Friday, January 31, 2020

Reflections on the Neoliberal Deep State

from Wikipedia
Bureaucratic collectivism is a theory of class society. It is used by some Trotskyists to describe the nature of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, and other similar states in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere (such as North Korea).[citation needed]


A bureaucratic collectivist state owns the means of production, while the surplus or profit is distributed among an elite party bureaucracy (nomenklatura), rather than among the working class. Also, most importantly, it is the bureaucracy—not the workers, or the people in general—which controls the economy and the state. Thus, the system is not truly socialist, but it is not capitalist either. In Trotskyist theory, it is a new form of class society which exploits workers through new mechanisms. Theorists, such as Yvan Craipeau, who hold this view believe that bureaucratic collectivism does not represent progress beyond capitalism—that is, that it is no closer to being a workers' state than a capitalist state would be, and is considerably less efficient. Some even believe that certain kinds of capitalism, such as social democratic capitalism, are more progressive than a bureaucratic collectivist society.

George Orwell's famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four describes a fictional society of "oligarchical collectivism". Orwell was familiar with the works of James Burnham, having reviewed Burnham's The Managerial Revolution prior to writing Nineteen Eighty-Four. Oligarchical collectivism was a fictionalized conceptualization of bureaucratic collectivism, where Big Brother and the Inner Party form the nucleus of a hierarchical organization of society professing itself as "English socialism" because of its revolutionary origins, but afterwards only concerned with total domination by the Party.

The idea has also been applied to Western countries outside the Eastern Bloc, as a regime necessary to institute in order to maintain capitalism and keep it from disintegrating in the post-war era. This different form of bureaucratic collectivism is supposed to integrate various sectors of society, such as labor unions, corporations, and government organizations, in order to keep contradictions in the economy from developing into a general meltdown. This form is supposedly embodied in the welfare state, which organizes workers into a government network subsumed under capitalist relations.

Theoretical origins

"Bureaucratic collectivism" was first used as a term to describe a theory originating in England, shortly before the First World War, about a possible future social organisation. After the war, the Russian Revolution, and the rise to power of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, Hugo Urbahns and Lucien Laurat both began to critique the nature of the Soviet state in a similar manner.[citation needed]

This theory was first taken up within Trotskyism by a small group in France around Craipeau. It was also taken up by Bruno Rizzi, who believed that the Soviet, German, and Italian bureaucracies were progressive and celebrated "the class which has the courage to make itself master of the state". It was with Rizzi that Leon Trotsky debated in the late 1930s. Trotsky held that the Soviet Union was a degenerated workers state and that if it did not undergo a new workers' political revolution, it could move towards a new form of society, such as bureaucratic collectivism. However, Trotsky doubted that a state of pure bureaucratic collectivism would ever be reached; he believed that, in the absence of a proletarian revolution to return the Soviet Union to socialism, a comprehensive counter-revolution would return the nation to capitalism instead.

Soon after the Workers Party in the United States (later the Independent Socialist League), led by Max Shachtman, split from the Fourth International, it adopted the theory of bureaucratic collectivism and developed it. As a result, it is often associated with Left Shachtmanism and the Third Camp. Its version had much in common with Craipeau's, as developed by James Burnham and Joseph Carter, but little with Rizzi's.


In 1948, Tony Cliff argued that it is difficult to make a critique of bureaucratic collectivism because authors such as Shachtman never actually published a developed account of the theory. He asserted that the theoretical poverty of the theory of bureaucratic collectivism is not accidental and tried to show that the theory is only negative; empty, abstract, and therefore arbitrary. Cliff proposed “state capitalism” as an alternative theory that more accurately describes the nature of the Soviet Union under Stalinism.

In a 1979 Monthly Review essay, Ernest Mandel argued that the hypothesis that the Soviet bureaucracy is a new class does not correspond to a serious analysis of the real development and the real contradictions of Soviet economy and society in the last fifty years. He asserted that conflict of interest turns bureaucracy into a cancer on a society in transition between capitalism and socialism. Accordingly, bureaucratic management is not only increasingly wasteful but it also prevents the system of a planned economy based upon socialized property from operating effectively. Mandel concluded that this undeniable fact is in itself incompatible with the characterization of the bureaucracy as a ruling class and with the USSR as a new “exploitative mode of production” whose “laws of motion” have never been specified

"Our movement is about replacing a failed and corrupt...political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the people,"
"There is nothing the political establishment will not do -- no lie that they won't tell -- to hold their prestige and power at your expense. And that's what's been happening."
"the Washington establishment and its media promoters and financial underwriters exist for only one reason -- to protect and enrich itself."
"trillions of dollars at stake in this election,"
"This is not simply another four-year election. This is a crossroads in the history of our civilization that will determine whether or not we the people reclaim control over our government."
- Donald J. Trump

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Rudy Crushes Biden on Ukraine and Corruption

Isn't it great to NOT have the media squishing the news into fake social justice "grand narratives" for a change?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Persistent Republican-Democrat Achievement Gap

from American Thinker
Based on its own ideology, the American Left must now conclude that their own educational policies are racist. A groundbreaking study by a group called Brightbeam (“a network of education activists demanding better education and a brighter future for every child”) has discovered that cities politically dominated by progressives have far greater gaps between the average educational achievement levels of whites and minorities of blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans than cities politically dominated by conservatives.

John Hinderaker of Powerline introduced me to the findings:

This report by Chris Stewart of Brightbeam is a blockbuster. It is titled: “The Secret Shame: How America’s Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity For All.” Stewart is a liberal activist from Minnesota who undertook to find out why the Twin Cities’ left-wing public schools have some of the country’s worst achievement gaps between white and minority (black and Indian) students.

Stewart compared achievement by race in a number of cities that he classified as progressive or conservative. The results didn’t surprise me, but they shocked Stewart. Conservative cities (as ranked by political scientists used as a reference for the study) consistently did a better job of closing student achievement gaps–sometimes, to zero–than progressive cities. This chart sums up the findings:

No topic is dearer to the hearts of America-hating leftists than the “achievement gap” in education. The statistical tendency of minorities deemed racially oppressed by the Left to on average score lower on academic tests and other measures of learning than whites and those minorities that out-perform the white average, in particular East Asians and Jews, always is blamed on “racism!” And the cure for racism! Is supposed to be spending more, sensitivity training, and other factors extrinsic to the underperformers. The history of discrimination against over-performing minorities like East Asians and Jews is relegated to taboo status, as is any examination of parental and cultural values as well as individual behavior of the children.

John Hinderaker links to an essay by James Bacon in Bacon’s Rebellion that sums up the data and probable causal factors:
At one extreme is San Francisco, where Democrats and progressives have long prided themselves on efforts to uplift the underprivileged. Educators are dedicated to openness, tolerance, diversity and equal opportunity. Yet the black-white cap is horrifying. Seventy percent of white students score proficient in math compared to only 12% of blacks — a chasm of 58%. For math, the gap in Washington, D.C., is even worse — 62 percentage points.

By contrast, the conservative cities of Virginia Beach, Anaheim, and Fort Worth “have effectively closed the gap in at least one of the academic categories we looked at, literally achieving a gap of zero or one,” the study reports. “The politically conservative Oklahoma City has even turned the tables on our typical thinking about race-based gaps. There, students of color outperform white students on high school graduation rates.”

The study systematically ruled out other explanations for the differences between progressive and conservative cities — per-pupil spending, income inequality, poverty rates, percentages of white and black students, and other factors. “Of all the factors we looked at progressivism is the greatest predictor.” Remarkably, despite the obsessive attention that progressives give to closing the gap for lower-income students, the racial gap in both San Francisco and Washington, D.C. is worse for low-income students than for middle- to upper-income students.
James Bacon hypothesizes what might lie behind the counterproductivity of the progressive approach:
§ Agency. By blaming racism and discrimination for the woes afflicting minority communities, progressives deprive minority students of agency — the sense that they control their own destinies and that their efforts will make a difference. If minority students see themselves as victims of systemic racism, why bother working hard and “acting white”?

§ Discipline. Progressives have implemented “social justice” approaches to school and classroom discipline on the grounds that suspensions and other punishments disproportionately affect minorities. The resulting breakdown in classroom discipline has the perverse effect of disproportionately harming the minority students whose classes are being disrupted.

§ Lower standards. As an offshoot of the “self esteem” movement, progressive educators don’t want to damage the self-esteem of minority students. Accordingly, they have lower expectations and set lower standards for minorities to offset the advantages that white students have from “white privilege.”
All of these factors make intuitive sense, yet all touch on theological beliefs of the Left, doctrines they will not give upon willingly.

No doubt, the major media will do their best to suppress the findings of the study, and however valiant the efforts of conservative media outlets to publicize the findings, they won’t influence policy makers unless and until parents of children in progressive cities go on the attack, and help themselves to the tactics that Saul Alinsky systematically laid out in Rules for Radicals. In particular, number four:
"Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules."
Editor's note. All web copies of the original study by an organization calling itself The Brightbeam Network have been "disappeared" from the web. So whether this study was an elaborate "hoax", or simply the victim of progressive censorship remains to be discovered.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Comparison of US subsidies for coal and fossil fuels to US subsidies for renewables, annually

Wind and solar investment and production tax credits encourage more renewable energy on the grid, but they also cost billions of dollars per year. As you might imagine, each subsidy may have different goals, ranging from helping low-income households, to encouraging domestic production of oil and gas, to getting new technologies to scale. The costs and benefits of these goals are sometimes hard to quantify and the topic gets very political, very quickly.

The image above shows U.S. Energy Information Administration data on direct subsidies from the federal government, which includes tax benefits, grants, loans, or other financial assistance awards made directly to recipients, and also grants, loans, and other financial assistance for research and development.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

How Bernie Sanders Made $Millions Running for President in 2016

“Bernie over the course of his 30-plus years in public office has funneled huge sums of money to his family. That includes hiring family members even when it was not justified in the Burlington city governments. But more specifically, the 2016 campaign, there was this mysterious media-buying company called Old Town Media (OTM) that was set up.

They funneled $83 million through this media-buying company, which was located in a house on a cul-de-sac in suburban Virginia,” he continued. “Had no website, had no presence whatsoever. That company was run by two of Bernie Sanders’ wife’s friends. When she was asked about her connection or relationship to that firm, she hung up on a local Vermont reporter. So there are various ways taxpayer money, school money other things that have flowed to the family and have made the Sanders family very very wealthy. Source)”


Ad buys confirm that OTM collects a 15% commission on ad buys, so the firm has made in excess of 7 million dollars in commission from the Bernie 2016 account since Senator Sanders announced his candidacy (Source).

Another Staffer Feels the Bern for Communism...

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Feel the Bern...

Russia Hacks Burisma for Trump?

Explosive new report says Russia hacked the Ukrainian company Burisma — most likely to get dirt on the Bidens (from the NY Times
With President Trump facing an impeachment trial over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, Russian military hackers have been boring into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the affair, according to security experts.

The hacking attempts against Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Hunter Biden served, began in early November, as talk of the Bidens, Ukraine and impeachment was dominating the news in the United States.

It is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for. But the experts say the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens — the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment.

The Russian tactics are strikingly similar to what American intelligence agencies say was Russia’s hacking of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign. In that case, once they had the emails, the Russians used trolls to spread and spin the material, and built an echo chamber to widen its effect.

Then, as now, the Russian hackers from a military intelligence unit known formerly as the G.R.U., and to private researchers by the alias “Fancy Bear,” used so-called phishing emails that appear designed to steal usernames and passwords, according to Area 1, the Silicon Valley security firm that detected the hacking. In this instance, the hackers set up fake websites that mimicked sign-in pages of Burisma subsidiaries, and have been blasting Burisma employees with emails meant to look like they are coming from inside the company.

The hackers fooled some of them into handing over their login credentials, and managed to get inside one of Burisma’s servers, Area 1 said.

“The attacks were successful,” said Oren Falkowitz, a co-founder of Area 1, who previously served at the National Security Agency. Mr. Falkowitz’s firm maintains a network of sensors on web servers around the globe — many known to be used by state-sponsored hackers — which gives the firm a front-row seat to phishing attacks, and allows them to block attacks on their customers.

“The timing of the Russian campaign mirrors the G.R.U. hacks we saw in 2016 against the D.N.C. and John Podesta,” the Clinton campaign chairman, Mr. Falkowitz said. “Once again, they are stealing email credentials, in what we can only assume is a repeat of Russian interference in the last election.”

from the Area 1 website: To help free U.S. elections from malicious phishing attacks, Area 1 now offers federal candidates and political committees the world’s most comprehensive, preemptive anti-phishing solution – at little to no cost.

Help prevent cyberattacks against your campaign. Contact today for a demo.

from the Washington Examiner: Nowhere in the New York Times story nor the Washington Post’s is it mentioned that Falkowitz is providing services to Democrats running for president at no charge. He told me on the phone that Area 1 is charging any candidate $1,337 per year, but campaign donation records show that he donated that exact same amount to the presidential campaigns of Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker. (Falkowitz also gave money to Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy and Republicans Will Hurd and John Kasich, though both Kasich and Hurd have been Trump critics.)

Nothing like an "expert" hawking product sales and chasing publicity...

About half of the major 2020 presidential candidates are now using Area 1’s services, according to Falkowitz. He says the company has already blocked attempts by foreign governments to break into campaigns’ networks — although he won’t divulge many details.

...or is the "plot" even MORE sinister:

Yesterday’s ridiculous, albeit proactive, New York Times narrative about Russians hacking Burisma now makes sense. Today the Lawfare team (Mary McCord et al) within Adam Schiff’s impeachment crew send additional files of evidence (pdf below) to be included in the impeachment articles constructed by HJC Chairman Jerry Nadler.

I wonder if Area 1 would like to have the Biden 2020 cybersecurity contract...

Meanwhile, in the real world, stupid is as stupid does. Nobody should take these fools seriously.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

2020 - It's Not a Good Time to be a Progressive... no longer pays to put on a sheep-skin and become a part of the "salaried bourgeoisie." Better to learn a trade and fend for yourself as an independent self-employed contractor than to become part of the 0.1% who earn a corporate CEO's surplus salary.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

What a White Democratic Nominee Means in 2020

The smart move for Democrats would be to boost Hispanic/Asian voter turnout with an Asian/Hispanic Presidential/VP ticket. The turnout upside (vs. Black's) is double. Yang/Castro 2020!