Tag Archives: Paul Craig Roberts

Can The American Left Be Resurrected?

Op-Ed Contributor

Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts

“Where is the leftwing when we need it” is a question I have asked at times. Some of my readers who confuse the left with Antifa and Identity politics have been confused by my question. Why, they ask, do I want more Antifa thugs and Identity Politics hatred of white people?

The answer is that Antifa and Identity Politics are the antithesis of the left. The real left is pro-working class, pro all of the working class, all races, genders, sexual preferences. Identity Politics splinters the working class into victims of white heterosexual males and destroys the cohesivenss of the working class, thereby making it easer for exploiters to exploit. Antifa aids in this process by focusing hatred on whites by accusing only whites of racism.

It was Karl Marx who said: “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.”

It is Identity Politics that says, “Workers of the world disunite, splinter into victim groups and hate white males.” In other words, Identity Politics is the worst enemy the working class has ever had. Capitalist expoitation unifies the working class, but Identity Politics divides the working class and makes it easier for capitalists to exploit and for politicians to ignore.

Does my call for a resurrected leftwing mean that I am a Marxist?

No. It means I agree with John Kenneth Galbraith that without countervailing power, the economic-social-political system goes out of balance, as the United States clearly has. In a short period of time the distribution of income and wealth in the US has gone from reasonable to unreasonable. Working and middle class wages, salaries, and job opportunities have declined. But irresponsible corporate jobs offshoring and irresponsible Federal Reserve inflation of the prices of financial assets have caused the income and wealth of the One Percent to reach fantastic levels. A handful of people have more wealth than 100 million Americans. Democracy is forfeited as Congress responds to a handful of people and to a handful of powerful organized interest groups. A tax cut designed to increase the inequality has just passed Congress at a time of the worst income and wealth distribution in our history. (See, for example, https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/12/04/plunder-capitalism/ ) Instead of addressing the dire situation, Identity Politics goes after white people and President Trump for being allegedly elected by the white working class.

When I read in CounterPunch the attack by CounterPunch’s radio host Eric Draitser on the white working class “Trump deplorables,” I thought Alexander Cockburn, CounterPunch’s founder, must be rolling over in his grave. With CounterPunch degenerating into Identity Politics, the working class was without an advocate except for the World Socialist Web Site.

It is possible that Identity Politics has condemned the world to nuclear Armageddon by lining up the liberal-progressive-left with the military/security complex’s “Russiagate” attack on President Trump. As I have explained, the purpose of Russiagate is to prevent Trump from normalizing relations with nuclear superpower Russia and defusing the dangerous tensions that have been built up by reckless and irresponsible US government actions against Russia. On many occasions I have explained the world threatening consequences of Washington’s demonization of Russia and its leadership. ( See, for example, https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/12/05/walking-into-armageddon/ )

Yesterday my despair over the demise of the American leftwing lifted a little when I read in CounterPunch Michael K. Smith’s attack on Identity Politics for what it is: a despicable intent to destroy the working class by destroying its unity. You can read Smith here:https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/05/class-dismissed-identity-politics-without-the-identity/Maybe this is CounterPunch’s opening gun in bringing the American leftwing back to life.

Without a strong and united working class there is nothing to balance corporate power. Capitalist greed ends up destroying itself by destroying working class income and consumer purchasing power. Greed then turns on public assets demanding that they be privatized or opened for looting as is now happening to protected national monuments and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

With the working class marginalized, now it is the influence of the environmental movement that is being rolled back. Next it will be Social Security and Medicare as the ruling oligarchy pushes the social system back to the era before the New Deal. In the absence of countervailing power, there is no limit to the unwinding of the reforms that made capitalist America a liveable society.

To prevent this we all have a stake in the resurrection of the American left.

Walking Into Armageddon

Op-Ed Contributor

Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts

The orchestrated hostility toward Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea protects the $1,000 billion annual budget of the military/security complex by convincing the American public that the US is threatened by enemies. It also keeps alive Democratic Party hopes that Trump can be removed from office, and it has prevented President Trump from normalizing relations with Russia. I have emphasized for some time that Washington’s gratuitous and aggressive actions against Russia and the constant barrage of false accusations against Russia and its government have convinced Russia that Washington is planning a military attack. There is nothing more reckless and irresponsible than to convince a nuclear superpower that you are preparing an attack on them.

One would think that such irresponsible and reckless behavior would have the citizenry aroused and the media reporting the risk. Yet, there is only silence. It is more important to the media whether NFL players stand for the national anthem and that some male politicians show sexual interest in women in inappropriate ways. Insouciant America is walking into Armageddon.

A few days ago former US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry added his voice to mine and to those of the few who understand the danger. Perry said:

“When the Cold War ended, I believed that we no longer had to take that risk [nuclear annihilation] so I put all my energy into efforts to dismantle the deadly nuclear legacy of the Cold War. During my period as the Secretary of Defense in the 90s, I oversaw the dismantlement of 8,000 nuclear weapons evenly divided between the United States and the former Soviet Union. And I thought then that we were well on our way to putting behind us this deadly existential threat, But that was not to be. Today, inexplicably to me, we’re recreating the geopolitical hostility of the Cold War, and we’re rebuilding the nuclear dangers. … We are doing this without any serious public discussion or any real understanding of the consequences of these actions. We are sleepwalking into a new Cold War, and there’s very real danger that we will blunder into a nuclear war. If we are to prevent this catastrophe, the public must understand what is happening.” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-03/former-us-defense-secretary-explains-why-nuclear-holocaust-now-likely

How can the American public understand when they do not know, because the few voices telling them are not reported. Indeed, the military/security complex, the Israel Lobby and the lobby’s American agents among the neoconservatives are actively working to discredit those who are aware of the dangerous situation.

The power of the military/security complex and the Israel Lobby, the two prime war-mongers of the 21st century, have immobilized the President of the United States. Trump is helpless in the face of a special prosecutor who is “investigating Russiagate,” a hoax created for the express purpose of preventing President Trump from restoring normal relations with a nuclear superpower.

Experts including William Binney, who developed the universal spy program for NSA thinking mistakenly that it would not be used against American citizens, have stated publicly that, if Russiagate were real and not an orchestrated hoax, the NSA would have all the evidence, making special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s “investigation” completely pointless.

One would think that even those who comprise the presstitute media would be able to figure out that NSA has the evidence if it exists. Instead, the presstitutes cooperate with Mueller in creating a fake news story, one that has been kept alive for over a year.

A country in which the media lack integrity cannot be a democracy as the people have no accurate information with which to make decisions and hold government accountable. The American presstitute media functions as a control arm for the powerful vested interests that are turning the United States into a police state that serves only a few hundredths of One Percent.

Americans have been lied to about everything. I agree that the lies go back a long way. To keep this column to a readable length, we can start with the many lies of the Clinton regime. The war on Serbia was done in order to humiliate Russia by proving that Russia was helpless in the face of American might to come to the aid of its ally, and it was done to establish the use of NATO as an arm of, and cover for, US military aggression.

Then we come to 9/11, the official explanation of which is rejected not only by Osama bin Laden but also by every expert unafraid to open his/her mouth.

Then we have the fake reason for the US invasion of Afghanistan, a disaster for America as it was for the Soviets. A handful of lightly armed Afghans defeated “the world’s only superpower,” just as they defeated the powerful Soviet army.

Then we have the fake charges of Saddam Hussain’s “weapons of mass destruction” hyped to the heavens by the corrupt American presstitutes. This amazing lie, disavowed by the UN weapons inspectors, was used despite the evidence to the contrary to invade Iraq and to destroy a country. This lie was later repudiated by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who regretted the stain on his reputation caused by the George W. Bush/Dick Chaney regime’s misuse of his credibility before the UN.

Then we have the fake charges against Libya’s Gadaffi that were used to murder Gadaffi, to Hillary’s great delight, and to destroy the most successful country in Africa.

The ISIS mercenaries that Hillary and Obama used to destroy Libya were sent to destroy Syria when Russia and the British Parliament blocked Obama’s plan to send American troops to invade Syria. We have been subjected to years of lies from Washington and the presstitutes that Washington is fighting ISIS, when Washington sent ISIS to Syria to destroy Assad and the Syrian government.

And there is Somalia, another packet of Washington/pressitute lies. And the violation of Pakistan with the bombing of tribal areas falsely claimed to be al-Qaeda or Taliban supporters.

And there is Yemen devastated by Washington’s puppet Saudi Arabia.

And there are the false news reports of “Iranian nukes” and Iranian belligerent actions against Israel.

And “Russia invaded Ukraine” when in fact Washington overthrew with its financed NGOs the democratically elected Ukrainian government.

And now we hear that those who dare to tell the truth to Americans are “Russian agents” and “fake news purveyors.”

When a country’s government and media do nothing but lie 24/7, how can democracy exist. Clearly, it cannot.

Environmentl organizations are reporting that President Trump intends to abolish two national monuments by executive order in order to open protected lands to rape, ravage, and ruin by corporations. The two national monuments are Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

If Trump has the power to turn national monuments over to corporate campaign donors, he most certainly can have his Attorney General open an investigation of Hillary Clinton or even indict her on the already known evidence. He can issue a pre-emptive pardon of General Flynn, who is being framed on charges that do not relate to Russian influence in the presidential election. Indeed, he can have the Attorney General investigate or arrest Mueller for sedition and an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. These charges are far more realistic than the charge Mueller has brought against Flynn.

But what does President Trump do? He twitters, complaining that Gen. Flynns life is being destroyed while “Crooked Hillary Clinton” walks around free.https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/12/no_author/crooked-hillary-walks-free/

Trump is correct, so why doesn’t he do something about it? What Flynn did was to ask the Russians not to over-react to the new sanctions that Obama placed on Russia in an effort to create such bad relations between the US and Russia that Trump woud be unable to normalize them. What Flynn did was entirely appropriate and has nothing to do with the hoax story of Russiagate. The real reason that the military/security complex is after Gen. Flynn is that he is the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and he said on a TV news show that the decision by the Obama regime to send ISIS to overthrow Syria was a “willful decision” that went against his recommendation.

In other words, Flynn let the cat out of the bag that ISIS was not an independently formed organization but a tool of US policy.

The presstitutes, of course, ignored Gen. Flynn’s statement. The only effect of Flynn’s statement was to set him up for retalliation, and that is what Mueller is doing.

What Mueller is doing is so corrupt that he really should be arrested and rendentioned to Egypt.

Private interests and agendas have control over the US government.The people have no control. Washington works by selling legislation to the interest groups in exchange for campaign contributions. The private interests that provide the money that elects politiicans get the laws that they want. For example, President Trump is giving the environmental despoilers two protected national monuments, but he is powerless to protect himself and has advisors.

The ruling oligarchy is making an example of Trump in order to ensure that no future presidential candidate makes a direct appeal to the people. When Trump said that he was going to govern in the interest of the people by bringing the offshored jobs home, he attacked the profits of the global corporations, and when he said he was going to normalize relations with Russia, he attacked the power and profit of the military/security complex. He is now paying the price for his rashness.

The larger question is: what price will the American people and the rest of the world pay for the constraints the military/security complex has placed on Trump’s ability to normalize relations with Russia?

Plunder Capitalism

Op-Ed Contributor

Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts

I deplore the tax cut that has passed Congress. It is not an economic policy tax cut, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with supply-side economics. The entire purpose is to raise equity prices by providing equity owners with more capital gains and dividends. In other words, it is legislation that makes equity owners richer, thus further polarizing society into a vast arena of poverty and near-poverty and the One Percent, or more precisely a fraction of the One Percent wallowing in billions of dollars. Unless our rulers can continue to control the explanations, the tax cut edges us closer to revolution resulting from complete distrust of government.

The current tax legislation drops the corporate tax rate to 20%. This means that global corporations registered in the US will be taxed at a lower income tax rate than a licensed practical nurse making $50,000 per year. The nurse, if single, faces in 2017 a 25% marginal tax rate on all income over $37,950.

A single person is taxed at a rate of 33% on all income above $191,651. 33% was the top tax rate extracted from medieval serfs, and approaches the tax rate on US 19th century slaves. Such an upper middle class income as $191,651 sounds extraordinary to most Americans, but it is so far from the multi-million dollar annual incomes of the rich as to be invisible. In America, it is the shrinking middle and upper middle class incomes that bear the burden of income taxation. The rich with their capital gains from their equity holdings are taxed at 15%.

Even single individuals who earn between $1 and $9,325 are taxed at 10% on their pittance.

The neoliberal economists who are the shills for the rich, Wall Street, and the Banks-Too-Big-Too-Fail claim, erroneously, that by cutting the corporate income tax rate to 20% all sorts of offshored profits will be brought back to the US and lead to a booming economy and higher wages. This is absolute total nonsense. The money won’t come back, because it is invested abroad where labor costs are lower, if invested at all instead of buying back the corporation’s stock or buying other existing companies. After 20 years of offshoring US manufacturing and professional tradable skills and the incomes associated with the jobs, who is going to invest in America? The American population has no income with which to purchase the goods and services from new investment, and the American population’s credit cards are maxed out.

All that is going to happen is that Wall Street will calculate the lower tax rate into a higher equity price. Wall Street can do this without any of the offshored earnings coming home. Suddenly, everyone who owns equities will experience a boost in wealth, or the boost has already occurred in anticipation of the handout.

The deficit-conscious Republicans have put into the Bill for Enhancement of the Rich’s Wealth, cuts in social services in order to “save workers from higher interest rates from budget deficits.” This is more dishonesty. If the Fed lets real interest rates rise to any meaningful amount, derivatives will unwind, and the Fed will have to create trillions more in new dollars to keep its ponzi scheme in place. The deficit that results from the tax cut will be covered by the Fed purchasing the Treasuries, not by a rise in interest rates.

What we are witnessing in the US and indeed throughout the western world is the total failure of capitalism. Capitalism is now merely a looting machine. The financial sector no longer supplies capital for production. What the financial sector does is to turn discretionary consumer income into interest and fee payments to banks. Aggregate demand can only grow through debt expansion, and the consumers reach a point where they cannot expand their debt.

Capitalism, hiding behind “globalism,” which is misrepresented as a good thing when it is death itself, locates production where labor is cheapest, thus depriving First World labor of good wages and work opportunities and putting First World countries on the path to becoming Third World countries. Short-term profits and executive and board bonuses and stock options are maximized at the cost of the destruction of the domestic consumer market.

Plunder Capitalism also privatizes as much of the public sector, such as the military, as possible, thus driving up the cost of the Pentagon’s budget. Jobs that the soldiers themselves formerly did are given to politically-connected firms. What was once KP (kitchen patrol) is now provided by an outside private service. Private mercenaries hired by the Pentagon collect as much in a month as troops in the line of fire earn in a year. I don’t know that the army any longer has a supply organization other than the private business that has the contract.

Medicare and Medicaid are the next to be privatized, along with Social Security. The tax cut will result in deficit and high interest rate hype, and these lies will be used to save the workers from high interest rates on their mortgage, credit card, and student loan debt by scaling back or privatizing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

The environment and public lands will be sacrificed to the private profits of timber, mining, and energy companies. Grizzly bears and wolves are losing their protection under the endangered species act so that states can sell trophy hunting licenses to men who have to prove their manhood by killing an animal with a high-powerful rifle at a safe distance.

What we are witnessing is the complete looting of America and the entirety of the West. While the Western World collapses, the insouciant, submissive people sit there sucking their thumbs while they are being ruined.

Nothing is left of the West except looters at work.

This tax bill is an abomination, an act of brutal plunder. Its sponsors should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail, if not hung from a lamp post.