Category Archives: World War 2

About That “Stab in the Back”

Many German Jews were very patriotic during World War 1. Quite a few fought and died for their country and its lousy cause. The problem was that the war was a lousy cause, like the Vietnam War and just about every war we ever fought after the Great War.

Germany started losing, and a dissident peace movement similar to the antiwar movement in the Vietnam era sprung up in Germany. Some of these people, but many others were just good Germans sink of junkers, kaisers and disgusting mess that was incipient German imperialism and militarism. The antiwar movement helped end the war, which was a good thing. After the war, which ended in Germany’s defeat, this protest movement began challenging many of the traditional views of the land which had dragged the nation into a stupid militaristic adventure that led to the massacre of a generation of European men. Many liberals, media people, comedians, musicians, show business types, politicians and intellectuals joined this movement.

Of course some were Jews but most were not. Keep in mind that Jews were maybe 1-2% of Germany at this point. The point here is that these Jews were not traitors at all any more than the rest of the liberals were. They were calling for a Cultural Revolution in Germany and challenging the reactionary views that led the nation to war.

This was the “stab in the back” that Hitler referred to. There was no stab in the back anymore than that the Vietnam War Protest Movement was a stab in the back.  Hitler and the Free Officers were reactionary militarists. They were not OK people. They were like McNamara and LBJ on steroids. They were a bunch of lousy killers, militarists fighting for a no good cause. And really the entire liberal intelligentsia stabbed the country in  the back, if anyone did.

But the stab in the back more than anything was self inflicted. Germany was losing a lousy war they started for no good reason. The Army and the militaristic state was stabbing its own self in the back in a form of perverse hari kari.

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Filed under Democrats, Europe, European, Germany, History, Imperialism, Jews, Liberalism, Modern, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, US Politics, USA, Vietnam War, War, World War 1, World War 2

Alt Left: Civil War? Bring It On!

Well, low level civil war in the present form of pre-civil war or civil strife anyway is just fine. It’s not ok to promote anything beyond that right now though.

Here.

A new article in Salon says that Trump has set off a civil war in America. As a supporter of the very similar Revolutionary movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s, which also erupted into a near civil war, the Alt Left supports this low- level civil war (civil strife) completely. Right now what is going on is like a pre-civil war or what is often referred to as civil strife. The civil war will pretty much only start if and when people start killing each other, and that’s not happening…yet. Hopefully it will not come to that because not only will the enemy start dying but we will too. That means you, me, our friends and loved ones. It’s generally better if civil strife does not move to a shooting civil war level barring extreme circumstances.

The only thing that is happening now is street fights between the Left and Right, similar to the Left vs. Right street thugs fighting in the streets in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It also similar to civil strife that goes on in Latin America. Particularly in Chile, left vs. right street fighting is very common. The Right is fascist and supports Pinochet. The Left is almost Communist or socialist and supports Salvador Allende and his followers. A woman from Allende’s own party is now governing the country. The Left regularly stages what can only be called pro-Allende demos, which are regularly raided by fascists who support Pinochet. Similarly, fascists regularly stage what are more or less pro-Pinochet demos which are regularly invaded by leftists. Street fighting between the two is very common.

People do not realize it but rioting is very common in Latin America. Venezuela had regular riots, often led by university students, even before Chavez came to office. After Chavez came in, the Opposition staged regular riots and demos in their neighborhoods. After a while, the Chavista police just sat back and let the Opposition trash their neighborhoods. The Chavista police must have had one of the most hands-off approaches to rioters in the world.

In Chile once again, high school students are now staging regular demos which typically turn into riots. This is because in this wealthy country, the schools are literally falling apart. These riots have been happening about once every three weeks now. The Chilean Indians are a much discriminated against population and popular racism against Indians is at a very high level.

I had a friend in Chile whose father worked for Allende and considered himself a progressive guy. He was majoring in sociology and he planned to go to the Indian regions to do fieldwork. However, this anti-Indian racism was off the charts from an American point of view. He also had wildly classist views which would be shocking in the US. Obviously any country afflicted with crazy high levels of classism and racism along with some of the worst wealth inequality on Earth is a pretty shitty place. In a shitty country, you might as well demonstrate and riot all the time because that is exactly what shitty countries deserve. If they ever clean up their act and turn into decent countries, I think the rioters in general should knock it off.

Rioting should only be for protesting truly noxious systems, not, for instance, against Swedish social democracy. It’s a very civilized and decent system and there’s nothing to riot about. But rightwing shitholes can have all the riots in the world for all I care. They asked for it by being rightwing shitholes. If they don’t want riots all the time, all they have to do is create a decent country.

Needless to say, the Chilean Indians riot on a very frequent basis. And Indian riot is almost banal down there. That’s how common it is.

I was very close to the politics of Peru for a while there and I got regular updates of the situation on the ground. Even leaving aside the fact that there was an armed and very deadly insurgency going on, besides that, on the Left in general (which did not necessarily support the insurgency at all) there were regular strikes and demonstrations.

A lot of the strikes were by people like teachers and physicians. Teachers’ unions are very militant in Latin America, they go on strike all the time, have regular demonstrations and they even riot quite a bit. Schoolteachers rioting seems odd in a US context but down there, it’s just normal. There are also almost constant demonstrations against mining and really for all manner of leftwing causes. It’s quite common for these to turn into riots. Even setting aside the insurgency, Peru struck me as a place where leftwing riots were quite common.

I don’t know much about civil strife in the rest of the continent. I saw a recent video of young people mostly in their late teens to mid twenties who appeared to be actually demonstrating in favor of the FARC guerrillas and against death squad activity directed at civilian supporters of the guerrilla. I was surprised that the FARC had that much support. The demonstration was quite violent to say the least.

I believe demonstrations are very common in Brazil and if I am not mistaken, they regularly become riots also.

This low level civil war or civil strife is a good thing in the US right now. Bottom line is we deserve it. We are turning into a true rightwing shithole along Latin American lines, and shitty countries deserve all the riots that rioters can unleash against them. Don’t like the rioting? Fine, put in a halfway decent government. Unless and until that happens, I say let the riots go on.

All of the following are important:

  • Calling or writing to your Congresspeople.
  • Attending town hall meetings of Congresspeople.
  • New laws at the state level
  • Anti-Trump lawsuits by states
  • Anti=Trump lawsuits by individuals and aggrived parties, often being taken by the ACLU right now.
  • Appearances by Congresspeople at areas of controversy, such as Congresspeople who tried to get travelers released from airports
  • Journalists writing highly critical and rabble rousing articles
  • Openly defiant and angry press organs, even such staid venues as the New York Times. There’s nothing with the NYT calling Trump a liar on the front page.
  • Letters to the editor
  • Signing petitions
  • Refusing service to Trump supporters in the workplace
  • Ending as many friendships with Trump supporters as you can handle
  • Various organizations leading peaceful demonstrations of all sorts such as the women’s march. Those demos can get pretty loud and rowdy, but without overt violence, they are still peaceful
  • Blocking highways
  • Walkout strikes
  • Wildcat strikes
  • Boycotts
  • Shopping strikes

And also nonpeaceful protest would seem to be in order. If we are truly turning into a nightmarish Latin American style rightwing shithole, then this country deserves as many riots as rioters can stage. Shitholes deserve nothing less until they clean up their act and turn into decent countries.

Among forms of nonviolent protest:

  • Looting of noxious corporate venues, especially window smashing.
  • Bonfires
  • Fireworks
  • Smoke bombs
  • Rocks, bricks and police barricades at windows of some venues, the purpose being merely to break windows at the venue.
  • Vandalism, especially of corporate property. Window smashing is just fine.
  • Arson, particularly of corporate property but especially of the property of our class enemies, such as the limousine burnt on January 20.

Violence against people.

  • Generally not recommended at this point.

This is a very tricky area and I am wrestling a lot with this one. In wars, the civilian supporters of the insurgency or state are supposed to be left alone. They seldom are in wars anymore, but they are supposed to be. This is why the fire bombings in Germany and Japan were so wrong. Even if Germans were supporting Nazis, it was not ok to set their cities aflame with the sole purpose of incinerating as many civilians as possible. Something very similar but much worse happened in Japan.

Of course the purpose of the atom bombs was to slaughter as many civilians as possible in order to end a war. The argument is typically raised that it was worth it to murder 300,000 Japanese civilians in a couple of days to end the war and that alternatives would have been more costly. Even with a goal of ending a war and supposedly saving lives by ending a war prematurely, it’s awful hard to justify mass slaughter of civilians, even if they are supporting a noxious regime. Killing thousands of civilians even for this purpose seems wrong, not to mention 10,000’s. Killing 100,000’s of civilians even for some supposedly noble goal gets very hard to justify under virtually any circumstances.

So if civilian supporters even of armed insurgencies and noxious regimes are not to be killed or even harmed for that matter, how is it ok to beat up Trump supporters. Now granted, things are much worse in hot wars. If all Assad’s army and supporters were doing was punching out rebel supporters, I doubt if anyone would care. I doubt if many would be bothered by German patriots clocking Nazi supporters during the war, assuming they could even get away with it. Likewise in Japan. The main argument in all of these cases is that state are actually mass murdering civilian supporters of insurgencies and civilian supporters of enemy states during state to state war. The argument never gets down to the level of if it’s ok to punch out guerrilla supporters or people backing a state in wartime in a state to state war.

Nevertheless, attacks on Trump supporters leave me a bit queasy. It may come down to that at some point, but for now, political violence against Opposition civilians doesn’t rub me the right way. Of course the antifa will do it anyway, we don’t have to stamp our approval on it. And it’s a thin line that separates a right hook from a group beating stomping someone to death. Single punches can turn into fatal beat downs faster than you can think.

For right now, nonpeaceful tactics should be limited to property damage, particularly of noxious corporations. Destroying the property of class enemies such as limousines is certainly acceptable. Even arson is ok against their property and that of noxious corporations, especially if you clear out the civilians just stick to burning stuff, not other people. A lot of limousines deserve to be torched and a lot of banks are asking for it too.

But I am going to butt out of attacks on people of the opposition. And surely, attacks with guns, bombs and whatnot are completely out of line at least at this stage. Now it may come down to a 1970’s revolutionary scenario where as late as 1972, 1,900 bombs went off in the US. That’s six bombs a day. Very few of them killed or even hurt other people as they were often set off late at night or preceded with warnings. Nevertheless, once you step it up to setting off bombs, it’s a whole new ballgame. We aren’t there yet, so such activities are not acceptable at the least.

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Israelis, Islamists, Hindutvadis and Fascism

William: Robert- I suppose it may be splitting hairs, but isn’t Israel about the Jewish faith? I mean it’s not like they’re all secular Jews – they’re linked by faith as much as bloodline.

Jews by blood but who have never been religious are not granted citizenship to Israel, although they are allowed to immigrate/reside there (green card equivalent).

RL: So Israel’s about the Jewish faith? “So what,” I would say. What does that have to do with anything?

William: Lindsay- I’m just saying it makes it not blatantly fash. Just kind of crypto-fash. There is a pretense not about race/bloodline.

OK, I can go along with that. I have always worried that these Lefties people calling Christian fundies Christo-fascists and the Islamists Islamofascists were going too far.

But in India, those Hindutvadis, well, they are pretty close to real deal fascism. They are not racist fascists. I suppose they are religious fascists. But the Hindutvadis are far more fascist than the Israelis or Islamists are.

There is a real question and a good debate going on regarding whether a religiously based fascism is even possible. But there was something resembling that in Croatia under World War 2. There was a racist-fascist (Nazi) regime called the Ustashe that killed Serbs, Jews, and, well, anyone who was not a Croat. However, a number of Serbs were given opportunity to convert to Catholicism and become in effect Serbs. The opportunity was given at gunpoint. It was covert or die, just like the Muslims did and sometimes still do. This would seem to be a Nazi-like regime that seemed to be based on religion at least in part.

There were also Chetniks roaming around in the mountains. These were Serbian Far Right guerrillas, often with a Serbian Orthodox priest traveling with them in the bands, who killed everyone who was not a Serb – Catholics, Muslims, etc. I believe they also fought against the Nazis though. The Chetniks would seem to be a sort of religiously-based racist fascism. There were also much more numerous Communist guerrillas roaming around the countryside at the same time, and they and the Chetniks did not have good relations.

Some Leftist theorists have recently been suggesting that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was actually fascist in a sense, and they laid out a theory on why that was. I am not sure if I bought it though.

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A Dark and Ominous Phoenix Rises from the Past

A Black Bird Rises in the West

My understanding is that in 1932, Jews were 1%* of the population of Germany. At that time, the Jews reportedly had 32%* of the wealth in the Germany.

The very next year, in 1933, Adolf Hitler of the Nazi Party was elected to rule German democracy. They quickly did away with that pesky democratic part of the state and imposed a dictatorship on a shocked but quite willing populace. This party had been trafficking in toxic anti-Semitism since its birth in German beer halls in the early 1920’s. Almost all of the leaders of this movement were very racist White men. All were White Supremacists and anti-Semites.

They preached ethnic ultranationalism and taking back the nation from the (((liberal and decadent cosmopolitan Establishment))) that had run Germany into the ground in the previous decade. It was time to take the country back from these (((liberals usurpers))) and make Germany great again. A vicious antisemitism was imposed very early on and quickly assumed savage and even homicidal proportions. Several years afterwards, those homicidal tendencies detonated into a full-blown genocidal project targeting not only Jews but also many other hated peoples such as Slavs and Gypsies. For four short years, this unstable and deranged party set the world on fire worse than it had ever been lit up. The fading remnants of that darkly incandescent blazing inferno leave traces that to reverberate among us to this day.

Of course I opposed (to put it very mildly) the Holocaust, the whole Nazi antisemitic project and the German/Japanese alliance in World War 2. It was as if a dual headed Satanic hydra had simulatenously risen in both the West and the East to menace all of mankind itself.

But then I look at that figure. Jews were 1% of the population and they controlled 32% of the wealth in a nation with an increasingly immiserated, disenfranchised and enraged majority.

I look at that figure. 1% of the population controlled 32% of the wealth. And I think, “You know what? There’s not too many countries in the world where people would put up with that for very long. At some point, the majority is going to rise up and try to take back a lot of that money from that tiny group that is monopolizing it.

In Another Century in Another Land…

In 2016, Jews are 2% of the US population. At this time, they reportedly have 28% of the wealth of the nation in a nation with an increasingly, immiserated, disenfranchised and enraged majority.

That same year, a fascist-like movement was elected to rule American democracy. They planned to quickly do away with some of the pesky democratic part of the state and impose an authoritarian government on a shocked but significantly willing populace. This party had been trafficking in increasingly toxic racism since its rebirth in the orange groves of the nation in the early 1980’s. A significant number of the leaders of this movement were quite racist White men. A few were White Supremacists and antisemites.

This movement preached an increasingly ethnic form of hyper-nationalism and taking back the nation from the (((liberal and decadent cosmopolitan Establishment))) that had been running America for most of the previous two decades. It was time to take the country back from these (((liberal usurpers))) and make America great again. A vicious racism loomed very early on. No one knew if this unstable and deranged party would set the world on fire in the next four years.

Let’s look at these two paragraphs again.

In 1932, Jews were 1% of the German population. At this time, they reportedly had  32% of the wealth of a nation with an increasingly immiserated, disenfranchised and enraged majority.

In 2016, Jews are 2% of the US population. At this time, they reportedly have 28% of the wealth of a nation with an increasingly, immiserated, disenfranchised and enraged majority.

I suppose my position would be that if the Jews, 2% of America, really do have 28% of my country’s wealth, I would say that not many countries in the world would put up with that for very long. I would also say that being 2% of the country and having 28% of the wealth is definitely not good for the Jews. Of course I don’t always support what is good for the Jews (Why should I?) but in this case, I definitely would, out of worry, fear, alarm and compassion for my fellow man alone.

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The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.

First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?

Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.

Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?

The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.

It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?

There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.

Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.

In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.

1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.

So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.

The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.

Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.

The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.

Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.

I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.

But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.

And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.

And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.

One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.

Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

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Syrian Government Sued for Killing US Journalist

Here.

I am sure that they did it. That’s a nasty little regime they have over there in Syria. On the other hand, Assad seems to be better than any of the alternatives, which isn’t saying much.

I never agree with targeting journalists during war, but increasingly just about everyone does it. We definitely targeted journalists and even whole media outfits in the first weeks of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. We bombed the Al Jazeera building in Kabul, and we attacked Al Jazeera reporters in a Baghdad hotel. There were fatalities in both cases. In both Iraq wars, the US bombed all major Iraqi news outlets and newspapers, but most of them kept reporting anyway. The Pentagon said they were targeted for “disseminating enemy propaganda in wartime.”

Recent Pentagon documents discuss the need to “control the narrative” during wartime and speak of another need to silence enemy critics and journalists who are seen as combatants in an information war. The language used to describe propaganda, controlling the narrative and targeting journalists sympathetic to the enemy is genuinely creepy.

Lousy countries always do this sort of thing in wartime, but I thought we were above this.

Putin has had reporters beaten up for reporting on Russian soldiers who were killed fighting in Ukraine when there supposed to be no Russians there. He is also implicated in the killing of journalists, including a woman who was famous for reporting on Russian atrocities in Chechnya.

Turkey routinely targets journalists, especially Kurdish reporters. A number of them have been killed.

Israel is notorious for targeting journalists. Palestinian journalists are arrested regularly, and a number have been shot by soldiers. A fair number of them have been killed. Some American journalists have also been killed by the IDF, and at least one was killed.

The US would not defend this journalist at all, and instead seemed to take Israel’s side. So here we have a government that supports a foreign state over its own people. Our country should be called “USrael” to symbolize the extent to which we dutifully support this foreign country against all common sense. An interview with a representative of the Israeli government regarding this case was tense and combative, and the Israeli seemed to be arguing that journalists were legitimate targets as some sort of “terrorist supporters” or “terror propagandists.”

I was always taught that my country was the good guy. I was taught how we generally fought fair and square in World War 2. This made me so proud to be an American. I learned quite a few things since then that made me question that line. But this recent behavior of the Pentagon’s has made me lose all hope. I had thought we were above this sort of crap and that we believed in fighting fair at least out of a gentlemanly honor. Turns out I was wrong. While we do fight quite a bit more fairly than most other countries (and so do the Israelis), a lot of our behavior is scumbucket low down there with the worst Turd World shitholes.

Color me disenchanted. I am not so much an America-hater as a disappointed patriot gone sour.

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“Monopoly Capital and Capitalist Inequality: Marx after Piketty,” By Thomas E. Lambert

Great article that concludes that almost all of the massive wealth that has accumulated among the wealthy in the US in recent years has been due to an huge increase in the economic surplus which has been due to two factors: flat wage growth (high worker exploitation) and investment in unproductive sectors of the US economy. I believe he is correct. Piketty’s book is supposed to be great, but I have not yet read it.

Monopoly Capital and Capitalist Inequality: Marx after Piketty

By Thomas E. Lambert

Assistant Professor of Public Administration
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY 41099
Lambertt1@nku.edu
502-403-9795 (cell)

Abstract

This paper proposes that one major explanation of growing inequality in the United States (US) is through the use of the concept of economic surplus. The economic surplus is a neo-Marxian term which combines the traditional Marxian tenet of surplus value with other ways that surplus value can be invested in a mature, advanced capitalist economy.

A rising economic surplus that is not absorbed through growing consumer spending, luxury spending or government spending results in stagnant wages and growing inequality via higher levels of underemployment and greater monopoly and monopsony power among a decreasing number of huge, powerful corporations. Therefore, the politics surrounding the growth of inequality in the US has to be understood first by understanding over accumulation of the economic surplus by those at the top of the US capitalist class.

This research note gives estimates of the rising economic surplus over the last several decades in the US as well as how these correlate with the level of inequality. The growth of the economic surplus gives rise and form to the politics of inequality and austerity. As time goes by, the politics of inequality and austerity in the US will be manifested by greater corporate influence in the political system, greater political polarization, less government effectiveness, and more debates about welfare spending, corporate taxation, taxes on upper income households, and taxes on wealth.

Introduction

According to a recent, nationwide opinion poll, approximately 63% of United States (US) survey respondents indicated that US wealth and income differences should be more equally distributed (Newport 2015). In many political discussions and discourse in the US, the topic of economic inequality is growing in importance, especially as one major candidate for US President has made it a cornerstone of his campaign (Talbot 2015).

Additionally, the notoriety of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century (2014, English edition) has added grist to the debate since one of Piketty’s main points is that a large degree of economic inequality is the norm in a capitalistic system, not the exception. Piketty contends that some degree of inequality has been driven by the large increases in managerial and CEO pay over the years (p. 24), although a lot of research has failed to show a link between a management team’s pay and corporate performance (Collins 2001, Chemi and Giorgio 2014).

Add to this his assertion that rates of return on wealth and assets, or r, are greater than economic growth, or g, then in any society, most of national income tends to accumulate with the investor class, and part of this income becomes more assets and wealth. His central equation, r > g, explains why great concentrations of wealth yield even more wealth concentration as time goes by, especially if r is far above g.

Finally, with large concentrations of wealth, inherited wealth becomes more and more important in skewing the wealth toward those in the top income ranges, especially if inheritance and income taxes are kept low by national governments.

One solution to extremely skewed wealth distribution would be an international tax on wealth and/or inheritances, but Piketty believes these unlikely to come into effect. Therefore, despite astute analysis of why inequality persists and even becomes worse, Piketty’s recommendations to address it are tenuous given political power imbalances in most societies and the inability of nation-states to coordinate actions to solve problems.

Nonetheless, Piketty is at least concerned about the long term impacts of extreme inequality in most nations whereas some mainstream economists do not see it as a big problem if a problem at all. Instead, according to these economists, income and wealth inequalities within a society can be explained mostly by differences in labor productivity and educational attainment differences among those in the labor force (Feldstein 1999).

On the other hand, critics of extreme inequality claim that too much income and wealth inequality can result in greater political and social alienation or even turmoil on the part of the citizenry, possibly due to the development of a static class structure or rule by oligarchy (Solt 2008, Newman, Johnston and Lown 2015).

One school of neo-Marxist thought, the “monopoly capital” point of view (Baran and Sweezy 1966, Foster 2014 among others), posits that modern inequality exists because of traditional Marxist explanations of worker exploitation and because of the power of land owners in the past and in modern times (a rentier class) and mostly because of the political and market powers of large, modern day corporations (i.e., many oligopolistic and monopolistic consumer markets and monopsonistic labor markets).

Market concentration allows for restricted output (excess capacity), which in turn yields high markups on product prices. Restricted output lessens the demand for labor, which along with monoposonistic labor markets (in which workers are limited with regard to employer choices) limit the earnings of workers and raises the unemployment rate beyond what it would be otherwise.

In the monopoly capital school of thought, Piketty’s observation of r > g can be easily explained by the degree of corporate and upper class dominance in a society in that market concentration and power in product and labor markets yields higher returns and profits than in competitive markets relative to what workers can earn in wages (Foster and Yates 2014, Andrews 2014). With wages stagnant or not increasing fast enough to keep up with inflation, this makes the degree of labor exploitation even stronger (Piketty 2014, Lambert and Kwon 2015a).

Finally, since innovation and the resulting products from innovation usually reach a peak in sales and market share, g is usually low, and so the economy usually tends toward stagnation. That is, according to the monopoly capital point of view, the product life cycle of rapid growth, slow growth, and then peak sales occurs with all products, and if no further innovations are forthcoming to keep an economy growing, then slow or negative growth occurs.

This is compounded by the fact that as many industries cease to grow as rapidly as they have in their early stages, jobs are eventually shed as labor saving techniques are introduced, and this can exacerbate any unemployment and inequality problems. Finally, slow growing or declining sales in existing product markets and a lack of new products or markets in which to invest lead to fewer investment outlets for the upper capitalist class. This causes the “economic surplus” of a society to rise, which can be manifested in over accumulation of surplus or under consumption of goods and services.

According to Baran and Sweezy (1966), the economic surplus is the amount over and above what is required to produce a given level of output and is normally considered as comprised of things such business profits, property rents, interest payments, and wasteful expenditures on such things as luxury items, advertising, retailing, research and development1, finance, and military programs. Using Piketty’s equation (or inequality), since r > g, the surplus of the wealthier classes rises faster than what it can invest in productive investment or assets.

Hence, in order to use the excess surplus that is accumulated, the result is spending on many wasteful items according to Baran and Sweezy. Wasteful and non-wasteful activities are seen from a traditional Marxian perspective these that uses a non-productive and productive dichotomy for classifying economic activity and labor.2

Productive activity or labor includes those activities such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining, utilities, construction, transportation, and some forms of government activity such as education, sanitation, and emergency services (Baran and Sweezy 1966, Shaikh and Tonak 1994, Mohun 1996 and 2014 among others).

These activities and labor are considered productive because they produce surplus value and add value in that they satisfy the consumer needs of food, clothing, shelter, education, etc.

Those economic sectors that are classified as unproductive add little or no value and are only ancillary to the productive sectors of the economy. Yet, the unproductive sectors are necessary in order to provide an outlet for accumulated surplus that cannot be channeled into productive sectors if the latter are not growing (Baran and Sweezy 1966).

For Baran and Sweezy (1966) this combination of surplus value obtained from worker exploitation (where workers produced output greater than their wages) and expenditures for non-productive labor and activities made up their concept of the economic surplus.

Therefore, as wages remain stagnant or decline as prices and profits rise (which would cause r to increase even more relative to g in Piketty’s equation) and as non-productive sectors grow, then a nation’s economic surplus would grow. Along with this growth in economic surplus, as wages are stagnant or declining, one would expect to see rising inequality due to rising labor exploitation, and so there should be a high degree of correlation between the economic surplus and inequality.

This research note proceeds as follows. Next is a section in which the methods of evaluating the argument that the economic surplus and inequality are linked are discussed. Then a results section summarizes the findings. Finally, a discussion and conclusion elaborate on the research results and offers recommendations for further research.

Methods

This paper uses time series, least squares regression to predict the levels of income inequality (top 1% income share, including capital gains) and wealth inequality (net private wealth as a portion of all income3) in the US from 1929 to 2013 using the monopoly capital concept of economic surplus as a percentage of GDP. This is a method similar to that used by Lambert and Kwon (2015a) in which they predicted the percentage change in top income shares over a similar time period using different concepts of surplus and other variables.

The top 1% income share and wealth to total income numbers come from the World Wealth and Income Database, a database created by Piketty and other researchers of inequality (Alvaredo, Atkinson, Piketty , Saez, and Zucman 2016). The economic surplus as a portion of US GDP was used by Baran and Sweezy (1966) to illustrate the level of exploitation occurring in the US over time.

In an appendix by Joseph D. Phillips, the surplus as a portion of GDP is constructed as the sum of business profits, rent, property income, interest, dividends, depreciation, and the value of the “wasteful” sectors of the economy (e.g., finance, insurance, real estate, services, government etc.) divided by GDP.

Later, Shaikh and Tonak (1994) fine-tuned the economic surplus concept as a portion of GDP that is basically the value of Gross Domestic Product less the value of the wages and salaries in the productive sectors of the economy. This paper adapts their concept, which has also been used by other authors (Wolf 1987, Lambert and Kwon 2015a and 2015b). The source of the data is from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) National Economics Accounts tables website, http://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm , and more specifically Table 1.1.5, Gross Domestic Product and Table 6.2A, Compensation of Employees by Industry.4

This paper contends that there should be a high degree of correlation between the economic surplus and two variables, income and wealth inequality, since capitalist wealth and income are extracted by high rates of labor exploitation and the wasteful investment of surplus into productive and non-productive activities.

Results

Figures 1 and 2 show that the economic surplus concept and the income and wealth shares are highly correlated and have strong, direct and positive relationships. Table 1, Model 1, shows the economic surplus as a percentage of GDP to be a statistically significant predictor of the income shares of the top 1%, and it explains about 88% of the variation in top 1% income shares.

A one percent increase in economic surplus is associated with around a 12% increase in top 1% income share on average. In Model 2, a 1% increase in economic surplus as a share of GDP predicts a 163% increase in the wealth to income percentage on average.

Model 2 shows the economic surplus variable to be statistically significant and explains about 73% of the variation in wealth to income. In using ordinary least squares analysis, the Durbin-Watson statistic is less than the lower critical value at α < 0.05 for both models indicating positive serial correlation, so Newey-West standard errors to correct for any autocorrelation or serial correlation are used in both models (Studenmund 2006, pages 334-335).

Discussion and Conclusion

The regression results support the hypotheses advanced by this paper. The bulk of the gains made by the upper classes in US society appear to have occurred because of increases in US economic surplus, which grew as a result of stagnant wages to labor (or greater labor exploitation) and greater investment in what Baran and Sweezy (1966) would characterize as “waste” – the unproductive sectors of the US economy (Lambert and Kwon 2015a).

Politically, greater labor exploitation and greater inequality in both wealth and income make for a potentially volatile situation according to Piketty (2014).

Toward the end of his book The Theory of Capitalist Development (1970 (1942 original), set in the US during the Great Depression and on the eve of its entry into World War II, Paul Sweezy speculates on the question of whether fascism is inevitable in a society which has suffered and continues to suffer a major economic crisis.

Similar to the nations that suffered trauma during and after World War I because of economic hardships, military defeat and/or subsequent economic crisis (e.g., Germany and Italy), the US was dealing with high unemployment and excess industrial capacity, although the US had come out of World War I stronger than any other nation in the world.

Sweezy believes that a nation which has embarked in imperialist ventures in the past (i.e., has had colonies or territories) and has a capitalist economy, although a faltering one, and has suffered some type of national trauma (war, depression, etc.) is a good candidate for a fascistic takeover of the government. He rejects this as an inevitability for the US during the time of his writings for the book, but leaves open the possibility for a later date should circumstances change.

Have circumstances changed enough since then? Other writings on fascism and socialism offer some clues as to possible future scenarios. The US has possibly suffered the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression due to the 2007-2009 Great Recession and its aftermath.

Subsequent economic growth after the recession’s “end” in 2009 has been very slow, with stagnant wages, a great number of people dropping out of the labor force, an increase in the official poverty rate, and now an apparent slowdown in the global economy, which could spell more trouble for the US economy (Greenhouse and Leonhardt 2006, Foster and Magdoff 2009, Lambert 2011, Mongiovi 2015, Patnaik 2016).

Although illegal immigration has declined during this time period, there still persists a common belief among the working classes that a large number of illegal immigrants are harming the working class (Goo 2015). Additionally, the aftermath of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and continued problems with terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS have put the nation almost on a perpetual wartime footing since 2001.

Fascism has been generally defined as a political and economic system which arises from national political and/or economic turmoil and wherein capitalism is seen as chaotic and has to be managed by a strong, nationalistic government led by elites which seeks to unite labor and upper class interests rather than try to exploit class struggle.

The capitalist class, however, is allowed to retain its property rights and business interests, although it now has to submit to a “managed” form of capitalism in which industry is organized into large and cooperative cartels (Sabine and Thorson 1973, Carsten 1980, Renton 1999, Amin 2014). In return for full and steady employment, labor gives up its unions and a large number of its rights, which assists with an austerity efforts to balance national budgets and pay off debts.

Such a compromise goes a long way in managing social spending that cannot keep up with the chaos (economic downturns), unemployment, poverty, and inequality brought about due to capitalism’s excesses (O’Connor 1973). Piketty (2014) acknowledges that much of the austerity movement in developed and developing countries has emanated from the fact that most bondholders are from the world’s wealthy and upper classes, and therefore, austerity is imposed to make sure that the debt is properly serviced and paid, even if it means harsh conditions for debtor nations.

Fascism does seem plausible in other nations that are undergoing austerity due to having to repay debts to the IMF or other financial institutions. Repressive regimes could arise when faced with labor and working class strife arising from a negative reaction to austerity measures. Although there is a more remote chance in the US since many of its financial institutions hold such debt, it is not entirely out of the question.

This is due to the possibility of chronic deficits and a debt level at 100% of GDP which the nation does not seem capable of adequately addressing in the current political climate. Inaction with regard to increasing taxes or significantly decreasing spending seems to be the norm now, although this may change if the economy becomes very bad in the future.

O’Connor (1973) speculates that greater and greater levels of social spending are necessary in a monopoly capitalist economy due to capitalist interests being able to shift more and more social problems on to the government (spending on unemployment, welfare, and job training, for example). Yet at the same time, capitalist interests resist greater levels of taxation.

With the resistance to higher taxes and a rising budget deficit and debt level, austerity and cutbacks are the next option, which in turn could lead to a working class revolt. The reaction to such a revolt could lead to some type of politically and economically repressive regime. This is a grim but possible scenario unfortunately.

Table 1: Times Series, Least Squares
Model 1: Dependent Variable is US Top 1% Income Shares including Capital Gains, 1929 to 2013
b
(Newey-West standard errors)

Constant -21.672
Econ Surplus as Pct. GDP 12.011***
(0.559)

Adjusted r2 : 0.883

n = 85

Model 2: Dependent Variable is Net Private Wealth as Pct. Of Income, 1929 to 2013
b
(Newey-West standard errors)

Constant -110.008
Econ Surplus as Pct. GDP 163.091***
(34.098)

Adjusted r2 : 0.731

n = 85

***p < 0.01

References

Alvaredo, Facundo, Tony Atkinson, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. 2016. “World Wealth and Income Database”. Accessed on January 22, 2016.

Amin, Samir. 2014. “The Return of Fascism in Contemporary Capitalism”, Monthly Review, 66(04) (September). Accessed on January 23, 2016.

Andrews, Charles. 2014. “Professor Piketty Fights Orthodoxy and Attacks Inequality”, Marxism-Leninism Today. Accessed on January 10, 2016.

Baran, Paul A. and Paul M. Sweezy. 1966. Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Carsten, F. L. 1980. The Rise of Fascism, Second Edition. University of California Press: Berkeley and Los Angeles.

Collins, James C. 2001. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Do Not. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Chemi, Eric and Ariana Giorgi. 2014. “The Pay-for-Performance Myth”, Bloomberg Business. July 22, 2014. Accessed on January 8, 2016.

Feldstein, Martin. 1999. “Reducing Poverty, Not Inequality”. The Public Interest, Number 137, Fall 1999. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. . Accessed on January 8, 2016.

Foster, John Bellamy. 2014. The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism, Second Edition. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Foster, J. B., and F. Magdoff. 2009. The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Foster, John Bellamy and Michael D. Yates. 2014. “Piketty and the Crisis of Neoclassical Economics”, Monthly Review, 66(6) (November): 1-24. . Accessed on January 10, 2016.

Goo, Sarah Kehaulani. 2015. “What Americans Want to Do about Illegal Immigration”, Pew Research Center, Fact-tank. August 24, 2015. . Accessed on January 23, 2016.

Greenhouse, S., and D. Leonhard. 2006. Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity. The New York Times, August 28. Available at .

Houston, David. 1997. “Productive-Unproductive Labor: Rest in Peace,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 29(1): 131-139.

Laibman, David. 1999. “Productive and Unproductive Labor: A Comment,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 31(2): 61-73.

Lambert, Thomas E. 2011. Falling Income and Debt: Comparing Views of a Major Cause of the Great Recession. World Review of Political Economy 2(2): 247-261.

Lambert, Thomas E. and Edward Kwon. 2015a. “The Top 1 Percent and Exploitation Measures,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 47(3): 465-476.

Lambert, Thomas E. and Edward Kwon. 2015b. “Monopoly Capital and Capitalist Inefficiency,” International Review of Applied Economics, 29(4): 1-20.

Mongiovi, Gary. 2015. “Piketty on Capitalism and Inequality: A Radical Economics Perspective,” Review of Radical Economists, 47(4): 558-565.

Mohun, Simon. 1996. “Productive and Unproductive Labor in the Labor Theory of Value”, Review of Radical Political Economics, 28(4) (December): 30–54.

___________. 2014. “Unproductive Labor in the U.S. Economy, 1964-2010,” Review of Radical Political Economics, 46(3): 355-379.

Newman, Benjamin J., Christopher D. Johnston and Patrick L. Lown. 2015. “False Consciousness or Class Awareness? Local Income Inequality, Personal Economic Position, and Belief in American Meritocracy”, American Journal of Political Science, 59 (2): 326–340. April 2015.

Newport, Frank. 2015. “Americans Continue to Say U.S. Wealth Distribution Is Unfair”, Gallup Poll. May 4, 2015. http://www.ips-dc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CEO-stocking-stuffers-report.pdf. Accessed on January 4, 2016.

O’Connor, James. 1973. The Fiscal Crisis of the State. St. Martin’s Press: New York.

Patnaik, Prabhat. 2016. “Capitalism and Its Current Crisis”, Monthly Review, 67(8) January: 1-13.

Renton, Dave. 1999. Fascism: Theory and Practice. London: Pluto Press, 1999. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed January 21, 2016).

Sabine, George H. and Thomas L. Thorson. 1973. A History of Political Theory, Fourth Edition. Dryden Press: Hinsdale, Illinois.

Shaikh, Anwar and E. Ahmet Tonak. 1994. Measuring the Wealth of Nations: The Political Economy of National Accounts. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Solt, Frederick. 2008. “Economic Inequality and Democratic Political Engagement”, American Journal of Political Science, 52(1): 48-60. January 2008.

Studenmund, A. H. 2006. Using Econometrics: A Practical Guide, 5th Edition. Pearson Education, Addison-Wesley: Boston, Massachusetts

Sweezy, Paul M. 1970 (1942). The Theory of Capitalist Development: Principles of Marxian Political Economy. New York and London: Modern Reader Paperbacks and Monthly Review Press.

Talbot, Margaret. 2015. “The Populist Prophet”, The New Yorker. October 20, 2015.. Accessed on January 4, 2016.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. 2016. GDP and NIPA accounts. Available at .

U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2012. Labor Force Statistics. Available at .

Wolff, Edward N. 1987. Growth, Accumulation, and Unproductive Activity: An Analysis of the Postwar U.S. Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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“Western Moral Decline or Capitalist Decadence?,” by John Kovas

This is a good piece. You can find it at Kofas’ website, or I got it off of Academia.edu. Looking at his website, it appears that the rest of his stuff is pretty good too. I need to read this guy more.

I actually think he is onto something here, and you need to be hip to this argument because the Right is always trotting out this “moral decline” argument that I think needs to be countered.

Western Moral Decline or Capitalist Decadence?

by John Kofas

Historically, during periods of economic contraction, the intelligentsia, politicians, business, academic, community and church leaders invariably try to steer the debate away from what has gone wrong with the political economy to the subject of values.

This was certainly the case during the 19th century when the depressions of the 1840’s, 1870’s and 1890’s took place. Well-meaning individuals as well as opportunistic propagandists questioned society’s values, despite the fact that structural causes in the political economy accounted for the economic contraction and social ills.

A somewhat similar situation existed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s when novelists, philosophers, politicians and others decried the values of the 1920’s. There are similarities between those historical periods and the economic contraction and diminishing of the Western middle class that started during the Reagan-Thatcher era and continues to the present.

The universal topic of values served its purpose when the Industrial Revolution was causing socioeconomic problems, and it serves its purpose today when Western Civilization is captive to banks and corporate capital that are concentrating capital while weakening the social fabric and democratic institutions.

The very elites suggesting to the masses redirection toward reexamination of values are the same ones that:

1. do not practice the values that they preach;

2. are responsible for the widening socioeconomic gap and sociopolitical instability that ensues;

3. benefit by deflecting the focus of the masses from the essential problem in the systemic flaws of the political economy to values.

Naturally, there is the salient question of the vast differences in value systems between societies and individuals; differences between religious and secular values within a pluralistic society, or the differences/nuances of values within a community whether it is predominantly religious or secular.

That scholars, politicians, businesspeople, priests, and the laity have been concerned about western civilization’s decline is a story as old as Oswald Spengler who wrote about the topic after the German Empire lost the First World War, and Europe as the world’s global power center began to give ground to the US and USSR.

But are the values of Bismarck and his generation of imperialist politicians and business titans the ones that Spengler’s generation lamented against the background of the Bolshevik Revolution and its global impact? Is it the Western values of imperialism, nationalism and militarism that led to global war in 1914 that were lost along with the decline of Western Europe?

Spengler focused on Western decadence, but the question is one of the underlying assumptions of what constituted decadence and what constituted ascendancy, the degree to which humane and communitarian principles rested behind assumptions. Was it dreadful that imperialist Europe of the old elites began to decline as a result of militarist confrontation, or was it tragic that millions of people died, injured, displaced, impoverished as a result? If one values power, then one laments the decline of Europe’s power. But what if the value system is human-centered, instead of power-based?

When the Great Depression erupted to cripple societies across most of the planet, why was there a sharp turn to a discussion of values, whether by US President Roosevelt who favored a quasi-communitarian orientation that mirrored the New Deal or ultra-nationalist one that Hitler advocated who was interested in ethnic cleansing as a means of restoring the purity of the mythological Aryan race as Alfred Rosenberg conceived it and the NAZI party practiced it.

In a very strange way, the NAZI regime’s populist ethnic collectivist approach intended to achieve the same goal as that of FDR and for that matter Josef Stalin who advocated superimposed collectivism.

The Third Reich manufactured a value system that a large percentage of Germans and Austrians, accepted and lived under with the hope that it would propel them to greatness as the NAZI party defined the concept. Why did millions of people accept an utterly barbaric and inhumane and racist value system under Hitler, and why did they not retain humane principles based on the wider philosophical framework of the Enlightenment that revolutionized European culture in the 18th century?

Is it merely a question of brainwashing – no matter how good German propaganda was – or one that a large segment of the population actually embraced values because they perceived benefits accruing to them – everything from keeping their jobs to feeling great that the ruling party told them they were ‘superior’ to other races.

From the end of World War II that marked the end of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and militarist-imperial Japan until the end of the Vietnam War, Western and non-Western (Communist regime) societies operated on broader values – in theory and certainly not in practice – of communitarian principles as part of an ideological mix.

Certainly in Western societies, led by the US, the value system of individualism, business progress, consumerism, commercialism of culture, and hedonism were prevalent, but the existence of the welfare state entailed tangible evidence that communitarian values mattered. The beginning of the breakdown of that value system comes when the US and the West in general begin to gradually eliminate the communitarian aspect in the societal mix because it interferes with finance capitalism and the neoliberal model of capital accumulation.

More than political trends, material conditions influence evolving value systems, something that is evident in the consumerist values (to which we must add hedonist and atomistic) of much of the world in the last fifty years. After all, values too are class-based. The relative decline of compassion for humanity, and a rise of alienation which many try to cure by going to therapy and with legal and illegal drugs, has been sharply on the increase in the last half century to the degree that we now have a Western culture of therapism thriving.

Ethical ambiguity naturally translates into ambiguity of values, thus reflecting cultural relativism. In a recent public opinion poll, the vast majority of the people in Finland agreed that if their close friend committed murder, they would notify the authorities. In the same poll, the vast majority of Greeks agreed they would not turn in their friend. Not surprisingly, Greek elites, including academics, praised the virtue of honoring friendship, while the people of Finland stressed the virtue of social conscience.

What accounts for the absence of convergence in the values of the two societies? History, tradition, religion, culture, etc., and what does this example teach us about the values of ambiguity? How could any human being with an once of moral fiber not report a case of murder? How could someone betray their friend, even in case of murder?

Beyond values of ambiguity, there is a much clearer case regarding basic values that are time-tested and transcend time and place.

1. Lying is clearly immoral. Not the kind of lying involving little lies that cause no harm but big lies that bring about great harm to a great many people. Yet, lying is at the core of both business and politics, but it is passed on as public relations. Lying to an entire nation about the reason for going to war is acceptable because it is a matter of national security. Lying to consumers about a product is acceptable because it is in the name of peddling a product or service.

2. Stealing is clearly immoral. I was hardly surprised to read stories about people across southern Europe actually stealing food because of the current hard times. However, stealing in the framework of institutionalized ‘appropriation’ of government subsidies to make banks stronger, is morally acceptable. Yet this is a process that forces people to steal food. Are we back in the era of Victor Hugo’s Jean Val Jean?

3. Killing is clearly immoral. However, mass killings of collateral damage victims in time of war is just fine. Why do human beings categorically reject the individual who kills her husband that abuses her but accept mass killings in wars? What does this tell us about our values and how they are molded?

How does a politician, a journalist, an academic, or much less a leading businessperson tell the masses to reexamine their values against the background of austerity economics that benefit those preaching reexamination of values?

For more than half a century, the same elites now preaching reexamination of values were advocating consumerism, commercialization of culture, hedonism, and atomistic proclivities, all in the name of an open society when in reality the only interest was the thriving of the market economy.

Having conditioned citizens as consumers steeped in that frame of mind and value system, how do elites now try to tell them that embracing everything from nature to God, everything from family values to community values, filter down, and even if it did, what exactly does that do for the high structural unemployment and underemployment, low wage structure, lack of opportunities for college graduates, and lack of job security?

When Ronald Reagan was beginning to dismantle the welfare state and strengthen the corporate welfare state, his administration, various think tanks, journalists, academics, clergy and business leaders began to speak of values, namely ‘family values’.

One odd thing about many of the people advocating ‘family values’ is that they themselves were not practicing them. Another odd thing was that these values advocates were interested in pushing society in the direction of conformity to the changing status quo, so value discussion was one tool they used.

Of course, there was a contradiction between ‘family values’ rhetoric and policies – government and business – that were contributing to undermining the family by forcing both parents to work, in some cases at second jobs to make ends meet.

At the same time, reorientation to values discussion did not mean that workers must stop shopping, given that the population remained under the spell of increasingly intrusive advertising that helped shape consumerist and atomistic values. Are we witnessing a Western moral decline or merely a decline of the capitalist system and its apologists trying desperately to distract the masses by shifting the focus to values?

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Did Somebody Mention Jews?

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Ok, who’s hiding them?

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Understanding False Flag Operations In Our Time

Great piece. There is so much here that I do not have enough time to go into all of this.

I do not agree with some things below:

I do not agree that 9-11 was a false flag.
I am not sure if one of the 9-11 planes was shot down over Pennsylvania.
I do not agree that San Bernardino was a false flag.
I do not agree that Charlie Hebdo was a false flag.
I do not agree that the Paris Shootings was a false flag.
I do not agree that the Sony North Korean hack was a false flag.
I do not agree that the Boston Bombings was a false flag.
I do not agree that the Oklahoma City Bombing was a false flag.
I do not agree that the LAX shooting was a false flag.

However, there is a ton of good information below, and much of it is straight up true, and not only that, but you will never, ever, ever hear any of these things discussed in the corporate news media. Not once, not ever. Why? Because they are part of the very system that they would have to be uncovering!

If you want to know why things are as they seem in the world today, if you want to truly begin to understand how the world operates, start by reading this transcript. Just read the whole thing. Just do it. Then go discuss it in the comments below if you wish.

Understanding False Flag Operations In Our Time

By Bonnie Faulkner
Global Research, February 06, 2016
Guns and Butter 20 January 2016

We have 9/11 in which the hammer comes down and beats you over the head for the rest of your life with a big national security stick so that people learn to duck their head and not speak up, because … bad idea now. You know, we now have, I think 20% of the American population is 15 or younger. I think that’s the number. These are people who grew up – they don’t know anything other than post-9/11 America.

And actually, let’s say that anyone who’s under 25 doesn’t, really. They were kids. That’s probably, what, a third or more of the population. It’s all going away. The whole past of the United States, the whole idea of rule by the people, of privacy. We have an entire new generation who are growing up without any of that. It’s all gone.

I’m Bonnie Faulkner. Today on Guns and Butter, Richard Dolan. Today’s show: Understanding False Flag Operations in Our Time. Richard Dolan is an author and historian. He is nearing completion of a groundbreaking book, A History of False Flag Operations, which will explain one of the most pernicious developments of our time: how clandestine agencies secretly engage in violence and destruction in order to promote their agendas.

He has published four books and numerous articles on anomalous phenomena, suppressed science, secret space programs, breakaway civilizations, the intelligence community and similar subjects. He is best known as the author of two volumes of history, UFOs and The National Security State. He studied US Cold War strategy, Soviet history and international diplomacy. Today’s presentation, Understanding False Flag Operations In Our Time, is from the Architects of the New Paradigm Conference in San Rafael, California, January 16th, 2016.

* * * * *

Richard Dolan: In addition to writing books, I’ve spent many, many years doing private consulting work. Basically I’m an independent writer, and I would meet with individuals one on one, thousands and thousands of them. It was a great experience with me just to sit down and talk with someone about their life, their career, their anxieties and everything else.

What I’ve always noticed is that when you start scratching the surface of someone’s worldview, you find very quickly that they just as you have an understanding that there’s something not right with the world around us. Not everyone has the motivation or the education or the background to  dive into this like a madman obsessed with getting to the truth, but they know. They feel it in their bones. There’s something wrong, desperately wrong, with the state of the world, and it involves a feeling that they’re not in control anymore.

In particular I think we can see this in the last 20 years in the United States where we’ve had severe economic dislocation. I live in the northeastern part of the United States, and I’ve gotten to see really the obliteration of a company that informed the town that I live in. That’s Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York, and I just watched Kodak go poof over the past decade and a half. But I think you can see this story everywhere, in many places of the US.

It accompanies a kind of loss of hope, a loss of confidence, a feeling like is the future really going to be worth something? In addition to that, those people who try to learn about their world by turning on the television and watching CNN, inevitably what they find is that they’re totally confused about what is happening.

It just seems like one damn thing after another, one terrorist thing doing this, and one national security thing doing that, and these crazy people, why do they hate us…and there’s really no sense of understanding when you plug into the establishment news media. There doesn’t seem to be how do we solve any of this, how do we fix this, how do we really get to a better world, why can’t these people just like freedom and democracy like we do? This is the kind of nonsense that…there doesn’t seem to be a way out of it.

I would say that all of that confusion, all of that hopelessness is by design. I believe this now. I don’t believe, as I might have years past, that the people on top, they’re trying to do their best, but it’s a tough world out there. No. No. No. They want you to feel helpless. They want you to be confused. Let’s talk about why.

One reason why is that the whole planet is being stolen. You’ve got this many people who want to own every single thing that’s worth owning in this planet – all the water, all the genetically modified foods they want to shove down your throat, all the minerals in the ground. They want every single thing. And they’re getting it. They’ve got it, actually, and they just want more. That’s the way it’s happening.

It’s a transnational corporate financial theft of everything. It’s a war. When there’s a war, the people who are running that war really don’t want you to be able to react to it. They don’t want you to be cognizant of what is happening. And they want you to be quiet about it. They want you to obey and be compliant.

Therefore, they must rule by means of deception. Because if they were to out and out say to you, “Yeah, we’re going to steal all your stuff,” you might have a thing or two to say about it. So what must happen is a kind of ideological false flag or an ideological psych on you and me. This is exactly, I think, what we are seeing in the world.

Now, it’s certainly not true to say that this is a new development in a larger sense. Human history has always been informed by intense hierarchy. In that sense you could say mind control has always existed in the sense that elites have typically kind of created worldviews by which the great masses of humanity would look to the authority for guidance and for salvation.

I think the obvious example of this we could see is various religions of the world, but I would also include things like nationalism and other kinds of ideologies that let us say encourage and enforce compliance among the population.

I think we can agree that false problems have, since forever, since throughout human history, been kind of created in order to accommodate a pre-arranged solution to that problem, things that I would call an ideological false flag. What I mean by that is not an instance where a government or an intelligence agency in ancient times would kill people and blame it on another party and scare the heck out of people and enforce their rule. No, but by creating a mindset.

Think of something like the Inquisition. That’s a perfect example of an ideological false flag where back in, I think it was, 1487, a book called Malleus Maleficarum was published. This was a guidebook, really, on how to identify, prosecute and kill witches. That’s what that book really was. As a result of that, over the next century or so about 1 million European women were executed for witchcraft.

It did several things. One is it created a lot of fear among the population. “Oh, my God, witches. Get rid of those people!” It enforced the authority of the ecclesiastical Church at the time, at least for a certain while until there was a reaction against it. And it also got a lot of power and money for the Church.

Families of witches would actually pay through indulgences to minimize the amount of time in Purgatory or get them out of Hell. This actually happened. It also allowed for land grabs by the Church of the families of the witches, very much like the US government does today with people suspected – this is really the truth – of various crimes. They take your property. This is what the Church did. So that I call a false flag. The War on Terror is an ideological false flag.

That’s an old, old part of human history. I would say in our world today there is a manner in which they’re trying to get inside your head, and I call it a propaganda spectrum. There are all kind of forms of control, but they get progressively more pernicious as you go down the list.

The most fundamental method by which you are expected to conform to society would be what we might call cultural values. That’s when you go to school, and you learn to pledge allegiance with your hand over your heart, and you go through the educational system.

Even 100 years ago Bertrand Russell was talking about as a method of conformity. More recently we have really great visionaries like John Taylor Gatto who has talked very much along the same lines, of the educational system as a system of control over your head. Get inside your head and make you obey, make you an obedient worker.

So that’s the cultural values. Not all of it is necessarily evil. We can all recognize that a functioning society would require a kind of cultural consensus, but you can still see how the implementation of certain cultural values could at least provide a foundation of obedience.

Beyond that, though, I think what is a little bit more pernicious is what we might call cultural distractions. This is the phenomenon of the Kardashians and things like Dancing with the Stars or whatever they’ve got on this week or Monday Night Football or all the stupid, meaningless stuff that is poured into everyone’s head every single day – truly, literally meaningless information that just goes right in.

And we all like entertainment. I’m watching back episodes of The Sopranos, so I’m just as guilty as anyone else. Those are my people. I’m from the Northeast. “You know what I’m talking about? Yeah, I know what you’re talking about.”

But I think when you get into a level of distraction that is so mindless as what we obviously see around us, this is a signal. It’s a signal for you to look over here, don’t look over there. There’s something important going on over here, so look at this shiny little trinket. It goes on and on and on and on, and it never stops, and it never will stop as long as this system is in place as it is.

Beyond that though, there are still always people even in what we would call the ordinary, out-there society, all the other people in this country, who still want to feel like they’re being informed, and that’s when they turn on the TV, and they watch CNN or Fox or NPR. Hey, why not? Because look, NPR was run for years and years by a man who was running CIA propaganda, and that’s a fact, so NPR’s really no different. Yeah. It’s really true. People think, “Oh, I’m so educated. Fox sucks. I’m going to listen to NPR because they’re intelligent.

Well, you know, here’s the thing about that, I’ll just say as an aside. Our whole narrative these days, our whole discourse in politics seems to me to be on nothing more than cultural issues. Not that they don’t matter, but it’s like if you’re a liberal that means “I support transgender rights.” If you’re a conservative, “I don’t support transgender rights.” “I do support Black Lives Matter.” “I don’t support Black Lives Matter.” “I do support smoking weed in Colorado.” “I don’t support smoking” …

If this is what we’ve come down to in our politics, we’re done. It’s over – over, over. Stick a fork in us, we’re done because as I say, there’s a serious war happening. It is a war of corporate cultural control and imposition of a global police state over you and your children and grandchildren for all of time. That’s the war. If we’re not talking about that, then we’re just wasting our time. That’s my view.

Anyway, for that third level of control and spin there’s the news media, people who want to be informed, so they’ll turn on CNN and become confused forever because really, that’s a system that is all about censorship, spin, propaganda, and control. CNN…Why is it that CNN is on at every single gate at every single airport in the United States? Why? Is it like every airport manager in the country is like, “Oh, wow. I totally love CNN. I want to inform…” I don’t think so.

They’re a private company owned by Time Warner – clearly there’s a nice sweetheart deal – and because they are the propaganda voice of the US State Department and CIA. That’s the only reason they’re on. That’s the only reason you see them at every gate. So that’s the third level. I would say those first three levels of propaganda account for probably 95% of the control mechanisms in place to keep you in your place. Most probably.

But then, every now and then you need a little bit more something, and that’s when we’re talking about psy-ops, psychological operations, covert ops, color revolutions, regime change down to the “Shock Doctrine” type of events, if anyone’s read Naomi Klein. I’m a big fan of that book. And then down to false flags, which I think is the most pernicious of those. I’ll talk a little bit about these in a little more detail.

With psy-ops, psychological operations, the US military- this is in their playbook. This is an official thing that our military does, and other militaries do it, too. It’s not just us. It’s interesting that the Defense Department has in its own Psychological Operations Manual three different types of ops. They call them white, grey and black psy-ops.

White psy-ops is pretty straightforward. It’s not really even a psych job on the world. It’s basically an official or a virtually official statement of the United States government just getting their message out to the world. And you know it’s from the US government, and it’s relatively straightforward, even if you don’t agree with it.

Grey psy-ops is a little more interesting and very pervasive in our world today. If you’re familiar with something like Operation Mockingbird, that would be a grey psy-op. That would be something like using journalists or other voices that are not officially part of the US government but basically having them give the US government perspective, pretending it’s coming from some other voice. That’s a grey psy-op, and that’s a very, very widespread phenomenon.

The Pentagon, for example, which spends billions of dollars every single year managing their social image – they do – that includes things like not simply having close relationships with professional journalists who spin the news in their favor, but it also includes paid trolls, which I call sock puppets. This is true.

Let’s say you read news articles, and you look at all the comments below, and you see these real whackjobs out there. Some of them literally are sock puppets. That means you’d be a Pentagon employee, and you’d be in charge of X number of profiles on the social media and on the message boards. That’s what you would do. You would disrupt, persuade, cajole, but in fact, you’re a paid employee. That would be a grey psy-op as well.

Then there’s black psy-ops, and this is where we’re really getting into some serious stuff. This is according to the US Psychological Operations Manual: A black psy-op is something that comes from a US government source but “appears to emanate from a source hostile in nature. US government would deny responsibility.” That’s a false flag. I don’t know how else you can describe it. Something that the US government does but seems to come from one of the “bad guys.”

One of the things about black psy-ops in the manual is that – at least they state – this is not actually a function of the United States military but actually that black psy-ops are a function of the US intelligence community, and that kind of makes sense. I guess the point is that false flag black psy-ops are in the playbook of the United States. It’s just worth keeping in mind.

Something like regime change or the so-called color revolutions, these can include false flags, which I’m going to get into a false flag in just a moment in case you’re still wondering, “What the heck is a false flag?” Regime change is something that the United States has truly perfected to the extent possible over many decades.

They did it back in 1953 in Iran. Essentially what that was was a CIA operation to overthrow an elected government that had the temerity to nationalize its oil, and you can’t do that, so the CIA, Kermit Roosevelt, a grandson of T.R., ran an operation for the CIA to pay off people to pretend they were Communists to do horrible things to discredit that group and to organize crowds that pushed for regime change. And it was quite successful. This was a model that has been followed ever since.

Primarily now what you find is the US does this through NGOs, non-governmental organizations, and this has been a very, very major topic of study. So again, it’s all ruled by indirection.

There’s one group known as Avaaz – it’s called The Voice in many languages – and many others as well, but this one has been heavily involved in supporting efforts to destabilize and topple the governments of Libya. They were really gleeful about that one and calling for NATO intervention, which ended up essentially destroying that nation, which it is still to this day, and they’re trying to do the same in Syria today.

So in other words, the US works through these and many other NGOs to push for regime change where ordinary citizens, people around the world that don’t know any better think, “Oh, well they’re a non-governmental organization. They’re obviously detached, objective, etc.” No. They’re not. They’re working for the United States government and intelligence community. And this is very, very common. That’s an image of the color revolution in Ukraine back in ’04, and it’s a model that’s been done tried and true many times now.

Another aspect of the covert ops, getting toward false flag in cases we might call provocations, and this has happened everywhere, we’re talking about agents provocateur.

We probably are all familiar with the old COINTELPRO operations of the FBI from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s in which the FBI would infiltrate organizations that were pushing for positive social change, I would say – Students for Democratic Society, the Black Panthers. What they would do then is have their guys inside the organization fomenting violence and doing things to discredit those organizations. That’s provocation.

This is, again, a highly effective tool used within the US, Canada, and the UK. It’s used all through Europe. It was used very much in Ukraine in 2014, and in Iraq after the invasion in ’03, through ’04, ’05, ’06. There are a lot of provocations that we know about – I’ll be writing about them in my new book – in Syria, elsewhere. And it happened in the Occupy movement, without a doubt.

So you have covert operatives infiltrating movements for progressive change with a view to discredit them. I suspect most of you may be familiar with this or on board with it, but if you doubt it, this is a great deal of research and really excellent journalism that has gone into this and has, I think proven – not suggested, not hinted, but has proven that provocations are standard operating procedure. Some of these guys get found out.

Another important means by which I think propaganda is used to dominate your mind and to kind of impose a corporate control kind of global revolution is what we might call the “Shock Doctrine” technique, and this was the contribution of Naomi Klein.

Really, what she argues is that neoliberalism, or let’s call it globalism, is a fundamentally anti-human process, her argument is that it can only be imposed via trauma, I guess we could say. She came up with the phrase “shock doctrine” through the US military’s phrase of “shock and awe.” The military goes into a nation, we’re going to “shock and awe” them. Think about, oh, wow… what a thing to say about another group of people. You pound them into submission and traumatize them, and that’s precisely US military doctrine.

What occurred to her was that this is actually how they rule, not just abroad but they rule at home through shock. She was thinking of Katrina; she was thinking of 9/11. When some horrible, terrible thing happens in which people are just bereft and no one’s thinking clearly…often after these horrific things happen, and that is exactly when, she says, contingency plans which had been in place since forever are rolled out and people just accept it because they’re looking for help – corporate control over New Orleans after Katrina or the whole national security apparatus rolled in after 9/11 and so on and so on.

What she suggests is that these catastrophes and the anxiety that comes about as a result of them that is played up by authorities results in what she calls learned helplessness. We’ve done science studies of rats, and you create so much anxiety and loss of control, they learn helplessness, and it’s the same with people. And her argument is that this is a key method by which global control is achieved. I would totally agree with that, and I would say, let’s go one step further. There are instances in which crises aren’t simply happening, and then groups opportunistically take advantage of it.

I would argue that there are a number of events in our contemporary world in which those catastrophes are intentionally created, and that is what we call a false flag.

It is an instance in which a group, an intelligence agency usually, does something truly horrible – killing people, blowing up buildings, some other kind of horrific act that is then blamed on another party by which to justify things that could never otherwise be justified, whether it’s dastardly pernicious laws of control over a population or wars that could never have otherwise be justified to justify theft of natural resources of other countries and so on. That’s a false flag. There’s a lot of that going on around in the world these days.

I think it’s probably the single most powerful form of propaganda. I can’t think of anything that has more emotional impact than a false flag. And I also think there’s not much more that I can think of that’s more risky or audacious or bold to undertake than a true false flag. It’s not something for everyone. I think it’s something that only a very few organizations truly have the wherewithal and the power to implement. I’ll get into that in a moment.

If you scroll through the Web on the phenomenon of false flags, you’ll find a lot of sites that will say that this is an ancient phenomenon going back. Some will site things like Nero burning down Rome and blaming it on the Christians to implement certain things. And when I started researching this about a year ago, I was certainly inclined to accept that line of reasoning, but my own research has told me otherwise.

Actually, I would argue that false flags are not an ancient phenomenon. Now, I talked about the ideological false flags, a kind of mind control system in place, like the Inquisition and other things, but that’s different. I mean false flags as a covert op. I don’t think that’s an ancient phenomenon at all. I think it’s a distinctively modern phenomenon and, in fact, I think that’s an important thing to understand about them so that we realize why they are happening today, and I will be talking about that now.

I think to have a false flag what you need, because a false flag is a big psych job on the population, so one thing that is necessary is you have to have a kind of ostensibly – and I say ostensibly – democratic type of system. It doesn’t have to be truly democratic.

The United States is not a truly democratic society. In fact, Yale university – I think it was Yale – did a study a couple of years ago that actually quantitatively I would say proved that what we have is an oligarchy.

What they did is they looked at public policy and legislation that was implemented and looking at public opinion and the like, and really, I think, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that the wishes of the great masses of the population have zero impact on public policy, and that public policy is, on the contrary, put into place on the wishes of those who have power and money and influence. It’s no surprise. That’s an oligarchy, and that’s what we have.

But we also have an ostensive democratic system where people still believe and we still have the remnants, let’s say, of that kind of rule of the people. It’s not just the United States. It’s in much of the world now.

Kim Jong Un of North Korea doesn’t need to do false flags. Really, why? Because he’s got the people terrified. He just controls them through fear – and lies, yes, but a lie is not the same as a false flag. In fact, he can’t really do easily, in my view, a false flag against South Korea, either, because he doesn’t have control over major media globally.

That’s the next thing. For a false flag you need an ostensibly democratic system because you have to corral the people into a particular point of view, and then you need control over major media. You have to have the ability to effectively propagandize without competition from other narratives – at least significant competition of that. So you dominate the narrative.

On top of that, you need decent covert op teams, people who know what they’re doing. Again, this is not the type of thing that you would really find in the ancient world. You need a lot of money to do that, and there’s a few nations in the world today who have much more money and means than others to do this.

And you need motive and the capability, obviously, for what I would call geopolitical, financial or national political change. There’s got to be groups that are pushing to revolutionize their society in ways that they believe it should be. They realize they can’t do it along legal means, and so they use these other means.

The other one thing I would say why false flags are not a truly ancient phenomenon is in the ancient world – and I’m an avid student of ancient history, very much so. What you find in ancient history is lots of bloodshed. I mean massacres and horrific…We think it’s bad today, but in the ancient world armies would go in and just completely kill every single inhabitant in a town, my God. So there’s no shortage of bloodshed. There’s no shortage of lies that nations would tell each other, absolutely.

But the idea of doing something like a false flag in the ancient world, when you look at most of the cultural values that existed in most of the societies back then, it really would be pernicious to them. As bloody-minded as most of the ancient militaries were, there was a sort of code. Let’s call it a code among thieves or a code of honor, in which the deception really would be considered a pernicious and a horrible thing to do.

Also, I think it would be much more difficult to do a true false flag for those reasons and due to the lack of communication, just a harder thing to do. I think a false flag is, again, a distinctively modern phenomenon.

To do a false flag internationally or even domestically and have it fly internationally, you need power in the world today. You’ve got to be able, especially for something international, to dominate global media, at least sufficiently so that you can sort of push aside alternative narratives and explanations. You also have to have the ability to intimidate other nations into silence if you’re going to do this, and there are very few nations that have that ability in the world today.

I’m going to do a little bit, and there’s no way that I’m going to be able to go over every single thing that I think has been a false flag in the last 100 years – there’s a lot of things – but I do want to give a sense of how the phenomenon has evolved. False flags have evolved.

My own research at this point is telling me that the true phenomenon really takes off following the First World War. Again, there are isolated events possibly, maybe probably, from prior to World War I but not many.

Even talking about the sinking of the Maine, I’ve looked into that, and I’m not really sure that I would classify that as a true false flag. It can go either way. But we start seeing them now for sure in the 1930’s and, really, the main nations that were doing them, Japan, Germany, Soviet Union. They did some very prominent ones, and I think many of us are familiar with some of these.

Everyone’s heard of the Reichstag Fire. The German invasion of Poland is maybe one of the classic international false flags of all time. Essentially, Germans took a bunch of political prisoners who were rotting away in their prison system, dressed them in Polish military uniforms, took over a radio station at the border, shot all of the prisoners, posed one of them at a microphone and then went on the air and pretended that Poland had attacked Germany and was inciting Poles in Germany to resist Hitler. This was an absolute false flag.

The German people, as far as we can tell, more or less accepted it. International politicians were not particularly impressed by it, to say the least, but it worked enough for the Germans to justify to themselves that they invaded. False flag. That’s the Reichstag, by the way, burning. That’s their 9/11.

The thing that they all have in common, those false flags of that decade, is that those were nations with state control over the media. That’s a very important thing to keep in mind. And they also had very sophisticated military intelligence groups for their time, without a doubt.

So they had the control over the media, and they had the teams. They were militarized, and this is, I think, is why after World War I, we start seeing it. World War I militarized all of Europe and the United States, and really transformed those cultures to that extent so that there was a very strong militarization in the aftermath of that, and I think that was part of it.

What you find after the Cold War is that the United States wins the False Flag Olympics hands down, and it’s really been ever since. I would say that the US and its vassal states essentially run the false flag universe. It’s basically the US, Israel, and the UK, I would say are the big three. There are certainly other nations that have been involved in this, without a doubt. Particularly since 9/11 a lot of nations have jumped on board.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, a lot of them did it in order to get US terror funding. There was a case I think in ’02 that was found out, this one, the nation of Macedonia – found out that they had murdered seven illegal immigrants from Pakistan and said that these are al Qaeda terrorists. They were not al Qaeda terrorists. They were illegals, but they were innocent people. They were killed, and Macedonian authorities played it up as al Qaeda specifically in order to get US funding, and they aren’t the only example of that type of shenanigans, kind of a piling-on effect after 9/11.

But back to the Cold War, what you see is a transformation of the false flags in the sense that they start becoming domestic. There are still international incidents that are false flags, absolutely.

There was one that was found out by the Israelis in 1954 where Mossad was basically finding Egyptian Jews who were going to blow up certain buildings and blame it on the Muslim Brotherhood, and it was found out. It was called the Lavon Affair after the Israeli Defense Minister. The parties involved confessed and all that. That was an international type of false flag. They did that, incidentally, to encourage the British not to leave and abandon the Suez Canal.

But primarily what you see are domestic false flags specifically for political control. COINTELPRO in the US is maybe a classic example of that, the FBI doing what they call black-bag jobs and the like, to dirty tricks, smearing people, doing events and blaming it on other organizations and so on.

In Europe, probably the most pernicious was known as Operation Gladio, which was a NATO/CIA operation. Essentially, when World War II concluded, there was the fear among Allied nations that the Russians would roll over Europe, and so there were teams put in place in Europe to act as kind of a resistance if this were to happen. Well, the Russians did not roll over Western Europe, and these teams are still sitting there.

In Italy, they got the bright idea of killing people and blowing up buildings and train stations and blaming it on the Communists, which they did for years – years and years. This has been found out.

And in fact, one of the Gladio operatives, Vincenzo Vinciguerra, who is serving life in prison for his part in Gladio, in an interview was very specific. He said, “The point of what we were doing was to force these people” the Italian people in this case, “to turn to the state and ask for greater security.” They’re very up-front about it. These were NATO operatives, with the knowledge of the higher-up authorities, and they were just doing this and blamed their murders on the Red Brigades and other leftwing groups.

There’s a long proven history. This is another list of the ‘60s, and in the ‘70s and ‘80s and I’m not going to go over all of it. It includes the Gulf of Tonkin, it includes some really nasty Mossad operations, some of which looked exactly like Charlie Hebdo, one of which occurred in 1982, a bombing of a Jewish delicatessen in Paris. Sound familiar? But it was in 1982. When French intelligence investigated far enough, they kind of ran into a brick wall and everything stopped, and it did get some very good international analysis at the time.

One of the more pernicious ones would be during the ramp-up to the Persian Gulf War. Do you remember this? I bet some of you do. The Incubator Hoax. This woman was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, but she was pretending to be a nurse on TV and to Congress.

What she said was that the Iraqi troops, once they had gone into Kuwait – Remember that? – were looting incubators from a Kuwaiti hospital, leaving the premature babies to die on the floor. And it was such a horrific image, this went on all the news. Everyone promoted this from NPR to Fox and everyone in between. It was a total lie, and she was a total lie, but this is how it works. In fact, by the ‘80s and ‘90s, the United States military was officially hiring public relations firms in a very effective way. The Persian Gulf War was kind of a watershed in that effort.

Let’s keep going here. Through the ‘90s you’ve got quite a few of these. The Oklahoma City bombings probably the most prominent one there. I’ll talk about some of the problems of how to identify these types of false flags when I close.

As we get to the 21st century, I think we hit the era of true false flags. I’m not going to go into the specifics; there’s just too much. I want to talk about the geopolitics and help us understand why this is happening. I think one of the key things has to do with globalization. With globalization you get economic disruption and the loss of jobs. This is Seattle 1999. I think Seattle is a great indicator. These are the WTO riots, or protests, November 30th. This went for four days, into early December. This is significant.

Back in 1999 Americans still believed they had rights. I remember those days. The WTO, the World Trade organization, was convening in Seattle at that time, and for several months protesters planned this out, and when that convention happened these protesters, at minimum 40,000, probably much more – shut that city down.

They shut it down. They were so effective the delegates were not able to enter the premises for the longest time. Police teargas didn’t work; pepper spray didn’t work. The police were overwhelmed by an incredibly powerful public reaction, and this is what happens when the public feels empowered. The WTO was really initiating some very nasty decisions that, in fact, they ended up doing, that just accelerated the process of the deindustrialization of the United States.

This is when people were saying, “No. Were not going to put up with it.” Of course, 18 months later we have 9/11, in which the hammer comes down and beats you over your head for the rest of your life with a big national security stick, so that people learn to duck their head and not speak up because…bad idea now.

You know, we now have, I think, 20% of the American population is 15 or younger. I think that’s the number. These are people who grew up – they don’t know anything other than post-9/11 America. And actually, let’s say that anyone who’s under 25 really doesn’t. They were kids. So that’s, what, a third or more of the population. It’s all going away. The whole past of the United States, the whole idea of rule by the people, of privacy. We have an entire new generation who are growing up without any of that. It’s all gone.

For some of these young people, I hate to say it, but it almost seems meaningless. I have two brilliant young teenagers, 19 and 17, and I know a lot of their friends. They’re a little different; they’re kind of plugged in, but I know about a lot of young people, and they just live, post their stuff on Facebook…They don’t care about privacy. They don’t expect it. It’s a different world. I think this type of thing is a threat to the globalist process and is a trigger for false flags.

The other major geopolitical thing behind false flags, I would suggest to you, is the petrodollar system. I can’t go over the whole thing here but essentially, this is the deal worked out between Henry Kissinger and the king of Saudi Arabia in the early-‘70s to keep the dollar in place as the world reserve currency.

The dollar had just gone off the gold standard – whole story behind that – and now they wanted to hook the dollar to petroleum. And really, what Kissinger was able to agree was to have all the OPEC nations sell their oil only in dollars, and that’s the foundation of American policy to this day. All of the nations would get their oil pegged in dollars.

It’s great for the US because it allows that there’s a global demand for our currency, which allows for all kinds of things that the US can do printing up trillions of dollars and basically holding the world hostage as a result.

No other nation could afford to do what the US is doing, to prosecute all of its wars and the like, because of the petrodollar system. And it is a foundation of America’s empire. It’s really never discussed, never, ever discussed in mainstream media. But the petrodollar system forces, these geopolitics force US neoconservatives – which is simply another world for empire-builder – neoconservative to act the way that they do.

Think about that word. Old conservative. What would be an old conservative? Someone who I would think would want to conserve the traditional republican values and institutions of this country. That’s not the worst thing in the world.

A neoconservative is the new conservative. They’re preserving not the republic, my friends; they’re conserving the empire. That’s what a neoconservative is. They are building and conserving empire. You can be a Republican like Dick Cheney, and you can be a Democrat like Hillary Clinton, and you can be a neoconservative. They’re twins. They’re brother and sister twins, politically, in my opinion. They both are as equally intent on domination and preservation of the United States empire.

That forces the neocons, the whole petrodollar system, to demonize any of these people who are not on board with that system. This is why Saddam went away – because he started selling his oil in euros in 2000. And Qaddafi, with the gold-based dinar system he was about to introduce which was a threat to the dollar. And Putin, of course, who is simply…Well, long story about Vlad. We’ll have to skip that for another time. I’m fascinated by Russian politics, always have been.

It forces the United States to feel the need to physically control the sources of energy that exist, basically the hydrocarbons that go from Western Africa across the continent to the Middle East and to western Asia. That’s two-thirds of the world’s oil and natural gas right there, and the US wants it all. They want to control it physically.

These are the geopolitical reasons, I would argue, that are directly behind 9/11. To steal, say, $30 trillion worth of oil under the ground in Iraq, which they did and then sold off to multinationals, and to steal all the nice mineral wealth under the ground in Afghanistan as a nice little bonus. So theft, of course, is always important for this, and then to control the population.

I would suggest, too, that the petrodollar and all of this is all part of a hierarchical-based and scarcity-driven system. That is, energy scarcity – energy in our world today is based on physical control over a particular commodity, oil and natural gas primarily, and if you control those locations, you control the distribution, you have the power.

That’s a strength and a power of the system, but it’s also the weakness of the system because if we develop an alternative energy paradigm, this is very much in danger. And that’s a good thing. So this whole system is vulnerable to emerging technologies, and that means that the false flag phenomenon itself would be vulnerable to that.

I’m going to give you a quick profile. You know how we talk about racial profiling by the police; let’s talk about false flag profiling. There are certain things that by themselves or even collectively don’t prove that something is a false flag, but they give you an idea that you want to look carefully at it. The only way to prove one thing or another is through good investigative journalism, but nonetheless, let’s just take a quick look at some of these things.

One thing to look for is that it’s a sensational event that gets a lot of major media attention, boom, immediately. That’s pretty obvious. But what you really want to look for are changing narratives. In other words, particularly in the beginning, in the first day or two of an event, you will always find competing narratives of what exactly happened. You really want to look for that because after a few days, that goes away and the major media particularly are on board with, boom, this story, and this is the only story.

San Bernardino’s a great case. This happened not long ago, and there were several witnesses – several – who said, “I saw three big white guys come in with guns.” Now, I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but that’s a fact. These witnesses said this. That’s just one example.

With 9/11, there are all kinds of alternative narratives. You have the case of Rumsfeld talking about the plane that got shot down over Pennsylvania. Woops, maybe I didn’t mean to say that. And on and on and on. There are all of these competing different statements that get leaked out and then just go away. You want to look for that.

You also want to look for the fact that the case is quickly closed, that a patsy or the “evildoer” is quickly found and usually is either killed immediately, or if he’s not killed, he just disappears, and then the trial is always a kangaroo court, and you’ll never even hear what’s going on. Boston was a great example of that.

Another thing you want to look for is that these suspects are connected to intelligence groups whether US or non-US but frequently US. I would say this. If you are approached by the FBI ever in your life and your skin color’s maybe a shade or two darker than mine, you’d better run far and fast. I’m not kidding.

Because what they do, the FBI goes after foreign nationals who look foreign – that is, i.e., they’re a little darker – and they love to set these people up. More than half of all the terrorist arrests post-9/11 that have to do with federal terrorism charges – they’re FBI set-up jobs.

So the FBI will approach you, they’ll convince you, “Oh, yeah, the US government, they suck. Let’s go get them.” And in particular, if you’re not that bright, if you’re very easily impressionable…This happened in my town of Rochester just a couple weeks ago. They got another one there. They will bring you to the store to get your terrorist equipment, like a knife or a ski mask – I’m serious – and then they’ll arrest you, and you’ll never see daylight ever again.

These people on their own would almost never have committed any of these crimes, so this is provocation. This is what our government does to us. So if the FBI comes up to you, no matter what you look like, run. Go away from these people. What you find is that these suspects, there’s often a connection to intelligence organizations.

Typically the suspects that are promoted in the media have some kind of connection, sociologically, demographically, to whatever group is to be demonized. Back in the ‘90s it was typically rightwing militias, gun nuts, that type of thing. Timothy McVeigh comes to mind. In our century it’s more Muslims. They seem to be the group they’re going after, but there are others. The LAX shooting was a so-called rightwing conspiracy theorist. That’s how he was portrayed in the media. And so on and so on, so look for these.

One thing you really want to look for are unanswered questions and  problems associated with the official explanation of the event. There are often gaping holes in these things, that the media – the establishment media, that is – never ask, how did these guys get out of Charlie Hebdo shooting so easily? There’s a car, no one bothered them.

How is it they talked about a pristine passport being found after 9/11 and then also after the Paris murders just a few months ago? Really? A pristine passport? In the case of the Paris shooting, this perfect Syrian passport was left behind. What? Really? Then that story kind of went away and is not talked about…changing narratives. These are very suspicious things and whatever the truth is behind these – maybe we’ll never find the truth to some of these incidents because – who knows why? But we certainly ought to be asking the questions.

Multiple drills is important. This is a key thing. When the events happen you typically find there are multiple drills happening that portray the exact same thing. With 9/11, there was a drill going on that day to protect America against the attack by terrorists using airplanes to crash into us. I’m not kidding. And there are a number of these multiple drills with the shootings and other things.

Why would that be? Here’s why. In the intelligence community, when you’re planning this thing out, there are always people who are not in with the in crowd. They’re not on board. The idea of the multiple drills is to provide cover, so if someone sees that this is happening, the answer is, “Oh, no, no, no, no. We’re doing a drill. We’re doing a drill.” But then it happens. The other thing is that the existence of the drills also provides confusion during the day when the false flag occurs, and that is very helpful for the operation.

The other thing you just see is a media narrative that jumps right on top because there’s intimate collaboration. The discussions inevitably focus on do we need more police protection, greater police state measures? What about our privacy? Yeah, but we have to have security. That whole discussion just goes on and on, and so the public conversation inevitably creeps toward fascism, always does, and war – fascism and war.

Finally, you find the government taking action and doing things, again, that could never be justified, whether it’s invading Iraq or rolling out the naked-body scanners owned by Michael Chertoff’s company after the Underwear Bomber – Ooh…Underwear! Bomber! – and sweetheart deals that happened that would never have happened otherwise.

Now it’s true. Some of these events may not be always false flags. They might be devious, evil opportunism run amok. Would not rule that out, but a lot of these I think are indeed false flags absolutely, and we need to look at it.

Finally, in concluding, I would say that a lot of these false flags are not necessarily going to be military operations, especially moving forward.

I think we need to look for corporate and financial false flags.

In fact, there have been financial false flags in the past. I’ll write about the 1907 financial crisis that led to the establishment of the Federal Reserve, and I think that we have financial false flags that are going on in our own era.

We have corporate false flags, if everyone remembers the Sony North Korea hack – absolute corporate/intel false flag – the flu scares, the pharmaceutical scares. All of these I think are a big part of our world today.

Keep in mind, too, not every false flag – in fact, no false flag, likely, is going to be on the magnitude of something like 9/11. That’s the granddaddy, the big one. Most other false flags will have varying levels of impact on the world. Think of them as different types of different-sized weapons to target different types of things that they want to get done.

I just want to wrap up. I think there is a way out. What we’re seeing, the false flag phenomenon is important right now because you have groups that are trying right now to establish a global totalitarian system, and they are trying very, very hard using false flags as a way to psych us out, terrify us, make us feel helpless so that we run to the state for protection. You can see it happening. This is exactly what they’re moving towards, and they’re being very successful at it right now.

In that war, we have to expect all forms of propaganda to be ramped up and to be in place, including the false flags but not exclusively false flags. All the tricks of the trade are coming out.

The way out for us, obviously, is to educate ourselves. Be unafraid to be an activist. I keep thinking, find out what you’re willing to go to jail for. Think about this. What are the things that you personally are willing, would be willing, to be arrested for? Because we’re getting to that point, what will we support? Organizations like WikiLeaks, which technically do things that are illegal, but we need them because we’re not living in a democratic system. We’re living in an authoritarian system masking as a democratic system.

Fascism today is not going to look like Hitler. That was 80 years ago. This isn’t the world of the 1930’s. Fascism’s not going to look like Brownshirts raising their right hand. That’s not how it is.

Fascism’s going to look a lot sexier. It’ll look like Monday Night Football, and it’ll look like Dancing with the Stars, and it’ll look like all those nice things that people like to look at, the glitter. And it’ll call itself democracy. But it’s not going to call itself fascism. Of course it won’t. So we have to be aware.

The other thing that researchers should be doing, and they are doing this, we’re seeing this with the Web – is they’re calling out false flag opportunities now when they happen. This was not the case 20 years ago. It’s happening now. When any big event happens you see it. Now, sometimes people just jump on and say “False flag!” and maybe not always with evidence, but researchers are very, very aware now, and so it’s becoming a little more difficult.

The main thing I feel we need to do, though, is to break out of this hierarchical control system. I was talking about energy earlier. I think there are ways for us moving forward technologically, and in terms of our own thinking, to break ourselves out of this system of energy control. We’re talking about things like energy harvesting devices, free energy and the like. I think this is important.

The other thing, I do write about UFO’s, and let’s call it the ET phenomenon. I do consider that probably the greatest and most deep, dark secret that we have in our world today.

It represents an infrastructure that is so vastly beyond the infrastructure we’re looking at here, and I do think that the opening of that secret as well as other secrets would cause an effect for people to be peering into the structures of power and allow them to take or at least begin the process of taking back the power, taking back our own sovereignty so that we can live actually as we always wanted to – as free, independent citizens of a society that believes in rule by the people.

You’ve been listening to Richard Dolan. Today’s show has been: Understanding False Flag Operations In Our Time.

Richard Dolan is an author and historian. He is nearing completion of a groundbreaking book, A History of False Flag Operations, which will explain one of the most pernicious developments of our time: how clandestine agencies secretly engage in violence and destruction in order to promote their agendas.

He is best known as the author of two volumes of history, UFOs and the National Security State. He is widely regarded as a leading researcher and historian on the topic of the UFO cover-up. He studied US Cold War strategy, Soviet history and international diplomacy. Since 2012, he has hosted The Richard Dolan Show, airing on KGRA Radio every Monday evening, from 8-10 pm Eastern. In addition to his research, his company, Richard Dolan Press, actively publishes innovative books by authors from around the world. Visit his website at richarddolanpress.com.

Guns and Butter is produced by Bonnie Faulkner, Yarrow Mahko and Tony Rango. To leave comments or order copies of shows, email us at faulkner@gunsandbutter.org.

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