America’s decline: More like Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome? 1

It’s important to remember that the modern American Empire is really just an extension of the British Empire, only the capital was moved from London to Washington. I’d argue (in fact, I think it’s indisputable) that the Anglo-American (Atlanticist) Empire is simply the Roman (Mediterranean) Empire of the Christian and post-Christian era. Conventional historians typically argue Rome began with the period of Etruscan dominance around 900 BC, that the Roman monarchy began around 753 B.C., that the Roman Republic began around 509 B.C., that the actual Roman Empire began between Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon in 44 B.C and 27 B.C. with the rise of his son Octavian as the absolute dictator of Rome.

I’d argue the Norman Conquest of what is now England in 1066 A.D. is comparable to the beginning of the Etruscan Period. The period between the Magna Carta and the Hundred Years War is comparable to the rise of the Roman monarchy. The Cromwellian Revolution is comparable to the rise of the Roman Republic. And the emergence of the US as a unipolar global hegemon in the post-WW2 era is comparable to the beginning of the Roman Empire.

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Where does the 2020 election stand — and how might it turn out? 1

What I find most interesting about the upcoming election is the way that the two sides now view each other as existential enemies. Whichever side wins, I’m positive the other side will challenge the legitimacy of the results. For any kind of parliamentary state to function, the losing side has to be willing to lose gracefully on the notion that they will get another chance.

When no less than Noam Chomsky, the Left’s leading intellectual, considers Trump “the greatest criminal in history” and the Right considers Trump their “Flight 93” plan, it’s clear the two sides view each other as the equivalent of enemy nations.

As a political atheist, I personally view all of this the same way I view the Shia vs. Sunni rivalry in the Middle East or Protestants vs. Catholics in Northern Island or Hindus vs. Muslims in South Asia, i.e. no horse in the race. I used to think Americans were too lazy to actually fight a civil war but with the recent state-induced depression and medical martial law, that may be changing.

 

The Five Dangers Facing the Lumpenproletariat Reply

If recent events are a foreshadowing of events to come, which they may well be, it would seem that the lumpenproletariat faces five primary dangers when it comes to future revolutionary activity.

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If There Was Truth in Government… Reply

Yes, the concept is an oxymoron. But if we really had truth in government this is the flag that would fly on the flagpole of public buildings. Neither the Confederacy nor historic Americana, whatever one thinks of those historical periods, is any more relevant to what the USA is today than the Renaissance, Elizabethan England, the Reformation, the Middle Ages, or the Roman Empire.

Of course, those periods are relevant in the sense of being part of the historical narrative but they have nothing to with the present ruling class or prevailing cultural ethos. Right-wing “patriots” might as well be rooting for the New York Yankees of the Babe Ruth era, and neo-Confederates might as well be nostalgists for the Cavaliers of the English Civil War. And the cultural left’s permanent revolution against the world of Beaver Cleaver is just as archaic. Far too many people are living in the past.

If we really had truth in government, we would have statues not of neither Confederate figures or historical American figures but of Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, Ronald McDonald, Disney characters, Coca-Cola cans, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Tyson, Steve Jobs, Ellen Degeneres, Kim Kardashian, plus the co-opted progressive icons like MLK, Gloria Steinem, and Harvey Milk.

American flag with the stars replaced by corporate logos

How US Hegemony Ends Reply

On this episode Mark talks with Alex Cooley and Dan Nexon, authors of ‘Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order.’ Scholars and pundits have been predicting the US’s decline as the singular world power since at least the 1970s. Now, with President Trump’s isolationist, nativist politics, many are saying this decline has finally arrived. Cooley and Nexon agree that the US’s exit from hegemony has begun — but as they explain, it started long before Trump’s inauguration.

Broken Economy, Broken Society, and the Prospects for Liberty Reply

By Stratton J. Davis

Looking at the daily news these past couples of weeks one may have the pessimistic
opinion that what was left of liberty will soon be gone. Even before the recent riots, which has President Trump and his GOP goons threatening the US people with the use of military force at home, CoronaVirus hysteria shutdown the US economy. This has led to financial ruin for many Americans who could not work or operate their businesses, and also the power of their dollars being crippled due to constant printing of unbacked money by the Federal Reserve along with the illogical and contradictory stimulus checks.

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Western Civilization has low self-esteem. What can raise its spirits? Reply

Western civilization doesn’t really exist anymore. It died during the two world wars. “The West” today is basically just the American Empire, and it’s not the America of Nathaniel Hawthorne or Mark Twain. It’s the America of McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and Amazon. Western Europe is the most far gone, but you see this even in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and East Asia.

Ingraham: Democrats cancel America Reply

I totally disagree with Laura here, but not for the usual reasons.

So far I have actually seen very little “canceling America” going on in the present uprising. Unlike Berkeley or Charlottesville, which were low-grade sports riots carried out by rookie-league middle-class gangs, the present uprising is a genuine fourth-generation insurgency, albeit one of very low intensity.

But it’s “anti-American” character is doubtful. I haven’t seen much anti-Americanism thus far. I’ve seen plenty of anti-Confederatism, celebrating the death of a state that died 155 years ago. Today, Confederate nostalgia is a regional fetish (like Cajun food) that only deep red zone inhabitants have any remaining interest in. I’ve seen plenty of anti-Spanish Empirism but the Spanish Empire was expelled from the Western hemisphere in the 19th century, with its final defeat coming at the hands of the nascent American Empire in the Spanish-American War. I’ve seen plenty of anti-Red Tribism, anti-Trumpism, and, perhaps on the margins, actual anti-WASPism. But not much anti-Americanism.

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A Message Written in Fire: In Defense of Social Upheaval Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

It always ends this way, you can almost set your watch to it. A glamorous soirée rambling into the wee hours of the morning in an opulent townhouse on a tony tree lined street of any given international city. The kind of event held for some obscure charity to save a species of bird that likely never existed as anything but excuse for a deceptively benevolent orgy like this. Glamorous beautiful people with household names, dressed to the nine in three-piece-suits and silk gowns that cost more than most people will see in a lifetime. Ornate ballrooms echo with the bellowing sounds of the kind of excess that only this kind of downright flammable income can afford. Senators and Wall Street bankers dry hump underage courtesans, slurping Champaign twice their age and snorting Scarface-grade amounts of the same kind of narcotics they have twelve year old children of color locked up for decades for peddling in dime bags. Obnoxious plastic debutantes force theatrical laughter at racist jokes delivered by the direct descendants of Mayflower monsters and slave drivers. The only people of color are token police chiefs dressed like ornate African dictators. The only poor people are servants and the victims of white slavery, but suddenly they become very scarce.

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We Are Living in a Failed State? Reply

I might be inclined to take this article more seriously if it wasn’t written by George Packer, a “liberal hawk” idiot who supported the Iraq War.

The US is a long way from being a “failed state.” The current pandemic is very similar to the Spanish flu of 1918, which actually killed many more Americans and others around the world than COVID-19 (so far, at least). The Hong Kong Flu epidemic of 1968/69 killed around 50,000 Americans. It’s just that so many other things were happening during that time no one noticed.

The current insurrection is almost on the level of the insurrections that took place in the late 1960s/early 1970s, a time in which the US arguably had the best economy in world history (one US dollar in1968 had 7.37 times the purchasing power of the US dollar today). At present, the US is in a state of decline, in that cracks in the global empire are starting to show and, domestically, class relations are starting to resemble those of Latin America. Uprisings like those of recent days (and much worse) are “normal” in many parts of the world. None of that makes for a “failed state” per se. Libya is a failed state (thanks, Barack and Hillary). Mexico comes close. Yemen, obviously. Syria since 2011. A number of sub-Saharan African countries.

Americans simply do not realize how much wealth and power their own ruling class has, which is almost unlimited by world-historical standards. We’re not fighting some Third World banana republic. We’re fighting the Galactic Empire from Star Wars or The Dominion from Star Trek.

By George Packer

The Atlantic

When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.

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America Has No President Reply

They say that like it’s a bad thing. If only it were true. One of the reasons the Swiss system (which is theoretically similar) has been more successful than ours is because it doesn’t have a presidential system. Their executive branch is merely a council appointed by the Parliament. The US President is an elected monarch. Gee thanks, Alexander Hamilton (and kudos to Aaron Burr).

By David A. Graham

The Atlantic

Last night, as protests convulsed Washington, D.C., the White House went dark. All the lights were off. The windows of the president’s official residence were darkened, and the floodlights outside extinguished.

The country is sick, angry, and divided, but it also finds itself leaderless. Trump has never shown any inclination or ability to soothe or console in moments of crisis. He wants the trappings of power, like showing up for a rocket launch, but he doesn’t want to get his hands dirty with the work of governing. And he continues to view himself as the president only of the minority who voted for him, not all Americans. These tendencies have converged in this moment.

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Stock market soars as America burns 1

As I said in the previous post, current events are no skin off the ass of the ruling class whatsoever. If the stock market is soaring, they’re happy. My guess is that the power elite probably sees the insurrection as an exaggerated sports riot, as opposed to a low-grade sports riot such as Charlottesville.

What is happening now is the equivalent of a group of factory workers getting upset over working conditions, beating up the shop foreman, trashing the employee restroom, turning over the water coolers, smashing up some insured and easily replaceable equipment, and, at most, venturing to the offices of the lowest level administrators, maybe punching a few low-level managers and slapping a few receptionists.

In such a situation, top management, the CEO, Vice-Presidents, Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board, major shareholders, etc. would not feel threatened. They would privately laugh and then fire some middle managers for not keeping the employees under control.

These mayors and governors that Trump not incorrectly calls weaklings are merely lower to middle-level managers. Trump himself is merely the CEO. The major shareholders and Board of Directors are the real power. So far things are still going just fine for them. In fact, the capitalist class is already trying to co-opt the insurrection. Soon enough, Amazon will probably start selling riot masks and clothes online.

The great danger is that if the power elite does at some point come to feel threatened, they will show their hand, and the USA will have a Pinochet-like situation (and a real Pinochet, not a carnival barker like Trump).  Americans have zero experience with such situations and are nowhere near being prepared for such circumstances.

My book on the civil war in El Salvador details what real state repression and what a real armed insurgency looks like.

Krystal and Saagar discuss reports that show stocks on the rise as reopening hopes offset concerns over ongoing protests.

The New New Cold War is Pretty Much the Old New Cold War 2

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Remember when the Russians were coming? It seems like just last week Vladimir Putin was whistling the Soviet National Anthem just around every corner of main street. After the colossal clusterfuck of Hillary 2016, you couldn’t swing a dead cat in a news room without hitting another crafty Kremlin conspiracy. Those shifty almond-eyed bastards were the secret sauce behind everything that gave neoliberals heartburn; MAGA, Black Lives Matter, Wikileaks, Bernie Bros, Jill Stein, Sasquatch, Tulsi Gabbard, Colin Kaepernick, the female orgasm. They were behind it all! Putin was everywhere, like Elvis Presley in a Mojo Nixon song, and he was always up to something new, some dastardly new conspiracy to corrupt our precious bodily fluids that only Rachel Maddow and six permanently anonymous intelligence experts could save us from. Donald Trump was constantly on the brink of impeachment for pissing on a Russian prostitute dressed as Abe Lincoln and wrapped in the Constitution or some such noise. It made sense in the moment, I swear it did! It was a new day in Imperial America, a whole new Cold War was upon us, and Adam Schiff would lead us to the promise land like a liberal Joe McCarthy on a gallant white stead.

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Tucker: America is splitting into two before our eyes Reply

If only it were true. Localized quarantines are what we should have been doing all along. It’s ridiculous to expect rural counties to abide by the same rules as New York and Los Angeles.

Some states are using science to guide their decisions and cautiously beginning to relax their lockdowns. But power-drunk politicians in the other half of the country are tightening their lockdowns even now.

The Collapse of the American Empire? Reply

Some pretty good economic analysis from Chris Hedges from 2018. Much of what he describes will be amped up on a mega-level following the present Great Depression Two. Hedges is a lot like Chomsky in the sense of offering a lot of succinct and astute analysis combined with left-bias and sanctimony (not that there are not plenty of parallels on the right). Guys like Hedges and Chomsky are to the Left what Tucker Carlson and Pat Buchanan are to the Right.

The Agenda welcomes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, who over the past decade and a half has made his name as a columnist, activist and author. He’s been a vociferous public critic of presidents on both sides of the American political spectrum, and his latest book, ‘America, the Farewell Tour,’ is nothing short of a full-throated throttling of the political, social, and cultural state of his country.

Democracy 2020!: Pick Your Favorite Pussy Grabber Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Good morning dearest motherfuckers, it is spring time in this the plague besotted year of our lord Satan, twenty-hundred-and-twenty, and both major party candidates for the highest office of the greatest democracy imperialism can buy are confirmed geriatric sexual predators. There exists no other way to describe the painfully hilarious absurdity of our nation’s ascent into the stinky rafters of its own proverbial asshole. Webster, Oxford, Gore Vidal, and a childhood of blaxploitation cinema have failed to develop in me a drag queen’s tongue sharp enough to sum up this nation’s plight in the heat of the Kali Yuga better than the simple, painful, basic fact that our most cherished plutocratic ritual has been quite literally rendered to a game of Pick-Your-Favorite-Rapist. After centuries of the finest and most flowery propaganda that genocide can afford. After decades upon decades of shining cities on the hill and America, the indispensable nation, the exceptional hammer of global humanitarian benevolence, Trump vs Biden is the punch line to the sickest joke the devil ever wrote.

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Most “Radicals” Do Not Really Oppose “the System” 1

At present, the United States (the mother country of a world empire that is the most expansive and powerful in history) is in a position that might be considered a very minor league version of what the Europeans faced in the early modern period. From the fourth century through the fifteenth century, the Catholic Church dominated Western Europe with roughly the same level of pervasiveness that the Communist Party now dominates China (minus the technological capabilities, of course). The Renaissance, Protestant Reformation, Radical Reformation, Age of Exploration, market revolution scientific revolution, and the Enlightenment had the effect of ushering in several centuries of conflict between rival religious communities, feudal overlords, royal dynasties, and insurgency bourgeoisie for hegemony. The consequences were fun episodes such as the Thirty Years War and the English Civil War, among many others.

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Anarcho-Populism: Not Economically Left/Culturally Right 4

In recent times, I have seen a number of commentators calling for one or another kind of left/right hybrid populism. Some years ago, Ralph Nader was pushing this idea (obviously unsuccessfully). More recently, Krystal Ball (social democrat) and Saager Enjeti (economic nationalist) of The Hill’s Rising have promoted a similar concept, i.e. uniting left and right populists around class issues. Bill Lind (paleoconservative) has called for a culturally right/economic left populism (which is more or less what many of the “right-wing populist” parties of Europe are). Even Tucker Carlson has expressed leanings in this direction at times.

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Peter Zeihan Explains The Geopolitical Landscape 2

Peter Zeihan provides a refreshing alternative to the China-love and/or China-hate that’s going on nowadays from the left and right. No, China is not going to replace the US as the global hegemon. Instead, China is likely to either implode or revert into neo-Maoism (which is already happening under Xi Jinping). Meanwhile, India and Russia are still basically Third World countries, which limits the expansionist potential of the BRICS.

The US has largely been successful at undermining Iran’s “axis of resistance” (on behalf of Israel and Saudi Arabia) which means that the battle for hegemony in the Middle East in the future will be between the neo-Ottoman Turks and the Wahhabi-led Gulf States.

The COVID-19 crisis is accelerating the fragmentation of Europe into a French-dominated block in Western Europe and a German-dominated block in Central Europe, with the possibility of a third block consisting of England and Scandinavia moving even closer into the American orbit.

In Latin America, Central America and the northern region of South America are becoming wastelands on par with East Africa.

This is an episode of The Pomp Podcast with host Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano and guest, Peter Zeihan, a geopolitical strategist, author, and speaker who specializes in global energy, demographics and security. He analyzes the realities of geography and populations to deepen the understanding of how global politics impact markets and economic trends. In this conversation, we discuss how demographics drive economies, why consumption led growth will become impossible, what is happening in the oil markets, why Peter believes China won’t be a unified or industrialized country in a decade, how a virus can lead to famine, and what is happening in various places around the world.