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[Dec 31, 2019] The US is now openly dismissive as a matter of law any ally or partner who engages in economic activity it disapproves by Tom Luongo

Dec 26, 2019 | astutenews.com

Europe is willing to defy the U.S. on Nordstream to the point of forcing the U.S. to openly and nakedly destroy its reputation with European contractors and governments to stop one pipeline in a place where multiple gas pipelines will be needed for future growth.

This is the diplomatic equivalent of the nuclear option. And the neocons in the Senate just pushed the button. Europe understands what this is really about, the U.S. retaining its imperial position as the policy setter for all the world. If it can set energy policy for Europe then it can set everything else.

And it's clear that the leadership in Europe is done with that status quo. The Trump administration from the beginning has used NATO as an excuse to mask its real intentions towards Europe, which is continued domination of its policies. Trump complains that the U.S. pays into NATO to protect Europe from Russia but then Europe buys its energy from Russia. That's unfair, Donald complains, like a little bitch, frankly, even though he right on the surface. But if the recent NATO summit is any indication, Europe is no longer interested in NATO performing that function. French President Emmanuel Macron wants NATO re-purposed to fight global terror, a terrible idea. NATO should just be ended.

But you'll notice how Trump doesn't talk about that anymore. He wants more billions pumped into NATO while the U.S. still sets its policies. This is not a boondoggle for the MIC as much as it's a Sword of Damocles to hold over Europe's head. The U.S.'s involvement in should be ended immediately, the troops brought home and the billions of dollars spent here as opposed to occupying most of Europe to point missiles at a Russia wholly uninterested in imperial ambitions no less harboring any of them.

And Trump also knows this but thinks stopping Nordstream 2 is the price Europe has to pay him for this privilege. It's insane. The time has come for Europe to act independently from the U.S. As much as I despise the EU, to untangle it from the U.S. on energy policy is the means by which for it to then deal with its problems internally. It can't do that while the U.S. is threatening it. Circling the wagons against the immediate threat, as it were.

And that means protecting its companies and citizens from the economic depredations of power-mad neoconservatives in the U.S. Senate like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham.

Allseas, the Swiss company laying the pipe for Nordstream 2, has halted construction for now , awaiting instructions from the U.S. Gazprom will likely step in to finish the job and Germany will green light any of the necessary permits to get the pipeline done. Those people will be put out of work just in time for Christmas, turning thousands of people against the U.S. Commerce drives people together, politics drives them apart.

But, at the same time, the urgency to finish Nordstream 2 on time is wholly irrelevant now because Ukraine and Russia came to terms on a new five-year gas transit contract. This ensures Gazprom can meet its contractual deliveries to Europe that no one thought could be done on time. But when the Nazi threat to Zelensky meeting with Merkel, Macron and Putin in Paris failed to materialize, a gas deal was on the horizon.

And, guess what? U.S. LNG will still not have the marginal lever over Europe's energy policy because of that. Putin and Zelensky outmaneuvered Cruz, Graham and Trump on this. Because that's what this boils down to. By keeping Russian gas out of Europe, it was supposed to constrain not only Russia's growth but also Europe's. Because then the U.S. government can control who and how much energy can make it into European markets at critical junctures politically.

That was the Bolton Doctrine to National Security. And that doctrine brought nothing but misery to millions.

And if you look back over the past five years of U.S./EU relations you will see this gambit clearly for what it was, a way to continue European vassalage at the hands of the U.S. by forcing market share of U.S. providers into European markets.

Again, it gets back to Trump's ideas about Emergy Dominance and becoming the supplier of the marginal erg of energy to important economies around the world.

The smart play for the EU now that the gas transit deal is in place is to threaten counter-sanctions against the U.S. and bar all LNG shipments into Europe. Gas prices are at historic lows, gas supplies are overflowing thanks to fears of a deal not being in place.

So, a three to six month embargo of U.S. LNG into Europe to bleed off excess supply while Nordstream 2 is completed would be the right play politically.

But, in reality, they won't need to, because the U.S. won't be able to import much into Europe under current prices and market conditions. And once Nordstream 2 is complete, LNG sales to Europe should crater.

In the end, I guess it's too bad for Ted Cruz that economics and basic human ingenuity are more powerful than legislatures. Because Nordstream 2 will be completed. Turkstream's other trains into Europe will be built. Venezuela will continue rebuilding its energy sector with Russian and Chinese help.

There is no place for U.S. LNG in Europe outside of the Poles literally burning money virtue signaling their Russophobia. Nordstream 2 was a response to the revolt in Ukraine, to replace any potential losses in market share to Europe. Now Russia will have what it had before passing through Ukraine along with Nordstream 2. By 2024 there will be at least two trains from Turkstream coming into Europe.

Iran will keep expanding exports, settling its oil and gas trade through Russian banks. And the U.S. will continue to fulminate and make itself even more irrelevant over time. What men like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump refuse to understand is that when you go nuclear you can't ever go back. If you threaten the nuclear option, there's no fall back position.

And when those that you threaten with annihilation survive they are made all the stronger for passing through the eye of the needle. Looking at Gazprom's balance sheet right now, that's my take.


By Tom Luongo. Source: Gold Goats 'n Guns

[Dec 30, 2019] Sanders probably understands the situation but still is pandering to MIC, while Warren sounds like a regular neocon, another Kagan

Notable quotes:
"... "Today I say to Mr. Putin: We will not allow you to undermine American democracy or democracies around the world," Sanders said. "In fact, our goal is to not only strengthen American democracy, but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win." ..."
"... And yet, Warren too seems in thrall to the idea that the world order is shaping up to be one in which the white hats (Western democracies) must face off against the black hats (Eurasian authoritarians). Warren says that the "combination of authoritarianism and corrupt capitalism" of Putin's Russia and Xi's China "is a fundamental threat to democracy, both here in the United States and around the world." ..."
"... The Cold War echoes here are as unmistakable as they are worrying. As Princeton and NYU professor emeritus Stephen F. Cohen has written, during the first Cold War, a "totalitarian school" of Soviet studies grew up around the idea "that a totalitarian 'quest for absolute power' at home always led to the 'dynamism' in Soviet behavior abroad was a fundamental axiom of cold-war Soviet studies and of American foreign policy." ..."
"... Cold warriors in both parties frequently mistook communism as a monolithic global movement. Neoprogressives are making this mistake today when they gloss over national context, history, and culture in favor of an all-encompassing theory that puts the "authoritarian" nature of the governments they are criticizing at the center of their diagnosis. ..."
"... By citing the threat to Western democracies posed by a global authoritarian axis, the neoprogressives are repeating the same mistake made by liberal interventionists and neoconservatives. They buy into the democratic peace theory, which holds without much evidence that a world order populated by democracies is likely to be a peaceful one because democracies allegedly don't fight wars against one another. ..."
"... George McGovern once observed that U.S. foreign policy "has been based on an obsession with an international Communist conspiracy that existed more in our minds than in reality." So too the current obsession with the global authoritarians. Communism wasn't a global monolith and neither is this. By portraying it as such, neoprogressives are midwifing bad policy. ..."
"... Some of these elected figures, like Trump and Farage, are symptoms of the failure of the neoliberal economic order. Others, like Orban and Kaczyński, are responses to anti-European Union sentiment and the migrant crises that resulted from the Western interventions in Libya and Syria. Many have more to do with conditions and histories specific to their own countries. Targeting them by painting them with the same broad brush is a mistake. ..."
"... "Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days," writes neoconservative-turned-Hillary Clinton surrogate Robert Kagan, "the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism." Max Boot also finds cause for concern. Boot, a modern-day reincarnation (minus the pedigree and war record) of the hawkish Cold War-era columnist Joe Alsop, believes that "the rise of populist authoritarianism is perhaps the greatest threat we face as a world right now." ..."
Dec 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

You can hear echoes of progressive realism in the statements of leading progressive lawmakers such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Ro Khanna. They have put ending America's support for the Saudi war on Yemen near the top of the progressive foreign policy agenda. On the stump, Sanders now singles out the military-industrial complex and the runaway defense budget for criticism. He promises, among other things, that "we will not continue to spend $700 billion a year on the military." These are welcome developments. Yet since November of 2016, something else has emerged alongside the antiwar component of progressive foreign policy that is not so welcome. Let's call it neoprogressive internationalism, or neoprogressivism for short.

Trump's administration brought with it the Russia scandal. To attack the president and his administration, critics revived Cold War attitudes. This is now part of the neoprogressive foreign policy critique. It places an "authoritarian axis" at its center. Now countries ruled by authoritarians, nationalists, and kleptocrats can and must be checked by an American-led crusade to make the world safe for progressive values. The problem with this neoprogressive narrative of a world divided between an authoritarian axis and the liberal West is what it will lead to: ever spiraling defense budgets, more foreign adventures, more Cold Wars -- and hot ones too.

Unfortunately, Senators Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have adopted elements of the neoprogressive program. At a much remarked upon address at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the site of Churchill's 1946 address, Sanders put forth a vision of a Manichean world. Instead of a world divided by the "Iron Curtain" of Soviet Communism, Sanders sees a world divided between right-wing authoritarians and the forces of progress embodied by American and Western European progressive values.

"Today I say to Mr. Putin: We will not allow you to undermine American democracy or democracies around the world," Sanders said. "In fact, our goal is to not only strengthen American democracy, but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win."

A year later, Sanders warned that the battle between the West and an "authoritarian axis" which is "committed to tearing down a post-Second World War global order that they see as limiting their access to power and wealth." Sanders calls this "a global struggle of enormous consequence. Nothing less than the future of the -- economically, socially and environmentally -- is at stake."

Sanders's focus on this authoritarian axis is one that is shared with his intraparty rivals at the Center for American Progress (a think-tank long funded by some of the least progressive regimes on the planet), which he has pointedly criticized for smearing progressive Democrats like himself. CAP issued a report last September about "the threat presented by opportunist authoritarian regimes" which "urgently requires a rapid response."

The preoccupation with the authoritarian menace is one Sanders and CAP share with prominent progressive activists who warn about the creeping influence of what some have cynically hyped as an "authoritarian Internationale."

Cold War Calling

Senator Warren spelled out her foreign policy vision in a speech at American University in November 2018. Admirably, she criticized Saudi Arabia's savage war on Yemen, the defense industry, and neoliberal free trade agreements that have beggared the American working and middle classes.

"Foreign policy," Warren has said, "should not be run exclusively by the Pentagon." In the second round of the Democratic primary debates, Warren also called for a nuclear "no first use" policy.

And yet, Warren too seems in thrall to the idea that the world order is shaping up to be one in which the white hats (Western democracies) must face off against the black hats (Eurasian authoritarians). Warren says that the "combination of authoritarianism and corrupt capitalism" of Putin's Russia and Xi's China "is a fundamental threat to democracy, both here in the United States and around the world."

Warren also sees a rising tide of corrupt authoritarians "from Hungary to Turkey, from the Philippines to Brazil," where "wealthy elites work together to grow the state's power while the state works to grow the wealth of those who remain loyal to the leader."

The concern with the emerging authoritarian tide has become a central concern of progressive writers and thinkers. "Today, around the world," write progressive foreign policy activists Kate Kinzer and Stephen Miles, "growing authoritarianism and hate are fueled by oligarchies preying on economic, gender, and racial inequality."

Daniel Nexon, a progressive scholar of international relations, believes that "progressives must recognize that we are in a moment of fundamental crisis, featuring coordination among right-wing movements throughout the West and with the Russian government as a sponsor and supporter."

Likewise, The Nation 's Jeet Heer lays the blame for the rise of global authoritarianism at the feet of Vladimir Putin, who "seems to be pushing for an international alt-right, an informal alliance of right-wing parties held together by a shared xenophobia."

Blithely waving away concerns over sparking a new and more dangerous Cold War between the world's two nuclear superpowers, Heer advises that "the dovish left shouldn't let Cold War nightmares prevent them [from] speaking out about it." He concludes: "Leftists have to be ready to battle [Putinism] in all its forms, at home and abroad."

The Cold War echoes here are as unmistakable as they are worrying. As Princeton and NYU professor emeritus Stephen F. Cohen has written, during the first Cold War, a "totalitarian school" of Soviet studies grew up around the idea "that a totalitarian 'quest for absolute power' at home always led to the 'dynamism' in Soviet behavior abroad was a fundamental axiom of cold-war Soviet studies and of American foreign policy."

Likewise, we are seeing the emergence of an "authoritarian school" which posits that the internal political dynamics of regimes such as Putin's cause them, ineffably, to follow revanchist, expansionist foreign policies.

Cold warriors in both parties frequently mistook communism as a monolithic global movement. Neoprogressives are making this mistake today when they gloss over national context, history, and culture in favor of an all-encompassing theory that puts the "authoritarian" nature of the governments they are criticizing at the center of their diagnosis.

By citing the threat to Western democracies posed by a global authoritarian axis, the neoprogressives are repeating the same mistake made by liberal interventionists and neoconservatives. They buy into the democratic peace theory, which holds without much evidence that a world order populated by democracies is likely to be a peaceful one because democracies allegedly don't fight wars against one another.

Yet as Richard Sakwa, a British scholar of Russia and Eastern Europe, writes, "it is often assumed that Russia is critical of the West because of its authoritarian character, but it cannot be taken for granted that a change of regime would automatically make the country align with the West."

George McGovern once observed that U.S. foreign policy "has been based on an obsession with an international Communist conspiracy that existed more in our minds than in reality." So too the current obsession with the global authoritarians. Communism wasn't a global monolith and neither is this. By portraying it as such, neoprogressives are midwifing bad policy.

True, some of the economic trends voters in Europe and South America are reacting to are global, but a diagnosis that links together the rise of Putin and Xi, the elections of Trump in the U.S., Bolsonaro in Brazil, Orban in Hungary, and Kaczyński in Poland with the right-wing insurgency movements of the Le Pens in France and Farage in the UK makes little sense.

Some of these elected figures, like Trump and Farage, are symptoms of the failure of the neoliberal economic order. Others, like Orban and Kaczyński, are responses to anti-European Union sentiment and the migrant crises that resulted from the Western interventions in Libya and Syria. Many have more to do with conditions and histories specific to their own countries. Targeting them by painting them with the same broad brush is a mistake.

Echoes of Neoconservatism

The progressive foreign policy organization Win Without War includes among its 10 foreign policy goals "ending economic, racial and gender inequality around the world." The U.S., according to WWW, "must safeguard universal human rights to dignity, equality, migration and refuge."

Is it a noble sentiment? Sure. But it's every bit as unrealistic as the crusade envisioned by George W. Bush in his second inaugural address, in which he declared, "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."

We know full well where appeals to "universal values" have taken us in the past. Such appeals are not reliable guides for progressives if they seek to reverse the tide of unchecked American intervention abroad. But maybe we should consider whether it's a policy of realism and restraint that they actually seek. Some progressive thinkers are at least honest enough to admit as much that it is not. Nexon admits that "abandoning the infrastructure of American international influence because of its many minuses and abuses will hamstring progressives for decades to come." In other words, America's hegemonic ambitions aren't in and of themselves objectionable or self-defeating, as long as we achieve our kind of hegemony. Progressive values crusades bear more than a passing resemblance to the neoconservative crusades to remake the world in the American self-image.

"Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days," writes neoconservative-turned-Hillary Clinton surrogate Robert Kagan, "the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism." Max Boot also finds cause for concern. Boot, a modern-day reincarnation (minus the pedigree and war record) of the hawkish Cold War-era columnist Joe Alsop, believes that "the rise of populist authoritarianism is perhaps the greatest threat we face as a world right now."

Neoprogressivism, like neoconservatism, risks catering to the U.S. establishment's worst impulses by playing on a belief in American exceptionalism to embark upon yet another global crusade. This raises some questions, including whether a neoprogressive approach to the crises in Ukraine, Syria, or Libya would be substantively different from the liberal interventionist approach of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton. Does a neoprogressive foreign policy organized around the concept of an "authoritarian axis" adequately address the concerns of voters in the American heartland who disproportionately suffer from the consequences of our wars and neoliberal economic policies? It was these voters, after all, who won the election for Trump.

Donald Trump's failure to keep his campaign promise to bring the forever wars to a close while fashioning a new foreign policy oriented around core U.S. national security interests provides Democrats with an opportunity. By repeatedly intervening in Syria, keeping troops in Afghanistan, kowtowing to the Israelis and Saudis, ratcheting up tensions with Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and China, Trump has ceded the anti-interventionist ground he occupied when he ran for office. He can no longer claim the mantle of restraint, a position that found support among six-in-ten Americans in 2016.

Yet with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard, for the most part the Democratic field is offering voters a foreign policy that amounts to "Trump minus belligerence." A truly progressive foreign policy must put questions of war and peace front and center. Addressing America's post 9/11 failures, military overextension, grotesquely bloated defense budget, and the ingrained militarism of our political-media establishment are the proper concerns of a progressive U.S. foreign policy.

But it is one that would place the welfare of our own citizens above all. As such, what is urgently required is the long-delayed realization of a peace dividend. The post-Cold War peace dividend that was envisioned in the early 1990s never materialized. Clinton's secretary of defense Les Aspin strangled the peace dividend in its crib by keeping the U.S. military on a footing that would allow it to fight and win two regional wars simultaneously. Unipolar fantasies of "full spectrum dominance" would come later in the decade.

One might have reasonably expected an effort by the Obama administration to realize a post-bin Laden peace dividend, but the forever wars dragged on and on. In a New Yorker profile from earlier this year, Sanders asked the right question: "Do we really need to spend more than the next ten nations combined on the military, when our infrastructure is collapsing and kids can't afford to go to college?"

The answer is obvious. And yet, how likely is it that progressives will be able realize their vision of a more just, more equal American society if we have to mobilize to face a global authoritarian axis led by Russia and China?

FDR's Good Neighbor Policy

The unipolar world of the first post-Cold War decade is well behind us now. As the world becomes more and more multipolar, powers like China, Russia, Iran, India, and the U.S. will find increasing occasion to clash. A peaceful multipolar world requires stability. And stability requires balance.

In the absence of stability, none of the goods progressives see as desirable can take root. This world order would put a premium on stability and security rather than any specific set of values. An ethical, progressive foreign policy is one which understands that great powers have security interests of their own. "Spheres of influence" are not 19th century anachronisms, but essential to regional security: in Europe, the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere.

It is a policy that would reject crusades to spread American values the world over. "The greatest thing America can do for the rest of the world," George Kennan once observed, "is to make a success of what it is doing here on this continent and to bring itself to a point where its own internal life is one of harmony, stability and self-assurance."

Progressive realism doesn't call for global crusades that seek to conquer the hearts and minds of others. It is not bound up in the hoary self-mythology of American Exceptionalism. It is boring. It puts a premium on the value of human life. It foreswears doing harm so that good may come. It is not a clarion call in the manner of John F. Kennedy who pledged to "to pay any price, bear any burden." It does not lend itself to the cheap moralizing of celebrity presidential speechwriters. In ordinary language, a summation of such a policy would go something like: "we will bear a reasonable price as long as identifiable U.S. security interests are at stake."

A policy that seeks to wind down the global war on terror, slash the defense budget, and shrink our global footprint won't inspire. It will, however, save lives. Such a policy has its roots in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inaugural address. "In the field of World policy," said Roosevelt, "I would dedicate this nation to the policy of the good neighbor, the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others, the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a World of neighbors."

What came to be known as the "Good Neighbor" policy was further explicated by FDR's Secretary of State Cordell Hull at the Montevideo Conference in 1933, when he stated that "No country has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another." Historian David C. Hendrickson sees this as an example of FDR's principles of "liberal pluralism," which included "respect for the integrity and importance of other states" and "non-intervention in the domestic affairs of neighboring states."

These ought to serve as the foundations on which to build a truly progressive foreign policy. They represent a return to the best traditions of the Democratic Party and would likely resonate with those very same blocs of voters that made up the New Deal coalition that the neoliberal iteration of the Democratic Party has largely shunned but will sorely need in order to unseat Trump. And yet, proponents of a neoprogressive foreign policy seem intent on running away from a popular policy of realism and restraint on which Trump has failed to deliver.

James W. Carden is contributing writer for foreign affairs at The Nation and a member of the Board of the Simone Weil Center for Political Philosophy.

[Dec 29, 2019] Some still hope that the DOJ will get to the bottom of national-security state malfeasance, beginning with FBI

Dec 29, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul Damascene , Dec 28 2019 22:58 utc | 36

FBI unredeemably corrupted...?

I think some my still hold out the hope or expectation that the DOJ will get to the bottom of national-security state malfeasance, beginning with FBI.

Kim Strassel of the WSJ quite pointedly asks why there was so little interest at the FIS court in the Nunez memo, which the IG report now bears out. Covering for malfeasance might just be the FISC's job one.

Now, a similarly gimlet-eyed view of the FBI, as arguably beyond saving ...

https://amgreatness.com/2019/12/22/the-fbis-darkest-hour/

[Dec 29, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard Quo Vadis: If the Dem Party is going to be kaput

Dec 29, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Tulsi Gabbard: Quo Vadis?


Alligator Ed on Wed, 12/25/2019 - 11:02pm After bravely contesting a nomination she knows she cannot win, Tulsi Gabbard has and continues to exhibit a tenacious adherence to achievement of purpose. What is that purpose? I believe it is evident if you only let your eyes see and your ears hear. Listen to what she says. Looks at what she does.

//www.youtube.com/embed/F1bVz4nNNnA?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Humble surroundings. Real people. Good food.

What this does is obvious. However, please forgive me if I proceed to explain the meaning. People see what apparently is her home milieu. I've been to Filipino homes for dinner as many of my nurse friends were Filipino. Tulsi is so human. Despite Hindu belief, she is respectful to the presence and perhaps the essence of Jesus, and does not sound pandering or hypocritical.

Getting to know Tulsi at the beginning of her hoped-for (by me) political ascendancy. Get in on almost the ground floor of what will become an extremely powerful force in future American life.

Why? What's the hurry?

The more support and the earlier Tulsi receives it propel the campaign. That's what momentum means: a self-generating growing strength.

One doesn't have to be a Tulsi supporter to hopefully receive some ideas which may not have occurred to you. This essay does not concern any specific Gabbard policy. What I write here is what I perceive of her character and thus her selected path. Mind-reading, perhaps. Arm-chair speculation, possibly.

Tulsi has completed phase 2A in her career. The little that I know of her early life, especially politically (such as how she voted in HI state legislature) limits a deep understanding which such knowledge would provide. As the tree is bent, etc.

We are in Phase 2B. Tulsi, as I wrote in another essay, is letting the tainted shroud of Democrat corruption fall off her shoulders without any effort of her own. The Democrat party is eating itself alive. It is all things to all people at once. That is a philosophy incapable of satisfaction.

Omni Democraticorundum in tres partes est (pardon the reference to the opening of Caesar's Gallic Wars, with liberal substitution by me).

The Dems trifurcate and the division will be neither pleasant nor reconcilable. Tribalism will be reborn after Trump crushes whomever in 2020.

Tribe one: urban/techno/überkinden.

Tribe two: leftward bound to a place where no politician has ever ventured. Not socialism. Not Communism. We could call it Fantasy Land, although I fear Disney owns that name.

Tribe three: progressive realists. By using such positive wording, you will correctly suspect my bias as to which Tribe I belong to.

Once again, policy will not be discussed. Only strategy and reality. Can't have good strategy without a good grasp of reality. This is why Establidems are bereft of thematic variability. For the past 3.3 years, they have been singing from a hymn book containing but one song. You know the title. Orange Man Bad. Yeah, that's it. If they don't like that title, we establidems have another song for ya. It's called Orange Man Bad. Like that one, huh? Wazzat, ya didn't like the song the first time. Hey, we thought the song would grown on you.

Them Dems, noses up, can't see the sidewalk. Oops. Stepped in something there, huh? Oh, yeah like the Impeachment.

But I digress: The latter part of Phase 2B is not clear. Tulsi will continue to accept small donor contributions, even after not obtaining the nomination next year. Public appearances will be important but should be low key with little press attention. Press attention is something however that won't be available when most desirable. What else Tulsi will do may be to form a nucleus of like-minded activists, thinkers, and other supporters to promote an agenda for a more liberal, tolerant society.

If the Dem Party is going to be kaput . . .

@Alligator Ed

. . . ah, never mind.

Don't be surprised if even Warren will fail to gather the 15% of votes needed in each early primary state to get awarded any delegates.

It's gonna Biden vs Bernie.

Bernie or Dust. Or she who shall not be named in which case even worse (and I don't mean Tulsi).

edit/add: Well, lookee here, hot off the presses as it were:
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/26/can-bernie-sanders-win-2020-ele...

Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 2:05pm
from your citation: If Sanders' candidacy ....

@Wally @Wally

If Sanders' candidacy continues to be taken seriously, he will eventually be subjected to the scrutiny that Warren and Biden have faced for prolonged stretches. That includes an examination of his electability. "That conversation has never worked well for anyone," Pfeiffer said.

What a bunch of hypocritical horseshit. Bernie not getting scrutiny? In 2016, when not being derided for this, that or the other, Bernie was always scrutinized. There are only two things voters have learned since the DNC 2016 convention:

1. Bernie had a heart attack
2. Bernie supported H. Rodent Clinton in the general election.

Wally on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:08pm
The reference was to 2020

@Alligator Ed

. . . and to the much noted "Bernie blackout" up until now this time around.

It's gotten to the point given the polls and the first primary in being held in about a month where TPTB in conjunction with the MSM can no longer afford to turn a blind eye towards Bernie. It's gonna get really nasty.

The most recent tropes on the twitters, probably in response to Brock talking point memos, have been pushing Bernie as an anti-Semite and him purportedly triggering rape survivors. Of course it's horsehit but it's the propagandistic method of the Big Lie.

I'm genuinely curious. How will you react if Tulsi endorses the Dem nominee and it ain't Bernie? Bernie's endorsement of she-who-shall-not-be-named in 2016 seems to have pretty much completely soured him to you. Endorsing Biden better? Or at least acceptable? Not for me. Bernie doing so in 2016 I could understand and forgive. But this is my last go round absent a Bernie miracle.

#2.1.1 #2.1.1

If Sanders' candidacy continues to be taken seriously, he will eventually be subjected to the scrutiny that Warren and Biden have faced for prolonged stretches. That includes an examination of his electability. "That conversation has never worked well for anyone," Pfeiffer said.

What a bunch of hypocritical horseshit. Bernie not getting scrutiny? In 2016, when not being derided for this, that or the other, Bernie was always scrutinized. There are only two things voters have learned since the DNC 2016 convention:

1. Bernie had a heart attack
2. Bernie supported H. Rodent Clinton in the general election.

Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 3:55pm
Tulsi's support if Bernie's not nominated

@Wally She might back Yang--who won't get nominated. But I hope she doesn't do anything more than a neutral statement, somewhat to the effect that "We must defeat Donald Trump", then not campaign otherwise.

#2.1.1.1

. . . and to the much noted "Bernie blackout" up until now this time around.

It's gotten to the point given the polls and the first primary in being held in about a month where TPTB in conjunction with the MSM can no longer afford to turn a blind eye towards Bernie. It's gonna get really nasty.

The most recent tropes on the twitters, probably in response to Brock talking point memos, have been pushing Bernie as an anti-Semite and him purportedly triggering rape survivors. Of course it's horsehit but it's the propagandistic method of the Big Lie.

I'm genuinely curious. How will you react if Tulsi endorses the Dem nominee and it ain't Bernie? Bernie's endorsement of she-who-shall-not-be-named in 2016 seems to have pretty much completely soured him to you. Endorsing Biden better? Or at least acceptable? Not for me. Bernie doing so in 2016 I could understand and forgive. But this is my last go round absent a Bernie miracle.

Wally on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 5:17pm
I don't think anyone other than Bernie or Yang would want Tulsi

@Alligator Ed

. . . to campaign in support of their candidacies.

Maybe Biden will accept her support. I've still never been able to figure why she never and probably still won't take any shots at his warmongering and otherwise cruddy record regarding domestic affairs.

#2.1.1.1.1 She might back Yang--who won't get nominated. But I hope she doesn't do anything more than a neutral statement, somewhat to the effect that "We must defeat Donald Trump", then not campaign otherwise.

by Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 6:28pm
She was working her way up the food chain

@Wally That's what intelligent predators do.

#2.1.1.1.1.1

. . . to campaign in support of their candidacies.

Maybe Biden will accept her support. I've still never been able to figure why she never and probably still won't take any shots at his warmongering and otherwise cruddy record regarding domestic affairs.

wokkamile on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 5:29pm
Well, she wouldn't

@Alligator Ed @Alligator Ed be unfamiliar with the neutral position. Though I wonder if she would feel comfortable dipping into that well again given how much grief she got the last time.

Of course, if she again puts it in Neutral, and doesn't support the D nominee (anyone but Bloomberg), she will be finished as a Dem pol. She might as well go off and start a Neutral Party.

#2.1.1.1.1 She might back Yang--who won't get nominated. But I hope she doesn't do anything more than a neutral statement, somewhat to the effect that "We must defeat Donald Trump", then not campaign otherwise.

by Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 6:30pm
She IS finished as a Dem

@wokkamile Her dismissal papers will be submitted to her after she is barred entry into the DNC convention, regardless of how many delegates she may have won.

#2.1.1.1.1.1 #2.1.1.1.1.1 be unfamiliar with the neutral position. Though I wonder if she would feel comfortable dipping into that well again given how much grief she got the last time.

Of course, if she again puts it in Neutral, and doesn't support the D nominee (anyone but Bloomberg), she will be finished as a Dem pol. She might as well go off and start a Neutral Party.

Wally on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 8:38pm
Will Tulsi win any delegates?

@Alligator Ed

Don't forget that 15% state threshold for eligibility to be awarded delegates.

#2.1.1.1.1.1.2 Her dismissal papers will be submitted to her after she is barred entry into the DNC convention, regardless of how many delegates she may have won.

Alligator Ed on Thu, 12/26/2019 - 9:40pm
My crystal ball has developed cataracts

@Wally Thus my powers of predicting the future have dimmed accordingly. But two things haven't dimmed:

1. It is readily apparent that the DNC won't let Bernie win. They'll rob him of votes in CA (100% probability) and NY (95% probability), etc.

2. The Demonrats will get destroyed in 2020 up and down ballot except in the fiefdoms of Californicate and Ny-no-nah-nah.

What, pray good Sir, do you predict or is that an impossibility at this time?

#2.1.1.1.1.1.2.1

Don't forget that 15% state threshold for eligibility to be awarded delegates.

Wally on Fri, 12/27/2019 - 6:54am
I certainly won't be surprised if Bernie gets cheated or worse

@Alligator Ed

I will be surprised if Tulsi gets so much as one delegate.

More than a few knowledgeable people think he has a very good shot of winning California. I am less optimistic about NYS but I think he will do well enough to get a good number of delegates especially if he does well in the earlier primaries (NYS comes April 28).

I don't feel solidly about making any kind of predictions at this point but given the nature of the Democratic Party, I don't see it as falling into oblivion anytime soon or in our lifetimes.

As far as Bernie goes, I am not optimistic but I still have some hope. I still fervantly believe that his candidacy is the best chance we will have in our lifetimes of bringing about any substantial change -- and if he and his critical mass of supporters can't pull it off this time around, we're all phluckled big time, even alligators, in terms of combating climate change and putting a kabosh on endless wars. I wish you good future luck with Tulsi though. I just don't see it. But I've been wrong on more than one occasion in my life.

[Dec 26, 2019] I don't think Warren is a stalking horse for neoliberalism or whatever, but her inability to fight back against bad press (combined with her occasional baffling decisions to give herself bad press) is a big mark against her candidacy.

Dec 26, 2019 | twitter.com

Robespierre Garçon ‏ 5:43 PM - 25 Dec 2019

I don't think Warren is a stalking horse for neoliberalism or whatever, but her inability to fight back against bad press (combined with her occasional baffling decisions to give herself bad press) is a big mark against her candidacy. There will be bad press for either of them.

[Dec 25, 2019] Trump Impeachment as Dems dirty election campaign move

Trump can be impeached as a war criminal just for his false flag Douma attack (along with members of his administration). But Neoliberal Dems and frst of all Pelosi are war criminals too, with Pelosi aiding and abetting war criminal Bush.
So this is a variation of the theme of Lavrentiy Beria most famous quote: "Show me a man and I will find you a crime"
I think tose neolib Dems who supported impeachment disqualified themselves from the running. That includes Warren, who proved to be a very weak, easily swayed politician. It is quote probably that they increased (may be considerably) chances of Trump reelection, but pushing independents who were ready to abandon him, back into Trump camp. Now Trump is able to present himself as a victim of neoliberal Dems/neocons witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... Faithless Execution ..."
Dec 25, 2019 | www.nationalreview.com

The only real check left is impeachment. It is rarely invoked and (until very recently) has atrophied as a credible threat. But that doesn't make it any less indispensable.

The problem was exacerbated by the Clinton impeachment fiasco, which history has proved foolhardy. (I supported it at the time, but I was a government lawyer then, not a public commentator.) Republicans were sufficiently spooked by the experience that they seemed to regard impeachment as obsolete. Faithless Execution countered that this was the wrong lesson to take from the affair. Clinton's impeachment was a mistake because (a) his conduct, though disgraceful and indicative of unfitness, did not implicate the core responsibilities of the presidency; and more significantly, (b) the public, though appalled by the behavior, strongly opposed Clinton's removal. The right lesson was that impeachment must be reserved for grave misconduct that involves the president's essential Article II duties; and that because impeachment is so deeply divisive, it should never be launched in the absence of a public consensus that transcends partisan lines.

This is why, unlike many opponents of President Trump's impeachment, I have never questioned the legitimacy of the Democratic-controlled House's investigations of misconduct allegations against the president. I believe the House must act as a body (investigations should not be partisan attacks under the guise of House inquiries), and it must respect the lawful and essential privileges of the executive branch; but within those parameters, Congress has the authority and responsibility to expose executive misconduct.

Moreover, while egregious misconduct will usually be easy to spot and grasp, that will not always be the case. When members of Congress claim to see it, they should have a fair opportunity to expose and explain it. To my mind, President Obama was the kind of chief executive that the Framers feared, but this was not obvious because he was not committing felonies. Instead, he was consciously undermining our constitutional order. He usurped the right to dictate law rather than execute it. His extravagant theory of executive discretion to "waive" the enforcement of laws he opposed flouted his basic constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully. He and his underlings willfully and serially deceived Congress and the public on such major matters as Obamacare and the Benghazi massacre. They misled Congress on, and obstructed its investigation of, the outrageous Fast and Furious "gun-walking" operation, in connection with which a border patrol agent was murdered. With his Iran deal, the president flouted the Constitution's treaty process and colluded with a hostile foreign power to withhold information from Congress, in an arrangement that empowered (and paid cash ransom to) the world's leading sponsor of anti-American terrorism.

My critics fairly noted that I opposed Obama politically, and therefore contended that I was masquerading as a constitutional objection what was really a series of policy disputes. I don't think that is right, though, for two reasons.

First, my impeachment argument was not that Obama was pursuing policies I deeply opposed. I was very clear that elections have consequences, and the president had every right to press his agenda. My objection was that he was imposing his agenda lawlessly, breaking the limitations within which the Framers cabined executive power, precisely to prevent presidents from becoming tyrants. If allowed to stand, Obama precedents would permanently alter our governing framework. Impeachment is there to protect our governing framework.

Second, I argued that, my objections notwithstanding, Obama should not be impeached in the absence of a public consensus for his removal. Yes, Republicans should try to build that case, try to edify the public about why the president's actions threatened the Constitution and its separation of powers. But they should not seek to file articles of impeachment simply because they could -- i.e., because control of the House theoretically gave them the numbers to do it. The House is not obliged to file impeachment articles just because there may be impeachable conduct. Because impeachment is so divisive, the Framers feared that it could be triggered on partisan rather than serious grounds. The two-thirds supermajority requirement for Senate conviction guards against that: The House should not impeach unless there is a reasonable possibility that the Senate would remove -- which, in Obama's case, there was not.

I also tried to focus on incentives. If impeachment were a credible threat, and Congress began investigating and publicly exposing abuses, a sensible president would desist in the misconduct, making it unnecessary to proceed with impeachment. On the other hand, a failed impeachment effort would likely embolden a rogue president to continue abusing power. If your real concern is executive lawlessness, then impeaching heedlessly and against public opinion would be counterproductive.

I've taken the same tack with President Trump.

The objections to Trump are very different from those to Obama. He is breaking not laws but norms of presidential behavior and decorum. For the most part, I object to this. There are lots of things about our government that need disruption, but even disruptive presidents should be mindful that they hold the office of Washington and Lincoln and aspire to their dignity, even if their greatness is out of reach.

That said, impeachment is about serious abuse of the presidency's core powers, not behavior that is intemperate or gauche. Critics must be mindful that the People, not the pundits, are sovereign, and they elected Donald Trump well aware of his flaws. That he turns out to be as president exactly what he appeared to be as a candidate is not a rationale for impeaching him.

The president's misconduct on Ukraine is small potatoes. Democrats were right to expose it, and we would be dealing with a more serious situation if the defense aid appropriated by Congress had actually been denied, rather than inconsequentially delayed. If Democrats had wanted to make a point about discouraging foreign interference in American politics (notwithstanding their long record of encouraging it), that would have been fine. They could have called for the president's censure, which would have put Republicans on the defensive. Ukraine could have been incorporated as part of their 2020 campaign that Trump should be defeated, despite a surging economy and relative peace.

Conducting an impeachment inquiry is one thing, but for the House to take the drastic step of impeaching the president is abusive on this record. Yes, it was foolish of Trump to mention the Bidens to President Zelensky and to seek Ukraine's help in investigating the Bidens. There may well be corruption worth probing, but the president ought to leave that to researchers in his campaign. If there is something that a government should be looking into, leave that to the Justice Department, which can (and routinely does) seek foreign assistance when necessary. The president, however, should have stayed out of it. Still, it is absurd to posit, as Democrats do, that, by not staying out of it, the president threatened election integrity and U.S. national security. Such outlandish arguments may make Ukraine more of a black eye for Democrats than for the president.

But whoever ultimately bears the brunt of the impeachment push, I have to ask myself a hard question: Is this the world I was asking for when I wrote a book contending that, for our system to work as designed, impeachment has to be a credible threat? I don't think so . . . but I do worry about it.

Back to the Clinton impeachment. I tried to make the point that that impeachment effort -- against public opinion, and based on misconduct that, while dreadful, was not central to the presidency -- has contributed significantly to the poisonous politics we have today. Democrats have been looking for payback ever since, and now they have it -- in a way that is very likely to make impeachment more routine in the future.

I don't see how our constitutional system can work without a viable impeachment remedy. But I may have been wrong to believe that we could be trusted to invoke the remedy responsibly. I used to poke fun at pols who would rather hide under their desks than utter the dreaded I-word. Turns out they knew something I didn't.

[Dec 24, 2019] The fact that Obama is willing to put in a good word for Warren on behalf of the wealthy elite should give you a clue as to which side Warren is really on.

"Change we can believe in" the second series ? That's a real warning sign ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... A few weeks ago I read in this spot that while Clinton people hate Sanders and like Warren, Obama was pushing Buttigieg because Warren was such a pain in his ass. Seems he's finally given his signal. Hopefully it's the kiss of death for both Warren and Buttigieg. ..."
"... as the neoliberal corporate Democrats which she is aligning herself with are a sinking ship .. ..."
Dec 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Hepativore , December 23, 2019 at 2:37 pm

So, the fact that Obama is willing to put in a good word for Warren on behalf of the wealthy elite should give you a clue as to which side Warren is really on. While many non-political "normies" look upon the Obama years with rose-tinted glasses, I wonder if the disillusionment that many people had in retrospect with Obama has sunk in to mainstream political consciousness yet. If that is the case, an Obama endorsement might actually backfire among progressives, seeing as how it has become evident that Obama was basically a silver-tongued neoliberal in the same mold as Clinton and Pelosi.

I know that Warren is a political careerist at heart, but I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt when she first launched her 2020 presidential campaign. However, it has become increasingly clear that she has hitched her wagon to the wrong horse as the neoliberal corporate Democrats which she is aligning herself with are a sinking ship. I honestly do not think that she would even be fit to be Sander's vice presidential pick at this point considering how wide the political gulf between Warren and Sanders actually is. A better choice would be Nina Turner as Sander's running mate, with Tulsi Gabbard as his Secretary of State if he gets that far.

shinola , December 23, 2019 at 2:54 pm

" an Obama endorsement might actually backfire among progressives "

It hit me pretty much the same way – that's a strike against her.

Pelham , December 23, 2019 at 4:25 pm

My guess is that this is why he's working behind the scenes, minimizing the chances of a backfire on the left. Of course, how behind-the-scenes is it if it's reported by Politico? Still.

I'm actually undecided on Warren. There was that story last week about her supposedly pushing Hillary in 2016 to name decent people to her cabinet if elected. But then you have to ask why that particular story surfaced at the particular time when Warren was sinking in the polls.

If true, though, and if what the new Politico story says about her clashes with Obama are true, maybe Warren isn't quite as objectionable as we tend to think. Then again, she came right out last week (I believe) and said Medicare for All would be a matter of choice under her plan, emphasizing that "choice" factor.

So I'm confused. But maybe that's what she, her campaign and various surrogates want at this stage.

kimyo , December 23, 2019 at 5:16 pm

I'm actually undecided on Warren.

maybe this will help you decide?
Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change

It starts with an ambitious goal: consistent with the objectives of the Green New Deal, the Pentagon should achieve net zero carbon emissions for all its non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030.

having the pentagon 'lead the fight' against climate change is akin to appointing prince andrew as head of the global task force against pedophilia and child trafficking.

anon in so cal , December 23, 2019 at 6:06 pm

Yes, that plus Warren's comments during the Council on Foreign Relations interview, which were frightening (to me, at least).

Jeff W , December 23, 2019 at 7:32 pm

"maybe this will help you decide?"

Or one or both of these two What's Left podcasts:

"The Left Case Against Elizabeth Warren" here

"Warren's Medicare For All 'Plan'" here

Big River Bandido , December 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

A few weeks ago I read in this spot that while Clinton people hate Sanders and like Warren, Obama was pushing Buttigieg because Warren was such a pain in his ass. Seems he's finally given his signal. Hopefully it's the kiss of death for both Warren and Buttigieg.

Big River Bandido , December 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

A few weeks ago I read in this spot that while Clinton people hate Sanders and like Warren, Obama was pushing Buttigieg because Warren was such a pain in his ass. Seems he's finally given his signal. Hopefully it's the kiss of death for both Warren and Buttigieg.

Reply

Darius , December 23, 2019 at 5:14 pm

Buttigieg takes no votes from Sanders. While Warren does on the margins. I think Obama's calculation is simple as that. She also has special appeal to the virtue signaling liberals that are Obama's base.

notabanker , December 23, 2019 at 7:53 pm

as the neoliberal corporate Democrats which she is aligning herself with are a sinking ship ..

Bingo. Trump's letter goes right to the heart of it. These clowns are completely exposed and Obama hawking Warren to donors while the blob talks up a gay McKinsey/CIA Indiana Mayor shows just how far they have fallen.

[Dec 24, 2019] The Fake Impeachment Pelosi's Botched Ploy Helps Trump Towards Victory by Joaquin Flores

It would be impossible for Trump to re-energize his base in any other way. Pelosi acts as covert agent for Trump re-election? Peloci calculation that she can repar "Mueller effect" of 2018 with this impeachment proved to be gross miscalculation.
Warren who stupidly and enthusiastically jumped into this bandwagon will be hurt. She is such a weak politician that now it looks like she does not belong to the club. Still in comparison with Trump she might well be an improvement as she has Trump-like economic program, which Trump betrayed and neutered. And her foreign policy can't be worse then Trump foreign policy. It is just impossible.
I am convinced that the Dems are not actually interested or focused on defeating Trump, or they would adopt an effective strategy. The question I keep wrestling with is, what is the point to the strategy that is so ineffective?
Notable quotes:
"... The fact that the impeachment is dead in the water, by Pelosi's own admission , is evident in Trump's being adamant that indeed it must be sent to the Senate – where he knows he'll be exonerated. But even if it doesn't go to the Senate, what we're left with still appears as a loss for Democrats. Both places are his briar patch. This makes all of this a win-win for team Trump. ..."
"... fake impeachment procedure ..."
"... For in a constitutional republic like the United States, what makes an impeachment possible is when the representatives and the voters are in communion over the matter. This would normally be reflected in a mid-term election, like say for example the mid-term Senatorial race in 2018 where Democrats failed to take control. Control of the Senate would reflect a change of sentiment in the republic, which in turn and not coincidentally, would be what makes for a successful impeachment. ..."
"... Nancy Pelosi is evidently extraordinarily cynical. Her politics appears to be 'they deserve whatever they believe'. ..."
"... little else can explain the reasoning behind her claim that she will 'send the impeachment to the Senate' as soon as she 'has assurances and knows how the Senate will conduct the impeachment', except that it came from the same person who told the public regarding Obamacare that we have to 'We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.". ..."
"... "We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge – taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-soviet Russia and becomes president. ..."
"... He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy – the United States. And like the KGB spy that he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins." ..."
"... We'll say we impeached him, because we did, and we'll say he was impeached. We'll declare victory, and go home. This will make him unelectable because of the stigma of impeachment. ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
And so it came to pass, that in the deep state's frenzy of electoral desperation, the 'impeachment' card was played. The hammer has fallen. Nearly the entirety of the legacy media news cycle has been dedicated to the details, and not really pertinent details, but the sorts of details which presume the validity of the charges against Trump in the first place. Yes, they all beg the question. What's forgotten here is that the use of this process along clearly partisan lines, and more – towards clearly partisan aims – is a very serious symptom of the larger undoing of any semblance of stability in the US government.

The fact that the impeachment is dead in the water, by Pelosi's own admission , is evident in Trump's being adamant that indeed it must be sent to the Senate – where he knows he'll be exonerated. But even if it doesn't go to the Senate, what we're left with still appears as a loss for Democrats. Both places are his briar patch. This makes all of this a win-win for team Trump.

Only in a country that produces so much fake news at the official level, could there be a fake impeachment procedure made purely for media consumption, with no real or tangible possible victory in sight.

For in a constitutional republic like the United States, what makes an impeachment possible is when the representatives and the voters are in communion over the matter. This would normally be reflected in a mid-term election, like say for example the mid-term Senatorial race in 2018 where Democrats failed to take control. Control of the Senate would reflect a change of sentiment in the republic, which in turn and not coincidentally, would be what makes for a successful impeachment.

Don't forget, this impeachment is fake

Nancy Pelosi is evidently extraordinarily cynical. Her politics appears to be 'they deserve whatever they believe'. And her aim appears to be the one who makes them believe things so that they deserve what she gives them. For little else can explain the reasoning behind her claim that she will 'send the impeachment to the Senate' as soon as she 'has assurances and knows how the Senate will conduct the impeachment', except that it came from the same person who told the public regarding Obamacare that we have to 'We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.".

In both cases, reality is turned on its head – for rather we will know how the Senate intends to conduct its procedure as soon as it has the details, which substantively includes the impeachment documents themselves, in front of them, and likewise, legislators ought to know what's in a major piece of legislation before they vote either way on it. Pelosi's assault on reason, however, isn't without an ever growing tide of resentment from within the progressive base of the party itself.

We have quickly entered into a new era which increasingly resembles the broken political processes which have struck many a country, but none in living memory a country like the US. Now elected officials push judges to prosecute their political opponents, constitutional crises are manufactured to pursue personal or political vendettas, death threats and rumors of coups coming from media and celebrities being fed talking points by big and important players from powerful institutions.

This 'impeachment' show really takes the cake, does it not? We will recall shortly after Trump was elected, narrator for hire Morgan Freeman made a shocking public service announcement. It was for all intents and purposes, a PSA notifying the public that a military coup to remove Trump would be legitimate and in order. Speaking about this PSA, and recounting what was said, would in any event read as an exaggeration, or some allegorical paraphrasing made to prove a point. Jogging our memories then, Freeman spoke to tens of millions of viewers on television and YouTube saying :

"We have been attacked. We are at war. Imagine this movie script: A former KGB spy, angry at the collapse of his motherland, plots a course for revenge – taking advantage of the chaos, he works his way up through the ranks of a post-soviet Russia and becomes president.

He establishes an authoritarian regime, then he sets his sights on his sworn enemy – the United States. And like the KGB spy that he is, he secretly uses cyber warfare to attack democracies around the world. Using social media to spread propaganda and false information, he convinces people in democratic societies to distrust their media, their political processes, even their neighbors. And he wins."

This really set the tone for the coming years, which have culminated in this manufactured 'impeachment' crisis, really befitting a banana republic.

It would be the height of dishonesty to approach this abuse of the impeachment procedure as if until this moment, the US's own political culture and processes were in good shape. Now isn't the time for the laundry list of eroded constitutional provisions, which go in a thousand and one unique directions. The US political system is surely broken, but as is the case with such large institutions several hundreds of years old, its meltdown appears to happen in slow motion to us mere mortals. And so what we are seeing today is the next phase of this break-down, and really ought to be understood as monumental in this sense. Once again revealed is the poor judgment of the Democratic Party and their agents, tools, warlords, and strategists, the same gang who sunk Hillary Clinton's campaign on the rocks of hubris.

Nancy Pelosi also has poor judgment, and these short-sighted and self-interested moves on her part stand a strong chance of backfiring. Her role in this charade is duly noted. This isn't said because of any disagreement over her aims, but rather that in purely objective terms it just so happens that her aims and her actions are out of synch – that is unless she wants to see Trump re-elected. Her aims are her aims, our intention is to connect these to their probable results, without moral judgments.

The real problem for the Democrats, the DNC, and any hopes for the White House in 2020, is that this all has the odor of a massive backfire, and something that Trump has been counting on happening. When one's opponent knows what is probable, and when they have a track record for preparing very well for such, it is only a question of what Trump's strategy is and how this falls into it, not whether there is one.

Imagine being a fly on the wall of the meeting with Pelosi where it was decided to go forward with impeachment in the House of Representatives, despite not having either sufficient traction in the Senate or any way to control the process that the Senate uses.

It probably went like this: ' We'll say we impeached him, because we did, and we'll say he was impeached. We'll declare victory, and go home. This will make him unelectable because of the stigma of impeachment. '

Informed citizens are aware that whatever their views towards Trump, nothing he has done reaches beyond the established precedent set by past presidents. Confused citizens on the other hand, are believing the manufactured talking points thrown their way, and the idea that a US president loosely reference a quid pro quo in trying to sort a corruption scandal in dealings with the president of a foreign country, is some crazy, new, never-before-done and highly-illegal thing. It is none of those things though.

Unfortunately, not needless to say, the entirety of the direct, physical evidence against Trump solely consists of the now infamous transcript of the phone call which he had with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The rest is hearsay, a conspiracy narrative, and entirely circumstantial. As this author has noted in numerous pieces, Biden's entire candidacy rests precisely upon his need to be a candidate so that any normal investigation into the wrongdoings of himself or his son in Ukraine, suddenly become the targeted persecution of a political opponent of Trump.

Other than this, it is evident that Biden stands little chance – the same polling institutions which give him a double-digit lead were those which foretold a Clinton electoral victory. Neither their methods nor those paying and publishing them, have substantively changed. Biden's candidacy, like the impeachment, is essentially fake. The real contenders for the party's base are Sanders and Gabbard.

The Democratic Party Activist Base Despises Pelosi as much as Clinton

The Democratic Party has two bases, one controlled by the DNC and the Clintons, and one which consists of its energized rank-and-file activists who are clearer in their populism, anti-establishment and ant-corporate agenda. Candidates like Gabbard and Sanders are closest to them politically, though far from perfect fits. Their renegade status is confirmed by the difficulties they have with visibility – they are the new silent majority of the party. The DNC base, on the other hand, relies on Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, and the likes for their default talking points, where they have free and pervasive access to legacy media. In the context of increased censorship online, this is not insignificant.

Among the important reasons this 'impeachment' strategy will lose is that it will not energize the second and larger base. Even though this more progressive and populist base is also more motivated, they have faced – as has the so-called alt-light – an extraordinarily high degree of censorship on social media. Despite all the censorship, the Democrats' silent majority are rather well-informed people, highly motivated, and tend to be vocal in their communities and places of work. Their ideas move organically and virally among the populace.

This silent majority has a very good memory, and they know very well who Nancy Pelosi is, and who she isn't.

The silent majority remembers that after years of the public backlash against Bush's war crimes, crimes against humanity, destruction of remaining civil liberties with the Patriot Act, torture, warrantless search – and the list goes on and on – Democrats managed to retake the lower house in 2006. If there was a legitimate reason for an impeachment, it would have been championed by Pelosi against Bush for going to war using false, falsified, manufactured evidence about WMD in Iraq. At the time, Pelosi squashed the hopes of her own electorate, reasoning that such moves would be divisive, that they would distract from the Democrats' momentum to take the White House in '08, that Bush had recently (?) won his last election, and so on. Of course these were real crimes, and the reasons not to prosecute may have as much to do with Pelosi's own role in the war industry. Pelosi couldn't really push against Bush over torture, etc. because she had been on an elite congressional committee – the House Intelligence Committee – during the Bush years in office which starting in 2003 was dedicated to making sure that torture could and would become normalized and entirely legal.

It seems Pelosi can't even go anywhere with this impeachment on Trump today, and therefore doesn't even really plan to submit it to the Senate for the next stage . The political stunt was pulled, a fireworks show consisting of one lonely rocket that sort of fizzled off out of sight.

Trump emerges unscathed, and more to the point, we are closer to the election and his base is even more energized. Pelosi spent the better part of three years inoculating the public against any significance being attached to any impeachment procedure. Pelosi cried wolf so many times, and Trump has made good on the opportunities handed to him to get his talking points in order and to condition his base to receive and process the scandals in such and such way. This wouldn't have been possible without Pelosi's help. Thanks in part to Pelosi and the DNC, Trump appears primed for re-election.

Trump energizes his base, and the DNC suppresses and disappoints theirs. That's where the election will be won or lost.

[Dec 23, 2019] If Putin was smart and freedom loving he'd get some western economic experts, from Harvard Business School say, to help get the Russian economy booming but he's paranoid and doesn't trust the west for some reason.

Dec 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Danny , Dec 23 2019 17:09 utc | 16

In Canada the cost of living outpaces wages by a considerable margin, consumer debt is the highest in the G7, permanent homeless camps are a fixture in major cities and popping up in smaller ones, people, including families, living in their vehicles is becoming normalized, an ongoing opioid epidemic is still killing hundreds of people a month, etc. etc.

But the media keeps telling me unemployment is at record lows and the economy is "red hot" and "booming" so it's all good, nothing to worry about thank God because the free and democratic media here in the west never lies or traffics in distorted facts and disinformation. It only prints and broadcasts The Truth and I'm really happy about that, very relieved that everything is just fine and wonderful and all the bad things and the bad people and the bad economies are in China, Russia and scary places like that. It's great living in a place that's so free and awesome and knows only joy and prosperity!

If Putin was smart and freedom loving he'd get some western economic experts, from Harvard Business School say, to help get the Russian economy booming but he's paranoid and doesn't trust the west for some reason.

The uneasiness I feel as I stumble over the sleeping homeless people on my way to the bus stop in the morning is irrational and foolish and was planted in my mind by Russian troll bots on Facebook. I understand this now. Everything is wonderful here, now and always. With Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland at the helm and a first class media dedicated to Truth why would anyone worry or be mistrustful of our great Leaders and our Democratic Institutions? We are the envy of the world and that makes Putin's Russia jealous and meddlesome. I understand this now and channel all my news through an Atlantic Council Fake News Filter plugin so all the Putinist mind warping stuff on Facebook can't affect me anymore.

Sorry that was a long post, lol. Anyways my friend I hope you are well even though I am sad that you still have a false paranoia about Our Western Media spreading Fake News. It's Putin bro, not "us"! I understand this now broke lurker cover to share my insight with you so that you too can learn to speak only Teh Truth. The Russian economy is spluttering badly and here in Canada everything is wonderful! In Germany too! They hate our freedom and therefore it's always bad there. The Democratic West will save the Putinist economy when Putin learns to love and trust the West like I do (and hopefully you)! Peace out bro and much love, eh, haha.

[Dec 22, 2019] Warren, AOL, Pelosi and the Kabuki theater of Trump impeachment

Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 11:03 am

Where is AOC in all this? She was the prime mover on impeachment, specifically impeachment over a phone call rather than concentration camps and genocide.

And now with impeachment she gave Pelosi cover to sell the country out again.

I was wondering why many libreral centrists were expreasing admiration for her, a socialist. Maybe they recognized something?

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 4:02 pm

"Prime mover"? What planet are you from? They were Schiff, Nadler, and Pelosi. Did you miss that Russiagate was in motion while AOC was still tending bar? AOC isn't even on any of the key committees (Judiciary and Intel).

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 4:47 pm

I shouldn't have said THE prime mover, but ONE OF the prime movers in the House in actually pushing it over the line against Pelosi's opposition. It seems like the House Dem consensus ever since Russiagate was just to tease their base with it and milk the suspense for all it was worth, until AOC, among others, rallied the base.

AOC is one of the highest-profile members of Congress and she blasted Pelosi for resisting impeachment since May. In September, she tweeted, " At this point, the bigger national scandal isn't the president's lawbreaking behavior – it is the Democratic Party's refusal to impeach him for it​. " "Lawbreaking behavior" is nice and vague, but in this case it seems like she is talking about the Ukraine phone call.

There were other reps who pushed for impeachment, but AOC has one of the biggest platforms and crucially, expanded popular support for impeachment outside the MSNBC crowd. So yes, a key figure in the political/PR effort to move from conspiracy theories to actual impeachment.

Geo , December 21, 2019 at 6:09 pm

"AOC is one of the highest-profile members of Congress and she blasted Pelosi for resisting impeachment since May."

Liz Warren is the one who made it a part of her campaign before anyone else. Rashida Tlaib was the one who made t-shirt with her "impeach the mf'er" quote on it. A lot of them were "blasting" Pelosi for dithering. AOC also "blasted" her for giving ICE more money and a lot of their things .

Your central focus on AOC for the impeachment fiasco while ignoring her active role in spotlighting so many other issues of importance which no one else speaks about is interesting. Did you catch any of her speaking at the Sanders rally in LA today? Any other "high profile" Dems pushing such important issues and campaigns?

Carey , December 21, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Thanks for this comment. I don't trust *any of them* except Sanders, but AOC has been making more good noises than bad, and to claim that it was she who's been driving Pelosi to impeachment is quite a stretch. Poor, helpless/hapless Rep. Pelosi sure.

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Pelosi has repeatedly stared down the progressives in the House. The overwhelming majority of the freshmen reps are what used to be called Blue Dogs, as in corporate Dems. AOC making noise on this issue would not move Pelosi any more than it has on other issues.

IMHO Pelosi didn't try to tamp down Russiagate, and that created expectations that Something Big would happen. Plus she lives in the California/blue cities bubble.

What Dem donors think matters to her way more than what AOC tweets about. If anything, Pelosi (secondarily, I sincerely doubt this would be a big issue in her calculus) would view impeachment as a way to reduce the attention recently given to progressive issues like single payer and student debt forgiveness.

[Dec 22, 2019] Right now, it's Schrodinger's impeachment

Notable quotes:
"... My paranoid fear is that Pelosi or McConnell might try to time the proceedings so as to take Bernie and Warren off the campaign trail at a crucial moment, helping Biden. ..."
"... Amfortas the hippie , December 21, 2019 at 5:40 pm ..."
"... that, and sucking the air out of the room for the primaries. When's super tuesday, again? surely they can engineer it so that their "high drama" coincides. ..."
"... "let's talk about universal material benefits" " ok, Vlad trying to distract us from whats really important " ..."
"... Hepativore , December 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm ..."
"... Happy winter Solstice, everyone! ..."
"... Anyway, the funny thing is, that Biden himself has said that he only wants to be a one-term president. It makes me wonder if he knows that he has neither the energy or presence of mind to hold the office, and that he is merely doing so because of establishment pressure to stop Sanders at all costs. ..."
Dec 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith Post author , December 21, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Please bone up on US procedure. It's not good to have you confuse readers.

The Senate can't do anything until the House passes a motion referring the impeachment to the Senate. The House ALSO needs to designate managers as part of that process.

Darthbobber , December 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Right now, it's Schrodinger's impeachment.

Joe Well , December 21, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Michael Tracey argued that it's only Senate rules that require that the House formally transmit the impeachment verdict. The Constitution says that the Senate has to try an impeached president, and the Constitution trumps the Senate's rules. Logically, then, the Senate could just modify its rules to try the president.

But the whole delay is weird and impeachment has only been done twice before, so not a lot of precedent.

My paranoid fear is that Pelosi or McConnell might try to time the proceedings so as to take Bernie and Warren off the campaign trail at a crucial moment, helping Biden.

Amfortas the hippie , December 21, 2019 at 5:40 pm

that, and sucking the air out of the room for the primaries. When's super tuesday, again? surely they can engineer it so that their "high drama" coincides.

"let's talk about universal material benefits" " ok, Vlad trying to distract us from whats really important "

Hepativore , December 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Happy winter Solstice, everyone!

Anyway, the funny thing is, that Biden himself has said that he only wants to be a one-term president. It makes me wonder if he knows that he has neither the energy or presence of mind to hold the office, and that he is merely doing so because of establishment pressure to stop Sanders at all costs. Plus, if the Democrats get the brokered convention they are after, he can bow out, satisfied that he helped the DNC protect the donor class from the Sanders threat.

https://invidio.us/watch?v=dpBEaFtkziY

[Dec 21, 2019] 'Christianity Today' anti-Trump editorial is a sign of things to come - CNN

Dec 21, 2019 | www.cnn.com

... ... ...

Mark Galli, its current editor (who is leaving the publication in two weeks) takes on Trump directly -- a courageous move on his part, as his magazine has largely been apolitical. "The facts in this instance are unambiguous: the president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president's political opponents," Galli writes. He draws the obvious conclusion for Christians: "That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral." Galli goes further, digging into the behavior of the man in the Oval Office, noting that Trump "has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration." He gets specific: "He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals." As if that wasn't enough, Galli adds, "He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone -- with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders -- is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused." Galli's warning to Christians is clear. "To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: remember who you are and whom you serve," Galli writes. "Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump's immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don't reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come?" Galli also acknowledged Friday in an interview on CNN's "New Day" that his stand is unlikely to shake loose Trump's strong hold on this voter segment, a crucial portion of his political base. Galli's move is even more admirable when you consider that he published his editorial even knowing that, as he said in his interview, he's not optimistic that his editorial will alter Trump's support among white evangelicals. It's not a stretch to say that white evangelicals put Trump into office in 2016. About 80% of them voted for him. They did so because of the abortion issue, mostly. They wanted pro-life judges throughout the justice system. But this was a devil's bargain, at best. Faith could bring us together. But too often it divides us <img alt="Faith could bring us together. But too often it divides us" src="//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191121180252-20191121-fractured-states-religious-leaders-large-169.jpg"> Faith could bring us together. But too often it divides us Younger evangelicals, those under 45, have been slowly but steadily moving away from Trump during the past two years or so, unhappy about his example. A key topic that has driven them away is immigration. Loving your neighbor as yourself has always been a bedrock Christian value. And Trump's stance on immigrants (especially those of color) has upset the younger generation of evangelicals, with two-thirds of them saying in surveys that immigrants strengthen our country, bringing their work ethic and talents with them from Mexico or Central America or Syria. Climate change is another issue that has caught the imagination of younger evangelicals. "I can't love my neighbor if I'm not protecting the earth that sustains them and defending their rights to clean water, clean air, and a stable climate," Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, a national organizer for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, told Grist . Needless to say, Trump's contempt on this subject grates badly on these young Christians. Perhaps naively, Americans have always looked to the presidency for exemplary moral behavior, and when there are obvious personal or moral failures, as with Nixon and Clinton, there is disappointment, even anger. But if you're a Christian -- and I lay claim to this for myself -- you understand that it's human to fail at perfect behavior. There is always forgiveness. And, as T.S. Eliot wrote, "Humility is endless."

Humility lies at the heart of Christian behavior. As does honesty. In these, Trump has set a terrible example, and he's now been taken down for this by an important Christian voice. If only another 10 percent of evangelicals take this seriously, and I suspect they will, Donald J. Trump's presidency is destined for the ash heap of history.

[Dec 21, 2019] The debate reminds us that the only way to remove Trump from office is at the ballot box - The Washington Post

Dec 21, 2019 | www.washingtonpost.com

Delaying the Senate trial erodes the Democrats' argument that impeachment was so urgent that they could not wait for the courts to act on Trump's aggressive claims of privilege.

Seven Democratic presidential candidates who gathered on a debate stage in Los Angeles on Thursday represent another argument for moving beyond impeachment.

... ... ...

Washington is fixated on the daily turns of the impeachment saga, but polls indicate that most Americans are not. Business executive Andrew Yang pointed out that, even when the current president is gone, the struggles of many people will remain, particularly in parts of the country that helped elect Trump in 2016.

"We blasted away 4 million manufacturing jobs that were primarily based in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri. I just left Iowa -- we blasted 40,000 manufacturing jobs there," Yang said. "The more we act like Donald Trump is the cause of all our problems, the more Americans lose trust that we can actually see what's going on in our communities and solve those problems."

That is what voters are waiting to hear, and the sooner the better for Democrats.

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump administration sanction companies involved in laying the remaining pipe, and also companies involved in the infrastructure around the arrival point.

Highly recommended!
Dec 21, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher x Ignored says: 12/13/2019 at 6:27 am

The new US defense bill, agreed on by both parties, includes sanctions on executives of companies involved in the completion of Nordstream 2. This is companies involved in laying the remaining pipe, and also companies involved in the infrastructure around the arrival point.

This could include arrest of the executives of those companies, who might travel to the United States. One of the companies is Royal Dutch Shell, who have 80,000 employees in the United States.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 12/13/2019 at 12:28 pm
So much for the "Free Market".
Hickory x Ignored says: 12/12/2019 at 11:28 pm
Some people believe 'the market' for crude oil is a fair and effective arbiter of the industry supply and demand. But if we step back an inch or two, we all can see it has been a severely broken mechanism during this up phase in oil. For example, there has been long lags between market signals of shortage or surplus.

Disruptive policies and mechanisms such as tariffs, embargo's, and sanctions, trade bloc quotas, military coups and popular revolutions, socialist agendas, industry lobbying, multinational corporate McCarthyism, and massively obese debt financing, are all examples of forces that have trumped an efficient and transparent oil market.

And yet, the problems with the oil market during this time of upslope will look placid in retrospect, as we enter the time beyond peak.
I see no reason why it won't turn into a mad chaotic scramble.
We had a small hint of what this can look like in the last mid-century. The USA responded to military expansionism of Japan by enacting an oil embargo against them. The response was Pearl Harbor. This is just one example of many.
How long before Iran lashes out in response to their restricted access to the market?
People generally don't respond very calmly to involuntary restriction on food, or energy, or access to the markets for these things.

[Dec 19, 2019] Lord Acton: Never underestimate the influence of stupidity on history

Notable quotes:
"... In a previous post I have compared the Clintons and their followers to be the 21st Century's version of Typhoid Mary. Anybody who works with the Clinton's is invariably infected with corruption. ..."
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

GeorgeV , Dec 18 2019 22:04 utc | 21

Watching the House impeachment live on TV reminds me of what the 19th century writer, historian and political observer Lord Acton said: "Never underestimate the influence of stupidity on history." This exercise in political sado-masochism however, must traced back to Hillary Clinton and the Clintonista hold on the Democratic Party. It began when Hillary started crying sour grapes about her loss in the 2016 election.

In a previous post I have compared the Clintons and their followers to be the 21st Century's version of Typhoid Mary. Anybody who works with the Clinton's is invariably infected with corruption.

GeorgeV , Dec 18 2019 22:11 utc | 23

Oops! In my previous post I forgot to identify the author of that quote; it was Lord Acton. Many apologies to MoA readers.

[Dec 19, 2019] A joint French-Ukrainian journalistic investigation into a huge money laundering scheme using various shadow banking organizations in Austria and Switzerland, benefiting Clinton friendly Ukrainian oligarchs and of course the Clinton Foundation.

Highly recommended!
Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lurker in the Dark , Dec 19 2019 1:49 utc | 56

My apologies if this has been posted before, but here is a news conference broadcast by Interfax a few days ago detailing a joint French-Ukrainian journalistic investigation into a huge money laundering scheme using various shadow banking organizations in Austria and Switzerland, benefiting Clinton friendly Ukrainian oligarchs and of course the Clinton Foundation.

The link is short enough to not require re-formatting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4309z--JcGk&feature=

Lurker in the Dark , Dec 19 2019 2:00 utc | 59

Forgive me for the somewhat redundant post, and again I hope this is not a waste of anyone's time, but this is the source of the Interfax report I posted just above currently at #56. It is relevant to the Ukrainegate impeachment fiasco.

https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/press-conference/631034.html (again, link brief enough not to require re-format).

The U.S. and lapdog EU/UK media will not touch this with a 10 foot pole.

KYIV. Dec 17 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukraine and the United States should investigate the transfer of $29 million by businessman Victor Pinchuk from Ukraine to the Clinton Foundation, Ukrainian Member of Parliament (independent) Andriy Derkach has said. According to him, the investigation should check and establish how the Pinchuk Foundation's activities were funded; it, among other projects, made a contribution of $29 million to the Clinton Foundation. "Yesterday, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies registered criminal proceeding number 12019000000001138. As part of this proceeding, I provided facts that should be verified and established by the investigation. Establishing these facts will also help the American side to conduct its own investigation and establish the origin of the money received by [Hillary] Clinton," Derkach said at a press conferences at Interfax-Ukraine in Kyiv on Tuesday, December 17.

According to him, it was the independent French online publication Mediapart that first drew attention to the money withdrawal scheme from Ukraine and Pinchuk's financing of the Clinton Foundation.

"The general scheme is as follows. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lent money to Ukraine in 2015. The same year, Victor Pinchuk's Credit Dnepr [Bank] received UAH 357 million in a National Bank stabilization loan from the IMF's disbursement. Delta Bank was given a total of UAH 5.110 billion in loans. The banks siphoned the money through Austria's Meinl Bank into offshore accounts, and further into [the accounts of] the Pinchuk Foundation. The money siphoning scam was confirmed by a May 2016 ruling by [Kyiv's] Pechersky court. The total damage from this scam involving other banks is estimated at $800 million. The Pinchuk Foundation transferred $29 million to the Foundation of Clinton, a future U.S. presidential candidate from the Democratic Party," Derkach said.

[Dec 14, 2019] Warren's awkward attempts to portray herself as a woman of color, even if a etsy weeny tiny bit, always seemed strange to me, ignoring the resume nonsense. It makes sense with the realization that Women of Color, have become a new politically privileged class, in spite of some of them being not very oppressed.

Dec 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Danny , December 13, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Warren's awkward attempts to portray herself as a woman of color, even if a etsy weeny tiny bit, always seemed strange to me, ignoring the resume nonsense. It makes sense with the realization that Women of Color, have become a new politically privileged class, in spite of some of them being not very oppressed.

Indian (subcontinent) women come from a tradition of a caste based society of wealth and privilege. The most succesful ones intuitively home in on and game American race-based identity politics in spite of their advantages, such as being one of the wealthiest religious groups in the nation,
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/11/how-income-varies-among-u-s-religious-groups/

No Bernie style economic class based socialism for them, no way. It's maintain privilege, Silicon Valley corporate caste based salaries, Republican reductionism, Hillary hopium and yet, they proudly proclaim their affiliation with real women of color, on whose backs they surf, like last generation's black cleaning women, the grandparents of which might have actually been slaves.
3 examples: Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, Neera Tanden and Kamala Harris.

drumlin woodchuckles , December 14, 2019 at 12:49 am

Women-of-color in general are not a privileged class. The not-very-poor women of color are perhaps a newly privileged class.

The Goldman Sachs women-of-color have become a new privileged class, in line with the tenets of Goldman Sachs Feminism. " The arc of history is long, and it bends towards rainbow gender-fluid oligarchy."

[Dec 14, 2019] As Dean Baker pointed out in his book Rigged, the neoliberal capitalism of America is rigged to benefit the top one percent

Dec 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Tomonthebeach , December 13, 2019 at 5:10 pm

As Dean Baker pointed out in his book Rigged, the neoliberal capitalism of America is rigged to benefit the top 1%. After all, they were the architects. Most Americans appreciate that. Nevertheless, the vast majority willingly wade into its rigged quicksand. All economies are rigged in the sense that there is a structure to it all. Moreover, the architects of that system will ensure there is something in it for themselves – rigged. Our school system does not instruct Americans on how their own economic system works (is rigged), so most of us become its victims rather than its beneficiaries.

Books by Liz Warren and her daughter offer remedial guidance on how to make the current US economic system work for the average household. So, in a sense, Liz comes across as an adherent to the system she is trying to help others master .

This seems to be a losing proposition for candidate Warren because most Americans want a new system with new rigging; not a repaired system that has been screwing them for generations.

[Dec 13, 2019] A few days ago, veterans' group VoteVets endorsed Pete Buttigieg. It has previously supported Tulsi Gabbard.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

SolentBound , 10 Dec 2019 15:05

A few days ago, veterans' group VoteVets endorsed Pete Buttigieg. It has previously supported Tulsi Gabbard. Details:

New York Times, "Liberal Veterans' Group Endorses Pete Buttigieg in 2020 Race": https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/us/politics/pete-buttigieg-votevets-endorsement.html

[Dec 13, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's politics seem like a tangle of contradictions. She wants free markets, but also wants to tax billionaires' capital by Henry Farrell

Notable quotes:
"... Public choice economics has big influence and a bad name. It is a school of economic thought that has at different times been associated with scholars at the University of Rochester, Virginia Tech, and George Mason University. ..."
"... Samuelson, in his famous and influential textbooks, saw a clear role for government in regulating markets. Public choice scholars vehemently disagreed . For political and theoretical reasons, they instead saw government as a fountain of corruption. Public choice economists argued that government regulations were the product of special interest groups that had "captured" the power of the state, to cripple rivals and squeeze money from citizens and consumers. Regulations were not made in the public interest, but instead were designed to bilk ordinary citizens. ..."
"... The conventional story is that as Warren moved from the right to the left, she abandoned the public choice way of thinking about the world, in favor of a more traditional left-wing radicalism. A more accurate take might be that she didn't abandon public choice, but instead remained committed to its free-market ideals, while reversing some of its valences. ..."
"... A recent popular history book, which qualified as a finalist for the National Book Award, depicts public choice as a kind of stealth intellectual weapons program , developed by economist James Buchanan to provide Chilean President Augusto Pinochet with the justification for his dictatorial constitution, and the Koch brothers with the tools to dismantle American democracy. ..."
"... Warren's ideas have a close family resemblance to those of Olson, a celebrated public choice theorist. (Perhaps she has read him; perhaps she has just reached similar conclusions from similar starting points.) Olson, like other public choice scholars, worried about the power of interest groups. He famously developed a theory of collective action that shows how narrowly focused interest groups can dominate politics, because they can organize more cheaply and reap great benefits by setting rules and creating monopolies at the expense of the ordinary public. This means that government programs often actively harm the poor rather than helping them. ..."
"... Olson also castigated libertarian economists for their "monodiabolism" and "almost utopian lack of concern about other problems" so long as the government was chained down. He argued that the government was not the only source of economic power: Business special interests would corrupt markets even if the government did not help them. ..."
"... Warren shares far more intellectual DNA with Mancur Olson and his colleagues than with traditional socialism. However, there are important differences. Olson wrote his key work in the 1980s, before the globalization boom. His arguments for free trade depend on the assumption that open borders will disempower special interests. ..."
Dec 12, 2019 | foreignpolicy.com

Elizabeth Warren's politics seem like a tangle of contradictions. She wants free markets, but also wants to tax billionaires' capital. Her enemies on the right claim that she is a socialist , but Warren describes herself as "capitalist to my bones."

Warren's politics are so confusing because we have forgotten that a pro-capitalist left is even possible. For a long time, political debate in the United States has been a fight between conservatives and libertarians on the right, who favored the market, and socialists and liberals on the left, who favored the government.

It has been clear since 2016 that the traditional coalition of the right was breaking up. Conservatives such as U.S. President Donald Trump are no fans of open trade and free markets, and even favor social protections so long as they benefit their white supporters. Now, the left is changing too.

Warren is reviving a pro-market left that has been neglected for decades, by drawing on a surprising resource: public choice economics. This economic theory is reviled by many on the left, who have claimed that it is a Koch-funded intellectual conspiracy designed to destroy democracy. Yet there is a left version of public choice economics too, associated with thinkers such as the late Mancur Olson. Like Olson, Warren is not a socialist but a left-wing capitalist, who wants to use public choice ideas to cleanse both markets and the state of their corruption.

Public choice economics has big influence and a bad name. It is a school of economic thought that has at different times been associated with scholars at the University of Rochester, Virginia Tech, and George Mason University. Public choice came into being in fervent opposition to the mainstream of economics, which was dominated by scholars such as Paul Samuelson.

Samuelson, in his famous and influential textbooks, saw a clear role for government in regulating markets. Public choice scholars vehemently disagreed . For political and theoretical reasons, they instead saw government as a fountain of corruption. Public choice economists argued that government regulations were the product of special interest groups that had "captured" the power of the state, to cripple rivals and squeeze money from citizens and consumers. Regulations were not made in the public interest, but instead were designed to bilk ordinary citizens.

Perhaps the most influential version of public choice was known as law and economics. For decades, conservative foundations supported seminars that taught judges and legal academics the principles of public choice economics. Attendees were taught that harsh sentences would deter future crime, that government regulation should be treated with profound skepticism, and that antitrust enforcement had worse consequences than the monopolies it was supposed to correct. As statistical research by Elliott Ash, Daniel L. Chen, and Suresh Naidu has shown , these seminars played a crucial role in shifting American courts to the right.

Warren was one of the young legal academics who attended these seminars , and was largely convinced by the arguments. Her early work on bankruptcy law started from public choice principles, and displayed a deep skepticism of intervention.

The conventional story is that as Warren moved from the right to the left, she abandoned the public choice way of thinking about the world, in favor of a more traditional left-wing radicalism. A more accurate take might be that she didn't abandon public choice, but instead remained committed to its free-market ideals, while reversing some of its valences. Her work as an academic was aimed at combating special interests, showing how the financial industry had shaped bankruptcy reforms so that they boosted lenders' profits at borrowers' expense. Notably, she applied public choice theory to explain some aspects of public choice, showing how financial interests had funded scholarly centers which provided a patina of genteel respectability to industry's preferred positions.

Now, Warren wants to to wash away the filth that has built up over decades to clog the workings of American capitalism. Financial rules that have been designed by lobbyists need to be torn up. Vast inequalities of wealth, which provide the rich with disproportionate political and economic power, need to be reversed. Intellectual property rules, which make it so that farmers no longer really own the seeds they sow or the machinery they use to plant them, need to be abolished. For Warren, the problem with modern American capitalism is that it is not nearly capitalist enough. It has been captured by special interests, which are strangling competition.

It is hard to see how deeply Warren's program is rooted in public choice ideas, because public choice has come to be the target of left-wing conspiracy theories. A recent popular history book, which qualified as a finalist for the National Book Award, depicts public choice as a kind of stealth intellectual weapons program , developed by economist James Buchanan to provide Chilean President Augusto Pinochet with the justification for his dictatorial constitution, and the Koch brothers with the tools to dismantle American democracy.

For sure, the mainstream of public choice is strongly libertarian, and the development of the approach was funded by conservative individuals and foundations. What left-wing paranoia overlooks is that there has always been a significant left-wing current of public choice, and even a potent left-wing radicalism buried deep within public choice waiting to be uncovered. The free-market ideal is a situation in which no actor has economic power over any other. As many of Warren's proposals demonstrate, trying to achieve this ideal can animate a radical program for reform.

Warren's ideas have a close family resemblance to those of Olson, a celebrated public choice theorist. (Perhaps she has read him; perhaps she has just reached similar conclusions from similar starting points.) Olson, like other public choice scholars, worried about the power of interest groups. He famously developed a theory of collective action that shows how narrowly focused interest groups can dominate politics, because they can organize more cheaply and reap great benefits by setting rules and creating monopolies at the expense of the ordinary public. This means that government programs often actively harm the poor rather than helping them.

However, Olson also castigated libertarian economists for their "monodiabolism" and "almost utopian lack of concern about other problems" so long as the government was chained down. He argued that the government was not the only source of economic power: Business special interests would corrupt markets even if the government did not help them.

The result, according to Olson, was that societies, economies, and political systems became increasingly encrusted with special-interest politics as the decades passed. Countries benefited economically from great upheavals such as wars and social revolutions, which tore interest groups from their privileged perches and sent them tumbling into the abyss.

Olson wanted to open up both politics and the economy to greater competition, equalizing power relations as much as possible between the many and the few. He argued that under some circumstances, powerful trade unions could benefit the economy. When unions and business groups were sufficiently big that they represented a substantial percentage of workers or business as a whole, they would be less likely to seek special benefits at the expense of the many, and more likely to prioritize the good of the whole. Olson also believed strongly in the benefits of open trade, not just because it led to standard economic efficiencies, but because it made it harder for interest groups to capture government and markets. Northern European economies such as Denmark, which combine powerful trade unions with a strong commitment to free markets, represent Olsonian politics in action.


Warren shares far more intellectual DNA with Mancur Olson and his colleagues than with traditional socialism. However, there are important differences. Olson wrote his key work in the 1980s, before the globalization boom. His arguments for free trade depend on the assumption that open borders will disempower special interests.

As economists such as Dani Rodrik and political scientists such as Susan Sell have shown, this hasn't quite worked out as Olson expected. Free trade agreements have become a magnet for special interest groups, who want to cement their preferences in international agreements that are incredibly hard to reverse. The U.S. "fast track" approach to trade negotiations makes it harder for Congress to demand change, but allows industry lobbyists to shape the administration's negotiating stance. Investor-state dispute resolution mechanisms provide business with a friendly forum where they can target government rules that hurt their economic interests. All of this helps explain why Warren is skeptical of arguments for the general benefits of free-trade agreements: they aren't nearly so general as economists claim.

Close attention to Warren's public choice influences reveals both her radicalism and its limits. Like Olson, she is committed to the notion that making capitalism work for citizens will require changes that border on the revolutionary. The sweeping proposals she makes for changes to America's gross economic inequality, its economic relations with the rest of the world, its approach to antitrust legislation, and its tolerance of sleazy relationships among politicians, regulators, and industry are all aimed at creating a major upheaval. Where she proposes major state action, as in her "Medicare for All" plans, it is to supplant market institutions that aren't working, and are so embedded in interest group power dynamics that they are incapable of reform.

Yet this is a distinctly capitalist variety of radicalism. Socialists will inevitably be disappointed in the limits to her arguments. Warren's ideal is markets that work as they should, in contrast to the socialist belief that some forms of power are inherent within markets themselves. Not only Marxists, but economists such as Thomas Piketty, have suggested that the market system is rigged in ways that will inevitably favor capital over the long run. The fixes that Warren proposes will at most dampen down these tendencies rather than remove them.

If Warren wins, she will not only disappoint socialists. Her proposals may end up being too radical for Congress, but not nearly radical enough to tackle challenges such as climate change, which will require a rapid and dramatic transformation of the global economy if catastrophe is to be averted. Libertarians and mainstream public choice scholars will attack her from a different vantage point, arguing that she is both too skeptical about existing market structures and too trusting of the machineries of the state that she hopes to use to remedy them. State efforts to reform markets can easily turn into protectionism.

What Warren offers, then, is neither a socialist or deep green alternative to capitalism, nor a public choice justification for why regulators ought to leave it alone. The bet she is making is that capitalism can solve the major problems that the United States faces, so long as the government tackles inequality and defangs the special interests that have parasitized the political and economic systems. Like all such bets, it is a risky one, but one that might transform the U.S. model of capitalism if it succeeds.

Henry Farrell is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

[Dec 09, 2019] Presidential candidates who want to place conditions on Israeli military aid have prompted pro-Israel House Democrats to go on the offensive.

Notable quotes:
"... "I'm opposed to conditioning the aid, and I would fight it no matter what," Engel told Al-Monitor. "The Democratic Party has traditionally been a pro-Israel party, and I see no reason for that to change now. If there are people who are Democrats who don't feel that way, then I don't think they should be elected president of the United States." ..."
"... Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is the most vocal proponent of conditioning Israeli military aid in the presidential race -- ​ going even further left than J Street and all his primary opponents. At J Street's conference in October he said that some of the $3.8 billion in annual assistance "should go right now to humanitarian aid in Gaza." ..."
"... J Street has set any formal Israeli annexation of the West Bank as its red line for placing conditions on Israeli military aid. But it also supports the $38 billion memorandum of understanding. ..."
"... Shortly after the vote, Sanders campaign co-chair Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., as well as Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., asked colleagues to sign a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to clarify whether Israel has used US military equipment while demolishing Palestinian homes in the West Bank. ..."
"... The letter, seen by Al-Monitor, notes that the Arms Export Control Act "narrowly conditions the use of transferred US-origin defense articles" and requires the president to inform Congress if the equipment is used for unauthorized purposes ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro , says: December 8, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

The Jews try to run US policy ..but lately the Dem base (and part of the party) has become more pro Palestine.

Democratic (Jewish) lawmakers reckon with 2020 rhetoric on Israel aid

December 6, 2019

Presidential candidates who want to place conditions on Israeli military aid have prompted pro-Israel House Democrats to go on the offensive.

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

It's becoming harder and harder for pro-Israel Democrats on Capitol Hill to ignore the increasingly critical voices of the US ally within their party and the presidential race.

House Democratic leaders -- who happen to be some of the staunchest Israel supporters on Capitol Hill -- this week added language supportive of the annual $3.8 billion military aid package to Israel to a symbolic resolution that endorses a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The stalled resolution passed 226-188, largely along party lines, today. But pro-Israel Democrats only came on board after House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., added their new language to the bill. The new provision is a response to the fact that several presidential candidates have come out of the woodwork in recent months with calls to place conditions on the largest recipient of US military aid.

"I'm opposed to conditioning the aid, and I would fight it no matter what," Engel told Al-Monitor. "The Democratic Party has traditionally been a pro-Israel party, and I see no reason for that to change now. If there are people who are Democrats who don't feel that way, then I don't think they should be elected president of the United States."

When Engel's committee first advanced the resolution in July, Democratic leaders opted not to put it on the floor, even as they passed another nonbinding resolution condemning the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement 398-17, which was backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

That changed last month after the Trump administration repealed a decades-old legal opinion maintaining that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law.

"There are those on the far-left side of the Democratic Party -- and some of the presidential candidates -- who are pushing for new conditions on aid, especially in their interactions with Gaza, which is run by Hamas -- a terrorist organization," Gottheimer told Al-Monitor.

An October poll from the liberal Center for American Progress found that 56% of American voters, including 71% of Democrats, oppose "unconditional financial and military assistance to Israel if the Israeli government continues to violate American policy on settlement expansion or West Bank annexation."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is the most vocal proponent of conditioning Israeli military aid in the presidential race -- ​ going even further left than J Street and all his primary opponents. At J Street's conference in October he said that some of the $3.8 billion in annual assistance "should go right now to humanitarian aid in Gaza."

J Street has set any formal Israeli annexation of the West Bank as its red line for placing conditions on Israeli military aid. But it also supports the $38 billion memorandum of understanding.

Presidential hopefuls Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, have jumped on board with J Street's position. However, the current front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden, has flatly ruled out conditioning the aid.

Notably, J Street did not oppose the effort to amend the Lowenthal resolution with the military aid language. That said, progressive Democrats do not necessarily view that provision as incompatible with calls to attach strings to that assistance. Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., called the Engel language "meaningless."

"It's just restating what current practice or current law is," Pocan told Al-Monitor. "We don't really see it as affecting the bill one way or the other. At any time if we feel like we're better off putting conditions on money and holding back money, Congress could always do that with any country through the normal process."

Shortly after the vote, Sanders campaign co-chair Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., as well as Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., asked colleagues to sign a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking him to clarify whether Israel has used US military equipment while demolishing Palestinian homes in the West Bank.

The letter, seen by Al-Monitor, notes that the Arms Export Control Act "narrowly conditions the use of transferred US-origin defense articles" and requires the president to inform Congress if the equipment is used for unauthorized purposes

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/12/democratic-lawmakers-2020-rhetoric-israel-aid.html#ixzz67UEIl383

[Dec 07, 2019] Could Tax Increases Speed Up the Economy?

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , December 05, 2019 at 04:53 AM

Could Tax Increases Speed Up the Economy?
Democrats Say Yes https://nyti.ms/2RlDbJx
NYT - Jim Tankersley - December 5

WASHINGTON -- Elizabeth Warren is leading a liberal rebellion against a long-held economic view that large tax increases slow economic growth, trying to upend Democratic policymaking in the way supply-side conservatives changed Republican orthodoxy four decades ago.

(Warren Would Take Billionaires Down
a Few Billion Pegs https://nyti.ms/2CtMPRN
NYT - November 10)

Generations of economists, across much of the ideological spectrum, have long held that higher taxes reduce investment, slowing economic growth. That drag, the consensus held, would offset the benefits to growth from increased government spending in areas like education.

Ms. Warren and other leading Democrats say the opposite. The senator from Massachusetts, who is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, contends that her plans to tax the rich and spend the revenue to lift the poor and the middle class would accelerate economic growth, not impede it. Other Democratic candidates are making similar claims about their tax-and-spend proposals. Some liberal economists go further and say that simply taxing the rich would help growth no matter what the government did with the money.

Democrats in the past, including the party's 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton, have argued that a more modest combination of tax increases and spending programs would expand the economy. But no Democratic nominee before Ms. Warren had ever proposed so many new taxes and spending programs, and leaned so heavily into the argument that they would be, in economist parlance, pro-growth.

That argument tries to reframe a classic debate about the economic "pie" in the United States by suggesting there is no trade-off between increasing the size of the pie and dividing the slices more equitably among all Americans.

Ms. Warren has proposed nearly $3 trillion a year in new taxes on businesses and high-earners, largely focused on billionaires but sometimes hitting Americans who earn $250,000 and above per year. The taxes would fund wide-reaching new government spending on health care, education, and family benefits like universal child care and paid parental leave.

Last month, Ms. Warren wrote on Twitter that education, child care and student loan relief programs funded by her tax on wealthy Americans would "grow the economy." In a separate post, she said student debt relief would "supercharge" growth.

The last batch of economists to disrupt a political party's consensus position were conservative -- the so-called supply-siders who built influence in the late 1970s and gained power in the Reagan administration. Previous Republican presidents had focused on keeping the budget deficit low, which constrained their ability to cut taxes if they did not also cut government spending. Supply-siders contended that well-targeted tax cuts could generate big economic growth even without spending cuts. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , December 05, 2019 at 04:57 AM
Ms. Warren is making the case that the economy could benefit if money is redistributed from the rich and corporations to uses that she and other liberals say would be more productive. Their argument combines hard data showing that high levels of inequality and wealth concentration weigh down economic growth with a belief that well-targeted government spending can encourage more Americans to work, invest and build skills that would make them more productive.

They also cite evidence that transferring money to poor and middle-class individuals would increase consumer spending because they spend a larger share of their incomes than wealthy Americans, who tend to save and invest.

"The economy has changed, our understanding of it has changed, and we understand the constricting effects of inequality" on growth, said Heather Boushey, the president of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a think tank focused on inequality.

Inequality has widened significantly in America over the last several decades. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans more than tripled from 1979 to 2016, before taxes and government transfer payments are taken into account. For the middle class, incomes grew 33 percent. More than a decade after the recession, wage growth for the middle class continues to run well behind previous times of economic expansion, like the late 1990s.

Research by the economist Emmanuel Saez and colleagues shows that the last time such a small sliver of Americans controlled such a large share of the nation's income and wealth was in the late 1920s, just before a stock market crash set off the Great Depression. World Bank researchers have warned that high levels of inequality are stifling growth in South Africa, which has the globe's worst measured inequality.

"We have an economy that isn't delivering like it used to," said Ms. Boushey, who advised Hillary Clinton's 2016 Democratic presidential campaign. "That's leading people to say let's re-examine the evidence."

The contention that tax and spending increases can lift economic growth is not the only challenge to traditional orthodoxy brewing in liberal economic circles. Some Democrats have also embraced modern monetary theory, which reframes classic thinking that discourages large budget deficits as a drag on growth. Its supporters, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and the economist Stephanie Kelton, an adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, argue that the United States government should be spending much more on programs to fight inequality, like a federal job guarantee, without imposing new taxes.

Some of the inequality-focused economists say they are hoping to build new economic models to predict the effects of their policies, though they acknowledge few of those models exist yet. Instead, they rely on evidence about the likely effects of individual programs, added together.

Many economists who study tax policy contend that Ms. Warren's plans -- and other large tax-and-spend proposals from Democratic candidates this year -- would hurt the economy, just as classic economic models suggest.

"Some elements of the large increase in government spending on health and education proposed by Senator Warren would promote economic growth" through channels like improved education, said Alan Auerbach, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has written some of the most influential research in the profession on the relationship between tax rates and growth.

But, he said, "I am very skeptical that these growth effects would offset the negative effects on growth of the higher taxes, particularly given that the spending increases are not specifically targeted toward enhancing growth."

Ms. Warren disagrees. In the latest Democratic debate, she said the spending programs funded by her wealth tax would be "transformative" for workers. Those plans would raise wages, make college tuition-free and relieve graduates of student debt, she said, adding, "We can invest in an entire generation's future."

An emerging group of liberal economists say taxes on high-earners could spur growth even if the government did nothing with the revenue because the concentration of income and wealth is dampening consumer spending.

"We are experiencing a revolution right now in macroeconomics, particularly in the policy space," said Mark Paul, an economist who is a fellow at the liberal Roosevelt Institute in Washington. "We can think of a wealth tax as welfare-enhancing, in and of itself, simply by constraining the power of the very wealthy" to influence public policy and distort markets to their advantage.

Taken together, Ms. Warren's proposals would transform the role of federal taxation. If every tax increase she has proposed in the campaign passed and raised as much revenue as her advisers predict -- a contingency hotly debated among even liberal economists -- total federal tax revenue would grow more than 50 percent.

The United States would leap from one of the lowest-taxed rich nations to one of the highest. It would collect more taxes as a share of the economy than Norway, and only slightly less than Italy.

Mr. Sanders's plan envisions a similarly large increase in tax levels. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s proposals are much smaller in scale: He would raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations by $3.4 trillion over a decade, in order to fund increased spending on health care, higher education, infrastructure and carbon emissions reduction.

If Ms. Warren's tax program is enacted, said Gabriel Zucman, an economist at Berkeley who is an architect of her wealth tax proposal, "in my view, the most likely effect is a small positive effect on growth, depending on how the revenues are used."

Another economist who has worked with the Warren campaign to analyze its proposals, Mark Zandi of Moody's, said he would expect her plans to be "largely a wash on long-term economic growth."

Researchers at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College projected this summer that Ms. Warren's wealth tax and spending policies would generate a 1.7 percent increase in the size of the economy. A preliminary study of a wealth tax like Ms. Warren's proposal, by the Penn Wharton Budget Model, found that it would reduce the size of the economy by a similar 1.7 percent. The model uses the sort of classic methodology that liberals are now rebelling against and did not evaluate Ms. Warren's spending proposals.

Historical experience offers few parallels for assessing the economic effects of a taxation-and-spending program on the scale of Ms. Warren's ambitions. A 2002 study of wealth taxes in rich countries found that those taxes, most of which have since been abandoned, reduced economic growth slightly on an annual basis.

Conservative economists roundly disagree that large tax increases can spur faster growth, even those who say government spending on paid leave and child care may get more Americans into the labor force. They say a wealth tax on the scale of Ms. Warren's proposal would greatly reduce savings and investment by the rich.

"What a wealth tax does is, it directly taxes savings," said Aparna Mathur, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who favors a narrow paid leave program and whose research finds benefits from reducing tax rates on business and investment. "If you're taxing savings, you're implicitly taxing investment. So how can that possibly be pro-growth?"

The supply-side economists' plans were similarly denounced -- George Bush called them "voodoo economic policies" while running for president in 1980 -- but in time dominated Republican proposals.

Some members of the new liberal revolt against tax orthodoxy welcome the comparison to the supply-side uprising.

"While I think that the supply-siders were wrong, and were always wrong, they were reacting to very real economic problems in the 1970s," said Michael Linden, the executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative, a liberal policy and advocacy group. "There was something really wrong with the economy at the time. I think there is now."

[Dec 06, 2019] Her constant mind-changing and backpedaling in response to whomever has the political upper-hand at the moment has angered both the DNC establishment as well as the progressive left

Dec 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

WJ , December 5, 2019 at 3:06 pm

Said it before and I'll say it again, Warren's personal ambition is often what manifests her poor political instincts. Why did she claim Native American Heritage? Why did she endorse HRC in 2016? Why did she ambiguously support, then unambiguously back away from, M4A?

This trend leads me to suspect that she will not easily back out of the race, and cannot be trusted finally to endorse Sanders in 2020 any more than she could be in 2016. I suspect, in any case, that many of her voters would not default to Sanders but to Buttigieg in any case. They seem to be mostly white professionals between 30-60yrs old who make $120,000/year.

Hepativore , December 5, 2019 at 2:19 pm

Wow, Sanders has really been pulling ahead of Warren if the polls over the past few days are to be believed. I am hoping that this trend continues. Warren's overly-complicated healthcare proposal which she decided to backpedal on at the last moment seems like it has really cost her.

I kind of wonder at this point why Warren decided to run for president in the first place. She seems like the type of person who would rather follow than lead, and would be ill-suited to be president as she would be forced to take a position on something. Warren would have been better served to be clear about what her actual positions are instead of trying to have it both ways. Her constant mind-changing and backpedaling in response to whomever has the political upper-hand at the moment has angered both the DNC establishment as well as the progressive left.

Lambert Strether Post author , December 5, 2019 at 2:22 pm

> angered both the DNC establishment as well as the progressive left.

Warren tried to straddle, and lost both.

Samuel Conner , December 5, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Or, as Abraham Lincoln put it in a letter to "Mr FJ Hooker" as he was contemplating a push across the Rappahannock in the wake of Lee's move westward in June 1863,

"like a bull stuck across a fence that cannot gore to the front or kick to the rear"

I think it was you, Lambert, who drew my attention to "Rich and Tracey's Civil War podcast", and I am grateful.

Lambert Strether Post author , December 5, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Isn't it great? I just listened to that episode!

Trent , December 5, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Love the podcast because we need more stuff like that, but Rich could use a shot of charisma ;)

flora , December 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm

Warren tried to straddle, and lost both.

See Jim Hightower's definition of the political middle of the road.
https://www.amazon.com/Theres-Nothing-Middle-Stripes-Armadillos/dp/0060929499

Arizona Slim , December 5, 2019 at 3:37 pm

And there is nothing, I do mean nothing , that stinks worse than a dead armadillo.

Darius , December 5, 2019 at 3:37 pm

I think Warren is running for treasury secretary in a Biden administration. The theory being that that will be her reward for stopping Sanders. Everybody has an angle. Except Bernie. Can someone show me his angle?

NotTimothyGeithner , December 5, 2019 at 4:44 pm

Warren may be many things, but she despises Biden. She has enough self respect to never work for the turd.

hunkerdown , December 5, 2019 at 4:56 pm

No neoliberal should be assumed to have self-respect. If they did, they wouldn't be neoliberals.

[Dec 03, 2019] Despite Pelosi gambit with Ukrtaiongate, chances of Dems to beat Trump did not improve. Warren slide is very dangerous for neoliberal Dems as she along with Sanders and Tulsi can be sold to Dem voters and independents as the "change we can believe in"

Clinton curse sill is hanging over Democratic Party candidates like Damocles sword. 25 year of betrayal of their core constituency and their alliance with Wall Street has consequences, which they now feel. Obama now is openly despised by Democratic voters as the person who betrayed his electorate and then enriched himself in classing "revolving door" corruption scheme. The phrase "change is can believe in" became a curse. Bill Clinton is mired in Epstein scandal. You can't get worse cheerleaders for the party and it does not have anybody else.
Notable quotes:
"... Obama was directly addressing Silicon Valley's wealthiest Democratic donors, telling them to "chill" in their debate over the party's candidates, and seeking to ease the tensions among tech billionaires who have broken into separate camps backing Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and -- most surprisingly -- Elizabeth Warren ..."
"... Gallup released a poll last week that had some troubling news for Democrats, as only 66% of the party faithful said they're enthusiastic about the upcoming election. ..."
Dec 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

While there are still 15 candidates running for the Democratic nomination (after the withdrawal of Kamala Harris earlier today), only four are polling in double digits, with most either at 1% or 0%. But Obama said whoever gets the nod should get the vote.

"There will be differences" between the candidates, Obama said, "but I want us to make sure that we keep in mind that, relative to the ultimate goal, which is to defeat a president and a party that has taken a sharp turn away from a lot of the core traditions and values and institutional commitments that built this country," those differences are "relatively minor."

"The field will narrow and there's going to be one person, and if that is not your perfect candidate and there are certain aspects of what they say that you don't agree with and you don't find them completely inspiring the way you'd like, I don't care," he said. "Because the choice is so stark and the stakes are so high that you cannot afford to be ambivalent in this race."

Obama was directly addressing Silicon Valley's wealthiest Democratic donors, telling them to "chill" in their debate over the party's candidates, and seeking to ease the tensions among tech billionaires who have broken into separate camps backing Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and -- most surprisingly -- Elizabeth Warren , according to recode.

Obama may have his job cut out for him: with many Democratic voters confused or merely bored silly by the current roster of candidates, two newcomers, Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entered the race adding further to the confusion. Last month, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, drew fewer than 100 people to a South Carolina "Environmental Justice" forum. And she's a frontrunner!

Meanwhile, Gallup released a poll last week that had some troubling news for Democrats, as only 66% of the party faithful said they're enthusiastic about the upcoming election. And while for Republicans the number is 65%, "this differed from the typical pattern Gallup has seen over the years, whereby those who identify with the political party of the incumbent president have been less enthusiastic about voting than members of the opposing party," Gallup wrote.

Ironically, Obama isn't alone in saying Democrats need to hold their nose when they vote for the eventual nominee. Joe Biden's wife, Jill, said in August that her husband might not be the best candidate, but told voters "maybe you have to swallow a little bit" and vote for him anyway.

"Your candidate might be better on, I don't know, health care, than Joe is," Jill Biden said on MSNBC, "but you've got to look at who's going to win this election, and maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, 'OK, I personally like so-and-so better,' but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump."

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, she repeated the point. "I know that not all of you are committed to my husband, and I respect that. But I want you to think about your candidate, his or her electability, and who's going to win this race. So I think if your goal -- I know my goal -- is to beat Donald Trump, we have to have someone who can beat him," she said.

[Dec 01, 2019] A Question for Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden or Any Democrat Running for President What s Your Foreign Policy The National In

Notable quotes:
"... "The next president will, for example, have to deal with the enormous loss of U.S. credibility during the past three years, which has stemmedin large part from Trump's reneging on or withdrawing from agreements such as the Paris accord on climate change, arms control accords withRussia, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which restricted Iran's nuclear program." ..."
"... What is the PURPOSE of US Foreign Policy? To protect the US homeland and US interests abroad (freedom of navigation, freedom of commerce and trade, and the protection of US citizens travelling abroad to name a few). ..."
"... Unfortunately, US Policy really refers to US interventionism across the globe. Covert activities are presumably necessary to protect US interests so as to thwart the covert activities of our enemies. In practice, what the US really does is protect the interests of friendly countries and US-based multi-national corporations...and the whole thing is smoke and mirrors (hidden from the American people). Thus, we really have NO IDEA what US Foreign Policy is, or what we are doing behind the scenes. That's on both Democrats and Republicans. ..."
Dec 01, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

This is still a race for a party nomination, and it is well known how political battles at this stage typically focus narrowly on what are perceived to be the parochial concerns of the party's base and take on a different character in the general election. But positions taken now can impose constraints later on. Moreover, Democratic primary voters ought to be learning about what difference the various contenders would make in executing the powers of the presidency, not just in who has the most attractive ideas about policies that cannot be imposed by fiat.

Foreign policy is where more attention and debate are most required, and not just because foreign policy nearly always gets inadequate attention in political campaigns. It also is where a president has the most power to make a difference even without getting Congress to go along with the president's program. This fact is reflected in how many presidents late in their presidencies, especially in second terms, have turned more of their attention to foreign relations as an area where they can make a difference after experiencing frustration in trying to get their domestic programs through Congress.

Many issues in foreign policy could profitably be discussed more than they are now, but priority should be given to those subjects on which Trump has caused the most damage. Candidates should explain how they intend to repair that damage, not just what their policies would be if they somehow could be written on a clean slate. The slate on which the next administration's foreign policy will be written starts out very dirty. Coming after Trump will be a major, task-defining fact about the next administration's foreign policy challenges.

The heavy damage to U.S. relations with the European allies represents another especially dirty part of the slate that the next administration will have to tend to. Brexit will be an added complication in addressing this problem and in a sense is another part of Trump's legacy given the way he has cheered on the Brexiteers, contrary to U.S. interests.

Issues examined by the current impeachment proceeding represent more damage-repair needs. Ukraine is a large and important country and constructing a U.S. policy that adequately reflects Ukraine's delicate situation between East and West would be a challenge in any event. Now it has been made more difficult by Trump and Rudy Giuliani's setting back of Ukraine's efforts to stamp out corruption and subordinating an aid relationship to dirt-digging for domestic political reasons. What are the Democratic candidates' specific ideas for repairing this damage, and for fitting the repairs into a sensible policy toward not just Ukraine but also Russia?

To emphasize these foreign policy challenges is not to diminish the amount of Trump-inflicted damage that extends to domestic matters as well, and the need for the next administration to repair that damage as well. Perhaps the greatest over-arching damage, spanning both the domestic and foreign sides, is that the nation seems to have become inured to wrongdoing because of the sheer volume of it, with attention to each offense quickly fading as it is succeeded by a new offense or attention-hogging presidential outburst. What will the next president do to restore a sense of national outrage over wrongdoing whenever it occurs, be it blatant self-dealing, corruption of U.S. foreign relations, or something else?

Such problems may not have as much resonance in Iowa caucuses as the cost of health care, but they have a lot more to do with who will make the best president.

Paul R. Pillar is Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is a contributing editor to The National Interest, where he writes a blog .


MaskOfZero 5 days ago • edited ,

"The next president will, for example, have to deal with the enormous loss of U.S. credibility during the past three years, which has stemmedin large part from Trump's reneging on or withdrawing from agreements such as the Paris accord on climate change, arms control accords withRussia, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which restricted Iran's nuclear program."

What a load of hooey this article is. U.S. credibility with whom? Failed Merkel? Failed Macron?...

Emidio Borg 11 days ago • edited ,

It is our weapons manufacturers who bankroll our political establishment, consequently our foreign policy is whatever they say it is.

The Mugged Liberal 13 days ago ,

Failure of the past three years but no mention of the failures of Obama? Sending an aging hippie James Taylor to console islamic terrorist victims in Paris apparently counts as a major foreign policy success and that mean Trump refuses to perpetuate. And then there's the cross the red line in Syria and we'll do nothing.

Or maybe ship weapons secretly to Islamic terrorists calling them freedom fighters and surprise surprise, the weapons from Obama are used to murder American diplomats in Benghazi. Then cover that up by blaming it on a video from a guy in Los Angeles and sending out a team to blatantly lie about the event.

Now there's real foreign policy you can depend on - from the Democrats.

And of course from Paul Pillar.

Carl Braun 18 days ago ,

What's Your Foreign Policy?
A. Orange man bad.
Need more taxes for my apology diplomacy.
More pallets of cash for the mullahs

Airbrush2020 Me 18 days ago • edited ,

What is the PURPOSE of US Foreign Policy? To protect the US homeland and US interests abroad (freedom of navigation, freedom of commerce and trade, and the protection of US citizens travelling abroad to name a few).

Unfortunately, US Policy really refers to US interventionism across the globe. Covert activities are presumably necessary to protect US interests so as to thwart the covert activities of our enemies. In practice, what the US really does is protect the interests of friendly countries and US-based multi-national corporations...and the whole thing is smoke and mirrors (hidden from the American people). Thus, we really have NO IDEA what US Foreign Policy is, or what we are doing behind the scenes. That's on both Democrats and Republicans.

[Dec 01, 2019] Senator Warren's plans on drugs are a really huge deal

Dec 01, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , November 28, 2019 at 12:34 PM

https://truthout.org/articles/warrens-new-proposal-for-prescription-drugs-is-flying-under-the-radar/

November 25, 2019

Warren's New Proposal for Prescription Drugs Is Flying Under the Radar
By Dean Baker

Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren put out a set of steps that she would put forward as president as part of a transition to Medicare for All. The items that got the most attention were including everyone over age 50 and under age 18 in Medicare, and providing people of all ages with the option to buy into the program. This buy-in would include large subsidies, and people with incomes of less than 200 percent of the poverty level would be able to enter the Medicare program at no cost.

These measures would be enormous steps toward Medicare for All, bringing tens of millions of people into the program, including most of those (people over age 50) with serious medical issues. It would certainly be more than halfway to a universal Medicare program.

While these measures captured most of the attention given to Warren's transition plan, another part of the plan is probably at least as important. Warren proposed to use the government's authority to compel the licensing of drug patents so that multiple companies can produce a patented drug.

The government can do this both because it has general authority to compel licensing of patents (with reasonable compensation) and because it has explicit authority under the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act to require licensing of any drug developed in part with government-funded research. The overwhelming majority of drugs required some amount of government-supported research in their development.

These measures are noteworthy because they can be done on the president's own authority. While the pharmaceutical industry will surely contest a president's use of the government's authority to weaken their patent rights, those actions would not require congressional approval.

The other reason that these steps would be so important is that there is a huge amount of money involved. The United States is projected to spend over $6.6 trillion on prescription drugs over the next decade, more than 2.5 percent of GDP.

The government has explicit authority under the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act to require licensing of any drug developed in part with government-funded research.

This is an enormous amount of money. We spend more than twice as much per person on drugs as people in other wealthy countries.

This is not an accident. The grant of a patent monopoly allows drug companies to charge as much as they want for drugs that are necessary for people's health or even their life.

While other countries also grant patent monopolies, they limit the ability of drug companies to exploit these monopolies with negotiations or price controls. This is why prices in these countries are so much lower than in the United States.

But even these negotiated prices are far above what drug prices would be in a free market. The price of drugs in a free market, without patent monopolies or related protections, will typically be less than 10 percent of the U.S. price and in some cases, less than 1 percent.

This is because drugs are almost invariably cheap to manufacture and distribute. They are expensive because government-granted patent monopolies make them expensive.

The rationale for patent monopolies is to give companies an incentive to research and develop drugs. This process is expensive, and if newly developed drugs were sold in a free market, companies would not be able to recover these expenses.

To make up for the loss of research funding supported by patent monopolies, Warren proposes an increase in public funding for research.

To make up for the loss of research funding supported by patent monopolies, Warren proposes an increase in public funding for research. This would be an important move toward an increased reliance on publicly funded biomedical research.

There are enormous advantages to publicly funded research over patent monopoly-supported research. First, the government is funding the research. It can require that all results be fully public as soon as possible so that all researchers can quickly benefit from them.

By contrast, under the patent system, drug companies have an incentive to keep results secret. They have no desire to share results that could benefit competitors.

Public funding would also radically reduce the incentive to develop copycat drugs. Under the current system, drug companies will often devote substantial sums to developing drugs that are intended to duplicate the function of drugs already on the market. While there is generally an advantage to having more options to treat a specific condition, most often, research dollars would be better spent trying to develop drugs for conditions where no effective treatment currently exists.

Ending patent monopoly pricing would also take away the incentive for drug companies to conceal evidence that their drugs may not be as safe or effective as claimed. Patent monopolies give drug companies an incentive to push their drugs as widely as possible.

The opioid crisis provides a dramatic example of the dangers of this system. Opioid manufacturers would not have had the same incentive to push their drugs, concealing evidence of their addictive properties, if they were not making huge profits on them.

In short, Senator Warren's plans on drugs are a really huge deal. How far and how quickly she will be able to get to Medicare for All will depend on what she can get through Congress. But her proposal for prescription drugs is something she would be able to do if elected president, and it would make an enormous difference in both the cost and the quality of our health care.

[Dec 01, 2019] How World Bank arbitrators mugged Pakistan By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Dec 01, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , November 28, 2019 at 12:08 PM

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-11-27/How-World-Bank-arbitrators-mugged-Pakistan-LXocY8vyCY/index.html

November 27, 2019

How World Bank arbitrators mugged Pakistan
By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Wall Street hedge funds and lawyers have turned an arcane procedure of international treaties into a money machine, at the cost of the world's poorest people. The latest shakedown is a 5.9-billion-U.S.-dollars award against Pakistan's government in favor of two global mining companies – Antofagasta PLC of Chile and Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada – for a project that was never approved by Pakistan and never carried out.

Here are the facts.

In 1993, a U.S.-incorporated mining company, BHP, entered into a joint venture (JV) with the Balochistan Development Authority (BDA), a public corporation in Pakistan's impoverished Balochistan province. The JV was set up to prospect for gold and copper, and in the event of favorable discoveries, to seek a mining license.

BHP was not optimistic about the project's profitability and dragged its feet on exploration. In the early 2000s, it assigned the prospecting rights to an Australian company, which created Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) for the project.

In 2006, Antofagasta acquired TCC for 167 million U.S. dollars, and sold half to Barrick Gold. Soon after the purchase, however, the original JV agreement with BHP was challenged in Pakistan's courts.

In 2013, the Pakistan Supreme Court found that the JV's terms violated Pakistan's mining and contract laws in several ways and declared the agreement – and thus the rights claimed by TCC – to be null and void.

Specifically, the Court ruled that the BDA did not have authority to bind Balochistan to the terms of the JV agreement; that it awarded the contract without competition or transparency; and that it had greatly exceeded its authority and violated the law by promising extensive deviations from the rules normally applicable to mining projects.

Moreover, the JV failed to obtain, and even to pursue, many mandatory approvals from the state and federal governments, and BHP failed to undertake prospecting in a timely manner required under the mining law.

The Supreme Court's decision came after years of public-interest litigation challenging the deal for violations of domestic law and the rights of the public. In the meantime, the BDA's chairman was found to have conflicts of interest and to be living beyond the means afforded by his official salary, which in the Court's words was tantamount to corruption.

In a normal world, the Court's judgment would be respected absent proven evidence of corruption or other wrongdoing against the justices. But in the world we actually inhabit, the so-called international rule of law enables rich companies to exploit poor countries with impunity and disregard their laws and courts.

When TCC lost its case in Pakistan's Supreme Court, it simply turned to the World Bank's International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), in complete disregard of Pakistan's laws and institutions.

A panel of three arbitrators with no expertise in or respect for Pakistan's legal system ruled that TCC deserved compensation for all future profits that it allegedly would have earned if the non-existent project, based on a voided agreement, had gone forward!

Because there was no actual project, and no agreement for one, the arbitrators had no basis to say what terms – royalties, corporate taxes, environmental standards, land area, and other basic provisions – the governments of Balochistan and Pakistan would have set. In fact, disagreement on many of those terms had stalled negotiations for years.

Nonetheless, the ICSID panel arbitrarily decided that TCC would have had the right to mine 1,000 square kilometers, though the mining law forbade licensing such a vast area. The arbitrators ruled that TCC would have received a tax holiday for 15 years, even though there is no evidence that such a tax holiday was in the offing – or even legal. The arbitrators decided that TCC would have benefited from a royalty rate several percentage points below the mandatory statutory rate, though there is no reason why Pakistan would have set such a low rate.

The arbitrators also ruled that TCC would have met all environmental standards, or that the government would have exempted TCC from relevant requirements, though the mining area is in a desert region subject to extreme water stress, and the mining project would have demanded vast amounts of water. And the arbitrators ruled that to obtain the land needed for TCC's pipeline, the government would have taken it from its owners and inhabitants.

The arbitration ruling is utterly capricious. An illegal project, declared null and void by Pakistan's Supreme Court and never pursued, was found by the World Bank's arbitration panel to be worth more than four billion U.S. dollars to TCC's owners, who had paid 167 million U.S. dollars for it in 2006.

Moreover, the tribunal declared that Pakistan must compensate TCC in full, with back interest, and cover its legal fees, raising the bill to 5.9 billion U.S. dollars, or roughly two percent of Pakistan's GDP. It is more than twice Pakistan's entire public spending on health care for 200 million people, in a country where seven percent of children die before their fifth birthday. For many Pakistanis, the World Bank's arbitration ruling is a death sentence.

The ICSID is not an honest broker. One of the tribunal members in the TCC case is using the same expert put forward by TCC for another case in which the arbitrator is acting as counsel! When challenged about this obvious conflict of interest, the arbitrator refused to step down and the ICSID proceeded as if all were normal.

Thanks to the World Bank's arbitrators, the rich are making a fortune at the expense of poor countries. Multinational companies are feasting on unapproved, non-existent projects.

Fixing the broken arbitration system should start with a reversal of the outrageous ruling against Pakistan and a thorough investigation of the flawed and corrupt process that made it possible.


Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor of sustainable development and professor of health policy and management at Columbia University, is director of Columbia's Center for Sustainable Development.

[Dec 01, 2019] Will The Epstein Story Ever be Fully Told by Bill Rice

Notable quotes:
"... The list of those who might have some knowledge of Epstein's criminal enterprise includes a sitting president, ex-presidents, ex-prime ministers, Justice Department officials, State Department officials, FBI agents, employees of domestic and international intelligence agencies, state prosecutors, local law enforcement, politicians, ex-politicians, lobbyists, titans of industry and finance, CEOs, attorneys, accountants, banks and bankers, celebrities, academics, scientists, political operatives and executives within the Fourth Estate. ..."
"... For example, how is it possible that Ghislaine Maxwell - the "Bonnie" to Epstein's "Clyde" - has yet to be charged with any crimes? Or, as far as the public knows, even been questioned by authorities. ..."
"... Public skepticism about the "investigation" spiked when, five weeks after his arrest, the FBI finally raided Epstein's "Lolita" Island. Epstein's "ranch" in New Mexico has still not been searched. ..."
"... Every person named in court documents or press reports as allegedly or possibly having sex with an underaged girl or young woman at Epstein's bequest has denied the allegations. Which begs the question: Who's telling the truth and who's lying? ..."
"... True or not, many Americans believe the Department of "Justice" will not prosecute (perhaps even question) scores of individuals who may have broken U.S. laws and who may have been victims of a disturbing blackmail operation. ..."
"... At its core, the Epstein case will reveal whether government prosecutors and investigators possess the courage and integrity to expose sordid truths about some of the wealthiest, most-connected, powerful people in the world, and perhaps reveal embarrassing truths about our government. ..."
"... Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance writer in Troy, Alabama. He can be reached by email at wjricejunior@gmail.com ..."
Dec 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

More than four months after Jeffrey Epstein's arrest - and three months after his alleged suicide - it requires no opinion poll to know that few Americans believe the story of the international sex trafficking ring orchestrated by Epstein and his alleged "co-accomplices" will ever be fully told.

More specifically, many Americans believe that most (if not all) of the key questions regarding the case will remain unanswered. For example

In short, at least in the opinion of many, the public will never learn how massively corrupt our system of justice may be, and if a privileged class is in fact held to a different standard of justice, and/or is protected by the powers that be. Nor will the public learn how prurient, immoral and brazen a cross-section of the world's elite may be.

Of course, authorities may, in fact, do their jobs and ultimately disclose the entire scale of Epstein's operation. Prosecutions and plea deals to come could include a "Who's Who" of the world, and expose any government agencies that may have "looked the other way."

At least theoretically, our government could expose a decades-long criminal operation, a revelation that very possibly would change the way millions of people view the U.S. government; not to mention how the public views many powerful VIPs who navigate in the orbit of politicians and policy-makers.

Once upon a time, the number Americans who believed justice would ultimately prevail in a case like Epstein's would probably have filled a good-sized nation. Today, the number who posses this conviction might fill a medium-sized city.

Citizens who doubt the full story of the Epstein saga will ever be revealed have little trouble citing stories that explain their metastasizing skepticism.

For example, plenty of people did notice when Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman suffered no adverse consequences following the gruesome murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi , a murder many people believe the prince ordered.

Others remain befuddled as UK authorities continue to insist that the government of Russia commissioned a hit team that used nerve agents in the assassination attempt of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, this despite the copious number of holes that pockmark the "official" story.

Similarly, the narrative that Syria President Bashar al - Assad "gassed his own people" - a highly questionable proposition to many - has nonetheless been widely accepted as truth, at least by intelligence agencies and a press corps that increasingly accepts official pronouncements as incontrovertible.

[ editor's note: see Caitlin Johnstone's latest on two OPCW whistleblowers whose claims effectively dubunk the narrative]

The aggressive prosecution (persecution) of Julian Assange is another story that disturbs at least some citizens. The fact so few members of the mainstream press have rallied to Assange's defense has only deepened the depression of one-time idealists.

And these examples do not include the most dubious government narrative of them all, the assertion Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction , a false predicate that ultimately caused the death and suffering of millions of people.

Cynics could also point to an investigation that, unlike several of the above examples, did receive incessant press coverage - the story that Russia somehow "rigged" or "hacked" a U.S. presidential election, a conclusion accepted as gospel by most in the mainstream press, but viewed as preposterous by millions of Americans.

In these and other cases, a growing number of citizens have come to believe that official "investigations" and "official findings" are either a sham or intentionally omit details which do not support the desired meme.

It's within this context that millions of Americans have latched onto the Epstein story and the growing conviction that our government (and press corp ) have become more interested in concealing truths than exposing them.

The Epstein story is not just the latest scandal of the week. The number of individuals who could have been involved, or who might have worked to cover-up its existence, almost certainly dwarfs the number implicated in Watergate.

The list of those who might have some knowledge of Epstein's criminal enterprise includes a sitting president, ex-presidents, ex-prime ministers, Justice Department officials, State Department officials, FBI agents, employees of domestic and international intelligence agencies, state prosecutors, local law enforcement, politicians, ex-politicians, lobbyists, titans of industry and finance, CEOs, attorneys, accountants, banks and bankers, celebrities, academics, scientists, political operatives and executives within the Fourth Estate.

Almost five months after Epstein's arrest, one is struck by curious events that have already occurred and by developments yet to occur.

For example, how is it possible that Ghislaine Maxwell - the "Bonnie" to Epstein's "Clyde" - has yet to be charged with any crimes? Or, as far as the public knows, even been questioned by authorities.

Public skepticism about the "investigation" spiked when, five weeks after his arrest, the FBI finally raided Epstein's "Lolita" Island. Epstein's "ranch" in New Mexico has still not been searched.

The public has also received no indication that authorities are, in fact, questioning any of Epstein's many "associates," especially those who may have had sexual contact with girls recruited and groomed by Epstein and Maxwell.

Every person named in court documents or press reports as allegedly or possibly having sex with an underaged girl or young woman at Epstein's bequest has denied the allegations. Which begs the question: Who's telling the truth and who's lying? To form an opinion on this central question, authorities would presumably need to interview anyone with possible knowledge of alleged sexual or criminal acts. Investigators could then seek information that either corroborates or impeaches each person's account. However, evidence is growing that the protocol in a typical "he-said, she-said" investigation is not being followed in the Epstein case. Instead, authorities may have simply accepted as truth the statements of denial issued by powerful public figures .

True or not, many Americans believe the Department of "Justice" will not prosecute (perhaps even question) scores of individuals who may have broken U.S. laws and who may have been victims of a disturbing blackmail operation.

Perhaps authorities have concluded it's better to not know . Perhaps they realize if they interview one suspected "John," they'll have to interview every potential "John." if this number ends up being massive, and includes a Who's Who of our society, important illusions about society's leaders and our system of justice could be shattered.

At its core, the Epstein case will reveal whether government prosecutors and investigators possess the courage and integrity to expose sordid truths about some of the wealthiest, most-connected, powerful people in the world, and perhaps reveal embarrassing truths about our government.

Americans might soon learn what objective is more important to Justice Department officials: Protecting the rich and powerful from the consequences of their behavior, or confirming that a system of justice grounded in trust can still be trusted.

Sadly, many Americans are convinced authorities will not do the right thing.

However, in proving skeptics wrong, authorities would accomplish at least four objectives, all noble. They would punish the guilty. They would provide justice to victims too long ignored. They would deter future Epsteins and future "Johns," especially those unaccustomed to being held accountable for their actions. And, perhaps most importantly, they would allow a ray of sunshine to pierce the shadow of cynicism that's spread across our country.

While such a development might not restore all trust in government, it would be an eye-opening start. For those who believe the moral character of a nation is important, it would send a message that all hope is not lost .

****

Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance writer in Troy, Alabama. He can be reached by email at wjricejunior@gmail.com

[Nov 30, 2019] Obama Takes the Field and Hillary May Be Around the Corner by Stephen J. Sniegoski

Notable quotes:
"... However, Morris contends that Clinton believes that she has to "wait until Biden drops out because he's obviously next in line for it, and if he goes away, there's an opening for her." According to Morris' scenario, Clinton would become the moderate candidate opposed to the leading progressive, Elizabeth Warren. ..."
Nov 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

In November, Barack Obama, who had avoided commenting on the Democratic presidential primary, came out forcefully in opposition to the extreme positions taken by some leading progressive contenders, positions that could cause the Democrats to be beaten by Trump in the 2020 election. Obama was a very popular president among Democrats, and what he has to say carries considerable weight with them. While this may not be his intent, Obama's position could open the field for Hillary Clinton to enter the fray and quite possibly become the Democrats' nominee, given the lackluster performance of leading "moderate" Joe Biden, whose weaknesses have been brought out by the mainstream media, despite their animosity toward Trump.

Now many in the Democratic Party leadership, as well as wealthy Democratic donors, have been concerned for some time about the radical nature of some of the economic policies advocated by the leading progressive Democratic contenders. They fear that instead of the 2020 election revolving around Trump with his low approval ratings, and very likely his impeachment, which would seem to be a slam-dunk victory for Democrats, it would focus on those radical economic proposals. Many voters are skeptical about how free college for all, free health care for all, high-paying jobs in "green energy" -- after greatly reducing the use of fossil fuels, free childcare for all, just to name some of the "free" things that have been promised, would really work. Instead of raising taxes on the middle class, most of these free things would purportedly be paid for by the super-wealthy, which would exclude mere millionaires such as Bernie Sanders (estimated wealth $2 million) and Elizabeth Warren (estimated wealth $12 million) who are the leading progressive contenders.

Obama began stressing his concern about the danger of radicalism in an October speech at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. And he did this not by dealing with presidential candidates but with youth who think they can immediately change society. "This idea of purity and you're never compromised, and you're always politically woke and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly," Obama lectured. "The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws."

It was at a gathering of Democratic donors in Washington, D.C., in November that Obama cautioned Democratic candidates not to go too far to the left since that would antagonize many voters who would otherwise support the Democratic candidate. "Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality ," Obama asserted. "The average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it." Although Obama did not specify particular Democratic candidates, his warning was widely interpreted as being directed at Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Currently, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, according to national polls, is Joe Biden, who is considered a moderate. But Biden has a number of problems. He continues to make gaffes while speaking, and during his long career in the Senate took positions that are antithetical to the Democratic Party of today. Moreover, he lacks the charisma to attract large crowds to his events. Thus, it is questionable that he has the capability to attract large numbers of Democratic voters to the polls in November 2020.

According to Politico Magazine , Obama was recently discussing election tactics with an unnamed current candidate and "pointed out that during his own 2008 campaign, he had an intimate bond with the electorate" and he is quoted as adding, "And you know who really doesn't have it ? Joe Biden."

Biden's appeal already seems to be waning. For example, in November, a Marquette Law School poll, which is considered the gold-standard survey in swing state Wisconsin, which the Democrats need to win the 2020 election, shows Trump leading Biden 47 percent to 44 percent. In October, Trump had trailed Biden by 6 points (44 percent to 50 percent), and in August, Trump trailed Biden by 9 points (42 percent to 51 percent). In short, Biden is losing support. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by a slender margin of 0.77 percent, with 47.22 percent of the total votes over the 46.45 percent for Hillary Clinton.

Another problem Biden faces is the corrupt activities of his son Hunter and brother James, who have taken advantage of their connection with him. The mainstream media has so far largely kept this mostly under wraps, but this tactic won't be successful as the election approaches. In fact, the progressive Democrats such as Bernie Sanders are likely to bring this up in a desperate effort to be nominated. And already these issues are being mentioned by the alternative media. For instance, there is an article in the non-partisan, anti-government Intercept titled, "Joe Biden's Family Has Been Cashing in on His Career for Decades. Democrats Need to Acknowledge That," and comparable articles in the conservative Washington Examiner such as, "Hunter Biden-linked company r eceived $130M in special federal loans while Joe Biden was vice president," and "Hunter Biden has 99 problems , and Burisma is only one."

David Axelrod, Democratic strategist and longtime aide to Barack Obama, said concerns about Biden's electability clearly influenced multi-billionaire (estimated $53 billion) and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's entrance into the contest for the Democratic nominee for president. "There's no question that Bloomberg's calculus was that Biden was occupying a space, and the fact that he's getting in is a clear indication that he's not convinced Biden has the wherewithal to carry that torch," Axelrod said. "So yeah, I don't think this is a positive development for Joe Biden."

Similarly, Democratic strategist Brad Bannon contended that "centrist Democrats and wealthy donors have lost confidence in Biden's ability to stop Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination." Bannon added that with Bloomberg entering the Democratic presidential race, "Biden's fundraising will get even shakier than it already is. There's only room for one moderate in this race and Bloomberg threatens Biden's status as the centrist standard-bearer."

Bloomberg's "stop and frisk" policy as mayor , which largely targeted blacks and Hispanics, should make it virtually impossible that he could be the Democratic nominee, despite his recent apology. Unless he has become senile in his late 70s, Bloomberg should well understand this since he did not make his billions by being stupid. It could be that he intends to serve as a stalking horse to draw Hillary Clinton into the contest by showing the weakness of Biden. Then like Superwoman, Hillary can enter the fray, appearing not to act for her own sake but to save the country from a likely second term for President Trump.

Similarly, Mark Penn, who was chief strategist for Clinton's unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, said Bloomberg's entrance could cause Clinton to consider to run and decide there's "still a political logic there for her."

As Biden's support slips away, Clinton's should rise. Clinton has been recently promoting a book she co-wrote with her daughter, Chelsea, in Britain. In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live , Clinton said "many, many, many people" are pressuring her to jump into the 2020 presidential race and that she thinks about this "all the time." Clinton told the host that she is under "enormous pressure" but said it is not in her plans, though she cryptically added that she would "never say never."

Dick Morris, who was once a close confidant of the Clintons during Bill Clinton's time as Arkansas governor and U.S. president recently said in a radio interview that Hillary Clinton likely wants to run for the presidency in 2020. "My feeling is that she wants to ," Morris said. "She feels entitled to do it. She feels compelled to do it. She feels that God put her on the Earth to do it. But she's hesitant because she realizes the timing is bad."

However, Morris contends that Clinton believes that she has to "wait until Biden drops out because he's obviously next in line for it, and if he goes away, there's an opening for her." According to Morris' scenario, Clinton would become the moderate candidate opposed to the leading progressive, Elizabeth Warren.

Morris has not been in touch with the Clintons for many years, and has become strongly critical of them, so his claim might be questionable. Nonetheless, his portrayal of Hillary's current thinking seems quite reasonable.

A Fox News poll included Clinton along with the active Democratic candidates in a hypothetical election with Trump, and Hillary came out ahead of him by two percentage points. While some actual candidates did somewhat better than Hillary, she did quite well for someone who is not currently running for office.

Furthermore, a Harris Harvard poll in late October asked the question, "Suppose Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, and John Kerry decides [sic] to enter the race, who would you support as a candidate for President?" Joe Biden received the support of 19 percent of Democrat respondents while Clinton was a close second with 18 percent. Elizabeth Warren came in third at 13 percent, John Kerry was at 8 percent, and Bloomberg was at 6. Again, Clinton does quite well for someone who is not actually running for president.

One might think that if references to family members' corruption damaged Biden, then Clinton would be subject to worse damage in that area, since she and her husband Bill were connected with far more corrupt activities -- Whitewater, Travelgate, the Lewinsky affair, the Paula Jones affair, t the death of Vince Foster, the Clinton Foundation, her private server, and so on. But these issues are already known and are presumably already taken into account by the voters, whereas the Biden family's corrupt activities are so far largely unknown.

It should be pointed out that Clinton has a number of positives as a presidential candidate. Although losing in the Electoral College in 2016, Clinton had garnered 3 million more votes more than Trump. The election was decided by a total of 80,000 votes in three states. It is highly unlikely that such a fluke could be duplicated.

Clinton's staff had been overconfident assuming victory, which was based on their polling of various states, and as a result began to focus on competing in states well beyond those Clinton needed for victory.

Moreover, one key event outside the control of Clinton's staff was FBI Director James Comey's investigation of Clinton's use of a personal email server during her tenure as secretary of state. Most crucial were his July 2016 public statement terminating the investigation, with a lengthy comment about what Clinton did wrong, and his October 28 reopening the inquiry into newly discovered emails and then closing it two days before the election, stating that the emails had not provided any new information. The October 28 letter, however, probably played a key role in the outcome of the election. As statistician Nate Silver maintains: "Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28. The letter, which said the FBI had 'learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation into the private email server that Clinton used as secretary of state, upended the news cycle and soon halved Clinton's lead in the polls, imperiling her position in the Electoral College.'"

[Silver's organization FiveThirtyEight had projected a much higher chance (29 percent) of Donald Trump winning the presidency than most other pollsters]

Clinton has also helped to convince many Democrats and members of the mainstream media that the 2016 election was stolen from her by Russian agents If this were really true – which is very doubtful – then Hillary should be the Democrats' candidate for 2020 since Russian intervention should not be as successful as it allegedly was in 2016.

In endorsing Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, Obama stated. "I don't think that there's ever been someone so qualified to hold this office." He has yet to make such an endorsement for Biden and privately, as mentioned earlier, said he is a poor choice for a nominee. He might ultimately endorse Biden, but he certainly would not renege on what he said four years ago about Clinton if she became the Democrats' standard-bearer.

Should Clinton opt to run, she would have no trouble raising money since she set a record in 2016 of $1.4 billion and wealthy donors want a moderate to be the Democratic nominee. It would seem likely that she would enter the contest if Biden has serious trouble. She would miss some state primaries since it would be too late to register in them but given the crowded field of candidates, there is a likelihood that there will be a brokered convention, that is, the convention will go past the first ballot. Since the superdelegates would be allowed to vote in all rounds after the first, they could determine the winner, which would probably mean the selection of a candidate who would be seen to have the greatest chance of winning, and that would likely be Hillary Clinton, if she has entered the fray.

I discussed the merits of Pete Buttigieg in a previous article in Unz Review, and what I write here might seem to conflict with that. However, while Buttigieg is doing quite well in the polls, he still does not get much support from blacks and Latinos, which is essential to become the Democrats nominee for president. Buttigieg could, however, be nominated for vice president or, more likely, given an important cabinet position since the vice-presidential slot would probably be reserved for a black or Latino if a white person were picked as the presidential nominee, which currently seems likely.

But because of Buttigieg's relatively hardline foreign policy , which largely meshes with that of Clinton's, and his wide knowledge and language ability, Buttigieg would fit well in the all-important position of secretary of state in a Clinton administration. Moreover, Buttigieg, whose tenure as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, will end in January 2020, would almost certainly be willing to take such a position, which could serve as a jumping-off point for the presidency in the future.

[Nov 28, 2019] List of non-prosecuted Ukrainians made by America was published

The list contains some (but not all) of the key participants of the 2014 coup d'état against President Yanukovich. There are 13 names in the list: MPs Serhiy Leshchenko, Mustafa Nayem, Svitlana Zalishchuk, Serhiy Berezenko, Serhiy Pashynsky; ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk; ex-Head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriya Hontareva; ex-First Deputy of the National Security and Defense Council Oleg Hladkovsky; judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Makar Pasenyuk; candidate for presidency Anatoly Hrytsenko; singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk; journalist Dmytro Hordon and ex-Head of the Presidential Administration Borys Lozhkin.
Pashynsky was involved in Snipergate. Yatsenyuk was the marionette chosen by Nuland to head the Provisional government after Yanukovich will be overthrown.
Nov 28, 2019 | 112.international
Related: Atlantic Council representative withdrew his statement about Lutsenko and Yovanovitch

Almost all of these people from the list were involved in various sort of scandals during the last five years. Particularly, Oleg Hladkovsky was recently dismissed from his post due to the corruption scandal in the defense sphere. Serhiy Leshchenko became known for the purchase of the flat for $275,253 and the number of information attacks at well-known politicians and businessmen. Serhy Pashynsky was tied to the hostile takeover of a confectionary factory in Zhytomyr.

Earlier, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko stated that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch passed him a do not prosecute list . Lutsenko's Press Secretary Larysa Sarhan in a commentary for BBC Ukraine specified that this list contained names of the Ukrainian MPs.

Related: Anti-Corruption Bureau to open probe against Ukraine's Prosecutor General Lutsenko

In its turn, the U.S. Department of State stated that the words of Lutsenko are not true and aims to tarnish the reputation of Ambassador Yovanovitch. Thus, there are certain concerns that the actual list might be fake.

[Nov 28, 2019] Ex-US Ambassador Denies Giving Ukraine 'Do Not Prosecute List' in Impeachment Inquiry

Nov 28, 2019 | sputniknews.com

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The House is holding its second public hearing with former US envoy to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch centring around her ouster which, according to her, is pertinent to the impeachment probe against Trump. Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch flatly denied allegations that she circulated a list of potential corruption targets in Ukraine that the United States did not want prosecuted, according to testimony at the opening of hearings in the House impeachment probe of President Donald Trump on Friday.

"I want to reiterate first that the allegation that I disseminated a do not prosecute list was a fabrication", Yovanovitch said. "Mr Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian prosecutor general who made that allegation, has acknowledged that the list never existed. I did not tell Mr Lutsenko or other Ukrainian officials who they should or should not prosecute. Instead I advocated the US position that rule of law should prevail."

US President Donald Trump in a series of tweets on Friday criticised former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch's performance while she was testifying in the impeachment hearing against him. He defended his decision to replace Yovanovitch - appointed by his predecessor Barak Obama - as the US ambassador to Ukraine, where she served from August 2016 until May 2019.

....They call it "serving at the pleasure of the President." The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations. It is called, quite simply, America First! With all of that, however, I have done FAR more for Ukraine than O.

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019

[Nov 28, 2019] Glenn Beck Marie Yovanovitch committed 'perjury' when she LIED under oath about 'do not prosecute list'

Nov 28, 2019 | www.theblaze.com

During Friday's Democrat-led impeachment inquiry hearing, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified under oath that she did not give former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko a "do not prosecute list" in 2017. Yovanovitch also doubled-down on left-wing disinformation saying that Lutsenko "acknowledged that the list never existed" in April.

Ditch the fake news ==> Click here to get news you can trust sent right to your inbox. It's free!

"I want to reiterate first that the allegation that I disseminated a "Do Not Prosecute" list was a fabrication," Yovanovitch told the House Intelligence Committee . "Mr. Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian prosecutor general who made that allegation, has acknowledged that the list never existed. I did not tell Mr. Lutsenko or other Ukrainian officials who they should or should not prosecute."

"That is such a lie," Glenn Beck said on Friday's show. "She should be held for perjury."

During a three-part BlazeTV exposé on the Democrats' corruption in Ukraine, Glenn debunked what he called "the most misleading fabrication I've ever seen by the mainstream media."

Earlier this year, award-winning investigative journalist John Solomon reported Lutsenko's claim that then-Ambassador Yovanovitch gave him a list of "people whom we should not prosecute" during a meeting in 2016. Shortly after Solomon's article was released, several news sources, including the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, reported that Lutsenko retracted his statement.

But Glenn's research revealed that the mainstream media got their erroneous information from a Ukrainian news site called Unian, which misleadingly headlined a story " Ukraine Prosecutor General Lutsenko admits U.S. ambassador didn't give him a do not prosecute list ," based on a misinterpretation of what Lutsenko told another Ukrainian publication, TheBabel .

When Lutsenko said Yovanovitch "gave" him a list, he did not mean she actually handed him anything in writing, but verbally conveyed the names of people he shouldn't prosecute.

"They never mentioned the fact that it was verbally dictated and he wrote the list down himself -- are you kidding me?" Glenn exclaimed. "This is how the media is fact-checking and debunking. They are playing with our republic and Ukraine's republic. They are planting dynamite all around everything that we hold dear. How do they sleep at night? Everyone that reads their stories actually thinks that there was a retraction of one of the most damning parts of this entire case."

Watch the video below to get the details:

https://www.facebook.com/v2.5/plugins/video.php?allowfullscreen=true&app_id=1446069888755293&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter.php%3Fversion%3D44%23cb%3Dfc6a4d6bf34ec3%26domain%3Dwww.theblaze.com%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.theblaze.com%252Ff1202de92fa5ac%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=575&href=https%3A%2F%2Ffacebook.com%2FTheBlaze%2Fvideos%2F365169550954458%2F&locale=en_US&sdk=joey

You can find Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3 of the Ukraine scandal series on BlazeTV or YouTube .

If you like what you see, use promo code GB20OFF to get $20 off a full year of BlazeTV . With a BlazeTV subscription, you're not just paying to watch great pro-free speech, pro-America TV. Your subscription funds the intensive investigations that let BlazeTV tell the stories the liberal media wants to keep in the dark, giving you the unvarnished truth, showing you what the media doesn't want you to see. Read More

[Nov 28, 2019] Ambassador Yovanovitch "do not prosecute" list

Nov 28, 2019 | truthout.org

‎3‎/‎20‎/‎2019

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told Hill.TV's John Solomon in an interview that aired Wednesday that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave him a do not prosecute list during their first meeting.

"Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute," Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

"My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime," he continued.

The State Department called Lutsenko's claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, "an outright fabrication."

"We have seen reports of the allegations," a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. "The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects."

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that "the situation was actually rather strange" and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but "never received."

"At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue," he said. " At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy."

"Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts," he said. "The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general's office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem."

"The portion of the funds namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General's office. But we have never received it," he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

[Nov 24, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Endorses Trump s Economic War on Venezuela, Soft-Pedals Far-Right Bolivia Coup by Ben Norton

Notable quotes:
"... Doesn't Warren claim to have indigenous ancestors herself and was proud of it? She caused Trump to call her "Pocahontas"? She agrees to support the unelected interim president Jeannine Añez, who refers to indigenous inhabitants as satanic? Warren is a very horrible person, inhumane, amoral, and rather stupid overall, who wants to get rich. ..."
"... I personally think that capitalism with "human face" and robust public sector is the way to go. But imperialist imposition and aggression is not the part of "human face" that I imagine. ..."
"... I'm sorry but you all need to come to terms with the farce that is the American political system. Anyone who was supporting Warren or even considering voting for her for ANY reason is apparently either in denial or is being duped. Warren is a Madison Avenue creation packaged for US liberal consumption. ..."
"... She hangs out with Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright, two evil women if ever there were. Now they make the three witches brewing one coup/regime change after another. She's not smart enough to see that HRC and MA are leading her around by her nose. People should call out this phoney everywhere she goes. BTW, Rachel Maddow completes an odious clique. ..."
"... This is a bit of exaggeration. The three ladies are more like good students, they did not write the textbook but they good grades for answering as written, or like cheerleaders, they jump and shout but they do not play in the field. Mind you, "interagency consensus" was formed without them. ..."
"... The DNC's strategy for this election is to ensure that Bernie doesn't go into the Convention with enough delegates to win the first ballot. (Once voting goes past the first ballot, super-delegates get to weigh in and help anoint a candidate who's friendly to the Party's plutocratic-oligarch principals.) ..."
"... That's the reason the DNC is allowing and encouraging so many candidates to run. Warren's specific assignment is to cannibalize Bernie's base and steal delegates that would otherwise be his, by pretending to espouse most of his platform with only minor tweaks. She's been successful with "better educated," higher-income liberal Democrats who consider themselves well informed because they get their news from "respectable" sources -- sources that, unbeknownst to their target audiences, invariably represent the viewpoint of the aforementioned plutocratic oligarchs. ..."
"... if Warren becomes the nominee, I will support her over Trump. It's a lesser of two evils choice, but we must recognize that no candidate will be perfect–ever. ..."
"... Zionism is typically the gateway drug for Democratic would-be reformers. Once they've swallowed that fundamental poison, the DNC feels secure it's just a matter of time before they Get With the Program 100%. Given that "Harvard" and "phony" are largely synonymous, what else could've been expected? ..."
Nov 24, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

59 Comments

The Democratic contender parroted neocon regime-change myths in an interview on "Pod Save America," writes Ben Norton.

The Grayzone

... ... ...

Reiterates Her Neoconservative Policies Against Venezuela

Elizabeth Warren repeated her support for regime change in Venezuela in an interview in September with the Council on Foreign Relations , a central gear in the machinery of the military-industrial complex. "Maduro is a dictator and a crook who has wrecked his country's economy, dismantled its democratic institutions, and profited while his people suffer," Warren declared. She referred to Maduro's elected government as a "regime" and called for "supporting regional efforts to negotiate a political transition." Echoing the rhetoric of neoconservatives in Washington, Warren called for "contain[ing]" the supposedly "damaging and destabilizing actions" of China, Russia, and Cuba. The only point where Warren diverged with Trump was on her insistence that "there is no U.S. military option in Venezuela."

Soft-Pedals Far-Right Coup in Bolivia

While Warren endorsed Trump's hybrid war on Venezuela, she more recently whitewashed the U.S.-backed coup in Bolivia.

On Nov. 10, the U.S. government backed a far-right military coup against Bolivia's democratically elected President Evo Morales , a leftist from the popular Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party and the first Indigenous head of state in a country where nearly two-thirds of the population is Native.

Warren refused to comment on the putsch for more than a week, even as the far-right military junta massacred dozens of protesters and systematically purged and detained elected left-wing politicians from MAS.

Finally, eight days after the coup, Warren broke her silence. In a short tweet, the putative progressive presidential candidate tepidly requested "free and fair elections" and calling on the "interim leadership" to prepare an "early, legitimate election." What Warren did not mention is that this "interim leadership" she helped legitimize is headed by an extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist, the unelected "interim president" Jeanine Añez. Añez has referred to Bolivia's majority-Indigenous population as "satanic" and immediately moved to try to overturn the country's progressive constitution, which had established an inclusive, secular, plurinational state after receiving an overwhelming democratic mandate in a 2009 referendum.

Añez's ally in this coup regime's interim leadership is Luis Fernando Camacho , a multi-millionaire who emerged out of neo-fascist groups and courted support from the United States and the far-right governments of Brazil and Colombia. By granting legitimacy to Bolilvia's ultra-conservative, unelected leadership, Warren rubber-stamped the far-right coup and the military junta's attempt to stamp out Bolivia's progressive democracy. In other words, as The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal put it, Liz's Big Structural Bailey compliantly rolled over for Big IMF Structural Adjustment Program .

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for The Grayzone , and the producer of the " Moderate Rebels " podcast, which he co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com , and he tweets at @ BenjaminNorton .

This article is from The Grayzone .


Skip Scott , November 23, 2019 at 07:57

H Beazley-

A vote for evil is never a good choice, and choosing a candidate you perceive as a lesser evil still condones evil. Allowing the Oligarchy to limit your choice gives them the power to continue advancing evil policies. They control both major parties. You may succeed in getting non-gender specific restrooms in your Starbucks, but the murdering war machine will continue unabated.

JoAnn , November 23, 2019 at 01:41

Now, we are seeing the true colors of candidates, who have professed to be progressive. Sanders went on a "tirade" against Maduro during the last "debate" I saw. Tulsi Gabbard has stayed against US Imperialism, but, I'm sure the Democratic policy controllers will never nominate her. I foresee I'll be voting for the Socialist next year.

Raymond M. , November 22, 2019 at 18:09

""""On Nov. 10, the U.S. government backed a far-right military coup against Bolivia's democratically elected President Evo Morales bla blla bla".

And the 3 right wing candidates spent more time slinging mud at at each other than at Morales. Had the CIAs top front man Ortez stepped aside, the vote would not have split and allowed Morales to claim a first round victory and avoid a run-off that he would have lost. And the right wing Christian fundamentalist for sure was a CIA plant who manged to split the vote further.

Under the Trump administration, the CIA can even run a coup right.

Piotr Berman , November 22, 2019 at 15:25

If only those anti-Western rulers seen the light and joined RBWO (rule* based world order, * rules decided in DC, preferably by bipartisan consensus), then the economy would run smoothly and the population would be happy. Every week gives another example:

By The Associated Press, Nov. 21, 2019, BOGOTA, Colombia

Colombians angry with President Iván Duque and hoping to channel Latin America's wave of discontent took the streets by the tens of thousands on Thursday in one of the biggest protests in the nation's recent history. [ ] Police estimated 207,000 people took part. [ ] government deployed 170,000 officers, closed border crossings and deported 24 Venezuelans accused of entering the country to instigate unrest.

So if only Iván did not start unnecessary conflict with Maduro, these 24 scoundrels would stay home and the trouble would be avoided. Oh wait, I got confused

CitizenOne , November 21, 2019 at 22:10

You must imagine that when candidtes suddenly become mind control puppets what is going on. The scariest thing in American Politics is how supposedly independent and liberal progressives somehow swallow the red pill and are transported into the world of make believe. Once inside the bubble of fiction far removed from human suffering which is after all what politicians are supposed to be about fixing they can say crazy things. Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump are the only souls to retain their independent (yet opposite) minds and both of them got the boot for being different.

Hide Behind , November 21, 2019 at 20:44

The puppet masters are experts, on the one hand there is A Republican, and on the other is a Democrat, but even they mess up now and then get the different strings tangled. Some come back on stage on the different hand so to save time they give a puppet two faces.

Watching same puppets gets old so every so often 2-4-6 they restring an old one that was used as props in past, change their makeup a bit to give them new faces. We do not actually elect the puppet, we instead legitimize the Puppeteers who own' s the only stage in town.

Those who choreograph the movements and change the backgrouds, media outlets and permanent bureaucrats know the plays before they are introduced, and they know best how to get adults to leave reality behind and bring back their childhood fantacies. Days of sugar plums, candy canes, socks filled with goodies and not coal, tooth fairys, and kind generous Fairy God Mothers.

Toy Nutcracker soldiers that turn into Angelic heros, Yellow brick roads, Bunnies with pocket watches, and and magic shoes of red, or of glass in hand of handsome Princes and beautiful Princesses, all available if we vote. So who votes, only those who control the voting puppets know that reality does not exist, they twitch we react, and at end of voting counts one of hand's puppets will slump and cry, while others will leap and dance in joy, only for all to end up in one pile until the puppeteers need them for next act.

Frederike , November 21, 2019 at 17:30

"What Warren did not mention is that this "interim leadership" she helped legitimize is headed by an extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist, the unelected "interim president" Jeanine Añez.

Añez has referred to Bolivia's majority-Indigenous population as "satanic" and immediately moved to try to overturn the country's progressive constitution, which had established an inclusive, secular, plurinational state after receiving an overwhelming democratic mandate in a 2009 referendum."

Doesn't Warren claim to have indigenous ancestors herself and was proud of it? She caused Trump to call her "Pocahontas"? She agrees to support the unelected interim president Jeannine Añez, who refers to indigenous inhabitants as satanic? Warren is a very horrible person, inhumane, amoral, and rather stupid overall, who wants to get rich. Everything she agreed to in the interview listed above is pathetic. I had no idea that she is such a worthless individual.

arggo , November 22, 2019 at 19:57

"neocon" explains this. She seems to have the support of very foundational structures that enabled Hillary Clinton Democrats to attack and destroy Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Cara , November 21, 2019 at 15:40

Warren has not lost my vote for the simple reason she never had it in the first place. None of this, sickening as it is, comes as any surprise. Warren is an unapologetic capitalist. She's like Robert Reich in that regard. They both believe capitalism–if reformed, tweaked a bit here and there–can work. To give her credit, she's always been very honest about that. And of course our doctrine of regime change is all in the service of capitalism. Unless I'm simply confused and mistaken.

Sherwood Forrest , November 22, 2019 at 09:38

Yes, Capitalist First! That makes it so difficult for any aware person to believe she sincerely supports a wealth tax, Universal Healthcare, Green New Deal, College loan forgiveness, family leave or anything else the 1% oppose. Because promising like Santa is part of Capitalist politics, and then saying," Nah, we can't afford it."

Piotr Berman , November 22, 2019 at 16:08

I personally think that capitalism with "human face" and robust public sector is the way to go. But imperialist imposition and aggression is not the part of "human face" that I imagine.

So Warren's imperialist positions are evil and unnecessary to preserve capitalism, how that projects at her as a person it is hard to tell. A Polish poet has those words spoken by a character in his drama "On that, I know only what I heard, but I am afraid to investigate because it poisons my mind about " (Znam to tylko z opowiada?, ale strzeg? si? tych bada?, bo mi truj? my?l o ) As typical of hearsay, her concept of events in Venezuela, Bolivia etc. is quite garbled, she has no time (but perhaps some fear) to investigate herself (easy in the era of internet). A serious politician has to think a lot about electability (and less about the folks under the steam roller of the Empire), so she has to "pick her fights".

It is rather clear that American do not care if people south of the border are governed democratically or competently, which led Hillary Clinton to make this emphatic statement in a debate with Trump "You will not see me singing praises of dictators or strongmen who do not love America". One can deconstruct it "if you do not love America you are a strongman or worse, but if you love America, we will be nice to you". I would love to have the original and deconstructed statement polled, but Warren is not the only one afraid of such investigations. So "electability" connection to green light to Bolivian fascist and red light to Bolivarians of Venezuela is a bit indirect. Part of it is funding, part, bad press.

brett , November 21, 2019 at 15:15

I'm sorry but you all need to come to terms with the farce that is the American political system. Anyone who was supporting Warren or even considering voting for her for ANY reason is apparently either in denial or is being duped. Warren is a Madison Avenue creation packaged for US liberal consumption.

She is a fraud and a liar. One trained in psychology can see, in her every movement and utterance, the operation that is going on behind the facade. Everything Warren says is a lie to someone. She only states truth in order to later dis-inform. Classic deception. She (her billionaires) has latched on to the populism of the DSA etc. in order to sabotage any progressive momentum and drive a stake in it.

Rob Roy , November 22, 2019 at 00:40

She hangs out with Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright, two evil women if ever there were. Now they make the three witches brewing one coup/regime change after another. She's not smart enough to see that HRC and MA are leading her around by her nose. People should call out this phoney everywhere she goes. BTW, Rachel Maddow completes an odious clique.

Piotr Berman , November 22, 2019 at 16:13

This is a bit of exaggeration. The three ladies are more like good students, they did not write the textbook but they good grades for answering as written, or like cheerleaders, they jump and shout but they do not play in the field. Mind you, "interagency consensus" was formed without them.

Peter in Seattle , November 21, 2019 at 14:53

The DNC's strategy for this election is to ensure that Bernie doesn't go into the Convention with enough delegates to win the first ballot. (Once voting goes past the first ballot, super-delegates get to weigh in and help anoint a candidate who's friendly to the Party's plutocratic-oligarch principals.)

That's the reason the DNC is allowing and encouraging so many candidates to run. Warren's specific assignment is to cannibalize Bernie's base and steal delegates that would otherwise be his, by pretending to espouse most of his platform with only minor tweaks. She's been successful with "better educated," higher-income liberal Democrats who consider themselves well informed because they get their news from "respectable" sources -- sources that, unbeknownst to their target audiences, invariably represent the viewpoint of the aforementioned plutocratic oligarchs.

Absolutely nothing in Warren's background supports her new calculatedly progressive primary persona. She was a Reagan Republican. When the Republican Party moved right to become the party of batshit crazy and the Democratic Party shifted right to become the party of Reagan Republicans, she became a Democrat. She's not a good actress, and it takes willing suspension of disbelief to buy into her performance as a savvier, wonkier alternative to Bernie. And when she's pressed for details (Medicare for All) and responses to crises (Venezuela and Bolivia), the cracks in her progressive façade become patently obvious. She's a sleeper agent for Democratic-leaning plutocrats, like Obama was in 2008, and she would never get my vote.

PS: Impressed by Warren's progressive wealth-tax plan? Don't be. Our country's billionaires know she won't fight for it, and that if she did, Congress would never pass it. (They know who owns Congress.) Besides, do you really think Pocahontas would beat Trump? Do you think Sleepy Joe would? The billionaires wouldn't bet on it. And they're fine with that. Sure, they'd like someone who's more thoroughly corporatist on trade and more committed to hot régime-change wars than Trump is, but they can live just fine with low-tax, low-regulation Trump. It's the prospect of a Bernie presidency that keeps them up at night and their proxies in the Democratic Party and allied media are doing everything they can to neutralize that threat.

mbob , November 21, 2019 at 18:13

@Peter

Thanks for this beautiful post. I agree with it 100%. I've been trying to figure out why Democrats are so consistently unable to see through rhetoric and fall for what candidates pretend to be. Part of it is wishful thinking. A lot of it is, as you wrote, misplaced trust in "respectable" sources. I have no idea how to fix that: how does one engender the proper skepticism of the MSM? I haven't been able to open the eyes of any of my friends. (Fortunately my wife and daughter opened their own eyes.)

Warren is, if you look clearly, driven by her enormous ambition. She's the same as every other candidate in that regard, save Bernie.

Bernie is driven by the same outrage that we feel. We need him.

Dan Kuhn , November 21, 2019 at 14:31

In the last Israeli massacre on Gaza she was all for the IDF killing Palistinians. Americans like to look at the CCP and cry about China being a one party state. Well is the US not a one party state?= Are the views of the Democrats and Republicans not the same when it comes to slaughtering people in the third world? There is not a razor`s edge between them. Biden, Warren, Sanders, Trump, Cruz and Pense they are all war criminals, or if elected will soon become war criminals.

From someone who at the beginning showed promise and humanity, she has turned into Albright and Clinton. How f**king sad is that?

Dan Kuhn , November 21, 2019 at 14:33

Better to see her for what she really is now then after the election if she were to win. She is disgusting in her inhumanity.

Rob , November 21, 2019 at 13:43

This Is, indeed, disturbing and disappointing. Warren seems so genuinely right on domestic economic and social issues, so how could she be so wrong on foreign policy issues? The same principles apply in both–justice, fairness, equity, etc. That said, she is no worse than any of the other Democratic candidates in that regard, with the exceptions of Sanders and Gabbard, so if Warren becomes the nominee, I will support her over Trump. It's a lesser of two evils choice, but we must recognize that no candidate will be perfect–ever.

Dan Kuhn , November 21, 2019 at 14:36

Far better to stick to your principles and write in " None of the above." believe me with this article we can easily see that Trump is no worse nor better than Warren is. They are both pretty poor excuses as human beings.

Peter in Seattle , November 21, 2019 at 16:04

@Rob:

If you'll allow me to fix that for you, "What Warren tactically claims to support, in the primaries, seems so genuinely right on domestic economic and social issues ." I'm convinced Warren is an Obama 2.0 in the making. I don't think anyone can match Obama's near-180° turnabout from his 2008 primary platform and that if Warren is elected, she will try to make Wall Street a little more honest and stable, maybe advocate for a $12 minimum wage, and maybe try to shave a few thousand dollars off student-loan debts. I suppose that technically qualifies as less evil than Trump. But I fully expect her to jettison 90% of her primary platform, including a progressive tax on wealth and Medicare for All. And when you factor in her recently confirmed approval of US military and financial imperialism -- economic subversion and régime-change operations that cost tens of thousands of innocent foreign lives, and other peoples their sovereignty -- at what point does "less evil" become too evil to vote for?

John Drake , November 21, 2019 at 13:13

" presidential candidate tepidly requested "free and fair elections". Such a statement ignores the fact that Evo Morales term was not up; therefore elections are not called for. This means she supports the coup. Restoration of his position which was illegally and violently stolen from him are in order not elections until his term is up.
Her position on Venezuela is nauseating; as the article states classic neo-conservative. Maybe Robert Kagan will welcome her into their club as he did with Hillary.
Warren used to be a Republican, she has not been cured of that disease; and is showing her true colors. Maybe it's best as she is differentiating herself from Bernie. I was concerned before she started down this latest path that she would do an Obama; progressive rhetoric followed by neo-liberal-or worse- behavior once in office. Maybe she is more honest than Obama.

Guy , November 21, 2019 at 12:40

Warren can't be very informed about what democracy actually means .Democracy is not the same as capitalism . Not a US citizen but am very disappointed with her stated platform . Short of divine intervention Tulsi will never make it but Sanders for president and Tulsi as VP would do just fine to re-direct the US foreign policy and maybe ,just maybe make the US more respectable among the rest of the nations of the world.

Piotr Berman , November 22, 2019 at 16:17

It would make a lot of sense from actuarial point of view. The chances that at least one person on the ticket would live healthily for 8 years would be very good, without Tulsi

Punkyboy , November 21, 2019 at 12:02

I was pretty sure Warren was a Hillary clone; now I'm absolutely sure of it. Another election between worse and worser. I may just stay home this time, if the world holds together that long.

Socratic Truth , November 21, 2019 at 11:42

Warren is just another puppet of the NWO.

Ma Laoshi , November 21, 2019 at 11:12

I remember years and years ago, I guess about when Lizzie first entered Congress, that she went on the standard pandering tour to the Motherland and an astute mind commented: Zionism is typically the gateway drug for Democratic would-be reformers. Once they've swallowed that fundamental poison, the DNC feels secure it's just a matter of time before they Get With the Program 100%. Given that "Harvard" and "phony" are largely synonymous, what else could've been expected?

Peter in Seattle , November 21, 2019 at 15:32

@Ma Laoshi:

Speaking of Harvard, having contemplated the abysmal track record compiled by our "best and brightest" -- in Congress, in the White House, and on the federal bench -- I am now almost as suspicious of the Ivy League as I am of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security (WHINSEC, formerly known as the School of the Americas). The mission of both is to train capable, reliable, well-compensated servants to the US plutocracy. (And the only reason I say "almost" is because a non-negligible number of black sheep have come out of the Ivy League and I'm not aware of any that have come out of WHINSEC.)

Sam F , November 23, 2019 at 18:59

Harvard admissions are apparently largely bought, and doubtless those of Yale and others. MIT was strictly militarist warmongers in the 1970s, and one compete with 80% cheaters.

Dfnslblty , November 21, 2019 at 11:12

" The only point where Warren diverged with Trump was on her insistence that "there is no U.S. military option in Venezuela." " Hell, one doesn't need a military option after immoral, illegal and crippling sanctions. This essay is the most disturbing piece all year-2019.

Vote anti-military – vote nonviolence. Don't give these murderers anything but exposure to humane sensibilities.

Freedomlover , November 21, 2019 at 17:43

I didn't think Trump supported a military solution in Venezuela. That was John Bolton's baby and Trump fired him as one would hope he would soon fire Pompeo as has been hinted at. Trump campaigned on ending wars of choice but has given in to the MIC at almost every turn. Maybe he will resign in leiu of being impeached. We might then see a Rand Paul vs. Bernie Sanders. I could live with either one

Skip Scott , November 21, 2019 at 09:12

Once again the Democratic Party is pushing to have our choice for 2020 be between corporate sponsored war monger from column A or B.

I wish Tulsi would "see the light" and run as an Independent in 2020. There is absolutely no way that she gets the nod from the utterly corrupt DNC. She is abandoning her largest base (Independents) by sticking with the Democratic Party. Considering the number of disgruntled non-voters, she could easily win the general election; but she will never win the Democratic primary. The field is purposely flooded to ensure the "superdelegates" get the final say on a second ballot.

AnneR , November 21, 2019 at 08:50

Warren is as inhumane, amoral and imperialist as anyone in the WH and the US Congress, and she is certainly kindred in spirit, thought and would be in deed, as Madeline Albright, the cheerful slaughterer of some 500,000 Iraqi children because the "price was worth it." Of course, these utterly racist, amoral people do not have to pay "that price" nor do any of their families. (And let us not forget that Albright and Killary are good friends – Warren is totally kindred with the pair, totally.)

And clearly Warren – like all of the Demrat contenders – is full on for any kind of warfare that will bring a "recalcitrant" country into line with US demands (on its resources, lands etc.). She is grotesque.

She and those of her ilk – all in Congress, pretty much, and their financial backers – refuse to accept that Maduro and Morales *both* were legally, legitimately and cleanly re-elected to their positions as presidents of their respective countries. But to do that would be to go against her (commonly held) fundamental belief that the US has the right to decide who is and is not the legitimate national leader of any given country. And what policies they institute.

Anyone who supports economic sanctions is supporting siege warfare, is happily supporting the starvation and deprivation of potentially millions of people. And shrugging off the blame for the effects of the sanctions onto the government of the sanctioned country is heinous, is immoral and unethical. WE are the ones who are killing, not the government under extreme pressure. If you can't, won't accept the responsibility – as Warren and the rest of the US government clearly will not – for those deaths you are causing, then stay out of the bloody kitchen: stop committing these crimes against humanity.

Cara , November 21, 2019 at 15:25

Please provide documentation that Sanders is, as you claim, a "full-on zionist supporter of "Israel" and clearly anti-Palestinian." Sanders has been quite consistent in his criticism of Israel and the treatment of Palestinians: timesofisrael.com/bernie-sanders-posts-video-citing-apartheid-like-conditions-for-palestinians; and; jacobinmag.com/2019/07/bernie-sanders-israel-palestine-bds

Piotr Berman , November 21, 2019 at 16:46

"Sanders is less so, but not wholly because he is a full-on zionist supporter of "Israel" and clearly anti-Palestinian"

Sanders is definitely not "full-on zionist supporter", not only he does not deny that "Palestinians exist" (to died-in-the-wool Zionists, Palestinians are a malicious fiction created to smear Israel etc., google "Fakestinians"), but he claims that they have rights, and using Hamas as a pretext for Gaza blockade is inhumane (a recent headline). One can pull his other positions and statements to argue in the other direction, but in my opinion, he is at the extreme humane end of "zionist spectrum" (I mean, so humane that almost not a Zionist).

[Nov 24, 2019] Despair is a very powerful factor in the resurgence of far right forces. Far right populism probably will be the decisive factor in 2020 elections.

Highly recommended!
Nov 24, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.25.19 at 2:56 am 46

Glen Tomkins 11.24.19 at 5:26 pm @43

And again, if we do win despite all the structural injustices in the system the Rs inherited and seek to expand, well, those injustices don't really absolutely need to be corrected, because we will still have gotten the right result from the system as is.

This is a pretty apt description of the mindset of Corporate Democrats. Thank you !

May I recommend you to listen to Chris Hedge 2011 talk On Death of the Liberal Class At least to the first part of it.

Corporate Dems definitely lack courage, and as such are probably doomed in 2020.

Of course, the impeachment process will weight on Trump, but the Senate hold all trump cards, and might reverse those effects very quickly and destroy, or at lease greatly diminish, any chances for Corporate Demorats even complete on equal footing in 2020 elections. IMHO Pelosi gambit is a really dangerous gambit, a desperate move, a kind of "Heil Mary" pass.

Despair is a very powerful factor in the resurgence of far right forces. And that's what happening right now and that's why I suspect that far right populism probably will be the decisive factor in 2020 elections.

IMHO Chris explains what the most probable result on 2020 elections with be with amazing clarity.

[Nov 22, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's Support for Bolivia Coup Consistent With Other Hawkish Foreign Policy Positions

Nov 22, 2019 | www.mintpressnews.com

The opposing positions of Warren and her primary opponent Bernie Sanders on Bolivia highlight an increasingly clear policy gap between the two Democratic frontrunners.

11-20-19

Massachusetts Senator and Democratic Presidential nomination frontrunner Elizabeth Warren endorsed the recent U.S. backed military coup d'état in Bolivia Monday. Warren's statement carefully avoided using the word "coup," and instead referred to the new government of Jeanine Añez as an "interim leadership," effectively validating the new administration.

She stated that the Bolivian people "deserve free and fair elections, as soon as possible," implying that the October 20 vote, won convincingly by President Evo Morales, was not clean, thus taking essentially the same position as the Trump administration, who made no secret of their relief that Morales was ousted.

Posted by: pogohere | Nov 21 2019 18:37 utc | 85 Elizabeth Warren's Support for Bolivia Coup Consistent With Other Hawkish Foreign Policy Positions

The opposing positions of Warren and her primary opponent Bernie Sanders on Bolivia highlight an increasingly clear policy gap between the two Democratic frontrunners.


11-20-19

Massachusetts Senator and Democratic Presidential nomination frontrunner Elizabeth Warren endorsed the recent U.S. backed military coup d'état in Bolivia Monday. Warren's statement carefully avoided using the word "coup," and instead referred to the new government of Jeanine Añez as an "interim leadership," effectively validating the new administration.

She stated that the Bolivian people "deserve free and fair elections, as soon as possible," implying that the October 20 vote, won convincingly by President Evo Morales, was not clean, thus taking essentially the same position as the Trump administration, who made no secret of their relief that Morales was ousted.

Posted by: pogohere | Nov 21 2019 18:42 utc | 86

[Nov 15, 2019] Both parties worked to destroy the Russian economy during the 80s/90s with the Chicago/Harvard boys gutting it completely while enriching themselves

Nov 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Curtis , Nov 14 2019 0:52 utc | 53

Nemesiscalling 15
Right you are. The Anti-Russia hype has been going on for a while but had a bit of a hiatus during King (W) Shrub II. Both parties worked to destroy the Russian economy during the 80s/90s with the Chicago/Harvard boys gutting it completely while enriching themselves. It accelerated under Obama while they presented us with the "Reset" switch. Apparently the Russians didn't play along so they became the bogeyman that gets inflated as time goes on. Trump tried but got dragged down in the process.

As to a US split, I live in the south. So I've wondered if California (for example) tried to leave if a US President would pull a Lincoln and destroy the state ... in order to save it.

[Nov 14, 2019] Corruption in China by Godfree Roberts

China Communist Party to the extent it is a theocratic state generates its special flavor of corruption typical for theocratic states where high priests of the cult enjoy virtual impunity. It is the same type of corruption that doomed the USSR. So it is institutional
Notable quotes:
"... In China, there is an additional emphasis of the moral aspect and it is less constrained by laws. An immoral action, even if it is legal, may still be considered a corruption by the Chinese society. For example, if a relative of Xi would to give a speech, and then received an exorbitant fee, it probably would be considered a corruption in China. However, in US, this is perfectly legal (and a reason many ex-politicians and ex-government employees become very rich) and it won't be considered a corruption. ..."
"... In case you hadn't noticed from prior postings, "Godfree Roberts" is a fake name for a CCP propaganda writer who scours the Internet for things to promote official views for, such as this absurd piece. ..."
"... The CCP knows corruption/graft, etc. is poison to their authoritarian one party state dictatorship. It is endemic in all such states. So periodically there are huge purges, trials, executions, etc. and a new set of stooges are risen up. Some get the message, most just bow humbly and wait for the storm to pass. It is as old as China. Of course government corruption is hardly unique to China. But in places where party leaders can be voted out (not merely a few shot for effect) it can be cleaned out periodically. Chinese are wisely quiet and cynical about this. ..."
"... What mechanisms are in place to keep this from going too far? That is, accusing someone for personal reasons, for example, to further one's own career. ..."
"... I have viewed Xi Jinping with more suspicion because his family has a lot of wealth and he sent his daughter to Harvard. He also did not agitate for rehabilitating the cultural revolution when it would have been more politically risky for him to have done so, like Bo Xilai did. ..."
"... I wonder if the Government would have something to say if he spoke out against the party and against Xi? Considering that people have received jail sentences (of years) for calling Xi a steamed bun, and that Winnie the Pooh is banned because poor Xi can't handle light hearted criticism I think we all know the answers here ..."
"... This is the ultimate corruption that a society faces – the inability to communicate freely and to criticise those accountable. Every Chinese citizen is under the CCP Yoke regardless of how this CCP shill wants to spin it. ..."
"... Corruption exists everywhere. It's just that it depends on what level it occurs. Heck, in the West, it's legal! Lobbying, they call it You can't bribe a cop to forgive a ticket, but goddamn you can bribe a politician to drive the country into the ground. ..."
"... If you want accurate information about China, stilted prose is inevitable. Real writers, professionals, are paid to lie about China. Anyone who tries to tell the truth is shunned, not only by our mainstream media, but by the PRC, which prefers to let its accomplishments speak for themselves. ..."
"... Udo Ulfkotte[3], Editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, says that no significant European journalist, including himself, was free of CIA influence. Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew[4] outlined the consequences: ..."
"... The first is to do what Confucian states are always supposed to do: recruit your brightest sparks, promote the most honest, competent of them until the topmost are the very best you've got. As its track record demonstrates, the current dynasty has earned everyone's trust by doing that consistently. ..."
"... At this stage, any one who still believes in the western propaganda about China is simply too brain-washed and not too smart for any cure. Excuse me, I should say "too dumb for any cure". ..."
"... For example, Nathan Rich's recent video shows how media biased reporting of Hong Kong compare with Ukraine riots. The contrast can't be anymore stark: ..."
"... People view the world through narratives, and the value of a narrative lies only in how closely it follows and "explains" the widest possible array of empirical facts. ..."
"... Corrupt Chinese have practically taken over the US West Coast and Northeast. There isn't anywhere you could go in LA, Bay Area or Seattle without encountering mandarin speaking people. 99.9% Chinese nationals in the US are corrupt. With a nominal per capita GDP of $8,600, the only people who could afford to emigrate or send their children abroad for education are the rich, and China is so corrupt, no one can get rich without being corrupt, either by taking bribes or giving them. These are the corrupt factory owners who leave behind polluted rivers and air for their countrymen to die from while they escape to greener pastures with their family, and the government officials they bribed to pollute at will. ..."
"... This country is destroyed by (((lawyers))). As Niall Ferguson said, we no longer have the rule of law, we have the rule of (((lawyers))). ..."
Sep 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

The men of Qi presented the government of Lu with a troupe of singing girls. Ji Huanzi accepted them and for three days failed to appear at court. Confucius left the state . Analects

Everywhere, since ancient times, peole have feared government corruption for, unlike war or fraud, corrupt policies cripple nations for centuries. No society has suffered more grievously from–nor waged more protracted war against–official corruption than the Chinese. Today however, though the story not over, it is nearing a goal that could make them the envy of the world and, like most Chinese stories, theirs is a long one.

Corruption–nepotistic, pecuniary, blatant, discreet, major and minor–has been subverting governments since governments were invented. Roman politicians were scandalously corrupt, Christianity failed to improve them, and their legacy of official impunity, bribery, influence peddling, patronage, nepotism and cronyism, electoral fraud, embezzlement, kickbacks, unholy alliances, and involvement with organized crime afflicts us today and we have become numb to it.

China, by contrast, has often enjoyed honest governments and upright officials have been dear to Chinese hearts for millennia. On May 5, 278 BC, after the King of Chu ignored his warnings about official corruption, State Minister Qu Yuan [1] Qu Yuan, 340-278 BC, was a Chu kingdom official and government minister who wrote some of the greatest poetry in Chinese history. drowned himself in the Miluo River in protest. On that day ever since, Dragon Boats renew their search for his body. Great Confucians like the The Hongwu Emperor [2] From Huáng-Míng Zǔxùn (Instructions of the Ancestor of the August Ming), admonitions left to his descendants by the Hongwu Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644). fought corruption tirelessly:

Had I thoroughly eradicated corrupt officials in addition to those already imprisoned I would have been dealing with two thousand men from just two prefectures, men with no useful occupation who used my prestige to oppress people. No-one outside government knew how wicked they were, so everyone said my punishments were harsh, for they saw only the severity of the law and didn't know that these villains had used the government's good name to engage in evil practices. In the morning I punished a few and, by evening, others had committed the same crimes. I punished those in the evening and next morning there were more violations! Although the corpses of the first had not been removed others were already lined up to follow in their path, day and night! The harsher the punishment, the more violations. I didn't know what to do, but I couldn't rest. If I was lenient the law became ineffectual, order deteriorated, people thought me weak and engaged in still more evil practices. If I punished them, others regarded me as a tyrant. How could anyone lead a peaceful life in such circumstances? Really, my situation was dreadful.

Confucians fought corruption more effectively than the Romans, partly because of public participation. The people retained the right to withdraw the Mandate of Heaven–and, according to the constitution, still do–and many governments met grisly ends when they failed to honor the Four Principles–propriety, justice, honesty, and honor–or their officials lacked the Eight Virtues–loyalty, filial piety, benevolence, love, integrity, righteousness, harmony and peace.

From the earliest days, officials transferred to provinces were forbidden to bring their parents lest their needs conflict with the Emperor's. They were rotated every three years and, after each rotation, their successors were encouraged to report discrepancies for fear that they be blamed for them. Palace officials were regularly moved between departments and the seriously corrupt were strangled and their families sold into slavery.

Every Chinese, from humble farmers to eminent politicians, knows this history and understands that promoting honest men to leadership is the way to prevent corruption. Many still living saw how a century of chaos devastated public morality, as Mao observed during a 1950 anti-corruption drive, "Today, you can buy a branch secretary for a few packs of cigarettes, not to mention marrying a daughter to him." Mao's slogan, "The masses have sharp eyes," encouraged people to report wrongdoing and corruption fell dramatically. His insistence on merely shaming corrupt officials worked because, says Sydney Rittenberg [3] An old friend of the party assesses China's new leaders. Rob Schmitz. Marketplace. November 19, 2012 . "Nobody locked their doors. The banks–there was a local bank branch on many, many corners–the door was wide open, the currency was stacked up on the table in plain sight of the door, there were no guards and they never had a bank robbery, ever."

As its accomplishments demonstrate, postwar China was free of corruption at the policy-making level but, especially during the forty year Reform and Opening, lower level corruption flourished. Anticipating this in 1980, planners redesigned officials' incentives so that bribers would effectively be rewarding them for expediting the plan, says Yukon Huang [4] Yukon Huang was the World Bank's Director for China. The Diplomat , "The system countered the growth‐inhibiting aspects of corruption by setting investment and production targets that gave local officials incentives to promote expansion. It fostered a unity of purpose so that, even when corruption flourished, the collaborators still made growth the guiding principle of their actions. This was reinforced by competition between localities to meet targets and support productivity‐enhancing economic reforms. The competitive element helped curb waste and ensured a modicum of efficiency despite the high degree of state intervention in commercial activities." Sometimes though, as throughout Chinese history, things got out of hand.

Acting on a tipoff about smuggling, Beijing secretly sent detectives to Xiamen Port in 1999 but the smugglers, tipped off, set fire to the investigators' hotel and killed them as they slept. On national television the next day, Premier Zhu Rongji declared war and ordered a hundred coffins, "Ninety-nine for the crooks and one for me." Detectives from across the country converged on the city and what they found staggered them: four million tons of imported diesel fuel had bypassed customs in just two years. They tracked hundreds of suspects, locked escapees in a local hotel with armed guards on each floor, and spent three years unravelling a case so complex that the customs files alone would be higher than a ten-story building. The gang had bribed the vice-minister of Public Security, Li Jizhou, through his wife and daughter, and Li and thirteen others were sentenced to death, his wife to thirty months in prison and three hundred officials were tried for aiding or abetting the criminals. The ringleader, farmer-turned-smuggler Lai Changxing, fled to Canada, was extradited, and jailed for life in 2009.

After ten years of economic free rein the economy was booming but critics complained of endemic corruption, forgetting that the cycle of alternating liberal and conservative policies is as old and predictable as the moon. Rapid growth had solved many problems but a new cycle was presaged by a nepotism scandal, a form of corruption to which family centric China is uniquely vulnerable. Emperor Wu of Han curbed nepotism by examination in the second century BC and sixteen centuries later, of two-hundred seventy-nine senior officials whose family histories we know [5] China's Meritocratic Examinations and the Ideal of Virtuous Talents. Xiao, H., & Li, C. (2013). In D. Bell & C. Li (Eds.), The East Asian Challenge for Democracy: Political Meritocracy in Comparative Perspective: Cambridge University Press. , fewer than half had forebears in government (by 2018, it was one-sixth).

In 1985 Bo Xilai, son of a Revolutionary Immortal and Xi Jinping's schoolmate, had ignored his father's pleas to stay out of politics, "You know nothing of the sufferings of ordinary people and just want to capitalize on my name." Xilai cultivated a charismatic image, was named one of Time's Most Influential People, rose rapidly to provincial governor and publicly campaigned for a cabinet position. But, as conservative scholar Cheng Li said at the time, "Nobody really trusts him. A lot of people are scared of him, including several princelings who are supposed to be his power base." Michael Wines wrote that, though he possessed prodigious charisma and deep intelligence, "He possessed a studied indifference to the wrecked lives that littered his path to power Mr. Bo's ruthlessness stood out." With the help of Justice Minister Zhou Yongkang, Bo had even wiretapped President Hu.

Despite considerable internal resistance, Vice Premier Wu Yi, the nation's highest woman official, demanded an open investigation and a 2012 trial revealed that Bo owned expensive properties around the world and that his wife had murdered a British agent. They were jailed for life and joined a long line of disgraced elites like the grandson of China's Head of State and founder of the Red Army, Zhu De, who was executed for rape, and Yan Jianhong, wife of Guizhou's powerful Party Secretary, who was executed for corruption.

With prosperity assured, and elite corruption confronted, Congress anointed Xi Jinping, the most honest, competent official of his generation, to succeed President Hu. In its first year, Xi's anti-corruption campaign saw ten thousand officials passed over for promotion for concealing information and one-hundred thirty-thousand demoted or disciplined for making false declarations. By 2016, prosecutors had charged sixty-three senior officials and ministers with corruption, released confessions from fifty-seven thousand Party members who made restitution and accepted demotions and seen Yunnan's corrupt Party Secretary, Bai Enpei, sentenced to death. By 2018, anti-corruption squads had investigated 1.3 million bureaucrats, filed a million court cases, issued one hundred thousand indictments, captured thousands of overseas fugitives and jailed or executed one-hundred twenty high-ranking officials–including five national leaders, twelve generals, a dozen CEOs and Sun Zhengcai, former Chongqing Party chief, who was sentenced to life in prison for taking huge bribes. After a 2019 industrial explosion in Tianjin killed one-hundred sixty-five people, the magistrate found that petty bribery had led to weak code enforcement, sentenced the responsible official to death, and jailed forty-nine of his colleagues.

Graft investigators unannounced inspections now resemble elite athletes' doping tests. An Anhui inspection team telephoned an official four times between 7:31-7:35 one evening about his poverty alleviation efforts. He was showering and, when he failed to answer, they reported him for obstruction and moved to dismiss him. Happily, through social media, the public came to his defense and he was exonerated.

Knowing that that ten percent of their statements will be audited, even deputy county officials now report their marital status, overseas travel, criminal record, wages, other earnings, family properties, stocks, funds, insurance and investments. If they refuse to answer questions, or collude with, or protect accomplices, they are detained immediately.

Bureaucrats–especially those with leadership ambitions–endure increasing scrutiny as they advance, says Zhao Bing Bing [6] Daniel Bell and Zhao Bing Bing, The China Model. , "The selection criteria are: a person must have 'both ability and moral integrity and the latter should be prioritized [7] The same wording as the Chief Censor used in the Tang Dynasty. .'" Midlevel officials must report their own assets and those of their parents, wives, children, children's spouses and cousins, children from previous marriages, children born out of wedlock and foster children. They must report their income, savings, real estate, stock portfolios, insurance policies, unit trusts, bonds, assets in overseas accounts and, "Income shall include salary and various bonuses, allowances, subsidies, and payment you receive from lectures, writing, consultation, reviewing, painting and calligraphy." Says a scion of a prominent family:

I am a Party Member in China and all my family are Party members. What I think of Xi is that the life is really changing after he came to power. A relative of mine works for the government as a vital governor in my city Chengdu (which is a big city like BeiJing or ShangHai), then all my family people are like in the hierarchy of privilege. We pay nothing when go out for dinner, the Party pays. We pay nothing for filling in oil, the Party pays. It seems like we don't need to pay for anything with our salaries, cause either the Party pays, or someone will pay for us (who wants to flatter us). I smoke the best, I drink the best, sometimes I even drive without license when drunk, because I fear no one.

In past times, yes we did have privilege everywhere, I felt so arrogant to be superior to others that's also true. But the problem is, there is a tradeoff. We drank quite a lot of alcohol to show respect to others, we had to accept bribes even we know it's risky, cause we have to consider about our clan (like the interest of my boss). We had to do some many things we don't want to do, that's the rule of living in Party, care about the interest of Clan more than your own. That's how we united. We have to fear a lot of threats from ordinary people, colleagues, and bosses. We cannot keep our own passports, Party keeps it in case of we flee.

But life changed after Xi came to power, he did real things on anti-corruption. No one dare to present gifts to governors and the abuse of public funds is strictly monitored. The Party took back the public cars from my family and even we have to pay for the parking fee now! But..my family and I are actually happy with this, we are thankful to President Xi. Cause he seems like dragging China to a healthier future. My relatives don't need to go out for dinner with other governors as social intercourse daily, they don't need to drink so much on the table. And they start to learn to pay for the bill by turns, cause the Party will no longer do this for them. They start to learn how to take bus or metro. That's good, actually. People start to think about what kind of lifestyle is called 'healthy,' they are more like human now, no longer some conceited stupid with expanding power. That's how our life changed after Xi came.

Senior ministers' lives have become excruciatingly transparent. Their private activities are scrutinized and their children must adopt assumed names to avoid influence-seekers. Their meetings must have third-party observers as one-on-one appointments are taken as evidence of impropriety. A record of excessive, or poor quality, government debts is treated as prima facie evidence of corruption and automatically investigated. Senior officials are audited annually after retirement, remain responsible for the consequences of all their decisions until the day they die and, even then, clawback provisions apply.

Xi invited amateur corruption fighters to join the campaign and Beijing publishes a monthly scoresheet. Citizens text tips and complaints to the Rules and Discipline Committee (founded in the Tang Dynasty) at #12388 and often post accusations and photographs of evidence on social media and request additional witnesses. Social media have made the masses' eyes sharper. Netizens scrutinizing a news photograph noticed the work safety boss of Shaanxi province grinning broadly as he assessed the twisted wreckage of a bus and a methanol tanker following an accident that left 36 people dead. They spotted his expensive timepiece and their tipoff and subsequent investigation sent Yang Dacai, Brother Watch, to jail for fourteen years for taking a million dollars in bribes.

Today visitors burn incense at the shrines of great corruption fighters, the battle with official corruption still accounts for half of all Chinese dramas, and millions watch TV dramas about 'Justice Bao' Zheng, the incorruptible Prefect of the Capital in 1000 AD. A popular TV series, 'In the Name of People,' depicts current-day intra-Party power struggles in the fictional city of Jingzhou. There a prosecutor and a handful of honest local officials help laid-off workers protest a corrupt land deal, foil corrupt bureaucrats sabotaging an arrest warrant, and stop fake police bulldozing honest citizens' homes. The show's writers say they have no shortage of material.

The anti-corruption campaign has been immensely popular and, by any measure, successful. In 2018, eighty-three percent of Chinese said the government runs the country for everyone's benefit and ninety-three percent said they trust it–figures rivaling Switzerland's and Finland's. But it was just a prelude to what will probably be Xi's most memorable contribution to Chinese history, the creation of the National Supervision Commission [8] The National Supervision Commission was formed at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in 2018 and absorbed the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China. .

Until 2018, anti-corruption work was shared by the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention, which recommended anti-corruption policies and handled international anti-corruption coordination. The Supreme People's Procuratorate investigated various kinds of malfeasance. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection enforced party loyalty, anti-graft, ethical and Party lifestyle requirements among civil servants and leading officials who are Party members, but turned criminal evidence over to the state for prosecution. The Ministry of Supervision, MOS, supervised civil servants who were non-Party members, investigated graft, misappropriation of public funds and other duty-related violations.

The Commission subsumes their functions into an independent, fourth arm of government that ranks with the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice. As the most powerful such agency on earth, it employs legislation, digital technology (including face recognition and AI), the sharp eyes of the people, and great investigative powers. With the goal of making corruption impossible, it centralizes all anti-corruption processes and exercises authority over all civil servants within and outside the Party, the government, the People's Congresses, the local supervisory commissions, the people's courts and procuracy, the People's Congresses, the eight democratic parties, federations of industry and commerce, and everyone who works in, or consults for, organizations managing public affairs. With extensive powers to interrogate, search, wiretap, detain suspects and freeze their assets, its writ extends to managers of state owned enterprises, state educational, scientific, research, cultural, health care, sports, and similar agencies, think tanks, village and urban residents committees, and 'all other personnel who perform public duties' and oversees provincial, city, and county level anti-corruption agencies.

Congress appoints the Commission's senior staff and Yang Xiaodu, its first director was, like Xi, a sent-down youth who performed manual labour in Anhui province during the Cultural Revolution. Staff need not be Party members but they can never work in another arm of government for the rest of their lives. The Commission is a political, not administrative body, and is exempt from the extensive procedural and substantive constraints on administrative organs like the police. Though the law requires staff to pay compensation 'in accordance with law' for infringing people's lawful rights and interests, it does not provide a right of further recourse through the courts, but does permit targets to appeal to higher-level organs for re-examination of the Commission's decisions and to challenge unlawful conduct like prolonged detention.

If the Commission comes even close to its goal of making corruption impossible, grateful citizens will credit Confucius and the First Emperor for limiting political power to a single lifetime and confining it to those who demonstrate both honesty and intelligence. They will credit the present dynasty for testing officials in the wilderness and imposing extraordinary transparency, themselves for their unwillingness to tolerate corruption, and Xi Jinping for creating the most powerful corruption-fighting agency in history. Looking back only ten years, it is difficult to believe that corruption in China is on track to rival Singapore's by 2021.

* Corruption in Eighteenth-Century China. Nancy E. Park. The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 56, no. 4, 1997.

Notes

[1] Qu Yuan, 340-278 BC, was a Chu kingdom official and government minister who wrote some of the greatest poetry in Chinese history.

[2] From Huáng-Míng Zǔxùn (Instructions of the Ancestor of the August Ming), admonitions left to his descendants by the Hongwu Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644).

[3] An old friend of the party assesses China's new leaders. Rob Schmitz. Marketplace. November 19, 2012

[4] Yukon Huang was the World Bank's Director for China. The Diplomat

[5] China's Meritocratic Examinations and the Ideal of Virtuous Talents. Xiao, H., & Li, C. (2013). In D. Bell & C. Li (Eds.), The East Asian Challenge for Democracy: Political Meritocracy in Comparative Perspective: Cambridge University Press.

[6] Daniel Bell and Zhao Bing Bing, The China Model.

[7] The same wording as the Chief Censor used in the Tang Dynasty.

[8] The National Supervision Commission was formed at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in 2018 and absorbed the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China.


FatPanda , says: September 26, 2019 at 7:28 pm GMT

Great article.

Is that "law breaking" chart from Jeff Browns "China Rising" book? The name has changed?

d dan , says: September 26, 2019 at 8:04 pm GMT
One salient difference between the Chinese and the Western concept of corruption is the role of laws. For people in the west, the definition of corruption is strongly tied to, and in fact mostly defined through laws. To put it very crudely: anything legal is not corruption, and vice versa (i.e. all corruption is illegal).

In China, there is an additional emphasis of the moral aspect and it is less constrained by laws. An immoral action, even if it is legal, may still be considered a corruption by the Chinese society. For example, if a relative of Xi would to give a speech, and then received an exorbitant fee, it probably would be considered a corruption in China. However, in US, this is perfectly legal (and a reason many ex-politicians and ex-government employees become very rich) and it won't be considered a corruption.

There is really no right or wrong in either approaches. Both contains their pros and cons. The Western way has the advantage of transparency that make it easier to follow. But it favors the rich and powerful people who can find loopholes and workarounds to the laws. It also has the disadvantage of difficulty in keeping abreast with advances and changes of society and technologies . The Chinese way has the advantage of flexibility to meeting the moral standard and demands from the people, but may become confusing and uncertain for many people like businessmen or foreigners.

Muggles , says: September 26, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
In case you hadn't noticed from prior postings, "Godfree Roberts" is a fake name for a CCP propaganda writer who scours the Internet for things to promote official views for, such as this absurd piece.

The stilted prose and logic is evident. His stuff is full of charts and graphs which magically appear on his computer, unlike yours or mine. Much of that might be "true" in the sense of basic historical writings, but selectively edited. Current Chinese leader Xi here is extolled as chasing "corruption" away. Ha!

The CCP knows corruption/graft, etc. is poison to their authoritarian one party state dictatorship. It is endemic in all such states. So periodically there are huge purges, trials, executions, etc. and a new set of stooges are risen up. Some get the message, most just bow humbly and wait for the storm to pass. It is as old as China. Of course government corruption is hardly unique to China. But in places where party leaders can be voted out (not merely a few shot for effect) it can be cleaned out periodically. Chinese are wisely quiet and cynical about this.

Meanwhile Mr. "Roberts" probably earns a very nice salary doing this work. Maybe even teaches English and propaganda messaging part time. Billions are spent censoring the Internet there and creating rosy statistics. Some gullible foreigners buy into that. Fair enough. Every State has its hired liars and propaganda artists. But China has really set the mark for its effort.

Just avoid going there and saying anything negative. Their prisons are not like ours.

SteveK9 , says: September 26, 2019 at 9:41 pm GMT
What mechanisms are in place to keep this from going too far? That is, accusing someone for personal reasons, for example, to further one's own career.
Anonymous [419] Disclaimer , says: September 26, 2019 at 9:53 pm GMT
I thought Bo Xilai was a maoist and so was Zhou Yongkang, both also had countryside experiences similar to Xi Jinping, and Bo Xilai as mayor of Chongqing was very much aligned with Maoists and worked on rehabilitating the memory of the cultural revolution.

I have viewed Xi Jinping with more suspicion because his family has a lot of wealth and he sent his daughter to Harvard. He also did not agitate for rehabilitating the cultural revolution when it would have been more politically risky for him to have done so, like Bo Xilai did.

Xi Jinping isn't anywhere near the leftist Bo Xilai was.

Godfree did you communicate with Chinese who lived in Chongqing under Bo Xilai's mayorship, what did they say then? I recall the corrupt wealthy hating him and the poor loving him. let's not forget Bo Xilai also had anti-corruption anti-gang campaigns.

Tusk , says: September 26, 2019 at 11:18 pm GMT

I am a Party Member in China and all my family are Party members. What I think of Xi is that the life is really changing after he came to power

I wonder if the Government would have something to say if he spoke out against the party and against Xi? Considering that people have received jail sentences (of years) for calling Xi a steamed bun, and that Winnie the Pooh is banned because poor Xi can't handle light hearted criticism I think we all know the answers here.

This is the ultimate corruption that a society faces – the inability to communicate freely and to criticise those accountable. Every Chinese citizen is under the CCP Yoke regardless of how this CCP shill wants to spin it.

Svevlad , says: September 26, 2019 at 11:37 pm GMT
Corruption exists everywhere. It's just that it depends on what level it occurs. Heck, in the West, it's legal! Lobbying, they call it You can't bribe a cop to forgive a ticket, but goddamn you can bribe a politician to drive the country into the ground.
peterAUS , says: September 27, 2019 at 2:05 am GMT
@Muggles Pretty much.
FatPanda , says: September 27, 2019 at 7:06 am GMT
@Muggles I am a US expat, and happen to live in the China Mainland, and my impression is that most Chinese believe Xi Jinping is doing a great job. What do you care really? Do you have any dogs in this race?

Talk about propaganda. Tell me then whom are the following:

Falun Gong
Shen Yun
Epoch Times
New Tang Dynasty
China Uncensored

There is no doubt in my mind China is a threat to the hegemony of the West. I definitely prefer Western civilization. But if forced to choose between Chung Kuo and Babel 2.0, I'll take the former every time.

Godfree Roberts , says: September 27, 2019 at 9:47 am GMT
@FatPanda I think we both got it from the same source.
Godfree Roberts , says: September 27, 2019 at 10:11 am GMT
@Muggles It's not often someone gets so many things wrong in such a tight space. Congratulations.

I've published at least six books, none about China, my bio is all over the place, and I run a business in under my own name.

If you want accurate information about China, stilted prose is inevitable. Real writers, professionals, are paid to lie about China. Anyone who tries to tell the truth is shunned, not only by our mainstream media, but by the PRC, which prefers to let its accomplishments speak for themselves.

I estimate that, since 1950, we taxpayers have spent $100 billion creating and disseminating lies about China–$1.5 billion annually. Money well spent, if you're in the top 1%, because it convinces the masses that, in Margaret Thatcher's words, there is no alternative to our failing system.

CIA Director William Casey[1] confirmed this when he told President Reagan in 1981, "We'll know our disinformation campaign has worked when everything the American public believes is false." Carl Bernstein[2], of Watergate fame, revealed that four hundred journalists had 'secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.' All major US media outlets cooperated, he said, including ABC, NBC, AP, UPI, Reuters, Newsweek, Hearst, the Miami Herald, and the New York Herald‑Tribune.

Udo Ulfkotte[3], Editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, says that no significant European journalist, including himself, was free of CIA influence. Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew[4] outlined the consequences:

The Philippines press enjoys all the freedoms of the US system but fails the people: a wildly partisan press helped Philippines politicians flood the marketplace of ideas with junk and confuse and befuddle the people so that they could not see what their vital interests were in a developing country. And, because vital issues like economic growth and equitable distribution were seldom discussed, they were never tackled and the democratic system malfunctioned. Look at Taiwan and South Korea: their free press runs rampant and corruption runs riot. The critic itself is corrupt yet the theory is, if you have a free press, corruption disappears. Now I'm telling you, that's not true. Freedom of the press, freedom of news critics, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of the integrity of Singapore and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.

Says Ann Lee[5], "

A reporter and friend of Michael Massing[6] who worked at the Beijing office of The Wall Street Journal told him that the editors in Washington regularly changed material information and opinions in his articles. Given the twelve-hour time difference, by the time his stories went to press in the West, the editors had replaced all the Chinese interviews with statements from American talking heads who work at think tanks promoting anti-China perspectives."

The weird result of this enormous, expensive effort is that, while we were busy lying to ourselves about China, the Chinese were busy eating our lunch, and now it's too late. By 2021 every Chinese will have a home, a job, plenty of food, education, safe streets, health- and old age care. 300,000,000 urban Chinese will have more net worth and disposable income than the average American, their mothers and infants will be less likely to die in childbirth, their children will graduate from high school three years ahead of American kids and live longer, healthier lives and there will be more drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China.

What's more, they'll be ahead of us in science and technology–they're already ahead in math, chemistry, engineering and computer science–because they have 10x more geniuses and spend 3x more on R&D than we do.

They pulled it off because rubes like you believed the bs you read in our media and insulted anyone who tried to tell you the truth. Congratulations.

____________________________________________________________
[1] A direct quote, provided and authenticated by Barbara Honegger, White House Policy Analyst and Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy in the first Reagan Administration, 1981–83, who was present at the briefing and confirmed it with other witnesses.
[2] "The CIA and the Media: How America's Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up." Carl Bernstein. Rolling Stone, 1977.
[3] Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists), Udo Ulfkotte. Kopp Verlag. 2014. The English language edition, Journalists For Hire: How The CIA Buys The News, has been suppressed.
[4] A Third World Perspective on the Press. RH Lee Kwan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore. C-SPAN, APRIL 14, 1988
[5] What the U.S. Can Learn from China: An Open-Minded Guide to Treating Our Greatest Competitor as Our Greatest Teacher, by Ann Lee, 2012
[6] Editor of The Columbia Journalism Review.

Godfree Roberts , says: September 27, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@SteveK9 There are several mechanisms.

The first is to do what Confucian states are always supposed to do: recruit your brightest sparks, promote the most honest, competent of them until the topmost are the very best you've got. As its track record demonstrates, the current dynasty has earned everyone's trust by doing that consistently.

The next step is making the process transparent: publish the rules, put an accountable person in charge of the process–someone with a great deal to lose if they're perceived as being unfair or dishonest (interestingly, Rome's Chief Censor was also such a person) and China's current censor is one of the most admired people in the country.

Then, have a transparent appeals process so that everyone can watch issues being thrashed out.

It's a human and therefore, imperfect, process but people don't expect perfection of their leaders, just best efforts–and that's what the PRC delivers.

Godfree Roberts , says: September 27, 2019 at 11:13 am GMT
@Anonymous Bo was very popular in Chongqing and people still point to the trees he planted and to the rapid progress they made under his administration.

But that is a sine qua non in Chinese government. Even someone as high born as Bo can only hope for advancement if they show dramatic, tangible progress in their area of responsibility.

I suspect from his profile that Bo was a high functioning sociopath whose birth allowed him to bypass many of the filters in the system.

He is often spoken of as a 'rival' of Xi Jinping, but that is simply a Western projection. China's elite knew about Bo's liabilities for decades and one of the reasons Xi got the nod was that he ranked as high as Bo socially. Do you remember how Xi 'disappeared' for ten days following his promotion to the Peacock Throne? He was meeting with his and Bo's peers–their age cohort–to get their blessing on the cleanup he had planned.

Godfree Roberts , says: September 27, 2019 at 11:18 am GMT
@Tusk Nobody has suffered from calling Xi a steamed bun.

However, Chinese don't call their leaders names because their relationship to officials is entirely different from our (Roman) relationship. Martin Jacques explains it well:

The Chinese state enjoys much greater legitimacy than any Western state. The Chinese treat the state with a reverence and respect that is more or less unknown in the West; and the reason clearly has nothing to do with democracy. In other words, a state's legitimacy cannot be reduced to the existence or otherwise of democracy: on the contrary, democracy is not necessarily the most important factor in a state's legitimacy and may, as in the case of China, be relatively unimportant. The underlying reason for the legitimacy of the Chinese state is that, as discussed earlier, it is seen by the people as the embodiment and guardian of Chinese civilization, enjoying, as a consequence, something akin to a spiritual significance. It follows that what would undermine the legitimacy of a government, the present one included, is a threat to the country's unity. The attitude of the Chinese towards the state, thus, is very different to that of Westerners. For the latter, the state is an outsider, a stranger, even an interloper, whose presence should, as far as possible, be limited and confined. This is most obviously the case in the United States, with those who identify with the Tea Party, for example, regarding the state as an alien body, but even in Europe it is viewed with varying degrees of suspicion. In China, in contrast, the state and society are seen as on the same side and part of the same endeavour: the state enjoys the status of an intimate and is treated like a member of the family, not just any member but the head of the family – the patriarch himself. We can only understand the immense authority of the Chinese state in these terms, an authority which has been reinforced by the fact that, unlike in the West, it has had no serious rivals for over a millennium.

Tusk , says: September 27, 2019 at 12:48 pm GMT
@Godfree Roberts https://international.thenewslens.com/article/65955
Huh
klcTan , says: September 27, 2019 at 1:22 pm GMT
@Muggles

Jeff J Brown has spoken to Godfree and the video is on youtube. I have seen the video myself.

Godfree stays in ChiangMai, Thailand.

d dan , says: September 27, 2019 at 4:12 pm GMT
@Godfree Roberts

"The weird result of this enormous, expensive effort is that, while we were busy lying to ourselves about China "

At this stage, any one who still believes in the western propaganda about China is simply too brain-washed and not too smart for any cure. Excuse me, I should say "too dumb for any cure".

For example, Nathan Rich's recent video shows how media biased reporting of Hong Kong compare with Ukraine riots. The contrast can't be anymore stark:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-2Rr8hZK2aQ?feature=oembed

Godfree Roberts , says: September 27, 2019 at 10:57 pm GMT
@Tusk "Radio Free Asia reports .". RFA is a US Government propaganda outlet. 100% WMD, 24×7.
Ber , says: September 28, 2019 at 2:19 am GMT
@Godfree Roberts Here is a good analysis of how the main stream media (MSM) gang up to give propaganda, and how I wish they have objective comments about China or any country they do not like.

All these so-called anti communist slant against countries, I suspect, have its origins in the Vatican. People seem to forget that they should bear false witness

https://www.youtube.com/embed/yUGPIeE9kMc?feature=oembed

Erebus , says: September 28, 2019 at 4:05 am GMT
@peterAUS

Are you sharing the 10′ of 1″ pipe through which you view the world with Muggles? Are you aware that Muggles did nothing but add a few more feet to it?

People view the world through narratives, and the value of a narrative lies only in how closely it follows and "explains" the widest possible array of empirical facts. Muggles' ignores the vast majority – perhaps even all – of the facts.

Ergo, it renders neither yourself nor your readers any value to champion it. Why make the effort to propagate such an obvious failure? Have you never wondered why you lack the dignity and common sense to desist from promoting something whereof you would more usefully remain silent? Are you even aware of the shortfall?

Tusk , says: September 28, 2019 at 4:20 am GMT
@Godfree Roberts And anything the Chinese government puts out is 100% propaganda as well.
Anon [279] Disclaimer , says: September 28, 2019 at 4:48 am GMT
Corrupt Chinese have practically taken over the US West Coast and Northeast. There isn't anywhere you could go in LA, Bay Area or Seattle without encountering mandarin speaking people. 99.9% Chinese nationals in the US are corrupt. With a nominal per capita GDP of $8,600, the only people who could afford to emigrate or send their children abroad for education are the rich, and China is so corrupt, no one can get rich without being corrupt, either by taking bribes or giving them. These are the corrupt factory owners who leave behind polluted rivers and air for their countrymen to die from while they escape to greener pastures with their family, and the government officials they bribed to pollute at will.

The New York Times exposed some of them a few years back, it's only gotten worse since:
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/16/world/asia/china-hunts-fugitives-accused-of-corruption-many-in-us.html
They are taking full advantage of the lack of extradition treaty btwn US and China.

They are bribing the US congress to end the per country cap on EB5 visas, where 80% of applicants are corrupt Chinese. The House passed the HR 1044 bill a few months ago scrapping the H1b cap for India and EB5 cap for China. Now Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is trying to get the same bill passed in the Senate. Chuck Grassley and Diane Feinstein tried to kill off the EB5 a few times, but Trump and SIL wouldn't let them. The Kushner family relies on EB5 money for their real estate development.

EB5 is the #1 get out of jail on the cheap card for corrupt Chinese. Many are now buying homes in the US and letting their high school and college age children live in those houses, sometimes 16 year olds who could barely speak English living in million dollar homes by themselves, attending our local high schools for free.

I know of a woman from China in my area who works for JP Morgan, who handles all rich clients from China. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the FBI shows up at her house one day and walks her out in handcuffs, for helping rich Chinese launder their money in the US. The US needs to deport every single last one of these disgusting corrupt pigs to let them go back to China and face trial.

Ruckus , says: September 28, 2019 at 4:54 am GMT
Curious to see the author responding 6 times now (in only 20 posts) to commentors. Aren't the new site rules against this? It's a little off-putting to see an article author respond at all, not to mention that it buttresses Muggles's assertions.

inb4 Godfree's reply, lolz

Anon [279] Disclaimer , says: September 28, 2019 at 4:55 am GMT
China is now detaining family members of corrupt officials who return to China with US passports to lure the corrupt husband/father back to China:
https://www.facebook.com/ZeroHedge/posts/china-kidnaps-fugitives-american-wife-holds-hostage-in-secret-black-jail-httpsww/1929804460430049/

Good for them. They need to work out a treaty with all countries to return their fugitives.

renfro , says: September 28, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
I have no reason to doubt Roberts.
Years ago I read a news report on the execution of a Chinese manufacturing official who was bribed into buying some cheaper ingredient, I think it was, that turned out to sicken or poison people.
Maybe Roberts remembers that.

Some executions or long prison terms for the corrupt in the US would be a good thing.

Anon [257] Disclaimer , says: September 28, 2019 at 5:04 am GMT
@klcTan Isn't Chaing Mai the headquarters of the Asian opinion heroin trade?
aandrews , says: September 28, 2019 at 5:19 am GMT
Wow, the scale of the corruption kinda explains all the bizarrely rich ChiComs that took a powder to Vancouver, BC.
Anon [279] Disclaimer , says: September 28, 2019 at 5:21 am GMT
@d dan You are right the US is also very corrupt. The book Tailspin – The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty Year Fall by Steven Brill is a great read. America is destroyed by its effed up laws, mostly crafted by Jewish lawyers, who basically built corruption into laws sanctioned by the Supreme Court through cases like Citizens United and Super PAC.

This country is destroyed by (((lawyers))). As Niall Ferguson said, we no longer have the rule of law, we have the rule of (((lawyers))).

Germany and the Scandinavian countries would consider our campaign financing and lobbying industry as corruption on a mass scale. Hitler lost the battle of WWII but won the war for Germany by ridding them of the Jews, until Merkel the idiot came along but that's another story.

peterAUS , says: September 28, 2019 at 5:40 am GMT
@peterAUS Author's "remuneration" coming from the same/similar fund?!
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/23/opinions/gladys-liu-china-australia-opinion-intl-hnk/index.html

United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party, that is.

As

.The United Front, which is supported by considerable resources and a vast bureaucratic operation, was called one of his "magical weapons" by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September 2014. One of the objectives is to co-opt ethnic Chinese individuals and organizations in foreign countries

and

.Xi has delivered multiple speeches and made it formal policy to demand loyalty and commitment from diasporas who the Party refers to as the "sons and daughters" of China. The United Front is the apparatus of choice.

and

.In Australia, the majority of Chinese-language press are owned by entities with at least partial links to Beijing.

Now, that line of thought could go even further in this pub . but, let's skip that, for the moment.

Anyway, a good gig for sure.

anonymous [159] Disclaimer , says: September 28, 2019 at 9:42 am GMT
I had a roommate in college who was from China. He pretty much said that if you know people in the government or have money you could get away with a lot. One of his parents was a customs official, and so he would talk about different things he planned on smuggling to China when he returned with no worries. This was in the late 90's, though.
Realist , says: September 28, 2019 at 10:42 am GMT
@d dan

At this stage, any one who still believes in the western propaganda about China is simply too brain-washed and not too smart for any cure. Excuse me, I should say "too dumb for any cure".

Exactly right.

And speaking of media bias, Gordon Chang is one of the worst US anti-China propagandist there is he is never right.

Realist , says: September 28, 2019 at 10:50 am GMT
No country can hold a candle to the US for corruption lying, greed, hypocrisy or hegemony.
onebornfree , says: Website September 28, 2019 at 11:06 am GMT
The naivete displayed in this article concerning the unavoidable, true, core, fundamental nature of all governments everywhere,[past present, or future], is, sadly, very, very common in both East, West and all points between.

Reality fact: All governments are 100% corrupt, all the time.

Its impossible for them to be anything else, given the sources of their entirely unearned income.[see first quote below].

To make an exception in the case of modern China succeeds only in highlighting the extreme naivete and gullibility of the articles author. Either that [naivete/gullibility], or the author is just another communist party hack who has no idea [or doesn't care] about the extreme danger to all humanity that the communist "ideology" represents, and in particular, has zero idea about how centralized, top down economic systems all inevitably must "work", and what inevitably must/will happen to majority of the population in a country that enforces the idiotic, anti- free market, top-down economic policies of any of the various brands of collectivism, be those policies be labelled "communism", "fascism" ,"nationalism", "democratic socialism", or whatever. Hint: it's called "extreme poverty and enslavement".

Even the historical record of the 20th century vis a vis all forms of collectivism, [including that of Chinas' "great leap forward", is consistently ignored/ covered up.[ "That was then, this is now"!]

In "defense" of this author, I'll just remind myself that the very same false assumptions concerning the true nature of all governments are at the core of almost every Unz.com article I've read here in the last 6 months since I started reading this site. Indeed, the exact same false assumptions concerning the true nature of all governments are consistently evident in the articles by the sites owner, Ron Unz. Recently, I even experienced the pleasure of being banned by one author here [A. Karlin], for pointing out that his own revered "nationalism" was just another brand of socialism.

And so it goes .. :

"Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [via central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be "reformed","improved", nor "limited" in scope, simply because of their innate criminal nature." onebornfree

"Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class." Albert J. Nock

"Why should any self-respecting citizen endorse an institution grounded on thievery? For that is what one does when one votes. If it be argued that we must let bygones be bygones, see what can be done toward cleaning up the institution of the State so that it might be useful in the maintenance of orderly existence, the answer is that it cannot be done; you cannot clean up a brothel and yet leave the business intact. We have been voting for one "good government" after another, and what have we got?"
Frank Chodorov, Out of Step (1962)

"Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure." Robert LeFevre

Regards, onebornfree

nsa , says: September 28, 2019 at 11:17 am GMT
@d dan " ..media biased Hong Kong reporting ."
How would American cops react to punks tossing Molotov Cocktails at them? Arson is a felony but there would be no need for a trial just a coroner.
Kal , says: September 28, 2019 at 11:25 am GMT
@Godfree Robertson, What do you think the Chinese diaspora especially in Canada, U.S., and Australia do? The ones that hold foreign passports I mean. And my experience with Chinese people is they largely dislike the government, but have an extreme aggressive nationalism for their country which only manifests when a 外国人 says something. Because as far as I can tell Chinese rush to get out of China and you yourself don't seem to live there either. I personally don't doubt your claims that China will be better off than America, but why is there still a lot of emigration? Another question are you aware of any attempts or plans to fix the massive pollution problem? look forward from hearing back from you.
melpol , says: September 28, 2019 at 12:15 pm GMT
My former employer had no use for corruption, even a paperclip was accounted for due to the office spy. We had only 20 employees and nobody dared badmouth the boss. My job was terminated when the office spy reported me taking home paper cups from the water fountain. My boss received his jobs from the local government by bribing a few politicians. But he demanded honesty from his staff.
Anonymous [683] Disclaimer , says: September 28, 2019 at 12:38 pm GMT
@onebornfree Reality fact: All you (((LoLbertarians))) are 100% pedo, all the time.

"In short, we must face the fact that the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children ." -Murray Rothbard (1926-1995) was the dean of the Austrian School of economics, a founder of lolbertarianism

Godfree Roberts , says: September 28, 2019 at 12:40 pm GMT
@Tusk If propaganda is information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view , then the PRC doesn't put much out. 80% of Chinese trust it, compared to the 30% of us who trust our media.

And remember, the Chinese are smarter, better educated and more widely traveled than us.

MikeatMikedotMike , says: September 28, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT
@FatPanda "What do you care really? Do you have any dogs in this race?"

He is offering thoughts on an article posted on an American website. Perhaps as an expat living in China you've become too accustomed to only viewing "approved" opinions.

MikeatMikedotMike , says: September 28, 2019 at 12:49 pm GMT
I do find watching a presumably white guy, who's shtick is a weekly shilling for a foreign country, whining about treason particularly amusing.
Anon [421] Disclaimer , says: September 28, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
Another drawn out piece from the guy who could not get rich in the capitalist usa and lives the good life in bang-cock thailand on social. But, whatever, china is for the Chinese and not for the anglo saxons; he is not allowed in but worships from afar.

My 77 years as a participant observer tell me that corruption and criminality are endemic to any large human society so, therefore, utopianism is a pipe dream.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/the-china-miracle-is-over_3097301.html

[Nov 14, 2019] In 2019, the bottom 99% of families will pay 7.2% of their wealth in taxes, while the top 0.1% of households will pay just 3.2%.

Nov 14, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Nomad Money said in reply to Buscar Mañana... , November 11, 2019 at 09:08 AM

"In 2019, the bottom 99% of families will pay 7.2% of their wealth in taxes, while the top 0.1% of households will pay just 3.2%."
~~Elizabeth Warren~

do you see how EW has finally opened our eyes?

sure! poor people think about wealth as being income. they think about Wealth as being their salary. from the perspective of a wealthy senator wealth is a function of assets. EW had the guts to share this perspective with us, to open our eyes to reality.

we should not be taxing the payroll we should not be taxing the capital gains and other income. we should be taxing non productive assets, assets which cannot be hidden which cannot be taken off shore.

the Swiss have such a tax. all of their real estate is taxed at a rate of 0.3% per annum. it would be easy for us to stop all local taxes All County taxes all state taxes and all federal tax then initiate a 1% tax on all real property unimproved and on all improved real property. we should continue this tax until our federal debt is completely discharged. such a taxation shift would revv up our productive activity and increase our per capita GDP. as usual there would be winners and there would be losers. the losers would be those who want more inequality and the winners would be

those who want more
equality
.!

[Nov 14, 2019] Opinion Attack of the Wall Street Snowflakes by Paul Krugman

Notable quotes:
"... Cliff Asness, another money manager, would fly into a rage at Warren adviser Gabriel Zucman for using the term "revenue maximizing" -- a standard piece of economic jargon -- describing it as "disgustingly immoral." ..."
"... Objectively, Obama treated Wall Street with kid gloves. In the aftermath of a devastating financial crisis, his administration bailed out collapsing institutions on favorable terms. He and Democrats in Congress did impose some new regulations, but they were very mild compared with the regulations put in place after the banking crisis of the 1930s. He did, however, refer on a few occasions to "fat cat" bankers and suggested that financial-industry excesses were responsible for the 2008 crisis because, well, they were. And the result, quite early in his administration, was that Wall Street became consumed with " Obama rage ," and the financial industry went all in for Mitt Romney in 2012. ..."
Nov 14, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

No, the really intense backlash against Warren and progressive Democrats in general is coming from Wall Street . And while that opposition partly reflects self-interest, Wall Street's Warren hatred has a level of virulence, sometimes crossing into hysteria, that goes beyond normal political calculation.

What's behind that virulence?

First, let's talk about the rational reasons Wall Street is worried about Warren. She is, of course, calling for major tax increases on the very wealthy, those with wealth exceeding $50 million, and the financial industry is strongly represented in that elite club. And since raising taxes on the wealthy is highly popular , it's an idea a progressive president might actually be able to turn into real policy.

Warren is also a big believer in stricter financial regulation; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was highly effective until the Trump administration set about gutting it, was her brainchild.

So if you are a Wall Street billionaire, rational self-interest might well induce you to oppose Warren. Neoliberal_rationality/ does not, however, explain why a money manager like Leon Cooperman -- who just two years ago settled a suit over insider trading for $5 million, although without admitting wrongdoing -- would circulate an embarrassing, self-pitying open letter denouncing Warren for her failure to appreciate all the wonderful things billionaires like him do for society.

Nor does it explain why Cliff Asness, another money manager, would fly into a rage at Warren adviser Gabriel Zucman for using the term "revenue maximizing" -- a standard piece of economic jargon -- describing it as "disgustingly immoral."

The real tell here, I think, is that much of the Wall Street vitriol now being directed at Warren was previously directed at, of all people, President Barack Obama.

Objectively, Obama treated Wall Street with kid gloves. In the aftermath of a devastating financial crisis, his administration bailed out collapsing institutions on favorable terms. He and Democrats in Congress did impose some new regulations, but they were very mild compared with the regulations put in place after the banking crisis of the 1930s. He did, however, refer on a few occasions to "fat cat" bankers and suggested that financial-industry excesses were responsible for the 2008 crisis because, well, they were. And the result, quite early in his administration, was that Wall Street became consumed with " Obama rage ," and the financial industry went all in for Mitt Romney in 2012.

I wonder, by the way, if this history helps explain an odd aspect of fund-raising in the current primary campaign. It's not surprising that Warren is getting very little money from the financial sector. It is, however, surprising that the top recipient isn't Joe Biden but Pete Buttigieg , who's running a fairly distant fourth in the polls. Is Biden suffering from the lingering effects of that old-time Obama rage?

In any case, the point is that Wall Street billionaires, even more than billionaires in general, seem to be snowflakes, emotionally unable to handle criticism.

I'm not sure why that should be the case, but it may be that in their hearts they suspect that the critics have a point.

What, after all, does modern finance actually do for the economy? Unlike the robber barons of yore, today's Wall Street tycoons don't build anything tangible. They don't even direct money to the people who actually are building the industries of the future. The vast expansion of credit in America after around 1980 basically involved a surge in consumer debt rather than new money for business investment.

Moreover, there is growing evidence that when the financial sector gets too big it actually acts as a drag on the economy -- and America is well past that point .

Now, human nature being what it is, people who secretly wonder whether they really deserve their wealth get especially angry when others express these doubts publicly. So it's not surprising that people who couldn't handle Obama's mild, polite criticism are completely losing it over Warren.

What this means is that you should beware of Wall Street claims that progressive policies would have dire effects. Such claims don't reflect deep economic wisdom; to a large extent they're coming from people with vast wealth but fragile egos, whose rants should be discounted appropriately. The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We'd like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here's our email: letters@nytimes.com .

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram .

[Nov 11, 2019] The truth is that for the Clintonite-Bushite elite almost all Americans are 'deplorable'.

Notable quotes:
"... The truth is that for the Clintonite-Bushite elite almost all Americans are 'deplorable'. What is fun for them is to play geopolitics – the elite version of corporate travel perks – just look at how shocked they are that Trump is not playing along. ..."
Nov 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Beckow , says: November 9, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT

Recent class history of US is quite simple: the elite class first tried to shift the burden of supporting the lower classes on the middle class with taxation. But as the lower class became demographically distinct, partially via mass immigration, the elites decided to ally with the ' underpriviledged ' via identity posturing and squeeze no longer needed middle class out of existence.

What's left are government employees, a few corporate sinecures, NGO parasitic sector, and old people. The rest will be melded into a few mutually antagonistic tribal groups providing ever cheaper service labor. With an occasional lottery winner to showcase mobility. Actually very similar to what happened in Latin America in the past few centuries.

The truth is that for the Clintonite-Bushite elite almost all Americans are 'deplorable'. What is fun for them is to play geopolitics – the elite version of corporate travel perks – just look at how shocked they are that Trump is not playing along.

alexander , says: November 9, 2019 at 11:38 am GMT
BUILDING OUT vs. BLOWING UP

China 2000-2020 vs. USA 2000-2020

Unlike the USA (under Neocon stewardship) China has not squandered twenty trillion dollars of its national solvency bombing countries which never attacked it post 9-11.

China's leaders (unlike our own) never LIED its people into launching obscenely expensive, illegal wars of aggression across the middle east. (WMD's, Mushroom clouds, Yellow Cake, etc.)

China has used its wealth and resources to build up its infrastructure, build out its capital markets, and turbo charge its high tech sectors. As a consequence, it has lifted nearly half a billion people out of poverty. There has been an explosion in the growth of the "middle class" in China. Hundreds of millions of Chinese are now living comfortable "upwardly mobile" lives.

The USA, on the other hand, having been defrauded by its "ruling elites" into launching and fighting endless illegal wars, is now 23 trillion dollars in catastrophic debt.
NOT ONE PENNY of this heinous "overspending" has been dedicated to building up OUR infrastructure, or BUILDING OUT our middle class.

It has all gone into BLOWING UP countries which never (even) attacked us on 9-11.

As a consequence , the USA is fast becoming a failed nation, a nation where all its wealth is being siphoned into the hands of its one percent "war pilfer-teers".

It is so sad to have grown up in such an amazing country , with such immense resources and possibilities, and having to bear witness to it going down the tubes.

To watch all our sovereign wealth being vaporized by our "lie us into endless illegal war" ruling elites is truly heartbreaking.

It is as shameful as it is tragic.

SafeNow , says: November 9, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT
That's fascinating about the declining "middle class" usage. A "soft synonym" that has gone in the opposite direction, I think, is "the community."
LoutishAngloQuebecker , says: November 9, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
The white middle class is the only group that might effectively resist Globohomo's designs on total power.

Blacks? Too dumb. Will be disposed of once Globohomo is finished the job.
Hispanics? Used to corrupt one party systems. Give them cerveza and Netflix and they're good.
East Asians? Perfectly fine with living like bug people.
South Asians? Cowardly; will go with the flow.

The middle class is almost completely unique to white people.

Racial aliens cannot wrap their minds around being middle class. They think I'm crazy for appreciating my 2009 Honda Accord. They literally cannot understand why somebody would want to live a frugal and mundane life. They are desperate to be like Drake but most end up broke. It will be very easy for GloboHomo to control a bucket of poor brown slop.

Svevlad , says: November 9, 2019 at 6:32 pm GMT
Ah yes, apparatchiks. The worst kind of person
Counterinsurgency , says: November 9, 2019 at 7:36 pm GMT
@Achmed E. Newman

There IS a black middle class, but a big chunk of that works for governments of all shapes and sizes.

Strictly speaking, there is no more "middle class" in the sense of the classical economists: a person with just enough capital to live off the income if he works the capital himself or herself. By this definition professionals (lawyers, dentists, physicians, small store owners, even spinsters [1] and hand loom operators in a sense) were middle class. Upper class had enough property to turn it over to managers, lower class had little or no property and worked for others (servants and farm workers, for example). Paupers didn't earn enough income per year to feed themselves and didn't live all that long, usually.

What we have is "middle income" people, almost all of whom work as an employee of some organization -- people who would be considered "lower class" by the classical economists because they don't have freedom of action and make no independent decisions about how the capital of their organizations is spent. Today they are considered "intelligentsia", educated government workers, or, by analogy, educated corporate workers. IMHO, intelligentsia is a suicide job, and is responsible for the depressed fertility rate, but that's just me.

Back in the AD 1800s and pre-AD 1930 there were many black middle class people. usually concentrating on selling to black clientele. Now there are effectively none outside of criminal activities, usually petty criminal. And so it goes.

Of course, back then there were many white middle class people also, usually concentrating on selling to white clientele. Now there are effectively none, except in some rural areas. And so it goes.

Counterinsurgency

1] Cottagers who made their living spinning wool skeins into wool threads.

Mark G. , says: November 9, 2019 at 8:20 pm GMT
@unit472 A lot of the middle class are Democrats but not particularly liberal. Many of them vote Democrat only when they personally benefit. For example, my parents were suburban public school teachers. They voted for Democrats at the state level because the Democrats supported better pay and benefits for teachers but voted for Republicans like Goldwater and Reagan at the national level because Republicans would keep their federal taxes lower. They had no political philosophy. It was all about what left them financially better off. My parents also got on well with their suburban neighbors. Suburbanites generally like their local school system and its teachers and the suburban school systems are usually careful not to engage in teaching anything controversial. A lot of the government employed white middle class would be like my parents. Except in situations where specific Republicans talk about major cuts to their pay and pensions they are perfectly willing to consider voting Republican. They are generally social moderates, like the status quo, are fairly traditionalist and don't want any radical changes. Since the Democrats seem be trending in a radical direction, this would put off a lot of them. Trump would be more appealing as the status quo candidate. When running the last time, he carefully avoided talking about any major cuts in government spending and he's governed that way too. At the same time, his talk of cutting immigration, his lack of enthusiasm for nonwhite affirmative action, and his more traditional views on social issues is appealing to the white middle class.
anon [201] • Disclaimer , says: November 9, 2019 at 8:33 pm GMT
Wealth held by the top 1% is now close to equal or greater than wealth held by the entire middle class.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-09/one-percenters-close-to-surpassing-wealth-of-u-s-middle-class

Something similar was seen in the 1890's, the "gilded age". This is one reason why Warren's "wealth tax" has traction among likely voters.

WorkingClass , says: November 9, 2019 at 11:55 pm GMT
The term middle class is used in the U.S. to mean middle income. It has nothing to do with class. Why not just say what you mean? Most of the middle class that we say is disappearing is really that rarest of phenomenons. A prosperous working class. The prosperous American working class is no longer prosperous due to the Neoliberal agenda. Free trade, open borders and the financialization of everything.

Americans know nothing of class dynamics. Not even the so called socialists. They don't even see the economy. All they see is people with infinite need and government with infinite wealth. In their world all of Central America can come to the U.S. and the government (if it only wants to) can give them all homes, health care and education.

Lets stop saying class when we mean income. Not using the word class would be better than abusing it.

Anyway. Yes. Middle Class denotes white people. The coalition of the fringes is neither working, middle nor ruling class. They are black or brown. They are perverts or feminists. If the workers among them identified as working class they would find common ground with the Deplorables. We can't have that now can we.

Rosie , says: November 10, 2019 at 2:21 am GMT
@Audacious Epigone

Are we to the point where we've collectively resigned ourselves to the death of the middle class?

In the neoliberal worldview, the middle class is illegitimate, existing only as a consequence of artificial trade and immigration barriers. Anytime Americans are spied out making a good living, there is a "shortage" that must be addressed with more visas. Or else there is an "inefficiency" where other countries could provide said service or produce said product for less because they have a "comparative advantage."

Rosie , says: November 10, 2019 at 2:25 am GMT
@WorkingClass

Anyway. Yes. Middle Class denotes white people. The coalition of the fringes is neither working, middle nor ruling class. They are black or brown. They are perverts or feminists. If the workers among them identified as working class they would find common ground with the Deplorables. We can't have that now can we.

I don't know about that anymore. Increasingly, "middle class" means Asian, with Whiteness being associated with the lower middle class (or perhaps "working class"). Sometimes the media uses the term " noncollege Whites," which I think is actually very apt. They are the ones who identify with Whiteness the most.

[Nov 10, 2019] Liz Warren's Trans Train Whistlestop

At least Warren offers me something positive along with usual neoliberal "identity wedge" idiocy ;-).
Nov 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Thank you, @BlackWomxnFor ! Black trans and cis women, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people are the backbone of our democracy and I don't take this endorsement lightly. I'm committed to fighting alongside you for the big, structural change our country needs. https://t.co/KqWsVoRYMb

-- Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 7, 2019

Well, that's clarifying. "Backbone of our democracy." That's about what you would expect a Harvard faculty member to say.

JoeMerl 2 days ago • edited

People need to remember that we literally didn't even have democracy until the trans movement started and finally brought us to The Right Side of History.

[Nov 09, 2019] This should put the kobosh in Warren saying she is a progressive

Nov 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

snoopydawg on Thu, 11/07/2019 - 9:25pm

Bain Capital was co-founded by Mitt Romney.

Deval Patrick is a Managing Director.

Elizabeth Warren wants Patrick in her administration. @EmmaVigeland @atrios @NomikiKonst @_michaelbrooks @BernieBroStar

-- Eric J - #Bernie2020 (@EricJafMN) November 8, 2019

Deval Patrick served on the board at subprime mortgage giant Ameriquest. Melody Barnes is on the board at bigwig defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Textbook cases of the revolving door corruption Warren frequently attacks. https://t.co/KU3Ct3j9eC

-- Zach Carter (@zachdcarter) November 8, 2019

If she really cared about the policies she is running on she would have endorsed Bernie. Period. It was during the primary that Hillary said, "single payer will never ever happen here."

Bernie was running on it and yet Warren did not endorse him for it. If she actually wants to help us she would drop out and tell people to vote for Bernie. Sure everyone has the right to run for president, but we know or believe that she is only running to keep Bernie from becoming president.

She is lying to us about not taking money from rich people and corporations because she took their money for her senate campaign and transferred it to her presidential campaign. If she isn't up front about this then how can we trust her on anything else?

Chuck Todd is such a tool

My jaw is on the floor.

Elites eliting about elites while elitseplaining to working Americans about how they are going to vote for some elites and beat the Republicans elite. https://t.co/l0W8QPUT0E

-- Nomiki Konst(@NomikiKonst) November 8, 2019

"Who is to the left of Bloomberg on guns and climate change?" Hmm let me think...of course it's not Biden. Nor Harris...Kilobits.... Buttigieg or even Warren. Doh!

[Nov 09, 2019] Warren called herself a teacher, really pushed her teacher history, and asked "Are there any teachers in the crowd", etc etc. It was so fake and pandering. I wanted to barf.

Nov 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

petal , November 8, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Warren did that(what Alex Thompson tweeted about) at her town hall here. Called herself a teacher, really pushed her teacher history, and asked "Are there any teachers in the crowd", etc etc. It was so fake and pandering. I wanted to barf. Do people really fall for this stuff? The folksy garbage was poured on mighty thick. I was sitting there thinking "Come on, lady-you've been a professor at the highest profile law school in the country for how long now?"

Lambert Strether Post author , November 8, 2019 at 2:33 pm

> The folksy garbage was poured on mighty thick.

Lime green Jello with marshmallows. That's the sort of thing I think of. Food I'd avoid at a church basement supper if at all possible.

petal , November 8, 2019 at 2:49 pm

Yep.
It's funny-I spent 10 years at Harvard, and I lived near The Yard and the law school. I knew a lot of faculty at H, and was privy to a lot of the politics that went on. My bs detector was honed there. At the town hall, I could see right through her. It was all so familiar. Don't underestimate the cunning and doublespeak. What is that quote-"When someone shows you who they are, believe them"?

Pavel , November 8, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Why didn't she proclaim her great groundbreaking achievement of being Harvard's "first woman of color" professorial appointment? Isn't she proud of that any more?

Dog, that woman seems to be in a race to seem the least authentic. Can't her staff tell her to act natural?

After I post this comment, I'm gonna get me a beer.

Phillip Allen , November 8, 2019 at 8:16 pm

"Can't her staff tell her to act natural?"

Why assume that what we see isn't her natural self, such as it is? Or, rather, that there's anything more genuinely human underneath the pandering, opportunistic surface? As Petal cited above, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them."

[Nov 09, 2019] They're gettin' the old gang back together

Nov 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

lotlizard on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 1:12am

@on the cusp
Debbie Wasserman Schultz could come roaring back as House Appropriations Committee chair.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article236811358.html

[Nov 09, 2019] Post-Cold War Triumphalism and Kennan's Warning by Daniel Larison

Nov 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew Bacevich describes how the U.S. learned all the wrong lessons from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War:

You won't hear it from any of the candidates vying to succeed Trump, but we are still haunted by our false conception of the Cold War. On the stump, politicians get away with reciting comforting clichés about the imperative of American global leadership. Yet the time for believing such malarkey is long gone.

An essential first step toward recoupling national security policy and reason is to see the Cold War for what it was: not a "long, twilight struggle" ending in victory, but a vast and costly tragedy that inflicted needless suffering, brought humankind absurdly close to extinction, and from which U.S. policymakers have drawn all the wrong lessons.

The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall offers an occasion not for celebration but for somber and long overdue reflection.

One of the wrong lessons that U.S. policymakers drew from the events of 1989-1991 was that the U.S. was chiefly responsible for ending and "winning" the Cold War, which inevitably overestimated our government's capabilities and effectiveness in affecting the political fortunes of other parts of the world. The far more critical and important role of the peoples of central and eastern Europe and the Soviet Union itself in overthrowing the system that had oppressed them was pushed into the background as much as possible. The U.S. took credit for their success and policymakers frequently attributed the outcome to the policies of the late Cold War rather than to the deficiencies and failings of the other system. After waging stalemated and failed wars in the name of anticommunism, U.S. policymakers wanted to be able to claim that they had "won" something, and so they declared victory for something that they hadn't caused.

The period that followed the dissolution of the USSR was one of triumphalism, expansion, and overreach. The U.S. not only congratulated itself for achieving something that was accomplished by others, but it also assumed that it could achieve similar results in other parts of the world. If NATO had been a great success as a defensive alliance, the "thinking" went, why shouldn't it continue and expand to include many more countries? If the U.S. was supposedly able to bring down the Soviet Union, why shouldn't it do the same to authoritarian regimes elsewhere? Absent the check on ambition and hubris that a superpower rival provided, the U.S. was free to run amok and do whatever it liked without regard for the consequences. That triumphalism sowed the seeds for many of the more significant post-Cold War failures that we have witnessed since then. Even today, that same overconfidence encourages U.S. policymakers to flirt with the idea of engaging in another Cold War-style rivalry with a more formidable state in China.

George Kennan presciently warned against the triumphalism that he saw around him as early as 1992. At that time, he was responding directly to the claims from Republicans that Reagan and his policies had "won" the Cold War:

The suggestion that any American administration had the power to influence decisively the course of a tremendous domestic-political upheaval in another great country on another side of the globe is intrinsically silly and childish. No great country has that sort of influence on the internal developments of any other one.

Kennan went on to say that the militarization of U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War was a boon to Soviet hard-liners and in that way helped prolong it:

The extreme militarization of American discussion and policy, as promoted by hard-line circles over the ensuing 25 years, consistently strengthened comparable hard-liners in the Soviet Union.

The more America's political leaders were seen in Moscow as committed to an ultimate military rather than political resolution of Soviet-American tensions, the greater was the tendency in Moscow to tighten the controls by both party and police, and the greater the braking effect on all liberalizing tendencies in the regime. Thus the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980's.

Whenever hawks talk about "winning" the Cold War, they invariably mean that it was the militarized policies they favored that carried the day, but Kennan reminded us that this was not so. In fact, a militarized foreign policy perpetuated the struggle by providing Soviet hard-liners with a plausible foreign threat that they could use to justify their own policies and to clamp down on internal dissent. We have seen the same thing repeated several times in the last thirty years on a smaller scale with other governments. The most aggressive and confrontational policies unwittingly aid authoritarian regimes by giving them an external enemy that they can use to deflect attention from their own failings and as a pretext for the consolidation of power at home.

Kennan was already telling us shortly after the Cold War ended that no one had "won" it:

Nobody -- no country, no party, no person -- "won" the cold war. It was a long and costly political rivalry, fueled on both sides by unreal and exaggerated estimates of the intentions and strength of the other party [bold mine-DL]. It greatly overstrained the economic resources of both countries, leaving both, by the end of the 1980's, confronted with heavy financial, social and, in the case of the Russians, political problems that neither had anticipated and for which neither was fully prepared.

We can all be grateful that the Cold War ended, but we shouldn't delude ourselves with talk of victory. Not only is it inaccurate, but it encourages the worst kinds of overreach and arrogance that has led to several serious foreign policy failures in the decades that have followed. Kennan warned us almost thirty years ago not to go down this path of triumphalism, and as so often happened Americans ignored Kennan's wisdom.

Kennan concluded with the same idea that Bacevich stated at the end of his op-ed:

That the conflict should now be formally ended is a fit occasion for satisfaction but also for sober re-examination of the part we took in its origin and long continuation. It is not a fit occasion for pretending that the end of it was a great triumph for anyone, and particularly not one for which any American political party could properly claim principal credit.

American policymakers are not known for sober re-examination and acknowledgment of error, but these are exactly the things that are needed if we are to stop making the same blunders and learning the wrong lessons from the past. Kennan and Bacevich's advice is just as timely and important today as it was twenty-seven years ago. Perhaps this time we should pay attention and listen to it.

[Nov 07, 2019] Note on the the degradation of the elite.

Notable quotes:
"... There is a collection of Democratic and Republican politicians and think tanks funded by various corporations and governments and bureaucrats in the government agencies mostly all devoted to the Empire, but also willing to stab each other in the back to obtain power. They don't necessarily agree on policy details. ..."
"... They don't oppose Trump because Trump is antiwar. Trump isn't antiwar. Or rather, he is antiwar for three minutes here and there and then he advocates for war crimes. ..."
"... He is a fairly major war criminal based on his policies in Yemen. But they don't oppose him for that either or they would have been upset by Obama. They oppose Trump because he is incompetent, unpredictable and easily manipulated. And worst of all, he doesn't play the game right, where we pretend we intervene out of noble humanitarian motives. This idiot actually say he wants to keep Syrian oil fields and Syria's oil fields aren't significant to anyone outside Syria. ..."
"... Our policies are influenced in rather negative ways by various foreign countries, but would be embarrassed to go to the extremes one regularly sees from liberals talking about Russian influence ..."
Nov 07, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Donald 11.07.19 at 4:37 am 64

" In a sense, the current NeoMcCartyism (Russophobia, Sinophobia) epidemic in the USA can partially be viewed as a yet another sign of the crisis of neoliberalism: a desperate attempt to patch the cracks in the neoliberal façade using scapegoating -- creation of an external enemy to project the problems of the neoliberal society.

I would add another, pretty subjective measure of failure: the degradation of the elite. When you look at Hillary, Trump, Biden, Warren, Harris, etc, you instantly understand what I am talking about. They all look like the second-rate, if not the third rate politicians. Also, the Epstein case was pretty symbolic."

I had decided to stay on the sidelines for the most part after making a few earlier comments, but I liked this summary, except I would give Warren more credit. She is flawed like most politicians, but she has made some of the right enemies within the Democratic Party.

On Trump and " the Deep State", there is no unified Deep State. There is a collection of Democratic and Republican politicians and think tanks funded by various corporations and governments and bureaucrats in the government agencies mostly all devoted to the Empire, but also willing to stab each other in the back to obtain power. They don't necessarily agree on policy details.

They don't oppose Trump because Trump is antiwar. Trump isn't antiwar. Or rather, he is antiwar for three minutes here and there and then he advocates for war crimes.

He is a fairly major war criminal based on his policies in Yemen. But they don't oppose him for that either or they would have been upset by Obama. They oppose Trump because he is incompetent, unpredictable and easily manipulated. And worst of all, he doesn't play the game right, where we pretend we intervene out of noble humanitarian motives. This idiot actually say he wants to keep Syrian oil fields and Syria's oil fields aren't significant to anyone outside Syria.

But yes, scapegoating is a big thing with liberals now. It's pathetic. Our policies are influenced in rather negative ways by various foreign countries, but would be embarrassed to go to the extremes one regularly sees from liberals talking about Russian influence .

For the most part, if we have a horrible political culture nearly all the blame for that is homegrown.

Donald 11.07.19 at 4:40 am (no link)

Sigh. Various typos above. Here is one --

Our policies are influenced in rather negative ways by various foreign countries, but would be embarrassed to go to the extremes one regularly sees from liberals talking about Russian influence.
--

I meant to say I would be embarrassed to go to the extremes one regularly sees from liberals talking about Russian influence.

[Nov 06, 2019] Steven Rattner's Rant Against Warren Steven Rattner's Rant Against Warren By Dean Baker

Nov 06, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne said... http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/steven-rattner-s-rant-against-warren

November 5, 2019

Steven Rattner's Rant Against Warren
By Dean Baker

The New York Times gives Steven Rattner * the opportunity to push stale economic bromides in columns on a regular basis. His column ** today goes after Senator Elizabeth Warren.

He begins by telling us that Warren's plan for financing a Medicare for All program is "yet more evidence that a Warren presidency a terrifying prospect." He goes on to warn us:

"She would turn America's uniquely successful public-private relationship into a dirigiste, *** European-style system. If you want to live in France (economically), Elizabeth Warren should be your candidate."

It's not worth going into every complaint in Rattner's piece, and to be clear, there are very reasonable grounds for questioning many of Warren's proposals. However, he deserves some serious ridicule for raising the bogeyman of France and later Germany.

In spite of its "dirigiste" system France actually has a higher employment rate for prime age workers (ages 25 to 54) than the United States. (Germany has a much higher employment rate.) France has a lower overall employment rate because young people generally don't work and people in their sixties are less likely to work.

In both cases, this is the result of deliberate policy choices. In the case of young people, the French are less likely to work because college is free and students get small living stipends. For older workers, France has a system that is more generous to early retirees. One can disagree with both of these policies, but they are not obvious failures. Large segments of the French population benefit from them.

France and Germany both have lower per capita GDP than the United States, but the biggest reason for the gap is that workers in both countries put in many fewer hours annually than in the United States. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an average worker in France puts in 1520 hours a year, in Germany just 1360. That compares to 1780 hours a year in the United States. In both countries five or six weeks a year of vacation are standard, as are paid family leave and paid sick days. Again, one can argue that it is better to have more money, but it is not obviously a bad choice to have more leisure time as do workers in these countries.

Anyhow, the point is that Rattner's bogeymen here are not the horror stories that he wants us to imagine for ordinary workers, even if they may not be as appealing to rich people like himself. Perhaps the biggest tell in this piece is when Rattner warns us that under Warren's proposals "private equity, which plays a useful role in driving business efficiency, would be effectively eliminated."

Okay, the prospect of eliminating private equity, now we're all really scared!

* https://fortune.com/2010/12/30/ex-car-czar-steve-rattner-settles-pay-to-play-scandal/

** https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/opinion/medicare-warren-plan.html

*** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirigisme

Dirigisme is an economic doctrine in which the state plays a strong directive role, as opposed to a merely regulatory role, over a capitalist market economy.

Reply Tuesday, November 05, 2019 at 11:34 AM

[Nov 06, 2019] Nearly two-thirds of the Trump voters who said they voted for Democratic congressional candidates in 2018 say that they'll back the president in hypothetical match-ups against Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren

Nov 06, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , November 05, 2019 at 08:28 AM

Wake up, Democrats https://nyti.ms/32fUM7y
NYT - David Leonhardt - November 5

Maybe this is the wake-up call that Democrats need.

My old colleagues at The Upshot published a poll yesterday (*) that rightly terrified a lot of Democrats (as well as Republicans and independents who believe President Trump is damaging the country). The poll showed Trump with a good chance to win re-election, given his standing in swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida.

This was the sentence, by Nate Cohn, that stood out to me: "Nearly two-thirds of the Trump voters who said they voted for Democratic congressional candidates in 2018 say that they'll back the president" in hypothetical match-ups against Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

Democrats won in 2018 by running a smartly populist campaign, focused on reducing health care costs and helping ordinary families. The candidates avoided supporting progressive policy dreams that are obviously unpopular, like mandatory Medicare and border decriminalization.

The 2020 presidential candidates are making a grave mistake by ignoring the lessons of 2018. I'm not saying they should run to the mythical center and support widespread deregulation or corporate tax cuts (which are also unpopular). They can still support all kinds of ambitious progressive ideas -- a wealth tax, universal Medicare buy-in and more -- without running afoul of popular opinion. They can even decide that there are a couple of issues on which they are going to fly in the face of public opinion.

But if they're going to do that, they also need to signal in other ways that they care about winning the votes of people who don't consider themselves very liberal. Democrats, in short, need to start treating the 2020 campaign with the urgency it deserves, because a second Trump term would be terrible for the country.

What would more urgency look like? Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders would find some way to acknowledge and appeal to swing voters. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would offer more of a vision than either has to date. Pete Buttigieg, arguably the best positioned to take advantage of this moment, would reassure Democrats who are understandably nervous about his lack of experience. And perhaps Cory Booker or Amy Klobuchar can finally appeal to more of Biden's uninspired supporters. ...

* One Year From Election, Trump Trails Biden but
Leads Warren in Battlegrounds https://nyti.ms/2NDDeNb
NYT - Nate Cohn - November 4 - Updated

[Nov 06, 2019] Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one

Highly recommended!
Nov 06, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.06.19 at 4:07 am 47

@Z 11.05.19 at 9:23 am @45

It seems to me an important tenet of the neoliberal ideology is the arbiter (or auctioneer) role it gives the state and other political institutions with respect to markets. Markets are the locus of justice and efficiency, but political institutions have the essential task of organizing them and the competitions that takes place within them, supposedly at least.

In practice, this translated in a central role of political power not only in privatizing and breaking state monopolies, but also in the creation, sometimes ex nihilo, of markets supervised by state or quasi-state agencies (shielded of electoral choices by regulatory or ideally constitutional provisions) whose role was to organize concurrence in domains classical liberal economic theory would consider natural monopolies or natural public properties (education, health service, energy distribution, infrastructure of transportation, telecommunication, postal and banking service etc.)

What an excellent and deep observation ! Thank you ! This is the essence of the compromises with financial oligarchy made by failing social democratic parties. Neoliberalism is kind of Trotskyism for the rich in which the political power is used to shape the society "from above". As Hayek remarked on his visit to Pinochet's Chile – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism".

George Monblot observed that "Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one." ( The Guardian, Apr 15, 2016):

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

The free (as in absence of regulation for FIRE) market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers (10% vs 90%) – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Trump. Now entrenched centers of "resistance" (and first of all CIA, the Justice Department, The Department of State and a part of Pentagon) are trying to reverse the situation. Failing to understand that they created Trump and each time will reproduce it in more and more dangerous variant.

Trumpism is the inevitable result of the gap between the utopian ideal of the free (for the FIRE sector only ) market and the dystopian reality for the majority of the population ("without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape" Pope Francis, "Evangelii Gaudium")

The situation in which the financial sector generates just 4% of employment, but accounts for more than 25% of corporate profits is unsustainable. It should be reversed and it will be reversed.

[Nov 04, 2019] The core of the neoliberal program is not simply to "remove the state." Rather, neoliberalism aims to promote the capability of capital to range globally and make a profit anywhere it can without such impediments as might be erected by national politicians and populations and neutralizes the governments of nation-states within supranational institutions like the WTO, the IMF, GATT -- and the EU

Nov 04, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Mark Pontin 11.02.19 at 6:46 pm 3

3 )
JQ wrote: 'The EU is inherently social democratic in its structure It is true that the European social democracies have given some ground, notably with respect to privatisation, but no genuinely neoliberal party has arisen or seems likely to.'

Back in the real world, here's a study from the LANCET, the medical journal --

'The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016'
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0/fulltext

To precis it very roughly, 50,000 or so Greeks died because of the EU's imposition of its austerity policies on Greece. In other words, they died because Merkel in Germany and Hollande in France were unwilling to tell their electorates they were bailing out German and French banks, and so the bailout to those banks was carried out through the backdoor of Greece with 92-93 percent of those funds going straight to commercial financial institutions in Northern Europe and never touching the Greek economy.

Moreover, this was done at the same time that Mario Draghi at the ECB was initiating his policy of doing "whatever it takes" in terms of quantitative easing. The entire Greek debt would turn out to be less than a couple months of ECB money printing.

With blazing clarity, then, Greece tells us just what the EU is when the chips aren't even down. Thereby, we come to the question at hand: What is neoliberalism?

The core of the neoliberal program is _not_ simply to "remove the state altogether from 'non-core' functions such as the provision of infrastructure services' and 'minimise the state role in core functions (health, education, income security) through contracting out, voucher schemes and so on'.

Rather, neoliberalism aims to promote the capability of capital to range globally and make a profit anywhere it can without such impediments as might be erected by national politicians and populations -- impediments like policies of redistribution or the (re)nationalization of basic infrastructure. To this end, neoliberalism embeds and neutralizes the governments of nation-states within supranational institutions like the WTO, the IMF, GATT -- and the EU.

_That_ is the core of the neoliberal program. And, again, its very clear that from its beginnings as the European Coal and Steel Community and the EEC, the EU was carefully designed by its founders to be a neoliberal organization -- or an ordoliberal one, if we wish to split hairs, given that many of those responsible subscribed to the German flavor of neoliberalism.

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

'Ordoliberalism is the German variant of social liberalism that emphasizes the need for the state to ensure that the free market produces results close to its theoretical potential. Ordoliberal ideals became the foundation of the creation of the post-World War II German social market economy and its attendant Wirtschaftswunder' .

To conclude: the European Union is arguably _the_ most quintessentially neoliberal organization in the world today. Wolfgang Streek and Quinn Slobodian, among others, give authoritative accounts of all this and how it's played out.

Donald 11.03.19 at 9:01 pm (no link)
Here is a good piece --

https://jacobinmag.com/2019/11/neoliberalism-term-meaning-democratic-party-jonathan-chait

For those of us who can actually remember political arguments made by Democrats in the 80's and 90's, it's ridiculous to say that neoliberalism in the US never existed except as a term of abuse.

People bragged about being a new type of sophisticated market loving Democrat in sharp contrast to old liberal dinosaurs like Tip O'Neill. Cranky Observer mentioned Charles Peters and the Washington Monthly.

There was also The New Republic -- remember the joke " even the liberal New Republic" supports conservative policy X? The point was they took pleasure in being Third Way style neoliberals who were often hawkish on foreign policy and eager to question liberal Democratic pieties, to the point it became a cliche that Republicans would cite them.

The New Republic and The Washington Monthly were neoliberal the way Commentary was neoconservative. ( There was also a period where you weren't supposed to believe there were such people as neocons. It was supposed to be an antisemitic code word.)

I think the idea that neoliberalism never existed in the US except as a term of abuse from leftists first popped up in the 2016 Democratic primaries. I don't have a cite -- it's just my recollection.

[Nov 03, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Releases $20.5 Trillion Plan to Pay

Nov 03, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , November 01, 2019 at 07:34 AM

Elizabeth Warren Releases $20.5 Trillion Plan to Pay
for 'Medicare for All' https://nyti.ms/2N9lI4F
NYT - Thomas Kaplan, Abby Goodnough
and Margot Sanger-Katz - November 1

WASHINGTON -- Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday proposed $20.5 trillion in new spending through huge tax increases on businesses and wealthy Americans to pay for "Medicare for all," laying out details for a landmark government expansion that will pose political risks for her presidential candidacy while also allowing her to say she is not raising taxes on the middle class to pay for her health care plan.

Ms. Warren, who has risen steadily in the polls with strong support from liberals excited about her ambitious policy plans, has been under pressure from top rivals like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to release details about paying for her biggest plan, "Medicare for all." Her new proposal marks a turning point for her campaign, in which she will have to sell voters on a tax-and-spending plan that rivals the ambitions of the New Deal and the Great Society while also defending it against both Democratic and Republican criticism.

Under Ms. Warren's plan, employer-sponsored health insurance -- which more than half of Americans now receive -- would be eliminated and replaced by free government health coverage for all Americans, a fundamental shift from a market-driven system that has defined health care in the United States for decades but produced vast inequities in quality, service and cost.

Ms. Warren would use a mix of sources to pay for the $20.5 trillion in new spending over a decade, including by requiring employers to pay trillions of dollars to the government, replacing much of what they currently spend to provide health coverage to workers. She would create a tax on financial transactions like stock trades, change how investment gains are taxed for the top 1 percent of households and ramp up her signature wealth tax proposal to be steeper on billionaires. She also wants to cut $800 billion in military spending.

Ms. Warren's estimate for the cost of Medicare for all relies on an aggressive set of assumptions about how to lower national health care costs while providing comprehensive coverage to all Americans. Like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, she would essentially eliminate medical costs for individuals, including premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Critically, her new plan would not raise taxes on middle-class Americans, a question she has been asked over and over but has not answered directly until now. When confronted on the campaign trail and debate stage, she emphasized instead that her plan would result in higher overall costs for wealthy people and big corporations but lower costs for middle-class families. ...

"A key step in winning the public debate over Medicare for all will be explaining what this plan costs -- and how to pay for it," Ms. Warren wrote in her plan. To do that, she added, "We don't need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny."

The issue of health care helped Democrats win control of the House in last year's midterm elections, after unsuccessful attempts by President Trump and Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It has been a central issue again this year as Ms. Warren and other Democrats have competed for their party's presidential nomination, highlighting a divide on policy between the party's moderates and its liberal wing that favors transformative change. ...

Ms. Warren's proposal shows just how large a reorganization of spending Medicare for all represents. By eliminating private health insurance and bringing every American into a federal system, trillions of dollars of spending by households, employers and state governments would be transferred into the federal budget over the course of a decade.

Her financing plan is based on cost estimates that are on the low side, relative to those from other serious economists who have assessed the program. Her estimate of $20.5 trillion over 10 years is based on a recent cost model by the Urban Institute, but with several different assumptions that lower the cost from Urban's estimate of $34 trillion over the same period.

Ms. Warren attempts to minimize fiscal disruption by asking the big payers in the current system to keep paying for health care through new taxes. She would create a new "employer Medicare contribution" that would effectively redirect what employers are already paying to health insurers, totaling $8.8 trillion over a decade. Small businesses would be exempt if they are not currently paying for their employees' health care.

Ms. Warren has also proposed that states pay the federal government much of what they currently spend to cover state workers and low-income residents under the Medicaid program.

But she also describes new revenue streams to replace the other big chunk of health spending: the money spent by households on premiums, deductibles and direct payments for services like dental care that are not always covered by insurance.

Ms. Warren would raise $3 trillion in total from two proposals to tax the richest Americans. She has previously said that her wealth tax proposal, another signature of her campaign, would impose a 3 percent annual tax on net worth over $1 billion; she would now raise that to 6 percent. She would also change how investment gains are taxed for the top 1 percent of households.

In addition to imposing a tax on financial transactions, she would also make changes to corporate taxation. She is counting on stronger tax enforcement to bring in $2.3 trillion in taxes that would otherwise go uncollected. And she is banking on passing an overhaul of immigration laws -- which itself would be a huge political feat -- and gaining revenue from taxes paid by newly legal residents.

Ms. Warren's plan would put substantial downward pressure on payments to hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies. She expects that an aggressive negotiation system could lower spending on generic medications by 30 percent compared with what Medicare pays now, for example, and spending on prescription drugs could fall by 70 percent. Payments to hospitals would be 10 percent higher on average than what Medicare pays now, a rate that would make some hospitals whole but would lead to big reductions for others. She would reduce doctors' pay to the prices Medicare pays now, with additional reductions for specialists, and small increases to doctors who provide primary care. ...

Ending the Stranglehold of Health Care
Costs on American Families by @ewarren
https://link.medium.com/8Jx43ukfg1

Elizabeth Warren releases Medicare for All
plan, promising no middle class tax increase
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/11/01/elizabeth-warren-released-detailed-plan-raise-trillon-pay-for-medicare-for-all-promising-middle-class-taxes-won-increase-one-penny/yWXQ1gsnfxwZ7T2UAqzr6I/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

point -> Fred C. Dobbs... , November 01, 2019 at 09:51 AM
This seems almost uniformly great. I only have two quibbles.

One is that a 6% wealth tax is actually too high, confiscatory even. The reason is that if expected ROI is about 6%, the tax takes all the expected return. In perpetuity that is equivalent to taking the entire net worth. Property tax is a pretty good guide here, 1-1.5% works, perhaps a bit more.

Two is that the slant shows up immediately with this reporter. One example: "Ms. Warren would use a mix of sources to pay for the $20.5 trillion in new spending over a decade..." Note the use of "new spending". This may make sense if the subject is limited to government spending, but we all know the game is to distract from the good lowered-aggregate spending and emphasize the component spent by the evil government. We may see much more of this misdirection including by primary opponents.

She is basically proposing to municipalize the entire payment flows for healthcare, much as proposals now exist for California to municipalize PG&E, both excellent ideas.

Paine -> Fred C. Dobbs... , November 01, 2019 at 06:20 PM
This is a nice threat
But a universal public option is all we need here immediately
That and a Medicaid increase
funded by a wealth tax

Beyond that we need health cost cap and trade
Something not on the agenda of pols

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , November 01, 2019 at 08:54 PM
Five takeaways from Elizabeth
Warren's Medicare for All plan
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/11/01/five-takeaways-from-elizabeth-warren-medicare-for-all-plan/0xQAuKT7f3p8gCggtCkZ3O/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Christina Prignano - November 1

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday released her proposal to pay for Medicare for All, a plan to move every American to government-run health insurance that would reshape the US health care system.

Warren's plan, outlined in a 9,275-word Medium post, included complex ideas for paying for health care costs after private insurance is ended . It's a lot to digest, so here are five takeaways.

Much of it is based on the Medicare for All Act
The plan released by Warren on Friday is primarily aimed at answering the question of how to pay for single-payer health care. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of how her health care plan would work, Warren points to the existing Medicare for All Act, that "damn bill" Senator Bernie Sanders colorfully reminded debate viewers that he wrote.

Under the Medicare for All Act, introduced by Sanders in April and cosponsored by Warren, all US residents would be automatically enrolled in a national health care plan administered by the federal government. In addition to traditional medical coverage, the Medicare for All Act includes vision and dental, plus long-term care services.

It relies on a lot of assumptions

At the outset, Warren acknowledges that it's difficult to predict what health care costs will be in the future, and she notes that current projections about how much Medicare for All would cost vary widely. Because the Medicare for All Act leaves open questions about how the single-payer system would work, including major ones like the amount that health care providers would be compensated, Warren fills in the gaps to arrive at a total cost estimate. Outside analysts, including two local experts, cited by Warren estimate her plan would result in overall US health care costs that are slightly lower than what the nation currently spends.

Arriving at a specific cost allows Warren to figure out how she will pay for it, and there are some assumptions here, too.

To fund the plan without increasing taxes on the middle class, Warren relies on enacting seemingly unrelated legislation, including immigration reform. The pathway to citizenship for millions of people in her immigration proposal would add to the tax base. Warren also wants to cut defense spending.

There aren't new middle class taxes, but there are hikes for businesses and the wealthy

Warren announced her Medicare for All plan with a major promise not to increase taxes on the middle class, but that doesn't mean some taxes won't go up. After accounting for existing federal spending and health care spending by employers that would be redirected to the government, there's still a big hole. Warren fills it by levying new taxes and closing loopholes in ways that target financial firms and large corporations. She also increases her previously proposed wealth tax.

Some businesses would be hit harder than others. As Vox points out, if Warren asks businesses to send their existing employee health insurance payments to the government, businesses that currently provide inadequate insurance, or no insurance at all, fare much better than those that provide good insurance coverage. That sets up a kind of penalty for businesses that offer health coverage: They're helping pick up the tab for Medicare for All, but they no longer have an advantage in attracting top talent with generous benefits.

Under Warren's plan, that situation is temporary as businesses would eventually pay into the system at the same rate. And Warren says employers ultimately will be better off because they won't get hit with unpredictable changes in health care costs.

It would be difficult to implement

Moving every single American to a new health care plan is a massive endeavor, so much so that Warren says she'll release an entirely separate plan that deals with how to handle the transition.

The transition has become a sticking point in the Democratic primary, with moderates like former vice president Joe Biden using the lengthy time period (Sanders' plan says it would take four years) as a reason to oppose it altogether.

And then there's the problem of passing such legislation: During the debate around the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a proposed public option to allow people to buy into a government-run health care plan nearly sunk the entire bill, and was stripped out of the landmark legislation. The episode underscored the difficulty of implementing a government-run health care program, even one popular with voters.

Warren has a plan for that, though. She wants to get rid of the filibuster, meaning the Senate would need a simple majority to pass legislation, rather than the 60 votes currently required to stop debate.

Warren has been reluctant to go on the offensive, but that may be changing

As she rose in the polls, Warren resisted leveling direct attacks against her primary opponents. Warren's style has been to rail against the concept of big money fueling a campaign, rather than directly criticizing individual candidates who have taken cash from high-dollar fund-raisers.

But there are hints that this could be changing. Warren's lengthy Medicare for All plan includes rebuttals to the criticism she's gotten from the moderate wing of the primary field, calling on candidates who oppose her plan to explain how they would cover everyone.

"Make no mistake -- any candidate who opposes my long-term goal of Medicare for All and refuses to answer these questions directly should concede that they have no real strategy for helping the American people address the crushing costs of health care in this country. We need plans, not slogans," she wrote.

Paine -> Fred C. Dobbs... , November 02, 2019 at 05:55 AM
Declaring war on corporate America

The corporate health sub system
Intimately involves
the entire corporate system
We are on course toward
20 % of our economic output
Flowing thru our domestic
health services and products sectors

Where is the cost control mechanism

Simply in part
Progressively resourcing
And rechanneling the inflow of funds
Addresses a result not a cause

We have to address costs

We need a cap and trade market system

With a cap sector to GDP ratio that
Slowly squeezes down
the relative costs of the health sector

Enter stage left

a colander Lerner mark up market system

Paine -> Paine... , November 02, 2019 at 06:05 AM
Public option is the transition
That empowers
people themselves
To spontaneous determine
the timing and pattern of
Their own transitioning

Anything else is political folly


Liz has set a bold end state vision
Bravely out laying where we must go eventually
And drawing in
the major shift in the share of
The total social cost burden
to the wealthy classes


But that's an end a destination
not a path

Urge choice not mandates
as the better path

The present corporate cost
burden share
is a mess
That should self dissolve over time

Now we need an optional public system
And
A means to capture the
Present corporate pay ins
Piecemeal over time as employees opt out of corporate plans into publicnplans one by one

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , November 02, 2019 at 02:15 PM
Liz Warren would double her proposed billionaire
wealth tax to help fund 'Medicare for All' https://cnb.cx/332evbX

... Warren's wealth tax proposal would also impose a 2% tax on net worth between $50 million and $1 billion. She has previously said that it would be used to fund her ambitious climate agenda, a slate of investments in child care and reductions in student loan debt.

But Warren is refusing to tax the middle class. She released an analysis produced by several respected economists on Friday that suggests she will not have to.

( https://assets.ctfassets.net/4ubxbgy9463z/27ao9rfB6MbQgGmaXK4eGc/d06d5a224665324432c6155199afe0bf/Medicare_for_All_Revenue_Letter___Appendix.pdf )

Former IMF Chief Economist Simon Johnson, former Labor Department Chief Economist Betsey Stevenson, and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, wrote that Warren could pay for her program "without imposing any new taxes on middle-class families."

The economists cite a number of possible revenue and spending options that they found could generate $20.5 trillion in additional funding. Much of that funding is expected to come from reallocating employer spending on health care and taxing the increased take-home pay that employees are expected to receive under her system.

But taxes on the wealthy form a substantial portion. Doubling the billionaire wealth tax will raise $1 trillion over 10 years, the economists found. They note in their analysis that the calculation assumes a 15% rate of tax avoidance. ...

[Nov 02, 2019] WATCH Udo Ulfkotte – Bought Journalists by Terje Maloy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... We drove for hours through the desert, towards the Iraqi border. Approx. 20-30 kilometers from the border, there really was nothing. First of all no war. There were armored vehicles and tanks, burned-out long ago. The journalist left the bus, splashed the contents of the cans on the vehicles. We had Iraqi soldiers with us as an escort, with machine guns, in uniform. You have to imagine: tanks in a desert, burned out long ago, now put on fire. Clouds of smoke. And there the journalists assemble their cameras. ..."
"... So I gathered courage and asked one of the reporters: 'I understand one thing, they are great pictures, but why are they ducking all the time? ' ..."
"... I'll finish, because I am not here to make satire today. I just want to say that this was my first experience with truth in journalism and war reporting. ..."
"... Then a certain type of reporting is expected. Which one? Forget my newspaper, this applies in general. At the start of the trip, the journalist gets a memo – today it is electronic – in his hand. If you are traveling abroad, it is info about the country, or the speeches that will be held. This file contains roughly what will happen during this trip. In addition there are short conversations, briefings with the politician's press manager. He then explains to you how one views this trip. Naturally, you should see it the same way. No one says it in that way. But is is approximately what one would have reported. ..."
"... He explained that a recruitment board from the intelligence services had participated. But I had no idea that the seminar Introduction to Conflict Studies was arranged by the defense forces and run by the foreign intelligence service BND, to have a closer look at potential candidates among the students, not to commit them. They only asked if they, after four such seminars, possibly could contact me later, in my occupation. ..."
"... Two persons from BND came regularly to the paper, to a visiting room. And there were occasions when the report not only was given, but also that BND had written articles, largely ready to go, that were published in the newspaper under my byline. ..."
"... But a couple of journalists were there, they told about it. Therefore I repeat: Merkel invited the chief editors several times, and told them she didn't want the population to be truthfully and openly informed about the problems out there. For example, the background for the financial crisis. If the citizens knew how things were, they would run to the bank and withdraw their money. So beautifying everything; everything is under control; your savings are safe; just smile and hold hands – everything will be fine. ..."
"... From one hour 18 minutes onwards, Ulfkotte details EU-Inter-State Terror Co-operation, with returning IS Operatives on a Free Pass, fully armed and even Viktor Orban had to give in to the commands of letting Terrorists through Hungary into Germany & Austria. ..."
"... Everybody who works in the MSM, without exception, are bought and paid for whores peddling lies on behalf of globalist corporate interests. ..."
"... Udo's voice (in the form of his book) was silenced for a reason – that being that he spoke the truth about our utterly and completely corrupt Western fantasy world in which we in the West proclaim our – "respect international law" and "respect for human rights." His work, such as this interview and others he has done, pulled the curtain back on the big lie and exposed our oligarchs, politicians and the "journalists" they hire as simply a cadre of professional criminals whose carefully crafted lies are used to soak up the blood and to cover the bodies of the dead, all in order to hide all that mayhem from our eyes, to insure justice is an impossibility and to make sure we Western citizens sleep well at night, oblivious to our connection to the actual realities that are this daily regime of pillage and plunder that is our vaunted "neoliberal order." ..."
"... "The philosopher Diogenes (of Sinope) was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, 'If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.' To which Diogenes replied, 'Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king"." ..."
"... So Roosevelt pushed Hitler to attack Stalin? Hitler didn't want to go East? Revisionism at it most motive free. ..."
"... Pushing' is synonymous for a variety of ways to instigate a desired outcome. Financing is just one way. And Roosevelt was in no way the benevolent knight history twisters like to present him. You are outing yourself again as an easliy duped sheep. ..."
"... Lebensraum was first popularized in 1901 in Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensraum Hitler's "Mein Kampf" ( 1925) build on that: he had no need for any American or other push, it was intended from the get go. ..."
"... This excellent article demonstrates how the Controlling Elite manipulates the Media and the Message for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objective of securing Global Ownership (aka New World Order). ..."
"... Corporate Journalism is all about corporatism and the continuation of it. If the Intelligence Community needs greater fools for staffing purposes in the corporate hierarchy they look for anyone that can be compromised via inducements of whatever the greater fools want. ..."
"... Bought & paid for corporate Journalists are controlled by the Intelligence Agencies and always have been since at least the Second World War. The CIA typically runs bribery & blackmail at the state & federal level so that when necessary they have instant useless eaters to offer up as political sacrifice when required via state run propaganda, & impression management. ..."
"... Assuming that journalism is an ethical occupation is naïve and a fools' game even in the alternative news domain as all writers write from bias & a lack of real knowledge. Few writers are intellectually honest or even aware of their own limits as writers. The writer is a failure and not a hero borne in myth. Writers struggle to write & publish. Bought and paid for writers don't have a struggle in terms of writing because they are told what to write before they write as automatons for the Intelligence Community knowing that they sold their collective souls to the Prince of Darkness for whatever trinkets, bobbles, or bling they could get their greedy hands on at the time. ..."
"... Once pond scum always pond scum. ..."
"... It is a longer process in which one is gradually introduced to ever more expensive rewards/bribes. Never too big to overwhelm – always just about what one would accept as 'motivation' to omit aspects of any issue. Of course, omission is a lie by any other name, but I can attest to the life style of a journalist that socializes with the leaders of all segments of society. ..."
"... Professional whoring is as old as the hills and twice as dusty. Being ethical is difficult stuff especially when money is involved. Money is always a prime motivator but vanity works wonders too. Corporatists will offer whatever inducements they can to get what they want. ..."
"... All mainstream media voices are selling a media package that is a corporatist lie in and of itself. Truth is less marketable than lies. Embellished news & journalistic hype is the norm ..."
Oct 06, 2019 | off-guardian.org

WATCH: Udo Ulfkotte – Bought Journalists Terje Maloy

Subtitled and transcribed by Terje Maloy

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3ZLgW3hgRBY

In 2014, the German journalist and writer Udo Ulfkotte published a book that created a big stir, describing how the journalistic profession is thoroughly corrupt and infiltrated by intelligence services.

Although eagerly anticipated by many, the English translation of the book, Bought Journalists , does not seem to be forthcoming anytime soon.

[We covered that story at the time – Ed.]

So I have made English subtitles and transcribed this still very relevant 2015-lecture for those that are curious about Ulfkotte's work. It covers many of the subjects described in the book.

Udo Ulfkotte died of a heart attack in January 2017, in all likelihood part of the severe medical complications he got from his exposure to German-made chemical weapons supplied to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

Transcription

[Only the first 49 minutes are translated; the second half of the lecture deals mostly with more local issues]

Introducer Oliver: I am very proud to have such a brave man amongst us: Udo Ulfkotte

Udo Ulfkotte: Thanks Thanks for the invitation Thanks to Oliver. I heard to my great surprise from Oliver that he didn't know someone from the intelligence services (VVS) would be present. I wish him a warm welcome. I don't mean that as a joke, I heard this in advance, and got to know that Oliver didn't know. If he wants – if it is a man – he can wave. If not? no? [laughter from the audience]

I'm fine with that. You can write down everything, or record it; no problem.

To the lecture. We are talking about media. we are talking about truth. I don't want to sell you books or such things. Each one of us asks himself: Why do things develop like they do, even though the majority, or a lot of people shake their heads.

The majority of people in Germany don't want nuclear weapons on our territory. But we have nuclear weapons here. The majority don't want foreign interventions by German soldiers. But we do.

What media narrates and the politicians say, and what the majority of the population believes – seems often obviously to be two different things.

I can tell you this myself, from many years experience. I will start with very personal judgments, to tell you what my experiences with 'The Lying Media' were – I mean exactly that with the word 'lying'.

I was born in a fairly poor family. I am a single child. I grew up on the eastern edge of the Ruhr-area. I studied Law, Political Science and Islamic Studies. Already in my student years, I had contact with the German Foreign Intelligence, BND. We will get back to that later.

From 1986 to 2003, I worked for a major German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), amongst other things as a war reporter. I spent a lot of time in Eastern and African countries.

Now to the subject of lying media. When I was sent to the Iran-Iraq war for the first time, the first time was from 1980 to July 1986, I was sent to this war to report for FAZ. The Iraqis were then 'the good guys'.

I was bit afraid. I didn't have any experience as a war reporter. Then I arrived in Baghdad. I was fairly quickly sent along in a bus by the Iraqi army, the bus was full of loud, experienced war reporters, from such prestigious media as the BBC, several foreign TV-stations and newspapers, and me, poor newbie, who was sent to the front for the first time without any kind of preparation. The first thing I saw was that they all carried along cans of petrol. And I at once got bad consciousness, because I thought: "oops, if the bus gets stuck far from a petrol station, then everyone chips in with a bit of diesel'. I decided to in the future also carry a can before I went anywhere, because it obviously was part of it.

We drove for hours through the desert, towards the Iraqi border. Approx. 20-30 kilometers from the border, there really was nothing. First of all no war. There were armored vehicles and tanks, burned-out long ago. The journalist left the bus, splashed the contents of the cans on the vehicles. We had Iraqi soldiers with us as an escort, with machine guns, in uniform. You have to imagine: tanks in a desert, burned out long ago, now put on fire. Clouds of smoke. And there the journalists assemble their cameras.

It was my first experience with media, truth in reporting.

While I was wondering what the hell I was going to report for my newspaper, they all lined up and started: Behind them were flames and plumes of smoke, and all the time the Iraqis were running in front of camera with their machine guns, casually, but with war in their gaze. And the reporters were ducking all the time while talking.

So I gathered courage and asked one of the reporters: 'I understand one thing, they are great pictures, but why are they ducking all the time? '

'Quite simply because there are machine guns on the audio track, and it looks very good at home.'

That was several decades ago. It was in the beginning of my contact with war. I was thinking, the whole way back:'Young man, you didn't see a war. You were in a place with a campfire. What are you going to tell?'

I returned to Baghdad. There weren't any mobile phones then. We waited in Hotel Rashid and other hotels where foreigners stayed, sometimes for hours for an international telephone line. I first contacted my mother, not my newspaper. I was in despair, didn't know what to do, and wanted to get advice from an elder person.

Then my mother shouted over the phone: 'My boy, you are alive!' I thought: 'How so? Is everything OK?'

'My boy, we thought ' 'What's the matter, mother?' 'We saw on TV what happened around you' TV had already sent lurid stories, and I tried to calm my mother down, it didn't happen like that. She thought I had lost my mind from all the things that had happened in the war – she saw it with her own eyes!

I'll finish, because I am not here to make satire today. I just want to say that this was my first experience with truth in journalism and war reporting.

That is, I was very shocked by the first contact, it was entirely different from what I had experienced. But it wasn't an exceptional case.

In the beginning, I mentioned that I am from a fairly poor family. I had to work hard for everything. I was a single child, my father died when I was young. It didn't matter further on. But, I had a job, I had a degree, a goal in life.

I now had the choice: Should I declare that the whole thing was nonsense, these reports? I was nothing, a newbie straight out of uni, in my first job. Or if I wanted to make money, to continue, look further. I chose the second option. I continued, and that for many years.

Over these years, I gained lots of experience. When one comes from university to a big German newspaper – everything I say doesn't only apply to FAZ, you can take other German or European media. I had contact with other European journalists, from reputable media outlets. I later worked in other media. I can tell you: What I am about to tell you, I really discovered everywhere.

What did I experience? If you, as a reporter, work either in state media financed by forced license fees, or in the big private media companies, then you can't write what you want yourself, what you feel like. There are certain guidelines.

Roughly speaking: everyone knows that you won't, for example in the Springer-newspapers – Bild, die Welt – get published articles extremely critical of Israel. They stand no chance there, because one has to sign a statement that one is pro-Israel, that one won't question the existence of the state of Israel or Israeli points of view, etc.

There are some sort of guidelines in all the big media companies. But that isn't all: I learned very fast that if one doesn't – I don't mean this negatively – want to be stuck in the lower rungs of editors, if one wants to rise; for me this rise was that I was allowed to travel with the Chancellor, ministers, the president and politicians, in planes owned by the state; then one has to keep to certain subjects. I learned that fast.

That is, if one gets to follow a politician – and this hasn't changed to this day – I soon realized that when I followed the president or Chancellor Helmut Kohl etc, one of course isn't invited because your name is Udo Ulfkotte, but because you belong to the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

Then a certain type of reporting is expected. Which one? Forget my newspaper, this applies in general. At the start of the trip, the journalist gets a memo – today it is electronic – in his hand. If you are traveling abroad, it is info about the country, or the speeches that will be held. This file contains roughly what will happen during this trip. In addition there are short conversations, briefings with the politician's press manager. He then explains to you how one views this trip. Naturally, you should see it the same way. No one says it in that way. But is is approximately what one would have reported.

All the time you no one tells you to write it this or that way but you know quite exactly that if you DON'T write it this or that way,then you won't get invited next time. Your media outlet will be invited, but they say 'we don't want him along'. Then you are out.

Naturally you want to be invited. Of course it is wonderful to travel abroad and you can behave like a pig, no one cares. You can buy what you want, because you know that when you return, you won't be checked. You can bring what you want. I had colleagues who went along on a trip to the US.

They brought with them – it was an air force plane – a Harley Davidson, in parts. They sold it when they were back in Germany, and of course earned on it. Anyway, just like the carpet-affair with that development minister, this is of course not a single instance. No one talks about it.

You get invited if you have a certain way of seeing things. Which way to see things? Where and how is this view of the world formed? I very often get asked: 'Where are these people behind the curtain who pulls the wires, so that everything gets told in a fairly similar way?'

In the big media in Germany – just look yourself – who sit in the large transatlantic think-tanks and foundations,the foundation The Atlantic Bridge, all these organizations, and how is one influenced there? I can tell from my own experience.

We mustn't talk only theoretically. I was invited by the think-tank The German Marshall Fund of the United States as a fellow. I was to visit the United States for six weeks. It was fully paid. During these six weeks I could this think-tank has very close connections to the CIA to this day, they acquired contacts in the CIA for me and they got me access to American politicians, to everyone I wanted. Above all, they showered me with gifts.

Already before the journey with German Marshall Fund, I experienced plenty of bought journalism. This hasn't to do with a particular media outlet. You see, I was invited and didn't particularly reflect over it, by billionaires, for example sultan Quabboos of Oman on the Arabian peninsula.

When sultan Qabboos invited, and a poor boy like me could travel to a country with few inhabitants but immense wealth, where the head of state had the largest yachts in the world, his own symphony orchestra which plays for him when he wants – by the way he bought a pub close to Garmisch-Patenkirchen, because he is a Muslim believer, and someone might see him if he drank in his own country, so he rather travels there. The place he bought every day fly in fresh lamb from Ireland and Scotland with his private jet. He is also the head of an environmental foundation.

But this is a digression. If such a person, who is so incredibly rich, invites someone like me, then I arrive first class. I had never traveled first class before. We arrive, and a driver is waiting for me. He carries your suitcase or backpack. You have a suite in the hotel. And from the very start, you are showered with gifts. You get a platinum or gold coin. A hand-weaved carpet or whatever.

I interviewed the sultan, several times. He asked me what I wanted. I answered among other things a diving course. I wanted to learn how to dive. He flew in a PADI-approved instructor from Greece. I was there for two weeks and got my first diving certificate. On later occasions, the sultan flew me in several times, and the diving instructor. I got a certificate as rescue diver, all paid for by the sultan. You see, when one is attended to in such a way, then you know that you are bought. For a certain type of journalism. In the sultan's country, there is no freedom of the press.

There are no human rights. It is illegal to import many writings, because the sultan does not wish so. There are reports about human rights violations, but my eyes are blind. I reported, like all German media when they report about the Sultanate of Oman, to this day, only positive things. The great sultan, who is wonderful. The fantastic country of the fairy tale prince, overshadowing everything else – because I was bought.

Apart from Oman, many others have bought me. They also bought colleagues. I got many invitations through the travel section in my big newspaper. 5-star. The reportage never mentioned that I was bought, by country A or B or C. Yemenia, the Yemeni state airline, invited me to such a trip.

I didn't report about the dirt and dilapidation in the country, because I was influenced by this treatment, I only reported positively, because I wanted to come back. The Yemenis asked me when I had returned to Frankfurt what I wished In jest, I said "your large prawns, from the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean, they were spectacular.", from the seaport of Mocha (Mocha-coffee is named after it). Two days later, Yemenia flew in a buffet for the editorial office, with prawns and more.

Of course we were bought. We were bought in several ways. In your situation: when you buy a car or something else, you trust consumer tests. Look closer. How well is the car tested? I know of no colleagues, no journalists, who do testing of cars, that aren't bribed – maybe they do exist.

They get unlimited access to a car from the big car manufacturers, with free petrol and everything else. I had a work car in my newspaper, if not, I might have exploited this. I had a BMW or Mercedes in the newspaper. But there are, outside the paper, many colleagues who only have this kind of vehicle all year round. They are invited to South Africa, Malaysia, USA, to the grandest travels, when a new car is presented.

Why? So that they will write positively about the car. But it doesn't say in these reports "Advertisement from bought journalists".

But that is the reality. You should also know – since we are on the subjects of tests – who owns which test magazines? Who owns the magazine Eco-test? It is owned by the Social Democrats. More than a hundred magazines belong to the Social Democrats. It isn't about only one party, but many editorial rooms have political allegiance. Behind them are party political interests.

I mentioned the sultan of Oman and the diving course, and I have mentioned German Marshall Fund. Back to the US and the German Marshall Fund. There one told me, they knew exactly, 'hello, you were on a diving course in Oman ' The CIA knew very precisely. And the CIA also gave me something: The diving gear. I received the diving gear in the United States, and I received in the US, during my 6-week stay there, an invitation from the state of Oklahoma, from the governor. I went there. It was a small ceremony, and I received an honorary citizenship.

I am now honorary citizen of an American state. And in this certificate, it is written that I will only cover the US positively. I accepted this honorary citizenship and was quite proud of it. I proudly told about it to a colleague who worked in the US. He said 'ha, I already have 31 of these honorary citizenships!'

I don't tell about this to be witty, today I am ashamed, really.

I was greedy. I accepted many advantages that a regular citizen at my age in my occupation doesn't have, and shouldn't have. But I perceived it – and that is no excuse – as entirely normal, because my colleagues around me all did the same. But this isn't normal. When journalists are invited to think-tanks in the US, like German Marshall Fund, Atlantic Bridge, it is to 'bring them in line', for in a friendly way to make them complicit, naturally to buy them, to grease them with money.

This has quite a few aspects that one normally doesn't talk about. When I for the first time was in Southern Africa, in the 80s, Apartheid still existed in South Africa, segregated areas for blacks and whites. We didn't have any problems with this in my newspaper, we received fully paid journeys from the Apartheid regime to do propaganda work.

I was invited by the South-African gold industry, coal industry, tourist board. In the first invitation, this trip was to Namibia – I arrived tired to the hotel room in Windhoek and a dark woman lay in my bed. I at once left the room, went down to the reception and said 'excuse me, but the room is already occupied' [laughter from the audience]

Without any fuss I got another room.

Next day at the breakfast table, this was a journalist trip, my colleagues asked me 'how was yours?' Only then I understood what had happened. Until then, I had believed it was a silly coincidence.

With this I want to describe which methods are used, maybe to film journalists in such situations, buy, make dependent. Quite simply to win them over to your side with the most brutal methods, so that they are 'brought in line'.

This doesn't happen to every journalist. It would be a conspiracy theory if I said that behind every journalist, someone pulls the wires.

No. Not everyone has influence over the masses. When you – I don't mean this negatively – write about folk costume societies or if you work with agriculture or politics, why should anyone from the upper political spheres have an interest in controlling the reporting? As far as I know, this doesn't happen at all.

But if you work in one of the big media, and want up in this world, if you want to travel with politicians, heads of state, with CEOs, who also travel on these planes, then it happens. Then you are regularly bought, you are regularly observed.

I said earlier that I already during my study days had contact with the intelligence services.

I will quickly explain this to you, because it is very important for this lecture.

I studied law, Political Science and Islamology, among other places in Freiburg. At the very beginning of my study, just before end of the term, a professor approached me. Professors were then still authority figures.

He came with a brochure, and asked me: 'Mr. Ulfkotte, what are your plans for this vacation?'

I couldn't very well say that I first planned to work a bit at a building site, for then to grab my backpack and see the ocean for the first time in my life, to Italy, 'la dolce vita', flirting with girls, lie on the beach and be a young person.

I wondered how I would break it to him. He then came with a brochure [Ulfkotte imitating professor]: 'I have something for you a seminar, Introduction to Conflict Studies, two weeks in Bonn I am sure you would want to participate!'

I wondered how I would tell this elderly gentleman that I wanted to flirt with girls on the beach. Then he said 'you will get 20 Marks per day as support, paid train journey, money for books 150 Marks You will naturally get board and lodging.' He didn't stop telling me what I would receive.

It buzzed around in my head that I had to achieve everything myself, work hard. I thought 'You have always wanted to participate in a seminar on Introduction to Conflict Studies!'

So I went to Bonn from Freiburg, and I saw other students who had this urge to participate in this seminar. There were also girls one could flirt with, about twenty people. The whole thing was very strange, because we sat in a room like this one, there were desks and a lectern, and there sat some older men and a woman, they always wrote something down. They asked us about things; What we thought of East Germany, we had to do role play.

The whole thing was a bit strange, but it was well paid. We didn't reflect any further. It was very strange that in this house, in Ubierstraße 88 in Bonn, we weren't allowed to go to the second floor. There was a chain over the stairs, it was taboo.

We were allowed to go to the basement, there were constantly replenished supplies of new books that we were allowed to get for free. Ebay didn't exist then, but we could still sell them used. Anyway, it was curious, but at the end of the fortnight, we were allowed to go up these stairs, where we got an invitation to a continuation course in Conflict Studies.

After four such seminars, that is, after two years, someone asked me 'you have probably wondered what we are doing here'.

He explained that a recruitment board from the intelligence services had participated. But I had no idea that the seminar Introduction to Conflict Studies was arranged by the defense forces and run by the foreign intelligence service BND, to have a closer look at potential candidates among the students, not to commit them. They only asked if they, after four such seminars, possibly could contact me later, in my occupation.

They gave me a lot of money. My mother has always taught me to be polite. So I said 'please do', and they came to me. I was then working in the newspaper FAZ from 1986, straight after my studies.

Then the intelligence services came fairly soon to me. Why am I telling you this? The newspaper knew very soon. It is also written in my reference, therefore I can say it loud and clear. I had very close contact with the intelligence service BND.

Two persons from BND came regularly to the paper, to a visiting room. And there were occasions when the report not only was given, but also that BND had written articles, largely ready to go, that were published in the newspaper under my byline.

I highlight certain things to explain them. But if I had said here: 'There are media that are influenced by BND', you could rightly say that 'these are conspiracy theories, can you document it?'

I CAN document it. I can say, this and that article, with my byline in the paper, is written by the intelligence services, because what is written there, I couldn't have known. I couldn't have known what existed in some cave or other in Libya, what secret thing were there, what was being built there. This was all things that BND wanted published. It wasn't like this only in FAZ.

It was like this also in other media. I told about it. If we had rule of law, there would now be an investigation commission. Because the political parties would stand up, regardless of if they are on the left, in the center or right, and say: What this Ulfkotte fella says and claims he can document, this should be investigated. Did this occur in other places? Or is it still ongoing?'

I can tell you: Yes it still exists. I know colleagues who still have this close contact. One can probably show this fairly well until a few years ago. But I would find it wonderful if this investigation commission existed.

But it will obviously not happen, because no one has an interest in doing so. Because then the public would realize how closely integrated politics, media, and the secret services are in this country.

That is, one often sees in reporting, whether it is from the local paper, regional papers, TV-channels, national tabloids and so-called serious papers.

Put them side by side, and you will discover that more than 90% looks almost identical. A lot of subjects and news, that are not being reported at all, or they are – I claim reported very one-sided. One can only explain this if one knows the structures in the background, how media is surrounded, bought and 'brought onboard' by politics and the intelligence services; Where politics and intelligence services form a single unity. There is an intelligence coordinator by the Chancellor.

I can tell you, that under the former coordinator Bernd Schmidbauer, under Kohl, I walked in and out of the Chancellery and received stacks of secret and confidential documents, which I shouldn't have received.

They were so many that we in the newspaper had own archive cabinets for them. Not only did I receive these documents,but Schmidbauer should have been in jail if we had rule of law. Or there should have been a parliamentary commission or an investigation, because he wasn't allowed

For example if I couldn't bring along the documents if the case was too hot, there was another trick. They locked me in a room. In this room were the documents, which I could look through. I could record it all on tape, photograph them or write them down. When I was done, I could call on the intercom, so they could lock me out. There were thousands of these tricks. Anonymous documents that I and my colleagues needed could be placed in my mail box.

These are of course illegal things. BUT, you ONLY get them if you 'toe the line' with politics.

If I had written that Chancellor Helmut Kohl is stupid, a big idiot, or about what Schmidbauer did, I would of course not have received more. That is, if you today, in newspapers, read about 'soon to be revealed exposures, we will publish a big story based on material based on intelligence', then none of these media have dug a tunnel under the security services and somehow got hold of something secret. It is rather that they work so well with intelligence services, with the military counterespionage, the foreign intelligence, police intelligence etc, that if they have got hold of internal documents, it is because they cooperate so well that they received them as a reward for well performed service.

You see, in this way one is in the end bought. One is bought to such a degree that at one point one can't exit this system anymore.

If I describe how you are supplied with prostitutes, bribed with cars, money; I tried to write down everything I received in gifts, everything I was bribed with. I stopped doing so several years ago, more than a decade ago.

It doesn't make it any better, but today I regret everything. But I know that it goes this way with many journalists.

It would make me very happy if journalists stood up and said they won't participate in this any longer, and that they think this is wrong.

But I see no possibility, because media corporations in any case are doing badly. Where should a journalist find work the next day? It isn't so that tens of thousands of employers are waiting for you. It is the other way round. Tens of thousands of journalists are looking for work or commissions.

That is, from pure desperation one is happy to be bribed. If a newsroom stands behind or not an article that in reality is advertising, doesn't matter, one goes along. I know some, even respected journalists, who want to leave this system.

But imagine if you are working in one of the state channels, that you stand up and tell what you have received. How will that be received by your colleagues? That you have political ulterior motives etc.

September 30 [2015], a few days ago, Chancellor Merkel invited all the directors in the state channels to her in the Chancellery. I will claim that she talked with them about how one should report the Chancellors politics. Who of you [in the audience] heard about this incident? 3-4-5? So a small minority. But this is reality. Merkel started already 6 years ago, at the beginning of the financial crisis, to invite chief editors ..she invited chief editors in the large media corporations, with the express wish that media should embellish reality, in a political way. This could have been only claims, one could believe me or not.

But a couple of journalists were there, they told about it. Therefore I repeat: Merkel invited the chief editors several times, and told them she didn't want the population to be truthfully and openly informed about the problems out there. For example, the background for the financial crisis. If the citizens knew how things were, they would run to the bank and withdraw their money. So beautifying everything; everything is under control; your savings are safe; just smile and hold hands – everything will be fine.

In such a way it should be reported. Ladies and gentlemen, what I just said can be documented. These are facts, not a conspiracy theory.

I formulated it a bit satirically, but I ask myself when I see how things are in this country: Is this the democracy described in the Constitution? Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press?

Where one has to be afraid if one doesn't agree with the ruling political correctness, if one doesn't want to get in trouble. Is this the republic our parents and grandparents fought for, that they built?

I claim that we more and more – as citizens – are cowards 'toeing the line', who don't open our mouths.

It is so nice to have plurality and diversity of opinions.

But it is at once clamped down on, today fairly openly.

Of my experiences with journalism, I can in general say that I have quit all media I have to pay for, for the reasons mentioned. Then the question arises, 'but which pay-media can I trust?'

Naturally there are ones I support. They are definitely political, I'll add. But they are all fairly small. And they won't be big anytime soon. But I have quit all big media that I used to subscribe to, Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine, etc. I would like to not having to pay the TV-license fee, without being arrested because I won't pay fines. But maybe someone here in the audience can tell me how to do so without all these problems?

Either way, I don't want to financially support this kind of journalism. I can only give you the advice to get information from alternative, independent media and all the forums that exist.

I'm not advertising for any of them. Some of you probably know that I write for the publishing house Kopp. But there are so many portals. Every person is different in political viewpoint, culturally etc. The only thing uniting us, whether we are black or white, religious or non-religious, right or left, or whatever; we all want to know the truth. We want to know what really happens out there, and exactly in the burning political questions: asylum seekers, refugees, the financial crisis, bad infrastructure, one doesn't know how it will continue. Precisely with this background, is it even more important that people get to know the truth.

And it is to my great surprise that I conclude that we in media, as well as in politics, have a guiding line.

To throw more and more dust in the citizens' eyes to calm them down. What is the sense in this? One can have totally different opinions on the subject of refugees with good reasoning.

But facts are important for you as citizens to decide the future. That is, how many people will arrive? How will it affect my personal affluence? Or will it affect my affluence at all? Will the pensions shrink? etc. Then you can talk with people about this, quite openly. But to say that we should open all borders, and that this won't have any negative consequences, is very strange. What I now say isn't a plug for my books. I know that some of them are on the table in front.

I'm not saying this so that you will buy books. I am saying this for another reason that soon will be clear. I started to write books on certain subjects 18 years ago. They have sold millions. It is no longer about you buying my books. It is important that you hear the titles, then you will see a certain line throughout the last ten years. One can have different opinions about this line, but I have always tried to describe, based on my subjective experiences, formed over many years in the Middle East and Africa.

That there will be migration flows, from people from culture areas that are like; if one could compare a cultural area with an engine, that one fills petrol in a diesel engine then everyone knows what will happen, the engine is great, diesel is great, but if there too much petrol, then the engine starts to splutter and stop.

I have tried to make you aware of this, with drastic and less drastic words. What we can expect, and ever faster. The book titles are SOS Occident; Warning Civil War; No Black,Red, Yellow [the colors in the German flag], Holy War in Europe; Mecca Germany.

I just want to say, when politicians and media today claim no one could have predicted it, everything is a complete surprise; Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not at all surprising. The migration flows, for years warnings have been coming from international organizations, politicians, experts, exactly about what happened and it is predictable, if we had a map over North Africa and the Middle East..

If the West continues to destabilize countries like Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, country by country, Iraq when we toppled Saddam Hussein, Afghanistan. We as Europeans and Germans have spent tens of billions on a war where we allegedly defend peace and liberty, at the mountain range Hindu Kush [in Afghanistan]. And here, in front of our own door, we soon have Hindu Kush.

We have no stabilization in Afghanistan. Dozens of German soldiers have lost their lives for nothing. We have a more unstable situation than ever.

You can have your own opinions. I am only saying that these refugee flows didn't fall from the sky. It is predicable, that if I bomb and destabilize a country, that people – it is always so in history – it hasn't anything to do with the Middle East or North Africa. I have seen enough wars in Africa. Naturally they created refugee flows.

But all of us didn't want to see this. We haven't prepared. And now one is reacting in full panic, and what is most disconcerting with this, is when media and politicians, allegedly from deepest inner conviction, say: 'this was all a complete surprise!'

Are they drunk? What are they smoking? What sort of pills are they eating? That they behave this way?

End transcription

The transcription has been edited for clarity, and may differ from the spoken word. The subtitles and transcription are for the first 49 minutes of the lecture only. Subtitled and transcribed by Terje Maloy. This article is Creative Commons 4.0 for non-commercial purposes.
Terje Maloy ( Website ) is a Norwegian citizen, with roots north of the Arctic Circle. Nowadays, he spends a lot of time in Australia, working in the family business. He has particular interests in liberty, global justice, imperialism, history, media analysis and what Western governments really are up to. He runs a blog , mostly in Norwegian, but occasionally in English. He likes to write about general geopolitical matters, and Northern Europe in particular, presenting perspectives that otherwise barely are mentioned in the dominant media (i.e. most things that actually matter).
Tim Jenkins
From 1:18 minutes, Ulfkotte reveals without question, that the EU Political 'elite's' combined intelligence services work with & propagate . . .

Terror, Terrorists & Terrorism / a conscious organised Politics of FEAR ! / Freedom of Movement, of fully armed IS Agents Provocateurs & with a Secret Services get out of jail free card, 'Hände Weg Nicht anfassen', it's 'Hammertime', "U Can't Touch this", we're armed state operatives travelling to Germany & Austria, " don't mess with my operation !" & all journalists' hands tied, too.

The suggestions & offers below to translate fully, what Ulfkotte declares publicly, make much sense. It is important to understand that even an 'Orban' must bow occasionally, to deep state Security State Dictators and the pressures they can exert in so many ways. Logic . . . or else one's life is made into hell, alive or an 'accidental' death: – and may I add, it is a curiously depressing feeling when you have so many court cases on the go, that when a Gemeinde/Municipality Clerk is smiling, celebrating and telling you, (representing yourself in court, with only independent translator & recorder), "You Won the Case, a superior judge has over-ruled " and the only reply possible is,

"Which case number ?"

life gets tedious & time consuming, demanding extreme patience. Given his illness, surely Ulfkotte and his wife, deserve/d extra credit & 'hot chocolate'. Makes a change to see & read some real journalism: congrats.@OffG

Excellent Professional Journalism on "Pseudo-Journalist State Actors & Terrorists". If you see a terrorist, guys, at best just reason with him or her :- better than calling

INTERPOL or Secret Services @theguardian, because you wouldn't want a member of the public, grassing you up to your boss, would you now ? ! Just tell the terrorist who he really works for . . . Those he resents ! Rather like Ulfkotte had to conclude, with final resignation. My condolences to his good wife.

Wilmers31
Very good of you to not forget Ulfkotte. If I did not have sickness in the house, I would translate it. Maybe I can do one chapter and someone else can do another one? What's the publisher saying?
jgiam
It's just a long unedited speech.
Tim Jenkins
You wouldn't say that if you could speak German, my friend ! ?

From one hour 18 minutes onwards, Ulfkotte details EU-Inter-State Terror Co-operation, with returning IS Operatives on a Free Pass, fully armed and even Viktor Orban had to give in to the commands of letting Terrorists through Hungary into Germany & Austria.

But, don't let that revelation bother you, living under a Deep State 'Politic of Fear' in the West and long unedited speeches gets kinda' boring now, I know a bit like believing in some kinda' dumbfuk new pearl harbour, war on terror &&& all phoney propaganda fairy story telling, just like on the 11/9/2001, when the real target was WTC 7, to hide elitist immoral endeavours, corruption & the missing $$$TRILLIONS$$$ of tax payers money, 'mislaid' by the D.o.D. announced directly the day before by Rumsfeld, forgotten ? Before ramping the Surveillance States abilities in placing & employing "Parallel Platforms" on steroids, so that our secret services can now employ terror & deploy terrorists at will .., against us, see ?

Plus ca change....
I remember on a similar note a 60 Minutes piece just prior to Clinton's humanitarian bombing of Serbian civilian infrastructure (and long ago deleted, I'm sure) on a German free-lancer staging Kosovo atrocities in a Munich suburb, and having the German MSM eating it up and asking for more. (WWII guilt assuagement at work, no doubt).
mark
Everybody who works in the MSM, without exception, are bought and paid for whores peddling lies on behalf of globalist corporate interests.
That is their job.
That is what they do.
They have long since forfeited all credibility and integrity.
They have lied to us endlessly for decades and generations, from the Bayonetted Belgian Babies and Human Bodies Turned Into Soap of WW1 to the Iraq Incubator Babies and Syrian Gas Attacks of more recent times.

You can no longer take anything at face value.
The default position has to be that every single word they print and every single word that comes out of their lying mouths is untrue.
If they say it's snowing at the North Pole, you can't accept that without first going there and checking it out for yourself.
You can't accept anything that has not been independently verified.

This applies across the board.
All of the accepted historical narrative, including things like the holocaust.
And current Global Warming "science."
We know we have been lied to again and again and again.
So what else have we been lied to without us realising it?

mark
Come to think of it, I need to apologise to sex workers.
I have known quite a few of them who have quite high ethical and moral standards, certainly compared to the MSM.
And they certainly do less damage.
Vert few working girls have blood on their hands like the MSM.
Compared to them, working girls are the salt of the earth and pillars of the community.
Seamus Padraig

Compared to them, working girls are the salt of the earth and pillars of the community.

I heartily agree. Even if one disapproves morally of prostitution, how can it possibly be worse to sell your body than to sell your soul?

Oliver
Quite. Checking things out for yourself is the way to go. Forget 'Peer Reviews', just as bent as the journalism Ulfkotte described. DIY.
Mortgage
So natural, all it seems

Part II:
Bought Science

Part III:
Bought Health Services

mapquest directions
The video you shared with great info. I really like the information you share. boxnovel
Gary Weglarz
I knew we were in dangerous new territory regarding government censorship when after waiting several years for Ulfkotte's best selling book to finally be available in English – it suddenly, magically, disappeared completely – a vanishing act – and I couldn't get so much as a response from, much less an explanation from, the would be publisher. Udo's book came at a time when it could have made a difference countering the fact-free complete and total "fabrication of reality" by the U.S. and Western powers as they have waged a brutal and ongoing neocolonial war on the world's poor under the guise of "fighting terrorism."

Udo's voice (in the form of his book) was silenced for a reason – that being that he spoke the truth about our utterly and completely corrupt Western fantasy world in which we in the West proclaim our – "respect international law" and "respect for human rights." His work, such as this interview and others he has done, pulled the curtain back on the big lie and exposed our oligarchs, politicians and the "journalists" they hire as simply a cadre of professional criminals whose carefully crafted lies are used to soak up the blood and to cover the bodies of the dead, all in order to hide all that mayhem from our eyes, to insure justice is an impossibility and to make sure we Western citizens sleep well at night, oblivious to our connection to the actual realities that are this daily regime of pillage and plunder that is our vaunted "neoliberal order."

Ramdan
After watching the first 20 min I couldn't help but remembering this tale:

"The philosopher Diogenes (of Sinope) was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, 'If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.' To which Diogenes replied, 'Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king"."

which is also the reason why such a large part of humanity lives in voluntary servitude to power structures, living the dream, the illusion of being free..

Ramdan
"English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte's "Bought Journalists" Suppressed?" at Global Research 2017!!

https://www.globalresearch.ca/english-translation-of-udo-ulfkottes-bought-journalists-suppressed/5601857

Francis Lee
Just rechecked Amazon. Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News by Udo Ulfkotte PH.D. The tag line reads.

Hard cover – currently unavailable; paperback cover – currently unavailable; Kindle edition – ?

Book burning anyone?

nottheonly1
No translation exists for this interview with Udo Ulfkotte on KenFM, the web site of Ken Jebsen. Ken Jebsen has been in the cross hairs of the CIA and German agencies for his reporting of the truth. He was smeared and defamed by the same people that Dr. Ulfkotte had written extensively about in his book 'Gekaufte Journalisten' ('Bought Journalists').

The reason why I add this link to the interview lies in the fact that Udo Ulfkotte speaks about an important part of Middle Eastern and German history – a history that has been scrubbed from the U.S. and German populations. In the Iraq war against Iran – that the U.S. regime had pushed for in the same fashion the way they had pushed Nazi Germany to invade the U.S.S.R. – German chemical weapons were used under the supervision of the U.S. regime. The extend of the chemical weapons campaign was enormous and to the present day, Iranians are born with birth defects stemming from the used of German weapons of mass destruction.

Dr. Ulfkotte rightfully bemoans, that every year German heads of state are kneeling for the Jewish victims of National socialism – but not for the victims of German WMD's that were used against Iran. He stresses that the act of visual asking for forgiveness in the case of the Jewish victims becomes hypocrisy, when 40 years after the Nazis reigned, German WMD's were used against Iran. The German regime was in on the WMD attack on Iran. It was not something that happened because they had lost a couple of thousand containers with WMDs. They delivered the WMD's to Iraq under U.S. supervision.

Ponder that. And there has never been an apology towards Iran, or compensations. Nada. Nothing. Instead, the vile rhetoric and demagogery of every U.S. regime since has continued to paint Iran in the worst possible ways, most notably via incessant psychological projection – accusing Iran of the war crimes and crimes against humanity the U.S. and its Western vassal regimes are guilty of.

Here is the interview that was recorded shortly before Udo Ulfkotte's death:

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

If enough people support the effort, I am willing to contact KenFM for the authorization to translate the interview and use it for subtitles to the video. However, I can't do that on my own.

nottheonly1
Correction: the interview was recorded two years before his passing.
Antonym
the U.S. regime had pushed for in the same fashion the way they had pushed Nazi Germany to invade the U.S.S.R.

So Roosevelt pushed Hitler to attack Stalin? Hitler didn't want to go East? Revisionism at it most motive free.

nottheonly1
It would help if you would use your brain just once. 'Pushing' is synonymous for a variety of ways to instigate a desired outcome. Financing is just one way. And Roosevelt was in no way the benevolent knight history twisters like to present him. You are outing yourself again as an easliy duped sheep.

But then, with all the assaults by the unintelligence agencies, it does not come as a surprise when facts are twisted.

Antonym
Lebensraum was first popularized in 1901 in Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensraum Hitler's "Mein Kampf" ( 1925) build on that: he had no need for any American or other push, it was intended from the get go. The timing of operation Barbarossa was brilliant though: it shocked Stalin into a temporary limbo as he had his own aggressive plans.
Casandra2
This excellent article demonstrates how the Controlling Elite manipulates the Media and the Message for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objective of securing Global Ownership (aka New World Order).

This approach has been assiduously applied, across the board, over many years, to the point were they now own and run everything required to subjugate the 'human race' to the horrors of their psychopathic inclinations. They are presently holding the global economy on hold until their AI population (social credit) control system/grid is in place before bringing the house down.

Needless to say, when this happens a disunited and frightened Global Population will be at their mercy.

If you wish to gain a full insight of what the Controlling Elite is about, and capable of, I recommend David Icke's latest publication 'Trigger'. I know he's been tagged a 'nutter' over the past thirty years, but I reckon this book represents the 'gold standard' in terms of generating awareness as a basis for launching a united global population counter-attack (given a great strategy) against forces that can only be defined as pure 'EVIL'.

MASTER OF UNIVE
Corporate Journalism is all about corporatism and the continuation of it. If the Intelligence Community needs greater fools for staffing purposes in the corporate hierarchy they look for anyone that can be compromised via inducements of whatever the greater fools want. Engaging in compromise allows both parties to have complicit & explicit understanding that corruption and falsehood are the tools of the trade. To all-of-a-sudden develop a conscience after decades of playing the part of a willing participant is understandable in light of the guilt complex one must develop after screwing everyone in the world out of the critical assessment we all need to obtain in order to make decisions regarding our futures.

Bought & paid for corporate Journalists are controlled by the Intelligence Agencies and always have been since at least the Second World War. The CIA typically runs bribery & blackmail at the state & federal level so that when necessary they have instant useless eaters to offer up as political sacrifice when required via state run propaganda, & impression management.

Assuming that journalism is an ethical occupation is naïve and a fools' game even in the alternative news domain as all writers write from bias & a lack of real knowledge. Few writers are intellectually honest or even aware of their own limits as writers. The writer is a failure and not a hero borne in myth. Writers struggle to write & publish. Bought and paid for writers don't have a struggle in terms of writing because they are told what to write before they write as automatons for the Intelligence Community knowing that they sold their collective souls to the Prince of Darkness for whatever trinkets, bobbles, or bling they could get their greedy hands on at the time.

Developing a conscience late in life is too late.

May all that sell their souls to the Intel agencies understand that pond scum never had a conscience to begin with.

Once pond scum always pond scum.

MOU

nottheonly1
What is not addressed in this talk is the addictive nature of this sort of public relation writing. Journalism is something different altogether. I know that, because I consider myself to be a journalist at heart – one that stopped doing it when the chalice was offered to me. The problem is that one is not part of the cabal one day to another.

It is a longer process in which one is gradually introduced to ever more expensive rewards/bribes. Never too big to overwhelm – always just about what one would accept as 'motivation' to omit aspects of any issue. Of course, omission is a lie by any other name, but I can attest to the life style of a journalist that socializes with the leaders of all segments of society.

And I would also write a critique about a great restaurant – never paying a dime for a fantastic dinner. The point though is that I would not write a good critique for a nasty place for money. I have never written anything but the truth – for which I received sometimes as much as a bag full of the best rolls in the country.

Twisting the truth for any form of bribes is disgusting and attests of the lowest of any character.

MASTER OF UNIVE
Professional whoring is as old as the hills and twice as dusty. Being ethical is difficult stuff especially when money is involved. Money is always a prime motivator but vanity works wonders too. Corporatists will offer whatever inducements they can to get what they want.

All mainstream media voices are selling a media package that is a corporatist lie in and of itself. Truth is less marketable than lies. Embellished news & journalistic hype is the norm.

If the devil offers inducements be sure to up the ante to outsmart the drunken sot.

MOU

[Nov 02, 2019] Is Elizabeth Warren the New Ted Cruz The American Conservative

Nov 02, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Despite scant polling evidence, Joe Biden's continued lead , and serious concerns over her viability with the broader electorate, Elizabeth Warren's Democratic presidential campaign has taken on an air of inevitability.

Just this fall, the emcee of the financial television circuit, Mad Money 's Jim Cramer, has gone from wailing "She's got to be stopped" to insisting, "I don't think she's nearly as anti-business" as commonly portrayed. Either way, Cramer continues, "I think there is such a thing called Congress." The implication is even if the prairie populist by way of Massachusetts goes the distance, Wall Street's network on Capitol Hill would make mincemeat of her agenda.

In my interviews with members of Congress, especially Republicans, Warren's nomination is generally treated as a fait accompli. Perhaps it's projection, Warren is who many partisan Republicans think the Democrats are: female, lawyerly and anti-capitalist. The contest of Warren vs. Donald Trump would provide, if nothing else, clarity.

The dynamic extends past Northeast Washington. Where people put their money where their mouth is -- political gambling sites -- Warren's chances of winning the Democratic nomination are assessed at nearing 40 percent. On PredicitIt.com, one can buy a Warren share an absurd thirty-eight cents on the dollar.

Advertisement

The idea of Democrats nominating an aged, gaffe-prone white male popular with industry and in the Rust Belt seems absurd on the face: "That's our nominee, right?" David Axelrod, mastermind of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, earlier this month crowned Warren the "front-runner."

There's just one problem with this line of thinking: it's not at all clear Warren is going to be the Democratic nominee for president. Her principal rival, Biden, the former vice president, still leads in some national polls. Biden is frequently compared to Jeb Bush, the establishment favorite, paper tiger on the Republican side in the last round.

There are two problems with this analogy. Biden isn't nearly as "establishment" as the former Florida governor. Bush was the cash-flush son and brother of two presidents, while Biden is bleeding dough and has failed to procure the endorsement of the president he served. Conversely, unlike Bush, whose lead nationally evaporated by Labor Day, Biden has stubbornly stayed more or less at the top of the heap through all of 2019.

It's Halloween and Democratic voters haven't been spooked enough by the former vice president's at-times catastrophic performance to dump him. Unlike Bush, Biden has an ace in the hole: the anchoring constituency of his party, African-American voters. If Bush had commanded the acclaim of evangelical Christians he might have held on despite his other weaknesses as a candidate. Biden is also relatively popular , while the Bush clan is rightly still blamed for the destruction of American prestige at home and abroad.

Down With the Clapback Will Senate Republicans Take A Chance on President Pence?

Biden frequently, even pathetically presents himself as an "Obama-Biden Democrat." ButBiden's candidacy remains most similar to a non-Bush 2016 candidate: Donald Trump, the front-runner the "smart set" claimed was doomed from the start. Like Trump, Biden is famous . And as Biden has hit campaign troubles, the former veep's raison d'etre can take on an air of the self-evident: I'm leading the race because I'm leading the race.

Like Trump, who would proudly spend literally hours of his campaign rallies reading off primary poll results, Biden also seems content to run a campaign based on his own lead. After weeks of purported political battering, Biden told 60 Minutes Sunday: "I know I'm the frontrunner."

With almost Trump-like flare, Biden noted: "Find me a national poll with a notable a couple exceptions." What was true of the last Democratic debate, earlier this month in Ohio, may be true of the 2020 election as a whole. As Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of The National Interest , said : "It was a good night for the old codgers on stage."

Indeed, insistences from career progressives and conservatives that Warren is the true Democratic standard-bearer can take on a mawkish tone. Surely, in a time of ubiquitous partisanship, the victors will be most ideological. The Democrats are moving ever left, the Republicans, ever right. Surely, it is time for a true believer.

But the logic is too clever by half. Templates are incomplete assessments of the world, but play along: if Trump is Biden's proper analogue, then Warren's candidacy is perhaps most akin to Ted Cruz's in 2016. Like Cruz, Warren is somewhat unpopular with her colleagues, which doubles as a badge of honor with many, more ideological activists.

But party activists perhaps understand the organization they serve less than they think they do. Isn't it just as possible, indeed maybe even likely, that Warren, like Cruz, is waiting for a day that will never come? Trump's "implosions" were never reflected at the ballot box. Maybe so, it will also be with Biden.

Templates aren't perfect, however. While Cruz did well with evangelicals, Warren has failed to make inroads among African Americans. And unlike Cruz, the establishment has warmed to Warren's rise -- her campaign doubles as a Harvard satellite campus.

But perhaps Warren's greatest weakness as a candidate, as it was for Cruz, is that she is not the real voice of her party's discontented. A well placed source told me that in 2012 he advised Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, that the person who wins America's big elections today is the most pessimistic of the two messengers.

Of the 2016 conservatives, Cruz was perhaps most polite to Trump, but in failing to ape the future president's program, he never emerged as anything more than a poor imitation of the real estate mogul. Immigration and ennui over America's international role were the orders of the day, and for a core contingent, no substitutes for Trumpian nationalism would do.

Warren experiences this vulnerability, an intensity gap, not with Biden, but with Bernie Sanders. Warren, perhaps sensing the establishment's warmth to her, takes pains to emphasize that she is still a capitalist. Perhaps accordingly, socialist Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez, the most powerful millennial politician, has thrown in with Sanders, the candidate she volunteered for four years ago. For the under-forty set, which has been mired in a now-decade of low growth and the vise-grip of rising housing, education and healthcare costs, Warrenism, like Cruzism, may come too little, too late.

Curt Mills is senior writer at .


Signore Sharpshooter 2 days ago

The money is deserting Biden. He's toast.
Faux Squaw will take it. It's baked in.
LeeInWV 4 days ago
A well placed source told me that in 2012 he advised Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, that the person who wins America's big elections today is the most pessimistic of the two messengers.

Ummmm... Romney LOST.

For the under-forty set, which has been mired in a now-decade of low growth and the vice grip of rising housing, education and healthcare costs, Warrenism, like Cruzism, may come too little, too late.

The article was nearly completely about Biden vs Warren then changed course near the end by bring Sanders into it. So Warrenism may be "too little, too late" so Dems will go for less with Biden? Sorry, it really seems incoherent to me.

Richard Karl Schultz LeeInWV 2 days ago
Yeah, the analogy that makes more sense is Trump:Cruz as Bernie:Warren, except instead of being a total fraud with no political experience, Bernie has 40 years of experience, with lots of accomplishments, and is seen as far-and-away the most trustworthy and with the highest favorability.
Ed 4 days ago
As competing right-wing and left-wing versions of the "cool nerd"? I guess so, though the essence of the "cool nerd" is that most people don't think the "cool nerds" are cool.

Is Biden really less "Establishment" than Jeb Bush?. A lot depends on how you define Establishment -- and the word is very slippery and hard to define. I'd say they were both Establishment to something like the same degree. Bush has a waspy pedigree and two presidents in his family, but 38 years in the Senate made Biden part of the Washington Establishment to a high degree. Neither of them had much substance. Biden was sort of like the ottoman in a Washington salon - something you might not notice until you tripped over it - but still he was a Washington fixture. Jeb Bush had the connections, but so far as Washington was concerned there was something provincial about him.

Kelly Storme 4 days ago
It doesn't really matter who wins the Democrat's party nomination or who wins the Presidential election. The 'Deep State' runs the government and will continue to run the government no matter which pony is the face on stage. Pick your puppet at the polls. That is if you want to waste your time voting at all.
LewistonCatholic Kelly Storme 4 days ago
True of any candidate except Trump who is the only one not controlled by the Deep State. Not that he hasn't had limited success so far in going up against them, given their control of the FBI and CIA and ability to manufacture scandals at will such as the "Russia Collusion" hoax.
Kelly Storme LewistonCatholic 2 days ago
I'll agree that Trump is somewhat outside the 'Deep State's' control. I'll state that I am not a fan of most of his policies or the man himself and it is my firm opinion that even though he is not an 'offspring' of the Deep State, his actions and interests are self-focused just like those that are bred from within. None of them give a rat's behind about Joe Public; it's the super-elites serving the interests of the super-elites.
=marco01= Kelly Storme 3 days ago
The socalled Deep State swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. That oath comes before their loyalty to Trump.

Trump is president, not dictator. He doesn't just get to do whatever he wants despite the fact he thinks he can, he thinks he is above the Constitution.

"I have to the right to do whatever I want as president." - Trump

You no doubt nodded in agreement when he said that, but if a Democratic president ever said that, you'd erupt in outrage completely forgetting how you felt when Trump said it.

Stan Grand =marco01= 3 days ago
Elections have consequences.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) =marco01= 2 days ago
The previous Democratic president ruled largely through executive orders, if you haven't noticed. Not a dictator, right. While those upholders of the Constitution which are so dear to you, violated it left and right in everything foreign policy. Try better.
Hellprin_fan Alex (the one that likes Ike) 2 days ago
Obama issued an average of 34.6 EOs per year. Trump is at 47.7 per year. You were saying?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/...

Alex (the one that likes Ike) Hellprin_fan a day ago
Yes, and the next one, R, D or else, will issue even more of those. My point is that the tacit transition to dictatorship has already happened.
Kelly Storme =marco01= 2 days ago
Actually, as Alex stated, rule by Executive Order has become more prevalent with each successive President regardless of political party. Without going into a long explanation, I'll just say that the Constitution has been eroded by all Branches of the government - unfortunately, it's getting to the point where it will be completely ineffectual soon.
Madeleine Birchfield 4 days ago
Warren (as well as Bernie Sanders) would have been a great candidate for the Democratic Party to try to win back working-class whites in 2016, but nowadays it seems they are the Republican base and big Trump supporters and aren't returning back to the fold.

Democrats would do better to find a more center-right figure to win over neoconservatives, liberatarians, and suburban America, all alienated by Donald Trump and by what the Republican Party has become, which could potentially get them states like Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, and the like.

cka2nd Madeleine Birchfield 3 days ago
That describes most of the Democratic also-rans, and pretty much Biden, too. And Hilary Clinton, of course, and look how inspiring she was to the Democratic electorate.
Dan Madeleine Birchfield 2 days ago
You're pretty much describing Andrew Yang. His base is currently small, but very passionate, consisting of progressives, disaffected Trump voters, working class whites, libertarians, etc., basically anyone on the political spectrum.
Richard Karl Schultz Madeleine Birchfield 2 days ago
Only Bernie.
staircaseghost 4 days ago • edited
Warren is who many partisan Republicans think the Democrats are: female, lawyerly and anti-capitalist.

A few paragraphs down, you said "Warren, perhaps sensing the establishment's warmth to her, takes pains to emphasize that she is still a capitalist." Did you just assume your readers would prefer the smear up front and the facts buried near the bottom?

Message to pro-capitalist, Warren-curious conservatives: come on in, the water's fine!

" Franklin Foer : All the investment bankers who have voodoo dolls of you might be a bit surprised that you recently described yourself as "capitalist to the bone." What did you mean?

Elizabeth Warren : I believe in markets and the benefits they can produce when they work. Markets with rules can produce enormous value. So much of the work I have done -- the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, my hearing-aid bill -- are about making markets work for people, not making markets work for a handful of companies that scrape all the value off to themselves. I believe in competition."

Like Cruz, Warren is somewhat unpopular with her colleagues

"Somewhat unpopular"? Ted Cruz is positively *loathed* by his colleagues.

Wake me up when something actually analogous to Ted Cruz happens, like if Warren calls the eventual nominee a "narcissist" and "serial liar" for whom "morality doesn't exist" and then goes on to phone bank for him in the general.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) staircaseghost 3 days ago
Well, looks like I already have to wake you up. Remember that story with her saying that it ain't right when a veep's son serves on the board of a foreign company and then immediately backtracking after having understood what she just said?
Kenneth_Almquist Alex (the one that likes Ike) 3 days ago
No. In any case, you appear to be describing a case where Warren misspoke and quickly corrected herself, which is nothing like what Cruz did.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Kenneth_Almquist 2 days ago
Nah, that's what I'm describing:

http://disq.us/p/24lfxof

There's even a video there.

IanDakar staircaseghost 3 days ago
Sounds like Warren is thinking of "Capitalism, with fixes from outside capitalism"

I'll admit, even the criticisms make me more interested in her. Though I fear that it's more of a 'too good to be true' concept. My time in customer service helped me to understand that sometimes you have to give Hard Messages to people as you really can't have Everything You Want. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing Warren as "OMG this is everything I wanted." Which is one of the red flags I had over Trump.

It's hard though. I know that giving hard messages is basically a death sentence in campaigns so people don't do that. But Bernie did and he's not dying. BLAH.

In any case, don't go too hard on TAC articles about democratic candidates. It's sort of like when a US new organization puts an editorial on a foreign culture. It's not a bad viewpoint to have, but it IS going ot be..well.. different.

marqueemoons staircaseghost 3 days ago
How about if the President says her Dad was involved in killing JFK and insults her spouse?
Alex (the one that likes Ike) 4 days ago
It becomes more and more obvious with each day that nominating Biden is incomparably greater priority to the Democratic Party as an institution than winning the election. Yes, Warren is no orator (which is an extremely ill omen for a candidate when running against someone like Trump), but neither Biden is. Warren, with all her faults, at least speaks like a non-orator with both hemispheres functional. While Biden is simply babbling.

And that's not to mention the fact that Democrats (yet) have a candidate who would reliably beat any opponent aside from Rand Paul - Tulsi Gabbard. But these... epitomes of alternative genius keep on trying to drive her away from their party at all costs instead of holding on to her for dear life.

Kent 4 days ago
Trump won because of the number of other Republican candidates who wanted to fight it out to the bitter end, rather than throw in their lot with a better candidate like Cruz or even Jeb! Had it come down to two Republican candidates, Trump and one holding more traditional views, it is likely Trump would have lost the Republican nomination.

The Democrats look the same for 2020. Biden represents the Clinton, Republican-lite wing of the party. He has the name recognition and the big money backing. Sanders is a true leftist. And Warren is somewhere in-between. The question is whether or not Sanders and Warren will fight it out to the bitter end, leaving Biden with just enough of a plurality to win the nomination. I don't give any of the rest a chance.

I tend to think that Trump would beat Biden. For the same reasons he beat Clinton: he's a neo-liberal, neo-conservative who could give a rat's a$$ about the pain of the working and middle-classes. I think Warren could beat Trump. She's really not a leftist economically, and a lot of independents would see her as a rational, thoughtful person, as opposed to Trump's Trumpism.

My lawn chair and popcorn favorite would be a Trump/Sanders title fight. Maybe terrible for the country, but definitely fun to watch.

Stan Grand Kent 3 days ago
This argument was already proved false.

We heard about Trump's "ceiling" on a daily basis back in the 2016 cycle. And yet, when people kept dropping out, Trump kept going up.

Early Cuyler Kent 2 days ago
The woman who wants to implement a wealth tax and "free" health care for everyone isn't a leftist economically? lol
Kent Early Cuyler a day ago
I think she is probably to the right of either Nixon or Eisenhower. She's certainly not proposing a 91% marginal income tax rate (Eisenhower) or a fully socialized health care system (Nixon). The world has shifted so far to the right in modern times that I can understand that some see her as far left.
Mark Thomason 4 days ago
Biden is not "popular in the rust belt." That is why he is a loser. He's popular with the elitists who want a Republican-Lite nominee against Trump.
EliteCommInc. 4 days ago
The reason that Nominee Warren is unlikely to get black support is that she played a card that was not hers to [play and doubled down on the matter and continues to play that card inspite of the cold hard light of day that she wasn't, and is not native american.

There is a huge wave of under current simmering anger because I don't cleave to notions of some incorrectly underpinnings of "conservatism", that are sacrosanct. I don't put much stock in identity political machinations online. It is simply a nonfactor or less of a factor than what is on the page as to some's ideas.

But the hijacking of someone's history that is not your own in any fashion and profiting from the same -- for people whose history are hog to negative narratives, this simply will not sit well.

----------------

Senator Cruz's attempts to rig the Colorado primaries violates the principles of fair play. Making arguments about being pro-country and at the same time manipulating the immigration arguments to favor undermining US citizens -- don't invite much enthusiasm for his leadership.

IanDakar EliteCommInc. 3 days ago
"The reason that Nominee Warren is unlikely to get black support is that she played a card that was not hers to [play and doubled down on the matter and continues to play that card inspite of the cold hard light of day that she wasn't, and is not native american."

Why in the world would African Americans care one wilt about Warren claiming she was Native American?

Af-Ams are big on identity..but the only time I've seen it brought as an issue is when someone who's not Af-Am claims they are Af-Am.

Republicans have a big issue with her using the term. But it's similar to Democrats hating Trump's attacks on Latinos: the ones that rage weren't considering her in the first place.

Warren will win or lose the Black vote by whether she notes their issues and offers options that will change their current situation, something Hillary failed to do in those key states. Though first she'll need them win them over from Biden. Possible, though not easily.

Steveb 3 days ago
Not really sure why the author thinks warren is somehow outside the democratic norms, she has worked consistently for the working voters that make up her district by trying to bring some balance against the large corporations that pretty much control the economy. Even conservatives, the champions of big business and the haters of unions and all social programs seem to actually have second thoughts about crushing the life out of the common man, or at least they write occasional comments that make nice to them while giving the corporations massive tax cuts and cutting the social programs.

If I was a bit more cynical I would think that they are pretty nervous about an articulate candidate with a solid slate of actual policy papers and positions that try to lay out a way to make the economy work for the regular folks. Why they might actually be trying to claim that she will take the side of the corporations that run conservative politics..

Stan Grand Steveb 3 days ago
I think Warren's big problem is how she talks and how she looks.

Ever since TV came into the political process, image has become incredibly important. Look at Ted Cruz. He just looked...weird.

Warren is frenetic when she talks on the debate stage. Mute your TV during the next debate and watch. She also talks like a school marm.

Lasty, history does not smile on wonks. People want easy-to-understand programs and straight talk. Warren constantly dodges how she will pay for her programs. This will not play well in 2020.

Hellprin_fan Stan Grand 2 days ago
I'm going to jump off topic to point out that no one ever asks "How are you going to pay for it?" when it comes to tax cuts or military spending.
cka2nd 3 days ago
I still think it will be Sanders, with the 1980 and 2016 GOP primaries as the templates, and the crisis in the Reagan/Thatcher/neo-liberal consensus being the bedrock of his, and Trump's, appeal.
Ed 3 days ago
Trump was such a wild card in 2016 that it's hard to make connections or analogies to any other presidential election. You don't have to see Joe Biden as some clone of Jeb Bush to see that they both have real deficiencies as candidates. Cruz also was a lousy candidate who wouldn't have won the nomination or the general election, but he was blindsided by Trump, someone new from outside politics.

There's nobody in sight who could blindside Warren like that, and I get the feeling that the Democratic Party base (the White half of it anyway) is more comfortable with Warren than the Republican Party base was with Cruz. Even Evangelicals couldn't quite bring themselves to love Ted. However unpopular Warren is with the electorate as a whole, party loyalists and activists have no problem with her.

I don't see Buttigieg winning the nomination. Alice Roosevelt Longworth once said that Tom Dewey looked like the little plastic man at the top of the wedding cake. Now that we have gay marriage, voters are offered the a candidate who looks like the little plastic man on top of a gay wedding cake. I suspect they won't go for him.

JonF311 Ed 3 days ago
Had Cruz been the nominee he would have had the same advantage that Trump did: Hillary Clinton herself. She was a deeply unlikable candidate and 2016 is best described as "Hillary lost" as opposed to "Trump won." Pretty much any Republican, excepting maybe Bush with his family baggage, would have bear Hillary, and with a more respectable showing.
Bg 3 days ago • edited
what exactly is pathetic about an Obama Biden democrat? competence? prudence?
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Bg 2 days ago
Letting their foreign policy being hijacked (or, rather, joyridden) by neolib lunatics, the twins of neocon wackos. That can hardly be called "competence" and "prudence".
Hellprin_fan Alex (the one that likes Ike) 2 days ago
I like the image, but they ARE the neolibs.

[Nov 01, 2019] Corporatism does not know any party by Saagar Enjeti Saagar Enjeti

Notable quotes:
"... Monday, that same company which was saved by the United States government was thrown a birthday party in the halls of the United States Congress committee which dispersed those funds? It literally doesn't get more corrupt than that. These people are so shameless they bragged about this party. They allowed it to be reported in Politico because that's just business as usual in our capital city ..."
"... So many on the right lecture the millennial generation and the working class as lazy. They give no credence to why exactly these people are angry. They watched the middle class get decimated, money get sent to Wall Street while our student debt exploded and any surplus cash that happened to be laying around was spent trying to turn the Middle East into a democratic paradise. America voted twice for change-agent Barack Obama to try and clean up the system, but he mostly just lectured corporations with an upturned chin and wagging finger, while letting them continue shipping jobs to China and Mexico. ..."
"... Institutionalized corruption has yielded disastrous results. ..."
Nov 01, 2019 | thehill.com

The House Ways and Means Committee threw a bipartisan "birthday bash" for insurance company AIG, that was widely attended by staffers across the aisle. The chairman of the committee, Richard Neal , who is a Democrat, gave remarks at the party. It included snacks, and an open bar serving a "centennial smash" signature cocktail, all while an acapella group serenaded the group to the tune of Pharrell's "Happy."

This is Versailles 1790's level stuff. It is a repulsive illustration of the bipartisan corruption that has seeped into our system. Don't forget this is the company received 190 billion dollars in bailout funds while the rest of the American middle class plummeted to destruction. It's also the same company which paid out $165 million in bonuses to its executives after receiving bailout money and facing zero repercussions from the Obama administration.

Monday, that same company which was saved by the United States government was thrown a birthday party in the halls of the United States Congress committee which dispersed those funds? It literally doesn't get more corrupt than that. These people are so shameless they bragged about this party. They allowed it to be reported in Politico because that's just business as usual in our capital city

Corporatism does not know any party. It has wormed its way into the highest levels of the United States government. It has ruled us to our detriment now for almost 40 years now. The left has responded to this moment with democratic socialism. The right looking at this movement is learning all of the wrong reasons; they're flying socialism sucks banners all across America without responding to the underlying structure of the American system as extraordinarily flawed

So many on the right lecture the millennial generation and the working class as lazy. They give no credence to why exactly these people are angry. They watched the middle class get decimated, money get sent to Wall Street while our student debt exploded and any surplus cash that happened to be laying around was spent trying to turn the Middle East into a democratic paradise. America voted twice for change-agent Barack Obama to try and clean up the system, but he mostly just lectured corporations with an upturned chin and wagging finger, while letting them continue shipping jobs to China and Mexico.

Institutionalized corruption has yielded disastrous results. A new survey from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation finds that more than 70% of millennials say they are likely to vote socialist, and that 1 in 5 think that America would be better off if private property was abolished. This makes perfect sense to me, because this generation sees the AIG bailout and the party 10 years later and goes, well if that's capitalism, then this crap is not for me

I know some of the people watching this probably are actual socialists. I don't think most of you are though. You're just fed up and you've been told that if you're against our current system then you're a socialist. So you shrug and go, sure, I guess. It is incumbent upon the right to restore and equitable and fair playing field within our system if we, correctly in my view, believe that capitalism is intrinsic to the strength of the United States

The libertarian streak of the Republican Party will be the electoral and moral death of it. Libertarianism was founded upon the idea that the greatest threat to you and your life is institutionalized power in the form of the government. It's time they understood that the government isn't the only institution which can hold power in our society. It's time to reign in that power wherever it reigns.

[Oct 31, 2019] The 10% Technocrats like Elizabeth Warren will try to keep things running until they can't anymore.

Oct 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

VietnamVet , October 27, 2019 at 9:58 pm

The winners write history. Surviving losers also rewrite history ('Gone with the Wind"). Or, past lives are never written about at all. The problem is that western government has swirled down the drain into incompetent delusion. Corporations rule. Plutocrats are in combat over the spoils. Protests won't work until police and mercenaries realized that they aren't being paid enough to die or to subjugate their own families.

Right now, the problem is two million Californians forced out of their homes or waiting with no electricity for evacuation orders. The American government is simply incapable rebuilding Puerto Rico or Northern California . Or handling global plagues such as African Swine Fever that has already killed a quarter of the global pig population. Simply put, climate change, overpopulation, and rising inequality assure that revolutions cannot be orderly.

The 10% Technocrats like Elizabeth Warren will try to keep things running until they can't anymore.

Lambert Strether Post author , October 28, 2019 at 1:11 am

> The American government is simply incapable of rebuilding Puerto Rico or Northern California.

American elites are resolutely opposed to simply incapable of rebuilding Puerto Rico or Northern California.

Fixed it for ya

[Oct 29, 2019] If Democrats nominate Elizabeth Warren, there will a chorus of well-funded voices declaring that her progressivism would destroy the economy

Oct 29, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , October 27, 2019 at 11:52 AM

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1188439087830786049

Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

If Democrats nominate Elizabeth Warren, there will a chorus of well-funded voices declaring that her progressivism would destroy the economy. So it's not irrelevant to look at how that sort of thinking is holding up abroad 1/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/world/americas/Macri-argentina-election.html

Pocketbook Woes Drive an Unlikely Comeback in Argentine Presidential Race
President Mauricio Macri rose to office with a promise that free markets would wrest Argentina from its boom-and-bust cycle. But with the country in recession, voters may now turn to an archrival.

5:55 AM - 27 Oct 2019

Macri was the business community's candidate; he was going to bring sound management in after years of populism, and things were going to be great. But he screwed up the macroeconomics, borrowing heavily in dollars (!), and presided over recession 2/

Chile has long, as Branko Milanovic says here, been the poster child for neoliberalism. I remember very well when Bush & co tried to sell Chile's privatized pensions as a replacement for Social Security. But rampant inequality is now causing mass unrest 3/

https://glineq.blogspot.com/2019/10/chile-poster-boy-of-neoliberalism-who.html

Obviously governments of both left and right can mess up. But the persistent belief that big business and the wealthy know How Things Work and can run the economy best is completely at odds with experience 4/

[Oct 29, 2019] Will 'Medicare for All' destroy Elizabeth Warren's campaign?

Oct 29, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to anne... ,

Will 'Medicare for All' destroy Elizabeth Warren's campaign?
https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2019/10/25/will-medicare-for-all-destroy-elizabeth-warren-campaign/3Pu1BYtcxTt6GET1VvRasM/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

David Scharfenberg - October 25

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , a
Without the necessary due diligence in planning both the transition and the aftermath going into the meme, then Medicare for All is a promise for some, a threat to many more, and a boat anchor for the Democratic Party. It could be a great plan if adequately executed, but given the haphazard approach to leaning on buzz words and memes instead of a explanatory framework, then this plan will be an executioner's block next November, if not just Tuesday week. The Democratic Party has screwed itself again unless just pure outrage and at Trump and Republican politicians can rescue the Dembots from their own idiot angels.
ilsm -> EMichael... , October 28, 2019 at 10:31 AM
Used to be capitalism did not work for the poor..... since the 1990's it has failed the middle class, too!

[Oct 29, 2019] Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

Notable quotes:
"... The brother of the current Chilean president, scions of one of the richest families in Chile, became famous for introducing, as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet, a funded system of pensions where employees make compulsory contributions from their wages into one of several pension funds, and after retirement receive pensions based on investment performance of such funds. Old-age pensions thus became a part of roulette capitalism. But In the process, the pension funds, charging often exorbitant fees, and their managers became rich. ..."
"... José Piñera had tried to "sell" this model to Yeltsin's Russia and to George Bush's United States, but, despite the strong (and quite understandable) support of the financial communities in both countries, he failed. Nowadays, most Chilean pensioners receive $200-$300 per month in a country whose price level (according to International Comparison Project, a worldwide UN- and World Bank-led project to compare price levels around the world) is about 80% of that of the United States. ..."
"... the combined wealth of Chilean billionaires' (there were twelve of them) was equal to 25% of Chilean GDP. The next Latin American countries with highest wealth concentrations are Mexico and Peru where the wealth share of billionaires is about half (13 percent of GDP) of Chile's. But even better: Chile is the country where billionaires' share, in terms of GDP, is the highest in the world (if we exclude countries like Lebanon and Cyprus) where many foreign billionaires simply "park" their wealth for tax reasons. The wealth of Chile's billionaires, compared to their country's GDP, exceeds even that of Russians. [Graph] ..."
"... Such extraordinary inequality of wealth and income, combined with full marketization of many social services (water, electricity etc.), and pensions that depend on the vagaries of the stock market has long been "hidden" from foreign observers by Chile's success in raising its GDP per capita. ..."
"... if there Is no social justice and minimum of social cohesion, the effects of growth will dissolve in grief, demonstrations, and yes, in the shooting of people. ..."
Oct 29, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne

, October 26, 2019 at 01:42 PM
https://glineq.blogspot.com/2019/10/chile-poster-boy-of-neoliberalism-who.html

October 26, 2019

Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

It is not common for an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development county to shoot and kill 16 people in two days of socially motivated riots. (Perhaps only Turkey, in its unending wars against the Kurdish guerrilla, comes close to that level of violence.) This is however what Chilean government, the poster child of neoliberalism and transition to democracy, did last week in the beginning of protests that do not show the signs of subsiding despite cosmetic reforms proposed by President Sebastian Piñera.

The fall from grace of Chile is symptomatic of worldwide trends that reveal the damages causes by neoliberal policies over the past thirty years, from privatizations in Eastern Europe and Russia to the global financial crisis to the Euro-related austerity. Chile was held, not the least thanks to favorable press that it enjoyed, as a exemplar of success. Harsh policies introduced after the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973, and the murderous spree that ensued afterwards, have been softened by the transition to democracy but their essential features were preserved. Chile indeed had a remarkably good record of growth, and while in the 1960-70s it was in the middle of the Latin American league by GDP per capita, it is now the richest Latin American country. It was of course helped too by high prices for its main export commodity, copper, but the success in growth is incontestable. Chile was "rewarded" by the membership in the OECD, a club of the rich nations, the first South American country to accede to it.

Where the country failed is in its social policies which somewhat bizarrely were considered by many to have been successful too. In the 1980s-90s, the World Bank hailed Chilean "flexible" labor policies which consisted of breaking up the unions and imposing a model of branch-level negotiations between employers and workers rather than allowing an overall umbrella union organization to negotiate for all workers. It was even more bizarrely used by the World Bank as a model of transparency and good governance, something that the transition countries in Eastern Europe should have presumably copied from Chile. The brother of the current Chilean president, scions of one of the richest families in Chile, became famous for introducing, as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet, a funded system of pensions where employees make compulsory contributions from their wages into one of several pension funds, and after retirement receive pensions based on investment performance of such funds. Old-age pensions thus became a part of roulette capitalism. But In the process, the pension funds, charging often exorbitant fees, and their managers became rich.

José Piñera had tried to "sell" this model to Yeltsin's Russia and to George Bush's United States, but, despite the strong (and quite understandable) support of the financial communities in both countries, he failed. Nowadays, most Chilean pensioners receive $200-$300 per month in a country whose price level (according to International Comparison Project, a worldwide UN- and World Bank-led project to compare price levels around the world) is about 80% of that of the United States.

While Chile leads Latin America in GDP per capita, it also leads it terms of inequality. In 2015, its level of income inequality was higher than in any other Latin American country except for Colombia and Honduras. It exceeded even Brazil's proverbially high inequality. The bottom 5% of the Chilean population have an income level that is about the same as that of the bottom 5% in Mongolia. The top 2% enjoy the income level equivalent to that of the top 2% in Germany. Dortmund and poor suburbs of Ulan Bataar were thus brought together.

Chilean income distribution is extremely unequal. But even more so is its wealth distribution. There, Chile is an outlier even compared to the rest of Latin America. According to the Forbes' 2014 data on world billionaires, the combined wealth of Chilean billionaires' (there were twelve of them) was equal to 25% of Chilean GDP. The next Latin American countries with highest wealth concentrations are Mexico and Peru where the wealth share of billionaires is about half (13 percent of GDP) of Chile's. But even better: Chile is the country where billionaires' share, in terms of GDP, is the highest in the world (if we exclude countries like Lebanon and Cyprus) where many foreign billionaires simply "park" their wealth for tax reasons. The wealth of Chile's billionaires, compared to their country's GDP, exceeds even that of Russians.
[Graph]

Such extraordinary inequality of wealth and income, combined with full marketization of many social services (water, electricity etc.), and pensions that depend on the vagaries of the stock market has long been "hidden" from foreign observers by Chile's success in raising its GDP per capita.

But the recent protests show that the latter is not enough. Growth is indispensable for economic success and reduction in poverty. But it is not enough: if there Is no social justice and minimum of social cohesion, the effects of growth will dissolve in grief, demonstrations, and yes, in the shooting of people.

-- Branko Milanovic

[Oct 28, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's Plan-itis Excessive Lobbying Case Study

In her heart, Warren is more of Eisenhower (or Nixon, if you wish ) republican type then a real fight against excesses of neoliberalism. that actually makes her chances to win 2020 elections much stronger and changes that she will bring radical chances much weaker.
Oct 28, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

First, as a general rule, politicians who propose meaningful change should get specific enough about their idea so that voters can have a good look before they go to the polls. So Warren is setting a good example on this front and likely raising the bar for other Democratic party aspirants.

Second, I want to make sure I'm not falling prey to the cognitive bias called the halo effect, which is a tendency to see people as all good or all bad. So I want to make sure my reaction to the neoliberal frogs that sometimes hop out of Warren's mouth doesn't taint my reading of her generally. For instance, her private equity plan is very strong, particularly her sweeping ideas about how to make private equity firm principals liable when they bankrupt companies. But as America's top bankruptcy scholar, the core of that plan falls in an area where she has unparalleled expertise.

But generally, Warren's change programs have a frequent shortcoming: they do a great job of assessing the challenge but then propose remedies that fall well short of remedying them. As Matt Yglesias pointed out in January :

If Two-Income Trap were released today, I'd say it suffers from a striking mismatch between the scale of the problem it identifies and the relatively modest solutions it proposes. Tougher regulation of consumer lending would be welcome but obviously would not fundamentally address the underlying stagnation of income.

On top of that, Warren's "I have a plan" mantra sounds an awful lot like a dog whistle to Clinton voters. And even though I've only given a good look at two of her plans so far ex her private equity plan, there's a lot not to like in both of them. We covered her wealth plan earlier, and didn't treat Sanders' at the same time because hers was sucking up all the media attention even though Sanders had proposed a wealth tax years before she did. That was a mistake. Sanders' wealth tax plan is better than Warren's.

Even though Sanders plan has the same fundamental problem, that of not recognizing how the IRS in recent decades has never won a large estate tax case where you have the same valuation issues with a wealth tax, Sanders proposes a more aggressive beef up of the IRS than Warren does, so he may have a sense of the severity of the enforcement problem and also provides for some legal fallbacks regarding valuation. He also realistically does not depict his tax as a global wealth tax, since there's no way to get the needed information or cooperation on foreign holdings that aren't in bank or brokerage firms.

But even more important, both Warren and Sanders wealth tax schemes rely on the work of economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman in devising their taxes and estimating how much they'd yield. The structure of Sanders' tax hews to their recommendations as to how to maximize revenues and cut into inequality. Warren's does not. So contrary to popular perceptions, Sanders' wealth tax plan should get higher wonk points than Warren's .

So on to the next Warren plan.

Warren's Excess Lobbying Tax

Warren presented her Excessive Lobbying Tax . The problem it is meant to solve is not just lobbying as currently defined, which is the petitioning of member of Congress to influence legislation. Warren is out to tackle not just that but also what she depicts as undue corporate influence in the regulatory process:

But corporate lobbyists don't just swarm Congress. They also target our federal departments like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau .

Regulatory agencies are only empowered to implement public interest rules under authority granted by legislation already passed by Congress. So how is it that lobbyists are able to kill, weaken, or delay so many important efforts to implement the law?

Often they accomplish this goal by launching an all out assault on the process of writing new rules -- informally meeting with federal agencies to push for favorable treatment, burying those agencies in detailed industry comments during the notice-and-comment rulemaking process, and pressuring members of Congress to join their efforts to lobby against the rule.

If the rule moves forward anyway, they'll argue to an obscure federal agency tasked with weighing the costs and benefits of agency rules that the rules are too costly, and if the regulation somehow survives this onslaught, they'll hire fancy lawyers to challenge it in court.

Before we get to Warren's remedies, there are some odd things about the problem statement. One is that she fails to acknowledge that regulatory rulemaking devises more specific policies in order to implement legislation. That reflects the fact that legislation often isn't detailed enough to provide a definitive guide to agencies. And the public is entitled to weigh in on rulemaking. So what she is objecting to is that corporate interests are able to overwhelm the comment process. Second is that there is a significant abuse that she fails to mention, that some proposed rule changes, such as regarding net neutrality, where ordinary citizens weighed in heavily, saw comments on the other side that were submitted by bots, overwhelming the agency. The bot abuse is specific and important, and it's odd to see Warren leave it by the wayside.

Warren's plan has three main prongs. First, she would make pretty much anyone who as part of their employment seeks to influence Federal legislation or regulation register as a lobbyist. They would be require to make public who they'd been lobbying and what information they provided (an interesting question here as to what gets reported from in person discussions).

Second, she would require that "every corporation and trade organization" with over $500,000 per year in lobbying expenditures is subject to an "excess lobbying tax". Spending of $500,000 to $1 million would be taxed at a 35% rate, over $1 million, at a 60% rate, and over $5 million, 75%.

Warren states that her tax would have raised $10 billion in the last ten years and she intends to use that for the third major leg of her programs, which is various anti-lobbyist initiatives. She plans to spend the revenues on

A "Lobbying Defense Trust Fund" to bolster "Congressional independence from lobbyists" by providing more money to Congressional support bodies like the CBO

Extra funding to agencies that are on the receiving of lobbying. When an entity in the $500,000 or higher lobbying spending bracket, the agency gets a special allocation "to help it fight back".

An Office of the Public Advocate to help ordinary citizens get better representation in the lobbying process

She also asserts that her plan will also "shut the revolving door between government and K Street" but she offers no mechanism to provide for that. So that is a handwave.

The Conceptual Flaws in Warren's Approach

It's hard to know how much of this Warren believes and how much of this was dreamed up by her staffers (the document is signed "Team Warren).

Taxation is the wrong approach . Even though Warren discusses how much money her tax would raise, her strident disapproval of lobbying and the punitive tax levels make clear that the purpose of the tax is to discourage lobbying. But if lobbying is as bad as Warren believes it is, she should instead be prohibiting abuses, like comments by bots. In the 1970s, economist Martin Weitzman came up with an approach to determine when taxation was the right way to discourage problematic behavior, as opposed to barring it. A summary from the Bank of England's celebrated economist Andrew Haldane :

In making these choices, economists have often drawn on Martin Weitzman's classic public goods framework from the early 1970s. Under this framework, the optimal amount of pollution control is found by equating the marginal social benefits of pollution-control and the marginal private costs of this control. With no uncertainty about either costs or benefits, a policymaker would be indifferent between taxation and restrictions when striking this cost/benefit balance.

In the real world, there is considerable uncertainty about both costs and benefits. Weitzman's framework tells us how to choose between pollution-control instruments in this setting. If the marginal social benefits foregone of the wrong choice are large, relative to the private costs incurred, then quantitative restrictions are optimal. Why? Because fixing quantities to achieve pollution control, while letting prices vary, does not have large private costs. When the marginal social benefit curve is steeper than the marginal private cost curve, restrictions dominate.

The results flip when the marginal cost/benefit trade-offs are reversed. If the private costs of the wrong choice are high, relative to the social benefits foregone, fixing these costs through taxation is likely to deliver the better welfare outcome. When the marginal social benefit curve is flatter than the marginal private cost curve, taxation dominates. So the choice of taxation versus prohibition in controlling pollution is ultimately an empirical issue.

Moreover, the tax would hit all lobbyists. Who do you think has the better odds of raising more money to offset the tax and carrying on as before: Public Citizen or the Chamber of Commerce?

By contrast, one idea of ours that could have helpful chilling effects would be to go much much further than merely requiring all lobbyists, broadly defined, to register and also require them to provide reports on what government officials they contacted/met with and what information they provided them.

We'd also make these lobbyists subject to FOIA and provide stringent standards that apply only to lobbyists, such as:

Set strict and tight time limits for responses (California requires that an initial determination be made in 10 days, for instance)

Require judges to award legal fees and costs to parties who successfully sue over FOIAs where the records were withheld. Provide for awards in cases where the defendant coughs up records as the result of a suit being filed. Set punitive damages for abuses (such as excessive delay, bad faith responses). Strictly limit invocation of attorney/client privilege to demonstrable litigation risks

Letting journalists and members of the public root around in the discussion between various think tanks and their business allies would regularly unearth material that would be embarrassing to the parties involved. It would go a long way toward denting the perceived legitimacy of lobbying, which over time would strengthen the immune systems of the recipients.

Warren assumes that most people in Congress and at regulators are anti-corporate but are overwhelmed by lobbyists. First, the piece presents a Manichean world view of evil greedy corporate interests versus noble underrepresented little people. And while this is very often true, it's not as absolute as Warren suggests. The companies are often have conflicting interests, which can allow for public-minded groups to ally with the corporate types who are on their side on particular matters.

A second part of the Manichean take is the notion that the agencies aren't on board with the corporate perspective. Unfortunately, reality is vastly more complicated. For instance, banking regulators are concerned overall with the safety and soundness of the institutions they oversee. They aren't in the business of consumer advocacy or consumer protection save as required by legislation. The concern with safety and soundness perversely means that they want the institutions they oversee to be profitable so as to help assure capital adequacy and to attract "talent" to make sure the place is run adequately. (We've stated repeatedly we disagree with this notion; banks are so heavily subsidized that they should not be seen as private businesses and should be regulated as utilities). For instance, in the late 1980s, McKinsey was heavily touting the idea of a coming bank profit squeeze. McKinsey partner Lowell Bryan in his 1992 book Bankrupt spoke with pride at how his message was being received, and in particular, that regulators were embracing deregulation as a way to bolster bank incomes.

Another complicating factor is that in certain key posts, industry expertise and therefore an insider status is seen as key to performing the job. For instance, it's accepted that the Treasury Secretary should come from Wall Street so he can talk to Mr. Market. Of all people, GW Bush defied that practice, appointing corporate CEOs as Treasury Secretary. The position wound up being a revolving door in his Administration as his appointees flamed out. Finding a modern Joe Kennedy, someone who knows sharp industry practices and decides to go against incumbents, is a tall order.

Similarly, agencies have career staffers and political appointees at a senior level. That included critical roles like the head of enforcement at the SEC. If Republicans or pro-corporate Democrats control the Administration and the Senate, business-friendly appointees will go into these critical posts. The optics may be better with the Democrats, but the outcome isn't that much different. As Lambert likes to say, "Republicans tell you they will knife you in the face. Democrats tell you they are so much nicer, they only want one kidney. What they don't tell you is next year they are coming for your other kidney."

So Warren is also implicitly selling the idea of Team Dem as anti-corporate vigilantes, a fact not in evidence.

And speaking of kidneys a letter from a departing SEC career employee and Goldman whistleblower, James Kidney, shows how even staffers who want to do the right thing have their perspective warped over time. As we said about his missive, which you can read in full :

Two things struck me about Jim Kidney's article below. One is that he still wants to think well of his former SEC colleagues

Number two, and related, are the class assumptions at work. The SEC does not want to see securities professionals at anything other than bucket shops as bad people. At SEC conferences, agency officials are virtually apologetic and regularly say, "We know you are honest people who want to do the right thing." Please tell me where else in law enforcement is that the underlying belief.

So it also seems unlikely that there is a cadre of vigorous regulators just waiting to be unshackled by the likes of Warren and her anti-lobbyist funding. The way institutions change is by changing the leadership and enough of the worker bees to send the message that the old way of doing things isn't on any more. That does not happen quickly. And absent a system breakdown like the Great Depression, staff incumbents know that talks of new sheriffs in town may not last beyond the next election cycle.

And the experience of Warren's hand picks at her own pet agency shows that they were all too willing to let corporations set the agenda. Recall that Warren recommended that Richard Cordray, head of the CFPB when it became clear she would not get the job, and Raj Date, the first deputy director of the CFPB, was also an ally of hers. From our 2012 post, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Launches "Make Life Easier for Lobbyists" Tool :

I'm pretty gobsmacked by the link (hat tip reader Scott S) to a webpage at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which says it is written by Richard Cordray: " We want to make it easier for you to submit comments on streamlining regulations ."

There is more than a little bit of NewSpeak in this idea. "Streamlining regulations" is generally right wing code for "eliminating/relaxing regulations." Admittedly, Elizabeth Warren during her brief time as de facto head of the nascent CFPB, proposed and launched a project to simplify mortgage disclosure forms to combine two required forms into one and make them easier to understand .

However, this opening of the door by Cordray does not look as likely to produce such happy outcomes. Maybe this is a means for the CFPB to force lobbyists to provide their input in a format that makes it easier for CFPB to process. But I can't imagine that Cordray or Raj Date would say to the American Bankers Association: "We are trying to create a level playing field, so we won't meet with you. Put it in writing and we'll give it due consideration."

So if this portal is a supplemental channel, who exactly is it intended to serve? The dropdown menu on the "Tell Us About Yourself" page tells us who it expects to comment: people from organizations, specifically:

Financial services provider
Trade association
Government agency
Community organization
Other

In other words, it does not contemplate that consumers have the expertise or motivation to provide input. Citizens are probably assumed to be represented via the CFPB itself or perhaps also by consumer groups, but even then, they may have specific axes to grind (think the AARP).

With friends like this, who needs enemies? Date, a former McKinsey partner and Capital One executive when he joined the CFPB, was singled out in a 2013 article in The Hill on how he was among the recent departures that showed the revolving door was active at the agency .

More generally, this is another example of attacking the problem at the wrong level. The reason there is so much corruption in Washington is that the pay gap between what people can make at senior levels at regulators versus what they can make in the private sector is so enormous. And pay matters more than ever given the cost of housing, private schools, and college. Singapore's approach was designed explicitly to prevent corruption in government: pay top-level bureaucrats at the same level as top private sector professional (think law firm partners) and have tough and independent internal audit. We are a long long way from embracing any system like that, but it's important to recognize what the real issues are.

Lobbyist "tax" walks and quacks like an attack on free speech and the right to petition the government . Even worse, she makes it easy to attack her program in court with this section and similar observations in her piece:

In the first four months, the DOL received hundreds of comments on the proposed [fiducairy] rule, including comments from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, BlackRock, and other powerful financial interests. After a public hearing with testimony from groups like Fidelity and J.P Morgan, the agency received over 100 more comments -- including dozens from members of Congress, many of which were heavily slanted toward industry talking points. Because the law requires agencies to respond to each concern laid out in the public comments, when corporate interests flood agencies with comments, the process often becomes so time-consuming and resource-intensive that it can kill or delay final rules altogether -- and that's exactly what happened.

Warren is depicting the act of making public comments as an abuse. And her clear intent is to reduce corporate input. This particular bit is very problematic: " .many of which were heavily slanted toward industry talking points." Was she objecting to the fact that a lot of the submissions were highly parallel, and therefore redundant, designed to choke the pipeline or simply that they presented familiar pro-business tropes and were low value added? Not being well crafted is not a basis for rejecting a public comment.

Warren sets herself for a legal challenge to her idea with this bit: "..if the regulation somehow survives this onslaught, they'll hire fancy lawyers to challenge it in court," and she later criticizes opponents of the fiduciary rule:

Today, the Department of Labor is led by Eugene Scalia, the very corporate lawyer and ex-lobbyist who brought the lawsuit to kill off the proposal.

Was Warren missing in action in civics class when they presented the fact that Presidents make appointments subject to the advice and consent of the Senate? And what would she do about future Eugene Scalias? She is intimating that he shouldn't have been allowed to serve, but that's the call of the Senate, not hers.

But more important, Warren makes it clear that she is so opposed to undue corporate influence that she objects to judicial review. Help me. Philosophically, the US system allows even the devil to have the benefit of law. But apparently not former law professor Elizabeth Warren.

Again, the problem of ordinary people and pro-consumer organizations being outmatched in court isn't going to be solved by treating use of the legal process as illegitimate. The idea in her scheme that struck me as the most promising was the idea of an Office of the Public Advocate. If I were in charge, I'd throw tons of money at it, including for litigation.

The Practical Flaws in Warren's Approach

Since this post is already long, we'll address these issues briefly. The IRS is a weak agency that loses cases against corporate American all the time. A colleague recently confirmed that take with an insider story on enforcement matters. The short version is that the IRS was unable even to pursue issues only of moderate complexity. The problem isn't just expertise but apparently also poor internal communication and coordination.

Tax avoidance is completely legal. If you don't think some of the targets of Warren's tax would find ways to restructure their operations so as to greatly reduce their tax burdens, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. And they'd probably do it not so much to reduce taxes ("We need more donations due to meanie Warren" would be a powerful fundraising cry and a lot of the heavyweight groups and big corporations that lobby directly wouldn't miss a stride) as to avoid funding her anti-lobbying initiatives.

And who would be least able to reorganize their lives to reduce the tax hit? The smaller public advocates, natch.

* * *

It could be that I've simply hit upon two of Warren's weakest plans. But I have a sneaking suspicion not. A contact who is an expert on political spending gave a big thumbs down to her campaign reform proposal. The spectacle of Warren, whose Congressional staffers would regularly turn out pointed, well-argued, very well supported requests for information from officials that showed her to be operating way way above legislative norms, publishing plans that score high on formatting and saber rattling and low on policy plumbing is a bad sign.

The most charitable interpretation is that Warren has weak people on this part of her campaign and either doesn't know or doesn't care. But Warren historically has also show herself to be an accomplished administrator. Is she more over her head than the press has figured out?

Tomonthebeach , October 28, 2019 at 3:32 am

Just an excellent critique. My view of Warren's plans was rather shallow and limited. I could not find any flaws in your assessment. One might think that a senator would have a better grasp of how DC works – or at least human nature.

[Oct 28, 2019] National Neolibralism destroyed the World Trade Organisation by John Quiggin

Highly recommended!
Highly recommended !
Notable quotes:
"... Trying to head off redivision of the world into nationalist trade blocks by removing Trump via dubiously democratic upheavals (like color revolutions) with more or less fictional quasi-scandals as pro-Russian treason or anti-Ukrainian treason (which is "Huh?" on the face of it,) is futile. It stems from a desire to keep on "free" trading despite the secular stagnation that has set in, hoping that the sociopolitical nowhere (major at least) doesn't collapse until God or Nature or something restores the supposedly natural order of economic growth without end/crisis. ..."
"... I think efforts to keep the neoliberal international WTO/IMF/World Bank "free" trading system is futile because the lower orders are being ordered to be satisfied with a permanent, rigid class system ..."
"... If the pie is to shrink forever, all the vile masses (the deplorables) are going to hang together in their various ways, clinging to shared identity in race or religion or nationality, which will leave the international capitalists hanging, period. "Greed is good" mantra, and the redistribution of the wealth up at the end proved to be very destructive. Saying "Greed is good," then expecting selflessness from the lowers is not high-minded but self-serving. Redistribution of wealth upward has been terribly destructive to social cohesion, both domestically and in the sense of generosity towards foreigners. ..."
"... The pervasive feeling that "we" are going down and drastic action has to be taken is probably why there hasn't been much traction for impeachment til now. If Biden, shown to be shady in regards to Hunter, is nominated to lead the Democratic Party into four/eight years of Obama-esque promise to continue shrinking the status quo for the lowers, Trump will probably win. Warren might have a better chance to convince voters she means to change things (despite the example of Obama,) but she's not very appealing. And she is almost certainly likely to be manipulated like Trump. ..."
"... I *think* that's more or less what likbez, said, though obviously it's not the way likbez wanted to express it. I disagree strenuously on some details, like Warren's problem being a schoolmarm, rather than being a believer in capitalism who shares Trump's moral values against socialism, no matter what voters say. ..."
Oct 27, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

...what replaces it will be even worse. That's the (slightly premature) headline for my recent article in The Conversation .

The headline will become operative in December, if as expected, the Trump Administration maintains its refusal to nominate new judges to the WTO appellate panel . That will render the WTO unable to take on new cases, and bring about an effective return to the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) which preceded the WTO .

An interesting sidelight is that Brexit No-Dealers have been keen on the merits of trading "on WTO terms", but those terms will probably be unenforceable by the time No Deal happens (if it does).

likbez 10.27.19 at 11:22 pm

That's another manifestation of the ascendance of "national neoliberalism," which now is displacing "classic neoliberalism."

Attempts to remove Trump via color revolution mechanisms (Russiagate, Ukrainegate) are essentially connected with the desire of adherents of classic neoliberalism to return to the old paradigm and kick the can down the road until the cliff. I think it is impossible because the neoliberal elite lost popular support (aka support of deplorables) and now is hanging in the air. "Greed is good" mantra, and the redistribution of the wealth up at the end proved to be very destructive.

That's why probably previous attempts to remove Trump were unsuccessful. And if corrupt classic neoliberal Biden wins Neoliberal Dem Party nomination, the USA probably will get the second term of Trump. Warren might have a chance as "Better Trump then Trump" although she proved so far to be pretty inept politician, and like "original" Trump probably can be easily coerced by the establishment, if she wins.

All this weeping and gnashing of teeth by "neoliberal Intelligentsia" does not change the fact that neoliberalism entered the period of structural crisis demonstrated by "secular stagnation," and, as such, its survival is far from certain. We probably can argue only about how long it will take for the "national neoliberalism" to dismantle it and what shape or form the new social order will take.

That does not mean that replacing the classic neoliberalism the new social order will be better, or more just. Neoliberalism was actually two steps back in comparison with the New Deal Capitalism that it replaced. It clearly was a social regress.

John Quiggin 10.28.19 at 3:00 am ( 2 )
Exactly right!
Matt 10.28.19 at 6:28 am ( 3 )
John, I am legitimate curious what you find "exactly right" in the comment above. Other than the obvious bit in the last line about new deal vs neoliberalism, I would say it is completely wrong, band presenting an amazingly distorted view of both the last few years and recent history.
reason 10.28.19 at 8:58 am ( 5 )
I agree with Matt.

In fact, I see the problem as more nuanced.

Neo-liberalism is not a unified thing. Right wing parties are not following the original (the value of choice) paradigm of Milton Friedman that won the argument during the 1970s inflation panic, but have implemented a deceitful bait and switch strategy, followed by continually shifting the goalposts – claiming – it would of worked but we weren't pure enough.

But parts of what Milton Friedman said (for instance the danger of bad micro-economic design of welfare systems creating poverty traps, and the inherent problems of high tariff rates) had a kernel of truth. (Unfortunately, Friedman's macro-economics was almost all wrong and has done great damage.)

Tim Worstall 10.28.19 at 12:39 pm (no link) 6

"In that context it felt free to override national governments on any issue that might affect international trade, most notably environmental policies."

Not entirely sure about that. The one case where I was informed enough to really know detail was the China and rare earths WTO case. China claimed that restrictions on exports of separated but otherwise unprocessed rare earths were being made on environmental grounds. Rare earth mining is a messy business, especially the way they do it.

Well, OK. And if such exports were being limited on environmental grounds then that would be WTO compliant. Which is why the claim presumably.

It was gently or not pointed out that exports of things made from those same rare earths were not limited in any sense. Therefore that environmental justification might not be quite the real one. Possibly, it was an attempt to suck RE using industry into China by making rare earths outside in short supply, but the availability for local processing being unrestricted? Certainly, one customer of mine at the time seriously considered packing up the US factory and moving it.

China lost the WTO case. Not because environmental reasons aren't a justification for restrictions on trade but because no one believed that was the reason, rather than the justification.

I don't know about other cases – shrimp, tuna – but there is at least the possibility that it's the argument, not the environment, which wasn't sufficient justification?

Jim Harrison 10.28.19 at 5:20 pm ( 9 )
Neoliberalism gets used as a generalized term of abuse these days. Not every political and institutional development of the last 40 years comes down to the worship of the free market.

In the EU, East Asia, and North America, some of what has taken place is the rationalization of bureaucratic practices and the weakening of archaic localisms. Some of these developments have been positive.

In this respect, neoliberalism in the blanket sense used by Likbez and many others is like what the the ancien regime was, a mix of regressive and progressive tendencies. In the aftermath of the on-going upheaval, it is likely that it will be reassessed and some of its features will be valued if they manage to persist.

I'm thinking of international trade agreements, transnational scientific organizations, and confederations like the European Union.

steven t johnson 10.29.19 at 12:29 am

If I may venture to translate @1?

Right-wing populism like Orban, Salvini, the Brexiteers are sweeping the globe and this is more of the same.

Trying to head off redivision of the world into nationalist trade blocks by removing Trump via dubiously democratic upheavals (like color revolutions) with more or less fictional quasi-scandals as pro-Russian treason or anti-Ukrainian treason (which is "Huh?" on the face of it,) is futile. It stems from a desire to keep on "free" trading despite the secular stagnation that has set in, hoping that the sociopolitical nowhere (major at least) doesn't collapse until God or Nature or something restores the supposedly natural order of economic growth without end/crisis.

I think efforts to keep the neoliberal international WTO/IMF/World Bank "free" trading system is futile because the lower orders are being ordered to be satisfied with a permanent, rigid class system .

If the pie is to shrink forever, all the vile masses (the deplorables) are going to hang together in their various ways, clinging to shared identity in race or religion or nationality, which will leave the international capitalists hanging, period. "Greed is good" mantra, and the redistribution of the wealth up at the end proved to be very destructive. Saying "Greed is good," then expecting selflessness from the lowers is not high-minded but self-serving. Redistribution of wealth upward has been terribly destructive to social cohesion, both domestically and in the sense of generosity towards foreigners.

The pervasive feeling that "we" are going down and drastic action has to be taken is probably why there hasn't been much traction for impeachment til now. If Biden, shown to be shady in regards to Hunter, is nominated to lead the Democratic Party into four/eight years of Obama-esque promise to continue shrinking the status quo for the lowers, Trump will probably win. Warren might have a better chance to convince voters she means to change things (despite the example of Obama,) but she's not very appealing. And she is almost certainly likely to be manipulated like Trump.

Again, despite the fury the old internationalism is collapsing under stagnation and weeping about it is irrelevant. Without any real ideas, we can only react to events as nationalist predatory capitals fight for their new world.

I'm not saying the new right wing populism is better. The New Deal/Great Society did more for America than its political successors since Nixon et al. The years since 1968 I think have been a regression and I see no reason–alas–that it can't get even worse.

I *think* that's more or less what likbez, said, though obviously it's not the way likbez wanted to express it. I disagree strenuously on some details, like Warren's problem being a schoolmarm, rather than being a believer in capitalism who shares Trump's moral values against socialism, no matter what voters say.

likbez 10.29.19 at 2:46 am 13

fausutsnotes 10.28.19 at 8:27 am @4

> What on earth is "national neoliberalism."

It is a particular mutation of the original concept similar to mutation of socialism into national socialism, when domestic policies are mostly preserved (including rampant deregulation) and supplemented by repressive measures (total surveillance) , but in foreign policy "might make right" and unilateralism with the stress on strictly bilateral regulations of trade (no WTO) somewhat modifies "Washington consensus". In other words, the foreign financial oligarchy has a demoted status under the "national neoliberalism" regime, while the national financial oligarchy and manufactures are elevated.

And the slogan of "financial oligarchy of all countries, unite" which is sine qua non of classic neoliberalism is effectively dead and is replaced by protection racket of the most political powerful players (look at Biden and Ukrainian oligarchs behavior here ;-)

> I think every sentence in that comment is either completely wrong or at least debatable. And is likbez actually John Hewson, because that comment reads like one of John Hewson's commentaries

I wish ;-). But it is true in the sense of sentiment expressed in his article A few bank scalps won't help unless they change their rotten culture That's a very similar approach to the problem.

politicalfootball 10.28.19 at 1:19 pm @8

> Most obviously, to define Warren and Trump as both being neoliberals drains the term of any meaning

You are way too fast even for a political football forward ;-).

Warren capitalizes on the same discontent and the feeling of the crisis of neoliberalism that allowed Trump to win. Yes, she is a much better candidate than Trump, and her policy proposals are better (unless she is coerced by the Deep State like Trump in the first three months of her Presidency).

Still, unlike Sanders in domestic policy and Tulsi in foreign policy, she is a neoliberal reformist at heart and a neoliberal warmonger in foreign policy. Most of her policy proposals are quite shallow, and are just a band-aid.

"Warren's "I have a plan" mantra sounds an awful lot like a dog whistle to Clinton voters" Elizabeth Warren's
Plan-itis Excessive Lobbying Case Study naked capitalism

Jim Harrison 10.28.19 at 5:20 pm @9

> Neoliberalism gets used as a generalized term of abuse these days. Not every political and institutional development of the last 40 years comes down to the worship of the free market.

This is a typical stance of neoliberal MSM, a popular line of attack on critics of neoliberalism.

Yes, of course, not everything political and institutional development of the last 40 years comes down to the worship of the "free market." But how can it be otherwise? Notions of human agency, a complex interaction of politics and economics in human affairs, technological progress since 1970th, etc., all play a role. But a historian needs to be able to somehow integrate the mass of evidence into a coherent and truthful story.

And IMHO this story for the last several decades is the ascendance and now decline of "classic neoliberalism" with its stress on the neoliberal globalization and opening of the foreign markets for transnational corporations (often via direct or indirect (financial) pressure, or subversive actions including color revolutions and military intervention) and replacement of it by "national neoliberalism" -- domestic neoliberalism without (or with a different type of) neoliberal globalization.

Defining features of national neoliberalism along with the rejection of neoliberal globalization and, in particular, multiparty treaties like WTO is massive, overwhelming propaganda including politicized witch hunts (via neoliberal MSM), total surveillance of citizens by the national security state institutions (three-letter agencies which now acquired a political role), as well as elements of classic nationalism built-in.

The dominant ideology of the last 30 years was definitely connected with "worshiping of free markets," a secular religion that displaced alternative views and, for several decades (say 1976 -2007), dominated the discourse. So worshiping (or pretense of worshiping) of "free market" (as if such market exists, and is not a theological construct -- a deity of some sort) is really defining feature here.

[Oct 27, 2019] DNC is converting the debates into a farce: Andr a Mitchell as a moderator as it MadCow presence is not enough to turn it into a farce.

The parade of neocons. Yes the same Andrea Mitchell, who pushed Iraq war...
Oct 27, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
The Debate

"MSNBC names four renowned female journalists as moderators for November debate" [ NBC ]. "Moderating the Nov. 20 event, which is being co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post, will be Rachel Maddow, host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC; Andrea Mitchell, host of "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on MSNBC and NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent; Kristen Welker, NBC News' White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a White House reporter for The Washington Post." • The count of journalists is off by at least one.

[Oct 27, 2019] Warren cutting into Biden's lead in new SC

Oct 27, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Iowa.'" • We'll see!

Warren (D)(1): "Warren cutting into Biden's lead in new SC 2020 Democratic poll" [ Post and Courier ]. "Biden's lead in South Carolina, which had hovered around 20 percentage points since the summer, has shrunk Biden received 30 percent to Warren's 19 percent. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 13 percent and California Sen. Kamala Harris at 11 percent are the only two other candidates with double-digit results in South Carolina . The biggest gains in the latest poll came from fifth- and sixth-place contenders, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer." • Everybody loves a winner, but the gains in the third tier show SC is still fluid (though perhaps not a firewall for Biden).

Warren (D)(2):

me title=

Yet another case where Warren's problem statement isn't commensurate with the proposed solution .

Impeachment

"Republicans criticize House impeachment process -- while fully participating in probe" [ WaPo ]. "Then the questions begin to fly, largely from the expert staff hired by lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee and other panels participating in the probe. Each side gets an equal amount of questions, as dictated by long-standing House rules guiding these interviews. 'It starts one hour, one hour,' said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), explaining how the questioning moves beyond one-hour blocks for each side. 'Then it goes 45, 45, 45, 45, with breaks, occasionally, and breaks for lunch.' Meadows, one of Trump's staunchest allies, said each side has been allowed an unlimited amount of questions they can ask of witnesses.' Those participating in the closed-door depositions generally say that these interviews are very professional and that both sides have operated under rules that were approved in January ." • As I've said, I don't like the policy on transcripts, and my litmus test for legitimacy is that there's no secret evidence at all. I don't much like that Republicans can't subpeona witnesses, either.

[Oct 23, 2019] Democrat s Virtue-Signaling Over Syria

Oct 18, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 5:38pm

With a great weeping, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and clutching of pearls, the Democrats have declared that the decision to withdraw troops from Syria was a mortal sin .

Joe Biden called it "the most shameful thing that any president has done in modern history in terms of foreign policy." Elizabeth Warren said Trump "has cut and run on our allies," and "created a bigger-than-ever humanitarian crisis." Kamala Harris announced, "Yet again Donald Trump [is] selling folks out."

However, it required Mayor Buttigieg to make it a personal moral imperative .

Meanwhile, soldiers in the field are reporting that for the first time they feel ashamed -- ashamed -- of what their country has done.

Democrats are totally honest and sincere here. It's not like they would have any double-standards on this issue.

When Muir asked Buttigieg whether he would stick to his pledge to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in his first year despite warnings from top American commanders, Buttigieg ducked the question and insisted that "we have got to put an end to endless war." Turning to Biden, Muir cited "concerns about any possible vacuum being created in Afghanistan." But Biden brushed them off, declaring, "We don't need those troops there. I would bring them home."

What makes these statements so remarkable is that experts warn that if the United States withdraws its troops from Afghanistan in the absence of a peace agreement, Afghanistan will suffer a fate remarkably similar to what is happening in northern Syria.

It's not like this issue is anything less than black or white.

It's not like we would eventually have the choice of supporting either a Kurdish/Arab militia tied however loosely to the PKK, a designated terror group perceived by Turkey as an existential threat, or Turkey , a NATO member.

We keep hearing how we "betrayed our allies," but who promised the Kurds that we would fight Turkey on their behalf? It's a big jump from "Let's both fight ISIS" to "Take that, NATO ally." But our garbage media, and our garbage politicians, sort of hand wave away the fact that you can't "betray" someone by not doing what you never promised to do, especially when no reasonable person could ever expect you to do it.

Oh wait. It's exactly like that.
All this virtue-signaling amounts to "I want you to send your sons and daughters to kill and maybe die fighting a long-time ally because otherwise 'Putin will win'!"
Yes, Putin will get more control over a war-torn country, a ruined economy, with bombed-out cities, and millions of refugees. Why must we deny him of this again?

And then there is the lack of an AUMF for us being in Syria. Which makes our occupation of Syria illegal, both by domestic law, and international law .

Syria is not our country and U.S. troops were never authorized by its sovereign government to be there. Whether or not Washington likes Damascus is irrelevant, under international law U.S. troops have no right to be there. Even flights over Syrian airspace by the U.S. coalition are a violation of international agreements.

Why doesn't Bernie or Gabbard mention that this is an illegal war? People might care.

Also, does anyone remember when putting troops in Syria was something to be avoided?
Does anyone else remember the 16 times Obama said there would be no boots on the ground in Syria?

Since 2013, President Obama has repeatedly vowed that there would be no "boots on the ground" in Syria.

But White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president's decision Friday to send up to 50 special forces troops to Syria doesn't change the fundamental strategy: "This is an important thing for the American people to understand. These forces do not have a combat mission."

We now have a stage full of presidential candidates that say they love Obama, yet ignore this part of his legacy (that he himself violated).

Finally there is our legacy in Syria. Our legacy of war crimes .

"The Commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that international coalition forces may not have directed their attacks at a specific military objective, or failed to do so with the necessary precaution," it said.

"Launching indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime in cases in which such attacks are conducted recklessly," it added.

Engaging in an illegal war while committing war crimes is a "full stop" right there. No amount of virtue-signaling can justify this.
And yet it still gets worse .

In a now-famous secretly recorded conversation with Syrian opposition activists in New York, Former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the United States was hoping to use ISIS to undermine the Syrian government. To put it bluntly, U.S. foreign policy was duplicitous and used terrorism as a tool. This, of course, is a well-documented fact.

If we had a real media these candidates would all be crucified.

gjohnsit on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 5:38pm With a great weeping, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and clutching of pearls, the Democrats have declared that the decision to withdraw troops from Syria was a mortal sin .

Joe Biden called it "the most shameful thing that any president has done in modern history in terms of foreign policy." Elizabeth Warren said Trump "has cut and run on our allies," and "created a bigger-than-ever humanitarian crisis." Kamala Harris announced, "Yet again Donald Trump [is] selling folks out."

However, it required Mayor Buttigieg to make it a personal moral imperative .

Meanwhile, soldiers in the field are reporting that for the first time they feel ashamed -- ashamed -- of what their country has done.

Democrats are totally honest and sincere here. It's not like they would have any double-standards on this issue.

When Muir asked Buttigieg whether he would stick to his pledge to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in his first year despite warnings from top American commanders, Buttigieg ducked the question and insisted that "we have got to put an end to endless war." Turning to Biden, Muir cited "concerns about any possible vacuum being created in Afghanistan." But Biden brushed them off, declaring, "We don't need those troops there. I would bring them home."

What makes these statements so remarkable is that experts warn that if the United States withdraws its troops from Afghanistan in the absence of a peace agreement, Afghanistan will suffer a fate remarkably similar to what is happening in northern Syria.

It's not like this issue is anything less than black or white.

It's not like we would eventually have the choice of supporting either a Kurdish/Arab militia tied however loosely to the PKK, a designated terror group perceived by Turkey as an existential threat, or Turkey , a NATO member.

We keep hearing how we "betrayed our allies," but who promised the Kurds that we would fight Turkey on their behalf? It's a big jump from "Let's both fight ISIS" to "Take that, NATO ally." But our garbage media, and our garbage politicians, sort of hand wave away the fact that you can't "betray" someone by not doing what you never promised to do, especially when no reasonable person could ever expect you to do it.

Oh wait. It's exactly like that.
All this virtue-signaling amounts to "I want you to send your sons and daughters to kill and maybe die fighting a long-time ally because otherwise 'Putin will win'!"
Yes, Putin will get more control over a war-torn country, a ruined economy, with bombed-out cities, and millions of refugees. Why must we deny him of this again?

And then there is the lack of an AUMF for us being in Syria. Which makes our occupation of Syria illegal, both by domestic law, and international law .

Syria is not our country and U.S. troops were never authorized by its sovereign government to be there. Whether or not Washington likes Damascus is irrelevant, under international law U.S. troops have no right to be there. Even flights over Syrian airspace by the U.S. coalition are a violation of international agreements.

Why doesn't Bernie or Gabbard mention that this is an illegal war? People might care.

Also, does anyone remember when putting troops in Syria was something to be avoided?
Does anyone else remember the 16 times Obama said there would be no boots on the ground in Syria?

Since 2013, President Obama has repeatedly vowed that there would be no "boots on the ground" in Syria.

But White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president's decision Friday to send up to 50 special forces troops to Syria doesn't change the fundamental strategy: "This is an important thing for the American people to understand. These forces do not have a combat mission."

We now have a stage full of presidential candidates that say they love Obama, yet ignore this part of his legacy (that he himself violated).

Finally there is our legacy in Syria. Our legacy of war crimes .

"The Commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that international coalition forces may not have directed their attacks at a specific military objective, or failed to do so with the necessary precaution," it said.

"Launching indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime in cases in which such attacks are conducted recklessly," it added.

Engaging in an illegal war while committing war crimes is a "full stop" right there. No amount of virtue-signaling can justify this.
And yet it still gets worse .

In a now-famous secretly recorded conversation with Syrian opposition activists in New York, Former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that the United States was hoping to use ISIS to undermine the Syrian government. To put it bluntly, U.S. foreign policy was duplicitous and used terrorism as a tool. This, of course, is a well-documented fact.

If we had a real media these candidates would all be crucified.

Why are we there? Follow the money

The good kind of foreign influence in our elections

The UAE is pumping millions of dollars into "vast and influential" lobbying efforts in the US, using a range of public relations companies to help shape foreign policy issues, a report by a Washington-based non-profit alleged this week.

The report published by the Center for International Policy (CIP) claims that 20 US companies were paid around $20 million to lobby politicians and other influential institutions on foreign policy issues.

"Though the Emirati's influence operation differs notably from the Saudi's in many ways, both rely heavily on their FARA registered lobbying and public relations firms to brandish their image in the US, and to keep their transgressions out of the public consciousness as much as possible," the report reads.

The report is part of CIP's Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, which aims to elucidate the "half-billion-dollar foreign influence industry working to shape US foreign policy every single day".

The report added Emirati influence operation targeted legislators, non-profits, media outlets and think-tanks in an attempt to portray the UAE to the world in a positive light.

edg on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 7:13pm
Quote from article

@gjohnsit

The New Arab article quote "public relations firms to brandish their image in the US" has a word usage problem. The correct word would be burnish, not brandish. You brandish your weapon. You burnish your image.

Malapropism police out.

The good kind of foreign influence in our elections

The UAE is pumping millions of dollars into "vast and influential" lobbying efforts in the US, using a range of public relations companies to help shape foreign policy issues, a report by a Washington-based non-profit alleged this week.

The report published by the Center for International Policy (CIP) claims that 20 US companies were paid around $20 million to lobby politicians and other influential institutions on foreign policy issues.

"Though the Emirati's influence operation differs notably from the Saudi's in many ways, both rely heavily on their FARA registered lobbying and public relations firms to brandish their image in the US, and to keep their transgressions out of the public consciousness as much as possible," the report reads.

The report is part of CIP's Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, which aims to elucidate the "half-billion-dollar foreign influence industry working to shape US foreign policy every single day".

The report added Emirati influence operation targeted legislators, non-profits, media outlets and think-tanks in an attempt to portray the UAE to the world in a positive light.

Funkygal on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 6:11pm
Here is another excellent one

https://fair.org/home/media-alarmed-by-imaginary-pullout-from-syria/

They are only moving 50-100 soldiers away and the lamestream media is hyperventilating.

apenultimate on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 6:52pm
The Turkish Invasion

a lot of people think it is actually kind of *staged* by an agreement with Russia and Turkey, and if so, it'll force the United States out of northern Syria, make the US look stupid, but actually give everybody what they want. Check it out:

Moon of Alabama

The basics are:

--Turkey makes some initial attacks in northern Syria, tells the US to get out of the way and abandon the Kurds

--The Kurds are forced to ally with Syrian forces, and they are swept into the Syrian Army ranks (negating their ability to go independent)

--The Syrian Army moves to the border and starts manning border crossings (already happening in many places), providing a long-term buffer between Kurds and Turkey

--The Turkish-backed terrorist forces are expended in border confrontations (Turkey really does not want them long-term)

--Once things settle down, Syrian refugees move back into Syria, out of Turkey

--US forces are forced to move out of northeastern Syria and out of the oil fields (or be surrounded and starved out by Syrian/Russian/Kurdish forces)

--Kurds are not wholesale slaughtered, and Democratic presidential candidates are revealed for their foolishness in the whole thing

--Trump gets more of what he wants--more US troops out of Syria (against the wishes of the deep state)

--Turkey has a protected border and the incesant attacks from Kurds drops to manageable levels due to the Syrian army border and the Kurds becoming integrated into Syrian forces.

I give this a 50% of how it will play out. Sure, there are current battles ongoing, but so far, Turkey is not attacking Syrian forces, who are moving up into place on the border in many areas. The central area is still fluid, but let's see where it dies down in a couple weeks.

edg on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 7:17pm
Small disagreement

@apenultimate

"Democratic presidential candidates are revealed for their foolishness" won't happen. The MSM won't allow it.

a lot of people think it is actually kind of *staged* by an agreement with Russia and Turkey, and if so, it'll force the United States out of northern Syria, make the US look stupid, but actually give everybody what they want. Check it out:

Moon of Alabama

The basics are:

--Turkey makes some initial attacks in northern Syria, tells the US to get out of the way and abandon the Kurds

--The Kurds are forced to ally with Syrian forces, and they are swept into the Syrian Army ranks (negating their ability to go independent)

--The Syrian Army moves to the border and starts manning border crossings (already happening in many places), providing a long-term buffer between Kurds and Turkey

--The Turkish-backed terrorist forces are expended in border confrontations (Turkey really does not want them long-term)

--Once things settle down, Syrian refugees move back into Syria, out of Turkey

--US forces are forced to move out of northeastern Syria and out of the oil fields (or be surrounded and starved out by Syrian/Russian/Kurdish forces)

--Kurds are not wholesale slaughtered, and Democratic presidential candidates are revealed for their foolishness in the whole thing

--Trump gets more of what he wants--more US troops out of Syria (against the wishes of the deep state)

--Turkey has a protected border and the incesant attacks from Kurds drops to manageable levels due to the Syrian army border and the Kurds becoming integrated into Syrian forces.

I give this a 50% of how it will play out. Sure, there are current battles ongoing, but so far, Turkey is not attacking Syrian forces, who are moving up into place on the border in many areas. The central area is still fluid, but let's see where it dies down in a couple weeks.

Cassiodorus on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 7:02pm
What's interesting about Rojava

(as Kurdish Syria is sometimes called) is that one of the Kurd leaders became a follower of Murray Bookchin after spending a bunch of time as a Marxist-Leninist, and so portions of Kurdish society are an experiment in Bookchinism. Here is a piece by Bookchin's daughter on the correspondence between him and the Kurds. Hopefully the Kurds will find some protection in the new Putin-brokered Syria.

Otherwise, yeah, the Kurds are an ally of convenience for the Democratic Party and its apologists on that most disgusting of propaganda instruments, National Public Radio.

snoopydawg on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 8:07pm
It's not only illegal for us to be in Syria

but it should have also been illegal for us to arm the same people that we had declared terrorists. Now those people are killing the people who fought on our side against the ones now doing the killing.. my head is spinning with all the insane talking points coming from people who have never met a war they didn't support.

This is a good read.

Former and current US officials have slammed the Turkish mercenary force of "Arab militias" for executing and beheading Kurds in northern Syria. New data from Turkey reveals that almost all of these militias were armed and trained in the past by the CIA and Pentagon.
By Max Blumenthal

The US has backed 21 of the 28 'crazy' militias leading Turkey's brutal invasion of northern Syria


Left: John McCain with then-FSA chief Salim Idriss (right) in 2013; Right: Salim Idriss (center) in October, announcing the establishment of the National Front for Liberation, the Turkish mercenary army that has invaded northern Syria.

Hmm..kinda hard to explain that huh? The article talks about Idriss in detail. As well as Obama and Hillary's roles in the 'no boots on the ground' war.

This should embarrass every person who is moaning over Trump's actions in Syria. Turkey was coming in one way or another and the only way to stop them was for our troops to stand in their way. But what really ticks me off is all of that equipment they left behind on their bug out. Not just tents , TVs and air conditioners and everything in between, but they left weapons and bombs there and they just blew them up. This will make the defense companies very happy!

snoopydawg on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 9:13pm
This is interesting if true

After the ceasefire, US backed #Kurds are deciding to hand over the north of #Syria to Turkey rather than the Syrian army. All trump had to promise them was a stake in #Syria 's oil fields. https://t.co/euat8DvIa4

-- Syrian Girl (@Partisangirl) October 19, 2019

Syrian Girl lives in Syria and has been a good source of information, but I'm not sure if what she is reporting is true. But wouldn't that shut lots of people up?

doh1304 on Fri, 10/18/2019 - 10:21pm
The only thing I wonder

Obama kept troops out of Syria until the last minute. Then he took a force small enough to justify his successor's escalation. So when the Turks tried to genocide the Kurds - like they were certain to do - Trump gets the blame. But it was supposed to be Hillary. What was in it for her? The joy of another country seeing genocide?

The Wizard on Sat, 10/19/2019 - 1:21am
Fool me once...

The Kurds were promised land and valuable oil fields in North Eastern Syria by... the US. What's wrong with this picture? Damascus has I invited the Kurds to be part of the multi-ethnic Syria. The Kurds refused and took America's deal. We armed them to the teeth with 10s of billions of dollars of weapons. What could go wrong? Well just about everything as the US offer was highly illegal, they are stealing Syrian oil, and Turkey will not accept any Kurdish permanent enclave on her border. Syria, Russia, Iran, China, Hezbollah, Iraq and more support the reunification of all of Syria. Why were the Kurds so stupid? Go it? Blind belief in the all powerful US!

[Oct 22, 2019] The main line of Republican attacks on Warren might be that she is not trustworthy

Oct 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren (D)(1): "Elizabeth Warren to put out plan on how to pay for 'Medicare for All'" [ CNN ]. • "Pay for" being both delusional and a question nobody, including Warren, ever asks about war, and "taxes on the middle class" being, shall we say, a well-worn, content-free trope.

Warren (D)(2): "Why Criticize Warren?" [Nathan Robinson, Current Affairs ]. "What will the right's main line of attack against Warren be? I think you can see it already, actually: They will attempt to portray her as inauthentic and untrustworthy. She will be painted as a Harvard egghead who has suddenly discovered populism for self-serving reasons, a slippery elite who isn't telling you the truth about her agenda . What worries me about Elizabeth Warren is that the criticisms of her as untrustworthy are not easy to wave away. Warren began her 2020 campaign with a video claiming to be a Native American, even though she isn't one. She has now tried to bury the evidence that she did this, by deleting the video and all accompanying social media posts .

I have tried, so far, to avoid lapsing into the usual discussions of "Bernie Sanders versus Elizabeth Warren," but here I should note that one reason I think Bernie Sanders is such a powerful potential candidate against Trump is that he doesn't have these kind of messy problems of authenticity and honesty.

The thing almost nobody denies about Bernie is that you know where he stands."

As The Big Picture says above. This is a massive takedown, and I've focused on a single, tactical issue, but this post is a must-read in full. If it's correct, the Warren campaign is a train-wreck waiting to happen.

(Adding, the Cherokee issue really matters to me, because the Penobscots were enormously powerful allies in the fight against the landfill (and cf. Standing Rock). It just drives me bananas that Warren didn't check in with the Cherokees before declaring herself one of them. I think it's an outrage, and I don't care if I get eye-rolls for it.)

[Oct 20, 2019] How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area. ..."
"... Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials. ..."
"... Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind. ..."
"... A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion? ..."
"... As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. ..."
"... The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones. ..."
"... Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US. ..."
"... We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay. ..."
"... Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that. ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Dan Hayes says: October 4, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT • 100 Words @Ron Unz Proprietor Ron,

Thanks for your sharing you views about Prof Cohen, a most interesting and principled man.

Only after reading the article did I realize that the UR (that's you) also provided the Batchelor Show podcast. Thanks.

I've been listening to these broadcasts over their entirety, now going on for six or so years. What's always struck me is Cohen's level-headeness and equanimity. I've also detected affection for Kentucky, his native state. Not something to be expected from a Princeton / NYU academic nor an Upper West Side resident.

And once again expressing appreciation for the UR!


sally , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:47 am GMT

How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area.

Behind NATO lies the reason for Bexit, the Yellow Jackets, the unrest in Iraq and Egypt, Yemen etc.

Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials.
Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind.

I think [private use of public force for private gain] is what Trump meant when Trump said to impeach Trump for investigating the Ukraine matter amounts to Treason.. but it is the exactly the activity type that Hallmarks CIA instigated regime change.

A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion?

Beckow , says: October 4, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT

The key question is what is the gain in separating Ukraine from Russia, adding it to NATO, and turning Russia and Ukraine into enemies. And what are the most likely results, e.g. can it ever work without risking a catastrophic event?

There are the usual empire-building and weapons business reasons, but those should function within a rational framework. As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. And an increase in tensions in the region with inevitable impact on the business there. So what exactly is the gain and for whom?

eah , says: October 4, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
The Washington-led attempt to fast-track Ukraine into NATO in 2013–14 resulted in the Maidan crisis, the overthrow of the country's constitutionally elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and to the still ongoing proxy civil war in Donbass.

Which exemplifies the stupidity and arrogance of the American military/industrial/political Establishment -- none of that had anything to do with US national security (least of all antagonizing Russia) -- how fucking hypocritical is it to presume the Monroe Doctrine, and then try to get the Ukraine into NATO? -- none of it would have been of any benefit whatsoever to the average American.

Roberto Masioni , says: October 4, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
According to a recent govt study, only 12% of Americans can read above a 9th grade level. This effectively mean (((whoever))) controls the MSM controls the world. NOTHING will change for the better while the (((enemy))) owns our money supply.
Pamela , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
There was NO "annexation" of Crimea by Russia. Crimea WAS annexed, but by Ukraine.
Russia and Crimea re-unified. Crimea has been part of Russia for long than America has existed – since it was taken from the Ottoman Empire over 350 yrs ago. The vast majority of the people identify as Russian, and speak only Russian.

To annex, the verb, means to use armed force to seize sovereign territory and put it under the control of the invading forces government. Pretty much as the early Americans did to Northern Mexico, Hawaii, etc. Russia used no force, the Governors of Crimea applied for re-unification with Russia, Russia advised a referendum, which was held, and with a 96% turnout, 97% voted for re-unification. This was done formally and legally, conforming with all the international mandates.

It is very damaging for anyone to say that Russia "annexed" Crimea, because when people read, quickly moving past the world, they subliminally match the word to their held perception of the concept and move on. Thus they match the word "annex" to their conception of the use of Armed Force against a resistant population, without checking.

All Cohen is doing here is reinforcing the pushed, lying Empire narrative, that Russia invaded and used force, when the exact opposite is true!!

follyofwar , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer One wonders if Mr. Putin, as he puts his head on the pillow at night, fancies that he should have rolled the Russian tanks into Kiev, right after the 2014 US-financed coup of Ukraine's elected president, which was accomplished while he was pre-occupied with the Sochi Olympics, and been done with it. He had every justification to do so, but perhaps feared Western blowback. Well, the blowback happened anyway, so maybe Putin was too cautious.

The new Trump Admin threw him under the bus when it installed the idiot Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, whose first words were that Russia must give Crimea back. With its only major warm water port located at Sevastopol, that wasn't about to happen, and the US Deep State knew it.

Given how he has been so unfairly treated by the media, and never given a chance to enact his Russian agenda, anyone who thinks that Trump was 'selected' by the deep state has rocks for brains. The other night, on Rick Sanchez's RT America show, former US diplomat, and frequent guest Jim Jatras said that he would not be too surprised if 20 GOP Senators flipped and voted to convict Trump if the House votes to impeach.

The deep state can't abide four more years of the bombastic, Twitter-obsessed Trump, hence this Special Ops Ukraine false flag, designed to fool a majority of the people. The smooth talking, more warlike Pence is one of them. The night of the long knives is approaching.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones.

The "logic" of the Dem party is remarkable. Dems don't even deny that Biden is corrupt, that he blatantly abused the office of Vice-President for personal gain. What's more, he was dumb enough to boast about it publicly. Therefore, let's impeach Trump.

These people don't give a hoot about the interests of the US as a country, or even as an Empire. Their insatiable greed for money and power blinds them to everything. By rights, those who orchestrated totally fake Russiagate and now push for impeachment, when Russiagate flopped miserably, should be hanged on lampposts for high treason. Unfortunately, justice won't be served. So, we have to be satisfied with an almost assured prospect of this impeachment thing to flop, just like Russiagate before it. But in the process incalculable damage will be done to our country and its institutions.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Pamela In fact, several Western sources reluctantly confirmed the results of Crimean referendum of 2014:
German polling company GFK
http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf
Gallup
http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

Those who support the separation of Kosovo from Serbia without Serbian consent cannot argue against separation of Crimea from Ukraine without the consent of Kiev regime.

On the other hand, those who believe that post-WWII borders are sacrosanct have to acknowledge that Crimea belongs to Russia (illegally even by loose Soviet standards transferred to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1956), Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Soviet Union should be restored, and Germany should be re-divided.

Alden , says: October 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
At least now I know why Ukraine is so essential to American national security. It's so even more of my and my families' taxes can pay for a massive expansion of Nato, which means American military bases in Ukraine. Greenland to the borders of China.

We're encircling the earth, like those old cartoons about bankers.

chris , says: October 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm GMT
@Ron Unz I had to stop listening after the 10th min. where the good professor (without any push-back from the interviewer) says:

Victor Yanukovich was overthrown by a street coup . at that moment, the United States and not only the United States but the Western European Governments had to make a decision would they acknowledge the overthrow of Yannukovic as having been legitimate, and therefore accept whatever government emerged, and that was a fateful moment within 24hours, the governments, including the government of president Obama endorsed what was essentially a coup d'etat against Yanukovich.

Has the good Professor so quickly forgotten about Victoria Nuland distributing cookies with John McCain in the Maidan as the coup was still unfolding? Her claim at the think tank in DC where she discusses having spent $30million (if I remember correctly) for foisting the Ukraine coup ?

Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US.

These are not simple omissions but willful acts of misleading of fools. The good professor's little discussed career as a resource for the secret services has reemerged after seemingly having been left out in the cold during the 1st attempted coup against Trump.

No, the real story is more than just a little NATO expansion as the professor does suggest, but more directly, the attempted coup that the US is still trying to stage in Russia itself, in order to regain control of Russia's vast energy resources which Putin forced the oligarchs to disgorge. The US desperately wants to achieve this in order to be able to ultimately also control China's access to those resources as well.

In the way that Iraq was supposed to be a staging post for an attack on Iran, Ukraine is the staging post for an attack on Russia.

The great Russian expert stirred miles very clear of even hinting at such scenarios, even though anyone who's thought about US world policies will easily arrive at this logical conclusion.

Anonymous [855] • Disclaimer , says: October 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
What about the theft of Ukraine's farmland and the enserfing of its rural population? Isn't this theft and enserfing of Ukrainians at least one major reason the US government got involved, overseeing the transfer of this land into the hands of the transnational banking crime syndicate? The Ukraine, with its rich, black soil, used to be called the breadbasket of Europe.

Consider the fanatical intervention on the part of Victoria Nuland and the Kagans under the guise of working for the State Dept to facilitate the theft. In a similar fashion, according to Wayne Madsen, the State Dept. has a Dept of Foreign Asset Management, or some similar name, that exists to protect the Chabad stranglehold on the world diamond trade, and, according to Madsen, the language spoken and posters around the offices are in Hebrew, which as a practical matter might as well be the case at the State Dept itself.

According to an article a few years ago at Oakland Institute, George Rohr's NCH Capital, which latter organization has funded over 100 Chabad Houses on US campuses, owns over 1 million acres of Ukraine farmland. Other ownership interests of similarly vast tracts of Ukraine farmland show a similar pattern of predation. At one point, it was suggested that the Yinon Plan should be understood to include the Ukraine as the newly acquired breadbasket of Eretz Israel. It may also be worth pointing out that now kosher Ivy League schools' endowments are among the worst pillagers of native farmland and enserfers of the indigenous populations they claim to protect.

AnonFromTN , says: October 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mikhail Well, if we really go into it, things become complicated. What Khmelnitsky united with Russia was maybe 1/6th or 1/8th of current Ukraine. Huge (4-5 times greater) areas in the North and West were added by Russian Tsars, almost as great areas in the South and East taken by Tsars from Turkey and affiliated Crimean Khanate were added by Lenin, a big chunk in the West was added by Stalin, and then in 1956 moron Khrushchev "gifted" Crimea (which he had no right to do even by Soviet law). So, about 4/6th of "Ukraine" is Southern Russia, 1/6th is Eastern Poland, some chunks are Hungary and Romania, and the remaining little stub is Ukraine proper.
AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@anon American view always was: "yes, he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". That historically applied to many obnoxious regimes, now fully applies to Ukraine. In that Dems and Reps always were essentially identical, revealing that they are two different puppets run by the same puppet master.

Trump is hardly very intelligent, but he has some street smarts that degenerate elites have lost. Hence their hatred of him. It is particularly galling for the elites that Trump won in 2016, and has every chance of winning again in 2020 (unless they decide to murder him, like JFK; but that would be a real giveaway, even the dumbest sheeple would smell the rat).

Skeptikal , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm GMT
@follyofwar The only reason I can imagine that Putin/Russia would want to "take over" Ukraine and have this political problem child back in the family might be because of Ukraine's black soil.

But it is probably not worth the aggravation.

Russia is building up its agricultural sector via major greenhouse installations and other innovations.

Beckow , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
@AP Well, you are a true simpleton who repeats shallow conventional views. You don't ever seem to think deeper about what you write, e.g. if Yanukovitch could beat anyone in a 1-on-1 election than he obviously wasn't that unpopular and that makes Maidan illegal by any standard. You say he could beat Tiahnybok, who was one of the leaders of Maidan, how was then Maidan democratic? Or you don't care for democracy if people vote against your preferences?

Trade with Russia is way down and it is not coming back. That is my point – there was definitely a way to do this better. It wasn't a choice of 'one or the other' – actually EU was under the impression that Ukraine would help open up the Russian market. Your either-or wasn't the plan, so did Kiev lie to EU? No wonder Ukraine has a snowball chance in hell of joining EU.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Skeptikal Russia moved to the first place in the world in wheat exports, while greatly increasing its production of meat, fowl, and fish. Those who supplied these commodities lost Russian market for good. In fact, with sanctions, food in Russia got a lot better, and food in Moscow got immeasurably better: now it's local staff instead of crap shipped from half-a-world away. Funny thing is, Russian production of really good fancy cheeses has soared (partially with the help of French and Italian producers who moved in to avoid any stupid sanctions).

So, there is no reason for Russia to take Ukraine on any conditions, especially considering Ukraine's exorbitant external debt. If one calculates European demand for transplantation kidneys and prostitutes, two of the most successful Ukrainian exports, Ukraine will pay off its debt – never. Besides, the majority of Russians learned to despise Ukraine due to its subservient vassalage to the US (confirmed yet again by the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Ze), so the emotional factor is also virtually gone. Now the EU and the US face the standard rule of retail: you broke it, you own it. That infuriates Americans and EU bureaucrats more than anything.

annamaria , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger "Demography statistic won't support fairy tales by solzhenicin and his kind."

-- What's your point? Your post reads like an attempt at saying that Kaganovitch was white like snow and that it does not matter what crimes were committed in the Soviet Union because of the "demography statistic" and because you, Sergey Krieger, are a grander person next to Solzhenitsyn and "his kind." By the way, had not A. I. S. returned to Russia, away from the coziness of western life?

S.K.: "You should start research onto mass dying of population after 1991 and subsequent and ongoing demographic catastroph in Russia under current not as "brutal " as soviet regime."

-- If you wish: "The Rape of Russia: Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives, September 21, 1999:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/Harvard_mafia/testimony_of_anne_williamson_before_the_house_banking_committee.shtml

"Economic rape of post-USSR economic space was by design not by accident:"
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#Economic_rape_of_post_USSR_economic_space_was_by_design_not_by_accident

"MI6 role in economic rape of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet republics:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#MI6_role_

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 11:39 pm GMT
@AP Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) and lots of other laws. And that's not the worst part of it. But it already happened, there is no going back for Ukraine. It's a "yes or no" thing, you can't be a little bit pregnant. We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide. Some say this project was doomed from the start. I think Ukraine had a chance and blew it.
AP , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:39 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) a

Illegal revolution (are there any legal ones? – was American one legal?) rather than coup. Violations of Constitution began under Yanukovich.

We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide.

LOL. Were you the one comparing it to Somalia?

Here is "dead" Ukraine:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DDWAobR8U0c?start=3017&feature=oembed

What a nightmare.

Compare Ukraine 2019 to Ukraine 2013 (before revolution):

GDP per capita PPP:

$9233 (2018) vs. $8648 (2013)

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=UA-AM-GE-MN-AL&name_desc=false

GDP per capita nominal:

$3110 (2018) vs. $3160 (2013)

Given 3% growth in 2019, it will be higher.

Forex reserves:

$20 billion end of 2013, $23 billion currently

Debt to GDP ratio:

40% in 2013, 61% in 2018. Okay, this is worse. But it is a decline from 2016 when it was 81%.

Compare Ukraine's current 61% to Greece's 150%.

Military: from ~15,000 usable troops to 200,000.

Overall, not exactly a "suicide."

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
@AnonFromTN I usually refrain from labelling off-cycle changes in government as revolutions or coups – it clearly depends on one's views and can't be determined.

In general, when violence or military is involved, it is more likely it was a coup. If a country has a reasonably open election process, violently overthrowing the current government would also seem like a coup, since it is unnecessary. Ukraine had both violence and a coming election that was democratic. If Yanukovitch would prevent or manipulate the elections, one could make a case that at that point – after the election – the population could stage a ' revolution '.

AP is a simpleton who repeats badly thought out slogans and desperately tries to save some face for the Maidan fiasco – so we will not change his mind, his mind is done with changes, it is all about avoiding regrets even if it means living in a lie. One can almost feel sorry for him, if he wasn't so obnoxious.

Ukraine has destroyed its own future gradually after 1991, all the elites there failed, Yanukovitch was just the last in a long line of failures, the guy before him (Yushenko?) left office with a 5% approval. Why wasn't there a revolution against him? Maidan put a cherry on that rotting cake – a desperate scream of pain by people who had lost all hope and so blindly fell for cheap promises by the new-old hustlers.

We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay.

Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that.

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@AP You intentionally omitted the second part of what I wrote: 'a reasonably democratic elections', neither 18th century American colonies, nor Russia in 1917 or Romania in 1989, had them. Ukraine in 2014 did.

So all your belly-aching is for nothing. The talk about 'subverting' and doing a preventive 'revolution' on Maidan to prevent 'subversion' has a very Stalinist ring to it. If you start revolutionary violence because you claim to anticipate that something bad might happen, well, the sky is the limit and you have no rules.

You are desperately trying to justify a stupid and unworkable act. As we watch the unfolding disaster and millions leaving Ukraine, this "Maidan was great!!!" mantra will sound even more silly. But enjoy it, it is not Somalia, wow, I guess as long as a country is not Somalia it is ok. Ukraine is by far the poorest large country in Europe. How is that a success?

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@Beckow True believers are called that because they willfully ignore facts and logic. AP is a true believer Ukie. Ukie faith is their main undoing. Unfortunately, they are ruining the country with their insane dreams. But that cannot be helped now. The position of a large fraction of Ukrainian population is best described by a cruel American saying: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN You are right, it can't be helped. Another saying is that it takes two to lie: one who lies, and one to lie to. The receiver of lies is also responsible.

What happened in Ukraine was: Nuland&Co. went to Ukraine and lied to them about ' EU, 'Marshall plan', aid, 'you will be Western ', etc,,,'. Maidanistas swallowed it because they wanted to believe – it is easy to lie to desperate people. Making promises is very easy. US soft power is all based on making promises.

What Nuland&Co. really wanted was to create a deep Ukraine-Russia hostility and to grab Crimea, so they could get Russian Navy out and move Nato in. It didn't work very well, all we have is useless hostility, and a dysfunctional state. But as long as they serve espresso in Lviv, AP will scream that it was all worth it, 'no Somalia', it is 'all normal', almost as good as 2013 . Right.

Robjil , says: October 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
Ukraine is an overseas US territory.

It is not a foreign nation at all.

Trump dealt with one of our overseas territories.

Nuland said that US invested 5 billion dollars to get Ukraine.

She got Ukraine without balls that is Crimea. Russia took back the balls.

US cried, cried a Crimea river about this. They are still crying over this.

DESERT FOX , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Robjil Agree, and like Israel the Ukraine will be a welfare drain on the America taxpayers as long as Israel and the Ukraine exist.
Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
@AP I don't disagree with what you said, but my point was different:

lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians

Without the unnecessary hostility and the break in business relations with Russia the living standards in Ukraine would be higher. That, I think, noone would dispute. One can trace that directly to the so-far failed attempt to get Ukraine into Nato and Russia out of its Crimea bases. There has been a high cost for that policy, so it is appropriate to ask: why? did the authors of that policy think it through?

Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@AP I don't give a flying f k about Yanukovitch and your projections about what 'would be growth' under him. He was history by 2014 in any case.

One simple point that you don't seem to grasp: it was Yanuk who negotiated the association treaty with EU that inevitably meant Ukraine in Nato and Russia bases out of Crimea (after a decent interval). For anyone to call Yanuk a 'pro-Russian' is idiotic – what we see today are the results of Yanukovitch's policies. By the way, the first custom restrictions on Ukraine's exports to Russia happened in summer 2013 under Y.

If you still think that Yanukovitch was in spite of all of that somehow a 'Russian puppet', you must have a very low opinion of Kremlin skills in puppetry. He was not, he was fully onboard with the EU-Nato-Crimea policy – he implemented it until he got outflanked by even more radical forces on Maidan.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
@Beckow Well, exactly like all Ukrainian presidents before and after him, Yanuk was a thief. He might have been a more intelligent and/or more cautious thief that Porky, but a thief he was.

Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilled milk: history has no subjunctive mood. Ukraine has dug a hole for itself, and it still keeps digging, albeit slower, after a clown in whole socks replaced a clown in socks with holes. By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

There is no turning back. Regardless of Ukrainian policies, many things it used to sell Russia won't be bought any more: Russia developed its own shipbuilding (subcontracted some to South Korea), is making its own helicopter and ship engines, all stages of space rockets, etc. Russia won't return any military or high-tech production to Ukraine, ever. What's more, most Russians are now disgusted with Ukraine, which would impede improving relations even if Ukraine gets a sane government (which is extremely unlikely in the next 5 years).

Ukraine's situation is best described by Russian black humor saying: "what we fought for has befallen us". End of story.

Sergey Krieger , says: October 6, 2019 at 4:15 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev How many millions? It is same story. Ukraine claims more and more millions dead from so called Hilodomor when in Russia liberals have been screaming about 100 million deaths in russia from bolsheviks. Both are fairy tales. Now you better answer what is current population of ukraine. The last soviet time 1992 level was 52 million. I doubt you got even 40 million now. Under soviet power both ukraine and russia population were steadily growing. Now, under whose music you are dancing along with those in Russia that share your views when die off very real one is going right under your nose.
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:03 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

Have you noticed that the Republicans, while seeming to defend Trump, never challenge the specious assertion that delaying arms to Ukraine was a threat to US security? At first I thought this was oversight. Silly me. Keeping the New Cold War smoldering is more important to those hawks.

Tulsi Gabbard flipping to support the impeachment enquiry was especially disappointing. I'm guessing she was under lots of pressure, because she can't possibly believe that arming the Ukies is good for our security. If I could get to one of her events, I'd ask her direct, what's up with that. Obama didn't give them arms at all, even made some remarks about not inflaming the situation. (A small token, after his people managed the coup, spent 8 years demonizing Putin, and presided over origins of Russiagate to make Trump's [stated] goal of better relations impossible.)

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The ukrops are pureblooded nazis

Not really. Ukies are wonnabe Nazis, but they fall way short of their ideal. The original German Nazis were organized, capable, brave, sober, and mostly honest. Ukie scum is disorganized, ham-handed, cowardly, drunk (or under drugs), and corrupt to the core. They are heroes only against unarmed civilians, good only for theft, torture, and rape. When it comes to the real fight with armed opponents, they run away under various pretexts or surrender. Nazis should sue these impostors for defamation.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AP

So uprising by American colonists was a coup?

How about what happened in Russia in 1917?

Or Romania when Communism fell?

Talk about false equivalencies.

Yanukovych signed an internationally brokered power sharing agreement with his main rivals, who then violated it. Yanukovych up to that point was the democratically elected president of Ukraine.

Since his being violently overthrown, people have been unjustly jailed, beaten and killed for politically motivated reasons having to do with a stated opposition to the Euromaidan.

Yanukovych refrained from using from using considerably greater force, when compared to others if put in the same situation, against a mob element that included property damage and the deaths of law enforcement personnel.

In the technical legal sense, there was a legit basis to jail the likes of Tymoshenko. If I correctly recall Yushchenko offered testimony against Tymoshenko. Rather laughable that Poroshenko appointed the non-lawyer Lutsenko into a key legal position.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Beckow The undemocratic aspect involving Yanukovych's overthrow included the disproportionate number of Svoboda members appointed to key cabinet positions. At the time, Svoboda was on record for favoring the dissolution of Crimea's autonomous status
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:17 am GMT
@AP Grest comment #159 by Beckow. Really, I'm more concerned with the coup against POTUS that's happening right now, since before he took office. The Ukraine is pivotal, from the Kiev putschists collaborating with the DNC, to the CIA [pretend] whistleblowers who now subvert Trump's investigation of those crimes.

Tragic and pitiful, the Ukrainians jumped from a rock to a hard place. Used and abandoned by the Clinton-Soros gang, they appeal to the next abusive Sugar-Daddy. Isn't this FRANCE 24 report fairly objective?

Revisited: Five years on, what has Ukraine's Maidan Revolution achieved?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RtUrPKK73rE?feature=oembed

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:24 am GMT
@AP This from BBC is less current. (That magnificent bridge -the one the Ukies tried to sabotage- is now in operation, of course.) I'm just trying to use sources that might not trigger you.

Crimea: Three years after annexation – BBC News

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 3:55 am GMT
@AP Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@AP "Whenever people ask me how to figure out the truth about Ukraine, I always recommend they watch the film Ukraine on Fire by director @lopatonok and executive produced by @TheOliverStone. The sequel Revealing Ukraine will be out soon proud to be in it."
– Lee Sranahan (Follow @stranahan for Ukrainegate in depth.)
" .what has really changed in the life of Ukrainians?"

REVEALING UKRAINE OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER #1 (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Nj_bdtO0SI0

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
@Malacaay Baltics, Ukrainians and Poles were part of the Polish Kingdom from 1025-1569 and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1764.

This probably explains their differences with Russia.

Russia had this area in the Russian Empire from 1764-1917. Russia called this area the Pale of Settlement. Why? This Polish Kingdom since 1025 welcomed 25000 Jews in, who later grew to millions by the 19th century. They are the Ashkenazis who are all over the world these days. The name Pale was for Ashkenazis to stay in that area and not immigrate to the rest of Russia.

The reasoning for this was not religious prejudice but the way the Ashkenazis treated the peasants of the Pale. It was to protect the Russian peasants. This did not help after 1917. A huge invasion of Ashkenazis descended all over Russia to take up positions all over the Soviet Union.

Ukraine US is like the Pale again. It has a Jewish President and a Jewish Prime Minister.

Ukraine and Poland were both controlled by Tartars too. Ukraine longer than Russia. Russia ended the Tartar rule of Crimea in 1783. The Crimean Tartars lived off raiding Ukraine, Poland, and parts of Russia for Slav slaves. Russia ended this Slav slave trade in 1783.

[Oct 19, 2019] How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion

Notable quotes:
"... As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. ..."
"... The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones. ..."
"... Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US. ..."
"... We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay. ..."
"... Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that. ..."
Oct 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Dan Hayes says:

October 4, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT • 100 Words @Ron Unz Proprietor Ron,

Thanks for your sharing you views about Prof Cohen, a most interesting and principled man.

Only after reading the article did I realize that the UR (that's you) also provided the Batchelor Show podcast. Thanks.

I've been listening to these broadcasts over their entirety, now going on for six or so years. What's always struck me is Cohen's level-headeness and equanimity. I've also detected affection for Kentucky, his native state. Not something to be expected from a Princeton / NYU academic nor an Upper West Side resident.

And once again expressing appreciation for the UR!

Read More • Replies: @Mikhail Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

sally , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:47 am GMT

How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics?

The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion..
NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area.

Behind NATO lies the reason for Bexit, the Yellow Jackets, the unrest in Iraq and Egypt, Yemen etc.

Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials.
Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind.

I think [private use of public force for private gain] is what Trump meant when Trump said to impeach Trump for investigating the Ukraine matter amounts to Treason.. but it is the exactly the activity type that Hallmarks CIA instigated regime change.

A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion?

Beckow , says: October 4, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT
The key question is what is the gain in separating Ukraine from Russia, adding it to NATO, and turning Russia and Ukraine into enemies. And what are the most likely results, e.g. can it ever work without risking a catastrophic event?

There are the usual empire-building and weapons business reasons, but those should function within a rational framework. As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. And an increase in tensions in the region with inevitable impact on the business there. So what exactly is the gain and for whom?

eah , says: October 4, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
The Washington-led attempt to fast-track Ukraine into NATO in 2013–14 resulted in the Maidan crisis, the overthrow of the country's constitutionally elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and to the still ongoing proxy civil war in Donbass.

Which exemplifies the stupidity and arrogance of the American military/industrial/political Establishment -- none of that had anything to do with US national security (least of all antagonizing Russia) -- how fucking hypocritical is it to presume the Monroe Doctrine, and then try to get the Ukraine into NATO? -- none of it would have been of any benefit whatsoever to the average American.

Roberto Masioni , says: October 4, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
According to a recent govt study, only 12% of Americans can read above a 9th grade level. This effectively mean (((whoever))) controls the MSM controls the world. NOTHING will change for the better while the (((enemy))) owns our money supply.
Pamela , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
There was NO "annexation" of Crimea by Russia. Crimea WAS annexed, but by Ukraine.
Russia and Crimea re-unified. Crimea has been part of Russia for long than America has existed – since it was taken from the Ottoman Empire over 350 yrs ago. The vast majority of the people identify as Russian, and speak only Russian.

To annex, the verb, means to use armed force to seize sovereign territory and put it under the control of the invading forces government. Pretty much as the early Americans did to Northern Mexico, Hawaii, etc. Russia used no force, the Governors of Crimea applied for re-unification with Russia, Russia advised a referendum, which was held, and with a 96% turnout, 97% voted for re-unification. This was done formally and legally, conforming with all the international mandates.

It is very damaging for anyone to say that Russia "annexed" Crimea, because when people read, quickly moving past the world, they subliminally match the word to their held perception of the concept and move on. Thus they match the word "annex" to their conception of the use of Armed Force against a resistant population, without checking.

All Cohen is doing here is reinforcing the pushed, lying Empire narrative, that Russia invaded and used force, when the exact opposite is true!!

follyofwar , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer One wonders if Mr. Putin, as he puts his head on the pillow at night, fancies that he should have rolled the Russian tanks into Kiev, right after the 2014 US-financed coup of Ukraine's elected president, which was accomplished while he was pre-occupied with the Sochi Olympics, and been done with it. He had every justification to do so, but perhaps feared Western blowback. Well, the blowback happened anyway, so maybe Putin was too cautious.

The new Trump Admin threw him under the bus when it installed the idiot Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, whose first words were that Russia must give Crimea back. With its only major warm water port located at Sevastopol, that wasn't about to happen, and the US Deep State knew it.

Given how he has been so unfairly treated by the media, and never given a chance to enact his Russian agenda, anyone who thinks that Trump was 'selected' by the deep state has rocks for brains. The other night, on Rick Sanchez's RT America show, former US diplomat, and frequent guest Jim Jatras said that he would not be too surprised if 20 GOP Senators flipped and voted to convict Trump if the House votes to impeach.

The deep state can't abide four more years of the bombastic, Twitter-obsessed Trump, hence this Special Ops Ukraine false flag, designed to fool a majority of the people. The smooth talking, more warlike Pence is one of them. The night of the long knives is approaching.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones.

The "logic" of the Dem party is remarkable. Dems don't even deny that Biden is corrupt, that he blatantly abused the office of Vice-President for personal gain. What's more, he was dumb enough to boast about it publicly. Therefore, let's impeach Trump.

These people don't give a hoot about the interests of the US as a country, or even as an Empire. Their insatiable greed for money and power blinds them to everything. By rights, those who orchestrated totally fake Russiagate and now push for impeachment, when Russiagate flopped miserably, should be hanged on lampposts for high treason. Unfortunately, justice won't be served. So, we have to be satisfied with an almost assured prospect of this impeachment thing to flop, just like Russiagate before it. But in the process incalculable damage will be done to our country and its institutions.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Pamela In fact, several Western sources reluctantly confirmed the results of Crimean referendum of 2014:
German polling company GFK
http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf
Gallup
http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

Those who support the separation of Kosovo from Serbia without Serbian consent cannot argue against separation of Crimea from Ukraine without the consent of Kiev regime.

On the other hand, those who believe that post-WWII borders are sacrosanct have to acknowledge that Crimea belongs to Russia (illegally even by loose Soviet standards transferred to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1956), Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Soviet Union should be restored, and Germany should be re-divided.

Alden , says: October 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
At least now I know why Ukraine is so essential to American national security. It's so even more of my and my families' taxes can pay for a massive expansion of Nato, which means American military bases in Ukraine. Greenland to the borders of China.

We're encircling the earth, like those old cartoons about bankers.

chris , says: October 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm GMT
@Ron Unz I had to stop listening after the 10th min. where the good professor (without any push-back from the interviewer) says:

Victor Yanukovich was overthrown by a street coup . at that moment, the United States and not only the United States but the Western European Governments had to make a decision would they acknowledge the overthrow of Yannukovic as having been legitimate, and therefore accept whatever government emerged, and that was a fateful moment within 24hours, the governments, including the government of president Obama endorsed what was essentially a coup d'etat against Yanukovich.

Has the good Professor so quickly forgotten about Victoria Nuland distributing cookies with John McCain in the Maidan as the coup was still unfolding? Her claim at the think tank in DC where she discusses having spent $30million (if I remember correctly) for foisting the Ukraine coup ?

Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US.

These are not simple omissions but willful acts of misleading of fools. The good professor's little discussed career as a resource for the secret services has reemerged after seemingly having been left out in the cold during the 1st attempted coup against Trump.

No, the real story is more than just a little NATO expansion as the professor does suggest, but more directly, the attempted coup that the US is still trying to stage in Russia itself, in order to regain control of Russia's vast energy resources which Putin forced the oligarchs to disgorge. The US desperately wants to achieve this in order to be able to ultimately also control China's access to those resources as well.

In the way that Iraq was supposed to be a staging post for an attack on Iran, Ukraine is the staging post for an attack on Russia.

The great Russian expert stirred miles very clear of even hinting at such scenarios, even though anyone who's thought about US world policies will easily arrive at this logical conclusion.

Anonymous [855] • Disclaimer , says: October 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
What about the theft of Ukraine's farmland and the enserfing of its rural population? Isn't this theft and enserfing of Ukrainians at least one major reason the US government got involved, overseeing the transfer of this land into the hands of the transnational banking crime syndicate? The Ukraine, with its rich, black soil, used to be called the breadbasket of Europe.

Consider the fanatical intervention on the part of Victoria Nuland and the Kagans under the guise of working for the State Dept to facilitate the theft. In a similar fashion, according to Wayne Madsen, the State Dept. has a Dept of Foreign Asset Management, or some similar name, that exists to protect the Chabad stranglehold on the world diamond trade, and, according to Madsen, the language spoken and posters around the offices are in Hebrew, which as a practical matter might as well be the case at the State Dept itself.

According to an article a few years ago at Oakland Institute, George Rohr's NCH Capital, which latter organization has funded over 100 Chabad Houses on US campuses, owns over 1 million acres of Ukraine farmland. Other ownership interests of similarly vast tracts of Ukraine farmland show a similar pattern of predation. At one point, it was suggested that the Yinon Plan should be understood to include the Ukraine as the newly acquired breadbasket of Eretz Israel. It may also be worth pointing out that now kosher Ivy League schools' endowments are among the worst pillagers of native farmland and enserfers of the indigenous populations they claim to protect.

AnonFromTN , says: October 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mikhail Well, if we really go into it, things become complicated. What Khmelnitsky united with Russia was maybe 1/6th or 1/8th of current Ukraine. Huge (4-5 times greater) areas in the North and West were added by Russian Tsars, almost as great areas in the South and East taken by Tsars from Turkey and affiliated Crimean Khanate were added by Lenin, a big chunk in the West was added by Stalin, and then in 1956 moron Khrushchev "gifted" Crimea (which he had no right to do even by Soviet law). So, about 4/6th of "Ukraine" is Southern Russia, 1/6th is Eastern Poland, some chunks are Hungary and Romania, and the remaining little stub is Ukraine proper.
AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@anon American view always was: "yes, he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". That historically applied to many obnoxious regimes, now fully applies to Ukraine. In that Dems and Reps always were essentially identical, revealing that they are two different puppets run by the same puppet master.

Trump is hardly very intelligent, but he has some street smarts that degenerate elites have lost. Hence their hatred of him. It is particularly galling for the elites that Trump won in 2016, and has every chance of winning again in 2020 (unless they decide to murder him, like JFK; but that would be a real giveaway, even the dumbest sheeple would smell the rat).

Skeptikal , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm GMT
@follyofwar The only reason I can imagine that Putin/Russia would want to "take over" Ukraine and have this political problem child back in the family might be because of Ukraine's black soil.

But it is probably not worth the aggravation.

Russia is building up its agricultural sector via major greenhouse installations and other innovations.

Beckow , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
@AP Well, you are a true simpleton who repeats shallow conventional views. You don't ever seem to think deeper about what you write, e.g. if Yanukovitch could beat anyone in a 1-on-1 election than he obviously wasn't that unpopular and that makes Maidan illegal by any standard. You say he could beat Tiahnybok, who was one of the leaders of Maidan, how was then Maidan democratic? Or you don't care for democracy if people vote against your preferences?

Trade with Russia is way down and it is not coming back. That is my point – there was definitely a way to do this better. It wasn't a choice of 'one or the other' – actually EU was under the impression that Ukraine would help open up the Russian market. Your either-or wasn't the plan, so did Kiev lie to EU? No wonder Ukraine has a snowball chance in hell of joining EU.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Skeptikal Russia moved to the first place in the world in wheat exports, while greatly increasing its production of meat, fowl, and fish. Those who supplied these commodities lost Russian market for good. In fact, with sanctions, food in Russia got a lot better, and food in Moscow got immeasurably better: now it's local staff instead of crap shipped from half-a-world away. Funny thing is, Russian production of really good fancy cheeses has soared (partially with the help of French and Italian producers who moved in to avoid any stupid sanctions).

So, there is no reason for Russia to take Ukraine on any conditions, especially considering Ukraine's exorbitant external debt. If one calculates European demand for transplantation kidneys and prostitutes, two of the most successful Ukrainian exports, Ukraine will pay off its debt – never. Besides, the majority of Russians learned to despise Ukraine due to its subservient vassalage to the US (confirmed yet again by the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Ze), so the emotional factor is also virtually gone. Now the EU and the US face the standard rule of retail: you broke it, you own it. That infuriates Americans and EU bureaucrats more than anything.

annamaria , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger "Demography statistic won't support fairy tales by solzhenicin and his kind."

-- What's your point? Your post reads like an attempt at saying that Kaganovitch was white like snow and that it does not matter what crimes were committed in the Soviet Union because of the "demography statistic" and because you, Sergey Krieger, are a grander person next to Solzhenitsyn and "his kind." By the way, had not A. I. S. returned to Russia, away from the coziness of western life?

S.K.: "You should start research onto mass dying of population after 1991 and subsequent and ongoing demographic catastroph in Russia under current not as "brutal " as soviet regime."

-- If you wish: "The Rape of Russia: Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives, September 21, 1999:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/Harvard_mafia/testimony_of_anne_williamson_before_the_house_banking_committee.shtml

"Economic rape of post-USSR economic space was by design not by accident:"
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#Economic_rape_of_post_USSR_economic_space_was_by_design_not_by_accident

"MI6 role in economic rape of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet republics:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#MI6_role_

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 11:39 pm GMT
@AP Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) and lots of other laws. And that's not the worst part of it. But it already happened, there is no going back for Ukraine. It's a "yes or no" thing, you can't be a little bit pregnant. We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide. Some say this project was doomed from the start. I think Ukraine had a chance and blew it.
AP , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:39 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) a

Illegal revolution (are there any legal ones? – was American one legal?) rather than coup. Violations of Constitution began under Yanukovich.

We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide.

LOL. Were you the one comparing it to Somalia?

Here is "dead" Ukraine:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DDWAobR8U0c?start=3017&feature=oembed

What a nightmare.

Compare Ukraine 2019 to Ukraine 2013 (before revolution):

GDP per capita PPP:

$9233 (2018) vs. $8648 (2013)

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=UA-AM-GE-MN-AL&name_desc=false

GDP per capita nominal:

$3110 (2018) vs. $3160 (2013)

Given 3% growth in 2019, it will be higher.

Forex reserves:

$20 billion end of 2013, $23 billion currently

Debt to GDP ratio:

40% in 2013, 61% in 2018. Okay, this is worse. But it is a decline from 2016 when it was 81%.

Compare Ukraine's current 61% to Greece's 150%.

Military: from ~15,000 usable troops to 200,000.

Overall, not exactly a "suicide."

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
@AnonFromTN I usually refrain from labelling off-cycle changes in government as revolutions or coups – it clearly depends on one's views and can't be determined.

In general, when violence or military is involved, it is more likely it was a coup. If a country has a reasonably open election process, violently overthrowing the current government would also seem like a coup, since it is unnecessary. Ukraine had both violence and a coming election that was democratic. If Yanukovitch would prevent or manipulate the elections, one could make a case that at that point – after the election – the population could stage a ' revolution '.

AP is a simpleton who repeats badly thought out slogans and desperately tries to save some face for the Maidan fiasco – so we will not change his mind, his mind is done with changes, it is all about avoiding regrets even if it means living in a lie. One can almost feel sorry for him, if he wasn't so obnoxious.

Ukraine has destroyed its own future gradually after 1991, all the elites there failed, Yanukovitch was just the last in a long line of failures, the guy before him (Yushenko?) left office with a 5% approval. Why wasn't there a revolution against him? Maidan put a cherry on that rotting cake – a desperate scream of pain by people who had lost all hope and so blindly fell for cheap promises by the new-old hustlers.

We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay.

Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that.

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@AP You intentionally omitted the second part of what I wrote: 'a reasonably democratic elections', neither 18th century American colonies, nor Russia in 1917 or Romania in 1989, had them. Ukraine in 2014 did.

So all your belly-aching is for nothing. The talk about 'subverting' and doing a preventive 'revolution' on Maidan to prevent 'subversion' has a very Stalinist ring to it. If you start revolutionary violence because you claim to anticipate that something bad might happen, well, the sky is the limit and you have no rules.

You are desperately trying to justify a stupid and unworkable act. As we watch the unfolding disaster and millions leaving Ukraine, this "Maidan was great!!!" mantra will sound even more silly. But enjoy it, it is not Somalia, wow, I guess as long as a country is not Somalia it is ok. Ukraine is by far the poorest large country in Europe. How is that a success?

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@Beckow True believers are called that because they willfully ignore facts and logic. AP is a true believer Ukie. Ukie faith is their main undoing. Unfortunately, they are ruining the country with their insane dreams. But that cannot be helped now. The position of a large fraction of Ukrainian population is best described by a cruel American saying: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN You are right, it can't be helped. Another saying is that it takes two to lie: one who lies, and one to lie to. The receiver of lies is also responsible.

What happened in Ukraine was: Nuland&Co. went to Ukraine and lied to them about ' EU, 'Marshall plan', aid, 'you will be Western ', etc,,,'. Maidanistas swallowed it because they wanted to believe – it is easy to lie to desperate people. Making promises is very easy. US soft power is all based on making promises.

What Nuland&Co. really wanted was to create a deep Ukraine-Russia hostility and to grab Crimea, so they could get Russian Navy out and move Nato in. It didn't work very well, all we have is useless hostility, and a dysfunctional state. But as long as they serve espresso in Lviv, AP will scream that it was all worth it, 'no Somalia', it is 'all normal', almost as good as 2013 . Right.

Robjil , says: October 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
Ukraine is an overseas US territory.

It is not a foreign nation at all.

Trump dealt with one of our overseas territories.

Nuland said that US invested 5 billion dollars to get Ukraine.

She got Ukraine without balls that is Crimea. Russia took back the balls.

US cried, cried a Crimea river about this. They are still crying over this.

DESERT FOX , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Robjil Agree, and like Israel the Ukraine will be a welfare drain on the America taxpayers as long as Israel and the Ukraine exist.
Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
@AP I don't disagree with what you said, but my point was different:

lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians

Without the unnecessary hostility and the break in business relations with Russia the living standards in Ukraine would be higher. That, I think, noone would dispute. One can trace that directly to the so-far failed attempt to get Ukraine into Nato and Russia out of its Crimea bases. There has been a high cost for that policy, so it is appropriate to ask: why? did the authors of that policy think it through?

Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@AP I don't give a flying f k about Yanukovitch and your projections about what 'would be growth' under him. He was history by 2014 in any case.

One simple point that you don't seem to grasp: it was Yanuk who negotiated the association treaty with EU that inevitably meant Ukraine in Nato and Russia bases out of Crimea (after a decent interval). For anyone to call Yanuk a 'pro-Russian' is idiotic – what we see today are the results of Yanukovitch's policies. By the way, the first custom restrictions on Ukraine's exports to Russia happened in summer 2013 under Y.

If you still think that Yanukovitch was in spite of all of that somehow a 'Russian puppet', you must have a very low opinion of Kremlin skills in puppetry. He was not, he was fully onboard with the EU-Nato-Crimea policy – he implemented it until he got outflanked by even more radical forces on Maidan.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
@Beckow Well, exactly like all Ukrainian presidents before and after him, Yanuk was a thief. He might have been a more intelligent and/or more cautious thief that Porky, but a thief he was.

Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilled milk: history has no subjunctive mood. Ukraine has dug a hole for itself, and it still keeps digging, albeit slower, after a clown in whole socks replaced a clown in socks with holes. By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

There is no turning back. Regardless of Ukrainian policies, many things it used to sell Russia won't be bought any more: Russia developed its own shipbuilding (subcontracted some to South Korea), is making its own helicopter and ship engines, all stages of space rockets, etc. Russia won't return any military or high-tech production to Ukraine, ever. What's more, most Russians are now disgusted with Ukraine, which would impede improving relations even if Ukraine gets a sane government (which is extremely unlikely in the next 5 years).

Ukraine's situation is best described by Russian black humor saying: "what we fought for has befallen us". End of story.

Sergey Krieger , says: October 6, 2019 at 4:15 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev How many millions? It is same story. Ukraine claims more and more millions dead from so called Hilodomor when in Russia liberals have been screaming about 100 million deaths in russia from bolsheviks. Both are fairy tales. Now you better answer what is current population of ukraine. The last soviet time 1992 level was 52 million. I doubt you got even 40 million now. Under soviet power both ukraine and russia population were steadily growing. Now, under whose music you are dancing along with those in Russia that share your views when die off very real one is going right under your nose.
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:03 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

Have you noticed that the Republicans, while seeming to defend Trump, never challenge the specious assertion that delaying arms to Ukraine was a threat to US security? At first I thought this was oversight. Silly me. Keeping the New Cold War smoldering is more important to those hawks.

Tulsi Gabbard flipping to support the impeachment enquiry was especially disappointing. I'm guessing she was under lots of pressure, because she can't possibly believe that arming the Ukies is good for our security. If I could get to one of her events, I'd ask her direct, what's up with that. Obama didn't give them arms at all, even made some remarks about not inflaming the situation. (A small token, after his people managed the coup, spent 8 years demonizing Putin, and presided over origins of Russiagate to make Trump's [stated] goal of better relations impossible.)

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The ukrops are pureblooded nazis

Not really. Ukies are wonnabe Nazis, but they fall way short of their ideal. The original German Nazis were organized, capable, brave, sober, and mostly honest. Ukie scum is disorganized, ham-handed, cowardly, drunk (or under drugs), and corrupt to the core. They are heroes only against unarmed civilians, good only for theft, torture, and rape. When it comes to the real fight with armed opponents, they run away under various pretexts or surrender. Nazis should sue these impostors for defamation.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AP

So uprising by American colonists was a coup?

How about what happened in Russia in 1917?

Or Romania when Communism fell?

Talk about false equivalencies.

Yanukovych signed an internationally brokered power sharing agreement with his main rivals, who then violated it. Yanukovych up to that point was the democratically elected president of Ukraine.

Since his being violently overthrown, people have been unjustly jailed, beaten and killed for politically motivated reasons having to do with a stated opposition to the Euromaidan.

Yanukovych refrained from using from using considerably greater force, when compared to others if put in the same situation, against a mob element that included property damage and the deaths of law enforcement personnel.

In the technical legal sense, there was a legit basis to jail the likes of Tymoshenko. If I correctly recall Yushchenko offered testimony against Tymoshenko. Rather laughable that Poroshenko appointed the non-lawyer Lutsenko into a key legal position.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Beckow The undemocratic aspect involving Yanukovych's overthrow included the disproportionate number of Svoboda members appointed to key cabinet positions. At the time, Svoboda was on record for favoring the dissolution of Crimea's autonomous status
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:17 am GMT
@AP Grest comment #159 by Beckow. Really, I'm more concerned with the coup against POTUS that's happening right now, since before he took office. The Ukraine is pivotal, from the Kiev putschists collaborating with the DNC, to the CIA [pretend] whistleblowers who now subvert Trump's investigation of those crimes.

Tragic and pitiful, the Ukrainians jumped from a rock to a hard place. Used and abandoned by the Clinton-Soros gang, they appeal to the next abusive Sugar-Daddy. Isn't this FRANCE 24 report fairly objective?

Revisited: Five years on, what has Ukraine's Maidan Revolution achieved?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RtUrPKK73rE?feature=oembed

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:24 am GMT
@AP This from BBC is less current. (That magnificent bridge -the one the Ukies tried to sabotage- is now in operation, of course.) I'm just trying to use sources that might not trigger you.

Crimea: Three years after annexation – BBC News

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 3:55 am GMT
@AP Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@AP "Whenever people ask me how to figure out the truth about Ukraine, I always recommend they watch the film Ukraine on Fire by director @lopatonok and executive produced by @TheOliverStone. The sequel Revealing Ukraine will be out soon proud to be in it."
– Lee Sranahan (Follow @stranahan for Ukrainegate in depth.)
" .what has really changed in the life of Ukrainians?"

REVEALING UKRAINE OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER #1 (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Nj_bdtO0SI0

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
@Malacaay Baltics, Ukrainians and Poles were part of the Polish Kingdom from 1025-1569 and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1764.

This probably explains their differences with Russia.

Russia had this area in the Russian Empire from 1764-1917. Russia called this area the Pale of Settlement. Why? This Polish Kingdom since 1025 welcomed 25000 Jews in, who later grew to millions by the 19th century. They are the Ashkenazis who are all over the world these days. The name Pale was for Ashkenazis to stay in that area and not immigrate to the rest of Russia.

The reasoning for this was not religious prejudice but the way the Ashkenazis treated the peasants of the Pale. It was to protect the Russian peasants. This did not help after 1917. A huge invasion of Ashkenazis descended all over Russia to take up positions all over the Soviet Union.

Ukraine US is like the Pale again. It has a Jewish President and a Jewish Prime Minister.

Ukraine and Poland were both controlled by Tartars too. Ukraine longer than Russia. Russia ended the Tartar rule of Crimea in 1783. The Crimean Tartars lived off raiding Ukraine, Poland, and parts of Russia for Slav slaves. Russia ended this Slav slave trade in 1783.

[Oct 15, 2019] Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is paying Facebook Inc. to run false advertisements that its Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is endorsing President Donald Trump.

Oct 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , October 13, 2019 at 07:10 AM

(Possibly risky tactic by Liz Warren?)

Elizabeth Warren bought fake ads
on Facebook to highlight Facebook's fake ads
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/10/12/elizabeth-warren-bought-fake-ads-facebook-highlight-facebook-fake-ads/Hr5EBe5o2dGW6FoDu8O7kO/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Siraj Datoo - Bloomberg News - October 12

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is paying Facebook Inc. to run false advertisements that its Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is endorsing President Donald Trump.

Warren's campaign sponsored the posts which were blasted into the feeds of U.S. users of the social network, as it pushed back against Facebook's policy to exempt politicians' ads from its third-party fact-checking program.

The ads, which begin with the falsehood, quickly backtracks: "You're probably shocked. And you might be thinking, 'how could this possibly be true?' Well, it's not." ...

"If Senator Warren wants to say things she knows to be untrue, we believe Facebook should not be in the position of censoring that speech," Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, said in a statement to CNN on the ads.

This isn't the first time Warren has used Facebook's own platform to make a political point. In March, Facebook took down ads from her campaign that called for the company to be broken up, but later restored them.

This time, Warren's latest ads strike a more forceful tone, calling on users to hold the Facebook CEO accountable and to back her mission.

"Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once," the ads read. "Now, they're deliberately allowing a candidate to intentionally lie to the American people."

Joe -> Fred C. Dobbs... , October 13, 2019 at 08:42 AM
Great tactic, and Hilarious at that. I passed it on on my face book account. Great political humor has been a proven vote winner. Anytime you get a chuckle, the residual resentment gets same relief.

[Oct 10, 2019] Trump, Impeachment Forgetting What Brought Him to the White House by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
The term "centrist" is replaced by a more appropriate term "neoliberal oligarchy"
Notable quotes:
"... Furthermore, Donald Trump might well emerge from this national ordeal with his reelection chances enhanced. Such a prospect is belatedly insinuating itself into public discourse. For that reason, certain anti-Trump pundits are already showing signs of going wobbly, suggesting , for instance, that censure rather than outright impeachment might suffice as punishment for the president's various offenses. Yet censuring Trump while allowing him to stay in office would be the equivalent of letting Harvey Weinstein off with a good tongue-lashing so that he can get back to making movies. Censure is for wimps. ..."
"... So if Trump finds himself backed into a corner, Democrats aren't necessarily in a more favorable position. And that aren't the half of it. Let me suggest that, while Trump is being pursued, it's you, my fellow Americans, who are really being played. The unspoken purpose of impeachment is not removal, but restoration. The overarching aim is not to replace Trump with Mike Pence -- the equivalent of exchanging Groucho for Harpo. No, the object of the exercise is to return power to those who created the conditions that enabled Trump to win the White House in the first place. ..."
"... For many of the main participants in this melodrama, the actual but unstated purpose of impeachment is to correct this great wrong and thereby restore history to its anointed path. ..."
"... In a recent column in The Guardian, Professor Samuel Moyn makes the essential point: Removing from office a vulgar, dishonest and utterly incompetent president comes nowhere close to capturing what's going on here. To the elites most intent on ousting Trump, far more important than anything he may say or do is what he signifies. He is a walking, talking repudiation of everything they believe and, by extension, of a future they had come to see as foreordained. ..."
"... Moyn styles these anti-Trump elites as "neoliberal oligarchy", members of the post-Cold War political mainstream that allowed ample room for nominally conservative Bushes and nominally liberal Clintons, while leaving just enough space for Barack Obama's promise of hope-and-(not-too-much) change. ..."
"... These "neoliberal oligarchy" share a common worldview. They believe in the universality of freedom as defined and practiced within the United States. They believe in corporate capitalism operating on a planetary scale. They believe in American primacy, with the United States presiding over a global order as the sole superpower. They believe in "American global leadership," which they define as primarily a military enterprise. And perhaps most of all, while collecting degrees from Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Wellesley, the University of Chicago, and Yale, they came to believe in a so-called meritocracy as the preferred mechanism for allocating wealth, power and privilege. All of these together comprise the sacred scripture of contemporary American political elites. And if Donald Trump's antagonists have their way, his removal will restore that sacred scripture to its proper place as the basis of policy. ..."
"... "For all their appeals to enduring moral values," Moyn writes, "the "neoliberal oligarchy" are deploying a transparent strategy to return to power." Destruction of the Trump presidency is a necessary precondition for achieving that goal. ""neoliberal oligarchy" simply want to return to the status quo interrupted by Trump, their reputations laundered by their courageous opposition to his mercurial reign, and their policies restored to credibility." Precisely. ..."
"... how does such misconduct compare to the calamities engineered by the "neoliberal oligarchy" who preceded him? ..."
"... Trump's critics speak with one voice in demanding accountability. Yet virtually no one has been held accountable for the pain, suffering, and loss inflicted by the architects of the Iraq War and the Great Recession. Why is that? As another presidential election approaches, the question not only goes unanswered, but unasked. ..."
"... To win reelection, Trump, a corrupt con man (who jumped ship on his own bankrupt casinos, money in hand, leaving others holding the bag) will cheat and lie. Yet, in the politics of the last half-century, these do not qualify as novelties. (Indeed, apart from being the son of a sitting U.S. vice president, what made Hunter Biden worth $50Gs per month to a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch? I'm curious.) That the president and his associates are engaging in a cover-up is doubtless the case. Yet another cover-up proceeds in broad daylight on a vastly larger scale. "Trump's shambolic presidency somehow seems less unsavory," Moyn writes, when considering the fact that his critics refuse "to admit how massively his election signified the failure of their policies, from endless war to economic inequality." Just so. ..."
"... Exactly. Trump is the result of voter disgust with Bush III vs Clinton II, the presumed match up for a year or more leading up to 2016. Now Democrats want to do it again, thinking they can elect anybody against Trump. That's what Hillary thought too. ..."
"... Trump won for lack of alternatives. Our political class is determined to prevent any alternatives breaking through this time either. They don't want Trump, but even more they want to protect their gravy train of donor money, the huge overspending on medical care (four times the defense budget) and of course all those Forever Wars. ..."
"... Trump could win, for the same reasons as last time, even though the result would be no better than last time. ..."
"... I wish the slick I.D. politics obsessed corporate Dems nothing but the worst, absolute worst. They reap what they sow. If it means another four years of Trump, so be it. It's the price that's going to have to be paid. ..."
"... At a time when a majority of U.S. citizens cannot muster up $500 for an emergency dental bill or car repair without running down to the local "pay day loan" lender shark (now established as legitimate businesses) the corporate Dems, in their infinite wisdom, decide to concoct an impeachment circus to run simultaneously when all the dirt against the execrable Brennan and his intel minions starts to hit the press for their Russiagate hoax. Nice sleight of hand there corporate Dems. ..."
Oct 10, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

There is blood in the water and frenzied sharks are closing in for the kill. Or so they think.

From the time of Donald Trump's election, American elites have hungered for this moment. At long last, they have the 45th president of the United States cornered. In typically ham-handed fashion, Trump has given his adversaries the very means to destroy him politically. They will not waste the opportunity. Impeachment now -- finally, some will say -- qualifies as a virtual certainty.

No doubt many surprises lie ahead. Yet the Democrats controlling the House of Representatives have passed the point of no return. The time for prudential judgments -- the Republican-controlled Senate will never convict, so why bother? -- is gone for good. To back down now would expose the president's pursuers as spineless cowards. The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC would not soon forgive such craven behavior.

So, as President Woodrow Wilson, speaking in 1919 put it, "The stage is set, the destiny disclosed. It has come about by no plan of our conceiving, but by the hand of God." Of course, the issue back then was a notably weighty one: whether to ratify the Versailles Treaty. That it now concerns a " Mafia-like shakedown " orchestrated by one of Wilson's successors tells us something about the trajectory of American politics over the course of the last century and it has not been a story of ascent.

The effort to boot the president from office is certain to yield a memorable spectacle. The rancor and contempt that have clogged American politics like a backed-up sewer since the day of Trump's election will now find release. Watergate will pale by comparison. The uproar triggered by Bill Clinton's " sexual relations " will be nothing by comparison. A de facto collaboration between Trump, those who despise him, and those who despise his critics all but guarantees that this story will dominate the news, undoubtedly for months to come.

As this process unspools, what politicians like to call "the people's business" will go essentially unattended. So while Congress considers whether or not to remove Trump from office, gun-control legislation will languish, the deterioration of the nation's infrastructure will proceed apace, needed healthcare reforms will be tabled, the military-industrial complex will waste yet more billions, and the national debt, already at $22 trillion -- larger, that is, than the entire economy -- will continue to surge. The looming threat posed by climate change, much talked about of late, will proceed all but unchecked. For those of us preoccupied with America's role in the world, the obsolete assumptions and habits undergirding what's still called " national security " will continue to evade examination. Our endless wars will remain endless and pointless.

By way of compensation, we might wonder what benefits impeachment is likely to yield. Answering that question requires examining four scenarios that describe the range of possibilities awaiting the nation.

The first and most to be desired (but least likely) is that Trump will tire of being a public piñata and just quit. With the thrill of flying in Air Force One having worn off, being president can't be as much fun these days. Why put up with further grief? How much more entertaining for Trump to retire to the political sidelines where he can tweet up a storm and indulge his penchant for name-calling. And think of the "deals" an ex-president could make in countries like Israel, North Korea, Poland, and Saudi Arabia on which he's bestowed favors. Cha-ching! As of yet, however, the president shows no signs of taking the easy (and lucrative) way out.

The second possible outcome sounds almost as good but is no less implausible: a sufficient number of Republican senators rediscover their moral compass and "do the right thing," joining with Democrats to create the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump and send him packing. In the Washington of that classic 20th-century film director Frank Capra, with Jimmy Stewart holding forth on the Senate floor and a moist-eyed Jean Arthur cheering him on from the gallery, this might have happened. In the real Washington of "Moscow Mitch" McConnell , think again.

The third somewhat seamier outcome might seem a tad more likely. It postulates that McConnell and various GOP senators facing reelection in 2020 or 2022 will calculate that turning on Trump just might offer the best way of saving their own skins. The president's loyalty to just about anyone, wives included, has always been highly contingent, the people streaming out of his administration routinely making the point. So why should senatorial loyalty to the president be any different? At the moment, however, indications that Trump loyalists out in the hinterlands will reward such turncoats are just about nonexistent. Unless that base were to flip, don't expect Republican senators to do anything but flop.

That leaves outcome No. 4, easily the most probable: while the House will impeach, the Senate will decline to convict. Trump will therefore stay right where he is, with the matter of his fitness for office effectively deferred to the November 2020 elections. Except as a source of sadomasochistic diversion, the entire agonizing experience will, therefore, prove to be a colossal waste of time and blather.

Furthermore, Donald Trump might well emerge from this national ordeal with his reelection chances enhanced. Such a prospect is belatedly insinuating itself into public discourse. For that reason, certain anti-Trump pundits are already showing signs of going wobbly, suggesting , for instance, that censure rather than outright impeachment might suffice as punishment for the president's various offenses. Yet censuring Trump while allowing him to stay in office would be the equivalent of letting Harvey Weinstein off with a good tongue-lashing so that he can get back to making movies. Censure is for wimps.

Besides, as Trump campaigns for a second term, he would almost surely wear censure like a badge of honor. Keep in mind that Congress's approval ratings are considerably worse than his. To more than a few members of the public, a black mark awarded by Congress might look like a gold star.

Restoration Not Removal

So if Trump finds himself backed into a corner, Democrats aren't necessarily in a more favorable position. And that aren't the half of it. Let me suggest that, while Trump is being pursued, it's you, my fellow Americans, who are really being played. The unspoken purpose of impeachment is not removal, but restoration. The overarching aim is not to replace Trump with Mike Pence -- the equivalent of exchanging Groucho for Harpo. No, the object of the exercise is to return power to those who created the conditions that enabled Trump to win the White House in the first place.

Just recently, for instance, Hillary Clinton declared Trump to be an "illegitimate president." Implicit in her charge is the conviction -- no doubt sincere -- that people like Donald Trump are not supposed to be president. People like Hillary Clinton -- people possessing credentials like hers and sharing her values -- should be the chosen ones. Here we glimpse the true meaning of legitimacy in this context. Whatever the vote in the Electoral College, Trump doesn't deserve to be president and never did.

For many of the main participants in this melodrama, the actual but unstated purpose of impeachment is to correct this great wrong and thereby restore history to its anointed path.

In a recent column in The Guardian, Professor Samuel Moyn makes the essential point: Removing from office a vulgar, dishonest and utterly incompetent president comes nowhere close to capturing what's going on here. To the elites most intent on ousting Trump, far more important than anything he may say or do is what he signifies. He is a walking, talking repudiation of everything they believe and, by extension, of a future they had come to see as foreordained.

Moyn styles these anti-Trump elites as "neoliberal oligarchy", members of the post-Cold War political mainstream that allowed ample room for nominally conservative Bushes and nominally liberal Clintons, while leaving just enough space for Barack Obama's promise of hope-and-(not-too-much) change.

These "neoliberal oligarchy" share a common worldview. They believe in the universality of freedom as defined and practiced within the United States. They believe in corporate capitalism operating on a planetary scale. They believe in American primacy, with the United States presiding over a global order as the sole superpower. They believe in "American global leadership," which they define as primarily a military enterprise. And perhaps most of all, while collecting degrees from Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Wellesley, the University of Chicago, and Yale, they came to believe in a so-called meritocracy as the preferred mechanism for allocating wealth, power and privilege. All of these together comprise the sacred scripture of contemporary American political elites. And if Donald Trump's antagonists have their way, his removal will restore that sacred scripture to its proper place as the basis of policy.

"For all their appeals to enduring moral values," Moyn writes, "the "neoliberal oligarchy" are deploying a transparent strategy to return to power." Destruction of the Trump presidency is a necessary precondition for achieving that goal. ""neoliberal oligarchy" simply want to return to the status quo interrupted by Trump, their reputations laundered by their courageous opposition to his mercurial reign, and their policies restored to credibility." Precisely.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

The U.S. military's "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad at the start of the Iraq War, as broadcast on CNN.

For such a scheme to succeed, however, laundering reputations alone will not suffice. Equally important will be to bury any recollection of the catastrophes that paved the way for an über -qualified centrist to lose to an indisputably unqualified and unprincipled political novice in 2016.

Holding promised security assistance hostage unless a foreign leader agrees to do you political favors is obviously and indisputably wrong. Trump's antics regarding Ukraine may even meet some definition of criminal. Still, how does such misconduct compare to the calamities engineered by the "neoliberal oligarchy" who preceded him? Consider, in particular, the George W. Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 (along with the spin-off wars that followed). Consider, too, the reckless economic policies that produced the Great Recession of 2007-2008. As measured by the harm inflicted on the American people (and others), the offenses for which Trump is being impeached qualify as mere misdemeanors.

Honest people may differ on whether to attribute the Iraq War to outright lies or monumental hubris. When it comes to tallying up the consequences, however, the intentions of those who sold the war don't particularly matter. The results include thousands of Americans killed; tens of thousands wounded, many grievously, or left to struggle with the effects of PTSD; hundreds of thousands of non-Americans killed or injured ; millions displaced ; trillions of dollars expended; radical groups like ISIS empowered (and in its case even formed inside a U.S. prison in Iraq); and the Persian Gulf region plunged into turmoil from which it has yet to recover. How do Trump's crimes stack up against these?

The Great Recession stemmed directly from economic policies implemented during the administration of President Bill Clinton and continued by his successor. Deregulating the banking sector was projected to produce a bonanza in which all would share. Yet, as a direct result of the ensuing chicanery, nearly 9 million Americans lost their jobs, while overall unemployment shot up to 10 percent. Roughly 4 million Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. The stock market cratered and millions saw their life savings evaporate. Again, the question must be asked: How do these results compare to Trump's dubious dealings with Ukraine?

Trump's critics speak with one voice in demanding accountability. Yet virtually no one has been held accountable for the pain, suffering, and loss inflicted by the architects of the Iraq War and the Great Recession. Why is that? As another presidential election approaches, the question not only goes unanswered, but unasked.

Sen. Carter Glass (D–Va.) and Rep. Henry B. Steagall (D–Ala.-3), the co-sponsors of the 1932 Glass–Steagall Act separating investment and commercial banking, which was repealed in 1999. (Wikimedia Commons)

To win reelection, Trump, a corrupt con man (who jumped ship on his own bankrupt casinos, money in hand, leaving others holding the bag) will cheat and lie. Yet, in the politics of the last half-century, these do not qualify as novelties. (Indeed, apart from being the son of a sitting U.S. vice president, what made Hunter Biden worth $50Gs per month to a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch? I'm curious.) That the president and his associates are engaging in a cover-up is doubtless the case. Yet another cover-up proceeds in broad daylight on a vastly larger scale. "Trump's shambolic presidency somehow seems less unsavory," Moyn writes, when considering the fact that his critics refuse "to admit how massively his election signified the failure of their policies, from endless war to economic inequality." Just so.

What are the real crimes? Who are the real criminals? No matter what happens in the coming months, don't expect the Trump impeachment proceedings to come within a country mile of addressing such questions.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is president and co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft . His new book, " The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory ," will be published in January.

This article is from TomDispatch.com .


Mark Thomason , October 9, 2019 at 17:03

Exactly. Trump is the result of voter disgust with Bush III vs Clinton II, the presumed match up for a year or more leading up to 2016. Now Democrats want to do it again, thinking they can elect anybody against Trump. That's what Hillary thought too.

Now the Republicans who lost their party to Trump think they can take it back with somebody even more lame than Jeb, if only they could find someone, anyone, to run on that non-plan.

Trump won for lack of alternatives. Our political class is determined to prevent any alternatives breaking through this time either. They don't want Trump, but even more they want to protect their gravy train of donor money, the huge overspending on medical care (four times the defense budget) and of course all those Forever Wars.

Trump could win, for the same reasons as last time, even though the result would be no better than last time.

LJ , October 9, 2019 at 17:01

Well, yeah but I recall that what won Trump the Republican Nomination was first and foremost his stance on Immigration. This issue is what separated him from the herd of candidates . None of them had the courage or the desire to go against Governmental Groupthink on Immigration. All he then had to do was get on top of low energy Jeb Bush and the road was clear. He got the base on his side on this issue and on his repeated statement that he wished to normalize relations with Russia . He won the nomination easily. The base is still on his side on these issues but Governmental Groupthink has prevailed in the House, the Senate, the Intelligence Services and the Federal Courts. Funny how nobody in the Beltway, especially not in media, is brave enough to admit that the entire Neoconservative scheme has been a disaster and that of course we should get out of Syria . Nor can anyone recall the corruption and warmongering that now seem that seems endemic to the Democratic Party. Of course Trump has to wear goat's horns. "Off with his head".

Drew Hunkins , October 9, 2019 at 16:00

I wish the slick I.D. politics obsessed corporate Dems nothing but the worst, absolute worst. They reap what they sow. If it means another four years of Trump, so be it. It's the price that's going to have to be paid.

At a time when a majority of U.S. citizens cannot muster up $500 for an emergency dental bill or car repair without running down to the local "pay day loan" lender shark (now established as legitimate businesses) the corporate Dems, in their infinite wisdom, decide to concoct an impeachment circus to run simultaneously when all the dirt against the execrable Brennan and his intel minions starts to hit the press for their Russiagate hoax. Nice sleight of hand there corporate Dems.

Of course, the corporate Dems would rather lose to Trump than win with a progressive-populist like Bernie. After all, a Bernie win would mean an end to a lot of careerism and cushy positions within the establishment political scene in Washington and throughout the country.

Now we even have the destroyer of Libya mulling another run for the presidency.

Forget about having a job the next day and forget about the 25% interest on your credit card or that half your income is going toward your rent or mortgage, or that you barely see your kids b/c of the 60 hour work week, just worry about women lawyers being able to make partner at the firm, and trans people being able to use whatever bathroom they wish and male athletes being able to compete against women based on genitalia (no, wait, I'm confused now).

Either class politics and class warfare comes front and center or we witness a burgeoning neo-fascist movement in our midst. It's that simple, something has got to give!

[Oct 09, 2019] 'Don't tempt me' Hillary threatens to enter 2020 race after Trump Twitter jab

Oct 09, 2019 | www.rt.com

Hillary Clinton has threatened to enter the 2020 presidential race for president after President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter that she throw her hat in the ring in an effort to "steal it away" from Elizabeth Warren. Trump tweeted Tuesday that "Crooked Hillary" should run for president again to deprive the "Uber Left" Warren of a shot at the White House, but only on "one condition" to be subpoenaed to "explain all of her high crimes and misdemeanors."

I think that Crooked Hillary Clinton should enter the race to try and steal it away from Uber Left Elizabeth Warren. Only one condition. The Crooked one must explain all of her high crimes and misdemeanors including how & why she deleted 33,000 Emails AFTER getting "C" Subpoena!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2019

Five hours after Trump's jab, Clinton replied: "Don't tempt me. Do your job."

Reaction to Clinton's warning was mixed, to say the least. While mainstream media outlets seemed to love the idea, many social media users recoiled in horror at the thought of a 2016 re-run.

"I don't think my heart could take it" if Hillary really runs again, one fan proclaimed on Twitter.

[Oct 09, 2019] Ukrainegate as the textbook example of how the neoliberal elite manipulates the MSM and the narrative for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objectives -- distracting the electorate from real issues

Highly recommended!
Oct 09, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael , October 09, 2019 at 02:07 PM

His entire life trump has been a deadbeat.

"The president is dropping by the city on Thursday for one of his periodic angry wank-fests at the Target Center, which is the venue in which this event will be inflicted upon the Twin Cities. (And, just as an aside, given the events of the past 10 days, this one should be a doozy.) Other Minneapolis folk are planning an extensive unwelcoming party outside the arena, which necessarily would require increased security, which is expensive. So, realizing that it was dealing with a notorious deadbeat -- in keeping with his customary business plan, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago has stiffed 10 cities this year for bills relating to security costs that total almost a million bucks -- the company that provides the security for the Target Center wants the president*'s campaign to shell out more than $500,000.

This has sent the president* into a Twitter tantrum against Frey, who seems not to be that impressed by it. Right from when the visit was announced, Frey has been jabbing at the president*'s ego. From the Star-Tribune:

"Our entire city will stand not behind the President, but behind the communities and people who continue to make our city -- and this country -- great," Frey said. "While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis."

It is a mayor's lot to deal with out-of-state troublemakers. Always has been."

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29416840/trump-feud-minneapolis-mayor-security-rally/

ilsm , October 09, 2019 at 03:03 PM
When it comes to Trump not going full Cheney war monged in Syria Krugman is a Bircher!l
likbez , October 09, 2019 at 03:22 PM
This is not about Trump. This is not even about Ukraine and/or foreign powers influence on the US election (of which Israel, UK, and Saudi are three primary examples; in this particular order.)

Russiagate 2.0 (aka Ukrainegate) is the case, textbook example if you wish, of how the neoliberal elite manipulates the MSM and the narrative for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objectives -- distracting the electorate from real issues.

An excellent observation by JohnH (October 01, 2019 at 01:47 PM )

"It all depends on which side of the Infowars you find yourself. The facts themselves are too obscure and byzantine."

There are two competing narratives here:

1. NARRATIVE 1: CIA swamp scum tried to re-launch Russiagate as Russiagate 2.0. This is CIA coup d'état aided and abetted by CIA-democrats like Pelosi and Schiff. Treason, as Trump aptly said. This is narrative shared by "anti-Deep Staters" who sometimes are nicknamed "Trumptards". Please note that the latter derogatory nickname is factually incorrect: supporters of this narrative often do not support Trump. They just oppose machinations of the Deep State. And/or neoliberalism personified by Clinton camp, with its rampant corruption.

2. NARRATIVE 2: Trump tried to derail his opponent using his influence of foreign s