Brexit & the Madness of the ‘Sovereign Individual’

Daniel Lazare analyzes the Trump-Bojo attacks on democracy and equality.

Mosaic pavement showing what could be a Vandal cavalryman, excavated near Carthage.
(British Museum/Wikimedia Commons)

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

It’s tempting to describe President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and their ilk as the new Vandals.  But that would be unfair to the old Vandals, fifth-century Germanic tribesmen who defeated Rome, established a trans-Mediterranean empire, stabilized the economy, and, despite the bad rap they’ve gotten over the years, patronized learning and culture.

The new Vandals, on the other hand, seem interested in one thing only: spreading chaos. With their doughy bodies and similar hairdos, Trump and Johnson came across as a latter-day Gog and Magog as they praised one another to the skies at this weekend’s G-7 conference in Biarritz and promised all sorts of mutually beneficial trade deals.

While Trump engages in a war of words with everyone from Denmark to Iran, Johnson is threatening to storm out of the European Union even though the likely result will be economic havoc and, in Northern Ireland, a return of the low-grade civil war that killed and wounded some 50,000 people over the course of three decades. Somewhere, somehow, there must be a method to their madness.  But what can it be?

The answer may lie in the 1997 bestseller The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age.”  Written by popular stock analyst James Dale Davidson and former Financial Times editor William Rees-Mogg, it’s basically a primer on how to profit from the coming politico-economic apocalypse.

What makes it oddly prescient, as publications ranging from the Guardian to The New European have pointed out, is lineage.  William Rees-Mogg is the father of Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons and Britain’s best-known advocate for a “hard Brexit” after BoJo himself, as Johnson is popularly known. 

Visiting the sins of the father on the son is usually unfair.  But their ideas are so close in this instance it seems appropriate.  The elder Rees-Mogg, who died in 2012, was not just a free-marketeer and an opponent of the EU, but a Catholic convert of such arch-reactionary views that he favored the long-banned Latin mass because it is associated with opposition to such radical upstarts as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. 

His son, a latter-day Bertie Wooster, the fictional creation of P.G. Wodehouse known for his double-breasted suits and upper-class drawl, goes even further.  Not only does he champion the Latin mass, but he named one of his six children after the staunchly royalist Earl of Stafford, beheaded by Puritan revolutionaries in 1641.  When a critic dubbed him “the member of parliament for the early twentieth century,” he replied that the twentieth century was too modern for his tastes and that he’d rather be known as “the member for the early eighteenth century.”

Upper-Class Caricature

In short, an upper-class caricature of the sort that only England can produce.  But where Tories are forever promising to turn back the clock, they have never actually done so by “a single second,” as the satirist Evelyn Waugh once pointed out. So, what’s this phony Neo-medievalism really about?  “The Sovereign Individual” may provide a clue.

Basically, the book is not only an ode to the coming apocalypse but an extended assault on the 20th-century nation-state. That is something that people fought and died for but which Davidson and Rees-Mogg père associate with high taxes, burdensome regulation, and the pain and torture of having to do what other people tell them to.  Hence, its demise is to be welcomed since it will unleash a revolutionary new force, that of the unchained individual.  “The new Sovereign Individual,” they write, “will operate like the gods of myth in the same physical environment as the ordinary, subject citizen but in a separate realm politically.  Commanding vastly greater resources and beyond the reach of many forms of compulsion, the Sovereign Individual will redesign government and reconfigure economies in the new millennium.”

With “much of the world’s commerce … migrat[ing] into the new realm of cyberspace,” the book goes on, the old “nation-state, with all its pretensions, will starve to death as its tax revenues decline.”  Democracy, which “flourished as a fraternal twin of Communism precisely because it facilitated unimpeded control of resources by the state,” will likewise wither away.  So will hoary old concepts like “equal protection under the law” that rest on “power relations that are soon to be obsolete.” 

Jacob Rees-Mogg debating at the Cambridge Union Society in 2012. (Cantab12, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

“With income-earning capacity more highly skewed than in the industrial era, jurisdictions will tend to cater to the needs of those customers whose business is most valuable and who have the greatest choice of where to bestow it,” Davidson and Rees-Mogg continue.  “Like Spengler,” they add, “we see the impending death of Western civilization, and with it the collapse of the world order that has predominated these past five centuries, ever since Columbus sailed west to open contact with the New World.  Yet unlike Spengler we see the birth of a new stage in Western civilization in the coming millennium.” 

Not only will democracy and equality go out the window, in other words, they should go out the window – the quicker the better so that a new utopia can settle in.

Brexit Riding to the Rescue

Rhetoric like this used to be common back in the halcyon 1990s.  But once it became clear that neoliberalism and greed-is-good individualism would lead to economic polarization, financial instability, and permanent warfare in the Middle East, the old ideology lost its shine.  But now Brexit is riding to its rescue by creating the chaos that is its essential prerequisite.

With its royal family, bewigged judge, and ancient parliament, the United Kingdom appears increasingly likely that it will not be able to withstand the stresses and strains of a hard Brexit.  The chief culprit is the increasingly explosive debate over where to place the hard borders that Brexit will inevitably create. 

At bottom the debate is quite simple.  BoJo wants to place it in between the Irish Republic and U.K.-ruled Northern Ireland where a current EU-supervised frictionless border now exists. Fears that cutting off Northern Ireland in this way will lead to a rebirth of “the Troubles” are unfounded, he adds, because an array of hi-tech monitoring devices will render it no less easily crossable.  “If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969,” he argues with characteristic blitheness, “we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border.”

But it’s a pipedream for the simple reason that, as Hettie O’Brien observes in the New Statesman, monitoring some 110 million crossings per year will require a degree of British government surveillance that both sides will find intolerable.  Thus hard borders mean just what they suggest, i.e. a hard reality of border posts and customs checks, not to mention smuggling and gun running.  

But there’s another alternative: creating a hard border not on land but along the Irish Sea, with Ireland – the island, that is – on one side and Great Britain on the other.  The advantage is that patrolling a few seaports is a lot easier than policing some “300 miles of lanes and cart tracks,” as Jenkins describes it.  The disadvantage, at least as far as London is concerned, is that locking two Irish jurisdictions in a single customs union under EU auspices will bring Belfast closer to Dublin and hence to Brussels, the EU capital, as well.  With 56 percent of Northern Irish voting against Brexit and 60 percent in favor of continuation of the customs status quo, economic union will eventually give way to a political union, which means that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will cease to exist.

Westminster Palace, aka Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben, at night. (Maurice via Flickr)

Westminster Palace, aka Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben, at night. (Maurice via Flickr)

A Traumatized England

Irish nationalists, who have advocated such a solution for more than a century, will rejoice. But what are the implications for Britain? With Scotland voting to remain in the EU by an even greater margin – 68 to 32 – it means that it might also throw in its lot with Brussels. If so, a traumatized England will be reduced to a hard-right rump seething in anger at Ireland and Scotland for leaving it in the lurch.  With leftists in disarray and extreme nationalists in the saddle, what’s left of the welfare state will disappear as England positions itself as the low-wage alternative to an over-regulated EU.

It’s not hard to imagine the reaction on the other side of the Atlantic.  Trump will rub his hands in glee as a liberal nation-state bites the dust. Then he’ll go on the prowl for fresh opportunities abroad.

Perhaps he can persuade Hong Kong to separate from China.  Maybe Hungarian-speakers will break away from Romania under U.S. influence and throw in their lot with Budapest.  Perhaps Greenland will separate from Denmark and sell itself to the U.S..  With the capital city of Nuuk growing positively balmy thanks to global warming, Trump may be able to fill it with glittering high-rises after all.

Daniel Lazare is the author of “The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy” (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics.  He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at

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56 comments for “Brexit & the Madness of the ‘Sovereign Individual’

  1. HLT
    August 31, 2019 at 20:10

    “BoJo wants to place it in between the Irish Republic and U.K.-ruled Northern Ireland where a current EU-supervised frictionless border now exists. Fears that cutting off Northern Ireland in this way will lead to a rebirth of “the Troubles” are unfounded, he adds, because an array of hi-tech monitoring devices will render it no less easily crossable. “If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969,” he argues with characteristic blitheness, “we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border.”” BoJo does not understand the implications such an arrangement has for the EU because there is still the WTO which demands “no discrimination” and if the EU treats third party country UK after a no-deal brexit in such a way, then all other EU-bordering countries such as Russia or Marocco can demand to be treated equally, thus the EU has to control those border with “an array of hi-tech monitoring devices”which will render those border also easily crossable. That would mean all EU borders would effectively be open and there is no way the EU would embark on any such experiment, thus BoJo’s idea is totally unrealistic but they don’t understand that or don’t want to understand that in Westminster. However, here on the continent we have more or less given up on the UK, if they long so desparetely to live in some kind of North Korea with BoJo as eternal leader, good luck to them, but they should not mess with us incl. the Republic of Ireland, we will defend them, and there is huge Irish diaspora in the US which will also look after the interests of the Republic.

  2. OlyaPola
    August 29, 2019 at 03:40
  3. OlyaPola
    August 29, 2019 at 02:08


    Many view madness as a pejorative.

    Some hold that testing hypotheses are beneficial, whilst some others are increasing their bets at the roulette table since they think they are “the house”.

  4. Abe
    August 28, 2019 at 12:50

    “Johnson and his cabinet of like-minded Rule Britannia ministers have been championing the no-deal Brexit option. They believe that Britain post-Brexit will somehow be reinvented as a new global free-trading power.

    “Disingenuously, Johnson then added: ‘But I say to our friends in the EU if they don’t want a no-deal Brexit then we have got to get rid of the [Irish] backstop from the treaty.’

    “This is putting a gun to heads.

    “What the British prime minister is setting up here is an extortion racket. He is demanding that the EU repudiate the agreement already negotiated with May and the provisions for an open border in Ireland – and if Brussels doesn’t cede to his demands then London will effectively default on its £39bn divorce debt.

    “Brussels has hit back with a warning that London must ‘honor its debts’ if there are to be further talks about a future trade relationship with the bloc. The EU is Britain’s biggest trading partner with about half of all of its exports and imports deriving from European states.

    “One would think therefore that Britain is in no position to play hard ball with the EU given its future trading and economic needs. But what the unscrupulous Johnson seems to be doing is using the danger of political instability in Ireland as a form of blackmail on the EU.

    “If Brussels doesn’t give him what he wants, then London is pocketing the £39bn it owes to the EU, and also is prepared to risk a hard Brexit. A hard acrimonious, crash-out from the EU will inevitably mean the return to a hard border in Ireland from the setting up of customs controls. The EU will be obliged to protect the integrity of its single market by not allowing British goods to be transported freely into the EU via the Republic of Ireland. However, the acute dilemma for Brussels will be that it is liable to be accused of jeopardizing peace in Ireland by doing so. Johnson seems to be betting on the EU being intimidated by his recklessness.”

    Perfidious Albion… Johnson Threatens EU With Debt Default
    By Finian Cunningham

  5. Antonio Costa
    August 28, 2019 at 11:55

    My observations on BREXIT are that a referendum was voted on to leave. Like so much, intent is always mixed. I believe Jeremy Corbyn and various socialist have supported leaving the EU. There is, in my opinion, a compelling reason to leave from a “left” socialist perspective. Low wage labor fits into the EU, neoliberal rule book, and so would seem to be an obvious choice for leftists. However the politics got “hijacked” by the right (of course those who make the loudest, consistent claims frequently own the political positions, and so too the right). That hijack meant the media message (pro-EU) was to condemn BREXIT as an anti-immigrant/racist move. The elites have not stopped condemning BREXIT from day one.

    It all makes for strange bedfellows. The socialist position is a labor position, and one that sees the EU as a neoliberal beech head, and one that pulls the rug from sovereign democracy. Britain has never been an especially European player as an island nation the geography has played a role. Britain also never embraced the Euro which one would think give them some economic sovereignty. Still there are treaties which can be a real entanglement to work through. Other European nations have avoided the EU ensnarement without seemingly negative impact. The EU is an anti-sovereignty and global economic force. And as such their enforcement of austerity are certainly oligarchic in nature.

    Still Britain’s BREXIT is muddy in terms of intention.

    Scotland is an interesting case in point. A few years ago the Scots voted to escape British rule, to secede from the UK (independence!!). Some compromises were made and the popular vote went the way of sating. Scotland, a more liberal/left nation, does have the EU stay bug. Scotland has significant oil reserves and that offers some political flavor. Scotland also is dependent on British pound/sterling which was tossed out as a threat to scare the populous from voting to secede. And so it went.

    Ireland has some other tugs in their quasi split nation.

    My point is that I see a compelling reason to leave the EU, retain trade and other agreements, while assuring a sovereign democracy. The fact that this has been taken over by the right/Tories clutters how this could end.

  6. DH Fabian
    August 27, 2019 at 18:34

    Just a side issue, I suppose, but could we please stop pretending there’s support for “equality?” Most want advantages, not equality. Over 20 years ago, Democrats stripped those left jobless of the most basic human rights (UN’s UDHR) to food and shelter, and this has maintained the implicit support of liberals. Now think about that. Those who are not of current use to employers (the capitalist state) are no longer even considered humans, qualified for the most basic human rights protections. Equality? That concept has no relevance in today’s America.

    • TC
      August 29, 2019 at 02:45

      Side issue? Completely unrelated….I’m sure there’s another story where your comment might be relevant but it’s not this one.

    • OlyaPola
      September 1, 2019 at 14:35

      ” That concept has no relevance in today’s America.”

      and today’s “America” has decreasing relevance in today’s world, despite “America’s” beliefs and myths to the contrary, which are increasingly being subject to testing by many in today’s world, although such efforts are often ignored/misrepresented by/to “Americans”.

      Please continue in your self-absorption and beliefs derived therefrom.

  7. Northern Observer
    August 27, 2019 at 13:51

    Given that Northern Ireland and Scotland are net takers from other sections of the UK, maybe threats of secession are a tad hollow.
    I also love how in these interminable remoaner narratives, the future victims of republican Irish violence, the people of the UK, are blamed up front like some battered wife who just refused to go along wit wot paddy wanted, you know ow he gets now begeezuz.

    I know this site is in love with the evil oligarch narrative of world history but Europe is not America and the respective elites are different. Europeans really do suffer from that nobless oblige disease.
    I think if you want true brexit insight you need to read Dominic Cummings musings and his essay on education.

    Basically given current trends, political size has ceased to be the be all and end all that is has been and can now be viewed as an impediment, quality is more important than ever before and UK institutions under the paternalism of the EU have become indolent and complacent. Better to go it alone and innovate. You can always argue with the hypothesis but it is not something to simply be dismissed with the back of the hand. If you now think that the socialist revolution will never come, or is a sham to begin with then it makes sense. And given the EUs 40 year track record …. I leave the rest to you, gentle viewer.

    • Abe
      August 28, 2019 at 16:21

      I know this commenter is in love with the “nobless oblige [sic]” narrative, and moans how the diseased oligarch “really do suffer”.

      “net takers”

      I love how the “UK institutions” will somehow marvelously cease to be “indolent and complacent”, will miraculously “innovate” and shower the universe with “quality” if they can only manage to escape the “impediment” of EU “paternalism”.

      This “go it alone” sham “hypothesis” is more than a tad hollow now begeezus.

  8. nondimenticare
    August 27, 2019 at 12:38

    In voting for Brexit, the people were voting against the devil they knew and protesting the neoliberal-induced decline in their standard of living. The result is that they are caught in a Hobson’s choice: subjection to an imperfect European Union or abject subjection to a far more imperfect U.S. With slimy leaders (excluding the maligned Corbyn), there is no autonomy in sight.

    • Seamus Padraig
      August 28, 2019 at 06:30

      They’re already subject to the US. That was never up for a vote. Heard of NATO?

      • nondimenticare
        August 28, 2019 at 14:43

        Of course, you’re right. However, the EU – destructive as it is, neoliberal as it is – operated as an (admittedly) small brake on some of the worst US positions – on trade, agriculture, etc. But, yes, England has been in cahoots with the US for years, through NATO and otherwise. (Some say its “poodle,” though I would never underestimate the historical and ongoing evil of MI5 and MI6 and others basking in the tatters of British Empire thought).

  9. August 27, 2019 at 11:44

    If democracy is meaningful, its is as the core idea of rule by consent – in which people have a voice in matters than concern them – as well as an education in the ability to inform themselves and make real choices.
    This is the opposite of the direction of a technocracy that increasingly undermines and replaces individual freedom of association and discovery – (an individual is never a man or woman taken out of relation – that is egocentricity).
    A false identity and source of seeming power is generated over and against perceived and believed evils – which may expand from generalisations such a poverty or disease or the end of the world – but then expand to anyone holding ideas that are framed dissonant by a mass compliance and conformity under such deceits of negative incentive or positive ‘escape’ as can be enforced by those with influence and agency over anyone without it and who is generally trained to comply.

    I feel that if a meaningful debate is to be engaged – that is fair and democratic in its nature – all ad hom comments should be held to the account of their maker and not their target as a matter of course.
    To attack another for their class is the same as for their gender or colour or nationality – it is simply a false flag by which to call on a ‘fan base’ of an identity politic.

    Identity politics is the fragmentation of Consciousness as a whole – that I associate individuality as an expression OF. But you are free to give and receive identity where you see fit.

    The idea of Sovereign was originally a derivative of the Gods or God that provided an archetype from which order was held over feared chaos. My sense of mythic history is that extremity of terror is in our beginnings – and is largely covered over by a fragmented personality construct that has both personal and collective aspects. After all the writer of the article is inserting their own version of the authors as a normalcy of thought – and reacting as if it is fact! We all do this much of the time. It is associated with judgement – by which to ‘cast out’ unwanted or hated and feared self so as to attack it there and seem to have escaped to a point of being set over – at least in thought that leak to form emotional reactions running as if true.

    However our conception and experience of gods to God to Soul to Psyche to mind to neural network in a brain resulting from ‘random mutations of an algorithm of persisting by replication’ is itself an example a development of our accepted idea as to who and what we are. The dominant theme of ‘post truth politics’ as the era of the psyop, is of making reality by narrative control – under the mask of fairness that operates quite to the contrary if straying from a top down manipulated ‘consensus’.

    The idea of fairness and justice is indeed central to a balanced and sane existence – but its usurpation by negatively or fear defined grievance given power as a proxy to undermine and plunder what remains is simply whatever lie ‘works’ to ensure the ‘sustainability’ of a corruption of thought in which one is a captive investment and hence too big to fail.

    Whatever ideologies have competed in the past for allegiance, none are to be permitted but that of state mandate – as an extension of cartels corporate influence that are themselves dependent on financial and legal frameworks protected by force of arms.

    perhaps none can openly declare against an overwhelming power of broad spectrum dominance that didn’t need to steal the kingdom when it can regulate its money and energy supply – and increasingly the frame of its thinking.

    I see brexit as a psyop – at which desire for freedom (from an innately undemocratic subjection that is mostly by way of contractual laws or ‘deals’ drafted largely in secret by armies of lawyers under corporate jurisdiction and privilege) – is incited to rise in all kinds of guises – some of which are themselves set up and worked as variations of project fear. Once the effectively captive Media has established and used the headlines – it abandons them excepting as a framework of reference for a particular tooling.

    The idea of Sovereign Will – as I accept it – is never power over another because it is indivisible. To uncover this as our own is to yield up a false sense of possessive control to align and embody a true relational discernment. But deceit operates the sacrifice of freedom, to narrative dictate.

  10. Donald Duck
    August 27, 2019 at 08:52

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think it was Mahatma Gandhi when asked what he thought of British civilization. uttered the immortal put down: “I think it would be a good idea,” he said. Bearing in mind the way the British dealt with the Sepoy mutiny in 1857 which was dealt with by blowing the mutineers out of cannons and which the death toll due to the mutiny including the ensuing famine reached a colossal 800,000. Then there were side shows like the Amritsar massacre in 1918. Next, Ireland. In the words of Cromwell there was in Ireland ”not a decent tree to hang a man on.” Of course the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland are still going on to this very day, another gift of British imperialism (whoops, I men civilization). Then there were the opium wars in China, the Afghan wars and a string of colonial conflicts in Malaya, Aden, Cyrpus, Kenya, Palestine, Egypt and Sudan, and not forgetting the slave trade as tens if not hundreds of thousands of hapless Africans were shipped out of west Africa via Liverpool to the new world and many didn’t make it. They were simply thrown overboard as shark bait. There was also internal slavery in East Africa, Kenya and Uganda vividly described by Leonard Woolf in his magnum opus, ‘Empire and Commerce in Africa.’

    Let’s cut to the chase.These are the gifts of British ‘civilization’. It has been called ‘civilizing the ‘wogs’ by its apologists. I am British but I view with equanimity with the end of Britain. Good riddance

    • Northern Observer
      August 27, 2019 at 14:05

      And yet oddly more tranquil and just than the Empires that proceeded it – Mughal, Ottoman, Arabian, Songhai, Hausa, Aztec, Zulu, Mongol, Malmaduk, Qing, and on and on.

      Anti colonialist agit prop rests on two pillars – amnesia and shame. An amnesia about world history and an inducement of shame via a detailed recounting of European Empire’s atrocities in sadomasochistic detail without context, without comparison, without thought, just pure emotion. After all nationalism is a set of convenient lies designed to mold emotions – this does not change with melanin content – and anti colonial movements are nationalist movements.

      Read history, not just the books your Marxist professor told you are party approved. Lean what mankind is. Then come to condemn your ancestors. You will find that words fail you.

      • Donald Duck
        August 27, 2019 at 17:06

        ”And yet oddly more tranquil and just than the Empires that proceeded it – Mughal, Ottoman, Arabian, Songhai, Hausa, Aztec, Zulu, Mongol, Malmaduk, Qing, and on and on.”

        And how exactly do you measure this?

        Interesting to note that in your estimation British imperialism was more ‘tranquil’ than the others mentioned. It would appear that we now have ‘not too bad imperialism’ (Anglo-American) with really ‘very bad imperialism’. This of course gels with the view that the US/UK paper-thin justifications interventions around the world and mass murder, but of course these were motivated by sincere wishes to deliver freedom and democracy to those ‘lesser breeds without the law.’ (Rudyard Kipling). All very sad, particularly when Madeleine Albright thinks it was okay -‘worth it’ – the starve to death 500,000.00 children in Iraq by the use of sanctions in between the two gulf wars. Did Attila the Hun come close?

        Hey, do you know who are the most hated two countries in the world – look it up.

        And BTW. Cheap references to ‘Marxist Professors’ doesn’t add anything to your argument. Who were your professors exactly?

      • Josep
        August 27, 2019 at 18:30

        Yes, what the other empires did is reprehensible. But that doesn’t mean Britain is off the hook.

        Also, if you oppose anti-colonialism, then do you believe, for instance, that the USSR should not have split up? The USSR was an empire, wasn’t it?

  11. August 27, 2019 at 04:17

    The Latin Mass was never banned. An extreme form of the *Tridentine Mass* used at Econe and made into a talisman of fake ultra-orthodoxy was not allowed by the Vatican in the context of a new ecclesial administration initiated by Marcel Lefebvre. If you banned the Latin Mass and its offshoots, you could not have any performances of the Mozart requiem. The Catholic Church should be credited with more intelligence than that. Tradition has its place; but it is just that: tradition.

    • Zhu
      August 27, 2019 at 05:33

      Hong Kong jas lost its reason for existing, the British fleet. It will decline into a small town on the outskirts of Guangzhou, as it was 200 years ago.

  12. Zhu
    August 27, 2019 at 03:10

    These guys sound suspiciously like Libertarians and Randroids un the USA.

  13. bob
    August 27, 2019 at 02:41

    Funny, not one mention of the PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Abe
    August 26, 2019 at 23:05

    Mountains of evidence of pro-Israel Lobby vandalism still can’t tempt the Daniel Lazare to describe President Donald Trump as Prime Minister Boris Johnson as blunt instruments of Israel.

    Somewhere, somehow, there must be a method to the Trump-Bojo madness. But what, oh what can it be?

    Here are a few clues for the clueless Lazare:

    The European Union is Israel’s largest trading partner, but agencies like the European External Action Service (EEAS – the EU’s foreign ministry) and the European Commission (its executive branch), the officials charged with organizing policy options for the European Council – the heads of government of EU member states – are highly critical of Israeli policies.

    The EU has been particularly critical of Israeli military actions in the occupied Palestinian territories and Lebanon, often referring to them as “disproportionate” and “excessive force” and calling for an immediate cease-fire. During Israeli attacks in the West Bank in 2002 during the course of the Second Intifada, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for economic sanctions on Israel and an arms embargo on both parties. Following the 2008-2009 Gaza War, the European Parliament endorsed the Goldstone Report. The EU has also been critical of Israel’s Gaza blockade, referring to it as “collective punishment.”

    When Palestine was admitted to UNESCO as a full member in October 2011, eleven EU members voted in favour of Palestinian membership: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia, and Spain.

    A European Council decision in July 2012 declared that any upgrade in relations with Israel must be taken “in the context of … the resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict through the implementation of the two-state solution [and] the promotion of peace.” A more explicit European Council decision in December 2013 offered Israel enhanced access to European markets in exchange for Israeli agreement to a two-state solution.

    Israel has consistently rejected the fundamental Palestinian requirement of the 1967 borders as a baseline for a negotiated two-state settlement (which is supported by multiple United Nations resolutions and international law).

    In 2010, the European Court of Justice ruled that the “territorial scope” of all Israel-EU agreements is limited by Europe’s Association Agreement with the PLO, which gives it – not Israel – legal authority over the West Bank and Gaza.

    In 2012, the European Council followed suit, declaring that agreements with Israel must “unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.”

    In 2015, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for “differentiation between Israel and its activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory.”

    In addition, the EU generally supports Palestinian actions against Israel in United Nations agencies like the International Criminal Court.

    We can go on and on, but the fundamental point that eludes Mssr. Lazare is:

    The chaos is spreading in no small part because Brexit provides political and economic advantages to Israel while undermining the EU’s ability to oppose Israeli actions.

    In September 2018, Barry Grossman, Director of UK Trade & Investment at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, explained why Israel stands to benefit from Brexit.,7340,L-5102325,00.html

    “Since the Brexit referendum, the British government has declared that Israel is one of its priority markets.” said Grossman.” The UK is already Israel’s second largest trading partner in the world, and annual trade between the two countries is worth well over $7 billion.”

    Grossman noted that “Currently, trade between the UK and Israel is governed by an Association Agreement between the EU and Israel. Once the UK leaves the EU, in March 2019, that will no longer be the case, and the two countries will be free to determine the best deal for themselves.”

    Trump and Johnson are deep in the pockets of the pro-Israel Lobby, ensuring “the best deal” for Israel unconstrained by EU economic regulations or political considerations.

    • Abe
      August 27, 2019 at 10:34
    • guest
      August 27, 2019 at 14:34

      Jews have always sided with a king or government against the people unless the king or government was explicitly hostile to Jews. They expected protection from the unwashed masses in return for serving as tax farmers, financiers and advisors.

      • elmerfudzie
        August 27, 2019 at 16:35

        guest, were you responding to Abe? or the article itself? In any case, I’d like to make a few points here…Zionists are not necessarily Jews and Jews are not necessarily Zionists. There are indeed any number of banksters, corrupt politicians and NeoCon militarists who are practicing Zionists but have no theological foundation(s) or religious belief system built into their decision making. Many Zionists are atheists and freely admit they never read the first five books (Old Testament) or more specifically, the Torah, Talmudic writings and or studies. In the Christian mind (as I am), a Jew is one who holds fast to “biblical” teachings, applies them to daily living with a strong emphasis on education in the broadest sense of the word. This training embraces the accumulation of both formal studies and the cultural (diverse, personal, experiences). The formal and informal acquisition of knowledge is as important to Jews as much as sportsmanship is to the American psyche. What I mean to say is, the thirst for knowledge, the cultural emphasis on education thus, more often than not, leadership can get a “well groomed” Jew into all sorts of predicaments, false accusation and conundrum, again due in part to a disciplined upbringing, making them first among the avant-garde. Be it Hollywood to politics to spying and intrigue and this has precipitated antisemitism. This generalization can apply to any culture or ethnic group that instills both passion and learning into their youth. It can, in effect, become a witches brew for good or evil.

        To complicate matters, there are Zionists who are meticulous and diligent humanists as well as others who have no moral or ethical compass at all. There are non-Semitics “goyim” who are married to, or live in close quarters with, practicing Jews and find themselves obeying kosher and other Jewish laws. Further, a Jew is not a genetically distinctive set within humanity, this might be said of Icelanders, Eskimos, Brazilian tribes, other islanders such as the Hawaiian peoples pre-1800, or any other indigenous group yet to mingle with outside groups or tribes. This thesis concerning Jews and the “lack of specific genetic origin” has been proven, at length, by Professor Shomo Sand (Hebrew University) researcher and writer.

  15. Eddie S
    August 26, 2019 at 21:12

    Being a progressive lefty from the Midwest USA, and not a fan of US trade pacts like CAFTA, NAFTA, etc, nor overly interested in Brexit, I don’t pretend to be any kind of authority on it, but I sometimes get tired of the hyperbole when someone advocates leaving these pacts — it’s as if those countries will descend into economic chaos because of some tariffs. However, all these countries got along without these trade deals before and would rapidly adjust, rebuilding domestic industries, or —worst case scenario— pay 5 or 10% more for a few big ticket items.

    That being said, monarchists like the author described are a daft amusement— like geeks who wandered away from a cos-play convention. And I would take issue with the author’s attribution of ANY serious political policies to Trump —- he pretty much just sides with any suit who’s in the room and treats him deferentially.

    • Seamus Padraig
      August 27, 2019 at 08:10

      Exactly. When did the left start supporting ‘free’ trade? Hasn’t that positively killed the working class? Just sayin’ …

      • guest
        August 27, 2019 at 14:37

        The left will change its tactical arguments whenever it moves the ball down the field. Even if it contradicts dogma held only a few years earlier. Remember when the left wanted zero population growth in the US? Now they say we need immigrants or our economy will not grow, even though they also said that economic growth harms the environment.

      • Eddie S
        August 27, 2019 at 23:16

        Right. The unionized left was against the ‘free-trade’ euphemism since the beginning, since they recognized that it was a race-to-the-bottom, a corporate strategy to cut wages and get rid of unions.

  16. Ron
    August 26, 2019 at 19:58

    Sounds like the Sleez-Morgues are randites.

  17. Tom Kath
    August 26, 2019 at 19:28

    Everyone is complaining loudly about what they’ve got, but even more loudly about the prospect of change.

  18. elmerfudzie
    August 26, 2019 at 19:14

    Dan, good article but please allow me to view it from an entirely different perspective.

    In actuality, the political personages are not the real powers that be. To help unearth and explain the financial machinery running in the back ground, I chose three quotations from a few of our greatest presidents. This, to summarize the real underpinnings behind Brexit and even suggest a direct link of our USD reserve currency status and it’s relationship to global warmongering. Quote, “History records that the money changers (Federal Reserve Board) have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments (presently Russia, China, Iran, Libya, Syria among others) by controlling money and it’s issuance”, a quote from James Madison. “The Republican (party) leaders tell us economic laws-sacred, inviolable, unchangeable-cause panics (such as the 2007-2008 stock market crash) quote continues…which no one could prevent. But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving, oh! how relevant today i.e., downtown San Francisco, immigrant-worker shanty towns scattered just outside the city limits of many Florida retirement communities, the city of Liverpool- UK with rough sleepers and homeless and so on) the quote continues..We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings” End quote. This, in a speech FDR made in 1932. And last but not least, one of my favorites..”If the American people ever allow private banks (such as, Federal Reserve Boards’ money printing, IMF loans, World bank loans) to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations (those weapons industries and banking cartels in this century) … which grow up around them will deprive the people of all property (once again, so relevant to today’s housing market crash with countless mortgages under water)..quote continues….until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered” End quote- By President Thomas Jefferson.

    Further, the UK government has failed to stop public councils from issuing public contracts to corporations operating out of tax havens (Panama Papers), failed to introduce full transparency of back room deals and secret agreements between corporations and local governments, failed to create public registries of beneficial owners of companies/corporations, trusts and foundations. Now we can see what the hard Brexit is really all about; tax dodging, financial transaction secrecy, maintaining lax banking laws as opposed to the EU’s new and more stricter banking. The hard Brexit-eers must contend with new EU corporate tax structures, customs and value added taxes. Business buffs may wish to visit

    Oddly the richest Europeans are now heading to banks in the Reno Nevada area, and stashing huge sums of cash in the very last hangout for good old fashioned privacy! Now how’s about that one, Brexxit-eers!

    • CitizenOne
      August 26, 2019 at 23:45

      I agree with your alternative interpretation of the move towards Brexit. I also see the connections the author has drawn between the past and the present. I think both views are correct and are evidence that the age old ambitions of the wealthy will always be libertarian and anarchist facing government with claims that only the hard working wealthy people deserve to control the political apparatus of the government. Their ambitions will always be to dismantle government since they don’t need it and it takes money from their pockets.

      They have some powerful tools to sway voters such as using social media like Facebook to engage potential or likely pro Brexit voters by micro targeting these individuals with customized messages based on complex algorithms. Cambridge Analytica, the now defunct company had a heavy hand in both the Trump election and the vote on Brexit. Both of these votes were stunning to say the least. Social media has been used by the likes of Cambridge Analytica to purposefully sway the minds of targeted voters with custom messaging designed to create support. Combine that with a main stream media which is anything but liberal in its broadcast opinions and hopes to profit from manufacturing consent on a large scale in support of Brexit, BoJo and Trump and you have powerful tools for manipulating the masses.

      We should consider the case of Cambridge Analytica and its role in over 200 elections around the World which it claimed it operated on behalf of wealthy conservatives and their bids for favorable elections that resulted in victories.

      We should also consider shrinking media diversity through acquisitions and mergers which has resulted in the rise of conservative media controlled by a handful of media giants with an agenda and a bag full of propaganda designed to sway voters to their cause and the cause of their wealthy benefactors. Of course the media mega corporations need to constantly identify themselves, other media corporations and websites which they often own as hotbeds of liberalism which seek to destroy wealth by taxation with the ultimate goal of destroying capitalism.

      The goal of these Sovereign Individuals be they real humans or corporate “people” is to dismantle government, secure their fortunes against the pilfering of their piggy banks and the curtailment of profits based on government regulations. Of course they feel threatened by the EU with all of its restrictions and the potential to create the legal framework where their ambitions are handcuffed.

      Government laws that deprive them of more money are what they hate and they are motivated to reduce the threats to their bottom lines by any means. In the US, the conservatives have passed sweeping laws that have deregulated government policy and neutralized threats to profits. This can be seen by the administrations appointments to federal agencies, cabinet level positions and the Supreme Court all of which are sworn to dismantling what went before. It can also be seen in sweeping tax breaks for the wealthy.

      Every one of these Sovereign Individuals armed with bags full of cash are on the march to breakdown the fabric of government controlled society. Carving up the EU and creating fiefdoms where the wealthy can hoard away their riches free from scrutiny of the government be it EU or USA is the sole motivation.

      We have seen what happens next when large scale deregulation controlling business practices has always resulted in economic collapse. Here in the US, the deregulation of the banking industries led to the Savings and Loan crisis and the Banking crisis. It led to the implosion of Enron and the energy sector. Everywhere deregulation lands a win, collapse is around the corner. Looming environmental crises like Global Warming have taken a back seat as wealthy Sovereign Individuals lobby the government to relax or eliminate environmental regulations.

      The hands that hold the money are never interested in spending it for social objectives like curbing Global Warming. Instead they keep plowing their profits and in instances their loans into stock buybacks to preserve and inflate their wealth with money that traditionally flowed into research and capital projects to grow the business. The Sovereign Individuals at the top of corporate America and the World are only interested in increasing their wealth any way they can including cannibalizing the corporations they are in charge of.

      Deregulation is also the definition of Brexit. If the history is correct then economic collapse is around the corner for the Brits. It won’t be caused by the financial structure changes or the isolation of the Brits from the rest of the EU. It will come after the waves of deregulations which will surely follow on the heels of the new “freedoms” for Sovereign Individuals and their quest to get their hands on all the cash they can by whatever means they can.

      The Money Powers

      I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.

      Abraham Lincoln – In a letter written to William Elkin less than five months before he was assassinated.

      The money power preys on the nation in times of peace, and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces, as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes.

      Abraham Lincoln

      A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world – no longer a Government of free opinion no longer a Government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men….

      Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U.S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.

      Woodrow Wilson – In The New Freedom (1913)

      The fact is that there is a serious danger of this country becoming a pluto-democracy; that is, a sham republic with the real government in the hands of a small clique of enormously wealth men, who speak through their money, and whose influence, even today, radiates to every corner of the United States.

      William McAdoo – President Wilson’s national campaign vice-chairman, wrote in Crowded Years (1974)

      If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them, will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

      Thomas Jefferson

      The system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction… I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity… is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

      Thomas Jefferson

      I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.

      Thomas Jefferson

      … To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill [chartering the first Bank of the United States], have not, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution.

      Thomas Jefferson – in opposition to the chartering of the first Bank of the United States (1791).

      We have stricken the (slave) shackles from four million human beings and brought all laborers to a common level not so much by the elevation of former slaves as by practically reducing the whole working population, white and black, to a condition of serfdom. While boasting of our noble deeds, we are careful to conceal the ugly fact that by an iniquitous money system we have nationalized a system of oppression which,though more refined, is not less cruel than the old system of chattel slavery.

      Horace Greeley – (1811-1872) founder of the New York Tribune

      When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

        August 27, 2019 at 14:22

        Limiting the length of comments has become necessary.

      • elmerfudzie
        August 27, 2019 at 19:39

        CitizenOne, whow, what a diatribe! and accurate too… Poor old Abe Lincoln, may his soul be in heaven. He was murdered for one reason that everyone should not forget, the issuance of the greenback dollar, a financial instrument that kept the money changers at bay…Visit a brief summary this great president at

      • Anarcissie
        August 29, 2019 at 17:50

        Obviously the Ruling Class is not going to do away with the government. They need it to defend their swag. But, to the extent they can, they will privatize it, that is, take it away from democratic oversight and give it over to plutocracy and then — inevitably — to pure force.

  19. bevin
    August 26, 2019 at 19:01

    To conflate the popularity, among working class people in the British ‘rust belt’ -traditionally socialist heartlands- with Trumpery is inaccurate.
    So is this characterisation of the trial and execution of the “Earl of Stafford, beheaded by Puritan revolutionaries in 1641.” His sentence was signed by Charles I.
    Daniel ought to know better than to succumb to the cheap anti populism so prevalent in the capitalist media.

    • Daniel Lazare
      August 27, 2019 at 06:46

      Bevin: Of course, Charles signed the sentence. But he did so reluctantly under pressure from a Puritan-dominated Parliament.

  20. michael
    August 26, 2019 at 18:46

    Mark Blyth, a “political economist” gives a nice explanation of why neoliberalism, which benefited only the very wealthy and screwed over the vast majority of workers globally, has failed, leading to rapidly rising income inequality and populist responses such as BREXIT (I’m sure he has more in-depth coverage of BREXIT on Youtube but his overview gives better context):

  21. Jeff Harrison
    August 26, 2019 at 17:48

    All this angst because The West is having their unbridled power to unilaterally determine how the rest of the hoi polloi will live taken away from them.

  22. James Carroll
    August 26, 2019 at 17:13

    ” … and the pain and torture of having to do what other people tell them to …” No doubt Daniel Lazare laments this because he sees himself among the elites giving the orders. I suppose slave owners made similar statements about uppity blacks after the civil war.

  23. Rob Duffy
    August 26, 2019 at 16:55

    I’m a antiwar libertarian who often likes the content on progressive sites, but then articles like this one, a combination of good writing and bad thinking, delivered with the sneering condescension of one who thinks ‘democracy’ is great… unless practiced.

    I mean this is just nonsense.

    The EU is an anti-democratic bureaucracy most concerned with replacement level migration to destroy national identity and local control over affairs.

    Being against Brexit seems mostly to insist that ethnic Europeans be made minorities in their own lands… or liberals will shout ‘racist’ at them.

    Not an argument.

  24. mbob
    August 26, 2019 at 16:38

    Perhaps a no-deal Brexit will lead to the dissolution of the UK. And perhaps that’s precisely what the EU wants.

    But the EU has offered a non-negotiable deal that effectively requires the UK to abide by EU rules, without any say in making those rules, and with a requirement to accept that arrangement for as long as the EU wishes it to.

    It’s like a spouse agreeing to a divorce settlement that requires him or her to abide in perpetuity to whatever their ex decides. The very fact that a partner would seek to impose such an agreement, to my mind, means that a divorce is truly necessary.

    I have been astonished at the UK’s willingness to even consider such an arrangement. I can’t imagine how any UK prime minister or MP can find those terms acceptable — unless they’re playing for the EU and not the UK.

    BoJo is not a villain for refusing to accept the EU terms. He may indeed by a villain, I’m not sufficiently well-informed. But refusing to accept the EU terms on offer is the only rational course of action.

    • John A
      August 27, 2019 at 03:23

      “BoJo is not a villain for refusing to accept the EU terms. He may indeed by a villain, I’m not sufficiently well-informed.”

      You are absolutely correct, you are not sufficiently well-informed.
      Boris Johnson is a liar, he has been fired from several jobs in the past for lying.
      Former PM, Teresa May, triggered the Withdrawal with a set date for leaving, then spent 2 years or so negotiating terms of withdrawal that were agreed between her and the EU. Parliament refused to vote in favour of May’s deal. Hence her fall. To renegotiate properly, the withdrawal should be withdrawn.
      The facts of the matter are quite simple. Once goods have entered the EU via one of the external boundaries, they can move freely and unhindered throughout the EU zone. This means that goods must be checked for conformity with EU rules and regulations at the border. Once Britain leaves, any goods moving from Britain to the EU will be subject to border checks. If Northern Ireland remains with Britain, goods must be checked before entering the Republic, or any goods entering Northern Ireland checked in at port/airport control. Johnson, as usual, is full of lies that this is simply a problem for technology to resolve. Unfortunately, there is no such technology or software etc., available right now. As a compromise, the EU proposes a ‘backstop’, (as cricket term for a fielder who stops balls missed by the wicketkeeper going for runs), until such time the technology is available. Liar Johnson wants his cake and eat it too. No border checks, no backstop and no Irish Sea port checks. There is nothing rational about Johnson, he is a chancer and a liar.

      • mbob
        August 27, 2019 at 12:36

        Thanks for the reply. I’m currently not interested in BoJo one way or another. My present concern is solely with Brexit. You white-washed the EU Brexit offer. You left out the part that is objectionable.

        Namely, until December 2022, the UK enters a “transition period” after Brexit. During this period, the UK will still be in the single market and customs union. Afterwards, under the backstop, the whole of the UK enters a “single customs territory” with the EU. Some extra rules apply to Northern Ireland alone. These rules require checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

        Moreover, the UK cannot leave the backstop without EU approval.

        Summarizing: there is no real Brexit until 2022 and possibly never if the EU refuses. Moreover, while the UK is still bound to obey all EU custom union rules, it will have no say in making those rules, and cannot leave by its own choice. And different rules will apply to Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

        BoJo was not lying when he said “No country that values its independence, and indeed its self-respect, could agree to a treaty which signed away our economic independence and self-government as this backstop does.” He may be lying about everything else, but his statement above is perfectly accurate,

        I can not imagine why any country would even momentarily consider such an “agreement.” It is submitting to bullying. Those in the UK who find that arrangement reasonable (a) prefer a sham Brexit to an actual Brexit and/or (b) put their loyalty to the EU over their loyalty to the UK.

        The EU is not motivated by concern for the post-Brexit welfare of the UK or its citizens, who will no longer be able to count on EU help. The EU is solely concerned with protecting the EU itself. The worse case scenario for the EU is that the UK thrives after Brexit. If the UK thrives, it jeopardizes the stability and future of the remainder of the EU. Ideally, it reverses some of the damage of neoliberalism. (Unlikely, but possible.)

        The EU and its neoliberal supporters don’t want to risk a successful and independent UK.

  25. August 26, 2019 at 15:07

    China is a futuristic totalitarian dystopia where the government surveils the population 24/7, puts their own people in prison camps for political and religious dissent and slowly kills them through forced organ donation,

    Besides that, China has a social credit system that the government uses to persecute millions more of it’s citizens,

    The Chinese government uses sweatshop labor and lax environmental regulations to steal our jobs and manufacturing, and takes advantage of that arrangement to steal our trade secrets and innovation,

    They additionally undermine our economy by manipulating the value of their currency.

    They have been allowed to do this for decades by globalists corporations that control media and government because they want to exploit low wage workers who don’t demand living wages and human rights.

    Now they want to export 5g into every American home, which will allow them to record and spy on us w/ impunity.

    I think Donald Trump will be used as a scapegoat against libertarians and conservatives….

    but I strongly support getting the US out of China and restoring American independence and economic strength and not supporting international, communist totalitarianism.

    • bevin
      August 26, 2019 at 18:56

      There is a lot of racist nonsense in this comment. And no evidence to sustain any of the very serious charges, such as forcible organ harvesting.
      To put these matters into perspective-no country comes close either to the surveillance regimes or the mass incarceration-for private profit- in the United States which, incidentally, installed the brutal Albanian regime in Kossovo which the Council of Europe charges with having harvested organs from detained Serbians and sold them.

    • Matt
      August 26, 2019 at 22:47

      In 50 years, China acquired not only all 1st world technology, but the infrastructure to produce all material goods it for itself and the world. It will lead the rise of developing world, as America and Western Europe slowly decline as we have no way in Hell to continue to support our high standard of living with no industrial base.

      The libertarians bitched about union workers making 70K a year and enriched themselves as they sold the jobs out from under their own domestic economies. Now they are bitching about how unfair trade is with China, what?? It’s like taking all the equity out of the house you owned, then complaining that you have to now have to pay the bank!

      The “reckoning” is coming to the 1st world. But, how these fanciful libertarians think they are going to get back what they sold (national prosperity) with ‘hard” borders, deregulation, austerity, racist nationalism, and shirking taxes amazes me. The only way to save the system as we know it, is for the wealth the elites have to be redistributed into the backbone of the economic, social, and industrial infrastructure. Since that will never happen, we are at the Capitalist end game.

      • Skip Scott
        August 27, 2019 at 09:57

        Great comment Matt. Gets right to the heart of the matter.

      • August 27, 2019 at 12:13

        Is it merely a ‘pivot to the East’ of the same parasitic intent to a new host?

        Are insider insiders all on the ‘side’ of maintaining a structural subjection of other human beings as an extension of their own mindset?

        To my mind a three legged stool makes more sense than a unipolar monopoly.
        Whether that in fact comes about might be the choice between real-polititik and identity-driven politic.

        I feel to be vigilant against emotional reactions and attend the ideas in act or under consideration. I care not to judge by background so much as what another bring present. Is it extending a true witness? Or seeking for self-reinforcement set at expense of others?

    • Jeff Harrison
      August 27, 2019 at 00:41

      You’ve been watching waaaay too much MSM disinformation.
      China is a futuristic totalitarian dystopia where the government surveils the population 24/7. Not ever having been to China I have no direct knowledge of their practices but the US government IS surveilling you and me 24/7/365. The NSA is hoovering up all your on-line activity – read that again – ALL your on-line activities. All the telcoms/ISPs give them their own room in the NOC. A variety of policing agencies are constantly surveilling crowds with facial recognition technology to try to identify people they’re looking for. They also run a license plate scan searching for license plate numbers of interest. Furthermore, they have a system that allows them to tap into cell phone towers and whoever is talking at the time. There were a number of drug cases that had to be dropped because the FBI gave the information to the DEA in violation of the 4th amendment. But don’t take comfort in that. It was a total accident that they were caught doing it. They’ll cover it up better in future. But don’t take comfort yet. They are violating the 4th amendment daily when they get “sneak and peek” papers where the FBI authorizes the FBI to break into your house and search for whatever they want. All the secret police have agreed that that doesn’t violate the 4th amendment.

      “…put their own people in prison camps” Here’s breaking news for you, buddy. The United States of America has the greatest percentage of its population behind bars of all countries specifically including your boogie men China and presumably Russia.

      And finally (for the first sentence) slowly killing them through forced organ donation… What’s on the back of your drivers license, buddy? Are you a donor? If not, why not?

      The Chinese government uses sweatshop labor…. to steal our jobs. You need help here, buddy. Multinationals – American and otherwise – are not contracting with the Chinese government to get their products manufactured. They are built by Chinese corps, not the Chinese government. And they didn’t steal any jobs. The multinationals raced to put the jobs in China. You know what the kicker is? The multinationals (a) don’t have to pay any import duty thanx to the free trade rules that the Republicans put in place and, even worse, (b) don’t have to pay any ANY federal income tax on the profits they make in their Chinese operations unless they repatriate the money to the US. Are you going to blame the Chinese for those American laws? And when it comes to sweatshops, you might want to talk to Amazon and Walmart employees. Walmart, for example, teaches classes for their employees on applying for government benefits (food stamps & whatnot) because they know they don’t pay a living wage.

      As for stealing our technology and innovation… maybe… but what I’ve heard are complaints of forced technology transfers as a condition of purchase. If you think that’s really a problem, grow a pair and decline the sale. This is far more common that you might imagine. I worked for McDonnell Douglas for 31 years and we taught the Japanese to build F-15s and we taught the Swiss to build F-18s and that doesn’t count all the subcontractors we taught how to make various bits and pieces of aircraft. Douglas had a very vigorous relationship with their Chinese partners building jetliners. Boeing has a similar relationship with Chinese aircraft companies. You may not like it but that’s the way it is.

      Do not attempt to blame the Chinese for our economy. China didn’t put us ~$22T in the hole. Thank the Republicans (and the Republican lites, aka Clinton Democrats) for that. They traded the hated “tax and spend” moniker for the Republican “borrow and spend”. You also don’t seem to understand the meaning of some phrases that have become au courant in the last decade. Quantitative Easing comes to mind immediately. There’s another name for this. It’s called printing money. Manipulating the value of one’s currency, indeed.

      Now those dastardly Chinese have out innovated their American competition and the Chinese want to sell us the 5G systems that our electronics companies don’t have. Oh, my! If you don’t want to buy Chinese electronics, be my guest but don’t do it for your clueless assumption. The government’s objections are more likely to be a result of NSA being unable to crack Huawei’s equipment. Frankly, given that the voice controlled TVs & whatnot record conversations in front of the TV, not to mention the likes of Siri and Alexa listening in on you (they said they deactivated that. Are you really stupid enough to believe them or that they could reactivate it at the request of the government?) why would you worry about Huawei?

      • AnneR
        August 27, 2019 at 08:11

        Thank you, Jeff, for saying so clearly what I would have…

        As for the stealing of technology twaddle: even if the Chinese had, so what? HOW do Americans think they got a cotton textile manufacturing industry? HOW did the British? The former by stealing from the Brits, the latter by stealing from Indians… And that’s just one example. Let us not consider the numerous craftsmen, scientists and so on that over the 18C and 19C and 20Cs brought, in their heads, their knowledge of how things were made, the designs, their education – none of it “American” produced – and made it all fully available to the US and its industry.

        GB was very aware – back in the late 18C-19Cs – of the potential competitive danger in its skilled artisans and engineers and so on emigrating to the US and banned such emigration (not that such a ban was successful). There are many ways to skin a cat, and exploiting the knowledge and skill of immigrants is one way to steal technology from another country.

        It has been going on for centuries, possibly millennia. It is life.

      • Skip Scott
        August 27, 2019 at 09:58

        Great rebuttal Jeff.

    • Zhu
      August 27, 2019 at 05:59

      Poor, poor, Richard! One of the many Americans who can’t accept the consequences of 70 years of constant warfare, but must blame a scapegoat.

      As for PR China, the mode ofvgovernance is authoritarian, but rather less so than in 1960. The USA is rathee more authoritarian than in 1960. Likewise, ordinary people are getting richer in China, poorer in the USA.

  26. Drew Hunkins
    August 26, 2019 at 14:38

    One thing observers of the poltico-economic scene must never forget — populism is messy.

    What’s going on right now across the capitalist West is an inchoate form of populism, warts and all.

Comments are closed.