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Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
and Alliance of Transnational Elites

Neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization

Who Rules America > Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism

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Fifth Column of Globalization Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries US Department of Imperial Expansion Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions EuroMaidan The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Narcissism as Key American Value
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Introduction

All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education, by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.

Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS

Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig

The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and/or official are corrupted, and/or the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install). They use the installed puppets to mandate austerity, burden the country with debt  and facilitate condition under which most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West.

But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):

After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interests. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant) or by arming and training  jihadists (using Saudi and Gulf monarchies money) and tribal elements to depose the government (Libya and Syria variants) who kill as much, if nor more. 

A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine,  Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece. 

In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)

In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse, imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilize the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.

This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperialist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions.

This ambitious power project centered on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.

...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.

...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model.

In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenda, limits the possible outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.

In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.

Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.

The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both  population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or.

So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil"  escape the current plato,  Western financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival.  Essentially they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability.  That connection was discovered by Hyman Minsky. Minsky explored a form of instability that is embedded in neoliberal/financialized economies resulting from the use of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. he argued that such an economy automatically generates bubbles, bursting of which result in periodic deep economic crisis. Which are not an exception, but a feature of neoliberal capitalism (aka "supercapitalism", or "casino capitalism).  

When Minsky crisis hits  some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony...  Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves thus serves as a substitute for economic growth.

What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. For example after EuroMaydan color revolution the standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level of the most poor countries of Africa  (less then $2 a day for the majority of population).

This is a pretty instructive example.   It qlso cur domestic consumption of fuels and minerals, consumer goods, and food.  As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced them directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages). But the currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. For example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 28 grivna to dollar, or approximately 350%.

This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” (facilitated by a huge foreign debt) to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy. This is the essence of the status of debt slave country. Civil war it a perfect tool to accelerate this process. 

Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar now can be called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that is a grim reality of "debt slave" countries, where populations are indentured laborers of international capital. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender" ( Wikipedia ):

An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.

The whole point of creating debt is to gain control of and rule over such countries.  Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this point admirably.

At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, all rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.

Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia

Henry C K Liu Views

One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM


PART 1: A Structural Link

Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).

Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.

Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".

The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.

The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.

Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.

A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.

In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.

Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.

Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.

Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.

Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).

Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism:

"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).

Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.

The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.

Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire.

No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.

Monetary Imperialism and Dollar Hegemony

Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for  international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.

Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.

The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.

The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.

Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.

The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.

Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.

Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.

Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.

The victimization of Japan and China

Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.

China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.

The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.

Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.

Emerging markets are new colonies of monetary imperialism

Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.

Denial of corporate social responsibility

In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.

Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.

Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.

Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.

Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".

Marx's concept of Fetishism of Commodities

Marx wrote in Das Kapital:[1]

The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.
Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.

Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.

Democracy threatened by the corporate state

While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.

Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.

High pay for CEOs

Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.

Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.

The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)

Superman capitalism

As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.

Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.

System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.

An introduction to economic populism

To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".

The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.

And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."

Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.

Inequality only a new worry?

But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.

It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.

The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.

Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.

Carter the granddaddy of deregulation

The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.

The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.

Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.

Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.

After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.

In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.

Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.

Reagan's anti-government fixation

The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.

Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.

According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.

Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.

Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".

Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".

Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.

The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.

Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.

Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.

Clinton and telecommunications deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.

Regulation Q

The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.

The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.

The party of Lincoln taken over by corporate interests

During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.

New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.

Note
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.

Next: PART 2: Global war on labor

Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.

Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu

Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]

William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.

Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.

Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.

In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."

The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.

Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...

Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)

Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal, May 24, 2006

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This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)

Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)

It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.

The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.

It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.

The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.

In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."

I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.

Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.

If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.

If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.

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Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

An awkward argument with moments of brilliance, November 3, 2004

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Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.

Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.

What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.

The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".

I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.

And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?

My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.

It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.

The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.

Samuel Brittan: The wrong kind of Third Way

FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.

During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.

It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.

Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.

But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".

Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".

I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.

Supercapitalism The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy, September 17, 2007

By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)

According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.

Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."

As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.

This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.

The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.

Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.

It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.

I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.

Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us

Aftershock The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:

"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.

Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.

Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:

"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."

I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.

His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.

This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.

Finance is a form of imperial warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.

The Great Deception

In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.

Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.

Trade for life

Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.

The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.

Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.

His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.

Web of Deceit

In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.

Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.

Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.

Unpeople

In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.

Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.

Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.

Alliance of transnational elites

From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.

While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.

Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti

Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti

By Michael Parenti

24 June, 2011
Michaelparenti.org

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

Across the Entire Globe

By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.

The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.

Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.

The Dynamic of Capital Expansion

Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.

Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.

Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.

North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.

Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.

Not Necessary, Just Compelling

Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.

The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.

Myths of Underdevelopment

The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.

The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.

Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.

We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.

What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.

More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.

It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.

Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.

This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.

Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.

Artificially Converted to Poverty

What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.

Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.

Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.

Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.

Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.

Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).

Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.

In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.

Development Theory

When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.

According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.

This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.

People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.

The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.

Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream

Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.

Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.

After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.

Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.

After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.

The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.

In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.

In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.

Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/


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[Mar 24, 2019] The manner in which Guccifer 2.0's English was broken, did not follow the typical errors one would expect if Guccifer 2.0's first language was Russian.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "After reading several articles, it seemed clear that key difficulties for Russians communicating in English include: definite and indefinite articles, the use of presuppositions and correct usage of say/tell and said/told. Throughout 2017, I constructed a corpus of Guccifer 2.0's communications and analyzed the frequency of different types of mistakes. The results of this work corroborate Professor Connolly's assessment. ..."
"... Overall, it appears Guccifer 2.0 could communicate in English quite well but chose to use inconsistently broken English at times in order to give the impression that it wasn't his primary language. The manner in which Guccifer 2.0's English was broken, did not follow the typical errors one would expect if Guccifer 2.0's first language was Russian. ..."
"... Access and motive . . .here are two who had both: Seth Rich and Imran Awan. That our fake news organizations have no interest in either, that should tell you something. ..."
Mar 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Tunga , 2 hours ago link

"I didn't really address the case that Russia hacked the DNC, content to stipulate it for now." - exce

The State Department paused its investigation of the Secretary's emails so as not to interfere with the Mueller investigation. Here we see Taibbi writes an exhaustive condemnation of the Western press while leaving out the very crux of the story, the very source of the stolen DNC emails was Clapper and Brennan pretending to be Guccifer 2.0.

Pitiful attempt at redemption there Matt. Seriously, go **** your self.

"After reading several articles, it seemed clear that key difficulties for Russians communicating in English include: definite and indefinite articles, the use of presuppositions and correct usage of say/tell and said/told. Throughout 2017, I constructed a corpus of Guccifer 2.0's communications and analyzed the frequency of different types of mistakes. The results of this work corroborate Professor Connolly's assessment.

Overall, it appears Guccifer 2.0 could communicate in English quite well but chose to use inconsistently broken English at times in order to give the impression that it wasn't his primary language. The manner in which Guccifer 2.0's English was broken, did not follow the typical errors one would expect if Guccifer 2.0's first language was Russian.

To date, Connolly's language study has not drawn any significant objections or criticism."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-25/guccifer-20-game-over-year-end-review-0

Any G Dala,

DNC emails were downloaded at 22.3Mbs, a speed which is not possible to achieve remotely, or even local. It is the exact download speed of a thumb drive.

All russian "fingerprints" were embedded in error codes, which had to be affirmatively copied. They were not an accident.

And please remind me, who exactly was it that examined the DNC servers and pointed at Russia?

Access and motive . . .here are two who had both: Seth Rich and Imran Awan. That our fake news organizations have no interest in either, that should tell you something.

[Mar 23, 2019] Killing for Credibility A Look Back at the 1999 NATO Air War on Serbia by Brett Wilkins

Mar 23, 2019 | original.antiwar.com

This month marks the 20th anniversary of Operation Allied Force, NATO's 78-day air war against Yugoslavia. It was a war waged as much against Serbian civilians – hundreds of whom perished – as it was against Slobodan Milošević's forces, and it was a campaign of breathtaking hypocrisy and selective outrage. More than anything, it was a war that by President Bill Clinton's own admission was fought for the sake of NATO's credibility.

One Man's Terrorist

Our story begins not in the war-torn Balkans of the 1990s but rather in the howling wilderness of Afghanistan at the end of the 1980s as defeated Soviet invaders withdrew from a decade of guerrilla warfare into the twilight of a once-mighty empire. The United States, which had provided arms, funding and training for the mujahideen fighters who had so bravely resisted the Soviet occupation, stopped supporting the jihadis as soon as the last Red Army units rolled across the Hairatan Bridge and back into the USSR. Afghanistan descended deeper into civil war.

The popular narrative posits that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network, Washington's former mujahideen allies, turned on the West after the US stationed hundreds of thousands of infidel troops in Saudi Arabia – home to two out of three of Sunni Islam's holiest sites – during Operation Desert Shield in 1990. Since then, the story goes, the relationship between the jihadists and their former benefactors has been one of enmity, characterized by sporadic terror attacks and fierce US retribution. The real story, however, is something altogether different.

From 1992 to 1995, the Pentagon flew thousands of al-Qaeda mujahideen, often accompanied by US Special Forces, from Central Asia to Europe to reinforce Bosnian Muslims as they fought Serbs to gain their independence from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Clinton administration armed and trained these fighters in flagrant violation of United Nations accords; weapons purchased by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran were secretly shipped to the jihadists via Croatia, which netted a hefty profit from each transaction. The official Dutch inquiry into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which thousands of Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb and Serbian paramilitary forces, concluded that the United States was "very closely involved" in these arms transfers.

When the Bosnian war ended in 1995 the United States was faced with the problem of thousands of Islamist warriors on European soil. Many of them joined the burgeoning Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which mainly consisted of ethnic Albanian Kosovars from what was still southwestern Yugoslavia. Emboldened by the success of the Slovenes, Croats, Macedonians and Bosnians who had won their independence from Belgrade as Yugoslavia literally balkanized, KLA fighters began to violently expel as many non-Albanians from Kosovo as they could. Roma, Jews, Turks and, above all, Serbs were all victims of Albanian ethnic cleansing.

The United States was initially very honest in its assessment of the KLA. Robert Gelbard, the US special envoy to Bosnia, called it "without any question a terrorist group." KLA backers allegedly included Osama bin Laden and other Islamic radicals; the group largely bankrolled its activities by trafficking heroin and sex slaves. The State Department accordingly added the KLA to its list of terrorist organizations in 1998.

However, despite all its nastiness the KLA endeared itself to Washington by fighting the defiant Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milošević. By this time Yugoslavia, once composed of eight nominally autonomous republics, had been reduced by years of bloody civil war to a rump of Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. To Serbs, the dominant ethnic group in what remained of the country, Kosovo is regarded as the very birthplace of their nation. Belgrade wasn't about to let it go without a fight and everyone knew it, especially the Clinton administration. Clinton's hypocrisy was immediately evident; when Chechnya fought for its independence from Moscow and Russian forces committed horrific atrocities in response, the American president called the war an internal Russian affair and barely criticized Russian President Boris Yeltsin. But when Milošević resorted to brute force in an attempt to prevent Yugoslavia from further fracturing, he soon found himself a marked man.

Although NATO called the KLA "the main initiator of the violence" in Kosovo and blasted "what appears to be a deliberate campaign of provocation" against the Serbs, the Clinton administration was nevertheless determined to attack the Milošević regime. US intelligence confirmed that the KLA was indeed provoking harsh retaliatory strikes by Serb forces in a bid to draw the United States and NATO into the conflict. President Clinton, however, apparently wasn't listening. The NATO powers, led by the United States, issued Milošević an ultimatum they knew he could never accept: allow NATO to occupy all of Kosovo and have free reign in Serbia as well. Assistant US Secretary of State James Rubin later admitted that "publicly we had to make clear we were seeking an agreement but privately we knew the chances of the Serbs agreeing were quite small."

Wagging the Dog?

In 1997 the film Wag the Dog debuted to rave reviews. The dark comedy concerns a Washington, DC spin doctor and a Hollywood producer who fabricate a fictional war in Albania to distract American voters from a presidential sex scandal. Many observers couldn't help but draw parallels between the film and the real-life events of 1998-99, which included the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Clinton's impeachment and a very real war brewing in the Balkans. As in Wag the Dog , there were exaggerated or completely fabricated tales of atrocities, and as in the film the US and NATO powers tried to sell their war as a humanitarian intervention. An attack on Yugoslavia, we were told, was needed to avert Serb ethnic cleansing of Albanians.

There were two main problems with this. First, there was no Serb ethnic cleansing of Albanian Kosovars until after NATO began mercilessly bombing Yugoslavia. The German government issued several reports confirming this. One, from October 1998, reads, in part:

The violent actions of the Yugoslav military and police since February 1998 were aimed at separatist activities and are no proof of a persecution of the whole Albanian ethnic group in Kosovo or a part of it. What was involved in the Yugoslav violent actions and excesses since February 1998 was a selective forcible action against the military underground movement (especially the KLA) A state program or persecution aimed at the whole ethnic group of Albanians exists neither now nor earlier.

Subsequent German government reports issued through the winter of 1999 tell a similar story. "Events since February and March 1998 do not evidence a persecution program based on Albanian ethnicity," stated one report released exactly one month before the NATO bombing started. "The measures taken by the armed Serbian forces are in the first instance directed toward combating the KLA and its supposed adherents and supporters."

While Serbs certainly did commit atrocities (especially after the ferocious NATO air campaign began), these were often greatly exaggerated by the Clinton administration and the US corporate mainstream media. Clinton claimed – and the media dutifully parroted – that 600,000 Albanians were "trapped within Kosovo lacking shelter, short of food, afraid to go home or buried in mass graves." This was completely false . US diplomat David Scheffer claimed that "225,000 ethnic Albanian men are missing, presumed dead." Again, a total fabrication . The FBI, International War Crimes Tribunal and global forensics experts flocked to Kosovo in droves after the NATO bombs stopped falling; the total number of victims they found was around 1 percent of the figure claimed by the United States.

However, once NATO attacked, the Serb response was predictably furious. Shockingly, NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark declared that the ensuing Serbian atrocities against the Albanian Kosovar population had been "fully anticipated" and were apparently of little concern to Washington. Not only did NATO and the KLA provoke a war with Yugoslavia, they did so knowing that many innocent civilians would be killed, maimed or displaced by the certain and severe reprisals carried out by enraged Serb forces. Michael McGwire, a former top NATO planner, acknowledged that "to describe the bombing as a humanitarian intervention is really grotesque."

Bloody Hypocrites

The other big problem with the US claiming it was attacking Yugoslavia on humanitarian grounds was that the Clinton administration had recently allowed – and was at the time allowing – far worse humanitarian catastrophes to rage without American intervention. More than 800,000 men, women and children were slaughtered while Clinton and other world leaders stood idly by during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The US also courted the medievally brutal Taliban regime in hopes of achieving stability in Afghanistan and with an eye toward building a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Clinton also did nothing to stop Russian forces from viciously crushing nationalist uprisings in the Caucuses, where Chechen rebels were fighting for their independence much the same as Albanian Kosovars were fighting the Serbs.

Colombia, the Western Hemisphere's leading recipient of US military and economic aid, was waging a fierce, decades-long campaign of terror against leftist insurgents and long-suffering indigenous peoples. Despite horrific brutality and pervasive human rights violations, US aid to Bogotá increased year after year. In Turkey, not only did Clinton do nothing to prevent government forces from committing widespread atrocities against Kurdish separatists, the administration positively encouraged its NATO ally with billions of dollars in loans and arms sales. Saudi Arabia, home to the most repressive fundamentalist regime this side of Afghanistan, was – and remains – a favored US ally despite having one of the world's worst human rights records. The list goes on and on.

Much closer to the conflict at hand, the United States tacitly approved the largest ethnic cleansing campaign in Europe since the Holocaust when as many as 200,000 Serbs were forcibly expelled from the Krajina region of Croatia by that country's US-trained military during Operation Storm in August 1995. Krajina Serbs had purged the region of its Croat minority four years earlier in their own ethnic cleansing campaign; now it was the Serbs' turn to be on the receiving end of the horror. Croatian forces stormed through Krajina, shelling towns and slaughtering innocent civilians. The sick and the elderly who couldn't escape were executed or burned alive in their homes as Croatian soldiers machine-gunned convoys of fleeing refugees.

"Painful for the Serbs"

Washington's selective indignation at Serb crimes both real and imagined is utterly inexcusable when held up to the horrific and seemingly indiscriminate atrocities committed during the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia. The prominent Australian journalist John Pilger noted that "in the attack on Serbia, 2 percent of NATO's missiles hit military targets, the rest hit hospitals, schools, factories, churches and broadcast studios." There is little doubt that US and allied warplanes and missiles were targeting the Serbian people as much as, or even more than, Serb forces. The bombing knocked out electricity in 70 percent of the country as well as much of its water supply.

NATO warplanes also deliberately bombed a building containing the headquarters of Serbian state television and radio in the middle of densely populated central Belgrade. The April 23, 1999 attack occurred without warning while 200 employees were at work in the building. Among the 16 people killed were a makeup artist, a cameraman, a program director, an editor and three security guards. There is no doubt that the attack was meant to demoralize the Serbian people. There is also no doubt that those who ordered the bombing knew exactly what outcome to expect: a NATO planning document viewed by Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac forecast as many as 350 deaths in the event of such an attack, with as many as 250 of the victims expected to be innocent civilians living in nearby apartments.

Allied commanders wanted to fight a "zero casualty war" in Yugoslavia. As in zero casualties for NATO forces, not the people they were bombing. "This will be painful for the Serbs," Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon sadistically predicted. It sure was. NATO warplanes flew sorties at 15,000 feet (4,500 meters), a safe height for the pilots. But this decreased accuracy and increased civilian casualties on the ground. One attack on central Belgrade mistakenly hit Dragiša Mišović hospital with a laser-guided "precision" bomb, obliterating an intensive care unit and destroying a children's ward while wounding several pregnant women who had the misfortune of being in labor at the time of the attack. Dragana Krstić, age 23, was recovering from cancer surgery – she just had a 10-pound (4.5 kg) tumor removed from her stomach – when the bombs blew jagged shards of glass into her neck and shoulders. "I don't know which hurts more," she lamented, "my stomach, my shoulder or my heart."

Dragiša Mišović wasn't the only hospital bombed by NATO. Cluster bombs dropped by fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force struck a hospital and a market in the city of Niš on May 7, killing 15 people and wounding 60 more. An emergency clinic and medical dispensary were also bombed in the mining town of Aleksinac on April 6, killing at least five people and wounding dozens more.

Bridges were favorite targets of NATO bombing. An international passenger train traveling from Belgrade to Thessaloniki, Greece was blown apart by two missiles as it crossed over Grdelica gorge on April 12. Children and a pregnant woman were among the 15 people killed in the attack; 16 other passengers were wounded. Allied commander Gen. Wesley Clark claimed the train, which had been damaged by the first missile, had been traveling too rapidly for the pilot to abort the second strike on the bridge. He then offered up a doctored video that was sped up more than three times so that the pilot's behavior would appear acceptable.

On May 1, at least 24 civilians, many of them children, were killed when NATO warplanes bombed a bridge in Lužane just as a bus was crossing. An ambulance rushing to the scene of the carnage was struck by a second bomb. On the sunny spring afternoon of May 30, a bridge over the Velika Morava River in the small town of Vavarin was bombed by low-flying German Air Force F-16 fighters while hundreds of local residents gathered nearby to celebrate an Orthodox Christian holiday. Eleven people died, most of them when the warplanes returned and bombed the people who rushed to the bridge to help those wounded in the first strike.

No One Is Safe

The horrors suffered by the villagers of Surdulica shows that no one in Serbia was safe from NATO's fury. They endured some 175 bombardments during one three-week period alone, with 50 houses destroyed and 600 others damaged in a town with only around 10,000 residents. On April 27, 20 civilians, including 12 children, died when bombs meant to destroy an army barracks slammed into a residential neighborhood. As many as 100 others were wounded in the incident. Tragedy befell the tiny town again on May 31 when NATO warplanes returned to bomb an ammunition depot but instead hit an old people's home; 23 civilians, most of them helpless elderly men and women, were blown to pieces. Dozens more were wounded. The US military initially said "there were no errant weapons" in the attack. However, Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre later testified before Congress that it "was a case of the pilot getting confused."

The CIA was also apparently confused when it relied on what it claimed was an outdated map to approve a Stealth Bomber strike on what turned out to be the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Three Chinese journalists were killed and 27 other people were wounded. Some people aren't so sure the attack was an accident – Britain's Observer later reported that the US deliberately bombed the embassy after discovering it was being used to transmit Yugoslav army communications.

There were plenty of other accidents, some of them horrifically tragic and others just downright bizarre. Two separate attacks on the very Albanians NATO was claiming to help killed 160 people, many of them women and children. On April 14, NATO warplanes bombed refugees along a 12-mile (19-km) stretch of road between the towns of Gjakova and Deçan in western Kosovo, killing 73 people including 16 children and wounding 36 more. Journalists reported a grisly scene of "bodies charred or blown to pieces, tractors reduced to twisted wreckage and houses in ruins." Exactly one month later, another column of refugees was bombed near Koriša, killing 87 – mostly women, children and the elderly – and wounding 60 others. In the downright bizarre category, a wildly errant NATO missile struck a residential neighborhood in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, some 40 miles (64 km) outside of Serbia. The American AGM-88 HARM missile blew the roof off of a man's house while he was shaving in his bathroom.

NATO's "Murderous Thugs"

As the people of Yugoslavia were being terrorized by NATO's air war, the terrorists of the Kosovo Liberation Army stepped up their atrocities against Serbs and Roma in Kosovo. NATO troops deployed there to keep the peace often failed to protect these people from the KLA's brutal campaign. More than 164,000 Serbs fled or were forcibly driven from the Albanian-dominated province and by the summer of 2001 KLA ethnic cleansing had rendered Kosovo almost entirely Albanian, with just a few die-hard Serb holdouts living in fear and surrounded by barbed wire.

The KLA soon expanded its war into neighboring Macedonia. Although NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson called the terror group "murderous thugs," the United States – now with George W. Bush as president – continued to offer its invaluable support. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice personally intervened in an attempt to persuade Ukraine to halt arms sales to the Macedonian army and when a group of 400 KLA fighters were surrounded at Aracinovo in June 2001, NATO ordered Macedonian forces to hold off their attack while a convoy of US Army vehicles rescued the besieged militants. It later emerged that 17 American military advisers were embedded with the KLA at Aracinovo.

Credibility Conundrum

The bombing of Yugoslavia was really about preserving the credibility of the United States and NATO. The alliance's saber rattling toward Belgrade had painted it into a corner from which the only way out was with guns blazing. Failure to follow threats with deadly action, said President Clinton, "would discredit NATO." Clinton added that "our mission is clear, to demonstrate the seriousness of NATO's purpose." The president seemed willfully ignorant of NATO's real purpose, which is to defend member states from outside attack. British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed with Clinton, declaring on the eve of the war that "to walk away now would destroy NATO's credibility." Gary Dempsey, a foreign policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, wrote that the Clinton administration "transformed a conflict that posed no threat to the territorial integrity, national sovereignty or general welfare of the United States into a major test of American resolve."

Waging or prolonging war for credibility's sake is always dangerous and seems always to yield disastrous results. Tens of thousands of US troops and many times as many Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian soldiers and civilians died while Richard Nixon sought an "honorable" way out of Vietnam. Ronald Reagan's dogged defense of US credibility cost the lives of 299 American and French troops killed in Hezbollah's 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. This time, ensuring American credibility meant backing the vicious KLA – some of whose fighters had trained at Osama bin Laden's terror camps in Afghanistan. This, despite the fact that al-Qaeda had already been responsible for deadly attacks against the United States, including the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

It is highly questionable whether bombing Yugoslavia affirmed NATO's credibility in the short term. In the long term, it certainly did not. The war marked the first and only time NATO had ever attacked a sovereign state. It did so unilaterally, absent any threat to any member nation, and without the approval of the United Nations Security Council. "If NATO can go for military action without international blessing, it calls into question the reliability of NATO as a security partner," Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, then Moscow's ambassador to NATO, told me at a San Francisco reception.

Twenty years later, Operation Allied force has been all but forgotten in the United States. In a country that has been waging nonstop war on terrorism for almost the entire 21st century, the 1999 NATO air war is but a footnote in modern American history. Serbs, however, still seethe at the injustice and hypocrisy of it all. The bombed-out ruins of the old Yugoslav Ministry of Defense, Radio Television of Serbia headquarters and other buildings serve as constant, painful reminders of the horrors endured by the Serbian people in service of NATO's credibility.

Brett Wilkins is a San Francisco-based author and activist. His work, which focuses on issues of war and peace and human rights, is archived at www.brettwilkins.com

Read more by Brett Wilkins

[Mar 23, 2019] It's time to go ho home

Mar 23, 2019 | twitter.com

Mike Gravel ‏ 6:48 AM - 22 Mar 2019

U.S. out of Iraq. U.S. out of Syria. U.S. out of Afghanistan. U.S. out of South Korea. U.S. out of Okinawa. U.S. out of Germany. U.S. out of Saudi Arabia. U.S. out of Cameroon. U.S. out of Djibouti. U.S. out of Qatar. U.S. out of Niger.

America, come home.

[Mar 22, 2019] Trump Puts America Last by Daniel Larison

Mar 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As usual, Trump made the announcement of recognizing Israel's claim to the Golan Heights without any consultation with any of the relevant administration officials:

President Donald Trump's tweet on Thursday recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory surprised members of his own Middle East peace team, the State Department, and Israeli officials.

U.S. diplomats and White House aides had believed the Golan Heights issue would be front and center at next week's meetings between Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. But they were unprepared for any presidential announcement this week.

No formal U.S. process or executive committees were initiated to review the policy before Trump's decision, and the diplomats responsible for implementing the policy were left in the dark.

Even the Israelis, who have advocated for this move for years, were stunned at the timing of Trump's message.

After more than two years of watching Trump's impulsive and reckless "governing" style, it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that he makes these decisions without advance warning. There is no evidence that Trump ever thinks anything through, and so he probably sees no reason to tell anyone in advance what he is going to do.

Trump almost never bothers consulting with the people who will be responsible for carrying out his policies and dealing with the international fallout, and that is probably why so many of his policy decisions end up being exceptionally poor ones. The substance of most of Trump's foreign policy decisions was never likely to be good, but the lack of an organized policy process on major decisions makes those decisions even more haphazard and chaotic than they would otherwise be.

There is absolutely no upside for the United States in endorsing illegal Israeli claims to the Golan Heights. It is a cynical political stunt intended to boost Netanyahu and Likud's fortunes in the upcoming election, and it is also a cynical stunt aimed at shoring up Trump's support from Republican "pro-Israel" voters and donors.

Whatever short-term benefit Israel gains from it, the U.S. gains nothing and stands to lose quite a bit in terms of our international standing.

There has been no consideration of the costs and problems this will create for the U.S. in its relations with other regional states and beyond because Trump couldn't care less about the long-term effects that his decisions have on the country.

Once again, Trump has put narrow political ambitions and the interests of a foreign government ahead of the interests of the United States. That seems to be the inevitable result of electing a narcissist who conducts foreign policy based on which leaders flatter and praise him.

Trump's bad decision can be traced back to Bolton's visit to Israel earlier this year:

Administration officials said that National Security Advisor John Bolton was instrumental to the decision, after visiting Israel in January to assure officials there that the United States would not abandon them in Syria despite Trump's sudden withdrawal of troops from the battlefield.

Nervous Israeli officials saw an opportunity. "It was an ask," one Israeli source said, "because of the timing -- it suddenly became a relevant issue about Iran."

Bolton is usually the culprit responsible any destructive and foolish policy decision over the last year, and his baleful influence continues to grow. We can also see the harmful effects of the administration's Iran obsession at work. In the end, the Syria "withdrawal" hasn't happened and apparently isn't going to, but Trump nonetheless gives Israel whatever it wants in exchange for nothing so that they will be "reassured" of our unthinking support.



SF Bay March 21, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Well, of course Trump puts America last. There is one and only one person he is interested in -- himself. As you say this is his narcissistic personality at work.

My never ending question is always, "Why does any Republican with a conscience remain silent? Are they really all this shallow and self absorbed? Is there nothing Trump does that will finally force them to put country before party and their own ambition?"

It's a really sad state of events that has put this country on the road to ruin.

Kouros , , March 21, 2019 at 11:39 pm
I wonder what Mr. Kagan has to say now about "authoritarian" regimes?!
Trump 2016 , , March 22, 2019 at 1:45 am
Trump is making one hell of a mess for the next president to clean up. Straightening out all this stupidity will take years. Here's hoping that Trump gets to watch his foreign policy decisions tossed out and reversed from federal prison.
Grumpy Old Man , , March 22, 2019 at 3:29 am
He ought to recognize Russia's seizure of Crimea. Why not? Кто кого?
Tony , , March 22, 2019 at 8:50 am
The decision to leave the INF treaty was taken in a similar way and with a total disregard for the consequences. The leaders of the European NATO countries have shown utter spinelessness in going along with it.

The administration says that a Russian missile violates the treaty but it will not tell us what the range of the missile is. Nor will it allow its weapons inspectors to go and look at it.

The reason is clear: Fear that the weapons inspectors' findings would contradict the administration's claims.

Some Perspective , , March 22, 2019 at 9:08 am
I voted Republican ever since I started voting. I voted for Bush I, Dole, Dubya, and McCain. I couldn't vote for either Obama or Romney, but I voted for Trump because of Hillary Clinton.

I am shocked and horrified by what I've seen under Trump. I am deeply disappointed that so few Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) have stood up to him on foreign policy, and I will never vote Republican again. This GOP/Israel connection stinks to high heaven. Anyone who studied or remembers our problem with Communist spies back in the '50s has got to be hearing alarm bells ringing in their ears. Worries about Soviet spying and Russian meddling pale in comparison to what's now going on in plain sight with Israel.

We're losing our country. We're losing America.

Sid Finster , , March 22, 2019 at 10:22 am
To be fair, it ain't just Team R that has the sloppy crush on Israel. Team D is just as bad, even if they don't gush quite so publicly. In fact, episodes such as this one are useful in a way, as they make it hard to pretend that this is just a one-off, a misguided decision that we have to go along with to appease a powerful friend.

Europoliticians tell that last one a lot. "We really don't want to but the Americans twisted our arms ZOMG Special Relationship so sorry ZOMG!" Only with a lot more Eurobureaucratese.

G-Pol , , March 22, 2019 at 11:15 am
I agree with the article's premise, but not because of this move regarding Israel.

Personally, I believe this move will have little impact on the outcome of the crisis in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab monarchies are too focused on containing Iran and Turkey to give a crap about what Israel does. The only Arab states that I can see objecting to this move are Syria (obviously) and the others who were already allied with Iran and/or Turkey to begin with.

Right now, the REAL center of attention in the region should be Northern Syria. THAT's where the next major war likely will begin. In that area, Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are the ones doing the major escalations, while Israel has virtually no role at all aside from sideline cheer-leading. And of course, Trump is doing nothing to stop what could become the next July Crisis. What's "America First" about that?

Nevertheless, Israel should be very concerned about Northern Syria. If war breaks out and the US is forced to go to war with its own NATO ally as a result, Israel should prepare to kiss its alliance with the US goodbye.

There is no way our international reputation will come out of this war unscathed, and odds are we'll be in a far worse position diplomatically than we were at any point in our history, even during the Iraq war. When that happens, the American people will be out to assign blame. Many (rightfully or not) will blame Israel due to its connections to neoconservatism and Saudi jingoism, and consequently we may end up seeing BOTH parties becoming unfriendly to Israel over the subsequent generation.

All of this could be prevented if President Trump would just tell Saudi Arabia to STOP the nonsense. But no. He's too focused on MIC profits. He's not America First. And quite frankly, I'm starting to think Benjamin Netanyahu is not Israel-first either, because if he were he'd be warning Trump about the mess he's going to end up getting America, Israel, and much of Europe and the Middle East into.

[Mar 22, 2019] The War on Yemen and the Trump Administration's Contempt for the Law

Mar 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Trump administration has ignored yet another mandated deadline for reporting to Congress on Yemen:

A senior Pentagon official had pledged to deliver the strategy report at the beginning of March after failing to meet a Feb. 1 deadline mandated by law.

In recent months, the Trump administration has disregarded several certification requirements from Congress. In February, the State Department refused to say whether the Saudi-led force had reduced civilian casualties in the Yemeni conflict. And the White House failed to respond to lawmakers' query about whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Last year, the administration met the first certification deadline by brazenly lying to Congress that the Saudi coalition was successfully reducing harm to civilians in Yemen. Congress completely failed to hold Secretary Pompeo accountable for those lies, and the administration has obviously concluded that it can get away with disregarding these requirements. For the last several months, both the Secretary of State and the Pentagon have simply refused to comply with the law. In this case, the Pentagon probably can't "detail specific US diplomatic and national security objectives" because the only discernible objective of reflexive support for the Saudis and Emiratis in Yemen is to indulge them in whatever they want to do. An administration that has illegally involved the U.S. in the war on Yemen for more than two years obviously won't have any respect for legal requirements set by Congress when they can't even be bothered to respect the Constitution.

The administration's contempt for the law and their disrespect for Congress are additional reasons why the House should vote on and pass the antiwar Yemen resolution that the Senate passed earlier this month. Beyond that, Congress needs to increase pressure on the Saudi and Emirati governments with additional measures to cut off arms sales and hearings to scrutinize the numerous human rights abuses and war crimes committed by their forces and their proxies.

When war supporters object that Congress risks undermining the U.S.-Saudi relationship, it is important for members of Congress to know that it is Mohammed bin Salman who has jeopardized the relationship through his reckless and destructive behavior. The Saudi government has been desperately lying about its conduct in Yemen and elsewhere to the U.S. and the entire world, and the crown prince has proven himself to be completely unreliable and strikingly incompetent at everything except grabbing more power for himself:

"We know who this guy is, we know what he's capable of, and treating him like he's an ally or a reliable partner is totally untenable," said Jeremy Konyndyk, a former US Agency for International Development director during the Obama administration.

The Saudi government has made itself a liability to the U.S. Since the administration puts Saudi Arabia first and won't do anything to defend American interests, it falls to Congress to do what the president won't.

[Mar 20, 2019] John McCain Associate Provided Dossier to Obama National Security Council Breitbart

Mar 20, 2019 | www.breitbart.com

David Kramer, a long-time advisor to late Senator John McCain, revealed that he met with two Obama administration officials to inquire about whether the anti-Trump dossier authored by former British spy Christopher Steele was being taken seriously.

In one case, Kramer said that he personally provided a copy of the dossier to Obama National Security Council official Celeste Wallander.

In a deposition on Dec. 13, 2017 that was recently posted online, Kramer said that McCain specifically asked him in early December 2016 to meet about the dossier with Wallander and Victoria Nuland, a senior official in John Kerry's State Department. Senator McCain asked me to meet with both of them to see if this was being taken seriously in the government," Kramer said.

"And Senator McCain asked you to meet with them?" Kramer was asked to clarify.

"Yes, just to see if this was being taken seriously. I think he wanted to do -- this was his kind of due diligence before he went to Director Comey."

Kramer testified that in his conversations with Nuland and Wallander he was told by both of them that each were aware of the dossier and that Nuland "thought Steele was a serious person."

Kramer revealed that he gave a copy of the dossier to Wallander, who was familiar with the contents but did not have a copy.

"I had a subsequent conversation with Ms. Wallander in which I gave her a copy of the document. That was probably around New Year's," he said.

"She had not seen it herself until I had shown it to her," Kramer added. "She had heard about it. And she didn't know the status of it."

In the same testimony, the McCain associate revealed that he held a meeting about the dossier with a reporter from BuzzFeed News who he says snapped photos of the controversial document without Kramer's permission when he left the room to go to the bathroom. That meeting was held at the McCain Institute office in Washington, Kramer stated.

BuzzFeed infamously published Steele's full dossier on January 10, 2017 setting off a firestorm of news media coverage about the document.

Prior to his death, McCain admitted to personally handing the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey but he refused repeated requests for comment about whether he had a role in providing the dossier to BuzzFeed, including numerous inquiries sent to his office by this reporter.

In his book published last year, McCain maintained he had an "obligation" to pass the dossier charges against Trump to Comey and he would even do it again. "Anyone who doesn't like it can go to hell," McCain exclaimed.

Kramer, meanwhile, also said that he briefed others reporters on the dossier contents, including CNN's Carl Bernstein, in an effort to have the anti-Trump charges verified.

The same day BuzzFeed released the full dossier, CNN first reported the leaked information that the controversial contents of the dossier were presented during classified briefings inside classified documents presented one week earlier to then-President Obama and President-elect Trump.

Kramer said that he believed McCain was sought out in order to provide credibility to the dossier claims.

"I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack," Kramer stated.

The controversial Fusion GPS firm hired Steele to do the anti-Trump work that resulted in the compilation of the dossier. Fusion GPS was paid for its anti-Trump work by Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee via the Perkins Coie law firm.

Kramer's testimony sheds a new light on the role of the Obama administration in disseminating the largely-discredited dossier that was reportedly involved in the FBI's initial investigation into the Trump campaign and unsubstantiated claims of Russian collusion. Also Comey cited the dossier as evidence in a successful FISA application to obtain a warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page, a former adviser to President Trump's 2016 campaign. The testimony also revealed how McCain was utilized to give the wild dossier charges a credibility boost.

Nuland and dossier

Nuland's specific role in the dossier episode has been the subject of some controversy for her.

In their book , "Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump," authors and reporters by Michael Isikoff and David Corn write that Nuland gave the green light for the FBI to first meet with Steele regarding his dossier's claims. It was at that meeting that Steele initially reported his dossier charges to the FBI, the book relates.

Steele sought out Rome-based FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta, with whom he had worked on a previous case. Before Gaeta met with Steele on July 5, 2016, the book relates that the FBI first secured the support of Nuland, who at the time was assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs specializing in Russia.

Regarding the arrangements for Steele's initial meeting with the FBI about the dossier claims, Isikoff and Corn report:

There were a few hoops Gaeta had to jump through. He was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Rome. The FBI checked with Victoria Nuland's office at the State Department : Do you support this meeting ? Nuland, having found Steele's reports on Ukraine to have been generally credible, gave the green light.

Within a few days, on July 5, Gaeta arrived and headed to Steele's office near Victoria station . Steele handed him a copy of the report. Gaeta, a seasoned FBI agent, started to read . He turned white. For a while, Gaeta said nothing . Then he remarked, "I have to report this to headquarters."

The book documents that Nuland previously received Steele's reports on the Ukrainian crisis and had been familiar with Steele's general work.

Nuland faced confirmation questions prior to her appointment as assistant secretary of state over her reported role in revising controversial Obama administration talking points about the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks. Her reported changes sought to protect Clinton's State Department from accusations that it failed to adequately secure the woefully unprotected U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi.

Nuland's name surfaced in a flurry of news media reports last year about the dossier and Kerry's State Department.

Sidney Blumenthal

An extensive New Yorker profile of Steele named another former official from Kerry's State Department for alleged involvement in circulating the dossier. The magazine reported that Kerry's chief of staff at the State Department, John Finer, obtained the contents of a two-page summary of the dossier and eventually decided to share the questionable document with Kerry.

Finer received the dossier summary from Jonathan M. Winer, the Obama State Department official who acknowledged regularly interfacing and exchanging information with Steele, according to the report. Winer previously conceded that he shared the dossier summary with Nuland.

After his name surfaced in news media reports related to probes by House Republicans into the dossier, Winer authored a Washington Post oped in which he conceded that while he was working at the State Department he exchanged documents and information with Steele.

Winer further acknowledged that while at the State Department, he shared anti-Trump material with Steele passed to him by longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, whom Winer described as an "old friend." Winer wrote that the material from Blumenthal – which Winer in turn gave to Steele – originated with Cody Shearer, who is a controversial figure long tied to various Clinton scandals.

Nuland, Winer Give Conflicting Accounts

There are seeming discrepancies between Winer and Nuland about actions taken involving the dossier.

Nuland described in a Politico podcast interview what she claimed was her reaction when she was presented with Steele's dossier information at the State Department.

She said that she offered advice to "those who were interfacing with" Steele, immediately telling the intermediary or intermediaries that Steele "should get this information to the FBI." She further explained that a career employee at the State Department could not get involved with the dossier charges since such actions could violate the Hatch Act, which prevents employees in the executive branch of the federal government from engaging in certain kinds of political activities.

In a second interview, this one with CBS's Face The Nation, Nuland also stated that her "immediate" reaction was to refer Steele to the FBI.

Here is a transcript of the relevant section of her February 5 interview with Susan B. Glasser, who described Nuland as "my friend" and referred to her by her nickname "Toria":

Glasser: When did you first hear about his dossier?

Nuland: I first heard -- and I didn't know who his client was until much later, until 2017, I think, when it came out. I first heard that he had done work for a client asserting these linkages -- I think it was late July, something like that.

Glasser: That's very interesting. And you would have taken him seriously just because you knew that he knew what he was talking about on Russia?

Nuland: What I did was say that this is about U.S. politics, and not the work of -- not the business of the State Department, and certainly not the business of a career employee who is subject to the Hatch Act, which requires that you stay out of politics. So, my advice to those who were interfacing with him was that he should get this information to the FBI, and that they could evaluate whether they thought it was credible.

Glasser: Did you ever talk about it with anyone else higher up at the department? With Secretary Kerry or anybody else?

Nuland: Secretary Kerry was also aware. I think he's on the record and he had the same advice.

Nuland stated that Kerry "was also aware" of the dossier, but she did not describe how he was made aware. She made clear that she told "those who were interfacing" with Steele to go to the FBI since any State Department involvement could violate the Hatch Act.

Her Politico podcast interview was not the only time she claimed that her reaction was to refer Steele to the FBI.

On Face The Nation on February 4, Nuland engaged in the following exchange in which she stated her "immediate" reaction was to refer Steele to the FBI (emphasis added):

MARGARET BRENNAN: The dossier.

VICTORIA NULAND: The dossier, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding, and our immediate reaction to that was, "This is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI, if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian federation. That's something for the FBI to investigate."

And that was our reaction when we saw this. It's not our -- we can't evaluate this. And frankly, if every member of the campaign who the Russians tried to approach and tried to influence had gone to the FBI as well in real time, we might not be in the mess we're in today.

Nuland gave the two interviews after her name started surfacing in news media reports involving Kerry's State Department and the dossier. Her name also came up in relation to a criminal referral of Steele to the Justice Department in the form of a letter authored last year by Sen. Chuck Grassley, who at the time chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

The Grassley-Graham criminal referral contains redacted information that Steele received information from someone in the State Department, who in turn had been in contact with a "foreign sub-source" who was in touch with a redacted name described as a "friend of the Clintons."

Numerous media reports have since stated that the source of information provided to the State Department that was in turn passed on to Steele was Cody Shearer, a controversial figure tied to the Clintons who is also an associate of longtime Clinton friend Sidney Blumenthal. According to sources who spoke to CNN, Shearer's information was passed from Blumenthal to Winer, who at the time was a special State Department envoy for Libya working under Kerry. Winer says that Kerry personally recruited him to work at the State Department.

It is Winer's version of events that seems to conflict with Nuland's.

In an oped published in the Washington Post, Winer identified Nuland as the State Department official with whom he shared Steele's information. Winer writes that Nuland's reaction was that "she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material." He does not relate any further reaction from Nuland.

Winer wrote in the Washington Post (emphasis added):

In the summer of 2016, Steele told me that he had learned of disturbing information regarding possible ties between Donald Trump, his campaign and senior Russian officials. He did not provide details but made clear the information involved "active measures," a Soviet intelligence term for propaganda and related activities to influence events in other countries.

In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the "dossier." Steele's sources suggested that the Kremlin not only had been behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign but also had compromised Trump and developed ties with his associates and campaign.

I was allowed to review, but not to keep, a copy of these reports to enable me to alert the State Department. I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.

That was the extent of Winer's description of Nuland's reaction upon being presented with Steele's dossier claims. Nuland's public claim that her "immediate" response was to refer Steele to the FBI since State involvement could violate the Hatch Act seems to conflict with the only reaction that Winer relates from Nuland – that she felt Kerry should be made aware of the dossier information.

In Winer's Washington Post oped, he writes that Steele had a larger relationship with the State Department, passing over 100 reports relating to Russia to the U.S. government agency through Winer. Winer wrote that Nuland found Steele's reports to be "useful" and asked Winer to "continue to send them."

He wrote:

In 2013, I returned to the State Department at the request of Secretary of State John F. Kerry, whom I had previously served as Senate counsel. Over the years, Steele and I had discussed many matters relating to Russia. He asked me whether the State Department would like copies of new information as he developed it. I contacted Victoria Nuland, a career diplomat who was then assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and shared with her several of Steele's reports. She told me they were useful and asked me to continue to send them. Over the next two years, I shared more than 100 of Steele's reports with the Russia experts at the State Department, who continued to find them useful. None of the reports related to U.S. politics or domestic U.S. matters, and the reports constituted a very small portion of the data set reviewed by State Department experts trying to make sense of events in Russia.

Kramer and the dossier

In his book, "The Restless Wave," McCain provided an inside account of how he says he came across the dossier.

He wrote that he was told about the claims in the document at a security conference in Canada in November 2016, where he was approached by Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow and friend of ex-British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier.

McCain wrote that Wood told him Steele "had been commissioned to investigate connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents as well as potentially compromising information about the President-elect that Putin allegedly possessed."

McCain, however, did not address the obvious question of whether he was told exactly who "commissioned" Steele to "investigate" the alleged Russian ties. The dossier was paid for by Clinton's campaign and the DNC.

McCain goes on to describe Wood as telling him Steele's work "was mostly raw, unverified intelligence, but that the author strongly believed merited a thorough examination by counterintelligence experts."

The politician says the dossier claims described to him were "too strange a scenario to believe, something out of a le Carré novel, not the kind of thing anyone has ever actually had to worry about with a new President, no matter what other concerns."

Still, McCain says he reasoned that "even a remote risk that the President of the United States might be vulnerable to Russian extortion had to be investigated."

McCain concedes Wood told him he had not actually read the dossier himself, and writes that he wasn't sure if he ever met Wood before and couldn't recall previously having a conversation with Wood. Still, McCain took Wood's word for it when Wood vouched for Steele's credibility. "Steele was a respected professional, Wood assured us, who had good Russian contacts and long experience collecting and analyzing intelligence on the Kremlin," McCain wrote.

Present at the meeting with Wood and McCain was Kramer, who McCain writes agreed to "go to London to meet Steele, confirm his credibility and report back to me."

McCain doesn't detail Kramer's visit to London beyond simply writing, "When David returned, and shared his impression that the former spy was, as Sir Andrew had vouched, a respected professional, and not to outward appearances given to hyperbole or hysteria, I agreed to receive a copy of what is now referred to as 'the dossier.'''

McCain leaves out exactly where Kramer obtained his dossier copy.

The Washington Post reported last February that Kramer received the dossier directly from Fusion GPS after McCain expressed interest in it. Those details marked the clearest indication that McCain may have known that the dossier originated with Fusion GPS, meaning that he may have knowingly passed on political material to the FBI.

Also, in a New York Times oped in January, GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritch wrote that they helped McCain share their anti-Trump dossier with the Obama-era intelligence community via an unnamed "emissary."

In his own testimony, Kramer relates conversations with Simpson about the dossier.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, " Aaron Klein Investigative Radio ." Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

[Mar 20, 2019] Merkel is the most servile lackey that the US could wish for.

Mar 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Cemi , Mar 20, 2019 8:50:23 AM | link

@17 Guy Thornton wrote:
Merkel might say: "There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."
Forget it! Merkel is the most servile lackey that the US could wish for. She is doing everything her masters in Washington ask her to do. For example the German public is awaiting a mildly entertaining show of their government on how to work around yesterdays court decision:
International law is the yardstick for international politics. This has been clarified by the Higher Administrative Court in Münster in a spectacular ruling on lethal US drone missions in Yemen. Several relatives of victims who were killed in such attacks had sued. They hold the Federal Republic of Germany jointly responsible for this because the United States allegedly also uses the US airbase in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate for these fatal attacks.

There are important indications that the drone attacks in question violate international law and the fundamental right to life. The Federal Republic of Germany must protect these rights and stand up for them. Therefore the Federal Republic must clarify now in a first step whether the attacks offend against international right.

(Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator from Urteil über US-Airbase in Ramstein: Deutsche Richter fordern Überprüfung tödlicher US-Drohneneinsätze )

NOT! Aside from the fact, that the public press largely ignores this decision, our governments have a long record of doing actually nothing when formally independent judges even from the highest courts ask them to adhere to the law.
Speaking of embarrassing lackeys, when the empire was seeking a new nodal point to more efficiently drone bomb Northern Africa the most obvious/nearby European locations like Italy, France or Greece all said "Nah, better not". But, don't you worry, Missus Merkel was of course happy to offer Stuttgard in Southern Germany as base for AFRICOM!

Always at your service!

[Mar 20, 2019] The US wants Brazil to join NATO

Mar 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Guy Thornton , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:12 PM | link

Merkel might say:

"There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."

[Mar 20, 2019] Vladimir Putin celebrates birthday on ice in celebrity hockey match

This article was written 4 years ago, but the problem with Putin successor remains. Putin is a unique politician and his replacement might be much weaker, causing troubles for Russia. This is not new problem for Russia, but this time it will be especially acute. BTW this comment thread looks like "who is who" list for NATObots.
Notable quotes:
"... We could all use a real leader like Putin who takes no b.s. from anybody and is quick to adapt to any situation in a calm assertive way. He earns our admiration every day, the way he steers across an ever changing minefield and not because of his mucho image. We do not need leaders who deceit people by spewing relentless propaganda and no clarity. They fail as individuals and as a group because they are spineless. If multiple people repeat the same lie it does not make it true. It must be a club membership requirement to play the politics game and keep quiet about wrong things you see. ..."
"... Action man outwitting the Neocons in the international chess game. More surprises to come ..."
"... Karl Rove said "Empire creates its own reality". No wonder the mantra "Assad must go" is now enshrined in international politics by the Neocon alliance. They didnt figure on Putin obviously. ..."
"... It happens regardless, take the example in Volgograd (Vauxhall) two years ago. I am afraid that KSA and the Gulf States will be funding the usual mix of 'moderately terroristic shenanigans" in reprisal, but they did this before anyways. ..."
"... He making the US looked like whiny bitches. Good job; you alienate Russia and manage to strengthen the China-Russo relationrelationship. Sanctions that don't work, secret economic wars and multiple failed coup d'etat in Georgia and Ukraine [also do not work] ..."
"... Like US - Hospital - Afganistain. anyway ISIS are paid money by the CIA and don't care who they work for it's money that they are motivated by not ideology, that ideology stuff is made-up. Google it and dig, get yourself informed. ..."
"... Not quite sure why Mr Putin playing ice-hockey on his birthday is worthy of a story to open up for comments unless the Guardian is ' trawling ' to encourage some new anti-Putin Cold War rhetoric in the comments section. ..."
"... PS / Don't forget that nice Israeli Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu's birthday and how he celebrates it. Ensure you open it up for comment as I'm sure also that many will wish to voice an opinion. Will this now be a standard ' Birthday Feature ' for all world leaders in the Guardian, or has this newspaper just granted an exception for Mr Putin's birthday ? ..."
Oct 07, 2015 | The Guardian

goatrider 7 Oct 2015 17:12

I wonder if everyone on the Guardian staff has the same "man crush" on Putin? Could explain all these obsessive articles. I also wonder if he spent any time in the penalty box?

laticsfanfromeurope -> Extracrispy 7 Oct 2015 17:06

You prefer ISIS and Al-Nusra then the legitimate Syrian gov. and the legitimate help of Russia...not a surprise from stupid western supporters!


pfox33 7 Oct 2015 17:05

There isn't one of our western politicians that wouldn't sell his fucking mother to be getting the attention that Putin's getting. I thought he was supposed to be isolated.

So to keep the hockey thing going, Putin's stolen the puck in the neutral zone, split the Nato defensemen who were too far forward and is on a breakaway.

I feel sorry for Obama because I think he's a good leader but when it comes to trying to maneuver in a geopolitical situation like Syria he's fucked before he leaves the house. Putin can just act without trying to herd cats like Obama has to do with his Nato minions. He doesn't have a bunch of recalcitrant GOP senators calling him everything but a white man and running their mouths about what they would do.

... ... ...


filin led -> Braminski 7 Oct 2015 16:55

It's you who are a troll, sir. By what you say, anything can be dismissed as paid propaganda. That means, you are as likely to be a paid agent yourself. So, if you can't come up with a constructive argument, stop commenting please.


Mordantdude -> Poppy757 7 Oct 2015 16:40

As Russians say: "Envy silently".

giacinto101 7 Oct 2015 15:59

We could all use a real leader like Putin who takes no b.s. from anybody and is quick to adapt to any situation in a calm assertive way. He earns our admiration every day, the way he steers across an ever changing minefield and not because of his mucho image. We do not need leaders who deceit people by spewing relentless propaganda and no clarity. They fail as individuals and as a group because they are spineless. If multiple people repeat the same lie it does not make it true. It must be a club membership requirement to play the politics game and keep quiet about wrong things you see.


SilkverBlogger 7 Oct 2015 15:54

Action man outwitting the Neocons in the international chess game. More surprises to come


CIAbot007 -> Poppy757 7 Oct 2015 15:39

Most of Aussies have a bit of common sense which says that you can't blame anyone before it is prooved. With Western MSM propaganda machine blaming Russia and Putin even before anything happens you bet there's no such thing as balanced and unskewed reporting and even will for any kind of such thing. Don't get fooled, use your brain or your brain will be used by someone else.


SilkverBlogger 7 Oct 2015 14:48

Karl Rove said "Empire creates its own reality". No wonder the mantra "Assad must go" is now enshrined in international politics by the Neocon alliance. They didnt figure on Putin obviously.


PekkaRoivanen MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:30

In the West, we don't have a sycophantic press kissing the leader's backside:

Guardian: Barack Obama scores just 2 out of 22 basketball hoops - video

You wrote that Obama plays basketball and you prove it with this video where Obama wears dress shirt (tie removed :-D) and scores badly.

Are you sure Obama plays basketball? Or is it just press kissing his backside?

Kev Kev Hektor Uranga 7 Oct 2015 14:28

the USA persecutes and kills people who speak out against it. Only difference is the USA does it in ways that nobody sees.. In other words the USA is the same as Russia only they do their work in the dark. When nobody is looking.

Abiesalba MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:26

That's the guy who is wishing Putin a happy birthday.

The US/UK duo have caused with their insane illegal wars more than a million deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and counting.

I recommend you look up a little the complex history and present situation in Chechnya and the North Caucasus region.

ISIS (which the insanely aggressive US/UK duo have in effect created) is already spreading its influence INSIDE the Russian Federation. So Putin has direct interests to defeat ISIS and stabilise Syria (and Iraq). In addition, the south of the Russian Federation is on the map of territories which ISIS plans to conquer.

See for example:
-
8 ISIS supporters killed in N. Caucasus special op

(2 August 2015)

Russian security forces have foiled a terrorist group that recently pledged allegiance to ISIS in Ingushetia, in the Northern Caucasus, according to the National Anti-Terror Committee (NAC). Security forces seized explosives, weapons and over 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
-
How Russian Militants Declared A New ISIS 'State' In Russia's North Caucasus

(26 June 2015)

The Islamic State group announced the creation of its northernmost province this week, after accepting a formal pledge of allegiance from former al Qaeda militants in the North Caucasus region of Russia.
-
-
It is true that at present, the Chechens are begging Putin to let them strike in Syria (and this is also closely linked to the complicated history of North Caucasus), but Putin has not unleashed them. See for example here:
-
-
Kadyrov asks Putin to allow Chechen infantry to fight in Syria (RT, 2 October 2015)
-
The head of the Chechen Republic has asked the Russian president to send Chechen units to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, adding that his fighters have sworn to fight terrorists till the end.

"Being a Muslim, a Chechen and a Russian patriot I want to say that in 1999 when our republic was overrun with these devils we swore on the Koran that we would fight them wherever they are," the Chechen leader said. "But we need the Commander-in-Chief's decision to do this," he emphasized. According to the Russian Constitution, the president [Putin] is also the commander-in-chief of the military forces.


BMWAlbert clanview46 7 Oct 2015 14:26

It happens regardless, take the example in Volgograd (Vauxhall) two years ago. I am afraid that KSA and the Gulf States will be funding the usual mix of 'moderately terroristic shenanigans" in reprisal, but they did this before anyways.


Julian1972 MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:21

That was last year...also it was authored by a combination of the CIA and their right-wing 'Operation Stay Behind' cohorts...though, if you don't know that by now you doubtless never will.


Abiesalba MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:16

Murderers, thieves and embezzlers stroking each other's egos.

Putin has a long way to go to match the US/UK.
-
-
Here is a recent report about 'collateral damage' compiled by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War:
-
Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the 'War on Terror' (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan)

(March 2015)
-
This investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan, i.e. a total of around 1.3 million.

NOT included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen.

The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs.

And this is only a conservative estimate. The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely.
-
-
For more about civilian casualties due to the US-led coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq, see the Airwars website:

584 – 1,720 civilians killed:

To date, the international coalition has only conceded two "likely" deaths, from an event in early November 2014. It is also presently investigating seven further incidents of concern; is carrying out credibility assessments on a further 13; and has concluded three more investigations – having found no 'preponderance of evidence' to support civilian casualty claims.

More Power -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:13

He making the US looked like whiny bitches. Good job; you alienate Russia and manage to strengthen the China-Russo relationrelationship. Sanctions that don't work, secret economic wars and multiple failed coup d'etat in Georgia and Ukraine [also do not work]. Just look at the World Bank, BRICS is on the door step. Happy birth day Putin. A badass mofo

blueskis -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 14:06

The vats majority of the 5500 killed have been civilians in East Ukraine killed by airstrikes ordered by kiev/washington, fully justifying Russian intervention.


ooTToo -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 13:40

Like US - Hospital - Afganistain. anyway ISIS are paid money by the CIA and don't care who they work for it's money that they are motivated by not ideology, that ideology stuff is made-up. Google it and dig, get yourself informed.


geedeesee -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 13:19

Russia is attacking what they said they'd attack, Tavernier. ISIS, al-Nusrah, and other terrorist organisations.

inconvenienttruth13 -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 13:18

No he isn't. Anybody with a functioning brain knows he had nothing to do with that. Unlike the US genocide in the Middle East - over 2 million dead and counting - not to mention the deliberate and sustained attack on a hospital. Maybe you don' get to see the news in your ward?

inconvenienttruth13 -> MTavernier 7 Oct 2015 13:13

The US created, funds, trains and arms ISIS - they are only supporting terrorists in their campaign to effect regime change. Russia is responding to a request fro the Syrian government, so its actions are entirely legal. The faces that the USA and the KSA are the biggest sponsors of terrorism in the world.

monteverdi1610 7 Oct 2015 12:22

Not quite sure why Mr Putin playing ice-hockey on his birthday is worthy of a story to open up for comments unless the Guardian is ' trawling ' to encourage some new anti-Putin Cold War rhetoric in the comments section.

PS / Don't forget that nice Israeli Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu's birthday and how he celebrates it. Ensure you open it up for comment as I'm sure also that many will wish to voice an opinion. Will this now be a standard ' Birthday Feature ' for all world leaders in the Guardian, or has this newspaper just granted an exception for Mr Putin's birthday ?

[Mar 20, 2019] The Opportunity Cost of America s Disastrous Foreign Policy by Vlad Sobell

Foreign policy is no longer controlled by the President of the USA. It is controlled by the Deep state. This article is from 2015 but can easily be written about Trump administration
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, as Putin himself had proposed in his visionary October 2011 article, the Eurasian Union could have become one of the pillars of a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok and based on the EU's single-market rules (acquis communautaire). ..."
"... First and foremost, because the self-proclaimed "exceptional" power (actually, a mere "outlying island" in the Atlantic, according to the founder of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder) and its dysfunctional "deep-state" officialdom did not want it to be. How could they have permitted such a thing? How could they have allowed other countries to get on with improving the lives of their citizens without being obliged to seek Washington's approval every step of the way? ..."
"... In order to make sure that they were not side-lined, the US elites had to intervene. The Western propaganda machine started churning out all sorts of nonsense that Putin is a new Hitler who is bent on restoring the Soviet empire and who is bullying Europe, while continuing to bang on about his "increasingly autocratic rule". ..."
"... Deadly attacks by chauvinistic proxies were launched on the Russophone people in South Ossetia, Georgia in 2008 and more recently in Ukraine. ..."
"... Stuck in an Orwellian nightmare, Europe has to demonstrate its unfailing loyalty to Big Brother and go along with the view that Russia, an intrinsic and valuable part of the European mainstream both historically and culturally, represents universal evil and that the Earth will not be safe until the Federation has been dismembered and Putinism wiped out once and for all. ..."
"... Having self-destructed in two world wars, it has become an easy and even willing prey to an arrogant, ignorant and power-drunk predator that has never experienced the hardships and horrors that Europe has. ..."
"... Even more terrifying, intellectually third-rate Washington viceroys such as Victoria Nuland and the freelancing armchair warrior Senator McCain are allowed to play God with our continent. ..."
"... Indeed, the damage extends beyond the economy. By aligning with the forces of chaos – such as chauvinistic extremists in Ukraine – Washington and its Euro-vassals are corrupting the moral (and intellectual) core of the West. ..."
"... 'My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied: "Money, we give them money." "Foreign aid?" I asked. "No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale. We bought them. They report to us." Perhaps this explains Tony Blair's $50 million fortune one year out of office'. ..."
"... "We, the [CENSORED] people, control America and the Americans know it." -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED] ..."
Mar 18, 2015 | Russia Insider

Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy... European democracy is threatened by US, not Russian, foreign policy

The avalanche of commentary since the Ukrainian crisis erupted a year ago has overshadowed any reflections on the immense forgone benefits (technically speaking, the "opportunity cost") of what might have been if Washington had been working for peace and stability instead of war and chaos.

Imagine the following: After the unraveling of the Communist bloc, Europe, in partnership with the US, had forged a new security system in which Russia was treated as a valued and equal partner – one whose interests were respected. Russia, decimated by a century of wars and Communist imperialism, would doubtless have eagerly reciprocated in kind. Most countries of the former Soviet Union would have then proceeded to build a new Eurasian structure of which Russia would have served as the natural umbrella, given its long-standing interaction with the region's diverse nations and cultures.

Indeed, as Putin himself had proposed in his visionary October 2011 article, the Eurasian Union could have become one of the pillars of a huge harmonized economic area stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok and based on the EU's single-market rules (acquis communautaire).

The rising Far Eastern economic powerhouse, with the world's most populous country, China, at its centre, would have linked up with the world's largest economy (the EU). An enormous Eurasian production and financial bloc would have been created – one that drew primarily on secure supplies of Russian energy and other natural resources. Untold investment opportunities would have opened up in Siberia and Russia's Far East as well as in Central Asia. Hundreds of millions of people in Eurasia and elsewhere would have been lifted out of poverty. And, not least, the EU would have been refashioned as an integral part of the dynamic trans-Eurasian economy (rather than as a German-centred empire, as appears to be the case today), thereby making a major contribution to overcoming the ongoing global economic depression.

All of this was not to be, however. Why not? First and foremost, because the self-proclaimed "exceptional" power (actually, a mere "outlying island" in the Atlantic, according to the founder of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder) and its dysfunctional "deep-state" officialdom did not want it to be. How could they have permitted such a thing? How could they have allowed other countries to get on with improving the lives of their citizens without being obliged to seek Washington's approval every step of the way?

European democracy is threatened by US, not Russian, foreign policy

In order to make sure that they were not side-lined, the US elites had to intervene. The Western propaganda machine started churning out all sorts of nonsense that Putin is a new Hitler who is bent on restoring the Soviet empire and who is bullying Europe, while continuing to bang on about his "increasingly autocratic rule".

Deadly attacks by chauvinistic proxies were launched on the Russophone people in South Ossetia, Georgia in 2008 and more recently in Ukraine.

And in what is eerily reminiscent of Stalinist "bloc discipline", the EU/NATO nomenclature was ordered to implement the absurd strategy of severing the Russian economy from the EU. For their part, the cowering Eurocrats willingly obliged by imposing sanctions on Russia that, perversely, have had a negative impact on their own economies (but, let it be stressed, not that of the US). No questions raised and no public debate on the wisdom of such a strategy permitted.

Stuck in an Orwellian nightmare, Europe has to demonstrate its unfailing loyalty to Big Brother and go along with the view that Russia, an intrinsic and valuable part of the European mainstream both historically and culturally, represents universal evil and that the Earth will not be safe until the Federation has been dismembered and Putinism wiped out once and for all.

This abuse and humiliation of Europe is unparalleled. The continent that gave the world the wonders of the Antiquity, modern democracy, the industrial revolution and what is arguably the greatest tradition of philosophy, fine arts and classical music is being bullied by its oversized offspring. Having self-destructed in two world wars, it has become an easy and even willing prey to an arrogant, ignorant and power-drunk predator that has never experienced the hardships and horrors that Europe has. War and extermination camps are etched into the European DNA. America "knows" about them only from afar – and, not least, from the Hollywood entertainment industry.

Even more terrifying, intellectually third-rate Washington viceroys such as Victoria Nuland and the freelancing armchair warrior Senator McCain are allowed to play God with our continent. The so-called European "leaders" are colluding with them in plunging Europe into the abyss and thereby risking nuclear confrontation.

America, too, is a loser

But this is not just a tragedy for Europe and Eurasia. We are also witnessing the wilful misrule of America and, by default, of the entire West. Indeed, Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy. The "democracy-promoters" running Washington's foreign-policy apparatus apparently do not understand that America has nothing to lose and a lot to gain from the Eurasian economic project: the rising tide of global economic welfare would lift everyone's boats, including its own. Why should it matter to Washington if the rising tide comes from other quarters beyond its control?

Indeed, the damage extends beyond the economy. By aligning with the forces of chaos – such as chauvinistic extremists in Ukraine – Washington and its Euro-vassals are corrupting the moral (and intellectual) core of the West. If it continues to support such forces against Russia, united Europe will lose not only its backbone but its very soul. The moral consequences of this loss will be enormous and could lead to the precipitous erosion of Western democracy.

The 'autocrats' want to work with the West, not against it

US and EU leaders believe that the Russian and Chinese "autocrats" are out to destroy the West because the latter hate freedom (as George W. Bush might have put it). And hence, they argue, the autocrats must be stopped in their tracks. The simple truth is that Western leaders are too blinkered to understand that far from desiring to destroy the West, Russia and China want it to prosper so that they can work with it to everyone's benefit. Having enjoyed a privileged position over several centuries and having attained unprecedented prosperity in recent decades, the West simply cannot understand that the rest of humanity has no interest in fomenting the "clash of civilizations" but rather craves peace and stability so that it can finally improve its economic lot.

Perhaps, however, all is not yet lost. It is still possible that reason – and economic forces – will prevail and force the West to correct the errors of its ways. What we need, perhaps, more than ever is the ability to step out of the box, question our fundamental assumptions (not least about Russia and China) and find the courage to change policies that have proved disastrous. After all, critical thought, dispassionate analysis and the ability to be open to new ideas is what made the West so successful in the past. If we are to thrive once again in the future, we must resurrect these most valuable and unsurpassed assets.

Vlad Sobell teaches political economy in Prague and Berlin Europeans Look On as US Sows Discord on the Continent Wed, Nov 2

Tom Welsh

What I cannot understand is the naive belief that elected politicians would act in the interests of those whom they represent. Under what other circumstances do we see human beings act with disinterested altruism? So why would a bunch of people who have been ruthlessly selected for selfishness, arrogance, and callousness - a bunch of carefully chosen psychopaths, if you will - behave in that way?

'My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied: "Money, we give them money." "Foreign aid?" I asked. "No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale. We bought them. They report to us." Perhaps this explains Tony Blair's $50 million fortune one year out of office'.

- Paul Craig Roberts

jabirujoe

"Washington is betraying the best interests of the American people through its current foreign policy".

Not only it's foreign policy but it's domestic policy as well. Let's call it for what it really is. The Wall Street/Corporate policy which is the driving force behind behind everything the US does

Toddrich

"We, the [CENSORED] people, control America and the Americans know it." -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED]

"When we're done with the U.S. it will shrivel up and blow away." -- Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of [CENSORED]

The welfare or future of the American people are not part of the equation.

[Mar 20, 2019] Trump Sticks To Sanctions - U.S., North Korea Summit Fails - Updated

Incompetent, cowboy style foreign policy is the hallmark of Trump administration. they can only bully, they can't hold a constructive negotiations. As one commenter observed "American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die."
His appointment of Bolton and Pompeo means that Trump is a neocon in foreign policy and/or does not control foreign policy of his administration. .
Notable quotes:
"... This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. ..."
"... Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up. ..."
"... Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK? This article helps to explain it: Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China's socialist economy to capitalism ..."
"... Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door. ..."
"... My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols. ..."
"... The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen. ..."
"... An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/21/the-neocons-have-their-caesar/ ..."
"... American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die. ..."
"... summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean ..."
"... No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'. It thinks it is 'uber alles'. ..."
"... IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump: "Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that." [My Emphasis] ..."
"... as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can Libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks. ..."
"... And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct. ..."
"... When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache. ..."
"... I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together." ..."
"... I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue ..."
"... Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed. ..."
Mar 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

twhstmmwmafilwwwww , Feb 28, 2019 8:13:44 AM | link

This is just a hunch but I have a feeling it was undermined by Bolton and Pompeo from the start. They know the DPRK wasn't gonna give up its nuclear deterrent unilaterally, so the next best thing behind a the dream of a Libya situation is to once again have an aggressive relationship with the North to be able to continue to justify all sorts of "defense" maneuvering around China now that foreign policy has now officially pivoted away from terrorism and towards China(+Russia).

Similar to AEGIS Ashore in Eastern Europe in order to "defend" Europe from "Iran".

Christian Chuba , Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | link

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing

Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want to strangle the host for not asking any follow up question as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S. given up.

We talked to them giving them legitimacy, OMG, as if we have some kind of glorious halo that is worth a billions of $ or even more. This makes me want to puke when I heare this.

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.

steven t johnson , Feb 28, 2019 8:28:11 AM | link
Believing Trump is or ever was open to breaking with US imperialism is Trumpery. He wants to sweat the subordinates, wants them to spend more on the military, buy more US weapons, do more fighting. But to make things look good he will say anything, and renege.

Some people think Trump etc. are trying to detach the north from a Chinese alliance. There are two problems here. First, there's no sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north. Not wanting to squeeze hard enough to cause a total collapse is not supporting the north. Second, if that's what Trump wanted, he'd actually try offering the north concessions.

The issue in the background is whether Trump will let the south out of the US orbit. It's an easy question to answer: He won't. Empires don't give up their territory until they're made to. The Soviet withdrawal from central Europe is not an exception, as the USSR was not an empire. (Yes, everyone who says "Soviet empire" and means it is a shithead.)

Ts'yew Taw-Loh , Feb 28, 2019 8:30:46 AM | link
Formally, the Korean War was between Chosôn on the one side and The United nations and Hangok (Daehan)on the other. The UN security council is the ones to have instituted tthe sanction regime and thus in practice committed a crime against Humanity by inflictin starvation the people of the North. In practice it was a US & their allie's war against the entire population of Korea. Formally, peace must be signed by Chosôn and the UN and sanctions lifted by the latter. In Practice, the US must be made to abide with agreements.
vk , Feb 28, 2019 8:48:36 AM | link
Why does the USA keep economic sanctions on DPRK? This article helps to explain it: Despite himself Trump admits the superiority of China's socialist economy to capitalism

Jong-un Kim has an advantage his predecessor didn't: he has China. He doesn't need to invent nothing: he already has the long-term solution next door.

My guess is the USA and South Korea know if the sanctions are lifted, North Korea will become a mini-powerhouse under China's sphere of influence. They have to create a situation equal to Libya's, where they can invade the North militarily and quickly occupy its territory, thus using its population as cheap labor force for the American multinationals and South Korean chaebols.

David Wooten , Feb 28, 2019 8:58:41 AM | link
The US military/foreign policy establishment wants North Korea to disarm so that it can give them a Carthaginian peace. Until then, they are content to do their cushy jobs and rake in the money from South Korean businessmen.

Moon would probably like to unite the two Koreas and kick US out. But then, the US mil/fp would sanction him and all Korea.

donkeytale , Feb 28, 2019 9:07:21 AM | link
This was yet another photo op on the road to nowhere with our reality show presidency. As Conway Twitty sang, "it's only make believe." The path to "normalisation" with NK winds through SK.
Ant , Feb 28, 2019 9:09:01 AM | link

An excellent article from Tom Engelhardt on Consortium News, in which he attempts to explain how the USA had the world at its feet, and squandered the chance to do good and instead went on a series of further Imperial military adventures: https://consortiumnews.com/2019/02/21/the-neocons-have-their-caesar/

American diplomacy still consists of behaving like a bull in a china shop: do what we say or die.

Time to grow up, it's not the 1990's. You're just another country, and we're not so frightened any more.

b , Feb 28, 2019 9:34:31 AM | link
This is quite possible ...
Kevin Gray @DrKevinGray Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief in Korean
snake , Feb 28, 2019 10:06:12 AM | link
@8

We've given up everything, they have given up nothing. Every time I hear a Neocon say this on FOX / CNN I want .. follow up question {answered} as in, 'like what?' What has the U.S.[ A given up. [please note that unless you are a member of the 527 persons that make up the USA, you the " WE does not include you. Americans get to elect by a vary strained highly polarized (Republican vs Democrat) process, 525 persons under Article I, but not the two persons who are the CEOs that govern the USA ?

Americans cannot elected the CEOs that make all of the decisions. The CEOs of the USA are elected by persons who many or may not be Americans, have a look PLEASE!

... ... ...

The N. Koreans have stopped ALL nuclear and ballistic missile testing. We the U.S. have put in place even more draconian sanctions under Trump than were in place before. We raised the ante. We have more room to give then the N. Koreans do.<= once again I remind you that the " WE d/n include you..

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Feb 28, 2019 8:22:32 AM | 5

Jason , Feb 28, 2019 10:54:18 AM | link
So we give up nothing, not even a temporary ease in sanctions and they give up their nuclear weapons program in whole, what a deal.

Its obvious that even if Trump went there with the intention of making a realistic two sided deal the permanent war state would just scuttle it anyway by refusing to follow the plan or staging some new provocation like some war games or bomber fly over.

DPRK has to see that after Iran complied with the inspections regime and abandoned its civilian nuclear program the goal post was moved to not even being allowed to have ballistic missiles.

What I don't understand is how long before South Korea demands we respect its sovereignty in it's own military affairs and asks us to remove a sizable chunk of our war machine so a lasting peace can be made. Can South Korea not forge its own tit-for-tat peace plan with the North that makes sense to both sides and tell the US not to interfere, sabotage or ask it to leave? It seems the opportunity is ripe to exclude the empty suit Trump and his group of Neo-con madmen and forge ahead with opening up trade and mutual thawing of feeling in Koreas, but is there political will to do so in South Korea?

AriusArmenian , Feb 28, 2019 11:02:39 AM | link
No surprise that the US is always 'all or nothing'. It thinks it is 'uber alles'.
Jackrabbit , Feb 28, 2019 11:06:39 AM | link
fairleft @16

The link @12 is another form of apology for Trump. Essentially, an insanity defense:

All of this not only gave Americans a visibly unhinged president -- think of him, in axis-of-evil terms, as a rogue state of one -- but an increasingly unhinged country. You can feel so much of this in Trump's confused and confusing attempts to both end American wars and ratchet them up . . .

[So] ... think of this piece as an obituary of sorts ... not as an obituary for a single loopy president, a man who ... was elevated to a strange version of power by a troubled republic showing signs of wear and tear [but of a nation] . . . whatever Donald Trump does, the Caesarian die was cast early in this century as the neocons crossed their own Rubicon.

It's not Trump's fault - it's the neocons! They constructed a system that allowed for the election of this "loopy" President and are using him for their own ends.

Sure, the neocons deserve much blame but the Deep State and their US President compatriots (Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, and Trump) are also guilty just as the driver of the getaway car is just as guilty as the bank robbers.

karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 12:17:31 PM | link

IMO, the key was laid bare by Trump: "Basically they wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that." [My Emphasis]

Wouldn't or couldn't? Using "couldn't" tells me that possibility was zero to begin with and Bolton's appearance had nothing to do with anything other than the fact that the impasse was pre-determined. Kim knew it would happen; I was 99% sure it would happen; and of course Trump knew. And that's where it will likely remain until 2021, although there's a slight possibility that the UNSC sanctions will be modified and lessened.

Escobar's recap of recent events seems rather bland, although between the lines I think he's saying that solving Kashmir is more important than solving Afghanistan, an important point overlooked too long.

So, Koreans are left to their own devices and will continue their unification drive, while the quadrangular relations between China, Russia, and the two Koreas will grow tighter; all of which serve to increase pressure on Abe and Japan to drop the Empire's line.

BM , Feb 28, 2019 12:24:57 PM | link
It would be easy to be put off by the failure of the summit under the Americans' blatent treachery, but it is probably better that way.

Consider what would happen if the US and NK were to have a "fantastically successful" summit with agreements signed - what are the chances that the US would subsequently honour their commitments? NILL. What would be the effect on NK if NK does not honour it's commitments? Devastating at best.

Because of the US' well-established behaviour patterns, it is hard to imagine how NK could benefit from signing an agreement with the US - any concrete agreement - the US will ignore it's commitments, while forcing NK to abide by its commitments.

Therefore a situation in which the US clearly shows itself to be the treacherous partner while the NK side is beyond reproach is the perfect outcome for NK, allowing her to establish a good reputation in world public opinion and - hopefully - together with SK find their own way to achieve peaceful reunification without the US.

Peaceful reunification with US blessing was never on the cards and never will be.

Fortunately Kim Jong-Un has thus far been truly masterful in playing his cards, getting the geostrategic benefits at each throw, while the US only succeed in clearly establishing their treachery and progressively undermining their geostrategic hand.

With support from China and Russia, may the two Koreas eventually successfully achieve their own peaceful reunification without the US!

james , Feb 28, 2019 12:31:38 PM | link
thanks b... aside from liking what @26 psychohistorian said, i wonder who really benefits from these sanctions the usa is so quick to use as a tool against others impose or maintain? the usa appears to be built on this system of financial sanctions and can't function without it.. is it that the thought of north and south korea working together means the usa gets cut out of the action? is that a big part of it?? at some point it is going to happen anyway... same deal russia and the rest of europe and same deal iran and the rest of the world... it seems to me the usa is squandering all the promise they might have had at one time by catering to whoever profits from these financial sanction routines..

so yeah.. it is back to rome didn't fall in a day, and the usa's time is coming soon enough..

Red Ryder , Feb 28, 2019 12:35:04 PM | link
A large impediment to North Korea achieving a lifting of sanctions is the long list of UNSC resolutions establishing global unanimity for a sanctions regime.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_Security_Council_resolutions_concerning_North_Korea

The US has managed to corral China and Russia to join these sanctions.

However, a case can be made that since no nuke testing has transpired, no missile tests have continued, and the threat to neighbors and the region is now flat-lined, North Korea should be acting, not with the US alone, but with all the UNSC and other nations, in a way that demonstrates it is walking from nuclear development and ICBM achievement.

We shall see if Russia and China can press this argument in order to pursue economic development as a reward for international inspection and IAEA control of the NK nuclear program.

What the US wants is to get Moon out of the picture and retain fanatical South Korean leadership that would be against North Korea development. Trump may see the potential in North Korea, but the MIC and Deep State absolutely do not want to have to leave South Korea as a base.

arby , Feb 28, 2019 12:52:37 PM | link
To the posters who think Russia should intervene everywhere... Just reading on Orlov's blog and he pointed to an article he wrote about Russia and Putin in 2014 from a Valdai meeting---Putin--

"5. Russia has no intention of going fishing in the murky waters created by America's ever-expanding "empire of chaos," and has no interest in building a new empire of her own (this is unnecessary; Russia's challenges lie in developing her already vast territory).

Neither is Russia willing to act as a savior of the world, as she had in the past."

the pair , Feb 28, 2019 1:21:18 PM | link
as you and many others have noted, the US argument seems to be "give up your nukes so we can Libya you into oblivion". if venezuela had nukes would they be putting up with the incessant stupidity of the "blob"? they'd still have sanctions but i doubt the dumb twats running the surrounding countries would be as eager to aid and abet US hijinks.

i know it's based in "realism" or "realpolitik" or whatever euphemism for "do what we say or be murdered" people prefer, but south korea not telling the west to kiss the tastiest part of its ass and siding with the dprk and china to settle things is just absurd. other than financial punishment, what are they afraid of? no more disgusting tainted beef? no more deliveries of WWIII-level military gear without permission? a drop in sex tourism among pasty white anglos?

at least this does away with all pretense of trump being a "peace president" in the slightest. that was always a fantasy of the MAGA/"we liek him cuz hes xtian lol" crowd to begin with but now even the suggestion of such is laughable.

b , Feb 28, 2019 1:23:41 PM | link
The North Korean Foreign Minister gave a press conference in Hanoi. I updated the piece above at its end with the reports of what he said.
worldblee , Feb 28, 2019 1:28:41 PM | link
The bi-partisan War Party wins again, the world loses.
the pair , Feb 28, 2019 1:29:15 PM | link
@#36

i despise trudeau and all, but this oddly timed "scandal" is based on nothing but one woman's testimony (as believable as she is) and the screeching of the scumbag conservatives along with their bootlickers in the media. global and CTV have always been conservative party infomercials but lately it's just ridiculous.

saying "a canadian politician did a corrupt thing" is like saying "we caught water being wet". odd how canada has a reputation as being "smarter" than the US yet its citizens have already forgotten the ten years of dripping, oily sleaze under harper and his coterie of fat doughy apes (the fattest and oiliest of which - jason kenney - has been oozing from the telly screen on a constant basis on said channels).

with his repulsive bootlicking on the huawei affair and venezuela, it's easy to want justin out yesterday . but any conservative taking his place will be harper 2.0 and therefore trump's maple mini-me.

apologies for off topicness.

james , Feb 28, 2019 1:52:15 PM | link
ot - @36 karlof1... next election is oct 2019... it probably doesn't matter as i doubt very much he gets elected in october.. it is kinda true what the pair is saying @40 too... we will get getting our version of trump, as we are one cycle behind the usa... some conservative jackass will be running canada towards the end of the year to make matters even worse.. canucks are not all that bright, lol..
S , Feb 28, 2019 2:04:06 PM | link
South Koreans, where are you? You should be camping 24/7 in front of the U.S. embassy, demanding the immediate removal of sanctions. The unification will never happen if you don't take a more active stance.

The international community wants it, North Koreans want it, it all comes down to you. Kick the American troops out, break up your chaebols, and start the unification process. Any sanctions the U.S might impose on you will be more than offset by cheap Russian pipeline gas, a rail link to Europe, and an economic boom due to integration with the North. What are you waiting for? You may never have another chance like this.

one off poster , Feb 28, 2019 4:04:14 PM | link
@38 b:
Thank you very much for the update, b. I am pleased that the DPRK called the press conference. It is a pity the video has been viewed only 1179 times.

Here is video footage of the DPRK news conference.

The 1st part is the prepared statement read out by foreign minister Ri Yong Ho with english translation following. The 2nd part of the interview consists of Q&A (sound quality v bad). It mainly reiterates the 1st part, but from 10:25 on, she says that (an) American Inspector(s) visited a factory called "Yun Soo" within the Yong Byon. She wanted to emphasise that that factory was put on the table for closure as well by DPRK.

Given that the sanctions the DPRK was seeking to be lifted were not US imposed sanctions, but UN sanctions, can the UN Sec Gen intervene (kind of like what happened in Yemen)?

It does make one wonder why POTUS said that DPRK was seeking the removal of ALL sanctions. Was he expecting something like this? It is so easy to refute that the fact it was said at all is intriguing.

PavewayIV , Feb 28, 2019 4:06:44 PM | link
Otto B@33 - I suppose I can't argue with your logic - especially if this was part of an 'Art of the Deal' seminar. I will simply point out that your premise completely ignores what US citizens think is in THEIR best interests.

Pulling out all of our forces from South Korea permanently and ending sanctions on North Korea would be more than enough for them to denuclearize (and probably unify with the South). THAT is in US citizens' best interests, period. Chickenhawks within the US government are the only ones demanding an eternal occupation of South Korea and an eternal standoff with North Korea. They sell this as a necessary price to pay for 'security', except we're damn tired of hearing about our psychopathic leaders' manufactured enemy and we don't need protection from it.

Same goes for Iran, despite their nuclear capabilities, or lack thereof. 'Protecting US interests' is not 'protecting the US'. No amount of marketing or propaganda is going to make Iran a credible threat to the US or its citizens EVER. We don't need protection from a manufactured enemy. Three million people (give or take a million) were slaughtered in Southeast Asia to protect us against the last manufactured enemy: those homicidal CHICOMs. I don't recall seeing any fresh, bloody human heads mounted on pikes in downtown Hanoi during the talks this weekend. How is that possible?

I don't need a better Iranian 'deal'. I need my psychopathic leaders to stop antagonizing the hell out of Iran and stop punishing the Iranian people. Israel's psychopathic obsession with destroying Iran or somehow containing its regional influence has NOTHING to do with the security of US citizens - despite the incessant narrative. Are you honestly expecting the little people in the US to believe the DC chickenhawks or the MSM again?

karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 4:12:47 PM | link
RT editorial savages BigLie Media for the usual reasons--but--in choosing to highlight Susan Rice's NY Times op/ed in an attempt to discredit her, she actually suggests the very sort of incremental moves agreed to in the initial summit's Declaration:

"To move the needle, the United States and North Korea will need to agree on a series of incremental, reciprocal steps that would build mutual confidence as part of a road map to full denuclearization."

Oops!! All in all, the editorialist misrepresents Rice, which is what he accuses BigLie Media of doing--OUCH!

Rice's conclusion will surprise a few here:

"In Hanoi, Mr. Trump has an opportunity to achieve incremental progress toward denuclearization. Unfortunately, history suggests that Mr. Trump will be content with another colorful photo opportunity and more diplomatic shadow boxing that perpetuates the illusion of success, while running down the clock on a nearly intractable challenge."

And it seems Trump lied about the impasse that led to Kim walking out, proving that Kim's initial assessment of Trump as dotard was 100% correct.

Yeah, Right , Feb 28, 2019 4:35:58 PM | link
@27 Jose Garcia: "My question. What will South Korea do now?"

Well, they only have two choices:

Option 1: Continue to be the USA's loyal lapdog, in which case several million of them are doomed to die in the (increasingly inevitable) replay of the 1950-2 war.

Option 2: Hold secret talks with North Korea that lead to the surprise signing of a peace treaty that contains a clause that says "Both Koreas agree that no foreign forces shall be stationed on the Korean Peninsular". Then brace themselves to be sanctioned within an inch of their lives.

They'll go hungry under Option 2, and it will be inevitable that they flip into the "Chinese orbit". But they'll still be alive, which is not nothin'.

They'll make a stab at Option 2, because under Option 1 they'll all end up dead.

Rob , Feb 28, 2019 5:03:57 PM | link
@fairleft (16)

When did Bolton's coups and intimidations ever work? He is, in essence, a megalomanic mustache.

TDeL , Feb 28, 2019 5:17:43 PM | link
@6

Actually there is one sane reason to think the Chinese aren't engaged in economic warfare against the north: a Shengyang rail link to Seoul via Pyongyang. This could be constructed in less than 3 years and will take some pressure off congestion in the Bohai Sea-Yellow Sea shipping lanes. And provide efficient transport of materials, goods & people in new & expanded markets. I'm sure there are others.

Thank you b for the timely update on the latest theatrical entertainment, Nobel Peace Prize episode

uncle tungsten , Feb 28, 2019 5:36:43 PM | link
fastfreddy # 44

Agreed ff but regarding the Trump timeline from afar he has deliberately and methodically filled the white house staff with more and more extreme people. Slowly boiling the frog comes to mind. We are supposed to be acclimatized to this huckster being surrounded by hawks whereas he and his entire family are predators more deadly than hawks.

S #42

Thank you, you nailed it. Perhaps the assembled mass of South Koreans in front of the US embassy could wear a vest symbolising healing or unity. Perhaps they could assemble around a UN flag demanding that it back off from being a USA puppet. I don't recall having seen a UN flag burned yet but it would be an appropriate symbol from South Korea, or Haiti, or Libya, or......

Thank you again b and all the comrade writers, it has been a great read.

Chas , Feb 28, 2019 5:50:42 PM | link
What I can't understand is why NK would give up its nuclear capability without requiring the empire to do the same. It isn't equitable for NK to give up its nukes for the mere promise of the empire to not place nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. The empire could still strike Nk from outside the peninsula. What's good for one country is good for the other.
karlof1 , Feb 28, 2019 5:59:53 PM | link
Yeah, Right @50--

For your Option #2 to fly, the existing treaty with Outlaw US Empire must be negated along with the entire arrangement with UN that's existed since 1950. Given Imperial intransigence combined with ever escalating political will within RoK, such a happening may occur before 2020 begins.

The most recent article on reunification I was able to find in English is 3 months old and provides grounds for optimism given the concept's positive direction. IMO, Moon and Kim need to continue down the path they've made for each other,, while the diplomatic action moves into the UNSC which is where most of the sanctions were born and the only venue where they can be rescinded.

Red Ryder , Feb 28, 2019 7:49:53 PM | link
@35, S,

I always check my comments in preview, often many times. The URL seemed to be fine. It works. However, I'll be more cognizant in the future with any long URLs.

Thanks.

Jen , Feb 28, 2019 8:29:00 PM | link
S @ 42:

For South Korea to do as you suggest, Japan must do exactly the same. The South Koreans are more afraid of what Japan would do if they (SK, that is) were to throw out the Americans, downsize their own military and start a reunification or a "one-state-two-systems" process, and Japan does not follow suit with demilitarisation.

Incidentally the current Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's grandfather Nobusuke Kishi served as Munitions Minister under PM Hideki Tojo in the early 1940s. Under his watch, thousands of Chinese and Koreans were employed as slave labour in factories and mines. Kishi also ran the puppet state Manchukuo during the 1930s as his personal technocratic industrial slave state.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobusuke_Kishi
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/east-asia-cant-escape-the-sins-of-the-father/article15987729/

Much later Kishi also got a turn as Japanese PM but his legacy as PM may have been to design a political system in which the Liberal Democratic Party (a conservative party in Japan) was always the main political party in government from 1955 to 1993.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2011/09/27/general/no-nos-for-noda-japans-top-10-most-useless-pms/#.XHiKklwzaUk

Needless to say, Abe hero-worships Kishi.

psychohistorian , Feb 28, 2019 9:29:16 PM | link
I want to add some more thought to those I shared with Jen. What about the Philippines? I think that at this time in history all of the outposts of empire are at risk.

I think that Trump represents a pivot from containment of China/Russia to one of "Quick, pull what pieces of empire we can defend/control together."

I think that the West is delusional to think they can defeat any alternative that doesn't have profit as its God. That said, that monotheistic myth of "better than others" runs deep as evidenced by some of the opinions expressed in this venue

Are we going to see the dominoes of empire fall? I damn well hope so!

Kiza , Feb 28, 2019 9:31:48 PM | link
Is it not funny how the boss Bolton shows up at negotiations and El Presidente falls into (his unrealistic) line? El Presidente de la republica bananera is just a low level employee of his own staff BullbyTon and Pompous Maximus.

Nobody asked this here yet, but how did we get to US negotiating against NK on behalf of UN Security Council ?

Who did China and Russia on the Security Council serve, did they get anything for their service to the republica bananera?

One can recognise how ruthless US is, but one also has to recognise how worthless China and Russia are. US ignores UN Resolutions it does not like and uses UN Resolutions it initiated as a head-club for achieving its goals whilst China and Russia go along. This is exactly why the things are as they are - the Selfish Human Condition.

Oh, we are all so happy when someone does not do like the majority of the worthless humanity does (Russia out of own interest in Syria). Otherwise, back to being the usual shitbags.

Yeah, Right , Feb 28, 2019 9:36:01 PM | link
@60 Karlof1 As ever, it is instructive to read the text of a treaty.

In this particular case the treaty between South Korea and the USA contains within it the answers to your concerns.

1) either party can end the treaty with 12 month notice.
2) the stationing of US troops is by mutual agreement I.e. if South Korea "No longer agrees" to US troops stationed on its soil then those troops have to leave.

Uncle Sam would have no grounds to refuse, as the treaty itself says that both signatories have to agree. And, no, the treaty doesn't have to be "renegotiated" to produce that outcome: the South Koreans need only say "we don't agree any more".

That's what the treaty says, so that's what the treaty means.

Sad Canuck , Feb 28, 2019 9:45:27 PM | link
@31 Red Ryder

Nothing will change until S Korea decides to be an independent country instead of a low vassal. Watching a foreign country negotiate peace in your own civil war without being at the table must be deeply humiliating to at least some S Koreans surely?

As for the sanctions, if the Koreas re-united as ROK and the DPRK disappeared as an entity, I assume the UN sanctions on extinct entity would be void.

Jen , Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | link
Psychohistorian @ 67:

It's significant that the current PM of Japan is a grandson of a politician with a very dark past, and moreover idolises his grandfather and believes the policies he followed were right.

"Formed in childhood, roots of Abe's conservatism go deep"
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2012/12/26/national/formed-in-childhood-roots-of-abes-conservatism-go-deep/#.XHirsVwzaUk

You and I live in the year 2019 but the issue is whether Shinzo Abe does.

For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.

The two countries also continue to dispute the ownership of a set of islands called the Liancourt islands in the Sea of Japan, midway between the two nations.

Uncle $cam , Feb 28, 2019 11:12:52 PM | link
https://twitter.com/DrKevinGray/status/1101089899430793221?link_id=3&can_id=6b614a325626aa55ec3e7563bb5103b1&source=email-why-did-hanoi-summit-really-fail-interviews-available&email_referrer=email_502522&email_subject=why-did-hanoi-summit-really-fail-interviews-available

Former SK unification minister Chong Se-hyun suggests that summit was derailed by last minute attendance of Bolton, who added demands for NK to also report chemical/biological weapons, in response to which NKs increased their demand for sanctions relief

Pft , Feb 28, 2019 11:14:31 PM | link
South Korea is a puppet government of the US. Its constitution was written by the US and its early leaders were those who worked with the Japanese during the occupation. Anyone against the government and continued occupation by foreign forces was labelled Commmunist and shot. Up until the late 80's South Korea was under martial law

While much of the population is aware of this being humiliated by foreign powers has been a way of life for over a century. Reunification is a pipe dream unless the North is under the Empires control and the US will not pull out even then because its conveniently located at Russia and Chinas borders

I can imagine Trump talking to Kim and asking him how he would like to live like him and the global elite. It worked with Gorbachev and Deng. Just need to adopt the neoliberal religion and loot the resources of your own people (bottom 95%) for eventual handover to the Empire (privatization or sending cash back to buy Treasuries and other investments).

My guess is Kim and NK elite live pretty well already, but who knows. In any event he knows he cant trust them.

karlof1 , Mar 1, 2019 12:12:52 AM | link
Yeah, Right @70--

Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much.

PavewayIV , Mar 1, 2019 1:53:34 AM | link
Schmoe@55 -

[sigh...] Yes, you're right. I suppose I got kind of got carried away there. But I can't believe the polls '50% approval rating' for the Syrian retaliatory strike, at least in my little world.

Most people I encounter through the day, especially college kids and millennial debt slaves, don't care about Syria or Israel and never will. Zero expectations of their government and can't understand why some old people are concerned about distant wars.

They feel absolutely no responsibility for the actions of the US government any more than they feel responsible for the actions of their next door neighbors. Society is slowly devolving itself in toad freak show!

V , Mar 1, 2019 3:55:42 AM | link
Deschutes | Mar 1, 2019 2:55:06 AM | 81

I posted this over at TAE. It might resonate with some few. Any one who has held on to their sanity, surely sees the fantastical reality created by twisted people and their twisted ideals. If that accurate vision is the context from which the U.S. is framed; then its true health is obvious.

A sick society ruled by equally sick fascisti

Record numbers of U.S. citizens are leaving for distant places they view as an improvement. If in fact they find respite; it will likely not last, until and unless the U.S. is brought to ground.

uncle tungsten , Mar 1, 2019 4:16:58 AM | link
Chas # 58

May I suggest there is a small matter of war reparations owed by the USA that needs immediate resolution well prior to any yak yak about denuclear strategies. Ms Susan Rice's piece also blithely ignores that question. And so do all the yankees as they are fully liable for an unwarranted assault on Korea - both north and south - and reparations are immediately owed to the north.

Pay up yankees.

Will someone tell that to John Bolt-on. I would love see his mustache quiver.

Kiza , Mar 1, 2019 5:19:42 AM | link
One of these days I am going to write a piece on what the World would look like one month after the Second US Civil War starts.
Steve , Mar 1, 2019 6:03:28 AM | link
Any nation which still trust any promise coming from the USA and its European, Australian and Canadian poddles deserves to be colonized and destroyed.
Yeah, Right , Mar 1, 2019 6:49:19 AM | link
@77 Karlof1 "Guess I need to find a way to create more time to do stuff as I know I'm skimming way too much."

It's not difficult to dig out the source text, and most international treaties relating to Int'l Humanitarian Law are not exactly dense reads.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact is a mere three articles long, with the first two being single sentences. The Mutual Defense Treaty between the USA and South Korea consists of only six articles.

The NATO Charter is but fourteen articles long. The Hague Regulations are a comparatively hefty fifty-six articles, but even the UN Charter - an outlier if ever there was one - contains only 111 Articles.

The Geneva Conventions are much longer but, boy, do the Swiss like to talk.

But none are like slogging through some Hemingway or Melville. Simple prose, as unambiguous as possible while still satisfying all the negotiators.

In fact you can find all the treaties in one place: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/default.asp

A one-stop-shop for all things relating to treaties, highly recommended.

BM , Mar 1, 2019 7:13:57 AM | link
I've just read two articles that in one fell swoop can explain a large part of Trump's behaviour, together with policies to eliminate nuclear arms control, first strike policies, apocalyptic policies towards Iran and North Korea, policies towards Israel, policies aimed at blowing up the Middle East, willingness and eagerness to precipitate destruction and chaos on a global scale, precipitate policies towards Russia and China, support for Islamic jihadism, anti-environmentalism, and climate denial:

The key are the so-called "Rapture Christians" nuts - of whom there are 12 in Trump's cabinet [out of how many?]. I've never looked into this obscure sect of insane nutcases before, but people urgently need to understand this phenomenon - they are an obscure sect, but they hold the keys to political power in the US, and have determined the key political events of the last several decades!

These nutters are a million times more dangerous than Islamic jihadists - they have no fear of all-out nuclear war, global destruction, climate change, environmental devastation or all the things that wise people with foresight advise against - on the contrary they are eager to bring all these things on as soon as possible, because they associate these things with the return of Jesus, and ascent to heaven for all the sect's believers.

A key fact in understanding this phenomenon is that they deny evolution, and a scientific basis for reality in its entirety, and therefore are completely closed to rational argument.

Quote from the second article: 'In an April 2 Bible study, Drollinger focused on the "huge and dire error" of "radical environmentalism". He argues that humans are incapable of destroying the earth on their own, because it is up to God to "continually renew the face of the earth until He forms a new heaven and a new earth in the end times."'

They support Trump because they believe he is the "tool of God".

BM , Mar 1, 2019 7:28:23 AM | link
For that reason South Korea is unlikely to demilitarise and get rid of its US bases unless Japan commits to doing the same.
Posted by: Jen | Feb 28, 2019 10:54:54 PM | 74

That seems like a strange argument to me. The US is not in Korea to protect Korea from Japan, nor are they in Japan either to protect Japan from Korea nor to protect Korea from Japan. In both cases the true target is China.

If the two Korea's unite it will necessarily be under the military protection of Russia and China - there is no other possibility, because they need protection from the US. Both Koreas are obviously much safer under Russian and Chinese protection than under US "protection" - the latter being no more than mafia style "protection".

In this case Japan would clearly oppose such an arrangement - in allignment with the US - therefore the last thing [imperialist] Japan would want would be the pull-out of the US (what ordinary Japanese people might want is another matter - unfortunately they have no say).

Mig-21-Block 70-2022 , Mar 1, 2019 7:34:39 AM | link
N.K. should just ask Russia to buy 1000 warehoused MIGs 21 refurbished for year 2023 and thats it!
Kim should go for a No deal with the US.
Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.
Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.
Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations.
b real , Mar 1, 2019 7:47:45 AM | link
manufactured controversy to get the top of the news cycle and take focus off the cohen testimony so it dies quickly
rattlemullet , Mar 1, 2019 8:05:02 AM | link
The trio of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton, quite frankly spells failure. The leader has zero capacity to learn and understand the motivation behind North Korea and their very exacting understanding of the English language. Every single word written has a clear and precise meaning tied into complete sentences. The fact that is written on paper and executed by both parties memorizes the document. Trump literally has not read the first agreement as executed. To place any faith in this trio of clowns to negotiate with the North Koreas is laughable. The basic fact is that North Koreans will never trust the US as we literally tried to bomb all their cities out of existence during the Korean intervention. Trump's trio does not understand the lasting impact that those actions burned into North Korean souls. Trump is completely out his league on the world stage he has made a fool of the US.
arby , Mar 1, 2019 8:22:57 AM | link
b real @ 90--

That was my thoughts as well. The real reason Trump handlers sent him to Viet Nam was to not be around for a damning testimony.

Scotch Bingeington , Mar 1, 2019 9:42:07 AM | link
Tom Luongo claims that Bolton's spoke in Trump's wheel was to add chemical & biological weapons to US demands ( Link ). There, just like that. Pretty clever actually. Bolton may be the king of scumbags, but he sure is resourceful. The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling.
BM , Mar 1, 2019 10:20:07 AM | link
"Trudeau was detonated today by his former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada's first Aboriginal A-G. She just testified in Parliament, in meticulous detail, how Trudeau and his staff tried to get her to drop criminal charges against a corrupt company that he liked."
Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 28, 2019 1:15:41 PM | 36

I've just finished reading the article on the testimony in the National Post, linked in Karlof1's link:

Read the full text of Jody Wilson-Raybould's statement to the House of Commons justice committee
(That's the title of the article; actually it is not the full text it is important extracts, but generous extracts).

Wow! Everybody should read this! This lady is someone who deserves a lot of respect! This text is fascinating in how it details the arm-twisting that goes on in power - nothing that would surprise us that it happens, but here it is described in black and white by a former government witness - including even such titbits as:

"if Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write OpEds saying that what she is doing is proper."

Hey, James, you have some good Ministers over there in Canada, despite the more famous ones. Erm, well, one. Erm, well, had.

I am interested in some of the things she is declining to speak about (due to confidentiality of counsel issues), and am wondering if that might include the Huawei CFO issues, for which she was in a pertinent position. Any connections to the dates 11th February, and 19th February? (Actually I was travelling at that time so was out of the loop). Then there is the meeting with the PM on 17th September, requested 2 weeks earlier, which seems to have been intended primarily about something other than the SNC affair. The Huawei CFO was arrested in early December, I think, so that should be something else.

frances , Mar 1, 2019 12:19:47 PM | link
reply to Mig-21-Block 70-2022 89

"...Mig 21s just shot down brand new f-16s over in India.Whole world world including Chinese airmen are laughing.Well maybe except the starving Greeks threw 1 bill. eu out of the window for a new deal with Trumps Lokheed for f-16 modernizations."

Maybe laughing but maybe not, this fellow seems to feel they are evenly matched depending on their respective upgrades and concludes by saying it comes down to pilot expertise. BTW he considers Pak as having superior pilots.


frances , Mar 1, 2019 12:25:54 PM | link
reply to Scotch Bingeington 93
"....The picture they have in the article of Bolton watching over Trump is scary and probably very telling."

Yes, I am inclined to think Bolton was foisted upon him. I do think he chose Pompeo though.

Another very telling photo is that of Trump at Bush Sr.'s funeral, in the row behind him was Chaney, the look on Chaney's face as he stared at Trump's back was very interesting to me, he looked almost afraid.

karlof1 , Mar 1, 2019 2:14:11 PM | link
President Moon's confidence remains strong despite summit outcome. He tweeted this [machine translation] earlier today:

"Independence of spirit and national integration based on the 'faith based system'considerably.
Please gather all the power of the people.
Peace on the Korean peninsula will drive new economic growth across the North and South, encompassing Northeast Asia, ASEAN and Eurasia."

Today marks then 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Korean Independence, and Moon makes clear in his speech that there was and is only one Korea and one Korean people:

"One hundred years ago today, there was no South and North Korea.

"From Seoul and Pyeongyang to Jinnampo, Anju, Seoncheon, Uiju and Wonsan, loud chants of [the masses] erupted on the same day, and these calls for independence spread like a wildfire to every corner of the country.

"For two months from March 1, [mass] protests took place in 211 out of the total 220 cities and counties across the country regardless of the region – whether they belonged to what is now a part of South or North Korea."

Gotta love Moon's optimism in his closing remarks:

"The history of the past 100 years proves that we can achieve changes and innovation if we do not lose hope no matter how difficult our present reality is.

"Over the next 100 years, the growth of the people will directly lead to the growth of the nation. When unity is achieved from within by moving beyond ideological confrontations, and when peace and prosperity are accomplished from outside, genuine independence will be completed."

I'd be very interested in discovering what Kim did today. Hopefully, he, too, gave an address similar to Moon's.

james , Mar 1, 2019 3:49:21 PM | link
@94 BM - maybe Jody Wilson-Raybould can run for the prime ministers job if she can get on the top of the heap of the liberal party.. chances of this are slim!

[Mar 20, 2019] In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A study of the Syria war coverage by nine leading European newspapers clearly illustrates these issues: 78% of all articles are based in whole or in part on agency reports, yet 0% on investigative research. Moreover, 82% of all opinion pieces and interviews are in favor of the US and NATO intervention, while propaganda is attributed exclusively to the opposite side... ..."
Mar 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

ex-SA , Mar 5, 2019 3:55:53 PM | 13

Thank you! This may well be the most important link I've encountered in my years of lurking here @ MoA and elsewhere.

There is a video linked in the article which may be more important than the article itself. Easily overlooked, so here: https://swprs.org/video-the-cia-and-the-media/

It appears in the article here:

"In a remarkable report by British Channel 4, former CIA officials and a Reuters correspondent spoke candidly about the systematic dissemination of propaganda and misinformation in reporting on geopolitical conflicts:"

Many thanks, and much respect to you Sir for bringing this important piece to my attention.

May I humbly offer in return, https://archive.org/details/publicenemyno1 (don't neglect the 2nd reel)

Desolation Row , Mar 5, 2019 6:41:25 PM | link
I apologize for another somewhat off topic posting, but I have not seen it posted here earlier, and I think that this should be seen by as many eyes as possible.

The Propaganda Multiplier:How Global News Agencies and Western Media Report on Geopolitics

By Swiss Propaganda Research

It is one of the most important aspects of our media system -- and yet hardly known to the public: most of the international news coverage in Western media is provided by only three global news agencies based in New York, London and Paris.

The key role played by these agencies means that Western media often report on the same topics, even using the same wording. In addition, governments, military and intelligence services use these global news agencies as multipliers to spread their messages around the world.

A study of the Syria war coverage by nine leading European newspapers clearly illustrates these issues: 78% of all articles are based in whole or in part on agency reports, yet 0% on investigative research. Moreover, 82% of all opinion pieces and interviews are in favor of the US and NATO intervention, while propaganda is attributed exclusively to the opposite side...

[Mar 20, 2019] Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

NYT is pro-Hillary neocon establishment influenced rag. One apt observation from NYT comments: "Trump's assertions about sleep should be taken with the grain of salt that all his other grandiose proclamations deserve. I suspect he makes those claims just to prove what an exceptional human he is. He doesn't even need to sleep much!"
Trumps come and go, but the deluded, totally brainwashed electorate will stay. That's the real problem. Degradation of democracy into oligarchy (the iron law of oligarchy) is an objective process. Currently what we see is some kind revolt against status quo. that's why Trump and Sanders get so many supporters.
Another one from comments: "Over the years, Pew surveys show that at least 60% of those polled can't name two branches of the government. Current campaigns, including that of Sanders, imply that the POTUS has a wide range of powers that are to be found nowhere in the Constitution." So none of Repug candidates understand this document. And still I must admit that "Trump is the best in breed when it comes to this GOP dog show." I agree that "Trump punches above his weight in debates "
NYT will never tell you why Hillary will be even more dangerous president.
Only a sleep disorder physician following a full-night study could tell us whether the diagnosis is clinically sound. This guy from NYT is a regular uneducated journo, not a certified physician. Why insult people who truly suffer from sleep deprivation? So all of them are obnoxious maniacs? To me a large part of his behavior is a typical alpha-male behavior. There are, in fact, a number of brilliant, driven alpha-males who function well with a bare amount of sleep. That may be an evolutionary trait that help them to achieve dominance. For example, Napoleon rarely slept more than 2-3 hours per 24-hour period, according to several historians. Churchill stayed up several nights in a row reading Hansard in his formative years and he was a gifted orator, one of the sharpest wits. He also was an alcoholic. Several famous famous mathematicians were among sleep deprived people. Like photographic memory this is a unique idiosyncrasy that is more frequent in alpha-males, not necessary a disease. BTW Angela Merkel is noted for her ability not to sleep for several nights, wearing her opponents into shreds via sleep deprivation and enforcing her decisions over the rest. That was last demonstrated in Minsk were she managed even to get Putin to agree on her terms.
He mentions this term "alpha male" despite the fact that it provides an alternative explanation. Also as one reader commented "So please explain the positions (and behaviors ) of Ayatollah Cruz and rubber man Rubio." Those two backstabbing pseudo-religious demagog got implicit support from the article.
How about this from sleep deprived person vs one definitely non-sleep deprive person (Jeb!): "Donald Trump joins the fight to release the secret 28 Pages of the 9/11 Report."
Notable quotes:
"... This is Tim's contribution to the growing movement to discredit Trump. Every candidate can be similarly eviscerated for their weaknesses, including character flaws. The problem is that our American system of electing leadership is deeply flawed and easily manipulated by advertising. The humiliating process of campaigning drives away our best prospects, leaving the country with weak, inconsistent leadership. ..."
"... gemli, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton pursued a regime change in Libya, Syria and Ukraine. They got away with their foolish adventure by saying that Gaddafi was a bad guy, Assad is a bad guy and Putin is a bad guy. ..."
"... Mr. Trump is the sole American politician who is willing to say that we should cooperate with Putin. He is the only Republican to be open to single payer health care, the only Republican to say something good about Planned Parenthood and the only Republican to say that Bush should have been impeached for the Iraq war. ..."
"... Hillary Rodham and Marco Rubio are so awful that we would be better off with a nasty, sleep-deprived Trump. Besides, there is still a much better alternative: the irascible Bernie Sanders. He may be angry, but you would have to be crazy to not be angry with the mess we now have to live with: a rigged economy, "free trade", politics corrupted by money, and an insatiable Military Industrial Complex. ..."
"... A lot of people are angry and Trump is channeling that anger. Sanders is channeling a different anger but he is too nice, and will lose to Mrs. Clinton who is supported by the establishment. ..."
"... He, I believe is also the first American politician to say openly that we have to cooperate with Russia if we are really serious about taking on ISIS. Mr. Obama, with his Harvard education, has NO idea what to do about the ME and is floundering around. Meanwhile Russia and Assad and the Kurds are taking the lead, and our "allies" Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actually undermining the war against ISIS. ..."
"... I would not vote for Trump but if he does become president, we might actually have peace in the Middle East and we might actually have single payer health care. On the second, almost all the Democrats will support him and so will at least some Republicans. ..."
"... Trump is not a nice man but he might not be a disaster as president. ..."
"... Mr. Egan, Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has the classic symptoms which are described as follows, according to the Mayo Clinic ..."
"... Trump is right about one thing, He does make your head spin. ..."
"... I just finished reading 4 opinion columns by Bruni, Brooks, Krugman and lastly Tim Egan's, all published on Feb 26th. (May the last be first and the first last.) I hope Kasich wins to invoke a civil exchange of ideas in American politics, but I will vote for Bernie ..."
"... I imagine the Asians and/or Europe all laughing at us now, but at least the're not shouting and acting like children. Help me, I'm drowning. Give me a leader who can compromise in that great noble tradition which benefits everyone. It's called compassion for the global family. ..."
"... Ambler in "Background to Danger" has a small meditation about politics being not much of anything other than a face behind which the true story goes on, one of big business interests--or in general, economic interests. ..."
"... With Donald Trump the Republican party in the U.S. seems to have dropped the politics mask -- you have a combination of business and fascistic impulses. The question however, is why. Could it be because now all nations in the world find themselves hemmed, with a landlocked feeling like Germany had prior to outbreak of WW2? These business/authoritarian impulses today are not confined to the U.S. alone. ..."
"... how to satisfy in simple basics the restless masses of millions upon millions of people, everything else, not to mention culture, just collapsing in a crowd discussion of who gets what, when, where, why, and how. ..."
"... What's defective about Trump? He is obviously doing very well for himself - he is the likely Republican nominee and is not exactly starving despite multiple bankruptcies. ..."
"... There are real problems with politics in the US and Trump is getting support partly because he at least shows some signs, however delusionary, of addressing the concerns of the 99%. ..."
"... Why are Democrats so concerned that Donald Trump might be the Republican Party's nominee for President that the NY Times trots out editorials psychobabbling about his sleep deprivation? ..."
"... Trump may be all that the intellectual elite deride him for. Guess what? The people who support him don't care. They are tired of being told how to think by people who suppose themselves to be their betters. They will cast their votes and throw their support behind whomever they please, thank-you very much. ..."
"... And really, does Timothy Egan really believe Donald Trump doesn't know what he's doing or saying? Because of sleep deprivation? Note to Mr. Egan: Whatever is Trump's sleep schedule, it seems to be working well for him. He's winning. ..."
"... Trump functions well enough to understand this: (1) The media is deceptive with an agenda of its own. (2) Big donors and big money control the career politicians. 93) Politicians can talk talk talk and make plans and policy and get nothing done. ..."
"... Trump and his supporters are on to all this now. The corrupt media, the corrupt big money and the all talk no action politicians. That is functioning well enough. Trump does not need to function beyond that. His supporters know it and he knows it. ..."
"... So far the best and the brightest highly educated intellectuals have let the USA down . Trump has a certain kind of intelligence that might be just what we need. He effectively cut through a crowded Republican field packed with ideological purists like a knife through butter. He is a very talented New Yorker who grew up in the 60s and went to Fordham before he went to Wharton. If you want to stick your finger in the collective eye of the "elite". vote for Trump. ..."
"... The republican party is the reactionary party. They are a little like the Sicilians described in the novel "The Leopard" where it is said that" In Sicily it doesn't matter whether things are done well or done badly; the sin which we Sicilians never forgive is simply that of 'doing' at all." ..."
"... The Taibbi piece can be found here at this link: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-... ..."
"... Better a sleep deprived bully than a well rested one, which what the rest of the bunch are. They clearly know exactly how to ruin the country and antagonize our allies. ..."
"... As you are reading this, recall how a stressful event in your own life interfered with your sleep. Well, given the frantic nature of the current Republican primary season, the travel, the debates, the probing press, the TV interviews, the speeches, the insults and what's at stake, all of the candidates must be sleep deprived. If they were not they wouldn't be human. Donald will do just fine once he becomes president and gets use to the job (or not). ..."
"... But what about those who hold those same obnoxious ideas arguably sans sleep deprivation? Palin, Cruz, Carson? Please do a series of columns linking the apparent absence of reason in many of the GOP candidates with the current DSM. ..."
"... I used to ridicule President Reagan's legendary afternoon naps. Now I am the age Reagan was as president, and I don't think I could function without napping when I don't get enough sleep at night. ..."
"... What is happening now is not about Trump. It's about what he represents. I don't normally read Peggy Noonan but she nails it today. "There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully. ..."
Feb 26, 2016 | The New York Times
michael kittle
vaison la romaine, france 17 hours ago

This is Tim's contribution to the growing movement to discredit Trump. Every candidate can be similarly eviscerated for their weaknesses, including character flaws. The problem is that our American system of electing leadership is deeply flawed and easily manipulated by advertising. The humiliating process of campaigning drives away our best prospects, leaving the country with weak, inconsistent leadership.

The founding fathers rejected a parliamentary system because it was like England's, but history indicates America could have avoided many political debacles if it had been easier to remove incompetent presidents when their decisions threatened the country. Modernizing our electoral system, shortening the campaign time, and raising the level of debate could improve the choices Americans are given.

Rohit
New York 8 hours ago

gemli, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton pursued a regime change in Libya, Syria and Ukraine. They got away with their foolish adventure by saying that Gaddafi was a bad guy, Assad is a bad guy and Putin is a bad guy.

And maybe they are right about these people being bad guys. But the regime change policy has been a disaster. WE did not spend a trillion dollars and no AMERICAN troops died. But hundreds of thousands of Syrians are dead, millions knocking at Germany's door and Greece is overwhelmed with refugees. This was all the doing of the "Obama team".

Mr. Trump is the sole American politician who is willing to say that we should cooperate with Putin. He is the only Republican to be open to single payer health care, the only Republican to say something good about Planned Parenthood and the only Republican to say that Bush should have been impeached for the Iraq war.

YOU just see a nasty man in the Republican debates who talks nonsense and has no trouble lying. And that nasty mean does seem to be there, although given Trump, the nasty man might well be a façade who will vanish as soon as he faces the general election.

And you need to be aware of the fact that some of his positions are actually sensible and he is the only politician who has all these positions.

Unfortunately you guys hate Republicans so much that you see red any time you see one and that red in your eyes prevents you from seeing clearly.

Timothy Bal

Central Jersey 16 hours ago
A sleep-deprived Trump is still much better than a fully rested tool of the elites from either political party.

Hillary Rodham and Marco Rubio are so awful that we would be better off with a nasty, sleep-deprived Trump. Besides, there is still a much better alternative: the irascible Bernie Sanders. He may be angry, but you would have to be crazy to not be angry with the mess we now have to live with: a rigged economy, "free trade", politics corrupted by money, and an insatiable Military Industrial Complex.

Rohit, New York 9 hours ago
A lot of people are angry and Trump is channeling that anger. Sanders is channeling a different anger but he is too nice, and will lose to Mrs. Clinton who is supported by the establishment.

Trump is mean enough to take on the establishment, and win. And he is the first Republican brave enough to say that Planned Parenthood DOES do some good work. Like him, I do NOT think they should receive federal funding but that some or most of their work is actually health related is a fact.

He, I believe is also the first American politician to say openly that we have to cooperate with Russia if we are really serious about taking on ISIS. Mr. Obama, with his Harvard education, has NO idea what to do about the ME and is floundering around. Meanwhile Russia and Assad and the Kurds are taking the lead, and our "allies" Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actually undermining the war against ISIS.

I would not vote for Trump but if he does become president, we might actually have peace in the Middle East and we might actually have single payer health care. On the second, almost all the Democrats will support him and so will at least some Republicans.

Trump is not a nice man but he might not be a disaster as president.

Bob SE PA 6 hours ago

Mr. Egan, Donald Trump may or may not suffer from sleep deprivation. He definitely suffers from something called NPD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has the classic symptoms which are described as follows, according to the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-d... :

"DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  1. Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  2. Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  3. Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  4. Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  5. Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  6. Requiring constant admiration
  7. Having a sense of entitlement
  8. Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  9. Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  10. Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  11. Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  12. Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner"

bill b new york 16 hours ago

Trump is right about one thing, He does make your head spin.

Paul Greensboro, NC 11 hours ago

I just finished reading 4 opinion columns by Bruni, Brooks, Krugman and lastly Tim Egan's, all published on Feb 26th. (May the last be first and the first last.) I hope Kasich wins to invoke a civil exchange of ideas in American politics, but I will vote for Bernie or Hilary assuming an asteroid does not hit the earth before then.

I imagine the Asians and/or Europe all laughing at us now, but at least the're not shouting and acting like children. Help me, I'm drowning. Give me a leader who can compromise in that great noble tradition which benefits everyone. It's called compassion for the global family.

Daniel12 Wash. D.C. 14 hours ago

Donald Trump?

I'm on a project to read four (the four I could find so far) of the six Eric Ambler novels written prior to WW2. I'm on the second, "Background to Danger", now. Ambler in "Background to Danger" has a small meditation about politics being not much of anything other than a face behind which the true story goes on, one of big business interests--or in general, economic interests.

With Donald Trump the Republican party in the U.S. seems to have dropped the politics mask -- you have a combination of business and fascistic impulses. The question however, is why. Could it be because now all nations in the world find themselves hemmed, with a landlocked feeling like Germany had prior to outbreak of WW2? These business/authoritarian impulses today are not confined to the U.S. alone.

Worse, the opposition to big business, the other big economic theory of past decades, the socialistic/communistic trend, has been seen in practice whether we speak of Cuba or the Soviet Union or Venezuela or China. It seems all the masks of politics are coming off, all the ideals such as democracy, rights, communism, what have you and instead the argument is turning to actual and naked discussion of interests pure and simple, right and left wing economics, how to satisfy in simple basics the restless masses of millions upon millions of people, everything else, not to mention culture, just collapsing in a crowd discussion of who gets what, when, where, why, and how.

The open boat.

skeptonomist is a trusted commenter Tennessee 11 hours ago

What's defective about Trump? He is obviously doing very well for himself - he is the likely Republican nominee and is not exactly starving despite multiple bankruptcies.

What needs analysis is why so many people support Trump - what's up with them? And what defects in the establishments of both parties cause so many people to reject their selected dynastic picks.

There are real problems with politics in the US and Trump is getting support partly because he at least shows some signs, however delusionary, of addressing the concerns of the 99%.

Beachbum Paris 14 hours ago

This is all thanks to Rupert Murdoch

S.D.Keith Birmigham, AL 7 hours ago

Why are Democrats so concerned that Donald Trump might be the Republican Party's nominee for President that the NY Times trots out editorials psychobabbling about his sleep deprivation?

This is hilarious stuff. Trump may be all that the intellectual elite deride him for. Guess what? The people who support him don't care. They are tired of being told how to think by people who suppose themselves to be their betters. They will cast their votes and throw their support behind whomever they please, thank-you very much. That, much to the chagrin of the Progressive idealists who always believe they know better what people should need and want, is democracy in action. It may be ugly at times, but it is much preferred over every other form of governance.

In fact, articles like this, while red meat for establishmentarian dogs, serve only to strengthen Trump's bona fides among his supporters.

And really, does Timothy Egan really believe Donald Trump doesn't know what he's doing or saying? Because of sleep deprivation? Note to Mr. Egan: Whatever is Trump's sleep schedule, it seems to be working well for him. He's winning.

J. San Ramon 9 hours ago

Trump functions well enough to understand this: (1) The media is deceptive with an agenda of its own. (2) Big donors and big money control the career politicians. 93) Politicians can talk talk talk and make plans and policy and get nothing done.

Trump and his supporters are on to all this now. The corrupt media, the corrupt big money and the all talk no action politicians. That is functioning well enough. Trump does not need to function beyond that. His supporters know it and he knows it.

Scott, NYC 7 hours ago

Another cheap hit piece by the Times. Just to fact check Mr. Egan. Trump just did very, very well with Hispanics in Nevada. So who's delusional?

AVT, Glen Cove, NY 7 hours ago

So far the best and the brightest highly educated intellectuals have let the USA down . Trump has a certain kind of intelligence that might be just what we need. He effectively cut through a crowded Republican field packed with ideological purists like a knife through butter. He is a very talented New Yorker who grew up in the 60s and went to Fordham before he went to Wharton. If you want to stick your finger in the collective eye of the "elite". vote for Trump. This message brought to you by a hugely "bigly" educated Queens lawyer. go Redmen

Excellency, is a trusted commenter Florida 9 hours ago

The republican party is the reactionary party. They are a little like the Sicilians described in the novel "The Leopard" where it is said that" In Sicily it doesn't matter whether things are done well or done badly; the sin which we Sicilians never forgive is simply that of 'doing' at all."

Imagine a man of action like Trump navigating that population, from which great jurists like Scalia emerge, and you have Trump behaving much as Egan describes and succeeding. Indeed, in that same novel it is said that "to rage and mock is gentlemanly, to grumble and whine is not."

S.R. Simon, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. 9 hours ago

Matt Taibbi's pitch-perfect HOW AMERICA MADE DONALD TRUMP UNSTOPPABLE (Rolling Stone, Feb. 24) says it all, and to perfection. The Taibbi piece can be found here at this link: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-...

Nora01, New England 9 hours ago

Better a sleep deprived bully than a well rested one, which what the rest of the bunch are. They clearly know exactly how to ruin the country and antagonize our allies.

nzierler, New Hartford 9 hours ago

Ever wonder why Trump invokes the name of Carl Ihkan every chance he gets? Both engage in hostile takeovers. That's the predatory side of business. But how does that qualify Trump to be the Commander-In-Chief? I would not be surprised if a frustrated President Trump threatened to punch Vladimir Putin in the face. The very thought of President Trump is a nightmare, but no less a nightmare than President Cruz or President Rubio.

Dan Weber, Anchorage, Alaska 9 hours ago

John Kenneth Galbraith, who was in parts of his career intimate with government (including being American ambassador to India during the 1962 China-India War) said in his autobiography that sleep deprivation was the least-appreciated weakness of high-level decision makers in times of crisis.

Somewhere I've read of an experiment that concluded that someone who hasn't slept for 36 hours is as dysfunctional as if he were legally intoxicated. And I recall Colin Powell praising Ambien as the only thing that allowed him to travel as he had to. That's interesting, given Ambien's well-known potential amnesic side-effects.

Mike, San Diego 9 hours ago

As you are reading this, recall how a stressful event in your own life interfered with your sleep. Well, given the frantic nature of the current Republican primary season, the travel, the debates, the probing press, the TV interviews, the speeches, the insults and what's at stake, all of the candidates must be sleep deprived. If they were not they wouldn't be human. Donald will do just fine once he becomes president and gets use to the job (or not).

Carrollian, NY 9 hours ago

But what about those who hold those same obnoxious ideas arguably sans sleep deprivation? Palin, Cruz, Carson? Please do a series of columns linking the apparent absence of reason in many of the GOP candidates with the current DSM.

Richard Grayson, Brooklyn, NY 11 hours ago

Good call, though I suspect most presidential candidates need a lot more sleep. A friend of mine who lived near Michael Dukakis saw him a few weeks after the 1988 election, and he recounted that the Democratic presidential candidate said he was now sleeping so much better, that in the hectic pace of a campaign, he wasn't able to take the time to learn "what was really going on" and to process everything.

I used to ridicule President Reagan's legendary afternoon naps. Now I am the age Reagan was as president, and I don't think I could function without napping when I don't get enough sleep at night.

There's a campaign trope about who you want to be in the White House when an emergency call about a serious world crisis comes in at 3 a.m. I want him or her to be someone who didn't just go to sleep at 2 a.m.

CNNNNC, CT 11 hours ago

What is happening now is not about Trump. It's about what he represents. I don't normally read Peggy Noonan but she nails it today. "There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful-those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created."

http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-and-the-rise-of-the-unprotected-145644...

Making the election about Trump personally conveniently ignores this new reality.

[Mar 20, 2019] The Mysterious Collapse of WTC Building 7

Is this a plan of the elite to introduce national security state in action. Are they afraid of the collapse of neoliberal social order and try to take precautions?
Notable quotes:
"... These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness. ..."
"... the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. ..."
"... Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side-much like the topping of a tall redwood tree-not a concentric, vertical collapse. ..."
"... no molten metal ..."
"... A reporter with rare access to the debris at ground zero "descended deep below street level to areas where underground fires still burned and steel flowed in molten streams." ..."
"... Please remember that firefighters sprayed millions of gallons of water on the fires, and also applied high-tech fire retardants. Specifically, 4 million gallons of water were dropped on Ground Zero within the first 10 days after September 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories : ..."
"... Why would the Insiders bother blowing Building 7? Indeed, why would the Insiders bother with WTC at all? Exactly what were the motivations of the Insiders supposed to be? ..."
"... Larry Silverstein had a magic ball that told him to insure the buildings for "terrorist attacks". In February of 2002, Silverstein was awarded $861,000,000 for his insurance claims from Industrial Risk Insurers. His initial investment in WTC 7 was only $386,000,000. ..."
"... Perhaps after the first couple of attempted attacks on the WTC in the 90's they had a good look at what would happen if an attack was successful. Perhaps they then decided that the massive collateral damage from a partial or messy collapse could be greatly reduced by having the buildings ready to be brought down in a controlled way. ..."
"... All this would have to be kept secret as noone would work in a building lined with explosives. However the insurance companies, and the owner of the building would know, and this would explain the comments made by silverstein (comments that he himself never clarified). ..."
"... This may all be completely wrong, but lets face it, explosives did bring these buildings down. ..."
"... http://topdocumentaryfilms.com ...How about a 5 hour video that methodically refutes and explains the flaws of virtually every aspect of the 'official story', in particular the shamefully flawed NIST report ..."
"... There were no pyroclastic flows at WTC. That's obvious by the fact that pieces of intact paper lay everywhere, something that would be impossible if a hot cloud covered the area. ..."
"... The reason that you have to resort to esoteric explanations for what happened at WTC is that you believe lies about what happened at WTC. ..."
"... If you really believe that this was done by hydrocarbon based fires begun by burning jet fuel you are beyond hopeless. ..."
"... Why do you trust the government so much? That to me is idiotic. History has proven pretty much every government to be corrupt. It's sheep like you that allow them to get away with it. Just keep walking sheep, don't want to fall back from the mob. ..."
"... The "accepted scholarship" is conducted almost entirely by government shills for the benefit of dumbed down Americans whose information intake is limited to Fox, CNN, and MSNBC. ..."
Sep 15, 2012 | WashingtonsBlog

... ... ...

What Do the Experts Say?

What does the evidence show about the Solomon Brothers Building in Manhattan?

Numerous structural engineers – the people who know the most about office building vulnerabilities and accidents – say that the official explanation of why building 7 at the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 is "impossible", "defies common logic" and "violates the law of physics":

The collapse of WTC7 looks like it may have been the result of a controlled demolition. This should have been looked into as part of the original investigation

Photos of the steel, evidence about how the buildings collapsed, the unexplainable collapse of WTC 7, evidence of thermite in the debris as well as several other red flags, are quite troubling indications of well planned and controlled demolition

In my view, the chances of the three buildings collapsing symmetrically into their own footprint, at freefall speed, by any other means than by controlled demolition, are so remote that there is no other plausible explanation

Near-freefall collapse violates laws of physics. Fire induced collapse is not consistent with observed collapse mode . . . .

How did the structures collapse in near symmetrical fashion when the apparent precipitating causes were asymmetrical loading? The collapses defies common logic from an elementary structural engineering perspective.

***

Heat transmission (diffusion) through the steel members would have been irregular owing to differing sizes of the individual members; and, the temperature in the members would have dropped off precipitously the further away the steel was from the flames-just as the handle on a frying pan doesn't get hot at the same rate as the pan on the burner of the stove. These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness.

Structural steel is highly ductile, when subjected to compression and bending it buckles and bends long before reaching its tensile or shear capacity. Under the given assumptions, "if" the structure in the vicinity started to weaken, the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. The opposite, intact, side of the building would resist toppling until the ultimate capacity of the structure was reached, at which point, a weak-link failure would undoubtedly occur. Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side-much like the topping of a tall redwood tree-not a concentric, vertical collapse.

For this reason alone, I rejected the official explanation for the collapse .

We design and analyze buildings for the overturning stability to resist the lateral loads with the combination of the gravity loads. Any tall structure failure mode would be a fall over to its side. It is impossible that heavy steel columns could collapse at the fraction of the second within each story and subsequently at each floor below.We do not know the phenomenon of the high rise building to disintegrate internally faster than the free fall of the debris coming down from the top.

The engineering science and the law of physics simply doesn't know such possibility. Only very sophisticated controlled demolition can achieve such result, eliminating the natural dampening effect of the structural framing huge mass that should normally stop the partial collapse. The pancake theory is a fallacy, telling us that more and more energy would be generated to accelerate the collapse. Where would such energy would be coming from?

Fire and impact were insignificant in all three buildings [Again, please ignore any reference to the Twin Towers this essay focuses solely on WTC7]. Impossible for the three to collapse at free-fall speed. Laws of physics were not suspended on 9/11, unless proven otherwise

The symmetrical "collapse" due to asymmetrical damage is at odds with the principles of structural mechanics

It is virtually impossible for WTC building 7 to collapse as it did with the influence of sporadic fires. This collapse HAD to be planned

It is very suspicious that fire brought down Building 7 yet the Madrid hotel fire was still standing after 24 hours of fire. This is very suspicious to me because I design buildings for a living

The above is just a sample. Many other structural engineers have questioned the collapse of Building 7, as have numerous top experts in other relevant disciplines, including:

The collapse was too symmetrical to have been eccentrically generated. The destruction was symmetrically initiated to cause the buildings to implode as they did

Watch this short video on Building 7 by Architects and Engineers (ignore any reference to the Twin Towers, deaths on 9/11, or any other topics other than WTC7):

Fish In a Barrel

Poking holes in the government's spin on Building 7 is so easy that it is like shooting fish in a barrel.

As just one example, the spokesman for the government agency which says that the building collapsed due to fire said there was no molten metal at ground zero:


The facts are a wee bit different:

Please remember that firefighters sprayed millions of gallons of water on the fires, and also applied high-tech fire retardants. Specifically, 4 million gallons of water were dropped on Ground Zero within the first 10 days after September 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories:

Approximately three million gallons of water were hosed on site in the fire-fighting efforts, and 1 million gallons fell as rainwater, between 9/11 and 9/21 .

The spraying continued for months afterward (the 10 day period was simply the timeframe in which the DOE was sampling). Enormous amounts of water were hosed on Ground Zero continuously, day and night:

"Firetrucks [sprayed] a nearly constant jet of water on [ground zero]. You couldn't even begin to imagine how much water was pumped in there," said Tom Manley of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the largest fire department union. "It was like you were creating a giant lake."

This photograph may capture a sense of how wet the ground became due to the constant spraying:

murphy Arguments Regarding the Collapse of the World Trade Center Evaporate Upon Inspection
In addition, the fires were sprayed with thousands of gallons of high tech fire-retardants.

The fact that there were raging fires and molten metal even after the application of massive quantities of water and fire retardants shows how silly the government spokesman's claim is.

Again, this has nothing to do with "inside job" no one was killed in the collapse of Building 7, no wars were launched based on a rallying cry of "remember the Solomon Brothers building", and no civil liberties were lost based on a claim that we have to prevent future WTC7 tragedies.

It is merely meant to show that government folks sometimes lie even about issues tangentially related to 9/11.

Pooua > Wolfen Batroach • 2 years ago

Why would the Insiders bother blowing Building 7? Indeed, why would the Insiders bother with WTC at all? Exactly what were the motivations of the Insiders supposed to be?

JusticeFor911 > Pooua

Larry Silverstein had a magic ball that told him to insure the buildings for "terrorist attacks". In February of 2002, Silverstein was awarded $861,000,000 for his insurance claims from Industrial Risk Insurers. His initial investment in WTC 7 was only $386,000,000.

I'd say nearly half of $1,000,000,000.00 was the primary cause to include this building with the towers. Keep in mind that President Bush's brother Marvin was a principal in the company Securacom that provided security for the WTC, United Airlines and Dulles International Airport. Are dots connecting yet?

Pooua > JusticeFor911

If you buy a new car, you take out full coverage insurance on it. Insuring billion-dollar buildings is standard procedure, especially when one had already suffered a terrorist attack. You insinuation is nothing but gossip and suggestion.

No, Securacom did not provide security for WTC; that's the job of the Port Authority of NY & NJ. Securacom had a contract to perform a limited service for PANYNJ, and Marvin Bush was only a bit player (he was on the board of directors) in the company. Your paranoid ramblings are lies.

IBSHILLIN > Pooua

Perhaps after the first couple of attempted attacks on the WTC in the 90's they had a good look at what would happen if an attack was successful. Perhaps they then decided that the massive collateral damage from a partial or messy collapse could be greatly reduced by having the buildings ready to be brought down in a controlled way.

All this would have to be kept secret as noone would work in a building lined with explosives. However the insurance companies, and the owner of the building would know, and this would explain the comments made by silverstein (comments that he himself never clarified).

This may all be completely wrong, but lets face it, explosives did bring these buildings down.

Pooua > IBSHILLIN

I find it amazing that you consider yourself such an unquestionable expert that you not only feel qualified to insist that explosives brought down the WTC buildings, even in contradiction to scores of scientists, engineers and investigators of NIST, FEMA, FBI and MIT who say otherwise, and you do so without offering any evidence at all to support your bizarre claim.

No building the size of any of the WTC buildings has ever been brought down by controlled demolition, but of those that come closest, the planning took years, and the rigging took months of hard work by teams of experts working around the clock. This is not something that can be hidden.

Your suggestion is entirely preposterous and without merit.

ihaveabrain > Pooua

explain this? You are smarter than these experts? http://www.hulu.com/watch/4120...

NIST, FEMA, FBI and MIT are worthless entities! What about the experts in that documentary? Nanothermite brought them down smart guy!

Pooua > ihaveabrain • 25 days ago

You posted a 1.5-hour video. I am not here to watch a 1.5-hour video; I'm here to discuss the topic of the collapse of WTC 7. If you have something to say, say it here.

NIST has been the premier standards body used by the US government for a century, covering virtually every aspect of engineering and public safety in this country. It employes thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians. For you to claim that it is a worthless entity is idiocy on your part.

linked1 > Pooua • 24 days ago

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com ...How about a 5 hour video that methodically refutes and explains the flaws of virtually every aspect of the 'official story', in particular the shamefully flawed NIST report

You claim to want to discuss the topic of the collapse of WTC-7 but you can't be bothered to watch painstakingly researched documentaries that include thousands of witnesses, victims, scientists, and structural professionals.

You ought to educate yourself before calling other's claims 'worthless idiocy'. You are wrong, and history will prove you wrong.

Pooua > linked1

I've been reading arguments about 9/11 for two years. I've been arguing about other issues for the last 25 years, at least since I took a class in classical logic. What you need to understand is, you aren't arguing anything when you send me off to listen to someone else. The other guy might be arguing something, but you aren't doing anything. And, the fact that I've spent two years reading everything I could find on the subject makes me strongly suspect that this five-hour video would be just a waste of my time.

If you want to discuss this matter, then discuss it. Don't send me off to spend hours of my time listening to someone else. You explain it. If you can't explain it, then you don't understand it, and you are wasting everyone's time.

mulegino1 . > Pooua

The levels of energy required to turn most of the Twin Towers and WTC7 into nanoparticles (thus the pyrocastic flow which only occurs in volcanic eruptions and nuclear detonations) would be thousands of orders of magnitude greater than airliner impacts and hydrocarbon based office fires, which are claimed to have initiated a "gravity collapse".

How could a "gravity collapse" perfectly mimic the detonation of a small tactical nuclear device or devices-electromagnetic pulse, molten lava and a mushroom cloud?

Pooua > mulegino1

I want you to look at this image from the WTC on 9/11. It shows the debris after the Towers collapsed. Does this look like nanoparticles to you? Most of the debris was bigger than a man's fist.

Thumbnail

There were no pyroclastic flows at WTC. That's obvious by the fact that pieces of intact paper lay everywhere, something that would be impossible if a hot cloud covered the area.

The reason that you have to resort to esoteric explanations for what happened at WTC is that you believe lies about what happened at WTC.

mulegino1 . > Pooua

If you really believe that this was done by hydrocarbon based fires begun by burning jet fuel you are beyond hopeless.

There was indeed a pyroclasticas flow as anyone with youtube can determine for themselves.

Pooua > WilliamBinney • a year ago

It is your job to do more than make idiotic, speculative assertions and pretend that constitutes a reason for disregarding the government's account of the event. Yet, you all have completely failed to do anything except expose your own inability to account for the events of that day.

Dizzer13 > Pooua • a year ago

Why do you trust the government so much? That to me is idiotic. History has proven pretty much every government to be corrupt. It's sheep like you that allow them to get away with it. Just keep walking sheep, don't want to fall back from the mob.

mulegino1 . > Pooua • 2 years ago

The "accepted scholarship" is conducted almost entirely by government shills for the benefit of dumbed down Americans whose information intake is limited to Fox, CNN, and MSNBC.

The official narrative is so ludicrous from any standpoint that the "debunkers" resort to wildly implausible scenarios in order to convince the above cited demographic that the government and the major national media were reporting factual information when in fact they were reading from a script. And it was a very poorly written script. The Bin Laden bogeyman was already being invoked before the buildings exploded.

What you've got here is a pseudo-religious narrative designed to so enrage the dumbed down sheeple that they will lash out in their fury against virtually anyone designated by the powers that be as the enemy- a Sorelian myth.

Like any false narrative, the official story breaks down at the level of discrete facts and can only survive as a holistic mythologized, meta-historical events.

[Mar 20, 2019] Bankrupt British Empire Keeps Pushing To Overthrow Putin

This is anold, 2015 article that is still rrrelenet today. Well written overview of British policies toward Russia
Notable quotes:
"... Lyndon LaRouche has observed that anybody acting according to this British agenda with the intention of coming out on top is a fool, since the British financial-political empire is bankrupt and its entire system is coming down. ..."
"... EU: British imperial interests are intent on destroying Prime Minister Putin's bid for the Presidency, and throwing Russia into deadly political turmoil. ..."
"... In her testimony, Diuk came off like a reincarnation of a 1950s Cold Warrior, raving against the Russian government as "authoritarian," "dictators," and so forth. She said, "The trend lines for freedom and democracy in Russia have been unremittingly negative since Vladimir Putin took power and set about the systematic construction of a representation of their interests within the state." She announced at that point that the elections would be illegitimate: "[T]he current regime will likely use the upcoming parliamentary elections in December 2011 and presidential election in March 2012 with the inevitable falsifications and manipulations, to claim the continued legitimacy of its rule." ..."
"... The British-educated Nadia Diuk is vice president of the National Endowment for Democracy, from which perch she has spread "Cold War" venom against Putin and the Russian government. ..."
"... Rafal Rohozinski and Ronald Deibert, two top profilers of the Russian Internet, noted that the Runet grew five times faster than the next fastest growing Internet region, the Middle East, in 2000-08. ..."
"... NED grant money has gone to Alexei Navalny (inset), the online "anti-corruption" activist and cult figure of the December demonstrations. Addressing crowds on the street, Navalny sounds more like Mussolini than a proponent of democracy. A Russian columnist found him reminiscent of either Hitler, or Catalina, who conspired against the Roman Republic. Shown: the Dec. 24 demonstration in Moscow. ..."
Jan 09, 2012 | http://schillerinstitute.org/russia/2012/0122_overthrow_putin.html
This article appears in the January 20, 2012 issue of Executive Intelligence Review and is reprinted with permission.

[PDF version of this article]

January 9, 2012 -Organizers of the December 2011 "anti-vote-fraud" demonstrations in Moscow have announced Feb. 4 as the date of their next street action, planned as a march around the city's Garden Ring Road on the 22nd anniversary of a mass demonstration which paved the way to the end of the Soviet Union. While there is a fluid situation within both the Russian extraparliamentary opposition layers, and the ruling circles and other Duma parties, including a process of "dialogue" between them, in which ex-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin is playing a role, it is clear that British imperial interests are intent on-if not actually destroying Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's bid for reelection as Russia's President in the March 4 elections-casting Russia into ongoing, destructive political turmoil.

Lyndon LaRouche has observed that anybody acting according to this British agenda with the intention of coming out on top is a fool, since the British financial-political empire is bankrupt and its entire system is coming down.

Review of the events leading up to the Dec. 4, 2011 Duma elections, which the street demonstrators demanded be cancelled for fraud, shows that not only agent-of-British-influence Mikhail Gorbachov, the ex-Soviet President, but also the vast Project Democracy apparatus inside the United States, exposed by EIR in the 1980s as part of an unconstitutional "secret government,"[1] have been on full mobilization to block the current Russian leadership from continuing in power.

Project Democracy

Typical is the testimony of Nadia Diuk, vice president of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), before the Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs last July 26. The NED is the umbrella of Project Democracy; it functions, inclusively, through the International Republican Institute (IRI, linked with the Republican Party) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI, linked with the Democratic Party, and currently headed by Madeleine Albright).

Diuk was educated at the U.K.'s Unversity of Sussex Russian studies program, and then taught at Oxford University, before coming to the U.S.A. to head up the NED's programs in Eastern Europe and Russia beginning 1990. She is married to her frequent co-author, Adrian Karatnycky of the Atlantic Institute, who headed up the private intelligence outfit Freedom House[2] for 12 years. Her role is typical of British outsourcing of key strategic operations to U.S. institutions.

EU: British imperial interests are intent on destroying Prime Minister Putin's bid for the Presidency, and throwing Russia into deadly political turmoil.

In her testimony, Diuk came off like a reincarnation of a 1950s Cold Warrior, raving against the Russian government as "authoritarian," "dictators," and so forth. She said, "The trend lines for freedom and democracy in Russia have been unremittingly negative since Vladimir Putin took power and set about the systematic construction of a representation of their interests within the state." She announced at that point that the elections would be illegitimate: "[T]he current regime will likely use the upcoming parliamentary elections in December 2011 and presidential election in March 2012 with the inevitable falsifications and manipulations, to claim the continued legitimacy of its rule."

Diuk expressed renewed hope that the disastrous 2004 Orange Revolution experiment in Ukraine could be replicated in Russia, claiming that "when the protests against authoritarian rule during Ukraine's Orange Revolution brought down the government in 2004, Russian citizens saw a vision across the border of an alternative future for themselves as a Slavic nation." She then detailed what she claimed were the Kremlin's reactions to the events in Ukraine, charging that "the leaders in the Kremlin-always the most creative innovators in the club of authoritarians-have also taken active measures to promote support of the government and undermine the democratic opposition...."

Holos Ameryky

The British-educated Nadia Diuk is vice president of the National Endowment for Democracy, from which perch she has spread "Cold War" venom against Putin and the Russian government.

While lauding "the democratic breakthroughs in the Middle East" in 2011, Diuk called on the Congress to "look to [Eastern Europe] as the source of a great wealth of experience on how the enemies of freedom are ever on the alert to assert their dominance, but also how the forces for freedom and democracy will always find a way to push back in a struggle that demands our support."

In September, Diuk chaired an NED event featuring a representative of the NED-funded Levada Center Russian polling organization, who gave an overview of the then-upcoming December 4 Duma election. Also speaking there was Russian liberal politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who predicted in the nastiest tones that Putin will suffer the fate of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. In this same September period, Mikhail Gorbachov, too, was already forecasting voting irregularities and a challenge to Putin's dominance.

The NED, which has an annual budget of $100 million, sponsors dozens of "civil society" groups in Russia. Golos, the supposedly independent vote-monitoring group that declared there would be vote fraud even before the elections took place, has received NED money through the NDI since 2000. Golos had a piecework program, paying its observers a set amount of money for each reported voting irregularity. NED grant money has gone to Alexei Navalny-the online anti-corruption activist and cult figure of the December demonstrations-since 2006, when he and Maria Gaidar (daughter of the late London-trained shock therapy Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar) launched a youth debating project called "DA!" (meaning "Yes!" or standing for "Democratic Alternative"). Gorbachov's close ally Vladimir Ryzhkov, currently negotiating with Kudrin on terms of a "dialogue between the authorities and the opposition," also received NED grants to his World Movement for Democracy.

Besides George Soros's Open Society Foundations (formerly, Open Society Institute, OSI), the biggest source of funds for this meddling, including funding which was channeled through the NDI and the IRI, is the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Officially, USAID has spent $2.6 billion on programs in Russia since 1992. The current acknowledged level is around $70 million annually, of which nearly half is for "Governing Justly & Democratically" programs, another 30% for "Information" programs, and only a small fraction for things like combatting HIV and TB. On Dec. 15, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon announced that the Obama Administration would seek Congressional approval to step up this funding, with "an initiative to create a new fund to support Russian non-governmental organizations that are committed to a more pluralistic and open society."

Awaiting McFaul

White House/Pete Souza

The impending arrival in Moscow of Michael McFaul (shown here with his boss in the Oval Office), as U.S. Ambassador to Russia, is seen by many there as an escalation of Project Democracy efforts to destabilize the country.

People from various parts of the political spectrum in Russia see the impending arrival of Michael McFaul as U.S. Ambassador to Russia as an escalation in Project Democracy efforts to destabilize Russia. McFaul, who has been Barack Obama's National Security Council official for Russia, has been working this beat since the early 1990s, when he represented the NDI in Russia at the end of the Soviet period, and headed its office there.

As a Russia specialist at Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Hoover Institution, as well as the Carnegie Endowment, and an array of other Russian studies think tanks, McFaul has stuck closely to the Project Democracy agenda. Financing for his research has come from the NED, the OSI, and the Smith-Richardson Foundation (another notorious agency of financier interests within the U.S. establishment). He was an editor of the 2006 book Revolution in Orange: The Origins of Ukraine's Democratic Breakthrough, containing chapters by Diuk and Karatnycky.

In his own contribution to a 2010 book titled After Putin's Russia,[3] McFaul hailed the 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine-which was notoriously funded and manipulated from abroad-as a triumph of "people's political power from below to resist and eventually overturn a fraudulent election."

Before coming to the NSC, one of McFaul's many positions at Stanford was co-director of the Iran Democracy Project. He has also been active in such projects as the British Henry Jackson Society which is active in the drive to overthrow the government of Syria.

The Internet Dimension

The December 2011 street demonstrations in Moscow were organized largely online. Participation rose from a few hundred on Dec. 5, the day after the election, to an estimated 20,000 people on Bolotnaya Square Dec. 10, and somewhere in the wide range of 30,000 to 120,000 on Academician Sakharov Prospect Dec. 24.

Headlong expansion of Internet access and online social networking over the past three to five years has opened up a new dimension of political-cultural warfare in Russia. An EIR investigation finds that British intelligence agencies involved in the current attempts to destabilize Russia and, in their maximum version, overthrow Putin, have been working intensively to profile online activity in Russia and find ways to expand and exploit it. Some of these projects are outsourced to think tanks in the U.S.A. and Canada, but their center is Cambridge University in the U.K.-the heart of the British Empire, home of Bertrand Russell's systems analysis and related ventures of the Cambridge Apostles.[4]

The scope of the projects goes beyond profiling, as can be seen in the Cambridge-centered network's interaction with Russian anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny, a central figure in the December protest rallies.

While George Soros and his OSI prioritized building Internet access in the former Soviet Union starting two decades ago, as recently as in 2008 British cyberspace specialists were complaining that the Internet was not yet efficient for political purposes in Russia. Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism produced a Soros-funded report in 2008, titled "The Web that Failed: How opposition politics and independent initiatives are failing on the Internet in Russia." The Oxford-Reuters authors regretted that processes like the Orange Revolution, in which online connections were crucial, had not gotten a toehold in Russia. But they quoted a 2007 report by Andrew Kuchins of the Moscow Carnegie Center, who found reason for optimism in the seven-fold increase in Russian Internet (Runet) use from 2000 to 2007. They also cited Robert Orttung of American University and the Resource Security Institute, on how Russian blogs were reaching "the most dynamic members of the youth generation" and could be used by "members of civil society" to mobilize "liberal opposition groups and nationalists."

Scarcely a year later, a report by the digital marketing firm comScore crowed that booming Internet access had led to Russia's having "the world's most engaged social networking audience." Russian Facebook use rose by 277% from 2008 to 2009. The Russia-based social networking outfit Vkontakte.ru (like Facebook) had 14.3 million visitors in 2009; Odnoklassniki.ru (like Classmates.com) had 7.8 million; and Mail.ru-My World had 6.3 million. All three of these social networking sites are part of the Mail.ru/Digital Sky Technologies empire of Yuri Milner,[5] with the individual companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore locations.

The Cambridge Security Programme

Rafal Rohozinski and Ronald Deibert, two top profilers of the Russian Internet, noted that the Runet grew five times faster than the next fastest growing Internet region, the Middle East, in 2000-08.

Two top profilers of the Runet are Ronald Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski, who assessed its status in their essay "Control and Subversion in Russian Cyberspace."[6] At the University of Toronto, Deibert is a colleague of Barry Wellman, co-founder of the International Network of Social Network Analysis (INSNA).[7] Rohozinski is a cyber-warfare specialist who ran the Advanced Network Research Group of the Cambridge Security Programme (CSP) at Cambridge University in 2002-07. Nominally ending its work, the CSP handed off its projects to an array of organizations in the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), including Rohozinski's SecDev Group consulting firm, which issues the Information Warfare Monitor.

The ONI, formally dedicated to mapping and circumventing Internet surveillance and filtering by governments, is a joint project of Cambridge (Rohozinski), the Oxford Internet Institute, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, and the University of Toronto.

Deibert and Rohozinski noted that the Runet grew five times faster than the next fastest growing Internet region, the Middle East, in 2000-08. They cited official estimates that 38 million Russians were going online as of 2010, of whom 60 had broadband access from home; the forecast number of Russia-based Runet users by 2012 was 80 million, out of a population of 140 million. Qualitatively, the ONI authors welcomed what they called "the rise of the Internet to the center of Russian culture and politics." On the political side, they asserted that "the Internet has eclipsed all the mass media in terms of its reach, readership, and especially in the degree of free speech and opportunity to mobilize that it provides."

This notion of an Internet-savvy core of the population becoming the focal point of Russian society is now being hyped by those who want to push the December demonstrations into a full-scale political crisis. Such writers call this segment of the population "the creative class," or "the active creative minority," which can override an inert majority of the population. The Dec. 30 issue of Vedomosti, a financial daily co-owned by the Financial Times of London, featured an article by sociologist Natalya Zubarevich, which was then publicized in "Window on Eurasia" by Paul Goble, a State Department veteran who has concentrated for decades on the potential for Russia to split along ethnic or other lines.

Zubarevich proposed that the 31% of the Russian population living in the 14 largest cities, of which 9 have undergone "post-industrial transformation," constitute a special, influential class, as against the inhabitants of rural areas (38%) and mid-sized industrial cities with an uncertain future (25%). Goble defined the big-city population as a target: "It is in this Russia that the 35 million domestic users of the Internet and those who want a more open society are concentrated."

The Case of Alexei Navalny

In the "The Web that Failed" study, Oxford-Reuters authors Floriana Fossato, John Lloyd, and Alexander Verkhovsky delved into the missing elements, in their view, of the Russian Internet. What would it take, they asked, for Runet participants to be able to "orchestrate motivation and meaningful commitments"? They quoted Julia Minder of the Russian portal Rambler, who said about the potential for "mobilization": "Blogs are at the moment the answer, but the issue is how to find a leading blogger who wants to meet people on the Internet several hours per day. Leading bloggers need to be entertaining.... The potential is there, but more often than not it is not used."

NED grant money has gone to Alexei Navalny (inset), the online "anti-corruption" activist and cult figure of the December demonstrations. Addressing crowds on the street, Navalny sounds more like Mussolini than a proponent of democracy. A Russian columnist found him reminiscent of either Hitler, or Catalina, who conspired against the Roman Republic. Shown: the Dec. 24 demonstration in Moscow.

It is difficult not to wonder if Alexei Navalny is a test-tube creation intended to fill the missing niche. This would not be the first time in recent Russian history that such a thing happened. In 1990, future neoliberal "young reformers" Anatoli Chubais and Sergei Vasilyev wrote a paper under International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) auspices, on the priorities for reform in the Soviet Union. They stated that a certain personality was missing on the Soviet scene at that time: the wealthy businessman. In their IIASA paper, Chubais and Vasilyev wrote: "We now see a figure, arising from historical non-existence: the figure of a businessman-entrepreneur, who has enough capital to bear the investment responsibility, and enough technological knowledge and willingness to support innovation."[8]

This type of person was subsequently brought into existence through the corrupt post-Soviet privatization process in Russia, becoming known as "the oligarchs." Was Navalny, similarly, synthesized as a charismatic blogger to fill the British subversive need for "mobilization"?

Online celebrity Navalny's arrest in Moscow on Dec. 5, and his speech at the Academician Sakharov Prospect rally on Dec. 24 were highlights of last month's turmoil in the Russian capital. Now 35 years old, Navalny grew up in a Soviet/Russian military family and was educated as a lawyer. In 2006, he began to be financed by NED for the DA! project (see above). Along the way-maybe through doing online day-trading, as some biographies suggest, or maybe from unknown benefactors-Navalny acquired enough money to be able to spend $40,000 (his figure) on a few shares in each of several major Russian companies with a high percentage of state ownership. This gave him minority-shareholder status, as a platform for his anti-corruption probes.

It must be understood that the web of "corruption" in Russia is the system of managing cash flows through payoffs, string-pulling, and criminal extortion, which arose out of the boost that Gorbachov's perestroika policy gave to pre-existing Soviet criminal networks in the 1980s. It then experienced a boom under darlings of London like Gaidar, who oversaw the privatization process known as the Great Criminal Revolution in the 1990s. As Russia has been integrated into an international financial order, which itself relies on criminal money flows from the dope trade and strategically motivated scams like Britain's BAE operations in the Persian Gulf, the preponderance of shady activity in the Russian economy has only increased.

Putin's governments inherited this system, and it can be ended when the commitment to monetarism, which LaRouche has identified as a fatal flaw even among genuinely pro-development Russians, is broken in Russia and worldwide. The current bankruptcy of the Trans-Atlantic City of London-Eurozone-Wall Street system means that now is the time for this to happen!

Yale Fellows

In 2010, Navalny was accepted to the Yale World Fellows Program, as one of fewer than 20 approved candidates out of over a thousand applicants. As EIR has reported, the Yale Fellows are instructed by the likes of British Foreign Office veteran Lord Mark Malloch-Brown and representatives of Soros's Open Society Foundations.[9] What's more, the World Fellows Program is funded by The Starr Foundation of Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, former chairman and CEO of insurance giant American International Group (AIG), the recipient of enormous Bush Jr.-Obama bailout largesse in 2008-09; Greenberg and his C.V. Starr company have a long record of facilitating "regime change" (aka coups), going back to the 1986 overthrow of President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. Navalny reports that Maria Gaidar told him to try for the program, and he enjoyed recommendations from top professors at the New Economic School in Moscow, a hotbed of neoliberalism and mathematical economics. It was from New Haven that Navalny launched his anti-corruption campaign against Transneft, the Russian national oil pipeline company, specifically in relation to money movements around the new East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline. The ESPO has just finished the first year of operation of its spur supplying Russian oil to China.

Navalny presents a split personality to the public. Online he is "Mr. Openness." He posts the full legal documentation of his corruption exposés. When his e-mail account was hacked, and his correspondence with U.S. Embassy and NED officials about funding him was made public, Navalny acknowledged that the e-mails were genuine. He tries to disarm interviewers with questions like, "Do you think I'm an American project, or a Kremlin one?"

During the early-January 2012 holiday lull in Russia, Navalny engaged in a lengthy, oh-so-civilized dialogue in Live Journal with Boris Akunin (real name, Grigori Chkhartishvili), a famous detective-story author and liberal activist who was another leader of the December demonstrations, about whether Navalny's commitment to the slogan "Russia for the Russians" marks him as a bigot who is unfit to lead. Addressing crowds on the street, however, Navalny sounds like Mussolini. Prominent Russian columnist Maxim Sokolov, writing in Izvestia, found him reminiscent of either Hitler, or Catalina, who conspired against the Roman Republic.

Navalny may well end up being expendable in the view of his sponsors. In the meantime, it is clear that he is working from the playbook of Gene Sharp, whose neurolinguistic programming and advertising techniques were employed in Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004.[10] Sharp, a veteran of "advanced studies" at Oxford and 30 years at Harvard's Center for International Affairs, is the author of The Politics of Nonviolent Action: Power and Struggle, which advises the use of symbolic colors, short slogans, and so forth.

While at Yale, Navalny also served as an informant and advisor for a two-year study conducted at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, one of the institutions participating in the OpenNet Initiative, launched out of Cambridge University in the U.K. The study produced a profile titled "Mapping the Russian Blogosphere," which detailed the different sections of the Runet: liberal, nationalist, cultural, foreign-based, etc., looking at their potential social impact.

Allen Douglas, Gabrielle Peut, David Christie, and Dorothea Bunnell did research for this article.


Related pages:

schiller@schillerinstitute.org

The Schiller Institute, PO BOX 20244, Washington, DC 20041-0244, 703-771-8390

[Mar 18, 2019] Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine by Seraphim Hanisch

[Video]
Mar 18, 2019 | theduran.com

Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to "prove" that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia's annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine's oil and gas reserves. He stated this at IHS Markit's CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called "bad actors" on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

"We don't want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies," Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe .

Pompeo called Russia's invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country's oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo's lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/b5uF_svBasA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxy . While this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe's doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a "threat" to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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[Mar 18, 2019] FULL CNN TOWN HALL WITH TULSI GABBARD 3-10-19

Highly recommended!
amazing, simply amazing. You need to watch this Town Hall in full to appreciate the skills she demonstrated in defense of her principles. What a fearless young lady.
And this CNN warmonger, a prostitute of MIC was/is pretty devious. Question were selected with malice to hurt Tulsi and people who ask them were definitely pre-selected with an obvious intent to smear Tulsi. In no way those were spontaneous question. This was a session of Neocon//Neolib inquisition. Tulsi behaves like a modern Joan of Arc
From comments: "People need to donate to Tulsi Gabbard for president so she is allowed on the DNC sponsored debate stages. 65000 unique donors required to be in the debates. Donation can be as small as $1 if you can't afford $25"(mrfuzztone)
Notable quotes:
"... Braver then 99.9% of all men in power. They just enjoy watching the blood sports they create for profit. Looks like people are starting to get fed up with the show. About time ..."
"... WE CURRENTLY HAVE A CRONY CAPITALIST PYRAMID SCHEME AND CNN PLAYS IT'S PART TO KEEP THAT SYSTEM IN PLACE ..."
"... I'm 66, a Progressive formerly from Boston where we eat and breathe politics and I'll tell you... never in my life have I seen a Democratic candidate like this fearless young woman who will simultaneously attract veterans AND anti-war folks AND moderate Republicans AND youth. NO OTHER CANDIDATE CAN DO THIS. My absolute belief is that if Tulsi's not on the ticket... Trump wins. Sorry Bernie, this time I'm going with Tulsi. ..."
Mar 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com
lalamimix , 1 week ago

Braver then 99.9% of all men in power. They just enjoy watching the blood sports they create for profit. Looks like people are starting to get fed up with the show. About time✌️ 😉

FMA Bincarim , 1 week ago

CNN has the nerve to claim that Cloudbootjar Copmala Cory and Creepy Joe are polling higher than her.

softminimal1 , 1 week ago (edited)

WE CURRENTLY HAVE A CRONY CAPITALIST PYRAMID SCHEME AND CNN PLAYS IT'S PART TO KEEP THAT SYSTEM IN PLACE.

softminimal1 , 1 week ago

CNN LOVES WARS.

edfou5 , 1 week ago

I'm 66, a Progressive formerly from Boston where we eat and breathe politics and I'll tell you... never in my life have I seen a Democratic candidate like this fearless young woman who will simultaneously attract veterans AND anti-war folks AND moderate Republicans AND youth. NO OTHER CANDIDATE CAN DO THIS. My absolute belief is that if Tulsi's not on the ticket... Trump wins. Sorry Bernie, this time I'm going with Tulsi.

mb1968nz , 1 week ago (edited)

Tulsi handled these hacks like a pro LOOL Are you a capitalist? LOL What s stupid question.....CCN usually stacks there town halls with corporate cronies. I bet Bernie picks her for a high position in his government.

mrfuzztone , 1 week ago

People need to donate to Tulsi Gabbard for president so she is allowed on the DNC sponsored debate stages. 65000 unique donors required to be in the debates. Donation can be as small as $1 if you can't afford $25.

[Mar 18, 2019] Boeing Tumbles On Grand Jury Subpoena Probing 737 MAX Approval

Mar 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

In the latest blow to both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, the WSJ reported overnight that Federal prosecutors and Department of Transportation officials are scrutinizing the development of Boeing 737 MAX jetliners and in particular its anti-stall (MCAS) system, inquiries described as "unusual" and which come amid probes of regulators' safety approvals of the new plane.

The Seattle Times separately reported that Boeing's safety analysis of a new flight control system on 737 MAX jets had several crucial flaws.

According to the WSJ , a "grand jury in Washington, D.C., issued a broad subpoena dated March 11 - a day after the Ethiopian Airlines crash a week ago - to at least one person involved in the 737 MAX's development, seeking related documents, including correspondence, emails and other messages." The subpoena, with a prosecutor from the Justice Department's criminal division listed as a contact, sought documents to be handed over later this month.

It wasn't immediately clear if the Justice Department's probe is related to scrutiny of the FAA by the DOT inspector general's office, reported earlier Sunday by The Wall Street Journal and that focuses on a safety system that has been implicated in the Oct. 29 Lion Air crash that killed 189 people, according to a government official briefed on its status. Aviation authorities are looking into whether the anti-stall system may have played a role in last week's Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all 157 people on board . The WSJ sources add that the inspector general's inquiry focuses on ensuring relevant documents and computer files are retained.

The Justice Department probe involves a prosecutor in the fraud section of the department's criminal division, a unit that has brought cases against well-known manufacturers over safety issues, including Takata Corp.

The news comes at a sensitive time for both the FAA, which was among the last regulators to ground the 737 Max following a broad global response (led by China) and for Boeing, whose stock has tumbled in the aftermath of the latest crash, and as the WSJ notes, "it is highly unusual for federal prosecutors to investigate details of regulatory approval of commercial aircraft designs, or to use a criminal probe to delve into dealings between the FAA and the largest aircraft manufacturer the agency oversees."

Probes of airliner programs or alleged lapses in federal safety oversight typically are handled as civil cases, often by the DOT inspector general. The inspector general, however, does have authority to make criminal referrals to federal prosecutors and has its own special agents.

Ironically, over the years, U.S. aviation companies and airline officials have been sharply critical of foreign governments, including France, South Korea and others, for conducting criminal probes of some plane makers, their executives and in some cases, even individual pilots, after high-profile or fatal crashes. The FAA's current enforcement policy stresses enhanced cooperation with domestic airlines and manufacturers -- featuring voluntary sharing of important safety data -- instead of seeking fines or imposing other punishment.

News of the U.S. government scrutiny comes shortly after Ethiopia's transport minister, Dagmawit Moges, said there were "clear similarities" between the two crashes. U.S. officials cautioned that it was too early to draw conclusions because data from the black boxes of the Ethiopian Airlines plane still need to be analyzed. The two crashes - which may be linked to the same structural defect on the airliner - have sparked the biggest crisis Boeing has faced in about two decades, threatening sales of a plane model that has been the aircraft giant's most stable revenue source and potentially making it more time consuming and difficult to get future aircraft designs certified as safe to fly.

The FAA said Sunday that the 737 MAX, which entered service in 2017, was approved to carry passengers as part of the agency's "standard certification process," including design analyses; ground and flight tests; maintenance requirements; and cooperation with other civil aviation authorities. Agency officials in the past have declined to comment on various decisions regarding specific systems. Sunday's statement said the agency's "certification processes are well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft."

Earlier, a Boeing spokesman said: "The 737 MAX was certified in accordance with the identical FAA requirements and processes that have governed certification of all previous new airplanes and derivatives. The FAA considered the final configuration and operating parameters of MCAS during MAX certification, and concluded that it met all certification and regulatory requirements."

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement Sunday the company continues to support the Ethiopian investigation, "and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available." Muilenburg added: "As part of our standard practice following any accident, we examine our aircraft design and operation, and when appropriate, institute product updates to further improve safety."

Governments world-wide have grounded the MAX, an updated version of the decades-old 737, while investigators and engineers seek clues.

And so, as 737 Max scrutiny grows and as Boeing and the FAA now seek to deflect increased government attention to one another - Boeing stock is once again tumbling, and is down 3% in premarket trading...

[Mar 18, 2019] The Boeing debacle is the latest example of regulatory capture by D. Saint Germain

Mar 15, 2019 | medium.com

How the Boeing 737 Max grounding and the Genoa bridge collapse show us that allowing companies to self-certify the safety of their products can be deadly

On Wednesday the United States joined 42 other countries in grounding Boeing's 737 Max 8 jets, days after a crash in Ethiopia of a 737 Max 8 jet left 157 people dead. The United States was a holdout, taking days longer to ground the planes than most of Europe. Our Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said, in those days between, that they weren't grounding the planes because " the agency's own reviews of the aircraft show no 'systematic performance issues.' "

There were some conflicting accounts of exactly how the US came to ground the 737 Max 8. A statement from Boeing on Wednesday read that "Boeing has determined  --  out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety  --  to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft."

In other words, Boeing claimed it was their idea / recommendation that the FAA ground the aircraft. Meanwhile, Donald Trump declared that he grounded the aircraft by executive order, forcing the FAA's hand.

Which begs the question  --  why did it take a presidential decree and/or the company itself to get the FAA, the main agency responsible for overseeing airplane transit in the United States, to ground potentially dangerous aircraft?

As James Hall, the former National Transportation Safety Board chairman, explained in the Times , in 2005 the FAA turned its safety certification responsibilities over to the manufacturers themselves (if manufacturers met some requirements). In plain speak, this means that Boeing got to decide if Boeing's airplanes were safe enough to fly  --  with no additional third-party checks.

The FAA said the purpose of this change was to save the aviation industry roughly $25 billion between 2006 to 2015.

Given this, it makes you wonder if the statement on Tuesday by Acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell  --  that the agency had conducted its own review  --  was factual, or if the agency had simply reviewed the safety review that Boeing had conducted on itself. It also clarifies why Boeing came to recommend to the FAA that their planes be grounded, rather than the FAA taking any decisive action on their own.

The term for this maze, where a government safety agency allows an industry to regulate itself so the industry can save some money , and where the industry itself has to be the one to recommend to government that their product shouldn't be in operation pending investigation, is regulatory capture .

From Wikipedia : "Regulatory capture is a form of government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating."

The issue, in short, is that it is rarely in a business' self-interest to ensure the absolute safety of their products. Safety testing takes time, money, and i