“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

There is no reason to belief that the next generation will do as well as the present

The American middle class isn’t coming back — it’s going to die with the Baby Boomers 

The generation that's retiring now weathered the recession just fine — but it's all downhill from there 

The American middle class isn't coming back — it's going to die with the Baby Boomers(Credit: Robert Kneschke via Shutterstock)
It’s no secret that the American middle class has been on the ropes for a while now. The problem isn’t just a crippling recession and an economic “recovery” that has mostly gone to the richest one percent, but the larger shifting of wealth from the middle to the very top that’s taken place since the late ‘70s. Add in things like the dismantling of unions that has accelerated apace since Ronald Reagan crushed the air-traffic controllers, and we’ve seen the middle class more solid in places like Canada, Germany, and Scandinavia, and begin to grow in a number of nations even while it shrinks here. Economists like Thomas Piketty thinks the process is inevitable with global capitalism, while others – the equally wise Joseph Stiglitz, for example – think the balance can be restored if we can find the political will.
It turns out that those concerned about a tattered middle class are right about most of it, but overlooking one thing: Boomers – or rather, a particular strain of Boomer and near-Boomer – are doing great. That is, if you were born in the ‘40s, you are going to be the last American generation to enjoy a robust safety net, and your gray years will be far more comfortable than those a decade older or younger.
Here’s a New York Times story, which looks at “the 25 million Americans now between the ages of 65 and 74”:
Supported by income from Social Security, pensions and investments, as well as an increasing number of paychecks from delaying retirement, older people not only weathered the economic downturn that began in 2007 but made significant gains, a New York Times analysis of government data has found.
And despite our generally ornery Xer jingoism, we’re going to concede something here.  We’ve noticed that our friends who we could call “young Boomers” – born in the late ‘50s and early ’60s – are often far less privileged and spoiled than those born in the years right after World War II. This younger group grew up or came of ago, after all, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, as the postwar boom was fading, colleges were becoming expensive, and the Reagan Revolution was pulling the rug out from under the middle class.
And it turns out that those young Boomers are indeed a kind of transition generation. It’s the group now retiring that will take most of the spoils of the U.S. postwar boom and leave the rest of us with scraps:
In the past, the elderly were usually poorer than other age groups. Now, they are the last generation to widely enjoy a traditional pension, and are prime beneficiaries of a government safety net targeted at older Americans. They also have profited from the long rise in real estate prices that preceded the recession. As a result, more seniors now fall into the middle class — defined in this case between the 40th and 80th income percentile — than ever before.

If you wonder why you are working so hard to get a job, please note that a lot of these guys are sitting on theirs or at least working part-time. (It reminds us of the Onion story: “Parents With More Vacation Time, Financial Resources Want To Know When Son Will Come Home For A Visit.”)
The Times piece shows how a variety of Americans in that sub-generation is faring. Some are struggling, like the rest of us. But between the fancy cruises and fat pensions and gated communities and golf courses and vintage ‘57s Chevys, it’s not a world that younger Americans have any reason to expect. In fact, it sounds like something from a museum of postwar affluence.
So part of us is glad the American middle class will go out with a boom, so to speak. We don’t begrudge these people – our teachers and professors, our older friends, our parents and other relatives – comfort in their gray years. The way Americans, in the days before social security and other protections, lost their footings in old age was simply inhumane. But why couldn’t the prosperity be spread so that those born in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and after can enjoy the same stability and wealth?
Well, this is a complicated one, and we’ll nod to the usual suspects: Globalization, technology, and the depletion of natural resources (especially energy) meant that the postwar boom would not last forever.
But you know what else the original Boomers brought us? Despite their dabbling with progressivism and hippie utopianism, this group served as the shock troops for market-worshipping neoliberalism and the Reagan-Thatcher shift in the ‘70s and ‘80s. They gave us junk bonds and the privatization push and Gordon Gekko. Some of them went into the corporate world and started dismantling.
Let’s hope they enjoy their retirements. But these gray Boomers and grayer Silents – not all of them, but enough to do substantial damage – put forces in motion that mean for the rest of us, the twilight years will be significantly less cozy.
Scott Timberg is a staff writer for Salon, focusing on culture. A longtime arts reporter in Los Angeles who has contributed to the New York Times, he runs the blog Culture Crash.He's the author of the new book, "Culture Crash: The Killing of the Creative Class."


  1. The history of economic cycles, weather, technology, wars and political change indicates no evidence of a linear progression of prosperity.

  2. Things definitely go up and down, round and round.

    Yet grandfather farmed with horses, I with Steiger tractors, etc.

    100 years ago almost no one had a car, look at the LA Freeway these days...

    (One wonders if its an improvement ?)

    I'm of the opinion that the President, in particular, has a lot less to do with the economy, for good or bad, that most assume.

    The President is a great target for criticism though.....or for unearned praise......

    Most Advanced Station Data Shows USA In 10-Year COOLING Trend......Drudge

  4. Technology will save us,

    if Religion, and Tribalism don't kill us first.

  5. "Machines are gonna fail."


    from 'Deliverance'

    >> Lewis: Machines are gonna fail and the system's gonna fail...then, survival. Who has the ability to survive? That's the game - survive.
    Ed: Well, the system's done all right by me.
    Lewis: Oh yeah. You gotta nice job, you gotta a nice house, a nice wife, a nice kid.
    Ed: You make that sound rather shitty, Lewis.
    Lewis: Why do you go on these trips with me, Ed?
    Ed: I like my life, Lewis.
    Lewis: Yeah, but why do you go on these trips with me?
    Ed: You know, sometimes I wonder about that. <<

  6. .

    Who is this 'us' you are talking about? According to the article 'we' are already saved.

    As far as the younger generations, technology will not save them. It will merely accentuate the divide between rich and poor.

    The only thing that will 'save them' if they are to be saved is a shift in attitudes and politics. 'They' have the numbers.

    However, it may take a long time for the 'us' to die off and for the 'they' to effect change.

    Here in the US, every candidate for president in 2016 is pledged to continue or accelerate the current path. With the exception of Hillary of course, but with her, her whole life argues against the populist strain she has adopted for this election. Luckily, the majority of Americans have recognized the fact that lying comes as natural to her as pant suits. As for Congress, unfortunately, it codifies the old adage 'only the good die young'.

    It will take awhile.



    1. "As far as the younger generations, technology will not save them. It will merely accentuate the divide between rich and poor."

      Non sense about technology.

      It is an equalizer, like the Colt Equalizer.

      The Great Equalizer

      "God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal."

      Likewise with the automobile, a great invention.

      You can only drive one at a time.

      Granted technology will not save them, if you are speaking spiritually.

      But you never do.

    2. Last figure I saw was that 57% of the American People think Hillary is an untrustworthy liar.

      Unfortunately many of those people will vote her anyway cause she is a 'woman'.

      We must be at the low point now ?

    Nationwide exorcism in Mexico...
    What happens when an entire country becomes infested with demons?..........Drudge


    Nationwide exorcism is a good idea.

    I used to think I'd like to go to Mexico, but not now that the whole place in infested with demons.

    I'm going to Dresden, Germany instead, which once was infested with demons, but they were gotten rid of by the British and American Air Forces in a kind of exorcism by fire.

  8. I'm saddened to see The Donald throw his hat into the Republican ring.

    Who knows, he might make a great President, on the other hand he's about the only man that ever lost money on a Casino, desperately needs a new hair piece, is a gas bag, and is the first certified cartoon character to enter the Republican race.

    I'd rather The Quirk finally make up his mind and give it a go.

  9. The Donald isn't exactly making what we've all come to expect as a 'polished speech', which actually is refreshing, and hell his program sounds great, and I don't think he's come to the capital gains tax yet.......

    I may need to change my opinion here....

    How about The Donald/Ben Carson for The Winning Team ?

  10. "The Rachel Saga" continues....

    HA ! HA ! HA !

    Harris, the beautiful intelligent black gal on 'Outnumbered' was wondering where she'd seen the whack job Rachel, and finally got it figured out.

    It was in Baltimore, where BLACK RACHEL was acting the OUTSIDE AGITATOR, wiping the crowd up into a frenzy, explaining how she'd been brutalized by the Police - presumably the Coeur d' Alene, Idaho Police Department, though I never read about it - all her life.

    Heh :):)

    Harris put up a wonderful picture of OUR RACHEL and PROSECUTOR MOSBY smiling away.....

    If Ash don't see the humor in all this non sense, he's lost to The World of Laughter.

    Ho ho ho

  11. Heh:

    That was a world record breaking fast reply !


    You MUST be stirred up by The Donald down your way !

    You should know by now THAT I'M ALWAYS RIGHT AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN !


    The Donald it is then. We are all agree.

    > Bob,
    > G. is thrilled! He loved Trump's announcement speech. He needs speech
    > polishing definitely but he can afford speech writers. Maybe just maybe
    > this isn't so crazy! Reminds me of when you were for Goldwater and you
    > were right. Very right!
    > OGF :)


    Back in those days I used to maintain to her that we were going into Vietnam one way or the other, and that at least AuH2O would put an end to it quickly.

    She was totally under the influence of the political theories current in the U of Idaho Music Department at that time, where her father taught, and played the cello.

  12. And nothing has changed for you to this day Bob. You are all keen to go to war now, like then, and also, like then, unwilling to make any personal sacrifice toward that end.

    1. Nope, I don't think we should go back in......but I bet we do, and with Hillary too.

      What are you doing in Canada, Ash ?

      I stood for the draft right here in the good ol' US of A.

      So, fuck you.

      And I was right about Vietnam. Immediately upon the Deomocrat LBJ's election we were in there.

      Then a decade or so later, the Democrats pulled the plug.

      All for nothing. Just like in Iraq at this time.

      We would have been better off with AuH2O, all things considered.

      Care to try and prove me wrong, Young Nobleman ?

    2. .

      You are of course right, Ash. Some start out retrograde and never evolve.

      I mistakenly had thought old Doug was the same way. For that, were he here, I would apologize to him.

      The last thing I remember him posting here was, 'They are all dicks.'

      Some might say he was being satirical. I don't think so. I think he had come to believe it, even if it was hard for him to admit. I base that on his views of the current GOP leadership which had decidedly turned negative. The man had evolved, not all the way, but he was moving in the right direction.

      Change comes slowly to us all, to some more slowly than other, to some not at all.

      What can you say of a person that claims 'consistency of belief' is the prime beatitude, that denigrates those who change their opinions in light of new evidence, who refuses to accept the obvious?

      Best to leave them to rant in the darkness.


    3. .

      s/b Change comes slowly to most of us all, to some more slowly than other, to some not at all.


  13. .

    One more example of why technology (as opposed to political change) will not save us.

    It is likely Obama will soon get his TPA authorization. I would say it is almost inevitable.

    Boehnerr has been punishing those Republicans who voted against the TPA. He has already removed some from the GOP whip team. More importantly, when it was evident he couldn't get the votes on a 'reconsideration' resolution for TPP, he resorted to the usual manipulation of the House rules.

    He had a 'reconsideration' amendment tied to the pending Intelligence Bill which just passed. The amendment allows for a vote on TPA anytime between now and the end of July. I expect between now and the end of July, sometime in the middle of the night or near a holiday when there are few opponents of TPA on the floor, Boehnerr will call the bills supporters and order them to the floor for the vote.
    It's an old story we've seen play out before.

    It shows the lack of separation between the GOP and Obama when it comes to the constituency they both support. That constituency is not the American people.

    It's been speculated Obama wants the TPA for his legacy. I believe he wants it to assure contributions to his presidential library, the charitable foundation he has now, and those he might establish in the future, and obviously the speaking fees he can expect.

    As for his legacy, it may take awhile but I expect the American people will eventually come to recognize the results of this trade bill as Obama's baby.


    1. It does sometimes take the American People forever to figure something out, as it takes you, too, Q .

      For a relaxing laugh, and to take the edge off, follow the continuing "Rachel Saga" is my advice, and have a drink or two.

      The Longshoresman's Strike/Slowdown on the coast is killing the alfalfa price, the fuckers.

      There is a bill in Congress to declare port exports and imports a national security issue and ban this destructive practice by the Unions.

      Good bill to support.

      I am writing my Congressman now.

    2. Not that you CitySlickers give a damn, as long as there is milk at the store, and your Government Debit Card has a positive balance.

    3. Obama the Turd will probably veto the measure if it passes, as I expect it will.

    4. .

      You are a buffoon, Obumble. I've found not communicating with you is all I need to 'take the edge' off.

      The white black woman saga is many things but funny or entertaining? Not so much. That you would consider it so is not that surprising. You are a child of FOX news. You take whatever you hear there as gospel.

      Now, if you want something funny, not ha ha funny but odd funny, or are you kidding funny, or are you out of you mind batshit crazy funny, your BFF at FOX, Andrea Tantaros, speaking of the lady, was incensed with her comment that 'she identifies as black'.

      Old Andrea hypothesizes, what if someone says they 'identify as a cat? Does that mean they wouldn't have to pay taxes because they are feline?'

      These are the people with whom you identify philosophically.

      Well, I assume there is still plenty of room left in the FOX clown car for you. Climb on in.

      Just stop addressing comments to me.


    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. I don't know what has been happening to me these days, Quirk.

      I have been feeling oddly, and optimistically, different.

      It's not a sexual thing. And I don't find myself reaching for the tanning lotion. And I'm not undergoing a 'political revolution' in the thoughts of my elder years, trying to find satisfaction and relevance where I know none can be found.

      It's something different. I find myself thinking in slogans, simplistic slogans. Little ditties that rhyme, sing songs, that sort of thing.

      I find myself able to somehow intuit what others are desiring, consciously, even subconsciously desiring.....

      And I am able to somehow take advantage of them using this new knowledge.

      I don't know what it is, Quirk.

      I seem to get, sometimes, may the Lord condemn me, a perverse joy in milking people.

      I think I may be undergoing a transition into.....transforming into....morphing ? ........ into into....


      O Quirk ! Have you any insight into this sort of thing, Quirk ?

      Did it ever happen to you in your earlier life, Quirk, you old Detroit fraud ?


      QUIRK !!!!!

    7. Update on the continuing "Rachel Saga":

      Rachel Dolezal in earlier interview: My black father had three attempts on his life by whites while in the Marine Corps
      Jun 16, 2015 8:01 PM by Allahpundit

      See Hot Air for continuing updates on this American comedy/farce.


  14. "As Stress Drives Off Drone Operators, Air Force Must Cut Flights

    CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — After a decade of waging long-distance war through their video screens, America’s drone operators are burning out, and the Air Force is being forced to cut back on the flights even as military and intelligence officials are demanding more over intensifying combat zones in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

    The Air Force plans to trim the flights by the armed surveillance drones to 60 a day by October from a recent peak of 65 as it deals with the first serious exodus of the crew members who helped usher in a new era of war by remote control.

    Air Force officials said that this year they would lose more drone pilots, who are worn down by the unique stresses of their work, than they can train.

    “We’re at an inflection point right now,” said Col. James Cluff, the commander of the Air Force’s 432nd Wing, which runs the drone operations from this desert outpost about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

    The cut in flights is an abrupt shift for the Air Force. Drone missions increased tenfold in the last decade, relentlessly pushing the operators in an effort to meet the insatiable demand for streaming video of insurgent activities in Iraq, Afghanistan and other war zones, including Somalia, Libya and now Syria.

    The reduction could also create problems for the C.I.A., which has used Air Force pilots to conduct drone missile attacks on terrorism suspects in Pakistan and Yemen, government officials said. And the slowdown comes just as military advances by the Islamic State have placed a new premium on aerial surveillance and counterattacks.

    Some top Pentagon officials had hoped to continue increasing the number of daily drone flights to more than 70. But the defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, recently signed off on the cuts after it became apparent that the system was at the breaking point, Air Force officials said.

    The biggest problem is that a significant number of the 1,200 pilots are coming up for re-enlistment and are opting to leave, while a training program is producing only about half of the new pilots that the service needs, Colonel Cluff said in a recent interview. That’s because the Air Force had to pull instructors out of the schools and put them on the flight line in a rush to expand the number of flights over the last few years.


    1. In addition to burn out, it appears, that the private sector pays better. ah, the joys of running an all mercenary army, errrr volunteer.

    2. They are trying to prevent ISIS from visiting your neighborhood, punk.

      You should show a little respect.

    3. Here, Punky -

      ISIS Imitators Discussed Attacks on U.S. Targets ...

      Intelligence officials tell NBC News that Canadian authorities have heard would-be terrorists discussing potential ISIS-inspired "knife and gun" attacks against U.S ...
      ISIS Attacks In Canada News
      ISIS supporter Aaron Driver's rights being violated, Winnipeg lawyer says
      ISIS supporter Aaron Driver's rights being violated, Winnipeg lawyer says
      CBC via Yahoo Canada News3 hours ago

      Winnipeg human rights lawyer Corey Shefman calls those conditions unprecedented, adding they don't align with Canada's democratic values. "We need to be sure that we're separating his frankly...
      ISIS exploits social media to make inroads in U.S.
      CNN1 day ago
      Canada and the West losing war against ISIS: Walkom
      Toronto Star4 days ago
      ISIS Attack in Canada: Inspired by Online Al...

      A supporter of the Islamic State terrorist group in Canada was shot dead yesterday after ramming into two soldiers in Quebec with a car, killing one.
      ISIS Attacks In Canada - Video Results
      Reported spike in ISIS-related chatter before Canada attacks
      Reported spike in ISIS-related chatter before Canada attacks
      Police Believe Canadian Gunman Was Lone Wolf
      Police Believe Canadian Gunman Was Lone Wolf
      ISIS Urging 'Lone Wolves' to Launch Attacks
      ISIS Urging 'Lone Wolves' to Launch Attacks
      Canada's ISIS bomb attack destroyed heavy engineering ...
      Canada's ISIS bomb attack destroyed heavy engineering ...

      More ISIS Attacks In Canada videos
      ISIS spokesman calls for more Ottawa-style ...

    4. ISIS spokesman calls for more Ottawa-style attacks in Canada, warning ‘what lies ahead will be worse’
      Breaking: Possible ISIS Attack On Canadian...

      Breaking: Canadian Soldier In Critical Condition Due To Possible ISIS Attack in Quebec
      ISIS Attacks In Canada - Image Results
      Possible Terrorist Attack in Canada, Authorities Investigating
      ISIS urges jihadists to attack Canadians: 'You will not feel secure in ...
      ISIS Calls for Poisoning and Running Down Westerners
      ISIS Terror In Montreal: Canadian Jihadist Shot Dead After Attacking ...
      ... Canada Authorities 'Were Aware of Potential Isis-Style Attacks for
      ... ISIS video as Farah Mohamed Shirdon, 22, of the western Canadian city

      More ISIS Attacks In Canada images
      ISIS planning attack on New York City, Canadian...

      Sep 26, 2014 · ISIS planning attack on New York City, Canadian terrorist claims: U.S.-based fighters 'ready right now to make an operation in your land' Calgary-born ...
      Ottawa Shooting: Canada Authorities 'Were Aware of... › Society

      The Canadian authorities were aware of "potential Isis [Islamic State]-inspired knife and gun attacks" long before a Canadian soldier was killed by a gunman in Ottawa ...
      Possible Terrorist Attack in Canada, Authorities...

      Both Sun News and CJAD 800 AM in Canada are reporting on a possible terrorist attack by the Muslim terrorist group ISIS near Canada’s Department of National Defence.
      Nusra Front: ISIS planning attack in northern...

      Jun 15, 2015 · JNF Canada Pays Tribute to the Honourable John Baird. From Sunny Israel to Cold Canada. ... Nusra Front: ISIS planning attack in northern Lebanon
      Canada and the West losing war against ISIS:... › News › Canada

      Jun 11, 2015 · Canada and the West losing war against ISIS: Walkom Canada will be under pressure to commit more ground troops to Iraq. But probably not until after the ...
      Stephen Harper condemns ISIS audio urging attacks...

      In an audio recording distributed widely on social media Sunday, Islamic extremist group ISIS urged attacks on civilians in member countries of the U.S.-led coalition ...

  15. I'm not sure the middle class goose is completely cooked.

    This chart from Sentier shows that, although Real (inflation-adjusted) Median Income is still about 5 percentage points below the all-time high, it has come back about 3 percentage points since the bottom.

    Median Income

  16. .

    Why are College Costs so High?

    In February 1970, with the school's storied quadrangle by the Charles River still in the grip of winter, Harvard University broke the bad news to students and their parents: Tuition was going up.

    Their reluctant consensus raised the annual cost of attending the prestigious school in the fall of 1971 by $200—to $2,600. It was the first time since 1949 that the school, which was chartered in 1650, had boosted tuition two years in a row.

    "It used to be that once in an undergraduate career tuition would increase," acting dean John T. Dunlop told The Crimson, the student newspaper. "But from now on, unless inflation is halted, there's no choice in the matter but to continue raising tuition."

    More than forty years later, tuition at American colleges and universities continues to surge ahead—much faster than the inflation Dunlop cited. This fall, Harvard's annual tuition and fees (not including room and board) will set you back $45,278, more than 17 times the 1971-72 cost. If annual increases had simply tracked the inflation rate since 1971, next year's tuition would be to just $15,189.

    It's not just the tuition costs at elite universities like Harvard that are outpacing the government's Consumer Price Index.

    The average cost of tuition and fees at a private, non-profit, four-year university this school year was $31,231—up sharply from $1,832 in 1971-1972 (in current dollars). At public, four-year schools, tuition and fees cost about $9,139 this year. In the 1971 school year, they added up to less than $500 in current dollars, according to the College Board.

    "If you look at the long-term trend, [college tuition] has been rising almost six percent above the rate of inflation," said Ray Franke, a professor of education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. "That's brought immense pressure from the media and general public, asking whether college is still worth it."


    1. .

      I haven't read the entire article. It is quite long and I'll have to finish later tonight. For anyone interested it touches on a lot of the reasons costs have gone up. My impression from a quick scan through it is that the cost benefit associated with the higher pricing does not favor the majority of students or likewise the majority of faculty.


  17. >> As my colleagues and I noted in our letter, the issue of Iran’s abysmal human rights record is inextricably intertwined with its nuclear ambitions. “The history of the twentieth century,” we wrote, “elucidates a dangerous axis between internal suppression of human rights and external aggression.” There is every reason to believe that the mullahs’ willingness to oppress their own people at home would extend to their perceived enemies around the globe, if they had the means to threaten them.

    Some of the numbers from the 2103 report would be shocking if you’ve never heard of Iran. They document more than six hundred state sanctioned executions (which are apparently only the “official” ones) along with the Tehran Revolutionary Court jailing pastors, journalists and bloggers in violation of basic human rights. You’d think it would be of interest all across the board.

    I hate to be overly suspicious here, but you don’t suppose that releasing a really damning report while Kerry’s team is still in the midst of negotiating a nuclear deal with Tehran could put the kibosh on things, do you? That it might anger the people who are already probably not bargaining in good faith over there and simultaneously weaken support among voters at home? Naw… I’m probably just inflating all that in my mind.<<

    Ted Cruz calling for release of stalled Iran human rights report

    posted at 4:01 pm on June 16, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

  18. Sounds like a more or less fair election, surprisingly, but will it last ? -

    Erdogan Is Down, But Not Out
    June 17, 2015 by Robert Ellis

    There is a general sense of euphoria over Turkey’s election results on June 7. After a tireless campaign on behalf of the governing AK (Justice and Development) Party and wall-to-wall tv coverage, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan finally got his comeuppance when the AKP only received 41 percent of the votes instead of a hoped for 50 percent.

    Although the AKP is still the leading political party – its rivals, the secular CHP (People’s Republican Party) and the nationalist MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) gained 25 percent and 16 percent of the votes respectively – the real victor is the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) with 13 percent, overcoming the electoral threshold of 10 percent for parliamentary representation.

    The reason for the HDP’s success is that it has, under the leadership of its co-chair, Selahattin Demirtas, a human rights lawyer, advanced from being an ethnic-based party to one with a broader appeal to include leftists and liberals, who have rejected the AKP’s dogmatic rule. President Erdogan’s refusal to come to the aid of the besieged Kurds in Kobani has also played a role............

    ..........More evidence has emerged of the cooperation between Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and ISIL. The secular daily Cumhuriyet has in a report described how MIT provides extremists and their weapons safe passage through Turkey to Syria. A weekly newsmagazine Nokta has also revealed how MIT’s trucks intercepted in January 2014 were on their way to Syria carrying ammunition destined for ISIL and the al-Nusra Front.

    It would be unwise to underestimate the lengths President Erdogan is prepared to go to cling to power. In an interview given to the Turkish daily BirGün in March last year, Abdüllatif Sener, a former AKP deputy and founder of the AK Party, said he thought Erdogan would even be prepared to drag Turkey into a civil war.

    Robert Ellis is a regular commentator on Turkish affairs in the Danish and international press.

    1. The Turks are helping ISIS.

      They should be booted from NATO, replaced with Israel and India, and Kurdistan too.