Andy Divine depends on the ignorance of his readers, Episode MCCVII: On Concentration Camps & more pressing Evils. Old Socialist comments

I’ll bypass the first two installments of the Mr. Divine’s encyclical of June 21, 2019:

The Next Step for Gay Pride

The Trump Code

I’ll just read this next segment of moral shaming with which Andy confronts his readers:

The Totalitarian Nightmare the World Is Ignoring

I don’t want a new Cold War with China. But it is, in my view, an evil regime, and we should have no illusions about that. Twitter has been having a great time this past week parsing whether detention camps for illegal immigrants in the United States should be called “concentration camps.” In China, this debate might seem somewhat beside the point. Over a million Muslims who have crossed no border and committed no crimes are being taken from their homes en masse and subjected to brainwashing in vast camps and compounds from which there is no escape. Watch this excellent new BBC piece on these “thought transformation camps” — and feel the fear everywhere. The BBC was given access to a show camp, which is creepy enough. We can only imagine what goes on in the hidden ones.

Somehow Andy has become an expert on ‘concentration camps’: now Andy isn’t very adroit about his attack on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her very welcome plain speaking on the concentration camps used by ICE to hold the Mestizo Hordes ,that are invading the land of Anglo-Protestant virtue, as articulated by that American political hysteric Samuel P. Huntington: in his Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity. The separation of children/infants from their parents , not to speak of caging these human beings, is an action used by Trump and his minions: ‘Give me your tired,your poor ,your huddled masses…’! An utter betrayal of ‘American Values’ ?

Andy likes to engage in the time honored tradition of One-up-man-ship pioneered by Stephen Potter. Virtue signalling is the current term of abuse, but Potter’s old stand-by fully describes Andy’s dull-witted practice . His argument:  You’ve averted your eyes from the ‘Evil Chinese Regime‘  for too long -its Human Rights abuses! In sum, the Concentration Camps used by ICE are by comparison to the Chinese Regime’s forms of oppression/re-education are evil, while the human rights abuses practiced by ICE are subject to a kind of pseudo- apologetic! In sum,  the crimes of ICE are minimized in comparison to the Chinese.

 

On the left, we worry about Islamophobia, or we expend our energies protesting the oppression of Palestinians by Israel’s occupation. On the right, we talk of religious freedom too often as if it only applies to Christians or Jews.

Yet, here is a man and writer whose moral/political enthusiasms for ‘The Bell Curve’ and the War in Iraq are facts that Andy can’t overcome. At least with his readers whose memories reach back to Andy’s reprehensible political past.  Andy achieves his ends by means of hectoring moralizing, in service to Andy’s pathological egotism, wedded to his political nihilism.

Old Socialist

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/06/andrew-sullivan-the-next-step-for-gay-pride.html

 

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The ‘Toxic Jeremy Corbyn’ re-enters, stage left, via a Financial Times book review. Old Socialist considers the source

Robert Shrimsley gives the game away in the first three paragraphs of his essay of September 29, 202o.  

Headline: This Land by Owen Jones — Corbynism beyond Corbyn

Sub-headline: A critique of Labour’s election defeat seeks to give life to the manifesto without the man

The harsh fact about the Corbyn project is that the only one of Labour’s hard-left MPs able to win the party leadership was the person least suited to lead.

While others in his faction — most notably John McDonnell — made enemies and were feared, Jeremy Corbyn was sufficiently liked that even people who disagreed with him signed the nomination to get him on the ballot. With hindsight, this lack of enemies should have been a clue.

For the inescapable conclusion of a new and sympathetic look at the period is that Corbyn was probably the worst prime ministerial candidate put before the voters in modern times. Leaving aside his political positions, he was temperamentally incapable of doing the job. For Owen Jones, the Corbyn project’s important media cheerleader and semi-insider, the drama of those years is almost Shakespearean. Jones’ own doubts about Corbyn appeared early but his enthusiasm for the wider project is undimmed. 

https://www.ft.com/content/88370aa8-9d4f-4713-b0c6-3ea3e0d67f69

Its ‘as if’ Mr. Shrimsley takes for granted that his readers are somehow ignorant of the rise of Corbyn in the Labour Party hierarchy.  A revelatory survey of some of the commentary on Jeremy Corbyn, in the British Press, is revelatory of its Anti-Leftism , while the utter failure of the Neo-Liberal Project is the very reason for the rise of Corbyn, from within a Labour Party still enamored of the Thatcherism Lite of Tony Blair and his epigones.  

 


Headline: Backwards, comrades!

Sub-headline: Jeremy Corbyn is leading Britain’s left into a political timewarp. Some old ideological battles must be re-fought


‘BEFORE he had finished belting out his first celebratory rendition of “The Red Flag”, a hymn to class struggle, some of Jeremy Corbyn’s colleagues in Labour’s shadow cabinet had already handed in their resignations. A 66-year-old socialist, Mr Corbyn has spent 32 years as one of the hardest of hardline left-wingers in the House of Commons and a serial rebel on the Labour backbenches. On September 12th he flattened three moderate rivals (see article) to become leader of Britain’s main opposition party. Labour MPs are stunned—and perhaps none more so than Mr Corbyn himself.

Two views are emerging of Labour’s new leader. The more sympathetic is that, whatever you think of his ideology, Mr Corbyn will at least enrich Britain by injecting fresh ideas into a stale debate. Voters who previously felt uninspired by the say-anything, spin-everything candidates who dominate modern politics have been energised by Mr Corbyn’s willingness to speak his mind and condemn the sterile compromises of the centre left. The other is that Mr Corbyn does not matter because he is unelectable and he cannot last. His significance will be to usher in a second successive Conservative government in the election of 2020—and perhaps a third in 2025.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2015/09/19/backwards-comrades


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Headline: Review: Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power by Tom Bower — portrait of a monomaniac

Sub-headline: If Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister, he would easily be the most dangerous, most indolent and least intelligent holder of the office in history

This is one of the most depressing books I have ever read. It is a forensically detailed portrait of a man with no inner life, a monomaniac suffused with an overwhelming sense of his own righteousness, a private schoolboy who failed one A-level and got two Es in the others, a polytechnic dropout whose first wife never knew him to read a book.

It is the story of a man who does not appear to have gone to the cinema or listened to music, takes no interest in art or fashion and refused to visit Vienna’s magnificent Schönbrunn Palace because it was “royal”. It tells how he bitterly opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, deeply regretted the fall of the Berlin Wall and praised the men who attacked New York on September 11, 2001, for showing an “enormous amount of skill”. In some parallel universe, this man would currently be living in well-deserved obscurity. In reality, Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition and the bookmakers’ favourite to become our next prime minister.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/review-dangerous-hero-corbyns-ruthless-plot-for-power-by-tom-bower-portrait-of-a-monomaniac-8x0spp3d8

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Headline: Tom Bower on Jeremy Corbyn: he left for Jamaica an academic failure and came back a fanatical Marxist

Sub-headline: Throughout his career the Labour leader has used tactics learnt from the communist playbook. His biographer Tom Bower charts his cultivation of a ‘good guy’ image — and ruthless elimination of moderate rivals

Burning buildings, overturned cars and students rampaging through downtown Kingston, Jamaica, in October 1968 spurred Jeremy Corbyn’s switch from traditional Labour Party supporter to a Trotskyist dedicated to transforming Britain into a communist state. After his stay on the island he successfully concealed his past and his prejudices, even from his family and closest friends.

Despite scoring two grade-E A-levels and failing a third, Corbyn had landed a Voluntary Overseas Service (VSO) placement to teach geography at Kingston College, an elite school. Ever since, he has said those “two years were really a defining moment in my life”.

Close to the school, the clean-shaven Corbyn witnessed the raw struggle between Jamaica’s rich white people and impoverished black people. Paul Wimpory, another VSO teacher, heard Corbyn’s dismay about the “vast inequalities on the island”, the guilt of the British Empire, the capitalists’ exploitation of Third World countries, the horror of American interference across the continent and, above all, his desire to “rebel against his affluent background”.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tom-bower-on-jeremy-corbyn-he-left-for-jamaica-an-academic-failure-and-came-back-a-fanatical-marxist-csxbmcr7w

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Headline: Jeremy Corbyn: the man versus the movement

Sub-headline: Two books explore what a UK government under the far-left Labour leader would be like


If Jeremy Corbyn ever makes it into 10 Downing Street, he will have completed the most improbable rise to power in modern British history. The Labour leader is soon to turn 70 and spent the first 30 years of his political career as an obscure backbencher, on the far-left of his party. A change in the political climate and a chapter of accidents led to Corbyn being elected Labour leader in 2015.

Two years later, he astonished his critics both inside and outside the party by putting in a strong performance in the 2017 election — depriving Theresa May’s Conservatives of a parliamentary majority. Now Corbyn is probably closer to power than he has ever been. May’s decision to reach out to the Labour leader in an effort to find a cross-party solution to Brexit has given Corbyn a chance to play the role of a statesman — and to shake off the accusation that he is too incompetent and too militant to be trusted with power.

Nonetheless, it is fair to say that most of the British establishment (including much of his own parliamentary party) remains both incredulous and deeply uneasy at the prospect of a Corbyn government. In the effort to understand what may be around the corner, many readers are likely to turn to the recent biography of Corbyn by Tom Bower, a veteran investigative journalist — just one of several new books promising to reveal more about the Labour leader’s life and opinions.

Still, those looking for an impartial account should be a little wary of Bower’s Dangerous Hero. Its sub­title, “Corbyn’s ruthless plot for power”, sums up its general approach, as does the jacket-cover description of the book as a “gripping exposé”.

https://www.ft.com/content/aa144312-5b73-11e9-939a-341f5ada9d40

Not forgetting Jonathan Freedland’s notorious defamatory political fiction: 

Headline: Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem

Sub-headline: Under Jeremy Corbyn the party has attracted many activists with views hostile to Jews. Its leaders must see why this matters

As the Conservative party divides its time between running the country and tearing itself apart over Europe, Labour has been consumed with a rather different problem. In the past two weeks, it has had to expel two activists for overt racism. That follows the creation of an inquiry into the Labour club at Oxford University, after the co-chair resigned saying the club was riddled with racism. The racism in question is hatred of Jews.

I suspect many in Labour and on the wider left dearly wish three things to be true of this problem. That these are just a few bad apples in an otherwise pristine barrel; that these incidents aren’t actually about racism at all but concern only opposition to Israel; and that none of this reflects negatively on Jeremy Corbyn.

Start with the bad apples. The cases of Gerry Downing and Vicki Kirby certainly look pretty rotten. The former said it was time to wrestle with the “Jewish Question”, the latter hailed Hitler as a “Zionist God” and tweeted a line about Jews having “big noses”, complete with a “lol”.

It’d be so much easier if these were just two rogue cases. But when Alex Chalmers quit his post at Oxford’s Labour club, he said he’d concluded that many had “some kind of problem with Jews”. He cited the case of one club member who organised a group to shout “filthy Zionist” at a Jewish student whenever they saw her. Former Labour MP Tom Harris wrote this week that the party “does indeed have a problem with Jews”. And there is, of course, the word of Jews themselves. They have been warning of this phenomenon for years, lamenting that parts of the left were succumbing to views of Jews drenched in prejudice.

But this is the brick wall Jews keep running into: the belief that what Jews are complaining about is not antisemitism at all, but criticism of Israel. Jews hear this often. They’re told the problem arises from their own unpleasant habit of identifying any and all criticism of Israel as anti-Jewish racism. Some go further, alleging that Jews’ real purpose in raising the subject of antisemitism is to stifle criticism of Israel.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/18/labour-antisemitism-jews-jeremy-corbyn

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For the reader of Mr. Shrimsley’s  essay, it becomes clear that he follows the Party Line, on Corbyn and his followers. The Political Center is in fact defined by Neo-Liberals like Tony Blair and his successor Kier Starmer, the natural political opponent of any actual ‘Left’. On the question of Anti-Semitism: BDS is not Anti-Semitism, but Anti-Zionism. Corbyn  has been, and still is a supporter of the cause of the Palestinians, but propagandists like Freedland, Hodge, Labour Friends of Israel and Shrimsley continue to parrot the Party Line of ‘Anti-Semitism’. It is employed, as an attempt to rescue a Neo-Liberalism in a continual state of slow-motion collapse, barely held aloft via continual Strong State Intervention, the sine qua non of Hayek’s economic charlatanry.             


Like many on the left, Jones’ true target is the “centrists”, the moderate left who stand in the path of a more socialist option. For Jones it is essential we accept that the centre cannot hold. But this may be a counsel of despair. For one thing it misreads the voters, since the evidence is that confronted by hardline Labour and hardline Tories, they are more likely to tack right. Furthermore, the centre can move. It shifted from austerity politics but the beneficiary was Boris Johnson. 

Where Jones is strongest, and impressively so, is when he turns his analytical gaze on his own side. His dissection of the anti-Semitism issue is heartfelt and intelligent

https://www.ft.com/content/88370aa8-9d4f-4713-b0c6-3ea3e0d67f69

Political Observer

 

 

 

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Andy Divine on Tyrant Trump. Political Observer scoffs

To read the rhetorical evolution of Andy Divine’s latest essay, is to witness the flowering of his particular variety of political hysteria. It begins with Shakespeare’s Richard III via Stephen Greenblatt’s ‘Tyrant’, and ‘a performance by Antony Sher of Richard decades ago’* with aid from Plato and Aristotle, on the notion that tyranny is ‘wrapped up in the darker folds of the human soul, individual and collective.’

What follows is a long exegesis of Shakespeare’s play and this conclusion about the Tyrant  drawn from  Mr. Greenblatt: But he has one key skill, Greenblatt notes, the ability to lie shamelessly. This followed by more of his narration about the play. His long description of the play interrupted by this insight : Denial. Avoidance. Distraction. Willful ignorance. These are all essential to enabling a tyrant’s rise. He then continues his exposition of the drama, the rhetorical frame in all its highfalutin melodrama has been set, Mr. Divine need only supply the vulgar dramaturgy that is his trademark. Note the sentence I’ve rendered in bold font!

This is what we’ve been dealing with in the figure of Donald Trump now for five years, and it is absurd to believe that a duly conducted election is going to end it. I know, I know. I’m hysterical and over-the-top and a victim of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” Trump is simply too incompetent and too lazy to be an actual tyrant, I’m constantly scolded. He’s just baiting me again. And so on. But what I think this otherwise salient critique misses is that tyranny is not, in its essence, about the authoritarian and administrative skills required to run a country effectively for a long time. Tyrants, after all, are often terrible at this. It is rather about a mindset, as the ancient philosophers understood, with obvious political consequences. It’s a pathology. It requires no expertise in anything other than itself.

Andy then lets Barton Gellman do all the paranoid speculation, that he reports on, to his readers:

If you haven’t, read Gellman’s piece closely. It seems inevitable to me that, unless it’s a Biden landslide, Trump will declare himself the winner on election night, regardless of the actual results. Because most mail-in ballots will take more time to count, and several swing states have not changed their laws to allow for counting before election day, and mail-ins are easily challenged, it is quite likely that much of Biden’s vote will remain uncounted or contested — and could remain so for a long time. And after declaring victory within hours of polls closing, Trump will follow the script he used for Florida in 2018: “The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” he tweeted, making shit up as usual. “An honest vote count is no longer possible — ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”  

Andy was/is one of the army of The Midwives of Trump, the historical evidence: 

Race, Genes and I.Q. — An Apologia

The case for conservative multiculturalism

https://newrepublic.com/article/120887/race-genes-and-iq-new-republics-bell-curve-excerpt

 

Click to access andrew-sullivan-i-was-wrong.pdf

On Jonathan Haidt’s and Greg Lukianoff’s The Coddling of the American Mind

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/09/andrew-sullivan-america-land-of-brutal-binaries.html

Andy’s  political hysteria is a product of his bad faith, to engage in a bit of armchair psychology, that is popular with the corporate political technocrats. That Trump is  Richard III,  is abandoned in favor of his usual screeching. The literary frame is abandoned, as not quite serviceable, to the personal affront that Trump directs to Andy himself. Call this what it is a toxic narcissism! 

Political Observer 

*I recall seeing an Omnibus television program, in the early 1950’s,  the movie of Richard III, as performed by Laurence Olivier, when I was seven or eight years of age. Richard scared my younger self, but it was considered to be a necessary part of a ‘cultural enrichment’ of another Age.  

 

https://andrewsullivan.substack.com/p/yes-this-is-the-face-of-a-tyrant

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The Trinity of Politics/Religion/Jurisprudence rule American Life. Old Socialist comments

There can be no doubt of the fact that Politics/Religion/Jurisprudence constitute the ruling triumvirate in American Civic Life, as the nomination of Amy Barrett make plain. Except to those who somehow think, that this alliance cannot be, in a vaunted secular nation.

The reader need only look to the rise of two Americans: Cotton Mather, of The Salem Witch Trials, and his use of ‘Spectral Evidence’  and of Johnathan Edwards of ‘Sinner In The Hands Of An Angry God’. And then trace these two themes, as they both evolved in American history, political and civic. 

I offer my historical sketch:  Brown v. Board I & II, The passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act, and the concomitant Dixiecrat’s near total desertion of the Democratic Party, for the Republican Party , Nixon’s ‘Southern Strategy’,  The rise of The Religious Right,  and its militant anti-abortion cadre, The Federalist Society and the ‘Textualist’ and ‘Originalist’ interpretive stances, being the antidotes to the Judicial Overreach of Brown v. Board. The denial of a Supreme Court seat to Robert Bork, was the alarm that warned the Republican’s, that they must present candidates, for confirmation, who didn’t look and act like a caricature out of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  William Rehnquist and Scalia were the test cases.

Much more to say on this question!

Old Socialist 

 

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Dianne Feinstein in trouble? Political Observer comments on the insularity of Corporate Media .

This New Republic essay, by Libby Watson, even quotes the Politico essay, excerpts of which follows this long quotation:

Headline: The Democrats Have a Dianne Feinstein Problem

Sub-headline: Some in the party believe the 87-year-old senator is ill-equipped to lead the opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court nominee—so why won’t they do anything about it?


Which leads us to another problem: The Democratic charge will be led by 87-year-old Dianne Feinstein, the party’s ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. Feinstein is resolutely not interested in the idea of breaking any kind of norm to win. As recently as a week before Ginsburg’s death, Feinstein criticized the idea of abolishing the filibuster and refused to say whether, as chair of the committee during a Biden administration, she would continue a recent Republican practice of ignoring opposition committee members who object to judicial nominees from their home state. The long-standing “blue slip” process, she said, “fosters bipartisan engagement in the nomination process.” Truly, we are living in a golden age of well-fostered bipartisan engagement!

Concerns about Feinstein’s role in the upcoming confirmation process are not some petty, factional whining of disgruntled leftists. As Politico reported, these fears—that Feinstein is not up to the task of grilling Trump’s nominee for Ginsberg’s seat—are “widespread” among Democrats in Congress, who fret that Feinstein “gets confused by reporters’ questions, or will offer different answers to the same question depending on where or when she’s asked” and appears “frail.” These are normal things for an 87-year-old to do or be; they are perhaps not the ideal characteristics for the person tasked with being the face of the Democratic resistance to another right-wing psychocrat being placed on the court for decades to possess. (The Los Angeles Times’ report on Feinstein’s love of the blue slip process included the detail that she “wasn’t aware” that “Republicans had confirmed judges without them.” Her office later provided a tally: The GOP has done so 17 times in the Trump era.)

https://newrepublic.com/article/159487/dianne-feinstein-judiciary-committee-opposition-trump-supreme-court-nominee

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This Politico essay by John Bresnahan and Marianne Levine:

Headline: Democrats worry Feinstein can’t handle Supreme Court battle

Sub-headline: Colleagues fear the oldest senator may struggle to lead Democrats on the Judiciary Committee.

As the Senate prepares for yet another brutal Supreme Court nomination fight, one particularly sensitive issue is creating apprehension among Democrats: what to do with 87-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, is widely respected by senators in both parties, but she has noticeably slowed in recent years. Interviews with more than a dozen Democratic senators and aides show widespread concern over whether the California Democrat is capable of leading the aggressive effort Democrats need against whoever President Donald Trump picks to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Judiciary Committee is the critical battleground in the Supreme Court confirmation process. At stake, her own Democratic colleagues worry, is more than just whether the party can thwart Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in his rush to fill the seat. Some Democrats privately fear that Feinstein could mishandle the situation and hurt their chances of winning back the majority.

Just this week, Feinstein infuriated progressives after declaring her opposition to ending the Senate’s legislative filibuster — a top goal of party activists if Democrats win full control of the Congress and White House in November. Some on the left called on her to resign over the comments, although other Democratic moderates have expressed similar views.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/23/dianne-feinstein-supreme-court-battle-420357

 

Corporate media pundits feed upon each other’s commentaries, sometimes in the most unabashed ways, that leads to the construction of The Party Line, on any given issue. Some are more adroit, about the rhetorical constructions of an evolving Party Line, and some like Libby Watson, riff on the themes of other political reporters/commentators/pundits. 

At some point the reader that focuses upon the ‘evolution’ of that Party Line, in favor of what is the subject under debate/discussion, proves that that ‘evolution’ is an equally important component of the examination, of a political stance, that becomes a fixed point of argument, in sum, The Party Line.

Political Observer

 

 

 

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Gillian Tett on ‘The next financial crisis’. And Old Socialist’s nostalgia!

Insights on the ‘players’ in Ms. Tett’s latest economic melodrama, and some commentary.  


Oxford Economics:

Oxford Economics is a leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis. Our worldwide client base comprises more than 1,500 international corporations, financial institutions, government organisations, and universities.

https://www.oxfordeconomics.com/about-us

________________________________________

Morningstar: 

Our exclusive research, ratings, and tools can help investors of every stripe create a financial foundation that helps them reach their goals. And taking a 14-day free trial of Morningstar Premium is the best way to sample all the ways we can help you find, evaluate, and monitor your investments.

https://www.morningstar.com/premium?referid=A4497&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=MORNP_General_Gen_Search_Branded_Exact_T1_National+Morningstar&utm_content=engine:google|campaignid:1338383161|adid:431089248176|gclid:Cj0KCQjwqrb7BRDlARIsACwGad5AbK7kw7g2nc-BTuoI1lZa9-b6SxAdzpTz5OM9CpLwQhnhtZovivgaAlMaEALw_wcB&utm_term=morningstar&creativeID=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwqrb7BRDlARIsACwGad5AbK7kw7g2nc-BTuoI1lZa9-b6SxAdzpTz5OM9CpLwQhnhtZovivgaAlMaEALw_wcB

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Some insights on Lehman Bros.: 

Headline:  Ten years on, the Fed’s failings on Lehman Brothers are all too clear

Sub-headline: The key policymakers have always maintained they had no choice but to let Lehman collapse. That’s simply not true

In 2007 Fortune magazine ranked Lehman Brothers investment bank number 1 on its list of “most admired securities firms”. Just a year later, on 15 September 2008, the financial world was shocked when Lehman, with $600bn (£463bn) of assets, filed for bankruptcy, causing chaos in financial markets: stock prices plummeted, credit flows froze, and markets feared that even larger financial institutions – from Morgan Stanley to Goldman Sachs and Citigroup – might fail.

The Lehman bankruptcy was shocking, in part, because it was unique. Other financial institutions, such as Bear Stearns and AIG, also experienced crises in 2008 and surely would have failed if not for emergency loans from the US Federal Reserve. On the eve of its bankruptcy, Lehman urgently sought similar aid from the Fed, but the policymakers at the time – Fed chair Ben Bernanke, Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, and Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – said no.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/03/federal-reserve-lehman-brothers-collapse

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Some insight on Carmen Reinhart: 

Headline: The Reinhart-Rogoff error – or how not to Excel at economics

Harvard’s Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff are two of the most respected and influential academic economists active today.

Or at least, they were. On April 16, doctoral student Thomas Herndon and professors Michael Ash and Robert Pollin, at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, released the results of their analysis of two 2010 papers by Reinhard and Rogoff, papers that also provided much of the grist for the 2011 bestseller Next Time Is Different.

Reinhart and Rogoff’s work showed average real economic growth slows (a 0.1% decline) when a country’s debt rises to more than 90% of gross domestic product (GDP) – and this 90% figure was employed repeatedly in political arguments over high-profile austerity measures.

During their analysis, Herndon, Ash and Pollin obtained the actual spreadsheet that Reinhart and Rogoff used for their calculations; and after analysing this data, they identified three errors.

The most serious was that, in their Excel spreadsheet, Reinhart and Rogoff had not selected the entire row when averaging growth figures: they omitted data from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada and Denmark.

In other words, they had accidentally only included 15 of the 20 countries under analysis in their key calculation.

When that error was corrected, the “0.1% decline” data became a 2.2% average increase in economic growth.

https://theconversation.com/the-reinhart-rogoff-error-or-how-not-to-excel-at-economics-13646#:~:text=The%20most%20serious%20was%20that,%2C%20Belgium%2C%20Canada%20and%20Denmark.&text=When%20that%20error%20was%20corrected,average%20increase%20in%20economic%20growth.

Ms. Tett provides more of Reinhart’s insights.   

Big US banks have increased their reserves to cope with this. But Ms Reinhart fears that those in countries such as India and Italy are less prepared. Furthermore, ultra-low interest rates erode bank profitability.

Another issue is that it is hard to model future risks due to the lack of historical precedent. “Crises usually happen because of a boom-to-bust cycle and investors know what that looks like. This is different,” Ms Reinhart adds. As far more financial activity flows through the non-bank sector, via capital markets, nasty surprises can easily erupt.

And a concluding paragraph featuring Reinhart:

“Surveys [already] show a significant tightening of lending standards,” observed Mr Shin. Or as Ms Reinhart notes: “A credit crunch seems really very likely.” No wonder Oxford found that fears about finance were poisoning confidence; or that the chance of a V-shaped economic recovery seems increasingly low. 

This reader is given to a kind of nostalgia for another Tett: 

January 16, 2015:

Headline: A debt to history?

Sub-headline: To some, Germany faces a moral duty to help Greece, given the aid that it has previously enjoyed 

Last summer I found myself in that spot for a conference, having dinner with a collection of central bank governors. It was a gracious, majestic affair, peppered with high-minded conversation. And as coffee was served, in bone-china crockery (of course), Benjamin Friedman, the esteemed economic historian, stood up to give an after-dinner address.

The mandarins settled comfortably into their chairs, expecting a soothing intellectual discourse on esoteric monetary policy. But Friedman lobbed a grenade.

“We meet at an unsettled time in the economic and political trajectory of many parts of the world, Europe certainly included,” he began in a strikingly flat monotone (I quote from the version of his speech that is now posted online, since I wasn’t allowed to take notes then.) Carefully, he explained that he intended to read his speech from a script, verbatim, to ensure that he got every single word correct. Uneasily, the audience sat up.

https://www.ft.com/content/927efd1e-9c32-11e4-b9f8-00144feabdc0

Old Socialist 

https://www.ft.com/content/c95e5a72-8322-4cfc-b36a-69e8998aea01

 

 

 

 

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edward.luce@ft.com & The Senate Report on the Bidens. Political Observer comments

Here is the a news story, that just might have more political weight, than Mr. Luce’s collection of concerns, in his latest essay:


Headline: Senate report slams Bidens for conflicts of interest, flags possible criminal activity


Sub-headline: GOP-led investigation cites ‘glaring’ evidence of Burisma bribe, suspicious foreign money transfers and sex trafficking.


A year-long Senate investigation concluded Wednesday that Hunter Biden’s efforts to cash in on foreign business deals during his father’s vice presidency raised alarm among U.S. government officials, who perceived an ethical conflict of interest and flagged concerns about possible criminal activity ranging from bribery to sex trafficking.

The long-awaited joint report by the GOP-led Senate Homeland and Government Affairs and Senate Finance Committees delivered several blockbuster revelations less than two months before Election Day, suggesting Obama administration officials ignored clear warning signs about ethical conflicts and possible extortion risks involving Joe Biden’s family.

Perhaps the most explosive revelation was that the U.S. Treasury Department flagged payments collected overseas by Hunter Biden and business partner Devon Archer for possible illicit activities.

But the U.S. government’s worries about Hunter Biden’s globetrotting business pursuits didn’t stop in Ukraine.

“In addition to the over $4 million paid by Burisma for Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s board memberships, Hunter Biden, his family, and Archer received millions of dollars from foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds,” the report said.

Senate investigators flagged transactions in at least three other foreign countries:

  • Archer received $142,300 from Kenges Rakishev of Kazakhstan, purportedly for a car, the same day Vice President Joe Biden appeared with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and addressed Ukrainian legislators in Kyiv regarding Russia’s actions in Crimea.
  • Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow and Russia’s only female oligarch.
  • Archer received $142,300 from Kenges Rakishev of Kazakhstan, purportedly for a car, the same day Vice President Joe Biden appeared with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and addressed Ukrainian legislators in Kyiv regarding Russia’s actions in Crimea.
  • Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow and Russia’s only female oligarch.Hunter Biden opened a bank account with Chinese national Gongwen Dong to fund a $100,000 global spending spree for the Biden family.
  • Hunter Biden had business associations with Ye Jianming, Gongwen, and other Chinese nationals linked to the communist government and the People’s Liberation Army. “Those associations resulted in millions of dollars in cash flow,” the report said.
  • The report did not expand much on its sensational claim of alleged links to sex trafficking or prostitutes, reserving most of the discussion to two footnotes.

https://justthenews.com/accountability/russia-and-ukraine-scandals/senate-report-slams-bidens-conflicts-interest-flags

As long as the Corporate Media ignores this …

Political Observer 

https://www.ft.com/content/76f35579-f58e-44eb-b984-18141d1bc3bb

 

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Mitt Romney, Vulture Capitalist. Old Socialist posts a letter.

Facing up to financial reality | May Letter of the Month

Victims of ‘vulture capitalism’

Describing Mitt Romney as a good businessman in the Letter of the Month is a travesty. Newt Gingrich created a YouTube in which he called Romney venal and coined the term “vulture capitalism” for Romney’s ruinous business tactics.

I know, because my own business was a victim. Kay Bee Toys, headquartered in the bucolic Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, had been in business 106 years, operating profitably, with 8,000 employees and 1,300 stores doing $1.1 billion in sales. KB Toys was socially conscious and refused to sell toy guns for children. Romney’s Bain Capital bought KB Toys, immediately took on $120 million in debt, and used it to buy back its own stock and to pay Romney an $86 million bonus. The business was soon shut down, dumping thousands out of work. Romney needed a cover story for the disaster he imposed on local lives. He said that he was not personally involved and that he was only doing the employees a favor by “harvesting” the business.

My service business depended on KB as its main customer. It is gone now, too, along with 70 workers.

KB Toys, and my business, were just more lambs ready for slaughter in Romney’s view.

Allan Ardis, Wesley Chapel

https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/letters/saturdays-letters-victims-of-vulture-capitalism/2281139/

Old Socialist

 

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janan.ganesh@ft.com on ‘Conservative Expectations’. Old Socialist comments

The reader just has to wonder at Mr. Ganesh’s ignorance of American political/jurisprudential  history !  Brown v. Board I & II denounced by the revered   Learned Hand, as  ‘second-guessing of legislative choices by the states’ was the grain of sand, that political/legal irritant, that was the ‘first cause’ of the Federalist Society?  Learned Hand its political/rhetorical midwife? 

It was not, he wrote, “a lawless act to import into the Constitution such a grant of power,” for “without some arbiter whose decision should be final the whole system would have collapsed.” But justices and other judges, he advised, should use this power only when that was essential—when a governmental act violated the clear “historical meaning” of the amendments in the Bill of Rights—or they would function as a super-legislature. “For myself it would be most irksome to be ruled by a bevy of Platonic Guardians,” he said famously, “even if I knew how to choose them, which I assuredly do not.”

The lectures were an attack on judicial activism but also the Warren Court. In 1954, Warren had led the Court to the unanimous Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Every justice then on the Court, as the legal historian Michael Klarman noted, “had criticized untethered judicial activism as undemocratic.”4 But the justices recognized that America was a transformed nation in its views about race and that history compelled the Court to find segregation of public schools unconstitutional.5 In a short opinion, Warren stated that principle.

Among liberal and centrist legal thinkers, the question was how broad a principle of equality the Court had actually stated. In his lectures, however, Hand staked out a very conservative position. The Brown ruling was unacceptable because it was second-guessing of legislative choices by the states, even though that put Hand on the wrong side of history.

The Judge Who Shaped Our Law

See also The Partisan: The Life of William Rehnquist’ by John A. Jenkins a revelatory biography of this jurist, the first of his kind to occupy a Supreme Court chair. Here is Eric A. Posner’s caustic review of Mr. Jenkins book.  Mr. Posner is a partisan of Rehnquist.   

THE PARTISAN IS the first full biography of William Rehnquist, who was an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1972 to 1986, and chief justice from 1986 to his death in 2005. Rehnquist was one of the more conservative members of the Court, and had many detractors. Jenkins too does not like Rehnquist’s performance on the Court, but his objection amounts to little more than the complaint that Rehnquist decided cases differently from the way Jenkins would have decided them, which leads to the forensic task of sifting through Rehnquist’s life for an explanation as to how he could have gone so far astray. This lack of generosity toward his subject undermines a biography that could have addressed some interesting questions, such as how someone who tended toward the extreme and frequently dissented managed to lead the institution so effectively.

https://newrepublic.com/article/107540/the-partisan-life-of-chief-justice-william-rehnquist-john-jenkins

Roe V. Wade takes the lead in Mr. Ganesh’s ‘History Made to Measure‘ that ends  here, in the thicket of ‘Ganesh Speak’, or should it be ‘Ganesh Incantation‘?    

The Supreme Court can launch a judicial revolution from the right, then, but at risk to itself and the party that enabled it. Don’t be surprised if even a 6-3 majority settles for gradual incursions into the left’s body of work. This would show a concern for tangible institutions over abstract projects and a willingness to let sleeping dogs lie. “Conservatism”, we might call it.

This Politico news story, report puts forward the fact that that Amy Coney Barrett, the most likely candidate to replace Ginsberg, is the product of the very careful grooming by the Textualist’/’Originalist’ clique. Note the melodrama of the last quoted paragraph!

Amy Coney Barrett was prepared for this moment.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been seated on the Supreme Court for only a year, in 1994, when a group of professors at the University of Notre Dame first recognized the potential of a first-year law student and began paving the way for her career as a conservative jurist: collaborating on scholarship, helping her land a Supreme Court clerkship and later recruiting her to the law school’s faculty.

The group was part of a growing legal movement opposed to the secularization of American society generally and to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling in particular. The 1973 abortion-rights decision not only struck many conservatives as an affront their religious values, but to the principle of judicial restraint. To wage what would be a decades-long fight to reverse the activist decisions of the court from 1950s to the 1970s, they needed young legal minds like Barrett’s.

“She was kind of the Manchurian candidate,” said one former colleague at Notre Dame Law School. “She’s been groomed for this moment all the way along.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/09/20/amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court-419219

The slow but inexorable erosion on the Supreme Court’s authority, moral and political,  began with the appointment of Rehnquist by Richard Nixon.  

Old Socialist 

https://www.ft.com/content/f2b4c8a4-edca-483b-b15e-47701668791c

 

 

 

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Neo-Con Niall Ferguson on the Crisis in California: Fires, One Party Rule, ‘Decadence/Decline’. Political Skeptic comments

The reader can only wonder at Mr. Ferguson’s – what reads like nostalgia for George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson, of Prop 87? Oh! sorry he is just a late arrival to California, 2016, in its advanced state of ‘Decadence/Decay’ the idée fixe of the Political Romantic. With the aid of Victor Davis Hanson, another political refugee, at The Hoover Institution, where 1929 went to live!

The transgenerational economic/political sway of Neo-Liberalism comes home to roost, across the nation, in the face of the Pandemic, and the concomitant collapse of Robber Capital, even with the the American Political Class’ extravagant kowtowing Bail Out. In Mr. Ferguson’s telling the blame for the California’s ills are the Democrats, who are in fact New Democrats, the not so sub rosa allies, in fact, the enactors of the Reaganite Agenda! Jerry Brown is the political object lesson of that political de-evolution.  Newsom is ‘Old Money’, who is subject to a cult: 

Headline: When Gavin Newsom issued marriage licenses in San Francisco, his party was furious. Now, it’s a campaign ad

https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-gavin-newsom-gay-marriage-20180515-story.html

The appearance of the political hysteric Ben Shapiro, who is moving out of California and going to the South. Its ‘as if’ C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America come to life. 

Mr. Ferguson lards his essay with apt literary references, and the fact that many Corporations are leaving the state. Going to California is the story of my mother and father, and many of their families. Its the story of the state itself! 

In the 70’s I applied for work at McDonnell Douglas, in Long Beach, California , and my sister’s daughter worked there before it went out of business. This campus, next to the Long Airport, was being turned into a housing development, and shopping complex, when I last drove by it in 2008.

 The Myth of  California entrepreneurship was built on being the subcontractors to the Defense Industries of the Cold War.  Silicone Valley has replaced those Defense Industries, but with the difference that highly skilled workers are of value, as the manufacture of products have been off-shored: to China and other countries in Asia as America workers, and their Unions, were ‘greedy’ according to the Capitalist apologists like Ferguson and  Hanson. Has The Pandemic illustrated the vital part an indigenous manufacturing capacity can play in the civic/political life of States and Nations?

Political Skeptic 

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-09-20/california-burnin-a-warning-against-one-party-rule?sref=bfOwbK4O

 

 

 

 

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My reply to @FelixDrost

@Arabella raises not just an interesting point, by focusing upon the failure of America’s political/technocratic class to take the necessary action to save 200,000 lives. Not in any way a small matter? What can this New York Times news story offer in terms of an even more catastrophic failure of America’s ‘experts’

Headline: At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror

Sub-headline: A new report calculates the number of people who fled because of wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.

At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II.

The findings were published on Tuesday, weeks before the United States enters its 20th year of fighting the war on terror, which began with the invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001; yet, the report says it is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies.

The report accounts for the number of people, mostly civilians, displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, where fighting has been the most significant, and says the figure is a conservative estimate — the real number may range from 48 million to 59 million. The calculation does not include the millions of other people who have been displaced in countries with smaller U.S. counterterrorism operations, according to the report, including those in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger.


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/magazine/displaced-war-on-terror.html


The Refugee Crisis in Europe is a direct result of America’s War on Terror! If the ‘experts’  who produced this crisis, are the same ‘experts’ who now screech about the dangers of  ‘the rise of extraterritoriality’ -it is the voice of the hucksters, that offered the TPP & TTIP as the natural successor to the collapsed Neo-Liberal Swindle! 

StephenKMackSD

Thank you @Arabella !!!!

https://www.ft.com/content/33e23a5b-3e33-4b2e-a8ee-e7b341ef3a30?commentID=fcb1760f-a459-479f-bcfe-883e7c417cb5

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