you are white or non-white.

"At the same time, and without any inconsistency I can see, I think we have all the Muslims we need."

Why should an Englishman and a Chinese woman (race mixing, I thought that was a big no-no) be allowed to enter the United States? We already have too many of your kind already!

"But the second half, Obama's assertion that Muslims are just as patriotic as we are, is open to question. It's true in the sense that some Muslims, like some non-Muslims, are patriotic, while others aren't. The proportions in each case bears examining.

Indeed, the proportions in each case bears examining. How many American Muslims committed acts of terrorism on American soil prior to 911?

"The non-patriotism of Muslim non-patriots is of a seriously different kind from the non-patriotism of Episcopalian, Catholic, Baptist, Congregationalist, Unitarian, Jewish, agnostic, atheist, and Wiccan non-patriots."

This is gooblygook. Either a person is loyal or disloyal. Now, using Derbs logic, the non-patriotism of Jew non-patriots is also noteworthy for being a "different kind". Because Jews cause all kinds of havoc, right?

"Richard Nixon was way less rumbustious than you are; but they took down Nixon."

Nixon took himself down by enabling his posse to spy on Democrats and use campaign money to buy the silence of those who were caught at Watergate. Certainly, Woodward and Bernstein and others employed questionable means during their investigation, but the LARGER issue was to expose the lies of an administration. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden merely copied the strategies of these two reporters, yet somehow they are lionized for their uncovering despite their covert means to obtain information?

rienzi , January 17, 2017 at 7:42 pm GMT

Strangely enough, Trump has already done more to improve the lives of ordinary Americans by saving some jobs in Indianapolis, before he even takes office, than the last three presidents have accomplished in 24 years in office.

Forbes , January 17, 2017 at 10:14 pm GMT

The disgrace (conundrum?), as it were, is that plenty of 30- and 40- and 50-something Americans find Obama's shtick appealing, whether the self-referential I, me, my, or the weepiness–it's not just dopey Millennials without the experience of time. They've all been inculcated with the idea that it's the feelz that matters.

Anon , January 17, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT

All this talk of Russian hacking and Russian interference emanating from the Progs misses the point. I don't believe in most of it. But surely Russians did what they could to favor Trump. But what's wrong with that, at least from our perspective?

After all, didn't the French welcome the American role in driving out German Occupation during WWII? Didn't Philippines welcome the Americans in driving out the Japanese?

The fact is the US is not ruled by Americans but by the GLOB, or Globalist Tyranny. Though the GLOB is a diverse bunch of globalist-elites, the top dogs are Zionists, homos, and Anglo-Cuck-Collaborators. And these people have ZERO feeling for the historical white majority of the Americans. Anglo-Collaborators are too cucked out to have any white sentiments. They are like Joe Biden who will sell his ma down the river for his cookies and creams. These cucks are willing to turn all historically white nations into EU and US into non-white majority nations AS LONG AS they and their children are assure of privilege and power in the New Order. They are globo-quislings.

So, given that the US is under GLOB occupation, Americans should welcome ANY foreign interference that loosens this grip and empowers the historical white majority.

Any people who are under alien tyranny should welcome other alien forces to counter-balance the alien force currently in power.
It's like the American Revolution wouldn't have been possible without the crucial help of the French. The British were too powerful, and most of the major battles won by the Americans were actually fought by the French.

Now, the Russian role in 2016 was nothing like French role in the War of Independence, but it may have tipped the balance. White Americans should rejoice and thank the Russians.

After all, there are parallels. In the 90s, the globalists took over Russia and totally looted and plundered that country.

It was nationalism that restored Russian sovereignty somewhat(though it still has long way to go).

So, white Americans need to look to Russia and Russian-Americans. Indeed, just as Jewish-Americans feel closer to Russian-Jews and French Jews than to white gentile Americans(whom most Jews despise), white gentile Americans should feel closer to white gentiles all over the world than with Jews or other elements of the GLOB. White Americans and white Russians should regard one another as brothers. After all, white Russians don't want to destroy White America. It is the Jewish globalists who have that agenda.

Pan-Zionism and Pan-Jewish-ism govern Jewish mindset and power. Jewish Americans feel closer to Israeli-Jews, Hungarian Jews, French Jews, and British Jews than with gentile Americans.

So, white gentiles need a pan-white-ism. If Jewish-Americans and Russian Jews work together to plunder both Russian gentiles and American gentiles, then gentiles in both nations should work together to defend themselves from avaricious globalist Jewish power. Why should only Jews have the right to create tribal networks all over the world?

I say white gentiles also need to create pan-white or pan-European networks all over. They need to bury the hatchet because they face similar threats in both US and EU.

If someone is holding you hostage, and another person saves you from your captor, should you blame the other person for having saved you? No, of course not. You should thank him.

So, if Russia played a role in helping white Americans liberate themselves from the tyranny of the Glob, white Americans should be grateful.

Jewish GLOB would like us to believe that their power & control is 'American as bagel and cream cheese and lox', but their power is alien and anti-American. After all, globalism is a neo-imperialist war directed at ALL nations. So, if alien Russian influence was crucial in 2016, it was in helping knock out the alien Jewish influence. While there are good decent patriotic Jewish Americans, most of Jewish Power in the US is not patriotic or nationalist but GLOBO-IMPERIALIST and committed to destroying the national sovereignty of all white nations. Consider what Jews tried to do to Hungary and Poland.

They tried to force those nations to surrender to non-stop Muslim and African invasions caused by wars fomented by Neocons and their cuck-whores.

Besides, even now, Russian influence in the US is minuscule compared to the power of the GLOB. Glob elites are just a tiny percentage of US population, but they control 90% of media, Wall Street, Hollywood, academia, and much else. The fact that such a small minority controls so much of American Power should be the real scandal.

American Media are not American. It is mostly GLOB. And it means that as long as US is under Glob power, it is under alien tyranny. Indeed, even with Trump as president, the most powerful force in the US is Jewish-Glob power.

So, gentile Americans should welcome ANY foreign/alien help to weaken the power of the alien GLOB that controls most of the institutions in America. Look how the whores of Congress pledge their main loyalty to Israel, Israel, and Israel.

Agree: Autochthon
Svigor , January 18, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT

And in case you're wondering, listeners, "rumbustious" is indeed a word-I looked it up.

Ha! Now you know how it feels!

Skeptikal , January 18, 2017 at 3:46 am GMT

@Corvinus

"Nixon took himself down by enabling his posse to spy on Democrats and use campaign money to buy the silence of those who were caught at Watergate. "

Don't be silly. Read Family of Secrets, by Russ Baker, for the real story. The relevant chapters are available online at WhoWhatWhy.

Authenticjazzman , January 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm GMT

@Binyamin

" His cabinet appointees are almost exclusively wealthy ( actually extremely wealthy) white men"

So it would have made you feel better if he had appointed a cabinet made up exclusively of poor people of color, right.
I am thinking that you are German because your viewpoints are identical with the german leftist " Gutmensch" SJW worldview, and you simply do not comprehend that average Americans are not jealous or spiteful of "Wealthy" folks, on the contrary, they respect them and congratulate them for their status.
You guys have no problem with wealthy "Old white men" as long as they are leftists, such as BC or B Sanders or WB, or BG.
Myself I am an "Old white man" and I am not ashamed to be an "Old white man", so put that in your "Gutmensch" pipe and smoke it.

Authenticjazzman "Mensa" society member of forty-plus years and pro jazz artist.

El Dato , January 18, 2017 at 11:45 pm GMT
• 100 Words

I do think the "the fear of change" is a healthy element to have in a world that looks like "The Shockwave Rider" come true.

Master Soda , "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to statism. Statism leads to blank checks for politicians. Blank checks for politicians leads to welfare/warfare and micromanagement and control freakshows sold as progressivism."

Jay Igaboo , January 19, 2017 at 1:10 am GMT
• 300 Words

Mr. Derbyshire writes that "Saying, "Change is good!" makes as much sense as saying, "Weather is good!" or "Vegetation is good!"

I have made the same point, but about different, more contentious words, for decades.
Two of the words I said were silly to regard as good or bad were " intolerance" and "discrimination", words that for at least 30 years have, in the minds of many politicians, educators, executives and the brainwashed, morphed into synonyms for "bad!", which is a truly dumb and gutless surrender of language, it's and meaning and power of independent thought.

A society, any society, anywhere on earth, falls by what it chooses wisely to discriminate against and what it refuses to tolerate. Sometimes these choices are contentious and harder to justify against the slogans and sound-bites that we have been relentlessly force-fed for a half century.

Just mooting, that discrimination or intolerance are, of themselves, not necessarily bad, prompts the Pavlovian reflex of sharp intakes of breath and dutiful frowns from many listeners. Dare moot that "racism", sexism or homophobia (a ridiculous word etymologically) of any of the other proscribed -isms and –obiahs are, in their milder degrees, sensible social phenomena, and vitriol flows from the mouths of PC believers as reason departs as readily as it does from believers of the ROP when their cult is challenged logically. One is labelled as irredeemably evil despite, and I repeat, ANY society, anywhere on earth, falls by what it chooses to discriminate against and what it refuses to tolerate just as much as it rises by what it encourages.

What we choose to encourage or discriminate against is far too important to be treated as dogma.

The rules that govern society should be open to rigorous debate and examination, not, as is the case here in the UK and most of Europe, "defended" by a cowed and complicit Fourth Estate, and enforces by imprisonment for so-called "hate speech."

Good luck America, I hope that Trump grows into the job and proves a much better President than the tactically-weepy O'Bummer.

Agree: dfordoom
Jay Igaboo , January 19, 2017 at 1:18 am GMT
@El Dato

Never heard of "The Shockwave Rider" but it's true about how fear can be manipulated, although it's not just Lefty pols who exploit it.
According to their creed, pols ramp up fears or damp down reasonable and prudent ones, according to their agenda.

Jay Igaboo , January 19, 2017 at 3:45 am GMT

@Anon

That is indeed a well-informed comment, unsurprisingly made under anonimity. If I published the same comment under my own name here in the UK, it would be off to the gulag for me, as we do not have the admirable First Amendment of The US contitution.

If you published this under your own name in America, it would "only" be punishable by a media hounding, career death and the sort of public vilification seen during The Cultural Revolution.

Carlton Meyer , Website January 19, 2017 at 5:23 am GMT

Obama, the master liar. Today, he stated:

"And it is important for the United States to stand up for the basic principal that big countries don't go around and invade and bully smaller countries."

That was so bizarre I had to laugh, but noted the corporate press softball pitchers at this "news" conference didn't even smile at that absurd statement. No need for a "fact check" news story. Hell, the USA don't just bully and invade, it destroys and lays waste to entire nations on a yearly basis. Obama had dozens of foreigners murdered via drones and snipers each week, but perhaps that's not considered a bully tactic.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/us/politics/obama-final-press-conference.html?_r=0

Agree: Mark Green , dfordoom
Kyle McKenna , January 19, 2017 at 5:40 am GMT

"fear of people who look or speak or pray differently."

Typical SJW gobbledygook. First of all, no one looks, speaks, or prays like I do, so that's right out the window. It may look that way to you, but that's because you're ignorant, racist, jealous, and un-American.

Second, and much more important: It's not fear that causes me to resist the trashing of my country. It's love. I'm not remotely fearful of third-world refuse, but I'm definitely disgusted with the way the country I love seems to be circling the drain, and I'll do just about anything I can to prevent it.

That most definitely includes supporting a 'rumbustious' president who–despite offering genuine causes for concern–has made all the right enemies. Even if I agreed with him about nothing, I'd support him for that reason alone. What's that? They're threatening war? Nonsense. The war has been going on for half a century. But we have only begun to fight.

larry lurker , January 19, 2017 at 5:42 am GMT

On whether he thinks the American public is concerned about him not releasing his tax returns: "No, I don't think they care at all."

My favorite part of the whole press conference came right before this:

Reporter: But every president since the '70s has [released his tax returns] - Trump (sarcastically): Gee, I've never heard that. I've never heard that before.

Mr. Anon , January 19, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT

@Corvinus

"Pot, meet kettle."

Nonsense. Derb is an engaging and entertaining writer. You, on the other hand, are a tiresome bore.

"Yes, but you and your wife are IMMIGRANTS. Unwanted. Undesired. Doesn't matter if you are white or non-white."

Derb and his family are okay by me. You, however – I'd have no problem having you summarily deported.

"Why should an Englishman and a Chinese woman (race mixing, I thought that was a big no-no) be allowed to enter the United States? We already have too many of your kind already!"

No, we have too many of your kind, whatever your kind may be.

"Indeed, the proportions in each case bears examining. How many American Muslims committed acts of terrorism on American soil prior to 911?"

Prior to 911? What's so special about that day? Gosh, what might have happened on that particular date. How many countries did Hitler invade before Czechoslovakia?

"This is gooblygook. Either a person is loyal or disloyal."

No, they can simply be uninterested. I.e., America really isn't their country, it's just a place they happen to be.

"Nixon took himself down by enabling his posse to spy on Democrats and use campaign money to buy the silence of those who were caught at Watergate."

You are a fool – a contemptible and stupid fool. Nixon was no dirtier than either Johnson or Kennedy. He was taken down because the Washington Press Corps, the Democratic party (which he had humiliated), and elements of the Civil Service wanted him gone.

Wizard of Oz , January 19, 2017 at 9:46 am GMT

@Carlton Meyer

To be fair (why you might ask? But let me slide on) Obama did speak of not bullying small countries. I am not aware of any drone strikes on people who were government officials or otherwise representative of their small countries. Are you? Or of any other assassinations. Trade sanctions?

Anon , January 19, 2017 at 9:49 am GMT

One good thing about Trump presidency is the anti-war Left will be activated once again. Hopefully, they will prevent future wars.

Autochthon , January 19, 2017 at 11:03 am GMT
@Binyamin

For the first time in history we will have a [sic] oligarch in the White House .

Despite my having voted for him and supported his campaign, I have my suspicions and reservations about the man as well (I'm a cynic and a pessimist), but the statement above is complete horse-shit.

Pat the rat , January 19, 2017 at 12:51 pm GMT

Trump's tweets are an act of genius. He has rocked the whole liberal establishment by stating his own opinions and speaking directly to those who have been ignored for years.

This is revolutionary, Trump could never have survived a Presidential run in the past, he would have been unable to fight back, no one would be able to hear him.

Who would have thought that a President could ignore and ridicule major media players in an age where careers are destroyed by the media because they disagree with gay marriage...

Agent76 , January 19, 2017 at 1:41 pm GMT

Nov 21, 2016 Trump Is An Inside Job

"Statists are always gonna state and absolute power always corrupts absolutely. Trump is merely the right's version of Obama. If you really thought the left-right paradigm was abandoned, that the powers-that-be would let an actual outsider not only run for president but win well, I suggest you spend more time researching the new world order and less time voting for some power-hungry individual who claims to make everything great again." – Dan Dicks

https://youtu.be/VLHVikUN73s

macilrae , January 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT

Thanks for a lively piece Mr Derbyshire. As we gain experience in life we realize that there are probably twenty 'good talkers' for every 'do-er' jockeying for acceptance in positions of power – and we still get taken in by the talkers, even though they almost invariably have an insignificant track-record for the desired position. They end up departing with little accomplished, still talking: Obama being a perfect text book example.

You say:

And just as change is not necessarily good, fear is not necessarily bad. We have the fear instinct for a very good reason: to preserve ourselves against dangers. We may argue about whether some one particular phenomenon is or is not dangerous, but fear itself is useful and valuable, not a failing or a weakness.

I remember, when running a company, there came one of those fashionable (and short-lived) management crazes promoting the ideas of W. Edwards Deming, an American whose philosophy helped to bring about a massive change in Japanese industry. Deming asserted that 'quality' had to be instilled into everything in the workplace and he had fourteen points for management – mostly sound common sense except, I could never get along with point number eight "abolish fear in the workplace". Now, this sounds terrific and who could oppose it?

Except that without a little bit of fear/uncertainty/insecurity, no organization can run well – people just get too comfortable and secure and discipline declines. But how the Hell can you ever admit to that in public? Or in a book? Of course you can't!

Che Guava , January 19, 2017 at 4:33 pm GMT

Congrats USA. Nice article as always Mr. Derb,, but I think you are too optimistic. We will have to wait and see. From what little I know of USA polititcs, Trump is great because so many of his attackers are arseholes. Myths floating about the pallets of cash to Iran:simply a retum of stolen money, Much more to say. Too tired.

Rurik , January 19, 2017 at 5:13 pm GMT

@Binyamin

The dirt poor white middle Americans whose factories have closed and communities decimated, voted for him in droves and where are they now? . I expect the poor whites who voted for him will soon realize that they have been mugged.

yea, we'd have been so much better off with Hillary, huh?

but you're forgetting one thing about Trump's victory regardless of all of that-
and that's how great it makes us deplorables all feel at watching Obama and Michelle and people like you going through your butt-hurt, existential crisis. Your angst and dread exhilarates us all and reminds us how wonderful the political process can be. How, in a word; satisfying .. it can be.

so as your knickers are twisting over your equivocating gender bits, we're buoyed by your tears. In fact, I'd like to see a veritable ocean of your collective tears, and maybe sail a huge, obnoxious yacht from Texas to Kalingrad on it, flying a proud confederate, rebel battle flag. And I'll even name the ship The Deplorables, and when I've had my fill of Budweiser beer, Sherriff Joe and Vlad and I'll (I'd invite him too) relieve our white male piss into your ocean of tears, and watch as the salt mingles with the diversity. I'd be fun, no?

Just watching Van Jones and Michelle and all those Hollywood snowflakes and SJW and castrating Maddow dykes and sodomites and race hustlers and La Raza pendejos and Kristol war pigs and entrenched ticks in DC- sucking the blood of the republic, and all the assorted butt-hurt losers and haters that have languished in smug certitude at the destruction of my kind, just seeing them all desolate and inconsolable, just that, makes the Donald Trump win a precious moment to savor and cherish.

So please do keep posting, and telling us all how bad it's going to be. How indeed, calamitous and catastrophic! this all is. Where else can I relish such delicious and tasty morsels of sweet schadenfreude, than right here on the UR?

Agree: woodNfish
woodNfish , January 19, 2017 at 7:16 pm GMT

@Binyamin

His cabinet appointees are almost exclusively wealthy (actually, extremely wealthy) white men.

Obviously you are a dumbass racist or you would know that white people, especially white men are extremely smart and capable. Don't want to believe me? Pull your head out of your ass for a second and look around you – we created almost everything you see or use. Your modern world doesn't exist at all without us because WE created it from the constitutional laws you live by to the car you drive, cell phone you play Angry Birds on, to the computer and the software that runs it and lets you post to this site. Oh yeah – we also created the Internet. Yeah, that's right – White Men – the best thing that ever happened to this world and your shitty life. Get over yourself, racist!

woodNfish , January 19, 2017 at 7:17 pm GMT
@attilathehen

A white man who married a brownish-yellow Asian woman cannot tell his Asian offspring that they cannot date or associate with blacks.

Many Asians, maybe even most, consider blacks to be sub-human.

woodNfish , January 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT

@macilrae

W. Edwards Deming, an American whose philosophy helped to bring about a massive change in Japanese industry.

Deming went to Japan to sell his ideas because American manufacturing wouldn't listen to him. His quality ideas are now instituted in the ISO requirements which every manufacturer adheres to if they want to sell internationally.

macilrae , January 20, 2017 at 12:40 am GMT
@woodNfish

Certainly – but at least you don't see fellow management saluting you in the corridor with fourteen fingers anymore – it came and went in US as a fad lasting approximately two years but required more than ten for full implementation.

dfordoom , Website January 20, 2017 at 2:17 am GMT
@Anon

One good thing about Trump presidency is the anti-war Left will be activated once again.

Hopefully, they will prevent future wars.

One would like to think that. However the entity that calls itself the Left has become remarkably fond of war. They've discovered that war could be a useful tool for imposing transgender bathroom rights on the entire planet.

If Trump (God forbid) looked like starting a war with Russia would there be any opposition from an anti-war Left?

woodNfish , January 20, 2017 at 2:46 am GMT
@macilrae

I have no idea what you mean by "saluting with 14 fingers", but ISO is not a fad. Drive around any area with manufacturing and you will see companies touting their ISO 9000 certification because of Deming. His ideas were good and he has had a lasting effect on manufacturing across the globe.

Agree: Dan Hayes
Crawfurdmuir , January 20, 2017 at 5:06 am GMT

@Corvinus

It's the country of those immigrants who are naturalized, either recently or in the past. That fact is undeniable.

It's quite deniable. The founding stock of this country were not "immigrants" – they were colonists. They never left the realms of the British monarch. They simply moved to his dominions beyond the seas. Thus they never had to be naturalized, since they were already his subjects. When they declared their independence, they made themselves citizens of their own country. Again, no act of naturalization was necessary.

As Steve Sailer has often remarked, the story of these founders and patriots as colonists, frontiersmen, and pioneers has been allowed to fade from the public consciousness in favor of the narrative of the "wretched refuse of [the old world's] teeming shore " Yet immigrants past and present enjoy American liberty and prosperity only because of the efforts of the original settlers to win them, and their willingness to share those blessings with deserving newcomers.

bunga , January 20, 2017 at 7:07 pm GMT

Immigrant issue is the fig leaf under which certain brand of conservatives hide their frustration at the fact that the elite,the military-industrial complex , the colonizers of new age globalist and expansionist have not been to continue to provide them with the certainties and the beauties of creature comfort at a reduced affordable way as was the case until may be 1990 .

Now they have to work like anyone else New age slavery has not exempted them from rigor of life and work as have been before. This current scenario also appeared during great depression They ,then did not have the fig leaf of blaming the immigrants to cover their naked butts that personify their mental make up and intellectual understanding of their current situation. . They went for Roosevelt's They supported New Deal. They still love free stuffs and goodies Just look at the demands for Federal emergency relief program to get their butt out of the natural disasters .

Jeff77450 , January 20, 2017 at 7:22 pm GMT

Mr. Derbyshire's finger-crossing aside, I predict that we haven't heard the last of Barack Hussein Obama.

Miro23 , January 20, 2017 at 9:24 pm GMT

Honorable Senators: My sincerest thanks I offer you. Conserve the firm foundations of our institutions. Do your work with the spirit of a soldier in the public service. Be loyal to the Commonwealth and to yourselves, and be brief; above all things, be brief.

It's nice to see a reference to Calvin Coolidge, IMHO Americas finest post 1900 President.

He was Progressive when it meant things like women's suffrage, opportunity for minorities and universal health care, but at the same time was a Conservative in the truest sense of the word with a great respect for the Constitution and the Founders of the US.

He also had this really useful idea that most proposals for legislation derived from Special Interests (and needed to be excluded ), and that any legislation that did go forward had to have its downsides thoroughly checked beforehand.

Thales the Milesian , January 20, 2017 at 10:57 pm GMT

Barak Hussein Obama has not returned the Nobel Peace (Piss) Prize. This demonstrates he lacks decency and self-respect. The warmongers Obama and Hitlery are THE fascists!!! Bush II, Obama and Hitlery to Nuerenberg! Long live PRESIDENT TRUMP!

Miro23 , January 20, 2017 at 11:11 pm GMT

@polistra

He clearly understands how these things work, as demonstrated by his discussion of paper messages vs email. He's been 'controversial' for decades and he's been watching his back effectively for decades.

The Zionists, CIA and FBI could finish with Trump in no time at all, but the problem is that it's not just Trump, he's only riding a wave. Eliminate Trump and they could get something much worse, so they probably calculate that it's better to try to corrupt Trump ( he's a dealmaker) despite his connection to the thing that they fear the most i.e. Radical Anglo Nationalism.

Wizard of Oz , January 20, 2017 at 11:58 pm GMT

@Hibernian

The trouble is Pascal's wager implies contradictions because it is simultaneously valid for any and every god or system that promises (infinite) rewards and most of those religions don't allow for the others to be true. Anyway the concept of one's sentient self without a body has surely been impossible to believe in for several generations at least.

Wizard of Oz , January 21, 2017 at 12:13 am GMT

@bunga

Why hasn't Keynes's 1930 "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren" worked out? With birth control and technologucal advances since 1930 all Americans could be living in great material comfort and with plenty of leisure time for most of their lives. Is it just the crude insatiability of most human beings untamed by the more ascetic traditions? Is it status seeking by too many? (That might include enjoying the greatest locations which can't be added to with more storeys). Is it widespread criminality and its costs? Or .?

Corvinus , January 21, 2017 at 4:40 am GMT

@Crawfurdmuir

"It's quite deniable. The founding stock of this country were not "immigrants" – they were colonists."

I wasn't debating nor disputing this point. Mr. Anon pointed out that there are immigrants by which "America really isn't their country, it's just a place they happen to be." He is other than accurate in his assessment. Those groups who emigrated here and are now citizens are part of this country. It is their country as well if they went through the process legally.

"As Steve Sailer has often remarked, the story of these founders and patriots as colonists, frontiersmen, and pioneers has been allowed to fade from the public consciousness in favor of the narrative of the "wretched refuse of [the old world's] teeming shore "

Americans are generally aware of the founders of this country. However, immigrants like the Irish, Italians, and Slavs were considered to be "garbage" by nativists at various points in time. Millions of immigrants who came to the States had little money, but a strong work ethic and the willingness to embrace our customs and our political traditions.

"Yet immigrants past and present enjoy American liberty and prosperity only because of the efforts of the original settlers to win them, and their willingness to share those blessings with deserving newcomers."

Those original settlers included the British, the Dutch, and the Spanish, among others, who also forcibly removed tribal groups from their settled areas, as well as invaded the world and invited the world by instituting slavery in the Thirteen Colonies.

[Jan 21, 2017] [Forum] Trump A Resisters Guide Harpers Magazine

Notable quotes:
"... Losing every young person of promise to the meritocracy had deprived the working class of its prospective leaders, rendering it unable to coordinate a movement to manifest its political will. ..."
"... A policy of benign neglect of immigration laws invites into our country a casualized workforce without any leverage, one that competes with the native-born and destroys whatever leverage the latter have to negotiate better terms for themselves. The policy is a subsidy to American agribusiness, meatpacking plants, restaurants, bars, and construction companies, and to American families who would not otherwise be able to afford the outsourcing of childcare and domestic labor that the postfeminist, dual-income family requires. At the same time, a policy of free trade pits native-born workers against foreign ones content to earn pennies on the dollar of their American counterparts. ..."
"... Four decades of neoliberal globalization have cleaved our country into two hostile classes, and the line cuts across the race divide. On one side, college students credential themselves for meritocratic success. On the other, the white working class increasingly comes to resemble the black underclass in indices of social disorganization. On one side of the divide, much energy is expended on the eradication of subtler inequalities; on the other side, an equality of immiseration increasingly obtains. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | harpers.org
[Neo]liberalism that needs monsters to destroy can never politically engage with its enemies. It can never understand those enemies as political actors, making calculations, taking advantage of opportunities, and responding to constraints. It can never see in those enemies anything other than a black hole of motivation, a cesspool where reason goes to die. Hence the refusal of empathy for Trump's supporters. Insofar as it marks a demand that we not abandon antiracist principle and practice for the sake of winning over a mythicized white working class, the refusal is unimpeachable. But like the know-nothing disavowal of knowledge after 9/11, when explanations of terrorism were construed as exonerations of terrorism, the refusal of empathy since 11/9 is a will to ignorance. Far simpler to imagine Trump voters as possessed by a kind of demonic intelligence, or anti-intelligence, transcending all the rules of the established order. Rather than treat Trump as the outgrowth of normal politics and traditional institutions - it is the Electoral College, after all, not some beating heart of darkness, that sent Trump to the White House - there is a disabling insistence that he and his forces are like no political formation we've seen. By encouraging us to see only novelty in his monstrosity, analyses of this kind may prove as crippling as the neocons' assessment of Saddam's regime. That, too, was held to be like no tyranny we'd seen, a despotism where the ordinary rules of politics didn't apply and knowledge of the subject was therefore useless.

Such a [neo]liberalism becomes dependent on the very thing it opposes, with a tepid mix of neoliberal markets and multicultural morals getting much-needed spice from a terrifying right. Hillary Clinton ran hard on the threat of Trump, as if his presence were enough to authorize her presidency. Where Sanders promised to change the conversation, to make the battlefield a contest between a multicultural neoliberalism and a multiracial social democracy, Clinton sought to keep the battlefield as it has been for the past quarter-century. In this single respect, she can claim a substantial victory. It's no accident that one of the most spectacular confrontations since the election pitted the actors of Hamilton against the tweets of Trump. These fixed, frozen positions - high on rhetoric, low on action - offer an almost perfect tableau of our ongoing gridlock of recrimination.

Clinton waged this campaign on the belief that her neoliberalism of fear could defeat the ethnonationalism of the right. Let us not make the same mistake twice. Let us not be addicted to "the drug of danger," as Athena says in the Oresteia, to "the dream of the enemy that has to be crushed, like a herb, before [we] can smell freedom."

The term "meritocracy" became shorthand for a desirable societal ideal soon after it was coined by the British socialist Sir Michael Young. But Young had originally used it to describe a dystopian future. His 1958 satirical novel, The Rise of the Meritocracy, imagines the creation and growth of a national system of intelligence testing, which identifies talented young people from every stratum of society in order to install them in special schools, where they are groomed to make the best use possible of their innate advantages.

In the novel, what begins as a struggle against inherited privilege results in the consolidation of a new ruling class that derives its legitimacy from superior merit. This class becomes, within a few generations, a hereditary aristocracy in its own right. Sequestered within elite institutions, people of high intelligence marry among themselves, passing along their high social position and superior genes to their progeny. Terminal inequality is the result. The gradual shift from inheritance to merit, Young writes, made "nonsense of all their loose talk of the equality of man":

Men, after all, are notable not for the equality, but for the inequality, of their endowment. Once all the geniuses are amongst the elite, and all the morons are amongst the workers, what meaning can equality have? What ideal can be upheld except the principle of equal status for equal intelligence? What is the purpose of abolishing inequalities in nurture except to reveal and make more pronounced the inescapable inequalities of Nature?

I thought about this book often in the years before the crack-up of November 2016. In early 2015, the Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam published a book that seemed to tell as history the same story that Young had written as prophecy. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis opens with an evocation of the small town of Port Clinton, Ohio, where Putnam grew up in the 1950s - a "passable embodiment of the American Dream, a place that offered decent opportunity for all the kids in town, whatever their background." Port Clinton was, as Putnam is quick to concede, a nearly all-white town in a pre-feminist and pre-civil-rights America, and it was marked by the unequal distribution of power that spurred those movements into being. Yet it was also a place of high employment, strong unions, widespread homeownership, relative class equality, and generally intact two-parent families. Everyone knew one another by their first names and almost everyone was headed toward a better future; nearly three quarters of all the classmates Putnam surveyed fifty years later had surpassed their parents in both educational attainment and wealth.

When he revisited it in 2013, the town had become a kind of American nightmare. In the 1970s, the industrial base entered a terminal decline, and the town's economy declined with it. Downtown shops closed. Crime, delinquency, and drug use skyrocketed. In 1993, the factory that had offered high-wage blue-collar employment finally shuttered for good. By 2010, the rate of births to unwed mothers had risen to 40 percent. Two years later, the average worker in the county "was paid roughly 16 percent less in inflation-adjusted dollars than his or her grandfather in the early 1970s."

Young's novel ends with an editorial note informing readers that the fictional author of the text had been killed in a riot that was part of a violent populist insurrection against the meritocracy, an insurrection that the author had been insisting would pose no lasting threat to the social order. Losing every young person of promise to the meritocracy had deprived the working class of its prospective leaders, rendering it unable to coordinate a movement to manifest its political will. "Without intelligence in their heads," he wrote, "the lower classes are never more menacing than a rabble."

We are in the midst of a global insurrection against ruling elites. In the wake of the most destructive of the blows recently delivered, a furious debate arose over whether those who supported Donald Trump deserve empathy or scorn. The answer, of course, is that they deserve scorn for resorting to so depraved and false a solution to their predicament - and empathy for the predicament itself. (And not just because advances in technology are likely to make their predicament far more widely shared.) What is owed to them is not the lachrymose pity reserved for victims (though they have suffered greatly) but rather a practical appreciation of how their antagonism to the policies that determined the course of this campaign - mass immigration and free trade - was a fully political antagonism that was disregarded for decades, to our collective detriment.

A policy of benign neglect of immigration laws invites into our country a casualized workforce without any leverage, one that competes with the native-born and destroys whatever leverage the latter have to negotiate better terms for themselves. The policy is a subsidy to American agribusiness, meatpacking plants, restaurants, bars, and construction companies, and to American families who would not otherwise be able to afford the outsourcing of childcare and domestic labor that the postfeminist, dual-income family requires. At the same time, a policy of free trade pits native-born workers against foreign ones content to earn pennies on the dollar of their American counterparts.

In lieu of the social-democratic provision of childcare and other services of domestic support, we have built a privatized, ad hoc system of subsidies based on loose border enforcement - in effect, the nation cutting a deal with itself at the expense of the life chances of its native-born working class. In lieu of an industrial policy that would preserve intact the economic foundation of their lives, we rapidly dismantled our industrial base in pursuit of maximal aggregate economic growth, with no concern for the uneven distribution of the harms and the benefits. Some were enriched hugely by these policies: the college-educated bankers, accountants, consultants, technologists, lawyers, economists, and corporate executives who built a supply chain that reached to the countries where we shipped the jobs. Eventually, of course, many of these workers learned that both political parties regarded them as fungible factors of production, readily discarded in favor of a machine or a migrant willing to bunk eight to a room.

Four decades of neoliberal globalization have cleaved our country into two hostile classes, and the line cuts across the race divide. On one side, college students credential themselves for meritocratic success. On the other, the white working class increasingly comes to resemble the black underclass in indices of social disorganization. On one side of the divide, much energy is expended on the eradication of subtler inequalities; on the other side, an equality of immiseration increasingly obtains.

Even before the ruling elite sent the proletariat off to fight a misbegotten war, even before it wrecked the world economy through heedless lending, even before its politicians rescued those responsible for the crisis while allowing working-class victims of all colors to sink, the working class knew that it had been sacrificed to the interests of those sitting atop the meritocratic ladder. The hostility was never just about differing patterns in taste and consumption. It was also about one class prospering off the suffering of another. We learned this year that political interests that go neglected for decades invariably summon up demagogues who exploit them for their own gain. The demagogues will go on to betray their supporters and do enormous harm to others.

If we are to arrest the global descent into barbarism, we will have to understand the political antagonism at the heart of the meritocratic project and seek a new kind of politics. If we choose to neglect the valid interests of the working class, Trump will prove in retrospect to have been a pale harbinger of even darker nightmares to come.

[Jan 21, 2017] The DeVos Democrats

Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com
As many of her critics have pointed out, DeVos is a case study in the nefarious ways that big money shapes education policy in the United States. But she takes such criticism in stride. In 1997 she wrote: "I have decided . . . to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect some things in return."

In short, DeVos is arguably the nation's most powerful proponent of school privatization - and now, even after bumbling her way through her confirmation hearing, she's set to take the reins of the Department of Education.

American public schools have some very serious problems. Spend time in the crumbling public schools on the south side of Chicago and then venture over to the plush public schools in the leafy Chicago suburbs, and you'll experience alternative universes. Schools all over the greater Chicagoland are filled with committed and professional teachers, some quite excellent. But the students who attend the city schools arrive at school with stark disadvantages, unlike their better-off suburban peers. Discrepancies in school funding only exacerbate such class deficits.

Most of the problems with the public schools, in other words, are outgrowths of a deeply unequal society. Yet the solution to this problem - the redistribution of wealth - is inimical to the interests of billionaires like DeVos. The fact that she will soon be in charge of the nation's schools is a sick joke. Make no mistake: DeVos is a serious threat to public education and should be treated accordingly.

Unfortunately, many Democrats have long supported the same so-called education reform measures that DeVos backs. Often wrapping these measures in civil rights language, Democratic education reformers have provided cover for some of the worst types of reforms, including promoting the spread of charter schools - the preferred liberal mechanism for fulfilling the "choice" agenda. (Charter schools operate with public money, but without much public oversight, and are therefore often vehicles for pet pedagogical projects of billionaire educational philanthropists like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.)

DeVos will not have to completely reverse the Department of Education's course in order to fulfill her agenda. Obama's "Race to the Top" policy - the brainchild of former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, past CEO of Chicago Public Schools - allocates scarce federal resources to those states most aggressively implementing education reform measures, particularly around charter schools.

Perhaps the most effective advocate of school choice is New Jersey senator Cory Booker, who many Democrats are touting as the party's savior in the post-Obama era. Liberals swooned when Booker opposed his Senate colleague Jeff Sessions, the right-wing racist Trump tapped to be the next attorney general. But however laudable, Booker's actions didn't take much in the way of courage.

Booker's funders - hedge-fund managers and pharmaceutical barons - don't care about such theatrics. They're more concerned that he vote Big Pharma's way and keep up his role as a leading member of Democrats for Education Reform, a pro-privatization group. They want to make sure he continues attacking teachers' unions, the strongest bulwark against privatization.

Their aim is to undercut public schools and foster union-free charter schools, freeing the rich from having to pay teachers as unionized public servants with pensions.

So in the fight against Trump and DeVos, we can't give Booker and his anti-union ilk a pass. As enablers of DeVos's privatization agenda, they too must be delegitimized.

Public education depends on it. The beautiful school where I send my children depends on it.

[Jan 21, 2017] NYT Says Davos Elite Are Concerned Because Public Doesn't Buy Their Lies Anymore

Jan 20, 2017 | cepr.net

The New York Times reported * that the people at the gathering of the super rich at Davos are concerned because the population of major democracies no longer buy the lies they tell to justify upward redistribution of income. It told readers:

"At cocktail parties where the Champagne flows, financiers have expressed bewilderment over the rise of populist groups that are feeding a backlash against globalization....

"The world order has been upended. As the United States retreats from the promise of free trade, China is taking up the mantle....

"The religion of the global elite - free trade and open markets - is under attack, and there has been a lot of hand-wringing over what Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund has declared a 'middle-class crisis.' "

Of course the Davos elite do not have a religion of free trade. They are entirely happy with every longer and stronger patent and copyright protections, which is a main goal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other recent trade pacts.

The Davos elite also have no objections to protectionist measures, like the U.S. ban on foreign doctors who have not completed a U.S. residency program. This protectionist barrier adds as much as $100 billion a year (@ $700 per family) to the country's health care bill.

Since these measures redistribute income upward to people like them, the Davos elite is perfectly happy with them. They only object to protectionist measures which are intended to help ordinary workers.

The concern in Davos is that the public in western democracies no longer buys the lie that they are committed to the public good rather than lining their pockets. It is nice that the NYT is apparently trying to assist the elite by asserting that they have an interest in "free trade," but it is not likely to help their case much.

Yeah, I am plugging my book, "Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer" ** (it's free).

* https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/business/dealbook/world-economic-forum-davos-finance.html

** http://deanbaker.net/images/stories/documents/Rigged.pdf

-- Dean Baker Reply Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 06:33 AM likezkova said in reply to anne... Not only the population of major democracies no longer buy the neoliberal lies they used to tell to justify upward redistribution of income.

They now have the right wing alternative to both "soft" (Clinton) neoliberal party (which used Clinton "they will vote for us anyway tactic since 90th) and "hard" neoliberal party, which treated conservatives with the same medicine.

And that what bother the neoliberal elite most, as those guys can easily get out of control and hand a couple of dozen "masters of the universe" on the lamp posts for all good they did for the country.

That's why intelligence agencies tries this "soft coup" against Trump recently. What they achieved remains to be seen, but probably not a capitulation on the Trump "party" side.

Wedge issues such as same sex marriage, which was used a smoke screen for a decade or so lost its effectiveness.

Neoliberal MSM are now viewed as professional liars and presstitutes, which they always were.

This is probably the very easy signs of the systemic crisis of neoliberalism, plain and simple.

Reply Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 07:54 AM

libezkova said in reply to anne...

http://www.unz.com/article/political-sciences-theory-of-everything-on-the-2016-us-election/

== quote ==

The invisible rulers of the US establishment were revealed by Professor C. Wright Mill in his article titled, The Structure of Power in American Society (The British Journal of Sociology, March 1958), in which he explains how, "the high military, the corporation executives, the political directorate have tended to come together to form the power elite of America."

He describes how the power elite can be best described as a "triangle of power," linking the corporate, executive government, and military factions: "There is a political economy numerously linked with military order and decision. This triangle of power is now a structural fact, and it is the key to any understanding of the higher circles in America today."

The 2016 US election, like all other US elections, featured a gallery of pre-selected candidates that represented the three factions and their interests within the power elite. The 2016 US election, however, was vastly different from previous elections. As the election dragged on the power elite became bitterly divided, with the majority supporting Hilary Clinton, the candidate pre-selected by the political and corporate factions, while the military faction rallied around their choice of Donald Trump.

During the election campaign the power elite's military faction under Trump confounded all political pundits by outflanking and decisively defeating the power elite's political faction. In fact by capturing the Republican nomination and overwhelmingly defeating the Democratic establishment, Trump and the military faction not just shattered the power elites' political faction, within both the Democratic and Republican parties, but simultaneously ended both the Clinton and Bush dynasties.

During the election campaign the power elite's corporate faction realised, far too late, that Trump was a direct threat to their power base, and turned the full force of their corporate media against Trump's military faction, while Trump using social media bypassed and eviscerated the corporate media causing them to lose all remaining credibility.

As the election reached a crescendo this battle between the power elite's factions became visible within the US establishment's entities. A schism developed between the Defense Department and the highly politicized CIA. This schism, which can be attributed to the corporate-deep-state's covert foreign policy, traces back to the CIA orchestrated "color revolutions" that had swept the Middle East and North Africa.

[Jan 21, 2017] Assessing Obama labor policy track record

Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com
Obama might have done more to bend the tone of Washington than change actual policy, but his tenure is a lesson in what a president can and can't do for working people.

When he took office at the zenith of the financial crisis, Obama's initial moves to stop the hemorrhaging of jobs, including the federal stimulus package and Wall Street bailout, could have been opportunities to reshape the relationship between the state and private sector and to tackle income inequality in the long term. But thanks to bipartisan resistance in Congress, the big banks were never held to account; the stimulus, though a significant social investment, petered out; and no other mass jobs initiatives ever emerged after the "recovery" had sufficiently resuscitated the financial system.

But aspirations toward a New Deal–type stimulus faded fast. The Occupy Wall Street movement's cry for economic justice picked up the momentum and changed the way people view the social dimensions of inequality and the role of protest in civic life. Congress then proved useless in failing to push through even modest investments in infrastructure, restoring funding for basic welfare programs, or making health-care reform truly equitable for working-class people instead of an insurance industry racket.

The squelching of the Employee Free Choice Act , which would have eased the unionization process, further constrained efforts to build workplace democracy. Obama never lifted a finger for the act in the early days of his presidency, when it was still politically possible.

Two parallel failures of Obama's approach toward globalization hurt labor materially and politically. First, the collapse of immigration reform efforts, which only further entrenched a permanent underclass of undocumented workers . Additionally, the perpetuation of the warped neoliberal trade policy that has devastated working-class households who previously enjoyed a modicum of upward mobility.

Trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership revealed Obama's myopic approach to addressing deep destabilization across the workforce - the evaporation of core, decent-paying industries that had supported communities for generations, and the expansion of poverty-wage, unstable, and precarious service jobs.

The administration's reluctance to confront these disruptions provoked a massive backlash against "free trade" and globalization as abandoned workers saw their Democratic representatives allow corporations to drive down wages, undermine labor standards inside and outside US borders, and essentially write the rules of the global economy themselves.

One area where Obama did make meaningful changes was also, sadly, the easiest to roll back.

Through his executive power, he expanded labor protections for tens of thousands of federal contractors, including wage hikes, paid sick leave, and fair-pay rules. The Labor Department extended minimum-wage protections to home-care workers under new administrative guidelines. But those might be rapidly unraveled by conservative lawmakers and Trump, both hell-bent on dismantling Obama's regulatory actions.

Similarly, the Labor Department's overhaul of the eligibility threshold for low-income salaried workers was set to boost the wages of millions nationwide, but are now disintegrating with court challenges and an incoming pro-business administration.

Rulings at the National Labor Relations Board boosted collective-bargaining rights for contractors and graduate student workers , and helped advance organizing efforts for fast-food franchise workers. But these measures could crumble when the new NLRB under Trump veers rightward.

But many major changes in labor policy realized under Obama happened on the state and local level, like the proliferation of paid sick leave laws in states and cities in the past few years. And Occupy's legacy continued in the streets with campaigns like the Fight for 15 , which brought precarious service workers into the national spotlight, and the Chicago Teachers Union , which thwarted the corporate school-reform coalition that Democrats championed.

None of these achievements should be credited to the Obama White House, but they're surrounded by the civic momentum generated with his election, and now may outlast his administration through movements that have learned to radically depart from the liberal centrist elite - an establishment that ultimately crumpled in the election.

That Obama will be succeeded by such an outrageously regressive, racist regime reflects the structural inequalities that no president could begin to dismantle, since they are tied to a neoliberal global economic structure . But in many ways Obama failed culturally to grapple with those injustices, retreating instead into the safer sphere of promoting symbolic equality without material equity. Fighting those inequalities requires not technocratic tinkering in Washington but enlisting local communities through organizing in workplaces, classrooms, and communities.

[Jan 21, 2017] Obama invigorated the worst of the corporate education reform movement

Notable quotes:
"... three decades the national conversation about education has been held hostage by the anxiety-inducing metaphors that always accompany the neoliberal dismantling of public services. ..."
"... President Obama and his advisers have done little to resist this state of affairs, carrying out low-intensity warfare on teachers' unions and perpetuating harmful myths that the American school system is "life-saving" (because we live in a meritocracy), that it is "in crisis" (because test scores are falling behind globally), and that it can only be saved by the free-market fixes (competition, standards, accountability, and choice) originally advocated by conservative think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation and billionaire philanthropists. ..."
"... Of all the education initiatives with names that sound like spaceships (America 2000, Goals 2000) or battle cries (No Child Left Behind), Race to the Top, the Obama administration's signature contribution to the genre, may be the most successful assault yet in the sustained effort to destroy the democratic project of public schooling. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

In some languages, the words for "teach" and "learn" are the same, suggesting a view of education as a cooperative activity, rather than as something that is done to students. Not in English, and certainly not in the United States, where for three decades the national conversation about education has been held hostage by the anxiety-inducing metaphors that always accompany the neoliberal dismantling of public services.

President Obama and his advisers have done little to resist this state of affairs, carrying out low-intensity warfare on teachers' unions and perpetuating harmful myths that the American school system is "life-saving" (because we live in a meritocracy), that it is "in crisis" (because test scores are falling behind globally), and that it can only be saved by the free-market fixes (competition, standards, accountability, and choice) originally advocated by conservative think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation and billionaire philanthropists.

Of all the education initiatives with names that sound like spaceships (America 2000, Goals 2000) or battle cries (No Child Left Behind), Race to the Top, the Obama administration's signature contribution to the genre, may be the most successful assault yet in the sustained effort to destroy the democratic project of public schooling. In 2009, more than $4 billion of public funds were set aside for K-12 education as part of TARP, representing a moment of enormous possibility for the president. The money could have been used to equalize funding among schools ( which is exceptionally inequitable in America ) or to incentivize states to make changes that we know improve educational outcomes for poor children and children of color, like reducing class sizes and promoting socioeconomic and racial integration .

Instead, the Obama administration chose to use a series of competitive grants to push the adoption of the Common Core standards, the linking of teacher evaluations to student test scores, and the expansion of charter schools. These measures were deemed "innovative," even in the face of growing evidence that charter test scores are no better than those of traditional public schools and that charters are more stratified by race, class, special education status, and possibly language, than public schools.

Today, forty-two of fifty states are members of the Common Core Standards Initiative and nearly half tie teacher evaluations to test scores, an enormous transformation in policy. Yet test scores on the NAEP (known as "America's report card") have fallen for the first time, and Race to the Top has failed to deliver even by its own paltry and unimaginative measures. Meanwhile, the real crisis facing children - a disgraceful level of poverty - has gone unnamed by anyone but Bernie Sanders, let alone addressed.

It was nice that Obama called out the widening wealth gap during his farewell address, but the ultimate legacy of his administration has been the deepening of that inequality through the advancement of the agenda of the Broad, Walton Family, and Gates Foundations over the demands of the American people for free, high-quality, and equitably funded schools (a counsel for the education department even once mistakenly referred to the Obama administration as "the Gates administration").

Privatization efforts under Trump will be worse. Clearly, no one is going to give us control of our schools. We're going to have to take it. In 2016, the Black Lives Matter movement and the NAACP called for a moratorium on charter schools - it's a start.

–Megan Erickson

[Jan 21, 2017] http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/nyt-says-davos-elite-are-concerned-because-public-doesn-t-buy-their-lies-anymore

Jan 21, 2017 | cepr.net

January 20, 2017

NYT Says Davos Elite Are Concerned Because Public Doesn't Buy Their Lies Anymore

The New York Times reported * that the people at the gathering of the super rich at Davos are concerned because the population of major democracies no longer buy the lies they tell to justify upward redistribution of income. It told readers:

"At cocktail parties where the Champagne flows, financiers have expressed bewilderment over the rise of populist groups that are feeding a backlash against globalization....

"The world order has been upended. As the United States retreats from the promise of free trade, China is taking up the mantle....

"The religion of the global elite - free trade and open markets - is under attack, and there has been a lot of hand-wringing over what Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund has declared a 'middle-class crisis.' "

Of course the Davos elite do not have a religion of free trade. They are entirely happy with every longer and stronger patent and copyright protections, which is a main goal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other recent trade pacts.

The Davos elite also have no objections to protectionist measures, like the U.S. ban on foreign doctors who have not completed a U.S. residency program. This protectionist barrier adds as much as $100 billion a year (@ $700 per family) to the country's health care bill.

Since these measures redistribute income upward to people like them, the Davos elite is perfectly happy with them. They only object to protectionist measures which are intended to help ordinary workers.

The concern in Davos is that the public in western democracies no longer buys the lie that they are committed to the public good rather than lining their pockets. It is nice that the NYT is apparently trying to assist the elite by asserting that they have an interest in "free trade," but it is not likely to help their case much.

Yeah, I am plugging my book, "Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer" ** (it's free).

* https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/business/dealbook/world-economic-forum-davos-finance.html

** http://deanbaker.net/images/stories/documents/Rigged.pdf

-- Dean Baker Reply Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 06:33 AM likezkova said in reply to anne... Not only the population of major democracies no longer buy the neoliberal lies they used to tell to justify upward redistribution of income.

They now have the right wing alternative to both "soft" (Clinton) neoliberal party (which used Clinton "they will vote for us anyway tactic since 90th) and "hard" neoliberal party, which treated conservatives with the same medicine.

And that what bother the neoliberal elite most, as those guys can easily get out of control and hand a couple of dozen "masters of the universe" on the lamp posts for all good they did for the country.

That's why intelligence agencies tries this "soft coup" against Trump recently. What they achieved remains to be seen, but probably not a capitulation on the Trump "party" side.

Wedge issues such as same sex marriage, which was used a smoke screen for a decade or so lost its effectiveness.

Neoliberal MSM are now viewed as professional liars and presstitutes, which they always were.

This is probably the very easy signs of the systemic crisis of neoliberalism, plain and simple.

Reply Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 07:54 AM

libezkova said in reply to anne...

The invisible rulers of the US establishment were revealed by Professor C. Wright Mill in his article titled, The Structure of Power in American Society (The British Journal of Sociology, March 1958), in which he explains how, "the high military, the corporation executives, the political directorate have tended to come together to form the power elite of America."

He describes how the power elite can be best described as a "triangle of power," linking the corporate, executive government, and military factions: "There is a political economy numerously linked with military order and decision. This triangle of power is now a structural fact, and it is the key to any understanding of the higher circles in America today."

The 2016 US election, like all other US elections, featured a gallery of pre-selected candidates that represented the three factions and their interests within the power elite. The 2016 US election, however, was vastly different from previous elections. As the election dragged on the power elite became bitterly divided, with the majority supporting Hilary Clinton, the candidate pre-selected by the political and corporate factions, while the military faction rallied around their choice of Donald Trump.

During the election campaign the power elite's military faction under Trump confounded all political pundits by outflanking and decisively defeating the power elite's political faction. In fact by capturing the Republican nomination and overwhelmingly defeating the Democratic establishment, Trump and the military faction not just shattered the power elites' political faction, within both the Democratic and Republican parties, but simultaneously ended both the Clinton and Bush dynasties.

During the election campaign the power elite's corporate faction realised, far too late, that Trump was a direct threat to their power base, and turned the full force of their corporate media against Trump's military faction, while Trump using social media bypassed and eviscerated the corporate media causing them to lose all remaining credibility.

As the election reached a crescendo this battle between the power elite's factions became visible within the US establishment's entities. A schism developed between the Defense Department and the highly politicized CIA. This schism, which can be attributed to the corporate-deep-state's covert foreign policy, traces back to the CIA orchestrated "color revolutions" that had swept the Middle East and North Africa.

[Jan 21, 2017] Theres class warfare, all right, but its my class, the rich class, thats making war, and were winning

Notable quotes:
"... In the face of the enormous political chasm between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, a strategy of elite-led, bipartisan deal-cutting premised on calls for "shared sacrifice" leaves this grossly inequitable economic and political fabric intact. As such, the 99 percent are caught in the vise of small-bore policies from their supposed friends and allies while their opponents encircle them with scorched-earth politics. ..."
"... The Obama administration and much of the leadership of the Democratic Party took extreme care not to upset these basic interests. As a consequence, they squandered an exceptional political opportunity. The financial crisis and the Great Recession were one of those moments when members of the business sector were "stripped naked as leaders and strategists," in the words of Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. The Great Depression was another. ..."
"... As he put the House of Morgan and other bankers on trial, Ferdinand Pecora, chief counsel of the Senate Banking Committee, helped popularize during the age of Al Capone a term not heard today: the "bankster." These hearings compelled Roosevelt to support stricter financial regulation than he might have otherwise. ..."
"... One cannot talk about crime in the streets today without talking about crime in the suites. ..."
"... The political intransigence lavishly on display in the Republican Party - which repeatedly brought Congress to a caustic standstill - obscured how a major segment of the Democratic Party was loath to mount any major challenge to the entrenched financial and political interests that have captured American politics today. ..."
"... For all the bluster about political polarization, the debate over what to do about the economy, the social safety net, and financial regulation - like the elite discussions over what to do about mass incarceration - oscillated within a very narrow range defined by neoliberalism for much of Obama's tenure. Indeed, the president repeatedly bragged that the federal budget for discretionary spending on domestic programs had shrunk under his watch to the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

Vast and growing economic inequalities rooted in vast and growing political inequalities are the preeminent problem facing the United States today. They are the touchstone of many of the major issues that vex the country - from mass incarceration to mass underemployment to climate change to the economic recovery of Wall Street but not Main Street and Martin Luther King Street.

In the face of the enormous political chasm between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, a strategy of elite-led, bipartisan deal-cutting premised on calls for "shared sacrifice" leaves this grossly inequitable economic and political fabric intact. As such, the 99 percent are caught in the vise of small-bore policies from their supposed friends and allies while their opponents encircle them with scorched-earth politics.

The Obama administration and much of the leadership of the Democratic Party took extreme care not to upset these basic interests. As a consequence, they squandered an exceptional political opportunity. The financial crisis and the Great Recession were one of those moments when members of the business sector were "stripped naked as leaders and strategists," in the words of Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. The Great Depression was another.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt came into office, the Hoover administration was thoroughly discredited, as was the business sector. FDR recognized that the country was ready for a clean break with the past, and symbolically and substantively cultivated that sentiment. The break did not come from FDR alone. Massive numbers of Americans mobilized in unions, women's organizations, veterans' groups, senior citizen associations, and civil right groups to ensure that the country switched course.

During the Depression, President Roosevelt was forced to broaden the public understanding of crime to include corporate crime. The Senate's riveting Pecora hearings during the waning days of the Hoover administration and the start of the Roosevelt presidency turned a scorching public spotlight on the malfeasance of the corporate sector and its complicity in sparking the Depression.

As he put the House of Morgan and other bankers on trial, Ferdinand Pecora, chief counsel of the Senate Banking Committee, helped popularize during the age of Al Capone a term not heard today: the "bankster." These hearings compelled Roosevelt to support stricter financial regulation than he might have otherwise.

One cannot talk about crime in the streets today without talking about crime in the suites. Over the past four decades, the public obsession with getting tougher on street crime coincided with the retreat of the state in regulating corporate malfeasance - everything from hedge funds to credit default swaps to workplace safety. Keeping the focus on street crime was a convenient strategy to shift public attention and resources from crime in the suites to crime in the streets.

As billionaire financier Warren Buffet quipped in 2006, "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." President Obama's persistent calls during his first term for a politics that rose above politics and championed "shared sacrifice" denied this reality and demobilized the public. It thwarted the consolidation of a compelling alternative political vision on which new coalitions and movements could be forged to challenge fundamental inequalities, including mass imprisonment and the growing tentacles of the carceral state.

The political intransigence lavishly on display in the Republican Party - which repeatedly brought Congress to a caustic standstill - obscured how a major segment of the Democratic Party was loath to mount any major challenge to the entrenched financial and political interests that have captured American politics today.

For all the bluster about political polarization, the debate over what to do about the economy, the social safety net, and financial regulation - like the elite discussions over what to do about mass incarceration - oscillated within a very narrow range defined by neoliberalism for much of Obama's tenure. Indeed, the president repeatedly bragged that the federal budget for discretionary spending on domestic programs had shrunk under his watch to the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

[Jan 21, 2017] The Trump Speech That No One Heard

Notable quotes:
"... Here's an excerpt from the speech Trump delivered in Cincinnati on December 1, that presents Trump's views on the topic: ..."
"... "We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments . Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States] We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will." ..."
"... This is why none of the major media published Trump's comments. The corporate bosses who own the media have nothing to gain by promoting the views of a populist executive who wants to minimize the carnage by working cooperatively with foreign leaders the media has already designated as 'enemies of the state', like Vladimir Putin. How does that advance the media's agenda? ..."
"... But the Washington power-elite know what Trump said, and they have acted accordingly. They have put together a plan that is designed to undermine Trump's credibility, back him into a corner and remove him from office. That's the plan, regime change in the USA. ..."
"... This is why CIA Director John Brennan took the unprecedented step of appearing on FOX News Sunday. Brennan and the other heads of the Intelligence Community have taken a leading role in the desperate character assassination campaign that is intended to obliterate public confidence in Trump in order to foil his attempts at resetting relations with Russia. ..."
"... lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com . ..."
Jan 19, 2017 | www.unz.com

Donald Trump wants to fundamentally change U.S. foreign policy. The President-elect wants to abandon the destabilizing wars and regime change operations that have characterized US policy in the past and work collaboratively with countries like Russia that have a mutual interest in fighting terrorism and establishing regional security. Here's an excerpt from the speech Trump delivered in Cincinnati on December 1, that presents Trump's views on the topic:

"We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments . Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States] We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will."

Trump's approach to foreign policy may seem commendable given the disastrous results in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Iraq, but it is also a dramatic departure from the last 70 years of activity during which time the United States has either overthrown or attempted to overthrow 57 foreign governments. (According to author William Blum) This is why the political class and their wealthy constituents are so worried about Trump, it's because they don't want the new president mucking-around in a process he doesn't understand, a process that has reshaped the world in a way that clearly benefits US mega-corporations while reinforcing Washington's iron grip on global power. The bottom line is that "violence works" and any deviation from the present policy represents a direct threat to the people whose continued power and prosperity depend on that violence.

This is why none of the major media published Trump's comments. The corporate bosses who own the media have nothing to gain by promoting the views of a populist executive who wants to minimize the carnage by working cooperatively with foreign leaders the media has already designated as 'enemies of the state', like Vladimir Putin. How does that advance the media's agenda?

It doesn't, which is why they'd rather the public remain in the dark about what Trump actually said.

But the Washington power-elite know what Trump said, and they have acted accordingly. They have put together a plan that is designed to undermine Trump's credibility, back him into a corner and remove him from office. That's the plan, regime change in the USA.

This is why CIA Director John Brennan took the unprecedented step of appearing on FOX News Sunday. Brennan and the other heads of the Intelligence Community have taken a leading role in the desperate character assassination campaign that is intended to obliterate public confidence in Trump in order to foil his attempts at resetting relations with Russia. The CIA's involvement in the coups in Ukraine and Honduras, as well as the agency's funding, arming and training of Sunni militants in Libya and Syria, attest to the fact that Brennan does not see peace and reconciliation as compatible with US foreign policy objectives. Like his elitist paymasters, Brennan is committed to perpetual war, regime change, and mass annihilation. Trump offers some relief from this 70 year-long nightmare policy. Check out this quote from Vice President-elect, Mike Pence on FOX News Sunday:

"I think the president elect has made it very clear that we have a terrible relationship with Russia right now. And that's not all our own doing, but really is a failure of American diplomacy in successive administrations. And what the president elect has determined to do is to explore the possibility of better relations. We have a common enemy in ISIS, and the ability to work with Russia to confront, hunt down and destroy ISIS at its source represents an enormously important priority of this incoming administration. But what the American people like about Donald Trump is that he's someone who can sit down, roll his sleeves up and make a deal. And what you're hearing in his reflections whether it be with Russia, or China or other countries in the world, is that we're going to reengage. We're going to put America first, we're going to reengage in a way that advances America's interests in the world and that advances peace."

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, FOX News Sunday

"Better relations" with Russia?

Not on your life. US elites and their think tank lackeys would never allow it, not in a million years. Even now, after six years of death and destruction in Syria, elites at the Council on Foreign Relations are still resolved to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Re: "Aleppo's Sobering Lessons," Project Syndicate, by Richard Haas, President of the Council on Foreign Relations) The same is true at the Brookings Institute where chief strategist Michael O' Hanlon leads the charge for splitting up the battered country so Washington can control vital pipeline corridors, establish military bases in the east, and eliminate a potential threat to Israeli expansion. Here's a clip from a recent piece by O' Hanlon that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. The author admits that the US goal is to splinter to country into multiple parts transforming it into a failed state:

"To achieve peace, Syria will need self-governance within a number of autonomous zones. One option is a confederal system by which the whole country is divided into such zones. A less desirable but minimally acceptable alternative could be several autonomous zones within an otherwise still-centralized state-similar to how Iraqi Kurdistan has functioned for a quarter-century .

Many Syrians will not like the idea of a confederal nation, or even of a central government controlling half the country with the other half divided into three or four autonomous zones. But the broad vision should be developed soon." (Wall Street Journal)

"Autonomous zones" in a "confederal system" is a sobriquet for a broken, Balkanized failed state run by tribal elders, disparate warlords and bloodthirsty jihadists. O' Hanlon's vision for Syria is a savage dysfunctional dystopia run by homicidal fanatics who rule with an iron fist. Is it any wonder why the Syrian people have fought tooth and nail to fend off the terrorist onslaught?

The United States is entirely responsible for the bloody decimation of Syria. It is absurd to think that either the Saudis, the Qataris or the Turks would have launched a war on a strategically-critical nation like Syria without a green light from Washington. The conflict is just the latest hotspot in Washington's 15 year-long war of terror. The ultimate goal is to remove all secular Arab leaders who may pose a threat to US imperial ambitions, open up the region to US-dominated extractive industries, and foment enough extremism to legitimize a permanent military presence.

Russia's intervention into the Syrian conflict in September 2015, has cast doubt on Washington's ability to prevail in the six year-long war. The election of Donald Trump has further complicated matters by affecting a seismic shift in policy that could end the fighting and lead to improved relations between the US and Russia. Naturally, that is not in the interests of the vicious neocons or their liberal interventionist counterparts who see the proxy war in Syria as a pivotal part of their plan to clip Russia's wings, discredit Putin in the eyes of the international community, and lay the groundwork for regime change in Moscow. Washington's ultimate plan for Russia hews closely to that of Zbigniew Brzezinski who– in an titled "A Geostrategy for Eurasia"– had this to say:

"Given (Russia's) size and diversity, a decentralized political system and free-market economics would be most likely to unleash the creative potential of the Russian people and Russia's vast natural resources. A loosely confederated Russia - composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic - would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with its neighbors. Each of the confederated entitles would be able to tap its local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow's heavy bureaucratic hand. In turn, a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization." (Zbigniew Brzezinski, A Geostrategy for Eurasia, Foreign Affairs, 76:5, September/October 1997)

Nice, eh? In other words, Washington's plan for Russia is no different than its plan for Syria. Both countries will be chopped up into smaller bite-size chunks eliminating the possibility of a strong nationalist government rising up and resisting Washington's relentless exploitation and repression. It's divide and conquer writ large.

"A loosely confederated Russia" also fits perfectly with Washington's top priority to spread military bases across Asia, control crucial energy supplies, open up financial markets, impose Washington's neoliberal economic policies, and maintain a stranglehold on China's explosive growth. It's the Great Game all over again, and Washington is "In it to win it."

Here's an excerpt from a speech Hillary Clinton gave in 2011 titled "America's Pacific Century". The speech underscores the importance that elites attach to the "rebalancing" plan contained in the term "pivot to Asia". The strategy relies on the opening up of new markets to US corporations and Wall Street, controlling critical resources, and "forging a broad-based military presence" across the continent. Washington intends to be the main player in the world's most prosperous region. Here's Clinton:

"The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action . One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment - diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise - in the Asia-Pacific region

Harnessing Asia's growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology ..American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama's goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia."

("America's Pacific Century", Secretary of State Hillary Clinton", Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011)

Onward, to Asia, the next great US battlefield! The killing never ends.

As we noted earlier, the pivot to Asia is Washington's top priority. Clinton merely confirms what geopolitical strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski laid out in his 1997 magnum opus The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Here's a short excerpt from the book:

"For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia (p.30) .. Eurasia is the globe's largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. .About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60 per cent of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources." (p.31)

For Washington to achieve its foreign policy objectives, it must eliminate or defeat all emerging threats to its dominance. In practical terms, that means the Russo-Sino plan to transform Europe and Asia into a giant free trade zone that extends from Lisbon to Vladivostok– must be sabotaged by any means possible. The State Department's coup in Kiev as well as aggressive efforts to restrict the flow of Russian gas to the EU via Nord Stream and South Stream, have temporarily succeeded in undermining Moscow's plan for accelerated economic integration. Had Hillary won the election, the US would have stepped up its provocations, its sanctions, its military buildup on Russia's borders, its gas war, its attacks on Russia's markets and currency, and its proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine. But now that Trump has been thrown into the mix, anything is possible. Even a fundamental change in the policy.

The question is whether the deep state powerbrokers –who have already launched a number of attacks on Trump in the media - will throw in the towel and allow Trump to develop his own independent foreign policy or take steps to have him removed from office.

Early indications suggest that a coup is already underway.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition . He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com .

Diogenes , January 19, 2017 at 4:16 pm GMT • 200

Trump to date has been "all talk and no action" and as we know "actions speak louder than words".
The voters who put their trust in Trump rather than Hillary now expect actions and Trump to deliver on his election "plank".
Needless to say politicians tend to "talk the walk" but not "walk the walk". So unless he delivers he is going to be another big disappointment for his supporters. I and many other cynics have maintained he is not going to deliver.
But, what do I know? However the American Establishment probably knows a lot more than me and if they are worried about Trump and want him out of power then they feel threatened by him and his supporters may have really voted for a change that challenges the status quo.
A purge of the Neo -liberal Globalist Establishment is long over due and much to be desired BUT we don't know who and what will replace them. Trump may be an "existential threat" to the malevolent swamp creatures that dwell in Washington but he might also be a threat to the whole country. We hope for a benevolent outcome; "Time will tell".

Beckow , January 19, 2017 at 4:39 pm GMT • 200

But none of it has worked. Brzezinski, or whoever, can write books, can dream big, can play with maps after dinner at Georgetown parties – but it is has not worked. The 'divide and conquer' ended up dividing the world more, and conquering almost nothing. It is a mess, and the coming consequences were going to be dire.

Results matter. Trump is not just an emotional reaction to the crazy globalist neocon-liberal idiocy, he is also a reaction to failure. If Clinton took over and doubled down on the same policies (she was going to), there simply would be a lot more failure. And there is no way to dress up failures as 'good for us'. Neo-cons/liberals have had everything on their side – power, academia, media, all institutions – except results.

Trump might fail, or he might succeed, but by coming in at this time, he is in effect saving the failing policies – they don't have to answer for the obvious and accelerating failures that these interventions have caused. The authors will avoid consequences and will very quickly shift into 'we were betrayed', or 'if we just had 10 more years', the usual escapist nonsense that failed ideologues always use. (The communist ideologues still claim that the problem was that 'they should had tried harder, had 'purer' communism', blabla .and same is true about other failed ideologies).

And they will be back. Whether in 'a year or two' as Kerry just said at Davos, or in 2020, 2024, they will be back. This mental state is incurable. (But if we get a few years break, well, let's be thankful for that.)

TG , January 19, 2017 at 9:47 pm GMT • 200

An interesting and well-reasoned post. Indeed, it's kind of shocking when you think about it just how much our government is doing running around the world messing in the affairs of nations that really shouldn't be our concern

About whether Trump means what he said during the campaign, well yes, there is always the danger that he will 'pull an Obama' and stab his constituents in the back – talk is cheap. And yet, if that were the case then, as with Obama, we would expect the elites to make nice with him. Instead the elites are if anything ramping up their attacks.

Now the enemy of my enemy is not always a friend – Trump could yet be a disaster. But the war that the deep state is waging on him is perhaps not a bad sign.

And for those who find his tweets repellent, well, that's the only mechanism he has to avoid letting the corporate press completely shut him out and control the dialog. Trump's genius (or luck) is that by being outrageous he has, unlike Nader or Perot or Dean etc., been unable to be silenced by the corporate press. Although in the long run it can't be a sustainable system I would say that breaking up the big corporate industrial/press cartels should be a prime aim. No more news outlets owned by (for example) tech titans with a zillion dollars in CIA contracts and numerous other non-press business interests, you get the idea.

Robert Magill , January 20, 2017 at 10:40 am GMT

For Washington to achieve its foreign policy objectives, it must eliminate or defeat all emerging threats to its dominance. In practical terms, that means the Russo-Sino plan to transform Europe and Asia into a giant free trade zone that extends from Lisbon to Vladivostok– must be sabotaged by any means possible.

Too late. In December the last remaining Sharia objections to trade in gold were resolved. One billion plus Muslims can now bypass paper money at will and trade in gold. (Gaddafi attempted to do that in Africa and it cost him his life) China has begun to purchase oil with gold all over the mideast. Bye bye petro dollars. Hello breadlines in the former empire.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

alexander , January 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm GMT • 300

Mike,

It is well worth considering the possibility that were our perpetual war making to finally end, our "deep state neocon warmongers " might find themselves on the receiving end of a very robust "reckoning" for the titanic criminal catastrophes they have inculcated.

Please tell me where is it written that they shouldn't be ?

The prodigious assault to disinherit President Trump may well reflect not only their contempt at the thought he might be ending their "evil" wars, but the very real fear in their hearts, they may be held to account, for starting them in the first place.

One cannot overstate the level of absolute impunity our Neocons have enjoyed over the last decade, for committing some of the most horrific crimes the world has seen, since WWII.

Nor can one discount their imperial need of a win for Queen Hillary as being, first and foremost, a lock on that very impunity.

Her loss at the ballot box had very little to do with the voters rejection of her projected veneer of "progressive " values, but a frank realization by the electorate that Ms. Clinton was nothing more than a belligerent neocon warmonger in a phony "liberal" pantsuit.

This "unraveling" has left them all twisting in the wind.

How could it not ?

After all, Donald Trump, is a billionaire oligarch who not only wants "peace", but has been highly articulate and cuttingly accurate as to how (and why) our wars have been total disasters.

This presents quite an unsettling conundrum for all the back room billionaire oligarchs who have always been able to buy their wars as well as the Presidents ( and the Press ) willing to start them.

The fact they might, now, find themselves out of their hegemonic "drivers seat" .and in the criminals "hot seat", as targets for "bone-crushing" war crimes tribunals, . could have them all frantically climbing the walls.

Anonymous , January 20, 2017 at 9:36 pm GMT • 100

Well, even if he does a little of what he promised – such as deport those illegals that have a criminal record – that alone will be good. If he could also do something for the Millennials to be able to move out of their parents' homes, that would be good too.

[Jan 21, 2017] Obama's foreign policy was expansive, secretive, and wedded to the status quo.

Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

As the follow-up act to George W. Bush, Barack Obama was supposed to restore the United States to the fold of respectable nations whose leaders did not devise such foreign policy goals as "smokin' 'em out."

Particularly given Obama's campaign pledge to engage in dialogue with traditional American enemies like Iran and Cuba - both included in the Axis of Evil-plus-three configuration marketed during the Bush era - optimistic sectors of the international community predicted the advent of a humane, benevolent superpower.

The naïveté of such thinking was rather evident from the get-go; now, at the end of Obama's reign, it's glaringly obvious. Consider the recent calculation by the Council on Foreign Relations that the United States "dropped 26,172 bombs in seven countries" in 2016 alone - an estimate the authors acknowledge is "undoubtedly low."

In February 2015, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that Obama's covert drone strikes on territories where the United States is not officially at war had already "killed almost six times more people and twice as many civilians than those ordered in the Bush years."

Obama's rapprochement with Cuba and his nuclear deal with Iran have been hailed by fans as landmark achievements and alleged evidence of his status as peacemonger-in-chief. Often lost in the celebrations, however, is the fact that both locales are still targeted with sanctions that undeniably constitute "war by other means."

In Cuba, Obama might have bolstered his ethical credentials by fulfilling his promise to close Guantánamo, thereby terminating the US occupation of Cuban territory and ending a symbol of America's global impunity.

In the Middle East, efforts to defuse the nuclear issue would have been less blatantly hypocritical if Obama hadn't also approved a $38 billion military aid package to Israel, the largest in US history.

This is the same Israel that happens to maintain a nuclear arsenal and grants itself immunity from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Beyond some jabs at Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama has not allowed the Israeli military's recurring slaughter of Palestinian civilians to get in the way of his principled commitment to Israel's right to " self-defense ."

The full extent of the fallout of Obama's rule, of course, remains to be seen. But for one particularly troubling hint as to his legacy-in-progress, one need look no further than Medea Benjamin's recent remarks in the Guardian : "The twisted legal architecture the Obama administration has constructed to justify its interventions, especially extrajudicial drone killings with no geographic restrictions, will now be transferred into the erratic hands of Donald Trump." Call it teamwork .

-Belén Fernandez

[Jan 21, 2017] US China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?

Jan 21, 2017 | www.unz.com
Eamonn Fingleton

December 8, 2016

Trust mainstream media commentators to get their priorities right! While they dished out hell to Donald Trump the other day over his 10-minute conversation with the president of Taiwan, they could hardly have been more accommodative all these years of a rather more consequential American affront to mainland China: Barack Obama's so-called "pivot" to Asia.

As the London-based journalist John Pilger points out, the absurdly named pivot, which has been a central feature of U.S. foreign policy since 2012, is clearly intended to tighten America's military containment of the Middle Kingdom. In Pilger's words, Washington's nuclear bases amount to a hangman's noose around China's neck.

Pilger makes the point in a searing new documentary, The Coming War on China. Little known in the United States, Pilger has been a marquee name in British journalism since the 1960s. First as a roving reporter for the Daily Mirror and later as a television documentary maker, he has spent more than fifty years exposing the underside of American foreign policy – and very often, given London's predilection to play Tonto to Washington's Lone Ranger, that has meant exposing the underside of British foreign policy also.

Pilger built his early reputation on opposition to the Vietnam war; more recently he emerged as a scathing critic of the Bush-Blair rush to invade Iraq after 9/11.

In his latest movie, Pilger, a 77-year-old Australian, argues that the "pivot" sets the world up for nuclear Armageddon. The Obama White House probably disagrees; but, not for the first time, Pilger is asking the right questions.

This is not to suggest that Washington doesn't have legitimate issues. But its China strategy is upside down. While it rarely misses an opportunity to lord it over Beijing militarily, its economic policy in the face of increasingly outrageous Chinese provocation could hardly be more spineless. Instead of insisting that China honor its WTO obligations, U.S. policymakers have looked the other way as Beijing has not only maintained high trade barriers against American exports but, far worse, has contrived to force the transfer of much of what is left of America's once awe-inspiring reservoir of world-beating manufacturing technologies.

In the case of the auto industry, for instance, Beijing's proposition goes like this: "We'd love to buy American cars. But those cars must be made in China – and the Detroit companies must bring their best manufacturing technologies." Such technologies then have a habit of migrating rapidly to rising Chinese rivals.

By indulging China economically and provoking it militarily, the Obama administration would appear to be schizoid. But this is to judge things from a commonsensical outsider's perspective – always a mistake in a place as inbred and smug as Washington. Seen from inside the Beltway, everything looks perfectly rational. Whether Washington is giving away the U.S. industrial base, on the one hand or arming to the teeth against a putative Chinese bogeyman on the other, the dynamic is the same: lobbying money.

As the U.S. industrial base has been shipped machine-by-machine, and job-by-job, to China, America's ability to pay its way in the world has correspondingly imploded. Although rarely mentioned in the press (does the American press even understand such elementary and obvious economic consequences?), this means America has become ever more dependent on other nations to fund its trade deficits. The funding comes mainly in the form of purchases o