|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells
|News||Political Economy of Casino Capitalism||Recommended Links||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia||Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"||Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite|
|Silencing of Brooksley Born||Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia||Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy||Invisible Hand Hypothesis: The Theory of Self-regulation of the Markets||Hyman Minsky||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement|
|Critique of neoclassical economics||Rubinism||Trickle down economics||Rational expectations scam||Monetarism||Criminal negligence in financial regulation||Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability|
|Helicopter Ben||Bush||Clinton||Jeffrey Sachs and "shock therapy" racket||Milton Friedman||Phil Gramm||Greenspan: Grey Cardinal of Washington|
|Corruption of Regulators||Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy||John Kenneth Galbraith||Sandy Weill||Martin Feldstein||Financial Humor||Etc|
This is a really fascinating story of a guy who is almost universally hated for his personality flaws. He is arrogant, authoritarian and unlikable. He is the person who professes neoliberal ideology, a staunch supporter of deregulation of financial sector and who played a role of a hired gun in killing Glass-Steagall. It's really amazing that he after all his adventures in Clinton administration he managed to land the important position in "the change we can believe in" (aka "it could be worse") Administration, but this is just a testament of Rubin's influence in Obama administration. Like his mentor, Summers is a prominent member of pro-Wall-street wing of the Democratic party, or as it is called Clinton's gang or “plutocratic Taliban”. As an economist Summers has gone through several (questionable) revolving doors, and that mean that it is natural to suspect his level of scientific integrity.
He became a walking illustration of corruption of the academy by special interests. Like few others (and first of all his protégé Andrei Shleifer) he became a multimillionaire due to his services to financial industry and once got $135K for a single speaking engagement in Goldman Sachs. This level of corruption of academics is a disgrace, but nothing new. Mishkin did worse things. Fat cats of economic profession institutionalize the relations typical for Academician Lysenko among students, and contribute to the problems of the society instead of helping to solve them. What $100K+ per "speaking engagement" fee means, if not a bribe with a fig leaf attached (Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics The Chronicle of Higher Education).
"Summers became wealthy through consulting and speaking engagements with financial firms. Between 2001 and his entry into the Obama administration, he made more than $20-million from the financial-services industry. (His 2009 federal financial-disclosure form listed his net worth as $17-million to $39-million.)"
"Prominent academic economists (and sometimes also professors of law and public policy) are paid by companies and interest groups to testify before Congress, to write papers, to give speeches, to participate in conferences, to serve on boards of directors, to write briefs in regulatory proceedings, to defend companies in antitrust cases, and, of course, to lobby. This is now, literally, a billion-dollar industry."
This is very disturbing but what is more disturbing that in case of Summers there is strong evidence of cronyism and nepotism during his meteoric rise to the top. Larry Summers is a nephew to both Ken Arrow and late Paul Samuelson. In a mandarinate that sure is US economic profession that's a tremendous help for any person in climbing to the top.
“The Company applies its expertise in research, consulting, technical assistance, data collection and medical and life sciences to a wide variety of problems in the public and private sectors. In the United States, Abt Associates has helped shape many important and complex public programs, including Medicaid, welfare reform, Head Start, crime reporting, and housing experiments. The Company is also a recognized leader in providing technical assistance to facilitate policy reforms in countries moving to market oriented economies.”
Summers' academic mentor was conservative economist Marty Feldstein, and he worked for Feldstein at Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers in the early 1980s. Being a protégée of Robert Rubin helped Summers to obtain lucrative government positions.
Both men are proteges of Robert Rubin, a former Clinton Treasury secretary who served on Citigroup Inc.’s board from 1999 until this year and has been criticized for allowing the bank to pile up $544 billion of derivatives and securities before it became the recipient of more government assistance than any other bank. Rubin declined to comment.”
If one wants to be more sharp critic, he/she can view Summers as a staunch neoliberal, a typical academic servant of banking oligarchy, an academic lobbyist for financial industry.
Classic example of a modern type of neo-bribes for neoliberal economists: $135,000 for one speech at Goldman Sachs.
The popular joke that "the relationship between government and banking is the closest thing to organized crime taken over society" sounds alarmingly true, when applied to Summers activity (Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics - The Chronicle of Higher Education):
As a rising economist at Harvard and at the World Bank, Summers argued for privatization and deregulation in many domains, including finance. Later, as deputy secretary of the treasury and then treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, he implemented those policies. Summers oversaw passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed Glass-Steagall, permitted the previously illegal merger that created Citigroup, and allowed further consolidation in the financial sector. He also successfully fought attempts by Brooksley Born, chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Clinton administration, to regulate the financial derivatives that would cause so much damage in the housing bubble and the 2008 economic crisis. He then oversaw passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned all regulation of derivatives, including exempting them from state antigambling laws.
After Summers left the Clinton administration, his candidacy for president of Harvard was championed by his mentor Robert Rubin, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, who was his boss and predecessor as treasury secretary. Rubin, after leaving the Treasury Department—where he championed the law that made Citigroup's creation legal—became both vice chairman of Citigroup and a powerful member of Harvard's governing board.
Over the past decade, Summers continued to advocate financial deregulation, both as president of Harvard and as a University Professor after being forced out of the presidency. During this time, Summers became wealthy through consulting and speaking engagements with financial firms. Between 2001 and his entry into the Obama administration, he made more than $20-million from the financial-services industry. (His 2009 federal financial-disclosure form listed his net worth as $17-million to $39-million.)
Summers remained close to Rubin and to Alan Greenspan, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve. When other economists began warning of abuses and systemic risk in the financial system deriving from the environment that Summers, Greenspan, and Rubin had created, Summers mocked and dismissed those warnings. In 2005, at the annual Jackson Hole, Wyo., conference of the world's leading central bankers, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Raghuram Rajan, presented a brilliant paper that constituted the first prominent warning of the coming crisis. Rajan pointed out that the structure of financial-sector compensation, in combination with complex financial products, gave bankers huge cash incentives to take risks with other people's money, while imposing no penalties for any subsequent losses. Rajan warned that this bonus culture rewarded bankers for actions that could destroy their own institutions, or even the entire system, and that this could generate a "full-blown financial crisis" and a "catastrophic meltdown."
When Rajan finished speaking, Summers rose up from the audience and attacked him, calling him a "Luddite," dismissing his concerns, and warning that increased regulation would reduce the productivity of the financial sector. (Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and Alan Greenspan were also in the audience.)
Among key "mis-achievements" of this staunch neoliberal, we can mention the following:
The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa) in 1999. The bills were passed by Republican majorities on party lines by a 54-44 vote in the Senate and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives. After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8 (1 not voting) and in the House: 362-57 (15 not voting). [These margins of passage, if repeated, would have been well over the two-thirds needed to overcome any veto, had the President returned the bill to Congress without his signature.] The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999. 
The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980s. In 1987 the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act.
As chairperson of the CFTC, Born advocated reining in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives. . . . One type of derivative—known as a credit-default swap—has been a key contributor to the economy’s recent unraveling. . .
Back in the 1990s, however, Born’s proposal stirred an almost visceral response from other regulators in the Clinton administration, as well as members of Congress and lobbyists. . . . But even the modest proposal got a vituperative response. The dozen or so large banks that wrote most of the OTC derivative contracts saw the move as a threat to a major profit center. Greenspan and his deregulation-minded brain trust saw no need to upset the status quo. The sheer act of contemplating regulation, they maintained, would cause widespread chaos in markets around the world.
Born recalls taking a phone call from Lawrence Summers, then Rubin’s top deputy at the Treasury Department, complaining about the proposal, and mentioning that he was taking heat from industry lobbyists. . . . The debate came to a head April 21, 1998. In a Treasury Department meeting of a presidential working group that included Born and the other top regulators, Greenspan and Rubin took turns attempting to change her mind. Rubin took the lead, she recalls.
“I was told by the secretary of the treasury that the CFTC had no jurisdiction, and for that reason and that reason alone, we should not go forward,” Born says. . . . “It seemed totally inexplicable to me,” Born says of the seeming disinterest her counterparts showed in how the markets were operating. “It was as though the other financial regulators were saying, ‘We don’t want to know.’”
She formally launched the proposal on May 7, and within hours, Greenspan, Rubin and Levitt issued a joint statement condemning Born and the CFTC, expressing “grave concern about this action and its possible consequences.” They announced a plan to ask for legislation to stop the CFTC in its tracks.
As Bob C noted in his comment to As Obama Taps Larry Summers, Recalling Summer's Days as a Regulation Foe Mother Jones "One thing to keep in mind about Summers and Rubin's position on regulating derivatives is the timing: in July of 1998 when Summers testified, the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, had not yet failed. That would happen 3 months later, when it became clear that a substantial part of LTCM's problem was that it had massive side bets in derivative instruments that when it could not cover these bets, caused massive dislocations and threats to the global banking system (which had invested heavily in LTCM, thinking it was run by "geniuses"--see Roger Lowenstein's great book, "When Genius Failed".) I think Summers and Rubin might have had a different view on the regulation of derivatives after the LTCM catastrophe."
Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations. . . . Fees ranged from $45,000 for a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch appearance to $135,000 for an April 16 visit to Goldman Sachs, according to his disclosure form.
Economist's View The Most Misunderstood Man in America, by Michael Hirsh, Newsweek:
...Even in the contentious world of economics, [Joe Stiglitz] is considered somewhat prickly. And while he may be a Nobel laureate, in Washington he's seen as just another economic critic—and not always a welcome one. Few Americans recognize his name... Yet Stiglitz's work is cited by more economists than anyone else's in the world... And when he goes abroad—to Europe, Asia, and Latin America—he is received like a superstar, a modern-day oracle. ...
... ... ...
... Stiglitz's defenders say one possible explanation for his outsider status in Washington is his ongoing rivalry with Summers. ... Since the early '90s, when Summers was a senior Treasury official and Stiglitz was on the Council of Economic Advisers, the two have engaged in fierce policy debates. The first fight was over the Clinton administration's efforts to pry open emerging financial markets, such as South Korea's. Stiglitz argued there wasn't good evidence that liberalizing poorly regulated Third World markets would make any one more prosperous; Summers wanted them open to U.S. firms.
The differences between them grew bitter in the late 1990s, when Stiglitz was chief economist for the World Bank and took issue with the way Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and Summers, who was then deputy secretary, were handling the Asian "contagion" financial collapse. After World Bank president James Wolfensohn declined to reappoint him in 1999, Stiglitz became convinced that Summers was behind the slight. Summers denies this...
As a rising economist at Harvard and at the World Bank, Summers argued for privatization and deregulation in many domains, including finance. Later, as deputy secretary of the treasury and then treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, he implemented those policies. Summers oversaw passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed Glass-Steagall, permitted the previously illegal merger that created Citigroup, and allowed further consolidation in the financial sector. He also successfully fought attempts by Brooksley Born, chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Clinton administration, to regulate the financial derivatives that would cause so much damage in the housing bubble and the 2008 economic crisis. He then oversaw passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned all regulation of derivatives, including exempting them from state antigambling laws.
Justin Fox in Time wrote the following before Summers appointment to Obama administration:
Summers was an awfully controversial guy a couple years ago. And the things that made him controversial will all be revisited if he has to sit through a Senate confirmation hearing.
Here's a quick run-through of the Sins of Larry:
1. He's a loose cannon. Summers has a long history of saying what's on his mind, regardless of whether others might find it offensive. The thing about women and science was only the most infamous. There was also that memo he signed about exporting toxic waste to the developing world. [..]
Still, Summers behaved perfectly respectably during his last stint as Treasury Secretary. He is capable of keeping his mouth shut if the job requires it. What's more, he seems to have a habit of promoting the careers of people who are willing to contradict him and take him on (Andrei Shleifer and Tim Geithner spring to mind). [..]
2. He's loyal, to a fault. One of the main things that turned Harvard's faculty against Summers was the case of his protege Shleifer. Shleifer ran a Harvard-affiliated, USAID-funded office in Moscow in the 1990s that advised the Russian government on economic reform. The U.S. government later sued Harvard and Shleifer, charging that the operation was overrrun by conflicts of interest. Summers recused himself from direct dealings with the case, but in his epic dissection of the saga for Instititutional Investor, David McClintick charged that Summers did try to shield Shleifer. Harvard and Shleifer lost the suit, and Harvard had to pay $26.5 million in damages and Shleifer $2 million. I can't get as worked up about this as some people (if we could force Harvard to give the government even more money, maybe Barack Obama wouldn't have to raise your taxes), but I also know and like Andrei Shleifer, so I'm really not the best judge.
3. He's a callous right-winger. Summers' academic mentor was conservative economist Marty Feldstein, and he worked for Feldstein at Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers in the early 1980s. Paul Krugman worked there too, so that really isn't saying much. For most of the 1980s, in fact, Summers was an outspoken skeptic of financial markets and their ability to set prices rationally and steer investment wisely. As he rose to positions of power in Washington in the 1990s, though, he became a leading defender of the Washington consensus--the idea that free financial markets, free trade and fiscal discipline would bring prosperity to the world. Lately Summers has been partially reconsidering that stance in his columns for the Financial Times. If you're favorably disposed to him, as I am, you could say he's been pulling a Keynes: "When the facts change, I change my mind." But I guess if you're not so favorably disposed, you could call him a closet right-winger, a closet left-winger, or a slave to fashion.
Anyway, I'm sure Larry Summers would make a very good Treasury Secretary. Again.
... ... ...
Update: Oh, and by the way, I forgot to gratuitously mention that he used to go out with Laura Ingraham ...
Read more: http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/2008/11/06/does-larry-summers-have-too-much-baggage-to-be-treasury-secretary/?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz10ZVl6v9c
All who have worked with Larry know that he is completely incapable of being an honest broker. He is a bully. Its always his way or the highway. Here is one comment on his departure from "Bama" Whitehouser:
Summers only changes his mind if you argue from his worldview, that's why he is so often very wrong.
- Summers spent all of the 90's being completely wrong on climate change, because he wouldn't interpret evidence outside of his mental box.
- He was completely wrong on finance, with horrible results from the 90s deregulation, and did everything to ostracize people like Rajan who argued from a different perspective. Rajan had theory and data and was right, but Summers gave him the full mean girl treatment.
- He did not understand the finance risks, so he got Harvard in serious trouble.
- He shut Romer out of the stimulus debate, for reasons we aren't sure of, but she was, of course, right. And had the data and the theory completely on her side.
Summers shows again and again on the major decisions that he makes terrible judgments. Lots of people would be better at the job.
Nothing illustrates better this feature of Summers personality then the "Support of Andrei Shleifer" saga (see also Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia)
From the article about Lawrence Summers in Wikipedia:
Also during his stint in the Clinton administration, Summers was successful in pushing for capital gains tax cuts. During the California energy crisis of 2000, then-Treasury Secretary Summers teamed with Alan Greenspan and Enron executive Kenneth Lay to lecture California Governor Gray Davis on the causes of the crisis, explaining that the problem was excessive government regulation. Under the advice of Kenneth Lay, Summers urged Davis to relax California's environmental standards in order to reassure the markets.
Summers hailed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, which lifted more than six decades of restrictions against banks offering commercial banking, insurance, and investment services (by repealing key provisions in the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act): "Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century," Summers said. "This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy." Many critics, including President Barack Obama, have suggested the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis was caused by the partial repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act.
Support of economist Andrei Shleifer
Harvard and Andrei Shleifer, a close friend and protege of Summers, settled a $26M lawsuit by the U.S. government over the conflict of interest Shleifer had while advising Russia's privatisation program. Summers' continued support for Shleifer strengthened Summers' unpopularity with other professors:
"I’ve been a member of this Faculty for over 45 years, and I am no longer easily shocked," is how Frederick H. Abernathy, the McKay professor of mechanical engineering, began his biting comments about the Shleifer case at Tuesday’s fiery Faculty meeting. But, Abernathy continued, "I was deeply shocked and disappointed by the actions of this University" in the Shleifer affair.
In an 18,000-word article in Institutional Investor (January, 2006), the magazine detailed Shleifer’s alleged efforts to use his inside knowledge of and sway over the Russian economy in order to make lucrative personal investments, all while leading a Harvard group, advising the Russian government, that was under contract with the U.S. The article suggests that Summers shielded his fellow economist from disciplinary action by the University.
Summers' friendship with Shleifer was well known by the Corporation when it selected him to succeed Rudenstine and Summers recused himself from all proceedings with Shleifer, whose case was actually handled by an independent committee led by Derek Bok.
...rarely has one individual embodied so much of what is wrong with economics,
with academe, and indeed with the American economy. For the past two years, I have
immersed myself in those worlds in order to make a
film, Inside Job,
that takes a sweeping look at the financial crisis. And I found Summers everywhere
... ... ...
Prominent academic economists (and sometimes also professors of law and public policy) are paid by companies and interest groups to testify before Congress, to write papers, to give speeches, to participate in conferences, to serve on boards of directors, to write briefs in regulatory proceedings, to defend companies in antitrust cases, and, of course, to lobby. This is now, literally, a billion-dollar industry. The Law and Economics Consulting Group, started 22 years ago by professors at the University of California at Berkeley (David Teece in the business school, Thomas Jorde in the law school, and the economists Richard Gilbert and Gordon Rausser), is now a $300-million publicly held company. Others specializing in the sale (or rental) of academic expertise include Competition Policy (now Compass Lexecon), started by Richard Gilbert and Daniel Rubinfeld, both of whom served as chief economist of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division in the Clinton administration; the Analysis Group; and Charles River Associates.
In my film you will see many famous economists looking very uncomfortable when confronted with their financial-sector activities; others appear only on archival video, because they declined to be interviewed.
Over the past 30 years, the economics profession was not only compromised by conflicts of interests but outright bought. Bought in classic old fashion way. It just became a support group for financial oligarchy. This happens both due to dominance of neoliberal ideology ("greed is good") and also via straightforward (and sometimes pre-emptive) buy-out of leading economists by banks and brokerages via outrageously high "speaking fees" (although they are much less then then similar sleaking fees for politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton), sinecure positions, and other inventive ways of transferring money into the pockets of selected academicians. Due to his close association with Rubin, Summers career provide almost classic example of this affect.
Revolving door style of corruption is probably dominant in the USA for former government officials and prominent economists. They do not took bribes. Instead the way "revolving door" mechanism works is that they are "awarded" lucrative positions in private companies which they regulated during government service after they leave the government service.
Which might well be even more damaging as for restriction of the ability to to act honestly the whole term of the government service. To need to "earn" your future positions, so to speak. While bribe restricts the ability to act dispassionately only from the point of accepting the bribe for the particular deregulation effort/deal/contract and mostly (often only) for the company which gave the bribe. Like is the case with the revolving door mechanism, this "incapacity" lasts till the the end of the government service. But it restrict the ability to act harshly with other companies, banks, brokerages only to the extent the person is afraid of disclosure and might even stimulate his to act harshly for competitors of particular company in order to protect himself from possible accusations in favoritism.
While his "achievements" in this area are probably less visible then, say, for Mankiw (who is mainly instrumental in brainwashing his students), they are were tremendously more damaging (from Wikipedia):
Paul Samuelson (Swedish Bank Prize)
On October 19, 2006, he became a part-time managing director of the investment and technology development firm D. E. Shaw & Co.
Upon the death of his hero, libertarian economist Milton Friedman, Summers wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times entitled "The Great Liberator" arguing that "any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites." Summers wrote that while Friedman made real contributions to monetary policy, his real contribution was "in convincing people of the importance of allowing free markets to operate."
Henry Kissinger once said that Larry Summers should "be given a White House post in which he was charged with shooting down or fixing bad ideas." 
In 2006 he was a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons which reviewed the work of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
He is currently the director of the White House National Economic Council.
Summers is Samuelson’s nephew. Is this significant in any way?
The Odyssey of Larry Summers - Megan McArdle
April 7, 2009 12:54 PM
I generally agree with Megan is saying. However, Greg Mankiw did point out today that the NY Times claimed that Summers was doing consulting work for Taconic Capital while president of Harvard which does seems problematic and does weaken the apparent claim that DE Shaw was when Summers started cashing in in finance.
Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
bevin , Apr 17, 2019 9:13:07 AM | link
Craig Murray has a piece on this today. There is nothing very new in what he writes but he sees the significance of this story, which is not about ducks or children or Donald Trump's personality but a concerted and thorough campaign, carried out largely by British state actors, to deepen the 'west's' isolation of Russia.
The real story of both the Cold War and the continually recurring propaganda stories about the "millions" of "victims of communism" is that the Soviet Union was manipulated throughout its history by capitalist control over the international economy. Like a demonic organist capitalist governments pulled out all the stops to control the moods and the policies of a state that the Bolsheviks never did get to rule.
In the end the Politburo gave in and did what the 'west' had always been wanted which is to hand over the country, lock, stock and population to the cannibals of capital.
The result being what was probably, after the 1930-45 war, the largest kill off of Russians in modern history: Yeltsin plus Harvard Business School being responsible for many more deaths than even the intoxicated propagandist Robert Conquest ever dreamed of.
It is that total control over Russia, through the manipulation of its economy, and the direction of its capitalists, that is behind the long series of sanctions, which are being added to every day: their purpose is to re-invent Yeltsinism, re-empower the Fifth Column in the Kremlin, and, in a stroke, re-establish the inevitable and eternal hegemony of the Washington centered Empire.
In this work the assistance of the 'cousins'in MI6 and GCHQ, plus the entire British military establishment has been crucial in a period in which the subservience of POTUS to the Deep State was, thanks to the underestimation of his electoral chances, very much in question. During a period in which Trump had to be tamed and brought under control the UK Establishment's assistance in coming up with a series of highly publicised interventions was crucia l.
Lysias points out that Haspel had acted as the CIA's Head of Station in London in 2016. It was in London that the entire "Russiagate" nonsense was put together, with British based actors continually prodding Congress, the media and the Democrats to act on revelations regarding Papadopolous, Mifsud, Stefan Halper.Skripal was just one more effort to tighten sanctions against Putin's allies in the Russian oligarchy and isolate Trump from foreign policy initiatives not approved by the Deep State. The significance of the NY Times story, then, is that, inadvertently it reinforces the reality that in the matter of Russiagate and Trump all roads lead to London, the Tory Establishment, which has been living off US-Russian tensions for seventy years and security agencies doing what the CIA cannot do for itself.
Apr 05, 2019 | larrysummers.com
March 28, 2019
Tax reform debates have been transformed in recent weeks by a shift in emphasis from revenue raising and progressivity to an emphasis on going after the rich for the sake of equality and justice. Bold proposals from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on top earners, and from Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts -- a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate -- for a wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million have attracted widespread attention.
Warren's proposal aspires to raise roughly 1 percent of GDP ($2.75 trillion in the next decade). Ocasio-Cortez's proposal is estimated to generate around one-third of 1 percent ($720 billion in the next decade). By way of comparison, the Trump tax cuts will cost the federal government about $2 trillion over the next decade. We agree with Ocasio-Cortez and Warren that increases in tax revenue of at least this magnitude are necessary. We also agree that the way forward is by generating more revenue from the most affluent Americans. Indeed, it may well be necessary and appropriate to raise more than Warren's targeted 1 percent of GDP from those at the top.
Where we differ from Warren and Ocasio-Cortez is in our belief that the best way to begin raising additional revenue from highest income tax payers is with a traditional tax reform approach of base broadening and loophole closing, improved compliance, and closing of shelters. We show that these measures, along with partial repeal of the Trump tax cut, can raise far more than recent proposals. These measures will increase economic efficiency, make our tax system more fair, and are perhaps more politically feasible than a wealth tax or large hikes of top rates. It may be that measures beyond base-broadening are appropriate and desirable given the magnitude of the revenue challenge we face. But base-broadening is the right place to begin.
Below we outline proposals for broadening the tax base that meet a stringent test: These are measures that would be desirable even if we did not have revenue needs. They are progressive and attack those who have received special breaks for too long. And together, the revenue-raising potential of these measures exceeds that of the 70 percent top rate or the wealth tax. We believe this is where the progressive tax policy debate should begin.
Emphasis on compliance and auditing of the rich. In 2017, the IRS had only 9,510 auditors -- down from over 14,000 in 2010. The last time the IRS had fewer than 10,000 auditors was in the mid-1950s. Since 2010, the IRS budget has decreased by over 20 percent in real terms. The result is that individuals and corporations are shirking their responsibilities: The most recent estimate by the IRS suggests that taxpayers paid only around 82 percent of owed taxes, losing the IRS over $400 billion a year.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that spending an additional $20 billion on enforcement in the next decade could bring in $55 billion in additional tax revenues. This excludes the indirect deterrent effects of greater enforcement, which the Treasury Department has estimated are three times higher. Outlays at this level would still leave the IRS operating with budgets in real terms that were nearly 10 percent below peak levels, which themselves were leaving large amounts of revenue on the table.
In addition to the level of investment in enforcement, there is the question of the allocation of enforcement resources. It has been estimated that an extra hour spent auditing someone who earns more than $1 million a year generates an extra $1,000 in revenue. And yet in 2017 the IRS audited only 4.4 percent of returns with income of $1 million or higher, less than half the audit rate a decade prior. Remarkably, recipients of the earned income tax credit, who never have incomes above $50,000, are twice as likely to be audited as those who make $500,000 annually.
No one can know exactly the potential for increased enforcement to raise revenue. Suppose instead of investing an extra $20 billion over the next decade, we invested $40 billion and focused on wealthy taxpayers, perhaps taking the audit rate for million-dollar earners up to 25 percent. Considering the direct benefits and the multiplier from deterrence, it is not unreasonable to suppose that over a decade $300 billion to $400 billion could be raised.
This revenue increase -- unlike a revenue increase from new taxes or higher rates -- will have favorable incentive effects. It will encourage people to participate in the above-ground economy. And what could be more of a step toward fairness than collecting from wealthy scofflaws?
Closing corporate tax shelters. All too often, corporations are able to make use of tax havens, differences in accounting treatment across jurisdictions, and other devices to reduce tax liabilities. Economist Kimberly Clausing estimates that profit-shifting to tax havens costs the United States more than $100 billion a year. Although the Trump tax plan sought to reduce the incentives for profit-shifting, various exemptions and design flaws mean that the new system does little to deter shifting revenues to tax havens. Fairly incremental changes will have a large impact: For example, a per-country corporate minimum tax rather than a global minimum tax will increase tax revenues by nearly $170 billion in a decade.
But there is much more to be done. A robust attack on tax shelters -- that included, for example, tariffs or penalties on tax havens as well as stricter penalties for lawyers and accountants who sign off on dubious shelters -- could raise twice the revenue attainable from a per-country minimum tax, or about 30 billion annually. It would also encourage the location of economic activity in the United States and discourage the vast intellectual ingenuity that currently goes into tax avoidance.
Closing individual tax shelters. Like the corporations they own, wealthy individuals make use of myriad loopholes in the tax code to shelter their personal income from taxation. Most high-income taxpayers pay a 3.8 percent tax that pays into entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. However, some avoid these payroll taxes by setting up pass-through businesses and re-characterizing large shares of their income as profits from business ownership, rather than wage income. The Obama administration's proposals to close payroll tax loopholes were estimated to generate $300 billion over a decade.
Another egregious loophole is 1031 exchanges, which allow real estate investors to sell property, take a profit, and defer paying taxes on those profits so long as they reinvest them in similar investments. There is no limit on the number of these exchanges that investors can make. Consequently, the wealthy use 1031 exchanges to build up long-term tax-deferred wealth that can eventually be passed down to their heirs without taxes ever being paid. Outright repeal of 1031 exchanges were estimated in 2014 to raise around $40 billion in a decade and would raise almost $50 billion today.
Another tool used to shelter individual income from taxation is carried interest. Income that flows to partners of investment funds is often treated as capital gains and taxed at lower rates than ordinary income. This creates a tax-planning opportunity for investors to convert ordinary income into long-term capital gains that receive much more generous tax treatment. President Trump repeatedly vowed that his signature tax cuts would eliminate the carried-interest loophole, saying it was unfair that the ultra-wealthy were "getting away with murder." However, in the face of significant lobbying pressure, the administration abandoned these plans. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that taxing carried profits as ordinary income would generate over $20 billion in a decade.
Other ways in which individuals can shelter income include misvaluing interests such as shares in investment partnerships when putting them in retirement accounts as well as schemes involving nonrecourse lending.
Closing tax shelters would level the playing field in favor of investments by companies that create jobs and to the detriment of various kinds of financial operators. This would raise employment and incomes as well as contributing to fairness.
Eliminating "stepped-up basis." Wealth tax advocates rightly point to an important gap in our current system. An entrepreneur starts a company that turns out to be highly successful. She pays herself only a small salary, and shares in the company do not pay dividends, so the company can invest in growth. The entrepreneur becomes very wealthy without ever having paid appreciable tax, as the income that made the wealth possible represents unrealized capital gains.
Unrealized capital gains explain how Warren Buffett can pay only a few million dollars in taxes in a year when his wealth goes up by billions. Astoundingly, no capital gains tax is ever collected on appreciation of capital assets if they are passed on to heirs. Specifically: When an investor buys a stock, the cost of that purchase is the tax basis. If the stock rises in value and is then sold, the investor pays taxes on the gains. If an investor dies and leaves stock to her heir, that cost basis is "stepped up" to its price at the time the stock is inherited. The gain in value during the investor's life is never taxed.
Implementing the Obama administration's proposals for constructive realization of capital gains at death would raise $250 billion in the next decade. This is a progressive change that would impact only the very wealthy: Ninety-nine percent of the revenue from ending stepped-up basis will be collected from the top 1 percent of filers.
Eliminating stepped-up basis will also make the economy function better and so would be desirable even if it did not raise revenue. The fact that capital gains passed on to children entirely escape taxation provides aging small-business owners or real estate owners a strong incentive not to sell them to those who could operate them better while they are alive. It also makes it much more expensive to realize capital gains and use the proceeds to make new investments than it would be if the capital gains tax was inescapable.
Capping tax deductions for the wealthy. Today, a homeowner in the top tax bracket (post-Trump tax cuts, 37 percent) who makes a $1,000 mortgage payment saves $370 on her tax bill. Under an Obama administration proposal to limit the value of itemized deductions to 28 percent for all earners, that same write-off would save this wealthy taxpayer just $280. Importantly, such a cap would raise tax burdens only for the rich: Those with marginal rates under the cap would still be able to claim the full value of their itemized deductions. The plan to cap top-earners' itemized deductions was estimated to raise nearly $650 billion in a decade. Recognizing that the Trump tax plan scaled back the mortgage interest deduction and state and local tax deductions, we estimate that additional limits on top-earner deductions could generate around $250 billion in a decade.
As with the elimination of stepped-up basis, the distributional case for capping tax deductions is strong. The mortgage interest deduction provides a tax advantage to homeowners; promoting homeownership is a worthy goal. But there is little rationale for subsidizing home ownership at higher rates for richer rather than poorer taxpayers.
End the 20 percent pass-through deduction. Perhaps the most notorious of the Trump tax changes, the pass-through deduction provides a 20 percent deduction for certain qualified business income. This exacerbated the tax code's existing bias in favor of noncorporate business income and so reduces economic efficiency. And the complex maze of eligibility is arbitrary, foolish, and a drain on government resources: The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this provision will reduce federal revenues by $430 billion in the next decade. Eliminating the pass-through deduction will reduce incentives for tax gaming and raise revenue primarily from taxpayers making more than $1 million annually.
Broaden the estate tax base. Prior to the Trump tax reform, only 5,000 Americans were liable for estate taxes. The recent changes more than halved that small share by doubling the estate tax exemption to $22.4 million per couple. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this change costs around $85 billion, with the benefits accruing entirely to 3,200 of the wealthiest American households. Repealing the Trump administration's changes and applying estate taxes even more broadly -- for example, as the Obama administration proposed, by lowering the threshold to $7 million for couples -- would raise around $320 billion in a decade. The estate tax would still only impact 0.3 percent of decedents.
In addition to the question of the appropriate floor on estates, there is also ample room to attack the many loopholes that enable wealthy families to largely avoid paying taxes when transferring wealth to their progeny during their lifetimes. This happens through a mix of trust arrangements, intra-family loans, and dubious valuation practices to evade gift-tax liability. Strengthening the taxation of estates would raise revenue and be efficient, diverting resources from tax planning and increasing work incentives for the children of the wealthy. We are enthusiastic about proposals, notably by Lily Batchelder, that call for the conversion of the estate tax into an inheritance tax, to appropriately tax inherited privilege and discourage large concentrations of wealth.
Increasing the corporate tax rate to 25 percent. When corporations began lobbying efforts on corporate tax reform, their stated objective was a 25 percent corporate rate. Business leaders produced estimates showing how this 25 percent rate would have prevented foreign purchases of thousands of companies and shifted billions in corporate taxable income to the United States. The Trump tax cuts delivered more than the business community asked, slashing the corporate rate to 21 percent. The CBO estimates that a 1 percentage point increase in the corporate tax rate will generate $100 billion in the next decade. Based on this estimate, a 4 percentage point increase to 25 percent will generate an additional $400 billion in revenue.
Raising the corporate tax rate would not increase the tax burden on most new investment, because it would raise in equal measure the value of the depreciation deductions that corporations could take when they undertook investments. The principle losers from an increase in the rate would be those earning economic rents in the form of monopoly profits and those who had received enormous windfalls from the Trump tax cut.
Closing tax shelters used by the wealthy alone raises more revenue than Ocasio-Cortez's proposal. And together, the reforms we propose raise far more than a 70 percent top tax rate, and more too than Warren claims her wealth tax will generate. These base-broadening, efficiency-enhancing reforms are the best way to start raising revenue as progressively and efficiently as possible. To be sure, it may well be that wealth taxation or large increases in top rates are necessary to adequately fund government activities. But we advocate these approaches only after the revenue-raising potential of base-broadening is exhausted.
Tomorrow: The challenges in the rate hike and wealth tax proposals.
Apr 04, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
Academics have different interests from practitioners. Publications, tenure and mentoring students are university responsibilities, not responsibilities for governing the world. ( It is an open question whether [neoliberal] academics sub-consciously want to govern the world .)
Harvard University has a rule – known as the Kissinger rule – that faculty can only take two years off to do other activities such as government work in Washington.
David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest is a damning recounting of how the Harvard elite failed to understand the Vietnam War because of its arrogance.)
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
S , Mar 30, 2019 8:51:37 PM | link@b:What is the purpose of making that claim?
The purpose is very simple: to create the perception that the government of Russia still somehow controls or manipulates the US government and thus gains some undeserved improvements in relations with the U.S. Once such perception is created, people will demand that relations with Russia are worsened to return them to a "fair" level. While in reality these relations have been systematically destroyed by the Western establishment (CFR) for many years.
It's a typical inversion to hide the hybrid war of the Western establishment against Russian people. Yes, Russian people. Not Putin, not Russian Army, not Russian intelligence services, but Russian people. Russians are not to be allowed to have any kind of industries, nor should they be allowed to know their true history, nor should they possess so much land.
Russians should work in coal mines for a dollar a day, while their wives work as prostitutes in Europe. That's the maximum level of development that the Western establishment would allow Russians to have (see Ukraine for a demo version). Why? Because Russians are subhumans.
Whatever they do, it's always wrong, bad, oppressive, etc. Russians are bad because they're bad. They must be "taught a lesson", "put into their place". It would, of course, be beneficial and highly profitable for Europeans to break with Anglo-Saxons and to live in peace and harmony with Russia, but Europeans simply can not overcome their racism towards Russians. The young Europeans are just as racist, with their incessant memes about "squatting Russians in tracksuits", "drunken Russians", etc., as if there's nothing else that is notable about a country of 147 million people.
The end goal of the Western establishment is a complete military, economic, psychological, and spiritual destruction of Russia, secession of national republics (even though in some of them up to 50% of population are Russians, but this will be ignored, as it has been in former Soviet republics), then, finally, dismemberment of what remains of Russia into separate states warring with each other.
The very concept of Russian nation should disappear. Siberians will call their language "Siberian", Muscovites will call their language "Moscovian", Pomorians will call their language "Pomorian", etc. The U.S. Department of State will, of course, endorse such terminology, just like they endorse the term "Montenegrian language", even though it's the same Serbo-Croatian language with the same Cyrillic writing system.
Mar 07, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.comYves here. Larry Summers, like Hillary Clinton, does not seem willing to get the message that it would behoove him to retreat from public life.
By J. D. Alt, author of The Architect Who Couldn't Sing , available at Amazon.com or iBooks. Originally published at www.realprogressivesusa.com
Lawrence Summers, according to Lawrence Summers, is a "serious economist." He has just written an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he seriously explains why Modern Money Theory -- as proposed by "fringe economists," as he calls them -- is a recipe for disaster. I am going to leave it to the "fringe economists" to rebut Mr. Summers; (I'm confident that professors Wray, Kelton, Tcherneva, Tymoigne, and Fullwiler can take care of that job quite easily). What I want to consider is something even more fundamental: How is it that someone who presents himself as a "serious economist" can get away with speaking incoherently while expecting us -- the everyday citizens of America -- to take what he is saying as true?
Here is Summers' first point about why MMT is a recipe for disaster: "Modern monetary theory holds out the prospect that somehow by printing money, the government can finance its deficits at zero cost. In fact, in today's economy, the government pays interest on any new money it creates, which takes the form of its reserves held by banks at the Federal Reserve. Yes, there is outstanding currency in circulation, but because that can always be deposited in a bank, its quantity is not controlled by the government. Even money-financed deficits cause the government to incur debt."
Yes, that's very clear and logical, isn't it? The government "prints" money and then pays interest on it? The interest it pays become the "reserves" in the Federal Reserve system? And what exactly does that have to do with "outstanding currency in circulation"? And what is it exactly that happens when that "outstanding currency" gets deposited in a bank? And if "money-financed" deficits cause the government to incur debt, maybe we should think about financing our deficits with something other than money? These are all serious economic questions.
Summers' incoherent rambling reminds me of another case of incoherent ramblings reported, coincidentally, in the same edition of the Washington Post: Donald Trump's CPAC speech as evaluated by columnist Eugene Robinson . Here are a few instances of Trump apparently giving his best impersonation of Lawrence Summers:
"When the wind stops blowing, that's the end of your electric. Let's hurry up. 'Darling -- Darling, is the wind blowing today? I'd like to watch television, Darling.' No, but it's true . Now Robert Mueller never received a vote, and neither did the person that appointed him. And as you know, the attorney general says, 'I'm going to recuse myself. I'm going to recuse.' And I said, why the hell didn't he tell me that before I put him in? How do you recuse yourself?"
Lawrence Summers' second point about the fallacy of MMT goes like this: "Contrary to the claims of modern monetary theorists, it is not true that governments can simply create new money to pay all liabilities coming due and avoid default. As the experience of any number of emerging markets demonstrates, past a certain point, this approach leads to hyperinflation. Indeed, in emerging markets that have practiced modern monetary theory, situations could arise where people could buy two drinks at bars at once to avoid the hourly price increases. As with any tax, there is a limit to the amount of revenue that can be raised via such an inflation tax. If this limit is exceeded, hyperinflation will result."
Really, that all must be true, because Summers is a serious economist. Didn't really know there were third world countries that have been practicing Modern Money Theory for a long time -- but obviously it didn't work out well for them. And, clearly, you can't tax people more than they possess, so that proves it: hyperinflation!
Donald Trump had more to ramble about as well: "And they showed -- they showed from the White House all the way down There were people. Nobody has ever seen it. The Capitol down to the Washington Monument -- people. But I saw pictures that there were no people. Those pictures were taken hours before . They had to walk with high-heels, in many cases. They had to walk all the way down to the Washington Monument and then back. And I looked, and I made a speech, and I said, before I got on -- I said to the people who were sitting next to me, 'I've never seen anything like this.'"
Lawrence Summers' third denunciation of MMT is as follows: "Modern monetary theorists typically reason in terms of a closed economy. But a policy of relying on central bank finance of government deficits, as suggested by modern monetary theorists, would likely result in a collapsing exchange rate. This would in turn lead to increased inflation, increased long-term interest rates (because of inflation), risk premiums, capital fleeing the country, and lower real wages as the exchange rate collapsed and the price of imports soared."
But of course! That's all obvious, isn't it? Mr. Summers is just pointing it out. Exchange rates would collapse. It's the most obvious thing any reader of his argument can easily grasp and understand -- and that means "risk premiums" too (which clearly nobody wants).
At one point in his CPAC speech Donald Trump says this: "You know I'm totally off-script right now. And this is how I got elected, by being off-script. True. And if we don't go off-script, our country is in big trouble, folks. Because we have to get it back."
What strikes me is that our country is, indeed, in big trouble -- but it's because the "script" that's being read to us by our political leaders, commentators, and "serious economists" is nothing more than an incoherent babbling.
bruce wilder , March 7, 2019 at 10:15 am
"somehow by printing money" is a significant tell -- the stupider the clichéd metaphor, the more incoherent the economics. Summers in using that cliche is confusing currency with money, which error really ought to embarrass him, but obviously does not.
paulmeli , March 7, 2019 at 12:06 pm
Summers' Op-Ed is bafflegab of the highest order. It's sad that that's what passes for informed commentary these days, but I think for monetary issues that's always been the case. Any school that dares to teach monetary economics is defunded, exiled to 2nd or 3rd tier status.
There has been a lot of pushback on this Op-Ed and Krugman's from unexpected sources (Forbes, Bloomberg). This response is especially good:
Also, demonstrating what a careerist Krugman is: Paul Krugman to Bernard Lietaer: "Never touch the money system" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6nL9elK0EY . (short – 44 sec.)
Carey , March 7, 2019 at 12:33 pm
Good stuff! Thanks for those links.
Susan the Other , March 7, 2019 at 2:05 pm
Well of course Krug, "never look at money" because if you do you'll be blinded by reality.
sgt_doom , March 7, 2019 at 2:10 pm
Krugman has been a member of the lobbyist group for the central bankers, the Group of Thirty (www.group30.org) ever since it was founded by the Rockefeller Foundation back in 1978.
Carla , March 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm
I read the John T Harvey piece this a.m. because Yves had it in Links. It was so good I sent him a fan letter.
Tomonthebeach , March 7, 2019 at 4:27 pm
I read it 2 days ago and felt no compulsion to praise. Harvey includes some Summersian bullshit of his own. For example: "Just as the President's daughter said days ago, people like to work. Quite right."
Harvey clearly does not live on the beach where the slacker-surfer lifestyle dominates. Likewise, it seems likely that he has never had to manage human resources in a large organization where more than just a few workers are obviously not liking what they are doing.
The biggest barrier to full-employment is that not everybody wants to work or at least work very hard. That causes co-worker resentment, an unproductive workplace climate, and if ignored long enough, it can impair productivity to the extent that everybody becomes out of work.
Grebo , March 7, 2019 at 5:56 pm
So, you don't consider surfing work? Perhaps you're right, but I don't consider lack of enthusiasm for bullshit jobs evidence that people don't want to work.
paulmeli , March 7, 2019 at 6:02 pm
The biggest barrier to full-employment is that not everybody wants to work or at least work very hard.
Thank God for those people, it makes my life so much easier. You wouldn't like working in a world where everyone and anyone could replace you.
I've never worked in an environment where everyone pulled their own weight, but it's also true that we tend to hold others to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.
At any rate, I still don't want them to starve.
tegnost , March 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm
I'm not sure where you're surfing but in my experience it's doctors, lawyers, mba, engineers, and their kids. This link tells the story of the modern day surfer vs the stereotypical slacker surfer
wetsuits cost hundreds of dollars, my cheapest new board was an ellington for $400 like 15 years ago (no, it can't really be that long ago?) My brothers quiver is easily worth $10,000, which is lucky for me because he can't ride them all at once. Not to say there isn't a large transient population, beaches have bathrooms and showers, but the surfer/slacker may not be a real thing?
tegnost , March 7, 2019 at 6:46 pm
#12. In a survey about surfing in the United Kingdom, surfers were disproportionally represented in managerial, professional, or business-owning employment classes. Nearly 80% of surfers fit into these employment categories, compared to just 54% of the general population. (Surfers Against Sewage)
#13. Surfers also have a higher level of education attainment compared to the general population. In the UK, 64% of surfers reported having a higher education, compared to just 27% of the general population. (Surfers Against Sewage)
Carey , March 7, 2019 at 5:14 pm
I thought it was notably good too, and clearly written. Agree or not, what he was saying was not in question, unlike Summers's/ Krugman's slippery stuff.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Larry Summers is on a list of people I've created where if I read or hear something they write or say and agree with it, I go back and check my premise on said topic.
Have never had to do so with Summers. This entire editorial reeks of Upton Sinclair's famous quote "it's impossible to get someone to understand something when his paycheck depends on him not understanding it."
John Harvey in Forbes takes Summers, Rogoff, and clown prince Krugman down point by point as well.
Phil in KC , March 7, 2019 at 10:18 am
Because I have only a single college course in Macro (taken 40 years ago), I am hardly any kind of economist, certainly not a serious one. But I do have some ability to parse a sentence and figure out the meaning–usually. Thanks for pointing out that the garble I can make no sense of is just garble. I thought I was just one of the uninitiated and ignorant masses.
I am curious about the audience Summers had in mind when he wrote or uttered this. Who are they?
voteforno6 , March 7, 2019 at 11:58 am
I think the important information is conveyed to his intended audience via the title – the rest of it is filler, to justify printing it.
You're not alone in your interpretation of his column. I have enough confidence in my reading comprehension abilities to state affirmatively that his column is full of Thomas Friedman-like gibberish.
polecat , March 7, 2019 at 12:51 pm
Tatooine IS a hard language to parse, afterall ..
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:01 pm
this effort by Summers is the editorial equivalent of spinning wheels furiously in a pit of mud
Carey , March 7, 2019 at 2:37 pm
I see it more as a holding action by the usual cast of characters.
For how long will it work?
Colonel Smithers , March 7, 2019 at 10:19 am
Thank you, Yves.
In the UK, we have a what you may call reverse Churchill problem, i.e. Churchill provokes mixed emotions in the UK, but is revered in the US. In the US, Summers provokes mixed emotions, but is revered in the UK, at least by the usual neo-liberal suspects. God Forbid. The family blogger has even been floated as a potential successor to Carney, probably a ploy by his vermin acolytes at the FT.
You will be delighted to hear that Summers' vicar on earth, or at least in the UK, New Labour family blogger Ed Balls was ousted from the Commons and some of public life by Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins is an Ultra Brexiteer, but History will be kind to her for sparing the long-suffering UK public from more of Balls. Oh, yes, she will be elevated to the Pantheon for that ouster alone.
diptherio , March 7, 2019 at 10:53 am
Larry Summers, famous for stating that there is a "good economic case" to be made for exporting all our toxic waste to Africa. Larry Summers, famous for claiming that there aren't more women in STEM fields because "girls are bad at math." Larry Summers, beloved of neo-liberals everywhere.
allan , March 7, 2019 at 10:57 am
How Larry Summers' memo hobbled Obama's stimulus plan [Dean Baker in The Guardian, 2012]
How Larry begat Donald. Austerity has consequences – who knew?
susan the Other , March 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm
allan , March 8, 2019 at 10:41 am
Fiscal space and the aftermath of financial crises: How it matters and why [Christina Romer
and David Romer]
Abstract: In OECD countries over the period 1980–2017, countries with lower debt-to-GDP ratios responded to financial distress with much more expansionary fiscal policy and suffered much less severe aftermaths. Two lines of evidence together suggest that the relationship between the debt ratio and the policy response is driven partly by problems with sovereign market access, but even more so by the choices of domestic and international policymakers. First, although there is some relationship between more direct measures of market access and the fiscal response to distress, incorporating the direct measures attenuates the link between the debt ratio and the policy response only slightly. Second, contemporaneous accounts of the policymaking process in episodes of major financial distress show a number of cases where shifts to austerity were driven by problems with market access, but at least as many where the shifts resulted from policymakers' choices despite an absence of difficulties with market access. These results point to a twofold message: conducting policy in normal times to maintain fiscal space provides valuable insurance in the event of financial crises, and domestic and international policymakers should not let debt ratios determine the response to crises unnecessarily. [emphasis added]
If only one of the authors had been in a position to shape the administration's response in early 2009
La vendetta è un piatto che va servito freddo.
JCC , March 7, 2019 at 4:29 pm
Not to mention the article published here on NC back in 2013:
The very thing that the former endowment chiefs had worried about and warned of for so long then came to pass. Amid plunging global markets, Harvard would lose not only 27 percent of its $37 billion endowment in 2008, but $1.8 billion of the general operating cash – or 27 percent of some $6 billion invested. Harvard also would pay $500 million to get out of the interest-rate swaps Summers had entered into, which imploded when rates fell instead of rising. The university would have to issue $1.5 billion in bonds to shore up its cash position, on top of another $1 billion debt sale. And there were layoffs, pay freezes, and deep, university-wide budget cuts.
shinola , March 7, 2019 at 4:40 pm
From that article:
"Summers is your man if you are a banker, looter, or plutocrat."
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:04 pm
Churchill is revered in America by people whose memory only goes back to 1941 and even then, only plays the highlights.
This American thinks he was a war criminal many times over and in a just world would have died in a prison cell, but I recognize I'm the minority in my country
RBHoughton , March 7, 2019 at 8:39 pm
I don't believe anyone is completely useless. Al Gore made a follow-up film "An Inconvenient Sequel" which mentioned, inter alia, the likely failure of COP21 because India needed hundreds of gigawatts of new energy and the banks would dun them 13% on loans plus 2% for the exchange if they opted for green energy. Gore got onto Summers and a deal was thrashed out that was satisfactory to India. The country then signed the agreement along with the rest of the world. A man with that kind of clout with the hooligans in banking as valuable.
pretzelattack , March 7, 2019 at 8:47 pm
does he still have that kind of clout?
Redlife2017 , March 8, 2019 at 3:21 am
+1000 for some beautiful snark
Nina , March 7, 2019 at 10:21 am
I have considered Larry's presence in any political campaign the kiss of death, since Obama first ran for president. Fair warning, contenders for 2020! You do not want to be seen so much as shaking Larry's hand in public!
Matt Young , March 7, 2019 at 10:48 am
MMT is what we do. We cycle like MMT says we should, we tax and sequester like MMT says we should, we devalue once a generation as MMT says we should. We are MMT, Larry SUmmers is simply faking it to protect the Keynesian form of MMT. The difference between Keynes and MMT? MMTers have no assumption about smooth trajectories.
This is all the most useless debate among economists I have seen, and I have watched a ton of useless debates in the ten years of the last 'MMT' cycle. So, let us get on with the next MMT cycle, starting with a period of extraordinary means, followed by Tax and sequester, then if we are lucky, we get a devaluation, in proper MMT order.
bushtheidiot , March 7, 2019 at 12:19 pm
Bingo this guy gets it, we already print off a bunch of money to finance spending, lower interest rates to prop up spending and decrease debt costs, etc. Except the way we do it now benefits the rich by forcing the rest of us to spend spend spend because our money does nothing in the savings account. Meantime, the money gets pushed into stocks and bonds which benefits only a certain class.
This essentially paves the way for MMT, which is just to reallocate who gets the benefit of this money printing from the rich to the rest of us.
The current system clearly doesn't work, however, and the idea that we can just spend money we make up out of thin air as a stable plan is nonsense. Just like it was in 2008, and just like it is now with a 23 trilliion national debt.
We want medicare for all, increase the payroll tax and a small income tax, and that will do it. Charge everyone a "premium" for health coverage in their pay check that is far cheaper than what it is now, or let employers pay for it and get a tax deduction.
No need to print monopoly money for anyone–rich or poor. We are wealthy enough to afford this stuff.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:08 pm
the rich have had socialism for decades. it has worked so well for them, now the rest of us want a bite.
Oh , March 7, 2019 at 3:28 pm
I agree regarding Medicare for all but it should be free. If money's needed, let's tax the banksters to pay for it. After all the owe us $23 trillion.
jsn , March 7, 2019 at 1:59 pm
This is really no different from the dust big tobacco kicked up for 30 years to deny cancer, or big oil and climate denialism: there are a bunch of greedy b******s out there who have been making a killing off of looting, asset stripping and environmental and social market externalities doing all they can to milk the last dollar from a completely rotten system.
Summers is pitching in to obscure perceptions of the rot that serves him so well.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:07 pm
Stop any significant % of the war machine spending $1T+ per year and spend it at home in the US on crushing the price of housing and providing a jobs guarantee; you wouldn't be able to run from the economic boom anywhere
shinola , March 7, 2019 at 11:03 am
How dare anyone question Mr. Summers proclamations!
He has the credentials, the experience, the insights of a world class economist!
Just look at what Mr. Summers & his crew did for the Russian economy after the collapse of the USSR.
Summers is the pet economist of the ultra neoliberal crowd.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:10 pm
the word for people like Summers is "gatekeeper". He's doing his best to keep things within "the acceptable parameters of debate."
His is failing, will ultimately fail completely, and be discredited. I just hope he lives long enough to see it all happen.
Yves Smith Post author , March 7, 2019 at 4:12 pm
Look at what he did to Harvard! Wrecked its endowment by a stupid interest rate swaps bet. Harvard had to get rid of hot breakfasts and an expansion in Alford as a result.
John Wright , March 7, 2019 at 11:20 am
Disclaimer: I'm no economist as my degree is in electrical engineering.
I prefer to look at MMT as somewhat similar to a company issuing additional common and preferred stock.
The company, in this case is a government.
In this view, common stock issuance (that pays no dividend) is new currency issued and preferred stock issuance = US treasury certificates that pay interest ( similar to a preferred stock dividend ).
One can argue that "the market" will not penalize a company (or government) when it raises funds via new stock issuance, IF the proceeds are perceived will be invested wisely.
But if the new stock issuance proceeds are perceived to be used foolishly than one would expect the issuing "company" will see the value of their preferred and common stock drop (as inflation decreases the value of its currency).
For example, if MMT minded US government issues new monetary "common/preferred stock" (creates new currency and issues treasury securities) and uses this purchasing power to improve US infrastructure, improve the bloated USA healthcare/financial industries or educates its people more cost effectively, then the global market could be completely happy with this use of the world's resources.
And the relative value of the US currency might be stable or even increase.
On the other hand, if the MMT minded US government issues more currency/securities and funds a destructive war, one might expect the existing global holders of the USA's currency and securities to be disappointed and push the relative value down.
Just as a corporation has to have some sort of resources (IP, customer list, inventories, market dominance, new products in development) that are valued for it to issue stock, a MMT minded government must be viewed as having resources and power.
For example, Haiti is a sovereign nation with its own currency, the Haitian gourde.
But I suspect Haiti will have a very difficult time using MMT (issuing gourde denominated securities) to improve its economy as it is perceived has having few resources and a prior history of resource squandering corruption (Papa/Baby Doc Duvalier) .
deplorado , March 7, 2019 at 2:55 pm
This is an excellent and very useful analogy, thank you!
Tomonthebeach , March 7, 2019 at 4:37 pm
I betcha that Haiti's debts are not in Gourdes but in Euros, Pounds, and Dollars. Most US debit to itself and foreign countries in our own currency. As Mosler points out, inflation often hurts our trading partners worse than it does us.
jsn , March 7, 2019 at 7:37 pm
A great analogy! And the value of a nations currency is a statement of market perception of the quality and effectiveness of its institutions.
charles 2 , March 8, 2019 at 12:37 am
I share your analogy 100% and I think this is the right way to present monetary theory (I don't want to say "modern" because it is more than a century that it works like this already). Although, I would add a twist : the government also distributes dividends in non monetary terms, by providing, say, free roads, free education or free healthcare ( In the preceding century, there were actually railroads issuing bonds that paid interest with free tickets !)
Of course, the amount of "paid in kind" dividend is similar whether one holds one dollar in the pocket or a million, so it is not popular with the wealthy class.
I think it is an important component to point out because one frequently encounters people who frequently complain that a dollar today is worth less than a dollar yesterday, but forget that between yesterday and today, the government provided services to the dollar holder regardless of him/her earning an income and paying taxes.
PlutoniumKun , March 7, 2019 at 11:22 am
I was going to ask the serious question 'how did Larry Summers get to his esteemed position in the first place ?' Nothing I've ever read by or about him over the years has indicated that he is anything but a second rate bluffer with a talent for impressing other bluffers, and yet in many quarters he seems to be held in significant awe.
But mindful of the rules here about 'setting homework' I looked up his career in Wikipedia. It seems he was quite influential in developmental economics, which no doubt led to his gig in the World Bank. So someone who is considered a Harvard expert in development economics writes:
Lawrence Summers' second point about the fallacy of MMT goes like this: "Contrary to the claims of modern monetary theorists, it is not true that governments can simply create new money to pay all liabilities coming due and avoid default. As the experience of any number of emerging markets demonstrates, past a certain point, this approach leads to hyperinflation. Indeed, in emerging markets that have practiced modern monetary theory, situations could arise where people could buy two drinks at bars at once to avoid the hourly price increases. As with any tax, there is a limit to the amount of revenue that can be raised via such an inflation tax. If this limit is exceeded, hyperinflation will result."
If someone talking in a bar said that, you'd consider him an idiot, or at best, someone who just hasn't read very much. And yet a Harvard professor can, without embarrassment, write such nonsense. And still be taken seriously. It really is unbelievable.
Mel , March 7, 2019 at 12:08 pm
The argument, shorn of the beebling and handwaving, does make some sense. A Haitian government, say, that tries to issue more gourdes (HTG) to pay off a US$ (or ECU, or anything foreign) debt is going to find out that no number of gourdes will be enough. It will have to be US$, and they will only be acquired on the terms the US$ creditor specifies. This has been true ever since independence, when the whole world insisted that the Haitians buy themselves back from France.
They can used gourdes to mobilize their own efforts and their own resources, and hope to achieve something with those.
Grant , March 7, 2019 at 12:30 pm
"A Haitian government, say, that tries to issue more gourdes (HTG) to pay off a US$"
That is a government creating its own currency, which it then has to exchange for another currency. That is roughly what Germany was forced to do with after the massive WWI debts were forced on it and it went through hyperinflation. The issue is owing money in another currency. MMT economists have said again and again that countries should try to avoid, if they can, owing money in a foreign currency. Obviously, many poor countries have no option. Different than a government issuing bonds in its own currency. If the Haitian government injected its own currency into the economy, then issued bonds in its own currency as a means of reaching its central bank's targeted interest rate, and Haiti owed money in its own currency, that would be a good comparison to our situation. Summers doesn't understand (or pretends not to) the problem of bringing up hyperinflation in places like Peru and Venezuela, or the problems poor countries face in regards to external debt, versus what the situation is in the US. We are in no way comparable to those countries or situations. It's absurd, and he knows better, or he should.
In regards to the debt of developing and underdeveloped countries; the big issue is the need for a massive debt write down (among a host of other things). On that, Éric Toussaint's work is hugely important.
a different chris , March 7, 2019 at 12:58 pm
>The issue is owing money in another currency.
Even in this case -- the point is how much of your own currency can you create? The runaway debt inflation is just getting the information the hard way. And it is irreversible, unless you can send out assassins to kill your off-shore debt holders.
If you can come up with a good idea of how much you can safely print, why borrow it? If there was just some academic profession that could come up with useful answers to that question
Grant , March 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm
"Even in this case -- the point is how much of your own currency can you create? "
This has been discussed many times. The broad limit is the productive capacity of the economy. Are we at full employment, are we at full productive capacity? If the change in the money stock is proportionally larger than the value of the goods and services created with that money, then you could have inflation. Could, because inflation is more complex than that. If the government were to create a bunch of money (forget private credit creation for a second since we can't control that much right now), but that money went to rich people that hoarded it, if it was used by companies to buy up their own shares, if it was used to buy goods from other countries, if it was put in a tax shelter, among countless other things, that money wouldn't circulate around the economy and wouldn't cause much inflation. It is possible for the government to create lots of money and for deflation to set it. Happened after the crash in 1929, that was Friedman's argument as to why the Great Depression happened. He said that even though the Fed was creating lots of money, the economy was contracting at a greater rate and so in real terms the money supply was shrinking. Steve Keen responded to that and showed the problems with that argument, but this dynamic is well known. Private banks creating credit money are a part of this and the crash in 1929 too. After the crash in 2007/2008, it is pretty well established that while the government did create a lot of money, it didn't create enough and it didn't channel to the parts of the economy that could have led to a recovery for working people. So, not only how much money is created, but where that money goes in the economy, whether or not more stuff can be produced, expectations of the future, among other things, will determine inflation.
"If you can come up with a good idea of how much you can safely print, why borrow it? If there was just some academic profession that could come up with useful answers to that question "
Not trying to be rude, but have you actually read MMT literature? Cause all this stuff is addressed. We don't borrow money in the way you think. The government, the US government, doesn't need to borrow or tax in order to spend. The particular way we have chosen to create money was developed decades ago, when we were on the gold standard and had either the value of dollars fixed to an ounce of gold, or later all currencies fixed to the dollar which could be exchanged in a given amount for gold. We aren't on gold anymore. We could just have the government spend the money into the economy and use taxes to manage inflation. We don't have to issue bonds, and Wray I believe has said that states that have control over their own currencies shouldn't issue bonds in this way anymore. But those bonds come with no risk at all (the government will not default on the bonds unless forced to by politicians) and they accrue interest, so investors like them, especially when there is uncertainty. But we don't have to issue bonds AFTER the government spends to manage inflation. My understanding is that the Fed is the buyer of last resort on the secondary market for bonds, and those that take part in bond auctions are required to actually bid. I don't see why investors would all of a sudden not like US bonds (it would have to be something with geopolitical implications) but even if they did, the situations could be dealt with, and again, we don't need to even issue bonds in order to spend anyway. That is a radically different situation than Haiti owing money in another currency and being massively in debt to other countries in other currencies, with little ability to export value added goods that have strong terms of trade. Read up on the amount of debt owed by Haiti to France since the Haitian revolution, and the amount of debt paid but still owed by developing and underdeveloped countries in the post-WWII era. You think Summers cares? How in the world is that comparable to the US in 2019? It is ridiculous, and Summers knows it.
Oh , March 7, 2019 at 3:38 pm
ChrisPacific , March 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm
That is true and it's one of the key factors that can lead to hyperinflation. However, Summers isn't talking about that scenario. Nothing in his argument mentions foreign currency denominated debt. He's simply claiming that there is some upper limit on deficit spending beyond which the economy will automatically tip over into hyperinflation. I'd love to see him point out one instance in history where that's happened without external factors like foreign currency debt playing a role. The closest thing I can think of is credit bubbles, but those are self-correcting in the long run and can't spiral out of control like hyperinflation.
urblintz , March 7, 2019 at 2:07 pm
He was brought into politics by wait for it. Ronald Reagan.
"Summers was on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan in 1982–1983." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers#Public_official
And most people still don't know how he helped plunder post-Soviet Russia and the real scandal he survived at Harvard.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm
he came in with the armada of economic pirates that was 1981 and has been looting ever since
Yves Smith Post author , March 7, 2019 at 4:14 pm
He has two uncles each of whom was a Nobel Prize winners: Paul Samuelson and Ken Arrow. Summers was to the economic manor born.
PlutoniumKun , March 7, 2019 at 6:01 pm
Wow, I'd no idea of that. Whatever about Samuelson (yes, I suffered through his textbook), Arrow did some very interesting and incisive work. I guess Summers was, as the Vietnamese would say 'second rice crop'.
charles 2 , March 8, 2019 at 12:50 am
'how did Larry Summers get to his esteemed position in the first place?'
Larry Summers became a famous economist like Donald Trump became a famous property developer : through family
From his own website :
"I remember the fall night in 1972, after Kenneth was awarded the Nobel Prize. The other American Nobel Prize winner at that moment, Paul Samuelson, also my uncle, hosted a party for Kenneth and the Cambridge economics community. I was a sophomore economics major at MIT, so I was hardly appropriate company for such an august gathering, but I was a little unique in being related to both the host and the honoree, so I was invited and I participated as best I could in the conversation."
timbers , March 7, 2019 at 11:39 am
Reminds me a scene in John Carpenter's Christine: "There's no smoking in this garage!" the owner says having gotten up from a card game where all his buddies are sitting around a table waiting for him to rejoin them, as they all smoke." "Sir, those men over there are smoking. You better them them to stop."
Jerry B , March 7, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Here is an article discussing the recent dust up on MMT:
From the article a quote from Keynes:
"The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds."
And this from the author of the article:
"Those prominent economists aren't even so much rejecting MMT as holding tight to their own orthodox views. This is not necessarily on purpose, but it's extremely difficult for anyone to make a paradigm shift. MMT, aka macroeconomics done properly, is, as Keynes says, "extremely simple and should be obvious." The problem we have here is the difficulty in escaping from antiquated notions of macro modeling (Krugman), inflation (Summers), and debt financing (Rogoff)."
I think one of the problems we have in this country and the world is that what we think of as the mainstream educational model is actually socialization, indoctrination, brainwashing, and or ideological training. And then "jobs" are based on how well you bought in to that brainwashing.
Various education reformers over the past decades such as Ivan Illich and John Taylor Gatto have mentioned similar critiques of education in the US and the world in that our educational system does not foster problem solving and critical thinking.
It is my belief that our educational system creates a type of false self in people. In order to get the "right" answers and do well on tests, etc, you have to compromise your truth, your experience, and your true self and allow yourself to be programmed in the particular models of your profession.
Maybe in Summers, Hillary, and Trump's case, as they have gotten older that "programming memory/false self" is starting to become fractured due to cognitive decline, physical issues, stress, fatigue, etc. and as they desperately try to regurgitate their brainwashing it is coming out in an incoherent mess.
As Summers is only 64, before Yves jumps on me for equating cognitive decline with being older or in one's 60's I think it is specific to each individual. I just turned 60 and my brain is as sharp as ever, it is my body that is slowing the train down!!
To illustrate my point, a while back I read Anthony Atkinson's book, Inequality: What Can Be Done? He mentions in the book that Greg Mankiw's Principle of Micro/Macro economics textbooks have very little on the subject of inequality. How could a mainstream textbook on economics not have a significant portion on inequality?? IMO because in Mankiw's case inequality does not fit his ideology.
NC has a way of posting articles the same day that can be connected. I think this post can be related to the " Is a Harvard MBA Bad for You?" post. The MBA becomes brainwashing. Instead of trying to solve a problem MBA'ers and other professions try to fit the ideology of what they were taught in school to the problem.
To use an analogy: there are usually multiple routes to get from one town to the other. It does not always have to be the "main road". Sometimes the main road is not always the fastest, shortest, etc. And sometimes by taking the same road all the time, one's perspective becomes narrow and hinders thinking outside of the box.
To borrow Henry Ford's quote: "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."
After decades of allowing ourselves to be brainwashed, I think we are starting to, as J.D. Alt mentions above, "question the scripts" and are finding them to be a house of cards.
Susan the Other , March 7, 2019 at 2:32 pm
Well you are just a kid. I'm 72 and I think I'm a family blogging genius but it could be just the first symptom. Whatever I'm going to tell you guys what I think about this stuff until I get politely censored. I never studied economics – but I studied languages until words were falling out of my ears. And in my lexicon Larry doesn't even have the integrity of an idiot. Sometimes an idiot is spot on. Larry is a deceptive, self-serving power tripper dedicated to a time gone by and never to return. Too bad.
Jerry B , March 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm
Thanks Susan! Recently I went to my doctor and he asked me how I was feeling. I said physiological (my term for non-skeletal) I am 40. Structurally (arthritis, herniated discs, etc. etc.) I feel like I am 70!
===but I studied languages until words were falling out of my ears===
I have always had an intuitive sense for language. Verbal and non verbal language. The words used, tone, inflections, etc. Andrew Carnegie once said that the older he became the less he paid attention to what people said and the more he paid attention to their behavior. And I think that is partly true but language is important.
And as you mention language can be used to convey power. Pierre Bourdieu wrote Language and Symbolic Power which I have been wanting to read. I have also skimmed through some of Michel Foucault's work on discourse analysis.
Also I have read some of Kenneth Burke's work such as A Grammar of Motive's and A Rhetoric of Motives. After reading Burke's books I became more curious about people's motives behind their language and behavior, and also the idea of rhetoric. IMO Obama is a master at rhetoric and hence could fool a lot of people, while Trump sucks at it.
If you have not done so already I suggest looking up the Logical Fallacies links on NC's policies page. I believe a lot of language uses for power are in snowing the public in using arguments or propaganda that contain logical fallacies and heuristics. I have learned a lot in examining what people say and their arguments from NC.
Grant , March 7, 2019 at 12:18 pm
Yeah, I found what he said to be absolutely absurd. He seems to believe that MMT describes something we might do, as opposed to explaining how things are, at least in countries like the US. If he can't understand, or pretends to not understand, the difference between a country owing money in a foreign currency versus issuing bonds in a country's own currency, and the actual role of bonds in the US system or how money is actually created, then he isn't trying. Cause, whatever we want to say about Summers and all he represents, he isn't a stupid man. I haven't seen a single critique of MMT from the likes of Krugman or Summers that demonstrates that they understand the thing they think they are critiquing, or that they understand how things actually work. In response to MMT, they either respond with some models that they were taught that aren't based in reality, or they just lie about MMT. It is the economic version of people like Pelosi lying about single payer in the political sphere using ridiculous logic.
That, to me, is frightening, given how much power he has and who he has been hired to give advice to. People like Summers seem to freak out, really when you look at it, by the fact that we are questioning a fantasy account of how things are. They want to continue to make policies on the assumption that things are in reality what they say they are in their models, and there is a huge gap between the assumptions in their models and reality. If he were to acknowledge the insights from MMT about how things work, many of the excuses those in power have for doing nothing as the country falls apart would crumble, and those doing nothing are then more directly responsible for the impact of their policies. Once you realize that they are not investing in communities being neglected by private interests, they aren't investing in things needed to deal with the environmental crisis, they aren't helping to fund programs to get people healthcare or things like clean water (communities like Flint say hello) because they are paid by interests to do those things, and for ideological and class reasons, they can no longer pretend that the government "can't afford" those things. The debate switches to a place they don't want to be in, and they are then more responsible for the decisions they make. It is no longer about circumstances forcing themselves on these worthless politicians.
skippy , March 7, 2019 at 1:26 pm
Larry Summer: We Print Our Own Money
Published on Apr 3, 2014
I also think some need to observe that Keynes was not a Keynesian in the manner that mainstream use the IS-LM. One is the use of econometrics and the other is the IS-LM was a – starting point – of observation that needed more fleshing out and not some "economic law [tm] carried down the mount.
Would additionally point out good old Ralph Musgrave over at TJN proclaiming his long support for MMT with caveats, sadly anyone with with a functional memory would know key MMT'ers stance with Musgrave does not support those claims.
PS. great start to the day 50kg black German Sheppard just bound up on the bed – all wet – and wanted to share his eagerness for the day .
Gary Gray , March 7, 2019 at 3:36 pm
Keynes believed in governments planning more investment, especially during down times. This is the blunder modern day "sheep" don't understand. It isn't deficits that matter, but pushing the investment into usage/production. Deficits like we have now are nothing more than public debt underwriting private debt expansion via financial engineering. Of course market statists would hate the government with a bigger % of total investment, as they would lose control of the economic system and bow to the will of another.
Its amazing how dopamine release and other "feel good" consumption based games and circuses so rules the people. All they live for is the fix. The bourgeois sells it them as "their fix", "their ownership" of said fix while they rake in profits and destroy the environment. Truly like the Roman end times. No wonder the Christians are so worried. They see themselves replaced like the old rituals and traditions that proceeded it.
WestcoastDeplorable , March 7, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Yves, I'm not a MMT fan, but you're spot-on about Summers. Didn't he lose the Harvard Endowment over $1 Billion with his "sage management"? He's an idiot.
skippy , March 7, 2019 at 2:28 pm
One would think after the Chicago boys foray with Born and its after math people would question the use of such people as PR tools – well must be running dry.
Suggest you look into the groundings of MMT and not emotive processes – see link above. Keynes started a process to refute orthodox thinking, seems some post morte folded parts [tm] into orthodox thinking so they could own – manage that perspective. Hence when needed mainstream will utilize Keynes to say money is not a problem and then completely reverse azimuth and say Keynes said money is a problem ..
Can't wait till they take Marx out of context to support some elitist social views ..
Grant , March 7, 2019 at 3:03 pm
I am curious, just want to know. When you say you aren't a fan of MMT, what is the reason? I am interested in good critiques of its insights, just hard to come by, since it does seem to describe present really pretty well.
Adam1 , March 7, 2019 at 2:25 pm
As with most "serious economists" he's really an overpaid fraud. The man professes to understand government deficits, yet he has no idea how the accounting works.
From Warren Mosler
"Several years ago I had a meeting with Senator Tom Daschle and then Asst. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. I had been discussing these innocent frauds with the Senator, and explaining how they were working against the well being of those who voted for him. So he set up this meeting with the Asst. Treasury Secretary who was also a former Harvard economics professor and had two uncles who had won Nobel prizes in economics, to get his response and hopefully confirm what I was saying.
I opened with a question: "Larry, what's wrong with the budget deficit?"
To which he replied: "It takes away savings that could be used for investment".
To which I replied: "No it doesn't, all Treasury securities do is offset operating factors at the Fed. It has nothing to do with savings and investment".
To which he replied: "Well, I really don't understand reserve accounting so I can't discuss it at that level".
Senator Daschle was looking at all this in disbelief. The Harvard professor of economics Asst. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers didn't understand reserve accounting? Sad but true."
Susan the Other , March 7, 2019 at 3:06 pm
Note to Larry, please follow this logic: Money is Fiat; Fiat is cooperation; Cooperation is fiscal control; and fiscal control is civilization. Nowhere in this chain of thought does debt; interest; austerity; or any of your other little techniques even exist. Those bizarre ideas exist in more primitive thinking about power and slavery and savage exploitation. You know the routine.
Gary Gray , March 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm
Maybe, but debt expansion is debt expansion. Globally debt exhaustion looks to have been reached and we are at the top of the mountain. We are at the first stage, the next stage is what triggers the recession. The last stage, the Minsky moment.
Summers is a cluck, but a useful one in this case. The move from a mixed economy to financial engineering is very addictive to the "people". Moving back to a mixed economy won't be all giggles for everybody as consumption is naturally cut.
Like all junkies, the detox won't be easy and in some cases, fatal.
Susan the Other , March 8, 2019 at 10:09 am
Yes, it is what is so frightening about our current breakdown. Debt is the whole system. It was necessary to maintain that system. But there's no reason why debt can't be put in what banksters call a "bad bank" and just let it run off the books. It can all be done in some resolution that forgives some and allows some to linger without interfering in the economy anymore. There will always be private debt, so caveat friends and neighbors. But there's no reason to suffer an impossible debt burden as a sovereign nation. And from here on in we should not buy anything unless it can be purchased in US dollars/treasuries. The debt to ourselves doesn't matter. The thing that matters is how we spend our money, do we waste time on bad projects or do we create a more valuable civilization with good ones? Debt is just a monkeywrench, useful to gamblers and middlemen. We could configure a completely different economics with very little pain if we put our minds to it.
Samuel Conner , March 7, 2019 at 4:45 pm
I find it profoundly encouraging that it seems that the best that the best credentialed opponents of MMT can do is what is described here.
They aren't ridiculing MMT; they are embarrassing themselves.
KLG , March 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm
Another good link to Larry Summers, Serious Economist. I remembered this passage from Herman Daly's book, and the magic of DuckDuckGo found this. Long but worth the few minutes. NB, I don't know anything about this blogger:
Carey , March 7, 2019 at 7:16 pm
Yes, that was a good link. Bookmarked that site.
The Rev Kev , March 7, 2019 at 7:32 pm
Not much love for Larry Summers here – and rightly so. I remember reading a conversation that he was in where he explained how things worked. I'll see if I can summarize it-
Larry Summers is a serious person.
Important people listen to serious people.
This is how serious people express power – by having important people listen to them.
Golden rule is that serious people never criticize each other in public – ever.
I'm sure that people here can pick out the flaw in this arrangement – as in Garbage In, Garbage Out as far as important people are concerned and the information & opinions that they receive.
KLG , March 7, 2019 at 9:57 pm
I saw what you did there.
charles 2 , March 8, 2019 at 1:07 am
Seriously, what would you expect from a person who writes this at the first paragraph for his biography (emphasis mine) :
"Dr. Summers' tenure at the U.S. Treasury coincided with the longest period of sustained economic growth in U.S. history. He is the only Treasury Secretary in the last half century to have left office with the national budget in surplus . Dr. Summers has played a key role in addressing every major financial crisis for the last two decades."
Change "addressing" by "participating in the genesis of", and you are quite close to the truth
Susan the Other , March 8, 2019 at 10:19 am
Mmmm, and all that treasury surplus was accrued by Larry's Austerity which exponentiated the private debt and turned into the 2008 tsunami. Heck of a job, Larry.
Mike Barry , March 8, 2019 at 7:14 am
Larry Summers, a Serious Economist
"You cannot be serious." -- John Mcenroe
Stillfeelinthebern , March 8, 2019 at 9:30 pm
"Larry Summers, like Hillary Clinton, does not seem willing to get the message that it would behoove him to retreat from public life."
Love this sentence!
Fazal Majid , March 9, 2019 at 12:11 am
Larry Summers is useful as a canary. The day Obama appointed him as an adviser (before his inauguration) was the day I understood Obama would do diddly squat about fixing the root causes of the Great Recession.
The part I don't understand is how he gained his prominence, other than literal nepotism. You'd think the fact he lost Harvard's endowment a cool billion would have killed his career given how prominent Harvard grads are in the US' power structure.
Sound of the Suburbs , March 9, 2019 at 3:50 am
2008 was the wakeup call global policymakers slept through.
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein
This is exactly what we've been trying to do since 2008.
Our policymakers thought this was a "black swan", and if your economics doesn't consider debt it is.
One question led me to the answer. "How does money get destroyed in the system?"
This is what happened, how did it happen?
It can't happen if banks are financial intermediaries as our policymaker's believe.
Other people have been looking into this and so there is a lot of work that has already been done to help you get to the answer.
The central bankers later confirmed how money gets destroyed in the system.
We were flying blind during globalisation and policymakers didn't understand the monetary system.
The FT revealed the Chinese were undertaking a major study of the West.
I think they must have worked out things are fundamentally wrong as they have made all the classic mistakes everyone else has made since 2008.
They have already worked out inflated asset prices and the private debt-to-GDP ratio are indicators of coming financial crises and these were the indicators that showed 1929 and 2008 were coming.
By the time they understood what was going on the Minsky Moment was dead ahead, and they could no longer use the debt fuelled growth model they had used before.
When US policymakers understand the monetary system they may be able to make some valid comments.
Mar 04, 2019 | www.unz.com
MEFOBILLS , says: February 18, 2019 at 4:26 pm GMT@jeff stryker Reality much?AriusArmenian , says: February 18, 2019 at 5:14 pm GMT
Russia just passed up the U.S. in grain exports. Their economy in real terms grows year on year. Russia has more natural wealth available to exploit than USA that includes lands rich in minerals, timber, water, etc.
With regards to traitorous fifth column atlantacists and oligarchy, Russia's shock therapy (induced by the Harvard Boys) in the 90's helped Russian's figure out who the real enemy is. Putin has marginalized most of these ((Oligarchs)), and they longer are allowed to influence politics. Many have also been stripped of their ill gotten gains, for example the Rothschild gambit to grab Yukos and to own Russia was thwarted. Dollar debts were paid off, etc.
Russia could go further in their symphony of church and state, and copy Justinian (Byzyantine empire) and prevent our (((friends))) from teaching in schools,bein control of money, or in government.
With regards to China, they would be not be anywhere near where they are today if the West had not actively transferred their patrimony in the form of transplanted industry and knowledge.
China is only temporarily dependent on export of goods via their Eastern seaboard, but as soon as belt and road opens up, she will pivot further toward Eurasia. If the U.S. factories withdrew from China tomorrow, China already has our "knowledge" and will find markets in Eurasia and raw materials in Africa, etc.
People need to stop whistling past the graveyard.
The Atlantics strategy has run its course, internal development of U.S. and linking up with belt and road would be in America's best future interests. But, to do that requires first acknowledging that money's true nature is law, and not private bank credit. Further, the U.S. is being used as whore of Babylon, where her money is "Federal Reserve Notes" and are international in character. The U.S is not sovereign. Deep state globalism does not recognize national boundaries, or sovereignty.That US elites that are split on who to go after first compromised by going after both Russia and China at the same time is a definition of insanity. The US doesn't have a chance in hell of subduing or defeating the Russia/China alliance. The US is already checkmated. The more it goes after some big win the worse will be its defeat.Cratylus , says: February 18, 2019 at 5:56 pm GMT
So the question (for me) is not which side will win, the question is the scenario of the decline of the US Empire. Someone here mentioned the EU turning East. At some point the EU will decide that staying a US vassal is suicide and it will turn East. When that happens then the virus of US insanity will turn inwards into itself.
The US has recently focused on South America by installing several fascist regimes and is now trying to get Venezuela. But the US backed regimes are laying the groundwork for the next wave of revolution soon to come. Wherever I look the US is its own worst enemy. The big question is how much suffering before it ends.Anon  Disclaimer , says: February 18, 2019 at 6:24 pm GMT
... ... ...
Huawei now sells more cell phones worldwide than Apple ( https://gearburn.com/2018/08/huawei-smartphone-sales-2018/ ). And Huawei does this even though it is effectively excluded from the US market (You cannot find it in stores) whereas Apple has unfettered access to the enormous Chinese market. You find Huawei everywhere -- from Italy to Tanzania. How would Apple fare if China stopped purchases of its products? Not so well I am afraid.Usa is at war against everyone , from China to Latinamerica , from Europe to India , from the islamic world to Africa . Usa is even at war against its own citizens , at least against its best citizens .wayfarer , says: February 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm GMTChina's "Petro-Yuan": The End of the U.S. Dollar Hegemony?WorkingClass , says: February 18, 2019 at 7:09 pm GMTWhen we speak of the culture war or the war on drugs or the war between the sexes or a trade war we are misusing the word war.AnonFromTN , says: February 18, 2019 at 9:04 pm GMT
War with China means exactly shooting and bombing and killing Chinese and American people. Expanding the meaning of the word only makes it meaningless.
We are NOT already at war with China.@joe webb Russia and China are certainly not natural allies. However, deranged international banditry of the US (called foreign policy in the DC bubble) literally forced them to ally against a common threat: dying demented Empire.Anonymous  Disclaimer , says: February 18, 2019 at 9:34 pm GMT
As you call Chinese "Chinks", I suggest you stop using everything made in China, including your clothes, footwear, tools, the light bulbs in your house, etc. Then, using your likely made in China computer and certainly made in China mouse, come back and tell us how great your life has become. Or you can stick to your principles of not using China-made stuff, write a message on a piece of paper (warning: make sure that neither the paper nor the pen is made in China), put it into a bottle, and throw it in the ocean. Be patient, and in a few centuries you might get an answer.@joe webb Russia is currently trying to get China to ally against the West:peter mcloughlin , says: February 19, 2019 at 1:55 pm GMT
" Russia to China: Together we can rule the world "
In the halls of the Kremlin these days, it's all about China -- and whether or not Moscow can convince Beijing to form an alliance against the West.
Russia's obsession with a potential alliance with China was already obvious at the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual gathering of Russia's biggest foreign policy minds, in 2017.
At their next meeting, late last year, the idea seemed to move from the speculative to something Russia wants to realize. And soon
Seen from Moscow, there is no resistance left to a new alliance led by China. And now that Washington has imposed tariffs on Chinese exports, Russia hopes China will finally understand that its problem is Washington, not Moscow.
In the past, the possibility of an alliance between the two countries had been hampered by China's reluctance to jeopardize its relations with the U.S. But now that it has already become a target, perhaps it will grow bolder. Every speaker at Valdai tried to push China in that direction.Where a war begins -- or ends -- can be hard to define. Michael Klare is right, 'War' and 'peace' are not 'polar opposites'. We often look at wars in chronological abstraction: the First World War started on the 28th July 1914. Or did it only become a global war one week later when Great Britain declared war on Germany? The causes can be of long duration. The decline of the Ottoman Empire, for which the other Great Powers were positioning themselves to benefit, might have begun as far back as 1683 when the Turks were defeated at the Battle of Vienna. It ultimately led to the events of 1914.
Great power rivalry has always led to wars; in the last hundred years world wars. Graham Allison wrote that the US can 'avoid catastrophic war with China while protecting and advancing American national interests' if it follows the lessons of the Cold War. History shows that wars are caused by the clash of interests, that's always at some else's expense. When core interests collide there is no alternative to war -- however destructive.
Feb 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
William Dorritt , 3 hours ago linkWilliam Dorritt , 3 hours ago linkLOLITA EXPRESS...ORGY ISLAND...ELITE PEDOPHILE RING ?-2006* George W Bush President: January 20, 2001 – Jan. 20, 2009* Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General USA: Feb. 3, 2005–Sept. 17, 2007* Michael Bernard Mukasey, AG. USA: Nov. 9, 2007 – Jan. 20, 2009* Eric Holder, A G. USA: Feb. 3, 2009 – April 27, 2015* Loretta Lynch, Attorney General USA: April 27, 2015 – Present* Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana* Epstein's Attorneys: Gerald Lefcourt, Roy Black, Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz.
+ "He (Epstein) is an enthusiastic member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations."
+ Bill Clinton...26 trips aboard the "Lolita Express"
Jeffrey Epstein's Boeing 727 is equipped with the necessary hardware for him to wake up, roll out of bed, and start trading.
+ Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a "potential co-conspirator" in his crimes.
+ Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein's former assistant Sarah Kellen -- have been repeatedly accused in court filings of acting as pimps. Oxford-educated Maxwell, recently seen dining with Clinton at Nello's on Madison Avenue. Manhattan-London G. Maxwell, daughter of the mysteriously deceased media titan Robert Maxwell.
+ A new lawsuit has revealed how Clinton took multiple trips to Epstein's private island where he 'kept young women as sex slaves'
+ Clinton was also apparently friends with a woman who collected naked pictures of underage girls for Epstein to choose from
+ Clinton invited her (pimp) to Chelsea's wedding
+ According to former child sex slave Virginia Roberts and a class action lawsuit against convicted billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, former President Bill Clinton was present during sex parties involving up to twenty underage girls at Epstein's secluded island in the Caribbean.
+ 20 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 said were sexually abused by Epstein, Palm Beach Police and FBI
+ 35 female minors sexually abused, Epstein settled lawsuits from more than 30 "Jane Doe" victims since 2008; the youngest alleged victim was 12 years old at the time of her abuse.
..............................Source: FBI & Federal Prosecutors
+ flights on Epstein's planes 1997 to 2005, include Dershowitz (FOX NEWS, Harvard Law), former Treasury Secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers, Naomi Campbell, and scientist Stephen Pinker.
+ In the most recent court documents, filed on December 30, Roberts further claims she was sex-trafficked to "many other powerful men, including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders." Roberts said Epstein trafficked children to politicians, Wall Streeters and A- listers to curry favor, advance his business, and for political influence.
2015 Doc Release by Judge:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana wrote to Epstein lawyer Jay Lefkowitz in a Sept. 19, 2007, email. "I will include our standard language regarding resolving all criminal liability and I will mention 'co-conspirators,' but I would prefer not to highlight for the judge all of the other crimes and all of the other persons that we could charge ... maybe we can set a time to meet, if you want to meet 'off campus' somewhere, that is fine. I will make sure that I have all the necessary decision makers present or 'on call' as well."
"I wanted to tell you that I have compiled a list of 34 confirmed minors," Villafana wrote to Lefkowitz. "There are six others, whose name [sic] we already have, who need to be interviewed by the FBI to confirm whether they were 17 or 18 at the time of their activity with Mr. Epstein."
In a December 2007 letter, the prosecutor acknowledges some notifications of alleged victims but says they were sent after the U.S. Attorney's Office signed the plea deal and halted for most of the women at the request of Epstein's lawyers.
"Three victims were notified shortly after the signing of the Non-Prosecution Agreement of the general terms of that Agreement," Villafana wrote, again to Lefkowitz. "You raised objections to any victim notification, and no further notifications were done."
Original Deal Hidden
On Sept. 24, 2007, in a deal shrouded in secrecy that left alleged victims shocked at its leniency,
Epstein agreed to a 30-month sentence, including 18 months of jail time and 12 months of house arrest and the agreement to pay dozens of young girls under a federal statute providing for compensation to victims of child sexual abuse. .the U.S. Attorney's Office promised not to pursue any federal charges against Epstein or his Named and Un-Named co-conspirators.
Fox By Malia Zimmerman, May 13, 2016
Daily Mail Reporter 19 March 2014
Gawker Nick Bryant 01/22/15
Western Journalism Kris Zane March 27, 2014
Politico By Josh Gerstein 07/07/15
New York Magazine, By Landon Thomas Jr.
THE FIX IS IN
"In 2006 the FBI counted at least 40 underage girls who had been molested by Epstein. Authorities searched his Florida mansion and found two computers containing child *********** and homemade video and photographs from cameras hidden in bedroom walls which had been used to film sex acts. The case was airtight for many counts of sexual crimes but Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer and the Justice Department stepped in and offered Epstein a plea deal. In 2008 Epstein pleaded guilty in a Florida court to one count of soliciting underage girls for sex. His punishment was 13 months of "8 hour nights only" at a halfway house. No other charges about raping underage girls nor running an underage sex trafficking ring were mentioned in the plea. His legal team? Gerald Lefcourt, Roy Black, Ken Starr, and Alan Dershowitz.
The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated immunized all named and unnamed potential co-conspirators in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and any powerbrokers who may have molested them."
The Talented Mr. Epstein
Lately, Jeffrey Epstein's high-flying style has been drawing oohs and aahs: the bachelor financier lives in New York's largest private residence, claims to take only billionaires as clients, and flies celebrities including Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey on his Boeing 727. But pierce his air of mystery and the picture changes. Vicky Ward explores Epstein's investment career, his ties to retail magnate Leslie Wexner, and his complicated past.
June 27, 2011 12:00 am
Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery
So how do termite grouping patterns fare as an investment strategy? Again, facts are hard to come by. A working day for Epstein starts at 5 a.m., when he gets up and scours the world markets on his Bloomberg screen -- each of his houses, in New York, St. Thomas, Palm Beach, and New Mexico, as well as the 727, is equipped with the necessary hardware for him to wake up, roll
Feb 22, 2019 | www.unz.com
MEFOBILLS , says: February 21, 2019 at 9:28 pm GMT@TKK https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html
The U.S. is an Oligarchy.
Western Oligarchs raped Russia in the 90's. OK, most of them were Jews – but still Western. The (((harvard))) boys foisted dollar debts on Russia, and then converted Russia to an extraction economy. Putin cleverly taxed the Oligarchs and prevented them from further predations.
No country can survive if it has an internal hostile elite. Nobody here can claim that Russia's government is hostile to its people. A fair claim can be made that the "international" elite that infest America IS HOSTILE. Why would you immigrate a replacement population if not hostile? Why would you export your industry if not hostile?
You don't dig out and convert your economy to first world standards overnight.
So, the trend lines are clear. The West and U.S. is a finance oligarchy in decline, while Russia is on a ascendant path. These lines will cross over at some point in near future. One could even squint and say that Russia is no longer an Oligarchy of special interests, and is moving into Byzantium mode e.g. symphony of Church and State. Many Russian thinkers are projecting another 40 years or so to consolidate the gains.
Even more alarming is Bugajski's argument that the goal should not be self-determination for breakaway Russian territories, but the annexing of these lands to other countries . "Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.comLike many contemporary cold warriors, Bugajski toggles back and forth between overhyping Russia's might and its weaknesses, notably a lack of economic dynamism and a rise in ethnic and regional fragmentation. But his primary argument is unambiguous: That the West should actively stoke longstanding regional and ethnic tensions with the ultimate aim of a dissolution of the Russian Federation, which Bugajski dismisses as an "imperial construct."
It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.
So who is Janusz Bugajski, and who is he speaking for?
The author bio on the Hill's piece identifies him as a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. But CEPA is no ordinary talk shop: Instead of the usual foundations and well-heeled individuals, its financial backers seem to be mostly arms of the US government, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Mission to NATO, the US-government-sponsored National Endowment for Democracy, as well as as veritable who's who of defense contractors, including Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Textron. Meanwhile, Bugajski chairs the South-Central Europe area studies program at the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State.
To put it in perspective, it is akin to a Russian with deep ties to the Kremlin and arms-makers arguing that the Kremlin needed to find ways to break up the United States and, if possible, have these breakaway regions absorbed by Mexico and Canada. (A scenario which alas is not as far-fetched as it might have been a few years ago; many thousands in California now openly talk of a "Calexit," and many more in Mexico of a reconquista .)
green dragon , 2 hours ago link
CatInTheHat , 3 hours ago link
The breakup of the USSR was planned also. It was followed by the formation of oligarchs, IMF loans, and asset stripping. The economic advice and help Russia received from the west almost accomplished the goal of breaking up Russia.
Russia is well aware that war with NATO cannot be avoided in the long run. One only has to talk to Russians to see that they understand they are in a Cold war that they have to survive. From their view they did not seek this confrontation. They truly thought they would be embraced by the West after the fall and a new relationship benefiting both sides could have emerged. So now Russia has to turn to China and prepare for a future war within a decade with NATO!
August , 1 hour ago link
Disgusting projection of US imperialism. The elite never forgave Putin for throwing US Rothschild elites out of Russia so they could no longer plunder Russias extensive wealth under Yeltsin..
Let's see what happens when neocunts start that hot war, how Americans then feel about Russia
We truly have dumbfucks in this country who love the thought of other as enemy other than THEMSELVES. They never ONCE consider that in demonizing another countries leader, they are demonizing a whole nation of peoples too. I wonder how Americans would feel if constant demonizing and threats coming their way, with also say regime change in Mexico to provoke them?
US neocons are psychopaths that care nothing for Americans. What they do to others in regime change they will do to us. Oh, wait. They already have #9/11
Fluff The Cat , 4 hours ago link
Poles actively pushing for the dismembering of Russia have been around for a long time.
CatInTheHat , 3 hours ago link
Published in the Hill under the dispassionate title "Managing Russia's dissolution," author Janusz Bugajski makes the case that the West should not only seek to contain "Moscow's imperial ambitions" but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.
If that is the intended goal then wouldn't it be accurate to state that America, or at least its government, has imperial ambitions?
The rationale for dissolution should be logically framed: In order to survive, Russia needs a federal democracy and a robust economy; with no democratization on the horizon and economic conditions deteriorating, the federal structure will become increasingly ungovernable...
Russia already tried "democracy" and the end result spelled disaster for their country. Minorities were put on a pedestal while their economy was in shambles, all the while the oligarchs, who were mostly Jewish, made a fortune plundering their natural resources. Sound familiar?
Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past."
The hypocrisy in this statement is breathless. Is America going to return Alaska to Russia? Allow Hawaii to once again be an autonomous entity? Cease the illegal occupation of countries throughout the Middle East? Remove their Neo-Nazi stooges from Ukraine?
It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.
The idea seems to be to stoke regional tensions in order to provoke Russia and start a conflict where the surrounding countries are put on the front lines while being provided with logistics from the outside, meaning the US. Washington could then play up the plausible deniability angle, even while technology from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other Western contractors is primarily being used against the Russians.
Russia is not a direct threat to Western nations, only to their (((governments))), because during any attempted implementation of a JWO (as in the EU for example), Russia will serve as a reminder to all Western peoples - especially white people - as to what their nations once were: independent, sovereign and self-determined. Russia prevented ISISrael from taking over Syria, thwarted their Oded Yinon plan and threw out their oligarchs, so World Judaism is using America as their bludgeon against the Russian Federation while preventing us from forming an alliance.
back to basics , 5 hours ago link
Browder a ******* fraud who owes Russia hundreds of millions in back taxes.
And along with **** Cardin, DEMOCRAT, helped to fraudulently create the Magnistky Act
6 hours ago Bug-aj-ski - neocon shrill writing for and paid by the MIC it looks like from the sponsors of this think tank
74 years after Nazi Germany miscalculated Russian resolve some idiot dreams of carving Russia up like it's a Thanksgiving turkey and some people actually take him seriously. Yeah, good luck with that.
let;s have a look see at their website
https://www.cepa.org/international-advisory-council - more neocons
oh yah Brzezinski - deceased tho - oops -
Albright - not dead yet
https://www.cepa.org/experts - and more "expert" neocons
"Cultivating new sources of competitive advantage for U.S. strategy."
no list of sponsors tho I can see from the website - real MIC platform it sounds like from the article
6 hours ago Yep, it's a Zbigniew Brzezinski memorial. The money seems to come mostly from the MIC and the usual Cold War think tanks, like the Harry and Lynde Bradley Foundation. 5 hours ago These necons need to remember that chess is the national passtime of Russians, while making mudpies is the what they do in the West. These "think-tanks" are very childish. 3 hours ago 9 hours ago here's where some of it started/got turbocharged:
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n02/seymour-m-hersh/the-vice-presidents-men LA_Goldbug 10 hours ago The only way I can understand this twat is to think that he is just earning his shekels. He knows what the Party Line is in DC requires and is writing accordingly. I just checked a bit of his BS and this one is definitely written for the uninformed or deeply indoctrinated Western sheep.
"Taking Stock of Ukraine's Achievements Amidst Russia's Aggression
Five years ago, the Ukrainian people staged a peaceful "revolution of dignity" against a corrupt regime sponsored by the Kremlin. They stood firm even under gunfire and it was the discredited President Viktor Yanukovych who eventually retreated and took refuge in Russia. With Moscow engaging in renewed attacks against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov it is important to take stock of Ukraine's achievements since those fateful days in Kyiv's Independence Square."
You need to be brain dead to think it was peaceful !!!!
Jan 11, 2019 | www.unz.com
TheJester , says: Next New Comment January 11, 2019 at 11:51 am GMTLet me be optimistic that the path to the eventual economic, national, and cultural collapse of the United States will follow the path of the Soviet Union: quick collapse followed by a slow process of national, cultural, and religious regeneration.Svigor , says: Next New Comment January 11, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
In this model, Trump is playing out the script written for "Yeltsin" a reckless buffoon exposing the hypocrisy and inherent weakness of Soviet ideology, economics, and culture.
Trump has done us a favor. Without Yeltsin, the Soviet Union might have lumbered for a few more decades as a decadent, geriatric patient in a hospice awaiting inevitable death. With Yeltsin's help, the end came quickly. Taking advantage of the anarchy, a conspiratorial elite consisting of a cabal of billionaires raped the Soviet Union of its wealth while there was still something left to steal and absconded to safe havens in London, New York, and Israel. This made the end of the Soviet system inevitable.
Are we already in the phase of oligarchical plunder? Yes, it's obvious.
Russia achieved its "MRGA" with Putin, backed by a core of Russian nationalists and patriots who rejected the multicultural diversity and globalism inherent in Marxist dogma. Russia is returning to its pre-1917 culture and traditions. Let's hope we can also achieve our "MAGA" by rediscovering the confident Anglosphere that created the post-WWII world.
Bye-bye feminism, multicultural diversity, and the decadent "globohomo" ideology that came to define the "Empire".@TheJester I'll remain agnostic as to whether the US is facing financial collapse, but point out that USSR's collapse doesn't imply US has to have one (not that you intended the reference that way).
USSR had a command economy, US doesn't. That said, I do think our military-industrial complex is long overdue for a collapse, having long since lost its only real justification, the Soviet threat.
Trimming the huge amount of Defense and entitlement fat we're carrying would help a lot.
Jan 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
... ... ...
In 2007 Naomi Klein got quite a bit of attention and mostly favorable comment for her book, Shock Doctrine. It promulgated that global elites used periods of crisis around the world to force damaging neoliberal policies derived from the Chicago School and Washington Consensus upon unhappy populations that suffered greatly as a result. This was "shock therapy" that was more like destructive electroshock than any sort of therapy . There is a lot of truth to this argument, and it highlighted underlying ideological arguments and outcomes.
The argument largely seems to hold for the original poster boy example in Chile with the Pinochet coup against the socialist Allende regime. A military coup replaced a democratically government. While Chile was experiencing a serious inflation, it was not in a full-blown economic collapse. The coup was supported by US leaders Nixon and Kissinger, who saw themselves preventing the emergence of pro-Soviet regime resembling Castro's Cuba. Thousands were killed, and a sweeping set of laisssez faire policies were imposed with the active participation of "Chicago Boys" associated with Milton Friedman. In fact, aside from bringing down inflation these reforms did not initially improve economic performance, even as foreign capital flowed in, especially into the copper industry, although the core of that industry remained nationalized. After several years the Chicago Boys were sent away and more moderate policies, including a reimposition of controls on foreign capital flows, the economy did grow quite rapidly. But this left a deeply unequal income distribution in place, which would largely remain the case even after Pinochet was removed from power and parliamentary democracy returned.
This scenario was argued to happen in many other nations, especially those in the former Soviet bloc as the Soviet Union disintegrated and its successor states and the former members of the Soviet bloc in the CMEA and Warsaw Pact also moved to some sort of market capitalism imposed from outside with policies funded by the IMF and following the Washington Consensus.
Although he has since expressed regret for this role in this, a key player linking what was done in several Latin American nations and what went down after 1989 in Eastern and Central Europe was Jeffrey Sachs .
Klein's discussion especially of what went down in Russia also looks pretty sound by and large, without dragging through the details, although in these cases the political shift was from dictatorships run by Communist parties dominated out of Moscow to at least somewhat more democratic governments, although not in all of the former Soviet republics such as in Central Asia and with many of these later backsliding towards more authoritarian governments later.
In Russia and in many others large numbers of people were thrown into poverty from which they have not recovered. Klein has also extended this argument to other nations, including South Africa after the end of apartheid.
Jan 08, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press
A conversation in the radio studio "Komsomolskaya Pravda" with the Hero of the Soviet Union, the first and the last vice-president of Russia, Alexander Rutskoi and the former head of the President's Security Service (by definition, the closest person to Yeltsin's body), Alexander Korzhakov.
Twenty-two years ago, Moscow shuddered from the tank volleys, and people all over the country clung to TV screens, on which Western TV stations broadcasted how Yeltsin's loyal troops fire at the rebel troops of the Supreme Soviet (Parlament) of Russia. The opposition of the Armed Forces and the President Yeltsin with his team, on the one hand, and Rutskoi and Khasbulatov with the deputies, on the other, ended in great blood. Incongruous with the one that spilled two years earlier, when the Emergency Committee tried to keep the USSR. This was the beginning of our conversation in the radio studio "Komsomolskaya Pravda" with the Hero of the Soviet Union, the first and the last vice-president of Russia, Alexander Vladimirovich Rutskoi and the former head of the President's Security Service (by definition, the closest person to Yeltsin's body), Alexander Vasilyevich Korzhakov.
Oct 04, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Declassified Clinton-Yeltsin Telcons Show U.S. Support No Matter What Embassy Cables and Oral Histories Detail Complex Conflict and U.S. Motivations Today's Russian Opposition Sees Crucial Turning Point Towards Today's Autocracy ... ... ...
Cable from White House Washington DC to American Embassy Moscow. Memorandum of Conversation: Memcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russia, July 10, 1993, Tokyo 1993-07-16 Source: U.S. Department of State declassification M-2006-01499
This is a copy of a cable containing the memcon between Yeltsin and Clinton with a cover note from Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Strobe Talbott instructing him to review the memcon before his forthcoming meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov. In the handwritten notes he also records his impressions from the meeting. He is "struck by [ ] B[ill] C[linton]'s command of the issues [ ] his dominance in [meeting] (hard to do with Yeltsin), and "no rhetoric or posturing on either side."
This memcon is important because it shows the impressive variety of issues on which Clinton and Yeltsin had a productive exchange and agreed to cooperate: replacing COCOM with a new regime; a deal on highly enriched uranium (HEU) that Russia was going to remove from the nuclear warheads being withdrawn from Kazakhstan; Ukraine and Belarus and partly return to Ukraine as fuel for nuclear power stations and partly sell to the United States in the framework of the Megatons for Megawatts program; working with Ukraine to return the nuclear weapons to Russia; progress on CTBT; non-proliferation, and specifically limiting Russia's sales of reactors, missiles, and submarines to Iran and India; getting North Korea to the negotiating table; peacekeeping in Georgia and Nagorny Karabakh; and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltics.
On the latter, Yeltsin made an official request that the U.S. side conduct an investigation of the laws in Estonia to determine if they discriminate against ethnic Russians (Christopher in his cover note recommends giving Yeltsin a proper legal response even if it is negative). The breadth of issues helps one understand that Yeltsin truly was an indispensable partner for Clinton across the range of U.S. priorities in the former Soviet Union and even globally. Only once is there a signal that Yeltsin is in a complicated place domestically. Mentioning that the Supreme Soviet has just passed a bill declaring Sevastopol a Russian city, Yeltsin says, characteristically, "Thank God no one takes the Supreme Soviet seriously!"
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation: Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation. 1993-09-21 Source: U.S. Department of State declassification M-2006-01499
Clinton calls Yeltsin immediately after the Russian president makes a speech announcing his Presidential Decree 1400-dissolving the Parliament and setting the date for early elections to a new legislature and a referendum for the draft Constitution. Clinton expresses his full support for Yeltsin but also a concern about the fate of reform and democratic process in Russia. In response, Yeltsin paints a black-and-white picture of the political struggle saying that the Supreme Soviet "has totally gone out of control. It no longer supports the reform process. They have become communist." He assures his U.S. partner that "there will be no bloodshed," and that "all the democratic forces are supporting me." Clinton underscores the importance of holding the elections "in a fully democratic manner," and providing the opposition full access to free press without hindrance. Yeltsin promises to stick to democratic principles and reiterates his commitment to peaceful solutions. Clinton mentions that a $2.5 billion assistance package is being considered by Congress at the moment and the preservation of democratic order would be important for its passing. Yeltsin promises that now the "reforms will go much faster" and thanks the U.S. president for his continuous support. Document 04 Ambassador Thomas Pickering Oral History Excerpt 2007-02-19 Source: Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection, Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, Arlington, Virginia, www.adst.org , https://adst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Pickering-Thomas-Reeve.pdf , pp. 357-362 ( 15th of December, the Ides of December 2006) and pp. 386-391 ( 19th of February 2007) . This extremely useful oral history collection includes interviews with more than 2,000 former U.S. diplomats. The interviews with Tom Pickering took place over an extended period from 2003 to 2007 after his retirement from the Foreign Service, and produced a transcript totaling 722 pages ranging from his ancestry to postings as far afield as Zanzibar and San Salvador. Pickering served as U.S. ambassador to Moscow from 1993 to 1996, among the most momentous years in Russia's post-Soviet history, and a large section of the oral history covers his time in Russia. The particular pages related to the October 1993 events are in two parts, one from pages 357 to 362 on the overall policy and the Clinton-Yeltsin relationship, and the other, his extremely detailed eyewitness account of the assault on the White House, from pages 386 to 391. Pickering recounts his strong advice to Washington that there was "no choice" other than to back Yeltsin. He says, "There are some who argue that he, Yeltsin, was illegal in his actions and preemptory in his decisions and wrong in the outcomes. I totally disagreed with that . Were Yeltsin to have failed to do what he did, there was a good chance that there would have been another effort at the top to return Russia to communism. I cannot but believe that would have resulted in greater bloodshed and a long civil conflict." (p. 362) On the possibility of a negotiated settlement, Pickering comments, "[T]here were talks back and forth, not very fruitful ones because the Russian government then was in a position of deciding whether it was going to treat with these people and deal with compromises or take back the White House. They decided that they were going to take back the White House. They had the troops and the capability of doing that."
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation: Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation. 1993-10-05 Source: William J. Clinton Presidential Library declassification 2015-0782-M-1
This phone call takes place on the day after Yeltsin ordered tanks to fire on the building of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow(the "White House, the same building outside which Yeltsin had stood on a tank to reisist the hard-line coup attempt in August 1991), Clinton calls him to express support and inquire about the Russian president's plans for the upcoming elections and political settlement after the constitutional crisis. Yeltsin calls his opponents "fascist," putting all the blame on the opposition, telling Clinton that the supporters of the Parliament "brought to Moscow a gang of people from the Transdniester region, the Riga OMON-these were special forces. They had them come here, gave them machine guns and grenade launchers, and had them fire on peaceful civilians." He says he had no alternative than using force. Yeltsin expresses regret that "some people were killed," [ ] "thirty-nine people have now been killed on our side," (estimates of casualties range in the hundreds) but assures Clinton that now both the transition to democracy and market reform will move faster and he might call for early presidential elections because at the time "no real rivals to me are visible." (Vice President Rutskoy and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Khasbulatov were in prison, the prosecutor general was forced to resign and the Constitutional Court was suspended after its Chairman declared Yeltsin's decree 1400 unconstitutional.) None of that appears to undermine Yeltsin's democratic credentials in Clinton's eyes. Clinton never asks about the loss of life among civilians and the opposition. He says just what Yeltsin wants to hear: "you did everything exactly as you had to and I congratulate you for the way you handled it." The Russian president responds: "Thank you for everything. I embrace you with all my heart."
Memorandum for the President from Anthony Lake: Clarification on Your October 5 Telephone Conversation with President Yeltsin. 1993-10-07 Source: William J. Clinton Presidential Library declassification 2015-0782-M-1
This memo from National Security Advisor Anthony Lake clarifies two items in the October 5 conversation with Yeltsin (see Document 4). When Yeltsin referred to armed persons from Riga and Moldova who came to Moscow to support the opposition, Lake points out, they were "from the elite Russian security forces stationed in Riga and Moldova," not representatives of the Moldovan or Latvian governments. The second important correction refers to the fact that Yeltsin did not answer Clinton's question about freedom of the press in the period before the scheduled December elections. Yeltsin only said that there "would be no restrictions on the elections," and his interpreter translated it as "no restrictions on the press." In fact many oppositional newspapers were banned. President Clinton writes on the memo: "OK-but it wasn't the time for me to raise the newspaper issue on the 5 th ."
Cable from American Embassy Moscow to Secretary of State: Secretary's Visit to Moscow: Domestic Political Dynamics. 1993-10-19 Source: Department of State Declassification, Date/Case ID; 6 MAR 2003 200001030
Chargé d'Affaires and future Ambassador to Russia James Collins sends Secretary Christopher a briefing cable in advance of his visit to Moscow where he is expected to meet with Yeltsin and other government officials. This is the first visit of any Western senior official to Moscow after Yeltsin's dissolution of the Parliament and the October 3-4 bloodshed in the center of Moscow. In the cable, Collins describes the pre-electoral landscape in Russia on the eve of Christopher's visit. Although 92 parties are registered for the election, that in itself does not guarantee free and fair elections.
The cable describes Yeltsin's decision to push through the new "half-baked" Constitution, which concentrates the "preponderance of authority in the hands of the chief executive." Collins points out that "even many reformers worry about establishing a new Russian democracy so heavily tilted toward presidential power." The cable describes the split within the reformist camp into "radical" and "cautious" reformers, the confusion at the regional levels regarding whether the elections would be held for regional legislatures, and the continuing ban on nationalist and right-wing parties and their newspapers.
Collins notes the personal nature of the confrontation: "Boris Yeltsin's face during his October 6 speech was proof the Russian President had cast his hardline opponents into a personal anathema." He also raises concern about the methods used by Moscow police and city government in implementing the state of emergency, such as "systematic police cleansing of non-Russian people from Central Asian and Caucasian states," and racist remarks about dark-skinned people by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. In the end of the cable, Collins cautions that although the actual voting is likely to be fair, "the question will be the democratic content of the entire electoral process."
Cable from American Embassy Moscow to Secretary of State: Your October 21-23 Visit to Moscow-Key Foreign Policy Issues 1993-10-20 Source: U.S. Department of State. Date/Case ID: 04 MAY 2000 200000982
In the follow-up to the previous cable (Document 6), Chargé d'Affaires Collins reviews foreign policy issues Christopher is expected to cover in Moscow in his meetings with Yeltsin and Kozyrev and emphasizes that Yeltsin is looking for gestures of support from the United States. New elections are scheduled for December and Yeltsin needs all the support from the West he can get. Collins advises the secretary of state to be sensitive to Yeltsin's and Kozyrev's need for Russia to be seen domestically as a partner with whom the West consults and does not just take for granted, and he lists some controversial issues: NATO expansion, the post-Soviet space, and Ukraine.
On NATO, Collins notes that the Russians are aware that the U.S. internal debate is reaching a crucial moment about expansion and they want to be assured that the door is open to Russia, not just to East Europeans. In Collins' view, "what the Russians hope to hear from you is that NATO is not moving precipitously and that any policy NATO adopts will apply equally to them." Their "neuralgic" attitude stems from the fear that they will "end up on the wrong side of a new division of Europe." Therefore, Collins counsels Christopher to make sure the Russians know that the U.S. is actively promoting Russia's "complete reintegration into the family of Western states."
Secretary Christopher's Meeting with Foreign Minister Kozyrev: NATO, Elections, Regional Issues 1993-10-25 Source: U.S. Department of State. Date/Case ID: 11 MAR 2003 200001030
On his trip to Europe to explain the U.S. position on NATO expansion, Secretary Christopher comes to Moscow after meetings in Budapest. He and special ambassador Strobe Talbott meet with Foreign Minister Kozyrev and his deputy, Yuri Mamedov, before they visit Yeltsin at his country residence. Christopher raises concerns about the fairness of the upcoming elections with his Russian counterparts. He mentions that the United States has $12 million to contribute and is willing to send monitors or observers, which Kozyrev welcomes, saying they might help to guard against fraud by communist-leaning local authorities in rural areas where "the old kolkhoz mentality" still prevails. Christopher puts special emphasis on ensuring a free press since the order banning opposition newspapers was still not lifted. Kozyrev does not have a definitive answer to the question regarding banned newspapers and he says only six or seven political organizations will be banned from participating in the elections.
In this memo about the Kozyrev meeting, Christopher is very brief about the NATO discussion. He tells Kozyrev that the U.S. is sensitive to the Russian position and has developed a new proposal as a result: the Partnership for Peace (PFP), which would be open to all countries on an equal basis. Christopher does not directly address Kozyrev's concern about the decision regarding expansion, but, misleadingly, lets it sound as if PFP is the alternative for the time being.
The rest of the conversation deals with crucial issues on which the United States needs Russian cooperation, such as support for Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia and the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ukraine.
Secretary Christopher's Meeting with President Yeltsin, 10/22/1993, Moscow 1993-10-22 Source: U.S. Department of State. Date/Case ID: 08 MAY 2000 200000982
Christopher is taken to Yeltsin's country house, Zavidovo, for a meeting that lasts only 45 minutes. Yeltsin has most likely already been briefed by Kozyrev about his conversation with the secretary of state. In the beginning of the conversation, Yeltsin reviews the events of September 21-October 4 in Moscow and expresses "special appreciation to President Clinton and Secretary Christopher for their early and very supportive backing. The Russian president talks about the upcoming elections, which he calls "the first free and fair election for the parliament since 1917," and assures Christopher that the country has calmed down after the crisis. Yeltsin praises the new Constitution that is "up to the standards of the best Western democracies," which would allow them to "end the old totalitarian regime with the power assigned to the soviets." He also welcomes the Clinton visit to Moscow planned for January 1994.
Christopher starts with strong praise for Yeltsin's handling of the constitutional crisis with the Parliament, passing on "high appreciation" and emphasizing that Clinton is "extremely supportive" of his "superb handling of the crisis." According to Christopher, Clinton "admired the restraint" that Yeltsin has practiced since September 21 and that in the end he acted in a way that "caused the least loss of life." He adds that "on Sunday October 3, the President also closely followed events and wanted to tell President Yeltsin that [ ] our thoughts were with you in Moscow all day." Christopher offers technical assistance for the election and notes that "there are already numbers of our experts here who could be helpful but we would like to assist in any way in which we could do so." Essentially, Christopher lauds Yeltsin's handling of the crisis and never raises any concerns mentioned in Collins' cable (see Document 6, above) about irregularities in the electoral process or the nature of Yeltsin's constitution.
At the end of the conversation they briefly touch on the sensitive question of NATO expansion. Christopher leaves Yeltsin with the impression that the Partnership for Peace is an alternative to expansion (see Document 8 in National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 621 [tk: Rinat, please add link]). Yeltsin is extremely pleased with everything Christopher says at the meeting. He concludes "by saying that he appreciated immensely President Clinton's early continuing and extremely generous support and that he wanted to pass on his highest esteem for the President."
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation: Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation. 1993-12-22 Source: William J. Clinton Presidential Library declassification 1015-0782-M-1
Clinton calls Yeltsin to check on the political situation after the elections and talk about his upcoming visit to Russia in January 1994. At the beginning of the conversation both presidents put the best spin on the disastrous election results where the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky finished with 23 percent, the Communist Party of Gennady Zyuganov with 12 percent and Yeltsin's party, Russia's Choice, headed by Yegor Gaidar, only got 15 percent. Clinton is concerned about Yeltsin's ability to continue his economic reform with the strong nationalist-communist-agrarian opposition in Parliament. Yeltsin assures him that he is committed to the reform and will be able to work with the Parliament, "especially since the working relationship is supported by a strong democratic foundation in the new constitution." He says that now "there is no room for extremism or fascism in the new parliament." At the same time, he asks the U.S. president not to invite opposition party leaders to a meeting when Clinton comes to Moscow "so as not to give them an exaggerated opinion of themselves." Clinton tells Yeltsin that they decided not to talk much about Zhirinovsky and "to play him down."
The rest of the conversation focuses on preparations for the upcoming summit with Clinton's three-part agenda: "economic assistance to support your reforms; our common effort to convince Ukraine to go non-nuclear; and our foreign policy agenda." He promises to start a "quiet study" of how to increase IMF and World Bank assistance to Russia. Yeltsin is grateful for the support and emphasizes the importance of cooperation on denuclearization of Ukraine. He enthusiastically accepts Clinton's program.
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev Oral History Excerpt 2015-00-00 Source: Interview conducted by Petr Aven and Alfred Kokh and ultimately published in their book, Gaidar's Revolution: The Inside Account of the Economic Transformation of Russia (London: I. B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 297-333.
Two of Yegor Gaidar's close associates during the "second Russian revolution" of 1989-1992 went back 20 years later, after Gaidar's death, to interview 10 of the other key players in that period, including the Defense Minister Pavel Grachev (the only American interviewed was former Secretary of State James Baker). Aven and Kokh published short versions of each interview in the Russian edition of Forbes between 2010 and 2012, and longer versions in their book. In the biographical listing in the back of the book, the authors sneer at Grachev as a corrupt incompetent, while for most others listed they simply provide the dates and titles of their positions. But they give Grachev more than 30 pages of space to recount his versions of multiple controversial topics. This excerpt, titled "The Army and the Putsch of 1993," from pages 325 to 330, includes Grachev's story of his 3 a.m. discussions with Yeltsin and his security chief Korzhakov, during which "we drank a little," leading to the assault on the White House. Grachev says he personally gave the orders for a tank to fire "inert" projectiles into specific windows in the White House, after which "a fire started. It was beautiful." When Aven asks how many they killed in the assault, Grachev answers, "a lot." When Aven says, "from 200 to 400, by various estimates," Grachev responds, "many, in short."
 The main editor of Novaya Gazeta , Sergey Kozheurov, elected for the second time in November 2017, was the founding editor of the newspaper from 1993 to 1995.
 Talbott, The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy , (New York: Random House, 2002) p. 55
Published at https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2018-10-04/yeltsin-shelled-russian-parliament-25-years-ago-us-praised-superb-handling Read also: Haley and Binomo (Trump and his People)
Read also: US complain Russians do not let them dominate the Middle East!!!
Feb 17, 2004 | www.harbus.org
"Russia is not a normal country," said Professor Marshall Goldman, an internationally recognized authority on Russian politics and economics, in his meeting with HBS students on February 9th. Professor Goldman of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University came to campus to talk about his recent book "The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry".
The event, hosted by the Eastern European Association, attracted significant interest from the HBS community. Surrounded by dozens of students in a packed room at Cumnock Hall, Professor Goldman shared his prospective on the past and future of the Russian reforms, and answered a number of intriguing questions. His expert opinion was sought to add academic clarity to the recent publicized debate around 'the real facts about Russia'.
In his lecture, Professor Goldman gave a critical assessment of the approach to the economic reforms taken by the Russian government after the collapse of Soviet Union. Citing the examples of Poland and China, he argued that more gradual liberalization and privatization would generate wider social benefits in a less corrupt environment.
In addition, Marshall Goldman didn't miss the opportunity to pick on 'the guys across the river', referring to Harvard Professors Andrei Shleifer and Jeffrey Sachs (now at Columbia) who consulted Russian authorities in early nineties and advocated 'shock therapy' reforms. He also quoted Shleifer's recent publication about Russia, 'A normal country'.
Professor Goldman talked at length about the genesis of the 'oligarchs', Russia's largest and most controversial businessmen. In the last few years, Russia 'delegated' 19 billionaires to the Forbes' World's Richest People list – more than Britain or France, for instance. In examining this unique Russian phenomenon, Marshall Goldman emphasized that the 'oligarchs' propelled themselves to riches after the start of perestroika in 1987. Coming from the ranks of Soviet government officials or black market dealers, these people took advantage of immature regulatory environment to build wealth, first through financial and export-import operations, and then by privatizing the country's natural resources and mass media.
Oligarchs reached the peak of their influence in the late nineties after they ventured into politics and helped re-elect Boris Yeltsin the President of Russia. Ironically, the demise of the oligarchs follows the same route but in reverse: stripped of their media assets by President Putin, they lost their political weight, and are now gradually losing control over natural resources. The recent arrest of the oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky served as an obvious indication of this trend.
In examining the current situation in Russia, Professor Goldman deplored the excesses of the 'rule of law' and the cutbacks on the democratic freedoms, primarily freedom of speech. At the same time he admitted considerable advances made by Russia in the economic area. Fuelled by high commodity prices and liberal tax reforms (with income tax at 13% flat), the Russian economy developed briskly in the last five years, posting a whopping 7% GDP increase in 2003. Although this growth remains driven more by greater resource utilization than by factor productivity, Marshall Goldman was generally positive about the prospects of Russian businesses. In answering a student's question 'Is Russia a good place to invest?', he said that most probably yes, pointing at the burgeoning consumer market, growing foreign investment and recent moves by Moody's and Standard & Poor's to raise Russian sovereign ratings to the investment grade.
In closing, Professor Goldman expressed his hope that Russia will manage to keep the current fine balance between both the liberal economic policies and sub-democratic political regime. He also invited HBS students to attend weekly academic seminars held at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard.
Feb 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
DidierF , Feb 21, 2018 2:03:08 AM | linkSad but definitely correct. The first casualty of war is the truth. It's dead in the USA and allies. Therefore, they're at war with Russia and China. If Russia is down, China will be dealt with.V. Arnold , Feb 21, 2018 2:13:54 AM | link
The horrible thing with the US attitude is that you do a white thing, you're attacking them and if you do a black thing, you're attacking them too. This attitude is building hostility against Russia. It's like programming a pet to be afraid of something. The western people are being programmed into hating Russia, dehumanizing her people, cutting every tie with Russia and transforming any information from Russia into life threatening propaganda. A war for our hearts is running. The US population is being coerced into believing that war against Russia is a vital necessity.
It will be a war of choice from the US "elites". Clinton announced it and the population had chosen Trump for that reason.
You're wondering why they're doing it. I suppose that their narrative is losing its grip on the western populations. They're also conscious of it. If they lose it, they'll have to face very angry mobs and face the void of their lives. Everything they did was either useless or poisonous. It means to be in a very bad spot. They're are therefore under an existential threat.
Russia proved time and again that it's possible to get out of their narrative. Remember their situation when Eltsin was reelected with the western help.
The Chicago boys were telling the Russian authorities how to run the economy and they made out of the word democrat a synonym of thief. They were in the narrative and the result was a disaster. Then, they woke up and started to clean the house. I remember the "hero" of democracy whose name was "Khodorovsky (?)". In the west he was a freedom fighter and in Russia he stole something like Rosneft. This guy and others of the same sort were described in the west as heroes, pioneers and so on. They were put back into submission to the law. The western silence about their stealing, lies and cheating is still deafening me.
It was the first Russian crime. The second one was to survive the first batch of sanctions against them (I forgot the reason of the sanctions). They not only survived they thrived. It was against the western leading economic ideology. A third crime was to push back Saakachvili and his troops with success.
The fourth was to put back into order the Tchechen. Russia was back into the world politics and history. They were not following the script written for them in Washington and Brussels. They were having a political system putting limits to the big companies. And, worst of it, it works.
Everybody in the west who can read and listen would have noticed that they are making it.
More, with RT and Sputnik giving info outside the allowed ones or asking annoying questions (western journalists lost that habit with their new formation in the schools of journalism - remember the revolution in their education was criticised and I missed why - very curious to discover why), they were exposing weaknesses of the western narrative. On the other side their narrative became so poor and so limited that any regular reader would feel bored reading the same things time and again and being asked to pay for it at a time his salary was decreased in the name of competitivity. The threat to their narrative was ready. They had to fight it.
It's becoming a crime to think outside their marks. It's becoming a crime to read outside their marks. I don't even talk about any act outside their marks. Now, it's going to be a crime of treason to them in war time.
I do feel sadness because many will die from their fear of losing their grip on our minds. I do feel sadness because they have lost and are in denial about it. I do feel sadness because those death aren't necessary. I do feel sadness because those people can't face the consequences of their actions. They don't have the necessary spine. Their lives were useless and even toxic. They could start repairing or mitigating their damages but it would need a very different worldview, a complete conversion to another meaning of life outside the immediate and maximal profit.DidierF | Feb 21, 2018 2:03:08 AM | 46Ger , Feb 21, 2018 7:52:44 AM | link
You have aptly described the most dangerous country on this planet. That country must not be appeased, at any cost, because it would surely end us forever...Dan @ 4
It is partially tied direct to the economy of the warmongers as trillions of dollars of new cold war slop is laying on the ground awaiting the MICC hogs. American hegemony is primarily about stealing the natural resources of helpless countries. Now in control of all the weak ones, it is time to move to the really big prize: The massive resources of Russia.
They (US and their European Lackeys) thought this was a slam dunk when Yeltsin, in his drunken stupors, was literally giving Russia to invading capitalist. Enter Putin, stopped the looting .........connect the dots.
Dec 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.orgMontreal , Dec 27, 2018 2:01:23 PM | link
bevin , Dec 27, 2018 10:21:32 AM | link
" ....The oligarchs have been destroyed in the early 00s: Gusinsky (the media oligarch), Berezovsky (the political broker oligarch), Khodorkovsky (the oil oligarch). These people were real oligarchs, i.e. they were using their wealth to control political processes through black media propaganda, having their own MPs/Ministers/Governors, etc..." @85
I'm inclined to agree. And this is why there is so much anger against Putin, in particular, in the 'west': the Russian oligarchs wield enormous power through the media which is at the service of anyone with money. Bill Browder being a prime example.
The oligarchs were the tools that the City of London and Wall St employed to plunder Russia's socialised wealth and resources.
The hate campaign against Putin, who is in many ways a very conservative economist pursuing the sort of neo-liberal policies that capitalist financiers approve of, is inexplicable unless we understand that the end game is a return to the looting that took place under the Empire's anointed, Boris Yeltsin.
I don't understand the people here who write that VVPutin is in thrall to the Zionists, the Oligarchs, or that he's lining his own pocket etc etc. IMHO his strategy has always been clear and direct, since the beginning. He values first of all stability - time for Russia to rebuild herself. Secondly, he performs a clever balancing act between the competing centres of power in Russia.
His mistake, however, when he became president, was to believe quite sincerely that the West - and particularly Washington (the important one) - shared a desire for peaceful partnership with Russia. Doubts emerged in 2011 - he realised that he was being played - and the doubts became certainties in 2014, since when some fairly radical reorganisations has been taking place. Russia is - again, IMHO - now ready to take its real place in the international order.
I take great pleasure in reading and listening to his - and Sergei Lavrov's - words, at the same time regretting the low standard of our own representatives.
Many thanks to b and all of you who continue always to inform me and sometimes enchant me.
Jul 24, 2017 | www.nbcnews.com
As Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya tells it, she met with Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump aides in New York last summer to press her case against a widely accepted account of Russian malfeasance, one that underpins a set of sanctions against Russians.
It's a cause Veselnitskaya has been pursuing for years. So, too, has Rinat Akhmetshin, the colorful Russian-born American lobbyist she brought with her to Trump Tower.
Trump Jr., who agreed to the June 2016 meeting at the request of a Russian business associate with a promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton , has said he didn't find much to interest him in the presentation. And little wonder: The subject is a dense and tangled web, hinging on a complex case that led Congress to pass what is known as the Magnitsky Act. The law imposed sanctions on individual Russians accused of human rights violations. It has nothing to do with Clinton.
The Trump Tower meeting has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia's election interference . The topic of the meeting, many observers have said, is almost beside the point.
But the substance of what the pair of Russian advocates say they came to discuss has a fascinating backstory.
It's an epic international dispute -- one that has pitted the grandson of a former American Communist who made a fortune as a capitalist in Russia against a Russian leader who pines for the glory days of his country's Communist past.
In a cinematic twist, one person on the side advocated by Vladimir Putin, Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin is a former American newspaper reporter turned investigator named Glenn Simpson. He is the same Glenn Simpson whose firm, Fusion GPS, helped craft the controversial dossier alleging that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence .
That dossier, published by Buzzfeed , made other, more salacious allegations about Trump, and FBI Director James Comey briefed the Republican about it before he took office. The dossier is not favorable to Putin and the Russian government.
Simpson's role on both sides of the Putin divide is set to be explored in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday examining the Justice Department's requirements for foreign lobbying disclosures.
Due to testify at the hearing is Simpson's longtime opponent in the Magnitsky dispute, William Browder, an American-born hedge-fund investor who made millions investing in post-Soviet Russia and gave up his U.S. citizenship in 1997.
Simpson's lawyer said he would defy a subpoena to appear Wednesday because he was on vacation, and that he would decline to answer questions anyway, citing his right against self-incrimination.
Browder, whose grandfather Earl led the American Communist Party, accuses Simpson of peddling falsehoods as an agent of the Russian government. The law firm Simpson worked with on the case accused Browder in court papers of perpetrating a web of lies. Both men dispute the allegations.The Death of Sergei Magnitsky
The story begins with the November 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax accountant who was working for Browder, and who later died in prison .
Browder's account of Magnitsky's death triggered international outrage. According to Browder, Magnitsky was a lawyer who had been investigating a theft of $230 million in tax rebates paid to Browder's companies in Russia. Browder says his companies had been taken over illegally and without his knowledge by corrupt Russian officials.
Browder says Magnitsky was arrested as a reprisal by those same corrupt officials, and then was tortured and beaten to death. Browder presented documents suggesting that some officials who benefited from the alleged fraud purchased property abroad.
That account led Congress to pass the so-called Magnitsky Act in 2012, imposing sanctions on the Russian officials who were alleged to have violated Magnitsky's human rights.
The Russian government soon imposed a ban on American adoptions of Russian children, ostensibly for other reasons but done in response, many experts say, to the Magnitsky sanctions.
Forty-four Russians are currently on the Magnitsky sanctions list maintained by the U.S. Treasury Department, meaning their U.S. assets are frozen and they are not allowed to travel to the U.S.
Once a Putin supporter, Browder became one of the Russian leader's most ardent foes, spearheading a campaign to draw international attention to the Magnitsky case. He and his employees at Hermitage Capital Management presented information to governments, international bodies and major news organizations.
Browder's advocacy marks a shift from 2004, when, as one of Russia's leading foreign investors, he praised Putin so vigorously that he was labeled Putin's "chief cheerleader" by an analyst in a Washington Post article. Browder has said that Magnitsky's death spurred him to reexamine his view of Putin.
The State Department, lawmakers of both parties and the Western news media have described the Magnitsky case in a way that tracks closely with Browder's account. Browder's assertions are consistent with the West's understanding of the Putin government -- an authoritarian regime that has been widely and credibly accused of murdering journalists and political opponents.
In 2013, the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office sued a Russian company, accusing it of laundering some of the proceeds of the fraud Magnitsky allegedly uncovered. The complaint incorporated Browder's account about what happened to Magnitsky.
That lawsuit set in motion a process through which that version of events would come under challenge.
The defendant, a company called Prevezon, is owned by Denis Katsyv, who became wealthy while his father was vice governor and transport minister for the Moscow region, according to published reports. The father, Pyotr Katsyv, is now vice president of the state-run Russian Railways. Veselnitskaya has long represented the family.
Prevezon hired a law firm, BakerHostetler, and a team that included a longtime New York prosecutor, John Moscow. Also working on Prevezon's behalf were Simpson, Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin.
Simpson, a former investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, declined to comment.
Simpson also worked with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in the creation of the dossier that asserts Trump collusion with Russian election interference. A source close to him said his work on the dossier was kept confidential from his other clients.
The federal civil lawsuit by the Manhattan U.S. attorney against Prevezon was the first opportunity for the U.S. government to publicly present whatever evidence it had to support its legal assertions regarding Magnitsky. It was also an opportunity for the defendants to conduct their own investigation.
Prevezon's American legal team alleged that Browder's story was full of holes -- and that the U.S. and other governments had relied on Browder's version without checking it. Browder and the U.S. government disagreed.
The chief American investigator, Todd Hyman of the Department of Homeland Security, testified in a deposition that much of the evidence in the government's complaint came from Browder and his associates. He also said the government had been unable to independently investigate some of Browder's claims.
In court documents, Prevezon's lawyers alleged that Magnitsky was jailed not because he was a truth-seeker -- but because he was helping Browder's companies in tax evasion.
The Prevezon attorneys charged that Browder "lied," and "manipulated" evidence to cover up his own tax fraud.
The story was "contrived and skillfully sold by William F. Browder to politicians here and abroad to thwart his arrest for a tax fraud conviction in Russia," says a 2015 federal court filing by one of Prevezon's lawyers, Mark Cymrot of BakerHostetler.
A Russian-born filmmaker named Andrei Nekrasov made a similar set of arguments in a docudrama released last year. Neither Prevezon nor the Russian government had a role in funding or making the film, both parties say, though Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin helped promote it.
Sep 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Stumpy , Sep 22, 2018 6:38:58 PM | link
Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 22, 2018 5:17:51 PM | 22
Well, as long as you support the #METOO-ish school of legal doctrine, i.e. whereupon a simple charging is sufficient to establish culpability, you will surely enjoy the following article, on The Nation, The Harvard Boys Do Russia, May, 1998, which you can search for and fact-check with your own tools of choice.
Perhaps consider the idea that within Russia in the 1990s that was systematically sold off to US interests, facilitated by Russian government officials, the Russian social immune system kicked in and gave rise to Vladimir Putin to protect his homeland's interests. Consider further that Trump is dealing with a horde of malignant backstabbing little bitches that are doing their best to rape their own homeland. Maybe the US social immune system is working better than you think, despite attempts to deflect blame towards Trump and Putin, and actual, indictable charges against Clintonian operatives cannot be suppressed much longer.
The DNC is broke. What does that tell you?
Aug 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
There is less shame in being undone by a "master of deceit." When J. Edgar Hoover coined that description, he had Communists in mind. Back then, though, "Ruskies" and "Commies" – it was all the same. Americans were conditioned to live in fear that the Russians were coming.
That nonsense should have ended when Communism more or less officially expired in 1989, followed two years later by the demise of the Soviet Union itself. For a long time, it seemed that it had. At first, the reaction in Western, especially American, political and media circles was triumphalist. The war was over and our side won. Beneath the surface, however, there was mourning in America.
With the Cold War, the death merchants, the masters of war, the neocons, and a host of others had had a good thing going. Having been born into it, the political class was comfortable with the status quo too; and generations of Americans had grown up imbibing Russophobia in their mother's milk (or infant formula).
It turned out, though, that American triumphalism was only a phase. Before long, it became clear that our economic and political masters had nothing to worry about, that Cold War anti-Communism was more robust than Communism itself.
However, in the final days of Bush 41 and then at the dawn of the Clinton era, nobody knew that. Nobody gave America's propaganda system the credit it deserved.
Also, nobody quite realized how devastating Russia's regression to capitalism would be, and nobody quite grasped the savagery of the kleptocrats who had taken charge of what remained of the Russian state.
For more than a decade, the situation in that late great superpower was too dire to sustain the old fears and animosities. Capitalism had made Russia wretched again.
That suited Bill Clinton and his First Lady, the former Goldwater Girl. Boris Yeltsin, Russia's leader, was their man. He was a godsend, a Trump-like cartoon character and a drunkard to boot – with an economy in tatters, and no rightwing base egging him on.
But anti-Communism (without Communism) and its close cousin, Russophobia, could not remain in remission forever. The need for them was too great.
In the Age of Obama, the Global War on Terror, with or without that ludicrous Bush 43-era name, wasn't cutting it anymore. It was, and still is, good for keeping America's perpetual war regime going and for undoing civil liberties, but there had never been much glory in it, only endless misery for all. Also it was getting old and increasingly easy to see through.
The time was therefore right for a return of the repressed -- for full-blooded, fifties-style, anti-Communist (= anti-Russian) hysteria, or, since that still seemed far-fetched, for anti-Communist (= anti-Chinese) hysteria.
This was not the only factor behind the Obama administration's "pivot towards Asia," its largely failed attempt to take China down a notch or two, but it was an important part of the story.
However, by the time Obama and his team decided to pivot, China had become too important to the United States economically to make a good Cold War enemy. Worse still, it had for too long been an object of pity and contempt, not fear.
When the Soviet Union was an enemy, China was an enemy too, most glaringly during the Korean War. It remained an enemy even after the Sino-Soviet split became too obvious to deny. However, unlike post-1917 Russia, it had never quite become an historical foe.
Moreover, as Russia began to recover from the Yeltsin era, the Russian political class, and many of the oligarchs behind them, sensing the popular mood, decided that the time was ripe "to make Russia great again." Putin is not so much a cause as he is a symptom – and symbol – of this aspiration.
And so, there it was: the longed for new Cold War would be much like the one that seemed over a quarter century ago.
As everyone who has seen, heard or read anything about the 2016 election "knows," Russian intelligence services (= Putin) meddled. Everyone also "knows" that, with midterm elections looming, they are at it again.
This, according to the mainstream consensus view, is a bona fide casus belli , a justification for war. To be sure, what they want is a war that remains cold; ending life on earth, as we know it, is not on their agenda.
But inasmuch as cold wars can easily turn hot, this hardly mitigates the recklessness of their machinations. Humankind was extraordinarily lucky last time; there is no guarantee that all that luck will hold.
Exactly what "Putin," the shorthand name for all that is Russian and nefarious, did, or is still doing, remains unclear. But this does not seem to bother purveyors of the conventional wisdom. Neither is ostensibly informed public opinion fazed by the fact that the evidence supporting the consensus view comes mainly from American intelligence services and from their counterparts in the UK and other allied nations.
Time was when anyone with any sense understood that these intelligence services, the American ones especially, are second to none in meddling in the affairs of other nations, and that the American national security state – essentially our political police -- is comprised, by design, of liars and deceivers.
How ironic therefore that nowadays it is mainly bamboozled Trump supporters in the Fox News demographic -- people who could care less about peace or, for that matter, about truth -- who are wary of the CIA and skeptical of the FBI's claims!
Try as they might, the manufacturers and guardians of conventional wisdom have so far been unable to concoct a plausible story in which Russian meddling affected the outcome of the 2016 election in any serious way. The idea that the Russians defeated Hillary, not Hillary herself, is, to borrow a phrase from Jeremy Bentham, "nonsense on stilts." Leading Democrats and their media flacks don't seem to mind that either.
They do not even seem to notice that what they allege, vague as it is, is trifling compared to the massive and very open meddling of American plutocrats, Republican vote suppressers and gerrymanderers, and the governments of supposedly friendly nations – like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, and Israel.
Nevertheless, it probably is true that the Russians meddled. Cold War revivalists can therefore rest easy, confident that their propagandists will have at least a few facts with which they can work to restore the perils of their vanished youth.
Even so, the level of their hypocrisy is appalling. Russia, along with former Soviet republics and former members of the Warsaw Pact, has been bearing the brunt of far worse American meddling for far longer than anything sanctimonious defenders of so-called American "democracy" can plausibly allege.
Moreover, it should go without saying that the democracy they purport to care so much about has almost nothing to do with "the rule of the demos." It doesn't even have much to do with free and fair competitive elections – unless "free and fair" means that anything goes, so long as the principals and perpetrators are homegrown or citizens of favored nations.
Self-righteous posturing aside, Putin's real sin in the eyes of the American power elite is that, in his own small way, he has been defying America's "right" to run the world as it sees fit.
When Clinton was president, Serbia did that, and lived to regret it. Cuba has been suffering for nearly six decades for the same reason, and now Venezuela is paying its dues. The empire is merciless towards nations that rebel.
With Soviet support and then with sheer determination and grit, Cuba has been able to withstand the onslaught to some extent from Day One. Venezuela may not be so lucky – especially now that Republicans and Democrats feel threatened by the growing number of "democratic socialists" in their midst. Already, the propaganda system is targeting Venezuelan "socialism," blaming it for that country's woes, and warning that if our newly minted, homegrown socialists prevail, a similar fate will be in store for us.
This is ludicrous, of course – American hostility and the vagaries of the global oil market deserve the lion's share of the blame. But the on-going propaganda blitz could nevertheless pave the way for horrors ahead, should Trump decide to start a war America could actually win.
Inconsequential Russian meddling is a big deal on the "liberal" cable networks, on NPR, and in the "quality" press. Democrats and a few Republicans love to bleat on about it. But it is Ukraine that made Russia our "adversary" and its president Public Enemy Number One.
Hypocrisy reigns here too. It was the Obama administration – run through with neocons, liberal imperialists, and other holdovers from Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State – that did all it could to exacerbate longstanding tensions between that country's Ukrainian and Russian speaking populations, the better to complete NATO's encirclement of the Russian federation. And it was American meddling that led to the empowerment of virulently anti-Russian, fascisant Ukrainian politicians, much to the detriment of Russian speaking Ukrainians in the east.
But never mind: Putin – that is, the Russia government – violated international law by sending troops briefly into beleaguered Russian-speaking parts of the country. That they were generally welcomed by the people living there is of no importance.
Worst of all, Russia annexed Crimea – a territory integral to the Russian empire since the eighteenth century. Since long before the Russian Revolution, Crimea has been home to a huge naval base vital to Russia's strategic defense.
The story line back in the day was that anything that could be described as Russian aggression outside the Soviet Union's agreed upon sphere of influence had to do with spreading Communism. In fact, the Soviets did everything they could to keep Communist and other insurgencies from upending the status quo. The mainstream narrative was wrong.
Now Communism is gone and nothing has taken its place. Even so, the idea that Russia has designs on its neighbors for ideological reasons is hard to shake – in part because it is actively promoted by propagandists who have suddenly and uncharacteristically become defenders of international law.
Meanwhile, of course, the hypocrisies keep piling on. It is practically a tenet of the American civil religion that international law applies to others, not to the United States. This is why, when it suits some perceived purpose, America flaunts its violations shamelessly.
Thus nothing the Russians did or are ever likely to do comes close to the shenanigans Bill Clinton displayed – successfully, for the most part – in his efforts to tear Kosovo away from Serbia. Clinton even went so far as to bomb Belgrade; Putin never bombed Kiev.
The Cold War that began after World War II involved a clash of rival political economic systems. The Cold War that reignited a few years ago involves a clash of rival imperialist centers. Its world more nearly resembles the one that existed before World War I than the one that emerged after World War II.
However, the difference may be more superficial than it seems. The ease with which Cold War revivalists have been able to get the Cold War up and running again, even without Communism, suggests what a few observers have long maintained -- that the Cold War, on Russia's part, had little, if anything, to do with spreading Communism around the world, and everything to do with maintaining a cordon sanitaire around Russia's borders in order to protect against a demonstrably aggressive "free world."
George W. Bush claimed that 9/11 happened because "they hate our freedom." "They" would be radical Islamists of the kind stirred into action in Afghanistan by Zbigniew Brzezinski and his co-thinkers in the Carter administration. Their objective was to undermine the Soviet Union by getting it bogged down in a quagmire like the one that did so much harm to the United States in Vietnam.
That part of Brzezinski's plan was at least a partial success. But inasmuch as Bush's "they" are still there, still spreading murder and mayhem throughout the Greater Middle East, America and the world has been paying a high price for the benefits, such as they were, that ensued.
The never-ending wars set in motion by the "pivot" towards radical Islamism decades ago never quite succeeded in producing an enemy as serviceable as the USSR. But now that Putin's Russia has been pressed into service, that problem is potentially "solved."
However, the American public is not as naïve as it used to be, and it is impossible to say, at this point, how well this new story line will work.
Efforts to recycle Bush's "they hate our freedom" nonsense ought to be non-starters. But this is the best Cold War revivalists have come up with so far. The Russians, they say, simply cannot deal with the fact that we Americans are so damned free.
It is hard to believe, but there are people who are actually buying this but, with a lot of corporate media assistance, there are. No matter how clear it is that they are not worth being taken seriously, Cold War mythologies just won't die.
However, it is worth pondering why today's Russia would do what it is alleged to have done; and why, as is also alleged, it is still doing it.
From a geopolitical point of view, Russia does have an interest in doing all it can to ward off Western aggression. It also has an interest in undermining strategic alliances aimed at blocking anything and everything that challenges American supremacy. And, until sanity prevails in Washington and other Western capitals, it arguably also has an interest in aiding and abetting rightwing nationalists in order to exacerbate tensions within Western societies.
However, in view of prevailing power relations, these are interests it cannot do much to advance. Acting as if this were not the case only puts Russia in a bad light -- not for meddling, but for meddling stupidly.
No doubt, for reasons both fair and foul, Putin wanted Hillary to lose the election two years ago. So, but for one little problem, would anyone whose head is screwed on right. That problem's name is Donald Trump.
Clinton is bad, but Trump is worse -- not just by most measures but by all. Her fondness for war and preparations for war was alarming; she was bellicosity personified. But it was plain even before the election that Trump, a mentally unhinged narcissist, would be even more likely than she to bring on massive devastation. A vote for Trump was and still is a vote for catastrophe.
Putin's enemy was Trump's enemy, and it is axiomatic that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" -- except sometimes it isn't. Sometimes, my enemy's enemy is an enemy far worse.
For reasons that remain obscure, Putin and Trump seem to have a "thing" going on between them. Some day perhaps we will know what that is all about. For now, though, the hard and very relevant fact is that Trump has done nothing to help, and quite a few things to harm, Russia.
It isn't just ordinary Russians who have been made worse off. Trump has been at least as hard on oligarchs close to Putin as Clinton would have been.
If those damned Russians were half as smart as they are made out to be, they would have realized long ago that, for getting anything done that bucks the tide, Trump is too inept to be of any use at all; and that anything he sets out to do is likely to turn out badly not just for America and its allies but for Russia too.
Therefore, if there really was Russian meddling, as there probably was, Putin should be ashamed – not so much for the DNC reasons laid out 24/7 on MSNBC and CNN, but for overestimating Trump's abilities and for underestimating the extent to which what started out as a maneuver of Hillary Clinton's, concocted to excuse her incompetence, would take a perilously "viral" turn, becoming a major threat to peace in a political culture that never quite got beyond the lunacy of the First Cold War.
Andrew Levine is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).
Sep 08, 2018 | gordonhahn.com
In the post-Soviet period, in addition to the color revolutions supported by the West outside Russia, the West has been involved inside Russia as well. Washington was also involved in helping Boris Yeltsin resist the August 1991 and October 1993 coups. Washington was indirectly involved in Boris Yeltsin's 1996 re-election campaign. As I have mentioned several times, a VERY reliable source confided to me that the xerox copying paper box filled with half a million dollars being transported for later use by Yeltsin's pro-democracy camp but intercepted by Yeltsin's hardline operatives consisted of U.S. funds. For a less revealng inkling of the kind of involvement see Time magazine's July 1996 article "Saving Boris"( http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19960715,00.html or https://offgraun.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/201612201405.pdf ). McFaul noted that the three American consultants to Russian President Boris Yeltsin's 1996 re-election campaign -- George Gorton, Joe Shumate, and Richard Dresner -- contracted by Oleg Soskovets, a former first deputy prime minister whom Yeltsin named head of his campaign, were "breaking Russia's law against foreigners' working directly in campaigns" ( www.weeklystandard.com/yanks-brag-press-bites/article/8538 ). In addition, the IMF released a several billion dollar tranche of economic assistance on the election's eve to buttress Yeltsin further. Yeltsin's government was infested with US advisors, some of whom engaged in corrupt practices of insider trading on the Russian stock market as part of their 'democracy-promotion' efforts.
The U.S. government's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty , among other government organs, carried out propaganda defending post-Soviet Russia's jihadi separatists for years (see https://gordonhahn.com/2015/02/18/caucasus-jihadism-through-western-eyes-the-failure-of-american-rusology-to-understand-the-north-caucasus-mujahedin/ and https://gordonhahn.com/2017/11/04/whos-been-interfering-in-whose-politics/ ). One 'small' example among very many was noted in a paper I published seven years ago: "Less than three weeks after CE (Caucasus Emirate or 'Imarat Kavkaz') amir Umarov sent a suicide bomber to attack Moscow's Domodedovo Airport killing 37 and wounding more than 200, RFERL 's 'chief Caucasus correspondent' Liz Fuller praised him as a 'father' who restrains the mujahideen: "If these young men [the CE's younger mujahideen] have not become the callous brutes Khasbulatov anticipated, much of the credit must surely lie with the older commanders who were fathers before they became ghters, and have since assumed the role of father gures to the younger generation of insurgents: the natural-born pedagogue Abdullayev; Tarhan; Mansur; and even Umarov, seen receiving a lial embrace from Hadji-Murat at the very end of this clip" [Liz Fuller, "Chechnya's Youngest Insurgents," RFERL , February 14, 2011, www.rferl.org/content/blog/2308952.html , last accessed on 28 February 2018 and cited in Gordon M. Hahn, Getting the Caucasus Emirate Right (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 2011), p. 14, fn 14]. Again, the 'Umarov' RFERL 's Liz Fuller, whose salary was paid from your taxes, was the amir of the Caucasus Emirate while it carried out nearly 60 suicide bombings and several thousand other terrorist attacks in Russia from 2007-2013, after which the bulk of its 'Chechen national resistance' fighters (most not frm Chechnya but from Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and elsewehere in Russia as well as from abroad) ensconced to Syria and Iraq to 'fight for Chechen independence' while those back home officially joined the Islamic State (ISIS). For a similar Fuller article hailing the 'work' of the small Islamo-ultranationalist Chechen, non-CE terrorist cell, see "Remembering Mansur," RFERL , March 17, 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/caucasus_re- port_remembering_mansur/2341725.html.
The main reason for Russia's restrictions on NGO activity inside the country is that the very same Western government-tied organizations that funded color revolutionary activity in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and elsewhere -- USAID, NED, DNI, RNI, and so on -- were funding indirectly Russian political opposition-oriented organizations. The reason media are now included under these restrictive regime lies in the West's massive propaganda, disinformation, and strategic communications infrastructure – typified in its output by articles such as the one supporting jihadi and Islamo-nationalist terrorists in Russia – in comparison with which Russia's is a weak imitation ( https://gordonhahn.com/2018/01/22/russian-propaganda-machine-much-ado-about-little-as-compared-with-western-stratcomm-update/ ).
About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California, www.cetisresearch.org .
Dr. Hahn is the author of Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the 'New Cold War (McFarland Publishers, 2017) and three previously and well-received books: Russia's Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction Publishers, 2002); Russia's Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007); and The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia's North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014).He has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media and has served as a consultant and provided expert testimony to the U.S. government.
Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. He has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Kennan Institute in Washington DC as well as the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Sep 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
So, we drove onto St. Petersburg mostly on a two-lane road cut through the boreal forest of the northern latitudes. It was here that I witnessed something that amazed all of us – how vehicle drivers cooperated to turn two lanes into de facto four lanes of traffic.
As faster drivers moved to pass slower vehicles, the slower vehicles would move onto the asphalt shoulder and even as our bus moved over the center line, the oncoming traffic would shift to the right, too. It all was spontaneously coordinated and everyone on the road was in on the scheme.
Entering St. Petersburg was an experience in itself. With five million people spread over a number of islands, we saw new high-rises standing alongside the old Soviet-era apartment buildings. No one, however, comes to St. Petersburg to see the relics of the U.S.S.R. Instead, they come to see the czarist palaces and the stunning 18thand 19th century architecture that dominates the city. It may be the birthplace of the Bolshevik Revolution, but people come to pay homage to the way of life the Bolsheviks wanted to destroy and to Czar Nicholas II and his family, infamously and brutally murdered on Lenin's orders in 1918.
A century later, the bones of the last royal family of Russia lie safely in St. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Despite more than 70 years of communist rule, and despite all of the blood spilled to keep the likes of Lenin, Stalin, and the others in power, and despite the massive propaganda that ordinary people in the U.S.S.R. had to endure, St. Petersburg is the city of the czars, not the Bolsheviks.
Parts of St. Petersburg are run down – as nearly the entire city was during the days of communism – but other parts of it absolutely are amazing to see. Likewise, I enjoyed interacting with the locals and especially the young people that made up most of the workforce of our hotel, from running the desks to cleaning our rooms. The legendary dour Soviet worker was replaced by a competent employee who patiently answered our questions and took care of whatever we needed. For all of the talk in the USA that Russia is a dictatorship under the iron thumb of Vladimir Putin, Russia did not seem like a dictatorship. Our Russian tour guide often would take a swipe at Putin (including likening his face to a painting of dogs at the Hermitage) and life itself there seemed to have the kind of normalcy that could not have been possible when people were compelled to inform on one another.
The St. Petersburg we visited was not the Leningrad that Logan Robinson described in his humorous 1982 book An American in Leningrad , which described life as a post-graduate student living among Russian students and developing friendships with local writers, artists, and musicians, people who often harassed, persecuted, and arrested by local authorities. That city was an armed camp full of soldiers and had been relegated to being a backwater by Joseph Stalin and his successors who made Moscow the Soviet "showplace," leaving the city founded by Peter the Great to succumb to the northerly elements.
... ... ...
Americans cannot fathom what it is like to have entire cities destroyed or badly-damaged by bombs and artillery and have ruthless armies fight each other over their territories. Nor can we imagine having governments carry out massive executions of people whose only "crime" was not being what the government leadership wanted them to be. We cannot imagine the starvation, the disease, and watching family and friends be shipped off to places like Siberia where they surely would die terrible deaths.
spooz ,moon_unit ,
This article is red-baiting propaganda, aren't we getting enough of that from the Democratic party Everybody with a brain realizes that there are differences between communism and the democratic socialism that is becoming popular in the US, but some the Mises misers like to dupe the ignorant into conflating the two.
In very simplistic terms, paraphrasing from A. J. Elwood, Democratic Socialism:
- Work together to ensure social equality and to improve one another's lives.
- Reject the exploitation of all peoples and uphold the principles of equality.
- Value the environment and use our natural resources in a sustainable manner.
- Ensure free and open elections, where each citizen has a voice and a vested interest in his or her government.
- Provide free education to all to ensure equal opportunity and the free flow of ideas, opinions, and information.
- Protect and assist the disadvantaged using surplus from both public and privately owned enterprise.
- Deliver quality health care to all citizens, regardless of their needs or socio-economic status
The US has let the excesses of Capitalism control our country, with wealthy owning our legislature and receiving bail outs and tax cuts to preserve their wealth, while a growing percentage of the formerly middle class is thrown under the bus, with no savings and no way to make a living wage. Those millennials don't see any way of achieving what used to be the American Dream and are looking for some help with their struggle.
Most modern countries have a mix of socialism and capitalism.
"The United Nations World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe, where the Nordic model of social democracy is employed, with Denmark topping the list." (wikipedia)LA_Goldbug ,
Bill Anderson travels, but sometimes he sees what he wants to see.
Let's take some points:
-He saw a "*small* railroad boxcar". Very romantic but - Soviet boxcars were fricken' huge, the rail gauge is massive. Pics with a person next to it, or it didn't happen. IF it was very small, it was more likely a technical wagon for railway engineers, not for "cargo" of any kind. Plus, anyone alive bitching about it clearly had parents , most likely that never left to go anywhere , you know what I'm saying here?
-He went to Jurmala sea resort and misunderstood it, thought it was "all Soviet", all built for "nomenklatura". This is not unusual to think so, but he was wrong - it was largely built as a Spa town in the 1850s during the Russian Empire times by the majority wealthy *German* ethnic group in Riga. In fact German was the main language in the city up to 1891. Most of those large spa town wooden houses were built for German traders - who traded with the locals outside Riga, Brits and Russians. The city had a British Mayor George Armitstead from 1901 - 1912 during the Russian Empire - a civil engineer and the city's most popular mayor ever, who built the first tram lines, hospitals, covered markets and so on.
The Balts kicked those German traders out starting from around 1880 or so. If you check out cemeteries you will see a sudden transition from elegant old German noble script to badly-spelled early variant local language with German styles and lettering. Of course that improved as they created formalised spellings for words in the local languages.
The author fails to mention all the other occupants that he doesn't want you to know about - briefly-
-German Crusaders (Knights of the Livonian Order / Teutonic Knights)- Holy Roman Empire - 12thC
-Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 16thC
-Russian Tsarist Empire 1710 - 1918 -trading with German Riga / Brits and Russian language only imposed officially in 1891
-Local people perpetrators - no kidding, Herberts Cukurs, Viktors Arajs?
Photos of people in mass graves - sure you didn't "make a mistake"? - if you mean at Skede beach, Rumbuli and Bikernieki forests, and Salapspils, those were killed by everyones "special Germans* (and of course the local militia commanders Cukurs and Arajs) in everyone's "special German 3-year era" from 1942-44. Oddly, no-one seems interested in the hundreds of years of genuine Geman noble culture and trading in what was essentially a German Empire freeport ...
Certainly there was a book about some Soviet killing mass graves elsewhere but it turns out the book about that was funded and printed by a certain Josef Goebbels? No doubt it was true, but aren't people a little embarrassed at carrying that book, perhaps a different author at least, maybe a historian would be less shameful to carry around?
-Freer wealthier - oh sure, if you put aside mass emigration, houses without heat or water or sewerage, destitute pensioners walking in the streets in winter with supermarket bags on their legs to try to avoid frostbite - not always successfully , by the way.
-"The citizens of the Baltic countries were not the only ones suffering under communism. No other city in the U.S.S.R. underwent the horror of a 900-day siege by German armies during World War II" - that's hardly their fault, now is it?
-"as I sat in the Old Town section of Riga eating and drinking and listening to live music, I strained to imagine the place as a battle zone with death and destruction all around where now I sat" - yeah, like when the Russians and Brits were trying to keep out Napoleon's armies? Hmmm?
-"I imagined the stores that now are full of goods and restaurants with food and drink being empty or stocked with subpar merchandise in the aftermath of the war as the Soviets imposed their primitive communist system and oppressed the people in the name of "liberating" them for many decades until they finally left in the early 1990s"- you have a great imagination. You should write film scripts for Hollywood. Some of those people are still walking around, try telling them they are primitives.
-"No, I cannot see people in our cities having experienced anything like what the people of the Baltics and St. Petersburg had to tolerate for decades." - tolerate things like electronics factories, car and van production, science institutes, shipbuilding and repair, ladies who aren't afraid of math or computers, that kind of thing? But sure, they couldn't get debt, mass prostitution, Hasselhoff and blue jeans, consumer junk or type II diabetes, that is a total provocation, right you are .demoses ,
I also smell a lot of BS in this article. I visited Eastern Europe before and know exactly what is being mentioned. Elites IN ALL COUNTRIES have their favorite hideaways. That is a norm in the West, East and anywhere else.
Boxcars at train stations are nothing new. Latvia is poor and probably has lots of them from way way back because THAT WAS THE STANDARD design for a multi-purpose wagon in Eastern Europe. Why throw away something that does the job ?? But to say it was "the one" used to transport people to camps is a huge stretch. Hell I could point to Boeings and say "That is the one sending people to Guantanamo".Nexus789 ,
As an eastern European I can tell you that I do not get triggered by old monuments / words / city names. I guess that is a "no real problems" American problem... where you lack other problems and have a hard time looking around what could trigger you... "oh no! A company called MANpower!!! MAN???" and maybe "country called MonteNEGRO? How dare they?" ;)LA_Goldbug ,
These Mises wankers write as if they have found utopia and the US is some kind of 'market' paradise They are foot soldiers for the one percent.Atalanta ,
Here is how Utopia looks lest the Eu readers think otherwise.
Seeing the splinter in other men eyes. Not the tree in own. After the USSR birth, a U.S, with friends, invaded Russia. From that moment to now history is full of conflicted horrors. Standing out WW 2, and many more like Korea and Vietnam. Scars can be seeing all over the planet except the U.S. The writer of article must be a exceptional person.CaptainObvious ,
Their best weapon is "weaponized credit" which sheep see but don't understand.OverTheHedge ,
"Americans cannot fathom what it is like to have entire cities destroyed or badly-damaged by bombs and artillery and have ruthless armies fight each other over their territories."
Sure we can. Look at Detroit. Look at Baltimore. Look at Chicago. Those look pretty warn-torn to me. But I guess the "War on Poverty" and the "War on Drugs" don't count, eh? And I guess drive-by shootings and purposefully-fomented riots and civil asset forfeiture and excessive taxation aren't weapons of mass destruction either.
"Nor can we imagine having governments carry out massive executions of people whose only "crime" was not being what the government leadership wanted them to be."
Yeah, we tax mules are pretty familiar with the bowel-crippling fear that any envelope marked "IRS" causes. Men have certainly been introduced to the economic execution of being stripped of all their assets because they knocked some slut up. People of all ages and colors have been locked away in jail for 50 years for having a baggy of green stuff in their pocket. And, the horror!, it's now a crime punishable by jail time to call someone by the wrong gender pronouns in the People's Republic of Kalifornia. But yeah, economic execution and unjustified imprisonment don't happen here in the Land of the Free ™ , so it's all good.
"We cannot imagine the starvation, the disease, and watching family and friends be shipped off to places like Siberia where they surely would die terrible deaths."
Oh, sure we can. We see starving people every day on the streets, made homeless by a drug addiction that was introduced to them by a licensed physician. We watch family and friends shipped off to Bankruptcy court because some fucktarded jury awarded a scam artist seven figures for manufacturing a slip-and-fall in the Mom & Pop Pizza Palace. We watch our loved ones die every day from medical malpractice and toxic prescriptions.
No equivalency, you say? Well, to that I say balls. Russia was never free. After they abolished serfdom in the nineteenth century, the system was still in place that the aristocracy held most of the land and the peasants farmed that land for a pittance. In America, the laws abolished slavery and sweatshops, but the system is still in place that the tycoons own most of the assets and the peasants sweat their best years away in a cubicle, or behind a cash register, or under someone else's machinery, for a pittance.
Am I advocating for communism? Hell, no! I'm advocating for an end to the corporatocracy and small-business-killing legislation. Most ordinary Americans who become wealthy do so because they had the gumption to start their own business. But they can't do that if all laws favor the already-established, and they can't do that if they're required to burn half a lifetime's worth of cash for an official piece of paper from a gubmint-subsidized center of indoctrination, and they can't do that if they're supposed to be licensed and bonded to do something simple like trim the hair of another human.ddiduck ,
Hyperbole to make your point is fine, but the reality is that fat, soft seppos have absolutely no idea.
And then there is the good guys' work:
Actually, that last one proves me wrong - there are SOME Americans who know precisely what a destroyed city looks like - they have been doing the destroying for the last 20 years, and at fully up to speed with what it entails. The question will be: who will they be destroying for, should it ever come home to roost?louie1,
The [neoliberal] deep state is about impoverishing the masses so that they keep their mouths shut, they don't give a rats ass if your liberal or conservative, black or white, yellow or orange, just keep your mouth shut about them.
Best is if you fight amongst yourselves and play make believe. Do you feel prosperous now? They like it when you you really get violent toward each other, great scam huhhh? It is called misdirection, want to toast some asses start with Soros, Rothschilds nad Rockefeller, greatest criminals against humanity! By the way, these mother fk'rs are satanic and bleed children out regularly! Now take pause and consider this when deciding who the real villain in your unfair world is!
Like all Zionist globalist neocon revolutions they are bloody, indiscriminate and sociopathic. The same gang are running the USA now. And the world central banking system.
Sep 03, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
leveymg on Sun, 09/02/2018 - 4:13pm
We helped put the Oligarchs into business, Putin reigned them in so he has to go
From before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has been cultivating a commercial and political elite abroad that we could "work with." As in most of the developing world during the Cold War, that meant that post-communist Russia was an oligarchy kept in money and power by IMF loans, graft, private militias and death squads.
Such was the case during the Boris Yeltsin's government that presided over the Russian Federation, a self-contained trading bloc shorn of half of its richest territories. The result of loss of most military spending and trade resulted in an average 50% loss in real living standards for the typical Russian in the depths of the Depression during the early 1990s. What grew out of the rubble was the New Russia controlled by the Oligarchs, run by returning members of Russian ethnic organized crime families once scattered around the world and remnants of the KGB, party bosses, and former Soviet military who couldn't move enough their assets out of the country while the door was still open. For Deripaska, that door closed the other way in 2006, when he lost his US B-1 visa, which meant that he had to make a deal with the FBI's McCabe and other US intelligence handlers to reenter the U.S. to access his stash deposited in Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Is Oleg really Putin's "closest oligarch", as is again repeated here in the Times?
The arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the owner of Yukos Oil Co., one of the world's major oil suppliers on October fifth, 2003 was a signal that things would never be the same for the oligarchs. By the time he took his third term as Russian President in 2012, Putin had put highly concentrated large industries increasingly under state supervision, curtailing the effective power and range of operation of many oligarchs, restricting the movement of private wealth out of the country, including that of Oleg Deripaska, whom he publicly humiliated in 2009, as seen in this video.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.orgkarlof1 , Sep 1, 2018 7:26:22 PM | 137the testimony before the Outlaw US Empire's Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Wess Mitchell:
"Russia and China are serious competitors that are building up the material and ideological wherewithal to contest U.S. primacy and leadership in the 21st Century. It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration's foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power."
Mitchell mentions a document I wasn't able to locate, the "Russia Integrated Strategy," but I was able to find what appears to be its predecessor , "Russia Project Strategy, 2014-2017."
Surely, this conforms to the Outlaw US Empire's Imperialism via which its goal is the Full Spectrum Domination (FSD) of the planet and its people.
Some would consider that as Totalitarianism -- the doctrine of total control. During its drive to attain FSD, certain aspects must be masked from the Empire's public since relatively unfettered freedom is featured as one of its alleged values, which is why the many undemocratic aspects of various "trade" agreements are never discussed and negotiated in secret, for example. What do we call a government that directly lies to its populous? What sort of ism is in play?
Mitchell's testimony was done in public so it didn't remain secret very long, was written about in Russian, then the analysis was translated into English .
Hopefully barflies and others will read these documents and shudder, although I'm sure a few will say "So, what's new?" Well, this goes far beyond the millennia long, ongoing Class War, and confirms what I've been saying for awhile now -- We're already within a Hybrid Third World War being waged by people who want everything or nothing.
What sort of ism's that? In my book, it's the worst form of Authoritarianism anyone might imagine.
Sep 02, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
CB on Sun, 09/02/2018 - 11:12pmPutin demanded several more caveats
in addition to staying out of politics:
1) You pay your taxes
2) You pay your employees
3) There will be no asset stripping
Bill Browder (of Magnitsky fame) broke all these rules while pillaging Russia. From 1995–2006 his company, Hermitage Capital Management, siphoned untold billions of dollars out of Russia into offshore accounts while paying no taxes and cheating workers of wages and pensions.
Putin put an end to US and UK backed shysters stealing Russia blind. Is it any wonder the western oligarchs hate him with such a passion?
If Russia were trying to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, it wouldn't be attempting to change the US system but to prevent it from trying to change Russia's, argues Diana Johnstone.
Sojourner Truth , August 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm
Some perspective on Khordokovsky, et al can be found here:
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 1:39 pm
A rather vague statement, Dick Vain, but it appears you support the 'unipolar hegemony'? Hard to tell what you intend by use of 'privilege'. Diana Johnstone's article documents the activities of Khodorkovsky, Browder, Gessen, who continue to agitate against Putin. There are others. So what's your point, and what's the b.s.?
The evidence is clear, Biden and Obama got the Magnitsky Act passed, and one of those two is not 'white', which is not the issue, anyway -- the issue is money, power and control.
Jerry Alatalo , August 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm
Diana Johnstone's immeasurably important, timely, extraordinary exposition of true facts – truth rarely, if ever, acknowledged in the United States Congress and/or Western media – represents what can most certainly be described as "historic gamechanger".
Dick Vain , August 28, 2018 at 12:59 pm
How much privilege does it take to write these words:
"Russian interference in American politics is totally welcome so long as it helps turn public opinion against "multipolar" Putin, glorifies American democracy, serves U.S. interests, including the military industries, helps break down national borders (except those of the United States and Israel) and puts money in appropriate pockets in the halls of Congress."
By estimate it doesn't matter as long as it's white
Trading in one devil for another
People who support this bullshit upside down line of thinking are welcome to jump off a cliff really.
Walter , August 28, 2018 at 12:07 pm
About the Secret State or Power Elite Thierry Meyssan wrote about a new and signal event http://www.voltairenet.org/article202622.html
The Power Elite are facing an abyss, of real war and defeat, or simply defeat as "assets" are prepared in Syria for a showdown, with dozens of warships and so forth Meantime they drivel about trivial stuff in "news" from the fascist press, and the Germans prepare to make nice with Ivan (the satrapies are switching sides, alas!)
" The Western powers are moving inexorably towards Internet censorship, thereby facilitating the dissemination of propaganda and war indoctrination in their countries. In this context, an extremely violent tension is tearing apart the international scene. Aware of the increasing risk of general confrontation, Moscow is attempting to find credible interlocutors in the UNO and the United States. What is happening at the moment has seen no equivalent since 1938, and could degenerate in the same way.,,,"
and (darkly) : "From Moscow's point of view, the war of aggression – by the intervention of jihadist proxies – against Syria must cease, and the unilateral sanctions by the US, Canada and the European Union against Russia must be lifted. The problem that we must all now face is not the defence [sic] of democracy, but the danger of war.
Void of any legitimacy, a parallel hierarchy in New York and Washington intends to plunge the world into a generalised [sic] conflict."
robjira , August 28, 2018 at 11:35 pm
Outstanding article by Meyssan; thanks for linking.
anastasia , August 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Really good elucidation of the double standard in American politics as it concerns Russian interference.
modern99angel , August 28, 2018 at 11:46 am
"The greatest tool at the disposal of globalists is the use of false paradigms to manipulate public perception and thus public action. The masses are led to believe that at the highest levels of geopolitical and financial power there is such a thing as "sides." This is utter nonsense when we examine the facts at hand.
We are told the-powers-that-be are divided by "Left" and "Right" politics, yet both sides actually support the same exact policy actions when it comes to the most important issues of the day and only seem to differ in terms of rhetoric, which is meaningless and cosmetic anyway. That is to say, it's nothing but Kabuki theater.
The abuses of one "side" are being used to push us into the arms of the other side, which is just as abusive.
In terms of geopolitics, we are told that national powers stand "at cross-purposes;" that they have different interests and different goals, which has led to things like "trade wars" and sometimes shooting wars. Yet, when we look at the people actually pulling the strings in most of these countries, we find the same names and institutions. Whether you are in America, Russia China, the EU, etc., globalist think tanks and international banks are everywhere, and the leaders in all of these countries call for MORE power for such institutions, not less.
These wars, no matter what form they take, are a circus for the public. They are engineered to create controlled chaos and manageable fear. They are a means to influence us towards a particular end, and that end, in most cases, is more social and economic influence in the hands of a select few. In each instance, people are being convinced to believe that the world is being divided when it is actually being centralized."
Lee Anderson , August 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm
Angel, you are on point. What you describe about the two sides is the Hegelian Dialectic in action. This is why the shadow rulers are desperate to maintain two-party duopoly.
Very enlightening article, by the way. Well done.
Walter , August 28, 2018 at 11:37 am
Russia does have an evident Policy to demonstrate and illuminate the "fissures in our tapestry [of lies]".
This tapestry itself is US Policy, as incoming CIA boss Casey said: ""We'll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False." (look it up). RT and other Russian source keep showing the Americans and the rest of the world that the "tapestry" is infested. This is a iconoclastic Policy burning the false gods of myth.
It would not work if American propaganda told the truth but it happens that they must lie – it's Policy set by the secret state, the "power elite" as C. Wright Mills termed it. And it is a signal of proximate disaster read MacBeth "Hang those who speak of fear" on the cusp of Banquo's defeat of poor old Mac .
The Quakers say "Tell the truth and shame the devil" – that's about what the Ruskies are doing shaming the devil by exposing his lies.
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 11:37 am
An overlooked meddler is George Soros, who was also a player in the takedown of Russia and has been kicked out by Putin and the Duma, his NGOs are not allowed to operate in Russia. Orban has had him banned in Hungary. There are constant neoliberal apologists for Soros, but his hidden hand working behind the scenes has been well documented. Russia, especially Putin, is Soros' "white whale", as Alex Christoforou states in "Leaked Memo Exposes George Soros' plan to overthrow Putin", 7/19/18: . "how the billionaire uses his vast wealth to create global chaos in a neverending push to deliver his neoliberal euphoria to the peasant classes". Alex Christoforou, sovereignnations.com, originally published on The Duran.
Larry Gates , August 28, 2018 at 10:45 am
Brilliant, insightful, lucid, full of interesting details. It is articles like this that keep me coming back to Consortioum News.
phillip sawicki , August 28, 2018 at 2:32 pm
I agree. We'd be much more ignorant of the facts without Johnstone.
Herman , August 28, 2018 at 10:27 am
"Needless to say, Khodorkovsky's Corbiere Trust lobbied hard to get Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act. This type of "Russian interference intended to influence policy" goes unnoticed while U.S. authorities scour cyberspace for evidence of trolls."
America has the gall to accuse Russia of doing something we do openly and to a far greater extent.
Great article. Not sure about the mechanics of how a select few stole Russia's wealth. Somewhere I read the thieves did not have to put up their own money, but performed the conversion through Russian loans. The purchase prices were so low compared to the real value of the assets that they became overnight billionaires. Don't now if they repaid the loans.
Someone may have a different understanding of how it was done.
Bob Van Noy , August 28, 2018 at 9:12 am
Thanks to all. It is crucial at this point to keep the so called Russiagate story in context beyond the pages and discussion here at CN. To that extent I will offer an excellent article from off Guardian by Eric Zuesse including some excellent links especially one leading to an interview of Anne Williamson about her book on the subject. I will link the off Guardian piece but I encourage those inclined to carefully follow all the links and video's so that we can offer a clear counter to what happened in Russia and why
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 8:45 am
The political theater dubbed "Russiagate" (aren't we getting "gated" to death?) is looking more and more like cover for the dirty deeds of Clinton, throwing more and more pooh at the already-fatigued American public, trying to make Trump look like the bad guy so nobody notices what really went on in Clinton world.
Tobey , August 28, 2018 at 8:28 am
Hermitage Capital Management can you correct that typo ?
mike k , August 28, 2018 at 8:07 am
Trying to predict what the crazy greedy power hungry bastards leading the human world to it's extinction will do next, is the maddening game we are forced to play by their suicidal games. No one can guess exactly how they will blunder into destroying us all, but their moves in this direction are apparent,
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 6:31 am
This is a really good article entitled "Fixers":
"If there's one thing that is exposed in the sorry not-so-fairy tale of former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, it's that Washington is a city run by fixers. Who often make substantial amounts of money. Many though by no means all, start out as lawyers and figure out that let's say 'the edges of what's legal' can be quite profitable.
And it helps to know when one steps across that edge, so having attended law school is a bonus. Not so much to stop when stepping across the edge, but to raise one's fees. There's a lot of dough waiting at the edge of the law. None of this should surprise any thinking person. Manafort and Cohen are people who think in millions, with an easy few hundred grand thrown in here and there. [ ]
Lanny Davis is a lawyer, special counsel even, for the Clintons. Has been for years. Which makes it kind of curious that Michael Cohen would pick him to become his legal representation. But that's not all Davis is involved in. Like any true fixer, he has his hands in more cookie jars than fit in the average kitchen. [ ]
And now Davis, the Clinton fixer, is Michael Cohen's lawyer. The fixer defending a fixer. So who pays the bill? Well, ostensibly no-one, because Davis started a Go Fund Me campaign where people can donate so Cohen "can tell people the truth about Trump". The goal is $500,000. Which goes to .. Lanny Davis. [ ]
In the end, I can draw only one conclusion: there are so many sharks and squids swimming in the swamp that either it should be expanded or the existing one should be cleaned up and depopulated. So bring it: investigate the FBI, the Clintons, and fixers like Lanny Davis and Michael Avenatti, the same way the Trump camp has been.
Because if you don't do that, you can only possibly end up in an even bigger mess. You can't drain half a swamp."
Lanny Davis proceeds to go on a whole bunch of talk shows, claiming the sky is falling, and then in the next couple of days walks all of it back.
Another tactic of a psychopath: lie, lie and lie. Get the lie(s) out there any way you can, create lots of damage. Then when you're called on what you've said, you just say something like, "Yeah, I guess I had that wrong." The "walking back" is never covered as much as the original lie.
Michael , August 28, 2018 at 8:20 am
The number of Establishment politicians and their lawyers protecting their turf (Ukraine and Russia) seems to be multiplying. When Mueller did not arrest the Podesta Group and Greg Craig, it was clear that his investigation was a partisan "get Trump" witch hunt; Mueller destroyed his own credibility by not removing all the bad apples, just the Trump-brand ones.
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 5:57 am
You can't even keep up with the actors and players in Russiagate's Theatre of the Absurd. The Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC hire Perkins Coie, a law firm, in order to hide the fact that they're doing opposition research with campaign funds. Perkins Coie hires Fusion GPS, a research firm, and Fusion GPS hires Christopher Steele, a former MI6 British agent to come up with some dirt on Trump. Then there's all of the DOJ, FBI and CIA actors who were in on setting up Trump. Add the media into the mix and you've got quite a story of lies and corruption.
Tomorrow Bruce Ohr (a lawyer and former number four official at the DOJ) gives testimony before the House Intelligence Committee to explain his 70+ interactions with Christopher Steele. His wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Glen Simpson at Fusion GPS, and apparently Bruce Ohr accidentally failed to mention that his wife was working for Fusion GPS on his DOJ disclosure form.
Nellie Ohr, Harvard graduate in Russian history/literature and fluent in Russian, suddenly decides to get her HAM radio licence in May of 2016. Could she have gotten this to get around being tracked? Who knows.
Good article, Diana Johnstone.
Realist , August 28, 2018 at 4:46 am
This article makes the precipitous decline of America's middle class a bit clearer in retrospect. The lawless free-for-all that was unleashed on America's economy after all the rules and regulations were stricken from the books during the Clinton years was already being put into effect in Russia–which theretofore had no need for laws to regulate rampant capitalism which had completely disappeared from the country 70 years earlier. The elite insiders in America saw how quickly and effectively a country could be picked clean in the absence of restraints. By the time our own safeguards were erased during the 90's whilst Russia was being pillaged, the transnational oligarchs were all set to pick America clean during the Bush years, which they did using the MIC and the Wall Street financial institutions against a background of deliberate war, fear and societal confusion.
By the time Candyman Obama took office, Main Street America was on the verge of economic collapse, just like Russia. People were losing their jobs, their homes, their health, their families, their self-respect and their hope. Obviously, the job the Obama administration was chosen to do was to stabilise, but not cure the patient. Money stolen from future generations of taxpayers through government borrowing was used to prop up the financial institutions on the verge of collapse just as surely as Yeltsin's Russia stole from the collective to create its oligarchs. But little to nothing was done to help the middle class so their economic death spiral continues (any help for them would represent that demonic force called "socialism!"), as it will until the vampire capitalists have extracted whatever life force remains, whereupon they shall simply move on to their next targets–one of the "developing countries" or "emerging economies" they are struggling mightily to control by whatever means necessary, as if it is totally natural and permissible to preclude trade between all of Central Asia and its neighbors in China or Russia, to say nothing of monopolizing all relations with the America's, Europe, Africa, India and probably Mars. Nothing is to be permitted unless Jeff Bezos says so.
This business of collecting NATO allies across the globe is simply setting them up for future economic exploitation. And when sometime past mid-century after the resources have all played out and ruined economies litter the landscape, I suppose the "masters of the universe" orchestrating all of this will ultimately have to unleash their final solution for "down-sizing" the population to fit the economic realities, be it a war, a plague, or simply mass starvation. I don't think psychopaths will be burdened too much by guilt, besides there won't be too many people left to cast blame on them. With all the computational resources of the world at their disposal, I'm sure a million scenarios have been run on the supercomputers in some bunker under a mountain near Davos looking for the tidiest fix. Not that WE would know, but they may already be implementing some scheme drawn up by HAL9000, who by now probably walks around in a flawless fembot body. (Ooops. Didn't realise I was plagiarizing Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" with that last bit.)
Dave P. , August 28, 2018 at 7:48 pm
What an accurate sketch! Along with the future scenario planned for the humanity on the planet. As always, your comments are closest to reality as one can get. Your comments are valued very much.
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 12:03 am
"In 2016, Winer received the highest award granted by the Secretary of State, for 'extraordinary service to the U.S. government' in avoiding the massacre of over 3,000 members of an Iranian dissident group in Iraq, and for leading U.S. policy in Libya 'from a major foreign policy embarrassment to a fragile but democratic, internationally recognized government.'"
OMG, high-fives and booyahs! Just look at what you get for failing!
Eduardo Cohen , August 27, 2018 at 11:54 pm
Excellent article. Very informative. I'm just surprised that in the listing of nations from which people are welcome to seek
the interference of U.S. power to settle old scores or overthrow their government (Iraq, Libya, Iran, Russian, Cuba) the very current examples of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Syria are not mentioned. But still a great article.
Joe Tedesky , August 27, 2018 at 10:44 pm
At the rate the U.S. Hegemony Project is going America will be a leader with no followers.
Joe Tedesky , August 28, 2018 at 8:08 am
Here's more to read .
David G , August 27, 2018 at 10:32 pm
This Diana Johnstone piece actually dovetails really well with the recent CN article by Caitlin Johnstone, "How to Beat a Manipulator". https://consortiumnews.com/2018/08/17/how-to-beat-a-manipulator/#comments
"Manipulators particularly use projection as a tactic to hide what they're doing to you in plain sight. A manipulator can have you chasing your tail by simply suggesting that you or others are doing what you are seeing them doing with your own eyes. DNC caught rigging the election? Oh no, it was actually Russia who rigged the election by catching the DNC rigging the election. See what I did there? It's so dumb, but it works."
Here DJ clues us in on another of the same sort of con, or more precisely, another aspect of the same big con.
David G , August 27, 2018 at 9:46 pm
"One may question the selectivity of Bill Clinton's concern for international law enforcement, which certainly did not cover violating international law by bombing defenseless countries."
or catching international fugitives like Marc Rich.
Tom Kath , August 27, 2018 at 8:52 pm
We cannot jump to conclusions regarding Putin's MULTIpolar vision. At this stage BIpolar would seem a more accurate description. – Still, a step in the right direction from UNIpolar hegemony.
Gary Weglarz , August 27, 2018 at 10:15 pm
Tom Kath – and your reason for describing Russia as supporting a "Bipolar" rather than multi-polar world would be the some 21 Russian military bases versus the U.S. having almost 900 such bases? Perhaps you're referring to Russia's recent invasions and/or attempted destabilizations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran – oh, wait, that's the U.S. list. Help me out here – what am I missing Tom? Do I need to tune into to Rachel for a few days to get up to snuff?
Gary Weglarz , August 27, 2018 at 8:17 pm
Excellent post. The anti-Russian absurdist psycho-carnival taking place for two years now in U.S. mainstream media should be enough (in a sane society) to topple this house of cards – along with its fantasy goal of "full spectrum dominance" – yet it soldiers on. Perhaps only a self-inflicted nuclear winter can stop this mad machine and the assorted array of absolute dolts at the helm. Oddly they would seem to vastly prefer this option to accepting a multi-polar world – which of course speaks volumes regarding what passes for "sanity" in U.S. ruling circles these days.
Jeff Harrison , August 27, 2018 at 8:13 pm
I vote for Vladimir Putin's multipolar vision of the world and against the US's vision of a new Roman Empire.
Aug 19, 2018 | www.bostonglobe.com
FOR ONE OF THE world's major powers to interfere systematically in the presidential politics of another country is an act of brazen aggression. Yet it happened. Sitting in a distant capital, political leaders set out to assure that their favored candidate won an election against rivals who scared them. They succeeded. Voters were maneuvered into electing a president who served the interest of the intervening power. This was a well-coordinated, government-sponsored project to subvert the will of voters in another country -- a supremely successful piece of political vandalism on a global scale.
The year was 1996. Russia was electing a president to succeed Boris Yeltsin, whose disastrous presidency, marked by the post-Soviet social collapse and a savage war in Chechnya, had brought his approval rating down to the single digits. President Bill Clinton decided that American interests would be best served by finding a way to re-elect Yeltsin despite his deep unpopularity. Yeltsin was ill, chronically alcoholic, and seen in Washington as easy to control. Clinton bonded with him. He was our "Manchurian Candidate."
"I guess we've just got to pull up our socks and back ol' Boris again," Clinton told an aide. "I know the Russian people have to pick a president, and I know that means we've got to stop short of giving a nominating speech for the guy. But we've got to go all the way in helping in every other respect." Later Clinton was even more categorical: "I want this guy to win so bad it hurts." With that, the public and private resources of the United States were thrown behind a Russian presidential candidate.
Part of the American plan was public. Clinton began praising Yeltsin as a world-class statesman . He defended Yeltsin's scorched-earth tactics in Chechnya, comparing him to Abraham Lincoln for his dedication to keeping a nation together. As for Yeltsin's bombardment of the Russian Parliament in 1993, which cost 187 lives, Clinton insisted that his friend had "bent over backwards" to avoid it. He stopped mentioning his plan to extend NATO toward Russia's borders, and never uttered a word about the ravaging of Russia's formerly state-owned economy by kleptocrats connected to Yeltsin. Instead he gave them a spectacular gift.
Four months before the election, Clinton arranged for the International Monetary Fund to give Russia a $10.2 billion injection of cash. Yeltsin used some of it to pay for election-year raises and bonuses, but much quickly disappeared into the foreign bank accounts of Russian oligarchs. The message was clear: Yeltsin knows how to shake the Western money tree. In case anyone missed it, Clinton came to Moscow a few weeks later to celebrate with his Russian partner. Oligarchs flocked to Yeltsin's side. American diplomats persuaded one of his rivals to drop out of the presidential race in order to improve his chances.RELATED
Four American political consultants moved to Moscow to help direct Yeltsin's campaign. The campaign paid them $250,000 per month for advice on "sophisticated methods of polling, voter contact and campaign organization." They organized focus groups and designed advertising messages aimed at stoking voters' fears of civil unrest. When they saw a CNN report from Moscow saying that voters were gravitating toward Yeltsin because they feared unrest, one of the consultants shouted in triumph: "It worked! The whole strategy worked. They're scared to death!"
Yeltsin won the election with a reported 54 percent of the vote. The count was suspicious and Yeltsin had wildly violated campaign spending limits, but American groups, some funded in part by Washington, rushed to pronounce the election fair. The New York Times called it "a victory for Russia." In fact, it was the opposite: a victory by a foreign power that wanted to place its candidate in the Russian presidency.
American interference in the 1996 Russian election was hardly secret. On the contrary, the press reveled in our ability to shape the politics of a country we once feared. When Clinton maneuvered the IMF into giving Yeltsin and his cronies $10.2 billion, the Washington Post approved: "Now this is the right way to serve Western interests. . . It's to use the politically bland but powerful instrument of the International Monetary Fund." After Yeltsin won, Time put him on the cover -- holding an American flag. Its story was headlined, "Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisors Helped Yeltsin Win." The story was later made into a movie called "Spinning Boris."
This was the first direct interference in a presidential election in the history of US-Russia relations. It produced bad results. Yeltsin opened his country's assets to looting on a mass scale. He turned the Chechen capital, Grozny, into a wasteland. Standards of living in Russia fell dramatically. Then, at the end of 1999, plagued by health problems, he shocked his country and the world by resigning. As his final act, he named his successor: a little-known intelligence officer named Vladimir Putin. It is a delightful irony that shows how unwise it can be to interfere in another country's politics. If the United States had not crashed into a presidential election in Russia 22 years ago, we almost certainly would not be dealing with Putin today.
Aug 24, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org
The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was ostensibly a conflict between two ideologies, two socio-economic systems.
All that seems to be over. The day of a new socialism may dawn unexpectedly, but today capitalism rules the world. Now the United States and Russia are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight between capitalists. At first glance, it may seem to be a classic clash between rival capitalists. And yet, once again an ideological conflict is emerging, one which divides capitalists themselves, even in Russia and in the United States itself. It is the conflict between globalists and sovereignists, between a unipolar and a multipolar world. The conflict will not be confined to the two main nuclear powers.
The defeat of communism was brutally announced in a certain "capitalist manifesto" dating from the early 1990s that proclaimed: "Our guiding light is Profit, acquired in a strictly legal way. Our Lord is His Majesty, Money, for it is only He who can lead us to wealth as the norm in life."
The authors of this bold tract were Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who went on to become the richest man in Russia, before spending ten years in a Russian jail, and his business partner at the time, Leonid Nevzlin, who has since retired comfortably to Israel.
Loans For Shares
Those were the good old days in the 1990s when the Clinton administration was propping up Yeltsin as he let Russia be ripped off by the joint efforts of such ambitious well-placed Russians and their Western sponsors, notably using the "loans for shares" trick.
In a 2012 Vanity Fair article on her hero, Khodorkovsky, the vehemently anti-Putin journalist Masha Gessen frankly summed up how this worked:The new oligarchs -- a dozen men who had begun to exercise the power that money brought -- concocted a scheme. They would lend the government money, which it badly needed, and in return the government would put up as collateral blocks of stock amounting to a controlling interest in the major state-owned companies. When the government defaulted, as both the oligarchs and the government knew it would, the oligarchs would take them over. By this maneuver the Yeltsin administration privatized oil, gas, minerals, and other enterprises without parliamentary approval.This worked so well that from his position in the Communist youth organization, Khodorkovsky used his connections to get control of Russia's petroleum company Yukos and become the richest oligarch in Russia, worth some $15 billion, of which he still controls a chunk despite his years in jail (2003-2013). His arrest made him a hero of democracy in the United States, where he had many friends, especially those business partners who were helping him sell pieces of Yukos to Chevron and Exxon. Khodorkovsky, a charming and generous young man, easily convinced his American partners that he was Russia's number one champion of democracy and the rule of law, especially of those laws which allow domestic capital to flee to foreign banks and foreign capital to take control of Russian resources.
Vladimir Putin didn't see it that way. Without restoring socialism, he dispossessed Khodorkovsky of Yukos and essentially transformed the oil and gas industry from the "open society" model tolerated by Yeltsin to a national capitalist industry. Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev were accused of having stolen all the oil that Yukos had produced in the years 1998 to 2003, tried, convicted and sentenced to 14 years of prison each. This shift ruined US plans, already underway, to "balkanize" Russia between its many provinces, thereby allowing Western capital to pursue its capture of the Russian economy.
The dispossession of Khodorkovsky was certainly a major milestone in the conflict between President Putin and Washington. On November 18, 2005, the Senate unanimously adopted resolution 322 introduced by Joe Biden denouncing the treatment of the Khodorkovsky and Lebedev as politically motivated.
Who Influences Whom?
Now let's take a look at the history of Russian influence in the United States. It is obvious that a Russian who can get the Senate to adopt a resolution in his favor has a certain influence. But when the "deep state" growls about Russian influence, it isn't talking about Khodorkovsky. It's talking about a joking response Trump made to a reporter's snide question during the presidential campaign. In a variation of the classic "when did you stop beating your wife?" the reporter asked if he would call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "stay out" of the election.
Since a stupid question does not deserve a serious answer, Trump said he had "nothing to do with Putin" before adding, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
Aha! Went the Trump haters. This proves it! Irony is almost as unwelcome in American politics as honesty.
When President Trump revoked his security clearance earlier this month, former CIA chef John Brennan got his chance to spew out his hatred in the complacent pages of the New York Times.
Someone supposed to be smart enough to head an intelligence agency actually took Trump's joking invitation as a genuine request. "By issuing such a statement," Brennan wrote, "Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen, but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponent."
The Russians, Brennan declared, "troll political, business, and cultural waters in search of gullible or unprincipled individuals who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters."
Which Russians do that? And who are those "individuals"?
'The Fixer in Chief'
To understand the way Washington works, nothing is more instructive than to examine the career of lawyer Jonathan M. Winer, who proudly repeats that in early 2017, the head of the Carnegie Endowment Bill Burns introduced him as "the Fixer in Chief". Winer has long been unknown to the general public, but this may soon change.
Let's see what the fixer has fixed.
Under the presidency of fellow Yalie Bill Clinton, Winer served as the State Department's first Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Law Enforcement, from 1994-1999. One may question the selectivity of Bill Clinton's concern for international law enforcement, which certainly did not cover violating international law by bombing defenseless countries. In any case, in 1999, Winer was awarded for "virtually unprecedented achievements". Later we shall examine one of those important achievements.
At the end of the Clinton administration, from 2008 to 2013, the Fixer in Chief worked as high up consultant at one of the world's most powerful PR and lobbying firms, APCO Worldwide. This is how the Washington revolving door functions: after a few years in government finding out how things work, one then goes into highly paid "consultancy" to sell this insider information and influential contacts to private clients.
APCO got off to a big start some thirty years ago lobbying for Philip Morris and the tobacco industry in general.
In 2002, APCO launched something called the "Friends of Science" to promote skepticism concerning the harmful effects of smoking. In 1993, the campaign described its goals and objectives "encouraging the public to question – from the grassroots up – the validity of scientific studies."
While Winer was at APCO, one of its major activities was hyping the Clinton Global Initiative, an international networking platform promoting the Clinton Foundation. APCO president and CEO Margery Kraus explained that the consultancy was there to "help other CGI members garner interest for the causes they are addressing, demonstrate their success and highlight the wide-ranging achievements of CGI as a whole." Considering that only five percent of Clinton Foundation turnover went to donations, they needed all the PR they could get.
Significantly, donations to the Clinton Global Initiative have dried up since Hillary lost the presidential election. According to the Observer : "Foreign governments began pulling out of annual donations, signaling the organization's clout was predicated on donor access to the Clintons, rather than its philanthropic work."
This helps explain Hillary Clinton's panic when she lost in 2016. How in the world can she ever reward her multi-million-dollar donors with the favors they expected?
As well as the tobacco industry and the Clinton Foundation, APCO also works for Khodorkovsky. To be precise, according to public listings, the fourth biggest of APCO's many clients is the Corbiere Trust, owned by Khodorkovsky and registered in Guernsey. The trust tends and distributes some of the billions that the oligarch got out of Russia before he was jailed. Corbiere money was spent to lobby both for Resolution 322 (supporting Khodorkovky after his arrest in Russia) and for the Magnitsky Act (more later). Margery Kraus, APCO's president and CEO, is a member of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's son Pavel's Institute of Modern Russia, devoted to "promoting democratic values" – in other words, to building political opposition to Vladimir Putin.
In 2009 Jonathan Winer went back to the State Department where he was given a distinguished service award for having somehow rescued thousands of stranded members of the Muhahedin-e Khalq from their bases in Iraq they were trying to overthrow the Iranian government. The MeK, once officially recognized as a terrorist organization by the State Department, has become a pet instrument in US and Israeli regime change operations directed at Iran.
However, it was Winer's extracurricular activities at State that finally brought him into the public spotlight early this year – or rather, the spotlight of the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman Devin Nunes (R-Cal) named him as one of a network promoting the notorious "Steele Dossier" which accused Trump of illicit financial dealing and compromising sexual activities in Russia. By Winer's own account , he had been friends with former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele since his days at APCO. Back at State, he regularly channeled Steele reports, ostensibly drawn from contacts with friendly Russian intelligence agents, to Victoria Nuland, in charge of Russian affairs, and top Russian experts. These included the infamous "Steele dossier". In September 2016, Winer's old friend Sidney Blumenthal – a particularly close advisor to Hillary Clinton – gave him notes written by a more mysterious Clinton insider named Cody Shearer, repeating the salacious attacks.
All this dirt was spread through government agencies and mainstream media before being revealed publicly just before Trump's inauguration, used to stimulate the "Russiagate" investigation by Robert Mueller. The dossier has been discredited but the investigation goes on and on.
So, it is all right to take seriously information allegedly obtained from "Russian agents" and spread it around, so long as it can damage Trump. As with so much else in Washington, double standards are the rule.
Jonathan Winer and the Magnitsky Act
Jonathan Winer played a major role in Congressional adoption of the "Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012" (the Magnitsky Act), a measure that effectively ended post-Cold War hopes for normal relations between Washington and Moscow. This act was based on a highly contentious version of the November 16, 2009 death in prison of accountant Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky, as told to Congress by hedge fund manager Bill Browder (grandson of Earl Browder, head of the Communist Party USA 1934-1945). According to Browder, Magnitsky was a lawyer beaten to death in prison as a result of his crusade for human rights.
However, as convincingly established by dissident Russian film-maker Andrei Nekrasov's (banned) investigative documentary, the unfortunate Magnitsky was neither a human rights crusader, nor a lawyer, nor beaten to death. He was an accountant jailed for his role in Browder's business dealings, who died of natural causes as a result of inadequate medical treatment. The case was hyped up as a major human rights drama by Browder in order to discredit Russian charges against himself.
In any case, by adopting a law punishing Magnitsky's alleged persecutors, the US Congress acted as a supreme court judging internal Russian legal issues.
The Magnitsky Act also condemns legal prosecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Browder, on a much smaller scale, also made a fortune ripping off Russians during the Yeltsin years, and later got into trouble with Russian tax collectors. Since Browder had given up his US citizenship in order to avoid paying US taxes, he had reason to fear Russian efforts to extradite him for tax evasion and other financial misdeeds.
It was Jonathan Winer who found a solution to Browder's predicament.
As Winer tells it :When Browder consulted me, [ ] I suggested creating a new law to impose economic and travel sanctions on human-rights violators involved in grand corruption. Browder decided this could secure a measure of justice for Magnitsky. He initiated a campaign that led to the enactment of the Magnitsky Act. Soon other countries enacted their own Magnitsky Acts, including Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and most recently, the United Kingdom.Russian authorities are still trying to pursue their case against Browder. In his press conference following the Helsinki meeting with Trump, Vladimir Putin suggested allowing US authorities to question the Russians named in the Mueller indictment in exchange for allowing Russian officials to question individuals involved in the Browder case, including Winer and former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul. Putin observed that such an exchange was possible under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed between the two countries in 1999, back in the Yeltsin days when America was posing as Russia's best friend.
But the naïve Russians did not measure the craftiness of American lawyers.
As Winer wrote:"Under that treaty, Russia's procurator general can ask the US attorney general to arrange for Americans to be ordered to testify to assist in a criminal case. But there is a fundamental exception: The attorney general can provide no such assistance in a politically motivated case ." (My emphasis.)"I know this", he wrote, "because I was among those who helped put it there. Back in 1999, when we were negotiating the agreement with Russia, I was the senior State Department official managing US-Russia law-enforcement relations."
So, the Fixer in Chief could have said to the worried Browder, "No problem. All that we need to do is make your case a politically motivated case. Then they can't touch you."
Winer's clever treaty is a perfect Catch-22. The treaty doesn't apply to a case if it is politically motivated, and if it is Russian, it must be politically motivated.
In a July 15, 2016, complaint to the Justice Department, Browder's Heritage Capital Management accused both American and Russian opponents of the Magnitsky Act of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA; adopted in 19938 with Nazis in mind). Among the "lobbyists" cited was the late Ron Dellums (falsely identified in the complaint as a "former Republican congressman").
The Heritage Capital Management brief declared that: "While lawyers representing foreign principals are exempt from filing under FARA, this is only true if the attorney does not try to influence policy at the behest of his client." However, by disseminating anti-Magnitsky material to Congress, any Russian lawyer was "clearly trying to influence policy" was therefore in violation of FARA filing requirements."
Catch-22 all over again.
Needless to say, Khodorkovsky's Corbiere Trust lobbied heavily to get Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which also repeated its defense of Khodorkovsky himself. This type of "Russian interference intended to influence policy" is not even noticed, while US authorities scour cyberspace for evidence of trolls.
The basic ideological conflict here is between Unipolar America and Multipolar Russia. Russia's position, as Vladimir Putin made clear in his historic speech at the 2007 Munich security conference, is to allow countries to enjoy national sovereignty and develop in their own way. The current Russian government is against interference in other countries' politics on principle. It would naturally prefer an American government willing to allow this.
The United States, in contrast, is in favor of interference in other countries on principle: because it seeks a Unipolar world, with a single "democratic" system, and considers itself the final authority as to which regime a country should have and how it should run its affairs .
So, if Russians were trying to interfere in US domestic politics, they would not be trying to change the US system but to prevent it from trying to change their own. Russian leaders clearly are sufficiently cultivated to realize that historic processes do not depend on some childish trick played on somebody's computer.
US policy-makers practice interference every day. And they are perfectly willing to allow Russians to interfere in American politics – so long as those Russians are "unipolar" like themselves, like Khodorkovsky, who aspire to precisely the same unipolar world sought by the State Department and George Soros. Indeed, the American empire depends on such interference from Iraqis, Libyans, Iranians, Russians, Cubans – all those who come to Washington to try to get US power to settle old scores or overthrow the government in the country they came from. All those are perfectly welcome to lobby for a world ruled by America.
Russian interference in American politics is totally welcome so long as it helps turn public opinion against "multipolar" Putin, glorifies American democracy, serves US interests including the military-industrial complex, helps break down national borders (except those of the United States and Israel) and puts money in appropriate pockets in the halls of Congress.
Aug 23, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
Linda Wood on Thu, 08/23/2018 - 12:16pmThe gap between
@Dr. John Carpenter
[The difference between] what the average American knows about Russia and reality is frightening.]
What happened with Putin is that he went to the left of Yeltsin, our boy, our Bushworld plaything, poster boy of "unfettered" capitalism, the raping of Russia.
Bushworld didn't just deregulate mining and resource extraction in Russia, it deregulated everything, the abuse of labor, the destruction of education, the corruption of everything previously socialist and plunged Russia into an organized crime free fire zone.
The standard of living fell to pieces and huge fortunes were made by U.S., British, and other western speculators.
Putin has apparently moved to the left of that nightmare, and for that we are supposed to fear him, for insisting speculators pay their taxes and pay living wages and support social systems like education and healthcare as well as public infrastructure.
For that we are supposed to go to war and contribute the destruction of huge parts of the United States in a nuclear war so Assholes like Albright and her followers can live the lives of potentates.
Aug 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft | Aug 21, 2018 4:17:31 PM | 28
Russians hold as much as one trillion in USD assets outside Russia that were stolen from Russia in the 90's and number far greater if including all of the FSU. The stimulus to the global and US economy was enormous and created asset bubbles until the great collapse in 2008. The current bubble was due to quantitative easing of central banks as the flows from Russia and FSU dried up.
Much of this was held in tax havens and then moved to the US after cleaning via shelf companies. Trumps empire was rebuilt with Russian oligarchs/mafia money as real estate was a favorite investment for money launderers
During the Ukrainian conflict Putin began an amnesty program asking oligarchs to repatriate these assets by waiving penalties and taxes. He restarted it at the end of last year, hence the need to expand the list of assets to be seized before they fly the coop.
Trump may know where a lot of these assets are parked. Perhaps he had been a good informant of the FBI/CIA like his partner Felix Sater
Browder who helped facilitate the looting before he was kicked out of Russia and the Magnitsky Act are all part of the efforts to seize or at least contain as much of the loot as possible and keep it from Russia
Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Jim Kunstler Exposes The Democratic Party's "Three-Headed Monster"
by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/17/2018 - 14:35 132 SHARES Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
The faction that used to be the Democratic party can be described with some precision these days as a three-headed monster driving the nation toward danger, darkness, and incoherence.
Anyone interested in defending what remains of the sane center of American politics take heed:
The first head is the one infected with the toxic shock of losing the 2016 election. The illness took hold during the campaign that year when the bureaucracy under President Obama sent its lymphocytes and microphages in the "intel community" -- especially the leadership of the FBI -- to attack the perceived disease that the election of Donald Trump represented. The "doctors" of this Deep State diagnosed the condition as "Russian collusion." An overdue second opinion by doctors outside the Deep State adduced later that the malady was actually an auto-immune disease.
The agents actually threatening the health of the state came from the intel community itself: Mr. Brennan, Mr. Clapper, Mr. Comey, Mr. Strzok, Mr. McCabe, Mr. Ohr, Ms. Yates. Ms. Page, et. al. who colluded with pathogens in the DNC, the Hillary campaign, and the British intel service to chew up and spit out Mr. Trump as expeditiously as possible.
With the disease now revealed by hard evidence, the chief surgeon called into the case, Robert Mueller, is left looking ridiculous -- and perhaps subject to malpractice charges -- for trying to remove an appendix-like organ called the Manifort from the body politic instead of attending to the cancerous mess all around him. Meanwhile, the Deep State can't stop running its mouth -- The New York Times , CNN, WashPo , et al -- in an evermore hysterical reaction to the truth of the matter: the Deep State itself colluded with Russia (and perhaps hates itself for it, a sure recipe for mental illness).
The second head of this monster is a matrix of sinister interests seeking to incite conflict with Russia in order to support arms manufacturers, black box "security" companies, congressmen-on-the-take, and an army of obscenely-rewarded Washington lobbyists in concert with the military and a rabid neocon intellectual think-tank camp wishing to replay the cold war and perhaps even turn up the temperature with some nuclear fire. They are apparently in deep confab with the first head and its Russia collusion storyline. Note all the current talk about Russia already meddling in the 2018 midterm election, a full-fledged pathogenic hallucination.
This second head functions by way of a displacement-projection dynamic. We hold war games on the Russian border and accuse them of "aggression." We engineer and pay for a coup against the elected government of Ukraine, and accuse Russia of aggression. We bust up one nation after another in Middle East and complain indignantly when Russia acts to keep Syria from becoming the latest failed state. We disrupt the Russian economy with sanctions, and the Russian banking system with a cut-off of SWIFT international currency clearing privileges, and accuse them of aggression. This mode of behavior used to be known as "poking the bear," a foolish and hazardous endeavor. The sane center never would have stood for this arrant recklessness. The world community is not fooled, though. More and more, they recognize the USA as a national borderline personality, capable of any monstrous act.
The third head of this monster is the one aflame with identity politics. It arises from a crypto-gnostic wish to change human nature to escape the woes and sorrows of the human condition -- for example, the terrible tensions of sexuality. Hence, the multiplication of new sexual categories as a work-around for the fundamental terrors of human reproduction as represented by the differences between men and women. Those differences must be abolished, and replaced with chimeras that enable a childish game of pretend, men pretending to be women and vice-versa in one way or another: LBGTQetc. Anything BUT the dreaded "cis-hetero" purgatory of men and women acting like men and women. The horror .
Its companion is the race hustle and its multicultural operating system. The objective has become transparent over the past year, with rising calls to punish white people for the supposed "privilege" of being Caucasian and pay "reparations" in one way or another to underprivileged "people of color." This comes partly from the infantile refusal to understand that life is difficult for everybody, and that the woes and sorrows of being in this world require fortitude and intelligence to get through -- with the final reward being absolutely the same for everybody.
Creative_Destruct -> Got The Wrong No Fri, 08/17/2018 - 16:30 PermalinkChad Thunderfist -> venturen Fri, 08/17/2018 - 14:56 Permalink
"We engineer and pay for a coup against the elected government of Ukraine, and accuse Russia of aggression. We bust up one nation after another in Middle East and complain indignantly when Russia acts to keep Syria from becoming the latest failed state. We disrupt the Russian economy with sanctions, and the Russian banking system with a cut-off of SWIFT international currency clearing privileges, and accuse them of aggression. This mode of behavior used to be known as "poking the bear," a foolish and hazardous endeavor. "
And this shit has been going on since the Soviet Union broke up and the "Harvard Boys" helped turn Russia into a corrupt Oligarchy, something the Left was first to identify.STP -> edotabin Fri, 08/17/2018 - 17:36 Permalink
I was talking to someone, who knows a lot about the 'inner workings' and we were discussing, not only the US, but Europe's situation as well.
The rising of the Populist parties in the UK, Germany, especially Italy and now Sweden, portends an interesting trend, not just nationally, but world wide...
Aug 11, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
Yet the political realm is where Soros has made his most audacious wager. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, he poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the former Soviet-bloc countries to promote civil society and [neo]liberal democracy. It was a one-man Marshall Plan for Eastern Europe, a private initiative without historical precedent. It was also a gamble that a part of the world that had mostly known tyranny would embrace ideas like government accountability and ethnic tolerance. In London in the 1950s, Soros was a student of the expatriated Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, who championed the notion of an "open society," in which individual liberty, pluralism and free inquiry prevailed. Popper's concept became Soros's cause.
... ... ...
...In the 1990s, he was portrayed by the far left as an agent of American imperialism, helping to foist the so-called neoliberal agenda (mass privatization, for example) on Eastern Europe. For some critics, Soros's Wall Street background has always been a mark against him.
Last autumn, he signaled that same sense of defiance when he announced that he was in the process of transferring the bulk of his remaining wealth, $18 billion in total at the time, to the O.S.F. That will potentially make it the second-largest philanthropic organization in the United States, in assets, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is already a sprawling entity, with some 1,800 employees in 35 countries, a global advisory board, eight regional boards and 17 issue-oriented boards. Its annual budget of around $1 billion finances projects in education, public health, independent media, immigration and criminal-justice reform and other areas
... ... ...
He decided that his goal would be opening closed societies. He created a philanthropic organization, then called the Open Society Fund, in 1979 and began sponsoring college scholarships for black South African students. But he soon turned his attention to Eastern Europe, where he started financing dissident groups. He funneled money to the Solidarity strikers in Poland in 1981 and to Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. In one especially ingenious move, he sent hundreds of Xerox copiers to Hungary to make it easier for underground publications to disseminate their newsletters. In the late 1980s, he provided dozens of Eastern European students with scholarships to study in the West, with the aim of fostering a generation of [neo]liberal democratic leaders. One of those students was Viktor Orban, who studied civil society at Oxford. From his Manhattan trading desk, Soros became a strange sort of expat anticommunist revolutionary.
... ... ...
In one campaign rally in Budapest, Orban referred to Soros as "Uncle George," telling tens of thousands of supporters that "we are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the world." Along with the fiery speeches, there were the billboards, which featured a picture of a smiling Soros and the message, "Let's not let George Soros have the last laugh."
... ... ...
Orban's coalition won 49 percent of the vote, enough to give it a supermajority in Parliament. But the anti-Soros campaign didn't end with the election. Days after the vote, a magazine owned by a pro-Orban businesswoman published the names of more than 200 people in Hungary that it claimed were Soros "mercenaries."
... ... ...
There have been mistakes; by his own admission, Soros erred in championing Mikheil Saakashvili, the mercurial former president of Georgia, and also became too directly involved in the country's politics in the early 2000s. He clearly misjudged Orban. But as Victoria Nuland, a former American diplomat who worked for both Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton, put it when I spoke to her recently, "George is a freedom fighter."
alexander hamilton new york July 17Conservative Democrat WV July 17
"Billionaire philanthropist?" Really? Does that make the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelstein "philanthropists" too, or does that label apply only to left-leaning individuals seeking political leverage many times that of the average citizen?
One citizen, 1 vote. ALL citizens should be limited to $100 contributions for their senators, representatives and the President. NO citizen should be able to contribute to a campaign in a state where he/she is not a full-time permanent resident.
And NO citizen should be able to contribute more than $100 to his/her own campaign. We don't need more Kennedys, Clintons, Bloombergs, Trumps, Perots or Forbes buying (or trying to buy) their way into public office, using their millions.
Of the people, by the people, for the people. That's the model, folks. Depart from it at your peril.Maqroll North Florida July 17 Times Pick
For a man that purportedly promotes democracy, Mr. Soros conveniently overlooked public opinion when it came to promoting open borders.
In its essence, democracy is all about the wisdom and will of those governed, and not about what a billionaire thinks is best for them.WPLMMT New York City July 17 Times Pick
Soros--a "European at heart." Must have brought some much-needed smiles to the UK following the recent Trump Tour of Destruction. How soon we forget--in the 90s, Soros broke the pound as the Brits were trying to unify European currencies--with unfortunate conditions that weakened the effort and Soros smartly exploited.
Who can blame a globalist from crashing a poorly devised govt scheme and walking away with a cool $1B--back when a billion dollars was a lot of money? I am not the person to say whether Soros may qualify as an honest proponent of democracy, but I strongly suspect that he is a poster boy of the ultra-nationalists as they battle globalization.
In a way, Soros epitomizes the failure of globalization, which may or may not benefit the classic, labor-intensive industries of manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and mining, but always benefits, sometimes wildly, the financial "industry."
As far as I'm concerned, Soros is merely making reparations. And, sorry to say, George, it's prob too little, too late.gpickard Luxembourg July 17 Times Pick
I always thought George Soros was a dangerous [neo]liberal but after reading this article and seeing the damage he has created around the world it has been confirmed. Nigel Farage, the British politician, recently said on television that Mr. Soros is out to destroy the world. It certainly appears to be the case when you see what he did to the British and Thai economies. He was so concerned with helping immigrants and refugees that he had little regard for the citizens that actually lived in those countries that are being affected. People lost their livelihoods but that did not matter to him.
Mr. Soros fights for all the [neo]liberal causes no matter the consequences. He ... does not care who he hurts as long as he promotes his progressive agenda. He wants to allow as many immigrants to enter a nation as possible even if it adversely affects that country while he lives in luxury and is not inconvenienced by this invasion. He has billions and will probably never be touched by massive immigration.
I am glad that the conservatives and others are finally seeing his true colors and are trying to subdue him the best they can. He must be called out on this negative behavior before it is too late. It is reassuring that many of the European nations are implementing policies that are favorable to their countries and looking out for their people. Europeans must be protected and George Soros stopped. I am glad they see him for what he truly is which is frightening.c smith Pittsburgh July 17
As Mr. Soros said of himself, "I am a confirmed egoist." He has used his money to make the world as he thinks is best. But having money does not give you a better moral view of how the world should be governed nor make you a god to decide for the rest of us.
I think this kind of undue influence (money in politics) is what is driving some of the back-lash against [neo]liberal democracy. So many of the "[neo]liberal" proponents of an open society, like George Soros and Bill Gates, seem to have an inordinate power to effect political outcomes because of their money.
The making of such huge amounts of money is not done with any charitable purpose. Only later, does charity come to mind.Karekin USA July 17
Soros is an enemy of the middle and working classes in America. Yes, a billion people around the world are better off because of the forces of "globalization" (this total most definitely includes Soros himself), but millions of Americans have suffered economically as a result. GATT, NAFTA and the entire alphabet soup of trade deals have lined the pockets of the globalists, while grinding the fortunes of U.S. working and middle class laborers into dust.Tim DC area July 17 Times Pick
Great article. Now, more than ever, American politics is defined by money, so it's important to understand how it is used in that context by those who have it. At this juncture, I think the American people deserve to see an expose of all those millionaires and billionaires who have and continue to support Trump. It's only fair, to lay the money trail on the table, on all sides, for everyone to see.Samuel Spade Huntsville, al July 17
What about the devastating effects that free trade and globalization have had on the spread of inequality throughout the world... Huge corporations consistently use "free trade" or globalization as an excuse to offer the lowest possible wages, and move manufacturing to places with the least environmental protections and human rights.
Immigration policies are also sometimes used in ways to suppress wages, and even more worse, enacted with very little thought given to assimilation. Most of the poorer areas, or ghettoes surrounding Paris for example are populated with huge numbers of Muslim immigrants that face extremely daunting odds of fully assimilating into French culture.
While the wealthier (sometimes elite [neo]liberals) Parisians almost certainly live in gated or posh neighborhoods with hardly any immigrants as their neighbors. Despite the generous financial support Soros (and some other elites) gives to human rights causes, he rarely outright discusses some of these problems associated with free trade, globalization and mass immigration. These seeming hypocrisies and inconsistencies then become much easier fodder for those of Orban's ilk to manipulate and ultimately consolidate power.Ivory Tower Colorado July 17
Soros didn't bet on Democracy, he bet on his version of it which he tried to buy through individual politicians on the take and the Democratic Party. Better he quit manipulating pols and gave his money to charity.Concerned EU Resident Germany July 17
First, Hungary is not xenophobic, they merely want to protect their culture. Second, George Soros wants plenty of wealth for him and his family, yet he wants those of us in the middle class to dive up our meager assets with the world's poorest. Third, his personal wealth has often been generated by destroying currencies and the middle class who owns those currencies. Fourth, he promotes open borders without consulting the citizenry of said borders as to their opinion regarding their own national sovereignty. Our world would be a much better place without George Soros.geezer117 Tennessee July 17
Soros is a criminal by any other name. He hedged against the UK Pound 20 years ago, and earned $1B. He earned billions by manipulating the market. With his profits he wanted to create his own society where his money could be used to buy politicians and pass legislation according to his one man agenda. He's selfish, an egomaniac, and dangerous.Rose Philadelphia July 17
Soros employs his vast wealth to create the society he dreams of, regardless of what the rest of us want. When the democratic process veers away from his vision, he uses the power of his wealth to steer it back.
So he's just another wealthy and powerful elite trying to remake the world as he prefers it. Such arrogance!Jonas Seattle July 17
Sucking money out of the world's economies so that he can direct it as HE sees fit does not make a man great. Rather, I would argue that such actions contributed to the rise of both Brexiteers and Trumpsters.
If Soros really wants to contribute to society, he would lobby for financial industry reform - less favorable tax treatment for hedge funds (what value do they really provide to society) and a transaction tax on trades to reduce speculation. Then fight for minimum wage increases.Peter Albany. NY July 17
This is a horrifying interview and does not improve the image of George Soros. "My ideology is nonideological," he says while spending billions on politics, which he defines as "In politics, you are spinning the truth, not discovering it." He describes Obama as his greatest disappointment because Obama "closed the door on me," as in he expected Obama should work with him and take his advice. Soros uses his billions to fund politicians and meddle in elections... this is a man who enjoys influencing and manipulating politics and becomes frustrated when his efforts backfire or are not successful.Marian Maryland July 17
This man is the absolute worst! His no borders policy has done more to hurt Europe then Russia ever could. The Soros gang has zero respect and tolerance for nation-state sovereignty and local governance. Talk about a global elite! He and his gang epitomize that arrogance.Al Nino Hyde Park NY July 17
George Soros bet big on open borders,one world governance and destroying the working class through unfair trade agreements. Yes he appears to be losing. Thank God for small favors.Charles Becker Sonoma State University July 17
It cracks me up to read these type of article in the NYT and then read another story in the NYT about how if you can pay the money you can have yourself a private waiting area in a major airport to separate yourself from the chaos of the masses in the public waiting areas. Maybe democracy wouldn't be in trouble around the world if it worked as well for the "slobs" in the public waiting areas as it did for those in the exclusive waiting rooms. This is globalization in a nutshell. It works great for the rich, not so well for the rest of us slobs. This is a government of the rich people, by the rich people, for the rich people. The slobs realise their government doesn't really care that their jobs are disapearing and their standard of living is going down.John Medina Holt July 17
I am not interested in windfall investing profits. Soros is *not* my hero: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-george-soros-broke-the-bank-of-thaila... . Wretched.Richard L. Wilson Moscow, Russia July 17
To say that George Soros is funding [neo]liberal democracy is a misnomer. What Soros is funding is open borders. Where national interests are set aside, global interests prevail. This is precisely what George Soros is advocating. Tired of having to face multitude regulatory systems in his effort to build a global financial empire, Soros is quite right in discerning that a borderless, global regulatory system would increase his financial power exponentially. Nations are right to resist the encroachment of Soros because global interests, by definition, are not local interests. Nationalism, so loathed by Soros and his open border lackeys, serves as a check and balance on men like Soros who would be god and would dictate to the world from some point of central governance what their truth and value should be. George Soros and his globalist kin should be resisted. The true threat to global interests is not nationalism, it is globalism.elizabeth renant new mexico July 17
Soros, and American [neo]liberalism, economic and social [neo]liberalism championed by Soros and the NYT, is in its death throes. Call us fascists, totalitarians, racists--- understand clearly: we do not care. Europe is waking up. [neo]liberalism is close to being dead. No spectres or phantoms are haunting Europe. Blood is standing up and answering our ancestors.We are not commodoties, consumers, meat for your wars. You have attacked us, belittled us, turned our queen of continents into latrines of filth. You, American [neo]liberalism, have destroyed us.Now, we take our nations back.Larry Left Chicago's High Taxes July 17
It's amusing to read phrases like "nationalism and tribalism are resurgent". It never does to underestimate tribalism; as long as groups feel safe they are tolerant. But when groups feel threatened, tribalism rears up in what is not so much a resurgence but more like an awakening from a nap.
The older cultures of Europe are waking up from a nap and realizing that unless they reassess a few long-held assumptions, they will eventually be ethnically diminished and culturally pressured.
Denmark has banned the burka and legislated some of the harshest migration, immigration, asylum, and naturalization laws in Europe. It is implementing laws to ensure integration, including stopping benefits to families whose children are not integrating. Do the author and Mr. Soros think that Denmark exercising control over its future demographics and preserving its culture are malign?
The Danes some years ago elected the Danish People's Party to significant power; the DPP is often referred to as a far right party, but is a typical left-wing party in everything except pushing Denmark toward "multiculturalism".
Sweden's centre-left government, on the other hand, brought in hundreds of thousands of Third World immigrants and then refused even to admit, let alone discuss, the glaring problems with integration within its immigrant community.
Result: the Sweden Democrats, a bona fide neo-Nazi party, are set to do extremely and alarmingly well in Sweden's September elections.
Yes - in Sweden.Burton Austin, Texas July 17
This super-rich elitist from Hungary is trying to buy American democracy and reshape it in his image regardless of what We The People want. And the Democrats are on his payroll and totally owned by this foreign agent!Ned Flarbus Berkeley July 17
Soros' flaw is that he only tolerates centralized socialist democracy. He cannot stand the idea of democracy in the form of a federal republic with a weak central government. Interestingly, he made his billions as a predatory capitalist now he turns on capitalism. He also exhibits a particularly vicious elitism: No one should be allowed to own guns except his private security guards. He knows that umarmed men are always someone's slaves.Philly Expat July 17
Soros is a hypocrite who did one thing and is now out to create a legacy. All is shows is he is driven by both greed and ego. His blatant hypocrisy probably did more harm than good - common denominator, it's always about him. Hey Soros, don't do us plebes any more favors, ok?David Brisbane July 17
Democracy is alive and well, regardless of what Soros thinks. He does not represent democracy, he was never been elected to any public office. He represents open borders mass migration, as the name of one of his NGOs implies, Open Society Foundation. Brexit voters, and other voters across the west are increasingly voting against his philosophy. Voters in the US, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, etc, have democratically chosen as their leaders conservative controlled borders leaders, and to underscore, all were elected via the democratic process.
Open Borders and globalism that Soros is pushing is increasingly being rejected in voting booths in the EU and the US.
It is hardly undemocratic to increasingly vote against what Soros is selling – chaotic mass migration made possible by open borders.
He represents [neo]liberal democracy, and voters increasingly favor conservative democracy.idimalink usa July 17
George Soros is the epitome of corruption – penetration and distortion of political process by obscene wealth. It does not matter what his true intentions are – he can say whatever he wants but we will never know for sure. And stop calling that "philanthropy".
Red Cross and Salvation Army is philanthropy. What Soros is doing is imposing his personal political beliefs and ideas on everybody by buying political influence with his money - that is called "corruption" pure and simple.
Sure, he is not the only one doing that, but he is the one doing that most overtly and blatantly. He seems to relish being the face of the elitist disregard for the masses. What he does is not democracy promotion - it is the exact opposite – democracy destruction. It is good to know that he is failing in that effort.Jose Pardinas Collegeville, PA July 18
Neoliberalism has failed to improve democratic governance and reduced distribution of wealth, just as leftists predicted. Soros benefitted financially, which has increased his privilege to participate in governance voters cannot achieve. Despite Soros' wealth, successfully manipulating currency markets does not easily transfer to manipulating electorates. Even if Soros believes his projects would produce good governance, he lacks the ability to convince voters what is in their best interests.
I am elated to hear that George Soros might be losing.
What pharaonic globalist plutocrats like him mean by "Liberal Democracy" encompasses a sinister set of objectives. Prominent among which are these two:
1). Full support for neocon/neoliberal destabilization, confrontation, and military interventionism.
2). The destruction of borders, nations, and cultures -- particularly Western Culture here and in Europe.
Soros and his peers want unhindered unlimited access to cheap Third World labor as well as to have complete control over the entire global economy. To his class nationalism and culture are speed bumps on the way to those self-serving goals.
Aug 04, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Within four weeks they bought $6.5 billion and transferred most of it to foreign banks.  Most of the rest of IMF loan was a stealth bailout for western financial institutions which had some $200 billion worth of loans and investments in Russia. The banks feared the prospect of Russian default which would leave them with crippling losses. These risks became even more acute in the aftermath of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis that would engulf Russia in 1998.
In a testimony before the U.S. Congress, veteran investor Jim Rogers characterized IMF's assistance to Russia as follows: " The activities of the organization are gussied up in sanctimonious prose about aiding the poor and raising the living standards of the third world. Don't be fooled. These bailouts are really about protecting interests of Chase Manhattan, J.P. Morgan, and Fidelity Investments ." 
In addition to loading Russia up with unproductive debt, IMF also engineered Russia's hyperinflation and liquidity crisis. After eliminating price controls, IMF obliged Russia to maintain the ruble as the common currency for all Soviet Union successor states, giving each of the 15 new countries the incentive to issue ruble credits for their own benefit while fueling inflation for all others. Sachs reported that he strenuously argued with the IMF against this measure but " for inexplicable reasons, " he was consistently rebuked.
The result was a one-year delay in the introduction of national currencies for the former Soviet republics, pushing Russia into hyperinflation and needlessly prolonging its economic depression. At this same time, the IMF engineered Russia's staggering liquidity crisis that made it almost impossible for enterprises to pay their suppliers and workers. Under IMF's dictate, Russian economy struggled along on less than one sixth of the currency required to operate an economy of its size.
The extent of IMF's iron-fisted control over Russian economy was exemplified in a letter from the IMF's representative Yusuke Horaguchi to Russia's central bank chairman Sergei Dubinin . The letter specified the precise schedule of Russia's ruble supply along with " harshly worded " instructions regarding bank credits, the state budget, energy policy, price levels, trade tariffs and agricultural policies. Horaguchi's letter even included a warning that any acts of the parliament contravening the IMF mandates would be vetoed by president Yeltsin. 
It is clear that shock "therapy" was little more than a relentless, cruel strangulation of Russia's economy to facilitate looting of her vast industrial and resource wealth . Nonetheless, most Western-published analyses of this episode tended to treat it as failure of good intentions. While lamenting the outcomes and certain questionable practices, most analysts essentially attribute the failure of Russian transition to honest errors, Russia's endemic corruption, and perhaps inexperience in many of the drama's protagonists.Goldman Marshall of Harvard and the Council of Foreign Relations wrote: " To be sure, there were unsettling reports of shady dealings during the takeovers, but most observers explained them away as inevitable side effects of such a far-reaching transformation. "
Naturally, Marshall fails to detail how or where he polled these "most observers," but his message to the readers is unmistakable: move along folks, there's nothing to see here – especially pay no attention to the fact that many of those thousands of Westerners who came to Russia " for the best of reasons ," including Bill Browder , Andrei Schleifer and Jonathan Hay ,  returned from Russia as multi-millionaires. Financial reporter Anne Willamson , who covered Russia for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal rightly remarked in her Congressional testimony that, " Americans, who thought their money was helping a stricken land, have been dishonored; and the Russian people who trusted us are now in debt twice what they were in 1991 and rightly feel themselves betrayed. "
 During his time managing the HIID's Moscow operation, Andrei Schleifer and Jonathan Hay took advantage of their position and relationships to make personal investments in Russia. An investigation by the FBI and U.S. Justice Department found evidence of fraud and money laundering by Harvard's consultants. In 2004, Schleifer was found guilty of fraud and he agreed to pay a $31 million fine to settle the case. Not only did Harvard University persist in defending Schleifer over the 8 years of investigations and trials, it paid the bulk of Schileifer's fine and kept him on university's faculty.
Jul 24, 2018 | www.unz.com
Greg Bacon , Website July 24, 2018 at 7:43 am GMTThe Alarmist , July 24, 2018 at 10:37 am GMT
" American politicians like Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Ben Cardin and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman "
American? I beg to differ. All of those turncoats serve their Master Israel and kiss the nether regions of those TBTF Wall Street Casinos.
Browder is one of those nine Russian oligarchs -- eight of whom are Jews -- who stole hundreds of billions from Russia when it was decompressing from being the USSR, helped by the drunken buffoon Yeltsin and a battery of Wall Street financial sharpies who also filled their pockets.
Watch the tough guy Browder run like a scared bunny rabbit in NYC from a process server.
Browder needs to be arrested by Interpol, tried, convicted and spend the rest of his sorry life in a Super Max prison for his thefts, frauds and helping to poison the relationship between the USA & Russia, in an effort to save his sorry ass from prosecution.geokat62 , July 24, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT
"Yeltsin had won a fraudulent election in 1996 supported by the oligarch-controlled media and by President Bill Clinton, who secured a $20.2 billion IMF loan that enabled him to buy support. Today we would refer to Clinton's action as "interference in the 1996 election," but at that time a helpless and bankrupt Russia was not well placed to object to what was being done to it."
So Mother Russia was raped, and by Bill Clinton, of all people. Where is the outrage? #MeToo@Greg BaconAnonymous lurker , July 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm GMT
Browder needs to be arrested by Interpol
Although I posted this comment under another thread, I think it bears repeating here (especially relevant to your point is the bolded part):
I think debunking the vulture capitalist Bill Browder's false claim of being, of all things, a human rights advocate is the key to unraveling the Russia-gate hoax. I also think the following information goes a long way in doing that:
1. Nekrasov's documentary, The Magnitsky Act: Behind The Scenes, now available for viewing
2. Alex Krainer's The Killing of William Browder, now available online; and
3. Bill Browder's Previzon deposition in which he claims "I can't remember" at least 50 times and answers "I don't know" fully 211 times.
Notwithstanding these facts, it appears Mr. Browder is an untouchable. The Russians have issued a Red Notice at least six times and he has managed to walk away scot free on each occasion.
The zinger was when the Senate Judiciary Committee invited him to testify as an expert witness against Fusion GPS, arguing that it should have registered under FARA because it was working on behalf of a foreign government, in this case the Russian. The irony of this scene was incredible. The hallowed chamber in which this inquiry took place is completely bought and paid for by The Lobby but not a peep about having it register under FARA. Totally surreal!An interesting thing about this that has gone almost completely unreported is that HSBC quietly held a series of closed-door meetings with Russian authorities earlier this year regarding the tax fraud charges leveled at Browder and his businesses (HSBC jointly managed Hermitage) and decided to pay up some of the cash he illegally siphoned out of the country (22 million dollars I believe, so a drop in the ocean given the scale of his endeavors, but it's something.)Anonymous  Disclaimer , July 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm GMT
"Bill Browder declined to comment" according to one of the few articles on the matter.
Isn't all of that more or less tantamount to an admission of guilt?Questions I have:Johnny Smoggins , July 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm GMT
(1) Why is he so protected?
(2) How does a respectable congress pass a law based solely on the testimony of someone convicted of a crime by another country? No jury in the world would reach a verdict based solely on the word of a convict, without it being substantiated by numerous pieces of other circumstantial and direct evidence.
(3) Even if he paid everyone oodles of money and brought a thousand lawsuits, why would gazillionaire corporations cave in to his demands to ban books, movies, organizations, etc.?
There is something more powerful about Bill Browder than just his pile of money.You'd think that a man who gave up his US citizenship to dodge his tax bill would be seen as a villain, not defended by presidents and congressmen.Andrei Martyanov , Website July 24, 2018 at 1:24 pm GMT@AnonymousAnatoly Karlin , Website July 24, 2018 at 1:28 pm GMT
How does a respectable congress pass a law based solely on the testimony of someone convicted of a crime by another country?
US Congress has an approval rating slightly above that of Al Qaeda and Ted Bundy.
In fact, most (not all) US lawmakers long ago became a euphemism for incompetence, corruption and lies. So, no -- modern US Congress is not respectable by people and numbers reflect that. Hopefully, sometime in the future, some honorable and loyal to their country people will make it there.Couple of other standard narrative-critical articles on the Magnitsky Affair:John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , July 24, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
* kovane: Sergei Magnitsky, Bill Browder, Hermitage Capital Management and Wondrous Metamorphoses
* Lucy Komisar: The Man Behind the Magnitsky Act Did Bill Browder's Tax Troubles in Russia Color Push for Sanctions?Can someone help me remember the names of those 9 oligarchs?
These are the ones I remember:
1) Anatoly Chubais
3) Boris Berezovsky
4) Mikhail Khodorkovsky
5) Vladimir Gusinsky
Who were the others? Thanks.
Of these 5, Chubais remained in Russia but the others fled. Chubais was the one who was instrumental in starting the loans-for-shares scheme. My understanding is that those who fled are real scum, since Putin offered all oligarchs the chance to keep their money so long as they avoided politics. Most vulture capitalists agreed to this arrangement, but the worst of the Jewish oligarchs were too greedy and lustful to give in. So I have heard, anyway.
Jul 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Creative_Destruct -> King of Ruperts Land Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:23 Permalink
" The US fabricated evidence to start the Vietnam war and the US fabricated WMD talk on the second war in Iraq. US intelligence had no idea the Berlin Wall was about to fall. The US meddled in Russia supporting a drunk named Yeltsin because we erroneously thought we could control him."
It's amusing to me that the Leftist's NOW have a blind-faith trust in government, whereas during the Vietnam war, and at the start of the Iraq war the opposite was (justifiably) the case.
And remember, the [neoliberal] Left was all OVER how we manipulated Russia into an Oligarchy:
May 25, 2018 | www.paulcraigroberts.org
This is the lecture I would have given if I had been able to accept the invitation to address the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia this weekend.
From the standpoint of Russia's dilemma, this is an important column. Putin's partial impotence via-a-vis Washington is due to the grip that neoliberal economics exercises over the Russian government. Putin cannot break with the West, because he believes that Russian economic development is dependent on Russia's integration within the Western economy. That is what neoliberal economics tells the Russian economic and financial establishment.
Everyone should understand that I am not a pro-Russian anti-American. I am anti-war, especially nuclear war. My concern is that the inability of the Russian government to put its foot down is due to its belief that Russian development, despite all the talk about the Eurasian partnership and the Silk Road, is dependent on being integrated with the West. This totally erroneous belief prevents the Russian government from any decisive break with the West. Consequently, Putin continues to accept provocations in order to avoid a decisive break that would cut Russia off from the West. In Washington and the UK this is interpreted as a lack of resolve on Putin's part and encourages an escalation in provocations that will intensify until Russia's only option is surrender or war.
If the Russian government did not believe that it needed the West, the government could give stronger responses to provocations that would make clear that there are limits to what Russia will tolerate. It would also make Europe aware that its existence hangs in the balance. The combination of Trump abusing Europe and Europe's recognition of the threat to its own existence of its alignment with an aggressive Washington would break the Western alliance and NATO. But Putin cannot bring this about because he erroneously believes that Russia needs the West.
If the neoconservatives had self-restraint, they would sit back and let America's Fifth Column -- Neoliberal Economics -- finish off Russia for them. Russia is doomed, because the country's economists were brainwashed during the Yeltsin years by American neoliberal economists. It was easy enough for the Americans to do. Communist economics had come to naught, the Russian economy was broken, Russians were experiencing widespread hardship, and successful America was there with a helping hand.
In reality the helping hand was a grasping hand. The hand grasped Russian resources through privatization and gave control to American-friendly oligarchs. Russian economists had no clue about how financial capitalism in its neoliberal guise strips economies of their assets while loading them up with debt.
But worse happened. Russia's economists were brainwashed into an economic way of thinking that serves Western imperialism.
For example, neoliberal economics exposes Russia's currency to speculation, manipulation, and destabilization. Capital inflows can be used to drive up the value of the ruble, and then at the opportune time, the capital can be pulled out, dropping the ruble's value and driving up domestic inflation with higher import prices, delivering a hit to Russian living standards. Washington has always used these kind of manipulations to destabilize governments.
Neo-liberal economics has also brainwashed the Russian central bank with the belief that Russian economic development depends on foreign investment in Russia. This erroneous belief threatens the very sovereignty of Russia. The Russian central bank could easily finance all internal economic development by creating money, but the brainwashed central bank does not realize this. The bank thinks that if the bank finances internal development the result would be inflation and depreciation of the ruble. So the central bank is guided by American neoliberal economics to borrow abroad money it does not need in order to burden Russia with foreign debt that requires a diversion of Russian resources into interest payments to the West.
As Michael Hudson and I explained to the Russians two years ago, when Russia borrows from the West, the US for example, and in flow the dollars, what happens to the dollars? Russia cannot spend them domestically to finance development projects, so where do the dollars go? They go into Russia's foreign exchange holdings and accrue interest for the lender. The central bank then creates the ruble equivalent of the borrowed and idle dollars and finances the project. So why borrow the dollars? The only possible reason is so the US can use the dollar debt to exercise control over Russian decision making. In other words, Russia delivers herself into the hands of her enemies.
Indeed, it is the Russian government's mistaken belief that Russian economic development is dependent on Russia being included as part of the West that has caused Putin to accept the provocations and humiliations that the West has heaped upon Russia. The lack of response to these provocations will eventually cause the Russian government to lose the support of the nationalist elements in Russia.
Putin is struggling to have Russia integrated into the Western economic system while retaining Russia's sovereignty (an unrealistic goal), because Putin has been convinced by the element in the Russian elite, which had rather be Western than Russian, that Russia's economic development depends on being integrated into the Western economy. As the neoliberal economic elite control Russia's economic and financial policy, Putin believes that he has to accept Western provocations or forfeit his hopes for Russian economic development.
Russian economists are so indoctrinated with neoliberal economics that they cannot even look to America to see how a once great economy has been completely destroyed by neoliberal economics.
The US has the largest public debt of any country in history. The US has the largest trade and budget deficits of any country in history. The US has 22 percent unemployment, which it hides by not counting among the unemployed millions of discouraged workers who, unable to find jobs, ceased looking for jobs and are arbitrarily excluded from the measure of unemployment. The US has a retired class that has been stripped of any interest payment on their savings for a decade, because it was more important to the Federal Reserve to bail out the bad loans of a handful of "banks too big to fail," banks that became too big to fail because of the deregulation fostered by neoliberal economics. By misrepresenting "free trade" and "globalism," neoliberal economics sent America's manufacturing and tradeable professional skill jobs abroad where wages were lower, thus boosting the incomes of owners at the expense of the incomes of US wage-earners, leaving Americans with the lowly paid domestic service jobs of a Third World country. Real median family income in the US has been stagnant for decades. The Federal Reserve recently reported that Americans are so poor that 41 percent of the population cannot raise $400 without selling personal possessions.
Young Americans, if they have university educations, begin life as debt slaves. Currently there are 44,200,000 Americans with student loan debt totalling $1,048,000,000,000 -- $1.48 trillion! https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/
In the US all 50 states have publicly supported universities where tuition is supposed to be nominal in order to encourage education. When I went to Georgia Tech, a premier engineering school, my annual tuition was less than $500. Loans were not needed and did not exist.
What happened? Financial capitalism discovered how to turn university students into indentured servants, and the university administrations cooperated. Tuitions rose and rose and were increasingly allocated to administration, the cost of which exploded. Today many university administrations absorb 75% of the annual budget, leaving little for professors' pay and student aid. An obedient Congress created a loan program that ensnares young American men and women into huge debt in order to acquire an university education. With so many of the well-paying jobs moved offshore by neoliberal economics, the jobs available cannot service the student loan debts. A large percentage of Americans aged 24-34 live at home with parents, because their jobs do not pay enough to service their student loan debt and pay an apartment rent. Debt prevents them from living an independent existence.
In America the indebtedness of the population produced by neoliberal economics -- privatize, privatize, deregulate, deregulate, indebt, indebt -- prevents any economic growth as the American public has no discretionary income after debt service to drive the economy. In America the way cars, trucks, and SUVs are sold is via zero downpayment and seven years of loans. From the minute a vehicle is purchased, the loan obligation exceeds the value of the vehicle.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Mike Meru, a dentist earning $225,000 annually, has $1,060,945.42 in student loan debt. He pays $1,589.97 monthly, which is not enough to cover the interest, much less reduce the principal. Consequently, his debt from seven years at the University of Southern California grows by $130 per day. In two decades, his loan balance will be $2 million. https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-meru-has-1-million-in-student-loans-how-did-that-happen-1527252975
If neoliberal economics does not work for America, why will it work for Russia? Neoliberal economics only works for oligarchs and their institutions, such as Goldman Sachs, who are bankrolled by the central bank to keep the economy partially afloat. Washington will agree to Russia being integrated into the Western system when Putin agrees to resurrect the Yeltsin-era practice of permitting Western financial institutions to strip Russia of her assets while loading her up with debt.
I could continue at length about the junk economics, to use Michael Hudson's term, that is neoliberal economics. The United States is failing because of it, and so will Russia.
John Bolton and the neocons should just relax. Neoliberal economics, which has the Russian financial interests, the Russian government and apparently Putin himself in its grip, will destroy Russia without war.
May 27, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Turning on Russia 11/05/2018
In this first of a two-part series, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould trace the origins of the neoconservative targeting of Russia.
By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel last September reported that, "Stanley Fischer, the 73–year-old vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is familiar with the decline of the world's rich. He spent his childhood and youth in the British protectorate of Rhodesia before going to London in the early 1960s for his university studies. There, he experienced first-hand the unravelling of the British Empire Now an American citizen, Fischer is currently witnessing another major power taking its leave of the world stage the United States is losing its status as a global hegemonic power, he said recently. The U.S. political system could take the world in a very dangerous direction "
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the creation of the so called Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992 during the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush, the United States claimed the mantle of the world's first and only. Unipower with the intention of crushing any nation or system that would oppose it in the future. The New World Order, foreseen just a few short years ago, becomes more disorderly by the day, made worse by varying degrees of incompetence and greed emanating from Berlin, London, Paris and Washington.
As a further sign of the ongoing seismic shocks rocking America's claim to leadership, by the time Fischer's interview appeared in the online version of the Der Spiegel , he had already announced his resignation as vice chair of the Federal Reserve -- eight months ahead of schedule. If anyone knows about the decline and fall of empires it is the "globalist" and former Bank of Israel president, Stanley Fischer. Not only did he experience the unravelling of the British Empire as a young student in London, he directly assisted in the wholesale dismantling of the Soviet Empire during the 1990s.
As an admitted product of the British Empire and point man for its long term imperial aims, that makes Fischer not just empire's Angel of Death, but its rag and bone man.
Alongside a handful of Harvard economists led by Jonathan Hay, Larry Summers, Andrei Shleifer, and Jeffry Sachs, in the "Harvard Project," plus Anatoly Chubais, the chief Russian economic adviser, Fischer helped throw 100 million Russians into poverty overnight – privatizing, or as some would say piratizing – the Russian economy. Yet, Americans never got the real story because a slanted anti-Russia narrative covered the true nature of the robbery from beginning to end.
As described by public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine R. Wedel in her 2009 book Shadow Elite: "Presented in the West as a fight between enlightenment Reformers trying to move the economy forward through privatization, and retrograde Luddites who opposed them, this story misrepresented the facts. The idea or goal of privatization was not controversial, even among communists the Russian Supreme Soviet, a communist body, passed two laws laying the groundwork for privatization. Opposition to privatization was rooted not in the idea itself but in the particular privatization program that was implemented, the opaque way in which it was put into place, and the use of executive authority to bypass the parliament."
Intentionally set up to fail for Russia and the Russian people under the cover of a false narrative, she continues "The outcome rendered privatization 'a de facto fraud,' as one economist put it, and the parliamentary committee that had judged the Chubais scheme to 'offer fertile ground for criminal activity' was proven right."
If Fischer, a man who helped bring about a de facto criminal-privatization-fraud to post-empire Russia says the U.S. is on a dangerous course, the time has arrived for post-empire Americans to ask what role he played in putting the U.S. on that dangerous course. Little known to Americans is the blunt force trauma Fischer and the "prestigious" Harvard Project delivered to Russia under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. According to The American Conservative's James Carden "As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted back in 2011 'the IMF's intervention in Russia during Fischer's tenure led to one of the worst losses in output in history, in the absence of war or natural disaster.' Indeed, one Russian observer compared the economic and social consequences of the IMF's intervention to what one would see in the aftermath of a medium-level nuclear attack."
Neither do most Americans know that it was President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1970s grand plan for the conquest of the Eurasian heartland that boomeranged to terrorize Europe and America in the 21 st century. Brzezinski spent much of his life undermining the Communist Soviet Union and then spent the rest of it worrying about its resurgence as a Czarist empire under Vladimir Putin. It might be unfair to say that hating Russia was his only obsession. But a common inside joke during his tenure as the President's top national security officer was that he couldn't find Nicaragua on a map.
If anyone provided the blueprint for the United States to rule in a unipolar world following the Soviet Union's collapse it was Brzezinski. And if anyone could be said to represent the debt driven financial system that fueled America's post-Vietnam Imperialism, it's Fischer. His departure should have sent a chill down every neoconservative's spine. Their dream of a New World Order has once again ground to a halt at the gates of Moscow.
Whenever the epitaph for the abbreviated American century is written it will be sure to feature the iconic role the neoconservatives played in hastening its demise. From the chaos created by Vietnam they set to work restructuring American politics, finance and foreign policy to their own purposes. Dominated at the beginning by Zionists and Trotskyists, but directed by the Anglo/American establishment and their intelligence elites, the neoconservatives' goal, working with their Chicago School neoliberal partners, was to deconstruct the nation-state through cultural co-optation and financial subversion and to project American power abroad. So far they have been overwhelmingly successful to the detriment of much of the world.
From the end of the Second World War through the 1980s the focus of this pursuit was on the Soviet Union, but since the Soviet collapse in 1991, their focus has been on dismantling any and all opposition to their global dominion.
Shady finance, imperial misadventures and neoconservatism go hand in hand. The CIA's founders saw themselves as partners in this enterprise and the defense industry welcomed them with open arms. McGill University economist R.T. Naylor, author of 1987's Hot Money and the Politics of Debt , described how "Pentagon Capitalism" had made the Vietnam War possible by selling the Pentagon's debt to the rest of the world.
"In effect, the US Marines had replaced Meyer Lansky's couriers , and the European central banks arranged the 'loan-back,'" Naylor writes. "When the mechanism was explained to the late [neoconservative] Herman Kahn – lifeguard of the era's chief 'think tank' and a man who popularized the notion it was possible to emerge smiling from a global conflagration – he reacted with visible delight. Kahn exclaimed excitedly, 'We've pulled off the biggest ripoff in history! We've run rings around the British Empire.'" In addition to their core of ex-Trotskyist intellectuals early neoconservatives could count among their ranks such establishment figures as James Burnham, father of the Cold War Paul Nitze, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Brzezinski himself.
From the beginning of their entry into the American political mainstream in the 1970s it was known that their emergence could imperil democracy in America and yet Washington's more moderate gatekeepers allowed them in without much of a fight.
Peter Steinfels' 1979 classic The Neoconservatives: The men who are changing America's politics begins with these fateful words. "THE PREMISES OF THIS BOOK are simple. First, that a distinct and powerful political outlook has recently emerged in the United States. Second, that this outlook, preoccupied with certain aspects of American life and blind or complacent towards others, justifies a politics which, should it prevail, threatens to attenuate and diminish the promise of American democracy."
But long before Steinfels' 1979 account, the neoconservative's agenda of inserting their own interests ahead of America's was well underway, attenuating U.S. democracy, undermining détente and angering America's NATO partners that supported it. According to the distinguished State Department Soviet specialist Raymond Garthoff, détente had been under attack by right-wing and military-industrial forces ( led by Senator "Scoop" Jackson ) from its inception. But America's ownership of that policy underwent a shift following U.S. intervention on behalf of Israel during the 1973 October war. Garthoff writes in his detailed volume on American-Soviet relations Détente and Confrontation , "To the allies the threat [to Israel] did not come from the Soviet Union, but from unwise actions by the United States, taken unilaterally and without consultation. The airlift [of arms] had been bad enough. The U.S. military alert of its forces in Europe was too much."
In addition to the crippling Arab oil embargo that followed, the crisis of confidence in U.S. decision-making nearly produced a mutiny within NATO. Garthoff continues, "The United States had used the alert to convert an Arab-Israeli conflict, into which the United States had plunged, into a matter of East-West confrontation. Then it had used that tension as an excuse to demand that Europe subordinate its own policies to a manipulative American diplomatic gamble over which they had no control and to which they had not even been privy, all in the name of alliance unity."
In the end the U.S. found common cause with its Cold War Soviet enemy by imposing a cease-fire accepted by both Egypt and Israel thereby confirming the usefulness of détente. But as related by Garthoff this success triggered an even greater effort by Israel's "politically significant supporters" in the U.S. to begin opposing any cooperation with the Soviet Union, at all.
Garthoff writes, "The United States had pressed Israel into doing precisely what the Soviet Union (as well as the United States) had wanted: to halt its advance short of complete encirclement of the Egyptian Third Army east of Suez Thus they [Israel's politically significant supporters] saw the convergence of American-Soviet interests and effective cooperation in imposing a cease-fire as a harbinger of greater future cooperation by the two superpowers in working toward a resolution of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian problem."
Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved. This article first appeared on Invisible History.
Coming Next, Part 2: The post WWII global strategy of the neocons has been shaped chiefly by Russophobia against the Soviet Union and now Russia
* Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice . Visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk .com
Published at consortiumnews.com
May 26, 2018 | www.unz.com
Sex Differences in the Adult Human Brain: Evidence from 5216 UK Biobank Participants
Stuart J Ritchie, Simon R Cox, Xueyi Shen, Michael V Lombardo, Lianne M Reus, Clara Alloza, Mathew A Harris, Helen L Alderson, Stuart Hunter, Emma Neilson, David C M Liewald, Bonnie Auyeung, Heather C Whalley, Stephen M Lawrie ,Catharine R Gale, Mark E Bastin, Andrew M McIntoshIan, J Deary.
Cerebral Cortex, bhy109, https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy109
Published: 16 May 2018
The authors say:
Sex differences in the human brain are of interest for many reasons: for example, there are sex differences in the observed prevalence of psychiatric disorders and in some psychological traits that brain differences might help to explain. We report the largest single-sample study of structural and functional sex differences in the human brain (2750 female, 2466 male participants; mean age 61.7 years, range 44–77 years). Males had higher raw volumes, raw surface areas, and white matter fractional anisotropy; females had higher raw cortical thickness and higher white matter tract complexity. There was considerable distributional overlap between the sexes. Subregional differences were not fully attributable to differences in total volume, total surface area, mean cortical thickness, or height. There was generally greater male variance across the raw structural measures. Functional connectome organization showed stronger connectivity for males in unimodal sensorimotor cortices, and stronger connectivity for females in the default mode network. This large-scale study provides a foundation for attempts to understand the causes and consequences of sex differences in adult brain structure and function.
There is much to discuss here, but my attention was drawn by two phrases "considerable distributional overlap" (which in my experience means that one group is pretty different from another) and "generally greater male variance" (which agrees with most of the observations on sex differences indicating that men are leptokurtic (more variable), women more platykurtic (less variable).
Women are more at risk of dementia, depression, schizophrenia and dyslexia. Men are better than women at mental rotation tasks, and are more physically aggressive; women are more interested in people than in things, are more neurotic and more agreeable.
One of the most interesting sex differences is intelligence. Here is their introduction to the topic:
There is more to sex differences than averages: there are physical and psychological traits that tend to be more variable in males than females. The best-studied human phenotype in this context has been cognitive ability: almost universally, studies have found that males show greater variance in this trait (Deary et al. 2007a; Johnson et al. 2008; Lakin 2013; though see Iliescu et al. 2016). This has also been found for academic achievement test results (themselves a potential consequence of cognitive differences, which are known to predict later educational achievement; Deary et al. 2007b; Machin and Pekkarinen 2008; Lehre et al. 2009a, 2009b), other psychological characteristics such as personality (Borkenau et al. 2013), and a range of physical traits such as athletic performance (Olds et al. 2006), and both birth and adult weight (Lehre et al. 2009a). To our knowledge, only two prior studies have explicitly examined sex differences in the variability of brain structure (Wierenga et al. 2017; Lange et al. 1997), and no studies have done so in individuals older than 20 years. Here, we addressed this gap in the literature by testing the "greater male variability" hypothesis in the adult brain.
We tested male–female differences (in mean and variance) in overall and subcortical brain volumes, mapped the magnitude of sex differences across the cortex with multiple measures (volume, surface area, and cortical thickness), and also examined sex differences in white matter microstructure derived from DT-MRI and NODDI. We tested the extent to which these differences were regionally-specific or brain-general, by adjusting them for the total brain size (or other relevant overall measurement; for instance, adjusting volume differences for total brain volume and cortical thickness differences for mean cortical thickness), and examining whether the differences found in the raw analyses were still present. We tested the extent to which these structural differences (in broad, regional, and white matter measures) mediated sex variation in scores on two cognitive tests, one tapping a mixture of fluid and crystallized reasoning skills (skills previously found to be linked to brain volumes; Pietschnig et al. 2015) and one testing processing speed (previously found to be linked to white matter microstructural differences; see Penke et al. 2012). At the functional level, we also examined large-scale organization of functional networks in the brain using resting-state fMRI functional connectivity data and data-driven network-based analyses.
The study compared 2750 females (mean age = 61.12 years, SD = 7.42, range = 44.64–77.12) and 2466 males (mean age = 62.39 years, SD = 7.56, range = 44.23–76.99). These are extremely large samples, two orders of magnitude larger than the early studies in the 1980s, and way larger than many of the studies that the Press report so frequently. Consider them "Foxtrot Oscar" samples.
The first result is startling: male brains are very much bigger, a colossal 1.4 effect size. 92% of men will be above the mean for women. On average men have 117.8 cm3 more brain than women. All this extra brain must be doing something for men, you might surmise, other than just helping them perpetually contemplate the relative advantages of the more complicated positions adopted during sexual intercourse. Perhaps not. Broadly the same effect of male advantage can be found in all the brain region sub-comparisons. Male brains are both larger, and also vary more in size. Greater male variability seems a fact of nature. If there were a direct relationship between brain size and cognitive ability, there would be many, many more bright men than bright women.
The cognitive test was limited to a 13-item verbal-numerical test to be completed in 2 minutes, which ought to be enough to grade the general population. The mere notion of such a test will discomfort those citizens who regard their own intellects as more wide-ranging and multi-faceted than could ever be measured by mere earthly means, and who rank their brainpower of greater value to Western Civilization in ways that could not possibly be assayed in 120 seconds. Personally, I quail at the thought of having to subject myself to such a harsh evaluation. I mean, 13 into 120 is, let me see, well, not very long at all to solve each item. On reflection, 9 seconds to pass each question. Can such people exist?
The test might be a little crude if the purpose is to detect sex differences across the broad range of different cognitive tasks, and also a bit limited if the volunteers are, as one might expect of this database, somewhat brighter volunteers interested in contributing to science. However, these are minor quibbles. All intellects can be evaluated in 2 minutes. I like it. Here are the details:
Verbal-numerical reasoning. This test (UK Biobank data field 20016) consisted of thirteen multiple-choice items, six verbal and seven numerical. Participants responded to the items on a touch-screen computer. One of the verbal items was: "Stop means the same as: Pause/Close/Cease/Break/Rest/Do not know/Prefer not to answer". One of the numerical items was: "If sixty is more than half of seventy-five, multiply twenty-three by three. If not subtract 15 from eighty-five. Is the answer: 68/69/70/71/72/Do not know/Prefer not to answer". Participants had a two-minute time limit to answer the thirteen questions. The "prefer not to answer" option was considered as missing data for the purposes of the present analyses. The scores from the test formed a normal distribution.
Reaction Time. This test (UK Biobank data field 100032), which followed immediately after the verbal-numerical reasoning test, was modelled on the game of 'snap': participants responded by pressing a button on a button box as quickly as possible with their dominant hand whenever the symbols on two 'cards' displayed to them on the computer screen matched. The test had twelve rounds; the first four rounds were considered 'training' (or practice) rounds so were not included in the calculation of the final score, and four of the remaining rounds did not include matching symbols. Thus, the final score was calculated on the basis of the four rounds with matching symbols (the mean time in ms to press the button across these four trials was the score variable). We excluded the scores of 8 participants who had Reaction Times of 1100ms or longer. After this exclusion, the Reaction Times formed an approximately normal distribution. Note that, for analyses, we reflected the raw scores so that higher scores meant better performance (this meant that the two cognitive tests correlated positively with each other).
The choice reaction time task should be a good measure of mental alertness, though 4 out of 8 trials is on the short side. However, there is a case for saying that all reaction time tests should have only one trial. If the person responds very slowly, in real life he would be dead. That is what reaction times are for. Here are the results for the two cognitive tests:
The insert above shows: female mean, male mean, t-test, probability, d (effect size), and finally the Bayes Factor showing the probability there is a sex difference. The full results for Table 2 are in the paper.
Sure enough, Table 2 shows that the cognitive tests are only an effect size of about 0.2 in favour of men. Where did all the male brain size advantage go? 0.2 of a standard deviation works out to 3 IQ points. Nothing much, you may say, considering that the test-retest reliability of the Wechsler is 4 IQ points, but if this is a true representation of male-female differences, then we can calculate what it would mean for the male/female balance at the higher levels of ability. As you may have seen in previous posts, if men are really 3 points brighter than women, and women's standard deviation is narrower than men, say 14 rather than 15 points, then this makes a big difference at the higher reaches of intelligence.
Here are the estimates, if one assumes men have an IQ of 102, (sd 15) and women an IQ of 99, (sd 14).
At IQ 130: 69.8% men
At IQ 145: 80.3% men
The authors correctly point out that the sample, though the biggest collected for scanning, may not be a perfect representation of the population at large (though I doubt this directly affects sex differences).
This is a very substantial paper. It shows a massive sex difference in brain size of 1.4 d, and when one factors in that brain size relates to intelligence at a correlation of about 0.28, then the predicted intelligence difference will be a large 0.39 d, but the observed difference is only half that. Paradoxical. One implication is that there are sex-linked differences in brain structure and dendritic arborization which overcome pure size differences. If so, how is this balancing act achieved? Why don't all people have the smaller, more craftily wired version of the human brain, which presumably requires a smaller blood supply. On the other hand, it might be that the cognitive testing has not been wide enough, and has ignored tasks in which males have an advantage. By the way, if one sex has an advantage in one skill, this is not an error of testing, it is a triumph of testing that a real difference has been revealed.
It is possible that, in a rush to ensure that men and women's mental ability scores can be presented as equal, in general men's stronger subject areas have been under-sampled. Test producers are under pressure to minimize sexual and racial differences. This may have suppressed the size of real differences. In defence of any group who think that their specialist strong points have been ignored, we should set the sampling frame for cognitive tests as wide as possible. These points do not invalidate the findings of this fine paper on brains, but they leave open the possibility that there is a small but real male advantage in intelligence which a broader scope of tests would reveal.
May 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
The Rev Kev , May 17, 2018 at 10:39 amjohnnygl , May 17, 2018 at 11:20 am
Hey, I just remembered something. When I was a kid growing up everybody knew all about the mafia but all those in the know denied that there was any such thing when questioned in a court of law. It got to be a running joke how these gang bosses and members were always denying that the mafia was an actual thing.
Could it be that the neoliberals took a page out of their book and adopted the same tactic of denying the existence of neoliberalism while actively pushing it at every opportunity?Amfortas the Hippie , May 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm
And like the line from 'fight club', the first rule of neoliberalism is that you don't talk about it.
To extend your analogy, much like the mafia, there's a handful of shadowy law breakers who benefit from neoliberalism and a whole lot of people that suffer violence so that those benefits can flow up to that few.
this is why I keep Mario Puzo next to Adam and Karl on the econ shelf in my library. It's not so much Omerta, as gobbdeygook and wafer thin platitudes.
Like the concurrent and related "Conservative revolution"(1973-), they stole the Cell Structure from the Comintern, and bought out the competition.
I am inclined to believe that the Libertarian Party was a vehicle for this counterrevolution, too. And finally, with the DLC, they were able to buy the "opposition party" outright and here we are.
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com
SolontoCroesus , April 18, 2018 at 9:08 pm GMT@Anon
UUUge mistake, Jimmy Dore; you should have done some homework before you elevated Jeffrey Sachs to truth-teller status. Spend a few minutes with The Saker -- William Engdah interview: http://thesaker.is/the-rape-of-russia-saker-blog-exclusive-interview/ Sache is not trustworthy.
SolontoCroesus , April 18, 2018 at 9:31 pm GMT@SolontoCroesus
Sachs worked closely w/ Soros to plunder USSR/ FSU. His job now is to establish Jews/Israel/banker class, Deep State of which he's a part, and think tankers as absolutely innocent of any complicity in the destruction of Syria. He's most likely in it up to his eyeballs.
Apr 18, 2018 | russia-insider.com
The Rape of Russia (full transcript)
Lars Schall: Hello ladies and gentlemen. I am now connected with F. William Engdahl, who has written a new book, Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance. Hi William.
F. William Engdahl: Hello, Lars. Good to be with you again.
LS: Great to have you with us. And first off, let me read something to you and our audience that was written by the economist Dean Baker earlier this month.
As a long-term columnist at the NYT, Thomas Friedman apparently never feels the need to know anything about the topics on which he writes. This explains his sarcastic speculation that Putin could be a CIA agent since he has done so much to hurt Russia.For all his authoritarian tendencies, it is likely that most Russians think primarily about Putin's impact on the economy, just as is typically the case among voters in the United States. On that front, Putin has a very good record.
According to data from the IMF Russia's economy had plunged in the 1990s under the Yeltsin presidency. When Putin took over in 1998, per capita income in the country had shrunk by more than 40 percent from its 1990 level. This is a far sharper downturn than the United States saw in the Great Depression. Since Putin took power its per capita income has risen by more than 115 percent, an average annual growth rate of more than 3.9 percent.
While this growth has been very unequal, that was also the case even as Russia's economy was collapsing under Yeltsin. The typical Russian has done hugely better in the last two decades under Putin than they did in the period when Yeltsin was in power.
For this reason, there are probably few Russians who would have sympathy for Friedman's speculation about Putin's ties to the CIA. The same would not be the case for Boris Yeltsin.
Now, I think this is a good starting point for our discussion William because in your book, you have a chapter entitled The Rape of Russia, the CIA's Yeltsin Coup d'état. Why do you talk about rape related to Russia?
FWE: What the US Government under George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush Senior organised together with CIA, old boy networks of his, in terms of the breaking up of the Soviet Union and the looting of the assets, this open theft, the destruction of pensions, security, the health system and everything. The only appropriate word is the rape of Russia. They just pondered anything that they could.
And what you just read from Mr. Friedman is of course horse rubbish but the real CIA asset of this whole collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s was in fact Boris Yeltsin and the so called Yeltsin Family, the Yeltsin Mafia. And in my book, the Manifest Destiny book I document and detail at great lengths the relation of a handful of KGB very, very senior persons who worked with the Bush Senior old boys CIA networks in the West and their banks to create a group of oligarchs around Yeltsin, you know the famous Russian oligarchs, well, The New York Times and other Western Media portrayed them as Russian Mafia. They were kind of mafia but the real point was that they were a CIA-run mafia. They were run by the West. They betrayed their own country, their own people and literally stole billions and billions and billions of dollars of assets. And that's the reason for the title in that chapter.
LS: And Boris Yeltsin was very essential for this.
FWE: He was the key figure. He had been selected as a regional governor and brought into Moscow and a certain point Gorbachev saw him as a rising star and someone that could help with a little bit more liberal image as [unclear] was – the Russian economy was running into serious trouble in the '80s, the Star Wars of Reagan, the Nicaragua and above all the war in Afghanistan which is a CIA project with the Mujahideen, that took 10 years long that was bleeding the Soviet economy, the Soviet Union's Vietnam, as Brzezinski used to call it.
And the West, the Bush networks recruited a handful of KGB agents around Yeltsin who literally promoted Yeltsin to the top when they engineered the August 1991 fake coup. You remember, I'm sure many people remember the picture of Boris Yeltsin standing there courageously on top of a Soviet tank in front of the Russian White House or Soviet House, the Supreme Soviet building and reading a speech defying Gorbachev and so forth. Well, that was a KGB CIA-engineered coup d'état in June 1991. And through that the – this network, this corrupt network within the KGB that was working with the CIA, working with General Philip, Bob [unclear] is one of them, so called at that time the KGB brain. He was head of the KGB Fifth Directorate controlling to roll this in. And he later joined the [#inaudible 00:06:40-0#] oil and to this day he's still a member of the State Duma giving him prosecution immunity.
So, some of these people are still around after some 23, 25 years and incredibly enough but others of them have died off, have been killed, or murdered or whatever. But the operation that was done with Yeltsin, this corrupt KGB network working with the CIA financed Yeltsin's the silent seat of the presidency of the Russian Federation. And once they had their man in controlling the Russian Federation which is the largest of the former Soviet Union, the Socialist Republic, they were able to engineer through the international monetary fund that was mandated to oversee the transformation of the Soviet economy.
They engineered a complete opening up of the assets of the Russian Federation which called today the Russian Federation, the largest part of the former Soviet Union and they made it such that the Russian Federation would assume all of the debts of Ukraine, of Kazakhstan and the other socialist republics of the Soviet and all the assets, all the crucial assets that were within the Russian Federation so the aluminium Rusal that's in the headlines yesterday, the nickel, the oil, the gas, just hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars' worth of assets that came into Yeltsin's control.
LS: But those assets were sold to a price that was rather ridiculous.
FWE: Someone estimated that that gets into the whole coupon privatisation that was set up under Yeltsin in the '90s. The coupon privatisation issued one coupon to every single Russian man, woman and child 140 million in total. And the value of those coupons was such someone estimated that the totality of Russian Soviet's Fed assets or Russian Federation assets now was equal to the value of the stock at that point of General Electric Company on the New York Stock Exchange. I mean that's just laughable. Russia had financial bankruptcy because the shock therapy, the Jeffrey Sachs and others from Harvard and elsewhere brought in, George Soros and his pals. That created bankrupt companies that couldn't stand on their own and suddenly they had no, no resources. But the assets, the assets on the ground, the nickel, the aluminium, the uranium that Hillary Clinton knows more than a little bit about them, all of these were estimated to be in the trillions of dollars. And this is what the Bush operation aimed at. And they used NGOs, they used the National Endowment for Democracy, they used, George Soros' Open Society Foundation and so forth to bring this about.
LS: You've mentioned already the coup d'etat attempt of August 1991. Highly important for things to come was something that took place in early 1991 and that was the theft of the Soviet gold. Please tell us about this.
FWE: The, under the Soviet Union, this is a very crucial point about the transition that Washington forced on the Russian Federation because Yeltsin was, I think as long as he was well-supplied with vodka he didn't protest very much. But under the Soviet system and the Russian Federation took this over, there was a state bank, not a private central bank like the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank today but a state bank that was an entity of the Russian State apparatus and that was called the Gosbank. And a man named Viktor Gerashchenko was the chairman of Gosbank at the time of Yeltsin's early start in 1991.
And Gerashchenko made a speech around that time in November of '91 to the Russian Duma or the parliament such as it was and said, "I have to report to you ladies and gentlemen that of perhaps 3,000 tons of Gosbank state-owned gold reserves, we have an estimated less than 400 tons that we can account for." And then he had to go to tell, shock members of parliament that he had no idea what happened to the missing gold, which of course was a lie. And Gerashchenko had created right after 1989 to prepare this coup d'etat coup, which was the CIA and Bush's old boys, he had created something called [unclear] on the Channel Islands in the Island of Jersey to handle the Russian foreign currency reserves.
And the Jersey was exempt from European supervision, so this was a perfect place to hide money, dirty money or stolen money and they managed something like $37 billion between 1993 and 1998. The Gerashchenko and the Gosbank even went to the lengths of hiring a New York Financial Detective firm called the Financial CIA back then called Jules Kroll Associate. And they were told to track the Soviet gold, find out what happened to it and something like $14 billion of communist party assets that were missing as well. And the Cruel which was tied with the CIA linked AIG Insurance Group Hank Greenberg whom you remember from the 2008 to the bail out of Henry Paulson.
FEW: The Kroll Associates after a few months announced that they had no results in the attempt to find the missing Soviet Gosbank gold. Then to add insult to injury, the IMF came in and rewrote the constitution of the Russian Federation under Yeltsin and took the power of money creation just like the Federal Reserve took the power of money creation from the congress in 1913. They took the power of money creation from the state and created the Russian Federation Central Bank, the Russian Central Bank and gave it a mandate for two things. One, to control inflation and the other to create currency stability.
Now, in Russia that day that meant stability of the ruble against the US dollar. So it effectively hammer-locked the Russian money creation into the US dollar. And unfortunately that constitution amendment holds until the present day. It's one of the difficulties that Vladimir Putin has been having to try to persuade the Independent Central Bank to lower interest rates more rapidly as inflation is simply managed as a problem in Russia in the last two years.
So, they looted the gold so that there would be no stability to the ruble. If you don't have any gold-backing, then western investors are going to lack confidence which is sort of what happened. And then they began working with very select western bankers to get their money out of Russia.
LS: And instrumental to get money out of Russia were Valmet and Riggs. Can you tell us please about some crucial personnel that was employed there at Valmet and Riggs?
FWE: Valmet Riggs was kind of a fusion of a Swiss bank and Riggs Bank of Washington D. C. And Riggs Bank, this is really quite a fascinating and very little discussed aspect of the reign of Russia back in the '90s.
So you have something called Riggs Bank in Washington and they were set up decades earlier since the 1960s CIA Bay of Pigs operation, they were known as the CIA tied bank. They invested the assets of people like Marcos of the Philippines until when he was close to the CIA. And there was a former NATO Ambassador named Alton Keel and in 1989 when the Soviet KGB generals and they had a group of protégés called the 'Kids' by George Bush Senior. The protégés were in their 30s and a couple of them were in their 40s but rather young. And they were the ones who were nominated to become the oligarchs, the frontal men for taking these state assets the aluminium, the oil assets and other things and looting the Russian Federation.
And Alton Keel just as the Russians were setting up men at a bank for the oligarchs to funnel their stolen assets, de facto stolen assets, Keel went from NATO and the National Security Council to become a head of international banking of Riggs Bank in Washington and its deputy chairman.
Now, it gets even more interesting because the international banking group of Riggs included a new entity that had been created called Riggs Valmet SA in Switzerland, and Riggs Valmet was set up by a man named Jonathan J. Bush, a private banker, who just happened to be the brother of George Herbert Walker Bush. So, Bush brother and Alton Keel set up Riggs Valmet, there was a money laundering apparatus in Geneva and Riggs then through their help bought the major share in Geneva Valmet to create Riggs Valmet.
So, you have the brother of the president of the United States up to his eyeballs in this whole Yeltsin CIA money laundering operation. And then Jonathan Bush was created CEO of something called Riggs Investment in Connecticut where he lived and at that point the looting and taking of the dollar assets out of Russia was just unstoppable. It was in the billions and tens of billions of dollars.
LS: William, there is one guy who was working closely with those people and he was working on Wall Street but later on he was personally recruited by George Tenet then the Director of CIA to become the number three at the CIA, and this is Alvin Bernard "Buzzy" Krongard.
FWE: Yes. We meet "Buzzy" Krongard at Bankers Trust, which bought up Alex Brown, and Krongard became vice chairman of Bankers Trust along with another charming character named Carter Beese. And at the time of the 1998 collapse of the ruble, Krongard was formally made, as you've pointed out, number three, the executive director at the CIA under George Tenet. So, it's a CIA network from beginning to end, from the banking side to you know the direct CIA side. You have Carter Beast, you have "Buzzy" Krongard, Jonathan Bush and Alton Keel and they were the ones working with Valmet as the Riggs Valmet Bank in Geneva to pull this money out through shell companies.
And the oligarchs, this is an interesting part of this whole thing that you know right now Theresa May and the foreign secretary Boris Johnson in the UK are accusing Putin of murdering almost everybody since the birth of Jesus Christ. And one of them was the person who had been the trusted bodyguard of one of the oligarchs living in London Boris Berezovsky.
And Berezovsky was one of the dirtiest of these oligarchs. He'd financed the Ukrainian Colour Revolution back in 2003, 2004 as a revenge against Putin because he at first thought Putin could be bought like Yeltsin and suddenly he realized that he was up against the faction of nationalists within of what had been the KGB but wanted to stabilise and preserve Russia as a functioning nation today. And so Mikhail Khodorkovskyi, Roman Abramovich, who is listed on the sanctions list yesterday, and Berezovsky were some of the leading oligarchs that were created by this Bush operation.
LS: And to jumpstart all of this, we have to talk about something that is well, that is stranger than fiction and that is something called for example "Yamashita's Gold". If our audience is interested in this, they could for example look for an article written by Chalmers Johnson, the famous Asian expert, The Looting of Asia, which was published at the London Review of Books on the 20 th of November of 2003 because then they can find something on this topic of Yamashita's gold on an instant basis in the internet ( https://www.lrb.co.uk/v25/n22/chalmers-johnson/the-looting-of-asia ). I think this is just fair
LS: because no one really is aware of this whole story. Please tell us about this.
FWE: The Yamashita Gold story is one of the, as you've said really incredible stories of post-World War II. During the Second World War, the Japanese Imperial Family looted the gold of occupied Arch of China, they looted the gold of all the parts of Asia that they had conquered.
LS: Basically from 1895 to 1945.
FWE: Yeah, yeah. And because they had no guarantee that Japan was going to win the war, the emperor ordered the gold to be hidden away in, mostly in the Philippines as far as we know and literally untold tons of gold were buried so deep underground in tunnels around the Philippines and the people who dug the tunnels in many cases were later shot you know so that they couldn't tell. But Marcos who was a CIA asset initially, the dictator of the Philippines through much of the '70s and into the '80s, yeah through the '70, Ferdinand Marcos somehow came upon some of this gold. So, the Japanese looted war body was buried in the early '40s before the end of the war on orders of Emperor Hirohito should they lose the war.
And at some point in the 1970s, Marcos discovered some of the sites where Hirohito's soldiers had buried the gold and the gold was stolen from China, Korea, Philippines, Indonesia and other countries occupied by the Japanese forces. And Marcos, and I think this is the major reason the CIA dumped him, got a little bit greedy and took that gold and started selling it under the market through selective secret Swiss banks. But he used the CIA asset, the Saudi billionaire named Adnan Khashoggi to help them get the gold under the market. And what he didn't realise was that Khashoggi would double cross him. He got a better deal from Bush Senior and the old boys.
LS: We have to say Khashoggi is a figure who is involved for example in B.C.C.I. and in Iran-Contra.
FWE: Back in the '70s he was involved in everything dirty that Bush and the CIA were involved in. B.C.C.I. Bank, the money laundering bank of the CIA, the arms deals, Khashoggi was a huge arms dealer during the Iran and Iraq war the CIA was feeding. He was involved in almost every dirty thing the CIA was doing.
LS: He was aware of this gold.
FWE: Supposedly he was helping Marcos to sell the gold out of the market. So he was not only aware of it, he was right in the middle of it. But then once Marcos was tackled by the CIA Bush got rid of Marcos in 1986. Then someone named Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Armitage and Khashoggi began to work with someone in Canada to create something called – Peter Munk was his name, a rather dubious businessman there – to found something called Barrick Gold of Canada and later it went on to become the world's largest gold mining company.
But Barrick Gold, all available evidence is that buried gold was used to melt down the – I don't want to get too much into the details of this but basically to melt down the Emperor Hirohito's gold that had been discovered by Marcos in the Philippines, to melt it down and use that as collateral for derivatives that would be the collateral used to take over the Russian Federation assets.
LS: The money was basically transformed into bank loans into Russia so that the would-become oligarch people could buy up those assets
FWE: Yes, exactly. So, Yegor Gaidar, the economic privatisation adviser of Yeltsin and his sidekick Anatoly Chubais privatisation had kind of guided this whole process together with Jeffrey Sachs and a group from Harvard University. #00:28:37-8#
LS: Yeah. Let us talk about this. This is known as Harvard Shock Therapy.
FEW: Well, the Jeffrey Sachs Shock Therapy, but the Harvard shock therapy is – well, what happened, the next phase of this incredible story and it's important to keep all this in mind, this is one reason that I wrote the book because of what was clear after the CIA coup d'etat of 2014 in Ukraine and all the sanctions against Putin's Russia and so forth, that if you don't understand what really happened in the '90s, the deep-seated hatred there is on these neoconservatives around Washington and their think tanks as well as, the US political establishment for Putin's Russia and the nationalism behind group Russia. You can't make much sense out of what's going on today with all these incredible lies and accusations against Russia for every crime under the book.
So, what happened is the, as I mentioned the IMF, the International Monetary Fund which had done a beautiful job for Washington in terms of, and George Soros and others in terms of looting the assets of the dead economies of Latin America, Yugoslavia, Poland and others during the oil crisis in the 1970s. The IMF was used and a group of economists around Jeffrey Sachs, a young professor at Harvard University then to impose what Sachs called shock therapy.
And the idea was that Sachs convinced Yeltsin, let prices rise through western market prices and this will increase the supply of goods, you know the stores had a paucity of goods back in the Soviet Times and get rid of trade barriers so foreign commodities could flow in to fill the shelves of Russian stores. The problem was that was a lie. The shops had been full. Okay, you could say it wasn't Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Fried Perdue Chickens or whatever, but they were full of Russian food products until November of '91 when Yeltsin announced that the exact date on December 31 st of 1991, that price controls would be suddenly lifted. So, shop owners immediately hid their goods and waited for December 31 st . So, suddenly the shops were empty and rationing was imposed and so forth. It's just unbelievable.
So, into this, this was Jeffrey Sachs on shock therapy and a group of Harvard University under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development, a group of, among other things later documented CIA agents set up shop in Moscow and worked with Yeltsin's economic team Gaidar and Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais and themselves got in on the thunder the Russian East Harvard economist working. Now we have a transition in '93 through the Clinton Administration and there former Harvard professor and former World Bank Chief Economist Lawrence Summers became the deputy secretary of treasury responsible for the looting of Russia, effective and responsible for the gold economic transition in the Russian Federation.
And all of the key actors were named by Summers and they were all involved in the privatisation of Russia. They were all from this Harvard Mafia. For example of David Lipton, a former consulting partner of the Jeffrey Sachs, became deputy assistant secretary of treasure for former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and Sachs himself was named Director of Harvard HIID that oversaw the looting of Russia through the voucher privatisation and so forth. And they got grants from the USAID, AID works very closely with the CIA in different parts of the world, this is documented. And so it was really a tight-knit cabal around Lawrence Summers that oversaw this complete theft through these pieces of paper called privatisation coupons.
And what you had was the economic situation under Yeltsin had become so severe I mean people literally they had no jobs because of the freeing up of prices, they could afford to buy little or nothing. So, most people, millions of Russians sold their privatisation vouchers on the street corners to the highest bidder. And of course the would-be oligarchs were the ones with hard currency dollars that they could buy these things up as you pointed out earlier when we talked about them. So, they had credits from their friends in the West, the Riggs Valmet and so forth to buy up these vouchers and therefore they were able when the cost came up, were able to simply steal the property titles, the ownership titles of some of the most valuable investor assets and mineral assets in the world.
LS: And we can talk about this as a classical case of leveraged buyout – even though it was a covered leveraged buyout, if it was?
FEW: Well, you could call it a leveraged buyout. I know Anne Williamson has used that term, the earlier descriptions of it. I think it was simply legalised theft, leveraged buyout gives it too much dignity. That was a term that was quite popular in the financial world back in the '80s and the early '90s. But whatever name you want to give it, it was certainly not a conventional leveraged buyout, it was bizarre in every sense of the word.
LS: An influential figure in this was mentioned by you already, George Soros. And in 1994, as you point out in your book, he was described with the following words from The Guardian in London, "Soros extraordinary role not only as the world's most successful investor but now possibly fantastically as the senior most powerful foreign influence in the whole of the former Soviet Empire, it tricks more suspicion than curiosity." What was he doing back then in Russia?
FWE: Soros was very intermittently tied with Jeffrey Sachs and the whole Harvard to become a shock therapy group and working with Lawrence Summers team at the US Treasury under Clinton. And in 1993 already the opposition inside what was left of Russia when the old communist party was in the Duma and so forth and the population generally was such that the opposition threatened to get out of hand and Yeltsin was forced to agree to hold a national referendum on the entire privatisation. So, this was in April of '93 and the referendum that was given to the population had four questions, yes or no. Do you support Yeltsin? Yes or no? Do you support Yeltsin's economic policy? Yes or no? Do you want early election for president? Yes or no? And do you want early elections for parliament? Yes or no?
So, Chubais was as an adviser to Yeltsin at that time and the key person on the economy arranged the secret meeting with George Soros. And Soros agreed to finance of course on behalf of Yeltsin, the referendum campaign. So he funnelled money over a million dollars by some accounts to offshore accounts set up to be used by Chubais to buy media. And so the media campaign and by this time most of the national media had been bought up by the oligarchs around Yeltsin so they were able to exercise undue influence. So they barely squeak through and got a yes to the privatisation scheme that Harvard, Jeffrey Sachs and George Soros and others had going on. And then of course Soros' company himself benefitted enormously from this privatisation just a little bit later when the auctions took place.
LS: A figure that connects yesterday with today is Vladimir Putin who came to international attention first in 1998, the same year when the ruble crisis took place.
FWE: This was 1999 and in August '98 you had the collapse of the ruble. This was part of the Bush "Operation Hammer's" original design. You had a huge scam going on in the GKO Russian Bond market where the interest rates were just unbelievably high. So, you had all sorts of hot money coming in, making profits and pulling it up including Soros Fund, quantum fund and so forth.
And finally, Yeltsin was getting near the end of his ability to hold this thing together. And he appointed in August '99, he appointed a young former KGB officer who served during the Cold War in East Germany named Vladimir Putin. And briefly Putin had been a deputy mayor in St. Petersburg and briefly had been the head of the successor to the KGB called FSB and the oligarchs around Putin, I've heard various Russian accounts have had this happen but Berezovsky, Brzezinski and other, the Yeltsin oligarchs thought they could take this young guy Putin and do business with him and you know that he was young and had no political base.
So, at that point Putin gave the ultimatum to Yeltsin, resign or face serious consequences and it turned out that Putin which has later been confirmed was the spokesperson for a nationalist faction within the intelligence community, a patriotic faction, call it what you want but Russian nationalist. And so Yeltsin was told, "If you resign and just get out of politics, we'll leave you alone." So he took the offer and ran. And before he did that he named Vladimir Putin as acting president until elections in March the following year.
So, Putin then came into power and called a meeting as it were of the most powerful oligarchs who had made staggering fortunes at the expense of Russia and he called them creators of a corrupt state through insider dealings and began criminal prosecution against oligarchs like Vladimir Gusinsky and Media-Most, a financial group led by Vladimir Potanin who is in the newspaper today and soon left an oil company controlled by a Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky. So, at that point Putin began the uphill battle of trying to stabilise Russia as a functioning economy. And the recent re-election of Putin indicates that the Russian people by and large support that effort of Putin's.
LS: Meanwhile he also had to react to something new that was taking place then and that was NATO was marching east.
FWE: The negotiations and this is, has been confirmed by former US Ambassador to Russia Jack Matlock and that was the negotiations between the Bush administration in 1991 Germany and Gorbachev included a solemn guarantee as Jack Matlock, Ambassador Matlock who was in Moscow in '87 until '91 in this period. He said that we gave a categorical assurance to Gorbachev when the Soviet Union still existed that if United Germany was able to stay in NATO, NATO would not move eastward. So, of course that pledge like so many pledges of Washington under Bush successor governance was honoured in the breach and the newly created National Endowment for Democracy that I write about quite a bit in the Manifest Destiny.
You had, Vin Weber was the chairman of the NED at that time and he took US taxpayer money through the NED to supposedly bring democracy into former communist states. Then Weber was also a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the neocon think tank which really shaped the personnel of George W. Bush in the year 2000 and 2001. And Vin Weber was also a lobbyist for the largest military industrial conglomerate of the US Lockheed Martin.
So, he was instrumental together with another military industrial Lockheed Martin, former Vice President for Strategy named Bruce Jackson, Bruce P. Jackson to promote back democracy in former communist countries including Russia. And they started the process of expanding NATO to the east in strict violation of the pledges that had been given back in the early '90s. So, by 2003, they had begun this whole expansion of NATO into Poland, into Hungary, all the former communist countries.
LS: And the countries at the Baltic Sea.
FWE: So, at the Baltic Sea right on the doorstep of the Russian Federation, and Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and so forth. And you began to see a very definite NATO encirclement of Russia. And then in 2003-2004, the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros' Foundation, the whole arm of the fake democracy NGOs of Washington, began to create the so called Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and also the Rose Revolution in Georgia next door. And if you look at a map, if you bring a pro NATO government into power in Ukraine, this they did under Viktor Gerashchenko in 2004, then you're presenting a pretty formidable military threat to the national security of Russia.
Now, at that time 2003, Russia was in no shape to do much more than feebly protest as loud as they could but of course they were ignored. Then you had something quite dramatic in 2006, the end of 2006. The George W. Bush administration Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defence back then announced that they were installing ballistic missile defence now I'll get to that in a minute but it's anything but defensive. In Poland, in the Czech Republic and that those anti-missile defence installations which included missiles would be aimed at a rogue nuclear attack from Iran.
In early 2007, Vladimir Putin personally came as president of Russia Federation to the Munich Security Conference, the International Security Conference held here in Munich Germany and gave a speech which really defines the security position of Russia right up to the present date. He said of course this is not aimed at Iran or North Korea as Washington says. That's a lie. It's like taking your right arm to scratch your left ear we say in Russian. It's aimed at Russia. And we consider this intolerable as a threat to our national security and we will be forced to respond.
LS: And it is aimed at Russia as a first strike possibility.
FWE: Yeah. Well, the point about the missile defence is I – in connection with the book, I interviewed, in an earlier book I wrote, I interviewed Colonel Robert Bowman who had been briefly the head of Ronald Reagan's Star Wars or missile defence programme. And became a very, very severe critic of the Bush administration's reckless policies withdrawing from the antiballistic missile ABM Treaty and so forth, said that missile defence is the missing link to Nuclear Primacy. First strike capability.
And that's something that Pentagon planners had been opting for since the 1950s. And he said, "If you can block the counterattack from your opponent and you then have this possibility to make a first strike and wipe them out because they can't simultaneously fire an effective counterstrike." So, that in a nutshell destroys the whole cold war doctrine of mutual and sure destruction that kept nuclear options off the table up until that time. And the Russians understand military strategy rather well I would say. And said, "This is simply intolerable. We have to respond and we will respond but in our own way and you will see."
LS: And the Russians have reacted.
B: The Russians have reacted, and if we can go for a minute up until the present
FEW: On March 1st Putin gave an address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow televised to the nation. The beginning part of the speech, his annual speech there, was about the Russian economy and plans for the future. This was shortly before the Russian elections that overwhelmingly gave him a new term. But the crucial part of that speech to the Federal Assembly was Russia's military technologies and this is as he put it. He referred to that 2007 speech in Munich and he said, "We said at that time that Russia would have to reply and since the expansion of NATO to the east which really to be honest that's – see there is no reason after 1991 or certainly after 2000 for the existence of NATO other than the reason given when NATO was created by the first secretary general of NATO to keep the Russians out the Germans down and the Americans in."
But Putin's speech talked about nuclear primacy and the Russian response and he outlined the military are the developments that they had quietly brought online since Washington tore up, unilaterally tore up the ABM Treaty in 2002/2003. So he outlined an awesome array of missiles, hypersonic low flying stealth missiles carrying nuclear warheads, unpredictable trajectories, invisible against perspective missile defence and air defence systems, unmanned submersible vehicles to great depth that could go many times higher than the speed of submarines cutting edge torpedoes just and commentators in the West like CNN. They said, "Oh, this is just bluff and so forth."
People who know Russian military technology and the intensity of the kind of research and development that's focused on defending the nation confirm that this is no joke. Hypersonic aircraft five times the speed of sound, that's hypersonic and they have something called the [unclear] which goes 10 times mark 10 and as Putin described it, "This missile flying 10 times faster than sound can manoeuvre in all phases of the flight trajectory, overcome all prospective and aircraft county missile defences in a range of 2000 kilometres."
He outlined about six or seven of these I would call them not even cutting edge, bleeding edge military technology and as The Saker commented in his blogpost after the speech, it's indeed set marching game over for the empire. There's no more military option against Russia.
This all is to make a point that the entire history up until now, these fake accusations of Putin would have an interest or Russia would have an interest to meddle with the US elections when you have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to accuse Putin and Russia of international violations of law by allowing a referendum to take place in Crimea after the CIA coup d'etat in Kiev and now it's come out from actual mercenary snipers that were brought in from Georgia under [#inaudible 00:55:08-0#] umbrella that they were paid by the CIA or promised to be paid by cut outs to the CIA to create the Maidan Square February 2014 chaos that led to the collapse of the government and the coup d'etat.
So, you know, this is not Russia is the arch Evel Knievel looking for a fight every corner of the world. It's not Russia doing bad things in Syria. It's Russia trying to stop a NATO and Saudi and other embedded destruction of the Middle East and create some kind of peace and stability. And anyone modest to take the slightest bit of care and follow this, they can read a running commentary on my website williamengdahl.com but not only there, it's all over the place. You realise that the fake media is the media that dominates and is guided by NATO public relations strategy in the West and it's not the so called critical media that's being sanctioned and censored right now.
LS: Let's talk further about the present, William, by closing one circle of our interview. As we've discussed the Russian gold vaults were empty since the early 1990s. This has changed since basically the financial crisis broke out in 2007, 2008, 2009. Since then the Russian Central Bank is buying gold like basically no other nation in a very rapid tempo.
FWE: Since the financial crisis and especially since the opposition of sanctions after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, it's been the policy of the Russian Central Bank and the Russian Federation to buy as much gold for reserves of the ruble as they can get their hands on. And they are now I think number five or number six in the world in terms of gold reserves and correct me if I'm wrong but just slightly behind the people's republic of China which has also been vigorously adding gold towards Central Bank reserves for the yuan.
So, what Russia is doing is creating a buffer gold, by the way in my view has never ceased being an object of value to stand behind currencies. If you have currencies like the dollar after all this 1971 when Nixon took the dollar off the bread and wood, gold exchange [unclear], then if you have a military you might or manipulate the oil price petrodollar and so forth, you can create money if you have the reserve currency you can create money without them. So what the Russia is doing is creating a security in terms of its currency and now that security is probably going to be tested by the economic warfare division of the US Treasury in these new sanctions.
But Russia is merging together with China. Interestingly enough after 2014 when the CIA coup d'etat Ukraine took place, Putin responded not by getting bogged down in the destructive war inside the Eastern Ukraine but he responded by turning east, strengthening his relationships with China, with the new president of China then Xi Jinping bringing the Asian economic Union which Russia is the leading economy in, together with Belarus and Kazakhstan, Armenia and others, bringing that in a coherence with Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative One Belt, One Road to link the infrastructure, the energy pipelines, the high-speed rail networks, the deep water ports and so forth to create a Eurasian, some people call it the land bridge but it's an economic space in Eurasia that would have the majority of the world's population, would have every raw material resource that the world needs including rare earth metals that China is world's leading supplier of at the moment.
And Russia has vast oil and gas reserves and military technology, civilian technology, an educated labour force that is probably one of the finest in the world and scientific country and so forth. And independent of the bankrupt economies of Britain and the United States and very rapidly of the European Union where this banking crisis has, since the crisis of 2008 has just been swept under the rug but it's ready to explode on a moment's notice. So, you have a depth loaded western NATO world. Let's call it a NATO world, a world of the NATO member countries and you have Russia together, which by the way, Russia has unbelievably small
FWE: National debt.
FWE: Something like 13 to 17% of the gross domestic product.
LS: And now they have this huge stock of gold relative to very little sovereign debt. It's almost ideal.
FWE: Yes, and that's by design. That is by Putin's intention to create this independence. And one thing, I am very often in Russia, have a very, very dear special friends in Russia over the years, the first time I was there was 1994. That was a vastly different, that was in the middle of the Yeltsin and the insanity. The Russians are very not only proud people but they are very determined and they protect their existence and have done that I would say for well over 1000 years going back to the great schism between the Western church in Rome and the Eastern Church in 1054. I think that was a pivotal date in modern history, the division there.
But certainly the Russians have gone through two World Wars and the rape of Russia under Yeltsin, unbelievable trials and tribulations and they are not shying away from defending their existence. That's something I think the west or certainly Washington with these neocons really doesn't have a sense of.
LS: One thing that I would like to ask you about as my final question is the following. You are a renowned expert for the geopolitics and the history of oil. And since this month we have a future's contract in Shanghai, denominated in yuan for oil and we also hear that the Chinese are planning to price oil that they import in yuan which is safe for this buying of oil internationally via yuan, Russia would be the candidate number one as the exporter?
FWE: Definitely. Most definitely and Russia and China are connecting their financial markets ever closer. The Russian government is the in the process sometime this year of issuing Russian bonds denominated new Chinese yuan. The announcing of the petrol yuan, the oil futures contracts being sold in Shanghai, ultimately it won't happen overnight but it's certainly off to a positive start in the marketing acceptance. That has the basis for taking oil sales.
Let's step back a moment to the 1970s and I document this at length in two of my books, Myths, Lies and Oil Wars and A Century of War. In the early 1970s when Nixon took the dollar off of gold, the dollar relative to the German mark and the Japanese yen dropped like a stone, something like 40% over a period of five or six months. And in order to stop that because the New York Banks were hurting quite a bit from that, there was a oil price shock that was orchestrated. I won't go into the details it's documented quite extensively in those two books of mine.
LS: And Sheikh Yamani had said something about this, too.
FWE: Yes. He invited me after reading my book to his annual energy retreat in London in 2000, September 2000. And then called me to a private dinner discussion at his home outside of London to talk about what I wrote about in the book. And he later went on CNN on an interview and mentioned my book by name. In the written transcript it's in there and in the television version they spliced it out so that you couldn't realise that it'd been in there. But Sheikh Yamani told me you are the first journalist or the first person outside of myself that writes correctly what happened with that oil shock. And that was manipulated by among others Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State and by a group in the Atlantic establishment called the Bilderberg meeting in Saltsjöbaden, Sweden back in May of that period before the Yom Kippur War.
In any case, the US circles around Rockefeller, who at that point was the chairman of the board of USA Incorporated, I would say. They had engineered a 400% price rise in oil and to make sure that Germany and Japan and other countries wouldn't make deals to buy oil in German mark but keep the dollar demand high and the dollar value high. They send a delegation from the US Treasury to sign an agreement with the Saudi Arabian monetary agency for a new relationship taking surplus Saudi petrodollars or OPEC petrodollars and buying US government debt.
LS: Yeah, and outside of the normal auction to privileged conditions.
FWE: Yes. In return, Washington agreed to give the Saudis tens and billions of dollars of defence equipment.
LS: Yeah, and Saudi Arabia would use its status as a swing producer in OPEC that it would only accept dollars as a pricing for oil.
FEW: And the quid pro quo was after 1975, this was formalised that Saudis would as swing producer in OPEC guarantee that OPEC sold its oil only in dollars and that held up until the time of Saddam Hussein during the sanctions shortly before the US invasion and Saddam Hussein began buying oil through a French bank denominated in Euros and not in dollars.
LS: And he made a plus, he made a net plus because he did sell his oil in Euro.
FWE: Yeah, yeah. And so this, what that has done up until the present is prop up the US dollars despite the fact that the internal industrial economy import activity of the United States went down the tubes over the past 40 years since the taking the dollar off of gold and the, putting of English dollars for the world economy. So, the idea than China and Russia would trade in energy and that other economies would begin to sell oil to China, Iran for example is a prime candidate in the petro yuan not in petrodollars, this began slowly like acid drops begins to erode the reserve currency status of the US dollar. And if that goes, it's end game for the US as a financial global power.
LS: We have to make clear to our audience. The fact that you have to buy oil in dollar makes sure that you need dollar, that you acquire dollar in order to buy oil.
LS: And so if this mechanism goes, well then the US has a problem because the dollars that are floating around internationally would find their way back into the homeland of the US.
FWE: Well, the other thing is that in order to sell now you have under this wonderful Trumponomics as I call it, you have projections that the US annual government deficit, shortage of tax income from tax outgo, spending outgo will by 2020 exceed one trillion dollars a year for every year as far as the eye can see. And by end of 2020, 2028 I think was figured by the congressional budget office, the US public debt is estimated to be well over $33 trillion, it's 20 now, 38 maybe, it's just out of control. So, if the ability of the US dollar to command use in the world economy is severely undermined, you're going to have to raise interest rates so high to sell this debt and it just becomes dysfunctional.
LS: Yes, but you have already in the last few years interest rates payments on this already existing that of per annum $400 billion.
LS: And if interest rates go up
FWE: Yeah and that was under zero interest rates, but now, you know, if they have to put up interest rates to five, six, seven, 8% like it was in the 1980s. the whole thing just blows up sky high.
LS: And so coming back to gold, gold has the advantage relative to bonds or shares or the US dollar or other Fiat currencies that there is no counterparty risk. If you have the gold in physical form, there is no counterparty risk.
LS: So would you say that gold will be one of the ultimate winners of the ongoing financial crisis when it goes into full gear?
FWE: Well, it's documented that J. P. Morgan, Chase and other select banks with this collusion of the Federal Reserve have been artificially depressing the price of gold for years. Every time there's a new financial crisis, they intervene and keep gold within a very tight range. At a certain point that's not going to work anymore and then some people estimate to follow the gold markets much more than I do but it could quickly go up to $10,000 an ounce or even beyond that.
Be that as it may, gold as you point out has no counterparty risk and it's a historic store of value. It's one of the beautiful commodities out there and it has a special – the other just being special significance economically and historically, the other thing is that China is the number one mining producer of gold in the world today, not South Africa. South Africa has fallen far behind
LS: Yeah, and Russia is number three.
FWE: Russia is number three.
LS: And a lot of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are producers or are buying gold.
FWE: At the rail connections of the circle of the China Belt Road Initiative in part are aiming to go in the areas where there are known gold reserves but no infrastructure during the Soviet era to bring that gold down to market. So, we have an extremely fascinating prospect, not just for China and Russia, for the world really to build up instead of tear down, destroy and burn and bankrupt which is the only policy that Washington seems able to follow these days.
LS: Yeah. To sum it up with a famous Chinese proverb. "May you live in interesting times" – you and all the others.
FWE: We certainly do.
LS: Okay. great. Thank you very much, William, for this interview.
FWE: Thank you, Lars.
Omega • a day ago ,Fraser • a day ago ,
1. Operation Hammer:In 1989 President George H. W. Bush began the multi-billion dollar Project Hammer program using an investment strategy to bring about the economic destruction of the Soviet Union including the theft of the Soviet treasury, the destabilization of the ruble, funding a KGB coup against Gorbachev in August 1991 and the seizure of major energy and munitions industries in the Soviet Union.
Those resources would subsequently be turned over to international bankers and corporations. On November 1, 2001, the second operative in the Bush regime, President George W. Bush, issued Executive Order 13233 on the basis of "national security" and concealed the records of past presidents, especially his father's spurious activities during 1990 and 1991.
2. Why can't Putin touch Yeltsinist oligarchs:Yeltsin's oligarchs remained as rich as they were; Yeltsin's family still possesses immense riches. And Putin does not dare to touch them. He goes hat in hand to open a Yeltsin's Memorial Centre; he is courteous with Yeltsin's widow and daughter. Putin's establishment cautiously avoided celebration, or even mention of the Revolution centenary, in keeping with Yeltsin's anticommunism. This is the Deal.
https://www.unz.com/ishamir...Guy Fraser • a day ago ,
Given the depth of the fall, the rise (under Putin) has been remarkable.Tommy Jensen • a day ago ,
The rise has been astounding and all because they have a leader that can't be bought , not corrupt and loves his country. That is why he literally was swept in in the last election. The Western leaders will not admit it but I am sure they are terribly envious .Nicole Temple • a day ago ,
Very good article to bring to RI also.
It open eyes on how the West political elite are a criminal rotten cancer syndicate and Georg Bush Sr. shows up to be even worse than the disgusting profile he already has in media and Georg Soros bad reputation gets confirmed.
No police or court are available to take this out. We only have John Connor or The One to count on.Play Hide
Choice is the problem now. We will have to make a choice.Guy • a day ago ,
The photo of Yeltsin and Clinton that accompanies this article should remind readers of this story:
There is something rotten in Washington and it has been in existence for decades.Jimi Thompson • a day ago ,
Great interview .William Engdahl is a very knowledgeable person. I have read a few of his books. Superb in my view.
Quite a few unknown tidbits for me in all of this... very eye-opening even for someone that is aware of the games being played at the higher levels.
To imagine all of what remains unknown, including many of the players, leaves much to the imagination.
Apr 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
David Habakkuk , 4 years agorkka, kao_hsien_chih
I broadly agree with rkka's last comment.
Another point may be worth bringing into the discussion. One thing that Oxford University does rather well nowadays, perhaps ironically, is mafia studies – they have two splendid Italian professors, Diego Gambetta and Federico Varese. As the latter put it in his 2011 study 'Mafias on the Move':
'A relatively recent body of research has shown that mafias emerge in societies that are undergoing a sudden and late transition to a market economy, lack a legal structure that reliably protects property rights or settles business disputes, and have a supply of people trained in violence who become unemployed at this specific juncture.'
An interesting feature of this work is that a great deal of it is really an application of 'rational choice' theory. Applied in the conditions of the Soviet Union in the Nineties, 'shock therapy' actually created pressing 'rational' incentives leading to extensive criminalisation.
If property rights cannot be protected by an effective state, they will be protected by private enterprise – which means mafias. And if at the same time a vast military, intelligence and internal security apparatus is being demobilised, some of its members have the strongest incentives to join mafias.
Some kind of reconstruction of the Russian state – and also of Russian patriotism – was clearly necessary if large parts of Eurasia were not to be permanently locked in a state of criminalised anarchy.
People can legitimately disagree about the merits and demerits of Putin's approaches, and the interpenetration between organised crime, supposedly 'legitimate' business and politics continues to be a massive problem.
However, any argument based upon the belief Russia was 'on the right lines' in the Yeltsin years quite patently makes it impossible to understand what the possibilities are in the country today – in particular as, precisely as rkka says, it leads to the conclusion that Putin's supporters are suffering from a massive case of 'false consciousness'.
rkka , 4 years agokao_hsien_chih, 4 years ago"Of course, this means that we know nothing of what Putin has managed to accomplish in Russia, beyond the fact that we apparently aren't supposed to like him much, or understand why he enjoys the kind of support that he apparently does."
Exactly. In the '90s, oligarchs felt no need to pay wages to workers or taxes to the government, preferring to offshore every kopek they could get their hands on. Hence, workers suffered and the government was bankrupt.
And the FreeMarketReformers were fine with this.
When Putin arrived, he offered the oligarchs a deal: Keep your swag from the '90s, but behave from this point on. Most took him up on it. Several refused and tried to do as they had before. And when these were exiled or jailed, the Angosphere Foreign Policy Elite and Punditocracy (AFPE&P) howled with outrage at Putin 'violating their human rights'
However, the Russian people know by their own experience that they now live far better than they did while FreeMarketReformers were running the place. This is the simple reason Putin is popular with Russians. The AFPE&P say its because the Russian government dominates Russian media and propagandizes the ignorant masses. The AFPE&P lie about this, from both ignorance and malice.USG is clearly out of date by at least a decade and a half, or more likely, two or more, when it comes to Russia. After all, isn't that when we supposedly "won" the Cold War? If my speculation is right and no serious Russia experts came near the loci of power in USG since then, I shudder to think how out of date our information about the rest of the world (besides Russia and its surroundings) are.
Of course, this means that we know nothing of what Putin has managed to accomplish in Russia, beyond the fact that we apparently aren't supposed to like him much, or understand why he enjoys the kind of support that he apparently does.
David Habakkuk , 4 years agokao_hsien_chih,
I would absolutely agree with everything you write.
Some tentative thoughts in response.
In relation to British imperial experience, it may be relevant that the distinctive nature of Indian society, both the religious issues involved and the critical issue of caste, facilitated imperial control over a population which was not simply 'primitive' in the way that was the case in, for instance, most of Africa.
But 'divide et impera' can only be practised on the basis of understanding. Moreover, there were clear penalties for obtuseness, as we discovered in 1857.
What is bizarre now is the c ombination of an unreal sense of danger relating to non-existent or grossly exaggerated threats, with a lack of any sense of danger relating to our current practice of making actually or potentially unstable areas of the world even more unstable (pushing Humpty-Dumpty off the wall, one might call it.)
- As regards alien cultures, it is certainly not necessary either to agree with or to 'respect' them. What however strikes me is the apparent marginalisation of a sense of interest – which I think has catastrophic consequences for intelligence.
An example from British intelligence history may be to the point. The unit in MI6 which handled the material from Enigma relating to the Abwehr, the German intelligence service, was headed by Hugh Trevor-Roper. A classicist turned historian of early modern Europe – and a strange, feline creature – his response to the chaos of the time was to identify strongly with an eighteenth-century Enlightenment tradition.
But he made sense of the accumulating evidence about the nature of the Nazi regime through a perspective shaped by a tradition of interpretation of despotism going back through Gibbon to Tacitus, and knowledge of millenarian and apocalyptic cults in early modern Europe.
Doing so enabled him to see something which both Roosevelt and Churchill failed to grasp – that the view of the Second World War as a continuation of its predecessor, and the enemy as 'Prussianism', was at best a half-truth, and a dangerous one at best, obscuring the radical gulf in attitudes between the nihilistic millenarians of the 'Sicherheitsdienst' and the German General Staff.
One of the most fascinating counterfactuals of the war is what might have happened had Trevor-Roper's attempts to get the British to respond to the overtures from the Abwehr chief Admiral Canaris born fruit.
Apr 02, 2018 | russia-insider.com
- BaBa • 9 hours ago ,
"Anders Aslund's deep knowledge of Eastern European politics"
During the 1990's in Russia the illusions of Mr. Aslund and others facilitated the transcendence of the "Soviet Union" by the Russian Federation.
It appears that Mr. Aslund continues to serve a useful purpose.
It was decided in the 1990's not to thank Mr. Aslund, Mr. Sachs and others for their complicity since such was deemed to be indelicate, so perhaps now this should be rectified.
Mar 14, 2018 | www.unz.com
MEFOBILLS , March 14, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT@DESERT FOX
God bless Putin and Russia for standing against the Zionist NWO
You are correct Desert Fox. The prime variable in history is economics. Economics before politics and before war.
Our illuminist friends manipulate the strings of international bank capital for their one world government. In effect, the West has been infested with a tiny cadre of plutocrats, who operate a usury mechanism to extract wealth from host peoples and nations.
Russia was to be broken up into parts. ((Harvard boys)) came to the 'rescue" and privatized Russia with various schemes, the most important of which was to saddle Russian's with "dollar" debts. Russians as hewers of wood and drawers of water, were to sell their "earth" in exchange for finished dollar priced goods. Middle Class Russian labor is then cut out of wealth production inherent in making finished goods. For example, Russian platinum is used to make high value catalytic converters elsewhere, while only a few Russian's get wealthy (in dollar terms) by poking holes in Russian land to extract minerals. Former Russian nuclear scientists walk around drunk as they are not fit for being good labor to extract oil, platinum, etc.
In effect, our ((friends)) turned Russia into African economy, never mind that Russian's aren't African's. This desire to rape and pillage the earth, to then take rents on the world, to then think of yourselves as god (note a little g) is a sophisticated, yet criminally insane method akin to parasitism.
Russian's were infested by parasites, and yet Russian people as hosts have become stronger year on year, to eject their parasite. Putin was instrumental in this transformation.
All nationalist economies in the past, which had the temerity to eject these parasites have come under attack. I'm thinking Nazi Germany as well – oh the horror. This economic attack is often under the guise of liberalism, which has a knock on effect of breaking down civil society. In other words, liberalism is a symptom of parasitic financial oligarchy (and illuminism) a control method to make a host weak, to then be re-colonized.
Russia DOES need to take full control of its Central Bank and eject its fifth columnists (atlantacists), a final act that hasn't been done yet. On this point, it is factual and fair to criticize Putin, because once Russian's have their own money power, they can accelerate even faster. http://www.sovereignmoney.eu
Part 3 - A False Promise
This 'Washington Consensus' is the false promise promoted by the West. The reality is quite different. The crux of neoliberalism is to eliminate democratic government by downsizing, privatizing, and deregulating it. Proponents of neoliberalism recognize that the state is the last bulwark of protection for the common people against the predations of capital. Remove the state and they'll be left defenseless .
Think about it. Deregulation eliminates the laws. Downsizing eliminates departments and their funding. Privatizing eliminates the very purpose of the state by having the private sector take over its traditional responsibilities.
Ultimately, nation-states would dissolve except perhaps for armies and tax systems. A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism.
Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged.
The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy.
What matters to the one percent and the media conglomerates that disseminate their worldview is that the official definitions are accepted by the masses. The real effects need never be known. The neoliberal ideology (theory) thus conceals the neoliberal reality (practice). And for the masses to accept it, it must be mass produced. Then it becomes more or less invisible by virtue of its universality.
[ 1 ] [ 2 ]
Mar 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Mark Logan , 10 March 2018 at 02:05 PMMy understanding is Fusion GPS does research for both sides. Soros giving them money is entirely plausible but assuming that money equals control is a bit of a leap.likbez said in reply to Mark Logan... , 10 March 2018 at 03:43 PM
It appears to be some Russians seeking to discredit the investigation with clever BS/truthiness.
I suspect a few absurdly wealthy Russians harbor a deep fear of Mueller. They may believe he is primarily after them and they may be right. I see Mueller as an old-school lawman, and suspect he is using all this as a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters, particularly in their money laundering. It would not surprise me if he hopes he will not be forced to nail Trump himself to the wall, which would drag all kinds of political noise into the trials, some of the people around Trump will be bad enough. Using some of them, at least for the moment, is unavoidable, it's the politics is the source of his mission and resources.
If only our press had the bandwidth necessary to distinguish those few Russians from ALL Russians..."I suspect a few absurdly wealthy Russians harbor a deep fear of Mueller."
"I see Mueller as an old-school lawman, and suspect he is using all this as a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters"
Thank you ! You have such a refreshing level of naivety that I really enjoyed your posts.
How one in his sound mind can call Mueller "an old-school lawman" if one remember Mueller's role in 9/11 and anthrax investigations.
And FYI those "absurdly wealthy Russians" represents the US fifth column in Russia (as guarantors and protectors of neoliberalism in Russia; Google such a name as Chubais https://www.rusjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Yeltsin_Putin.pdf ) and to destroy them might not be in best USA interests. Moreover, such a move actually will be do Putin a huge favor, strengthening his hand.
As for "a golden opportunity to put the hurt on some Russian mobsters" the danger of such a brilliant move is to reveal criminal connections with Russian oligarchs (and financial oligarchs in general as you never know where the oligarch ends and the mafia boss starts) and the Democratic Party.
Just think about who can go down with Trump is such a case. It's not only Bill and Hillary. It is also a very dangerous thing to open this can of worms as "the people" might learn something that neoliberal elite does not want them to know -- specifically the USA and intelligence agencies role in creating Russian mafia and oligarchs after the dissolution of the USSR. Do you, by any chance, know such a name as Andrei Shleifer and such a term as "Harvard Mafia" ? Please Google those if you do not.
FYI Bill Clinton took a huge bribe in the form of speech fee from people very close to "Russian Mobsters" (organized crime figures should probably more correctly be called "the informal neoliberals" ;-)
There was an interesting discussion in Quora in 2016 on this topic:
Mar 10, 2018 | www.rusjournal.org
From Yeltsin to Putin: Chubais, Liberal Pathology, and Harvard's Criminal Record
Matthew Raphael JohnsonJohnstown, PAWhen the USSR collapsed in 1990-1991, Gorbachev was incapable of handling thesituation. Boris Yeltsin came to power both bureaucratically and popularly. He was named theChief of the Presidium, but in June of 1991, he was elected in a popular election where heearned 57% of the popular vote.
With a small army of American advisers, Yeltsin began selling off Soviet era assets.The problem was that the process had nothing to do with markets. Privatization of assets wentto a handful of well-connected politicians and bureaucrats who came to control the economyas a whole.1 They had amassed a huge number of shares by 1995, and hence, the post-Sovietoligarchy was born. The fact is that the work of 70 years of Soviet labor went to the pocketsof two or three dozen people.2
The rising oligarchs could easily manipulate the court system and tax police, sincethere was no real law governing private enterprise. Russia was led to the brink of anarchy. By1998, according to a paper by Sergei Guriev and Andrei Rachinsky, the oligarchs comprisedabout 700 individuals that completely controlled Russia's economic assets.3
The Western Elites and the Ivy League as a Criminal SyndicateIn NS Leonov's book (only in Russian), The Way of the Cross: Russia from 1991-2000, he states, as the first "reform" of Yeltsin's government :
Government "reforms" that began Gaidar's privatization scam was the seizure of the savings of the people. These were taken by force, though not directly. Inflation and economic collapse made the transfer of funds easy. State control was removed from prices and the "free market" would ensure the enrichment of corruption. This was the level of cynicism the new democracy had reached, while simultaneously preaching the sanctity of private property. What did not melt away in the deliberate fleecing of the people was taken by other means. An estimate of the total taken thisway is about 300 billion rubles, and it had the proper effect: without money, rebellion was difficult. They cried out in frustration.4
Nothing was done according to democratic norms, which is odd since democracy was the buzzword that made these economic decisions seem political. At almost no time in the history of the USSR did one man, Chubais and his allies, have such total and irresponsible control over the Russian economy. When the voucher program was introduced in 1992, massive inflation resulted. Soon, each 10,000 ruble voucher was worth very little. It was rendered null regardless, since the state refused to consider the vouchers as legal tender.
1 Hoffman, D. The Oligarchs: Wealth And Power In The New Russia. Public Affairs Books, 2011 (cf esp ch12).
2 Kotz, D.M. Russia's Financial Crisis: The Failure of Neoliberalism? Z Magazine, (1998), 28-32
3 Guriev, S. and Andrei Rachinsky. The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism. Journal of EconomicPerspectives, 19(1), (2005), 131-150 http://pages.nes.ru/sguriev/papers/GurievRachinsky.pdf
4 Leonov, NS. The Way of the Cross: Russia from 1991-2000. Moscow: Russia House, 2002 (All citations aremy translations from the Russian.
Making the entire scam even more blatant, Chubais inserted a rider to the law stating that the value of the voucher would only exist until late 1993. In 1992, Yeltsin's popularity went from 50% in January to 30% in August, and from there to single digits.
By July of 1992, Chubais was hated. This led Yeltsin to limit the power of parliament, increase his executive power and totally dominate the regions. This was done with western backing and was a far greater centralization of power than Putin was later to be condemned for. He had already banned the Communist Party, helping to break his main opposition and prevent their imminent reelection in Parliament. The fraud of democracy was clearly open.
Soon Chubais and his crew stated that there was no benchmark value for any sold property. The institution in charge of this, the Russian Federal Property Fund and related agencies, therefore, began from arbitrary benchmarks. Ultimately, major firms were being sold for 1-5% of their value. Worse, some of these were defense plants, bought up by shallcompanies operates by the CIA – this was Hay's job. Therefore, scientific advances of the USSR were now entirely in American hands.
In 1992, Yeltsin did fairly well in a referendum, receiving about 50% approval, but at this date, privatization had just begun. Elections a bit later were to belie this vote. Yeltsin himself clearly had no confidence in this referendum. Having no confidence in that vote, Yeltsin then, again with western backing, banned all opposition protests in Moscow. Then, making matters worse, he signed order 1400 in September of 1993 which stripped the Congress of People's Deputies of all power. For the upcoming elections, Yeltsin passed a law saying that only 25% of voters needed to show for it to be valid. This was a means of making sure that opposition boycotts could not win. Yeltsin soon after banned the main opposition newspaper.
Russia's privatization scam was created, directed and imposed by Harvard University and carried out by two "professors" whose incompetence is rivaled only by their lack of accountability. Anatoly Chubais, probably the most hated man in Russia, was an old friend of Harvard "economist" Andrei Shleifer, who was also working with Harvard don Jonathan Hay (who according to the FSB, is CIA). Chubais, functioning as a Russian dictator since Yeltsin was not functional at the time, put the privatization scheme into Harvard's hands. Apparently having no workable knowledge of Russian life, the Harvard elite, believing themselves infallible, quickly proved their theories not only false, but directly responsible for ruining thelives of millions.5
1994-1995 was the period of the solidification of the oligarchic clans, their connection with the United States, and the complete collapse of the state. Oligarchic clans, created by Chubais, filled the vacuum with private armies, political machines and newspapers. In the US, conservative and liberal alike called this the "free market" and democracy. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, of Jewish origin and endlessly changing political positions, became the government's ace in the hole: whenever the US questioned the increasingly obvious destruction of Russia, Yeltsin would trot this clown out to make some typically outrageous statement. In 1995, it was clear that Zhirinovsky both "loved Hitler" and was "proud" of Russia's victory in the Great Patriotic War. Clearly in the pocket of Yeltsin, Zhirinovsky a)kept US aid money coming into his efforts, b) siphoned off serious criticism, c) easily associated nationalist views with this kind of rhetorical nonsense.
Chubais continued to hang onto power. Not being a Russian citizen (and yet having all that power), he clearly equated the oligarchic clans as "democracy." In Davos, 1996, he met with the heads of all the clans including Guzinsky, Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Friedman, Potanin and many others, and formed a political movement designed to keep nationalist and communists out of power.
5 McClintick, D. How Harvard Lost Russia. Institutional Investor, 2006. http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article/1020662/How-Harvard-lost-Russia.html?ArticleId=1020662&single=true#.UY7blLWG2So
This move shows that Chubais backed the oligarchs, did not consider them "unintended consequences" and sought their assistance to stay in power: All in the name of democracy.
Yeltsin, now at 3% (with the same margin of error) began to implement populist measures, but now was isolated. Winning a strangely high 33% of the vote in the 1996 elections, it can only be attributed to a) electoral fraud, or b) the fact that Gen. Alexander Lebed had been talked into entering a sort of coalition with Yeltsin. If they won, then Lebed's rival Pavel Grachev, would be history. Yeltsin won the second round with just over 50%, as the oligarchs and Chubais personally spend a small fortune bribing artists, journalists, writers and, making an even worse mockery of democracy, busing thousands of urban youth into Moscow to ensure their support.
Harvard's Sinister RoleHarvard University spent quite a bit of its money to restructure Russia. The US government sued some of them, specifically, Andrei Shleifer, for breach of contract. Many economists from Harvard worked for the State Department so as to be able to control Russia for the better. The fraud of the Russian economy was in part blamed on these advisers, whowere forced to pay more than $31 million to the US government for "conspiracy to defraud."
Harvard had authored the plan that Gorbachev had requested to turn Russia into a capitalist state. This was the plan that was enacted. The Harvard Institute for International Development in Russia was the group created at Harvard and sponsored by the US government. This is what was sued over. The US government argued that the reform program was a failure, and the planners, living in America, knew it was a failure and continued to defend it – with taxpayer money. Even worse, as it turns out, Shleifer was rigging some of the auctions himself, investing his own money in firms that he knew would turn a profit, even if overseas.
The US Justice Department in 2000 sued, among others, Shleifer and Hay for defrauding the US government. The Justice Department stated:
The United States alleges that Defendants' actions undercut the fundamental purpose of the United States' program in Russia -- the creation of trust and confidence in the emerging Russian financial markets and the promotion of openness, transparency, the rule of law, and fair play in the development of theRussian economy and laws.6
Since they were using $40 million in taxpayer money, the cold-blooded desolation of Russia implicated the US. The civil lawsuit argued, to simplify, that Harvard's economists, especially Shleifer (and his wife), was investing taxpayer money in Russian companies about which they were giving financial advice. Harvard admitted guilt in the form of a $25 million settlement. How much of this assisted their victims in Russia is not known.7
In response to the suit, lawyers for Shleifer and his co-conspirator, Jonathan Hay, sneered to the press: "We are confident that, as the civil case unfolds, the court will confirm that the Harvard program significantly fostered Russian reform and that the government received its money's worth." As it turns out, even their lawyers did not believe this, since their defense rested, not on the denial that conflict of interest existed, but that they were never bound by such ethical rules.8
6 "United States of America, Plaintiff v. the President and Fellows of Harvard College, Andrei Shleifer, Jonathan Hay, Nancy Zimmerman, and Elizabeth Hebert, Defendants" (2000)
7 His crimes and the full nature of the lawsuit and evidence can be found here: Wedel, J. Who Taught CronyCapitalism to Russia? How Harvard and the 'U.S. Government's Aid Agency became part of the RussianProblem. The Wall Street Journal Europe, March 19, 2001
In 2005, a federal judge found Shleifer guilty of professional fraud. The disgraced "professor" paid the US government $2 million, and his wife, operating yet another scam, settled out of court for $1.5 million. Harvard paid about $10 million in legal fees to defend their role in the starvation of Russia.9
For all that, Shleifer remains a celebrated professor at Harvard and the toast of academia worldwide. His academic stock has not suffered in theleast from this. Just as puzzling, Harvard suffered no diminution in prestige. This is especially puzzling in that ivy league scandals erupt seemingly on a daily basis. This Teflon world exists partly due to the protection of former Harvard President, World Bank economist and Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, also a pivotal figure in the Russian fiasco.10
Summers is partly to blame for the American sub-prime mortgage disaster since hewas pivotal in removing many of the regulatory barriers that forbade predatory lendingpractices. Therefore, the execrable Summers is the co-author of not one but two national meltdowns. Summers, after being forced to resign from Harvard based on an unrelated set of sins,11 was quickly rehired as a "professor" by the government. Then, Summers became a leading figure in Obama's economic brain trust, was soon after appointed as part of the "oversight"panel for the UN's economic programs and became a member of the Group of 30, a highlyelite and secretive organization created by the Rockefeller family.
Like Summers and Shleifer, Chubais was also handsomely rewarded for his direct role in the Russian cataclysm. He was soon placed on the board of JP Morgan, and, to no one's surprise, was granted a seat on the ultra-elite Council on Foreign Relations, another powerful conclave within the Rockefeller cult.12
Summer's career, his almost comic legacy of failure and ignorance, and the criminal impoverishment of Russia (not to mention the 2007 US meltdown) wholly destroy the "elitestatus" of places like Harvard.13 This set of scandals, largely unknown to a bewildered and exhausted American public, shows the profound and pervasive putrescence of academia, especially in the Ivy leagues. It brought into question academic tenure, unearned salaries, and the famed academic insulation from consequences arising from their theories. The Harvard civil suit and all it entails demonstrates the incompetence of those paid to implement policy and their ability to get their hands on taxpayer money. It shows a reprehensible and reckless disregard for the welfare of others that is rewarded with academic posts, social prestige, ostentatious wealth and immense power.
It might be worth mentioning that the behavior patters of Chubais conforms almost perfectly to the Triarchic diagnostic model of psychopathy as developed by Skeem, et al in 2011. First, it is typified by a pathological arrogance. The victim has full confidence that he is above the law, or that the law only applies to others. Second, the victim shows an impulsive and anti-social temper that focuses only on short term gratification based on the lowest motives. Because of these two symptoms, the victim either does not perceive or does not have any restraints on his destructive behavior. Finally, and most significantly, the victim feels no remorse for the consequences of his actions. Other criteria related to these includeparasitic behavior, superficial charm, grandiosity, ingenious criminal ideas, and assertive narcissism.14 Yeltsin, quoted in Leonov's book, called Chubais "an absolute Bolshevik by temperament and mentality." The basic consensus about Chubais' behavior is that he cared little for construction, and only for destruction.
8 Seward, Z. Harvard To Pay $26.5 Million in HIID Settlement. Crimson, July 20059 The guilty verdict and settlement issues are summarized in the Crimson article above.
10 Finucane, M "Feds Sue Harvard over Russia Advisers." ABD News; also see Wedel, Janine R. The HarvardBoys Do Russia. The Nation, 2008; and "Larry Summers, Robert Rubin: Will The Harvard Shadow EliteBankrupt The University And The Country?" The Huffington Post, Jan 2010: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harry-r-lewis/larry-summers-robert-rubi_b_419224.html
11 These had something to do with comments about intellectual differences between men and women. That this contrived controversy erupted just as Harvard was paying off the federal government is no coincidence.
12 Levy, Ari. Summers Joins Andreessen Horowitz as a Part-Time Adviser to Entrepreneurs. Bloomberg, June2011 and Greenwald, Glenn. Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and Wall Street's ownership of government.Salon, 2009
13 As far as ivy league fraud and incompetence go, this is just one scandal out of hundreds.
The political lesson of this is unfortunate: the diagnostic criteria for criminal psychopathy are precisely the qualities required for success in big business and government. Even the best intentioned politician or businessman must display some combination of thesevices in order to successfully compete in these fields. What passes as virtue in libera lcapitalism is actually an undisguised form of mental illness.
Leonov speaks in more detail about his pathology:
Evil lurks in Chubais' colorless eyes. He arrogantly uses his supporters in public. Assertiveness and phony composure is his cynical way. Yeltsin was seen by him as merely manageable. Yeltsin was easy to manipulate due to his unpopularity. He did not have the intellectual wherewithal to fight back. He was compliant and signed anything on cue. He saw the Duma as mere formalism that can be bypassed. In reality, he just relied on Presidential decrees.
Of course, all of this in the name of democracy. Rather than deal with the fallout for the sins of others, Yeltsin did one excellent thing for Russia – appointed Vladimir Putin astemporary president on new year's eve, 1999. As was proper, Putin guaranteed Yeltsin immunity from prosecution, which meant he could no longer be used as a scapegoat. Putin, to make a long story very short, brought Russia from a GDP that was 98th in the world to 2014,where it is 8th. For the period 1991-1997, the transfer of wealth from Russia to the oligarchs was roughly $1.75 trillion. This was not "lost" to Russia, since wealth is not "lost." It merely changed hands. Under Chubais and Harvard, the economic contracted by almost 90%.
For all that, Yeltsin's party received 15% of the vote. With instructions from the US, Yeltsin, after this humiliation, created the idea of a "consensus document." The point is to create the illusion of agreement. Several western NGOs designed a position paper which supported "free market" reforms. Representatives of the new rich in Russia signed this document, which was then trumpeted as proof of social cohesion around Yeltsin.
Bernard Black et al, writing in 2009, described the devastation of this shock treatment for Russia and Ukraine in 1994:Russia's mass privatization. . . permitted insiders (managers and controlling shareholders) to engage in extensive "self" or "inside" dealing. . . which the government did nothing to control. Later privatization "auctions" were a massive giveaway of Russia's most important companies at bargain prices to a handful of well-connected "kleptocrats". . . Medium-term prospects are grim; the Russian ruble has plunged; the Russian government has defaulted on both its dollar denominated and ruble-denominated debt; most banks are bankrupt; corruption is rampant; tax revenues have collapsed; capital flight is pervasive; and the government (whomever the Prime Minister happens to be at the moment) seems clueless about what to do next.15
14 Skeem, JL, Polaschek, DLL, Patrick, CJ, and S Lilienfeld. Psychopathic Personality: Bridging the GapBetween Scientific Evidence and Public Policy. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 12 (3): 95–1622011
15 Black, et al, 1
This scheme represents one of the most luridly thoroughgoing, colossal and overwhelming failures in economic history. The role of the US government, international financial agencies and elite academia in this monumental disaster is well known. During the well publicized destruction and starvation of Russia, the British journal Euromoney named Chubais the "Worlds Greatest Finance Minister," as yet another means of displaying theelite's lack of accountability. In the Financial Times of 2004, A. Ostrovsky states "Chubais makes no excuses and feels no remorse over the most controversial privatization of all - the 'loans-for-shares' deal, in which he handed control of Russia's largest and most valuable assets to the group of tycoons [sic] in return for loans and support in the 1996 election for the then ailing Yeltsin."16
Once this became plain, the architects of the plan backed off, blaming everyone else for the issues. He writes in Foreign Affairs that the "Russian people" must vote for "democracy" in the 2000 elections. At the time, his own popularity was running about 2-3%. Hence, he did not mean "democracy" in the normal sense of the word. The real change was between 1994-1996. Here, the oligarchs were openly ruling with Yeltsin, who was often drunk and would disappear for weeks on end. It didn't matter. The oligarchs bought up most of the banks, then issued licenses to trade internationally that only they could have. As the government got desperate, the oligarchs stepped in and loaned Moscow the money to continue to function. Russian was not a "government" in any sense of the word. About 700 major families controlled almost the entire Russian economy and hence, the state as well.
The Results of the ScamGovernment revenues went down by over 50% in this same time. Wages went down by about 75% by 1998. In 1992, the inflation rate was almost 1000%. Light industry, that is, the consumer sector, lost about 90% of its capital, the hardest hit sector of all. Machinery of all kinds fell by about 75%, meaning that 75% of the machines useful in the Russian economy had been liquidated (or were just not used) by 1998. The only thing that kept Russiaafloat was the black market.17
The state could no longer enforce its laws, and hence, men started not showing up for the draft. Republic after republics declared independence, to be immediately recognized by the US. So, what can we conclude here? Very few deny that Yeltsin was a failure, but a failure of the worst kind. This kind of economic destruction has never been seen before outside of warfare. Government revenues and expenditures collapsed, hence, an already bad infrastructure was made far worse. Believe it or not, from 1992-1999, the Russian government collected about $6 billion all told. Hence, the state did not function.
Interest rates were high, about 300% in 1994, so credit was available only to the very rich, who controlled the (now private) central bank in the first place. Nearly everyoligarchical bank was connected with organized crime. In fact, there is no substantial difference between the oligarchs and organized crime.18
Under the oligarchs, tax collection collapsed. Industrial production went down by 25% in just a few years. By 1997, Russia had defaulted on its debts. Between 1991 and 1998,Russian GDP fell by almost 40%. Life expectancy went down from 68 to 56 years. Russians became impoverished. Money was so scarce that, by 1996, most trade was done through barter. Importantly, these oligarchs became a state within a state. Tax collection had collapsed, and the new Russia was completely broke. With the Asian meltdown in 1998, interest rates for Russian borrowing went to 300%. 19
16 Arkady Ostrovsky, Father to the Oligarchs. Financial Times, 2004.
17 Graham, Thomas. From Oligarchy to Oligarchy: The Structure of Russia's Ruling Elite. Demokratizatsiya7(3), (1997) 325-340
Yeltsin's popularity by 1998 went to about zero. Since then, pro-western (that is, pro freemarket) parties have polled no more than 5-7% of the vote combined. Yeltsin resigned the Presidency in 1999 and appointed Vladimir Putin as president.
A man of immense mental and physical strength, he sought to discipline the oligarchs, rebuild Russia and create a modern economy. As soon as Putin took office, he went after the media monopoly of Vladimir Guzinsky. Soon, numerous oil firms and banks were investigated for tax fraud. Some oligarchs fled the country, others like Mikhail Khordokovsky, ended up in prison. Attempting to split the oligarchs, playing one fraction against another, Putin's popularity soared, and Russian economic growth recovered.20 Since the meltdown in 1998, the Russian economy has gone from $1 trillion to $2.5 trillion by 2011. Growth rates remain high, and Russia enjoys both a trade and budget surplus. In the first eight years of Putin's presidency, the Russian GDP increased by over 75%.
Near the end of 1993, about 18-20 billion rubles had fled the country. As 1994 dawned, the population was impoverished. Malnutrition was becoming a problem, and alcoholism was increasing, as was suicide and all manner of social pathology. By 1994, thedeputy interior minister, Vladimir Kozlov, stated that about 40% of the economy is nowcriminalized. Leonov writes,
V. Polevanov [deputy prime minister at the time] notes that the total nominal valueof the voucher fund (about $1.5 trillion rubles) was 20 times less than the cost fixed assets industry, fired up for auction. One Moscow, where privatization was notcarried out on the residual and by market value, gained 20% of the enterprises 1.8 trillion rubles, while income from the rest of Russia in the first two years of privatization amounted to only $1 trillion rubles.
The above argument is abstract. In this section, a case study will be analyzed in detail to show how these forces come to be, how they operate, and how they attempt to insulate themselves from its consequences. Traumatic economic events do not occur due to abstract or impersonal forces. People, very powerful people, create the conditions that destroy entire economies. Economic self-interest is the engine of these irrational policies. Economics depicts social actors and institutions as calculating machines with no identity or purpose. The result is that economics is always treated in the passive voice, which is a fundamental mystification.
The Second Half of the 1990sShowing Chubais complete rejection of supporting Russian interests, Leonov writes,
Soon, it became clear that Chubais committed his sins only because he was controlled by others. The real owners of Russia. In 1998, Russia was continuing to disaster, that is, total bankruptcy. At this point, even after the default, American investors finally got the message and moved their cash out of Russian securities. This strengthened the effect of the default. As he became CEO of RAO (etc), he sold to foreigners a 32% chunk of Russian energy concerns, which violated all Russian laws. This meant, of course, that foreigners now could block Russian energy policy.
Chubais and his Harvard friends did not believe in their own rhetoric. Their had quickly moved into the most luxurious apartments and appointed to themselves very high salaries. Nothing about their world was based on the market principles they hypocriticallyadvocated. While advocating the rule of law, the oligarchical firms allied with Chubais werenot paying taxes; but it just so happens that the criminal code recently passed did not considerthis a crime. In 1997, there was no question that Chubais was evading taxes as well.
19 Ibid, cf esp 330-332
20 Sakwa, R. Putin and the Oligarchs. New Political Economy, 13(2) (2008): 185-191
Admitting his guilt, he paid about 500 million rubles, which was just a small amount of what he owed. His power did not diminish, but it remains a fact that no dictator in Russian history had the power that Chubais had. In the name of market reform and the rule of law,Chubais was receiving millions from shall companies for non existent services. Alexander Lebed remained the sole source of opposition to Chubais once Yeltsin sought treatment for heart illness. Chubais, realizing the general's recent spike in popularity for negotiating successfully with Chechen rebels, invented a slew of charges that the general conspired with these same militants. Chubais had become so powerful that he was no longer required to be creative. Lebed was dismissed from his post, proving that Chubais was, in fact, a dictator.21
In the name of the rule of law, Chubais made mafia gangster Boris Berezovsky "deputy director of the security council." Potanin, another underworld billionaire, was named "Deputy Prime Minister." Chubais was rubbing Russia's face in his power, typical of thepsychotic. Soon, all major television channels were in the hands of two mafia dons, Berezovsky and Guzinsky.
By 1996, all the financial power was concentrated in the hands of a small group of businessmen almost exclusively Jewish. It consisted of Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, Alexander Smolensky, Pyotr Aven, Boris Chait, and Vitaly Malkin. Major bankers also included gentiles Potanin and Vinogradov, the only two.
Since the state had collapsed, these oligarchs acted as the state treasury and profited from it. Billions continued to be looted and wound up in banks in Israel, Britain and the US. Yet, elections were coming up. An ailing Yeltsin dismissed Chernomyrdin's "government," which included Chubais. Boris Berezovsky began, in his words, to rally all the "democraticand reformist forces in Russia" to prevent his own possible dispossession.
Typical of the psychotic, these men knew no limits. They began issuing high yield junk bonds, eventually promising to pay out, in some cases, 180%. Foreigners were buying these bonds to the point where almost 30% of all marketable securities of the Russian "state"were owned by outsiders. It was another scam, and the bankers refused to pay anypercentage, and even more, demanded the return of Chubais to government. Chubais quicklyflew to Washington, warning of a communist-nationalist resurgence. $6 billion was quickly given, which was never seen again.
Forming a shadow government, Russia's bankers dictated terms to Yeltsin. In their generosity, they agreed to not demand immediate debt payment from the Russian taxpayer. Yet, to punish Yeltsin, this oligarchy declared that it will reduce the sale of foreign currency. Putting downward pressure on the ruble, the oligarchs got their revenge for the tepid rebellion of Yeltsin. This is what drove the junk bonds as high as 180%; the ruble was suddenly worth nothing. In fear, Yeltsin put the banker's friend, Chernomyrdin, back in power in late summer, 1998.22
21 Ostrovsky, Arkady. Father to the Oligarchs. Financial Times, 2004
22 Russian Federation: Selected Issues 2012 International Monetary Fund IMF Country Report No. 12/218http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2012/cr12218.pdf and Oliker, O, and T. Paley. Assessing Russia's
As typical of capitalist democracies, the political clique took the fall for the private sector. Yeltsin was blamed for the disaster, though his power was nil. That winter, Russia froze with millions unable to buy fuel. The perfect man was chosen for the prime ministership, Yevgeny Primakov, with no apparent beliefs of any kind. Quickly, Primakov demanded the return of Chubais and others who caused the mess, in order to repair it.
The default that August destroyed any bank not immediately under the oligarchs. GDPfell by 200-300 billion rubles. Industry was devastated. In one month, September of 1998, the average Russian income fell by over 30%. The Federation Council, too late, officially declared Chubais and crew as "negligent and incompetent." At the same time, the banking oligarchy was speculating in currency markets, making a profit estimated at the time of 5.5billion rubles in 1997.
Bill Clinton at the time cared only about the possibility of the Lebed coup. Primakov, however, began to strengthen the state as the only possibly solution to the total dissolution of Russia as a political entity. Soon, the dependable Zhirnovsky was again trotted out, with the occasional spray painted swastika to re-direct attention and create the "extremist" threat. More political groups, heretofore unknown, showed up in Moscow with strange uniforms and rallies. Gaidar was quick to link them with the communists, creating a convenient, single group for the masses to visualize.
In the midst of the meltdown, the system took advantage of the perfectly timed murder of Galina Starovoitova, a westernizing politician. 15,000 members of the opposition were rounded up and the "democratic forces" demanded emergency powers. The westenizers even created their own "nationalist" political group, "Fatherland" in order to siphon off opposition activists. In a display showing excellent acting, Yeltsin, in December of 1998, disbanded the group as a "threat" to "democracy." Of course, western Russia experts breathed a sigh of relief that "fascism" was not coming to Russia.
Solzhenitsyn refused to be a part of the charade, refusing to accept the Medal of St. Andrei from Yeltsin. A long time nationalist, Solzhenitsyn realized that in giving this award, Yeltsin was currying favor. Another misdirection was the attempted impeachment of Yeltsin in 1998, as if he was in charge of the disaster he only vaguely understood. Like the Clinton impeachment, it was an absurdity, deliberately designed to protect those with actual power (that is, the private sector) who created the disaster. The Commission decided that Yeltsin had "exceeded his power" as president, as if this is the reason why Muscovites just froze the previous winter. Using political figures to cover for the banking cartel is as old as the Medicis in Florence. Then, in another mockery of Russia, Yeltsin was blamed 100% for the disaster ofthe previous decade.23
Given all this, you are now ready to understand Putin. He came to power as Premier under Yeltsin when the latter resigned in 1999. Yeltsin's popularity rating was between 3-5%. All aid from the IMF was stolen and funneled into the hands of the oligarchs. Oil and gas firms had their profits pocketed in the same way, tax free. As Yeltsin retired, he gave many of his friends immunity from prosecution.
Putin as the Restorer of SanityPutin's leadership restored confidence in the currency, the state and the law. Oligarchystill exists in Russia (as elsewhere), but the monopoly position they used to wield is no more.Russian oil firms have come under the control, though not the ownership, of the state, sinceoligarchs were planning on selling assets to Exxon-Mobil, which led to the "KhordokovskyDecline. The Rand Corporation, 2002http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/2007/MR1442.pdf23 Guriev, S. and Andrei Rachinsky (2005). The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism. Journal of EconomicPerspectives, 19(1), (2005) 131-150 http://pages.nes.ru/sguriev/papers/GurievRachinsky.pdfaffair." Mikhail Khordokovshy was an oligarch who controlled YUKOS, one of Russia's mostpowerful oil firms. In the interest of national security, Putin placed Khordokovsky under arrest. He was indeed guilty of tax evasion, but his plans to see Russian strategic assets to Americans was too much for Putin to stomach. The more oligarchs Putin put in jail, the more popular he becomes.
Putin's policy has been to tread softly, taking on only the most powerful and obnoxious of the oligarchs. He has made strategic alliances with some in order to intimidate others While Russia has been rebuilt and the state became powerful, the oligarchs still have fight left in them, and Putin acts cautiously. Putin's basic approach has been to guide investment and control the flow of investment funds so they benefit Russia, not the oligarchy. The state does not own the economy, but it does oversee it. The oligarchy gave Putin no other choice.
The oligarchs financed all of Yeltsin's election campaigns and public image in Russia at the time. The point was to keep Yeltsin in power long enough so that the oligarchs could get their cash out of the country. They knew that eventually, a popular government would punish them. Putin, to a great extent, was this punishment.
Putin created an entirely new Russian government, when local districts under his control. Needless to say, the regional governments had been bought, and Putin could have no dealings with them. Some of them even had their own foreign policy! All those sent to govern the regions were from the security services or the army. This was no accident. Putin restructured the Upper House (the Federation Council) so as to permit his government to have a say in who gets appointed to it. 24
Putin insisted that local law must be consistent with federal law. This is because local leaders were creating their own countries, and this could not stand. Putin then permitted oligarchs and their puppets to be tried as violators of the constitution. Let me give you one example. In 2003, the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky had taken over the Russian oil giant Yukos. Now, Putin got intelligence that Khodorkovsky was planning on entering intobusiness with Exxon-Mobil, permitting their penetration into the Russian market. Realizing this was a security threat (which it was, since it would mean that Exxon would control much of Russia's oil), he had Khodorkovsky arrested. Is list of crimes was well known, but the stategot him on taxes, which was a no-brainier. Putin was immediately attacked or "authoritarianism" by the press in the west.
So why does the west heap abuse on this man?
He reformed the tax code, putting in place a 13% flat tax on all income and investments. About half of regional prosecutors were removed from their positions due toe xtreme corruption. All Russians knew that already. He quickly ended the war in Chechnya, making sure a Chechen, pro-Russian government was put in charge.
He brought together the top 13 oligarchical families to a conference he organized. He told them that their rule was over. He forced them to pay millions in back taxes to the state, and to create several important charitable funds with their stolen money.
He was going to use the state to pressure their media into being more objective, pro-Russian and pro-state. Since the oligarchs controlled the press, it made sense that this had to be fought. To call this "assaulting press freedom" is absurd.
He realized that the political opposition in Russia was created by the oligarchy. Hence, there was no actual party development. Few parties had an agenda (except the communists, who did well), and these were mostly personal vehicles for their founders.
Putin also shifted investment away from oil and towards higher end items. This was needed to diversify the economy. The judiciary is independent. Today, about 70% of people who sue the state for various reasons win. Putin also introduced the jury.25
24 Sakwa, R. Putin and the Oligarchs. New Political Economy, 13(2), (2008), 185-191
It's tough to argue with Putin's success:
Labor productivity grew 49 percent 1995-2005, ranging from a 23 percent improvement in retailing to a 73 percent rise in construction. Total factor productivity grew by 5.8 percent per year, and the World Bank estimates that only one third of that increase came from increased capacity utilization. Firm turnover (i.e. the exit of inefficient firms and the entry of new ones) accounts for half the total improvement. Stock market capitalization rose to 44 percent of GDP by 2005, while the RTS index went from 300 in 2000 to 2,360 in December 2007.
In September 2006 the market capitalization of the 200 biggest firms was $833 billion (one third of which was Gazprom). The percent of the population living in poverty fell from 38 percent in 19998 to 9.5 percent in 2004, and the share of family budgets spent on food fell from 73% in 1992to 54% in 2004.
The only macroeconomic indicator that gives cause for concern is inflation, which dropped from 20 percent in 2000 to 9 percent in2006, before creeping back up to 11-12 percent level.26
Now, "market capitalization" and other such elite measures are not the whole story. They can exist with an economy failing in other respects. However, before wealth can b eredistributed, it has to exist. Accumulating what can then be redistributed are what these numbers are telling us. Given all this, however, it should come as no surprise that those who are condemning Putin today backed the privatization deals 20 years ago.
W. Thompson, writing in the Guardian in the Summer of 2003, states:
Fiscal consolidation has probably contributed more than any other single factor to restoring the authority and legitimacy of the formerly bankrupt state. Exceptionally favorable economic circumstances account for much of this improvement, but so also do better expenditure management, the reform of tax legislation and more efficient administration. The state's rule-making capacity has also grown markedly.
Unlike Yeltsin, Putin has a compliant parliament and presides over a government that, for all its internal divisions, is not riven by the factional conflicts that marked the 1990s. The result has been a flood of new legislation, much of it directly concerned with state reconstruction.27
Thompson speaks the truth. "Exceptionally favorable economic circumstances "can not cause national success. They do not in Ukraine, much of Africa or Detroit. They must be identified and utilized with substantial skill. Circumstances, of themselves, tell us nothing. The "compliant parliament" exists because of Putin's popularity, though Thomas seems to suggest that such legislative cooperation is required in times of emergency. Worried about bureaucratic corruption, Putin passed several laws limiting the discretionary power of federal agencies. Reform has reduced corruption, endemic at onepoint. Business is much easier to accomplish. Putin's reelection numbers roughly mirror his popularity in the country, and his opposition, backed by the US, has no agenda whatsoever.
25 Lavelle, P Putin's "Authoritarianism" vs. the "Commentariat". Commentary, 2004ahttp://www.futurebrief.com/peterlavelle004.asp and Lavelle, P Russia's Economic Future. Commentary,2004 http://www.futurebrief.com/peterlavelle.asp
26 Rutland, P. Putin's Economic Record. Wesleyan University, CT, 2008
27 Thompson, W. Putin's Success. The Guardian; June 2003 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jun/08/russia.theworldtodayessays
They simply want more Yeltsinism.
As of January 1 of this 2013, Russia's anti-bribery legislation is the toughest in the world. In Russia, about 92% of American businesses think that Russian investment is a good thing, and that Russia is a decent place to do business. The IMF has stated that part of Putin's success is is utilization of capital that was left idle. Utilization of the country's resources has increased from about 50% in 2000 to over 76% today. But in order to do this, he needed to destroy the power of the oligarchs at the regional level.
ConclusionThe simple fact is that Putin's authoritarianism was forced upon him. He did use a heavy hand, but not nearly as heavy as Yeltsin. He realized that it was either a strong hand or chaos. As the state has been rebuilt, so have oversight bodies empowered to check it'sbehavior. Putin launched a bunch of commissions to look into corruption in different areas o the country, knowing full well that his popularity is based on that, plus economic growth.Putin needed to increase the potential of the state before the state itself could grow. Hence,the reformation of all police agencies gave them a direct line to the Kremlin, but, by 2002,crime was still rife. Now, all that has changed.
It makes sense to call Putin a reaction to Yeltsin, chaos and oligarchy. His policies make no sense without the background. Things appear differently when contrasted with the free-fall collapse of the Yeltsin years.
Putin then did two things: first, to build up the rudiments of a new state, one that can permit business to thrive and destroy oligarchy. He needed a new law code, more centralized structures and an end to regional independence. Second, he was to create a new macroeconomic structure, with strong fiscal and oversight measures. Russia now runs a trade and budget deficit. He then stabilized the currency.
Once economic growth took off, he tried to get as much money out of foreign banks as possible. He first backed big business (for the sake of growth), then shifted more recently to backing smaller business. He then engaged in education and pension reform. He turned Russia to the east, allying with China to cooperate in their tremendous economic growth.
It is easy to forget that all that Putin is "blamed" for was suggested by western elites for Yeltsin. Liberal democracy in the eastern bloc has, without exception, merely been a cover for the most cynical sort of exploitation. In the name of "democracy" the eastern bloc melted into the bank accounts of both foreign and local elites. Warlords developed with private armies that, in the 1990s, were the subject of some journalistic treatment. A Russia in collapse is far more dangerous for the west than anything Putin has dreamed about.
Rationally, the enforced, rehearsed and studied contempt of Putin can only exist because the west had other plans for Russia, as a hinterland for cheap, educated labor and resources. Western collapse is assured precisely because Russia is not prostrate and under the thumb of Exxon-Mobil. Putin will have the last laugh, which, when the smoke clears, is the only real cause of the west's irrational hatred.
... ... ...
Feb 08, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
David Habakkuk , 08 February 2018 at 09:57 AMAll,SmoothieX12 -> David Habakkuk ... , 08 February 2018 at 11:28 AM
A number of points.
1. Not only large elements of the American and British intelligence services, but the 'Borgistas' in both countries, now including large elements of the academic/research apparatus and most of the MSM, really are joined at the hip.
It is thus an open question how far it is useful to speak of British intelligence intervening in the American election, rather than the American section of the 'Borg' and their partners in crime 'across the pond' colluding in an attempt to mount such an intervention with a greater appearance of 'plausible deniability.'
2. A relevant element of such collusion has to do with the creation of the Yeltsin-era Russian oligarchy. On this, a crucial source are interviews given by Christian Michel and Christopher Samuelson, who used to run a company called 'Valmet', to Catherine Belton, then with the 'Moscow Times', later with the 'Financial Times', in the days leading up to the conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in May 2005.
(See http://mikhail_khodorkovsky_society_two.blogspot.co.uk .)
This describes the education in 'Western banking practices' given to him and his Menatep associates by Michel and Samuelson, starting as early as 1989, and also their crucial involvement with Berezovsky.
We are told by Belton that: 'With the help of British government connections, Valmet had already built up a wealthy clientele that included the ruling family of Dubai.' As to large ambitions which Michel and Samuelson had, she tells us: 'Used to dealing with the riches of Arab leaders, they found Menatep, by comparison still relatively small fry. By 1994, however, Menatep had started moving into all kinds of industries, from chemicals to textiles to metallurgy. But for Valmet, which by that time had already partnered up with one of the oldest banks in the United States, Riggs Bank, and for Menatep, the real prize was oil.'
Try Googling 'Riggs Bank' -- a lot of interesting information emerges, on matters such as their involvement with Prince Bandar. So, what we are dealing with is a joint Anglo-American attempt to create a 'comprador' oligarchy who could loot Russia's raw materials resources.
3. On the subject of the competence of MI6, what seems to me a total apposite judgement was provided by the man whom Steele and his associates framed over the death of Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoi.
In the press conference in May 2007 where he responded to the request for his extradition submitted by the Crown Prosecution Service, he claimed that: 'Litvinenko used to say: They are total retards in the UK, they believe everything we are telling them about Russia.'
(See http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence ">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence">http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
It seems to me quite likely, although obviously not certain, that this did indeed represent the view of many of the 'StratCom' operators around Berezovsky of people like Steele.
Throughout life, I have repeatedly come across a game played on certain kinds of élite Westerners, which, in honor of Kipling, who gave brilliant depictions of it, I call 'fool the stupid Sahib.' Both people from other societies, and their own, often play this game, and the underlying mentality not infrequently involves a combination of a sense of inferiority and contempt for the gullibility of people who are thought of -- commonly with justice -- as not knowing how the world really works, and thus being open to manipulation if one tells them what they want to hear.
Some fragments of a mass of evidence that this was precisely what Litvinenko did were presented by me in a previous post.
Irrespective of whether Lugovoi was accurately reporting what Litvinenko said, however, a mass of 'open source' evidence testifies to the extreme credulity with which officials and journalists on both sides of the Atlantic treat claims made by members of the 'StratCom' groups created by the oligarchs whose initial training was done by Valmet.
(One good example is provided by the way that Sir Robert Owen and his team took what the surviving members of the Berezovsky group told them on trust. Another is the extraordinary way MSM figures continue to claim made by Khodorkovsky and his associates seriously.)
Accordingly, when I read of anyone treating practically anything that Steele claims as plausible, I try to work out how much of a 'retard' they must be, starting with a baseline of about 50%.
4. In the light of the way that the reliance on the dossier in the FISA applications absent meaningful corroboration is being defended by Comey and others on the basis that Steele was 'considered reliable due to his past work with the Bureau', the question is how many people in the FBI must be considered to have a 'retard' rating somewhere over 90%.
When I discover that John Sipher is a 'former member of the CIA's Clandestine Service', who also worked 'on Russian espionage issues overseas, and in support of FBI counterintelligence investigations domestically,' then his apologetics for Steele seem not only to suggest he may be another 'total retard' -- but to point towards how the Anglo-American collaboration actually worked. (See https://www.politico.eu/article/devin-nunes-donald-trump-the-smearing-of-christopher-steele/ .)
5. Another characteristic of these 'retards' is that they seem unable to get their story straight. In his piece last September defending the dossier, Sipher wrote that 'While in London he worked as the personal handler of the Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko.' Apparently he didn't know that the 'party line' had changed -- that when Steele emerged from hiding in May, his mouthpiece, Luke Harding of the 'Guardian', had explained: 'As head of MI6's Russia desk, Steele led the inquiry into Litvinenko's polonium poisoning, quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot. He did not meet Litvinenko and was not his case officer, friends said.'
(See http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/09/a_lot_of_the_steele_dossier_has_since_been_corroborated.html ; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/07/former-mi6-agent-christopher-steele-behind-trump-dossier-returns-to-work .)
6. In his attempts to defend the credibility of the dossier, Sipher also explains that its -- supposed -- author was President of the Cambridge Union. Here, two profiles of Steele on the 'MailOnline' site are of interest.
In one a contemporary is quoted:
"'When you took part in politics at the Cambridge Union, it was very spiteful and full of people spreading rumours," he said. "Steele fitted right in. He was very ambitious, ruthless and frankly not a very nice guy."
The other tells us that he born in Aden in 1964, and that his father was in the military, before going on to say that contemporaries recall an 'avowedly Left-wing student with CND credentials', while a book on the Union's history says he was a 'confirmed socialist'.
(See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4115070/Chris-Whatsit-brilliant-Cambridge-spy-spent-life-battling-KGB-MI6-agent-wife-s-high-heels-stolen-Kremlin-spooks-revealed-Litvinenko-poisoned-Putin-s-thugs.html ; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4115070/Chris-Whatsit-brilliant-Cambridge-spy-spent-life-battling-KGB-MI6-agent-wife-s-high-heels-stolen-Kremlin-spooks-revealed-Litvinenko-poisoned-Putin-s-thugs.html .)
From my own -- undistinguished and mildly irreverent -- Cambridge career, I can testify that there was indeed a certain kind of student politician, whom, if I may mix metaphors, fellow-students were perfectly well aware were going to arse-lick their way up some greasy pole or other in later life.
It was a world with which I came back in contact when, after living abroad and a protracted apprenticeship in print journalism, I accidentally found employment with what was then one of the principal television current affairs programmes in Britain. In the early 'Eighties I overlapped with Peter -- now Lord -- Mandelson, who became one of the principal architects of 'New Labour.'
7. Given that at this time British intelligence agencies were somewhat paranoid about CND, there is a small puzzle as to why on his graduation in 1986 Steele should have been recruited by MI6. In more paranoid moments I wonder whether he did not already have intelligence contacts through his father, and served as a 'stool pigeon' as a student.
But then, people like Sir John Scarlett and Sir Richard Dearlove may simply have concluded that someone with 'form' in smearing rivals at the Union was ideally suited for the kind of organisation they wanted to run.
8. From experience with Mandelson, and others, there are however other relevant things about this type. One is that they commonly love Machiavellian intrigue, and are very good at it, within the worlds they know and understand.
If however they have to try to cope with alien environments, where they do not know the people and where such intrigues are played much more ruthlessly, they are liable to find themselves hopelessly outclassed. (This can happen not simply with the politics of the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, but with some of the murkier undergrowths of local politics in London.)
Another limitation on their understanding is that the last thing they are interested in his how the world outside the bubbles they prefer to inhabit operates, and they commonly have absolutely contempt for 'deplorables', be they Russian, British or American. This can lead to political misjudgements.
9. So it is not really so surprising that, when Berezovsky's 'StratCom' people told them that the Putin 'sistema' really was the 'return of Karla', people like Steele believed everything they said, precisely as Lugovoi brought out.
There is I think every reason to believe that, from first to last, the intrigues in which he has been involved have involved close collusion between them and elements in American intelligence -- including the FBI. As a result, a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic have repeatedly got into complex undercover contests in the post-Soviet space which ran right out of control, creating a desperate need for cover-ups. A similar pattern applies in relation to the activities of such people in the Middle East.Another limitation on their understanding is that the last thing they are interested in his how the world outside the bubbles they prefer to inhabit operates, and they commonly have absolutely contempt for 'deplorables', be they Russian, British or American. This can lead to political misjudgements.
It is not just "can" it very often does. The whole situation with Russia, of which, be it her economy, history, military, culture etc., is not known to those people, is a monstrous empirical evidence of a complete professional inadequacy of most people populating this bubble.
Most of those people are badly educated (I am not talking about worthless formal degrees they hold) and cultured. In dry scientific language it is called a "confirmation bias", in a simple human one it is called being ignorant snobs, that is why this IC-academic-political-media "environment" in case of Russia prefers openly anti-Russian "sources" because those "sources" reiterate to them what they want to hear to start with, thus Chalabi Moment is being continuously reproduced.
In case of Iraq, as an example, it is a tragedy but at least the world is relatively safe. With Russia, as I stated many times for years--they simply have no idea what they are dealing with. None. It is expected from people who are briefed by "sources" such as Russian fugitive London Oligarchy or ultra-liberal and fringe urban Russian "tusovka". Again, the level of "Russian Studies" in Anglophone world is appalling. In fact, it is clear and present danger since removes or misinterprets crucial information about the only nation in the world which can annihilate the United States completely in such a light that it creates a real danger even for a disastrous military confrontation. I would go on a limb here and say that US military on average is much better aware of Russia and not only in purely military terms. In some sense--it is an exception. But even there, there are some trends (and they are not new) which are very worrisome.
Apr 04, 2015 | Economist's View
Darryl FKA Ron -> pgl...
At the risk of oversimplifying might it not be as simple as stronger leanings towards IS-LM and kind are indicative of a bias towards full employment and stronger leanings towards DSGE, microfoundations, and kind are indicative of a bias towards low inflation?
IN general I consider over-simplification a fault, if and only if, it is a rigidly adhered to final position. This is to say that over-simplification is always a good starting point and never a good ending point. If in the end your problem was simple to begin with, then the simplified answer would not be OVER-simplified anyway. It is just as bad to over-complicate a simple problem as it is to over-simplify a complex problem. It is easier to build complexity on top of a simple foundation than it is to extract simplicity from a complex foundation.
A lot of the Chicago School initiative into microfoundations and DSGE may have been motivated by a desire to bind Keynes in a NAIRU straight-jacket. Even though economic policy making is largely done just one step at a time then that is still one step too much if it might violate rentier interests.
Darryl FKA Ron -> Barry...
There are two possible (but unlikely) schools of (generously attributed to as) thought for which internal consistency might take precedence over external consistency. One such school wants to consider what would be best in a perfect world full of perfect people and then just assume that is best for the real world just to let the chips fall where they may according to the faults and imperfections of the real world. The second such school is the one whose eyes just glaze over mesmerized by how over their heads they are and remain affraid to ask any question lest they appear stupid.
A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned.
Richard H. SerlinConsistency sounds so good, Oh, of course we want consistency, who wouldn't?! But consistent in what way? What exactly do you mean? Consistent with reality, or consistent with people all being superhumans? Which concept is usually more useful, or more useful for the task at hand?Richard H. Serlin -> Richard H. Serlin...
Essentially, they want models that are consistent with only certain things, and often because this makes their preferred ideology look far better. They want models, typically, that are consistent with everyone in the world having perfect expertise in every subject there is, from finance to medicine to engineering, perfect public information, and perfect self-discipline, and usually on top, frictionless and perfectly complete markets, often perfectly competitive too.
But a big thing to note is that perfectly consistent people means a level of perfection in expertise, public information, self-discipline, and "rationality", that's extremely at odds with how people actually are. And as a result, this can make the model extremely misleading if it's interpreted very literally (as so often it is, especially by freshwater economists), or taken as The Truth, as Paul Krugman puts it.
You get things like the equity premium "puzzle", which involves why people don't invest more in stocks when the risk-adjusted return appears to usually be so abnormally good, and this "puzzle" can only be answered with "consistency", that people are all perfectly expert in finance, with perfect information, so they must have some mysterious hidden good reason. It can't be at all that it's because 65% of people answered incorrectly when asked how many reindeer would remain if Santa had to lay off 25% of his eight reindeer ( http://richardhserlin.blogspot.com/2013/12/surveys-showing-massive-ignorance-and.html ).
Yes, these perfect optimizer consistency models can give useful insights, and help to see what is best, what we can do better, and they can, in some cases, be good as approximations. But to say they should be used only, and interpreted literally, is, well, inconsistent with optimal, rational behavior -- of the economist using them.Of course, unless the economist using them is doing so to mislead people into supporting his libertarian/plutocratic ideology.
As an old broken down mech engineer, I wonder why all the pissing and moaning about micro foundations vs aggregation. In strength of materials equations that aggregate properties work quite well within the boundaries of the questions to be answered. We all know that at the level of crystals, materials have much complexity. Even within crystals there is deeper complexities down to the molecular levels. However, the addition of quantum mechanics adds no usable information about what materials to build a bridge with.
But, when working at the scale of the most advanced computer chips quantum mechanics is required. WTF! I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories.
Poor economists, doomed to argue, forever, over how many micro foundations can dance on the head of a pin.
RGC -> dilbert dogbert...
Endless discussions about how quantum effects aggregate to produce a material suitable for bridge building crowd out discussions about where and when to build bridges. And if plutocrats fund the endless discussions, we get the prominent economists we have today.
Darryl FKA Ron -> dilbert dogbert...
"...I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories..."
[I guess it depends upon what your acceptable confidence interval on reliability is. Most important difference that controls all the domain differences between physical science and economics is that underlying physical sciences there is a deterministic methodology for which probable error is merely a function of the inaccuracy in input metrics WHEREAS economics models are incomplete probabilistic estimating models with no ability to provide a complete system model in a full range of circumstances.
YOu can design and build a bridge to your load and span requirements with alternative models for various designs with confidence and highly effective accuracy repeatedly. No ecomomic theory, model, or combination of models and theories was ever intended to be used as the blueprint for building an economy from the foundation up.
With all the formal trappings of economics the only effective usage is to decide what should be done in a given set of predetermined circumstance to reach some modest desired effect. Even that modest goal is exposed to all kinds of risks inherent in assumptions, incomplete information, externalities, and so on that can produce errors of uncertain potential bounds.
Nonetheless, well done economics can greatly reduce the risks encountered in the random walk of economics policy making. So much so is this true, that the bigger questions in macro-economics policy making is what one is willing to risk and for whom.
The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for.]
Darryl FKA Ron -> Peter K....
unless you have a model which maps the real world fairly closely like quantum mechanics.
[You set a bar too high. Macro models at best will tell you what to do to move the economy in the direction that you seek to go. They do not even ocme close to the notion of a theory of everything that you have in physics, even the theory of every little thing that is provided by quantum mechanics. Physics is an empty metaphor for economics. Step one is to forgo physics envy in pursuit of understanding suitable applications and domain constraints for economics models.
THe point is to reach a decision and to understand cause and effect directions. All precision is in the past and present. The future is both imprecise and all that there is that is available to change.
For the most part an ounce of common sense and some simple narrative models are all that are essential for making those policy decisions in and of themselves. HOWEVER, nation states are not ruled by economist philosopher kings and in the process of concensus decision making by (little r)republican governments then human language is a very imprecise vehicle for communicating logic and reason with respect to the management of complex systems. OTOH, mathematics has given us a universal language for communicating logic and reason that is understood the same by everyone that really understands that language at all. Hence mathematical models were born for the economists to write down their own thinking in clear precise terms and check their own work first and then share it with others so equipped to understand the language of mathematics. Krugman has said as much many times and so has any and every economist worth their salt.]
likbez -> Syaloch...
I agree with Pgl and PeterK. Certain commenters like Darryl seem convinced that the Chicago School (if not all of econ) is driven by sinister, class-based motives to come up justifications for favoring the power elite over the masses. But based on what I've read, it seems pretty obvious that the microfoundation guys just got caught up in their fancy math and their desire to produce more elegant, internally consistent models and lost sight of the fact that their models didn't track reality.
That's completely wrong line of thinking, IMHO.
Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR.
With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities.
To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell.
Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys.
But the key problem with neoliberalism is that the cure is worse then disease. And here mathematical masturbations are very handy as a smoke screen to hide this simple fact.
likbez -> likbez...
Here is how Rubin's neoliberal boy Larry explained the situation to Elizabeth Warren:
"Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."
Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance
Syaloch -> likbez...
Yeah, case in point.
Dec 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. , April 03, 2017 at 01:31 PMPGL puts the blame on Yeltsin and this is what Stiglitz writes:pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:30 PM
"I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work."
Larry Summers and Jeffrey Sachs were involved in this. It would be nice if they wrote mea culpas.
"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs.
I believe the explanation was less sinister: flawed ideas, even with the best of intentions, can have serious consequences. And the opportunities for self-interested greed offered by Russia were simply too great for some to resist. Clearly, democratization in Russia required efforts aimed at ensuring shared prosperity, not policies that led to the creation of an oligarchy."
Just look at what the West did to Iraq. Like Stiglitz I think it is more incompetence and ideology than a sinister plan to destroy Iraq and Russia. And we are reaping the results of that incompetence.
2008 was also incompetence, greed and ideology not some plot to push through "shock doctrines."
If the one percent were smart they would slowly cook the frog in the pot, where the frog doesn't notice, instead of having these crises which backfire.Nice cherry picking especially for someone who never read his chapter 5 of that great 1997 book.libezkova -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:40 PMThe book is great, the article is junk. As Paine aptly said (in best Mark Twain style):
"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"
Apr 03, 2017 | www.project-syndicate.org
April 2, 2017
Illiberal stagnation: Russia transition by Joseph E Stiglitz
I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition.
This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work....
... ... ...
Once one of the world's two superpowers, Russia's GDP is now about 40% of Germany's and just over 50% of France's. Life expectancy at birth ranks 153rd in the world, just behind Honduras and Kazakhstan.
pgl , April 03, 2017 at 09:52 AMStiglitz returns to the issue of why post Soviet Union Russia has done so poorly in terms of economics:RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:11 AM
"In terms of per capita income, Russia now ranks 73rd (in terms of purchasing power parity) – well below the Soviet Union's former satellites in Central and Eastern Europe. The country has deindustrialized: the vast majority of its exports now come from natural resources. It has not evolved into a "normal" market economy, but rather into a peculiar form of crony-state capitalism . Many had much higher hopes for Russia, and the former Soviet Union more broadly, when the Iron Curtain fell. After seven decades of Communism, the transition to a democratic market economy would not be easy. But, given the obvious advantages of democratic market capitalism to the system that had just fallen apart, it was assumed that the economy would flourish and citizens would demand a greater voice. What went wrong? Who, if anyone, is to blame? Could Russia's post-communist transition have been managed better? We can never answer such questions definitively: history cannot be re-run. But I believe what we are confronting is partly the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition. This framework's influences was reflected in the tremendous emphasis reformers placed on privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else, including creating the institutional infrastructure needed to make a market economy work. Fifteen years ago, when I wrote Globalization and its Discontents, I argued that this "shock therapy" approach to economic reform was a dismal failure. But defenders of that doctrine cautioned patience: one could make such judgments only with a longer-run perspective. Today, more than a quarter-century since the onset of transition, those earlier results have been confirmed, and those who argued that private property rights, once created, would give rise to broader demands for the rule of law have been proven wrong. Russia and many of the other transition countries are lagging further behind the advanced economies than ever. GDP in some transition countries is below its level at the beginning of the transition."
Stiglitz is not saying markets cannot work if the rules are properly constructed. He is saying that the Yeltsin rules were not as they were crony capitalism at their worse. And it seems the Putin rules are not much better. He mentions his 1997 book which featured as chapter 5 "Who Lost Russia". It still represents an excellent read.
"Shleifer also met his mentor and professor, Lawrence Summers, during his undergraduate education at Harvard. The two went on to be co-authors, joint grant recipients, and faculty colleagues.RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:26 AM
During the early 1990s, Andrei Shleifer headed a Harvard project under the auspices of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) that invested U.S. government funds in the development of Russia's economy.
Schleifer was also a direct advisor to Anatoly Chubais, then vice-premier of Russia, who managed the Rosimushchestvo (Committee for the Management of State Property) portfolio and was a primary engineer of Russian privatization. Shleifer was also tasked with establishing a stock market for Russia that would be a world-class capital market.
In 1996 complaints about the Harvard project led Congress to launch a General Accounting Office investigation, which stated that the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) was given "substantial control of the U.S. assistance program."
In 1997, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) canceled most of its funding for the Harvard project after investigations showed that top HIID officials Andre Schleifer and Johnathan Hay had used their positions and insider information to profit from investments in the Russian securities markets. Among other things, the Institute for a Law Based Economy (ILBE) was used to assist Schleifer's wife, Nancy Zimmerman, who operated a hedge fund which speculated in Russian bonds.
In August 2005, Harvard University, Shleifer and the Department of Justice reached an agreement under which the university paid $26.5 million to settle the five-year-old lawsuit. Shleifer was also responsible for paying $2 million worth of damages, though he did not admit any wrongdoing
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrei_ShleiferAwards:libezkova said in reply to RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 08:18 PM
John Bates Clark Medal (1999)
"He has held a tenured position in the Department of Economics at Harvard University since 1991 and was, from 2001 through 2006, the Whipple V. N. Jones Professor of Economics."My impression is that Andrei Shleifer was a marionette, a low level pawn in a big game. The fact that he was a greedy academic scum, who tried to amass a fortune in Russia probably under influence of his wife (his wife, a hedge fund manager, was GS alumnae and was introduced to him by Summers) is peripheral to the actual role he played.libezkova said in reply to RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 07:51 PM
Jeffey Sacks also played highly negative role being the architect of "shock therapy": the sudden release of price and currency controls, withdrawal of state subsidies, and immediate trade liberalization within a country, usually also including large-scale privatization of previously public-owned assets.
In other words "shock therapy" = "economic rape"
As Anne Williamson said: "Instead, after robbing the Russian people of the only capital they had to participate in the new market – the nation's household savings – by freeing prices in what was a monopolistic economy and which delivered a 2500% inflation in 1992, America's "brave, young Russian reformers" ginned-up a development theory of "Big Capitalism" based on Karl Marx's mistaken edict that capitalism requires the "primitive accumulation of capital". Big capitalists would appear instantly, they said, and a broadly-based market economy shortly thereafter if only the pockets of pre-selected members of their own ex-Komsomol circle were properly stuffed. Those who hankered for a public reputation were to secure the government perches from which they would pass state assets to their brethren in the nascent business community, happy in the knowledge that they too would be kicked back a significant cut of the swag. The US-led West accommodated the reformers' cockeyed theory by designing a rapid and easily manipulated voucher privatization program that was really only a transfer of title and which was funded with $325 million US taxpayers' dollars. "
See also http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtmlFrom the article:paine -> DrDick ... , April 03, 2017 at 04:22 PM
"Many in Russia believe that the US Treasury pushed Washington Consensus policies to weaken their country. The deep corruption of the Harvard University team chosen to "help" Russia in its transition, described in a detailed account published in 2006 by Institutional Investor, reinforced these beliefs."
This was not a corruption. This was the intent on Clinton administration. I would think about it as a planned operation.
The key was that the gangster capitalism model was enforced by the Western "Washington consensus" (of which IMF was an integral part) -- really predatory set of behaviors designed to colonize Russia and make is US satellite much like Germany became after WWII but without the benefit of Marshall plan.
Clinton consciously chose this criminal policy among alternatives: kick the lying body. So after Russian people get rid of corrupt and degraded Communist regime, they got under the iron hill of US gangsters from Clinton administration.
My impression is that Clinton was and is a criminal. And he really proved to be a very capable mass murderer. And his entourage had found willing sociopaths within Russian society (as well as in other xUUSR republics; Ukraine actually fared worse then Russia as for the level of plunder) who implemented neoliberal policies. Yegor Gaidar was instrumental in enforcing Harvard-designed "shock therapy" on Russian people. He also create the main neoliberal party in Russia -- the Democratic Choice of Russia - United Democrats. Later in 1990s, it became the Union of Right Forces.
== quote ==
Testimony of Anne Williamson
Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives
September 21, 1999
In the matter before us – the question of the many billions in capital that fled Russia to Western shores via the Bank of New York and other Western banks – we have had a window thrown open on what the financial affairs of a country without property rights, without banks, without the certainty of contract, without an accountable government or a leadership decent enough to be concerned with the national interest or its own citizens' well-being looks like. It's not a pretty picture, is it? But let there be no mistake, in Russia the West has truly been the author of its own misery. And there is no mistake as to who the victims are, i.e. Western, principally U.S., taxpayers and Russian citizens' whose national legacy was stolen only to be squandered and/or invested in Western real estate and equities markets
... ... ...
== end of quote ==
A lot of people, especially pensioners, died because of Clinton's gangster policies in xUUSR space.
I am wondering how Russian managed to survive as an independent country. The USA put tremendous efforts and resources in destruction of Russian economy and colonizing its by creating "fifth column" on neoliberal globaliozation.
all those criminal oligarchs hold moved their capitals to the West as soon as they can because they were afraid of the future. Nobody persecuted them and Western banks helped to extract money from Russia to the extent that some of their methods were clearly criminals.
Economic devastation was comparable with caused by Nazi armies, although amount of dead was less, but also in millions.
Questionable figures from the West flowed into Russia and tried to exploit still weak law system by raiding the companies. Some of them were successful and amassed huge fortunes. Some ended being shot. Soros tried, but was threatened to be shot by Berezovsky and choose to leave for the good.
Especially hard hit was military industrial complex, which was oversized in any case, but which was an integral part of Soviet economy and employed many highly qualified specialists. Many of whom later emigrated to the West. At some point it was difficult to find physics department in the US university without at least a single person from xUSSR space (not necessary a Russian)Too much liberal swamp gaslibezkova said in reply to paine... , April 03, 2017 at 09:33 PM"Too much [neo]liberal swamp gas"anne -> paine... , April 03, 2017 at 06:20 PM
this is almost Mark Twain's level quote :-).But I would conjecture the Deng path trumps the Yeltsin pathanne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:22 PM
[ Really? Would the conjecture rest on growth of real Gross Domestic Product in China averaging 9.6% yearly while growth of real per capita GDP averaged 8.6% yearly these last 40 years? ]https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacKanne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 06:27 PM
August 4, 2014
Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015
August 4, 2014
Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China and Russia, 1990-2015
(Indexed to 1990)https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cacQlibezkova said in reply to paine... , April 03, 2017 at 08:28 PM
November 1, 2014
Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014
November 1, 2014
Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China and Russia, 1990-2014
(Indexed to 1990)"But i'd conjecture the Deng path trumps the yeltsin path"anne -> paine... , April 04, 2017 at 07:52 AM
True.But I would conjecture the Deng Xiaoping path trumps the Boris Yeltsin pathpoint -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 06:28 PM
[ What then is the point of such a conjecture when real per capita GDP in Russia grew a mere 15.8% from 1990 through 2015 while in China real per capita grew by a remarkable 789.1%?
Total factor productivity in Russia decreased by 16.9% from 1990 through 2014, while in China total factor productivity increased by 76.4%.
The inability to understand what China has accomplished is shocking to me. Possibly, rethinking fairly is in order. ]It may eventually prove to be generous to describe Russia's misfortune as "the legacy of the flawed Washington Consensus that shaped Russia's transition" according to Stiglitz. It may prove rather to be "the legacy of *intentionally* flawed consensus".anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:01 AMhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensuspgl -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:18 AM
The term Washington Consensus was coined in 1989 by English economist John Williamson to refer to a set of 10 relatively specific economic policy prescriptions that he considered constituted the "standard" reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries by Washington, D.C.–based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and the US Treasury Department. The prescriptions encompassed policies in such areas as macroeconomic stabilization, economic opening with respect to both trade and investment, and the expansion of market forces within the domestic economy.
Fiscal policy discipline, with avoidance of large fiscal deficits relative to GDP;
Redirection of public spending from subsidies toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;
Tax reform, broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;
Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;
Competitive exchange rates;
Trade liberalization: liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs;
Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;
Privatization of state enterprises;
Deregulation: abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudential oversight of financial institutions;
Legal security for property rights.RGC -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 10:34 AM"privatization, no matter how it was done, with speed taking precedence over everything else".
It does matter how it is done as Stiglitz, Dani Rodrik, and even that ProMarket blog often point out. It was done very poorly under Yeltsin.It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard.RGC -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AMDoes deregulatin' Larry still have a job? Why?Peter K. -> RGC... , April 03, 2017 at 01:24 PMPeter K. -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 01:33 PM"It was done according to the "expert" advice of deregulatin' Larry's gang from Harvard."
Yes PGL blames Yeltsin but it was the Western advisers who forced disastrous shock therapy on Russia. See the IMF, Europe and Greece for another example. No doubt PGL blames the Greeks. He always blames the victims.
PGL blames Yeltsin but even Stiglitz writes that it was the Washington Consensus which was to blame for the poor transition and disastrous collapse of Russia. Now we are reaping the consequences. Just like with Syria, ISIL and Iraq.pgl -> Peter K.... , April 03, 2017 at 04:27 PMWTF? The IMF may have given bad advice but Yeltsin ran the show. And if you think Yeltsin was the victim - then you are really lost.anne -> pgl... , April 03, 2017 at 11:15 AM
"No doubt PGL blames the Greeks."
You do lie 24/7. Pathetic.Suppose though the matter with privatization is not so much speed but not understanding what should not be subject to privatizing, such as soft and hard infrastructure.anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:46 AMThat a Washington Consensus approach to Russian development proved obviously faulty is important because I would argue the approach has repeatedly proved faulty from Brazil to South Africa to the Philippines... When the consensus has been turned away from as in Brazil for several years the development results have dramatically changed but turning from the approach which allows for severe concentrations of wealth has proved politically difficult as we find now in Brazil.anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:48 AMhttps://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad0anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:55 AM
August 4, 2014
Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015
August 4, 2014
Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2015
(Indexed to 1990)The range in real per capita GDP growth from 1990 to 2015 extends from 15.8% to 19.8% to 41.1% to 223.1% to 789.1%. This range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 10:49 AMhttps://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=cad4anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:00 AM
November 1, 2014
Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014
November 1, 2014
Total Factor Productivity at Constant National Prices for China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Russia, 1990-2014
(Indexed to 1990)The range in total factor productivity growth or decline from 1990 to 2014 extends from a decline of - 16.9% to - 12.2% to - 5.1% to growth of 40.9% and 76.4%. Again, this range needs to be thoroughly analyzed in terms of reflective policy.anne -> anne... , April 03, 2017 at 11:10 AMThe persuasiveness of the Washington Consensus approach to development strikes me as especially well illustrated by the repeated, decades-long insistence by Western economists that Chinese development is about to come to a crashing end. The insistence continues with an almost daily repetition in the likes of The Economist or Financial Times.
I would suggest the success of China thoroughly studied provides us with remarkable policy prescriptions.
Jul 13, 2017 | consortiumnews.com
Exclusive: A documentary debunking the Magnitsky myth, which was an opening salvo in the New Cold War, was largely blocked from viewing in the West but has now become a factor in Russia-gate, reports Robert Parry.
Near the center of the current furor over Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 is a documentary that almost no one in the West has been allowed to see, a film that flips the script on the story of the late Sergei Magnitsky and his employer, hedge-fund operator William Browder.
The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War.
According to Browder's narrative, companies ostensibly under his control had been hijacked by corrupt Russian officials in furtherance of a $230 million tax-fraud scheme; he then dispatched his "lawyer" Magnitsky to investigate and – after supposedly uncovering evidence of the fraud – Magnitsky blew the whistle only to be arrested by the same corrupt officials who then had him locked up in prison where he died of heart failure from physical abuse.
Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale.
However, the project took an unexpected turn when Nekrasov's research kept turning up contradictions to Browder's storyline, which began to look more and more like a corporate cover story. Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme.
So, the planned docudrama suddenly was transformed into a documentary with a dramatic reversal as Nekrasov struggles with what he knows will be a dangerous decision to confront Browder with what appear to be deceptions. In the film, you see Browder go from a friendly collaborator into an angry adversary who tries to bully Nekrasov into backing down.
Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy.
Film director Andrei Nekrasov, who produced "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes."
As a lawyer defending Prevezon, a real-estate company registered in Cyprus, on a money-laundering charge, she was dealing with U.S. prosecutors in New York City and, in that role, became an advocate for lifting the U.S. sanctions, The Washington Post reported.
That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along.
By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son.
But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post.
There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past.
Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen."
In an article about the controversy in June 2016, The New York Times added that "A screening at the Newseum is especially controversial because it could attract lawmakers or their aides." Heaven forbid!
So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.
Financier William Browder (right) with Magnitsky's widow and son, along with European parliamentarians.
After the Newseum presentation, a Washington Post editorial branded Nekrasov's documentary Russian "agit-prop" and sought to discredit Nekrasov without addressing his many documented examples of Browder's misrepresenting both big and small facts in the case. Instead, the Post accused Nekrasov of using "facts highly selectively" and insinuated that he was merely a pawn in the Kremlin's "campaign to discredit Mr. Browder and the Magnitsky Act."
The Post also misrepresented the structure of the film by noting that it mixed fictional scenes with real-life interviews and action, a point that was technically true but willfully misleading because the fictional scenes were from Nekrasov's original idea for a docu-drama that he shows as part of explaining his evolution from a believer in Browder's self-exculpatory story to a skeptic. But the Post's deception is something that almost no American would realize because almost no one got to see the film.
The Post concluded smugly: "The film won't grab a wide audience, but it offers yet another example of the Kremlin's increasingly sophisticated efforts to spread its illiberal values and mind-set abroad. In the European Parliament and on French and German television networks, showings were put off recently after questions were raised about the accuracy of the film, including by Magnitsky's family.
"We don't worry that Mr. Nekrasov's film was screened here, in an open society. But it is important that such slick spin be fully exposed for its twisted story and sly deceptions."
The Post's gleeful editorial had the feel of something you might read in a totalitarian society where the public only hears about dissent when the Official Organs of the State denounce some almost unknown person for saying something that almost no one heard.
The Post's satisfaction that Nekrasov's documentary would not draw a large audience represents what is becoming a new paradigm in U.S. mainstream journalism, the idea that it is the media's duty to protect the American people from seeing divergent narratives on sensitive geopolitical issues.
Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false."
First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue.
In the meantime, there is the ad hoc approach that was applied to Nekrasov's documentary. Having missed the Newseum showing, I was only able to view the film because I was given a special password to an online version.
From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.
But the Post's editors were right in their expectation that "The film won't grab a wide audience." Instead, it has become a good example of how political and legal pressure can effectively black out what we used to call "the other side of the story." The film now, however, has unexpectedly become a factor in the larger drama of Russia-gate and the drive to remove Donald Trump Sr. from the White House.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).
Joseph A. Haran, Jr. , July 13, 2017 at 2:13 pmRob Roy , July 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm
Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you.ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm
Parry isn't keeping the film viewing a secret. He was given a private password and perhaps can get permission to let the readers here have it. It isn't up to Parry himself but rather to the person(s) who have the rights to the password. I've come across this problem before.Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm
Parry wrote: I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.
Any link?? I am willing to buy it.Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm
This may not be of much help, as the film is dubbed in Russian. If you want to look for the Russian versions on the internet, search for: "????? ?????? ????????? "????? ???????????. ?? ????????"
I'll keep looking for the film with translation into some other language.Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm
Sorry, the Russian text did not appear. Try with latin alphabet: Film Andreia Nekrasova "Zakon Magnitskogo. Za kulisami"Abe , July 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm
This is the same dubbed version, on youtube.backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:51 pm
Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis.incontinent reader , July 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm
Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes.Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm
Well stated.Anna , July 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm
Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it.
Is there any chance you can share information regarding a means of accessing the forbidden film?
I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant.
Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it.
Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years.
Demonizing other countries is bad enough, but wilfully ignoring the potential for a nuclear war to end not only war, but life as we know it, is appalling.Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 9:41 pm
"After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson "
Am I the only one who thinks that Max Boot should have been institutionalized for some time already? He is not well.Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:31 am
Perhaps Max can share a suite with John McCain. Sadly, the illness is widespread and sometimes seems to be in the majority. Neo con/lib both are adamant in finding enemies and imposing punishment.
Finding splinters, ignoring beams. Changing regimes everywhere. Making the world safe for Democracy. Unless a man they don't like get electedorwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm
Max Boot parents are Russain Jews who seemingly instilled in him a rabid hatred for everything Russian. The same is with Aperovitch, the CrowdStrike fraudster. The first Soviet (Bolshevik) government was 85% Jewish. Considering what happened to Russia under Bolsheviks, it seems that Russians are supremely tolerant people.Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:03 pm
Anna, Anti-Semitism will get you NOWHERE, and you should be ashamed of yourself for injecting such HATRED into the rational discussion here.Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:02 am
Its not anti Semitic if its true .and its true he is a Russian Jew and its very obvious he hates Russia–as does the whole Jewish Zionist crowd in the US.Taras77 , July 13, 2017 at 11:17 pm
orwell, I wonder why the truth always turns out to be so anti-semitic!?Zachary Smith , July 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm
I hope you caught the preceding tucker interview with Ralph Peters, who says he is a retired us army LTC. He came off as completely deranged and hysterical. The two interviews back to back struck me as neo con desperation and panic. My respect for Tucker just went up for taking on these two wackos.Dan Mason , July 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm
The fact that the film is being suppressed by everybody is significant to me. I don't know a thing about the "facts" of the Magnitsky case, and a quick look at the results of a Google search suggests this film isn't going to be available to me unless I shell out some unknown amount of money.
If the producers want the film to be seen, perhaps they ought to release it for download to any interested parties for a nominal sum. This will mean they won't make any profit, but on the other hand they will be able to spit in the eyes of the censors.orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm
I went searching the net for access to this film and found that I was blocked at every turn. I did find a few links which all seemed to go to the same destination which claimed to provide access once I registered with their site. I decided to avoid that route. I don't really have that much interest in the Magnitsky affair, but I do wonder why we are being denied access to information. Who has this kind of influence, and why are they so fearful. I'm really afraid that we already live in a largely hidden Orwellian world. Now where did I put that tin foil hat?Drew Hunkins , July 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm
The Orwellian World is NOT HIDDEN, it is clearly visible.backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm
Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product.BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm
Drew – good comment. It's very hard to "turn", isn't it? I wonder if many people appreciate what it takes to do this. Easier to justify, turn a blind eye, but to actually stop, question, think, and then follow where the story leads you takes courage and strength.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:49 am
Especially when your bucking an aggressive billionaire.Zim , July 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm
BannanaBoat – that too!Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm
This is interesting:
"In December 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hillary Clinton opposed the Magnitsky Act while serving as secretary of state. Her opposition coincided with Bill Clinton giving a speech in Moscow for Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank! for which he was paid $500,000.
"Mr. Clinton also received a substantial payout in 2010 from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank whose executives were at risk of being hurt by possible U.S. sanctions tied to a complex and controversial case of alleged corruption in Russia.
Members of Congress wrote to Mrs. Clinton in 2010 seeking to deny visas to people who had been implicated by Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed and died in prison after he uncovered evidence of a large tax-refund fraud. William Browder, a foreign investor in Russia who had hired Mr. Magnitsky, alleged that the accountant had turned up evidence that Renaissance officials, among others, participated in the fraud."
The State Department opposed the sanctions bill at the time, as did the Russian government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pushed Hillary Clinton to oppose the legislation during a meeting in St. Petersburg in June 2012, citing that U.S.-Russia relations would suffer as a result."
More: http://observer.com/2017/07/natalia-veselnitskaya-hillary-clinton-magnitsky-act/Bart in Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm
Very interesting, Zim.Cal , July 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm
"[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row?
Now I remember that Post editorial. I was one of only 20 commenters before they shut down comments. It was some heavy pearl clutching.BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm
WOW..excellent reporting.BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm
nice backgrounder for an ever evolving story censorship is censorship by any other name!Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:11 am
afterthought couldn't the film be shown on RT America?Abe , July 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm
Would that not enable Bowder's employees online to claim that this documentary is Russian state propaganda, which it obviously is not because it would have been made available for free everywhere already just like RT. I believe that Nekrasov does not like RT and RT probably still does not like Nekrasov. The point of RT has never been the truth then the alternative point of view, as they advertised: Audi alteram partem.Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm
"The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement.
Moreover, when one reflects on the fact much of this 'body of reporting' was shoehorned after the fact into an analytical premise predicated on a single source of foreign-provided intelligence, that statement suddenly loses much of its impact.
"The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD.
'President Putin has repeatedly and vociferously denied any Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Those who cite the findings of the Russia NIA as indisputable proof to the contrary, however, dismiss this denial out of hand. And yet nowhere in the Russia NIA is there any evidence that those who prepared it conducted anything remotely resembling the kind of 'analysis of alternatives' mandated by the ODNI when it comes to analytic standards used to prepare intelligence community assessments and estimates. Nor is there any evidence that the CIA's vaunted 'Red Cell' was approached to provide counterintuitive assessments of premises such as 'What if President Putin is telling the truth?'
'Throughout its history, the NIC has dealt with sources of information that far exceeded any sensitivity that might attach to Brennan's foreign intelligence source. The NIC had two experts that it could have turned to oversee a project like the Russia NIA!the NIO for Cyber Issues, and the Mission Manager of the Russian and Eurasia Mission Center; logic dictates that both should have been called upon, given the subject matter overlap between cyber intrusion and Russian intent.
'The excuse that Brennan's source was simply too sensitive to be shared with these individuals, and the analysts assigned to them, is ludicrous!both the NIO for cyber issues and the CIA's mission manager for Russia and Eurasia are cleared to receive the most highly classified intelligence and, moreover, are specifically mandated to oversee projects such as an investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process.
'President Trump has come under repeated criticism for his perceived slighting of the U.S. intelligence community in repeatedly citing the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction intelligence failure when downplaying intelligence reports, including the Russia NIA, about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Adding insult to injury, the president's most recent comments were made on foreign soil (Poland), on the eve of his first meeting with President Putin, at the G-20 Conference in Hamburg, Germany, where the issue of Russian meddling was the first topic on the agenda.
"The politics of the wisdom of the timing and location of such observations aside, the specific content of the president's statements appear factually sound."
Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia By Scott Ritter http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm
Thanks Abe once again, for providing us with news which will never be printed or aired in our MSM. Brennan may ignore the NIC, as Congress and the Executive Branch constantly avoid paying attention to the GAO. Why even have these agencies, if our leaders aren't going to listen them?Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 9:08 am
Abe, I'm always amazed at how much you know. Thank you for sharing. If you have your comments in article form or on a site where they can be shared, I'd really like to know about it. I've tried, but I garble the many points you make when trying to explain historical events you've told us about.John V. Walsh , July 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm
Thanks Abe. You are a real asset to us here at CN.Roger Annis , July 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm
Very good article! The entire Magnitsky saga has become so convoluted and mired in controversy and propaganda that it is very hard to understand. I remember vaguely the controversy surrounding the showing of the film at the Newseum. it is especially impressive that Nekrasov changed his opinion as fcts unfolded.
I will now try to get the docudrama and watch it.
If anyone has suggestions on how to do this, please let me know via a response. here.
Thanks.John-Albert Eadie , July 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm
A 'Magnitsky Act' in Canada was approved by the (appointed) Senate several months ago and is now undergoing fine tuning in the House of Commons prior to a third and final vote of approval. The proposed law has the unanimous support of the parties in Parliament.
A column in today's Globe and Mail daily by the newspaper's 'chief political writer' tiptoes around the Magnitsky story, never once daring to admit that a contrary narrative exists to that of Bill Browder.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/when-it-comes-to-magnitsky-laws-its-clear-what-russia-is-looking-for/article35678618/backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm
Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination.Britton , July 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm
Roger Annis – just little lemmings following the leader. Disgusting. I hope you posted a comment at the Globe and Mail, Roger, with a link to this article.Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm
Browder is a Communist Jew, his father has a Communist past according to his background so I know I can't trust anything he says. Hes just one of many shady interests undermining Putin I've seen over the years. His book Red Notice is just as shady. Good reporting Consortium News. Fox News promotes Browder like crazy every chance they get especially Fox Business channel.ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm
"Browder is a Communist " Hedge Fund managers are hardly Communist – that's an oxymoron.Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm
Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not).backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm
thank you for this background information.
My main intention had been to straighten out the blurring of calling a hedge fund manager communist. Nowadays everything gets blurred by people misrepresenting political concepts. Either the people have been dumbed-down by misinformation or misrepresenting is done in order to keep neo-liberalism the dominant economical model. On many occasions I had read comments of people seemingly believing that Nationalsocialism had been some variant of socialism. Even the ideas of Bernie Sanders had been misrepresented as socialist instead of social democratic ones.Dave P. , July 13, 2017 at 7:37 pm
Joe Average – Dave P. mentioned Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book entitled "Two Hundred Years Together" the other day. I've been reading a long synopsis of this book. What Britton says appears to be quite true. I don't know about Browder, but from what I've read the Jews were instrumental in the communist party, in the deaths of so many Russians. It wasn't just the Jews, but they played a big part. It's no wonder Solzhenitsyn's book has been "lost in translation", at least into English, for so many years.
I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them.Bruce Walker , July 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm
backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries.
In recent history, no country went through this kind of plunder on a scale Russia went through during ten or fifteen years starting in 1992. Russia was a very badly ravaged country when Putin took over. Means of production, finance, all came to halt, and society itself had completely broken down. It appears that the West has all the intentions to do it again.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:38 am
I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. Then he got to John McCain with all his lies and bullshit and was responsible for the sanctions on Russia. All the comments aboutBrowders grandfather andCommunist party are all true but hardly important. Except that it probably was how Browder was able to get his fingers on the pie in Russia. And he sure did get his fingers in the pie BIG TIME.
I am a Canadian and am aware of Maginsky Act in Canada. Our Minister Chrystal Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago both of these two you could say are not fans of Putin, I certainly don't know what they spoke about but other than lies from Browder there is no reason she should have been talking with him. I have made comments on other forums regarding these two meeting. Read Browders book and hopefully see the documentary that this article is about. When I read his book I knew instantly that he was a crook a charloten and a liar. Just the kind of folk John McCain and a lot of other folks in US politics love. You all have a nice Peacefull daybackwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:58 am
Joe Average – "I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's."
No, it doesn't put the blame entirely on the Jews; it just spells out that they did play a large part. As one Jewish scholar said, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was too much of an academic, too intelligent to ever put the blame entirely on one group. But something like 40 – 60 million died – shot, taken out on boats with rocks around their necks and thrown overboard, starved, gassed in rail cars, poisoned, worked to death, froze, you name it. Every other human slaughter pales in comparison. Good old man, so civilized (sarc)!
But someone(s) has been instrumental in keeping this book from being translated into English (or so I've read many places online). Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" and his other books have been translated, but not this one. (Although I just found one site that has almost all of the chapters translated, but not all). Several people ordered the book off Amazon, only to find out that it was in the Russian language. LOL
Solzhenitsyn does say at one point in the book: "Communist rebellions in Germany post-WWI was a big reason for the revival of anti-Semitism (as there was no serious anti-Semitism in the imperial [Kaiser] Germany of 1870 – 1918)."
Lots of Jewish people made it into the upper levels of the Soviet government, academia, etc. (and lots of them were murdered too). I might skip reading these types of books until I get older. Too bleak. Hard enough reading about the day-to-day stuff here without going back in time for more fun!
I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up.
Keep smiling, Joe.Chucky LeRoi , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 am
Dave P. – I told you, you are a wealth of information, a walking encyclopedia. Interesting about your co-worker. Sounds like it was a free-for-all in Russia. Yes, I totally agree that Putin has done and is doing all he can to bring his country back up. Very difficult job he is doing, and I hope he is successful at keeping the West out as much as he can, at least until Russia is strong and sure enough to invite them in on their own terms.
Now go and tell your wife what I said about you being a "walking encyclopedia". She'll probably have a good laugh. (Not that you're not, but you know what she'll say: "Okay, smartie, now go and do the dishes.")Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm
Just some small scale, local color kind of stuff, but living in the USA, west coast specifically, it was quite noticeable in the mid to late '90's how many Russians with money were suddenly appearing. No apparent skills or 'jobs', but seemingly able to pay for stuff. Expensive stuff.
A neighbor invited us to her 'place in the mountains', which turned out to be where a lumber company had almost terra-formed an area and was selling off the results. Her advice: When you go to the lake (i.e., the low area now gathering runoff, paddle boats rentals, concession stand) you will see a lot of men with huge stomachs and tiny Speedos. They will be very rude, pushy, confrontational. Ignore them, DO NOT comment on their rudeness or try to deal with their manners. They are Russians, and the amount of trouble it will stir up – and probable repercussions – are simply not worth it.
Back in town, the anecdotes start piling up quickly. I am talking crowbars through windows (for a perceived insult). A beating where the victim – who was probably trying something shady – was so pulped the emergency room staff couldn't tell if the implement used was a 2X4 or a baseball bat. When found he had with $3k in his pocket: robbery was not the motive. More traffic accidents involving guys with very nice cars and serious attitude problems. I could go on. More and more often somewhere in the relating of these incidents the phrase " this Russian guy " would come up. It was the increased use of this phrase that was so noticeable.
And now the disclaimer.
Before anybody goes off, I am not anti-Russian, Russo-phobic, what have you. I studied the Russian language in high school and college (admittedly decades ago). My tax guy is Russian. I love him. My day to day interactions have led me to this pop psychology observation: the extreme conditions that produced that people and culture produced extremes. When they are of the good, loving , caring, cultured, helpful sort, you could ask for no better friends. The generosity can be embarrassing. When they are of the materialistic, evil, self-centered don't f**k with me I am THE BADDEST ASS ON THE PLANET sort, the level of mania and self-importance is impossible to deal with, just get as far away as possible. It's worked for me.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:50 am
thanks for the info. I'll add the book to the list of books onto my to-read list. As far as I know a Kibbutz could be described as a Communist microcosm. The whole idea of Communism itself is based on Marx (a Jew by birth). A while ago I had started reading "Mein Kampf". I've got to finish the book, in order to see if my assumption is correct. I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's.
The most known Russian Oligarchs that I've heard of are mainly of Jewish origin, but as far as I know they had been too young to be commissars at the time of the demise of the USSR. At least one aspect I've read of many times is that a lot of them built their fortunes with the help of quite shady business dealings.
With regard to President Putin I've read that he made a deal with the oligarchs: they should pay their taxes, keep/invest their money in Russia and keep out of politics. In return he wouldn't dig too deep into their past. Right at the moment everybody in the West is against President Putin, because he stopped the looting of his country and its citizens and that's something our Western oligarchs and financial institutions don't like.
On a side note: Several years ago I had started to read several volumes about German history. Back then I didn't notice an important aspect that should attract my attention a few years later when reading about the rise of John D. Rockefeller. Charlemagne (Charles the Great) took over power from the Merovingians. Prior to becoming King of the Franks he had been Hausmeier (Mayor of the Palace) for the Merovingians. Mayor of the Palace was the title of the manager of the household, which seems to be similar to a procurator and/or accountant (bookkeeper). The similarity of the beginnings of both careers struck me. John D. Rockefeller started as a bookkeeper. If you look at Bill Gates you'll realize that he was smart enough to buy an operating system for a few dollars, improved it and sold it to IBM on a large scale. The widely celebrated Steve Jobs was basically the marketing guy, whilst the real brain behind (the product) Apple had been Steve Wozniak.
Another side note: If we're going down the path of neo-liberalism it will lead us straight back to feudalism – at least if the economy doesn't blow up (PCR, Michael Hudson, Mike Whitney, Mike Maloney, Jim Rogers, Richard D. Wolff, and many more economists make excellent points that our present Western economy can't go on forever and is kept alive artificially).Miranda Keefe , July 14, 2017 at 5:48 am
Joe Average – somehow my reply to you ended up above your post. What? How did that happen? You can find it there. Thanks for the interesting info about John D. Rockefeller, Gates, Jobs and Wozniak. Some are good managers, others good at sales, while others are the creative inventors.
Yes, Joe, I totally agree that we are headed back to feudalism. I don't think we'll have much choice as the oil is running out. We'll probably be okay, but our children? I worry about them. They'll notice a big change in their lifetimes. The discovery and capture of oil pulled forward a large population. As we scale back, we could be in trouble, food-wise. Or at least it looks that way.
Thanks, Joe.Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:45 am
Charlemagne did not take over from the Merovingians. The Mayor of the Palace was not an accountant.
During the 7th Century the Mayor of the Place more and more became the actual ruler of the Franks. The office had existed for over a century and was basically the "prime minister" to the king. By the time Pepin of Herstal, a scion of a powerful Frankish family, took the position in 680, the king was ceremonial leader doing ritual and the Mayor ruled- like the relationship of the Emperor and the Shogun in Japan. In 687 Pepin's Austrasia conquered Neustria and Burgundy and he added "Duke of the Franks" to his titles. The office became hereditary.
When Pepin died in 714 there was some unrest as nobles from various parts of the joint kingdoms attempted to get different ones of his heirs in the office until his son Charles Martel took the reins in 718. This is the famous Charles Martel who defeated the Moors at Tours in 732. But that was not his only accomplishment as he basically extended the Frankish kingdom to include Saxony. Charles not only ruled but when the king died he picked which possible heir would become king. Finally near the end of his reign he didn't even bother replacing the king and the throne was empty.
When Charles Martel died in 741 he followed Frankish custom and divided his kingdom among his sons. By 747 his younger son, Pepin the Short, had consolidated his rule and with the support of the Pope, deposed the last Merovingian King and became the first Carolingian King in 751- the dynasty taking its name from Charles Martel. Thus Pepin reunited the two aspects of the Frankish ruler, combining the rule of the Mayor with the ceremonial reign of the King into the new Kingship.
Pepin expanded the kingdom beyond the Frankish lands even more and his son, Charlemagne, continued that. Charlemagne was 8 when his father took the title of King. Charlemagne never was the Mayor of the Palace, but grew up as the prince. He became King of the Franks in 768 ruling with his brother, sole King in 781, and then started becoming King of other countries until he united it all in 800 as the restored Western Roman Emperor.
When he died in 814 the Empire was divided into three Kingdoms and they never reunited again. The western one evolved into France. The eastern one evolved in the Holy Roman Empire and eventually Germany. The middle one never solidified but became the Low Countries, Switzerland, and the Italian states.Joe Average , July 14, 2017 at 11:32 pm
The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/
Since the inti-Russian tenor of the Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland is in accord with the US ziocons anti-Russian policies (never mind all this fuss about WWII Jewish mass graves in Ukraine), "Chrysta" is totally approved by the US government.Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:13 pm
I'll reply to myself in order to send a response to backwardsevolution and Miranda Keefe.
For a change I'll be so bold to ignore gentleman style and reply in the order of the posts – instead of Ladies first.
in my first paragraph I failed to make a clear distinction. I started with the remark that I'm adding the book "Two Hundred Years Together" to my to-read list and then mentioned that I'm right now reading "Mein Kampf". All remarks after mentioning the latter book are directed at this one – and not the one of Solzhenitsyn.
I'm aware that accountant isn't an exact characterization of the concept of a Mayor of the Palace. As a precaution I had added the phrase "seems to be similar". You're correct with the statement that Charlemagne was descendant Karl Martel. At first I intended to write that Karolinger (Carolings) took over from Merowinger (Merovingians), because those details are irrelevant to the point that I wanted to make. It would've been an information overload. My main point was the power of accountants and related fields such as sales and marketing. Neither John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs actually created their products from scratch.
Many of those who are listed as billionaires haven't been creators / inventors themselves. Completely decoupled from actual production is banking. Warren Buffet is started as an investment salesman, later stock broker and investor. Oversimplified you could describe this activity as accounting or sales. It's the same with George Soros and Carl Icahn. Without proper supervision money managers (or accountants) had and still do screw those who had hired them. One of those victims is former billionaire heiress Madeleine Schickedanz ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Schickedanz ). Generalized you could also say that BlackRock is your money manager accountant. If you've got some investment (that dates back before 2008), which promises you a higher interest rate after a term of lets say 20 years, the company with which you have the contract with may have invested your money with BlackRock. The financial crisis of 2008 has shown that finance (accountants / money managers) are taking over. Aren't investment bankers the ones who get paid large bonuses in case of success and don't face hardly any consequences in case of failure? Well, whatever turn future might take, one thing is for sure: whenever SHTF even the most colorful printed pieces of paper will not taste very well.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:54 am
History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks on
History's Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks . EVER SINCE THE Emperor Constantine established the legal position of the church in the
Many Bolsheviks fled to Germany , taking with them some loot that enabled them to get established in Germany. Lots of invaluable art work also.Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm
Cal – read about "History's Greatest Heist" on Amazon. Sounds interesting. Was one of the main reasons for the Czar's overthrow to steal and then flee? It's got to have been on some minds. A lot of people got killed, and they would have had wedding rings, gold, etc. That doesn't even include the wealth that could be stolen from the Czar. Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow in the first place, get some dough and run with it?backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm
" Was the theft just one of those things that happened through opportunism, or was it one of the main reasons for the overthrow"'
imo some of both. I am sure when they were selling off Russian valuables to finance their revolution a lot of them set aside some loot for themselves.Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 11:45 am
Cal – thank you. Good books like this get us closer and closer to the truth. Thank goodness for these people.Brad Owen , July 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm
An autocratic oligarch would probably be a better description. He probably believes like other Synarchist financiers that they should rightfully rule the World, and see democratic processes as heresy against "The Natural Order for human society", or some such belief.mike k , July 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm
Looking up "A short definition of Synarchism (a Post-Napoleonic social phenomenon) by Lyndon LaRouche" would give much insight into what's going on. People from the intelligence community made sure a copy of a 1940 army intelligence dossier labelled something like "Synarchism:NAZI/Communist" got into Lyndon's hands. It speaks of the the Synarchist method of attacking a targeted society from both extreme (Right-Left) ends of the political spectrum. I guess this is dialectics? I suppose the existence of the one extreme legitimizes the harsh, anti-democratic/anti-human measures taken to exterminate it by the other extreme, actually destroying the targeted society in the process. America, USSR, and (Sun Yat Sen's old Republic of) China were the targeted societies in the pre-WWII/WWII yearsfor their "sins" of championing We The People against Oligarchy. FDR knew the Synarchist threat and sided with Russia and China against Germany and Japan. He knew that, after dealing with the battlefield NAZIs, the "Boardroom" NAZIs would have to be dealt with Post-War. That all changed with his death.The Synarchists are still at it today, hence all the rabid Russo-phobia, the Pacific Pivot, and the drive towards war. This is all being foiled with Trump's friendly, cooperative approach towards Russia and China.Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm
Big Brother at work – always protecting us from upsetting information. How nice of him to insure our comfort. No need for us to bother with all of this confusing stuff, he can do all that for us. The mainstream media will tell us all we need to know .. (Virginia – please notice my use of irony.)Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:09 pm
Do you remember mike K when porn was censored, and there were two sides to every issue as compromise was always on the table? Now porn is accessible on cable TV, and there is only one side to every issue, and that's I'm right about everything and your not, what compromise with you?
Don't get me wrong, I don't really care how we deal with porn, but I am very concerned to why censorship is showing up whereas we can't see certain things, for certain reasons we know nothing about. Also, I find it unnerving that we as a society continue to stay so undivided. Sure, we can't all see the same things the same way, but maybe it's me, and I'm getting older by the minute, but where is our cooperation to at least try and work with each other?
Always like reading your comments mike K JoeJoe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 5:27 pm
when it comes to the choice of watching porn and bodies torn apart (real war pictures), I prefer the first one, although we in the West should be confronted with the horrible pictures of what we're assisting/doing.mike k , July 13, 2017 at 6:07 pm
This is where the Two Joe's are alike.Cal , July 13, 2017 at 10:15 pm
I do remember those days Joe. I am 86 now, so a lot has changed since 1931. With the 'greed is good' philosophy in vogue now, those who seek compromise are seen as suckers for the more single minded to take advantage of. Respect for rules of decency is just about gone, especially at the top of the wealth pyramid.BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:36 pm
Yepranney , July 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm
Distraction from critical thinking, excellent observation ( please forget the NeoCon Demos they are responsible for half of the nightmare USA society has become.John , July 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Wow Robert, what a fascinating article! And how complicated things become "when first we practice to deceive".
Abe thank you for the link to Ritter's article; that's a really good one too!Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:01 pm
If we get into a shooting war with Russia and the human race somehow survives it Robert Parry' s name will one day appear in the history books as the person who most thoroughly documented the events leading up to that war. He will be considered to be a top historian as well as a top journalist.Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm
"Browder, who abjured his American citizenship in 1998 to become a British subject, reveals more about his own selective advocacy of democratic principles than about the film itself. He might recall that in his former homeland freedom of the press remains a cherished value."
A Response to William Browder
By Rachel Bauman
http://nationalinterest.org/feature/response-william-browder-16654Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm
William Browder is a "shareholder activist" the way Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a "human rights activist".
Both loudly bleat the "story" of their heroic "fight for justice" for billionaire Jewish oligarchs: themselves.
http://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.686922.1447865981!/image/78952068.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_625/78952068.jpgbackwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:50 am
"never driven by the money"
https://www.thejc.com/culture/books/be-careful-of-putin-he-is-a-true-enemy-of-jews-1.61745Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:56 am
Abe – "never driven by the money". No, he would never be that type of guy (sarc)!
"It's hard to know what Browder will do next. He rules out any government ambitions, instead saying he can achieve more by lobbying it.
This summer, he says he met "big Hollywood players" in a bid to turn his book into a major film.
"The most important next step in the campaign is to adapt the book into a Hollywood feature film," he says. "I have been approached by many film-makers and spent part of the summer in LA meeting with screenwriters, producers and directors to figure out what the best constellation of players will be on this.
"There are a lot of people looking at it. It's still difficult to say who we will end up choosing. There are many interesting options, but I'm not going to name any names."
What the ..? I can see it now, George Clooney in the lead role, Mr. White Helmets himself, with his twins in tow.Abe , July 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm
Is it not impressive how money buys out reality in the modern world? This is why one can safely assume that whatever is told in the MSM is completely opposite to the truth. Would MSM have to push it if it were the truth? You may call this Kiza's Law if you like (modestly): " The truth is always opposite to what MSM say! " The 0.1% of situations where this is not the case is the margin of error.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:15 am
"no figure in this saga has a more tangled family relationship with the Kremlin than the London-based hedge fund manager Bill Browder [ ]
"there's a reticence in his Jewish narrative. One of his first jobs in London is with the investment operation of the publishing billionaire Robert Maxwell. As it happens, Maxwell was originally a Czech Jewish Holocaust survivor who fled and became a decorated British soldier, then helped in 1948 to set up the secret arms supply line to newly independent Israel from communist Czechoslovakia. He was also rumored to be a longtime Mossad agent. But you learn none of that from Browder's memoir.
"The silence is particularly striking because when Browder launches his own fund, he hires a former Israeli Mossad agent, Ariel, to set up his security operation, manned mainly by Israelis. Over time, Browder and Ariel become close. How did that connection come about? Was it through Maxwell? Wherever it started, the origin would add to the story. Why not tell it?
"When Browder sets up his own fund, Hermitage Capital Management -- named for the famed czarist-era St. Petersburg art museum, though that's not explained either -- his first investor is Beny Steinmetz, the Israeli diamond billionaire. Browder tells how Steinmetz introduced him to the Lebanese-Brazilian Jewish banking billionaire Edmond Safra, who invests and becomes not just a partner but also a mentor and friend.
"Safra is also internationally renowned as the dean of Sephardi Jewish philanthropy; the main backer of Israel's Shas party, the Sephardi Torah Guardians, and of New York's Holocaust memorial museum, and a megadonor to Yeshiva University, Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute and much more. Browder must have known all that. Considering the closeness of the two, it's surprising that none of it gets mentioned.
"It's possible that Browder's reticence about his Jewish connections is simply another instance of the inarticulateness that seizes so many American Jews when they try to address their Jewishness."
http://forward.com/news/376788/the-secret-jewish-history-of-donald-trump-jrs-russia-scandal/Abe , July 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm
Abe – what a web. Money makes money, doesn't it? It's often what club you belong to and who you know. I remember a millionaire in my area long ago who went bankrupt. The wealthy simply chipped in, gave him some start-up money, and he was off to the races again. Simple as that. And I would think that the Jews are an even tighter group who invest with each other, are privy to inside information, get laws changed in favor of each other, pay people off when one gets in trouble. Browder seems a shifty sort. As the article says, he leaves a lot out.Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:26 am
In 1988, Stanton Wheeler (Yale University – Law School), David L. Weisburd (Hebrew University of Jerusalem; George Mason University – The Department of Criminology, Law & Society; Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Faculty of Law). Elin Waring (Yale University – Law School), and Nancy Bode (Government of the State of Minnesota) published a major study on white collar crime in America.
Part of a larger program of research on white-collar crime supported by a grant from the United States Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice, the study included "the more special forms associated with the abuse of political power [ ] or abuse of financial power". The study was also published as a Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper
The research team noted that Jews were over-represented relative to their share of the U.S. population:
"With respect to religion, there is one clear finding. Although many in both white collar and common crime categories do not claim a particular religious faith [ ] It would be a fair summary of our. data to say that, demographically speaking, white collar offenders are predominantly middle-aged white males with an over-representation of Jews."
In 1991, David L. Weisburd published his study of Crimes of the Middle Classes: White-Collar Offenders in the Federal Courts, Weisburd found that although Jews comprised only around 2% of the United States population, they contributed at least 9% of lower category white-collar crimes (bank embezzlement, tax fraud and bank fraud), at least 15% of moderate category white-collar crimes (mail fraud, false claims, and bribery), and at least 33% of high category white-collar crimes (antitrust and securities fraud). Weisburg showed greater frequency of Jewish offenders at the top of the hierarchy of white collar crime. In Weisbug's sample of financial crime in America, Jews were responsible for 23.9%.Cal , July 16, 2017 at 5:41 am
What I find most interesting is how Putin handles the Jews.
It is obvious that he is the one who saved the country of Russia from the looting of the 90s by the Russian-American Jewish mafia. This is the most direct explanation for his demonisation in the West, his feat will never be forgiven, not even in history books (a demon forever). Even to this day, for example in Syria, Putin's main confrontation is not against US then against the Zionist Jews, whose principal tool is US. Yet, there is not a single anti-Semitic sentence that Putin ever uttered. Also, Putin let the Jewish oligarchs who plundered Russia keep their money if they accepted the authority of the Russian state, kept employing Russians and paying Russian taxes. But he openly confronted those who refused (Berezovsky, Khodorovsky etc). Furthermore, Putin lets Israel bomb Syria under his protection to abandon. Finally, Putin is known in Russia as a great supporter of Jews and Israel, almost a good friend of Nutty Yahoo.
Therefore, it appears to me that the Putin's principal strategy is to appeal to the honest Jewish majority to restrain the criminal Jewish minority (including the criminally insane), to divide them instead of confronting them all as a group, which is what the anti-Semitic Europeans have traditionally been doing. His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. I still do not know if his strategy will succeed in the long run, but it certainly is an interesting new approach (unless I do not know history enough) to an ancient problem. It is almost funny how so many US people think that the problem with the nefarious Jewish money power started with US, if they are even aware of it.Abe , July 15, 2017 at 5:11 pm
" His judo-technique is in using Jewish power to restrain the Jews. "
The Jews have no power without their uber Jew money men, most of whom are ardent Zionist.
And because they get some benefits from the lobbying heft of the Zionist control of congress they arent going to go against them.HIDE BEHIND , July 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm
Bill Browder with American-Israeli interviewer Natasha Mozgovaya, TV host for Voice of America.
In this 2015 tirade, Browder declared "Someone has to punch Putin in the nose" and urged "supplying arms to the Ukrainians and putting troops, NATO troops, in all of the surrounding countries".
The choice of Mozgovaya as interviewer was significant to promote Browder with the Russian Jewish community abroad.
Born in the Soviet Union in 1979, Mozgovaya immigrated to Israel with her family in 1990. She became a correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth in 2000. Although working most of the time in Hebrew, her reports in Russian appeared in various publications in Russia.
Mozgovaya covered the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, including interviews with President Victor Yushenko and his partner-rival Yulia Timoshenko, as well as the Russian Mafia and Russian oligarchs. During the presidency of Vladimir Putin, Mozgovaya gave one of the last interviews with the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. She interviewed Garry Kasparov, Edward Limonov, Boris Berezovsky, Chechen exiles such as Ahmed Zakaev, and the widow of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.
In 2008, Mozgovaya left Yedioth Ahronoth to become the Washington Bureau Chief for Haaretz newspaper in Washington, D.C.. She was a frequent lecturer on Israel and Middle Eastern affairs at U.S. think-tanks. In 2013, Mozgovaya started working at the Voice of America.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:07 am
Gramps was decended from an old Irish New England Yankee lineage and in my youth he always dragged me along when the town meetings were held, so my ideas of American DEmocracy stem from that background, one of open participation.
The local newspapers had more social chit chat than political news of international or for that mstter State or Federal shenanigansbut everu member in that far flung settled communit read them from front to back; ss a child I got to read the funny and sports pages until Gramps got finidhed reading the "News Section, always the news first yhen the lesser BS when time allowed,this habit instilled in me the sence of
Aftrr I had read his dection of paper he would talk with me,even being a yonker, in a serious but opinionated manner, of the Editorial section which had local commentary letterd to the editor as large as somtimes too pages.
I wonder today at which section of papersf at all, is read by american public, and at how manyadults discuss importsn news worthy tppics with their children.
At advent of TV we still had trustworthy journalist to finally be seen after years of but reading their columns or listening on radios,almost tottaly all males but men of honesty and character, and worthy of trust.
They wrre a part of all social stratas, had lived real lives and yes most eere well educated but not the elitist thinking jrrks who are no more than parrots repeating whatevrr a teleprompter or bias of their employers say to write.
Wrll back to Gramps and hid home spun wisdom: He alwsys ,and shoeed by example at those old and somrtimes boistrous town Halls, that first you askef a question, thought about the answer, and then questioned the answer.
This made the one being question responsible for the words he spoke.
So those who have doubts by a presumed independent journalist, damn right they should question his motives, which in reality begin to answer our unspoken questions we can no longer ask those boobs for bombs and political sychophants and their paymasters of popular media outlets.
As one who likes effeciency in prodution one monitors data to spot trends and sny aberations bring questions so yes I note this journalist deviation from the norms as well.
I can only question the why, by looking at data from surrounding trends in order to later be able to question his answers.Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 10:53 pm
Hide Behind – sounds like you had a smart grandpa, and someone who cared enough about you to talk things over with you (even though he was opinionated). I try to talk things over with my kids, sometimes too much. They're known on occasion to say, "Okay, enough. We're full." I wait a few days, and then fill them up some more! Ha.F. G. Sanford , July 14, 2017 at 12:42 am
Here's a thought; will letting go of Trump Jr's infraction cancel out a guilty verdict of Hillary Clinton's transgressions?
I keep hearing Hillary references while people defend Donald Trump Jr over his meeting with Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya. My thinking started over how I keep hearing pundits speak to Trump Jr's 'intent'. Didn't Comey find Hillary impossible to prosecute due to her lack of 'intent'? Actually I always thought that to be prosecuted under espionage charges, the law didn't need to prove intent, but then again we are talking about Hillary here.
The more I keep hearing Trump defenders make mention of Hillary's deliberate mistakes, and the more I keep hearing Democrates point to Donald Jr's opportunistic failures, the more similarity I see between the two rivals, and the more I see an agreed upon truce ending up in a tie. Remember we live in a one party system with two wings.
Am I going down the wrong road here, or could forgiving Trump Jr allow Hillary to get a free get out of jail card?Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 1:29 am
I've been saying all along, our government is just a big can of worms, and neither side can expose the other without opening it. But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers like it's a game of chicken. My guess is, everybody is gonna get a free pass. I read somewhere that Preet Bharara had the goods on a whole bunch of bankers, but he sat on it clear up to the election. Then, he got fired. So much for draining the swamp. If they prosecute Hillary, it looks like a grudge match. If they prosecute Junior, it looks like revenge. If they prosecute Lynch, it looks like racism. When you deal with a government this corrupt, everybody looks innocent by comparison. I'm still betting nobody goes to jail, as long as the "deep state" thinks they have Trump under control.Lisa , July 14, 2017 at 4:22 am
It's like we are sitting on the top of a hill looking down at a bunch of little armies attacking each other, or something.
I'm really screwy, I have contemplated to if Petraues dropped a dime on himself for having a extra martial affair, just to get out of the Benghazi mess. Just thought I'd tell you that for full disclosure.
When it comes to Hillary, does anyone remember how in the beginning of her email investigation she pointed to Colin Powell setting precedent to use a private computer? That little snitch Hillary is always the one when caught to start pointing the finger .she would never have lasted in the Mafia, but she's smart enough to know what works best in Washington DC.
I'm just starting to see the magic; get the goods on Trump Jr then make a deal with the new FBI director.
Okay go ahead and laugh, but before you do pass the popcorn, and let's see how this all plays out.
Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.
JoeJoe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 10:59 am
"Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see."
Joe, where does this quote originate? Or is it a paraphrase?
I once had an American lecturer (political science) at the university, and he stressed the idea that we should not believe anything we read or hear and only half of what we see. This was l-o-o-ng ago, in the 60's.Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm
The first time I ever heard that line, 'believe nothing of what you see', was a friend of mine said it after we watched Roberto Clemente throw a third base runner out going towards home plate, as Robert threw the ball without a bounce to the catcher who was standing up, from the deep right field corner of the field .oh those were the days.Joe Tedesky , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 pm
Clemente had an unbelievable arm! The consummate baseball player I have family in western PA, an uncle your age in fact who remembers Clemente well. Roberto also happened to be a great human being.Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:12 pm
I got loss at Forbes Field. I was seven years old, it was 1957. I got separated from my older cousin, we got in for 50 cents to sit in the left field bleachers. Like I said I loss my older cousin so I walked, and walked, and just about the time I wanted my mum the most I saw daylight. I followed the daylight out of the big garage door, and I was standing within a foot of this long white foul line. All of a sudden this Black guy started yelling at me in somekind of broken English to, 'get off the field, get out of here'. Then I felt a field ushers hand grab my shoulder, and as I turned I saw my cousin standing on the fan side of the right field side of the field. The usher picked me up and threw me over to my cousin, with a warning for him to keep his eye on me. That Black baseball player was a young rookie who was recently just drafted from the then Brooklyn Dodgers .#21 Roberto Clemente.Zachary Smith , July 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm
You were a charmed boy and now you are a charmed man. Great story life is a Field of Dreams sometimes.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 2:01 am
Believe half of what you hear, and nothing of what you see.
My introduction to this had the wording the other way around:
"Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see."
This was because the workplace was saturated with rumors, and unfortunately there was a practice of management and union representatives "play-acting" for their audience. So what you "saw" was as likely as not a little theatrical production with no real meaning whatever. The two fellows shouting at each other might well be laughing about it over a cup of coffee an hour later.Gregory Herr , July 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm
Sanford – "But insiders on both sides are flashing their can openers " That's funny writing.Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 2:41 am
yessir, love itKiza , July 15, 2017 at 6:19 pm
Absolutely, one of the best political metaphors ever (unfortunately works in English language only).Abe , July 14, 2017 at 2:13 am
BTW, they are flashing at each other not only can openers then also jail cells and grassy knolls these days. But the can openers would still be most scary.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 3:00 am
Israeli banks have helped launder money for Russian oligarchs, while large-scale fraudulent industries, like binary options, have been allowed to flourish here.
A May 2009 diplomatic cable by the US ambassador to Israel warned that "many Russian oligarchs of Jewish origin and Jewish members of organized crime groups have received Israeli citizenship, or at least maintain residences in the country."
The United States estimated at the time that Russian crime groups had "laundered as much as $10 billion through Israeli holdings."
In 2009, then Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 managers and employees of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims for defrauding Germany 42.5 million dollars by creating thousands of false benefit applications for people who had not suffered in the Holocaust.
The scam operated by creating phony applications with false birth dates and invented histories of persecution to process compensation claims. In some cases the recipients were born after World War II and at least one person was not even Jewish.
Among those charged was Semyon Domnitser, a former director of the conference. Many of the applicants were recruited from Brooklyn's Russian community. All those charged hail from Brooklyn.
When a phony applicant got a check, the scammers were given a cut, Bharara said. The fraud which has been going on for 16 years was related to the 400 million dollars which Germany pays out each year to Holocaust survivors.
Later, in November 2015, Bharara's office charged three Israeli men in a 23-count indictment that alleged that they ran a extensive computer hacking and fraud scheme that targeted JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, and ten other companies.
According to prosecutors, the Israeli's operation generated "hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profit" and exposed the personal information of more than 100 million people.
Despite his service as a useful idiot propagating the Magnitsky Myth, Bharara discovered that for Russian Jewish oligarchs, criminals and scam artists, the motto is "Nikogda ne zabyt'!" Perhaps more recognizable by the German phrase: "Niemals vergessen!"Cal , July 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm
Abe – wow, what a story. I guess it's lucrative to "never forget"! Bandits.backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 4:21 pm
National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.
NCJ Number: NCJ 006180
Title: CRIMINALITY AMONG JEWS – AN OVERVIEW
United States of America
Journal: ISSUES IN CRIMINOLOGY Volume:6 Issue:2 Dated:(SUMMER 1971) Pages:1-39
Date Published: 1971
Page Count: 15
Abstract: THE CONCLUSION OF MOST STUDIES IS THAT JEWS HAVE A LOW CRIME RATE. IT IS LOWER THAN THAT OF NON-JEWS TAKEN AS A WHOLE, LOWER THAN THAT OF OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS,
HOWEVER, THE JEWISH CRIME RATE TENDS TO BE HIGHER THAN THAT OF NONJEWS AND OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS FOR WHITE-COLLAR OFFENSES,
THAT IS, COMMERCIAL OR COMMERCIALLY RELATED CRIMES, SUCH AS FRAUD, FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTCY, AND EMBEZZLEMENT.
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences ; Adult offenders ; Minorities ; Behavioral science research ; Offender classification
Country: United States of America
Language: EnglishSkip Scott , July 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm
Cal – that does not surprise me at all. Of course they would be where the money is, and once you have money, you get nothing but the best defense. "I've got time and money on my side. Go ahead and take me to court. I'll string this thing along and it'll cost you a fortune. So let's deal. I'm good with a fine."
A rap on the knuckles, a fine, and no court case, no discovery of the truth that the people can see. Of course they'd be there. That IS the only place to be if you want to be a true criminal.BannanaBoat , July 14, 2017 at 10:45 am
Thanks again Abe, you are a wealth of information. I think you have to allow for anyone to make a mistake, and Bharara has done a lot of good.Cal , July 13, 2017 at 11:39 pm
USA justice for Oilygarchs; Ignore capital crimes and mass destruction ; concentrate on entertaining shenanigans.
If Trump wants to survive he better let go of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Lets start here:
Trump's personal attorneys are reportedly fed up with Jared Kushner
Longtime Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz and his team have directed their grievance at Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser.
Citing a person familiar with Trump's legal team, The Times said Kasowitz has bristled at Kushner's "whispering in the president's ear" about stories on the Russia investigation without telling Kasowitz and his team.
The Times' source said the attorneys, who were hired as private counsel to Trump in li