The Antidote is the antidote to all of the shit that flows into your conscious through the corporate media. It’s not just the Big Lie that we need to guard against. It’s the cumulative effect of little lies, evasions, distortions and misdirections.

And propaganda. Americans are marinated in propaganda from the day they’re born to the day they die. And most are completely oblivious to it. Or they believe that it’s only something that’s done by foreign nations who have governments that are so totalitarian they won’t even let people know what’s true or think for themselves. We are trained to believe we are free while behaving exactly how our feral elite want us to behave. Meanwhile, we look down on other nations and lament how unfree their people are.

Others Americans understand that propaganda is something that happens here too, but think it only happens to other people in different political parties. I’m sure you know exactly who they are. If they think of themselves as liberal they see those to their right as propagandized by right wing media. But as we’ve witnessed with Russia-gate, liberals are just as susceptible to propaganda as that uncle who watches Fox News 24/7. Meanwhile, conservatives believe that CNN stands for Communist News Network.

It’s like shooting fish in a barrel at this point for the psychological warriors who comprise the propaganda leviathan. Remember kids–the our corporate media are propagandists first and news reporters second. And the Internet, for all its promise, has become dominated by powerful corporate media entities who want to sell you a bunch of crap, including the so-called news you consume.

What makes our dilemma so historically unique is that we live under an empire which makes extensive use of the science of mass-scale psychological manipulation that began with the Creel Commission during WWI and has only become exponentially more sophisticated since.

Maybe the most consequential of all the mundane, routine ways we are propagandized is the way the corporate media manufacture the illusion of normality so that we go about our lives without seeing the dystopia around us. The way American cities are full of homeless people and it’s just treated as a normal and acceptable thing to simply let them stay homeless and push them out of wherever they try to be. The way pundits, politicians and reporters will talk about the Biden administration cranking up a new Cold War with Russia and China without also talking about how truly crazy it is that we’re looking at rapidly escalating brinkmanship between nuclear-armed countries. The way nothing ever changes no matter who we vote for but we’re still herded into the voting booths and told to vote better.

I’ve talked about this many times before but one of the most effective ways our feral elite maintain control is through tribal conflict with liberals herded into the Democratic Party while conservatives are kept pulling the lever for Republicans. Those few politically engaged people who can’t be herded toward any of these groups are so small in number that they can simply be marginalized and denied any sizeable platform from which to spread their ideas.

So that’s what we’re up against. There’s a failure to appreciate just how pervasive and powerful the empire’s propaganda machine is, even among those who are very critical of empire, because propaganda in our society is like water for fish — we’re swimming in it constantly, so we don’t see it. You have to step way, way back and begin examining our situation from its most basic foundations to get any perspective on how all-encompassing it really is.

George Orwell was correct when he stated: “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

That’s where Naked Capitalism comes in. Yves, Lambert and the other fearless writers provide high-quality information and opinions together with relentless accountability of the people and institutions in power. In the process, they have created a community of apostates, who draw strength from like minded folks. One of the coolest things about NC is the commentariat, a disparate group of doctors, professionals and intellectuals, who interact with Yves Smith and her strict rules of honesty and courtesy, to prove that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Naked Capitalism should be your first read in the morning.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Six years and millions of dollars later, the “Durham report” released on May 15th confirmed once again what I’ve been saying all along–that Russia-gate was a massive fraud perpetrated on the U.S. public. What the report alluded to and what is important to remind the public of, is that the “investigation” by the FBI of the Trump campaign constituted a full-blown counterintelligence campaign. Dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” the investigation of a presidential contender–Trump–was initiated by the Clinton campaign. That’s right. The FBI Russia-gate probe was not only baseless, but they investigated Trump despite warnings that the conspiracy theory they were pursuing was generated by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Going further, the political and cultural phenomenon known as “Russia-gate” could be legitimately characterized as a state-sponsored domestic psy-op. However, the report also made clear that no one in the FBI or CIA , or even in the Clinton campaign, will be held accountable for efforts made to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and to denigrate Trump personally using what they knew to be lies. This should hardly be a surprise to anyone with a passing familiarity with US history. The FBI are political police. Their mission is to protect the capitalist state and status quo.

The Durham Report is also confirmation of the brutal effectiveness of the propaganda apparatus that’s been constructed over the last hundred years. Both Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbles would have understood intuitively the power of the Russia-gate “big lie” that was repeated endlessly until believed by a sizable portion of the population. In the process, not only did corporate media elite suffer zero consequences, but the ones who pushed it the hardest were rewarded and went on to bigger and better things, while those brave journalists who got the story right were punished.

I think there’s a lesson here.

However, his behavior is hardly a surprise. The corporate media is designed to advance the interests of the powerful, not to report the news, and to separate Americans into two tribal enclosures designed to make you to hate the opposing team. The print and TV media, which serve as propagandists for the ruling military/security complex and Wall Street elites, make certain that Americans have nothing but bogus orchestrated information. Every household and person who turns on TV or reads a newspaper is programed to live in a false orchestrated reality that serves the tiny few who comprise the ruling Establishment or deep state.

Ultimately, Russia-gate stemmed from the fact that Trump challenged this deep state without realizing that it is more powerful than a mere President of the United States. Trump was always in over his head and payed a huge price. He had no experience in government and no bench of qualified foreign policy administrators so he was easy meat.

Going further, Russia-gate was the result of the deep state, military/industrial/complex (MIC), national security state, etc. wanting war with Russia while Trump proposed peace. Trump calls Russia-gate a “hoax” but it is in fact much worse. Ultimately Russia-gate was used to make the case for the proxy war in Ukraine. The MIC initiated the 2014 coup in Ukraine with the plan that they could seize Crimea and the Russian naval base at Sevestapol. This was the opening gambit in a regime-change operations, Color Revolution that would overthrow Putin and reestablish a comprador regime like they had under Yeltsin. All was scheduled to proceed under the expected Clinton Administration.

The brutal reality that Russia-gate illustrates is that there is nothing the political establishment will not do, and no lie they will not tell, to hold on to their prestige and power. The fact that Durham brought no charges against the principle actors tells you all you need to know–they won and the false narrative Russia-gate promoted has become accepted wisdom. For example, in a brazen bit of projection Hillary Clinton is still whining about losing the 2016 election and still blaming the Russians. She further stated that if Trump were to prevail in 2024–“it would be the end of democracy in the United States, it would be the end of Ukraine. It would become a –you know, he will pull us out of NATO if he wins again. And just like he pulled us out of the Iran deal, he pulled us out of the Paris Accords. He will pull us out of NATO.”

As you can see, Russia-gate will not die as long as it is a useful tool for intimidating the public. Overall, Russia-gate is part and parcel of the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening now to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism in our country. It has been especially useful in goading liberals into full on bellicosity by linking Trump and Russia. During the first Cold War it was conservatives who wanted to drop “the big one” on Russia, now it’s liberals.

Pretty fucking impressive propaganda, if I do say so.

The only problem is that the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine that was initiated largely through the Russia-gate psy-op is going badly. No matter. The neocon lunatics steering the Biden Administration are doubling down, with the latest move to send F-16 fighters to Ukraine.

Remember kids, there is no alternative to neoliberalism and war.

Unfortunately, this brings us to the final confirmation–the main lesson of the recent Durham Report is that nothing will be done to address the lawlessness of our feral elite.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Change of plans

Our feral elite have a new economic plan to re-shore American manufacturing, but it’s not in response to the bombed out cities and towns, the neglected infrastructure, or the deaths of despair that made the election of Donald Trump not just probable but inevitable. No, it’s because they want a war with China to maintain the neocon inspired imperialist strategy of seeking world dominance.

What’s humorous is that the US, after lecturing the world on the benefits of open markets and free flows of capital with a religious fervor, is enacting tariffs and planning on industrial policies. Secretary Yellen recently delivered a speech on the U.S.-China relationship, implying that China largely had prospered on the back of this Anglo, ‘free workings’ market order; yet now was pivoting toward a state-driven posture: one that “is confrontational towards the U.S. and its allies”. The U.S. wants to co-operate with China, but wholly and exclusively on its own terms, she said.

Then there’s National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan’s ‘New Washington Consensus’ speech in which the entire trend of policy, since the Reagan years, is scheduled to be reversed – from a return to protectionism; to central government intervention in support of industrial policy; to a bold investment in capacity-building;‘resilience’ and the re-appropriation of internal supply chains.

This is not however a true blueprint for reforming the U.S. economy – though it is billed as such. True reform would require huge structural change. In reality it’s all about re-orientating the economy for possible conventional war with China. The Biden administration has imposed unprecedented export bans on semiconductor technology to China. The U.S. wants to curb China’s economy for its own gain and to hamper the development of a multipolar global economy. The real concern is that U.S. dominance and its dollar hegemony are threatened by China’s growing economic power.

What’s ironic is that the US has spent the last 30 odd years shipping manufacturing to China as a way to screw workers and eviscerate American labor unions for the sake of short-term profits, while celebrating globalized supply chains. By offshoring its manufacturing jobs, the global corporations destroyed the American middle class and the ladders to upward mobility that had made America the land of opportunity. Today many former American manufacturing and industrial cities look like the remains of bombed cities. In the process the plan was to financialize the Chinese economy and turn their elite into compradors. The aim of which was to transform them into becoming docile, compliant vassal colonies of the United States, using the illusions of democracy, human rights, liberty, and other Color Revolution slogans of political misdirection.

Funny how that’s not how our feral elite describe their project to colonize China.

We saw a baby shark and thought that we could transform it into a dolphin over time, to become a friendly sort of system,” Pottinger said. “Instead, what we did was we kept feeding the shark and the shark got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And now we’re dealing with a formidable, great white.”

“With a shark you put up a shark cage,” added Pottinger. “The shark doesn’t take it personally. It bumps into the cage. It respects those barriers.”

That one way to put it. Like I said before–the national security state doesn’t provide security for you and me. It’s geared to provide security for US multi-national corporations and their Wall Street owners, which is why they off-shored US manufacturing to begin with. Because it was profitable.

And, by the way, if John and Jane Q. Public embraces this narrative they’re even dumber than I thought.

But you never know.

What’s been absolutely astounding is the economic development subplot to the dust up. The US, for the last 40 odd years has devotedly followed the neoliberal playbook, privatizing, financializing, and undermining labor, while China has followed the model the US originally used to industrialize. While China has gone from strength to strength, the neoliberal transformation in the US has led to an economic catastrophe.

Even the “so-called” industrial policies called for in the manifestos mentioned earlier are bogus. If you look closely, what’s passing for industrial policy is essentially still neoliberalism, which is to say giving more subsidies to big corporations. Because neoliberalism, for all the talk about free markets and free trade, has ever been about governments favoring corporations by giving them low interest credit, privatizing assets so these companies can get even bigger, giving them subsidies, etc. Neoliberalism, in reality is a rentier economy that pretends to be pro-growth but it’s just an extractive economy rather than a productive one.

Then there’s the purpose of US neoliberal-based imperialism which is to constantly open up more and more of the world to US corporations so they could have access to markets, investment opportunities and profit opportunities and cheap labor and cheap materials. And that’s what really sticks in the craw of our feral elite. China was to be the big prize but instead, China has industrialized contra to neoliberal diktats. They have maintained a productive economy managed by the state rather than a rentier economy managed by Wall Street.

It’s no wonder they’re clamoring for war.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


I’m surprised more Americans are not wandering around babbling and shaking their fists at the clouds because it sure is fucking hard to maintain ones sanity in our crazy world.

Stress, anxiety and depression are on the rise, and they have been for years. Studies have found that increases in cost of living have a lot to do with this deterioration in mental health, while others have linked it to widespread social media use, and the financial and social catastrophes ensuing from government Covid restrictions certainly haven’t helped. Then there’s the fact that highly unequal societies have lower life expectancy, even for high income cohorts, compared to the top wealthy in more equal countries.

What nobody seems to be doing any research at all into investigating is the possibility that all these mental health problems have something to do with the fact that we are ruled by sociopaths who are making the workplace untenable while plotting to deploy AI in a massive wave of layoffs, making millions of jobs unnecessary. That shitty Mac-job that you loathe could be a thing of the past, except now you’re out in the street joining the flotsam and jetsam.

With capitalism based on the surplus value of labor, there’s a sinister purpose behind homeless people wandering around. They are an object lesson for the rest of us–keep your nose to the grindstone and don’t make any trouble or this could be you. When you boil it all down homelessness and starvation are necessary sacrifices that must be made for the freedoms and conveniences the sociopaths who rule us want to have for themselves.

Some people wonder why mental health conditions are so bad, while I’m amazed that they’re not much worse. It’s pretty fucking unbelievable that anyone’s functioning at all in a civilization that’s ruled by exploiters and abusers who dominate using mass-scale psychological manipulation. It’s a testament to human resilience that anyone is sane. When everyone’s mind is always being pummeled with messaging that you’re deficient if you can’t thrive under our oppressive systems, that you’re flawed if you don’t look, think and act a certain way, that poverty is normal and endless war is acceptable, it’s a wonder we don’t all snap.

In a totalitarian dystopia that’s held together by mass-scale psychological abuse, it’s entirely reasonable that people are finding themselves overwhelmed with despair, alienation, depression and anxiety.

However, it’s important for your mental health to understand that it’s not you, it’s the system that we labor under that’s causing these feelings.

I never tire of Terence McKenna’s musings–“the cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.”

Update: Your boss wants AI to replace you. The writers’ strike shows how to fight back” [Los Angeles Times]. “One of those workers put it to me bluntly on the picket line, where screenwriters were protesting, among other things, the entertainment industry’s openness to using artificial intelligence to churn out scripts: ‘F— ChatGPT.’

Posted in neofeudalism, propaganda, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Know your enemy

You can learn a lot about the American power structure by how unconventional presidential candidates are treated. Unconventional candidates for the US presidency offer a litmus test for establishment thinking, and the economics and foreign policy red lines that shall not be crossed.

The NY Times hit piece on Robert F. Kennedy is a good example. After all, the first thing they want you to know is that Kennedy is an “anti-vaccine activist”.

However, Kennedy, in his speech announcing his run, raised a whole host of questions about US domestic and foreign policies, that went way beyond questioning how big-Pharma has a lock on public health, questions that put him squarely in the sights of the establishment that’s represented by the Times. “I’m talking about issues that I think most Americans and probably most Democrats are concerned about: the systematic gutting of the middle class; the elevation of corporations — particularly polluting corporations; and, from the financial industry to the military-industrial complex, the corrupt merger of state and corporate power. Through wars, bank bailouts and lockdowns, we’ve been systematically hollowing out the American middle class, and printing money to make billionaires richer.”

Since 2016, we’ve had a front row seat to the treatment of presidential candidates who raised substantial economic and foreign policy issues during a campaign, as did Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders and his crowds, in city after city, month after month, reached critical mass in both 2016 and 2020. That size and persistence almost powered him to the nomination twice. It took the combined effort of many elites to keep him from being elected. The demise of the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign marked the end of any meaningful push toward economic justice in the US. Ever since then all political oxygen has gone into ramping up culture war hostilities that won’t do a thing to create a broad-based prosperity.

Trump’s campaign caught elites by surprise as well, but because he ran as a Republican with the promise of historic tax breaks and right-wing Supreme Court justices, his campaign was allowed to proceed with the expectation of a humiliating drubbing by Hillary Clinton. Once elected, as evidenced by Russia-gate, Trump was met with a ferocious response since any deviation from empire-centric policies or actions that potentially threatening the agenda are either corrected or marginalized away from mainstream attention.

What was always good for a laugh is that many of the neocons, after setting the Middle-East on fire, became domestic “liberals” on trans rights, on gays, on abortion, as a response to Trump’s icky “populism”. During his four years in office we saw the wholesale rehabilitation of the most discredited neocon propagandists of the war on terror. After Trump called the Iraq war a “big fat mistake” in the 2016 Republican presidential debate, the neocons rebranded themselves as the ‘moderate’ voice against the danger of a Trump presidency. 

And liberals returned the favor. Joy Reid, maybe one of the most grating personalities on MSNBC, was positively glowing with praise of her new neocon allies: “One of the most amazing outcomes of the Trump administration is the number of neo-conservatives that are now my friends and I am aligned with. I found myself agreeing on a panel with Bill Kristol. I agree more with Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, and Max Boot than I do with some people on the far left. I am shocked at the way that Donald Trump has brought people together.”

Good times.

Unfortunately, all of this is emblematic of the profoundly diseased civilization that we are living in, one where our heart strings are pulled in the most obnoxious ways imaginable to get us to support capitalism, empire and oligarchy, where we are manipulated into espousing values systems which benefit powerful sociopaths under the cover of noble-sounding causes.

Hopefully the RFK campaign will breathe oxygen into issues that are rarely discussed but that’s not only why his candidacy is important. The main reason to pay attention to an unconventional candidate’s campaign is to highlight the elite attacks and manipulations that take place and to help people understand that the game is rigged. Only the most trustworthy empire managers get anywhere near the presidency, because the stewardship of a globe-spanning empire is too important to be left in the hands of the voters. (See Obama’s Hope and Change hustle for illumination of this truism). There’s a couple reasons for this. For starters, there’s the US empire and the costs borne by average Americans to maintain it, especially when the US empire disproportionately benefits the 1%.

Then, there’s those neoliberal economic policies. Since the late 1970s, American politics have been dominated by a strand of fiscal conservatism that views taxes as evil and the state as a quasi-illegitimate body that skims from the wealth ordinary citizens earn. There are many problems with this argument, but it’s especially difficult to take seriously given that its proponents always seem to exclude military spending from the equation. Considering how little scrutiny such spending receives, and considering that it continues to increase regardless of who’s in power, ordinary Americans are effectively being forced to subsidize a bloated military bureaucracy to the tune of hundreds of billions every year — all while having zero say in the matter.

The end result is a toxic mix of neoliberalism economic and neoconservative foreign policies. And in a neoliberal plutocracy, the most venal depraved moronic scum float to the top. In addition, end-stage empires often act irrationally. Both conditions explain current US predicament.

RFK Jr’s candidacy is a real, very rare bit of very good news, where a brave man has decided to sacrifice so much by trying to make things better in this country. Unfortunately he’s working within the Democratic Party structure right now. And they will have all the knives out to get him. Still, I’m betting that they’re going to have a hard time containing Kennedy’s message because so many people are sick of all the damn lies that they’ve been telling all these years.

Posted in anti-imperialism, neoconservatives, neoliberals | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The end of neoliberalism?

I’ve been writing for a while about how you can’t run an empire with a neoliberal economy, but the contradictions can be overwhelming. As the late Mark Fisher wrote about neoliberalism –“It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”.

People think our rulers have some grand conspiracy to create a dystopia where they can force us all to do as they wish, not realizing that we’re already in a soft-dystopia. What we have right now is not democracy. It is oligarchical tyranny: the rule of the few over the many.

The problem with this arrangement is that our feral elite have been running our country terribly. They have operated the economy for the 1% repeatedly, have completely monetized climate change and ecological collapse, have made the middle and working classes poor and the rich richer. As Caitlin Johnstone writes–“So many emerging technologies would be cause for celebration if our rulers weren’t so damn evil and our systems weren’t so damn oppressive. In a healthy society we’d be celebrating automation and AI giving us more and more abundance and free time; instead we’re terrified of police robots and technocratic dystopia.”

If that’s not bad enough, Jeff Bezos, who more and more resembles a Bond villain, wants to ship humans off of earth to live in floating cylinders in space.

So we have that to look forward to.

Thankfully the world is going through a momentous transition period as economists Michael Hudson and Radhika Desai detail in a must read discourse on the end of neoliberalism and the emerging multipolar world. The upshot is that the geopolitical consequences over the last year have been enormous, even transformational. This ongoing global transition is as much economic as political, with the reigning neoliberal international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank now facing a severe financial challenge from their newly established counterparts aligned with China.

Soon after the outbreak of the Ukraine War, the eminent historian Alfred McCoy argued that we were witnessing the geopolitical birth of a new world order, one built around a Russia-China alliance that would dominate the Eurasian landmass. 

One of the first things the geniuses who manage the US national-security-state did was to block and eventually confiscate Russia’s 300 billion dollars-worth of foreign reserves in banks in the US and Europe. That sent a shock wave across currency markets all around the world. Biden and Yellen had weaponized the US’s own national currency, which hitherto had been an untouchable step in international relations for nations that were not actually at war. Since World War II one of the central pillars of global American dominance has been the status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency and our associated control over the international banking system. Until recently we always presented our role as neutral and administrative, but we have increasingly begun weaponizing that power, using our position to punish those states we disliked, and this is naturally forcing other countries to seek alternatives. 

For instance, Saudi Arabia—the linchpin of the petrodollar system—is openly agreeing not to sell its oil exclusively in US dollars. It signals an imminent and enormous change for anyone holding US dollars. The implications are enormous, as the WSJ states. “The Saudi move could chip away at the supremacy of the US dollar in the international financial system, which Washington has relied on for decades to print Treasury bills it uses to finance its budget deficit.”

Instead of endless warfare and chaos, Russia and China are engaging in diplomacy. All these diplomatic moves in such a short time are almost dizzying. They were opened up by China’s masterful initiative with Iran and Saudi Arabia helping bring the war in Yemen to a close. Meanwhile, Russia has brought Syria and Turkey into negotiations. All of these actions are designed to bring stability and peace to the region which the developing nations there desperately need if they are to move forward. And that development can help the economies of the world.

Of course, the neocons are not amused with this outbreak of peace and reconciliation. It’s divide and rule, bitches! In fact, you might be among those who have noticed that the people in authority in our country appear insane. But maybe that’s going to turn out to be a good thing because they’re also the gang that can’t shoot straight. It’s almost comical in that neocon blunders have now produced an entirely different correlation of forces, one so unfavorable to our own country that any armed conflict has become much less likely.

In essence, the neocons have pursued a policy of forcing China and Russia into a new multi-lateral power center, effectively challenging American hegemony. I pretty sure that that’s not what they were going for. Meanwhile, it’s causing a lot of angst across the whole sweep of national security, political and media elite as the outlines of this transformation become apparent.

Many American find the end of empire to be a cause for concern but their patriotism is misplaced. Instead of democracy and freedom, US foreign policy, in practice, has meant the neocon strategy of maintaining U.S. global hegemony through aggressive projections of military and sanctions power. Permanent war is government policy with military bases, CIA and special forces all over the world but they hardly make Americans safer. The empire doesn’t work for average Americans. It works for Wall Street. Like Michael Hudson states repeatedly–every economy is planned, it just depends on who gets to plan it. Same with the American empire. Is it we the people, through our elected representatives? Or is it Wall Street?

I’m pretty sure you know the answer.

It’s a similar dynamic with the corporate media. Their real mission, that we can deduce from their behavior, is that they too work for Wall Street. They don’t work to inform you. They serve to obfuscate and propagandize, and lately to police discourse on the revelations from the Discord leaks, even acting as the actual police in pursuit of the leaker. Even worse, the corporate media’s non-stop rah, rah patriotic bullshit is a major reason why Americans are so misinformed about the American empire.

I stated at the outset that there are contradictions inherent with the US empire running neoliberalism as its economic operating system but neoliberalism and the US empire are so intertwined that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. The upshot is that the end of neoliberalism will mean the end of empire and vice versa.

Posted in anti-imperialism, feral elite, neoconservatives, neoliberalism, propaganda | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Lambert at Naked Capitalism has a neoliberalism formulation: 1) Because Markets 2) Go die, that has always appealed to me for the conciseness. Let’s tease out some more of the political and social implications of such an explanation.

The dominant trend in the US is a stagnating and declining life span. There are many reasons for this but one of the most compelling is that under a neoliberal economic system, with its obsessive focus on markets, you get the life span you can afford. Covid-19, suicides, diet, opioid addiction, gun violence, auto accidents and deaths of despair, have brought about a mass die-off. Of course, we can’t forget our for-profit health care system. Not being able to afford care when you need it is associated with higher levels of death and permanent injury. More fundamentally, knowing that there are no systems in place to protect or care for you undermines any sense of hope.

The political salience is that both political parties and America’s interlocking political, security and media elites–its establishment–are down with this arrangement. In truth the US economy operates for the exclusive benefit of a small minority of oligarchy and both political parties are onboard. This has resulted in the sort of bifurcated–1st world, 3rd world country, where American lifespans are linked to income. After all, neoliberalism is social Darwinism, cranked up to eleven with its intense focus on competition, and the ultimate penalty is death.

The Democrats used to concern themselves with working-class Americans but those days are well behind us. Now their core constituents are the PMC’s (professional/managerial/class), and their method of liberalism is identity politics (Id/Pol) and DIE (diversity, inclusion, equality). Instead of a national economy focused on universal public benefits the Donkey Party has embraced one where social and national policies are dictated by private wealthy individuals, just like their comrades in the Elephant Party. Republican have long been the party that dry humps wealth and power, and they make no bones about it. They have also long favored a survival of the fittest ethos and point to market-based outcomes as a sign of ones worth. The wealthy, as my senator Mittens blurted out, are “job creators”and market players while the rest of us are “takers” who should get with the program or better yet–go die.

Because markets, go die. It should be in our Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem and Bill of Rights. Maybe we could chant it during the 7th inning stretch?

That the Democrats are focused on diversity, inclusion and equality (DIE), rather than on policies offering real material benefits to average Americans through class-based policies, only adds to the irony. As a result the Democrats have largely abandoned the white working-class Americans who used to be the backbone of their New Deal coalition. Of course, abandoning “flyover America” as racist is hardly inclusive, and this elite snobbery contributes mightily to the political nihilism plaguing our country. Going further, one of the manifestations of Democratic abandoning workers is that the Republicans been able to portray themselves as populists.

Go figure.

There’s also an ideological dimension to because markets, go die. If markets are efficient by definition, then any state intervention must make things worse. So the market paradigm becomes a one-size-fits-all cudgel against regulation, progressive taxation, wage regulation, public investment, and the rest of the arsenal to produce a more just society. And if the math is impenetrable to common folk all the better. Milton Friedman claimed that market freedom is the essence of liberty. By contrast, the things most of us value like: job security, the ability to get good health care and education irrespective of private means, or freedom from hidden toxic substances, workplace hazards, and ruined environments, are not really freedoms.


Posted in feral elite, neoliberalism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


I’m old enough to remember when liberals believed in free speech, but the election of Donald Trump broke something in their brains. Since then the pandemic and now US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine have exposed an ominous new development that’s become obvious with the release of the Twitter Files and now Jacob Siegel’s–A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century.

Both of these accounts detail the struggle against “disinformation”, the new bête noire of the liberal–professional/managerial/class (PMC). All of the animus towards disinformation in reality has been a cover for a sweeping censorship effort by the federal government, government contractors and social media corporations.

Since December, a small but growing group of journalistsanalysts, and researchers have documented the rise of a “Censorship Industrial Complex”, a network of U.S. government agencies, and government-funded think tanks. Over the last six years, these entities have coordinated their efforts to both spread disinformation and to censor journalists, politicians, and ordinary Americans. They have done so directly and indirectly, including by playing good cop/bad cop with Twitter and Facebook. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of people have been involved in these censorship and disinformation campaigns.

The FBI, CIA, DHS, and many other agencies, via hijacked social media, have worked tirelessly to confound and bamboozle the public debate about, really, everything that matters. Russia-gate appears to be the disease vector. The false yet foundational claim that Russia hacked the 2016 election provided a justification–just like the claims about weapons of mass destruction that triggered the Iraq War–to plunge America into a wartime state of exception. With the normal rules of constitutional democracy suspended, a coterie of party operatives and security officials then installed a vast, largely invisible new architecture of social control on the backend of the internet’s biggest platforms.

The odd part is that roughly half of America is down with this development. Of course, that is the same half of the country that has fallen in love with surveillance, censorship, political prosecutions, and a general canceling out of flyover America. Autonomy for the individual and a search for a life, lived with meaning now is displaced by its opposite–the instinct to subjugate and dominate. Liberals seemingly want to construct a hygienic society, un-besmirched by anything so tawdry as MAGA. To be very plain, the western liberal cultural revolution has shifted from being merely adversarial to a project aimed at rejecting previous cultural norms and even history itself.

The upshot of this project is that politics has become an existential conflict, similar to the counterinsurgency/counterterrorism efforts at the heart of the war on terror, and, ominously, tens of millions of Americans are the enemy.

The RESTRICT Act, purportedly aimed at Tic Tok, is being rushed through the Senate to formalize the current government censorship apparatus. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner introduced last month the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act (RESTRICT Act). The bill is being marketed as a way to protect Americans from foreign governments that use social media to spy on Americans.

The TikTok controversy has taken attention away from the fact that US social media corporations spy on Americans too. Even worse, if the RESTRICT Act becomes the RESTRICT law, any site that refuses to cooperate with future efforts by the US government to suppress certain stories and individuals on social media could find itself accused of working to advance the “strategic objectives of a foreign adversary.”

Those who doubt this should consider how people who question US foreign policy are smeared as Russian agents. 

While all of this might seem at first glance simply related to domestic affairs, I remain convinced that the impending loss of empire is at the heart of this liberal-managerial-state nervous breakdown. The US empire has placed all its chips on black in a desperate bid to maintain the 30 year run as the unipolar hegemon. The Biden Administration, and now Congress demonizes critics at home, casting them as “enemies of democracy”, while the US proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is depicted as a Manichean struggle between lightness and dark.

It gets better.

Censorship proponents insist that fighting disinformation is not a free speech issue but rather a national security one. This is a nice move since it allows the liberal-managerial-state to claim that the overarching framework is the legitimacy of governing institutions, allowing them to control what information the public is allowed to consume. Liberals will furiously deny this, as they shriek for more censorship of dissent and cheer for actual Sieg-heiling Nazis

Liberals dim view of the First Amendment was on full display during the House Weaponization of the Federal Government subcommittee meeting where Democrat members attacked witnesses Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger for their apostasy.  In her opening statement, Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), the ranking member of the House Judiciary subcommittee, attacked them as “so-called journalists” and said they were “a direct threat” to the safety of others by reporting the censorship story.

The Democrat decision to make this hearing a partisan political issue and attack the journalists who brought us the truth about secret US government censorship-by-proxy of Americans who hold views unacceptable to government elites is extremely unfortunate but hardly surprising. Big Tech and the U.S. Security State are the two entities the Democratic Party most passionately and aggressively serves. Indeed, the CIA, Department of Homeland Security and FBI are working hand-in-hand with Big Tech to censor dissent from the Internet because Democrats rely on this censorship regime for their own interests. 

This turn of events follows a pattern. The Democrats had an opportunity in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016 to conduct a critical self appraisal but they settled instead on Russia-gate. They faced a similar choice in regards to the growing power of the internet corporations.

In A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century, Jacob Sigel asks–“What could the leaders of the ruling party do? They had two options. They could use the government’s regulatory power to counter-attack: Break up the data monopolies and restructure the social contract underwriting the internet so that individuals retained ownership of their data instead of having it ripped off every time they clicked into a public commons. Or, they could preserve the tech companies’ power while forcing them to drop the pretense of neutrality and instead line up behind the ruling party—a tempting prospect, given what they could do with all that power.

They chose option B.”

Posted in deep state, propaganda | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


The US corporate media demonizes foreign oligarchs without looking closer to home.

In a nutshell the US has devolved from a republic to an oligarchy. The US oligarchy is made up of people with the same accent, manners, values, and educational backgrounds from Boston to Austin and San Francisco to New York and Atlanta. America has always had regional elites. What is unique about the present is the consolidation of a single, national ruling class that crucially believes that only they can be allowed to lead the country. Even worse, the ruling class refuses to submit to the authority of anyone outside the group, whom they disqualify from eligibility by casting them as in some way illegitimate. In effect, any challenge to the authority of the ruling oligarchy is depicted as an existential threat to civilization.

Can you see how Trump posed a grave danger to this arrangement, and why they are still determined to get him by hook or by crook?

Our oligarchs are largely financial in nature, maintaining their power through debt. The US economy has devolved into a system in which financial claims on current and future production in the form of debt rise exponentially, outpacing any conceivable increases in physical production. Heterodox economist Michael Hudson lays the blame of oligarchy and the concomitant deindustrialization on the financial parasites who control the government. “The banks are responsible for de-industrializing the country by squeezing labor’s living standards while raising the price of everything that labor needs to buy. That’s why American companies have all moved abroad. They can’t afford to pay American labor when American labor’s living costs have to be paid to the financial sector and the real estate sector — which is part of the financial sector — that you’ve just been describing. That’s the real problem.”

I believe that Americans becoming wealthy through productive activities is good for the economy and society but when they become fabulously rich and powerful through extractive means it spells doom for our republic. To wit, the financial billionaires in the US are powerful enough to radically skew our political process. Private creditors translate their economic gains into political power, polarizing the distribution of wealth and income by deregulating and untaxing financial gains. The result is two Americas–the entitled Oligarchy and the Other America.

A couple of recent developments exemplify this dynamic:

First, Norfolk Southern, a billion dollar rail corporation, was allowed to burn the hazardous chemical contents of the railcars that derailed in East Palestine Ohio.“We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open,” said hazardous materials expert and retired Youngstown, Ohio Fire Chief Sil Caggiano. With deregulation of the rail industry in the 1980s, which included Wall Street mergers and ​“short term profit imperatives,” trains have been getting longer and longer while the number of train workers gets smaller and smaller. Cost cutting by Norfolk Southern and other carriers has, according to Railroad Workers United, ​“eliminated many of the critical mechanical positions and locations necessary to guarantee protection against these kinds of failures.” Railroad corporations, meanwhile, continue to rake in piles of cash: In 2022, Norfolk Southern reported a record $4.8 billion in income. Compare that to the $3.4 million the company has offered to residents of East Palestine.

Then there is the way in which the government responded in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank meltdown. After wealthy venture capitalists and their media buddies panicked, sparking a digital bank run, the US Treasury and Federal Reserve stepped in and bailed out these modern day robber barons. Indeed, anytime the banking sector experiences a major financial crisis, they’re among the first to receive taxpayer-funded bailouts at Middle America’s expense.

Crucially, there’s an unspoken impetus in bailing out SVB–war. Oligarchs and their venture capitalist hirelings invest in war. Today private equity has taken on an even wider role in the armaments industry than in the 1990s, responsible for thousands of investments in aerospace and defense firms. The Pentagon has even established an office dedicated to facilitating the linkages between start-ups with military potential and venture capitalists. Industry leaders thus unsurprisingly see private equity and venture capital as the future of military innovation. While SVB’s heavy concentration of VC-backed tech firms makes it a particularly clear example of these industries’ ties with the US military-industrial complex, it is not unique. Indeed, the US financial system writ large is intertwined with US war-making in the twenty-first century–creating a dangerous situation for the world.

Decades of endless war have dramatically increased the opportunities for militarized profit-making–making military industries an ideal investment for financial capital, and a growing number of financial firms are expanding their military sector investments. This draws the interests of financial capitalists together with those of military-industrial firms and hawkish officials.

As the cool kids say–ka-ching!

The problem with war as an enrichment process for our oligarchic welfare system is that the US is choosing to fight peer competitors like Russia and China, countries that have industrial means of warfare. Here’s the New York Times bemoaning the fact. “The US isn’t ready-if a war with China were to break out. Perhaps most worrisome: The US cannot manufacture enough precision missiles, a key weapon in any fight.”

The reason, that I’ve talked about in earlier posts, is that the US makes weapons for profit rather than for defense.

Endless war and austerity for ordinary citizens coupled with bank rescues for the affluent is a toxic mix. As oligarchs grow richer the general public becomes poorer. Poverty breeds crime and dangerous protest movements. Going further, a society ruled by wealthy criminals needs lots of cops, paramilitary organizations and death squads.

Our oligarch problem will continue until we the people take matters into our own hands, like the French are doing. France should be a model for more countries. When your oligarchs commit crimes with impunity, take to the streets.

Posted in deep state, feral elite, propaganda | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackinders Nightmare

Wow! Take a week off from blogging and all hell breaks loose.

First there was the surprise agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. partner, and Iran, a longtime enemy, had negotiated a normalization agreement on their own to restore diplomatic ties. The final meeting to conclude the agreement took place in the Chinese capital of Beijing. The news was followed by the Saudi finance minister who said Saudi Arabia could start investing in Iran “very quickly.”

Then there was Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin cementing a “new era” in strategic partnership between China and Russia. It’s far from coincidental that Xi’s trip to Moscow exactly coincides with the 20th anniversary of American ‘Shock and Awe’ and the illegal invasion, occupation, and destruction of Iraq.

Of course these developments went over like lead balloons in Washington. Because, after all, the US is the world leader and how dare those Russian and Chinese presume to challenge the dominant hegemon. Besides, there’s appearances to maintain. Ever since it pushed aside colonial Britain and France, the United States has prided itself on being the dominant outside power in the Middle East. That lofty image was shaken this past week by the surprising developments.

Meanwhile, it’s a sad state of affairs when the western political/media class is so bereft of new ideas that they’ve resurrected the phrase “Axis of Evil” from the invasion of Iraq propaganda. On Tuesday former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told Fox News that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are “two dictators that have said they are unlimited partners,” asserting that “This is the new Axis of Evil, with Iran being their junior partner.”

I swear to God, the discourse is so juvenile that it feels like we entered some sort of time warp between South Park and a Mike Meyers movie–Dr. Evil and America-Fuck-Yeah.

It’s getting more than a little disorienting.

The deal reached between Iran and Saudi Arabia especially has produced neocon angst because of the unspoken undercurrent of Israeli interests. Mark Dubowitz of the neocon Foundation for the Defence of Democracies think-tank whined “[It is] a lose, lose, lose for American interests. It demonstrates that the Saudis don’t trust Washington to have their back, that Iran sees an opportunity to peel away American allies to end its international isolation, and it establishes China as the majordomo of Middle Eastern power politics”. 

Translated: lose, lose, lose for Israeli interests. The dirty little secret is that US foreign policies in the Middle East favor Israel even to the detriment of America. From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.

The neocons need to look in the mirror. In their blind obsession to advance Israeli interests they’ve managed to not only fuck the US but to fuck Israel too, all while coming off as intellectual gangsters. For decades the US has eschewed diplomacy in lieu of threats and extreme violence. “You’re either with us or against us”, encapsulated this sentiment as did the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, destruction of Libya and Syria, and endless drone strikes.

What’s priceless is that the new multipolar alliance between Russia, Iran and China is based on diplomacy. The Saudi-Iran rapprochement was actually jump-started by Russia in Baghdad and Oman: it was these negotiations that led to the signing of the deal in Beijing. Moscow is also coordinating the Syria-Turkey rapprochement discussions.

US empire managers have long planned the acquisition of post-Soviet Russia as an imperial lackey state which could be weaponized against China, but instead the exact opposite happened. Russia, China, Iran and other unabsorbed governments have all been driven closer and closer together by the hostility of the United States toward all of them, and now they are overcoming some significant differences to rapidly move into increasingly intimate strategic partnerships to protect their national sovereignty from a globe-spanning empire which demands total submission from every government on earth.

Halford Mackinder must be rolling over in his grave.

Update: Ian Welsh nails it. “The level of incompetence and stupidity required to turn Russia into China’s firm ally is awe-inspiring, and I truly do feel awe.”

Posted in anti-imperialism, neoconservatives, propaganda | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment