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Financial skeptic

Notes on "neoliberalism enforced" cruise to Frugality Island for 401K Lemmings

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“When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product
of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

John Maynard Keynes

"Life is a school of probabilities."

Walter Bagehot

Neoliberal economics (aka casino capitalism) function from one crash to another. Risk is pervasively underpriced under neoliberal system, resulting in bubbles small and large which hit the economy periodically. The problem are not strictly economical or political. They are ideological. Like a country which adopted a certain religion follows a certain path, The USA behaviour after adoption of neoliberalism somewhat correlate with the behaviour of alcoholic who decided to booze himself to death. The difference is that debt is used instead of booze.

Hypertrophied role of financial sector under neoliberalism introduces strong positive feedback look into the economic system making the whole system unstable. Any attempts to put some sand into the wheels in the form of increasing transaction costs or jailing some overzealous bankers or hedge fund managers are blocked by political power of financial oligarchy, which is the actual ruling class under neoliberalism for ordinary investor (who are dragged into stock market by his/her 401K) this in for a very bumpy ride. I managed to observe just two two financial crashed under liberalism (in 2000 and 2008) out of probably four (Savings and loan crisis was probably the first neoliberal crisis). The next crash is given, taking into account that hypertrophied role of financial sector did not changes neither after dot-com crisis of 200-2002 not after 2008 crisis (it is unclear when and if it ended; in any case it was long getting the name of "Great Recession").

Timing of the next crisis is anybody's guess but it might well be closer then we assume. As Mark Twain aptly observed: "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes" ;-):

This morning that meant a stream of thoughts triggered by Paul Krugman’s most recent op-ed, particularly this:

Most of all, the vast riches being earned — or maybe that should be “earned” — in our bloated financial industry undermined our sense of reality and degraded our judgment.

Think of the way almost everyone important missed the warning signs of an impending crisis. How was that possible? How, for example, could Alan Greenspan have declared, just a few years ago, that “the financial system as a whole has become more resilient” — thanks to derivatives, no less? The answer, I believe, is that there’s an innate tendency on the part of even the elite to idolize men who are making a lot of money, and assume that they know what they’re doing.

As most 401K investors are brainwashing into being "over bullish", this page is strongly bearish in "perma-bear" fashion in order to serve as an antidote to "Barrons" style cheerleading. Funny, but this page is accessed mostly during periods of economic uncertainty. At least this was the case during the last two financial crisis(2000 and 2008). No so much during good times: the number of visits drops to below 1K a month.

Still I hope it plays a small but important role: to warn about excessive risk taking by 401K investors in neoliberal economic system. It designed to serve as a warning sign and inject a skeptical note into MSM coverage. There are not many such sites, so a warning about danger of taking excessive risk in 401K accounts under neoliberalism has definite value. The following cartoon from 2008 illustrated this point nicely

As far as I know lot of 401K investors are 100% or almost 100% invested at stocks. Including many of my friends. I came across a very relevant to this situation joke which nicely illustrated the ideas of this page:

Seven habits that help produce the anything-but-efficient markets that rule the world by Paul Krugman in Fortune.

1. Think short term.
2. Be greedy.
3. Believe in the greater fool
4. Run with the herd.
5. Overgeneralize
6. Be trendy
7. Play with other people's money

I would like to stress again that it is very difficult to "guess" when the next wave of crisis stikes us: "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes".

But mispricing of risk in 401K accounts is systemic for "overbullish" 401 investors, who expect that they will be able to jusp of the train in time, before the crash. Usually such expectations are false. And to sell in the market that can lose 10% in one day is not easy psychologically. I remember my feelings in 2001-2002 and again 2008-2009. That's why many people who planned to "jump" stay put and can temporarily lose 30 to 50% of value of their 401k account in a very short period of time (and if you think that S&P500 can't return to 1000, think again; its all depends on FED). At this point some freak out and sell their holdings making paper losses permanent.

Even for those who weathered the storm and held to their stock holdings, it is important to understand that paper losses were eliminated mostly by Fed money printing. As such risks remains as at one point FED might find itself out of ammunition. The fact that S&P500 recovered very nicely it does not diminish the risk of such behavior. There is no guarantee that the third crisis will behave like previous two.

Next crash will have a new key determinant: the attitude toward the US government (and here I mean the current government of Barack Obama) and Wall Street after 2008 is the lack of trust. That means that you need to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Injection on so much money into financial system was a novel experiment which is not ended yet. So how it will end is anybody's guess. We are now in uncharted waters. I think when Putin called Bernanke a hooligan, he meant exactly this. Since Bernanke was printing money out of thin air to buy financial paper, his action were tantamount to shoplifting. In some way this probably is more similar to running meth labs inside Fed building. The system was injected with narcotics. Everybody felt better, but the mechanism behind it was not healthy.

The complexity of modern financial system is tremendous and how all those new financial instruments will behave under a new stress is unknown. At the same time in the Internet age we, the great unwashed masses, can't be keep in complete obscurity like in good old time. Many now know ( or at least suspect ) that the neoliberal "show must goes on" after 2008 is actually going strongly at their expense. And while open rebellion is impossible, that results in lack of trust which represents a problem for financial oligarchy which rules the country. The poor working slobs are told be grateful for Walmart's low (poverty-subsidized) prices. Middle class is told that their declining standard of living is a natural result of their lack of competitiveness in the market place. Classic "bread and circuses" policy still works but for how long it will continue to work it is unclear.

But nothing is really new under the sun. To more and more people it is now clear that today the US is trying to stave off the inevitable decline by resorting to all kinds of financial manipulations like previous empires; yesterday, it was the British Empire and if you go further back, you get the USSR, Hapsburg empire, Imperial Russia, Spanish empire, Venetian empire, Byzantium and Roman empire. The current "Secretary of Imperial Wars" (aka Secretary of Defense) Ashton Baldwin Carter is pretty open about this:

“We already see countries in the region trying to carve up these markets…forging many separate trade agreements in recent years, some based on pressure and special arrangements…. Agreements that…..leave us on the sidelines. That risks America’s access to these growing markets. We must all decide if we are going to let that happen. If we’re going to help boost our exports and our economy…and cement our influence and leadership in the fastest-growing region in the world; or if, instead, we’re going to take ourselves out of the game.”

For the US elite it might be a time to rethink its neocon stance due to which the US is exposing ourselves to the enmity of the rising economic powers, and blowing serious cash to maintain it hegemony via maintaining huge military budget, financing wars and color revolutions in distant countries. In a way the US foreign policy became a financial racket, and racket can't last forever because it incite strong opposition from other countries.

Neoliberalism (aka casino capitalism) as a social system entered the state of decline after 2008. Like communism before it stopped to be attractive to people. But unlike communism it proved to have greater staying power, surviving in zombie state as finanfial institutions preserved political power and in some cases even enhanced it. It is unclear how long it will say in this state. Much depends on the availability of "cheap oil" on which neoliberal globalization is based.

But the plausible hypothesis is that this social system like socialism in xUSSR space before entered down slope and might well be on its way to the cliff. Attempts to neo-colonize other states by the West became less successful and more costly (Compare Ukraine, Libya and Iraq with previous instances of color revolutions). Some became close to XIX century colonial conquests with a lot of bloodshed (from half million to over a million of Iraqis, by different estimates, died ). As always this is mainly the blood of locals, which is cheap.

Libya and Ukraine are two recent examples. Both countries are now destroyed (which might be the plan). In Ukraine population is thrown in object poverty with income of less that $5 a day for the majority of population. And there is no other way to expand markets but to try to "neo-colonize" new countries by putting them into ominous level of debt while exporting goods to the population on credit. That is not a long term strategy as Greece, Bulgaria, and now Spain and Portugal had shown. With shrinking markets stability of capitalism in general and neoliberalism in particular might decrease.

Several researchers points to increased importance Central banks now play in maintaining of the stability of the banking system. That's already a reversal of neoliberal dogma about free (read "unregulated") markets. Actually the tale about "free markets", as far as the USA is concerned, actually was from the very beginning mainly the product designed for export (read about Washington consensus).

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[Jun 19, 2018] How The Last Superpower Was Unchained by Tom Engelhardt

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits. ..."
"... This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained." ..."
"... In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows"). ..."
"... The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels. ..."
Jun 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Engelhardt via The Asia Times,

Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice with a tone deafness that would be humorous, if it weren't so grim.

If you look, you can find examples of this just about anywhere. Here, for instance, is a passage in The New York Times from a piece on the topsy-turvy Trumpian negotiations that preceded the Singapore summit. "The Americans and South Koreans," wrote reporter Motoko Rich, "want to persuade the North that continuing to funnel most of the country's resources into its military and nuclear programs shortchanges its citizens' economic well-being. But the North does not see the two as mutually exclusive."

Think about that for a moment. The US has, of course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plus upgrade of its already massive nuclear arsenal (and that's before the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for years proved eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of the national security state (a figure that's still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when they, too, follow such an extreme path.

"Clueless" is not a word Americans ordinarily apply to themselves as a country, a people, or a government. Yet how applicable it is.

And when it comes to cluelessness, there's another, far stranger path the United States has been following since at least the George W Bush moment that couldn't be more consequential and yet somehow remains the least noticed of all. On this subject, Americans don't have a clue. In fact, if you could put the United States on a psychiatrist's couch, this might be the place to start.

America contained

In a way, it's the oldest story on Earth: the rise and fall of empires. And note the plural there. It was never – not until recently at least – "empire," always "empires." Since the 15th century, when the fleets of the first European imperial powers broke into the larger world with subjugation in mind, it was invariably a contest of many. There were at least three or sometimes significantly more imperial powers rising and contesting for dominance or slowly falling from it.

This was, by definition, the history of great powers on this planet: the challenging rise, the challenged decline. Think of it for so many centuries as the essential narrative of history, the story of how it all happened until at least 1945, when just two "superpowers," the United States and the Soviet Union, found themselves facing off on a global scale.

Of the two, the US was always stronger, more powerful, and far wealthier. It theoretically feared the Russian Bear, the Evil Empire , which it worked assiduously to " contain " behind that famed Iron Curtain and whose adherents in the US, always modest in number, were subjected to a mania of fear and suppression.

However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits.

This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained."

In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows").

The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels.

That was the situation until December 1991 when, at the end of a centuries-long imperial race for power (and the never-ending arms race that went with it), there was just one gigantic power left standing on Planet Earth. It told you something about the thinking then that, when the Soviet Union imploded, the initial reaction in Washington wasn't triumphalism (though that came soon enough) but utter shock, a disbelieving sense that something no one had expected, predicted, or even imagined had nonetheless happened. To that very moment, Washington had continued to plan for a two-superpower world until the end of time.

America uncontained

Soon enough, though, the Washington elite came to see what happened as, in the phrase of the moment, " the end of history ." Given the wreckage of the Soviet Union, it seemed that an ultimate victory had been won by the very country its politicians would soon come to call "the last superpower," the " indispensable " nation, the " exceptional " state, a land great beyond imagining (until, at least, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail with a slogan that implied greatness wasn't all-American any more).

In reality, there were a variety of paths open to the "last superpower" at that moment. There was even, however briefly, talk of a "peace dividend" – of the possibility that, in a world without contesting superpowers, taxpayer dollars might once again be invested not in the sinews of war-making but of peacemaking (particularly in infrastructure and the well-being of the country's citizens).

Such talk, however, lasted only a year or two and always in a minor key before being relegated to Washington's attic. Instead, with only a few rickety "rogue" states left to deal with – like gulp North Korea, Iraq and Iran – that money never actually headed home, and neither did the thinking that went with it.

Consider it the good fortune of the geopolitical dreamers soon to take the reins in Washington that the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, which ended less than a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, prepared the way for quite a different style of thinking. That instant victory led to a new kind of militarized dreaming in which a highly tech-savvy military, like the one that had driven Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in such short order, would be capable of doing anything on a planet without serious opposition.

And yet, from the beginning, there were signs suggesting a far grimmer future. To take but one infamous example, Americans still remember the Black Hawk Down moment of 1993 when the world's greatest military fell victim to a Somali warlord and local militias and found itself incapable of imposing its will on one of the least impressive not-quite-states on the planet (a place still frustrating that military a quarter-century later).

In that post-1991 world, however, few in Washington even considered that the 20th century had loosed another phenomenon on the world, that of insurgent national liberation movements, generally leftist rebellions, across what had been the colonial world – the very world of competing empires now being tucked into the history books – and it hadn't gone away. In the 21st century, such insurgent movements, now largely religious, or terror-based, or both, would turn out to offer a grim new version of containment to the last superpower.

Unchaining the indispensable nation

On September 11, 2001, a canny global jihadist by the name of Osama bin Laden sent his air force (four hijacked US passenger jets) and his precision weaponry (19 suicidal, mainly Saudi followers) against three iconic targets in the American pantheon: the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and undoubtedly the Capitol or the White House (neither of which was hit because one of those jets crashed in a field in Pennsylvania). In doing so, in a sense bin Laden not only loosed a literal hell on Earth, but unchained the last superpower.

William Shakespeare would have had a word for what followed: hubris. But give the top officials of the Bush administration (and the neocons who supported them) a break. There had never been a moment like it: a moment of one. A single great power left alone, triumphant, on planet Earth. Just one superpower – wealthy beyond compare, its increasingly high-tech military unmatched, its only true rival in a state of collapse – had now been challenged by a small jihadist group.

To president Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, and the rest of their crew, it seemed like nothing short of a heaven-sent opportunity. As they came out of the shock of 9/11, of that " Pearl Harbor of the 21st century ," it was as if they had found a magic formula in the ruins of those iconic buildings for the ultimate control of the planet. As secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld would instruct an aide at the Pentagon that day, "Go massive. Sweep it up. Things related and not."

Within days, things related and not were indeed being swept up. The country was almost instantly said to be "at war," and soon that conflict even had a name, the Global War on Terror. Nor was that war to be against just al-Qaeda, or even one country, an Afghanistan largely ruled by the Taliban. More than 60 countries said to have "terror networks" of various sorts found themselves almost instantly in the administration's potential gunsights. And that was just to be the beginning of it all.

In October 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan was launched. In the spring of 2003, the invasion of Iraq followed, and those were only the initial steps in what was increasingly envisioned as the imposition of a Pax Americana on the Greater Middle East.

There could be no doubt, for instance, that Iran and Syria, too, would soon go the way of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush's top officials had been nursing just such dreams since, in 1997, many of them formed a think-tank (the first ever to enter the White House) called the Project for the New American Century and began to write out what were then the fantasies of figures nowhere near power. By 2003, they were power itself and their dreams, if anything, had grown even more grandiose.

In addition to imagining a political Pax Republicana in the United States, they truly dreamed of a future planetary Pax Americana in which, for the first time in history, a single power would, in some fashion, control the whole works, the Earth itself.

And this wasn't to be a passing matter either. The Bush administration's "unilateralism" rested on a conviction that it could actually create a future in which no country or even bloc of countries would ever come close to matching or challenging US military power. The administration's National Security Strategy of 2002 put the matter bluntly: The US was to "build and maintain" a military, in the phrase of the moment, " beyond challenge ."

They had little doubt that, in the face of the most technologically advanced, bulked-up, destructive force on Earth, hostile states would be "shocked and awed" by a simple demonstration of its power, while friendly ones would have little choice but to come to heel as well. After all, as Bush said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in 2007, the US military was "the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known."

Though there was much talk at the time about the "liberation" of Afghanistan and then Iraq, at least in their imaginations the true country being liberated was the planet's lone superpower. Although the Bush administration was officially considered a "conservative" one, its key officials were geopolitical dreamers of the first order and their vision of the world was the very opposite of conservative. It harkened back to nothing and looked forward to everything.

It was radical in ways that should have, but didn't, take the American public's breath away; radical in ways that had never been seen before.

Shock and awe for the last superpower

Think of what those officials did in the post-9/11 moment as the ultimate act of greed. They tried to swallow a whole planet. They were determined to make it a planet of one in a way that had never before been seriously imagined.

It was, to say the least, a vision of madness. Even in a moment when it truly did seem – to them at least – that all constraints had been taken off, an administration of genuine conservatives might have hesitated. Its top officials might, at least, have approached the post-Soviet situation with a modicum of caution and modesty.

But not George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and pals. In the face of what seemed like the ultimate in possibilities they proved clueless when it came to the possibility that anything on Earth might have a shot at containing them.

Even among their critics, who could have imagined then that, more than 16 years later, having faced only lightly armed enemies of various sorts, still wealthy beyond compare, still with a military funded in a way the next seven countries couldn't cumulatively match, the United States would have won literally nothing?

Who could have imagined that, unlike so many preceding imperial powers (including the US of the earlier Cold War era), it would have been able to establish control over nothing at all; that, instead, from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq deep into Africa, it would find itself in a state of " infinite war " and utter frustration on a planet filled with ever more failed states , destroyed cities , displaced people , and right-wing "populist" governments, including the one in Washington?

Who could have imagined that, with a peace dividend no longer faintly conceivable, this country would have found itself not just in decline, but – a new term is needed to catch the essence of this curious moment – in what might be called self-decline?

Yes, a new power, China, is finally rising – and doing so on a planet that seems itself to be going down . Here, then, is a conclusion that might be drawn from the quarter-century-plus in which America was both unchained and largely alone.

The Earth is admittedly a small orb in a vast universe, but the history of this century so far suggests one reality about which America's rulers proved utterly clueless: After so many hundreds of years of imperial struggle, this planet still remains too big, too disparate, too ornery to be controlled by a single power. What the Bush administration did was simply take one gulp too many and the result has been a kind of national (and planetary) indigestion.

Despite what it looked like in Washington once upon a time, the disappearance of the Soviet Union proved to be no gift at all, but a disaster of the first order. It removed all sense of limits from America's political class and led to a tale of greed on a planetary scale. In the process, it also set the US on a path to self-decline.

The history of greed in our time has yet to be written, but what a story it will someday make. In it, the greed of those geopolitical dreamers will intersect with the greed of an ever wealthier, ever more gilded 1%, of the billionaires who were preparing to swallow whole the political system of that last superpower and grab so much of the wealth of the planet, leaving so little for others.

Whether you're talking about the urge to control the planet militarily or financially, what took place in these years could, in the end, result in ruin of a historic kind. To use a favored phrase from the Bush years, one of these days we Americans may be facing little short of "regime change" on a planetary scale. And what a piece of shock and awe that's likely to prove to be.

All of us, of course, now live on the planet Bush's boys tried to swallow whole. They left us in a world of infinite war, infinite harm, and in Donald Trump's America where cluelessness has been raised to a new power.

[Jun 19, 2018] Study Confirms Most Psychopaths Live in Washington DC by Joe Jarvis

Jun 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

Murphy also included the District of Columbia in his research, and found it had a psychopathy level far higher than any other state. But this finding is an outlier, as Murphy notes, as it's an entirely urban area and cannot be fairly compared with larger, more geographically diverse, US states. That said, as Murphy notes, "The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy (2016) that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere."

Surprised? I didn't think so. But still, fun to get some scientific confirmation.

Psychos are drawn to power . It is not just that power corrupts, it is that already corrupt people seek power . Government is the best industry to be in for someone with no morals.

The study is called Psychopathy By State , conducted by Ryan Murphy . He surveyed samples from the lower 48 states and Washington D.C. to find the prevalence of personality traits which correspond to psychopathy.

The personality traits generally corresponding to psychopathy are low neuroticism, high extraversion, low agreeableness, and low conscientiousness.

Of course, D.C. came in first by far. But as he notes, that this is not exactly a fair comparison, as it is a city being compared to entire states. The study finds that urban areas, in general, correspond to more psychopathic personality traits.

Another interesting finding is that a higher concentration of lawyers predicts higher psychopathy prevalence. I kid you not.

So removing D.C. can you guess which states come in the top three? I bet you can.

  1. Connecticut
  2. California
  3. New Jersey

New York ties for the fourth highest concentration of psychopaths among U.S. states. Interestingly, it ties with Wyoming which I would not have expected. But the author notes there was a relatively small sample surveyed from Wyoming.

The least psychopathic states are :

  1. West Virginia
  2. Vermont
  3. Tennessee
  4. North Carolina
  5. New Mexico

And it should not be surprising that the main correlation was that state with the lowest percentage of people living in urban areas also had the lowest concentration of psychopaths.

Perhaps psychopaths need to be around more victims, or constantly switch out their friends and acquaintances as they become wise to their antisocial behaviors. Note that antisocial does not mean loner, it means lacking empathy, remorse, and behaving in a manipulative way that hurts others .

It is possible that psychopaths are more easily recognized and ostracized in smaller communities and rural settings. Since humans could speak, gossip has been a regulator of social behavior . This has its benefits and detriments of course.

But to be clear, the paper is not so much identifying where all the psychopaths live, as much as identifying general population traits which correspond to psychopathy.

This certainly leads to a higher frequency of psychiatrically identifiable true psychopaths. But it also means that a large percentage of the population behaves in a somewhat psychopathic manner.

While a very small percentage of individuals in any given state may actually be true psychopaths, the level of psychopathy present, on average, within an aggregate population (i.e., not simply the low percentages of psychopaths) is a distinct research question. While empirical operationalizations of psychopathy frequently treat it as a binary categorization, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (Hare 1991) treats it as a spectrum. The operationalization of psychopathy found here is consistent with psychopathy as thought of as a spectrum.

The study concludes:

Areas of the United States that are measured to be most psychopathic are those in the Northeast and other similarly populated regions. The least psychopathic are predominantly rural areas. The District of Columbia is measured to be far more psychopathic than any individual state in the country, a fact that can be readily explained either by its very high population density or by the type of person who may be drawn [to] a literal seat of power (as in Murphy 2016).

Hailing originally from Massachusetts, I can attest to the highest corresponding personality trait being "Temperamental & Uninhibited." Where did you think the term Masshole came from.

If you aren't a psychopath when you enter the state, you soon become one from the traffic alone. And I wonder if just being in such close proximity to people makes it a necessary adaptation to care a little less about how your actions affect others.

There are just too many variables, so you become numb to the plight of others, and just need to get the hell out of this traffic jam before I go insane!

But if you feel held captive among psychopaths, maybe it is time to start on your two-year plan to free yourself.

You don't have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:

How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim 3 Specific Freedoms.

This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It's not as hard as you think

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[Jun 18, 2018] Second FBI Informant Tried To Entrap Trump Campaign With $2 Million Offer For Hillary Dirt Roger Stone Zero Hedge

Jun 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Michael Caputo say that a meeting Stone took in late May, 2016 with a Russian appears to have been an " FBI sting operation " in hindsight, following bombshell reports in May that the DOJ/FBI used a longtime FBI/CIA asset, Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, to perform espionage on the Trump campaign.

When Stone arrived at the restaurant in Sunny Isles, he said, Greenberg was wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt and hat. On his phone, Greenberg pulled up a photo of himself with Trump at a rally, Stone said.

The meeting went nowhere - ending after Stone told Greenberg " You don't understand Donald Trump... He doesn't pay for anything ." The Post independently confirmed this account with Greenberg.

Aftter the meeting, Stone received a text message from Caputo - a Trump campaign communications official who arranged the meeting after Greenberg approached Caputo's Russian-immigrant business partner.

" How crazy is the Russian? " Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted "big" money, Stone replied: "waste of time." - WaPo

Stone and Caputo now think the meeting was an FBI attempt to entrap the Trump administration - showing the Post evidence that Greenberg, who sometimes used the name Henry Oknyansky, " had provided information to the FBI for 17 years, " based on a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status.

He attached records showing that the government had granted him special permission to enter the United States because his presence represented a "significant public benefit."

Between 2008 and 2012, the records show, he repeatedly was extended permission to enter the United States under a so-called "significant public benefit parole." The documents list an FBI agent as a contact person. The agent declined to comment.

Greenberg did not respond to questions about his use of multiple names but said in a text that he had worked for the "federal government" for 17 years.

"I risked my life and put myself in danger to do so, as you can imagine," he said. - WaPo

"Wherever I was, from Iran to North Korea, I always send information to" the FBI, Greenberg told The Post . " I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger . Based on my information, there is so many arrests criminal from drugs and human trafficking, money laundering and insurance frauds ."

Stone and Caputo say it was a "sting operation" by the FBI:

" I didn't realize it was an FBI sting operation at the time, but it sure looks like one now ," said Stone.

"If you believe that [Greenberg] took time off from his long career as an FBI informant to reach out to us in his spare time, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you," Caputo said in an interview.

Greenberg told WaPo he stopped working with the FBI "sometime after 2013."

In terms of the timeline , here's where the Greenberg meeting fits in:

April 26, 2016 - Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud allegedly tells Trump campaign aide George Paoadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton

Papadopoulos' statement of offense also detailed his April 26, 2016, meeting with Mifsud at a London hotel. Over breakfast Mifsud told Papadopoulos "he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian governmental officials." Mifsud explained "that on that trip he (the Professor) learned that the Russians had obtained 'dirt' on then-candidate Clinton." Mifsud told Papadopoulos "the Russians had emails of Clinton." - The Federalist

May 10, 2016 - Papadopoulos tells former Australian Diplomat Alexander Downer during an alleged " drunken barroom admission " that the Russians had information which "could be damaging" to Hillary Clinton.

Late May, 2016 - Stone is approached by Greenberg with the $2 million offer for dirt on Clinton

July 2016 - FBI informant (spy) Stefan Halper meets with Trump campaign aide Carter Page for the first time, which would be one of many encounters.

July 31, 2016 - the FBI officially launches operation Crossfire Hurricane , the code name given to the counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign.

September, 2016 - Halper invites Papadopoulos to London, paying him $3,000 to work on an energy policy paper while wining and dining him at a 200-year-old private London club on September 15.

Foggy memory

Stone and Caputo say they didn't mention the meeting during Congressional testimony because they forgot, chalking it up to unimportant "due diligence." Apparently random offers for political dirt in exchange for millions are so common in D.C. that one tends to forget.

Stone and Caputo said in separate interviews that they also did not disclose the Greenberg meeting during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because they had forgotten about an incident that Stone calls unimportant "due diligence" that would have been "political malpractice" not to explore . - WaPo

While Greenberg and Stone's account of the meeting mostly checked out (after Greenberg initially denied Stone's account), Greenberg said that a Ukrainian friend named "Alexi" who was fired by the Clinton Foundation attended as well, and was the one asking for the money - while Stone said Greenberg came alone to the meeting.

"We really want to help Trump," Stone recalled Greenberg saying during the brief encounter.

Greenberg says he sat at a nearby table while Alexei conducted the meeting. " Alexei talk to Mr. Stone, not me ," he wrote.

The Clinton Founation has denied ever employing anyone with the first name of Alexi.

Caputo's attorney on Friday sent a letter amending his House testimony, and he plans to present Caputo's account of the Greenberg incident to the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice, which has announced it is examining the FBI's use of informants during the Russia probe. Stone said his attorney has done the same. - WaPo

Second FBI informant

Caputo hinted at the interaction in late May when he said that there were multiple government informants who approached the Trump campaign:

"Let me tell you something that I know for a fact," Caputo said during a May 21 interview on Fox News. " This informant, this person [who] they tried to plant into the campaign he's not the only person who came into the campaign . And the FBI is not the only Obama agency who came into the campaign."

" I know because they came at me ," Caputo added. " And I'm looking for clearance from my attorney to reveal this to the public. This is just the beginning. "

https://www.youtube.com/embed/l8NO1uRTPAY

Stone told the Post that he may be indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and charged "with a crime unrelated to the election in order to silence him," and that he anticipates the meeting with Greenberg may be used to try and pressure him to testify against President Trump (leaving no Stone unturned), which he told the Post he would never do.


roadhazard Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

Roger Stone has his own problems. Great source for truth and credibility.

Cambridge Analytica folks now working for Trump 2020.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-2020-cambridge-analytica-data-propria-a8402656.html

gregga777 -> roadhazard Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:17 Permalink

There were several times during the Roman Empire when the Praetorian Guard murdered the Emperor and then auctioned off the Emperor's position to the highest bidder. We're probably close to that point ourselves where the FBI and CIA just dispense with the pretense and murder the President and auction it off themselves to the highest bidder.

yrad Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

What a wicked web we weave...

NidStyles -> yrad Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:15 Permalink

Indeed, trying to entrap a President.

Ms No Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Greenberg.... another of a long list of coincidences.

[Jun 17, 2018] Mr. Trump Attacks Aluminum, Russia Attacks The Debt by Tom Luongo

Notable quotes:
"... The net result will be more of the aluminum market will flow through the Yuan rather than the dollar, neatly avoiding sanctions and any future threats. Because with the insanity caused by the overnight chaos in April, any aluminum supplier/consumer will be wary of another such edict from the naked Emperor in D.C. ..."
"... Rusal will be one of the main beneficiaries since Russian banks are already sanctioned. ..."
"... Abusing your customers is never a winning marketplace strategy and that's exactly what Trump's sanctions policy is doing, abusing customers of the dollar. Trust has been the dollar's strongest attribute for a long time now and it is the primary reason why it has dominated trade and reserves. ..."
"... But there is a limit to how much your customers will take. And Trump is pushing well beyond that limit. And when the benefits of using the dollar are eclipsed by the liabilities, people will naturally shift away from it. ..."
"... Putin has and will use future mini-crises like this to further clean up the rot left over from the Yeltsin years, like Deripaska, while building a Russia insulated from future attacks like this. ..."
"... The struggle for most Americans regarding this issue is the fact that the Ministry of Truth has always told us "Russia Bad!" while "US Good!". The Ole good guy vs bad guy paradigm. I grew up in the 80's and am very familiar with that paradigm. I am an American through and through but our government has become the most corrupt bunch of whoring thieves on the planet. ..."
"... True Americans have awakened to realize the power of our corrupt government lies in the dollar hegemony. True Americans hate it, and hate the power and control it wields in our own lives. We see it at work around the world. We see DC squeeze our lives to subsidize it's world empire. An empire is seeks to maintain for various reasons that are debated regularly. ..."
"... The USA is drunk on power with their dollar as they see it as invincible. It will be their own undoing. The world is eager and preparing to drop/run/destroy the dollar. One day they'll all lick their wounds take their losses and forget the dollar completely. ..."
"... The US will have to do one of the hardest things in the history of the nation. She'll have to stop LYING to herself! All those recommending weaponization of the petrodollar, are charlatans. The USA cannot get through restructuring via antagonism, that only tightens the economic noose. ..."
"... What is needed, is bankruptcy protection, via honest cooperation with the emergent economic powers in the East. This comes with a price, retrenchment of imperium. This in turn, requires sobriety that, the game while not completely lost, as in national decomposition, is nevertheless, unwinnable, as in rebuilding can only follow retrenchment. ..."
"... Exceptionalism Delenda Est!... ..."
Jun 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Looking at the unfolding trade war between Donald Trump and the world the phrase that should come to mind is "One good turn deserves another."

In the case of the insane sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and Russian Aluminum giant, Rusal, back in April, we finally got some clarity as to how Russia can and will respond to future events.

In yesterday's Treasury International Capital (TIC) report, we saw clearly that Russia activated its nearly $100 billion in U.S. Treasury debt to buy dollars in April.

More than $47 billion in U.S. debt was dumped into the market to cover the chaos engendered by Trump's overnight diktat for the world to stop doing business with Rusal.

Also of note, U.S. ally Japan continues to shed Treasuries at around 8-10 billion per month. Ireland dumped $17 billion and Luxembourg nearly $8 billion.

While China dropped $5 billion this is noise, ultimately as its holdings of U.S. debt have been stable for over a year now. What is interesting is Belgium, the home of Euroclear, seeing a $12 billion inflow. Likely that's where some of the Russian-held debt was traded to.

The Russians likely sold from their balance on reserve with the Federal Reserve. Here's the latest iteration of the chart I keep for just such an occasion.

Rusal's shares and bonds went bidless but the damage wasn't contained there as major Russian banks like VTB and Sberbank were hit hard as well. So, while Rusal didn't have much in the way of dollar-denominated debt. It did have major dollar-related obligations as accounts receivable on its balance sheet because of the sheer size of its trade conducted in dollars.

And that's why there was such an outflow from Russia's stock of Treasuries. But, here's the thing. It didn't matter one whit. Why? It didn't undermine Russia's Foreign Exchange Reserves.

No Dip in Russia's Foreign Exchange Reserves During Rusal Crisis

Russia just sold Treasuries into the market, raised dollars and swapped out Rusal's bonds, holding them as collateral for a Repo.

The Bank of Russia Intervened to keep Rusal and Other Banks Solvent by Dumping U.S. Treasuries

This went on for most of the month and into May. Zerohedge's reporting on this leads the way.

This mass dumping of U.S. debt caused the long end of the U.S. yield curve to blow out past significant resistance points, like the 10 year pushing above 3.05% in sympathy with the Fed's policy to dry up dollar liquidity. If this first-order analysis by Zerohedge is correct, then we can assume Russia has been holding a lot of long-dated Treasuries versus say China which we know has shortened up the average maturity of their massive bond portfolio.

In times past we may have not seen such a massive dump of U.S. debt by Russia. They may have simply sold dollars directly or swapped euros or yuan for them. But, these are different times. Trump has taken the use of sanctions to a level that hasn't been seen before.

Putin is the master of parallel aggression. You take an action against Russia, he will generally hit you back along some other vector.

In this case it was a direct confrontation to Trump's bringing the full weight of U.S. financial dominance down on its rivals and allies, who are all heavily exposed to Rusal's market position.

Russia is not out of the water with this situation which is why Oleg Deripaska, the majority owner of Rusal and the one targeted by the Trump administration, is looking still to find ways to satisfy the U.S.'s demands on this issue.

Putin's Pivot

But, don't think this isn't working to Putin's advantage as Deripaska is not one of his supposed favored oligarchs. This report from Bloomberg spelled out the situation well back in April.

As for Deripaska, he will get help from the Russian government again. {which he did, see above} Rusal has warned that the sanctions might mean a default on a portion of its debt. That's most likely to happen to its more than $1 billion in dollar-denominated debt. But, as ever, the company's biggest creditors are Russian state banks, and the Kremlin will keep Rusal solvent one way or another as it reorients toward Asian markets. It won't be a huge headache for Putin: He's seen worse, including with Rusal during the financial crisis.

And that's the most important part.

Once the current positions are wound down and the aluminum market adjusts to the new reality of U.S. hyper-aggression to restart an industry we really don't need (smelting aluminum? really?) just to satisfy Trump's outdated views on trade (which they are MAGA-pedes) Rusal's business will not be so U.S.-centric.

And therefore the world will become less exposed, over time, to the depredations of U.S. financial attack. I told you before that China has responded to this by issuing new yuan-denominated futures contracts for industrial metals.

Why do you think they did that?

Will it create pain in the short-term? Yes. Europe will experience even more of this as will Asia.

Will a lot of companies fear being sanctioned and fined by the U.S. for doing business with Rusal? Yes. It's happening now. Will this exacerbate underlying economic conditions in Europe? Of course.

But, if Deripaska submits, like it looks like he will, then the aluminum market will calm down and Trump's sanctions will look silly.

Sanctions Bite Both Ways

The net result will be more of the aluminum market will flow through the Yuan rather than the dollar, neatly avoiding sanctions and any future threats. Because with the insanity caused by the overnight chaos in April, any aluminum supplier/consumer will be wary of another such edict from the naked Emperor in D.C.

And, as such, they will diversify the currencies they buy and sell aluminum in. It won't be a sea change overnight. Those least exposed will jump ship first. Rusal will be one of the main beneficiaries since Russian banks are already sanctioned.

But it will be a trend, that once started will gain steam.

China can and will tie convertibility of its futures contracts to gold through the Shanghai exchange to allay worries about getting money out of the country.

Abusing your customers is never a winning marketplace strategy and that's exactly what Trump's sanctions policy is doing, abusing customers of the dollar. Trust has been the dollar's strongest attribute for a long time now and it is the primary reason why it has dominated trade and reserves.

But there is a limit to how much your customers will take. And Trump is pushing well beyond that limit. And when the benefits of using the dollar are eclipsed by the liabilities, people will naturally shift away from it.

Look at the TIC chart above and note the total. This is a $6.3 trillion synthetic short position against the dollar. He's inviting countries to dump treasuries to defend their currencies as the dollar strengthens while shifting their primary materials buying to the biggest rival's currency.

This is why Russia continues to run a very tight financial ship while it leads the charge away from the dollar. It's inviting customers into the ruble with both a strong national balance sheet and relatively higher interest rates. This has the U.S. fuming.

Putin has and will use future mini-crises like this to further clean up the rot left over from the Yeltsin years, like Deripaska, while building a Russia insulated from future attacks like this.

Remember, even the U.S. has limits. It cannot sanction people for refusing to trade in dollars. Even the U.S. doesn't have that power. It can try but it will fail. New systems, new banks, new institutions can always be created.


PrayingMantis -> cowdiddly Sun, 06/17/2018 - 09:24 Permalink

... " ... in the case of the insane sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and Russian Aluminum giant, Rusal, back in April, we finally got some clarity as to how Russia can and will respond to future events .. . " ...

... most recently, Trump had been focusing on protecting steel and "aluminum" on world trading ... could there be an underlying reason behind these sanctions? ... who is Trump really protecting here? ...

... let's follow the money ... these links might let us connect the (((dots))) ...

... >>> http://graphics.thomsonreuters.com/specials/MetalWarehousing.pdf (REUTERS/REUTERS STaff

Should the London Metal Exchange allow Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Glencore to own aluminium warehouses even as they trade the metal?
GOLDMAN'S NEW MONEY MACHINE: WAREHOUSES ) ...

... >>> http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20141120/NEWS01/141129992/senate-report-metro-detroit-warehouses-gave-goldman-sachs-influence

... (Senate report: Metro Detroit warehouses gave Goldman Sachs influence over aluminum pricing ) ...

... >>> https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/07/goldmans-secret-cash-cow-detroit-warehouses-full-metal/337401/ ... (Goldman's Secret Cash Cow: Detroit Warehouses Full of Metal ) ...

... >>> http://www.demos.org/blog/11/21/14/following-money-how-goldman-sachs-manipulates-commodity-prices ... (Following the Money: How Goldman Sachs Manipulates Commodity Prices ) ...

... why aluminum? ... why not any other commodities?

... ever wonder what Trump is up to now to please his talmudic Rothschild banksters overlords?

... you be the judge ....

bshirley1968 -> PrayingMantis Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:21 Permalink

The struggle for most Americans regarding this issue is the fact that the Ministry of Truth has always told us "Russia Bad!" while "US Good!". The Ole good guy vs bad guy paradigm. I grew up in the 80's and am very familiar with that paradigm. I am an American through and through but our government has become the most corrupt bunch of whoring thieves on the planet.

True Americans have awakened to realize the power of our corrupt government lies in the dollar hegemony. True Americans hate it, and hate the power and control it wields in our own lives. We see it at work around the world. We see DC squeeze our lives to subsidize it's world empire. An empire is seeks to maintain for various reasons that are debated regularly.

The rub comes when we see that the only force capable of standing up to this corrupt empire is a country that we have been told all our lives is evil. Russia wasn't always the communist soviet union.....and is no longer that today. But in the minds of many Americans that is all that it will ever be. Russia has the resources, military, intelligence, and skill to control it's own destiny. It has everything it needs to tell the US empire, "No!" I respect that....admire that.....cheer that....and wish them success in their stand. For those of us looking for a way to bust the evil cabal now running our own country, Russia's rebellion of US dominance is a ray of hope. It's not that we don't love our own country or want to be Russians, but we don't care about supporting a world empire that requires wars, taxes, and a strategy that strip us of our individual sovereignty by contaminating our country with people that don't belong here and will never think like an American.

People need to put aside their "fan-boy" biases, drop the blind loyalty, and start dealing with reality. We are not rooting for Putin and Russia, rather we are rooting for the downfall of thus evil banking cartel that is slowly killing us all and taking more and more of our freedoms. To those of you that say that will cause pain and we STILL have the greatest country on earth, I say, somethings are worth the pain.....and we can be a lot better. We have got to change direction....and the sooner we get off this road of empire destruction, the better.

Raisin Hail -> PrayingMantis Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:40 Permalink

Maybe it is because The Aluminum Company of America (formerly ALCOA now Arconic an others) is going broke. Check out their stock price for the last 10 years or so. Are they still part of the DOW Index? Bonehead move to include them years ago.

are we there yet -> Raisin Hail Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

If the US dollar weakens, then the US exports and jobs go up, while US imports go down.

Demologos -> Escrava Isaura Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

Trump is worth what, a couple of billion? And those assets are encumbered by a lot of debt held by US banks. That does not an oligarch make. When it comes to US oligarchs, Trump is a piker compared to the massive family trusts that can move markets and voting results.

... ... ...

PrivetHedge -> Demologos Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

Trump is worth exactly the debt that the Israeli Sheldon Adelson holds over him IIRC. Far from being independent he is owned by America's biggest parasite and enemy: Israel.

peopledontwanttruth -> 07564111 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 09:24 Permalink

The USA is drunk on power with their dollar as they see it as invincible. It will be their own undoing. The world is eager and preparing to drop/run/destroy the dollar. One day they'll all lick their wounds take their losses and forget the dollar completely.

The USA and Israel aka banksters will start WWIII to prove literally they will destroy the world if need be instead of lose their power over mankind

Scipio Africanuz -> Ambrose Bierce Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:16 Permalink

The US will have to do one of the hardest things in the history of the nation. She'll have to stop LYING to herself! All those recommending weaponization of the petrodollar, are charlatans. The USA cannot get through restructuring via antagonism, that only tightens the economic noose.

What is needed, is bankruptcy protection, via honest cooperation with the emergent economic powers in the East. This comes with a price, retrenchment of imperium. This in turn, requires sobriety that, the game while not completely lost, as in national decomposition, is nevertheless, unwinnable, as in rebuilding can only follow retrenchment.

Now, US policy wonks must be imbibing some real potent hallucinogens, to be unable to see what's right in front of their noses that, no matter the strategy, if it's not one of cooperation, the game is forfeit! The only strategy that helps the US retain great power status, is one whereby clear eyed, hard nosed assessment of assets and liabilities, are carried out.

The East is helping the USA buy time, the exceptionalists are once again, squandering the opportunity, just like they did in 91. They somehow believe the US military can change the trajectory of events. This is not possible any longer except humanity signs up for civilizational extinction.

To cut a long story short, it's time to declare mea culpa, and request a recalibration of goals, objectives, tactics, and critically, strategy. The strategy going forward? Honest cooperation to resolve issues that are creating global tensions, foremost amongst them, the one where the West gets to live like kings, at the expense of billions. This is the major issue, and it cannot be resolved without humility on the part of the West, and indemnity on the part of victims.

Humanity will only move forward through forgiveness, which cannot be activated without contrition.

Exceptionalism Delenda Est!...

You Only Live Twice Sun, 06/17/2018 - 08:19 Permalink

If Russia is selling Treasuries, it may be ahead of the market selling to prevent losses down the road. There is a shift happening not just with Russia as the long-standing bankers like the Rothschilds, etc. have been also selling their UST holdings and moving the money to Asia as per their reports for the last year.

The other thing to watch is the Vienna OPEC meeting later this month. The Saudis and Russia have now setup a long-term partnership to control the Oil market, including speculation on the markets as of today's press, so a discussion of abandoning the Petrodollar may not be off the table as there are portions of that deal that have been announced as secretive and this may be part of the plan.

[Jun 17, 2018] Nomi Prins: The Central Banking Heist That Put The World At Risk by Liam Halligan

Jun 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Liam Halligan via Unherd.com,

"The 2008 financial crisis was the consequence of a loosely regulated banking system in which power was concentrated in the hands of too limited a cast of speculators, " Nomi Prins tell me. "And after the crisis, the way the US government and the Federal Reserve dealt with this corrupt and criminal banking system was to give them a subsidy."

Such strong, withering analysis is, perhaps, unexpected from someone who has held senior roles at Wall Street finance houses such as Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs. But Prins is no ordinary former banker.

The US author and journalist left the financial services industry in 2001. She did so, in her own words, "partly because life was too short", and "partly out of disgust at how citizens everywhere had become collateral damage, and later hostages, to the banking system".

Since then, Prins has chronicled the closed and often confusing world of high finance through the 2008 crisis and beyond. Her writing combines deep insider knowledge with on-the-ground reporting with sharp, searing prose. Alongside countless articles for New York Times , Forbes and Fortune , she has produced six books – including Collusion: how central bankers rigged the world , which has just been published.

Her main target in the new work is "quantitative easing" – described by Prins as "a conjuring trick" in which "a central bank manufactures electronic money, then injects it into private banks and financial markets". Over the last decade, she tells me when we meet in London, "under the guise of QE, central bankers have massively overstepped their traditional mandates, directing the flow of epic sums of fabricated money, without any checks or balances, towards the private banking sector".

Since QE began, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, "the US Federal Reserve has produced a massive $4.5 trillion of conjured money, out of a worldwide QE total of around $21 trillion", says Prins. The combination of ultra-low interest rates and vast monetary expansion, she explains, has caused "speculation to rage... much as a global casino would be abuzz if everyone gambled using everyone else's money".

Much of this new spending power, though, has remained "inside the system", with banks shoring up their balance sheets. "So lending to ordinary firms and households has barely grown as a result of QE," says Prins, "nor have wages or prosperity for most of the world's population". Instead, "the banks have gone on an asset-buying spree", she explains, getting into her stride, "with the vast flow of QE cash from central banks to private banks ensuring endless opportunities for market manipulation and asset bubbles – driven by government support".

Prins describes "the power grab we've seen by the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks". Using QE, she argues, "these illusionists have altered the nature of the financial system and orchestrated a de facto heist that has enabled the most dominant banks and central bankers to run the world".

She says all this looking me straight in the eye, with the deadpan delivery, supreme confidence and unflinching focus of the senior investment banker she was. But the words are those of an angry and committed activist – someone who is absolutely determined to do what she can to reform global finance, starting in her native country.

Nomi Prins deals in bold statements and fearless analysis. While often accused of hyperbole, her deep research, financial expertise and former 'insider status' means only a fool would dismiss her. She is just at home within academia as she is on the political front line – a regular on the university lecture circuit, Prins was also a member of Senator Bernie Sanders' team of economic experts, advising on central bank reform. Yet, such is her reputation that she commands a place among those she chides – and is regularly consulted, formally and informally, by senior officials at the Fed, the ECB and other major central banks.

Surveying the history of the response to the 2008 financial crisis, Prins tells me that explicit bank bailouts were only a small part of the story. "First, there was the $700bn package agreed in Congress to save the US banks that caused the crisis," she says. "But the real bailout was the trillions of dollars of QE produced by the Fed – a massive subsidy to banks and financial markets, that has created an enormous bubble, a subsidy agreed by unelected officials and barely debated or remarked upon."

After initiating QE in late 2008, the Fed then "exported the idea – and that required the collusion of other major central banks", Prins argues. She points out that even though the Fed and the Bank of England have currently stopped doing QE, new money amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars a month is still being pumped out by central banks elsewhere, not least the ECB and the Bank of Japan.

"When the asset bubble pops, the fragile financial system and the broader economic environment could be thrown into deep depression and turmoil," she says.

"That's why the QE baton has been passed from the US to other nations, and why the central banks are so desperate to collude."

I put to Prins the conventional wisdom: there was no alternative to QE, and without it, the global banking system would have collapsed in 2008, causing untold economic and political damage. While she accepts there was a need for immediate post-crisis action, she argues the time for emergency measures has now long since passed. "If financial markets so much as wobble, the world's leading central banks, between them, do more QE," she says. "The insiders maintain the status quo of subsidies to the financial system – but there is no world war, aliens are not invading our planet, this is totally unjustified."

Prins says that QE has been "a massive deceit and a huge factor in driving inequality – a dedicated effort by institutions with the ability to create money, deciding that it doesn't go to ordinary people". While it was sold "as a massive trickle-down programme, helping the incomes of regular households, the benefits have been focused at the very top".

Stock markets have benefitted, she acknowledges, "but a mere 10% of Americans own 85% of the market". Prins also argues that low interest rates have harmed most Americans. "We need to normalise the rate environment, so ordinary people get some kind of return on their pensions and savings," she says.

QE and low rates, says Prins, have also caused "a debt explosion" – as not only have governments taken on more borrowing but financial institutions have too, keen to boost the scale of their investments in QE-driven markets that look like a one-way bet. US government debt has soared from $9 trillion to over $20 trillion since the financial crisis, Prins observes. "And public and private debt combined amount to a staggering 225% of global GDP – much of it accumulated since the financial crisis," she says.

"The next financial crisis will be sparked by a debt failure somewhere – then this QE bubble will pop very quickly," Prins predicts. "And when the new crisis comes, rates are already low and we have little in the way of fiscal ammunition, so mitigation will be very tough – and it will be ordinary people who suffer the most".

In response to the financial crisis, Prins maintains it would have been far cheaper and more effective for the state to intervene directly, providing explicit assistance to cash-strapped householders struggling to service the distressed mortgages at the heart of the crisis. "There was half a trillion dollars of sub-prime mortgages across the US in 2008," she recalls. "You could have bought up these properties, or just temporarily covered the loans," she says. "That would have cost much less than half a trillion, and would also have helped the banks by turning their junk assets into performing loans."

Prins says the "banks and central banks together" instead concocted QE. "We've allowed a grotesque $21 trillion global subsidy which has seen the bankers not only avoid punishment for the huge mess they created, but then entrench their financial advantage even more."

What we need, she says, is "better regulation" – in particular, a return to the "Glass-Steagall environment where investment banks can't leverage their balance sheets by so much and rely on government support". Since the Depression-era separation between risky investment banking and run-of-the-mill commercial banking was repealed by the Clinton administration in 1997, "a financial crisis was unavoidable", she says. "As long as the deposits of ordinary people and companies can be used by investment bankers as fodder for reckless speculation, in the knowledge those deposits are backed by the state, the world is at risk."

Prins is dismayed at how easily on-going QE, continuing years after the financial crisis, has been accepted by the political and media classes. "There is joint approval across the middle of the left-right spectrum," she says. "The economics profession and almost all commentators don't seem to care that this money is completely unaccountable and untracked – and has caused an enormous bubble." The reason, she observes, is that contemplating the end of QE is too difficult. "The unwind will cause pain and could result in a meltdown, as the markets and the debt mountain collapse."

In Collusion , Prins takes us on a whistle-stop tour of global finance, describing how the leaders of the Banco de México tried to navigate their country's complicated relationship with the Fed and how Brazil has led the charge in challenging the dollar's all-important "reserve currency status". The book goes to China , where we learn how Beijing is using "dark money" to upend dollar-hegemony, helping to drive the country's ascent as a global superpower.

We read how Europe's response to the financial crisis has heightened tension between the ECB and Germany – fuelling intra-EU resentments that have fuelled populism and help explain Brexit. Prins describes how Japan "leverages the rivalry between the US and China", while embarking on "the most ambitious money-conjuring scheme to date".

But it is in the US where the bulk of the narrative is set and it is there the arguments Prins makes will be most keenly read. The Federal Reserve has just lifted interest rates by a quarter point, and signalled that two more increases are likely in 2018. As the world's most important central bank continues the long, gradual march away from emergency measures, and with the ECB also committed soon to ending QE, the warnings in this important book about extent of today's asset price bubbles, and the role central banks have played in causing them, are about to be severely tested.

"What we've witnessed, since 2008, is the unbridled ability of the so-called people at the top to implement socialism for the banks," Prins tells me. "If anyone had said we are going to give $21 trillion to the global banking sector, it would never have happened – so we've had a backdoor process instead, under the pretense it would help ordinary people."

Leaning forward for the first time, Prins ups the ante. "Well, real people don't believe that – and they'll believe it even less as and when we have another crash, a crash off the back of ten years of emergency measures that were supposed to fix the system."

"The issue isn't whether this money-conjuring game can continue," she says as she prepares to leave. "The issue is that central banks have no plan B in the event of another crisis – and that's going to create an even more massively negative view among ordinary people towards those who see themselves as elites."

Listen to Liam Halligan's interview with Nomi Prins here:

Tags Business Finance Banks - NEC Outdoor Advertising Brokerage Services Investment Banking Investment Banking & Brokerage Services - NEC

Comments Vote up! 26 Vote down! 0

Oldguy05 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:24 Permalink

I love you Nomi ;)

house biscuit -> Oldguy05 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:29 Permalink

If she's getting regularly published in the standard MSM rags, then she is leading you down the wrong path; full stop

TBT or not TBT -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:32 Permalink

Hers is an absolutely novel thesis, particularly here on ZH, where we think all is going for the best in the best of all possible worlds .

Blue Steel 309 -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:39 Permalink

One of her obfuscations is the concentrating on "asset bubbles" rather than the fact that these Banksters are obtaining ownership of the worlds real assets without having to pay for them. As if they didn't have enough power.

Ownership of corporations (and control of them), is one of the subjects carefully avoided by the Rotschild media machine.

There is only one group of people who it is illegal to question in a good number of ethnic European countries.

PhilofOz -> Blue Steel 309 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:13 Permalink

Prins describes "the power grab we've seen by the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks".

Replace "....the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks" with "....the Rothschild Crime Family" would be a more appropriate comment.

The Rothschild Crime Family own and control every central bank on the planet except three, Iran, North Korea and Cuba, lending money at interest to governments everywhere. Do you have debt, a home loan, a car loan, student debt, credit card debt?! What about the debt your Federal, State and Local governments have on behalf of you, your children and grand-children? Just imagine that over 50% of all that debt is owed and the interest continually paid to the Rothschild clan and their tight knit group of international bankers. Do you feel good about yourself still, being nothing more than a serf to them? Money makes money, and in this case the biggest crime syndicate that will ever exist, one that has the military of various countries continuing their protection racket for them as well as IRS type institutions doing their debt collecting, will never be satisfied until they have everything!

Jack Oliver -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:33 Permalink

Alternative thinking would suggest that Prins is spot on ! The reason she gets MSM 'coverage' is because she has not revealed the true enormity of it ! The scenario's she suggests have definitely played out !

Although, she is withholding the TRUE scale of it - it's MASSIVE !

There is NO plan B and there is NO way out !

Apart from WAR !!

TheSilentMajority -> Oldguy05 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 04:21 Permalink

Buy high, sell low, works every time!

GotAFriendInBen Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:25 Permalink

Same things said here

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/secret-and-lies-of-the-bailo

Juggernaut x2 -> VolAnarchist Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

Absolute power corrupts absolutely and that is what the banks have- absolute power- "The banks run this place(Congress)"- Sen Dick Durbin(IL) 2008.

Not if_ But When Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:48 Permalink

I just received her new book "Collusion: how the central bankers rigged the world" through special order with my library. She is by far the best writer on central banks and the financial crisis. Her "It Takes a Pillage" is superb and easily followed. The problem is, hardly anyone outside of the few who care (or know) read it.

Balance-Sheet Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:30 Permalink

A 1950s outlook repeated for 6 books. We are not going anywhere near 20th Century anything and this is populist. Glass-Steagall is DEAD but promoting its return sells!

Now the money the Fed creates is "Outside Money" injected to the banking system which creates the "Inside Money" that usually finances the economy. The INTENTION of the "Outside Money" being injected into the banking system is to prevent the banking system from dying after which it would no longer be able to create the "Inside Money" you borrow.

The Fed is NOT going to send individual citizens their mortgage payments. This is also populist tripe.

If this were to be done Congress would have to legislate it and the Fed would assist in arranging the financing for such a deficit.

The Congress DOES send trillions to all the people through various transfer and entitlement programs and this coming year will be 2.8T from the federal level alone as well as arranging all the student and mortgage loans.

As long as it is taken to be entertainment any of this is fine. Oh yeah, NO GOLD Standard, Bimetal money, or any sort of commodity currency EVER again.

[Jun 17, 2018] Neoliberalism as socialism for the banks

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I encountered a wonderful concept the other day on the Keiser Report, where they said in passing that the great irony of the Hegemon's position was that it couldn't use its massive financial power because whenever it did, it simply forced alternatives to arise. ..."
"... This is why every financial move by Trump is producing the opposite result. Another ZH article says that the Russian sell-off of US Treasuries was a move to cover Rusal and the sanctions placed on its former CEO, Deripaska. Mr. Trump Attacks Aluminum, Russia Attacks The Debt . ..."
"... Every time the US flaunts its Dollar supremacy, it pushes customers away from the Dollar. ..."
"... The US has power left in the financial sector, but can't use it. The US has no power left in the military area, and cannot show it. Syria, Korea, the theaters are growing where the US has had to step down. ..."
"... Even the fog of propaganda is wearing increasingly thin. The US State Department just issued a warning to its people about traveling to Russia. It's risky, they say. But ticket sales for the World Cup are up by 25% from the US, the largest foreign customer ..."
Jun 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian | Jun 17, 2018 12:47:46 PM | 2

I was impatient and put this up on last weeks Open Thread about an hour ago....

Nomi Prins: The Central Banking Heist That Put The World At Risk

The take away quote:
"
"What we've witnessed, since 2008, is the unbridled ability of the so-called people at the top to implement socialism for the banks," Prins tells me. "If anyone had said we are going to give $21 trillion to the global banking sector, it would never have happened – so we've had a backdoor process instead, under the pretense it would help ordinary people."

Grieved , Jun 17, 2018 3:26:39 PM | 8
@2 psychohistorian

Excellent article, thanks for the link. Nomi knows all this stuff, and she's right. And Liam Halligan, a financial journalist I greatly respect, wrote the article. Recommended.

~~

I encountered a wonderful concept the other day on the Keiser Report, where they said in passing that the great irony of the Hegemon's position was that it couldn't use its massive financial power because whenever it did, it simply forced alternatives to arise.

This is why every financial move by Trump is producing the opposite result. Another ZH article says that the Russian sell-off of US Treasuries was a move to cover Rusal and the sanctions placed on its former CEO, Deripaska. Mr. Trump Attacks Aluminum, Russia Attacks The Debt .

The tariffs on aluminum compelled the Chinese to create a Yuan-denominated futures contract on industrial metals - convertible to gold at Shanghai, of course. The instability of the overnight tariffs created a more enduring stability than before, resting on gold, which satisfies concerns about transfers between nations.

Every time the US flaunts its Dollar supremacy, it pushes customers away from the Dollar.

~~

But it's not just Trump, nor just the financial markets. It's every theater and every plane of activity. Every use of bullying, drives former allies away. Every posture of aggression runs the supreme risk that the US military will be exposed as ineffective, and if that happens, the Pentagon is finished, and the generals know it.

The US has power left in the financial sector, but can't use it. The US has no power left in the military area, and cannot show it. Syria, Korea, the theaters are growing where the US has had to step down.

Even the fog of propaganda is wearing increasingly thin. The US State Department just issued a warning to its people about traveling to Russia. It's risky, they say. But ticket sales for the World Cup are up by 25% from the US, the largest foreign customer.

I'll have to stop, but fortunately, the examples go on and on.

michael d , Jun 17, 2018 4:02:46 PM | 9
Mate would have got the idea from Stephen Cohen, Russia expert, Nation contributor and husband of the Nation editor. But Cohen has certainly got it from Alt-media - here or similar...

[Jun 17, 2018] We Had Whistleblowers Nunes Reveals Good FBI Agents Tipped Off Congress About Comey Team

Jun 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) revealed that in late September 2016, "Good FBI agents" stepped forward as whistleblowers to tell them about additional Hillary Clinton emails "sitting" on Anthony Weiner's laptop.

"I've never actually said this before," said Nunes. " We had whistleblowers that came to us in late September of 2016 who talked to us about this laptop sitting up in New York that had additional emails on it." In other words, the New York FBI "rebelled" - as Rudy Giuliani puts it - which former FBI Director James Comey tried to quash, twice .

The FBI sat on the revelation that previously unknown emails from Hillary Clinton's private server were recovered on the laptop of sex-crimes convict Anthony Weiner for just under a month, according to a review by the Department of Justice's Inspector General.

The stated rationale was to prioritize the Russia investigation, which was a decision made by Peter Strzok, a top FBI agent involved in both investigations and who texted his lover that he would "stop" Donald Trump from becoming president . - Daily Caller

Appearing Friday on Fox and Friends , Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said that FBI agents in the New York office "rebelled" and "had a revolution" which Comey could not keep quiet - forcing him to reopen the Clinton email investigation.

" The agents in the NY office - we all know this, rebelled. They had a revolution. And Comey made two attempts to quiet them down and then realized "I can't do that, I'm gonna look terrible here. If she gets elected I'll look terrible, if she doesn't.." -Rudy Giuliani

https://www.youtube.com/embed/xsRThvUSsB0?start=235

Recall that the DOJ Inspector General found that Andrew McCabe lied about leaking a self-serving story to Devlin Barrett of the Wall Street Journal that he was not stalling (or "slow walking") the Hillary Clinton email investigation at a time in which McCabe had come under fire for his wife taking a $467,500 campaign contribution from Clinton proxy pal, Terry McAuliffe.

Last month we reported that "rank and file" FBI agents want Congress to subpoena them so that they can step forward and reveal dirt on Comey and McCabe , reports the Daily Caller , citing three active field agents and former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova.

" There are agents all over this country who love the bureau and are sickened by [James] Comey's behavior and [Andrew] McCabe and [Eric] Holder and [Loretta] Lynch and the thugs like [John] Brennan –who despise the fact that the bureau was used as a tool of political intelligence by the Obama administration thugs," former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova told The Daily Caller Tuesday.

" They are just waiting for a chance to come forward and testify ." -Joe diGenova

DiGenova - a veteran D.C. attorney who President Trump initially wanted to hire to represent him in the Mueller probe - only to have to step aside due to conflicts , has maintained contact with "rank and file" FBI agents as well as a counterintelligence consultant who interviewed an active special agent in the FBI's Washington Field Office (WFO) - producing a transcript reviewed by The Caller .

These agents prefer to be subpoenaed to becoming an official government whistleblower , since they fear political and professional backlash, the former Trump administration official explained to TheDC.

More than just Hillary's emails...

The FBI's whistleblowers didn't stop Weiner's laptop... In March of 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that Rep. Nunes revealed to him that a "whistleblower type person" had stepped forward with information about the surveillance of the Trump campaign .

"He had told me that a whistleblower type person had given him some information that was new, that spoke to the last administration and part of this investigation," Ryan said in late March.

"What Chairman Nunes said was he came into possession of new information he thought was valuable to this investigation and he was going to go and inform people about it."

me title=

The week before Ryan made these statements, Nunes revealed that an unidentified source showed him evidence that the U.S. intelligence community "incidentally surveilled" Trump's transition team before inauguration day.

Of course, we now know it goes much, much deeper. As Rudy Giuliani also said on Friday:

Let's look at it this way ... Peter Strzok was running the Hillary investigation. That's a total fix . That's a closed-book now, total fix. Comey should go to jail for that. And Strzok. But then what does Comey do? He takes Strzok - who wanted to get Trump in any way possible - he puts him in charge of the Russia investigation .

How come they're not finding any evidence of collusion? Because the President didn't do anything wrong and he's being investigated corruptly.

A higher loyalty indeed... Vote up! 4 Vote down! 0


Scipio Africanuz -> VWAndy Sat, 06/16/2018 - 15:10 Permalink

This is what you get under imperium, under a Republic, it's almost impossible! Patriots will stand up, and answer to their pedigree but under imperium, integrity is the first virtue to wither, after that the other virtues quickly atrophy.

Let us my friends, determine with every fiber of our being, fight to RESTORE THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC!!!...

MK13 -> I woke up Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:37 Permalink

US gov is trying to have a cake and it eat too - aka blow up certain parts of FIB/CIA without destroying credibility of US.gov.

It's a political comedy show, enjoy it.

oncemore1 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:07 Permalink

Drump is an idiot.

Why are those people still with DOJ and with FBI?

Stupid Trump.

MadHatt -> oncemore1 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:20 Permalink

Who?

James Comey? James Baker? Lisa Page? Mike Kortan? Josh Campbell? David Laufman? John Carlin? Sally Yates? Mary McCord? Rachel Brand? Andrew McCabe?

These cant be the people you are referring to, as they are no longer employed.

Assuming others are stupid and refusing to look up what you are talking about is ironically funny.

otschelnik Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:07 Permalink

Looking retrospectively I always thought that it was uncanny how the Trump campaign parted with Carter Page and then Paul Manafort,brought in Kellyanne Conway. They seemed to be dodging bullets.

Pollygotacracker -> roadhazard Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

Nunes, Desantis, Jordan, and Gaetz are the only halfway decent guys in the Congress.

SergeA.Storms -> VWAndy Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:53 Permalink

99% are not cops, most wouldn't even make it as a cop. They are lawyers, accountants, statisticians, analysts and scientists with a basic gun qualification. They have a lot of cool forensic things at their disposal and in some instances can be helpful in a major investigation. Real cops (like the NYPD investigators that caught the Weiner laptop fiasco and preserved the evidence) don't need the FBI other than to access some of their whiz-bang shit. They'll talk for hours over a two minute task. The rest in higher echelons is politics, dirty politics.

That said. My biggest complaint is the lack of action taken by the 'concerned agents'. Horseshit, cops get arrested 'in house' for stupid shit they've done and the info doesn't get printed because in local areas it can ruin families. This by no means infers light treatment, for example DUI (misdemeanor level in CA) will get you all the aspects of a first DUI that any citizen gets, plus 30-60 days off with no pay, a 'work improvement contract' for a year or two, and a stint in a dry out center. You will possibly keep your job. Repeat offense, fired. Embezzlement, fires, lying in an investigation, fired with a Brady Jacket. Domestic Violence, fired. The Thin Blue Line is just that, 'thin'. If you think the old days of saying nothing still exists or a partner will cover you, your not living in modern times. No one will risk their pension for your sorry ass. You'll be advised by old dogs, don't be a dumbass, dumbass.

[Jun 16, 2018] Neither party serves the people. Both parties serve only themselves. They have morphed into two sides of the same neoliberal coin.

Jun 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Cloud9.5 -> Bill of Rights Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:24 Permalink

The Democratic Party was founded in 1828. The Republican Party was founded in 1854. Neither party serves the people. Both parties serve only themselves. They have morphed into two sides of the same neoliberal coin. The primary reason Trump won the election was the simple. Even though he ran on the Republican ticket, he was not a Republican. He was the best choice open to the populist. Whether he is a populist or not does not matter. What matters is that people want an America first, Populist Party. We are tired of the wars. We are tired of the government. And, we are tired of the neocons...

edotabin -> Bill of Rights Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

"Ha ha ha ha ha the party of losers and users is OVER"

Instead of worrying who will fill the void, they should focus on the void of their ways. As Nietzsche said, " And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. " It's no wonder they are consuming themselves.

The people are starting to see through the lower end of their BS. Oddly enough, it's figuring out the low end stuff that will create the most rage. Zombie awakening.

As for Obama, I think he realizes what's going on and probably wants no part of it.

null Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:33 Permalink

Debbie's DNC-cesspool member calling Clinton "toxic"?

The party is toxic ... literally corrosive to American People.

But not just toxic ... look how it infected the other party ... toxic and contagious ... LBJ would be sooooo proud.

momololo Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:42 Permalink

Biggest rallies in US presidential history were for Bernie Sanders who ran as a Democrat. Dems don't want him because they don't want to get off the corporate lobbyist gravytrain. They would rather lose the presidency.

The republicans are the same. Crooks. All this bullshit on Zero Hedge comments about one being better than the other is simpleton thinking.

hooligan2009 -> momololo Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

its the lessor of two weevils.

the choice will always be between a douche and a turd sandwich.

the difference between trumps faults and clintons faults was a chasm.

if there ever was a leader for either party that halved the pentagon budget by making it "smart", eliminating waste, repatriating troops, closing overseas bases AND came up with a plan to make QUALITY portable and fungible across the country, AND found a way to educate rather than indoctrinate children AND found a way to repay the national debt whilst funding medicare/medicaid (both bankrupt) AND found a way to get the federal government completely out of the housing market (get rid of fraudie and funny and the FHA) and, etc etc.. the country would be back on track.

clinton wanted the opposite of all that, trump wants less of it and at least understands what a fucking pain in the ass federal involvement in anything actually is.

[Jun 16, 2018] There's Fking No One Else; DNC Strategist Laments Over Broken Party; Bill Clinton Toxic, Carter Too Old Zero Hedge

Jun 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Following a Monday report that President Obama is "secretly" meeting with top Democratic contenders for the 2020 election, The Hill notes that desperate Democrats beset with Clinton fatigue are freaking out over the fact that the much "blue wave" appears to be crashing on the rocks , and there's nobody around to salvage the party ahead of midterms and the 2020 election.

" There's f---ing no one else ," one frustrated Democratic strategist said. " Bill Clinton is toxic, [former President] Carter is too old, and there's no one else around for miles ." - The Hill

In the hopes of reinvigorating the DNC (of which up to 40 state chapters stand accused of funneling up to $84 million to the Clinton campaign), downtrodden dems are hoping that Obama will get off the sidelines and help rally support.

" He's been way too quiet ," said one longtime Obama bundler who rarely criticizes the former president, according to The Hill . " There are a lot of people who think he's played too little a role or almost no role in endorsing or fundraising and he's done jack shit in getting people to donate to the party. "

After the GOP made sweeping gains in the 2016 election, the DNC was left in disarray - and anyone who might be able to lead the party, be it Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, may run in 2020. Bernie Sanders is of course out because he may run and he's not a Democrat.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was among five possible contenders for the Democratic crown attending the "We the People" conference in Washington on Wednesday. He received the loudest applause and heard chants of "Bernie."

But he can't play the elder role for the party, both because he may run for president and because he's not a Democrat.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), two other possibilities, have mass followings but also may join the 2020 race. - The Hill

That leaves the spotlight squarely on Barrack Hussein Obama - whose lack of endorsements during the primary season and general absence has frustrated Democrats.

Bill Clinton, who is more radioactive than ever after making ill-advised comments over "what you can do to somebody against their will," has endorsed several candidates since leaving office, yet Obama has declined to do the same thus far.

"You have all these people running for office, some of them against other Democrats, and his strategy has been to not endorse anyone and that's what's been so f---ing ridiculous because not only are you not helping them, you're hurting them ," said the bundler.

Former aides and Democratic strategists said Obama has sought to maintain a lower profile not only for his party to find new life, but also to avoid playing a foil to President Trump and Republicans.

A source close to Obama said the former president is looking forward to hitting the campaign trail, fundraising and issuing more endorsements closer to the midterms. But the source added that injecting himself into day-to-day politics would do the Democratic Party a disservice by making it more difficult for other Democratic voices to rise to prominence. - The Hill

Others say that Obama has remained the unofficial leader of the Democratic Party since leaving office.

"He always wanted to help, without a doubt. He cares tremendously about our country and our party. But I think he always intended to be a little more on the sidelines than he's been," said one former Obama aide. "I think he realizes he is needed and needed badly."

Former Obama aides say that the ex-President is unsettled by policies flowing from the Trump administration, along with the "tone and tenor" of the White House (but not enough to aggressively help active Democrats fight, apparently).

According to Democratic strategist David Wade: " It's certainly not the post-presidency he might've preferred. "

Maybe Obama is just having a good time hanging out?

Tags Politics

Comments
Vote up! 26 Vote down! 1

JimmyJones -> BandGap Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:29 Permalink

The Neo-cons, excuse me Democrats better get moving. (its so hard to tell them apart these days) The clock is ticking, November is coming and more reports showing criminal behavior are on the way.

$60,000 dollars worth of "Succulent Hot dogs"

Theosebes Goodfellow -> TeamDepends Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:36 Permalink

~"Many of you impatient homos are whining about no arrests or indictments have been made yet. When will it happen? I'll tell you: Early October."~

Bingo.

The dems have another problem and appear too stupid to focus on it. They apparently much rather worry about having a figurehead to lead them, but their real problem is much, much larger. Simply put, they have no message, save "Hate Trump!!!" What exactly do they promise voters these days? Trump impeachment as an economic program?

Also curious is the fact they want no part of Hillary. Do they admit she's as tainted as a leper?

crazzziecanuck -> TeamDepends Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

The problem with that will be people will see through it as cheap, partisan electioneering. The result will be an EASIER time to motivate Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts.

There's as much chance of an implosion of Democrats in 2018 as there were back in 2006 when the GOP was nearly blasted out of existence then too. Remember how all the predictions about the imminent doom of the GOP were front and centre?

Journalists are so lazy, they're just using Liquid Paper to erase "Republican" to "Democrat" and change the date from stuff they wrote back in 2006.

Doesn't matter if Republicans or Democrats win. In the end, everyone else simply loses. How much you lose is proportional to the distance from the party elite you actually are.

07564111 -> JimmyJones Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:38 Permalink

Interesting shit. The world should now conclude that there are no qualified people left in the USA.

Is it that all are corrupt or none are corrupt enough. ??

[Jun 16, 2018] The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain

Rumors about the death of the US global neoliberal empire are probably slightly exaggerated. Trump did damaged it, but the neoliberal system proved to be really resilient in 2008 and might prove this again.
Notable quotes:
"... The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader. ..."
"... However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family. ..."
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition. ..."
Jun 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT

@Rurik

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Rurik , June 14, 2018 at 10:43 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition.

some perhaps, but the middle class is dying (literally in the case of middle aged white men), and the working class is languishing. It's true the 1% are gorging on a frenzy of corruption and graft, and a no doubt there are a few who prosper by serving that class, but the Main Streets of America are not, in any way, profiting off the exploitation of Africa or S. America or anywhere else. Indeed, it is them that are being exploited.

The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey

no argument there!

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India.

India and China (and Ethiopia and Somalia and Mexico and Brazil and so many other places) are not poor due to the oppression of Americans. Sure, Goldman Sachs and a thousand other vultures and thieves have done a lot of damage, but no more that the leadership of those respective lands. Has India ever heard of birth control, (for God's sake!) Or Indonesia or a hundred other places, like Haiti, that overbreed their finite resources and limited space until their countries are reduced to shitholes.

If a coal miner in West Virginia is doing a little better than an Untouchable in India, then trust me when I tell you I'm not going to blame the miner (or janitor or mechanic) in America for the poverty in the corrupt and stupid third world.

As far as the suffering that the ZUSA has actually caused, and is causing in places like Syria and Yemen, none of that is being done on behalf of the American people, but rather the typical American is taxed to support these wars and atrocities on behalf of Israel or Saudi Arabia, respectively.

The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

recently I was ranting on the terrible folly of this very thing.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

Yes, they're just as selfish and greedy, but they aren't as filled with genocidal hatred.

It's because of Zionist Jews that Americans were dragged into both world wars.

It's because of Zionist Jews (and assorted corrupt Gentiles) that Israel (with help from the CIA and ((media)), did 9/11, in order to plunge this century into horrors writ large like the last Zio-century.

That there are legions of corrupt and soulless Gentiles willing and eager to jump on that gravy train, is a shame and a sin, but it doesn't excuse the people who are the motivation behind the wars.

The Kochs (and Chamber of Commerce and other Gentile scum) want massive immigration out of pure, raw, insatiable greed.

Whereas the Jewish supremacist Zionists want it out of genocidal tribal hatreds.

The typical American middle and working class are ground into the dirt between these two pillars of Satanic iniquity.

I agree with much of what you're saying, and it's true about the elites in general. But the ZUSA is completely controlled by Zionist Jews, and I think that's pretty obvious.

This man knew that 9/11 was going to happen, if he wasn't part of the planning. And yet look at how they abase themselves

[Jun 16, 2018] I noticed the DNC created a tiny plaque above a crappy bike rack for him

Jun 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Vote up! 8 Vote down! 1


Ms No -> el buitre Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:40 Permalink

Found an interesting article about some developments with Seth Rich. Hard to make sense of. I noticed the DNC created a tiny plaque above a crappy bike rack for him. They don't want anybody to remember him. Probably Hillary's idea.

https://www.sott.net/article/388293-Aaron-Rich-refusing-to-authorize-Wi

forexskin -> Ms No Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

this article merits wider play - interesting angle that the family won't authorize wikileaks to release their info.

Thought Processor -> Ms No Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:30 Permalink

Seth uploaded the files into a DropBox (per Sy Hersh) and also may have given others the password to it. He was trying to make sure that the information got out. He very likely also asked that he never be named as the leaker, for obvious reasons.

His family could possibly confirm that he was the leaker if they knew at the time, though I'm sure that they were heavily pressured to do otherwise as soon as Seth Rich was murdered. They would have simply been given a choice along with some thinly veiled threats.

Thought Processor -> Four chan Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:26 Permalink

Rumor is that Bernie is setting up his crew now for another run at it. Makes me wonder who the next Seth Rich will be.

pparalegal -> Thought Processor Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:51 Permalink

Bernie sold his mooing cow followers out last time. The DNC will make him an offer he can't refuse. Biden is a tit grabbing corrupt cartoon. I say Crusty the clown has a good chance. Do it for the children!

[Jun 15, 2018] President Barack Obama gave Mueller original ten-year term a two-year extension, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover ."

Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

francis scott Fri, 06/15/2018 - 19:34 Permalink

...Robert Mueller, who was Director of the FBI from September 4, 2001 to September 4, 2013. In those 12 years as Director, he served as Obama's FBI Director for 5 years, from Jan. 2009 until Sept. 2013. "President Barack Obama gave his original ten-year term a two-year extension, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover ."

He knows where every unconstitutional skeleton in both Baby Bush and Barack Obama's is buried...

[Jun 15, 2018] Tulsi Gabbard might be a viable candidate

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton turned the Democratic party into a Mafia organization ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

trillion_dolla Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:22 Permalink

They do have someone and her name is Tulsi Gabbard. But, shes not a raving neoliberal. So, the base ignores her.

hooligan2009 -> trillion_dolla Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:59 Permalink

agreed - classy, smart lady.

if she ever goes "stateswoman like" by not bitching at opponents and just beingalways positive she would attract a lot of votes.

one of the few demoNrats i would enjoy having dinner or a drink with.

Chief Joesph Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:10 Permalink

Democrats can lament all they want, but they did have a very good candidate that they allowed to be thrown under the bus. That was Bernie Sanders. Despite his "socialist" leanings, (for you conservatives), he was really fresh blood to the Democratic party. And even though Jimmy Carter is old, he has a very good working mind, better than all that are currently in the Democratic party. Clinton turned the Democratic party into a Mafia organization, taking orders from her, paving the way for her, knocking off anyone that looked like potential trouble, like Seth Rich, John Ashe, Joe Montano, Victor Thorn, and Shawn Lucas. All five of these guys died within 6 weeks of each other. Strange? Not if you are operating an old style mafia organization. Democrats need to resign the party, and form something new, that has fresh ideas, and people who are not there for self-coronations. The most honest democrat you have left is Jimmy Carter. Democrats are not honest today.

kudocast -> Chief Joesph Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:31 Permalink

I would add Howard Dean and Elizabeth Warren to Jimmy Carter.

kudocast Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:29 Permalink

They need to purge the leadership of the DNC - Perez, Clinton and the gang, they are the ones that shoved Hillary Clinton down Democrats throats instead letting Bernie Sanders, the real nominee, win the nomination. The DNC fucked over themselves, no one else is to blame.

Howard Dean is the one that got Obama elected the first time. From 2005 to 2009, he headed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and successfully implemented the 50 State Strategy, which aimed for Democrats to be competitive in places considered Republican-dominated territory. As a result, during the midterms in 2006, Democrats won the House back and gained seats in the Senate. In 2008 Barack Obama also used the same strategy to win his presidential bid.

Just like the DNC and Democratic bourgeoise fucked over Bernie, they fucked over Howard Dean. Obama didn't select Howard Dean for his cabinet for Secretary of Health and Human Services - even though he was a successful governor, is a medical doctor, and was one of the main reasons Obama won in 2008.

Howard Dean should run as an Independent in 2020.

PrivetHedge Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

Funny, I thought they had a red-hot candidate called - err - Bernie Sanders.

Shame they sabotaged him and his political future, oh well.

bwdiii Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:14 Permalink

Is that a $65,000 Chicago foot long the ex pres is busy with? Or just a hotdog?

3-fingered_chemist Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:19 Permalink

Obama has always been about himself. I mean who publishes a memoir about yourself when you're just a nobody? Even Obama knows a loser when he sees one...the Democratic Party. He did more for the Republican Party than any Republican could ever do. One of the Greatest Presidents in my lifetime for the conservative movement.

NuYawkFrankie Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:26 Permalink

DNC DOA

3-fingered_chemist Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:26 Permalink

The Dems are caught between a rock and a hard place. The result of losing 1000s of seats nationwide since 2010 means you've got no farm system to develop politicians/leaders. It's no different than any sports franchise. The successful ones have a deep bench and prospects to knock off old, overpaid, underachieving veterans. If the Dems trot out Obama, he will be a death sentence for the Dems' chances in November. Guy is hated by almost everyone. Don't believe the approval ratings from CNN. He got more popular towards the end when people realized he was finally leaving.

ZazzOne Fri, 06/15/2018 - 20:26 Permalink

Obama and the Clinton's have DESTROYED the Democrat party!!! Leaders of the current Democratic party apparatchik, Schumer, Pelosi, Schiff, et al , are fucking idiots!!! I see a Red tsunami wave for the mid-term election!

[Jun 15, 2018] Ralph Peters as one of the nuttiest neocons around. But as far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson

Notable quotes:
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... JRL promoted a recent Kirchick piece: http://russialist.org/newswatch-the-soviet-roots-of-invoking-fears-about-world-war-iii-brookings-james-kirchick/ The rant of a coddled establishment chickenhawk, who is quite overrated, relative to the positions accorded to him (Nasty people don't deserve kindness.) ..."
"... A suggestive dose of McCarthyism that simplistic references the Cold War period with present day realities, which include a subjectively inaccurate overview of what has transpired in Syria and Crimea. Put mildly, James Kirchick is quite ironic in his use of "lazy". ..."
"... As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Agree entirely--a wholesale dumbing down of masses and even "elites" (both intentional and not) is a direct result of neoliberalism as a whole. ..."
"... However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money. ..."
"... Say, Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are not too mad or too stupid to understand the reality. They are simply greedy scum paid to do the hatched job. ..."
"... The same applies to most current politicians involved in the smear campaign against Russia. ..."
Jun 15, 2018 | www.g2mil.com
AnonFromTN , June 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm GMT
@Rurik

The US elites (neocons are just one type of servants they hired)

ah, so it was Dubya all along! What a clever little schemer he was! Pretending all that time to be dumb as a rock, and a tool of organized Zionism, while he was using the neocons to his own advantage! So while ((Wolfowitz and Feith and Pearl and Kristol)) were being schooled at the feet of ((Leo Strauss)), it was Dubya the college cheerleader all along who was the mastermind behind the Project for a New American Century and 9/11 !

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_KhlRzZj7HG8/SylVO1ygOeI/AAAAAAAAQ1s/2ms5qnctt4Y/s320/Dubya+phone.jpg

sure, Goldman Sachs and Hollywood get federal subsidies, but it's the (dying) American middle class that has been exploiting the world's poor!

The hysterical US foreign policy in the last 10-15 years, with its mindless suicidal aggressiveness, is in fact death throes of an Empire that resents going down the drain,
what's been going down the drain has been the blood and tears and future of working class Americans, forced to suit up their children to go slaughter innocent Arabs and others in a transparent and treasonous policy intended to bolster Israel - at the direct and catastrophic expense of America and the American people.

I wonder, as the American people are taxed to the tune of billions every year, to send to Israel as tribute, is that also a case of US elites using Israel to their own devices? As Americas roads and bridges crumble, and veterans are denied care?

Or, is it just possible, that the ((owners)) of the Federal Reserve Bank, have used that printing press as a weapon to consolidate absolute power over the institutions of the ZUSA?

Do you suppose that when France bombs Libya or menaces Syria, that they're doing it to benefit the French elite? And that Israel is their dupe, who give them a pretext for doing so? Or that the French (and British and Polish and Ukrainian, etc..) elite are getting their marching orders from Jewish supremacist Zionists who're hell bent on using Gentile Christians to slaughter Gentile Muslims while they laugh and count the shekels? Eh?

Elites are robbing Americans and foreigners alike. In fact, the US population gets some crumbs off elites' table, and enjoys higher living standards than it would have in fair global competition. The overall educational level and the level of awareness of what's going on in the world in the US is dismal. Elites arranged that by maintaining pathetic education system and spreading lies via MSM; ignorant sheep are more likely to obey, and to approve of persecution of those "black sheep" who are less ignorant and don't buy the lies of the MSM. Did we see any protests against "Patriot Act" that trampled the very foundations of our Constitution? Sheep don't protest, they just follow the leader.

However, we have to remember that clueless ignoramus in the US gets 5-10 times more than similarly clueless ignoramus in China or India. Bush junior was genuinely dumb, but would he become US President without his family's ill-gotten riches, or without his ex-CIA chief daddy becoming the President first? Of course not, most morons in the US never fly that high. The only reason for his "success" is the fact that he was born into an elite family.

As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.

See comment 51:

The problem here and abroad are elites. Elites of any kind.

Carlton Meyer says: • Website June 14, 2018 at 4:50 am GMT

Ralph Peters is one of the nuttiest neocons around, and Fox was smart to dump him. I recall an article long ago where he suggested that the US Govt. should address the drug addition problem in the USA by assassinating drug dealers on the streets in the USA.

He lives off scraps from neocons by selling his soul for BS talking points and collects a monthly check from Uncle Sam after 20 years of sitting at a desk doing BS intel work, as I once did for a year. It seems he missed his chance at killing commies in Nam by touring Europe, as Fred Reed explained:

https://fredoneverything.org/dulce-et-decorum-est-if-someone-else-has-to-do-it/

Mikhail says: • Website June 14, 2018 at 6:18 am GMT
Nothing new in the above article. That such people are elevated to the stature of cushy mainstream propping and ridicule by some non-mainstream others is a tell all sign on what's wrong with the coverage.

Regarding this excerpt:

A prime example of this comes in a recent volume authored by prominent Neocon journalist and homosexual activist (yes, the two traits often seem to go together), James Kirchick: The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age, 2017). In his jumble of Neocon ideology and prejudice, Kirchick evaluates what for him seems to be happening ominously in Europe. He is deeply fearful of the efforts to "close borders" against Muslim immigrants from the Middle East. He blasts Marine Le Pen as a racist -- and most likely a subtle "holocaust denier!" -- and attacks the attempts in places like Hungary and Poland to reassert national traditions and Christian identity; for him these are nothing less than attempts to bring back "fascism."

Russia comes in for perhaps his harshest criticism, and the reason is unmistakable: Russia seems to be returning to its older national and pre-Communist heritage, to its age-old Orthodox Christian faith. Russians are returning by the millions to the church and the "old-time" religion. For Kirchick this can only mean one thing: the triumph of bigotry, anti-semitism, and "extreme right wing" ideology, and the failure of what he terms "liberal democracy and equality" (including, he would no doubt include, feminism, same sex marriage, across-the-board equality, and all those other "conservative values"!).

Kirchick's critique, shared by many of the leaders of the national Republican Party and dominating the pages of most establishment "conservative" publications and talk radio these days, joins him arm-in-arm with globalist George Soros in efforts to undermine the Russian state and its president all in the name of "democracy" and "equality." [See, "George Soros Aghast as Collapsing EU, while Russia Resurgent," January 19, 2018]

But, just what kind of "democracy" and what kind of "equality" do Kirchick and Soros defend?

JRL promoted a recent Kirchick piece: http://russialist.org/newswatch-the-soviet-roots-of-invoking-fears-about-world-war-iii-brookings-james-kirchick/ The rant of a coddled establishment chickenhawk, who is quite overrated, relative to the positions accorded to him (Nasty people don't deserve kindness.)

A suggestive dose of McCarthyism that simplistic references the Cold War period with present day realities, which include a subjectively inaccurate overview of what has transpired in Syria and Crimea. Put mildly, James Kirchick is quite ironic in his use of "lazy".

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 5:10 pm GMT • 100 Words
@Andrei Martyanov
As far as Jews are concerned, this appears to be yet another red herring, like Russia-bashing. Are gentile Koch brothers or Walton family any better than the worst Jews in the US? They are just as selfish, greedy, and repulsive as George Soros or Sheldon Adelson.
As I always say -- as repulsive and debilitating Jewish influence on US body politic is, this influence, now transformed in almost complete "intellectual" dominance, it wouldn't have been possible without willing accomplices from radical Christian Zionists and a massive corruption in the highest echelons of power.

Agree entirely--a wholesale dumbing down of masses and even "elites" (both intentional and not) is a direct result of neoliberalism as a whole. The crisis is systemic and Jews are only one, however important, part of that. In the end, Bolton is a practicing Lutheran but look at him -- the guy is completely mad. And I mean this in purely psychiatric terms -- he has some real serious demons haunting him and I even have suspicion about what some of those are. Just an example.

Yes, sick ideology often attracts nutcases. I know a guy in Ukraine with a history of mental illness who is a staunch supporter of current "president" Poroshenko.

However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money.

Say, Hillary Clinton or Mike Pompeo are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, but they are not too mad or too stupid to understand the reality. They are simply greedy scum paid to do the hatched job.

The same applies to most current politicians involved in the smear campaign against Russia. The greatest sin of Russia and Putin is that they got in the way of thieves who wanted to loot the whole world but encountered resistance. Assad in Syria, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela committed the same sin: got between the thieves and their intended loot.

[Jun 15, 2018] The future is bright for Neoliberal Democrats.

Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

FredGSanford. Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:22 Permalink

The democrats have a large stable of brilliant and formidable possible candidates any of which could lead the party to greatness

Hillary Clinton, Slick Willie, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Mark Zuckerburg, Anthony Weiner, Harvey Weinstein, Robert DeNiro, Oprah, Michelle Hussein Obama, Elizabeth ( Pococahontas)Warren , Madonna, Cher, Bernie Sanders , all the CNN and MSNBC personalities, Chris Matthews, Bruce Jenner, Colin Kapernic, Gov Jerry moonbeam Brown, and that's just to name a few. There is an abundance of talent , not to mention character and honesty.

The future is bright for Liberal Democrats.

[Jun 15, 2018] I'm ready.

Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

vulcanraven Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:28 Permalink

"Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support ...."

We have already SEEN these texts, when the fuck is something actually going to be DONE about it?

Or is the 2A the only answer to that question?

secretargentman -> vulcanraven Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:30 Permalink

I'm ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7MoXPxA5LM

[Jun 15, 2018] And guess who did that redacting? Oh, that would be one Rod Rosenstein.

Jun 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

francis_the_wo -> JimmyJones Fri, 06/15/2018 - 22:09 Permalink

"The redacted material was just removed"

And guess who did that redacting? Oh, that would be one Rod Rosenstein.

The same Rod Rosenstein who is very much implicated of wrongdoing regarding his (illegal and unnecessary) appointment of a Special Counsel.

In other words, Rod's got a conflict of interest in redacting a document that implicates him in conflicts of interest.

You can't make this stuff up.....

[Jun 14, 2018] Turley Comey Can No Longer Hide Destruction Caused At FBI

Notable quotes:
"... Excellent piece, dexterously explaining the similarity between the IG's dilemma and Mueller's shot at obstruction. If Mueller claims Trump obstructed, and must be prosecuted, Comey must be prosecuted. ..."
Jun 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

James Comey once described his position in the Clinton investigation as being the victim of a "500-year flood." The point of the analogy was that he was unwittingly carried away by events rather than directly causing much of the damage to the FBI. His "500-year flood" just collided with the 500-page report of the Justice Department inspector general (IG) Michael Horowitz.

The IG sinks Comey's narrative with a finding that he "deviated" from Justice Department rules and acted in open insubordination.

Rather than portraying Comey as carried away by his biblical flood, the report finds that he was the destructive force behind the controversy. The import of the report can be summed up in Comeyesque terms as the distinction between flotsam and jetsam. Comey portrayed the broken rules as mere flotsam, or debris that floats away after a shipwreck. The IG report suggests that this was really a case of jetsam, or rules intentionally tossed over the side by Comey to lighten his load. Comey's jetsam included rules protecting the integrity and professionalism of his agency, as represented by his public comments on the Clinton investigation.

The IG report concludes, "While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey's part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice."

The report will leave many unsatisfied and undeterred. Comey went from a persona non grata to a patron saint for many Clinton supporters. Comey, who has made millions of dollars with a tell-all book portraying himself as the paragon of "ethical leadership," continues to maintain that he would take precisely the same actions again.

Ironically, Comey, fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe , former FBI agent Peter Strzok and others, by their actions, just made it more difficult for special counsel Robert Mueller to prosecute Trump for obstruction. There is now a comprehensive conclusion by career investigators that Comey violated core agency rules and undermined the integrity of the FBI. In other words, there was ample reason to fire James Comey.

Had Trump fired Comey immediately upon taking office, there would be little question about his conduct warranting such termination. Instead, Trump waited to fire him and proceeded to make damaging statements about how the Russian investigation was on his mind at the time, as well as telling Russian diplomats the day after that the firing took "pressure off" him. Nevertheless, Mueller will have to acknowledge that there were solid, if not overwhelming, grounds to fire Comey.

To use the Comey firing now in an obstruction case, Mueller will have to assume that the firing of an "insubordinate" official was done for the wrong reason. Horowitz faced precisely this same problem in his review and refused to make such assumptions about Comey and others. The IG report found additional emails showing a political bias against Trump and again featuring the relationship of Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page. In one exchange, Page again sought reassurance from Strzok, who was a critical player in the investigations of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump , that Trump is "not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" Strzok responded, "No. No he won't. We'll stop it."

The IG noted that some of these shocking emails occurred at that point in October 2016 when the FBI was dragging its feet on the Clinton email investigation and Strzok was a critical player in that investigation. The IG concluded that bias was reflected in that part of the investigation with regard to Strzok and his role. Notably, the IG was in the same position as Mueller: The IG admits that the Strzok-Page emails "potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations." This includes the decision by Strzok to prioritize the Russian investigation over the Clinton investigation. The IG states that "[w]e concluded that we did not have confidence that this decision by Strzok was free from bias."

However, rather than assume motivations, the IG concluded that it could not "find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions." Thus, there was bias reflected in the statements of key investigatory figures like Strzok but there were also objective alternative reasons for the actions taken by the FBI. That is precisely the argument of Trump on the Comey firing. While he may have harbored animus toward Comey or made disconcerting statements, the act of firing Comey can be justified on Comey's own misconduct as opposed to assumptions about his motives.

Many of us who have criticized Comey in the past, including former Republican and Democratic Justice Department officials, have not alleged a political bias. As noted by the IG report, Comey's actions did not benefit the FBI or Justice Department but, rather, caused untold harm to those institutions. The actions benefited Comey as he tried to lighten his load in heading into a new administration. It was the same motive that led Comey to improperly remove FBI memos and then leak information to the media after he was fired by Trump. It was jetsam thrown overboard intentionally by Comey to save himself, not his agency.

The Horowitz report is characteristically balanced. It finds evidence of political bias among key FBI officials against Trump and criticizes officials in giving the investigation of Trump priority over the investigation of Clinton. However, it could not find conclusive evidence that such political bias was the sole reason for the actions taken in the investigation. The question is whether those supporting the inspector general in reaching such conclusions would support the same approach by the special counsel when the subject is not Comey but Trump.


GeezerGeek -> pc_babe Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:20 Permalink

Comey is simply two-legged pond scum. He did what he thought would preserve his privileged position. No way a POS like him would go against the wishes of Barry, Loretta and Hillary. The question I have is this: were those three acting in concert to beat Trump or did Barry direct Jimmy to do in Hillary with that late-stage reopening of the inquiry? Barry would have hated to have Hillary replace him, because - if she actually lived through it - she would probably have reduced him to a minor historical footnote. His ego couldn't handle that. Heck, I wouldn't even exclude the possibility that Bubba's meeting with Loretta, perhaps including a phone call with Barry, was about keeping Hillary out of the White House. It might have cramped Bubba's style, being first dude and all and under close scrutiny.

Keyser -> GeezerGeek Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:22 Permalink

Although damning in many respects, the IG's report falls short in identifying prosecutable actions on the part of FbI / DoJ officials... There may be some firings, but that's about it...

Comey will get to skate with the $$$ from his book tour / Trump bashing tour, Stroczk and Page sail off into the sunset and likely go to work for some Dim think tank, the rank and file all go back to work thinking, phew, that one was close...

McCabe is going to be the poster child that gets the stick, while at the same time the underlying bias in these two agencies will continue unabated...

Stan522 -> Handful of Dust Thu, 06/14/2018 - 23:07 Permalink

This report whitewashed the worst crimes.... The OIG reports recommendations and what they chose to ignore is reminiscing of Comey's now infamous indictment and exoneration of Hillary Clinton from that 2016 press conference.

The deep state is still calling the shots.....

MK ULTRA Alpha -> y3maxx Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:09 Permalink

The FBI takes bribes from the media for secret insider information and used the media connections for disinformation to twist the narrative for Clinton. Hundreds of interactions with MSM, bribes being handed out. These jerks must feel their power to be the unnamed sources, looks like they've dug their own grave. Literally hundreds of contacts, recorded bribes and an extreme close relation with CNN and New York Times. This is the source of all the disinformation, lies, rumors and destruction to our nation. The FBI is the enemy with their unlawful alliance with communist and homosexuals in the media. I wonder how many FBI agents are communist and homosexuals?

The key in all this is the political slush fund of over a $100 billion which everyone ignores, the Clinton Foundation will make or break politicians for a corrupt elitist communist agenda for the next generation. It's being protected from investigation because of the previous crimes of Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein, and who knows how many others. The Clinton Foundation was bribed by foreigners for access, favors and the plan to use the money to take over the US government.

Uranium One is just one covert operation which ensnares all of these opportunist. The Haitian relief money, remember Bush II sat right next to Clinton stating the reason or his purpose was to prevent the Haitian money from being stolen. That was on national full throated MSM. Are there murders connected to the Clinton Foundation? Considering Congresswoman Wasserman Shultz most likely ordered an FBI agent to look into Seth Rich, Pakistanis infiltrating the highest level of leadership, Iranian cocaine smuggling network the FBI was prepared to take down stopped by Obama because it would interfere with the Iran nuke deal. None of this is being added to the equation, incredible FBI and overall government corruption.

It's worse than a swamp, it's an army aligned against us with no honor, decency or even allegiance to this nation, only their gang, allegiance to an organization, a gang covering up to continue to do the same. Each agency of the federal government is of this culture, the break down in this country is apart of every aspect of the government.

How can anyone say we have a country anymore?

LaugherNYC -> pc_babe Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:24 Permalink

Excellent piece, dexterously explaining the similarity between the IG's dilemma and Mueller's shot at obstruction. If Mueller claims Trump obstructed, and must be prosecuted, Comey must be prosecuted.

Slow-walking an investigation resulting in no charges being filed despite clear evidence of multiple crimes -- I would call THAT clear obstruction. McCabe and Comey have conspired to try to dump this on Strzok. It would be funny if it weren't so despicable.

junction -> Captain Nemo d Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:19 Permalink

What can you expect from Comey, paid $7 million a year by HSBC, the bank that laundered some $12 billion in narco trafficker (read CIA proxy) narcotic money? Lock him up in SuperMax in a narrow cell next to jewboy Rosenstein.i

Tarzan -> Zorba's idea Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:19 Permalink

The thing is, Trump was his boss, and if he decided the Russia coup was a waste of FBI time, he has every right to fire the head of the FBI, for continuing to waist time and money, purposely trying to undermine the election.

Remember, this is before there was a special counsel, and if after a year of investigating there's no there there, there sure as shit wasn't anything back then to investigate!

There is nothing illegal about the President telling Comey to knock it off, or else.

He should tell the press what they want to here. Of course the phony Russia scam played a part in getting Comey fired, rightfully so. Then stand with his fist in the air shouting Fuck the Prestitutes!

For a year now, they've been in a search for something, anything, to investigate.

He should fire Sessions, Rosenstein, and Mueller, TODAY, and watch their heads explode!

Tarzan -> Captain Nemo d Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:36 Permalink

There is an evil intent in all this, beyond the obvious.

Many believe WWG1WGA means, "Where we go one we go all".

A Ponzi always collapses the minute it stops growing, it's a 100% certainty. From the start, ~100 years ago, the Oligarchs who gathered on Jekyll Island knew that their debt money would grow right up to the day it suddenly collapsed, and planned it with all it's allure, hooks, and traps, to consume everything, before that day, so that all would be in the same boat when it collapses. They planned it to fail from the start. It's a mutual suicide Trap, set up to consume the world, consolidate power, then collapse all the Nation's currencies in one fail swoop!

For in a single hour such fabulous wealth has been destroyed!

They'll have their grand New World Order, and a knew single currency waiting in the wings, to rescue the useful idiots from the disaster they've planned.

They'll attempt to number us all, track everything, and dictate how you buy and sell - through them of course. But not just what you buy with, but what you buy, who you buy from, how much you buy, and how much you will pay!

That is their plan. How far they'll get nobody knows. I suspect they'll fail miserably, but the truth is, they're already a long way down this road.

Implied Violins -> Captain Nemo d Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:58 Permalink

FUCK this "Q" bullshit. Anyone still bowing to this crap needs to read these articles and get their head on straight:

https://steemkr.com/qanon/@elizbethleavos/steemit-only-article-opinion-why-independent-media-voices-are-questioning-the-q-persona
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/05/28/wikileaks-calls-qanon-a-likely-pied-piper-operation/

It's just fourth generation warfare, meant to keep our butts on the couch because "someone else is doing the work".

NOT.

swamp Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:17 Permalink

It did not just impact perception. It factually altered the FBI protocol. Comey was high on power of co-running the deep state and subverting justice and the Constitution. This is high treason, covering high crimes and attempting to unseat Trump at every juncture.

Winston Churchill -> Joebloinvestor Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:42 Permalink

The FBI isn't and you still think J.Edgar was an aberration ? The FBI is the swamps gamekeeper, nurturing the critters, weeding out the weak, until only the foulest and strongest they can be unleashed on us. Take two red pills and report back in the morning.

Cabreado Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:44 Permalink

When Comey, Lynch, Clinton et al do not find their way to prison... the DOJ is still broken, as is Congress charged with oversight... and so then,

the Rule of Law is still broken. And so then what traitors and criminals are next... when half the People do not give a damn.

AsEasyAsPi Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

Fidelity: Strzock and Page

Bravery: Comey, "I was afwaid of Trump"

Integrity: Comey, Ohr, Strzock, McCabe, Page, Rosenstein, Mueller............

Yeeeeah right.

[Jun 14, 2018] A Closer Look At Extreme FBI Bias Revealed In OIG Report

Some reader are close: "It looks like Justice/FBI usurped the role of the vote by the electorate."
Notable quotes:
"... OK, so if Comey broke protocols and was insubordinate in the Clinton probe, then the "probe" and exoneration is bogus. She never really was investigated and cleared and It should be re-opened. Investigate and Prosecute Clinton for real. Make it a sting operation. Get wire tap and surveillance warrants for the entire DOJ, FBI, all courts and judges, heck the entire bureaucracy and all umpteen intelligence organizations, and all known Clinton associates. A dragnet for all the corruption and obstruction of justice by the deep state. Root out the corrupt Clinton crime organization once and for all. ..."
"... It looks like Justice/FBI usurped the role of the vote by the electorate. ..."
"... They live in a Matrix like false reality generated by the Fake media. ..."
"... The champagne is flowing -- they got off the hook. All of the FBI screwballs are probably well past the drunkard stage and well into the sleeping under the table and on park benches stage. ..."
"... This whole article is a one sided view of a complex situation. Nothing is mentioned about the OIG stating that Comey was insubordinate in disclosing that he is investigating Clinton, that too in a press conference. This is clearly against FBI policy and had the purpose of muddying up the race and giving Trump momentum. ..."
"... The government just got done investigating itself. It found after an exhaustive taxpayer funded audit that it made a few errors, but that it was generally well meaning. I mean, what did anyone really expect? ..."
"... These FBI weasels fell all over themselves to demonstrate fealty to te incoming Hillary Clinton administration and the Democratic National Committee's interests. If they hoped to get anywhere in the next 4-8 years they had to be clearly "friendly" to the people at the top. Then Trump won instead. Fuck!!! ..."
"... Carreer-minded weasels entrenched in the Washington Deep State will happily show support for whatever "winning side" comes along. Romney, McCain, Bush, Clinton, Obama, it doen't matter who wins to them so long as they consider you "friendly" to their ambitions. ..."
Jun 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

As we digest and unpack the DOJ Inspector General's 500-page report on the FBI's conduct during the Hillary Clinton email investigation " matter ," damning quotes from the OIG's findings have begun to circulate, leaving many to wonder exactly how Inspector General Michael Horowitz was able to conclude:

" We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed"

We're sorry, that just doesn't comport with reality whatsoever. And it really feels like the OIG report may have had a different conclusion at some point. Just read IG Horowitz's own assessment that "These texts are " Indicative of a biased state of mind but even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the Presidential candidate's electoral prospects ."

Of course, today's crown jewel is a previously undisclosed exchange between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in which Page asks " (Trump's) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" to which Strzok replies " No. No he's not. We'll stop it. "

Nevermind the fact that the FBI Director, who used personal emails for work purposes, tasked Strzok, who used personal emails for work purposes, to investigate Hillary Clinton's use of personal emails for work purposes . Of course, we know it goes far deeper than that...

The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel also had plenty to say in a Twitter thread:

1) Don't believe anyone who claims Horowitz didn't find bias. He very carefully says that he found no "documentary" evidence that bias produced "specific investigatory decisions." That's different

2) It means he didn't catch anyone doing anything so dumb as writing down that they took a specific step to aid a candidate. You know, like: "Let's give out this Combetta immunity deal so nothing comes out that will derail Hillary for President."

3) But he in fact finds bias everywhere. The examples are shocking and concerning, and he devotes entire sections to them. And he very specifically says in the summary that they "cast a cloud" on the entire "investigation's credibility." That's pretty damning.

4) Meanwhile this same cast of characters who the IG has now found to have made a hash of the Clinton investigation and who demonstrate such bias, seamlessly moved to the Trump investigation. And we're supposed to think they got that one right?

5) Also don't believe anyone who says this is just about Comey and his instances of insubordination. (Though they are bad enough.) This is an indictment broadly of an FBI culture that believes itself above the rules it imposes on others.

6) People failing to adhere to their recusals (Kadzik/McCabe). Lynch hanging with Bill. Staff helping Comey conceal details of presser from DOJ bosses. Use of personal email and laptops. Leaks. Accepting gifts from media. Agent affairs/relationships.

7) It also contains stunning examples of incompetence. Comey explains that he wasn't aware the Weiner laptop was big deal because he didn't know Weiner was married to Abedin? Then they sit on it a month, either cuz it fell through cracks (wow) or were more obsessed w/Trump

8) And I can still hear the echo of the howls from when Trump fired Comey. Still waiting to hear the apologies now that this report has backstopped the Rosenstein memo and the obvious grounds for dismissal.

So, let's review more of the exchanges which had no bearing on the "unbiased" report:

(h/t Robby Starbuck , Paul Sperry and others)

" OIG discovered texts and instant messages between employees on the investigative team, on FBI devices, expressing hostility toward then candidate Donald Trump and statements of support for then candidate Hillary Clinton. "

Viva le resistance!

In one shocking exchange between two unnamed FBI employees which we assume to be Strzok and Page, "Attorney 1" asks "Attorney 2" "Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?" to which "Attorney 2" replied " Hell no ," adding " Viva le resistance ."

Some of Strzok and Page's greatest hits:

Strzok also refers to having "unfinished business" and a need to "fix it" - while also admitting that " there's no big there, there " presumably regarding the Trump-Russia investigation.

While there are many more damning revelations in the OIG report, one would think that given the above, there was more than enough evidence to, at minimum, launch a special counsel - especially when you consider the weak sauce used to justify Mueller's special counsel probe.

Oh, and Hillary's gloating now...


vulcanraven Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:28 Permalink

"Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support ...."

We have already SEEN these texts, when the fuck is something actually going to be DONE about it?

Or is the 2A the only answer to that question?

secretargentman -> vulcanraven Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:30 Permalink

I'm ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7MoXPxA5LM

ACP -> nope-1004 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:35 Permalink

Yup.

FBI management in offices around the world will be having their Friday poker and whiskey (this actually happens) and will lean back and their chairs and say, "Give it a couple months, it'll blow over," and back to business.

In fact, it's back to business right at this moment.

erkme73 -> ACP Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:35 Permalink

Let's just hope that in their brilliant incompetence, the DOJ missed some real nuggets in those 500 pages. I'm hopeful (but doubtful) that we we will find some more bombshells that will prompt more outrage and uprising/waking of the sheep.

King of Ruperts Land -> erkme73 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:42 Permalink

OK, so if Comey broke protocols and was insubordinate in the Clinton probe, then the "probe" and exoneration is bogus. She never really was investigated and cleared and It should be re-opened. Investigate and Prosecute Clinton for real. Make it a sting operation. Get wire tap and surveillance warrants for the entire DOJ, FBI, all courts and judges, heck the entire bureaucracy and all umpteen intelligence organizations, and all known Clinton associates. A dragnet for all the corruption and obstruction of justice by the deep state. Root out the corrupt Clinton crime organization once and for all.

King of Ruperts Land -> King of Ruperts Land Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 Permalink

It looks like Justice/FBI usurped the role of the vote by the electorate. I suggest the electorate go to DC and usurp the role of Justice/FBI and vote on who to hang.

nmewn -> Sanity Bear Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:16 Permalink

From the report...I'm going to pull a ravolla-type spam ;-)

"Combetta was interviewed subject to the terms of the immunity agreement on May 3, 2016, by the same two FBI case agents, this time in the presence of the SSA, the CART examiner, all four line prosecutors, and Combetta's attorneys. According to the FD-302 and contemporaneous notes of the two agents and the CART Examiner, Combetta provided the FBI additional detail regarding his removal of emails from the culling laptops, stating that Mills had requested that he "securely delete the .pst files" in November or December 2014 but had not specifically requested that he use "deletion software." He told the FBI that he was the one who recommended the use of "BleachBit" because he had used it for other clients. He also acknowledged removing the HRC Archive mailbox from the PRN server between March 25, 2015, and March 31, 2015 , and using BleachBit to "shred" any remaining copies of Clinton's email on the server (Edit: To include certain emails to Chelsea of all people...lol...and the Egyptian Prime Minister about yoga classes & wedding invitations that happened the day before Sept 12 2012, no doubt)...

...despite his awareness of Congress's preservation order and his understanding that the order meant that "he should not disturb Clinton's email data on the PRN server."

So clearly no "obstruction"!

Addendum:

The May 22, 2015, letter from Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. to Clinton attorney Kendall reads in part:

I am writing in reference to the following e-mail that is among the approximately 55,000 pages that were identified as potential federal records and produced on behalf of former Secretary Clinton to the Depatment of State on December 5, 2014: E-mail forwarded by Jacob Sullivan to Secretary Clinton on November 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm (Subject: Fw: FYI- Report of arrests -possible Benghazi connection).

Please be advised that today the above referenced e-mail, which previously was unclassified , has been classified as "Secret" pursuant to Section 1.7(d) of Executive Order 13526 in connection with a review and release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In order to safeguard and protect the classified information, I ask – consistent with my letter to you dated March 23 2015 – that you, Secretary Clinton and others assisting her in responding to congressional and related inquiries coordinate in taking the steps set forth below. A copy of the document as redacted under the FOIA is attached to assist you in your search.

****

Once you have made the electronic copy of the documents for the Department, please locate any electronic copies of the above-referenced classified document in your possession. If you locate any electronic copies, please delete them. Additionally, once you have done that, please empty your "Deleted Items" folder.

Because it just wouldn't do to have Hillary's emails stating the obvious while Rice is out saying something else so, we've classified it!

//////

Resuming...

"The agents asked Bentel about allegations by two S/ES-IRM staff members that they had raised concerns about Clinton's use of personal email to him during separate meetings. According to the State IG report, one of the staff members told the State IG that Bentel told the staff member that "the mission of S/ES-IRM is to support the Secretary" and instructed the staff member to "never speak of the Secretary's personal email system again."94 . According to the FD-302 and agent notes, the agents showed Bentel documents that suggested that he was aware that Clinton had a private email server that she used for official business during their joint tenure. One of the agents explained that the purpose of asking Bentel about his knowledge of the server was to assess whether Clinton's use of the server was sanctioned by the State Department. However, Bentel maintained that he was unaware that Clinton used personal email to conduct official business until it was reported in the news and denied that anyone had raised concerns about it to him."

The staff are obviously lying Trumptards!

/////

"On April 9, 2016, Mills appeared with Wilkinson for a voluntary interview concerning Mills's tenure at State. According to a FBI memorandum ("Mills Interview Memorandum"), shortly before the interview Strzok advised the prosecutors and Laufman that the agent conducting the interview would be making a statement at the start of the interview "concerning the scope of [the] interview, the FBI's view of the importance of the email sorting process, and the expectation of a follow-up interview once legal issues had been resolved." Witnesses referred to this statement as "the preamble."

Comey told the OIG that he approved of the preamble but did not suggest it, and McCabe stated that he "authorized" the preamble. McCabe told us that he directed the FBI team not to discuss the preamble with the prosecutors before the day of the interview because he was "concerned that if we raised another issue with DOJ, we would spend another two weeks arguing over the drafting of the preamble to the interview, which I just was not prepared to do."

The prosecutors told us that they were surprised and upset because the preamble was inconsistent with their prior representations to Wilkinson and they believed it was strategically ill-advised. The Mills Interview Memorandum states that the prosecutors objected to the preamble but that they were told that "the FBI's position was not subject to further discussion." According to the Mills Interview Memorandum, the interviewing agents delivered the preamble at the outset of the interview as planned. Witnesses told us...

Footnote 100: Baker told us that he had known Wilkinson for many years, and documents show that she had previously reached out to him in Midyear as part of a broad effort to speak with senior Department and FBI officials, up to and including Attorney General Lynch. Lynch and other high level Department officials told us that they did not speak with Wilkinson during the course of the investigation.

...that Wilkinson was visibly angered by the preamble and that she and Mills stepped outside the interview room after the agent delivered it. The prosecutors stated that they convinced Wilkinson and Mills to return for the remainder of the scheduled interview concerning Mills's tenure. However, according to Prosecutor 1, Mills was "on edge the whole time."

Footnote 101: According to notes of the interview, the prosecutors told Wilkinson that they were "sandbagged" by the FBI and that they did not know in advance about the preamble. Additionally, according to the notes, Wilkinson informed the prosecutors of the call the previous day from a "senior FBI official."

Baker or McCabe? I would say Baker, no wonder she was blindsided & pissed, they'll screw anyone & everyone over. Even "close confidantes" at her (and the prosecutors) inferior levels, just to muck up..."the process"

/////

Ah yes, here it is...

"Prosecutors and FBI agents told us that the events surrounding the April 9 Mills interview, including both the preamble and Baker phone call that were planned without Department coordination, caused significant strife and mistrust between the line prosecutors and the FBI.

AAG Carlin told us that the prosecution team asked him to call McCabe and "deliver a message that this is just not an acceptable way to run an investigation." Carlin told us that he delivered this message to McCabe and also briefed Lynch and Yates on the issues.

Witnesses told us that the strife between the prosecutors and the FBI team culminated in a contentious meeting chaired by McCabe a few days later. On the Department side, this meeting was attended by the line prosecutors, Laufman, and Toscas. Prosecutor 2 told us that during this meeting the prosecutors explained that they were trying to be "careful" in their handling of complicated issues, and that McCabe responded that they should "be careful faster." Laufman stated that McCabe's comment "undervalued what we had been able to accomplish to date investigatively through negotiating consent agreements." According to Laufman's notes, McCabe agreed that Baker's unilateral contacts with Wilkinson should not have happened, and Baker agreed not to have further contact with Wilkinson. With respect to the preamble, however, the prosecutors told us that McCabe stated that he would "do it again."

"Be careful faster"...lol...I mean, what the hell is the matter with you people! There's an election on the line here and my wife Jill is on the ballot riding Hillary's skirt while pocketing $675k from Hillary cronies and...I would "do it again"...well, of course you would.

/////

"On May 4, 2016, a few weeks before Mills and Samuelson were voluntarily interviewed regarding the culling process and a little over a month before the FBI obtained the culling laptops, Strzok and Page exchanged the following text messages. The sender of each message is identified after the timestamp.

No political considerations whatsoever. None ;-)

Stan522 -> 1 Alabama Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:00 Permalink

What I got out of this report so far:

LaugherNYC -> Sanity Bear Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

I hate to even say this, but reading and seeing the self-righteous douchebags in DC who sanctimoniously talk about the rule of law and the interference in our system by Russian trolls on the internet, I can not help but be struck by what Comey, McCabe and Strzok have managed to do by themselves. If there is no punishment for these people, no punishment for Hillary Clinton's gross malfeasance, then what difference is there between Putin's regime and our "Republic?" How is it that the law does not apply to these people/

Hillary willfully mishandled classified information. Seaman Saucier did less, and spent a year in jail. Hillary has done so much, so wrong for so long, and gotten so wealthy through influence peddling and payoffs she might as well be an oligarch - in fact, she is a political oligarch. McCabe lied under oath, and it is clear he and Comey are covering for each other in their political plot to see their padron elected. Comey wanted to be AG, and McCabe Director. Hillary no doubt promised them their dreams. Strzok likely would move up into McCabe's job. So they obstructed justice, but didn't write each other explicit memos about it - and therefore there is no case???? This is a cabal protecting their own, just as they do in Russia and Syria and corrupt South American banana republics.

If the trolls start calling for protest rallies in the streets, they might get them. This kind of blatant abuse of the system with no consequences should get true Americans out in the streets to protest. This is not about Trump. This is about pure political corruption in law enforcement and the Obama Administration.

Hilary writes "but my emails" about Comey - as if. Hillary, STFU. You lost an election a goddamn platypus could have won. Your utter venality, your shrill self-righteousness, you repugnant enabling of your pig husband... you are personally responsible for Trump's election, and you should be in jail. It feels as if the Mueller investigation is another set up by your boys to ensure the Administration is too distracted to prosecute you.

What a shameful episode in our country's history.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 -> LaugherNYC Thu, 06/14/2018 - 21:10 Permalink

Exactly. A two-tiered justice system? When the serfs are stripped of the means to support themselves to feed the IRS?

This U$ Tax Mule has a broken back. I'm on strike. Try and make me comply. I hereby withdraw my consent to be governed by immoral scumbags.

King of Ruperts Land -> overbet Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:16 Permalink

The Fake News Liberal Media has everyone in that delusion. They live in a Matrix like false reality generated by the Fake media. All the magazines and papers follow the same editorial stance. It is a giant echo chamber. They are all zombies doing the bidding of the Deep state and elite interests.

Trump did just tweet after Singapore that enemy #1 is Fake News. Hopefully he will have action coming.

fleur de lis -> IridiumRebel Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:09 Permalink

The champagne is flowing -- they got off the hook. All of the FBI screwballs are probably well past the drunkard stage and well into the sleeping under the table and on park benches stage.

Any one in trouble for abusing information in any way should keep all these proceedings handy for the court hearing.

After all, if the vaunted FBI can get off the hook for abusing national security information for sport, why should anyone else get into trouble for less?

Any health professional who treats confidential medical information for gossip or personal gain would get fired, raked over the coals, and possibly prosecuted.

But any smart defense lawyer can now refer to the DoJ as the standard and precedent for dismissing the charge of information abuse.

Any financial professional who treats confidential financial information for gossip, or monetary gain for him/her or his/her friends and associates would get fired, raked over the coals, and possibly prosecuted.

But any smart defense lawyer can now refer to the DoJ as the standard and precedent for dismissing the charge of information abuse.

Any legal professional who treats confidential legal information for gossip, jury and evidence tampering, payoffs, bribes, etc., would get fired, raked over the coals, and possibly prosecuted.

But any smart defense lawyer can now refer to the DoJ as the standard and precedent for dismissing the charge of information abuse.

Any professional or employee in any field has an obligation to treat confidential information with respect or at least according to protocol or face being fired, raked over the coals, or possibly prosecuted.

But thanks to the FBICIANSA psychos and psychotic Swamp Dwellers anyone can now abuse information of any kind and thank the DC Swamp for so generously providing a precedent to get away with it.

johngaltfla -> ACP Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:36 Permalink

Nothing will happen outside of McCabe and some low level losers. This is a nightmare because if validates the use of the FBI/CIA/DIA, etc. against the American people. I mean seriously, does anyone think that a government agency which supported incinerating women and children in Waco would actually go after their own vile souls?

Chupacabra-322 -> johngaltfla Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:54 Permalink

That's exactly what needs to occur for the futile system of Tyrannical Lawlessness & Political Police Surveillance State to be accepted / instituted by State onto the Serfs.

The State has to Gas Light the populace into thinking that even a sitting President is "Guilty until proven innocent." And, if a President is powerless against & can be removed by a Totalitarian, Authoritarian, Tyrannical Lawless, Political Police State, then anyone who poses a threat to said State can be threatened, persecuted & or Eliminated.

President has to be set, that if a sitting President can be taken down. Anyone can be taken, disappeared, droned, Murdered, Tortured, Rendered & never seen from again.

The Slaves won't stand a chance. Welcome to Serfdom.

svalleyboy -> nope-1004 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

This whole article is a one sided view of a complex situation. Nothing is mentioned about the OIG stating that Comey was insubordinate in disclosing that he is investigating Clinton, that too in a press conference. This is clearly against FBI policy and had the purpose of muddying up the race and giving Trump momentum.

These conspiracy theories are really the kind of stuff that goes on in pakistan, middle east, north korea where they want to blame everyone else but themselves for supporting the wrong people/clowns. Life is complicated, learn to think thru issues and follow a chain of logic thru multiple levels.

LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:32 Permalink

The government just got done investigating itself. It found after an exhaustive taxpayer funded audit that it made a few errors, but that it was generally well meaning. I mean, what did anyone really expect?

itstippy -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:19 Permalink

On and on we go.

Trump pulled a major political upset, defying all the pre-election polls and predictions, and caught a lot of career-track Federal employees completely off guard. Political contacts and friends count a LOT when you work for a Federal cabinet-level organization and hope to climb the career ladder to a high level position. They count more than talent, devotion to Country, ethics, everything. That's how it works.

These FBI weasels fell all over themselves to demonstrate fealty to te incoming Hillary Clinton administration and the Democratic National Committee's interests. If they hoped to get anywhere in the next 4-8 years they had to be clearly "friendly" to the people at the top. Then Trump won instead. Fuck!!!

Carreer-minded weasels entrenched in the Washington Deep State will happily show support for whatever "winning side" comes along. Romney, McCain, Bush, Clinton, Obama, it doen't matter who wins to them so long as they consider you "friendly" to their ambitions. Hell, they'd ardently support Hitler or Stalin if it would advance their careers. No integrity whatsoever.

NoPension Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:36 Permalink

Whitewash. Swamp wins again. These cats haven't lost an hour of sleep worrying about consequences. I say, oh well....games have new rules now. Do whatever it takes to get ahead...and fuck em. Laws have no meaning anymore.

Do you stop for red lights at 2 in the morning?

artichoke -> NoPension Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:59 Permalink

Oh no, I do believe Page is scared and Strzok is terrified, as they predicted they would be. But like raccoons they just exist to fight and kill you. They have to be criminally charged, and for that all that matters is the evidence (in this version of the report and the more secure ones) provided by the IG, not his carefully wordsmithed conclusions.

my2centshere Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:40 Permalink

So now we know Comey was really a drama queen and used private emails for government business. (let that sink in) Now let's play along, the head of the IRS did the same thing, the head of the EPA did the same thing and move on down the line. Looks like more than a smidgen.

Winston Churchill -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:51 Permalink

The cultists(Mosley et al) are busy asking Q what it all means..Sad.

LetThemEatRand -> Winston Churchill Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:56 Permalink

It's so ridiculous on its face (Trump inner circle guy hangs around 4-chan and then 8-chan to plant clues), that I suppose I can't blame people for not wanting to admit how stupid they were for believing it. Then again, it is that very "I won't admit I was wrong and I believe anyone who supports my ideology" attitude that explains why politician after politician gets away with literal murder.

artichoke -> LetThemEatRand Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:05 Permalink

The clues Q provides are interesting. Real time photos, etc. Some of it involves the "Russia investigation", some about NK stuff, some about other stuff. It's an interesting source of news, like those photos.

tmosley -> Winston Churchill Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:58 Permalink

I don't even follow Q you idiot.

LetThemEatRand -> tmosley Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:01 Permalink

He probably meant nmewn. In fairness to you, tmosley, you have indicated a lack of interest in Q in prior posts.

gwar5 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:41 Permalink

For fucking starters, where is the criminal referrals for allowing Hillary to smash her hard drives, wipe her server, and for not confiscating her server and examining it?

Everyone knows Comey is not professional FBI nor an investigator. He is a political appointee and he took the astounding unprecedented step of taking the investigation away from professional investigators in the field office to directly manage it and be fluffed in the 7th Floor Hoover Bldg.

Where's the scathing rebuke and criminal investigation into the obstruction that ensued? That is not 'insubordination'.... that conspiracy.

artichoke -> gwar5 Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:08 Permalink

IG's don't make criminal referrals. AG's and others do. That's why the evidence Horowitz came up with, which we all see is damning, is important. (Probably much better stuff in the LES and classified parts.) His artfully worded conclusions, carefully stepping around blaming anyone very much, don't matter.

Even WaPo sees this and isn't downplaying the report or taking comfort in those conclusions.

BowLogosWow Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:56 Permalink

OIG report screams that the Deep State is still fully in control of mainstream discourse. Quite disheartening.

rent slave Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:01 Permalink

Chris Wray is a fool if he thinks that this is over.He's better at whitewashes than was Bob Gibson.

artichoke -> rent slave Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:12 Permalink

Wray reports to Rosenstein. For the nonce he may be a bit constrained. Rosenstein's a black hat.

artichoke Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:02 Permalink

Come to think of it, it's disappointing that apparently Horowitz didn't follow the trails that led up to Obama. Maybe those were on private servers, hence outside his scope. But not outside the scope of a criminal investigation.

DarthVaderMentor Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:08 Permalink

" Also did you hear [Trump] make a comment about the size of his d*ck earlier? This man cannot be president. "

Yet I guess it's OK for you that the Magic Negro can make a video of his erection while flying on Air Force One? That his entourage is nothing but a bacchanal of drugs and a continuum of sexual orgies and illicit affairs according to former White House stenographer Beck Dorey-Stein's upcoming memoir, From the Corner of the Oval?

Lisa Page, you're nothing but a Hypocrite Ho!

" Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support.... "

That's the smell of hard working, sweaty poorly paid workers suffering from illegal immigration, the forgotten American people. You are just like Marie Antoinette and Hillary, elitists who forgot their roots and what made this country.

Sanity Bear Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:29 Permalink

"Comey explains that he wasn't aware the Weiner laptop was big deal because he didn't know Weiner was married to Abedin? "

Someone pointed out that this means that Comey believed Hillary's emails appeared on the computer of some random pervert, and didn't think twice about it. It's even more outrageous than the truth of the matter, that's how desperately this guy is lying.

insanelysane Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:29 Permalink

Comey caught lying when he says he didn't know Weiner was married to Abedin.

If this was true, why didn't he prosecute Weiner for owning a laptop that had classified State Department emails on them? Weiner didn't have any business having State Department emails.

Weiner and Abedin should have been charged for possessing these emails but Comey's "investigation" found nothing new.

Jackprong Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:35 Permalink

So, Strozk, what will you do to stop Trump from being POTUS? Strzok also refers to having "unfinished business" and a need to "fix it" What "unfinished business," Strzok? Tell us all here what sedition y'all been plotting against POTUS. Amazing that this guy was counter-intelligence (supposedly knowing that electronic communications are all conveyed over an "uncovered wire.")

Jackprong Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:47 Permalink

while also admitting that " there's no big there, there " presumably regarding the Trump-Russia investigation. I have no doubt that Strzok moved heaven and earth to find the "there there."

[Jun 14, 2018] The OIG Report Drops Tomorrow On Trump's Birthday; Here's What To Expect Zero Hedge

Jun 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The OIG Report Drops Tomorrow On Trump's Birthday; Here's What To Expect

by Tyler Durden Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:05 205 SHARES

The highly anticipated OIG report from the Justice Department's internal watchdog will hit tomorrow at 3pm EST , on President Trump's 72nd birthday. The 400-500 page document, prepared by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, will specifically address the DOJ/FBI's conduct surrounding the Hillary Clinton email investigation . It will not cover any of the FISA abuse / surveillance on the Trump campaign - for which a separate OIG investigation was launched in late March .

Here's what to look for:

Hillary Clinton's exoneration letter

In December, Congressional investigators discovered that edits made to former FBI Director James Comey's statement exonerating Hillary Clinton for transmitting classified info over an unsecured, private email server went far beyond what was previously known.

While Comey's original draft criminalized Clinton's behavior by using the term "gross negligence" and other language supportive of criminal charges, the FBI's top brass passed the draft around and neutered it. Instead of "grossly negligent," Clinton's conduct was reclassified as "extremely careless" - a term which carries no legal significance.

According to an Attorney briefed on the matter, "extremely careless" is in fact a defense to "gross negligence": "What my client did was 'careless', maybe even 'extremely careless,' but it was not 'gross negligence' your honor." The FBI would have no option but to recommend prosecution if the phrase "gross negligence" had been left in.

18 U.S. Code § 793 "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information" specifically uses the phrase "gross negligence." Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law.

Involved in the edits were Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, E.W. "Bill" Priestap, Jonathan Moffa and DOJ Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson .

Immunity agreements

The FBI granted immunity in June 2016 to top Obama advisor Cheryl Mills and aide Heather Samuelson - who helped decide which Clinton emails were destroyed before turning over the remaining 30,000 records to the State Department . Of note, the FBI agreed to destroy evidence on devices owned by Mills and Samuelson which were turned over in the investigation.

The FBI also granted immunity to the guy who wiped Hillary's server with "BleachBit" , P aul Combetta .

For those who "do not recall" the specific timeline leading up to Combetta wiping Hillary's server, here is a breif recap :

December 2014 / January 2015 – "Undisclosed Clinton staff member" instructs Combetta to remove archives of Clinton emails from PRN server but he forgets.

March 4, 2015 – Hillary receives subpoena from House Select Committee on Benghazi instructing her to preserve and deliver all emails from her personal servers.

March 25, 2015 – Combetta has a conference call with "President Clinton's Staff."

March 25 – 31, 2015 – Combetta has "oh shit" moment and realizes he forgot to wipe Hillary's email archive from the PRN server back in December which he promptly does using BleachBit.

February 18, 2016 - Combetta meets with FBI and denies knowing about the existense of the subpoena from the House Select Committee on Benghazi at the time he wiped Hillary's server.

May 3, 2016 - Combetta has follow-up meeting with the FBI and admits that he "was aware of the existence of the preservation request and the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton's e-mail data on the PRN server."

McCabe's conflicts of interest

While an earlier IG report which led to former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's firing focused on McCabe leaking self-serving information to the press and then lying about it (four times), this portion of the IG report will focus on " [a]llegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters," after his, Jill McCabe, accepted $675,000 from "groups aligned with Clinton and McAuliffe" during her unsuccessful Senate bid - which constituted nearly 40% of the campaign's total funds.

In addition to discussing whether McCabe should have recused from the investigation, Horowitz's report will likely discuss the FBI's ethics office decision that recusal was not required, and the FBI's creation of "talking points" to counter complaints about McCabe's participation in the Clinton probe. - The Federalist

Comey's higher loyalties

The report will also focus on Comey's conduct during the investigation - as IG Horowitz outlined "Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director's public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director's letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations ."

Also under investigation will be the FBI's decision to reopen the Clinton email investigation on October 28, 2016 after additional emails were found on the laptop of Clinton's top aide, Anthony Weiner - who is currently in prison for sex crimes involving a minor. After a very fast review , Comey told Congress on November 6, 2016 that the FBI's assessment that Clinton should not be charged had not changed.

"I think the report of Horowitz, the [inspector general], and the Justice Department will confirm that Comey acted improperly with regard to the Hillary Clinton investigation," Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani recently told New York radio host John Catsimatidis.

"Comey, really, has a chance of being prosecuted as a result of [this report], but we'll see," Giuliani said.

Criminal prosecution?

While the IG has already issued a criminal referral for Andrew McCabe based on the earlier report, tomorrow's release will similarly shed light on others who may receive (or have already received) criminal referrals.

Anyone within the senior ranks of the FBI who was involved with the Clinton email investigation is at risk - including James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bill Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, Peter Kadzik and DOJ Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson .

A tipoff?

The OIG investigation will also cover "[a]llegations that the Department's Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs improperly disclosed non-public information to the Clinton campaign and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters."

In particular, the report will look at former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik 's role in the investigation and whether he " tipped off Clinton presidential campaign chairman John Podesta about two issues: an upcoming hearing where a Justice Department official would be asked about the Clinton emails, and the timing of the release of some Clinton emails"

Notably, Kadzik "previously worked for Podesta as an attorney."

That weird FBI twitter account

The OIG will also look at " [a]llegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI's release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations ."

This is related to a series of tweets issued by the largely dormant @FBIRecordsVault account which began one day after Comey reopened the Clinton email investigation. On October 30 at 4 a.m., the account released a series of documents - including information on the Clinton Foundation, and President Clinton's controversial pardon of Marc Rich, along with several other notable files.

me title=

Two days before the Clinton Foundation tweet, the @FBIRecordsVault account tweeted records of Donald Trump's father, Fred Trump, which referred to him as a philanthropist.

me title=

At the time, the FBI said that the timing reflected " standard procedure for FOIA " in which records that requested three or more times are released publicly and processed on a " first in, first out " basis.

We're gonna need a bigger popcorn box...

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4-kYK-y-gEU?start=26


lester1 Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:06 Permalink

Rod Rosenstein should be fired immediately after this report comes out.

There's no excuse for a government employee like Rosenstein to be illegally stonewalling Congress's request for documents. Rosenstein is covering up the fact that it was Obama who ordered FBI informants to spy on the Trump campaign!

Keyser -> Chris2 Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:23 Permalink

I see nothing damning in any of these details... Nothing that the guilty won't be able to explain away... There will be at least one fall guy and my bet it will be either McCabe or Stroczk... Everyone else will walk, same as it always was...

nmewn -> Keyser Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:28 Permalink

I dunno, I think Preistap & Page rolled on everybody, we'll see soon enough.

Buckaroo Banzai -> nmewn Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:32 Permalink

Immunity deals are vacated if the person granted immunity is later found to have lied, or found to have willfully omitted relevant information in their affidavits.

JimmyJones -> brushhog Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:44 Permalink

I expect the report to be heavily redacted, I expect it to be "for national security reasons" I expect it to be un-redacted about a week or 2 later, I expect when comparisons of the redacted to the less redacted ones is done we will again see the mass abuse of the use of "for National security" reason and I expect this Muller's sudo investigation to come to a close. I hope for indictments and arrest of ex-heads of the Intel agencies for treason. I hope for Clinton to be in chains and many others. I want the people involved with the Iranian deal (never signed) to also face criminal charges as it looks like it was a drug money laundering operation. Watch this for some info on that https://youtu.be/Rri-Ngj8QoE

Preistap rolled without a doubt, Page got caught red handed conspiring to commit a crime by having the FISA judge just happen to be at a cocktail party. She rolled, she is a woman and it's in their natural to save themselves.

bshirley1968 -> brushhog Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 Permalink

Every week the Kabuki theater has a new Act. I can remember when "Release the Memo" was going to tell all and all the bad guys were going to prison and Trump would put on a big white hat and all would be right in the world.

Well, that came and went.....what changed?.........crickets........that's right nothing! The only thing that ever changes are the costumes....cause the players are all the same.

Every time we turn around there is a new villain out to get Trump.....but then there is documentation to prove they were out to get Trump.....and the documentation shows they broke the law trying to get Trump.....then there are Congressional subpoenas.....Congressional hearings......George Soros is funding something....to get Trump.....all the people that work for Trump....are hired by Trump.....are out to get Trump or obstruct him from doing his job for the American people.....Trump can't fire them.....So Trump tweets out to the American people as if we can solve his problems for him. And on and on and on it goes.......BUT NOTHING CHANGES.

Brexit? Yeah I remember that. The British people should be happy they let them vote....cause that is all they are going to get......NOTHING CHANGES.

SWRichmond -> Buckaroo Banzai Wed, 06/13/2018 - 21:18 Permalink

Immunity deals are vacated if the person granted immunity is later found to have lied, or found to have willfully omitted relevant information in their affidavits.

Well God only knows if what was written on the 302's has any resemblance to any reality at all. Frankly at this point I am not sure if that increases or decreases their chances of being shown to have lied in order to get immunity.

Nameshavebeenc -> Keyser Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:32 Permalink

When the info is released [RR] no more.
When the info is released no more Russia investigation.
It will factually conclude the corrupt nature by which the entire false narrative was created all to 1) prevent the election of POTUS 2) delay/shelter/mask/hide all illegal activities by Hussein/others during past 8 years.
DOJ/FBI cleanse vital as primary.
Huber coming.
These people HATE America.

Q
(June 12-18)

Know thy enemy -> Nameshavebeenc Wed, 06/13/2018 - 19:54 Permalink

And now that Q has moved to twitter @ #Qanon even ZHers will be able to follow the great awakening! WWG1WGA

swamp -> Keyser Wed, 06/13/2018 - 21:43 Permalink

Destroying evidence?

FBI granting immunity? LOL

FBI granting immunity for Absolutely nothing in return = free ticket.

sooo much more. Internal conflicts galore. Closed loop CYA INSIDER destruction of evidence all over the place. Their job is to preserve not destroy evidence.

The whole thing is nauseating.

[Jun 14, 2018] Yeeeeah right.

Jun 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

AsEasyAsPi Thu, 06/14/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

Fidelity: Strzock and Page

Bravery: Comey, "I was afwaid of Trump"

Integrity: Comey, Ohr, Strzock, McCabe, Page, Rosenstein, Mueller............

Yeeeeah right.

[Jun 13, 2018] The Roots of Argentina's Surprise Crisis

The root is neoliberal government that came to power in 2015
Notable quotes:
"... Why is any of this still "surprising" ..."
"... Economist Ha Joon Chang popularized the term "ladder kicking" to describe the way in which most developed countries used tariffs and trade restrictions to ascent to the top but are all for "free trade" now. ..."
"... Once again, so long as "Original Sin" is a reality, there is little hope. Keynes' BANCOR was the idea to begin to fix this, but short of some other global currency initiative, we're left to the International Finance Vultures as the primary arbiters of what's possible. ..."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Synoia , June 13, 2018 at 10:25 am

Early measures included the removal of exchange-rate and capital controls

How does a county manage what it does not control?

ChrisAtRU , June 13, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Exactly see Trilemma .

Scott1 , June 13, 2018 at 6:34 pm

Thanks for the link. I will be spending some time thinking of what Argentina would best employ as best practices from where it is.
Would they be best off if they stopped issuing such high paying bonds? Should they pay them all off and stop with it. It does appear to me that issuing bond after bond is one of the single most dangerous things you can do.
It would appear to me to be a superior practice to sell what you produce for the best price you can get on the open markets and dictate the value of your currency.
I'll have to do some more study here.
Again, thanks for the link.

Lorenzo , June 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm

You're uttering the discourse of the most recalcitrant neo-liberal cum austerity-fundamentalists around.

The US doesn't tax soybean exports. Argentina needs to maximize its exports to earn foreign exchange.'

it's misleading to say the least to draw a comparison between how the US handles soybean exports and Argentina does it. They're around a quarter of the latter's exports, barely a hundredth of the latter's.

The US will never have forex issues, Argentina does have them, and they are very serious. You make it as if simply exporting commodities will fill the country's economy with USD, while in truth those dollars will be neatly parked in tax heavens. Eliminating tax and controls over Argentina's biggest exports -agricultural commodities- is in practice as if these commodities were produced not in this country but in some foreign territory over which only the very few who hold most of the land are sovereign. Which is what the current administration has been doing for the past two years.

You also make it as if the current situation where the value of the peso is given over completely to whatever short-term speculators feel like doing with it whenever LEBACs are due is more desirable than the capital controls imposed by the previous government. These prevented the hurtful rapid rise we're seeing in the exchange rate and reduced the negative consequences of the fiscal deficit thus allowing significant investment in and expansion of the real economy.

Addressing the fiscal deficit through increased value added and income tax is something that clearly benefits the owner over the working class and depresses private consumption. I can only sarcastically wonder who would want such a thing.

I don't feel the need or the duty to defend the previous government, but victimization of the Sociedad Rural is something I just lack the words to condemn strongly enough

ChrisAtRU , June 13, 2018 at 9:15 pm

NP. You're welcome. See my comment below. Unfortunately, the only way to win this game is not to play (by the vulture established rules).

Mickey Hickey , June 13, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Argentina is probably the most self sufficient country on earth. It has everything, fertile land that produces an abundance of wheat, barley, oats, rye, wine grapes. As well as oil, gas. uranium, silver, gold, lead, copper, zinc. Foreigners are well aware of the wealth in Argentina and are more than willing to lend to Argentinian governments and companies. This is why Cristina Kirchner refused to give in to the US vulture funds as it dissuaded foreigners from believing that reckless lending would always be rewarded. Macri ponied up, restarting the old familiar economic doom cycle. As always its the old dog for the long road and the pup for the puddle. Macri is now in a place that he chose, the puddle. As long as foreig lenders remain reckless Argentina will remain mired in the mud, well short of its potential. I was last there in 2008 when the country was booming. When I heard of Macri's plan to pay the vulture funds I knew they were headed for disaster. This is just the beginning.

JTMcPhee , June 13, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Those "foreign lenders" can't be called "reckless." Some, maybe most among them always seem to profit from the looting, whether by "bailouts" or "backstops" from governments like the US that for "geopolitical reasons" facilitate that lending, or by extortion after the first-round lenders (who know the risks, of course -- they are big boys and girls after all) have been forestalled.

Call them "wreckers," maybe. Like early denizens of the Florida Keys, and other places, who set fires or put up lamps that resembled lighthouses to lure passing ships onto the sands and rocks where their cargoes and the valuables of their drowned passengers and crews could be stripped.

Wayne Harris , June 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm

"so-called vulture funds"?

ChrisAtRU , June 13, 2018 at 8:33 pm

"so-called" Laughable

ChrisAtRU , June 13, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Why is any of this still "surprising" to anyone?! Most countries in the world (non G7/G8) are forced to go into foreign debt in order to pursue their "development" initiatives. They are told they can export themselves out of trouble but the "free trade" (more like unfair trade!) mantra puts them at a distinct disadvantage – "unequal exchange" was the term Marx used for it.

Economist Ha Joon Chang popularized the term "ladder kicking" to describe the way in which most developed countries used tariffs and trade restrictions to ascent to the top but are all for "free trade" now.

Once again, so long as "Original Sin" is a reality, there is little hope. Keynes' BANCOR was the idea to begin to fix this, but short of some other global currency initiative, we're left to the International Finance Vultures as the primary arbiters of what's possible.

[Jun 13, 2018] If Only We'd Listened To Ike... - Inside The Deep State

Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Kevin Paul,

Many Trump supporters, and even some on the left, like to talk about the "Deep State" secretly having complete control of our government, thus rendering our elected leaders to be nothing more than meaningless figureheads. Let's investigate.

Long before the term 'Deep State' became popular, the term "Military Industrial Complex" was coined by President Dwight Eisenhower.

He gave his now famous Military Industrial Complex (MIC) speech on Jan 17, 1961.

During his ominous farewell, Ike mentioned that the US was only just past the halfway point of the century and we had already seen 4 major wars. He then went on to talk about how the MIC was now a major sector of the economy. Eisenhower then went on to warn Americans about the "undue influence" the MIC has on our government. He warned that the MIC has massive lobbying power and the ability to press for unnecessary wars and armaments we would not really need, all just to funnel money to their coffers.

Jump to Ike's warning about the "unwarranted influence... by the Military-Industrial Complex" at 8:41

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OyBNmecVtdU

His warning though proven correct, was sadly not heeded. Within a few years JFK was assassinated shortly after giving his "Secret government speech" warning the American people about "secret governments and secret organizations that sought to have undue control of the government.

JFK was in his grave for less than 9-months before Gulf of Tonkin incident which was a series of outlandish lies about a fictitious attack on a US naval ship that never happened, which caused the US to enter the Vietnam war.

President Johnson lied his way into a war with North Vietnam and within less than a year would joke that "maybe the attack never happened". By the time the war ended in 1973, Johnson's bundle of lies had killed 2.45 million people.

The MIC however, saw the Vietnam war as a great victory and a template for the future success to their objectives. Ever since the Vietnam War, the MIC has urged the government to enter into as many ambiguous and unwinnable wars as possible, since unwinnable wars are also never-ending. Never-ending wars equate to never-ending revenue streams for the war industry.

Eisenhower warned us about the concept of one particular industry taking control of our government, but sadly his predictions fell of deaf ears.

Since Eisenhower's time several other over "Industrial Complexes" have followed the MIC example and taken control of our government to suit their needs as well. Their objective is to buy out politicians in order to control the purse strings of Congress and they have been highly successful.

The list of these ÏC industries includes, but is not limited to the companies below:

1. The Drug Industrial Complex. (DIC)

The prescription drug industry has massive control of our government and our health care system. A recent Mayo Clinic study concluded that 70% of Americans are on at least one prescription drug.

The most tragic example is opioids, though similar arguments can also be made in reference to the anti-depressant epidemic, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

The sicker America is, the better it is for the DIC.

The drug lobby is 8x larger than the gun lobby and is indirectly responsible for the deaths of between 59.000 and 65,000 people in 2016 alone, but if we dig deeper, that number could easily be 2 or 3 times higher, Since deaths related to opioids from infection related to opioid related infections are extremely common Anti-depressants are being prescribed 400% more than they were in the 1990's. They are commonly prescribed to adolescent women and we live up to the name "Prozac Nation" when we realize that 1 in 5 women between the ages of 40 and 59 are taking antidepressants. The list of other prescription medicines to enhance the DIC revenue streams is extensive.

There are two primary industrial complex rules when it comes to prescription drug centric treatment:

Firstly, no curing is allowed, ever. Treatment of conditions with temporary benefits is allowed, but healing is not permissible, since it interrupts revenue streams.

And second, any and all "natural" or homeopathic treatment whether it be related to diet, supplements vitamins, anti-oxidants or physical exercise/meditation should all be relegated to "quackery." Doctors who do not adhere to the prescription drug method of treating patients should also be referred to as adherents to "quackery" and should be reprimanded, fined and in extreme cases have their medical licenses revoked.

2. Real Estate Industrial Complex. (RIC)

Goal: Keep housing prices rising as much as possible, year after year after year.

How this is implemented: Endorse the borrowing of money to entice people into buying excessively large homes in order to promote the "dream" of home ownership. Once people buy into this scheme, they are then saddled with massive home taxes to their city and the burden of the taxes utilities that go along with owning an excessively large home. Stigmatize anyone who is over the age of 25 and lives in the same domicile as a parent or grandparent.

Make sure all media channels repeat over and over incessantly that high real estate prices are "signs of a great economy," while ignoring the crippling effect high home prices have on working class families who can barely pay their mortgage.

3. College Industrial Complex (CIC)

The average tuition in 1971-1972 was $1832.00 and now it is officially over $31,000.00.

There are over 60 colleges and universities where the tuition has already exceeded $60,000.00 per/year.

A college education used to be something that people saved and paid cash for, but now there has been a cultural shift where students are expected to take out loans that are often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain a college degree.
Why is this all so expensive? When we look at our universities and colleges, we see an obsession with elaborate new buildings and sports stadiums, more than actual learning.

There are several emerging/innovative ideas to make a college education better, faster and far more affordable. Such concepts probably won't take hold until the inevitable collapse of the entire educational system takes place.

4. Health Insurance Industrial Complex (HIC)

Much of the US healthcare system is now governed by the "Healthcare Affordability Act" passed by the Obama administration in 2010.

The HIC proved how powerful they were when Congress was not allowed to read the legislation before voting for it, publicly displaying that the HIC who wrote the bill behind closed doors is more powerful than Congress itself.

What transparent public committees were behind this important legislation?

In reality, there was no transparency at all, this is stated clear as day by Healthcare Affordability Act primary architect Jonathan Gruber stated: "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage, Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical for the thing to pass."

The Speaker of the House at the time was Nancy Pelosi, who famously said from the leadership podium as House Speaker: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.'

Our elected officials were not allowed to read the most important legislation of the past 30 years before voting for or against it. There is no greater testimony to the level of dysfunction in Congress than the Healthcare Affordability Act, formed by secret committees and then not allowing Congress to read it before voting.

* * *

Let's think back to 1961 when Eisenhower warned us about what would become the Vietnam War. The American people's ignoring his warning caused arms manufacturers and big business to assume nearly complete control of US government.

If we had listened to Ike, millions of people would not have died in the wars of the last 57 years and we would have trillions of dollars less in debt. Perhaps we still have time to heed his warning before our entire country collapses under the weight of corruption, crippling debt and never-ending wars, let's hope so.

* * *

Kevin Paul is the founder of Alternativemediahub.com, which refers to itself as "The megaphone of independent journalism." Born in MA, he came within 2% of winning the R party nomination to oppose Ted Kennedy in 2006 and holds degrees in business and political science.

[Jun 13, 2018] Mueller Scrambles To Limit Evidence After Indicted Russians Actually Show Up In Court Zero Hedge

Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is scrambling to limit pretrial evidence handed over to a Russian company he indicted in February over alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, according to Bloomberg .

Mueller asked a Washington federal Judge for a protective order that would prevent the delivery of copious evidence to lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, one of three Russian firms and 13 Russian nationals. The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters .

The special counsel's office argues that the risk of the evidence leaking or falling into the hands of foreign intelligence services, especially Russia, would assist the Kremlin's active "interference operations" against the United States.

"The substance of the government's evidence identifies uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage in interference operations like those charged in the present indictment," prosecutors wrote.

Improper disclosure would tip foreign intelligence services about how the U.S. operates, which would "allow foreign actors to learn of those techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security operations ," according to the filing.

The evidence includes thousands of documents involving U.S. residents not charged with crimes who prosecutors say were unwittingly recruited by Russian defendants and co-conspirators to engage in political activity in the U.S., prosecutors wrote. - Bloomberg

Mueller also accused Concord of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

And Concord Management decided to fight it...

As Powerline notes, Mueller probably didn't see that coming - and the indictment itself was perhaps nothing more than a PR stunt to bolster the Russian interference narrative.

I don't think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, the Mueller prosecutors seem to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project.

One of the Russian corporate defendants nevertheless hired counsel to contest the charges. In April two Washington-area attorneys -- Eric Dubelier and Kate Seikaly of the Reed Smith firm -- filed appearances in court on behalf of Concord Management and Consulting . Josh Gerstein covered that turn of events for Politico here . - Powerline Blog

Politico' s Gerstein notes that by defending against the charges, " Concord could force prosecutors to turn over discovery about how the case was assembled as well as evidence that might undermine the prosecution's theories ."

In a mad scramble to put the brakes on the case, Mueller's team tried to delay the trial - saying that Concord never formally accepted the court summons related to the case , wrapping themselves in a "cloud of confusion" as Powerline puts it. "Until the Court has an opportunity to determine if Concord was properly served, it would be inadvisable to conduct an initial appearance and arraignment at which important rights will be communicated and a plea entertained."

The Judge, Dabney Friedrich - a Trump appointee, didn't buy it - denying Mueller a delay in the high-profile trial.

The Russians hit back - filing a response to let the court know that " [Concord] voluntarily appeared through counsel as provided for in [the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure], and further intends to enter a plea of not guilty . [Concord] has not sought a limited appearance nor has it moved to quash the summons. As such, the briefing sought by the Special Counsel's motion is pettifoggery. "

And the Judge agreed ...

A federal judge has rejected special counsel Robert Mueller's request to delay the first court hearing in a criminal case charging three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with using social media and other means to foment strife among Americans in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a brief order Saturday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich offered no explanation for her decision to deny a request prosecutors made Friday to put off the scheduled Wednesday arraignment for Concord Management and Consulting, one of the three firms charged in the case . - Politico

In other words, Mueller was denied the opportunity to kick the can down the road, forcing him to produce the requested evidence or withdraw the indictment , potentially jeopardizing the PR aspect of the entire "Trump collusion" probe.

And now Mueller is pointing to Russian "interference operations" in a last-ditch effort .

Of note, Facebook VP of advertising, Rob Goldman, tossed a major hand grenade in the "pro-Trump" Russian meddling narrative in February when he fired off a series of tweets the day of the Russian indictments. Most notably, Goldman pointed out that the majority of advertising purchased by Russians on Facebook occurred after the election, were hardly pro-Trump, and they was designed to "sow discord and divide Americans", something which Americans have been quite adept at doing on their own ever since the Fed decided to unleash a record class, wealth, income divide by keeping capital markets artificially afloat at any cost.

me title=


gmrpeabody -> Arnold Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:58 Permalink

The charges are redacted, your Honor.., but he sure is guilty just the same.

I Am Jack's Ma -> gmrpeabody Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:05 Permalink

The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters .

...

"knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the election by using social media to disparage Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.

Wait a minute, hold on - what exactly is the 'crime' here? Facebook ads that said Clinton sucks? That's a crime now? I'm missing something obviously - I just don't know what. Anyone willing and able to shed light on the crime alleged here?

How about CNN and NYT absolutely slanted and biased coverage? [And no - 'the press' in the 1st Amendment meant and means still the written word, not news corporations].

So far as I know "meddling" isn't a crime outside of Scooby Doo cartoons and MSNBC

Bastiat -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:12 Permalink

The nerve of them to: a) show up; and b) demand to see the evidence against them. What they hell to those damn Russians think this is?

philipat -> Oliver Klozoff Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

I believe that Mueller is, rightly, being told to "Put up or shut up"? The discovery phase should be very interesting and the only way to avoid that is to drop the charges, which will indeed completely destroy Mueller's PR strategy. And with it, what remains of his credibility...

Mr. Universe -> Leakanthrophy Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

I can picture Mueller sitting at the poker table with a huge stack. As he looks over his hand, with a sly look on his face and a wink, he goes all in. Surprise suprise, they call his bet. Now we wait for the reveal except that Bobby is screaming, wait, no fair, it was an accident, I didn't mean to go all in. Turn those machines back on! The dealer then looks him dead in the eye and says "Tough shit" as he turns over Mueller's losing hand.

JRobby -> Mr. Universe Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:15 Permalink

"Laugh Track Deafening !!!!!"

Called Mueller's bluff. Discovery could be a "back breaker".

janus -> JRobby Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:37 Permalink

mueller, you are so screwed. so supremely and royally screwed. now your investigation is coming to a crashing halt without POTUS having to step in. all that was ever needed is transparency. and now the good guys will have the IG report, Session's investigation, the declassification of spy-gate materials and discovery from your Keystone cop operation all at once.

best timeline ever.

take it from janus, extracting a troll from the interwebs and thinking you can crush him IRL ALWAYS blows up in your face.

the only way you can win the game is with the deck stacked like a tower in your favor and warping the rules to effect a desired outcome. tptb, you are up against superior people with superior minds animated by an indomitable will. devastating defeat is inevitable.

surrender now,

janus

monkeyshine -> janus Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:12 Permalink

They have a right to a speedy trial. They have a right to see the evidence against them. They have a right to interview witnesses.

Pettifoggers will pettifogger, but they will be pasquinaded by the defense and the court will show its disapprobation.

bh2 -> monkeyshine Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:29 Permalink

"the government believes"

Whatever happened to "the government will prove " as a basis of conviction?

The government "believes". But we don't have any actual evidence we can provide the court. You'll just have to take our word for it.

Good grief. How perfectly Star Chamber.

These people should be embarrassed to even show up before an honest judge.

monkeyshine -> bh2 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:04 Permalink

That is part of the defense's argument. Many are asking "what is the actual crime" being charged. Mueller charged them with campaign finance violations and failing to register as a foreign agent. These crimes have a high burden of proof in that they require the state to prove that the defendant knowingly broke the laws. No foreign corporation has ever been charged with these crimes before. And the defense argues that there is nothing in the indictment to show that they knew they were breaking these laws - hence no way to prove the case against them. They also raise the 1st Amendment as defense saying political speech is protected.

SybilDefense -> monkeyshine Tue, 06/12/2018 - 23:06 Permalink

Did/do these companies have any other function besides buying $500 worth of "I Like Trump" ads like selling something? So only Americans can have free speech in America, unless you identify you and your coworkers as foreign free speech speaker-people? It sounds too tricky. Only a progressive could figure out the legalities involved, as they are the free speech professionals. The rest of us must get permission first, and then it will only be grafted IF we say things that are officially approved by the free speech Nazi party.

Just think if these Ruskies could have voted! It would have been 30-40 more Trump votes and he would have really really won bigly.

Can't Mueller be prosecuted himself if he knows there is no collusion or whatever... No Russian anything, yet he continues to steal tax payer monies to fabricate false leads? He has no incentive to be honest or to limit the investigation and if having the case remain open benefits his party affiliates and he himself financially. If I got hired to do a one day job and lied to make it a one year job, wouldn't that be theft of services?? The cuss must show or he must go!

The pettifoggin dickbrain bitchfuck!

are we there yet -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:09 Permalink

Kangaroo...Mueller...Kangaroo...
Kangaroo Mueller is a good nickname....surprised Trump has not used it.

[Jun 13, 2018] The trial was postponed because the defendant planed to show up to his own trial

I can't believe in the USA the prosecutor is asking the judge not to let the defendant see the evidence against them .
From comments: "Mueller's face [on the photo] looks like he is out on a limb and badly needs to take a restroom break."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

are we there yet -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:22 Permalink

The trial was postponed because the defendant planed to show up to his own trial. That just sounds wrong.

ebear -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:12 Permalink

"In this case it's a euphemism for sleaze."

Oh it's way more than that. That is the kind of language Oliver Wendell Holmes would have used back in the day. It also brings to mind Samuel Clemens. This is a very sharp team indeed.

Ristretto X4 -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

*Definition of pettifogger. 1 : a lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable : shyster. 2 : one given to quibbling over trifles.

So, pretty much every bar member?

OverTheHedge -> apocalypticbrother Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:48 Permalink

To quote the immortal Derek and Clive:

"Laugh? I nearly shat!"

...and that is all the comment necessary on tnis.

The Man from Uncle -> y3maxx Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:59 Permalink

Mule-er basically drew to an inside straight, and got busted. The Russkies called his bluff, and his hand is 7-8-10-Jack-four. Sorry, Ereberto, no nine, just a "nein." Discovery is a bitch! I suspect that further developments are going to be highly entertaining. Judge: "can we see your evidence of wrongdoing." Mule-er: "That's highly classified."

IOW, "We got nuthin'."

platyops -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:55 Permalink

In its earliest English uses, "pettifogger" was two separate words: "pettie fogger." "Pettie" was a variant spelling of "petty," a reasonable inclusion in a word for someone who is disreputable and small-minded.

That is Meuller!

Keep Stacking

Versengetorix -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:06 Permalink

Actually this is the third time a Federal Judge has used the term against the Mueller team. It's accurate and it is beginning to stick.

ironmace -> stacking12321 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:28 Permalink

pettifog:

  1. to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.
  2. to carry on a petty, shifty, or unethical law business.
  3. to practice chicanery of any sort.

I had to look it up.

archaic: to practice legal deception.

good word.

Gaius Frakkin' -> Zip_the_Zap Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

Maybe if Mueller resigned and spent some time away from DC to travel the country he'd realize the division in America is real and not a Russian ploy.

He's either incompetent for not knowing or a complete shill for pushing a narrative he knows is false. Pick one.

nidaar -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:30 Permalink

"After indicted Russians actually show up in court"

Puhahahaha

No one could see that comin' right Mueller?

Shift For Brains -> BarkingCat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:25 Permalink

Who would have believed decent Americans would ever applaud Russians kicking the shit out of federal law enforcement? Do I hear "The World Turned Upside Down" in the distance? Should Mueller change his name to Cornwallis?

aelfheld -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:37 Permalink

Why can't he be a complete, incompetent, shill?

i poop pink ic -> Gaius Frakkin' Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

How about "corrupt" shill? Remember, Mueller headed the FBI before and after the 9/11 attacks. Did Mueller's FBI investigate? No; they covered up for 9/11 perpetrators. Thanks a lot Mueller.

I Am Jack's Ma -> Bastiat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

but what's the crime?

political speech? conspiring to engage in political speech?

clickbait ads on the internet?

Being Russian?

Being against Hillary Clinton?

I'm waiting for someone to explain what the alleged actual crime is - and why Mueller isn't prosecuting the 1st Amendment?

jin187 -> Bastiat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

If I were the judge, I would refuse any motion Mueller makes to avoid releasing evidence, and if he doesn't do it within a matter of hours, his entire staff would be getting perp walked for contempt. Let Mueller manage his investigation from a prison cell, like some drug kingpin.

shortonoil -> jin187 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:59 Permalink

The US government has already wasted $200 million on this stupid "pettifoggery". Some one, any one, put an end to this ridiculous dog and pony show. Mueller, and the Justice Dept. are now the laughing stock of the world. We need to save a little face, and have this SOB shot for the good of the nation. This Prick doesn't give two shits for the American people, or the nation that he is paid to serve.

The_Dude -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:14 Permalink

These guys were likely just pushing click-bait on Facebook. And since it is election season, it is easy for them to riff off the candidates.

Mueller giving it any legitimacy shows he is either out of touch with how the internet works or has his own special case of Trump derangement syndrome.

Rufus Temblor -> MoreFreedom Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:27 Permalink

If producing propaganda to change the outcome of an election is a crime, then the entire democrat party should be put in jail.

ChargingHandle -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:49 Permalink

Accuse others for which you are guilty is in the dnc handbook. The only illegal activity involved the DNC, team Hillary, and operatives in the FBI, CIA, DOJ, and the IRS.

Unknown User -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:28 Permalink

Apparently Mueller has a novel legal theory that Russians are not protected under the 1st Amendment in US.

are we there yet -> gmrpeabody Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

Mueller's face looks like he is out on a limb and badly needs to take a restroom break.

Rufus Temblor -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:24 Permalink

This indictment is a total fujkin joke. In Mueller's world he can charge you with a crime but refuse to show the evidence. Proves that he has no interest in serving justice. His goals are to defame and bankrupt enemies of the deep swamp.

Thordoom -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

When the truth comes out and i was Russian company or individual affected by this assholes i would sue US for lost business and for defamation and demand reparations and let THe black Jesus and Clinton Killer Gang and their lackies pay for it.

PlayMoney -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

Last thing in the world ole Bobby wants is to go to trial. This is going to be quite entertaining.

Buster Cherry -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:57 Permalink

A summons is a summons. It is an ORDER by a court to be present.

Since when does a court need to have a summons be " formally accepted???"

This shit needs to seriously blow up in Mueller's face, hopefully decapitating him in the process.

Scipio Africanuz -> vato poco Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:05 Permalink

Is this how the Republic dies? Via strangulation of the First Amendment?

When JFK called himself a Berliner, was he a German citizen?...

When Reagan interfered in German affairs, by proclaiming "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", was he a German citizen?

When Obama advised Britain not to exit the EU, was he a British citizen?

Folks, what's sauce for the goose, is same for the gander!...

I Am Jack's Ma -> nmewn Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:39 Permalink

malicious prosecution?

malicious prosecution - SCOTUSblog

http://www.virginialawreview.org/sites/virginialawreview.org/files/Kossis_Book.pdf

nmewn -> I Am Jack's Ma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:44 Permalink

Yes, very good links but, this is different in my opinion.

Mueller attempted to bring a criminal domestic case against international personas that he is now unwilling to go through the discovery process with (his claim) because of...wait for it...national security.

He never intended or wanted for this case to go to trial (but he had to show "something" for his efforts) it is malpractice (at the American bar level) and he knew it when he filed it.

When a prosecutor files charges against anyone (here) he is in essence saying "We have the evidence to prosecute your honor and we are going to show it to you." now he is saying he can't or will not produce that evidence in the venue he chose to prosecute in.

Probably because he (and his crack Hillary lawyers) didn't do the homework required until after filing charges (idiot fucktard that he and they are...lol) as Concord's new CEO is none other than one Dimitry Utkin, founder of the Wagner Group, a Rodnover, for whatever thats worth ;-)

whosyerdaddy -> Countrybunkererd Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:03 Permalink

It's not just embarrassing it's criminal. He wants unlimited scope to find "something". He indicts Russians knowing they won't show up for court or so he thought and now he wants to limit the evidence because he has no hand. Don't interfere with your enemy when he's mucking it up. Mueller is going to be indicted for all of this, Uranium One being the least of his problems. If Mr. Mueller wants to question me the first thing I say is how much money did you give Whitey Bulger?

currency Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:58 Permalink

Muller got caught, tried to make headlines with Real Russians thinking they would not show up and one did he is now in a PANIC - Muller needs to produce the evidence or shut up and go away with his band of 13 anti Trump staff.

Do us a favor Muller RESIGN

SmittyinLA Tue, 06/12/2018 - 16:00 Permalink

"The indictment accuses the firm of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters."

Cough cough, none of that is illegal, 1st Amendment, even for Russians

[Jun 13, 2018] Save on past CIA directors at at Amazon.com. It's the truth. You can buy anyone in government, even the dead ones.

Notable quotes:
"... It's the truth. You can buy anyone in government, even the dead ones. ..."
Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Originally from: Mueller Scrambles To Limit Evidence After Indicted Russians Actually Show Up In Court Zero Hedge


are we there yet -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:09 Permalink

Kangaroo...Mueller...Kangaroo...
Kangaroo Mueller is a good nickname....surprised Trump has not used it.

Last of the Mi -> chunga Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:27 Permalink

It's all fun and games until the defense show up with a shit ton of lawyers too.

Thin soup is what Mueller has. Thin soup. You would think that with the idea of being compared to Benedict Arnold, Him, Clapper, Comey, Clinton, Brennan and all the rest would take pause. Swamp doesn't even begin to describe those shitbags sucking up our free American air every day.

PS. A note of interest, when I was somehow accidentally using Googlet to look up past CIA directors, the first line was "Save on past CIA directors" at Amazon.com.

Shit, you have to fucking love America!

Shift For Brains -> Last of the Mi Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:31 Permalink

It's the truth. You can buy anyone in government, even the dead ones.

[Jun 13, 2018] Downright Chilling Rosenstein Threatened To Subpoena Congressmen In Closed-Door Meeting Zero Hedge

Jun 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

"Downright Chilling": Rosenstein "Threatened" To Subpoena Congressmen In Closed-Door Meeting

by Tyler Durden Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 57 SHARES

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to "subpoena" GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee during a tense January meeting involving committee members and senior DOJ/FBI officials, according to emails seen by Fox News documenting the encounter described by aides as a "personal attack."

That said, Rosenstein was responding to a threat to hold him in contempt of Congress - and the "threat" to subpoena GOP records was ostensibly in order for him to be able to defend himself.

Rosenstein allegedly threatened to "turn the tables" on the committee's aggressive document requests, according to Fox .

" The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee's request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding ," the committee's then-senior counsel for counterterrorism Kash Patel wrote to the House Office of General Counsel. " Going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then 'we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails ,' referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall."

A second House committee staffer at the meeting backed up Patel's account, writing: " Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening . ... Also, having the nation's #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to 'subpoena your calls and emails' was downright chilling." - Fox News

The committee staffer suggested that Rosenstein's comment could be interpreted to mean that the DOJ would " vigorously defend a contempt action " -- which might be expected. But the staffer continued, " I also read it as a not-so-veiled threat to unleash the full prosecutorial power of the state against us. "

But really - Rosenstein appears to have been warning the GOP Committee members that he would aggressively defend himself.

G-Men Hit Back

A DOJ official said that Rosenstein "never threatened anyone in the room with a criminal investigation," telling Fox that the department and bureau officials in the room "are all quite clear that the characterization of events laid out here is false, " and that Rosenstein was merely responding to a threat of contempt.

The FBI, meanwhile, said that they disagree with " a number of characterizations of the meeting as described in the excerpts of a staffer's emails provided to us by Fox News. "

"The Deputy Attorney General was making the point -- after being threatened with contempt -- that as an American citizen charged with the offense of contempt of Congress, he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages and calling them as witnesses to demonstrate that their allegations are false ," the official said. "That is why he put them on notice to retain relevant emails and text messages, and he hopes they did so. (We have no process to obtain such records without congressional approval.)"

Details of the encounter began to trickle out in early February, as Fox News' Greg Jarrett tweeted: "A 2nd source has now confirmed to me that, in a meeting on January 10, Deputy A-G Rosenstein used the power of his office to threaten to subpoena the calls & texts of the Intel Committee to get it to stop it's investigation of DOJ and FBI. Likely an Abuse of Power & Obstruction."


Pure Evil -> Ambrose Bierce Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:21 Permalink

Nothing like insubordination in the ranks.

NoDebt -> Pure Evil Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:30 Permalink

Rosenstein, translated: "I want him dead! I want his family dead! I want his house burned to the ground!"

Seriously, for the grown-ups here... Is there really ANY doubt what he said was anything other than a threat? Didn't think so. If he had said "Come at me, bro!" it couldn't be any more clear. He is ready to use the full resources of his office to respond to any attempt of Congress to oversee his activities, regardless of the fact that they have a legal right and responsibility to do so.

cankles' server -> NoDebt Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:41 Permalink

For anyone to think that this wasn't a threat is a fool. The only reason that he'd be charged with contempt is because he didn't do his job and turn over the documents.

Unknown User -> A Sentinel Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:42 Permalink

Why Nunes is not using his Constitutional power to have the Sergent at Arms arrest and jail Rosenstein?

rgraf -> phaedrus1952 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

They're all dirty, and the banksters must be deeply regretting their policy of hiring stooges just intelligent enough to foolow orders, but too stupid to question those orders. They all think they have the backing of their bankster overlords, not realizing that they are merely decoys. And the banksters are now seeing that enough of the populace is aware to the point that too many people have figured out the hoax, for the exposition to be shouted down. Complicate that with the fact that the only believers left are far too stupid to present a coherent position, and it all equals meltdown. Going to be an interesting summer.

philipat -> NoDebt Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:55 Permalink

Seems like Comey was not the only insubordinate one? Congress has a constitutional oversight duty over DOJ and yet, even though the applicable members have the necessary levels of security clearance, DOJ is fighting them every step of the way, presumably because something or someone(s) is being covered up. Rosenstein should be fired, although that should have happened long ago. Where is Sessions?

phaedrus1952 -> philipat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:54 Permalink

There is a LOT that is being covered up, with the main - not the only - crime being an attempted coup d'etat.

The 8chan Q Research board has 24/7 input on all these developments and those autists are a colorful, talented bunch.

Huber is working with Horowitz and the 'flipping' - particularly with key players like Priestap - will ensure as smooth and complete a demolition of the Deep State as possible.

A significant component of this process will be to have tens of millions of Americans who loathe Trump accept these outcomes as both true and fair.

Obama is now strongly implicated in ALL the minutia of this plot.

rgraf -> NoDebt Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:10 Permalink

The executive branch is only supposed to execute whatever the legislative branch, unless it gets vetoed. And, the judicial branch is supposed to be the final check on those powers, even though the judiciary is appointed by executive nomination with congressional approval. So, the real question now is: was that 'strike three, you're out', or 'ball four: take a walk'.

cankles' server -> Pure Evil Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:37 Permalink

That this pissing contest is still going after Trump told the DOJ to turn over the documents to congress really demonstrates the power of the Deep State.

philipat -> cankles' server Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:58 Permalink

Trump can and should still declassify everything. There are no genuine National Security issues involved here...

Got The Wrong No -> philipat Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:33 Permalink

According to Q, the IG report is going to be heavily redacted and Trump will use an EO to declassify everything in due time. He will wait until after the IG report on the Clinton Foundation is released. Catch everything at once. We shall see.

phaedrus1952 -> cankles' server Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:01 Permalink

The documents show a concentrated effort targeting Trump MONTHS before he declared his candidacy.

Operatives were hired to approach Trump people and these events were then used as pretext for FISA warrants.

What you are seeing are the final, frantic actions of DOJ, FBI, DNI, CIA cadres attempting to stave off the inevitable.

Huber will follow up on the IG report in the coming days with publicized indictments that are apt to rock our world.

Got The Wrong No -> phaedrus1952 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:38 Permalink

Huber, I believe has 400 Investigators at his disposal. Things are about to get interesting. Much more firepower than a Special Counsel.

yrad -> Cognitive Dissonance Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:20 Permalink

This book will tell you all you need to know about Rosenstein.

https://www.amazon.com/Licensed-Lie-Exposing-Corruption-Department/dp/1

thinkmoretalkless -> bigkahuna Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:19 Permalink

RR stinks of desperation...not a good frame of mind. He is deep in the trap.

A Sentinel -> thinkmoretalkless Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:00 Permalink

Your insight is an important one. He's snarling and showing teeth -- that means that he's either 1) out of maneuvering room or 2) the larvae he protects are nearby and/or in danger.

And you can't just bluff your boss- rosey HAS TO follow through. It's his only dominant strategy.

Unless they're idiots, Congress must issue an asymmetrical response and do it preemptively.

If they let this go, it's over.

MadHatt -> A Sentinel Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:29 Permalink

Public perception.

There are still quite a few people who trust and watch TV news stations like CNN, ABC, MSNBC ect

None of those news stations report the truth, that the top of the DOJ, FBI and CIA were corrupt.

Arresting the previous president within the first year of taking office is asking for riots.

The only way to do it, and protect the public individuals as much as possible, is to allow the information out piece by piece, remove bad actors one by one. There are a lot of people who live with their head in the sand, and exposing them to something as shocking as arresting a previous president for treason, it... might be too much all at once.

phaedrus1952 -> Handful of Dust Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:23 Permalink

Interesting question that we shall know the answer to shortly.

Q has indicated that both Mueller and Rosenstein were on the same team without clarifying whether white or black hat.

Recent posts, always cryptic and subject to interpretation, seem to indicate Rosenstein is reneging on secret deals.

lester1 -> takeaction Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:09 Permalink

Rosenstein is the gate keeper to the deep state secrets and hes protecting the illegal NSA surveillance actions ordered by Barack Obama !!

President Trump needs to fire Rosenstein immediately for insubordination and corruption!

G-R-U-N-T -> lester1 Tue, 06/12/2018 - 21:19 Permalink

If, indeed, Rosenstein is the 'gatekeeper of the deep state' and the deep state has been surveilling everything organic for years, then they have something on every tom, dick, harry and jane, which means all 3 branches are compromised. I can just imagine the massive blackmail that has gone on for years which is why Washington has turned into a cesspool. So many turds floating in the piss, that a regular Sodom and Gomorra event may have to occur to clean up this disgusting mess.

Boxed Merlot Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:15 Permalink

...he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages...

OK, so as a "citizen" he claims to have the "right" to "request" from duly elected officials what can legitimately be classified communications. Yet, he as a political appointee and not directly answerable to an electorate claims the right to tell these same individuals to pound sand when they request legitimate findings he is required by law to provide them with?

The fact is, they are the ones, as elected officials that are in the position to tell him as a mere appointee to pound sand. There are no "tables to turn", the fact is he is on the end of the downhill slope. Now, if he has evidence that some legislators have appointed personnel within their personal offices guilty of crimes, then put up or shut up.

This charade has gone on far too long. The best we can hope for is a real time lesson in Constitutional law that will right this ship of state again and place all these imbeciles in custody and out of circulation permanently. This clown show is disgusting!

jmo.

Yen Cross Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:18 Permalink

Rosenstein isn't overly intelligent. He likes to lurk in the shadows, and will do anything to please his masters.

Maybe Trump gets rid of the Semite, and Sessions starts to play ball?

Political jockeying has nothing to do with the constituency.

Thom Paine Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:19 Permalink

Rosenstein has NO right to defend himself as AAG.

He is an appointed official, not an individual, he is Assistant AG - and has no right to obstruct any peak into his workings..

Do people forget that these people are employed by the People, they are employees?

VWAndy Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:51 Permalink

Revoke his security clearance. Trump could on any old whim. Does not have to give a reason to anyone.

robobbob Tue, 06/12/2018 - 23:04 Permalink

"after being threatened with contempt"

bs

a branch of government empowered by the constitution demanding answers within their oversight authority is not threatening

that a civil servant would take retaliatory action if forced to do his job is a threat

he should have been removed immediately

[Jun 12, 2018] With Trump-Kim Summit Hours Away, Iran Has Warning For North Korea Zero Hedge

Jun 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

"The US has a history of sabotage, violation and withdrawal with respect to bilateral and multilateral international commitments." Iran's Foreign Ministry is urging Pyongyang to "exercise complete vigilance" when the 34-year-old Kim negotiates with the 71-year-old Real Estate tycoon who literally wrote a book on making deals.

Kim Jong-un should watch out for Trump's "America First" agenda and Washington's tendency to "betray international agreements and unilaterally withdraw from them," said a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Bahram Qassemi .

"Tehran believes that the North Korean government should be quite vigilant as the US by nature could not be judged in an optimistic way," Qassemi added.

"The US has a history of sabotage, violation and withdrawal with respect to bilateral and multilateral international commitments," the spokesman said.

Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran deal on May 8 - calling it an "unacceptable" and "defective" arrangement.

He also pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate deal - and is stoking international tensions over a current trade war that has caused Britain, Germany and France to reassess the transatlantic bond. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wondered if Europe should continue to be "vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States."

Trump imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum, while Mexico and Canada were hit with similar tariffs on June 1. He refused to endorse the joint communique during the G7 summit in Quebec - calling the hose, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, "very dishonest and weak."

The EU says it will retaliate.


PrayingMantis -> ravolla Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:17 Permalink

... the Iranians, I'm quite sure, are hinting about this "conference" held more than 10 years ago as reported by the "Saker" ... and this conference was "planning" a war with Iran, but perhaps the "agreement" with Iran (nullified recently by Trump) got in the way ... and now, it would be too late for the empire to strike Iran, having Russia, China and, perhaps other countries, supporting Iran ...

... the excerpt below is from this link >>> https://thesaker.is/trump-goes-full-shabbos-goy/ ... note: McCain & Guliani's attendance ...

... " ... This topic, the AngloZionist plans of war against Iran, has been what made me write my very first post on my newly created blog 10 years ago . Today, I want to reproduce that post in full. Here it is:

Where the Empire meets to plan the next war

Take a guess: where would the Empire's puppeteers meet to finalize and coordinate their plans to attack Iran?

Washington? New York? London? NATO HQ in Brussels? Davos?

Nope.

In Herzilia. Never heard of that place?

The Israeli city of Herzliya is named after Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, and it has hosted a meeting of the Empire's Who's Who over the past several days at the yearly conference of the Herzilia Institute for Policy and Stragegy. For a while, Herzilia truly became the see of the Empire's inner core of heavy hitters.

(Non-Israeli) speakers included:

Jose Maria Aznar Former Prime Minister of Spain, Matthew Bronfman, Chair of the Budget and Finance Commission, World Jewish Congress, and member of the World Jewish Congress Steering Committee, Amb. Nicholas Burns US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Prof. Alan Dershowitz Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Senator John Edwards Head of the One America Committee and candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Gordon England US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Dr. Marvin C. Feuer Director of Policy and Government Affairs, AIPAC, Newt Gingrich Former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rudolph Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City and candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, General the Lord Charles Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE. Former Chief of the Defense Staff and Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, Amb. Dr. Richard Haass President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen E. Herbits Secretary-General of the World Jewish Congress, Amb. Dr. Robert Hunter President of the Atlantic Treaty Association and Former U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO. Senior Advisor at the RAND Corporation in Washington (also serves as Chairman of the Council for a Community of Democracies, Senior International Consultant to Lockheed Martin Overseas Corporation), Amb. Dr. Richard H. Jones United States Ambassador to Israel (also served as the Secretary of State's Senior Advisor and Coordinator for Iraq Policy), Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman Director, Israel and Middle East Office, American Jewish Committee (also served in the IDF Intelligence Directorate for over 25 years), Christian Leffler Deputy Chief of Staff of the European Commissioner for External Relations and Director for Middle East and Southern Mediterranean, European Commission, The Hon. Peter Mackay Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator John McCain U.S. Senator (R) from Arizona and candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Dr. Edward L. Morse Chief Energy Economist, Lehman Brothers, Dr. Rolf Mützenich Member of the German Federal Parliament (SPD) and member of the Committee on Foreign Policy of the Bundestag (and Board Member of the "Germany-Iran Society"), Torkel L. Patterson President of Raytheon International, Inc., Richard Perle Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (previously served as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy), Amb. Thomas R. Pickering Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (previously served as Senior Vice President of Boeing), Jack Rosen Chairman of the American Jewish Congress (and member of the Executive Committee of AIPAC and of the Council on Foreign Relations), Stanley O. Roth Vice President for Asia, International Relations of the Boeing Company (member of the Council on Foreign Relations), James Woolsey Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and many others.

Pretty much the entire Israeli "Defence" establishment (why does nobody call it "Aggression establishment?) was present too.

Not bad for a "conference"?!

Of course, the main topic at the conference was the upcoming war with Iran. Richard Perle, the "Prince of Darkness", delivered the keynote and conclusion: "If the Israeli government comes to the conclusion that it has no choice but to take action, the reaction of the U.S. will be the belief in the vitality that this action must succeed, even if the U.S. needs to act with Israel in the current American administration".

Noticed anything funny in his words? It's the "world only superpower" which will have the "belief" (?) in the action of a local country and, if needed, act with it. Not the other way around. Makes one wonder which of the two is the world only superpower, does it not?

Anyway – if anyone has ANY doubts left that the Empire will totally ignore the will of the American people as expressed in the last election and strike at Iran, this conference should settle the issue.

Juggernaut x2 -> ikemike Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:03 Permalink

Gaddafi and Saddam are just a couple of examples of how much you can trust the Zio Snakes of America.

Rudog -> Juggernaut x2 Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:07 Permalink

We only steal land for freedom, and we use love bullets, and love bombs.

Miner -> gzcekkyret Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:21 Permalink

North Korea doesn't need this warning. They've experienced it. We promised to build them non-proliferation reactors in exchange for de-nuclearization in the 90's, but Congress never funded it.

That's my country. hoo-rah.

Chief Joesph Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:09 Permalink

Yeah, just ask any Native American Indian about the treaties the U.S. had ever signed and reneged on. From 1778 to 1904, the United States government entered into more than 500 treaties with the Native American tribes; all of these treaties have since been violated in some way or outright broken by the US government. The list of treaties can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_treaties .

Iran is very right in what it says, the U.S. is not a country to be trusted. And to think that the U.S. will be anymore honest with North Korea! It will never happen.

tsog Mon, 06/11/2018 - 19:26 Permalink

"But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangmen and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey. And when they call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had -- power."

-- Friedrich Nietzsche

[Jun 12, 2018] An article about the Krugman tweets

Jun 12, 2018 | crooksandliars.com

I am copying in the first 2 that show the economic clarity he brings to the subject and make my point

Paul Krugman
It's normal to feel that people you disagree with politically are offering bad solutions to our problems. But Trump has brought something new: his policy agenda is almost entirely directed at problems we don't have -- problems that exist only in his warped imagination 1/

Paul Krugman
These include:
- A wave of violent crime by undocumented immigrants
- Massive illegal voting by the same
- Massive Canadian tariffs against US goods
- Conspiracy by the Elders of Zion to take over the world

OK, he hasn't actually gone after point #4, but give him time 2/

End of Paul Krugman tweet quote

So why did Krugman write about the Elders of Zion (What does he know and when did he find out?..grin) and not about the proclivities of global private finance?.....that pays him nicely to be part of propaganda central

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 10, 2018 10:40:00 PM | 17

[Jun 12, 2018] Jared Kushner didn't disclose his business ties with George Soros, Peter Thiel, and Goldman Sachs, or that he owes $1 billion in loans, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Jun 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

JelloBeyonce -> gwar5 Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:24

I guess the "Deep State" is deeper than the White House is reporting.....

Jared Kushner didn't disclose his business ties with George Soros, Peter Thiel, and Goldman Sachs, or that he owes $1 billion in loans, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The top White House adviser and son-in-law of Trump failed to identify his part ownership of Cadre, a real-estate startup he founded, which links him to the Goldman Sachs Group and the mega-investors George Soros and Peter Thiel, sources told The Journal.

Oldguy05 -> JelloBeyonce Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:45 Permalink

Vampire Squid. Tentacles everywhere.

[Jun 10, 2018] It might well be that among the skilles to gain entrance in the Ivy colleges one is the acceptance of neoliberal ideology. Stray too far from the Clinton/Bush/Obama's neoliberalism and identity politics and your application goes into the garbage can and with it your chance of joining our governing elite

Notable quotes:
"... Perhaps, Lin, by voluntarily entering an establishment in order to alter one's consciousness- whether in Vietnam or America- you are signaling your surrender and defeat in the war on the "true nature of reality." ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.unz.com

unit472 , June 3, 2018 at 11:57 am GMT

I would agree that the America of the neighborhood tavern is dying but would not characterize our political leadership as a 'rootless, criminal cabal. Criminal they maybe but they are rooted in the Ivy League, principally Yale and Harvard, and the ideology to gain admission to those schools. I would say skills to gain entrance but, today, it is more a matter of ideology. Stray too far from the Clinton/Bush crony capitalist model or Obama's identity politics and your application goes into the garbage can and with it your chance of joining our governing elite.
TG , June 3, 2018 at 2:31 pm GMT
Indeed. I would say this from a slightly different angle: forget about the details of politics: constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, a republic, democratic socialism, even marxism, checks and balances, an independent judiciary, an independent central bank, a written constitution all of these can be made to work, more or less, if the elites care about the nation as whole. And none of these will matter if the elites no longer care, if they value their own short-term profit over the long-term stability and strength of their nation.

Back under FDR etc., the elites of this nation were worried about communists, and anarchists, and then Nazis. That made them care about this nation, they feared that if the nation went down they would go down as well. So they cared about the working class. I am old enough to remember when we used to celebrate that we had the highest wages in the world – that was considered a magnificent joint accomplishment and proof of the greatness of this nation. Now high American wages are routinely derided as evil, as proof that Americans are selfish and lazy and they need to be replaced by all those wonderful third-world refugees who have no alternative but to work for sub-poverty wages

I think the core of this rot is that the elites are no longer afraid. They no longer have reason to care. They live in gated estates, they fly from private airports (even first class in a public airport is not good enough/removed enough from the masses for them!), and if things fall apart they will just sail away in their yachts, tut-tutting about how Americans no longer deserve their presence

Stonehands , June 3, 2018 at 10:21 pm GMT
Perhaps, Lin, by voluntarily entering an establishment in order to alter one's consciousness- whether in Vietnam or America- you are signaling your surrender and defeat in the war on the "true nature of reality."

The alcohol delusion amplifies greed hatred bondage.

And is anathema to wholesome higher insights.

Whether alcohol or heroin these self- ingrained defilements are an obstruction to the complete repose to the human spirit.

Dan , June 4, 2018 at 3:07 am GMT
@TG

Everything is financialized and the elites are supranational. End of story. Enjoy the little things.

JohnnyWalker123 , June 6, 2018 at 5:25 am GMT
@TG

Exactly. America's leaders behave criminally because they're not scared of the population. So there's nothing to constrain our leaders from behaving like grifters and conmen.

At some point, however, this will come to an end. Our massively skyrocketing national debt is totally unpayable, so investors will eventually stop buying our bonds. When that happens, our national economy and standard of living will collapse dramatically.

It's at that point when our leaders are either put in jail or flee the country.

Swan Knight , Website June 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm GMT
@unit472

Rootless criminal cabal sounds right to me. I would add psychopathic

m___ , June 9, 2018 at 2:59 pm GMT
@TG

Elites are global, Americans are locals.

m___ , June 9, 2018 at 3:29 pm GMT
@Dan

elites are supranational

Indeed so.

So is capital, when the dollar will have only limited reserve currency status to the rest of the world, the American locals will be proportionately ruled by Russian oligarchs and Chinese priviledge.

American locals are just bulk humanity to these supranationals, they are defined by global consumerism of the same crap the elites despise. They sweat corn syrup and palm oil and seem to look "Pinker Steve" happy when digitally masturbating and being chemically subdued, encased in concrete scenarios.

Now after consumerism, since it is offset by limited resources of our planet, it will be real misery, as in plowing concrete. That must be mostly indifferent to our supranationals. Bulk humanity is basically obsolete, and extra-ordinary lucky. If it were for the supranational nuclei to have a long term policy, we the deplorables would be wiped away, say three quarters of us.

They are though eagerly observing, if we not, as always, will do it ourselves to us. The problem would die on itself. The ethnic White middle class down to the street is pointing the way.

[Jun 10, 2018] The Battle for Money Has Begun naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... If Money=Debt, the battle over money can only be won by individuals wisely choosing whom they become indebted too. As the wise Michael Hudson points out, "Debts that can't be paid, won't be paid." ..."
"... Money is the creation of the elite to control the rest of the masses. It screws the rest of the masses by constraining what they can get their hands on while the elite can get their hands on anything they want. ..."
"... IMO the point of the article was to hint that objections (or refusal to engage with) MMT is largely political in nature. ..."
"... Skippy said it above: these are likely bad faith actors who disguise their classism and political desires with talk of "positive money" and the like. Debate clubs won't win this one. ..."
"... As I understand it, MMT is simply a more honest way of explaining the current reality, the problem being that the 1% would like to keep that a secret so that money is only created for the things that they can profit from, like war. ..."
"... MMT necessarily requires the exorbitant privilege of having the US dollar accounting for 60% of world trade & financial transactions with the US economy representing only 20% of world GDP. ..."
"... The Entrepreneurial State ..."
"... money and credit are used almost entirely for speculation, usury, and rent extraction ..."
"... In a normal economy, government spending is financed by taxes and borrowing, meaning that no new spending power has been created, as IS the case with new bank loans. ..."
"... You can fool part of the people all of the time, and all of the people part of the time. ..."
"... handing all credit creation to the central banks is not only technically impossible in a modern economy, it's a dangerous folly ..."
"... Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt, 2nd edition. ..."
"... The Order of Time ..."
"... "The debts are owed to government banks. A government can do what the U.S. can't do. The government can forgive debts, at least those that are owed to itself, without creating a political backlash. If a viable corporation has run up too much debt, the government can forgive it. This is better than letting the debt close down a factory or force it be sold to a predatory asset management firm as occurs in the United States. That is the advantage of having public credit and why credit should be public. That's how it was in Babylonia. Rulers were able to cancel debts all the time in the 3rd millennium and 2nd millennium BC, because most debts were owed to the palace or the temples. Rulers were cancelling debts owed to themselves. ..."
"... China can cancel business debt owed to itself. It can proclaim a clean slate. It can minimize debt service to whatever it chooses. But imagine if Chase Manhattan and Goldman Sachs are let in. It would be much harder for the government to raise real estate taxes leading to defaults on the banks. It could save the occupants by making new loans to those who default – based on lower land prices. ..."
"... Well, you can imagine the international furor that would erupt. Trump would threaten to atom bomb Peking and Shanghai to save his constituency. His constituency and that of the Democrats are the same: Wall Street and the One Percent. So China may lose its ability to write down debts if it lets in foreign banks." ..."
"... that this is a Chicago School / Friedmanesque monetary policy is made clear by Positive Money ..."
"... It seems there are greater similarities between China and the US than may be visible at first glance. China builds real estate for a shrinking population, invests for an over-indebted client (the US, which even insists on a drastic reduction of the bilateral trade deficit) and finances all this with money it does not have ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Disturbed Voter , June 8, 2018 at 6:30 am

Perhaps the cost of the 2008/2009 bailout was too high? And I don't mean quantitively. It seems modern man has no sense of the qualitative.

Odysseus , June 8, 2018 at 5:22 pm

The same money that went into TARP would have bought a whole lot of nonperforming mortgages. You wouldn't have needed a large bailout if the money actually made it's way to main street.

PlutoniumKun , June 8, 2018 at 6:32 am

Slightly off-topic, but if its true that this is a right wing proposal using naïve left/Green supporters to give a progressive fig leaf, it wouldn't be the first time this has happened. You can see the same phenomenon with Brexit, where many supposed left wingers have often bought unthinkingly into many right/libertarian memes about 'freedom' from the EU. The core reason they could do this is the effective abandonment by the left of arguments about money and capital to the conservative and libertarian right from the 1980's onward.

One of the many reasons I love NC so much is that it has tried to fill the gap left by so much of the mainstream left and much of the Greens in analysing economics issues in forensic technical detail. Articles like this are absolutely invaluable in building up a proper intellectual program in understanding the central importance of macroeconomics in building a fairer society.

Watt4Bob , June 8, 2018 at 8:08 am

God, country, apple pie, balanced budget, freedom, democracy, pay-as-you-go, ingredients in the hash of right/libertarian memes, all supposedly 'common sense' but actually nonsense, spread thick, intended to distract us while our ruling class steals everything not tied down.

I think the left saw its audience washed away by a tidal wave of this clever, well-funded nonsense, so they stopped arguing about money and capital because they found it embarrassing to be caught talking to themselves.

Of course back in the 1970s, much of the working-class had was doing well enough that they thought the argument about money had been settled, and in their favor. Little did they know that their 'betters' were planning on clawing-back every penny of wealth that they'd managed to accumulate in the post-war years.

So here we are, the working class that was formerly convinced that anyone could live well if they just worked hard, are finding that you can tug on your boot-straps with all your might, and get no where.

Morty , June 9, 2018 at 12:18 pm

I think you're right in that the wrong narrative is now dominant.

I don't think this was done intentionally – I think the people pulling the strings don't know for sure what will happen, either.

The 'common sense' you mention is the best explanation most people have available. They look at macroeconomics through the lens of their own household budget. Of course a balanced budget responsible application of money makes sense Most people don't have a money printer in their basement.

Norb , June 8, 2018 at 7:27 am

The battle is for the soul of humanity. A leadership that is working toward reducing inequality and injustice in the world will adopt policies reflecting a more positive outlook on the human condition. Those implementing austerity revile the masses of humanity, wether stated or not. The masses are to be controlled, not enlightened or cared for.

The West has gained supremacy in the world by using the strategy of Divide and Conquer. This thought process is so engrained in the psyche, that it heavily influences every form of problem solving by using outright war and financial oppression as primary tools to achieve these ends.

There would need to be a fundamental shift in thinking from Western leadership in order to bring about a change that would focus on wellbeing over profit, which does not seem forthcoming.

If Money=Debt, the battle over money can only be won by individuals wisely choosing whom they become indebted too. As the wise Michael Hudson points out, "Debts that can't be paid, won't be paid."

The main problem I see is the definition of what "Winning" would be. The definition determines the policy.

Summer , June 8, 2018 at 1:54 pm

"There would need to be a fundamental shift in thinking from Western leadership in order to bring about a change that would focus on wellbeing over profit, which does not seem forthcoming."

Akin to a religious conversion.

DHG , June 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Money is the creation of the elite to control the rest of the masses. It screws the rest of the masses by constraining what they can get their hands on while the elite can get their hands on anything they want. The tipping point will be when there are sufficient numbers who understand money isnt necessary to live and have nice things, it actually exists to deprive them of such.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 7:58 pm

What is your alternative?

Watt4Bob , June 8, 2018 at 7:34 am

We've been fighting this same 'war' for a very long time.

Everybody now just has to make up their mind. Is money money or isn't money money. Everybody who earns it and spends it every day in order to live knows that money is money, anybody who votes it to be gathered in as taxes knows money is not money. That is what makes everybody go crazy. -Gertrude Stein – All About Money

As far as I can tell, about 1% of us believe that money is not money, and the rest of us believe that money is money.

Most of us believe that money is money because as Gertrude Stein said: Everybody who earns it and spends it every day in order to live knows that money is money

So here's the problem: the 1% of the people, the ones who believe that money is not money, are in charge of everything.

It's not natural that so few people should be in charge of so much, and that they should be in charge of 'everything' is truly crazy. (Please excuse the slight digression)

The people who are in charge of everything believe that it's right, proper, indeed 'natural' that they be in charge of everything because they believe that no one could do as good a job of being in charge of everything because they think they are smarter than everybody else.

The reason that the 1% of people believe they are smarter than everybody else is rooted largely in what they believe is their self-evident, superior understanding of money; that is to say, the understanding that money is not money.

The trouble is, the difference between the 1%'s understanding of money, and the common man's understanding of money is not evidence of the 1%'s superior intellect, so much as of their lack of a moral compass and their ability to rationalize the depraved indifference they show to their fellow man.

Read more;

Watt4Bob FDL June 2014

perpetualWAR , June 8, 2018 at 10:32 am

I don't believe money is money. Pretty certain I am in the 99%. "Money" or currency says right on the face that it is a debt instrument.

Samuel Conner , June 8, 2018 at 7:54 am

Maybe this thought is callous, but perhaps it would be useful to have a real-world demonstration that this is a bad idea. How systemically important is the Swiss economy? US abandoned its monetarist "quantity of reserves" experiment after a relatively short time. Again, it sounds callous, but perhaps a year or two of distress in a small test environment

(that is starting from a pretty good place and has a good social safety net

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/SAFETYNETSANDTRANSFERS/Resources/281945-1124119303499/SSNPrimerNote25.pdf

)

would be helpful to the world at large in terms of deprecating a bad idea. Perhaps MMT will be the last approach standing?

Could it be that Wolf's "we need experiments" rhetoric is actually opposed to "positive money", but he recognizes that the idea won't go away until it is badly spanked? Even if not, maybe there is something to the idea that experimentation could be used to distinguish bad ideas from less bad (the good ideas won't be tested, I reckon, until all the various flavors of "bad" have been tried and rejected).

TroyMcClure , June 8, 2018 at 8:11 am

IMO the point of the article was to hint that objections (or refusal to engage with) MMT is largely political in nature. See Marriner Eccles and his observation regarding the political enemies of full employment.

Skippy said it above: these are likely bad faith actors who disguise their classism and political desires with talk of "positive money" and the like. Debate clubs won't win this one.

If the Swiss go through with it and it inevitably fails there will always be an excuse. They didn't do positive money "hard enough" or whatever.

liam , June 8, 2018 at 10:22 am

What I'd like to know is if the Swiss go through with it and it fails, is there anything other than central bank independence that needs to be changed? Fundamentally it's still fiat, operating within a democracy. Does it not come down to who decides how much and for what purpose?

Maybe I'm missing something, but it strikes me as the elites getting their revenge in first. There go my people and all that. Maybe I am missing it.

Watt4Bob , June 8, 2018 at 8:18 am

the good ideas won't be tested, I reckon, until all the various flavors of "bad" have been tried and rejected.

So, you don't think current conditions are convincing enough?

As for me, I'm more than convinced, that left to themselves, our elites have an endless bag of bad ideas, and every one of them results in their further enrichment at our expense.

Samuel Conner , June 8, 2018 at 9:57 am

I'm convinced; have been persuaded that MMT is the right way to think about "money" since shortly after I encountered it almost a decade ago.

As I understand it, this is a referendum. If the people don't like the outcome, they presumably would have power to reverse it. Throw the bastards out and replace with new bastards who will try something different.

Watt4Bob , June 8, 2018 at 1:19 pm

As I understand it, MMT is simply a more honest way of explaining the current reality, the problem being that the 1% would like to keep that a secret so that money is only created for the things that they can profit from, like war.

So the issue is that since enough money can be created for the needs of the rest of us, why is that not happening?

It would appear to me that almost any efforts by the 1% to create a 'new' plan is in reality, an effort to make sure that the 99% never reap any advantage even if we were to unanimously come to understand the MMT is really the most realistic perspective.

It's almost as if the 1% has decided to change the rules because the rest of us are starting to understand that there is no technical reason we can't finance a more equitable economy.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 8, 2018 at 2:03 pm

It's good to explain the current reality more honestly.

Even more honestly would be to explain that reality, which is a man-made system, doesn't have to be that way, unlike scientific explanations, for example, one for how gravity works. That particular physics explanation comes with the understanding that we can't change how gravity works.

The word 'theory' in the sense most people with more than 10 years of education associate with it is that

1. You will fail to advance to the next grade, or the next class if you don't understand it.
2. If you don't understand it, you are under pressure to show you agree with the theory, lest you fail the exam.
3. The reality described by the theory is unalterable, which is often the case with natural science theories, but not really the case with social/economic/political theories, unless they deal with human nature, which is hard to change.

If I say there is a theory to explain that on Mars, you drive on the right side of the road on odd-numbered days, and on the left side on even-numbered days, you would say, I appreciate the clear explanation of your wonderful theory, but I don't like it, I don't like how that system is designed. And I want to change it!!!!!!!!!!!!

bruce wilder , June 8, 2018 at 7:03 pm

Yesterday, I watched one of many Mark Blyth videos on YouTube where he was talking about why people hold on to stupid economic ideas. He offered a variety of interesting hypotheses, most of which were not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Even a theory that fails basic tests of correspondence with reality -- neoclassical economics being the prime example -- may prove to be a reliable means of coordinating behavior on a huge scale. That we indoctrinate people in colleges and business schools in neoclassical economics has been the foundation for neoliberal politics; even if the theory is largely rubbish by any scientific standard, the rhetorical engine is easy to operate once you have a few basic concepts down. And, immunity to evidence or critical reason may actually be politically advantageous.

Econ 101 is taught as a dogma. The student is under pressure to learn the answers for the exam, as you say. All the rhetorical tropes -- not just deficit hysteria, but regulatory burdens, tax incentives, "free markets" (you see many actual markets? no, I didn't think so) and on and on -- are as easy to recite mindlessly as it is to ride a bicycle.

We have an ideology that prevents thinking or even seeing, collectively.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Well, your wish has been answered – about 160 years ago. Lincoln's issuance of Greenback's allowed the Union Army to exist. No borrowing, no MMT debt incurred.

Alejandro , June 9, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Why were they accepted as payment?

Yves Smith Post author , June 9, 2018 at 9:43 pm

"MMT debt" is a non-sequitur..

MMT experts point out regularly that the Federal government spends out of nothing. Issuing bonds is a political holdover from the Gold Standard era, but separately, those bonds do have some use because a lot of investors like holding a risk free asset.

The government spends by the Fed debiting the Treasury's account. That's it.

We don't go around worrying about issuing bonds to pay for the next bombing run in the Middle East. The US has all sort of official off budget activity as well as unofficial (why do you think the DoD is not able to account for $21 trillion of spending over time? No one points out this $21 trillion mystery is proof the USG actually runs on MMT principles).

Older & Wiser , June 9, 2018 at 10:58 pm

MMT necessarily requires the exorbitant privilege of having the US dollar accounting for 60% of world trade & financial transactions with the US economy representing only 20% of world GDP.

Such impunity is changing as we speak so for that reason only (there are others) MMT should soon find itself non-viable.

Yves Smith Post author , June 10, 2018 at 1:08 am

That is not correct. Any government that issues its own currency is a sovereign currency issuer and operates on MMT principles. Canada, Japan, England, Australia, New Zealand .the constraint on their ability to run deficits is inflation. They will never go bankrupt in their own currencies. They can create too much inflation.

Adam1 , June 8, 2018 at 8:17 am

I have the same reaction to Positive Money ideas as I do to someone who talks about "parallel currencies". They don't understand money, banking and central banking.

While I agree whole heartedly with Clive that establishing the mini-bot currency is subject to the law of un-intended consequences and would no doubtedly have a bumpy start and might not even survive; but it's just another currency. Yes it would likely be subject to a discount versus the Euro, but so what. From a banking perspective there is nothing magical about state money or central bank money. These are the dominate means of clearing and settling payments today, but that's because it's currently cheaper, easier and less risky. But banking predates central banks by at least one or two hundred years (if not more). Thinking that if you put an iron fist on the usage of state/central bank money is going to stop banking only shows you don't understand banking. Most economies already have dual currencies – state money and bank money – but nobody thinks of them that way because they trade one for one. But locking the banking system out of using state money to clear and settle payments created by lending only forces the banking system to find a new means of acquiring liabilities (I'd suspect they get called something other than "deposits" of course) and clearing and settling payments. It wouldn't happen overnight but it most certainly would happen – there's too much "money" to be made.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 8:36 pm

"Most economies already have dual currencies – state money and bank money" Give me the ratio please. Other than feeding the parking meter or doing your laundry what else do you use state money for?

Alejando , June 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Paying taxes. Unpaid parking tickets are debts, no borrowing involved.

voteforno6 , June 8, 2018 at 8:40 am

It's not exactly the gold standard, but it would have the same impact, I think. You have to give them credit, though – they keep finding new ways to dress up this very old idea.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , June 8, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Hard to get to a new answer if you don't even start with the right question.
Wolf asserts his obvious and unquestionable truth: "Money is debt".

Really?

J. P. Morgan didn't think so. When he was asked:

"But the basis of banking is credit, is it not?" , Morgan replied:
"Not always. That is an evidence of banking, but it is not the money itself. Money is gold, and nothing else" .

Ah yes, the shiny rare metal that served mankind as money for millennia.
I have a gold coin in my hand. I can exchange it for goods and services. But I can't for the life of me figure out whose debt it is.

And no less than The Maestro (Alan Greenspan) opined the following last month:

"The gold standard was operating at its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period of extraordinary global prosperity, characterised by firming productivity growth and very little inflation.

But today, there is a widespread view that the 19th century gold standard didn't work. I think that's like wearing the wrong size shoes and saying the shoes are uncomfortable! It wasn't the gold standard that failed; it was politics. World War I disabled the fixed exchange rate parities and no country wanted to be exposed to the humiliation of having a lesser exchange rate against the US dollar than it enjoyed in 1913.

Britain, for example, chose to return to the gold standard in 1925 at the same exchange rate it had in 1913 relative to the US dollar (US$4.86 per pound sterling). That was a monumental error by Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. It induced a severe deflation for Britain in the late 1920s, and the Bank of England had to default in 1931. It wasn't the gold standard that wasn't functioning; it was these pre-war parities that didn't work.

Today, going back on to the gold standard would be perceived as an act of desperation. But if the gold standard were in place today we would not have reached the situation in which we now find ourselves. We would never have reached this position of extreme indebtedness were we on the gold standard, because the gold standard is a way of ensuring that fiscal policy never gets out of line."

So let's start with a simpler definition of money: "Money stores labor so it can be transported across space and time" .

I grew some wheat, and want to store my wheat-labor so I can use it later, or spend it somewhere that is nowhere near my wheat pile.

But this points out why money that took no labor to produce cannot reliably store labor. Our system materializes money from thin air. Which is precisely the point of gold: it takes alot of labor to produce, so it has reliably stored labor for centuries. In A.D. 250 if I wanted a good-quality men's costume (toga, sash, sandals) the cost was one ounce of gold. Today one ounce of gold is +/-$1300, probably enough for a pretty good suit and pair of shoes. That fact is incredible: every other currency, money, government, and country have come and gone in the interim but gold reliably stored labor across the ages.

Cue the haters: "But gold money allows deadly deflation!!!". Yes, that scourge, when people benefit from rising productivity (lower costs of goods and services) in what used to be termed "Progress". Instead we're supposed to love being on a debt treadmill where everything costs more every year, on purpose .

https://mises.org/library/deflating-deflation-myth

Free your mind.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , June 8, 2018 at 7:21 pm

Just to be clear, I'm not arguing that credit should somehow be abolished. Credit is critical, and hence so is banking. But separating money and credit would mean that every banking crisis (extending too much credit) is not automatically also a monetary crisis, affecting everyone, including people who had nothing to do with extending or accepting too much debt.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Yes, you are correct. No one in the monetary reform movement wants to abolish credit – an agreement between two entities – but to have that "credit" backed by the US government as real money – what a racket!

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 3:02 am

Sigh no such thingy as "real" money, same issue with using terms like "natural" as a quantifier.

This also applies to say pods above statement about "freeing the mind", especially when referencing Mises.org or other AET affiliates.

The Rev Kev , June 8, 2018 at 8:48 pm

Of course it should be noted that if you dig up a gold coin from two thousand years ago or even older, it still has value just for its metal content alone. It still holds value. This is never true of fiat currencies. In fact, it had never occurred to me before, but when you think about it – the history of money over the past century has been to get actual gold, gold coins, gold certificates, silver coins, etc. out of the hands of the average people and to give them pieces of paper and now plastic as substitutes. Even the coins in circulation today are only cheap remnants of coins of earlier eras that held value in itself. I would call that a remarkable achievement.

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 3:13 am

Uh .

I think you should avail yourself wrt the history of gold and how humans viewed it over time, then again you could look at say South America from an anthro observation and the social changes that occurred between Jade and Gold eras.

As far as value goes that is determined at the moment of price taking which can get blurry over time and space.

Gold was used as religious iconography for a reason imo.

Just from the stand point that gold was in one anthropological observation – a flec of gold to equal weight of wheat means the gold got its "value" from the wheat and had nothing to do with some concept of gold having intrinsic value.

The Rev Kev , June 9, 2018 at 10:51 pm

Not particularly in love with gold nor am I a gold bug. My own particular prejudice is that any money system needs an anchor that will set some sort of boundaries to its growth. Something that will not blow through the physical laws of natural growth and will acknowledge that resources can and will be exhausted by limitless credit and growth. Personally I don't care if it is gold or Electrum or Latinum or even Tribbles so long as it is something.

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 11:56 pm

Yet MMT clearly states that growth is restricted to resources full stop. So I don't understand your issues with anchor points, its right there in black and white.

Look I think there is a huge difference between informal credit [Greaber] and formal credit [institutional] and the risk factors that they present. This is also complicated by not all economies are the same e.g. steady state. In facilitating up lift [social cohesion with benefits of currant knowlage] vs putting some arbitrary limit on credit because it suits the perspective of those already with claims on wealth.

skippy , June 10, 2018 at 12:43 am

In addition I would proffer that MMT is not supply side dependent, just the opposite. Economics would be much more regional in reference to resources and how that relates to its populations needs, especially considering the democratic governance of those finite resources without making money the linchpin to how distribution is afforded.

Older & Wiser , June 8, 2018 at 9:03 pm

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL
How dare you submit such irreverent goldbuggery ?
Your line of thought is not politically correct Sir.
Something for nothing is easier to sell and to live by, don´t you know ? as long as it lasts.
Problem is ( as HAL would say ? ) the 50 years are almost through, so it just can´t last much longer no matter how much we pussyfoot around reality.

Plenue , June 10, 2018 at 1:04 am

It has nothing to do with being 'politically incorrect'. It has to do with goldbuggery being completely ignorant of actual history and facts. It ascribes to gold attributes which it never truly had even in the West, much less globally.

Some examples from objective reality:

When the Conquistadors arrived in the 'New World', they discovered an entire continent filled with easily accessible gold and silver, and yet neither was treated by the natives as money. They were shiny trinkets. Money was cocoa beans and pieces of linen.

When the Vikings reached the Eastern Mediterranean, the Byzantines had a hard time getting them to accept gold as payment. Before that, the only 'precious' metal they had any interest in was silver.

Going eastward, in feudal Japan currency was based on rice, not precious metals. Gold and silver were used as representative tokens of large values of rice. The source of value wasn't felt to be the metal, it was what the metal represented.

If civilization were to end today, the most well off survivors aren't going to be the ones who stockpiled gold. It's going to be the ones who stockpiled food and water (and/or the weapons to protect/seize such stockpiles). Gold has exactly zero inherent value. It's a luxury item at best, in the same way fine art is. No one in the post-apocalyptic wasteland is going to be impressed by your lumps of heavy, soft metal.

There's plenty of information available from historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists (but emphatically not from mainstream economists) on the history of money. If you want to 'free your mind', you'd best start with one of these fields. Not some libertarian cesspit, where the 'intellectuals' are even more delusional than mainstream neoclassicals.

skippy , June 10, 2018 at 1:39 am

Concur.

Pespi , June 9, 2018 at 3:19 am

That all sounds very neat but is not true. Money is not a labor token, it is not a token of anything but an act of accounting.

templar99 , June 8, 2018 at 9:12 am

' Everybody needs money, that's why they call it money ' David Mamet ' Heist '

The Rev Kev , June 8, 2018 at 9:52 am

I'll probably get slammed here for this but to tell you the truth, I see no justification for the shape and character of the present money system in use around the world. In fact, I absolutely refuse to believe that There Is No Alternative. The present system is one that has evolved over the centuries and for the greater part was designed by those with wealth to either solidify or expand their wealth.
Yesterday, in a comment, I made the point that for an economic and financial system to work it has to be sustainable. Call that General Order Number One. But a survey of the present system shows a system that by its very nature is seeking to transfer the bulk majority of wealth to about 1% of the population while pushing about 90% of the population into a neo-feudal poverty. This is nothing short of self-destructive and is certainly not sustainable.
We tend to think of money as something permanent but the different currencies in existence today make up only a fraction of the currencies that have ever existed. All the rest have gone extinct. I am given to understand that when the US Federal Reserve meets, it is in a room whose walls are adorned with examples of these extinct currencies. In fact, I even own a few German Reichsmarks from the hyperinflation era of the early 1920s for an occaisional bit of perspective.
OK, maybe the Swiss referendum is being used, misused and abused but it is a sign of an arising discontent. It certainly surprises me that it was the Swiss as when I visited that country, they were the most conservative people that I have ever met as far as money was concerned. In any case, perhaps it is time that we all sat down and designed a money system from the ground up. Throw away the rule book and just take a pragmatic approach. Forget theories and justifications, just look for stuff that works.

JEHR , June 8, 2018 at 11:44 am

There is no need to "experiment" with other systems of money use: we just need to regulate the system we have but, unfortunately at present, we are in the midst of de-regulating everything–finance, environmental protections, healthcare, education, etc., and getting rid of other groups such as unions. The undermining of many (public) institutions is well on its way and I do not see it ending well. I think the rich have won this round just as they planned in the 1970's.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 8, 2018 at 12:14 pm

We have to consider, think or experiment with other systems. The comment below by Anarcissie is a good start.

Anarcissie , June 8, 2018 at 11:53 am

I imagine you would want to start from value (a mental state of persons) and labor, things persons do to achieve stuff which they value. It would be convenient to have tokens which represented social agreement about value, valued stuff, and labor. The social agreement could be brought about by cooperative voluntary institutions ('credit unions') which would oversee and guarantee the issuance of tokens (debts) by members (persons). We already do this on a modest scale by writing checks, so it's not unheard-of.

If you want a system which doesn't just feed the elites, you have to create one which doesn't rely on institutions dominated by or entirely controlled by the elites, such as the government, the major corporations, large banks, and so on. You want something egalitarian, democratic, and cooperative. It's not impossible.

bruce wilder , June 8, 2018 at 6:46 pm

Indeed it is possible and has been done in the recent past.

A key insight behind credit unions, mutual insurance and savings and loans back in the day was that these institutions were loaning people their own money savings and should be run without assigning hotshot managers the dubious incentive of a profit-motive or talking up "innovation".

One of the things I object to in Richard Murphy's rhetoric and that of more careless MMT'ers is that they implicitly concede the premise that Money is usefully thought of as a quantitative thing, a pile of tokena circulating at some velocity. Financial intermediaries (and yes, Richard, they are intermediaries) do create "money" in the form of credit by matching ledger entries. For a savings and loan, which gives a mortgage to a depositor or just a checking account to a saver, this can be a key idea supporting mutual assistance in cooperative finance.

But, if you insist that the bank is "creating" a quantity of money that is then set loose to drive up house prices or some similar narrative scenario, I do not see that your storytelling is doing anyone any good.

Credit from institutions of cooperative finance -- shorn as they must be of the incentive toward usury and rent extraction -- is actually a very useful application of money, enabling people to take reasonable risks over their lifetimes. For example, to enable a young couple to form a household and buy a house and gradually build up equity in home ownership against later days. This is sensible and prosaic, a standard use of money to insure by letting a bank or similar institution help individuals or small businesses to transform the maturities of their assets and prospects, while certifying their credit. If your understanding of money does not encompass such prosaic ideas as leverage and portfolios or their application to improving the general welfare, then the "left" is up a creek without a paddle.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 8:44 pm

"Financial intermediaries (and yes, Richard, they are intermediaries) do create "money" in the form of credit by matching ledger entries. "
That is NOT what is meant by the term,"intermediaries" here. The common belief is that banks merely take in a depositor's money and, as an intermediary, lend that money out. An intermediary, by definition, does not create anything. That is the accepted meaning of the term when discussing banking. You are free to use your own definition but it will lead to confusion.

bruce wilder , June 9, 2018 at 12:47 am

What is the accepted meaning of the term, "intermediary", when discussing banking?

I am unclear what definition you are referencing.

Yves Smith Post author , June 9, 2018 at 10:08 pm

You are incorrect as to how banking works, and you have also jalbroken moderation, which is grounds for banning, as is clearly stated in our Site Policies, which you did not bother to read.

Per your comments on banking, you are also engaging in agnotology, another violation of site Policies.

Banks do not intermediate. They do not lend out of existing savings. Their loans create new deposits. Not only has MMT demonstrated, and this has been confirmed empirically, but the Bank of England has endorsed this explanation as correct.

You are presenting the loanable funds fallacy, a pet idea of monetarists. It was first debunked by Keynes and later by Kaldor.

Your idea of "accepted meaning" is further confirmation you are way out of your depth here and are a textbook case of Dunning Kruger syndrome.

Anthony K Wikrent , June 8, 2018 at 9:59 am

The matter of who or what controls money is actually secondary to the matter of what money is used for. Positive Money correctly identifies the fact that under our present arrangements in the USA, UK, and most of the West, money and credit are used almost entirely for speculation, usury, and rent extraction (though they do not, so far as I know, use the terms). If "the people" somehow were able to gain control of money and credit, and money and credit continued to be used almost entirely for speculation, usury, and rent extraction, society and the people would see no net advance economically.

That's the simple overview. Allow me to lay out a couple scenarios to show why just solving the problem of who controls money and credit does not really address our most urgent problems.

For the first scenario, assume that it is right wing populists who have triumphed in the fight to seize control of money and credit. Recall that in the first and second iterations of the bank bailout proposals in USA, Congress was deluged by overwhelming public opposition to the bailout. But in the second iteration, the Democrats mostly folded, while on the Republican side, the closer you got to the Tea Party extreme, the stauncher the opposition to the bailout you found. So, under right-wing populist control, we would probably see prosecutions and imprisonment of banksters, which would likely have the intended effect of lessening rent extraction. But we would probably also see that right-wing populists are not much concerned about speculation and usury, so those would continue relatively unscathed.

More importantly, we could expect right-wing populist control to result in severe cutbacks to both government and private funding of scientific research, most especially on climate change. We would be hurried forward on our course toward climate disaster, not turned away from it.

For the second scenario, let us assume it is a left-wing populist surge that achieves control over money and credit. In this scenario, speculation and usury would be suppressed as well as rent extraction. On science, there would no doubt be a surge in funding for climate research. But I would greatly fear what left-wing populists might do to funding of space exploration and hard sciences such as the large Hadron collider at CERN. And what would happen to funding for military research programs like DARPA?

Can you imagine the implications of cutting those kinds of science programs? Try to think of doing without all the spinoffs from the NASA Apollo moon landing program and the original ARPAnet, which includes much of the capability of the miniaturized electronics in the computer, servers, modems, and routers you are now using.

The point is, that without restoring an understanding of republican (NOT capital R "R"epublican Party) statecraft, its focus on promoting the general welfare, and the understanding that promoting the general welfare ALWAYS involves identifying and promoting the leading edges of science and technology, any success in seizing control of money and credit away from bankers (whether private or central) does not necessarily result in victory. For an extended discussion of science and republicanism, see my The Higgs boson and the purpose of a republic .

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 8, 2018 at 10:17 am

There will always be right-wingers, left-wingers, progressives, imperialists, etc.

One or more of them will seize control.

It would seem, then, the first thing to do, is to work on human nature, and not discovering new devices for them (or us, ourselves), because we can not guarantee no harm to Nature will come from colliding high energy particles.

Lord Koos , June 8, 2018 at 2:17 pm

I don't really see the left as being anti-science, it seems to me that it's the right that wants to deny scientific findings such as climate change, etc. There are exceptions of course, such as new-age/anti-vaxers, chem-trail theorists, etc but they are a small minority, and I find it hard to envision a scenario where a leftist government would cut science funding. As it is now, many if not most scientific and technical advances have originated from what was originally military funding, including the internet we are using at this moment.

This is a model that needs to change IMHO, there is no reason that cutting-edge science has to be tied to the military, science could just as easily be funded for its own sake, without the pentagon getting the money first and then having the tech trickle down to the rest of us.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 8, 2018 at 3:43 pm

I am trying to come up with some examples where technological advances were not induced or misused by warriors and/or libido, from the dawn of humanity till now.

Stone tools – misused for war.

Bronze/iron tools – the same.

The wheel – war chariots.

Writing – to lord over the illiterate

The steam engine – how the west was won with buffaloes going extinct.

Gun powder – war, and above.

The internet – surveillance and libido.

The smart phone – above.

Aspirin – that's all good .maybe the example I am looking for except I'm allergic to it.

Anthony K Wikrent , June 8, 2018 at 6:28 pm

The technology of smart phones originated almost entirely with DARPA -- see Mariana Mazzucato's The Entrepreneurial State

bruce wilder , June 8, 2018 at 6:28 pm

money and credit are used almost entirely for speculation, usury, and rent extraction

Certainly on the leading edge, that is what money and credit are used for, but "entirely"??? In the main, money remains the great lever of coordination in an economy of vastly distributed decision-making.

The forces of predation and fraud are seriously out-of-control and they use money for anti-social ends, protected by neoliberal ideology and the cluelessness of what passes for the political left. Like any normal bank robber, the banksters want the system of money to continue to work and it does continue to work, in the main, even as they play Jenga with the towering structures of finance.

Anthony K Wikrent , June 8, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Well, I did qualify it with "almost" : ). Still, in the late 1990s I found that there was around $60 (sixty dollars) of trading in financial markets (including futures and forex) for every one dollar of GDP. That compares to 1.5 to 1 in 1960. The ratio probably dropped in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 crashes, but I's be surprised if it has not surpassed 60 to 1 by now. Have mercy on me: I haven't looked at a BIS report for a few years now.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 8:47 pm

Your first scenario is already in existence today, my friend. As far as the second scenario – what exactly is it that you have against democracy?

Ignacio , June 8, 2018 at 10:09 am

It is just intuitive that giving central bankers the monopoly for money creation is not a good idea

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 8:49 pm

So your solution is to keep it in the hands of the elite?! Please note that the "central bank" under the Vollgeld initiative is completely redefined, not a central bank at all but a government institution controlled by a democratic process.

Martin , June 9, 2018 at 12:38 am

Many banks around the world started out as state-owned and have been privatised.
I admit it is simplistic, but having a state-run not-for-profit bank being this "government institution controlled by a democratic process" has a lot of merit to me.
It would have lending guidelines to aid investment in productive endeavours, limit the risk, and have no part in the insane fringe financial transactions that brought about the GFC, and who know how many other things that have gone under the radar.
This brings all currency creation into a single place, so it needs transparency and a (proper) democratic governance.
There would probably be fewer jobs I admit, but many of these would be the top levels enjoying fat bonuses based on winning zero-sum games.
And as a final comment – should GDP include the transactions within the financial sector at all? Given the zEro-sum games involved, and the creation of losers as part of that, does it actually "produce" anything at aLL?

Yves Smith Post author , June 9, 2018 at 2:00 am

I hate to be a nay-sayer, but the reason there were once many state banks in the US and there is now only one is that they became cesspools of corruption. And having arm-wrestled with CalPERS for over four years, which is more transparent than a lot of places, good luck with getting transparency and good governance.

Jamie Walton , June 9, 2018 at 7:39 am

Good point Yves. My research revealed the same re. previous state banks.

Yves Smith Post author , June 9, 2018 at 8:24 am

Mind you, that does not mean they might not be worth trying, but the assumption that they can just be set up and will work just fine "because democracy" needs to be taken with a fistful of salt. There needs to be a ton of careful thought re governance and lots of checks (an inspector general with teeth at a minimum, we can see from CalPERS that boards are very easily captured).

Jamie Walton , June 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

Agreed. Could a public banking option run through the U.S. Post Office be a better approach (they have branches and staff everywhere already)?

Watt4Bob , June 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Bank of North Dakota has a fascinating history, being founded during the Progressive Era, when ND had a governor who was a member of the Nonpartisan League, a populist political party, and intended to save North Dakota's farmers and laborers from the predations of the big banks in Minneapolis and Chicago.

It remains the only state-owned bank in the country.

The populist
Nonpartisan League
remains the most successful third party in history, and had remarkable impact on politics in North Dakota and Minnesota. It merged with the Democratic Party in the 50s.

Yves Smith Post author , June 9, 2018 at 9:47 pm

Ahem, I acknowledged that. What you miss is that pretty much every other state had a state bank and they were shuttered because they became embarrassingly corrupt. The fact that past "state bank" experiments almost universally failed makes me leery of the naive view that they'll be hunky dory. They could be but the sort of cavalier attitude that they'll be inherently virtuous is the road to abuse and misconduct.

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 11:30 pm

And what did ND do as far WRT usury in being a CC tool.

Wukchumni , June 8, 2018 at 10:11 am

I was talking with my wife about DeBeers and the man-made diamonds they're selling @ 1/10th of the price of the genuine article

what if some neo-alchemist did the same thing with gold?

It would in an instant, render all of it worth $130 an ounce, on it's way to $13 an ounce.

And more importantly, take away the only real alternative to digitally produced ducats.

SubjectivObject , June 9, 2018 at 1:11 pm

allotropes
you need need natural allotropes

Jim Haygood , June 8, 2018 at 10:30 am

" Money is debt. It is only created by government spending and bank lending. " -- Richard Murphy

We've jumped through the looking glass. The former money, gold, is NOT debt. Debt-based money is ersatz, a ghastly fraud on humanity.

In a normal economy, government spending is financed by taxes and borrowing, meaning that no new spending power has been created, as IS the case with new bank loans.

Daniel Nevins' book Economics for Independent Thinkers discusses how modern economists got misled into believing the money supply governs everything, whereas earlier 19th century economists understood that bank lending is what drives expansions.

Poor Murphy, starting out with a wonky premise, only succeeds in careering into a briar patch and wrecking his bike. He should post his pratfall on YouTube.

False Solace , June 8, 2018 at 11:57 am

Fiat money can also be created without debt. That's the whole point of MMT, but it makes Haygood's head explode so he never acknowledges it (without muttering about hyperinflation, which never actually happens outside of disasters on the scale of a major war).

When the federal government spends money into existence -- which can be on the basis of a democratic agenda, in countries that have actual democracies -- there's no need for a corresponding issuance of government debt. Hence, spending power is indeed created. If the government does create debt, the bond is an asset on the ledger of whoever buys it, and the government spends the interest into existence. Which creates additional spending power for the private sector. The government can choose to, or not, collect a portion of this as taxes, which extinguishes the money. If the government collected as taxes everything it ever spent there would be no money in circulation.

> In a normal economy, government spending is financed by taxes and borrowing, meaning that no new spending power has been created, as IS the case with new bank loans.

Er, new bank loans also represent borrowing that has to be paid back. The spending power that gets created is extinguished by paying back the bank loan.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm

the federal government spends money into existence

a

That's a choice made by the designers of the current system.

But not the only choice.

The people, for example, can be empowered (or perhaps inherit that power, on the basis of the Constitution amendment clause* that any power not given explicitly to the federal government is reserved for the people), to spend money into existence.

*The Tenth Amendment declares, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Susan the other , June 8, 2018 at 11:59 am

So do you gold bugs want to dispense with double entry bookkeeping or keep it and adapt it to gold (would that entail both counterfeit money and counterfeit debt?) – gold as both credit and debt, or just what exactly? With the gold side weighing down the ledger it's gonna get wobbly. Maybe have to start a war to fix it? The fog of positive money. Really, JH, you've been the best voice against war. How do you reconcile all the social imbalance that would follow with "positive" money?

Wukchumni , June 8, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Nobody's going to willingly go back to a gold standard, it would have to come about because money via digital deceit has failed in entirety.

Jim Haygood , June 8, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Fiat money is war finance, made permanent. Even during the gold standard, governments would suspend gold convertibility during wars. Lincoln's greenbacks and the UK's suspension during WW I are noteworthy examples.

So the gold standard won't stop governments declaring national security exceptions -- they've always done so. But permanent war finance is what sustains the value-subtraction US military empire, a gross social imbalance that already plagues us by starving the US economy of investment.

Double entry bookkeeping doesn't require that every asset have an offsetting liability. A balance sheet with no liabilities is all equity on the right-hand side. It's what a bank would look like if it sold off its loan portfolio and paid off its depositors -- cash on the left side, equity on the right. If the bank then bought some gold, it would be exchanging one asset (cash) for another (gold), with no effect on the liability/equity side.

Wukchumni , June 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm

It is worth noting that the Federal government struck well over 10 million ounces of gold in coin form for use in circulation from 1861 to 1865

And the CSA?

Not one grain worth

Anthony K Wikrent , June 8, 2018 at 6:40 pm

I've gathered and read much on the greenbacks, but don't recall that very interesting data about minted gold. Any sources you might recommend?

Wukchumni , June 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Just look up the mintage figures, here's $20 gold coins that contain just under 1 troy oz of pure gold in content, from 1861 to 1865. You can follow links to other denominations.

There were over 8 million ounces alone in $20 gold coins struck during the Civil War, by the Union.

http://www.amergold.com/gold-news-info/gold-coin-mintages.php

Wukchumni , June 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm

p.s.

We were never on a pure gold standard, nowhere close actually.

The most common money in the land until the Federal Reserve came along, FRN's not being backed by gold?

Why, that would've been National Banknotes, which was the currency of the land from 1863 to 1935. There were over 10,000 different banks in the country that all issued their own currency with the same design, but with different names of banking institutions, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Bank_Note

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 8, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Specifically, in this case:

Assets = Equity (+ zero liabilities)

The accounting identity is still good.

Susan the other , June 9, 2018 at 10:06 am

Very hard to argue with you, but I'm tripping over this: "If the bank then bought some gold, it would be exchanging one asset (cash) for another (gold) with no effect o the liability equity side." Because in my mind cash isn't an asset – it's just money – a medium of exchange and a unit of account. Where we get all messed up is when the unit of account starts to slip (due to mismanagement) and people start to demand that money become a store of value. When the value is society itself. And blablablah.

JTFaraday , June 9, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Sure, the value is society itself, I agree with this. But OTOH, it is for example much better to be a woman, black person, fill in the blank, even "working class" person with a lot of money than not in a sexist, racist, etc society.

I can't necessarily compel the forces of sexism, racism, old farts who don't agree with me, etc through the "political process," thereby bringing my will to bear on society. But I can move things with my dollars, This is how money gets its magic power. If people played nice with each other, we wouldn't need money.

Older & Wiser , June 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm

What about paper bugs Susan ?
Has paper buggery helped any ever ?
Why do fiat currencies always self-implode (in average) every 50 years ?
" You can fool part of the people all of the time, and all of the people part of the time. .."

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , June 8, 2018 at 7:42 pm

8 white men control > 50% of the world's wealth. Let's just keep going in that direction, to where it's down to one white guy, and with debt-based money everyone else owes him all the "money" in the world. Then we can just strangle him in the bathtub and usher in an era of peace and prosperity.

Older & Wiser , June 8, 2018 at 6:40 pm

Richard Murphy says that " handing all credit creation to the central banks is not only technically impossible in a modern economy, it's a dangerous folly "

What is QE then, Sir ?
Our "modern" economies don´t have business cycles any more, just distorting credit cycles.
There are no "markets" as such today, nor prices only interventions.
Even interest rates (the price of supposed "money" remember ?) are not priced by markets any more .

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , June 8, 2018 at 7:47 pm

Ask any economist or banker what they think about fixing the price of goods and services and see how they answer.

Watch their heads explode when you then ask if it's a clever idea to fix the most important price in the global economy.

Yves Smith Post author , June 9, 2018 at 9:53 pm

Help me. Gold is not money. And it does not have and never had immutable value. Even in the days of the gold standard, countries regularly devalued their currencies in gold terms. It was the money that was used for commerce, not the gold. When the US government devalued the $ in gold terms by 5%, bread at the store didn't cost more the next day, which is what your "gold is money" amounts to. It's not correct and you need to drop it.

Synoia , June 9, 2018 at 10:49 pm

I visited a gold mine for a tour onec. At the end of the tour was the gold refinery, and on the floor two ingots of gold.

They made the offer, "if you could life one with one hand, you could keep it."

I tried.

And discobered that the ingit, was

a) Pyramidal in shape so ones fingers slid off it
b) F .. heavy. 140 lb.

When you see gold "bars" being tossed around in the movies, it's complete bs. Arnold at his best coud not toss them around.

So we went an had a beer instead. Wiser, but not sadder.

Plenue , June 10, 2018 at 1:13 am

"The former money, gold, is NOT debt. Debt-based money is ersatz, a ghastly fraud on humanity."

You've been on NC for years. You have to know by now that this literally, objectively, isn't true. It just simply isn't. History and anthropology do not at all support your version of events. People like Hudson and Graeber have extensively documented where money came from. Debt and credit came first, then money as a token to measure them. We have warehouses full of the freaking Sumerian transactions tablets that show it! Money is debt, always has been.

Actually, I say you have to know this by now, but given how conspicuously absent you seem to be in the comments of Michael Hudson articles about the history of debt hosted here, maybe you just aren't reading them. Or you are and don't like what they say and how it clashes with your pre-established worldview, so you just ignore them. Though even if the latter, it's still telling how you don't even attempt to refute them. Perhaps because you can't.

steven , June 8, 2018 at 10:52 am

It's not about money; its about creating and distributing wealth. That a trivial thing like a double-entry bookkeeping operation should stand in the way of creating the wealth the world and its people need to survive is, of course, insane. But it is also insane to expect different results from turning over control of the process of money creation to a wholly owned subsidiary of governments like those of the United States and Great Britain, bent as they are on global hegemony ("full spectrum dominance") – at ANY cost.

Whether or not China and other developing nations realize it, genuine wealth creation – not money as debt creation ('finance capitalism') – is THE source of national power. It is more than a little amusing to watch the neoconservatives fret about the rise of China after having joined with their neoliberal brothers in off-shoring US and Western wealth creation potential (in what they must have thought was an oh so clever attack on Western living standards by forcing 'their' people to compete with the world's most desperate workers in a global race to the bottom so their 1% patrons would have an excuse to create more money as debt).

So long as the West remains focused on 'the price of everything and the value of nothing' (like the human potential of their own people, for example), the developing world is soon likely to have a monopoly that will put OPEC and its Middle Eastern dictators to shame. In summary this is about FAR more than just about how a few 'post-industrial' democracies create their money. The definitive work on this topic remains Soddy's Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt, 2nd edition.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 8:57 pm

Soddy doesn't object to democratizing the money supply and turning over its creation the democratically elected government.

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 6:18 am

Soddys drama is making money a physical object when its a contract with time and space qualities,

blennylips , June 9, 2018 at 7:28 am

Just as a few days ago Carlos Rovelli, author of " The Order of Time ", has useful insights of the political significance of LSD, he has advice for this too in the same book:

The entire evolution of science would suggest that the best grammar for thinking about the world is that of change, not of permanence. Not of being, but of becoming.
We can think of the world as made up of things. Of substances. Of entities. Of something that is. Or we can think of it as made up of events. Of happenings. Of processes. Of something that occurs. Something that does not last, and that undergoes continual transformation, that is not permanent in time. The destruction of the notion of time in fundamental physics is the crumbling of the first of these two perspectives, not of the second. It is the realization of the ubiquity of impermanence, not of stasis in a motionless time.

In other (his) words:

"The world is made up of networks of kisses, not of stones."

Not bad for a physicist!

blennylips , June 9, 2018 at 8:02 am

As long as I am feting physicists, this just came over the transom from Sabine Hossenfelder of backreaction.blogspot.com fame. She's written a book, " Lost in Math " and was informed that a video trailer is customary in this situation. As the first comment there says:

"Hey, that is a GREAT statement! (And it applies to SO MUCH in life, not just physics!)

http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2018/06/video-trailer-for-lost-in-math.html

djrichard , June 8, 2018 at 10:54 am

We've all been focusing on the demand side of the Fed Reserve's liquidity pump: be it for sound business needs. Or not (pirates).

But what happens when demand for that pump disappears because everyone is over-extended? Because this is where Bernanke and Japan and the ECB have done "whatever it takes" to keep that pump from going in reverse. Because in an empire created on naked shorts (currency creation today is essentially a naked shorting process), the last thing you want is that pump to go in reverse. That's not just creative destruction. That's house-on-fire destruction.

So Bernanke et. al. have figured out how to keep that pump from going in reverse. Simply prop up asset prices, e.g. by reducing the asset float in treasuries, MBSs, etc. And it worked. Yay! Right? If you're an asset holder, you're aces. If you're not an asset holder, well you're not doing so well. In particular, if you're in that part of the economy which depends on the velocity of money. Because velocity is at a stand still. As another blogger I used to follow would say, price sans volume is not the right price. So from my perspective, Bernanke (and Japan) had to destroy their economies by replacing them with zombie economies to rescue certain players. Not just players, but playahs – the pirates that pushed us to this end-game. So the pirates are rescued. And the average joe inherits the after effects. But hey, those with 401Ks got rescued too, so it's not all bad. And since the 401Kers are competitive, they generally found safe harbor in the job market too. Yay for them.

If we were not on a debt-based monetary pump, we would not end up with a zombie economy. One which the Fed Reserve can't figure out how to solve except for creating even more demand at the debt pump, even more over extension to mask the issue only to fall back within the same trap again. From what I can tell, we are truly in a doom loop and at present I don't see any creativity in getting us out of this doom loop.

So the vollgeld initiative would ostensibly be a way to extricate an economy from that doom loop. I suspect the Swiss don't really need it as much as other nations. But why get in the way of that type of creativity?

And I would just add that supplanting the federal reserve note with a Lincoln greenback type of approach would work just as well. Even better since it gives the monetary powers to the fiscal side of the Fed Gov.

I posted a version of this last night in the previous thread. But suspect nobody is going to go to that thread anymore. So apologies for a repeat of sort. Not trying to spam.

Wukchumni , June 8, 2018 at 11:06 am

The idea of a real estate pumped perpetual notion machine, combined with essentially an interest free savings plan for the proles, persuaded them to come through and help rise all boats, and who could have figured on vacation rentals helping out housing bubble deux, the sequel.

Looking @ the real estate listings here in a vacation rental hotspot is indicative, in that there are only a few $250k-$300k homes for sale now, whereas there used to be a dozen, always.

Now, on the other hand, we're swimming in $500k to $1m homes that don't make the rental cut.

That says a lot.

Jim Haygood , June 8, 2018 at 12:36 pm

You probably read the Bernank's naive confession yesterday that fiscal stimulus "is going to hit the economy in a big way this year and next year, and then in 2020 Wile E. Coyote is going to go off the cliff."

Three hundred shocked staffers in the Eccles Building cocked their heads to the side and gasped, "He said WHAT?" So I wrote this song Technodammerung for rogue banker Ben:

He was just a Harvard hand
Workin' the QE he planned to try
The years went by

Every night when the sun goes down
Just another lonely quant in town
And rates out runnin' 'round

It's another tequila sunset
Fed's old scam still looks the same
Another frame

Wukchumni , June 8, 2018 at 12:46 pm

{imagines Bernanke working tables @ South Of The Border, and typical waiter spiel going something along these lines }

"Bienvenidos amigos, me llamo Benito, may I start you with an endless supply of chips?"

Alejandro , June 9, 2018 at 1:54 pm

Pardners in chime
proseytizing in real time
Preaching, if you can touch a dime
Why wont paper rhyme
But in their zeal and haste
And self-righteous aversion to waste
Recruit disciples in bling bling
Preaching money is a thing thing
While finger wagging the bloat
Preaching fix the rate, dont let it float
But beyond the noise
Preaching with poise
Its all about them
Their stuff, jewels and gem

Thornton Parker , June 8, 2018 at 10:58 am

Might the actions of a bank be restrained more easily by requiring all payments and stock issuances to the executives and directors be put directly into escrow accounts to be metered out in small amounts if the bank stays healthy over time? If the bank suffers major losses, the escrow accounts would be the first source of funds to make up for them. No Federal Deposit Insurance or other government payments would be made to the bank until the escrow accounts have been reduced to zero.

John , June 8, 2018 at 11:45 am

Randall Wray could be made Sec Treasury, Stephanie Melton Fed Chairman and if the plutocrats still run the rest of the political show that sets priorities, we would still be screwed. The full employment guaranteed jobs could just as easily be strip mining coal from national parks and forests as installing a national solar grid. It could be done with forced low paid labor camps that maximize rent for the plutocrats. MMT seems morally neutral on how the money is spent. For a good portion of the plutocrats, helping the poor is morally suspect .if they consider it at all. That is the larger problem than acceptance of MMT.

economicator , June 8, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Right on.

I didn't see any comment here going in depth with ideas on the binding money creation decisions with socially useful goals (saving TBTF I dont consider such a goal, except for emergency purposes), by what type of process and stakeholders – to avoid driving us toward becoming a 3rd world oligarchy.

The rest is just mechanics – but the most important thing is what is the social control and social purpose of money creation. I am sure we could do just fine even with the present system (of course since it is a MMT system), if there were some limits on speculation with asset prices, less military spending, more democratic control of enterprises, including banks, severe constraints on the FIRE sector, etc, etc.

In the end the problem of managing money well is a political problem. And not much is changing there for the better, despite a growing awareness that "we have a problem" as a society. Where are the politicians that will connect the dots and take on the responsibility to fix the travesty that we have?

More questions than answers, I know. But what we need a change in politics – then banking will follow.

Pespi , June 9, 2018 at 3:34 am

This is a common fallacy, that MMT is bad because it isn't about communal barter tokens or some other thing. MMT exists to empirically describe how money works in the existing economy today. You can be any sort of ideology and embrace it, anyone can use it, just like anyone can use science, it's not inherently biased toward any ideology unlike neoclassical economics and its baked in neoliberalism. That doesn't make it bad, that just shows that it is what it purports to be, an empirical description of money in our existing economy.

You want a brand new type of currency in a whole new economy, well, start organizing your revolutionary army, because that's what that will take.

bruce wilder , June 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm

The Battle for Money -- that much, it seems to me, is true. Neoliberalism is going down, brought down by its own (unfortunate in my view) success and hubris, and one consequence, on-going, is the urgent political need to re-invent the institutions of money.

The institutional systems of monetary/payment/finance systems are always under a lot of strategic pressure: they tend to develop and evolve quickly and they do not usually last all that long -- maybe, the span of three or four human generations -- except in the collective memory of their artifacts and debris.

There's a natural human wish that it could all be made safely automatic -- taken out of corruptible hands and fixed with some technical governor. Whether you are a fan of democracy or loyal to oligarchy really doesn't take anyone very far toward devising or understanding a workable system of money.

As I said in a comment on the earlier Richard Murphy post, money is a language in which we write (hopefully) "true" fictions to paper over uncertainty. Much of what passes for a theory of money is just meta-fiction, akin to literary criticism of a particular genre or era. That is certainly true of Quantity Theory (1.0 re: gold and 2.0 Friedman). It is true of related fables, like Krugman's favorite, loanable funds.

When Murphy rejects the quantity theory of money and then turns around and talks about the need to create "enough" money, I pretty much write him off. When he embraces the Truth of MMT, I know he is hopeless.

Wukchumni , June 8, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Ideally in a battle of money

a squadron of F-35's would be pitted against a fleet of Zumwalt Class destroyers

Summer , June 8, 2018 at 2:13 pm

It's been discussed on NC before, but despite all the theories and figures, it's really a battle of values. I'm not pushing religion, just saying it has all the makings of a holy war.
(come to think of it, isn't religion a big part of the history of monetary theory?)

Mercury , June 8, 2018 at 3:46 pm

China has yet to fall under the thumb of private banks the way the west has. State still holds the reins of regulation tight and the government bank maintains a robust public sector. Michael Hudson just came back from China and has this to say:

"The debts are owed to government banks. A government can do what the U.S. can't do. The government can forgive debts, at least those that are owed to itself, without creating a political backlash. If a viable corporation has run up too much debt, the government can forgive it. This is better than letting the debt close down a factory or force it be sold to a predatory asset management firm as occurs in the United States. That is the advantage of having public credit and why credit should be public. That's how it was in Babylonia. Rulers were able to cancel debts all the time in the 3rd millennium and 2nd millennium BC, because most debts were owed to the palace or the temples. Rulers were cancelling debts owed to themselves.

China can cancel business debt owed to itself. It can proclaim a clean slate. It can minimize debt service to whatever it chooses. But imagine if Chase Manhattan and Goldman Sachs are let in. It would be much harder for the government to raise real estate taxes leading to defaults on the banks. It could save the occupants by making new loans to those who default – based on lower land prices.

Well, you can imagine the international furor that would erupt. Trump would threaten to atom bomb Peking and Shanghai to save his constituency. His constituency and that of the Democrats are the same: Wall Street and the One Percent. So China may lose its ability to write down debts if it lets in foreign banks."

http://www.unz.com/mhudson/us-vs-china-housingand-those-millennials/

There are advantages to restoring financial management to the nation-state, as former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Frank Newman has pointed out in books and lectures. The private banks have exhausted QE to the tune of $30 trillion, none of which was invested in the industrial economy. Why blame the Swiss for wanting to be like China?

Grebo , June 8, 2018 at 5:23 pm

that this is a Chicago School / Friedmanesque monetary policy is made clear by Positive Money

The Chicago Plan of the 1930s and the unrelated Friedman suggestion of 1948 were both predicated on the false fractional reserve theory of banking. Given that individual banks create credit unrestrained by reserves those plans would not have had the desired result.

Positive Money knows this, though they do sometimes carelessly use the term 'fractional reserve banking'. They think their plan is different and, to the extent that it would actually prevent banks creating credit, it is.

It is silly to suggest that Positive Money is some Neoliberal front. Neutering the banks is the last thing Neoliberals want, and when they want something they don't bother with democratic methods like public pressure groups, they use think-tanks and lobbying.

Murphy's main complaint is about handing the 'quantity' decision to the Bank. I don't think Positive Money is wedded to that idea, it is just an attempt to defuse the 'profligate politicians' argument.

Watt4Bob , June 8, 2018 at 5:29 pm

I'm sort of disappointed in this thread.

Being that NC is the place I discovered MMT, and it's been explained and debated so for so long here, I would have expected NC readers to more broadly understand that what we have currently would work for everyone if only our masters would allow it.

IOW, it is not necessary to reinvent our system so much as insist that it be used to finance material benefits for all, as opposed to endless war, political repression and bail-outs for our criminal finance sector.

How can it be that we can we finance $trillions for war at the drop of a hat, but cannot afford to 'fix' SS, or provide universal healthcare?

It seems to me that it's a political issue, not a technical problem, or am I missing something here?

Korual , June 8, 2018 at 6:54 pm

It's the difference between nationalization and centralization. We can change policy direction or we can double down, as the Swiss are considering.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , June 8, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Cui bono?
The current mission of the custodians of our "money" is to keep banks afloat. It's not to provide general benefit, or to even preserve the buying power of the scrip they issue, despite what you might hear about the supposed "dual mandate" (which is now a "triple mandate": prices, employment, and the stock market).

"Financing material benefits for all" could be a bank that extends credit to a small business. Take a look at commercial credit creation to see how well that's been going. Take a look at velocity.

The Fed gifted Citi $174 billion on a day when they could have purchased 100% of the Citi Class A common stock for $4B. This is the difference Michael Hudson points about about China: their instant ability to swap debt for equity because all banks are state-owned and because they're Communists and nobody would blink an eye .

Most interesting in The Middle Kingdom are the moves to protect the state-owned banks. They started about 18 months ago, when people were told they could only have one Tier 1 bank-linked e-commerce account. As a result 7.5 billion (with a B) accounts were closed. Next they said all payments systems (including WeChat and Alipay) must clear through a new central bank clearinghouse. Two weeks ago they said not only will everything clear through these but the actual funds will need to be transferred to the new CB account .

Ant Financial announced that in the future they would be concentrating on services to finance and e-commerce companies, and away from providing those services themselves. They even anticipate a name change, from Ant Financial to Ant Lifestyle. All this makes perfect sense: President Xi will see every financial transaction in the country, and presumably apply a Social Score filter on whether he allows it to go through. 11 million people have already been denied the right to purchase train tickets or buy a house because they spat on a sidewalk, jaywalked, or made the wrong comments on social media.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 7:21 pm

Wow! We are clearly past the "First they ignore you.." stage and just on the other side of " then they ridicule you.." phase. What a basket of slurs, gross omissions of fact and outright falsehoods is this current blog post.
Anytime Milton Friedman is invoked to slur a concept developed before he was even born, should be an indicator that there is no substance to the argument against the democratization of money creation.

Thanks to the internet however, one can easily visit the Positive Money site, the American Monetary Institute and International Movement for Monetary Reform sites to see those fake progressives in action. While you're at it, go to the Vollgeld site yourself and read what those wolves in sheep's clothing are really saying instead of the creative writing displayed in the blog.

How can anyone who claims to be concerned over the excesses of capitalism prostrate themselves in front of the current banking system, the driver of capitalism as it rides off the rails.

I can't bring myself to respond to the stream of unsubstantiated assertions presented but need to remind people that banks, MUST create money first for the most creditworthy. I won't insult the readers any further by naming who that class represents. A child can see that this, by definition, must lead to the accelerating inequality we see today.

As a challenge, I ask the author to show specifically in the US code where it permits the Federal Government to spend before its accounts at the Fed are replenished either by borrowing or taxing. Stay tuned to these pages for the evidence .

Clint Ballinger , June 8, 2018 at 7:29 pm

PM just wants OMF (Overt Monetary Financing) with ZIRP and a very small horizontal money system. MMT analysis suggests OMF with ZIRP and a much more regulated horizontal system is needed. There is actually very little difference in their policy prescriptions. They just arrived at them from opposite sides of the track

http://clintballinger.edublogs.org/2017/11/02/omfg-mmtpm-get-along/

steven , June 8, 2018 at 8:43 pm

I'm sort of disappointed in this thread.

I'll second that but for different reasons. Buried not far beneath the surface of this issue (money's creation, how and how much) are hugely important issues. But the discussion never seems to get beyond everyone's favorite system for creating money. The assumption seems to run along the lines of: if we can just come up with some scheme for government or gold backed money, those who possess or produce the real wealth for that money to buy will forever be content to exchange it for the money we will forever create to pay for it. There seems to be a belief countries like China or Russia can never escape the 'dollar trap' – or if they try we can threaten and intimidate them back in line with our "full spectrum dominance" military. Money IS debt – and sooner or later those who hold it are going to want to call that debt in.

Both Positive Money and MMT appear to me to just be attempts to continue 'business as usual', operating without a real definition of wealth and trusting / hoping 'the market' will sort it out.

Paul L. , June 8, 2018 at 9:23 pm

Please explain your comment "Money IS debt". Money may represent a debt but is not debt in and of itself.

steven , June 9, 2018 at 1:24 am

Money is debt, both functionally and conceptually. This is true for most of the money used in the Main Street economy. It is created as debt – yours to a bank when you use your credit card or borrow money; the bank's to you when you deposit money with one. In its role as a medium of exchange money serves as a claim on society's goods and services, its real wealth. You don't exchange real wealth for fiat or bank-created money without the expectation you will at some future time be able to again exchange that money for real wealth at least equivalent to what you had to give up in exchange for the money originally.

Jamie Walton , June 9, 2018 at 7:48 am

Rather than a claim on wealth, money could be viewed as a representation of value. Value exchange is more like a giving/sharing economy, rather than debt-swapping. I think this psychological improvement will lead to many physical/social/environmental improvements.

Of course, in any case, people need to be willing sellers/exchangers – it's not automatic or universal; we need some freedom to choose, and the better the conditions are generally, the better the freedom we will have.

Paul L. , June 9, 2018 at 10:24 am

OK but the term, "money is debt" is used too loosely and can be very misleading. Money does not have to be issued as debt as claimed by MMT. In fact, money can first appear as equity on the government's balance sheet with no counterbalancing debt. So this concept is grossly misused to imply money must be issued as debt when, in fact, once issued it may represent a claim on the wealth of society. Proponents of MMT first make the claim that money is debt, and that the notion that money can be issued debt-free is therefore false on its face. Pretty clever. They slyly blur the distinction between the creation of money by a government and the role of that money once in the economy.

WobblyTelomeres , June 9, 2018 at 10:28 am

SOME proponents of MMT first make the claim that money is debt.

FIFY.

tegnost , June 9, 2018 at 10:33 am

How can money first appear as equity? Isn't the other side of that the deficit? Granted I am naive on these points but I thought money was a bond of zero duration.See skippy re time and space

steven , June 9, 2018 at 11:17 am

I don't believe you are

"naive on these points"

. A question for Paul: Unless it is 'privatized' is there even such a thing as 'government equity'? The way the West's financial system works nothing that can't be sold appears to have any value. What's missing from that system – and the discipline of economics (see below) – is a definition of wealth.

Paul L. , June 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

steven –
I believe we know what wealth is – but I don't understand your claim that money needs to be privatized to be considered equity. The government declares by fiat that the money it creates can be used to purchase goods and services in the economy.

steven , June 9, 2018 at 5:11 pm

I believe we know what wealth is

I don't believe this is anywhere nearly correct. From all over the political spectrum commentators lament the lost of trillions of dollars (or euros or whatever) of wealth. At least until the effects of a financial crisis start to take hold, no physical or intellectual capital is lost. The only thing that is lost are a few zeros on some financial ledgers.

As for money as equity, you may be technically correct, i.e. the rules of accounting may permit governments to count the stacks of paper currency they print (in any case, small change in terms of the total money supply) as 'equity'. But for most of us the only thing governments possess that we would count as equity are asset classes like public infrastructure. And until the services they provide (or the assets themselves) are sold, that infrastructure would, from a business accounting standpoint, technically be 'worthless'. (that last is a question?)

tegnost , June 9, 2018 at 11:24 am

I'll add watt4bob has stated what I feel is true, which is that we have MMT right now, and it's more commonly known as socialism for the rich

Paul L. , June 9, 2018 at 1:04 pm

tegnost – There is nothing in the accounting standards that prevents the inclusion of equity on a balance sheet. If we were under the gold standard and you happened to find a nugget of gold in your back yard, are you telling me that you would have to imagine some kind of "debt" to balance your household balance sheet? When Lincoln issued the Greenbacks in the 1860's there was no bond or debt associated with it. It paid soldiers wages and goods and services during he civil war.
Just as MMT states the government isn't a household, it also isn't a commercial bank either. It has the constitutional power to coin money as needed, no debt involved.

tegnost , June 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm

presumably you bought the nugget of gold when you purchased the property and it's land use rights so it's not a virgin birth, the debt is what you purchased the land for. Maybe one of those diamonds in the outback that hardy souls find, but those may have some territorial claim as well.

Paul L. , June 9, 2018 at 3:37 pm

tegnost – If you have to go there to make your point I let others judge.

tegnost , June 9, 2018 at 5:18 pm

ok how bout I come into your yard and look for some gold?

Plenue , June 10, 2018 at 1:33 am

The gold nugget has no inherent value. It's just a lump of cold metal. It will only become valuable when you go to someone else with it and try to exchange it for something, whether it be a currency or some kind of good. And only if the other person agrees with you that it's valuable. This is fundamentally what money is: a token of social interaction. The gold becomes valuable when you go to exchange it for something else. In other words when a debt comes into play. Money is debt. Or rather, it's a measurement of debt and credit. 'Store of value' and all that econ 101 rot is so much gibberish.

Once you realize that, then a question arises: "Well, why bother with rare metals or pressed coins? If it's just a token, you could literally just take a stick and carve marks into it and it would be the same thing". Yes, exactly. Which is precisely the sort of thing we see lots of in history.

RBHoughton , June 8, 2018 at 9:15 pm

Murphy sounds like one of those indecisive chaps who dispute with everyone but have no ideas of their own. I shall ignore him. Good luck to Switzerland. They have the courage and political system to try the experiment and we will all know the result in early course.

Oregoncharles , June 8, 2018 at 11:50 pm

What am I missing? As far as I can tell, the proposal is just Modern Money with the central bank substituted for the Treasury. Yes, that makes it less democratic.

MMT is inflation-limited, too. That's how you know you've overshot your resources. In fact, MMT poses a technical problem: how do you know when you've reached resource limits, EXCEPT by observing inflation? Because without that, you have a ratchet. Of course, that's just what we have, usually, so maybe that's evidence for the theory.

"First, this puts inflation at the core of economic policy." – is a false claim. As quoted, it treats inflation as a limitation. The core is promoting adequate economic activity.

Finally, he treats "money is debt" as doctrine. he doesn't justify it and it makes little sense, ESPECIALLY in MMT. How can you pay a debt with a debt? Someone's getting cheated. MMT actually proposes free money, to a point. I've seen elaborations of the idea, but they use a very extended sense of "debt." And I don't see how it's even relevant to his overall thesis.

The Swiss are pretty conservative, so I doubt they'll pass it.

Yves Smith Post author , June 9, 2018 at 1:45 am

No, Positive Money is not remotely MMT. Wash your mouth out.

The Positive Money types want to limit the extension of credit and put it under the control of what Lambert called "a magic board," a regular gimmick from his days back in debate where someone needed to be in charge but no one wanted to think hard about who or how. In practice, a central bank would be in charge. So how democratic is that?

MMT does not fetishize money the way the Positive Money does. MMT despite having Monetary in the name is about the role of government spending in a fiat currency system. MMT argues that (as Kalekci did) that businesses have strong incentive (not wanting workers to get uppity) to keep the economy at less than full employment. So the government can and should spend to mobilize resources. And it can because its role as the currency issuer means it can never go bankrupt, it can only create too much inflation. Taxes are what contain inflation in MMT.

By contrast, the Positive Money types want to do it by limiting credit creation. And thus Murphy is correct. That means their priority is to preserve the value of financial assets, not achieve full employment.

steven , June 9, 2018 at 11:03 am

I don't believe it is accurate to say that Positive Money "fetishizes money". Irving Fisher acknowledged his debt to Frederick Soddy for the concept of "100% Money", the intellectual foundation for the Positive Money movement. Soddy's intent in limiting the creation of money to the stock of wealth available for it to purchase was to retain independence from the state in obtaining the means of subsistence. He compared the use of monetary policy to goose the economy to a merchant putting his or her finger on the scale, making it difficult to impossible for money to fulfill two of its primary functions: serving as a medium of exchange and a store of value.

So long as there was wealth available for it to purchase, he – and presumably Fisher's Positive Money crowd – would have no objection to creating as much money as needed to keep the economy running. What he and every other respectable economist have been trying to bring under control is the excess money creation fueling speculation and the seemingly inevitable boom-bust cycle accompanying the private creation of money.

Rather than curbing that excess, however, the 'solution' that seems to have been adopted is for the US and other Western governments to absorb the excess credit (money as debt) creation by taking it on their (governments') own books. Government debt is I believe called 'near money' in the financial markets. But neither the governments nor the bankers of countries that no longer create real wealth have any logical right to create the money to buy it. Just retaining the right to 'print' more money or 'near money' doesn't change that, except perhaps in an absurdly narrow legal sense.

There are, of course, some issues like globalization intimately connected with the construction of a logical and fair monetary system. But underlying them all, including for countries other than the US, is a logical definition of 'wealth':

a logical definition of wealth is absolutely needed for the basis of economics if it is to be a science."

Frederick Soddy, WEALTH, VIRTUAL WEALTH AND DEBT, 2nd edition, p. 102
(Soddy might have added "if government is to be a science".)

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Here in lies the rub economics will never be a Science.

Firstly the medium used by most economics – philosophy – does not even have a functioning model of time and space and is prone to fads. Magnified by scale WRT elite tastes or self dealing. Wealth or Capital is also a bit complicated by say the Cambridge Controversy et al. So until some very fundamental flaws are sorted, that have nothing to do with – money – the concept of "Science of Money" is going to be a non starter.

Worst is those that use such syntax and dialectal style are going to be called into question – over it.

I mean we had political theory, then some bolted on science to it, and called it economic science. Which then begat a whole time line of dominance front running the political process regardless of political incumbents.

I think Scientists that dabble in monetary theory fall victim to the same dilemma that say religious based views do – their optics are ground before looking.

steven , June 9, 2018 at 9:55 pm

Skippy,

Probably best to start with the first part of Soddy's (actually John Ruskin's) observation, "a logical definition of wealth is absolutely needed ". "Most economics" may indeed disguise its prostitution with a veneer of philosophy or mathematics. But I don't think you can say that about Soddy's:

A definition of wealth must be based upon the nature of physical or material wealth, in the sense of the physical requisites which empower and enable human life-that is, which supply human beings with the means to live, and, as an after consequence of living, to love, think and pursue goodness, beauty and truth.p. 108

(All citations are from Soddy's Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt, 2nd edition- WVWD)
For that matter, according to Michael Hudson, you can not accuse the classical economists of just dabbling in philosophy. They were ALL about freeing society from free-lunch economic rent seekers, freeing up the resources so they could be devoted as completely as possible to the development of "the physical requisites which empower and enable human life".

What we have to do to develop those physical requisites – and increasingly the limitations imposed by the requirements of sustainability – is pretty well known. Whether a science of money can be devised to help accomplish that goal or some other mechanism for distributing the wealth made possible by advances in science and technology is required is increasingly open to question.

Take a look at Soddy's –THE THREE INGREDIENTS OF WEALTH (DISCOVERY, NATURAL ENERGY AND DILIGENCE). p. 61 The first two are firmly embedded in time and space.

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 11:21 pm

I have read Soddy, more so I have talked with PM sorts for a long time, hence I'm not ignorant of the camps views or actions during said time.

Onward

"a logical definition of wealth is absolutely needed ".

I did reference the Cambridge Controversy, are you informed WRT this aspect.

"A definition of wealth must be based upon the nature of physical or material wealth, in the sense of the physical requisites which empower and enable human life-that is, which supply human beings with the means to live, and, as an after consequence of living, to love, think and pursue goodness, beauty and truth.p. 108"

Sorry but . "consequence of living, to love, think and pursue goodness, beauty and truth" has nothing scientific about it.

I reiterate – Metaphilosophy has no scientific underpinnings and attempts to "brand" it otherwise in only to burnish its credentials without any empirical satisfaction is just rhetorical gaming.

"you can not accuse the classical economists of just dabbling in philosophy."

Hay I respect Hudson, that does not mean I worship him, hes been invaluable to the discovery process, but, that does not mean everything he has to say is the word of dawg, nor would I surrender my cognitive processes just because someone uses the term classical.

If I have to go that space I would favor say Veblen or Lars P. Syll where if your to own a thing one must accept the responsibility from a social aspect and not one of atomistic individualism.

But hay I regress . because I'm still waiting for someone to show me a few decades of a labour market in "action".

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 11:22 pm

BTW it would be incumbent of you to redress my concerns above without forging a new path which excludes them.

steven , June 10, 2018 at 1:40 am
"BTW it would be incumbent of you to redress my concerns above without forging a new path which excludes them." – Sorry if I did that. It was not my intent. Wikipedia is my only exposure to the Cambridge Controversy . As I understand it, science is supposed to be all about observing the real world and then drawing conclusions from those observations. It looks to me like the participants in the debate were looking at their models and maybe the logic they used to construct them, not the world they were supposed to be modeling.
"Most of the debate is mathematical, while some major elements can be explained as part of the aggregation problem. The critique of neoclassical capital theory might be summed up as saying that the theory suffers from the fallacy of composition;"
This kind of cant is a far cry from something like:

"Though it was not understood a century ago, and though as yet the applications of the knowledge to the economics of life are not generally realised, life in its physical aspect is fundamentally a struggle for energy , in which discovery after discovery brings life into new relations with the original source. Evolutionary development has been parasitic, higher and higher organisms arising and obtaining the requisite supplies of energy by feeding upon the lower. But with man and the development of conscious reason, that process as regards energy is being reversed. "

(emphasis added)

Sister Gloria , June 9, 2018 at 8:46 am

Sorry, but where does Positive Money , in any of the publications and articles, propose any limitations on 'credit' ?
I never saw that.
Or AMI or any of these public money types for that matter?
Thank you.

Paul L. , June 9, 2018 at 9:45 am

You are completely correct, they don't. This is all made up propaganda against the democratization of the money supply. What PM proposes is sound credit creation.

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 8:23 pm

PM wants to establish a non democratic administration of government issuance and then allow a return to the free banking period of the 1800s. All based on notions of EMH and QTM contra to all the historical data from that period. So on one had PM wants to lay claim to scientific methodology WRT money yet still cling to scientifically refuted EMH.

As far as I can discern PM proponents advance the belief that this would compel banks to become investment entities for "productive" activities. Don't know how that would work out considering how corporatism views society.

Sound of the Suburbs , June 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm

MMT has looked at publicly created money.

The positive money people have come at it from the other angle. People like Richard Werner have been studying the problems with privately created money since the Japanese economy blew up in the 1980s .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC0G7pY4wRE&t=3s

They have seen all the problems with privately created money and the positive money people were very pleased when the BoE confirmed their beliefs in 2014.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

The positive money people have come to the wrong conclusion through not understanding publicly created money.

The MMT people can learn a lot about the problems of privately created money from the positive money people.

The two camps should merge to get the big picture.

I started looking into all the problems of privately created money after 2008 and was a latecomer to MMT.

The two merge nicely when you think about it and realise the why the positive money people came to the conclusion they did. They just didn't understand the way publicly created money works now.

djrichard , June 9, 2018 at 4:19 pm

In the case of Japan, unless I'm misunderstanding things there, presumably they've embraced MMT out the wazoo, in that they're willing to leverage federal gov debt out the wazoo. And yet I think the consensus still seems to be that their economy is still zombified (still not really recovered from the debt overhang from their go go years). In which case, why is that?

Has Japan been hamstringing their use of MMT, so it's less effective than it could be? Do they need to up the ante, employ MMT-on-steroids to overcome the trap that they're in, say like the US needed WWII to get out of its trap?

Withstanding MMT-on-steroids, should it be QE-on-steroids instead that get the animal spirits rekindled? I don't have a strong sense of whether the US central bank has done more in that department compared to the central bank of Japan. Or if indeed, the US central bank has been more successful on that front. It's clear that animal spirits are certainly rekindled in the US – the usual playahs are back at it. Though whether that's unzombified our economy, I'm not so sure – I don't think it has.

If these hurdles are so difficult, seems to me we should have a monetary system that doesn't result in a zombified economy to begin with, per the comment I was making further above.

Synoia , June 9, 2018 at 10:41 pm

And yet I think the consensus still seems to be that their economy is still zombified (still not really recovered from the debt overhang from their go go years). In which case, why is that?

Debt Peonage. For it to work there has to be a debt jubilee (a forgiveness of peoples debt).

Older & Wiser , June 9, 2018 at 8:21 pm

China´s Battle for Money

" It seems there are greater similarities between China and the US than may be visible at first glance. China builds real estate for a shrinking population, invests for an over-indebted client (the US, which even insists on a drastic reduction of the bilateral trade deficit) and finances all this with money it does not have ."

https://mises.org/wire/china-trouble

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm

I know the answer to this dilemma – Praxeology – !!!!!

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 8:29 pm

MMT has always stated to whom the debt is owed is the crux of the matter and in what form denoted.

I have trouble understanding the dramas with bank issued credit when squared with say equities, why all the focus on one and not to be inclusive of a wide assortment of other mediums of exchange and how they are created and why.

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 9:27 pm

Sorry comment was directed at djrichard above.

So tell me why J – bonds are called the death trade e.g. shorters nightmare – albeit they will tell you their shorts are being thwarted by ev'bal forces.

The Rev Kev , June 9, 2018 at 10:26 pm

Couldn't resist this. That title has me intrigued so, with apologies to Winston Churchill-

" What (neoliberals have) called the Battle of (Credit) is over the Battle of (Money) is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of (world) civilisation. Upon it depends our own (western) life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our (civilization). The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. (Neoliberals) knows that (they) will have to break us in this (idea) or lose the war. If we can stand up to (them), all (the world) may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.
But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the (United Nations) and its (Countries) last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour." "

skippy , June 9, 2018 at 10:50 pm

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/mark-ames-libertarian-liars-top-reagan-adviser-cato-institute-chairman-william-niskanen-%E2%80%9Cdeficits-don%E2%80%99t-matter%E2%80%9D.html

Yet then some say AET and Neoclassical economics just needs to implement PM and all will be well.

I've yet to see any PM advocate or proponent criticize an executive or corporatism, only banksters and some politicians. On the other hand I've seen many PM sorts back crypto based on the argument of decentralization. So which is it, counterfeiting of national money with a side of corruption or a case of counterfeiting ex nihilo via some arbitrary computational source with a predominate side of corruption.

I am completely at a loss to understand how the debate about money proceeds things like Marginalism, supply and demand as a monolith, rational agent models, theoclassical opinions elevated to truisms [economic laws] and a reduction of human experience as a binary condition set in stone.

I also have issues with PM advocates and their UBI agenda, due to its original proponents views on the need to water down democracy more to keep the unwashed from just voting themselves more money. It is in my opinion logically incoherent, that is just what has occurred during the neoliberal period and corporatists via the democracy of money through lobbyists – every dollar is a vote – et al.

In light of that I can only surmise that PM is actually pro elitist, not that I have issues with some being elite, that is another story altogether, but money itself is not the bar.

[Jun 10, 2018] Hiding the Real Number of Unemployed by Pete Dolack

Notable quotes:
"... The Globe and Mail ..."
"... The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China ..."
Jun 08, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

... ... ...

Nonetheless, you might have noticed that happy days aren't exactly here again. The real U.S. unemployment figure -- all who are counted as unemployed in the "official" rate, plus discouraged workers, the total of those employed part-time but not able to secure full-time work and all persons marginally attached to the labor force (those who wish to work but have given up) -- is 7.6 percent . (This is the "U-6" rate.) That total, too, is less than half of its 2010 peak and is the lowest in several years. But this still doesn't mean the number of people actually working is increasing.

Fewer people at work and they are making less

A better indication of how many people have found work is the "civilian labor force participation rate." By this measure, which includes all people age 16 or older who are not in prison or a mental institution, only 62.7 percent of the potential U.S. workforce was actually in the workforce in May, and that was slightly lower than the previous month. This is just about equal to the lowest this statistic has been since the breakdown of Keynesianism in the 1970s, and down significantly from the peak of 67.3 percent in May 2000. You have to go back to the mid-1970s to find a time when U.S. labor participation was lower. This number was consistently lower in the 1950s and 1960s, but in those days one income was sufficient to support a family. Now everybody works and still can't make ends meet.

And that brings us to the topic of wages. After reaching a peak of 52 percent in 1969, the percentage of the U.S. gross domestic product going to wages has fallen to 43 percent , according to research by the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve. The amount of GDP going to wages during the past five years has been the lowest it has been since 1929 , according to a New York Times report. And within the inequality of wages that don't keep up with inflation or productivity gains, the worse-off are doing worse.

The Economic Policy Institute noted , "From 2000 to 2017, wage growth was strongest for the highest-wage workers, continuing the trend in rising wage inequality over the last four decades." The strongest wage growth was for those in the top 10 percent of earnings, which skewed the results sufficiently that the median wage increase for 2017 was a paltry 0.2 percent, the EPI reports. Inflation may have been low, but it wasn't as low as that -- the typical U.S. worker thus suffered a de facto wage decrease last year.

What this sobering news tells us is that good-paying jobs are hard to come by. An EPI researcher, Elise Gould, wrote :

"Slow wage growth tells us that employers continue to hold the cards, and don't have to offer higher wages to attract workers. In other words, workers have very little leverage to bid up their wages. Slow wage growth is evidence that employers and workers both know there are still workers waiting in the wings ready to take a job, even if they aren't actively looking for one."

The true unemployment rates in Canada and Europe

We find similar patterns elsewhere. In Canada, the official unemployment rate held at 5.8 percent in April , the lowest it has been since 1976, although there was a slight decrease in the number of people working in March, mainly due to job losses in wholesale and retail trade and construction. What is the actual unemployment rate? According to Statistics Canada's R8 figure , it is 8.6 percent. The R8 counts count people in part-time work, including those wanting full-time work, as "full-time equivalents," thus underestimating the number of under-employed.

At the end of 2012, the R8 figure was 9.4 percent , but an analysis published by The Globe and Mail analyzing unemployment estimated the true unemployment rate for that year to be 14.2 percent. If the current statistical miscalculation is proportionate, then the true Canadian unemployment rate currently must be north of 13 percent. "[T]he narrow scope of the Canadian measure significantly understates labour underutilization," the Globe and Mail analysis conclude.

Similar to its southern neighbor, Canada's labor force participation rate has steadily declined, falling to 65.4 percent in April 2018 from a high of 67.7 percent in 2003.

The most recent official unemployment figure in Britain 4.2 percent. The true figure is rather higher. How much higher is difficult to determine, but a September 2012 report by Sheffield Hallam University found that the total number of unemployed in Britain was more than 3.4 million in April of that year although the Labour Force Survey, from which official unemployment statistics are derived, reported only 2.5 million. So if we assume a similar ratio, then the true rate of unemployment across the United Kingdom is about 5.7 percent.

The European Union reported an official unemployment rate of 7.1 percent (with Greece having the highest total at 20.8 percent). The EU's Eurostat service doesn't provide an equivalent of a U.S. U-6 or a Canadian R8, but does separately provide totals for under-employed part-time workers and "potential additional labour force"; adding these two would effectively double the true EU rate of unemployed and so the actual figure must be about 14 percent.

Australia's official seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 5.6 percent , according to the country's Bureau of Statistics. The statistic that would provide a more realistic measure, the "extended labour force under-utilisation" figure, seems to be well hidden. The most recent figure that could be found was for February 2017, when the rate was given as 15.4 percent. As the "official" unemployment rate at the time was 5.8 percent, it is reasonable to conclude that the real Australian unemployment rate is currently above 15 percent.

Mirroring the pattern in North America, global employment is on the decline. The International Labour Organization estimated the world labor force participation rate as 61.9 percent for 2017, a steady decline from the 65.7 percent estimated for 1990.

Stagnant wages despite productivity growth around the world

Concomitant with the high numbers of people worldwide who don't have proper employment is the stagnation of wages. Across North America and Europe, productivity is rising much faster than wages. A 2017 study found that across those regions median real wage growth since the mid-1980s has not kept pace with labor productivity growth.

Not surprisingly, the United States had the largest gap between wages and productivity. Germany was second in this category, perhaps not surprising, either, because German workers have suffered a long period of wage cuts (adjusted for inflation) since the Social Democratic Party codified austerity by instituting Gerhard Schröder's "Agenda 2010" legislation. Despite this disparity, the U.S. Federal Reserve issued a report in 2015 declaring the problem of economic weakness is due to wages not falling enough . Yes, the Fed believes your wages are too high.

The lag of wages as compared to rising productivity is an ongoing global phenomenon. A separate statistical analysis from earlier this decade also demonstrated this pattern for working people in Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Workers in both Canada and the United States take home hundreds of dollars less per week than they would if wages had kept up with productivity gains.

In an era of runaway corporate globalization, there is ever more precarity. On a global scale, having regular employment is actually unusual. Using International Labour Organization figures as a starting point, John Bellamy Foster and Robert McChesney calculate that the "global reserve army of labor" -- workers who are underemployed, unemployed or "vulnerably employed" (including informal workers) -- totals 2.4 billion. In contrast, the world's wage workers total 1.4 billion. Writing in their book The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China , they write:

"It is the existence of a reserve army that in its maximum extent is more than 70 percent larger than the active labor army that serves to restrain wages globally, and particularly in poorer countries. Indeed, most of this reserve army is located in the underdeveloped countries of the world, though its growth can be seen today in the rich countries as well." [page 145]

Having conquered virtually every corner of the globe and with nowhere left to expand into nor new markets to take, capitalists will continue to cut costs -- in the first place, wages and benefits -- in their ceaseless scrambles to sustain their accustomed profits. There is no reform that can permanently alter this relentless internal logic of capitalism. Although she was premature, Rosa Luxemburg's forecast of socialism or barbarism draws nearer.

Pete Dolack writes the Systemic Disorder blog and has been an activist with several groups. His book, It's Not Over: Learning From the Socialist Experiment , is available from Zero Books.

[Jun 10, 2018] Trump At G-7 Closing Remarks We're The Piggy Bank That Everybody's Robbing

Looks like Trump adopted Victoria Nuland "Fuck the EU" attitude ;-). There might be nasty surprises down the road as this is uncharted territory: destruction of neoliberal globalization.
Trump proved to be a really bad negotiator. he reduced the USA to a schoolyard bully who beats up his gang members because their former victims have grown too big.
As the owner of world reserve currency the USA is able to tax US denominated transactions both via conversion fees and inflation. As long as the USA has dollar as a reserve currency the USA has so called "exorbitant priviledge" : "In the Bretton Woods system put in place in 1944, US dollars were convertible to gold. In France, it was called "America's exorbitant privilege"[219] as it resulted in an "asymmetric financial system" where foreigners "see themselves supporting American living standards and subsidizing American multinationals"."... "De Gaulle openly criticised the United States intervention in Vietnam and the "exorbitant privilege" of the United States dollar. In his later years, his support for the slogan "Vive le Québec libre" and his two vetoes of Britain's entry into the European Economic Community generated considerable controversy." Charles de Gaulle - Wikipedia
Notable quotes:
"... Errrr, that so-called "piggy bank' just happens to; ..."
"... have the world's reserve currency ..."
"... dominates the entire planet militarily since the end of the Cold War ..."
"... dictates "regime change" around the world ..."
"... manipulates and controls the world's entire financial system, from the price of a barrel to every financial transaction in the SWIFT system. ..."
"... And Trump has the ignorance, the arrogance and the audacity to be pleading 'poverty?' ..."
Jun 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

On trade:

"We had productive discussion on having fair and reciprocal" trade and market access.

"We're linked in the great effort to create a more just and prosperous world. And from the standpoint of trade and creating more prosperous countries, I think they are starting to be committed to more fair trade. We as a nation lost $870 billion on trade...I blame our leaders and I congratulate leaders of other countries for taking advantage of our leaders."

"If they retaliate they're making a tremendous mistake because you see we have a tremendous trade imbalance...the numbers are so much against them, we win that war 1000 times out of a 1000."

"We're negotiating very hard, tariffs and barriers...the European Union is brutal to the United States....the gig is up...there's nothing they can say."

"We're like the piggy bank that everybody's robbing."

"I would say the level of relationship is a ten - Angela, Emmanuel and Justin - we have a very good relationship. I won't blame these people, unless they don't smarten up and make the trades fair."

Trump is now making the 20-hour flight to Singapore, where he will attend a historic summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. We'll now keep our eye out for the finalized communique from the group. The US is typically a leader in the crafting of the statement. But this time, it's unclear if the US had any input at all into the statement, as only the leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as well as the presidents of the European Commission and European Council remain at the meeting. But regardless of who writes it, the statement will probably be of little consequence, as UBS points out:

Several heads of state will be heading off on a taxpayer-financed "mini-break" in Canada today. In all of its incarnations (over the past four years, we've gone from G-8 to G-6+1) the group hasn't really accomplished much since an initial burst of enthusiasm with the Plaza Accords and Louvre Accords in the 1980s.

And this meeting likely won't be any different.


Simplifiedfrisbee -> ravolla Sat, 06/09/2018 - 11:31 Permalink

Unprepared son of a bitch.

Sack of filth.

Klassenfeind -> Dickweed Wang Sat, 06/09/2018 - 11:43 Permalink

"We're the piggy bank that everybody is robbing." Excuse me?!

Errrr, that so-called "piggy bank' just happens to;

  1. have the world's reserve currency
  2. dominates the entire planet militarily since the end of the Cold War
  3. dictates "regime change" around the world
  4. manipulates and controls the world's entire financial system, from the price of a barrel to every financial transaction in the SWIFT system.

And Trump has the ignorance, the arrogance and the audacity to be pleading 'poverty?'

Who THE FUCK is robbing who here?!?

Escrava Isaura -> helltothenah Sat, 06/09/2018 - 14:51 Permalink

By the way, Trump is right on the tariffs in my view, Europeans should lower their tariffs and not having the US raising it.

Trump: "We're The Piggy Bank That Everybody's Robbing"

Isn't Trump great in catch phrases? Trump's base will now regurgitate it to death.

Now reconcile Trump's remarks with reality:

Professor Werner: Germany is for instance not even allowed to receive delivery of US Treasuries that it may have purchased as a result of the dollars earned through its current account surplus: these Treasuries have to be held in custody by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a privately owned bank: A promise on a promise. At the same time, German influence over the pyramid structure of such promises has been declining rapidly since the abolition of the German currency and introduction of the euro, controlled by an unaccountable supranational international agency that cannot be influenced by any democratic assembly in the eurozone. As a result, this structure of one-sided outflows of real goods and services from Germany is likely to persist in the short and medium-term.

To add insult to injury:

Euro-federalists financed by US spy chiefs

The documents show that ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist organisation in the post-war years. In 1958, for example, it provided 53.5 per cent of the movement's funds.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1356047/Euro-federalists-financed-by-US-spy-chiefs.html

bshirley1968 -> Escrava Isaura Sat, 06/09/2018 - 15:00 Permalink

Okay, everyone set your "team" aside for a few minutes and let's look at the facts and reality.

Do you really believe the rest of the world has trade advantages over the US? Well, let's consider major industries.

Agriculture.....maybe, but only sightly. Our farmers are the richest in the workd....by far.

Manufacturers.....probably so....because we gave it away to countries with slave labor. Manufacturers jobs were jobs where people could earn a decent living...and that had to go..can't be cutting into corporate profits with all that high cost labor.

Defense.....need I go here? We spend more than the next 11 countries combined! We sell more as well.

Energy.....we rule thus space because we buy it with worthless printed fiat debt...whenever we want to....and nd if you deny us, we will bomb the hell out of you and take it.

Technology. ....Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Google, Amazon, Oracle, Dell, Cisco.....who can touch that line up....not to mention all the on-line outfits like Facebook and Twitter.

Finance.....the best for last. We control the printing press that prints the dollar the rest of the world needs. We control energy and foreign policy. Don't do what we like and we will cut you off from SWIFT and devalue the hell out of your currency...and then move in for the "regime" change to some one who plays ball the way we like it. 85% of all international trade takes place in dollars everyday. We have the biggest banks, Wall Street, and infest the world with our virus called the dollar so that we can Jeri their chain at will.

Now I ask you....just where the hell is the "trade imbalances"? Sure there are some companies or job sectors that get a raw deal because our politicians give some foreigners unfair trade advantages here and there, but as a whole, we dominate trade by far. The poor in our country lives like kings compared to 5.5 billion of the world's population. Trump knows this.....or he is stupid. He is pandering to his sheeple voting base that are easily duped into believing someone is getting what is their's.

Hey, I am thankful to be an American and enjoy the advantages we have. But I am not going to stick my head up Trump's ass and agree with this bullshit. It is misdirection (corporate America and politicians are the problem here, not foreign countries) and a major distraction. Because all the trade in the world isn't going to pull us out of this debt catastrophe that's coming.

waspwench -> bshirley1968 Sat, 06/09/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

But, if we cut through all the verbiage, we will arrive at the elephant in the room.

American manufacturing jobs have been off-shored to low wage countries and the jobs which have replaced them are, for the most part, minium wage service jobs. A man cannot buy a house, marry and raise a family on a humburger-flippers wage. Even those minimum wage jobs are often unavailable to Americans because millions of illegal aliens have been allowed into the country and they are undercutting wages in the service sector. At the same time, the better paid positions are being given to H-1B visa holders who undercut the American worker (who is not infrequently forced to train his own replacement in order to access his unemployment benefits.)

As the above paragraph demonstrates the oligarchs are being permitted to force down American wages and the fact that we no longer make, but instead import, the things we need, thus exporting our wealth and damaging our own workers is all the same to them. They grow richer and they do not care about our country or our people. If they can make us all into slaves it will suit them perfectly.

We need tariffs to enable our workers to compete against third world wages in countries where the cost-of-living is less. (American wages may be stagnating or declining but our cost-of-living is not declining.) We need to deport illegal aliens and to stop the flow of them over our borders. (Build the wall.) We need to severely limit the H-1B visa programme which is putting qualified Americans out of work. (When I came to the US in 1967 I was permitted entry on the basis that I was coming to do a job for which there were not enough American workers available. Why was that rule ever changed?)

bshirley1968 -> waspwench Sat, 06/09/2018 - 18:45 Permalink

You are making my point. China didn't "off shore" our jobs....our politicians and corporations did. You can't fix that by going after other countries. You fix that by penalizing companies for using slave labor workers from other countries. Tariffs are not going to fix this. They will just raise prices on everyone.

I can't believe you Trumptards can't see this! Once again we will focus on a symptom and ignore the real problem. Boy, Trump and his buddies from NYC and DC have really suffered because of unfair trade practices, right? Why can't you people see that "government is the problem" and misdirection your attention to China, Canada, Germany, Mexico, or whomever is just that....misdirection.

I would tax the shit out of companies like Apple that make everything overseas with slave labor and then ship it in here to sell to Americans at ridiculous prices.

Plenty of down votes but no one has proven that I am wrong on one point.

mkkby -> helltothenah Sat, 06/09/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

The EU countries have free college, health care, day care and just about everything else. All paid for because they have no military spending.

It's all on the backs of the US tax payer. Or the fed, if you prefer.

Trump is working both angles. Forcing them to pay for their own defense. Forcing them to allow US products with no trade disadvantages. Go MAGA and fuck the EU.

[Jun 10, 2018] One reason to vote for Trump in 2020

Jun 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Dickweed Wang -> FireBrander Sat, 06/09/2018 - 11:37 Permalink

Trump also showed up late to a gender-focused breakfast meeting , . . .

I'll vote for Trump in 2020 just because of this

[Jun 09, 2018] AP Exaggerates Social Security Problems by Barkley Rosser

Jun 08, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
Dean Baker at Beat-the-Press has pointed out (sorry, not able to link to it) that Associated Press put out a tweet that presents an essentially hysterical story about future prospects for Social Security following the recent release of the Trustees. This report says that as of 2026 Medicare and as of 2034 Social Security will face a "shortfall." However, the AP tweeted that what they face is "insolvency." Needless to say, "insolvency" is much more serious than "shortfall" and simply feeds the overblown hysteria that so many think about these programs, feeding political pressures to mess with them.

The new report provides the latest update on what would happen if the forecast happens and nothing is done. Given that the projection is that Social Security benefits are set to increase by about 20% by 2034, if somehow nothing were done and benefits were set to be reduced so that they could be paid by expected tax revenues, the benefit would be cut back by about that amount to about what they are now in real terms. In short, this is not the hysterical crisis AP suggested or that so many think is out there. We have seen this nonsense before.

Of course, Dean accurately points out that by law the benefits must be paid. This may also be a time to remind everybody that the US is really in much better shape demographically in terms of life expectancies, retirement ages, and expected population growth rates than most other high income nations, with such cases as Japan and Germany in much worse shape than the US. However, all these nations are making their public old age pension payments. In the case of Germany the payments are higher than in the US, but the payments are being made, and its economy is humming along very well. There simply is not basis for any of this hysteria in the US regarding the future of Social Security.

Barkley Rosser

[Jun 09, 2018] Posed to Default

Notable quotes:
"... Since the crisis, corporate debt has mushroomed 62% (from $5.3 trillion in 2007 to $8.5t). A record 37% of companies are now toting debt 5x or more their EBIDTA and 14.6% have debt service that exceeds EBIT. ..."
"... If my math is correct, that's $5.5T in debt that's going to get pretty hot to handle as the interest rate plates shift. ..."
"... To quote from Moody's again: "These companies are poised to default when credit conditions eventually become more difficult." ..."
Jun 09, 2018 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

This from Dr. Harald Malmgren:

Ahh... Moody's, ever the master of understatement! By now everyone is hopefully attuned to the degradation of corporate balance sheets -- whether they choose to protect against it or not. But here are the stats by way of gory recap:

Since the crisis, corporate debt has mushroomed 62% (from $5.3 trillion in 2007 to $8.5t). A record 37% of companies are now toting debt 5x or more their EBIDTA and 14.6% have debt service that exceeds EBIT.

Of the 500 companies that comprise the S&P, the top 25 companies hold 56% of the $1.9T in index cash.

The top 50 companies hold 68%. And the bottom 250 companies have essentially ZERO.

The upshot of all this is that $1.5T in corporate debt is now rated 'junk', with another $3T dangling one rung above it in the "IG".

Oh yes, and there's another $1T in levered loans with limited or no protections. If my math is correct, that's $5.5T in debt that's going to get pretty hot to handle as the interest rate plates shift.

To quote from Moody's again: "These companies are poised to default when credit conditions eventually become more difficult."

[Jun 09, 2018] The Spillover Effects of Rising U.S. Interest Rates by Joseph Joyce

Jun 06, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
U.S. interest rates have been rising, and most likely will continue to do so. The target level of the Federal Funds rate, currently at 1.75%, is expected to be raised at the June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee . The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds rose above 3%, then fell as fears of Italy breaking out the Eurozone flared. That decline is likely to be reversed while the new government enjoys a (very brief) honeymoon period. What are the effects on foreign economies of the higher rates in the U.S.?

One channel of transmission will be through higher interest rates abroad. Several papers from economists at the Bank for International Settlements have documented this phenomenon. For example, Előd Takáts and Abraham Vela of the Bank for International Settlements in a 2014 BIS Paper investigated the effect of a rise in the Federal Funds rate on foreign policy rates in 20 emerging market countries, and found evidence of a significant impact on the foreign rates. They did a similar analysis for 5-year rates and found comparable results. Boris Hofmann and Takáts also undertook an analysis of interest rate linkages with U.S. rates in 30 emerging market and small advanced economies, and again found that the U.S. rates affected the corresponding rates in the foreign economies. Finally, Peter Hördahl, Jhuvesh Sobrun and Philip Turner attribute the declines in long-term rates after the global financial crisis to the fall in the term premium in the ten-year U.S. Treasury rate.

The spillover effects of higher interest rates in the U.S., however, extend beyond higher foreign rates. In a new paper, Matteo Iacoviello and Gaston Navarro of the Federal Reserve Board investigate the impact of higher U.S. interest rates on the economies of 50 advanced and emerging market economies. They report that monetary tightening in the U.S. leads to a decline in foreign GDP, with a larger decline found in the emerging market economies in the sample. When they investigate the channels of transmission, they differentiate among an exchange rate channel, where the impact depends on whether or not a country pegs to the dollar; a trade channel, based on the U.S. demand for foreign goods; and a financial channel that reflects the linkage of U.S. rates with the prices of foreign assets and liabilities. They find that the exchange rate and trade channels are very important for the advanced economies, whereas the financial channel is significant for the emerging market countries.

Robin Koepke , formerly of the Institute of International Finance and now at the IMF, has examined the role of U.S. monetary policy tightening in precipitating financial crises in the emerging market countries. His results indicated that there are three factors that raise the probability of a crisis: first, the Federal Funds rate is above its natural level; second, the rate increase takes place during a policy tightening cycle; and third, the tightening is faster than expected by market participants. The strongest effects were found for currency crises, followed by banking crises.

According to the trilemma , policymakers should have options that allow them to regain monetary control. Flexible exchange rates can act as a buffer against external shocks. But foreign policymakers may resist the depreciation of the domestic currency that follows a rise in U.S. interest rates. The resulting increase in import prices can trigger higher inflation, particularly if wages are indexed. This is not a concern in the current environment. But the depreciation also raises the domestic value of debt denominated in foreign currencies, and many firms in emerging markets took advantage of the previous low interest rate regime to issue such debt. Now the combination of higher refinancing costs and exchange rate depreciation is making that debt much less attractive, and some central banks are raising their own rates to slow the deprecation (see, for example, here and here and here ).

Dani Rodrik of the Kennedy School and Arvin Subramanian, currently Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, however, have little sympathy for policymakers who complain about the actions of the Federal Reserve. As they point out, "Many large emerging-market countries have consciously and enthusiastically embraced financial globalization there were no domestic compulsions forcing these countries to so ardently woo foreign capital." They go on to cite the example of China, which " has chosen to insulate itself from foreign capital and has correspondingly been less affected by the vagaries of Fed actions "

It may be difficult for a small economy to wall itself off from capital flows. Growing businesses will seek new sources of finance, and domestic residents will want to diversify their portfolios with foreign assets. The dollar has a predominant role in the global financial system, and it would be difficult to escape the spillover effects of its policies. But those who lend or borrow in foreign markets should realize, as one famed former student of the London School of Economics warned, that they play with fire .

[Jun 07, 2018] DOJ Watchdog Finds Comey Defied Authority And Was Insubordinate Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... A lot of water muddying today - and it's being stirred from a lot of seemingly unrelated directions. Distract and confuse, great ploys - now who benefits more is the most likely source of today's leafletting. ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

DOJ Watchdog Finds Comey "Defied Authority" And Was "Insubordinate"

by Tyler Durden Wed, 06/06/2018 - 22:44 763 SHARES

The Department of Justice's internal watchdog has found that James Comey defied authority several times while he was director of the FBI, according to ABC , citing sources familiar with the draft of a highly anticipated OIG report on the FBI's conduct during the Clinton email investigation .

One source told ABC News that the draft report explicitly used the word "insubordinate" to describe Comey's behavior . Another source agreed with that characterization but could not confirm the use of the term.

In the draft report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz also rebuked former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for her handling of the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton's personal email server, the sources said. - ABC

President Trump complained on Tuesday of "numerous delays" in the release of the Inspector General's report, which some have accused of being slow walked or altered to minimize its impact on the FBI and DOJ.

"What is taking so long with the Inspector General's Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey," Trump said on Twitter. "Hope report is not being changed and made weaker!"

"It's been almost a year and a half and it is time that Congress receives the IG report," said Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL), who has been on the front lines of the battle against the DOJ and FBI's stonewalling of lawmakers requesting documentation. "This has gone on long enough and the American people's patience is wearing thin. We need accountability," said DeSantis.

Another congressional official, who's been fighting to obtain documents from the DOJ and FBI, said it is no surprise that they are putting pressure on Horowitz. According to the official, "They continue to slow roll documents, fail to adhere to congressional oversight and concern is growing that they will wait until summer and then turn over documents that are heavily redacted."

- Sara Carter

ABC reports that there is no indication Trump has seen - or will see - the draft of the report prior to its release. Inspector General Horowitz, however, could revise the draft report now that current and former officials have offered their responses to the report's conclusions, according to the sources.

The draft of Horowitz's wide-ranging report specifically called out Comey for ignoring objections from the Justice Department when he disclosed in a letter to Congress just days before the 2016 presidential election that FBI agents had reopened the Clinton probe, according to sources . Clinton has said that letter doomed her campaign.

Before Comey sent the letter to Congress, at least one senior Justice Department official told the FBI that publicizing the bombshell move so close to an election would violate longstanding department policy , and it would ignore federal guidelines prohibiting the disclosure of information related to an ongoing investigation, ABC News was told. - ABC

During an April interview, Comey was asked by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos "If Attorney General Lynch had ordered you not to send the letter, would you have sent it?"

"No," replied Comey. "I believe in the chain of command."

Deputy Attorney General slammed Comey's letter to congress while recommending that Trump fire Comey last year - saying it "was wrong" for Comey "to usurp the Attorney General's authority" when he revealed in July 2016 that he would not be filing charges against Hillary Clinton or her aides (many of whom were granted immunity).

"It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement," Rosenstein wrote in a letter recommending that Comey be fired. "At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors."

The draft OIG report dings Comey for not consulting with Lynch and other senior DOJ officials before making his announcement on national TV. Furthermore, while Comey said there was no "clear evidence" that Hillary Clinton "intended to violate" the law, he also said that Hillary Clinton had been "extremely careless" in her "handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."

And as we now know, Comey's senior counterintelligence team at the FBI made extensive edits to Clinton's exoneration letter, effectively decriminalizing her behavior .

"I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say," Comey said on live TV July 5, 2016.

By then, Lynch had taken the unusual step of publicly declaring she would accept the FBI's recommendations in the case, after an impromptu meeting with former president Bill Clinton sparked questions about her impartiality.

Comey has defended his decisions as director, insisting he was trying to protect the FBI from even further criticism and "didn't see that I had a choice." - ABC

"The honest answer is I screwed up a couple of things, but ... I think given what I knew at the time, these were the decisions that were best calculated to preserve the values of the institutions," Comey told ABC News. " I still think it was the right thing to do. "

Comey is currently on a tour promoting his new book, " A Higher Loyalty."

About that delay...

As many wonder just where the OIG report is after supposedly being "finished" for a while, the Washington Examiner 's Chief political correspondent, Byron York, offers some keen insight (tweeted before details of the draft were leaked):

• Byron York
A series of tweets on what to expect from the much-anticipated inspector general report on DOJ/FBI handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation... 1/
10:42 AM - Jun 6, 2018


• Byron York

First, looks like it might be delayed yet again. Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a June 5 hearing to discuss IG report.

After delay, had to be rescheduled for next Monday, June 11.

Now looks like might be delayed again.
10:42 AM-Jun 6, 2018


• Byron York

Why delays? Feet are clearly being dragged. There are snags over classified information. Also, and this is intriguing: appears in last several weeks IG got new information, interviewed new witnesses. Could have contributed to delay. Don't know what it's about. 3/

10:43 AM-Jun6, 2018


Byron York

@ByronYork

Replying to @ByronYork

So, when IG report is finally released-looking like mid-June -- what will it cover? Don't know its conclusions, but here are some subjects you can expect to be reading about: 4/

10:43 AM-Jun 6, 2018

• Byron York

Expect discussion of 6/27/16 Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton meeting on tarmac in Arizona. IG has done extensive investigation.

What was said? What were the intentions of those involved? Expect it to be covered carefully. 5/

10:44 AM-Jun 6, 2018


• Byron York

Expect discussion of James Comey's decision to begin drafting an exoneration memo for Hillary Clinton long before the FBI had even interviewed her, or at least a dozen other key figures in the case.

Also: Why hand out so much immunity? 6/
10:45 AM-Jun6, 2018

• Byron York

Expect discussion of Comey's intentions when he announced reopening of Clinton investigation on 10/28/16, shortly before election day. Democrats specifically asked IG to investigate that.

10:45 AM-Jun 6, 2018


• Byron York

Expect discussion of what Andrew McCabe did when he first learned about existence of Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop in early October 2016. Did he sit on information? If so, why? What did Comey know? 8/
10:46 AM-Jun 6, 2018

• Byron York

Expect discussion on rationale for Comey's controversial 7/5/16 statement announcing no charges would be filed against Clinton.

To say it was unorthodox would be an understatement. What was he doing? 9/

10:46 AM-Jun 6, 2018


• Byron York

Expect discussion of Lynch's refusal to recuse herself from investigation or to appoint special counsel. Plus, look for discussion of why McCabe waited so long to recuse himself
even after public reporting of Clinton-related political contributions to his wife. 10/
10:47 AM-Jun6, 2018


• Byron York

Finally, don't expect to learn much new about McCabe 'lack of candor' situation re: leaks.

Not clear whether IG will reveal much beyond what has already been released in wake of McCabe firing. End/
10:48 AM-Jun 6, 2018



ejmoosa -> sheikurbootie Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:00 Permalink

Comey is an example of the "Peter Principle" for today's snowflake generation.

nope-1004 -> ejmoosa Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:05 Permalink

Comey to illustrate blasphemy by quoting scripture in 3, 2, 1.....

Joe Davola -> espirit Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

Also, and this is intriguing: appears in last several weeks IG got new information, interviewed new witnesses. Could have contributed to delay. Don't know what it's about.

How many more new witnesses with new information will crawl out of the woodwork at the most opportune moment to delay releasing the report. I'm guessing they interviewed McCabe's hairdresser at Sport Clips to see which direction he combs.

Jack McGriff -> Joe Davola Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

"Slippery" James Comey sounds about right ... branded for life now just like "Crooked" Hillary Clinton.

LMAO

Keyser -> Jack McGriff Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:12 Permalink

If the strongest language in this report to describe Comey's actions is merely "insubordinate" and "defied authority", then it's a big, fat, nothingburger... Not a GD thing is going to happen, lift rug, sweep vigorously...

Joe Davola -> Keyser Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:15 Permalink

If the blue team leaked this, then they're trying to get ahead of damaging information. If it's the red team, then you're right Keyser and a behind the scenes agreement has been reached letting both teams off the hook for some unleaked transgression.

GreatUncle -> Joe Davola Wed, 06/06/2018 - 14:20 Permalink

No matter what anybody wants I don't think there is a cat in hells chance of anybody being jailed.

Muddy1 -> Joe Davola Wed, 06/06/2018 - 14:27 Permalink

"Expect discussion of what Andrew McCabe did when he first learned about existence of Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop in early October 2016. Did he sit on information"

I wouldn't sit on anything related to Weiner or his LAPtop.

Hippocratic Oaf -> Muddy1 Wed, 06/06/2018 - 14:58 Permalink

Nothing will happen. The corrupt will walk away with a hand-slap, write 3 books and retire multi-millionaires. The new normal.

Jim in MN -> Hippocratic Oaf Wed, 06/06/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

Expect NO discussion of Seth Rich.

DosZap -> espirit Wed, 06/06/2018 - 17:04 Permalink

POTUS can FIRE ANYONE in the DOJ, and THE FBI he wants to for ANY reason, HE doesn't even have to GIVE ONE!.

loveyajimbo -> DosZap Wed, 06/06/2018 - 23:33 Permalink

Then WTF is he thinking in keeping the corrupt maggot Sessions on as AG???

Joe Davola -> E.F. Mutton Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:16 Permalink

A lot of water muddying today - and it's being stirred from a lot of seemingly unrelated directions. Distract and confuse, great ploys - now who benefits more is the most likely source of today's leafletting.

1777 -> MasterPo Wed, 06/06/2018 - 15:38 Permalink

Nothing going to happen! Notta... Zilch... Zero... The swamp gets deeper! Enjoy.

The only thing that IS happening is more illegals running across the border. And more Debt pilling up! etc...etc...

Eeesh -> MasterPo Wed, 06/06/2018 - 23:48 Permalink

Your lips to God's ears! This is ridiculous! Insubordinate? That's it? 90% of the people in DC need a good wearing out with a belt! This politically correct nonsense has to end. Call it what it is you lily-livered pansies! It's treason and sedition. It's a den of snakes!

You want to see America bounce back as a strong and proud nation? START HANDING OUT REAL PUNISHMENT! Otherwise, it will be the same old sleazy crap over and over again.

Zerogenous_Zone -> Joe Davola Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:26 Permalink

agree...that's why we need to stay diligent and demand the proper dissemination of the impartial facts...

with McCabe seeking immunity...and Comey playing 'Patriot'...and Brennon being and old lair...and Clapper portraying all previous actions were 'honorable'...we have to ask ourselves a question...

who takes the fall, or who spills the beans?!

time to pop some corn and weave the rope!!

Joe Davola -> Zerogenous_Zone Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:42 Permalink

Anything I hear/see involving Clapper and Brennan I figure is a fictitious psyop. Brian Cox and Albert Finney already portrayed them in the Bourne films.

venturen -> Zerogenous_Zone Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:17 Permalink

You know they had ONE BOSS.....who should be indicted.....OBAMA!

DosZap -> Zerogenous_Zone Wed, 06/06/2018 - 17:12 Permalink

SEVERAL Ex FBI agents and current FBI Agents are BEGGING to be subpoenaed, WHY hasn't this happened, THEY want this MESS OUT in the open, yet TRUMP does nothing?. I would have Congress do it asap, under OATH and with Criminal repercussions. Horowitz is a EUNUCH.

ParkAveFlasher -> ejmoosa Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:11 Permalink

Regarding "Peter Principle", you are assuming his ascendancy was based on competency.

homiegot -> ParkAveFlasher Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:21 Permalink

Peter Principle applies to the entire Federal government.

south40_dreams -> ParkAveFlasher Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:24 Permalink

He was a competent thug

ParkAveFlasher -> south40_dreams Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:27 Permalink

Right, I would say this is reverse Peter Principle.

Blankenstein -> south40_dreams Wed, 06/06/2018 - 15:28 Permalink

Exactly. That's why Lockheed Martin paid him $6 million a year. Does anyone think they hired him for his abilities as an attorney when he lacked any experience in corporate law? Then he went on to Ray Dalio's Bridgewater associates. Wonder how much they paid him there. What experience did he have for working as an attorney for a hedge fund?

Then he leaves these extremely lucrative jobs to go back to government at $170,00 a year.

Sounds legit.

Got The Wrong No -> ejmoosa Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:14 Permalink

I'd be insubordinate too if Satan's Slut Hillary was breathing hellfire down my neck. Comey probably likes living as much as the rest of us. Now that the noose is getting tighter, will he give up the slut???? Hopefully a few of these pukes will turn on her in unison. The Magical Homo will be tougher to snare.

Anunnaki -> Got The Wrong No Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:38 Permalink

Obama is more guilty. He knew the FISA warrant was bogus and did it any way. Even his wife, Mike, warned him their could be repercussions.

Per Ed Klein's book All Out War

Distant_Star -> ejmoosa Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:09 Permalink

The former ever-so-sanctimonious FBI Director, classified document leaker and Clinton water boy Jimmy Comey was "Insubordinate?" Who could have guessed? But remember, Trump fired the asswipe in order to "obstruct justice." Jail Jimmy without delay.

While we are on the subject, this shows you the type of "friends" that Saint Mueller keeps.

Posa -> ejmoosa Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:17 Permalink

If reports are true, then IG Horowitz is fudging Coney-Lynch's real crimes; namely the events leading up to the July whitewash of Killary which include drafting the exoneration letter before interviewing Clinton, twisting the facts to decriminalize Clinton's offenses and pressuring FBI agents to alter reports regarding the Clinton investigation.

If the IG brushes past these matters, whatever else he says is worthless. Just tarnishes Comey's image a tad bit and will be forgotten.

chubbar -> ejmoosa • Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:25 Permalink

This sounds like they are trying to decriminalize Comey's actions, not indict him. How the fuck does the headline equate to a criminal charge? Maybe they (OIG) are trying to let this asshole off the hook? What's he going to get? A severe tongue lashing because he was insubordinate?

[Jun 06, 2018] The Privilege of an Education

Notable quotes:
"... At this point, I'm wondering whether life was easier in the old days, when you could buy a spot in the elite university of your choice with cold cash. Then I remind myself that Grandfather lasted only one year at Yale. In those days, the Ivies kicked you out if you weren't ready for action. Today, you have to self-combust in a newsworthy way before they show you the door. ..."
"... Excellent Sheep ..."
"... The Price of Admission ..."
"... In the United States, the premium that college graduates earn over their non-college-educated peers in young adulthood exceeds 70 percent. ..."
"... All of this comes before considering the all-consuming difference between "good" schools and the rest. Ten years after starting college, according to data from the Department of Education, the top decile of earners from all schools had a median salary of $68,000 . But the top decile from the 10 highest-earning colleges raked in $220,000 -- make that $250,000 for No. 1, Harvard -- and the top decile at the next 30 colleges took home $157,000. (Not surprisingly, the top 10 had an average acceptance rate of 9 percent, and the next 30 were at 19 percent.) ..."
"... But the fact is that degree holders earn so much more than the rest not primarily because they are better at their job, but because they mostly take different categories of jobs. Well over half of Ivy League graduates, for instance, typically go straight into one of four career tracks that are generally reserved for the well educated: finance, management consulting, medicine, or law. To keep it simple, let's just say that there are two types of occupations in the world: those whose members have collective influence in setting their own pay, and those whose members must face the music on their own. It's better to be a member of the first group. Not surprisingly, that is where you will find the college crowd. ..."
"... The candy-hurling godfather of today's meritocratic class, of course, is the financial-services industry. Americans now turn over $1 of every $12 in GDP to the financial sector; in the 1950s, the bankers were content to keep only $1 out of $40. ..."
"... It isn't a coincidence that the education premium surged during the same years that membership in trade unions collapsed. In 1954, 28 percent of all workers were members of trade unions, but by 2017 that figure was down to 11 percent. ..."
"... Education -- the thing itself , not the degree -- is always good. A genuine education opens minds and makes good citizens. It ought to be pursued for the sake of society . In our unbalanced system, however, education has been reduced to a private good, justifiable only by the increments in graduates' paychecks. Instead of uniting and enriching us, it divides and impoverishes. ..."
"... If the system can be gamed, well then, our ability to game the system has become the new test of merit. ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | newrepublic.com

My 16-year-old daughter is sitting on a couch, talking with a stranger about her dreams for the future. We're here, ominously enough, because, she says, "all my friends are doing it." For a moment, I wonder whether we have unintentionally signed up for some kind of therapy. The professional woman in the smart-casual suit throws me a pointed glance and says, "It's normal to be anxious at a time like this." She really does see herself as a therapist of sorts. But she does not yet seem to know that the source of my anxiety is the idea of shelling out for a $12,000 "base package" of college-counseling services whose chief purpose is apparently to reduce my anxiety. Determined to get something out of this trial counseling session, I push for recommendations on summer activities. We leave with a tip on a 10-day "cultural tour" of France for high schoolers. In the college-application business, that's what's known as an "enrichment experience." When we get home, I look it up. The price of enrichment: $11,000 for the 10 days.

That's when I hear the legend of the SAT whisperer. If you happen to ride through the yellow-brown valleys of the California coast, past the designer homes that sprout wherever tech unicorns sprinkle their golden stock offerings, you might come across him. His high-school classmates still remember him, almost four decades later, as one of the child wonders of the age. Back then, he and his equally precocious siblings showed off their preternatural verbal and musical talents on a local television program. Now his clients fly him around the state for test-prep sessions with their 16-year-olds. You can hire him for $750, plus transportation, per two-hour weekend session. (There is a weekday discount.) Some of his clients book him every week for a year.

Affirmative-action programs are to some degree an extension of the system of wealth preservation. They indulge rich people in the belief that their college is open to all.

At this point, I'm wondering whether life was easier in the old days, when you could buy a spot in the elite university of your choice with cold cash. Then I remind myself that Grandfather lasted only one year at Yale. In those days, the Ivies kicked you out if you weren't ready for action. Today, you have to self-combust in a newsworthy way before they show you the door.

Inevitably, I begin rehearsing the speech for my daughter. It's perfectly possible to lead a meaningful life without passing through a name-brand college, I'm going to say. We love you for who you are. We're not like those tacky strivers who want a back-windshield sticker to testify to our superior parenting skills. And why would you want to be an investment banker or a corporate lawyer anyway? But I refrain from giving the speech, knowing full well that it will light up her parental-bullshit detector like a pair of khakis on fire.

The skin colors of the nation's elite student bodies are more varied now, as are their genders, but their financial bones have calcified over the past 30 years. In 1985, 54 percent of students at the 250 most selective colleges came from families in the bottom three quartiles of the income distribution. A similar review of the class of 2010 put that figure at just 33 percent. According to a 2017 study, 38 elite colleges -- among them five of the Ivies -- had more students from the top 1 percent than from the bottom 60 percent . In his 2014 book, Excellent Sheep , William Deresiewicz, a former English professor at Yale, summed up the situation nicely: "Our new multiracial, gender-neutral meritocracy has figured out a way to make itself hereditary."

The wealthy can also draw on a variety of affirmative-action programs designed just for them. As Daniel Golden points out in The Price of Admission , legacy-admissions policies reward those applicants with the foresight to choose parents who attended the university in question. Athletic recruiting, on balance and contrary to the popular wisdom, also favors the wealthy, whose children pursue lacrosse, squash, fencing, and the other cost-intensive sports at which private schools and elite public schools excel. And, at least among members of the 0.1 percent, the old-school method of simply handing over some of Daddy's cash has been making a comeback. ( Witness Jared Kushner, Harvard graduate .)

The mother lode of all affirmative-action programs for the wealthy, of course, remains the private school. Only 2.2 percent of the nation's students graduate from nonsectarian private high schools, and yet these graduates account for 26 percent of students at Harvard and 28 percent of students at Princeton. The other affirmative-action programs, the kind aimed at diversifying the look of the student body, are no doubt well intended. But they are to some degree merely an extension of this system of wealth preservation. Their function, at least in part, is to indulge rich people in the belief that their college is open to all on the basis of merit.

The plummeting admission rates of the very top schools nonetheless leave many of the children of the 9.9 percent facing long odds. But not to worry, junior 9.9 percenters! We've created a new range of elite colleges just for you. Thanks to ambitious university administrators and the ever-expanding rankings machine at U.S. News & World Report , 50 colleges are now as selective as Princeton was in 1980, when I applied. The colleges seem to think that piling up rejections makes them special. In fact, it just means that they have collectively opted to deploy their massive, tax-subsidized endowments to replicate privilege rather than fulfill their duty to produce an educated public.

The only thing going up as fast as the rejection rates at selective colleges is the astounding price of tuition. Measured relative to the national median salary, tuition and fees at top colleges more than tripled from 1963 to 2013. Throw in the counselors, the whisperers, the violin lessons, the private schools, and the cost of arranging for Junior to save a village in Micronesia, and it adds up. To be fair, financial aid closes the gap for many families and keeps the average cost of college from growing as fast as the sticker price. But that still leaves a question: Why are the wealthy so keen to buy their way in?

The short answer, of course, is that it's worth it.

In the United States, the premium that college graduates earn over their non-college-educated peers in young adulthood exceeds 70 percent. The return on education is 50 percent higher than what it was in 1950, and is significantly higher than the rate in every other developed country. In Norway and Denmark, the college premium is less than 20 percent; in Japan, it is less than 30 percent; in France and Germany, it's about 40 percent.

All of this comes before considering the all-consuming difference between "good" schools and the rest. Ten years after starting college, according to data from the Department of Education, the top decile of earners from all schools had a median salary of $68,000 . But the top decile from the 10 highest-earning colleges raked in $220,000 -- make that $250,000 for No. 1, Harvard -- and the top decile at the next 30 colleges took home $157,000. (Not surprisingly, the top 10 had an average acceptance rate of 9 percent, and the next 30 were at 19 percent.)

It is entirely possible to get a good education at the many schools that don't count as "good" in our brand-obsessed system. But the "bad" ones really are bad for you. For those who made the mistake of being born to the wrong parents, our society offers a kind of virtual education system. It has places that look like colleges -- but aren't really. It has debt -- and that, unfortunately, is real. The people who enter into this class hologram do not collect a college premium; they wind up in something more like indentured servitude.

So what is the real source of this premium for a "good education" that we all seem to crave?

One of the stories we tell ourselves is that the premium is the reward for the knowledge and skills the education provides us. Another, usually unfurled after a round of drinks, is that the premium is a reward for the superior cranial endowments we possessed before setting foot on campus. We are, as some sociologists have delicately put it, a "cognitive elite."

Behind both of these stories lies one of the founding myths of our meritocracy. One way or the other, we tell ourselves, the rising education premium is a direct function of the rising value of meritorious people in a modern economy. That is, not only do the meritorious get ahead, but the rewards we receive are in direct proportion to our merit.

But the fact is that degree holders earn so much more than the rest not primarily because they are better at their job, but because they mostly take different categories of jobs. Well over half of Ivy League graduates, for instance, typically go straight into one of four career tracks that are generally reserved for the well educated: finance, management consulting, medicine, or law. To keep it simple, let's just say that there are two types of occupations in the world: those whose members have collective influence in setting their own pay, and those whose members must face the music on their own. It's better to be a member of the first group. Not surprisingly, that is where you will find the college crowd.

why do America's doctors make twice as much as those of other wealthy countries? Given that the United States has placed dead last five times running in the Commonwealth Fund's ranking of health-care systems in high-income countries, it's hard to argue that they are twice as gifted at saving lives. Dean Baker, a senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has a more plausible suggestion : "When economists like me look at medicine in America -- whether we lean left or right politically -- we see something that looks an awful lot like a cartel." Through their influence on the number of slots at medical schools, the availability of residencies, the licensing of foreign-trained doctors, and the role of nurse practitioners, physicians' organizations can effectively limit the competition their own members face -- and that is exactly what they do.

Lawyers (or at least a certain elite subset of them) have apparently learned to play the same game. Even after the collapse of the so-called law-school bubble, America's lawyers are No. 1 in international salary rankings and earn more than twice as much, on average, as their wig-toting British colleagues. The University of Chicago law professor Todd Henderson, writing for Forbes in 2016, offered a blunt assessment : "The American Bar Association operates a state-approved cartel."

Similar occupational licensing schemes provide shelter for the meritorious in a variety of other sectors. The policy researchers Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles detail the mechanisms in The Captured Economy . Dentists' offices, for example, have a glass ceiling that limits what dental hygienists can do without supervision, keeping their bosses in the 9.9 percent. Copyright and patent laws prop up profits and salaries in the education-heavy pharmaceutical, software, and entertainment sectors. These arrangements are trifles, however, compared with what's on offer in tech and finance, two of the most powerful sectors of the economy.

By now we're thankfully done with the tech-sector fairy tales in which whip-smart cowboys innovate the heck out of a stodgy status quo. The reality is that five monster companies -- you know the names -- are worth about $3.5 trillion combined, and represent more than 40 percent of the market capital on the nasdaq stock exchange. Much of the rest of the technology sector consists of virtual entities waiting patiently to feed themselves to these beasts.

Let's face it: This is Monopoly money with a smiley emoji. Our society figured out some time ago how to deal with companies that attempt to corner the market on viscous substances like oil. We don't yet know what to do with the monopolies that arise out of networks and scale effects in the information marketplace. Until we do, the excess profits will stick to those who manage to get closest to the information honeypot. You can be sure that these people will have a great deal of merit.

The candy-hurling godfather of today's meritocratic class, of course, is the financial-services industry. Americans now turn over $1 of every $12 in GDP to the financial sector; in the 1950s, the bankers were content to keep only $1 out of $40. The game is more sophisticated than a two-fisted money grab, but its essence was made obvious during the 2008 financial crisis. The public underwrites the risks; the financial gurus take a seat at the casino; and it's heads they win, tails we lose. The financial system we now have is not a product of nature. It has been engineered, over decades, by powerful bankers, for their own benefit and for that of their posterity.

Who is not in on the game? Auto workers, for example. Caregivers. Retail workers. Furniture makers. Food workers. The wages of American manufacturing and service workers consistently hover in the middle of international rankings. The exceptionalism of American compensation rates comes to an end in the kinds of work that do not require a college degree.

You see, when educated people with excellent credentials band together to advance their collective interest, it's all part of serving the public good by ensuring a high quality of service, establishing fair working conditions, and giving merit its due. That's why we do it through "associations," and with the assistance of fellow professionals wearing white shoes. When working-class people do it -- through unions -- it's a violation of the sacred principles of the free market. It's thuggish and anti-modern. Imagine if workers hired consultants and "compensation committees," consisting of their peers at other companies, to recommend how much they should be paid. The result would be -- well, we know what it would be, because that's what CEOs do.

It isn't a coincidence that the education premium surged during the same years that membership in trade unions collapsed. In 1954, 28 percent of all workers were members of trade unions, but by 2017 that figure was down to 11 percent.

Education -- the thing itself , not the degree -- is always good. A genuine education opens minds and makes good citizens. It ought to be pursued for the sake of society . In our unbalanced system, however, education has been reduced to a private good, justifiable only by the increments in graduates' paychecks. Instead of uniting and enriching us, it divides and impoverishes. Which is really just a way of saying that our worthy ideals of educational opportunity are ultimately no match for the tidal force of the Gatsby Curve. The metric that has tracked the rising college premium with the greatest precision is -- that's right -- intergenerational earnings elasticity, or IGE. Across countries, the same correlation obtains: the higher the college premium, the lower the social mobility.

As I'm angling all the angles for my daughter's college applications -- the counselor is out, and the SAT whisperer was never going to happen -- I realize why this delusion of merit is so hard to shake. If I -- I mean, she -- can pull this off, well, there's the proof that we deserve it! If the system can be gamed, well then, our ability to game the system has become the new test of merit.

So go ahead and replace the SATs with shuffleboard on the high seas, or whatever you want. Who can doubt that we'd master that game, too? How quickly would we convince ourselves of our absolute entitlement to the riches that flow directly and tangibly from our shuffling talent? How soon before we perfected the art of raising shuffleboard wizards? Would any of us notice or care which way the ship was heading?

Let's suppose that some of us do look up. We see the iceberg. Will that induce us to diminish our exertions in supreme child-rearing? The grim truth is that, as long as good parenting and good citizenship are in conflict, we're just going to pack a few more violins for the trip.

[Jun 06, 2018] Under the immense pressure of the Gatsby Curve, American democracy was on the ropes. The people in charge were the people with the money. Ultimately, what the moneymen of the 1920s wanted is what moneymen always want. And their servants delivered. The Calvin Coolidge administration passed a huge tax cut in 1926, making sure that everyone could go home with his winnings. The rich seemed to think they had nothing else to worry about -- until October 1929.

Jun 06, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

For months, Colonel Robert W. Stewart dodged the subpoenas. He was in Mexico or South America, undertaking business negotiations so sensitive that revealing his precise location would jeopardize the national interest, or so said his lawyer. Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana at last dragged the lawyer to the stand and presented him with clippings from the gossip columns of the Havana newspapers, complete with incriminating photographs. The Colonel, always known to appreciate a good horse, was apparently quite the fixture at the Jockey Club. His smile had also flashed for the cameras at an impressive round of luncheons and dinners, and an evening ball at the Havana Yacht Club.

When the senators finally roped the Colonel in for questioning about those shell-company bonds that had spread like bedbugs through the political ecosystem, he let them know just who was in charge. "I do not think that the line of interrogation by this committee is within the jurisdiction of the committee under the laws of the United States," he declared. Even so, he added, as if proffering a favor, he did not "personally receive any of these bonds." Which was not, on any ordinary construction of the English language, true.

The twilight of the fabled Stewart dynasty was not glorious. A fancy lawyer got the Colonel "aquibbled" from charges of contempt, as one journalist sneered, but Rockefeller Jr. wasn't ready to forgive him the public-relations fiasco. After an epic but futile battle for the hearts of shareholders, the Colonel hung up his spurs and retreated for life to the family compound in Nantucket.

None of which changed the reality that the Teapot Dome scandal, with its bribes and kickbacks and sweetheart deals for rich oilmen, made plain. Under the immense pressure of the Gatsby Curve, American democracy was on the ropes. The people in charge were the people with the money. Ultimately, what the moneymen of the 1920s wanted is what moneymen always want. And their servants delivered. The Calvin Coolidge administration passed a huge tax cut in 1926, making sure that everyone could go home with his winnings. The rich seemed to think they had nothing else to worry about -- until October 1929.

Where were the 90 percent during these acts of plunder? An appreciable number of them could be found at Ku Klux Klan rallies. And as far as the most vocal (though not necessarily the largest) part of the 90 percent was concerned, America's biggest problems were all due to the mooching hordes of immigrants. You know, the immigrants whose grandchildren have come to believe that America's biggest problems now are all due to the mooching hordes of immigrants.

The toxic wave of wealth concentration that arose in the Gilded Age and crested in the 1920s finally crashed on the shoals of depression and war. Today we like to think that the social-welfare programs that were planted by the New Deal and that blossomed in the postwar era were the principal drivers of a new equality. But the truth is that those efforts belong more to the category of effects than causes. Death and destruction were the real agents of change. The financial collapse knocked the wealthy back several steps, and war empowered labor -- above all working women.

That gilded, roaring surge of destruction was by no means the first such destabilizing wave of inequality to sweep through American history. In the first half of the 19th century, the largest single industry in the United States, measured in terms of both market capital and employment, was the enslavement (and the breeding for enslavement) of human beings. Over the course of the period, the industry became concentrated to the point where fewer than 4,000 families (roughly 0.1 percent of the households in the nation) owned about a quarter of this "human capital," and another 390,000 (call it the 9.9 percent, give or take a few points) owned all of the rest.

The slaveholding elite were vastly more educated, healthier, and had much better table manners than the overwhelming majority of their fellow white people, never mind the people they enslaved. They dominated not only the government of the nation, but also its media, culture, and religion. Their votaries in the pulpits and the news networks were so successful in demonstrating the sanctity and beneficence of the slave system that millions of impoverished white people with no enslaved people to call their own conceived of it as an honor to lay down their life in the system's defense.

That wave ended with 620,000 military deaths, and a lot of property damage. It did level the playing field in the American South for a time -- though the process began to reverse itself all too swiftly.

The United States, to be clear, is hardly the most egregious offender in the annals of human inequality. The European nations from which the colonists of North America emigrated had known a degree of inequality and instability that Americans would take more than a century to replicate. Whether in ancient Rome or the Near East, Asia or South America, the plot remains the same. In The Great Leveler , the historian Walter Scheidel makes a disturbingly good case that inequality has reliably ended only in catastrophic violence: wars, revolutions, the collapse of states, or plagues and other disasters. It's a depressing theory. Now that a third wave of American inequality appears to be cresting, how much do we want to bet that it's not true?

The belief in our own novelty is one of the defining characteristics of our class. It mostly means that we don't know our predecessors very well. I had long assumed that the Colonel was descended from a long line of colonels, each passing down his immense sense of entitlement to the next. Aunt Sarah's propaganda was more effective than I knew.

Robert W. Stewart was born in 1866 on a small farm in Iowa and raised on the early mornings and long hours of what Paul Henry Giddens, a historian of Standard Oil of Indiana, politely describes as "very modest circumstances." The neighbors, seeing that the rough-cut teenager had something special, pitched in to send him to tiny Coe College, in the meatpacking town of Cedar Rapids. It would be hard not to believe that the urgent need to win at everything was already driving the train when the scholarship boy arrived at Yale Law School a few years later. The flashbulbs at the Havana Yacht Club captured a pose that was perhaps first glimpsed in a scratchy mirror somewhere in the silent plains of the Midwest.

[Jun 06, 2018] Top 10 percent of US households control nearly 75 percent of all wealth Average Americans pretend to be temporarily embarrassed millionaires by going further into debt

Top ten percent are millionaires. you need approximately 1,2 million dollars of net worth to get into this category. United States Net Worth Brackets, Percentiles, and Top One Percent - DQYDJ
Jun 06, 2018 | www.mybudget360.com

We currently exist in a land of financial contradictions. US household incomes adjusting for inflation are back to levels last seen in the late 1980s. However, holiday spending is going strongly largely by people going into big debt . Many are going to be paying for the holiday season of 2013 deep into years to come. More troubling than spending via debt is the record level of wealth inequality in the United States.

We would need to go back to the Gilded Age to find similar levels of wealth inequality.

The latest data shows that roughly 75 percent of the financial wealth in America is held in the hands of the top 10 percent of households. Or to invert this, 25 percent of all US wealth is divided up amongst the bottom 90 percent of the population.

Wealth is the true measure of financial stability. It used to be the case that housing was the one safe store of wealth for Americans but Wall Street has hijacked this asset class and has converted it to another commodity to speculate on. Yet by looking at spending habits and financial behavior many Americans think they are simply temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

They act against their own interests while wealth inequality rages on.

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