Softpanorama

May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Corruption as an immanent feature of neoliberalism

It is possible to drain the swamp?

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended books Recommended Links "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Senator Bob Menendez
  Casino Capitalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories  Corruption of Regulators New American Militarism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Two Party System as polyarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult The Deep State Harvard Mafia Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'
Elite Theory The Iron Law of Oligarchy Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions Anti-globalization movement Inverted Totalitarism
Super Capitalism as Imperialism Media-Military-Industrial Complex If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths Jeremy Grantham On The Fall Of Civilizations Psychological Warfare and the New World Order Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality
Neoliberal corruption White collar crime Neo-fascism Neocons as USA neo-fascists Corporatism   Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
The Great Transformation   Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Republican Economic Policy Monetarism fiasco Small government smoke screen Gangster Capitalism
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy  John Kenneth Galbraith Alternatives to neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows Humor Etc

Introduction

 The discussion below is reproduced with minor changes from  idec.gr (work in progress)

No political system is exempt from corruption and in my opinion this outcome might even be somehow inexorable due to the nature of a state based polity. The difference between  the European systems in particular but also, at the limit, the American one and those societies the US hypocritically claim as corrupt might be mainly based not on the extent of corruption, but on different types of corruption used. Partially this might be due to the fact that younger society which are still in formation  exhibit more "primitive" types of corruption then societies which have already passed the middle-age period in their life cycle. Revolving door corruption is rampant in the USA, but not so popular in Russia, Iran and other "younger" countries.  Old style bribes at the same time are more common in Russia, although in many cases they function not as bribe but as a kind of private insurance again prejudice/friction of the system: they help to prevent bias in the system or speed up processing of  a request,  but not materially affect outcome.

And to answer your question: "how to prevent the hijacking of public interest by state officials; protect the society form abuse of  the possibility of extracting private benefit inherent in large power of the state official?"

But there is another aspect of corruption which is pretty modern in origin. The dominant Western perspective on "governance" failed to highlight the major source of corruption -- neoliberalism as a social system. 

The neoliberal anti-corruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalization. It is variant of "blame the poor" (countries) line when instead of blaming neoliberal reforms themselves, neoliberals try to divert the attention from neoliberalism as a powerful force of enabling corruption  by highlighting other contributing factors such as

Over recent years,  IMF and World Bank have been promoting an artificially constructed discourse on corruption that separates it from its historic narrative -- the neoliberal political system under which it now flourish. They use pretty elaborate smoke screen designed to hide the key issues under the set of fuzzy terms such as "transparency", "accountability", "governance", "anticorruption initiatives". Ignoring the socio-political role of corruption of key mechanism of the neoliberal debt enslavement of peripheral nations  (see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - Wikipedia

As Wikipedia points out there is no universally accepted definition of corruption. In this sense privatization might well be the most widespread type of corruption which occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity to sell government property for pennies on the dollar to local oligarchs of international companies. with delayed payment via the "revolving door" mechanism.

If we assume that corruption is 'illegitimate use of government power to benefit a private interest" then neoliberalism is the most corrupt social system imaginable.

But in neoliberal ideology only the state is responsible for corruption. The private sector under neoliberalism is immune of any responsibility. In reality it is completely opposite and state represents a barrier to private companies especially international sharks to get unfair advantage. And they can use the USA embassy as a source of pressure instead of bribing government officials. Neoliberals argues without any proof that if the market is let to function through its own mechanisms, and the role of state diminished to a minimum regulatory role, "good governance" could be realized and corruption be diminished. As US subprime crisis has shown this is untrue and destroys the stability of the economy. 

Actually the term "governance" serves as the magical universal opener in neoliberal ideology. It is ideologically grounded up the narrative of previous mismanagement of economy ("blame the predecessor" trick).

This assumes the ideal economic sphere, in which players somehow get an equal opportunities automatically without regulatory role of the state and in case of peripheral nations without being strong armed by more powerful states. Under neoliberalism ethical responsibilities on players are reduced to the loyalty to contract.

Moreover antisocial behavior under liberalism is explicitly promoted (" greed is good") -- self-enrichment at the expense of others and society as a whole. Also the Western banks serve as a "treasure vault" for stolen money and Western states provides "safe heaven" for corrupt officials that face prosecution. At least this is true for Russian oligarchs when each crook automatically became "fighter for freedom" after landing in London airport and stolen money are indirectly appropriated by British state and never returned to Russia.

The USA is very similar. It likes to condemn corruption as but seldom returns that money stolen -- for example it never returned to Ukraine money stolen by Ukrainian Prime minister under President Kuchma Pavlo Lazarenko ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlo_Lazarenko  )

Moreover in neoliberal ideology only the state is responsible for corruption, private sector under neoliberalism is immune of any responsibility. In reality it is completely opposite and state represents a barrier to private companies attempts to get unfair advantage, for example by bribing government officials. Neoliberals argues without any proof that if the market is let to function through its own mechanisms, and the role of state diminished to  a minimum regulatory role, "good governance" could be realized and corruption be diminished. As US subprime crisis has shown this is untrue and deregulation policies destroys the stability of the economy.

Actually the term "governance" serves as the magical universal opener in neoliberal ideology. It is ideologically grounded up in the narrative of previous mismanagement of economy ("blame the predecessor" trick). It also assumes the ideal economic sphere, in which players somehow get an equal opportunities automatically without regulatory role of the state. Ethical responsibilities on players are reduced to the loyalty to contract. Antisocial behaviour is explicitly promoted (" greed is good").  As Pope Francis noted

... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Neoliberals limit ethical component to adhering to contracts. However, the contracts themselves might be corrupt, or it can be forces upon other party under duress. It is important to see all those trick neoliberals use and develop a critical stance towards the Western anti-corruption "crusade" of the last decade. At least disclose all the hypocrisy behind it.  this is especially important as "corruption" serves as matches to flare up  "color revolutions" -- a new war strategy of penetrating of international capital into peripheral countries.

The key neoliberal argument is that corruption is an obstacle to "good governance" and economic development. They never evaluate corruption within a wider ethical frame as for example Pope Francis does, not they discuss the implications of neoliberal reforms on social rights.

In ethics corruption refers to a domination of social relations by self-interest and to the perception of fellow citizens as instruments, obstacles or competitors. “In the morally corrupt society, civic virtue and social responsibility are displaced and discarded in favor of an intense competition for spoils.” In neoliberal thinking, however, the term is narrowly defined referring to the misuse of public office for private gain by bureaucrats, which is just a tip of the iseberg, because it is the other party -- powerful translational or local oligarchs who are buying those government officials.

Thus the drastic shift in in defining the term after the 1980s coincide with triumphant mach of neoliberalism over the world.  While the state was supposed to produce public interest and common good before then, the emphasis shifted in the neoliberal era to the opportunities that public power provided for individual rent-seeking. This is harmonious with the assumptions of neoliberal approach to governance, which treats the state as an economic entity.

The notion of good governance  under neoliberalism  typically means market reforms and their political framework of deregulation and privatization. In reality both are cesspool of corruption. As the business started to build direct ties with the bureaucracy it automatically obtains a greater role in decision making, and as the capacity of the state to facilitate private personal rents in the market increased. So corruption served much to the restoration of the power of financial oligarchy under neoliberalism. Neoliberalism discard the necessity of national and planned development model of the Keynesian era in terms of facilitating and accelerating capital redistribution and accumulation, especially in transition economies. It is ironic that a neoliberal anti-corruption campaign led to tremendous level of corruption of privatization of industry in xUSSR countries and establishing (with direct help of the West)  a strata of powerful, corrupt, often criminal and closely linked to the West oligarchs.

This, on the other hand, the notion of corruption under neoliberalism is conceptualized in such a way that trivialize the value of state intervention in the economy, discard any notion of public interest, and even of national priorities in politics. In order to reverse the neoliberal domination as the ideology it is important to stress the fact that under neoliberalism the whole the arena over which market competition occurred is corrupt.  The players are not only unethical they are often criminal as recent investigation of TBTF banks had shown. This way is easier to bring ethics back into discussion of corruption and start to understand the without state interference it is impossible to have a fair market. Please note that neoliberals try to avoid discussion the notion of "fair market" substituting it with "free market" misnomer, which idealize the market  as the sphere of voluntary action and freedom. In reality it is far from that and in unregulated market bigger players simply squash or swallow  the small fish.

The Neoliberal Discourse on Corruption

The neoliberal discourse on corruption is based on a certain set of assumptions about state-society relations and on a certain stance about the role of state in economy. As Pinar Bedirhanoğlu argues, “the neoliberal conception of corruption is ahistoric, biased, contradictory and politicized, and has been induced by concerns over market competition rather than morality.” This is because neoliberal conceptualization of corruption has fulfilled significant functions in globalized economy and politics, particularly at moments of financial crisis, such as the 1997 East Asian financial crisis and in Turkey after the 2001 crisis.

 The neoliberal anti-corruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalisation and second generation of neoliberal reforms themselves by highlighting the so-called long history of crony state–business relations and patrimonial state in the South, referring either to the heritage of the ‘strong state tradition’ in Turkey, ‘the communist past’ in Russia, or the ‘corporatist past’ in Latin America.

 Identifying corruption either with the inherent characteristics of bureaucrats and politicians (this way distorting the key idea of public administration  -- providing service to the people) or traditional and cultural characteristics of certain regions helps idealizing the Western political and economic model under the name ‘good governance’. This approach also served for the world elites to partially overcome the legitimacy crisis that the Western states experienced since the 1980s by articulating the demand of democratic reforms ("export of democracy"), the language of "good governance", transparency, and building civil society (at the same time under this rhetoric destroying all the social achievements of welfare state). Using its dominance in MSM neoliberals manage to brainwash public to the extent it start behaving contrary to its own economic interests, and in the interests of financial oligarchy (What's the matter with Kansas)

Neoliberals stress that enlargement of market relations and reduction in state functions would provide not only economic efficiency but also freedom and democracy, by breaking up the monopolization of power. The market is accepted as the sphere of freedom since transactions within it are voluntary and decentralized. New Right theoreticians argue that freedom is the individual control over choices, and it is best exercised in a market economy.

Concept of "Governance" and forceful suppression of discussion of links between political and economical spheres of society

By the 1970s neolibrals started to remove "the excesses of democracy" of New Deal and European Welfare states. Cosial reforms on New Deal era were condemned for the economic troubles during the decade, as was also the Keynesian economy o which they were based.  Organized labour and mass movements were suppressed and as they deemed  to be incompatible with unconstrained capitalist accumulation.

Keynesianism was blamed for expanding political decisions into the realm of economics, as if the desired non-political character of economy in not just another policy, just favoring big ploayers instead of small fish. It if such approach is not political. Welfare reforms came to be regarded as an anomaly, as an obstance to economic development. And crusing orgnized labour was presented as return to the normal distinction between economic and political spheres. However, the "de-economization" of politics under neoliebral was just a smoke screen decsined to hide accesnce to power of finacnial olitachy, the political force supressed by New Deal. So it was a countrrevolution not a revolution. And instead of promotion of democracy it resulted in promotion of  authoritarianism ans police state (national Security State) were protection of financial olitarchy is disguied as "fight against terrorisrm". Public debate on the policy of taxation, privatization, on the forced retreat of state from social sectors, about the level of autonomy of Central Bank etc., was forcefully supressed.

So, to maintain the neolibel system the elites forcefully suppress and hide the relationship between economy and politics.

The term ‘governance’ started to be positively used by all parties to describe the political form of global market economy. It is defined as ‘governance without government’. Theories of governance argued that while government refers to formal acts and procedures at state level, governance is based on a network of informal relations at all levels. It assumes an interdependency between nations, between nations and international organizations, and between nations and transnational or subnational structures.

Governance aims at organizing the state and social life in general, along market relations. Even the state itself is dealt as if it is a business administration job. Politics is identified with corruption, nepotism, partisanship etc., and the parliamentarian and political party systems are regarded negatively as sources of populism, which harmed much the functioning of the economy.8

Making economic decisions turned out to be the job of technocrats, who were claimed to be neutral professionals applying the objective rules of the game called economy. Legislation and regulation are increasingly carried out by non-parliamentary and non-governmental agents. A neo-corporatist structure is developing in which interest groups and specialized policy networks represent themselves in a market-like sphere of politics. As expert knowledge “as opposed to popular, common-sensical, everyday knowledge” of the people tends to prevail, the democracy of citizens is being replaced by the democracy of organized interest and lobbies. So, as Jean Grugel states, globalisation

Use of "fight with corruption" as the Trojan horse for neoliberalization of economy

The neoliberal anticorruption campaign served to hide the problems inherent in economic liberalisation and second generation of neoliberal reforms themselves by highlighting the so-called long history of crony state – business relations and patrimonial state in the South. Governance are not neutral processes with regard to their effects on state and society.10 The neoliberal discourse on corruption should be dealt accordingly. According to the neoliberal approach state is regarded as “the simple sum of profit maximising bureaucrats and politicians”, and corruption is assumed to arise for the rents created by the holding of offices. It is perceived as if exploitation and corruption are intrinsic characteristics of the state itself rather than representing its abuse. The underlying state– market dichotomy has led to an understanding of corruption primarily as a problem of the state.11 Those corrupt actions which necessitate the existence of public power –the state- as one of the parties of a mutual relation, such as bribery or extortion are mostly emphasized in the literature. Fraud or embezzlement, on the other hand, can be found in the private sector as well. While control mechanisms and measures are regarded sufficient in the private sector and corruption cases are not related to the nature of the property ownership, the state cannot benefit from such an exemption. This cannot be evaluated independently from the neoliberal attack against public ownership. It is for certain that public power is manipulated to gain economic advantage but so is economic power in private sphere.

Neoliberal discourse assumes that corruption is a phenomenon of the public sector. This interpretation “obscures the rising possibilities for private sector corruption caused by market-led economic reforms and has little to say about the complex linkages between abuses in the private and public sectors”.

Neoliberals regard the public sector as the major source of corruption, which is explained through the rent-seeking behaviour of individual public servants. This is based upon highly questionable conceptualizations of human motivation and a very poor understanding of the state. Their major objective is limited to explaining how the activities of public servants distort the efficient functioning of markets.

Ed Brown and Jonathan Cloke counter the view that the state is inherently more prone to corruption than the private sector. They argue that this, for example, leads to a lack of recognition of the opportunities for corruption that privatization and deregulation have provided. Even the World Bank accepts that transition to market economy has created fertile ground for corruption.

Since neoliberal discourse has a very limited conceptual understanding of the nature and functioning of the state and its relation to civil society, there appears certain inconsistencies. For example the writers refer to contradiction between the creation of new public bodies within institutional reform programmes and the assumption that public officials are primarily motivated by self-interest, and they question the hidden assumption that the workers within those anti-corruption offices were likely to be less corrupt than other public sector workers claimed to be naturally prone to rent-seeking behaviour.

Putting “public sector corruption as the most severe impediment to development and growth”, and moreover, claiming such things that bribery “distorts sectoral priorities and technology choices (by, for example, creating incentives to contract for large defence projects rather than rural health clinics specializing in preventive care)” is unfair and misleading. Corrupt behaviour is not limited to state officials; idealizing private sector actions while attacking state sector is at best naive. It is impossible to deny the motives for unethical behaviour in private sector and it is claimed that even the economic liberalization after 1980s, pointed as the solution of corruption problems, opened the path of corporate corruptions.

Since 1990s anti-corruption agenda has been promoted in developing countries through the reform programmes of the international financial institutions. It is not easy to determine whether an overall increase in corruption led to the anti-corruption campaign. Critical studies highlight the instrumentalization of anti-corruption discourse. Ed Brown and Jonathan Cloke argue that there was little reliable evidence to determine if corruption levels had been worsening or whether there has simply been increasing legal and public recognition of corruption cases or perhaps even the conscious manipulation of public sensitivity about the issue.

The example of Turkey is worth mentioning. Coming to the office to recover Turkish economy after the Keynesianism was blamed for expanding political decisions into the realm of economics, as if the desired non-political character of economy was not something political. (14 Ibid., p 287-91 and P. Bedirhanoğlu, “The Neoliberal Discourse on Corruption as a Means of Consent) 2001 financial crisis, Minister of Economic Affairs, now the UNDP President Kemal Derviş, have then explained the causes of the crisis with reference to the corrupt banking structure in Turkey and skilfully introduced the neoliberal discourse that associates anti-corruption porely with failures of  the implementation of the neoliberal reforms.

Through this discourse, neoliberal institutionalisation in Turkey which had been proceeding back and forth because of the resistance of various social forces for about a decade accelerated. Since this competition-induced concern over corruption was articulated within the moral based debates in domestic politics, the strategy received public consent.

The international ‘crusade’ against corruption does not fight with corruption itself but in the first place “promotes commerce, uniformity in commercial law and the associated disciplines of the market as indirect constraints on the conduct of states themselves”. In this respect, Barry Hindess regards the international anti-corruption campaign labelled as the promotion of good governance as an updated version of the older system of capitulations, which required independent states to acknowledge the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Western states in the area of commercial law.

Many scholars underline the conscious attempt of neoliberals to use corruption as a strategy for enabling neoliberal policies and try to demonstrate the consequences or by-products of international anti-corruption campaign of the last decade. One of those consequences is the strengthening of executive power and the growing role of international financial institutions. To overcome this problems that undermine state legitimacy, politics of civil society is gradually articulated in the campaign.

Despite their anti-state stance neoliberals are well aware of the continuing functions of state as a coercive and legitimizing body in regulating society. A central role is attached to the state in the launching of anticorruption policies. Pinar Bedirhanoğlu describes this as “to put the foxes in charge of the chicken house if it is recalled that corruption is assumed to be intrinsic to the state in rentier state theories”. To balance the state and prevent it from following a national program external pressure imposed by international financial institutions, NGOs, private sector, autonomous regulatory agencies, regional development agencies is applied. Rent-creation capacity of these bodies are usually disregarded. Practical monopoly of technical expertise makes such institutions extremely powerful and unaccountable.

As to the NGOs, in our case to those fighting against corruption, the question below is worth asking: “Can NGOs and similar organizations really help socialize citizens into the system, or do they rather represent a means by which citizens abdicate responsibility for active citizenship, and leave responsibility for political engagement with NGO staff?”.

Demet Dinler states that anti-corruption measures were functional in the redefinition of the relationship between the economic and the political. They emerged as a legitimating mechanism to justify market reforms and the separation of the economic from the political, because the ‘failure’ of the first generation reforms we explained by the continuing dominance of the political over the economic. “Corruption has been conceptualized as a ‘purely political’ phenomenon, related only to the politicians and their bureaucratic companions, by ignoring the major role of the businessmen in corruption and rentseeking.”

While the neoliberal concern on corruption is market-based and competition-induced at the international level, the domestic debates on corruption rest on moral grounds. This, according to Pınar Bedirhanoğlu, indicate different attitudes of capital and popular classes towards corruption. That of the latter seems to provide a more political ground. Corruption is undoubtedly harmful to the public interest through whatever medium we build the relation. However, it would be in vain to expect that the funds “rescued from the grasp of the corrupt public servant or politician” will be spent on good causes, such as education or health facilities for the poor.

The discourse of governance reduces morality to the loyalty to contract. However, we argue that the contract itself might be corrupt, if corruption is defined in ethical terms as the public opinion perceives it. The next part of the study will deal with the collapse of welfare policies and the transformation of labor market in this framework. 

A neoliberals also develop , cultivate and support interest groups and specialized policy networks which promotes neoliberalism and separation of politics and economics.

Attack of social rights as the mean to restore profitability in the environment of end of "cheap oil"

In the aftermath of the depression, the WWII and Keynesian revolution, the state actively intervened into the economy, helping to manage the conflicts arising from market competition In terms of its institutional and policy role, social provision was central to accumulation, helping to socialize consumption over the life-course and the reproduction of labor power. The success of the consolidation and expansion of welfare systems in virtually every Western country from 1950 through the early 1970s had two profound consequences for the political economy of welfare systems today. First, any attack on or defense of a welfare system must now operate along three distinct, yet interrelated, spheres: the economic, political and the cultural. Second, with welfare systems so successfully integrated into the institutional make-up of nations, the politics of welfare encompass far more than political wheeling and dealing over national budgets. Although expenditure levels remain important, the politics of welfare are increasingly about a nation’s class, racial, generational, and gender divisions. As an object of struggle and conflict, then, welfare politics reflect the interest of myriad social forces, such as employers’ associations, poverty groups, small business, social movements, and trade unions. Recent conflict over welfare systems has been intense, with government action from above and recipient reaction from below being very contentious.

However, both the ‘Golden Age’ of capitalism and the ‘Golden Age’ of social reforms came to an end with the worldwide economic slump of 1974-82, a crisis which covered two distinct generalized recessions separated by a weak recovery. In a long and drawn out process, the 1974-82 economic slump led to a new consensus in economic policy across the advanced capitalist economies. In the early 1980s, a neoliberals started a real offensive with the distinct goals of engineering an economic recovery and restoring profitability by redistributing the wealth up.

Destruction of New Deal and Welfare-state Social Policies

In altering the parameters of state intervention, neoliberalism rejected and turned away from the post-war reliance on the social right and more fair distribution of the results of  economic activity. The return of mass unemployment, industrial downsizing, the liberalization of capital flows and a rearticulating of hegemony of financial capital all changed the terrain of capitalist relations, destroying the post-war accord between the capital and labor.  Through neoliberalism coercive redistribution of wealth up started in full force. The emerging stage of ‘transnational capitalism’ is marked by high levels of capital mobility and economic integration between countries (some reduced to supplies of raw materials, like in classic neocolonialism) and defined by capital’s interaction with multiple states and an intensification of international competition. In this new political economic context, welfare systems are facing a number of transformatory pressures, including the erosion of government autonomy over social provision, integration induced convergent welfare effects and welfare system rivalry.

Neoliberal transformation of society put strong downward pressure on welfare systems. Apart from weakening organized labor outright, neoliberalism targets the economic, social and political costs of welfare. As John O’Connor argues for most of the 1990s, welfare systems in the advanced capitalist countries were the object of intense conflict between employers and workers. Governments fought hard to cut the cost of pensions, health care and benefit payments, while unions struggled to protect their longstanding social gains.26 In reshaping welfare systems, employers have been seeking to lower costs, improve labor market flexibility and reduce budget deficits. This is all being done to further international competitiveness and to help restore profitability. Defensive struggles over welfare systems have not been able to stop the retrenchment of social provision. Governments have embarked also on strategies of shifting the role of public and private sector via massive privatization of state assets, in which the private sector acquired public sector assets (as well as responsibilities and activities at discounted prices. Neoliberal policies resulted in globalization of capital and goods flows. It also led to mass outsourcing / off-shoring of whole industries to third world countries. The capability of swashing the cost of labor has been an important factor for multinational corporations. That is why reducing the cost of labor has been a major area by developing countries to compete against each other. Instead of permanent employment neoliberalism prefers the part-time labor / contractor  economy, were employees have not  social rights and minimal social protection.

There is a growing sense that social policies are taking new directions as policy debates move from an earlier embrace of privatization and marketization, to the task of retooling the state to face new social risks and to reproduce the social (social cohesion, social capital, social inclusion, social economy).27 Welfare system today have been openly scrutinized and challenged by Neoliberal approaches have regarded the public sector as the major source of corruption, which is explained through the rentseeking behaviour of individual public servants, politicians, employers, citizens, and tax payers as never before in the vast majority of Western nations. The roots of this scrutiny and challenge have been the subject of much political and scholarly debate. As economic globalisation has progressed, nation states have forfeited sovereignty to supra-national organizations and treaties, such as the Group of Seven, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the European Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Union (NAFTA). These agencies and Organisations represent a complicated shift in political economic governance from the domestic level toward the supranational.29 With trans-state accumulation, there has been a move within many nations to move from ‘discretionary-based’ to ‘rule-based’ policy making.

This move toward rules is an attempt to implement mechanisms that automatically force domestic policy to reflect the changes associated with the global economy; e.g., the EU, the WTO, the IMF or World Bank.

Welfare retrenchment is sold to the public in terms of it being more a dictate of rules or logic of the global economy. Welfare systems are viewed now as national luxuries that cannot be afforded in the global economy. Given the enhanced exit options in today’s world, the political relationship among capital, the state and welfare coalitions have been recast. Capital mobility – or the threat of capital mobility – has the effect of forcing workers/unions and welfare coalitions into making concessions.31 Because capital is mobile, it can take an extremely aggressive stance in wage bargaining or in political negotiations. Trans-state accumulation has enhanced the power of capital, while leaving labour and welfare coalitions politically impotent. In addition to the usual concern over immigration, unemployment and population aging, it is obvious that governments in Europe and North America point to the pressures of economic globalisation as being one of the main reasons behind social cutbacks.

This offensive against the public sector in general and social systems in particular is universal and the language of globalisation has been central to this neoliberal assault.

As with the recasting of class relations, remaking the mode of production and reorganizing accumulation, neoliberalism seeks to restructure labour markets, making them more responsive to competitive forces. The integration of domestic economies has opened the door to welfare system social dumping effects, in which the benefits and services in one country are lowered the ward off any potential competitive disadvantages relative to another.32 Social dumping effects reflect governments’ concern that high ‘social cost’ will undermine a nation’s international competitiveness.

Given the rapid changes in the world market and the intensification of competition, an adaptable workforce and flexibility in the hiring and firing of workers are considered valuable economic assets. In general terms, economic flexibility can refer to the ability of capitalist enterprises to adjust their productive strategies, the ability of workers to move from one job to another and the ability of wage levels to move according to prevailing economic conditions.33

The early 1980s employers’ offensive was launched to restore profitability. neoliberal transformative action aimed to reorder post-war capitalism’s structural and institutional arrangements. This neoliberal reordering unleashed the economic transforming tendencies of state rationalisation, market contestability, and factor mobility (‘coercive competition’) on all nations. The importance of coercive competition is that it simultaneously acted on and transcended domestic institutional-policy frameworks.

In this new political economic context, domestic social systems faced a number of transformatory pressures, including the erosion of government autonomy over social provision, integration induced convergent welfare effects, and welfare system rivalry. The prime source of retrenchment pressures was that the mobile capital has an aversion to anything that contributes to competitive locational disadvantage. These pressures were dealt with politically determines the nature and scope of welfare system retrenchment. It is obvious that the explanation of globalisation has become a force “helping to create the institutional realities it purportedly merely describes.”34 Recent welfare practice reflects discursive practices that communicate an “apolitical logic of inevitabilism” that rules out all alternatives to globalisation and welfare retrenchment.35 

The early 1980s employers’ offensive was launched to restore profitability. Neoliberal transformative action aimed to reorder post-war capitalism’s structural and institutional arrangements.

Conclusions

As a political strategy neoliberalism tries to restore profitability at the expense of social well-being of population. the problem of corruption is used as smoke screen for penetration into third world countries and for extracting raw materials at low, globalised prices.  Through such organizations as WTO a global market was created where raw materials prices are nearly same in the world and goods can flow globally without borders and customs . This situation transforms the world economies into an open market and also open production islands not just for goods also for services also. That is why the competition continues over labor costs where states can still compete over. This competition made the governments cut out welfare expenditures to reduce costs of production.

Through this neoliberal transformative action and discourse states are eliminating workers post-war social gains and social protections such as  guaranteed pension, health care and benefit payments. This is done  to improve labor market flexibility and reduce budget deficits. Apart from weakening labor rights, neoliberalism also redistributes wealth by eliminating  high taxes to upper brackets of population, reducing the cost of welfare and privatizing those saving by financial sector.

Neoliberalism creates "race to the bottom" -- a competition between developing countries in reducing the cost of labor  and also generates an informal economy without any social rights of labor. Finally both capital mobility and economic integration have undermined the ability of national governments to pursue welfare objectives.

We should label the behaviour of perceiving social rights as a competitiveness tool rather than a means for meeting vital needs of humans a corrupt behaviour. So corruption is an immanent feature of neoliberalism. That sort of normative questions raised by pope Francis helps to understand deeper the role of  corruption in the neoliberal society. In will not be exaggeration to say the neoliberal society is based on corruption.  In other words, by redefinition corruption in terms of domination of social relations by self-interest, and regarding of fellow citizens as instruments, obstacles and competitors, we get deeper understanding of problem of corruption and related straggle against it the neoliberal era. That seems the best possible to fight corruption under neoliberalism is to fight neoliberal policies and to remembrance the ideas of New Deal which provided better the integrity of the economic and the political like of the society.


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Home 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

[May 03, 2021] Why George W. Bush Was a Horrible President

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente. ..."
"... Don't deny W his agency. As I followed the horrors, from Vietnam to Iraq to Syria to Central America and elsewhere, the full list that was visible anyway, of the W regime, it sure seemed clear to me that W played the bumbling yuk very well. ..."
"... the dumb cluck thing was mostly an act. he was deliberately talking that way not only to paint himself as stupid, but also because those in power assume we must be spoken to as children (they've studied president speeches since JFK have decreased from high school level to 6th grade in complexity, word usage etc). ..."
"... In our kayfabe duoparty system, it also gave the "opposing" side the "W is a Chimp" talking point to harp on (dress rehearsal for the same stuff against tRUMP). ..."
"... Abu Ghraib was not an anomaly, Con Son Island served the same purpose during the Vietnam War. When I was young I was proud to be an American Citizen, we had the Bill of Rights, the Military was controlled by Civilians and their oath was to defend the Constitution from "All Enemies Foreign and Domestic.". I have been horrified, ashamed and deeply saddened by what has happened in the US over the last half Century or so. ..."
"... I view the 2008 election as the major failing-to-turn-back-when-we-had-the-chance point. Obama could have undone Bush's worst policies, but instead he cemented them into place forever. ..."
"... Our elites are both stupid and evil, but Bush is more stupid and Obama is more evil ..."
"... you are 40 years off the mark-It was Reagan who's brand of avuncular fascism, celebrating stupidity as a virtue who paved the way. ..."
"... albrt: I agree with your take. Obama campaigned as an anti-war candidate (at least wrt Iraq). He then proceeded to "˜surge' into Afghanistan and added Libya, Syria, and Yemen, to the regime change mix. Never a thought given to prosecuting the war criminals: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Feith, Wolfowitz, Powell, et al; much less even consider a truth and reconciliation commission. ..."
"... Obama was equally complicit in this never ending horror show and, I am hopeful, history will hold him equally accountable. ..."
"... Is it not written that Margaret Thatcher's true legacy was Tony Blair? If that is true, then the true legacy of Dubya is Obama. ..."
"... As far as harm that George W. Bush did and launched (illegal/immoral wars, domestic surveillance, tax cuts for the wealthy"¦.) Bush should take the award. ..."
"... When Obama deliberately and with malice aforethought turned all the admitted (and in fact proudly self-avowed) war-criminals and criminals-against humanity loose, free and clear under "look forward not back", he routinised and permanentized the up-to-that-very-minute irregular and extra-constitutional novel methods of governance and practice which the Cheney-Bush Administration had pioneered. Obama deliberately made torture, aggressive war, etc. "legal" when America does it and "permanent" as long as America is strong enough to keep doing it. ..."
"... The Greatest Disappointment in History. No-one else comes close, in terms of the sheer numbers of people globally who he let down. The Bait and Switch King, The Great Betrayer. After the nightmare of Bush we got him and his "˜eloquence', pulling the wool over the dazzled sheeple's eyes while he entrenched the 1% and the neocon MI complex, his paymasters, and sponsors for his entry into the overclass. ..."
"... Lambert, you forgot this one" Biden presents Liberty Medal to George and Laura Bush Instead of a war crimes trial at the Hague, Biden gave him a (family bloging) medal! ..."
"... A Clean Break: A New Strategy For Securing the Realm ..."
"... It's really sickening to see George W being "rehabilitated" and made to look like some kind of a senior statesman, when he should be hauled off to the Hague to spend the rest of his life in prison for war crimes. For me, his election in 2000 was mostly the beginning of the end of the rule of law in this country. As a result, the U.S. has Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, in addition to all the other events mentioned, and don't forget he tried to privatize Social Security. ..."
"... and welfare "reform", the crime bill. Talk of privatizing SSI made commonplace acceptable. Repeal of Glass Steagall. They were going to do to healthcare what oBLAM succeeded at, 20 years before him but got sidelined by Lewinsky's blue dress stains. Clintoon is a criminal and so is his spouse, and he did his share of damage everywhere. people who think otherwise might be looking back with nostalgia on a simpler (pre 9.11) time. ..."
"... Jeff Wells wrote some interesting essays in the Bush years, though many of his connections were a bit too far out, even for me. He had some striking collateral evidence for his concept of High Weirdness in high places "" sex abuse, torture and magick figuring prominently, juxtaposed with political skulduggery, and financial crimes and misdemeanours. The Gannon/Guckert affair, the Franklin ring and Gary Caradori were the sort of thing that laced his quite penetrating analyses of events. Facts were jumping off points for speculations, but given our lack of facts his imaginings were a nourishment of sorts, though often very troubling indeed. ..."
"... People have been brain washed by the glossed over history of the US they are taught. It gives people a false belief of our past. The phrase American Exceptionalism comes to mind. It is a myth. The real history is out there but you have to search it out. From it's beginning continuing to today our government is responsible for bad behavior. ..."
"... We Americans have this thing called exceptionalism which among other things creates the idea that our government is more virtuous than others. ..."
"... We are not at Hitler/Stalin/Mao standards ""yet"" but who's to say that could never happen here? One of the bafflements of the 20th century was how a civilized people descended into the dark barbarism of Nazi Germany. ..."
"... Noam Chomsky observed some thirty years ago that if the Nuremberg standards were applied to all the post-war American Presidents, then all of them would hang. ..."
"... We have such a dismal record. Little George was the most audacious of all our criminal presidents, but he has plenty of company. My question is now, looking back, why was the USA incapable of organizing a peaceful world after WW2? I start there. 1945. ..."
May 03, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on April 25, 2021 by Lambert Strether

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Recently, the political class has been working hard to rehabilitate George W. Bush into an elder statesman, no doubt to continue the liberal Democrat conversion of suburban Republicans, with headlines like " George Bush reborn as the nation's grandfather " (the London Sunday Times, but you know it will migrate over here), " George W Bush is back "" but not all appreciate his new progressive image " (Guardian), " Bush calls on Congress to tone down "˜harsh rhetoric' about immigration " (CNN), and "George W Bush reveals who he voted for in 2020 election "" and it wasn't Biden or Trump " (the Independent. Bush wrote in Condaleeza Rice, who Exxon once named a tanker for). I could go on. But I won't. These stories from major outlets seem to be erasing early coverage like " The 7 worst moments of George W. Bush's presidency " (WaPo, 2013), " The blood on George W Bush's hands will never dry. Don't glorify this man " (The Guardian, 2017), " Reminder: George W. Bush Is Still Very, Very Bad " (Vice, 2018), " Seth Meyers: Don't Let Trump Make You Forget How Awful George W. Bush Was " (Vanity Fair, 2020), and " We Shouldn't Have to Remind People George W. Bush Was a Terrible President : (Jacobin, 2020). That's unfortunate, because George W. Bush (hereafter "Bush"; the "W" distinguishes him from his spook Yankee patrician Dad, oil bidnessman George H.W. Bush). As with so much else that is fetid in the miasmic air of our current liberal Democrat dispensation, Bush's rehabilitation begins with the Obamas, in this case Michelle Obama, in this iconic photo:

(The backstory: " Michelle Obama Reveals What Really Happened During Her Sweet Exchange With George W. Bush ," and "Michelle Obama: George W. Bush is "˜my partner in crime'[1] and "˜I love him to death' ").

Bush became President in the year 2000. That was "" let me break out my calculator "" 2021 "" 2000 = 21 years ago. It occurs to me that our younger readers, born in 2000, or even 1990, may not know how genuinely horrid Bush was, as President.

I was blogging even back then, and I remember how horrid Bush was; certainly worse than Trump, at least for Trump's first three years in office, until the Covid pandemic. To convey the full horror of the Bush years would not a series of posts, but a book. The entire experience was wretched and shameful.

Of the many horrors of the Bush years, I will pick three. (I am omitting many, many others, including Hurricane Katrina , the Plame Affair , Medicare Part D, the Cheney Energy Task Force , that time Dick Cheney shot an old man in the face , Bush's missing Texas Air National Guard records , Bush gaslighting the 2004 Republican National Convention with terror alerts, and on and on and on. And I didn't even get to 9/11, " You've covered your ass ," WMDs, and the AUMF. Sorry. It's exhausting.) I'm afraid my recounting of these incidents will be sketchy: I lived and blogged in them, and the memories of the horror well up in such volume and detail that I lose control of the material. Not only that, there was an actual, functioning blogosphere at that time, which did great work, but unfortunately most of that work has succumbed to link rot. And my memory of events two decades ago is not as strong as it could be.

The White House Iraq Group

Here I will rely on excerpts from Colonel Sam Gardiner's (PDF) "Truth from These Podia: Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II" (2003), whose introduction has been saved from link rot by the National Security Archive and a full version by the University of Leeds . I would bet, long forgotten even by many of those who blogged through those times. ("Gulf II" is what we refer to as the "War in Iraq.") Quoting from the full version:

You will see in my analysis and comments that I do not accept the notion that the first casualty of war is truth. I think we have to have a higher standard. In the most basic sense, Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to right decisions. Truth became a casualty. When truth is a casualty, democracy receives collateral damage.

Seems familiar. (Gardiner's report can be read as a brilliant media critique; it's really worth sitting down with a cup of coffee and reading it all.)[2] More:

My research suggests there were over 50 stories manufactured or at least engineered that distorted the picture of Gulf II for the American and British people . I'll cover most in this report. At the end, I will also describe some stories that seem as if they were part of the strategic influence campaign although the evidence is only circumstantial.

What becomes important is not each story taken individually. If that were the case, it would probably seem only more of the same. If you were to look at them one at a time, you could conclude, "Okay we sort of knew that was happening." It is the pattern that becomes important. It's the summary of everything. To use a phrase often heard during the war, it's the mosaic. Recognizing I said I wouldn't exaggerate, it would not be an exaggeration to say the people of the United States and UK can find out more about the contents of a can of soup they buy than the contents of the can of worms they bought with the 2003 war in the Gulf.

The White House was, naturally, at the center of the operation:

One way to view how the US Government was organized to do the strategic communications effort before, during and after the war is to use the chart that was used by the Assistant Deputy Director for Information Operations. The center is the White House Office of Global Communications, the organization originally created by Karen Hughes as the Coalition Information Office. The White House is at the center of the strategic communications process"¦.

Handy chart:

And:

Inside the White House there was an Iraq Group that did policy direction and then the Office of Global Communications itself.

Membership of the White House Iraq Group:

So, in 2020 Bush's write-in vote for President was Condi Rice, the [x] Black [x] woman who helped run a domestic disinformation campaign for him in 2003, to sell the Iraq War to the American people. Isn't that"¦. sweet?

Of course, I was very naive at that point. I had come up as a Democrat, and my first real political engagement was the Clinton impeachment. Back in 2003, I was amazed to discover that there was a White House operation that was planting fake stories in the press "" and that I had been playing whackamole on them. At a higher level, I was disturbed that "Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to right decisions." Now it all seems perfectly normal, which is sad.

Torture at Abu Ghraib

There are a lot of images of our torture prison in Iraq, Abu Ghraib. This one ( via ) is not the most famous , but to me it is the most shocking:

What kind of country sets dogs on a naked prisoner? Well, my kind of country, apparently. (Later, I remember discussing politics with somebody who came from a country that might be considered less governed by the rule of law than my own, and they said: "Abu Ghraib. You have nothing to say." And they were right.)

For those who came in late, here's a snapshot (the detail of the story is in fact overwhelming, and I also have pity for the poor shlubs the brass tossed into that hellhole[3].) From the Los Angeles Times, " Few have faced consequences for abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq " (2015):

[A] 44-year-old Al Jazeera reporter named Salah Ejaili, said in a phone interview from Qatar that he was arrested in 2003 while covering an explosion in the Iraqi province of Diyala. He was held at Abu Ghraib for 48 days after six days in another facility, he said.

"Most of the pictures that came out in 2004, I saw that firsthand "" the human pyramid where men were stacked up naked on top of each other, people pulled around on leashes," he said in the interview, with one of his attorneys translating. "I used to hear loud screams during the torture sessions."

Ejaili says he was beaten, left naked and exposed to the elements for long periods, and left in solitary confinement, among other acts.

"When people look at others who are naked, they feel like they're animals in a zoo, in addition to being termed as criminals and as terrorists," he said. "That had a very strong psychological impact."

The plaintiffs also say they suffered electric shocks; deprivation of food, water and oxygen; sexual abuse; threats from dogs; beatings; and sensory deprivation.

Taha Yaseen Arraq Rashid, a laborer, says he was sexually abused by a woman while he was cuffed and shackled, and also that he was forced to watch a female prisoner's rape.

Ejaili said that his face was often covered during interrogations, making it difficult for him to identify those involved, but that he was able to notice that many of the interrogators who entered the facility wore civilian clothing.

His attorneys, citing military investigations into abuses at Abu Ghraib and other evidence, say the contractors took control of the prison and issued orders to uniformed military.

"Abu Ghraib was pretty chaotic," said Baher Azmy, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought suits against CACI and L-3 Services. "They were involved in a conspiracy with the military police to abuse our clients.""¦. Eleven U.S. soldiers were convicted in military trials of crimes related to the humiliation and abuse of the prisoners.

(So Abu Ghraib is a privatization story, too. Oddly, whoever signed the contract never ended up in court.) All this seemed pretty shocking then. But now we know that the Chicago Police Department ran a torture site at Homan Square while Rahm Emanuel, Obama's Chief of Staff, was Mayor , so perhaps this is all perfectly normal too.

Warrantless Surveillance and the Destruction of the Fourth Amendment

Here is the wording of the Fourth Amendment :

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers , and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

If our legal system had the slightest shred of integrity, it would be obvious to the Courts, as it is to a six-old-child, that what we laughingly call our "personal" computers and cellphones contain "paper," not in the tediously literal sense of a physical material made from wood fibre, but in the sense of content . Bits and bytes are 20th Century paper, stored on silicon and hard disk platters. Of course a warrant should be needed to read what's on my phone, ffs.

That Fourth Amendment common sense did not prevail is IMNSHO due in large part to Bush's program of warrantless surveillance, put in place as part of the Global War on Terror. Here again, the complexity is overwhelming and took several years to unravel. I'm afraid I have to quote Wikipedia on this one :

A week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which inaugurated the "War on Terror". It later featured heavily in arguments over the NSA program.

Soon after the 9/11 attacks President Bush established the President's Surveillance Program. As part of the program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program was established pursuant to an executive order that authorized the NSA to surveil certain telephone calls without obtaining a warrant (see 50 U.S.C. § 1802 50 U.S.C. § 1809). The complete details of the executive order are not public, but according to administration statements, the authorization covers communication originating overseas from or to a person suspected of having links to terrorist organizations or their affiliates even when the other party to the call is within the US.

In October 2001, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the administration broad powers to fight terrorism. The Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISC and directed the NSA to spy directly on al-Qaeda via a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an "apparently accidental" "glitch" resulted in the interception of communications that were between two U.S. parties. This act was challenged by multiple groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The precise scope of the program remains secret, but the NSA was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications between the nation's largest telecommunication companies' major interconnected locations, encompassing phone conversations, email, Internet activity, text messages and corporate private network traffic .

Of course, all this is perfectly normal today. So much for the Fourth Amendment, good job. (You will note that the telcos had to be in on it; amusingly, the CEO of Qwest, the only telco that refused to participate, was charged and convicted of insider trading, good job again.) The legal aspects of all this are insanely complex, but as you see from my introduction, they should be simple.

Conclusion

Here's a video of the Iraqi (now in Parliament) who threw shoes at Bush (who got off lightly, all things considered):

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OM3Z_Kskl_U

We should all be throwing shoes at Bush, seriously if not literally. We should not be accepting candy from him. We should not be treating him as an elder statesman. Or a "partner in crime." We should not be admiring his paintings. Bush ran a bad, bad, bad administration and we are living with the consequences of his badness today. Bush is a bad man. We are ruled by bad people. Tomorrow, Obama!

NOTES

[1] Indeed.

[2] For example, I vividly remember playing whack-a-mole as a blogger with the following WMD stories: Drones, weapons labs, WMD cluster bombs, Scuds, nuclear materials from Niger, aluminum tubes, and dirty bombs. They one and all fell apart on close inspection. And they were only a small part of the operation, as Gardiner shows in detail.

[3] My personal speculation is that Dick Cheney had a direct feed from the Abu Ghraib torture chambers to the White House, and watched the proceedings live. Some of the soldiers burned images of torture onto CDs as trophies, and the prison also had a server, whose connectivity was very conveniently not revealed by the judge in a lawsuit I dimly remember being brought in Germany. So it goes.


flora , April 25, 2021 at 6:46 pm

Does anyone believe that W, son of H. W. Bush, H. W. son of Senator Prescott Bush, would have been been pres without that familial lineage and its important govt connections? The pity is W wasn't smart enough to grasp world politics and the US's importance as an accepted fulcrum in same beyond his momentary wants. imo. Brent Scowcroft and others warned him off his vain pursuits. The word "squander" come to mind, though I wish it did not.

flora , April 25, 2021 at 7:43 pm

See for example Kevin Phillips' book American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush . ( Kevin Phillips is a great modernist American historian, imo, who saw the rise of Nixon before anyone else.)

Teejay , April 27, 2021 at 10:16 am

" saw the rise of Nixon"? Phillips worked on the '68 campaign.

JTMcPhee , April 25, 2021 at 8:12 pm

Don't deny W his agency. As I followed the horrors, from Vietnam to Iraq to Syria to Central America and elsewhere, the full list that was visible anyway, of the W regime, it sure seemed clear to me that W played the bumbling yuk very well.

He did what he set out to do, no doubt with careful guidance from that sh!t of a father (magically turned into a laid-in-state "statesman") and mother-of-string-of-pearls, and of course Cheney and the rest of the corpo-gov policy gang.

The Consent Manufacturers are whitewashing an evil man and his slicker but equally evil successor and his glamorous spouse.

Helluva job, Georgie! Full marks for kicking the world a long way down a dark road.

anon y'mouse , April 26, 2021 at 12:24 pm

the dumb cluck thing was mostly an act. he was deliberately talking that way not only to paint himself as stupid, but also because those in power assume we must be spoken to as children (they've studied president speeches since JFK have decreased from high school level to 6th grade in complexity, word usage etc).

see Pelosi's daughter's film of his campaign trail. He's no Angel Merkel, but sly enough for politics in this country and most third world corruptocracies.

In our kayfabe duoparty system, it also gave the "opposing" side the "W is a Chimp" talking point to harp on (dress rehearsal for the same stuff against tRUMP).

Tom Stone , April 25, 2021 at 6:49 pm

Abu Ghraib was not an anomaly, Con Son Island served the same purpose during the Vietnam War. When I was young I was proud to be an American Citizen, we had the Bill of Rights, the Military was controlled by Civilians and their oath was to defend the Constitution from "All Enemies Foreign and Domestic.". I have been horrified, ashamed and deeply saddened by what has happened in the US over the last half Century or so.
And it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

ambrit , April 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm

You actually "˜blogged' back when we had to use punch cards to program our PCs? How oh how did you clamber on up out of "the Well" so many times a week? I am somewhat convinced that the Hollerith Cards Protocol was the origin of the Twitter 140 character limit.

I also "lived through" the "˜Reign of "W""˜ and see it as a Time of Prophecy. Most of the things we are now staring down the barrel of were effectuated then.

I may be foilly, (may be? who am I kidding,) but I view the 2000 election as a major turning point of American history.

albrt , April 25, 2021 at 7:20 pm

I view the 2008 election as the major failing-to-turn-back-when-we-had-the-chance point. Obama could have undone Bush's worst policies, but instead he cemented them into place forever.

Our elites are both stupid and evil, but Bush is more stupid and Obama is more evil.

drumlin woodchuckles , April 26, 2021 at 12:08 am

So was the 1963 " election at Dealey Plaza". Very pivotal.

Susan the other , April 26, 2021 at 1:56 pm

I go with JFK's assassination too. But little George is a close second.

Paul Whalen , April 26, 2021 at 6:42 am

you are 40 years off the mark-It was Reagan who's brand of avuncular fascism, celebrating stupidity as a virtue who paved the way.

Jason , April 26, 2021 at 6:59 am

All the pomp and circumstance surrounding the personage of the President serves to conceal the people behind the scenes who vetted and groomed said president, and actively advise him while in office. It's in this way that a Jimmy Carter may be viewed as a gentle soul so far as presidents go, but he was actually vetted by Brzezinski on behalf of the CFR goons. Once in office he was then advised by Brzezinski and Volcker, among other assorted lunatics. And he gladly took their advice the entire time. That's how he came to be president in the first place. And so it goes.

Ashburn , April 26, 2021 at 4:29 pm

albrt: I agree with your take. Obama campaigned as an anti-war candidate (at least wrt Iraq). He then proceeded to "˜surge' into Afghanistan and added Libya, Syria, and Yemen, to the regime change mix. Never a thought given to prosecuting the war criminals: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Feith, Wolfowitz, Powell, et al; much less even consider a truth and reconciliation commission.

Obama was equally complicit in this never ending horror show and, I am hopeful, history will hold him equally accountable.

km , April 25, 2021 at 7:19 pm

Is it not written that Margaret Thatcher's true legacy was Tony Blair? If that is true, then the true legacy of Dubya is Obama.

Tom Doak , April 25, 2021 at 7:43 pm

That gives W too much credit. Obama continued the legacy of Cheney.

John Wright , April 25, 2021 at 9:58 pm

Could you explain your view that Obama and Trump are "worse than that" (Bush-Cheney).?

As far as harm that George W. Bush did and launched (illegal/immoral wars, domestic surveillance, tax cuts for the wealthy"¦.) Bush should take the award.

Obama did push for military action in Libya, but at least held back from Syria.

The administrations after Bush "kicked the can down the road" but he initiated the events they simply continued. And Trump did attempt to pull troops back from Bush initiated wars. How is Trump worse than Bush? What are your metrics?

drumlin woodchuckles , April 25, 2021 at 10:04 pm

I am just a commenter here, but I would say that . . .

When Obama deliberately and with malice aforethought turned all the admitted (and in fact proudly self-avowed) war-criminals and criminals-against humanity loose, free and clear under "look forward not back", he routinised and permanentized the up-to-that-very-minute irregular and extra-constitutional novel methods of governance and practice which the Cheney-Bush Administration had pioneered. Obama deliberately made torture, aggressive war, etc. "legal" when America does it and "permanent" as long as America is strong enough to keep doing it.

He did some other things like that which I don't have time to mention right now. Maybe others will beat me to it.

Most of all, by slickly conning or permitting to self-con numbers of people about "hope and change" to come from an Obama Administration, he destroyed all hope of hope. He destroyed hope itself. Hope is not a "thing" any more in this country, thanks to Obama.

He may also have destroyed black politicians' dreams of becoming America's " Second Black President" for several decades to come. Been there, done that. Never Again. But since I am not Black, that is not my problem. That is something Black America can thank Obama for, if they decide to wake up to the fact of that reality.

Of course , if the Evil Countess Draculamala becomes President after Biden, then I guess I will be proven wrong about that particular observation.

tegnost , April 25, 2021 at 10:47 pm

Bush was the set up guy, Obama was the closer

norm de plume , April 26, 2021 at 6:51 am

The Greatest Disappointment in History. No-one else comes close, in terms of the sheer numbers of people globally who he let down. The Bait and Switch King, The Great Betrayer. After the nightmare of Bush we got him and his "˜eloquence', pulling the wool over the dazzled sheeple's eyes while he entrenched the 1% and the neocon MI complex, his paymasters, and sponsors for his entry into the overclass.

Last, does any single person with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton, bear so much responsibility for the election of Trump?

quackery , April 26, 2021 at 7:57 am

When Obama campaigned for president he claimed he wanted to get rid of nuclear weapons. Instead, he upgraded the nuclear arsenal.

Mr Grumpy , April 26, 2021 at 10:28 am

It is ironic that the far right views Obama as the antichrist but they benefited from all of his policies.

Cat Burglar , April 26, 2021 at 11:19 am

Remember that Obama voted in favor of FISAA, the bill that immunized Bush and his flunkies from prosecution for their felony FISA violations, as a senator, not long before the presidential election. It was impossible to make myself vote for him after that.

Hotei , April 25, 2021 at 11:53 pm

Excellent documentation of that lineage here: http://www.obamatheconservative.com/

Norm Norton , April 26, 2021 at 11:14 am

"Is it not written that Margaret Thatcher's true legacy was Tony Blair?" If that is true, then the true legacy of Dubya is Obama."

And for Obama, Trump!

upstater , April 25, 2021 at 7:42 pm

Lambert, you forgot this one" Biden presents Liberty Medal to George and Laura Bush Instead of a war crimes trial at the Hague, Biden gave him a (family bloging) medal!

Jason , April 25, 2021 at 7:51 pm

Thanks Lambert. I'd add that the intelligence being sent to the "White House Iraq Group" was being manufactured by the Office of Special Plans (OSP) which was set up and run by Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz. Following Feith's history and connections alone is a fruitful endeavor for those so inclined.

Among other things, Feith co-authored, along with Richard Perle and David Wurmser, the A Clean Break: A New Strategy For Securing the Realm paper prepared for the prime minister of a certain foreign country. This is back in 1996. Around the same time the PNAC boys were formed by Kagan and Kristol and started selling the same policy prescriptions vis a vis Iraq to the pols and public here.

Feith was also fired from the NSC back in the early 80's for passing classified information to some little country. Fast forward to his OSP days and, lo and behold, his employee Larry Franklin is convicted of the same thing, along with Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman of AIPAC.

That's just a taste of the malfeasance.

John , April 25, 2021 at 8:26 pm

I guess sometimes people need to be reminded that water is wet. The Buddhists say that ignorance is the root poison. True dat. Especially in Amrika.

JTMcPhee , April 25, 2021 at 8:56 pm

This stuff has gone on forever. What amount of ventilation is needed to blow this kind of dung out of the Augean stables of geopolitics? Not much chance of that anyway, given all the incentives and and interests"

Is it luck that Putin and Xi might be a little less monstrous?

Elizabeth , April 25, 2021 at 10:20 pm

It's really sickening to see George W being "rehabilitated" and made to look like some kind of a senior statesman, when he should be hauled off to the Hague to spend the rest of his life in prison for war crimes. For me, his election in 2000 was mostly the beginning of the end of the rule of law in this country. As a result, the U.S. has Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, in addition to all the other events mentioned, and don't forget he tried to privatize Social Security.

His eight years as president, for me, was a horror show. What really bothers me is that he got away with all of it "" and now he's hailed as an eminence gris. I can't help but think that his rehabilitation is to remind us all of how bad Orange Man was "" Obama was just as bad because he cemented everything W did "" and more.

Thanks for the horrible memories.

Joe Hill , April 25, 2021 at 11:02 pm

I understand you disagree with the policies of Mr Bush, but war crimes?

Please describe what charges would be brought against him if you were to prosecute at a war crimes tribunal.

Yves Smith , April 26, 2021 at 3:23 am

That is an assignment, which is a violation of our written site Policies. This applies to reader comments when you could easily find the answer in less than 30 seconds on Google rather than being a jerk and challenging a reader (or even worse, me derivatively) on bogus grounds.

https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/28000/amr510972011en.pdf

Robert Gray , April 26, 2021 at 1:57 am

> For me, [W's] election in 2000 was mostly the beginning of the end of the rule of law in this country.

At this moment I'm writing it is still early days for this thread: there are only 24 comments. In these comments are named many bad people. However, one name that does not (yet) appear is "˜Clinton'. W was a monster as president (and likely remains a monster as a human being) but surely Billy Jeff needn't yield to him in his contempt for the rule of law.

Yves Smith , April 26, 2021 at 2:29 am

I loathe Bill Clinton but nothing he did approaches the Iraq War in the level of damage to the US and many foreign countries"¦.starting with Iraq.

Robert Gray , April 26, 2021 at 3:52 am

Quite right, of course. My comment was specifically in regard to his disdain for and abuse of the rule, and rôle, of law in the American polity, e.g., his perjury > disbarment. Sort of like the famous photograph of Nelson Rockefeller who, while serving as VP, was captured giving the finger to a group of protestors; Clinton also oozed that kind of hubristic impunity.

Alex Cox , April 26, 2021 at 12:01 pm

Regarding Clinton, the damage he caused to his own country and the world was substantial. The destruction of Yugoslavia caused considerable mayhem "" in addition to bombing and breaking apart a sovereign nation, it enabled "liberals" to feel good about war again, and paved the way for the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.

And the damage done by NAFTA was enormous "" in terms of leading to deaths of despair in both the US and Mexico I suspect NAFTA has a higher domestic "body count" than any of the subsequent forever wars.

anon y'mouse , April 26, 2021 at 12:33 pm

and welfare "reform", the crime bill. Talk of privatizing SSI made commonplace acceptable. Repeal of Glass Steagall. They were going to do to healthcare what oBLAM succeeded at, 20 years before him but got sidelined by Lewinsky's blue dress stains. Clintoon is a criminal and so is his spouse, and he did his share of damage everywhere. people who think otherwise might be looking back with nostalgia on a simpler (pre 9.11) time.

little known covered up crime from his ARK days is the selling of HIV tainted blood (taken from prisoners) to Canada, among other things.

yet another who had credible rape allegations. which damages our image at home and abroad.

tegnost , April 25, 2021 at 10:36 pm

Total Information Awareness https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/preemption/tia.html

Adm. John Poindexter"¦ https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/08/us/poindexter-is-found-guilty-of-all-5-criminal-charges-for-iran-contra-cover-up.html
yep, that one"¦

drumlin woodchuckles , April 26, 2021 at 12:14 am

I read that for the very briefest time, somebody or other was selling Total Information Awareness memorabilia with the Total Information Awareness symbol on it. I wish I had thought to buy a Total Information Awareness mug.

I imagine knockoffs and parodies exist, but I am not sure the real thing is findable any more.

Darius , April 25, 2021 at 10:43 pm

After Dennis Rader, the Wichita serial killer, murdered someone, the cops always found his semen on the floor next to the mutilated victim. He got sexual pleasure out of gruesome murder. This is how I always pictured Cheney's attitude toward torture. Well. I tried not to actually picture it.

Kevin Carhart , April 26, 2021 at 12:06 am

Bush also whipped votes for Kavanaugh, during the cuddly years.

https://theweek.com/speedreads/798796/george-w-bush-reportedly-working-phones-kavanaugh

Colonel Smithers , April 26, 2021 at 4:26 am

Thank you, KC.

Kavanaugh accompanied Bush fils on his state visit to the UK. Even then, Kavanaugh was being touted as a future Supreme Court judge.

The Rev Kev , April 26, 2021 at 3:48 am

Talk about your target rich environment. Where do you even start? Where do you begin? A serial business failure, draft dodger, military deserter, drunk driver "" and all that was before he became President. A man so incurious about the world "" just like Trump "" that he never even owned a passport until he actually became President and who never knew that Islam (prior to the Iraq invasion) , for example, was just not one religion but was divided into Sunni and Shia in the same way Christianity is divided into "" mostly "" Protestant and Catholics. But to me he was always the "Frat Boy President". His family always protected him from his many flaws and he never had to grow up like his father had to in WW2. Even as President he never grew into the job, again, just like Trump.

Lambert gives a few good reminders but there were many others and these are just the top of my head. He cared little for the US Constitution and called it nothing more than a goddamn scrap of paper. He officially made the US a torture nation, not only by pretending that US laws did not apply in Guantanamo bay but also aboard US Navy ships for which laws definitely did apply. As part of a movement to make America an oil-fueled hegemony for the 21st century, he invaded Iraq with the firm intention on invading Iran next so that Washington would have a firm grip on the fuel pump of the world. As he said "" "America is addicted to oil." He dropped the ball on 9/11 through over-obsessing on Iraq and in the immediate aftermath sent jets around the country "" when all jets were grounded "" to fly Saudi royalty back to Saudi Arabia before the FBI could interrogate them about all their knowledge of the attack. All this to hide his very deep connections with the Saudis.

I could go on for several more paragraphs but what would be the point? For the neocons he was a great fronts-man to be followed by a even greater one. I sometimes think that if Biden was a "˜real' Republican, then he would have been a great vice-president for Bush. And now the establishment and their trained seals in the media are trying to make him out as "America's Favourite Uncle" or something so that when he dies, he will have the same sort of funeral as John McCain did. And I predict that tens of thousands of veterans around the country will then raise their glasses to him "" and then pour the contents on the ground.

Colonel Smithers , April 26, 2021 at 4:22 am

Thank you, Lambert.

W's rehab continues in the UK MSM, not just the Independent. The worst offenders are probably the Grauniad and Channel 4, both Blairite.

The rehab mirrored the rise of Trump. His lack of interest in war upset these preachy imperialists.

Using Michelle Obama to facilitate the rehab brought id pol into the equation and made it easier. It was remarkable how often the above photo is used in the neo liberal and neo con media.

The Rev Kev , April 26, 2021 at 5:43 am

Thank you, Colonel. That foto is remarkable and I suspect that the origins for the idea for it may lay on the other side of the pond as it seemed so familiar-

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/celebrity/article/3110070/netflixs-crown-shows-how-princess-diana-chose-her-own

drumlin woodchuckles , April 26, 2021 at 5:36 am

There is a blog called Rigorous Intuition 2.0. Many of its blogposts are about the Bush period and Bush related subjects and events. ( Many others are not). The sections on 9/11, Iraq, and Katrina probably have the highest percent of Bush-related blogposts, in case one is interested.

norm de plume , April 26, 2021 at 7:26 am

Jeff Wells wrote some interesting essays in the Bush years, though many of his connections were a bit too far out, even for me. He had some striking collateral evidence for his concept of High Weirdness in high places "" sex abuse, torture and magick figuring prominently, juxtaposed with political skulduggery, and financial crimes and misdemeanours. The Gannon/Guckert affair, the Franklin ring and Gary Caradori were the sort of thing that laced his quite penetrating analyses of events. Facts were jumping off points for speculations, but given our lack of facts his imaginings were a nourishment of sorts, though often very troubling indeed.

Tony massey , April 26, 2021 at 1:58 pm

Who needs to make shit up during those years?
The facts"¦the shit he actually did, was glossed over or simply forgotten.
If shit was made up about his sorry ass i didn't bother checking, Sir.
I just assumed it was true.
Bushies destroyed the country. If there's a country in 100 years they'll be paying for those years.
And then came obama and big Mike

jackiebass63 , April 26, 2021 at 6:14 am

People have been brain washed by the glossed over history of the US they are taught. It gives people a false belief of our past. The phrase American Exceptionalism comes to mind. It is a myth. The real history is out there but you have to search it out. From it's beginning continuing to today our government is responsible for bad behavior.

Some scholars like Noam Chomsky write about our real history. Unfortunately most people don't read this material. They are content with our glossed over shining star version of US history that unfortunately continues to be taught in our educational system , starting in elementary school continuing through a 4 year college education. Our system of government is so corrupted , I don't believe it can be fixed.

Jason , April 26, 2021 at 7:17 am

Arguing over degrees of presidential evil. Perfect.

farmboy , April 26, 2021 at 8:03 am

Nixon was rehabbed so he could open China, Kissinger got to keep his mantle. W portrayed by Josh Brolin pretty good take. Nice to see dunking on GW, but the cycle of rehabilitation is due. The question is can he do some good or is there too much mud on his boots. Can't see W as a new Jimmy Carter. Glossing over history begins the moment it's made. Makes me miss LBJ

Carlos Stoll , April 26, 2021 at 9:23 am

Between 1998 and 2000, under the rule of Saddam Hussein, about 1000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison were executed and buried in mass graves. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_prison How many Abu Ghraib prisoners did the US army execute?

The Rev Kev , April 26, 2021 at 9:48 am

Tell me again how many Iraqis were killed by the US Army because they were doing their own version of "Red Dawn"? And that tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis would still be alive if Saddam was simply left in place. Here is a video to watch while you have a little think about it-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfvFpT-iypw (17:46 mins)

Phil in KC , April 27, 2021 at 8:02 am

We Americans have this thing called exceptionalism which among other things creates the idea that our government is more virtuous than others. It's a useful idea in that it calls us to be different and better than the average nation, and certainly different and better than a cruel dictatorship. But it's also a dangerous idea because too many of us actually believe it to be true. Our atrocities are different in kind, but the scale is the same.

We are not at Hitler/Stalin/Mao standards ""yet"" but who's to say that could never happen here? One of the bafflements of the 20th century was how a civilized people descended into the dark barbarism of Nazi Germany.

Deschain , April 26, 2021 at 10:55 am

"(I am omitting many, many others, including Hurricane Katrina, the Plame Affair, Medicare Part D, the Cheney Energy Task Force, that time Dick Cheney shot an old man in the face, Bush's missing Texas Air National Guard records, Bush gaslighting the 2004 Republican National Convention with terror alerts, and on and on and on. An I didn't even get to 9/11, "You've covered your ass," WMDs, and the AUMF. Sorry. It's exhausting.)"

You left out the housing bubble and the GFC!

Mr Grumpy , April 26, 2021 at 10:58 am

Agree with all the criticism of Bush, Cheney, Obama. On a lighter note, my father-in-law is a high tech oil prospector in W Texas, much of it in Midland, overlapping in time with W. Both members of the Petroleum Club (been there once, very stuffy) and worked out at the same gym. Naturally, my wife asked if he had ever seen W naked. Her dad wouldn't answer, but did turn beet red. We take this as confirmation.

Phil in KC , April 26, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Noam Chomsky observed some thirty years ago that if the Nuremberg standards were applied to all the post-war American Presidents, then all of them would hang. Chomsky could not have imagined the future sequence of presidents from that point forward, but certainly they did not break the chain of criminality. My point is that Bush is not unique in the type of crimes, just the enormity of them. But I also believe he set new standards (lower) for shamelessness. Remember his smirk?

But also remember Obama joking about killing people.

John Wright , April 26, 2021 at 3:25 pm

Remember the comedy skit in which GWB "looked" for Iraq WMD's in the Oval office as part of the White House Correspondent's dinner?

Anyone with any sense of decency would have refused to do this skit, but Bush apparently followed his handlers' advice to get some laughs. That the USA was led by someone of such limited talent for 8 years speaks volumes. Years ago, a New York Times reader wrote that Hillary Clinton is a "well-connected mediocrity".

That comment may be true for ALL of the recent political candidates, from both parties, for a great many years.

LBJ was definitely not mediocre (civil rights/war on poverty), and would be viewed far more favorably, maybe as great, if he had pulled out of Vietnam rather than escalating. Carter in his post presidency has much to recommend. Post presidency Bush is painting his portraits rather than having any retrospective regrets for the harm he did.

Susan the other , April 26, 2021 at 2:27 pm

We have such a dismal record. Little George was the most audacious of all our criminal presidents, but he has plenty of company. My question is now, looking back, why was the USA incapable of organizing a peaceful world after WW2? I start there. 1945. How did our ideology become so inept? And everything I have read about our failures over the years is contrasted with what might have been. We have operated under a system that could not function without extraction. There was always a sell-by date on the cover; one that we tried to ignore. There's no doubt in my mind that it has finally failed completely. Ignominiously. But we have also learned and come to admit certain realities. The most important one is that there can be no more war; civilization cannot survive a modern war. So, ironically, our advanced warfare might well bring a peaceful world without world war. And our advances in science (mostly militarily inspired) will help us now survive.

Sue inSoCal , April 26, 2021 at 4:56 pm

Lambert, thank you for this piece. I won't repeat what others have opined. I've had a real problem with Michelle Obama being the rehabilitation cheerleader leader for Dubya. Imho, we lost all of our rights under the odious Patriot Act, which was pre-written. Russ Feingold was the lone Senate holdout. And I recall Byrd's ire and rant at the tome they had no time to read, but he caved. It went downhill from there. The links below, (apologies, I don't know how to fashion a hot link..) are about Bush's crimes and Amnesty International's exhaustive investigation of them.

I don't have the citation anymore, and I've knocked myself out trying to find it. But there exists a UN human rights commission memo suggesting (?) Obama to do a number of things: hold Bushco accountable for war crimes etc, as well as address what is termed as "systematic racism" in incarceration (and more). I had printed it out a number of years ago and can't find it.)
I'm not buying that Bush fils is any elder statesman. He and his cronies used torture, extreme rendition, hired mercenaries and completely destabilized the Middle East. We still don't have our rights back, and I'm betting the Patriot Act will never go away. (Nor will data mining under the guise of "targeted advertising" and sold to..the military.) The NYT's link is how Obama elected to rug sweep and just move ahead! I look forward to Lambert's take on the Obama administration..

https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/28000/amr510972011en.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/us/politics/12inquire.html

techpioneer , April 26, 2021 at 4:56 pm

Finally, someone has the courage to point out the obvious. An excellent article, well researched and nicely nuanced.

I'm disappointed with the remedy proposed, however. Throwing shoes is not enough; it's merely symbolic. The potential crimes committed here, including lying us into war, the extent of torture committed, and practices that violate international military norms and intelligence require a transparent and impartial investigation. One possible venue is the International Criminal Courts in the Hague.

I've been told many times that sunlight can be an effective deterrent against disease.

[Apr 14, 2021] Slaughter Central- The United States as a Mass-Killing Machine -

Notable quotes:
"... By Tom Engelhardt Originally published at TomDispatch ..."
"... Have Gun -- Will Travel ..."
"... Have Gun -- Will Travel ..."
Apr 14, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Slaughter Central: The United States as a Mass-Killing Machine Posted on April 14, 2021 by Yves Smith

Yves here. Tom Engelhardt tries to get his arms around US weapons sales and use. The figures are depressing, particularly in comparison to those of our nominal peers. And the intensity of our fixation with killing has only grown only over time. Just look at TV. In its early, tamer days, frontier shows like The Rifleman and Gunsmoke gave weapons top billing. Now in our post-Vietnam, post Archie Bunker of greater realism, police shows have gory gunplay as their prime offering, with big side portions of blowing things up and car chases/crashes. We even have a prime time show, The Blacklist, where the lead is assured to shoot at least one person every episode. Better to look at the fictionalized version, where we know no actors were hurt, than clips of the real thing from the Middle East, which are oddly absent from news shows.

By Tom Engelhardt Originally published at TomDispatch

By the time you read this piece, it will already be out of date. The reason's simple enough. No matter what mayhem I describe, with so much all-American weaponry in this world of ours, there's no way to keep up. Often, despite the headlines that go with mass killings here, there's almost no way even to know.

On this planet of ours, America is the emperor of weaponry, even if in ways we normally tend not to put together. There's really no question about it. The all-American powers-that-be and the arms makers that go with them dream up, produce, and sell weaponry, domestically and internationally, in an unmatched fashion. You'll undoubtedly be shocked, shocked to learn that the top five arms makers on the planet -- Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics -- are all located in the United States.

Put another way, we're a killer nation, a mass-murder machine, slaughter central. And as we've known since the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, there could be far worse to come. After all, in the overheated dreams of both those weapons makers and Pentagon planners, slaughter-to-be has long been imagined on a planetary scale, right down to the latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) being created by Northrop Grumman at the cost of at least $100 billion. Each of those future arms of ultimate destruction is slated to be " the length of a bowling lane " and the nuclear charge that it carries will be at least 20 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. That missile will someday be capable of traveling 6,000 miles and killing hundreds of thousands of people each. (And the Air Force is planning to order 600 of them.)

By the end of this decade, that new ICBM is slated to join an unequaled American nuclear arsenal of -- at this moment -- 3,800 warheads . And with that in mind, let's back up a moment.

Have Gun -- Will Travel

Before we head abroad or think more about weaponry fit to destroy the planet (or at least human life on it), let's just start right here at home. After all, we live in a country whose citizens are armed to their all-too-labile fingertips with more guns of every advanced sort than might once have been imaginable. The figures are stunning. Even before the pandemic hit and gun purchases soared to record levels -- about 23 million of them (a 64% increase over 2019 sales) -- American civilians were reported to possess almost 400 million firearms. That adds up to about 40% of all such weaponry in the hands of civilians globally, or more than the next 25 countries combined.

And if that doesn't stagger you, note that the versions of those weapons in public hands are becoming ever more militarized and powerful, ever more AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, not .22s. And keep in mind as well that, over the years, the death toll from those weapons in this country has grown staggeringly large. As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote recently , "More Americans have died from guns just since 1975, including suicides, murders and accidents (more than 1.5 million), than in all the wars in United States history, dating back to the Revolutionary War (about 1.4 million)."

In my childhood, one of my favorite TV programs was called Have Gun -- Will Travel . Its central character was a highly romanticized armed mercenary in the Old West and its theme song -- still lodged in my head (where so much else is unlodging these days) -- began:

"Have gun will travel is the card of a man.
A knight without armor in a savage land.
His fast gun for hire heeds the calling wind.
A soldier of fortune is the man called Paladin."

Staggering numbers of Americans are now ever grimmer versions of Paladin. Thanks to a largely unregulated gun industry , they're armed like no other citizenry on the planet, not even -- in a distant second place -- the civilians of Yemen, a country torn by endless war. That TV show's title could now be slapped on our whole culture, whether we're talking about our modern-day Paladins traveling to a set of Atlanta spas ; a chain grocery store in Boulder, Colorado; a real-estate office in Orange, California; a convenience store near Baltimore; or a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Remember how the National Rifle Association has always defended the right of Americans to own weapons at least in part by citing this country's hunting tradition? Well, these days, startling numbers of Americans, armed to the teeth, have joined that hunting crew. Their game of choice isn't deer or even wolves and grizzly bears , but that ultimate prey, other human beings -- and all too often themselves. (In 2020, not only did a record nearly 20,000 Americans die from gun violence, but another 24,000 used guns to commit suicide.)

As the rate of Covid-19 vaccination began to rise to remarkable levels in this country and ever more public places reopened, the first mass public killings (defined as four or more deaths in a public place) of the pandemic period -- in Atlanta and Boulder -- hit the news big-time. The thought, however, that the American urge to use weapons in a murderous fashion had in any way lessened or been laid to rest, even briefly, thanks to Covid-19, proved a fantasy of the first order.

At a time when so many public places like schools were closed or their use limited indeed, if you took as your measuring point not mass public killings but mass shootings (defined as four or more people wounded or killed), the pandemic year of 2020 proved to be a record 12 months of armed chaos. In fact, such mass shootings actually surged by 47%. As USA Today recounted , "In 2020, the United States reported 611 mass shooting events that resulted in 513 deaths and 2,543 injuries. In 2019, there were 417 mass shootings with 465 deaths and 1,707 injured." In addition, in that same year, according to projections based on FBI data, there were 4,000 to 5,000 more gun murders than usual, mainly in inner-city communities of color.

In the first 73 days of Joe Biden's presidency, there were five mass shootings and more than 10,000 gun-violence deaths. In the Covid-19 era, this has been the model the world's "most exceptional" nation (as American politicians of both parties used to love to call this country) has set for the rest of the planet. Put another way, so far in 2020 and 2021, there have been two pandemics in America, Covid-19 and guns.

And though the weaponization of our citizenry and the carnage that's gone with it certainly gets attention -- President Biden only recently called it "an international embarrassment" -- here's the strange thing: when reporting on such a binge of killings and the weapons industry that stokes it, few here think to include the deaths and other injuries for which the American military has been responsible via its "forever wars" of this century outside our own borders. Nor do they consider the massive U.S. weapons deliveries and sales to other countries that often enough lead to the same. In other words, a full picture of all-American carnage has -- to use an apt phrase -- remained missing in action.

Cornering the Arms Market

In fact, internationally, things are hardly less mind-boggling when it comes to this country and weaponry. As with its armed citizenry, when it comes to arming other countries, Washington is without peer. It's the weapons dealer of choice across much of the world. Yes, the U.S. gun industry that makes all those rifles for this country also sells plenty of them abroad and, in the Trump years, such sales were only made easier to complete (as was the selling of U.S. unmanned aerial drones to "less stable governments"). When it comes to semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 or even grenades and flamethrowers, this country's arms makers no longer even need State Department licenses, just far easier-to-get Commerce Department ones, to complete such sales, even to particularly abusive nations. As a result , to take one example, semi-automatic pistol exports abroad rose 148% in 2020.

But what I'm particularly thinking about here are the big-ticket items that those five leading weapons makers of the military-industrial complex eternally produce. On the subject of the sale of jet fighters like the F-16 and F-35 , tanks and other armored vehicles, submarines (as well as anti-submarine weaponry), and devastating bombs and missiles , among other things, we leave our "near-peer" competitors as well as our weapons-making allies in the dust. Washington is the largest supplier to 20 of the 40 major arms importers on the planet.

Buy the Book

When it comes to delivering the weapons of war, the U.S. leads all its competitors in a historic fashion, especially in the war-torn and devastated Middle East. There, between 2015 and 2019, it gobbled up nearly half of the arms market. Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia was its largest customer, which, of course, only further stoked the brutal civil war in Yemen, where U.S. weapons are responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians . As Pentagon expert William Hartung wrote of those years, U.S. arms deliveries to the region added up to "nearly three times the arms Russia supplied to MENA [the Middle East and North Africa], five times what France contributed, 10 times what the United Kingdom exported, and 16 times China's contribution." (And often enough, as in Iraq and Yemen , some of those weapons end up falling into the hands of those the U.S. opposes.)

In fact, in 2020, this country's arms sales abroad rose a further 2.8% to $178 billion. The U.S. now supplies no fewer than 96 countries with weaponry and controls 37% of the global arms market (with, for example, Lockheed Martin alone taking in $47.2 billion in such sales in 2018, followed by the four other giant U.S. weapons makers and, in sixth place, the British defense firm BAE).

This remains the definition of mayhem-to-come, the international version of that spike in domestic arms sales and the killings that went with it. After all, in these years, deaths due to American arms in countries like Afghanistan and Yemen have grown strikingly. And to take just one more example, arms, ammunition, and equipment sold to or given to the brutal regime of Rodrigo Duterte for the Philippine military and constabulary have typically led to deaths (especially in its "war on drugs") that no one's counting up.

And yet, even combined with the dead here at home, all of this weapons-based slaughter hardly adds up to a full record when it comes to the U.S. as a global mass-killing machine.

Far, Far from Home

After all, this country has a historic 800 or so military bases around the world and nearly 200,000 military personnel stationed abroad ( about 60,000 in the Middle East alone). It has a drone-assassination program that extends from Afghanistan across the Greater Middle East to Africa, a series of "forever wars" and associated conflicts fought over that same expanse, and a Navy with major aircraft carrier task forces patrolling the high seas. In other words, in this century, it's been responsible for largely uncounted but remarkable numbers of dead and wounded human beings. Or put another way, it's been a mass-shooting machine abroad.

Unlike in the United States, however, there's little way to offer figures on those dead. To take one example, Brown University's invaluable Costs of War Project has estimated that, from the beginning of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to late 2019, 801,000 people , perhaps 40% of them civilians, were killed in Washington's war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. Of course, not all of those by any means were killed by the U.S. military. In fact, some were even American soldiers and contractors. Still, the figures are obviously sizeable. (To take but one very focused example, from December 2001 to December 2013 at TomDispatch , I was counting up civilian wedding parties taken down by U.S. air power in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen. I came up with eight well-documented ones with a death toll of nearly 300, including brides, grooms, musicians, and revelers.)

Similarly, last December, Neta Crawford of the Costs of War Project released a report on the rising number of Afghan civilians who had died from U.S. air strikes in the Trump years. She found that in 2019, for instance, "airstrikes killed 700 civilians -- more civilians than in any other year since the beginning of the war." Overall, the documented civilian dead from American air strikes in the war years is in the many thousands, the wounded higher yet. (And, of course, those figures don't include the dead from Afghan air strikes with U.S.-supplied aircraft.) And mind you, that's just civilians mistaken for Taliban or other enemy forces.

Similarly, thousands more civilians were killed by American air strikes across the rest of the Greater Middle East and northern Africa. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which followed U.S. drone strikes for years, estimated that, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, by 2019 such attacks had killed "between 8,500 and 12,000 people, including as many as 1,700 civilians -- 400 of whom were children."

And that, of course, is just to begin to count the dead in America's conflicts of this era. Or thought of another way, in this century, the U.S. military has been a kind of global Paladin. Its motto could obviously be "have gun, will travel" and its forces and those allied to it (and often supplied with American arms) have certainly killed staggering numbers of people in conflicts that have devastated communities across a significant part of the planet, while displacing an estimated 37 million people .

Now, return to those Americans gunned down in this country and think of all of this as a single weaponized, well-woven fabric, a single American gun culture that spans the globe, as well as a three-part killing machine of the first order. Much as mass shootings and public killings can sometimes dominate the news here, a full sense of the damage done by the weaponization of our culture seldom comes into focus. When it does, the United States looks like slaughter central.

Or as that song from Have Gun -- Will Travel ended:

Paladin, Paladin,
Where do you roam?
Paladin, Paladin,
Far, far from home.

Far, far from home -- and close, close to home -- indeed.


Fireship , April 14, 2021 at 7:26 am

The US is a failed experiment. It was always based in nihilism. What we are seeing is like the rise in human sacrifices of the Mayans as their world was being eclipsed by the Spanish. Ironically, "thoughts and prayers" are offered up at these sacrifices too. Did the Mayans realize it was futile?

As more and more Americans realize that it is over and that the American dream is bunkum, expect to see more carnage.

Tom Stone , April 14, 2021 at 8:06 am

That figure of 400 Million guns in the USA is undoubtedly low, The late Kevin RC O'Brien looked at production reports for various manufacturers and came up with the figure of 300 Million sold in the USA this century alone.
Sales of rifles aren't broken out by rifle type or model, but the best guess is that there are somewhere between 10-15 Million AR 15 style rifles owned by us Citizens if you take into account home made versions such as those made from 80% recievers or laminated wood.
The last reporting period was 2019 and a total of a little less than 400 murders were committed by people using rifles of any kind, you ere 4 x as likely to be beaten to death with fists and feet than killed by someone using any kind of rifle.
Want to reduce violent crime?
Reduce poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity, when the majority of the populace has a stake in society they act like it, when they don't you get what we have.

dcblogger , April 14, 2021 at 8:26 am

American gun culture is pure idolatry
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWmdoI3fHI0&t=70s

David , April 14, 2021 at 9:05 am

TBH the article is a mess, and reading it is rather like being accosted by a stranger in a bar with a strong personal agenda (" and another thing.")
But (as a non-Murkin) I just wanted to make the point that we're into American Exceptionalism again, in this case of the negative rather than the positive kind. You get the feeling that the author's knowledge of the outside world is pretty much limited to what's on CNN, and that perhaps he doesn't actually know that the US isn't the only nuclear power in the world. And so on.

How do you put an article like this into context?
Well, for a start, you wouldn't make comparisons with Yemen unless you had been to Yemen, would you? There are lots of guns in Yemen (virtually the entire adult male population is armed) but these are in addition to the massive holdings of the military. And we're talking serious stuff here: AK47s are 7.62mm automatic weapons, and there are millions of them. It was not uncommon for males you passed in the street to be carrying these weapons, and once outside the cities (as in Afghanistan) they were everywhere. Shooting incidents were common, the more so since, after midday, a lot of the male population was blasted out of its skull on Khat, which is an amphetamine-like substance derived from chewing a local plant. There were occasional clashes when security forces from different tribes opened fire on each other. Oh, and many tribesmen in the city carry long bladed knives, and fatal stabbings in the street are very common. All that's in peacetime, of course.

Second, as in the Yemeni example above, the vast majority of all the deaths in wars since 1989 have been from the use of Soviet, Russian and Chinese weaponry, often dating back to the 1970s. The wars in the DRC from about 1996-2000, involving seven nations and known as "Africa's World War" killed anything between two and five million people, depending on how you calculate the figures, and were almost exclusively fought with Soviet and Chinese supplied weaponry. During the Cold War, the Soviets and Chinese flooded Africa with millions of AK47s, Makarov automatic pistols, landmines, and 12.7 and 14.5mm heavy machine-guns. As any African specialist will tell you, these were the real weapons of mass destruction, because, unlike the F35, they actually work. Together with Soviet-era tanks and APCs, they were also the principal weapons used in the fighting in Syria and Libya, and in Yemen before (and mostly since) the Saudi-led intervention. Oh, and those photos you've seen of the Myanmar military firing on the people? They use mostly weapons supplied by China.

This is not whataboutism. Two wrongs don't make a right. But I wish that, just occasionally, writers from the US would take the trouble to do a bit of research about the rest of the world. Perhaps it's true that there is a link between the sale of F35s to Japan and gun violence among black youths in the inner cities, but that has to be argued, not just assumed. I don't know how you measure these things, but I seriously doubt that the US is somehow a uniquely psychopathically violent country. The author needs to get out more.

PlutoniumKun , April 14, 2021 at 9:19 am

I assume the authors point is that there is an inherent violence to US culture, and it is exporting it. There may well be some truth in this, but you can well look at plenty of other places in the world where there is a cultural worship of violence (or there was at times past) and it infected other nations. Japan and Germany as obvious examples. But on the optimistic side of things, both those countries at least partially cured their addition to worshiping militarism, although to be fair, the USAF had a major say in that.

The one thing that is often missing from this sort of analysis, is they way other countries use the US's (and others) addition to militarism as a means of exerting control. An obvious example is the Middle East, where the vast military expenditures are as much a means of purchasing influence in Washington (and London and Paris and Moscow) as it is a way of building up their respective militaries.

David , April 14, 2021 at 11:33 am

I think that may well be his point, or the point he's trying to make. I think it's true, at least to some extent, but it's hardly a unique case, and there are plenty of other societies in the world where you feel (correctly) much more threatened by violence than I ever have in the US.

Keith Newman , April 14, 2021 at 10:30 am

@David
Mr. Engelhardt is a US writer who understandably focuses on current US issues. He lays out his point at the start: the U.S is "a mass-murder machine". He illustrates it by pointing out how the US supplies weapons around the world, promoting, funding, and facilitating violence, and itself slaughters people, directly and through proxies, by the millions. He also outlines the remarkable violence prevalent in the U.S. These facts are undeniable.
With respect to context, of course the U.S. is not now, nor has it been in the past, the source of ALL evil in the world. However It has been the source of a very large part of it in the past century. From a practical point of view, what would be the point of Mr. Engelhardt focusing on Russian and Chinese actions in, say, the 1980s, when his own country is engaging in "mass murder" right now? It leads nowhere except to distract from current slaughter that he may be able to help slow down.
The US as "a uniquely psychopathically violent country": the author does not actually say that. Nonetheless the US is certainly a very violent country compared to other developed countries and for that matter past imperialist countries. Collectively Britain, France, Belgium, etc., etc., massacred millions, even tens of millions, of people in their empires but to my knowledge were not especially violent at home. Germany was an exception to this. The fact it slaughtered white people at home is what made its actions unacceptable to the majority of the elites of most European countries.
The link between US violence abroad and at home: Chris Hedges has written about this. I suggest you read what he has to say.

Alex Cox , April 14, 2021 at 12:05 pm

It is absurd to pretend that Russia or China is anything like as great a danger to peace as the United States is. Forty four years ago Martin Luther King observed, ""As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems But they asked, and rightly so, 'what about Vietnam?' They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government."

The US was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world then; it is an even greater purveyor of violence today.

The only criticism I would make of the article is the disparagement of Palladin. Though his business card read, 'Have Gun, Will Travel', in almost every episode the protagonist was able to resolve the situation without killing anyone. The episodes are very entertaining, as was his sidekick, Kim Chan (Kam Tong), who went by the extremely un-woke nickname of Hey Boy.

David , April 14, 2021 at 12:21 pm

It would indeed be absurd to pretend that Russia or China is as great a threat to world peace as the US, which is why I didn't say that.

rowlf , April 14, 2021 at 9:34 am

I am always amazed at the hypocrisy of US politicians complaining of violence in the US while ignoring or even approving of violence committed by the US outside the US borders.

I also support censoring violence in entertainment media.

Starry Gordon , April 14, 2021 at 11:56 am

Censoring anything, including displays of violence, would require state force, which is based on the use of guns and other weapons -- another 'war to end war', I suppose.

Starry Gordon , April 14, 2021 at 12:15 pm

According to the Violence Policy Center (about which I know nothing but will provisionally trust), motor vehicle deaths still outnumber gun deaths, although guns are closing the gap. [1] As I have been hit by private cars far more often than I have been shot at -- I ride around on a bicycle as basic transportation, so the ratio is about 10:0 -- I'd like to suggest that the proper metaphor for mortal violence in the US is the automobile, rather than the gun. However, urban liberals like to focus on their political rivals, and gun fans tend to be suburban or rural, so guns rather than vehicles are the choice of symbol. Yet again, tribalism permeates every discussion, indeed, it seems, almost every thought.

[1]https://vpc.org/regulating-the-gun-industry/gun-deaths-compared-to-motor-vehicle-deaths/

[Apr 04, 2021] Modern day journalists are actually lobbyists: A lobbyists who try influence public opinion through mainstream media in favor of special interest groups by Udo Ulfkotte

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Back then, I didn't know how contemptuously intelligence agencies spoke about journalists. "You can get a journalist for less than a good whore, for a few hundred dollars a month." These are the words of a CIA agent, as quoted by the Washington Post editor Philip Graham. The agent was referring to the willingness and the price journalists would accept to spread CIA propaganda reports in their articles. ..."
"... I inevitably found out during my decades abroad, almost every foreign reporter with an American or British newspaper was also active for their national intelligence services. That's just something to keep in mind whenever you think you've got "neutral" reporting by the media in front of you. I remember when I got involved with the Federal Academy for Security Politics, with their close ties to intelligence agencies. This was encouraged by my employer. ..."
Apr 04, 2021 | www.amazon.com

Looking back, I was a lobbyist. A lobbyist tries to, for example, influence public opinion through mainstream media in favor of special interest groups. I did that.

Like for the German Foreign Intelligence Service. The FAZ expressly encouraged me to strengthen my contact with the Western intelligence services and was delighted when I signed my name to the pre-formulated reports, at least in outline, that I sometimes received from them.

Like many of the reports I was fed by intelligence services, one of many examples I can remember well was the expose, "European Companies Help Libya Build a Second Poison Gas Factory" from March 16, 1993. Needless to say, the report caused a stir around the world.

However, I watched as two employees of the German Federal Intelligence Service (the German CIA, the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND), drafted it in a meeting room of the FAZ offices at Hellerhofstrasse 2 in Frankfurt. In other words: They basically told me what to write, paragraph for paragraph, right there in the FAZ editorial offices and then the article was published. One of the duties of these two BND employees was writing reports for large-circulation German newspapers. According to employee accounts, the BND fed reports to many German newspapers at the time - with the knowledge of their publishing houses.

The Federal Intelligence Service even had a little front company with an office directly above a shop on the Mainzer Landstrasse in Frankfurt, only two blocks away from the FAZ's main office. In any case, they had classified materials there that came from the BND.

Once you became a "player" on the team that drafted such articles, this was followed by the next level of "cooperation": You would be given stacks of secret documents that you could evaluate at your leisure. I remember we brought in a steel filing cabinet just for all the secret reports at the FAZ. (When I was visiting colleagues at a magazine in Hamburg, I saw that they'd done the same thing in their editorial offices).

Back then, I didn't know how contemptuously intelligence agencies spoke about journalists. "You can get a journalist for less than a good whore, for a few hundred dollars a month." These are the words of a CIA agent, as quoted by the Washington Post editor Philip Graham. The agent was referring to the willingness and the price journalists would accept to spread CIA propaganda reports in their articles. Of course, this was also with the approval of their employers, who knew about and encouraged all of this.

In Germany, the Federal Intelligence Service was the extended arm of the CIA, basically a subsidiary. I was never offered money by the Federal Intelligence Service, but they never even had to. I, like many of my German colleagues, found it thrilling to be a freelance writer for an intelligence agency or to be allowed to work for them in any capacity at all.40

... ... ...

During the summer of 2005 when I was the "chief correspondent" of the glossy magazine Park Avenue, I had a phone call with the Director of the CIA James Woolsey, which lasted more than an hour. His wife is active in the transatlantic propaganda organization German Marshall Fund (but we'll touch on this later). Sitting in my Hamburg office at Griiner + Jalir publishing, I was amazed that I didn't lose the connection, because at the beginning of our conversation Woolsey was sitting in his office in Virginia, then he was in a limousine and after that in a helicopter. The connection was so good, it was as if he was sitting right next to me. We spoke about industrial espionage. Woolsey wanted me to publish a report through Griiner + Jahr that would give the impression that the USA doesn't carry out any industrial espionage in Germany through their intelligence services. For me, the absurd thing about this conversation wasn't its content, which was fortunately never printed. What I really found absurd was that after the conversation, Griiner + Jahr sent the CIA henchman Woolsey's secretary in Virginia a bouquet of flowers after the call, because someone at Griiner + Jahr wanted to keep the line to the CIA open.

Moreover, don t forget that in addition to 6,000 salaried employees, the Federal Intelligence Service has around 17,000 more "informal" employees. They have completely ordinary day jobs, and would never openly admit that they also work for the Federal Intelligence Service. It is the same all over the world. As I inevitably found out during my decades abroad, almost every foreign reporter with an American or British newspaper was also active for their national intelligence services. That's just something to keep in mind whenever you think you've got "neutral" reporting by the media in front of you. I remember when I got involved with the Federal Academy for Security Politics, with their close ties to intelligence agencies. This was encouraged by my employer.

I also remember that in the late summer of 1993 I was given time off to accept a six-week invitation from the transatlantic lobbying organization, the German Marshall Fund of the United States. All of this surely affected my reporting. The German Marshall Fund sent me to New York, and I did a night shift with police officers in the Bronx. I wrote an article for the FAZ about this titled: "The toughest policemen in the world go through these doors." It was one of many positive articles I wrote about the USA - discreetly organized by the German Marshall Fund.

It may be hard to believe, but I was actually given a loaded firearm in New York. There's even a photo of the New York City Police Department handing it to me. The reader didn't learn anything about what was going on behind the scenes, behind this favorable reporting in the FAZ. They also didn't find out about the discreet contacts I made during my stay in the US. These included a

[Apr 04, 2021] John-Paul Leonard foreword to Dr. Udo Ulfkotte famous book

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... his original title Bought Journalists (Gekaufte Journalisten) was kinder and more modest than my more sensational Presstitutes -- but as he had a pithy sense of humor, ..."
"... There is no free speech protection for setting fire to a crowded theater! In my book ISIS IS U.S., in fury at the fakery of these warmongers, I castigate the mainstream media, the MSM, as the МММ: the Mass Murdering Media, as well as the Military-Monetary- Media complex. Notice how the media only point the finger at the military and industry, but mum's the word about the money masters and the media manipulators, they who control the nerve system of the zombie nation, military-industrial complex and all? ..."
"... Sharmine Narwani is right. These are media combatants, these are war criminals, the lowest circle of hell in the ranks of crimes. ..."
Apr 04, 2021 | www.amazon.com

What Is Freedom of the Press? Can censorship be freedom of the press? Legal minds favoring the interests of capital may be quick to claim that newspaper owners and editors have a freedom-of-speech right to print what they think is fit to print. They affirm a right of censorship or advocacy, above the duty to hew the line of objective reporting. Business, but not government, they say, may restrict press freedom.

However, this attitude confuses two very distinct classes of law, the Bill of Rights and civil contract law. The First Amendment merely forbids the government from infringing on freedom of expression. Thus if communist and nationalist parties each wish to publish their own books or newspapers, congenial to their respective viewpoints, the state should not intervene. Most newspapers, however, claim to be independent, objective or non- partisan. Thus there is an implied contract to provide an information service to readers. Advertising in the paper should be clearly labeled as such. Truly independent media are a public service entrusted with a fiduciary duty, similar to civil servants. The power and influence of their office is under their care, it is not theirs personally. Thus arises the temptation of corruption, of selling favors. For a large corporation, the financial value of a decision by an official or a newspaperman may easily dwarf the salary of the poor fellow, who may sell himself for pennies on the dollar.

A paper that claims to be independent when it actually serves hidden interests is guilty of fraud. That of course comes under another branch of law, the criminal code.

We hear much more about political corruption, but media corruption may actually be worse. Media reporters are our eyes and ears. What if our senses didn't reflect what is happening around us, but instead some kind of fantasy, or even remote programming? (Which sounds a lot like TV;-) If our eyes fooled us like that, we would be asleep and dreaming with eyes open, or disabled, hospitalized for hallucinations. We could never be masters of our own affairs, without a reliable sensorium. So the media must serve the nation just as our senses must faithfully serve each one of us. But they serve themselves. With the media we have, we are a zombie nation. Of course, it's hard to be objective on topics like politics which are matters of opinion. That's what the op-ed page is for. The problem is systematic bias, when money talks in the news pages.

As a freshman in college, I once volunteered to be a stringer on the college paper, and was sent out to interview some subjects on a campus controversy. I didn't seem to be cut out for a hard hitting journalist either! The episode always reminds me of a Mulla Nasrudin story.

Mulla was serving as judge in the village, holding court in his garden. The plaintiff came and pleaded his case so convincingly, that the Mulla blurted out. By Allah, I think you are right! His assistant demurred, But Mullah, you haven't heard the other side yet! So now the defendant entered his plea, with even greater vigor and eloquence. Once again, the Mulla was so impressed, he cried out, By Jove, I believe you are right! And once again his clerk protested: But Mulla, they can't both be right! Oh my God, exclaimed the Mulla, I guess you are right, too!

My junior high school journalism teacher never tired of telling us. Journalism is a business. In theory it's a public trust, but money makes the world go round. We all have to please the boss to keep our job. We are all bought one way or another. As Ulfkotte points out, there are thousands of journalists looking for a job, not the other way about. So his original title Bought Journalists (Gekaufte Journalisten) was kinder and more modest than my more sensational Presstitutes -- but as he had a pithy sense of humor, I think he would have liked it anyway. The "privished" edition title Journalists for Hire seems to downplay the matter a shade though. It's perfectly normal to be hired as a journalist, isn't it?

Perhaps we have to escalate the term to investigative journalist, because a journo is just somebody who writes things down.

In an interview ( https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/10/14/journalists-are-prostitutes ), Ulfkotte tells about his first assignment, during the Iran-Iraq war. The international press corps set out from Baghdad into the desert with extra jerry cans of gasoline -- to set alight some long-destroyed tanks for a film shoot. Innocent sensationalism perhaps? But a million people have died in Iraq, Libya and Syria because the press didn't just report the news, didn't just lie about the news, but they invented and sold the events that served as pretexts for wars. That is way out of line.

There is no free speech protection for setting fire to a crowded theater! In my book ISIS IS U.S., in fury at the fakery of these warmongers, I castigate the mainstream media, the MSM, as the МММ: the Mass Murdering Media, as well as the Military-Monetary- Media complex. Notice how the media only point the finger at the military and industry, but mum's the word about the money masters and the media manipulators, they who control the nerve system of the zombie nation, military-industrial complex and all?

Political candidates who tackle the media do so at their peril. Sharmine Narwani is right. These are media combatants, these are war criminals, the lowest circle of hell in the ranks of crimes.

We have million-dollar penalties for accidental product liability, but the salesmen of genocide get off scot-free!? 3,000 died on the spot on 9/11, followed by two decades of wars. The key suspect: Netanyahu crony Larry Silverstcin. His reward: a S3 billion insurance payout - pure profit, as he was only leasing the Towers.

The MSM cover it up, and revile you as a "conspiracy theorist" if you protest. "Presstitutes" is too light-hearted a word for them. The tragedy is that many social media agitators for the destruction of Syria were fools, who thought they were being oh so cool.

Remember the Milgram experiment? 1 like my book covers to be a depiction of the title, an allegory, which led to the most salacious cover art on "Presstitutes" I've ever dealt with. "Bought Journalists" could have been a covey of journos in a shopping cart, picking up their perks. Light satire blending to comedy, but this isn't really a funny story. Too many people, including the author, have given their lives.

One nice thing about this book is you get to know a real nice guy. I like Udo. Decent, intelligent, good sense of humor, conscientious, level-headed. He tells how he fell into this because he was just out of college and needing a job. We all have our compromises and our confessions to make. Ulfkotte relates the moment when it became too corrupt for him, when politicians offered him €5000 to use his cover as a journalist to spy and dig up dirt on the private life of their rival. That was too low down and dirty, too criminal for him, although it seemed to be expected and natural to them. Ulfkotte was the rarest of courageous whistleblowers.

... ... ...

English translation never moved forward." Another curiosity: during the nearly three years Journalists for Hire was "on sale" but unavailable on Amazon, it garnered only five-star reviews, 24 of them, from customers who wanted to read the book. Then the day this edition became available, that edition got a 1 -star troll review, virulently attacking the author as a "yellow journalist" - which happens to mean "warmonger." Weird.

Of course, there could be some mundane explanations for the failure of the first, or rather zero edition. Business failure. Language barrier. Death of the author -- for a small publisher, a proactive author promoting the book is a necessity. It was spooky, too, that the only book Tayen Lane seemed to have published before was a non-starter about suicide...

And what if the author's death was a key part of the pattern of suppression? There we go full conspiracy. It's not that incredible, though. Ulfkotte's last page here is a declaration of war: "This book is the first volume of an explosive three-part series." It's been alleged that the CIA has a weapon that works by triggering a heart attack. And like the Mafia, their code of silence calls tor punishing ex-colleagues who took the oath of secrecy and then turned against them, more than mere bystanders like Joe Blogger or Johnny Publisher.

So I hope I'm lucky to publish this book. Hopefully it will get reviews in the alternative media, or interviews with our translator or myself. This is the second time I've published a German bestseller. The first was Mathias Broeckers' Conspiracy Theories and Secrets of 9/11. It didn't turn a profit, but was a very interesting treatment. In the first part of the book he shows that conspiracy - in the broadest sense, grouping together against outsiders - is one of three basic principles of life and evolution. Darwinians normally only talk about competition, but the second one is cooperation, and the hybrid of the two is conspiracy. Our body consists of a collective of cells cooperating and conspiring together against competing organisms! Conspiracy is as common as the air we breathe. Even the official story of 9/11 is a theory about a conspiracy of 19 hijackers, who weren't even on the passenger lists... Then there is the conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories, that the CIA purposely turned the term into an epithet to cover up the JFK assassination.

Of course not everything is a conspiracy. You have to remain skeptical, keep your balance and common sense. We need the flexibility to add new perspectives, and not try to reduce everything to one perspective. Our brains are perfectly capable of this, we just have to use them. Don't believe what they tell you, if it doesn't stand to reason. On 9/11, three towers fell at free- fall speed, but only two were hit by airplanes - which were 5,000 times lighter than the steel buildings anyway. Anyone can do the math. The perps didn't even bother to make it plausible, having the media to cover it up.

When a huge revelation like 9/11 hits, like it did some of us back in 2002, when I published the first "truther" book in English, it's a big shock. This can make people either deny the new information, or go overboard with it. Sometimes the shock of losing the mainstream world view is so great that people switch to the reverse explanation for everything. Yet most of life is still banal or benign. Major criminal political conspiracies like 9/11 require a lot of effort, and are used strategically.

Although 9/11 showed that these people arc capable of almost anything, that doesn't mean they can or will do everything. For instance, I don't believe in chemtrails, because it doesn't make sense, and the contrails persist mostly on days when there are natural cirrus clouds in the upper atmosphere. Manipulation is even more common than conspiracy. We all do it to get other people to do things. Ulfkotte shows that mass media manipulation is business as usual. It is so prevalent that it starts to get into the realm of a matrix, a wall-to-wall pseudo-reality. The spider army spins its web 24/7. Their thread is a mix of outrages and banalities, bread and circuses. The formula is clear to see in the major German tabloid Bild. Its readers go for simplified and emotional narratives, like a cheap novel with themes of love and hate: "The reader's attention is steered away from what's objective- ly important and diverted to what's trivial." Yes, there IS a sucker bom every minute. We are still just creatures that go too much on impressions and emotions rather than logic, and the media play on that with sensationalism and simplified images. Sure, our brain has amazing powers, but it can only focus on one thing at a time. (Luckily, that's at least one more than machines, that have no awareness of anything.)

Simplification, love and hate, enemy images. Our bane as a nation is our bent for political correctness and demonization. We are the heirs of the Puritans, who had a nasty habit of picking on little old ladies, demonizing them and then burning them at the stake. Who were the real demons there? Or in the tragedies of Libya and Syria?? When a huge revelation like 9/11 hits, like it did some of us back in 2002, when I published the first "truther" book in English, it's a big shock. This can make people either deny the new information, or go overboard with it. Sometimes the shock of losing the mainstream world view is so great that people switch to the reverse explanation for everything. Yet most of life is still banal or benign. Major criminal political conspiracies like 9/11 require a lot of effort, and are used strategically.

Although 9/11 showed that these people arc capable of almost anything, that doesn't mean they can or will do everything. For instance, I don't believe in chemtrails, because it doesn't make sense, and the contrails persist mostly on days when there are natural cirrus clouds in the upper atmosphere. Manipulation is even more common than conspiracy. We all do it to get other people to do things. Ulfkotte shows that mass media manipulation is business as usual. It is so prevalent that it starts to get into the realm of a matrix, a wall-to-wall pseudo-reality. The spider army spins its web 24/7. Their thread is a mix of outrages and banalities, bread and circuses. The formula is clear to see in the major German tabloid Bild. Its readers go for simplified and emotional narratives, like a cheap novel with themes of love and hate: "The reader's attention is steered away from what's objective- ly important and diverted to what's trivial." Yes, there IS a sucker bom every minute. We are still just creatures that go too much on impressions and emotions rather than logic, and the media play on that with sensationalism and simplified images. Sure, our brain has amazing powers, but it can only focus on one thing at a time. (Luckily, that's at least one more than machines, that have no awareness of anything.)

Simplification, love and hate, enemy images. Our bane as a nation is our bent for political correctness and demonization. We are the heirs of the Puritans, who had a nasty habit of picking on little old ladies, demonizing them and then burning them at the stake. Who were the real demons there? Or in the tragedies of Libya and Syria?? We never learn. Hitler with us is as immortal as Satan, constantly recycled as the evil icon dictator of the day, sometimes complete with moustache. This is how they demonize populism. Ulfkotte asks, why should populism be unpopular? Lincoln expounded populism when he spoke of a government by and for and of the people. Each time you spend a $5 greenback with his icon on it, you distribute a piece of populist propaganda! Trump is right to use the term "witch hunt" against the puritanical attack dogs of impeachment. He wouldn't have needed to ask favors of foreign potentates if the MSM, the mainstream media, were doing their job and investigating the Bidens. The pot calling the kettle black, because it sees itself on the politically correct moral high ground. More important, without die color revolution launched by the MSM and the Obama regime, Ukraine wouldn't have sunk into this cesspool of corruption. Even Trump won't say what die Bidens were really up to: stirring up war in East Ukraine so they could get their hands on the oil shale fields of the Donbass, or that they are investors in the illegal occupation of oil fields in the Golan Heights. Can't remember anyone ever fishing in more troubled waters. What about the suspicions that the Clintons have murdered people, such as Seth Rich, those are just conspiracy theories and not to be investigated either. Did the DNC kill this whistleblower and blame Putin instead for losing the election? The Mueller report won't say. But people do get killed. Like JFK, RFK, MLK.

These are not minor matters they are getting away with behind the protective mask of the media which "covers" the news. Surveys do reflect declining public faith in die mainstream media - except among Democrats. Tell people what they want to hear: a basic marketing principle. You may have heard of Operation Mockingbird and how the CLA plays our domestic media like a Wurlitzer. Ulfkotte explains how in Germany, CIA media operations started with the postwar occupation. It's part of the declared intention (most infamously but not only by Winston Churchill) to destroy the German people, the German identity. Control of the global media is the firm foundation of the Anglo-American-Zionist empire.

In his parting shot, "What should we do," Ulfkotte sees one simple ray of hope. "Everyone reading this book has the ultimate power over the journalism I have described here. All we have to do is stop giving our money and our attention to these 'leading media.' When enough of us stop buying the products offered by these media houses, when we no longer click on their Internet articles and we switch off their television or radio programs - at some point, these journalists will have to start producing something of value for their fellow citizens, or they're going to be out of a job. It's that simple." Instead, we can patronize sources like https://eluxemagazine.com/magazine/honest-news-sites .

They note that, according to Business Insider, 90% of US media are owned by just six corporations, a similar problem of lockstep media as in Germany. They recommend these "Honest News Sites Way Better Than Mainstream Media."

And The OffOuardian, which incidentally was one of the strongest voices for publishing this suppressed book.

- John-Paul Leonard,

October 2019

[Apr 02, 2021] Ironically, and sickeningly, the Americans, Europeans, Canadians, Australians and other partners, talk loftily about respecting "values' and 'rules-based international order'. They are the ones who are trashing any semblance of order.

Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 2 2021 19:32 utc | 84

Today's Strategic-Culture Editorial speaks for me, and I'd bold it all:

"What Washington and its allies are doing is trampling over international law and kicking it to the curb. Their conduct is that of rogue states who perceive themselves to be above the law, entitled to act in whatever way they please with no accountability.

"Ironically, and sickeningly, the Americans, Europeans, Canadians, Australians and other partners, talk loftily about respecting "values' and 'rules-based international order'. They are the ones who are trashing any semblance of order. It is these NATO powers that have launched numerous criminal wars of aggression without any mandate from the UN Security Council. They have carried out covert regime-change operations which have unleashed mayhem and terrorism. They impose unilateral sanctions on nations suffering from NATO's intrigues, such as Syria and Venezuela. They run assassination programs and torture-renditions to black sites around the world. Their troops kill Afghan civilians in cold blood after kicking down their doors in the middle of the night. The United States rips up nuclear arms control treaties with Russia, while sailing warships into Chinese territory."

So, under the tenets of International Law, both Russia and China have the right to counter-attack and have. But the initial law breaking by the Outlaws must be stopped, and it appears they must be forced to do so. And since two of the Outlaws sit on the UNSC, using that organizations Article 7 powers won't do the job as the Veto will be invoked. IMO, the only alternative is to turn to the UNGA and ask it to override the deadlocked UNSC and warrant the arrest of the Outlaws by all UN member states wherever they may be.

I hope barflies take the time to read the editorial as it ends with an excellent news item that's more than apt for our times.

[Mar 28, 2021] I know they are China is copying USA's policy in 18th and 19th century.

Mar 28, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Kouros , March 27, 2021 at 1:33 pm

What are the facts that indicate that "China wants to dominate the entire world"? There is little or no evidence of that. Just repeating this pabulum on and on doesn't make it true. It just makes hoi polloi think it is true.

Aaron , March 27, 2021 at 2:24 pm

There is no specific speech or document that clearly states that China wants to dominate the entire world. It is an inference from many things pieced together, some of which are:

1. China's behavior after it was admitted to WTO. When it happened in 1999, the expectation was that they would open up their market to global firms. Instead, what happened was rampant technology theft and currency manipulation. They manipulated their industrial policy to deny foreign firms a level playing field that Chinese companies were given in other countries.

2. The Belt and Road projects. These are basically debt traps for poorer countries in Asia, Africa and Europe in the name of infrastructure development. They give soft loans to these countries for economically unviable infra projects, and when they fail, the Chinese take ownership. Kinda like loan sharks loaning money to gamblers.

3. They have started grabbing territory from all neighbours using salami tactics, showing some old "maps" that was never agreed and claiming they own the area. (Google "Nine-dash line").

Add to this the planting of spies using Confucius institutes, secretly paying many academic researchers to steal technology (Example: Charles Lieber from Harvard), paying newspapers to carry China Daily propaganda supplements (WaPo, NYT, LA Ttimes, The Boston Globe, WSJ just for starters), the Houston embassy spying, They have done this stuff not just to USA but most major countries in the world.

Now of course we can ask, "But where did they say they want to rule the world?". Well, Hitler didn't either. In 1938, he solemnly swore to Neville Chamberlain, the British PM that he had no intention of conquering another country. We all know what happened after that. Naivete is dangerous in these situations. If a country acquires enough power, it will start having imperial ambitions. It's human nature. Germany under Bismarck in 1880s tried to stay away from conquering other countries as long as possible, but they couldn't resist the temptation. Now none of this means China will try to dominate the world at any cost. If others resist strongly enough, they will back off. But that's something we have to do, and get others to do.

Roger , March 27, 2021 at 3:12 pm

1. So China copied the way in which the US industrialized in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Following the Washington Consensus script has a history of leading to dependency – Ha-Joon Chang has written some very good papers and books on the basic hypocrisy of the West in this area. In the eighteenth century Britain protected its infant textile industry against the Indian one with very high tariffs. They also stole woollen technology from the Dutch.
2. This is Western propaganda, perhaps reflecting the IMF/World Bank efforts of yore upon China. The "debt trap" BRI myth has been pretty much debunked among academic researchers, but that doesn't fit the Western anti-China discourse.
3. Grabbing territory from all their neighbours? What territory? Compare the nine-dash line mirrors to the declared hegemony of the US over the Caribbean and Central American nations – backed up by repeated invasions and destabilizations (Haiti, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba etc.). Take a look at the US history of grabbing lands (the Philippines, Puerto Rico, half of Mexico, Hawaii), China is exceedingly tame compared to US history, as well as the US recent aggressions such as the illegal invasion of Iraq and destabilization of Syria.

The MSM that you quote are the purveyors of fake news with no actual backing apart from intelligence community briefings, the "stenographers of the intelligence community" as one commentator put it. This is the classic propaganda designed to rile up the population to support action against a new "enemy", very 1984.

Aaron , March 27, 2021 at 9:41 pm

1. Oh I know they are China is copying USA's policy in 18th and 19th century. That is what is concerning. That is a successful playbook to gain a lot of economic power very quickly. Of course the USA pointing fingers is hypocrisy. But that does not make this any less of a threat.
2. Debunked by "academic researchers"? Care to share some sources? Multiple countries like Malaysia, Kenya, Myanmar, Sierra Leone and Bangladesh have either cancelled projects or trying to renegotiate them. The reason is because the projects are nothing but jobs and demand creation programs for Chinese workers and companies. Contracts are awarded at inflated rates to Chinese contractors without competitive bidding. Then they bring in workers and equipment wholesale from mainland china. Some projects are economically viable, others are just white elephants, like the highway in montenegro or a port/airport in Sri Lanka in the middle of the jungle.
3. I am not denying what USA has done to other countries. China is just starting, so what they do looks tame. Give them a little time.

I fully agree that the MSM are purveyors of fake news. I was referring to how they all have taken Chinese money to print stuff favourable to them, and even articles entirely written by Chinese foreign ministry. Now of course, they might change tack and start beating the war drums if TPTB wants them to. That confirms my opinion that most MSM are just mouthpieces for hire with no moral principles.
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/dec/07/china-plan-for-global-media-dominance-propaganda-xi-jinping

Please note, I am not defending all the terrible things America has done. Pointing out that China is a threat need not come attached with any moral judgement on America.

Also, the proper response to China IMO should be more in economic policy than military saber-rattling. Tariffs are just a start. Why are we not building more manufacturing in USA? Sure, wages are high and prices will shoot up. But do we really need to import 15bn worth of sneakers (that's about 200 mn pairs a year)? Let us make shoes in America that may cost twice as mush, but three times more durable. Same with cellphones. Decrapifying products will go a long way in making american manufacturing viable. But that requires great sacrifice by the consumers. Shopping or goodies has been turned into a dopamine-drip. Investing class and business are just as addicted to high profit margins & ROIs. Cut the dependence on China, and watch them scramble to fix their internal issues like falling wages and unemployment. The pity is we have lost the will as a nation to make such sacrifices.

drumlin woodchuckles , March 28, 2021 at 2:53 pm

I am not sure the will does not exist. I think the will might be suppressed and thwarted.

We would need a Protectionist Party to explain everything you have touched on and run candidates on that basis and on that program to see whether the diffuse and muffled will might be uncovered and re-aggregated and recovered and weaponised for domestic political re-conquest of government and hence of political economic policy.

I envision a delicious scenario-vision in which the Protectionist Party finally wins all three branches and the Protectionist Party President makes a speech and at the end of that speech, AND IN MANDARIN to to make sure the prime perpetrator of export aggression hears the message and gets the point, the following phrase . . . . in MANDARIN, remember . . .

" America has stood up!"

Felix_47 , March 27, 2021 at 4:52 pm

Hmmnm "If a country acquires enough power it will start having imperial ambitions?" I agree completely with your statement. The rest seem pretty much what I have been reading in the Washington Post and New York Times lately. I am not sure about their objectivity. One thing is certain and that is that war talk very easily can slip into war. Having served in the military for over 30 years and deployed many times the best advice I ever got was from that political analyst Mike Tyson, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." War talk with China and Russia and Iran and trying to cripple economies with sanctions never has and never will work but we can always try to educate a new young generation of politicians like Joe.

km , March 27, 2021 at 4:53 pm

The last time China attacked another country was 1979.

The United States since that time?

Late Introvert , March 27, 2021 at 5:29 pm

Carry water for the MIC much?

Aaron , March 28, 2021 at 9:48 am

Nah. But I know we need a military to defend ourselves, especially if something that happens on the other end of the world would make the supermarket shelves go empty in a jiffy. I think we need to reduce external economic dependence and then cut the military to a fraction of it's current size, just enough to patrol the borders and coasts.

Darthbobber , March 27, 2021 at 8:01 pm

The bulk of the "rampant technology theft" was their insistence on building the requirement for specified technology transfers into the agreements that let companies set up shop there. They had watched neocolonialist behavior long enough not to want to be locked permanently into a subservient position. This part was of course not theft at all. For the rest of it, yeah, industrial espionage is a thing. But one notes that the firms generally stayed there.

Currency manipulation is only bad when the other guys do it. We have periodically deliberately weakened the dollar to try to address balance of trade issues, and in the aftermath of the '08 recession everybody was doing competitive devaluation, trying to accomplish by that means what they would have tried tariffs for in an earlier era.

I haven't seen a decent scholarly piece that concurs with the propaganda about belt and road loans as sinister debt traps.

Territorial disputes aside, most of those neighbors have China as a major trading partner, and none of the disputes have gone hot. The neighbors are also not entirely lacking in power. Russia and India are nuclear powers, and if Japan chose to field a more formidable military it could easily do so.

Phil in KC , March 27, 2021 at 10:29 pm

One of the hardest and most disturbing lessons we've learned from the Nixon China gambit was that capitalism doesn't necessarily lead to democracy. Nor is a democratic society a prerequisite for capitalism to flourish.

Aaron , March 28, 2021 at 9:35 am

That came much after the Nixon thaw with China, after the fall of Soviet Union. Francis Fukuyama solemnly proclaiming "End of History" and all that. The turning point was China being let into WTO in 1999. Clinton, Bush II and Obama swallowed that "capitalism leads to democracy" idea hook, line and sinker.

Aaron , March 28, 2021 at 9:33 am

Technology theft, spun any way, is still technology theft. Sure, Industrial espionage is "a thing" that everyone does. So is currency manipulation. Since we feel guilty that USA gained global power by doing all these, we should let others do it too, just to even the scales? Foreign policy mixed with moral feelings is a recipe for disaster.

drumlin woodchuckles , March 27, 2021 at 4:28 pm

Russia and China . . . soft-pedal one and hard-pressure the other? To prevent them co-operating? Too late.

That bus has left the station, that ship has sailed and sunk, that dog won't cut the mustard hunting-wise, etc.

[Mar 26, 2021] Harvard mafia were state agents specifically with full US state support facilitating the economic rape of Russia

Mar 26, 2021 | www.unz.com

Mefobills , says: March 24, 2021 at 2:16 pm GMT • 12.2 hours ago

@onebornfree ertarianism is a cover and shield ideology for finance capitalism.

It was free-market theory that made Russia succumb to the "Harvard Boys." And yes, the Harvard boyeez were the (((usual suspects))).

https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/harvard-boys-do-russia/

The privatization drive that was supposed to reap the fruits of the free market instead helped to create a system of tycoon capitalism run for the benefit of a corrupt political oligarchy that has appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid and plundered Russia's wealth.

[Mar 21, 2021] Using coercion and aggression - two very definitive qualities of American Imperialism post WWII

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

michaelj72 , Mar 21 2021 2:46 utc | 174

fyi

dave decamp at Antiwar.com has some nice coverage of the fireworks at this 'summit'

https://news.antiwar.com/2021/03/19/us-and-china-conclude-tough-alaska-talks/

"....Yang responded sharply to the US officials and criticized Washington for both domestic and foreign policy issues. "The United States uses its military force and financial hegemony to carry out long arm jurisdiction and suppress other countries," he said. "It abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China."

"....The US took several steps ahead of the talks that made it clear the meeting would be contentious. Blinken visited Japan and South Korea with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin earlier this week. While meeting with his Japanese and Korean counterparts, Blinken slammed Beijing, accusing China of using "coercion and aggression" in the region. On Wednesday, the US slapped sanctions on 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials...."

using coercion and aggression - two very definitive qualities of American Imperialism post WWII


[Mar 21, 2021] The US has developed no means of relating to civilizational challenges other than violence

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

lulu , Mar 20 2021 19:06 utc | 137

18 years ago on this day,US, UK & their allies used the lie of WMD to invade Iraq , which has caused 1 million death and total destruction of the country.

Now they are pushing the "China genociding Uyghurs" lies to frame the minds of Americans and people in the West and around the global to prepare a hot war against China.

Arch Bungle , Mar 20 2021 19:19 utc | 138

Posted by: lulu | Mar 20 2021 19:06 utc | 136



Now they are pushing the "China genociding Uyghurs" lies to frame the minds of Americans and people in the West and around the global to prepare a hot war against China.

There is no "Hot War" in preparation against China, this is simply procedural posturing in the absence of any other means of relating to the Chinese civilisation.

The Zio-American empire is well aware this would mean a nuclear annihilation or at the least a re-shuffling of the global order against their interests.

The US has developed no means of relating to civilizational challenges other than violence, so it is merely cycling through the motions it knows of but with an understanding that it cannot take them to their logical conclusion.

It's all foreplay and nothing more ...

[Mar 21, 2021] I suppose from the perspective of inter-imperialist relations in the first world, a lack of decorum of the level of Trump's is more anomalous and egregious than the imposition of death and destruction of people in the global south.

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kapusta , Mar 20 2021 2:37 utc | 89

@ 73 Posted by: xototox
@ 78 Posted by: james

Thanks for your perspective, xot! Interesting insights.

trump changed that, suddenly the ugly side of the empire became visible

I've heard this about Trump a lot, but I've always wondered why Trump was the ultimate catalyst for this epiphany. You would think that the Iraq War should have been that watershed moment, or even Libya (and perhaps they were for many, like me). I suppose from the perspective of inter-imperialist relations in the first world, a lack of decorum of the level of Trump's is more anomalous and egregious than the imposition of death and destruction of people in the global south.

Fyi , Mar 20 2021 3:13 utc | 92

Mr. xototox

I think that the presidency of Mr. Trump revealed the ugly side of the United States; suddenly the gilded papier marche of America, carefully created by the best propaganda techniques over 70 years, was shredded and USA was revealed to be a country just like so many others.

It is up to American people, Judeo-Christians as well as others, to address the deep deep social problems of the United States.

[Mar 21, 2021] Despite a roomful of hot air amerikans will always be considered War Criminals by the rest of us

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Debsisdead , Mar 20 2021 2:25 utc | 88

Despite a roomful of hot air amerikans will always be considered War Criminals by the rest of us

I have to admit having become totally bored with the words which any gang of elites from any nation whose population is far too large to have the types at the top comprehend much less represent citizens' points of view, spout.

I get that there are fans of particular nations here, who believe some of these nation states have more humane policies than other nation states, but all of them however humane are essentially spouting toop down driven attitudes.
We know that amerika with its narrow & prescriptive "you can vote for anyone as long as it is someone from one of these two virtually identical political organisations" system pays little attention to their citizens' views. Unfortunately humans being humans, once a person gains a little power their priorities focus on retaining & increasing power, so that after time, no matter how egalitarian things may have been at the start, a shift to imbalance between the governors and the governed is inevitable.
It is impossible to imagine that President Xi Jinping would do as Mao Zedong did and hand power to the people, especially the nation's young people to trigger the 1966 Cultural Revolution.

One thing is for sure though, that is however many may have died during the cultural revolution, the casualties were confined to China's citizens and the casualties & atrocities were infinitesimal compared to the murders, rapes and savagery committed by amerika's war upon the people of Indochina.
IOW 50+ years ago China moved to resolve generational differences with an internal, domestic debate, whilst amerika tried to resolve that issue by indoctrinating its young people into a thoroughly racist anti-asian POV, then sent their youth to "kick out the jams" on the heads of the people of Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia.
The results were horrific and since courtesy of TV, they were far better documented than the horror inflicted upon the citizens of Korea less than a decade before have stuck in all non-amerikans minds ever since.

I have sounded off here at MoA quite a few times that most amerikans view the Indochina conflict negatively because it was such a waste of 'young amerikan' lives, rather than the way the rest of us see it, that amerika butchered and raped their way through Indochina without the slightest remorse.
Last week I stumbled across an old documentary released back in 1972 "Winter Soldier". The film documents the 1971 Winter Soldier hearing held by Vietnam Vets Against War.

VVAW had tried to stop the Indochina slaughter by the standard means - protests, marches, contacting politicians, all to no avail. So then they came up with the 'Winter Soldier' hearing which had veterans of the war against the people of Indochina, telling their stories of the atrocities they had committed.
The witnesses came from across the range of amerika's military; from grunts - surprisingly most were volunteers rather than draftees, to a Marine captain who served as a helicopter pilot.

These guys who returned to amerika lauded as heroes while deep down feeling nothing but Guilt & shame, make it clear that My Lai was no outlier, it was SOP.

It is also clear from what they tell us of their boot camp experience that racist anti-asian indoctrination featured big time in their training which led them to regard all Vietnamese as the enemy.

The behaviour got worse and worse, particularly rapes and the mutilation of children, once the troops realised no one was would restrict their cruel antics against those they all considered to be less than human. Senior officers either joined in or 'looked the other way'.
Most of this documentary is in the form of testimony as cameras were generally kept away from the 'fun' but even so I found just hearing the stories too much to bear.

Anyway although copies of 'Winter Soldier' do become available on You Tube from time to time, they can be hard to find and are frequently taken down, so if anyone does want to know what is commonplace for the brave amerikan military, they can download a copy of Winter Soldier from here .

The hearings likely did the job eventually, in that the thugs in control of amerika got the message that if the war continued, more and more truth about the scale & horror of awful amerikan atrocities would become public and that would be counter to satiating these elite thugs' greed inside and outside amerika. A peace agreement was signed and VVAW went back to emphasising the damage done to amerikan soldiers rather than the horrors inflicted upon a much, much larger Indochinese civilian population.

This is why BidenCorp are confidently denying their crimes while asserting all these other nations are killers, simply because amerikans have never been required to comprehend the true scale of the crimes amerika has committed upon their (mostly unjustly selected, amerikan created) enemies.

All the words spouted by elites only ever reinforce prevailing attitudes. Change in the way amerika views itself will only be effected when amerikans are forced to honestly consider all the crimes which have been committed in their name.
I'm not holding my breath, neither do I see much point in any analysis of who said what to whom as words are worthless in the face of fell deeds.

[Mar 14, 2021] Beware congresscritters married to investment bankers and private equity sharks

Mar 14, 2021 | www.barrons.com

Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, bought more than $1 million of shares of investment firm AllianceBernstein in February.

Paul Pelosi bought 15,000 AllianceBernstein (ticker: AB) shares on Feb. 18, and then purchased 25,000 more shares on Feb. 23, according to a form Speaker Pelosi filed on March 9 . Each transaction was valued at between $500,000 and $1 million. Specific figures aren't required for disclosure, only ranges.

Paul Pelosi and Speaker Pelosi's office didn't respond to requests for comment on the stock purchases.
Ron Afar 9 hours ago Wonder if he or others own Workhorse who lost the Postal Service contract to Oshkosh, and now a Senator is demanding looking at the bidding.

[Mar 07, 2021] SEC Issues Devastating Risk Alert on Private Equity Abuses; Effectively Admits Failure of Last 5+ Years of Enforcement by Yves Smith

Notable quotes:
"... In the Risk Alert below, the itemization of various forms of abuses, such as the many ways private equity firms parcel out interests in the businesses they buy among various funds and insiders to their, as opposed to investors' benefit, alone should give pause. And the lengthy discussion of these conflicts does suggest the SEC has learned something over the years. Experts who dealt with the agency in its early years of examining private equity firms found the examiners allergic to considering, much the less pursuing, complex abuses. ..."
"... Undermining legislative intent of new supervisory authority the SEC never embraced its new responsibilities to ride herd on private equity and hedge funds. ..."
"... The agency is operating in such a cozy manner with private equity firms that as one investor described it: It's like FBI sitting down with the Mafia to tell them each year, "Don't cross these lines because that's what we are focusing on." ..."
"... Advisers charged private fund clients for expenses that were not permitted by the relevant fund operating agreements, such as adviser-related expenses like salaries of adviser personnel, compliance, regulatory filings, and office expenses, thereby causing investors to overpay expenses ..."
"... Current SEC chairman Jay Clayton came from Sullivan & Cromwell, bringing with him Steven Peikin as co-head of enforcement. And the Clayton SEC looks to have accomplished the impressive task of being even weaker on enforcement than Mary Jo White. ..."
"... On the same side though, fraud is a criminal offence, and it's SEC's duty to prosecute. And I believe that a lot of what PE engage in would happily fall under fraud, if SEC really wanted. ..."
"... Crimogenic: Producing or tending to produce crime or criminality. An additional factor is that, in the main, the criminals do not take their money and leave the gaming tables but pour it back in and the crime metastasizes. AKA, Kleptocracy. ..."
"... You might add that the threat of consequences for these crimes makes the criminals extremely motivated to elect officials who will not prosecute them (e.g. Obama). They're not running for office, they're avoiding incarceration. ..."
"... Andrew Levitt, for instance, complained bitterly that Joe Lieberman would regularly threaten to cut the SEC's budget for allegedly being too aggressive about enforcement. Lieberman was the Senator from Hedgistan. ..."
"... More banana republic level grift. What happens when investors figure out they can't believe anything they are told? ..."
"... Can we come up with a better descriptor for "private equity"? I suggest "billionaire looters". ..."
"... Where is the SEC when Bain Capital (Romney) wipes out Toys-R-Us and Dianne Feinstein's husband Richard Blum wipes out Payless Shoes. They gain control of the companies, pile on massive debt and take the proceeds of the loan, and they know the company cannot service the loan and a BK is around the corner. ..."
"... Thousands lose their jobs. And this is legal? And we also lost Glass-Steagal and legalized stock buy-backs. The Elite are screwing the people. It's Socialism for the Rich, the Politicians and Govt Employees and Feudalism for the rest of us. ..."
Jun 26, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

We've embedded an SEC Risk Alert on private equity abuses at the end of this post. 1 What is remarkable about this document is that it contains a far longer and more detailed list of private abuses than the SEC flagged in its initial round of examinations of private equity firms in 2014 and 2015. Those examinations occurred in parallel with groundbreaking exposes by Gretchen Morgenson at the New York Times and Mark Maremont in the Wall Street Journal.

At least some of the SEC enforcement actions in that era look to have been triggered by the press effectively getting ahead of the SEC. And the SEC even admitted the misconduct was more common at the most prominent firms.

Yet despite front-page articles on private equity abuses, the SEC engaged in wet noodle lashings. Its pattern was to file only one major enforcement action over a particular abuse. Even then, the SEC went to some lengths to spread the filings out among the biggest firms. That meant it was pointedly engaging in selective enforcement, punishing only "poster child" examples and letting other firms who'd engaged in precisely the same abuses get off scot free.

The very fact of this Risk Alert is an admission of failure by the SEC. It indicates that the misconduct it highlighted five years ago continues and if anything is even more pervasive than in the 2014-2015 era. It also confirms that its oft-stated premise then, that the abuses it found then had somehow been made by firms with integrity that would of course clean up their acts, and that now-better-informed investors would also be more vigilant and would crack down on misconduct, was laughably false.

In particular, the second section of the Risk Alert, on Fees and Expenses (starting on page 4) describes how fund managers are charging inflated or unwarranted fees and expenses. In any other line of work, this would be called theft. Yet all the SEC is willing to do is publish a Risk Alert, rather than impose fines as well as require disgorgements?

The SEC's Abject Failure

In the Risk Alert below, the itemization of various forms of abuses, such as the many ways private equity firms parcel out interests in the businesses they buy among various funds and insiders to their, as opposed to investors' benefit, alone should give pause. And the lengthy discussion of these conflicts does suggest the SEC has learned something over the years. Experts who dealt with the agency in its early years of examining private equity firms found the examiners allergic to considering, much the less pursuing, complex abuses.

Undermining legislative intent of new supervisory authority the SEC never embraced its new responsibilities to ride herd on private equity and hedge funds.

The SEC has long maintained a division between the retail investors and so-called "accredited investors" who by virtue of having higher net worths and investment portfolios, are treated by the agency as able to afford to lose more money. The justification is that richer means more sophisticated. But as anyone who is a manager for a top sports professional or entertainer, that is often not the case. And as we've seen, that goes double for public pension funds.

Starting with the era of Clinton appointee Arthur Levitt, the agency has taken the view that it is in the business of defending presumed-to-be-hapless retail investors and has left "accredited investor" and most of all, institutional investors, on their own. This was a policy decision by the agency when deregulation was venerated; there was no statutory basis for this change in priorities.

Congress tasked the SEC with supervising the fund management activities of private equity funds with over $150 million in assets under management. All of their investors are accredited investors. In other words, Congress mandated the SEC to make sure these firms complied with relevant laws as well as making adequate disclosures of what they were going to do with the money entrusted to them. Saying one thing in the investor contracts and doing another is a vastly worse breach than misrepresentations in marketing materials, yet the SEC acted as if slap-on-the-wrist-level enforcement was adequate.

We made fun when thirteen prominent public pension fund trustees wrote the SEC asking for them to force greater transparency of private equity fees and costs. The agency's position effectively was "You are grownups. No one is holding a gun to your head to make these investments. If you don't like the terms, walk away." They might have done better if they could have positioned their demand as consistent with the new Dodd Frank oversight requirements.

Actively covering up for bad conduct . In 2014, the SEC started working at giving malfeasance a free pass. Specifically, the SEC told private equity firms that they could continue their abuses if they 'fessed up in their annual disclosure filings, the so-called Form ADV. The term of art is "enhanced disclosure". Since when are contracts like confession, that if you admit to a breach, all is forgiven? Only in the topsy-turvy world of SEC enforcement.

And the coddling of crookedness continued. From a January post :

The agency is operating in such a cozy manner with private equity firms that as one investor described it: It's like FBI sitting down with the Mafia to tell them each year, "Don't cross these lines because that's what we are focusing on."

Specifically, as we indicated, the SEC was giving advanced warning of the issues it would focus on in its upcoming exams, in order to give investment managers the time to get their stories together and purge files. And rather than view its periodic exams as being designed to make sure private equity firms comply with the law and their representations, the agency views them as "cooperative" exercises! Misconduct is assumed to be the result of misunderstanding and error, and not design.

It's pretty hard to see conduct like this, from the SEC's Risk Alert, as being an accident:

Advisers charged private fund clients for expenses that were not permitted by the relevant fund operating agreements, such as adviser-related expenses like salaries of adviser personnel, compliance, regulatory filings, and office expenses, thereby causing investors to overpay expenses

The staff observed private fund advisers that did not value client assets in accordance with their valuation processes or in accordance with disclosures to clients (such as that the assets would be valued in accordance with GAAP). In some cases, the staff observed that this failure to value a private fund's holdings in accordance with the disclosed valuation process led to overcharging management fees and carried interest because such fees were based on inappropriately overvalued holdings .

Advisers failed to apply or calculate management fee offsets in accordance with disclosures and therefore caused investors to overpay management fees.

We're highlighting this skimming simply because it is easier for laypeople to understand than some of the other types of cheating the SEC described. Even so, industry insiders and investors complained that the description of the misconduct in this Risk Alert was too general to give them enough of a roadmap to look for it at particular funds.

Ignoring how investors continue to be fleeced . The SEC's list includes every abuse it sanctioned or mentioned in the 2014 to 2015 period, including undisclosed termination of monitoring fees, failure to disclose that investors were paying for "senior advisers/operating partners," fraudulent charges, overcharging for services provided by affiliated companies, plus lots of types of bad-faith conduct on fund restructurings and allocations of fees and expenses on transactions allocated across funds.

The SEC assumed institutional investors would insist on better conduct once they were informed that they'd been had. In reality, not only did private equity investors fail to demand better, they accepted new fund agreements that described the sort of objectionable behavior they'd been engaging in. Remember, the big requirement in SEC land is disclosure. So if a fund manager says he might do Bad Things and then proceeds accordingly, the investor can't complain about not having been warned.

Moreover, the SEC's very long list of bad acts says the industry is continuing to misbehave even after it has defined deviancy down via more permissive limited partnership agreements!

Why This Risk Alert Now?

Keep in mind what a Risk Alert is and isn't. The best way to conceptualize it is as a press release from the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. It does not have any legal or regulatory force. Risk Alerts are not even considered to be SEC official views. They are strictly the product of OCIE staff.

On the first page of this Risk Alert, the OCIE blandly states that:

This Risk Alert is intended to assist private fund advisers in reviewing and enhancing their compliance programs, and also to provide investors with information concerning private fund adviser deficiencies.

Cutely, footnotes point out that not everyone examined got a deficiency letter (!!!), that the SEC has taken enforcement actions on "many" of the abuses described in the Risk Alert, yet "OCIE continues to observe some of these practices during examinations."

Several of our contacts who met in person with the SEC to discuss private equity grifting back in 2014-2015 pressed the agency to issue a Risk Alert as a way of underscoring the seriousness of the issues it was unearthing. The staffers demurred then.

In fairness, the SEC may have regarded a Risk Alert as having the potential to undermine its not-completed enforcement actions. But why not publish one afterwards, particularly since the intent then had clearly been to single out prominent examples of particular types of misconduct, rather than tackle it systematically? 2

So why is the OCIE stepping out a bit now? The most likely reason is as an effort to compensate for the lack of enforcement actions. Recall that all the OCIE can do is refer a case to the Enforcement Division; it's their call as to whether or not to take it up.

The SEC looks to have institutionalized the practice of borrowing lawyers from prominent firms. Mary Jo White of Debevoise brought Andrew Ceresney with her from Debeviose to be her head of enforcement. Both returned to Debevoise.

Current SEC chairman Jay Clayton came from Sullivan & Cromwell, bringing with him Steven Peikin as co-head of enforcement. And the Clayton SEC looks to have accomplished the impressive task of being even weaker on enforcement than Mary Jo White. Clayton made clear his focus was on "mom and pop" investors, meaning he chose to overlook much more consequential abuses by private equity firms and hedgies. The New York Times determined that the average amount of SEC fines against corporate perps fell markedly in 2018 compared to the final 20 months of the Obama Administration. The SEC since then levied $1 billion fine against the Woodbridge Group of Companies and its one-time owner for running a Ponzi scheme that fleeced over 8,400, so that would bring the average penalty up a bit. But it still confirms that Clayton is concerned about small fry, and not deeper but just as pickable pockets.

David Sirota argues that the OCIE was out to embarrass Clayton and sabotage what Sirota depicted as an SEC initiative to let retail investors invest in private equity. Sirota appears to have missed that that horse has left the barn and is in the next county, and the SEC had squat to do with it.

The overwhelming majority of retail funds is not in discretionary accounts but in retirement accounts, overwhelmingly 401(k)s. And it is the Department of Labor, which regulates ERISA plans, and not the SEC, that decides what those go and no go zones are. The DoL has already green-lighted allowing large swathes of 401(k) funds to include private equity holdings. From a post earlier this month :

Until now, regulations have kept private equity out of the retail market by prohibiting managers from accepting capital from individuals who lack significant net worth.

Private equity firms have succeeded in storming that barricade. The Department of Labor published a June 3 information letter that allows private equity funds, or more accurately funds of funds, to be included in certain 401(k) plan offerings, namely, target date funds and balanced funds. This is significant because despite the SEC regularly calling out bad practices with target date funds, they are the strategy used to manage the majority of 401(k) assets .

Moreover, even though Sirota pointed out that Clayton had spoken out in favor of allowing retail investors more access to private equity investments, the proposed regulation on the definition of accredited investors in fact not only does not lower income or net worth requirements (save for allowing spouses to combine their holdings) it in fact solicited comments on the idea of raising the limits. From a K&L Gates write up :

Previously, the Concept Release requested comment on whether the SEC should revise the current individual income ($200,000) and net worth ($1,000,000) thresholds. In the Proposing Release, the SEC further considered these thresholds, noting that the figures have not been adjusted since 1982. The SEC concluded that it does not believe modifications to the thresholds are necessary at this time, but it has requested comments on whether the final should instead make a one-time increase to the thresholds in the account for inflation, or whether the final rule should reflect a figure that is indexed to inflation on a going-forward basis.

It is not clear how many people would be picked up by the proposed change, which was being fleshed out, that of letting some presumed sophisticated but not rich individuals, like junior hedge fund professionals and holders of securities licenses, be treated as accredited investors. In other words, despite Clayton's talk about wanting ordinary investors to have more access to private equity funds, the agency's proposed rule change falls short of that.

Moreover, if the OCIE staff had wanted to undermine even the limited liberalization of the definition of accredited investor so as to stymie more private equity investment, the time to do so would have been immediately before or while the comments period was open. It ended March 16 .

The New York Times reported that Senate Republicans deemed Clayton's odds of confirmation as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York as remote even before the Trump fired Geoffrey Berman to clear a path for Clayton. So the idea that a technical release by the OCIE would derail Clayton's confirmation is a stretch.

So again, why now? One possibility is that the timing is purely a coincidence. For instance, the SEC staffers might have been waiting until Covid-19 news overload died down a bit so their work might get a hearing (and Covid-19 remote work complications may also have delayed its release).

The second possibility is that OCIE is indeed very frustrated with the enforcement chief Peikin's inaction on private equity. The fact that Peikin's boss and protector Clayton has made himself a lame duck meant a salvo against Peikin was now a much lower risk. If any readers have better insight into the internal workings of the SEC these days, please pipe up.

______

1 Formally, as you can see, this Risk Alert addresses both private equity and hedge fund misconduct, but on reading the details, the citing of both types of funds reflects the degree to which hedge funds have been engaging in the buying and selling of stakes in private companies. For instance, Chatham Asset Management, which has become notorious through its ownership of American Media, which in turn owns the National Enquirer, calls itself a hedge fund. Moreover, when the SEC started examining both private equity and hedge funds under new authority granted by Dodd Frank, it described the sort of misconduct described in this Risk Alert as coming out of exams of private equity firms, and its limited round of enforcement actions then were against brand name private equity firms like KKR, Blackstone, Apollo, and TPG. Thus for convenience as well as historical reasons, we refer only to private equity firms as perps.

2 Media stories at the time, including some of our posts, provided substantial evidence that particular abuses, such as undisclosed termination of monitoring fees and failure to disclose that "senior advisers" presented as general partner "team members" were in fact consultants being separately billed to fund investments, were common practices. Yet the SEC chose to lodge only marquee enforcement actions against one prominent firm for each abuse, as if token enforcement would serve as an adequate deterrent. The message was the reverse, that the overwhelming majority of the abuses were able to keep their ill-gotten gains and not even face public embarrassment.


skippy , June 26, 2020 at 4:27 am

Peter Sellers I'll say now – ????

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TtZgs8k8dU

vlade , June 26, 2020 at 4:35 am

TBH, in the view of Calpers ignoring its advisors, I do have a little understanding of the SEC's point "you're grown ups" (the worse problem is that the advisors who leach themselves to the various accredited investors are often not worth the money.

On the same side though, fraud is a criminal offence, and it's SEC's duty to prosecute. And I believe that a lot of what PE engage in would happily fall under fraud, if SEC really wanted.

Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 11:43 am

Yes, the SEC conveniently claims a conflicted authority – 1. to regulate compliance but without an "enforcement authority", and 2. report egregious behavior to their "enforcement authority". So the SEC is less than a permissive nanny. Sort of like "access" to enforcement authority. Sounds like health care to me.

Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 4:06 pm

No, this is false. The SEC has an examination division and an enforcement division. The SEC can and does take enforcement actions that result in fines and disgorgements, see the $1 billion fine mentioned in the post. So the exam division can recommend enforcement to the enforcement division. That does not mean it will get done. Some enforcement actions originate from within the enforcement division, like insider trading cases, and the SEC long has had a tendency to prioritize insider trading cases.

The SEC cannot prosecute. It has to refer cases that it thinks are criminal to the DoJ and try to get them to saddle up.

Maritimer , June 26, 2020 at 5:04 am

Crimogenic: Producing or tending to produce crime or criminality. An additional factor is that, in the main, the criminals do not take their money and leave the gaming tables but pour it back in and the crime metastasizes. AKA, Kleptocracy.

Thus in 2008 and thereafter the criminal damage required 2-3 trillion, now 7-10 trillion.

Any economic expert who does not recognize crime as the number one problem in the criminogenic US economy I disregard. Why read all that analysis when, at the end of the run, it all just boils down to bailing out the criminals and trying to reset the criminogenic system?

(Can I get my economics degree now?)

Adam Eran , June 26, 2020 at 1:33 pm

You might add that the threat of consequences for these crimes makes the criminals extremely motivated to elect officials who will not prosecute them (e.g. Obama). They're not running for office, they're avoiding incarceration.

The Rev Kev , June 26, 2020 at 5:17 am

The SEC has been captured for years now. It was not that long ago that SEC Examination chief Andrew Bowden made a grovelling speech to these players and even asked them to give his son a job which was so wrong-

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/regulatory-capture-captured-on-video-190033/

But there is no point in reforming the SEC as it was the politicians, at the beck and call of these players, that de-fanged the SEC – and it was a bipartisan effort! So it becomes a chicken-or-the-egg problem in the matter of reform. Who do you reform first?

Can't leave this comment without mentioning something about a private equity company. One of the two major internal airlines in Oz went broke due to the virus and a private equity buyer has been found to buy it. A union rep said that they will be good for jobs and that they are a good company. Their name? Bain Capital!

Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 5:44 am

We broke the story about Andrew Bowden! Give credit where credit is due!!!! Even though Taibbi points to us in his first line, linking to Rolling Stone says to those who don't bother clicking through that it was their story.

Plus we transcribed his fawning remarks.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/secs-andrew-bowden-regulator-sale.html

And he resigned three weeks later.

The Rev Kev , June 26, 2020 at 5:56 am

Of course I remember that story. I was going to mention it but thought to let people see it in virtually the opening line of that story where he gives you credit. More of a jolt of recognition seeing it rather than being told about it first.

Jesper , June 26, 2020 at 6:36 am

Of the three branches of government which ones are not captured by big business? If two out of three were to captured then does it matter what the third does?

In my opinion too much power has been centralised, too much of the productivity gains of the past 40 years have been monetised and therefore made possible to hoard and centralise. SEC should (in my opinion) try to enforce more but without more support then I do not believe (it is my opinion, nothing more and nothing less) that they can accomplish much.

Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 11:57 am

The SEC is a mysterious agency which (?) must fall under the jurisdiction of the Treasury because it is a monetary regulatory agency in the business of regulating securities and exchanges. But it has no authority to do much of anything. The Treasury itself falls under the executive administration but as we have recently seen, Mnuchin himself managed to get a nice skim for his banking pals from the money Congress legislated.

That's because Congress doesn't know how to effectuate a damn thing – they legislate stuff that morphs before our very eyes and goes to the grifters without a hitch. So why don't we demand that consumer protection be made into hard law with no wiggle room; that since investing is complex in this world of embedded funds and glossy prospectuses, we the consumer should not have to wade through all the nonsense to make decisions – that everything be on the table. And if PE can't manage to do that and still steal its billions then PE should be declared to be flat-out illegal.

Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 4:08 pm

Please stop spreading disinformation. This is the second time on this post. The SEC has nada to do with the Treasury. It is an independent regulatory agency. It however is the only financial regulator that does not keep what it kills (its own fees and fines) but is instead subject to Congressional appropriations.

Andrew Levitt, for instance, complained bitterly that Joe Lieberman would regularly threaten to cut the SEC's budget for allegedly being too aggressive about enforcement. Lieberman was the Senator from Hedgistan.

Edward , June 26, 2020 at 7:16 am

More banana republic level grift. What happens when investors figure out they can't believe anything they are told?

RJMc, MD , June 26, 2020 at 8:43 am

It should be noted that out here in the countryside of northern Michigan that embezzlement (a winter sport here while the men are out ice fishing), theft and fraud are still considered punishable felonies. Perhaps that is simply a quaint holdover from a bygone time. Dudley set the tone for the C of C with his Green Book on bank deregulation. One of the subsequent heads of C of C was reported as seeing his position as "being the spiritual resource for banks". If bank regulation is treated in a farcical fashion why should be the SEC be any different?

Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 12:08 pm

I was shocked to just now learn that ERISA/the Dept of Labor is in regulatory control of allowing pension funds to buy PE fund of funds and "balanced PE funds". What VERBIAGE. Are "PE Fund of Balanced Funds" an actual category? And what distinguishes them from good old straightforward Index Funds? And also too – what is happening before our very glazed-over eyes is that PE is high grading not just the stock market but the US Treasury itself. Ordinary investors should be buying US Treasuries directly and retirement funds should too. It will be a big bite but if it knocks PE out of business it would be worth it. PE is in the business of cooking its books, ravaging struggling corporations, and boldly privatizing the goddamned Treasury. WTF?

Kouros , June 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm

I want to bring this to Yves' attention: the recent SCOTUS decision on Thole v. U.S. Bank that opens the doors wide for corporate America to steal with impunity from the pension plans: https://www.unz.com/estriker/corrupt-supreme-court-gives-green-light-to-corporations-to-steal-from-pensioners/

Glen , June 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Can we come up with a better descriptor for "private equity"? I suggest "billionaire looters".

Olivier , June 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm

What about the wanton destruction of the purchased companies? If this solely about the harm done to the poor investors? If so, that is seriously wrong.

flora , June 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

If, you know, the neoliberal "because markets" is the ruling paradigm then of course there is no harm done. The questions then become: is "because markets" a sensible paradigm? What is it a sensible paradigm of? Is "because markets" even sensible for the long term?

flora , June 26, 2020 at 3:19 pm

an aside: farewell, Olympus camera. A sad day. Farewell, OM-1 and OM-2. Film photography is really not replicated by digital photography but the larger market has gone to digital. Speed and cost vs quality. Because markets. Now the vulture swoop.

Stan Sexton , June 26, 2020 at 8:17 pm

Where is the SEC when Bain Capital (Romney) wipes out Toys-R-Us and Dianne Feinstein's husband Richard Blum wipes out Payless Shoes. They gain control of the companies, pile on massive debt and take the proceeds of the loan, and they know the company cannot service the loan and a BK is around the corner.

Thousands lose their jobs. And this is legal? And we also lost Glass-Steagal and legalized stock buy-backs. The Elite are screwing the people. It's Socialism for the Rich, the Politicians and Govt Employees and Feudalism for the rest of us.

[Mar 07, 2021] Bank Regulation Can not Be Heads Banks Win, Tails Taxpayers Lose

Notable quotes:
"... Kane, who coined the term "zombie bank" and who famously raised early alarms about American savings and loans, analyzed European banks and how regulators, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, backstop them. ..."
"... We are only interested observers of the arm wrestling between the various EU countries over the costs of bank rescues, state expenditures, and such. But we do think there is a clear lesson from the long history of how governments have dealt with bank failures . [If] the European Union needs to step in to save banks, there is no reason why they have to do it for free best practice in banking rescues is to save banks, but not bankers. That is, prevent the system from melting down with all the many years of broad economic losses that would bring, but force out those responsible and make sure the public gets paid back for rescuing the financial system. ..."
"... In 2019, another question, alas, is also piercing. In country after country, Social Democratic center-left parties have shrunk, in many instances almost to nothingness. In Germany the SPD gives every sign of following the French Socialist Party into oblivion. Would a government coalition in which the SPD holds the Finance Ministry even consider anything but guaranteeing the public a huge piece of any upside if they rescue two failing institutions? ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
... ... ...

Running in the background, though, was a new, darker theme: That the post-2008 reforms had gone too far in restricting policymakers' discretion in crises. The trio most responsible for making the post-Lehman bailout revolution -- Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, and Henry Paulson -- expressed their misgivings in a joint op-ed :

But in its post-crisis reforms, Congress also took away some of the most powerful tools used by the FDIC, the Fed and the Treasury the FDIC can no longer issue blanket guarantees of bank debt as it did in the crisis, the Fed's emergency lending powers have been constrained, and the Treasury would not be able to repeat its guarantee of the money market funds.

These powers were critical in stopping the 2008 panic The paradox of any financial crisis is that the policies necessary to stop it are always politically unpopular. But if that unpopularity delays or prevents a strong response, the costs to the economy become greater.

We need to make sure that future generations of financial firefighters have the emergency powers they need to prevent the next fire from becoming a conflagration.

Sotto voce fears of this sort go back to the earliest reform discussions. But the question surfaced dramatically in Timothy Geithner's 2016 Per Jacobsson Lecture, " Are We Safer? The Case for Strengthening the Bagehot Arsenal ." More recently, the Group of Thirty has advanced similar suggestions -- not too surprisingly, since Geithner was co-project manager of the report, along with Guillermo Ortiz, the former Governor of the Mexican Central Bank, who introduced the former Treasury Secretary at the Per Jacobson lecture.

Aside from the financial collapse itself, probably nothing has so shaken public confidence in democratic institutions as the wave of bailouts in the aftermath of the collapse. The redistribution of wealth and opportunity that the bailouts wrought surely helped fuel the populist surges that have swept over Europe and the United States in the last decade. The spectacle of policymakers rubber stamping literally unlimited sums for financial institutions while preaching the importance of austerity for everyone else has been unbearable to millions of people.

Especially in money-driven political systems, affording policymakers unlimited discretion also plainly courts serious risks. Put simply, too big to fail banks enjoy a uniquely splendid situation of "heads I win, tails you lose" when they take risks. Scholars whose research INET has supported, notably Edward Kane , have shown how the certainty of government bailouts advantages large financial institutions, directly affecting prices of their bonds and stocks.

For these reasons INET convened a panel at a G20 preparatory meeting in Berlin on " Moral Hazard Issues in Extended Financial Safety Nets ." The Power Point presentations of the three panelists are presented in the order in which they gave them, since the latter ones sometimes comment on Edward Kane 's analysis of the European banks. Kane, who coined the term "zombie bank" and who famously raised early alarms about American savings and loans, analyzed European banks and how regulators, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, backstop them.

Peter Bofinger , Professor of International and Monetary Economics at the University of Würzburg and an outgoing member of the German Economic Council, followed with a discussion of how the system has changed since 2008. Helene Schuberth , Head of the Foreign Research Division of the Austrian National Bank, analyzed changes in the global financial governance system since the collapse.

The panel took place as public discussion of a proposed merger between two giant German banks, the Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, reached fever pitch. The panelists explored issues directly relevant to such fusions, without necessarily agreeing among themselves or with anyone at INET.

But the point Robert Johnson, INET's President, and I made some years back , amid an earlier wave of talk about using public money to bail out European banks, remains on target:

We are only interested observers of the arm wrestling between the various EU countries over the costs of bank rescues, state expenditures, and such. But we do think there is a clear lesson from the long history of how governments have dealt with bank failures . [If] the European Union needs to step in to save banks, there is no reason why they have to do it for free best practice in banking rescues is to save banks, but not bankers. That is, prevent the system from melting down with all the many years of broad economic losses that would bring, but force out those responsible and make sure the public gets paid back for rescuing the financial system.

The simplest way to do that is to have the state take equity in the banks it rescues and write down the equity of bank shareholders in proportion. This can be done in several ways -- direct equity as a condition for bailout, requiring warrants that can be exercised later, etc. The key points are for the state to take over the banks, get the bad loans rapidly out of those and into a "bad bank," and hold the junk for a decent interval so the rest of the market does not crater. When the banks come back to profitability, you can cash in the warrants and sell the stock if you don't like state ownership. That way the public gets its money back .at times states have even made a profit.

In 2019, another question, alas, is also piercing. In country after country, Social Democratic center-left parties have shrunk, in many instances almost to nothingness. In Germany the SPD gives every sign of following the French Socialist Party into oblivion. Would a government coalition in which the SPD holds the Finance Ministry even consider anything but guaranteeing the public a huge piece of any upside if they rescue two failing institutions?

The full article of Edward Kane

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


WheresOurTeddy , March 29, 2019 at 11:49 am

Enforcement of financial laws is not our thing. Just ask Chuck Schumer of the #Non-Resistance:

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/28/sec-democratic-commissioner-chuck-schumer/

Louis Fyne , March 29, 2019 at 12:17 pm

There needs to be an asset tax on/break up of the megas. End the hyper-agglomeration of deposits at the tail end. Not holding my breath though. (see NY state congressional delegation)

To be generous, tax starts at $300 billion. Even then it affects only a dozen or so US banks. But would be enough to clamp down on the hyper-scale of the largest US/world banks. The world would be better off with lot more mid-sized regional players.

thesaucymugwump , March 29, 2019 at 12:17 pm

Anyone who mentions Timmy Geithner without spitting did not pay attention during the Obama reign of terror. He and Obama crowed about the Making Home Affordable Act, implying that it would save all homeowners in mortgage trouble, but conveniently neglected to mention that less than 100 banks had signed up. The thousands of non-signatories simply continued to foreclose.

Not to mention Eric Holder's intentional non-prosecution of banksters. For these and many other reasons, especially his "Islamic State is only the JV team" crack, Obama was one of our worst presidents.

chuck roast , March 29, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Thank you Yves and Tom Ferguson.

Fergusons graph on DBK's default probabilities coincides with the ECB's ending its asset purchase programme and entering the "reinvestment phase of the asset purchase programme".
https://www.ecb.europa.eu/mopo/implement/omt/html/index.en.html
The worst of the euro zombie banks appear to be getting tense and nervous.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKpzCCuHDVY
Maybe that is why Jerome Powell did his volte-face last month on gradually raising interest rates. Note that the Fed also reduced its automatic asset roll-off. I'm curious if the other euro-zombies in the "peers" return on equity chart are are experiencing volatility also.

Craig H. , March 29, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Apparently the worst fate you can suffer as long as you don't go Madoff is Fuld. According to Wikipedia his company manages a hundred million which must be humiliating. It's not as humiliating as locking the guy up in prison would be by a very long stretch.

Greenspan famously lamented that there isn't anything the regulators can really do except make empty threats. This is dishonest. The regulations are not carved in stone like the ten commandments. In China they execute incorrigible financiers all the time.

John Wright , March 30, 2019 at 10:31 am

Greenspan was never willing to counter any problem that might irritate powerful financial constituencies. For example, during the internet stock bubble of the late 1990's, Greenspan decried the "irrational exuberance" of the stock market. The Greenspan Fed could have raised the margin requirement for stocks to buttress this view, but did not. As I remembered reading, Greenspan was in poor financial shape when he got his Fed job.

His subsequent performance at the Fed apparently left him a wealthy man. Real regulation by Greenspan may have adversely affected his wealth. It may explain why Alan Greenspan would much rather let a financial bubble grow until it pops and then "fix it".

Procopius , March 31, 2019 at 12:30 am

Everybody forgets (or at least does not mention) that Greenspan was a member of the Class of '43, the (mostly Canadian) earliest members of the Objectivist Cult with guru Ayn Rand. Expecting him to act rationally is foolish. It may happen accidentally (we do not know why he chose to let the economy expand unhindered in 1999), but you cannot count on it. In a world with information asymmetry expecting markets to be concerned about reputation is ridiculous. To expect them to police themselves for long term benefit is even more ridiculous.

rd , March 29, 2019 at 3:06 pm

I think Finance is currently about 13% of the S&P 500, down from the peak of about 18% or so in 2007. I think we will have a healthy economy and improved political climate when Finance is about 8-10% of the S&P 500 which is about where I think finance plays a healthy, but not overwhelming rentier role in the economy.

Inode_buddha , March 29, 2019 at 4:51 pm

I think things will be much better when finance is about ~3% of the S&P 500, but no more than that.

[Mar 07, 2021] Regulatory Capture: The Banks and the System That They Have Corrupted

Notable quotes:
"... She soldiered through her painful stomach ailments and secretly tape-recorded 46 hours of conversations between New York Fed officials and Goldman Sachs. After being fired for refusing to soften her examination opinion on Goldman Sachs, Segarra released the tapes to ProPublica and the radio program This American Life and the story went viral from there... ..."
"... In a nutshell, the whoring works like this. There are huge financial incentives to go along, get along, and keep your mouth shut about fraud. The financial incentives encompass both the salary, pension and benefits at the New York Fed as well as the high-paying job waiting for you at a Wall Street bank or Wall Street law firm if you show you are a team player . ..."
Mar 14, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"But the impotence one feels today -- an impotence we should never consider permanent -- does not excuse one from remaining true to oneself, nor does it excuse capitulation to the enemy, what ever mask he may wear. Not the one facing us across the frontier or the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers' enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. The worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others."

Simone Weil

"And in some ways, it creates this false illusion that there are people out there looking out for the interest of taxpayers, the checks and balances that are built into the system are operational, when in fact they're not. And what you're going to see and what we are seeing is it'll be a breakdown of those governmental institutions. And you'll see governments that continue to have policies that feed the interests of -- and I don't want to get clichéd, but the one percent or the .1 percent -- to the detriment of everyone else...

If TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car... I think it's inevitable. I mean, I don't think how you can look at all the incentives that were in place going up to 2008 and see that in many ways they've only gotten worse and come to any other conclusion."

Neil Barofsky

"Written by Carmen Segarra, the petite lawyer turned bank examiner turned whistleblower turned one-woman swat team, the 340-page tome takes the reader along on her gut-wrenching workdays for an entire seven months inside one of the most powerful and corrupted watchdogs of the powerful and corrupted players on Wall Street – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The days were literally gut-wrenching. Segarra reports that after months of being alternately gas-lighted and bullied at the New York Fed to whip her into the ranks of the corrupted, she had to go to a gastroenterologist and learned her stomach lining was gone.

She soldiered through her painful stomach ailments and secretly tape-recorded 46 hours of conversations between New York Fed officials and Goldman Sachs. After being fired for refusing to soften her examination opinion on Goldman Sachs, Segarra released the tapes to ProPublica and the radio program This American Life and the story went viral from there...

In a nutshell, the whoring works like this. There are huge financial incentives to go along, get along, and keep your mouth shut about fraud. The financial incentives encompass both the salary, pension and benefits at the New York Fed as well as the high-paying job waiting for you at a Wall Street bank or Wall Street law firm if you show you are a team player .

If the Democratic leadership of the House Financial Services Committee is smart, it will reopen the Senate's aborted inquiry into the New York Fed's labyrinthine conflicts of interest in supervising Wall Street and make removing that supervisory role a core component of the Democrat's 2020 platform. Senator Bernie Sanders' platform can certainly be expected to continue the accurate battle cry that 'the business model of Wall Street is fraud.'"

Pam Martens, Wall Street on Parade

[Feb 24, 2021] US-centered, racist, and mafia-styled community

Feb 24, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Feb 23 2021 18:04 utc | 233

Explosive Global Times Editorial today. My comment from Escobar's FB:

As we saw with Lavrov's latest interview, the gloves are coming off as China and Russia escalate the diplomatic war in response to the "US-centered, racist, and mafia-styled community" attacking them. The quote is from the Global Times Editor and deserves to be put in full:

"Canada, the UK and Australia, three members of the Five Eyes alliance, have recently taken action to put pressure on China. They have formed a US-centered, racist, and mafia-styled community, willfully and arrogantly provoking China and trying to consolidate their hegemony as all gangsters do. They are becoming a racist axis aimed at stifling the development rights of 1.4 billion Chinese."

Despite the proven fact that there's only one race of humans--the Human Race--the 5-Eyes nations continue to employ racism as a key tool of their so-called diplomacy. Again, the GT Editor:

"Five Eyes alliance members are all English-speaking countries. The formation of four states, except the UK, is the result of British colonization. Those countries share the Anglo-Saxon civilization. The Five Eyes countries have been brought together by the US to become the 'center of the West.' They have a strong sense of civilization superiority . The bloc, which was initially aimed at intelligence sharing, has now become an organization targeting China and Russia. The evil idea of racism has been fermenting consciously or unconsciously in their clashes with the two countries."

And this "idea" is nothing new and has existed for centuries. My research led me to a 100+ year-old work, The Day of The Saxon , and to the work that suggested it, The Empire of "The City" , both of which are freely available at The Archive. What is suggested by them and the recent work ( Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy ), reviewed by Pepe about the planning that resulted in the post-war Outlaw US Empire is that Empire is merely the continuance of the global Saxon Empire that still exists, and that what we're experiencing are the ongoing "political adjustments" that confer superiority to the Saxons since that's what they seek. In updated parlance, that would be Full Spectrum Dominance. As we know, the Chinese have already felt Saxon love and want no more of it and have finally made the connection between past and present. The Editor again:

"With a common language, a common historical background, and a coordinated attack target, such an axis is destined to erode international relations and allow hooliganism to rise to the diplomatic stage in the 21st century." [My Emphasis]

Hooliganism, an apt term given its roots in British football. Do read the entire editorial for there is much more commendable content. Those in the EU need to understand that they're doing the Saxon's bidding even through the UK is no longer a member as NATO still remains and is dominated by Saxons.

[Feb 19, 2021] These people...you know, quite literally, will kill us...not just us...I'm talking about snuffing out the possibility of the next generation...my kids...and they have to be stopped

Feb 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

gm , Feb 17 2021 20:56 utc | 25

Chris Hedges, Just talkin' 'bout revolution [against the Borg? Chris can't quite bring himself to name just who "they" are] on Jimmy Dore yesterday:

"These people...you know, quite literally, will kill us...not just us...I'm talking about snuffing out the possibility of the next generation...my kids...and they have to be stopped"

https://youtu.be/FEtIYziP27A

CJ , Feb 17 2021 21:42 utc | 30

Astonishing lack of understanding of history, basic humanity and common sense.
It seems no one among the current group of "victors" has heard the phrase "win the battle but lose the war."
With all the witch hunting and hate mongering going on, it also seems no one in authority has heard "treat others as you would have them treat you."
Also applies to WEF Great Reset Masters of the Universe.
A huge amount of karma heading their way.

[Feb 11, 2021] As Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (the most decorated Marine in U.S. history) said, "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism."

Feb 11, 2021 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: February 11, 2021 at 12:56 am GMT • 10.1 hours ago

@onebornfree nomy/">https://thesaker.is/does-the-us-still-have-an-economy/

Wall Street killed the truth squad and protected the profits from job and investment offshoring. This is what happens to elected officials when they attempt to represent the general interest rather than the special interests that finance political campaigns. The public interest is blocked off by a brick wall posted with a sign that says get compliant with the Establishment or get out of politics.

As for the "direct collision course" re the EU and Russia, the collision course has been imposed by the Master-oligarchy of U. S. on the hapless vassal EU.

[Jan 27, 2021] Nancy Pelosi Buys Tesla Calls, Stands To Benefit From New Biden EV Plan by Chris Katje

Jan 26, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

The ability of members of U.S. Congress to buy and sell stocks has been controversial over the years. One of its most prominent members made some purchases in December that could benefit from the new Biden administration.

What Happened: It was revealed over the weekend that Speaker of the House and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi purchased 25 call options of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA ). The purchases could have been done by Pelosi or her husband Paul, who runs a venture capital firm.

The options were bought at a stake price of $500 and expiration of March 18, 2022. Pelosi paid between $500,000 and $1,000,000 for the options, according to the disclosure .

Pelosi also disclosed that she bought 20,000 shares of AllianceBernstein Holdings (NYSE: AB ), 100 calls of Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ) and 100 calls of Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS ).

Tesla shares have risen from $640.34 at the time the calls were purchased to over $890 today. The call options were valued at $1.12 million as of Monday.

Related Link: How The 2020 Presidential Election Could Impact EV, Auto Stocks

Why It's Important: The purchases by Pelosi are questionable as arguments could be made that the companies stand to benefit from new President Joe Biden's agenda.

Biden's push for electric vehicles, which could include lifting the cap on sales, would give buyers tax credits again and is advantageous for Tesla. The president has also suggested a possible cash-for-clunkers program that could incentivize customers for trading in used vehicles towards the purchase of an electric vehicle.

Pelosi could now have a conflict as she works to pass clean energy initiatives from which her family could profit.

Former U.S. Senator David Perdue, a Republican, was criticized for making numerous stock trades during his six years in Congress. Perdue was the most prominent stock trader from Congress, making 2,596 trades during his time served.

Some of Perdue's transactions came while he was a member of several sub-committees. The Justice Department investigated Perdue and found no wrongdoing.


[Jan 24, 2021] How to Buy Politicians- Corruption and Lobbying By ; Rod Driver

Jan 21, 2021 | www.globalresearch.ca
How to Buy Politicians: Corruption and Lobbying Part 16 of 'Elephants in the Room' series By Rod Driver Global Research, January 21, 2021

"Very few of the common people realize that the political and legal systems have been corrupted by decades of corporate lobbying"(1)

Until recently, the terms Public Relations (PR) and lobbying were used slightly differently. Lobbying means direct communications with policy-makers. PR is more general and refers to all communications. The US introduced regulations to restrict the activities of lobbyists, so lobbyists tried to get around these regulations by labelling their activities as PR. There is now considerable overlap between the two activities. This post discusses activities that have traditionally been known as lobbying.

Political Corruption – It's Not A Bribe If You Call It A 'Donation'

The term corruption conjures up images of brown envelopes stuffed full of used notes being passed furtively under a table as a bribe. However, this is just one type of corruption. In Britain, Europe and the US, the corruption that really matters is built into the system, in the forms of donations, favours and influence. (This is sometimes called collusive corruption, where politicians and business people collude with each other). Big corporations are happy to spend a few million dollars/euros/pounds on political 'donations' if they get back billions in extra profits due to laws and regulations biased in their favor,(2) or from existing laws being weakened. In any other context we would call this bribery.

Politics in the US is expensive. Many US businesses now make large bribes to both of the major US political parties.(3) The main method is known as a 'fundraiser'. This is an event where corporations pay large sums to politicians using a lobbyist as an intermediary. The politicians know where the money has come from, and they know who expects favourable legislation in return.(4) US politicians are therefore dependent on their most successful lobbyists, and their wealthiest supporters. The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that money and wealth influence policy.(5) One former insider said of their work :

" the more money you have, the more your voice is heard It was an endless cycle of money trading hands for votes every fundraiser is a legal bribe" (6)

America is effectively a business-run society. A good example would be the insurance and drug companies, who make big profits from the existing US healthcare system. Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year bribing politicians to avoid changes that would decrease their profits.(7) President Obama introduced some changes, but the final legislation was so watered down that the US healthcare system is still nowhere near the type of National Health Service that is commonplace elsewhere. Some of the changes will actually increase the profits of the health insurance companies.(8) The donations in Britain are smaller than in the US, but they have been effective in distorting Britain's economy so that it benefits the rich at the expense of everyone else. European health services, including Britain's, are slowly and steadily being privatised.(9) This is not about making the health service better or more efficient. It is to enable corporations to extract profits.

Lobbying is a Huge Industry

The exact scale of lobbying is unknown. It has been a multi-billion dollar industry in the US for many years, where the official expenditure on lobbying is $7 billion per year, but there is a great deal of secret lobbying, so the estimated total is believed to be closer to $14 billion. More recently, lobbying in Brussels to manipulate European legislation has reached a similar scale.(10) It was estimated in 2017 that there were 25,000 lobbyists in Brussels. Britain has the third biggest lobbying industry in the world, estimated at £2 billion each year.(11) However, lobbying in Britain is even more secretive than in the US, so whilst many examples of lobbying have been well-documented, we do not have a clear picture of everything that goes on.

To make their lobbying even more effective, companies in an industry will get together to form organisations, such as the European Banking Federation, to lobby on their behalf. There are more than 1,000 of these in Brussels. Even larger groups, such as Business Europe, will represent a wide range of businesses. These groups are well-funded and influential. Due to their expertise they will initiate discussions about legislation, and even draft first proposals for new laws or regulations. The bank, Citigroup, wrote US legislation in 2014 to ensure that banks could be bailed out following a future financial crisis. Key politicians who supported the bill received large contributions from financial companies.(12)

David vs Goliath

In theory, other groups, such as consumer groups, unions, environmentalists and non-government organisations (NGOs) are also able to lobby, but their spending and influence add up to a small fraction of corporate lobbying. One researcher concluded that "For every $1 spent by public interest groups and unions corporations spent $34." (13) A US analysis in 2010 found that the financial companies alone employed 5 lobbyists for each member of congress.(14) In some industries, such as banking, there is no organised opposition to the corporate lobby.(15)

The nature of lobbying can also be quite personal, involving long-term social and working relationships, lunches, dinners, and job opportunities for relatives and friends. Billionaires, such as Richard Branson, can invite Prime Ministers to holiday on their private island. Rupert Murdoch, owner of multiple media outlets in many countries, was able to have personal meetings with US President Trump, various Prime Ministers, and their closest advisors. This type of meeting is considered mutually beneficial to both parties. NGOs and other groups do not generally have these close connections. Corporate lobbyists spend more money, employ more people, with more contacts and better insider knowledge, have better access to policymakers and better information. This undermines democracy, and creates governments that work well for the rich and powerful, but not for everyone else.(16)

Echo Chambers

Lobbying strategies are more successful if information appears to come from several, apparently independent, sources. Therefore lobbyists use many of the same strategies as PR consultants, such as the media, think tanks and academics, as echo chambers to reinforce their message. This is important because companies are not trusted as honest sources of information. Their relationship with the media can be quite complex. Lobbyists actively recruit former journalists because of their political contacts. Lobbyists feed stories to the press, but they also try to stop negative stories appearing.(17) They are sometimes able to persuade journalists to drop a story, either by offering an alternative story, or by threatening to cut access to their clients in future. This works because journalists get so many stories from lobbyists, so loss of access would have serious consequences for them. If all else fails lobbyists will threaten legal action. This has been very effective, particularly in the UK.

Lobbying services are also offered by think tanks, lawyers, management consultants and accountants. This creates serious conflicts of interest, as accountancy firms and consultants often advise governments on regulations, but then advise clients on how to get around those same regulations. This has been particularly clear in the banking sector, where accountants operate lucrative businesses advising their wealthiest clients on activities such as setting up layers of subsidiaries and holding companies, so that they can hide their assets overseas in tax havens, or game the system so that their profits appear in the lowest tax jurisdiction.(18)

Revolving Doors and Conflicts of Interest

The issue of 'revolving doors', where people move from jobs in government to jobs in big business, and vice versa, was mentioned in an earlier post about the weapons industry. The problem is extremely widespread and affects the most important business sectors in Britain, Europe and the US. When former business-people go to work with the government, they will see the world from the perspective of big business, irrespective of the downsides to the rest of society. In Britain this is most clear in the Health Service, where former staff of the biggest US Healthcare companies have been gradually re-structuring the National Health Service (NHS), and privatizing parts of it, so that shareholders can extract wealth from it. (This will be discussed in detail in a later post about the NHS).

TTIP: A Corporate Lobbying Paradise – Which Businesses Are Pushing Most for EU-US Trade Deal?

The problem is also important when people move in the opposite direction, from government to business. For example, lots of British politicians involved in decisions about the privatisation of the healthcare system have gone on to take well-paid jobs with private companies who benefitted from those decisions. A conflict of interest refers to a situation where a person is making decisions about an issue, but gains personally from those decisions. In the UK in 2008 there were 30 former government ministers (who were still politicians) who had jobs with corporations.(19) A later study in 2010 showed there were over 140 members of the House of Lords with financial connections to healthcare companies.(20) Their main role is to help the business manipulate government, by utilizing their contacts, or exploiting their knowledge of weaknesses in existing legislation.

A growing trend is for policymakers to join lobbying companies, and vice versa. Lobbyists actively headhunt government employees who have been involved in writing legislation. In the US, "about half of retiring senators and a third of retiring House members register as lobbyists."(21) The average salary is approximately 10 times as much as in their government job. The same happens in Europe, where banking regulators go on to earn big salaries working as bank lobbyists, and former lobbyists get appointed to senior roles with organisations that are supposed to regulate particular industries(22). In 2019 the chief lobbyist for Santander Bank, Jose Manuel Campa, became the new head of the European Banking Authority. It is therefore unlikely that banks will be properly regulated in the near future.

The Most Powerful Lobbying Organisation in the World is the US Government

There is an additional layer of lobbying which is extremely important, but almost never discussed openly by the mainstream media. Individual governments lobby other governments and organisations. This is notable in finance, where the British government lobbied hard to avoid stricter financial regulation by Europe following the 2008 financial crisis. In a later post we will talk about political and regulatory capture (this is sometimes called ideological capture), where politicians see the world from the point of view of big companies. Politicians lobby for regulations that will be profitable for companies, but might have serious consequences for citizens.(23)

The US government uses a combination of threats and bribes to achieve its goals all over the world. It lobbies at the UN to create support for its illegal wars; it lobbies other governments so that its tobacco companies can be allowed to sell and advertise their cigarettes abroad; it uses its diplomats and trade negotiators to arrange deals that benefit its exporters. Government lobbying is just as secretive as corporate lobbying, involving backroom deals, and promises of aid and loans in exchange for votes. Many countries try to do the same, but the scale of the US's economic threats and bribes, backed up by its willingness to impose sanctions and overthrow governments using its military, means that it is usually able to get its way, irrespective of the downsides for people in other countries. This creates huge advantages for US companies.

Transparency Is Important, But It Won't Change Anything By Itself

One of the big problems with lobbying is that most of it is secret. Greater transparency might help, but is probably only a small part of any future solution. Many people have argued for information about what executives are paid. We now have a fairly good idea of executive pay, but it has not led to serious change.

From 2005-2010 there was an annual award known as the Worst EU Lobby Award, where people voted for the worst corporate offenders, and the worst conflicts of interest by politicians who are helping to manipulate laws on behalf of corporations. In 2005, the fake grassroots organisation, C4C (Campaign for Creativity) lobbied for stronger patents. In 2006 the oil company ExxonMobil won for paying millions of dollars in order to fund 39 groups of climate skeptics. This gave the impression that climate change skeptics come from respectable sources, when many of them are paid to write corporate propaganda.(24) In 2007 BMW, Daimler and Porsche won for lobbying against carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions. In 2008 agrofuel (crops used as fuel) lobbyists tried to claim that they are sustainable, when they are not. In 2010, Goldman Sachs and the derivatives lobby group ISDA lobbied to protect their most complex financial products, despite the dangers they create, and the energy company, npower, claimed it was green while trying to keep coal powerplants open. Whilst these awards irritated people in business and the lobbying industry, they did not receive mainstream media coverage, so few people were aware of them, and they had little effect in changing anything.

Various ideas have been discussed to make lobbying more transparent, but none of the measures attempted so far has teeth. Lobbyists don't want their activities to be out in the open, and governments like having secret connections with the wealthiest parts of society. The EU and UK have what are known as transparency registers to monitor lobbyists, but they are ineffective. The UK register has been described as "completely unfit for purpose".(25) At the same time, corporate lobbyists keep working behind the scenes to actually decrease transparency.(26) Transparency by itself is not enough. It is just a starting point. The whole concept of corporate lobbying needs to be challenged much more seriously.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was first posted at medium.com/elephantsintheroom

Rod Driver is a part-time academic who is particularly interested in de-bunking modern-day US and British propaganda. This is the sixteenth in a series entitled Elephants In The Room, which attempts to provide a beginners guide to understanding what's really going on in relation to war, terrorism, economics and poverty, without the nonsense in the mainstream media.

[Jan 22, 2021] Congresswoman files articles of impeachment against US President Joe Biden as 'unfit threat to national security'

Jan 22, 2021 | www.rt.com

A Republican member of the US House of Representatives has filed articles of impeachment against newly inaugurated President Joe Biden, underscoring how the whole process has become politically weaponized.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), elected to her first term in November, accused Biden of being "unfit to hold the office" and a "lengthy and disturbing" pattern of "abuse of power" while he was Barack Obama's vice president, citing his threats to the Ukrainian government and his son Hunter Biden's shady business deals overseas among the examples.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1352359178355011586&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fusa%2F513282-qanon-rep-impeachment-biden%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

In a statement on Thursday, Greene said Biden has shown he would do "whatever it takes" to bail out his son and "line his family's pockets with cash from corrupt foreign energy companies."

"President Biden residing in the White House is a threat to national security and he must be immediately impeached," she added. In filing the articles, the Georgia congresswoman kept the promise she made a week ago , to impeach Biden on his first full day in office.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1352368778731020288&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fusa%2F513282-qanon-rep-impeachment-biden%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

The motion is extremely unlikely to succeed. Republicans are a minority in the House of Representatives, and Greene herself hardly speaks for the party as a whole. She has also been under relentless media attack for months as a conspiracy theorist , from 'QAnon' to calling the mass shootings in Sandy Hook and Parkland "false flags."

ALSO ON RT.COM Georgia congresswoman believes Parkland school massacre was 'false flag planned shooting'

Her motion to impeach Biden, however, shows that the impeachment process – originally intended for extreme circumstances in which presidents have to be removed for "high crimes and misdemeanors" such as treason – have become a political weapon.

Congressman Al Green (D-Texas) actually filed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump three times over the first two years of his term, which were voted down in the House. It wasn't until late 2019 that the Democrat-dominated House voted – along partisan lines – to impeach Trump, claiming that him bringing up Biden's publicly made admission about browbeating Ukraine into firing a corruption prosecutor amounted to soliciting foreign election interference. The Senate acquitted him in January 2020.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) dispensed with even the pretense of an investigation last week, when she held a vote to impeach Trump a second time. Pelosi accused Trump of "inciting insurrection" at the Capitol on January 6, when some of the president's supporters disrupted the joint session of Congress that sought to certify Biden's election victory.

ALSO ON RT.COM Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene vows to IMPEACH Biden on his first day in office, says she'll be 'voice of ignored voters'

The incident, which Trump and the entire Republican Party have condemned and disavowed, has been held up as the same thing as the 1861 rebellion of 11 states that tried to set up the Confederacy. The evenly divided Senate – with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker – is now reportedly negotiating the terms of Trump's trial sometime next month, even though he is no longer in office.

When someone pointed out that Democrats have filed impeachment articles against every Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower, the internet "fact-checkers" quickly labeled it "mostly false" because there had been no move to impeach Gerald Ford.

"While a handful of Democratic lawmakers have introduced articles of impeachment against five of the last six Republican presidents, in most cases these efforts weren't taken seriously by the party at large," Snopes declared in September 2019 , as if proving a point.

ALSO ON RT.COM 'Forgetting it is not how you unify': Pelosi 'not worried' about Trump trial contradicting Biden's calls for unity (VIDEO)

HipToTheJive 10 hours ago 21 Jan, 2021 11:00 PM

What is Criminal Joe doing in office? There is a video of him admitting he did pay for play with a billion of our tax money. The FBI is sitting on Hunter's laptop that Giuliani had also and Rudy put out all kinds of emails that were on there mentioning Biden. We have witnesses that will testify to his crimes. We have the Biden family that made tons of money off shady deals. We have Hunter getting 1.5 billion from China. We had a senate investigation led by Ron Johnson. We have Peter Strok's notes about the meeting with Obama, Biden, etc. about taking down Trump. It is loud and clear.
Hatetotellyou WakeupSpeakup 11 hours ago 21 Jan, 2021 09:38 PM
Their show is garbage as soon as one realizes identity politics is the opposite of unity.
StudsterUSA Richland Yabitches" 10 hours ago 21 Jan, 2021 11:03 PM
The majority of Americans feel powerless, that is the reason conspiracy theories get so much immediate acceptance. Dialing up the temperature makes it worse because then they are enraged as well as powerless. It's like they are wounded animal that's trapped in a corner. That's why so many people are going berserk. Show me⤵some love❤

[Jan 20, 2021] After looting the xUSSR space there are no countries left to be looted by the US where to recoup Pentogon costs. In this sense the decline of the empire is inevitable

Jan 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

passerby , Jan 20 2021 21:03 utc | 71

In the end, it's all about money. And the US has an army that costs more than can be plundered from the countries it occupies.
The US military costs about a trillion every year. There are no countries left to be conquered by the US where that kind of treasure can be looted.

[Jan 19, 2021] President Biden's Corruption Already Pervades His Administration -- Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... "A month after the election, Biden's nominations make clear that the president-elect is most focused on trying to fulfill his ..."
"... to donors that nothing fundamentally changes. And yet, that tacit admission may have stunned those who keep hearing from liberal and progressive groups in Washington that, in fact, the left has been notching monumental victories in Biden's cabinet appointments ..."
"... What little organized left political infrastructure exists in Washington is largely valorizing or publicly defending swamp creatures who at minimum deserve a loyal opposition. The ..."
"... being done by a small handful of under-resourced groups to mount a real opposition is getting trampled by a culture of obsequiousness. This culture of acquiescence gives swamp creatures a free pass ..."
"... Despite Tanden's ..."
"... push for Social Security cuts ..."
"... , Beltway liberal groups whose mission is to defend Social Security ..."
"... . Despite Tanden having her organization ..."
"... rake in cash ..."
"... from Wall Street, Amazon, billionaires and ( ..."
"... ) foreign governments, a Ralph Nader-founded, all-purpose consumer advocacy group ..."
"... CAP as "one of our key partners in the fight to tax corporations and the rich, rein in monopoly power, tackle government corruption, and much more." Despite Tanden ..."
"... a union at CAP, ..."
"... union leaders ..."
"... in Washington lauded her. ..."
"... American Prospect ..."
"... "a President Biden would be in the business of confronting Mr. Putin for his aggressions, not embracing him. Not trashing NATO, but strengthening its deterrence, investing in new capabilities to deal with challenges in cyberspace, in outer space, under the sea, A.I., electronic warfare, and give robust security assistance to countries like Ukraine, Georgia, the Western Balkans ..."
"... "a President Putin would be in the business of confronting Mr. Biden for his aggressions (in Syria, or elsewhere), not embracing them. Not trashing the Warsaw Pact, but strengthening its deterrence, investing in new capabilities to deal with challenges in cyberspace, in outer space, under the sea, A.I., electronic warfare, and give robust security assistance to countries like Canada, Mexico, and other nations that are near the U.S. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Bernard Schwartz, ..."
"... a former Vice Chairman and top investor in Lockheed Martin ..."
"... (which is by far the largest seller to the U.S. Government, and also the largest seller to most of America's allied Governments), is one of Joe Biden's top donors. CNN headlined, on October 24th, ..."
"... "Biden allies intensify push for super PAC after lackluster fundraising quarter" ..."
"... , and reported that, "Bernard Schwartz, a private investor and donor to the former vice president's campaign, said he spoke with Biden within the last two weeks and encouraged him to do just that." It's not for nothing that throughout Biden's long Senate career, he has voted in favor of every U.S. invasion that has been placed before the U.S. Senate. ..."
Jan 19, 2021 | www.strategic-culture.org

President Biden's Corruption Already Pervades His Administration Eric Zuesse December 8, 2020 © Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

That didn't take long. He's not even in office, and he has already surrounded himself, as the incoming President, with individuals who derive their wealth from (and will be serving) America's top defense contractors and Wall Street. The likelihood that these Government officials will be biting the hands that feed them is approximately zero. Great investigative journalists have already exposed how corrupt they are. For that to be the case so early (even before taking office) is remarkable, and only a summary of those reports will be provided here, with links to them, all of which reports are themselves linking to the incriminating evidence, so that everything can easily be tracked back to the documentation by the reader here, even before there are any 'Special Prosecutors' (as if those were serving anyone other than the opposite Party's political campaigns, and, ultimately, the opposite Party's billionaires).

First up, is the independent investigative team of David Sirota and Andrew Perez. On December 4th, they bannered "The Beltway Left Is Normalizing Corruption And Corporatism" , and reported that "A month after the election, Biden's nominations make clear that the president-elect is most focused on trying to fulfill his promise to donors that nothing fundamentally changes. And yet, that tacit admission may have stunned those who keep hearing from liberal and progressive groups in Washington that, in fact, the left has been notching monumental victories in Biden's cabinet appointments ."

Liberal (that's to say Democratic Party) U.S. media hide the corruptness of Democratic politicians, and conservative (that's to say Republican Party) U.S. media hide the corruptness of Republican politicians; and, so, the public today are getting corrupt leaders whichever side they vote for. No mainstream 'news' media report what independent investigative journalists such as Sirota and Perez report. Authentically good journalists use as sources -- and link to in their articles -- neither Democratic nor Republican allegations, but instead are on the margins, outside of the major media, and so rely on whistleblowers and other trustworthy outsiders, not on people who are somebody's paid PR flacks, individuals who are being paid to deceive. As Sirota and Perez state: " What little organized left political infrastructure exists in Washington is largely valorizing or publicly defending swamp creatures who at minimum deserve a loyal opposition. The good work being done by a small handful of under-resourced groups to mount a real opposition is getting trampled by a culture of obsequiousness. This culture of acquiescence gives swamp creatures a free pass ." It's all some sort of mega-corporate propaganda -- 100% billionaire-supported on the conservative side, 100% billionaire-supported also on the liberal side, and 0% billionaire-supported for anything that is authentically progressive (not dependent, at all, upon the aristocracy).

That independent reporting team focused on Biden's having chosen an economic team which will start his Administration already offering to congressional Republicans an initial Democratic Party negotiating position that accepts Republicans' basic proposals to cut middle class Social Security and health care benefits in order for the Government to be able to continue expanding the military budgets and purchases from the billionaire-controlled firms, such as Northrop Grumman -- firms whose entire sales (or close to it) are to the U.S. Government and to the governments (U.S. 'allies') that constitute these firms' secondary markets. (In other words: those budget-cuts aren't going to be an issue between the two Parties and used by Biden's team as a bargaining chip to moderate the Republicans' position that favors more for 'defense' and less for the poor, but are actually accepted by both Parties, even before the new Administration will take office.) Obviously, anything that both sides to a negotiation accept at the very start of a negotiation will be included in the final product from that negotiation; and this means that during a Biden Presidency there will be reductions in middle-class Social security and health care benefits in order to continue, at the present level -- if not to increase yet further -- Government spending on the products and services of such firms as Lockheed Martin and the Rand Corporation (firms that control their market by controlling their Government, which is their main or entire market).

Sirota and Perez focus especially upon one example: Neera Tanden, whom Biden chose on November 30th to be the White House Budget Director, and who therefore will set the priorities which determine how much federal money the President will be trying to get the Congress to allocate to what recipients:

Despite Tanden's push for Social Security cuts , Beltway liberal groups whose mission is to defend Social Security lauded her think tank . Despite Tanden having her organization rake in cash from Wall Street, Amazon, billionaires and ( previously ) foreign governments, a Ralph Nader-founded, all-purpose consumer advocacy group praised CAP as "one of our key partners in the fight to tax corporations and the rich, rein in monopoly power, tackle government corruption, and much more." Despite Tanden busting a union at CAP, two national union leaders in Washington lauded her.

Next up: One of the rare honest non-profits in the field of journalism is the Project on Government Oversight, POGO, which refuses to accept donations from "anyone who stands to benefit financially from our work," and which states in its unique "Donation Acceptance Policy" that, "POGO reviews all contributions exceeding $100 in order to maintain this standard." In other words: they refuse to be corrupt. Virtually all public-policy or think-tank nonprofits are profoundly corrupt, but POGO is the most determined exception to that general rule.

On 20 November 2020, POGO headlined "Should Michèle Flournoy Be Secretary of Defense?" and their terrific investigative team of Winslow Wheeler and Pierre Sprey delivered a scorching portrayal of Flournoy as irredeemably corrupt -- it ought to be read by everybody. It's essential reading throughout, and its links to the evidence are to the very best sources. So, I won't summarize it, because all Americans need to know what it reports, and to be able to verify, on their own (by clicking onto any link in it that interests them), any allegation that the given reader has any question about. However, I shall point out here the sheer hypocrisy of the following which that article quotes Flournoy as asserting: "It will be imperative for the next secretary to appoint a team of senior officials who meet the following criteria: deep expertise and competence in their areas of responsibility; proven leadership in empowering teams, listening to diverse views, making tough decisions, and delivering results." (Of course, that assertion presumes the given 'expert' to be not only authentically expert but also honest and trustworthy, authentically representing the public's interest and no special interests whatsoever -- not at all corrupt -- which is certainly a false allegation in her own case.) She had urged the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and had participated in planning and overseeing both the war against Syria, and the coup that destroyed Ukraine (and none of those countries had ever invaded, or even threatened to invade, the United States); and, so, for her to brag about her "delivering results" is not merely hypocritical, it is downright evil, because she is obviously proud, there, of her vicious, outright voracious, record.

Her business-partner, Tony Blinken, has already received Biden's approval to become his Secretary of State, and the first really good investigative journalist that American Prospect magazine has had, Jonathan Guyer, headlined on November 23rd, "What You Need to Know About Tony Blinken" , and what Guyer reports is just what any well informed reader would expect to see for a business partner of Flournoy's.

Guyer's report closes by making passing reference to a CBS 'news' puff-piece for Blinken. In that CBS puff-piece , Blinken says, "a President Biden would be in the business of confronting Mr. Putin for his aggressions, not embracing him. Not trashing NATO, but strengthening its deterrence, investing in new capabilities to deal with challenges in cyberspace, in outer space, under the sea, A.I., electronic warfare, and give robust security assistance to countries like Ukraine, Georgia, the Western Balkans ." What would Americans think if Russia were to have retained its Warsaw Pact, and "a President Putin would be in the business of confronting Mr. Biden for his aggressions (in Syria, or elsewhere), not embracing them. Not trashing the Warsaw Pact, but strengthening its deterrence, investing in new capabilities to deal with challenges in cyberspace, in outer space, under the sea, A.I., electronic warfare, and give robust security assistance to countries like Canada, Mexico, and other nations that are near the U.S. "? Guyer pointedly noted that "The [CBS News] podcast was sponsored by a major weapons maker. 'At Lockheed Martin, your mission is ours,' read an announcer." Tony Blinken's mission is theirs. These people get the money both coming and going -- on both sides of the "revolving door." Today's American Government is for sale to the highest bidders, on any policy, domestic or foreign. 'Government service' is just a sabbatical to boost their value to the firms that will be paying them the vast majority of their lifetime 'earnings'. This is the reality that mainstream U.S.-and-allied 'news' media refuse to publish (or, especially , to make clear). Only an electorate which is ignorant of this reality can accept such a government.

Back on 26 January 2020, I had headlined "Joe Biden Is as Corrupt as They Come" and documented the reality of this, but America's mainstream media were hiding that fact so as to decrease the likelihood that the only Democratic Party Presidential candidate whom no billionaire supported , Bernie Sanders, might win the nomination. Perhaps now that it's too late, even those 'news' organizations (such as CNN, Fox, CBS, NBC, ABC, New York Times , Washington Post , PBS, and NPR) will start reporting the fact of Biden's corruptness. Where billionaires control all of the mainstream media, there is no democracy -- it's not even possible , in such a country

As far back as 25 October 2019, I had headlined "Biden Backer -- Former Lockheed Leader -- Convinces Joe Biden to Sell-Out" , and reported that

Bernard Schwartz, a former Vice Chairman and top investor in Lockheed Martin (which is by far the largest seller to the U.S. Government, and also the largest seller to most of America's allied Governments), is one of Joe Biden's top donors. CNN headlined, on October 24th, "Biden allies intensify push for super PAC after lackluster fundraising quarter" , and reported that, "Bernard Schwartz, a private investor and donor to the former vice president's campaign, said he spoke with Biden within the last two weeks and encouraged him to do just that." It's not for nothing that throughout Biden's long Senate career, he has voted in favor of every U.S. invasion that has been placed before the U.S. Senate.

Near the end of the Democratic Party's primaries, on 16 March 2020, CNBC headlined "Megadonors pull plug on plan for anti-Sanders super PAC as Biden racks up wins" , and reported that Bernard Schwartz had become persuaded by other billionaires that, by this time, "Biden could handle Sanders on his own." They had done their job; they would therefore control the U.S. Government regardless of which Party's nominee would head it.

Biden -- like Trump, and like Obama and Bush and Clinton before him -- doesn't represent the American people. He represents his mega-donors. And he is staffing his Administration accordingly. He repays favors: he delivers the services that they buy from him. This is today's America. And that is the way it functions.

[Jan 19, 2021] US expands sanctions against Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, targeting ships Russian firms working on vital pan-European projec

Jan 19, 2021 | www.rt.com

46 Follow RT on RT Outgoing US President Donald Trump has delivered his "parting gift" to the Moscow-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with newly announced sanctions targeting a pipe-laying vessel and companies involved in the multinational project.

The specialist ship concerned, named, 'Fortuna,' and oil tanker 'Maksim Gorky', as well as two Russian firms, KVT-Rus and Rustanker, were blacklisted on Tuesday under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) as part of Washington's economic war on Moscow. The same legislation had been previously used by the US to target numerous Russian officials and enterprises.

Russian energy giant Gazprom warned its investors earlier on Tuesday that Nord Stream 2 could be suspended or even canceled if more US restrictions are introduced.

ALSO ON RT.COM Gazprom warns investors that Nord Stream 2 could be canceled as Trump announces more US sanctions in 'parting gift'

However, Moscow has assured its partners that it intends to complete the project despite "harsh pressure on the part of Washington," according to Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov. Reacting to the new package of sanctions on Tuesday, Peskov called them "unlawful."

Meanwhile, the EU said it is in no rush to join the Washington-led sanction war on Nord Stream 2. EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said that the bloc is not going to resist the construction of the project.

"Because we're talking about a private project, we can't hamper the operations of those companies if the German government agrees to it," Borrell said Tuesday.

Nord Stream 2 is an offshore gas pipeline, linking Russia and Germany with aim of providing cheaper energy to Central European customers. Under the agreement between Moscow and Berlin, it was to be launched in mid-2020, but the construction has been delayed due to strong opposition from Washington.

ALSO ON RT.COM One more European firm caves to US pressure on Nord Stream 2 project – media

The US, which is hoping to sell its Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe, has hit the project with several rounds of sanctions over scarcely credible claims that it could undermine European energy security. Critics say the real intent is to force EU members to buy from American companies.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

46 Follow RT on RT Trends:

Fatback33 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:20 AM

The group that owns Washington makes the foreign policy. That policy is not for the benefit of the people.
DukeLeo Fatback33 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:06 PM
That is correct. The private banks and corporations in the US are very upset about Nord Stream - 2, as they want Europe to buy US gas at double price. Washington thus introduces additional political gangsterism in the shape of new unilateral sanctions which have no merit in international law.
noremedy 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:22 AM
Is the U.S. so stupid that they do not realize that they are isolating themselves? Russia has developed SPFS, China CIPS, together with Iran, China and Russia are further developing a payment transfer system. Once in place and functioning this system will replace the western SWIFT system for international payment transfers. It will be the death knell for the US dollar. 327 million Americans are no match for the rest of the billions of the world's population. The next decade will see the total debasement of the US monetary system and the fall from power of the decaying and crumbling in every way U.S.A.
Hanonymouse noremedy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:37 PM
They don't care. They have the most advanced military in the world. Might makes right, even today.
Shelbouy 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:25 PM
Russia currently supplies over 50% of the natural gas consumed by The EU. Germany and Italy are the largest importers of Russian natural gas. What is the issue of sanctions stemming from and why are the Americans doing this? A no brainer question I suppose. It's to make more money than the other supplier, and exert political pressure and demand obedience from its lackey. Germany.
David R. Evans Shelbouy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:58 PM
Russia and Iran challenge perpetual US wars for Israel's Oded Yinon Plan. Washington is Israel-controlled territory.
Jewel Gyn 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:34 AM
Sanctions work both ways. With the outgoing Trump administration desperately laying mines for Biden, we await how sleepy Joe is going to mend strayed ties with EU.
Count_Cash 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:20 AM
The US mafia state continues with the same practices. The dog is barking but the caravan is going. The counter productiveness of sanctions always shows through in the end! I am sure with active efforts of Germany and Russia against US mafia oppression that a blowback will be felt by the US over time!
Dachaguy 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:24 AM
This is an act of war against Germany. NATO should respond and act against the aggressor, America.
xyz47 Dachaguy 42 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 03:20 PM
NATO is run by the US...
lovethy Dachaguy 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:04 PM
NATO has no separate existence. It's the USA's arm of aggression, suppression and domination. Germany after WWII is an occupied country of USA. Thousand of armed personnel stationed in Germany enforcing that occupation.
Chaz Dadkhah 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:19 PM
Further proof that Trump is no friend of Russia and is in a rush to punish them while he still has power. If it was the swamp telling him to do that, like his supporters suggest, then they would have waited till their man Biden came in to power in less than 24 hours to do it. Wake up!
Mac Kio 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:34 PM
USA hates fair competition. USA ignores all WTO rules.
Russkiy09 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:33 PM
By whining and not completing in the face of US, Russia is losing credibility. They should not have delayed to mobilize the pipe laying vessel and other equipment for one whole year. They should have mobilized in three months and finished by now. Same happens when Jewtin does not shoot down Zio air force bombing Syria everyday. But best option should have been to tell European vassals that "if you can, take our gas. But we will charge the highest amount and sell as much as we want, exclude Russophobic Baltic countries and Poland and neo-vassal Ukraine. Pay us not in your ponzi paper money but real goods and services or precious metals or other commodities or our own currency Ruble." I so wish I could be the President of Russia. Russians deserve to be as wealthy as the Swiss or SIngapore etc., not what they are getting. Their leaders should stand up for their interest. And stop empowering the greedy merchantalist Chinese and brotherhood Erdogan.
BlackIntel 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:27 PM
America i captured by private interest; this project threatens American private companies hence the government is forced to protect capitalism. This is illegal
Ohhho 3 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 12:15 PM
That project was a mistake from the start: Russia should distance itself from the Evil empire, EU included! Stop wasting time and resources on trying to please the haters and keeping them more competitive with cheaper Russian natural gas: focus on real partners and potential allies elsewhere!
butterfly123 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 01:58 PM
I have said it before that part of the problem is at the door of the policy-makers and politicians in Russia. Pipeline project didn't spring up in the minds of politicians in Russia one morning, presumably. There should have been foresight, detailed planning, and opportunity creation for firms in Russia to acquire the skill-set and resources to advance this project. Not doing so has come to bite Russia hard and painful. Lessons learnt I hope Mr President!
jakro 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:37 AM
Good news. The swamp is getting deeper and bigger.
hermaflorissen 4 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 11:49 AM
Trump finally severed my expectations for the past 4 years. He should indeed perish.
ariadnatheo 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 03:06 PM
That is one Trump measure that will not be overturned by the Senile One. They will need to amplify the RussiaRussiaRussia barking and scratching to divert attention from their dealings with China
Neville52 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:01 PM
Its time the other nations of the world turned their backs on the US. Its too risky if you are an international corporation to suddenly have large portions of your income cancelled due to some crazy politician in the US
5th Eye 2 hours ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:03 PM
From empire to the collapse of empire, US follows UK to the letters. Soon it will be irrelevant. The only thing that remains for UK is the language. Probably hotdog for the US.
VonnDuff1 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 02:10 PM
The USA Congress and its corrupt foreign policy dictates work to the detriment of Europe and Russia, while providing no tangible benefits to US states or citizens. So globalist demands wrapped in the stars & stripes, should be laughed at, by all freedom loving nations.

[Jan 13, 2021] The shades of neoliberal corruption

Jan 13, 2021 | www.unz.com

Peripatetic Itch , says: January 12, 2021 at 7:09 pm GMT • 9.2 hours ago

@Observator the state legislatures. They mandated that election law be set by those same legislatures. They set up the whole rigmarole of the Electoral College with multiple stages of certification, and set the inauguration for March to leave enough time to sort out election controversies. All of these have of course been either eliminated, ignored or watered down enough to make the certification process simply pro forma . Apparently no one has standing to challenge anything.

The founders could do little about secret societies. They were already a staple of 18th Century society and subverting everything. Right across the political spectrum.

Joe Levantine , says: January 12, 2021 at 7:26 pm GMT • 8.9 hours ago
@Jake of usurping the Catholic Church's lands within England which made them fabulously rich, only to apply the same strategy to any tribe or nation to be subdued into the British Empire. This same class, by confiscating most of the lands in England, pushed the pleb into utmost poverty. Since the US government is only nominally independent from the 'city' in London, the term Anglo Zionist is the best abbreviation to a stark reality. And BTW, I do not implicate most Jews as Zionists even though many of them think wrongly that they belong to the club. Anyone remembers Joe Biden's pleading to Netanyahu ' you don't have to be Jewish to be a Zionist".

[Jan 11, 2021] Clinton broke Reagan's promise and expanded NATO eastwards, he dismantled the Glass Steagall act which led to a malignant hypergrowth of the banking sector, and he was the who introduced the telecommunications act in 1996 which allowed for the concentration of corporate media in the hands of the few.

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton hollowed out his own country in order to completely remove all constraints (financial, mediatic, military). He doesn't get called out for it nearly enough in my opinion. ..."
"... Clinton was a particular type of low-class, sybaritic evil but he didn't have a strong USSR to contend with. Instead he had the drunken traitor Yeltsin dance for him like a bedraggled starving bear. ..."
Jan 11, 2021 | thesaker.is

Serbian girl on January 08, 2021 , · at 7:42 am EST/EDT

"So when was this golden age? Under Reagan? Well, this is when the dismantling of the inner core of the empire began."

Beg to differ. Reagan understood how to administer the US empire. He knew the risks of overstretching it. He made the promise to the Soviets not to encroach on their sphere of influence. He defended the high interest rates which strengthened the USD and which kept the banking sector in check.

All of that went to hell with Bill Clinton:
He broke Reagan's promise and expanded NATO eastwards, he dismantled the Glass Steagall act which led to a malignant hypergrowth of the banking sector, and he was the who introduced the telecommunications act in 1996 which allowed for the concentration of corporate media in the hands of the few.

Bill Clinton basically turned the empire into a rapacious and uncontrollable animal. (Funny how noone here is talking about imprisoning him )

There is a silver lining to Bill C's blood-soaked administration. It was while he was in power, that the Russians finally awoke from their 1990s stupor. They began to understand the mortal danger they were facing, and they patriotically chose Putin to lead them in 1999.

Ken Leslie on January 08, 2021 , · at 8:05 am EST/EDT

– Reagan was a disgusting Russophobe and Serbophobe who proclaimed 10th April (the founding of the Independent State of Croatia) a national holiday in California as governor. Not surprising given that his was the most RC government ever – he also colluded with the Polish anti-Christ to destroy the USSR. In the process he encouraged the German Nazis (see visit to Bitburg) who then destroyed Yugoslavia.

– He brought the world to the brink of a nuclear holocaust that was prevented by a vigilant Russian officer (in 1983?).

– He turbo-charged the power of corporations and decimated social structures and the rights of the working class (the Americans are paying for this now).

This is not to say that the scumbag Clinton was good – after all he was trained at Georgetown – that seminary for American murderers.

Serbian girl on January 08, 2021 , · at 9:33 am EST/EDT

Thanks for this Ken. Good to know who Reagan really was!

To get back to your point about the "dismantling of the empire" Reagan, for all his personal awfulness and recklessness (and subversiveness) was still more restrained than Clinton. Clinton hollowed out his own country in order to completely remove all constraints (financial, mediatic, military). He doesn't get called out for it nearly enough in my opinion. I guess it's personal, after what he did to us.

Ken Leslie on January 08, 2021 , · at 11:07 am EST/EDT

Oh, I have nothing but hatred and contempt for that criminal, trust me.

Ken Leslie on January 08, 2021 , · at 11:49 am EST/EDT

Clinton was a particular type of low-class, sybaritic evil but he didn't have a strong USSR to contend with. Instead he had the drunken traitor Yeltsin dance for him like a bedraggled starving bear. Never again!

[Dec 27, 2020] Summers role in plundering of Russia after 1991 revolution

Dec 27, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Summers' second big problem is the scandal that led to his ouster at Harvard, which was NOT his infamous "women suck at elite math and sciences" remarks. The university has conveniently let that be assumed to be the proximate cause.

In fact, it was Summers' long-standing relationship with and protection of Andrei Shleifer, a Harvard economics professor, who was at the heart of a corruption scandal where he used his influential role on a Harvard contract advising on Russian privatization to enrich himself and his wife, his chief lieutenant Jonathan Hay, and other cronies. The US government sued Harvard for breach of contract and Shleifer and Hay for fraud and won. This section comes from a terrifically well reported account in Institutional Investor by David McClintick :

The judge determined that Shleifer and Hay were subject to the conflict-of-interest rules and had tried to circumvent them; that Shleifer engaged in apparent self-dealing; that Hay attempted to "launder" $400,000 through his father and girlfriend; that Hay knew the claims he caused to be submitted to AID were false; and that Shleifer and Hay conspired to defraud the U.S. government by submitting false claims.

On August 3, 2005, the parties announced a settlement under which Harvard was required to pay $26.5 million to the U.S. government, Shleifer $2 million and Hay between $1 million and $2 million, depending on his earnings over the next decade. Shleifer was barred from participating in any AID project for two years and Hay for five years. Shleifer and Zimmerman were required by terms of the settlement to take out a $2 million mortgage on their Newton house. None of the defendants acknowledged any liability under the settlement. (Forum Financial also settled its lawsuit against Harvard, Shleifer and Hay under undisclosed terms.

And while Harvard can't be held singularly responsible for the plutocratic land-grab in Russia, the fact that its project leaders decided to feed at the trough sure didn't help:

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

And while Summers was not responsible for Shleifer getting the contract, he was a booster and later protector of Shleifer:

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

And the protection Shleifer got was considerable:

Knowles tells Institutional Investor that he does not remember Summers' approaching him about Shleifer However, not long after Summers says he intervened on the professor's behalf, Knowles promoted Shleifer from professor of economics to a named chair, the Whipple V.N. Jones professorship.

Shleifer's legal position changed on June 28, 2004, when Judge Woodlock ruled that he and Hay had conspired to defraud the U.S. government and had violated conflict-of-interest regulations. Still, there was no indication that the Summers administration had initiated disciplinary proceedings. To the contrary, efforts were seemingly made to divert attention from the growing scandal. The message from the top at Harvard was, "No problem -- Andrei Shleifer is a star," says one senior Harvard figure

One instance was a meeting early in the academic year that began in September 2004, less than two months after the federal court formally adjudicated Shleifer's liability for conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. A faculty member asked [Dean] Kirby why Harvard should defend a professor who had been found liable for conspiring to commit fraud. The second confrontation came early in the current academic year when another professor asked Kirby why Harvard should pay a settlement of $26.5 million and legal fees estimated at between $10 million and $15 million for legal violations by a single professor and his employee, about which it was unaware. On both occasions Kirby is said to have turned red in the face and angrily cut off discussion.

On at least one other occasion, Summers himself told members of the faculty of arts and sciences that the millions of dollars that Harvard paid in damages did not come from the budget of the faculty of arts and sciences, but didn't say where the money came from. Those listening inferred he meant that the matter shouldn't be of concern to the faculty and that they shouldn't raise it, a curious notion, given that Shleifer was one of their own

Shleifer has never acknowledged doing anything wrong. Summers has said nothing. And so far as is known, there has been no internal investigation or sanction. "An observer trying to make sense of the University's position on Shleifer, Ogletree and Tribe is driven to an unhappy conclusion. Defiance seems to be a better way to escape institutional opprobrium than confession and apology. . . . And most of all being a close personal friend of the president probably does one no harm."

But for the faculty, which had already had frictions with Summers, the Russia scandal was the final straw. Copies of the Institutional Investor article were stuffed in the mailbox of every faculty member the morning of the no-confidence vote that forced Summers' resignation .

And that's before we get to Summers' role in the ouster of Brooksley Born over credit default swaps and in supporting the passage of Gramm–Leach–Bliley and the repeal of Glass Steagall (admittedly so shot full of holes at that point as to be close to a dead letter, but still necessary to allow Traveler and Citigroup to merge). Yet Summers has refused to recant any of these actions .

Procopius , December 25, 2020 at 4:08 am

The link to the excellent Institutional Investor article took me to a "page not found" page (oddly, not a 404 Error page). The link in my bookmarks is https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b150npp3q49x7w/how-harvard-lost-russia

[Dec 11, 2020] Is This Why The Media Is Suddenly Reporting On Hunter Biden s Corruption

Dec 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

IS THIS WHY THE MEDIA IS SUDDENLY REPORTING ON HUNTER BIDEN'S CORRUPTION?

Authored by Andrea Widburg via AmericanThinker.com,

In the world of Democrat politics, there are no coincidences. With that principle in mind, it's possible to understand why Democrat media outlets are suddenly reporting about Hunter Biden's corruption, a story that spills over onto his father. The first is to get ahead of potential breaking news about Hunter's imminent arrest. The second theory is the one Monica Showalter advanced: The leftists used Biden to attain the White House (or so they believe) and are now ready to get rid of him. Having a criminal son may be just what the Obama/Harris camp needs to make that happen. And if there's any doubt about this theory, an article in The New York Times seems to lay it to rest.

We conservatives remember how, in October, the media and the tech tyrants conspired to block any reports about Hunter Biden , whether those reports were the Senate Intelligence Committee's findings about the $3.5 million Hunter received from the wife of a Russian politician, or the shocking details of political corruption, drug addiction, and sexual debauchery contained on his hard drive.

Well, to ordinary people, these stories were shocking. To the media and the tech tyrants, these stories were potential dangers to Joe Biden's candidacy. They had to be stopped – and stopped they were. Twitter and Facebook, the two biggest social media tech tyrants, refused to allow any reports to circulate and banned people, including President Trump's press secretary , from their platforms when they refused to bow down to this censorship.

News outlets derided the reports about the Biden family's corrupt dealings, all of which implicated Joe Biden as the man who pimped out his addled son for huge sums of money, as non-stories. That's not an exaggeration. It's explicitly what NPR's public editor said:

Likewise, CNN's Christiane Amanpour, who's served as a shill for every tyrannical regime on earth, insisted that, because she was a real "journalist," it was not her job to investigate stories. Instead, it was only her job to determine whether the results of other people's investigations met her standards. The Hunter Biden story did not:

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1337085128728662023&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fwhy-media-suddenly-reporting-hunter-bidens-corruption&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

When President Trump tried to bring the story to Americans' attention during the first presidential debate, Biden snapped back that it was Russian disinformation, a lie that the media and tech tyrants enthusiastically disseminated

me title=

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1336875410576072705&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fwhy-media-suddenly-reporting-hunter-bidens-corruption&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Suddenly, though, the media is releasing information about the criminal investigations into not both Hunter Biden and Joe's brother, James Biden. As the above tweet notes, these investigations have been ongoing for years. We also know that a sizable number of voters would have passed over Biden for Trump had they known about Biden family corruption. So, what gives? Why are Hunter and, by extension, Joe himself, suddenly fair game?

It could be that bad things are about to come down from the FBI. After all, Trump did promise that "a lot of big things" will happen soon. The sudden flurry of reports about the Bidens could just be the Democrats' way of getting ahead of the story so that, if Hunter is shown doing the perp walk, they can say that it's "old news."

However, it's equally likely that the Democrats are making plans to get Biden out of office as quickly as possible – or perhaps, sideline him before he's even sworn in (assuming, of course, that Biden hangs onto that president-elect title). As Monica Showalter pointed out on Thursday, Biden is not making leftists happy . He's filling his possible administration with corporate insiders , he wants a former military officer to head the defense department, and he's continuing to show a very rapid cognitive decline . He's offering Clinton-era politics with a side of dementia and that is not what the hard left side of the party wants.

In any event, the goal, always, was to get Kamala into the White House. It didn't and doesn't matter that the voters don't like her -- as demonstrated by the fact that even her home state of California didn't like her and her early retreat from the primaries. What matters is that she, unlike both Hillary and Joe, is Barack Obama's true third term.

Harris is as hard left as they come and willing to do whatever it takes to maintain power. While Joe Biden, despite his corruption and his shift to the hard left, still cherishes some residual notions about the Constitution, Kamala is not hindered by such old-fashioned ideas:

Harris is as hard left as they come and willing to do whatever it takes to maintain power. While Joe Biden, despite his corruption and his shift to the hard left, still cherishes some residual notions about the Constitution, Kamala is not hindered by such old-fashioned ideas:

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1294018535555989504&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fwhy-media-suddenly-reporting-hunter-bidens-corruption&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

With Americans at large finally learning that Hunter Biden and James Biden are crooked and that Joe is the big, corrupt tree from which these rotten apples fell, there's going to be lots of pressure on Joe to retire as quickly as is politely possible. It's The New York Times that gives the game away. On Thursday, it published a positively wistful article entitled "Investigation of His Son Is Likely to Hang Over Biden as He Takes Office: Unless the Trump Justice Department clears Hunter Biden, the new president will confront the prospect of his own administration handling an inquiry that could expose his son to criminal prosecution." The opening paragraph, speaks of Biden in a "no-win situation" that could be "politically and legally perilous," and the report continues in that vein. The subtext is clear: Leave. Leave now.

Joe served his purpose by being the bland front person for a full leftist assault on the White House. Now it's time for him to go. And while his handlers may reward him for a job well done with the pleasure of the inauguration, you can be sure that they'll pressure him to do what he promised to do , which is to invent a respectable disease and quit ASAP.

22,015 33 NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX

Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.


[Nov 30, 2020] The dubious wunderkind Sachs and his economic ilk intentionally fostered the plunder of Russia under Yeltsin

Nov 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Avid Lurker , Nov 30 2020 1:18 utc | 73

@ karloft1 @ 55 & 65

The dubious wunderkind Sachs and his economic ilk intentionally fostered the plunder of Russia under Yeltsin:

The Harvard Boys Do Russia
After seven years of economic "reform" financed by billions of dollars in U.S.

Now Sachs, an economist parroting syllogistic science falsehoods, now pontificates about matters, once again, that he has a tenuous grasp of ... at best. For a compelling counter-argument to Sachs' scientific schlock see:

The COVID-19 RT-PCR Test: How to Mislead All Humanity. Using a "Test" To Lock Down Society/


[Nov 25, 2020] Corruption as the disirable "status quo" for neoliberalism

Nov 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Nov 25 2020 0:28 utc | 71

A search at Michael Hudson's website for Yellen reveals the following:

" Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen's husband , George Akerlof, has written a good article about looting and fraud as ways to make money. But instead of saying that looting and fraud are bad, the Fed has refused to regulate or move against such activities. It evidently recognizes that looting and fraud are what Wall Street is all about – or at least that the financial system would come crashing down if an attempt were made to clean it up!"

[Nov 18, 2020] Secret Empires- How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends by Peter Schweizer

Nov 18, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Peter Schweizer has been fighting corruption―and winning―for years. In Throw Them All Out, he exposed insider trading by members of Congress, leading to the passage of the STOCK Act. In Extortion , he uncovered how politicians use mafia-like tactics to enrich themselves. And in Clinton Cash , he revealed the Clintons' massive money machine and sparked an FBI investigation.

Now he explains how a new corruption has taken hold, involving larger sums of money than ever before. Stuffing tens of thousands of dollars into a freezer has morphed into multibillion-dollar equity deals done in the dark corners of the world.

An American bank opening in China would be prohibited by US law from hiring a slew of family members of top Chinese politicians. However, a Chinese bank opening in America can hire anyone it wants. It can even invite the friends and families of American politicians to invest in can't-lose deals.

President Donald Trump's children have made front pages across the world for their dicey transactions. However, the media has barely looked into questionable deals made by those close to Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Mitch McConnell, and lesser-known politicians who have been in the game longer.

In many parts of the world, the children of powerful political figures go into business and profit handsomely, not necessarily because they are good at it, but because people want to curry favor with their influential parents. This is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. But for relatives of some prominent political families, we may already be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.

Deeply researched and packed with shocking revelations, Secret Empires identifies public servants who cannot be trusted and provides a path toward a more accountable government.

>

Dave

HUGELY important book!

5.0 out of 5 stars HUGELY important book! Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2018 This was my most anticipated book of the year, so I bought the audio version at the earliest possible moment and listened to it eagerly. It completely delivers on its promise, exposing potential new political self-dealing scandals.

Previously, Schweizer's "Clinton Cash" book contributed to Hillary Clinton's election loss. This new book could be the death knell for Joe Biden's presidential hopes, as it reveals how his son, Hunter Biden, benefited from the former Vice President's dealings with foreign countries. Schweizer is evenhanded, though, targeting politicians from both parties. Mitch McConnell could easily become the target of an ethics investigation based on this book's suggestion that McConnell has taken official acts that benefit his Chinese in-laws financially.

The book reveals a kind of self-dealing that I had not considered before by suggesting that Obama (1) used regulations in the education and energy sectors to depress the prices of certain stocks (e.g., the University of Phoenix and fossil fuel companies), at which time friends of Barack, including George Soros, bought the stocks and then (2) eased pressure, allowing the stocks to rebound and enriching anyone who invested at the stocks' low points.

For any reader who worries about the mainstream media's failure to investigate the financial dealings of Obama and other politicians, this book is a partial remedy. Highly recommended!

[Nov 15, 2020] Confirmed- Biden Cancer Initiative Spent on Salaries -- and Little Else

Nov 15, 2020 | www.breitbart.com

The New York Post confirmed Saturday what Breitbart News and others had reported earlier this year: that the Biden Cancer Initiative, founded by former Vice President Joe Biden, spent millions on staff salaries but did little about cancer research.

The Post reported Saturday:

me title=

A cancer charity started by Joe Biden gave out no money to research, and spent most of its contributions on staff salaries, federal filings show.

The Biden Cancer Initiative was founded in 2017 by the former vice president and his wife Jill Biden to "develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research and care and to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes," according to its IRS mission statement. But it gave out no grants in its first two years, and spent millions on the salaries of former Washington DC aides it hired.

Biden headed up the Cancer Moonshot Task Force when he was veep after his son Beau died of a brain tumor in 2015. After leaving office, the Biden Cancer Initiative sought to continue such efforts to provide "urgent" solutions to treating cancer, according to a 2017 press statement announcing its launch.

The Post report confirmed earlier reporting by the Washington Free Beacon, via Breitbart News, in June:

The cancer research non-profit that former Vice President Joe Biden created after leaving the Obama administration in 2017 spent two thirds of its money on staff, with top executives getting as much as six-figures, before shuttering.

The Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday that the Biden Cancer Initiative directed 65 percent of its total expenditures to staff compensation between 2017 and 2018. Overall, the group raised $4.8 million during the those two years, spending slightly more than $3 million on salaries and benefits for its employees.

"That is well above the 25 percent charity watchdogs recommend nonprofits spend on administrative overhead and fundraising costs combined," the outlet reported, noting that Biden's nonprofit "did not cut a single grant to any other group or foundation during its two-year run."

As Breitbart News noted in October, Biden met with businessman Tony Bobulinski in May 2017 to discuss a potential business venture with a Chinese energy company. The meeting took place before the prestigious Milken conference in Los Angeles -- where Biden was to speak about his family's efforts to fund cancer research.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump's Presidency . His recent book, RED NOVEMBER , tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak .

[Nov 15, 2020] Biden's cancer charity raked in millions but spent zero on medical research, tax filings show

Nov 15, 2020 | www.rt.com
Get short URL A cancer charity created by presumed president-elect Joe Biden failed to allocate a single dollar for medical research, according to media reports, with most of the group's cash going towards generous salaries.

Federal tax filings reveal that the Biden Cancer Initiative, founded in 2017 by the former vice president and his wife Jill, did not distribute grants during its first two years of operations, the New York Post reported. The charity, created after Biden's oldest son, Beau, died from brain cancer in 2015, states that its mission is to "develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research and care."

READ MORE 'Journalists desperate to not know': Glenn Greenwald blasts media coverage of Hunter Biden scandal in piece the Intercept censored 'Journalists desperate to not know': Glenn Greenwald blasts media coverage of Hunter Biden scandal in piece the Intercept censored

The Daily Mail confirmed the curious budgetary decisions after also reviewing the organization's tax paperwork.

According to the Post, Biden's charity raised $4,809,619 in contributions in fiscal years 2017 and 2018, spending $3,070,301 on salaries in those two years. Gregory Simon, a former Pfizer executive and healthcare lobbyist who was tapped to serve as the organization's president, took home $429,850 in the 2018 fiscal year, nearly doubling his salary from the year before. Like Biden, Simon was a member of the Obama administration, spearheading the White House's cancer task force.

Travel expenses also ballooned between 2017 and 2018, despite the organization never having made a financial contribution towards cancer research. The group had previously claimed its main focus was making cancer treatment more affordable and accessible, as opposed to raising funds to find a cure.

After only two years, the charity "paused" its operations when Biden and his wife stepped down for Joe Biden's presidential run.

The Biden Cancer Initiative halted its activities in July 2019, after Joe Biden stepped down to focus on his presidential candidacy. Although technically still active, it has gone into deep hibernation, with Simon acknowledging in a 2019 interview that, without Biden's participation, it has become "increasingly difficult to get the traction we needed to complete our mission."

The NY Post's story caught the eye of US President Donald Trump, who retweeted it without comment.

Trump has previously described the Biden family as a "criminal enterprise," and said the former vice president's alleged involvement in shady deals with foreign companies show Biden is a "corrupt" politician. The Post ran a series of stories suggesting Biden may have been linked to a questionable business arrangement with a Chinese firm, based on emails and messages purportedly taken from a hard drive that once belonged to his son Hunter. Hunter's former business partner later confirmed that the emails were genuine and the former vice president was intimately involved in the scheme. Biden dismissed the Post's reporting as an attempt to "smear" his son.


Mondo697 3 hours ago 15 Nov, 2020 04:44 AM

Nearly all charities are run primarily if not solely for the benefit of those running them. Only a miniscule amount is spent on the declared aims of the charity. They are tax fiddles plain and simple.
fraudchild Mondo697 6 minutes ago 15 Nov, 2020 08:31 AM
biden is cancer? i agree.
lectrodectus 3 hours ago 15 Nov, 2020 04:52 AM
It has become .."Increasingly Difficult To Get The Traction We Need To Complete Our Mission" To Paraphrase...ALL THE MONEY HAS BEEN SPENT... DONATIONS HAVE DRIED UP.
11BangBangBaby 3 hours ago 15 Nov, 2020 04:54 AM
Biden dismissed the Post's reporting as an attempt to "smear" his son.
why does he always use his dead son as a shield before running away? he constantly does this....when asked an awkward question at all it's just his go to excuse. what kind of a parent uses the memory of their dead son as an excuse to admit to their own failings?
acacko 11BangBangBaby 1 hour ago 15 Nov, 2020 06:43 AM
a corrupt democrat politician with dementia? Oh.. Wait.. was that a philosophical question?
Mickey Mic 2 hours ago 15 Nov, 2020 05:38 AM
Black mailer Joe Biden threatened to cut funds to medical research institutions that don't report their clinical trial results in a timely manner. "Under the law, it says you must report. If you don't report, the law says you shouldn't get funding," "I'm going to find out if it's true" that the research centers aren't reporting the results " and if it's true, I'm going to cut funding. That's a promise." He should've been locked up after his proclamation confession to the CFR on Ukraine, where he held back funds until a prosecutor investigating his son Hunter was fired. What can you expect from one of the biggest crime families in US... "Honesty" ? Ha, Slow Joe is about as honest as Hillary's innocent record on the Haitian Relief foundation. For the first time in my life, I'm seeing Americans not liking their cup of Joe ! PS: Joe Biden is like a web browser with 19 tabs open: 17 are frozen and he don't know where the music is coming from.
Eviscerate Mickey Mic 10 minutes ago 15 Nov, 2020 08:27 AM
Hilarious and I have little doubt true.
far_cough 3 hours ago 15 Nov, 2020 05:24 AM
the whole biden family is so crooked. i hope after the election confusion is over the matter of their worldwide crime network is reinvigorated and bought to justice...
DR64 1 hour ago 15 Nov, 2020 06:50 AM
We all know Trump is not squeaky clean when it comes to finances and deals which probably means he is well able to spot Biden's activities. Like they say it takes a crook to spot a crook. Americans have just jumped from frying pan into the fire. I think Biden is far more dangerous as well as those yanking his strings.
Sinalco 3 hours ago 15 Nov, 2020 04:45 AM
Same as the Clinton Haiti Hurricane Charity, or the Trump Charity that does not give to Charity... The system is corrupt...
Sapphire1 2 hours ago 15 Nov, 2020 06:02 AM
Looks like a tax scam for Biden.
Madbovineuk Sapphire1 2 hours ago 15 Nov, 2020 06:04 AM
Oh yes and US lawmakers are good at that
beliefmakr 1 hour ago 15 Nov, 2020 07:20 AM
A crooked politician? I'm shocked! But I get the feeling that Trump is more jealous than indignant. He didn't steal nearly as much with Trump University, Trump Steaks, or Trump Magazine despite his best efforts. I think people in his camp are just upset that the Bidens, the Clintons, and a few others are just better crooks. They don't want to end corruption. They just want a bigger slice.
Lois E. Winters 35 minutes ago 15 Nov, 2020 08:10 AM
It seems as though these politicians with their so called charities are nothing more than a tax exclusion loop hole. Everyone of them ought to be investigated.

[Oct 26, 2020] Politicians books as a subtle form of corruption

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Same principle with speaking engagements. Nobody in the corporate world seriously believed that listening to a speech from Hillary Clinton was worth $200,000 - especially when she sometimes kept getting these gigs at the same company every few months: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-03/every-hillary-and-bill-clinton-speech-2013-fees ..."
"... Furthermore, the book sales conduit adds an extra degree of separation between the ultimate source of the money and the recipient of the money. Somebody who wants to buy a politician could for example donate money to an NGO that does "political education" and buys political books to distribute to people, and that NGO buys the copies of the corrupt politician's book in bulk. ..."
Oct 26, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Learned here on SST that a lot of the huge book contracts given to swampies are a form of money laundering. I have long tried to figure out how the publishing companies could afford to pay yuudge advances for ghost written books in a country where so few people read much of anything any longer. Simple answer! Big money people order yuudge numbers of books in advance so that the publisher is assured a profit.


BillWade , 25 October 2020 at 12:32 PM

I think it was the previous mayor of Baltimore who got a multi-million dollar windfall from her best-selling children's book. I wonder how many kids actually read it.

Lots of trucks out with their flags here, people are becoming optimistic here in South Florida, feels almost normal here.

Trump taking New York would be the ultimate, lets hope. I'm looking forward to watching CNN's Wolf Blitzer on election night, it's been 4 years for me and CNN. I just want to see him squirm.

rgspenser , 25 October 2020 at 02:05 PM

Thanks for posting how money is routed through publishers.
This was right in front of me the whole time.

rho , 25 October 2020 at 05:08 PM

Colonel,

it looks a lot less like corruption when a politician receives money because he wrote an "inspiring book" that seemingly sells lots of copies than when he receives money outright for political favors.

Same principle with speaking engagements. Nobody in the corporate world seriously believed that listening to a speech from Hillary Clinton was worth $200,000 - especially when she sometimes kept getting these gigs at the same company every few months: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-03/every-hillary-and-bill-clinton-speech-2013-fees

Furthermore, the book sales conduit adds an extra degree of separation between the ultimate source of the money and the recipient of the money. Somebody who wants to buy a politician could for example donate money to an NGO that does "political education" and buys political books to distribute to people, and that NGO buys the copies of the corrupt politician's book in bulk.

Mark Logan , 25 October 2020 at 06:42 PM

Interesting question about book deals. Certainly it could be a channel to hide the names of donors, which would seem the only rational reason to do so. I would guess the lecture circuit a more appropriate way to do that. If I'm going to part with that much I'd at least want a song for their dinner out of it.

The 10 biggest book deals have a mixture of celebrities, I can't imagine anyone wanting to slip Bruce Springsteen $10 million under the table so it appears the publishers do make money on these deals, counter-intuitive though it be.

https://bookriot.com/biggest-book-deals/

The Twisted Genius , 25 October 2020 at 07:03 PM

Book writing can be far more lucrative than I ever thought possible. James Patterson got 150 million for a 17 book series. I would say he earned it although I've never read any of his stuff. Michelle Obama's first book sold over 10 million copies and netted her at least 65 million in a deal for both her and Barrack's memoirs.

Ken Follett got 50 million for his trilogy.

Bill Clinton got 15 million for his book while George W. Bush only got 7 million for his.

Hillary got 14 million for hers. Springsteen got 10 million for his autobiography.

Even Pope Jan Pavel II made a cool 8.5 million for his memoirs back in 1994. There are an awful lot of 7 figure book advances out there.

Another phenomenon in the book world is the mass purchase of books by organizations. For example the RNC bought $100K worth of Don Trump Jr's book and more than $400K worth of Sean Hannity's latest. I'm sure the RNC is not alone in this practice.

[Oct 26, 2020] as for what happened in Russia during the breaking up of the USSR and the transition of Russia during the 1990's - one could argue the agenda of the Harvard plan for Russia was to exploit russia for it's resource rich territory and install people like yeltsin who would happily go along with this madness

There are now much stronger arguments to believe that both Harvard mafia players and Browder were puppets of certain intelligence agencies.
Notable quotes:
"... Just how much this changed is partly witnessed in the life of bill browder - a person well known to most here... so, clearly russia made changes to try to protect itself from the encouraged kleptocracy that was in full swing in the early 1990s ..."
"... You mention Bill Browder. He is the grandson of Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1930-1945. It is now freely admitted that Earl was always in the employ of the FBI. Bill simply continues the family business, which is Get Russia. The odds that Bill is an independent actor and is not working for .gov are same as odds that Easter Bunny is real. ..."
Oct 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Oct 25 2020 0:16 utc | 35

@ 26 eric... thanks... unfortunately it seems michael hudson hasn't really commented on russia in any significant way unless one goes back 5 years or so... i wonder how things have changed since?? here is a link to the articles that top up using russia as the search term - https://michael-hudson.com/?s=russia

i enjoyed the paul craig roberts - michael hudson article from 2019 on pcr's website... again, i am not informed enough to make an informed comment on pcr's conclusions from march of 2019... he and however much of the article hudson contributed - might be exactly right, especially in the conclusions of the 3rd to last paragraph in the article.. i don't know... thanks for the ongoing conversation..

@ Jen | Oct 24 2020 23:04 utc | 29 / 31.. thanks jen.. i haven't been to marks website in a long time! i recall moscow exile.. is he still posting their?? regarding central banks and nabiullina the head of russias central bank... i am not sure how many know this but the position of being the head of a central bank in any country is not a position that is decided upon by the country itself, or at least not in any democratic way... and the country is supposed to not get involved in the politics of it either as i understand it... instead these people are suggested in some other way - not elected - and while they do have to work with the political leadership - they can't be gotten rid of easily as i understand it.. i think a lot of this has to do with the way the international institutions work and how if a country wants to be a part of this same international system of money, they need to accept the structure as it is opaquely set up as... thus the central banks are under specific guidelines that they have to follow that comes from somewhere outside the actual country.... i would love someone to correct me on all this, but it is my present understanding of how this particular system works... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_bank

As for what happened in Russia during the breaking up of the USSR and the transition of Russia during the 1990's - one could argue the agenda of the Harvard plan for Russia was to exploit russia for it's resource rich territory and install people like Yletsin who would happily go along with this madness..

Just how much this changed is partly witnessed in the life of bill browder - a person well known to most here... so, clearly russia made changes to try to protect itself from the encouraged kleptocracy that was in full swing in the early 1990s ... just how much they have managed to ween themselves off private finance - i have no idea... it sounds like they are in the same boat as the rest of the planet in being beholden to private finance....

Of course private verses public finance is a confusing topic that keeps on getting revisited here at moa and for good reason... i don't really know how all this interfaces with everything else.. i appreciate erics particular vantage and am curious to hear of others viewpoint as well.. thanks jen.. i have some other comments to read now on this topic from H.Schmatz @ 28

oldhippie , Oct 25 2020 3:49 utc | 49
James @ 35

You mention Bill Browder. He is the grandson of Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1930-1945. It is now freely admitted that Earl was always in the employ of the FBI. Bill simply continues the family business, which is Get Russia. The odds that Bill is an independent actor and is not working for .gov are same as odds that Easter Bunny is real.

james , Oct 25 2020 4:42 utc | 51
... ... ..

@ old hippie... yes, i was aware of that - thanks.. if you haven't seen it yet - the movie the Russian guy made on Browder is quite good - worth the watch, but i think you have to pay for it now.. there was a time where you could watch it for free... yes indeed, the son worked or works for the same folks as the father did...here is a link to the movie.. http://magnitskyact.com/

here is an interesting link that i found just looking for a link to the movie... if you haven't watched the movie, this is a good start and covers it from a particular angle..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOx78CBq0Ck

Earl Browder was an interesting dude who led an interesting life..

H.Schmatz , Oct 25 2020 11:33 utc | 63
I have not yet read the whole transcript of Putin´s long intervention in the Valdai Discussion Club, and thus, I do not know how deep he went about last frenzy on "regime change" intends in the post-Soviet space, but in case he did not put it clear enough, background of the recent explosions of regime change intends in countries surrounding Russia ( Spoiler: it was all there in a 2019 Reand Corporation file...)

US plans to remove Russia from post-Soviet space

[Oct 26, 2020] Surprisingly, social and cultural collapse didn't really get very far until Russia started regaining its health. Some of the other Soviet socialist republics are in the throes of full-on social and cultural collapse, but Russia avoided this fate.

Notable quotes:
"... Political collapse: obviously there wasn't really a functional government at all for a period of time in the nineties. Lots of American consultants running around and privatizing things in a fashion that created a lot of incredibly corrupt, super-rich oligarchs who then fled with their money, a lot of them. ..."
Oct 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Alicia , Oct 24 2020 22:21 utc | 24

SEPTEMBER 17, 2020

Interview on Radio Voice America

Welcome back to Turning Hard Times into Good Times. I'm your host Jay Taylor. I'm really pleased to have with me once again Dmitry Orlov.

Dmitry was born and grew up in Leningrad, but has lived in the United States. He moved here in the mid-seventies. He has since gone back to Russia, where he is living now.

But Dmitry was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the eighties and mid-nineties. He is an engineer who has contributed to fields as diverse as high-energy Physics and Internet Security, as well as a leading Peak Oil theorist. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects (2008) and The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit (2013).

Welcome, Dmitry, and thank you so much for joining us again.

A: Great to be on your program again, Jay.

Q: It's really good to hear your voice. I know we had you on [the program] back in 2014. It's been a long time -- way too long, as far as I'm concerned. In that discussion we talked about the five stages of collapse that you observed in the fall of the USSR. Could you review them really quickly, and compare them to what you are seeing, what you have witnessed and observed in the United States as you lived here, and of course in your post now in Russia.

A: Yes. The five stages of collapse as I defined them were financial, commercial, political, social and cultural. I observed that the first three, in Russia. The finance collapsed because the Soviet Union basically ran out of money. Commercial collapse because industry, Soviet industry, fell apart because it was distributed among fifteen Soviet socialist republics, and when the Soviet Union fell apart all of the supply chains broke down.

Political collapse: obviously there wasn't really a functional government at all for a period of time in the nineties. Lots of American consultants running around and privatizing things in a fashion that created a lot of incredibly corrupt, super-rich oligarchs who then fled with their money, a lot of them.

Surprisingly, social and cultural collapse didn't really get very far until Russia started regaining its health. Some of the other Soviet socialist republics are in the throes of full-on social and cultural collapse, but Russia avoided this fate.....

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2020/09/interview-on-radio-voice-america.html

[Oct 26, 2020] The goal of neoliberal globalism promoted by CIA and MI6 is ending nation states to end their influence, laws and regulations, and thus try to dynamite, through sowing divide ( and in this they are helped by alleged opponent Soros and his network of franchises mastering regime change, color revolutions

Oct 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Eric , Oct 24 2020 21:10 utc | 18

... ... ...

The goal of this movement is ending nation states to end their influence, laws and regulations, and thus try to dynamite, through sowing divide ( and in this they are helped by alleged opponent Soros and his network of franchises mastering regime change, color revolutions

Blunt coups d´etat and lately "peaceful transitions of power", being both, Soros and the NRx, connected to the CIA...)countries with which make what they call "The Mosaic" of regions resulting, at the head of which there will be a corporation CEO and their stakeholders in a hierarchical autocratic order. These people think that Democracy simply does not work and thus must be finished, and that there are people ( white, of course ) who have developed a higher IQ ( at this poin

t I guess some of you have noticed this creed sound very familiar to you, from our neighbors here by the side at SST, where "james" and Pat lately love each other so much...) and must rule over the rest.

To achieve their goals, these people, as geeks from Silicon Valley, are willing to cross the human frontier to transhumanism so as to enhance their human capabilities to submit the rest...

Wondering why this topic have never been treated at MoA...nor at the Valdai Discussion Club...

The Alt-Right and the Europe of the Regions. According to Wikipedia, Steve Bannon is inspired by the theorist Curtis Yarvin ( https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilustration_oscura), who states that countries should be divided into feudal areas in the hands of corporations (Patchwork).

https://twitter.com/andrei_kononov/status/1126684073009639425

The Moldbug Variations

H.Schmatz , Oct 24 2020 23:01 utc | 28

@

[Oct 23, 2020] Biden Worked with Credit Card Companies to Make Bankruptcy Harder

Oct 19, 2020 | www.breitbart.com

Former Vice President Joe Biden sided with his top donor, the one-time credit card giant MBNA Corp., against consumers on bankruptcy reform during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Starting in 1996, when Biden was seeking a fifth term representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate, MBNA's top leadership began donating heavily to his campaign coffers. From 1996 to 2006, individuals employed by the company gave more than $212,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The sum was large enough to make the company Biden's largest campaign contributor throughout his nearly 40-year career in public office.

The money would not have drawn interest, let alone controversy, if not for the manner and timing of the contributions. In total, more than $63,000 went to Biden between April and October 1996. The total was by far the largest given to any Democrat by MBNA that cycle.

As Byron York detailed in a widely publicized The American Spectator exposé -- titled, "The Senator from MBNA" -- in 1998, the donations arrived in what looked to a be a coordinated pattern.

On April 16 MBNA executive vice-president and chief technology officer Ronald Davies sent in $1,000. Kenneth Boehl, another top executive, also sent in $1,000 on the 16th. And senior vice-president Gregg Bacchieri. And William Daiger, another executive vice-president. And David Spartin, the vice-chairman and company spokesman. The next day, April 17, vice-chairman and chief financial officer Scot Kaufman sent $1,000, as did Bruce Hammonds, MBNA's vice-chairman and chief operating officer. And John Hewes, senior executive vice-president of MBNA's credit division. And vice-chairman and chief administrative officer Lance Weaver. On April 18, MBNA general counsel John Scheflen sent in $1,000. On April 20, group president David Nelms sent in $1,000, as did vice-chairman Vernon Wright. On April 22, John Cochran sent in $1,000. So did senior executive vice-president Peter Dimsey. And finally, on April 26, Charles Cawley sent in his $1,000.

York noted a similar pattern emerged after Biden had won his primary campaign that August and was preparing for the general election against a little known Republican. A review of Biden's campaign finance filings from the time by Breitbart News shows the money flowed mainly in $1,000 increments, the maximum then allowed by Federal Election Commission guidelines.

Since Biden had sworn off political action committees in his bid to pass campaign finance reform, MBNA would have only been able to donate through individuals under its employ. Luckily, as the Wilmington News-Journal reported in 1995, the company already had a protocol in place for exactly such a purpose.

"MBNA Corp. crashed onto the political money scene in 1994 by distributing more than $1 million in campaign contributions, much of it raised through carefully worded memos advising its top executives to give to the bank's favorite candidates in Delaware and in key races across the country," the article states.

The memos raised eyebrows among campaign finance experts, as they seemed to skirt the limits in place on how much corporations could donate to candidates. MBNA defended its conduct, claiming it had not violated any federal laws or forced its employees to donate against their will. The latter, however, was viewed skeptically, as MBNA had not only requested proof of contributions, but also reasons for refusing to donate.

"The memos were from John W. Scheflen, MBNA's general counsel," the News-Journal reported . "He kept records of the contributions and requested confirmation. Instructions read in boldface: 'Please send me a copy of each of your checks.'"

According to the paper, Scheflen requested in a follow-up memo "to know in writing who wasn't giving: 'If you do not plan to make any suggested contributions, I would appreciate it if you would so note.'"

Biden's 1996 campaign appears to be the first time MBNA made a concerted effort to see him reelected. Despite having relocated its headquarters to Delaware in 1982, MBNA or its employees did not donate to Biden's campaigns in 1990 or 1984, according to FEC filings . Campaign filings dating back to Biden's 1972 and 1978 races were not readily available, as the FEC has archived reports from more than 40-years-ago.

Even more interesting is that Biden was one of the few Democrats that MBNA favored with its donation. From 1992 until its sale to Bank of America, MBNA and its employees never donated less than 73 percent of their contributions to Republicans. The company's employees gave more than $575,000 to see President George W. Bush elected in both 2000 and 2004.

Starting in 2000, when Biden took a keener interest in bankruptcy reform, MBNA's employees began contributing to him regardless of whether he was on the ballot or not. That year, Biden received more than $69,000 from MBNA, even though he was not seeking reelection for another two years. Similarly, MBNA contributed more than $49,000 to Biden in 2004, albeit he was not on the ballot again until 2008.

Although it is impossible to tell what impact the money had on Biden's views -- especially as he supported efforts to tighten student loan bankruptcy laws throughout the 1970s and 1980s -- it is clear that after 1996 he championed MBNA's legislative agenda with vigor.

In 1999, Biden was one of the lead backers of an initial bankruptcy reform package that held many of the provisions that would eventually end up in the 2005 bill. The legislation was a top priority for MBNA and a conglomerate of other credit card and banking interests.

Biden, along with a cadre of business-friendly Democrats and Senate Republicans, labored to pass the bill in the face of opposition from liberals and consumer advocates. Among those on the opposing side was then-Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, a bankruptcy expert who argued the measure favored companies like MNBA over working families.

After an intense back and forth, Biden's side prevailed and the bill passed in late 2000. It was not signed into law, though, as President Bill Clinton opted to pocket veto the measure on his way out of office.

Biden and allies were not dispirited, instead seizing the opportunity presented by the incoming-Republican president to pass a bill more favorable to banking interests. They ultimately succeeded in 2005 after MNBA and financial institutions bankrolled an intense lobbying campaign.

The following year, the law's results were evident when bankruptcy filings fell by more than 70 percent across the country.

[Oct 21, 2020] The political class of both parties have been doing this for decades. They don't want it to stop, because that means it threatens their deals with foreigners yielding cash into their pockets as they also sell out the US for power and money.

Oct 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

play_arrow


OmensRUs , 3 hours ago

Psychopaths will say anything. I knew Hillary was one, but I never figured Joe to be one too. It looks like he is now setting up Hunter to take the fall so he can pardon him if he becomes president.

Banana Republican , 3 hours ago

We used to call him "the Plagiarist." That was in the '90s. Because he's a plagiarist. That he's the leading Democrat says all you need to know about every Democrat.

MoreFreedom , 2 hours ago

The political class of both parties have been doing this for decades. They don't want it to stop, because that means it threatens their deals with foreigners yielding cash into their pockets as they also sell out the US for power and money. It's what I consider unconstitutional meddling into our freedoms including the freedom of free markets, that politicians want to control because commerce is where the money is (Willie Sutton being short sighted regarding the amount of cash in banks compared to the amount of cash to be made picking winners and losers in commerce via government force).

Joe doesn't want Hunter to take the fall; they'll usually find someone else to be the fall guy. But preferably, Joe will use his government position to ensure no action is taken, just as no action was taken on Hunter's laptop, even though there was an impeachment hearing going on because Trump was concerned the Bidens were selling out the US to Ukraine and Biden family. Trump was of course, right. And the FBI hid the exculpatory evidence. The Bidens already have a record of a business partner going to jail for fraud.

We'll have to wait and see what happens. Personally, I think it will come to a head, if, and after, Trump wins re-election. The Dem criminals might use their resistors remaining in government to attempt another coup on false pretenses, and go down hard. I think we'll start to see a more aggressive DOJ then. The problem has been the extent of the corruption and getting cooperation from people in government, who are likely corrupt, don't want to cooperate, and they have "friends" in other government positions to cover their back. But I give credit to Durham who found Clinesmith's altered email. The prevalence of corruption in the federal government has become a problem, and I thank Trump for exposing it. The way I see it, he's not part of the elitist corrupt club, they don't like it so they accuse him of what they've done, and it has blown back on them because he hasn't sold out the US while they have, and because he didn't cheat and they did.

[Oct 21, 2020] Amazon.com- Profiles in Corruption- Abuse of Power by America's Progressive Elite (9780062897909)- Schweizer, Peter- Books

Oct 21, 2020 | www.amazon.com

>



Kent Heckenlively

Schweizer Attacks PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION in DC

5.0 out of 5 stars Schweizer Attacks PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION in DC Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2020 Verified Purchase If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Schweizer's previous books, you're in for a treat.

Schweizer is an excellent researcher and you can be certain he has done his homework. In SECRET EMPIRES he went after the PLAGUE OF CORRUPTION on both sides of the political aisle, including Senator Mitch McConnell and his wife's ties to the Chinese government.

In PROFILES IN CORRUPTION, Schweizer goes after the Biden 5, using extensive documentation to reveal the network of corrupt tributaries which feed the Washington DC swamp. He also attacks Senator Elizabeth Warren's work on bankruptcy laws, then advising the same corporate clients impacted by those laws. Also put under scrutiny is Senator Amy Klobuchar's interesting habit of taking big money from donors, then introducing laws to benefit those same donors a few days later.

Schweizer's writing reminds one of a fantastic criminal prosecutor, laying down a fast-paced and bullet-proof case for crimes on a scale which will be shocking to the average man or woman who tries to live a moral life. The biggest criminals are those who claim to be better than us.

All Americans should give thanks to Peter Schweizer for the type of journalism that used to be done by our TV and print journalists before they were decimated by the internet. >

Serenity...
~~Well, well, well....the Abuse of Power runs deep...~~

HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER 4.0 out of 5 stars ~~Well, well, well....the Abuse of Power runs deep...~~ Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2020 Verified Purchase Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour or so researching the bio of Peter Schweizer. The blurb for this book doesn't mention much about him although it does mention several of his previous books ...which I have not read. According to what I found, the author is the President of Government Accountability Institute (GAI). I did a little more research on 'Clinton Cash:...." and checked several sources on the internet and this is what I found...... 'Clinton Cash...." apparently had some factual errors in it that were corrected after publication. (7 or 8 passages) and it is also mentions that the Clinton Foundation admitted that it had made some mistakes and they had implemented new rules... That is as far as I went

There is a certain amount of trust, I believe, when reading any book but especially now with books on politics being published at an alarming rate it is even more important that we trust what is being written. I read with an open mind and trust this author that the information presented is credible and well-researched.

Such an interesting topic for me...And, as my title suggests, the abuse of power does indeed run deep. The author has presented 'corporate documents and legal findings from around the globe' (as stated in the description for the book).

In the book itself, eight politicians are discussed and in detail. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Eric Garcetti and Sherrod Brown. I will admit that I was interested in Bernie Sanders the most as I am from Vermont. And, with the race for the Democratic nomination in full swing, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden were next on my list.

According to the author this abuse of power comes in different forms. It may be that they use their positions to advance their position; it may be that they use their positions to advance and enrich themselves, using public power for personal gain and the use of the judicial system to right social wrongs. As one may envision, the more power one has, the more abuse of power is possible. And, there are financial ties to special interest.

Am not going into detail about the eight mentioned in this book. I will admit that some were shocking revelations to me. It is amazing what one will do when power is at your beck and call. This book should be on your 'read' list prior to placing your vote in the upcoming Presidential election. The information presented in this one could very well change your thought process. Personally, I do not hold the same ideas about most of these individuals as I did prior to reading this one.

Lots of notes are in the text so one can go to the back of the book, if interested, to check the sources. I thought it was a well researched book from the notes given.

For me, a most interesting read and am glad that I purchased it. The manners in which power has been abused was indeed an eye opener (in some cases) for me. I think we all know that with the accumulation of power, there is the tendency to abuse it. Doesn't make it right but...

Highly recommended. >


Nikki M
Chock FULL OF BOMBSHELLS You Won't Hear About Anywhere Else!

5.0 out of 5 stars Chock FULL OF BOMBSHELLS You Won't Hear About Anywhere Else! Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2020 Verified Purchase I bought the book after I saw Schweizer on TV last night. But there is so much more in this page turning book that I never thought possible. So you have the Biden five, Bernie Sanders and his wife's relentless pursuit of capitalist gains, Kamala Harris who appears to be a very dirty cop, Elizabeth Warren and her three layer cake of corruption, Amy Klobuchar and her low energy cronyism... ON AND ON AND ON!!
There just isn't enough time in a TV segment for Schweizer to lay out all the evidence he has uncovered of terrible corruption among Americas progressive elite! You have to buy the book to believe it >


Nikki M
Chock FULL OF BOMBSHELLS You Won't Hear About Anywhere Else!


Barry E. Sheridan 5.0 out of 5 stars Exposing the hypocrisy of those political figures who seek greater power. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 24, 2020 Verified Purchase Any analysis of powerful figures that concludes they are not what they pretend to be demands courage from the writer, such is the case here where Peter Schweizer assesses some of the leading progressive political leaders in the US. All of those scrutinised in this thoroughly researched volume are either already standing, or intend to stand, for the position of President of the United States. What is also quite clear is that none of them are remotely worthy of that Office. In each case it is obvious that despite what they claim, all have used, or are using their elected office to enrich themselves, their families and cronies. America does not need people like that running the country, it needs individuals like Donald J Trump, or those like him. Having spectated from afar on events since Mr Trump was elected, you can see, at least in part, why there is so much antipathy towards him, he is a danger to a political class, many of whom are more intent on personal gain than they are serving the American people.

[Sep 21, 2020] How the west lost by Anatol Lieven

Highly recommended!
A very good article. A better title would be "How neoliberalism collapsed" Any religious doctrine sonner or later collased under the weight of corruption of its prisets and unrealistic assumptions about the society. Neoliberalism in no expection as in heart it is secular religion based on deification of markets.
He does not discuss the role of Harvard Mafiosi in destruction of Russian (and other xUSSR republics) economy in 1990th, mass looting, empowerment of people (with pensioners experiencing WWII level of starvation) and creation of mafia capitalism on post Soviet state. But the point he made about the process are right. Yeltsin mafia, like Yeltsin himself, were the product of USA and GB machinations
Notable quotes:
"... If the US (and the UK, if as usual we tag along) approach the relationship with Beijing with anything like the combination of arrogance, ignorance, greed, criminality, bigotry, hypocrisy and incompetence with which western elites managed the period after the Cold War, then we risk losing the competition and endangering the world. ..."
"... One of the most malign effects of western victory in 1989-91 was to drown out or marginalise criticism of what was already a deeply flawed western social and economic model. In the competition with the USSR, it was above all the visible superiority of the western model that eventually destroyed Soviet communism from within. ..."
"... These beliefs interacted to produce a dominant atmosphere of "there is no alternative," which made it impossible and often in effect forbidden to conduct a proper public debate on the merits of the big western presumptions, policies or plans of the era ..."
"... This was a sentiment I encountered again and again (if not often so frankly expressed) in western establishment institutions in that era: in economic journals if it was suggested that rapid privatisation in the former USSR would lead to massive corruption, social resentment and political reaction; in security circles, if anyone dared to question the logic of Nato expansion ..."
"... Accompanying this overwhelmingly dominant political and economic ideology was an American geopolitical vision equally grandiose in ambition and equally blind to the lessons of history. This was summed up in the memorandum on "Defence Planning Guidance 1994-1999," drawn up in April 1992 for the Bush Senior administration by Under-Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and subsequently leaked to the media ..."
"... By claiming for the US the right of unilateral intervention anywhere in the world and denying other major powers a greater role in their regions, this strategy essentially extended the Monroe Doctrine (which effectively defined the "western hemisphere" as the US sphere of influence) to the entire planet: an ambition greater than that of any previous power. The British Empire at its height knew that it could never intervene unilaterally on the continent of Europe or in Central America. The most megalomaniac of European rulers understood that other great powers with influence in their own areas of the world would always exist. ..."
"... "A stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values" ..."
"... Many liberals gave the impression of complete indifference to the resulting immiseration of the Russian population in these years. At a meeting of the Carnegie Endowment in Washington that I attended later, former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar boasted to an applauding US audience of how he had destroyed the Russian military industrial complex. The fact that this also destroyed the livelihoods of tens of millions of Russians and Ukrainians was not mentioned. ..."
"... This attitude was fed by contempt on the part of the educated classes of Moscow and St Petersburg for ordinary Russians, who were dubbed Homo Sovieticus and treated as an inferior species whose loathsome culture was preventing the liberal elites from taking their rightful place among the "civilised" nations of the west. This frame of mind was reminiscent of the traditional attitude of white elites in Latin America towards the Indio and Mestizo majorities in their countries. ..."
"... I vividly remember one Russian liberal journalist state his desire to fire machine guns into crowds of elderly Russians who joined Communist demonstrations to protest about the collapse of their pensions. The response of the western journalists present was that this was perhaps a little bit excessive, but to be excused since the basic sentiment was correct. ..."
"... If the post-Cold War world order was a form of US imperialism, it now looks like an empire in which rot in the over-extended periphery has spread to the core. The economic and social patterns of 1990s Russia and Ukraine have come back to haunt the west, though so far thank God in milder form. The massive looting of Russian state property and the systematic evasion of taxes by Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs was only possible with the help of western banks, which transferred the proceeds to the west and the Caribbean. This crime was euphemised in the western discourse (naturally including the Economist ) as "capital flight." ..."
"... The indifference of Russian elites to the suffering of the Russian population has found a milder echo in the neglect of former industrial regions across Britain, Western Europe and the US that did so much to produce the votes for Brexit, for Trump and for populist nationalist parties in Europe. The catastrophic plunge in Russian male life expectancy in the 1990s has found its echo in the unprecedented decline in white working-class male life expectancy in the US. ..."
"... Perhaps the greatest lesson of the period after the last Cold War is that in the end, a stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values. ..."
"... Those analysing the connection between Russia and Trump's administration have looked in the wrong place. The explanation of Trump's success is not that Putin somehow mesmerised American voters in 2016. It is that populations abandoned by their elites are liable to extreme political responses; and that societies whose economic elites have turned ethics into a joke should not be surprised if their political leaders too become scoundrels. ..."
Sep 21, 2020 | prospectmagazine.co.uk

A s the US prepares to plunge into a new cold war with China in which its chances do not look good, it's an appropriate time to examine how we went so badly wrong after "victory" in the last Cold War. Looking back 30 years from the grim perspective of 2020, it is a challenge even for those who were adults at the time to remember just how triumphant the west appeared in the wake of the collapse of Soviet communism and the break-up of the USSR itself.

Today, of the rich fruits promised by that great victory, only wretched fragments remain. The much-vaunted "peace dividend," savings from military spending, was squandered. The opportunity to use the resources freed up to spread prosperity and deal with urgent social problems was wasted, and -- even worse -- the US military budget is today higher than ever. Attempts to mitigate the apocalyptic threat of climate change have fallen far short of what the scientific consensus deems to be urgently necessary. The chance to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stabilise the Middle East was thrown away even before 9/11 and the disastrous US response. The lauded "new world order" of international harmony and co-operation -- heralded by the elder George Bush after the first Gulf War -- is a tragic joke. Britain's European dream has been destroyed, and geopolitical stability on the European continent has been lost due chiefly to new and mostly unnecessary tension with Moscow. The one previously solid-seeming achievement, the democratisation of Eastern Europe, is looking questionable, as Poland and Hungary (see Samira Shackle, p20) sink into semi-authoritarian nationalism.

Russia after the Cold War was a shambles and today it remains a weak economy with a limited role on the world stage, concerned mainly with retaining some of its traditional areas of influence. China is a vastly more formidable competitor. If the US (and the UK, if as usual we tag along) approach the relationship with Beijing with anything like the combination of arrogance, ignorance, greed, criminality, bigotry, hypocrisy and incompetence with which western elites managed the period after the Cold War, then we risk losing the competition and endangering the world.

One of the most malign effects of western victory in 1989-91 was to drown out or marginalise criticism of what was already a deeply flawed western social and economic model. In the competition with the USSR, it was above all the visible superiority of the western model that eventually destroyed Soviet communism from within. Today, the superiority of the western model to the Chinese model is not nearly so evident to most of the world's population; and it is on successful western domestic reform that victory in the competition with China will depend.

Hubris

Western triumph and western failure were deeply intertwined. The very completeness of the western victory both obscured its nature and legitimised all the western policies of the day, including ones that had nothing to do with the victory over the USSR, and some that proved utterly disastrous.

As Alexander Zevin has written of the house journal of Anglo-American elites, the revolutions in Eastern Europe "turbocharged the neoliberal dynamic at the Economist , and seemed to stamp it with an almost providential seal." In retrospect, the magazine's 1990s covers have a tragicomic appearance, reflecting a degree of faith in the rightness and righteousness of neoliberal capitalism more appropriate to a religious cult.

These beliefs interacted to produce a dominant atmosphere of "there is no alternative," which made it impossible and often in effect forbidden to conduct a proper public debate on the merits of the big western presumptions, policies or plans of the era. As a German official told me when I expressed some doubt about the wisdom of rapid EU enlargement, "In my ministry we are not even allowed to think about that."

This was a sentiment I encountered again and again (if not often so frankly expressed) in western establishment institutions in that era: in economic journals if it was suggested that rapid privatisation in the former USSR would lead to massive corruption, social resentment and political reaction; in security circles, if anyone dared to question the logic of Nato expansion; and almost anywhere if it was pointed out that the looting of former Soviet republics was being assiduously encouraged and profited from by western banks, and regarded with benign indifference by western governments.

The atmosphere of the time is (nowadays notoriously) summed up in Francis Fukuyama's The End of History , which essentially predicted that western liberal capitalist democracy would now be the only valid and successful economic and political model for all time. In fact, what victory in the Cold War ended was not history but the study of history by western elites.

"The US claiming the right of unilateral intervention anywhere in the world was an ambition greater than that of any previous power"

A curious feature of 1990s capitalist utopian thought was that it misunderstood the essential nature of capitalism, as revealed by its real (as opposed to faith-based) history. One is tempted to say that Fukuyama should have paid more attention to Karl Marx and a famous passage in The Communist Manifesto :

"The bourgeoisie [ie capitalism] cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society All fixed, fast-frozen relations with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify the bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed "

Then again, Marx himself made exactly the same mistake in his portrayal of a permanent socialist utopia after the overthrow of capitalism. The point is that utopias, being perfect, are unchanging, whereas continuous and radical change, driven by technological development, is at the heart of capitalism -- and, according to Marx, of the whole course of human history. Of course, those who believed in a permanently successful US "Goldilocks economy" -- not too hot, and not too cold -- also managed to forget 300 years of periodic capitalist economic crises.

Though much mocked at the time, Fukuyama's vision came to dominate western thinking. This was summed up in the universally employed but absurd phrases "Getting to Denmark" (as if Russia and China were ever going to resemble Denmark) and "The path to democracy and the free market" (my italics), which became the mantra of the new and lucrative academic-bureaucratic field of "transitionology." Absurd, because the merest glance at modern history reveals multiple different "paths" to -- and away from -- democracy and capitalism, not to mention myriad routes that have veered towards one at the same time as swerving away from the other.

Accompanying this overwhelmingly dominant political and economic ideology was an American geopolitical vision equally grandiose in ambition and equally blind to the lessons of history. This was summed up in the memorandum on "Defence Planning Guidance 1994-1999," drawn up in April 1992 for the Bush Senior administration by Under-Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and subsequently leaked to the media. Its central message was:

"The US must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role "

By claiming for the US the right of unilateral intervention anywhere in the world and denying other major powers a greater role in their regions, this strategy essentially extended the Monroe Doctrine (which effectively defined the "western hemisphere" as the US sphere of influence) to the entire planet: an ambition greater than that of any previous power. The British Empire at its height knew that it could never intervene unilaterally on the continent of Europe or in Central America. The most megalomaniac of European rulers understood that other great powers with influence in their own areas of the world would always exist.

While that 1992 Washington paper spoke of the "legitimate interests" of other states, it clearly implied that it would be Washington that would define what interests were legitimate, and how they could be pursued. And once again, though never formally adopted, this "doctrine" became in effect the standard operating procedure of subsequent administrations. In the early 2000s, when its influence reached its most dangerous height, military and security elites would couch it in the terms of "full spectrum dominance." As the younger President Bush declared in his State of the Union address in January 2002, which put the US on the road to the invasion of Iraq: "By the grace of God, America won the Cold War A world once divided into two armed camps now recognises one sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America."

Nemesis

Triumphalism led US policymakers, and their transatlantic followers, to forget one cardinal truth about geopolitical and military power: that in the end it is not global and absolute, but local and relative. It is the amount of force or influence a state wants to bring to bear in a particular place and on a -particular issue, relative to the power that a rival state is willing and able to bring to bear. The truth of this has been shown repeatedly over the past generation. For all America's overwhelming superiority on paper, it has turned out that many countries have greater strength than the US in particular places: Russia in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia and Iran in Syria, China in the South China Sea, and even Pakistan in southern Afghanistan.

American over-confidence, accepted by many Europeans and many Britons especially, left the US in a severely weakened condition to conduct what should have been clear as far back as the 1990s to be the great competition of the future -- that between Washington and Beijing.

On the one hand, American moves to extend Nato to the Baltics and then (abortively) on to Ukraine and Georgia, and to abolish Russian influence and destroy Russian allies in the Middle East, inevitably produced a fierce and largely successful Russian nationalist reaction. Within Russia, the US threat to its national interests helped to consolidate and legitimise Putin's control. Internationally, it ensured that Russia would swallow its deep-seated fears of China and become a valuable partner of Beijing.

On the other hand, the benign and neglectful way in which Washington regarded the rise of China in the generation after the Cold War (for example, the blithe decision to allow China to join the World Trade Organisation) was also rooted in ideological arrogance. Western triumphalism meant that most of the US elites were convinced that as a result of economic growth, the Chinese Communist state would either democratise or be overthrown; and that China would eventually have to adopt the western version of economics or fail economically. This was coupled with the belief that good relations with China could be predicated on China accepting a so-called "rules-based" international order in which the US set the rules while also being free to break them whenever it wished; something that nobody with the slightest knowledge of Chinese history should
have believed.

Throughout, the US establishment discourse (Democrat as much as Republican) has sought to legitimise American global hegemony by invoking the promotion of liberal democracy. At the same time, the supposedly intrinsic connection between economic change, democracy and peace was rationalised by cheerleaders such as the New York Times 's indefatigable Thomas Friedman, who advanced the (always absurd, and now flatly and repeatedly falsified) "Golden Arches theory of Conflict Prevention." This vulgarised version of Democratic Peace Theory pointed out that two countries with McDonald's franchises had never been to war. The humble and greasy American burger was turned into a world-historical symbol of the buoyant modern middle classes with too much to lose to countenance war.

Various equally hollow theories postulated cast-iron connections between free markets and guaranteed property rights on the one hand, and universal political rights and freedoms on the other, despite the fact that even within the west, much of political history can be characterised as the fraught and complex brokering of accommodations between these two sets of things.

And indeed, since the 1990s democracy has not advanced in the world as a whole, and belief in the US promotion of democracy has been discredited by US patronage of the authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India and elsewhere. Of the predominantly Middle Eastern and South Asian students whom I teach at Georgetown University in Qatar, not one -- even among the liberals -- believes that the US is sincerely committed to spreading democracy; and, given their own regions' recent history, there is absolutely no reason why they should believe this.

The one great triumph of democratisation coupled with free market reform was -- or appeared to be -- in the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, and this success was endlessly cited as the model for political and economic reform across the globe.

But the portrayal of East European reform in the west failed to recognise the central role of local nationalism. Once again, to talk of this at the time was to find oneself in effect excluded from polite society, because to do so called into question the self-evident superiority and universal appeal of liberal reform. The overwhelming belief of western establishments was that nationalism was a superstition that was fast losing its hold on people who, given the choice, could everywhere be relied on to act like rational consumers, rather than citizens rooted in one particular land.

The more excitable technocrats imagined that nation state itself (except the US of course) was destined to wither away. This was also the picture reflected back to western observers and analysts by liberal reformers across the region, who whether or not they were genuinely convinced of this, knew what their western sponsors wanted to hear. Western economic and cultural hegemony produced a sort of mirror game, a copulation of illusions in which local informants provided false images to the west, which then reflected them back to the east, and so on.

Always the nation

Yet one did not have to travel far outside the centres of Eastern European cities to find large parts of populations outraged by the moral and cultural changes ordained by the EU, the collapse of social services, and the (western-indulged) seizure of public property by former communist elites. So why did Eastern Europeans swallow the whole western liberal package of the time? They did so precisely because of their nationalism, which persuaded them that if they did not pay the cultural and economic price of entry into the EU and Nato, they would sooner or later fall back under the dreaded hegemony of Moscow. For them, unwanted reform was the price that the nation had to pay for US protection. Not surprisingly, once membership of these institutions was secured, a powerful populist and nationalist backlash set in.

Western blindness to the power of nationalism has had several bad consequences for western policy, and the cohesion of "the west." In Eastern Europe, it would in time lead to the politically almost insane decision of the EU to try to order the local peoples, with their deeply-rooted ethnic nationalism and bitter memories of outside dictation, to accept large numbers of Muslim refugees. The backlash then became conjoined with the populist reactions in Western Europe, which led to Brexit and the sharp decline of centrist parties across the EU.

More widely, this blindness to the power of nationalism led the US grossly to underestimate the power of nationalist sentiment in Russia, China and Iran, and contributed to the US attempt to use "democratisation" as a means to overthrow their regimes. All that this has succeeded in doing is to help the regimes concerned turn nationalist sentiment against local liberals, by accusing them of being US stooges.

"A stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values"

Russian liberals in the 1990s were mostly not really US agents as such, but the collapse of Communism led some to a blind adulation of everything western and to identify unconditionally with US policies. In terms of public image, this made them look like western lackeys; in terms of policy, it led to the adoption of the economic "shock therapy" policies advocated by the west. Combined with monstrous corruption and the horribly disruptive collapse of the Soviet single market, this had a shattering effect on Russian industry and the living standards of ordinary Russians.

Many liberals gave the impression of complete indifference to the resulting immiseration of the Russian population in these years. At a meeting of the Carnegie Endowment in Washington that I attended later, former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar boasted to an applauding US audience of how he had destroyed the Russian military industrial complex. The fact that this also destroyed the livelihoods of tens of millions of Russians and Ukrainians was not mentioned.

This attitude was fed by contempt on the part of the educated classes of Moscow and St Petersburg for ordinary Russians, who were dubbed Homo Sovieticus and treated as an inferior species whose loathsome culture was preventing the liberal elites from taking their rightful place among the "civilised" nations of the west. This frame of mind was reminiscent of the traditional attitude of white elites in Latin America towards the Indio and Mestizo majorities in their countries.

I vividly remember one Russian liberal journalist state his desire to fire machine guns into crowds of elderly Russians who joined Communist demonstrations to protest about the collapse of their pensions. The response of the western journalists present was that this was perhaps a little bit excessive, but to be excused since the basic sentiment was correct.

The Russian liberals of the 1990s were crazy to reveal this contempt to the people whose votes they needed to win. So too was Hillary Clinton, with her disdain for the "basket of deplorables" in the 2016 election, much of the Remain camp in the years leading up to Brexit, and indeed the European elites in the way they rammed through the Maastricht Treaty and the euro in the 1990s.

If the post-Cold War world order was a form of US imperialism, it now looks like an empire in which rot in the over-extended periphery has spread to the core. The economic and social patterns of 1990s Russia and Ukraine have come back to haunt the west, though so far thank God in milder form. The massive looting of Russian state property and the systematic evasion of taxes by Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs was only possible with the help of western banks, which transferred the proceeds to the west and the Caribbean. This crime was euphemised in the western discourse (naturally including the Economist ) as "capital flight."

Peter Mandelson qualified his famous remark that the Blair government was "intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich" with the words "as long as they pay their taxes." The whole point, however, about the filthy Russian, Ukrainian, Nigerian, Pakistani and other money that flowed to and through London was not just that so much of it was stolen, but that it was escaping taxation, thereby harming the populations at home twice over. The infamous euphemism "light-touch regulation" was in effect a charter
for this.

In a bitter form of poetic justice, however, "light-touch regulation" paved the way for the 2008 economic crisis in the west itself, and western economic elites too (especially in the US) would also seize this opportunity to move their money into tax havens. This has done serious damage to state revenues, and to the fundamental faith of ordinary people in the west that the rich are truly subject to the same laws as them.

The indifference of Russian elites to the suffering of the Russian population has found a milder echo in the neglect of former industrial regions across Britain, Western Europe and the US that did so much to produce the votes for Brexit, for Trump and for populist nationalist parties in Europe. The catastrophic plunge in Russian male life expectancy in the 1990s has found its echo in the unprecedented decline in white working-class male life expectancy in the US.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of the period after the last Cold War is that in the end, a stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values. To say this to western economists, businessmen and financial journalists in the 1990s was to receive the kindly contempt usually accorded to religious cranks. The only value recognised was shareholder value, a currency in which the crimes of the Russian oligarchs could be excused because their stolen companies had "added value." Any concern about duty to the Russian people as a whole, or the fact that tolerance of these crimes would make it grotesque to demand honesty of policemen or civil servants, were dismissed as irrelevant sentimentality.

Bringing it all back home

We in the west are living with the consequences of a generation of such attitudes. Western financial elites have mostly not engaged in outright illegality; but then again, they usually haven't needed to, since governments have made it easy for them to abide by the letter of the law while tearing its spirit to pieces. We are belatedly recognising that, as Franklin Foer wrote in the Atlantic last year: "New York, Los Angeles and Miami have joined London as the world's most desired destinations for laundered money. This boom has enriched the American elites who have enabled it -- and it has degraded the nation's political and social mores in the process. While everyone else was heralding an emergent globalist world that would take on the best values of America, [Richard] Palmer [a former CIA station chief in Moscow] had glimpsed the dire risk of the opposite: that the values of the kleptocrats would become America's own. This grim vision is now nearing fruition."

Those analysing the connection between Russia and Trump's administration have looked in the wrong place. The explanation of Trump's success is not that Putin somehow mesmerised American voters in 2016. It is that populations abandoned by their elites are liable to extreme political responses; and that societies whose economic elites have turned ethics into a joke should not be surprised if their political leaders too become scoundrels.

About this author Anatol Lieven Anatol Lieven is a professor at Georgetown University in Qatar and the author among other books of America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism and (with John Hulsman), Ethical Realism: A Vision for America's Role in the World More by this author More by Anatol Lieven Will Qatar be reduced to a Saudi client state? July 18, 2017 Why the left needs nationalism January 3, 2017 Pakistan has survived -- now can it prosper?

[Aug 02, 2020] Russiagate, Nazis, and the CIA by ROB URIE

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. has spent a century or more trying to install a U.S.-friendly government in Moscow. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. sent neoliberal economists to loot the country as the Clinton administration, and later the Obama administration, placed NATO troops and armaments on the Russian border after a negotiated agreement not to do so . Subsequent claims of realpolitik are cover for a reckless disregard for geopolitical consequences. ..."
"... The paradox of American liberalism, articulated when feminist icon and CIA asset Gloria Steinem described the CIA as ' liberal, nonviolent and honorable ,' is that educated, well-dressed, bourgeois functionaries have used the (largely manufactured) threat of foreign subversion to install right-wing nationalists subservient to American business interests at every opportunity. ..."
"... To the point made by Christopher Simpson , the CIA could have achieved better results had it not employed former Nazi officers, begging the question of why it chose to do so? ..."
"... Russiagate is the nationalist party line in the American fight against communism, without the communism. Charges of treason have been lodged every time that military budgets have come under attack since 1945. In 1958 the senior leadership of the Air Force was charging the other branches of the military with treason for doubting its utterly fantastical (and later disproven) estimate of Soviet ICBMs. Treason is good for business. ..."
"... Shortly after WWII ended, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi military officers, including former Gestapo and SS officers responsible for murdering tens and hundreds of thousands of human beings , to run a spy operation known as the Gehlen Organization from Berlin, Germany. Given its central role in assessing the military intentions and capabilities of the Soviet Union, the Gehlen Organization was more likely than not responsible for the CIA's overstatement of Soviet nuclear capabilities in the 1950s used to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Former Nazis were also integrated into CIA efforts to install right wing governments around the world. ..."
"... Under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 1998, the CIA was made to partially disclose its affiliation with, and employment of, former Nazis. In contrast to the ' Operation Paperclip ' thesis that it was Nazi scientists who were brought to the U.S. to labor as scientists, the Gehlen Organization and CIC employed known war criminals in political roles. Klaus Barbie, the 'Butcher of Lyon,' was employed by the CIC, and claims to have played a role in the murder of Che Guevara . Wernher von Braun, one of the Operation Paperclip 'scientists,' worked in a Nazi concentration camp as tens of thousands of human beings were murdered. ..."
"... To understand the political space that military production came to occupy, from 1948 onward the U.S. military became a well-funded bureaucracy where charges of treason were regularly traded between the branches. Internecine battles for funding and strategic dominance were (and are) regularly fought. The tactic that this bureaucracy -- the 'military industrial complex,' adopted was to exaggerate foreign threats in a contest for bureaucratic dominance. The nuclear arms race was made a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the U.S. produced world-ending weapons non-stop for decades on end, the Soviets responded in kind. ..."
"... Long story short, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi officers who had the ideological predisposition and economic incentive to mis-perceive Soviet intentions and misstate Soviet capabilities to fuel the Cold War. ..."
"... the U.S. had indicated its intention to use nuclear weapons in a first strike -- and had demonstrated the intention by placing Jupiter missiles in Italy, nothing that the U.S. offered during the Missile Crisis could be taken in good faith. ..."
"... Following the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the Cold War entered a new phase. Cold War logic was repurposed to support the oxymoronic 'humanitarian wars' -- liberating people by bombing them. In 1995 'Russian meddling' meant the Clinton administration rigging the election of Boris Yeltsin in the Russian presidential election. Mr. Clinton then unilaterally reneged on the American agreement to keep NATO from Russia's border when former Baltic states were brought under NATO's control . ..."
"... The Obama administration's 2014 incitement in Ukraine , by way of fostering and supporting the Maidan uprising and the ousting of Ukraine's democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, ties to the U.S. strategy of containing and overthrowing the Soviet (Russian) government that was first codified by the National Security Council (NSC) in 1945. The NSC's directives can be found here and here . The economic and military annexation of Ukraine by the U.S. (NATO didn't exist in 1945) comes under NSC10/2 . The alliance between the CIA and Ukrainian fascists ties to directive NSC20 , the plan to sponsor Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis in order to install them in the Kremlin to replace the Soviet government. This was part of the CIA's rationale for putting Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis on its payroll in 1948. ..."
"... That Russiagate is the continuation of a scheme launched in 1945 by the National Security Council, to be engineered by the CIA with help from former Nazi officers in its employ, speaks volumes about the Cold War frame from which it emerges ..."
"... Its near instantaneous adoption by bourgeois liberals demonstrates the class basis of the right-wing nationalism it supports. That liberals appear to perceive themselves as defenders 'democracy' within a trajectory laid out by unelected military leaders more than seven decades earlier is testament to the power of historical ignorance tied to nationalist fervor. Were the former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA 'our Nazis?' ..."
"... Furthermore, are liberals really comfortable bringing fascists with direct historical ties to the Third Reich to power in Ukraine? And while there are no good choices in the upcoming U.S. election, the guy who liberals want to bring to power is lead architect of this move. ..."
Jul 31, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
Facebook Twitter Reddit Email

The political success of Russiagate lies in the vanishing of American history in favor of a façade of liberal virtue. Posed as a response to the election of Donald Trump, a straight line can be drawn from efforts to undermine the decommissioning of the American war economy in 1946 to the CIA's alliance with Ukrainian fascists in 2014. In 1945 the NSC (National Security Council) issued a series of directives that gave logic and direction to the CIA's actions during the Cold War. That these persist despite the 'fall of communism' suggests that it was always just a placeholder in the pursuit of other objectives.

The first Cold War was an imperial business enterprise to keep the Generals, bureaucrats, and war materiel suppliers in power and their bank accounts flush after WWII. Likewise, the American side of the nuclear arms race left former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA to put their paranoid fantasies forward as assessments of Russian military capabilities. Why, of all people, would former Nazi officers be put in charge military intelligence if accurate assessments were the goal? The Nazis hated the Soviets more than the Americans did.

The ideological binaries of Russiagate -- for or against Donald Trump, for or against neoliberal, petrostate Russia, define the boundaries of acceptable discourse to the benefit of deeply nefarious interests. The U.S. has spent a century or more trying to install a U.S.-friendly government in Moscow. Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. sent neoliberal economists to loot the country as the Clinton administration, and later the Obama administration, placed NATO troops and armaments on the Russian border after a negotiated agreement not to do so . Subsequent claims of realpolitik are cover for a reckless disregard for geopolitical consequences.

The paradox of American liberalism, articulated when feminist icon and CIA asset Gloria Steinem described the CIA as ' liberal, nonviolent and honorable ,' is that educated, well-dressed, bourgeois functionaries have used the (largely manufactured) threat of foreign subversion to install right-wing nationalists subservient to American business interests at every opportunity. Furthermore, Steinem's aggressive ignorance of the actual history of the CIA illustrates the liberal propensity to conflate bourgeois dress and attitude with an imagined gentility . To the point made by Christopher Simpson , the CIA could have achieved better results had it not employed former Nazi officers, begging the question of why it chose to do so?

On the American left, Russiagate is treated as a case of bad reporting, of official outlets for government propaganda serially reporting facts and events that were subsequently disproved. However, some fair portion of the American bourgeois, the PMC that acts in supporting roles for capital, believes every word of it. Russiagate is the nationalist party line in the American fight against communism, without the communism. Charges of treason have been lodged every time that military budgets have come under attack since 1945. In 1958 the senior leadership of the Air Force was charging the other branches of the military with treason for doubting its utterly fantastical (and later disproven) estimate of Soviet ICBMs. Treason is good for business.

Shortly after WWII ended, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi military officers, including former Gestapo and SS officers responsible for murdering tens and hundreds of thousands of human beings , to run a spy operation known as the Gehlen Organization from Berlin, Germany. Given its central role in assessing the military intentions and capabilities of the Soviet Union, the Gehlen Organization was more likely than not responsible for the CIA's overstatement of Soviet nuclear capabilities in the 1950s used to support the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Former Nazis were also integrated into CIA efforts to install right wing governments around the world.

By the time that (Senator) John F. Kennedy claimed a U.S. 'missile gap' with the Soviets in 1958, the CIA was providing estimates of Soviet ICBMs (Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles), that were wildly inflated -- most likely provided to it by the Gehlen Organization. Once satellite and U2 reconnaissance estimates became available, the CIA lowered its own to 120 Soviet ICBMs when the actual number was four . On the one hand, the Soviets really did have a nuclear weapons program. On the other, it was a tiny fraction of what was being claimed. Bad reporting, unerringly on the side of larger military budgets, appears to be the constant.

Under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 1998, the CIA was made to partially disclose its affiliation with, and employment of, former Nazis. In contrast to the ' Operation Paperclip ' thesis that it was Nazi scientists who were brought to the U.S. to labor as scientists, the Gehlen Organization and CIC employed known war criminals in political roles. Klaus Barbie, the 'Butcher of Lyon,' was employed by the CIC, and claims to have played a role in the murder of Che Guevara . Wernher von Braun, one of the Operation Paperclip 'scientists,' worked in a Nazi concentration camp as tens of thousands of human beings were murdered.

The historical sequence in the U.S. was WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, to an economy that was heavily dependent on war production. The threatened decommissioning of the war economy in 1946 was first met with an honest assessment of Soviet intentions -- the Soviets were moving infrastructure back into Soviet territory as quickly as was practicable, then to the military budget-friendly claim that they were putting resources in place to invade Europe. The result of the shift was that the American Generals kept their power and the war industry kept producing materiel and weapons. By 1948 these weapons had come to include atomic bombs.

To understand the political space that military production came to occupy, from 1948 onward the U.S. military became a well-funded bureaucracy where charges of treason were regularly traded between the branches. Internecine battles for funding and strategic dominance were (and are) regularly fought. The tactic that this bureaucracy -- the 'military industrial complex,' adopted was to exaggerate foreign threats in a contest for bureaucratic dominance. The nuclear arms race was made a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the U.S. produced world-ending weapons non-stop for decades on end, the Soviets responded in kind.

What ties the Gehlen Organization to CIA estimates of Soviet nuclear weapons from 1948 – 1958 is 1) the Gehlen Organization was central to the CIA's intelligence operations vis-à-vis the Soviets, 2) the CIA had limited alternatives to gather information on the Soviets outside of the Gehlen Organization and 3) the senior leadership of the U.S. military had long demonstrated that it approved of exaggerating foreign threats when doing so enhanced their power and added to their budgets. Long story short, the CIA employed hundreds of former Nazi officers who had the ideological predisposition and economic incentive to mis-perceive Soviet intentions and misstate Soviet capabilities to fuel the Cold War.

Where this gets interesting is that American whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg was working for the Rand Corporation in the late 1950s and early 1960s when estimates of Soviet ICBMs were being put forward. JFK had run (in 1960) on a platform that included closing the Soviet – U.S. ' missile gap .' The USAF (U.S. Air Force), charged with delivering nuclear missiles to their targets, was estimating that the Soviets had 1,000 ICBMs. Mr. Ellsberg, who had limited security clearance through his employment at Rand, was leaked the known number of Soviet ICBMs. The Air Force was saying 1,000 Soviet ICBMs when the number confirmed by reconnaissance satellites was four.

By 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the CIA had shifted nominal control of the Gehlen Organization to the BND, for whom Gehlen continued to work. Based on ongoing satellite reconnaissance data, the CIA was busy lowering its estimates of Soviet nuclear capabilities. Benjamin Schwarz, writing for The Atlantic in 2013, provided an account, apparently informed by the CIA's lowered estimates, where he placed the whole of the Soviet nuclear weapons program (in 1962) at roughly one-ninth the size of the U.S. effort. However, given Ellsberg's known count of four Soviet ICBMs at the time of the missile crisis, even Schwarz's ratio of 1:9 seems to overstate Soviet capabilities.

Further per Schwarz's reporting, the Jupiter nuclear missiles that the U.S. had placed in Italy prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis only made sense as first-strike weapons. This interpretation is corroborated by Daniel Ellsberg , who argues that the American plan was always to initiate the use of nuclear weapons (first strike). This made JFK's posture of equally matched contestants in a geopolitical game of nuclear chicken utterly unhinged. Should this be less than clear, because the U.S. had indicated its intention to use nuclear weapons in a first strike -- and had demonstrated the intention by placing Jupiter missiles in Italy, nothing that the U.S. offered during the Missile Crisis could be taken in good faith.

The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 was met with a promised reduction in U.S. military spending and an end to the Cold War, neither of which ultimately materialized. Following the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, the Cold War entered a new phase. Cold War logic was repurposed to support the oxymoronic 'humanitarian wars' -- liberating people by bombing them. In 1995 'Russian meddling' meant the Clinton administration rigging the election of Boris Yeltsin in the Russian presidential election. Mr. Clinton then unilaterally reneged on the American agreement to keep NATO from Russia's border when former Baltic states were brought under NATO's control .

The Obama administration's 2014 incitement in Ukraine , by way of fostering and supporting the Maidan uprising and the ousting of Ukraine's democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, ties to the U.S. strategy of containing and overthrowing the Soviet (Russian) government that was first codified by the National Security Council (NSC) in 1945. The NSC's directives can be found here and here . The economic and military annexation of Ukraine by the U.S. (NATO didn't exist in 1945) comes under NSC10/2 . The alliance between the CIA and Ukrainian fascists ties to directive NSC20 , the plan to sponsor Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis in order to install them in the Kremlin to replace the Soviet government. This was part of the CIA's rationale for putting Ukrainian-affiliated former Nazis on its payroll in 1948.

That Russiagate is the continuation of a scheme launched in 1945 by the National Security Council, to be engineered by the CIA with help from former Nazi officers in its employ, speaks volumes about the Cold War frame from which it emerges.

Its near instantaneous adoption by bourgeois liberals demonstrates the class basis of the right-wing nationalism it supports. That liberals appear to perceive themselves as defenders 'democracy' within a trajectory laid out by unelected military leaders more than seven decades earlier is testament to the power of historical ignorance tied to nationalist fervor. Were the former Gestapo and SS officers employed by the CIA 'our Nazis?'

The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act came about in part because Nazi hunters kept coming across Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. who told them they had been brought here and given employment by the CIA, CIC, or some other division of the Federal government. If the people in these agencies thought that doing so was justified, why the secrecy? And if it wasn't justified, why was it done? Furthermore, are liberals really comfortable bringing fascists with direct historical ties to the Third Reich to power in Ukraine? And while there are no good choices in the upcoming U.S. election, the guy who liberals want to bring to power is lead architect of this move. Cue the Sex Pistols .

[Jul 03, 2020] The Iran Obsession Has Isolated the US

So former tank repairman decided again managed to make a make a mark in world diplomacy :-).
Notable quotes:
"... Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1: ..."
"... The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation. ..."
"... Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India: ..."
"... This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo. ..."
"... The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tuesday for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended indefinitely, but his appeal fell flat at the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China rejected it outright and close allies of the United States were ambivalent.

The Trump administration is more isolated than ever in its Iran obsession. The ridiculous effort to invoke the so-called "snapback" provision of the JCPOA more than two years after reneging on the agreement met with failure, just as most observers predicted months ago when it was first floated as a possibility. As I said at the time, "The administration's latest destructive ploy won't find any support on the Security Council. There is nothing "intricate" about this idea. It is a crude, heavy-handed attempt to employ the JCPOA's own provisions to destroy it." It was never going to work because all of the other parties to the agreement want nothing to do with the administration's punitive approach, and U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA meant that it forfeited any rights it had when it was still part of the deal.

Opposition from Russia and China was a given, but the striking thing about the scene at the U.N. this week was that major U.S. allies joined them in rebuking the administration's obvious bad faith maneuver:

The pointedly critical tone of the debate saw Germany accusing Washington of violating international law by withdrawing from the nuclear pact, while Berlin aligned itself with China's claim that the United States has no right to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran.

The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation.

Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India:

If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000 kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.

This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo.

It has no need for expensive fighters, and it is not at all certain that their government would even be interested in acquiring them. Pompeo's presentation was a weak attempt to exaggerate the potential threat from a state that has very limited power projection, and he found no support because his serial fabrications about Iran have rendered everything he says to be worthless.

The same administration that wants to keep an arms embargo on Iran forever has no problem flooding the region with U.S.-made weapons and providing them to some of the worst governments in the world. It is these client states that are doing the most to destabilize other countries in the region right now. If the U.N. should be putting arms embargoes on any country, it should consider imposing them on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to limit their ability to wreak havoc on Yemen and Libya.

The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law.

[Jun 23, 2020] Identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ( soft neoliberals ) to counter the defection of trade union members from the party

Highly recommended!
divide and conquer 1. To gain or maintain power by generating tension among others, especially those less powerful, so that they cannot unite in opposition.
Notable quotes:
"... In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new. ..."
"... The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. ..."
"... Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity. ..."
"... If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.27.19 at 10:21 pm

John,

I've been thinking about the various versions of and critiques of identity politics that are around at the moment. In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new.

You missed one important line of critique -- identity politics as a dirty political strategy of soft neoliberals.

See discussion of this issue by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his recent article (based on his excellent book The Great Democracy ) https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism

To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future.

When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future.

Demagogues [more correctly neoliberals -- likbez] rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.

The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy.

Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity.

Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support. The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.

Indeed, the central anchoring assumptions of the American foreign policy establishment have been proven wrong. Foreign policymakers largely assumed that all good things would go together -- democracy, markets, and human rights -- and so they thought opening China to trade would inexorably lead to it becoming a liberal democracy. They were wrong. They thought Russia would become liberal through swift democratization and privatization. They were wrong.

They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. And to be clear, Donald Trump had nothing to do with them. All of these failures were evident prior to the 2016 election.

If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump.

Initially Clinton calculation was that trade union voters has nowhere to go anyways, and it was correct for first decade or so of his betrayal. But gradually trade union members and lower middle class started to leave Dems in droves (Demexit, compare with Brexit) and that where identity politics was invented to compensate for this loss.

So in addition to issues that you mention we also need to view the role of identity politics as the political strategy of the "soft neoliberals " directed at discrediting and the suppression of nationalism.

The resurgence of nationalism is the inevitable byproduct of the dominance of neoliberalism, resurgence which I think is capable to bury neoliberalism as it lost popular support (which now is limited to financial oligarchy and high income professional groups, such as we can find in corporate and military brass, (shrinking) IT sector, upper strata of academy, upper strata of medical professionals, etc)

That means that the structure of the current system isn't just flawed which imply that most problems are relatively minor and can be fixed by making some tweaks. It is unfixable, because the "Identity wars" reflect a deep moral contradictions within neoliberal ideology. And they can't be solved within this framework.

[Jun 21, 2020] Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace'.

Highly recommended!
Jun 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J. Chuba , Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78

Re: the Nuremberg trials , I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace' . This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?

In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.

[Mar 21, 2020] Tulsi Gabbard says insider traders should be 'investigated prosecuted,' as Left and Right team up on profiteering senator

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "better prepared than ever ..."
"... "akin to the 1918 pandemic." ..."
"... "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," ..."
"... "Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks." ..."
"... "stomach churning," ..."
"... "For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," ..."
"... "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself." ..."
"... "If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," ..."
"... "calling for immediate investigations" ..."
"... "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws." ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, commenters from all sides have demanded swift punishment for US senators who dumped stock after classified Covid-19 briefings. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called for criminal prosecution. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) has received daily briefings on the threat posed by Covid-19 since January. Burr insisted to the public that America was ready to handle the virus, but sold up to $1.5 million in stocks on February 13, less than a week before the stock market nosedived, according to Senate filings . Immediately before the sale, Burr wrote an op-ed assuring Americans that their government is "better prepared than ever " to handle the virus.

Also on rt.com Liberal icon Sean Penn wants a 'compassionate' army deployment to fight Covid-19

After the sale, NPR reported that he told a closed-door meeting of North Carolina business leaders that the virus actually posed a threat "akin to the 1918 pandemic." Burr does not dispute the NPR report.

In a tweet on Saturday, former 2020 presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for criminal investigations. "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," she wrote.

"Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks."

Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated & prosecuted for insider trading (the STOCK Act). It is illegal & abuse of power. Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks. https://t.co/rbVfJxrk3r

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 21, 2020

Burr was not the only lawmaker on Capitol Hill to take precautions, it was reported. Fellow Intelligence Committee member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and her husband sold off more than a million dollars of shares in a biotech company five days later, while Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe (R) made a smaller sale around the same time. Both say their sales were routine.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) attended a Senate Health Committee briefing on the outbreak on January 24. The very same day, she began offloading stock, dropping between $1.2 and $3.1 million in shares over the following weeks. The companies whose stock she sold included airlines, retail outlets, and Chinese tech firm Tencent.

She did, however, invest in cloud technology company Oracle, and Citrix, a teleworking company whose value has increased by nearly a third last week, as social distancing measures forced more and more Americans to work from home. All of Loeffler's transactions were made with her husband, Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) have joined the clamor of voices demanding punishment. Ocasio-Cortez described the sales as "stomach churning," while Omar reached across the aisle to side with Fox News' Tucker Carlson in calling for Burr's resignation.

I am 💯 with him on this 😱 https://t.co/Gbi3i2BagY

-- Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 20, 2020

"For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," Carlson said during a Friday night monolog. "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself."

As of Saturday, there are nearly 25,000 cases of Covid-19 in the US, with the death toll heading towards 300. Now both sides of the political aisle seem united in disgust at the apparent profiteering of Burr, Loeffler, and Feinstein.

Right-wing news outlet Breitbart savaged Burr for voting against the STOCK Act in 2012, a piece of legislation that would have barred members of Congress from using non-public information to profit on the stock market. At the same time, a host of Democratic figures - including former presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Kirsten Gillibrand - weighed in with their own criticism too.

"If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," Yang tweeted on Friday.

If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest.

-- Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) March 20, 2020

Watchdog group Common Cause has filed complaints with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee "calling for immediate investigations" of Burr, Loeffler, Feinstein and Inhofe "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws."

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Mar 21, 2020] Tucker Senator Burr sold shares after virus briefing

Highly recommended!
Mar 21, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Bowhead31 , 5 hours ago

The problem is these people no longer see themselves as public servants.

Maria Summers , 6 hours ago

The Georgia Senator is just as guilty as the rest of them, regarding "Insider Trading".

shane passey , 3 hours ago

She's a crook just like the rest of the politicians. They say they be there for the people. But they're really there to make themselves rich

[Mar 21, 2020] Don't forget our congress critter Senator Kelly Loeffler

Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

@supenau

who make profits as well. I cannot remember exactly when insider trading for them became legal but it should be no surprise to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention that they're ALL doing it. That is one reason, at least in my semi-educated opinion, they did not go after Trump for emoluments during Shampeachment, because THEY ALL DO IT.

That goes all the way to the White House, no doubt.

Marie on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 10:28am

Looks as if the crisis profiteers were on top of it:

Think about this:

Weeks before you had any inkling you were going to lose your job, was selling off millions of stocks -- and *buying* stock in a teleworking company.

-- Robert Reich (@RBReich) March 20, 2020

[Mar 03, 2020] Super Tuesday Bernie vs The DNC Round Two

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

No matter who comes away with the nomination, it has to be asked "was any of this process legitimate?". We know from a plethora of examples that US elections are not fair. They border on meaningless most of the time. The DNC's doubly so, having argued in court they have no duty to be fair.

Any result, then, you could safely assume was contrived, for one reason or another.

If the Buttigieg-Klobuchar-Biden gambit works, we end up with Trump vs. Biden. And, realistically, that means a second Trump term.

Biden is possibly senile and definitely creepy . Watching him shuffle and stutter through a Presidential campaign would be almost cruel.

Politically, he has all of Hillary's weaknesses, being a big-time establishment type with a pro-war record, without even the "I have a vagina" card to play.

He'll get massacred.

Is that the plan?

There's more than enough signs that Trump has abandoned all the policies that made him any kind of threat to the political establishment. Four years on: no wars ended, no walls built, no swamp drained. Just more of the same. He's an idiot who talked big and got co-opted. It happens.

The Senate and other institutions might talk about Trump being a criminal or an idiot or a "Nazi", but the reality is he's barely perceptibly different from any other POTUS this side of JFK.

#TheResistance was a puppet show. A weak game played for toy money. When it really counts, they're all in it together. Biden getting on the ticket would be a public admittance of that. It would mean the DNC is effectively throwing the fight. Trump is a son of a bitch, but he's their son of a bitch. And that's much better than even the idea of President Bernie.

... ... ...

falcemartello ,

Does it really matter?
Empire of kaos will never move one inch to change the status quo.
The quaisi fascist state that most western /antlantacist nations have become it will make no difference
Gianbattista Vico"Their will always be an elite class" Punto e basta.
Name me one politico that made any difference to we the sheeple in the modern era.
If someone were to mention FDR I will scream.
Aldo Moro got murdered by the deep state for only suggesting to make a pact with Berlinguer the head of Il Partito Communista Italiano.

[Mar 03, 2020] "Predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what neoliberalism is.

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

chu teh , Mar 4 2020 0:50 utc | 80

Tonymike | Mar 3 2020 18:08 utc | 26

re ... Your house foreclosed upon by shady bank: naked capitalism, .0001% paid on interest savings: naked capitalism, poor wages: naked capitalism, dangerous workplace: naked capitalism, etc. ...

"naked capitalism" is not a clear description. Consider using "predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what it is.

Here's the Wiki dictionary definition:

Predatory--

1. relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others.
synonyms: predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial, ravening;
Example: "predatory birds".

2. seeking to exploit or oppress others.
synonyms: exploitative, wolfish, rapacious, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious
Example: "I could see a predatory gleam in his eyes"

Note where the word comes from:
The Latin "praedator", in English meaning "plunderer".

And "plunderer" helps the reader understand and perhaps recognize what is happening.

Every plunderer understands.

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=268&t=6

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Disapointment
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Deeper Story Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani

Highly recommended!
Looks like the end of Full Spectrum Dominance the the USA enjoyed since 1991. Alliance of Iran, Russia and China (with Turkey and Pakistan as two possible members) is serious military competitor and while the USA has its set of trump cards, the military victory against such an alliance no longer guaranteed.
Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani's assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency .

The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani's assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast:

Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.

The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:

This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.

I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party".

Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.

I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.

We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia's reaction , that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:

The Kingdom's statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom's view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.

Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the US operation:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.

And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly , the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:

Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: 'Please spare us the pain of going through another war'.

What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the US or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq's efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.

It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh's reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt , when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.

This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran's retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone's throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran's regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.

When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written .

The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the US dollar.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.

This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington's global power.

Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.

Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington's numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.

The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing's economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.

Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping's 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.

The US is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.

Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose. The US cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.

The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world's oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump's feet, ending his chances for re-election.

To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.

Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the US can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the US dollar.

Soleimani's death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump's electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .

Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani's assassination to Osama bin Laden's), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.

The assassination of Soleimani is the US lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the US and Israel's determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.

Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.

Washington's friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.


Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago link

Very good article, straight to the point. In fact its much worse. I know is hard to swallow for my US american brother and sisters.

But as sooner you wake up and see the reality as it is, as better chances the US has to survive with honor. Stop the wars around the globe and do not look for excuses. Isnt it already obvious what is going on with the US war machine? How many more examples some people need to wake up?

Noob678 , 8 minutes ago link

For those who love to connect the dots:

Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something

Not all said in video above is accurate but the recent events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are all related to prevent China from overtaking the zionist hegemonic world and to recolonize China (at least the parasite is trying to hop to China as new host).

Trade war, Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet ..... the concerted efforts from all zionist controlled media (ZeroHedge included) to slander, smearing, fake news against China should tell you what the Zionists agenda are :)

............

Trump Threatens to Kill Iraqi PM if He Doesn't Cancel China Oil Deal - MoA

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."

.........


The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found George W. Bush guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

... ... ..

Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link

When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?

I think Israel's fear is loss of regional goals if Iran becomes untouchable

TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link

Empire is lashing out of desperation because we've crossed peak Empire.

Things are going downhill and will get more volatile as we go.

Buckle up folks because the final act will be very nasty.

Stalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, this article makes a lot of sense. The US is losing influence and lashing out carelessly. I hope the rest of the world realizes how detached majority of the citizens within the states are from the federal government. The Federal government brings no good to our nation. None. From the mis management of our once tax revenues to the corrupt Congress who accepts bribes from the highest bidder, it's a rats best that is not only harmful to its own people, but the world at large. USD won't go down without a fight it seems... All empires end with a bang. Be ready

[Jan 29, 2020] Campaign Promises and Ending Wars

Highly recommended!
Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

lizabeth Warren wrote an article outlining in general terms how she would bring America's current foreign wars to an end. Perhaps the most significant part of the article is her commitment to respect Congress' constitutional role in matters of war:

We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily. The United States should not fight and cannot win wars without deep public support. Successive administrations and Congresses have taken the easy way out by choosing military action without proper authorizations or transparency with the American people. The failure to debate these military missions in public is one of the reasons they have been allowed to continue without real prospect of success [bold mine-DL].

On my watch, that will end. I am committed to seeking congressional authorization if the use of force is required. Seeking constrained authorizations with limited time frames will force the executive branch to be open with the American people and Congress about our objectives, how the operation is progressing, how much it is costing, and whether it should continue.

Warren's commitment on this point is welcome, and it is what Americans should expect and demand from their presidential candidates. It should be the bare minimum requirement for anyone seeking to be president, and any candidate who won't commit to respecting the Constitution should never be allowed to have the powers of that office. The president is not permitted to launch attacks and start wars alone, but Congress and the public have allowed several presidents to do just that without any consequences. It is time to put a stop to illegal presidential wars, and it is also time to put a stop to open-ended authorizations of military force. Warren's point about asking for "constrained authorizations with limited time frames" is important, and it is something that we should insist on in any future debate over the use of force. The 2001 and 2002 AUMFs are still on the books and have been abused and stretched beyond recognition to apply to groups that didn't exist when they were passed so that the U.S. can fight wars in countries that don't threaten our security. Those need to be repealed as soon as possible to eliminate the opening that they have provided the executive to make war at will.

Michael Brendan Dougherty is unimpressed with Warren's rhetoric:

But what has Warren offered to do differently, or better? She's made no notable break with the class of experts who run our failing foreign policy. Unlike Bernie Sanders, and like Trump or Obama, she hasn't hired a foreign-policy staff committed to a different vision. And so her promise to turn war powers back to Congress should be considered as empty as Obama's promise to do the same. Her promise to bring troops home would turn out to be as meaningless as a Trump tweet saying the same.

We shouldn't discount Warren's statements so easily. When a candidate makes specific commitments about ending U.S. wars during a campaign, that is different from making vague statements about having a "humble" foreign policy. Bush ran on a conventional hawkish foreign policy platform, and there were also no ongoing wars for him to campaign against, so we can't say that he ever ran as a "dove." Obama campaigned against the Iraq war and ran on ending the U.S. military presence there, and before his first term was finished almost all U.S. troops were out of Iraq. It is important to remember that he did not campaign against the war in Afghanistan, and instead argued in support of it. His subsequent decision to commit many more troops there was a mistake, but it was entirely consistent with what he campaigned on. In other words, he withdrew from the country he promised to withdraw from, and escalated in the country where he said the U.S. should be fighting. Trump didn't actually campaign on ending any wars, but he did talk about "bombing the hell" out of ISIS, and after he was elected he escalated the war on ISIS. His anti-Iranian obsession was out in the open from the start if anyone cared to pay attention to it. In short, what candidates commit to doing during a campaign does matter and it usually gives you a good idea of what a candidate will do once elected.

If Warren and some of the other Democratic candidates are committing to ending U.S. wars, we shouldn't assume that they won't follow through on those commitments because previous presidents proved to be the hawks that they admitted to being all along. Presidential candidates often tell us exactly what they mean to do, but we have to be paying attention to everything they say and not just one catchphrase that they said a few times. If voters want a more peaceful foreign policy, they should vote for candidates that actually campaign against ongoing wars instead of rewarding the ones that promise and then deliver escalation. But just voting for the candidates that promise an end to wars is not enough if Americans want Congress to start doing its job by reining in the executive. If we don't want presidents to run amok on war powers, there have to be political consequences for the ones that have done that and there needs to be steady pressure on Congress to take back their role in matters of war. Voters should select genuinely antiwar candidates, but then they also have to hold those candidates accountable once they're in office.

[Jan 23, 2020] An incredible level of naivety of people who still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?

Highly recommended!
The deep state clearly is running the show (with some people unexpected imput -- see Trump ;-)
Elections now serve mainly for the legitimizing of the deep state rule; election of a particular individual can change little, although there is some space of change due to the power of executive branch. If the individual stray too much form the elite "forign policy consensus" he ether will be JFKed or Russiagated (with the Special Prosecutor as the fist act and impeachment as the second act of the same Russiagate drama)
But a talented (or reckless) individual can speed up some process that are already under way. For example, Trump managed to speed up the process of destruction of the USA-centered neoliberal empire considerably. Especially by launching the trade war with China. He also managed to discredit the USA foreign policy as no other president before him. Even Bush II.
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Trailer Trash , Jan 23 2020 18:30 utc | 44
>This is the most critical U.S. election in our lifetime
> Posted by: Circe | Jan 23 2020 17:46 utc | 36

Hmmm, I've been hearing the same siren song every four years for the past fifty. How is it that people still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?

Bureaucracies are reactionary and conservative by nature, so any new and more repressive policy Trumpy wants is readily adapted, as shown by the continuing barbarity of ICE and the growth of prisons and refugee concentration camps. Policies that go against the grain are easily shrugged off and ignored using time-tested passive-aggressive tactics.

One of Trump's insurmountable problems is that he has no loyal organization behind him whose members he can appoint throughout the massive Federal bureaucracy. Any Dummycrat whose name is not "Biden" has the same problem. Without a real mass-movement political party to pressure reluctant bureaucrats, no politician of any name or stripe will ever substantially change the direction of US policy.

But the last thing Dummycrats want is a real mass movement, because they might not be able to control it. Instead Uncle Sam will keep heading towards the cliff, which may be coming into view...


Per/Norway , Jan 23 2020 19:31 utc | 62

The amount of TINA worshipers and status quo guerillas is starting to depress me.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE to believe A politician will/can change anything and give your consent to war criminals and traitors?
NO person(s) WILL EVER get to the top in imperial/vassal state politics without being on the rentier class side, the cognitive dissonans in voting for known liars, war criminals and traitors would kill me or fry my brain. TINA is a lie and "she" is a real bitch that deserves to be thrown on the dump off history, YOUR vote is YOUR consent to murder, theft and treason.
DONT be a rentier class enabler STOP voting and start making your local communities better and independent instead.

Per
Norway

Piotr Berman , Jan 23 2020 20:19 utc | 82
The amount of TINA worshipers and status quo guerillas is starting to depress me. <- Norway

Of course, There Is Another Way, for example, kvetching. We can boldly show that we are upset, and pessimistic. One upset pessimists reach critical mass we will think about some actions.

But being upset and pessimistic does fully justify inactivity. In particular, given the nature of social interaction networks, with spokes and hubs, dominating the network requires the control of relatively few nodes. The nature of democracy always allows for leverage takeover, starting from dominating within small to the entire nation in few steps. As it was nicely explained by Prof. Overton, there is a window of positions that the vast majority regards as reasonable, non-radical etc. One reason that powers to be invest so much energy vilifying dissenters, Russian assets of late, is to keep them outside the Overton window.

Having a candidate elected that the curators of Overton window hate definitely shakes the situation with the potential of shifting the window. There were some positive symptoms after Trump was elected, but negatives prevail. "Why not we just kill him" idea entered the window, together with "we took their oil because we have guts and common sense".

From that point of view, visibility of Tulsi and election of Sanders will solve some problems but most of all, it will make big changes in Overton window.

[Jan 21, 2020] WaPo columnist endorses all twelve candidates

Highly recommended!
Are WaPo and NYT both encouraging their readerships to split the 'Anybody But Bernie' vote six ways from Super Tuesday? Fantastic!
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:

In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.

Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:

One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.

[Jan 19, 2020] Not Just Hunter Widespread Biden Family Profiteering Exposed

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Of course, Biden in 2019 said "I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else -- even distant family -- about their business interests. Period." ..."
"... James Biden : Joe's younger brother James has been deeply involved in the lawmaker's rise since the early days - serving as the finance chair of his 1972 Senate campaign. And when Joe became VP, James was a frequent guest at the White House - scoring invites to important state functions which often "dovetailed with his overseas business dealings," writes Schweizer. ..."
"... According to Fox Business 's Charlie Gasparino in 2012, HillStone's Iraq project was expected to "generate $1.5 billion in revenues over the next three years," more than tripling their revenue. According to the report, James Biden split roughly $735 million with a group of minority partners . ..."
"... David Richter - the son of HillStone's parent company's founder - allegedly told investors at a private meeting; it really helps to have "the brother of the vice president as a partner." ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer is out with a new book, " Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America's Progressive Elite," in which he reveals that five members of the Biden family, including Hunter, got rich using former Vice President Joe Biden's "largesse, favorable access and powerful position."

Frank Biden, Vice President Joe Biden, & Mindy Ward

While we know of Hunter's profitable exploits in Ukraine and China - largely in part thanks to Schweizer, Joe's brothers James and Frank, his sister Valerie, and his son-in-law Howard all used the former VP's status to enrich themselves.

Of course, Biden in 2019 said "I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else -- even distant family -- about their business interests. Period."

As Schweizer puts writes in the New York Post ; "we shall see."

James Biden : Joe's younger brother James has been deeply involved in the lawmaker's rise since the early days - serving as the finance chair of his 1972 Senate campaign. And when Joe became VP, James was a frequent guest at the White House - scoring invites to important state functions which often "dovetailed with his overseas business dealings," writes Schweizer.

Consider the case of HillStone International , a subsidiary of the huge construction management firm, Hill International. The president of HillStone International was Kevin Justice, who grew up in Delaware and was a longtime Biden family friend. On November 4, 2010, according to White House visitors' logs, Justice visited the White House and met with Biden adviser Michele Smith in the Office of the Vice President .

Less than three weeks later, HillStone announced that James Biden would be joining the firm as an executive vice president . James appeared to have little or no background in housing construction, but that did not seem to matter to HillStone. His bio on the company's website noted his "40 years of experience dealing with principals in business, political, legal and financial circles across the nation and internationally "

James Biden was joining HillStone just as the firm was starting negotiations to win a massive contract in war-torn Iraq. Six months later, the firm announced a contract to build 100,000 homes. It was part of a $35 billion, 500,000-unit project deal won by TRAC Development , a South Korean company. HillStone also received a $22 million U.S. federal government contract to manage a construction project for the State Department. - Peter Schweizer, via NY Post

According to Fox Business 's Charlie Gasparino in 2012, HillStone's Iraq project was expected to "generate $1.5 billion in revenues over the next three years," more than tripling their revenue. According to the report, James Biden split roughly $735 million with a group of minority partners .

David Richter - the son of HillStone's parent company's founder - allegedly told investors at a private meeting; it really helps to have "the brother of the vice president as a partner."

Unfortunately for James, HillStone had to back out of the major contract in 2013 over a series of problems, including a lack of experience - but the company maintained "significant contract work in the embattled country" of Iraq, including a six-year contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers.

In the ensuing years, James Biden profited off of Hill's lucrative contracts for dozens of projects in the US, Puerto Rico, Mozambique and elsewhere.

Frank Biden , another one of Joe's brothers (who said the Pennsylvania Bidens voted for Trump over Hillary), profited handsomely on real estate, casinos, and solar power projects after Joe was picked as Obma's point man in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Months after Joe visited Costa Rica, Frank partnered with developer Craig Williamson and the Guanacaste Country Club on a deal which appears to be ongoing.

In real terms, Frank's dream was to build in the jungles of Costa Rica thousands of homes, a world-class golf course, casinos, and an anti-aging center. The Costa Rican government was eager to cooperate with the vice president's brother.

As it happened, Joe Biden had been asked by President Obama to act as the Administration's point man in Latin America and the Caribbean .

Frank's vision for a country club in Costa Rica received support from the highest levels of the Costa Rican government -- despite his lack of experience in building such developments. He met with the Costa Rican ministers of education and energy and environment, as well as the president of the country. - NY Post

And in 2016, the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education inked a deal with Frank's Company, Sun Fund Americas to install solar power facilities across the country - a project the Obama administration's OPIC authorized $6.5 million in taxpayer funds to support.

This went hand-in-hand with a solar initiative Joe Biden announced two years earlier, in which "American taxpayer dollars were dedicated to facilitating deals that matched U.S. government financing with local energy projects in Caribbean countries, including Jamaica," known as the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI).

Frank Biden's Sun Fund Americas announced later that it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to build a 20-megawatt solar facility in Jamaica.

Valerie Biden-Owens , Joe's sister, has run all of her brother's Senate campaigns - as well as his 1988 and 2008 presidential runs.

She was also a senior partner in political messaging firm Joe Slade White & Company , where she and Slade White were listed as the only two executives at the time.

According to Schweizer, " The firm received large fees from the Biden campaigns that Valerie was running . Two and a half million dollars in consulting fees flowed to her firm from Citizens for Biden and Biden For President Inc. during the 2008 presidential bid alone."

Dr. Howard Krein - Joe Biden's son-in-law, is the chief medical officer of StartUp Health - a medical investment consultancy that was barely up and running when, in June 2011, two of the company's execs met with Joe Biden and former President Obama in the Oval Office .

The next day, the company was included in a prestigious health care tech conference run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - while StartUp Health executives became regular White House visitors between 2011 and 2015 .

StartUp Health offers to provide new companies technical and relationship advice in exchange for a stake in the business. Demonstrating and highlighting the fact that you can score a meeting with the president of the United States certainly helps prove a strategic company asset: high-level contacts. - NY Post

Speaking of his homie hookup, Krein described how his company gained access to the highest levels of power in D.C.:

"I happened to be talking to my father-in-law that day and I mentioned Steve and Unity were down there [in Washington, D.C.]," recalled Howard Krein. "He knew about StartUp Health and was a big fan of it. He asked for Steve's number and said, 'I have to get them up here to talk with Barack.' The Secret Service came and got Steve and Unity and brought them to the Oval Office."

And then, of course, there's Hunter Biden - who was paid millions of dollars to sit on the board of Ukrainian energy giant Burisma while his father was Obama's point man in the country.

But it goes far beyond that for the young crack enthusiast.

With the election of his father as vice president, Hunter Biden launched businesses fused to his father's power that led him to lucrative deals with a rogue's gallery of governments and oligarchs around the world . Sometimes he would hitch a prominent ride with his father aboard Air Force Two to visit a country where he was courting business. Other times, the deals would be done more discreetly. Always they involved foreign entities that appeared to be seeking something from his father.

There was, for example, Hunter's involvement with an entity called Burnham Financial Group , where his business partner Devon Archer -- who'd been at Yale with Hunter -- sat on the board of directors. Burnham became the vehicle for a number of murky deals abroad, involving connected oligarchs in Kazakhstan and state-owned businesses in China.

But one of the most troubling Burnham ventures was here in the United States, in which Burnham became the center of a federal investigation involving a $60 million fraud scheme against one of the poorest Indian tribes in America , the Oglala Sioux.

Devon Archer was arrested in New York in May 2016 and charged with "orchestrating a scheme to defraud investors and a Native American tribal entity of tens of millions of dollars." Other victims of the fraud included several public and union pension plans. Although Hunter Biden was not charged in the case, his fingerprints were all over Burnham . The "legitimacy" that his name and political status as the vice president's son lent to the plan was brought up repeatedly in the trial. - NY Post

Read the rest of the report here .

[Jan 08, 2020] I can't quite understand how gratuitous US piracy and adventurism in places on the globe beyond the knowledge and reach of most Americans could possibly be compared to Iranian actions securing their immediate regional borders and interests.

Highly recommended!
Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Patroklos , Jan 6 2020 22:30 utc | 104

@Ian Dobbs and Dan

I can't quite understand how gratuitous US piracy and adventurism in places on the globe beyond the knowledge and reach of most Americans could possibly be compared to Iranian actions securing their immediate regional borders and interests. You can at least understand (even if you critique) a US preoccupation with Cuba over the years, or drug cartels in central America, or economic refugees in Mexico because they are close by and have a more less direct effect on the stability of the US. But they have no authority beyond that other than the ability to project violence and force. That's just simple imperialism. But now the US have whacked a made guy without any real reason (i.e. looking at you the wrong way is not a reason). Any mafia hood knows that, especially a New Yorker like Trump. So the climax of The Godfather comes to mind. It is staggeringly naive and frankly moronic to think that this is about good and evil. I bet Soleimani was no angel, but he wasn't whacked because he was a bad guy, but because he was extraordinarily effective military organizer. Star Wars has a lot to answer for in stunting the historical sensibilities of entire generations, but its underlying narrative is the only MSM playbook now. Even more staggering is the stupendous arrogance of the US belief in its 'rights' (based on thuggery and avarice), as though it were the only power in the world capable of establishing a moral order. The lesson in humility to come will be both long-awaited and go unheeded. Even the mob understand there has to be rules.

Alpi , Jan 6 2020 22:32 utc | 105

After reading Crooke and Federicci's articles, there is only one way to stop this madness blowing into a global conflict. Russia and China need to get involved whether they like it or not. Diplomacy and sideline analysis has run its course. This is their time to stamp their influence in the region and finish off the empire once and for all. Maybe that way, The Europeans will grow some minerals and become sovereign again.

Otherwise, China can kiss its Belt and Road goodbye and go into a recession with the loss of their investments up to this point and become slaves to the Americans again.

And Russia, the enemy du jour of Europe and US will be next and be crushed under economic sanctions and isolation.

This is the moment that stars are aligned . Russia and China should park their battle carriers off the Gulf and gives direct warning to Israel and US that any nuclear threat , tactical or otherwise, against anyone in the region is a non-starter.

I read so much about these two countries and that they will get involved. I have recited those lines myself. But after these events and how things are escalating, I cannot see how they cannot be involved. US is its most vulnerable and weakest with respect to economic, diplomatic and military conditions.

The time of condemnations, letters of objection to the UN and veto votes in UNSC is over. There is only one way to deal with a rogue nation and that is by force.

[Jan 06, 2020] Diplomacy Trump-style. Al Capone probably would be allow himself to fall that low

Highly recommended!
Jan 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Fec , Jan 5 2020 15:23 utc | 3

"We have learned today from #Iraq Prime Minister AdilAbdl Mahdi how @realDonaldTrump uses diplomacy:
#US asked #Iraq to mediate with #Iran. Iraq PM asks #QassemSoleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer of his mediation, Trump &co assassinate an envoy at the airport."

https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1213833855754485762

[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] 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.

[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 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 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

[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 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 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] 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 state President (via military aid) as leverage and should be impeached for this and previous crimes. ("Full of Schiff" commenters narrative, neoliberal democrats, or demorats.) Supporters of this category usually bought Russiagate 1.0 narrative line, hook and sinker. Some of them are brainwashed, but mostly simply ignorant neoliberal lemmings without even basic political education.

In any case, while Russiagate 2.0 is probably another World Wrestling Federation style fight, I think "anti-Deep-staters" are much closer to the truth.

What is missing here is the real problem: the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA (and elsewhere).

So this circus serves an important purpose (intentionally or unintentionally) -- to disrupt voters from the problems that are really burning, and are equal to a slow-progressing cancer in the US society.

And implicitly derail Warren (being a weak politician she does not understand that, and jumped into Ukrainegate bandwagon )

I am not that competent here, so I will just mention some obvious symptoms:

  1. Loss of legitimacy of the ruling neoliberal elite (which demonstrated itself in 2016 with election of Trump);
  2. Desperation of many working Americans with sliding standard of living; loss of meaningful jobs due to offshoring of manufacturing and automation (which demonstrated itself in opioids abuse epidemics; similar to epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR before its dissolution.
  3. Loss of previously available freedoms. Loss of "free press" replaced by the neoliberal echo chamber in major MSM. The uncontrolled and brutal rule of financial oligarchy and allied with the intelligence agencies as the third rail of US politics (plus the conversion of the state after 9/11 into national security state);
  4. Coming within this century end of the "Petroleum Age" and the global crisis that it can entail;
  5. Rampant militarism, tremendous waist of resources on the arms race, and overstretched efforts to maintain and expand global, controlled from Washington, neoliberal empire. Efforts that since 1991 were a primary focus of unhinged after 1991 neocon faction US elite who totally controls foreign policy establishment ("full-spectrum dominance). They are stealing money from working people to fund an imperial project, and as part of neoliberal redistribution of wealth up

Most of the commenters here live a comfortable life in the financially secured retirement, and, as such, are mostly satisfied with the status quo. And almost completely isolated from the level of financial insecurity of most common Americans (healthcare racket might be the only exception).

And re-posting of articles which confirm your own worldview (echo chamber posting) is nice entertainment, I think ;-)

Some of those posters actually sometimes manage to find really valuable info. For which I am thankful. In other cases, when we have a deluge of abhorrent neoliberal propaganda postings (the specialty of Fred C. Dobbs) which often generate really insightful comments from the members of the "anti-Deep State" camp.

Still it would be beneficial if the flow of neoliberal spam is slightly curtailed.

[Oct 05, 2019] Everything is fake in the current neoliberal discourse, be it political or economic, and it is not that easy to understand how they are deceiving us. Lies that are so sophisticated that often it is impossible to tell they are actually lies, not facts

Highly recommended!
Oct 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> anne... , October 05, 2019 at 04:40 PM

Anne,

Let me serve as a devil advocate here.

Japan has a shrinking population. Can you explain to me why on the Earth they need economic growth?

This preoccupation with "growth" (with narrow and false one dimensional and very questionable measurements via GDP, which includes the FIRE sector) is a fallacy promoted by neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism proved to be quite sophisticated religions with its own set of True Believers in Eric Hoffer's terminology.

A lot of current economic statistics suffer from "mathiness".

For example, the narrow definition of unemployment used in U3 is just a classic example of pseudoscience in full bloom. It can be mentioned only if U6 mentioned first. Otherwise, this is another "opium for the people" ;-) An attempt to hide the real situation in the neoliberal "job market" in which has sustained real unemployment rate is always over 10% and which has a disappearing pool of well-paying middle-class jobs. Which produced current narco-epidemics (in 2018, 1400 people were shot in half a year in Chicago ( http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-met-weekend-shooting-violence-20180709-story.html ); imagine that). While I doubt that people will hang Pelosi on the street post, her successor might not be so lucky ;-)

Everything is fake in the current neoliberal discourse, be it political or economic, and it is not that easy to understand how they are deceiving us. Lies that are so sophisticated that often it is impossible to tell they are actually lies, not facts. The whole neoliberal society is just big an Empire of Illusions, the kingdom of lies and distortions.

I would call it a new type of theocratic state if you wish.

And probably only one in ten, if not one in a hundred economists deserve to be called scientists. Most are charlatans pushing fake papers on useless conferences.

It is simply amazing that the neoliberal society, which is based on "universal deception," can exist for so long.

[Sep 15, 2019] Demythologizing the Roots of the New Cold War by Ted Snider

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression." ..."
"... That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro. ..."
"... When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .." ..."
"... As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery." ..."
"... The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging." ..."
"... The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more." ..."
"... By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community. ..."
"... But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy. ..."
"... Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders. ..."
"... "Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996." ..."
"... Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | original.antiwar.com

When Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev received his peace prize in 1990, the Nobel Prize committee declared that "the two mighty power blocs, have managed to abandon their life-threatening confrontation" and confidently expressed that "It is our hope that we are now celebrating the end of the Cold War." Recently, U.N. General Secretary António Guterres funereally closed the celebrations with the realization that "The Cold War is back."

In a very short span of history, the window that had finally opened for Russia and the United States to build a new international system in which they work cooperatively to address areas of common interest had slammed back closed. How was that historic opportunity wasted? Why was the road from the Nobel committee's hope to the UN's eulogy such a short one?

The doctrinal narrative that is told in the U.S. is the narrative of a very short road whose every turn was signposted by Russian lies, betrayal, deception and aggression. The American telling of history is a tale in which every blow to the new peace was a Russian blow. The fact checked version offers a demythologized history that is unrecognizably different. The demythologized version is also a history of lies, betrayal, deception and aggression, but the liar, the aggressor, is not primarily Russia, but America. It is the history of a promise so historically broken that it laid the foundation of a new cold war.

But it was not the first promise the United States broke: it was not even the first promise they broke in the new cold war.

The Hot War

Most histories of the cold war begin at the dawn of the post World War II period. But the history of U.S-U.S.S.R. animosity starts long before that: it starts as soon as possible, and it was hot long before it turned cold.

The label "Red Scare" first appeared, not in the 1940s or 50s, but in 1919. Though it is a chapter seldom included in the history of American-Russian relations, America actively and aggressively intervened in the Russian civil war in an attempt to push the Communists back down. The United States cooperated with anti-Bolshevik forces: by mid 1918, President Woodrow Wilson had sent 13,000 American troops to Soviet soil. They would remain there for two years, killing and injuring thousands. Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev would later remind America of "the time you sent your troops to quell the revolution." Churchill would record for history the admission that the West "shot Soviet Russians on sight," that they were "invaders on Russian soil," that "[t]hey armed the enemies of the Soviet government," that "[t]hey blockaded its ports, and sunk its battleships. They earnestly desired and schemed for its downfall."

When the cause was lost, and the Bolsheviks secured power, most western countries refused to recognize the communist government. However, realism prevailed, and within a few short years, by the mid 1920s, most countries had recognized the communist government and restored diplomatic relations. All but the US It was not until several years later that Franklin D. Roosevelt finally recognized the Soviet government in 1933.

The Cold War

It would be a very short time before the diplomatic relations that followed the hot war would be followed by a cold war. It might even be possible to pin the beginning of the cold war down to a specific date. On April 22 and 23, President Truman told Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov to "Carry out his agreement" and establish a new, free, independent government in Poland as promised at Yalta. Molotov was stunned. He was stunned because it was not he that was breaking the agreement because that was not what Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had agreed to at Yalta. The final wording of the Yalta agreement never mentioned replacing Soviet control of Poland.

The agreement that Roosevelt revealed to congress and shared with the world – the one that still dominates the textbook accounts and the media stories – is not the one he secretly shook on with Stalin. Roosevelt lied to congress and the American people. Then he lied to Stalin.

In exchange for Soviet support for the creation of the United Nations, Roosevelt secretly agreed to Soviet predominance in Poland and Eastern Europe. The cold war story that the Soviet Union marched into Eastern Europe and stole it for itself is a lie: Roosevelt handed it to them.

So did Churchill. If Roosevelt's motivation was getting the UN, Churchill's was getting Greece. Fearing that the Soviet Union would invade India and the oil fields of Iran, Churchill saw Greece as the geographical roadblock and determined to hold on to it at all cost. The cost, it turned out, was Romania. Churchill would give Stalin Romania to protect his borders; Stalin would give Churchill Greece to protect his empire's borders. The deal was sealed on October 9, 1944.

Churchill says that in their secret meeting, he asked Stalin, "how would it do for you to have ninety percent predominance in Romania, for us to have ninety percent predominance in Greece? . . ." He then went on to offer a fifty-fifty power split in in Yugoslavia and Hungary and to offer the Soviets seventy-five percent control of Bulgaria. The exact conversation may never have happened, according to the political record, but Churchill's account captures the spirit and certainly captures the secret agreement.

Contrary to the official narrative, Stalin never betrayed the west and stole Eastern Europe: Poland, Romania and the rest were given to him in secret. Then Roosevelt lied to congress and to the world.

That American lie raised the curtain on the cold war.

The New Cold War

Like the Cold War, the new cold war was triggered by an American lie. It was a lie so duplicitous, so all encompassing, that it would lead many Russians to see the agreement that ended the cold war as a devastating and humiliating deception that was really intended to clear the way for the US to surround and finally defeat the Soviet Union. It was a lie that tilled the soil for all future "Russian aggression."

At the close of the cold war, at a meeting held on February 9, 1990, George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State, James Baker, promised Gorbachev that if NATO got Germany and Russia pulled its troops out of East Germany, NATO would not expand east of Germany and engulf the former Soviet states. Gorbachev records in his memoirs that he agreed to Baker's terms "with the guarantee that NATO jurisdiction or troops would not extend east of the current line." In Super-power Illusions , Jack F. Matlock Jr., who was the American ambassador to Russia at the time and was present at the meeting, confirms Gorbachev's account, saying that it "coincides with my notes of the conversation except that mine indicate that Baker added "not one inch." Matlock adds that Gorbachev was assured that NATO would not move into Eastern Europe as the Warsaw Pact moved out, that "the understanding at Malta [was] that the United States would not 'take advantage' of a Soviet military withdrawal from Eastern Europe." At the February 9 meeting, Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President or I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place."

But the promise was not made just once, and it was not made just by the United States. The promise was made on two consecutive days: first by the Americans and then by West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. According to West German foreign ministry documents, on February 10, 1990, the day after James Baker's promise, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze "'For us . . . one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.' And because the conversation revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: 'As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general.'"

A few days earlier, on January 31, 1990, Genscher had said in a major speech that there would not be "an expansion of NATO territory to the east, in other words, closer to the borders of the Soviet Union."

Gorbachev says the promise was made not to expand NATO "as much as a thumb's width further to the east." Putin also says mourns the broken promise, asking at a conference in Munich in February 2007, "What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them."

Putin went on to remind his audience of the assurances by pointing out that the existence of the NATO promise is not just the perception of him and Gorbachev. It was also the view of the NATO General Secretary at the time: "But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. [Manfred] Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: 'The fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.' Where are those guarantees?"

Recent scholarship supports the Russian version of the story. Russian expert and Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, Richard Sakwa says that "[r]ecent studies demonstrate that the commitment not to enlarge NATO covered the whole former Soviet bloc and not just East Germany." And Stephen Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University and of Russian Studies and History at New York University, adds that the National Security Archive has now published the actual documents detailing what Gorbachev was promised. Published on December 12, 2017, the documents finally, and authoritatively, reveal that "The truth, and the promises broken, are much more expansive than previously known: all of the Western powers involved – the US, the UK, France, Germany itself – made the same promise to Gorbachev on multiple occasions and in various emphatic ways."

That key promise made to Gorbachev was shattered, first by President Clinton and then subsequently supported by every American President: NATO engulfed Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in 2004, Albania and Croatia in 2009 and, most recently, Montenegro.

It was this shattered promise, this primal betrayal, this NATO expansion to Russia's borders that created the conditions and causes of future conflicts and aggressions. When, in 2008, NATO promised Georgia and Ukraine eventual membership, Russia saw the threat of NATO encroaching right to its borders. It is in Georgia and Ukraine that Russia felt it had to draw the line with NATO encroachment into its core sphere of influence. Sakwa says that the war in Georgia was "the first war to stop NATO enlargement; Ukraine was the second." What are often cited as acts of Russian aggression that helped maintain the new cold war are properly understood as acts of Russian defense against US aggression that made a lie out of the promise that ended the Cold War.

When Clinton decided to break Bush's promise and betray Russia, George Kennen, father of the containment policy, warned that NATO expansion would be "the most fateful error of American foreign policy in the entire post-cold-war era." "Such a decision," he prophesied, "may be expected to . . . restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations . . .."

The broken promise restored the cold war. Though it is the most significant root of the new cold war, it was not the first. There was a prior broken promise, and this time the man who betrayed Russia was President H.W. Bush.

The end of the Cold War resulted from negotiations and not from any sort of military victory. Stephen Cohen says that "Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush negotiated with the last Soviet Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, what they said was the end of the Cold War on the shared, expressed premise that it was ending 'with no losers, only winners.'"

The end of the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union occurred so closely chronologically that it permitted the American mythologizers to conflate them in the public imagination and create the doctrinal history in which the US defeat of the Soviet Union ended the cold war. But the US did not defeat the Soviet Union. Gorbachev brought about what Sakwa calls a "self-willed disintegration of the Soviet bloc." The Soviet Union came to an end, not by external force or pressure, but out of Gorbachev's recognition of the Soviet Union's own self interest. Matlock flatly states that "pressure from governments outside the Soviet Union, whether from America or Europe or anywhere else, had nothing to do with [the Soviet collapse]." "Cohen demythologizes the history by reinstating the chronological order: Gorbachev negotiated the end of the cold war "well before the disintegration of the Soviet Union." The Cold War officially ended well before the end of the Soviet Union with Gorbachev's December 7, 1988 address to the UN

Matlock says that "Gorbachev is right when he says that we all won the Cold War." He says that President Reagan would write in his notes, "Let there be no talk of winners and losers." When Gorbachev compelled the countries of the Warsaw Pact to adopt reforms like his perestroika in the Soviet Union and warmed them that the Soviet army would no longer be there to keep their communist regimes in power, Matlock points out in Superpower Illusions that "Bush assured Gorbachev that the United States would not claim victory if the Eastern Europeans were allowed to replace the Communist regimes that had been imposed on them." Both the reality and the promise were that there was no winner of the Cold War: it was a negotiated peace that was in the interest of both countries.

When in 1992, during his losing re-election campaign, President Bush arrogantly boasted that "We won the Cold War!" he broke his own promise to Gorbachev and helped plant the roots of the new cold war. "In psychological and political terms," Matlock says, "President Bush planted a landmine under the future U.S.-Russian relationship" when he broke his promise and made that claim.

Bush's broken promise had two significant effects. Psychologically, it created the appearance in the Russian psyche that Gorbachev had been tricked by America: it eroded trust in America and in the new peace. Politically, it created in the American psyche the false idea that Russia was a defeated country whose sphere of interest did not need to be considered. Both these perceptions contributed to the new cold war.

Not only was the broken promise of NATO expansion not the first broken American promise, it was also not the last. In 1997, when President Clinton made the decision to expand NATO much more than an inch to the east, he at least signed the Russia-NATO Founding Act , which explicitly promised that as NATO expanded east, there would be no "permanent stationing of substantial combat forces." This obliterated American promise planted the third root of the new cold war.

Since that third promise, NATO has, in the words of Stephen Cohen, built up its "permanent land, sea and air power near Russian territory, along with missile-defense installations." US and NATO weapons and troops have butted right up against Russia's borders, while anti-missile installations have surrounded it, leading to the feeling of betrayal in Russia and the fear of aggression. Among the earliest moves of the Trump administration were the moving of NATO troops into Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and nearby Norway.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who offered the West Russia and cooperation in place of the Soviet Union and Cold War, was rewarded with lies, broken promises and betrayal. That was the sowing of the first seeds of the new cold war. The second planting happened during the Yeltsin years that followed. During this stage, the Russian people were betrayed because their hopes for democracy and for an economic system compatible with the West were both destroyed by American intervention.

The goal, Matlock too gently explains, "had to be a shift of the bulk of the economy to private ownership." What transpired was what Naomi Klein called in The Shock Doctrine "one of the greatest crimes committed against a democracy in modern history." The States allowed no gradual transition. Matlock says the "Western experts advised a clean break with the past and a transition to private ownership without delay." But there was no legitimate private capital coming out of the communist system, so there was no private money with which to privatize. So, there was only one place for the money to come. As Matlock explains, the urgent transition allowed "privileged insiders[to] join the criminals who had been running a black market [and to] steal what they could, as fast as they could." The sudden, uncompromising transition imposed on Russia by the United States enabled, according to Cohen, "a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia's richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery."

The rape of Russia was funded, overseen and ordered by the United States and handed over by President George H.W. Bush to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Much of their advice, Matlock says generously, "was not only useless, but sometimes actually damaging."

Sometimes damaging? In the first year, millions lost their entire life savings. Subsidy cuts meant that many Russians didn't get paid at all. Klein says that by 1992, Russians were consuming 40% less than they were the year before, and one third of them had suddenly sunk below the poverty line. The economic policies wrestled onto Russia by the US and the transition experts and international development experts it funded and sent over led to, what Cohen calls, "the near ruination of Russia." Russia's reward for ending the Cold War and joining the Western economic community was, in Cohen's words, "the worst economic depression in peacetime, the disintegration of the highly professionalized Soviet middle class, mass poverty, plunging life expectancy [for men, it had fallen below sixty], the fostering of an oligarchic financial elite, the plundering of Russia's wealth, and more."

By the time Putin came to power in 2000, Cohen says, "some 75% of Russians were living in poverty." 75%! Millions and millions of Russian lives were destroyed by the American welcoming of Russia into the global economic community.

But before Putin came to power, there was more Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a necessity for Clinton and the United States because Yeltsin was the pliable puppet who would continue to enforce the cruel economic transition. But to continue the interference in, and betrayal of, the Russian people economically, it would now be necessary to interfere in and betray the Russian democracy.

In late 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin won a year of special powers from the Russian Parliament: for one year, he was to be, in effect, the dictator of Russia to facilitate the midwifery of the birth of a democratic Russia. In March of 1992, under pressure from the, by now, impoverished, devastated and discontented population, parliament repealed the dictatorial powers it had granted him. Yeltsin responded by declaring a state of emergency, re-bestowing upon himself the repealed dictatorial powers. Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that Yeltsin was acting outside the constitution. But the US sided – against the Russian people and against the Russian Constitutional Court – with Yeltsin.

Intoxicated with American support, Yeltsin dissolved the parliament that had rescinded his powers and abolished the constitution of which he was in violation. In a 636-2 vote, the Russian parliament impeached Yeltsin. But, President Clinton again sided with Yeltsin against the Russian people and the Russian law, backed him and gave him $2.5 billion in aid. Clinton was blocking the Russian people's choice of leaders.

Yeltsin took the money and sent police officers and elite paratroopers to surround the parliament building. Clinton "praised the Russian President has (sic) having done 'quite well' in managing the standoff with the Russian Parliament," as The New York Times reported at the time. Clinton added that he thought "the United States and the free world ought to hang in there" with their support of Yeltsin against his people, their constitution and their courts, and judged Yeltsin to be "on the right side of history."

On the right side of history and armed with machine guns and tanks, in October 1993, Yeltsin's troops opened fire on the crowd of protesters, killing about 100 people before setting the Russian parliament building on fire. By the time the day was over, Yeltsin's troops had killed approximately 500 people and wounded nearly 1,000. Still, Clinton stood with Yeltsin. He provided ludicrous cover for Yeltsin's massacre , claiming that "I don't see that he had any choice . If such a thing happened in the United States, you would have expected me to take tough action against it." Clinton's Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, said that the US supported Yeltsin's suspension of parliament in these "extraordinary times."

In 1996, elections were looming, and America's hegemonic dreams still needed Yeltsin in power. But it wasn't going to happen without help. Yeltsin's popularity was nonexistent, and his approval rating was at about 6%. According to Cohen, Clinton's interference in Russian politics, his "crusade" to "reform Russia," had by now become official policy . And so, America boldly interfered directly in Russian elections . Three American political consultants, receiving "direct assistance from Bill Clinton's White House," secretly ran Yeltsin's reelection campaign. As Time magazine broke the story , "For four months, a group of American political consultants clandestinely participated in guiding Yeltsin's campaign."

"Funded by the US government," Cohen reports, Americans "gave money to favored Russian politicians, instructed ministers, drafted legislation and presidential decrees, underwrote textbooks, and served at Yeltsin's reelection headquarters in 1996."

More incriminating still is that Richard Dresner, one of the three American consultants, maintained a direct line to Clinton's Chief Strategist, Dick Morris. According to reporting by Sean Guillory , in his book, Behind the Oval Office , Morris says that, with Clinton's approval, he received weekly briefings from Dresner that he would give to Clinton. Based on those briefings, Clinton would then provide recommendations to Dresner through Morris.

Then ambassador to Russia, Thomas Pickering, even pressured an opposing candidate to drop out of the election to improve Yeltsin's odds of winning.

The US not only helped run Yeltsin's campaign, they helped pay for it. The US backed a $10.2 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan for Russia, the second-biggest loan the IMF had ever given. The New York Times reported that the loan was "expected to be helpful to President Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential election in June." The Times explained that the loan was "a vote of confidence" for Yeltsin who "has been lagging well behind in opinion polls" and added that the US Treasury Secretary "welcomed the fund's decision."

Yeltsin won the election by 13%, and Time magazine's cover declared: "Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win". Cohen reports that the US ambassador to Russia boasted that "without our leadership we would see a considerably different Russia today." That's a confession of election interference.

Asserting its right as the unipolar victor of a Cold War it never won, betraying the central promise of the negotiated end of the cold war by engulfing Russia's neighbors, arming those nations against its written and signed word and stealing all Russian hope in capitalism and democracy by kidnapping and torturing Russian capitalism and democracy, the roots of the new cold war were not planted by Russian lies and aggression, as the doctrinal Western version teaches, but by the American lies and aggression that the fact checked, demythologized version of history reveals.

Ted Snider writes on analyzing patterns in US foreign policy and history.

[Sep 10, 2019] How Deep Is the Rot in America s Institutions by Charles Hugh Smith

Highly recommended!
The question why the USA intelligence agencies were "unaware" about Epstein activities is an interesting one. Similar question can be asked about Hillary "activities" related to "Clinton cash".
Actually the way the USA elite deal with scandals is to ostracize any whistleblower and silence any media that tryt to dig the story. Open repression including physical elimination is seldom used those days as indirect methods are quite effective.
Notable quotes:
"... Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall. ..."
"... If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken." ..."
"... America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy. ..."
"... Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If the rot has reached the foundation and turned it to mush, the structure is one wind-storm from collapse.

How deep has the rot of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty penetrated America's key public and private institutions? It's difficult to tell, as the law-enforcement and security agencies are themselves hopelessly compromised.

If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn't know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were "broken."

If this all strikes you as evidence that America's security and law-enforcement institutions are functioning at a level that's above reproach, then 1) you're a well-paid shill who's protecting the guilty lest your own misdeeds come to light or 2) your consumption of mind-bending meds is off the charts.

How deep has the rot gone in America's ruling elite? One way to measure the depth of the rot is to ask how whistleblowers who've exposed the ugly realities of insider dealing, malfeasance, tax evasion, cover-ups, etc. have fared.

America's ruling class has crucified whistleblowers , especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy.

Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America's corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case.

The closer wrong-doing and wrong-doers are to protected power-elites, the less attention the mass media devotes to them.

... ... ...

Here are America's media, law enforcement/security agencies and "leadership" class: they speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil, in the misguided belief that their misdirection, self-service and protection of the guilty will make us buy the narrative that America's ruling elite and all the core institutions they manage aren't rotten to the foundations.

Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.

[Sep 10, 2019] It s all about Gene Sharp and seeping neoliberal regime change using Western logistical support, money, NGO and intelligence agencies and MSM as the leverage

Highly recommended!
What democracy they are talking about? Democracy for whom? This Harvard political prostitutes are talking about democracy for oligarchs which was the nest result of EuroMaydan and the ability of Western companies to buy assets for pennies on the dollar without the control of national government like happen in xUSSR space after dissolution of the USSR, which in retrospect can be classified as a color revolution too, supported by financial injection, logistical support and propaganda campaign in major Western MSM.
What Harvard honchos probably does not understand or does not wish to understand is that neoliberalism as a social system lost its attraction and is in irreversible decline. The ideology of neoliberalism collapsed much like Bolsheviks' ideology. As Politician like Joe Boden which still preach neoliberalism are widely viewed as corrupt or senile (or both) hypocrites.
The "Collective West" still demonstrates formidable intelligence agencies skills (especially the USA and GB), but the key question is: "What they are fighting for?"
They are fighting for neoliberalism which is a lost case. Which looks like KGB successes after WWIII. They won many battles and lost the Cold war.
Not that Bolsheviks in the USSR was healthy or vibrant. Economics was a deep stagnation, alcoholism among working class was rampant, the standard of living of the majority of population slides each year, much like is the case with neoliberalism after, say, 1991. Hidden unemployment in the USSR was high -- at least in high teens if not higher. Like in the USA now good jobs were almost impossible to obtain without "extra help". Medical services while free were dismal, especially dental -- which were horrible. Hospitals were poor as church rats as most money went to MIC. Actually, like in the USA now, MIC helped to strangulate the economy and contributed to the collapse. It was co a corrupt and decaying , led by completely degenerated leadership. To put the person of the level of Gorbachov level of political talent lead such a huge and complex country was an obvious suicide.
But the facts speak for themselves: what people usually get as the result of any color revolution is the typical for any county which lost the war: dramatic drop of the standard of living due to economic rape of the country.
While far form being perfect the Chinese regime at least managed to lift the standard of living of the majority of the population and provide employment. After regime change China will experience the same economic rape as the USSR under Yeltsin regime. So in no way Hong Cong revolution can be viewed a progressive phenomenon despite all the warts of neoliberalism with Chenese characteristics in mainland China (actually this is a variant of NEP that Gorbachov tried to implement in the USSR, but was to politically incompetent to succeed)
Aug 31, 2019 | Chris Fraser @ChrisFraser_HKU • Aug 27 \z

Replying to @edennnnnn_ @AMFChina @lihkg_forum

A related resource that deserves wide circulation:

Why nonviolent resistance beats violent force in effecting social, political change – Harvard Gazette

CHENOWETH: I think it really boils down to four different things. The first is a large and diverse participation that's sustained.

The second thing is that [the movement] needs to elicit loyalty shifts among security forces in particular, but also other elites. Security forces are important because they ultimately are the agents of repression, and their actions largely decide how violent the confrontation with -- and reaction to -- the nonviolent campaign is going to be in the end. But there are other security elites, economic and business elites, state media. There are lots of different pillars that support the status quo, and if they can be disrupted or coerced into noncooperation, then that's a decisive factor.

The third thing is that the campaigns need to be able to have more than just protests; there needs to be a lot of variation in the methods they use.

The fourth thing is that when campaigns are repressed -- which is basically inevitable for those calling for major changes -- they don't either descend into chaos or opt for using violence themselves. If campaigns allow their repression to throw the movement into total disarray or they use it as a pretext to militarize their campaign, then they're essentially co-signing what the regime wants -- for the resisters to play on its own playing field. And they're probably going to get totally crushed.

Wai Sing-Rin @waisingrin • Aug 27

Replying to @ChrisFraser_HKU @edennnnnn_ and 2 others

Anyone who watched the lone frontliner (w translator) sees the frontliners are headed for disaster. They're fighting just to fight with no plans nor objectives.
They see themselves as heroes protecting the HK they love. No doubt their sincerity, but there are 300 of them left.

[Sep 02, 2019] Where is Margaret Thatcher now?

Highly recommended!
Sep 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])

Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

[Sep 02, 2019] Questions Nobody Is Asking About Jeffrey Epstein by Eric Rasmusen

Highly recommended!
While details on Epstein death are not interesting (he ended like a regular pimp) the corruption of high level officials his case revealed in more troubling.
Notable quotes:
"... Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. ..."
"... What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath. ..."
"... What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney. ..."
"... Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. ..."
"... Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man. ..."
"... Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite. ..."
"... Statutory rape is not a federal crime ..."
"... At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large. ..."
"... Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations? ..."
"... Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail. ..."
"... In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days. ..."
"... Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. ..."
"... Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task. ..."
"... Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. ..."
"... "It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried. ..."
"... President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up. ..."
"... he sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper. ..."
"... Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner? ..."
"... Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them. ..."
"... What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this? ..."
"... Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them. ..."
"... "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure." ..."
"... James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them? ..."
"... There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this? ..."
"... The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was? ..."
"... Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation ..."
"... As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less. ..."
"... We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. ..."
"... One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/ ..."
"... ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jeffrey Epstein case is notable for the ups and downs in media coverage it's gotten over the years. Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it. Articles by New York in 2002 and Vanity Fair in 2003 alluded to it gently, while probing Epstein's finances more closely. In 2005, the Palm Beach police investigated. The county prosecutor, Democrat Barry Krischer, wouldn't prosecute for more than prostitution, so they went to the federal prosecutor, Republican Alexander Acosta, and got the FBI involved. Acosta's office prepared an indictment, but before it was filed, he made a deal: Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a state law felony and receive a prison term of 18 months. In exchange, the federal interstate sex trafficking charges would not be prosecuted by Acosta's office. Epstein was officially at the county jail for 13 months, where the county officials under Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gave him scandalously easy treatment , letting him spend his days outside, and letting him serve a year of probation in place of the last 5 months of his sentence. Acosta's office complained, but it was a county jail, not a federal jail, so he was powerless.

Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. Two books were written about the affair, and fell flat. The FBI became interested again around 2011 ( a little known fact ) and maybe things were happening behind the scenes, but the next big event was in 2018 when the Miami Herald published a series of investigative articles rehashing what had happened.

In 2019 federal prosecutors indicted Epstein, he was put in jail, and he mysteriously died. Now, after much complaining in the press about how awful jails are and how many people commit suicide, things are quiet again, at least until the Justice Department and the State of Florida finish their investigation a few years from now. (For details and more links, see " Investigation: Jeffrey Epstein "at Medium.com and " Jeffrey Epstein " at Wikipedia .)

I'm an expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking. What would I do if I were Epstein? I'd try to get the President, the Attorney-General, or the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York to shut down the investigation before it went public. I'd have all my friends and all my money try to pressure them. If it failed and I were arrested, it would be time for the backup plan -- the Deal. I'd try to minimize my prison time, and, just as important, to be put in one of the nicer federal prisons where I could associate with financial wizards and drug lords instead of serial killers, black nationalists, and people with bad breath.

That's what Epstein would do. What about the powerful people Epstein would turn in to get his deal? They aren't as smart as Epstein, but they would know the Deal was coming -- that Epstein would be quite happy to sacrifice them in exchange for a prison with a slightly better golf course. What could they do? There's only one good option -- to kill Epstein, and do it quickly, before he could start giving information samples to the U. S. Attorney.

Trying to kill informers is absolutely routine in the mafia, or indeed, for gangs of any kind. The reason people call such talk "conspiracy theories" when it comes to Epstein is that his friends are WASPs and Jews, not Italians and Mexicans. But WASPs and Jews are human too. They want to protect themselves. Famous politicians, unlike gangsters, don't have full-time professional hit men on their staffs, but that's just common sense -- politicians rarely need hit men, so it makes more sense to hire them on a piecework basis than as full-time employees. How would they find hit men? You or I wouldn't know how to start, but it would be easy for them. Rich powerful people have bodyguards. Bodyguards are for defense, but the guys who do defense know guys who do offense. And Epstein's friends are professional networkers. One reporter said of Ghislaine Maxwell, "Her Rolodex would blow away almost anyone else's I can think of -- probably even Rupert Murdoch's." They know people who know people. Maybe I'm six degrees of separation from a mafia hit man, but not Ghislaine Maxwell. I bet she knows at least one mafioso personally who knows more than one hit man.

In light of this, it would be very surprising if someone with a spare $50 million to spend to solve the Epstein problem didn't give it a try. A lot of people can be bribed for $50 million. Thus, we should have expected to see bribery attempts. If none were detected, it must have been because prison workers are not reporting they'd been approached.

Some people say that government incompetence is always a better explanation than government malfeasance. That's obviously wrong -- when an undeserving business gets a contract, it's not always because the government official in charge was just not paying attention. I can well believe that prisons often take prisoners off of suicide watch too soon, have guards who go to sleep and falsify records, remove cellmates from prisoners at risk of suicide or murder, let the TV cameras watching their most important prisoners go on the blink, and so forth. But that cuts both ways.

Remember, in the case of Epstein, we'd expect a murder attempt whether the warden of the most important federal jail in the country is competent or not. If the warden is incompetent, we should expect that murder attempt to succeed. Murder becomes all the more more plausible. Instead of spending $50 million to bribe 20 guards and the warden, you just pay some thug $30,000 to walk in past the snoring guards, open the cell door, and strangle the sleeping prisoner, no fancy James Bond necessary. Or, if you can hire a New York Times reporter for $30,000 ( as Epstein famously did a couple of years ago), you can spend $200,000 on a competent hit man to make double sure. Government incompetence does not lend support to the suicide theory; quite the opposite.

Now to my questions.

Why is nobody blaming the Florida and New York state prosecutors for not prosecuting Epstein and others for statutory rape?

Statutory rape is not a federal crime, so it is not something the Justice Dept. is supposed to investigate or prosecute. They are going after things like interstate sex trafficking. Interstate sex trafficking is generally much harder to prove than statutory rape, which is very easy if the victims will testify.

At any time from 2008 to the present, Florida and New York prosecutors could have gone after Epstein and easily convicted him. The federal nonprosecution agreement did not bind them. And, of course, it is not just Epstein who should have been prosecuted. Other culprits such as Prince Andrew are still at large.

Note that if even if the evidence is just the girl's word against Ghislaine Maxwell's or Prince Andrew's, it's still quite possible to get a jury to convict. After all, who would you believe, in a choice between Maxwell, Andrew, and Anyone Else in the World? For an example of what can be done if the government is eager to convict, instead of eager to protect important people, see the 2019 Cardinal Pell case in Australia. He was convicted by the secret testimony of a former choirboy, the only complainant, who claimed Pell had committed indecent acts during a chance encounter after Mass before Pell had even unrobed. Naturally, the only cardinal to be convicted of anything in the Catholic Church scandals is also the one who's done the most to fight corruption. Where there's a will, there's a way to prosecute. It's even easier to convict someone if he's actually guilty.

Why isn't anybody but Ann Coulter talking about Barry Krischer and Ric Bradshaw, the Florida state prosecutor and sheriff who went easy on Epstein, or the New York City police who let him violate the sex offender regulations?

Krischer refused to use the evidence the Palm Beach police gave him except to file a no-jail-time prostitution charge (they eventually went to Acosta, the federal prosecutor, instead, who got a guilty plea with an 18-month sentence). Bradshaw let him spend his days at home instead of at jail.

In New York State, the county prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, fought to prevent Epstein from being classified as a Level III sex offender. Once he was, the police didn't enforce the rule that required him to check in every 90 days.

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

Not easy, I should think. It wouldn't be enough to prove that Epstein debauched teenagers. Trafficking is a federal offense, so it would have to involve commerce across state lines. It also must involve sale and profit, not just personal pleasure. The 2019 indictment is weak on this. The "interstate commerce" looks like it's limited to Epstein making phone calls between Florida and New York. This is why I am not completely skeptical when former U.S. Attorney Acosta says that the 2008 nonprosecution deal was reasonable. He had strong evidence the Epstein violated Florida state law -- but that wasn't relevant. He had to prove violations of federal law.

Why didn't Epstein ask the Court, or the Justice Dept., for permission to have an unarmed guard share his cell with him?

Epstein had no chance at bail without bribing the judge, but this request would have been reasonable. That he didn't request a guard is, I think, the strongest evidence that he wanted to die. If he didn't commit suicide himself, he was sure making it easy for someone else to kill him.

Could Epstein have used the safeguard of leaving a trove of photos with a friend or lawyer to be published if he died an unnatural death?

Well, think about it -- Epstein's lawyer was Alan Dershowitz. If he left photos with someone like Dershowitz, that someone could earn a lot more by using the photos for blackmail himself than by dutifully carrying out his perverted customer's instructions. The evidence is just too valuable, and Epstein was someone whose friends weren't the kind of people he could trust. Probably not even his brother.

Who is in danger of dying next?

Prison workers from guard to warden should be told that if they took bribes, their lives are now in danger. Prison guards may not be bright enough to realize this. Anybody who knows anything important about Epstein should be advised to publicize their information immediately. That is the best way to stay alive.

This is not like a typical case where witnesses get killed so they won't testify. It's not like with gangsters. Here, the publicity and investigative lead is what is most important, because these are reputable and rich offenders for whom publicity is a bigger threat than losing in court. They have very good lawyers, and probably aren't guilty of federal crimes anyway, just state crimes, in corrupt states where they can use clout more effectively. Thus, killing potential informants before they tell the public is more important than killing informants to prevent their testimony at trial, a much more leisurely task.

What happened to Epstein's body?

The Justice Dept. had better not have let Epstein's body be cremated. And they'd better give us convincing evidence that it's his body. If I had $100 million to get out of jail with, acquiring a corpse and bribing a few people to switch fingerprints and DNA wouldn't be hard. I find it worrying that the government has not released proof that Epstein is dead or a copy of the autopsy.

Was Epstein's jail really full of mice?

The New York Times says,

"Beyond its isolation, the wing is infested with rodents and cockroaches, and inmates often have to navigate standing water -- as well as urine and fecal matter -- that spills from faulty plumbing, accounts from former inmates and lawyers said. One lawyer said mice often eat his clients' papers."

" Often have to navigate standing water"? "Mice often eat his clients' papers?" Really? I'm skeptical. What do the vermin eat -- do inmates leave Snickers bars open in their cells? Has anyone checked on what the prison conditions really like?

Is it just a coincidence that Epstein made a new will two days before he died?

I can answer this one. Yes, it is coincidence, though it's not a coincidence that he rewrote the will shortly after being denied bail. The will leaves everything to a trust, and it is the trust document (which is confidential), not the will (which is public), that determines who gets the money. Probably the only thing that Epstein changed in his will was the listing of assets, and he probably changed that because he'd just updated his list of assets for the bail hearing anyway, so it was a convenient time to update the will.

Did Epstein's veiled threat against DOJ officials in his bail filing backfire?

Epstein's lawyers wrote in his bail request,

"If the government is correct that the NPA does not, and never did, preclude a prosecution in this district, then the government will likely have to explain why it purposefully delayed a prosecution of someone like Mr. Epstein, who registered as a sex offender 10 years ago and was certainly no stranger to law enforcement. There is no legitimate explanation for the delay."

I see this as a veiled threat. The threat is that Epstein would subpoena people and documents from the Justice Department relevant to the question of why there was a ten-year delay before prosecution, to expose the illegitimate explanation for the delay. Somebody is to blame for that delay, and court-ordered disclosure is a bigger threat than an internal federal investigation.

Who can we trust?

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is the only government official who is clearly trustworthy, because he could have stopped the 2019 Epstein indictment and he didn't. I don't think Attorney-General Barr could have blocked it, and I don't think President Trump could have except by firing Berman. I do trust Attorney-General Barr, however, from what I've heard of him and because he instantly and publicly said he would have not just the FBI but the Justice Dept. Inspector-General investigate Epstein's death, and he quickly fired the federal prison head honcho. The FBI is untrustworthy, but Inspector-Generals are often honorable.

Someone else who may be a hero in this is Senator Ben Sasse. Vicki Ward writes in the Daily Beast :

"It was that heart-wrenching series that caught the attention of Congress. Ben Sasse, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joined with his Democratic colleagues and demanded to know how justice had been so miscarried.

Given the political sentiment, it's unsurprising that the FBI should feel newly emboldened to investigate Epstein -- basing some of their work on Brown's excellent reporting."

Will President Trump Cover Up Epstein's Death in Exchange for Political Leverage?

President Trump didn't have anything personally to fear from Epstein. He is too canny to have gotten involved with him, and the press has been eagerly at work to find the slightest connection between him and Epstein and have come up dry as far as anything but acquaintanceship. But we must worry about a cover-up anyway, because rich and important people would be willing to pay Trump a lot in money or, more likely, in political support, if he does a cover-up.

Why did Judge Sweet order Epstein documents sealed in 2017. Did he die naturally in 2019?

Judge Robert Sweet in 2017 ordered all documents in an Epstein-related case sealed. He died in May 2019 at age 96, at home in Idaho. The sealing was completely illegal, as the appeals court politely but devastatingly noted in 2019, and the documents were released a day or two before Epstein died. Someone should check into Judge Sweet's finance and death. He was an ultra-Establishment figure -- a Yale man, alas, like me, and Taft School -- so he might just have been protecting what he considered good people, but his decision to seal the court records was grossly improper.

Did Epstein have any dealings in sex, favors, or investments with any Republican except Wexner?

Dershowitz, Mitchell, Clinton, Richardson, Dubin, George Stephanopolous, Lawrence Krauss, Katie Couric, Mortimer Zuckerman, Chelsea Handler, Cyrus Vance, and Woody Allen, are all Democrats. Did Epstein ever make use of Republicans? Don't count Trump, who has not been implicated despite the media's best efforts and was probably not even a Republican back in the 90's. Don't count Ken Starr– he's just one of Epstein's lawyers. Don't count scientists who just took money gifts from him. (By the way, Epstein made very little in the way of political contributions , though that little went mostly to Democrats ( $139,000 vs. $18,000 . I bet he extracted more from politicians than he gave to them.

What role did Israeli politician Ehud Barak play in all this?

Remember Marc Rich? He was a billionaire who fled the country to avoid a possible 300 years prison term, and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001. Ehud Barak, one of Epstein's friends, was one of the people who asked for Rich to be pardoned . Epstein, his killers, and other rich people know that as a last resort they can flee the country and wait for someone like Clinton to come to office and pardon them.

Acosta said that Washington Bush Administration people told him to go easy on Epstein because he was an intelligence source. That is plausible. Epstein had info and blackmailing ability with people like Ehud Barak, leader of Israel's Labor Party. But "intelligence" is also the kind of excuse people make up so they don't have to say "political pressure."

Why did nobody pay attention to the two 2016 books on Epstein?

James Patterson and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him , and All the Justice that Money Can Buy: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein . Conchita Sarnoff published TrafficKing: The Jeffrey Epstein Case. I never heard of these before 2019. Did the media bury them?

Which newspapers reported Epstein's death as "suicide" and which as "apparent suicide"?

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug? There seems to have been an orchestrated attempt to divert attention to the issue of suicides in prison. Subtle differences in phrasing might help reveal who's been paid off. National Review had an article, "The Conspiracy Theories about Jeffrey Epstein's Death Don't Make Much Sense." The article contains no evidence or argument to support the headline's assertion, just bluster about "madness" and "conspiracy theories". Who else publishes stuff like this?

How much did Epstein corrupt the media from 2008 to 2019?

Even outlets that generally publish good articles must be suspected of corruption. Epstein made an effort to get good publicity. The New York Times wrote,

"The effort led to the publication of articles describing him as a selfless and forward-thinking philanthropist with an interest in science on websites like Forbes, National Review and HuffPost .

All three articles have been removed from their sites in recent days, after inquiries from The New York Times .

The National Review piece, from the same year, called him "a smart businessman" with a "passion for cutting-edge science."

Ms. Galbraith was also a publicist for Mr. Epstein, according to several news releases promoting Mr. Epstein's foundations In the article that appeared on the National Review site, she described him as having "given thoughtfully to countless organizations that help educate underprivileged children."

"We took down the piece, and regret publishing it," Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review since 1997, said in an email. He added that the publication had "had a process in place for a while now to weed out such commercially self-interested pieces from lobbyists and PR flacks.""

The New York Times was, to its credit, willing to embarrass other publications by 2019. But the Times itself had been part of the cover-up in previous years . Who else was?

Eric Rasmusen is an economist who has held an endowed chair at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and visiting positions at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the Harvard Economics Department, Chicago's Booth School of Business, Nuffield College/Oxford, and the University of Tokyo Economics Department. He is best known for his book Games and Information. He has published extensively in law and economics, including recent articles on the burakumin outcastes in Japan, the use of game theory in jurisprudence, and quasi-concave functions. The views expressed here are his personal views and are not intended to represent the views of the Kelley School of Business or Indiana University. His vitae is at http://www.rasmusen.org/vita.htm .


Paul.Martin , says: September 2, 2019 at 3:54 am GMT

Not one question involving Maurene Comey, then? She was one of the SDNY prosecutors assigned to this case, and her name has been significantly played down (if at all visible) in the reportage before or after Epstein's death. That she just "happened" to be on this case at all is quite an eyebrow raiser especially with her father under the ongoing "Spygate" investigation

Apparently, there will always be many players on the field, and many ways to do damage control.

utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:43 am GMT

How easy would it have been to prove in 2016 or 2019 that Epstein and his people were guilty of federal sex trafficking?

It would be very easy for a motivated prosecutor.

Mann Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mann_Act The Mann Act was successfully used to prosecute several Christian preachers in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

So the problem was finding a motivated prosecutor in case of Jewish predator with very likely links to intelligence services of several countries. The motivation was obviously lacking.

Your "expertise" in game theory would be greatly improved if you let yourself consider the Jewish factor.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 4:44 am GMT
As important as it is to go on asking questions about the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein, I have to admit that personally I'm just not interested. I've always found people of his social class to be vaguely repulsive even without the sordid sex allegations. Just their demanding personalities, just the thought of them hanging around in their terrycloth jogging suits, sneering at the world with their irrefrangible arrogance, is enough to make me shudder. I want nothing of their nightmare world; and when they die, I couldn't care less.
utu , says: September 2, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT

More generally, which media outlets seem to be trying to brush Epstein's death under the rug?

Not the National Enquirer:

Jeffrey Epstein Murder Cover-up Exposed!
Death Scene Staged to Look Like Suicide
Billionaire's Screams Ignored by Guards!
Fatal Attack Caught on Jail Cameras!
Autopsy is Hiding the Truth!

National Enquirer, Sept 2. 2019
https://reader.magzter.com/preview/7l5c5vd5t28thcmigloxel3670370/367037

Mark James , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:33 am GMT
I don't hold AG Barr in the high regard this piece does. While I'm not suggesting he had anything to do with Epstein's death I do think he's corrupt. I doubt he will do anything that leads to the truth. As for him relieving the warden of his duties, I would hope that was to be expected, wasn't it? I mean he only had two attempts on Epstein's life with the second being a success. Apparently the first didn't jolt the warden into some kind of action as it appears he was guilty of a number of sins including 'Sloth.'

As for the publications that don't like conspiracy theories –like the National Review -- they are a hoot. We are supposed to have faith in this rubbish? The cameras malfunctioned. He didn't have a cellmate. The guards were tired and forced to work overtime. There was no camera specifically in the cell with Epstein.
In the end I think Epstein probably was allowed to kill himself but I'm not confident in that scenario at all. And yes the media should pressure Barr to hav e a look in the cell and see exactly how a suicide attempt might have succeeded or if it was a long-shot at best, given the materiel and conditions.

SafeNow , says: September 2, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
19. Why is the non-prosecution agreement ambiguous ("globally" binding), when it was written by the best lawyers in the country for a very wealthy client? Was the ambiguity bargained-for? If so, what are the implications?

20. With "globally" still being unresolved (to the bail judge's first-paragraph astonishment), why commit suicide now?

21. The "it was malfeasance" components are specified. For mere malfeasance to have been the cause, all of the components would have to be true; it would be a multiplicative function of the several components. Is no one sufficiently quantitative to estimate the magnitude?

22. What is the best single takeaway phrase that emerges from all of this? My nomination is: "In your face." The brazen, shameless, unprecedented, turning-point, in-your-faceness of it.

sally , says: September 2, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
ER the answer is easy to you list of questions .. there is no law in the world when violations are not prosecuted and fair open for all to see trials are not held and judges do not deliver the appropriate penalties upon convictions. .. in cases involving the CIA prosecution it is unheard of that a open for all to see trial takes place.

This is why we the governed masses need a parallel government..

such an oversight government would allow to pick out the negligent or wilful misconduct of persons in functional government and prosecute such persons in the independent people's court.. Without a second government to oversee the first government there is no democracy; democracy cannot stand and the governed masses will never see the light of a fair day .. unless the masses have oversight authority on what is to be made into law, and are given without prejudice to their standing in America the right to charge those associated to government with negligent or wilful misconduct.

mypoint

Anonymous [425] Disclaimer , says: Website September 2, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fMG8SVrqstg?feature=oembed

Brabantian , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:31 am GMT
There are big questions this article is not asking either

The words 'Mossad' seems not to appear above, and just a brief mention of 'Israel' with Ehud Barak

One tiny mention of Jewish magnate Les Wexner but no mention how he & the Bronfmans founded the 'Mega Group' of ultra-Zionist billionaires regularly meeting as to how they could prop up the Jewish state by any & all means, Wexner being the source of many Epstein millions, the original buyer of the NYC mansion he transferred to Epstein etc the excellent Epstein series by Whitney Webb on Mint Press covering all this
https://www.mintpressnews.com/author/whitney-webb/

Was escape to freedom & Israe,l the ultimate payoff for Epstein's decades of work for Mossad, grooming and abusing young teens, filmed in flagrante delicto with prominent people for political blackmail?

Is it not likely this was a Mossad jailbreak covered by fake 'suicide', with Epstein alive now, with US gov now also in possession of the assumed Epstein sexual blackmail video tapes?

We have the Epstein 'death in jail' under the US Attorney General Bill Barr, a former CIA officer 1973-77, the CIA supporting him thru night law school, Bill Barr's later law firm Kirkland Ellis representing Epstein

Whose Jewish-born ex-OSS father Donald Barr had written a 'fantasy novel' on sex slavery with scenes of rape of underage teens, 'Space Relations', written whilst Don Barr was headmaster of the Dalton school, which gave Epstein his first job, teaching teens

So would a crypto-Jewish 'former' CIA officer who is now USA Attorney General, possibly help a Mossad political blackmailer escape to Israel after a fake 'jail suicide'?

An intriguing 4chan post a few hours after Epstein's 'body was discovered', says Epstein was put in a wheelchair and driven out of the jail in a van, accompanied by a man in a green military uniform – timestamp is USA Pacific on the screencap apparently, so about 10:44 NYC time Sat.10 Aug

FWIW, drone video of Epstein's Little St James island from Friday 30 August, shows a man who could be Epstein himself, on the left by one vehicle, talking to a black man sitting on a quad all-terrain unit

Close up of Epstein-like man between vehicles, from video note 'pale finger' match-up to archive photo Epstein

Anon [261] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
The thing that sticks out for me is that Epstein was caught, charged, and went to jail previously, but he didn't die . The second time, it appears he was murdered. I strongly suspect that the person who murdered Epstein was someone who only met Epstein after 2008, or was someone Epstein only procured for after 2008. Otherwise, this person would have killed Epstein back when Epstein was charged by the cops the first time.

Either that, or the killer is someone who is an opponent of Trump, and this person was genuinely terrified that Trump would pressure the Feds to avoid any deals and to squeeze all the important names out of Epstein and prosecute them, too.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: September 2, 2019 at 8:37 am GMT
The author professes himself "expert in the field of "game theory", strategic thinking," but he doesn't say how his 18 questions were arrived at to the exclusion of hundreds of others. Instead, the column includes several casual assumptions and speculation. For example:

As to this last, isn't "quickly [firing] the federal prison head honcho" consistent with a failure-to-prevent-suicide deflection strategy? And has Mr. Rasmusen not "heard" of the hiring of Mr. Epst