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[Dec 31, 2016] What Happened to Obamas Passion

This was written in 2011 but it summarizes Obama presidency pretty nicely, even today. Betrayer in chief, the master of bait and switch. That is the essence of Obama legacy. On "Great Democratic betrayal"... Obama always was a closet neoliberal and neocon. A stooge of neoliberal financial oligarchy, a puppet, if you want politically incorrect term. He just masked it well during hist first election campaigning as a progressive democrat... And he faced Romney in his second campaign, who was even worse, so after betraying American people once, he was reelected and did it twice. Much like Bush II. He like another former cocaine addict -- George W Bush has never any intention of helping American people, only oligarchy.
Notable quotes:
"... IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. ..."
"... We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues. ..."
"... These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power. ..."
"... Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back ..."
"... he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans. ..."
"... I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator. ..."
"... Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is. ..."
"... So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. ..."
"... I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans ..."
"... He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation. ..."
"... I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are. ..."
Aug 06, 2011 | nytimes.com

When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.

In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:

"I know you're scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn't work out. And it didn't work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can't promise that we won't make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again." A story isn't a policy. But that simple narrative - and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it - would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn't tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit - a deficit that didn't exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.

And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.

But there was no story - and there has been none since.

In similar circumstances, Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right. Beginning in his first inaugural address, and in the fireside chats that followed, he explained how the crash had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to do something no president had done before: to use the resources of the United States to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today. He swore to keep the people who had caused the crisis out of the halls of power, and he made good on that promise. In a 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, he thundered, "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred."

When Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office, he stepped into a cycle of American history, best exemplified by F.D.R. and his distant cousin, Teddy. After a great technological revolution or a major economic transition, as when America changed from a nation of farmers to an urban industrial one, there is often a period of great concentration of wealth, and with it, a concentration of power in the wealthy. That's what we saw in 1928, and that's what we see today. At some point that power is exercised so injudiciously, and the lives of so many become so unbearable, that a period of reform ensues - and a charismatic reformer emerges to lead that renewal. In that sense, Teddy Roosevelt started the cycle of reform his cousin picked up 30 years later, as he began efforts to bust the trusts and regulate the railroads, exercise federal power over the banks and the nation's food supply, and protect America's land and wildlife, creating the modern environmental movement.

Those were the shoes - that was the historic role - that Americans elected Barack Obama to fill. The president is fond of referring to "the arc of history," paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous statement that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics - in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time - he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation.

When Dr. King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.

IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public - a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn't bend that far.

Michael August 7, 2011

Eloquently expressed and horrifically accurate, this excellent analysis articulates the frustration that so many of us have felt watching Mr...

Bill Levine August 7, 2011

Very well put. I know that I have been going through Kübler-Ross's stages of grief ever since the foxes (a.k.a. Geithner and Summers) were...

AnAverageAmerican August 7, 2011

"In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it,...

cdearman Santa Fe, NM August 7, 2011

Unfortunately, the Democratic Congress of 2008-2010, did not have the will to make the economic and social program decisions that would have improved the economic situation for the middle-class; and it is becoming more obvious that President Obama does not have the temperament to publicly push for programs and policies that he wants the congress to enact.
The American people have a problem: we reelect Obama and hope for the best; or we elect a Republican and expect the worst. There is no question that the Health Care law that was just passed would be reversed; Medicare and Medicare would be gutted; and who knows what would happen to Social Security. You can be sure, though, that business taxes and regulation reforms would not be in the cards and those regulations that have been enacted would be reversed. We have traveled this road before and we should be wise enough not to travel it again!

SP California August 7, 2011

Brilliant analysis - and I suspect that a very large number of those who voted for President Obama will recognize in this the thoughts that they have been trying to ignore, or have been trying not to say out loud. Later historians can complete this analysis and attempt to explain exactly why Mr. Obama has turned out the way he has - but right now, it may be time to ask a more relevant and urgent question.

If it is not too late, will a challenger emerge in time before the 2012 elections, or will we be doomed to hold our noses and endure another four years of this?

farospace san francisco August 7, 2011

Very eloquent and exactly to the point. Like many others, I was enthralled by the rhetoric of his story, making the leap of faith (or hope) that because he could tell his story so well, he could tell, as you put it, "the story the American people were waiting to hear."

Disappointment has darkened into disillusion, disillusion into a species of despair. Will I vote for Barack Obama again? What are the options?

Richard Katz American in Oxford, UK August 7, 2011

This is the most brilliant and tragic story I have read in a long time---in fact, precisely since I read when Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt. When will a leader emerge with a true moral vision for the federal government and for our country? Someone who sees government as a balance to capitalism, and a means to achieve the social and economic justice that we (yes, we) believe in? Will that leadership arrive before parts of America come to look like the dystopia of Johannesburg?

We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues.

These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power.

Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back to America's traditional position on the global economic/political spectrum. He's brilliant and eloquent. He's achieved personal success that is inspirational. He's done some good things as president. But he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans.

Taxes, subsidies, entitlements, laws... these are the tools we have available to achieve our national moral vision. But the vision has been muddled (hijacked?) and that is our biggest problem. -->

An Ordinary American Prague August 7, 2011

I voted for Obama. I thought then, and still think, he's a decent person, a smart person, a person who wants to do the best he can for others. When I voted for him, I was thinking he's a centrist who will find a way to unite our increasingly polarized and ugly politics in the USA. Or if not unite us, at least forge a way to get some important things done despite the ugly polarization.

And I must confess, I have been disappointed. Deeply so. He has not united us. He has not forged a way to accomplish what needs to be done. He has not been a leader.

I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator.

Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is.

So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. Which leaves me feeling confused and close to apathetic about what to do as a voter in 2012. More of the same isn't worth voting for. Yet I don't see anyone out there who offers the possibility of doing better.

martin Portland, Oregon August 7, 2011

This was an extraordinarily well written, eloquent and comprehensive indictment of the failure of the Obama presidency.

If a credible primary challenger to Obama ever could arise, the positions and analysis in this column would be all he or she would need to justify the Democratic party's need to seek new leadership.

I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans, he said "we don't disparage wealth in America." I was dumbfounded.

He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation.

I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are.

Perhaps all of these are true.

[Dec 31, 2016] What Happened to Obamas Passion

This was written in 2011 but it summarizes Obama presidency pretty nicely, even today. Betrayer in chief, the master of bait and switch. That is the essence of Obama legacy. On "Great Democratic betrayal"... Obama always was a closet neoliberal and neocon. A stooge of neoliberal financial oligarchy, a puppet, if you want politically incorrect term. He just masked it well during hist first election campaigning as a progressive democrat... And he faced Romney in his second campaign, who was even worse, so after betraying American people once, he was reelected and did it twice. Much like Bush II. He like another former cocaine addict -- George W Bush has never any intention of helping American people, only oligarchy.
Notable quotes:
"... IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. ..."
"... We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues. ..."
"... These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power. ..."
"... Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back ..."
"... he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans. ..."
"... I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator. ..."
"... Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is. ..."
"... So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. ..."
"... I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans ..."
"... He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation. ..."
"... I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are. ..."
Aug 06, 2011 | nytimes.com

When Barack Obama rose to the lectern on Inauguration Day, the nation was in tatters. Americans were scared and angry. The economy was spinning in reverse. Three-quarters of a million people lost their jobs that month. Many had lost their homes, and with them the only nest eggs they had. Even the usually impervious upper middle class had seen a decade of stagnant or declining investment, with the stock market dropping in value with no end in sight. Hope was as scarce as credit.

In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it, and how it was going to end. They needed to hear that he understood what they were feeling, that he would track down those responsible for their pain and suffering, and that he would restore order and safety. What they were waiting for, in broad strokes, was a story something like this:

"I know you're scared and angry. Many of you have lost your jobs, your homes, your hope. This was a disaster, but it was not a natural disaster. It was made by Wall Street gamblers who speculated with your lives and futures. It was made by conservative extremists who told us that if we just eliminated regulations and rewarded greed and recklessness, it would all work out. But it didn't work out. And it didn't work out 80 years ago, when the same people sold our grandparents the same bill of goods, with the same results. But we learned something from our grandparents about how to fix it, and we will draw on their wisdom. We will restore business confidence the old-fashioned way: by putting money back in the pockets of working Americans by putting them back to work, and by restoring integrity to our financial markets and demanding it of those who want to run them. I can't promise that we won't make mistakes along the way. But I can promise you that they will be honest mistakes, and that your government has your back again." A story isn't a policy. But that simple narrative - and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it - would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn't tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit - a deficit that didn't exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.

And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.

But there was no story - and there has been none since.

In similar circumstances, Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right. Beginning in his first inaugural address, and in the fireside chats that followed, he explained how the crash had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to do something no president had done before: to use the resources of the United States to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today. He swore to keep the people who had caused the crisis out of the halls of power, and he made good on that promise. In a 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, he thundered, "Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred."

When Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office, he stepped into a cycle of American history, best exemplified by F.D.R. and his distant cousin, Teddy. After a great technological revolution or a major economic transition, as when America changed from a nation of farmers to an urban industrial one, there is often a period of great concentration of wealth, and with it, a concentration of power in the wealthy. That's what we saw in 1928, and that's what we see today. At some point that power is exercised so injudiciously, and the lives of so many become so unbearable, that a period of reform ensues - and a charismatic reformer emerges to lead that renewal. In that sense, Teddy Roosevelt started the cycle of reform his cousin picked up 30 years later, as he began efforts to bust the trusts and regulate the railroads, exercise federal power over the banks and the nation's food supply, and protect America's land and wildlife, creating the modern environmental movement.

Those were the shoes - that was the historic role - that Americans elected Barack Obama to fill. The president is fond of referring to "the arc of history," paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous statement that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics - in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time - he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation.

When Dr. King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.

IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public - a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn't bend that far.

Michael August 7, 2011

Eloquently expressed and horrifically accurate, this excellent analysis articulates the frustration that so many of us have felt watching Mr...

Bill Levine August 7, 2011

Very well put. I know that I have been going through Kübler-Ross's stages of grief ever since the foxes (a.k.a. Geithner and Summers) were...

AnAverageAmerican August 7, 2011

"In that context, Americans needed their president to tell them a story that made sense of what they had just been through, what caused it,...

cdearman Santa Fe, NM August 7, 2011

Unfortunately, the Democratic Congress of 2008-2010, did not have the will to make the economic and social program decisions that would have improved the economic situation for the middle-class; and it is becoming more obvious that President Obama does not have the temperament to publicly push for programs and policies that he wants the congress to enact.
The American people have a problem: we reelect Obama and hope for the best; or we elect a Republican and expect the worst. There is no question that the Health Care law that was just passed would be reversed; Medicare and Medicare would be gutted; and who knows what would happen to Social Security. You can be sure, though, that business taxes and regulation reforms would not be in the cards and those regulations that have been enacted would be reversed. We have traveled this road before and we should be wise enough not to travel it again!

SP California August 7, 2011

Brilliant analysis - and I suspect that a very large number of those who voted for President Obama will recognize in this the thoughts that they have been trying to ignore, or have been trying not to say out loud. Later historians can complete this analysis and attempt to explain exactly why Mr. Obama has turned out the way he has - but right now, it may be time to ask a more relevant and urgent question.

If it is not too late, will a challenger emerge in time before the 2012 elections, or will we be doomed to hold our noses and endure another four years of this?

farospace san francisco August 7, 2011

Very eloquent and exactly to the point. Like many others, I was enthralled by the rhetoric of his story, making the leap of faith (or hope) that because he could tell his story so well, he could tell, as you put it, "the story the American people were waiting to hear."

Disappointment has darkened into disillusion, disillusion into a species of despair. Will I vote for Barack Obama again? What are the options?

Richard Katz American in Oxford, UK August 7, 2011

This is the most brilliant and tragic story I have read in a long time---in fact, precisely since I read when Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt. When will a leader emerge with a true moral vision for the federal government and for our country? Someone who sees government as a balance to capitalism, and a means to achieve the social and economic justice that we (yes, we) believe in? Will that leadership arrive before parts of America come to look like the dystopia of Johannesburg?

We (yes, we) recognise that capitalism is the most efficient way to maximise overall prosperity and quality of life. But we also recognise that unfettered, it will ravage the environment, abuse labor, and expand income disparity until violence or tragedy (or both) ensues.

These are the lessons we've learned since the industrial revolution, and they're the ones that we should be drawing from the past decade. We recognise that we need a strong federal government to check these tendencies, and to strike a stable, sustainable balance between prosperity, community, opportunity, wealth, justice, freedom. We need a voice to fill the moral vacuum that has allowed the Koch/Tea/Fox Party to emerge and grab power.

Americans know this---including, of course, President Obama (see his April 13 speech at GW University). But as this article by Dr. Westen so effectively shows, Obama is incompetent to lead us back to America's traditional position on the global economic/political spectrum. He's brilliant and eloquent. He's achieved personal success that is inspirational. He's done some good things as president. But he is not competent to lead us back to a state of American morality, where government is the protector of those who work hard, and the provider of opportunity to all Americans.

Taxes, subsidies, entitlements, laws... these are the tools we have available to achieve our national moral vision. But the vision has been muddled (hijacked?) and that is our biggest problem. -->

An Ordinary American Prague August 7, 2011

I voted for Obama. I thought then, and still think, he's a decent person, a smart person, a person who wants to do the best he can for others. When I voted for him, I was thinking he's a centrist who will find a way to unite our increasingly polarized and ugly politics in the USA. Or if not unite us, at least forge a way to get some important things done despite the ugly polarization.

And I must confess, I have been disappointed. Deeply so. He has not united us. He has not forged a way to accomplish what needs to be done. He has not been a leader.

I've heard him called a mediator, a conciliator, a compromiser, etc. Those terms indicate someone who is bringing divergent views together and moving us along. That's part of what a leader does, though not all. Yet I don't think he's even lived up to his reputation as a mediator.

Almost three years after I voted for Obama, I still don't know what he's doing other than trying to help the financial industry: the wealthy who benefit most from it and the technocrats who run it for them. But average working people, people like myself and my daughter and my grandson, have not been helped. We are worse off than before. And millions of unemployed and underemployed are even worse off than my family is.

So whatever else he is (and that still remains a mystery to me), President Obama is not the leader I thought I was voting for. Which leaves me feeling confused and close to apathetic about what to do as a voter in 2012. More of the same isn't worth voting for. Yet I don't see anyone out there who offers the possibility of doing better.

martin Portland, Oregon August 7, 2011

This was an extraordinarily well written, eloquent and comprehensive indictment of the failure of the Obama presidency.

If a credible primary challenger to Obama ever could arise, the positions and analysis in this column would be all he or she would need to justify the Democratic party's need to seek new leadership.

I knew that Obama was a charade early on when giving a speech about the banking failures to the nation, instead of giving the narrative Mr. Westen accurately recommended on the origins of the orgy of greed that just crippled our economy and caused suffering for millions of Americans, he said "we don't disparage wealth in America." I was dumbfounded.

He should have been condemning the craven, wanton, greed of nihilistic financial gangsters who hijacked our economy. Instead he seemed to be calling for all Americans not to hate rich people. That was not the point. Americans don't hate rich people, but they should hate rich people who acquire their wealth at the expense of the well being of an entire nation through irresponsible, avaricious, and in some instances illegal practices, and legally bribe politicians to enact laws which allow them to run amok over our economy without supervision or regulation.

I knew then that Obama was either a political lemon, in over his head, an extremely conflict averse neurotic individual with a compulsive need for some delusional ideal of neutrality in political and social relations, or a political phony beholden to the same forces that almost destroyed the country as Republicans are.

Perhaps all of these are true.

[Dec 26, 2016] The Democratic Party as a Party (Sanders was an outlier) has nothing to do with fair and equal play for all. This is a party of soft neoliberals and it adheres to Washington

Notable quotes:
"... The Democratic Party as a Party (Sanders was an outlier) has nothing to do with "fair and equal play for all". This is a party of soft neoliberals and it adheres to Washington consensus no less then Republicans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus ..."
"... If you read the key postulates it is clear that that they essentially behaved like an occupier in this country. In this sense "Occupy Wall street" movement should actually be called "Liberation from Wall Street occupation" movement. ..."
"... Bill Clinton realized that he can betray working class with impunity as "they have nowhere to go" and will vote for Democrat anyway. In this sense Bill Clinton is a godfather of the right wing nationalism in the USA. He sowed the "Teeth's of Dragon" and now we have, what we have. ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
EMichael : December 26, 2016 at 12:47 PM , 2016 at 12:47 PM
You guys should wake up and smell what country you live in. Here is a good place to start.

"Campaigning for president in 1980, Ronald Reagan told stories of Cadillac-driving "welfare queens" and "strapping young bucks" buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. In trumpeting these tales of welfare run amok, Reagan never needed to mention race, because he was blowing a dog whistle: sending a message about racial minorities inaudible on one level, but clearly heard on another. In doing so, he tapped into a long political tradition that started with George Wallace and Richard Nixon, and is more relevant than ever in the age of the Tea Party and the first black president.

In Dog Whistle Politics, Ian Haney L?pez offers a sweeping account of how politicians and plutocrats deploy veiled racial appeals to persuade white voters to support policies that favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests. Dog whistle appeals generate middle-class enthusiasm for political candidates who promise to crack down on crime, curb undocumented immigration, and protect the heartland against Islamic infiltration, but ultimately vote to slash taxes for the rich, give corporations regulatory control over industry and financial markets, and aggressively curtail social services. White voters, convinced by powerful interests that minorities are their true enemies, fail to see the connection between the political agendas they support and the surging wealth inequality that takes an increasing toll on their lives. The tactic continues at full force, with the Republican Party using racial provocations to drum up enthusiasm for weakening unions and public pensions, defunding public schools, and opposing health care reform.

Rejecting any simple story of malevolent and obvious racism, Haney L?pez links as never before the two central themes that dominate American politics today: the decline of the middle class and the Republican Party's increasing reliance on white voters. Dog Whistle Politics will generate a lively and much-needed debate about how racial politics has destabilized the American middle class -- white and nonwhite members alike."

https://www.amazon.com/Dog-Whistle-Politics-Appeals-Reinvented-ebook/dp/B00GHJNSMU

im1dc : , December 26, 2016 at 01:51 PM
Reading the above posts I am reminded that in November there was ONE Election with TWO Results:

Electoral Vote for Donald Trump by the margin of 3 formerly Democratic Voting states Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania

Popular Vote for Hillary Clinton by over 2.8 Million

The Democratic Party and its Candidates OBVIOUSLY need to get more votes in the Electoral States that they lost in 2016, not change what they stand for, the principles of fair and equal play for all.

And, in the 3 States that turned the Electoral Vote in Trump's favor and against Hillary, all that is needed are 125,000 or more votes, probably fewer, and the DEMS win the Electoral vote big too.

It is not any more complex than that.

So how does the Democratic Party get more votes in those States?

PANDER to their voters by delivering on KISS, not talking about it.

That is create living wage jobs and not taking them away as the Republican Party of 'Free Trade' and the Clinton Democratic Party 'Free Trade' Elites did.

Understand this: It is not the responsibility of the USA, or in its best interests, to create jobs in other nations (Mexico, Japan, China, Canada, Israel, etc.) that do not create jobs in the USA equivalently, especially if the gain is offset by costly overseas confrontations and involvements that would not otherwise exist.

likbez : December 26, 2016 at 02:49 PM , 2016 at 02:49 PM
You are dreaming:

"The Democratic Party and its Candidates OBVIOUSLY need to get more votes in the Electoral States that they lost in 2016, not change what they stand for, the principles of fair and equal play for all. "

The Democratic Party as a Party (Sanders was an outlier) has nothing to do with "fair and equal play for all". This is a party of soft neoliberals and it adheres to Washington consensus no less then Republicans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Consensus

If you read the key postulates it is clear that that they essentially behaved like an occupier in this country. In this sense "Occupy Wall street" movement should actually be called "Liberation from Wall Street occupation" movement.

Bill Clinton realized that he can betray working class with impunity as "they have nowhere to go" and will vote for Democrat anyway. In this sense Bill Clinton is a godfather of the right wing nationalism in the USA. He sowed the "Teeth's of Dragon" and now we have, what we have.

[Dec 05, 2016] The Democratic Party Presidential Platform of 1996 – On Immigration

Blast from the past. Bill Clinton position on illegal immegtation.
Notable quotes:
"... Today's Democratic Party also believes we must remain a nation of laws. We cannot tolerate illegal immigration and we must stop it. For years before Bill Clinton became President, Washington talked tough but failed to act. In 1992, our borders might as well not have existed. The border was under-patrolled, and what patrols there were, were under-equipped. Drugs flowed freely. Illegal immigration was rampant. Criminal immigrants, deported after committing crimes in America, returned the very next day to commit crimes again. ..."
"... President Clinton is making our border a place where the law is respected and drugs and illegal immigrants are turned away. We have increased the Border Patrol by over 40 percent; in El Paso, our Border Patrol agents are so close together they can see each other. Last year alone, the Clinton Administration removed thousands of illegal workers from jobs across the country. Just since January of 1995, we have arrested more than 1,700 criminal aliens and prosecuted them on federal felony charges because they returned to America after having been deported. ..."
"... However, as we work to stop illegal immigration, we call on all Americans to avoid the temptation to use this issue to divide people from each other. We deplore those who use the need to stop illegal immigration as a pretext for discrimination . And we applaud the wisdom of Republicans like Mayor Giuliani and Senator Domenici who oppose the mean-spirited and short-sighted effort of Republicans in Congress to bar the children of illegal immigrants from schools - it is wrong, and forcing children onto the streets is an invitation for them to join gangs and turn to crime. ..."
Nov 30, 2016 | angrybearblog.com

What follows is from Today's Democratic Party: Meeting America's Challenges, Protecting America's Values , a.k.a., the 1996 Democratic Party Platform. This is the section on immigration. I took the liberty of bolding pieces I found interesting.

Democrats remember that we are a nation of immigrants. We recognize the extraordinary contribution of immigrants to America throughout our history. We welcome legal immigrants to America. We support a legal immigration policy that is pro-family, pro-work, pro-responsibility, and pro-citizenship , and we deplore those who blame immigrants for economic and social problems.

We know that citizenship is the cornerstone of full participation in American life. We are proud that the President launched Citizenship USA to help eligible immigrants become United States citizens. The Immigration and Naturalization Service is streamlining procedures, cutting red tape, and using new technology to make it easier for legal immigrants to accept the responsibilities of citizenship and truly call America their home.

Today's Democratic Party also believes we must remain a nation of laws. We cannot tolerate illegal immigration and we must stop it. For years before Bill Clinton became President, Washington talked tough but failed to act. In 1992, our borders might as well not have existed. The border was under-patrolled, and what patrols there were, were under-equipped. Drugs flowed freely. Illegal immigration was rampant. Criminal immigrants, deported after committing crimes in America, returned the very next day to commit crimes again.

President Clinton is making our border a place where the law is respected and drugs and illegal immigrants are turned away. We have increased the Border Patrol by over 40 percent; in El Paso, our Border Patrol agents are so close together they can see each other. Last year alone, the Clinton Administration removed thousands of illegal workers from jobs across the country. Just since January of 1995, we have arrested more than 1,700 criminal aliens and prosecuted them on federal felony charges because they returned to America after having been deported.

However, as we work to stop illegal immigration, we call on all Americans to avoid the temptation to use this issue to divide people from each other. We deplore those who use the need to stop illegal immigration as a pretext for discrimination . And we applaud the wisdom of Republicans like Mayor Giuliani and Senator Domenici who oppose the mean-spirited and short-sighted effort of Republicans in Congress to bar the children of illegal immigrants from schools - it is wrong, and forcing children onto the streets is an invitation for them to join gangs and turn to crime.

Democrats want to protect American jobs by increasing criminal and civil sanctions against employers who hire illegal workers , but Republicans continue to favor inflammatory rhetoric over real action. We will continue to enforce labor standards to protect workers in vulnerable industries. We continue to firmly oppose welfare benefits for illegal immigrants. We believe family members who sponsor immigrants into this country should take financial responsibility for them, and be held legally responsible for supporting them.

[Nov 18, 2016] The statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes by Bruce Wilder

Notable quotes:
"... The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance. ..."
"... It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle. ..."
"... When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup. ..."
"... Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. ..."
"... It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics. ..."
"... This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints. ..."
"... No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence. ..."
"... If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying. ..."
"... Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference. ..."
Nov 18, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

At the center of Great Depression politics was a political struggle over the distribution of income, a struggle that was only decisively resolved during the War, by the Great Compression. It was at center of farm policy where policymakers struggled to find ways to support farm incomes. It was at the center of industrial relations politics, where rapidly expanding unions were seeking higher industrial wages. It was at the center of banking policy, where predatory financial practices were under attack. It was at the center of efforts to regulate electric utility rates and establish public power projects. And, everywhere, the clear subtext was a struggle between rich and poor, the economic royalists as FDR once called them and everyone else.

FDR, an unmistakeable patrician in manner and pedigree, was leading a not-quite-revolutionary politics, which was nevertheless hostile to and suspicious of business elites, as a source of economic pathology. The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance.

It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle.

In retrospect, though the New Deal did use direct employment as a means of relief to good effect economically and politically, it never undertook anything like a Keynesian stimulus on a Keynesian scale - at least until the War.

Where the New Deal witnessed the institution of an elaborate system of financial repression, accomplished in large part by imposing on the financial sector an explicitly mandated structure, with types of firms and effective limits on firm size and scope, a series of regulatory reforms and financial crises beginning with Carter and Reagan served to wipe this structure away.

When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup.

I don't know what considerations guided Obama in choosing the size of the stimulus or its composition (as spending and tax cuts). Larry Summers was identified at the time as a voice of caution, not "gambling", but not much is known about his detailed reasoning in severely trimming Christina Romer's entirely conventional calculations. (One consideration might well have been worldwide resource shortages, which had made themselves felt in 2007-8 as an inflationary spike in commodity prices.) I do not see a case for connecting stimulus size policy to the health care reform. At the time the stimulus was proposed, the Administration had also been considering whether various big banks and other financial institutions should be nationalized, forced to insolvency or otherwise restructured as part of a regulatory reform.

Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. Accelerating the financialization of the economy from 1999 on made New York and Washington rich, but the same economic policies and process were devastating the Rust Belt as de-industrialization. They were two aspects of the same complex of economic trends and policies. The rise of China as a manufacturing center was, in critical respects, a financial operation within the context of globalized trade that made investment in new manufacturing plant in China, as part of globalized supply chains and global brand management, (arguably artificially) low-risk and high-profit, while reinvestment in manufacturing in the American mid-west became unattractive, except as a game of extracting tax subsidies or ripping off workers.

It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics.

It is conceding too many good intentions to the Obama Administration to tie an inadequate stimulus to a Rube Goldberg health care reform as the origin story for the final debacle of Democratic neoliberal politics. There was a delicate balancing act going on, but they were not balancing the recovery of the economy in general so much as they were balancing the recovery from insolvency of a highly inefficient and arguably predatory financial sector, which was also not incidentally financing the institutional core of the Democratic Party and staffing many key positions in the Administration and in the regulatory apparatus.

This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints.

No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence.

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:33 pm ( 31 )

The short version of my thinking on the Obama stimulus is this: Keynesian stimulus spending is a free lunch; it doesn't really matter what you spend money on up to a very generous point, so it seems ready-made for legislative log-rolling. If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying.

Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference.

likbez 11.18.16 at 4:48 pm 121

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

Great comment. Simply great. Hat tip to the author !

Notable quotes:

"… The New Deal did not seek to overthrow the plutocracy, but it did seek to side-step and disable their dominance. …"

"… It seems to me that while neoliberalism on the right was much the same old same old, the neoliberal turn on the left was marked by a measured abandonment of this struggle over the distribution of income between the classes. In the U.S., the Democrats gradually abandoned their populist commitments. In Europe, the labour and socialist parties gradually abandoned class struggle. …"

"… When Obama came in, in 2008 amid the unfolding GFC, one of the most remarkable features of his economic team was the extent to which it conceded control of policy entirely to the leading money center banks. Geithner and Bernanke continued in power with Geithner moving from the New York Federal Reserve (where he served as I recall under a Chair from Goldman Sachs) to Treasury in the Obama Administration, but Geithner's Treasury was staffed from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank. The crisis served to concentrate banking assets in the hands of the top five banks, but it seemed also to transfer political power entirely into their hands as well. Simon Johnson called it a coup. … "

"… Here's the thing: the globalization and financialization of the economy from roughly 1980 drove both increasingly extreme distribution of income and de-industrialization. …"

"… It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics. …"

"… This was not your grandfather's Democratic Party and it was a Democratic Party that could aid the working class and the Rust Belt only within fairly severe and sometimes sharply conflicting constraints. …"

"… No one in the Democratic Party had much institutional incentive to connect the dots, and draw attention to the acute conflicts over the distribution of income and wealth involved in financialization of the economy (including financialization as a driver of health care costs). And, that makes the political problem that much harder, because there are no resources for rhetorical and informational clarity or coherence. …"

"… If Obama could not get a very big stimulus indeed thru a Democratic Congress long out of power, Obama wasn't really trying. And, well-chosen spending on pork barrel projects is popular and gets Congressional critters re-elected. So, again, if the stimulus is small and the Democratic Congress doesn't get re-elected, Obama isn't really trying. …"

"… Again, it comes down to: by 2008, the Democratic Party is not a fit vehicle for populism, because it has become a neoliberal vehicle for giant banks. Turns out that makes a policy difference. …"

[Nov 16, 2016] Why corruption threatens US security

Nov 16, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Carla November 16, 2016 at 8:26 am

On PRI's The World, Sarah Chase, author of "Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security" finally addresses why corruption threatens U.S. security specifically.

At the 23:00 mark on the audio:

http://www.pri.org/programs/pris-world/pris-world-11152016

I kept waiting for her to get to the U.S. throughout her book, but she really only hinted. Now she is more forthright. Apparently she was waiting for permission from Sanders, Trump and 70% of the American electorate.

[Nov 14, 2016] Clinton betrayal and the future of Democratic Party

Nov 14, 2016 | discussion.theguardian.com
weejonnie Intheround 11h ago ...In the last 8 years the Democrat party.

Lost control of the Senate
Lost control of the House of Representatives
Lost control of dozens of state legislatures and Governorships.
The Republicans control 36 States of America - One more and they could in theory amend the Constitution.

In Wisconsin (notionally Democrat) the Legislature and Governor are both Republican controlled. And Clinton didn't even campaign there when it was pretty obvious the State was not trending towards her.

[Nov 11, 2016] Trump voters want to get rid of the corruption in Washington. Specifically, the Clinton Foundation, with its $600,000 salary to Chelsea Clinton, and Hillarys receipt of cash from Saudi Arabia and Morocco

Notable quotes:
"... Specifically, she adduced the Clinton Foundation, with its $600,000 salary to Chelsea Clinton, and Hillary's receipt of cash from Saudi Arabia and Morocco, as well as complaining about Benghazi and something that I took to be death panels. ..."
Nov 11, 2016 | http://crookedtimber.org/2016/11/09/what-can-we-do/#comment-697744
Howard Frant 11.10.16 at 1:41 am 138

I talked to an elated Trump voter today. She had little to say about Trump, other than "Give him a chance." No, her elation was at the defeat of Hillary, and the attendant possibility that opened up to get rid of the corruption in Washington. Specifically, she adduced the Clinton Foundation, with its $600,000 salary to Chelsea Clinton, and Hillary's receipt of cash from Saudi Arabia and Morocco, as well as complaining about Benghazi and something that I took to be death panels.

... ... ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/us/politics/the-right-aims-at-democrats-on-social-media-to-hit-clinton.html?_r=0

[Nov 11, 2016] Chelsea Clinton was not paid $600 k from the Clinton Foundation. Chelsea Clinton was paid $600 k per year from 2011 by NBC for work as a special correspondent, whilst also pocketing $300 k per year plus stock options as a board member of IAC. Chelseas speaking fees were a mere 65 thousand dollars

Nov 11, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

kidneystones 11.10.16 at 10:39 am 161

... .. ...

@138 The woman is wrong. Chelsea Clinton was not paid $600 k from the Clinton Foundation. Chelsea Clinton was paid $600 k per year from 2011 by NBC for 'work' as a special correspondent, whilst also pocketing $300 k per year plus stock options as a 'board member' of IAC. Chelsea's speaking fees were a mere $65 k per.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/02/chelsea-clinton-press-213596

The NYT offers a more severe critique of the IAC board deal readable by clicking through the links. There will be those who see nothing improper about a fifth-estate firm paying a 31 year-old graduate student $600 k, or awarding her a board seat and stock options at $300k. Others may disagree, and perhaps with some good reason.

The defeat of the democratic candidate by a rodeo clown is a slap in the face. Contra Manta @71 I do not believe that anything less than a slap in the face of this order would be enough to jar the successful and well-fed out of their state of complacency and indifference to the plight of both the blacks and whites left behind by 8 years of Democratic rule, and far longer when we're talking about urban African-Americans.

As noted, I believe the Republican candidate to be far and away the more sober, safer choice both on domestic and foreign policy. Now we'll find out.

Thanks for the kind words to Rich, Bruce, T, bob mc, and others.

Best to you all.

[Nov 11, 2016] Obama can pardon Clinton Foundation players without specified which crimes they committed

Nov 11, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ken Nari | Nov 11, 2016 2:51:53 PM | 55
Susan Sunflower @ 48

Disgusting as it is, yes, my understanding is Obama can do exactly that. My guess is, want to or not, he probably will come under so much pressure he will have to pass out plenty of pardons. Or maybe Lynch will give everyone involved in the Clinton Foundation immunity to testify and then seal the testimony -- or never bother to get any testimony. So many games.

For Obama, it might not even take all that much pressure. From about his second day in office, from his body language, he's always looked like he was scared.

Instead of keeping his mouth shut, which he would do, being the lawyer he is, Giuliani has been screaming for the Clintons' scalps. That's exactly what a sharp lawyer would do if he was trying to force Obama to pardon them. If he really meant to get them he would be agreeing with the FBI, saying there doesn't seem to be any evidence of wrong doing, and then change his mind once (if) he's AG and it's too late for deals.

With so many lawyers, Obama, the Clintons, Lynch, Giuliani, Comey, no justice is likely to come out of this.

h | Nov 11, 2016 2:53:37 PM | 56
Maybe I saw the question about a 9/11 investigation on the other thread, but someone here asked if this is true. Well, it appears to be on a burner -

http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/trump-reopening-911-reversing-rome-in-bid-to-be-greatest-american-steward/

jdmckay | Nov 11, 2016 2:58:20 PM | 57
Ken Nari @ 55

From what I've read, prez pardon comes with explicit admission of guilt. Highly questionable either (or both) Clintons would accept that.

Mina | Nov 11, 2016 3:03:16 PM | 58
Simply brilliant
https://theintercept.com/2016/11/09/democrats-trump-and-the-ongoing-dangerous-refusal-to-learn-the-lesson-of-brexit/
(it could be on the other thread, sorry)

Susan Sunflower | Nov 11, 2016 3:12:12 PM | 59
@ Posted by: Ken Nari | Nov 11, 2016 2:51:53 PM | 55

I heard a podcast on Batchelor with Charles Ortel which explained some things -- even if there are no obvious likely criminal smoking guns -- given that foundations get away with a lot of "leniency" because they are charities, incomplete financial statements and chartering documents, as I recall. I was most interested in his description of the number of jurisdictions the Foundation was operating under, some of whom, like New York were already investigating; and others, foreign who might or might be, who also have very serious regulations, opening the possibility that if the Feds drop their investigation, New York (with very very strict law) might proceed, and that they might well be investigated (prosecuted/banned??) in Europe.

The most recent leak wrt internal practices was just damning ... it sounded like a playground of favors and sinecures ... no human resources department, no written policies on many practices ...

This was an internal audit and OLD (2008, called "the Gibson Review") so corrective action may have been taken, but I thought was damning enough to deter many donors (even before Hillary's loss removed that incentive) particularly on top of the Band (2011) memo. Unprofessional to the extreme.

It's part of my vast relief that Clinton lost and will not be in our lives 24/7/365 for the next 4 years. (I think Trump is an unprincipled horror, but that's as may be, I'm not looking for a fight). After the mess Clinton made of Haiti (and the accusations/recriminations) I somehow thought they'd have been more careful with their "legacy" -- given that it was founded in 1997, 2008 is a very long time to be operating without written procedures wrt donations, employment

from 11/08/2016, Batchelor segment page

[Nov 06, 2016] Trump vs. the REAL Nuts -- the GOP Uniparty Establishment

Notable quotes:
"... An awful lot of people out there think we live in a one-party state-that we're ruled by what is coming to be called the "Uniparty." ..."
"... There is a dawning realization, ever more widespread among ordinary Americans, that our national politics is not Left versus Right or Republican versus Democrat; it's we the people versus the politicians. ..."
"... Donald Trump is no nut. If he were a nut, he would not have amassed the fortune he has, nor nurtured the capable and affectionate family he has. ..."
"... To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss. ..."
"... Trump has all the right instincts. And he's had the guts and courage-and, just as important, the money -to do a thing that has badly needed doing for twenty years: to smash the power of the real nuts in the GOP Establishment. ..."
Oct 29, 2016 | www.unz.com
54 Comments Credit: VDare.com.

A couple of remarks in Professor Susan McWillams' recent Modern Age piece celebrating the 25th anniversary of Christopher Lasch's 1991 book The True and Only Heaven , which analyzed the cult of progress in its American manifestation, have stuck in my mind. Here's the first one:

In the most recent American National Election Studies survey, only 19 percent of Americans agreed with the idea that the government, "is run for the benefit of all the people." [ The True and Only Lasch: On The True and Only Heaven, 25 Years Later , Fall 2016]

McWilliams adds a footnote to that: The 19 percent figure is from 2012, she says. Then she tells us that in 1964, 64 percent of Americans agreed with the same statement.

Wow. You have to think that those two numbers, from 64 percent down to 19 percent in two generations, tell us something important and disturbing about our political life.

Second McWilliams quote:

In 2016 if you type the words "Democrats and Republicans" or "Republicans and Democrats" into Google, the algorithms predict your next words will be "are the same".

I just tried this, and she's right. These guesses are of course based on the frequency with which complete sentences show up all over the internet. An awful lot of people out there think we live in a one-party state-that we're ruled by what is coming to be called the "Uniparty."

There is a dawning realization, ever more widespread among ordinary Americans, that our national politics is not Left versus Right or Republican versus Democrat; it's we the people versus the politicians.

Which leads me to a different lady commentator: Peggy Noonan, in her October 20th Wall Street Journal column.

The title of Peggy's piece was: Imagine a Sane Donald Trump . [ Alternate link ]Its gravamen: Donald Trump has shown up the Republican Party Establishment as totally out of touch with their base, which is good; but that he's bat-poop crazy, which is bad. If a sane Donald Trump had done the good thing, the showing-up, we'd be on course to a major beneficial correction in our national politics.

It's a good clever piece. A couple of months ago on Radio Derb I offered up one and a half cheers for Peggy, who gets a lot right in spite of being a longtime Establishment Insider. So it was here. Sample of what she got right last week:

Mr. Trump's great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party's leaders didn't know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn't happening.

The party's leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn't want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he'd opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn't want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.

I'll just pause to note Peggy's use of Steve Sailer' s great encapsulation of Bush-style NeoConnery: "Invade the world, invite the world." Either Peggy's been reading Steve on the sly, or she's read my book We Are Doomed , which borrows that phrase. I credited Steve with it, though, so in either case she knows its provenance, and should likewise have credited Steve.

End of pause. OK, so Peggy got some things right there. She got a lot wrong, though

Start with the notion that Trump is crazy. He's a nut, she says, five times. His brain is "a TV funhouse."

Well, Trump has some colorful quirks of personality, to be sure, as we all do. But he's no nut. A nut can't be as successful in business as Trump has been.

I spent 32 years as an employee or contractor, mostly in private businesses but for two years in a government department. Private businesses are intensely rational, as human affairs go-much more rational than government departments. The price of irrationality in business is immediate and plainly financial. Sanity-wise, Trump is a better bet than most people in high government positions.

Sure, politicians talk a good rational game. They present as sober and thoughtful on the Sunday morning shows.

Look at the stuff they believe, though. Was it rational to respond to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. by moving NATO right up to Russia's borders? Was it rational to expect that post-Saddam Iraq would turn into a constitutional democracy? Was it rational to order insurance companies to sell healthcare policies to people who are already sick? Was the Vietnam War a rational enterprise? Was it rational to respond to the 9/11 attacks by massively increasing Muslim immigration?

Make your own list.

Donald Trump displays good healthy patriotic instincts. I'll take that, with the personality quirks and all, over some earnest, careful, sober-sided guy whose head contains fantasies of putting the world to rights, or flooding our country with unassimilable foreigners.

I'd add the point, made by many commentators, that belongs under the general heading: "You don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps." If Donald Trump was not so very different from run-of-the-mill politicians-which I suspect is a big part of what Peggy means by calling him a nut-would he have entered into the political adventure he's on?

Thor Heyerdahl sailed across the Pacific on a hand-built wooden raft to prove a point, which is not the kind of thing your average ethnographer would do. Was he crazy? No, he wasn't. It was only that some feature of his personality drove him to use that way to prove the point he hoped to prove.

And then there is Peggy's assertion that the Republican Party's leaders didn't know that half the party's base were at odds with them.

Did they really not? Didn't they get a clue when the GOP lost in 2012, mainly because millions of Republican voters didn't turn out for Mitt Romney? Didn't they, come to think of it, get the glimmering of a clue back in 1996, when Pat Buchanan won the New Hampshire primary?

Pat Buchanan is in fact a living counter-argument to Peggy's thesis-the "sane Donald Trump" that she claims would win the hearts of GOP managers. Pat is Trump without the personality quirks. How has the Republican Party treated him ?

Our own Brad Griffin , here at VDARE.com on October 24th, offered a couple more "sane Donald Trumps": Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee. How did they fare with the GOP Establishment?

Donald Trump is no nut. If he were a nut, he would not have amassed the fortune he has, nor nurtured the capable and affectionate family he has. Probably he's less well-informed about the world than the average pol. I doubt he could tell you what the capital of Burkina Faso is. That's secondary, though. A President has people to look up that stuff for him. The question that's been asked more than any other about Donald Trump is not, pace Peggy Noonan, "Is he nuts?" but, " Is he conservative? "

I'm sure he is. But my definition of "conservative" is temperamental, not political. My touchstone here is the sketch of the conservative temperament given to us by the English political philosopher Michael Oakeshott :

To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.

Rationalism in Politics and other essays (1962)

That fits Trump better than it fits any liberal you can think of-better also than many senior Republicans.

For example, it was one of George W. Bush's senior associates-probably Karl Rove-who scoffed at opponents of Bush's delusional foreign policy as "the reality-based community." It would be hard to think of a more un -Oakeshottian turn of phrase.

Trump has all the right instincts. And he's had the guts and courage-and, just as important, the money -to do a thing that has badly needed doing for twenty years: to smash the power of the real nuts in the GOP Establishment.

I thank him for that, and look forward to his Presidency.

[Nov 03, 2016] Report Indictment likely in FBIs Clinton Foundation probe

Nov 03, 2016 | www.thehill.com
Two sources with intimate knowledge of the FBI's investigations told Fox News Wednesday that a probe of the Clinton Foundation is likely to lead to an indictment.

Fox News's Bret Baier said Wednesday that the FBI probe into a possible pay-to-play scheme between Democratic presidential nominee and the Clinton Foundation has been going on for over a year. Sources told the news network that the investigation, which is conducted by the White Collar Crime division of the FBI, is a "very high priority."

One source further stated that the bureau collected "a lot of" evidence, adding that "there is an avalanche of new information coming every day." Baier also said that the Clinton Foundation probe is more expansive than previously thought, and that many individuals have been interviewed several times throughout the course of the investigation. Sources said that they are "actively and aggressively pursuing this case" and that investigations are likely to continue. Baier added that when he pressed the sources about the details of both probes, they told him that they are likely to lead to an indictment. Additionally, Baier reported that according to Fox News's sources, Clinton's private email server had been breached by at least five foreign intelligence hackers. FBI Director James Comey said in July that he could not say definitively whether her server had been breached.

[Nov 03, 2016] Secret Recordings Fueled Mutinous FBI Investigation of Clintons Despite DOJ Orders To Stand Down

Nov 03, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
It's looking increasingly like there is an ongoing mutiny underway within the FBI as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that, according to "officials at multiple agencies", FBI agents felt they had adequate evidence, including "secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation" , to pursue an investigation of the Clinton Foundation but were repeatedly obstructed by officials at the Department of Justice.

Secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation fueled an internal battle between FBI agents who wanted to pursue the case and corruption prosecutors who viewed the statements as worthless hearsay, people familiar with the matter said.

The roots of the dispute lie in a disagreement over the strength of the case, these people said, which broadly centered on whether Clinton Foundation contributors received favorable treatment from the State Department under Hillary Clinton.

Senior officials in the Justice Department and the FBI didn't think much of the evidence, while investigators believed they had promising leads their bosses wouldn't let them pursue , they said.

Despite clear signals from the Justice Department to abandon the Clinton Foundation inquiries, many FBI agents refused to stand down. Then, earlier this year in February 2016, the FBI presented initial evidence at a meeting with Leslie Caldwell, the head of the DOJ's criminal division, after which agents were delivered a clear message that "we're done here." But, as the WSJ points out, DOJ became increasing frustrated with FBI agents that were " disregarding or disobeying their instructions" which subsequently prompted an emphatic "stand down" message from the DOJ to "all the offices involved."

As 2015 came to a close, the FBI and Justice Department had a general understanding that neither side would take major action on Clinton Foundation matters without meeting and discussing it first. In February, a meeting was held in Washington among FBI officials, public-integrity prosecutors and Leslie Caldwell, the head of the Justice Department's criminal division. Prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York-Mr. Capers' office-didn't attend, these people said.

The public-integrity prosecutors weren't impressed with the FBI presentation, people familiar with the discussion said. "The message was, 'We're done here,' " a person familiar with the matter said.

Justice Department officials became increasingly frustrated that the agents seemed to be disregarding or disobeying their instructions.

Following the February meeting, officials at Justice Department headquarters sent a message to all the offices involved to " stand down ,'' a person familiar with the matter said.

The FBI had secretly recorded conversations of a suspect in a public-corruption case talking about alleged deals the Clintons made , these people said. The agents listening to the recordings couldn't tell from the conversations if what the suspect was describing was accurate, but it was, they thought, worth checking out.

[Nov 03, 2016] Former UK Army Chief Trump Might Make The World Safer

www.breitbart.com
In an interview with House magazine, Lord Richards of Herstmonceux – the former Chief of the Defence staff – said Mr. Trump is "wise enough to get good people round him and probably knows that he's got to listen to them and therefore I think we should not automatically think it will be less safe".

He added: "It's non-state actors like Isis that are the biggest threat to our security. If countries and states could coalesce better to deal with these people – and I think Trump's instinct is to go down that route – then I think there's the case for saying that the world certainly won't be any less safe.

"It's that lack of understanding and empathy with each other as big power players that is a risk to us all at the moment.

"Therefore I think he would reinvigorate big power relationships, which might make the world ironically safer."

During the interview Lord Richards also discussed the somewhat controversial view that the West should partner with Russia and Bashar al-Assad to take back the Syrian city of Aleppo.

He said: "If the humanitarian situation in Syria is our major concern, which it should be – millions of lives have been ruined, hundreds of thousands have been killed – I believe there is a strong case for allowing Assad to get in there and take the city back.

"The opposition groups – many of whom are not friends of ours, they're extremists – are now intermingled with the original good opposition groups, are fighting from amongst the people. The only quick way of solving it is to allow Assad to win. There's no way the opposition groups are going to win."

Lord Richards added: "We want the humanitarian horror of Aleppo to come to a rapid halt. The best and quickest way of doing that is to encourage the opposition groups to leave. The Russians are undoubtedly using their weapons indiscriminately. If they're going to attack those groups then there is inevitably going to be civilian casualties.

"The alternative is for the West to declare a no-fly zone and that means you've got to be prepared to go to war with Russia ultimately. I see no appetite for that and nor, frankly, do I see much sense in it. It sticks in my throat to say it because I have no love for Assad.

"The fact is, the only way to get it to stop now is to allow Assad to win and win quickly and then turn on Isis with the Russians."

[Nov 03, 2016] FBI Sources Tell Fox News An Indictment Is Likely In Clinton Foundation Case Video

www.realclearpolitics.com

RealClearPolitics

Fox News Channel's Bret Baier reports the latest news about the Clinton Foundation investigation from two sources inside the FBI. He reveals five important new pieces of information in these two short clips:

[Nov 03, 2016] Podesta is also the appointed Congressional lobbyist for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Nov 03, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
. . . _ _ _ . . . Nov 3, 2016 9:24 AM ,
" Podesta is also the appointed Congressional lobbyist for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – for the modest amount of $200,000 per month."

[Nov 03, 2016] The FBIs White Collar Crime Unit Is Probing The Clinton Foundation

Notable quotes:
"... In the latest update from Fox's Bret Baier , we learn that the Clinton Foundation investigation has now taken a "very high priority," perhaps courtesy of new documents revealed by Wikileaks which expressed not only a collusive element between Teneo, the Clinton Foundation and the "charitable foundation's" donors, which included the use of funds for personal gain, but also revealed deep reservations by people within the foundation about ongoing conflicts of interest. ..."
"... FBI agents are "actively and aggressively pursuing this case," and will be going back and interviewing the same people again, some for the third time, Baier's sources said. Agents also are going through what Clinton and top aides have said in previous interviews as well as the FBI 302 documents, which agents use to report interviews they conduct, to make sure notes line up, according to sources. ..."
"... As expected, the Clinton Foundation denied everything, and Foundation spokesman, Craig Minassian, told Fox news a statement: "We're not aware of any investigation into the Foundation by the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or any United States Attorney's Office and we have not received a subpoena from any of those agencies." ..."
"... Now that details of the infighting between the DOJ and FBI regarding the Foundation probe have been made public, Loretta Lynch may have no choice but to launch an official probe, including subpoeans. ..."
"... The information follows a report over the weekend by The Wall Street Journal that four FBI field offices have been collecting information about the foundation. The probes – in addition to the revived email investigation – have fueled renewed warnings from Republicans that if Clinton is elected next week, she could take office under a cloud of investigations. ..."
"... Separately, Fox News reports that authorities also are virtually certain, i.e., "there is about a 99 percent chance", that up to five foreign intelligence agencies may have accessed and taken emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, two separate sources with intimate knowledge of the FBI investigations told Fox News. If so, it would suggest that the original FBI probe - which found no evidence of breach - was either incomplete or tampered with. ..."
"... In other words, Anthony Weiner may be ultimately responsible not only for the downfall of Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, but also the collapse of the entire Clinton Foundation... which incidentally is just what Donald Trump warned could happen over a year ago. ..."
Zero Hedge
Now that thanks to first the WSJ, and then Fox News, the public is aware that a probe into the Clinton Foundation is not only a hot topic for both the FBI and the DOJ (and has managed to split the law enforcement organizations along ideological party lines), but is also actively ongoing despite the DOJ's attempts to squash it.

In the latest update from Fox's Bret Baier, we learn that the Clinton Foundation investigation has now taken a "very high priority," perhaps courtesy of new documents revealed by Wikileaks which expressed not only a collusive element between Teneo, the Clinton Foundation and the "charitable foundation's" donors, which included the use of funds for personal gain, but also revealed deep reservations by people within the foundation about ongoing conflicts of interest.

As Baier also notes, the Clinton Foundation probe has been proceeding for more than a year, led by the White-Collar Crime division.

White Collar Crime Unit pursuing @ClintonFdn case. pic.twitter.com/PLgNLfF08K

- Fox News (@FoxNews) November 3, 2016

Fox adds that even before the WikiLeaks dumps of alleged emails linked to the Clinton campaign, FBI agents had collected a great deal of evidence, and FBI agents have interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people regarding the case.

"There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day," one source told Fox News, adding some of the new information is coming from the WikiLeaks documents and new emails.

FBI agents are "actively and aggressively pursuing this case," and will be going back and interviewing the same people again, some for the third time, Baier's sources said. Agents also are going through what Clinton and top aides have said in previous interviews as well as the FBI 302 documents, which agents use to report interviews they conduct, to make sure notes line up, according to sources.

As expected, the Clinton Foundation denied everything, and Foundation spokesman, Craig Minassian, told Fox news a statement: "We're not aware of any investigation into the Foundation by the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or any United States Attorney's Office and we have not received a subpoena from any of those agencies."

.@ClintonFdn on @WSJ report. pic.twitter.com/8ZqSTDP8sS

- Fox News (@FoxNews) November 3, 2016

Now that details of the infighting between the DOJ and FBI regarding the Foundation probe have been made public, Loretta Lynch may have no choice but to launch an official probe, including subpoeans.

The information follows a report over the weekend by The Wall Street Journal that four FBI field offices have been collecting information about the foundation. The probes – in addition to the revived email investigation – have fueled renewed warnings from Republicans that if Clinton is elected next week, she could take office under a cloud of investigations.

"This is not just going to go away … if she ends up winning the election," Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" earlier this week.

Donald Trump has referenced this scenario, repeatedly saying on the stump this past week that her election could trigger a "crisis."

Separately, Fox News reports that authorities also are virtually certain, i.e., "there is about a 99 percent chance", that up to five foreign intelligence agencies may have accessed and taken emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, two separate sources with intimate knowledge of the FBI investigations told Fox News. If so, it would suggest that the original FBI probe - which found no evidence of breach - was either incomplete or tampered with.

The revelation led House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul to describe Clinton's handling of her email system during her tenure as secretary of state as "treason."

"She exposed [information] to our enemies," McCaul said on "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning. "Our adversaries have this very sensitive information. … In my opinion, quite frankly, it's treason."

McCaul, R-Texas, said that FBI Director James Comey told him previously that foreign adversaries likely had gotten into her server. When Comey publicly discussed the Clinton email case back in July, he also said that while there was no evidence hostile actors breached the server, it was "possible" they had gained access.

Clinton herself later pushed back, saying the director was merely "speculating."

But sources told Fox News that Comey should have said at the time there is an "almost certainty" that several foreign intelligence agencies hacked into the server.

The claims come as Comey's FBI not only revisits the email investigation following the discovery of additional emails on the laptop of ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner – the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin – but is proceeding in its investigation of the Clinton Foundation.

In other words, Anthony Weiner may be ultimately responsible not only for the downfall of Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, but also the collapse of the entire Clinton Foundation... which incidentally is just what Donald Trump warned could happen over a year ago.

A summary of Baier's latest reporting is in the clip below...

[Nov 03, 2016] The FBI suddenly discloses dismissed Bill Clinton case

speisa.com

The FBI has unexpectedly published papers from an over ten-year-old investigation of former president Bill Clinton's controversial pardon of a financier, reports NTB.

The case against Clinton was dismissed without charges in 2005, and several Democrats therefore question why the 129-page report of the investigation is published right now, a few days before the election, in which Bill Clinton's wife Hillary Clinton is trying to become president.

The rage against the FBI is already great in the Democratic Party after the federal police last week announced they will investigate new emails relating to Hillary Clinton.

Financier Marc Rich was indicted for tax fraud and lived in exile in Switzerland when Bill Clinton pardoned him on his last day as president on January 20, 2001. Several reacted to the pardon, especially since Rich's ex-wife was a major donor to the Democratic Party.

The FBI started to investigate the pardon the year after.

[Nov 03, 2016] FBI investigating Clinton Foundation pay for play scheme

Notable quotes:
"... FBI agents have interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people on the foundation case, which is looking into possible pay for play interaction between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. The FBI's White Collar Crime Division is handling the investigation. ..."
"... Even before the WikiLeaks dumps of alleged emails linked to the Clinton campaign, FBI agents had collected a great deal of evidence, law enforcement sources tell Fox News. ..."
"... "There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day," one source told Fox News, who added some of the new information is coming from the WikiLeaks documents and new emails. ..."
Nov 03, 2016 | speisa.com

A second FBI investigation involving Hillary Clinton is ongoing. The investigation to uncover corruption by the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton, is given high priority and now runs parallel with the reopened FBI case of her using a private email server to avoid the Federal Records Act.

The FBI's investigation into the Clinton Foundation that has been going on for more than a year has now taken a "very high priority," separate sources with intimate knowledge of the probe tell Fox News .

FBI agents have interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people on the foundation case, which is looking into possible pay for play interaction between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. The FBI's White Collar Crime Division is handling the investigation.

Even before the WikiLeaks dumps of alleged emails linked to the Clinton campaign, FBI agents had collected a great deal of evidence, law enforcement sources tell Fox News.

"There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day," one source told Fox News, who added some of the new information is coming from the WikiLeaks documents and new emails.

FBI agents are "actively and aggressively pursuing this case," and will be going back and interviewing the same people again, some for the third time, sources said.

Agents are also going through what Clinton and top aides have said in previous interviews and the FBI 302, documents agents use to report interviews they conduct, to make sure notes line up, according to sources.

[Oct 30, 2016] FBI Investigation Into Bribery With Clinton Foundation Spans Nation, Multiple Field Offices, Says WSJ

Notable quotes:
"... It appears there was rift between the FBI and the DOJ with how to move forward with the investigation. Agents in the Washington office were directed to focus on a separate issue relating to the actions of former Virginia Governor and Clinton Foundation Board Member Terry McAuliffe. Agents inside the FBI believed they could build a stronger case if the investigation of McAuliffe and the foundation were combined. ..."
"... FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe seemed to be caught in the middle of the fight between DOJ officials who appeared to want to slow down or shut down the investigation and FBI agents who were eager to pour more resources into the investigation. ..."
"... The story gets more complicated when you factor in that McCabe's wife, Dr. Jill McCabe had received a $467,500 campaign contribution in 2015 for a state senate race from McAuliffe . ..."
"... CNN also reported that multiple field offices were "in agreement a public corruption investigation should be launched" with Clinton Foundation officials as a target. The cable news network reported the investigation would have looked at "conflicts of interest by foreign donors and official acts by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. ..."
Oct 30, 2016 | www.breitbart.com
FBI investigators from across the country have been following leads into reports of bribery involving the Clinton Foundation. Multiple field offices have been involved in the investigation.

A report in Sunday's Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by Devlin Barrett revealed that agents assigned to the New York field office have been carrying the bulk of the work in investigating the Clinton Foundations. They have received assistance from the FBI field office in Little Rock according to "people familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported. Other offices, including Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., have been collecting evidence to regarding "financial crimes or influence-peddling."

As far back as February 2016, FBI agents made presentation to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the WSJ's sources stated. "The meeting didn't go well," they wrote. While some sources said the FBI's evidence was not strong enough, others believed the DOJ had no intention from the start of going any further. Barrett wrote that the DOJ officials were "stern, icy and dismissive of the case."

Barrett wrote, "'That was one of the weirdest meetings I've ever been to,' one participant told others afterward, according to people familiar with the matter."

It appears there was rift between the FBI and the DOJ with how to move forward with the investigation. Agents in the Washington office were directed to focus on a separate issue relating to the actions of former Virginia Governor and Clinton Foundation Board Member Terry McAuliffe. Agents inside the FBI believed they could build a stronger case if the investigation of McAuliffe and the foundation were combined.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe seemed to be caught in the middle of the fight between DOJ officials who appeared to want to slow down or shut down the investigation and FBI agents who were eager to pour more resources into the investigation.

Barrett wrote, "'Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?' Mr. McCabe asked, according to people familiar with the conversation. After a pause, the official replied, 'Of course not,' these people said."

Some of the WSJ sources told Barrett that a "stand down" order had been given to the FBI agents by McCabe. Others denied that no such order was given.

Preet Bharara, an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, appears to have taken in interest in moving forward from the DOJ side, the Daily Caller's Richard Pollock reported in August.

Pollock wrote:

The New York-based probe is being led by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara's prosecutorial aggressiveness has resulted in a large number of convictions of banks, hedge funds and Wall Street insiders.

He said prosecutorial support could come from multiple U.S. Attorneys Offices and stated this was a major departure from other "centralized FBI investigations."

The story gets more complicated when you factor in that McCabe's wife, Dr. Jill McCabe had received a $467,500 campaign contribution in 2015 for a state senate race from McAuliffe .

CNN also reported that multiple field offices were "in agreement a public corruption investigation should be launched" with Clinton Foundation officials as a target. The cable news network reported the investigation would have looked at "conflicts of interest by foreign donors and official acts by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

[Oct 30, 2016] Former FBI Official Calls Bill, Hillary Clinton a Crime Family

Notable quotes:
"... "The problem here is this investigation was never a real investigation," he said. "That's the problem. They never had a grand jury empanelled, and the reason they never had a grand jury empanelled, I'm sure, is Loretta Lynch would not go along with that." ..."
"... Kallstrom blamed the FBI leadership under FBI Director James Comey as the reason the investigation was held back, but not the rest of the bureau. ..."
"... "The agents are furious with what's going on, I know that for a fact," he said. ..."
Oct 30, 2016 | www.breitbart.com
A former FBI official said Sunday that Bill and Hillary Clinton are part of a "crime family" and added that top officials impeded the investigation into Clinton's email server while she was secretary of state.

Former assistant FBI director James Kallstrom praised Donald Trump before he offered a take down of the Clintons in a radio interview with John Catsimatidis, The Hill reported.

"The Clintons, that's a crime family, basically," Kallstrom said. "It's like organized crime. I mean the Clinton Foundation is a cesspool."

Kallstrom, best known for spearheading the investigation into the explosion of TWA flight 800 in the late '90s, called Clinton a "pathological liar" and blamed Attorney General Loretta Lynch for botching the Clinton email server investigation.

"The problem here is this investigation was never a real investigation," he said. "That's the problem. They never had a grand jury empanelled, and the reason they never had a grand jury empanelled, I'm sure, is Loretta Lynch would not go along with that."

"God forbid we put someone like that in the White House," he added of Clinton.

Kallstrom blamed the FBI leadership under FBI Director James Comey as the reason the investigation was held back, but not the rest of the bureau.

"The agents are furious with what's going on, I know that for a fact," he said.

[Oct 30, 2016] Clinton Foundation FBI Investigation Confirmed By Former Assistant FBI Director

Oct 30, 2016 | www.breitbart.com
Saturday on CNN while discussing the FBI reopening the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private unsecured email server during her tenure as secretary of state, former Assistant Director of the FBI Thomas Fuentes said, "The FBI has an intensive investigation ongoing into the Clinton Foundation."

He added, "The FBI made the determination that the investigation would go forward as a comprehensive unified case and be coordinated, so that investigation is ongoing and Huma Abedin and her role and activities concerning secretary of state in the nature of the foundation and possible pay to play, that's still being looked at and now."

[Oct 29, 2016] Sharon Day Rescind your Clinton Endorsement

Notable quotes:
"... After weeks of revealing information behind the Clinton Foundation and their self-motivated fundraising tactics, there is no other word to describe the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. She's engaged in behavior that is disqualifying to be a candidate for the highest office, and yet dozens of American legislators, leaders and even media outlets have endorsed her candidacy. ..."
"... She's swindled countries out of donations, she's swindled corporate America with her lofty promises and she's swindled the American people – over and over and over again. ..."
"... So why now, after the knowledge that top-tier corporations and other wealthy supporters paid to meet with both the former president and the now Democratic presidential nominee should we believe that she would change her behavior to act in the best interest of the country? In fact, one could argue that this information is a window into how Clinton would rule the land. She'd have an eye out for only herself and her family, while leaving the American people - who so desperately want a change - with the same old Clinton-first approach. ..."
"... Beyond her blatant disregard for the American public, Clinton's cavalier approach to national security has come into question from a myriad of angles. From the secret server in her home basement that received hundreds of confidential email communications, to the lack of response she paid to the Congress when asked about the issue, to the suggestion that she made promises to the FBI that would cause them to "look the other way" when ruling on the secret email server. And then how about the millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation took from countries that are of disrepute, not to mention those that show little concern for women's rights. ..."
Oct 29, 2016 | www.breitbart.com
It was 25 years ago that Martin Scorsese delighted audiences with his movie rendition of the Jim Thompson novel, "The Grifters."

The story is an ingenious tale of deception and betrayal. By definition a grifter is someone who has made money dishonestly, in a swindle or a confidence game.

After weeks of revealing information behind the Clinton Foundation and their self-motivated fundraising tactics, there is no other word to describe the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. She's engaged in behavior that is disqualifying to be a candidate for the highest office, and yet dozens of American legislators, leaders and even media outlets have endorsed her candidacy.

She's swindled countries out of donations, she's swindled corporate America with her lofty promises and she's swindled the American people – over and over and over again.

So why now, after the knowledge that top-tier corporations and other wealthy supporters paid to meet with both the former president and the now Democratic presidential nominee should we believe that she would change her behavior to act in the best interest of the country? In fact, one could argue that this information is a window into how Clinton would rule the land. She'd have an eye out for only herself and her family, while leaving the American people - who so desperately want a change - with the same old Clinton-first approach.

Beyond her blatant disregard for the American public, Clinton's cavalier approach to national security has come into question from a myriad of angles. From the secret server in her home basement that received hundreds of confidential email communications, to the lack of response she paid to the Congress when asked about the issue, to the suggestion that she made promises to the FBI that would cause them to "look the other way" when ruling on the secret email server. And then how about the millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation took from countries that are of disrepute, not to mention those that show little concern for women's rights.

The most recent set of Clinton emails that have come to light are of such great concern to national security that the FBI has announced they will conduct a new investigation of Clinton's emails. This is just ELEVEN days before the country goes to the polls and decides on our next president.

Where has the leadership gone in this country? Since when do reputable news outlets stand behind candidates who have proven themselves over and over to be out for themselves and dangerous, even? It used to be that newspapers and legislators and leaders who speak from a platform would find themselves offering wisdom. Wisdom about which candidate was best for the job – based on the facts. Instead we find ourselves sifting through the list of endorsements for Clinton with little or no mention of her disregard for the law, her lack of concern for those she serves, and the careless nature in which she has proven herself to lead.

Now that the newspapers know better and have written about the truth in their own words, how can the media and elected officials stand by their decision to endorse her? They need to rescind their endorsement. That includes President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

In a quote from his book Thompson describes one of the characters, "Anyone who deprived her of something she wanted, deserved what he got."

Sounds all too familiar to the Democratic nominee for grifter-in-chief. If she's not changed by now, who is to say she'd be any different when she was the most powerful elected official in the United States. Once a grifter, always a grifter.

Sharon Day is the Republican National Committee Co-Chair.

[Oct 29, 2016] Hallelujah! here it guys! the internal Clinton Foundation attachment that connects the shady dots!

Notable quotes:
"... Wow, they clearly state Bill Clinton uses golfing to establish communication with donors ..."
"... "People with knowledge of the call in both camps said it was one of many that Clinton and Trump have had over the years, whether about golf or donations to the Clinton Foundation. But the call in May was considered especially sensitive, coming soon after Hillary Rodham Clinton had declared her own presidential run the month before." - source ..."
"... In total, The Wall Street Journal reports, two dozen companies and groups, plus the Abu Dhabi government, gave Bill more than $8 million for speeches, even as they were hoping for favorable treatment from Hillary's bureaucracy. And 15 of them also gave at least $5 million total to the foundation. ..."
"... Can someone help me see the shadiness, what am I missing? unless the "foundation donors require significant maintenance to keep them engaged and supportive of the foundation" means they are giving them political favors then it just looks like the clinton foundation is accepting donations and that is it. ..."
"... so pro-clinton sources have been propping up the Clinton Foundation for years as the pinnacle of charity while not really being able to explain where all the money goes; ..."
"... This shows that they require 20 million a year to operate with 8 employees. It shows they have to raid the Clinton Global Initiative for $6M to $11M every year to cover that budget hole... ..."
"... This is useful information that is probably not reflected on tax returns. Most importantly it shows that when Bill was offered a shady $8 million dollar over 2 year deal that would appear to be a conflict of interest while Hillary was Sect of State, Podesta and Band suggested hiding the money as payment for speeches. This boosts the accusation that the speeches are payments for quid pro quo. ..."
"... Does any of it contradict the MOU she signed when appointed Sec State? https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/34993 ..."
Oct 29, 2016 | www.reddit.com

Wow, they clearly state Bill Clinton uses golfing to establish communication with donors

beccairene 2 points 3 points 4 points 9 hours ago (1 child)

Wait, isn't golfing what Loretta Lynch claimed to have discussed with WJC on the plane?

robaloie 2 points 3 points 4 points 8 hours ago * (0 children)

He also said they were talking about golf when he called Donald trump last year before trump decided to run.

"People with knowledge of the call in both camps said it was one of many that Clinton and Trump have had over the years, whether about golf or donations to the Clinton Foundation. But the call in May was considered especially sensitive, coming soon after Hillary Rodham Clinton had declared her own presidential run the month before." - source

Not_a_Fake 8 points 9 points 10 points 18 hours ago (0 children)

Question-Are we to assume that any OTHER speaking engagements that WJC did were not because of the foundation, but from when his wife was SOS?

In total, The Wall Street Journal reports, two dozen companies and groups, plus the Abu Dhabi government, gave Bill more than $8 million for speeches, even as they were hoping for favorable treatment from Hillary's bureaucracy. And 15 of them also gave at least $5 million total to the foundation.

soupy_scoopy 113 points 114 points 115 points 1 day ago (4 children)

Has this been cleared by CNN for me to view?

BigLizardz 2 points 3 points 4 points 19 hours ago (0 children)

Lol I'm actually too scared to click in wikileak/dikileak links. #1984?

OldDirtyPlastered 14 points 15 points 16 points 22 hours ago (0 children)

Good question. I don't want to do anything illegal.

Uncle_Touchy_ 17 points 18 points 19 points 1 day ago (0 children)

You'll have to ask Downy McDaterape or whatever that anchor's name is. You know the one.

moreoverhereafter 4 points 5 points 6 points 1 day ago * (5 children)

Can someone help me see the shadiness, what am I missing? unless the "foundation donors require significant maintenance to keep them engaged and supportive of the foundation" means they are giving them political favors then it just looks like the clinton foundation is accepting donations and that is it.

5pointlight [ S ] 81 points 82 points 83 points 1 day ago * (4 children)

so pro-clinton sources have been propping up the Clinton Foundation for years as the pinnacle of charity while not really being able to explain where all the money goes; because it sure doesn't seem to be going to Haiti or many other charities.

This shows that they require 20 million a year to operate with 8 employees. It shows they have to raid the Clinton Global Initiative for $6M to $11M every year to cover that budget hole... so this gives credence to the suspicion that the CF is hiding money somewhere (laundering money to Clintons and friends). Also this document shows how teneo made Bill Clinton " more than $50 million in for-profit activity we have personally helped to secure for President Clinton to date or the $66 million in future contracts" as of 2011.

This is useful information that is probably not reflected on tax returns. Most importantly it shows that when Bill was offered a shady $8 million dollar over 2 year deal that would appear to be a conflict of interest while Hillary was Sect of State, Podesta and Band suggested hiding the money as payment for speeches. This boosts the accusation that the speeches are payments for quid pro quo.

Fake_Unicron comment score below threshold -12 points -11 points -10 points 16 hours ago (0 children)

Any sources on that, like the foundation spending?

How have you compared their spending reports to those from other charities?

In contrast to your unsourced allegations:

https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=2284

How would the charity donations allow the CF to launder money for the donors? Any evidence or is this just guesswork auditing?

Why do you think this is "probably not reflected on tax returns"?

driusan 10 points 11 points 12 points 23 hours ago (0 children)

Does any of it contradict the MOU she signed when appointed Sec State? https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/34993

[Oct 25, 2016] The Clinton Foundation contributed to the February coup in Ukraine, having longstanding ties to Ukrainian oligarchs who pushed the country to European integration.

Notable quotes:
"... It has recently turned out that Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, a vocal proponent of Ukraine's European integration, made huge contributions to the Clinton Foundation, while Hillary Clinton was the US Secretary of State. Although the foundation swore off donations from foreign governments while Mrs. Clinton was serving as a state official, it continued accepting money from private donors. Many of them had certain ties to their national governments like Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian businessman and ex-parliamentarian. ..."
"... Viktor Pinchuk has always been one of the most vocal proponents of Ukraine's European integration. In 2004 Pinchuk founded the Yalta European Strategy (YES) platform in Kiev. YES is led by the board including ex-president of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski and former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana. According to the website of the platform, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Kofi Annan, Radoslaw Sikorski, Vitaliy Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Petro Poroshenko and other prominent figures have participated in annual meetings of YES since 2004. ..."
"... Experts note that after the coup, the Ukrainian leadership has actually become Washington's puppet government. Several foreign citizens, including American civilian Natalie Jaresko, Lithuanian investment banker Aivaras Abromavicius and Georgia-born Alexander Kvitashvili have assumed high posts in the Ukrainian government. It should be noted that Natalie Jaresko, Ukraine's Financial Minister, have previously worked in the US State Department and has also been linked to oligarch Viktor Pinchuk. ..."
May 17, 2015 | sputniknews.com

A sinister atmosphere surrounds the Clinton Foundation's role in Ukrainian military coup of February 2014, experts point out.

It has recently turned out that Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, a vocal proponent of Ukraine's European integration, made huge contributions to the Clinton Foundation, while Hillary Clinton was the US Secretary of State. Although the foundation swore off donations from foreign governments while Mrs. Clinton was serving as a state official, it continued accepting money from private donors. Many of them had certain ties to their national governments like Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian businessman and ex-parliamentarian.

Remarkably, among individual donors contributing to the Clinton Foundation in the period between 1999 and 2014, Ukrainian sponsors took first place in the list, providing the charity with almost $10 million and pushing England and Saudi Arabia to second and third places respectively.

It is worth mentioning that the Viktor Pinchuk Foundation alone transferred at least $8.6 million to the Clinton charity between 2009 and 2013. Pinchuk, who acquired his fortune from a pipe-making business, served twice as a parliamentarian in Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada and was married to the daughter of ex-president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma.

Although the Clinton's charity denies that the donations were somehow connected with political matters, experts doubt that international private sponsors received no political support in return. In 2008 Pinchuk pledged to make a five-year $29 million contribution to the Clinton Global Initiative in order to fund a program aimed at training future Ukrainian leaders and "modernizers." Remarkably, several alumni of these courses are current members of Ukrainian parliament. Because of the global financial crisis, the Pinchuk Foundation sent only $1.8 million.

Experts note that during Mrs. Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, Viktor Pinchuk was introduced to some influential American lobbyists. Curiously enough, he tried to use his powerful "friends" to pressure Ukraine's then-President Viktor Yanukovych to free Yulia Tymoshenko, who served a jail term.

Viktor Pinchuk has always been one of the most vocal proponents of Ukraine's European integration. In 2004 Pinchuk founded the Yalta European Strategy (YES) platform in Kiev. YES is led by the board including ex-president of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski and former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana. According to the website of the platform, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Kofi Annan, Radoslaw Sikorski, Vitaliy Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Petro Poroshenko and other prominent figures have participated in annual meetings of YES since 2004.

No one would argue that proponents of Ukraine's pro-Western course played the main role in organizing the coup of February 2014 in Kiev. Furthermore, the exceptional role of the United States in ousting then-president Viktor Yanukovich has also been recognized by political analysts, participants of Euromaidan and even by Barack Obama, the US President.

Experts note that after the coup, the Ukrainian leadership has actually become Washington's puppet government. Several foreign citizens, including American civilian Natalie Jaresko, Lithuanian investment banker Aivaras Abromavicius and Georgia-born Alexander Kvitashvili have assumed high posts in the Ukrainian government. It should be noted that Natalie Jaresko, Ukraine's Financial Minister, have previously worked in the US State Department and has also been linked to oligarch Viktor Pinchuk.

So far, experts note, the recent "game of thrones" in Ukraine has been apparently instigated by a few powerful clans of the US and Ukraine, who are evidently benefitting from the ongoing turmoil. In this light the Clinton Foundation looks like something more than just a charity: in today's world of fraudulent oligopoly we are facing with global cronyism, experts point out, warning against its devastating consequences.

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20150323/1019905665.html#ixzz3YT3FykcI

See also: US Intelligence Services Behind 2014 Ukraine Coup – EU Parliament Member

[Oct 24, 2016] Qatar, like most Muslim countries, treats women as second-class citizens, but champion-of-women Hillary never lets a little thing like that stop her from doing business

nypost.com

Qatar, like most Muslim countries, treats women as second-class citizens, but champion-of-women Hillary never lets a little thing like that stop her from doing business. (See: "On favors.") And a far greater threat than murderous Muslims adhering to a fanatical 7th-century religious ideology lurks right here at home - those pesky Roman Catholics and their silly 2,000-year-old faith. (See: "On Catholics.")

[Oct 23, 2016] Clintonism is wedge politics directed against any class or populist upheaval that might threaten neoliberalism

That's explains vicious campaign by neoliberal MSM against Trump and swiping under the carpet all criminal deeds of Clinton family. They feel the threat...
Notable quotes:
"... It should be remembered that fascism does not succeed in the real world as a crusade by race-obsessed lumpen. It succeeds when fascists are co-opted by capitalists, as was unambiguously the case in Nazi Germany and Italy. And big business supported fascism because it feared the alternatives: socialism and communism. ..."
"... That's because there is no more effective counter to class consciousness than race consciousness. That's one reason why, in my opinion, socialism hasn't done a better job of catching on in the United States. The contradictions between black and white labor formed a ready-made wedge. ..."
Oct 23, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

An excellent article

It should be remembered that fascism does not succeed in the real world as a crusade by race-obsessed lumpen. It succeeds when fascists are co-opted by capitalists, as was unambiguously the case in Nazi Germany and Italy. And big business supported fascism because it feared the alternatives: socialism and communism.

That's because there is no more effective counter to class consciousness than race consciousness. That's one reason why, in my opinion, socialism hasn't done a better job of catching on in the United States. The contradictions between black and white labor formed a ready-made wedge. The North's abhorrence at the spread of slavery into the American West before the Civil War had more to do a desire to preserve these new realms for "free" labor-"free" in one context, from the competition of slave labor-than egalitarian principle.[…]

There is more to Clintonism, I think, than simply playing the "identity politics" card to screw Bernie Sanders or discombobulate the Trump campaign. "Identity politics" is near the core of the Clintonian agenda as a bulwark against any class/populist upheaval that might threaten her brand of billionaire-friendly liberalism.

In other words it's all part of a grand plan when the Clintonoids aren't busy debating the finer points of her marketing and "mark"–a term normally applied to the graphic logo on a commercial product.

http://www.unz.com/plee/trump-we-wish-the-problem-was-fascism/

[Oct 22, 2016] I keep trying to imagine what special interest is so invested in the no-fly zone that they can force Hillary to keep proposing it, even though it is obviously no longer feasible

Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Procopius October 22, 2016 at 10:06 am

I keep trying to imagine what special interest is so invested in the no-fly zone that they can force Hillary to keep proposing it, even though it is obviously no longer feasible. Is it just inertia? She is so used to pushing the idea that she brings it up without thinking, and then has to dodge out of the way? But the whole situation has passed out of the realm of rational thought. It reminds me of Vietnam.

The idea the South and North Vietnam were separate countries was never true, but John Foster Dulles insisted on repeating the lie at every opportunity and after a while the Village all started to believe it.

None of the stated goals in Syria make any sense any longer (if the ever did), but we keep pursuing them. Scary.

[Oct 22, 2016] payments for some of Bill and Hillary's activities (non-speech related and easier to hide), ie lobbying for foreign governments and corporations, were structured through holding companies in Singapore, Hong Kong

Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Cry Shop October 22, 2016 at 4:10 am

Bill Clinton has a mysterious shell-company

Trump could not be the only candidate under reporting family income. It's been pretty common talk among the chambers of commerce in Asia that payments for some of Bill and Hillary's activities (non-speech related and easier to hide), ie lobbying for foreign governments and corporations, were structured through holding companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/bill-black-the-clintons-have-not-changed-the-clintonian-war-on-the-ig-watchdogs.html

Certainly having a on-shore tax shell is an important part of repatriation, just in time for Hillary's promised tax holiday.
https://newrepublic.com/article/117763/clinton-proposes-repatriation-tax-holiday-fund-infrastructure-bank

[Oct 21, 2016] The capitalist crisis and the radicalization of the working class in 2012 - World Socialist Web Site by David North

Its from World Socialist Web Site by thier analysys does contain some valid points. Especially about betrayal of nomenklatura, and, especially, KGB nomenklatura,which was wholesale bought by the USA for cash.
Note that the author is unable or unwilling to use the tterm "neoliberalism". Looks like orthodox Marxism has problem with this notion as it contradict Marxism dogma that capitalism as an economic doctrine is final stage before arrival of socialism. Looks like it is not the final ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Russia Since 1980 ..."
"... History reveals that the grandsons of the Bolshevik coup d'état didn't destroy the Soviet Union in a valiant effort to advance the cause of communist prosperity or even to return to their common European home; instead, it transformed Soviet managers and ministers into roving bandits (asset-grabbing privateers) with a tacit presidential charter to privatize the people's assets and revenues to themselves under the new Muscovite rule of men ..."
"... The scale of this plunder was astounding. It not only bankrupted the Soviet Union, forcing Russian President Boris Yeltsin to appeal to the G-7 for $6 billion of assistance on December 6, 1991, but triggered a free fall in aggregate production commencing in 1990, aptly known as catastroika. ..."
"... In retrospect, the Soviet economy didn't collapse because the liberalized command economy devised after 1953 was marked for death. The system was inefficient, corrupt and reprehensible in a myriad of ways, but sustainable, as the CIA and most Sovietologists maintained. It was destroyed by Gorbachev's tolerance and complicity in allowing privateers to misappropriate state revenues, pilfer materials, spontaneously privatize, and hotwire their ill-gotten gains abroad, all of which disorganized production. ..."
"... The rapid growth and increasing complexity of the Soviet economy required access to the resources of the world economy. ..."
"... For the Soviet bureaucracy, a parasitic social caste committed to the defense of its privileges and terrified of the working class, the revolutionary solution to the contradictions of the Soviet economy was absolutely unthinkable. The only course that it could contemplate was the second-capitulation to imperialism. ..."
"... In other words, the integration of the USSR into the structure of the world capitalist economy on a capitalist basis means not the slow development of a backward national economy, but the rapid destruction of one which has sustained living conditions which are, at least for the working class, far closer to those that exist in the advanced countries than in the third world. ..."
"... The Fourth International ..."
"... The End of the USSR, ..."
"... The report related the destruction of the USSR by the ruling bureaucracy to a broader international phenomenon. The smashing up of the USSR was mirrored in the United States by the destruction of the trade unions as even partial instruments of working-class defense. ..."
"... Millions of people are going to see imperialism for what it really is. The democratic mask is going to be torn off. The idea that imperialism is compatible with peace is going to be exposed. The very elements which drove masses into revolutionary struggle in the past are once again present. The workers of Russia and the Ukraine are going to be reminded why they made a revolution in the first place. The American workers are going to be reminded why they themselves in an earlier period engaged in the most massive struggles against the corporations. The workers of Europe are going to be reminded why their continent was the birthplace of socialism and Karl Marx. [p. 25] ..."
Jan 30, 2012 | www.wsws.org

... ... ...

This analysis has been vindicated by scholarly investigations into the causes of the Soviet economic collapse that facilitated the bureaucracy's dissolution of the USSR. In Russia Since 1980, published in 2008 by Cambridge University Press, Professors Steven Rosefielde and Stefan Hedlund present evidence that Gorbachev introduced measures that appear, in retrospect, to have been aimed at sabotaging the Soviet economy. "Gorbachev and his entourage," they write, "seem to have had a venal hidden agenda that caused things to get out of hand quickly." [p. 38] In a devastating appraisal of Gorbachev's policies, Rosefielde and Hedlund state:

History reveals that the grandsons of the Bolshevik coup d'état didn't destroy the Soviet Union in a valiant effort to advance the cause of communist prosperity or even to return to their common European home; instead, it transformed Soviet managers and ministers into roving bandits (asset-grabbing privateers) with a tacit presidential charter to privatize the people's assets and revenues to themselves under the new Muscovite rule of men. [p. 40]

Instead of displaying due diligence over personal use of state revenues, materials and property, inculcated in every Bolshevik since 1917, Gorbachev winked at a counterrevolution from below opening Pandora's Box. He allowed enterprises and others not only to profit maximize for the state in various ways, which was beneficial, but also to misappropriate state assets, and export the proceeds abroad. In the process, red directors disregarded state contracts and obligations, disorganizing inter-industrial intermediate input flows, and triggering a depression from which the Soviet Union never recovered and Russia has barely emerged. [p. 47]

Given all the heated debates that would later ensue about how Yeltsin and his shock therapy engendered mass plunder, it should be noted that the looting began under Gorbachev's watch. It was his malign neglect that transformed the rhetoric of Market Communism into the pillage of the nation's assets.

The scale of this plunder was astounding. It not only bankrupted the Soviet Union, forcing Russian President Boris Yeltsin to appeal to the G-7 for $6 billion of assistance on December 6, 1991, but triggered a free fall in aggregate production commencing in 1990, aptly known as catastroika.

In retrospect, the Soviet economy didn't collapse because the liberalized command economy devised after 1953 was marked for death. The system was inefficient, corrupt and reprehensible in a myriad of ways, but sustainable, as the CIA and most Sovietologists maintained. It was destroyed by Gorbachev's tolerance and complicity in allowing privateers to misappropriate state revenues, pilfer materials, spontaneously privatize, and hotwire their ill-gotten gains abroad, all of which disorganized production. [p. 49]

The analysis of Rosefielde and Hedlund, while accurate in its assessment of Gorbachev's actions, is simplistic. Gorbachev's policies can be understood only within the framework of more fundamental political and socioeconomic factors. First, and most important, the real objective crisis of the Soviet economy (which existed and preceded by many decades the accession of Gorbachev to power) developed out of the contradictions of the autarkic nationalist policies pursued by the Soviet regime since Stalin and Bukharin introduced the program of "socialism in one country" in 1924. The rapid growth and increasing complexity of the Soviet economy required access to the resources of the world economy. This access could be achieved only in one of two ways: either through the spread of socialist revolution into the advanced capitalist countries, or through the counterrevolutionary integration of the USSR into the economic structures of world capitalism.

For the Soviet bureaucracy, a parasitic social caste committed to the defense of its privileges and terrified of the working class, the revolutionary solution to the contradictions of the Soviet economy was absolutely unthinkable. The only course that it could contemplate was the second-capitulation to imperialism. This second course, moreover, opened for the leading sections of the bureaucracy the possibility of permanently securing their privileges and vastly expanding their wealth. The privileged caste would become a ruling class. The corruption of Gorbachev, Yeltsin and their associates was merely the necessary means employed by the bureaucracy to achieve this utterly reactionary and immensely destructive outcome.

On October 3, 1991, less than three months before the dissolution of the USSR, I delivered a lecture in Kiev in which I challenged the argument-which was widely propagated by the Stalinist regime-that the restoration of capitalism would bring immense benefits to the people. I stated:

In this country, capitalist restoration can only take place on the basis of the widespread destruction of the already existing productive forces and the social- cultural institutions that depended upon them. In other words, the integration of the USSR into the structure of the world capitalist economy on a capitalist basis means not the slow development of a backward national economy, but the rapid destruction of one which has sustained living conditions which are, at least for the working class, far closer to those that exist in the advanced countries than in the third world. When one examines the various schemes hatched by proponents of capitalist restoration, one cannot but conclude that they are no less ignorant than Stalin of the real workings of the world capitalist economy. And they are preparing the ground for a social tragedy that will eclipse that produced by the pragmatic and nationalistic policies of Stalin. ["Soviet Union at the Crossroads," published in The Fourth International (Fall- Winter 1992, Volume 19, No. 1, p. 109), Emphasis in the original.]

Almost exactly 20 years ago, on January 4, 1992, the Workers League held a party membership meeting in Detroit to consider the historical, political and social implications of the dissolution of the USSR. Rereading this report so many years later, I believe that it has stood the test of time. It stated that the dissolution of the USSR "represents the juridical liquidation of the workers' state and its replacement with regimes that are openly and unequivocally devoted to the destruction of the remnants of the national economy and the planning system that issued from the October Revolution. To define the CIS [Confederation of Independent States] or its independent republics as workers states would be to completely separate the definition from the concrete content which it expressed during the previous period." [David North, The End of the USSR, Labor Publications, 1992, p. 6]

The report continued:

"A revolutionary party must face reality and state what is. The Soviet working class has suffered a serious defeat. The bureaucracy has devoured the workers state before the working class was able to clean out the bureaucracy. This fact, however unpleasant, does not refute the perspective of the Fourth International. Since it was founded in 1938, our movement has repeatedly said that if the working class was not able to destroy this bureaucracy, then the Soviet Union would suffer a shipwreck. Trotsky did not call for political revolution as some sort of exaggerated response to this or that act of bureaucratic malfeasance. He said that a political revolution was necessary because only in that way could the Soviet Union, as a workers state, be defended against imperialism." [p. 6]

I sought to explain why the Soviet working class had failed to rise up in opposition to the bureaucracy's liquidation of the Soviet Union. How was it possible that the destruction of the Soviet Union-having survived the horrors of the Nazi invasion-could be carried out "by a miserable group of petty gangsters, acting in the interests of the scum of Soviet society?" I offered the following answer:

We must reply to these questions by stressing the implications of the massive destruction of revolutionary cadre carried out within the Soviet Union by the Stalinist regime. Virtually all the human representatives of the revolutionary tradition who consciously prepared and led that revolution were wiped out. And along with the political leaders of the revolution, the most creative representatives of the intelligentsia who had flourished in the early years of the Soviet state were also annihilated or terrorized into silence.

Furthermore, we must point to the deep-going alienation of the working class itself from state property. Property belonged to the state, but the state "belonged" to the bureaucracy, as Trotsky noted. The fundamental distinction between state property and bourgeois property-however important from a theoretical standpoint-became less and less relevant from a practical standpoint. It is true that capitalist exploitation did not exist in the scientific sense of the term, but that did not alter the fact that the day-to-day conditions of life in factories and mines and other workplaces were as miserable as are to be found in any of the advanced capitalist countries, and, in many cases, far worse.

Finally, we must consider the consequences of the protracted decay of the international socialist movement...

Especially during the past decade, the collapse of effective working class resistance in any part of the world to the bourgeois offensive had a demoralizing effect on Soviet workers. Capitalism assumed an aura of "invincibility," although this aura was merely the illusory reflection of the spinelessness of the labor bureaucracies all over the world, which have on every occasion betrayed the workers and capitulated to the bourgeoisie. What the Soviet workers saw was not the bitter resistance of sections of workers to the international offensive of capital, but defeats and their consequences. [p. 13-14]

The report related the destruction of the USSR by the ruling bureaucracy to a broader international phenomenon. The smashing up of the USSR was mirrored in the United States by the destruction of the trade unions as even partial instruments of working-class defense.

In every part of the world, including the advanced countries, the workers are discovering that their own parties and their own trade union organizations are engaged in the related task of systematically lowering and impoverishing the working class. [p. 22]

Finally, the report dismissed any notion that the dissolution of the USSR signified a new era of progressive capitalist development.

Millions of people are going to see imperialism for what it really is. The democratic mask is going to be torn off. The idea that imperialism is compatible with peace is going to be exposed. The very elements which drove masses into revolutionary struggle in the past are once again present. The workers of Russia and the Ukraine are going to be reminded why they made a revolution in the first place. The American workers are going to be reminded why they themselves in an earlier period engaged in the most massive struggles against the corporations. The workers of Europe are going to be reminded why their continent was the birthplace of socialism and Karl Marx. [p. 25]

The aftermath of the dissolution of the USSR: 20 years of economic crisis, social decay, and political reaction

According to liberal theory, the dissolution of the Soviet Union ought to have produced a new flowering of democracy. Of course, nothing of the sort occurred-not in the former USSR or, for that matter, in the United States. Moreover, the breakup of the Soviet Union-the so-called defeat of communism-was not followed by a triumphant resurgence of its irreconcilable enemies in the international workers' movement, the social democratic and reformist trade unions and political parties. The opposite occurred. All these organizations experienced, in the aftermath of the breakup of the USSR, a devastating and even terminal crisis. In the United States, the trade union movement-whose principal preoccupation during the entire Cold War had been the defeat of Communism-has all but collapsed. During the two decades that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the AFL-CIO lost a substantial portion of its membership, was reduced to a state of utter impotence, and ceased to exist as a workers' organization in any socially significant sense of the term. At the same time, everywhere in the world, the social position of the working class-from the standpoint of its influence on the direction of state policy and its ability to increase its share of the surplus value produced by its own labor-deteriorated dramatically.

Certain important conclusions flow from this fact. First, the breakup of the Soviet Union did not flow from the supposed failure of Marxism and socialism. If that had been the case, the anti-Marxist and antisocialist labor organizations should have thrived in the post-Soviet era. The fact that these organizations experienced ignominious failure compels one to uncover the common feature in the program and orientation of all the so-called labor organizations, "communist" and anticommunist alike. What was the common element in the political DNA of all these organization? The answer is that regardless of their names, conflicting political alignments and superficial ideological differences, the large labor organizations of the post-World War II period pursued essentially nationalist policies. They tied the fate of the working class to one or another nation-state. This left them incapable of responding to the increasing integration of the world economy. The emergence of transnational corporations and the associated phenomena of capitalist globalization shattered all labor organizations that based themselves on a nationalist program.

The second conclusion is that the improvement of conditions of the international working class was linked, to one degree or another, to the existence of the Soviet Union. Despite the treachery and crimes of the Stalinist bureaucracy, the existence of the USSR, a state that arose on the basis of a socialist revolution, imposed upon American and European imperialism certain political and social restraints that would otherwise have been unacceptable. The political environment of the past two decades-characterized by unrestrained imperialist militarism, the violations of international law, and the repudiation of essential principles of bourgeois democracy-is the direct outcome of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The breakup of the USSR was, for the great masses of its former citizens, an unmitigated disaster. Twenty years after the October Revolution, despite all the political crimes of the Stalinist regime, the new property relations established in the aftermath of the October Revolution made possible an extraordinary social transformation of backward Russia. And even after suffering horrifying losses during the four years of war with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union experienced in the 20 years that followed the war a stupendous growth of its economy, which was accompanied by advances in science and culture that astonished the entire world.

But what is the verdict on the post-Soviet experience of the Russian people? First and foremost, the dissolution of the USSR set into motion a demographic catastrophe. Ten years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Russian population was shrinking at an annual rate of 750,000. Between 1983 and 2001, the number of annual births dropped by one half. 75 percent of pregnant women in Russia suffered some form of illness that endangered their unborn child. Only one quarter of infants were born healthy.

The overall health of the Russian people deteriorated dramatically after the restoration of capitalism. There was a staggering rise in alcoholism, heart disease, cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. All this occurred against the backdrop of a catastrophic breakdown of the economy of the former USSR and a dramatic rise in mass poverty.

As for democracy, the post-Soviet system was consolidated on the basis of mass murder. For more than 70 years, the Bolshevik regime's dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in January 1918-an event that did not entail the loss of a single life-was trumpeted as an unforgettable and unforgivable violation of democratic principles. But in October 1993, having lost a majority in the popularly elected parliament, the Yeltsin regime ordered the bombardment of the White House-the seat of the Russian parliament-located in the middle of Moscow. Estimates of the number of people who were killed in the military assault run as high as 2,000. On the basis of this carnage, the Yeltsin regime was effectively transformed into a dictatorship, based on the military and security forces. The regime of Putin-Medvedev continues along the same dictatorial lines. The assault on the White House was supported by the Clinton administration. Unlike the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the bombardment of the Russian parliament is an event that has been all but forgotten.

What is there to be said of post-Soviet Russian culture? As always, there are talented people who do their best to produce serious work. But the general picture is one of desolation. The words that have emerged from the breakup of the USSR and that define modern Russian culture, or what is left of it, are "mafia," "biznessman" and "oligarch."

What has occurred in Russia is only an extreme expression of a social and cultural breakdown that is to be observed in all capitalist countries. Can it even be said with certainty that the economic system devised in Russia is more corrupt that that which exists in Britain or the United States? The Russian oligarchs are probably cruder and more vulgar in the methods they employ. However, the argument could be plausibly made that their methods of plunder are less efficient than those employed by their counterparts in the summits of American finance. After all, the American financial oligarchs, whose speculative operations brought about the near-collapse of the US and global economy in the autumn of 2008, were able to orchestrate, within a matter of days, the transfer of the full burden of their losses to the public.

It is undoubtedly true that the dissolution of the USSR at the end of 1991 opened up endless opportunities for the use of American power-in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia. But the eruption of American militarism was, in the final analysis, the expression of a more profound and historically significant tendency-the long-term decline of the economic position of American capitalism. This tendency was not reversed by the breakup of the USSR. The history of American capitalism during the past two decades has been one of decay. The brief episodes of economic growth have been based on reckless and unsustainable speculation. The Clinton boom of the 1990s was fueled by the "irrational exuberance" of Wall Street speculation, the so-called dot.com bubble. The great corporate icons of the decade-of which Enron was the shining symbol-were assigned staggering valuations on the basis of thoroughly criminal operations. It all collapsed in 2000-2001. The subsequent revival was fueled by frenzied speculation in housing. And, finally, the collapse in 2008, from which there has been no recovery.

When historians begin to recover from their intellectual stupor, they will see the collapse of the USSR and the protracted decline of American capitalism as interrelated episodes of a global crisis, arising from the inability to develop the massive productive forces developed by mankind on the basis of private ownership of the means of production and within the framework of the nation-state system.

[Oct 19, 2016] Emails Show Hillary Struggled To Draft Bribery Corruption Reforms - She May Be So Tainted She is Really Vulnerable

Notable quotes:
"... The news was released that Hillarnazi had lesbian lovers, paid for sexual encounters, has had memory issues so severe going back to 2009 that her own people aren't sure if she knows what planet she is on, can't walk without getting massively fatigued, a new rape victim came forward, the Clinton Foundation stole over $2 billion in Haitian relief funds, the Clinton Foundation has a pay gap between men and women of $190,000 and she referred to blacks repeatedly as the dreaded "n" word . ..."
"... Again, that is from YESTERDAY Yet there has been no movement in the polls. She is the most criminal and unethical candidate in the history of America, and is likely to win. There is no greater indictment about our citizens than her candidacy. if thise was 1920, she would be in front of a firing squad. ..."
"... But we have 2016. This is not breaking news at the main media outlets. Only people actively digging know this. All this pales in comparison with the fact of bussing people around different states to vote. If elections can be rigged then nothing else actually matters. Nothing will change because the only tool to repair the country is the election. ..."
"... The ballot box is not the last remedy to fix things. Just saying. Voting is more to bring you into the system than you changing the system. What better way to keep you happy inside the system than to give you the ability to "vote the bums out" at the next (s)election? ..."
"... Europe is also facing the problem of not enough breeding to keep up the exponential expansion of their currency (debt issued with interest) so they import people to keep the ponzi going. Not going to work as the people you bring in are not going to be expanding it at the rate that someone born into that system is going to. ..."
"... Sucks to be them - the humillatiion and embarrassment of the cockroaches as they all scurry for cover. Not to mention the career nose-dives en masse for all the selfsame scum floating around the turd herself. I'm surprised Hillary hasn't told Podesta to eat a bullet (or nail-gun) yet, given the damage he has caused by being hacked. Err...rewind, eh Hillary? Because it is not as if you are an angel in this respect, you dumb fucking senile cunt. ..."
"... Neocons are IT illiterate, and this must be their primary weakness, given how fucking useless they are at securing their insidious evil shit (now in the public domain - eh, Poddy, old chum, you evil CUNT). It must be a fucking disease given how utterly bereft of intelligence with respect to IT security they collectively are. ..."
"... It definitely sucks to be Hillary when even the help knows you're crooked. It sucks to be the help too. HILLARY FOR PRISON 2017!!!! ..."
"... As if. Former Lousiana Governor Edwin Edwards in 1983 said "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy." In 2016, neither of those conditions is a bar to election to the presidency. ..."
"... Evidently the rats have been assured the ship isn't sinking. Besides it's insured if crossing is successful. ..."
"... Americans have the attention span of a gnat these days. The hypocrisy is stunning and has no bounds. ..."
"... The best part of waking up is realizing that TPTB had been pissing in our cup while we weren't looking. ..."
"... Another body to add to the Clinton Death List, this time the doctor who treated her for a concussion and knew about her glioma. A devout Hindu, this doctor supposedly committed suicide after threatening to reveal Hillary medical information if prosecutors continued to go after him for bogus criminal charges. http://www.govtslaves.info/clinton-doctor-who-confirmed-hillarys-brain-t... ..."
"... Neera Tanden must be suicidal by now. She probably doesn't even realise it yet. ..."
"... I was thinking the same thing. With so many on the "team" having such critical positions on their own "leader", why the fuck are they supporting her, and why do they still have jobs? ..."
"... Power. Money. The belief that they will be able to run things themselves once she goes full brain clot. One thing I do know, Hillary would be very unwise to let any of them pick her nursing home for her. ..."
"... Neera Tanden: "It worries me more that she doesn't seem to know what planet we are all living in at the moment." https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/18353 ..."
"... I imagine cankle's inner circle are gobling a lot off drugs about now. Their paranoia is no doubt palpable. I hope they devour one another. ..."
"... It ain't just the US where free press is extinct. Had Wiki dropped the lot, it would simply have sunk without a trace with respect to the MSM reporting it to the sheeple, as we have seen in the last 12 days. ..."
"... Free Shit and open borders and speaking well while lying. The stupidity of the average person, particularly those who only get their news from the corporate controlled media, is fuckin' amazing. Only a military coup could hunt down and arrest the Deep State... The Kagans and Powers and Jarretts and every cunt who has given HRC money. ..."
"... Short of a coup, massive desertion would be very helpful. ..."
"... you hit the nail on the head - "speaking well while lying". Middle class English people speak very well - appear attractive to Americans - when in fact they have zero monopoly on honesty, brains or ability ..."
"... just because someone speaks well does not mean they are legal, decent, honest and truthful - in fact clinton fails on all four of these positives and is illegal, indecent, crooked and a liar ..."
"... The no fly zone doesn't like questions not preprogrammed. I hope his brother gets a chance to rip Obama a new asshole. ..."
"... rule by criminals REQUIRES deep knowledge and primary experience with criminal exploits. She is the ONLY candidate who is qualified to run Gov-Co. ..."
"... Comey is a Dirty Cop – Former US Attorney. How Crooked Clinton Got Off. ..."
"... Juan Williams email to John Podesta found here: https://twitter.com/hashtag/DrainTheSwamp?src=hash ..."
"... How does it feel working for a total scumbag just to get a paycheck? ..."
Oct 19, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com

The latest WikiLeaks dump reveals yet another bombshell from the outspoken, an likely soon to be unemployed, Neera Tanden. The email chain comes from March of this year and begins when Neera distributes a memo on proposals for reform policies relative to bribery and corruption of public officials . That said, apparently the folks within the Hillary campaign were aware that this was a very dicey topic for their chosen candidate as even Tanden admits " she may be so tainted she's really vulnerable. "

Meanwhile, Hillary advisor Jake Sullivan provided his thoughts that he really liked the following proposal on strengthening bribery laws...

"Strengthen bribery laws to ensure that politicians don' change legislation for political donations."

...but subsequently admits that it might be problematic given Hillary's history.

"The second idea is a favorite of mine, as you know, but REALLY dicey territory for HRC, right?"

Even a month before these internal campaign discussions, Stan Greenberg, a democrat strategist of Democracy Corps, wrote to Podesta highlighting that "reform of money and politics is where she is taking the biggest hit." That said, Stan was quick to assure Podesta that there was no reason for concern as a specially crafted message and a little help from the media could make the whole problem go away.

"We are also going to test some messages that include acknowledgement of being part of the system , and know how much has to change. "

Finally, perhaps no one has better summarized why the Clinton camp may be worried about corruption charges than Obama:

Syrin PrayingMantis Oct 19, 2016 12:58 PM ,
The news was released that Hillarnazi had lesbian lovers, paid for sexual encounters, has had memory issues so severe going back to 2009 that her own people aren't sure if she knows what planet she is on, can't walk without getting massively fatigued, a new rape victim came forward, the Clinton Foundation stole over $2 billion in Haitian relief funds, the Clinton Foundation has a pay gap between men and women of $190,000 and she referred to blacks repeatedly as the dreaded "n" word .

Again, that is from YESTERDAY Yet there has been no movement in the polls. She is the most criminal and unethical candidate in the history of America, and is likely to win. There is no greater indictment about our citizens than her candidacy. if thise was 1920, she would be in front of a firing squad.

WTFRLY Syrin Oct 19, 2016 1:04 PM ,
2 Years After This American Journalist Was Killed, Her 'Conspiracy Theories' on Syria are Proven as Facts
nibiru WTFRLY Oct 19, 2016 1:05 PM ,
But we have 2016. This is not breaking news at the main media outlets. Only people actively digging know this. All this pales in comparison with the fact of bussing people around different states to vote. If elections can be rigged then nothing else actually matters. Nothing will change because the only tool to repair the country is the election.

In Europe they ship people from Africa and the Middle East to become multicultural societies ( look at Blair multicultural effort, Swedish no-go zones and Merkel's last effort with immigration crisis) . We are in deep shit here and the processes to repair the state are not there anymore. Now we only have Wikileaks doing the job of media - watching politicians' hands.

pods nibiru Oct 19, 2016 1:16 PM ,
The ballot box is not the last remedy to fix things. Just saying. Voting is more to bring you into the system than you changing the system. What better way to keep you happy inside the system than to give you the ability to "vote the bums out" at the next (s)election?

Europe is also facing the problem of not enough breeding to keep up the exponential expansion of their currency (debt issued with interest) so they import people to keep the ponzi going. Not going to work as the people you bring in are not going to be expanding it at the rate that someone born into that system is going to.

But, it is a plausible explanation for why they are trying it. The moneychangers have their very lives depending on keeping this going, so they have to try it.

pods

CuttingEdge pods Oct 19, 2016 1:21 PM ,
All I know is, most the cunts behind the curtain have been completely compromised pre-election.

Sucks to be them - the humillatiion and embarrassment of the cockroaches as they all scurry for cover. Not to mention the career nose-dives en masse for all the selfsame scum floating around the turd herself. I'm surprised Hillary hasn't told Podesta to eat a bullet (or nail-gun) yet, given the damage he has caused by being hacked. Err...rewind, eh Hillary? Because it is not as if you are an angel in this respect, you dumb fucking senile cunt.

The fucking irony is palpable.

Neocons are IT illiterate, and this must be their primary weakness, given how fucking useless they are at securing their insidious evil shit (now in the public domain - eh, Poddy, old chum, you evil CUNT). It must be a fucking disease given how utterly bereft of intelligence with respect to IT security they collectively are.

Theosebes Goodfellow CuttingEdge Oct 19, 2016 2:17 PM ,
It definitely sucks to be Hillary when even the help knows you're crooked. It sucks to be the help too. HILLARY FOR PRISON 2017!!!!
junction Syrin Oct 19, 2016 1:05 PM ,

As if. Former Lousiana Governor Edwin Edwards in 1983 said "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy." In 2016, neither of those conditions is a bar to election to the presidency.

Arnold Syrin Oct 19, 2016 1:09 PM ,
Evidently the rats have been assured the ship isn't sinking. Besides it's insured if crossing is successful.
Bay of Pigs PrayingMantis Oct 19, 2016 1:01 PM ,
Americans have the attention span of a gnat these days. The hypocrisy is stunning and has no bounds.
PTR erkme73 Oct 19, 2016 1:43 PM ,
The best part of waking up is realizing that TPTB had been pissing in our cup while we weren't looking.
junction PrayingMantis Oct 19, 2016 1:30 PM ,
Another body to add to the Clinton Death List, this time the doctor who treated her for a concussion and knew about her glioma. A devout Hindu, this doctor supposedly committed suicide after threatening to reveal Hillary medical information if prosecutors continued to go after him for bogus criminal charges. http://www.govtslaves.info/clinton-doctor-who-confirmed-hillarys-brain-t...
Croesus PrayingMantis Oct 19, 2016 1:31 PM ,
ZH Readers in Germany: Read this: https://file.wikileaks.org/file/angela-merkel.pdf Merkel trying to hide money in offshore accounts! Print it, spread it, and wreck that bitch.
whatamaroon Oct 19, 2016 12:53 PM ,
Lock her up!!
medium giraffe Oct 19, 2016 12:54 PM ,
Neera Tanden must be suicidal by now. She probably doesn't even realise it yet.
ShrNfr medium giraffe Oct 19, 2016 12:58 PM ,
Don't worry, for her it will just be a walk in the park.
Ranger4564 -> medium giraffe Oct 19, 2016 12:59 PM ,
I was thinking the same thing. With so many on the "team" having such critical positions on their own "leader", why the fuck are they supporting her, and why do they still have jobs?
tarabel -> Ranger4564 Oct 19, 2016 1:18 PM ,

Power. Money. The belief that they will be able to run things themselves once she goes full brain clot. One thing I do know, Hillary would be very unwise to let any of them pick her nursing home for her.

medium giraffe -> Occams_Chainsaw Oct 19, 2016 1:13 PM ,
Neera Tanden: "It worries me more that she doesn't seem to know what planet we are all living in at the moment." https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/18353
pine_marten -> medium giraffe Oct 19, 2016 2:00 PM ,
I imagine cankle's inner circle are gobling a lot off drugs about now. Their paranoia is no doubt palpable. I hope they devour one another.
CuttingEdge -> indaknow Oct 19, 2016 1:34 PM ,
Assange has played a blinder, and all those who bitched about him "not dropping everything at once" give some thought to the fact that even in the UK barely one reference to the deluge of shit landing on Hillary thus far has been reported in the MSM. They have killed virtually everything, and are mainlining Trump the mad man (for insinuating election fraud) shit.

It ain't just the US where free press is extinct. Had Wiki dropped the lot, it would simply have sunk without a trace with respect to the MSM reporting it to the sheeple, as we have seen in the last 12 days.

Better a death by a thousand cuts to build up momentum, and give EVERYONE the chance to absorb the full criminallity of this fundamentally evil bitch and her cohorts. There is way too much to take in one hit.

War Machine Oct 19, 2016 1:02 PM ,
sadly, most Americans are going to vote based on which candidate they think is least 'offensive' to them, and ISMism prevails in the corporate MSM and Regressive Left:

Why?

Free Shit and open borders and speaking well while lying. The stupidity of the average person, particularly those who only get their news from the corporate controlled media, is fuckin' amazing. Only a military coup could hunt down and arrest the Deep State... The Kagans and Powers and Jarretts and every cunt who has given HRC money.

Short of a coup, massive desertion would be very helpful.

hooligan2009 -> War Machine Oct 19, 2016 1:39 PM ,
you hit the nail on the head - "speaking well while lying". Middle class English people speak very well - appear attractive to Americans - when in fact they have zero monopoly on honesty, brains or ability

just because someone speaks well does not mean they are legal, decent, honest and truthful - in fact clinton fails on all four of these positives and is illegal, indecent, crooked and a liar

SharkBit Oct 19, 2016 1:02 PM ,
Anyone else disgusted to hear Obozo speak anymore? What an embarrassment.
Atomizer SharkBit Oct 19, 2016 1:13 PM ,
The no fly zone doesn't like questions not preprogrammed. I hope his brother gets a chance to rip Obama a new asshole.
Mango327 Oct 19, 2016 1:04 PM ,
If Donald Trump Acted Like Hillary Clinton... http://youtu.be/K8JUpM97VZE
Madcow Oct 19, 2016 1:05 PM ,
Authoritarian rule by criminals REQUIRES deep knowledge and primary experience with criminal exploits. She is the ONLY candidate who is qualified to run Gov-Co.
SidSays Oct 19, 2016 1:07 PM ,
Comey is a Dirty Cop – Former US Attorney. How Crooked Clinton Got Off.
Miss Expectations Oct 19, 2016 1:11 PM ,
Juan Williams email to John Podesta found here: https://twitter.com/hashtag/DrainTheSwamp?src=hash
vegas Oct 19, 2016 1:13 PM ,
Is this from "The Onion"? Seriously, these people are so fucking tone deaf and out of touch it's amazing. Throw 'em all in prison. How does it feel working for a total scumbag just to get a paycheck?

[Oct 16, 2016] The shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to

Notable quotes:
"... ...Trump referred explicitly to "the disenfranchisement of working people" ..."
"... Trump denounced the "global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities." ..."
"... He continued: "Just look at what this corrupt establishment has done to our cities like Detroit and Flint, Michigan-and rural towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and across our country. They have stripped these towns bare, and raided the wealth for themselves and taken away their jobs." ..."
"... He went on to cite internal Clinton campaign emails published by WikiLeaks this week, documenting how, as Trump put it, "Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers." ..."
"... The Clinton campaign, warned of the impending release of masses of politically incriminating documents by WikiLeaks, sought to preempt this exposure by denouncing the leaks as a conspiracy engineered by Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. ..."
"... Clinton is appealing for support from sections of the Republican Party, above all the neo-conservatives of the George W. Bush administration, responsible for the war in Iraq, the widespread use of torture and other crimes. ..."
"... The anti-Russian campaign has been combined with an effort to demonize Trump for a series of purported sexual offenses, with a barrage of video and audio recordings, together with the testimony of alleged victims. ..."
"... The Democratic campaign and its media allies are using methods similar to those the ultra-right employed in its efforts to oust Bill Clinton from the White House in the 1990s. They are seeking to stampede public opinion with increasingly sensationalized material. These methods degrade political discussion and distract popular consciousness from the real issues in the election. ..."
Oct 16, 2016 | www.wsws.org
In a speech delivered by Donald Trump to an audience of thousands in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Republican candidate turned his campaign in a more distinctly fascistic direction. Presenting himself as both the savior of America and the victim of a ruthless political and economic establishment, Trump sought to connect deep-seated social anger among masses of people with an "America First" program of anti-immigrant xenophobia, militarism, economic nationalism and authoritarianism.

Responding to the latest allegations of sexual abuse, Trump proclaimed that he is being targeted by international bankers, the corporate-controlled media and the political establishment who fear that his election will undermine their interests.

He offered as an alternative his own persona-the strong-man leader who is willing to bear the burden and make the sacrifices necessary for a pitiless struggle against such powerful adversaries. Trump warned that the November 8 election would be the last opportunity for the American people to defeat the powerful vested interests that are supporting Hillary Clinton.

The clear implication of the speech is that if Trump loses the election, the struggle against the political establishment will have to be carried forward by other means...

...

...Trump referred explicitly to "the disenfranchisement of working people" -with racist, chauvinist and dictatorial solutions. This includes not only the demand for jailing Hillary Clinton, now a refrain of every speech, but his calls for his supporters to prevent a "rigged" election by blocking access to the polls for voters in "certain communities."

Trump denounced the "global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities."

He continued: "Just look at what this corrupt establishment has done to our cities like Detroit and Flint, Michigan-and rural towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and across our country. They have stripped these towns bare, and raided the wealth for themselves and taken away their jobs."

He went on to cite internal Clinton campaign emails published by WikiLeaks this week, documenting how, as Trump put it, "Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers."

After the top congressional Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan, publicly broke with Trump Monday, declaring that he would neither campaign for him nor defend him, Trump responded with the declaration, "It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to."

... ... ...

The Clinton campaign, warned of the impending release of masses of politically incriminating documents by WikiLeaks, sought to preempt this exposure by denouncing the leaks as a conspiracy engineered by Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.

Clinton is appealing for support from sections of the Republican Party, above all the neo-conservatives of the George W. Bush administration, responsible for the war in Iraq, the widespread use of torture and other crimes.

The anti-Russian campaign has been combined with an effort to demonize Trump for a series of purported sexual offenses, with a barrage of video and audio recordings, together with the testimony of alleged victims.

The Democratic campaign and its media allies are using methods similar to those the ultra-right employed in its efforts to oust Bill Clinton from the White House in the 1990s. They are seeking to stampede public opinion with increasingly sensationalized material. These methods degrade political discussion and distract popular consciousness from the real issues in the election.

[Oct 13, 2016] The Clintons sure were working the Haiti angle any way that they could. I wonder how that's playing in Florida?

Notable quotes:
"... [Qatar] would like to see WJC 'for five minutes' in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC's birthday in 2011," an employee at The Clinton Foundation said to numerous aides, including Doug Brand ..."
"... No doubt! The Clintons sure were working the Haiti angle any way that they could. I wonder how that's playing in Florida? ..."
Oct 13, 2016 | www.washingtontimes.com

"[Qatar] would like to see WJC 'for five minutes' in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC's birthday in 2011," an employee at The Clinton Foundation said to numerous aides, including Doug Brand [isc]. "Qatar would welcome our suggestions for investments in Haiti - particularly on education and health. They have allocated most of their $20 million but are happy to consider projects we suggest. I'm collecting input from CF Haiti team."

No doubt! The Clintons sure were working the Haiti angle any way that they could. I wonder how that's playing in Florida?

[Oct 09, 2016] Harvard mafia actions were, of cause, a crime of the century

crookedtimber.org

Anarcissie,

@431

Harvard mafia actions were, of cause, a crime of the century. The collapse of the Russian economy exceeded the worst declines in the West during the 1930s depression almost twice. But truth be told the system was rotting from within and they could operate only by relying on the local "fifth column" of neoliberalization (Gaidar, Yakovlev, etc).

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."
Marcus Tullius Cicero

[Oct 08, 2016] Part of Soviet nomenklatura changed camps and become turncoats fighting tooth and nail for the establishing neoliberal regime in Russia by using "color revolution" mechanisms and relying on support and financing from the USA and other foreign powers (to the tune on one billion in cash) and then helping foreign powers to plunder Russia

Oct 08, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

stevenjohnson 10.06.16 at 1:06 pm 42 7

likbez@415

"USSR nomenklatura is yet another example of the same. It was so close in spirit to neoliberal elite, that the transition in 1991 was almost seamless." Yes, well, it is impossible for someone as limited as myself to comment on your spiritual knowledge. But on a more earthly plane, it is not so obvious that the oligarchs and their favored employees are (or were) drawn from the nomenklatura, that there was no change in personnel in the rulers of the new Russia. Gennady Zyuganov and his KPRF of course are the prime recruiting grounds for adminstration, and the favored home of Russian businessment. But, quite aside from the gaping seam of the attempted removal of Gorbachev in 1991, there are quite a few other seams. Yeltsin's attack on parliament, for instance, strikes me as seamy indeed. But you may feel this sort of thing is just law enforcement. Your insistence that the old CP members never noticed a change, except they had official title, seems an extraordinary needing rather more support. A this point, it appears to be non-factual.

Will G-R @421 "One doesn't even have to compare different types of government to grasp this point, when in still-existing Communist Party regimes like the People's Republic of China, the party cadres are the neoliberal capitalist elites, no political transition required at all. It's George Orwell's final ironic revenge on those who would conscript his Animal Farm into service as a procapitalist propaganda tract: they forget that the final lines aren't just an indictment of the pigs (Communist nomenklatura) for being no better than the men (capitalists) but also of the men for being no better than the pigs."

Two issues arise. First, there are rather obvious transitional points even to reaching today's regime in China. Although such events as the Ching Ming disturbances, the Democracy Wall protests, the slow motion journee at Tian An Men square may have formally failed their aims, there is little reason to doubt powerful effects. The coup that overthrew the so-called Gang of Four was however a huge and extremely obvious transition. Deng's invasion of Vietnam to seal the opening to the US was notable as well.

Not so long ago, the current leadership purged Bo Xilai relying on testimony from people in admitted contact with foreign powers. How this sort of thing doesn't count is a mystery to me.

What is not so mysterious is the belief that China is now a capitalist country with the essence of Communism, dictatorship as opposed to the glorious benefits of classless American-style democracy. It is to be expected that any admirer of Orwell would firmly believe, without a moment's hesitation, that a capitalist economy can abolish the business cycle. I think that's silly, but then, I'm not an admirer of Orwell.

Second, the final lines of Animal Farm are a prediction about the real world. The point about the men being no better than pigs is irrelevant. The point is that the pigs were men, i.e., the same as capitalist oppressors. Aside from being manifest nonsense, this prediction was of course falsified by history. Any notion that the late USSR was a totalitarian terror regime was nonsense. But even if it were, the execution of Beria, Zhukov's coup against the so-called anti-party group, the removal of Khrushchev, the shenanigans of Gorbachev, give the lie to the notion that Stalinism was unchangeable. As for the notion that Soviet socialism was the same as capitalism? Only virulent anti-Communism could make such nonsense acceptable for a minute.

The final lines have to be read in context with early lines as well. In those lines, Orwell compares the horrors of the Great War to a farm getting run down. It takes a vile human being to do that.

Will G-R 10.06.16 at 2:45 pm 428

Lee, if all you're willing to do is compose minor variations on the theme of "you're a fundamentalist! Marxism is a religion!", you don't seem ready to sit at the big-kids' discussion table. I alluded to the idea of Marxist doctrine as dogmatic catechism in an ironic way back @ the second paragraph of #208, but the more serious point from that graf seems relevant here too.

Steven, you seem to be confused as to what point I was actually making, albeit understandably so because I wasn't entirely clear (which is perhaps a natural outcome of spending too much time trying to get through to liberals). The point isn't that literally no political events have taken place at all in the modern People's Republic of China, it's that the transition from state socialism to neoliberal capitalism didn't require an outright abolition of centralized Party control the way it did in the former USSR. I entirely agree with you about the nonsensical contradictions of the typical Cold Warrior critique, especially when it comes to the USSR: in particular, the economic dynamism of Stalin's time and the relatively dialed-down political repression after the Khrushchev thaw are typically minimalized in order to emphasize the brutality of the Stalin era and the post-Stalin economic stagnation, with no effort to coherently account for any real political or economic shifts within the formal framework of Soviet state socialism. I didn't intend to make such a simpleminded critique, although again I can see how it might have come across that way.

And neither did I claim to be any great admirer of George Orwell; everything else about his political line aside, nobody who rats out fellow leftists to Red Scare witch-hunters can deserve too much esteem, especially when this involves outing people as gay in the UK in the 1940s. Still, to the extent that he was a leftist critic of actually existing socialisms and has been anachronistically beatified by liberal Cold Warriors as a critic of all socialist projects as inherently repressive, it's hard to deny that liberals' adoption of Animal Farm into their ideological canon has a certain poetic kick given that today's most prominent remaining "actually existing socialists" are among the most ruthless and effective administrators of global imperial capitalism.

likbez 10.07.16 at 3:36 am 430

stevenjohnson,
@427
likbez@415 " But on a more earthly plane, it is not so obvious that the oligarchs and their favored employees are (or were) drawn from the nomenklatura, that there was no change in personnel in the rulers of the new Russia."

This is a topic way too complex for the posts like this one, but considerable part of new Russian neoliberal elite did come from nomenklatura. The most brutal, the most criminal oligarchs came from academia (Berezovsky) and Komsomol elite ( Khodarkovski, in Ukraine Turchinov - who actually was the head of propaganda department of Komsomol )

Gennady Zyuganov and his KPRF of course are the prime recruiting grounds for adminstration, and the favored home of Russian businessment.

This is simply wrong. This is a statement, completely disconnected with reality.

But, quite aside from the gaping seam of the attempted removal of Gorbachev in 1991, there are quite a few other seams. Yeltsin's attack on parliament, for instance, strikes me as seamy indeed.

You are mixing two events which are on completely opposite sides of barricades.

Your insistence that the old CP members never noticed a change, except they had official title, seems an extraordinary needing rather more support. A this point, it appears to be non-factual.

You completely misunderstood and misinterpreted my point. The essence was that certain substratas of Soviet nomenklatura mainly connected with KGB, Komsomol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Trade, Academia ( and a couple of other institutions) changed camps and become turncoats fighting tooth and nail for the establishing neoliberal regime in Russia by using "color revolution" mechanisms and relying on support and financing from the USA and other foreign powers (to the tune on one billion in cash) and then helping foreign powers to plunder Russia (which was favorite pastime of many members of Clinton criminal administration; for example Summers).

Kind of Russian variation of Chicago boys. Or like a bunch of US Trotskyites which became neocons.

Anarcissie 10.07.16 at 3:56 am 431

likbez 10.07.16 at 3:36 am @ 430:
'… Summers….

This reminds me to yet once again mention How Harvard Lost Russia where Summers is a featured supporting character. Best read it now; copies of it seem to be evaporating from the Net for some reason. A crucial document.

[Oct 07, 2016] How Harvard lost Russia

This is pretty idealized account of Harvard mafia criminal activities but it touched on several important topics and first of all criminality of Clinton administration which intended to weaken and, if possible, dismember Russia (via Chechen trump card as the first move) converting it into vassal state.
Notable quotes:
"... Shleifer's involvement was more intimate. Traveling frequently to Moscow, he was directing key elements of the reform effort under the banner of the renowned Harvard Institute for International Development. ..."
"... in 2004, after protracted legal wranglings, a judge in federal district court in Boston ruled that the university had breached its contract with the U.S. government and that Shleifer and an associate were liable for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. ..."
"... Harvard, Shleifer and associates agreed to pay the government $31 million-plus to settle the case. Shleifer and Zimmerman were forced to mortgage their house to secure their part of the settlement. ..."
"... Summers was positioned uniquely to influence Shleifer's career path, to shape U.S. aid to Russia and Shleifer's role in it and even to shield Shleifer after the scandal broke. Though Summers, as Harvard president, recused himself from the school's handling of this case, he made a point of taking aside Jeremy Knowles, then the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, and asking him to protect Shleifer. ..."
"... Months after Harvard was forced to pay the biggest settlement in its history, largely because of his misdeeds, Shleifer remains on the faculty. No public action has been taken against him, nor is there any sign as this magazine goes to press in late December that any is contemplated. ..."
"... "The relativism with which Harvard has dealt with the Shleifer case undermines Harvard's moral authority over its students." ..."
Feb 27, 2006 | institutionalinvestor.com

Since being named president of Harvard University in 2001, former U.S. Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers has sparked a series of controversies that have grabbed headlines. Summers incurred the wrath of African-Americans when he belittled the work of controversial religion professor Cornel West (who left for Princeton University); last year he infuriated faculty and students alike when he seemed to disparage the innate scientific abilities of women at a Massachusetts economic conference, igniting a national uproar that nearly cost him his job; last fall brought the departure of Jack Meyer, the head of Harvard Management Co., which oversees the school's endowment but had inflamed some in the community because of the multimillion-dollar salaries it pays some of its managers.

Then, in quiet contrast, there is the case of economics professor Andrei Shleifer, who in the mid-1990s led a Harvard advisory program in Russia that collapsed in disgrace. In August, after years of litigation, Harvard, Shleifer and others agreed to pay at least $31 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. government. Harvard had been charged with breach of contract, Shleifer and an associate, Jonathan Hay, with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.

Shleifer remains a faculty member in good standing. Colleagues say that is because he is a close longtime friend and collaborator of Summers.

In the following pages investigative journalist David McClintick, a Harvard alumnus, chronicles Shleifer's role in the university's Russia Project and how his friendship with Summers has protected him from the consequences of that debacle inside America's premier academic institution.

ff duty and in swimsuits, the mentor and his protégé strolled the beach at Truro. For years, with their families, they had summered together along this stretch of Massachusetts' famed Cape Cod. Close personally and professionally, the two friends confided in each other the most private matters of family and finance. The topic of the day was the former Soviet Union.

"You've got to be careful," the mentor, Lawrence Summers, warned his protégé, Andrei Shleifer. "There's a lot of corruption in Russia."

It was late August 1996, and Summers, 42, was deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury. Shleifer, 35, was a rising star in the Harvard University economics department, just as Summers had been 15 years earlier when he had first taken Shleifer under his wing.

Summers' warning rose out of their pivotal roles in a revolution of global consequence -- the attempt to bring the Russian economy out from the ruins of communism into the promise of Western-style capitalism. Summers, as Treasury's second-in-command, was the architect of U.S. efforts to help Russia. Shleifer's involvement was more intimate. Traveling frequently to Moscow, he was directing key elements of the reform effort under the banner of the renowned Harvard Institute for International Development.

Working on contract for the U.S., HIID advised the Russian government on privatizing its economy and creating capital markets and the laws and institutions to regulate them. Shleifer did not report formally to Summers but rather to the State Department's Agency for International Development, or AID, the spearhead of the U.S.'s foreign aid program.

Personal affection as much as official concern prompted Summers' admonition. He had come to know that Shleifer and his wife, Nancy Zimmerman, a noted hedge fund manager, had been investing in Russia. Though he didn't know specifics, he understood just enough to worry that the couple might run afoul of myriad conflict-of-interest regulations that barred American advisers from investing in the countries they were assisting.

Summers did not restrict his warnings to Shleifer.

"There might be a scandal, and you could become embroiled," Summers told Zimmerman. "You should make sure you're clear with everybody. People might want to make Andrei a problem some day. The world's a shitty place."

Summers' warnings proved at once prophetic and ineffectual. Even as Shleifer and his wife strove to reassure their friend, they were maneuvering to make an investment in Russia's first authorized mutual fund company. Within eight months their private Russian dealings, together with those of close associates and relatives, would explode in scandal -- bringing dishonor to them, Harvard University and the U.S. government. The Department of Justice would deploy the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston to launch a criminal investigation that would uncover evidence of fraud and money laundering, as well as the cavalier use of U.S. government funds to support everything from tennis lessons to vacation boondoggles for Harvard employees and their spouses, girlfriends and Russian pals. It would, in the end, be an extraordinary display of an overweening "best and brightest" arrogance toward the laws and rules that the Harvard people were supposed to live by.

Says one banker who was a frequent visitor to Russia in that era, "The Harvard crowd hurt themselves, they hurt Harvard, and they hurt the U.S. government."

Mostly, they hurt Russia and its hopes of establishing a lasting framework for a stable Western-style capitalism, as Summers himself acknowledged when he testified under oath in the U.S. lawsuit in Cambridge in 2002. "The project was of enormous value," said Summers, who by then had been installed as the president of Harvard. "Its cessation was damaging to Russian economic reform and to the U.S.-Russian relationship."

Reinventing Russia was never going to be easy, but Harvard botched a historic opportunity. The failure to reform Russia's legal system, one of the aid program's chief goals, left a vacuum that has yet to be filled and impedes the country's ability to confront economic and financial challenges today (see box, page 77).

Harvard vigorously defended its work in Russia, but in 2004, after protracted legal wranglings, a judge in federal district court in Boston ruled that the university had breached its contract with the U.S. government and that Shleifer and an associate were liable for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Last August, nine years after Summers and his protégé took their stroll along that Truro beach, Harvard, Shleifer and associates agreed to pay the government $31 million-plus to settle the case. Shleifer and Zimmerman were forced to mortgage their house to secure their part of the settlement.

Russia's struggles today certainly don't result entirely from Harvard's misdeeds or Shleifer's misconduct. There is plenty of blame to share. It is difficult to overstate the challenge of transforming the economic and legal culture, not to mention the ancient pathologies, of a huge, enigmatic nation that once spanned one sixth of the earth's land surface, 150 ethnicities and 11 time zones. The Marshall Plan, by comparison, was simple.

Summers wasn't president of Harvard when Shleifer's mission to Moscow was coming apart. But as a Harvard economics professor in the 1980s, a World Bank and Treasury official in the 1990s and Harvard's president since 2001, Summers was positioned uniquely to influence Shleifer's career path, to shape U.S. aid to Russia and Shleifer's role in it and even to shield Shleifer after the scandal broke. Though Summers, as Harvard president, recused himself from the school's handling of this case, he made a point of taking aside Jeremy Knowles, then the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, and asking him to protect Shleifer.

Months after Harvard was forced to pay the biggest settlement in its history, largely because of his misdeeds, Shleifer remains on the faculty. No public action has been taken against him, nor is there any sign as this magazine goes to press in late December that any is contemplated.

Throughout the otherwise voluble university community, there has been an odd silence about the entire affair. Discussions mostly have taken place sotto voce in deans' offices or in local Cambridge haunts, such as the one where a well-connected Harvard personage expressed deep concern, telling II: "Larry's handling of the Shleifer matter raises very basic questions about the way he governs Harvard. This is fraught with significance. It couldn't be more fraught."

The silence is now beginning to break, thanks to the leadership of academic worthies like former Harvard College dean Harry Lewis, who is finishing a book about the university to be published in the spring by Perseus Public Affairs. Lewis agreed to show II the manuscript, in which he asserts, "The relativism with which Harvard has dealt with the Shleifer case undermines Harvard's moral authority over its students."

Whether this new questioning will erupt into yet another crisis engulfing Summers and the university remains unclear. What is certain, though, is that the story of Harvard and its representatives' malfeasance, told in full for the first time over the following pages, shows how much damage can be done when the considerable power and resources of the U.S. government are placed in the wrong hands.

THE SEEDS OF RUSSIAN REFORM WERE planted in the late 1980s -- when Russia was the Soviet Union and Harvard hadn't yet arrived. The U.S.S.R.'s seven-decade experiment with Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism lay in shambles. By 1989, even as the Berlin Wall fell in Germany, the Soviet Union and its economy were imploding.

Reform-minded Mikhail Gorbachev, the last general secretary of the Communist Party, strove to introduce limited economic and political change. The first competitive elections for the Congress of People's Deputies were held in March 1989. In May 1990, Gorbachev's populist rival, the maverick Boris Yeltsin, was elected chairman of the Russian Republic's Parliament. A month later Russia declared itself independent of the Soviet Union.

That summer Gorbachev and Yeltsin ordered two economists to draw up a "500 Days" plan for converting the Soviet Union to a market economy based on private property. Gorbachev also sought advice from the West. In October 1990 the then-chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, John Phelan Jr., led a group of U.S. securities lawyers and academics to Moscow to begin showing the Soviets how to form capital markets. The meeting was organized by the Big Board's Russian-speaking legal counsel, Richard Bernard, then 40.

... ... ...

[Sep 28, 2016] Who Cares About the Clinton Foundation?

Sep 28, 2016 | baselinescenario.com
by James Kwak Posted on August 25, 2016 The Baseline Scenario | 59 comments By James Kwak

Imagine that while George W. Bush was governor of Texas and president of the United States, various people and companies decided to write him checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, just because they thought he was a great guy. Those people and companies, just coincidentally, happened to have interests that were affected by the policies of Texas and the United States. But when he thanked them for their money, Bush never promised to do anything in particular for them. You would be suspicious, right?

Now, that's roughly what has been happening with the Clinton Foundation. Various people and companies have been writing checks for millions of dollars to the Foundation during the same time that Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and, following that, the most likely next president of the United States-a title she has held since the day Barack Obama's second term began. (The Clintons finally decided to scale back the Foundation earlier this week.)

... ... ...

So the real question is this: Do you think it would be appropriate for people and companies affected by U.S. policy to be writing $1 million checks directly to the Clintons? If the answer is yes, then you should be against any campaign finance rules whatsoever. If the answer is no, you should be worried about the Clinton Foundation.

  1. Vinny Idol | August 25, 2016 at 8:02 pm | I disagree whole heartedly with this post. The clinton foundation is a big deal, because its proof positive that America was founded on Money laundering, the elite that run this country make and made their money through money laundering; and no one wants that in the White House. Thats ok for the rest of America sociery, but not the government where peoples lives hang on the balance through every speech, law and policy that is conducted on capitol hill.

    The Clintons destroyed Libya, Honduras, Haiti through their money laundering scheme called the clinton foundation. Theres no justification for that.

  1. Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 12:40 am | Trump thinks very highly of Reagan, but very lowly of Mexicans, so if Trump were to win I suspect he will secretly sell some of our nukes, this finally giving him the financial boost needed to overtake Carlos Slim on the list of the world's richest men. This 'deal of deals' then also harkens back to another historical 'deal' (Iran/Contra), and of course Reagan, while simultaneously eliminating Trump's deepest regret which is that of being bested by a Mexican. This being the real reason that he decided to run in the first place.

    Probably though, HRC will win. The problem there being that all of the scrutiny that she has been receiving for so long, coupled with Bills' infidelities, and other various setbacks and slights, have left her very angry and bitter. Combining this seething hatred of all humans, especially men, with the fact that there has never been a women president to look up to, HRC's only influence is a secretary who worked for Woodrow Wilson by the name of Mildred Jingowitz, or Ms. Jingo as she was called. Ms. Jingo stands out for HRC because she actually wrote the Espionage Act of 1917 and the the Sedition Act of 1918. Those combining to "cover a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds."
    "The Sedition Act of 1918 stated that people or countries cannot say negative things about the government or the war."
    "It forbade the use of "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt." Most importantly though, these acts gave the Government the legal right to prosecute draft dodgers, and …these could bring an end to at least some of the scrutiny that has plagued HRC for so long just so long as we remain at war.
    So, if you are wondering what any of this has to do with the Clinton Foundation, well, HRC used the Foundation to facilitate at least one very large arms deal with at least one Royal Gulfie. But it matters little whether she used the foundation or not, HRC used her tenure at Foggy Bottom to arrange a record number of weapons deals, and of course she is mad as hell and determined to prove just how tough women can be (and there is of course one man who she respects, H. Kissinger).

    Anyway, it doesn't take a historian specializing in the build-up leading to the two World Wars to figure out the rest. BOOM!!!

  2. Philip Diehl | August 26, 2016 at 12:46 am | Dear James,

    I'm a long-time reader. I admire what you and Simon have done educating us about the financial crisis and its aftermath, and I agree with most of your political positions, especially related to the corrupting influence of money in politics. I have seen this first hand over my years in politics and government, and I believe it is the single most important issue we face because progress on all others depends on it.

    But in taking yet another hack at Hillary Clinton in this post, you've contradicted yourself in a way that unravels your argument, while engaging in false equivalencies and blowing a key fact out of proportion. First, the internal contradiction:

    "Bill and Hillary are getting on in years, they only have one child, and she is married to a hedge fund manager. When you have that much money, a dollar in your foundation is as good as a dollar in your bank account. Once you have all your consumption needs covered, what do you need money for?"

    You imply, here, that the Clintons' wealth and Marc Mezvinsky's hedge fund income have made the marginal value of another dollar in income de minimis for the Clintons' personal finances. Then you write, paraphrasing, that a dollar donated to the Foundation is as good as a dollar deposited in their personal bank account; therefore, you imply, money that goes to their foundation is as corrupting as money that goes into their personal accounts.

    You see the problem in claiming that a contribution to the Clinton Foundation is a powerful incentive for HRC to tilt her foreign policy positions, right? You just made the case for why a donation to the Foundation has little personal value to the Clintons:

    MV of $ to bank account = 0.
    MV of $ to Foundation = MV of $ to bank account.
    But you don't proceed to: Therefore, MV of $ to Foundation = 0. So, according to your logic, there can be no corrupting influence.

    You follow this, writing:

    "If you're a Clinton, you want to have an impact in the world, reward your friends, and burnish your legacy. A foundation is an excellent vehicle for all of those purposes, for obvious reasons. It is also an excellent way to transfer money to your daughter free of estate tax, since she can control it after you die."

    Your imply that the Clintons give equal weight to their desires to reward their friends, burnish their legacy, and have an impact on the world. What evidence do you have of this? Also, you implicitly denigrate their charitable motives by describing them as a desire "to have an impact on the world" without a nod to their clear intent to have an impact that is profoundly constructive. You also speculate, without providing any support, that the Foundation is a tax avoidance scheme to enrich their daughter. I think you've crossed a line here.

    Now for the false equivalencies:

    "Imagine that while George W. Bush was governor of Texas and president of the United States, various people and companies decided to write him checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, just because they thought he was a great guy. Those people and companies, just coincidentally, happened to have interests that were affected by the policies of Texas and the United States. But when he thanked them for their money, Bush never promised to do anything in particular for them. You would be suspicious, right?"

    Why imagine? We have the real-world case of the Saudis bailing out George W's Harken Energy while his father was president. Of course, this is only one example of how the lucrative Bush-Saudi relationship generated income that went straight into the Bush "coffers".

    So you implicitly compare HRC's alleged conflict related to the family's charity with the Bush family conflict related to their own personal bank accounts. While HW Bush, as president, made use of his long friendship with the Saudis for the family's personal gain, HRC gave access to the likes of the crown prince of Bahrain and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus. Not equivalent. Not even close. I wonder how routine it is for a Secretary of State to meet with the crown prince of an oil-producing nation or a Nobel Prize winner versus how routine is it for foreign oligarchs friendly to a president to bailout his son.

    But at least the Saudis were allies of the US. Today, the GOP nominee has undisclosed but apparently significant business ties to close allies of the president of our greatest strategic adversary, and expresses his admiration for an autocrat who is seizing territory in Europe and terminating his opponents. I've missed your post on this one, though I'm sure there is one.

    One last point: This controversy involved some 85 meetings or telephone calls HRC granted to Foundation donors. The media have morphed this into 85 meetings, dropping the "and telephone calls," and made this out to be a pretty big number. Naive readers and Hillary haters have accepted it as such. If fact, 85 meetings and telephone calls over four years are, well, de minimis.

    Many of these donors had standing sufficient to get them in the door whether they gave to the Foundation or not. But let's say all of them gained access solely as a result of their donations. Over the four years HRC was Secretary of State, 85 meetings and telephone calls work out to 1.8 meetings/calls per month. Let's make a guess that she met or talked on the phone with an average of 15 people a day. So, one of every 250 people HRC met or had a phone call with each month, or 21 out of 3000 each year, would have secured their contact with her by donating to the Foundation. 85 doesn't look so big in context, especially since no one has presented any evidence of any quid pro quos.

  3. Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 2:42 am | Philip,
    The 85 meetings occurred during about half of HRC's term and I've not heard anyone else dilute things with "phone calls".

    Plus, the Bahrainis were approved for a major arms deal after donating. The Prince tried to make an appointment with HRC privately, but was made to go through State Dept. channels before being allowed a meeting.

    HRC was also involved in the selling of more weapons in her term than all of those occurring during the Bush 43 terms combined.

  1. Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 2:50 am | Philip.
    Also, there is this:
    "You had a situation, that The Wall Street Journal reported, where Hillary Clinton herself intervened in a case dealing with taxes with UBS, a Swiss bank, and then, suddenly, after that, UBS began donating big to the Clinton Foundation. So there are many examples of-I mean, there's oil companies-that's another one I should mention right now, which is that oil companies were giving big to the Clinton Foundation while lobbying the State Department-successfully-for the passage of the Alberta Clipper, the tar sands pipeline."
    David Sarota, interview: http://www.democracynow.org/2016/8/25/weapons_pipelines_wall_st_did_clinton
  2. Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 9:40 am | Other noteworthy donors to the Clinton Foundation:
    $1,000,000-$5,000,000

    Carlos Slim
    Chairman & CEO of Telmex, largest New York Times shareholder

    James Murdoch
    Chief Operating Officer of 21st Century Fox

    Newsmax Media
    Florida-based conservative media network

    Thomson Reuters
    Owner of the Reuters news service

    $500,000-$1,000,000

    Google

    News Corporation Foundation
    Philanthropic arm of former Fox News parent company

    $250,000-$500,000

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Publisher

    Richard Mellon Scaife
    Owner of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    $100,000-$250,000

    Abigail Disney
    Documentary filmmaker

    Bloomberg Philanthropies

    Howard Stringer
    Former CBS, CBS News and Sony executive

    Intermountain West Communications Company
    Local television affiliate owner (formerly Sunbelt Communications)

    $50,000-$100,000

    Bloomberg L.P.

    Discovery Communications Inc.

    George Stephanopoulos
    ABC News chief anchor and chief political correspondent

    Mort Zuckerman
    Owner of New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report

    Time Warner Inc.
    Owner of CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting

    $25,000-$50,000

    AOL

    HBO

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2015/05/clinton-foundation-donors-include-dozens-of-media-organizations-individuals-207228#ixzz4IRfGoJcr
    Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

  1. publiustex | August 26, 2016 at 10:11 am | Hello Ray,

    First, I'd appreciate it if you could provide a cite supporting the statement that move arms sales occurred during HRC's four years than during W's eight years. I'd like to look under the cover of that one.

    Also, it's important to note that a lot more people are involved in approving arms sales than the SoS, including Republicans on the Hill.

    Second, the AP touted its original story as being "meetings" but when you read the story itself you found it was "meetings and phone calls." Subsequently, the media and commentariat referred to 85 meetings, dropping reference to phone calls.

    Now for the arms sales to Bahrain. This one is especially juicy because it's an excellent example of how HRC is being tarred.

    The US has massive military assets in Bahrain, which hosts the largest US military outpost in the Gulf. We've been making massive arms sale to Bahrain for many years. So no surprise that we'd make some when HRC was SoS.

    And considering the strategic importance of Bahrain, there's no surprise in HRC meeting with the crown prince. The surprise would be if she declined to do so.

    Now, if memory serves, and I encourage you to check me on this, the US suspended arms sales to Bahrain while HRC was SoS in response to the Bahrain's suppression of dissent among its Shia minority. Later, we partially lifted the suspension to allow sales of arms Related to protecting our huge naval base in Bahrain. I think this decision also came while HRC was SoS.

    So, the arm sales to Bahrain illustrates my objections to the facile claims that contributions to the CF suggest that HRC is corrupt. These claims bring one sliver of information to the discussion: so and so donated money to the CF and then talked to HRC on the phone (or got a meeting). No evidence is produced that there's a causal relationship between the two much less a quid pro quo in which the donation and meeting led HRC to act in an official capacity to benefit the contributor.

    All of the examples I've seen so far, the oil companies, UBS, etc. are like this. No context, no evidence of a quid pro quo, all inuendo.

  2. publiustex | August 26, 2016 at 10:20 am | I consider some of these contributors to be unsavory, and I wish they'd give the Clinton Foundation a lot more money so they'd have less to sink into GOP House and Senate races.
  1. Philip Diehl | August 26, 2016 at 11:05 am | Ray LaPan-Love: You left out this quote from the interview with David Sirota. Context matters.

    'DAVID SIROTA: Well, my reaction to it is that I think that if you look at some of these individual examples, I think Paul is right that it's hard to argue that their donations to the foundation got them access. They are - a lot of these people in the AP story are people who knew her."

  2. Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 11:21 am | Pub,
    I can't remember where I saw the comparison between the arms sales of HRC and the shrub. But, if it comes to me I'll add it later. Meanwhile, here is a link to lots of related info:

    https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=Arms+sales+under+obama

    And yes, "no context, no evidence of a quid pro quo", and almost as if she knew she might run for the prez job.

  3. Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 11:41 am | Sorry Phillip, but gee whiz, am I to assume that nobody else has any 'context' on a story that is difficult to miss. Where does one draw such lines? And the spin you are hoping for is somewhat unwound by David using the phrase "hard to argue". That could be interpreted to simply mean that the CF is good at obfuscating. And as someone who has worked in politics and even for a large NPO, I can atably assure you
  4. Ray LaPan-Love | August 26, 2016 at 11:59 am | ….!!!!!! my cursor got stuck on the previous comment as I tried to use spell-check.
    Anyway, I was trying to comfratably assure you that these organizations are commonly structured to allow for deceptive practices. The Sierra Club for example has affiliates that collect donations and then those funds are used to pay the overhead of the affiliate 'before' any money is donated to the Sierra Club. Thus, the Sierra club's solicitation costs are not reflected in the percentage of funds used toward whatever cause. This is not of course very subtle, and a Foundation such the CF could not likely get away something this obvious, but…schemes such those exposed by the Panama Papers should make us all hesitant to assume anything.
  5. RICK | August 26, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Dear James -

    I'm a long-time fan of your smart writing and the important work that you (and Simon) do. But what's with this constant Clinton Derangement Syndrome? Why look so hard to find some morsel of "scandal" with the Clintons when there's an entire herd of elephants in the room with the Republican candidate??

    As a wealth manager of many years, I must disagree with your dismissive assessment of the Clintons' personal philanthropy as a personal piggy bank. For sure, in a regular family foundation (many of my clients!) the grants and donations are entirely at the discretion of the controlling family, and very often it's all about shiny brass plaques and photo ops with museum directors or mayors. Fine, that's our system, and at least something gets done. And then the donors die and the plaques fade. A shawl has no pockets.

    But the Clinton operation is unique: they choose specific issues, partner with competent outside groups, and then direct enormous extra outside funds - not just their own meager foundation money - to tackle the problems. This is only possible because of their international status; not a Gates nor a Slim nor a Zuckerberg could engineer the same.

    One can certainly speculate about who got access (a phone call, seriously?) or who was schmoozed in what way in order to secure their donations. But to broad-brush the whole of the Clinton philanthropy as personal corruption is truly unfair. And it sure doesn't make sense when there's so much worse and genuinely scandalous material on the other side just waiting to be uncovered.

    Keep the faith!

  1. Bruce E. Woych | August 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Note: (from Global Research critique @ (eg: https://mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-us/suite ) cited above: "Philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist, Andre Vltchek has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: "Exposing Lies Of The Empire" and "Fighting Against Western Imperialism". Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: "Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear". Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV.
  2. Ray LaPan-Love | August 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Bruce, (been awhile),
    High grade stuff there. Yet, I'm not as taken by Caros' comment as you seem to be. Near the end, this part: "The Clinton family business is benefiting themselves AND OTHERS by way of their prominence."
    To begin with, the Clinton's influence in arming the royal gulfies may get us all killed, and so his comparison to the Bushs, while apt in a current sense, it may well be…dangerously premature. Then too, Caro is of course taking sides as if the Clintons don't fully realize the P.R. benefits of giving away other peoples money. Which segs the question of how could the Clintons have put so much time and effort into Hillary's run, while creating so many pitfalls for themselves? Did they think the Repubs might get nice? Are they stupid, arrogant maybe? Or just so corrupt that they just can't stop like so many kleptomaniacs? In any case, it isn't only Trump's fitness that we should be questioning.

[Sep 15, 2016] Clinton Corruption Watch, Sept. 15, 2016

Notable quotes:
"... "State Department Delays Records Request About Clinton-Linked Firm Until After The 2016 Election" [ International Business Times ]. "Beacon Global Strategies is a shadowy consulting firm that's stacked with former Obama administration officials, high profile Republicans and a number of Hillary Clinton's closest foreign policy advisers. But beyond its billing as a firm that works with the defense industry, it is unclear for whom specifically the company works, exactly what it does, and if Beacon employees have tried to influence national security policy since the firm's founding in 2013. ..."
"... UPDATE "New York-based Teneo, with 575 employees, markets itself as a one-stop shop for CEOs to get advice on a wide range of issues, including mergers and acquisitions, handling crises and managing public relations. For its services, it generally charges clients monthly retainer fees of $100,000 to $300,000." [ Wall Street Journal , "Teneo, Consulting Firm with Clinton Ties, Eyes $1 Billion IPO"]. Founder Douglas Band was Bill Clinton's body man . One can only wonder what a body man does to become worth $1 billion to, well, the people who made him worth a billion. ..."
"... The donors expect that their support of the Clinton Foundation will help them get access to the State Department, [Doug] Band see above] expects that he can count on [Huma] Abedin to help, and Abedin seems to understand that she needs to be responsive to Band. This would be a lot of effort for powerful people to expend, if it led to nothing at all. ..."
"... UPDATE "Even as the Clintons are touting plans to distance themselves from their foundation and limit its fundraising if Hillary Clinton is elected president, they're planning one last glitzy fundraising bash on Friday to belatedly celebrate Bill Clinton's 70th birthday" [ Politico ]. ..."
"... "Plans called for performances by Wynton Marsalis, Jon Bon Jovi and Barbra Streisand, according to people briefed on the planning. They said that major donors are being asked to give $250,000 to be listed as a chair for the party, $100,000 to be listed a co-chair and $50,000 to be listed as a vice-chair." Sounds lovely! How I wish I could go… ..."
Sep 15, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"State Department Delays Records Request About Clinton-Linked Firm Until After The 2016 Election" [ International Business Times ]. "Beacon Global Strategies is a shadowy consulting firm that's stacked with former Obama administration officials, high profile Republicans and a number of Hillary Clinton's closest foreign policy advisers. But beyond its billing as a firm that works with the defense industry, it is unclear for whom specifically the company works, exactly what it does, and if Beacon employees have tried to influence national security policy since the firm's founding in 2013.

UPDATE "New York-based Teneo, with 575 employees, markets itself as a one-stop shop for CEOs to get advice on a wide range of issues, including mergers and acquisitions, handling crises and managing public relations. For its services, it generally charges clients monthly retainer fees of $100,000 to $300,000." [ Wall Street Journal , "Teneo, Consulting Firm with Clinton Ties, Eyes $1 Billion IPO"]. Founder Douglas Band was Bill Clinton's body man . One can only wonder what a body man does to become worth $1 billion to, well, the people who made him worth a billion.

"[I]n many of these [Clinton Foundation] episodes you can see expectations operating like an electrical circuit. The donors expect that their support of the Clinton Foundation will help them get access to the State Department, [Doug] Band see above] expects that he can count on [Huma] Abedin to help, and Abedin seems to understand that she needs to be responsive to Band. This would be a lot of effort for powerful people to expend, if it led to nothing at all. There are two obvious possibilities. One is that the State Department actually was granting important favors to Clinton Foundation donors that the many sustained investigations have somehow failed to detect. The other, which is more likely, is that someone, somewhere along the line, was getting played" [ The New Yorker ]. Surely those two possibilities are not mutually exclusive? And public office is being used for private gain in either case?

UPDATE "Even as the Clintons are touting plans to distance themselves from their foundation and limit its fundraising if Hillary Clinton is elected president, they're planning one last glitzy fundraising bash on Friday to belatedly celebrate Bill Clinton's 70th birthday" [ Politico ].

"Plans called for performances by Wynton Marsalis, Jon Bon Jovi and Barbra Streisand, according to people briefed on the planning. They said that major donors are being asked to give $250,000 to be listed as a chair for the party, $100,000 to be listed a co-chair and $50,000 to be listed as a vice-chair." Sounds lovely! How I wish I could go…

[Sep 15, 2016] Are the categories terrorist and dictator versus crucial allies are determined based on the size of payments to the Clinton Foundation?

Sep 15, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

As one Michael Curry points out , Clinton's social messaging team is simply incompetent.

From a series of Clinton tweets attacking Trump over his assumed foreign policy:

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton

4. If you were willing to work with Qaddafi-a known terrorist and dictator-is there anyone you aren't willing to make a deal with? Who?

9:32 AM - 14 Sep 2016

---

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton

Hillary Clinton Retweeted Donald J. Trump

13. How can we know you won't (again) impulsively damage relationships with crucial allies to preserve your own ego? Hillary Clinton added,

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy's money. Can't do it when I get elected. #Trump2016

7:53 PM - 11 Dec 2015

9:48 AM - 14 Sep 2016

Is such incompetence in messaging a reflection of Hillary Clinton own confusion? Or are the categories "terrorist and dictator" versus "crucial allies" solely depending on the size of payments to the Clinton Foundation?

Posted by b at 02:03 PM | Comments (6) originalone | Sep 15, 2016 2:08:08 PM | 1
Again, B hits the nail on the head. Oh wait, could it be the koolaid by Putin the cause?

Terry | Sep 15, 2016 2:21:10 PM | 2
She is sliding to throwing mud ,. what ever will stick will do the trick I guess .This started after some polls showing the Donald ahead a few points .

FecklessLeft | Sep 15, 2016 2:52:32 PM | 3
I recognize election season is always crazy in the states, especially as an outside observer looking in, but this cycle seems so far beyond that norm compared even to 4 years ago it makes me quite uncomfortable. It reeks of a growing desperation by the elites to me. The 2012 campaigns of the two major parties were a circus by any measure, but they seem completely measured and intellectual by this year's standards.

I understand American culture dwells a lot on violence, but the new standards of political rhetoric disturb me greatly. It seems most of the country's population is either willfully ignorant of the destruction their country creates or cheers it on wildly and willingly. How anybody could advocate carpet bombing without irony or rebuttal is frightenening. That it could drum up support - well that's just depressing.

The two most important topics in this election, nuclear weapons and global warming, both candidates have been decidedly silent about. It scares me that neither party even attempts to appeal to the left anymore, except by manipulating them by fear and non existent 'security' issues. If it's all about PR and perception management anyways, I wonder why Clinton wears her right leaning nature and war mongering history on her sleeve? Maybe content and debate matters less than I assume it does to the average American voter. Maybe it's totally about spectacle and personality now and nothing else. Sad, sad days for those who live in the middle of the Empire but it's hard to be sympathetic sometimes. It seems the hot new consumer electronic device gets more of a thorough analysis and debate than does either major party candidates' platform (if you could even call it that).

Vote republican and catastrophic, irreversible climate change is almost guaranteed, with a hearty chance of more war and more regime change operations (despite attempts to paint the candidate as 'isolationist').

Vote democrat for more wars and regime change, with the status quo of environmental destruction happily maintained (despite the attempts to paint the candidate as an 'environmentalist').

james | Sep 15, 2016 2:54:25 PM | 4
this us election is much more pathetic then usual... witnessing the standing president refer to putin akin to saddam hussain is frankly insane, but shows how depraved the usa has gotten... and, besides that, since when did the average usa person even know where any place outside the usa was on a map, let alone having actually been their? oh - i guess it doesn't matter...

as @1 originalone says basically 'putin did it'...

Les | Sep 15, 2016 2:57:20 PM | 5
As everyone knows, the US normalized relations with Qaddafi in 2004.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libya%E2%80%93United_States_relations#Normalizing_relations

The Obama administration authorized CIA backing of the rebellion almost before it started. In all likelihood, it started several years before the revolt, and the authorization was to provide legal cover for activity that was already ongoing.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-usa-order-idUSTRE72T6H220110331

Erelis | Sep 15, 2016 3:18:51 PM | 6
@ FecklessLeft 3

Unfortunately, your observations are sharp, correct and to the point. All I can weakly offer is something Ralph Nader said. Ralph Nader once noted that the difference between the democrats and republicans is the difference between a car hitting a wall at 60 miles per hour versus 120 miles per hour. Not so anymore. Now both cars will hit the wall going as fast as they can. And the passengers will jump for joy at the speed.

[Sep 12, 2016] Serving the Clintonian Interest: The last thing we need is a Clinton in charge of foreign policy by Christopher Hitchens

This is Christopher Hitchens biting analysis from previous Presidential elections, but still relevant
Notable quotes:
"... The last time that Clinton foreign-policy associations came up for congressional review, the investigations ended in a cloud of murk that still has not been dispelled. ..."
"... the real problem is otherwise. Both President and Sen. Clinton, while in office, made it obvious to foreign powers that they and their relatives were wide open to suggestions from lobbyists and middlemen. ..."
"... If you recall the names John Huang, James Riady, Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie, and others, you will remember the pattern of acquired amnesia syndrome and stubborn reluctance to testify, followed by sudden willingness on the part of the Democratic National Committee to return quite large sums of money from foreign sources. Much of this cash had been raised at political events held in the public rooms of the White House, the sort of events that featured the adorable Roger Tamraz , for another example. ..."
"... It found that the Clinton administration's attitude toward Chinese penetration had been abysmally lax (as lax, I would say, as its attitude toward easy money from businessmen with Chinese military-industrial associations). ..."
"... Many quids and many quos were mooted by these investigations (still incomplete at the time of writing) though perhaps not enough un-ambivalent pros . You can't say that about the Marc Rich and other pardons-the vulgar bonanza with which the last Clinton era came to an end. Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, gave large sums to Hillary Clinton's re-election campaign and to Bill Clinton's library, and Marc Rich got a pardon. ..."
"... Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, convicted of bank fraud, hired Hillary Clinton's brother Tony and paid him $250,000, and they got a pardon. Carlos Vignali Jr. and Almon Glenn Braswell paid $400,000 to Hillary Clinton's other brother, Hugh , and, hey, they , respectively, got a presidential commutation and a presidential pardon, too. ..."
"... Does this sibling and fraternal squalor have foreign-policy implications, too? Yes. Until late 1999, the fabulous Rodham boys were toiling on another scheme to get the hazelnut concession from the newly independent republic of Georgia. There was something quixotically awful about this scheme-something simultaneously too small-time and too big-time-but it also involved a partnership with the main political foe of the then-Georgian president (who may conceivably have had political aspirations), so once again the United States was made to look as if its extended first family were operating like a banana republic. ..."
"... In matters of foreign policy, it has been proved time and again, the Clintons are devoted to no interest other than their own. ..."
"... Who can say with a straight face that this is true of a woman whose personal ambition is without limit; whose second loyalty is to an impeached and disbarred and discredited former president; and who is ready at any moment, and on government time, to take a wheedling call from either of her bulbous brothers? This is also the unscrupulous female who until recently was willing to play the race card on President-elect Obama and (in spite of her own complete want of any foreign-policy qualifications) to ridicule him for lacking what she only knew about by way of sordid backstairs dealing. What may look like wound-healing and magnanimity to some looks like foolhardiness and masochism to me. ..."
Nov 01, 2008 | www.slate.com

It was apt in a small way that the first endorser of Hillary Rodham Clinton for secretary of state should have been Henry Kissinger. The last time he was nominated for any position of responsibility-the chairmanship of the 9/11 commission-he accepted with many florid words about the great honor and responsibility, and then he withdrew when it became clear that he would have to disclose the client list of Kissinger Associates. (See, for the article that began this embarrassing process for him, my Slate column "The Latest Kissinger Outrage.")

It is possible that the Senate will be as much of a club as the undistinguished fraternity/sorority of our ex-secretaries of state, but even so, it's difficult to see Sen. Clinton achieving confirmation unless our elected representatives are ready to ask a few questions about conflict of interest along similar lines. And how can they not? The last time that Clinton foreign-policy associations came up for congressional review, the investigations ended in a cloud of murk that still has not been dispelled. Former President Bill Clinton has recently and rather disingenuously offered to submit his own foundation to scrutiny (see the work of my Vanity Fair colleague Todd Purdum on the delightful friends and associates that Clinton has acquired since he left office), but the real problem is otherwise. Both President and Sen. Clinton, while in office, made it obvious to foreign powers that they and their relatives were wide open to suggestions from lobbyists and middlemen.

Just to give the most salient examples from the Clinton fundraising scandals of the late 1990s: The House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight published a list of witnesses called before it who had either "fled or pled"-in other words, who had left the country to avoid testifying or invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination. Some Democratic members of the committee said that this was unfair to, say, the Buddhist nuns who raised the unlawful California temple dough for then-Vice President Al Gore, but however fair you want to be, the number of those who found it highly inconvenient to testify fluctuates between 94 and 120. If you recall the names John Huang, James Riady, Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie, and others, you will remember the pattern of acquired amnesia syndrome and stubborn reluctance to testify, followed by sudden willingness on the part of the Democratic National Committee to return quite large sums of money from foreign sources. Much of this cash had been raised at political events held in the public rooms of the White House, the sort of events that featured the adorable Roger Tamraz, for another example.

Related was the result of a House select committee on Chinese espionage in the United States and the illegal transfer to China of advanced military technology. Chaired by Christopher Cox, R-Calif., the committee issued a report in 1999 with no dissenting or "minority" signature. It found that the Clinton administration's attitude toward Chinese penetration had been abysmally lax (as lax, I would say, as its attitude toward easy money from businessmen with Chinese military-industrial associations).

Many quids and many quos were mooted by these investigations (still incomplete at the time of writing) though perhaps not enough un-ambivalent pros. You can't say that about the Marc Rich and other pardons-the vulgar bonanza with which the last Clinton era came to an end. Rich's ex-wife, Denise Rich, gave large sums to Hillary Clinton's re-election campaign and to Bill Clinton's library, and Marc Rich got a pardon.

Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, convicted of bank fraud, hired Hillary Clinton's brother Tony and paid him $250,000, and they got a pardon. Carlos Vignali Jr. and Almon Glenn Braswell paid $400,000 to Hillary Clinton's other brother, Hugh, and, hey, they, respectively, got a presidential commutation and a presidential pardon, too. In the Hugh case, the money was returned as being too embarrassing for words (and as though following the hallowed custom, when busted or flustered, of the Clinton-era DNC). But I would say that it was more embarrassing to realize that a former first lady, and a candidate for secretary of state, was a full partner in years of seedy overseas money-grubbing and has two greedy brothers to whom she cannot say no.

Does this sibling and fraternal squalor have foreign-policy implications, too? Yes. Until late 1999, the fabulous Rodham boys were toiling on another scheme to get the hazelnut concession from the newly independent republic of Georgia. There was something quixotically awful about this scheme-something simultaneously too small-time and too big-time-but it also involved a partnership with the main political foe of the then-Georgian president (who may conceivably have had political aspirations), so once again the United States was made to look as if its extended first family were operating like a banana republic.

China, Indonesia, Georgia-these are not exactly negligible countries on our defense and financial and ideological peripheries. In each country, there are important special interests that equate the name Clinton with the word pushover. And did I forget to add what President Clinton pleaded when the revulsion at the Rich pardons became too acute? He claimed that he had concerted the deal with the government of Israel in the intervals of the Camp David "agreement"! So anyone who criticized the pardons had better have been careful if they didn't want to hear from the Anti-Defamation League. Another splendid way of showing that all is aboveboard and of convincing the Muslim world of our evenhandedness.

In matters of foreign policy, it has been proved time and again, the Clintons are devoted to no interest other than their own. A president absolutely has to know of his chief foreign-policy executive that he or she has no other agenda than the one he has set. Who can say with a straight face that this is true of a woman whose personal ambition is without limit; whose second loyalty is to an impeached and disbarred and discredited former president; and who is ready at any moment, and on government time, to take a wheedling call from either of her bulbous brothers? This is also the unscrupulous female who until recently was willing to play the race card on President-elect Obama and (in spite of her own complete want of any foreign-policy qualifications) to ridicule him for lacking what she only knew about by way of sordid backstairs dealing. What may look like wound-healing and magnanimity to some looks like foolhardiness and masochism to me.

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author, most recently, of Arguably, a collection of essays.

[Sep 05, 2016] Gli Usa e la guerra fredda il prezzo della vittoria - rivista italiana di geopolitica

Bill Clinton was a regular neoliberal bottom feeder (in essence not that different from drunkard Yeltsin) without any strategical vision or political courage, He destroyed the golden possibility of rapprochement of the USA and Russia (which would require something like Marshall plan to help Russia). Instead he decided to plunder the country. It's sad that now Hillary will continue his policies, only in more jingoistic, dangerous fashion. She learn nothing.
Notable quotes:
"... However, according to Simes in the years immediately following the dissolution of the USSR, Washington has made perhaps the greatest error of a winner: sold for complacency. ..."
"... Russia simply ceased to be a U.S. geopolitical variable in the equation, Moscow was irrevocably excluded from the strategic horizon. ..."
"... The result was that the former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott called at the time the policy of "eat and shut up": the Russian economy was collapsing, the Red Army reduced the ghost of the past and Yeltsin's entourage welcomed with open arms of the IMF aid. In short, Russia is a power failure and as such was treated by administering liberal economic recipes and submitting its projection to a geopolitical drastic weight loss. Everything apart from the feeling of the Russian leadership. ..."
"... This approach found its full realization, between 1999 and 2004, the expansion of NATO eastward: they were including Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Together with the U.S. intervention in Serbia during the Kosovo war (1999), this move Russia convinced that the cost of the American loans -- a dramatic and permanent reduction of the area of ​​security and its own geopolitical ambitions - was too high . ..."
Dec 12, 2011 | temi.repubblica.it

07/12/2011

America won the Cold War. But in addition to the USSR, has it defeated Russia? This question, which is still in the nineties sounded absurd to most people, began to appear in the last decade, thanks to the work of historians such as Dimitri Simes, John Lewis Gaddis, or in Italy, Adriano Roccucci.

In the United States is widely believed that the collapse of the Soviet Union was caused in large part by strategic decisions of the Reagan administration. Surely the military and economic pressure exerted by these contributed to the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and then the final crisis of the Soviet system. However, according to Simes in the years immediately following the dissolution of the USSR, Washington has made perhaps the greatest error of a winner: sold for complacency.

This has resulted, in retrospect, in an overestimation of U.S. policy choices in the mid-eighties onwards, and in a parallel underestimation of the role played by the Soviet leadership. Gorbachev came to power in 1985 determined to solve the problems left behind by Brezhnev: overexposure military in Afghanistan and subsequent explosion of spending on defense, imposed on an economy tremendously inefficient. But if Reagan pushed the USSR on the edge of the precipice, Gorbachev was disposable, albeit unwittingly, triggering reforms that escaped the hands of his own theorist.

That fact has been largely removed from public debate and U.S. historiography which has led America in the second mistake: underestimating the enemy defeated, confusing the defunct Soviet Union with what was left of his heart - Russia.

In fact, Reagan and Bush Sr. after him fully understand the dangers inherent in the collapse of the superpower enemy, dealing with Gorbachev touch, even without discounts: the Soviet leader was refused the pressing demands for economic aid, incompatible with the military escalation Reagan once to crush the Soviet Union under the weight of war spending.

Even the first Gulf War (1990-91), who saw the massive American intervention in a country (Iraq) at the time near the borders of the USSR, did not provoke a diplomatic rupture between the two superpowers. This Soviet weakness undoubtedly was the result of an empire in decline, but remember that even in 1990 no one - least of all, the leadership in Moscow - the Soviet Union finally gave up on us yet.

Despite an election campaign played on the charge to GH Bush to focus too much on foreign policy, ignoring the economics (It's the economy, stupid), newly installed in the White House Bill Clinton was not spared aid to Russia, agreeing to this line of credit to be logged on to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from June 1992. Clinton's support was directed mainly toward the figure of Yeltsin and his policies, with the exception of waging war against Chechen separatism, in 1994.

If Clinton with these moves proved to understand, like its two predecessors, the importance of "accompany" the Russian transition, avoiding - or at least contain - the chaos following the collapse of a continental empire, the other part of his administration demonstrated sinful paternalism and, above all, acquired the illusion of omnipotence that he saw in the "unipolar moment" end not only the U.S. opposed the US-USSR, but also of any power ambitions of Russia. Russia simply ceased to be a U.S. geopolitical variable in the equation, Moscow was irrevocably excluded from the strategic horizon.

The result was that the former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott called at the time the policy of "eat and shut up": the Russian economy was collapsing, the Red Army reduced the ghost of the past and Yeltsin's entourage welcomed with open arms of the IMF aid. In short, Russia is a power failure and as such was treated by administering liberal economic recipes and submitting its projection to a geopolitical drastic weight loss. Everything apart from the feeling of the Russian leadership.

This went hand in hand with growing resentment for the permanent position of inferiority which they were relegated by Washington. To the point that even the then Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, known by the nickname "Yes sir" for his acquiescence to the dictates of Americans, showed growing impatience with the brutal Russian downgrading by America.

Indeed, the United States administration did not lack critics: former President Nixon, a number of businessmen and experts of Russia expressed skepticism or opposition to the Clinton administration attitude that did not seem to pay particular attention to wounded pride and the strategic interests of a nation that continued to think of itself as empire. However, these positions does not affect the dominant view in the administration of the establishment and much of the U.S., where consencus was that Russia in no longer entitled to have an independent foreign policy.

This approach found its full realization, between 1999 and 2004, the expansion of NATO eastward: they were including Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Together with the U.S. intervention in Serbia during the Kosovo war (1999), this move Russia convinced that the cost of the American loans -- a dramatic and permanent reduction of the area of ​​security and its own geopolitical ambitions - was too high .

[Sep 04, 2016] UBS upped its cash to Bill and the foundation after the scandal and her intervention as Sec. of State

Sep 04, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Julio -> EMichael... Friday, September 02, 2016 at 10:03 AM

Look more carefully at the timeline, UBS upped its cash to Bill and the foundation after the scandal and her intervention as Sec. of State. See e.g.
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/hillary-helps-a-bankand-then-it-pays-bill-15-million-in-speaking-fees/400067/

The whole thing smells to high heaven. The only reason to trust that there are no direct quid pro quos is, perversely, that there are so many donations and so many speeches and interactions that they all begin to seem normal.

Yes, there may be smoke and no fire, in the legal sense, but let us not pretend there are no issues here.

[Sep 03, 2016] The problem with corruption in Washington these days is that they don't know it's corruption - it's the atmosphere they breathe, the ocean they swim in.

angrybearblog.com

The problem with corruption in Washington these days is that they don't know it's corruption - it's the atmosphere they breathe, the ocean they swim in.

People who want something from you give you gifts? Well, the gift-giving has nothing to do with what they want you to do. They just like you. And you aren't at all influenced by the gifts and their presumed affection. Unlike the rest of humanity, you aren't at all affected by your perception of others' valuing of you. Really?

In a criminal trial, potential jurors who know anyone who will be involved in the trial are dismissed. Silly courts? I don't think so. That level of ignorance between the governed and their representatives is neither possible nor desirable, but its requirement where government will act is, I think, an accurate indication of the probability of conscious or unconscious influence of relationships.

If gift giving to those in power isn't corrupt or corrupting, what's the problem with Citizens United again?

In short, this pabulum about the real purity of backscratching is the crony justification of corruption. It's not corruption. It's just the way nice honest grownup people with favors to give live.

[Sep 03, 2016] On Corruption at CUNY - Crooked Timber

Notable quotes:
"... Isnt that embezzlement or sth like that instead of corrupton ? ..."
"... Anti-corruption has been used to justify some shady stuff in the past, like voter registration laws in the early 20th century. But it most definitely is not overblown in truth – corruption is absolutely corrosive to society. ..."
"... As for large labor unions, they're human bureaucracies. Any sort of large, hierarchical bureaucracy tends to pile up problems over time even with some degree of democratic accountability in theory – corruption, nepotism, ladder-climbers, Company Men, in-fighters, self-righteous vested interests/gatekeepers, etc. Maybe it's why it doesn't bother me especially when they have the same kind of problems as other big organizations, only if they're exceptionally bad. ..."
"... The problem with the neo-liberal critique is making a invidious distinction between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Both have legal (but immoral) varieties of corruption and illegal varieties. Both have trouble aligning the needs of executives (or other powerful individuals) with the needs of the organization or its mission. Both can be insulated from supposedly corrective forces (i.e., the market or the polity). Both suffer from the danger of executive "entrepreneurialism" in proportion to potential spoils. ..."
"... Ah, the power of the invisible hand. Would that it were so. The only corporations of any size I have ever observed that managed to maintain strong and reasonably effective control of peculation were the (now essentially defunct) regulated utilities: telephone companies, electric utilities, some banks. ..."
"... That sounds a bit too maximalistic and seems to concede too much ground to the neoliberals and libertarians. Yes, corruption is very demoralising and debilitating, but almost all institutions, movements, regimes and social forces exhibit corruption to some extent, even when they are beneficial or less harmful than their alternatives. ..."
"... Contrary to the rhetoric of the Right, a trade union in which some corruption occurs can still do some good work and its corruption is not a justification for busting trade unions, and a state in which some corruption occurs can still do some good work and its corruption is not a justification for privatisation or for abolishing the state. Similarly, a government in which some corruption occurs can still do some good work and/or be preferable to its opposition. ..."
"... Institutions will never 'remove the muck of the ages.' Especially not powerful institutions – as it goes, that power corrupts. This is the single most important insight against the tendencies of the left, which are to empower monopoly institutions. ..."
"... The tendency of the corporate form is both to increase organisation and to increase power. If all power tends to corrupt, that must include the power vested in corporations and the power vested by corporations in individuals. The dictum is not restricted to 'monopoly power tends to corrupt' or 'government power tends to corrupt'. ..."
"... Corruption, embezzlement, and dishonesty are hard to eliminate; so long as there is trust, there will be breaches of trust. But it is no solution never to trust. This is not to say that corruption should be ignored when found, nor that anti-corruption efforts should be abandoned; only that hope should not be abandoned solely because corruption persists. ..."
"... There's a lot of abstract hand-wringing on the centre-left about "inequality" that seems oddly reluctant to connect the rapid increases in chief executive pay to a variety of ways in which institutional trust and mission commitment can be undermined to fund executive "compensation". This case looks like it will turn out to be a remarkably complex case, in which the corruption of the donors is at much at issue as the corruption of the fund-raisers. ..."
"... When it comes to things like spending large amounts of other people's money, or counting votes in an election, I don't want to have to trust people. There should be a system in place to, in the words of Ronald Reagan, "Trust but verify". ..."
"... Ms. Coico tried to be too careful. The trick to making insiders comfortable with kleptocracy is to just spend money freely on your mates, then blame capitalism when the bill comes. If you run around asking for budget cuts and fee increases, don't be surprised when they suddenly take notions like fiduciary duty and the sanctity of donor intention or tax-funded grants very seriously indeed. And even if it turns out that your embezzlement is a fraction of the deficit, your head will still roll – the faculty can't stop legislatures from refusing to fund them, but they can lash out at you instead. ..."
"... I live in a large Northeastern city, which has had moderately corrupt leadership and moderately clean leadership. The clean leadership could afford to be clean because it was funded–completely legally–by the plutocracy. The moderately corrupt leadership has been far more democratically accountable, somewhat more effective in providing public services, and has been reasonably modest in its skim. I'm not saying that corruption is necessary for democracy–I've also lived in squeaky-clean local governments that are pretty responsive and responsible, and a damn sight lower in taxes. But corruption is not inimical, if it's the right kind of corruption. ..."
"... Basically, some kinds of corruption can serve to align interests; Roosevelt's crackdown on police corruption made for more damaging and predatory crime, and more violence (both state and non-state.) ..."
"... Corey hasn't explained why he's come to view corruption as "destroying everything." I'm still with Foundling in #14 that there are things that are worse…and in a neoliberal meritocratic society that's almost everything. Corruption at least tends to leave things unchanged rather than reformed towards universal wage and debt slavery. ..."
"... Corey, it may amuse you and other social scientists to know that in my time at the World Bank, corruption by client states implicitly encouraged by bank lending was known by the euphemism 'political economy'. ..."
"... It might be noted that what is considered 'corruption' may vary as to environment and ideology, and what would be considered corrupt in a government or a union or other den of leftist iniquity may not be corrupt in business. For example, a large brokerage house I once worked for decided it had to give its field agents a new customer information system. ..."
"... Requests for proposals were circulated and proposals received. A committee of hotshot engineers investigated them full-time, and the opinions of dozens or maybe hundreds of others sought. A strongly evidenced, strongly reasoned recommendation was made. ..."
"... The CEO then played golf with Paul Allen of Microsoft, and the recommendation went out the window. Ultimately this decision wasted hundreds of millions of dollars. That would have been a crime in government, in a union, or in many other institutions, but in business it's entirely legal and quite common. And there is no recourse, except through the market; and markets are mentally unstable, and often sort of dumb, just like the humans who constitute them. ..."
"... I think, though, that you started well. 'Institutions will never "remove the muck of the ages." Especially not powerful institutions – as it goes, that power corrupts.' Well said. But then the Faith took over, and led you astray. ..."
"... I'd be very suspicious of accusations of corruption. That has led, for example, to discriminatory voter ID laws. And now the impeachment of leftist populism in Brazil, notably by those more corrupt. Successful anticorruption can generally be assumed to be the greater corruption demolishing a lesser one. The greatest corruption never falls unless overtaken by one even greater. ..."
Aug 30, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

The New York Times reports this morning:

The City University of New York is investigating whether a recent $500,000 donation intended to bolster the humanities and arts at its flagship school may have been improperly diverted.

The inquiry was prompted by senior faculty members at the school, the City College of New York, who learned that an account that should have contained roughly $600,000, thanks to the donation, had just $76. Faculty members asked City College officials for an explanation, but were met with "silence, delay and deflection" before appealing directly the university's chancellor, James B. Milliken. Mr. Milliken then asked Frederick P. Schaffer, the university's general counsel and senior vice chancellor for legal affairs, to look into the "the expenditure of monies donated," according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

This is part of a followup to a piece the Times ran last spring, which I blogged about, and which claimed:

Documents obtained by The Times indicated that the college's 21st Century Foundation paid for some of Ms. Coico's personal expenses, such as fruit baskets, housekeeping services and rugs, when she took office in 2010. The foundation was then reimbursed for more than $150,000 from CUNY 's Research Foundation. That has raised eyebrows among governance experts, because such funds are typically earmarked for research.

It's unclear what the $600,000 went to, and who made the decision. Hence, the investigation, which involves federal prosecutors. But at a minimum, it seems clear that the money was used for purposes it was not earmarked for.

I used to think that corruption was just one of those do-gooder good-government-type concerns, a trope neoliberal IMF officials wielded in order to force capitalism down the throat of developing countries. After years of hearing about stuff like this at CUNY , and in some cases seeing much worse, I've come to realize just how corrosive and politically debilitating corruption is. It's like a fungus or a parasite. It attaches itself to a host, a body that is full of possibility and promise, a body that contains so much of what we hope for, and it feeds off that body till it dies.

One of the reasons why, politically, it's worse when corruption happens at an institution like CUNY or in a labor union-as opposed to the legalized or even illegal corruption that goes on at the highest reaches of the political economy-is that these are, or are supposed to be, sites of opposition to all that is wrong and wretched in the world. These are institutions that are supposed to remove the muck of ages.

It's hard enough to believe in that kind of transformative work, and those kinds of transformative institutions, under the best of conditions. But when corruption becomes a part of the picture, it's impossible.

Corruption is pure poison. It destroys everything. Even-or especially-the promise of that transformation.

Selected Skeptical Comments

hix 08.30.16 at 2:10 pm

Isnt that embezzlement or sth like that instead of corrupton ? (im a bit lost even with the German legal terms here, but it still looks wrong)
BenK 08.30.16 at 2:47 pm
Institutions will never 'remove the muck of the ages.' Especially not powerful institutions – as it goes, that power corrupts. This is the single most important insight against the tendencies of the left, which are to empower monopoly institutions.

Corporations, if not tied directly to government (the monopoly beyond all monopolies and the source and destination of all monopolies), have a difficult time being corrupt without attracting the attention of upstart competition. Labor, as well (unless, again, it has a monopoly sanctioned and enforced by the government).

The power of reform and repentance is with individuals, not organizations.

casmilus 08.30.16 at 3:21 pm
Make "Last Exit To Brooklyn" a compulsory text for all Humanities students at CUNY.
Frank Wilhoit 08.30.16 at 6:06 pm
You say "corruption". The plants hear "fertilizer".
Stephen 08.30.16 at 7:08 pm
"labor union[s] … are, or are supposed to be, sites of opposition to all that is wrong and wretched in the world. "
Strewth. I have clear memories of the antics of (some of) the UK trades unions in the 1970s and 1980s, or even nowadays, and I have heard interesting things about the Teamsters in the US. I think "supposed to be" is carrying an intolerable amount of weight her.
Sebastian_H 08.30.16 at 7:20 pm
"I used to think that corruption was just one of those do-gooder good-government-type concerns, a trope neoliberal IMF officials wielded in order to force capitalism down the throat of developing countries."

About every 5-10 years I look back at things like that where I've dismissed things as overblown and found that they are correct or at least have a lot more force than I thought. It turns out we can't be right about everything.

Brett 08.30.16 at 9:12 pm
@8

I can sort of see where Corey might be coming on this. Anti-corruption has been used to justify some shady stuff in the past, like voter registration laws in the early 20th century. But it most definitely is not overblown in truth – corruption is absolutely corrosive to society.

As for large labor unions, they're human bureaucracies. Any sort of large, hierarchical bureaucracy tends to pile up problems over time even with some degree of democratic accountability in theory – corruption, nepotism, ladder-climbers, Company Men, in-fighters, self-righteous vested interests/gatekeepers, etc. Maybe it's why it doesn't bother me especially when they have the same kind of problems as other big organizations, only if they're exceptionally bad.

otpup 08.30.16 at 10:21 pm
I had a student job at Hunter this decade for a few years. I heard endless (and bitter) gossip about the cronyism of the administration new at the time.
otpup 08.30.16 at 10:32 pm
The problem with the neo-liberal critique is making a invidious distinction between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Both have legal (but immoral) varieties of corruption and illegal varieties. Both have trouble aligning the needs of executives (or other powerful individuals) with the needs of the organization or its mission. Both can be insulated from supposedly corrective forces (i.e., the market or the polity). Both suffer from the danger of executive "entrepreneurialism" in proportion to potential spoils.
Cranky Observer 08.30.16 at 11:59 pm

= = =BenK @ 2:47 PM: Corporations, if not tied directly to government (the monopoly beyond all monopolies and the source and destination of all monopolies), have a difficult time being corrupt without attracting the attention of upstart competition.= = =

Ah, the power of the invisible hand. Would that it were so. The only corporations of any size I have ever observed that managed to maintain strong and reasonably effective control of peculation were the (now essentially defunct) regulated utilities: telephone companies, electric utilities, some banks.

In all cases they were helped on the path to righteousness by strong external regulatory and audit agencies, some degree of a spirit of public service in the operation and workforce, some degree of public view into their operations and incentives for members of the public to use that view, and legal limits on allowable profit. How fast that all can go away in the corporate world, and the usual run of mutual board appointments, back scratching, nest feathering, every man for himself and the most he can grab, etc take its place can be measured from 1994 in the electricity industry. Took about 5 years IIRC.

F. Foundling 08.31.16 at 1:08 am
OP:
> I used to think that corruption was just one of those do-gooder good-government-type concerns, a trope neoliberal IMF officials wielded in order to force capitalism down the throat of developing countries.

>It's hard enough to believe in that kind of transformative work, and those kinds of transformative institutions, under the best of conditions. But when corruption becomes a part of the picture, it's impossible.

That sounds a bit too maximalistic and seems to concede too much ground to the neoliberals and libertarians. Yes, corruption is very demoralising and debilitating, but almost all institutions, movements, regimes and social forces exhibit corruption to some extent, even when they are beneficial or less harmful than their alternatives.

They don't need to be perfect to be worthy of defence. Contrary to the rhetoric of the Right, a trade union in which some corruption occurs can still do some good work and its corruption is not a justification for busting trade unions, and a state in which some corruption occurs can still do some good work and its corruption is not a justification for privatisation or for abolishing the state. Similarly, a government in which some corruption occurs can still do some good work and/or be preferable to its opposition.

Tabasco 08.31.16 at 1:50 am
The $600,000 might or not be missing because of corruption. If it was spent on a legitimate purpose of the university, such as paying salaries of the IT staff, or fixing the plumbing, then that's really bad, because the money was supposed to spent on the humanities and arts, and it might be criminal, but it's not the same as paying a bribe or just someone just stealing the money.
bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 2:08 am
Of course, "we have no idea what happened to the money" means that it is not a prosecutable offense. Just an occasion for an investigation upon which no one could possibly comment until the news cycle has passed several times over.

Everybody's doing it. Nothing to see here.

LFC 08.31.16 at 3:11 am
Stipulating that corruption can be found in a variety of different contexts, the countries in which it's most severe, to the point at which it becomes an inadequate descriptive word, tend to be those in which regimes loot the surplus from resource extraction with the tacit or perhaps in some cases active participation of multinationals operating in the country.

There are various possible examples (including several in subSaharan Africa and [I think] the former Soviet central Asia) but I happen to be thinking specifically of Angola, which until the decline in oil prices had, if I'm not mistaken, the most expensive (by some measures) city in the world (Luanda) alongside one of the highest rates of child mortality in the world, if not the highest. In general the so-called resource curse is pertinent here, i.e. regimes/countries that have put all their eggs in the oil basket or something comparable.

The issue is not so much tsk-tsking about 'poor governance' but rather trying to sort out the ways in which the global political economy and its m.o. facilitate or at least create permissive conditions for these situations, in tandem w/ the local contexts.

LFC 08.31.16 at 3:48 am
p.s. In June, the SEC issued a good rule on disclosure of payments to govts by resource-extraction companies:
https://www.sec.gov/news/pressrelease/2016-132.html
J-D 08.31.16 at 4:45 am

BenK 08.30.16 at 2:47 pm

Institutions will never 'remove the muck of the ages.' Especially not powerful institutions – as it goes, that power corrupts. This is the single most important insight against the tendencies of the left, which are to empower monopoly institutions.

Corporations, if not tied directly to government (the monopoly beyond all monopolies and the source and destination of all monopolies), have a difficult time being corrupt without attracting the attention of upstart competition. Labor, as well (unless, again, it has a monopoly sanctioned and enforced by the government).

The power of reform and repentance is with individuals, not organizations.

The tendency of the corporate form is both to increase organisation and to increase power. If all power tends to corrupt, that must include the power vested in corporations and the power vested by corporations in individuals. The dictum is not restricted to 'monopoly power tends to corrupt' or 'government power tends to corrupt'.

J-D 08.31.16 at 4:48 am
Corruption, embezzlement, and dishonesty are hard to eliminate; so long as there is trust, there will be breaches of trust. But it is no solution never to trust. This is not to say that corruption should be ignored when found, nor that anti-corruption efforts should be abandoned; only that hope should not be abandoned solely because corruption persists.
bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 5:29 am
Trust? Trust in leadership.

"The fish rots from the head" is an expression, I think.

There's a lot of abstract hand-wringing on the centre-left about "inequality" that seems oddly reluctant to connect the rapid increases in chief executive pay to a variety of ways in which institutional trust and mission commitment can be undermined to fund executive "compensation". This case looks like it will turn out to be a remarkably complex case, in which the corruption of the donors is at much at issue as the corruption of the fund-raisers.

maidhc 08.31.16 at 6:47 am
I think there is a need to have independent accountants conduct periodic audits to verify that all money was used for its intended purpose. That's true for public institutions because they use the people's money, and it's true for publicly traded companies because it's the shareholders' money. This is common practice at any large corporation I've been involved with, and I'm rather surprised that it doesn't happen at a university.

The chancellor of UC Davis just lost her job for misusing university money, specifically by hiring relatives into sinecures at inflated salaries. And other things. It's nice to hear that sometimes there are consequences.

Most universities I know about are rather nit-picky about how you can spend money. Like you can buy a tablet because it's a computing device, but you can't buy a phone because it's a personal item.

When it comes to things like spending large amounts of other people's money, or counting votes in an election, I don't want to have to trust people. There should be a system in place to, in the words of Ronald Reagan, "Trust but verify".

That doesn't solve the problem of inflated salaries at the top, but that's a different problem.

david 08.31.16 at 7:58 am
"Several faculty members worried that the money had been spent instead on helping the college close a budget deficit at the end of its fiscal year on June 30."

… which would have triggered a heroic resistance against capitalism and debt and budget cuts; instead, whoops, it's tawdry embezzlement.

Ms. Coico tried to be too careful. The trick to making insiders comfortable with kleptocracy is to just spend money freely on your mates, then blame capitalism when the bill comes. If you run around asking for budget cuts and fee increases, don't be surprised when they suddenly take notions like fiduciary duty and the sanctity of donor intention or tax-funded grants very seriously indeed. And even if it turns out that your embezzlement is a fraction of the deficit, your head will still roll – the faculty can't stop legislatures from refusing to fund them, but they can lash out at you instead.

Ebenezer Scrooge 08.31.16 at 11:02 am
Corruption is a matter of kind, as well as degree.

I live in a large Northeastern city, which has had moderately corrupt leadership and moderately clean leadership. The clean leadership could afford to be clean because it was funded–completely legally–by the plutocracy. The moderately corrupt leadership has been far more democratically accountable, somewhat more effective in providing public services, and has been reasonably modest in its skim. I'm not saying that corruption is necessary for democracy–I've also lived in squeaky-clean local governments that are pretty responsive and responsible, and a damn sight lower in taxes. But corruption is not inimical, if it's the right kind of corruption.

Corruption, I think, is worse in civil society institutions than in government. Civil society institutions are inherently not democratic–especially universities! (No–senior faculty is only a demos in the Athenian sense of the term.) These things are governed by fiduciary principles, which are inimical to corruption of any kind.

SamChevre 08.31.16 at 2:28 pm
The best introduction I know to the uses and dangers of corruption is the section on the NYC police in The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens .

Basically, some kinds of corruption can serve to align interests; Roosevelt's crackdown on police corruption made for more damaging and predatory crime, and more violence (both state and non-state.)

Michael Epton 09.01.16 at 7:11 am
This is why I took Larry Lessig's quixotic presidential candidacy seriously this year. In addition to helping me understand how patent and copyright on steroids threatens the future of civilization, he has lately undertaken the attack on corruption: the greater threat.
Charles Peterson 09.01.16 at 5:10 pm
Corey hasn't explained why he's come to view corruption as "destroying everything." I'm still with Foundling in #14 that there are things that are worse…and in a neoliberal meritocratic society that's almost everything. Corruption at least tends to leave things unchanged rather than reformed towards universal wage and debt slavery.
Charles Peterson 09.02.16 at 5:18 am
The greatest of science, art, literature, and philosophy are all the residue of earlier corruption. Charles Darwin was a gentleman, and it is impossible to imagine otherwise. That's to say he was the beneficiary of an ancient corruption, the original theft.

It is precisely the successors of that original theft who would be the beneficiaries of the perfect investment, if it were possible, which would benefit only the investor and neither be a cost nor a benefit to anyone else in society.

That is to say that all the benefits to anyone and everyone else have come through the corruption of capitalism, rather than its perfection.

Maria 09.02.16 at 7:18 am
Corey, it may amuse you and other social scientists to know that in my time at the World Bank, corruption by client states implicitly encouraged by bank lending was known by the euphemism 'political economy'.
Anarcissie 09.02.16 at 8:16 pm
BenK 08.30.16 at 2:47 pm @ 2 -
I see you have not worked much in private corporate environments.

It might be noted that what is considered 'corruption' may vary as to environment and ideology, and what would be considered corrupt in a government or a union or other den of leftist iniquity may not be corrupt in business. For example, a large brokerage house I once worked for decided it had to give its field agents a new customer information system.

Requests for proposals were circulated and proposals received. A committee of hotshot engineers investigated them full-time, and the opinions of dozens or maybe hundreds of others sought. A strongly evidenced, strongly reasoned recommendation was made.

The CEO then played golf with Paul Allen of Microsoft, and the recommendation went out the window. Ultimately this decision wasted hundreds of millions of dollars. That would have been a crime in government, in a union, or in many other institutions, but in business it's entirely legal and quite common. And there is no recourse, except through the market; and markets are mentally unstable, and often sort of dumb, just like the humans who constitute them.

I think, though, that you started well. 'Institutions will never "remove the muck of the ages." Especially not powerful institutions – as it goes, that power corrupts.' Well said. But then the Faith took over, and led you astray.

Charles Peterson 09.03.16 at 3:49 am
I'd be very suspicious of accusations of corruption. That has led, for example, to discriminatory voter ID laws. And now the impeachment of leftist populism in Brazil, notably by those more corrupt. Successful anticorruption can generally be assumed to be the greater corruption demolishing a lesser one. The greatest corruption never falls unless overtaken by one even greater.

And generally, if crime doth pay, none dare call it crime. So we have private healthcare insurance, very costly to society, which performs exactly one function–the death panel function. And then, Wall Street. I should have started with outgoing call marketing and spam, but those are technically criminal in some cases.

But why stop there, when about the highest price is paid to rain endless warfare, or in some previous brief periods the mere threat of it, on the imagined possible threats to global plutocracy.

Charles Peterson 09.03.16 at 4:24 am
And Tobacco, Oil, Coal, Fracking, Agrifuel, Agribusinesses of many kinds, the list of legal criminality goes on.

[Sep 03, 2016] Buying access is the same as putting a stack of cash into someone's pocket to get them to vote one way or another on a bill of interest

Notable quotes:
"... Does it get money because of the Clintons involvement in raising money? Undoubtedly, without their participation it can't raise anywhere near that amount of money, and the reason is that their high public profile means that people believe that by giving to them they can influence policy, ..."
angrybearblog.com

J.Goodwin, August 31, 2016 10:35 am

Low level personnel in the US government are expected to reject gifts, or if culturally they cannot, then they turn them over to their agency, unless it is something like a coffee or a sandwich.

There is an expectation that people are going to not just not actually corrupt their job by doing favors for people who give them gifts or do them favors, but that they will avoid the appearance of corruption that is generated by accepting gifts.

The supreme court doesn't agree with that anymore. Anyone can accept any kind of bribe as long as they don't let it influence their actions. You can't see the desk for the treasure that's being dumped onto political tables to fund campaigns and line their personal pockets.

This is a foreign practice, one that is corrupt and should be rooted out nationally. Accepting gifts creates a corrupting environment, no matter what the recipient does, because EVERYONE understands that the gift is intended to influence policy or gain access so that the person can influence policy. The person giving the gift knows it, or they wouldn't give it, the person receiving the gift knows it, but "deep down in their honest hearts" they're not going to allow it to influence their work and decisions?

No of course not. Buying access is the same as putting a stack of cash into someone's pocket to get them to vote one way or another on a bill of interest.

Does the Clinton foundation do good work? Sure. Does it get money because of the Clintons involvement in raising money? Undoubtedly, without their participation it can't raise anywhere near that amount of money, and the reason is that their high public profile means that people believe that by giving to them they can influence policy, even if those people are not in office (through backchannels and whispers and introductions).

Does every person donating to the Clinton foundation want to influence policy, or are they primarily motivated by wanting to fund it's good works? This is impossible to tell. Even someone as prominent and perhaps morally blameless Elie Wiesel isn't there to eat cookies and have tea and talk about the weather if he's in Hillary Clinton's office. That is not what he is there for. That kind of meeting is not purely a social call, it's an effort to influence policy, whether it is related to statements on the Armenian genocide or the Sudan or god knows what.

Is he a person that she should meet with, whether he gives a donation to her foundation or not? Maybe that is her job. Probably most of these meetings are that way. That's why public officials are expected to put investments and charities into trusts and blinds and under separate management when they're in office, to help establish the boundary between their public responsibilities and their private interests including their charitable interests.

It doesn't matter to me whether she did anything that she shouldn't have done, legally. The letter of the law is insufficient to dictate the actions of moral people. Is it disqualifying? She's already been disqualified in my mind, this is just another thing.

Is it disturbing and annoying to me to see the double standard where promoters are willing to weasel and explain away whatever the Clintons have done that for any person on the other side of the aisle would be moral issues that disqualify them from office?

[Sep 03, 2016] Emails Raise New Questions About Clinton Foundation Ties to State Dept

Notable quotes:
"... A top aide to Hillary Clinton at the State Department agreed to try to obtain a special diplomatic passport for an adviser to former President Bill Clinton in 2009, according to emails released Thursday, raising new questions about whether people tied to the Clinton Foundation received special access at the department. ..."
"... The exchange about the passport, between Mr. Band and Huma Abedin, who was then a top State Department aide to Mrs. Clinton, was included in a set of more than 500 pages of emails made public by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that sued for their release. ..."
"... "Need get me/justy and jd dip passports," Mr. Band wrote to Ms. Abedin on July 27, 2009, referring to passports for himself and two other aides to Mr. Clinton, Justin Cooper and John Davidson. ..."
"... Traveling with a former president does not convey any special diplomatic status, the State Department indicated in a statement regarding the emails. "Diplomatic passports are issued to Foreign Service officers or a person having diplomatic or comparable status," the statement said. ..."
"... "Any individuals who do not have this status are not issued diplomatic passports," it said, adding that "the staff of former presidents are not included among those eligible to be issued a diplomatic passport." ..."
Sep 03, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

A top aide to Hillary Clinton at the State Department agreed to try to obtain a special diplomatic passport for an adviser to former President Bill Clinton in 2009, according to emails released Thursday, raising new questions about whether people tied to the Clinton Foundation received special access at the department.

The request by the adviser, Douglas J. Band, who started one arm of the Clintons' charitable foundation, was unusual, and the State Department never issued the passport. Only department employees and others with diplomatic status are eligible for the special passports, which help envoys facilitate travel, officials said.

... ... ...

The exchange about the passport, between Mr. Band and Huma Abedin, who was then a top State Department aide to Mrs. Clinton, was included in a set of more than 500 pages of emails made public by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that sued for their release.

"Need get me/justy and jd dip passports," Mr. Band wrote to Ms. Abedin on July 27, 2009, referring to passports for himself and two other aides to Mr. Clinton, Justin Cooper and John Davidson.

... ... ...

But a person with knowledge of the issue, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the three men were arranging to travel with Mr. Clinton to Pyongyang less than a week later for the former president's secret negotiations. Mr. Clinton already had a diplomatic passport as a former president.

... ... ...

Traveling with a former president does not convey any special diplomatic status, the State Department indicated in a statement regarding the emails. "Diplomatic passports are issued to Foreign Service officers or a person having diplomatic or comparable status," the statement said.

"Any individuals who do not have this status are not issued diplomatic passports," it said, adding that "the staff of former presidents are not included among those eligible to be issued a diplomatic passport."

The emails released by Judicial Watch also include discussions about meetings between Mrs. Clinton and a number of people involved in major donations to the Clinton Foundation.

In one exchange in July 2009, Ms. Abedin told Mrs. Clinton's scheduler that Mr. Clinton "wants to be sure" that Mrs. Clinton would be able to see Andrew Liveris, the chief executive of Dow Chemical, at an event the next night. Dow Chemical has been one of the biggest donors to the Clinton Foundation, giving $1 million to $5 million, records show.

Ms. Abedin arranged what she called "a pull-aside" for Mr. Liveris to speak with Mrs. Clinton in a private room after she arrived to give a speech, according to the emails, which did not explain the reason for the meeting.

The person with knowledge of the issue said that this email chain also related to Mr. Clinton's North Korea trip because Mr. Liveris had offered to let Mr. Clinton use his private plane.

A separate batch of State Department documents released by Judicial Watch last month also revealed contacts between the State Department and Clinton Foundation donors. In one such exchange, Mr. Band sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the department's former ambassador to Lebanon.

Donald J. Trump, Mrs. Clinton's Republican opponent, has seized on the documents, saying they revealed a "pay to play" operation.


[Sep 03, 2016] The Real Clinton Foundation Revelation

Notable quotes:
"... "When I was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush," You knew exactly where this article was going once you read the first 14 words. ..."
"... The author was chief ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush Administration. Why does that bother me? I realize this guy's term was from 2005 to 2007 and the Abu Ghraib story pretty much broke in early 2005, ..."
"... How much did the Clinton campaign pay for this Op-Ed? 'Every one does it' and 'it's not illegal'. 'It's how business is done.' How about doing a real in-depth investigation on the Clinton Foundation and perceived favors to donors NYT, instead of more opinion? ..."
"... Clearly a planted article. Nice try. Is everyone aware that the Foundation paid off Clinton's '08 campaign debt? They gave $400,000 and considered "payment for the campaign's mailing lists" ..."
"... According to former Justice Department Deputy Assistant Attorney General Shannen Coffin, there are at least three different categories of federal laws which may be implicated. ..."
"... One, the ethics and government act, which says you can't use a public office for private gain for yourself or even for a charity. So in giving special access to the donors for the Clinton Foundation, the ethics and government act is implicated. So perhaps Mr. Painter is a bit hasty dismissing such claims. ..."
"... If it was only about getting a government post or an arranged meeting, I would agree. But this seems different because significant amounts of money changed hands as a result of State Department intervention. And a lot of that money ended up at the Foundation or as speaking fees to Bill Clinton. How is this not seen as foreign donations effecting an American election - which I believe is illegal. ..."
"... Mr. Painter: You say "There is little if any evidence that federal ethics laws were broken by Mrs. Clinton". So if there is even "little" evidence that the laws were broken, then shouldn't American electorate consider it when making their election day decisions? ..."
"... You did not mention that there was no independent investigation on this subject, so there is no way to know whether there was "little" or "significant" or "overwhelming" evidence that the laws were broken. ..."
"... And finally, even if the written laws were not broken, what about the immorality of what Clintons did? Has morality been completely removed from the public square in this once great country? ..."
"... If there was no evidence of corruption at the Clinton Foundation, then why did Bill Clinton's speaking fees increase astronomically (from roughly $100,000 to $850,000) during Hillary's tenure at the State Department? ..."
"... as the neocons and neolibs in power withdraw from the govt's former "general welfare" Constitutional role and concentrate on enriching themselves and their friends - it would pay for citizens to become more aware of how the sector works. ..."
"... the system they devised inevitably empowers some groups more than others. Since democratic theory defines government officials as representatives of the voters, it encourages constituents to influence the decisions of those agents. Ideally, politicians should not favor the interests of some groups over others, but reality dictates otherwise. ..."
"... In the contest for influence, money inevitably plays a major, although not always decisive, role. In an effort to limit this role, we have developed both formal and informal methods to constrain human greed. The law prohibits bribery, for example. To discourage subtler forms of influence-buying, we have developed codes of ethics that pressure officials to limit financial connections with groups or individuals who might seek their help. ..."
"... Public opinion can serve as a powerful tool to enforce these codes. This explains the informal requirement that a president divest herself of financial connections that might affect her decisions. If Clinton rejects this tradition, she will undermine an important method of limiting the influence of moneyed interests in government. We have too few such tools as it is. ..."
"... Our laws are relatively stringent and prevent the crassest forms of corruption, and our culture makes lesser but legal offenses dangerous politically. But to imagine that any government, anywhere, could function without either those sorts of alliances or some equally corruptible strongman central oversight is is as naive and dangerously idealistic. ..."
"... How would someone feel if they found out that a doctor who prescribed them a medication is also paid large sums by a pharmaceutical company to promote the drug? Or, if the doctors owns substantial amount of stock in the company? Appearances do matter and it is likely that such conflicts do impact judgement. These kinds of allowances are being cleaned up across the country, at least in medicine. ..."
"... I am fine if they get higher salaries, but it is time to clean up the political corruption and crony capitalism. It is a shame that we hold our politicians to such incredible low standards and it is not a surprise that so many people don't bother to vote. ..."
"... It doesn't matter how good or bad the work of the Clinton Foundation is. That is not the question. The question is the motivation of many who contribute to the foundation. Are they motivated by altruism or is donating in a big way a ploy to gain access to Mrs. Clinton. ..."
"... I doubt that Clinton breached a fundamental legal boundary. However, the Clinton's have always seen the bright line and have decided to test the boundaries. From using police to secure women while governor to taking money from Walmart to major financial institutions to the email scandal, the Clinton's do it again and again and blame a vast right wing conspiracy. The Clinton foundation used Doug Band as a bag man securing commercial contracts for Bill and Hilary while he had a senior role at the foundation (flashing red lights). Huma took money off the state department books as did other Clinton confidants (flashing red lights), etc. They can't help themselves. Are these actives illegal? Probably not. However, we seek to be inspired by our leaders, we want leaders who are better than the average, better than us. ..."
"... When Bill can trot off to Russia, get 750k for a speech at the same time that business interests of the donor is before the State Department, it smells. The crux of the matter is the rotten judgement. ..."
"... You want a POTUS who has good judgement. The relentless chasing of a buck mixed with the appearance of impropriety, real or imagined, is the problem. When mixed with her poor judgement on the emails and her poor judgement on invading Iraq and disrupting Libya, you have a problem which explains her low approval rating. She is just fortunate that she has Trump to run against. ..."
"... If we look back to the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, those that were screaming the loudest for justice were having extramarital affairs during the "investigation". Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, Henry Hyde. And then there was Dennis Hastert. ..."
"... You bring up yet another problem with Hilary. She has covered for her sexual predator husband for decades, including harassing and publicly shaming her husband's sexual assault victims. And there are many going back to his Oxford days. How is that ok? ..."
"... The Trumpster won the Republican nomination precisely because of voter disgust over the in-crowd culture of politicians and donors. Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Democratic nomination for much of the same reason. Hilary and her entire family need to wake up fast if she has any hope or desire to get elected. We all know where Hilary's money is coming from. Does Hilary know where her voters are coming from and where they are now? ..."
"... To put this in a nutshell, The Clinton's self-enriching behavior- and use of public office for private gain - is troubling in the extreme ..."
"... During her tenure as Secretary of State (as reported by the AP) of the 154 non-official meetings at least 85 of those individuals were private-sector donors who contributed up to $156 million to Clinton Foundation initiatives. ..."
"... The report comes on top of other far more incriminating investigations revealing the appearance of quid pro quo with foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation. Perhaps the worst example was when investors who profited from the Clinton State Department's approval of a deal for Russia's atomic energy agency's acquisition of a fifth of America's uranium mining rights subsequently pumped money into the Clinton Foundation. ..."
"... I hate to say this but the Clintons are America's version of Russian Oligarchs - and their Foundation almost a glorified form of money laundering. I can only pray that in 2020, us Dems may find a better president ,and that the Clintons be soon forgotten. ..."
"... Without seeing the 30,000 deleted emails, how is anyone qualified to say no laws were broken? Besides, who cares what the chief ethics lawyer for a president who authorized torture thinks? ..."
Aug 31, 2016 | The New York Times

This is not the typical foundation funded by family wealth earned by an industrialist or financier. This foundation was funded almost entirely by donors, and to the extent anyone in the Clinton family "earned" the money, it was largely through speaking fees for former President Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton when she was not secretary of state. This dependence on donations - a scenario remarkably similar to that of many political campaigns - means that the motivations of every single donor will be questioned whenever a President Clinton does anything that could conceivably benefit such donors.

... ... ...

This kind of access is the most corrupting brand of favoritism and pervades the entire government. Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, top ambassadorial posts routinely go to campaign contributors. Yet more campaign contributors hound these and other State Department employees for introductions abroad, preferred access and advancement of trade and other policy agendas. More often than not the State Department does their bidding.

... ... ...

The problem is that it does not matter that no laws were broken, or that the Clinton Foundation is principally about doing good deeds. It does not matter that favoritism is inescapable in the federal government and that the Clinton Foundation stories are really nothing new. The appearances surrounding the foundation are problematic, and it is and will be an albatross around Mrs. Clinton's neck.

... ... ...

As for Chelsea Clinton, anti-nepotism laws, strengthened after President Kennedy appointed his brother Robert as attorney general, could prevent her mother from appointing her to some of the highest government positions. But she could give her mother informal advice, and there are a great many government jobs for which she would be eligible. She does not need the Clinton Foundation to succeed in life.

Richard W. Painter, a professor of law at the University of Minnesota, was the chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007.

Majortrout, is a trusted commenter Montreal 2 days ago

"When I was the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush," You knew exactly where this article was going once you read the first 14 words.

chichimax, albany, ny 2 days ago

I have a hard time focusing on this article. The author was chief ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush Administration. Why does that bother me? I realize this guy's term was from 2005 to 2007 and the Abu Ghraib story pretty much broke in early 2005, but, thinking about those other lawyers for that Bush and what they said was okay, it really gives me the creeps to think about focusing on anything this guy might say about ethics. Just sayin'.

Lori, San Francisco 2 days ago

How much did the Clinton campaign pay for this Op-Ed? 'Every one does it' and 'it's not illegal'. 'It's how business is done.' How about doing a real in-depth investigation on the Clinton Foundation and perceived favors to donors NYT, instead of more opinion?

If the foundation is so squeaky clean there should be no problem. Or has Hilary made it clear you won't get a front row seat at her next mythical press conference? Or has she threatened to stop sending you the press releases from her campaign you report as news?

Ange, Boston 2 days ago

Clearly a planted article. Nice try. Is everyone aware that the Foundation paid off Clinton's '08 campaign debt? They gave $400,000 and considered "payment for the campaign's mailing lists"

Crabby Hayes, Virginia 2 days ago

According to former Justice Department Deputy Assistant Attorney General Shannen Coffin, there are at least three different categories of federal laws which may be implicated.

One, the ethics and government act, which says you can't use a public office for private gain for yourself or even for a charity. So in giving special access to the donors for the Clinton Foundation, the ethics and government act is implicated. So perhaps Mr. Painter is a bit hasty dismissing such claims.

Randy, Largent 2 days ago

If it was only about getting a government post or an arranged meeting, I would agree. But this seems different because significant amounts of money changed hands as a result of State Department intervention. And a lot of that money ended up at the Foundation or as speaking fees to Bill Clinton. How is this not seen as foreign donations effecting an American election - which I believe is illegal.

Isa Ten, CA 2 days ago

Mr. Painter: You say "There is little if any evidence that federal ethics laws were broken by Mrs. Clinton". So if there is even "little" evidence that the laws were broken, then shouldn't American electorate consider it when making their election day decisions?

You did not mention that there was no independent investigation on this subject, so there is no way to know whether there was "little" or "significant" or "overwhelming" evidence that the laws were broken.

Your main argument is that "everyone" does that. Perhaps, it is time to change that and Trump is the man who can do it. Is it fear of this kind of change that frightens so many NeverTrumpsters into rejecting him?

And finally, even if the written laws were not broken, what about the immorality of what Clintons did? Has morality been completely removed from the public square in this once great country?

David Keltz, Brooklyn 2 days ago

If there was no evidence of corruption at the Clinton Foundation, then why did Bill Clinton's speaking fees increase astronomically (from roughly $100,000 to $850,000) during Hillary's tenure at the State Department?

Did he suddenly become more sought after, nearly 8 or 9 years after his presidency? If there was no evidence of corruption, then why did Hillary Clinton use her authority to appoint herself onto the Haiti Relief Fund Board, where her sole relief efforts entailed asking people not to donate to the Red Cross, but to the Clinton Foundation?

John D., Out West 2 days ago

One thing that comes through loud & clear in the comments: a lot of people don't have a clue how non-profit organizations work. For a sector that's responsible for most of the good things in this country these days - as the neocons and neolibs in power withdraw from the govt's former "general welfare" Constitutional role and concentrate on enriching themselves and their friends - it would pay for citizens to become more aware of how the sector works.

James Lee, Arlington, Texas August 31, 2016

The framers of our Constitution had no illusions about the weaknesses of human nature. They carefully crafted our charter of government to pit the officials of each branch against each other, to obstruct the kind of collusion that could undermine the foundations of a free society.

Despite their best efforts, however, the system they devised inevitably empowers some groups more than others. Since democratic theory defines government officials as representatives of the voters, it encourages constituents to influence the decisions of those agents. Ideally, politicians should not favor the interests of some groups over others, but reality dictates otherwise.

In the contest for influence, money inevitably plays a major, although not always decisive, role. In an effort to limit this role, we have developed both formal and informal methods to constrain human greed. The law prohibits bribery, for example. To discourage subtler forms of influence-buying, we have developed codes of ethics that pressure officials to limit financial connections with groups or individuals who might seek their help.

Public opinion can serve as a powerful tool to enforce these codes. This explains the informal requirement that a president divest herself of financial connections that might affect her decisions. If Clinton rejects this tradition, she will undermine an important method of limiting the influence of moneyed interests in government. We have too few such tools as it is.

confetti, MD August 31, 2016

I don't think that favoritism in political life will ever go away, for the simple reason that political power isn't attained in a vacuum. It requires sturdy alliances by definition, and those are forged via exchange of valued items - material goods, policy compromises, position, status, assistance and other durable support. Our laws are relatively stringent and prevent the crassest forms of corruption, and our culture makes lesser but legal offenses dangerous politically. But to imagine that any government, anywhere, could function without either those sorts of alliances or some equally corruptible strongman central oversight is is as naive and dangerously idealistic.

Of course the Clintons wheeled and dealed - but well within the law.

I'm more interested in what end that served and the real consequences than the fact that it occurred. In their case, an effective charity that aided many very vulnerable people was sustained, and no demonstrable compromises that negatively affected global policies occurred.

It's the Republicans and truly sold out Democrats, who have forever been deep in the pocket of big money and whose 'deals' in that department cause tangible harm to the populace, that I'm more concerned with. This is their smoke and mirrors show.

Alexander K., Minnesota August 31, 2016

How would someone feel if they found out that a doctor who prescribed them a medication is also paid large sums by a pharmaceutical company to promote the drug? Or, if the doctors owns substantial amount of stock in the company? Appearances do matter and it is likely that such conflicts do impact judgement. These kinds of allowances are being cleaned up across the country, at least in medicine.

It is time that conflict of interest for politicians at all levels is taken seriously by the public. I am fine if they get higher salaries, but it is time to clean up the political corruption and crony capitalism. It is a shame that we hold our politicians to such incredible low standards and it is not a surprise that so many people don't bother to vote.

Great editorial.

Michael Belmont, Hewitt, New Jersey 2 days ago

It doesn't matter how good or bad the work of the Clinton Foundation is. That is not the question. The question is the motivation of many who contribute to the foundation. Are they motivated by altruism or is donating in a big way a ploy to gain access to Mrs. Clinton. The AP analysis suggests that is just what went on. At the very least it looks bad. Appearances are everything in politics.

Hillary doesn't need to appear to be unethical should she be elected. Bad enough she has Bill by her side. She doesn't need a special prosecutor investigator distracting her presidency with an influence peddling scandal. Like it or not, Republicans will be hunting for her political hide. Hillary doesn't need to paint a bulls-eye for them.

Chris, 10013 2 days ago

I doubt that Clinton breached a fundamental legal boundary. However, the Clinton's have always seen the bright line and have decided to test the boundaries. From using police to secure women while governor to taking money from Walmart to major financial institutions to the email scandal, the Clinton's do it again and again and blame a vast right wing conspiracy. The Clinton foundation used Doug Band as a bag man securing commercial contracts for Bill and Hilary while he had a senior role at the foundation (flashing red lights). Huma took money off the state department books as did other Clinton confidants (flashing red lights), etc. They can't help themselves. Are these actives illegal? Probably not. However, we seek to be inspired by our leaders, we want leaders who are better than the average, better than us.

In the Clintons, we have highly competent, experienced, politicians who have repeated shown deep ethical problems. She is the best candidate by far. It's unfortunate that our future President never learned what ethics are.

Robert, Minneapolis 2 days ago

An interesting article. It is probably true that many, if not most, politicians are influence sellers to a degree. I suspect that the Clintons are just better at it. It is fair to say that we do not know if laws have been broken. But it is also fair to say that appearances matter, and that the Clintons are very good at lining their own pockets at the same time the foundation does it's good work.

When Bill can trot off to Russia, get 750k for a speech at the same time that business interests of the donor is before the State Department, it smells. The crux of the matter is the rotten judgement.

You want a POTUS who has good judgement. The relentless chasing of a buck mixed with the appearance of impropriety, real or imagined, is the problem. When mixed with her poor judgement on the emails and her poor judgement on invading Iraq and disrupting Libya, you have a problem which explains her low approval rating. She is just fortunate that she has Trump to run against.

Madelyn Harris, Portland, OR 2 days ago

So glad to see many NYT readers here recognize the hypocrisy in this opinion piece. The message is "All of them do it, it's mostly legal, though it's distasteful and problematic. However, Hillary is the only one who should stop doing it because it looks bad."

The loudest voices of this partisan attack should be under the same scrutiny and be compelled to practice what they preach. If we look back to the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, those that were screaming the loudest for justice were having extramarital affairs during the "investigation". Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, Henry Hyde. And then there was Dennis Hastert.

Let's start looking into the personal emails of Paul Ryan, Jason Chaffetz, Donald Trump, Trey Gowdy, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz. Imagine what we would find! Legal, but ethically problematic exchanges and clearly illegal exchanges that would justify imprisonment. If they ask for justice, we should provide it.

Lori, San Francisco 2 days ago

You bring up yet another problem with Hilary. She has covered for her sexual predator husband for decades, including harassing and publicly shaming her husband's sexual assault victims. And there are many going back to his Oxford days. How is that ok?

John D., Out West 2 days ago

An excellent piece, actually tethered to reality and non-profit law and practice ... finally! Yes, all the Clinton clan needs to divorce themselves from the foundation, and I'm not sure why they would wait until after the election to do so.

It seems the loudest critics are of the tribe that created campaign finance law as it stands today, with the CU case having created a legal system of bribery across the board in government. C'mon guys, be consistent, or it's the big H word for you!

RNW, Albany, CA 2 days ago

When it comes to ethics and public officials, appearances do in indeed MATTER! Cronyism and conflicts of interest might elicit a big yawn from the political class, their fellow travelers and camp followers but arouse anger and indignation from voters. Remember those guys?

We're the ones that politicians suddenly remember every few years with they come. hats in hand, begging for donations and, most of all, our votes. (The plea for donations is a farce. Except for a few outliers, they don't really need or want OUR donations.)

The Trumpster won the Republican nomination precisely because of voter disgust over the in-crowd culture of politicians and donors. Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Democratic nomination for much of the same reason. Hilary and her entire family need to wake up fast if she has any hope or desire to get elected. We all know where Hilary's money is coming from. Does Hilary know where her voters are coming from and where they are now?

Tembrach, Connecticut 2 days ago

I preface this by saying that I am proud Democrat & will vote for Mrs. Clinton, as Mr. Trump is beyond the pale of decency

To put this in a nutshell, The Clinton's self-enriching behavior- and use of public office for private gain - is troubling in the extreme

During her tenure as Secretary of State (as reported by the AP) of the 154 non-official meetings at least 85 of those individuals were private-sector donors who contributed up to $156 million to Clinton Foundation initiatives.

The report comes on top of other far more incriminating investigations revealing the appearance of quid pro quo with foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation. Perhaps the worst example was when investors who profited from the Clinton State Department's approval of a deal for Russia's atomic energy agency's acquisition of a fifth of America's uranium mining rights subsequently pumped money into the Clinton Foundation.

Mrs Clinton rightly condemns Trump for playing footsy with Putin. But pray tell, what exactly was this?

I hate to say this but the Clintons are America's version of Russian Oligarchs - and their Foundation almost a glorified form of money laundering. I can only pray that in 2020, us Dems may find a better president ,and that the Clintons be soon forgotten.

Thought Bubble, New Jersey 2 days ago

Without seeing the 30,000 deleted emails, how is anyone qualified to say no laws were broken? Besides, who cares what the chief ethics lawyer for a president who authorized torture thinks?

[Sep 03, 2016] At the Clinton Foundation, Access Equals Corruption

Sep 02, 2016 |

More than half of the people who managed to score a personal one on one meeting with Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State donated money to the Clinton Foundation, either as an individual or through a company where they worked. "Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million," the Associated Press reported.

Does that make Hillary corrupt? Yes. It does.

At this writing, there is no evidence that anyone received any special favors as a result of their special access to Clinton. Not that treats were not requested. They were. (The most amusing was Bono's request to stream his band's music into the international space station, which was mercifully rejected.)

That's irrelevant. She's still corrupt.

Clinton's defenders like to point out that neither she nor her husband draw a salary from their foundation. But that's a technicality.

The Clintons extract millions of dollars in travel expenditures, including luxurious airplane accommodations and hotel suites, from their purported do-gooder outfit. They exploit the foundation as a patronage mill, arranging for it to hire their loyalists at extravagant six-figure salaries. Charity Navigator, the Yelp of non-profits, doesn't bother to issue a rating for the Clinton foundation due to the pathetically low portion of money ($9 million out of $140 million in 2013) that makes its way to someone who needs it.

"It seems like the Clinton Foundation operates as a slush fund for the Clintons," says Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group.

As a measure of how institutionally bankrupt American politics is, all this crap is technically legal. But that doesn't mean it's not corrupt.

Public relations experts caution politicians like the Clintons that the appearance of impropriety is almost as bad as its actuality. If it looks bad, it will hurt you with the polls. True, but that's not really the point.

The point is: access is corruption.

It doesn't matter that the lead singer of U2 didn't get to live out his rocker astronaut fantasy. It's disgusting that he was ever in a position to have it considered. To put a finer point on it, ethics require that someone in Hillary Clinton's position never, ever take a meeting or correspond by email or offer a job to someone who donated money to her and her husband's foundation. Failure to build an unscalable wall between government and money necessarily creates a corrupt quid pro quo:

"Just got a call from the Clinton Foundation. They're shaking us down for a donation. Should we cough up a few bucks?"

"Hillary could be president someday. Chelsea could end up in the Senate. It couldn't hurt to be remembered as someone who threw them some money when they asked."

This, I 100% guarantee you, was the calculus when Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hillary for a one- or two-hour speech. She doesn't have anything new to say that everyone hasn't already heard million times before. It's not like she shared any valuable stock tips during those talks. Wealthy individuals and corporations pay politicians for one thing: access.

Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book "Snowden," the biography of the NSA whistleblower.

[Sep 02, 2016] HRC: "The Great Graspy"

Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

curlydan , September 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

HRC: "The Great Graspy"

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , September 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Good question, this NC reader is just pretty fed up with the status quo (maybe others want to chime in):
– Unlimited immunity from prosecution for banking executive criminals
– More shiny new undeclared "nation-building" and "RTP" wars
– Globalist trade deals that enshrine unaccountable corporate tribunals over national sovereignty, environmental and worker protection, and self-determination
– America's national business conducted in secrecy at the behest of corporate donors to tax-exempt foundations
– Paid-for quid-pro-quo media manipulation of candidate and election coverage
– Health care system reform designed to benefit entrenched insurance providers over providing access to reasonable-cost basic care.
Based on the above I'd say the 11:2 ratio looks about right.

Reply
Skippy , September 2, 2016 at 4:18 pm

When did neoliberalism become center left – ?????

[Sep 02, 2016] The Foundation is a tool to provide wealthy worthy individuals, groups, corporations, nations an expedited access to the government official, in this case Hillary

Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Marco , September 2, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Really enjoyed Atrios easy-breezy summation of Clinton Foundation / State Department skullduggery…

"…a bit unseemly in that way that the sausage factory is a bit gross, but it basically seems to fall in 'this is how things work' territory as far as I can tell…"

Pat , September 2, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Breezy is right. It does lead me to ask if this were not the Clinton Foundation but was the Bush Foundation or the Rubio Foundation or…would this still be just be the way things work? I do not think so.

Don't get me wrong I have great admiration for Atrios (he is right on the money regarding Social Security and self-driving cars), but the double standard where both Obama and Clinton are concerned is strong at Eschaton, and I'm sorry to say with him as well.

Accepting this as the way things work is just accepting that corruption is the norm and there is nothing to be done about it. So unless you are willing to shut up about supposed misdeeds of all elected officials and political candidates because this is the way it is done, you need to get the f*ck over the idea that this is NORMAL and ACCEPTABLE.

And I don't see that happening over there, or at Daily Kos, or… once the subject is out is out of the tribe.

Kurt Sperry , September 2, 2016 at 3:43 pm

I can understand the "it's OK when our people do it" double standard. Family/tribe/team, we are all trained to do that. What I don't understand is how one could ever arrive at Clinton Foundation = our people prerequisite to applying it in this instance. WT actual F?

Pat , September 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

I think you are coming at this from far too realistic a point of view. You aren't looking at this as the Foundation is a tool, like a speech or a fundraiser, in order to provide wealthy worthy individuals/groups/corporations/nations a means to expedite access to the government official, in this case Clinton. You think of it as a false charity. But for the greasing the wheels is normal operating procedure, what this was was a gift to open more avenues for the wheels to be greased. It's up to you…or me…or even the people of Flint among others to use that opportunity.

Just saying.

timbers , September 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Yes. And this too:

Breezy is right. It does lead me to ask if this were not the Clinton War With Russia but was the Bush War With Iraq or the Rubio War With Syria or…would this still be just be the way things work? I do not think so.

Don't get me wrong I have great admiration for Atrios (he is right on the money regarding Social Security and self-driving cars), but the double standard where both Obama and Clinton are concerned is strong at Eschaton, and I'm sorry to say with him as well.

Accepting this as the way things work is just accepting that endless and new wars is the norm and there is nothing to be done about it. So unless you are willing to shut up about supposed endless new wars of all elected officials and political candidates because this is the way it is done, you need to get the f*ck over the idea that this is NORMAL and ACCEPTABLE.

And I don't see that happening over there, or at Daily Kos, or… once the subject is out is out of the tribe.

pretzelattack , September 2, 2016 at 4:40 pm

yeah, very well said. tammany hall, just the way things are done. jim crow laws, just the way things are done. endless etc's.

[Sep 02, 2016] 40 pieces of evidence that "the Clinton Foundation is not just a fraud, it's a massive fraud

Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
aliteralmind , September 2, 2016 at 2:13 pm

I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles Ortel yesterday:

Charles Ortel: 40 days, 40 pieces of evidence that "the Clinton Foundation is not just a fraud, it's a massive fraud"

Jim Haygood , September 2, 2016 at 2:37 pm

"Bill Clinton wrote a book in 2007 called 'Giving' [for which he was paid $6.3 million]."

Give and ye shall receive, as the pious "Bill" is wont to say. /sarc

grayslady , September 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Excellent interview. I've bookmarked Ortel's website and am looking forward to his forthcoming writings. I was not aware of the differences between laws regulating charities versus other forms of organizations, so the interview as a starting point was very useful for me.

[Aug 29, 2016] Reince Priebus Demands Public Release of All Communications Between Clinton Foundation and State Department

www.breitbart.com

Breitbart

Hillary Clinton's pay-for-play scandal is threatening to derail her campaign. Public outrage follows revelations that the Foundation took foreign cash during Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, that Clinton aide Huma Abedin was helping Foundation donors get favors and access from the State Department, and that Clinton aide Cheryl Mills was doing assignments for the Clinton Foundation while on the State Department payroll.

In a letter Monday to Foundation president Donna Shalala, Priebus demands transparency.

"I am writing to you to call on the Clinton Foundation and all of the entities under its umbrella to release all correspondence its officials had with the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state," Priebus added.

As I am sure you are well aware, a spate of recent news reports involving the Clinton Foundation's relationship with the Clinton State Department has renewed serious concerns about conflicts of interest and whether donors to the foundation benefitted from official acts under then-Secretary Clinton.

[Aug 29, 2016] Why Did Saudi Regime Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to Clinton Foundation?

"It isn't just "suspicious." It's influence peddling, which is corrupt by definition. And there's a whole infrastructure, institutional and technical, to support it." Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Notable quotes:
"... here you have Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton having this Clinton Foundation, with billions of dollars pouring into it from some of the world's worst tyrannies ..."
"... Bill and Hillary Clinton are being personally enriched by those same people, doing speeches, for many hundreds of thousands of dollars, in front of them, at the same time that she's running the State Department, getting ready to run for president, and soon will be running the executive branch. ..."
"... the problem here is that the Clintons have essentially become the pioneers of eliminating all of these lines, of amassing massive wealth from around the world, and using that to boost their own political power, and then using that political power to boost the interests of the people who are enriching them in all kinds of ways. ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | Democracy Now!

[W]hat Donna Brazile said in that video that you played is nothing short of laughable. It's not questioned when Republicans do favors for their donors? Of course it is. In fact, it's been a core, central critique of the Democratic Party, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for years, that Republicans are corrupt because they serve the interest of their big donors. One of the primary positions of the Democratic Party is that the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court has corrupted politics because it allows huge money to flow into the political process in a way that ensures, or at least creates the appearance, that people are doing favors for donors.

And so, here you have Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton having this Clinton Foundation, with billions of dollars pouring into it from some of the world's worst tyrannies, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and other Gulf states, other people who have all kinds of vested interests in the policies of the United States government. And at the same time, in many cases, both Bill and Hillary Clinton are being personally enriched by those same people, doing speeches, for many hundreds of thousands of dollars, in front of them, at the same time that she's running the State Department, getting ready to run for president, and soon will be running the executive branch.

And so, the problem here is that the Clintons have essentially become the pioneers of eliminating all of these lines, of amassing massive wealth from around the world, and using that to boost their own political power, and then using that political power to boost the interests of the people who are enriching them in all kinds of ways. And of course questions need to be asked, and suspicions are necessarily raised, because this kind of behavior is inherently suspicious. And it needs a lot of media scrutiny and a lot of attention, and I'm glad it's getting that.

[Aug 29, 2016] Justice Stevens dissent in Citizens United (via @ggreenwald ) shreds the central argument of Hillarys defenders

Notable quotes:
"... On numerous occasions we have recognized Congress' legitimate interest in preventing the money that is spent on elections from exerting an "'undue influence on an officeholder's judgment"' and from creating "4he appearance of such influence,"' beyond the sphere of quid pro quo relationships. I ..."
"... Corruption can take many forms. Bribery may be the paradigm case. But the difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind. And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one's behalf. ..."
"... Corruption operates along a spectrum, and the majority's apparent belief that quid pro quo arrangements can be neatly demarcated from other improper influences docs not accord with the theory or reality of politics. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
On numerous occasions we have recognized Congress' legitimate interest in preventing the money that is spent on elections from exerting an "'undue influence on an officeholder's judgment"' and from creating "4he appearance of such influence,"' beyond the sphere of quid pro quo relationships. Id., at 150; see also. e.g., id., at 143-144. 152-154; Colorado II, 533 U. S.. at 441; Shrink Missouri. 528 U. S., at 389.

Corruption can take many forms. Bribery may be the paradigm case. But the difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind. And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one's behalf.

Corruption operates along a spectrum, and the majority's apparent belief that quid pro quo arrangements can be neatly demarcated from other improper influences docs not accord with the theory or reality of politics.

It certainly does not accord with the record Congress developed in passing BCRA. a record that stands as a remarkable testament to the energy and ingenuity with which corporations, unions, lobbyists, and politicians may go about scratching each other's backs - and which amply supported Congress' determination to target a limited set of especially destructive

[Aug 29, 2016] If Clinton gets elected, she will be under investigation prior to the inauguration.

Notable quotes:
"... Hillary will win, and it will be more than business as usual. Influence peddling and pay to play will accelerate. The neocon money will flow into the system and foreign policy will be a debacle. We may very well be approaching WWIII. ..."
"... Under a Clinton II presidency, long-term international turmoil and confrontation lie ahead no matter what their family foundation may attempt to achieve. ..."
Aug 28, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Scott in MD , August 26, 2016 at 6:20 am

If Clinton gets elected, she will be under investigation prior to the inauguration. The Republicans will use their hold on the house to start several investigations on November 9.

However, the GOP (continuing a party tradition) will cruise right past several true issues, and lock onto the one thing they believe will hold the most shock value. This will turn out to not be provable, or not be all that interesting to anyone but die-hard GOP supporters, and she will exit the investigations as powerful, if not more so, than before.

There are plenty of reasons to investigate the Clinton machine, but if you expect this clown show to do it competently I have a bridge to sell you…

collin , August 26, 2016 at 9:47 am
No this one is backfiring already as most of the donors were people HRC would have met anyway, including Nobel Peace winners! and the 89 out of 154 people has not been released. And the article does not note any mischief but that there were meetings!

Or that there are a ton of other government officials have spouses that run well run charities. Matt Yglesias has de-bunked this one a lot and my guess disappears relatively quickly.

This is as worthless evidence as Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.

Johann , says: August 26, 2016 at 9:50 am

Hillary will win, and it will be more than business as usual. Influence peddling and pay to play will accelerate. The neocon money will flow into the system and foreign policy will be a debacle. We may very well be approaching WWIII.

The economy will continue to hollow out due to central bank hubris, government stimulus, and non-free trade deals. Income inequality will get worse. The middle class will continue to shrink.

We are well on our way to third world status.

Samuel Hooper , says: August 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm
After leaving office, Bill Clinton could have devoted his energies to Habitat for Humanity (like Jimmy Carter) or thrown his energies into helping an existing organisation (like the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation). He didn't, because he wanted the "fruits" of his philanthropic work to accrue to him and his family. And so it is not unreasonable to ask exactly what those fruits are, especially those gained while Hillary Clinton was serving as the nation's chief diplomat.
Steve Thompson \, says: August 26, 2016 at 2:41 pm
Here is an article that quite succinctly explains, in her own words, Hillary Clinton's views of America's role in the world:
http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/08/rebuilding-globe-in-hillary-clintons.html

Under a Clinton II presidency, long-term international turmoil and confrontation lie ahead no matter what their family foundation may attempt to achieve.

[Aug 29, 2016] Clinton under new threat as email woes and foundation questions merge by David UsborneF:\Private_html\author.txt

independent.co.uk

The two sources of her problems are beginning to merge much as two weather depressions might collide and become a hurricane. One is the already well-trodden matter of her use of a private email server while Secretary of State. The other relates to the Clinton Foundation and whether donors received preferential access to her while she served in that post.

Two bombs dropped on the Clinton campaign at once on Monday. First it emerged that the FBI has collected and delivered to the State Department almost 15,000 new emails not previously seen and a federal judge ordered the department to accelerate their release to the public. Meanwhile, a conservative group called Judicial Watch released details of still more emails detailing exactly how donors to the foundation set about trying to get Ms Clinton's attention.

... ... ...

Questions have been swirling for weeks about whether or not Ms Clinton was drawn into giving special favours to some of her husband's pals in return for their giving generously to the charitable foundation he set up after leaving the presidency – a pay and play arrangement. On Monday, Judicial Watch unveiled details that showed exactly how that might have happened thanks to emails it had accessed through the courts sent to and from Huma Abedin, a close Clinton confidante and her deputy chief of staff during her four years at the State Department.

... ... ...

In attempt to forestall the trouble that is already upon his wife, Mr Clinton announced this week that should she win the presidency, several things will change at his Foundation. First and foremost it would cease to take money from any foreign governments and donors and only from US-based charities and individuals. He would also step down from the foundation entirely and cease personally to raise funds for it.

...many voters are simply afraid that with Ms Clinton in the White House the whole tawdry cycle will just start all over again and nothing else with get done in Washington

[Aug 29, 2016] Hillary Clinton pushes fundraising limits with $200,000 tickets for single Silicon Valley house party

independent.co.uk

It was only one in a long parade of late-August fundraisers Ms Clinton has attended, but it stands out for the generosity required of those who attended. The price of admission for the 20-odd guests who obliged was a stunning $200,000. That was double the $100,000 charged for guests who mingled recently with Ms Clinton in Omaha at the home of Susan Buffett, the daughter of Warren Buffett, the veteran investment oracle.

... ... ...

As of Monday, she and Mr Kaine had harvested no less than $32 million for the Hillary Victory Fund, which will be distributed to her campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties. A lot of was raised in last week as Ms Clinton hopscotched from party to party on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Code in Massachusetts.

[Aug 27, 2016] Artists Impression Of Hillary Clintons Old Office

Notable quotes:
"... Source: MichaelPRamirez.com ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Presented with no comment...

Source: MichaelPRamirez.com

Here2Go d nmewn •Aug 27, 2016 8:37 PM
Is that Huma in a blue dress under the Resolute desk?
Pairadimes d Here2Go •Aug 27, 2016 9:14 PM
Ramirez is a genius.
zeronetwork d debtor of last resort •Aug 27, 2016 8:15 PM

The thought process Donald has started is not going to fade very soon. Still few weeks before election. I am sure Donald got some more cards in his sleeve.
are we there yet •Aug 27, 2016 8:36 PM
I have a solution for Hillary's in-continuance and mobility declining problems. The chair behind the presidents desk should be a wheelchair with a bedpan. Otherwise the term 'campaign trail' will take on a whole new meaning.

[Aug 27, 2016] The Corruption Perception Index depends on the perception which can be molded by the media

Notable quotes:
"... I check the CPI every now and then looking for the US to drop. The Corruption Perception Index depends on the perception which can be molded by the media. But as more people wake up, I expect the US ranking to drop. Our 2015 ranking is 16 (behind countries in north-east Europe and Canada and New Zealand). http://www.transparency.org/cpi2015 ..."
Aug 27, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org
Curtis | Aug 27, 2016 3:46:24 PM | 98
I check the CPI every now and then looking for the US to drop. The Corruption Perception Index depends on the perception which can be molded by the media. But as more people wake up, I expect the US ranking to drop. Our 2015 ranking is 16 (behind countries in north-east Europe and Canada and New Zealand).
http://www.transparency.org/cpi2015

Interesting that 72% say US Govt efforts against corruption are ineffective and 72% say the level of corruption increased from 2007 to 2010.
http://www.transparency.org/country/#USA_PublicOpinion

[Aug 26, 2016] Lots of Smoke Here, Hillary

Notable quotes:
"... If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition. ..."
"... Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million. ..."
"... Conclusion: access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more. ..."
"... On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library. ..."
Aug 26, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Prediction: If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition.

... ... ...

Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million.

Conclusion: access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more.

To get to the seventh floor of the Clinton State Department for a hearing for one's plea, the cover charge was high. Among those who got face time with Hillary Clinton were a Ukrainian oligarch and steel magnate who shipped oil pipe to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions and a Bangladeshi economist who was under investigation by his government and was eventually pressured to leave his own bank.

The stench is familiar, and all too Clintonian in character.

Recall. On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library.

The Clintons appear belatedly to have recognized their political peril.

Bill has promised that, if Hillary is elected, he will end his big-dog days at the foundation and stop taking checks from foreign regimes and entities, and corporate donors. Cash contributions from wealthy Americans will still be gratefully accepted.

One wonders: will Bill be writing thank-you notes for the millions that will roll in to the family foundation-on White House stationery?

[Aug 21, 2016] Ukraine Releases More Details on Payments for Trump Aide, Paul Manafort

What a bunch of neoliberal piranha, devouring the poorest country in Europe, where pernneers exist on $1 a day or less, with the help of installed by Washington corrupt oligarchs (Yanukovich was installed with Washington blessing and was controlled by Washington, who was fully aware about the level of corruption of its government; especially his big friend vice-president Biden).
Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Kalyuzhny was also a founding board member of a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, that hired the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm that received $1.02 million to promote an agenda generally aligned with the Party of Regions. ..."
"... Because the payment was made through a nongovernmental organization, the Podesta Group did not register as a lobbyist for a foreign entity. A co-founder of the Podesta Group, John D. Podesta, is chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and his brother, Tony Podesta, runs the firm now. ..."
"... The Podesta Group, in a statement, said its in-house counsel determined the company had no obligation to register as a representative of a foreign entity in part because the nonprofit offered assurances it was not "directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party." ..."
"... On Monday, Mr. Manafort issued a heated statement in response to an article in The New York Times that first disclosed that the ledgers - a document described by Ukrainian investigators as an under-the-table payment system for the Party of Regions - referenced a total of $12.7 million in cash payments to him over a five-year period. ..."
"... In that statement, Mr. Manafort, who was removed from day-to-day management of the Trump campaign on Wednesday though he retained his title, denied that he had personally received any off-the-books cash payments. "The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical," he said. ..."
Aug 18, 2016 | The New York Times

MOSCOW - The Ukrainian authorities, under pressure to bolster their assertion that once-secret accounting documents show cash payments from a pro-Russian political party earmarked for Donald J. Trump's campaign chairman, on Thursday released line-item entries, some for millions of dollars.

The revelations also point to an outsize role for a former senior member of the pro-Russian political party, the Party of Regions, in directing money to both Republican and Democratic advisers and lobbyists from the United States as the party tried to burnish its image in Washington.

The former party member, Vitaly A. Kalyuzhny, for a time chairman of the Ukraine Parliament's International Relations Committee, had signed nine times for receipt of payments designated for the Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, according to Serhiy A. Leshchenko, a member of Parliament who has studied the documents. The ledger covered payments from 2007 to 2012, when Mr. Manafort worked for the party and its leader, Viktor F. Yanukovych, Ukraine's former president who was deposed.

Mr. Kalyuzhny was also a founding board member of a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, that hired the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm that received $1.02 million to promote an agenda generally aligned with the Party of Regions.

Because the payment was made through a nongovernmental organization, the Podesta Group did not register as a lobbyist for a foreign entity. A co-founder of the Podesta Group, John D. Podesta, is chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and his brother, Tony Podesta, runs the firm now.

The role of Mr. Kalyuzhny, a onetime computer programmer from the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, in directing funds to the companies of the chairmen of both presidential campaigns, had not previously been reported. Mr. Kalyuzhny was one of three Party of Regions members of Parliament who founded the nonprofit.

The Associated Press, citing emails it had obtained, also reported Thursday that Mr. Manafort's work for Ukraine included a secret lobbying effort in Washington that he operated with an associate, Rick Gates, and that was aimed at influencing American news organizations and government officials.

Mr. Gates noted in the emails that he conducted the work through two lobbying firms, including the Podesta Group, because Ukraine's foreign minister did not want the country's embassy involved. The A.P. said one of Mr. Gates's campaigns sought to turn public opinion in the West against Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister who was imprisoned during Mr. Yanukovych's administration.

The Podesta Group, in a statement, said its in-house counsel determined the company had no obligation to register as a representative of a foreign entity in part because the nonprofit offered assurances it was not "directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party."

Reached by phone on Thursday, a former aide to Mr. Kalyuzhny said he had lost contact with the politician and was unsure whether he remained in Kiev or had returned to Donetsk, now the capital of a Russian-backed separatist enclave.

Ukrainian officials emphasized that they did not know as yet if the cash payments reflected in the ledgers were actually made. In all 22 instances, people other than Mr. Manafort appear to have signed for the money. But the ledger entries are highly specific with funds earmarked for services such as exit polling, equipment and other services.

On Monday, Mr. Manafort issued a heated statement in response to an article in The New York Times that first disclosed that the ledgers - a document described by Ukrainian investigators as an under-the-table payment system for the Party of Regions - referenced a total of $12.7 million in cash payments to him over a five-year period.

In that statement, Mr. Manafort, who was removed from day-to-day management of the Trump campaign on Wednesday though he retained his title, denied that he had personally received any off-the-books cash payments. "The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical," he said.

Mr. Manafort's statement, however, left open the possibility that cash payments had been made to his firm or associates. And details from the ledgers released Thursday by anticorruption investigators suggest that may have occurred. Three separate payments, for example, totaling nearly $5.7 million are earmarked for Mr. Manafort's "contract."

Another, from October 2012, suggests a payment to Mr. Manafort of $400,000 for exit polling, a legitimate campaign outlay.

Two smaller entries, for $4,632 and $854, show payments for seven personal computers and a computer server.

The payments do not appear to have been reported by the Party of Regions in campaign finance disclosures in Ukraine. The party's 2012 filing indicates outlays for expenses other than advertising of just under $2 million, at the exchange rate at the time. This is less than a single payment in the black ledger designated for "Paul Manafort contract" in June of that year for $3.4 million.

Ukrainian investigators say they consider any under-the-table payments illegal, and that the ledger also describes disbursements to members of the central election committee, the group that counts votes.


Correction: August 20, 2016

Because of an editing error, an article on Friday about the political activities in Ukraine of Donald J. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, misidentified the office once held by Yulia V. Tymoshenko, a rival of Mr. Manafort's client, the former president Viktor F. Yanukovych. Ms. Tymoshenko served as prime minister of Ukraine, not its president.

[Aug 01, 2016] Progressive Leaders Urge Voters To Wait To #DemExit Until After State Primaries

Notable quotes:
"... Progressives who are fed up with the Democratic leadership's adherence to the status quo are calling for a major #DemExit on July 29. ..."
www.inquisitr.com

Progressives who are fed up with the Democratic leadership's adherence to the status quo are calling for a major #DemExit on July 29. However, progressive groups, such as Black Men for Bernie, are urging voters to stay in the party until they have a chance to vote in their states' primaries, especially if they live in closed or semi-closed primary states.

Abstaining from #DemExit until after state and local primaries is especially important for Florida, which has a closed primary. On August 30, Professor and legal expert Tim Canova has a chance to unseat Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, whose tenure as the head of the Democratic Party has been fraught with controversy and more recently, allegations of election fraud and rigging.

A mass exodus, therefore, could sabotage progressives' own agenda to elect officials who are challenging incumbents and establishment candidates. As of now, 23 states and territories have local and state primaries up until September 13, so it is imperative for current members of the Democratic party to stay until they've voted and then commit to #DemExit.

[Jul 12, 2016] Credentialism and Corruption: The Opioid Epidemic and the Looting Professional Class

Notable quotes:
"... "The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas" ..."
"... The German Ideology ..."
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
"... Yves dropped the phrase "the looting professional class," and I said "I've got to post on that!" ..."
"... The question we posed then as now: "How do these people live with themselves?" (For a discussion of the medical aspects of opioids in general and the regulatory state of play, see here and here .) ..."
"... Based purely on timing, it seems likely that developments in the medical and pharmaceutical industries played a significant role in setting off the epidemic of drug poisonings, which increased more than sixfold in the white-middle-aged demographic between 1999 and 2013, and which played an important role in raising its over-all mortality rate. By many accounts, the widespread misuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin, began in the late nineties and rapidly became a chronic problem. ..."
"... There is, however, something that does make white men and women in the U.S. unique compared with other demographics around the world: their consumption of prescription opioids. Although the U.S. constitutes only 4.6 percent of the world's population, Americans use 80 percent of the world's opioids. As Skinner and Meara point out in their study, a disproportionate amount of these opioid users are white, and past studies have shown that doctors are much more willing to treat pain in white patients than in blacks. ..."
"... The body count is comparable to the AIDS epidemic ..."
"... We calculated that about 500,000 middle-age Americans died who would still be alive. AIDS has killed more than that but the numbers are in the same ballpark. The comparison is useful because people have a hard time thinking about changes in mortality rates-so many per 100,000. And everyone knows about HIV/AIDS: People wear ribbons and it is seen as a national tragedy. But there are no ribbons, no awareness for this, and there should be. ..."
"... OxyContin was successfully marketed by Purdue Pharma ("successfully" rather in the way that HIV is successful, only with different transmission vectors). ..."
"... The American Journal of Public Health ..."
"... Los Angeles Times ..."
"... I was shocked by the LA Times reporting on Purdue. They clearly knew that they were part of the supply chain with Distributors, Pharmacies, Doctors and old fashioned drug dealers who were facilitating thousands of deaths though Oxycontin addiction and overdoses. They set up safety monitoring committees which did practically nothing by design. Selling death for profit. Shame on them. ..."
"... Purdue had one final shot at avoiding trial: A motion for summary judgment. … To make this critical argument, the company tapped Eric Holder Jr ., who had been the nation's first African American deputy attorney general. On Oct. 13, 2004, the man who would become President Obama's attorney general argued that West Virginia prosecutors didn't have sufficient evidence to warrant a trial. ..."
"... I'm sure a Psychologist could say this more factually than I, but if you job depends on it or at least benefits from it, 2 degrees of separation from cause and effect is enough to declare moral innocence in ones mind. ..."
"... Professionals are intelligent enough to fool themselves into believing this with hi consistency. In that respect they are no different from the looting bankers. ..."
"... The general idea is that the more distant an object is from the individual, the more abstract it will be thought of, while the closer the object is, the more concretely it will be thought of. ..."
"... Ethical Amnesia . ..."
"... Although you are making a strong argument against our particular credentialed class, my sense is that this behavior will arise in any social hierarchy with more than four or five levels. ..."
"... Distance makes it abstract. The dangerous part is when abstraction makes it distant…like when a human is reduced to 'what do you do for a living?' – the polite version of 'How much do you make?' "I am a professor." ..."
"... Does the professor know how many molecules have to be moved to make a buck? Not too many, with oxycontin. A particularly efficient enterprise whose externality is the exact opposite of a ride on the last ship out. ..."
"... Remember the famous Millgram experiment? Two degrees of separation- Physical because the subject was behind a mirror in a "laboratory" observation room, and psychological because the "scientist" in a lab coat supported and encouraged extreme levels of torture which the subjects complied with. ..."
"... Rather similar to the level of detachment exhibited by Obama when he participates in selecting targets for assassination by remote control drone. Or Hellary Clinton chortling as she recalls viewing video of Gaddafi being sodomized with a bayonet. ..."
"... Self-delusion is the opium of the people. ..."
"... I'm not sure it's simply a matter of obliviousness. In the case of the database designer, the institution feeding him/her the data needs him/her to not get too curious, in other words to willfully remain oblivious. This is quite often achieved by means of an implicit threat: in tech, it's usually the threat of being replaced by someone much younger or by a H1B visa holder. In sales, individuals and teams are often pitted against each other in strict competition, a practice that has ruined several companies, most notably Sears. Marketing is an extremely cutthroat field, and firms will do practically anything to one up each other, including the unethical and illegal. The implicit war of all against all creates a Zeitgeist of insecurity that incentivizes looking the other way or adopting a cultivated obliviousness. ..."
"... Yes those professions didn't strike me as too hot either. I.T. fields are flooded with H1Bs, being a salesrep can at times be an easy job to get but often isn't (and so salesreps often put up with a lot of crazy) etc.. ..."
"... We all pick our poison and how much we can live with. And yet most people believe in the ideology of making people scramble for money. They think it makes people "work hard" or "compete" or "add value" but just as absolutely it will make people cut corners. Because they have to because they need that money to live. And yet we still think completion is good. ..."
"... There are still people trying to run up the down escalator. But people who own the escalator keep cranking up the speed. ..."
"... As a life-long member of this credentialed professional class (specifically, media, even though the credentials are informal at best), I can say from experience at several of the large media corporations that many, if not most, employees in the editorial ranks are well aware of the damage the industry does to this country (it's more abstract, perhaps, than the pharma example, but it's real). Many speak up, but no one can speak up every time they are asked to execute an unethical or mindless order whose sole goal is to increase ratings and, by extension, "shareholder value." ..."
"... well most heroin in the usa comes from mexico and the Jalisco Boys cartel, helped by nafta. afghani heroin supplies europe and asia. just an fyi. ..."
"... Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic ..."
"... The story of oxycodone is one of rampant criminality: the clinical trials, the approval process, and the marketing are all riddled with probable fabrications and manifest misrepresentations. ..."
"... The behavior described in this article is clearly terrible, but it doesn't seem fair to blame 20% of the population for this type of thing. You often advise us that generations don't have agency, and the same can be said for economic classes. Most of the people in the richest 20% could be classified as "professionals", as in doctors, lawyers, stock brokers, engineers, managers, etc., but I suspect there are some master plumbers and electricians in that category as well. ..."
"... I think (a) the lessons of the Milgram experiment (trust your boss; go with the program) and (b) the U. Sinclair notion of can't believe X if you're paycheck depends on not-X … these 2 factors have a lot to do with the separation of the 20% from the 80%. They don't explain the origin, but I think they speak to the persistence. ..."
"... See also pharmaceuticals promotion of effective pain management schemes and punishment of those not adhering to the narrative. ..."
"... Profiting from supplying opioids is one thing, but what happens when billionaire real estate developers and hedge fund cash start getting into the recovery and mental health business? ..."
"... In my opinion, Americans are getting slowly poisoned and they are not getting any help either because the US food industry is allowed to sabotage the access to unadulterated foodstuff. This is one of many reasons that people "here" hate the TTIP & Co: We don't want to be American! We don't want US business practices. ..."
"... Looting is definitely the right term here. I suspect there are many actors who became fabulously wealthy from the prescription opioid (and amphetamine – ADD medications like Adderal are analogues to street Methamphetamine) scam. ..."
"... The kind of destructive social conduct was noted by cultural anthropologists studying cultures affected by Euopean colonization. As the meaning of the culture was drained by colonial predation, the societies degraded, people lost direction, language changed rapidly and the previous social networks unraveled. Essentially, the colonized no longer saw or felt that there was a place for them. ..."
"... Everything about constant sitting is bad for the body, and when the sedentary body starts moving, things get worse, because terrible movement patterns are ingrained. There'd have to be nationwide physical therapy to solve it. I recommend reading and following 'deskbound' by Kelly Starrett, if you're a sedentary person. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

"The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas" –Karl Marx, The German Ideology

By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

Readers liked our initial post on life under neoliberalism and the salaried (or professional (or " 20%") ) classes, and the follow-up, on life under neoliberalism in the newsroom .

So Yves and I were chatting the other day, the Yves dropped the phrase "the looting professional class," and I said "I've got to post on that!" This is that post, and I'm going to use that concept as a lens to examine the opioid epidemic in the white working class, since the professional classes - and not all individuals so classed! - enabled so much of it. The question we posed then as now: "How do these people live with themselves?" (For a discussion of the medical aspects of opioids in general and the regulatory state of play, see here and here .)

Deaths from Opiods are like the AIDS Epidemic

Let's start by looking at the briefly famous Case-Deaton study, and its study of mortality in the white working class, taking education levels as a proxy for class[1]. (For NC's late 2015 discussion of the Case-Deaton study, with an embedded copy of the study itself, see here , and for a follow-up from Barbara Ehrenreich, see here .) From WaPo , on the study and its interpretation:

The research showed that the mortality rate for whites between the ages of 45 and 54 with a high school education or less rose dramatically between 1999 and 2013, after falling even more sharply for two decades before that.

That reversal, almost unknown for any large demographic group in an advanced nation, has not been seen in blacks or Hispanics or among Europeans, government data show. The report points to a surge in overdoses from opioid medication and heroin, liver disease and other problems that stem from alcohol abuse, and suicides.

[Deaton's] analysis: "There's this widening between people at the top and the people who have a ho-hum education and they're not tooled up to compete in a technological economy. … Not only are these people struggling economically, but they're experiencing this health catastrophe too, so they're being hammered twice."

Another economist who reviewed the study for PNAS used almost the same words.

"An increasingly pessimistic view of their financial future combined with the increased availability of opioid drugs has created this kind of perfect storm of adverse outcomes," said Jonathan Skinner, a professor of economics at Dartmouth College.

(The Case-Deaton study had a moment in early 2016, as pundits connected it to Trump voters ( "America's Self-Destructive Whites" ), and then dropped off the radar. And it wasn't all that easy to get Case-Deaton on the radar in the first place; it was instantly rejected by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), before being published in the less prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.)

Let's look more closely at the potential role of opiods, and in particular OxyContin, in Case-Deaton results. Kevin Drum writes:

On a related note, the famous Case/Deaton paper showing a rise in white mortality since 2000 breaks out three categories of death: suicides, liver disease (a proxy for alcohol abuse), and drug poisoning. All three have gone up, but poisoning has gone up far, far more than the others. The first two have increased about 50 percent since 2000. Poisoning has increased about 1,500 percent. This coincides with the period when Oxy became popular, and probably accounts for a big part of the difference between increased white mortality in America vs. other countries. Oxy is a famously white drug, and may also account for the fact that mortality has increased among whites but not blacks or Hispanics.

The New Yorker is more circumspect :

Based purely on timing, it seems likely that developments in the medical and pharmaceutical industries played a significant role in setting off the epidemic of drug poisonings, which increased more than sixfold in the white-middle-aged demographic between 1999 and 2013, and which played an important role in raising its over-all mortality rate. By many accounts, the widespread misuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin, began in the late nineties and rapidly became a chronic problem.

And the Times does some genuine reporting . While not mentioning OxyContin specifically:

The Times analyzed nearly 60 million death certificates collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 1990 to 2014…

The analysis shows that the rise in white mortality extends well beyond the 45- to 54-year-old age group documented by a pair of Princeton economists in a research paper that startled policy makers and politicians two months ago…

While the death rate among young whites rose for every age group over the five years before 2014, it rose faster by any measure for the less educated, by 23 percent for those without a high school education, compared with only 4 percent for those with a college degree or more.

The drug overdose numbers were stark. In 2014, the overdose death rate for whites ages 25 to 34 was five times its level in 1999, and the rate for 35- to 44-year-old whites tripled during that period. The numbers cover both illegal and prescription drugs.

Rising rates of overdose deaths and suicide appear to have erased the benefits from advances in medical treatment for most age groups of whites. Death rates for drug overdoses and suicides "are running counter to those of chronic diseases," like heart disease, said Ian Rockett, an epidemiologist at West Virginia University.

In fact, graphs of the drug overdose deaths look like those of deaths from a new infectious disease, said Jonathan Skinner, a Dartmouth economist. "It is like an infection model, diffusing out and catching more and more people," he said.

And why the white working class? OxyContin and opiod prescription patterns by doctors :

There is, however, something that does make white men and women in the U.S. unique compared with other demographics around the world: their consumption of prescription opioids. Although the U.S. constitutes only 4.6 percent of the world's population, Americans use 80 percent of the world's opioids. As Skinner and Meara point out in their study, a disproportionate amount of these opioid users are white, and past studies have shown that doctors are much more willing to treat pain in white patients than in blacks.

Putting a new spin on the word "privilege," eh?

The body count is comparable to the AIDS epidemic. Slate interviewed Dr. Angus Deaton :

You told the New York Times that HIV/AIDS is the only good analogue as far as these death rates go. Can you expand on that comparison?

We calculated that about 500,000 middle-age Americans died who would still be alive. AIDS has killed more than that but the numbers are in the same ballpark. The comparison is useful because people have a hard time thinking about changes in mortality rates-so many per 100,000. And everyone knows about HIV/AIDS: People wear ribbons and it is seen as a national tragedy. But there are no ribbons, no awareness for this, and there should be.

"No ribbons." Odd, that. Or not[3].

Summing up: We're looking at a deadly epidemic, in the white working class, previously unnoticed, fueled in part by OxyContin[2], and only briefly "on the radar." So where does the "looting professional class" come in? To understand that, let's turn to how Oxycontin is marketed and delivered through the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The "Looting Professional Class" as a Transmission Vector

OxyContin was successfully marketed by Purdue Pharma ("successfully" rather in the way that HIV is successful, only with different transmission vectors). Pacific Standard has a fine summary :

Starting in 1996, Purdue Pharma expanded its sales department to coincide with the debut of its new drug. According to an article published in The American Journal of Public Health , " The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin: Commercial Triumph, Public Health Tragedy ," Purdue increased its number of sales representatives from 318 in 1996 to 671 in 2000. By 2001, when OxyContin was hitting its stride, these sales reps received annual bonuses averaging over $70,000, with some bonuses nearing a quarter of a million dollars. In that year Purdue Pharma spent $200 million marketing its golden goose. Pouring money into marketing is not uncommon for Big Pharma , but proportionate to the size of the company, Purdue's OxyContin push was substantial.

Boots on the ground was not the only stratagem employed by Purdue to increase sales for OxyContin. Long before the rise of big data, Purdue was compiling profiles of doctors and their prescribing habits into databases. These databases then organized the information based on location to indicate the spectrum of prescribing patterns in a given state or county. The idea was to pinpoint the doctors prescribing the most pain medication and target them for the company's marketing onslaught.

That the databases couldn't distinguish between doctors who were prescribing more pain meds because they were seeing more patients with chronic pain or were simply looser with their signatures didn't matter to Purdue. The Los Angeles Times reported that by 2002 Purdue Pharma had identified hundreds of doctors who were prescribing OxyContin recklessly, yet they did little about it. The same article notes that it wasn't until June of 2013, at a drug dependency conference in San Diego, that the database was ever even discussed in public.

Combining the physician database with its expanded marketing, it would become one of Purdue's preeminent missions to make primary care doctors less judicious when it came to handing out OxyContin prescriptions.

Beginning around 1980, one of the more significant trends in pain pharmacology was the increased use of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. Like other pharmaceutical companies, Purdue likely sought to capitalize on the abundant financial opportunities of this trend. The logic was simple: While the number of cancer patients was not likely to increase drastically from one year to the next, if a company could expand the indications for use of a particular drug, then it could boost sales exponentially without any real change in the country's health demography.

This was indeed one of OxyContin's greatest tactical successes. According to "The Promotion and Marketing of OxyContin," from 1997 to 2002 prescriptions of OxyContin for non-cancer pain increased almost tenfold.

(These people are super-smart, and you've got to admire the brilliance. It's shiny!) Pulling out the professionals from that narrative, we have:

But Purdue Pharma's marketing effort is not the only transmission vector. Let's look at the entire supply chain. From a report (PDF) by Kaiser titled "Follow the Pill" (and which might more useful be titled "From Vat to Vein"):

The pharmaceutical supply chain is the means through which prescription medicines are delivered to patients. Pharmaceuticals originate in manufacturing sites; are transferred to wholesale distributors; stocked at retail, mail-order, and other types of pharmacies; subject to price negotiations and processed through quality and utilization management screens by pharmacy benefit management companies (PBMs); dispensed by pharmacies; and ultimately delivered to and taken by patients. There are many variations on this basic structure, as the players in the supply chain are constantly evolving, and commercial relationships vary considerably by geography, type of medication, and other factors. ….

The pharmaceutical supply system is complex, and involves multiple organizations that play differing but sometimes overlapping roles in drug distribution and contracting. This complexity results in considerable price variability across different types of consumers, and the supply chain is not well understood by patients or policymakers. Increased understanding of these issues on the part of policymakers should assist in making rational policy decisions for the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

It certainly should, given that the entire supply chain is a vector for an AIDS-like epidemic, eh? So, again, we have:

Except now not merely for Purdue's marketing effort, but for OxyContin manufacturers, wholesale distributors, pharmacy benefit management companies, and pharmacies. That's a biggish tranche of the 10%, no?

Conclusion

CEOs, marketing executives, database developers, marketing collateral designers, the sales force, middle managers of all kinds, and doctor: All these professions are highly credentialed. And all have, or should have, different levels of responsibility for the mortality rates from the opoid epidemic; executives have fiduciary responsibility; doctors take the Hippocratic Oath; those highly commissioned sales people knew or should have known what they were selling. Farther down the line, to a database designer, OXYCONTIN_DEATH_RATE might be just another field. Or not! And due to information asymmetries in corporate structures, the different professions once had different levels of knowledge. For some it can be said they did not know. But now they know; the story is out there. As reader Clive wrote:

Increasingly, if you want to get and hang on to a middle class job, that job will involve dishonesty or exploitation of others in some way.

And you've got to admit that serving as a transmission vector for an epidemic falls into the category of "exploitation of others."

But where does the actual looting come in? The easiest answer is through our regimen of intellectual property rights. Pacific Standard once again :

In its first year, OxyContin accounted for $45 million in sales for its manufacturer, Stamford, Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma. By 2000 that number would balloon to $1.1 billion, an increase of well over 2,000 percent in a span of just four years. Ten years later, the profits would inflate still further, to $3.1 billion. By then the potent opioid accounted for about 30 percent of the painkiller market. What's more, Purdue Pharma's patent for the original OxyContin formula didn't expire until 2013. This meant that a single private, family-owned pharmaceutical company with non-descript headquarters in the Northeast controlled nearly a third of the entire United States market for pain pills.

Would Purdue's CEOs (and sales force) have been so incentivized to loot profit from the suffering flesh of working class people without that looming patent expiration? Probably not. The epidemic, then, might not have been so virulent. But I think the issue of looting is both deeper and more pervasive. Returning to the story of Tony , the stressed-out pharmacist who wanted to do right by his patients, instead of following the profit-driven scripts of his managers:

Recall again that corruption, as Zephyr Teachout explains, is not a quid pro quo, but the use of public office for private ends. I think the point of credentials is to create the expectation that the credentialed is in some sense acting in a quasi-official capacity, even if not an agent of the state. Tony, a good pharmacist, was and is trying to maintain a public good, on behalf of the public: Not merely the right pill for the patient, but the public good of trust between professional and citizen, which Boots is trying to destroy, on behalf of the ruling idea of "shareholder value." Ka-ching.

And :

If economists ask themselves "What good is a degree?" the answer is "to signal a requirement for a higher salary!" (because it's not easy to rank the professions by the quality of what they deliver). We as citizens might answer that professionals are in some ways amphibians: They serve both private ends and preserve public goods, and the education for which they are granted their credentials forms them for this service. For example, a doctor who prescribes medications for his patients because Big Pharma takes him golfing is no doctor but corrupt; he's mixed up public and private. He didn't follow his oath.

Consider trust as a public good. We might, then, look at that public good as "good will" on the balance sheet of the professional class. The looting comes as professionals draw down the good will for (as executives) stock options, for (as managers) bonuses, for (as sales people) commissions, and for the small fry salaries, wages, and the wonderful gift of continued employment status. And all the professionals who willingly served as transmission vectors for the AIDS-like opioid epidemic will be seen to have looted their professional balance sheet as the workings of the system of which they were a part become matters of public knowledge.

How do they live with themselves?[4]

NOTES

[1] The New Yorker does this beautifully exactly because it's so unconscious of its moves: "The big puzzle is why the recent experience of middle-aged white Americans with modest educations has been so different." Always credentials, eh?

[2] I don't want to get into a chicken-or-egg discussion of whether working class suffering fueled the drugs, or working class drugs the suffering. Linear thinking isn't useful when an epidemic has complex causes, so I say both, mutually reinforcing each other. For a humane look at the epidemic in context, see the writing , the tweeting , and the photography of Chris Arnade, former bond trader.

[3] The facts that researchers were "startled" by the Case-Deaton results, and that both NEJM and JAMA immediately rejected their paper - on an epidemic of an AIDS-like scale, too - really does cry out for explanation. Since it would be irresponsible not to speculate, I'd urge that consideration be given to the idea that (vulgar) identity politics , which is one of the "ruling ideas" in the professional classes, makes virtue signalling by professionals on working class topics difficult, and virtue signalling on white working class issues nearly impossible. Professors Case and Deaton are exceptions to this rule, of course, but perhaps they were not virtue signalling at all, but acting as disinterested, honorable scholars. There is always that possibility, even today!

[4] Let me issue my ritual disclaimer: I don't want to come off as priggish. If I had hostages to fortune, and especailly if I had to support a family, especially in today's new normal, I might put my head down and save ethics for the home. "Person must not do what person cannot do." - Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time.

sd , July 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm

I posted this in Links this morning. Articles recently in the LA Times.

How black-market OxyContin spurred a town's descent into crime, addiction and heartbreak
http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-oxycontin-everett/

More than 1 million OxyContin pills ended up in the hands of criminals and addicts.
What the drugmaker knew
http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-oxycontin-part2/

How is Purdue Pharma still in business?

Nealser , July 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

I was shocked by the LA Times reporting on Purdue. They clearly knew that they were part of the supply chain with Distributors, Pharmacies, Doctors and old fashioned drug dealers who were facilitating thousands of deaths though Oxycontin addiction and overdoses. They set up safety monitoring committees which did practically nothing by design. Selling death for profit. Shame on them.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , July 11, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Is this pharmaceutical, and many others, like the gun-makers in this case? Should they not be excluded, but should be held accountable, as Hillary claims regarding gunmakers?

SteveB , July 11, 2016 at 5:07 pm

I think that would depend on how much they donated to the Clinton foundation…..

Left in Wisconsin , July 12, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Having read to the end of comments below and not seeing this info, I think it is worthwhile noting a couple of the identities of specific class agents who have had a hand in this. From Part 1 of the LA Times series:

1.To obtain FDA approval, Purdue had to demonstrate that OxyContin was safe and as effective as other pain drugs on the market. Under agency guidelines for establishing duration, the company had to show that OxyContin lasted 12 hours for at least half of patients. Purdue submitted the Puerto Rico study, which showed that.

The FDA approved the application in 1995.

Dr. Curtis Wright, who led the agency's medical review of the drug , declined to comment for this article. Shortly after OxyContin's approval, he left the FDA and, within two years, was working for Purdue in new product development , according to his sworn testimony in a lawsuit a decade ago.

2. In the fall of 2004, in a remote courthouse in Appalachia, the 12-hour dosing issue came close to a public airing. The West Virginia attorney general was pressing a lawsuit against Purdue demanding reimbursement of "excessive prescription costs" paid by the state through programs for the poor and elderly. The state accused the company of deceptive marketing, including the 12­-hour claim.

Purdue's legal team made numerous attempts to get the suit dismissed or moved from state to federal court, where the company had succeeded in getting many cases tossed out. All these efforts failed.

Purdue had one final shot at avoiding trial: A motion for summary judgment. … To make this critical argument, the company tapped Eric Holder Jr ., who had been the nation's first African American deputy attorney general. On Oct. 13, 2004, the man who would become President Obama's attorney general argued that West Virginia prosecutors didn't have sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

I'm not saying the computer programmer doesn't have a moral obligation to do the right thing. But some class agents are clearly more powerful than others.

Tim , July 11, 2016 at 1:15 pm

I'm sure a Psychologist could say this more factually than I, but if you job depends on it or at least benefits from it, 2 degrees of separation from cause and effect is enough to declare moral innocence in ones mind.

Professionals are intelligent enough to fool themselves into believing this with hi consistency. In that respect they are no different from the looting bankers.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 2:37 pm

> 2 degrees of separation from cause and effect

Excellent formulation, but can anybody back it up with analysis? (The nice thing about formulating this as a supply chain is that the degrees of separation become quite evident.)

grizziz , July 11, 2016 at 3:59 pm

You might consider Construal Level Theory which considers psychological distance. The general idea is that the more distant an object is from the individual, the more abstract it will be thought of, while the closer the object is, the more concretely it will be thought of.
And of course as part of our increasingly mapped human nature there is Ethical Amnesia .

Although you are making a strong argument against our particular credentialed class, my sense is that this behavior will arise in any social hierarchy with more than four or five levels.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Thanks very much.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , July 11, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Distance makes it abstract. The dangerous part is when abstraction makes it distant…like when a human is reduced to 'what do you do for a living?' – the polite version of 'How much do you make?' "I am a professor."

"Hey, I think that enhances your chance, as the spouse or partner, of getting on that last ship out of a dying Earth."

(Instead of abstraction, an example is offered here).

cnchal , July 11, 2016 at 8:58 pm

"I am a professor."

Does the professor know how many molecules have to be moved to make a buck? Not too many, with oxycontin. A particularly efficient enterprise whose externality is the exact opposite of a ride on the last ship out.

Crazy Horse , July 12, 2016 at 5:23 pm

Remember the famous Millgram experiment? Two degrees of separation- Physical because the subject was behind a mirror in a "laboratory" observation room, and psychological because the "scientist" in a lab coat supported and encouraged extreme levels of torture which the subjects complied with.

Rather similar to the level of detachment exhibited by Obama when he participates in selecting targets for assassination by remote control drone. Or Hellary Clinton chortling as she recalls viewing video of Gaddafi being sodomized with a bayonet.

Self-delusion is the opium of the people.

Uahsenaa , July 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm

I'm not sure it's simply a matter of obliviousness. In the case of the database designer, the institution feeding him/her the data needs him/her to not get too curious, in other words to willfully remain oblivious. This is quite often achieved by means of an implicit threat: in tech, it's usually the threat of being replaced by someone much younger or by a H1B visa holder. In sales, individuals and teams are often pitted against each other in strict competition, a practice that has ruined several companies, most notably Sears. Marketing is an extremely cutthroat field, and firms will do practically anything to one up each other, including the unethical and illegal. The implicit war of all against all creates a Zeitgeist of insecurity that incentivizes looking the other way or adopting a cultivated obliviousness.

Even in the hallowed halls of academe, you see this play out. When the graduate student union was negotiating its most recent contract with the U of Iowa, the dean of the graduate college said straight out that the contract they wanted would "price them out of the market." Lo and behold, since then, the University has met all of the increased demand on teaching (higher enrollment=more classes) by hiring ad hoc contingent faculty. The number of permanent positions created to meet this demand is functionally zero.

Alex morfesis , July 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Purdue pharma saleswoman Kimberly workman…involved in first case of pill mill dox charged with murder, dr denis deonanine (acquitted)…in sun sentinal article, june 11,2002, she is quoted as having testified when confronted by pharmacist kenneth zie***** that deonanine was overboard and going to be a problem…

her response was…

"well that's really a shame"…

but during trial pharmacist kenneth also testified kimberly called complaining when he stopped selling the 160 dosage…

It appears that "in theory" she was not working for purdue as the trial progressed…

But…she $hows up on a web search as having submitted and funded a research study for purdue in 2013.

as its original patent expired purdue arranged with the fda to "ban" any generics as being:

"too dangerous"…

but the new and improved(vit dem helpz oft demz german koompanee tex-know-low-geez) oxykraken which now prevents the capacity to melt it on a spoon and shoot it up, is available with the new expandapatent program from the fda (federal dollar addition) program…

jrs , July 11, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Yes those professions didn't strike me as too hot either. I.T. fields are flooded with H1Bs, being a salesrep can at times be an easy job to get but often isn't (and so salesreps often put up with a lot of crazy) etc..

We all pick our poison and how much we can live with. And yet most people believe in the ideology of making people scramble for money. They think it makes people "work hard" or "compete" or "add value" but just as absolutely it will make people cut corners. Because they have to because they need that money to live. And yet we still think completion is good.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 4:37 pm

There are still people trying to run up the down escalator. But people who own the escalator keep cranking up the speed.

ekstase , July 11, 2016 at 6:02 pm

That metaphor used to be connected to teaching. Now it seems to apply to everyone still trying to behave decently, bless their little hearts.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_the_Down_Staircase

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , July 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Competition will get tough, when in the future, everyone needs to get a college degree, and lacking money for tuition is no longer a setback, except the 'IQ not sufficiently high' barrier (for those not taking the less traveled path).

Then, you will need a master's or a Ph.D. to beat back your fellow serf-competitors for that money to live.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , July 11, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Professionals, credentialism – what kind of free college education have they gotten, that will be free in the future?

jrs , July 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Maybe they are no different from the minimum wage worker who takes a job at McDonalds. We know McDonalds food isn't healthy, it likely increases heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes etc. So is the minimum wage worker who is helping this by taking a job at Mikey D's also intelligent enough to fool themselves into believing this with consistency and no different than the looting bankers?

Oh the minimum wage worker might be more desperate for work, but frankly while they may pay more, half the professions listed above don't have a good job market either if we are actually going to be honest about things.

NoOne InParticular , July 11, 2016 at 5:49 pm

As a life-long member of this credentialed professional class (specifically, media, even though the credentials are informal at best), I can say from experience at several of the large media corporations that many, if not most, employees in the editorial ranks are well aware of the damage the industry does to this country (it's more abstract, perhaps, than the pharma example, but it's real). Many speak up, but no one can speak up every time they are asked to execute an unethical or mindless order whose sole goal is to increase ratings and, by extension, "shareholder value."

The chronic complainer will be considered a narcissistic idealist and eventually be fired (typically in a downsizing purge) or, at best, be marginalized. The only hope for those honest people in the ranks is to find an ally slightly higher in the food chain who is willing to fight some of these battles. And that person, in turn, is also in the same boat anyway. The people with families are in the tightest bind and I've never envied them (I have no family to take care of). For years now I went home at night ashamed of what I do. The only satisfying days were those in which I did speak up and someone above welcomed my opinion or even agreed. The worst days were when someone above just laughed dismissively at my concerns.

Ike , July 11, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Not to mention the Military-Industrial Complex where I think this type of analysis is directly applicable, only the degree of separation is 3 or 4. I see this type of behavior in the building industry. But with this Industry, Errors & Omissions Insurance tends to keep malfeasance and ignorance at bay. Since my work has to be documented and the results are relatively immediate and prominent in the Environment, the degree of separation is kept to one or zero. And maybe that is the solution? Keeping the degree of separation at a negligible number?

Northeaster , July 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm

The campaign contributions to both my state and CONgress Members by the opiate industry is extensive. Which of course makes sense, as Massachusetts has a large footprint in this industry, as well as opiate overdoses/deaths.

A recent article featuring a local police chief here shows that Narcan must now be used 2-3 times to revive folks. However, quantifying what an "epidemic" is has been difficult. If a friend or family member has died from opiate over dosage, then it would probably appear to be an epidemic.

Then again, now that drug cartels from all corners of the globe can now manufacture opiates, supply & demand rules, along with unfettered access to a market where appetites to get high need to be satiated.

Judith , July 11, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Another part of the story: production quotes are established by the DEA:

http://deachronicles.quarles.com/2013/04/dea_uneasy_with-oxycodone/

Anon , July 11, 2016 at 1:31 pm

The lack of ethical behavior from the credentialed class has many origins. The best attitude when dealing with the credentialed class is caveat emptor . Especially in a society where accumulation of money (and celebrity) is the pinnacle of "success".

I'm part of the credentialed class, but after sour experience with other doctors, lawyers, architects, priests, and politicians the only prudent path is to watch what they do, not what they say.

Brian , July 11, 2016 at 1:38 pm

See:

cocomaan , July 11, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Call me a freaky conspiracy theorist, but the availability first of oxy and then later of heroin in North America coincides with the US occupation of Afghanistan. That's not an accident. Thebaine isn't something we can synthesize yet, so it has to come from somewhere.

bob k , July 11, 2016 at 2:24 pm

well most heroin in the usa comes from mexico and the Jalisco Boys cartel, helped by nafta. afghani heroin supplies europe and asia. just an fyi.

cocomaan , July 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm

The cartels get it from Afghanistan, though, because Afghanistan supplies the lion's share of opium.

nowhere , July 11, 2016 at 4:35 pm

It's weird that it doesn't seem to be accounted though:

pg 160 Table VII
pg 164 Table VIII

Where does all of that poppy production go?

JS , July 11, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Actually, no, the black tar that most poor people in the heartland turn to after they can no longer afford Oxy is grown in Mexico, not Afghanistan.

In an added irony, Mexican farmers turned to it after NAFTA destroyed their ability to make a living growing their traditional crops.

Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones does a good job of describing how Oxy and then Mexican black tar took over the U.S: https://www.amazon.com/Dreamland-True-Americas-Opiate-Epidemic/dp/1620402521/

bob k , July 12, 2016 at 2:03 pm

thank you for clarifying. now the mexican cartels are producing fentanyl which is even stronger than heroin and adding it to heroin. police are reporting more overdoses because of this deadly combo.

I remember a movie the panic in needle park where the junkies were always worried about then the shipment would arrive. you might remember the french connection. that was the 70s when poppies were grown in places like turkey.

Now there are never panics. there's always mexican black tar.

fajensen , July 12, 2016 at 3:34 am

Sure "we" can, see here:

"A microbial biomanufacturing platform for natural and semisynthetic opioids"
http://www.nature.com/nchembio/journal/v10/n10/full/nchembio.1613.html

I checked it out a bit too, out of professional interest. To get started, one would need two courses: "Introductory laboratory techniques" and "Experimental synthetic biology" both available at the "Danish Technical University" (DTU) for a modest fee (About 800 USD). If there is enough people signing up, they will run these courses over the summer holidays (usually, there is, the summer courses are supplementary lessons for students who flunked their semester exams).

Part of the reason for the collapse and trouble we are in, is that scarcity is more or less over, so, it has to be manufactured to protect all the investments in obsolete thinking and no-longer-needed imperial acquisitions.

bob k , July 11, 2016 at 1:58 pm

as to "how do they live with themselves'" let's turn to the immortal John Lennon:

Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn't matter much to me

Dwight , July 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm

This analysis applies to the epidemic of doctor-prescribed amphetamines by adolescents and increasingly younger children. Dr. Peter Breggin is a source for informed outrage on this issue.

xformbykr , July 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm

"before being published in the less prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.)"
this raised an eyebrow, since the PNAS was about the most prestigious place to publish among biochemists (when I was in that world, back in the 70s);

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 2:33 pm

I couldn't think of a way to say "medically prestigious" by deadline! I check PNAS regularly…

Uahsenaa , July 11, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Prestige seems not to be the appropriate angle here, since the journals in question are all in the same echelon. What's more interesting is a point Deaton himself makes about the second rejection, namely that simply identifying an alarming phenomenon was insufficient in itself, that they had to additionally provide some kind of causal justification for this phenomenon. This is beyond strange and seems to indicate what you imply elsewhere in that paragraph, that there seems to be a willful desire not to know this analogous to the way "education reformers" constantly overlook the fact that poverty is the only reliable indicator of failing or sub par schools.

I presume education and neoliberalism is on the docket at some point? It's probably to most well-documented example of crapification.

xformbykr , July 11, 2016 at 2:18 pm

PS above comment was only a 'nit', issued before finishing reading the story; the 'nit' does not subtract from the impact of the story!

Shilo , July 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm

The Times analyzed nearly 60 MILLION? death certificates? Sounds like there are jobs for data serfs at the New York Times!

p.s. Lambert: My relative in the coding field reports that hospitals are beginning to outsource that job overseas.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 2:34 pm

So that will make it easier to abolish the whole business and go to single payer!

dk , July 11, 2016 at 3:31 pm

I appreciate this article in several ways, but you lose me with "Consider trust as a public good".

This goes in contrast to the quote from Clive:

Increasingly, if you want to get and hang on to a middle class job, that job will involve dishonesty or exploitation of others in some way.

We're over-populated and competing with each other, how could it be otherwise? Trust, without some amount of research, coupled with a period of observation, is a completely naive idea. It always entails risk. The conflation of "trust" with some kind of faith that has an actual consequent effect is mystical thinking.

Trust can be observed in small isolated communities where everyone knows each other; in that kind of context, dishonesty and exploitation are quickly recognized. That's the context from which it entered our cultures and "moralities". But increase population drastically, and also increase the range of movement between regions, and and the research and observation become complex, more difficult to perform and even more difficult to persist. Socio-economic complexities make it easier and easier to avoid the encumberments of past error, or dishonesty. (I hope I don't have to explain how the internet fails to solve this problem, and also can't).

And even further, a form of trust is actually operating within exploitative groups like the aggregates of CEOs/Marketing executives/Database developers/Marketing collateral designers/The sales force/Middle managers of all kinds. The trusted principle is, play along and we'll all make some money, and woe to the one that upsets our apple cart. To the extent that trust exists and operates, it's not necessarily a good thing.

I would love to live in a world where trust, as a discrete positive value, was more viable, but at the moment, this isn't it. So let's please get past that, and look at how we can conduct ourselves as a community in which the members must continue to prove themselves in every instance. Because that is what is required in any case.

Okay I lied. I actually like this world. The pretenses of trust are being shown for what they are (which is, false and lazy). I think it's a good time to be alive and seek dignity; the fact that it's becoming more difficult just makes it more important and worthwhile to do so. And global warming, too? Bring it!

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Hmm. I'm not sure that's true. I was thinking of what Graeber IIRC calls everyday communism; the idea that stranger A asking B for directions to the post office gets directions to the post office. Well, granted, not in some cultures that are really people pleasing, but at least you won't get directions that take you over a hidden pit of knives, or under a tripwire that will explode a bomb. That's a basic level of trust, society-wide, and I think these professionals are violating it.

Now, if there's some economist-techie-geeky reason why that's not a public good I need to think again, but it certainly seems like a public good to me.

dk , July 11, 2016 at 7:36 pm

No argument that the individuals in question (pros or otherwise) are violating trust, at least collectively, and in some cases individually.But this doesn't mean that credentials are a good medium for establishing trust. My argument is that short of verification by reference and observation, there is no sure and durable source for trust (other than faith, which can even be maintained after the trust has been violated). Verification and observation, those are the "public goods"; "trust" is their abstract product.

My travelling experiences suggest that asking a stranger for post office directions is considerably more risky if one is clearly an outsider to the community (language, dress, complexion, etc). No pits or bombs, but knives and similar weapons were involved more than once. But then, I do not limit myself to the touristy destinations (in tourist context, the visitor is considered to be something of a community member).

I think the ideal that a stranger will, or even should, get equal treatment with established community members is suspect. It's one of the fallacies in the imperialist capitalist dream of access to everywhere (and look, they have a McDonalds!), king for a day every day, no matter where I go, because my money is good. Bourgeois socialists have funny blind spots in the vicinity of conceits they retain from their native cultural contexts, I think this is one of them.

Strangers are either guests (which requires some kind of sponsorship, with conventions applying to both courtesy and restraint), or potentially hostile until proven otherwise. This is the rule of the road, and not just for humans. And the reasons for this go back to research (reference, or the absence of it) and observation over time being the basis for valid trust. An ignorant visitor and ignorant local are both at risk until sufficient information has been exchanged and accepted. The risk may have nothing to do with malign intent; disease, ignorance of local safety concerns, protection of natural resources…

The locals that waylaid me were (trying to) retain some of the wealth passing through their turf for their local economy; the profits of tourist hotels and shops largely bypassed their communities. I had absolutely no problem in principle with them doing it, and on some occasions made friends from these initial encounters (in other cases merely escaping).

To tail it back to the original topic, then value of credentials (as a trust medium) weakens in relation to the sizes of the population and the region. Hucksters busted in one town move on to the next; the larger their range of options and marks, the easier it is for them. Credentials can be forged, their references can be corrupted, their media can be hacked. As tokens of trust, they're problematic at best. Credentials may not be intrinsically useless, but unless we understand the operation of trust (by any media) in practice, and how it can fail, we shouldn't invoke them as either a solution or a problem.

I think that the idea that fraud and corruption can be safely curtailed by philosophy or legislation (something of a static trust mechanism) alone is also suspect; we're inquisitive problem solvers and keen observers, any weaknesses of flaws in a system will eventually be discovered, and unless understood and addressed, exploited. All living things do this (although not always as individuals, or even at the phenotype level).

So what's the solution to corruption and fraud? Pay freakin attention and check the math. On everything. Expect problems, and solve them as you go…. people make honest mistakes, too. But don't get fooled twice.

elime divad , July 11, 2016 at 3:31 pm

The story of oxycodone is one of rampant criminality: the clinical trials, the approval process, and the marketing are all riddled with probable fabrications and manifest misrepresentations.
Thanks for this useful summary!
Maybe someday our country will have a criminal justice system to punish acts like mass murder.

PQS , July 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Very good analysis and piece, LS.

"Shareholder value" = 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse, IMO.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 4:50 pm

Thank you.

DSP , July 12, 2016 at 9:05 am

I thought the Fifth Horseman was "sound economic advice."

readerOfTeaLeaves , July 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm

If you are a doctor seeing 4 patients per hour, 8+ hours per working day, and also covering weekend rotations, you are time constrained. Given the brief time you are able to spend with patients (plus the fact that the drug rep dropped in earlier), it is simpler for most doctors to write one more prescription; they do it all day.

Having been looted for tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs over the past five years, this post hits home. Like other patients fed up with being on meds, I started looking for alternatives. They exist.

Prediction: one of the next shifts in health care will be called Functional Medicine.
And it is one response, one 'push back' to the incentivized looting and drug dependency of current medical care.

Here is a one-minute clip from a BBC series of a doctor taking a Functional Medicine approach:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3JNtgbT234
Note the absence of exam room settings; the doctor is going out into the community, including people's homes.
And at no point does he simply hand out prescriptions; he dumps the crap out of their kitchen cupboards, advises them on how to shop for groceries, introduces patients to new foods, works out with at least one of them, and provides feedback about their progress.

His patients are far, far less likely to be looted than your conventional patient.
And he is able to develop the insight, time, and trust to be able to help patients make choices that improve their health – in some cases, tremendously.

My link is to a BBC video, because I'm unaware of a US equivalent for this content.
I am, however, very aware of doctors in the US who are implementing versions of this, or trying new ways to make more time to meet with patients, and create lifestyle-oriented interventions (as opposed to writing prescriptions).

This is the future of health care, partly because the greed of looting is killing the Golden Goose of the (insured) American middle class.

Good and decent people do not spend years of their lives in medical school in order to become part of an entrenched system of looting: the people that I know, who are passionate about health care, do not want to play by The Looting Rules. Those crappified rules lead to poor patient outcomes.

Smart, competent doctors do not want to squander their talent by enabling looters.
There are brilliant, insightful people who are thinking hard, and risking plenty, to develop new means of health care delivery. They are gutsy as hell, and determined.

I think that this post could be multiple by 1,000,000 if you think of all the people who are actively attempting to revitalize health care and make it more patient-focused. This post has a tiger by the tail.
Kudos to Yves and Lambert for this gem.

jrs , July 11, 2016 at 4:40 pm

For providing symptom relief to actual physical pain obviously marijuana is an alternative to opiates, maybe not strong enough for late stage cancer and the like so opiates still have their limited and legitimate uses, but an alternative for many other things being treated with opiates. We're only allowed to legalize it now that the Oxy patent has worn off.

Minor semi-opiates like Kratum can also sometimes be used an alternative although they have more addictive potential than marijuana.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for the tip on functional medicine (as opposed to, I assume, dysfunctional medicine).

Vatch , July 11, 2016 at 4:11 pm

"the looting professional class" the salaried (or professional (or "20%")) classes

The behavior described in this article is clearly terrible, but it doesn't seem fair to blame 20% of the population for this type of thing. You often advise us that generations don't have agency, and the same can be said for economic classes. Most of the people in the richest 20% could be classified as "professionals", as in doctors, lawyers, stock brokers, engineers, managers, etc., but I suspect there are some master plumbers and electricians in that category as well.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 4:44 pm

We don't have clear language for this (for some reason). I'm trying to tease it out by contextualizing the professions in the supply chain, and by underlining that there are honorable professionals in every field. I'm aware that the language is deeply imperfect - people have trouble speaking in Venn diagrams, it seems to be a feature that English doesn't support - but I'm working to improve it. As the granularity improves, the sense of agency improves. (Of course, I can think of professions that shouldn't exist at all, like "Concentration Camp Guard" or "Trofim Lysenko Chair of Genetics" but those are edge cases.)

Adding, income is a poor proxy for social relations, sadly. It's what we have!

CraaaaaaaaaaazyChris , July 12, 2016 at 5:22 am

This exchange and the one above with 'dk' pulled me in. I fear I don't have clear language either, but I want to add this about 'trust' and the professional class:

I think (a) the lessons of the Milgram experiment (trust your boss; go with the program) and (b) the U. Sinclair notion of can't believe X if you're paycheck depends on not-X … these 2 factors have a lot to do with the separation of the 20% from the 80%. They don't explain the origin, but I think they speak to the persistence.

Vatch , July 12, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Milgram and Sinclair - that's a couple of powerful motivations! Good insight!

Marc , July 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm

See also pharmaceuticals promotion of effective pain management schemes and punishment of those not adhering to the narrative.

https://addictionunscripted.com/kingpinsoxycontin-heroin-and-the-sackler-sinaloa-connection/

Marc , July 11, 2016 at 5:27 pm

I would also refer to recent medical study on pain medications' effect on continuation of pain sensation after pain relief occurring in placebo groups.

Oystercatcher , July 11, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Profiting from supplying opioids is one thing, but what happens when billionaire real estate developers and hedge fund cash start getting into the recovery and mental health business?

http://www.addictionpro.com/article/exclusive-200-million-investment-will-launch-major-science-based-treatment-chain

gardenbreads , July 11, 2016 at 4:21 pm

It is not surprising that JAMA and NEJM immediately rejected the paper. From the health care community point of view Case-Deaton
(1) just tabulated the same CDC data that thousands of other people also do routinely in the same way as soon as it is published each year – epidemiologists, actuaries, public health planners etc. who also routinely do population adjustments and look at trends for the total population and sub-populations. This isn't publishable. It's the equivalent of publishing baseball standings. These trends were no secret.
(2) Everyone in actual health care besides the data tabulators already knew this – everyone except the health care pundit class. All the emergency department staff and morgue staff and pathologists and managers and people handling death certificates knew these as routine deaths – especially in small town and rustbelt hospitals. Hospital mortality and underlying etiology – both for patients and DOAs – is a big deal in every hospital and is reviewed by many people.

Thus their paper produced a "so tell me what I don't know" reaction in people in actual healthcare.

gardenbreads , July 11, 2016 at 4:45 pm

I totally agree with describing this as looting. It disgusts nearly everyone who have had to deal with the results.

CDC has been publishing reports on the incredibly rising incidence in non-Hispanic whites for years.

NCHS Data Brief ■ No. 22 ■ September 2009
Increase in Fatal Poisonings Involving Opioid Analgesics in the United States, 1999–2006
Margaret Warner, Lli Hui Chen and Diane m. Makuc

Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers - United States, 1999–2008
Weekly. Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, November 4, 2011 / 60(43);1487-1492

Russ Gibson , July 11, 2016 at 4:28 pm

The inclusion of database developers as a responsible party is absolutely absurd, and it betrays an ignorance of what database (and software) developers do. We build the informational "machinery" that stores and retrieves data, according to the specs handed to us by business types. We do not typically monitor/summarize/report on the data itself as it rolls in, unless we happen to be specifically tasked with such a thing.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Thank you for proving my point.

jrs , July 11, 2016 at 4:58 pm

It only proves the point if the McDonalds burger flipper is also guilty for also working for a firm of questionable morality. Now of course one could argue that it's a lot different to work at a firm producing Oxy than in fast food (even though the later does kill) and I don't think that's unreasonable.

I just think that has absolutely NOTHING to do with being a professional or being a working class prole. That factor is irrelevant.

What about if you work on the database for Coca Cola, are you guilty of increasing diabetes? What about if you work upselling it (ie management says you must ask customers if they would like to supersize their soda or something) at McDonalds?

Oxy may be worse that such things. We all pick our poison. Some people's picks go far further than our conscience would ever allow us to go. Sometimes professionals have more wiggle room financially but the stats on how few people have a few hundred or thousand bucks in savings makes that questionable.

I honestly suspect most jobs are a bit corrupt. Even if one works for a non-profit,even many non-profits are stealing massive amounts of the donations for administration. Etc.

Berial , July 11, 2016 at 6:04 pm

So you get asked to create a database that tracks sales rep's visits to specific doctors and a doctor's number of prescriptions of all drugs and some specific drugs, (undoubtedly from a long list) and from doing that, the developers are supposed to know that they just helped push opiod addiction?

I'm REALLY not seeing your point.

The people that PLANNED this system MIGHT have known the purpose, and the system architect, maybe, but the guys pushing out the code and making sure the database does what is asked probably have NO IDEA about things like that. It's just not something they would even notice.

jrs , July 11, 2016 at 6:16 pm

It seems to become a non-obvious question. We need MORE DATA :). No really we just need more information.

Is the only med Purdue Pharma makes opiates? Then one could say one is working for an opiate provider. Were the employees even full time employees of Purdue Pharma? Sure they might be H1Bs, but also for a time limited database development job they are often 3-6 month contractors, it's VERY common. You could argue the 1099s have some guilt even so though. There is even a possiblity the database development was contracted out to an external firm.

Is it obvious the harm opiates cause? Well it is NOW. I guess it's why I tend to latch on to the question of if the firm one works for is ethical because I don't believe the wrongdoing is always obvious from say the data. But a firm itself could be said to be unethical and thus it could be argued it is unethical to work for an unethical firm.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 11, 2016 at 11:57 pm

Now we know, as I said.

dk , July 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm

But if you don't understand what the functions the specs are describing, how can you build a good database? And summarizing and reporting are often in the purview of the developer.

There is a point to be made here. Managed structures can insulate task fulfillers from the full context(s) of their work. The implementors may not be immediately aware of or fully understand the consequences and implications of their work.

But there are many scenarios where the database developer has, or should have, full knowledge of the operational aspects of their work relating to compliance, safety, and contractual/fiduciary responsibilities.

Take for example HIPAA, with several defined rules required for compliant implementation of data management. The database developer should be at least aware of the specifics of the requirements, since they directly address significant aspects of storage and retrieval functions. HIPAA compliance is required by law for handling of any patient, treatment, provider, or payment information (protected health information (PHI)).

Another example: political fundraising. It is explicitly illegal to sell or use names and addresses of individuals from FEC records as a primary source for solicitations ( http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/saleuse.shtml ). However it is very easy to do so, and the data manager that does it is breaking the law, as much as a person (or document) instructing them (who actually gets prosecuted is another matter entirely).

jrs , July 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Yea HIPPA requires compliance and knowledge on the part of a lot of involved employees, that is part of the law itself. But that workers have knowledge of all aspects of a business is NOT part of the law. So on the other hand management may be scamming the shareholders say and a database developer might not know depending, just because knowledge is shielded in many ways.

AnEducatedFool , July 12, 2016 at 5:12 pm

In essence you are arguing that it is acceptable that your profession is fine and that you can all be little Eichmanns now. Your profession has plausible deniablity built into its structure.

JohnnyGL , July 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm

I keep seeing this talk of HIV/AIDS as a comparison. Referencing how it spreads through disease-like-vectors

You guys are missing the ACTUAL spread of HIV/AIDS in some places where the addiction is raging. Sharing needles….

Very good story, Lambert, keep piecing the puzzle together.

Katharine , July 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Speaking of credentialism, it was "prestigious" JAMA (and I would suggest applying the term to an academic journal automatically casts doubt on its intellectual respectability) that once rushed to publish a badly designed "study" ostensibly by a child who apparently was actually coached by her mother's MD boyfriend, all to discredit an alternative medicine therapy because the AMA hates alternative medicine. The method has continued to be studied, with intriguing articles being published occasionally in less political, more research-oriented journals such as the Journal of Orthopaedic Research and Annals of Internal Medicine.

For those interested in the subject, Therapeutic Touch International Association, therapeutic-touch.org, provides some literature citations and an 89-page (pdf) copyrighted bibliography.

Moral: Avoid prestige (and Google ratings) when seeking information.

vegasmike , July 11, 2016 at 7:58 pm

I know there's a problem with opioids. But for some of us its very beneficial, provided you have a certain amount of self-discipline. Two years ago I was diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis. It was so bad that I could hold a fork, button my shirt , or zipper my fly. If I didn't have surgery. I would have been paralyzed and incontinent. The surgery worked. I lead a normal life. But without Percocet, the pain would be unbearable. I've tried marijuana. It's not that effective. I do Tai-Chi and physical therapy exercises. I even walk and swim. I worry that the pain puritans will take power and insist that I must suffer.

VietnamVet , July 11, 2016 at 8:02 pm

The major changes that I have seen since 1961 include widespread pornography, casino gambling, drug addiction, homelessness, forever wars, economic crashes and student debt. In each case someone is making money and the costs to society are discounted. Privatizing gains. Socializing costs. This post on the opioid epidemic is an excellent specific example of this. The gutting of the Western Middle Class and the economy and morality that support it is extremely destabilizing. Either there is a restoration of the rule of law and punishment for crimes against society or "Peace and Prosperity" will be a quaint phrase from half a century ago. That is if mankind survives climate change and/or the Cold War 2.0 with Russia.

henry_hill , July 11, 2016 at 9:58 pm

"Although the U.S. constitutes only 4.6 percent of the world's population, Americans use 80 percent of the world's opioids."

Eighty percent? I'd love to see the data mining in that study. That's a ridiculous number. Opioids are used in almost every culture, just not the drive-thru pharmacy variety.

fajensen , July 12, 2016 at 4:04 am

My American colleagues, at the same age as me, are all, with a few exceptions, consuming a ridiculous amount of prescription medicine for all manner of things.

My prejudiced opinion (because I don't really know) is that many of them started off with some minor but chronic disease, then they got side-effects from the treatment, then they get treated for the side effects, etcetera. The whole thing escalates and they are now bound to eating 15+ different "meds".

My father was trapped in this bullshit for maybe 20 years, before the government created "palliative teams" – a team of doctors who will go through the medication and illness history of chronic patients. They re-evaluate and re-design their treatment. Usually with life-saving effects, as in: Unexpected years of improved quality of life.

The cause of the "minor, but chronic disease" is (again in my biased opinion) probably due to unhealthy food; The medicated men can't cook, their wives cannot cook anything "from scratch". They rely on food items in bags, boxes or frozen "because the nutritional values are printed on them, so we know what we are getting(!)".

The exceptions … they can cook proper food.

In my opinion, Americans are getting slowly poisoned and they are not getting any help either because the US food industry is allowed to sabotage the access to unadulterated foodstuff. This is one of many reasons that people "here" hate the TTIP & Co: We don't want to be American! We don't want US business practices.

AnEducatedFool , July 12, 2016 at 5:15 pm

+1

JimTan , July 11, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Looting is definitely the right term here. I suspect there are many actors who became fabulously wealthy from the prescription opioid (and amphetamine – ADD medications like Adderal are analogues to street Methamphetamine) scam.

Just to put the scale of looting into perspective it should be noted, for readers that live in New York City, that the Sackler family which founded Purdue Pharma funded the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which houses the Egyptian Temple of Dendur and study centers for Chinese and Japanese Art History. They are truly magnificent for those who have never visited. Below is a link to additional organizations the Sackler family has endowed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Sackler#Philanthropy

From the Wikipedia link they include:

• The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Fellowship at Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS), France, to fund invited researchers from Israel at IHÉS, 1990
• The Raymond and Beverly Sackler American Fellowship at IHÉS, France, to fund invited researchers from the USA at IHÉS, 2002
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute of Biophysics, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 2004
• The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lectureship at IHÉS, France, 2004
• The Raymond & Beverly Sackler Institute for Biological, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, Yale University, 2008
• Raymond & Beverly Sackler Laboratories of Biomedical and Biophysical Studies, Rockefeller University, 2008
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical and Physical Sciences, Weill Cornell Medical College, including a program in cardiac stem cell research dedicated to friend and colleague Professor Isadore Rosenfeld, 2008
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Fund for Biomedical and Physical Sciences (in honor of Phillip A. Sharp), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2010
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratory of Biomedical and Physical Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 2010
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratories in the Physics of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2010
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, 2011
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences in honor of Emilio Segre, University of California, Berkeley, 2011
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratories for Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences in honor of Saul J. Farber, New York University, School of Medicine, 2011
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Convergence of Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences in honor of David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology, 2012
• Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Convergence of Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences in honor of Herbert Pardes, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center, 2012
• The Raymond & Beverly Sackler Convergence Laboratory, Tufts University School of Medicine, 2013

Not a bad payday for facilitating worldwide opioid addiction.

JimTan , July 12, 2016 at 12:44 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_M._Sackler

"He endowed galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Princeton University, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University in Beijing, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., and the Jillian & Arthur M. Sackler Wing at the Royal Academy, London. "

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

• Sackler Library at the University of Oxford
• Sackler Laboratories at the University of Reading
• Sackler Musculoskeletal Research Centre, University College London
• Sackler Institute of Pulmonary Pharmacology at King's College London[2]
• Sackler Crossing – a walkway over the lake at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
• Sackler Biodiversity Imaging Laboratory at the Natural History Museum, London

Russell , July 12, 2016 at 2:51 am

If the drug in the story was any good people would not take so many they died.

Rick Cass , July 12, 2016 at 10:10 am

The kind of destructive social conduct was noted by cultural anthropologists studying cultures affected by Euopean colonization. As the meaning of the culture was drained by colonial predation, the societies degraded, people lost direction, language changed rapidly and the previous social networks unraveled. Essentially, the colonized no longer saw or felt that there was a place for them.

In the present case, the working class that formed out of and as a consequence of two world wars no longer has a place in this country. Thus, similar responses to this displacement. In the present case, the colonizers are the credentialed class of mandarins who see themselves as separate from their fellow citizens.

Pespi , July 12, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Something I think is lost in the opioid deaths discussion is the fact that these people had real pain. Terrible pain. Treating that pain is good. But a doctor can't change a sedentary culture that creates much of that pain. Everything about constant sitting is bad for the body, and when the sedentary body starts moving, things get worse, because terrible movement patterns are ingrained. There'd have to be nationwide physical therapy to solve it. I recommend reading and following 'deskbound' by Kelly Starrett, if you're a sedentary person.

JimTan , July 12, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Many Doctors and Pharmacists are well aware they are selling pain medication to drug addicts:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/couple-made-millions-running-nyc-pill-mills-prosecutors-article-1.2415980

Quote from a 2012 Bloomberg article about South Florida pain 'Pill Mills':

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2012-06-06/american-pain-the-largest-u-dot-s-dot-pill-mills-rise-and-fall

"To move large amounts of prescription painkillers in America, you need somebody to write the prescriptions. You need doctors. Hiring doctors to sell drugs is easy, says George. He found his doctors by posting ads on Craigslist. At their peak, when they were running the largest pill mill operation in the U.S., the George twins had roughly a dozen doctors working for them.

George says not a single doctor he interviewed ever turned down a job offer. Although he was always younger than the doctors he was interviewing-he was in his late twenties at the time-George says he made a professional impression. "I had such a big office; it was an easy sell," says George. "They didn't walk into some hole-in-the-wall place. The hours were good. The pay was good."

What the jobs lacked in prestige, they made up for in wages. According to George's indictment, doctors at his clinics were paid a flat fee for each opioid prescription they wrote-typically, $75 to $100 a pop. To help maximize their efficiency, doctors were given prescription stamps they could use quickly, over and over. It was common for physicians at American Pain to see 100 patients a day, he says. At that rate a doctor would earn roughly $37,500 a week-or $1.95 million a year.

It was a doctor who first advised him to go into the industry. At the time, he and his brother were running a hormone-replacement therapy business and selling steroids online. Along the way they got to know a doctor who told them that painkillers were a much bigger market and advised them on how to get started. The doctor later died in a car crash overseas, but he left the George brothers with a lucrative business model. According to prosecutors, the twins' pain clinics, over their two-year run, sold 20 million oxycodone pills and brought in $40 million."

barrisj , July 12, 2016 at 6:59 pm

One minor cavil in your article, Lambert, and that concerns labelling PNAS a "less prestigious journal", as opposed to JAMA or NEJM. Back in the day when I was an active research scientist, publication of original work in PNAS was considered a very worthy accomplishment indeed, as were papers published in Nature, Science, etc. It is a multidiscipline journal, taking in a broad cross-section of the physical and social sciences, as well as medical research, wherein submission of articles for publication must be done by a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a very "prestigious" group, to say the least…peer-review and all that, of course. Now, whatever the reasons for manuscript rejection by the two strictly medical journals, only their respective editors would know; but I suspect it may have to do with…yes, "credentials", as neither of the two authors have any sort of specialised medical background or even one in epidemiology, but are economists, not the usual senior authors JAMA prefers. And, "failure" – a rather loaded word – to gain acceptance in a specialty journal in no way reflects the essential merits of the work, which clearly has been reflected in the immense reception and subsequent citations received in the lay press and media. I look at this as JAMA/NEJM's loss, and PNAS's gain, quite simply.

[Jul 03, 2016] Thank you, Elizabeth Warren, for picking up untitrust mantle by Beverly Mann

Notable quotes:
"... I didn't just mean Walmart and the like, I explained. I also meant the monopolistic powers that aren't obvious to the general public. Such as wholesale suppliers and shippers. And such as Visa and Mastercard, which impacts very substantially the profitability of small retailers and franchisers. ..."
"... Which brought me then, and brings me again, to one of my favorite examples of how the Dems forfeit the political advantage on government regulation by never actually discussing government regulation, in this instance, what's known as the Durbin Amendment. It limits the amount that Visa and Mastercard-clearly critical players in commerce now-can charge businesses for processing their customers' credit card and ATM card transactions. ..."
"... Talk to any owner of a small retail business-a gas station franchise owner, an independent fast food business owner, an independent discount store, for example-about this issue, as I did back when the Durbin Amendment was being debated in Congress. See what they say. ..."
"... The Durbin Amendment was one of the (very) precious few legislative restrictions on monopolies, on anticompetitive business practices, to manage to become law despite intense lobbying of the finance industry or whatever monopolistic industry would be hurt by its enactment. To my knowledge, though, it was never mentioned in congressional races in 2010 or 2014, or in the presidential or congressional races in 2012. Antitrust issues have been considered too complicated for discussion among the populace. ..."
"... And also presumably, it's why the news media ignored Elizabeth Warren's speech on Wednesday entirely about the decisive, dramatic effects of the federal government's aggressive reversal over the last four decades of antirust regulation and the concerted failures of one after another White House administration (including the current one) to enforce the regulation that remains. ..."
"... Washington Monthly ..."
"... What amazed me yesterday was how Warren synthesized the main points of virtually everything we've published into a single speech that, while long and wonky, was Bill Clintonesque in its vernacular exposition. You can imagine average Americans all over the country listening, nodding, understanding . ..."
"... Though many in the press didn't notice the speech, you can best believe Hillary Clinton's campaign operatives were paying attention (Trump's too, I'll bet). That's why I think the speech has the possibility of changing the course of the campaign. The candidate who can successfully incorporate the consolidation message into their campaign rhetoric will an huge, perhaps decisive advantage. Hillary has already signaled, in an op-ed she published last fall, that she gets the larger argument. Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren showed her how to run on it. You can read the full prepared text below. ..."
"... I'm thrilled. Except for that parenthetical that says "even the "populist" candidates running president have shied away from it, which is inaccurate regarding Bernie Sanders. The link is to an article by Glastris in the November/December 2015 edition of Washington Monthly titled " America's Forgotten Formula for Economic Equality ," which regarding Sanders concludes based upon an answer to a question by Anderson Cooper at a then-recent televised debate in which Sanders asked the question about how he expected to win the presidency as a democratic socialist failed to mention the issue of antitrust, that Sanders did not campaign on the issue of the demise of antitrust law and enforcement. ..."
"... We already know from the DNC's public description of the latest draft of the platform that it includes things such as a general commitment to the idea of a $15-per-hour minimum wage; to expanding Social Security; to making universal health care available as a right through expanding Medicare or a public option; and to breaking up too-big-to-fail institutions. ..."
"... Eliminating conflict of interest at the Federal Reserve by making sure that executives at financial institutions cannot serve on the board of regional Federal Reserve banks or handpick their members. ..."
"... Banning golden parachutes for taking government jobs and cracking down on the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. ..."
"... Prohibiting Wall Street from picking and choosing which credit agency will rate their product. ..."
"... Empowering the Postal Service to offer basic banking services, which makes such services available to more people throughout the country, including low-income people who lack access to checking accounts. ..."
"... Ending the loophole that allows large profitable corporations to defer taxes on income stashed in offshore tax havens to avoid paying less taxes. ..."
"... Using the revenue from ending that deferral loophole to rebuild infrastructure and create jobs. ..."
"... Okay, folks. While being credited to Sanders, this far more likely is a blunt-force impact of Warren, since every one of these points concerns Warren's particular area of interest: financial industry regulation. ..."
"... In other words, Warren is the intermediary between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns. And in exchange for her unbridled campaigning for and with Clinton has combined her own top priorities-precise legislative ones that Warren has the deep expertise to demand and to draft, e.g., items 1 and 3-with one very specific one of Sanders and with more generic ones of his as well, e.g., items 2 and 5. ..."
July 1, 2016 | angrybearblog.com
A detailed update follows the original post.

Is the window closing on Bernie Sanders's moment? A number of folks, your humble blogger included , have suggested as much. We've argued that with Democrats seeming to unite behind Hillary Clinton, it's possible that the longer Sanders withholds his endorsement for her in the quest to make the party platform more progressive, the less leverage he'll end up having.

But a new battleground state poll from Dem pollster Stan Greenberg's Democracy Corps suggests Sanders' endorsement could, in fact, still have a real impact, meaning he may still have some genuine leverage to try to win more concessions designed to continue pushing the party's agenda in a more progressive direction.

A Sanders endorsement of Clinton could still make a big difference , Greg Sargent, The Plum Line, Washington Post, yesterday at 3:24 p.m.

Paul Glastris reports that a speech Elizabeth Warren gave that was virtually ignored by the news media could provide a template for an argument about the economy that changes the course of the presidential election . - gs

– Greg Sargent, The Plum Line, Washington Post, yesterday at 6:21 p.m.

Just about exactly a year ago-early last summer-as Clinton was picking up the pace of her campaign appearances and formulating her substantive arguments, she said something that the news media caught onto immediately as really strange. In an attempt to woo aspiring and current small-business owners, she did her default thing: She adopted a Republican slogan and cliché, this one that government regulation and bureaucracy are the main impediments to starting and expanding small businesses, and are, well, just making the lives of small business owners miserable.

Federal regulations and bureaucracy, see.

It shouldn't take longer to start a business in America than it does to start one in France, she said, correctly. And it shouldn't take longer for a small-business owner to fill out the business's federal tax forms than it takes Fortune 500 corporations to do so. Also, correctly. And as president she will … something.

There were, the news media quickly noted, though, a few problems with this tack. One was that regulations that apply varyingly to other than a few types of small businesses-those that sell firearms and ammunition, for example-small-business regulations are entirely state and local ones and are not of the sort that the federal government even could address.

Another was that Clinton was relying upon a survey report that provided average times to obtain business licenses in various cities around the world, for companies that would employ a certain number of employees within a numerical, midsize range (or some such), and that cited Paris as the only French cities; showed that the differences in the time it took on average to obtain a business license there and in several American cities was a matter of two or three days, and that only Los Angeles (if I remember correctly) among the American cities had a longer average time than did Paris; and that the all the cities listed had an average of less than two weeks.

Some folks (including me, here at AB) also noted that the actual time it takes to open a small business depends mostly on the type of business, often the ease of obtaining a business loan, purchasing equipment such as that needed to open a restaurant, leasing space, obtaining insurance, and ensuring compliance with, say, local health department and fire ordinances.

And one folk (me, here at AB) pointed out that the relative times it takes to fill out a federal tax form for a business depends far more on whether your business retains Price Waterhouse Coopers to do that, or has in-house CPAs using the latest software for taxes and accounting, or relies upon the sole proprietor to perform that task.

But here's what I also said: Far, far more important to the ease of starting a business and making a profit in it than regulatory bureaucracy-state and local, much less and federal ones-is overcoming monopolistic practices of, well, monopolies.*

I didn't just mean Walmart and the like, I explained. I also meant the monopolistic powers that aren't obvious to the general public. Such as wholesale suppliers and shippers. And such as Visa and Mastercard, which impacts very substantially the profitability of small retailers and franchisers.

Which brought me then, and brings me again, to one of my favorite examples of how the Dems forfeit the political advantage on government regulation by never actually discussing government regulation, in this instance, what's known as the Durbin Amendment. It limits the amount that Visa and Mastercard-clearly critical players in commerce now-can charge businesses for processing their customers' credit card and ATM card transactions.

Talk to any owner of a small retail business-a gas station franchise owner, an independent fast food business owner, an independent discount store, for example-about this issue, as I did back when the Durbin Amendment was being debated in Congress. See what they say.

The Durbin Amendment was one of the (very) precious few legislative restrictions on monopolies, on anticompetitive business practices, to manage to become law despite intense lobbying of the finance industry or whatever monopolistic industry would be hurt by its enactment. To my knowledge, though, it was never mentioned in congressional races in 2010 or 2014, or in the presidential or congressional races in 2012. Antitrust issues have been considered too complicated for discussion among the populace.

Which presumably is why the news media never focused on the fact that Bernie Sanders discussed it regularly in his campaign. And that it resonated with millennials.

And also presumably, it's why the news media ignored Elizabeth Warren's speech on Wednesday entirely about the decisive, dramatic effects of the federal government's aggressive reversal over the last four decades of antirust regulation and the concerted failures of one after another White House administration (including the current one) to enforce the regulation that remains.

Here's what Glastris wrote in preface to his republishing of the full Warren speech:

Yesterday, straight off her high-profile campaign appearance Monday with Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave a keynote address about industry consolidation in the American economy at a conference at the Capitol put on by New America's Open Markets program. Though the speech has so far gotten only a modicum of attention-the press being more interested in litigating Donald Trump's Pocahontas taunts-it has the potential to change the course of the presidential contest. Her speech begins at minute 56:45 in the video below.

Warren is, of course, famous for her attacks on too-big-to-fail banks. But in her address yesterday, entitled "Reigniting Competition in the American Economy," she extended her critique to the entire economy, noting that, as a result of three decades of weakened federal antitrust regulation, virtually every industrial sector today-from airlines to telecom to agriculture to retail to social media-is under the control of a handful of oligopolistic corporations. This widespread consolidation is "hiding in plain sight all across the American economy," she said, and "threatens our markets, threatens our economy, and threatens our democracy."

As our readers know, economic consolidation is a subject the Washington Monthly has long been obsessed with-see here , here , here , here , here , here , here , here , here , and here . In our current cover story , Barry Lynn (impresario of yesterday's event) and Phil Longman argue that antitrust was the true legacy of the original American Populists and a vital, under-appreciated reason for the mass prosperity of mid-20 th Century America. But this legacy, and the new Gilded Age economy that has resulted from its abandonment, is not a narrative most Americans have been told (one reason why even the "populist" candidates running president have shied away from it).

What amazed me yesterday was how Warren synthesized the main points of virtually everything we've published into a single speech that, while long and wonky, was Bill Clintonesque in its vernacular exposition. You can imagine average Americans all over the country listening, nodding, understanding .

Though many in the press didn't notice the speech, you can best believe Hillary Clinton's campaign operatives were paying attention (Trump's too, I'll bet). That's why I think the speech has the possibility of changing the course of the campaign. The candidate who can successfully incorporate the consolidation message into their campaign rhetoric will an huge, perhaps decisive advantage. Hillary has already signaled, in an op-ed she published last fall, that she gets the larger argument. Yesterday, Elizabeth Warren showed her how to run on it. You can read the full prepared text below.

I'm thrilled. Except for that parenthetical that says "even the "populist" candidates running president have shied away from it, which is inaccurate regarding Bernie Sanders. The link is to an article by Glastris in the November/December 2015 edition of Washington Monthly titled " America's Forgotten Formula for Economic Equality ," which regarding Sanders concludes based upon an answer to a question by Anderson Cooper at a then-recent televised debate in which Sanders asked the question about how he expected to win the presidency as a democratic socialist failed to mention the issue of antitrust, that Sanders did not campaign on the issue of the demise of antitrust law and enforcement.

But as it happens, I knew that was incorrect. One of my fondest memories of the Sanders campaign dates back to a detailed first-person report by a journalist covering the Sanders campaign in Iowa last summer, who attended a rally not as journalist but instead from the cheap seats in the midst of the attendees. I can't remember the journalist or the publication, and was unable to find it just now in a search. But I remember this: He sat next to a young woman, blond, cheerleadery-looking, who whenever Sanders said a word or phrase referencing one of his favorite topics, would stand up, thrust her arm up in a punch-the-air motion, and shout the word or phrase. Cheerleader-like, the reporter said.

One of the words? Antitrust. Or, as the young woman said it, "ANTITRUSSSTTT!"

In searching for that article, which as I said I couldn't find, I did find a slew of references by Sanders to antitrust-the economic and political power of unchecked and ever-growing monopolies-in reports about his rallies. One, about a rally in Iowa, for example, quoted Sanders as saying that Agribusiness monopoly has reduced the prices human farmers receive for their products well below their market value in a competitive economy.

Other statements made clear the critical reason that Sanders has so focused on the call to break up the big banks: their huge economic and political power. Including the resultant demise of community banks of the sort that made America great when America was great-for obtaining small-business loans and mortgages, anyway.

So here's my point: If you click on the link to that Democracy Corps poll, you'll see what so many people whose heads are buried in the sands of the pre-2015 political era (including the ones who constantly trash me in the comments threads to my posts like my last one ) don't recognize. All that the Democrats need do in order to win a White House and down-ballot landslide is to campaign on genuinely progressive issues, and genuinely explain them.

Which is why Warren is so valuable to the Dems up and down the ballot. And why Sanders is, too.

Warren endorsed Clinton last week, and on Tuesday campaigned with her in a speech introducing her, singing her praises, and trashing Donald Trump. Headline-making stuff. But not the stuff that will matter most. When she goes on the road and repeats her Wednesday speech, not her Tuesday one, and then asks that people vote Democratic for the White House on down, it will matter far more.

And that is true also for Sanders. But I don't expect many politicos over the age of 40 to recognize that.

Glastris's piece yesterday in titled " Elizabeth Warren's Consolidation speech Could Change the Election. " Yes. Exactly. Consolidation . As in, monopolies . And monopolistic economic practices and political power .

Antitrusssttt!

Surprisingly, apparently in response to the release of the Democracy Corp poll yesterday, hours after suggesting that Clinton was about to begin campaigning as a triangulator because Sanders was refusing to endorse her, and anyway that's what some Clinton partisans have been urging, someone in the Clinton campaign rescinded that , indirectly. Presumably, it was someone under the age of 40.

Or someone who reads Angry Bear . Probably someone who's under 40 and reads Angry Bear.

Rah-rah! Sis-boom-bah!

* Sentence edited slightly or clarity. 7/2 at 10:43 a.m.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent is reporting now:

The latest draft of the Democratic Party platform, which is set to be released as early as this afternoon, will show that Bernie Sanders won far more victories on his signature issues than has been previously thought, according to details provided by a senior Sanders adviser.

The latest version of the platform, which was signed off on recently by a committee made up of representatives for the Sanders and Clinton campaigns and the DNC, has been generally summarized by the DNC and characterized in news reports. Sanders has hailed some of the compromises reached in it, but he has vowed to continue to fight for more of what he wants when the current draft goes to a larger Democratic convention platform committee in Orlando coming weeks, and when it goes to the floor of the convention in Philadelphia in late July.

But the actual language of the latest draft has not yet been released, and it will be released as early as today. It will show a number of new provisions on Wall Street reform, infrastructure spending, and job creation that go beyond the victories that Sanders has already talked about. They suggest Sanders did far better out of this process thus far than has been previously thought. Many of these new provisions are things that Sanders has been fighting for for years.

We already know from the DNC's public description of the latest draft of the platform that it includes things such as a general commitment to the idea of a $15-per-hour minimum wage; to expanding Social Security; to making universal health care available as a right through expanding Medicare or a public option; and to breaking up too-big-to-fail institutions.

Warren Gunnels, the chief policy adviser to the Sanders campaign, is Sargent's source. Gunnels listed six additions to the platform draft:

  1. Eliminating conflict of interest at the Federal Reserve by making sure that executives at financial institutions cannot serve on the board of regional Federal Reserve banks or handpick their members.
  2. Banning golden parachutes for taking government jobs and cracking down on the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.
  3. Prohibiting Wall Street from picking and choosing which credit agency will rate their product.
  4. Empowering the Postal Service to offer basic banking services, which makes such services available to more people throughout the country, including low-income people who lack access to checking accounts.
  5. Ending the loophole that allows large profitable corporations to defer taxes on income stashed in offshore tax havens to avoid paying less taxes.
  6. Using the revenue from ending that deferral loophole to rebuild infrastructure and create jobs.

Okay, folks. While being credited to Sanders, this far more likely is a blunt-force impact of Warren, since every one of these points concerns Warren's particular area of interest: financial industry regulation.

But there are, I believe, clear Sanders hallmarks in there, too: particularly item 4, empowering the Postal Service to offer basic banking services, which makes such services available to more people throughout the country, including low-income people who lack access to checking accounts.

In other words, Warren is the intermediary between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns. And in exchange for her unbridled campaigning for and with Clinton has combined her own top priorities-precise legislative ones that Warren has the deep expertise to demand and to draft, e.g., items 1 and 3-with one very specific one of Sanders and with more generic ones of his as well, e.g., items 2 and 5.

This will be an unbeatable platform and team. During the campaign, and in the four years that follow.

Game on.

[May 07, 2016] Diplomacy by Deception by John Coleman

When you have read "Diplomacy by Deception " by John Coleman you might start to suspect that the British and United States Governments are actually the most corrupt in the world and third word dictators are just wannabes in comparison with those governments (and often are corrupted by them, storing the loot in Western banks and moving families to GB, France, Italy or Spain ). They completely betrayed interests of their own population carrying out the designs of global neoliberal elite (globalists), to which former President Bush I, one of its more able servants, referred to as "the New World Order." The first significant reaction against this level of corruption was spontaneous burst of support to Donald Trump during 2016 elections.
Notable quotes:
"... I really like Chapter VIII. "Panama: the naked truth." and the logic behind the invasion. ..."
Amazon.com

Amazon Customer, June 19, 2001

Give me Documentation

This book has much information helpful to those following government intrusion into world affairs. The history book MI6, can verify some, but I found this book lacking in documentation. The author has source notes, but most of his statements can't be used due to the poor documentation. I am hesitant to qoute statements he makes in the book. His Index is also poor. However, the book is good for general information of many illegal acts by the Council of foreign Relations. You'll just have to do a lot more reading to verify several comments he makes in the book.

Paul LaCross Simonton, April 29, 2002

Dr. John Coleman's best

Every chapter in Diplomacy by Deception is a new subject. I am just guessing, but, it appears to me that Dr. Coleman took a selection of monographs he wrote, and, made them into a book.

Oscar L. Vazquez, November 8, 1999

Very, very good book

As an avid history reader, the information that Dr. Coleman exposed in this book explained the unexplainable about historical facts, the manipulation of the situations and the secret purposes behind the reality. I really like Chapter VIII. "Panama: the naked truth." and the logic behind the invasion. It is a very hard book to understand for those who are not involved in policy or history. Congratulations once again Dr. Coleman for this great book.

[Jan 29, 2016] Trump just proved: its possible to win a debate you didnt attend by Richard Wolffe

Notable quotes:
"... Bland, clichéd, and frankly boring. ..."
"... Spot on. The Republican party is about corporatism and the "1%". They are irrelevant to nearly all the American public apart from democrat haters. The GOP might as well be a corpse. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton's always going on and on about her "Proven track record" at the State Dept....where she set Libya on fire, for example.....unlike her competitor, Bernie Sanders. ..."
"... Dear Lord, please let the American people not vote in anyone from the GOP side as president in 2016 ..."
"... Okay, my prayer skills are a bit rusty, I admit, but you get the idea. ..."
"... Anyhow, Donald Trump reminds me more and more of Italy's media mogul/politician Silvio Berlusconi -- maybe it's just my eyes playing tricks on me, but he is even starting to LOOK more and more like that man, what with the many faces he makes and the populist theatricality and all. Trump offers no substance in terms of policy, but he clearly has an intuitive grasp of how the major media outlets will respond to and cover his every move. ..."
"... I wonder if this column was written before or after the subject events. It is so trite meaningless and predictable he must have written it in his sleep. ..."
"... Trump is a centre-right, and possibly even slightly left candidate. His grandstanding is for the core base. All candidates walk back toward the middle once they have to appeal to the national electorate. He's far more liberal than Cruz, who, I assure you, will set about undoing every last bit of progress for working people and women that managed to creep forward over the last eight years, starting with health care, Medicare, and Social Security. ..."
"... You have to separate out Trump's grandstanding with his east coast New York roots. It's actually Trump who has brought up single-payer health care and some brutal talk about Wall Street. I would wager a month's salary that Trump and Mrs Clinton are not too far apart on how they would govern. And you forget that Congress is involved as well. ..."
"... The hyperbole is meaningless. So far, Jeb Bush's brother and his Vice President have done more damage to the US and the world than I would guess Trump would do in 20 years. ..."
"... And do remember on whose watch NAFTA, that infamous "ending welfare as we know it", the equally infamous DOMA, and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which paved the way for The Big Short were passed: dear old Bill Clinton. ..."
"... The media is trusted by the public about as much as bankers and politicians. Trump sticking it to FOX not only didn't get him "sidelined" it probably increased his support among the Republican base. ..."
"... Translation: Trump knows he already has the nomination locked up. Why should he give Cruz and Rubio an opportunity to attack him in a live debate? He made the smart move. Since 9/11 and the buildup to the war in Iraq, the media's only real job is political propaganda. ..."
"... As far as I know, Trump, Sanders and Obama were equally resentful because American businessmen are moving production abroad, thus leaving American workers out of work, and the state budget deprived of taxes that go also to foreign countries instead of remaining in the US. ..."
"... In addition, Trump also stands for a kind of economic protectionism, particularly in relation to China, bearing in mind "the urgent need to reduce the trade deficit with China", which is now about $ 500 billion a year, if I remembered well. ..."
"... So, it is interesting that the current as well as two of the possible future US presidents are pushing for some kind of protectionism of domestic production and economic isolationism that are completely contrary to previous commitment of the United States to free markets and free flow of capital in the world.However, taking into account the current economic crisis in the world, that from acute increasingly turns into some kind of chronic phase, it is perhaps not so surprising. ..."
"... The vast majority of the political elite, from Bush to Clinton, are there to further the agenda, as well as their own careers. In this way, you have Obama brought into to finish by proxy what Bush started by direct force. I.e the wrecking of any Nation State that opposes the neo-liberal economic system. ..."
"... They only exist in the spotlight for as long as they are tolerated in terms of their persona, until the public wise-up. It is then they go into their background role; the cushy and lucrative 'consulting' jobs they have been promised by the special interest 'think tanks' they already belong to; be it the Council of Foreign Relations, or the Bilderberg group; all funded by international banking cartels. ..."
"... Supposed 'right' or supposed 'left' of the mainstream media are just part and parcel of the same ultimate deception. ..."
"... Trump, although not perfect in his persona, is certainly a problem for the agenda: thus their attack dogs in the media have been called to take him out. ..."
"... It's amusing to see the attacks on Trump; who just for speaking his mind is starting to steadily resonate with a growing demographic, both at home and abroad. ..."
"... You'd never hear about it here of course; but he harshly denounced the invasion of Iraq, and was a big critic of Bush. ..."
"... He also seems to be the only one who understands that the majority of Americans needs real jobs – not some laughable concept of an 'ideas economy.' and is willing to fight for them on a trade level to ensure this. ..."
"... He is also the least likely to drag the US into dangerous conflicts, (proxy or otherwise) with those such as Russia – Sadly I can see some Guardian commentators already gunning for that. ..."
"... He is also not controlled by the usual financial ties to banking elites: Goldman & Sachs just gave Hillary $3 million – what's that then? Just pocket money? ..."
"... America isn't better than this - this IS America. The land of political dynasties and limitless corporate donations. Where a movie star became the President and a body builder a Governor. It doesn't even have a one-man-one vote voting system for heavens sake. ..."
"... It's kind of like Iranian 'democracy', where the Ayatollah picks out and approves 4-5 candidates, and then the Iranian people get to 'vote' for them. We do it a bit differently, in a society where we have freedom of speech, but the outcome always ends up the same, with 2 establishment, corporate, Wall street, military industrial complex, globalist 'free trade' choices for president. All approved by corporate America, our corporate and mainstream media and by Wall street, it always ends up like that. Like right now, there is no difference between Hillary, and establishment corporate Democrats like the Clintons, and the establishment Republicans like Rubio, Kasich or Bush, on all those really big and truly important issues. ..."
"... That thing about Cruz labelling Trump a Democrat is interesting. I'm sure most Democrats would be understandably offended by the suggestion, and I'm pretty sure Cruz doesn't actually believe it either. I haven't been following Trump's statements on policy closely at all, but from my general impression of him over the years, I always thought that, although he was clearly a dyed in the wool capitalist, he probably wasn't a social conservative. ..."
"... I can't help thinking he's just another wealthy, metropolitan businessman who probably didn't give a single toss about immigration, gay marriage, Islam or any of it, and if you pushed him probably would have been completely relaxed about all those issues. ..."
"... Tough for any GOP candidate to avoid the flip flops in fairness. Pro life gun nuts, military spending addicted defecit hawks, die hard defenders of the Constitution hell bent on removing church/state separation, defenders of the squeezed middle sucking on the teat of Murdoch and the Koch brothers.... A very high and skinny tight rope.... ..."
"... Trump won because these people have nothing people want to listen to. Nobody cares about Rubio or Bush flip flopping on immigration, because they have decided not to vote for them. ..."
"... People care about jobs and their dwindling opportunities. Trump talks populism. He talks about tariffs on manufacturers who moved jobs overseas. People like that. He said he thinks the US should have left Saddam Hussein in power. Every rational person today agrees with that. He says the US should have left Gaddafi in power. While not too many people think about that too much, if they do, they agree with that too. Especially once they learn about the domino effect it has had, such as the attack on the coffee shop in Burkina Faso a week ago or so. ..."
"... People have grown tired of war. All of the mainstream candidates want war because their campaigns depend on it. Bush's family has massive investment in the Carlisle Group and other players in the MIC. ..."
"... Trump made his money in real estate, not war. ..."
"... Not a Trump fan, but it is great to see someone with enough nous to tell Fox to go bite their bum. Good on him. We know from past experience what a sleazy old fart Rupert is and his fellow travelers in Fox are a good fit. The "moderators" are third rate journo's out to polish their image and try the bigmouth on the guy that 'may' become President. No need for Trump to take that kind of crap off of those sort of people. ..."
"... Cruz was attacked, got flustered and blew his opportunity. Trump's judgement turned out to be vindicated in not attending. Trump is currently the front runner and bearing in mind that the entire West is moving to the right it is quite likely that by the time of the election Trump may turn out to be closer to the mainstream. If there are further Islamic terrorist attacks on US soil then this will likely be a certainty. ..."
www.theguardian.com


TheBorderGuard 29 Jan 2016 12:58

You could tell the Trumpless debate was an almost normal presidential event by the nature of the closing statements.

Bland, clichéd, and frankly boring.


Zetenyagli -> benbache 29 Jan 2016 11:49

Trump won because these people have nothing people want to listen to.

Spot on. The Republican party is about corporatism and the "1%". They are irrelevant to nearly all the American public apart from democrat haters. The GOP might as well be a corpse.


tonybillbob -> Commentator6 29 Jan 2016 11:31

Trump is currently the front runner and bearing in mind that the entire West is moving to the right it is quite likely that by the time of the election Trump may turn out to be closer to the mainstream.

Mainstream of what? The conservative movement? America? The globe?


tonybillbob 29 Jan 2016 11:25

Jeb Bush insisted several times that he had "a proven record", begging the question why he needed to mention such a proven thing quite so many times.

Yeah!!! How come those who have a "proven track record" always have to remind folks that they have a proven track record and usually follow that claim with "unlike my competitor"?

Hillary Clinton's always going on and on about her "Proven track record" at the State Dept....where she set Libya on fire, for example.....unlike her competitor, Bernie Sanders.

And her "hands on experience" reforming banks....."Cut that out!!!!" ...another something she has over Bernie Sanders. Another thing Clinton can say about herself is that she's made a huge pile of 'speakin' fees' dough rubbin' elbows with bankers.....another something that Bernie can't say about himself. And don't forget: Hillary's gonna color inside the lines because she's a realist.

She knows what Wall Street will approve of and what Wall Street won't approve of......Hillary's unique in that regard....at least she thinks so, and claims that's why we should vote for her....because she already knows what Wall Street will and won't allow a president to do.


simpledino 29 Jan 2016 11:23

Okay, Ted Cruz -- I'll gladly pray on the nation's decision. (Kneeling humbly): "Dear Lord, please let the American people not vote in anyone from the GOP side as president in 2016. Lord, hear my prayer -- let them choose either HIllary Clinton or Bernie Sanders (or even thy faithful and honorable servant Martin O'Malley, who doesn't have a chance in .... oh never mind, Lord...)."

Okay, my prayer skills are a bit rusty, I admit, but you get the idea.

Anyhow, Donald Trump reminds me more and more of Italy's media mogul/politician Silvio Berlusconi -- maybe it's just my eyes playing tricks on me, but he is even starting to LOOK more and more like that man, what with the many faces he makes and the populist theatricality and all. Trump offers no substance in terms of policy, but he clearly has an intuitive grasp of how the major media outlets will respond to and cover his every move.

Lafcadio1944 29 Jan 2016 11:15

I wonder if this column was written before or after the subject events. It is so trite meaningless and predictable he must have written it in his sleep.

Cranios 29 Jan 2016 11:13

I was never warmly disposed toward Trump, but the more I hear him annoying the news media by refusing to be frightened and dance to their tune, the more I am starting to like him.

tklhmd 29 Jan 2016 11:11

Managing to outfox Fox news is no mean feat, I'll give him that.


Tearoutthehairnow -> hawkchurch 29 Jan 2016 11:11

Trump is a centre-right, and possibly even slightly left candidate. His grandstanding is for the core base. All candidates walk back toward the middle once they have to appeal to the national electorate. He's far more liberal than Cruz, who, I assure you, will set about undoing every last bit of progress for working people and women that managed to creep forward over the last eight years, starting with health care, Medicare, and Social Security.

You have to separate out Trump's grandstanding with his east coast New York roots. It's actually Trump who has brought up single-payer health care and some brutal talk about Wall Street. I would wager a month's salary that Trump and Mrs Clinton are not too far apart on how they would govern. And you forget that Congress is involved as well.

The hyperbole is meaningless. So far, Jeb Bush's brother and his Vice President have done more damage to the US and the world than I would guess Trump would do in 20 years.

And do remember on whose watch NAFTA, that infamous "ending welfare as we know it", the equally infamous DOMA, and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which paved the way for The Big Short were passed: dear old Bill Clinton.

Try analysis instead of hyperbole. It works wonders.

Tearoutthehairnow -> lefthalfback2 29 Jan 2016 11:06

I have been nonplussed from this end of things by how lackluster J. Bush's performance has been - I can only assume that unconsciously, he really doesn't want it - because no one who really wants it and has the advantage of his experience, access, and background, could possibly be turning in this deadly a performance. It reeks of self-sabotage in the name of self-preservation. At of course a huge cost in funds . . .


Tearoutthehairnow 29 Jan 2016 11:02

I was able to catch some US news - Trump not only wasn't "sidelined" as the other Guardian article on last night's debate proclaimed, firstly he walked out of his own accord, and second, he cut FOX's debate audience in half. Last night's debate attracted the lowest audience ratings of all the Republican debates so far - approximately 11-12 million as opposed to the approximately 23 million the debates attracted when he participated. CNN did quite well covering the "other" event.

And he's still leading in the polls among Republicans - including among Republican women according to CNN, so the Guardian's recent article on these parties' only audience being "angry white men" was, again, off the mark by including Trump and the US Republicans.

The media is trusted by the public about as much as bankers and politicians. Trump sticking it to FOX not only didn't get him "sidelined" it probably increased his support among the Republican base. Jeb Bush is still pretending to be a candidate as is Ben Carson, and Cruz in the spotlight reinforced his reputation as so nasty a human being that even if he gets into the Oval Office, no one, including those on his own side of the aisle, will want to work with him.

It would be refreshing to see the media try to report rather than shape the news to its own liking.


JackGC -> ACJB 29 Jan 2016 10:34

Keeping people "scared" is a full time job for the government. It would be impossible to have a war without the "scared" factor.

"We are a nation in grave danger." George Bush.

In 'Merica, people need their guns just in case ISIS invades their town. It's like War of the Worlds only with Muslims, not Martians. That was a REALLY scary flick back in the 30s. 'Mericans really didn't know if New Jersey had been invaded and Christie is the guv. of Jersey.

Trump is a New Yorker, so those two are on the front lines of any potential outer space invasion. War of the Worlds II. 'Merica is ready.


Harry Bhai 29 Jan 2016 10:27

Be like......

This is Ted Cruz.
Cruz is a world-class question-dodger
When Cruz is asked about his votes against defense budgets, he launches into an extended diatribe against Barack Obama's defense budgets.
When Cruz is asked about his own position on issues, he talks about his idol: Ronald Reagan.
When Cruz is asked about why he flip-flopped on his feelings towards Trump, he pretends that he was asked to insult Trump

Cruz is a flip-flop politician.
Be like Cruz, NOT.


JackGC N.M. Hill 29 Jan 2016 10:22

Translation: Trump knows he already has the nomination locked up. Why should he give Cruz and Rubio an opportunity to attack him in a live debate? He made the smart move. Since 9/11 and the buildup to the war in Iraq, the media's only real job is political propaganda.


N.M. Hill 29 Jan 2016 09:48

Trump just proved: it's possible to win a debate you didn't attend

Translation: Media more obsessed with Trump than actual issues.


MeereeneseLiberation -> LiamNSW2 29 Jan 2016 09:24

he was chastised for saying he'd stop Muslims from entering the US

Because Muslim immigration is really the one thing that affects ordinary Americans the most. Not affordable health care, wealth distribution, labour rights ... Muslim immigration. Especially of those few thousand Syrian refugees that are vetted over months and months. (But oh yes, "the Muslims" hate the West, each and every one. Especially if he or she is fleeing from ISIS terror, I guess.)


Sweden, that paragon of migrant virtue

Sweden, like all Scandinavian countries, has extremely restrictive immigration and asylum policies. Calling Sweden a "paragon of migrant virtue" is about as accurate as calling Switzerland a 'paragon of banking transparency' (or the US a 'paragon of gun control').


nnedjo -> RusticBenadar 29 Jan 2016 08:59

Just curious, can anyone share some actual substance concerning any of Trump's policy plans?

As far as I know, Trump, Sanders and Obama were equally resentful because American businessmen are moving production abroad, thus leaving American workers out of work, and the state budget deprived of taxes that go also to foreign countries instead of remaining in the US.

In addition, Trump also stands for a kind of economic protectionism, particularly in relation to China, bearing in mind "the urgent need to reduce the trade deficit with China", which is now about $ 500 billion a year, if I remembered well.

So, it is interesting that the current as well as two of the possible future US presidents are pushing for some kind of protectionism of domestic production and economic isolationism that are completely contrary to previous commitment of the United States to free markets and free flow of capital in the world.However, taking into account the current economic crisis in the world, that from acute increasingly turns into some kind of chronic phase, it is perhaps not so surprising.


SeniorsTn9 29 Jan 2016 08:44

UPDATE: 2016/01/29 Trump won the debate he didn't even participate in. No surprise here.

Which debate will you focus on, the elephant walk or Trump? If you want to hear positive messages listen to Trump. Trump stood his ground. Trump is definitely different. When we look at the options there is simply no alternative. I prefer to watch the next president of the United States of America. I was on the fence but how I am definitely a Trump supporter. Trump will make America great again.

There is a personality conflict here and everyone knows it. This reporter definitely has a hate on for Trump. Trump was right to not participate in this debate. Replace the so called bias reporter. Fox News could have fixed this but choose not to. Call Trump's bluff and he will have no choice but to join the debate. This is not and should not be about reporters. The press, for some reason, always plays into Trump's hand. This is another Trump strategic move to force the debate to focus on him first. Seriously just look at what has already happened, All Trump's opponents and the media are talking about now is the fact that Trump is not participating in the debate. Brilliant!

Trump has changed the debating and campaigning rules. Trump will or will not be successful based on his decisions and his alone. Trump now has the focus on him and the debates haven't even startled. Trump is now winning debates he isn't even participating in. This has got to be a first in successful political debating strategies! Amazing! A win win for Trump. Smart man! Smart like a Fox.


ID0020237 -> NYcynic 29 Jan 2016 08:25

Methinks all this debate and chatter are nothing but distractions for the masses so those behind and above the scene can carry out their hidden agendas. Debates are like more opium for the masses, it keeps their brains churning while other issues are burning. I see no problems being solved here with all the empty rhetoric.


kaneandabel -> kodicek 29 Jan 2016 07:45

Well kodi, your comments are valid in it that ALL of these candidates are part of the revolving door irrespective of the supposed 'right' or supposed 'left'. Clinton is as much a compromised candidate as the entire bunch of the republican team. Trump may appear to be a different kind but that that's only because he is a good "talker" who seems to give 2 hoots to the establishment. But thats only talk. He would turn on a cent the moment he becomes President. A perfect example of that is Barack Obama. He talked the sweet talk and made people think a new dawn is coming in American politics. But as it turned out.... zilch!

But there is a slight ray of hope, a thin one. With Sanders. As he has walked the talk all along! Otherwise you van be sure to be in the grip of the wall street scamstars and plutocrats for the next decade.

RusticBenadar B5610661066 29 Jan 2016 06:02

Plutocracy; and all candidates are millionaires or billionaires being hoisted upon Americans by the establishment media/business/banks/politics- all, that is, with the single exception of Bernie Sanders, who alone has managed not to enrich himself with special interest bribery or financial exploitation during his unparalleled 45+ years of outstanding common sense public service.

kodicek -> LazarusLong42 29 Jan 2016 05:52

The vast majority of the political elite, from Bush to Clinton, are there to further the agenda, as well as their own careers. In this way, you have Obama brought into to finish by proxy what Bush started by direct force. I.e the wrecking of any Nation State that opposes the neo-liberal economic system.

They only exist in the spotlight for as long as they are tolerated in terms of their persona, until the public wise-up. It is then they go into their background role; the cushy and lucrative 'consulting' jobs they have been promised by the special interest 'think tanks' they already belong to; be it the Council of Foreign Relations, or the Bilderberg group; all funded by international banking cartels.

Supposed 'right' or supposed 'left' of the mainstream media are just part and parcel of the same ultimate deception.

Trump, although not perfect in his persona, is certainly a problem for the agenda: thus their attack dogs in the media have been called to take him out.

This is what first raised my suspicions: I thought for myself, rather than double clicking on a petition.

Best Regards, K


kodicek 29 Jan 2016 05:19

It's amusing to see the attacks on Trump; who just for speaking his mind is starting to steadily resonate with a growing demographic, both at home and abroad.

You'd never hear about it here of course; but he harshly denounced the invasion of Iraq, and was a big critic of Bush.

Despite all the allegations of racism, he has the largest support amongst the Black and Latino community; and is the most popular Republican candidate with Women.

He also seems to be the only one who understands that the majority of Americans needs real jobs – not some laughable concept of an 'ideas economy.' and is willing to fight for them on a trade level to ensure this.

He is also the least likely to drag the US into dangerous conflicts, (proxy or otherwise) with those such as Russia – Sadly I can see some Guardian commentators already gunning for that.

He is also not controlled by the usual financial ties to banking elites: Goldman & Sachs just gave Hillary $3 million – what's that then? Just pocket money?

We always drone on about democracy etc, but when someone is actually popular, from Corbyn to Trump, we denounce them and ridicule their supporters.

Funny thing is; if it wasn't for all these attacks I might never have noticed!


TheChillZone -> SteelyDanorak 29 Jan 2016 05:05

America isn't better than this - this IS America. The land of political dynasties and limitless corporate donations. Where a movie star became the President and a body builder a Governor. It doesn't even have a one-man-one vote voting system for heavens sake. The rise of Trump makes perfect sense - most of American culture has been relentlessly dumbed down; now it's Politics turn.


europeangrayling -> shaftedpig 29 Jan 2016 04:40

It's kind of like Iranian 'democracy', where the Ayatollah picks out and approves 4-5 candidates, and then the Iranian people get to 'vote' for them. We do it a bit differently, in a society where we have freedom of speech, but the outcome always ends up the same, with 2 establishment, corporate, Wall street, military industrial complex, globalist 'free trade' choices for president. All approved by corporate America, our corporate and mainstream media and by Wall street, it always ends up like that. Like right now, there is no difference between Hillary, and establishment corporate Democrats like the Clintons, and the establishment Republicans like Rubio, Kasich or Bush, on all those really big and truly important issues.


fanfootbal65 29 Jan 2016 04:20

At least with Trump you know where he stands unlike most politicians who just tell the voters what they want to hear. Then after getting elected, these lip service politicians just go off on their own agenda against the wishes of the people that voted for them.


SamStone 29 Jan 2016 03:55

Haha, Trump is tremendously astute and clever when it comes to tactics. It will be awesome if he actually becomes president.


boldofer 29 Jan 2016 03:46

That thing about Cruz labelling Trump a Democrat is interesting. I'm sure most Democrats would be understandably offended by the suggestion, and I'm pretty sure Cruz doesn't actually believe it either. I haven't been following Trump's statements on policy closely at all, but from my general impression of him over the years, I always thought that, although he was clearly a dyed in the wool capitalist, he probably wasn't a social conservative.

I can't help thinking he's just another wealthy, metropolitan businessman who probably didn't give a single toss about immigration, gay marriage, Islam or any of it, and if you pushed him probably would have been completely relaxed about all those issues. But I guess what he is above all else is a power hungry narcissist and a showman, and if he feels he needs to push certain buttons to get elected...


SGT123 29 Jan 2016 03:29

"Megyn Kelly, the Fox News anchor whose participation in the debate led to Trump's boycott, referred to him as "the elephant not in the room".

Which is both quite funny and accurate. I can see why Donald was so frightened of her!


Blaaboy 29 Jan 2016 03:03

Tough for any GOP candidate to avoid the flip flops in fairness. Pro life gun nuts, military spending addicted defecit hawks, die hard defenders of the Constitution hell bent on removing church/state separation, defenders of the squeezed middle sucking on the teat of Murdoch and the Koch brothers.... A very high and skinny tight rope....


benbache 29 Jan 2016 02:22

Trump won because these people have nothing people want to listen to. Nobody cares about Rubio or Bush flip flopping on immigration, because they have decided not to vote for them. And despite the press, no one I know cares about terrorism in the US. No one ever brings it up in any conversation, despite constant fear mongering.

People care about jobs and their dwindling opportunities. Trump talks populism. He talks about tariffs on manufacturers who moved jobs overseas. People like that. He said he thinks the US should have left Saddam Hussein in power. Every rational person today agrees with that. He says the US should have left Gaddafi in power. While not too many people think about that too much, if they do, they agree with that too. Especially once they learn about the domino effect it has had, such as the attack on the coffee shop in Burkina Faso a week ago or so.

People have grown tired of war. All of the mainstream candidates want war because their campaigns depend on it. Bush's family has massive investment in the Carlisle Group and other players in the MIC.

Trump made his money in real estate, not war.

ID1569355 29 Jan 2016 01:53

I have no vote in the U.S.A. I greatly respect it's people and achievements. President Obama has been a big disappointment to me. I really thought he could make some good changes for his citizens. Should Mr Trump actually win the Presidency life for many will be very, very interesting, perhaps not in a good way. Then again perhaps his leadership might be just what America needs.

A few years of Mr Trump as leader of the world's greatest super-power may give us all a new outlook on life as we know it, help us adjust our personal and National priorities. Give him the power as the Supreme Commander of Military Forces and we can all learn some lessons about the consequences of Americans votes on everyone else's lives. Americans may learn a thing or two also........Go Trump !

Oboy1963 29 Jan 2016 01:37

Not a Trump fan, but it is great to see someone with enough nous to tell Fox to go bite their bum. Good on him. We know from past experience what a sleazy old fart Rupert is and his fellow travelers in Fox are a good fit. The "moderators" are third rate journo's out to polish their image and try the bigmouth on the guy that 'may' become President. No need for Trump to take that kind of crap off of those sort of people.

Commentator6 29 Jan 2016 01:32

Cruz was attacked, got flustered and blew his opportunity. Trump's judgement turned out to be vindicated in not attending. Trump is currently the front runner and bearing in mind that the entire West is moving to the right it is quite likely that by the time of the election Trump may turn out to be closer to the mainstream. If there are further Islamic terrorist attacks on US soil then this will likely be a certainty.

[Jan 29, 2016] financing Koch brothers convene donor retreat as dark money spending set to soar

Notable quotes:
"... For sale, cheap, one POTUS puppet, strings firmly attached. Keep the kiddies entertained, good for four years worth of distraction. ..."
"... Where does most of the money, dark or obvious, go? Answer: The Main Stream Media (I include the Guardian in this). Do you now understand why they're all having a bob-each-way? Morals, journalistic integrity, decency or the welfare of the public be damned, it's raining wads of cash. ..."
"... Because of the SCOTUS Citizens united decision, it is just fine to bribe politicians IN PUBLIC. How could SCOTUS and the GOP do this to the United States. It is destroying our Democracy. ..."
"... Let the ass-kissing and groveling begin ..."
"... The undue influence of the rich over American politics is an absolute disgrace. How can those who claim to be conservatives justify their destruction of democratic processes? They conserve nothing but their own power. Traitors! ..."
"... I'm afraid that the soul of America was lost with the scotus ruling. Corporations are just that, corporations. They are not people. They already had a disproportionate say in politics because of lobbying money. ..."
"... Now the princes of darkness have descended on the land like perpetual night. Leaving the populace longing for the light! The Kochs and their ilk are slaves to their ideology which is to destroy the federal government, destroy all social safety net's, even privatize our military. All this for the ideology of the extreme right wing corporate fascism. ..."
"... All Hail the Deep State! ..."
"... Check this out...It will blow you away: 'Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How the Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded the Rise of the Far Right' http://www.democracynow.org/2016/1/20/dark_money_jane_mayer_on_how ..."
"... "Dred Scott turned people into property....Citizens United turned property into people." ..."
"... One of the great sources of Trump's appeal has been the perception of his independence from the Kochs and other corporate manipulators. If he gets the nomination, they will of course attempt to co-opt him just as they did the tea party. It will be interesting to see how he responds. ..."
"... The Kochs didn't co-opt the Tea Party--they created it. They brainstormed it, branded it, funded it, propped it up, bought positive news coverage for it, and pulled its strings to keep the GOP voting base at a full boil for the fall elections in 2010. ..."
"... This was tactically necessary to enable them to take full advantage of the gorgeous opportunity John Roberts had created for them earlier that spring with Citizens United, rushed through precisely to help the oligarchs buy themselves Congress and as many state houses and governor's mansions as they could reap. ..."
"... The best government money can buy...... Since the Supreme Court ruled unlimited corporate bribes to politicians would be considered "free speech" in the eyes of the law, people lost any chance they had of representation based on what's best for average citizen. It's -ALL- about big money now, a literal Corporatocracy. The idea that government should be "Of the people, by the people and for the people" is long lost, RIP. ..."
"... Dark money = Corruption.....period..!! Just because its not illegal doesn't make it right. What it is, is the continual demolition of democracy in the US where whoever has the biggest cheque-book has an advantage over everyone else. Totally wrong and the slippery slope to an end of 'government by the people'... ..."
"... And the theft of the Presidency is underway. Does anyone not think that allowing millions, even a billion dollars to be donated to campaigns with the donor kept secret is a problem? Heck, foreign government can contribute to get the candidate that they want. So.......Who will be the one to kiss Koch butt? ..."
"... Hey look, they're trying to buy the elections again. No surprises there... ..."
"... Not trying. Succeeding. The Koch brothers own many, many politicians who are beholding to Koch and will vote any way Koch wants. ..."
"... Their intentions are now plain: they aim the overthrow of democracy and the establishment of a modern feudal state/oligarchy. ..."
"... If money didn't work, people would not be spending over a billon dollars on the election. Of course money works. Think of it this way: The Koch brothers give almost a billion dollars to support most of the GOP candidates. Regardless of who wins, they will be completely owned by the Koch brothers. It doesn't matter who you vote for if they are all owned by Koch. ..."
"... Moneylenders own the temple. ..."
"... Not to mention that in their own minds and mirrors, the money-lenders are the temple. ..."
"... "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." ..."
"... The pendulum has swung too far - the rich are too rich, and the poor are too poor. The Emperor we have been told has beautiful clothes will soon be found to have none. ..."
"... Or that famous Apalachin, NY, meeting of the five families in 1957. One difference: I bet the FBI won't be raiding the Koch compound, forcing all the big dogs to flee into the woods. More likely, the feds will be providing protection, writing down the license plate numbers of everyone who might object to billionaires dividing up their 'turf' in America. ..."
www.theguardian.com

Dark money is the name for cash given to nonprofit organizations that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals and unions without disclosing their donors. Under IRS regulations these tax-exempt groups are supposed to be promoting "social welfare" and are not allowed to have politics as their primary purpose – so generally they have to spend less than half their funds directly promoting candidates. Other so-called "issue ads" paid for by these groups often look like thinly veiled campaign ads.

The boom in dark money spending in recent elections came in the wake of the supreme court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which held that the first amendment allowed unlimited political spending by corporations and unions. That decision and other court rulings opened the floodgates to individuals, corporations and unions writing unlimited checks to outside groups, both Super Pacs and dark money outfits, which can directly promote federal candidates. Dark money spending rose from just under $6m in 2006 to $131m in 2010 following the decision, according to the CRP.

kus art , 2016-01-30 01:11:10
Well, there you have it. In the USA you can actually buy yourself a president. But for Real! No underhanded bribes, but openly buying. Would you like fries with that...? And here's the kicker - Everyone, from media outlets all the way down to the 'person on the street' just accepts it as is without any real protestations...
GeorgiaTeacher , 2016-01-30 00:22:27
Why is the left so afraid of these guys?

Look at the Billary Wall Street fund raisers. http://freebeacon.com/politics/all-hillary-clinton-wall-street-fundraisers /

I am sure all this money is legit, right?

(I know, I know feel the bern. He doesn't accept it. And unless there is an indictment he won't win)

Suga , 2016-01-30 00:08:59
Learn how Citizens United has allowed Billionaires like the Koch's to rabble-rouse, whip into a frenzy and influence one-half of America to vote against their own best interest!

The Billionaires' Created Tea Party : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKH2gRDkC5s

Itsrainingtin , 2016-01-30 00:01:51
For sale, cheap, one POTUS puppet, strings firmly attached. Keep the kiddies entertained, good for four years worth of distraction.

ps

Where does most of the money, dark or obvious, go? Answer: The Main Stream Media (I include the Guardian in this). Do you now understand why they're all having a bob-each-way? Morals, journalistic integrity, decency or the welfare of the public be damned, it's raining wads of cash.

babymamaboy , 2016-01-29 23:52:10
Until we have a system that makes sense, I guess we can only hope someone realizes that if they just paid a reasonable tax rate it would cost them less than funding Super PACs. Then again, money doesn't make you smart -- they just might spend a billion to save a million. Can we give crowd sourcing political decisions a chance?
MtnClimber , 2016-01-29 23:10:59
Because of the SCOTUS Citizens united decision, it is just fine to bribe politicians IN PUBLIC. How could SCOTUS and the GOP do this to the United States. It is destroying our Democracy.
woodyTX , 2016-01-29 22:36:47
Let the ass-kissing and groveling begin
kriss669 , 2016-01-29 22:30:41
The undue influence of the rich over American politics is an absolute disgrace. How can those who claim to be conservatives justify their destruction of democratic processes? They conserve nothing but their own power. Traitors!
blueterrace , 2016-01-29 22:09:26
America, get a good look at your "democracy" in action.
woodyTX blueterrace , 2016-01-29 23:30:44
Need infra-red night vision goggles to see it.
Washington1776 , 2016-01-29 21:55:40
Waste your blood money. This is a revolution.
Siki Georgevic , 2016-01-29 21:53:15
I'm afraid that the soul of America was lost with the scotus ruling. Corporations are just that, corporations. They are not people. They already had a disproportionate say in politics because of lobbying money.

Now the princes of darkness have descended on the land like perpetual night. Leaving the populace longing for the light! The Kochs and their ilk are slaves to their ideology which is to destroy the federal government, destroy all social safety net's, even privatize our military. All this for the ideology of the extreme right wing corporate fascism.

kevink , 2016-01-29 21:45:09
All Hail the Deep State!
Suga , 2016-01-29 21:30:47
Thank you, Peter Stone! So few Americans even know this is happening.
Check this out...It will blow you away: 'Dark Money: Jane Mayer on How the Koch Bros. & Billionaire Allies Funded the Rise of the Far Right'
http://www.democracynow.org/2016/1/20/dark_money_jane_mayer_on_how

Please Wake Up America.....Citizens United is the Mirror Image of Dred Scott.

"Dred Scott turned people into property....Citizens United turned property into people."

hardlyeverclever , 2016-01-29 21:27:13
Give Karl Rove the money: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/08/15007504-karl-roves-election-debacle-super-pacs-spending-was-nearly-for-naught
Stafford Smith , 2016-01-29 21:25:14
One of the great sources of Trump's appeal has been the perception of his independence from the Kochs and other corporate manipulators. If he gets the nomination, they will of course attempt to co-opt him just as they did the tea party. It will be interesting to see how he responds.
oldamericanlady Stafford Smith , 2016-01-29 21:41:28
The Kochs didn't co-opt the Tea Party--they created it. They brainstormed it, branded it, funded it, propped it up, bought positive news coverage for it, and pulled its strings to keep the GOP voting base at a full boil for the fall elections in 2010.

This was tactically necessary to enable them to take full advantage of the gorgeous opportunity John Roberts had created for them earlier that spring with Citizens United, rushed through precisely to help the oligarchs buy themselves Congress and as many state houses and governor's mansions as they could reap.

Trump is a different matter. They can't invent Trump the same way they invented the so-called Tea Party.

What they can do is flatter him and wheedle him and beguile him in hopes of making him more receptive to little things like, for instance, their nominations to the federal bench.

This, given Trump's pathetic grasp of reality and his monumental ego, shouldn't actually prove too complicated a feat for the Kochs and their worker bees to pull off.

After all, all Marla Maples had to do was say "Donald Trump--best sex I ever had" on Page 6 at the Post and she got to marry the schlub: the Kochs will surely be equally adept at figuring out the wizened, soulless old billionaire version of this time-honored tactic.

woodyTX Stafford Smith , 2016-01-29 23:37:23
The Donald is one of the oligarchs but with an immense ego. Instead of playing the political puppets from behind the curtain as the Koch's do, he thought he'd become the puppet show himself.

An oligarch in politician's clothing attempting to persuade America that he's on our side. How very Putinesque.

revelationnow Stafford Smith , 2016-01-30 00:31:06
They won't be able to co-opt Trump because he is only guided by his ego.
str8vision , 2016-01-29 20:56:28
The best government money can buy...... Since the Supreme Court ruled unlimited corporate bribes to politicians would be considered "free speech" in the eyes of the law, people lost any chance they had of representation based on what's best for average citizen. It's -ALL- about big money now, a literal Corporatocracy. The idea that government should be "Of the people, by the people and for the people" is long lost, RIP.
Christopher Aaron Jones , 2016-01-29 20:45:39
"How can we override the people's needs with money and influence?"
UzzDontSay Christopher Aaron Jones , 2016-01-30 01:42:36
Help pol get registered, informed & get you & those you have influenced to vote in EVERY ELECTION!!!
Totoro08 , 2016-01-29 20:37:46
Dark money = Corruption.....period..!! Just because its not illegal doesn't make it right. What it is, is the continual demolition of democracy in the US where whoever has the biggest cheque-book has an advantage over everyone else. Totally wrong and the slippery slope to an end of 'government by the people'...
MtnClimber , 2016-01-29 20:35:03
And the theft of the Presidency is underway. Does anyone not think that allowing millions, even a billion dollars to be donated to campaigns with the donor kept secret is a problem? Heck, foreign government can contribute to get the candidate that they want. So.......Who will be the one to kiss Koch butt?
Whatsup12 , 2016-01-29 20:29:52
Hey look, they're trying to buy the elections again. No surprises there...
MtnClimber Whatsup12 , 2016-01-29 20:54:23
Not trying. Succeeding. The Koch brothers own many, many politicians who are beholding to Koch and will vote any way Koch wants.
catch18 , 2016-01-29 20:27:51
Coming on pitchfork time.
Anthony Caudill , 2016-01-29 20:25:43
Their intentions are now plain: they aim the overthrow of democracy and the establishment of a modern feudal state/oligarchy.
UzzDontSay Anthony Caudill , 2016-01-30 01:45:53
Question is are we going to let them?
centerlane , 2016-01-29 20:11:43
Dark money cannot compete with the elephant on the block, the electorate. If any one has the finances to buy the oval office and or Congress it is "citizens united" ten dollars ahead should do it.
Anthony Caudill centerlane , 2016-01-29 20:30:12
What you are failing to reckon with is the scale of their organization and its capacity. This retreat probably has a trillion dollars backing it. That's a lot of high paying jobs...
MtnClimber centerlane , 2016-01-29 20:37:53
If money didn't work, people would not be spending over a billon dollars on the election. Of course money works. Think of it this way: The Koch brothers give almost a billion dollars to support most of the GOP candidates. Regardless of who wins, they will be completely owned by the Koch brothers. It doesn't matter who you vote for if they are all owned by Koch.

So, no, the power does NOT lie with the voters. SCOTUS has stolen our democracy and has given it to the richest 100 people in the US.

marshwren Anthony Caudill , 2016-01-29 20:46:05
And what you're failing to recognize is the scale and capacity of the internet--the people's MSM and Super PAC. Whatever the outcome of this year's election, the Sanders' campaign is creating the template by which guerrilla/insurgent campaigns will be modeled for the next 20 years or longer...depending on if and when the Kochs et al finally get to end net neutrality.
SiriErieott , 2016-01-29 20:05:00
Dark money - it's the undetectable dark matter of politics that bends and motivates political stars to the black hole of government. Ordinary people can't detect it or see it, but it's effect is to control the movement of money to the star clusters (otherwise known as tax havens).
groovebox1 , 2016-01-29 19:58:12
The Koch Brothers heads belong on a stick.
MtnClimber groovebox1 , 2016-01-29 20:38:32
I believe that would be a pike. It's also a great idea.
mikedow , 2016-01-29 19:53:45
Moneylenders own the temple.
marshwren mikedow , 2016-01-29 20:42:48
Not to mention that in their own minds and mirrors, the money-lenders are the temple.
onevote , 2016-01-29 19:48:14
Citizen's United, the gift that keeps on giving...

Sanders, 2016
One Person : One Vote

Gramercy , 2016-01-29 19:38:31
The Kochs are concentrating on State legislatures, the key to amending the Constitution.
By the time they're finished, the President will have less power than the Queen.
mikedow Gramercy , 2016-01-29 19:56:57
Hand in hand with ALEC.
Anthony Caudill Gramercy , 2016-01-29 20:31:42
Looks like Roberts is gonna have to decide whether or not he wants to endure the humiliation of having the next majority overturn his ruling.
JulianTurnbull , 2016-01-29 19:28:16
These people laugh in the face of democracy. I like particularly this quote - if I remember it correctly - by Lily Tomlin:

"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."

The pendulum has swung too far - the rich are too rich, and the poor are too poor. The Emperor we have been told has beautiful clothes will soon be found to have none.

RedPanda JulianTurnbull , 2016-01-30 01:57:06
The Republicans moan, the Republicans bitch: The rich are too poor and the poor are too rich.
pconl , 2016-01-29 19:27:20
A genuine, and possibly naive, question. Is this reported in the States? If so, does anyone notice?
widdak pconl , 2016-01-29 19:42:35
Not really and definitely not.
sour_mash pconl , 2016-01-29 19:55:10
"A genuine, and possibly naive, question. Is this reported in the States?"

Yes. With few exceptions, the only bad question is the one not asked.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/01/29/koch-brothers-push-poverty-education-societal-change--initiative-republican/79468744 /

Voltairine pconl , 2016-01-29 19:58:19
I'm a U.S. citizen, and I don't know because I stopped watching U.S. "news" although I'm not sure how much better The Guardian is the people in comments seem a tad nicer better grammar and spelling did I answer the questions? Oh, a butterfly!
lefthalfback2 , 2016-01-29 19:22:03
They are already spending their money on negative ads against- wait for it- Hillary Clinton. They know who that have to beat- and it ain't Bernie.
marshwren lefthalfback2 , 2016-01-29 20:40:59
Good--let them blow billions (more) attacking Clinton; it'll only be more delicious when they find out they should have spent it against Sanders. You better hope Clinton wins IA big, because if she doesn't, she just might jump-start the process by which she loses the nomination. Like last time.
lefthalfback2 marshwren , 2016-01-29 20:49:48
could happen. I could live with Bernie as the nominee. Krugman had an interesting slant on it today in NYT.
callaspodeaspode , 2016-01-29 19:20:59
Several Koch network donors have voiced strong concerns about the rise of Trump, raising doubts about his conservative bona fides and his angry anti-immigrant rhetoric, which they fear could hurt efforts by the Koch network and the Republican party to appeal to Hispanics and minorities.

I wonder if they also worry about their lavishly-funded support of theocratic loudmouth Republican lunatics such as Tom Cotton, Sam Brownback and Joni Ernst potentially alienating moderate Christians or, heaven (literally) forbid, non-believers?

Only joking. No.

Apollo_11 , 2016-01-29 19:06:22
Don't let nobody give your guns to shoot down your own brother
Don't let nobody give your bombs to blow down my sweet mother
Tell me are you really feeling sweet when you sit down to eat
You eating blood money you spending blood money
You think you're funny living off blood money
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anjkSBQDRjc
snakeatzoes , 2016-01-29 19:01:31
Its funny to see them without Trump. You are so mesmerised by Trump and his hair that you haven't noticed what an incredibly weird looking bunch the rest are. Not that it matters given Bernie will *ump them all anyway -- :)
Whitt , 2016-01-29 18:56:52
"Several Republican congressional incumbents and candidates facing tough races are slated to attend the Koch retreat this weekend, and, if recent history is a guide, are expecting to gain support from Koch-backed dark money groups."
*
For some reason I'm reminded of the opening scene of The Godfather where supplicants meet with Don Corleone and present their requests on the occasion of his daughter's wedding, kissing his hand at the end.

Can't imagine why.

lefthalfback2 Whitt , 2016-01-29 19:23:02
"...Give this to Clemenza. Tell him to send responsible people. We don't want things to get out of hand...".
MtnClimber Whitt , 2016-01-29 20:45:10
That's exactly what it is. The Koch Brothers will own most of the GOP politicians. It doesn't matter which one you vote for because that person will likely be owned by Koch and will do their bidding.
NYbill13 Whitt , 2016-01-29 20:46:55
Or that famous Apalachin, NY, meeting of the five families in 1957. One difference: I bet the FBI won't be raiding the Koch compound, forcing all the big dogs to flee into the woods. More likely, the feds will be providing protection, writing down the license plate numbers of everyone who might object to billionaires dividing up their 'turf' in America.

Continued

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