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Richard Mellor / Keynes: revolutionary or reactionary?
« Last post by Richard Mellor on Today at 06:18:19 PM »
Keynes: revolutionary or reactionary?

John Maynard Keynes
by Michael Roberts

Keynes: revolutionary or reactionary? ? part one: the economics

Was Keynes a revolutionary in economic thought and policy?  Was  he at least radical in his ideas?  Or was he a reactionary opposed to  the interests of working people and a conservative in economic theory?   Ann Pettifor is a leading economic advisor to the British leftist Labour  leaders, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.  She is director of Prime  Economics, a left-wing economics consultancy and author of several  books, in particular the recent The Production of Money.  And she has just won Germany?s Hannah Arendt prize for political thought ? for focusing on ?the  political and societal impact of the current money production system,  mainly operated by banks through digital lending? and as effective  critic of ?the global financial industry, which operates outside of the  scope of political influence and democratic control?.

So Ann Pettifor is an undoubted battler against the austerity  economics of the neoclassical school and a promoter of government  measures to restore public services and boost the economy.  But to  achieve that, she relies entirely on the theories and policies of JM  Keynes and ?Keynesianism?.  Recently she published a short article for  the prestigious Times Literary Supplement, entitled The indefatigable efforts of J. M. Keynes. This is part of Footnotes to Plato, a TLS Online series appraising the works and legacies of the great thinkers and philosophers.

In this article, Pettifor compares Keynes? theories as being as  game-changing in economics as the discovery of evolution by Charles  Darwin in biology.  In her view, Keynes ?invented? macroeconomics, the  study of trends in economies at the aggregate level, escaping the  stifling neoclassical obsession with microeconomics (the study of value  and markets at the level of the individual unit).  She concurs with  Keynes?s theory of money and his explanation of crises under capitalism  as being caused by ?hoarding? money rather than spending it; and she  praises his ?internationalism? in arguing for international financial  institutions to control financial speculation and avoid instability in  market capitalism.  She finishes with the concern that Keynes? ideas and  policies have been reneged on and rejected and there has been a return  to ?decadent? capitalism, far removed from the golden age of the  post-1945 period when Keynesian policies were applied to make capitalism  work effectively for all.  She concludes with the call that ?It is time to restore the revolutionary Keynes.?

Well, I beg to differ on this view of Keynes and Keynesian theories  and policies.  For a start, it is inflated to suggest that Keynes? ideas  are on a par with those of Darwin.  Yes, there may be a few  creationists who reckon that God designed the world and its living  beings in his own image and preserved it accordingly.  But no sane  person thinks this has any validity.  The evidence is overwhelming that  Darwin was broadly right on the evolution of life.  But can we say that  Keynes is broadly right about the laws of motion and trends in the  capitalist economy?  I don?t think so ? and I?ll briefly attempt to show  why.

For a start, Pettifor is wrong when she says that ?classical  economics? was microeconomics as we know it now.  The use of the term  ?classical? used by Keynes bunched all the great early 19th century  economists like Adam Smith, James Mill and David Ricardo and their grand  studies of economies with the reactionary marginalist, subjectivist,  equilibrium theories of the mid to late 19th century of Jevons, Senior,  Bohm-Bawerk, Walrus and Mises. Keynes rejected the former while  continuing to accept the microeconomics of the latter.  For the  classical economists of the early 19th century capitalism, there was no  distinction between the micro and the macro.  The task was to analyse  the motion and trends in ?economies? and for that a theory of value was a  necessary tool but not an end in itself.

Microeconomics became an end in itself as a way of combating the  dangerous development in classical economy towards a theory of value  that implied the exploitation of labour and conflicting social  relations.  So the labour theory of value was replaced with the marginal  utility of purchase by the consumer as a result.  ?Political economy?  started as an analysis of the nature of capitalism on an ?objective?  basis by the great classical economists.  But once capitalism became the  dominant mode of production in the major economies and it became clear  that capitalism was another form of the exploitation of labour (this  time by capital), economics quickly moved to deny that reality.   Instead, mainstream economics became an apologia for capitalism, with  general equilibrium replacing real competition; marginal utility  replacing the labour theory of value; and Say?s law replacing crises.

Macroeconomics appears in the 20th century as a response to the failure of capitalist production ? in particular, the great depression of the 1930s.  Something had to  be done.  Keynes kept marginalist theory from his mentor, Alfred  Marshall, but dynamically moved it beyond supply and demand among  individual consumers and producers onto the aggregate. Mainstream  ?bourgeois? economics could no longer rely on the comforting theory that  marginal utility would equate with marginal productivity to deliver a  general equilibrium of supply and demand and thus a harmonious and  stable growth path for production, investment, incomes and employment.   The automatic equality of supply and demand, Say?s law, was now  questioned.  It had to be recognised that capitalism was subject to  booms and slumps, to (permanent?) disequilibria, and thus to regular  crises.  And these crises had to be dealt with ? to be ?managed?.  That  required macroeconomic analysis.  In a sense, bourgeois economics had to  put back the economic clock to classical economics ? the study of  aggregate trends ? but without returning to ?political economy?,  which recognised that economics was really about social structure and  relations (class exploitation) and not a theory of ?scarcity? and  ?market prices?.

Contrary to Pettifor?s account, it only appeared that Keynesian  macroeconomics had done the trick in saving capitalism.  In the ?golden  age? of post-1948 capitalism, economic growth was strong, employment was  full and incomes high.  So (macro) economics could appear to provide  policies to ?manage? capitalism successfully.  But this was just a  momentary illusion.  The golden age soon lost its glitter.  Keynesian  theory and policy was exposed with the first simultaneous international  recession of 1974-5 and was followed by the deep slump of 1980-2.   Remember these major collapses in production and investment  internationally took place during the supposed operation of Keynesian policies of macroeconomic management, in Pettifor?s account.

Pettifor says the crises of late 20th century were the result of ?the  decision by public authorities the world over to abandon the regulation  of credit creation and capital mobility after the 1960s and early 70s?, in other words, a lack of regulation over the reckless bankers.   But the question not answered is: why the strategists of capital  dropped Keynesian-style management and control and opted for  de-regulation etc if it was all working so well in the 1950s and 1960s?   The reason that pro-capitalist governments swung to monetarism and  neoliberal policies was that Keynesianism had failed.  And it failed in  the most important area for capitalism ? in sustaining the profitability  of capital.

The big change from the mid-1960s onwards up to the early 1980s was a  collapse in the profitability of capital in the major economies leading  to a succession of slumps in 1970, 1974 and then 1980-2.  This is what  provoked capitalist theorists and policy makers to break with Keynes.   Public services, the welfare state, good wages and full employment could  no longer be ?afforded? and, as Pettifor says, Keynesianism was seen to  be ?state interventionist, soft on government deficit spending.?  But all these policy reversals came after the slump of the 1970s before which finance capital was ?regulated?,  currencies were ?managed?, trade unions had rights, the government could  intervene fiscally, and there was little privatisation.  It was the  failure of capitalist production and the inability of Keynesian ideas to  work that caused the change in theory and policy, not vice versa.

Nevertheless, Pettifor argues, dropping Keynesianism was a mistake  for the ?powers that be? because Keynes had all the answers to avoid  crises and get capitalist economies going. You see Keynes had developed a  ?revolutionary theory? of money ? his Liquidity Preference  Theory.  This explained that crises occur when investors or holders of  money do not spend it, but hoard it.  They do this for some subjective  reasons ? a lack of ?animal spirits?, a loss of belief that any spending  or investing will deliver sufficient return.  So a surplus of money  builds up that is not spent.  The answer, claims Pettifor, is for the  monetary authorities to intervene and drive down the cost of borrowing  by ?printing? money, so that interest rates on borrowing fall below the  perceived return on investing.  This will encourage money hoarders to  invest.  Such policies are ?still considered too radical to be acceptable today?.

In her book, The Production of Money, Pettifor tells us that ?money is nothing more than a promise to pay? and that as ?we?re creating money all the time by making these promises?,  money is infinite and not limited in its production, so society can  print as much of it as it likes in order to invest in its social choices  without any detrimental economic consequences.  And through the  Keynesian multiplier effect, incomes and jobs can expand.  And ?it makes no difference where the government invests its money, if doing so creates employment?.   The only issue is to keep the cost of money, interest rates, as low as  possible, to ensure the expansion of money (or is it credit?) to drive  the capitalist economy forward.  Thus there is no need for any change in  the mode of production for profit; just take control of the money  machine to ensure an infinite flow of money and all will be well.

Well, capitalism is a monetary economy but it is not a money economy  (alone).  Money cannot make more money if no new value is created and  realized.  And that requires the employment and exploitation of labour  power.  Marx said it was a fetish to think that money can create more  money out of the air.  Yet this version of Keynesianism seems to think  it can.  When central banks expand the money supply through printing  ?fiat? money or creating bank reserves (deposits), more recently  so-called ?quantitative easing?, this does not expand value.  It would  only do so if this money is then put to productive use in increasing the  means of production or the workforce to increase output and so increase  value.

But, as Marx argued way back in the 1840s against the ?quantity  theory of money?, just expanding the supply of ?fiat? money will not  increase value and production but is more likely to inflate prices and  thus devalue the national currency, and/or inflate financial asset  prices.  It is the latter that has mostly happened in the recent period  of money printing.  Quantitative easing has not ended the current global  depression but merely sparked new financial speculation. This version  of Keynesian economics is thus hardly ?revolutionary? or ?radical? at  all, as it was adopted by all central banks after the Great Recession in  2008 and has failed to restore economic growth, productive investment  and average incomes.

Actually, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, as it worsened,  Keynes himself came to dispense with monetary solutions to the slumps  and opted for fiscal stimulus and even proposed the ?socialisation of  investment?, a much more radical policy than the production of more  money.  In his Treatise on Money,  written in 1930 at the start of the Great Depression, Keynes argued  that central banks would have to intervene with what we now call  ?unconventional monetary policies? designed to lower the cost of  borrowing and raise sufficient liquidity for investment. Just trying to  get the official interest rate down would not be enough.  But by 1936  after five more years of depression (similar to the time since the Great  Recession now), Keynes became less convinced that ?unconventional  monetary policies? would work.  In his famous General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Keynes moved on.

Why did just the production of more money fail, according to Keynes?  The problem was that ??I  am now somewhat sceptical of the success of a merely monetary policy  directed towards influencing the rate of interest? since it seems likely  that the fluctuations in the market estimation of the marginal  efficiency of different types of capital, calculated on the principles I  have described above, will be too great to be offset by any practicable  changes in the rate of interest?.  And so Keynes moved on  to advocating fiscal spending and state intervention to complement or  pump-prime failing business investment.  Pettifor has latched onto that  part of Keynesian macro theory and policy, monetary easing, to the  neglect of fiscal stimulus, let alone the more radical policy of the  ?socialisation of investment? (not even mentioned by Pettifor).  Thus  Pettifor?s account of Keynes?s economics is at his least  ?revolutionary?.

Part Two: Was Keynes a revolutionary internationalist or reactionary nationalist?
Source: Keynes: revolutionary or reactionary?
'How Can You Be Moral?': Here Are 9 Questions You Don't Need to Ask an Atheist ? And Their Answers

"Why are atheists so angry?"

Asked of Hispanic-Americans: ?Are you in this country legally?? Asked of gays and lesbians and bisexuals: ?How do you have sex?? Asked of transgender people: ?Have you had the surgery?? Asked of African Americans: ?Can I touch your hair??

Every marginalized group has some question, or questions, that are routinely asked of them ? and that drive them up a tree; questions that have insult or bigotry or dehumanization woven into the very asking. Sometimes the questions are asked sincerely, with sincere ignorance of the offensive assumptions behind them. And sometimes they are asked in a hostile, passive-aggressive, ?I?m just asking questions? manner. But it?s still not okay to ask them. They?re not questions that open up genuine inquiry and discourse, they?re questions that close minds, much more than they open them. Even if that?s not the intention. And most people who care about bigotry and marginalization and social justice ? or who just care about good manners ? don?t ask them.

Here are nine questions you shouldn?t ask atheists. I?m going to answer them, just this once, and then I?ll explain why you shouldn?t be asking them, and why so many atheists will get ticked off if you do.

1: ?How can you be moral without believing in God??

The answer: Atheists are moral for the same reasons believers are moral: because we have compassion, and a sense of justice. Humans are social animals, and like other social animals, we evolved with some core moral values wired into our brains: caring about fairness, caring about loyalty, caring when others are harmed.

If you?re a religious believer, and you don?t believe these are the same reasons that believers are moral, ask yourself this: If I could persuade you today, with 100% certainty, that there were no gods and no afterlife? would you suddenly start stealing and murdering and setting fire to buildings? And if not ? why not? If you wouldn?t? whatever it is that would keep you from doing those things, that?s the same thing keeping atheists from doing them. (And if you would ? remind me not to move in next door to you.)

And ask yourself this as well: If you accept some parts of your holy book and reject others ? on what basis are you doing that? Whatever part of you says that stoning adulterers is wrong but helping poor people is good; that planting different crops in the same field is a non-issue but bearing false witness actually is pretty messed-up; that slavery is terrible but it?s a great idea to love your neighbor as yourself? that?s the same thing telling atheists what?s right and wrong. People are good ? even if we don?t articulate it this way ? because we have an innate grasp of the fundamental underpinnings of morality: the understanding that other people matter to themselves as much as we matter to ourselves, and that there is no objective reason to act as if any of us matters more than any other. And that?s true of atheists and believers alike.

Why you shouldn?t ask it: This is an unbelievably insulting question. Being moral, caring about others and having compassion for them, is a fundamental part of being human. To question whether atheists can be moral, to express bafflement at how we could possibly manage to care about others without believing in a supernatural creator, is to question whether we?re even fully human.

And you know what? This question is also hugely insulting to religious believers. It?s basically saying that the only reason believers are moral is fear of punishment and desire for reward. It?s saying that believers don?t act out of compassion, or a sense of justice. It?s saying that believers? morality is childish at best, self-serving at worst. I wouldn?t say that about religious believers? and you shouldn?t, either.

2: ?How do you have any meaning in your life?? Sometimes asked as, ?Don?t you feel sad or hopeless?? Or even, ?If you don?t believe in God or heaven, why don?t you just kill yourself??

The answer: Atheists find meaning and joy in the same things everyone does. We find it in the big things: family, friendship, work, nature, art, learning, love. We find it in the small things: cookies, World of Warcraft, playing with kittens. The only difference is that (a) believers add ?making my god or gods happy and getting a good deal in the afterlife? to those lists (often putting them at the top), and (b) believers think meaning is given to them by their god or gods, while atheists create our own meaning, and are willing and indeed happy to accept that responsibility.

In fact, for many atheists, the fact that life is finite invests it with more meaning ? not less. When we drop ?pleasing a god we have no good reason to think exists? from our ?meaning? list, we have that much more attention to give the rest of it. When we accept that life will really end, we become that much more motivated to make every moment of it matter.

Why you shouldn?t ask it: What was it that we were just saying about ?dehumanization?? Experiencing meaning and value in life is deeply ingrained in being human. When you treat atheists as if we were dead inside simply because we don?t believe in a supernatural creator or our own immortality? you?re treating us as if we weren?t fully human. Please don?t.

3: ?Doesn?t it take just as much/even more faith to be an atheist as it does to be a believer??

The answer: No.

The somewhat longer answer: This question assumes that ?atheism? means ?100% certainty that God does not exist, with no willingness to question and no room for doubt.? For the overwhelming majority of people who call ourselves atheists, this is not what ?atheism? means. For most atheists, ?atheism? means something along the lines of ?being reasonably certain that there are no gods,? or, ?having reached the provisional conclusion, based on the evidence we?ve seen and the arguments we?ve considered, that there are no gods.? No, we can?t be 100% certain that there are no gods. We can?t be 100% certain that there are no unicorns, either. But we?re certain enough. Not believing in unicorns doesn?t take ?faith.? And neither does not believing in God.

Why you shouldn?t ask it: The assumption behind this question is that atheists haven?t actually bothered to think about our atheism. And this assumption is both ignorant and insulting. Most atheists have considered the question of God?s existence or non-existence very carefully. Most of us were brought up religious, and letting go of that religion took a great deal of searching of our hearts and our minds. Even those of us brought up as non-believers were (mostly) brought up in a society that?s steeped in religion. It takes a fair amount of questioning and thought to reject an idea that almost everyone else around you believes.

And when you ask this question, you?re also revealing the narrowness of your own mind. You?re showing that you can?t conceive of the possibility that someone might come to a conclusion about religion based on evidence, reason, and which ideas seem most likely to be true, instead of on ?faith.?

4: ?Isn?t atheism just a religion??

The answer: No.

The somewhat longer answer: Unless you?re defining ?religion? as ?any conclusion people come to about the world,? or as ?any community organized around a shared idea,? then no. If your definition of ?religion? includes atheism, it also has to include: Amnesty International, the Audubon Society, heliocentrism, the acceptance of the theory of evolution, the Justin Bieber Fan Club, and the Democratic Party. By any useful definition of the word ?religion,? atheism is not a religion.

Why you shouldn?t ask it: Pretty much the same reason as the one for #3. Calling atheism a religion assumes that it?s an axiom accepted on faith, not a conclusion based on thinking and evidence. And it shows that you?re not willing or able to consider the possibility that someone not only has a different opinion about religion than you do, but has come to that opinion in a different way.

5: ?What?s the point of atheist groups? How can you have a community and a movement for something you don?t believe in??

The answer: Atheists have groups and communities and movements for the same reasons anyone does. Remember what I said about atheists being human? Humans are social animals. We like to spend time with other people who share our interests and values. We like to work with other people on goals we have in common. What?s more, when atheists come out about our atheism, many of us lose our friends and families and communities, or have strained and painful relationships with them. Atheists create communities so we can be honest about who we are and what we think, and still not be alone.

Why you shouldn?t ask it: This is a total ?damned if we do, damned if we don?t? conundrum. Atheists get told all the time that people need religion for the community it provides: that persuading people out of religion is cruel or futile or both, since so much social support happens in religious institutions. Then, when atheists do create communities to replace the ones people so often lose when they leave religion, we get told how ridiculous this is. (Or else we?re told, ?See? Atheism is just another religion!? See #4 above.)

6: ?Why do you hate God?? Or, ?Aren?t you just angry at God??

The answer: Atheists aren?t angry at God. We don?t think God exists. We aren?t angry at God, any more than we?re angry at Santa Claus.

Why you shouldn?t ask it: This question doesn?t just deny our humanity. It denies our very existence. It assumes that atheists don?t really exist: that our non-belief isn?t sincere, that it?s some sort of emotional trauma or immature teenage rebellion, that it?s not even really non-belief.

And honestly? This question reveals how narrow your own mind is. It shows that you can?t even consider the possibility that you might be mistaken: that you can?t even conceive of somebody seeing the world differently from the way you do. This question doesn?t just make atheists mad. It makes you look like a dolt.

7: ?But have you [read the Bible or some other holy book; heard about some supposed miracle; heard my story about my personal religious experience]??

The answer: Probably. Or else we?ve read/heard about something pretty darned similar. Atheists are actually better-informed about religion than most religious believers. In fact, we?re better-informed about the tenets of most specific religions than the believers in those religions. For many atheists, sitting down and reading the Bible (or the holy text of whatever religion they were brought up in) is exactly what set them on the path to atheism ? or what put the final nail in the coffin.

Why you shouldn?t ask it: As my friend and colleague Heina put it: ??Have you heard of Jesus?? No, actually, I was born under a fucking rock.?

Are you really not aware of how dominating a force religion is in society? In most of the world, and certainly in the United States, religion is impossible to ignore. It permeates the social life, the economic life, the cultural life, the political life. We?re soaking in it. The idea that atheists might somehow have come to adulthood without being aware of the Bible, of stories about supposed miracles, of stories about personal religious experiences? it?s laughable. Or it would be laughable if it weren?t so annoying. Religious privilege is all over this question like a cheap suit.

8: ?What if you?re wrong?? Sometimes asked as, ?Doesn?t it make logical sense to believe in God? If you believe and you?re wrong, nothing terrible happens, but if you don?t believe and you?re wrong, you could go to Hell!?

The answer: What if you?re wrong about Allah? Or Vishnu? Or Zeus? What if you?re wrong about whether God is the wrathful jerk who hates gay people, or the loving god who hates homophobes? What if you?re wrong about whether God wants you to celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday? What if you?re wrong about whether God really does care about whether you eat bacon? As Homer Simpson put it, ?What if we picked the wrong religion? Every week we?re just making God madder and madder!?

Why you shouldn?t ask it: There are so very many things wrong with this question. It even has a name ? Pascal?s Wager ? and I?ve actually written an entire piece on the many things that are wrong with it. But I?ll stick with two for today, the ones that aren?t just logically absurd but that insult the intelligence and integrity of both atheists and believers:

a) Are you really that ignorant of the existence of religions other than your own? Has it really never occurred to you that when you ?bet? on the existence of your god, there are thousands upon thousands of other gods whose existence you?re ?betting? against? Are you really that steeped, not only in the generic privilege of all religion, but in the particular privilege of your own?

b) Do you really think atheists have so little integrity? Do you really think we?re going to fake belief in God? not just to our families or communities in order to not be ostracized, but in our own hearts and minds? Do you really think we?re going to deliberately con ourselves into believing ? or pretending to believe ? something that we don?t actually think is true? Not just something trivial, but something this important? Do you really think we would pick what to think is true and not true about the world, based solely on which idea would be most convenient? How does that even constitute ?belief?? (And anyway, do you really think that God would be taken in by this con game? Do you really think that what God wants from his followers is an insincere, self-serving, ?wink wink, I?m covering my bases? version of ?belief??)

9: ?Why are you atheists so angry??

The answer: I?ve actually written an entire book answering this question (Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless). The short answer: Not all atheists are angry about religion ? and those of us who are angry aren?t in a constant state of rage. But yes, many atheists are angry about religion ? and we?re angry because we see terrible harm being done by religion. We?re angry about harm being done to atheists? and we?re angry about harm done to other believers. We don?t just think religion is mistaken ? we think it does significantly more harm than good. And it pisses us off.

Why you shouldn?t ask it: This question assumes that atheists are angry because there?s something wrong with us. It assumes that atheists are angry because we?re bitter, selfish, whiny, unhappy, because we lack joy and meaning in our lives, because we have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. The people asking it seem to have never even considered the possibility that atheists are angry because we have legitimate things to be angry about.

This reflexive dismissal of our anger?s legitimacy does two things. It treats atheists as flawed, broken, incomplete. And it defangs the power of our anger. (Or it tries to, anyway.) Anger is a hugely powerful motivating force ? it has been a major motivating force for every social change movement in history ? and when people try to dismiss or trivialize atheists? anger, they are, essentially, trying to take that power away.

And finally: The people asking this question never seem to notice just how much atheist anger is directed, not at harm done to atheists, but at harm done to believers. A huge amount of our anger about religion is aimed at the oppression and brutality and misery created by religion, not in the lives of atheists, but in the lives of believers. Our anger about religion comes from compassion, from a sense of justice, from a vivid awareness of terrible damage being done in the world and a driving motivation to do something about it. Atheists aren?t angry because there?s something wrong with us. Atheists are angry because there?s something right with us. And it is messed-up beyond recognition to treat one of our greatest strengths, one of our most powerful motivating forces and one of the clearest signs of our decency, as a sign that we?re flawed or broken.


The list of questions you shouldn?t ask atheists doesn?t end here. It goes on, at length. ?How can you believe in nothing?? ?Doesn?t atheism take the mystery out of life?? ?Even though you don?t believe, shouldn?t you bring up your children with religion?? ?Can you prove there isn?t a god?? ?Did something terrible happen to you to turn you away from religion?? ?Are you just doing this to rebel?? ?Are you just doing this so you don?t have to obey God?s rules?? ?If you?re atheist, why do you celebrate Christmas/ say ?Bless you? when people sneeze/ spend money with ?In God We Trust? on it/ etc.?? ?Have you sincerely tried to believe?? ?Can?t you see God everywhere around you?? ?Do you worship Satan?? ?Isn?t atheism awfully arrogant?? ?Can you really not conceive of anything bigger than yourself?? ?Why do you care what other people believe??

But for now, I?ll leave these questions as an exercise for the reader. If you understand why all the questions I answered today are offensive and dehumanizing, I hope you?ll understand why these are as well.

If you want to understand more about atheists and atheism ? that is awesome. Many of us are more than happy to talk about our atheism with you: that?s how we change people?s minds about us, and overcome the widespread myths and misinformation about us. But maybe you could do a little Googling before you start asking us questions that we?ve not only fielded a hundred times before, but that have bigotry and dehumanization and religious privilege embedded in the very asking. And if you do want to know more about atheism, please stop and think about the questions you?re asking ? and the assumptions behind them ? before you do. Thanks.

Source: 'How Can You Be Moral?': Here Are 9 Questions You Don't Need to Ask an Atheist ? And Their Answers
Infoshop News / Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Today at 06:00:20 AM »
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters

Chants of ?No More War? from delegates at the 2016 Democratic National Convention gave voice to sentiments that still resonate through the base of the party and the broad U.S. public, notably in communities with higher rates of military sacrifice.

The post Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters appeared first on Infoshop News.

Source: Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Infoshop News / What if ? people could migrate freely?
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Today at 06:00:20 AM »
What if ? people could migrate freely?

Architect and illustrator Theo Deutinger has made a simple but telling set of graphics showing the number of countries you can travel to without a visa, depending on your nationality.

The post What if … people could migrate freely? appeared first on Infoshop News.

Source: What if ? people could migrate freely?
Michael Cohen's Now a Democrat ? And Is Urging Voters Hit the Polls in 'Most Important Vote in Our Lifetime'

Michael Cohen's lawyer announced his client returned to the Democratic Party in a statement released Sunday.


Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and "fixer," has switched back to being a member of the Democratic Party.

Cohen, who has turned on his former boss despite once saying that he would take a bullet for the billionaire real estate mogul, has additionally proclaimed to his fellow Americans that the upcoming elections "might be the most important in our lifetime."

That statement was made Sunday ? just three days after Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis had tweeted that his client was further demonstrating his separation from Trump by leaving the Republican Party and returning to his previous partisan affiliation as a Democrat.

"Today, [Michael Cohen] returning to the Democratic Party another step in his journey that began with the @ABC @GStephanopolous Cohen putting family and country first -distancing himself from the values of the current Admin - Can?t wait for his first interview!" Davis tweeted, teasing to stay tuned.

On Sunday, Cohen subsequently tweeted that "the #MidtermElections2018 might be the most important vote in our lifetime, adding a pair of get-out-the-vote hashtags.

The #MidtermElections2018 might be the most important vote in our lifetime. #GetOutAndVote #VoteNovember6th

? Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) October 14, 2018

In response, Davis tweeted that "no one knows better than [Michael Cohen] why the midterm stakes are so important to #America?s future as he is the holder of truth about [Trump] #MichaelCohenTruthFund."

Because Cohen is currently free on bail, and thus has not yet become an incarcerated felon, he will be able to vote in the New York midterm elections this November.

Since parting ways with Trump, Cohen has stated that he would not accept a pardon from the president if it was offered to him in exchange for not cooperating with the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

His promise was challenged by Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing the adult film star and rumored Trump mistress Stormy Daniels, who also told Salon in July that Cohen should release all tapes of privately-recorded conversations that he might have had with the president. Avenatti declined to say, however, whether he would urge his own client to do the same.

"I'm not going to speculate what I would do. I've made my position very, very clear that Lanny Davis and Michael Cohen need to stop screwing around and release any and all tapes right now ? period," Avenatti told Salon.

"I'm not going to speculate. It doesn't matter. That's not the issue," he continued. "That's not what's going on here . . . I can't speculate as to what I would or would not do other than, if I was Lanny Davis and Michael Cohen I would do the right thing and release all of these tapes now."

Source: Michael Cohen's Now a Democrat ? And Is Urging Voters Hit the Polls in 'Most Important Vote in Our Lifetime'
Reply to Trump: Global warming explained in three easy tweets

We share these comments that were originally published on the Ecosocialist website, Climate and Capitalism

Ecosocialist Notebook
Science 1; Trump 0

Reply to Trump: Global warming explained in three easy tweets
Posted on October 15, 2018

A leading climate scientist replies to the world?s leading climate science denier 

The  president of the United States now admits climate change is not a hoax.  It is happening, he says, but he doesn?t know what is causing it, and  he thinks it might change back. 

Stefan Rahmstorf
,  head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate  Impact Research and professor of Physics at Potsdam University,  responded with the three simple tweets published below ? an  incontrovertible summary of the science that Trump and his fossil fuel  backers deny.

You can follow Professor Rahmstorf on Twitter: @rahmstorf

Tweet #1. How  do we know global warming is human-caused? Because we know where the  extra energy that heats our planet is coming from. Through changes in  the energy budget of Earth ? that?s how much radiation comes in, how  much goes out. The change in this is called ?radiative forcing.?

Tweet #
Possible causes of radiative forcing: changes in solar activity, in  volcanic activity or greenhouse gases. The latest US Climate Assessment  shows how much each of these contributed. See  The human contribution is about 100%. That is: all of it.

Tweet #
How do we know the rising CO2 in the atmosphere is 100% human-caused?  Because we?ve added about twice as much fossil CO2 to the atmosphere as  is needed to explain the observed increase! The rest that?s not in the  atmosphere was taken up by forests and the ocean. End.

Source: Reply to Trump: Global warming explained in three easy tweets
Infoshop News / Notes on Spontaneity and Organization
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:01:07 PM »
Notes on Spontaneity and Organization

On March 18, 1848 silent processions marched through Berlin ? a city of 450,000 that was over 85 percent working class ? collecting their dead and gathering crowds. For the first time in days, the city was quiet as the sun set.

The post Notes on Spontaneity and Organization appeared first on Infoshop News.

Source: Notes on Spontaneity and Organization
Forgotten Women: The conversation of murdered and missing native women is not one North America wants to have

In the fifth in our series on the lives of ordinary women behind extraordinary stories, this month's Forgotten Women examines how terrifyingly deep the international crisis of violence against indigenous women runs

The post Forgotten Women: The conversation of murdered and missing native women is not one North America wants to have appeared first on Infoshop News.

Source: Forgotten Women: The conversation of murdered and missing native women is not one North America wants to have
Infoshop News / Forcing Marx Into the Automation Debate
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on Yesterday at 06:01:06 PM »
Forcing Marx Into the Automation Debate

via C4SS by Eric Fleischmann Automation, the reduction and/or removal of human participation in processes and procedures, has been a topic of economic discussion since the Industrial Revolution. The general dispute has been about whether or not automation will lead to mass unemployment. Acknowledging but passing over the primitivist perspective, in the 20th and 21st […]

The post Forcing Marx Into the Automation Debate appeared first on Infoshop News.

Source: Forcing Marx Into the Automation Debate
Fox News Host Deletes Tweet After Getting Mocked for Complaining Interviewer ?Peppered? Trump ?Endlessly? with Questions

...That's kind of Lesley Stahl's job...


Fox News Monday morning did its usual propaganda pitch for President Trump, defending the lying leader's responses during his rare "60 Minutes" interview which aired Sunday night.

"Fox & Friends" host Ainsley Earhardt told viewers, "people ? many Republicans thought it was disrespectful and obnoxious," referring to "60 Minutes" veteran journalist Leslie Stahl asking actually questions of the President of the United States, and expecting actual answers.

"Many people thought it made him look better because he did answer everything correctly," she claimed, albeit falsely. "But she gave a tough interview, and when you?re a journalist, you want to ask tough, fair questions. Many people had a problem, though, with the fact that she was interrupting him a good bit."

Stahl interrupted Trump when he lied. Good journalists are supposed to do that (cc: Chuck Todd, who should take notes.)

"Hats off to President Trump, who will go up against any journalist, even the ones who aren't in favor of him, and answer all the questions," Earhardt said, falsely.

Fox's Varney praises Trump responding to Lesley Stahl Qs as "a remarkable contrast between this president and any president in my lifetime."

Ainsley Earhardt adds, "Hats off to President Trump, who will go up against any journalist, even the ones who aren't in favor of him."

? Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) October 15, 2018

Trump, since he admitted to NBC News' Lester Holt that he fired Comey to end the Russia investigation, has all but never given an interview to any outlet that is not pro-Trump.

"It?s been a while since we?ve seen Trump?s rhetoric challenged in any significant way in a television interview," The Washington Post's Philip Bump said in an analysis of some of the questions asked and answers Trump gave during the interview.

Earhardt doubled down on Twitter, where there are actual people with reality-based opinion, unlike her fellow Fox News sycophants.

She tweeted that Trump was "peppered endlessly" with questions from Lesley Stahl during the "60 Minutes" interview.

Earhardt apparently was surprised ? and dismayed ? when the internet did not fall in line with her spin.

She deleted the tweet after being mocked ? take a look at some of the responses:

Source: Fox News Host Deletes Tweet After Getting Mocked for Complaining Interviewer ?Peppered? Trump ?Endlessly? with Questions
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