Trump’s Visit Marks the Start of Shock Doctrine Brexit

Yves here. The setup for this post has been trumped by events, with Hair Furore doing his best imitation of Emily Litella. From the Financial Times:

Donald Trump has sought to repair the diplomatic wounds he inflicted on Theresa May by insisting whatever course the British prime minister took on the UK’s future relationship with the EU “is OK with me”.

The American president insisted his priority for Brexit negotiations was ensuring the UK and US could grow their trading relationship, and withdrew his criticism made in an interview with the Sun newspaper that Mrs May’s recently agreed Brexit plan would “kill” a trade deal between London and Washington…

Mr Trump’s remarks came just hours after the Sun quoted him accusing Mrs May of having “wrecked” her negotiations with Brussels over Brexit by pursuing a policy that prioritised the UK’s trading relationship with the EU over the rest of the world.

But after the Chequers lunch, Mr Trump said he was optimistic about Brexit. Cutting a trade deal might be “tricky”, he said, but he added: “This is an incredible opportunity for both our countries and we should seize it, both . . . not an easy negotiation, a complicated negotiation, that’s for sure.”

Nevertheless, the article gives a good idea of how some influential businessmen and politicians think they can enrich themselves in a hard or crash out Brexit. Even putting aside the belief that they will be able to pick up assets on the cheap, another attraction of Brexit for corporate interests was being able to squeeze labor even harder and cutting environmental-related expenses by escaping EU regulations.

Adam Ramsay, Co-Editor of openDemocracyUK who also works with Bright Green. Before, he was a full time campaigner with People & Planet. You can follow him at @adamramsay. Originally published at openDemocracy

Image: Trump Baby, Twitter, fair use.

Trump landed with a negotiating position. If Theresa May’s Brexit plan goes ahead, it would probably “kill the deal”, he toldThe Sun, referring to the trade agreement he’s here to discuss.

To understand what’s really going on here, we need to rewind by a week, to a tweet from the man who funded Brexit, Arron Banks: “In Bermuda with @Nigel_Farage, saying he will come back as UKIP leader if Brexit not back on track, Tories in marginally seats watch out! Lightening storm hit studio shortly afterwards – omens…”

Perhaps the most apt of omens we could ask for, the prospect of two of the men who delivered Brexit returning from a tax haven to take their country back. Because whatever “Leave” meant to the millions who voted for it, it has always been about something else for the elite who pushed it – and for Donald Trump more than any of them.


The term “Shock Doctrine” was first used by Naomi Klein in her 2007 book of the same name. With the subheader “The rise of disaster capitalism”, she outlined her thesis: while advocates of neoliberal capitalism said it would dance hand in hand with democracy as these ideologies encircled the world, in fact neoliberalism marches in step with violence and disaster.

In Chile, the dictator Augusto Pinochet delivered the radical right plans concocted by economist Milton Friedman on the back of his 1973 military coup and aided by the torture and murder of thousands, often using electronic batons to literally shock people into acquiescence. Throughout the late 20th century, the International Monetary Fund came into former colonies when they faced crises and used the leverage of much-needed loans to force mass privatisations, tax cuts for the rich and public spending cuts for the rest.

After the tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean in 2004, beaches were privatised by hotels. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Klein has since written, “I watched hordes of private military contractors descend on the flooded city to find ways to profit from the disaster, even as thousands of the city’s residents, abandoned by their government, were treated like dangerous criminals just for trying to survive.”

From the privatisation of warin Iraq and Afghanistan to the divvying upof oil contracts afterwards, the rich and powerful and their pet governments have become expert in using crises to ensure that they continue to profit as ordinary people lose everything.

Perhaps the most important example of disaster capitalism is what happened as the formerSoviet Union fell apartin the 1990s. While President Boris Yeltsin bumbled on the international stage, Russia was plundered. Powerful men took control of key economic assets, moving billions of dollars offshore and turning themselves into oligarchs overnight.

In the midst of all of this, Britain has played an important role. The vestigial empire –  Overseas Territories like Bermuda, Gibraltar, and the Cayman and Virgin Islands; and Crown Protectorates the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey – transformed themselves, along with London, into the planet’s most important network of tax havens and secrecy areas. When the world’s oligarchs asset strip countries in crisis and move the plunder offshore, they are usually placing it under the protection of Her Majesty’s Navy.

As Peter Geoghegan and I have followed the dark money that funded the Brexit campaign, there is one consistent factor: almost all of it has been funnelled through these quirks in the British constitution. Whether it’s Northern Ireland with its secrecy laws or Arron Banks’ use of Gibraltar and Mann as shelters for his cash, the people who funded the drive to pull Britain out of the EU certainly know how to navigate the dark corners of the country’s constitutional cave network.

This, surely, is the easiest way to understand the various connections between Brexit and Russia. The Kremlin is no longer the heart of the Soviet Union. It’s at the centre of a network of billionaire power built by Russia’s disaster capitalist-in-chief: Vladimir Putin, sometimes said to bethe richest man in the world. It’s no surprise that this vortex of neoliberal plunder would want to use crisis to influence the management of their preferred money laundry.

It’s not just Russians. Britain’s role for many of the world’s richest lies in our skill in cleaning up their questionable money. But the EU is endlessly threatening to regulate, to force more transparency, to make it harder to stash their cash in the world’s laundromat.

And it’s not just about tax havens and their users: look at the fortunes made on the money markets as the price of the pound crashed aroundon referendum night, or the high-risk corners of the City of London which seemed much more likely to support Brexit than their more conventional banking neighbours. Or look at the mercenaries.

Over the past fifteen years, a key part of disaster capitalism has been the increasing privatisation of the military. “Security firms” have emerged, and taken on work once done by armies and police forces. And again, Britain is at the centre of this: as the NGO War on Want has documented, since the invasion of Iraq, Britain has become the world leader in this mercenary industry. Once again, the links between the Brexit elite and the world of privatised security are everywhere we turn in our investigations: Cambridge Analytica is the wing of privatised defence contractor SCL. Veterans for Britain– one of the campaign groups investigated by the Electoral Commission – has a string of connections to the private security industry.

With every industry comes a lobby, and both the money-laundering lobby and the mercenary lobby have a strong interest in the UK slipping outside the common rules and regulations of the EU. It’s no surprise that they came in behind Brexit.

This week has been bookended by two key moments for these groups. On Monday, Dominic Raab was appointed as Brexit secretary. Perhaps most famous for saying British workers are too lazy, Raab has been nurtured by the Institute for Economic Affairs, the UK’s original radical right think tank, which refuses to say how it’s funded, but which has published more than one ‘report’ on the advantages of tax havenssince the Brexit vote. It seems likely he’ll end up essentially as the IEA’s man in government.

The week ends with the arrival of Trump in the country. Protests will largely focus on his racism and misogyny, but it’s important that we also remember the reason that the government tells us he’s here: for talks on a trade deal.

Here we will finally get to the main point of Brexit, for those who led the charge. Last autumn, the IEA published two sides of A4 – tweeted again this week – arguing ‘let’s get ready for no deal Brexit’. “A ‘no deal’ scenario in which the UK simply leaves the Single Market and Customs Union in 2019, does not have to be the ‘catastrophe’ that many fear.” they say in their summary “…the UK would be able to crack on with its own trade deals with the rest of the world”.

Read between the lines, and I’d argue they are saying what Klein would predict: in the crisis of a cliff-edge Brexit, people will be forced to accept the kind of trade deal that groups like the IEA dream about.

Its brief note focuses largely on the most obvious question of any trade deal: tariffs. It will come as a surprise to no one to hear that a free-market think tank is against them. What it doesn’t talk about is what will likely be most of the content of any major trade deal with the US: what’s normally known as ‘non-tariff barriers’. These can include regulations which protect our food, our hedgerows, our hedgehogs, our education system, our air and our water from whatever scheme businesses might concoct to profit from them. They can include many of our basic rights as workers, students, consumers and citizens. The ownership of British healthcare – as my colleague Caroline Molloy has explained– will be up for grabs, as will any other corner of life currently protected from the profiteering of big business.

During the vast fight over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, we saw how far the Obama administration tried to force the EU to kneel before American capital. We saw how they wanted any disputes to be arbitrated in corporate courts. Many of the worst of those proposals were stopped by the strength of the left across Europe uniting to resist them.

A cliff-edge Brexit would leave the British left standing alone against our own, bespoke, Trumpian redraft of TTIP. We won’t have Belgian parliaments to hold up the process, or German NGOs to interpret the text, or the combined trade power of Europe to stand up to the White House.

Watch their speeches and read their reports, and it’s increasingly clear that this is what Britain’s hard Brexit elite want. The crisis of a no-deal Brexit is the disaster they seek to force through a US trade deal which will turn Britain into a deregulated offshore haven for the rich, and a service economy workhouse for the rest, just as they’ve long proposed.

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  1. nervos belli

    It was not the US that wanted TTIP, it was the EU and inside the EU mainly Germany. It was a reaction to the earlier TPP. The EU felt “left out” and in a panic wanted their own trade pact. And we have not virtue signalling NGOs or the Belgians to thank for the abolishment of either trade pact but Trump and only Trump. The Belgians simply wanted some concessions for themselves (and got them), the rest of the opposition was irrelevant.

    The next doozy “Putin is personally the richest oligarch of them all”. Bullshit rumours spread by the neolibs this author pretends to hate. This rumour was started when our own western oligarchs had to redirect outrage over Panama and Paradise paper leaks.
    Connections between Brexit and the Kreml? WTF?

    This is stupid propaganda with a few truisms like “the future UK trade deals will suck for the UK” and “Tory politicians are in the pocket of big business” to make it look palatable.
    Yves, we know you can do better. Please select better articles in the future.

    1. Clive

      Oh, pull the other, it’s got bells on it. Of course the US was the motivational speaker for the T-TIP. It was Obama’s twin pillar to the TPP and both were primarily devices to further US geopolitical strategies in both Asia and Europe.

      The USTR made huge efforts to lobby for the T-TIP domestically, including some rather forlorn efforts to pitch it to flyover and instilling some popular support. Trump will simply seek to remake the T-TIP in his image and bellicose the EU into swallowing it (or so he hopes).

      As for Russian interest, erm, have you walked round Chelsea or taken a stroll down The Bishops Avenue? London is drowning in suspect Russian money and the big banks so-called Wealth Management services are sailing very close to wind in trying to stay just-about within what’s tolerable. Since Cyprus instigated the shot-gun bail in, that sort of hideyhole has been in even more demand than ever. And do you really think those not-exactly-salubrious cash-rich Russians might not, after their Cyprus punch-bowl was taken away, be rather keen to get the EU out of the UK’s hair?

      I voted Brexit and still generally think it is the right course of action but never — ever — do I think all actors involved in it are reincarnations of Snow White. If you do, you must have come down in the last shower.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Clive.

        Just one caveat. The UK regulators were the ones to push for bail-in in the EU rules, CRD IV and BRRD. Germany and France did not see what the fuss was about and preferred state led recapitalisation. How do I know? I was involved in the negotiations when at the bankers’ and asset managers’ trade associations.

        Cyprus was a politically motivated exception and will not be repeated.

        1. Clive

          Thanks Colonel, I wasn’t aware that the UK was the (main?) instigator behind the Cyprus bail-in. Which goes to show how mendacious the UK could be in moaning about “EU rules” — it likes them just fine, when they’re in sync with the UK’s aims! And that makes sense now — it suited the UK’s financial services industry to have Cyprus throw a wobbly and demonstrate that it wasn’t the safest of safe havens (lacking the political clout to hold off being treated as the plaything of more powerful EU members in terms of having to suck it up under the BRRD — details here for those interested).

          No danger of that bit of unpalatable sauce being applied to the UK, post-Brexit. “the Gold standard of financial regulation” — my arse.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Clive.

            Also, creditors transacting with the London branches and subsidiaries of Cypriot banks were not included in the bail-in. The smart, big, dirty etc. money was given time to move.

      2. nervos belli

        A “motivational speaker” is not an instigator. Of course there were proponents on both sides of the atlantic, how else could there be a realistic negotiation without it? TTIP came after TPP and the “pivot to asia”, it was seen by the US as a “companion” to the about 4 years earlier TPP negotiations. While there have been “we need better trade deals” utterances at least since 1995 here in Europe, nothing was ever actually done until the US started their negotiations with the TPSEP members.
        Then the US sent delegations to the EU to promise them “we will not forget you, nothing will change, we’re just underinvested in Asia”.
        Suddenly the europeans, Germany foremost, started TTIP negotiations not to be left out. That doesn’t mean the US didn’t want a trade agreement before, it just means the US had a better position now, getting more of what it wanted. Before TPP, both sides were too far apart for an agreement but after suddenly there was an agreement possible. Now simply guess who of the two parties moved their position and why.

        How many of this suspect russian money is pro Putin money, and how much of it is actually exile money, e.g. oligarchs which for whatever reason run afoul of the russian regime after Yeltsin and needed a safe haven to park their ill gotten gains? The Chodorkowskis and Bereskowskis however they are spelled, of this world?
        Even with still persona grata oligarchs, isn’t the UK “investment” pretty much always a hedge to have a bolthole in times of need as you yourself write?
        So what has this money to do with the russian state when it’s by your own admission only in the UK to be outside the reach of that russian state? Your argument does not make sense.
        Yes, this russian expat money wants a hidey hole after Cyprus and Switzerland were gutted, yes an impoverished UK which is bitter against the EU is probably the best bet for it. However this is actually all bad for allmighty evil mastermind Putin and his henchmen in the russian KGB.

        And if the current british russophobia gets worse, I’m not sure the parked money is all that safe anyways. Maybe after the hard Brexit when the City needs all the money to administer they can lay their hands on, there will be less pressure. Pecunia non olet and all that.

        1. Clive

          Glad we agree that both parties wanted the T-TIP.

          On Russian interests in Brexit, my case was to support the general thrust of the post by evidencing “means, motive and opportunity”. I gave examples of the latter two, the post gave a long-form explanation of the first. Your case for the defence seems to be either the bolt-hole cash stashed via London is cash Putin would be happy to see repatriated or else it’s (all? mainly?) held by those antagonistic to Putin. If Putin wanted Putin-loyalists to move the money back to Russian banks, he’d order that to happen and they would. Bad things happen to ex-Putin loyalist oligarchs who defy him. And there’s no convincing evidence that anything approaching a majority of the funds or other assets are held by anti-Putin types. For starters, the pro-Putin lot are far wealthier. Being opposed to Putin is bad for your financial health as well as your physical wellbeing.

          1. Raulb

            What happened to Russia after the fall of communism is well documented. Shock therapy, rampaging chicago neoliberals and the massive and historic loot and plunder of state resources.

            They needed lackeys in Russia which politicians like Yelstin were happy to play. Once Putin came in and refused to play the role of the lackey the billionaires fled to London.

            Now all the exiles, their money and traditional anti-russia sentiment are all aligned to stir up trouble and demonize Putin. Why would this be difficult to understand? Just like bad things happen to those who defy Putin bad things happen to those who defy the neoliberal orthodoxy. See Assange, Snowden, and the trail of devastation in the middle east.

            What’s Putin done compared to destroying Iraq, Libya, Syria and killing millions of people and putting tens of millions of lives in disarray? But its Putin that is some sort of cartoon villain even while the bloodlust and greed continues for Iran.

            There is something seriously wrong with the world we live in where these massive crimes against humanity can continue unchecked without any consequences for the perpetrators and million more lives in Iran can be put in risk just like that, while people continue to fabricate an alternative reality of morality.

            1. Michael Fiorillo

              For Putin, Russian nationalism and defense of Mother Russia come first. Full stop.

              Attend to that, or assist him in attending to that, and you can keep some or most of your billions. Go the “Western” neoliberal plunder/disaster capitalism route (instead of the nationalistMother Russia plunder route), and you end up a la Khodorovsky.

      3. EoH

        And again, thank you Clive. If anything, this report under-emphasizes what disaster capitalists mean when they say, Opportunity Britain. Every Labour politician from before their party became the Party of Mr. Blair and half the Tories will be spinning in their graves over the ways disaster capitalists intend to dismantle Britain.

    2. Scott1

      At least on Face book I can look up a profile, and same for Twitter.
      Belgians? Huh?
      Trump makes all happen. Are we to believe Trump has any
      significant ideas of his own? Contradicts himself constantly when
      not lying.
      & Here Hear! Whatever you heard about Putin being Rich is wrong. It is just propaganda to make him look bad. (Those Palaces & Yachts & Airplanes aren’t really his. Impossible to connect the Kremlin with Bexit.
      Let us call it a missive. Ends with telling Yves what to print. Nervos is a better editor than Yves. Meet ups give him something to do I suspect. I doubt he or she, is one, or and if so uses a lot of free drinks and charm when showing up.
      So we are told that there are algorithms that can comb the web looking for keywords that go Ping! Ping! Ping! focusing some agency eyes & calling for an immediate response and a “Comrade, you have done well!” Cool hand high five.
      “That’s taken care of, keep an eye on it.”
      Maybe Nervos is nervous.

  2. Kk

    A collection of independent agents attempting to maximise their advantage- sounds like capitalism

  3. Vastydeep

    Perhaps Fukuyama’s “The End of History” may (after these 20 years of making fun of it) have been almost right after all. “Western liberal democracy” is not the endgame, but western corporatocracy probably is. Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” describes the first Frederick W. Taylor-level efforts. Brutal but effective, these are just the warm-up act for the Toyota Production System-refinements that future shocks will display.

    “End of History” is correct — we’ve reached the point where every people that can be plundered and thing that can be stolen has been plundered and stolen. “democracy” is Fukuyama’s failing — at some point we must accept that democracy only works at Dunbar’s number-scale, and scaling it to representative democracy inevitably falls prey to corruption. The game appears to work only so long as there are new people and resources to plunder; without them neoliberal capitalism is just a production system designed to channel more and more to fewer and fewer. Once you have money, the best thing to buy with it is legislators.

    Brexit could present a pure vision — still bigger than Dunbar’s number, but a step in the right direction. The breakthrough presented in Ramsay’s article is that it, too, can be “shocked.”

    1. Schmoe

      Interesting comment, but the decay of democracy into corporatocracy is largely a US, UK and Irish phenomena. I do not see Japan, Germany and other Northern European counties (x-UK) going this way in a systematic fashion, although there are specific cases of those countries caving to corporate interests, such as the auto industry getting a lot of leeway on pollution issues in Germany until very recently.

      Campaign finance laws and perhaps media ownership might be key differentiators.

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    I have some insights about Brexit from EU27 officials, Brussels and London based, and will share with you soon. I took copious notes during the week and need to type them for you.

  5. Robert McGregor

    What percent can “buy legislators?” 10%-ers like doctors and business owners band together to pay for lobbyists, but what % have individual “legislator-buying power” like an oligarch like Adelson or Bezos? A very small percent. The 90% have little to zero “legislator-buying power,” but they outnumber the 10%-ers 9 to 1! The 1%-ers are trying to use an increasing “surveillance state” to repress the 90%-ers, but that doesn’t mean they will succeed. Blogs like Naked Capitalism and the ascending Democratic Socialist movement show the strength of the “opposing forces.” I think a “final state” of western corporatocracy is just as unlikely as was Fukuyama’s idea of the final state being one of Western liberal democracy. There is no “final state.” The universe is always changing.

    1. Vastydeep

      We are almost in violent agreement. About the universe: the two greatest changes in modern times have been the rise of almost limitless cheap energy that followed Spindletop in 1901, and the Moore’s Law advances in information processing that followed Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley’s transistor Nobel Prize in 1956. Moore’s Law has reached its end, and “peak oil” will bring an end to the Spindletop era.

      Whatever follows really will probably be endgame.

  6. The Rev Kev

    Adjusting my tin-foil hat, I am beginning to wonder if what is really being planned by some is to replicate Russia’s experiences back in the 90s. Yes it would be tantamount to treason but we are talking about hundreds of billions of pounds being shook loose here.
    If it is anything like Russia, public services would be degraded and maybe discontinued; certain banks and financial institutes would be chosen as TBTF and taxpayer money would be channeled to prop up these entities; public parks and the like would be opened up to commercial exploitation like fracking; enabling laws would be passed to tighten up security – well, you get the idea.
    Probably money could be funneled out of the country to places like the Isle of Mann or the Channel Islands. Wouldn’t be surprised if said accounts were already set up and waiting. From what I can see, there are enough politicians who would be willing to sell out the country for the right price. Not so much as shock doctrine as managing Orlov’s Five Stages of Collapse for maximum benefit. I hope that I am wrong.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think you are quite right about this. One common thread among the Brexit Libertarians is that many cut their teeth on the Russian disaster in the 1990’s. Making money from other peoples misery is precisely what they do best. They got bored waiting for other opportunities, so saw one close to home they could make. A no-deal Brexit is the wet dream for these people, they will make billions from it.

      For them, I suspect it makes it all the more satisfying that there are left wingers who have actually helped and supported them in it.

  7. Summer

    Aye, shiver me timbers!
    Brexit was a revolt by pirates of the Caribbean, maybe as much as another angry working class.

    That is a lot like what has been called America’s “populist” revolt with Trump, that included massive tax cuts to the wealthy.

    Once the smoke has cleared and the funhouse mirrors are gone, all of the alleged working class populist revolts look like mad dashes to Galt’s Gulch.

  8. Olga

    “This, surely, is the easiest way to understand the various connections between Brexit and Russia. The Kremlin is no longer the heart of the Soviet Union. It’s at the centre of a network of billionaire power built by Russia’s disaster capitalist-in-chief: Vladimir Putin, sometimes said to bethe richest man in the world. It’s no surprise that this vortex of neoliberal plunder would want to use crisis to influence the management of their preferred money laundry.” ___________________________________________
    Maybe the writer should spend less time watching CNN and more time employing critical thinking skills.

    1. Summer

      Yes, that could delflect from the meat of the article.

      More interesting aspects of it make me want to go back and read Lambert’s previous post:
      “Labor Migration as a Human Supply Chain”

  9. Alex Cox

    The argument of the piece is weakened by gratuitous Russian bashing. Are we genuinely supposed to believe that Putin is the richest man on the world because Time magazine asserts it? All Russians are not the same, and the kleptocrat billionaires who moved to London are not necessarily his buddies. Money-mad people tend not to realise that there are more important things than money. Real power is one of them.

  10. Synoia

    Is it in the US’ interest to breakup or damage the EU?

    Does the US regard the EU as a form of competitor?

    The US has unparalleled skills in sowing discord and dissent in regimes where it states pubically they it believe in the “freedoms of democracy,” while pursing its own agenda in subverting governments?

    In Brexit, are we seeing another form of US “nation building?”

  11. Susan the other

    Well. I like Ramsay’s point about finance run amok – it’s not just the UK’s laundromat and the expat Russian oligarchs (whom Putin has tried to entice back with things like blind trusts, etc.). It is the very substance of neoliberalism. In a word, it is insane. It’s the whole whirlpool: illicit money stashed away; money markets (just the words should be a joke) speculating in currency fluctuations; the big casino in the sky always making bets on the next exciting risk; derivatives gone wild. Dear god. Got to get rid of those pesky regulations – no matter how valuable they are for protecting rackets. It’s very Karmic at this point. Can’t have regulations telling corporations what to do. But behind this hail storm of panic I sense that the big argument is still over Germany. If Germany follows the careful trail of people (beginning in the 1800s) like Willy Brandt and now Gerhardt Schroeder and seals economic-political ties with Russia it’s all over. And that is where we find ourselves. If Germany goes with Nordstream and Russia prevails as the source of Germany’s industry, it leaves the rest of the EU picking up the crumbs or calling it quits. It’s looking like quits.

  12. Seamus Padraig

    Actually, it’s the EU that’s been practicing most of the ‘disaster capitalism’ in recent years. Does this Adam Ramsay guy not remember Greece, Spain or Ireland?

    And Russia is responsible for Brexit? Really?

  13. Scott1

    There is more than one way to say that those with great wealth accrued through application of Meyer Lansky Financial Engineering or Shock Doctrine Disaster Capitalism led by Oil have privatized banking and finance as the nation state is weakened because the Nation State is the defensive System of the People, & the source of wealth.

    A Rich Person in their Jet on the Tarmac is more your countryman than a poor person in a Kia.
    Nation Shopping is the rage. Everyone needs at least two passports.
    (If you knew who I was you’d know I offer one.)
    Everyone is made into an independent spy in their own lives. The rich can hire IHS Janes.

    Michael McFaul said yesterday we ought require all to use Two Step Verification, and at least those in intelligence ought be required to do so.
    No wonder the I Phone Eyeball Lock on your little phone is a “Gimme that!”
    The reasoning is “I’m just not that important for them to steal my eyeball.”

    We had a friend for Venezuela who told me Maduro, couldn’t be bothered with even building a bridge. He had a story involving a bridge that made clear Maduro & his government were stupid.
    I shied away from Klein because of reports of her praises of Maduro and the history of Venezuela at the least stories a nation without a defense.
    Think of Venezuela now and think of hungry people “collapsing in place” or going where there is some food.
    The Naomi Klein Guardian Article Link is a superlative article regardless of any other flaws in Klein judgements of the past.

    I have watched the Caspian Report on Youtube. Lesson on my mind is that Eastern Russia and Eastern China are “Food Insecure”.
    Food insecurity is weakness. Fix it and there is strength and peace. Make it worse and there is war and oppression.

    Main redeeming feature of a Democracy with a free press and free speech is there is much less likelihood of widespread famine.

    Stalin starved Russia to wipe out “counter revolutionaries” or uncooperative peasants. Stalin starved the Armenians.
    Mao went for the same policies and more stupid killing of little birds and there was famine.
    How were we to know? The Vatican policies for population growth as recommended by God run the Republican party. Bolsheviks continued to eat while the prison camp inmates cut timber and caught fish.
    The more people in some kind of prison the more control over what they get to eat.

    CEOs and their families of the Prison Industrial Complex just replicate the Parallel population control policies of Stalin and the Bolsheviks.

    Chinese businesses hire from Dynasty approved Labor agents slave labor of North Korea. North Korean geography looks more fertile to me than Eastern China. Convince the Chinese Government that they will solve their food insecurity problem in the East with regime change, or conquest effecting puppet food supplier & the West gets a defanged DPRK.
    (I’ve tried to tell this to Michael McFaul.)

    We are told that DPRK artillery would pulverize Seoul. Kim Jung un would set off nukes.
    Well Bush Cheney solved that and everything else with Pre Emptive War. The armed man knows any other could at any time get the drop on them.
    The poor cannot afford to be gentleman. Both China and Russia are possessed of territories that have even when relatively small within the space are food insecure.

    Over population is as much a fact as climate science which is about how much damage the oil industry and steel industry and poison chemicals industry get to do before there is definitely no way to prevent famine.
    The rich will eat till the end.
    Pence will get to eat whatever he wants. (I see a frowning General Kelly not getting what he wanted for breakfast.)

    Acceleration of Crisis Overload when world population has not yet hit that magic number, the one when there food is all eaten up is preferred by the rulers. The do have an interest in making sure they get all the food they want.

    Trump is the Great Man. Trump is the Great Man in the sense that he is capable of the population control wars desired by the cold eyed world planners. Trump was made by the times, and that is not the Great Man we hoped for. He has stuck war with the DPRK in his back pocket.
    “Kim, my great friend has betrayed me!”
    “Them sneaky Iranians!”

    Them thats owns the TV owns the minds. Sanctions are Econ War. Tariffs are Trade War and subset of Econ War Sanctions.

    There is no UNTV to trust and report on the food situations. Antonio Guterres talks to the world on Twitter from the safety and entertainments of NYC. If I had my way more people would see Youtube as nascent UNTV.

    They told me the world was made for One Billion People. They said that when we get to 9 Billion the chances for Crisis Overload, say a US breakdown of the MacNamara US Food System, and just billions of hungry people, were awfully high.

    7.6 seems plenty enough right now.

    And all those Tax Havens, well they will never be closed for business as long as Intelligence services use them same as the rich with cash in their jets going to see them on “Vacation”.

    Democracies require a Free Press. For some multiplicities of reasons and factors you do not have a history of famine where Democratic Nation States hold sway.
    They are not drowning in the Netherlands.

    P.S. For many things there are exceptions. Famine did come to pass at the tail end of WWII in Northeastern India. (Pretty sure it was Northeastern) but anyway it is a historical fact. Churchill was to blame for that event. The story is that he held back for the UK soldiers food that would have fed the Indian people starving in case the soldiers needed it. This is the essence of what I know of it and in the Democracies there has been press censorship for reasons of war. As well the Irish were starved by the English as late in the establishment of a free press tradition of their parliamentary democracy in the two Irish agricultural collapses of the 19th century.

    The need for an independent world media that is filled with necessary truths and runs no propaganda is dramatic and I did get ground down when attempting to cause there be on Airport TVs as much Truthful UNTV worth watching as CNN, or now Fox & MSNBC.
    I hope readers of this comment will forgive me for drifting towards capitalism in the US as privatized leading to hunger in New Orleans Superdome shelter of Katrina & FEMA delays of food delivery. Remember Bush was offered by Amtrak’s CEO train evacuation to get people out of harms way, but squashed it because his policy was to crush Amtrak, and didn’t want it to be perceived as of value. He didn’t want Amtrak to look good, so people were hungry and more of them died. This is the sort of Government we have been given in the United States.
    When fighting for Democracy & free speech we are fighting famine. The oppositional philosophies at work are Ayn Rand Russian Dystopian Objectivism against American Ethical Eclectic Pragmatism. I am talking about William James humanistic Pragmatism, not the cynical pragmatism that justifies hack journalism and propaganda by the propagandist.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Free Trade is trade war. Tariffs are a desperate attempt at anti-trade defense against trade war.

  14. factgasm

    Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why the Prime Minister invoked Article 50 on 29th March 2017?

    It’s because that’s the date the EU adopted the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) Part II. As the name implies, ATAD is an attempt by the EU to crackdown on tax avoidance across the Single Market.

    In case you didn’t know it, the UK with its former colonies, is the dominant player in the global offshore tax avoidance industry. As of 2012 that industry was estimated to be worth $32 trillion.

    ATAD Part I was adopted by the EU in 2016, but as is the nature of these things, it would have taken a great deal of time to have drafted and gotten it approved. ATAD didn’t just happen overnight; it would have been in development over the course of a number of years before 2016.

    Rest assured the Tories would have been briefed about these plans the moment they were first mooted. They would have understood straight away that ATAD posed a serious threat to what is clearly a hugely lucrative industry – not least their donors.

    As the Tories couldn’t stop the EU adopting ATAD, if they were to save the UK offshore tax-avoidance industry, the only course of action was to Leave. That’s why they invented Brexit.

    Brexit is a Trojan Horse for getting out of the EU. Outwardly, to ordinary people, Brexit looks like the UK ending freedom of movement and sticking-it to the ‘undemocratic’ EU, but in truth its a pretext for saving the super-rich many, many billions and sparing them from some rather embarrassing questions.

    When the EU adopted ATAD Part II on 29th March 2017, the Tories knew every last chance of avoiding ATAD had gone, so they didn’t waste another minute and invoked Article 50 that day.

    Ok? Got that? Has the real purpose of Brexit now dawned on you? It should be crystal clear by

    1. ChrisAtRU

      “Ammunition not mentioned”

      A market for edible bullets seems a potential industry disruption here … ;-)

      “Wherefore art thou, Elon?”

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