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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
November 29, 2019

Joseph Stiglitz : The end of neoliberalism and the rebirth of history

For 40 years, elites in rich and poor countries alike promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. Now that the evidence is in, is it any wonder that trust in elites and confidence in democracy have plummeted?


At the end of the Cold War, the political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a celebrated essay called ‘The end of history?’. Communism’s collapse, he argued, would clear the last obstacle separating the entire world from its destiny of liberal democracy and market economies. Many people agreed. Today, as we face a retreat from the rules-based, liberal global order, with autocratic rulers and demagogues leading countries that contain well over half the world’s population, Fukuyama’s idea seems quaint and naive. But it reinforced the neoliberal economic doctrine that has prevailed for the last 40 years. The credibility of neoliberalism’s faith in unfettered markets as the surest road to shared prosperity is on life-support these days. And well it should be. The simultaneous waning of confidence in neoliberalism and in democracy is no coincidence or mere correlation. Neoliberalism has undermined democracy for 40 years.

Out of control

The form of globalisation prescribed by neoliberalism left individuals and entire societies unable to control an important part of their own destiny, as Dani Rodrik of Harvard University has explained so clearly, and as I argue in my recent books Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited and People, Power, and Profits. The effects of capital-market liberalisation were particularly odious: if a leading presidential candidate in an emerging market lost favour with Wall Street, the banks would pull their money out of the country. Voters then faced a stark choice: give in to Wall Street or face a severe financial crisis. It was as if Wall Street had more political power than the country’s citizens. Even in rich countries, ordinary citizens were told, ‘You can’t pursue the policies you want’—whether adequate social protection, decent wages, progressive taxation or a well-regulated financial system—‘because the country will lose competitiveness, jobs will disappear, and you will suffer’.

In rich and poor countries alike, elites promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. To get there, though, workers would have to accept lower wages, and all citizens would have to accept cutbacks in important government programs. The elites claimed that their promises were based on scientific economic models and “evidence-based research.” Well, after 40 years, the numbers are in: growth has slowed, and the fruits of that growth went overwhelmingly to a very few at the top. As wages stagnated and the stock market soared, income and wealth flowed up, rather than trickling down. How can wage restraint – to attain or maintain competitiveness – and reduced government programs possibly add up to higher standards of living? Ordinary citizens felt like they had been sold a bill of goods. They were right to feel conned.

We are now experiencing the political consequences of this grand deception: distrust of the elites, of the economic “science” on which neoliberalism was based, and of the money-corrupted political system that made it all possible. The reality is that, despite its name, the era of neoliberalism was far from liberal. It imposed an intellectual orthodoxy whose guardians were utterly intolerant of dissent. Economists with heterodox views were treated as heretics to be shunned, or at best shunted off to a few isolated institutions. Neoliberalism bore little resemblance to the “open society” that Karl Popper had advocated. As George Soros has emphasized, Popper recognized that our society is a complex, ever-evolving system in which the more we learn, the more our knowledge changes the behavior of the system.


November 27, 2019

The Federal Trust : The Brexit Election: Not all outcomes are equally bad


Jeremy Corbyn has rarely in recent decades feared political controversy. On issues such as Ireland, the Middle East, NATO, income redistribution and renationalisation, he has advocated with candour and persistence views that have been unattractive, even shocking to many electors. Many of his supporters thereby hail him as a “conviction politician,” contrasting him favourably with his New Labour predecessors, tainted as they were by compromise and equivocation in the search for electoral advantage. On the central question of Brexit, however, the Leader of the Opposition has struck since 2016 a notably different tone. His policy on Brexit has been by turns vague, mutable, self-contradictory and utopian. Even more strikingly, he has presented himself as seeking compromise to heal divisions on the issue within British society. This supposedly statesmanlike and pragmatic approach culminated in Corbyn’s recent declaration that in the event of a further European referendum held by a government he headed, he would personally remain neutral, as a reassurance to the electorate that he would faithfully carry out its final decision.

While some faithful adherents have hailed this promised Corbynite neutrality as a strategic master-stroke, others have seen it as a final and desperate attempt at compromise between Corbyn’s personal Euroscepticism and the pro-Remain attitudes of the great majority of his party and voters. It is indeed extraordinary that the Leader of the Opposition should enter this General Election holding a position of avowed neutrality on the greatest political, economic and constitutional question of the day. The strangeness of this stance is underlined yet further by the intriguing prospect of the Labour Party’s renegotiating in government the present Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, and then holding a referendum, in which Corbyn would not support the renegotiated text and many of his Ministers would actively campaign against it. There is a striking symmetry between the predicaments of Corbyn and David Cameron. Cameron wanted to stay in the European Union, but his party would not allow him to do so. Corbyn wants to leave the European Union but is also held back by his party. Botched attempts to manage their recalcitrant parties by circumscribed party leaders have been a recurrent and damaging aspect of the entire Brexit tragi-comedy.

Tactical voting

The prominent Brexit commentator Chris Grey’s sense of frustration on watching the ITV debate between Boris Johnson and Corbyn will have been shared by many. But those still hoping to put a spoke in the wheels of Brexit on 12th December would be ill-advised to resort to wishing an equal plague on both the Conservative and Labour houses. Whatever the inadequacies and implausibility of Corbyn’s personal position, the arguments in favour of tactical voting, calibrated to the needs of individual constituencies, are still overwhelming for Remainers. In many, perhaps most constituencies, a rational tactical vote will be a vote for Labour. The objective consequences for Brexit of a Conservative government will be different to those flowing from a non-Conservative government. A Corbyn-led minority government would be far from ideal in the minds of many, probably most Remainers. But it would be a considerable improvement on the Johnsonian alternative.

A number of websites have been set up providing detailed recommendations for tactical voting in individual constituencies. These recommendations occasionally vary, reflecting different polling data and divergent analyses of local circumstances. This occasional variation in no way undermines the general principle and efficacy of tactical voting on 12th December. The First Past the Post system sometimes makes it difficult, or even impossible to vote tactically with any assurance of success in every constituency. But it cannot be denied that if anti-Brexiteers vote throughout the country for the party most likely to defeat the Conservative Party in their seat, then nationally it will be much more difficult for Johnson to win a majority in the House of Commons.

November 27, 2019

Pete called Michael Harriot about the scathing article & they actually had a productive conversation


Pete Buttigieg Called Me. Here's What Happened


The first thing you should know about me is that I absolutely hate talking on the phone. My friends, family and co-workers all know this about me. It’s not the talking that bothers me, it’s the anticipation angst from waiting for a phone call. Therapy and self-reflection have informed me that my subconscious anxiety is fueled by the fact that I’ve received news of personal and family tragedies via telephone. Also, talking bothers me. The second thing you should know about me is that I will fight.

I don’t enjoy fighting. I don’t even fight very well. In fact, if I combined my amateur fist-fighting record, my jiu-jitsu sparring, all of my slap-boxing exhibitions, and the time Zevalon Jackson slapped me for talking smack while running a Boston on her in spades, my winning percentage is well below .500. But I believe fisticuffs are a legitimate way to settle disputes while arguments are usually pointless exercises to get one party to proclaim why the other party is wrong. I’d rather you beat me up.

So when I received a text message from South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign about an article I wrote, I genuinely hoped that he was going to send four or five of his thugs over to rough me up and that would be it. (And if you don’t believe there are Pete Buttigieg supporters out there willing to throw hands, then you probably aren’t on Twitter. I think they should call themselves the “Pete Patrol.” Or the “Buttigang.”)

I figured one of his surrogates would argue with me for a few minutes and I could continue my day trying to be a thorn in the side of white supremacy (The third thing you should know is that I actually keep a small photo of the mouse from Pinky and the Brain beside my bed that says: “What are you going to do today, Michael?” The answer is always the same: “Fuck with white people.”)

Luckily, as soon as I agreed to take a phone call, the phone rang. The voice sounded vaguely familiar and I knew it wasn’t a surrogate or a campaign volunteer when the person said: “I don’t think I’ve ever been called a ‘lying motherfucker’ before.”

It was Pete Buttigieg.

Well, I thought. Maybe he does want to fight.........

November 25, 2019

Bloomberg Says He Regrets Marijuana Remarks (2002, he said he enjoyed getting high)


By Jennifer Steinhauer
April 10, 2002

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that he regretted making an off-the-cuff comment about his marijuana use that led to a full-page advertisement, and he demurred when asked if he believed the drug should be legalized for medical use.

He commented as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation began a $500,000 advertising campaign featuring the mayor responding to the question of whether he had ever tried marijuana by saying: ''You bet I did. And I enjoyed it.''

The quotation came from an interview Mr. Bloomberg gave to New York magazine last year before he announced he was running for mayor. Among the advertisements was a full-page one in The New York Times yesterday. ''What I said back then was the truth,'' Mr. Bloomberg said during a news conference in the Blue Room at City Hall.

''In terms of, I had, certainly when I was younger, as I suppose most people in my generation, experimented. I never lie, so if somebody asked me a question, I told them. Do I, in retrospect, wish I didn't say it that day so they couldn't quote it? Of course.'' The mayor said that he was ''a believer that we should enforce the laws, and I do not think that decriminalizing marijuana is a good idea.''

November 22, 2019

Dead Kennedys - Bleed For Me (Target Video Studios, Live, San Francisco, CA 1981)

Alternative Tentacles ?– VIRUS 23
Vinyl, 7", Single
Hardcore, Punk

Jello Biafra – lead vocals, artwork
East Bay Ray – guitar, backing vocals, producer
Klaus Flouride – bass, backing vocals
D.H. Peligro – drums

November 22, 2019

Jonathan Pie : Election 2019: Week 3

This weeks election highlights include Demonic Raab being an utter arsehole...along with all the other Tories.

For tickets to see Jonathan Pie: FAKE NEWS go to https://www.jonathanpie.com
November 22, 2019

This Job Will Pay You $3,000 a Month to Smoke Weed


This job might be right up your alley if you're squinting at the screen like Jim Breuer in Half Baked and thinking, "Man, I'd do that for free." A marijuana review site, AmericanMarijuana.org, is looking to hire a reviewer. You can imagine that there are perks that come with the gig. The position pays up to $36,000 a year and free samples, including "weed strains, vapes, edibles," and CBD oils, are absolutely part of the job.

It's not just some free cash and grass, though. The company wants someone who "can smoke" and has "extensive knowledge" around the marijuana market. Also, of course, you'll have to live in Canada or one of the select US states where the drug is currently legal.

Though, don't expect insurance or other perks of a normal full-time job. You'll be considered an independent contractor. However, $3,000 per month could make for a lucrative side gig. "This job is 100 percent for real, and it's an important job that includes more than just getting paid to smoke weed," the job description attests. "If you think that's the entire scope of the job, then this might not be for you." It continues to say that it wants someone who can "give our readers honest and reliable insights on various cannabis products."

Editor in Chief Dwight K. Blake tells Thrillist that the company has received more than 3,000 applications over the last 48 hours. So, there's going to be a little competition. But don't get too full of yourself. There's a car floating in space that should remind you not to underestimate someone just because they've had a little pot.


November 21, 2019

New Iowa St./Civiqs (NR) IA Poll: Pete 26, Warren 19, Sanders 18, Biden 12, Klobuchar 5, Yang 4


Warren slipping as Buttigieg continues to surge


AMES, Iowa – Support for Sen. Elizabeth Warren has dropped by nearly 10% over the past month, according to the latest Iowa State University/Civiqs poll of Democratic presidential candidates. At the same time, the percentage of likely Iowa caucus-goers who do not want Warren to get the nomination jumped by 5%.

This shift has helped propel Mayor Pete Buttigieg to the top of the poll, with 26% of those surveyed selecting Buttigieg as their top choice. Warren is in second with 19%. Support for Sen. Bernie Sanders (18%) and former Vice President Joe Biden (12%) did not change since the last poll in October. Dave Peterson, a professor and Whitaker Lindgren faculty fellow in political science, organizes the poll.

“Warren has seen heightened scrutiny this past month, while Buttigieg has received mostly positive attention,” Peterson said. “A little over 60% of the people who supported Warren in October still support her now, and those who switched went to Buttigieg.”

The online poll of 614 likely Democratic caucus-goers, conducted Nov. 15-19, asked voters to name their first and second choices, and also list candidates they do not want to get the nomination. Peterson says a majority of the respondents have been interviewed each month, which shows how voter preference is shifting and could continue to change leading up to the Iowa caucus.


November 21, 2019

Fuck Rethug Conway, pure gaslighting, painting any & all opposition to fracking as Russian agitprop

during the hearings just now

What an utterly disingenuous piece of shite

November 20, 2019

Gordon Sondland Has Completely Destroyed Every Trump Defense


The testimony of Donald Trump’s top Europe envoy Gordon Sondland today was so devastating to Donald Trump that former Bill Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr declared on Fox News that "it's over.” “We now know — this is his position — we now know that the president in fact committed the crime of bribery."

Sondland, who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, dismantled Trump and the GOP’s defense piece by piece, providing conclusive evidence that the president tried to bribe the Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden and his son. There was a quid pro quo. All orders came directly from Trump. Everyone close to Trump knew about it. The Ukrainians were aware of it.

Sondland, who decided to revise his previous closed door testimony, did not even need prompting. “Was there a ‘quid pro quo?’” he said in his opening remarks to the House Intelligence Committee. “The answer is yes.” Sondland directly implicated Rudy Giuliani, and stated unequivocally that Giuliani was acting directly on behalf of the president:

“Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma,” Sondland stated. “Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew these investigations were important to the President.”

Sondland’s brutal testimony


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Member since: Sun Jul 1, 2018, 06:25 PM
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