May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

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 4.1

Skepticism and Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News Who Rules America Recommended books Recommended Links Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Definition of neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows
Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Globalization of Corporatism Casino Capitalism  Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult
Twelve apostles of deregulation Lawrence Summers Robert Rubin, the man who helped to convert the USA into banana republic Phil Gramm Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy Sandy Weill: the banker who bought Bill Clinton Milton Friedman -- the hired gun for Deification of Market
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neo-fascism New American Militarism Neocons as USA neo-fascists Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People Gangster Capitalism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Corruption of Regulators In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers The Deep State Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'
Elite Theory The Iron Law of Oligarchy Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions Anti-globalization movement Inverted Totalitarism
Super Capitalism as Imperialism Alternatives to neoliberalism If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths Jeremy Grantham On The Fall Of Civilizations Psychological Warfare and the New World Order Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality
Neoliberal corruption "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Blaming poor and neoliberalism laziness dogma Predator state Disaster capitalism Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
The Great Transformation Harvard Mafia Two Party System as polyarchy Republican Economic Policy Monetarism fiasco Small government smoke screen Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment History of neoliberalism Humor Etc

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

- 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 not a post-war version of capitalism. It’s a post-war version of fascism.

washunate ; comment to the post

David Kotz: Understanding Contemporary Capitalism, Part I

Neoliberalism is a new form of corporatism based on the ideology of market fundamentalism, dominance of finance and cult of the rich ("greed is good") instead of ideology based on racial or national superiority typical for classic corporatism. Like many religious doctrines it belongs to the class of Theological Voluntarism (with some pseudo mathematical voodoo attached as a justification; actually even this is not new. Iranian ayatollahs in the past needed to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics) , but unlike most philosophies and relations it does not try to suppress greed. On the contrary it pronounces it to be a virtue ("Greed is good").

As this is a flavor of corporatism (in sense that corporations are dominant political actors -- as Senator Dick Durbin aptly quipped about US Congress "Banks frankly own the place"). As such it might be  more properly called neo-corporatism and it is district from classic corporatism which rely of dominant political party and suppression of dissent by force by using indirect "iron fist in soft glove" methods based on the power of finance (see  Inverted Totalitarism). It is a powerful ideology, currently dominant ideology in the world, which displaced both communism and social-democracy models (the collapse of the USSR was the start of triumphal march of neoliberalism which lasted until 2008, see below)   It is an ideology based on deception in a sense that it pretends to provide benefits to all nations while in reality outside "first class nations" (G7 and a few others industrialized nations)  it enforces neocolonial model of economic relations. The essence of  neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up, so in principle can't deliver prosperity for all. Revolt is suppressed by powerful propaganda machine military and technolofiucal powe of the USA ("Lord protector" of neoliberalism) and speculation on human greed (which represents a variation of classic "divide and conquer" approach).

It absolutize the value of competition in social systems using as a smoke screen an abstract, ideologically charged construct called "free market" (free for whom? why not "fair market" ?) . Simplifying you can see it as a power grab by globalized economic (and first of all financial) elite and a race to the bottom for the rest of world population. In this sense neoliberalism is not only about the redistribution of wealth up, toward the top 0.1%.  It is also about putting the elite outside the framework of the law and  institualizing fraud and deception as a business model for elite (and only for elite). Much like in feudalism neoliberal lords stand above the law.  This ability of the elite to commit criminal acts with impunity is the key component of neoliberalism as a political system (which 2008 events aptly demonstrated to the world)

The institutions of neoliberal capitalism, while promoting an expanded role in the economy for "market forces" (read "financial oligarchy")  simultaneously transform labor relations. The “market” under neoliberalism certainly no longer refers to competition as a form of the production and distribution goods and services. Instead, it means something more along the lines of international financial monopolies protected by collusion between captured vassal state institutions ( including neoliberal fifth column domination in the all major branches of government, especially executive and  legislative branches, educational institutions and media) and multinationals, which pay money to sustain this social order. The term “Free markets” under neoliberalism means letting rich people do what they want and neutralizing any government interference on this path, not promoting efficient allocation of resources through competition and the price mechanism. The core of the fifth column are local oligarchs and so called "Chicago boys" sons and daughters of local elite who are trained for and indoctrinated for this purpose in Western universities.

Under neoliberalism labor relations assumes the form of full domination of labor by capitalists. Unions ore officially suppressed and large part of middle class is brainwashed to hate using set of propaganda stories about unions corruption, welfare quinsy, lack of competitiveness in unionized industries (with Detroit as a prime story), etc.  In this sense crushing by Reagan of the strike of air controllers was one of the first manifestation of this dominance. Workers again are downgraded to the role of debt slaves, who should be glad to get subsistence wages. And, for example, wages in Walmart are really on subsistence level, no question about it (Making Change at Walmart » Fact Sheet – Wages):

Walmart jobs are poverty-level jobs.
Walmart’s average sale Associate makes $8.81 per hour, according to IBISWorld, an independent market research group. This translates to annual pay of $15,576, based upon Walmart’s full-time status of 34 hours per week1. This is significantly below the 2010 Federal Poverty Level of $22,050 for a family of four. The Wall Street Journal reported that the average Walmart cashier makes just $8.48 an hour, far below the $11.22 national average for all cashiers.

This contrasts with the capital-labor compromise that characterized the state capitalism that existed several post-WWII decades and that was crushed by neoliberalism in 1970th. Neoliberalism also brought change in the relation between financial and non-financial capital: financial capital now again like in 1920th plays a dominant role dictating the rules of the game to manufacturing sector and controlling it via banks.

Under neoliberalism the wealthy and their academic servants, see inequality as a noble outcome. University professors of economics form the most corrupt part of intellectual elite – they are nothing more than employees of the financial oligarchy paid to administer intellectual anesthetic to those among debt slaves, who still have enough time to ask what’s going on. They want to further enrich top 1%, shrink middle class making it less secure, and impoverish poor.  That's an officially state goal. Then in 1992, when asked what Iran-Contra was really all about, Bush I replied that it was done for "...the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands."

Neoliberalism enjoyed strong political ascendance since 1980th, although ideology is much older and its origins can be traced to first decade after WWII; the seeds were firmly planted in 1965 with the establishment of free trade zones and Mexican maquiladoras (factories that produce for export) under so called the Border Industrialization Program. Even at this, early stage the key feature of neoliberalism were evident -- outsourcing labor to the third word countries, as the method of undermining power of unions in the USA. Along with the elimination of unions, classic neoliberalism promotes reduced taxation of rich and corporations, reduced regulation, and minimizing redistributive function of government and favoring the rich and powerful elite and first of all financial oligarchy. This minimization of government functions is not about the reduction of military budget, but about dismantling of safety net established under New Deal, including the privatization of health and retirement benefits. In countries outside the USA neoliberalism is also a strong proponent of opening up of the economy to foreign competition. Supporters of neoliberalism created real "fifth column" out of universities economic departments with small targeted grants and various forms of corruption of large percentage of professors (speaking engagements, higher salary, exorbitant consulting fees, etc).

In its essence neoliberalism was a counterrevolution aimed at destroying established after WWII compromise between workers and capitalists based on state capitalism model, which in the US was called the New Deal.  In most simple form neoliberalism can be defined as an attempt to restore the rule of international financial oligarchy over society, as a new form of corporatism, of, if you like, neofascism (not always velvet gloves for countries outside G7; see Pinochet history of repression in Chile, for example) .  Unlike classic forms of corporatism such as German and Italian fascism here we do not see the dominant nationalistic, far right political party that suppresses all the political opponents. Instead this is an organized movement of the top echelon of corporations and, first of all, global/transnational corporations, who decided to enforce the same indirect and mostly economic form of  control over population that was  polished within corporate environment and in battles with the unions. It  can be called "fascism without nationalism". such social system also sometimes was called Inverted Totalitarism, "casino capitalism", or "fascism in velvet gloves".

As a social system is a derivative, a new form of classic corporatism and involves complete dominance of large corporations over government, including but not limited to conversion of goals of multinationals into state foreign policy goals (achievable by wars, if other means fail). The usurpation of large multinationals of political life of the country is achieved mainly by economic means, but assassinations of "non-conformant" political leaders are not excluded as "deep state" is a part of neoliberal power structure and has capabilities of physically eliminating opponents.  Still the main form is by buying politicians and key intellectuals as well as controlling all major political appointments (including the selection of Presidential Candidates). In a way the society became "occupied" in a very precise meaning of this word (and that's why "Occupy Wall Street" movement is misnomer; it should be called anti-occupation movement). Citizens and most countries are transformed into indented servants of large corporations and their economic and political interests.

Debt slavery is the standard, preferred tool of neoliberal control both over individuals and countries. One of the key strategy of subduing the countries by bringing to power neoliberal elite (fifth column of globalization) as well as enforcing on the country large unplayable debt. Essentially converting such a country into debt slave rules by vassal government, which oversee transfer of funds to metropolia.  Thos model replaces direct occupation model used by British and other empires. 

Greece and Ukraine are two most recent examples of this policy in action. Typically this is done with giving the country large loans for questionable projects, and large part of allocated money is promptly stolen by local neoliberal elite. Then when crisis struck and institutions that took the load can't pay, they are bailed out by  converting those loads from private to public via IMF. This is the key mechanism of redistribution of wealth -- profits are private, but losses s are public.

Neoliberalism is corporatism that had outgrown national boundaries and became global. In other words in 70th of the last century, the civilization made an interesting turn, returning to the state where a supranational structures, which in the middle ages were called religious orders, returned to the prime scène in the form of transnational corporations, IMF (which represents interests of US financial oligarchy) and World Bank with budgets that exceed the GDP of most States and political influence, exceeding traditional political influence of international institutions such as UN, UNESCO, etc.   An interesting nuance is that national three letter agencies also became important players in this new global governing corporatist alliance, acquiring a political role similar to transnational corporations as the key part of National Security State and forming the core of so called "deep state":

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. [2]

... ... ...

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.

The American and British elite in 70th (starting with President Carter in the USA but coming into full force with President Reagan; Thatcher played similar role in GB) decided to liquidate the New Deal coalition and to cover up the upward redistribution of income with a smokescreen of neoliberal ideology. Which also served as anesthetic for lemmings which were mercilessly deprived of most safety net that they acquired due to New Deal ;-). As Lames Levy noted in his comment to Why the Claims Neoliberals Make About Markets Are Wrong naked capitalism

 Jefferson’s notion of “marketplace of ideas” doesn’t apply to the ideology of the market. Bad ideas, like bad people, often thrive. Many of us were taught that this was not the case–good triumphs over evil, virtue is its own reward, and the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. The older I get, the more I doubt these things, the less evidence I see for them, and the less self-correction I see in scholarship

Extremism of Neoliberalism, Neoconservatives as militant faction of neoliberals

Like in case of Communism/Bolshevism/Trotskyism  a distinguishing feature of neoliberalism is its clincher argument: there is no alternative”(TINA).  Instead of Communist manifesto neoliberals use so called Washington Consensus and instead of Capital Milton's Friedman book Capitalism as Freedom. They also re-define the meaning of the word "freedom"  (Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom').  Instead Roosevelt classic four freedoms, they put as the cornerstone the corner cult of possessions (see also Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult). That makes neoliberalism as powerful extremist ideology as communism, or radical Islam, if you wish ;-). Because of its ideological extremism: it recognizes no competitors, and allows its adherents ignore the possibility of viable alternatives.  The extremist, jingoistic wing of neoliberals in the USA is represented by so called neoconservatives (Paul Wolfowitz, Bush Jr.’s Deputy Secretary of Defense even managed to became the President of the World Bank, confirming the idea that finance is a war by other means) . Since Clinton the position of Secretary of State is occupied by warmongering female neocons, with Hillary Clinton as the most recent example

Neoliberalism and Christianity

For thousand years various religions attempted to take the greed in man, as this is a prerequisite for stability and  functioning of society. In this respect neoliberalism is really Devil Creed as it consider greed to be a virtue ("greed is good"). In other words from the point of view of Christian theology neoliberalism is nothing but a flavor of Satanism (Wikipedia):

Its core beliefs revolves around individualism, egotism, Epicureanism, self-deification and self-preservation, and  propagate a worldview of natural law, materialism, Social Darwinism, Lex Talionis ("eye for an eye"), and mankind as animals"

... ... ...

It is atheistic philosophy which asserts that "each individual is his or her own god and there isno room for any other God. "

Neoliberalism explicitly rejects the key ideas of Christianity -- the idea of ultimate justice for all sinners. The idea that a human being should struggle to create justice in this world while realizing that the ultimate solution is beyond his grasp.

As Reinhold Niebuhr noted a world where there is one center of power and authority (financial oligarchy under neoliberalism) "preponderant and unchallenged... its world rule almost certainly violate basic standard of justice". The same is true about globalization as

"no world government could possibly possess for generations to come, the moral and political authority to redistribute power between nations to the degree in which highly cohesive national communities have accomplished this end in recent centuries". 

He warned that

"Lacking a deep understanding of the complexities of national aspirations and cultural differences, US foreign policy often lingers between two extremes of offering economic advantage to secure cooperation or overcoming intransigence through military force".

The problem with "greed is good" slogan it cultivates cruelty toward other people, As Pope Francis noted "To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others ... a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion ..."

Here are selected quotes from Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013

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

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

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.

Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Ideology of Financial Elite: how neoliberal lie became hegemonic despite being a lie

"Poverty wants much; but greed wants everything."

Publilius Syrus

Historically neoliberalism emerged as an ideology of the financial elite, specifically as the ideology of financial revanchism.  As David Harvey noted in his book A brief History of Neoliberalism:

Redistributive effects and increasing social inequality have in fact been such a persistent feature of neoliberalization as to be regarded as structural to the whole project. Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy, after careful reconstruction of the data, have concluded that neoliberalization was from the very beginning a project to achieve the restoration of class power. (Chapter 1)

It is an ideology completely based on deception.  The set of lies that constitute the fundament of neoliberal ideology were brought to light as a band aid during the crisis of state capitalism in 70th. It also pretended to produce "heaven on earth" (and in this case is similar to communism). the only difference is that neoliberal promise heaven only "chosen" only, and "good life" for everybody else (pretending that it will will lead to lifting standard of living for everybody, while making few obscenely rich). This mode of thinking is called supply side economy or "trickle-down ecomony".  As John Kenneth Galbraith aptly noted  that “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.”

If socialism absolulitized the power of state, neoliberalism fall into another extreme (and remember that extremes meet). It absolutize the "market" (understiid as freedom of finanicla oligarchy to do what they want) and the law of jungle in competition (which means unconditional surrender of all power to the largest transnationals and first of all banks and rape and plunder of smaller firms and states, probably more fierce then under any form of state capitalism).  But neoliberal pretences of minimizing the state is another deception. They want to minimize only those branches of state that control behaviour of capitalists, while increasing dramatically repressive power of state to prevent any possibility of revolt. In other words neoliberalism logically lead to creation of national security state, the development which we observe in several countries, but first of all in the USA and Great Britain.  In this sense neoliberalism can be viewed as one of the modern flavors of neofascism.

It was a false, misleading and pretty seductive ideology from the very beginning created with a specific goal to deceive by people who can be called intellectual criminals. The most interesting part of neoliberalism is that the whole ideology was custom created for particular political goals of financial elite, which managed to hire stooges like Milton Friedman and others to accomplish the task.

So one of the most interesting features of neoliberalism is that it was custom tailored for restoration of power of  financial elite, or, as they are called after 2008, for banksters. But it proved to be more relevant and long lasting then band aid covering post New Deal financial revanchism of banksters, acquiring a life of its own.

Gradually it became full fledged ideology, much like Marxism before (and it did borrowed a lot from Marxism, especially from Trotskyism, and first of all the idea that politically organized minority can always dictate its will to unorganized majority as well as  "permanent revolution" memo (concertized into 'export democracy"  instead of "liberation from capitalism oppression and in a very slick way replacing uprising of "proletarian" with uprising of fifth column specifically organized and financed to accomplish a  "color revolution".  In both case criminal elements are welcomed (especially in the form of football fanatics). In both cases the preliminary phase was creation or establishing control over the sizable part of MSM (in modern days that included TV  channels, not only newspapers like in classic Marxism). Role of Communist International emissaries was adopted by staff of the US embassies. The goal is also the same in both case -- violent acquisition of power of the new elite by whatever means possible.

Like Marxist political economy, neoliberalism has certain economic postulates (see "Washington Consensus"). As a philosophy is oscillating between atheistic Satanism ("greed is good"), Randism ("cult of entrepreneurships", "Entrepreneurs aka "creative class" as Ubermench")  and post modernism ("rejection of absolute truth").

 In 80th in the USA it essentially became  a new  "secular religion" for the elite, shredding remnants of Christian morality. As foundations of neoliberalism such as neoclassical economy and Trotskyism are disconnected from the reality, both requires from the followers blind, unquestioned  obedience like in high demand cults.  But remuneration under neoliberalism to top echelon of functionaries is much better ;-) While in both case a good money are paid for the top layer of the sect, under neoliberalism the pay acquired obscene levels; that actually includes paid stooges in economic department which were bough "en mass".  Bribes in a form of fees for "lectures" reach a several hundred thousand dollars).

It is difficult to define neoliberalism more precisely but the restoration of unlimited power of financial oligarchy is definitely its one of key features. The same level of unlimited unchecked power it enjoyed at the beginning of XX century and which was destroyed by the Great Depression.

As such the neoliberal project has multiple dimensions all of which are supported by a hypertrophied, intrusive spying apparatus of neoliberal state which reminds the Third Reich with the aggressive, militarized  police. A combination which make protests or, god forbid revolt against neoliberalism much more difficult.

Three principal dimensions of neoliberalism -- political, ideological and cultural

As the latest stage of predatory capitalism, neoliberalism is part of a broader economic and political project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital (Giroux 2008; 2014).  In his article   “Protesting Youth in the Age of Neoliberal Cruelty”, Professor Henry A. Giroux points out that like communism,  neoliberalism can be viewed in three principal dimensions -- political, ideological and cultural.

The real goal of neoliberalism is re-distribution of power and related redistribution of wealth up id a true feudal fashion. That's why neoliberalism also can be called neo-feudalism (which is another similarity with Bolsheviks and USSR)  The neoliberal project is really about weakening the power of middle class and impoverishing everybody other then top 20% of population in favor of maximizing the power of the tiny elite (the top 0.1%). 

As such, neoliberalism  is a broad strategy of economic (and first of all financial), political, cultural and military elites to destroy social-democratic state and to restructure power relationships, institutions, by injecting into the society, like narcotic, an artificial and a priory false ideology (civil religion), which is extremely beneficial for the promotion of interests of the top 0.1% (aka "super-elite", represented mainly by financial oligarchy both in the US and in in other countries; in the latter they represent the fifth column of neoliberal globalization).

Marx famous phase "Religion is the opium of the people" here acquires different and more modern and more menacing context as neoliberal dogma really serve the role of opium.  And the way it is distributed strongly reminds opium wars of British empire.  The full quote from Karl Marx translates as: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people".

Like communism before, it is an ideology with its own international movement. If the slogan of Communist International (aka Comintern) was "workers of all countries unite" the slogan of neoliberal revolution are both "Elites of all countries unite" and "viva the law of jungles" or "if you see that guy who is ready to fall push him in the back". Of course with the appropriate PR smoke screen about free markets, freedomdemocracy and equal opportunity.

Like Marxism neoliberal ideology is the ideology of class hegemony (just for a different class ;-), which serves multiple roles

Some authors define neoliberalism differently. For example, Robert McChesney, defines neoliberalism as an economic paradigm that leaves a small number of private parties in control and able to maximize their profit at the expense of the other smaller players and the rest of population. It posits that business domination of society proceeds most effectively when there is a representative democracy along with a weak and ineffectual polity typified by high degrees of depoliticization, especially among the poor and working class. He notes that unlike in classic corporatism, which relies on mass mobilization, neoliberalism relies on the opposite trend (along the lines of "inverted totalitarism"): a distracted or apathetic or depoliticized public essentially "goes along" with this, using the dominance of consumerism as a Trojan horse of depolitization and the loss of community spirit("Bread and circuses"). In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future. Globalization is the result of powerful governments, especially that of the United States, pushing trade deals and other accords down the throats of the world's people to make it easier for corporations and the wealthy to dominate the economies of nations around the world without having obligations to the peoples of those nations

This stress of depolitization is very important. It proved to be as efficient as mass mobilization of classic corporatism and achieve the same purposes with less violence. This stress of depolitization of population is commonly called Inverted Totalitarism. Indeed, promotion of envy and suppression of any honest and candid debates about neoliberalism in the United States and elsewhere is one of its most striking features suggesting communality with medieval Catholicism. Neoliberalism's loudest message is that there is no alternative to the status quo, "there is no alternative".

Perverted definition of freedom

David Harvey, the author of  A Brief History of Neoliberalism, defines neoliberalism as attempt to undermine power and sovereignty of governments by transnational corporations and establish the regime in which the power of financial oligarchy (aka power of "free market") is dominant in the society using the concept of freedom as a smokescreen.  For this purpose, neoliberal propaganda perverts the definition of 'freedom' in such a way, that it conceals redistribution of wealth up. Unlimited, unrestricted accumulation of money (aka greed") now is equated with human freedom.

Neoliberal state protects capital and at the same time tries to sheds as much social responsibility for the wellbeing of citizenry as possible. That's why neoliberal stat in 2008 bailed out corporate interests from bad decision making them whole, while destroying the safety net for "subprime" homeowners and lower part of the population. That's why neoliberal policies always result in rising inequality, slower economic growth, and drastic redistribution of income toward the upper class.

Neoliberalism has distinct tendency to convert state in national security states, in which as we noted before two distinct modes co-exists: permissive for capital and repressive for labor and social programs.  Here is one Amazon review of the book:

Malvin  on September 28, 2006 

Deconstructing neoliberalism's peculiar definition of 'freedom'

"A Brief History of Neoliberalism" by David Harvey is a concise and razor-sharp deconstruction of the neoliberal movement. Mr. Harvey convincingly demonstrates that neoliberalism is an ideology that has been wielded to enshrine elite privilege at the expense of people and the environment. Assiduously researched and cogently argued, Mr. Harvey offers a jargon-free and readable text that helps readers gain a greater understanding about the political economy of our neoliberal world and what this might hold for us in the future.

 Mr. Harvey explains that neoliberal propaganda has succeeded in fixating the public on a peculiar definition of 'freedom' that has served to conceal a project of upper class wealth accumulation. In practice, the neoliberal state assumes a protective role for capital while it sheds as much responsibility for the citizenry as possible. Mr. Harvey details how neoliberal theory is ignored whenever it comes time to bail out corporate interests from bad decision making while the safety net for the working class has been gradually eviscerated. The author effectively intersperses the text with graphs to illustrate how thirty years of neoliberalist policies has resulted in rising inequality, slower economic growth, higher incomes among the upper class, and other measures that serve to convincingly support and prove his thesis.

Mr. Harvey's history of how neoliberalism has gained ascendancy mostly treads through familiar ground but also highlights some key events that are sometimes overlooked by others. For example, Mr. Harvey relates the well-known stories of how the Chilean coup in 1973 opened the door for Augusto Pinochet to implement the first national experiment in neoliberalism, followed by Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain in 1979 and Ronald Reagan in the U.S. in 1980. However, we also gain greater appreciation about the importance of the New York City bankruptcy in the 1970s. We learn how the city's financial crisis allowed for the imposition of neoliberal reforms in a manner that would prove to be a familiar template around the world: the rollback of labor rights, the privatization of public assets, cuts in public services, and increased policing, surveillance and political repression of a markedly polarized population.

Mr. Harvey surveys neoliberalism around the world to discover connections and to analyze its effects. He finds that the U.S. economy has benefited immensely from its ability to extract tribute from other nations, including the U.S. financial community's probable engineering of crises in developing nations in order to scoop up devalued assets on the cheap. The author discusses how economic restructuring programs imposed on poor countries has benefited U.S. and other foreign investors while it has bolstered or created a small but powerful class of wealthy individuals in Mexico, South Korea, Sweden and elsewhere. In China, Mr. Harvey remarks about the ease with which neoliberalism has found a home in an authoritarian state where the political elite have amassed their fortunes by exploiting a defenseless working class. The author is particularly concerned about the symbiotic relationship that has developed between the U.S. and China and muses about the potentially catastrophic financial situation that the two countries' mounting debts might pose for each other and the world economy.

There are also other definitions. But all-in-all any viable definition need to underline the fact that neoliberalism is about the transnational economic elite taking larger share of resources, income and political power in the society away from middle class. So it always means "class war", as well as blatant enrichment of top 1% at the expense of other 99%.

Those new masters of the universe in expensive suits managed to plunder almost the same number of countries on the globe under the smokescreen of  protection of human rights, as Western powers during acquisition of colonies in XIX century. Any even after creating the most acute economic crisis in 2008 in the USA they still managed to privatize public assets and socialize all the losses. BTW the defense of human right never preclude the alliance with the most odious political regimes on the planet if such an alliance is about cheap hydrocarbons. Recently under the slogan "let us not allow bastards Russian dominate in our beloved Europe, they managed royally "f*ck EU, by cutting it from Russian hydrocarbons,  as Victoria Nuland deftly admitted in her famous remark". After that the U.S. financial oligarchs deftly dropped the Euro to the floor and knocked any attempts of economic integration of EU with Russia.

In this "enrichment of top 1%" (which means first and foremost the US oligarchs and their British counterparts) aspect neoliberalism is based on a strategies of capital accumulation based on the plunder of weaker countries by transnational capital. The integration (or re-integration as is case with the USSR) of most countries in global production and financial system was based of forming a narrow strata of comprador elite (aka fifth column). Transnational fraction of local elites in competition with nationally-oriented fractions won the state power (that's what color revolutions were about). They utilized this acquired power to restructure national economy in the interest of transnational corporation, sell assets to transnationals for pennies on a dollar, put the countries into huge debt (see Ukraine, Greece, almost all Southern Europe) and merge them into the new global manufacturing and finance system with the center at the USA in the role of powerless vassals.

This a new global, transnational corporations based social system emerged by breakdown of First World Keynesian capitalism (welfare states) and Third World "developmentalist" capitalism by abolishing two key features:

Globalization became a new efficient strategy of capital accumulation as it allowed to shake off compromises and concessions that has been imposed by middle class with upper strata or industrial workers on national governments of G7 countries in the preceding epoch, when the USSR exists as a countervailing force and by the mere fact of its existence suppresses appetite of internal financial oligarchy.  With the demolishing of gold standard in 1973 financial capital acquired unprecedented mobility and became able to operate across the borders in a new ways, which allows to eliminate the power of trade unions and state intervention, altering the balance of power in favor of international corporations. Emerging transnational elites instituted polices of deregulation, "supply-side" economics and regressive taxation creating new incentives for capital. Labor force was de-unionized and pushed into deregulated conditions with elimination of full time positions and adoption of "flexible labor" schemes. Via neoliberalism the world has became just a unified playing table for global corporations and states that support them. Material and political obstacles were removed as all states which undergone neoliberal revolutions shifted from post-WWII Keynesian social contract to serving transnational capital and transnational elites.

Neoliberalism also signifies a new historical period in the development of capitalism, the period of dominance of "monopoly-finance capital," and associated "Stagnation-Financialization trap" (SF trap) that drives processes of financial expansion in the economy from one bubble to another due to desperate attempts to stave off the tendency for stagnation of the "real economy" under the neoliberal regime.

While ideological postulates behind neoliberalism (Washington consensus) were discredited after financial crisis of 2008, it now persists in "zombie stage" as there is no viable alternatives and because the ability of transnational elite to find and fund a sufficient part of national elite (compradors) proved to be overwhelming for most states. And it is a quite powerful zombie which still is able to attack and suck blood from other countries which was recently demonstrated in Libya and Ukraine (Maidan).

Since 2007 some Latin American countries got governments that openly oppose neoliberalism. Direct military invasion against them is now more difficult as the threat of communism (which justified such invasions in the past) is off the map. But we can expect attempts to stage color revolutions or classic Coup d'état to reverse those events. One such color revolution (White revolution in Russia in 2011-2012) recently failed. Another (Maidan in Ukraine) is ongoing.

For G7 nations the neoliberalism in zombie stage might have staying power to survive until the end of the period of "abundant hydrocarbons" whether it means the next twenty or the next two hundred years. In any case they, and first of all the USA and GB, bet their prosperity on the viability of neoliberal regime and they now can't abandon it without significant losses.

Still ideological crash of neoliberalism in 2008 has its effects and the rest of the world gradually becoming less and less enthusiastic about neoliberalism, although few dare to openly argue with the USA policies. And for now the USA remains the sole superpower (new Roman Empire) and can economically squeeze or destroy dissident as we are now observing with Russia. 

But it is intellectually bankrupt doctrine, no question about it. Not long ago, the cold war ended with the restoration and triumph of capitalism in the form of neoliberalism on a global scale, and then, less than three decades later, neoliberal form of capitalism is, in turn, became as intellectually bankrupt as communism was in 1990th. By all accounts, the financial catastrophe of 2008 was not only the worst since the Great Depression economic crisis, but a political crisis that somewhat reminds the crisis of Marxist ideology in the USSR in 1960th and 1970th.

As neoliberalism no longer can be sold as the only viable ideological model for other countries, it is now force fed using the strength of American economics and American and NATO bayonets. As well as the strength of transnational elite interested in maintaining status quo (Soros, Rockefellers, Rothschilds, etc)

The vast technological and cultural superiority of the West also matters, although to a lesser extent, as China now became the key factory for the world and as such possesses most of the modern technologies on its factories (which belong to foreign corporation, but still are on China territory).

Another factor that prolongs the life of neoliberalism is that no viable alternative exists, although attempts of partial restoration of the power of national states in a form of state capitalism (Russia, China, USA) and more balanced approach between interests of national population and international corporations are attempted in various forms in various countries (Hungary, many Latin American countries).

Trotskyism for the rich;
Ideology of neoliberalism as the replacement of both Marxism and state capitalism

We can view neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich. See  Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

From political point of view neoliberalism vision is somewhat close to Communists vision. It also relies on state repression (despite demagogy of Washington consensus about "free markets") and generally can't exist without police state (or National Security State as we now call it; Total surveillance is just icing on  the cake). Under neoliberalism the state become more repressive toward lower 80% of population and, especially, labor, but much less repressive toward various forms of capital and, especially, large capital.

In this sense the only difference is the location of the capital: while the USSR was the holy land of communist world and Moscow its global capital, now the holy land of neoliberalism is the USA and the capital is Washington. With the USA government and Washington headquarters of IMF and World Bank making close analogy to Politburo of CPSU. Due to their strong tendency for political dictate US embassies in Eastern Europe and xUSSR space are sometimes called "Washington Obcoms".  As in following post in


Funny how clueless are foreigners about Russian commies. Putin plays tough man for better bargain positions while actually he accepts orders from Washington obcom (regional committee of CPSU). Putin serves to interests of oligarchs and conducts actually liberal anti-Russian policy. He like helps oligarchic vampires to suck out money from Russian economy and invest them in US economy and Western banks what is absolutely unacceptable for Russian commies.

Like with Comminist International, other states are just vassals who implement directions from benevolent "Washington Obcom" and install the leaders recommended by it, or face ostracism (YouTube) or, worse, direct military invasion... Funny, but it was the corrupt communist elite which put the major effort in helping to implement this vision via the dissolution of the USSR.

As Pope Francis noted that like Marxism in the past neoliberalism represents a new philosophy, new kid on the block. He see  principal feature of this new philosophy in what he called the "idolatry of money" and turning inequality into moral imperative (Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013):

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

Simultaneously neoliberalism proved to be the most capable ideology to fight and displace Marxism. It actually inherited quite a bit from Trotskyism (see below), so in a way it was "evil twin" of Marxism. And it was relevant and effective not because it was a "better ideology", but because Marxism as ideology self-destructed due to several major problems caused by actual experience with state socialism as implemented in USSR and other countries of Warsaw block:

Neoliberalism as a strategy of class struggle for transnational elite

Bushonomics is the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands

George Bush Sr, November 1992

Neoliberalism is not a collection of theories meant to improve the economy. Instead, it should be understood as a strategy of "class struggle" (in Marxist terms) designed to redistribute wealth upward toward an increasingly narrow fraction of population (top 1%). The essence of neoliberalism is well reflected in the listed above George Bush Sr. quote "...the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands". Kind of revolt of the elite against common people, instead of revolt of proletarians against capitalists. The attempt to redistribute the wealth of nations in favor of the top 1% and especially top 0.01%.

From the very beginning neoliberalism was a project to restore of class power of US corporations owners and first of all financial oligarchy ("financial revanchism" was the major driver of neoliberalism), which was undermined by New Deal.

So it is not surprising the during neoliberal revolution (or more correctly counter-revolution) in the USA all redistributive postwar state capitalism policies that hurt financial elite came under attack. With the demise of the USSR, the necessity of such policies to ensure social peace disappeared and the elite (and first of all financial elite) got a carte blanch for decimating middle class, and redistributing the wealth up. Golden days of the US middle class not ended not exactly with the election of Reagan (remember his decimation of air traffic controller union) but with the election of Mr. Gorbachov. And they became a distant past under Clinton who sold Democratic Party to financial oligarchy and only become worse and worse under Bush II and Obama (who, social policy-wise, is just well-tanned Bush III). And on international arena brutal enforcement of Washington consensus became a norm. So Ukraine got under the same neoliberal steamroller.

Neoliberalism promises of "better future" for population outside top 1% were by and large political scam. In best case no more then top 20% of population can benefit from neoliberal policies. And that's in best case, which is applicable probably only to G7 countries. And the other bottom 80% experience a sharp decline of their standard of living. For "peripheral countries like Ukraine, Iraq, Chili, etc) instead of 80:20 the proportion in probably 90:10.

All-in-all neoliberalism as a social system always lower the average standard of life of people in countries which adopted it, never rise it. That happened even in countries which historically has very low standard of living of middle class such as former USSR republics and Eastern Europe. At the same time it tremendously improved standard of living of upper 10% (20% in case of G7 countries) of population, and, especially, the top 1% - the new aristocracy. And that top 10% has enough political power to keep and consolidate neoliberal counter-revolution and with help of G7 countries to spread it around the globe.

Transnational elite "International" proved be both more viable and durable then "proletarian International" envisioned by Marx and his followers. That does not mean that elites from other countries are treated as equal partners. No they are treated as "villagers that came to the city" but still they are given a chance to "merge" with local "aristocracy of wealth".

The USA is the center on neoliberal order, its capital. Neoliberalism is supported by projection of the USA military power and the use of US capital. It forces global economic integration on US terms at whatever costs to others. But with those reservations it is as close to "oligarchy of all countries unite" as one can get.

In a way Marx probably is turning in his grave, as his ideas were hijacked and implemented by the part of population he considered to be doomed. In other words Marxist idea of "class struggle" was turned to its head and converted into pervert "revolt of the elite" (and first of all financial oligarchy), unsatisfied with the piece of the pie it is getting from the society and stimulated by technological revolution (emergence of Internet and cheap mass produced computers). Neoliberal philosophy can be distilled into a single phrase: "Humanity begins at the rank of CEO" or as George Bush Sr, aptly said November 1992 it is "...the continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands."

Some authors like Colin Cronch in The Strange Non-death of neoliberalism consider it to be a new ruling class alliance. His basic idea is that at least in USA neoliberalism represents the shift of loyalty of the upper management class: following the Great Depression of 1930 a political alliance emerged between the upper management class and "salaried middle class" (which includes the top layer of blue and white collar workers, including quasi-management, clerical workers, and professionals, and which cannot be reduced to the traditional "working-class"). A severe profitability crisis of the 1970s with its inflationary excesses caused a fracture between upper management and "salaried middle class". From that point upper management allied with owners and financial oligarchy forming a new ruling class.

This neoliberal transformation of the society with the redistribution of wealth to the top 1% (or, more correctly, the top 0.01%) "have and have more" (as unforgettable G.W.Bush quipped) was completed in the USA in late 90th. The rest of population (aka moochers) and organization such as trade unions were undermined and decimated by financial oligarchy with near complete indifference to what happens with the most unprotected lower quintile of the population.

Like Russia in the past under Bolsheviks the USA became occupied country. And much like Bolsheviks in the past, the neoliberal reformers don't care about failures and contradictions of the economic system which drive the majority of country population into abject poverty. No they care about that their action such a blowing out financial bubble like in the USA in 2008 which definitely could move national economics toward the disaster ("off the cliff"). They have somewhat childish, simplistic "greed is good" mentality: they just want to have their (as large as possible) piece of economic pie fast and everything else be damned.

To that extent they have mentality of criminals and neoliberalism is a highly criminogenic creed, but it tried to conceal the racket and plunder it inflicts of the societies under dense smoke screen of "free market" Newspeak. That means that outside the USA and G7 countries which are the major beneficiaries of this "hyper globalization of élites" neoliberalism is an unstable social order, as plunder can't continue indefinitely. and as natural resources become more scarce, the fight for them might give advantages to "Asian" autocratic flavor of state capitalism.

Problems inherent in neoliberal model were also by-and-large masked for two decades by a huge shot in arms Neoliberalism got with the dissolution of the USSR. This particular event (which was just a decision of part on nomenklatura including KGB to join neoliberal counter-revolution) put on the dinner table of neoliberal elites half a billion people and quite a bit of resources to plunder. This gift of a century from Bolsheviks slowed down the process of plunder of G7 own population, especially in the USA. It is interesting to note that, like Bolsheviks in the past, neoliberal elite behaves more like occupiers of the country, then as a traditional, "native" aristocracy; this phenomenon was especially pronounced in Russia (privatization under Yeltsin regime) and other xUSSR countries. And in xUUSR space new neoliberal lords were almost as brutal as German occupiers during WWII.

So later neoliberalism in came under pressure even in G7 countries, including the USA, as slogan on a corner Wall Street cafe "Jump Suckers !" demonstrated so aptly in 2008 and later in Occupy Wall Street Movement (which probably should be named "get rid of Wall Street occupation of the country"). The latter was quickly undermined, dissipated by the emerging National Security State. Total surveillance makes opposition movements practically impossible.

Neoliberalism was also partially reversed in Chile (the first country on which neoliberal counter-revolution was launched), Russia, and several other countries. It was never fully adopted in northern Europe or Asian countries. The model of autocratic state capitalism used in Asian countries actually serves as the only viable and competing with the neoliberalism modern social organization. Move of manufacturing centers to China and other East Asian countries also moves political influence toward this region, away from the USA and G7. Recently China managed slightly push back western global brands in electronics (especially in Eastern European markets), producing competitive smartphones (Huawey, Fly, Lenovo), tablets (Lenovo), PCs and networking equipment such as routers and switches under this own brand names.

Neoliberalism was enforced under dense smoke screen of propaganda. One can see an example of this smoke screen in Thatcher's dictum of neoliberalism: "There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals and families." In foreign policy neoliberalism behaves like brutal imperialism (aka neocolonialism) which subdue countries instead of brute force either by debt slavery or combination of debt slavery with direct military intervention. In neoliberal view the world consist of four concentric cycles which in order of diminishing importance are

  1. Finance
  2. Economics
  3. Society
  4. Planet

In other words, finance and transnational financial institutions are considered to be the most important institutions of the civilization, the institutions which should govern all other spheres of life. It is clear that such one-dimensional view is wrong, but neoliberals like communists before them have a keen sense of mission and after they managed to accomplish its "long march through the institutions" (during which they gradually hijacked them in what is called Quiet coup) they changed the way Americans think (Using the "Four M" strategy -- money, media, marketing, and management)

A well-oiled machine of foundations, lobbies, think-tanks, economic departments of major universities, publications, political cadres, lawyers and activist organizations slowly and strategically took over nation after nation. A broad alliance of neo-liberals, neo-conservatives and the far right (including neo-fascists and religious right) successfully manufactured a new common sense, assaulted Enlightenment values and formed a new elite, the top layer of society, where this "greed is good" culture is created and legitimized.

As Crouch says in his book The Strange Non-death of neoliberalism:

a polity in which economic resources were very unequally shared would be likely to be one in which political power was also concentrated, economic resources being so easily capable of conversion into political ones. (Page 125)

... ... ...

...the state, seen for so long by the left as the source of countervailing power against markets, is today likely to be the committed ally of giant corporations, whatever the ideological origins of the parties governing the state. (Page 145)

Idolatry of money and finance; "Greed is good" as the key ethical principle of neoliberalism

Its key ethical principle of neoliberalism (only for the elite, never for prols or middle class) is "Greed is good" (as Gordon Gekko the personage of Wall Street (1987 film) quipped in the film). This strata of people (which starts on the level of CEO of major corporation) who preach those principle is assumed to be Übermensch. People below are considered to be "under humans", or "inferior humans" (Untermenschen)

According to Wikipedia, the inspiration for the "Greed is good" speech seems to have come from two sources. The first part, where Gekko complains that the company's management owns less than three percent of its stock, and that it has too many vice presidents, is taken from similar speeches and comments made by Carl Icahn about companies he was trying to take over. The defense of greed is a paraphrase of the May 18, 1986, commencement address at the UC Berkeley's School of Business Administration, delivered by arbitrageur Ivan Boesky (who himself was later convicted of insider-trading charges), in which he said, "Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself".

As Pope Francis notes glorification of greed is socially destructive. While in all previous "classic" religions (including such social religion as Marxism) excessive greed was morally condemned, neoliberalism employed a slick trick of adopting "reverse", Nietzschean Ubermench morality. Here is a relevant quote from his Evangelii Gaudium, Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, 2013

One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

Like Bolshevism and National Socialism before neoliberalism needs a huge propaganda machine comparable with the propaganda machines of Bolsheviks and the Third Reich. Neoliberal ethics is pushed through the throat by hundreds of radio stations, cable TV channels (with Fox as the most prominent stooge of neoliberal propaganda), magazines and newspapers (Wall Street Journal, NYT, etc). This ethics is presented as a specific philosophy of Randism which is an ultimate expression of neoliberal ethics.

Here analogy with Bolshevism became even more stark. When you think about the current Republican Party, you can distinguish a small circle of ideologues consisting by-and-large of Ayn Rand followers. In a way it reminds the original Ann Rand circle called "collective", which like Bolshevik's core consisted of Jewish intellectuals, such as Greenspan. And that is not a positive characteristic. Murray Rothbard, a member of Rand's circle for several months in 1958, described the Randroids as “posturing, pretentious, humorless, robotic, nasty, simple-minded....dazzlingly ignorant people.” (Sex, Ayn Rand and the Republican Party)

Like in Marxism the view of other classes (in this case lower classes) by this new alliance is hostile. They are parasites, moochers, etc (exactly like capitalist class in Marxism), all feeding from the state, which in turn deprives "masters of the university" the spoils of their ingenious activity. Neoliberalism professes open and acute hostility to "lower classes", as if modeled on Bolsheviks hatred of "capitalists". This hate (like hate in general) paradoxically gives neoliberalism a driving force: as Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen quipped: "Some people are molded by their admirations, others by their hostilities."

And this Ubermench feature of neoliberalism attracts young people in the same way they were attracted to national socialism with its hate of racially inferior nations. In a way neoliberalism converted the concept of "Arian race" into the concept of morally and intellectually superior transnational elite.

Neofascism and neoliberalism

One of first experiments in introduction of neoliberal ideology (Pinochet putsch in Chile) has definite neofascist colors.

The worst violence occurred in the first three months of the coup's aftermath, with the number of suspected leftists killed or "disappeared" (desaparecidos) soon reaching into the thousand.[6] In the days immediately following the coup, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs informed Henry Kissinger, that the National Stadium was being used to hold 5,000 prisoners, and as late as 1975, the CIA was still reporting that up to 3,811 prisoners were still being held in the Stadium.[7] Amnesty International, reported that as many as 7,000 political prisoners in the National Stadium had been counted on 22 September 1973.[8] Nevertheless, it is often quoted in the press, that some 40,000 prisoners were detained in the Stadium.[9] Some of the most famous cases of "desaparecidos" are Charles Horman, a U.S. citizen who was killed during the coup itself,[10] Chilean songwriter Víctor Jara, and the October 1973 Caravan of Death (Caravana de la Muerte) where at least 70 persons were killed.[11] Other operations include Operation Colombo during which hundreds of left-wing activists were murdered and Operation Condor, carried out with the security services of other Latin American dictatorships.
Memorial to victims of the Dirty war in Chile

Following Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the 1991 Rettig Commission, a multipartisan effort from the Aylwin administration to discover the truth about the human-rights violations, listed a number of torture and detention centers (such as Colonia Dignidad, the ship Esmeralda or Víctor Jara Stadium), and found that at least 3,200 people were killed or disappeared by the regime.

A later report, the Valech Report (published in November 2004), confirmed the figure of 3,200 deaths but dramatically reduced the alleged cases of disappearances. It tells of some 28,000 arrests in which the majority of those detained were incarcerated and in a great many cases tortured.[12] Some 30,000 Chileans were exiled and received abroad,[13][14][15] in particular in Argentina, as political refugees; however, they were followed in their exile by the DINA secret police, in the frame of Operation Condor which linked South-American dictatorships together against political opponents.[16] Some 20,000-40,000 Chilean exiles were holders of passports stamped with the letter "L" (which stood for lista nacional), identifyng them as persona non grata and had to seek permission before entering the country.[17] Nevertheless, Chilean Human Rights groups maintain several hundred thousand were forced into exile.[14]

According to the Latin American Institute on Mental Health and Human Rights (ILAS), "situations of extreme trauma" affected about 200,000 persons; this figure includes individuals killed, tortured (following the UN definition of torture), or exiled and their immediate relatives.[citation needed] While more radical groups such as the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) were staunch advocates of a Marxist revolution, it is currently accepted that the junta deliberately targeted nonviolent political opponents as well

A court in Chile sentenced, on March 19, 2008, 24 former police officers in cases of kidnapping, torture and murder that happened just after a U.S.-backed coup overthrew President Salvador Allende, a Socialist, on September 11, 1973.[18]

Neofascist puch in Chile got stamp of approval personally from Milton Friedman, who actually was instrumental in moving Chile into neoliberal orbit (Neoliberalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia):  

In 1955, a select group of Chilean students (later known as the Chicago Boys) were invited to the University of Chicago to pursue postgraduate studies in economics. They worked directly under Friedman and his disciple Arnold Harberger, while also being exposed to Hayek. When they returned to Chile in the 1960s, the Chicago Boys began a concerted effort to spread the philosophy and policy recommendations of the Chicago and Austrian schools, setting up think tanks and publishing in ideologically sympathetic media. Under the military dictatorship headed by Pinochet and severe social repression, the Chicago boys implemented radical economic reform. The latter half of the 1970s witnessed rapid and extensive privatization, deregulation, and reductions in trade barriers. In 1978 policies that would reduce the role of the state and infuse competition and individualism into areas such as labor relations, pensions, health, and education were introduced.[2] These policies resulted in widening inequality as they negatively impacted the wages, benefits and working conditions of Chile's working class.[49][50] According to Chilean economist Alejandro Foxley, by the end of Pinochet's reign around 44% of Chilean families were living below the poverty line.[51] In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein argues that by the late 1980s the economy had stabilized and was growing, but around 45% of the population had fallen into poverty while the wealthiest 10% saw their incomes rise by 83%.[52]

Two decades after it was first used by pro-market intellectuals in the 1960s, the meaning of neoliberalism changed. Those who regularly used the term neoliberalism in the 1980s typically applied it in its present-day, radical sense, denoting market fundamentalism.

In 1990 the military dictatorship ended. Hayek argued that increased economic freedom had put pressure on the dictatorship over time and increased political freedom. Many years earlier, in The Road to Serfdom (1944), Hayek had argued that "economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends."[53] The Chilean scholars Javier Martínez and Alvaro Díaz reject that argument pointing to the long tradition of democracy in Chile. The return of democracy had required the defeat of the Pinochet regime though it had been fundamental in saving capitalism. The essential contribution came from profound mass rebellions and finally old party elites using old institutional mechanisms to bring back democracy.[54]

The essence of neoliberalism is globalization of corporatism, which previously have distinct national boundaries and some forms of which were rabidly nationalistic (for example German national socialism). Just imagine a single global state with the capital in Washington with the typical for such a superstate flow of people to capital and you essentially catch the essence of the USA elite neoliberal dream -- Pax Americana.  There are also second class cities such as London, Berlin, Tokyo, etc which while not as attractive are much better then the "deep province", such as Prague, Warsaw or Sanct-Petersburg. to say nothing about "countside" such as Kiev, Tallin, Riga, Vilnus.

So the flow of people and commodities (and first of all oil) has distinct direction from the periphery to the center. To keep each country in the line and this flow of commodities uninterrupted, this "Capitalist International" relies on the part of national capitalist class and elite which is connected to international corporations serving the same role as Communist Parties or Communist International. Such as part is often called Compradors or Fifth Column of Globalization

And this "international elite" is even more responsive to pressure from Washington,  as its fortunes and often families reside if "first class cities" of G7. This way neoliberalism is able to suppress the other part of the elite of particular country which favors "national" development and typically resides inside the country. As a PR smokescreen neoliberalism pay lip service to national development, but in essence it is hostile to it and favor "underdevelopment" of nations outside G7. It's anti-social and has distinct schadenfreude attitude to weak nations: it derives pleasure from seeing the misfortunes of other nations and it try to exploit such moments ("disaster capitalism"). Vae victis as Romans used to say (Victor's justice).

And the winner in neoliberal revolutions is not the middle class and lower strata of population (although they might be sold on it and fight for it, being deceived by propaganda as is the case with the current generation of Americans), but international and local oligarchy represented via international corporations and banks. For bottom 90% population the hangover after the neoliberal revolution comes really quick. This affect was clearly visible after successful color revolution in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine.

In cases of Georgia and Ukraine the neoliberal leaders lost power after their term and there were efforts to put them in jail for abuse of power and corruption, which were not successful only due to USA pressure (only former Ukrainian Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko, the Joan of Arc of Orange revolution was jailed). In any case popularity of leaders of neoliberal revolutions drops to almost unheard levels with Victor Yushchenko commanding 2% approval rating in Ukraine before the end of his term.

Neoliberalism as an integral part of American Messianism

Neoliberalism is not merely a new pseudo-religious, cult-like version of globalized corporatism. Like national socialism before it is also simultaneously a powerful ideological export product. It is the core of Pax Americana, which the USA tries to impose of the rest of world. As Samuel P. Huntington(1927 – 2008), the author of the concept of  Cleft country expressed this view, the idea of Pax Americana means that:

"a world without US primacy will be a world with more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth than a world where the United States continues to have more influence than any other country in shaping global affairs. The sustained international primacy of the United States is central to the welfare and security of Americans and to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world."

Similar ideas were expressed in 1998 book The Grand Chessboard American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives by  Zbigniew Brzezinski. From one of Amazon reviews:

And ponder the meaning of these statements in a post-9-11 world:

While this is typically associated with neocon thinking, it is shared belief of the majority of the US elite. In 1992, the US Defense Department, under the leadership of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney [later to be George Bush Jr.’s VP], had the Pentagon’s Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz [later to be George Bush Jr.’s Deputy Secretary of Defense and President of the World Bank], write up a defense document to guide American foreign policy in the post-Cold War era, commonly referred to as the “New World Order.”  The Defense Planning Guidance document was leaked in 1992, and revealed that,

“In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting phase, the Defense Department asserts that America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union,” and that, “The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.”

Further, “the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders ‘must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’.” 

As  the official state ideology of the USA where it became an integral part of American Messianism it was successfully exported to many countries.  And it now permeates many aspects of social cooperation and culture. Like in the USSR the whole generation of people in the USA had growth being brainwashed by this ideology. It dictates an extremely militant almost jingoistic (does not hesitate to exercise force or overthrows the governments), foreign policy (Trotskyites idea of export of revolution in full swing), it is as deceptive as bolshevism (what Washington means by the "spread of democracy" is actually spread of neoliberalism), missionary (regards itself as a monopolist of the "truth" and protector of "universal values" ) and colonizing (serving simultaneously the ideology behind Neocolonialism). Like Communism it is also messianic as in "the end justifies the means" and does not abstain from using dirty methods including black propaganda and color revolutions for achieving its goals. In the level of hypocrisy and methods used against "natives" it reminds British empire or the USSR (your choice ;-). 

It blackmails antagonists as depraved, primitive, and below par. A good sample of neoliberal blackmail can be extracted from the US press coverage of preparations to Iraq war( US press enlists for war on Iraq) and Libya coup d'état. Another good set of samples provides Guardia press coverage of Putin's Russia and Ukraine EuroMaidan events.  Funny but Russia occupies the middle ground between neoliberalism and resource nationalism, so in principle it coul be an alli of the USA and GB,  but as a large country and possible geopolitical opponent it also was in crosshairs of the US elite.  One of the reasons for Russia's defeat in Chechnya between 1994 and 1996, was an attempt by America in the 1990s, with tremendous help from the comprador part of Russian elite it managed to create, to turn Russia into a standard neoliberal vassal state, whose elites would be subservient to the US foreign policy and would exist to export raw materials to the West and to transfer money to Western bank accounts. That attempt failed with Putin coming to power. So now the level of animosity from the USA and British elites and serving them MSM now goes over the roof .

With the notable exception of the USA itself, neoliberalism is hostile to nationalism. That does not exclude flirting with neo-fascist elements in countries were neoliberalism is under attack from the left or from the resource nationalists. But those forces are viewed more like tactical allies (Ukraine is a good example) and can be thrown under the bus, when they do their dirty job. Inside the USA, the holy city of neoliberal ideology, it to a certain extent merged with American Exceptionalism; the USA is viewed as exemplarity neoliberal country, the shining city on the hill which has right to impose their views and interests on the rest of the globe with impunity, standing outside the law.

Redistribution of income and lowering the standard of living of the bottom 80% of population

While welfare state presuppose redistribution of income down, the "free market capitalism" presupposes even more powerful redistribution of income up, toward the most wealthy part of the population.

Unlike previous revolutions (with the exception of Bolsheviks revolution) the unique feature of neoliberal revolution is drastic lowering the standard of living of middle class and poor, along with dramatic enrichment of top 1% of population and international corporations. Standard of living of top 20% also grow, albeit not so dramatically. In a way it is equivalent to selling of local population into slavery to international corporations by local oligarchy. with the interesting Pareto style 80:20 split. In other words only 20% of population get something from neoliberal revolution with over 50% concentrated at, way, the top 5%, and lion share in top 1%. This "top 20%" of beneficiaries constitute "fifth column of neoliberalism" in the particular state.

Lower 80% of population standard of living typically dramatically drops after neoliberal revolution and never recover.  That does not mean that those capitalists who favor "national" development are considerably less brutal in exploiting lower 80% population, but at least the "spoils" of this exploitation are left by and large in the country and used to improve infrastructure, housing, education  and such while neoliberal model of exploitation often is sucking the vassal states dry. Former Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Rumania and Serbia provide especially interesting and educational example of how neoliberalism deforms the economy and impoverish population. Especially Bulgaria, this basket case of Europe.

There are some exceptions like China (which practice not pure neoliberalism bus a mixture of neoliberalism with national development, kind of "neoliberalism with Chinese face" ;-), but even in China this process of dramatic enrichment of top 1% is clearly visible although it is not accompanied with drastic lowering of standards of other 99% of population like happened in Russian, Ukraine and other post Soviet republics. Again in the level of decimation of local middle class and poor neoliberal revolutions have a lot in common with Bolshevik's revolution in Russia of 1917.

Here is a quote from insightful Amazon review by razetheladder of Chalmers Johnson book Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire:

Johnson's strength is in recounting the specificities of US foreign policy; he's much weaker at an overall understanding of imperialism. He seems to think that American policymakers have naively built up the economic strength of their Japanese, Korean, and now Chinese competitors by focusing on maintaining their own military power. This is an old critique, resting on the notion that imperialism hurts the imperialists.

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

Elite and the second and third world countries

Neoliberalism as an ideology can be succinctly defined as "Transnational elites Uber Alles". But it uses the concept of elite on the level of the of the countries too. Neoliberalism distinguishes between to types of countries, and. respectively, there are two forms of neoliberalism, one for G7 countries (elite) where while squeezing middle class it operates with "velvet gloves", and a more brutal practice from "prols" countries outside G7 (vassal countries with local elites as fifth column of globalization). Neoliberalism relies mainly on financial mechanisms and banks and use brute force only as a secondary weapon for subduing people and minor countries (you can get much farther with a kind neoliberal word and cruise missiles, then with just kind neoliberal word alone). In time, it generally coincides with computer and Internet revolution, which made globalization of labor via outsourcing of production and services to poor countries much more attractive.

In principle we can define two distinct types of neoliberalism: one for elite countries and the other every other country:

Actually some elements of the idea of "national superiority" were preserved by reserving for the USA special "shining beacon on the Hill" status (American Exceptionalism) and in a form superiority of "creative class" which includes capitalists, financial oligarchy, and "executives" (top layer of transactional corporate elite) plus narrow social strata of people who are serving them (and that includes most journalists, programmers and IT staff, and such).

In a way, neoliberalism considers this so called "creative class" to be a new Arian race. Everybody else are Untermensch and should be treated as disposables.  In other words it is more like a religion that claim  supremacy of particular ethnic group or a class.  See for example a Guardian reader comment made in 2011 (you need to brose the comments as direct link does not work; recently Guardian screwed its comment system completely):

ITS1789 13 Sep 2011 14:15

I'm not from the left, and I personally do really, really well out of the capitalist system, and enjoy a life of relative luxury, but then I can afford to give half my annual income away to charity and still live very well. I like capitalism, it's been very good to me, and my family for over two centuries, but the ghastly version that's swept the world over the last thirty years is something else.

I think neoliberalism is something close to a malignant cancer growing inside a healthy capitalism, and with equally disastrous consequences. So my criticism comes not from the left, but from the right, for what that's worth.

Neoliberalism is a kind of pseudo-religion, a dogma, which is passionately believed by its disciples, despite the evidence showing that it simply doesn't work in the real world, but like most religious fanatics, the real world doesn't matter much to them. Which is another reason they remind me of Stalinists in the old Soviet system.

... ... ...

For me neoliberalism is a primitive and dangerous delusion about society, economics, and human nature, comparable to extreme forms of socialism, which are equally hairbrained and destructive, and arguably just as bloody.

Thatcherism was classic, class-warfare politics, but launched from the extreme right instead of the left, and it was wildly successful, at least for those it benefitted, a narrow strata at the top of society. Now that the entire charade is collapsing, and taking the welfare state, the middle class, and probably capitalism itself, with it, it's time to pay the bill for this long, illusory, party.

Neoliberalism, cheap hydrocarbons, and economic crisis of 2008

There essence of neoliberalism is not only dominance of finance over other sectors of the economy, but also free movement of goods and people by global corporations without any respect for national borders. And that is the source of increasing efficiency and dropping prices on many categories of goods. An interesting question is how much the rise of neoliberalism was forced on humanity by the short historical period of availability of cheap hydrocarbons.

"Cheap Energy" is important driver of globalization. Even the previous stage of globalization: the creation of colonial empires by Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain was at least partially based on availability of steam power and coal.

Now it is an oil that serves the same role for the global neoliberal empire. The latter allow cheap global transportation, mass air travel and powers huge US military machine which has no equals in the globe and serves as a guarantor of security of neoliberal regimes all over the globe. Out of three major components of globalization -- the US as a sole superpower, cheap international shipping and air travel, and (to lesser extent) global telecommunication networks the first two definitely depends of cheap energy. And, BTW, Google is also not running of holy spirit; it is one of the top consumers of electrical energy in the USA.

While it is unclear to what extent neoliberalism will be affected by rising energy prices, it seems few things arouse more passions these days then "oil plato" (or how it is often, but incorrectly, called the oil peak) and how it affects the civilization and different countries. The key fact is that EROEI (energy return on energy invested) of oil extraction is rising dramatically for the last two decades and it looks like this trend will continue. The current world oil production has EROEI around 40 so you extract forty times as much of energy then you spend for extraction.

New oil discoveries have EROEI around 10 (with bitumen oil sand EROEI in single digits). And EROEI also the source of the current disconnect between the purchasing power of money and the resources available to back that up. Pessimists say that a further increase in fuel prices is inevitable, and sooner or later the world will face a kind of "offshoring apocalypse". That's unlikely as important part of neoliberal regime is the new level of global communications and this part will be by-and-large intact. But transportation costs will affect the globalization in a negative way without any dount. For example with EROEI in single digits mass air travel will come to a screeching halt.

At the same time the end of cheap hydrocarbons era might marks the start of fuel wars, which, as such, will be a drastic reversal of globalization, playing the same role as WWI. When each state will try to pull the energy blanket, globalization trends will definitely suffer.

Rise of cost of energy makes both offshoring of manufacturing and outsourcing of service jobs to other countries less viable. A growing number of American companies are moving their manufacturing back to the United States. This emerging "re-shoring movement" has to be kept in proportion. Most of the multinationals involved are bringing back only some tiny fraction of their production destined for the American market. Much of what they had moved over the past few decades remains overseas. Moreover some firms like Caterpillar decided to move research and development facilities in China as split between manufacturing and research badly affects both research and the quality of final products.

But re-shoring tendencies can't be easily dismissed. They are driven by powerful forces which might only get stronger with time. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in April 2012, notes that 37% of those with annual sales above $1 billion are planning shifting production facilities from China to America. Of the very biggest firms, with sales above $10 billion, the number reached 48%. Among reason sites are rising Chinese labor costs and transportation costs. Many shipping companies slowed the speed of their ship (increasing the delivery time) in order to fight rising oil prices. As Economist, the flagship of neoliberal establishment thought in GB, noted (Reshoring manufacturing):

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at 108 American manufacturing firms with multinational operations last summer. It found that 14% of them had firm plans to bring some manufacturing back to America and one-third were actively considering such a move. A study last year by the Hackett Group, a Florida-based firm that advises companies on offshoring and outsourcing, produced similar results. It expects the outflow of manufacturing from high- to low-cost countries to slow over the next two years and the reshoring to double over the previous two years. “The offshoring of manufacturing is now rapidly moving towards equilibrium [zero net offshoring],” says Michel Janssen, the firm’s head of research.

By contrast, pay and benefits for the average Chinese factory worker rose by 10% a year between 2000 and 2005 and speeded up to 19% a year between 2005 and 2010, according to BCG. The Chinese government has set a target for annual increases in the minimum wage of 13% until 2015. Strikes are becoming more frequent, and when they happen, says one executive, the government often tells the plant manager to meet workers’ demands immediately. Following labour unrest, wages at some factories have gone up steeply. Honda, a Japanese carmaker, gave its Chinese workers a 47% pay rise after strikes in 2010. Foxconn Technology Group, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries, a Taiwanese firm that does a lot of manufacturing for Apple and other big technology firms, doubled pay at its factory complex in Shenzhen after a series of suicides. Its labour troubles are still continuing.

...As soon as 2015, says Hal Sirkin, a consultant at the firm, it will cost about the same to manufacture goods for the American market in certain parts of America as in China in many industries, including computers and electronics, machinery, appliances, electrical equipment and furniture. That calculation takes into account a wide variety of direct costs, including labour, property and transport, as well as indirect ones such as supply-chain risk.

...“Pay for senior management in several emerging markets, such as China, Turkey and Brazil, now either matches or exceeds pay in America and Europe”

So while production and service outsourcing overseas or offshoring can still provide substantial cost savings for many companies, the question arise whether those cost savings are sustainable (Can outsourcing overseas provide sustainable cost savings).

Crisis of 2008 undermined the legitimacy of neoliberalism much like WWII undermined the legitimacy of communism. But alternatives did not exits and instead of wreaking neoliberalism it converted it is aggressive, bloodthirsty zombie stage, which is the current stage of neoliberalism development (see below). It is interesting to note that  three competing perspectives on the crisis do not include the role cheap hydrocarbons in development of neoliberalism and the crisis of 2008 (Palley, 2012, cited via 


Stages of development of neoliberalism

Neoliberalism was not an accident, it was a development that appeared slightly different forms in many countries, including such diverse as the USA (Reagan), GB (Thatcher), China (Deng Xiaoping was a neoliberal reformer), Chile(Pinochet), Russia (Yeltsin gang), and many other countries. Since the late 1970s, a shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial services to finance has been adopted as mean to escape diminishing return on capital.  The oil crisis of the 1970s was probably another factor in the decision of the elite (and it was decision, a conscious choice, not an accident) to switch to neoliberal policies. 

During its history which starts around 70th (with the first major success the Pinochet's coup de etat in Chile, which was supported by the USA), neoliberalism undergone several basic stages of development:


Hegemony of the USA and its allies

The USA was and probably will remain the center of neoliberalism and firmly established as most important and the most powerful promoter of the doctrine (in some case, like with Serbia, Iraq and Libya, on the tips of bayonets).

After the dissolution of the USSR the US elite felt that "everything is permitted" and essentially started to pursue global Roman style imperial policy. The USA military forces are active over most of the globe: about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence. This is a projection of military power that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison. In his 1919 essay, “The Sociology of Imperialisms,” Joseph Schumpeter wrote of Rome during its years of greatest expansion.

There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.

The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing-space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome’s duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs.*

As G. John Ikenberry, professor of geopolitics at Georgetown University noted in Foreign Affairs:

The new grand strategy [initiated by the Bush administration]…. begins with a fundamental commitment to maintaining a unipolar world in which the United States has no peer competitor. No coalition of great powers without the United States will be allowed to achieve hegemony. Bush made this point the centerpiece of American security policy in his West Point commencement address in June: “America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenges—thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace.”

…The United States grew faster than the other major states during the decade [of the 1990s], it reduced military spending more slowly, and it dominated investment in the technological advancement of its forces. Today, however, the new goal is to make these advantages permanent—a fait accompli that will prompt other states to not even try to catch up. Some thinkers have described the strategy as “breakout,” in which the United States moves so quickly to develop technological advantages (in robotics, lasers, satellites, precision munitions, etc.) that no state or coalition could ever challenge it as global leader, protector and enforcer (“America’s Imperial Ambition,” Foreign Affairs, October 2002).

Perhaps one of extreme expressions of this neo-Roman imperial policy became that book by The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives by Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is how Brzezinski views the (supposedly sovereign) nations of Central Asia (sited from Amazon review by "A Customer" Jan 3, 2002 as pawns in a greater game for geopolitical domination:

The quote "... the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together." (The Grand Chessboard p.40) is probably the most revealing. Just ponder the meaning of these statements in a post-9-11 world:

To most Americans the people of the world and other nations are just that -- people, just like us, with a right to self-determination. To Brzezinski, they are merely pawns on a chessboard. At the same time, despite the fact that the analogy are not perfect, Rome fell, Napoleon fell, Hitler fell, USSR fell. Countries with too aggressive foreign policy ultimately self-destruct, because they over-extend their own countries resources to the point when people wellbeing drops to the levels of some colonies. The USA have over million people with the security clearance. So in a way it is becoming a copy-cat of the USSR. And while the US military is busy fighting for oil interests all around the world, those wars were launched by borrowing money and it's unclear who will pay the bills.

Neoliberalism beginning as ideology start was pretty modest. It was never considered a "right" ideology, ideology for which people are ready to fight and die. It was just an "ideology of convenience", an eclectic mix of mutually incompatible and incoherent mosaic of various ideologies (including some ideas of Trotskyism and national socialism) that served as useful tool to counter communist ideology. This is the tress of Friedman pretty weak opus "Capitalism and Freedom" -- which can be considered to be close analog of Communist Manifesto for neoliberalism. It also was useful for fighting some Keynesian excesses. Only later it become favorite ideology of financial oligarchy.

So in fight against "Godless communism" which does not respect private property and used "all-powerful" state, it idealized private property ownership, the role of "free" (as in free shooting) market and stressed the necessity to control the size of the government. As a tools to fight communist ideology those were reasonably effective tools. But at some point this deeply flawed, but useful for the specific purpose framework went out of control and became the cult of the deified markets and explicitly stated the necessary of diminishing the role of the state to minimum to ensure the high level of inequality the new neoliberal elite strived for (note not optimizing for a given historical conditions and technology available, but unconditionally diminishing to the point of elimination). Reagan famous phase "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." is a perfect example of how to "Throw out the baby with the bath water". But the meaning is more sinister: it meant "throw out of the water middle class".

That happened when financial oligarchy understood that a tool created for fighting communism is perfectly suitable for fighting elements of "New Deal". And it proved to be pretty effective in dismantling of set of regulations of financial sector that were the cornerstone of "New Deal". That was a very smooth ride "deregulatory" ride until 2008. But after 2008 the USA (citadel of neoliberalism) faces the set of problems that at least on the surface look similar to the problem that USSR faced before its disintegration, although the USA still have much more favorable conditions overall and disintegration is not among the current threats. Among them:

Still there are important difference with Marxism: despite extremely flawed to the point of being anti-scientific neoliberal ideology is still supported by higher standard of living of population in selected Western countries (G7). If also can rely on five important factors:

  1. Military dominance of the USA and NATO. There are very few countries in the globe without explicit or implicit USA military presence.
  2. Financial dominance of USA and its allies. The role of dollar as world currency and the role of USA controlled global financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF
  3. Technological dominance of USA and G7. Continuing brain drain from "Third world" and xUSSR countries to G7 countries.
  4. Cultural dominance of the USA (although this is gradually diminishing as after 2008 countries started of assert their cultural independence more vigorously).
  5. Ideological dominance, neoliberalism as yet another major civic religion

Military dominance of USA and NATO

The American society and the U.S. armaments industry today are different then it was when Dwight Eisenhower in his farewell speech (Eisenhower's Farewell Address to the Nation) famously warned Americans to beware the "military-industrial complex." See also The Farewell Address 50 Years Later. The major opponent, the USSR left the world scene, being defeated in the cold war. That means that currently the USA enjoy world military dominance that reminds the dominance of Roman Empire.

The USA now is the world's greatest producer and exporter of arms on the planet. It spends more on armed forces than all other nations combined -- while going deeply into debt to do so.

The USA also stations over 500,000 troops, spies, contractors, dependents, etc. on more than 737 bases around the world in 130 countries (even this is not a complete count) at a cost of near 100 billions a year. The 2008 Pentagon inventory includes 190,000 troops in 46 nations and territories, and 865 facilities in more than 40 countries and overseas U.S. territories. In just Japan, the USA have 99,295 people who are either members of US forces or are closely connected to US. The only purpose is to provide control over as many nations as possible.

Funny but among other thing the Pentagon also maintain 234 golf courses around the world, 70 Lear Jet airplanes for generals and admirals, and a ski resort in the Bavarian Alps.

Military dominance of the USA and NATO were demonstrated during Yugoslavia bombing and then invasion of Iraq. It's clear the Yugoslavia bombing would be out of question if the USSR existed.

Neoliberalism and militarism

Under neoliberalism, markets are now fused with the logic of expansion and militarization is the most logical was of securing expansion, improving global positions, and the ordering of social relations in a way favorable to the transnational elite.

Under neoliberal regime the United States is not only obsessed with militarism, which is shaping foreign policy , but wars have become real extension of the politics, the force that penetrates almost every aspect of daily life. Support of wars became a perverted version of patriotism.

As Henry A. Giroux noted in his interview to Truth-out (Violence is Deeply Rooted in American Culture), paradoxically in the country of "advanced democracy" schools and social services are increasingly modeled after prisons. Four decades of neoliberal policies have given way to an economic Darwinism that promotes a politics of cruelty.

Police forces are militarized. Popular culture endlessly celebrating the spectacle of violence. The Darwinian logic of war and violence have become addictive, a socially constructed need. State violence has become an organizing principle of society that has become the key mediating force that now holds everyday life together. State violence is now amplified in the rise of the punishing state which works to support corporate interests and suppress all forms of dissent aimed at making corporate power accountable. Violence as a mode of discipline is now enacted in spheres that have traditionally been created to counter it. Airports, schools, public services, and a host of other public spheres are now defined through a militarized language of "fight with terrorism", the language of discipline, regulation, control, and order. Human relations and behaviors are dehumanized making it easier to legitimate a culture of cruelty and politics of disposability that are central organizing principles of casino capitalism.

The national news became a video game, a source of entertainment where a story gains prominence by virtue of the notion that if it bleeds it leads. Education has been turned into a quest for private satisfactions and is no longer viewed as a public good, thus cutting itself off from teaching students about public values, the public good and engaged citizenship. What has emerged in the United States is a civil and political order structured around the criminalization of social problems and everyday life. This governing-through-crime model produces a highly authoritarian and mechanistic approach to addressing social problems that often focuses on the poor and minorities, promotes highly repressive policies, and places emphasis on personal security, rather than considering the larger complex of social and structural forces that fuels violence in the first place.

The key reference on the topic is the book The New American Militarism (2005) by Andrew Bacevich. Here is one Amazon review:

In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but society at large, is enthralled with all things military.

Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades our national consciousness and perverts our national policies.

" We have normalized war, romanticized military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image, with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present form.

It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.

How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution: "the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.

  1. After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
  2. Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
  3. Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
  4. Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
  5. Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction, a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle demonstrates.
  6. Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.

Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

Financial dominance

With dollar role as the primary world reserve currency the USA still rides on its "Exorbitant privilege". But there are countervailing forces that diminish dollar importance, such a euro. Financial dominance under neoliberalism became the primary tool of ensuring the control over the nations. See Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism

US and Western banks dominate the globe with New York and London as two world financial centers.

Things little changed after 2008 despite the fact that the US economy in entered a deep debt crisis, which is amplified by the level of destruction of real economy by offshoring and outsourcing achieved under the umbrella of neoliberalism during previous four decades. While the USA remains the sole super power its imperial problems now reached such a level that they may start to affect the foreign policy. Troubles of organizing an invasion in Syria are probably symptomatic. It proved to be more difficult undertaking that similar invasion of Iraq a decade earlier.

Economic troubles have important side effect: the ideological dominance, achieved by the USA during 1989 till 2008 is now under attack. There are a lot of skeptic and in a way neoliberalism goes the way of Marxism with the major difference that there were probably some sincere followers of Marxism at least during the first 30 years of its development.

Centrality of transnational financial flows (including emerging countries debt) and financial oligarchy in neoliberal regime

Since the late 1970s, there was a radical shift of economic activity from the production of goods and non-financial services to finance with the rapid growth since then of the share of financial profits in total corporate profits. Also reflective of this process of "financialisation of the Economy" was the explosive growth of private debt as a proportion of gross domestic product, and the piling of layers upon layers of claims with the existence of instruments like options, futures, swaps, and the like, and financial entities like hedge funds and structured investment vehicles.

With financialisation, the financial masturbation -- speculation directed on making money within the financial system, bypassing the route of commodity production, increasingly became the name of the game. Using Marxist terminology the general formula for capital accumulation, M-C-M', in which commodities are central to the generation of profits, was replaced by M-M', in which money simply begets more money with no relation to production.

This is related to the reason which brought on the financialization of the economy in the forefront: beginning with the sharp recession of 1974-75, the US economy entered a period of slow economic growth, high unemployment/underemployment and excess capacity. That happened after around 25 years of spectacular ascent following the second world war. So financialisation was thought a s a remedy to this "permanent stagnation" regime. And for a while it performed this function well, although it was done by "eating the host".

Finance under any neoliberalism-bound regime can be best understood as a form of warfare, and financial complex (typically large Western banks as locals are not permitted, unless specially protected by remnants of the nation state) as an extension of military-industrial complex. Like in military conquest, its aim is to gain control for occupying country of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute putting the country in debt and using dominance of dollar as world reserve currency. This involves dictating laws to vassal countries (imposing Washington consensus, see below) and interfering in social as well as economic planning using foreign debt and the necessity to service the foreign loans as a form of Gosplan.

The main advantage of neoliberalism in comparison with the similar practice of the past is the conquest is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight. Actually following s successful attack of neoliberalism and conquest of the country by neoliberal elite Russian economy was devastated more then during WWII, when Hitler armies reached banks of Volga river and occupies half of the country.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states alone, but by a cosmopolitan financial class and international financial institutions such as World bank and IMF with full support of major western banks serving as agencies of western governments. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial "Trojan horse" strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance profits via privatization and protect finance capital from the population to allow “the miracle of compound interest" to siphon most of the revenue out of the country. Some tiny share of this revenue is paid to compradors within the national elite. In good years such tactic keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow. This "paradise for rentiers" last until they eat into the core and cause deindustrialization and severe debt crisis. Eventually they do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Technological dominance

The globalist bloc of Western countries led by the USA achieved hegemony in the end of the twentieth century because it managed to become the center of technological progress and due to this acquired a commanding influence over industrial production and social life around the world, including the ability to provide rewards and impose sanctions. One or the reason of technical backwardness of the USSR just before the dissolution were technical sanctions imposed by the West via COCOM. As most of global corporations belong to G7 this lead to "natural" technological hegemony of this block. As Thatcher used to say "There is no alternatives", although she meant there is no alternatives to neoliberalism, not to Western technology from G7 nations. Only recently Asian countries started to challenge this status quo in some areas.

Global corporation managed to create a situation in which the same goods are used in most countries of the globe. Western brand names dominate. American and European airliners, Japanese, American and German cars, Korean and American smartphones, Chinese and American PCs, etc.

China became world factory and produces lion share of goods sold under Western brands.

Dominance in Internet and global communications

The debate about the USA dominance in internet and global communications reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL. The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower.

The USA has capabilities of intercepting of lion share of global internet traffic and with allies tries to intercept all the diplomatic communication during major conferences and trade talk in direct violation of Vienna protocols. Latin American countries were one of the recent victims of this activity during trade talks with the USA. There were reports about snooping on UN personnel communications in NYC.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is…

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

That includes industrial espionage:


Or industrial espionage?

Absolutely. See EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT report dated 11 July 2001 (Note it was before the 9/11 attack in the US).

7. Compatibility of an 'ECHELON' type communications interception system with Union law

7.1. Preliminary considerations
7.2. Compatibility of an intelligence system with Union law

7.2.1. Compatibility with EC law
7.2.2. Compatibility with other EU law

7.3. The question of compatibility in the event of misuse of the system for industrial espionage
7.4. Conclusion

EntropyNow -> StrawBear

The fact that they snoop on us all constantly, that's the problem. I agree that the indiscriminate surveillance is a problem. However, with such vast powers in the hands of private contractors, without robust legal oversight, it is wide open to abuse and interpretation. I believe we need to pull the plug and start again, with robust, independent, legal oversight, which respects fundamental international human rights laws In the US, the NDAA is a law which gives the government the right to indefinitely detain US citizens, without due process, without a trial, if they are suspected to be associated with ‘terrorists’. Now define ‘terrorism’?

Section 1021b is particularly worrying, concerning “substantial support.” It is wide open to interpretation and abuse, which could criminalize dissent and even investigative journalism. See Guardian’s excellent article by Naomi Wolf, 17 May 2012::

As Judge Forrest pointed out:

"An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so. In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more."

In an excellent episode of Breaking the Set Feb 7 2013 Tangerine Bolen (Founder and Director, Revolutiontruth) stated that ‘Occupy London’ was designated a ‘terrorist group” officially. There are independent journalists and civil liberty activists being targeted by private cyber security firms, which are contractors for the DOD, they are being harassed and intimidated, threatening free speech and liberty for everyone, everywhere. As Naomi Wolf concludes:

“This darkness is so dangerous not least because a new Department of Homeland Security document trove, released in response to a FOIA request filed by Michael Moore and the National Lawyers' Guild, proves in exhaustive detail that the DHS and its "fusion centers" coordinated with local police (as I argued here, to initial disbelief), the violent crackdown against Occupy last fall.

You have to put these pieces of evidence together: the government cannot be trusted with powers to detain indefinitely any US citizen – even though Obama promised he would not misuse these powers – because the United States government is already coordinating a surveillance and policing war against its citizens, designed to suppress their peaceful assembly and criticism of its corporate allies.”


It seems to me that potential terrorist threats come in two sorts: the highly organised and funded groups that could commit catastrophic destruction, and the local schmucks that are really just old-fashioned losers-with-a-grudge adopting an empowering ideology.

The first group would be immensely cautious with their communications, and fall outside this sort of surveillance. The second group, if Boston and Woolwich are any evidence, are not effectively detected by these measures.

It appears very clear to me that this is runaway state power, predictably and transparently deflected with cries of "terrorism". And, perhaps most worrying, that definition of terrorism is now as wide as the state requires. Anything that embarrasses or exposes the evils of our states, including rendition, torture, and all manner of appalling injustice, is classified as a matter of 'national security', which must not be exposed lest it aid the enemy.

I know Orwell's name gets tossed around too much... but Jesus! I really hope we're not bovine enough to walk serenely into this future.


...The NSA's infrastructure wasn't built to fight Al Qaeda. It has a far greater purpose, one of which is to keep the USA as the last superpower and moral authority for the rest of the time humanity has in this world.

All this muck is hurting bad. Obama is having a tough time from all sides. All the moralists think he is a villain doing everything he promised to change. All the secret society members think he is a clown who has spilled out every secret that was painstakingly put together over decades....

Cultural dominance

The temples of neoliberalism are malls and airports ;-). And they are build all over the glone is a very similar fashion. A drunk person accidentally transfered from New Jersey to, say Kiev and put in one of mjor malls can never tell the difference :-).

English became the major international language. Both language of technology and commerce. Much like Latin was before.

In developing countries goods are sold at considerable premium (up to 100%) but generally everything that can be bought in the USA now can be bought say in Kiev. Of course affordability is drastically different, but for elite itis not a problem. That create another opportunity for the top 1% to enjoy very similar, "internationalized" lifestyle all over the globe.

Hollywood films dominate world cinemas. American computer games dominate gaming space. In a way the USA culturally is present in any country. It was amazing how quickly remnants of communist ideology were wipes out in the xUSSR countries (Globalization, ethnic conflict and nationalism Daniele Conversi -

Contrary to the globalists or ideologues of globalization (Steger 2005), both Marxists and liberals have highlighted the ‘ pyramidal ’ structure underlying globalization. This metaphor applies well to cultural dissemination.

An elite of corporate, media, and governmental agencies sits at the pyramid’ s top level, small regional intermediary elites sit immediately below, while the overwhelming majority of humans are pushed well down towards the pyramid’ s bottom. In the realm of ‘ global culture ’ , this looks like a master-servant relationship with much of the world at the boot-licking end. Whether such a relationship really exists, or is even practical, this metaphorical dramatization can nevertheless help to understand collective self-perceptions. The consequences in the area of ethnic conflict are significant. Such a hierarchical structure makes it impossible for global exchanges to turn into egalitarian relationships based on evenly balanced inter-cultural communication and dialogue.

On the contrary, cultural globalization is not reflected in a genuine increase of inter-personal, inter-ethnic and inter-cultural contacts. As I shall argue, in most public areas ‘ cultural globalization ’ really means the unreciprocated, one-way flow of consumerist items from the US media and leisure machine to the rest of the world.

This top-down distribution ensures that a few individuals and groups, nearly all in the USA, firmly establish the patterns of behaviour and taste to be followed by the rest of mankind. Is this congruent with the view that there is a form of ‘ global centralization ’ in cultural-legal matters leaning towards Washington, DC? As for a supposed ‘ global culture ’, the symbolic capital would ideally be located in Hollywood, rather than Washington.

In fact, the term ‘ Hollywoodization ’ insinuates a media-enforced hierarchical structure with immediate symbolic resonance. It also offers a more cultural, perhaps less sociological, focus than the Weberian concept of bureaucratic ‘ McDonaldization ’ (Ritzer 1996).

Competing terminologies include ‘ Disneyfication ’ / ’ Disneyization ’ , with its stress on extreme predictability and the infantilization of leisure (Bryman 2004), ‘Walmarting ’ as the streamlining of the retail sector (Fishman 2005, Morrow 2004), or earlier Cold War terms like ‘ Coca-Colonization ’ (Wagnleitner 1994). We previously saw how the term ‘ McGuggenization ’ has been used to indicate art-related cultural franchising and other forms of Americanization in the Basque Country (McNeill 2000).

 All these equally refer to socio-economic trends originated in the USA and are hence forms of Americanization. However, ‘ Hollywoodization ’ has broader implications for ethnic relations and nationalist conflicts.

In practice, Hollywood-inspired simplifications have become the daily staple for millions of peoples around the world in their leisure time. In the area of ethnicity, ‘ Hollywoodization ’ has been elevated to the only known reality and the unique source of information about the outside world for increasing numbers of people, not only in the USA. Thus, the world is more likely to get its stereotypes of the Brits  from US movies like The Patriot or Saving Private Ryan than via British productions.Similarly, most of the world is likely to see Scotland through the lenses of US-made Braveheart , as the larger public can barely afford any access to Scottish cultural productions.

This monopoly of global stereotyping and ethnic imagery has serious implicationsf or the spread and continuation of ethnic conflict.

The tools of primary socialization were once under firm control of the family, either nuclear or extended. They were subsequently assumed by the state in the industrialization ‘ phase ’ , notably with post-1789 mass militarization and compulsory schooling (Conversi2007, 2008).

Under neo-liberal globalization, primary socialization has been seized by unaccountable cash-driven corporations and media tycoons. This has further reduced the space of inter-generational transmission and family interaction. If a community can no longer socialize its children according to its culture and traditions, then the very bases of local, regional, and national continuity are all visibly at stake. This threat to a group's survival is often seized upon by patriots and ethno-nationalists, whose political programs are founded on providing a new sense of social cohesion and security – even if the targets are often hapless and unprotected minorities.

That is partly how nationalism and xenophobia have expanded in tandem with globalization. Ethno-nationalism not only persisted through change, but is perceived by many as a response to the growth of globalization, providing a prêt-à-porter hope for national resistance and resilience. By depending on Hollywood as unique conveyor of ‘ globalization ’, inter-ethnic interaction is inevitably undermined. In some instances, international communication has practically evaporated.

... ... ...

I have described, and subsequently dismissed, the profit-oriented ideology that globalization, intended as Mcdonaldization and Hollywoodization, can contribute to better international understanding. On the contrary, it has ushered in a process of planetary cultural and environmental destruction, while hampering inter-ethnic communication and fostering human conflict. The notion of cultural security, so central to international relations and peaceful coexistence, has undergone unprecedented challenges.

...Insofar as cultural globalization is understood as uni-dimensional import of standardized cultural icons, symbols, practices, values, and legal systems from the United States, it can simply be re-described as Americanization (rather than Westernization in the broad sense), or ‘ globalization by Americanization ’ (Hilger 2008). This is of central importance for the study of ethnic conflict.

In fact, the outcome is scarce hybridization, amalgamation, and metissage . Rather than providing an inter-cultural bridge, this unilateral drive has often eroded the basis for mutual understanding, impeding inter-ethnic, inter-cultural, and international interaction. Given the current vertical, pyramidal structure of the ‘ cultural world order ’ , the opportunity of distinctive groups to communicate directly and appreciate each other’s traditions has decreased, except in the virtual area of long-distance communication. For an increasing number of individuals, an American mass consumer culture remains the only window on the world. Hence, to know and appreciate one ’ s neighbours has become an ever-arduous task. To recapitulate my point, wherever cultural globalization appears as synonymous with Americanization, it engenders conflicts on a variety of levels.

Because the process is one-way and unidirectional, the result is unlikely to be a fusion between cultures or, evenless, the blending of ethnic groups. Contrary to the globalist utopia, the imposition of more and more American icons means less and less possibility for direct inter-ethnic encounter and communication among nations. Together with the collapse of state legitimacy, this substantially contributes to the spread of ethnic conflict and nationalism.

Incorporation of "globalist" parts of national élites as second class citizens of the transnational ruling class

Another aspect of cultural power of neoliberalism is that it accepts national elites (on some, less favorable then "primary" elites conditions) as a part of a new transnational elite, which serves as the dominant class. By class, following classic Marxism we mean a group of people who share a common relationship to the process of social production and reproduction, positioned in the society relationally on the basis of social power.

The struggle between descendant national fractions of dominant groups and ascendant transnational fractions has often been the backdrop to surface political dynamics and ideological processes in the late 20th century. These two fractions have been vying for control of local state apparatuses since the 1970s.

Trans national fractions of local elites swept to power in countries around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. They have captured the “commanding heights" of state policymaking: key ministries and bureaucracies in the policymaking apparatus — especially Central Banks, finance and foreign ministries — as key government branches that link countries to the global economy.

They have used national state apparatuses to advance globalization and to pursue sweeping economic restructuring and the dismantling of the old nation-state–based Keynesian welfare and developmentalist projects.

They have sought worldwide market liberalization (following the neoliberal model), and projects of economic integration such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the European Union. They have promoted a supra-national infrastructure of the global economy, such as the World Trade Organization, as we discuss below.

In this new, transnational social system transnational corporations are intermixed with nation-states which they have special privileges. And the state itself now serves not the people of the country (which historically were upper classes) but primarily service the interests of the transnational corporations (and, by extension, narrow strata of "comprador" elite, much like aristocracy of the past). It is now extension and projection of corporate power ("What is good for GE is good for America"). Both the transactional elite (and first of all financial oligarchy) and transnational corporation enjoy tremendous privileges under such a regime (corporate socialism, or socialism for the rich). Like Bolshevik state was formally dictatorship of proletariat but in reality was dictatorship of the elite of an ideological sect called Communist Party (so called nomenklatura), transformed nation-states like the USA, GB, France, Russia, etc now to various degrees look like dictatorships of transnational elite (transnational bourgeoisie like Marxist would say ;-) while formally remaining sovereign democratic republics. Like with Communist Parties in various countries that does not excuse antagonism or even open hostilities.

That does not eliminates completely the elites competition and for example the EU elite put a knife in the back of the US elite by adopting the euro as completing with the dollar currency (so much about transatlantic solidarity), but still internalization of elites is a new and important process that is more viable that neoliberal ideology as such. Also for any state national elite is not completely homogeneous. While that is a significant part of it that favor globalization (comprador elite or lumpen elite) there is also another part which prefer national development and is at least semi-hostile to globalism. Still the comprador part of the elite represents a very important phenomenon, a real fifth column of globalization, the part that makes globalization successful. It plays the role of Trojan horse within nation states and the name "fifth column" in this sense is a very apt name. This subversive role of comprador elite was clearly visible and well documented in Russian unsuccessful "white revolution" of 2011-2012: the US supported and financed project of "regime change" in Russia. It is also clearly visible although less well documented in other "color revolutions" such as Georgian, Serbian, and Ukrainian color revolutions. comrade Trotsky would probably turn in his coffin if he saw what neoliberal ideologies made with his theory of permanent revolution ;-).

Great propaganda success of neoliberalism

As professor David Harvey noted in his A Brief History of Neoliberalism neoliberal propaganda has succeeded in fixating the public on a peculiar definition of "freedom" that has served as a smoke screen to conceal a project of speeding upper class wealth accumulation. In practice, the neoliberal state assumes a protective role for large and especially international corporations ("socialism for multinationals") while it sheds as much responsibility for the citizenry as possible.

The key component of neoliberal propaganda (like was the case with Marxism) was an economic theory. Like Marxism it has three components

For more information see

Ideological dominance, neoliberalism as yet another major civic religion

There is no question that neoliberalism emerged as another major world civic religion. It has its saints, sacred books, moral (or more correctly in this case amoral) postulates and the idea of heaven and hell.

Neoliberalism shares several fundamental properties with high demand religious cults. Like all fundamentalist cults, neoliberalism reduces a complex world to a set of simplistic dogmas (See Washington Consensus). All of society is viewed through the prism of an economic lens. Economic growth, measured by GDP, is the ultimate good. The market is the only and simultaneously the perfect mechanism to achieve this goal. Neoliberalism obsession with materialism have become normalized to the degree that it is hard to imagine what American society would look like in the absence of these structural and ideological features of the new and militant economic Darwinism that now holds sway over the American public. The mantra is well known: government is now the problem, society is a fiction, sovereignty is market-driven, deregulation and commodification are the way to a bright future, and the profit is the only viable measure of the good life and advanced society. Public values are a liability, if not a pathology. Democratic commitments, social relations, and public spheres are disposables, much like the expanding population of the unemployed and dispossessed. Any revolt is the threat to the neoliberal regime of truth and should be dealt with unrestrained cruelty. The market functions best with minimal or no interference from government or civil society and those who don't agree will be taken by police to the proper reeducation camps. All governments with possible exception of the US government should be minimized to allow unrestricted dominance of global corporations. The genius of neoliberalism as a cult, was its ability to cloak the US pretences of world hegemony in an aura of scientific and historical inevitability. Which again makes it very similar and in a way superior to Marxism as a cult. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the supreme, heaven sent validation of Margaret Thatcher’s claim that there was no alternative. There is only one blessed road to prosperity and peace and outside it there is no salvation, nor remission from sins.

The great economic historian Karl Polanyi observed, “The idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia.” And neoliberalism was a stunning utopia of economic determinism, one even more ambitious than that of Marx.

With all the big questions thus settled, history appeared to be at an end. There was one and only one route to prosperity and peace. All that was required was to make sure the model was correctly applied and all would be well. We all settled into our assigned roles. Capitalists retreated to the role of technocrats, eschewing risk themselves while shifting and spreading it throughout society. The rest of us were relegated to the roles not of citizens, but of consumers. Using our homes as ATMs, we filled our lives with Chinese-made goods, oblivious to the looming environmental and social costs of a runaway, unregulated consumer-driven society. Only a marginalized few questioned the basic economic structure. It was the era of homo economicus, humans in service to the economy.

Now that perfect machinery lies in pieces all around us and the global economic free fall shows no signs of ending any time soon. The fundamental reasons underlying the collapse aren’t all that difficult to discern. Central to the whole neoliberal project was the drive to rationalize all aspects of human society. Relentless efforts to cut costs and increase efficiency drove down the living standards of the vast majority, while the diminution of government and other non-commercial institutions led to increasing concentration of wealth at the very top of society. As high paying jobs in the industrial and technical sectors moved from developed countries to low wage export-based economies in the developing world, capacity soon outstripped demand and profits in the real economy began to sag. Not content with declining earnings, wealthy elites began to search for investments offering higher returns. If these couldn’t be found in the real economy, they could certainly be created in the exploding financial sector.

Once consigned to the unglamorous world of matching those with capital to invest with those with enterprises seeking to grow, finance became the powerful new engine of economic growth. No longer stodgy, bankers and brokers became sexy and glamorous. Exotic new financial instruments, called derivatives, traded on everything from commodities to weather.

This speculative frenzy was supported by a central bank only too happy to keep credit extremely cheap. Debt exploded among consumers, businesses and government alike. Creating new debt became the source of even more exotic investment vehicles, often bearing only the most tenuous of connections to underlying assets of real value, with unwieldy names such as “collateralized debt obligations” and “credit default swaps.”

All the debt and the shuffling of fictional wealth hid the underlying rot of the real economy. It was a house of cards just waiting for the slight breeze that would send it all crashing down. And a collapse in housing prices in 2008 laid bare the economic contradictions.

The fundamental contradiction underlying much that confronts us in the age of crises is an economic and social system requiring infinite growth within the confines of a finite planet. Any vision seeking to replace neoliberalism must take this contradiction into account and resolve it. The overriding market failure of our time has nothing to do with housing. It’s the failure to place any value on that which is truly most essential to our survival: clean air and water, adequate natural resources for the present and future generations, and a climate suitable for human civilization.

No such new vision is currently in sight. That this leaves everyone, neoliberals and their foes alike, in a state of uncertainty and doubt is hardly surprising. The seeming triumph of neoliberalism was so complete that it managed to inculcate itself in the psyches even of those who opposed it.

We find ourselves unsure of terrain we thought we knew well, sensing that one era has ended but unsure as to what comes next. We might do well to embrace that doubt and understand its power to free us. Our doubt allows us to ask meaningful questions again and questioning implies the possibility of real choice. Removing the intellectual straitjacket of neoliberal orthodoxy opens up the space necessary to reconsider the purpose of an economy and its proper role in a decent human society and to revisit the old debate over equity versus efficiency. It calls into question the assumption most central to homo economicus; that all humans act only to maximize their own interests.

It seems clear that the world emerging over the coming decades will look quite different from the one we now inhabit. Of necessity it will evolve in ways we can’t fully understand just yet. Old battle lines, such as the ones between capitalism and socialism, will likely fade away. Both of those models arose in a world of abundant and cheap fossil fuels and within the confines a planet with a seemingly endless capacity to absorb the wastes of our conspicuous consumption. New battle lines are already beginning to take shape.

The Revolution is Upon Us The Age of Crisis and the End of Homo Economicus Logos

I think that like is the case with Marxism, the staying power of neoliberalism is that propose the religion picture of world with its "creation history", saints, and way of salvation. In a way it plays the role similar to the role of Catholicism in middle ages (aka Dark Ages). The greed of catholic clergy in Middle ages (trade in indulgencies) is a match of the greed of neoliberals( with financial derivates replacing indulgencies ;-). It is equally hostile to any attempts to analyze it, with the minor difference that heretics that question the sanctity of free market are not burned at the stake, but ostracized. It support "new Crusades" with the same mechanism of "indulgences" for small countries that participate.

The level of hypocrisy is another shared trait. The great irony is that the USA, the world's leading proponent of neoliberalism (with the US President as a Pope of this new religion), systematically is breaking the rules when it find it necessary or convenient. With high deficit spending and massive subsidizing of defense spending and financial sector, the United States has generally use a "do as I say, not as I do" approach. And with the amount of political appointee/lobbyists shuttling back and forth between business and government, Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" looks more and more like a crushing fist of corporatist thugs. It involves dogmatic belief that the society is better off when ruled by a group of wealthy financiers and oligarchs, than by a group of professional government bureaucrats and politicians with some participation of trade unions.

The USA also dominates the cultural scene:

The United States' position as the leading maker of global culture has been basically unchallenged for the last century or so, especially in the Western world. Yet the economic power of the Western world is waning even as new nations, with new models of economic and social life, are rising. Might one -- or several -- of these nations like China, India or Brazil become new centers of global culture?

I believe that the answer to this question for the foreseeable future is "no." While the U.S.'s cultural prominence is partially related to its political, military and economic power, such power is not the only cause of America's global cultural hegemony. Rather, the U.S. offers a unique convergence of several factors, including economic opportunity, political freedom and an immigrant culture that served as a test bed for new cultural products.

Let me offer a brief account of the rise of the American film industry to suggest the way political, economic and immigrant forces shaped American cultural hegemony. In the U.S., the film industry started as commercial enterprise largely independent of state control. Movies had to adapt to market conditions to earn profit for their producers. In order to achieve this goal, American movies needed to appeal to a diverse population made up of both native-born and immigrant citizens.

As a consequence, filmmakers had to make movies that could appeal to international audiences simply to meet domestic demand. This fact helped the American film industry become globally preeminent well before the U.S. became a superpower. In other words, while U.S. military and economic power strengthened the position of the U.S. movie industry as globally dominant, that position was not dependent on U.S. military and economic power. Instead, American producers had a competitive advantage in global markets that was later cemented in place by the U.S. post-war economic and military hegemony in the West.

After the dissolution of the USSR, the USA became natural center of the "neoliberal religion" a dominant force in the new world order (the world's only superpower). And they used their newly acquired status against states which were not "friendly enough" very similar to Catholicism with its Crusades, launching a series of invasions and color revolutions against "nonbelievers" in a globalist neoliberal model. The level of plunder of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR looks like a direct replay of Crusades with the siege of Constantinople as primary example (despite stated goals, Crusades were by-and-large a monetary enterprise of the time with fig leaf of spread of Catholicism attached). This period of neoliberal crusades still continued in 2013, sometimes using various proxy to achieve "the regime change" by military means.

As we already refereed to neoliberalism as a cult an interesting question is whether neoliberalism can be viewed new "civic religion". The answer is unconditional yes, and I think that like Marxism before it should be considered to be yet another civic religion. It has it's set of holy books, Supreme being to worship, path to salvation and set of Apostils. Like communism before it propose humanity grand purpose and destiny.


Theistic and civic religions are also similar in that they both offer visions of humanity’s grand purpose and destiny.

There are also significant differences between theistic religions and civil religions. Theistic religions explicitly rely on claims of divine authority for their validity, while civil religions rely on reason and the interpretation of commonly-accepted historical knowledge. Followers of theistic religions stress the importance of faith in times of adversity, while followers of civil religions tend to have a more pragmatic attitude when reality casts doubt on their beliefs.

Civil religions are more like big social experiments than actual religions because their central claims are much more falsifiable, and their followers show evidence of holding this perception (e.g. references to “the American experiment"; the voluntary abandonment of Communism throughout Eurasia when it became clear that it wasn't working).

Communism bears so much resemblance to Christianity because, as you mentioned last week, the Western imagination was thoroughly in the grip of Christianity when Communism emerged. Communism is similar to Christianity out of practical necessity: had it not been based on the Christian template, Communism probably would have been too intellectually alien to its Western audience to have ever taken off. Luckily for the founders of Communism, they were also subjected to this Christian cultural conditioning.

With all this in mind, and given that religion is evolving phenomenon, I think that civil religion is actually a distinct species of intellectual organism which has (at least in part) evolved out of religion.

Like Marxism, neoliberalism is first and foremost a quasi religious political doctrine. But while Marxism is aimed at liberation of workers , a political doctrine neoliberalism is aimed at restoring the power of capital. Neoliberalism originated in the rich countries of Anglo-Saxon world (GB and USA) so along with open despise of poor, it always has a distinct flavor of despise for peripheral countries. In global politics, neoliberalism preoccupies itself with the promotion of four basic issues:

As such, neoliberalism, in its crudest form, is crystallized in the Ten Commandments of the 1989 Washington Consensus (policy of debt slavery set for the world by the US via international financial institutions). While pushing the democracy as a smoke screen, they implicitly postulate hegemony of the financial elite (which is a part of "economic elite" that neoliberalism defines as a hegemonic class). Financialization of the economy also serves as a powerful method of redistribution of wealth, so neoliberalism generally lead to deterioration of standard of living for lower quintile of the population and in some countries (like Russia in 1991-2000) for the majority of the population. This is done largely via credit system and in this sense neoliberalism represents "reinters paradise". Neoliberal globalization was built on the foundation of US hegemony, conceived as the projection of the hegemony of the US capital and dollar as the dominant reserve currency. As such it is critically dependent of the power and stability of the US and the financial, economic, political and military supremacy of the US in every region. For this purpose the USA maintains over 500 military bases (737 by some counts) and over 2.5 million of military personnel.

But there are also important differences. Unlike most religions, neoliberalism is highly criminogenic (i.e., having the quality of causing or fostering crime). It is more criminogenic in countries with lower standard of living and in such countries it often lead to conversion of a "normal", but poor state into a kleptocratic state (Yeltsin's Russia is a good example) with the requisite mass poverty (Global Anomie, Dysnomie and Economic Crime Hidden Consequences of Neoliberalism and Globalization in Russia and Around the World). Unfortunately architects of this transformation (Harvard Mafia in case of Russia) usually avoid punishment for their crimes. Corruption of the US regulators which happened under neoliberal regime starting from Reagan is also pretty well covered theme.

While economic crisis of 2008 led to a crisis of neoliberalism, this is not necessary a terminal crisis. The phase of neoliberal dominance still continues, but internal contradictions became much deeper and the regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Neoliberalism as an intellectual product is practically dead. After the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. But its zombie phase supported by several states (the USA, GB, Germany), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation might continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite increasing chance of facing discontent of population and bursts of social violence.

Cornerstone of neoliberal regime, the economic power of the USA is now under threat from the rise of Asia. This is one reason of mutation of neoliberalism into aggressive neoconservative imperialism that we witness in the USA.

While intellectually neoliberalism was bankrupt from the beginning, after 2008 believing it in is possible only by ignoring the results of deregulation in the USA and other countries. In other words the mythology of self-regulating "free market" became a "damaged goods". In this sense, any sensible person should now hold neoliberal sect in contempt. But reality is different and it still enjoy the support of the part of population which can't see through the smoke screen. With the strong support of financial oligarchy neoliberalism will continue to exists in zombie state for quite a while, although I hope this will not last as long as dominance of Catholicism during European Dark Ages ;-). Still the US is yet to see its Luther. As was noted about a different, older sect: "Men are blind to prefer an absurd and sanguinary creed, supported by executioners and surrounded by fiery faggots, a creed which can only be approved by those to whom it gives power and riches".

Like communism in the USSR it is a state supported religion: Neoliberalism enjoys support of western governments and first of all the US government. Even when the US society entered deep crisis in 2008 and fabric of the society was torn by neoliberal policies it did not lose government support.

Market fundamentalism as an ideology of neoliberalism;
Washington Consensus

Market fundamentalism is an ideology of neoliberalism and represents a pseudo-scientific approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that absolutized the role of the private business sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the state and consider privatization as the ultimate solution of all problems in the society.

Like social theories behind Italian and German versions of corporatism ideology of neoliberalism is pretty eclectic. It is discussed at some additional length at pages related to the topic Casino Capitalism on this site.

We need to note, there the neoliberal ideology adoption and implementation patterns varies from country to country, like it was actually with the classic corporatism as well. In the USA this form of corporatism emerged in most radical form. Another center of neoliberalism was GB in which it also has had a more radical form then, say, in Spain or Italy.

And we called the US version of neoliberalism radical, it is not a metaphor: corporatism under General Franco is a pale shadow of corporatism under Bush-Obama regime.

This new stage of capitalism development is often called "corporate socialism" of "socialism for rich" or "socialism for banks". The latter name is applicable because the key component of transnational elite is financial oligarchy. All of those terms reflect the key fact that at this stage of capitalism development it is the transnational elite and first of all financial oligarchy which completely dominates power structures of the society. Due to the role of financial oligarchy in this new elite this social system was also nicknamed Casino Capitalism.

Neoliberalism should probably be viewed as a further development of a form of corporatism that emerged in the USA in late 60th. It came to power in Ronald Reagan administration which was in a way Quiet coup. And it became completely dominant after the collapse of the USSR during Clinton regime during which Democratic Party also adopted neoliberalism as an official platform.

The term itself emerged in the 1970s, when some Latin American economists began using "neoliberalism" to designate their program of market-oriented reforms. It has come into wide use starting with 1973 Chilean coup d'état. After triumph of neoliberalism in Chile under Augusto Pinochet (from 1973) neoliberalism spread to Great Britain under Margaret Thatcher (from 1979) and then to the United States under Ronald Reagan (from 1981). Broadly speaking, neoliberalism seeks to transfer control of the economy from the public to the private sector with the state providing guarantees only to corporations and not to individual citizens like under socialism. That's why is often called "corporate socialism".

After dot-com bust of 2000-2002, however, the term "neoliberalism" had become a pejorative used to denigrate prostitution of economics performed by Milton Friedman and Chicago school . This trend increases after financial crisis of 2008-2012. So it is probably fare to say that right now neoliberalism entered the stage of decline. The last important victory of neoliberalism was probably navigating Russia into joining WTO, which happened in summer of 2012.

It has neoliberal Newspeak that include such terms as "free market", efficiency, consumer choice, transactional thinking and individual autonomy. In essence this is an modernized ideology of merger of state and corporate power that was hallmark of classic corporatism, with an additional twist of emphasizing the Arian style theories of inferiority of lower classes (reflected in promoting the "class of creators", entrepreneurs( Randism), etc) and "ultimate justice" of redistributing wealth to the top 1%.

On state level it tries to abolish social programs and completely shift the risks to individuals (replacing pensions with 401K plan in the USA), while fully providing social protection to corporations, especially financial giants involved in casino style gambling. In other words it socialize private losses and privatize social program that benefits of individual citizens.

Neocolonial aspects of neoliberalism are often called "Washington Consensus", a list of policy proposals that appeared to have gained consensus approval among the Washington-based international economic organizations (like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank) and directed on making developing nations "debt slaves" of the industrialized nations. This policy got tremendous impetus with the dissolution of the USSR when the principal foe, which to certain extent limited the level of greed in such deals due to fear of "communist infiltration" if case deal is too one sided, folded.

The concept and name of the Washington Consensus were first presented in 1989 by John Williamson, an economist from the Institute for International Economics, an international economic think tank based in Washington, D.C. The list created by Williamson's included ten points:

  1. Legal security for property rights;
  2. Financialization of capital.
  3. Fiscal policy Governments should not run large deficits that have to be paid back by future citizens, and such deficits can only have a short term effect on the level of employment in the economy. Constant deficits will lead to higher inflation and lower productivity, and should be avoided. Deficits should only be used for occasional stabilization purposes.
  4. Redirection of public spending from subsidies to people to subsidies to corporations (tax breaks, preferred regime, etc). Especially hurt were classic socialist programs, which neoliberal call "indiscriminate subsidies" that neoliberal deem wasteful. They are limited to those what benefit corporations such as primary (but not university) education, primary health care and infrastructure investments. Pensions and other social problems need to be privatized.
  5. Tax reform– broadening the tax base by shifting tax burden to the poor and middle classes and adopting low taxes for corporations and top 1% with the states goal to encourage "innovation and efficiency";
  6. Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;
  7. Floating exchange rates;
  8. Trade liberalization – liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by law and relatively uniform tariffs; thus encouraging competition and long term growth. Financial liberalization under the smoke screen of trade liberalization and complete dominance of foreign banks in local financial systems of developing countries.
  9. Liberalization of the "capital account" of the balance of payments, that is, allowing people the opportunity to invest funds overseas and allowing foreign funds to be invested in the home country
  10. Privatization of state enterprises; Promoting market provision of goods and services which the government can not provide as effectively or efficiently, such as telecommunications, where having many service providers promotes choice and competition.
  11. Deregulation – abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for (G7 only) those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudent oversight of financial institutions;

A Decade Long Triumph of Neoliberalism after the Dissolution of the USSR

As we mentioned before, the greatest triumph of neoliberalism was the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. After this event, there was a period of "triumphal march of neoliberalism", which lasted probably till 2005, when each year it claimed as a victory yet another country (Yeltsin neoliberal gang rule in Russia lasted till 2000, all former socialist countries were converted to neoliberal regimes shortly after, Kosovo in 1999; Serbia in 2000; Iraq in May, 2003; Georgia in December 2003; Ukraine in 2004). It also managed to stabilize and improve the situation in the USA. Plunder of Russia and other xUSSR states along with Internet revolution were two factors that influenced relative prosperity of the USA in 1994-2000.

And like Catholicism in Europe in Middle Ages, in 90th neoliberalism looked like an incontestable ideology propagated by "sole superpower" (" anew holy Roman Empire") with the help of vassals and subservient financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF. The dominance on the USA in 1991 looked rock-solid and if somebody told me in 1999 that in less then 20 years the USA would be on ropes both politically and financially I would just laugh. Still after the dissolution of the USSR neoliberalism managed to dissipate most of the gains in approximately 20 years and in 2008 entered the phase of structural crisis. As of 2013 the idea of self-regulating market is dead and even solidarity of international elites, the hallmark of neoliberalism, is under question.

The first cracks in neoliberalism facade were caused by Clinton's attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, the first armed neoliberal crusade attempted under the smoke screen of protecting the right of Kosovo Muslims in Serbia. It failed to implement "regime change" in Serbia and despite overwhelming military superiority of NATO forces has shown that bringing neoliberal regime on the tips of bayonets is a costly and high risk exercise. It took another several years and a color revolution in Serbia to achieve those goals. It did established the second Muslim state in Europe (effectively NATO protectorate), which was a part of the plan.

Color revolution in Serbia started a series of other successful color revolutions in Serbia (Serbia's Bulldozer Revolution in 2000) ,Georgia (Saakashvili regime came to power in November 2003 as a result of "Rose revolution"), Ukraine (Viktor Yushchenko regime came to power in 2004 via Orange Revolution) and several other countries.

After those successes, there were several setback: color revolutions failed in Belorussia and Russia. Results of color revolution in Ukraine were partially reversed by government of Viktor Yanukovych who ousted Yushchenko government defeating Yulia Tymoshenko in 2010 election (with Yutchshenko personally having less the 3% support). They are close to partial reversal in Georgia where Saasaskvily regime is hanging in the air.

Fear of population and establishment of "National Security State"
to protect the interest of transnational elite

Politically neoliberalism correlates with growth of political power of financial oligarchy and media-military-industrial complex. Growth of political power of financial oligarchy among national elite has led to the dramatic growth of inequality and created growing fear of the top 0.01% (oligarchs) over preserving their power and financial gains.

That naturally leads to the establishment of National Security State" state, militarization of police and introduction of total surveillance over the citizens under the pretext of fighting against terrorists.

In the article GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications by Ewen MacAskill, Julian Borger, Nick Hopkins, Nick Davies and James Ball, the authors describe blanket surveillance regime (21 June 2013, The Guardian) in comparison with which KGB and even STASI looks like complete amatures:

Britain's spy agency GCHQ has secretly gained access to the network of cables which carry the world's phone calls and internet traffic and has started to process vast streams of sensitive personal information which it is sharing with its American partner, the National Security Agency (NSA).

The sheer scale of the agency's ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate.

One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months.

GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects.

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites – all of which is deemed legal, even though the warrant system was supposed to limit interception to a specified range of targets.

As Glenn Greenwald wrote in his article Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? (May 4, 2013, The Guardian):

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.

It would also help explain the revelations of former NSA official William Binney, who resigned from the agency in protest over its systemic spying on the domestic communications of US citizens, that the US government has "assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens" (which counts only communications transactions and not financial and other transactions), and that "the data that's being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want."

Despite the extreme secrecy behind which these surveillance programs operate, there have been periodic reports of serious abuse. Two Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, have been warning for years that Americans would be "stunned" to learn what the US government is doing in terms of secret surveillance. Strangely, back in 2002 - when hysteria over the 9/11 attacks (and thus acquiescence to government power) was at its peak - the Pentagon's attempt to implement what it called the "Total Information Awareness" program (TIA) sparked so much public controversy that it had to be official scrapped. But it has been incrementally re-instituted - without the creepy (though honest) name and all-seeing-eye logo - with little controversy or even notice.

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.

You can probably safely replace the term "military" with the term "finance" in the above list to make it more applicable to contemporary neoliberal societies. And if you think about, it finance is a new form of warfare. In any case National Security State is now reality and by-and-large displaced the previous form, called Inverted Totalitarism which existed from late 40th to late 80th.

Criminogenic effects of neoliberalism

The fact the neoliberalism is highly criminogenic is well established. The postulate "greed is good" implicitly assumes that the legal system is perfect. In order to distinguish greed from enlightened self-interest, we will define greed is self-interest taken to an extreme or unseemly degree. A “greedy” market participant that seeks to gain at the expense of others and the society at large. So in essence this is a parasitic behavior. This might be done within the legal framework exploiting loopholes in it, but most commonly it involves a violation of the law that is difficult to enforce and are supported internally by corporate brass (A Troubling Survey on Global Corruption -

A new survey of corporate officials and employees in 36 countries — in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as well as India — indicates that there is plenty of corruption that needs investigating.

Over all, 20 percent of the respondents said they knew of incidents at their own companies within the previous year that could be construed as cooking the books — moves to either understate expenses or overstate revenue. Among senior managers and directors, the figure was 42 percent.

It is typically difficult to determine what the optimal set of laws is; lawmakers must make their best guess, and in most cases they pass laws that are proved to be suboptimal over time. Holes in those laws can be systematically exploited. Also law always lags behind market and technological developments; it is difficult for lawmakers to know how to regulate things like new products or new investment vehicles. That creates another opportunity to engage in destructive for the society as whole behavior without fear of punishment by the law. Neoliberalism also is "sociopath friendly" regime in a sense that sociopathic qualities became a desirable for the top brass. And with sociopathic leadership in place it is difficult to imagine what the improper business is. "Creative destruction" in this case becoming something like a pack of wolves against a sheep.

Wall Street also developed two step combination: first weaken the law, and then engage in criminal behavior that is now decriminalized. In other words, if one argues that it is perfectly acceptable for people to be greedy, the problem is that there is no mechanism to constrain greedy people so that they can do no harm to others. As history demonstrates pretty convincingly (with the 2008 crisis as the most recent example), the legal system typically fails to place the appropriate constraints on such market behavior. That's why additional mechanisms are important for society survival and prosperity, and that's why most world religions consider greed to be a vice. This brings us to works of John Kenneth Galbraith and his discussion of the necessity of countervailing economic forces. Neoliberalism destroyed those countervailing forces over the last several decades.

Since the legal system can not and never in reality guarantee that markets function efficiently, there is a role for other institutions to foster a more enlightened self-interest as a social norm and thus improve efficiency. It's mostly about how self-interest is channeled that makes the difference, since eliminating self-interest seems similarly sociopathic (the USSR is a perfect example here). We would be a lot better off to channel self-interest in financial sector productively, than let it run wild foraging on speculation, arbitrage, and monopolization.

But it is those institutions that can channel self-interest in a more productive way, that neoliberalism systematically tries to weaken. In this sense neoliberalism is not only criminogenic, it is self-destructive. Moreover, unethical behavior is arguably more of the rule of corporate conduct rather than the exception. As such it represents a systemic flaw of neoliberalism as a flavor of corporatism. And the Great Recession of 2008 is a direct manifestation of this systemic flaw. In other words it was not accidental, it was not the first and it is not the last.

Example of Russia neoliberal revolution of 1989-1994 is probably one of the most terrifying examples of this trend. But the situation in the USA after 2008 is structurally even worse as it entails much more sophisticated layers of corruption and first of all almost complete corruption of the government by financial oligarchy (nobody was prosecuted for the financial crisis of 2008). It signified the creation of two separate caste of citizens with the upper caste being above the law, much like it was with Nomenklatura in the USSR.

Neoliberalism also exploits fundamental problem that in any large bureaucracy dealing with huge sums of money people have bad and/or contradictory incentives and lack of accountability creates opportunity for corruption. So in way it is using corruption for the purposes of maintaining the neoliberal regime, which is pretty unique feature. And, despite appearance, all large bureaucracies are prone to corruption.

One of the key mechanisms of corruption that is used under neoliberal regime is so called "the revolving door". It works in both direction: from top corporate seats to government and back.

Typically people who moved to government from private industry are not forgetting your former friends, especially in crisis (Paulson is a very good example here, but any Secretary of Treasury probably is not much worse example either). There are also implicit incentives to help your former employer, when there is an opportunity for a multimillion dollar deal. Also in this variant of "revolving door" regime, those who are coming to the government or to the public service have the incentive structure and morale they acquired in their prior employer -- a large corporation.

When a long time government servant is expecting to join a corporation after leaving the government there is a strong, but implicit incentive not to hurt future friends. Income inequality is probably one of the root causes for this. If incomes in public and private sector were not so much out of balance, few people would be motivated to sell themselves out so shamelessly.

But with the current level on income inequality this mechanism works wonders to emasculate regulatory agencies top brass. The mechanism that efficiently replicates this governance systems and keeps it in place one of the central part of criminality of neoliberalism: the conscious breaking down of institutional capacity of state to regulate business activity. Thus creating the situation of "mafia state", with the oligarchy instead of regular Mafiosi.

The other key mechanism is bribing the press corps to present (often close to criminal) actions favorable to oligarchy (in a words of Margaret Thatcher), as "There Is No Alternative" (TINA). BTW in Russian "tina" is the highly viscosious, amorphous substance on the bottom of the lake or swamp. In the latter case it can swallow people or animals. This effect is the same as for "Neoliberal TINA". Typically "TINA" works by remapping the debate to exclude anything not favorable to the financial elite (Journalists in the service of Pete Peterson Remapping Debate). Here is how stealing from Social Security to preserve recent gains by financial elite was presented during debates on (note the terminology) "curbing the country’s “unsustainable” debt and deficits.":

  • Maria Bartiromo, 2011 (host, CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo”)
  • Tom Brokaw, 2012 (former anchor and managing editor, NBC Nightly News)
  • Erin Burnett, 2012 (host of CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront”)
  • John F. Harris, 2012 (editor-in-chief of Politico)
  • Gwen Ifill, 2011, 2010 (senior correspondent of “PBS NewsHour”)
  • Ezra Klein, 2011 (columnist, Washington Post)
  • Jon Meacham, 2010 (former editor-in-chief, Newsweek)
  • Bob Schieffer, 2010 (host, CBS “Face the Nation”)
  • Lesley Stahl, 2010 (reporter, CBS “60 Minutes”)
  • George Stephanopoulos, 2012 (host, ABC’s “This Week”)
  • David Wessel, 2012, 2011 (economics editor, Wall Street Journal)
  • George Will, 2011 (columnist, Washington Post)
  • Judy Woodruff, 2012, 2011 (host, “PBS NewsHour”)
Peterson, however, is hardly a disinterested and dispassionate observer of such discussions. In fact, he is now beginning his fourth decade of arguing that there is no alternative to enacting “entitlement reform” (read: cut Social Security and Medicare) and “tax reform” (read: raise regressive taxes and lower progressive ones) in the name of curbing the country’s “unsustainable” debt and deficits.

An essential and successful element of the Peterson strategy is to create an environment where it is widely if not universally believed that there is no alternative to his vision. The conceit is that those with “courage” will see past narrow, partisan concerns and embrace an ideal: a bipartisan consensus that has the strength to demand “shared sacrifice” from a childish and selfish populace. A review of the proceedings of the Fiscal Summits of the last three years makes agonizingly clear that most of the journalists who conducted interviews or moderated panel discussions both reflected and amplified the Peterson worldview...

So, for example, Lesley Stahl, the CBS “60 Minutes” reporter, was fully a part of the Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson deficit-cutting team during her interview with both men: “You are going to have to raise taxes and cut things, big things, put restrictions on Social Security. Everybody knows that.”

Virtually none of the reporters thought to ask about or suggest an alternative path, such as preserving Social Security benefits and bolstering the system’s reserve by raising the cap of wages subject to Social Security taxes (currently annual wages above approximately $110,000 are not subject to any Social Security tax).

And most questioning proceeded either on the false assumption that deficits were derived from excessive spending on entitlements or as though they had mysteriously, but inevitably, come to pass.

Many journalists fairly shouted their personal desire to see greater cooperation and “compromise,” with groups realizing the importance of submerging their interests to the greater good. Who should do the submerging? In 2012, Tom Brokaw had a suggestion in the form of a question to former President Bill Clinton: after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker pushed through a bill undermining the right of union members to collectively bargain, shouldn’t those workers have just sat down and negotiated with Walker as, Brokaw said, “has been traditionally done in this country” instead of “gather[ing] outside the capitol”?

There were a couple of exceptions to the rule. In a session moderated by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post in 2011, Klein posed a number of questions that reflected an unwillingness to operate from within the Peterson framework. For example, Klein asked New York Times columnist David Brooks whether, instead of blaming Americans for simply wanting benefits without paying for them, the causes of the debt should be located in the Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), and the federal government’s emergency response to the financial crisis.

Judy Woodruff, of the PBS NewsHour, generally asked questions from within the Peterson frame, but, at one point in 2012, posed a question that perhaps all the journalists should have been thinking about as well. She asked Rep. Christopher Van Hollen, Jr. (D-Md.) if “Democrats like you, by participating in forums like this one that is all focused on austerity, on cutting the deficit and the debt…really become also window dressing for a conservative agenda that is anti-jobs and anti-recovery and wrongheaded economics?”

Over the course of the three years of fiscal summits that Remapping Debate examined, the other journalist interviewers and moderators hewed strictly to the conventional Peterson wisdom. What follows are annotated illustrations of this recurring problem.

Neoliberalism as a key contributor to growth of amorality and economic crimes

Although neoliberal regime is not necessarily a kleptocracy (although Yeltsin regime definitely was), the difference is only in a degree. It does use corruption and criminality to stabilize the neoliberal regime and protect it from backlash that follow economic crisis caused by excessive appetite by financial oligarchy (if I am sounding like a communist here it is not accidental; as people of former USSR observed: communism was all wrong about socialism, but it was surprisingly realistic in its views of capitalism). And as for corruption it is pretty ironic that the USA tried to position itself as a leader of anti-corruption crusade, because as Niall Ferguson noted (quoted from Zero Hedge):

“It is corruption when corporations can buy regulation. It is corruption when laws are sponsored by Wall Street.

It is a sad state when the current level of corruption of the U.S. government is what was once only associated with third world countries ruled by dictators. The problem is that corruption of major institutions and first of all regulators is predicament for any country which adopted neoliberal model, and the US in no exception. Niall Ferguson called it "suffering from a third world disease.". In his new book The Great Degeneration he states the central question of the “great degeneration” is whether our institutions, and first of all institution which should uphold the rule of law are degenerating. He thinks that there are four symptoms of degeneration:

Quite frankly, like in the case of international financial capital, the most necessary constituents that define organized crime are in place so the difference in only in degree:

Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit

Quoting Wikipedia:

In the United States, the Organized Crime Control Act (1970) defines organised crime as "The unlawful activities of [...] a highly organised, disciplined association [...]".[3] Criminal activity as a structured group is referred to as racketeering and such crime is commonly referred to as the work of the Mob. In the UK, police estimate organized crime involves up to 38,000 people operating in 6,000 various groups.[4] In addition, due to the escalating violence of Mexico's drug war, the Mexican drug cartels are considered the "greatest organised crime threat to the United States" according to a report issued by the United States Department of Justice.[5]

By all estimates Mexican grug cartels dwarf the size and wealth of the US financial sector.

If you think that the increasing level of penetration of Mexican mafia into the US is the result of external forces think again. In a way Reagan regime was a clear invitations for any self-respectful international crime syndicate to start operating in the US territory. And the exposition of crime that was a side effect of neoliberal counterrevolution in Russia has a distinct blowback effect in the USA. The same reasoning is applicable to various sophisticated financial crimes including computer related. What you expect unemployed or semi-employed for 300 dollars a month programmers to do to in order to provide a living for themselves and their families.

Neoliberalism and propaganda of amorality

As Will Hutton noted in The Guardian neoliberalism doctrine entail direct propaganda of amorality( Across Europe, political leaders have lost the trust of their people:

There was a time when to live a life virtuously was well understood. It embraced personal integrity, commitment to a purpose that was higher than personal gain, a degree of selflessness and even modesty. Those at the top may have got there through ruthlessness and ambition, but they understood that to lead was to set an example and that involved demonstrating better qualities than simply looking after yourself.

No more. Perhaps the greatest calamity of the conservative counter-revolution has been the energy it invested in arguing that virtue, whatever its private importance, has no public value. The paradox, the new conservatives claim, is only through the pursuit of self-interest can the economy and society work best. Responsibilities to the commonweal are to be avoided.

The retreat of virtue has become the plague of our times. Greed is legitimate; to have riches however obtained, including outrageous bonuses or avoiding tax, is the only game in town. But across the west the consequences are becoming more obvious. Politics, business and finance have become blighted to the point that they are dysfunctional, with a now huge gap in trust between the elite and the people.

In the USA it took more then three decade to eliminate morality and to establish "law of jungle" mentality in the population. In other countries such as Russia this process was much quicker and run deeper. And in no way this newly acquired level of criminally is reflected in incarceration statistics. Most of "neoliberal-style: crimes are financial crimes and as such they are difficult to direct and difficult to procedure. sometimes they are impossible to procedure either because of the political influence of the players or potential effect on the economy if particular persons and institutions are brought to justice. The latter factor was acknowledged by the US justice department.

Neoliberalism propagates criminal behavior by creating acute means-ends discrepancies and due to excessive cultural emphasis on monetary or material success goals ("greed is good" mentality) for members of society. At the same time mobility is restricted and majority of members of the society has no realistic chances to attain those goals. Still media brainwashing incites the desire more than they have. Success stories of going from rags to riches make the American Dream more believable, despite the fact that it is deeply and irrevocably fake. As this cultural meme is internalized it creates a strain, which combined with the culturally induced underemphasize on the proper methods, stimulates deviance of various types. If the deviant solution is successful (i.e., perpetrators are not caught or adequately punished), this adaptation may become normative for others in a similar social context. To the extent that this solution is available to them (demand for illicit goods or services, access to illegitimate opportunity structures), they may adopt this role model -- and may be expected by their significant others to follow this path. This process creates a vicious circle toward higher rates of deviance and widespread anomie under neoliberal regime. Anomie is a withdrawal of allegiance from conventional norms and a weakening of these norms' guiding power on behavior. This is caused by structural contradictions within the neoliberal doctrine and affects deviance in two ways. One is associated with strain, relative deprivation, frustrations, and the almost obsessive focus on goals. This makes deviance thinkable, as conventional norms are regarded as nonbinding, at least temporarily. Rationalizations enable departures from otherwise accepted/internalized social rules, as actors convince themselves that in their particular circumstances an exception is acceptable. Through interactive processes, techniques of neutralization and rationalizations contribute to a context in which newly socialized actors may adopt normative referents and deviant behavior as a matter of course. If "this is the way business is done around here," people may engage in price fixing or misleading advertising or insider trading or running a prostitution ring. While those criminogenic effects of neoliberalism became prominent in the USA as was demonstrated by 2008 financial crisis, when most of financial players involved were engaged is behavior that is deeply and irrevocably asocial and amoral. However, a very similar process is now being reproduced throughout the world. Promises are made that are not fulfilled. People's expectations are exalted at a time when economic and power asymmetries increase and become less justifiable and intolerable in the eyes of the people affected. The logic of the market permeates popular thinking and introduces rationalizations, making the adoption of a criminal or unethical solution more acceptable. This high criminogenic impact of globalization and neoliberal policies is extremely difficult and costly to reverse.

Moral relativism and concept of "Justice for some"

Moral relativism means that anything that helps to achieve the goal is moral. It was actually pioneered by Marxism in context of means to be used to achieve "proletarian revolution". It is a part of Randism as a ersatz version of Nietzschean Philosophy.

Corruption, facilitated by the credibility trap, is the biggest problem facing the West today. That is the real subsidy, the most debilitating entitlement.

It is the belief of the elite that the power of their office is an achievement that rewards them with the right to lie, cheat and steal, both for themselves and their friends.

Although it is most important to understand that they would be shocked and insulted if one uses those words, lie, cheat and steal, to describe what they are doing. They view themselves as exceptionally hard working, as obligated by their natural gifts and superiority.

Through a long indoctrination that starts sometimes in their families, but is most often affirmed in their elite schools and with their circle of privileged friends, they learn to rationalize selective moral behaviour not as immoral but as 'the entitlement of success.' And they are supported by a horde of morally ambivalent enablers who will tell them whatever they wish to hear.

There are one set of rules for themselves and their friends, and another set of rules for the rest.

Few who actually do evil consciously choose to be evil. They rationalize what they do in any number of ways, but the deceit often hinges on their own natural superiority, and the objectification and denigration of the other. We are makers, and they are takers. Although many may work hard, they see their own work as having special value and merit, while the actions of the others are inconsequential and unworthy.

Given enough time, their rationalizations become an ideology, desensitized to the meaning and significance of others outside their own select group. This supremacy of ideology empties their souls, and opens the door to mass privation and even murder, although rarely done by their own hands.

This is what Glenn Greenwald calls 'justice for some.' Or even earlier what George Orwell captured in the slogan, 'Some animals are more equal than others.'

And just to be clear on this, with regard to the Anglo-American political situation, the tragedy is not that just some are corrupted, which is always the case. The tragedy is that the Democrats and the Labor Party learned that they could become as servilely corrupted by Big Money as the Republicans and the Conservative Party, while maintaining the illusion of serving their traditional political base.

And it has rewarded them very well in terms of extraordinarily well-funded political power, and almost unbelievable personal enrichment afterwards.

In such a climate of corruption, political discourse loses the vitality of ideas and compromise for the general good, and take on the character of competing gangs and crime families, engaged in aggressive schemes and protracted turf wars, tottering from one pitched battle and crisis to another.

As Jesse put in his blog Jesse's Café Américain
"A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including themselves.

The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.

And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining, long after it is seen by objective observers to have failed. In its failure it is counterproductive, and an impediment to recovery in the real economy. Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system.

The continuity of the structural hierarchy must therefore be maintained at all costs, even to the point of becoming a painfully obvious, organized hypocrisy.

The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustainable recovery.

The problem which the modern world has not yet grappled is how to react to the rise of a global elite, which considers itself to be above national restraints, and a law unto themselves.

Their success has been propelled by the dominance of Anglo-American financialization, and the rise of oligarchies in Russia, China, Latin America, and India. Countervailing power has been co-opted and in many cases eliminated. Any opposition has become marginalized and isolated.

The new oligarchs are supported by fiat currencies of respective national goverements, which together the increase of insubstantial 'cashlessness' in wealth. The latter provides much greater ability to reallocate wealth.

Legal arbitrage

Legal arbitrage is a powerful instrument for transnational corporations to press government into compliance. As soon as government tries to impose some restriction on their operations they threaten to leave.

This behavior is by-and-large conditioned by the low price of oil. With price of oil above, say $200 per barrel, transportation costs became big enough to make this behavior less likely

Globalization and deregulation supports selective justice, to the extreme detriment of local legal regimes (outside G7), and individual choice and freedom. The new global elite consider themselves to be a new Arab sheiks, a law unto themselves, above what they consider subhuman restraint. Or using Nietzschean terminology, Übermenschen.

“Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition—and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn't succeed so spectacularly. Perhaps most noteworthy, they are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today's super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves...

A multibillion-dollar bailout and Wall Street’s swift, subsequent reinstatement of gargantuan bonuses have inspired a narrative of parasitic bankers and other elites rigging the game for their own benefit. And this, in turn, has led to wider—and not unreasonable—fears that we are living in not merely a plutonomy, but a plutocracy, in which the rich display outsize political influence, narrowly self-interested motives, and a casual indifference to anyone outside their own rarefied economic bubble."

Chrystia Freeland, The Rise of the New Global Elite

The Consequences of Neoliberalism in Third World Countries and xUSSR space: stagnation instead of growth

Being an implementation of the "law of jungles" on international scene with the USA as a 100 pound gorilla, the neoliberal regime has distinct criminogenic character both within the USA (unpunished financial crimes made by top management of leading Wall Street banks and investment firms) and, especially, in "newly liberalized" countries of former USSR ("a New Latin America"). Which is the main "sphere of influence" of international corporations from G7 countries.

Along with internationalization of economies and integration of elites there was internalization of organized crime and growth in sophistication of criminal methods of appropriation of wealth, including those used by international corporations.

In this discussion we will follow key points of the article Global Anomie, Dysnomie, and Economic Crime Hidden Consequences of Neoliberalism and Globalization in Russia and Around the World


TRANSNATIONAL CRIME HAS RECENTLY ACQUIRED A PROMINENT PLACE IN PUBLIC debates. It is commonly presented as the most significant Crime problem at the turn of the millennium (Myers, 1995-1996; Shelley, 1995). Many have even suggested that it represents a serious domestic and international security threat (Paine and Cillufo, 1994; Williams, 1994). The argument is also made that a wave of transnational crime undermines policies and the functioning of an increasing number of market economies around the globe (Handelman, 1995; Shelley, 1994). As a consequence, the proposed remedies are often quite drastic and involve undercover operations, privacy-piercing approaches, and the participation of intelligence services in the fight against global crime (Andreas, 1997; Naylor, 1999; Passas and Blum, 1998; Passas and Groskin, 1995).

Yet, little attention and virtually no systematic research has been devoted to understanding the causes, structure, extent, and effects of serious cross-border misconduct (Passas, 1998). The risks it poses may be grossly exaggerated (Naylor, 1995; Lee, 1999). The draconian measures being contemplated and implemented in different countries, therefore, are essentially an exercise in shooting in the dark. Chances are good that the target will be missed and substantial "collateral damage" may be caused by ill-conceived policies in this "war" on crime. This risk is particularly high in countries in transition toward a market democracy. It would be much wiser, thus, to carefully study the problem before taking ineffective and possibly damaging actions.

This article seeks to make a contribution by concentrating on the causes of transnational economic crime. The main argument is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, neoliberalism and globalization contribute to processes leading to global anomie, dysnomie, and, ultimately, economic misconduct. They do so by activating the criminogenic potential of economic, political, legal, and cultural asymmetries, as well as by creating new such asymmetries (Passas, 1999). These asymmetries cause crime by furnishing opportunities for misconduct, by generating motives for actors to take advantage of such opportunities, and by weakening social controls. More specifically, means-ends disjunctions are systematically created, as neoliberal policies foster new needs and desires that are all too often left unfulfilled. Promises of more freedom, prosperity, and happiness for a larger number of people have turned out to be chimerical. Economic and power inequalities have widened within and across countries in the last two decades . The number of poor has reached unprecedented levels, while welfare programs and safety nets are reduced or abolished. Enormous populations have become more vulnerable to exploitation, criminal victimization, and recruitment in illicit enterprises or rebel and fundamentalist groups. Normative standards and control mechanisms are weak or completely absent exactly when they are needed the most.

This article begins with some basic conceptual clarifications and outlines the theoretical framework so far applied to the analysis of U.S. organizational and individual deviance. Then, the main features of globalization and neoliberalism are presented, followed by a contrast of promises made by proponents of neoliberal policies and their actual consequences. Attention then shifts to specific criminogenic effects of these outcomes and the case of Russia, which illustrates the different stages in the processes leading up to serious misconduct and anomie. The chief policy implication of this analysis is that the recently unleashed forces of neoliberalism need to be reined in and held in check, while government policies ought to better shield the least privileged from the adverse effects of globalization.

Some Conceptual Clarifications

Although there is no universally accepted definition of transnational crime, many commentators seem to think of it as a globalized form of the stereotypical "organized crime." This, however, leaves out corporate and governmental crimes, whose effects can be far more harmful than those of "professional" criminals and ethnic groups involved in the business of illegal goods and services. We therefore need a definition that is inclusive enough without becoming too relativistic and subjective. For our purposes, transnational crime refers to cross-border misconduct that entails avoidable and unnecessary harm to society, is serious enough to warrant state intervention, and is similar to other kinds of acts criminalized in the countries concerned or by international law. Crime will be viewed as transnational when the offenders or victims are located in or operate through more than one country (Passas, 1999).

Globalization is another term that is often used without clear definition. In the simplest sense, it refers to a growing interconnectedness and multilateral linkages across national borders. According to Keohane and Nye (2000: 104), globalism is a state of the world involving networks of interdependence at multicontinental distances. The linkages occur through flows and influences of capital and goods, information and ideas, and people and forces, as well as environmentally and biologically relevant substances (such as acid rain or pathogens).

Globalism has several dimensions, such as economic, cultural, environmental, or military, not all of which take place at the same time. So, whenever globalism increases and becomes thicker or more intense, we can speak of globalization. When globalism decreases, we can speak of de-globalization.

Finally, the term "criminogenic asymmetries" refers to structural discrepancies and inequalities in the realms of the economy, law, politics, and culture. Such asymmetries are produced in the course of interactions between unequal actors (individual or organizational) or systems with distinctive features. All asymmetries contain some criminogenic potential. Durkheim argued that crime cannot be eliminated, because we are and always will be different from each other. Even in a society of saints, minor deviations would be considered serious offenses. In modern societies, crimes are those behavioral differences (asymmetries) that have been outlawed by legislative bodies. There is always the opportunity for powerful actors to victimize less privileged ones (economic, political, and power asymmetries). This potential is not always materialized. Criminal opportunities are not necessarily taken advantage of. Mostly this is because actors do not always seek or wish to make use of illegal opportunities. They may not regard such action as appropriate (due to socialization, internalization of norms) or fear adverse consequences. The criminogenic potential is most likely to be activated when opportunities, motives, and weak controls are all present.

For example, a combination of legal/regulatory asymmetries with economic and political asymmetries has given rise to a huge illicit market for toxic waste disposal. Many Third World countries either did not regulate toxic waste or did so much less rigorously than did industrialized states. This provided an opportunity for maximum-profit-seeking companies to getrid of their hazardous waste in areas where rules were lax or nonexistent (Center for Investigative Reporting and Moyers, 1990; Critharis, 1990). Power and economic asymmetries between rich and poor countries have led waste recipients to allow this to go on because of their dependence on foreign investment, the need for cash to service external debt, or the desire to create jobs (Korten, 1995). Economic and knowledge asymmetries also shaped the motivation of local participants in this questionable trade. The decision to go along reflects an incomplete understanding of the extent or nature of the hazard, their desperate need for additional income, an effort to be competitive and attractive to foreign companies (race to the bottom), or corruption.

Anomie and Deviance

Both Durkheim (1983) and Merton (1968) have stressed how high rates of deviance should be expected when social expectations are out of balance with realistic opportunities to reach the desired goals. According to Durkheim, this means-ends discrepancy is caused by society's inability to regulate people's naturally limitless desires. This problem was particularly acute in the commercial and business sector, in which anomie was chronic during the industrial revolution, opening up new horizons and undermining society's ability to contain aspirations. A similar situation can be observed in contemporary societies, where electronic, information, and biological technologies constantly redefine what is possible and break new ground.

According to Merton, unrealistic hopes and expectations are not simply natural, but socially constructed and promoted. Structural problems are at the heart of the means-ends disjunction. The U.S. culture and the ideology of the American Dream encourage lofty expectations, while society fails to provide equal access to legal opportunities. Meanwhile, there is a cultural overemphasis on success goals at the expense of normative behavior (as further elaborated by Messner and Rosenfeld, 1994). Both of these factors make for deviance and anomie.

Without ignoring the differences between the two sociologists, it has been possible to use an elaborated version of their anomie theories to explain corporate crime in the context of capitalist economies (Passas, 1990). Regardless of whether people strive for "more" due to natural drives or because of cultural encouragement, the point is that market economies cannot perform without lofty aspirations, consumerism, emphasis on material/monetary goals, and competition. All this leads to the pursuit of constantly moving targets and systematic sources of frustration. A synthesis of anomie theory with reference group analysis made clear how means-ends discrepancies are socially generated and experienced by people in all social strata. It also showed how this theoretical framework is applicable to the analysis of crime without strain or problems (i.e., anomie theory is not a strain theory) and to "organized crime" even after discrimination or blockage of legitimate opportunities no longer affects minority groups (Passas, 1997).

In brief, the dynamic social process leading to structurally induced strain, anomie, and deviance without strain is as follows. Means-ends discrepancies are caused by a strong cultural emphasis on monetary or material success goals for all members of society, while a good number of them do not have a realistic chance to attain them. Socially distant comparative referents are constantly introduced and sustained through the school, family, politics, workplace, media, advertising, and even religion (Passas, 1994). Regardless of their social background and the social capital available to them, people are urged to desire more than they have. Success stories of going from rags to riches make the American Dream even more believable. As this cultural theme is internalized, competitive forces and consumerism foster normative referents on what is "normal" and appropriate. The widely internalized egalitarian discourse clashes in practice with widespread inequality (power and economic asymmetries). Consequently, those m embers who fail to meet such comparative and normative standards are likely to experience relative deprivation and frustration. This strain, combined with the culturally induced overemphasis on goals and the concomitant under-emphasis on the proper methods, makes for deviance of various types (see Merton's typology). A good part of the deviance is an individual search for a solution to these structural problems. If the deviant solution is successful (i.e., perpetrators are not caught or adequately punished), this adaptation may become normative for others in a similar social context. To the extent that this solution is available to them (demand for illicit goods or services, access to illegitimate opportunity structures), they may adopt this role model -- and may be expected by their significant others to follow this path -- even though the original source of strain has by now been eclipsed. Unless effective control measures are taken, this process continues in a vicious circle toward higher rates of deviance and widespread anomie (for a schematic representation of this process, see Figure 1 at the end of the article).

In the literature, anomie is often conceptually confused with its causes or effects. To keep its explanatory potential, this mistake should be avoided. Anomie is a withdrawal of allegiance from conventional norms and a weakening of these norms' guiding power on behavior. This is caused by structural contradictions and affects deviance in two ways. One is associated with strain, the other is not. The former is caused by relative deprivation, frustrations, and the almost obsessive focus on goals. This makes deviance thinkable, as conventional norms are regarded as nonbinding, at least temporarily. Rationalizations enable departures from otherwise accepted/internalized social rules, as actors convince themselves that in their particular circumstances an exception is acceptable (Aubert, 1968; Sykes and Matza, 1957). Through interactive processes, techniques of neutralization and rationalizations contribute to a context in which newly socialized actors may adopt normative referents and deviant behavior as a matter of course. If "this is the way business is done around here," people may engage in price fixing or misleading advertising without experiencing any prior frustration or problem.

Globalization and Neoliberalism

These structural problems have been most prominent in the USA. However, a very similar process is now being reproduced throughout the world through globalism and neoliberalism. Promises are made that are not fulfilled. People's expectations are exalted at a time when economic and power asymmetries increase and become less justifiable and intolerable in the eyes of the people affected. The logic of the market permeates popular thinking and introduces rationalizations, making the adoption of a criminal or unethical solution more acceptable. The horizontal lines in Figure 1, rather than representing controlling influences, at the global level point to the criminogenic impact of globalization and neoliberal policies.

Nowadays, globalism and neoliberalism seem to be indistinguishable empirically or even conceptually (Cox, 1993; Stewart and Berry, 1999). Nevertheless, I think it is useful to try to separate them analytically. As noted earlier, globalism refers to the degree of interconnectedness and the increase or decrease of linkages. By contrast, neoliberalism refers to an economic and political school of thought on the relations between the state on the one hand, and citizens and the world of trade and commerce on the other. Because it espouses minimal or no state interference in the market and promotes the lifting of barriers to trade and business transactions across regional and national borders, it certainly becomes a motor of globalization.

Globalization in the last two decades shows clear signs of deeper and thicker interconnections that affect many more people than ever before. The effects are now much faster, as shown by the financial crisis in Thailand in 1997. The world has shrunk and become "one place," with global communications and media, transnational corporations, supranational institutions, and integrated markets and financial systems that trade around the clock (McGrew, 1992; Sklair, 1995). The cultural landscape has changed under the influence of mass media. Through their ads, TV programs, movies, and music, they contribute to cultural globalism, target young children, and foster consumerism (e.g., "Image Is Everything," "Just Do It," or "Coke Is It"). Information technology is making for "distant encounters and instant connections" (Yergin and Stanislaw, 1998). Fresh normative and comparative ideals are thus promoted, legitimated, and presented as attainable. Scholars attribute the momentum of this process to the forces of capitalism (Wallerstein, 1983), technology (Rosenau, 1990), the presence of a hegemon (Gilpin, 1987), or a combination of them all (Giddens, 1990).

Neoliberalism, in particular, has made a major contribution to the dynamic and contradictory processes of globalization since the elections of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Helmut Kohl. During the 1950s and 1960s, the dominant concerns revolved around distributive justice, neocolonialism, and dependency theory. These were displaced in the 1980s and into the 1990s by discourses of "free markets," individualism, and self-help (Woods, 1999). Policies of deregulation, privatization of state assets, and removal of tariffs implemented the doctrine that the state should get out of the way of free enterprise. Unemployment, inequality, and poverty were no longer explained by structural contradictions or constraints. The problems became individualized and blamed on corrupt administrations or on the poor themselves. The proposed medicine was more liberalization of the economy, free competition, privatization of inefficiently managed government agencies, abolition of capital controls, and permitting foreign capital to enter all markets.

The ideological underpinning of globalization, thus, has been the primacy of economic growth, which is thought to be benefiting the whole planet. Consistent with that prime directive, country after country has been persuaded (or forced) to promote "free trade" and consumerism, to reduce government regulation of business, and to adopt the same economic model regardless of local specificities and differences between industrialized and developing countries (Bello, 1999; Mander, 1996).

More specifically, shifts in the North, the East, and the South have been quite remarkable. In the North, the welfare state that used to care for citizens "from cradle to grave" has been replaced by a "pay as you go" social service system. Even public utilities have been privatized and have begun to charge "economic prices," as former subsidization systems were abolished. Further, "industrial interventionism and labour protection have given way to laissez-faire; and tax systems whose major purpose was to correct inequalities have been transformed into systems mainly intended to promote incentives and economic efficiency" (Stewart and Berry, 1999: 151).

In developing countries, similar shifts took place as a result of hegemonic influences from the North. Western-educated Third World "technocrats" returned to their home countries eager to introduce neoliberal policies (Burbach et al., 1997: 86; Newsweek, June 15, 1992). As the bandwagon of liberalization took off, few countries wished to be left out. As a World Bank official warned, "lagging countries risk being left farther behind....For economies that remain inward-looking, the risk of being marginalized is greater than ever" (cited in Klak, 1998: 21).

Yet, the shifts have not always been voluntary. A host of measures and conditions consistent with the neoliberal agenda were imposed on countries through international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the OECD, the European Union, the G7, etc. Countries drowning in external debt sought additional loans to pay off their older ones -- chiefly to banks from the industrialized world. Billions of dollars were made available to them, but only if they introduced Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). Despite important differences among the various economies, SAPs shared the same basic elements: long-term "structural" reforms to deregulate the economy, liberalization of trade, removal of restrictions on foreign investment, promotion of an export orientation of the economy, wage reductions and controls, privatization of state enterprises, and short-term stabilization measures such as cutbacks in government spending, high interest rates, and currency devaluation (Bello, 1996 ; 1999).

Changes along these lines also took place in the East, where the switch from state-managed economies toward "free market" and parliamentary democracy has been quite drastic and swift (Glinkina, 1994; Woods, 1999). The problem is that the introduction of global neoliberalism has brought about enormous economic and political asymmetries, as its promises and theoretical expectations remain unfulfilled.

The Promises of Global Neoliberalism

The supporters of global neoliberalism make a series of claims. For instance, the world is shrinking following greater connectivity (IBM claims to offer "solutions for a smaller planet"). The distinction between core and periphery states is presumed to be getting fuzzier and irrelevant, as there are only winners from now on. Investment, trade, and development opportunities are more widely distributed around the world. There is a marked convergence into one world economy, in which everyone can find a market niche. Media and cultural influences are more widespread and multilateral, as foods, music, and art are imported to the North and integrated into local cultures. Finally, people are more integrated thanks to telecommunication technologies and immigration (Klak, 1998).

To [neoliberal] economists, all these trends are positive, even if short-term hardship is deemed necessary for some parts of the population. Global welfare is expected to be enhanced, as the forces of free competition within and between countries will encourage more efficient resource allocation and bring about higher productivity (Oman, 1999). A more open, trade-creating world should, therefore, benefit everyone, if unevenly. Trickle-down effects of wealth creation would ensure that virtually everyone will participate in this welcome trend (Korten, 1996).

The objective of SAPs was to render developing economies more efficient, drive up growth rates, and provide foreign exchange that could be used to repay debt. Higher growth rates are empirically associated with comparatively more equal income distribution (Alesina and Rodrik, 1994). Hence, neoliberal policies would bring about not only more economic growth, productivity, a better division of labor (multistate production and wider participation), lower unemployment, more wealth and prosperity, but also more democracy, less poverty, and fewer inequalities. Unfortunately, in most countries, these virtuous circles did not occur.

The Consequences of Global Neoliberalism

Throughout the world, the expectations raised by neoliberal theorists have not materialized despite the extensive application of their policy recommendations. Instead, most economies "fell into a hole" of low investment, decreased social spending and consumption, low output, decline and stagnation. Both the World Bank and the IMF retreated from SAPs and acknowledged their failure (Bello, 1999; Katona, 1999; Multinational Monitor, June 2000; Watkins, 1997).

In the North, GDP growth was lower in the 1980 to 1990 period than in the 1950s and 1960s. We also witness a higher volatility in growth (e.g., booms and busts). Lost in all the talk about huge technological advances ushering in the computer and Internet era is the fact that productivity growth now is half that of levels in the 1950s and 1960s. Unemployment in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries has risen from eight million in 1970 to 35 million in 1994. In the midst of U.S. prosperity and economic expansion, inequalities increased. The number of people living under the officially defined poverty level grew from 11.4% of the population in 1978 to 13.5% in 1990. Almost one in four new babies in the U.S. are born into poverty, while the top one percent of Americans saw their real income shoot up by 50% (Levy, 1998; Wilterdink, 1995). Also noteworthy is that U.S. and Western European international trade relative to GDP was greater a century ago than in recent years (Hirst and Thompson, 1996).

Neoliberal dreams proved to be even more chimerical in the South. Role models, like South Korea, Malaysia, and Indonesia plunged into crises in the 1990s. Mexico and Brazil, which faced their own scary periods, experienced growth of three percent in the last two decades, whereas that rate was six percent during the dirigiste period of 1950 to 1980. Wage gaps widened. Even in Costa Rica and Chile, models of success in Latin America, the results have been an unmitigated disaster for the lower social classes. The number of Costa Ricans below the poverty line rose from 18.6% in 1987 to 24.4% in 1991, while 42% of all Chileans are also living in poverty (Burbach et al., 1997: 86). Half of the investment flows to developing countries went to just three countries (China, Mexico, and Argentina). In addition, some investments had negative local effects. For instance, as diverse agriculture was converted into monocultures or to export-oriented flower plantations, self-sufficiency was undermined (Clinard, 1990; Klak, 1 998).

Moreover, the core-periphery distinction is as relevant as ever. Its real meaning relates to power, authority, and the accumulation of wealth, where the gaps (asymmetries) are increasing. Although production (of certain items) is more dispersed, the concentration of power, control, and benefits has become more pronounced. In 1991, 81% of the world stock of direct foreign investment was in the core triad of the USA, the European Union, and Japan -- up from 69% in 1967. The appearance of integrated markets also obscures the fact that 80% of all world trade is within the core triad, in which resides less than 20% of the planet's population (Hirst and Thompson, 1996; Klak, 1998).

In Latin America, debt jumped from $230 billion in 1980 to $600 billion in 1997. Capital had been fleeing those countries up to the early 1990s, when net inflows were the result of casino capital -- seeking short-term gains and likely to abandon those countries at the first hint of trouble. Consequently, new debts were created with a new round of borrowing (Robinson, 1998-1999). An important reason why developing countries cannot pay off their debt is that trade protectionism in the North has kept them from penetrating those markets. Trade liberalization has been inconsistent in that rich countries demand more open markets abroad, while continuing to subsidize their own economic sectors, such as agriculture (Andreas, 1999; UNDP, 2000; Watkins, 1997). Compounding these problems, aid to poor countries has been cut back. Whatever assistance is offered comes with strings attached, including the reduction of state intervention, which could have softened the effects for the most vulnerable (Watkins, 1997; Woods, 1 999). These policies further undercut food security, cause poverty, and increase economic and power asymmetries. For instance, the cost of living in the Caribbean and the U.S. is quite comparable. In 1997, however, per capita income in Trinidad and Tobago, the richest Caribbean state, was less than half that of Mississippi, the poorest U.S. state. The gap between skilled and unskilled workers widened even more: Haitian workers made clothing with Disney logos for less than 60 cents per hour, while Disney's CEO made $9,700 per hour (Klak, 1998).

The claim of multilateral and even cultural influences also masks tremendous asymmetries. Even though we listen to reggae in the North, 95% of TV programs in St. Lucia come from the U.S. The most widely read newspaper in the Caribbean is the Miami Herald. Consequently, U.S. affluence and opportunity, often romanticized, is especially well-known, deeply ingrained, and alluring to the Caribbean...[where] people are prone to set their living standard goals in accordance with what the U.S. media ascribe to the United States. And the imbalance in media flows is increasing with the Caribbean's economic crisis and neoliberalism, as local media have been slashed (Klak, 1998: 11).

As dreams of consumption are disseminated, 86% of total private consumption expenditures is accounted for by 20% of the world's people in industrialized countries (UNDP, 1998). For the people who live outside the consumption geographical area, big banks offer credit to only 10% of the people in developing countries, whereas ads for credit cards and consumer items are omnipresent (Barnet and Cavanagh, 1994). Well over one billion people are deprived of basic consumption needs. For hundreds of millions, basic sanitation, clean water, adequate housing, and health services are unattainable luxuries. Two billion people live on less than two dollars a day and 1.3 billion on less than one dollar a day (ICFTU, 2000). Struggling to survive, some decide to sell their body parts to make ends meet, which is the ultimate symbol of commodification (ScheperHughes, 2000).

A negative effect of the Internet is that it alters the relationship between our place of residence and our cultural preferences, experiences, and identities. A spreading global virtual reality disconnects locality from culture, weakens the bonds to particular communities, and estranges people from each other (Minda, 2000). Ladakh, a Himalayan province that prospered for a millennium despite harsh weather conditions, illustrates how (especially cultural) globalization devastated local communities (Norberg-Hodge, 1996). In 1962, isolated Ladakh was linked to the rest of India by an army-built road. The modernization that began in 1975 took about a decade to change the pride Ladakhis felt until then into a collective inferiority complex. Tourism and the media conveyed a picture of wealth, technology, power, and work that was alien and irresistible to them. Village life by comparison began to appear "primitive, silly, and inefficient" (Ibid.: 35). Ladakhis felt ashamed of their culture and strove for consumer items that symbolize modern life, such as sunglasses and Walkinans. As Western educational standards penetrated Ladakh, the intergenerational learning experience that helped them provide for themselves in their rough terrain gave way to schools that used texts imitating Indian and British models that were completely irrelevant to their lives (e.g., figuring out the angle of the Tower of Pisa and learning how to keep a London-like bedroom tidy). There used to be no such thing as a "paying job"; there was no money economy. Gradually, however, unemployment -- previously nonexistent -- became a serious problem, because naturally available resources were abandoned, cheap imports made local farming redundant, and people flocked to the cities to compete for scarce jobs. Radios and TVs chased away the traditions of singing together and group story telling. The points of reference ceased to be real people living nearby, but geographically and socially remote ideals. Consumerism bred new "needs," which could hardly be materialized. Family and other bonds disintegrated and divisions emerged between old and young, Buddhists and Muslims. The result was unprecedented violence, community breakdown, and anomie.

Criminogenic Effects: Systemic Strains and Global Anomie

What makes the ideology of the American Dream unique is a focus on money and material goods, a strong emphasis on "winning" (often, by all means), and success for everyone in a society where many opportunities for material advancement are available and plenty of "rags to riches" stories lend legitimacy and credibility to the egalitarian discourse. Legal opportunities, however, for achieving the lofty goals are inaccessible to most Americans. In such a consumption-driven culture, which highly values competition and individualism, the means-ends disjunction has entailed a significant criminogenic risk, much greater than in the rest of the world. Crime has been the flip side of economic growth, innovation, and better living standards for certain segments of the population. What sheltered other countries from this negative potential were things absent or minimized in the USA, such as rigid social stratification, low rates of social mobility, less materialism and time spent before TV boxes, safety nets for the underprivileged, more emphasis on other priorities (e.g., solidarity), etc.

This made it possible to explain the higher crime rates in the U.S. compared to other developed or developing countries. These protective factors, however, are now being gradually lost. Disjunctions between socially induced goals and legal means are few in societies that do not encourage high social mobility. In such societies, people may not feel that they are lacking anything, even when they are "objectively" deprived. Economic or other asymmetries are unknown or not experienced and perceived as intolerable. Global neoliberalism breaks down societal barriers and encourages new needs, desires, and fashions. It promotes the adoption of non-membership reference groups for comparisons that can be unfavorable and upsetting. New normative reference groups define what is "cool" to do. People's ideals in the South and the East may not be about getting from "a log cabin to the White House." However, they are being systematically driven to abandon old ways and values in order to consume. They do not necessarily think that they can be "like Mike," but they do fancy those pricey athletic shoes. So, fresh normative and comparative models create new "needs," together with the expectation that the fulfillment of such needs is vital and achievable.

Yet, as needs and normative models are "harmonized," people become conscious of economic and power asymmetries, and directly experience their impact. Globalization and neoliberalism heightened this awareness, further widened the asymmetries, and fostered the interpretation of them as unnecessary and changeable. In the end, most people realize that the attainment of their lofty goals and lifestyles is beyond reach, if they are to use legitimate means. The success in spreading neoliberalism has brought about a series of failures: more poverty, bigger economic asymmetries, ecosystem deterioration, slower and unsustainable growth patterns. At the time that societies most needed the shield of the state to cushion these effects, welfare programs, safety nets, and other assistance to the poor (individuals, companies, and states alike) forcibly declined or disappeared. Thus, global neoliberalism systematically causes relative deprivation as well as absolute immiseration of masses of people. In effect, it has generated new sources of criminogenesis and removed existing antidotes to it.

All this provides multiple motivations for criminality, as many would turn left and right for solutions and illicit opportunity structures become more international and accessible. At the same time, many weak states lose their autonomy, come to depend more on international organizations and transnational capital, and are unable to cope with emerging crime threats from criminal enterprises and powerful corporations. So, globalism and neoliberalism replace the "egalitarian discourse" of the American Dream in the scheme represented in Figure 1 in a process occurring in the industrialized world, developing countries, and those in transition from Communism to market democracies. Nowhere are these results more clearly visible than in the former USSR.

The Case of Russia

No one argues that there was no appetite for consumer goods in the years of the USSR or that such goods were widely available. Crime, corruption, illegal markets, and even underground factories could be found behind the official facade of the command system before glasnost and perestroika, although black marketers were not numerous and lived modestly. The government turned a blind eye to these activities, because they served as a safety valve in an inefficient system (Gleason, 1990; Handelman, 1995; Naylor, 1999b). Discontent, enormous structural problems, and an inability to deal with them characterized the pre-transition years. This is particularly true for the 1960s, when Khrushchev pledged that the USSR would overtake the U.S. in the production of industrial goods by the 1980s. Yet, as inefficiencies precluded such progress, demands for more consumer items "from an increasingly educated, by now self-assured, population, started to put pressure on a loyal expression of the citizens' request for the gradual delivery of promised well-being" (Castells. 2000: 25).

In the 1990s, however, the rates of fraud, prostitution, drug trafficking and abuse, alcoholism, smuggling, white-collar crime, violence, and corruption skyrocketed (Castells, 2000; Handelman, 1995; Holmes, 1997; Lee, 1994; Shelley, 1994). To be sure, Russia is unique in the degree of chaos and disintegration that accompanied the transition to a market economy and the implementation of neoliberal reforms. Few countries have experienced the speed and intensity of privatization, deregulation, and the lack of political leadership and administrative skills we witness in Russia. Indeed, it is the closest we can come to a social state of anomie, without a total collapse and anarchy. This does not mean that Russia is atypical. Very similar, albeit less intense, processes have occurred throughout the world (Lee, 1999; Mander and Goldsmith, 1996; van Duyne et al., 2000). Nevertheless, precisely because it is such an extreme case, it illustrates the theoretical points made here and the process toward anomie and economc crime.

Enter Neoliberalism

In the 1985 to 1989 period, reforms took place while the Communist Party was still in control. The Law on Cooperatives (1986) and the Law on Individual Labor Activity (1987) paved the way for further reforms, such as legalization of small businesses in 1989. Between 1990 and 1991, the USSR Supreme Soviet, with Yeltsin as chairman, introduced laws that made state and private enterprises equal, allowed state companies relative independence from government managers, abolished mostrestrictions on property bought by citizens, promoted privatization, and allowed foreign companies to operate in Russia. Such reforms did not take place at the same pace throughout the USSR. This set Russia apart from the Union and Yeltsin from Gorbachev. Legal asymmetries made the task of law enforcers impossible, as they did not know which laws to prioritize and apply (Afanasyef, 1994). Up to the 1991 coup and the collapse of the USSR, reforms were cautious and gradual, and had not challenged the core of the command economy system. F ollowing the failed coup and under Yeltsin, however, this changed dramatically. Demagogy and erroneous judgments on the feasibility of a swift transition to a market democracy compounded the problem. The Russian government was warned of the dire consequences of a speedy transition to a market economy without previous establishment of the necessary institutions and legal infrastructure. The chairman of an international advisory committee, which repeatedly issued warnings in 1992, was told that "forces in the Kremlin" favored a less "regulatory approach that would provide greater freedom of manoeuvre. Gaidar, supported by the IMF, believed firmly in the intrinsic capacity of market forces to remove obstacles by themselves, and people could use their vouchers to acquire shares" (Castells, 2000:188). Prices were liberalized, imports and exports became free, domestic trade restrictions were abolished, government intervention was minimized, and public property was massively privatized. By June 1994, officials were self-congratulatory over the fact that 70% of state assets had passed into private hands (Kuznetsova, 1994).

New Normative and Comparative Referents

The reforms initiated by Andropov and Gorbachev (perestroika and glasnost) allowed some freedom of speech and openness that let globalization and media influences into the USSR. The post-1991 changes, however, offered new hope out of the severe problems people were facing. Russian leaders fostered heightened aspirations by declaring that the country would soon be modernized and join the "civilized world." Authorities in the former Soviet republics made the same promise, arguing that '"since we gotrid of the Russians,' all obstacles to prosperity have been removed and Western standards are within reach" (Burbach et al., 1997: 118). There were forceful and impressive presentations of consumerist lifestyles as "desirable," "modern," and feasible. Distant comparative and normative referents were thus promoted by the media and advertising. Indeed, the yearning for Western lifestyles and consumption items made the initial acceptance of neoliberalism by the population much easier (Ibid.). Neoliberalism strengthened that desire and made consumerist dreams appear realistic. Even young Russians now would like to be like Mike and wear the same type of shoes or eat the same breakfast. As Glinkina (1994: 385) put it, an important factor contributing to the criminalization of the economy has been "a drastic stratification of the population's standard of living with a simultaneous loss, in a considerable part (especially among the youth), of socially important goals --replacing them with consumption ideals...."

It must be noted that the normative shift was far more radical in the former USSR and Eastern Europe than it was in Third World countries. The transition from socialism to capitalism by overzealous authorities espousing the new dogma of neoliberalism has had its own direct anomic effects, as will be seen below.

The Consequence: Means-Ends Discrepancies

The worldwide consequences of neoliberal policies were replicated in Russia. However, the effects have been far more disastrous than elsewhere: lower productivity, high unemployment, much steeper inequalities, increased levels of absolute poverty, disappearance of familiar safety nets, and administrations paralyzed by ineptness and corruption. The ensuing means-ends discrepancies are far more than a theoretical construct. They are painfully experienced by large numbers of people who realize that they simply cannot attain their goals. Within one year, inflation wiped outmost people's life savings, while the buying power of most wages dropped to the level of the 1950s. In the winter of 1993, funds were often insufficient to heat residential buildings (Burbach et al., 1997; Handelman, 1993).

As a new bourgeoisie emerged from the ashes of the Communist regime, one-third of the population became impoverished. The gap between the rich and the poor opened up suddenly and grew out of proportion. Official data indicate that in 1994 the difference between them was elevenfold. Researchers argue that the difference between the top 10% and the bottom 10% is 28-fold (Kuznetsova, 1994). Even the chair of the Privatization Commission admitted that the process created "pauper-proprietors" who "cannot survive without state protection" (cited in Burbach et al., 1997: 120).

Relative and Absolute Deprivation

The rising expectations of the 1960s led to disenchantment with Communism and paved the way for radical social change. The abandonment of the Soviet conservative model and very rapid implementation of neoliberal policies fueled hopes that a much better future was within reach. Russians rejected rigid stratification and strove for a socially mobile ideal. As has been noted, [the middle classes] believed that capitalism could offer even more. Thus, the modernization that had been promised by the neoliberals was perceived by the majority of the population as the modernization of consumption.... The Western model of consumption has finally triumphed, at least in the main cities. But for the majority of the people, the price is that even the former Soviet way of life has become an unattainable dream (Burbach et al., 1997: 124).

The aspiring yuppies have ended up as "dumpies," while a growing polarization makes them see a few of their compatriots enjoy luxuries attained by looting the remnants of the former USSR.

Thus, the post-Soviet Russian dream turned out to be a nasty nightmare (Handelman, 1995). As happened in many other countries, austerity, belt tightening, and lower (in some cases, no) salaries were imposed as consumerism took hold. The impact of these experiences on personal feelings is much more widespread, intense, and unpleasant due to the higher expectations. Even people who are not objectively deprived now feel relatively deprived. Comparisons between their present and past situations are unfavorable: "Formerly privileged sections of the Russian population, such as teachers, doctors, miners, and workers in the oil and gas industry, went on strike, for they could no longer survive on 50 to 70 dollars per month salaries" (Burbach et al., 1997: 125-126).

East-West political and administrative asymmetries, economic asymmetries, and relative deprivation in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR and disillusionment with Western policies and capitalism have been clearly criminogenic (Handelman, 1994; Shelley, 1994). Motives for various types of crime became abundant, illegal opportunity structures multiplied, and control systems have been seriously damaged and undermined. The Mertonian category of "conformity" has almost become a rarity, as crime rates increased sharply. Even worse is the problem of economic crime. Recorded economic crimes rose almost 23% during the first seven months of 2000, compared with the same period in 1999 (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, August 17, 2000). Strains and discontent have translated into a range of predatory misconduct, corruption, political violence, a variety of illegal markets, and expressive misconduct.

Search for Solutions and Anomie

In this context, many can be expected to "innovate," to employ illegal methods for survival or the satisfaction of their basic and newly acquired needs. Methods range from petty property crimes and prostitution to criminal enterprises and white-collar crime, depending on the social position of the offender. An electronics engineer, for example, could not live on his three dollars per month and moonlighted as a taxi driver. When his taxi broke down, he turned to selling poppy straw (OGD, 1996). Unpaid and depressed professionals with access to more valuable commodities, such as nuclear material, pose an even more serious threat (Lee, 1999). Consumerist teasing increased demand for goods made unavailable (e.g., cars or electronics) by the economic collapse, fueling smuggling operations, black market networks, and associated illegal enterprises. Shortages of other desired goods are artificially created by quickly adapting entrepreneurs.

Similar conditions outside Russia explain the illegal car trade between Eastern and Western Europe (van Duyne et al., 2000) and the illegal trade in various commodities between China and Hong Kong before unification (Vagg, 1992). In Russia, many took advantage of such supply-demand asymmetries, including the vory v zakonye (commonly described as "thieves in law"), who had been the dominant type of professional offenders in the USSR. Structural changes and globalization, however, brought about more competition from ethnic groups (Armenians, Azeris, Chechens, Georgians, etc.) in drugs and arms trafficking, as well as from loose and ad hoc associations of criminals in certain locations or industries. Unsettling reports assert a symbiotic relationship between criminal groups and active or retired intelligence officials. Deteriorating economic conditions have facilitated recruitment for employees in growing illegal markets. Criminal enterprises, for instance, have "...invested heavily in the opium business, financing much of the new cultivation by hiring peasants and even entire villages to plant and protect the poppy crops" (Lee, 1994: 401).

Another source of criminal opportunities sprang from the disintegration of institutions and the disarray in law enforcement. Legitimate businesses are exposed to blackmail and other criminal victimization, but the authorities are unable to assist them. Consequently, many domestic and foreign companies deal with criminal groups and seek their protection, rather than rely on the government (Lee, 1994). Not surprisingly, the majority of Russian experts consider the strengthening of criminal groups to be a "very significant" social consequence of the market reforms introduced in 1992 (Afanasyef, 1994).

Other illicit opportunities were furnished by the privatization process, such as selling state assets at extremely low prices or driving down the prices of privatized companies so as to cheaply purchase vouchers owned by individuals desperate to make ends meet. Privatization in countries with an existing bourgeoisie and experienced managers and entrepreneurs facilitated certain corporate crimes and abuses of power by respected professionals. In Russia, the mix of offenders was different: former company directors, the nomenklatura, professional criminals, and new entrepreneurs with a black market background (Glinkina, 1994; Kuznetsova, 1994; Shelley, 1994). The attempt of former Communist officials to dominate this field did not prove lasting. Many were not competent to run private businesses and had to sell them or lose control. The main beneficiaries seem to be former black marketers and outsiders to the old order (Naylor, 1999b). The abuse of privatization has had an anomic effect as the impunity of offenders became widely known, to the point that Russians began to refer to privatization (privatizatsiya) as prikhvatizatsiya, which means "grabbing" (Handelman, 1995: 104).

Crime and corruption in the midst of privatization fervor are not unique to Russia. (On other previously Communist states, see Popescu-Birlan, 1994; on Latin America, see Saba and Manzetti, 1996-1997.) As a former World Bank official put it, "everything we did from 1983 onward was based upon our new sense of mission to have the south privatized or die; towards this end we ignominiously created economic bedlam in Latin America and Africa" (cited in Katona, 1999). Another similarity with other parts of the world is the degree of authoritarianism that accompanied neoliberal policies. While stimulating rapid accumulation of private capital, the role of the state is reduced to implementing financial austerity. When people started to oppose such measures, "Yeltsin resorted, with Western support, to establishing a semi-authoritarian regime. Making Russian 'reformers' invincible to political and legal challenges inside the country contributed to further criminalization of the Russian State, which acquired an oligarchic character" (Beare, 2000:6). As similar processes occurred around the world, from Pinochet's Chile to Suharto's Indonesia, one wonders if such reforms would have been possible in a democracy.

Legal organizations also "innovate" by cutting corners and breaking the law due to the environment created by unsystematic legal reforms. Unable to navigate a sea of legal gaps and inconsistencies, "...most managers of private as well as state-owned enterprises cannot run their businesses without committing crimes" (Afanasyef, 1994: 437). Many companies cannot handle the competitive challenges generated by globalism and require state protection. The subsidization of privatized companies, however, introduces further regulatory and price asymmetries that foster the smuggling of goods across newly created borders within the former USSR (see below on nonferrous materials). Enterprises that do not enjoy state intervention are at a disadvantage and may be forced into bankruptcy or crime as a last resort. This is analogous to the situation in all countries that abolish trade barriers, let transnational corporations in, and eliminate preferential treatment for domestic industries.

High-level corruption and banking crimes have become quite common, as the networks of mobsters, financiers, businessmen, and high-level officials extend beyond Eurasia (Beare, 2000). The ongoing investigations into billions of dollars (possibly IMF-provided funds) laundered through the Bank of New York have expanded to include British, Swiss, and Italian entities and actors.

Moreover, pyramid schemes and other frauds have devastated gullible investors, as is the case with other post-Communist countries. Independent Oil, Lenin Trade and Financial Corporation, Aldzher (a security corporation), and other companies defrauded more than a million depositors and investors. Just as the Lincoln Savings and Loan frauds were committed in midst of obsessive deregulation in the U.S. against "the weak, the meek, and the old," Russian pensioners have been the main fraud victims (Glinkina, 1994).

Economic asymmetries among countries produce another set of criminal opportunities, as many become strongly motivated to flee the problem and search for a better future in the West, where the "goodies" are available. However, neoliberalism has promoted the free movement of everything but labor. Quotas and restrictions in promised lands generate demand for illegal services such as the smuggling of humans (Chin, 1999). This leads to opportunities for criminal exploitation, corruption, child/cheap labor, slavery, and forced prostitution.

Women, who are increasingly breadwinners but make up two-thirds of the newly unemployed in Russia, are even more vulnerable in this respect. Economic desperation drives many of them to prostitution or high risk taking. Lack of opportunity makes Russians and East Europeans softer targets for human traffickers. They are more likely to be lured to the West with promises of well-paying, respectable jobs only to end up blackmailed, beaten up, and forced into prostitution (Bruinsma, 1999; Shelley, 1994). The same problems faced by Thai, Mexican, and other women in the U.S. have led to a public hearing before the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights (September 14, 1999).

Relative deprivation and experience of injustice have a revolutionary potential too. International communications convey the message that injustice and inequality are avoidable. Events in one corner of the earth affect feelings and encourage people elsewhere to rebel against aggression. This may inspire change and foster rebellion. Just as the ideals of the French Revolution led to rebellions in the Balkans against the Ottoman rule (Hovannisian, 1994), the independence of the Baltic states and the U.N. response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait inspired the East Timorese to fight against the Indonesian autocratic rule (Dunn, 1994). The uprising of Zapatistas in Mexico was deliberately started on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA went into effect, "as a highly symbolic way to protest neoliberalism and globalisation in Mexico and Latin America" (Robinson, 1998-1999: 123-124).

Repressed nationalism, globalism, and bad times have jointly contributed to several armed conflicts and rebellions in the former USSR (the Caucasus, Moldova, Crimea, Tajikistan, and Chechnya). Rebellion and illegal markets become interconnected, as armed conflicts necessitate training, weapons, intelligence, and financing. The cases of Chechnya, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Colombia show how political revolts are associated with corruption, money laundering, the traffic in arms, drugs, and even nuclear material and other crimes that go unpunished (Kuznetsova, 1994: 445; Lee, 1999; Naylor, 1999b; OGD, 1996). Chechnya, which survives thanks to donations from criminal organizations based in other parts of Russia, has become such a paradise for these activities that some depict the war there as "a crusade against a 'mafia republic,'" while others think of it as "a conflict between opposing criminal elites for the control of oil and the financial resources held by the government in Grozny" (Politi, 1998: 44).

Finally, "retreatism" is the only option left to those lacking access to illegal opportunities or who are unwilling to assume the associated risks of violence and arrest. Hence, expressive crimes could be expected. More important, the rates of alcohol and drug abuse (further facilitated by the decriminalization of drug use in Russia in 1991) increased geometrically, especially in the cities, and fueled the demand for things provided in illegal markets (Lee, 1994; OGD, 1996).


The transition from a command to a market economy practically legalized large parts of the black market and made legal business dependent on criminals' protection. The dismantling of borders and increased contact among previously isolated ethnic groups contributed to the formation of new, wider networks of illegality (Politi, 1998). The result was that one could hardly tell criminals from businessmen, particularly when some outlaw groups act on instructions from government officials or the police (Handelman, 1993). Given official efforts to ensure that the transition to a market economy would occur before substantial opposition could build and that the changes would be irreversible, too many shady actors were allowed to take advantage of this official shield (Glinkina, 1994; Naylor, 1999b). In this light, common views on government-criminal interfaces and symbiosis are plausible, although difficult to prove. Surveys in 1994 showed that the concern of Russians over organized crime was second only to their fears of triple-digit inflation (Afanasyef, 1994). At the perceptual level, therefore, this interface is real and has real consequences: demoralization and anomie.

The corrupted process of privatization has generated widespread rationalizations, such as, "it is OK to steal from the state" or "everyone is doing the same thing." Taking an example pointing to international security risks, Lee (1999: 21) has noted that, "perhaps the most serious problem is the growth of a privatization mentality within the nuclear complex. Economic reform has meant a license to steal. This has resulted in broad systemic corruption and a variety of insider threats and conspiracies."

An additional sign of anomie is what has been described as a "culture of urgency" among young killers:

For them there is no hope in society, and everything, particularly politics and politicians, is rotten. Life itself has no meaning, and their life has no future.... So, only the moment counts, immediate consumption, good clothing, good life, on the run, together with the satisfaction of inducing fear, of feeling powerful with their guns (Castells, 2000: 210).

Only effective social controls can halt the process toward further deviance and a higher degree of anomie (deviance without strain). Unfortunately, in Russia and elsewhere, a decreased level of autonomy for certain states, the increased power of international organizations and transnational corporations, and dysnomie add to the fuel.

Dependence, Deregulation, and the Race to the Bottom

"Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs (lesser developed countries)?" "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.... I've always thought that underpopulated countries in Africa are vastly under-polluted; their air quality is vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City" (1991 memo attributed to World Bank official Lawrence Summers, who later became U.S. Secretary of Treasury; it is widely believed that he did not write it, even though he has accepted responsibility for it. At any rate, this illustrates the neoliberal mindset).

The loss of autonomy and reduced sovereignty of the state relative to capital referred to earlier (Korten, 1996; Watkins, 1997) is particularly acute in the former Communist countries. Speculative capital will quickly flee each country at the first sign trouble or wavering over neoliberal reforms. External debt grew in all former Communist countries, but especially in Russia, which bears the marks of Africa-like dependent capitalism and "colonial subjugation. The country exports fewer and fewer industrial products and more and more raw materials. Meanwhile, it imports low-quality mass consumption goods, obsolete and hence cheap technology, luxury items and radioactive waste" (Burbach et al., 1997: 120-121). An instance of the direct and blatant interference of foreign governments and transnational corporations in domestic matters was when Chase Manhattan urged the Mexican government to crush the Zapatista rebellion to calm down U.S. investors (Silverstein and Cockburn, 1995; see also Clinard, 1990).

Ironically, the higher degree of dependency in the South and East has lowered the accountability of politicians and corporations. They can now blame globalization for the loss of jobs and lower wages, and prescribe more "efficiency," deregulation, short-term austerity, and declining levels of public spending so as to keep capital in place or attract more. Thus, economic and political leaders appear to be protectors of the public interest and a stabilizing force, while they dismantle existing safety nets (economic neoliberalism has also undermined political liberalism; Klak, 1998).

The Russian government's aversion to regulation (Glinkina, 1994) is observable in other countries, where deregulation turned into competitive deregulation and a race to the bottom. Even in the U.S., the savings and loan disaster and the asymmetric regulation of hazardous wastes demonstrate how criminogenic this process has been. This made it possible to dump legally in Pennsylvania what was prohibited in New Jersey, in what has been termed "crimes without law violations" (Passas, 1999). Such crimes are most likely in the global context given the overwhelming influence of TNCs over national laws and macroeconomic policies. This has prompted some to speak of "rationalized corporate colonialism" (Mander, 1996). Such asymmetries of power make for legal norms that allow overseas that which is, for good reason, criminalized in the base country (e.g., toxic waste dumping, testing drugs on humans, bribery, tax evasion, as well as the patenting of life forms by biotechnology companies and other outrageous practices) (see King and Stabinsky, 1998-1999; Shiva, 1997). The legal asymmetries and uneven power of transnational corporations that create or perpetuate these and other asymmetries give rise to crimes without law violations. Thus, entire countries become vulnerable to victimization by TNCs, a significant problem that is often neglected in conventional discussions of transnational crime. The volatile combination of low wages, bad working conditions, tax breaks only for the rich/corporations, lower environmental standards, deregulation, and less corporate and political accountability with the government relegated to the protection of the international free trade system has predictably made for crises (e.g., Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Brazil). It also makes for dysnomie.

Dysnomie and Further (Global) Anomie

Dysnomie literally means "difficulty to govern" and obtains when the following three conditions are present: a lack of a global norm-making mechanism, inconsistent enforcement of existing international rules, and the existence of a regulatory patchwork of diverse and conflicting legal traditions and practices. Russia is in this respect a microcosm that reflects what is happening in the entire world.

Since reforms took place at an uneven pace in each Soviet Republic, an asymmetry grew wider following the collapse of the USSR. In addition, this collapse suddenly created thousands of miles of new borders that had to be policed, just as state resources were diminished. This made for porous borders that offered no resistance to smugglers. This is how Estonia became the largest exporter of nonferrous materials, even though it does not produce any (Glinkina, 1994). Extensive legal changes accelerated the transition to a market economy, but they were marked by inconsistencies and lacked the necessary legal and institutional infrastructure (Handelman, 1995). For example, the law against private entrepreneurship and commercial mediations was repealed only on December 5, 1991. The law against black market transactions, which defined them as "the buying up and reselling of goods or other items for profit-making," was first amended in February 1990 to increase penalties for certain offenses, was then officially rein terpreted to refer only to trade in commodities sold at state-fixed prices (October 1990), and was finally repealed in February 1991 (Afanasyef, 1994: 429). Lack of resources made the problem worse, as underpaid, ill-equipped, and outgunned police could not be expected to do an effective job.

Weak controls allow criminals to get away and to regard themselves as successful. Deviant "solutions" came to be seen as keys to "success." Successful deviance then becomes a normative referent, contributing to a wider normative breakdown and overemphasis on goals at the expense of normative means. In the context of massive cultural shifts -- from the criminalizing of private profit and the hiring of labor outside the household to making them central values for a new social order -- the sense of right and wrong became fuzzy. As the deputy minister of Internal Affairs admitted at a 1992 press conference, "even our specialists find it difficult to determine the legal from the illegal -- to determine, for instance, what is profiteering and what is honest trade" (cited in Handelman, 1993). Corruption grew so much that up to 30% of illegal gains are reportedly paid to government officials (Glinkina, 1994; Lee, 1999). In the end, distinctions between white-collar crime, organized crime, corruption, and legitimate business are almost impossible to make. Lawbreaking behavior and success are fused. As a businessman told Handelman (1995: 139), "the truth is, everything you see around you, all our success, is not thanks to our wonderful economic laws. It's thanks to the fact that we do not obey them."

Dysnomic conditions also bring about anomie at the global level. As argued elsewhere (Passas, 1999), international law is more essential now than ever for the maintenance of world order and security. Yet, big powers are reluctant to contribute to the required pooling of sovereignty and have been blocking the development of an international criminal code and specific legislation to restrain their corporations. Dependent on rich countries for its operations, the U.N. has not been overly aggressive in pursuing these aims or in establishing a permanent international criminal tribunal. Globalism has thus run ahead of the creation of a desperately needed normative and enforcement infrastructure.

Existing international laws are applied selectively and never against one of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Counsel. This ad hoc approach and the extraterritorial application of national laws undermine the legitimacy of current laws and procedures. We are left with a legal patchwork of inconsistent and conflicting rules. An example of the effect of such asymmetries is the secrecy and anonymity available in certain jurisdictions that hinder investigative work by covering the tracks and proceeds of global offenders, de facto shielding them against prosecution and punishment. By exploiting the cracks between diverse state rules, companies continually commit crimes without law violation. Globalism also leads to a relativization of norms and facilitates law violations with a clear conscience (rationalizations and techniques of neutralization).

Finally, the border-policing problem in the former USSR is not unique, even if the underlying causes were specific to it and other European countries (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia). More generally, borders become porous, as technology and mobility enabled people, money, goods, and ideas to travel quickly and cheaply. Criminals can take advantage of this shrinking world, but law enforcement agencies are constrained by parochial laws and procedures. Though the reasons for the porousness may differ, the process and results are the same.


Tremendous structural strains have overwhelmed even the usually patient and submissive Russians. The economic situation deteriorated further, hopes were dashed, opportunities for criminal gain and for looting the USSR's assets multiplied, and the anomic societal context offered no assistance to anyone seeking to restore some law and order. In Russia and around the world, the neoliberal operation was successful, but the patients are being systematically frustrated, are starving, and subject to exploitation by corporations, criminal enterprises, and corrupt politicians. In short, globalization and neoliberalism spread analytically similar criminogenic processes that were once unique to the U.S. culture of the American Dream in a context of structural inequalities. Just as the world supposedly became freer, wealthier, more democratic, more enjoyable, and more equal, people find themselves poorer, more exploited, and facing increased hardships. Just as the need for strong normative guidance grows, norms break down or lose their legitimacy. Just as effective controls become necessary to slow down or stop the vicious cycle leading to higher rates of crime, a dysnomic regulatory patchwork remains in place largely because of nationalist insistence on sovereignty and states' unwillingness to allow the introduction of common principles and law enforcement mechanisms.

Two main points need to be reiterated here. First, it appears that global neoliberalism and serious crime go hand in hand. However, it would be erroneous to argue that stereotypical organized criminals are giving capitalism a bad name and undermining neoliberal policies. The implication is that, were we to rid ourselves of some very bad apples, everything would be fine. Rather, it appears that serious organizational misconduct is a consequence of such policies. Second, when we discuss transnational crime, we should bear in mind that it is not just the stereotyped ethnics who cause most problems. It may be that the biggest threat emanates from legitimate corporations and other organizations.

Detailed discussion of policy implications is beyond the scope of this article. The horizontal arrows in Figure 1 hint at the points of possible policy intervention. Myriad concrete ideas can be found in the literature, ranging from legal changes to informal controls, grass-roots movements, integration of economic growth with environmental and social protection, relocalization of production and consumption, etc. The most important ray of hope, however, is implicit in the foregoing analysis. Neoliberal policies and globalization are largely the fruit of (some) governments. They affect and are affected by governance. Therefore, governments have the ability to reverse some of these processes and to mitigate their adverse consequences. Otherwise, the current processes of globalization and neoliberalism will prove to be unsustainable and at a huge cost.

Neoliberal globalization as a catalyst for the rise of ultra-nationalism and neo-fascism

In 2014 a lot of people here condemned excesses of Ukraine nationalism, especially the part of Galician nationalism the has clear neo-fascist flavor and that now attempts to colonize South and Eastern Ukraine in a kind of replay of Drang nach Osten.

But rise of nationalism is a pan-European phenomenon now. And it is observable in almost any county, including but not limited to France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Greece, and even UK.

Is not this is a (somewhat pervert) reaction to excesses of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization? In other words is not the key side effects of neoliberal globalization is the rise of ultra nationalist and neo-fascist movements all over the world?  Many researchers think that yes (Globalization, ethnic conflict and nationalism Daniele Conversi -

The force of nationalism has spread well over the nineteenth century into the age of globalization. There are thus parallels between modernization and globalization as sti-mulating factors for nationalism and ethnic conflict. Although the reach of globalizationis historically unprecedented, some of its features accompanied the rise of modernity andthe advent of the modern nation state. In particular, both resulted in the demise of older boundaries and the construction of new ones. Whereas industrialization destroyed localand regional boundaries by superimposing national boundaries on them, globalizationdestroyed national boundaries by superimposing a plethora of supra-national and corpo-rate networks on them, including mafias, organized crime, and multi-national corpora-tions (MNCs), none of which are as easily identifiable on a political map as sovereign, countries still are. The adoption of planetary rules to comply with the standards set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank has unsurprisingly resulted in global disempowerment, at least according to the perception of influential NGOs activists (Korten 2001).

Has all this also led to a decline in national identities? Not at all. Partly because nationalcultures have been seriously damaged or reshaped by globalization, we have seen a global intensification of ethnic belligerence. Moreover, the formation of new elites and the spread of capitalist wealth have led to nationalist self-assertion, while cultural impoverishment spurred a generalized need for compensatory ethnic assertiveness.

... ... ...

If nationalism cannot be explained independently from the onset of modernity andmodern state-making, both are enmeshed in the expansion of warfare. Nationalism manifested itself in an era of inter-state competition, the collapse of boundaries, economic expansion, mass migration, general insecurity, political centralization, obsessivelaw-making, societal policing, and drastic militarization, finally leading to war. In them eanwhile, the Pax Britannica ensuing Waterloo provided the impetus for colonialexpansion while fomenting inter-imperial rivalries and competition (Conversi 2007).Thus, just as Europe was accumulating wealth, power, and armaments in anticipation of the unprecedented conflagration, its global economic reach affected broader and broader areas of the world. Economic competition and destructive warfare were just beingexported beyond European borders. Linda Colley notes:

the profit and the price of this hundred-year partial European peace was unprecedented Western, and especially British, freedom to concentrate on global empire. In 1800, the European powers, together with Russia and the United States, laid claim to some 35 percent of the globe’s total land area. By 1914 [their] proportion of the globe … had risen to 84 percent (Colley 2002:311).

By 1914, the West had also accumulated enough economic wealth and weapons of mass destruction to unleash the greatest manslaughter in human history. The totalitarian era following the First World War has been described as the culmination of a pattern of mass dislocation founded on modernity (Arendt 1958; Bauman 1989). As we shall see later, the emergence of totalitarianism in Europe coincided with the first wave of deep Americanization, including the triumph of Hollywood, cigarette consumption, the car culture, and other US products meant for mass distribution.

... ... ...

The expansion of nationalism throughout the globe is hence the spreading out of aWestern idea. In other words, nationalism is an essential component of Westernization.As I have argued, nationalism cannot be understood outside the devastating impact of modernity, particularly industrialization, with its demise of traditional lifestyles, skills,cultures, and communities (Gellner 2006). Such a devastation was suciently all-pervasiveto argue that the victory of nationalism represented the victory of a surrogate sense of community, which for some was a colossal
‘ fraud’ (Gellner 2006) or an invented tradition (Hobsbawm 1983). Thus, for Gellner the nationalists spoke in defence of a hypo-thetical Gemeinschaft, but actually practiced the construction of a novel Gesellschaft, the two being largely incompatible. For both Gellner and Hobsbawm nationalism was not much less than a form of cultural
brainwashing. For others, the whole process was not only counterfeit, it was based on the conspiracy of emerging rapacious economic and political elites, which used selected elements of popular tradition while invoking nationhood, just as populists often invoke the defence of the people. For instance, the role of secret societies like the Italian carbonari is a widely known and omni-present feature of nineteenth-century century mobilization. Secret paramilitary groups of patriots played a pivotal role in the spread of most nationalist movements. Karl Marx’s characterization of nationalism as a form of false consciousness manipulated by the bourgeoisie is a well-known example of this conspiracy approach. Traditionalist, anarchical, conservative, and even liberal approaches often share similar views of nationalism as a strategy of elites. The broader trend is often known as instrumentalism(Smith 1998),because it emphasizes the mere instrumentality of nationhood. Nations do no exist assuch; they are simply cultural tools in the hands of elites or proto-elites who seek to mobilize the masses on the basis of an emotional appeal to a common but fictitious nationality.

As we shall see, in its current shape cultural globalization is often understood as a one-way importation of standardized cultural items and icons from a single country, the United States of America, to the rest of the world regardless of the fact that most of theitems are actually made in China. For many, globalization is synonymous with Westernization (la Branche 2003, 2005, Latouche 1996) or, more accurately, Americanization.The international consequence of Americanization is a widespread sense of cultural insecurity vis-à-vis an unfathomable force that nobody seems capable of containing(Amin 2004). Because this perception has been so far unable to produce organized, rational and universal responses, it tends to express itself through visceral, rudimentary,and unpredictable forms of anti-Americanism (Barber 1995).

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright showed insights about the US full-spectrum dominance cultural policy when she said that Cultural factors play a pivotalrole in many of the international challenges we face
our cultural programs are central -- and I underline that —  central to the success of American foreign policy
(Albright2000). Once out of office, she adopted a more cautious position, considering the risks and damages infl
icted by extreme forms of Americanization. For Bacevich (2002), the economic openness implicit in neoliberalism produces a form of globalization that is inevitably synonymous with Americanization, since it is predicated on a national security approach founded on global dominance.


Situation with neoliberalism in the USA now is an almost perfect illustration of the credibility trap. One cannot allow the illusion to falter, even a little, to the bitter end. And as the fraud fades, the force intensifies, becoming almost rabid in its deflection. Because that illusion has become the center of a hollowed people's being, their raison d'être, a mythological justification for their existence. Chris Hedges made an apt analogy with The Fall of Berlin 1945

I came across a nice, compact interview with Chris Hedges which illuminates his thesis of the decline of the American Empire and the illusions and the end of rational thinking that accompanies it. Empires seem to give off quite a bit of flash in their latter stages, rather like the last gasp of a dying star.

The interviewer, Allan Gregg, does a particularly nice job of drawing Hedges out.

I would like to add an observation I came to in thinking further about the Sophie Scholl piece which I put up earlier today. Perhaps there is something about gardening that focuses the mind.

The almost frenetic preoccupation and adherence to the Nazi ideology in the latter stages of the war, when it was obvious to any rational observer that they could not win, is remarkable. I had been particularly struck in my reading some time ago with the 'wolf packs' of Nazis who had raged through Berlin, rounding up old men and even boys who had not joined the Volkssturm, and hanging them, even while the Russians were shelling the Reichstag. It never made sense to me until today.

"The radio announced that Hitler had come out of his safe bomb-proof bunker to talk with the fourteen to sixteen year old boys who had 'volunteered' for the 'honor' to be accepted into the SS and to die for their Fuhrer in the defense of Berlin. What a cruel lie! These boys did not volunteer, but had no choice, because boys who were found hiding were hanged as traitors by the SS as a warning that, 'he who was not brave enough to fight had to die.'

When trees were not available, people were strung up on lamp posts. They were hanging everywhere, military and civilian, men and women, ordinary citizens who had been executed by a small group of fanatics. It appeared that the Nazis did not want the people to survive because a lost war, by their rationale, was obviously the fault of all of us. We had not sacrificed enough and therefore, we had forfeited our right to live, as only the government was without guilt."

Dorothea von Schwanenfluegel, Eyewitness account, Fall of Berlin 1945

I was reminded of this phenomenon by the trial of Sophie Scholl, and her words to the judge Roland Freisler, as he ranted his virulent condemnations at them. 'Soon you will be in our place,' she said to him. He did escape the hangman's noose at Nuremburg, but only by virtue of an Allied bomb in 1945. When his body was brought to hospital an orderly remarked, 'It was God's verdict.' He was buried in an unmarked grave, without ceremony and unmourned. Much like his beloved Fuhrer.

This is an almost perfect illustration of the credibility trap. One cannot allow the illusion to falter, even a little, to the bitter end. And as the fraud fades, the force intensifies, becoming almost rabid in its deflection. Because that illusion has become the center of a hollowed people's being, their raison d'être, a mythological justification for their existence.

If the ideology had been a lie, then they are not heroes and gods on earth, but monsters and criminals, and their life has been self-serving and meaningless, without significance and honor. And that is the credibility trap.

And this is the US financial system today.

So the legitimacy of neoliberalism is gone since events of 2008 and consequences of this epochal event are still unclear. As chances that the USA will get rid of neoliberalism voluntarily are slim, we might be present in a crush of yet another empire. That might mirror the destiny of the USSR which fell when its ideology became delegitimized. With the key difference that the USA elite is much more aggressive and ready to use whatever means possible to preserve its status when it is under threat.

Top updates

Softpanorama Switchboard
Softpanorama Search


Old News ;-)

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

Doctors Without Borders: we received no advance warning of US airstrike

This is war crime.

The Guardian

Pat Driscoll -> Haynonnynonny 7 Oct 2015 19:32

Obviously Kunduz was not a safe place, was it? And perfectly reasonable when you are under deadly attack - particularly by a so-called "protector" - to complain about it.

Paul Lorenzini -> liberalexpat 7 Oct 2015 19:32

Kosher islamists?

Gerard White -> DontHaveDontSpend 7 Oct 2015 19:31

Well, do you actually believe anything the United States says? I mean, they created this whole "War on Terror", WMD BS, they created Islamic State, they committed similar atrocities in Fallujah. The US is a terrorist state.

Pat Driscoll -> Haynonnynonny 7 Oct 2015 19:31

What statistical reports? Let's start with the last 13 months in Syria shall we? The official U.S. statistical report for innocents killed reports a total of : ZERO. Why is that? Because the U.S. military hasn't kept track. Iraq? Well, until the Iraq government complained after numerous massacres, the U.S. military also DIDN'T KEEP RECORDS. Same with Afghanistan.

crankyyankee1945 -> smokinbluebear 7 Oct 2015 19:28

let's see:......exaggerating and contorting the initial information from a diverse and complicated command structure, falsely stating that the US has refused to cooperate with an international investigation which has not been convened or decided upon......isn't that what cynical propagandists who could care less about the suffering or solemnity of a situation except to reprehensibly frame it callously for maximum shallow indoctrination effect do?

Donkzilla -> donkeyshit 7 Oct 2015 19:25

the chances of this US attack on kunduz hospital having been a mistake is close to zero. the question therefore is and remains: why?

Chaos and mass murder is causing the biggest refugee crisis since WW II, that's why.

An apparent war of annihilation on the Taliban is actually a war of attrition on Russia for selling oil and gas in euros. Millions of refugees flooding into the EU may break the EU and destroy the euro, that's what the US are hoping for, there is no other logical reason I can see for the US murdering innocent civilians.

hadeze242 7 Oct 2015 19:22

the buck stops here. He is the Commander in Chief ... then, behave like one.

US Obama should return his Swedish Nobel Peace Prize. To keep it (and the European money attached to the prize) means to besmirch the Peace Prize & all other past recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

BrightSpots -> Alto Cumulus 7 Oct 2015 19:20

Have to say it, but I think the USA went native and turned terrorist quite some time back. They have dabbled in it continually and on every continent since WWII. But terrorism has become the USA's modus operandi in the last 14 years.

Every horror IS have committed, the US has committed tenfold in one shape or form.

Civilians to Military deaths have been at a rate of 1000's to 1 for a decade and a half.

Their rage since 9/11 has resulted in more refugees than WWII and phenomenal civilian rates. With circling drones terrorising people, killing sleeping children and firing again at neighbours who go to rescue their dying screaming neighbours children. You know you will be targeted if you help, so you have to listen to the kid's prolonged death and hate yourself for not going to help, because the fly boys in their bunker in Nevada will get you.

That's not war, that's not security. That's sadistic terrorism on a par with IS.

SocalAlex -> outkast1213 7 Oct 2015 19:14

We are far from a fascist police state

I wouldn't be too sure about that. Do you know, for example that - unreported anywhere except, briefly, in The Nation - the U.S. has no quietly changed the legal definition of "the border" to include everywhere within 100 miles of a coast or official land border ? And that this definition includes the places where 2/3 of Americans live, and includes entire states, among them Florida and Maine?

Why does this matter? Because, "on the border", the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies are free to do whatever they want, and normal laws don't apply. They can enter your home and search your things or even arrest and detain you with no probable cause and your other standard rights (including even the right to a lawyer) don't legally apply either! The ACLU has termed it "a Constitution-free zone", and that's no exaggeration!

And thanks to a minor wording change to an obscure law, 2/3 of Americans now live in this Constitution-free zone! This happened with no political debate whatsoever, and, given it was never reported, it's needless to say no public debate either!

Sorry, but to me that sounds very much like the tactics of "a fascist police state"...

CliftonSantiago -> Sam Ahmed 7 Oct 2015 19:13

No, you completely misread what I was saying. Which isn't surprising considering your crass profanities, which I suspect reveal a limited vocabulary and poor reading comprehension skills.

I was agreeing with your point in principle, but disagreeing with your solution, which is one of despair. Only through the pursuit of transparency will the US, UK and their middle-eastern allies be held accountable by the other nations of the world. Only by revealing their complete hypocrisy with irrefutable evidence will one be able to weaken their position. Just look at the damage that Wikileaks, Snowden, and Manning have done to the US propaganda machine.

Surrender is completely pointless. Why should one give up hope as you suggest? Do you live in Dostoevsky novel? Not me.

Federalist10 7 Oct 2015 19:11

There is some debate among lawyers about the extent to which an insurgency such as Afghanistan's technically constitutes an international armed conflict – and accordingly whether the duty to warn applies.

If we continue to willfully ignore this law, then we are as bad as the bad guys we had in mind when we first wrote it.

When did American Exceptionalism become an excuse for American Hubris?

SeanThorp -> charles47 7 Oct 2015 19:11

Are you deliberately misreading the article or merely missing the point?

I'm reading that different branches of the Afghan security services are saying that they were coming under fire and even that the Taliban were using the hospital as a base. Afaik only one building in the hospital came under fire not the 'whole hospital' as you have imagineered.

do try to keep up

Oh the irony.

Donkzilla DallasWilliams 7 Oct 2015 19:10

... you can continue this list for as long as you'd like. Enjoy!

The US is responsible for the chaos and mass murder behind the biggest refugee crisis since WW II, refuting that fact with a straw man list of conspiracy theories is a piss poor attempt at discrediting the conclusions I have drawn about US strategy.

Olorin 7 Oct 2015 19:07

Even if there were terrorists inside of hospital, even if Afghans were asking for bombing area of their choice THERE IS NO EXCUSE to bomb innocent civilians.

This is war crime. US Air Force should be careful even if ally ask for bombing their own territory they should check twice what is in targeted area. This is serious...

gossy -> Haynonnynonny 7 Oct 2015 19:06

When the last US troops go, the Afghan government will collapse pretty quickly and we'll see what a house of cards it really was, supported by US and EU grants, subsidy, and bribe money - that's all. Within 12 months of the US going the Taliban will be in Kabul and sitting down to govern. The next US president will then be faced with the usual McCain/Republican cry of being "weak on terror" - and so the BS goes on.

Alto Cumulus -> dusablon 7 Oct 2015 19:01

Continued: and that lie fails to explain why the hospital was pounded over and over despite desperate calls pleading for the US bombing to stop, and that lie fails to explain why we did not utilize our pinpoint accurate weaponry on the "area adjacent."

macmarco 7 Oct 2015 18:59

NYT says Obama is considering three different legal arguments on why the hospital attack was not a crime. My guess is that he and the DOD will claim that someone in or near the hospital was an imminent threat and had to be taken out to save lives. Obama used "imminent threat" excuse to assassinate two American citizens one a teenbage boy drinking tea. It sailed through both the media and legal community witout one objection.

hadeze242 -> Batleymuslim 7 Oct 2015 18:59

no ... even CNN (today) clearly states & shows the vidio the 30 min US bombing run on the MSF hospital (a white cross from above) was approved by US Control Centre 3 separate times. in google speak: can i hit it again ? yes, hit it. 2nd fly around: can I hit it a 2nd time? yes, go. 3rd fly around: hit is again? yes, do it again.

katiewm 7 Oct 2015 18:58

Why would a civilian hospital ever be considered a legitimate target for an air strike, regardless of whether "warning" was issued? This is shameful.

Alto Cumulus -> dusablon 7 Oct 2015 18:58

What? Weren't the taliban INSIDE the hospital dressed in scrubs? No.

Now yet ANOTHER revision: that the Taliban was "using area adjacent" to hospital.
Problems is, hospital staff has refuted that lie. And that lie fails to explain why the HOSPITAL ITSELF

Move on to your next lie.

DiggersAndDreamers -> Sal2011 7 Oct 2015 18:55

And in accepting that there is some sort of justification for it, we condone it,

I completely agree, it should be condemned in the strongest possible terms and those who are culpable should be brought to justice.

CliftonSantiago -> thatshowitgoes 7 Oct 2015 18:53

Your sarcasm aside, that is exactly what Americans think that means. Just look at the Republican party's website:

Pretty scary actually...

CliftonSantiago DontHaveDontSpend 7 Oct 2015 18:49

You are obviously, and deliberately (american patriot?) ignorant of the articles of the Geneva Convention, of which the US is a signatory member (regardless of the Bush regime's attempts at redefining their obligations).

ExpatJohn22 7 Oct 2015 18:45

Doctors without borders, can you stop whinging, Really? just one bomb. We have to concentrate on demonizing Russia. You are spoiling the show.

[Sep 19, 2015] Clock Ticks On US Syria Strategy As Assad Pounds ISIS Targets, Russia Sends Fighter Jets

Suddenly the hypocrite-fiends of Western Europe wanted the conflict in Syria over.
"...Putin had literally called Washington's bluff, forcing The White House to either admit that this isn't about ISIS at all, or else join Russia in fighting them. "
"... Economic destruction followed by political stability exploited for regime change. The most damaging of those sanctions (and the easiest for the U.S. financial bully to enforce) are banking sanctions. Those are also easiest to ram through the tratiorous little bitches in congress with the least amount of hand-wringing and public outcry. No bad PR from Twitter pictures of dead babies or mutilated kids and destroyed homes, but destruction of the 'target' just the same."
"...Yet another neocon fiasco. Uncounted billions gone, Syriah shattered forever, oh, and our dearest allies in Europe overrun with filthy penniless refugees. Way to go Team America!"
Sep 19, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Note that this is a bitter defeat for Washington. Moscow, realizing that instead of undertaking an earnest effort to fight terror in Syria, the US had simply adopted a containment strategy for ISIS while holding the group up to the public as the boogeyman par excellence, publicly invited Washington to join Russia in a once-and-for-all push to wipe Islamic State from the face of the earth. Of course The Kremlin knew the US wanted no such thing until Assad was gone, but by extending the invitation, Putin had literally called Washington's bluff, forcing The White House to either admit that this isn't about ISIS at all, or else join Russia in fighting them.

... ... ...

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the man some suspect of masterminding the entire effort to restore the Assad regime, Quds commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, seems to understand the US strategy all too well - we close with the following from Iran's PressTV:

Commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Qassem Soleimani said Wednesday that the policy of the US with regards to Daesh and other Takfiri groups operating in the region is to only have them under control and not eliminate them.


don't forget who's creating this so called "terrorists"?


It's entirely possible to forget though, since there's so many.

There's Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, London, the USA, France, Australia, and NATO. I'm probably still missing some.


Assad is still stuck with the same big problem. He does not have the infantry numbers to defeat ISIS.

You can see prime example of this on YouTube clips of Syrian T-72 tanks doing close quarters street fighting and getting taken out by RPG's because they have no supporting infantry to sweep out the enemy infantry. Heavy tactical equipment like artillary, tanks and fighter aircraft is fine, but at the end of the day you have to be able to sweep through with enough boots to control the area.

At best Assad can wage a holding stalemate until the Russians actually deploy 10's of thousands of ground troops.

Latina Lover

Not true. Cut off the supply lines and cash funnel, and ISIS will fall apart. When the USSA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia figure out the game is over, they will cut off money.

Money Counterfeiter

Someone needs to tell Putin Israel is right next door to the south. Why let a crisis go o waste?


Now that the Rooskies have changed the battlescape from US State's obsession to displace secular Assad with some Muslim Arab terrorist pipeline puppet to solving the US/Saudi/NATO/ISIS chaos problem, maybe the ISIS terror mercenaries will finally get a taste of their own medicine.

Everyday Europeans should be rooting for Russia and Assad if they want to solve the root cause of their Islamic invasion problem.


Those ISIS shills really had it made for a while.. like, where else could you get money, training, military bases, unused armor and weapons parachute delivered to your doorstep?

sun tzu

Yes, against that vaunted American ISIS mercenary fighting force that is known for its military prowess LOL. Your fearsome ISIS with full US military training, weapons, and air support can't even defeat Assad's little military force with 40 year old tanks.

They're good at chopping off heads of unarmed people and that's about it. Most are foreign jihadist idiots born and raised in Western nations under rap and hiphop MTV music. Unlike the Taliban and in Iraq, they are not fighting for their homeland. The western mercs leading the ISIS forces are also a bunch of cowards. Once they face death from air attacks, the paycheck no longer means anything. Those mercs are good at overthrowing third world countries. They didn't sign up to be attacked by cruise missiles.


I remember when George Bush said, "God talked to him."


You would a thought Americans would have wised up at least after THAT!

The Indelicate Genius

ISIS Leader Admits to Being Funded by the US

Now, who knows how reliable that site it - but who still thinks that whatever makes it into the NY Times is reliable?

two hoots


Kerry in UK to push for end to Syrian conflict:


Kerry in UK to push for end to Syrian embarrassment:


Clearly the US could wipe ISIS if they wanted to, but since ISIS is a USA asset, used to destabilize the region so "democracy" can be forced once "humanitarian problems arise", it will be kept until no longer useful.

The origins of ISIS are quite interesting. The flow of supplies are rather obvious. .GOV is the worlds largest terrorist if you follow the dots.

After being caught red-handed shipping USA vehicles for ISIS militants, .gov has come out saying that the image was doctored. LMFAO!!!! The propaganda is mind blowing.

This photo, taken from a propaganda video, shows a near identical scene featuring a different truck, raising questions as to the authenticity of the photo featuring Mr Oberholtzer's truck

"Raising questions....". From whom?

Fascism. It's obvious.


Wait until ISIS has some Truly Nolan trucks...

trulz4lulz's picture

How anyone could down vote that is beyond me, but one thing is for certain, Murikistan still wouldnt be able to find them with their hundreds of billions of dollars worth of satelites raoming the lower atmosphere of Earth.

Fractal Parasite

Kerry in UK to push for end to Syrian calamity.

Oh, now that the State Dept's takfiris are getting their asses whipped, suddenly Horse Face wants a negotiated peace.

Mr al-Assad has been offering talks for four years.


Just like the Ukraine. The NovoRussians (DPR and LPR) get the Ukie Army in a cauldron (surrounded) and we have Minsk 1 then they get surrounded again and Minsk 2. There were probably mercs and Spec Ops in those cauldrons. they sue for peace when they are losing.

Kudos to the Ukie soldiers who quit and surrendered knowing they were being used by Kiev and kudos for the NovoRussians for treating the Ukies humanely when they surrendered.

PM Zakarchenko of DPR has said there will be no Minsk 3.


BigK spot on. And once they are bottled up there, it becomes a Saudi problem again. Because what is left of the "rebels" in Syria will be ashes and incinerated bodies. The Syrian AF is doing this without the Russian AF; wait until the Russians start dropping their bombs at altitude and square blocks of terrorists begin to get vaporized.

Zero Point

A bit like how they pushed the Mujahadeen out of Afghanistan? Wait... what?


"We are only going to arm the moderate rebels."

From the second that phrase came out of .gov's piehole I know this was going to turn into a cluster fuck of epic proportions. What a fucking joke...


"moderate rebels"

But first we are going to round up some Unicorns for transportation.

"Christmas Greetings to the Fatherland from your brave and successful army in Stalingrad."

The Indelicate ...

The Jesuits are about 2500 old men. Apart from a few colleges and on campus mansions with well-stocked bars - they don't control dick.

I see this notion all over CNN and youtube comments, like it is an organized effort.

Lots of valid criticisms to offer about the RCC - but controlling the world smacks of obvious gatekeeping for the usual suspects

... ... ...


Good interview: al-Assad and Russian media.

President al-Assad to Russian media outlets.. We cannot implement anything unless we defeat the terrorism.. The army is the most important symbol for any society.


Here's Putin paying homage to the Pope and Vatican.

When will you stupid fucks figure this out??


No. He chose to kiss the book and NOT the Pope's ring because Orthodox Christian's do not believe the Pope should be venerated or exalted as Christ. It is very telling that he chose to kiss the Bible instead.

Fractal Parasite

Here it is on youtube. All in English (mostly dubbed).

40-minute RT interview with Bashar al-Assad by a Russian delegation in Damascus.


Re comment by Publicus:

"Russia is showing the world the correct way to deal with terrorists. EXTERMINATION."

BUT Russia is not doing any fighting. None. Putin still has not fired a shot.

What has happened is that Syria now has some accurate weapons. Finally! Which begs the question.

Why was Syria not supplied accurate weapons before now. They have been fighting and losing and dieing for several years. Much of Syria is destroyed, cities destroyed and the people killed or refugees in other countries. And it appears Putin was not suppling Russia's better quality weapons. I am not even talking about suppling the S-300, as was contracted for in 2007, but rocket launchers, decent air to ground missiles for air strikes and accurate artillery. What kind of support is it when you refuse to sell those types of weapons to an "allie' who is under attack?

Putin/Russia has not fired a shot, flown a mission or put people in the field. Russia has finally supplied some weapons that might help Assad punish the insurgents who hold much of northern Syria. If the west ups the stakes in their support will Russia finally take a direct role in flying missions or launching real missiles?

And why is Putin trying to negotiate a political agreement that includes the removal of Assad? How is that being supportive or is that just being opportunistic to do regime change using a new Russian puppet?

Fractal Parasite

Reasonable questions. Re-read the article for the answers. It explains how Emperor Washington & co have been exposed as without clothes after a year of off-target "air strikes against ISIS in Syria" while Russia steps in and gets the job done in a week.

Pity ¼ millions Syrians got killed before then, but who did that?

The claim that Putin is negotiating Assad's removal is bullcrap.


You need to re read the article. Russia did not fly any missions or fire a single shot. Nothing.

Also, read who got killed. Seems most were civilians. But those here seem to think it is ok when their side kills the innocent.

Putin held negotiations with the leaders of the insurgents and even hosted them as his guests recently in Russia. Why do you think he flew them to Russia, to drink vodka? It was reported that Putin wanted some figure head role for Assad and the insurgents want him dead.

Lurk Skywatcher

Where does that BBC article say "civilians"?

You have as much evidence for them being civilians as I do for them being US/UK handlers and "trainers".

Why hasn't he supported Assad until now? Why did he fly insurgent leaders to Russia for talks? Why are you confused and critical of everything he has done?

Because constantly you try to squeeze Putins opaque actions into your own flawed concept of statesmanship, and assume to understand completely what is happening. Constantly you read things into events that suit your own bias.

He knows what he is doing - twice in as many years he has deftly avoided a trap set to mire Russia in war.

If he had acted as you critisize him for not acting, he would have been long caught in the first one.

And that shows exactly how worthless and wrong your opinion is.

Crash Overide

There are a lot of people that should be in jail... start 1, 2, 3 wars! no problem, get promoted.

Being a veteran that fought in so called wars and smokes pot for PTSD, you will be shot in your own home and arrested.


General Wesley Clark:

Because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, "Sir, you've got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you're too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq." This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, "We're going to war with Iraq? Why?" He said, "I don't know." He said, "I guess they don't know what else to do." So I said, "Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?" He said, "No, no." He says, "There's nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq." He said, "I guess it's like we don't know what to do about terrorists, but we've got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, "I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail."

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" — meaning the Secretary of Defense's office — "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"


I know the puppet masters are very good but sorry, I think Putin is the real deal. I think the puppet masters are NOT in total control of the world and Russia and China are really not going for the murder criminal cabal that does control the West.


"Russia and the US serve the same master"

Boris Yeltsin ain't President anymore


It's a proxy war. For at least the last three years Iran and Saudi Arabia have been fighting each other tooth and nail all over the Middle East. Sauid Arabia through their Islamist irregulars and Iran through their regular army (though in the case of Yemen the roles are reversed), brough in by Iraq and Syria to fight them off.

But now that the U.S. and her allies have openly entered the proxy war (remember, the U.S. has been bombing Syria for a couple of weeks now) it released Russia to do the same.

The proxy is a whole lot more direct now, and it looks like the U.S. will blink first. She doesn't like being met by capable oponents that she has to confront directly - despite all the military spending.


Look at all the fools here, thinking Russia is actually against the US.

Russia has a central bank, therefore it attends the BIS meetings in Switzerland and is a major part of the globalist agenda.


There is a break in the force. Putin may break away this year from The London based Rothschild central bank system. He needs and now has a reason (need) to do so:

Fractal Parasite

Russia's central bank was established under Yeltsin, the drunkard puppet who 'invited' advisors from Washington to write Russia's laws after the USSR was surrendered dismembered to the victorious hegemon in 1991.

As soon as the pathetic legislating cretins in the Duma grow a pair and take some action to reform the Central Bank Law and undo the subordination to BIS, then the people can have their country back.

Paveway IV

"...It's a proxy war. For at least the last three years Iran and Saudi Arabia have been fighting each other tooth and nail all over the Middle East...."

I agree in part, Motasaurus. This is a huge part of what's happening that's often relegated to a footnote of 'causes'. But the situation is far more complex. Years of European and American empire-building, Oil interests, ZATO's Russian 'containment' attempt, religious extremism, Israel land-grabbing and Turkish criminal clownfuckery are all rolled into one here. Every one is needed to trace the path that ended us up here.

"...Sauid Arabia through their Islamist irregulars and Iran through their regular army (though in the case of Yemen the roles are reversed), brough in by Iraq and Syria to fight them off."

That's a part of it, but I will offer an alternative: this is a banker war between Saudi Arabia/Qatar and Iran/Iraq/Syria, with the U.S. squarely backing the Saudi Arabia/Qatar side, cheered on by Israel and ZATO.

The neocon/Kagan/ISW noise about armed intervention is kind of the after-show for Syria. How did all their wars start? Iraq started with sanctions. Iran started with sanctions. Syria started with sanctions. Economic destruction followed by political stability exploited for regime change. The most damaging of those sanctions (and the easiest for the U.S. financial bully to enforce) are banking sanctions. Those are also easiest to ram through the tratiorous little bitches in congress with the least amount of hand-wringing and public outcry. No bad PR from Twitter pictures of dead babies or mutilated kids and destroyed homes, but destruction of the 'target' just the same.

Case in point [from Kenneth Rijock's Financial Crime Blog]:

Adam Szubin, formerly the Director of OFAC, and now the Acting Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, at his confirmation hearing, asserted that, should any Iranian bank, released from sanctions, due to the comprehensive nuclear agreement, re-offend, meaning conducting any transactions with Hezbollah or the IRGC Quds Force, American sanctions will be reimposed forthwith.

So if this guy is going to be the Terrorism and Financial Crimes guy, why was he silent about the same sanction threat for Saudi Arabia and Qatar? They regularly use the banking system to move massive amounts of money to finance their terrorist war in both Syria and Iraq. Where's the outrage there? How many Americans have already died (and will die) because dual-citizen israeli-firster Szubin (his two predecessors in the job were the same) pees his pants about any Iranian funds going to 'enemies of Israel' but he - just like his predecessors - will completely ignore ANY of the widely-known money transfer mechanisms the Saudis and Qatar use to fund terrorists?

The joke in all this is that the U.S. is the first to employ sanctions when it suits Israel's whims, but refuses to even acknowledge the river of money flowing to ISIS, al Nusra and the dozens of other head-chopper clans that the Saudis and Qatar fund. Why? Because to Israel (and their little bitches in the U.S. congress) any dime spent on terrorists that oppose Iran or any of their allies is not terrorist funding - it's democracy building. Ever heard of a Saudi or Qatar bank sanctioned? Ever hear of a U.S. or European bank sanctioned for moving terrorist payrolls every week to ISIS? ISIS steals and extorts a lot of money from it's imprisoned populations, but they hardly have the financial wherewithal to fund a damn global war. ISIS isn't running a cash war with suitcases of fiat - they have to use banks like everyone else for the big stuff.

Russia knows this. It wasn't going to feed it's soldiers into a meatgrinder again (like Afghanistan) funded by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.. Putin supports Assad, but would not take Russia down merely to defend Syria. All Putin had to do was wait until enough corruption and theft corroded the terrorism financing pipeline. Now it doesn't matter how much money goes in - very little gets to the terrorists on the front lines. The head-choppers are starving. Let's just say Putin has some experience on both sides of the fence dealing with corrupt psychopaths and their criminal regimes' amazing ability to self-destruct from rot.

Turkey got greedy and took too much skim from the terrorist logistics network. The jihadis themselves have been robbing ISIS and al Nusra blind of everything - weapons, radios, cash. Mostly to support their two biggest habits: food and ampehtamines. Although they continue to fund the terrorists, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have to be convinced by now that it's like storing water in a sieve (but maybe I give them too much credit here).

ISIS and al Nusra are on their financial death-bed from corruption. Good at head-chopping, not so good handling money. Putin merely has to get Assad to kick a few pegs out from under them to hasten the collapse. There will be no mass influx of Russian troops because it's unnecessary. Russia is not trying to annihilate ISIS in a war of attrition - they're letting it rot on the hoof, and giving it an occasional well-placed kick. Back-door Turkish-ISIS deals for oil? Bomb the f'king oil wells - no more oil sales. U.S.-ZATO intelligence via scrambled SATCOM links? Take out the ground stations - six months to get the new crap there which Russia will direct Assad to take out again. Takfiri payday? Smoke the al Raqqa branch of the ISIS/ZATO central bank. Next up: main branch in Mosul.

Russia has no desire, and Putin just has enough common sense not to fight ZATO terrorists on their (or the Kagan's) terms: rivers of blood and money. Russia has neither to waste and has demonstrated over and over again that they won't fall for ZATO's usual tricks. They let the ZATO terrorists in Syria bleed out by self-inflicted cuts, and will merely direct Assad where to inflict the final set of wounds to finish them off.

In the mean time, ISW and the Kagans are still trying to decide if there's some other way they can get the sieve to hold water. As of late, the strategy seems to be to send Kerry to negotiate something based on the premise that the sieve is still holding water. It's kind of pathetic when you think about it.


I'd like to see a stinging rebuke that causes the Murikans to reel in their policy of maliciously fucking with everybody's shit all over the world. The trouble is, in order to preserve the petro dollar and reserve status the military must maintain it's aura of invincibility because everything else is coming into question.

Therefore it seems likely they'll do something very stupid to antagonize nuclear armed Russia. Unlike China or other countries, Russian nukes are not in the experimental phase of development and every ICBM they launch is likely to perform flawlessly.


U.S. leadership abdicated and let Bibi and Nuland take the Syria fight to Russia's door, using the cousins...nearly everyone in Israel still has a cousin in Ukraine. Russia was not supposed to respond like this was a existential threat, but they did. First he locked down the Crimea. Despite hardship, the country is rallying behind Putin. You won't starve on red beets and chicken, in fact you'll be pretty healthy...that is, the Russians can outlast the French and Italian farmers who have lost their market. And the Russians understand that the same Chechen mercs who blow up their trains and schools....and are on the Saudi payroll.....are running training camps now in Syria.

There might be a deeper "game." It is highly plausible that the City of London looked around twenty years ago for someone competent, not a klepto and backed the Putin horse to protect their investments in Russia. Not a bad choice. The British foreign service is so much more competent than ours. And they have just reopened their embassy in Teheran, having turned Basra over to the Iranians before they pulled troops out. USA is so badly served.

The definitive book on Russian & Jewish relations was written by Solzynitzin. It's called "200 Years Together" and it has not been translated/published in English. You can't buy it at Amazon. THINK about that.

But that isn't so important right now. At the level of families living or dying, 2000-year old Christian treasures being obliterated by ISIS Bolsheviks, he is the only thing that stands up to Bibi's lunacy. The Germans seem to be making the same calculus. They think the US has lost the plot.

Remember Bibi is expendable. All it takes is a vote of no-confidence by the military. Livni could step up. BHO isn't going to reach out ot help a 'friend' because...well...


The people of Crimea voted on a referendum to join Russia and 95+% voted in favor of doing so. Other than that nice post @@

My Days Are Getting Fewer

Excellent summary here:

Read the last sentence...

godiva chocolate

The US is neither free nor a democracy itself. How dare it spread its oligarchy onto other countries.


The USA in 2015 is the end result of a "Free Market" is what happens when the concentration of wealth/power goes unchecked...even ecouraged....Corporate Crony Capitalism...where the bulk of the "profits" fall into the hands of th e few...That is America today.

Show me someone that thinks "Socialism" has brought us to this point, and I'll show you a complete fucken Rightwing moron.


The killing fields. Putin helping EU to stop the mass exodus as well


But they will blame him nonetheless.


They always doooooooo............

world map of US military installations........


It's Russian payback time for Afghanistan.

It's not that I'm rooting for the Russians and Syrians. I don't give a shit who stuffs the USSA, NATO and Israel, as long as it's done.


may have turned the tide in the country's four-year civil war.

This is a propaganda marker. Syria is not having a "civil" war. They are under attack by the USA CIA and Israel Mossad.


I have always wondered how ISIS continues to operate tanks and Humvees across open desert without any coalition air strikes. They have training camps and barracks and offices without worrying about air strikes. They have parades and convoys of vehicles without fear. They operate oilfields and refineries at will, and transport and sell the output. The U.S. is allowing this. Putin will not.

The U.S. wants to track my $10,000 withdrawal, freeze Iranian money, seize Russian billionaire's funds, peek into Swiss bank accounts -- yet cannot track ISIS oil revenues and huge financial transactions?

But at least we will have an openly gay Secretary of the Army!


Also seems a little strange that ISIS can openly recruit people through Twitter and Facebook. Would anything remotely similar ever be permitted on any other site?

Keep an eye on the Joshua Goldberg story; I bet the CIA offers him a job after he is debriefed by the FBI.


You, ZeroHedgers, never seem to learn from history: "checkmate, courtesy of The Kremlin. " - SERIOUSLY?

35 years ago the CIA lured USSR into Afghanistan, and when the oil prices dropped in the mid-1980s, the USSR was no more.

Oil prices are already down (son to go down even more thanks to Iran.) The Chinese already refuse to pay prices they agreed to just 8 months ago, and Gazprom is offering Ukraine 50% discounts!), Russia is already is involved in Ukraine, and now it's getting itself stuck in the sandbox in Syria.

How is it different from Afghanistan in 1980s? And while the USSR could hide the dead in 60000 zinc coffins, do you think in the age of Twitter and Facebook they'll be able to do that? You think that Russian people are sheepple just like the americans?

Seems to me it's checkmate to Putin, courtesy of the CIA and the Saudis.

P.S. When evryone keeps telling a dictator how great and brilliant he is, he starts believing that shit. Even as state revenues drop by 50%, even as his newest missiles explode at launch and the only target they hit are passenger jets. His pride takes over and he sends his best forces into the "sandbox" to defend his ally, a palce where every great army has been defeated. Checkmate, indeed.

P.P.S. Since the reports of Russians in Syria has surfaced, there's unusual "quietness" in Eastern Ukraine. Could it be that Russia cannot conduct war on 2 fronts? I can't wait until the CIA tests that theory, gives Ukes some of the new weaponry to "probe" russkies closer to thir homeland.


Jaw-dropping inanity.

"35 years ago the CIA lured USSR into Afghanistan, and when the oil prices dropped in the mid-1980s, the USSR was no more."

Yes, the brilliant CIA created the TALIBAN, which WE just spent 12 years fighting with 4 TRILLION$ and thousands DEAD, maimed. WAY TO FUCKING GO USA! OH, and now our home-grown USA SHALE OIL 'MIRACLE' has been destroyed by said engineered low oil prices. DUH. Blowback's a bitch.


USA is still here, where's USSR?

USA (or USSA) is in deep sh*t, but Russia is waaaayyyy deeper.

Indeed, CIA was brilliant in using the Taliban to defeat USSR. It was Dick 'the Dick" Cheney who caused 12 years of fighting and spent $4T.

Just let the CIA do their thing and in no time China and USA will be dividing siberian oil amoung themselves, with Putin looking through jail window.


"How is it different from Afghanistan in 1980s? "

In 1980 the usa debt was 980 billion. Today the ussa debt is 18 trillion dollars (what they admit to) and growing exponentially.

In 1980 the usa was a manufacturing giant of quality merchandise. Now all the ussa produces is fiat and the tools of war.

In 1980 the usa had robust economy with much opportunity. Today the ussa has no work, no economy and no opportunity unless you call playing in the stock casino's opportunity.

In 1980 the usa had individual privacy and still could depend on the constitution. Today the ussa spies on everyone, and has totally eviscerated the constitution.

In 1980 the usa was at war with no one, for a change. Today the ussa is at war with half the world.

In 1980 the usa had a space program. Today the ussa depends on China and Russia to get people into space.

In 1980 the usa had a president. Today the ussa has a dictatorial executive.

In 1980 Afghanistan was eradicating the opium crop. Today the ussa armed forces guards and ships the bumper crops.

Comparing 1980 to now is like comparing Day to Night. On September 11, 2001 a darkness descended on the usa which gave birth to the ussa


This has nothing to due with Afghanistan. As for the US economy in '80, it was pretty crappy and the only reason we weren't officially at war was because of Carter in the White House. Plenty on the Hill and in the DOD were pushing for a fight in Central America, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.

I would agree though on several point and since 9-11 we have been a scared, scitterish, anxiety-ridden mess on the whole.


Terrific article. Superb narrative. Essentially Obama can no longer bleed Assad through ISIS. And he will have to coordinate with Putin or it looks mightily suspicious to Europe overwhelmed by refugees

And this aggressive Syrian air force display makes a No Fly Zone moot

Obama and Kerry come off as sore losers. Give Hezbollah all the small arms they need and tell Netanyahoo to gack to murdering Gazan children which is all he is good at

Admittedly, I am a Putin supprter, but he just caught Obama with his pants down.

Wait till Putin's speech before the UN General Assembly. America will go apoplectic over being on the brunt end of a scolding

I had been impatient with Putin over Syria. I should have had faith that he would not fold

Obama by telling Carter to callShoigu means he lost his nerve


Yet another neocon fiasco. Uncounted billions gone, Syriah shattered forever, oh, and our dearest allies in Europe overrun with filthy penniless refugees. Way to go Team America!

falak pema

the russian axis now in place.

Obama cedes Syria to Putin and thus allows an Iranian initiative also which will have repercussions in Lebanon (Hezbollah), in Yemen (Houthi) and Palestine (Hamas).

A major shift in the ME power structure now seems in the making as the Lausanne Deal between US/IRan has changed the game.

What will Saud do now?

And watch the French and Germans try and win some contracts both in Iran and in Saud...when alliances fold new ambitions are born.

Pax Americana...wither now?


Like the Americans in control say.........."American Interests" are what the Military fight for....Right or wrong, Obama said.....We have No Friends, only Opportunities".

That being said, and the dumbed down General American Population with an Army pumped on Roids think thier shit doesn't stink. Wrap the stars and stripes around you and die for your freedom......Well now, How did that work out?

The Congress is bought, the army is Mercinary and the financial system controls. The Biggest lobby group is Israel...who profits from this? Not mainsteet. They own you. If you don't have a problem with that.....Carry On .

[Sep 19, 2015] A Knee-Jerk Free Trader Response is Faith-Based

"...Many of the conditions under which free trade between nations is guaranteed to be desirable are unlikely to hold in practice."
"...All conservative economics is faith based (along with everything else they believe). Delusional is another good descriptor."
"...Fair trade might actually be a good thing, but that is not what "Free trade" generally means. Mostly it means freedom for capital, chains for labor, and devastation for the environment."
Dani Rodrik:
Trade within versus between nations: ...economics does not offer unconditional policy prescriptions. Every graduate student learns that depending on the background specifications, any policy x can be good or bad. A minimum wage can lower or raise employment (depending on whether employers have monopsony power); a natural resource discovery can raise or lower growth (depending on the likelihood of the Dutch disease); fiscal consolidation can expand or contract output (depending on the respective strengths of expectational versus Keynesian effects). And yes, the dictum that free trade benefits a nation depends on a long list of qualifying conditions.
So the proper response to the question "is free trade good?" is, as always, "it depends." When an economist says "I support free trade" s/he must mean that s/he judges the circumstances under which free trade would not be desirable to be very rare or unlikely to obtain in the context at hand.
Many of the conditions under which free trade between nations is guaranteed to be desirable are unlikely to hold in practice. Market imperfections, returns to scale, macro imbalances, absence of first-best policy instruments are ubiquitous in the real world, particularly in the developing world on which I spend most of my time. This does not guarantee that import restrictions will be necessarily desirable. There are many ways in which governments can screw up, even when they mean well. But it does mean that a knee-jerk free trader response is faith-based rather than science-based. ...

[He goes on to answer a question about differential support for trade within nations versus trade between nations.]

Posted by Mark Thoma on Friday, September 18, 2015 at 10:50 AM in Economics, International Trade, Market Failure | Permalink Comments (16)


"economics does not offer unconditional policy prescriptions. Every graduate student learns that depending on the background specifications, any policy x can be good or bad."

Thank you Dani! This statement holds in general but in particular on the issue of free trade. I've loved his old post where he admitted he had to endure a class taught by William Kristol and Kristol gave this brilliant man only a C.


All conservative economics is faith based (along with everything else they believe). Delusional is another good descriptor.

DrDick -> Paine ...

Fair trade might actually be a good thing, but that is not what "Free trade" generally means. Mostly it means freedom for capital, chains for labor, and devastation for the environment.


About the fact that economists do not offer unconditional policy prescriptions, especially when it comes to free trade and "the dictum that free trade benefits a nation depends on a long list of qualifying conditions". One thing I have to strenuously say about that: BULLSHALONEY!

All I heard in my econ classes were the benefits of free trade. EVERYONE drank the kool aid! I even had a prof who had worked in the Council of Economic Advisors and his role was to review trade policies. He told us flat out he would ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS support any and all free trade agreements that came up, without ANY regard to damage done to domestic firms and/or workers. Paul Krugman wrote one of our text books which, like many econ textbooks at the time, had WHOLE chapters dedicated to debunking free trade myths! Now you are going to tell me that economists never take a stand on a policy position as being good or bad?! ARE YOU KIDDING?

Pgl I have seen you post and have agreed with you many times, but not on this one, hell no!

MacAuley -> Stubborn1...

You are so right, Stubborn1. I have taken at least six international econ courses, and in every case the prof was strongly in favor of "free trade", usually the more the merrier. Last year, as a refresher I took an internet Int'l Econ course at "Marginal Revolution University", which was surprisingly good except for the relentless free-trade propaganda.

Kenneth said...

Friday, May 15th, 2015, "Details of President Barack Obama's proposed trade deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership, have been kept secret, and the deal itself is kept in a locked room guarded by men with guns, with members of Congress having to schedule an appointment and jump through hoops just to actually read the massive proposed treaty.
Let me tell you what you have to do to read this agreement. Follow this: You can only take a few of your staffers who happen to have a security clearance, because — God knows why — this is secure. This is classified. It's nothing to do with defense," said Boxer.

Boxer then described how she was forced to turn over her cell phone and was prevented from even taking notes while looking over the 800-plus page trade treaty.

"So I go down with my staff that I could get to go with me, and as soon as I get there, the guard says to me, 'Hand over your electronics. Okay. I give over my electronics. Then the guard says, 'You can't take notes.' I said, 'I cannot take notes?'" said Boxer.

Some have taken to calling the TPP treaty "Obamatrade," in reference to the secretive nature in which Obamacare was written and how then-House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi infamously claimed, "We have to pass it to find out what's in it."
At the heart of the TPP is something referred to as a "living agreement provision," which means the treaty can be amended or changed at any time after it is ratified, without congressional approval, essentially handing over U.S. sovereignty and subjugating U.S. businesses and workers to international laws, according to CNS News.

While this treaty is being promoted as being about FREE TRADE, it is really just a massive corporatist agreement that gives increased authority to major international corporations, which will hurt both American labor unions and small businesses.

Conservatives need to look past the pleasant sounding platitudes put forward by the Establishment Republicans who are supporting this massive secret deal that only benefits major international corporations, and (gulp) team up with socialists like Sen. Elizabeth Warren to kill this deal, which will only hurt America in the long run.

It's sole purpose is to "level the playing field" — which means taking America down to the same level as everyone else."

Second Best -> Kenneth...

'At the heart of the TPP is something referred to as a "living agreement provision," which means the treaty can be amended or changed at any time after it is ratified, without congressional approval, essentially handing over U.S. sovereignty and subjugating U.S. businesses and workers to international laws, according to CNS News.'


what's new, this is SOP in the U.S., don't bother to read the fine print, it's out of date before the ink is dry, like hospitals that don't accept same day payment on site, then submit individual bills showing up months later from every damn person within 50 ft of the patient and refuse to confirm if there's more

and Scott Walker is busting up unions with right to work laws so labor can have the same power under a 'living agreement' as hospitals to charge for services provided.

MacAuley -> Kenneth...

It's not accurate to call TPP "Obamatrade" since the concept was developed and fleshed out in 2007 and 2008 under the Bush Administration. Most of the work was managed at the SES level, since the Bush Administration was pretty lame-duck by then and most of the political appointees were looking for jobs. But the Bush Administration at the cabinet level gave approval for the exploratory discussions and conceptual analysis of a TPP.

By the time Obama arrived in 2009 there was a coherent TPP initiative ready for the Obama Administration to consider. I doubt that Obama had heard of TPP before he came to Washington, but it wasn't long before the Obama Administration decided to go forward with it.

Paine said...

Dani is a source of wisdom and shrewdness
A combo rarely combined in one head

... ... ...

[Sep 19, 2015]The myth of Ronald Reagan: pragmatic moderate or radical conservative?

"...he changed American politics forever by demonstrating that style was more important than substance. In fact, he showed that style was everything and substance utterly unimportant. He was the figurehead while his handlers did the dirty work of Iran-Contra, ballooning deficits, and tanking unemployment."
"...Conservatives used "bracket creep" to convince the middle class that reducing marginal rates on the top tax brackets along with their own would be a good idea, then with the assistance of Democrats replaced the revenue with a huge increase in FICA so that the Social Security Trust Fund could finance the deficit in the rest of the budget. The result was a huge boon to the richest, little difference for the middle class, and a far greater burden for the working poor."
"...Any conversation about who the fantasy-projection "Reagan" was, misses an important reality: He was a hologram, fabricated by a kaleidoscope of various sorts of so-called "conservative" handlers and puppeteers. It was those "puppeteers" who ranged from heartlessly, stunningly "conservative" (destroya-tive), all the way further right to the kind of militaristic, macho, crackpots who have finally emerged from under their rocks at this year's "candidates.""
"...The article seems to present Reagan as an theatrical figure. I disagree. Reagan, President of the United States, was a criminal; as such, he was among the most corrupt and anti democratic person to hold the office POTUS. The fact that he tripled the national debt, raised taxes and skewed the tax schedules to benifit the wealthy, are comparitively minor. Reagan's crimes and anti democratic acts:
1. POTUS: CIA smuggling cocaine into the U.S., passing the drug to wholesalers, who then processed the drug and distributed crack to Black communities. At the same time Reagan's "War on Crime" insured that the Black youth who bought "Central Intelligenc Agencie's" cocaine were criminalized and handed lengthy prison sentences.
2. POTUS supported SOUTH AMERICAN terrorist, and the genocidal atrocities commited by terrorist in Chili, Guatamala, El Mazote, etc.
3. POTUS supported SOUTH AFRICAN apartheid, and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela as well. Vetoing a bill that would express condemnation of South Africa.
4. POTUS sold Arms to Iran.
5. POTUS used taxpayer dollars to influence election outcomes.
6. POTUS rigged government grants to enrich his cronies.
7. POTUS thew mental patients onto the streets.
8. POTUS supported McCarthyism, witch hunts, etc.
9. POTUS created and supported Islamic terrorist--fore runners of al Queada, ISIS, etc."
The Guardian

cgoodwood 19 Sep 2015 11:40

Do not contradict the memories of all the old teabaggers who desperately need the myth of Saint Ronnie to justify their Greed is Good declining mentality and years.

When Reagan cut-and-ran on Lebanon he showed rare discretion. A lot of the puffery stuff was B-Movie grade, but there was a lot of cross-the-aisle ventures, too.

He was a politician. The current GOP is just a bunch of white Fundie bullies, actually and metaphorically (e.g., Carson).

Zepp -> thedono 19 Sep 2015 11:37

Well, compared to Cruz, or Santorum, or Huckabee, he's a moderate. Of course, compared to the right people, you can describe Mussolini or Khruschev as moderates...

mastermisanthrope 19 Sep 2015 11:37

Lifelong shill

LostintheUS -> William J Rood 19 Sep 2015 11:36

Reagan underwent a political conversion when Nancy broke up his marriage with Jane Wyman and married him.

LostintheUS 19 Sep 2015 11:33

Here is the Reagan administration in a five second video clip:

LostintheUS -> inchoateruffian 19 Sep 2015 11:32

Here is the video clip where Don Regan (former CEO of Merrill Lynch) tells PRESIDENT Reagan to "speed it up".

RightSaid -> ID3732233 19 Sep 2015 11:31

The cold war ended while Reagan was president, but he did not win the cold war. His rhetoric and strategy was wishful thinking - there's no way he could have had the definitive intelligence about the entire military-political-economic that would have justified the confidence he projected. He merely lucked out, significantly damaging the US economy by trying (and luckily succeeding) to out-militarize the soviets.

pretzelattack -> kattw 19 Sep 2015 11:31

both clinton and obama have showed a willingness to "reform social security". try naked capitalism, there are probably a number of articles in the archives.

LostintheUS -> piethein 19 Sep 2015 11:29

And that the emergency room federally funded program that saved his life was soon after him.

LostintheUS -> pretzelattack 19 Sep 2015 11:28

Many of us saw through him...I noted the senility during his speeches during his first did many people I knew.

pretzelattack -> 4Queeen4country 19 Sep 2015 11:27

thatcher said of reagan "bit of a dim bulb..."

Jim Loftus 19 Sep 2015 11:26

Dementia masquerading as politics.
But you can't say anything negative about Saint Ronald!

Peter Davis -> Peter Davis 19 Sep 2015 11:22

I believe Reagan also is responsible for creating the Hollywood notion in American politics and political thinking that life works just like a movie--with good guys and bad guys. And all one needs is a gun and you can save the world. That sort of delusional thinking has been at the heart of the modern GOP ever since.

loljahlol -> ID3732233 19 Sep 2015 11:21

Reagan did not end the Cold War. Brezhnev rule solidified the Soviet death. Their corrupt, inefficient form of capitalism could not compete with the globalization of Western capitalism.

John78745 19 Sep 2015 11:21

There's not much nuance to Reagan. He was a coward, a bully and a loser. He got hundreds of U.S. Marines killed then he ran from the terrorists in Beirut and on the Archille Lauro personally creating the seeds of the morass of terrorists we now live with. He fostered the republican traditions of sending U.S. jobs overseas at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and of invading helpless, hapless nations, a tradition so adeptly followed by Bush I & II. He also promised that there would never be a need for another amnesty.

I guess it's true that he talked mean to the Russians, broke unions, and helped make the military industrial complex into the insatiable war machine that it is today. Remember murderous Iran-Contra (a real) scandal where he and his minions worked in secret without congressional authorization to overthrow a democratically elected government while conspiring to supply arms to the dastardly Iranians!

We could also say that he bravely fought to save the U.S. from socialized medicine and to expunge the tradition of free tuition for California students. Whatta hero!

thankgodimanatheist 19 Sep 2015 11:19

Reagan, the acting President, was the worst President since WWII until the Cheney/Bush debacle.

Most of the problems we face today can be directly traced to his voodoo economics, huge deficit spending, deregulation, and in retrospect disastrous foreign policies.

LostintheUS 19 Sep 2015 11:17

"these days everyone seems to love Ronald."

Absolutely, not true. The farther along we go in time, the more Americans realize the damage this man and his backers did to America and the world. The inversion of the tax tables, the undoing of union laws, the polarization of Americans against each other so the plutocrats had no real opposition and on and on. His camp stole the election in 1980 through making a back door deal with the Iranian government to hold onto the American hostages until the election when Jimmy Carter had negotiated an end to the hostage crisis, which was the undoing of Jimmy Carter's administration.

"Behind Carter's back, the Reagan campaign worked out a deal with the leader of Iran's radical faction - Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini - to keep the hostages in captivity until after the 1980 Presidential election." This is, unquestionably, treason.

No, Reagan marks the downward turn for our country and has resulted in the economic and social mess we still have not clawed our way back out of. No, Reagan is no hero, he is an American nemesis and a traitor. Reagan raised taxes three times while slashing the tax rate of the super rich...starting the downward spiral of the middle-class and the funneling of money toward the 1%. Thus his reputation as a "tax cutter", yeah, if you were a multi-millionaire.

Check this out for a synopsis of the damage:

namora -> nogapsallowed 19 Sep 2015 11:15

Never thought of Reagan as the first Shrub but it fits. I wonder if future pundits will sing the Dub's praises as well. I think I'm gonna be sick for a bit.

kattw -> namora 19 Sep 2015 11:10

Pretzel is maybe talking about the 'strengthen SS' bandwagon? Perhaps? Not entirely sure myself, but yeah - one of the major democrat platform planks is that SS should NOT be privatized, and that if people want to invest in stocks, they can do that on their own. The whole point of SS is to be a mattress full of cash that is NOT vulnerable to the vagaries of the market, and will always have some cash in it to be used as needed.

SS would be totally secure, too, if congress would stop robbing it for other projects, or pay back all they've borrowed. As it is, I wish *I* was as broke as republicans claim SS is - I wouldn't mind having a few billion in the bank.

William J Rood 19 Sep 2015 11:08

Reagan was former president of the Screen Actors' Guild. Obviously, he thought unions for highly educated workers were great. Meatpackers? Not so much.

RealSoothsayer 19 Sep 2015 11:04

This article does not mention the fact that in his last couple of years as President at least, his mental state had seriously deteriorated. He could not remember his own policies, names, etc. CBS' Leslie Stahl should be prosecuted for not being honest with her everyone when she found out.

Peter Davis 19 Sep 2015 11:04

Reagan was a failed president who nonetheless managed to convince people that he was great. He was a professional actor, after all. And he acted his way into the White House. Most importantly, he changed American politics forever by demonstrating that style was more important than substance. In fact, he showed that style was everything and substance utterly unimportant. He was the figurehead while his handlers did the dirty work of Iran-Contra, ballooning deficits, and tanking unemployment.

nishville 19 Sep 2015 11:03

For me, he was a pioneer. He was the first sock-puppet president, starting a noble tradition that reached its climax with W.

mbidding -> hackerkat 19 Sep 2015 11:03

In addition to:

Treasonous traitor when, as a presidential candidate, he negotiated with Khomeini to hold the hostages till after the election.

Subverter of the Constitution via the Iran-Contra scandal.

Destroyer of social cohesion by turning JFK's famous admonishment of "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" on its head with his meme that all evil emanates from the government and taxation represents stealing rather than a social obligation for any civilized society that wishes to continue to develop in a sound fashion that lifts all boats.

Incarcerator in Chief through his tough on crime and war on drugs policies, not to mention defunding mental health care.

Pisser in Chief through his successful efforts to imbed trickle down economics as the economic thought du jour which even its original architects, notably Stockman, now confirm is a failed theory that we nonetheless cling to to this day.

Ignoramus in Chief by gutting real federal financial aid for higher education leading to the obscene amounts of student debt our college students now incur.

Terrorist creator extraordinaire not only with the creation of the Latin American death squads you note, but the creation, support, trading, and funding of the mujahedin and Bin Laden himself, now known as the Taliban, Al Qa'ida, and ISIS, only the most notable among others.

namora -> trholland1 19 Sep 2015 10:59

That is not taking into account his greatest role for which he was ignored for a much deserved Oscar, Golden Globe or any of the other awards passed out by the entertainment industry, President of The United States of America. He absolutely nailed that one.

William J Rood 19 Sep 2015 10:58

Conservatives used "bracket creep" to convince the middle class that reducing marginal rates on the top tax brackets along with their own would be a good idea, then with the assistance of Democrats replaced the revenue with a huge increase in FICA so that the Social Security Trust Fund could finance the deficit in the rest of the budget. The result was a huge boon to the richest, little difference for the middle class, and a far greater burden for the working poor.

Tax brackets could have been indexed to inflation, but that wouldn't have been so great for Reagans real supporters.

Doueman 19 Sep 2015 10:55

What sad comments by these armchair experts.

They don't gel with my experiences in North America during this period at all. When Reagan ran for the presidency he was generally ridiculed by much of the press in the US and just about all of the press in the UK for being a right wing fanatic, a lightweight, too old, uninformed and even worse an actor. I found this rather curious and watched him specifically on TV in unscripted scenarios to form my own impression as to how such a person, with supposedly limited abilities, could possibly run for President of the US. I get a bit suspicious when organisations and individuals protest and ridicule too much.

My reaction was that he handled himself well and gradually concluded that the mainly Eastern liberal press in the US couldn't really stomach a California actor since they themselves were meant to know everything. He actually was pretty well read ( visitors were later astonished to read his multiple annotations in heavy weight books in his library). He was a clever and astute union negotiator dealing with some of the toughest Hollywood moguls who would eat most negotiators for dinner. He had become Governor of California and had done a fine job. I thought it was unlikely he was the simpleton many portrayed. He couldn't be easily categorised as he embraced many good aspects of the Democrats and the Republicans. Life wasn't so polarised then.

The US had left leaning Republicans and right wing Democrats. A political party as Churchill noted was simply a charger to ride into action.

In my view, his presidential record was pretty remarkable. A charming, fair minded charismatic man without the advantage of a wealthy background or influential family. The world was lucky to have him.

raffine -> particle 19 Sep 2015 10:50

Reagan's second term was a disaster. But as someone below mentioned, conservative pundits and their financers engaged in a campaign to make Reagan into a right-wing FDR. The most effective, albeit bogus, claim on Reagan's behalf was that he had ended the Cold War.

jpsartreny 19 Sep 2015 14:22

Reagan is the shadow governments greatest triumph. After the adolescent Kennedy, egomaniacs Johnson and Nixon , they needed front guys who followed orders instead .

The experiment with the peanut farmer from Georgia provided disastrous to Zebrew Brzezinski and the liberals. The conservatives had better luck with a B- movie actor with an great talent to read of the teleprompter.

RealSoothsayer -> semper12 19 Sep 2015 14:19

How? By talking? Gobachev brought down the USSR with his 'Glasnost' and 'Perestroika' policies. His vision was what communist China later on achieved: mixed economy that flies a red flag. Reagan was just an observer, absolutely nothing more. Tito of Yugoslavia was even more instrumental.

Marc Herlands 19 Sep 2015 14:17

IMHO Reagan was the second most successful president, behind FDR and ahead of LBJ. Not that I liked anything about him, but he moved this country to the right and set the play book. He lowered taxes on the wealthy, the corporations, capital gains, and estate taxes. He reduced growth in programs for the poor, and made it impossible to increase their funding after his presidency because of he left huge federal deficits caused by lowering taxes and increasing outlays on the military. This Republican playbook still is their way of making sure that the Democrats can't give the poor more money after they lose power. Also, he enlarged the program for deregulating industries, doing away with antitrust laws, hindering labor laws, encouraged anti-union behavior, and did nothing for AIDS research. He was a scoundrel who did a deal with Iran to prevent Carter from being re-elected. He directly disobeyed Congressional laws not to intervene in Nicaragua. He set the tone for US interventions after him.

bloggod 19 Sep 2015 14:17

Obama, Clinton, and the Bushes all hope to be forgiven for their unpardonable crimes.

Popularity is created. It is not populism, or informed consent of the pubic as approval for more of the same collusion.

It is a One Party hoe down.

bloggod -> SigmetSue 19 Sep 2015 14:12


the indicted Sec of Defense Weinberger; the indicted head of the CIA Casey who "died" as he was due to testify: Mcfarlane, Abrams, Clair George, Oilyver North, Richard Secord, Albert Hakim

Reagan had no genius, he had Bush-CIA and the Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, and the "immoral majority" of anti-abortion war profiteers.

Marios Antoniou Lattimore 19 Sep 2015 13:52

I agree with everything you mentioned, and I intensely dislike Reagan YET the point of the article wasn't that Reagan was good, it rather points to the fact that Republicans have shifted so far to the right that Reagan would appear moderate compared to the current batch.

Rainer Jansohn pretzelattack 19 Sep 2015 13:52

Interesting had been his speeches during the Cold War.Scientists have subsumed it under "Social Religion",a special form of political theology.Simple dialectical:UDSSR the incarnation of the evil/hell on the other side USA :the country of God himself.A tradition in USA working until now.There is no separation between government and church as in good old centuries sincetwo centuries resulting from enlightening per Philosophie/Voltaire/Kant/Hume/Descartes and so on.Look at Obamas speeches/God is always mixed in!

talenttruth 19 Sep 2015 13:49

Any conversation about who the fantasy-projection "Reagan" was, misses an important reality: He was a hologram, fabricated by a kaleidoscope of various sorts of so-called "conservative" handlers and puppeteers. It was those "puppeteers" who ranged from heartlessly, stunningly "conservative" (destroya-tive), all the way further right to the kind of militaristic, macho, crackpots who have finally emerged from under their rocks at this year's "candidates."

The fact that Reagan was going ga-ga – definitely in his second term, and likely for part of the first – was entirely convenient for his Non-Human-Based-Crackpot-Right-Holographers, since he had was not actually "driven" to vacuousness by a tragic mental condition (dementia) – THAT change was merely a "short putt" – from his entire previous life.

Regarding his Great Achievement, the collapse of the Soviet Union? After decades of monstrous over-spending by the USA's Military-Industrial-Complex, the bogus and equally insane USSR finally bankrupted itself trying to "compete" and fell. Reagan (and his puppeteer handlers), always excellent at Taking Credit for anything, showed up with exquisite cynical timing, and indeed Took Credit.

Lest anyone forget, Reagan got elected in 1980, via a totally illegal and stunningly immoral "side deal" with the Iranians, in which they agreed to not release our hostages to make Carter look like a feeble old man. Then we got Reagan who WAS a "feeble old man" (ESPECIALLY intellectually and morally). Reagan "won," the hostages were "released" and he of course took credit for that too.

So all these so-called "candidates" ARE the heirs of all the very worst of Ronald Reagan: they are all simpleminded, they are totally beholden to Hidden Sociopathic Billionaires hiding behind various curtains, and they all have NO CLUE what the word "ethics" means. Vacuous, anti-intellectual, scheming, appealing only to morons, and puppets all. Perfect "Reaganites."

Bill Ehrhorn -> semper12 19 Sep 2015 13:32

It seems that the teabaggers and their ilk give only Reagan credit.

SigmetSue 19 Sep 2015 13:16

They called him the Teflon President because nothing ever stuck. It still doesn't. That was his genius -- and I'm no fan.

Lattimore 19 Sep 2015 13:13

The article seems to present Reagan as an theatrical figure. I disagree. Reagan, President of the United States, was a criminal; as such, he was among the most corrupt and anti democratic person to hold the office POTUS. The fact that he tripled the national debt, raised taxes and skewed the tax schedules to benifit the wealthy, are comparitively minor.
Reagan's crimes and anti democratic acts:
1. POTUS: CIA smuggling cocaine into the U.S., passing the drug to wholesalers, who then processed the drug and distributed crack to Black communities. At the same time Reagan's "War on Crime" insured that the Black youth who bought "Central Intelligenc Agencie's" cocaine were criminalized and handed lengthy prison sentences.
2. POTUS supported SOUTH AMERICAN terrorist, and the genocidal atrocities commited by terrorist in Chili, Guatamala, El Mazote, etc.
3. POTUS supported SOUTH AFRICAN apartheid, and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela as well. Vetoing a bill that would express condemnation of South Africa.
4. POTUS sold Arms to Iran.
5. POTUS used taxpayer dollars to influence election outcomes.
6. POTUS rigged government grants to enrich his cronies.
7. POTUS thew mental patients onto the streets.
8. POTUS supported McCarthyism, witch hunts, etc.
9. POTUS created and supported Islamic terrorist--fore runners of al Queada, ISIS, etc.

Niko2 LostintheUS 19 Sep 2015 13:12

I don't have much love for Nancy, but she did not break up this marriage, to be fair. And she actually got rid off the extreme right wingers in Reagan's administration, like Haig and Regan, whom she called "extra chromosome republicans". Surely she was a vain and greedy flotus with no empathy whatsoever for people not in her Bel Air circles (I can easily imagine her, "Do I really have to go and see these Aids-Babies, I'd rather shop at Rodeo Drive, lose the scheduler") but she realized at an early stage that hubbies shtick-it-to-the-commies policies would do him no favour. Maybe she's the unsung heroine of his presidency.

tommydog -> MtnClimber 19 Sep 2015 13:04

The principle subsidies to big oil are probably the strategic oil reserve and subsidies to low income people for winter heating oil. You can choose which of those you'd like to cut. After that you're arguing about whether exploration costs should be expensed in the year incurred or capitalized and amortized over time.

WilliamK 19 Sep 2015 13:03

He was one of J Edgar Hoover's red baiting fascist admiring boys along with Richard Nixon and Walt Disney used to destroy the labor unions, control the propaganda machine of Hollywood and used to knuckle under the television networks and undermine as much as possible the New Deal polices of Franklin Roosevelt. An actor groomed by the General Electric Corporation and their fellow travelers. "Living better through electricity" was his mantra and he played the role of President to push forward their right wing agenda. Now we are in new stage in our "political development" in America. The era of the "reality television star" with Hollywood in bed with the military industrial complex, selling guns, violence and sex to the fool hardy and their children and prime time television ads push pharmaceutical drugs, children hear warnings of four hour erections, pop-stars flash their tits and asses and a billionaire takes center stage as the media cashes in and goes along for the ride. Yeah Ronnie was a second tier film star and with his little starlet Nancy by his side become one of America's greatest salesman.

Backbutton 19 Sep 2015 12:57

LOL! Reagan was a walking script renderer, with lines written by others, and a phony because he was just acting the part of POTUS. His speeches were all crafted, and he had good writers.

He was no Abraham Lincoln.

And now these morons running for office all want to rub off his "great communicator" fix.

Good help America!

Milwaukee Broad 19 Sep 2015 12:49

Ronald Reagan was an actor whom the depressingly overwhelming majority of American voters thought was a messiah. They so believed in him that they re-elected him to a second term. Nothing positive whatsoever became of his administration, yet he is still worshiped by millions of lost souls (conservatives).

Have a nice day.

Michael Williams 19 Sep 2015 12:48

The US was the world's leading creditor when Reagan took office. The US was the world's leading debtor by the time Bush 1 was tossed out of office.

This is what Republicans cannot seem to remember.

All of the other scandals pale in comparison, even as we deal with the blowback from most of these original, idiotic policies.

Reagan was an actor, mouthing words he barely understood, especially as his dementia progressed.

This is the exact reason the history is so poorly taught in the US.
People might make connections....

Jessica Roth 19 Sep 2015 12:46

Oh, he had holes in his brain long before the dementia. "Facts are stupid things", trees cause pollution, and so on.

A pathetic turncoat who sold out his original party (the one that kept his dad in work throughout the Great Depression via a series of WPA jobs) because Nancy allegedly "gave the best head in Hollywood" and who believed that only 144,000 people were going to Heaven, presumably accounting for his uncaring treatment of the less-well-off.

His administration was full of corruption, from Richard Allen's $1000 in an envelope (and three wristwatches) that he claimed was an inappropriate gift for Mrs. Reagan he had "intercepted" and then "forgotten" to report to William Casey trading over $3,000,000 worth of stocks while CIA director. (Knowing about changes in the oil market ahead of time sure came in handy.) You had an attorney general who took a $50,000 "severance payment" (never done before) from the board of a corporation he resigned from to avoid conflict of interest charges…and this was William French Smith; his successor, Edwin Meese, was the one with real scandals (about the sale of his home).

Hell, Reagan himself put his ranch hand (Dennis LeBlanc) on the federal payroll as an "advisor" to the Commerce Department. I didn't know the Commerce Dept needed "advice" on clearing wood from St. Ronnie's ranch, but LeBlanc got a $58,500 salary out of the deal. (Roughly £98,000 at today's prices.) Nice work if you can get it.

Meanwhile, RR "talked tough" at the Soviets (resulting in the world nearly ending in 1983 due to a false alarm about a US nuclear attack) while propping up any rightwing dictator they could find, from the South African racists to Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos (after they had Aquino assassinated at the airport) to Roberto "Death Squad" D'Aubuisson in El Salvador (the man who masterminded the assassination of Archbishop Romero while he was performing Mass).

Oh, and while Carter did a nice job of shooting himself in the foot, Reagan benefited in the election not only from his treasonous dealings with the Iranian hostage-takers (shades of Nixon making a deal with North Viet Nam to stall the peace talks until after the 1968 elections, promising them better terms) but through more pedestrian means such as his campaign's stealing of Carter's briefing book for the campaign's only debate, Reagan being coached for the debate by a supposedly neutral journalist (George Will, of ABC and The Washington Post), who then went on television afterwards (in the days when there were only three commercial channels) and "analysed" how successful Reagan had been in executing his "game plan" and seeming "Presidential" without either Will or ABC bothering to mention that Will had coached Reagan and designed the "game plan" in question. The "liberal bias" in the media, no doubt.

Always a joke, only looking slightly better by the dross that has followed him. (Including Bill "Third Way" Clinton and his over-£50,000,000 in post-Presidential "speaking fees" graft, and Barack Obama, drone-murderer of children in over a dozen countries and serial-summary-executioner of U.S. citizens. When Gordon-effing-Brown is the best that's held office on either side of the Atlantic since 1979, you can see how this planet is in the state it's in.)

pretzelattack DukeofMelbourne 19 Sep 2015 12:45

his stand on russia was inconsistent, and he didn't cause it to collapse. his economic programs were a failure. his foreign policy generally a disaster. he set the blueprint for the current mess.

pretzelattack semper12 19 Sep 2015 12:38

a total crock. reagan let murdering thugs run rampant as long as they paid lip service to democracy, the world over from africa to central america. the ussr watched this coward put 240 marines to die in lebanon, and then cut and run, exactly the pattern he was so ready to condemn as treason in others, and was so ready to portray as showing weakness, and you think the ussr was terrified of him. he was a hollywood actor playing a role, and you bought it.

Tycho1961 19 Sep 2015 12:13

No President exists in a political vacuum. While he was in office, Reagan had a large Democrat majority in the House of Representatives and a small Republican majority in the Senate. The Supreme Court was firmly liberal. Whatever his political agenda Reagan knew he had to constructively engage with people of both parties that were in opposition to him. If he didn't he would suffer the same fate as Carter, marginalized by even his own party. His greatest strength was as a negotiator. Reagan's greatest failures were when he tried to be clever and he and his advisors were found to be rather ham handed about it.

RichardNYC 19 Sep 2015 11:57

The principal legacy of Ronald Reagan is the still prevalent view that corporate interests supersede individual interests.

Harry Haff 19 Sep 2015 11:45

Reagan did many horrible things while in office, committed felonies and supported murderous regimes in Central America that murdered tens of thousands of people with the blessing of the US chief executive. he sold arms to Iran and despoiled the natural environment whenever possible. But given those horrendous accomplishments, he could not now get a seat at the table with the current GOP. He would be considered a RINO, that most stupid and inaccurate term, at best, and a closet liberal somewhere down the line. The current GOP is more to the right than the politicians in the South after the Civil War.

[Sep 18, 2015]Republican Candidates Just Can't Quit Neoconservatism

"...In any event, what last night's ridiculous and at times rather alarming GOP debate showed is a party that remains in thrall to a bankrupt neoconservative ideology, willfully deaf to reason, blind to reality and unable and unwilling to learn from its multitude of past mistakes."

With the partial exception of Rand Paul, the GOP field for US president remains in thrall to a bankrupt ideology

A 'debate' where everyone is toeing the same line

As a result of President Obama's success in getting the Iranian nuclear accord past a well-coordinated and obscenely well-funded American-Israeli effort to derail it, a spate of stories have appeared over the last week suggesting that the Israel lobby, and perhaps American neoconservatism generally, may be now something of a spent force in Republican politics.

Yet anyone watching the second Republican primary debate last evening would be quickly disabused of such a notion. If the candidates' positions on foreign policy were anything to go by, the neocon outlook—which is in essence a frightened, xenophobic, reflexive militarism—continues to have a stranglehold on a Grand Old Party, which cannot seem to shake some Very Bad Ideas.

It was clear from the outset that nearly all of the candidates who made their way to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library last night had, at a minimum, two objectives: first, to pay sufficient fealty to the memory of the "the Gipper" and, second, try to derail the Donald Trump juggernaut.

The one exception, naturally, was Trump himself, who did manage to pay due respect to the late president's memory, all the while finding ample time, as he always does, to sing a song of himself.

... ... ...

According to several long-time Republican Party watchers I spoke to recently, Rand is finding far less success than his father had at similar points in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, not simply because he is a lackluster and disinterested candidate, but because his brand of foreign policy realism now holds little purchase among Republican primary voters who are obsessing over the degradations of the Islamic State.

It seems Paul's problem is that in the current environment of ISIS hysteria, the more he touts his opposition to the Iraq, Libya and Syrian debacles, the deeper he sinks into oblivion.

... ... ...

In any event, what last night's ridiculous and at times rather alarming GOP debate showed is a party that remains in thrall to a bankrupt neoconservative ideology, willfully deaf to reason, blind to reality and unable and unwilling to learn from its multitude of past mistakes.

[Sep 18, 2015] Grapes of wrath: fury in Crimea as Putin and Berlusconi drink 240-year-old wine Alec Luhn in Moscow

What a despicable presstitute is this Alex Luhn. Hopefully he was drunk when he was writing that, because for a sober person to write such a crap is too much of humiliation.
"...Click bait."
"...Crikey! The Guardian's really scraping the barrel in its relentless efforts to diss Putin."
Sep 17, 2015 | The Guardian

CanadaChuck 18 Sep 2015 20:22

Amusing that anyone would care what is said by a 'prosecutor in exile'. The Crimea now belongs to Russia and it will remain Russian. If I was just a little more cynical, I would suggest that this is only Guardian anti-Russia propaganda.

someoneionceknew 18 Sep 2015 19:21

Click bait.

nnedjo 18 Sep 2015 18:43

But the prosecutor general of the former Crimean government, which has been operating in exile since Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014, didn't find the VIP degustation amusing.

He opened a criminal case for large scale theft over the incident, estimating the loss at two million hryvnia, or about £60,000, the Centre of Journalistic Investigations reported.

In the footage, Berlusconi is seen picking up a 1891 vintage and asking "Can we drink them?"

Well, it seems that the former Crimean prosecutor decided to rob Berlusconi, for about thirty years older wines from the same winery costs only about £7000.:-)

Fine and Rare Wines are worldwide distributors of these wines, and have just put a new collection up for sale. Unfortunately I have not tasted the wines, but the list is fascinating, from a single bottle of 1865 Yquem bottled for the Tsar at a cool £7,000, to a 1948 Massandra Tokay for £165, and rated at 96 points by Robert Parker.

Shiku101 18 Sep 2015 18:34

I never seen such a badly peice of propaganda in my life. "Two leaders" One of them is an xleader. Whom has a long standing relationship with Putin. Berlusconi is obly there for the wine and the bunga bunga

Dmitry Koreshkov 18 Sep 2015 17:53

"fury in crimea"? another spoon of hogwash, guardian?

PeteSaman Be Gold 18 Sep 2015 17:26

Yes it would be far more productive if Putin and Berlusconi spent their time pretending that a country had WMD. They could plan an illegal invasion to liberate the population ( and oil) while taking the moral high ground. Then, and only then should they be allowed to drink wine.

nnamesiw 18 Sep 2015 16:52

Once drank from a bottle of "fortified wine" from 1845. Still 'drinkable'...but, in truth, not a great flavour at all. Chances are that B & P also would have been far better with much fresher content.

mrcleano 18 Sep 2015 16:22

Crikey! The Guardian's really scraping the barrel in its relentless efforts to diss Putin.

WalterCronkiteBot 18 Sep 2015 16:08

What does Elton John think about all this?

Canajin 18 Sep 2015 16:02

So it was the Italian guy that asked the director for a taste, and the director obliged. Making it a court case is like being charged for accepting a sample slice of ham from the store deli. By the way, did anyone ask them how it tasted?

The Guardian should be ashamed for making a fuss about this silly situation. But then, we do know the G has to follow the government's agenda.

vr13vr 18 Sep 2015 15:34

And as it has become usual, the Kiev's reaction is to ban Silvio from entering Ukraine and to declare him a national security threat. Oh, boy. It would have been so funny if it wasn't so pathetic.

Sam Hayes 18 Sep 2015 15:27

Luhns really scraping the barrel. Does he really get paid [twice] for this?

[Sep 18, 2015] Neoliberalism as cancer

Mulga Mumblebrain on September 17, 2015 · at 11:17 pm UTC

Erebus, that would be like trying to cage a cancer. If you do not then excise the cancer, you will suffer metabolic injury so great that you will perish, as the cancer pumps out various toxins, like 'Free Market Fundamentalism', 'Western moral values' or 'Exceptionalism'.

Cut the tumour out, plus the chemotherapy of somehow rescuing the non-malignant members of the cancer societies from the inhuman habits inculcated in them from birth (ie gross materialism, unbridled greed, cultural and racial superiority, addiction to crass 'tittietainment' etc) and even a few escaping cancer cells can cause metastasis elsewhere.

What is really needed is a miracle, a 'spontaneous remission' where the individual cells in the Western cancer suddenly transform themselves into non-malignant, human, organisms again. There might be some good signs, such as the rise of Corbyn in the UK, the eclipse of Harper, the character of Pope Francis, but there is a Hell of a way to go, and not much hope of success.

Mulga Mumblebrain on September 17, 2015 · at 11:07 pm UTC

David, I agree. The central problem facing humanity is that the planet has become dominated by evil psychopaths. There is a mountain of literature that explains what one can see with one's own eyes. That is that the Rightwing Authoritarian Personality, or whatever other euphemism you care to use, suffer some or all of the well-known features of psychopathy ie the absence of human empathy and compassion, unbridled greed and narcissistic egomania, unscrupulousness and a preference for violence. The situation in the world today, geo-political, economic and ecological is a battle between good and evil. Many people refuse to face that reality, because it is frightening, and presages a dreadful global death struggle or the collapse of human civilization and probable species extinction. But denying the hideous reality won't make it go away. What we have seen over recent decades in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Congo etc is evil in action, and we had better acknowledge that reality. From Obama down through Harper, Cameron, Abbott, Satanyahoo et al to the very dregs of politics and MSM propaganda, it is a vast field of human perfidy, differing only in the degree of their malevolence.

[Sep 18, 2015] The Russians are Coming! by Graham E. Fuller

"...A remarkably sound analysis by Graham Fuller on Russia and Syria:
Despite his CIA pedigree and the Tsarnaev connection, Fuller has moments of lucidity occasionally – he published a book in the 1990s arguing that Iran under the ayatollahs was nowhere near as totalitarian as the Western groupthink suggested, and in some ways outpaced Israel, 'the-only-democracy-in-the-midlle-east', in terms of societal openness."
"...The overthrow of Asad seemed a simple task in 2011 as the Arab Spring sparked early uprisings against him. The US readily supported that goal, as did Turkey along with Saudi Arabia and others. As the Asad regime began to demonstrate serious signs of resilience, however, the US and Turkey stepped up support to nominally moderate and secular armed opposition against Damascus, thereby extending the brutal civil war."
"...For similar reasons Iran's long-time open challenge against American ability act with impunity in the Middle East has always constituted a deep source of American strategic anger—viscerally surpassing the more Israel-driven nuclear issue."
"...In my view, the fall of Asad will not bring peace but will instead guarantee deadly massive long-term civil conflict in Syria among contending successors in which radical jihadi forces are likely to predominate—unless the west commits major ground forces to impose and supervise a peace. We've been there once before in the Iraq scenario. A replay of Iraq surely is not what the West wants."
"...What Russia will not accept in the Middle East is another unilateral US (or "NATO") fait accompli in "regime change" that does not carry full UN support. (China's interests are identical to Russia's in most respects here.)"
"...It is essential that the US not extend its new Cold War with Russia into the Middle East where shared interests are fairly broad — unless one rejects that very supposition on ideological grounds. The same goes for Iran."
September 14, 2015 |

Washington has been wrapped in confusion and indecision for years now in trying to sort out just what its real objectives are in Syria. Its obsessive, and ultimately failed goal of denying Iran influence in the Middle East has notably receded with Obama's admirable success in reaching a deal with Iran on the nuclear issue and gradual normalization of Iran's place in the world.

But while the Israel lobby and its Republican allies failed to block Obama's painstaking work in reaching that agreement, they now seem determined to hobble its implementation in any way possible. This is utterly self-defeating: unable to block Iran's re-emergence they seem determined to deny themselves any of the key payoffs of the agreement—the chance to work with Iran selectively on several important common strategic goals: the isolation and defeat of ISIS, a settlement in Syria that denies a jihadi takeover, the rollback of sectarianism as a driving force in the region, a peaceful settlement in Iran's neighbor Afghanistan, and the freeing up of energy/pipeline options across Asia.

But let's address this Syrian issue. There's a new development here—stepped up Russian involvement—that poses new challenge to the American neocon strategic vision. So here is where Washington needs to sort out what it really wants in Syria. Is the main goal still to erode Iranian influence in the region by taking out Iran's ally in Damascus? Or does it want to check Russian influence in the Middle East wherever possible in order to maintain America's (fast becoming illusory) dominant influence? These two goals had seemed to weigh more heavily in Washington's calculus than Syrian domestic considerations. In other words, Asad is a proxy target.

There are two major countries in the world at this point capable of exerting serious influence over Damascus—Russia and Iran. Not surprisingly, they possess that influence precisely because they both enjoy long-time good ties with Damascus; Asad obviously is far more likely to listen to tested allies than heed the plans of enemies dedicated to his overthrow.

The overthrow of Asad seemed a simple task in 2011 as the Arab Spring sparked early uprisings against him. The US readily supported that goal, as did Turkey along with Saudi Arabia and others. As the Asad regime began to demonstrate serious signs of resilience, however, the US and Turkey stepped up support to nominally moderate and secular armed opposition against Damascus, thereby extending the brutal civil war.

That calculus began to change when radical jihadi groups linked either to al-Qaeda or to ISIS (the "Islamic State") began to overshadow moderate opposition forces. As ruthless as Asad had been in crushing domestic opposition, it became clear that any likely successor government would almost surely be dominated by such radical jihadi forces—who simply fight more effectively than the West's preferred moderate and secular groups who never got their act together.

Enter Russia. Moscow had already intervened swiftly and effectively in 2013 to head off a planned US airstrike on Damascus to take out chemical weapons by convincing Damascus to freely yield up its chemical weapons; the plan actually succeeded. This event helped overcome at least Obama's earlier reluctance to recognize the potential benefits of Russian influence in the Middle East to positively serve broader western interests in the region as well.

Russia is of course no late-comer to the region: Russian tsars long acted as the protector of Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Middle East in the nineteenth century; the Russians had been diplomatic players in the geopolitical game in the region long before the creation of the Soviet Union. During the West's Cold War with the Soviet Union the two camps often strategically supported opposite sides of regional conflicts: Moscow supported revolutionary Arab dictators while the West supported pro-western dictators. Russia has had dominant military influence in Syria for over five decades through weapons sales, diplomatic support, and its naval base in Tartus.

With the collapse of the USSR in 1991 Russian influence in the area sharply declined for the first time as the new Russia sorted itself out. America then began declaring itself the "world's sole superpower," allegedly now free to shape the world strategically as it saw fit. And the significant neoconservative and liberal interventionist factions in Washington still nourish the same mentality today—predicated on the belief that the US can continue to maintain primacy around the world—economic, military, and diplomatic. In this sense, any acknowledgment of Russian influence in the Middle East (or elsewhere) represents an affront, even "a threat" to US dominance and prestige.

For similar reasons Iran's long-time open challenge against American ability act with impunity in the Middle East has always constituted a deep source of American strategic anger—viscerally surpassing the more Israel-driven nuclear issue.

Today the combination of Russia and Iran (whose interests do not fully coincide either) exert major influence over the weakening Asad regime.

If we are truly concerned about ISIS we must recognize that restoration of a modicum of peace in Syria and Iraq are essential prerequisites to the ultimate elimination of ISIS that feeds off of the chaos.

Russia appears now to be unilaterally introducing new military forces, stepped up weapons deliveries, and possibly including limited troop numbers into Syria specifically to back the Asad regime's staying power. Washington appears dismayed at this turn of events, and has yet to make up its mind whether it would rather get rid of Asad, or get rid of ISIS. It is folly to think that both goals can be achieved militarily.

In my view, the fall of Asad will not bring peace but will instead guarantee deadly massive long-term civil conflict in Syria among contending successors in which radical jihadi forces are likely to predominate—unless the west commits major ground forces to impose and supervise a peace. We've been there once before in the Iraq scenario. A replay of Iraq surely is not what the West wants.

So just how much of a "threat" is an enhanced Russian military presence in Syria? It is simplistic to view this as some zero-sum game in which any Russian gain is an American loss. The West lived with a Soviet naval base in Syria for many decades; meanwhile the US itself has dozens of military bases in the Middle East. (To many observers, these may indeed represent part of the problem.)

Even were Syria to become completely subservient to Russia, US general interests in the region would not seriously suffer (unless one considers maintenance of unchallenged unilateral power to be the main US interest there. I don't.) The West has lived with such a Syrian regime before. Russia, with its large and restive Muslim population and especially Chechens, is more fearful of jihadi Islam than is even the US. If Russia were to end up putting combat troops on the ground against ISIS (unlikely) it would represent a net gain for the West. Russia is far less hated by populations in the Middle East than is the US (although Moscow is quite hated by many Muslims of the former Soviet Union.) Russia is likely to be able to undertake military operations against jihadis from bases within Syria. Indeed, it will certainly shore up Damascus militarily—rather than allowing Syria to collapse into warring jihadi factions.

What Russia will not accept in the Middle East is another unilateral US (or "NATO") fait accompli in "regime change" that does not carry full UN support. (China's interests are identical to Russia's in most respects here.)

We are entering a new era in which the US is increasingly no longer able to call the shots in shaping the international order. Surely it is in the (enlightened) self-interest of the US to see an end to the conflict in Syria with all its cross-border sectarian viciousness in Iraq. Russia is probably better positioned than any other world player to exert influence over Asad. The US should be able to comfortably live even with a Russian-dominated Syria if it can bring an end to the conflict—especially when Washington meanwhile is allied with virtually every one of Syria's neighbors. (How long Asad himself stays would be subject to negotiation; his personal presence is not essential to 'Alawi power in Syria.)

What can Russia do to the West from its long-term dominant position in Syria? Take Syria's (virtually non-existent) oil? Draw on the wealth of this impoverished country? Increase arms sales to the region (no match for US arms sales)? Threaten Israel? Russia already has close ties with Israel and probably up to a quarter of Israel's population are Russian Jews.

Bottom line: Washington does not have the luxury of playing dog in the manger in "managing" the Middle East, especially after two decades or more of massive and destructive policy failure on virtually all fronts.

It is essential that the US not extend its new Cold War with Russia into the Middle East where shared interests are fairly broad—unless one rejects that very supposition on ideological grounds. The same goes for Iran.

We have to start someplace.

Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; his latest book is "Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an American's crisis of conscience in Pakistan." (Amazon, Kindle)

[Sep 18, 2015] Contemporary Capitalism: Neoliberal Capitalism, Financialized Capitalism, or Globalized Capitalism? By David Kotz

"...The ideology, the fantasy of the market has penetrated so deeply into the culture that most people can imagine nothing else."
"...Globalization is just the euphemism for Colonialism."
"...The best insight of the change that started in 1980 that I've found is Emmanuel Todd's. "The United States itself, which was once a protector and is now a predator." Neo-liberalism is confusing. Predatory Capitalism is reality."
September 17, 2015 |

By David Kotz, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the author of The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism (Harvard University Press, 2015). This is the second installment of a two-part series based on his book; see the first post here. Originally published at Triple Crisis.

While it is widely agreed that capitalist economies underwent significant change after around 1980, there are different interpretations of the new form of capitalism that emerged. There is no agreement about the best organizing concept for post-1980 capitalism. Some view it as financialized capitalism, some as globalized capitalism, and some as neoliberal capitalism. These different conceptions of contemporary capitalism have implications for our understanding of the problems it has produced, including the financial and economic crisis that emerged from it in 2008. Focusing on the U.S. economy, I presented a case in part 1 that "neoliberal capitalism" is the best overall concept for understanding the form of capitalism that arose around 1980. Here, I deal more specifically with the shortcomings of alternative interpretations – focused on the concepts of "financialization" and "globalization," respectively.

Why Not "Financialization"?

Some economists view "financialization" as the best overall concept for understanding contemporary capitalism. Financialization can best be understood, however, as an outgrowth of neoliberal capitalism. The rise in financial profit, which gave the financial sector a place of growing importance in the economy, came quite late in the neoliberal era. As figure 2 shows, only after 1989 did financial profit begin a long and steep climb, interrupted by a fall in the mid 1990s, and then a sharp rise to a remarkable 40% of total profit in the early 2000s. It was only in the 2000s that financialization fully blossomed. At that time, commentators noted, Wall Street was beginning to draw a large percentage of elite college graduates.

The "financialization" of the U.S. economy in recent decades, important though it is, was itself driven by neoliberal restructuring. The neoliberal institutional structure, including financial deregulation, enabled financial institutions to appropriate a growing share of profits. Furthermore, financialization cannot account for many of the most important economic developments in contemporary capitalism. It cannot explain the dramatic shift in capital-labor relations from acceptance of compromise by the capitalists to a striving by capitalists to fully dominate labor.. It cannot explain the sharp rise in inequality. And it cannot explain the deepening globalization of capitalism.

Why Not "Globalization"?

Like financialization, "globalization" has been presented by some analysts as the best framework for understanding the contemporary form of capitalism. Capitalism has, indeed, become significantly more integrated on a world scale in recent decades, including the emergence of global value chains and a truly global production process in some sectors.

The degree of globalization of capitalism has gone through ups and downs in history. Capitalism became increasingly globalized in the decades prior to World War I. Then the cataclysm of two world wars and the Great Depression reversed the trend, and capitalism became less globally integrated over that period. After World War II, the process of globalization resumed, gradually at first. Around the late 1960s, globalization accelerated somewhat measured by world exports relative to world GDP, as figure 3 shows. After 1986 the trend became more sharply upward. Thus, in contrast to financialization, which emerged later than neoliberalism, the globalization process in this era began before neoliberalism emerged, although globalization accelerated in the neoliberal era, particularly after 1990.

However, many of the most important features of capitalism since 1980 cannot be understood or explained based on globalization any more than they can be on the basis of financialization. Globalization cannot fully explain the rapidly rising inequality in the contemporary era, which has been quite extreme in the United States yet milder even in some other countries, such as Germany, that are more integrated into the global economy. Globalization cannot explain the financialization process and the rise of a speculatively-oriented financial sector, nor can it explain the series of large asset bubbles. Like financialization, globalization has been an important feature of neoliberal capitalism, but it is not its defining feature.

Neoliberalism as the Key Concept

Both financialization and globalization are fundamental tendencies in capitalism. Financial institutions have an ever-present tendency to move into speculative and risky activities to gain the high profits of such pursuits. Even more so, globalization is a tendency present from the rise of capitalism, since the capital accumulation drive always spurs expansion across national boundaries. Then why do these phenomena characterize one era of capitalism more than another?

Both of these tendencies can be obstructed for long periods of time, or released, depending on the prevailing institutional form of capitalism. Financialization was held in check from the mid 1930s to 1980 by financial regulation, and globalization was hindered from World War I until the 1960s by the world wars, the Great Depression, and then the state regulation of trade and international investment allowed under the post-World War II Bretton Woods monetary system. The neoliberal restructuring starting in the late 1970s can explain all of the key economic developments in contemporary capitalism, with the processes of financialization and globalization—released by neoliberal capitalism—forming a part of the account.

These differences in analysis are important, since they represent different views of the basic characteristics of the current era of capitalism and different diagnoses of the origins of the current crisis. Proposals to overcome the current crisis that focus only on reigning in financialization or reconfiguring globalization would be insufficient unless part of a restructuring that replaces neoliberalism with something new. craazyboy September 17, 2015 at 10:28 am

I guess for people that don't have a concise idea of what "neoliberalism" is yet, I'll offer the following formula:

Neoliberalism = Financialization + Globalization

Additionally, Neoliberals need Neocons to keep them safe in foreign lands.


susan the other September 17, 2015 at 4:12 pm

must be why neoliberals focus on trade balances: capitalism = competition = consolidation = monopoly = trade advantages = inequality… or stg like that… and financialism is just hastily put together to grease the skids

Thure Meyer September 17, 2015 at 10:34 am

I think that even more fundamental is "marketization" as discussed by Polyani. The idea that all of human activity (and indeed nature) can be captured and cast in some sort of market paradigm.

Underlying all these discussions is the assumption that our current market system is ok. I don't think it is, since markets are driving society not the other way around.

We even see the curious inversion of trying to apply something called competitive free markets (whatever that may be) to nature and evolution. Then in a fabulous logical salto mortale, in a circular argument based on our own projections we impute that since nature runs like a market so does society,

The analysis needs to be much deeper, at least at the level of primary social organization, its purpose and historical social anthropology. Elinor Ostrom and her analysis of organizations and the commons is a good start.

Pepsi September 17, 2015 at 11:44 am

I appreciate this post, Yves. To name something is to control it, to own it in some sense, it is the Rumplestiltskin, If we don't have appropriate names, then we can't think of things as they are.

Thure, I agree with you. The ideology, the fantasy of the market has penetrated so deeply into the culture that most people can imagine nothing else.

I'm not sure how to phrase this elegantly, it's only when we can see clearly the ideology we're embedded in that we'll be able to see how artificial it all is, and how easily we could end it and build something better. We have to avoid the sort of false change with radical features of contemporary Burschenschaften types.

William Hunter Duncan September 17, 2015 at 10:45 am

I think of it as death cult capitalism. For it's dependence on war making, it's consumer insatiability in a finite world, and its cannibalization of Institutions, public and private.

Ulysses September 17, 2015 at 10:50 am

Very well put! The peace and prosperity model– that many of us grew up believing that some capitalists actually believed in– has been entirely supplanted by disaster capitalism and the shock doctrine. :(

Sufferin' Succotash September 17, 2015 at 11:11 am

Rentier capitalism?

hemeantwell September 17, 2015 at 3:06 pm

re "death cult capitalism," the observation attributed to Fredric Jameson that it has become easier to imagine an apocalypse than to imagine an end to capitalism seems very true. It becomes even more sadly ironic, or maybe just terribly sad, if you consider the likelihood that for a significant proportion of the population the fascination with end times in a distorted way represents their hostility to this social order. Consider how willing Hollywood is to serve up techno-buffed apocalypse instead of films depicting anything other than blatantly criminal antagonism to society. But then you've got the Superheroes, acting on our behalf and making us feel all the more enfeebled in the process.

Vatch September 17, 2015 at 11:30 am


Left in Wisconsin September 17, 2015 at 11:40 am

More evidence that even many simpatico economists don't understand the construction and use of ideal types. Also, he is scrambling his US and global perspectives. And reification of markets, which are specific human-made institutions that don't all act the same.

There is a much more straightforward institutional analysis of US and global economic changes over the last 40 years that doesn't require such squishy "global" concepts: Fear of a loss of competitiveness among US business (which through the 1970s was not all that global) leaders and politicians, and a desire to crush US labor (which despite all the post-WW2 "social contract" mumbo-jumbo has never been far below the surface) drove a restructuring of the US economy beginning in the mid-1970s in the interests and direction of the relative (to their competitors) strengths of US firms – financial engineering, ease of corporate restructuring, etc. The same was true in the UK, where the real economy was even more unbalanced than in the US.

It's OK to call this neoliberalism I guess, but the notion that neoliberalism is some kind of unshackling of "the market" is dubious. Certain markets were unshackled, others weren't, and some (drugs, patents, copyrights, etc.) become much more "shackled," all spelled out in various laws and regulations blessed by the US (and UK) corporate and political class (and their economist agents). During the 1970s-1990s at least, business leaders and politicians in other countries (Germany, Japan, Korea, China to name the most obvious) pursued other strategies that differed substantially from what American and British elites were up to. But it turned out that there was a lot of easy money to be made through financial engineering (compared to the harder task of delivering useful products and services at good value), and so elites all over the globe were drawn toward what originally was a parochial American and British strategy. Also, having a large "advanced" countries like the US and UK pursuing "labor immiseration" made it both easier and more necessary for other "advanced" countries to reign in labor as well.

Oldeguy September 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Patents and copyrights are state granted monopoly privileges absent the usual ( think Com Ed's need to seek approval for rate hikes ) monopoly regulation.
The ( justly ) notorious Congressionally bestowed prohibition against Medicare's ability to bargain for decreased drug costs is a perfect example of "reverse regulation".

Karl Weber September 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm

What about just plain old capitalism? Capitalism seeks to accumulate profit, period. If it can do this through accumulating financial income, by expanding globally, or crushing labor it will do it. This is what I found refreshing about Piketty's book (and Arrighi's The Long Twentieth Century too): he demonstrated that the 1930s-early 1970s was a historical anomaly.

These discussions can be useful, but only to a point. From someone working in academia, I see word choices like these conforming not so much to what is the best overall term, but from what you're focusing on. Some of us focus more on processes that are closer to "financialization," "globalization" etc. As someone else has said above, these are just good ideal types.

craazyman September 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm

How about Sweatshop Capitalism

you gotta sweat if you wanna get competitive

Hans and Franz wan to Pump You Up! so you're not a Girly Man economy. To get pumped up you have to lose weight and sweat.

Neoperspiratory Capitalism for all you academics. You probably wouldn't want to get near sweat if you can help it. hahahahahah. Layin around all day doing nothing. LOL

Oldeguy September 17, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Possibly helpful here might be the late ecologist Garrett Hardin's concept of the Problem Of The Commons- i.e. the degrading of a common resource by unregulated extractors. While it is in the interest of the individual extractor that the common resource not be depleted, it is very much in his interest to maximize his individual extraction. The collapse of ocean food fish populations provide a good example.
Think of the U.S. economy as being like the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, rich source of fish ( profits to be made selling to an affluent consumer population ) , U.S. firms as being individually owned fishing craft, and Globalization ( producing in very low wage, low safety, low environmental protection areas while selling in the affluent USA ) and Financialization as rendering the "fishing craft" much more efficient.
While the the individual fishing boat captains do not intend the destruction of the common resource, they dare not slacken their extractive efforts. Depletion ( Deindustrialization, the collapse of the Middle Class ) inevitably ensue.
Pace Adam Smith no Invisible Hand will save the Commons.
It is Deregulation, a key element of Neolibralism that is ultimately lethal- the Commons must become everybody's property rather than no one's.

TheCatSaid September 17, 2015 at 1:49 pm

The Commons is an aspect that is being steadily wiped out by "enclosure" (restricting access to what used to be shared resources).

David E. Martin has an interesting take on this as it relates to human creativity–something that conventional capitalism encourages us to "enclose" for profit, with little understanding of how this undervalues human creativity. There's a very good recent paper that mentions this on the M-CAM website, called "Putting It All Together".

Edmund September 17, 2015 at 1:09 pm


Globalization is just the euphemism for Colonialism.

Low rate pseudo inflation regulation of Central Banks destroys interest rate relation to risk
so no lending that is meaningful in regime since Reagan.
Monopolies rule so no competition.
First World uses other world's slave labor and countries to avoid home base environmental regulations.
So what are you talking about calling any of this capitalism. Ridiculous and ignorant. A tool of this evil

washunate September 17, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Spot on. This has been a fascinating discussion.

Neoliberalism is not capitalism. No matter how hard academic economists want to blame markets for the errors of public policy.

Kris Alman MD September 17, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Great post. I have been baffled by the use of the term "neoliberalization."

What about the "neocon"? Is the neocon the neoliberal who takes advantage of the negative externalities of perpetual war? (Are there Venn diagrams that can explain these neoeconomic terms?) Indeed, how much of our economy is driven by negative externalities? Crises begets predatory behavior, clothed by doublespeak like "opportunity" or "creative destruction."

Yet there's nothing stopping negative externalities because they are included in GDP metrics–the measure of economic "wellness." After 9/11, Bush reminded that we must shop. Americans are valued as consumers.

I hate how a patient has become a "consumer" of health care. In health care, "wellness" is just another product to consume. With neoliberalism at the heart of American economics, I can't imagine there will ever be any real attempt rein in health care costs. We depend on sickness (real and imagined) to keep our economy humming. "Prevention" is the tail that wags the dog as doctors chase more and more false positives and respond to lower thresholds for "abnormalities".

The globalization piece is the narrative of "free" trade. Import cheap goods that outsource more jobs and keep prices down to artificially lower the cost of living. The plutocrats' narrative is that when corporations move into poor countries with jobs this levels the playing field globally. (Never mind their tendency to uproot when those pesky citizens demand better pay and work conditions!) This, of course, takes a huge toll on the environment when we ship goods that could easily be manufactured here.

It means we extract more resources to create more landfills. And "waterfills" and "airfills". We use technology to engineer our way out of our big messes. More chemicals are dumped into our land, water and air–with trade secrets obfuscating what these chemicals are and whether they are harmful. Fracking, glyphosate for GMOs, etc.

Can neoliberalization die of natural causes?

Maybe we can we bring it to Oregon for death with indignity? (No capital punishment in Texas for neoliberalization… pun intended.)

You see, I'm getting really worried that we've passed the tipping point when economics collision with natural ecosystems is irreversible… And that makes this mama bear really mad!

Praedor September 17, 2015 at 5:12 pm

That is the only thing that is going to kill this cancer. Extraction and exploitation, extend and pretend (ecologically) will continue until it simply cannot. THAT will lead to a massive and near-sudden collapse of the diseased, shambling zombie that is the modern neoliberal system, and with it the entire setup that depends on it (and a LOT of humans). No, not enough will be done to reign in climate change, no, there will be no techno fix (though some will be tried in ultimate desperation to keep the band playing).

Welcome the coming collapse. The fisheries will return on their own after most humans are gone and no longer sucking them dry. The forests will return after most humans are gone and no longer mowing them down. As the late, great George Carlin prophetically and accurately stated, "The earth isn't going anywhere. We are."

William C September 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm

From where I sit, one of the most important developments of the last 35 years has been the failure to prevent the increasing power of monopolies and cartels. The increasing share of income taken in profits by said monopolies and cartels has of course strengthened the position of capital relative to labour.

So my preferred term for current day arrangements is cartel capitalism. If you want to be more pejorative there is of course crony capitalism and corrupt capitalism.

hemeantwell September 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Glad you highlighted economic concentration. That used to be a deservedly emphasized part of a critical analysis of capitalism but for some reason — did we just come to accept it? — fell to second rank or backbench status. Perhaps it got folded into the idea of "multinational corporation," but that concept more immediately evokes globalization and the mobility of production rather than concentration and the power that comes with it.

griffen September 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Monopolies that took decades to split away, over time gradually began to reemerge. I can't place where I saw this, but there was an article about how "Ma Bell" was split into 10-12 regional bells. Given enough time, we're somewhat nearly back where that started.

Plus in 1994, I think, the act passed to Congress eliminating / reducing restrictions on bank consolidation over state lines. Just from my native state, that resulted in WachFirstOvia and Bank of America. (Granted there have been smaller start up institutions using regional executives and regional capital).

Carla September 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Tim Wu wrote a terrific book about this drive toward monopoly: "The Master Switch." Unfortunately, as good as it was, it didn't stem the tide.

John Hemington September 17, 2015 at 5:09 pm

These posts are an interesting exercise which I find to be almost entirely lacking in critical content. What difference does it make to quibble over the name of the current disaster (neoliberalism it is) if no real attempt is made to explain what neoliberalism is and how it came to be? Professor Kotz's book may be very good in this regard (I haven't yet had a chance to read it), but this effort from my vantage point does not sufficiently explain neoliberalism to those not already familiar with it; nor does it offer anything of particular interest to those who are.

The problem of dealing with neoliberalism is, in my opinion, coming to grips with the history and philosophy behind it — and that is not simply accomplished. Neoliberalism is philosophy based upon deceit and deliberate obfuscation of its goals and objectives. It is not simply capitalism. It is an orchestrated effort to control the power and wealth of the world — and it is, by and large succeeding. Without properly understanding the forces behind and within neoliberalism, I don't believe that it is possible to formulate any real effort to stem the tide of its successes. It is ultimately a self-destructive formulation, but the level of that destruction may well be something none of us wish to experience.

Anyone truly interested in understanding neoliberalism should be reading the works of Philip Mirowski, The Road From Mont Pelerin and Never Let A Serious Crisis Go To Waste. Professor Kotz's book may well add to this, but this posting, I am sorry to day, does not. I in no way wish do denigrate the work of those, including Professor Kotz, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as they are among the best in the nation at standing up to neoliberalism and neoclassical economics. I just wish this could have been a more useful post.

scraping_by September 17, 2015 at 6:09 pm

One of the interesting facets of globalization is its dependence on government subsidies. Some are structural, such as social programs substituting for living wages, but many are direct transfers of assets to corporations. Special currency exchange rates, forgivable loans, government gathering of foreign intellectual property, free land, etc, all save the companies the expected business expenses. This is on top of import barriers, local preference buying, and other help.

The justification is, of course, greater national economic activity/jobs. Americans call this 'smokestack chasing', but here its heyday's come and gone. Partly because states and cities have figured out the math doesn't work. The government spends far more money than they could ever hope for in taxes, even when the whole enterprise doesn't go bust. Today, any subsidy a corporation wrings out of the locals is usually hedged with conditions that make it at least look like an even deal. Before, it was a matter of faith.

Without government subsidies, would the foreign trade portion of globalization exist? Foreign ownership, like any ownership, is protected by government. And that's a choice, too. But would 'cheap labor' or 'lack of environmental laws' really make up the difference? Seems global capitalism depends on national boundaries.

Carla September 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm

All anybody needs to know about capitalism is this, from yesterday's NC:

Call it Killer Capitalism or Psychopathic Economics, I don't give a damn.

joflynn September 17, 2015 at 7:02 pm

I read Mirowski's "Never Let A Serious Crisis…" two years ago, and as Paul Heideman's positive review in "www.jacobinmag" concluded, it nonetheless left me wanting for an explanation of just how a set of ideas enamating originally from the obscure Mont Pelerin Society (however influential) could gain such worldwide traction, and seeking perhaps a social-anthropological or political answer to that query. In "The Making of Global Capitalism" Panitch & Gindin point unequivocally to the "pivitol role" of US state institutions (since WW2) in orchestrating (with other elites) opportunities and overcoming difficulties in making the world free for – what Michael Hudson would say – is primarily US "(fiat)-capital" (since the floating exchange rate regime with dollar as key came into effect in 1971). Given the advantage to the US of the dollar as world reserve currency; of the role US public & private institutions in maintaining that status and thwarting any challenges; and the role of the US military in overall guardianship, (and the advantages Panitch & Gindin point out that these factors have given real US industry in maintaining a lead in the more advanced technologies & industries, (and how mutually supporting all these forces are of each other)) I am inclined towards (the intemperate!-) Paul Craig Robert's assertion that NeoLiberalism is essentially a US imperial project. Like many imperialisms of old, it relies on well rewarded local elites playing their part in the outposts. But the loss of dollar and/or military hegemony would surely lead to a significant retrenchment and a major realignment of world trade & development patterns, not to mention financial flows? Hence the struggles we see today, to retain hegemonic status. The amazing thing is, as playwright Harold Pinter said, how this "imperialism" is accepted as representing "freedom", "democracy", "rule of law" – even just the very longterm natural evolution of barter, in the form of modeern "markets"!

Mike Sparrow September 17, 2015 at 9:32 pm

and the real dirty secret is, Americans love every second of it. they are consuming more than ever.

Capitalism was global from the 19th century until the 1914 when WWI broke out. Before that time, Europe was the modern America and America was modern BRIC. From a Babylon 5 pov, this was the beginning of the transfer from the Brits to the US as the dominate global power. The Axis were the "Shadows" while the Allies were the Vorlons. During this period of 1914-89, capitalism receded back into nationalism and 'perceived' threats like communism. The first breakdown in this was the global crisis in the mid-70's when the Soviet Union got hit by a crippling blow. Another factor was the rising American living standards coupled with mass production still mostly inhabiting the homeland. Capitalism does not do well with rising living standards. It can't make profit amid dwindling supplies and high living standards. In Hitlerian talk, it needs breathing room. The late 60's the results were coming in, inflation began to accelerate in the US, driving inflation globally. The end result was the new global period and cheap sources of production to drive consumption in the US via debt.

VietnamVet September 17, 2015 at 11:04 pm

The best insight of the change that started in 1980 that I've found is Emmanuel Todd's. "The United States itself, which was once a protector and is now a predator." Neo-liberalism is confusing. Predatory Capitalism is reality.

[Sep 18, 2015] I would summarize the Keynesian view in terms of four points

I would summarize the Keynesian view in terms of four points:
1. Economies sometimes produce much less than they could, and employ many fewer workers than they should, because there just isn't enough spending. Such episodes can happen for a variety of reasons; the question is how to respond.
2. There are normally forces that tend to push the economy back toward full employment. But they work slowly; a hands-off policy toward depressed economies means accepting a long, unnecessary period of pain.
3. It is often possible to drastically shorten this period of pain and greatly reduce the human and financial losses by "printing money", using the central bank's power of currency creation to push interest rates down.
4. Sometimes, however, monetary policy loses its effectiveness, especially when rates are close to zero. In that case temporary deficit spending can provide a useful boost. And conversely, fiscal austerity in a depressed economy imposes large economic losses.
Is this a complicated, convoluted doctrine? ...
But strange things happen in the minds of critics. Again and again we see the following bogus claims about what Keynesians believe:
B1: Any economic recovery, no matter how slow and how delayed, proves Keynesian economics wrong. See [2] above for why that's illiterate.
B2: Keynesians believe that printing money solves all problems. See [3]: printing money can solve one specific problem, an economy operating far below capacity. Nobody said that it can conjure up higher productivity, or cure the common cold.
B3: Keynesians always favor deficit spending, under all conditions. See [4]: The case for fiscal stimulus is quite restrictive, requiring both a depressed economy and severe limits to monetary policy. That just happens to be the world we've been living in lately.
I have no illusions that saying this obvious stuff will stop the usual suspects from engaging in the usual bogosity. But maybe this will help others respond when they do.

I would add:

5. Keynesian are not opposed to supply-side, growth enhancing policy. They types of taxes that are imposed matters, entrepreneurial activity should be encouraged, and so on. But these arguments should not be used as cover for redistribution of income to the wealthy through tax cuts and other means, or as a means of arguing for cuts to important social service programs. Not should they be used only to support tax cuts. Infrastructure spending is important for growth, an educated, healthy workforce is more productive, etc., etc. Economic growth is about much more than tax cuts for wealthy political donors.

On the other side, I would have added a point to B3:

B3a: Keynesians do not favor large government. They believe that deficits should be used to stimulate the economy in severe recessions (when monetary policy alone is not enough), but they also believe that the deficits should be paid for during good times (shave the peaks to fill the troughs and stabilize the path of GDP and employment). We haven't been very good at the pay for it during good times part, but Democrats can hardly be blamed for that (see tax cuts for the wealthy for openers).

Anything else, e.g. perhaps something like "Keynesians do not believe that helping people in need undermines their desire to work"?

Axel Merk Warns Investors Are In For A Rude Awakening Zero Hedge


LOL! Almost. You really think that growth can continue forever and ever in a biosphere with finite resources?

Tell us another fairytale and good luck with that!

But yes, let the truly insolvent fucks and worthless fucks go to the guillotine already!

Bro of the Sorrowful

using metrics in economics and applying mathamatical formulas to quantify all aspects of the economy has been a major and far reaching disaster. none worse, perhaps with the exception of unemployment and inflation, than the totally fraudulent metric "GDP". youll notice in von mises' magnum opus human action that there is not a single formula.

were it not for the measurement of the ambiguous "GDP", we would not be so concerned with growth.


We sure as hell would be concerned with growth.

Expansion is what is required by our monetary system.

That is why inflation of 2% is "stable prices" and everyone and their mother talks about growth.

Fraction reserve currency requires expansion (exponential) to function.

No growth=no currency system.

That is why sustainability is a no go right out of the gate.


Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

i was speaking more of an ideal world in which we would be operating under a sound monetary system. my problem with using economic metrics for everything is that it takes the focus off of real problems and gives huge power to the international banking cartel by allowing them to manipulate the numbers without end. we start from a false monetary system, then apply a metric system based on false logic to justify that monetary system, while also making those metrics esoteric enough that the average person simply stops paying attention or freezes up when such metrics are mentioned. that way the economy can be absolute shit, with obvious signs to anyone with eyes, and yet your average person will still say, well GDP is up and unemployment is down so things must be good.

Harry Balzak

Are you implying that reality exists without accounting?

Blasphemy! Burn him!

[Sep 18, 2015] Paul Krugman: Labour's Dead Center

"...In theory, perhaps, but the political reality is that it could never happen without obliterating the modern Republican Party and a good chunk of the Democrats."
"...A healthy economy is more than healthy banks."
"...A characteristic of the neoliberal era in both the US and UK is that the center left parties took a turn toward conservative economics coupled with liberal social policies. This collapse on the economic side has been in progress for 30 years. All of the current crop of center left politicians learned their political rhetoric in the context of the reigning conservative economic orthodoxy. Many of them abandoned economic thought and policy altogether, basically handing economics over to the markets. That's why they have to employ other people to tell them what to think when things go haywire economically, and are so muddled and lost at sea."
"Mr. Corbyn's triumph isn't that surprising":
Labour's Dead Center, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Jeremy Corbyn, a long-time leftist dissident, has won a stunning victory in the contest for leadership of Britain's Labour Party. Political pundits say that this means doom for Labour's electoral prospects; they could be right, although I'm not the only person wondering why commentators who completely failed to predict the Corbyn phenomenon have so much confidence in their analyses...

But I won't ... get into that game. What I want to do instead is talk about one crucial piece of background to the Corbyn surge — the implosion of Labour's moderates. On economic policy, in particular, the striking thing ... was that every candidate other than Mr. Corbyn essentially supported the Conservative government's austerity policies.

Worse, they all implicitly accepted the bogus justification for those policies, in effect pleading guilty to policy crimes that Labour did not ... commit. If you want a U.S. analogy, it's as if all the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2004 had gone around declaring, "We were weak on national security, and 9/11 was our fault." Would we have been surprised if Democratic primary voters had turned to a candidate who rejected that canard, whatever other views he or she held?

In the British case, the false accusations against Labour involve ... claims that the Labour governments that ruled Britain from 1997 to 2010 spent far beyond their means, creating a ... debt crisis that..., in turn, supposedly left no alternative to severe cuts in spending, especially spending that helps the poor.

These claims have ... echoed by almost all British news media ... as facts. It has been an amazing thing to watch —... every piece of this conventional narrative is ... nonsense. ... And all of Mr. Corbyn's rivals for Labour leadership bought fully into that conventional nonsense, in effect accepting the Conservative case that their party did a terrible job of managing the economy, which simply isn't true. So as I said, Mr. Corbyn's triumph isn't that surprising given the determination of moderate Labour politicians to accept false claims about past malfeasance.

This still leaves the question of why Labour's moderates have been so hapless.... Labour's political establishment seems to lack all conviction, for reasons I don't fully understand. And this means that the Corbyn upset isn't about a sudden left turn on the part of Labour supporters. It's mainly about the strange, sad moral and intellectual collapse of Labour moderates.

Comments (117)

BillTuckerUS said...

"the strange, sad moral and intellectual collapse of Labour moderates" happened quite a while ago, when Tony Blair became Prime Minister.

Lafayette said in reply to DrDick...

Here, here.

There was a collapse of progressive-values that would seek less Income Disparity than the kind of arch unfairness that Reckless Ronnie's hatchet-job upon upper income-taxation brought.

It sealed our fate, of sorts, in the US for decades to come. And we are still trying to find a way out of the mess, before the house-of-cards of this present market-economy comes down about our ears.

From the weight of too much good-fortune going to far too few for no good reason whatsoever ...

cm said in reply to Benedict@Large...

Good rejoinder, but I'd say Thatcher too was just a consequence/expression of underlying trends.

Similar things happened in some other countries. E.g. 90's Germany (1.5 (?) election cycles after the reunification) saw an essentially neoliberal "Social Democratic"/Green administration under chancellor Schröder which brought major safety net "reforms" and a vision of various "market liberalizations" on the way.

Schröder himself saw it not unfit to e.g. pose for photos in Armani suits or smoking cigars, which among other things earned him the nickname "comrade of the bosses". That was just one superficial pattern of expression of "labor center" corruption or cooption. Consequences included popular vote losses and splintering off of a "left party" that partially merged with or formed coalitions with East German "ex communists", which made it unpalatable to many people who (understandably) viewed them in a bad light due to association and being kind of a legal and moral successor of corrupt East German elites (even though the "East German communists" are mostly new faces and not the discredited old timers).

Overall, it looks very similar - the "moderates" are corrupted/coopted, leading to splintering into a discredited name-carrying entity and "extremists" that most still-honest members clinging to the former ideals don't want to associate with - even though the "extremists" probably represent (a subset of?) these ideals more so than anybody else.

DrDick said in reply to Eric377...

Right. The state of Michigan deliberately starving the city and imposing unnecessary draconian measures are the fault of the city leaders. As is the case with Britain, Detroit's problems are the result of economic collapse (the auto industry) and subsequent outsourcing of much manufacturing.

Paine said in reply to DrDick...

Goose chasing

The point

Uncle Sam using correct regional policy and the limitless money mine and limited but powerful taxing authority
Could easily prevent detroits from happening

Hell even rusty probably believes enough of this possible reality to admit
Detroit was a butchered by negligence greed and a democrat party that prevents
Real progressives from gaining The power of federal office

DrDick said in reply to Paine ...

In theory, perhaps, but the political reality is that it could never happen without obliterating the modern Republican Party and a good chunk of the Democrats.

bakho said...

People are unhappy with Obama because his Republican Econ team of Geithner and Bernanke bailed out the banks and dropped the ball on cramdown and bailout for the middle class. A healthy economy is more than healthy banks. Part of the message of the crash was that BigF is too bloated and needs to downsize. Instead we propped it up to the detriment of the economy. Same with Corbyn. People are unhappy with Austerity. The GOP is getting ready to shutdown the gov. The message should be, "You risk tanking the economy. " Then if it happens blame Congress.

Laundry Bank & Trust said in reply to bakho...

"healthy economy is more than healthy banks. Part of the message of the crash was that BigF is too bloated and needs to downsize. Instead we propped it up to the detriment of the economy. "

A healthy Main Street is a dying Bank Street. We don't need another marble coated bank. We need another saw-mill and another cargo-ship.

Did Ayn Rand once advise, "Since the smallest and most minor of all minorities is the individual, those who claim to subsidize minorities should stop crushing small business with repressive regulation, legislation and taxation against Main Street. Stop with talking the walk then walk the talk!"?

Imprecisely, yet put us onto the bloodhound's trek.


Benedict@Large said in reply to bakho...

"A healthy economy is more than healthy banks."

Except that Obama did not leave the banks healthy. He left them stuffed with excess reserves they cannot lend because they are still stuffed with excess bad debt. Banks cannot be healthy when the markets they've lent into are not healthy, and Obama/Geithner did almost nothing to address this.

[This BTW is the REAL crisis of the repeal of Glass-Steagal; it left the investment bankers in charge of the commercial operations they knew (know) nothing about. In the IB world, every problem can be solved by the addition of more money.

The CB world is more complicated. Problems there require that some of the bad loans actually be paid, and Obama/Geithner, led on by their friends in IB, never thought to do that.]

Dan Kervick said...

"And this means that the Corbyn upset isn't about a sudden left turn on the part of Labour supporters. It's mainly about the strange, sad moral and intellectual collapse of Labour moderates."

A characteristic of the neoliberal era in both the US and UK is that the center left parties took a turn toward conservative economics coupled with liberal social policies. This collapse on the economic side has been in progress for 30 years. All of the current crop of center left politicians learned their political rhetoric in the context of the reigning conservative economic orthodoxy. Many of them abandoned economic thought and policy altogether, basically handing economics over to the markets. That's why they have to employ other people to tell them what to think when things go haywire economically, and are so muddled and lost at sea.

Unlike the Democrats in the US, Labour was in the top political seat in the UK for years, so the responsibility for the financial collapse was laid at their door. They had to take the blame for something. Instead of continuing to take the blame for failing to rein in the banking and finance sector, they have recently decided to shift the blame to their own fiscal policies. Maybe that's because the financial guys own the media and own the politicians, so they call the tune.

Remember that in the US, the politicians also failed to blame the FIRE sector and decided to blame fiscal profligacy. Barack Obaama's first Attorney General infamously let the banksters off the hook. And Joe Biden went around in 2012 telling people that the cause of the financial crisis was that "George Bush put two wars on a credit card." And of course, the Obama administration spent a three years working on the idea that economic Job One was putting the fiscal house in order. Because the Republicans were in the White House in 2007/8, though, Democrats were able to blame both fiscal recklessness *and* the Republicans.

So far in the 2015/16 campaign, the cause of the financial crisis seems like ancient history. The media elite seems to have concluded that the crisis was just one of those things that sometimes happen, and it was nobody's fault. If anything, the problem was juts a short-term technocratic mismanagement issue: failing to deal with Lehman properly, prematurely tightening monetary policy. 30 years of deregulated flim-flam, greed and bubble-making has been swept under the rug.

JohnH said in reply to Dan Kervick...

Yes, more people should be asking why the Democratic Party is so hapless.

But the answer is obvious...Big Money.

Let's hope that Sanders crushes the corrupt septuagenarians currently driving the party into the ground led from behind by Obama the Wall Sreet neoliberal.

pgl said in reply to JohnH...

Did you even bother to read what Krugman wrote. Let me assist:

"the false accusations against Labour involve fiscal policy, specifically claims that the Labour governments that ruled Britain from 1997 to 2010 spent far beyond their means, creating a deficit and debt crisis that caused the broader economic crisis. The fiscal crisis, in turn, supposedly left no alternative to severe cuts in spending, especially spending that helps the poor. These claims have, one must admit, been picked up and echoed by almost all British news media."

Of course these false accusations were spread by Cameron as his excuse for fiscal austerity which turned out to be a real economic disaster.

Oh wait - there is a reason that you could not address what Krugman was writing about. You were praising Cameron and his stupid fiscal austerity.

My apologies for interrupting your rant.

JohnH said in reply to pgl...

pgl whines about what I say about him...and then he posts the lie that I support Cameron, which is pure BS.

But pgl can't defend corrupt Democrats, much as he tries, so all he can do is make up lies.

Paine said in reply to JohnH...


The bastards really wanted to move right on economics
Thy really saw the great society as a failed vision

JohnH said in reply to Peter K....

In the end he had to comprise...the problem with Obama is that he gave Republicans austerity before any negotiations ever began...any idiot understands that you don't start negotiations by giving the store away to the other side...which is what Obama did.

reason said...

Interesting in Australia, inner party coup unseats Prime Minister. That makes twice in a row, in opposing parties. That is what a living democracy looks like. In America, you seem to have forgotten.

pgl said in reply to DrDick...

Bernie Sanders 2015 is not quite George McGovern 1972. And as awful as Nixon was - he's better than any of the remaining 16 Republican clowns (Perry had the good sense to drop out).

DrDick said in reply to pgl...

Bernie's policy positions are actually quite popular, which could not be said of McGovern (who I voted for in my first ever election).

DrDick said in reply to DrDick...

The link for that:

pgl said in reply to DrDick...

I was too young but I thought McGovern would have been a very good President. He lost because Nixon lied in October 1972 about peace being at hand. Nixon was almost as dishonest in campaigns as Karl Rove and Mitt Romney.

DrDick said in reply to pgl...

Goldwater, Nixon, and Reagan, reactionaries and liars all, are the parents of modern conservatism.

[Sep 16, 2015] U.S. Rejected Offers by Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria to Surrender … and Proceeded to Wage War

"...There's no money in PEACE.."
Sep 16, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Submitted by George Washington on 09/16/2015 00:42 -0400

The Daily Mail reported last year:

A self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that [Gaddafi offered to abdicate as leader of Libya.]

'Gaddafi wasn't a good guy, but he was being marginalized,' [Retired Rear Admiral Chuck ] Kubic recalled. 'Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate' shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.

'But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,' the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.

Kubic said that the effort at truce talks fell apart when the White House declined to let the Pentagon pursue it seriously.

'We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,' Kubic said, 'but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.'

The Washington Times wrote in January:

"I have been contacted by an intermediary in Libya who has indicated that President Muammar Gadhafi is willing to negotiate an end to the conflict under conditions which would seem to favor Administration policy," [former U.S. Congressman Dennis] Kucinich wrote on Aug. 24.


Mrs. Clinton ordered a general within the Pentagon to refuse to take a call with Gadhafi's son Seif and other high-level members within the regime, to help negotiate a resolution, the secret recordings reveal.

A day later, on March 18, Gadhafi called for a cease-fire, another action the administration dismissed.


"Everything I am getting from the State Department is that they do not care about being part of this. Secretary Clinton does not want to negotiate at all," the Pentagon intelligence asset told Seif Gadhafi and his adviser on the recordings.

Communication was so torn between the Libyan regime and the State Department that they had no point of contact within the department to even communicate whether they were willing to accept the U.N.'s mandates, former Libyan officials said.


"The decision to invade [Libya] had already been made, so everything coming out of the State Department at that time was to reinforce that decision," the official explained, speaking only on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.


"The Libyans would stop all combat operations and withdraw all military forces to the outskirts of the cities and assume a defensive posture. Then to insure the credibility with the international community, the Libyans would accept recipients from the African Union to make sure the truce was honored," Mr. Kubic said, describing the offers.

"[Gadhafi] came back and said he was willing to step down and permit a transition government, but he had two conditions," Mr. Kubic said. "First was to insure there was a military force left over after he left Libya capable to go after al Qaeda. Secondly, he wanted to have the sanctions against him and his family and those loyal to him lifted and free passage. At that point in time, everybody thought that was reasonable."

But not the State Department.

Gen. Ham was ordered to stand down two days after the negotiation began, Mr. Kubic said. The orders were given at the behest of the State Department, according to those familiar with the plan in the Pentagon. Gen. Ham declined to comment when questioned by The Times.

"If their goal was to get Gadhafi out of power, then why not give a 72-hour truce a try?" Mr. Kubic asked. "It wasn't enough to get him out of power; they wanted him dead."

Similarly, Saddam Hussein allegedly offered to let weapons inspectors in the country and to hold new elections. As the Guardian reported in 2003:

In the few weeks before its fall, Iraq's Ba'athist regime made a series of increasingly desperate peace offers to Washington, promising to hold elections and even to allow US troops to search for banned weapons. But the advances were all rejected by the Bush administration, according to intermediaries involved in the talks.

Moreover, Saddam allegedly offered to leave Iraq:

"Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion)".

"The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President's Texas ranch."

"The White House refused to comment on the report last night. But, if verified, it is certain to raise questions in Washington and London over whether the costly four-year war could have been averted."

According to the tapes, Bush told Aznar that whether Saddam was still in Iraq or not, "We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March." See also this and this.

Susan Lindauer (after reading an earlier version of this essay by Washington's Blog) wrote:

That's absolutely true about Saddam's frantic officers to retire to a Villa in Tikrit before the invasion. Except he never demanded $1 BILLION (or $500 MILLION). He only asked for a private brigade of the Iraqi National Guard, which he compared to President Clinton's Secret Service detail for life throughout retirement. I know that for a fact, because I myself was the back channel to the Iraqi Embassy at the U.N. in New York, who carried the message to Washington AND the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. Kofi Annan was very much aware of it. So was Spain's President Asnar. Those historical details were redacted from the history books when George Bush ordered my arrest on the Patriot Act as an "Iraqi Agent"– a political farce with no supporting evidence, except my passionate anti-war activism and urgent warnings that War in Iraq would uncover no WMDs, would fire up a violent and bloody counter-insurgency, and would result in Iran's rise as a regional power. In 2007, the Senate Intelligence Committee hailed my warnings in Jan. 2003 (as the Chief Human Intelligence covering Iraq at the U.N.) to be one of the only bright spots in Pre-War Intelligence. Nevertheless, in 2005 and again in 2008, I was declared "incompetent to stand trial," and threatened with "indefinite detention up to 10 years" on Carswell Air Force Base, in order to protect the cover up of Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence.

(The New York Times has covered Lindauer at least 5 times, including here and here.)

On October 14, 2001, the Taliban offered to hand over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country if the US halted bombing if the Taliban were given evidence of Bin Laden's involvement in 9/11.

Specifically, the Guardian noted in 2001:

Returning to the White House after a weekend at Camp David, the president said the bombing would not stop, unless the ruling Taliban "turn [bin Laden] over, turn his cohorts over, turn any hostages they hold over." He added, "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty" …

Afghanistan's deputy prime minister, Haji Abdul Kabir, told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

"If the Taliban is given evidence that Osama bin Laden is involved" and the bombing campaign stopped, "we would be ready to hand him over to a third country", Mr Kabir added.

However, as the Guardian subsequently pointed out:

A senior Taliban minister has offered a last-minute deal to hand over Osama bin Laden during a secret visit to Islamabad, senior sources in Pakistan told the Guardian last night.

For the first time, the Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden for trial in a country other than the US without asking to see evidence first in return for a halt to the bombing, a source close to Pakistan's military leadership said.

And the Guardian reports today:

Russia proposed more than three years ago that Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, could step down as part of a peace deal, according to a senior negotiator involved in back-channel discussions at the time.

Former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari said western powers failed to seize on the proposal. Since it was made, in 2012, tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions uprooted, causing the world's gravest refugee crisis since the second world war.

Ahtisaari held talks with envoys from the five permanent members of the UN security council in February 2012. He said that during those discussions, the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, laid out a three-point plan, which included a proposal for Assad to cede power at some point after peace talks had started between the regime and the opposition.

But he said that the US, Britain and France were so convinced that the Syrian dictator was about to fall, they ignored the proposal.


"There was no question because I went back and asked him a second time," he said, noting that Churkin had just returned from a trip to Moscow and there seemed little doubt he was raising the proposal on behalf of the Kremlin.

Ahtisaari said he passed on the message to the American, British and French missions at the UN, but he said: "Nothing happened because I think all these, and many others, were convinced that Assad would be thrown out of office in a few weeks so there was no need to do anything."

Similarly, Bloomberg reported in 2012:

As Syria slides toward civil war, Russia is signaling that it no longer views President Bashar al-Assad's position as tenable and is working with the U.S. to seek an orderly transition.


After meeting with French President Francois Hollande, among the most adamant of Western leaders demanding Assad's departure, Putin said Russia was not invested in Assad staying.


"We aren't for Assad or for his opponents," Putin told reporters in Paris on June 1. "We want to achieve a situation in which violence ends and a full-scale civil war is avoided."

And yet, as with Gaddaffi, Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden, the U.S. turned down the offer and has instead prosecuted war. See this and this.

Postscript: An offer by Russia for Assad to leave is not the same as an offer by Assad himself. However, because the Syrian government would have long ago fallen without Russia's help, the distinction is not really that meaningful.


What the USSA is doing is pure evil. At least Germany had a logical reason for aggressions. The treaty of Versailles unfairly took German lands. Germany wanted them back. It wasn't till Poland resisted that Germany let loose.

The USSA destroys leaders seeking a truce and does so in the name of peace. Then it rams its immoral, family destroying sterilizing geo-political socio economic system down traditional pious soverigns throats.


so this make us what? the evil emipire? officially the bad guys?


I don't call them the predators-that-be for nothing.

Sudden Debt

Why did we go to war in the first place?

War industry, they run shit.

And sure they did it so they could steal all the money in the world.

That's why we're broke and half the world is at war.

That can never be ended.


This is far from a new phenomena, we did the same against Spain until we took the Philippines, Wilson and House were against a settlement of the then still European War until the US had shed its blood on European soil, which clearly would have resulted in a pre-hostilities border settlement and maintained political structures instead of unconditional surrender.

All the blood, misery and human carnage that could have been subsequently avoided had we just stuck to the principles of the nations founders.

But capital requires war, war for profits, war to cull excess supply of capital, war to rebuild and war to dominate.

Power and money forged with American myth has been a potent mixture that directly and indirectly has murdered 100's of millions of innocent lives. And we are to destroy the cultural heritage of nations because one boy died on the beaches escaping a war that we initiated and fostered?


"War is Peace", why do you think they didn't negotiate?

Turdy Brown

Admiral Kubic is a good friend of mine. I was in Libya and Afghanistan with him. He is one of the smartest, bravest men that I have ever met.

In fact a quick story about him. We were both working on a project at the US Embassy in Kabul in 2011. I had just landed in the morning and as soon as I got to the Embassy, a group of Taliban started lobbing rocket towards the Embassy. Anyhow, it was a 24 hour ordeal but Kubic was the only person that I saw that grabbed an AK from a Ghurka guard (btw Ghurkas are cowards!), and rushed towards the attackers! Most people, including security personell were running away from the fire. Not Kubic: he was charging the Taliban! Never seen anything like it in my life!

I also have personal knowledge of what he has said in this article. ALL TRUE!


wouldn't be the first time...

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet stated in a public address given at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945:

The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war. (See p. 329, Chapter 26) . . . [Nimitz also stated: "The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan. . . ."]

somewhat different than the widely accepted official narrative.


Saddam Hussein switched from using the US dollar to the euro in selling Iraqi oil. The same with Libya, they were friends with the USA until plans were established to set up a currency (Dinar) backed by gold .for the USA's economy to survive, it MUST maintain world currency reserve status !

ANYTHING that threatens this position WILL be neutralized, irregardless of what it takes ! When Iraq started selling oil using the euro, Saddam Hussein signed his death warrant, as did Libya ! The true reason for all this conflict is to maintain & support the US dollar & economy, namely all the wealthy of Wall Street & Washington DC .

But for some weird reason ALOT of people here seem to think Israel is responsible for everything bad that has or will ever happen !

Sad how in 2015 , people are still so racist ! How far humanity has advanced in technology but how primitive an foolish the human race still is in MANY ways !


There is glory in military victories. Exceptional trained sheeple die for that glory. Does the sheeple's god reward them for their stupidity? Do the gods praise as exceptional those whom they'll destroy?


Wall Street controls Washington.

Who controls Wall Street?

(if you don't know, I'm sure someone here could help you find out)


London controls Wall Street. And Riyadh. And Tel-Aviv. Not England, London. And the Bankers who control that city, control the world.


Yep, sounds just like ethno-oligarch subverted Western nations, nothing has changed.

What the World Rejected

Hitler's Peace Offers, 1933- 1939


There's no money in PEACE..

Max Steel

Why is the West reporting this NOW? It is a negotiating ploy. They know they have lost. Now they are trying to see if this old offer could still be put on the table.


No, the US leadership is a bunch of sore losers. That's what US voters wanted, prayed for, hoped for, and then mandated with an election. US leaders can't admit defeat, so next is probably a nuclear escalation, because they've convinced themselves that they have dug their protection deep enough into a number of mountains at taxpayer expense so that they will win and then survive.

In Russia, they built billions of dollars worth of fallout shelters over the last 20 years for the ordinary Russian. Every citizen in Moscow is within three minutes of a fallout shelter. The Russian leadership knows the US leadership better than the US voters do. In the US, they haven't built anything at all to protect the general population, and apparently consider everyone expendable.

This way, if the US calls it all wrong and totally screws it up, they won't have to answer to anyone who voted for them when they walk out of their fallout shelters a year after it's all over.


Do not confuse America with its leadership.


So long as the leadership remains in power and not dangling by their necks from the White House balcony, America and the leadership are the same.


The US didn't want an election, Kaddaffi would have won, he was loved by his people, Libyans wouldn't vote for their own liquidation, Libya had the highest living standards in Africa, Libyan citizenship was a valuable commodity -- like US citizenship.

Libya was looted in an international war crime.

To Hell In A Handbasket

Looted is the understatement of the year.

The narrative by the MSM was Gaddaffi is a dictator and the people need freedom and democracy. What the MSM ommitted was a background history of the country, Libya's achievments under Gaddaffi vs the total plunder of Libya under our puppet leader King Idris(who was overthrown by Gaddaffi), who were the Libyian National Transitional Council (NTC), what was the price of French(NATO) intervention for the treasonous (NTC)? (Mining rights to 35% of Libya's hydro carbons)

On 3 April a letter was sent by Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) to a coalition partner, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, which mentioned that France would take "35 percent of crude exchange for its total and permanent support" of the NTC. France's Liberation daily reported on Thursday that it had a copy of the letter, which stated that the NTC's Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam, would negotiate the deal with France. In 2010 France was the second purchaser of Libyan oil after Italy, with over 15 percent of its "oil" imported from Tripoli.

But that's not all as we must apply logic. Who was the first country to recognise the NTC? Which was the only country Gaddaffi broke off diplomatic ties? Which country was the first to bomb? The answer is France, to all 3 of those questions, but there is more the MSM avoided talking about and the biggest mystery is WHERE IS LIBYA'S 148 METRIC TONNS OF GOLD? Western leaders are not interested in peace, but in conquest and plunder for their paymasters.. Even the doubters who believed in freedom and humanitarian intervention, had to sit up, pause and think, when the NTC before they had even reached Trippoli and was losing the ground offensive, created their own central bank that was recognised by the NATO coalition inside of 2 days.. Case closed.


Gaddafi had loaned Unicredito multiple billions in 2009 and they didn't feel like paying it back. Follow the money.

Bankster Kibble

We don't trust elections in our client states. When the Iraqis had their first election after the fall of Saddam, they elected some mullah we didn't like so we made them hold another election. "Do it again until you do it right!"


There's no profit in peace. Or not nearly as much I should say. A little dribble just won't cut it, steal the whole fucking enchilada at once. Get to test weapons. Get to play with cool toys like drones. See people get blown to pieces for the sick-minded. Move closer to world domination, etc. All ideas of crazy people. The only problem is, since this is human nature, if the US wasn't doing it or preventing others, would others step in with the same crazy ass plan? I would venture to guess yes.


Whatever is of benefit to peaceful citizens is not profitable to the financial sociopaths. Hence, fighting increases. Your real enemy hides in financial institutions, surrounded by minions and voracious lawyers.


Do you think the white collar crime of Wall Steet and the Federal Reserve is bad ?

For more crimes against humanity go to and see Free Document page and click link A Crime Against Humanity

The very gov agencies that are supposed to be protecting the public from dangers of fire and hazardous products, CPSC and NFPA as well as the non gov testing facility UL which often tests products on the governments behalf, have been covering up a deadly conspiracy to commit fraud that has resulted in the deaths of 10's of 1000's and horrible, often times, disfiguring injuries of 100's of 1000's of unsuspecting consumers over last 5 decades.

These agencies have all been in the back pocket of ionized alarm manufactures for over 50 years , which was exposed back in 1976 by a Fire Protection Engineer, Richard Patton. Mr. Patton revealed that the government funded Dunes Test which tested smoke alarms, was not only rigged so ionized alarms would pass the smoldering smoke stage of test but the data was falsified so that ionized detectors could keep the UL stamp of approval, while the superior, safer and more reliable heat detector technologies were deliberately set up to fail the tests.

With each day that passes and the CSPC fails to make a mandatory recall of ion alarms , many more victims will either be killed and or suffer serious injuries as the ionized alarm manufactures flooded the market with ion alarms and it is estimated that over 90% of all homes and habitable structures have these deadly devices, providing the public with a false sense of security.

Buyer beware ! These deaths and injuries have been and are preventable, as the safer more reliable photoelectric / heat smoke alarms have been available for over 40 years. The ion manufactures are fully aware of the problem and have been sued multiple times and paid $10's of millions in damages and the UL has been sued as well. Manufactures, in one lawsuit back in 2001 were ordered to provide disclosure on ion alarm packaging which ended up being a watered down disclosure / recommendation to use both photoelectric and ionized alarms. Being ion alarms are less expensive and majority of consumers do not read fine print on packaging which omits the actual dangers / death / injury factors, consumers assume a smoke detector is a smoke detector, and most people still opt to buy the less expensive and dangerous ion alarms.

Most everyone you know is at risk and should be made aware of these deadly devices as the government agencies will continue to cover up the fraud from the public until such a time a civil lawsuit and verdict is reached to force CPSC to execute a mandatory recall which could take several years. Please post this message on your facebook and twitter sites and forward to as many others as possible. More information and 60 minutes segment / news videos that have covered this issue can be found on


and in Ukraine,

Poroshenko (the elected guy who didn't want the IMF-NATO offer for Ukraine),

had agreed in a EU brokered deal to hold early elections and step down.

Guess who said "Fuck the EU" and instead backed a coup by jackbooted jingoists?


nor should we forget the US-led attack on Yugoslavia, in complete violation of the UN charter, a devastating bombing campaign destroying the civilian infrastructure, done with the hypocritical alleged motive to prevent "human rights violations".

In that case, Yugoslavia's refusal to accept a non-negotiable ultimatum to surrender sovereignty of its territory (Kosovo) to the Mafia-run KLA was falsely depicted as Yugoslavia's refusal to negotiate.


Now Turkey destabilises Western Europe by funnelling refugees into the EU in an invasion force. Germany takes in 1,000,000 in 2015 which exceeds its own birth rate. Won't be long before Europe disintegrates into civil war and regional conflicts like so much of its history. Soon the US will have created global chaos and it will not be able to restore order anywhere because it dare not put "boots on the ground" and it will need 4-5 million soldiers to restore order the way things are going.

When the Ukrainian refugees start towards Western Europe it should be clear the EU has destroyed peace in Europe for generations


It seems that the US "leaders" have made it a game to violate every law of the Geneva conventions.

A. Bean-Counter

All those kids who were taking, like, loads of drugs in the '70's, those kids are now running US foreign policy - and still taking the drugs.


the "kids" who Turned On went into music, computing, design, family, travel, and more ...

but yeah, those alcoholic kids did go on to run foreign policy, i give you that ...


...coke heads too, but less likely the potheads...


Global Geopolitical Chessboard:
Psychopathic Players and Cynical Moves
Guarantee a Future of Perpetual War "From the Black Sea to the Baltic"

Explosive Presentation Hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Reveals

What No Government Official, No Political Representative, No NGO Executive

and No Think Tank Director Has Ever Said Before in Public


When will the American people demand that Cheney, Bush Hillary and Obama face justice for war crimes committed against humanity. Hopefully in 2016 Americans remember the crimes these people have committed and vote for somehing with not such a past.

Pancho de Villa

Are you Dreaming Amigo? Los Gringos will Never admit what they Refuse to Believe! Bush and Cheney will go to their graves as Heroes in their eyes! Otherwise Intelligent Peoples Refuse to Entertain what They Consider to be "Treasonous" Notions. I have Three Brother-in-Laws that work in Govt Related Fields. I get along with them all just fine now that I have learned what Topics to Avoid in Conversation!

Buen Suenos, Amigo


With the discovery of oil in Libya in 1959, a very poor desert country became a very rich little western protectorate. US and European companies had huge stakes in the extremely lucrative petroleum and banking sectors, but these were soon nationalized by Gaddafi. Thus Libya overnightjoined the list of US 'enemy' or 'rogue' states that sought autonomy and self-determination outside the expanding sphere of western Empire. Further cementing western hatred of the new regime, Libya played a leading role of the 1973 oil embargo against the US and maintained cooperative relations with the Soviet Union. Gaddafi also reportedly channeled early oil wealth into national free health care and education.

Life in Libya with Leader Gaddafi:

1. Electricity for household use is free,

2. interest-free loans

3. during the study, government give to every student 2 300 dolars/month

4. receives the average salary for this profession if you do not find a job after graduation,

5. the state has paid for to work in the profession,

6. every unemployed person receives social assistance 15,000 $/year,

7. for marriage state pays first apartment or house (150m2),

8. buying cars at factory prices,

9. LIBYA not owe anyone a cent,

10. free higher education abroad,

11. 25% of highly educated,

12. 40 loaves of bread costs $ 0.15,

13. water in the middle of the desert, drinking water,

14. 8 dinars per liter of oil (0.08 EUR),

15. 6% poor people,

16. for each infant, the couple received $ 5,000 for their needs.



"9. LIBYA not owe anyone a cent,"

That's the problem right there...


and i didn't see any mention of the golden Squid in the article, so more obfuscation still ....


Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol, and Condoleeza Rice among many others all need to spend a better portion of their earthly existence in an 8x8 cell watching the rest of us enjoying their sudden departure.


That's a rather incomplete list, but it's a start.


Don't forget Blair...


What's that? The UK and their US and NATO puppets weren't at all interested in peaceful solutions to the middle-east conflicts? It's almost exactly like the way Israel targetted assasinations against the moderate Palistinian politicians for the express purpose of making the radicals powerful, meaning that no peace would be possible.

One would think that the aim has been to kill as many people as possible, and not regime change at all.


Yes that and in many of these countries in the end its all about the physical gold they hold, a new leader doesn't matter we need to go there kill whoever and take their shit.

Saddam had lots and lots of gold, I think Ghadaffi had more.

Many of these places we end up going had loads of gold all of which now belongs to us aka the west aka the bankers aka the tribe. So in the end maybe we are all doing gods work just by being part of that system.


We also had to get the results of the effects of nukes on undamaged cities and their inhabitants - a magnificently evil medical experiment.

[Sep 16, 2015] Bankers Will Be Jailed In The Next Financial Crisis

"...For the first time, I found routine agreement among delegates that the banking industry had become synonymous with organized crime. "
Sep 16, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Jesus College, Cambridge hosted, once more, the world's leading Symposium on Economic Crime, and over 500 distinguished speakers and panelists drawn from the widest possible international fora, gathered to make presentations to the many hundreds of delegates and attendees.

What became very quickly clear this year was the general sense of deep disgust and repugnance that was demonstrated towards the global banking industry.

I can say with some degree of certainty now that a very large number of academics, law enforcement agencies, and financial compliance consultants are now joined, as one, in their total condemnation of significant elements of the global banking sector for their organised criminal activities.

Many banks are widely identified now as nothing more than enterprise criminal organisations, who engage in widespread criminal practice and dishonest conduct as a matter of course and deliberate commercial policy.

– From the excellent article: The Banking Criminals Exposed

My prediction is that bankers will be jailed in the next economic/financial crisis. Lots and lots of bankers.

It may seem to many that those working within this profession will remain above the law indefinitely in light of the lack of any accountability whatsoever since the collapse of 2008. It may seem that way, but extrapolating this trend into the future is to ignore a monumentally changed political environment around the world. From the ascendancy of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders here in the U.S., to Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader in the UK, big changes are certainly afoot.

I have become convinced of this change for a little while now, but we won't really see evidence of it until the next collapse. However, something I read earlier today really brought the point home for me. Rowan Bosworth-Davies recently attended the 33rd Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime and provided us with some notes in an excellent piece titled, The Banking Criminals Exposed. Here are a few excerpts:

Jesus College, Cambridge hosted, once more, the world's leading Symposium on Economic Crime, and over 500 distinguished speakers and panelists drawn from the widest possible international fora, gathered to make presentations to the many hundreds of delegates and attendees.

This Symposium has indeed become an icon among other international gatherings of its knd and over the years, it has proved to be highly influential in the driving and development of international policy aimed at combating international financial and economic crime.

What became very quickly clear this year was the general sense of deep disgust and repugnance that was demonstrated towards the global banking industry.

I can say with some degree of certainty now that a very large number of academics, law enforcement agencies, and financial compliance consultants are now joined, as one, in their total condemnation of significant elements of the global banking sector for their organised criminal activities.

Many banks are widely identified now as nothing more than enterprise criminal organisations, who engage in widespread criminal practice and dishonest conduct as a matter of course and deliberate commercial policy.

Speaker after speaker addressed the implications of the scandalous level of PPI fraud, whose repayment and compensation schedules now run into billions of pounds.

Some speakers struggled with the definition of such activity as 'Mis-selling' and needed to be advised that what they were describing was an institutionalized level of organised financial crimes involving fraud, false accounting, forgery and other offenses involving acts of misrepresentation and deceit.

One of the side issues which came out of this and other debates, was the general and genuine sense of bewilderment that management in these institutions concerned, (and very few banks and financial houses have escaped censure for this dishonest practice) have walked away from this orgy of criminal antics, completely unscathed. The protestations from management that these dishonest acts were carried out by a few rogue elements, holds no water and cannot be justified.

In the end, I sat there, open-mouthed while evidence against the same old usual scum-bag financial institutions, was unrolled, and a lengthy list of agencies, all apparently dedicated to dealing with fraud and financial crime, lamely sought to explain why they were powerless to help these victims.

This was followed by a lengthy list of names of major law firms, and Big 5 accounting firms who were willing to join with these pariah banks to bring complex and expensive legal actions against these victims, bankrupting them, forcing them from their homes, repossessing properties they had worked for years to create, while all the time, the regulators and the other agencies, including to my shame and regret, certain spineless police forces, stood by and sought to justify their inaction.

At one stage, we were shown how banks ritually and deliberately take transcripts of telephone calls made between complainants and the bank, and deliberately and systematically go through these conversations, re-editing them and reproducing them in a format which is much more favourable to the bank.

For the first time, I found routine agreement among delegates that the banking industry had become synonymous with organised crime. Many otherwise more conservative attendees expressed their grave concern and their repugnance at the way in which so many of our most famous banking names were now behaving. It is becoming very much harder to believe that the banks will be able to rely on the routine support they have traditionally enjoyed from most ordinary members of the public.

The election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the labour Party means that banking crime and financial fraud will now become an electoral issue.

But now, the new Labour leadership will focus the attention of the electorate on the relationship between the Tory party and their very crooked friends in the City, and the degree of protection that the Square Mile gangsters and their Consiglieri, their Capos, and their Godfathers will become much more identifiable. Bank crime will now become much more identifiable as a City practice and their friends in the Tories will be seen as being primary beneficiaries.

Things are moving in the direction of justice. At a glacial place for sure, but moving they are.


When they're swinging from lamp posts lining Broadway and Water St,
*then * I'd call it progress.

Til then, same old same old...


There were over 1,000 felony prosecutions that came out of the Savings & Loan fiasco in the 80's, with a 90% conviction rate.

But, to your point, these were not the big Wall Street Bankers. Mostly just your local common banker thief and his cronies, with a few politicians thrown in for good measure. No big fish were prosecuted during the Depression era, either.


A reminder of how JPM saved its own ass in 2008. Worth bookmarking....

The Secret Bailout of JP Morgan


Dream on, Mike. Just who will jail the banksters? They own the governments of USA, Canada, and Western Europe. Not a chance in my lifetime.


Politicians and the judicial branch are in the banks pockets. I will believe it when I see it to be honest. I have yet to see real bankers or for that matter politicians go to jail. As long as the big fines are paid nothing will change. Must be nice to create money from nothing to pay these fines and fucking your customers over at the same time.

Fahque Imuhnutjahb

Wishful thinking. If any justice is to be meted out then the "little people" will have to take it upon themselves.

And by little people I mean the plebes, not dwarves; but the dwarves are welcome to help, unless of course

some of them are little bankers, then they're not welcome, but the rest are. Glad we got that cleared up.

[Sep 15, 2015] Corbyn The Day After

"I am delighted to see the Blairites and Brownites routed so comprehensively"

Sep 12, 2015 | naked capitalism

It will be interesting to see if Corbyn's leadership victory in the UK presages a Sanders victory in our own 2016 Presidential primary. Despite projecting American politics onto British politics throughout this piece, I have no idea! Working in favor of this view: Political structures where tiny oligarchies rule, and voters matter only when they want what oligarchs want, seems almost universal world-wide. So, if you want a majority of the votes, run against the oligarchy, and if you want to split or tame the oligarchy, make that majority a super-majority, with cadres ready to do more than vote. Sanders seems to take this view, as does Corbyn. How that will play out globally, nation by nation, state by state, and precinct by precinct, I have no idea, and a Trump can tap into class resentment just as well as a Sanders.[3] We live in interesting times.


Where's the similar juxtaposition for Sanders? Sanders needs to ramp up the class conflict meme right now. This kind of 'counter culture' identity politics takes time to be established. Sanders might not realize yet how powerful a message he has available to him. I do hope Sanders has some campaign aparatchiks over in England learning Corbyns' methods.


For those who aren't aware, a central plank of Corbyn's campaign is economic. He wants to set up a an investment bank, funded by quantitative easing. This policy is being referred to as "people's quantitative easing".

It's been developed in part by a UK accountant called Richard Murphy, whose weblog you can read here:

As far as I can tell, this would be have a very similar effect to Keynesian stimulus.

The way it's being sold is that QE was used to bail out the British banks following 2008. Of course, the 2008 QE was OK with the Conservatives, and with old New Labour. So, why not use the same mechanism again, but instead of giving the cash to the banks, use it to set up an Investment Bank which will fund infrastructure.


[I]t's very unlikely to fly with either the parliamentary Labour party, the wider Labour party membership, or the UK public

Then the real question is what happens at the constituency party level. Refuseniks may go on and on about how the sky is falling and they'll never be in power again, but if Corbyn supporters, who seem to represent a real ground swell, can exercise their voice at the constituency level to make clear that if the Blairites stick to their neoliberal [non]principles then they will likely face deselection (just like with primary challenges here in the US), then the mostly careerists among the "modernizers" will see that at least appearing to support Corbyn's platform will be in their own best interests. After all, wouldn't that be, I dunno, democratic?


The strategy so far has been to be to avoid any talk of deselection, and bring as many former Blairites into the fold as possible:

But there is already speculation on what happens if that doesn't work:

However, it's likely that everyone involved will want to avoid a repeat of the damaging Labour party split which happened in the 1980s.

The analogy to the 1980s is flawed though. During the 1980s, the UK Labour party was already very left wing, and was facing an unexpected and highly effective attack from the Thatcher government. For example, no-one thought that Thatcher would shut down UK industry and fritter away North Sea oil income in order to silence her opponents, but that's exactly what she did. It's about this time that the Labour party splintered, and would eventually be taken over by Tony Blair.

Fast forward to 2015, and the UK Labour party is controlled by neoliberals. But the grassroots support has remained to the left of the leadership. Until now, there hasn't been a chance for the grassroots to do anything about the way the party is run. Due to hubris, or complacency, Corbyn was added to the ballot. Yesterday he took leadership of the party.

As a result, a lot of Labour MPs seem confused. They're basically squeezed between the party leadership, and the party membership. For example, 15,500 people have joined the Labour party since yesterday. Normally, you'd expect MPs to be delighted to have a very popular new leader, and grassroots membership increasing rapidly. But, for some reason, several MPs are viewing it as a disaster.

What might count in Corbyn's favour is that he was a Labour MP in the 1980s. He thus saw first hand what happened when the party split then. Furthermore, the tactics likely to be employed by the Cameron government are now very well understood (they're basically a continuation of the Thatcher policies). So, it seems unlikely that events will rerun in the same way they did 30 years ago.

m-ga, September 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm

The Conservatives are in power until 2020. So, assuming Corbyn can hold the Labour party together, he has five years to make his case. There may be finance-led attacks on the UK following 2020 if Corbyn actually gets elected.

Two things might happen before then, though. Firstly, Corbyn might not stick around. In one scenario, he is thrown out in a coup by another faction of the Labour party. In another, he leaves voluntarily, on the basis that another party member would be better than him going into the election campaign. This second scenario isn't too unlikely in my opinion – Corbyn seems more interested in the success of his policies than the success of himself personally. He is also 66, and would be 70 by the 2020 campaign.

I suppose it depends if there's anyone who would carry the policies forward. The group of Labour MPs who fully support him is very small – maybe 15 or less. That's could change, though, if there is appetite among the wider public for Corbyn's policies. Unfortunately, MPs exploiting such opportunities are likely to be more interested in power than anything else. So, a chosen successor would most likely come from the handful who already support him.

The other thing which might happen is another major financial shock – be it for the UK, Europe, or a global event similar to those in 2008 or 2000. The Conservatives have a wafer-thin UK majority. If they recommend bailing out the financial system again, or if their (unjustified) reputation for economic competence collapses, the public outcry could mean the Conservatives don't survive.

If that happened, and if Corbynomics (i.e. the green quantitative easing) had been established as an alternative in the minds of the UK public, then Corbynomics might become the preferred route. There would be a lot of screaming from the banks.

[Sep 15, 2015] After winning his prize, Malcolm Turnbull must learn from Abbott's mistakes by Gabrielle Chan

Sep 15, 2015 | The Guardian

NewmanOldjoke darthseditious1969 14 Sep 2015 20:53

Abbott loaded up Turnbull with a poisoned chalice. Seriously, infrastructure of the NBN's scale was never going to be straightforward, with Telstra's hard ass obstructionism thrown in..Still, the pollies wanted to politicise it, and Rupert's self-interested media style never gave them any choice.

When you step back, political vanity, fear of Rupert, and individualist ambition ruined the Libs on two really important issues in the ETS and the NBN. If they'd had the wit to be bipartisan both would be non-issues that would have fed a lot of positives back into their own interests and the community. But they chose to see short-termist wedge opportunity and failed to see Rupert's and his mates self-interest was whipping them. Outfoxed by Fox, so to speak.

I doubt whether they will have the self-awareness to rue their binding to the IPA and Murdoch, but they ought to. Maybe in a decade. The malignant interest of old men's corporate internal power struggles has screwed the Libs out of so many options.

Cdaler77 14 Sep 2015 20:35

Turnbull just needs to be "not Abbott".

Be consultative with his colleagues AND the Australian people.
Abbott was constantly at war with both. That's no way to be a Prime Minister.

Stop being under the thumb of Murdoch and Stokes, and simply refuse to go on any shock jock's TV or radio shows. Tell Bolt, Hadley, Jones and all the others to just get stuffed.
The way Scott Morrison sucks up to Ray Hadley is simply sickening and unbecoming of a Minister of the Government. He should stop it now.

Just never, ever, treat the Australian people with the contempt that Abbott has shown us over the years. That he (Abbott) has gone is one of the best things that has happened. Now hopefully we can all settle down and put the toxic era of Rudd/Gillard/Rudd/Abbott behind us.

I say this as a Labor supporter. I know it may mean Labor doesn't win the next election, but I'm so relieved Abbott is gone. He was a very dangerous man for our country in these troubled times. Hopefully now cooler heads will prevail on both sides.

ukchange68 14 Sep 2015 20:14

Abbott gone - tick
Cameron - work in progress
Obama - work in progress
Getting there...............

JemFinch1 BSchwartz 14 Sep 2015 20:11

He is a truculent, spoiled, entitled child. Yes, his speech will have to be written for him, but he is the goose who has to deliver it, and no doubt he will stuff that up too.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

I know the Libs are still in power, but maybe now we can actually have some intelligent debate, some thought out policies, and Labor will have to lift their game - Tones won't be kicking any more home goals.

darthseditious1969 -> smudge10 14 Sep 2015 20:06

I get a distinct impression that Turnbull holds Murdoch in contempt. Which might be a good thing.

BSchwartz 14 Sep 2015 19:49

No one likes losing. But it is expected that you rock up, thank your supporters, reflect on your achievements, and either which the victor all the best or to rot in hell.
Abbott's failure to appear after losing the ballot reminds us of why his leadership failed.

He was an adrenaline junky, always aggressive, never reflective, never gracious.

He also was a hopeless thinker, unable to react to changing circumstance, never able to speak in more than soundbites.

Someone will have written a speech for him overnight. He is incapable. History will not be kind.

long_memory 14 Sep 2015 19:11

Great that Australia's experiment of having a Abbott fascist government has come to an end.

"Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions. 9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections."

thegarlicfarmer 14 Sep 2015 19:02

There will be short-lived honeymoon - then this elitist self interested man will be shown to what he is - same as Abbott in that he will serve his masters - the wealthy, multi-nationals et al. He has no regard to the common man/woman as he does not understand them. He has no moral compass - as long as he has power then all is ok. Supposedly a knowledgeable man on the NBN - look what has happened to that under his watch! Remember his foray as leader before? How we forget so quickly! He allowed a lowly public servant to hoodwink him - so that is the type of Prime Minister we have. HE HAS NO INTEREST BUT IN HIMSELF. Where oh where are the leaders who will take this great country forward - there is none in any of the political elite that play in Canberra these day? It will not happen in my lifetime but I live in hope that the generation y etc. will take the baton and run with it.

Abel Adamski Friarbird 14 Sep 2015 18:45

A cartoon that is a epitaph
Note the wording on the shirt
However we as a Nation and It's government score a substantial mention in an article that raises many very important issues

Can Malcolm get some reality into the Global Warming issue before it becomes an absolute disaster, positive feedbacks are kicking in

Philip Emery 14 Sep 2015 18:42

Turnbull is to be commended on flushing the toilet and getting rid of the big turd wallowing in the bottom of the bowl. Now it is to be hoped he scrapes the encrusted shit of the sides and actually has a go at governing. And Malcolm remember you're there to govern, not rule.

Warren Peece 14 Sep 2015 18:28

I hereby christen Abbott: Two Turd (as in 2/3) Tony, he did manage 2 of a possible 3 years, after all.

Friarbird 14 Sep 2015 18:18

Abbott was a museum exhibit, a blundering politician from an earlier age and narrow culture. He would have been quite at home in the clerical fascist regimes of Europe in the 1920's-40's, in which obedience to authority was counted the primary virtue.

Sitting at the knee of the prominent Catholic reactionary, BA Santamaria, he absorbed the 'values' of these regimes. They never left him. Consequently, he had real difficulty adapting to the democratic Westminster System and appeared baffled when it raised obstacles in his path. Government, it seemed, should act as a Prime Minister directs. He seemed to have little patience or understanding of the separation of powers doctrine and often sought to circumvent it, sometimes by ignoring it altogether, or by ludicrous 'captain's picks' which exhibited his often risible rash judgement. He had little imagination and lacked even the trademark fancy footwork associated with politicians--picking up and using the ideas of others. Significantly, his most striking 'success' was the dismantling of Labor's work. No politician of 'calibre' would wish to be thus remembered. Australia is well shot of him.

RalphFilthy 14 Sep 2015 18:16

F**k you Abbott.


Some departing amusement (safe for work - not safe for conservatives)

Tony Abbott vs Tony Abbott

Saltyandthepretz Talwyn224 14 Sep 2015 18:14

"The worst prime minister in Australian political history"
That is how he will be remembered. This is a very harsh, damning label (he is human and this course of events is enough to rock anyone) but his policies, his lies and his actions have led him to the inevitable.

Saltyandthepretz markdeux 14 Sep 2015 17:55

This last act of hiding seals Abbott's fate as the worst Prime Minister in the history of Australian politics. He wanted to be known as the "infrastructure Prime Minister" but words and actions can be two completely different things, thus he will be remembered as the "incompetent Prime Minister".

Bearmuchly OnceWasAus 14 Sep 2015 17:55

"not Americas bitches which the LNP have become"...............

Not disagreeing with the sentiment, however...........

a. The ALP seem no less beholden to US foreign policy

b. We've moved beyond National boundaries/nation states

........Murdoch represents global corporatisation, they know no boundaries, the world is their play pen and sovereign Govt's. , when not in their pockets, just get in the way.

dipole 14 Sep 2015 17:43

I'm conflicted.

Tony Abbott is, without doubt, the worst Australian PM in living memory.
Being as thick as two bricks, he was completely out of his depth.
So showing this anti-science climate change denier the door is a good thing.

But I was also looking forward to the complete trouncing the LNP were going to get at the next election. With Abbott as PM, he would have become the first one term PM in a very long time.

Now Labor have to fight for the next election.
Which is also a very good thing.

Turnbull needs to state publically that climate change is real, and we have an obligation to combat it. He needs to state that he is pro-science, and pro-alternative energy. He needs to remove the priests from the nations schools. And he needs to fix the NBN, so we have something worth using.

That will prove he is nothing like Abbott.

Simon Thompson Penfisher 14 Sep 2015 17:42

I am sure that someone will be able to point out the flaws in this suggestion, but here we go. The problem I see with representational government is that we elect the people whose lies we believe the most (or whose lies we'd like to believe the most).

Whilst ever we delegate responsibility for decision-making to professional liars we will forever be complaining that we elected A, promised to do B, only to end up with legislation C. The Swiss have a form of government which includes a plebiscite where the public vote directly on the issues.

I can see the first problem (in California) which is when the public votes for BOTH no increase in revenue / no increase in taxes AND an increase in expenditure. Maybe any expenditure has to include in the bill where the revenue is raised from? Meantime, our representational system of democracy which I consider CORPOCRACY (the best government that money can buy) will continue to plague us with paid-off pollies whose main job, as I said elsewhere is to get re-elected. Job #1 get elected. Job #2 get re-elected. Job #3 get to form government .. rinse and repeat. We can all see how the piper calls the tune and the biggest campaign donors and lobbyists get the government policy they want. Would plebiscites be able to be made to work in Australia? Would it deliver a better form of government?

Raymond Hall 14 Sep 2015 17:42

The miserable coward that Abbott has always been was on show last night. No show. From the most divisive, bullying and mean man ever to grace the position of PM, Abbott has thankfully been shown the door. Turnbull will be an improvement. How much an improvement only time will tell. But the real essence is that the LNP are damaged beyond repair, and only when the far right neo-cons fade away, will they ever be a real force again.

Anthony Forsyth 14 Sep 2015 17:38

Bye bye, Tone. A gutless ideologue who bullied his way to a job that was far beyond his ability. You won't be missed.

Mr Turbull no doubt believes this signals the end of the neo-cons and ushers in a glorious era for neoliberalism again. Can't imagine how he will govern his conservative apparatchiks from the centre.

The world is moving toward a new era with a new kind of socialism at the forefront. Corbyn elected as leader of the Labour Party in the UK, Sanders gaining traction in the U.S.

Expect Australia to be 5 steps behind yet again.

WitlessNall 14 Sep 2015 17:09

Can someone please tell Rupert Murdoch Australia isn't his little kingdom anymore?

Yeah you better remember that ScoMo next time you want to remind us what a puppet you are ...

markdeux 14 Sep 2015 17:08

Where was Abbott last night. A gutless mean spirited low life who did not have the courage to face the cameras after being dumped by some of his party. How long before the neo's are out to destroy Mal?

Rudd's actions after being dumped will look like a kiddies party compared to what is going to happen. Bets are on that Cory the enlightened one will be the first thug to attack. This is going to be fun.

Falcopilot Marleyman 14 Sep 2015 16:54

I always TRY to look on peoples best sides, but unfortunately the facts back you up all the way, so I reluctantly concur with your assessment!
Abbott was a truly sad excuse for a humane being, and I always think of his party as the "mean and nasty party"!
Abbott's legacy is not going to look in the history books at all, he is/was a dismal failure, not unlike Bush V2.0 and that real weirdo Blair!
What is it that enables all the sociopaths/weirdo's/damaged people to get into power?
The politician's job description seems to attract a lot of the "wrong type of people", not unlike flies and maggots to a bad smell.
I am very hopeful that Malcolm CAN successfully polish that turd, because the political "system" does not work very with only one viable party/choice!
I think both parties need regular major shake ups to smarten them up and make them hungry, and to top them becoming ever more disfunctional.

GiveMyCountryBack 14 Sep 2015 16:38

Will Dumb-Dumb even go to work today? It might all be a bit too much for the petal.

Looking forward to when the Labor address a question to the PM, Malcontent, that reference Ten Flags. Good times.

GiveMyCountryBack BobRafto 14 Sep 2015 16:36

Yep. They need to start hammering him on this stuff. He came out and said 'you can vote for me, I'm not Dumb-Dumb', but hasn't demonstrated any desire for different policies.

He's fucked. The party hate him. Heaps of their rabid voter base hate him. People generally dislike 'wankers' and there's no doubt that the slick delivery of Malcontent will leave people with the impression that he is just that.

Just another smug merchant banker. Treat him accordingly.

dga1948 14 Sep 2015 16:32

He may be a Turd rolled in glitter but remember comrade, you can't polish a Turd and this Turd has demonstrated on more occasions then I can remember that he is prepared to abandon any principle in pursuit of power.

Marleyman 14 Sep 2015 16:23

Good riddance to Abbott a true turd amongst a big steaming pile. He was a nasty vile ideological religious zealot driven by fear prejudice and backward dark aged thinking. Can Turnbull polish this turd ? I doubt it..the grassroots fascists remain behind the scenes spreading their stupid philosophy

blarneybanana scott_skelton 14 Sep 2015 16:09

I'm NOT a Labor supporter, and he exceeded our wildest imaginings.

Picking a fight with CHina, Russia and Indonesia SIMULTANEOUSLY?! That's the kind of things that books are plotted around.
Attacking a wheelchair bound war hero? (well, tried to)

blarneybanana gudzwabofer 14 Sep 2015 16:04

Yes, and no. Putin is judo, and I know thru personal and rather brutal experience they don't hand those things out in cornflakes packets. I'm pretty sure Tony might have started things by a bit of wall punching and wheelchair kicking, but it would have ended with Vlad making a suppository out of the red togs.
The suppository of all Tony's wisdom?

blarneybanana 14 Sep 2015 15:19

Somehow, I doubt he will physically threaten a major world leader (who could perfectly well defend himself by strangling TA with his own budgie smugglers), pick an unwinnable series of fights with our major trading partners, or TRY TO ATTACK A WAR HERO IN A WHEEL CHAIR

OldTrombone 14 Sep 2015 14:26

It wasn't Abbott who made the mistakes - it was the Australian voters who made the massive mistake.

Everyone but everyone KNEW Abbott was like this, and they knew he was going to do what he did. They didn't "hold their nose" to vote for him, they held their testes! WRONG!

Mike Scrafton RJHanley 14 Sep 2015 13:53

Well that's politics. Did you expect anything better?

There are no politicians who can lie straight in bed and who get into Cabinet.

Hypocrisy and compromised principles , deceit and deception, are the qualities that get you into the Ministry - undeserved self regard, hubris and a messiah complex are what gets you into the PM's job. They are all the same. I hope you're not disappointed!

Abbott lied about a great many things. Sadly Abbott wasn't a psycho but just ill equipped for a job he didn't understand. Also he wasn't an outlier on the bell curve of politicians.

However from this point on it is what Turnbull does as PM that's important. I don't really care what he believes only the policies he enacts or if he's sincere when he fixes the country. I just hope he does!

I await the result.

TheCorporateClass PeterOfPlumpton 14 Sep 2015 13:44

relentlessly promoted by Murdoch, which shows how little he actually knows about politics and government.

= NOTHING the man is a deluded psycho in every way.

My feelings on R. Murdoch and his involvement in Australian politics and his Twittering garbage are summarized here fwiw :

BilltheDill -> RJHanley 14 Sep 2015 13:44

In politics, FUCKIN' HYPOCRITE = politician.

They all lie about where there loyalties lie, and I think most of the electorate expect that, and accept it.

What the electorate will not accept is a leader who tells you what he will absolutely not do, and then announce within a matter of weeks that circumstances have changed, and he now will do it.

Not to mention all the other broken promises, and lies.

To pledge allegiance to a party leader is just politics. To make pledges to the electorate only to backpedal on most of them, falls into another category altogether, and it creates within the electorate a mistrust and anger that cannot be satiated by anything other than failure and humiliation. Mr Abbot reaped what he sewed.

TheCorporateClass -> Letschat 14 Sep 2015 13:39

Like most bullies, Abbott is a coward. Yes, and in spades!

I hope his party is grateful.

They bloody well better be, or they will burn to ashes within a year.
Any chance that ALL those 100 Liberals could put ALL OF Australia's people first, for just a year?

BilltheDill SENTINEL48 14 Sep 2015 13:36

Indeed, he has been Tony Abbott, but he has also made many mistakes, most of which stem from not holding his word and being a man of truth.

To put it bluntly, he lied to the Australian people on too many occasions, and about too many important matters. That was his political mistake. The rest of it is just his personality.

SENTINEL48 14 Sep 2015 13:14

Tony Abbott didn't make mistakes . He was just Tony Abbott .

scott_skelton BaldwinP 14 Sep 2015 13:12

We all knew that Abbott was a wingnut, but TBH I've been surprised by the depth of his incompetence, and I'm a Labor supporter.

Letschat 14 Sep 2015 12:13

Like most bullies, Abbott is a coward. Of course he hasn't fronted the media. He is absolutely no loss to politics in this country. We can only hope that they take the Abbott game book and flush it down the toilet where it belongs. He can take his destructive fascist tactics with him as he walks out the door and we slam it shut behind him.

There is no question that Malcolm Turnbull understands what the electorate is so bloody angry about. Now the party has to deliver. Whether they can or will remains to be seen. Their is more wrong with the current government that the incompetent leadership. They have a problem of culture with shameless rorting lying and corrupt practice.Turnbull has certainly set himself a challenge. I hope his party is grateful.

Talwyn224 14 Sep 2015 11:04

The worst prime minister in Australian political history thus far has been shown the door and not a moment too soon.

An epitaph:
Tony Abbott - Promoted beyond the level of his incompetence

[Sep 14, 2015] Putin shifts fronts in Syria and Ukraine

Neocon Diehl has the audacity to use WashPost editorial page to attacks Secretary of State John Kerry. Promoting what is essentially Nuland's jingoistic policies... so despite blunder after blunder neocons are not yet done.
"...Diehl seems to think that the US has or should have a free hand to do what it wants wherever and whenever it wants, and gets all twitchy when he discovers that the 'end of history' hasn't arrived just yet. He forgets that Russia was in Crimea and Syria long before the US showed up with its solutions in hand."
"...Or best idea yet -- Send these WaPo neocons (Diehl and Hiatt) packing. "
Sep 14, 2015 | The Washington Post

Over the summer, while Washington was preoccupied with the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. and European diplomats quietly leaned on the democratically elected, pro-Western Ukrainian government of Petro Poroshenko. In Sochi, Kerry had offered full-throated U.S. support for the implementation of an accord known as Minsk 2 — a deal hastily brokered by Germany and France in February, at a moment when regular Russian troops were cutting the Ukrainian army to ribbons. The bargain is a terrible one for Kiev: It stipulates that Ukraine must adopt a constitutional reform granting extraordinary powers to the Russian-occupied regions, and that the reforms must satisfy Moscow's proxies. That gives Putin a de facto veto over Ukraine's governing structure.

Dryly 41

First, the instability in the Middle East is a direct result of the disaster caused the Bush II-Cheney administration's war against Iraq to fine Weapons of Mass Destruction. There were none. Any normal person would conclude that it would have been much cheaper and saner to have let the United Nations Monitoring and Verification Inspection Commission inspectors continue their inspections and find there were no WMD than to start a Pre-emptive War. Jackson is not a normal person as he supported the Bush II-Cheney war.

Second, Bush II-Cheney administration's war against Iraq at a time Iraq posed no military threat to the U.S. or any other nation did enormous damage to the standing, stature and prestige of the United States of America. How can the United States argue that it is fine for the us to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq if we want to but Russia cannot invade Ukraine?


Putin is extremely articulate on the subject of international ethics and law. Sure, he's corrupt as the day is long, but he seems to believe in certain basic Judeo-Christian-based tenets of international conduct. The West seems tied to Islamic jihad tenets, so the United States and its allies don't believe in the most basic rules. Thus, the moral high ground goes to Putin.


Diehl wants us to tie up our military assets trying to take down Hezbollah and Iran, while China is free to consolidate in the South China Sea


Iran is unlikely to be a Russian client, but strategic cooperation is likely.
Diehl and the Neocons over reached in trying to pry Ukraine out of Russians orbit before the time was right, and also massive fail in Syria A naive and stupid strategy.

Luke W

Putin has a right to conduct a foreign policy without the permission of the United States.

American statecraft and military performance in the region as been abysmal and is the font for much of the chaos now evident in Iraq and Syria thus, its credibility is in tatters.

Russia can certainly do no worse than what we have accomplish.


Please, let us do all we can to entangle Russia into Syria's civil war. Let them bleed slowly their national treasure and the blood of their soliders. Let it become their NEXT Afghanistan. And while they're at it, please allow them to incite Muslims across the Middle East because they are helping the Butcher Assad.

You don't think they're Muslims in Russia who would like to strike back at Putin for this?

Obama, playing the long game, is going to give just enough rope to let the Russians hang themselves.


Let Russia be the magnet for Islamic terror instead of us? That's a concept.


Russia just wants its naval base and its hand on the valves of new Friendship pipeline that will cross Syria from Iran's Pars fields. Putin doesn't care if it Is Assad or some other stooge.


Who is in whose face depends on which side of the border one sits. Diehl seems to think that the US has or should have a free hand to do what it wants wherever and whenever it wants, and gets all twitchy when he discovers that the 'end of history' hasn't arrived just yet. He forgets that Russia was in Crimea and Syria long before the US showed up with its solutions in hand.


"Putin is meddling in the Middle East out of desperation because his bid for Ukraine has failed."

Putin's "bid for Ukraine"? His bid is not for all of Ukraine, as this statement implies; it is to keep Crimea within the orbit of Russia, since the great majority of its denizens are Russian by choice, history and culture. The word "Crimea" is not once mentioned.

Then there's this: "Putin has an agenda as clear as it is noxious. He wants to block any attempt by the West and its allies to engineer the removal of Bashar al-Assad ..."

Noxious? What's noxious is the West's and Israel's unfounded claim on Assad's regime.


It take a real Putin boot-licker to defend Bashir Assad. Congratulations.

And if Putin is only concerned with Crimea, then why are his forces in southeastern Ukraine?

Oh yeah, that's right ... They really aren't. Got it.


An international code of conduct must be maintained. It cannot be broken by engineering coups and installing unelected leaders, as was done in Ukraine. The same applies In Syria. You simply cannot take over a sovereign country simply because you can. There are rules that even the U.S. -- "exceptional" though it claims to be -- must abide by.


Syria will [be] Russia's second Afghanistan.


Do we get to arm the Islamists again?


Why? did you stop it already? When?


Where's Reagan when we need him?
Didn't he build Al Quaida?

Michael DeStefano

We can dress Yatsenyuk up like Osama. His days in Ukraine are numbered anyway and he's about the right height. Not quite as handsome but the beard will cover most of that.


The flood of refugees into Europe will continue until somebody stops the source of the flood. Does anybody really care who's fingers are in the dike? The only way to end the refugee crisis is to end the civil war(s) and insurgencies in the region. A cooperative effort among Europe, Russia, and Iran with the assistance of the US is preferable to the status quo. Ports, pipelines, and political ideologies are incidental issues.


So Russia and Iran are moving to crush ISIS and restore stability in Syria, which will ease the refugee crisis. And Diehl is unhappy? Syria has been a client of Russia's for a half century. Ending that relationship is a neocon goal, but does it even make sense now? Worth the price?

Forest Webb

What's the big deal? the editor makes this sound if this is some brilliant strategy on the part of Putin. If the Russians want to throw away their sons in the Mid-east quagmire let them.

It's a complicated stew and Putin has easier choices in the arena than the U.S. For Putin he simply supports Assad.

For the U.S. we want Assad out, so we cannot support him. We cannot support ISIL, half or the other opposition is supported by al Qaeda, the Kurds would just as soon fight the Turks our erstwhile Nato ally rather than fight the Assad regime. A complicated messy stew, we should try to keep our spoons out of.

Let Putin send his Russian boys to Syria, and let's count how many weeks pass before the terrorists take the war to Russian soil.

Michael Cook

Putin won in Ukraine. He has the Crimea back and has secured an overland gas pipeline corridor from Mother Russia to the peninsula, which was his objective. All it really cost him was dozens of scoldings from Obama.

Obama already scolds and threatens Vladimir Putin about Syria. The problem is that Moscow is absolutely right---if someone does not step in and rescue Syria RIGHT NOW the country will fall to ISIS before the end of the year. Assad's forces are exhausted.

Iran, of course, besides Russia is Bashar al Assad's other ally. The interesting point about that is that neither Russia nor Iran had much money available to make war.

Until last week. Now that Obama is freeing up frozen Iranian funds ($50-150 Billion!) suddenly the militant mullahs in Tehran have plenty of money for war making.

Can anyone smell a win-win for Putin? He gets to be the only leader of a major nation around to have the guts and intelligence to realize that allowing Syria to fall to ISIS would be a global catastrophe of the first magnitude. Better yet, Putin gets to sell lots and lots of Russian weapons, which helps his own struggling economy! Has Putin studied "The Art of the Deal?"

SELL weapons for cash money! Courtesy of Obama! Now that is worth putting up with more of these tiresome tongue-lashings that POTUS likes to dole out when he is clueless about what is going on. Since Obama is clueless all the time, Putin just has to put up with the noise.

Michael DeStefano

Putin's objective was to secure a gas pipeline corridor across the Kerch Strait?

So he could what, erect one of those ancient Greek fire breathing dragon flame throwers on the Crimean coast?

Not everything's about gas, Mr. Cook.


Russian airstrike in Syria won't perform better than the US (with a more advanced technology) against the Islamic state.

Can Putin engage a ground assault in Syria with regular/irregular troops the way he did in Ukraine ?

He can try but the result won't be the same, there's some wealthy countries supporting the Islamic State and they will provide them a lot of money, weapons and soldiers coming from everywhere to beat the Russian army, Putin will be unable to veto this support to the Islamic state, and it will restart what the US army experienced in Iraq, with permanent IED and kamikazes, while there will be no target for planes and drones....


How many countries should be invaded and ravaged before USA became appeased?


Nice try, no cigar....The US invasion of Iraq was a grave mistake, BUT it does not justify Putin's naked aggression in Georgia, in Ukraine or now in Syria in any way.


Iraq is all you know about? Right now you involved in seven wars. And you never stop to invade all the last century. With all your history USA have only 21 year of peace, all the time invading, conquering, overthrowing legal governments to replace it with puppets. As it YOU made in Georgia, and Ukraine, and try to in Syria.


Putin is like a shark in the water, detecting blood around him. With the appeasers in our current administration, he has nothing to be worried about. He knows that Obama will do nothing but fire more drones and try to find some targets for bombs, as long is no non-combat person is in the area.

Michael DeStefano

If Putin's like a shark in water, McCain and Nudelman were like hyenas going after Ukraine's carcass,


Refugees from Syria are a welcome relief to the Assad regime. It's hundreds of thousands of people who they need no longer worry about. Good riddance is Assad's feeling on the matter. Same holds for those from Iraq and Afghanistan. Rebels and those opposed to the government are leaving in droves and the regime couldn't be happier.

Russian troops in Syria? Russian warplanes and drones? They're going to be busom-buddies with the Iranian Quds Force which has been there for years, alongside Hezbollah fighters who are there to ensure the supply lines from Teheran remain open and aid, money and weapons continue to flow into the Bekaa Valley.

The Fall of Assad would be a cataclysm to Iranian hopes and dreams for the Middle East. They will not give up without a serious fight. Russia is there now, like in Vietnam 50 years ago, to "advise" and "train" local "militias" to "resist aggression".


And if Putin's plan is to make himself look significant by "confronting" the U.S., he has succeeded, at least with Jackson Diehl. The question isn't whether Russia is pushing the U.S. around, it's whether U.S. national interests are involved. The U.S. has lived with the Assad regime for 45 years. Is it really so crucial that we get rid of it now? Ukraine is hardly a linchpin of Europe. Sure, it would be nice if it were free and western. But it has historic ties to Russia, is more important to Russia than to us, and has not shown laser-like focus on becoming a serious western democracy. Meanwhile Putin presides over an economy that's shrinking 5% a year, with a population that's also shrinking. And he made the choice to keep power for himself and his cronies rather than modernize. No matter what he does abroad, Russia itself is on a decline that he will only exacerbate. He's dangerous, not because he's strong, but because he's weak. We should not let his actions fool us into losing sight of where our core interests lie.


While world sleeps, Putin moves stars with his finger, to disrupt NATO's operations and disturb dreams.


Right. Because NATO is operating in Syria?


NATO is a theatre of one actor. And this multifaced actor is operating in Syria, arming terrorists.


If anything, Russian aid to Assad should be encouraged. We may find Assad too repulsive to aid, but given a choice between Assad and ISIS, he is definitely the lesser of two evils. It's time to dispense with a notion of a "moderate pro-Western rebel force", it was always wishful thinking.


There's this little thing called "human rights" and another little thing called "the Leahy Ammendment" that prevent us from providing aid to terrorists like Assad or even giving a nod to Putin to do so.

Michael DeStefano

But you seem to be all hunky dory with Poroshenko and our Saudi and Israeli allies bombing civilians into oblivion. Funny how that 'human rights' business pops up and down on demand.

Slava Besser

So Assad is a terrorist, but Poroshenko is allowed to bomb Donetsk at willSmile Saudi Arabia is allowed to bomb Yemen with cluster munitions we provide because they don't like the revolution there, but Russia should not provide aid to Donetsk despite the fact that people that came to power in Ukraine illegally and are blatantly anti-Russian are using air-force, tanks and artillery against civilian population that happens to have pro-Russian views?

Michael Cook

Spot On! Assad's forces are exhausted and extremely weak. If Russia doesn't come in and save the day, Syria will fall to ISIS with all the slaughter of minorities and hate crimes against archeology that entails.

I can't believe that the Obama administration is playing this like it is more important to uphold fictional political straw men than to actually stop ISIS from scoring their most important strategic victory ever!


Iran is deeply involved in propping up Assad. It is through Syria that Iranian supplies reach their proxy lap-dog Hezbollah. Without that vital lifeline open, Hezbollah is cut off from their patron, and cannot be used against Iranian enemies (i.e. Israel). The Iranian Quds Force is in Syria now doing front-line fighting. Hezbollah too is deeply engaged. Without that level of aid, Assad's control would shrink dramatically, if not topple over altogether.


News of the day. Iranian special forces moved into Syria to help Russians. Source - Israeli intelligence.

Slava Besser

I'm a Jew, are you implying that it is better for Israel if ISIS comes to power in Syria?


I would respectfully suggest that Russia's participation in the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts are different means to accomplish the identical objective, the undermining, if not outright dismemberment, of the EU and NATO.

While the Ukrainian gambit failed, taking the Russian economy with it, the "Syrian play" shows far more promise in its early stages and at the very least is likely to erode the unanimous support required for an extension of the EU's economic sanctions against Russia.

Merkel's misguided response to the initial flood of Syrian refugees has transformed the matter into an existential crisis in the minds of many Europeans and "right wing" parties throughout the continent.

There has been a notably unified and pronounced response from the Slavic Eastern European states in particular. Slovakia has declared it will accept only Christian refugees, Hungary has erected a fence along its southern border with Serbia and Bulgaria has done the same along its border with Turkey. Poland has agreed to take only 2000 Christian refugees rather than the 12,000 requested by the EU and in the Baltics protests have arisen over projected Syrian resettlement figures numbered in the hundreds.
Russia's military support will not only breathe new life into the Assad regime it will assure a continuing flood of migrants from Syria, into Europe, which will serve as a catalyst to create a "Pan-Slavic Europe" with a political, religious and cultural unity that could well transcend Eastern Europeans view of themselves as "European".

Michael DeStefano

Jeez, what a nefarious plot. Flood Europe with immigrants until it bursts at the seams. I knew that Putin was no good. What a Svengali-Machiavelli hybrid.

Why just today I heard on Meet the Press that they're all running from Assad and really upset that he's just being really mean with ISIS and not letting them distribute food and chocolates to the masses.


Look at the map of "Arab spring". These lands make a belt from Atlantica to Indian Ocean, blocking Eurasia from Africa. It is clearly the geopolitical project of the power, which wins situation, while EU, Russia, China loose. Who is greatest and faithfull supporter of chaos in Middle East? USA.

Assad is unimportant. No matter who rule there, Syria is the target. If you destroy Syria - lots of military staff and arms will be left abandoned, and go to search new destiny. How ISIS was created? Jobless soldiers, cheap weapons. That's the target. Putin, Assad, just a decorations. You are blind, if unable to see it, or you do it consciously, as the autor of article. He is not as stupid, as try hard to look.

Michael DeStefano

Well it looks like, if Russia is 'pivoting' to Syria, then Germany has just decided to pivot with them. They didn't exactly call our approach feckless and wrongheaded but I suspect they may have had something along those lines in mind.

Syrien Deutschland bricht aus US-Allianz gegen Russland aus Nachrichten – DEUTSCHE WIRTSCHAFTS NACHRICHTEN

Germany surprisingly left the alliance formed together with the United States which intended to block Russia's entry into the Syrian conflict.

Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen told Der Spiegel that she welcomed president Putin's intentions of joining the fight against the extremist organization "Islamic State". It would be a matter of mutual interests, she said.

A speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added, Germany would welcome additional efforts of Russia in the fight against IS. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier even announced the starting of a joint venture between him, Russian foreign minister Lavrov and their French colleague Laurent Fabius with the aim of bringing the Syrian civil war to an end. Lavrov and Fabius are expected to arrive in Berlin this Saturday.


BIll Maher said it this weekend: There are five million troops in the Gulf States vs some 30,000 ISIS fighters... Where are they? Why don't the ME nations take in any refugees? (Of course, who would want to live in any of them given a choice?)

Taking out Saddam and Gaddafi worked so well, so of course we need to repeat the procedure in Syria!

Forget about the assurances we gave Russia that the West would leave a buffer between it and Russia. So what if we renege on our agreements, it's all for a good cause, right? After all, look how Bush stood up to them in Georgia. (He didn't.)

Or best idea yet -- Send these WaPo neocons (Diehl and Hiatt) packing.


There is a Syria peace deal in the works. naturally, NeoCons are gonna hate it. I wonder if Syria will get the Golan Heights back.


It is always a pleasure to receive the NeanderCon musings and misdirection of Jackson Diehl.

Rootin' Tootin' Putin and his hand puppet, Bashar al-Assad, are trying to run out the clock before their nations implode even further --- taking each down with them.

[Sep 14, 2015] Corbyn victory energises the alienated and alienates the establishment by Gary Younge

"...Here is the thing, it has always suited the Tories and the right for millions of people to not bother voting because the two parties look and sound 'just the same'... Now that Corbyn actually is the leader of the opposition to the Tories, millions of young and other people who never bother to vote because ''they're all the same'', will start to realise that isn't true anymore. "
"...It is wrong to say that Corbyn's victory alienates the establishment. The establishment had alientaed themselves from a large number of people who felt themselves disenfranchised and cheated. The establishment were so alientaed they did not realise they were alientaed. Corbyn's victory has only highlighted it. I hope they have enough humility to realise it."
"...The triangulating managerialism of the Blair/Clinton era (Thatcherism/Reaganism with a human face?) relied on the seeming stability of neoliberalism to discourage any deviation of its voting base from what was defined by the socioeconomic elite as the center. Voters were considered passive molecules whose sole purpose was to be heated up sufficiently during elections so that they would reach the polls and make the inevitably correct selection. The core principles of neoliberalism would not be touched, however the plebs were allowed to fight over the crumbs."
"...For a counter analysis, it helps to recap recent history under our neolib, rapidly devolving to paleolib regime: we now live in a country where elected governments surrendered an entire industrial base so that it could become a dodgy offshore banking center; who, in a 'privatization' frenzy, inadvertently sold its power grid to the French state; engaged in a murderous and illegitimate war that propelled unbounded worldwide terrorism; let its criminal finance centre off the hook after it helped cripple the global economy; then we re-elected David Cameron, unleashed George Osborne and now some fancy Boris Johnson with Nigel Farrage still hanging around. We have become, in effect, Bullingdonia. It is our present reality and it is scarier than anything Corbyn has proposed. And I haven't even mentioned Brooks, Coulson or Murdoch.

Many of the blighted citizenry of this country have had enough and have set their sights very sharply on the long con of which the Tories, Blairites and the Paleolib British media including the Guardian are leading proponents. The key operative factors being, of course, debt, debt slavery, and bondage to the bank.

Labour had been colonized and neutralized by the regime. As the 'nicer tories' they bought a one way ticket to oblivion with a short ascent at the beginning. And talking about 'aspiration': people are finally getting that there is no hope at all in voting for the landlord or his pussy, so they're not voting. Time to give 'em something exciting, some hope for the great well of non-voters among Generation Screwed, who have been conned into accepting debt slavery and submission. This view holds particularly among poleaxed interns stewing in their hovels without the n"

"...If we are lucky this may be the beginning of the end for TINA -- "There is No Alternative". This mantra, the core slogan of the Thatcher era, was intended to inculcate in the electorate that neoconservatism was the only viable economic and social strategy. Its been astoundingly successful -- despite it being based on tenuous, unproven, theory (Hayek) and having been shown to cause economic disaster wherever it was implemented (South America, for example) the notion of TINA was constantly pushed because it made people money -- economies could die, people would live in misery but the elites coined it big time.

Its been obvious to anyone with even a vaguely functioning brain that something's wrong. Unfortunately daring to even think of alternatives gets a gut reaction from many born of being fed propaganda from birth -- witness the snide remarks about Trots or commissars, the hints of 'security risks' and so on. This won't stop; prepare for a full on assault (although "Red Jeremy" doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well as "Red Ken" so I'll wait to see how the tabloids handle him)."

"... There is a desperate need for an alternative voice to the neo-liberal consensus (ie. Capitalism Unchained) "
"...The neoliberals are as wily as Stalin and incredibly cunning. "
"...And here we have the nub of the matter, the way that the NeoLiberals who infiltrated the Labour party just assumed that the core vote would continue supporting them as they had nowhere else to go... wrong, wrong, wrong!"

Sep 13, 2015 | The Guardian

But then little of this is really about Corbyn. He is less the product of a movement than the conduit for a moment that has parallels across the western world. After almost a decade and a half of war, crisis and austerity, leftwing social democrats in all their various national guises are enjoying a revival as they seek to challenge the neo-liberal consensus. In the US, the self-described "democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders is outpolling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in key states. Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece and Die Linke in Germany are all posing significant challenges to mainstream centre-left parties.

... ... ...

From the moment it was clear that assumption was flawed, the political and media class shifted from disbelief to derision to panic, apparently unaware that his growing support was as much a repudiation of them as an embrace of him. Former Labour leaders and mainstream commentators belittled his supporters as immature, deluded, self-indulgent and unrealistic, only to express surprise when they could not win them over. As such this reckoning was a long time coming. For the past couple of decades the Labour leadership has looked upon the various nascent social movements that have emerged – against war, austerity, tuition fees, racism and inequality – with at best indifference and at times contempt. They saw its participants, many of whom were or had been committed Labour voters, not as potential allies but constant irritants.

The slew of resignations from the party's frontbench after the result was announced and apocalyptic warnings from former ministers about the fate of the party under a Corbyn leadership illustrate that this attitude hasn't changed. The party has spoken; its old leaders would do well to listen but for now seem intent on covering their ears. They won't win it back with snark and petulance. But they can make their claims about unelectability a self-fulfilling prophecy by refusing to accept Corbyn's legitimacy as party leader.

Not only is Corbyn not being granted a honeymoon, relatives are determined to have a brawl at the wedding.

Nonetheless, the question of whether Corbyn is electable is a crucial one to which there are many views but no definitive answers. We are in uncharted waters and it's unlikely to be plain sailing. May revealed that the British electoral landscape is both fractured and wildly volatile. What works in London and Scotland may not work in middle England and the south-east. To some extent Corbyn's success depends on how he performs as leader and the degree to which his supporters can make their enthusiasm contagious.

It is a big risk. In the early 80s when Tony Benn made his bid for the deputy leadership, there was a huge trade union movement and peace movement to buttress him if he won. Corbyn inherits a parliamentary party in revolt and a determined but as yet unorganised band of followers. Clearly many believed it was a risk worth taking. In the words of the American socialist Eugene Debs: "It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it."

SqueakEMouse -> darylrevok 14 Sep 2015 02:45

' right-wing rodents ' That says all that one needs to know of your attitude and beliefs. Your contempt for real people with real concerns and real aspirations. Well it's a democracy sonny and you wont get the votes by abusing everybody who objects to your dictatorial fantasy world being put into practice. If you cannot even SEEK to persuade then you have no hope at all. Wake up and smell the coffee of reality.

bob1648 14 Sep 2015 02:42

Absolutely agree.
Scotland voted for the same ideals as JC and whilst the Blairites are busy throwing their toys out the pram he can count on 56 very savvy MPs more than willing to back him in Westminster.

UncertainTrumpet 14 Sep 2015 02:42

Here is the thing, it has always suited the Tories and the right for millions of people to not bother voting because the two parties look and sound 'just the same'.

We've all heard people say that politicians are all the same and only in it for themselves, some of us have probably thought that ourselves.

So, the Tories and the right confidently started out sneering and making jokes about how Corbyn was a dreamer.

That isn't true anymore now, though.

Now that Corbyn actually is the leader of the opposition to the Tories, millions of young and other people who never bother to vote because ''they're all the same'', will start to realise that isn't true anymore.

They'll see the difference between the two main parties is real now.

The Tories are for the rich, despite their 'party of working people' rhetoric; they've always had the back of privilege, they've always framed their politics to appeal to personal selfishness. And New Labour sounded just the same.

The Tories aren't scared of Corbyn, but they're more than a little concerned the rest of us voters / non-voters will start listening to him.

They don't like that thought, because they know they only got into power on a slender majority.

Corbyn as leader and more people listening to him could well nudge them out of their complacent comfort zone.

Tiranoaguirre 14 Sep 2015 02:36

Some people just want someone to represent their social frustration and inadequacy, their pent-up envy at not being gifted a piece of the pie they don't deserve, and their inferiority complex that's grinding the axe. And they don't care if they have to destroy the UK to do it. The left is just another version of Salomon's disputed baby and the robber mother who, having snuffed out her own, wants somebody else's.

Giuliano Marcangelo -> Sal2011 14 Sep 2015 02:33

Corbin offers hope, hope of a better future for the youth of this country. Corbin offers hope, hope of a future where we are led by politicians with integrity, rather than politicians who formulate policy for their multi national company paymaster so. Corbin offers hope of DEMOCRACY, where our elected parliament act according to the wishes of the populace and not to those of press barons and big businesses.

Wake up and smell the coffee....the rules are being re-written and a peaceful revolution is evolving...the establishment are worried, hence the mud slinging against Jeremy Corbyn by the British Press, the establishment and the Tories, mud slinging against a man who cannot win a General Election .....why bother if he is so unelectable?

SqueakEMouse -> murielbelcher 14 Sep 2015 02:32

But the majority are after MORE freedom not less in case you hadn't noticed. Blair's mantra of 'Education, education, education' spoke to a broad range of people who wanted better education and opportunites for their families. He largely failed to deliver on the promise but the yearning is still there in case you hadn't noticed.

People want a health service that serves THEM, not the people who run it. That is the reform that people wanted. The old system is a black hole for finance and failing to deliver. Sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting 'la la la' wont change it.

Going back to an era when it could be pretended that there were no problems and everything was peachy is not going to attract the votes of people who can see for themselves that the old system failed them. You are putting ideology over practicality and results.

JonathanLamb -> trp981 14 Sep 2015 02:29

"The configuration of socioeconomic forces at present warrants the metaphoric borrowing of such natural science concepts as criticality, bifurcation, and nonlinearity to describe the situation. A cascading series of cracks are beginning to appear in the illusion of the steady-state equilibrium of the world, fracturing the end-of-history narrative that the neoliberal order had been energetically maintaining for the past three decades."

Is that you Russell?

bevrev 14 Sep 2015 02:24

Clearly, you can't win a General Election until you win the leadership one. The poor percentages of the other three candidates show clearly it is they, not Corbyn, who can't win a General Election. The fact that Corbyn has overwhelming grassroot support, but weak parliamentary support shows how out of touch the political class really is. For too long, the nation has endured their vulgar sense of entitlement and arrogance. The people are responding because at long last, they have someone who is speaking for them. The volume of voices ranged against him shows how many establishment figures are lined up against the people. They are truly worried. They should be.

Jeffrey Cox 14 Sep 2015 02:21

This from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" captures the parliamentary Labour Party and Guardian/Independent establishment response to Corbyn's victory

King Arthur played by We the People. Black Knight played by the Labour establishment:

King Arthur: Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
Black Knight: 'Tis but a scratch.
King Arthur: A scratch? Your arm's off.
Black Knight: No it isn't.
King Arthur: What's that, then?
Black Knight: I've had worse.
King Arthur: You liar.

londonzak -> HenryC 14 Sep 2015 02:21

Just like Thatcher welcomed Pinochet for dinner and had tea with apartheid South African leaders. Guilt by association is such a lightweight argument.

ID3945937 14 Sep 2015 02:12

My wife and I contradict this idea that it is only the young, inexperienced and naive who are joining the Labour Party. We are both 67 and have both just joined the Labour Party for the very first time, on the strength of Jeremy Corbyn's victory. We figure that his leadership is going to be made very difficult by the Blairite rump and our appalling right-wing press and he needs all the support he can get. We hope that Jeremy will offer the opportunity for socialists to re-capture the intellectual and moral high ground on taxation, the role of the state, equality, health, justice and so on, against this rapaciously destructive and ideological Tory government, who would like to take Britain back to the 19th century. Yes, he is a risk, yes, he needs to sharpen up some of his policies, yes, his leadership qualities are untested -- but he is the best political hope that radicals and socialists of all colours and persuasions have at the present time.

Socialistoldfashion 14 Sep 2015 02:10

It is wrong to say that Corbyn's victory alienates the establishment.

The establishment had alientaed themselves from a large number of people who felt themselves disenfranchised and cheated. The establishment were so alientaed they did not realise they were alientaed. Corbyn's victory has only highlighted it. I hope they have enough humility to realise it.

trp981 14 Sep 2015 02:04

"But then little of this is really about Corbyn. He is less the product of a movement than the conduit for a moment that has parallels across the western world."

The configuration of socioeconomic forces at present warrants the metaphoric borrowing of such natural science concepts as criticality, bifurcation, and nonlinearity to describe the situation. A cascading series of cracks are beginning to appear in the illusion of the steady-state equilibrium of the world, fracturing the end-of-history narrative that the neoliberal order had been energetically maintaining for the past three decades. The this-can't-go-on-but-this-will-go-on state of affairs seems to be sputtering and not going on as smoothly as before. Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, Syriza, etc., are the fissures through which the pent-up and inchoate frustrations of various social forces are finding an outlet to the surface.
Whether or not Corbyn succeeds in addressing the concerns of those who voted for him, his victory is another milestone in a correlated sequence of occurrences. Beginning with the financial crash of 2008, we see an increasing frequency of events that challenge the unstable neoliberal order. The Occupy movement, Syriza, Podemos, etc., are a chain of events that form a portion of a possible trajectory of the future. There is no guarantee that this trajectory will come to pass, leading to some sort of structural change, although the more these events occur, the greater the probability of the latter.

"In this and many other respects, his strengths were accentuated by the weakness of his leadership opponents. With their varying degrees of milquetoast managerialism, they were not only barely distinguishable from each other but had platforms that were forgettable even when they were decipherable."

The triangulating managerialism of the Blair/Clinton era (Thatcherism/Reaganism with a human face?) relied on the seeming stability of neoliberalism to discourage any deviation of its voting base from what was defined by the socioeconomic elite as the center. Voters were considered passive molecules whose sole purpose was to be heated up sufficiently during elections so that they would reach the polls and make the inevitably correct selection. The core principles of neoliberalism would not be touched, however the plebs were allowed to fight over the crumbs.

To use a quantitative scale, the choice offered to the voters was between a zero-to-slightly-positive socially liberal neoliberalism, and a negative socially conservative neoliberalism. Put another way, economically the choice was between nothing and worse-than-nothing. The previous predictability of the voting patterns, however, is dissipating as the stability of the equilibrium state decreases, resulting in the amplification of the smallest disturbances. The expression of shock at the election of Corbyn is a manifestation of the increasing nonlinearity/volatility of the balance of forces. Voter dissatisfactions that could easily be contained and damped out in the past are becoming more pronounced and harder to contain and manage.

The increasing instability of the neoliberal order implies the shifting of the ground beneath it. The previous givenness of the passive citizenry is becoming less so, and critical junctures might approach fast and unforeseeably. There are multiple possible trajectories of the future derived from various combinations of social forces, some entailing dramatic changes in unpredictable ways.

Greatbearlake 14 Sep 2015 01:59

For a counter analysis, it helps to recap recent history under our neolib, rapidly devolving to paleolib regime: we now live in a country where elected governments surrendered an entire industrial base so that it could become a dodgy offshore banking center; who, in a 'privatization' frenzy, inadvertently sold its power grid to the French state; engaged in a murderous and illegitimate war that propelled unbounded worldwide terrorism; let its criminal finance centre off the hook after it helped cripple the global economy; then we re-elected David Cameron, unleashed George Osborne and now some fancy Boris Johnson with Nigel Farrage still hanging around. We have become, in effect, Bullingdonia. It is our present reality and it is scarier than anything Corbyn has proposed. And I haven't even mentioned Brooks, Coulson or Murdoch.

Many of the blighted citizenry of this country have had enough and have set their sights very sharply on the long con of which the Tories, Blairites and the Paleolib British media including the Guardian are leading proponents. The key operative factors being, of course, debt, debt slavery, and bondage to the bank.

Labour had been colonized and neutralized by the regime. As the 'nicer tories' they bought a one way ticket to oblivion with a short ascent at the beginning. And talking about 'aspiration': people are finally getting that there is no hope at all in voting for the landlord or his pussy, so they're not voting. Time to give 'em something exciting, some hope for the great well of non-voters among Generation Screwed, who have been conned into accepting debt slavery and submission. This view holds particularly among poleaxed interns stewing in their hovels without the necessary school connections, drowning in education debt and thinking about emigrating, the tried and true solution for Brits, as well as other huddled masses.

They will represent the battleground for hearts and minds in the next election. Forget about the mythical labourites who went Tory; they're long gone and best forgotten. Labour must now cut a path that counters the three big lies that have led to debt slavery for most of the population, the long con that has delivered us into the thorny hands of the City and the Tory: that 'emancipation' is achieved through consumption; 'freedom' through individual 'free agency' of work; that there is 'heroism' in entrepreneurial risk. It is time to counter these cons with a platform of energy and identity based on national productivity not servitude. Framed well and executed effectively, the message is about getting off your knees and sticking their self serving austerity.

There is a large, emergent audience for this. They are Corbyn people. The upside of inequality is that it offers numerical advantage.

Clerkenwellman 14 Sep 2015 01:49

We have a new situation. A Tory government with a thin majority, an economy likely to have peaked by the end of the parliament, a programme of continuing enhanced poverty for the poor and EU uncertainty for the rich and a moral and economic challenge as Syria empties of its people - along with other places. These are challenges that a new Opposition, perhaps with overt support from the SNP, can bring the government to the court of public opinion. On the Defence front, Trident will still solve none of our problems, other than by being scrapped. The UK projection of military force into the mid-east or elsewhere will continue to cost money and lives and will continue to make little difference to our security. Israel will continue to bomb children in Gaza in the name of defence but now will be called out on this. No doubt Corbyn and Benn will aim to talk to our enemies as well as our friends - a wise move.

this is all going to be interesting and should challenge the oily and complacent Cameron and his smug friend Osborne.

martinusher 14 Sep 2015 01:26

If we are lucky this may be the beginning of the end for TINA -- "There is No Alternative". This mantra, the core slogan of the Thatcher era, was intended to inculcate in the electorate that neoconservatism was the only viable economic and social strategy. Its been astoundingly successful -- despite it being based on tenuous, unproven, theory (Hayek) and having been shown to cause economic disaster wherever it was implemented (South America, for example) the notion of TINA was constantly pushed because it made people money -- economies could die, people would live in misery but the elites coined it big time.

Its been obvious to anyone with even a vaguely functioning brain that something's wrong. Unfortunately daring to even think of alternatives gets a gut reaction from many born of being fed propaganda from birth -- witness the snide remarks about Trots or commissars, the hints of 'security risks' and so on. This won't stop; prepare for a full on assault (although "Red Jeremy" doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well as "Red Ken" so I'll wait to see how the tabloids handle him).

... cpp4ever 14 Sep 2015 01:07
The old Blairite leadership of the Labour party lost spectacularly and to my mind one of the biggest reasons was the choice to abstain from voting against Tory cuts. That was surely the last straw for many, and must count as a classic example of how to spectacularly shoot yourself in the foot, if not actually blow it clean off, and to mix the metaphors stuff it into your mouth! It's not a certainity, but the dominance of the neoliberal concensus, austerity, and trickle up economics is beginning to find real and growing opposition across Europe and in many ways that has reinvorigorated what was becoming dull, same old, say mould, politics! Now I find that refreshing and in many ways it's been long overdue.

Thanks Gary Younge for an enjoyable article that may well have caught on to a larger zeitgeist taking hold in many parts of the world.

Jessica Roth 14 Sep 2015 00:51
Former Labour leaders and mainstream commentators belittled his supporters as immature, deluded, self-indulgent and unrealistic, only to express surprise when they could not win them over.
So true. Between the "heart transplant" lecture and the "alternate reality" one, it's a miracle Tony Blair didn't pump Corbyn's total up to 70%, never mind the actual 59.5.

Thanks for all the help, Tony! Now go rest up in Qatar; you've got a trip to the Hague coming in a few years' time, and a nice suntan may impress the judges. You never know.

R. Ben Madison BlackAntAssociates 14 Sep 2015 00:41

> The laissez faire looked to Hitler's economic model with wonder prior to the war, break the unions, suppress wages, a shared political and corporate hierarchy milking the profits and socialising debt

Until the war, things were actually pretty good for the German working class under Hitler (as much as it pains me to say so). Their economic policy was more about buying worker loyalty by giving them health care, paid vacations and cheap private cars -- not machine-gunning them all against the wall.

Wayfarer2 14 Sep 2015 00:14

The establishment has worked extremely hard on marginalising itself. It has been pretty successful at it.

Sparingpartner 14 Sep 2015 00:06

'the Labour leadership has looked upon the various nascent social movements that have emerged – against war, austerity, tuition fees, racism and inequality – with at best indifference and at times contempt. They saw its participants, many of whom were or had been committed Labour voters, not as potential allies but constant irritants.'

There must be a sense that there is something equivalent happening in Australia.

Abbott's Neo-cons have tried to perpetrate the same old swindle and have their shit tails caught in the machinery. The ambulance transporting the patient has broken down on the way to the hospital. Sirens are wailing and frantic paramedics are giving CPR but no one can seem to get a pulse - radical surgery is the only prognosis but as yet no one has invent the operational procedure.

At last there appears to be a recognition that the scam of corralling the centre of politics (5%-6%) and marginalising the rest so that the machine can work it's 'magic' on those few that decide elections has found expression in some Western Democracies.

In the words of the American socialist Eugene Debs: "It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it."

Love that line...

Michael Cameron 13 Sep 2015 23:42

Zoe is spot on. Though Yvette Cooper belatedly showed some green shoots, it was thralldom to an imaginary centre and faith in 'preference accomodation', that ultimately did for the other candidates. Sure, they had the odd interesting idea, but nothing like the all-enveloping narrative of Blair.

Strip the good from Blairism and you're left with the totalizing power and its slippery essence, which is to say, Cameronism; what Blair achieved with a charismatic, zeitgiesty response to propitious circumstance, Cameron has emulated by augmenting Blair's mastery of spin and message. But as we saw from the outpouring of pent-up Conservative glee which greeted Osborne's cuts prospectus, the Tories never forget what they stand for. A moment like Labour's welfare bill disaster for them is unimaginable. Encroaching on our territory with their 'living wage', far from being a badly managed misstep, was a deft political masterstroke of re-branding.

Without Corbyn Labour had an uninspiring reheat of the 'third way' - already battered into submission by Cameronism - and a party with a limp oven-gloved grasp of their own fundamentals. In other words, the very worst of both worlds. At least Corbyn can authentically propound those parts of Labour's vision which are non-optional (opposed to taking money out of the pockets of cleaners and checkout workers to give to the already mega rich) and without which they have sunk into absurdity and farce.

Take the lens of the welfare bill fiasco. Imagine Liz Kendall had become leader, had for 5 years gone along with the Tories on many similar issues, and somehow conjured a Labour victory in 2015. After years of Labour-endorsed Tory butchery, think of the entropic change in what counts as 'centre' and what passes for realistic. Think of the long road back in convincing the electorate that 'acceptable' is really 'extreme' - exactly the problem Labour faces now. Having spent barely 6 months of the last 5 years arguing with any conviction, they're hollowed-out and entirely void of confidence.

Yet no universal law exists which states the public must buy the Conservative axioms i.e. the drain of downright fecklessness, the necessary evil of all-knowing free markets, the benevolence of exponential rewards. But when was the last time Tory fundamental values were under focus?

Corbyn won't concede ground on these issues. Yet all things considered - and despite the Blairite view - staunch opposition to the most scything ideological cuts stands a better chance of tempering the Tories than meekly tracking their every move. Remarkably, the Tories are already rumoured to be making plans to recapitulate those old arguments about markets and privatisation and ready win them anew. But the idea of attempting to shape the political narrative with your own values is as as instructive as it is antithetical to New Labour 2.0. On the backfoot, out in the open, debating policy, is exactly where we want the Conservatives. Engaging them on the big questions such as how much market freedom is a good thing, arguments which we know are there to be won.

On austerity, the economy, the NHS and much more, Corbyn will not only represent Labour but credible progressive policy. At the same time, we can continue to work out collaboratively the problems and deficiencies in his manifesto. 1)Let's face it, immigration must be debated with an open mind. If vast numbers of people are opposed to its rate, we need to find creative ways of telling our story while keeping the option of leaving Europe on the table. 2)Despite the cynicism of the recent co-ordinated Tory attacks on Corbyn's 'threat' to international security - many in the Labour party feel Corbyn is wrong on nuclear disarmment and NATO. 3)Acknowledging his bid was initially conceived as a catalyst, I don't think he even JC pretends to have all the fresh ideas we need for the future - hence his desire for a more democratic running of the party.

Personally these aren't showstoppers because like Zoe, I also couldn't care less if Jeremy can win a general election. Lacking a vision within the party that embraces the future, remembers the past and addresses the huge structural reshaping of society, a Labour victory in its current state is as likely as Corbyn winning an election if it were held tomorrow. For one thing, Ed Miliband was arguably a more convincing leader than all four candidates yet couldn't get through to the electorate. Absent a ready-made improvement, it makes sense to go back to basics.

My own ideal scenario would be for Corbyn to continue to inspire a grassroots movement, re-establish much of what we're about, withstand the inevitable smears with a winning dignity, and hand over to a more realistic successor on defence and brimming with the innovative solutions of the future. But this first stage of renewal is vital. Five years is aeons in politics. This is a reality which seems to have escaped those monopolisers of the stuff, New Labour.

BlackIncal 13 Sep 2015 23:22

People are waking up to the fact that the corporate parties only work for the very rich and the corporations. Austerity is only in the interest of the very rich and the corporations. The main stream media pundits work for and on behalf of the very rich and the corporations and thus are all in a huff that the public had the temerity to choose somebody they do not approve of. It is good to read at least on article were the author shows an understanding of the anger which is growing.
I am as one with the late great George Carlin, it is to late to really do anything to save us from the disaster which is fast approaching. But, it is gratifying that people are slowly waking up to the total mess which our system has turned into. The great gift that humanity was handed and the unfettered greed which is destroying us is at last being fought by a leader of a mainstream party. I hope Jeremy Corbyn understands that the system is no longer fixable but must be torn down and replaced.

Jeremy Smith 13 Sep 2015 23:19

The political class is still in denial about the fact that we stand at the turn of the tide.

We have Corbyn in the UK and Sanders in the US; we have a Pope thats progressive on both economic and social issues; we have the Greens out-polling Labor, our alleged Opposition, in many seats across Australia, and the whole of Tasmania.

Neoliberalism is increasingly called out as incoherent swill that only exists because it financially benefits those with the power to replace it.

historyonix 13 Sep 2015 23:02

A couple of things here I guess…
1) The MPs who have deserted Labour, and the people who did actually vote for them, because they think this will make them unelectable in the next GE have to realise they made Labour unelectable in the last two elections… unless of course you want to highlight the political powerhouse that is Scottish Labour… oh, hang on… ripped to pieces in their own heartlands you say?

2) They have to realise that many people are now at absolute saturation point with the established Political 'class', staggering from petty finger-pointing shambles, to snide meaningless PMQTs, to have tripped face long into narcissistic self-parody. If it wasn't for the total and systemic deconstruction of the UK, they would hardly serve a purpose at all.

Jerome Fryer BlackAntAssociates 13 Sep 2015 22:39

the mainstream is either centre-right or right, wherever you look. The shift in global politics since the mid 70's has been right all the way.

Only because the political systems have been captured by narrow right-wing interests. If there is no 'left' alternative to vote for then people don't vote -- voter turnout in the UK and USA has been pretty dismal since the 1950s when this process of moving all available choices constantly to the political right began.
It will be interesting to see if a genuine Labour party -- rather than 'Tory light' -- can draw out the people abstaining from the present system because they know it is a mockery of democracy.

lulubells nick kelly 13 Sep 2015 22:03

Your arguments are valid. There were excesses by unions who wanted to transform an England which still held on to its class system and thereby enforced the poverty of the working class. But it's a different world now and there is a middle ground where unions ensure their members are paid decently, etc., without holding the economy to ransom. Union power is a pendulum reflecting the inequality of society. BTW the income divide all over the Western world is greater than ever since Thatcherism was adopted by other democracies. The privatisation of public assets and stripping of union power are the most obvious consequences. This has facilitated the rise of the multinationals which have adopted the strategy of establishing (and moving) their factories in the disadvantaged country which will accept the lowest wages and living conditions. Read the book on this topic by the last British governor of Hong Kong. Now employees are more and more hired for a fixed term contract, can't get a mortgage to buy a house or plan their lives. It is a huge social disaster, eg wage 'slaves' in Japanese corporations. And contributes in no small way to young peoples' decisions worldwide not to have children when they have no security, with a flow-on effect being the ageing of the nation.

murielbelcher axehoO 13 Sep 2015 22:01

It is reflective of the toxic Tories' aim to "frame" and "fix" Corbyn and get the mud to stick so they can keep throwing it at him, just as they did with Ed M

We need to frame the Tories as inimical to national economic security and duty of care with their asset stripping and bargain basement fire sales of the nation's resources and commonwealth, all to the benefit of their plutocratic billionaire mates

Amazing the similarity of language used in the Tories' "tweets" and statements - it was so blatantly deliberate and sinister in its insistence and drum beat

Unfortunately Corbyn needs to set up an Alistair Campbell style rebuttal unit and fast. Use Blairite political tactics; as you eschew Blairite policies.

centerline 13 Sep 2015 22:00

Worth reading the Pilger article on Whitlam to see what the future may hold for Corbyn

firozem 13 Sep 2015 22:20

At last a non-hysterical analysis from someone who distinguishes himself from the right-wing sycophants that call themselves Guardian journalists.

Lesm 13 Sep 2015 22:14

It is interesting to note that the Labour and Tory parties have made a very significant, but stupid assumption. They believe that Neo-Liberalism is an order of God and not just another economic fad. Their idea is that it will go on forever as the natural order of things. Young people have a different idea and they are taking control of Labour and re-shaping it for the Twenty-First Century. I say terrific!!!!!.

toomanycyrils shedexile 13 Sep 2015 21:38

The poster is suggesting you're not working class, probably because you can afford to pay higher taxes.

I actually kind of agree with you, but many in your position won't. And the working class can't afford higher taxes. So the only solution is to tax the very rich. George Harrison had something to say about that back in 1966. It seems the only recourse really is to force corporations to pay their tax, which I believe is a lovely idea fraught with serious problems.

There has to be willing from within the elite for things to change. Any chance of that has been made more remote by the election of Corbyn, not because of his ideas but because of his character. It really is a great shame that he didn't face somebody a bit more potent than either Burnham, Cooper or Kendall.

Peter M murielbelcher 13 Sep 2015 21:38

Whilst I agree that the neo-liberal agenda was in it's fledgling stages, I do think capitalism was a more popular ideology in the early 80s than socialism, obviously not everywhere but on the whole. You've mentioned a few there, such as the 1980 Housing Act, but let's not forget things such as the loss of nearly 2m manufacturing jobs before 1983. Don't get me wrong, Thatcherism got much worse post-1983. I think it was Thatcher's decision to sacrifice the jobs of millions for the sake of reducing inflation, as well as the Falklands factor, that made people, to some extent, more open to capitalism.

axehoO murielbelcher 13 Sep 2015 21:36

I agree, there are a whole number of ways that Conservative policy can be seen as a threat to the safety and well-being of the UK population.

The strategy concocted by the government was to immediately hit Corbyn after the Labour leadership election with a coordinated series of slurs by ministers, aided and abetted by the BBC and the right-wing press, that he is effectively an enemy to the nation. This is precisely the kind of hyperbolic rhetoric used the world over by dictatorships to imprison and usually kill their political enemies. Chile under pinochet is a prime example. Here's a quote echoing Cameron's choice of words:

Still, no woman was safe during the Pinochet era. If she were suspected of anti-regime activities on her own or if she were the relative or lover of a man suspected of such activities, she was branded by officials as a threat to national security and thus a potential object of rape torture.

Cynthia Enloe 2000

This is the language now endorsed by the Conservative government to describe its political opponents.

marxmarv thingtwo 13 Sep 2015 21:26

The media have to play their role of aspiring professionals worried about their precious fyootchers. There need to be more working-class voices -- real ones, not the neoliberal lapdogs the Western press and every other corporate institution can't help but manufacture.

easye Golub2 13 Sep 2015 20:59

This attitude is exactly why there is a burgeoning grassroots movement of which Corbyn is but one of its most important leaders. New Labour treated its heartland with contempt, a bit like if Sunderland decided it was no longer interested in its traditional fanbase and would seek to get supporters from Newcastle United. Things are about to be shaken up. If Corbyn exposes Cameron's alleged funding of ISIS, the Tories mismanagement of the economy £1.56 trillion in debt, as the UK is, that Trident is useless except for lining the pockets of the arms industry, exposes the lies that led us to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and defends the poor and vulnerable from the naked hatred of this government towards them, then your illusions about Cameron will be shattered. For Cameron, it will be like the emperor's new clothes and you'll see his bollocks

Peter M danubemonster 13 Sep 2015 20:26

I think context also comes into play when you consider the 1983 election. Socialism was simply a message, on the back of a growing globalisation and embracing of neo-liberalism, that people were not listening to. Instead, privatisation and capitalism were the ideologies that garnered widespread support. I think it's taken us until the recession and current period of austerity, as a society, to realise the flaws of capitalism and the need for socialist, anti-austerity measures. For Corbyn, it'll be a much easier fight than Foot had when trying to convince a nation of people, wrongly embracing the New Right following the Winter of Discontent, to vote for socialism.

axehoO 13 Sep 2015 19:46

For the past couple of decades the Labour leadership has looked upon the various nascent social movements that have emerged – against war, austerity, tuition fees, racism and inequality – with at best indifference and at times contempt.

Great observation. Since the miner's strike, Labour has tended to distance itself from grassroots movements in the UK, but since the rise and fall of Blair, it's been much closer to disdain. John Hariss's video yesterday captured one of the party delegates leaving the building after the vote and remarking contemptuously about the 'distance from reality' of the Labour supporters celebrating Corbyn's win. Invert that comment and you explain why Labour has been drifting into irrelevance.

Vespasianite 13 Sep 2015 19:40

This is just an incredible turn of events, just when you loose faith in the ability of the people of the UK to show interest and put up a fight against the hijacking of their political parties they manage to do something that is truly good for democracy. I voted UKIP last time just to annoy the establishment. I really don't agree with much of Corbyn's convictions but without doubt this is going to be good for the politics of this country. However before you can distribute prosperity you have to generate it, that has always been Socialism's biggest flaw. If he manages to convince he can be trusted to deliver that then his chances of really being in a position of power will be within his grasp.

foryousure 13 Sep 2015 19:08

Good article. Politics had become the property of the 'sound bite' media professional with a set of rules, learned doing that politics degree, that define everything and without which governance impossible. Think we have all had enough as Corbyn's landslide shows.

bemusedbyitall ImaNoyed 13 Sep 2015 19:06

The sad part in Australia is that, like BLiarism in the UK, the current ALP, with its devout neoliberal acolytes running the show, now stands as the Alternative Liberal Party. There is absolutely no difference betwixt them and the Nat-Libs.
Who will bring the ALP back to being social democrats - No need - The Greens will rise up and take over fortunately

ID8729015 13 Sep 2015 18:07

"milquetoast managerialism, they were not only barely distinguishable from each other but had platforms that were forgettable even when they were decipherable."
Gary, you are brilliant

Drewv TheSpaceBetween 13 Sep 2015 17:17

You are using the term exclusively in its most narrow sense, as in, the people alienated from all of society, who are on the margins of life as such, who are outcasts in the most literal and tangible sense.

But it is eminently possible to be 'alienated' in many other and different senses, and therefore, for alienation to be present on many different levels. It is possible for people to be alienated from the political class which rules them; for workers to be alienated from the economic system; for voters to be alienated from those whom they elect; for the lower classes to be alienated from the upper ones; and so on.

Ikonoclast 13 Sep 2015 16:51

Cameron, what a fukcin embarrassment you are...

The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family's security.

CDNBobOrr 13 Sep 2015 16:42

"" In the words of the American socialist Eugene Debs: "It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it."""

... ... ...

mickconley -> jonnyoyster 13 Sep 2015 16:12

Even though I suspect we might come from different ends of the political spectrum, I think some of what you're saying here is true and it's refreshing to see it expressed without the usual smug post-election needling of many rightwingers on this site! You've definitely identified some of the problems that Corbyn's going to have to solve. I totally agree that the reaction of New Labour movement is going to be key. But I would challenge two main things about your post.

Firstly, I think your characterisation of people on the Left is a bit patronising and based on stereotype. I could equally hold forth on the type of voter the Right attracts (don't tempt me!) based on my own prejudices, but I don't think that would be particularly helpful. There may be some truth in the stereotypes on both sides among the dyed-in-the-wool, but I also think that the last election showed us that there is a huge number of voters in play who aren't particularly wedded to either concept of Left or Right.

That brings me on to my second point - what makes you so confident that Labour won't win back UKIP voters? Again, my sense is that although there is a hard core of extreme rightwingers who strongly support the ideas, there are a lot of people at the last election who felt angry and disenfranchised, and saw Farage as a 'plain dealer' - who liked the way he spoke rather than necessarily what he said. I think Corbyn could capitalise on this and win back a significant number, despite the fact that what he's actually saying is the polar opposite to UKIP.

Remember, Cameron's majority is tiny. The press have been peddling the myth of a wonderful Tory success story, but the truth is it's smaller than Major's was in '92, and look how that ended. Interesting times ahead, certainly!

foralltime 13 Sep 2015 16:09

An insightful article, Gary. This is a flowing movement rejecting the neoliberal consensus.

socialistnotnulabour xlocus 13 Sep 2015 16:03

Corbyn supporters were given the name Corbynistas by those who opposed him and it was to try and paint Corbyn and his supporters as far left who want to overthrow the government.

They throw abuse and lie about Corbyn and his supporters and then try to play the victim when they get a bit of abuse back at them.

Legionary13 13 Sep 2015 15:50

A yes for Corbyn was effectively a yes for "austerity is a needlessly harmful fraud" so I am very happy to see that this simple fact is recognised. Our current government is unusually destructive and the more voices explaining that this is by choice (rather than forced on us) the better.

Can Corbyn succeed? He will be opposed by Murdoch/Mail/Telegraph, all organisations that have been practising their lying.

Humans for Corbyn!

beadmaker MrHee 13 Sep 2015 15:47

This is where I am torn. There is a desperate need for an alternative voice to the neo-liberal consensus (ie. Capitalism Unchained) but Mass Immigration is a main plank of unchaining capitalism and at least the right is allowed to verbalise this (even though nothing is allowed to hinder it) whereas the left seems to be hidebound to support it, with any contention deemed racist. To quote another CIF poster: Please understand that many many people understand that immigration is a symptom of the bigger problem of out of control global corporate capitalism. But immigration just makes it worse.

(ie. they don't blame immigrants /or refuges personally for making understandable choices to try to make a better life for themselves and their family but en masse they are major weapon in the Right's armoury to make the minimum wage the de facto wage rate for lower skilled employment, and as long as the costs can be socialised onto PAYE and SME taxpayers all is well for business. The Left, in useful idiot mode seems to want to help business keep stockpiling bullets and can't see they are shooting themselves in the foot with this.

BeTrueForAll SteB1 13 Sep 2015 15:28

"....what the establishment really fears is the public getting behind the mood."

Well said!

A great many people are now beginning to see behind the mask and recognise that lying behind Hayekian and Friedmanite Neoliberalism is an age old reality of sociopathic or narcissistic alpha apes seeking domination irrespective of the damage they cause to others.

Jeremy Corbyn has helped give voice to that recognition. Even if he fails others will take his place and seek to reverse this now obvious and grotesque domination.

NotYetGivenUp dowland 13 Sep 2015 15:23

I've seen that interview, and his answer was as straight as a die. When asked to condemn IRA atrocities, he refused to distinguish between IRA atrocities (bad) and British Army atrocities (good?), rather he condemned all atrocities, and thus did answer the question, more fully than a simple, and simplistic, yes or no. By contextualising, Corbyn refused to be pinned by a false dichotomy. His frustration was with the interviewer for framing his question with bias, namely demanding condemnation of IRA actions without conceding there were two guilty parties in this violence. The media's refusal to engage with criticism of the British Army is increasingly disturbing. Jeremy Corbyn is not party to this charade.

That bears no comparison with Howard's refusal to answer whether he had interfered directly in the prison service, outside his remit.

happytolive 13 Sep 2015 15:13

The fight against the Tories has just started, especially now the Tories are on their own mourning their loss of their brother New Labour. The Tories however will continue to fight back not only directly but also through their "agents" in the party. The future is uncertain, how can it be when even the first serious clash has not yet happened? The trade union bill is a test for Corbyn and his supporters and a defining factor for all those who are not happy with the turn Labour has made. I strongly believe that Corbyn's strong point is not in Parliament but outside in the street and in united action with the unions. Without that nothing for the good is achievable.

sallyo57 MorrisOx 13 Sep 2015 15:05

The UK is the sixth-biggest economy in the world and for all its iniquities is still growing.

This economy is built on sand. Private, and public, debt is spiralling out of control with interest rates about to rise. Hold on to your hat...

LegLeg LondonLungs 13 Sep 2015 15:04

Spitting venom? The Tories have barely started work on doing Corbyn over. Have you any idea how much shit the Tories are going to be able to dig up over Corbyn's 32 year career? How many terrorists/anti-semites/gay-bashers he's probably sat next to (unawares) over the decades? The Tories are not daft enough to play all their cards at the outset. It is already clear that the Tories won't treat Corbyn as a joke and ignore him. They intend to treat him and his proposals with deadly seriousness, so that come 2020, the choice between the Tories and JC is a real one.

CynicalSOB 13 Sep 2015 15:03

Smug closet Tories really are out in force on here tonight. They sound like the other 3 candidates looked on Saturday - bemused and really not sure what to say apart from the same old Torygraph/Daily Heil soundbites...

SteB1 13 Sep 2015 14:57

I think this is some of the best analysis and description of the situation I've seen.

It has energised the alienated and alienated the establishment. The rebels are now the leaders; those who once urged loyalty are now in rebellion. Four months after losing an election, a significant section of Labour's base is excited about politics for the first time in almost a generation while another is in despair.

This is not only very accurate but a great bit of succinct prose.

But then little of this is really about Corbyn. He is less the product of a movement than the conduit for a moment that has parallels across the western world.

This is the point many are missing. Especially the Blairites and self-styled "moderates". They mistakenly think that if they could just defeat Corbyn with some cheap trick, or undermine him once his leadership is underway, that somehow they will re-seize control of the Labour Party. They won't because of the consensus demanding change, who would want an equally radical replacement, and not a Blairite.

From the moment it was clear that assumption was flawed, the political and media class shifted from disbelief to derision to panic, apparently unaware that his growing support was as much a repudiation of them as an embrace of him. Former Labour leaders and mainstream commentators belittled his supporters as immature, deluded, self-indulgent and unrealistic, only to express surprise when they could not win them over.

This is it. The establishment media commentariat who like to believe they know best were left looking clueless, and with feet of clay. Suddenly they look very feeble and fallible, and their knowingness is revealed as hollow bluster.

Nonetheless, the question of whether Corbyn is electable is a crucial one to which there are many views but no definitive answers. We are in uncharted waters and it's unlikely to be plain sailing.

This is it, we really are in uncharted waters. There are so many points where it could go in different directions, and those making predictions are kidding themselves. There's no doubt that the establishment is going to fight back tooth and nail. They really fear losing control. Jeremy Corbyn himself has proven himself to be incorruptible, and not an establishment man. The old tricks to make someone compromise their principles will be predictable. However, what the establishment really fears is the public getting behind the mood.

It may be that far from being unelectable, that there could be a bandwagon of support for Jeremy Corbyn. Remember, in a very astute way, Jeremy Corbyn says he wants to appeal to those who don't vote. These are the people who feel politicians don't represent them, and it is not a homeground for many potential Tories. If anyone was to tap into this body that doesn't vote, it could mean there is no need to win over potential Tories.

But then we don't know what power the establishment will have with their dirty tricks, as they have a stranglehold on the media.

To me this is the key point about successful change. It depends on the ability to reach the public whilst bypassing the media. It depends on how much traction smearing Jeremy Corbyn has. It could backfire on the media and the establishment if they just preach to the converted as they have been doing in the last couple of months, and their play becomes too transparent to the public. Of course the media and establishment may succeed with their smears and character assassination. Although I think they will find it harder with Jeremy Corbyn, because he is so open and honest about what he stands for. It will be hard to imply he has a hidden agenda.

CommieWealth 13 Sep 2015 14:53

They won't win it back with snark and petulance. But they can make their claims about unelectability a self-fulfilling prophecy by refusing to accept Corbyn's legitimacy as party leader.

This writeup has a similar perfume to Zoe WIlliams's contribution, criticism out of the wood work, and emulating btl insight of the last few months. Belated catchup, but still welcome, and of course, expressed with far greater eloquence. I haven't followed Gary Younge's articles very closely over the past year, so correct me if I am wrong, but I just wish you CIF were less craven and more courageous when it counts. It feels all too often, as readers, "we told you so".

teaandchocolate CyrusA 13 Sep 2015 14:41

I don't want to be hard on the guardian or the observer. I think they have to present lots of different points of view but I think even they held their breath. Monbiot wrote a very powerful piece last week. Everyone is cautious. We've been let down so many times over the last 30+ years.

The neoliberals are as wily as Stalin and incredibly cunning.

I have faith in the guardian to vex and thrill me in equal measure. I'd rather that than the dribbling preachings to the converted that is the telegraph and the daily mail.

johnhump 13 Sep 2015 14:23

Tory light or Blairism were never right. That is for those who want to conserve and protect status quos. Nor is this about Corbyn, it is about opposition to elitism and unfettered neo con economics. Now what is important is that the thinking has started and has legitimacy.

McNairoplane 13 Sep 2015 14:21

This was a heroic move by Labour Party members, and they have returned to their more liberal roots and hopefully will squash the comfortable Westminster Bubble!
I find it disgusting that knowing their party members have voted for him, so many of the elected Westminster MPs want to turn their back on him, rather than support him.
It is this very reason that they lost the election.
They have locally lost contact with the electorate.

CyrusA teaandchocolate 13 Sep 2015 14:19

So the question remains... why did the Gruan not give Gary a platform earlier?
Backing the horse after it has crossed the finishing line is really pathetic.
Groan editorial team need to reconnect with the 500,000 people who cared enough and hoped enough to bother registering.

simbasdad Brobat 13 Sep 2015 14:17

I think the Labour Grandees are worried that their gravy train has just hit the buffers, they were probably looking forward to at least a nice post ministerial income( Hewitt, Reid etc) a stop pretending I was ever a Socialist seat in the Lords (Prescott, Primorolo etc) or the Jackpot riches of Blair, Mandelson or the Kinnocks. Of course, they're upset, their pension plans are disappearing.

haakonsen1975 13 Sep 2015 14:14

This is the first article that I have read and in general agree with and don't find condescending in term
But (there always is a but) I will like to point out that I am not my father nor am I anything but a product of my parents, but what happened in the 80s is not the same as in 2015s it is going to be different so hence the reason for change. If we were to transport the 2015 experience of politics' into the 1980s what would have happened - 3rd world war perhaps??
The electorate is not what it was then, now is it. We are not the American's although our government would love us to be - we would be so easy to manage.
Why not let us be let us form our own opinion, we are fully informed as to what we want to happen in the future. When you tell us about the 80s - many of the electorate was not born then - but do remember history is written by the victor of that time so - history lessons should be directed to the history classes in school or Universities - not to drive a Political debate nor to tell people that they are mistaken in their views - views are created through experience - not the other way around.
The people of the UK have experienced a bad time and has had enough already and they want hope as part of the future - not the usual garbage served up on a TORY blue plate.

KriticalThinkingUK Barbara Saunders 13 Sep 2015 14:07

Good points Barbara. Europe would not be facing a refugee crisis if the neo-cons hadn't unilaterally unleashed their bombs on all those countries in the middle has to stop...jaw jaw ...not war war...

SeenItAlready 13 Sep 2015 13:57

Short of perhaps a speeding ticket, they didn't appear to have a single conviction between them

That's pretty funny, and also rather accurate

Finally we have an article in The Guardian that expresses the situation as it actually is

For the past couple of decades the Labour leadership has looked upon the various nascent social movements that have emerged – against war, austerity, tuition fees, racism and inequality – with at best indifference and at times contempt. They saw its participants, many of whom were or had been committed Labour voters, not as potential allies but constant irritants

And here we have the nub of the matter, the way that the NeoLiberals who infiltrated the Labour party just assumed that the core vote would continue supporting them as they had nowhere else to go... wrong, wrong, wrong!

thewash 13 Sep 2015 13:42

It beggars belief that so many politicians and commentators still do not recognise the magnitude of what has happened in this Labour leader election.

Corbyn a a result of his inclusion and the opportunity it has given him to voice his political views is the touchstone for this movement for change, which has been building up since 2003, (when Blair went to war), when the real nature of Labour's shift towards neo-liberalism emerged and voices opposed began to speak and slowly to be heard.

Politics in the UK will never be the same again. Corbyn and Labour have a little over 4 years to establish a new and better way of confronting national issues and to devise better ways of dealing with them than have been offered by any of the parties including Labour itself.

francoisP 13 Sep 2015 13:40

The real issue is whether he can energise those who voted for him and the non voting young into getting into active politics .There is obviously an appetite there.
The nu labour grandees fail to grasp this and having a hissy fit makes them look even more out of touch.

Blunkett whinging about protest in the Mail of all places.. As one of their columnists is wont to say " you couldn't make it up"

snickid 13 Sep 2015 13:39

What no New Labour / Blairite seems able to admit is the simple truth. New Labour - in the shape of Burnham, Cooper, Kendall - lost the Labour leadership election because New Labour was crap:

* Afghanistan war
* Iraq war (and if Blair had had his way, a few more wars besides)
* Financial scandals, from ads for fags (Bernie Ecclestone) to cash for honours (Michael Levy) - and load more in between
* Bankerised economics
* 2008 crash (and Britain with its bloated deregulated banking sector was central to this)
* Ever-rising wealth gap between rich and poor (minimum wage notwithstanding)

- and much, much more besides.

Brobat 13 Sep 2015 13:37

Gary's 9 words speak volumes - they perfectly summarise the entire British political history of the past eighteen years

Corbyn victory energises the alienated and alienates the establishment

the Righties of the Labour Party say Corbyn will make Labour unelectable; gosh that is one hell of a trip they're trying to lay on us 'cos what they offer is a kind cheapo supermarket version of the Tory credo, who in their right mind is gonna vote for such a cheapo piece of crap? Righty Labour is unelectable.

Unless the Labour Righties can come up with any fresh alternatives, they should join the Tories

Treflesg 13 Sep 2015 13:31

There are three things I welcome about Corbyn winning:

That having been said, I absolutely don't welcome:

Sydsnot 13 Sep 2015 13:25

Corbyn is already achieving what he was elected to do. The party was never going to change just drifting along, it now has to now re invent itself, Corbyn is the catalyst, he won't last long but Labour will never be the same again.

NietzscheanCat 13 Sep 2015 13:23

The Labour party is ours, now. We saw that it belonged to you, and we took it. We took what was yours. We took it from your trembling, clutching hands. And now it's ours.

Tories, we've got you in sight now. Are you afraid? You should be. You are about to witness the Left on attack mode. Our vengeance will hit you like a freight train, and you will be powerless against the onslaught of the left.

You're damned right we're a threat to your security.

[Sep 14, 2015] The Guardian view on the bloodshed in Syria: Russia has a lot to answer for Editorial

Sep 11, 2015 | The Guardian

wombat123 , 14 Sep 2015 01:48

Russia does not have as much to answer for as the foreign powers arming the insurgents including ISIS. The UK and US have far more Syrian blood on their hands than Russia. Arming insurgents in another member of the UN is a grave violation of international law. The loss of life is far higher because of the countries supplying the insurgents. All insurgencies burn out fairly quickly in the absence of support from outside powers. The US and its allies have kept the carnage going for years for their own political ends as irrational as those may be.

Sisyphus2 -> jezzam , 13 Sep 2015 22:21

It is an entire modus operandi. Before Open Societies there were other foundations funded by other people, some of which still continue to operate. It is neo-colonialism to serve corporate interests. Wearing false masks of altruism and good intent to stir up trouble in other countries in order to change their structure to fit your ends. George is just particularly active at this time because he has his hand up the butt of a number of incumbents in pivotal positions of power.

Makes me laugh when I see articles going on about how George seems to be prescient about what to invest in. Prescient my ass! You don't need prescience when you are orchestrating events into existence. But, you know, most of us are too dumb to see what is going on, or too self interested if we do.

Chillskier -> madsttdk , 13 Sep 2015 19:58

No other country comes even close to Russia in expansionist wars in the last two decades.

You sure not very well informed about last two decades, the destruction of any stability in the middle east have certainly happened in this time frame and absolutely dwarfs anything that Putin has done in terms of bloodshed and international instability.

And before you get started on whataboutism: While the neocon warmongers in USA are a quite despicable breed, they have not been in power for eigth years,.

You are so wrong about neocons, they are very much in power, since US policy in the middle east and Ukraine for that matter have not change one bit, it is just became limited by the public waking up to the disaster that it was / is (you clearly do not belong to the informed part of the electorate).

But more importantly: the "My neighbour kills people, so it's ok for me to it too to kill people is a morally indefensible position. Mr. Putin is helping a butcher slaughter innocent civilians on a massive scale.

Again you view civil war in Syria out of context of the neocon plan for destruction of the number of secular Muslim states, and this is simply intellectually dishonest.

I know the nationalistic propaganda and endless lies you're being fed in Russia,

Your assumption that I'm somehow exposed to Russian propaganda is silly, since my exposure to it is limited to my Ukrainian wife (from very west of Ukraine by the way) , and my Ukrainian dentist who is from Kiev, and they all tired of blaming Putin for the complete clasterfuck that euromaidan turned out to be, most people my wife talked to on her latest visit disgusted with the current regime of Poroshenko.

Robert Gaudet , 13 Sep 2015 19:16

Remember when Russia destroyed Iraq, igniting all manner of sectarian conflict in the region, and armed the people they claim to be fighting now in Syria some sadly perpetual motion like cycle of violence?

That sounds really bad, if you put the word "Russia" there, doesn't it? Good thing it was done by Western powers with good intentions.

Chillskier -> Anthony Clifton , 13 Sep 2015 18:47

No Putinbot. I'm right on target. As I said, Russian forces are not hindered by the same Rules of Engagement as NATO forces would be as recently demonstrated by the complete destruction of the Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk by Russian troops and their separatist proxy forces

You are welcome to visit and find for yourself who is responsible for destruction of Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
You will find that you was lied to, and used like an idiot by your favorite news sources. (Faux news I'm sure).

Chillskier , 13 Sep 2015 17:38

This is why, as Mr Putin heads for the UN general assembly in New York later this month, efforts to adopt a resolution banning the use of barrel bombs must stay focused. Russia will undoubtedly veto such a text, but that would at least expose its complicity.

Why limit itself to just barrel bombs, why leave cluster bombs out of it?

What? Too soon?

Chillskier -> airman23 , 13 Sep 2015 17:28
You are clearly flying ahead of your own shit airman.

Russians are not bombing anything yet, presence of Russian air force and especially anti-aircraft units will most likely there to force NATO to open lines of communications to avoid direct clashes.

And we all know about your " Rules of Engagement" since pacification of Fallujah and beyond.
The *shock and awe* alone was an indiscriminate bombing of the city of 4 million with not a single designated military target in it, exactly as Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the way.

Chillskier -> Alan Smith , 13 Sep 2015 15:28

Pretty much.
Editorials are to tell us what opinion we must have.

Alan Smith , 13 Sep 2015 15:12

"Russia has a lot to answer for" And America doesn't?

Laurence Johnson , 13 Sep 2015 14:48

Had Russia not defended Assad the rulers of Syria today would be ISIS.

Now there are conspiracy theorists that would tell us ISIS was funded by the US to fight Assad. Irrespective of the truth, clearly Russia is the good guy in all of this and should be supported by the West.

Probandi , 13 Sep 2015 14:37

I would've though that we have a lot to answer for. Assad, Saddam etc are very clearly a much better option in that region than any of the alternatives. It's been a major mistake of western foreign policy to proselytize liberal democracy and human rights to a people whom see these values as completely alien to them, as much as medieval Europeans would have. Middle east is yet to go through Renaissance, not to mention enlightenment and scientific revolution. They are simply 800 years behind us in terms of social development, and therefore same rules do not apply.

Whitebeam , 13 Sep 2015 14:16

There is a pragmatic argument that the bloodshed will only end when one side wins - and nobody civilised wants ISIS or the other Islamists to win, and the secular opposition are simply too weak and divided to ever win and and enforce the rule of law. Assad may not be a democrat (he is an autocratic secular Arab republican) but before the war the regime was broadly tolerant of all religious and ethnic groups, as long as they did not challenge state authority. The threatened Christian population of Syria now say that they are only safe where the regime is in control. Just as the West formed an unsavoury alliance with the brutal Soviet regime to defeat Naziism, perhaps it is time for such realpolitik with Syria. The alternative is to attack or undermine Assad, and let ISIS win, and accept there will be a genocide or cleansing of Syrian Christians and Shia/Alawites and other non-Sunnis, with another wave of refugees, leaving Syria as a de-facto 'pure' Islamist state.

Chillskier -> airman23 , 13 Sep 2015 14:15

How about preventing it from turning in to oasis of democracy such as Libya?

Artusov -> beggarsbelief , 13 Sep 2015 14:14

I have stated the same fact repeatedly. Churchill loathed Communism and the Soviet regime but decided to back Stalin as much as he could against Hitler. Assad is a sort of Stalin but he's better than ISIS.

Assad doesn't round up Christians and just chop their heads off for no reason . The West encouraged the Arab spring - just leave the Arabs alone to kill themselves which they have done very successfully for centuries.

Some sort of deal will be and will have to be done some day with Putin .

The Guardian needs to get a mature and informed policy.

mikehowleydcu -> Giants1925 , 13 Sep 2015 14:13

When you make comments about other countries getting their ambassadors out of the US it corresponds to the wishes of many nations that the US gets its CIA, and military out of their countries.

As well as getting creative with your history you are now inventing things that I have said and positions that I have taken... I am not a "leftie" I have not said anything in support of North Korea but ll you this; you haven't provided any counterargument for the list of countries that was bombed by the US since 1945.

You argue from the heart. I know that you 'believe' the US to be the 'exceptional' nation just as the Germans in the 30's were told that they were above all others... but your arguments are coming from the heart and not the head. This is why you are arguing with almost everybody on this forum. You want us to agree with you but you can offer no counter arguments so you revert to the distant past and then to calling us commies, lefties or whatever.

Truth is that since 1945 the US has bombed over 50 countries, executed leaders throughout the world, particularly in latin america and it has killed over 4 million in Vietnam in Cambodia and a million in Iraq. Oh... and where were those weapons of mass destruction? or the link between Saddam and 9/11?
Even you know that they were invented fantasies. Maybe your 9/11 story is a fairy tale? If you want to wake up you can.. but turn off Sean Hannity.

beggarsbelief , 13 Sep 2015 13:36

Unless we actually want ISIS to extend their vile and terrifying rule to the Mediterranean, the only way to end this bloodbath is for the West to form an alliance with Russia and Assad.

Attacking Assad would be the moral and strategic equivalent of the allies bombing the Soviet Union during the Second World War.

It is the kind of thinking reflected in this editorial that has caused the deaths of two hundred thousand Syrians and created a nation of refugees. The Guardian has a lot to answer for.

davidncldl , 13 Sep 2015 13:33

The Guardian falls over itself to do the bidding of the emergent US/EU superpower. The Guardian will rewrite successful Russian peace-keeping and life-saving actions out of existence when this meets the superpower's global aims. Readers may have forgotten that smug big-mouth John Kerry said that al-Assad, the democratically elected and legitimate leader of Syria, could avoid a US military strike by ridding Syria of its chemical weapons.

Mr Kerry reckoned without the Russians being fully awake and alert and ready to save innocent lives. After Kerry's slip-of-the-tongue Mr Putin was quick to help arrange the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons. End result - the Russians save countless thousands of lives, of Syrian civilians and regular soldiers.

Sadly, like dogs to their own vomit, we can expect the US to return to its aim of destroying al-Assad and allowing the beheaders free rein in his country, no matter what the government says or does. And the Guardian defends this.

ATC2348 -> YorenOfTheNorth , 13 Sep 2015 12:32

Why do Kosovans still have asylum status in many European countries? why is it not recognized by many countries including Greece and Spain? What was the religion of the majority of that "country" at the turn of the last century and what is it now? who is one of the biggest employers? see below;

[Sep 14, 2015] Further sabotage of the Iran deal won't bring success — only embarrassment

The key incentive to Iran deal is using Iran as a Trojan horse against Russia -- the force which helps to keep oil prices low, benefitting the USA and other G7 members and hurting Russia and other oil-producing nations. Iran might also serve as a replacement market for EU goods, as EU now lost (and probably irrevocably) Russian market for food, and have difficulties in maintaining their share in other sectors (cars, machinery).
"...Central question: how come nobody talks about Israel's nukes?"
"...American Jews are facing one of the most interesting choices of recent US history. The Republican Party, which is pissing into a stiff wind of unfavorable demographics, seems to have decided it can even the playing field by peeling Jews away from the Democrats with promises to do whatever Israel wants. So we have the very strange (but quite real) prospect of Jews increasingly throwing in their lot with the party of Christian extremists whose ranks also include violent antiSemites. Interesting times. We'll see how this plays out. My family is Jewish and I have not been shy in telling them that alliances with the GOP for short-term gains for Israel is not a wise policy. The GOP establishment are not antiSemtic but the base often is, and if Trump's candidacy shows anything it's that the base is in control of the Republicans. "
"...Their primary goal was to keep Iran isolated and economically weak. They knew full well that the Iranians hadn't had a nuclear program since 2003, but Netanhayu needed an existential threat to Israel in order to justify his grip on power. All of this charade has bee at the instigation of and directed by Israel. And they lost They were beaten by that hated schwartze and the liberals that Israel normally counts on for unthinking support. "
"...It is this deal that feeds the military industrial complex. We've already heard Kerry give Israel and Saudi Arabia assurances of more weapons. And that $150 billion released to Iran? A healthy portion will be spent for arms..American, Russian, Chinese. Most of the commenters have this completely backwards. This deal means a bonanza for the arms industry."
"...The Iran nuclear agreement accomplishes the US policy goal of preventing the creation of the fissionable material required for an Iranian nuclear weapons program. What the agreement does not do is eliminate Iran as a regional military and economic power, as the Israelis and Saudis -- who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby American politicians and brainwash American TV viewers -- would prefer."
"...Rejection equals war. It's not surprising that the same crowd most stridently demanding rejection of the agreement advocated the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. These homicidal fools never learn, or don't care as long as it's not their lives at risk."
"...I've seen Iranian statements playing internal politics, but I have never seen any actual Iranian threats. I've seen plenty about Israel assassinating people in other countries, using incendiaries and chemical weapons against civilians in other countries, conducting illegal kidnappings overseas, using terrorism as a weapon of war, developing nuclear weapons illegally, ethnically cleansing illegally occupied territories, that sort of thing."
"...The American Warmonger Establishment (that now fully entrenched "Military Industrial Complex" against which no more keen observer than President Dwight Eisenhower warned us), is rip-shit over the Iran Agreement. WHAT? We can't Do More War? That will be terrible for further increasing our obscene 1-percent wealth. Let's side with Israeli wingnut Netanyahu, who cynically leverages "an eye for an eye for an eye for an eye" to hold his "Power."..."
Sep 14, 2015 | The Guardian

The waning clout stems from the lobby siding with the revanchist Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose Iran strategy since the 2012 US presidential campaign has been to unabashedly side with Republican hawks. Aipac's alignment with the position effectively caused the group to marginalize itself; the GOP is now the only place where Aipac can today find lockstep support. The tens of millions Aipac spent lobbying against the deal were unable to obscure this dynamic.

We may not look back at this as a sea change – some Senate Democrats who held firm against opposition to the deal are working with Aipac to pass subsequent legislation that contains poison pills designed to kill it – but rather as a rising tide eroding the once sturdy bipartisan pro-Israeli government consensus on Capitol Hill. Some relationships have been frayed; previously stalwart allies of the Israel's interests, such as Vice President Joe Biden, have reportedly said the Iran deal fight soured them on Aipac.

Even with the boundaries of its abilities on display, however, Aipac will continue its efforts. "We urge those who have blocked a vote today to reconsider," the group said in a spin-heavy statement casting a pretty objective defeat as victory with the headline, "Bipartisan Senate Majority Rejects Iran Nuclear Deal." The group's allies in the Senate Republican Party have already promised to rehash the procedural vote next week, and its lobbyists are still rallying for support in the House. But the Senate's refusal to halt US support for the deal means that Senate Democrats are unlikely to reconsider, especially after witnessing Thursday's Republican hijinx in the House. These ploys look like little more than efforts to embarrass Obama into needing to cast a veto.

If Republicans' rhetoric leading up to to their flop in the Senate – Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina took to the floor during the debate and pulled out an old trick from the run-up to the Iraq war: blaming Iran for 9/11 and saying a failure to act would result in a worse attack – is any indication, even Democrats like the pro-Israel hawk Chuck Schumer will find it untenable to sidle up to Aipac and the Republicans.

Opponents of the deal want to say the Democrats played politics instead of evaluating the deal honestly. That charge is ironic, to say the least, since most experts agree the nuclear deal is sound and the best agreement diplomacy could achieve. But there were politics at play: rather than siding with Obama, Congressional Democrats lined up against the Republican/Netanyahu alliance. The adamance of Aipac ended up working against its stated interests.

Groups like Aipac will go on touting their bipartisan bona fides without considering that their adoption of Netanyahu's own partisanship doomed them to a partisan result. Meanwhile, the ensuing fight, which will no doubt bring more of the legislative chaos we saw this week, won't be a cakewalk, so to speak, but will put the lie to Aipac's claims it has a bipartisan consensus behind it. Despite their best efforts, Obama won't be the one embarrassed by the scrambling on the horizon.

TiredOldDog 13 Sep 2015 21:47

a foreign country whose still hell bent on committing war crimes

I guess this may mean Israel.

If it does, how about we compare Assad's Syria, Iran and Israel. How many war crimes per day in the last 4 years and, maybe, some forecasts.

Otherwise it's the usual gratuitous use of bad words at Israel. It has a purpose. To denigrate and dehumanize Israel or, at least, Zionism.

ID7612455 13 Sep 2015 18:04

The problem with the right in the USA is that they offer no alternatives, nothing, nada and zilch they have become the opposition party of opposition. They rely on talking point memes and fear, and it has become the party of extremism and simplicity offering low hanging fruit and red meat this was on perfect display at their anti Iran deal rally, palin, trump, beck and phil robinson who commands ducks apparently.

winemaster2 13 Sep 2015 17:01

Put a Brush Mustache on the control freak, greed creed, Nentanhayu the SOB not only looks like but has the same mentality as Hitler and his Nazism crap.

Martin Hutton -> mantishrimp 12 Sep 2015 23:50

I wondered when someone was going to bring up that "forgotten" fact. Is it any wonder the Iranians don't trust the US. After the US's spying exploits during the Iraqi WMD inspections, why are you surprised that Iran asks for 24 days notice of inspection (enough time to clear out conventional weapons development but not enough to remove evidence of nuclear weapons development).

mantishrimp 12 Sep 2015 20:51

Most Americans don't know the CIA overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 and installed the Shaw. Most Republicans know that most Americans will believe what Fox news tells them. Republicans live in an alternate universe where there is no climate change, mammon is worshiped and wisdom is rejected hatred is accepted negotiation is replaced by perpetual warfare. Now most Americans are tired of stupid leadership and the Republicans are in big trouble.

ByThePeople -> Sieggy 12 Sep 2015 20:27

Is pitiful how for months and months, certain individuals blathered on and on and on when it was fairly clear from the get go that this was a done deal and no one was about cater to the war criminal. I suppose it was good for them, sucking every last dime they could out of the AICPA & Co. while they acted like there was 'a chance'. Nope, only chance is that at the end of the day, a politician is a politician and he'll suck you dry as long as you let 'em.

What a pleasure it is to see the United States Congress finally not pimp themselves out completely to a foreign country whose still hell bent on committing war crimes. A once off I suppose, but it's one small step for Americans.

ByThePeople 12 Sep 2015 20:15

AIPAC - Eventually everything is seen for what is truly is.

ambushinthenight -> Greg Zeglen 12 Sep 2015 18:18

Seems that it makes a lot of sense to most everyone else in the world, it is now at the point where it really makes no difference whether the U.S. ratifies the deal or not. Israel is opposed because they wish to maintain their nuclear weapons monopoly in the region. Politicians here object for one of two reasons. They are Israeli first and foremost not American or for political expediency and a chance to try undo another of this President's achievements. Been a futile effort so far I'd say.

hello1678 -> BrianGriffin 12 Sep 2015 16:42

with the threat you describe from Israel it seems only sensible for Iran to develop nuclear weapons - if my was country (Scotland) was in Iran's place and what you said is true i would only support politicians who promised fast and large scale production of atomic weapons to counter the clear threat to my nation.

nardone -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 14:12

Netanyahu loves to play the victim, but he is the primary cause that Jews worldwide, but especially in the United States, are rethinking the idea of "Israel." I know very few people who willingly identify with a strident right wing government comprised of rabid nationalists, religious fundamentalists, and a violent, almost apocalyptic settler community.

The Israeli electorate has indicated which path it wishes to travel, but that does not obligate Jews throughout the world to support a government whose policies they find odious.

Greg Zeglen -> Glenn Gang 12 Sep 2015 13:51

good point which is found almost nowhere is still necessary to understand that the whole line of diplomacy regarding the west on the part of Iran has been for generations one of deceit...and people are intensely jealous of what they hold dear - especially safety and liberty with in their country....

EarthyByNature -> Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 13:45

I do trust your on salary with a decent benefits package with the Israeli government or one of it's slavish US lobbyists. Let's face it, got to be hard work pouring out such hateful drivel.

BrianGriffin -> imipak 12 Sep 2015 12:53

The USA took about six years to build a bomb from scratch.

The UK took almost six years to build a bomb.

Russia was able to build a bomb in only four years (1945-1949).

France took four years to build a bomb.

The Chinese only took four years.

steelhead 12 Sep 2015 12:48

As part of this deal the US and allies should guarantee Iran protection against Israeli aggression. Otherwise, considering Israel's threats, Iran is well justified in seeking a nuclear deterrent.

BrianGriffin -> HauptmannGurski 12 Sep 2015 12:35

"Europe needs business desperately."

Sieggy 12 Sep 2015 12:32

In other words, once again, Obama out-played and out-thought both the GOP and AIPAC. He was playing multidimensional chess while they were playing checkers. The democrats kept their party discipline while the republicans ran around like a schoolyard full of sugared-up children. This is what happens when you have grownups competing with adolescents. The republican party, to put it very bluntly, can't get it together long enough to whistle 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' in unison.

They lost. Again. And worse than being losers, they're sore, whining, sniveling, blubbering losers. Even when they've been spanked - hard - they swear it's not over and they're gonna get even, just you wait and see! Get over it. They lost - badly - and the simple fact that their party is coming apart at the seams before our very eyes means they're going to be losing a lot more, too.

AIPAC's defeat shows that their grip on the testicles of congress has been broken. All the way around, a glorious victory for Obama, and an ignominious defeat for the republicans. And most especially, Israel. Their primary goal was to keep Iran isolated and economically weak. They knew full well that the Iranians hadn't had a nuclear program since 2003, but Netanhayu needed an existential threat to Israel in order to justify his grip on power. All of this charade has bee at the instigation of and directed by Israel. And they lost They were beaten by that hated schwartze and the liberals that Israel normally counts on for unthinking support.

Their worst loss, however, was losing the support of the American jews. Older, orthodox jews are Israel-firsters. The younger, less observant jews are Americans first. Netanhayu's behavior has driven a wedge between the US and Israel that is only going to deepen over time. And on top of that, Iran is re-entering the community of nations, and soon their economy will dominate the region. Bibi overplayed his hand very, very stupidly, and the real price that Israel will pay for his bungling will unfold over the next few decades.

BrianGriffin TiredOldDog 12 Sep 2015 12:18

"The Constitution provides that the president 'shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur'"

Hardly a done deal. If Obama releases funds to Iran he probably would be committing an impeachable crime under US law.

Even many Democrats would vote to impeach Obama for providing billions to a sworn enemy of Israel.

Glenn Gang Bruce Bahmani 12 Sep 2015 12:07

"...institutionally Iranclad(sic) HATRED towards the west..." Since you like all-caps so much, try this: "B.S."

The American propel(sic) actually figured out something else---that hardline haters like yourself are desperate to keep the cycle of Islamophobic mistrust and suspicion alive, and blind themselves to the fact that the rest of us have left you behind. FACT: More than half of the population of Iran today was NOT EVEN BORN when radical students captured the U.S. Embassy in Teheran in 1979. People like you, Bruce, conveniently ignore the fact that Ahmedinejad and his hardline followers were voted out of power in 2013, and that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei further marginalized them by allowing the election of new President Hassan Rouhani to stand, though he was and is an outspoken reformer advocating rapprochement with the west. While his outward rhetoric still has stern warnings about anticipated treachery by the 'Great Satan', Khamenei has allowed the Vienna agreement to go forward, and shows no sign of interfering with its implementation. He is an old man, but he is neither stupid nor senile, and has clearly seen the crippling effects the international sanctions have had on his country and his people. Haters like you, Bruce, will insist that he ALWAYS has evil motives, just as Iranian hardliners (like Ahmedinejad) will ALWAYS believe that the U.S. has sinister motives and cannot EVER be trusted to uphold our end of any agreement. You ascribe HATRED in all caps to Iran, the whole country, while not acknowledging your own simmering hatred.

People like you will always find a 'boogeyman,' someone else to blame for your problems, real or imagined. You should get some help.

beenheretoolong 12 Sep 2015 10:57

No doubt Netanyahu will raise the level of his anger; he just can't accept that a United States president would do anything on which Israel hadn't stamped its imprimatur. It gets tiresome listening to him.

geneob 12 Sep 2015 10:12

It is this deal that feeds the military industrial complex. We've already heard Kerry give Israel and Saudi Arabia assurances of more weapons. And that $150 billion released to Iran? A healthy portion will be spent for arms..American, Russian, Chinese. Most of the commenters have this completely backwards. This deal means a bonanza for the arms industry.

Jack Hughes 12 Sep 2015 08:38

The Iran nuclear agreement accomplishes the US policy goal of preventing the creation of the fissionable material required for an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

What the agreement does not do is eliminate Iran as a regional military and economic power, as the Israelis and Saudis -- who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to lobby American politicians and brainwash American TV viewers -- would prefer.

To reject the agreement is to accept the status quo, which is unacceptable, leaving an immediate and unprovoked American-led bombing campaign as the only other option.

Rejection equals war. It's not surprising that the same crowd most stridently demanding rejection of the agreement advocated the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq. These homicidal fools never learn, or don't care as long as it's not their lives at risk.

American politicians opposed to the agreement are serving their short-term partisan political interests and, under America's system of legalized bribery, their Israeli and Saudi paymasters -- not America's long-term policy interests.

ID293404 Jeremiah2000 12 Sep 2015 05:01

And how did the Republicans' foreign policy work out?

Reagan created and financed Al Qaeda. Then Bush II invades Iraq with promises the Iraqis will welcome us with flowers (!), the war will be over in a few weeks and pay for itself, and the middle east will have a nascent democracy (Iraq) that will be a grateful US ally.

He then has pictures taken of himself in a jet pilot's uniform on a US aircraft carrier with a huge sign saying Mission Accomplished. He attacks Afghanistan to capture Osama, lets him get away, and then attacks Iraq instead, which had nothing to do with 9/11 and no ties with Al Qaeda.

So then we have two interminable wars going on, thanks to brilliant Republican foreign policy, and spend gazillions of dollars while creating a mess that may never be straightened out. Never mind all the friends we won in the middle east and the enhanced reputation of our country through torture, the use of mercenaries, and the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Yeah, we really need those bright Republicans running the show over in the Middle East!

HauptmannGurski lazman 12 Sep 2015 02:31

That is a very difficult point to understand, just look at this sentence "not understanding the fact in international affairs that to disrespect an American president is to disrespect Americans" ... too much emperor thinking for me. We have this conversation with regard to Putin everywhere now, so we disrespect all 143 million Russians? There's not a lot of disrespect around for Japanese PM Abe and Chinese Xi - does this now mean we respect them and all Japanese and Chinese? Election campaigns create such enormous personality cults that people seem to lose perspective.

On the Iran deal, if the US had dropped out of it it would have caused quite a rift because many countries would have just done what they wanted anyway. The international Atomic Energy Organisation or what it is would have done their inspections. Siemens would have sold medical machines. Countries would grow up as it were. But as cooperation is always better than confrontation it is nice the US have stayed in the agreement that was apparently 10 years in the making. It couldn't have gone on like that. With Europe needing gazillions to finance Greece, Ukraine, and millions of refugees (the next waves will roll on with the next spring and summer from April), Europe needs business desparately. Israel was happy to buy oil through Marc Rich under sanctions, now it's Europe's turn to snatch some business.

imipak -> BrianGriffin 11 Sep 2015 21:56

Iran lacks weapons-grade uranium and the means to produce it. Iran has made no efforts towards nuclear weapons technology for over a decade. Iran is a signatory of the NPT and is entitled to the rights enshrined therein. If Israel launches a nuclear war against Iran over Iran having a medical reactor (needed to produce isotopes for medicine, isotopes America can barely produce enough of for itself) that poses no security threat to anyone, then Israel will have transgressed so many international laws that if it survives the radioactive fallout (unlikely), it won't survive the political fallout.

It is a crime of the highest order to use weapons of mass destruction (although that didn't stop the Israelis using them against Palestinian civilians) and pre-emtive self-defence is why most believe Bush and Blair should be on trial at the ICJ, or (given the severity of their crimes) Nuremberg.

Israel's right to self-defense is questionable, I'm not sure any such right exists for anyone, but even allowing for it, Israel has no right to wage unprovoked war on another nation on the grounds of a potential threat discovered through divination using tea leaves.

imipak -> Jeremiah2000 11 Sep 2015 21:43

Iran's sponsorship of terrorism is of no concern. Such acts do not determine its competency to handle nuclear material at the 5% level (which you can find naturally). There are only three questions that matter - can Iran produce the 90-95% purity needed to build a bomb (no), can Iran produce such purity clandestinely (no), and can Iran use its nuclear technology to threaten Israel (no).

Israel also supports international terrorism, has used chemical weapons against civilians, has directly indulged in terrorism, actually has nuclear weapons and is paranoid enough that it may use them against other nations without cause.

I respect Israel's right to exist and the intelligence of most Israelis. But I neither respect nor tolerate unreasoned fear nor delusions of Godhood.

imipak -> commish 11 Sep 2015 21:33

I've seen Iranian statements playing internal politics, but I have never seen any actual Iranian threats. I've seen plenty about Israel assassinating people in other countries, using incendiaries and chemical weapons against civilians in other countries, conducting illegal kidnappings overseas, using terrorism as a weapon of war, developing nuclear weapons illegally, ethnically cleansing illegally occupied territories, that sort of thing.

Until such time as Israel implements the Oslo Accords, withdraws to its internationally recognized boundary and provides the International Court of Justice a full accounting of state-enacted and state-sponsored terrorism, it gets no claims on sainthood and gets no free rides.

Iran has its own crimes to answer, but directly threatening Israel in words or deeds has not been one of them within this past decade. Its actual crimes are substantial and cannot be ignored, but it is guilty only of those and not fictional works claimed by psychotic paranoid ultra-nationalists.

imipak -> moishe 11 Sep 2015 21:18

Domestic politics. Of no real consequence, it's just a way of controlling a populace through fear and a never-ending pseudo-war. It's how Iran actually feels that is important.

For the last decade, they've backed off any nuclear weapons research and you can't make a bomb with centrifuges that can only manage 20% enriched uranium. You need something like 90% enrichment, which requires centrifuges many, many times more advanced. It'd be hard to smuggle something like that in and the Iranians lack the skills, technology and science to make them.

Iran's conventional forces are busy fighting ISIS. What they do afterwards is a concern, but Israel has a sizable military presence on the Golan Heights. The most likely outcome is for Iran to install puppet regimes (or directly control) Syria and ISIS' caliphate.

I could see those two regions plus Iraq being fully absorbed into Iran, that would make some sense given the new geopolitical situation. But that would tie up Iran for decades. Which would not be a bad thing and America would be better off encouraging it rather than sabre-rattling.

(These are areas that contribute a lot to global warming and political instability elsewhere. Merging the lot and encouraging nuclear energy will do a lot for the planet. The inherent instability of large empires will reduce mischief-making elsewhere to more acceptable levels - they'll be too busy. It's idle hands that you need to be scared of.)

Israelis worry too much. If they spent less time fretting and more time developing, they'd be impervious to any natural or unnatural threat by now. Their teaching of Roman history needs work, but basically Israel has a combined intellect vastly superior to that of any nearby nation.

That matters. If you throw away fear and focus only on problems, you can stop and even defeat armies and empires vastly greater than your own. History is replete with examples, so is the mythologicized history of the Israeli people. Israel's fear is Israel's only threat.

mostfree 11 Sep 2015 21:10

Warmongers on all sides would had loved another round of fear and hysteria. Those dark military industrial complexes on all sides are dissipating in the face of the high rising light of peace for now . Please let it shine.

bishoppeter4 11 Sep 2015 20:09

The rabid Republicans working for a foreign power against the interest of the United States ! US citizens will know just what to do.

Jeremiah2000 -> Carolyn Walas Libbey 11 Sep 2015 19:21

"Netanyahu has no right to dictate what the US does."

But he has every right to point out how Obama is a weak fool. How's Obama's red line working in Syria? How is his toppling of Qadaffi in Libya working? How about his completely inept dealings with Egypt, throwing support behind the Muslim Brotherhood leaders?

The leftists cheer Obama's weakening of American influence abroad. But they don't talk much about its replacement with Russian and Chinese influence.

Russian build-up in Syria part of secret deal with Iran's Quds Force leader.

Obama and Kerry are sending a strongly worded message.

Susan Dechancey -> whateverworks4u 11 Sep 2015 19:05

Incredible to see someone prefer war to diplomacy - guess you are an armchair General not a real one.

Susan Dechancey -> commish 11 Sep 2015 19:04

Except all its neighbours ... not only threatened but entered military conflict and stole land ... murdered Iranian Scientists but apart from that just a kitten

Susan Dechancey -> moishe 11 Sep 2015 19:00

Israel has nukes so why are they afraid ?? Iran will never use nukes against Israel and even Mossad told nuttyyahoo sabre rattling

Susan Dechancey 11 Sep 2015 18:57

Iran is not a made-up country like Iraq it is as old as Greece. If the Iraq war was sold as pushover and failed miserably then an Iran war would be unthinkable. War can be started in an instant diplomacy take time. UK, France, Germany & EU all agree its an acceptable alternative to war. So as these countries hardly ever agree it is clear the deal is a good one.

To be honest the USA can do what it likes now .. UK has set up an embassy - trade missions are landing Tehran from Europe. So if Israel and US congress want war - they will be alone and maybe if US keeps up the Nuttyahoo rhetoric European firms can win contracts to help us pay for the last US regime change Iraq / Isis / Refugees ...

lswingly -> commish 11 Sep 2015 16:58

Rank and file Americans don't even know what the Iran deal is. And can't be bothered to actually find out. They just listen to sound bites from politicians the loudest of whom have been the wildly partisan republicans claiming that it gives Iran a green light to a nuclear weapon. Not to mention those "less safe" polls are completely loaded. Certain buzz words will always produce negative results. If you associate something positive "feeling safe" or "in favor of" anything that Iran signs off on it comes across as indirectly supporting Iran and skews the results of the poll. "Iran" has been so strongly associated with evil and negative all you have to do is insert it into a sentence to make people feel negatively about the entire sentence. In order to get true data on the deal you would have to poll people on the individual clauses the deal.

It's no different from how when you run a poll on who's in favor "Obamacare" the results will be majority negative. But if you poll on whether you are in favor of "The Affordable Care Act" most people are in favor of it and if you break it down and poll on the individual planks of "Obamacare" people overwhelming approve of the things that "Obamacare does". The disapproval is based on the fact that Republican's have successfully turned "Obamacare" into a pejorative and has almost no reflection of people feelings on actual policy.

To illustrate how meaningless those poll numbers are a Jewish poll (supposedly the people who have the most to lose if this deal is bad) found that a narrow majority of Jews approve of the deal. You're numbers are essentially meaningless.

The alternative to this plan is essentially war if not now, in the very near future, according to almost all non-partisan policy wonks. Go run a poll on whether we should go to war with Iran and see how that turns out. Last time we destabilized the region we removed a secular dictator who was enemies with Al Queda and created a power vacuum that led to increased religious extremism and the rise of Isis. You want to double down on that strategy?

MadManMark -> whateverworks4u 11 Sep 2015 16:34

You need to reread this article. It's exactly this attitude of yours (and AIPAC and Netanyahu) that this deal is not 100% perfect, but then subsequently failed to suggest ANY way to get something better -- other than war, which I'm sorry most people don't want another Republican "preemptive" war -- caused a lot people originally uncertain about this deal (like me) to conclude there may not be a better alternative. Again, read the article: What you think about me, I now think about deal critics like you ("It seems people will endorse anything to justify their political views.)

USfan 11 Sep 2015 15:34

American Jews are facing one of the most interesting choices of recent US history. The Republican Party, which is pissing into a stiff wind of unfavorable demographics, seems to have decided it can even the playing field by peeling Jews away from the Democrats with promises to do whatever Israel wants. So we have the very strange (but quite real) prospect of Jews increasingly throwing in their lot with the party of Christian extremists whose ranks also include violent antiSemites.

Interesting times. We'll see how this plays out. My family is Jewish and I have not been shy in telling them that alliances with the GOP for short-term gains for Israel is not a wise policy. The GOP establishment are not antiSemtic but the base often is, and if Trump's candidacy shows anything it's that the base is in control of the Republicans.

But we'll see.

niyiakinlabu 11 Sep 2015 15:29

Central question: how come nobody talks about Israel's nukes?

hello1678 BrianGriffin 11 Sep 2015 14:02

Iran will not accept being forced into dependence on outside powers. We may dislike their government but they have as much right as anyone else to enrich their own fuel.

JackHep 11 Sep 2015 13:30

Netanyahu is an example of all that is bad about the Israeli political, hence military industrial, establishment.

Why Cameron's government allowed him on British soil is beyond belief.

Surely the PM's treatment of other "hate preachers" would not have been lost on Netanyahu? Sadly our PM seems to miss the point with Israel.

talenttruth 11 Sep 2015 13:12

The American Warmonger Establishment (that now fully entrenched "Military Industrial Complex" against which no more keen observer than President Dwight Eisenhower warned us), is rip-shit over the Iran Agreement. WHAT? We can't Do More War? That will be terrible for further increasing our obscene 1-percent wealth. Let's side with Israeli wingnut Netanyahu, who cynically leverages "an eye for an eye for an eye for an eye" to hold his "Power."

And let's be treasonous against the United States by trying to undermine U.S. Foreign Policy FOR OUR OWN PROFIT. We are LONG overdue for serious jail time for these sociopaths, who already have our country "brainwashed" into 53% of our budget going to the War Profiteers and to pretending to be a 19th century Neo-Colonial Power -- in an Endless State of Eternal War. These people are INSANE. Time to simply say so.

Boredwiththeusa 11 Sep 2015 12:58

At the rally to end the Iran deal in the Capitol on Wednesday, one of the Aipac worshipping attendees had this to say to Jim Newell of Slate:

""Obama is a black, Jew-hating, jihadist putting America and Israel and the rest of the planet in grave danger," said Bob Kunst of Miami. Kunst—pairing a Hillary Clinton rubber mask with a blue T-shirt reading "INFIDEL"—was holding one sign that accused Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry of "Fulfilling Hitler's Dreams" and another that queried, "DIDN'T WE LEARN ANYTHING FROM 1938?"

His only reassurance was that, when Iran launches its attack on the mainland, it'll be stopped quickly by America's heavily armed citizenry."

That is indicative of the mindset of those opposed to the agreement.

Boredwiththeusa 11 Sep 2015 12:47

Aipac is a dangerous anti-american organization, and a real and extant threat to the sovereignty of the U.S. Any elected official acting in concert with Aipac is colluding with a foreign government to harm the U.S. and should be considered treasonous and an enemy of the American people.

tunejunky 11 Sep 2015 12:47

Aipac, its constituent republicans, and the government of Israel all made the same mistake in a common episode of hubris. by not understanding the American public, war, and without the deference shown from a proxy to its hegemon, Israel's right wing has flown the Israeli cause into a wall. not understanding the fact in international affairs that to disrespect an American president is to disrespect Americans, the Israeli government acted as a spoiled first-born - while to American eyes it was a greedy, ungrateful ward foisted upon barely willing hands. it presumed far too much and is receiving the much deserved rebuke.

impartial12 11 Sep 2015 12:37

This deal is the best thing that happened in the region in a while. We tried war and death. It didn't work out. Why not try this?

[Sep 14, 2015] Conceptual pitfalls and monetary policy errors VOX, CEPR's Policy Portal by Andrew Levin

September 11, 2015 |

The conventional unemployment rate (U3) is now close to assessments of its longer-run normal level, but other dimensions of labour market slack remain elevated:

Thus, the 'true' unemployment rate – including hidden unemployment and underemployment –currently stands at around 7¼%, and the total magnitude of the US employment gap is equivalent to around 3½ million full-time jobs.

In particular, recent analysis indicates that the potential labour force is expanding by about 50,000 individuals per month due to demographic factors. Thus, if non-farm payrolls continue rising steadily by about 200,000 jobs per month (the average pace over the past six months), then the employment gap will diminish next year and be eliminated in mid-2017. By contrast, a tightening of monetary conditions would cause the economic recovery to decelerate and the pace of payroll growth might well drop below 100,000 jobs per month, in which case the employment gap would barely shrink at all.

The contours of the inflation outlook

The FOMC has established an inflation goal of 2%, as measured by the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. Its recent communications have stated that the tightening process will commence once the FOMC is "reasonably confident" that inflation will move back to the 2% objective over the medium term.

Figure 1. The recent evolution of core PCE inflation

Note: In this figure, the core PCE inflation rate is given by the four-quarter average change in the PCE price index excluding food and energy, and the FOMC's outlook is given by the midpoint of the central tendency of core PCE inflation projections, as published in the FOMC Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) at each specified date.

For example, in early 2013, when core PCE inflation was running at about 1½%, FOMC participants generally anticipated that it would rise to nearly 2% over the course of 2014 and 2015, whereas in fact it has declined to around 1.2%. Indeed, its underlying trend has been drifting steadily downward since the onset of the last recession.

Moreover, as shown in my recent joint work with Danny Blanchflower, the wage curve exhibits some flattening at high levels of labour market slack, which explains why nominal wage growth has remained subdued over the past few years even as the employment gap has declined from its post-recession peak (see Figure 2). This empirical pattern also implies that the pace of nominal wage growth is likely to pick up somewhat over coming quarters as the employment gap declines further.

Figure 2. The wage curve

Note: In this figure, each dot denotes the pace of nominal wage growth (as measured by the 12-month change in the average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory workers) and the average level of the employment gap (including hidden unemployment and underemployment) for each calendar year from 1985 to 2014 and for August 2015 (the latest BLS employment report).

Gauging the stance of monetary policy

Fed officials have recently characterised the current stance of monetary policy as "extremely accommodative." Such characterisations may be helpful in motivating the onset of "policy normalisation" but seem inconsistent with professional forecasters' assessments of the equilibrium real interest rate and with the implications of simple benchmark rules.

The distance between the current federal funds rate and its longer-run normal level depends crucially on the magnitude of the equilibrium real interest rate.

Over the past few years professional forecasters have made substantial downward revisions to their assessments of the 'new normal' level of interest rates.

Such revisions presumably reflect the downgrading of the outlook for potential output growth as well as prospects for headwinds to aggregate demand persisting well into the future.

In June 2012, then-Vice Chair Yellen noted that "simple rules provide a useful starting point for determining appropriate policy" while emphasising that such rules cannot be followed mechanically. That speech considered the Taylor (1993) rule along with an alternative rule analysed by Taylor (1999) that Yellen described as "more consistent with the FOMC's commitment to follow a balanced approach." Thus, it is instructive to evaluate each of these simple rules using the current core PCE inflation rate (which is 1.2%), the CBO's current assessment of the output gap (3.1%), and professional forecasters' consensus estimate of the equilibrium real interest rate (r* = 0.75).

Neither of these two benchmarks calls for a tighter stance of policy. Indeed, the 'balanced approach' rule preferred by Yellen (2012) indicates that macroeconomic conditions will not warrant the initiation of monetary policy tightening until sometime next year.

Assessing the balance of risks

Over the past 18 months, FOMC statements have regularly characterised the balance of risks to the economic outlook as "nearly balanced." Of course, that assessment has recently come into question due to a bout of financial market volatility in conjunction with shifting prospects for major foreign economies (most notably China).

Regardless of how financial markets may evolve in the near term, however, it seems clear that the balance of risks remains far from symmetric. If the US economy were to encounter a severe adverse shock within the next few years (whether economic, financial, or geopolitical in nature), would the FOMC have sufficient capacity to mitigate the negative consequences for economic activity and stem a downward drift of inflation?

For example, if safe-haven flows caused a steep drop in Treasury yields along with a sharp widening of risk spreads, would a new round of QE still be feasible or effective? Alternatively, would the Federal Reserve implement measures to push short-term nominal rates below zero, as some other central banks have done recently?

In the absence of satisfactory answers to such questions, it is essential for the FOMC to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy as long as needed to ensure that labour market slack is fully eliminated and that inflation moves back upward to its 2% goal. Such a strategy will help strengthen the resilience of the US economy in facing any adverse shocks that may lie ahead.

Concluding remarks

The FOMC's near-term strategy has become so opaque that even the most seasoned analysts can only guess what policy decisions may be forthcoming at its upcoming meetings. Moreover, the FOMC has provided no information at all (apart from the phrase "likely to be gradual") about how its policy stance will be adjusted over time in response to evolving macroeconomic conditions.

Unfortunately, such opacity is likely to exacerbate economic and financial uncertainty and hinder the effectiveness of monetary policy in fostering the goals of maximum employment and price stability. Therefore, it is imperative for the FOMC to formulate a systematic monetary policy strategy and to explain that strategy clearly in its public communications.


[Sep 14, 2015] US War Theories Target Dissenters

Information Clearing House - ICH
... ... ...

Dissent as Treason

Since the Vietnam War, the belief that the media and other critics of government policies act as fifth columnists has become commonplace in military-oriented journals and with the American authoritarian-oriented political class, expressed in articles such as William Bradford's attack on "treasonous professors."

To the question "how a scholar pushing these ideas" did not raise a red flag, that might best be asked of the National Security Law Journal's previous editorial board. It is worth noting however that the editors who chose to publish Bradford's article are not neophytes in national security issues or strangers to the military or government.

As described on the NSLJ website, the Editor-in-Chief from 2014-2015 has broad experience in homeland and national security programs from work at both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security and currently serves (at the time of publication of Bradford's article) as the Deputy Director for the Office of Preparedness Integration and Coordination at FEMA. A U.S. government official in other words.

The "Articles Selection Editor" is described as "a family physician with thirty years of experience in the foreign affairs and intelligence communities." Websites online suggest his experience may have been acquired as a CIA employee. The executive editor appears to be a serving Marine Corps officer who attended law school as a military-funded student.

Significantly; Bradford was articulating precepts of the "U.S. common law of war" promoted by Chief Prosecutor Mark Martins because nothing Bradford advocated was inconsistent with William Whiting's guidance to Union Generals. Except Whiting went even further and advised that judges in the Union states who "impeded" the military in any way by challenging their detentions were even greater "public enemies" than Confederate soldiers were.

This "U.S. common law of war" is a prosecution fabrication created by legal expediency in the absence of legitimate legal precedent for what the United States was doing with prisoners captured globally after 9/11. This legal invention came about when military commission prosecutors failed to prove that the offense of Material Support for Terrorism was an international law of war crime. So prosecutors dreamed up a "domestic common law of war." This in fact is simply following the pattern of totalitarian states of the Twentieth Century.


The logic of Bradford's argument is the same as that of the Defense Department in declaring that journalists may be deemed "unprivileged belligerents." As quoted above, George H. Aldrich had observed that in Vietnam, both sides had as their goal "the destruction of the will to continue the struggle."

Bradford argued that Islamists must overcome Americans' support for the current war to prevail, and "it is the 'informational dimension' which is their main combat effort because it is U.S. political will which must be destroyed for them to win." But he says Islamists lack skill "to navigate the information battlespace, employ PSYOPs, and beguile Americans into hostile judgments regarding the legitimacy of their cause."

Therefore, according to Bradford, Islamists have identified "force multipliers with cultural knowledge of, social proximity to, and institutional capacity to attrit American political will. These critical nodes form an interconnected 'government-media-academic complex' ('GMAC') of public officials, media, and academics who mould mass opinion on legal and security issues . . . ."

Consequently, Bradford argues, within this triumvirate, "it is the wielders of combat power within these nodes — journalists, officials, and law professors — who possess the ideological power to defend or destroy American political will."

While Bradford reserves special vituperation for his one-time fellow law professors, he states the "most transparent example of this power to shape popular opinion as to the legitimacy of U.S. participation in wars is the media."

As proof, Bradford explained how this "disloyalty" of the media worked during the Vietnam War. He wrote: "During the Vietnam War, despite an unbroken series of U.S. battlefield victories, the media first surrendered itself over to a foreign enemy for use as a psychological weapon against Americans, not only expressing criticism of U.S. purpose and conduct but adopting an 'antagonistic attitude toward everything America was and represented' and 'spinning' U.S. military success to convince Americans that they were losing, and should quit, the war. Journalistic alchemists converted victory into defeat simply by pronouncing it."

Space does not permit showing in how many ways this "stab in the back" myth is false. But this belief in the disloyalty of the media in Bradford's view remains today. He wrote: "Defeatism, instinctive antipathy to war, and empathy for American adversaries persist within media."

Targeting Journalists

The right-wing militarist Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), with mostly retired U.S. military officers serving as advisers, has advocated targeting journalists with military attacks. Writing in The Journal of International Security Affairs in 2009, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters wrote:

"Today, the United States and its allies will never face a lone enemy on the battlefield. There will always be a hostile third party in the fight, but one which we not only refrain from attacking but are hesitant to annoy: the media . . . . Future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media." (Emphasis in original.)

The rationale for that deranged thinking was first propounded by Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp and other authoritarian-minded officers after the Vietnam War. Sharp explained, our "will" was eroded because "we were subjected to a skillfully waged subversive propaganda campaign, aided and abetted by the media's bombardment of sensationalism, rumors and half-truths about the Vietnam affair — a campaign that destroyed our national unity." William C. Bradford apparently adopted and internalized this belief, as have many other military officers.

That "stab in the back" myth was propagated by a number of U.S. military officers as well as President Richard Nixon (as explained here). It was more comfortable to believe that than that the military architects of the war did not understand what they were doing. So they shifted blame onto members of the media who were astute enough to recognize and report on the military's failure and war crimes, such as My Lai.

But those "critical" journalists, along with critics at home, were only recognizing what smarter Generals such as General Frederick Weyand recognized from the beginning. That is, the war was unwinnable by the U.S. because it was maintaining in power its despotic corrupt ally, the South Vietnamese government, against its own people. Whether or not what came later was worse for the Vietnamese people was unforeseeable by the majority of the people. What was in front of their eyes was the military oppression of American and South Vietnamese forces and secret police.

Information Warfare Today

In 1999, the Rand Corporation published a collection of articles in Strategic Appraisal: The Changing Role of Information in Warfare. The volume was edited by Zalmay Khalilzad, the alleged author of the Defense Department's 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, which was drafted when Dick Cheney was Defense Secretary and Paul Wolfowitz was Under Secretary of Defense – and promulgated a theory of permanent U.S. global dominance.

One chapter of Rand's Strategic Appraisal was written by Jeremy Shapiro, now a special adviser at the U.S. State Department, according to Wikipedia. Shapiro wrote that the inability to control information flows was widely cited as playing an essential role in the downfall of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

He stated that perception management was "the vogue term for psychological operations or propaganda directed at the public." As he expressed it, many observers worried that potential foes could use techniques of perception management with asymmetric strategies with their effect on public opinion to "destroy the will of the United States to wage war."

Consequently, "Warfare in this new political environment consists largely of the battle to shape the political context of the war and the meaning of victory."

Another chapter on Ethics and Information Warfare by John Arquilla makes clear that information warfare must be understood as "a true form of war." The range of information warfare operations, according to Arquilla, extends "from the battlefield to the enemy home front." Information warfare is designed "to strike directly at the will and logistical support of an opponent."

This notion of information warfare, that it can be pursued without a need to defeat an adversary's armed forces, is an area of particular interest, according to Arquilla. What he means is that it necessitates counter measures when it is seen as directed at the U.S. as now provided for in the new LOW Manual.

Important to note, according to Arquilla, is that there is an inherent blurriness with defining "combatants" and "acts of war." Equating information warfare to guerrilla warfare in which civilians often engage in the fighting, Arquilla states "in information warfare, almost anyone can engage in the fighting."

Consequently, the ability to engage in this form of conflict is now in the hands of small groups and individuals, offering up "the prospect of potentially quite large numbers of information warfare-capable combatants emerging, often pursuing their own, as opposed to some state's policies," Arquilla wrote.

Therefore, a "concern" for information warfare at the time of the Rand study in 1999 was the problem of maintaining "noncombatant immunity." That's because the "civilian-oriented target set is huge and likely to be more vulnerable than the related set of military infrastructures . . . . Since a significant aspect of information warfare is aimed at civilian and civilian-oriented targets, despite its negligible lethality, it nonetheless violates the principle of noncombatant immunity, given that civilian economic or other assets are deliberately targeted."

What Arquillo is saying is that civilians who are alleged to engage in information warfare, such as professors and journalists, lose their "noncombatant immunity" and can be attacked. The "blurriness" of defining "combatants" and "acts of war" was removed after 9/11 with the invention of the "unlawful combatant" designation, later renamed "unprivileged belligerent" to mimic language in the Geneva Conventions.

Then it was just a matter of adding the similarly invented "U.S. domestic common law of war" with its martial law precedents and a framework has been built for seeing critical journalists and law professors as "unprivileged belligerents," as Bradford indiscreetly wrote.

Arquilla claims that information warfare operations extend to the "home front" and are designed "to strike directly at the will and logistical support of an opponent." That is to equate what is deemed information warfare to sabotage of the population's psychological will to fight a war, and dissidents to saboteurs.

Perpetual War

But this is a perpetual war driven by U.S. operations, according to a chapter written by Stephen T. Hosmer on psychological effects of information warfare. Here, it is stated that "the expanding options for reaching audiences in countries and groups that could become future U.S. adversaries make it important that the United States begin its psychological conditioning in peacetime." Thus, it is necessary "to begin to soften the fighting will of the potential adversary's armed forces in the event conflict does occur."

As information warfare is held to be "true war," this means that the U.S. is perpetually committing acts of war against those deemed "potential" adversaries. Little wonder that Vladimir Putin sees Russia as under assault by the United States and attempts to counter U.S. information warfare.

This same logic is applied to counter-insurgency. The 2014 COIN Manual, FM 3-24, defines "Information Operations" as information-related capabilities "to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decisionmaking of adversaries and potential adversaries while protecting our own."

Those we "protect ourselves from" can logically be seen as the internal enemy, as William Bradford saw it, such as critical law professors and journalists, just as Augusto Pinochet did in Chile with dissidents.

With the totalitarian logic of information-warfare theorists, internalized now throughout much of the U.S. government counter-terrorism community, it should be apparent to all but the most obtuse why the DOD deems a journalist who writes critically of U.S. government war policy an "unprivileged belligerent," an enemy, as in the Law of War manual. William C. Bradford obviously absorbed this doctrine but was indiscreet enough to articulate it fully.

It Has Happened Here!

That's the only conclusion one can draw from reading the transcript of the Hedges v. Obama lawsuit. In that lawsuit, plaintiffs, including journalists and political activists, challenged the authority provided under Sec. 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization for removal out from under the protection of the Constitution of those deemed unprivileged belligerents. That is, civilians suspected of lending any "support" to anyone whom the U.S. government might deem as having something to do with terrorism.

"Support" can be as William Whiting described it in 1862 and as what is seen as "information warfare" by the U.S. military today: a sentiment of hostility to the government "to undermine confidence in its capacity or its integrity, to diminish, demoralize . . . its armies, to break down confidence in those who are intrusted with its military operations in the field."

Reminiscent of the Sinclair Lewis novel It Can't Happen Here where those accused of crimes against the government are tried by military judges as in the U.S. Military Commissions, a Justice Department attorney arguing on behalf of the United States epitomized the legal reasoning that one would see in a totalitarian state in arguing why the draconian "Law of War" is a substitute for the Constitution.

The Court asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Torrance if he would agree, "as a principled matter, that the President can't, in the name of the national security of the United States, just decide to detain whomever he believes it is important to detain or necessary to detain to prevent a terrorist act within the United States?"

Rather than giving a straight affirmative answer to a fundamental principle of the U.S. Constitution, Torrance dissembled, only agreeing that that description would seem "quite broad," especially if citizens. But he added disingenuously that it was the practice of the government "not to keep people apprehended in the U.S."

Which is true, it is known that people detained by the U.S. military and CIA have been placed everywhere but in the U.S. so that Constitutional rights could not attach. Under Section 1021, that "inconvenience" to the government would not be necessary.

When asked by the Court if he, the Justice Department attorney, would agree that a different administration could change its mind with respect to whether or not Sec. 1021 would be applied in any way to American citizens, he dissembled again, answering: "Is that possible? Yes, but it is speculative and conjecture and that cannot be the basis for an injury in fact."

So U.S. citizens or anyone else are left to understand that they have no rights remaining under the Constitution. If a supposed "right" is contingent upon who is President, it is not a right and the U.S. is no longer under the rule of law.

In discussing whether activist and journalist Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a citizen of Iceland, could be subject to U.S. military detention or trial by military commission, Assistant U.S. Attorney Torrance would only disingenuously answer that "her activities as she alleges them, do not implicate this." Disingenuous because he knew based upon the answer he previously gave that the law of war is arbitrary and its interpretation contingent upon a military commander, whoever that may be, at present or in the future.

What could happen to Ms. Jónsdóttir would be completely out of her control should the U.S. government decide to deem her an "unprivileged belligerent," regardless of whether her expressive activities changed positively or negatively, or remained the same. Her risk of detention per the Justice Department is entirely at the sufferance of whatever administration may be in place at any given moment.

Any doubt that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, along with Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, is believed by the U.S. Executive Branch to give it the untrammeled power that Article 48 of the Weimar Germany constitution gave to the German President in 1933 was settled by the arguments made by the Justice Department attorney in Hedges v. Obama.

Setting First Amendment Aside

One does not need to speculate that the U.S. government no longer sees First Amendment activities as protected. Government arguments, which were made in the Hedges v. Obama lawsuit, revealed that the Justice Department, speaking for the Executive Branch, considers protection of the Bill of Rights subordinate to the claim of "war powers" by the Executive. One can only be willfully blind to fail to see this.

By the Justice Department's court arguments and filings, the protections afforded by the U.S. Bill of Rights are no more secure today than they were to Japanese-Americans when Western District military commander General DeWitt decided to remove them from their homes on the West Coast and intern them in what were initially called, "concentration camps."

The American Bar Association Journal reported in 2014 that Justice Antonin Scalia told students in Hawaii that "the Supreme Court's Korematsu decision upholding the internment of Japanese Americans was wrong, but it could happen again in war time." But contrary to Scalia stating that Korematsu had been repudiated, Korematsu has never been overruled.

The court could get a chance to do so, the ABA article stated, in the Hedges v. Obama case "involving the military detention without trial of people accused of aiding terrorism." But that opportunity has passed.

A U.S. District Court issued a permanent injunction blocking the law's indefinite detention powers but that ruling was overturned by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. A petition to the U.S. Supreme Court asked the justices to overturn Sec. 1021, the federal law authorizing such detentions and stated the justices should consider overruling Korematsu. But the Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2014, leaving the Appeals Court's ruling intact.

The Supreme Court's decision to not overturn Korematsu allows General DeWitt's World War II decision to intern Japanese-Americans in concentration camps to stand as a shining example of what Brig. General Marks Martins proudly holds up to the world as the "U.S. domestic common law of war."

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. In the course of that assignment, he researched and reviewed the complete records of military commissions held during the Civil War and stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

[Sep 14, 2015] mainly macro Media myths by Simon Wren-Lewis

Sep 11, 2015 |
At first sight the research reported here is something that only political science researchers should worry about. In trying to explain election results, it is better to use 'real time' data rather than 'revised, final or vintage' data. But as the authors point out, it has wider implications. Voters do not seem to respond to how the economy actually is (which is best measured by the final revised data), but how it is reported to be. (This does not just matter for elections: here is a discussion of some other research which suggests how the way recessions are reported can influence economic decisions.)

Just one more indication that the media really matters. I would not bother to report such things, if this point was generally accepted as an obvious truth. That it is not, in the UK at least, reflects various different tendencies. Those on the right know that the print media is heavily biased their way, and that this has a big impact on television, so they have an interest in denying that this matters (while funding think tanks whose job is in part to harass the BBC about its alleged left wing bias). Those on the centre left often react negatively to a few of those further left who discount all awkward facts by blaming the media. And the media itself is very reluctant to concede its own power.

As an example, here is Rafael Behr in the Guardian talking disapprovingly about Labour supporters:

"I heard constant complaints about failure to "challenge myths" about the economy, benefits, immigration and other areas where Labour is deemed unfit to govern by the people who choose governments. The voters are wrong, and what is required is a louder exposition of their wrongness."

What is really revealing about this paragraph is what is not there. We go straight from myths to voters, as if no one else is involved. I doubt very much that many who voice the 'constant complaints' Behr is talking about think that voters created and sustained these myths all by themselves.

The discussion of issues involving the economy, the welfare system and immigration among most of the 'political class' is often so removed from reality that it deserves the label myth. In the case of the economy, I provided chapter and verse in my 'mediamacro myth' series before the election. It was not just the myth that Labour profligacy was responsible for austerity, but also the myth about the 'strong recovery' when the recovery was the weakest for at least a century, and that this recovery had 'vindicated' austerity. Given the importance that voters attach to economic credibility, I do not believe I was exaggerating in suggesting that the mediamacro myth was in good part responsible for the Conservatives winning the election.

The media is vital in allowing myths to be sustained or dispelled. That does not mean that the media itself creates myths out of thin air. These myths on the economy were created by the Conservative party and their supporters, and sustained by the media's reliance on City economists. They get support from half truths: pre-crisis deficits were a little too large, GDP growth rates for the UK did sometimes exceed all other major economies.

Myths on welfare do come from real concerns: there is benefit fraud, and it is deeply resented by most voters. But who can deny that much of the media (including the makers of certain television programmes) have stoked that resentment? When the public think that £24 out of every £100 spent on benefits is claimed fraudulently, compared with official estimates of £0.70 per £100, that means that the public is wrong, and we have a myth. (An excellent source for an objective view of the UK's welfare system is John Hills' book, which has myth in its subtitle) As I noted in that post, when people are asked questions where they have much more direct experience, they tend to give (on average of course) much more accurate answers. Its when they source the media that things can go wrong. It is well known that fears about immigration tend to be greatest where there is least immigration.

Of course reluctance to acknowledge myths may not be denial but fatalism. Fatalism in believing that voters will always believe that migrants want to come to the UK because of our generous benefit system because it suits their prejudices. Encouraging those beliefs will be in the interests of what will always be a right wing dominated press. Some argue that myths can only be changed from a position of power. But myths are not the preserve of governments to initiate. According to this, over 60% of Trump supporters think their president is a Muslim who was born overseas. [1]

Myths need to be confronted, not tolerated. The initial UK media coverage of the European migrant crisis played to a mythical narrative that migrants were a threat to our standard of living and social infrastructure (to quote the UK's Foreign Secretary!). This reporting was not grounded in facts, as Patrick Kingsley shows. That changed when reporters saw who migrants really were and why they had made the perilous journey north. It changed when Germany started welcoming them rather than trying to build bigger fences. These facts did not fit the mythical narrative.

The UK government was clearly rattled when it realised that many people were not happy with their narrative and policies. Myths can be challenged, but it is not easy. Policy has been changed somewhat, but attempts are also being made to repair the narrative: to take some of those who have made it to the EU will only encourage more (a variant of the previous European policy of reducing the number of rescue boats), and a long term solution is to drop more bombs. Such idiotic claims need to be treated with contempt, before they become a new myth that the opposition feels it is too dangerous to challenge. Challenging these myths does not imply pretending real voter anxieties about migration do not exist, but grounding discussion and policy around the causes of those anxieties rather than the myths they have spawned.

Yes, the non-partisan media needs to recognise the responsibility they have, and use objective measures and academic analysis to judge whether they are meeting that responsibility. But more generally myths are real and have to be confronted. The biggest myth of all is that there are no myths.

[Sep 13, 2015] The workings of the Bush administration by Professor David Gries

"By their deeds shall you know them."


I am concerned with the way this administration operates. I am not talking about policy —whether we should be at war, or who is right about the economy. Instead, the focus is on what the administration does and how it does it.

The actions of this administration have run counter to Bush's statements of April 2000 and have divided this country as no other administration has done in recent memory.

"I will set a different tone. I will restore civility and respect to our national politics. ... I will work with Republicans and reach out to Democrats ... I will treat the other party with respect, and when we make progress, I will share the credit. ... I will unite our nation, not divide it. I will bring Americans together." George Bush, April 2000

In August 2004, I created the website , describing the Bush Administration as I saw it, hoping that enough people would read the website and not vote for Bush again. I was alarmed at what the Bush administration had done in 2001 to 2004, and I was even more alarmed at what another 4 years of Bush would do to the US and the world. I did my best, through this website, to help. But not enough people looked at it to make any difference. Perhaps I should have blogged, or something like that.

(You can see the original website on the Wayback machine.)

My worst fears have been realized. Four more years of this administration has ruined the economy not only of the US but of the world. This administration has taken steps to harm, rather than help, the environment. Through its bullying tactics and its actual approval of torture, the US has lost any of its moral authority, and we have lost the US the respect of the world. Its lack of respect for our Constitution, its suppression of and manipulation of information, its lies, its incompetence in handling the Iraq war, its complete lack of planning for the Iraw war and the aftermath --all of these have hurt the United States tremendously. And we, the people, are now paying for it.

This website is the original website, with a few minor changes. It will remain as long as I have a website. I don't want people to forget how bad this administration has been.

I have had to change some links because, over the years, some links have been broken. In order to compensate for further loss of links, on most articles, I have copied the original webpage onto this website, and it appears as a "local version".

Read this site and weep at the fact that the American People knew what this administration was like four years ago but still allowed him to take over the Presidency a second time. We have ourselves to blame.

I am concerned with the administration's:

  1. Lack of honesty, which has brought about lack of trust.
  2. Manipulation of information to further its goals.
  3. Secrecy, which has kept the American public and Congress from making sound judgements.
  4. Conflict of interest.
  5. Lack of respect for others.
  6. Lack of reasoning and compromise —the administration's way of responding to differing views seems to be to ridicule rather than reason.
  7. Belligerent and arrogant attitude and mode of operation, which has cost our country the respect and compassion of the rest of the world.

I do want an administration that is forceful and strong. But that strong administration has to be:

  1. Honest, trustworthy, ethical.
  2. Respectful of all people and all nations.
  3. Able to engage in dialogue and make decisions based on reason.
  4. Without conflict of interest.
  5. A Uniting force, rather than one that divides.

Everyone — Democrat, Republican, Green, independent, etc. — should be alarmed at what this administration has done and what it may do in the future, if re-elected. A resounding defeat in November is the only way to let the world know that the United States people do not tolerate such an administration.

The links in the left column are to short discussions that back up my opinions. Again, remember that it is not the policies and programs that are at issue here, although I have problems with some of them. Rather, the issue is the way this government has operated, in a self-serving, untrustworthy, unethical, disrespectful, and even nasty, manner.

United we stand. If we stay as divided as we have been divided by this administration, we fall.

If an administration has integrity, ethics, and character, then policies will fall into place, for the administration will be guided by the good of the country and will engage in open, honest, and meaningful dialogue with the whole nation. If an administration has no integrity, ethics, and character, then the nation better beware.

Ethics and family values

The actions of this administration display a disregard for the values which Bush speaks of. Its actions have lost the administration the respect and trust of half the nation. The world is even less trustful and respectful. Below, I give some examples of this. "These are universal values, values we share in all our diversity: Respect, tolerance, responsibility, honesty, self-restraint, family commitment, civic duty, fairness and compassion." George Bush. White House Conference on Character and Community, June 2002.

1. The administration lied to us about the need for going to war in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction, and there was no link between Al Quaeda and Iraq. Iraq simply was not the terrorist country that we were told it was. I discuss it here.

The issue is not the war itself; it is the way the administration misled and lied to Congress and the people about why we should be in the war.

2. The Bush campaigns have repeatedly resorted to slander and inuendo. I discuss it here.

3. The Bush-Cheney campaign in Pennsylvania asked their volunteers to obtain the names and addresses of the members of their churches. This is not only unethical; a church involved in such an action would be in danger of losing their status as a tax-exempt religious organization. Some conservative church leaders have denounced this action, but the Bush-Cheney campaign defended it. I discuss it here.

4. The administration withheld information or doctored information in order to sway people and the Congress to their side. Click on "Secrecy" and "Wide-spread misuse of science" in the left column for some examples.

I cannot vote for an administration that has such disdain for ethics and values, that has so little respect for the people that it is supposed to be representing. I would feel better if more people felt this way, for the character of an administration is of utmost importance.

Lies about the need for war

The issue at hand is not whether we should be at war or not. It is the behavior of the administration in getting us into war —the lies that got us into the war and lost us the respect and trust of the world. "Some people think it's inappropriate to draw a moral line. Not me. For our children to have the lives we want for them, they must learn to say yes to responsibility . . . yes to honesty." George W. Bush, June 12, 1999

The administration got us into war with Iraq for three reasons, they say:

  1. To eliminate Saddam Hussein's WMD. It is clear that he had no WMD, and it is also clear that the administration knew it. In fact, in 2001, both Powell and Condoleezza Rice stated publicly that there were no WMD; two years later, they and the administration told a different story.
  2. To diminish the threat of international terrorism. There was no such threat. It was known that there were no connections between Hussein and Al Qaeda.
  3. To promote democracy in Iraq and surrounding areas. This is hypocrisy. In the 1980s, members of the administration, like Cheney and Rumsfeld, were quite happy to embrace Hussein and Iraq. At that time, even though they knew that Iraq was using chemical weapons against its own people, Cheney and Rumsfeld did not speak out or suggest that the U.S. discontinue its support of Hussein. Instead, they embraced Hussein and Iraq.

Rep. Henry Waxman has released a report of the U.S. House of Representatives (16 March 2004) that identifies 237 misleading statements about Iraq made by President George Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice in 125 public appearances. How can you trust the administration? . Here is the report (pdf file). This webpage contains a search engine that allows you to view all the misleading statements (and see why it is misleading). These are official items from the U.S. House of Representatives.

This website (here it is as text only) shows ten lies made by the administration regarding why we went to war. With each statement, facts are given to prove that it was a lie. You can find hundreds of websites with the same theme.

Whether we should be at war now is a complex issue, and I don't address it. For me, what matters is that the administration lied to get its way. Such behaviour in such a serious context means that the administration cannot be trusted, and an administration that cannot be trusted is a danger to us all.

Dishonest politics

One expects the administration to be honest and open in dealing with Congress and in presenting its case to the people, and Bush said he would be.

But the behavior of this administration has been just the opposite. Besides its misrepresentations and lies about Iraq, here are some examples.

"And together we will create and America that is open .... I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation. ... Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your interests and I will work to earn your respect. I will be guided by President Jefferson's sense of purpose, to stand for principle, to be reasonable in manner, and above all, to do great good for the cause of freedom and harmony." George Bush, Acceptance Speech, 13 Dec 2000
  1. The Medicare bill. In November 2003, the House of Representatives passed a medical bill. Because of the rising deficit, they were worried about cost. Bush promised that it would cost $395 billion in the first 10 years. But the administration's own analysis in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had told the administration that it would cost over $550 billion. The bill would not have passed had the truth been known. Chief actuary Richard S. Foster was told he would be fired if he revealed the figures to lawmakers. Read about it here. Public Citizen has information on how drug companies and HMOs led an army of nearly 1,000 lobbyists to promote this misguided legislation, spending almost $141 million.
  2. Misuse of science. Click on the link on misuse of science on the left to see just how much this administration has attempted to use politics, hiding of facts, and misrepresentation of facts for its political gain.
  3. Hiding poverty numbers. The number of people living in poverty rose by 1.3 million in 2003. The Census Bureau Report on such things comes out in September. But the Bush administration had it appear in August instead, well before the Republican Convention and when people generally take vacations. Read about it here (here is a local version)
  4. Leaking news. Bush promised to do everything he could to fight the war on terror. Yet, in August, for their own political gain, the administration leaked the fact that alleged terrorist Kahn had been apprehended. Kahn was a key intelligence source, and the leak allowed several terrorists to escape. Read about it here (here is a local version).
  5. Ashcroft repeatedly lied to Congress about the administration's counter-terrorism effort. He told them terrorism had been his number 1 priority before 9/11; records show that he did not include it as one of the department's 7 goals, putting it as a subgoal beneath gun violence and drugs. He said that his predecessor's (Reno) plan did not mention counterterrorism, which was false. He lied about the amount of money that the FBI requested and that the administration gave the FBI. Read about it here (here is a local version).
  6. Condoleezza Rice repeatedly lied to 9/11 Commission. She made over ten false claims. For example, she said that the Bush Administration has been committed to the "transformation of the FBI into an agency dedicated to fighting terror." The truth is that before 9/11, Attorney General John Ashcroft de-emphasized counterterrorism at the FBI. Moreover, in the early days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the White House cut by nearly two-thirds an emergency request for counterterrorism funds by the FBI. Read about it here (here is a local version).

Suppression of rights

Bush says he is for freedom and democracy, but his administration has not acted that way. The administration has held secret --and illegal-- deportation hearings. People have been hindered --sometimes illegally-- from voicing quiet protests at Bush appearances. And others have been investigated for no valid reason --partly because of the Patriot Act.

Many people in the US are really afraid of the suppressive tone of this administration.

"Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidable evil. There is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides." John Stuart Mill.

"Restriction on free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." William O. Douglas.

"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime."
Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.

Secret courts suppression of protesters Unwarranted investigations
Search the internet and you can find many more examples of unwarranted investigations and suppression of protestors.

1. Secret Visa courts are illegal. (Article ( local version) in Guardian Newspapers, 27 Aug 2002). The Bush administration held hundreds of deportation proceedings in secret. A federal appeal court found them to be illegal. Judge Damon Keith wrote in his ruling that, "Democracies die behind closed doors." The ruling describes the secrecy surrounding the government's response as "profoundly undemocratic". The ruling concludes that, "The executive branch seeks to uproot people's lives outside the public eye and behind a closed door."

2. Suppression of protest at Bush appearances. A number of people have been hindered or stopped from appearing at Bush evenets, even when these appearances were on public grounds. Some people have been arrested, with the case thrown out of court later. Others have not been allowed into Bush events, even though they were doing nothing wrong. In several situations, dissenters are expected to stay in a restricted zone, away from Bush or his motorcade, while non-dissenters are allowed to approach much more closeley. This kind of suppressionof free speech is frightening. Here are just a few examples, some of which go back to 2002.

Nicole and Jeff Rank (local version) were arrested in Charleston; the judge threw out the charges. Nicole was immediately fired from her job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but later reinstated with an apology. The City of Charleston said they should not have been arrested.

Daniel Finsel (local version) was arrested simply for carrying a sign at a Bush event.

Nelson (local version), an elected County supervisor in Wisconsin, was kicked out of Bush event for wearing a hidden Kerry shirt (the shirt was not showing, but someone had seen him in it earlier).

20 of 37 members (local version) of a Peace Action group were not allowed to fly from Milwaulkee to a protest in Washington because there names were on a "No fly" list. No one will say how their names got on it.

Anti-Bush students (local version) were completely silenced at their Ohio State Graduation when Bush came to speak.

Bill Neel (local version) was arrested in Butler, Pennsylvania; the district Justice threw the case out and returned his protest sign to him.

Jan Lentz, Sonja Haught, and Mauricio Rosas (local version) two grandmothers and a gay activist, were arrested for displaying dissenting opinions; others with pro-Bush signs were not. All charges were dropped.

3. Unwarranted investigations. Some people have been detained or investigated simply because they spoke out. Others, for what seems to be no reason at all. Here are some examples.

The Kjars were visited by the US Secret Service because they had a bumper sticker "KING GEORGE—Off With His Head".

Barry Reingold (local version) was visited by the FBI for speaking his mind about Bush, terrorism, and Afghanistan at a gymn.

Daniel Muller (local version) asked for 4,000 stamps without the American Flag on them. The police were called, and Muller was interrogated. He didn't get the stamps until the next day, and only after an interrogation by a federal postal inspector.


Suppression of dissent by the Bush administration is mentioned in several places of this website. Judging by what I read about the Iraq war, I conclude that the administration's lack of desire to listen seriously to dissenting opinions —basically their suppression of them— is responsible for his incompetence in leading the war. "I'm the Commander, see ... I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President... [I] don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." George Bush. See "Bush at War", by Bob Woodward

Yes, I mean incompetence. Although the troops have performed admirably, this war has not been led well. Bush may boast loudly about his war on terror, but his actions show incompetence. Do you remember 1 May 2003 (local version; the event used to be mentioned on the WhiteHouse website but was removed) when Bush flew onto the carrier, with a giant sign "Mission Accomplished" on it, and told us that "major combat operations have ended" and that we have prevailed --implying the war was won? Did that show any understanding of the situation? (Six months later, Bush disavowed any connection with that sign, but the White House later said that the White House asked a private vendor to produce it. See this article (local