|Home||Switchboard||Unix Administration||Red Hat||TCP/IP Networks||Neoliberalism||Toxic Managers|
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better
|News||Political Economy of Casino Capitalism||Recommended Links||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia||Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"||Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite|
|Silencing of Brooksley Born||Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia||Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy||Invisible Hand Hypothesis: The Theory of Self-regulation of the Markets||Hyman Minsky||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement|
|Critique of neoclassical economics||Rubinism||Trickle down economics||Rational expectations scam||Monetarism||Criminal negligence in financial regulation||Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability|
|Helicopter Ben||Bush||Clinton||Jeffrey Sachs and "shock therapy" racket||Milton Friedman||Phil Gramm||Greenspan: Grey Cardinal of Washington|
|Corruption of Regulators||Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy||John Kenneth Galbraith||Sandy Weill||Martin Feldstein||Financial Humor||Etc|
This is a really fascinating story of a guy who is almost universally hated for his personality flaws. He is arrogant, authoritarian and unlikable. He is the person who professes neoliberal ideology, a staunch supporter of deregulation of financial sector and who played a role of a hired gun in killing Glass-Steagall. It's really amazing that he after all his adventures in Clinton administration he managed to land the important position in "the change we can believe in" (aka "it could be worse") Administration, but this is just a testament of Rubin's influence in Obama administration. Like his mentor, Summers is a prominent member of pro-Wall-street wing of the Democratic party, or as it is called Clinton's gang or “plutocratic Taliban”. As an economist Summers has gone through several (questionable) revolving doors, and that mean that it is natural to suspect his level of scientific integrity.
He became a walking illustration of corruption of the academy by special interests. Like few others (and first of all his protégé Andrei Shleifer) he became a multimillionaire due to his services to financial industry and once got $135K for a single speaking engagement in Goldman Sachs. This level of corruption of academics is a disgrace, but nothing new. Mishkin did worse things. Fat cats of economic profession institutionalize the relations typical for Academician Lysenko among students, and contribute to the problems of the society instead of helping to solve them. What $100K+ per "speaking engagement" fee means, if not a bribe with a fig leaf attached (Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics The Chronicle of Higher Education).
"Summers became wealthy through consulting and speaking engagements with financial firms. Between 2001 and his entry into the Obama administration, he made more than $20-million from the financial-services industry. (His 2009 federal financial-disclosure form listed his net worth as $17-million to $39-million.)"
"Prominent academic economists (and sometimes also professors of law and public policy) are paid by companies and interest groups to testify before Congress, to write papers, to give speeches, to participate in conferences, to serve on boards of directors, to write briefs in regulatory proceedings, to defend companies in antitrust cases, and, of course, to lobby. This is now, literally, a billion-dollar industry."
This is very disturbing but what is more disturbing that in case of Summers there is strong evidence of cronyism and nepotism during his meteoric rise to the top. Larry Summers is a nephew to both Ken Arrow and late Paul Samuelson. In a mandarinate that sure is US economic profession that's a tremendous help for any person in climbing to the top.
“The Company applies its expertise in research, consulting, technical assistance, data collection and medical and life sciences to a wide variety of problems in the public and private sectors. In the United States, Abt Associates has helped shape many important and complex public programs, including Medicaid, welfare reform, Head Start, crime reporting, and housing experiments. The Company is also a recognized leader in providing technical assistance to facilitate policy reforms in countries moving to market oriented economies.”
Summers' academic mentor was conservative economist Marty Feldstein, and he worked for Feldstein at Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers in the early 1980s. Being a protégée of Robert Rubin helped Summers to obtain lucrative government positions.
Both men are proteges of Robert Rubin, a former Clinton Treasury secretary who served on Citigroup Inc.’s board from 1999 until this year and has been criticized for allowing the bank to pile up $544 billion of derivatives and securities before it became the recipient of more government assistance than any other bank. Rubin declined to comment.”
If one wants to be more sharp critic, he/she can view Summers as a staunch neoliberal, a typical academic servant of banking oligarchy, an academic lobbyist for financial industry.
Classic example of a modern type of neo-bribes for neoliberal economists: $135,000 for one speech at Goldman Sachs.
The popular joke that "the relationship between government and banking is the closest thing to organized crime taken over society" sounds alarmingly true, when applied to Summers activity (Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics - The Chronicle of Higher Education):
As a rising economist at Harvard and at the World Bank, Summers argued for privatization and deregulation in many domains, including finance. Later, as deputy secretary of the treasury and then treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, he implemented those policies. Summers oversaw passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed Glass-Steagall, permitted the previously illegal merger that created Citigroup, and allowed further consolidation in the financial sector. He also successfully fought attempts by Brooksley Born, chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Clinton administration, to regulate the financial derivatives that would cause so much damage in the housing bubble and the 2008 economic crisis. He then oversaw passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned all regulation of derivatives, including exempting them from state antigambling laws.
After Summers left the Clinton administration, his candidacy for president of Harvard was championed by his mentor Robert Rubin, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, who was his boss and predecessor as treasury secretary. Rubin, after leaving the Treasury Department—where he championed the law that made Citigroup's creation legal—became both vice chairman of Citigroup and a powerful member of Harvard's governing board.
Over the past decade, Summers continued to advocate financial deregulation, both as president of Harvard and as a University Professor after being forced out of the presidency. During this time, Summers became wealthy through consulting and speaking engagements with financial firms. Between 2001 and his entry into the Obama administration, he made more than $20-million from the financial-services industry. (His 2009 federal financial-disclosure form listed his net worth as $17-million to $39-million.)
Summers remained close to Rubin and to Alan Greenspan, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve. When other economists began warning of abuses and systemic risk in the financial system deriving from the environment that Summers, Greenspan, and Rubin had created, Summers mocked and dismissed those warnings. In 2005, at the annual Jackson Hole, Wyo., conference of the world's leading central bankers, the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Raghuram Rajan, presented a brilliant paper that constituted the first prominent warning of the coming crisis. Rajan pointed out that the structure of financial-sector compensation, in combination with complex financial products, gave bankers huge cash incentives to take risks with other people's money, while imposing no penalties for any subsequent losses. Rajan warned that this bonus culture rewarded bankers for actions that could destroy their own institutions, or even the entire system, and that this could generate a "full-blown financial crisis" and a "catastrophic meltdown."
When Rajan finished speaking, Summers rose up from the audience and attacked him, calling him a "Luddite," dismissing his concerns, and warning that increased regulation would reduce the productivity of the financial sector. (Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and Alan Greenspan were also in the audience.)
Among key "mis-achievements" of this staunch neoliberal, we can mention the following:
The bill that ultimately repealed the Act was introduced in the Senate by Phil Gramm (Republican of Texas) and in the House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa) in 1999. The bills were passed by Republican majorities on party lines by a 54-44 vote in the Senate and by a 343-86 vote in the House of Representatives. After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90-8 (1 not voting) and in the House: 362-57 (15 not voting). [These margins of passage, if repeated, would have been well over the two-thirds needed to overcome any veto, had the President returned the bill to Congress without his signature.] The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999. 
The banking industry had been seeking the repeal of Glass-Steagall since at least the 1980s. In 1987 the Congressional Research Service prepared a report which explored the case for preserving Glass-Steagall and the case against preserving the act.
As chairperson of the CFTC, Born advocated reining in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives. . . . One type of derivative—known as a credit-default swap—has been a key contributor to the economy’s recent unraveling. . .
Back in the 1990s, however, Born’s proposal stirred an almost visceral response from other regulators in the Clinton administration, as well as members of Congress and lobbyists. . . . But even the modest proposal got a vituperative response. The dozen or so large banks that wrote most of the OTC derivative contracts saw the move as a threat to a major profit center. Greenspan and his deregulation-minded brain trust saw no need to upset the status quo. The sheer act of contemplating regulation, they maintained, would cause widespread chaos in markets around the world.
Born recalls taking a phone call from Lawrence Summers, then Rubin’s top deputy at the Treasury Department, complaining about the proposal, and mentioning that he was taking heat from industry lobbyists. . . . The debate came to a head April 21, 1998. In a Treasury Department meeting of a presidential working group that included Born and the other top regulators, Greenspan and Rubin took turns attempting to change her mind. Rubin took the lead, she recalls.
“I was told by the secretary of the treasury that the CFTC had no jurisdiction, and for that reason and that reason alone, we should not go forward,” Born says. . . . “It seemed totally inexplicable to me,” Born says of the seeming disinterest her counterparts showed in how the markets were operating. “It was as though the other financial regulators were saying, ‘We don’t want to know.’”
She formally launched the proposal on May 7, and within hours, Greenspan, Rubin and Levitt issued a joint statement condemning Born and the CFTC, expressing “grave concern about this action and its possible consequences.” They announced a plan to ask for legislation to stop the CFTC in its tracks.
As Bob C noted in his comment to As Obama Taps Larry Summers, Recalling Summer's Days as a Regulation Foe Mother Jones "One thing to keep in mind about Summers and Rubin's position on regulating derivatives is the timing: in July of 1998 when Summers testified, the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management, had not yet failed. That would happen 3 months later, when it became clear that a substantial part of LTCM's problem was that it had massive side bets in derivative instruments that when it could not cover these bets, caused massive dislocations and threats to the global banking system (which had invested heavily in LTCM, thinking it was run by "geniuses"--see Roger Lowenstein's great book, "When Genius Failed".) I think Summers and Rubin might have had a different view on the regulation of derivatives after the LTCM catastrophe."
Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations. . . . Fees ranged from $45,000 for a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch appearance to $135,000 for an April 16 visit to Goldman Sachs, according to his disclosure form.
Economist's View The Most Misunderstood Man in America, by Michael Hirsh, Newsweek:
...Even in the contentious world of economics, [Joe Stiglitz] is considered somewhat prickly. And while he may be a Nobel laureate, in Washington he's seen as just another economic critic—and not always a welcome one. Few Americans recognize his name... Yet Stiglitz's work is cited by more economists than anyone else's in the world... And when he goes abroad—to Europe, Asia, and Latin America—he is received like a superstar, a modern-day oracle. ...
... ... ...
... Stiglitz's defenders say one possible explanation for his outsider status in Washington is his ongoing rivalry with Summers. ... Since the early '90s, when Summers was a senior Treasury official and Stiglitz was on the Council of Economic Advisers, the two have engaged in fierce policy debates. The first fight was over the Clinton administration's efforts to pry open emerging financial markets, such as South Korea's. Stiglitz argued there wasn't good evidence that liberalizing poorly regulated Third World markets would make any one more prosperous; Summers wanted them open to U.S. firms.
The differences between them grew bitter in the late 1990s, when Stiglitz was chief economist for the World Bank and took issue with the way Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and Summers, who was then deputy secretary, were handling the Asian "contagion" financial collapse. After World Bank president James Wolfensohn declined to reappoint him in 1999, Stiglitz became convinced that Summers was behind the slight. Summers denies this...
As a rising economist at Harvard and at the World Bank, Summers argued for privatization and deregulation in many domains, including finance. Later, as deputy secretary of the treasury and then treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, he implemented those policies. Summers oversaw passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed Glass-Steagall, permitted the previously illegal merger that created Citigroup, and allowed further consolidation in the financial sector. He also successfully fought attempts by Brooksley Born, chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Clinton administration, to regulate the financial derivatives that would cause so much damage in the housing bubble and the 2008 economic crisis. He then oversaw passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned all regulation of derivatives, including exempting them from state antigambling laws.
Justin Fox in Time wrote the following before Summers appointment to Obama administration:
Summers was an awfully controversial guy a couple years ago. And the things that made him controversial will all be revisited if he has to sit through a Senate confirmation hearing.
Here's a quick run-through of the Sins of Larry:
1. He's a loose cannon. Summers has a long history of saying what's on his mind, regardless of whether others might find it offensive. The thing about women and science was only the most infamous. There was also that memo he signed about exporting toxic waste to the developing world. [..]
Still, Summers behaved perfectly respectably during his last stint as Treasury Secretary. He is capable of keeping his mouth shut if the job requires it. What's more, he seems to have a habit of promoting the careers of people who are willing to contradict him and take him on (Andrei Shleifer and Tim Geithner spring to mind). [..]
2. He's loyal, to a fault. One of the main things that turned Harvard's faculty against Summers was the case of his protege Shleifer. Shleifer ran a Harvard-affiliated, USAID-funded office in Moscow in the 1990s that advised the Russian government on economic reform. The U.S. government later sued Harvard and Shleifer, charging that the operation was overrrun by conflicts of interest. Summers recused himself from direct dealings with the case, but in his epic dissection of the saga for Instititutional Investor, David McClintick charged that Summers did try to shield Shleifer. Harvard and Shleifer lost the suit, and Harvard had to pay $26.5 million in damages and Shleifer $2 million. I can't get as worked up about this as some people (if we could force Harvard to give the government even more money, maybe Barack Obama wouldn't have to raise your taxes), but I also know and like Andrei Shleifer, so I'm really not the best judge.
3. He's a callous right-winger. Summers' academic mentor was conservative economist Marty Feldstein, and he worked for Feldstein at Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers in the early 1980s. Paul Krugman worked there too, so that really isn't saying much. For most of the 1980s, in fact, Summers was an outspoken skeptic of financial markets and their ability to set prices rationally and steer investment wisely. As he rose to positions of power in Washington in the 1990s, though, he became a leading defender of the Washington consensus--the idea that free financial markets, free trade and fiscal discipline would bring prosperity to the world. Lately Summers has been partially reconsidering that stance in his columns for the Financial Times. If you're favorably disposed to him, as I am, you could say he's been pulling a Keynes: "When the facts change, I change my mind." But I guess if you're not so favorably disposed, you could call him a closet right-winger, a closet left-winger, or a slave to fashion.
Anyway, I'm sure Larry Summers would make a very good Treasury Secretary. Again.
... ... ...
Update: Oh, and by the way, I forgot to gratuitously mention that he used to go out with Laura Ingraham ...
Read more: http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/2008/11/06/does-larry-summers-have-too-much-baggage-to-be-treasury-secretary/?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz10ZVl6v9c
All who have worked with Larry know that he is completely incapable of being an honest broker. He is a bully. Its always his way or the highway. Here is one comment on his departure from "Bama" Whitehouser:
Summers only changes his mind if you argue from his worldview, that's why he is so often very wrong.
- Summers spent all of the 90's being completely wrong on climate change, because he wouldn't interpret evidence outside of his mental box.
- He was completely wrong on finance, with horrible results from the 90s deregulation, and did everything to ostracize people like Rajan who argued from a different perspective. Rajan had theory and data and was right, but Summers gave him the full mean girl treatment.
- He did not understand the finance risks, so he got Harvard in serious trouble.
- He shut Romer out of the stimulus debate, for reasons we aren't sure of, but she was, of course, right. And had the data and the theory completely on her side.
Summers shows again and again on the major decisions that he makes terrible judgments. Lots of people would be better at the job.
Nothing illustrates better this feature of Summers personality then the "Support of Andrei Shleifer" saga (see also Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia)
From the article about Lawrence Summers in Wikipedia:
Also during his stint in the Clinton administration, Summers was successful in pushing for capital gains tax cuts. During the California energy crisis of 2000, then-Treasury Secretary Summers teamed with Alan Greenspan and Enron executive Kenneth Lay to lecture California Governor Gray Davis on the causes of the crisis, explaining that the problem was excessive government regulation. Under the advice of Kenneth Lay, Summers urged Davis to relax California's environmental standards in order to reassure the markets.
Summers hailed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, which lifted more than six decades of restrictions against banks offering commercial banking, insurance, and investment services (by repealing key provisions in the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act): "Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century," Summers said. "This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy." Many critics, including President Barack Obama, have suggested the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis was caused by the partial repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act.
Support of economist Andrei Shleifer
Harvard and Andrei Shleifer, a close friend and protege of Summers, settled a $26M lawsuit by the U.S. government over the conflict of interest Shleifer had while advising Russia's privatisation program. Summers' continued support for Shleifer strengthened Summers' unpopularity with other professors:
"I’ve been a member of this Faculty for over 45 years, and I am no longer easily shocked," is how Frederick H. Abernathy, the McKay professor of mechanical engineering, began his biting comments about the Shleifer case at Tuesday’s fiery Faculty meeting. But, Abernathy continued, "I was deeply shocked and disappointed by the actions of this University" in the Shleifer affair.
In an 18,000-word article in Institutional Investor (January, 2006), the magazine detailed Shleifer’s alleged efforts to use his inside knowledge of and sway over the Russian economy in order to make lucrative personal investments, all while leading a Harvard group, advising the Russian government, that was under contract with the U.S. The article suggests that Summers shielded his fellow economist from disciplinary action by the University.
Summers' friendship with Shleifer was well known by the Corporation when it selected him to succeed Rudenstine and Summers recused himself from all proceedings with Shleifer, whose case was actually handled by an independent committee led by Derek Bok.
...rarely has one individual embodied so much of what is wrong with economics,
with academe, and indeed with the American economy. For the past two years, I have
immersed myself in those worlds in order to make a
film, Inside Job,
that takes a sweeping look at the financial crisis. And I found Summers everywhere
... ... ...
Prominent academic economists (and sometimes also professors of law and public policy) are paid by companies and interest groups to testify before Congress, to write papers, to give speeches, to participate in conferences, to serve on boards of directors, to write briefs in regulatory proceedings, to defend companies in antitrust cases, and, of course, to lobby. This is now, literally, a billion-dollar industry. The Law and Economics Consulting Group, started 22 years ago by professors at the University of California at Berkeley (David Teece in the business school, Thomas Jorde in the law school, and the economists Richard Gilbert and Gordon Rausser), is now a $300-million publicly held company. Others specializing in the sale (or rental) of academic expertise include Competition Policy (now Compass Lexecon), started by Richard Gilbert and Daniel Rubinfeld, both of whom served as chief economist of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division in the Clinton administration; the Analysis Group; and Charles River Associates.
In my film you will see many famous economists looking very uncomfortable when confronted with their financial-sector activities; others appear only on archival video, because they declined to be interviewed.
Over the past 30 years, the economics profession was not only compromised by conflicts of interests but outright bought. Bought in classic old fashion way. It just became a support group for financial oligarchy. This happens both due to dominance of neoliberal ideology ("greed is good") and also via straightforward (and sometimes pre-emptive) buy-out of leading economists by banks and brokerages via outrageously high "speaking fees" (although they are much less then then similar sleaking fees for politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton), sinecure positions, and other inventive ways of transferring money into the pockets of selected academicians. Due to his close association with Rubin, Summers career provide almost classic example of this affect.
Revolving door style of corruption is probably dominant in the USA for former government officials and prominent economists. They do not took bribes. Instead the way "revolving door" mechanism works is that they are "awarded" lucrative positions in private companies which they regulated during government service after they leave the government service.
Which might well be even more damaging as for restriction of the ability to to act honestly the whole term of the government service. To need to "earn" your future positions, so to speak. While bribe restricts the ability to act dispassionately only from the point of accepting the bribe for the particular deregulation effort/deal/contract and mostly (often only) for the company which gave the bribe. Like is the case with the revolving door mechanism, this "incapacity" lasts till the the end of the government service. But it restrict the ability to act harshly with other companies, banks, brokerages only to the extent the person is afraid of disclosure and might even stimulate his to act harshly for competitors of particular company in order to protect himself from possible accusations in favoritism.
While his "achievements" in this area are probably less visible then, say, for Mankiw (who is mainly instrumental in brainwashing his students), they are were tremendously more damaging (from Wikipedia):
Paul Samuelson (Swedish Bank Prize)
On October 19, 2006, he became a part-time managing director of the investment and technology development firm D. E. Shaw & Co.
Upon the death of his hero, libertarian economist Milton Friedman, Summers wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times entitled "The Great Liberator" arguing that "any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites." Summers wrote that while Friedman made real contributions to monetary policy, his real contribution was "in convincing people of the importance of allowing free markets to operate."
Henry Kissinger once said that Larry Summers should "be given a White House post in which he was charged with shooting down or fixing bad ideas." 
In 2006 he was a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons which reviewed the work of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
He is currently the director of the White House National Economic Council.
Summers is Samuelson’s nephew. Is this significant in any way?
The Odyssey of Larry Summers - Megan McArdle
April 7, 2009 12:54 PM
I generally agree with Megan is saying. However, Greg Mankiw did point out today that the NY Times claimed that Summers was doing consulting work for Taconic Capital while president of Harvard which does seems problematic and does weaken the apparent claim that DE Shaw was when Summers started cashing in in finance.
Oct 05, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
... ... ...
By Mark Ames, author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine .
... ... ...Efforts to discredit Taibbi for his work in Moscow got traction in 2017, curiously, right before the release of his book on the police killing of Eric Garner, I Can’t Breathe. Paste Magazine contacted the women that worked at The eXile, all of whom confirmed that Ames never committed any misconduct toward women, and amplified the curious timing. From Paste:
Paste was able to trace the effort to cast eXile as a factual memoir back to an alt-right author named Jim Goad in 2011. Goad, whose magazine, ANSWER Me!, had been parodied by The eXile…
However, the narrative that the book was an accurate portrayal of the lives Taibbi and Ames led in Moscow wouldn’t really take off until October of this year—ahead of the book tour for I Can’t Breathe, Taibbi’s look at the death of Eric Garner and its aftermath….
How did this happen?
Simply put, for most Americans today, the culture and stereotypes Taibbi and Ames were lampooning are completely foreign and unfamiliar….
“The paper was to be a mirror of the typical expatriate in ‘exile,’ who was a pig of the highest order,” Taibbi explained. “He was usually a Western consultant who made big bucks teaching Russians how to fire workers or privatize markets in the name of ‘progress,’ then at night banged hookers and blew coke and speed. The reality is most of the Westerners in town were there to turn Russia into a neoliberal puppet state by day, and get laid and shitfaced by night. So the paper was a kind of sarcastically over-enthusiastic celebration of this monstrous community’s values.”
The oligarchy has spent decades on a project to "defund the Left," and they've succeeded in ways we're only just now grasping. "Defunding the Left" doesn't mean denying funds to the rotten Democratic Party; it means defunding everything that threatens the 1%'s hold on wealth and power.
One of their greatest successes, whether by design or not, has been the gutting of journalism, shrinking it down to a manageable size where its integrity can be drowned in a bathtub. It's nearly impossible to make a living as a journalist these days; and with the economics of the journalism business still in free-fall like the Soviet refrigerator industry in the 1990s, media outlets are even less inclined to challenge power, journalists are less inclined to rock the boat than ever, and everyone is more inclined to corruption (see: Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly).
A ProPublica study in May put it in numbers: In 1980, the ratio of PR flaks to journalists was roughly 1:3. In 2008, there were 3 PR flaks for every 1 journalist. And that was before the 2008 shit hit the journalism fan.
This is what an oligarchy looks like. I saw the exact same dynamic in Russia under Yeltsin: When he took power in 1991, Russia had the most fearless and most ideologically diverse journalism culture of any I've ever seen, a lo-fi, hi-octane version of American journalism in the 1970s.
But as soon as Yeltsin created a class of oligarchs to ensure his election victory in 1996, the oligarchs snapped up all the free media outlets, and forced out anyone who challenged power, one by one. By the time Putin came to power, all the great Russian journalists that I and Taibbi knew had abandoned the profession for PR or political whoring. It was the oligarchy that killed Russian journalism...
The only way to prevent that from happening to is to support the best of what we have left. Working for free sucks. It can't hold, and it won't.
... ... ...
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell , October 5, 2019 at 11:15 am
OMG! Please Say It Isn't True. Not Sleepy Summers, Again!!
Susan the other` , October 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm
Thanks for this oldie goldie. I'm sure everyone has noticed that Larry is crawling out of his hole again. He's trying not to attract too much attention to himself. Because he knows how bad his press is. He's aligning with "scholars" who are a little more financially left and he's trying not to look arrogant, so he's settling for stupid and desperate. Desperate for a political niche. He's made quiet endorsements for Libra and he's been a little too open to crypto currencies.
Larry's always got an agenda. Ours should be to contain self-interested incompetent repeat grifters like Larry. There should be legislation for anyone in politics: 3 strikes and yer out. I think the Obama administration's response to the GFC counted as at least 3 strikes. And should have eliminated lotsa democrats, most importantly all of his "advisors". And also his VP.
skippy , October 5, 2019 at 6:45 pm
Maybe if people started calling DINOs Thirdway – Washington consensus in the memory of the Democratic party .
James , October 5, 2019 at 10:01 pm
You had to love the eXile's "worst foreign correspondent in Moscow" contest:
Oct 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
likbez -> anne... , October 05, 2019 at 04:40 PMAnne,
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 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 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
likbez -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 08:30 PM"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"
USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy.
Bolton attitude to UN is very symptomatic for the neocons as a whole.
Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history.
The truth is that after the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR.
The USA stated to behave like a typical Imperial state (New Rome, or, more correctly, London) accepting no rules/laws that are not written by themselves (and when it is convenient to obey them) with the only difference from the classic imperial states that the hegemony it not based on the military presence/occupation ( like was the case with British empire)
Although this is not completely true as there are 761 US Military Bases across the planet and only 46 Countries with no US military presence. Of them, seven countries with 13 New Military Bases were added since 09/11/2001.In 2001 the US had a quarter million troops posted abroad.
Still as an imperial state and the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country.
I recently learned from https://akarlin.com/2010/04/on-liberasts-and-liberasty/ that the derogatory term for the neoliberal part of the Russian elite is "liberasts" and this term gradually slipping into English language ( http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/liberast ;-)
With the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 the USA centered neoliberal empire experiences first cracks. Brexit and election of Trump widened the cracks in a sense of further legitimizing the ruling neoliberal elite (big middle finger for Hillary was addressed to the elite as whole)
If oil price exceed $100 per barrel there will yet another crack or even repetition of the 2008 Great Recession on a new level (although we may argue that the Great Recession never ended and just entered in Summers terms "permanent stagnation: phase)
Although currently with a bully at the helm the USA empire still going strong in forcing vassals and competitors to reconsider their desire to challenge the USA that situation will not last. Trump currently is trying to neutralize the treat from China by rejecting classic neoliberal globalization mechanism as well as signed treaties like WTO. He might be successful in the short run but in the "long run" that undermines the USA centered neoliberal empire and speed up its demise. .
In the long run the future does not look too bright as crimes committed by the USA during triumphal period of neoliberalism hangs like albatross around the USA neck.
EU now definitely wants to play its own game as Macron recently stated and which Merkel tacitly supports. If EU allies with Russia it will became No.1 force in the world with the USA No. 2. With severe consequences for the USA.
If Russia allied with China the USA Np.1 position will hinge of keeping EU vassals in check and NATO in place. Without them it will became No.2 with fatal consequences for the dollar as world reserve currency and sudden change of the USA financial position due to the level of external debt and requires devaluation of the dollar.
Looks like 75 year after WWII the world started to self-organize a countervailing force trying to tame the USA with some interest expressed by such players as EU, Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. As well as ( in the past; and possibly in the future as neoliberal counterrevolutions in both countries probably will end badly) by Brazil and Argentina.
Only Canada, Australia and probably UK can be counted as the reliable parts of the USA empire. That's not much.
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 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Tunga , 12 minutes ago link
Oh those securities!
""Certain key unknown figures in the Federal Reserve may have 'conspired' with key unknown figures at the Bank of New York to create a situation where $240 billion in off balance sheet securities created in 1991 as part of an official covert operation to overthrow the Soviet Union, could be cleared without publicly acknowledging their existence. These securities, originally managed by Cantor Fitzgerald, were cleared and settled in the aftermath of September 11th
through the BoNY. The $100 billion account balance bubble reported by the Wall Street Journalas being experienced in the BoNY was tip of a three day operation, when these securities were moved from off-balance-sheet to the balance sheet.
Tunga , 12 minutes ago linkpparalegal , 3 minutes ago link
Oops. Building 7 and all the records gone in a collapsed vertical pancake. What a shame.
Sep 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.comAuthored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,
Years ago, Doug Casey mentioned in a correspondence to me, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed."
Every now and then, you receive a comment that, although it may have been stated casually, has a lasting effect, as it offers uncommon insight. For me, this was one of those and it's one that I've kept handy at my desk since that time, as a reminder.
I'm from a British family, one that left the UK just as the British Empire was about to begin its decline. They expatriated to the "New World" to seek promise for the future.
As I've spent most of my life centred in a British colony – the Cayman Islands – I've had the opportunity to observe many British contract professionals who left the UK seeking advancement, which they almost invariably find in Cayman. Curiously, though, most returned to the UK after a contract or two, in the belief that the UK would bounce back from its decline, and they wanted to be on board when Britain "came back."
This, of course, never happened. The US replaced the UK as the world's foremost empire, and although the UK has had its ups and downs over the ensuing decades, it hasn't returned to its former glory.
And it never will.
If we observe the empires of the world that have existed over the millennia, we see a consistent history of collapse without renewal. Whether we're looking at the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Spanish Empire, or any other that's existed at one time, history is remarkably consistent: The decline and fall of any empire never reverses itself; nor does the empire return, once it's fallen.
But of what importance is this to us today?
Well, today, the US is the world's undisputed leading empire and most Americans would agree that, whilst it's going through a bad patch, it will bounce back and might even be better than ever.
Not so, I'm afraid. All empires follow the same cycle. They begin with a population that has a strong work ethic and is self-reliant. Those people organize to form a nation of great strength, based upon high productivity.
This leads to expansion, generally based upon world trade. At some point, this gives rise to leaders who seek, not to work in partnership with other nations, but to dominate them, and of course, this is when a great nation becomes an empire. The US began this stage under the flamboyant and aggressive Teddy Roosevelt.
The twentieth century was the American century and the US went from victory to victory, expanding its power.
But the decline began in the 1960s, when the US started to pursue unwinnable wars, began the destruction of its currency and began to expand its government into an all-powerful body.
Still, this process tends to be protracted and the overall decline often takes decades.
So, how does that square with the quote, "Empires fall from grace with alarming speed"?
Well, the preparation for the fall can often be seen for a generation or more, but the actual fall tends to occur quite rapidly.
What happens is very similar to what happens with a schoolyard bully.
The bully has a slow rise, based upon his strength and aggressive tendency. After a number of successful fights, he becomes first revered, then feared. He then takes on several toadies who lack his abilities but want some of the spoils, so they do his bidding, acting in a threatening manner to other schoolboys.
The bully then becomes hated. No one tells him so, but the other kids secretly dream of his defeat, hopefully in a shameful manner.
Then, at some point, some boy who has a measure of strength and the requisite determination has had enough and takes on the bully.
If he defeats him, a curious thing happens. The toadies suddenly realise that the jig is up and they head for the hills, knowing that their source of power is gone.
Also, once the defeated bully is down, all the anger, fear and hatred that his schoolmates felt for him come out, and they take great pleasure in his defeat.
And this, in a nutshell, is what happens with empires.
A nation that comes to the rescue in times of genuine need (such as the two World Wars) is revered. But once that nation morphs into a bully that uses any excuse to invade countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria, its allies may continue to bow to it but secretly fear it and wish that it could be taken down a peg.
When the empire then starts looking around for other nations to bully, such as Iran and Venezuela, its allies again say nothing but react with fear when they see the John Boltons and Mike Pompeos beating the war drums and making reckless comments.
At present, the US is focusing primarily on economic warfare, but if this fails to get the world to bend to its dominance, the US has repeatedly warned, regarding possible military aggression, that "no option is off the table."
The US has reached the classic stage when it has become a reckless bully, and its support structure of allies has begun to de-couple as a result.
At the same time that allies begin to pull back and make other plans for their future, those citizens within the empire who tend to be the creators of prosperity also begin to seek greener pastures.
History has seen this happen countless times. The "brain drain" occurs, in which the best and most productive begin to look elsewhere for their future. Just as the most productive Europeans crossed the Pond to colonise the US when it was a new, promising country, their present-day counterparts have begun moving offshore.
The US is presently in a state of suspended animation. It still appears to be a major force, but its buttresses are quietly disappearing. At some point in the near future, it's likely that the US government will overplay its hand and aggress against a foe that either is stronger or has alliances that, collectively, make it stronger.
Basil1931 , 30 minutes ago linkMs No , 38 minutes ago link
The greatest (so called) threats to America- the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, North Koreans, ISIS, ( fill in the blank for the latest overseas bogeyman-of-the-week ) pale into a wisp beside the ongoing disintegration of American traditional family life. Self-discipline, self sacrifice and self restraint are the prices which must be paid for a civilization to survive, much less flourish, and Americans are increasingly unwilling to pay up. The America of a generation or two down the road will have the social cohesion of El Salvador.ohm , 55 minutes ago link
You also cant warn people about the collapse of empire either. People notoriously go into denial about it and it shocks the **** out of everybody. Since empires bluff and bluster at the end its all to easy for people want to believe.
Being that history is always written by the tyrant of the time (which in our case was definitely behind the two last empires and a big player in Rome as and Spain as well) people are also led to believe that empire is a desireable state of cicumstance. It never was. Its the ambitions and conquistador actions of the collective psychopath. They feed on the strength of civilizations and utilize it for megalomaniac ambitions over power of others and power over everything.HillaryOdor , 46 minutes ago link
Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it. if you think that the world would enter the age of Aquarius and peace will rule the planet you are extremely naive and stupid. If you think that the Chinese would be more benign rulers you are mistaken. The only reason China doesn't use its military to dominate other countries is because it is kept in check by the US.ohm , 41 minutes ago link
You are completely delusional. The world is not better off under American stewardship. We don't need and shouldn't want anything to replace it. We don't need and shouldn't want any empire ruling the world. We would be better off without any state at all, so we could finally be free people.
And no it probably wouldn't be better off under the Chinese. Although if the world stopped respecting American IP law, that would be a huge positive step forward.
In the real world, Chinese terrorists are just as bad as American terrorists. Despite the most popular hypnosis gripping the American psyche, you can't have liberty or justice as long as either one is in charge. Whether the Chinese would be worse is debatable. It's not like America has some great track record to compete against. Their reign has been a complete disaster for human rights.HillaryOdor , 34 minutes ago link
We don't need any empire ruling the world.
Agreed. But wishing that something isn't going to happen doesn't stop it from happening.simpson seers , 43 minutes ago link
Pretending you are better off under the current arrangement doesn't make it so.
Pretending you have any control over the future of world politics doesn't make it so.ohm , 42 minutes ago link
'Those of you hoping for the end of American Empire need to think about what would replace it '
for starters, peace would replace it, fake phoney ******.......ohm , 42 minutes ago link
Why? Do you have a historical example?SHsparx , 37 minutes ago link
Why? Do you have a historical example?Ms No , 29 minutes ago link
Expecting the inevitable and hoping for something are two different things.ultramaroon , 11 minutes ago link
If China became the new empire we wouldnt live under it. It would be at least 100 years out. This empire will screw everybody epically first, plus we have decline weather patterns with super solar grand minimum. Also those people's who may see that next empire will deal with whatever circumstances present themselves and they wont give one **** what we think about it.
Basically power has kept moving west. Nobody will forget the depravity of this one. If written about accurately this one will be remembered most for the medical tyranny and intentional damage it did to human beings through injections and modified good supply, as well as moral depravity and proxy sadistic terrorism. Remember empire backed terrorist groups trafficked children and harvested organs. You can miss it if you want, few will.Ms No , 8 minutes ago link
I do not _hope_ for an end of the American Empire, and I dread what is going to replace it. Howsoever, no empire lasts forever, and our empire is near its end. The Chinese are relentlessly cruel, and that's in their genotype. I probably won't live to see them take over the scraps and bits and pieces of our former empire. Those who are alive and in the prime of their lives when that happens will suffer unimaginably while they live, and their blood will cry out from the grave after they die. It makes me so heart-sick I can't bear to think about it for long, but our progeny will be forced to live it without let or hindrance.SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link
Lets find out the whole details of what they have done to our biology and our children's first before we say how cruel China might be. For starters look at what US and British did in Africa compared to China and Russia's involvement there. They are doing deals and not killing anybody, same with Venezuela.SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link
Where else you going to go? What nation ISN'T broke? Europe is going to hell. So is South America. Africa has always been hell. Asia? Look what's going down in Hong Kong. China's broke. Make no mistake, the USA is in decline. But so is the rest of the world...perikleous , 1 hour ago link
I'd say it's a race to the bottom but it's really that everyone is falling off the cliff at the same time...Argentumentum , 1 hour ago link
regardless of what is printed China is not falling, they have a plan and have only advanced it. The debt side will not hurt them because they have been poor before and they have a route to success. They do not have resources but the industrial side is needed everywhere in the world. We are talking about a nation that literally prospered off of our garbage and resells it back to us! Think about it we use something up and pay them to take it away, they recycle it and resell it to us again and moved a nation 4x our population forward!
You really think debt will hurt them, especially the way the US determines debt! A huge portion of it is in the infrastructucture in China and along the BRI which will have returns over time, just as if we in the states rebuilt all our infrastructure by living wage employment rather than MIC investment!He–Mene Mox Mox , 1 hour ago link
Yes, all are broke. Assisted suicides of countries all over the world. Emphasise on "assisted".
Nations have been demoralized (the US most certainly, check Yuri Bezmenov) we are in destabilization phase already, collapse has to be next, it is unavoidable now. This will not end well, ignore at your own risk!
I am not talking about countries, just some Life Hedge Regions left in the world. People with brains and resources, you don need a Life Hedge Property! Away from Northern Hemisphere, away from Ring of Fire, etc... Get in touch. lifehedge(at) protonmail.comperikleous , 1 hour ago link
What got America into trouble was when Americans who thought of themselves as being "exceptional" became exceptionally stupid. The best and the brightest have already left America. Any wonder why we now depend on Russia to send our astronauts up on their rockets into space, or depend on China, South Korea, and Japan for our electronic products, or why better health care is found in other places outside the U.S., why our educational system has become poorer than what it was 60 years ago, etc.,?SmallerGovNow2 , 1 hour ago link
When we decided to financialize everything and make nothing but investments we crippled our advancement.
When we decided to take the brightest minds in the world and recruit them into the US and then rather than advance the world with true science, we offer them lucrative money to enter financial markets to use their knowledge in that field.
We take the ones with morals and principles that choose to actually remain in science and then corrupt them over time with money/fame to regurgetate whatever their contractor chooses or lose funding for their projects.
We have corrupted every aspect of advancement and now just use our fake printed money to force the desperate to bend to our will.Dump , 1 hour ago link
Where do you see this better health care?
And you're saying the best and brightest left the USA for Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan? I don't think so...The Herdsman , 1 hour ago link
Good read on the subject of empires Sir John Glubb - The fate of empires and Search for survival.
We are probably near the end of the American Empire. And a fascinating by product of the HK protests is that we may well be near the end of Chinese Communism.
Nothing moves forward in a straight line. They move up and down. Empires are no exception. The Romans had their ups and downs throughout the course of their empire. You never know when a down cycle is the end but people who want it to end will always write articles like this.
American dominance might be drawing to an end....or it might be gearing up to go another 200 years. Nobody knows so it's a waste of time to speculate.
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.
intpolicydigest.orgMikhail Khodorkovsky was found guilty of fraud related to his control of Siberian oil fields through his Yukos corporation and was sentenced to nine years in prison on this date in 2005. Khodorkovsky, who was behind bars until Vladimir Putin pardoned him in 2013, is half-Jewish (on his father's side).
Many of the Russian oligarchs, most of whom exploited their political connections during the privatization years under Boris Yeltsin's highly corrupt government to become hugely wealthy, are similarly half-Jewish or Jewish, including Boris Berezovsky, who took over Russia's main television channel and died under uncertain circumstances (likely suicide) in 2013; Alexander Abramov, a steel magnate; Mikhail Fridman, a banker; Roman Abramovich, a younger billionaire investor; Viktor Vekselberg, an aluminum tycoon; and Leonid Mikhelson, a natural-gas billionaire, and a half-dozen others.
The shock-capitalism that vaulted these men to the Forbes list of billionaires is known in Russia as the katastroika and "brought in its wake mass pauperisation and unemployment," writes Seumas Milne in The Guardian , "wild extremes of inequality; rampant crime; virulent antisemitism and ethnic violence; combined with legalised gangsterism on a heroic scale and precipitous looting of public assets. . . .
By the late 1990s, national income had fallen by more than 50 percent(compare that with the 27 percent drop in output during the great American depression), investment by 80 percent, real wages by half, and meat and dairy herds by 75 percent. . . . while epidemics of cholera and typhus . . . re-emerged, millions of children suffer[ed] from malnutrition and adult life expectancy . . . plunged." Several of the oligarchs were prosecuted and harassed by Putin's government between 2000 and 2004, before an unofficial agreement was struck to permit most of them to keep their lives and their fortunes as long as they demurred from opposing Putin's political power.
"The oligarchs, idiotically rich in a country that was largely poor, and given to parading their wealth in a manner that makes American hip-hoppers look like an especially reticent community of Amish farmers, could certainly have given any former Soviet citizen pause to wonder, as he queued for beetroot, what the proletarian revolution had been for. The oligarchs, not content with buying companies, villas, yachts, planes and the most beautiful of Russia's beautiful women, also bought power. In 1996, they connived to engineer the re-election of the politically and physically ailing Boris Yeltsin. In 2000, they helped steer Yeltsin's successor into power -- Vladimir Putin, a saturnine former spook with the KGB, and its descendant organisation, the FSB. This, as Russian Godfathers demonstrates, may have been the moment at which the oligarchs out-clevered themselves." –Andrew Mueller, The Guardian
Aug 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
A new opinion poll released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal last Sunday shows that 70% of Americans are "angry" because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power. Both Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren have also reflected on this sentiment during their campaigns. Sanders has said that we live in a "corrupt political system designed to protect the wealthy and the powerful." Warren said it's a "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else."
A New York Times opinion article written by the political scientist Greg Weiner felt compelled to push back on this message, writing a column with the title, The Shallow Cynicism of 'Everything Is Rigged'. In his column, Weiner basically makes the argument that believing everything is corrupt and rigged is a cynical attitude with which it is possible to dismiss political opponents for being a part of the corruption. In other words, the Sanders and Warren argument is a shortcut, according to Weiner, that avoids real political debate.
Joining me now to discuss whether it makes sense to think of a political system as rigged and corrupt, and whether the cynical attitude is justified, is someone who should know a thing or two about corruption: Bill Black. He is a white collar criminologist, former financial regulator, and associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He's also the author of the book, The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. Thanks for joining us again, Bill.
BILL BLACK: Thank you.
GREG WILPERT: As I mentioned that the outset, it seems that Sanders and Warren are in effect taking an open door, at least when it comes to the American public. That is, almost everyone already believes that our political and economic system is rigged. Would you agree with that sentiment that the system is corrupt and rigged for the rich and against pretty much everyone else but especially the poor? What do you think?
BILL BLACK: One of the principal things I study is elite fraud, corruption and predation. The World Bank sent me to India for months as an anti-corruption alleged expert type. And as a financial regulator, this is what I dealt with. This is what I researched. This is a huge chunk of my life. So I wouldn't use the word, if I was being formal in an academic system, "the system." What I would talk about is specific systems that are rigged, and they most assuredly are rigged.
Let me give you an example. One of the most important things that has transformed the world and made it vastly more criminogenic, much more corrupt, is modern executive compensation. This is not an unusual position. This is actually the normal position now, even among very conservative scholars, including the person who was the intellectual godfather of modern executive compensation, Michael Jensen. He has admitted that he spawned unintentionally a monster because CEOs have rigged the compensation system. How do they do that? Well, it starts even before you get hired as a CEO. This is amazing stuff. The standard thing you do as a powerful CEO is you hire this guy, and he specializes in negotiating great deals for CEOs. His first demand, which is almost always given into, is that the corporation pay his fee, not the CEO. On the other side of the table is somebody that the CEO is going to be the boss of negotiating the other side. How hard is he going to negotiate against the guy that's going to be his boss? That's totally rigged.
Then the compensation committee hires compensation specialists who–again, even the most conservative economists agree it is a completely rigged system. Because the only way they get work is if they give this extraordinary compensation. Then, everybody in economics admits that there's a clear way you should run performance pay. It should be really long term. You get the big bucks only after like 10 years of success. In reality, they're always incredibly short term. Why? Because it's vastly easier for the CEO to rig the short-term reported earnings. What's the result of this? Accounting profession, criminology profession, economics profession, law profession. We've all done studies and all of them say this perverse system of compensation causes CEOs to (a) cheat and (b) to be extraordinarily short term in their perspective because it's easier to rig the short-term reported results. Even the most conservative economists agree that's terrible for the economy.
What I've just gone through is a whole bunch of academic literature from over 40-plus years from top scholars in four different fields. That's not cynicism. That's just plain facts if you understand the system. People like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, they didn't, as you say, kick open an open door. They made the open door. It's not like Elizabeth Warren started talking about this six months ago when she started being a potential candidate. She has been saying this and explaining in detail how individual systems are rigged in favor of the wealthy for at least 30 years of work. Bernie Sanders has been doing it for 45 years. This is what the right, including the author of this piece who is an ultra-far right guy, fear the most. It's precisely what they fear, that Bernie and Elizabeth are good at explaining how particular systems are rigged. They explain it in appropriate detail, but they're also good in making it human. They talk the way humans talk as opposed to academics.
That's what the right fear is more than anything, that people will basically get woke. In this, it's being woke to how individual systems have been rigged by the wealthy and powerful to create a sure thing to enrich them, usually at our direct expense.
GREG WILPERT: I think those are some very good examples. They're mostly from the realm of economics. I want to look at one from the realm of politics, which specifically Weiner makes. He cites Sanders, who says that the rich literally buy elections, and Weiner counters this by saying that, "It is difficult to identify instances in American history of an electoral majority wanting something specific that it has not eventually gotten." That's a pretty amazing statement actually, I think, for him to say when you look at the actual polls of what people want and what people get. He then also adds, "That's not possible to dupe the majority with advertising all of the time." What's your response to that argument?
BILL BLACK: Well, actually, that's where he's trying to play economist, and he's particularly bad at economics. He was even worse at economics than he is at political science, where his pitch, by the way is–I'm not overstating this–corruption is good. The real problem with Senator Sanders and Senator Warren is that they're against corruption.
Can you fool many people? Answer: Yes. We have good statistics from people who actually study this as opposed to write op-eds of this kind. In the great financial crisis, one of the most notorious of the predators that targeted blacks and Latinos–we actually have statistics from New Century. And here's a particular scam. The loan broker gets paid more money the worse the deal he gets you, the customer, and he gets paid by the bank. If he can get you to pay more than the market rate of interest, then he gets a kickback, a literal kickback. In almost exactly half of the cases, New Century was able to get substantially above market interest rates, again, targeted at blacks and Latinos.
We know that this kind of predatory approach can succeed, and it can succeed brilliantly. Look at cigarettes. Cigarettes, if you use them as intended, they make you sick and they kill you. It wasn't that very long ago until a huge effort by pushback that the tobacco companies, through a whole series of fake science and incredible amounts of ads that basically tried to associate if you were male, that if you smoked, you'd have a lot of sex type of thing. It was really that crude. It was enormously successful with people in getting them to do things that almost immediately made them sick and often actually killed them.
He's simply wrong empirically. You can see it in US death rates. You can see it in Hell, I'm overweight considerably. Americans are enormously overweight because of the way we eat, which has everything to do with how marketing works in the United States, and it's actually gotten so bad that it's reducing life expectancy in a number of groups in America. That's how incredibly effective predatory practices are in rigging the system. That's again, two Nobel Laureates in economics have recently written about this. George Akerlof and Shiller, both Nobel Laureates in economics, have written about this predation in a book for a general audience. It's called Phishing with a P-H.
GREG WILPERT: I want to turn to the last point that Weiner makes about cynicism. He says that calling the system rigged is actually a form of cynicism. And that cynicism, the belief that everything and everyone is bad or corrupt avoids real political arguments because it tires everyone you disagree with as being a part of that corruption. Would you say, is the belief that the system is rigged a form of cynicism? And if it is, wouldn't Weiner be right that cynicism avoids political debate?
BILL BLACK: He creates a straw man. No one has said that everything and everyone is corrupt. No one has said that if you disagree with me, you are automatically corrupt. What they have given in considerable detail, like I gave as the first example, was here is exactly how the system is rigged. Here are the empirical results of that rigging. This produces vast transfers of wealth to the powerful and wealthy, and it comes at the expense of nearly everybody else. That is factual and that needs to be said. It needs to be said that politicians that support this, and Weiner explicitly does that, says, we need to go back to a system that is more openly corrupt and that if we have that system, the world will be better. That has no empirical basis. It's exactly the opposite. Corruption kills. Corruption ruins economies.
The last thing in the world you want to do is what Weiner calls for, which he says, "We've got to stop applying morality to this form of crime." In essence, he is channeling the godfather. "Tell the Don it wasn't personal. It was just business." There's nothing really immoral in his view about bribing people. I'm sorry. I'm a Midwesterner. It wasn't cynicism. It was morality. He says you can't compromise with corruption. I hope not. Compromising with corruption is precisely why we're in this situation where growth rates have been cut in half, why wage growth has been cut by four-fifths, why blacks and Latinos during the great financial crisis lost 60% to 80% of their wealth in college-educated households. That's why 70% of the public is increasingly woke on this subject.
GREG WILPERT: Well, we're going to leave it there. I was speaking to Bill Black, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Thanks again, Bill, for having joined us today.
BILL BLACK: Thank you.
GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining The Real News Network.
fdr-fan , August 31, 2019 at 2:13 am
Well, Sanders certainly knows that elections are rigged. But he's not quite right when he says that money does the rigging. It would be more accurate to say that powerful people are powerful because they're criminals, and they're rich because they're criminals.
Money is a side effect, not the driver. Specific example: Hillary and Bernie are in the same category of net worth, but Bernie isn't powerful. The difference is that Bernie ISN'T willing to commit murder and blackmail to gain power.
Lambert Strether , August 31, 2019 at 3:31 am
> Hillary and Bernie are in the same category of net worth
Clinton's net worth (says Google) is $45 million; Sanders $2.5 million. So, an order of magnitude difference. I guess that puts Sanders in the 1% category, but Clinton is much closer to the 0.1% category than Sanders.
Steve H. , August 31, 2019 at 6:57 am
There's also a billion-dollar foundation in the mix.
We had our choice of two New York billionaires in the last presidential election. How is this not accounted for? It's like the bond market, the sheer weight carries its own momentum.
Very similar to CEO's. I may not own a private jet, but if the company does, and I control the company, I have the benefit of a private jet. I don't need to own the penthouse to live in it.
Bugs Bunny , August 31, 2019 at 4:18 am
I despise HRC as well but those kinds of accusations would need some real evidence to back them up. Not a helpful comment.
Sorry, but I had to call that out.
Ian Perkins , August 31, 2019 at 10:26 am
"We came, we saw, he died. Tee hee hee!"
"Did it have anything to do with your visit?"
"I'm sure it did."
From a non-legal perspective at least, that makes her an accessory to murder, doesn't it?
Oh , August 31, 2019 at 10:18 am
"Money talks and everything else walks". Don't kid yourself; money is the driver.
Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 11:38 am
there's a solution for that
Leroy , August 31, 2019 at 11:53 am
Perhaps you can elaborate on the "murder and blackmail" Mr. Trump !!
vlade , August 31, 2019 at 2:15 am
In the treaser, it says "prevents evidence", I don't think Bill would do that :)
Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 10:45 am
Treaser -- > Treason
Tyronius , August 31, 2019 at 2:57 am
Is it fair to say the entire system is rigged when enough interconnected parts of it are rigged that no matter where one turns, one finds evidence of corruption? Because like it or not, that's where we are as a country.
Spoofs desu , August 31, 2019 at 7:15 am
Indeed well said
Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 11:42 am
Yes. And it is also fair to say, and has been said by lots of cynics over the centuries, that both democracy and capitalism sow the seeds of their own destruction.
OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , August 31, 2019 at 3:44 am
Burns me to see yet another "water is not wet" argument being foisted by the NYT, hard to imagine another reason the editorial board pushed for this line *except* to protect the current corrupt one percenters who call their shots. Once Liz The Marionette gets appointed we might get some fluff but the rot will persist, eventually rot becomes putrefaction and the polity dies. Gore Vidal called America and Christianity "death cults".
Oh , August 31, 2019 at 10:21 am
Apt description of Liz.
"I'm a marionette, I'm a marionette, just pull the string" – ABBA
Bugs Bunny , August 31, 2019 at 4:23 am
Another instance where the top comments "Reader Picks" in a NYT op-ed are much more astute than the NYT picks
People get it.
inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 8:28 am
"Due to technical difficulties, comments are unavailable"
Pisses me off that I gave the propaganda rag of note a click and didn't even get the joy of the comments section. I'm sure there's some cynical reason why
Ian Perkins , August 31, 2019 at 10:28 am
I got there first time. No doubt some cynical reason
Barbara , August 31, 2019 at 10:56 am
NYT PicksReader PicksAll
Ronald Weinstein commented August 26
New YorkAug. 26
Shallow cynicism vs profound naivete. I don't know what to chose.
Jeff W , August 31, 2019 at 11:41 am
People do get it. That struck me, too.
The other thing is that the NYT runs this pretty indefensible piece by a guy who is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Just how often does NYT -- whose goal, according to its executive editor, "should be to understand different views" -- run a piece from anyone who is leftwing? What's the ratio of pro-establishment, pro-Washington consensus pieces to those that are not? Glenn Greenwald points out that the political spectrum at the NYT op-ed page "spans the small gap from establishment centrist Democrats to establishment centrist Republicans." That, in itself, is consistent with the premise that the system is, indeed, rigged.
Spoofs desu , August 31, 2019 at 7:09 am
I think we have to drill down another level and ask ourselves a more fundamental question "why is cynicism necessarily bad to begin with?" Black's response of parsing to individual systems as being corrupt is playing into the NYT authors trap, sort to speak.
This NYT article is another version of the seemingly obligatory attribute of the american character; we must ultimately be optimistic and have hope. Why is that useful? Or maybe more importantly, to whom is that useful? What is the point?
In my mind (and many a philosopher), cynicism is a very healthy, empowering response to a world whose institutional configuration is such that it will to fuck you over whenever it is expedient to do so.
Furthermore, the act of voting lends legitimacy to an institution that is clearly not legitimate. The institution is very obviously very corrupt. If you really want to change the "system" stop giving it legitimacy; i.e. be cynical, don't vote. The whole thing is a ruse. Boycott it .
Some may say, in a desperate attempt to avoid being cynical, "well, the national level is corrupt but we need to increase engagement at the community level via local elections ", or something like that. This is nothing more than rearranging the chairs on the deck of the titanic. And collecting signature isn't going to help anymore than handing out buckets on the titanic would.
So, to answer my own rhetorical question above, "to whom is it useful to not be cynical?" It is useful to those who want things to continue as they currently are.
So, be cynical. Don't vote. It is an empowering and healthy way to kinda say "fuck you" to the corrupt and not become corrupted yourself by legitimizing it. The best part about it is that you don't have to do anything.
Viva la paz (Hows that for a non cynical salutation?)
jrs , August 31, 2019 at 11:29 am
Uh this sounds like the ultimate allowing things to continue as they currently are, do you really imagine the powers that be are concerned about a low voting rate, and we have one, they don't care, they may even like it that way. Do you really imagine they care about some phantom like perceived legitimacy? Where is the evidence of that?
kiwi , August 31, 2019 at 12:08 pm
Politicians do care about staying in office and will respond on some issues that will cost them enough votes to get booted from office. But it has to be those particular issues in their own backyard; otherwise, they just kind of limp along with the lip service collecting their paychecks.
IMO, it is sheer idiocy to not vote. If you are a voter, politicians will pay some attention to you at least. If you don't vote, you don't even exist to them.
inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 7:37 am
"I don't think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you've served in Congress," said Ocasio-Cortez. "At minimum there should be a long wait period."
"If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn't be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check.
I don't think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you've served in Congress."
–AOC, as reported by NakedCapitalism on May 31, 2019
Which is worse - bankers or terrorists , August 31, 2019 at 11:45 am
I bet she opens up her lobbying shop in December 2020.
inode_buddha , August 31, 2019 at 7:52 am
It isn't cynical if it is real. Truth is the absolute defense.
Bugs Bunny , August 31, 2019 at 7:58 am
A shrink friend once said "cynicism is the most logical reaction to despair".
Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 10:52 am
I try to be despairing, but I can't keep up.
Attributed to a generation or two after Lily Tomlin's quote about cynicism.
Out of curiosity, would it be cynical to question that political scientist's grant funding or other sources of income? These days, I feel inclined to look at what I'll call the Sinclair Rule* , added to Betteridge's, Godwin's and all those other, ahem, modifications to what used to be an expectation that communication was more or less honest.
* Sinclair Rule, where you add a interpretive filter based on Upton's famous quote: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
jrs , August 31, 2019 at 11:43 am
It's good to look at funding sources. But it's kind of a slander to those who must work for a living when assuming it's paychecks (which we need to live in this system) that corrupt people.
If it's applied to the average working person, maybe it's often true, maybe it has a tendency to push in that direction, but if you think there are no workers that realize the industry they are working in might be destructive, that they may be exploited by such systems but have little choice etc. etc., come now there are working people who are politically aware and do see a larger picture, they just don't have a lot of power to change it much of the time. Does the average working person's salary depend on his not understanding though? No, of course not, it merely depends on him obeying. And obeying enough to keep a job, not always understanding, is what a paycheck buys.
timbers , August 31, 2019 at 7:57 am
With all the evidence of everyday life (airplanes, drug prices, health insurance, Wall Street, CEO pay, the workforce changes in the past 20 years if you've been working those years etc) this Greg better be careful as he might be seen as a Witch to be hanged and burned in Salem, Ma a few hundred years ago.
It's cynical to say it's cynical to believe the system is corrupt.
Greg Weiner is cynic, and his is using his cynicism to dismiss the political arguments of people he disagrees with.
MyMoneysNotGreenAnymore , August 31, 2019 at 8:17 am
And just this week, I found out I couldn't even buy a car unless I'd be willing to sign a mandatory binding arbitration agreement. I was ready to pay and sign all the paperwork, and they lay a document in front of me that reserves for the dealer the right to seek any remedy against me if I harm the dealer (pay with bad check, become delinquent on loan, fail to provide clean title on my trade); but forces me to accept mandatory binding arbitration, with damages limited to the value of the car, for anything the dealer might do wrong.
It is not cynical at all when even car dealers now want a permission slip for any harm they might do to me.
Donald , August 31, 2019 at 8:24 am
Three words -- climate change denial.
Okay, a few more. We are literally facing the possibility of a mass extinction in large part because of dishonesty on the par of oil companies, politicians, and people paid to make bad arguments.
Donald , August 31, 2019 at 8:35 am
A few more words
"Saddam Hussein has WMD's."
"Assad (and by implication Assad's forces alone) killed 500,000 Syrians."
"Israel is just defending itself."
I can't squeeze the dishonesty about the war in Yemen into a short slogan, but I know from personal experience that getting liberals to care when it was Obama's war was virtually impossible. Even under Trump it was hard, until Khashoggi's murder. On the part of politicians and think tanks this was corruption by Saudi money. With ordinary people it was the usual partisan tribal hypocrisy.
dearieme , August 31, 2019 at 11:11 am
Two words: Goebbels Warming.
pretzelattack , August 31, 2019 at 12:36 pm
a lot of gibberish in those 2 words, dearie. are you going to grace us with your keen scientific insights on the issue?
jfleni , August 31, 2019 at 8:30 am
Conclusion: Even before they dress in the AM, they S C R E A M,
G I M M E!!
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell , August 31, 2019 at 8:45 am
The motivator is " Gap Psychology ," the human desire to distance oneself from those below (on any scale), and to come nearer to those above.
The rich are rich because the Gap below them is wide, and the wider the Gap, the richer they are .
And here is the important point: There are two ways the rich widen the Gap: Either gain more for themselves or make sure those below have less.
That is why the rich promulgate the Big Lie that the federal government (and its agencies, Social Security and Medicare) is running short of dollars. The rich want to make sure that those below them don't gain more, as that would narrow the Gap.
Off The Street , August 31, 2019 at 10:56 am
Negative sum game, where one wins but the other has to lose more so the party of the first part feels even better about winning. There is an element of sadism, sociopathy and a few other behaviors that the current systems allow to be gamed even more profitably. If you build it, or lobby to have it built, they will come multiple times.
The Rev Kev , August 31, 2019 at 9:07 am
A successful society should be responsive to both threats and opportunities. Any major problems to that society are assessed and changes are made, usually begrudgingly, to adapt to the new situation. And this is where corruption comes into it. It short circuits the signals that a society receives so that it ignores serious threats and elevates ones that are relatively minor but which benefit a small segment of that society. If you want an example of this at work, back in 2016 you had about 40,000 Americans dying to opioids each and every year which was considered only a background issue. But a major issue about that time was who gets to use what toilets. Seriously. If it gets bad enough, a society gets overwhelmed by the problems that were ignored or were deferred to a later time. And I regret to say that the UK is going to learn this lesson in spades.
Ian Perkins , August 31, 2019 at 10:37 am
'Sanders has said that we live in a "corrupt political system designed to protect the wealthy and the powerful." Warren said it's a "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else."'
Yet the rest of the article focuses almost entirely on internal US shenanigans. When it comes to protecting wealth and power, George Kennan hit the nail on the head in 1948, with "we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3 of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity." This, which has underpinned US policy ever since, may not be corrupt in the sense of illegal, but it certainly seems corrupt in the sense of morally repugnant to me.
dearieme , August 31, 2019 at 11:16 am
Warren said it's a "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else."
Is she referring to the system of race privilege that she exploited by making a false claim to be a Cherokee, or some other rigged system?
Still, compared to some of the gangsters who have been president I suppose she's been pretty small time in her nefarious activities. So far as I know.
Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 12:07 pm
About Kennan's comment. That's interesting because no one questioned the word "wealth". Even tho' we had only 6.3% of the world's population we had 50% of the wealth. The point of that comment had to be that we should "spread the wealth" and we did do just that. Until we polluted the entire planet. I'd like some MMT person to take a long look at that attitude because it is so simplistic. And not like George Kennan at all who was sophisticated to the bone. But that's just more proof of a bred-in-the-bone ignorance about what money really is. In this case Kennan was talking about money, not wealth. He never asked Nepal for advice on gross national happiness, etc. Nor did he calculate the enormous debt burden we would incur for our unregulated use and abuse of the environment. That debt most certainly offsets any "wealth" that happened.
shinola , August 31, 2019 at 11:09 am
Approaching from the opposite direction, if someone were to say "I sincerely believe that the USA has the most open & honest political system and the fairest economic system in human history" would you not think that person to be incredibly naive (or, cynically, a liar)?
There has been, for at least the last couple of decades. a determined effort to do away with corruption – by defining it away. "Citizens United" is perhaps the most glaring example but the effort is ongoing; that Weiner op-ed is a good current example.
jef , August 31, 2019 at 11:34 am
What is cynical is everyone's response when point out that the system is corrupt. They all say " always has been, always will be so just deal with it ".
Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 12:14 pm
Strawmannirg has got to be the most cynical behavior in the world. Weiner is the cynic. I think Liz's "the system is rigged " comment invites discussion. It is not a closed door at all. It is a plea for good capitalism. Which most people assume is possible. It's time to define just what kind of capitalism will work and what it needs to continue to be, or finally become, a useful economic ideology. High time.
Susan the other` , August 31, 2019 at 12:25 pm
Another thing. Look how irrational the world, which is now awash in money, has become over lack of liquidity. There's a big push now to achieve an optimum flow of money by speeding up transaction time. The Fed is in the midst of designing a new real-time digital payments system. A speedy accounting and record of everything. Which sounds like a very good idea.
But the predators are busy keeping pace – witness the frantic grab by Facebook with Libra. Libra is cynical. To say the least. The whole thing a few days ago on the design of Libra was frightening because Libra has not slowed down; it has filed it's private corporation papers in Switzerland and is working toward a goal of becoming a private currency – backed by sovereign money no less! Twisted. So there's a good discussion begging to be heard: The legitimate Federal Reserve v. Libra. The reason we are not having this discussion is because the elite are hard-core cynics.
Feb 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
William Dorritt , 3 hours ago linkWilliam Dorritt , 3 hours ago linkLOLITA EXPRESS...ORGY ISLAND...ELITE PEDOPHILE RING ?-2006* George W Bush President: January 20, 2001 – Jan. 20, 2009* Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General USA: Feb. 3, 2005–Sept. 17, 2007* Michael Bernard Mukasey, AG. USA: Nov. 9, 2007 – Jan. 20, 2009* Eric Holder, A G. USA: Feb. 3, 2009 – April 27, 2015* Loretta Lynch, Attorney General USA: April 27, 2015 – Present* Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana* Epstein's Attorneys: Gerald Lefcourt, Roy Black, Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz.
+ "He (Epstein) is an enthusiastic member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations."
+ Bill Clinton...26 trips aboard the "Lolita Express"
Jeffrey Epstein's Boeing 727 is equipped with the necessary hardware for him to wake up, roll out of bed, and start trading.
+ Clinton shared more than a dozen flights with a woman who federal prosecutors believe procured underage girls to sexually service Epstein and his friends and acted as a "potential co-conspirator" in his crimes.
+ Socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and Epstein's former assistant Sarah Kellen -- have been repeatedly accused in court filings of acting as pimps. Oxford-educated Maxwell, recently seen dining with Clinton at Nello's on Madison Avenue. Manhattan-London G. Maxwell, daughter of the mysteriously deceased media titan Robert Maxwell.
+ A new lawsuit has revealed how Clinton took multiple trips to Epstein's private island where he 'kept young women as sex slaves'
+ Clinton was also apparently friends with a woman who collected naked pictures of underage girls for Epstein to choose from
+ Clinton invited her (pimp) to Chelsea's wedding
+ According to former child sex slave Virginia Roberts and a class action lawsuit against convicted billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, former President Bill Clinton was present during sex parties involving up to twenty underage girls at Epstein's secluded island in the Caribbean.
+ 20 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 said were sexually abused by Epstein, Palm Beach Police and FBI
+ 35 female minors sexually abused, Epstein settled lawsuits from more than 30 "Jane Doe" victims since 2008; the youngest alleged victim was 12 years old at the time of her abuse.
..............................Source: FBI & Federal Prosecutors
+ flights on Epstein's planes 1997 to 2005, include Dershowitz (FOX NEWS, Harvard Law), former Treasury Secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers, Naomi Campbell, and scientist Stephen Pinker.
+ In the most recent court documents, filed on December 30, Roberts further claims she was sex-trafficked to "many other powerful men, including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders." Roberts said Epstein trafficked children to politicians, Wall Streeters and A- listers to curry favor, advance his business, and for political influence.
2015 Doc Release by Judge:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana wrote to Epstein lawyer Jay Lefkowitz in a Sept. 19, 2007, email. "I will include our standard language regarding resolving all criminal liability and I will mention 'co-conspirators,' but I would prefer not to highlight for the judge all of the other crimes and all of the other persons that we could charge ... maybe we can set a time to meet, if you want to meet 'off campus' somewhere, that is fine. I will make sure that I have all the necessary decision makers present or 'on call' as well."
"I wanted to tell you that I have compiled a list of 34 confirmed minors," Villafana wrote to Lefkowitz. "There are six others, whose name [sic] we already have, who need to be interviewed by the FBI to confirm whether they were 17 or 18 at the time of their activity with Mr. Epstein."
In a December 2007 letter, the prosecutor acknowledges some notifications of alleged victims but says they were sent after the U.S. Attorney's Office signed the plea deal and halted for most of the women at the request of Epstein's lawyers.
"Three victims were notified shortly after the signing of the Non-Prosecution Agreement of the general terms of that Agreement," Villafana wrote, again to Lefkowitz. "You raised objections to any victim notification, and no further notifications were done."
Original Deal Hidden
On Sept. 24, 2007, in a deal shrouded in secrecy that left alleged victims shocked at its leniency,
Epstein agreed to a 30-month sentence, including 18 months of jail time and 12 months of house arrest and the agreement to pay dozens of young girls under a federal statute providing for compensation to victims of child sexual abuse. .the U.S. Attorney's Office promised not to pursue any federal charges against Epstein or his Named and Un-Named co-conspirators.
Fox By Malia Zimmerman, May 13, 2016
Daily Mail Reporter 19 March 2014
Gawker Nick Bryant 01/22/15
Western Journalism Kris Zane March 27, 2014
Politico By Josh Gerstein 07/07/15
New York Magazine, By Landon Thomas Jr.
THE FIX IS IN
"In 2006 the FBI counted at least 40 underage girls who had been molested by Epstein. Authorities searched his Florida mansion and found two computers containing child *********** and homemade video and photographs from cameras hidden in bedroom walls which had been used to film sex acts. The case was airtight for many counts of sexual crimes but Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer and the Justice Department stepped in and offered Epstein a plea deal. In 2008 Epstein pleaded guilty in a Florida court to one count of soliciting underage girls for sex. His punishment was 13 months of "8 hour nights only" at a halfway house. No other charges about raping underage girls nor running an underage sex trafficking ring were mentioned in the plea. His legal team? Gerald Lefcourt, Roy Black, Ken Starr, and Alan Dershowitz.
The federal non-prosecution agreement Epstein's legal team negotiated immunized all named and unnamed potential co-conspirators in Epstein's child trafficking network, which includes those who allegedly procured minors for Epstein and any powerbrokers who may have molested them."
The Talented Mr. Epstein
Lately, Jeffrey Epstein's high-flying style has been drawing oohs and aahs: the bachelor financier lives in New York's largest private residence, claims to take only billionaires as clients, and flies celebrities including Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey on his Boeing 727. But pierce his air of mystery and the picture changes. Vicky Ward explores Epstein's investment career, his ties to retail magnate Leslie Wexner, and his complicated past.
June 27, 2011 12:00 am
Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery
So how do termite grouping patterns fare as an investment strategy? Again, facts are hard to come by. A working day for Epstein starts at 5 a.m., when he gets up and scours the world markets on his Bloomberg screen -- each of his houses, in New York, St. Thomas, Palm Beach, and New Mexico, as well as the 727, is equipped with the necessary hardware for him to wake up, roll
Jul 13, 2019 | caucus99percent.com
** A footnote on Larry Summers seems important here: Harvard-trained economists have been running the US economy for a very long time, and continue to do so. Summers began his ascent as a professor of economics at Harvard University, leaving shortly before Bill Clinton won the Presidency. He was clearly the Neoliberal seed planted for the New American Century.
In 1993, Summers was appointed Undersecretary for International Affairs of the United States Department of the Treasury under the Clinton Administration. In 1995, he was promoted to Deputy Secretary of the Treasury under his long-time political mentor Robert Rubin. In 1999, he succeeded Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury.
While working for the Clinton administration Summers played a leading role in the American response to the 1994 economic crisis in Mexico, the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the Russian financial crisis. He was also influential in the Harvard Institute for International Development and American-advised privatization of the economies of the post-Soviet states, and in the deregulation of the U.S financial system, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.
At This Point the Ball is Passed to the Bush Team Republicans, while the Democrats Sit Back and Wait for 2008.
There's now a Treasury surplus to transfer to the wealthy, and the necessary deregulation for Wall Street empowerment is in place. The Soviet era had ended and Russia is ended forever. The world is finally primed to be seized by the One Exceptional Power. It's 2001, and we are standing on the threshold of the New American Century . Time to throw a flash-bang of chaos onto the world stage and trigger the booming War Economy that will carry us directly to global control.
There's a rocky road ahead for Larry Summers. Summers introduces Epstein into the Harvard fold, but becomes reckless with his newly-refined Neoliberalism and his opinions concerning "lady scholars."
Following the end of Clinton's term, Summers served as the 27th President of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006. Summers resigned as Harvard's president in the wake of a no-confidence vote by Harvard faculty, which resulted in large part from Summers's conflict with Cornel West, financial conflict of interest questions regarding his relationship with Andrei Shleifer, and a 2005 speech in which he suggested that the under-representation of women in science and engineering could be due to a "different availability of aptitude at the high end", and less to patterns of discrimination and socialization. Remarking upon political correctness in institutions of higher education, Summers said in 2016:
There is a great deal of absurd political correctness. Now, I'm somebody who believes very strongly in diversity, who resists racism in all of its many incarnations, who thinks that there is a great deal that's unjust in American society that needs to be combated, but it seems to be that there is a kind of creeping totalitarianism in terms of what kind of ideas are acceptable and are debatable on college campuses.
After his departure from Harvard, Summers cooled his jets on Wall Street, positioning himself to be called back into the game when it was Team Democrat's turn in 2008.
Summers worked as a managing partner at the hedge fund D. E. Shaw & Co., and as a freelance speaker at other financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. Summers rejoined public service during the Obama administration, serving as the Director of the White House United States National Economic Council for President Barack Obama from January 2009 until November 2010, where he emerged as a key economic decision-maker in the Obama administration's response to the Great Recession.
Jeffery Epstein continued to weave himself into the fabric of government like a good psychopath would. He was by no means the only one.
Jul 11, 2019 | www.unz.com
American Pravda: Secrets of Military Intelligence RON UNZ JUNE 10, 2019 12,500 WORDS 1,580 COMMENTS REPLY RSS
Some may remember that in 2005 a major media controversy engulfed Harvard President Larry Summers over his remarks at an academic conference. Casually speaking off-the-record at the private gathering, Summers had gingerly raised the hypothetical possibility that on average men might be a bit better at mathematics than women, perhaps partially explaining the far larger number of males holding faculty positions in the math, science, and engineering departments.
These controversial speculations were soon leaked to the press, and an enormous firestorm of protest erupted, with MIT professor Nancy Hopkins claiming that merely hearing Summers' words at the event had left her physically ill, forcing her to quickly exit the room lest she suffer a blackout and collapse .
Harvard students and faculty members soon launched an organized campaign to have Summers removed from the summit of our academic world, with noted evolutionary-psychologist Steven Pinker being one of the very few professors willing to publicly defend him. Eventually, an unprecedented "no confidence" vote by the entire faculty and growing loss of confidence by the Board of Trustees forced Summers to resign , becoming the first Harvard President to suffer that fate in the university's 350 year history, thus apparently demonstrating the astonishing power of feminist "political correctness" on college campuses.
The true story for those who followed it was actually quite a bit more complex. Summers, a former Clinton Administration Treasury Secretary, had a long record of very doubtful behavior, which had outraged many faculty members for entirely different reasons. As I wrote a few years ago:
Now I am hardly someone willing to defend Summers from a whole host of very serious and legitimate charges. He seems to have played a major role in transmuting Harvard from a renowned university to an aggressive hedge fund , policies that subsequently brought my beloved alma mater to the very brink of bankruptcy during the 2008 financial crisis. Under his presidency, Harvard paid out $26 million dollars to help settle international insider-trading charges against Andrei Shleifer, one of his closest personal friends, who avoided prison as a consequence. And after such stellar financial and ethical achievements, he was naturally appointed as one of President Obama's top economic advisors, a position from which he strongly supported the massive bailout of Wall Street and the rest of our elite financial services sector, while ignoring Main Street suffering. Perhaps coincidentally, wealthy hedge funds had paid him many millions of dollars for providing a few hours a week of part-time consulting advice during the twelve months prior to his appointment.
Moreover, Summers had previously denounced anti-Israel activism by Harvard students and faculty members as "anti-Semitic," an accusation that provoked fierce opposition . A few years later, it also came out that Summers may have played a crucial role in favoring Mark Zuckerberg over the Winkelvoss brothers in their early battle for ownership of Facebook, while Summers' former assistant Sheryl Sandberg later became Facebook president, making her a multi-billionaire.
Although Summers' impolitic remarks regarding female math ability had certainly sparked his ouster, the underlying cause was probably his many years of extremely unbecoming behavior. Indeed, I think a reasonable case can be made that Summers was the worst and most disreputable president in all of Harvard's long history.
Still, even a broken or crooked clock is right twice a day, and I doubt that Larry Summers is the only person in the world who suspects that men might be a bit better at math than women. But some strongly disagree with this assessment, and in the wake of the Summers controversy one of his fiercest academic opponents was a certain Janet Mertz, who specializes in cancer research at the University of Wisconsin.
In order to effectively refute Summers' odious speculations, she and her co-authors decided to carefully examine the total roster of participants in the International Math Olympiads for the years 1988-2007. These 3200-odd individuals represent the world's highest-performing math students drawn from the secondary schools of dozens of countries, and the gender distribution across so many different cultures and years would surely constitute powerful quantitative evidence of whether males and females significantly differed in their average aptitudes. Since most of these thousands of Math Olympians are drawn from non-Western countries, determining the genders of each and every one is hardly a trivial undertaking, and we should greatly commend the diligent research that Mertz and her colleagues undertook to accomplish this task.
They published their important results in a 10,000 word academic journal article, whose "first and foremost" conclusion, provided in bold-italics, was that "the myth that females cannot excel in mathematics must be put to rest." And in her subsequent press interviews , she proclaimed that her research had demonstrated that men and women had equal innate ability in mathematics, and that any current differences in performance were due to culture or bias, a result which our media gleefully promoted far and wide.
But strangely enough, when I actually bothered to read the text and tables of her eye-glazingly long and dull academic study, I noticed something quite intriguing, especially in the quantitative results conveniently summarized in Tables 6 and 7 (pp. 1252-53), and mentioned it in a column of my own:
The first of these shows the gender-distribution of the 3200-odd Math Olympians of the leading 34 countries for the years 1988-2007, and a few minutes with a spreadsheet reveals that the skew is 95% male and 5% female. Furthermore, almost every single country, whether in Europe, Asia, or elsewhere, seems to follow this same pattern, with the female share ranging between 0% and 12% but mostly close to 5%; Serbia/Montenegro is the only major outlier at 20% female. Similarly, Table 7 provides a gender distribution of results for just the United States, and we find that just 5 of our 126 Math Olympians -- or 4% -- have been female. Various other prestigious math competitions seem to follow a roughly similar gender skew.
These remarkable findings are even more easily grasped when we summarize the male percentages of top math students aggregated across 1988-2008 for each individual country:
China, 96% male
India, 97% male
Iran, 98% male
Israel, 98% male
Japan, 98% male
Kazakhstan, 99% male
South Korea, 93% male
Taiwan, 95% male
Turkey, 96% male
Vietnam, 97% male
Belarus, 94% male
Bulgaria, 91% male
Czech Republic, 96% male
Slovakia, 88% male
France 97% male
Germany, 94% male
Hungary, 94% male
Poland, 99% male
Romania, 94% male
Russia/USSR, 88% male
Serbia and Montenegro, 80% male
Ukraine, 93% male
United Kingdom, 93% male
Australia, 94% male
Brazil, 96% male
Canada, 90% male
USA, 96% male
INTERNATIONAL AVERAGE , 94.4% male
These are the empirical results that Mertz and her co-authors touted as conclusively demonstrating that males and females have equal mathematical ability. As near as I can tell, no previous journalist or researcher had noticed the considerable difference between Mertz's empirical data and her stated conclusions, or perhaps any such individuals were just too intimidated to focus public attention on the discrepancy.
This striking disconnect between a study's purported findings and its actual results should alert us to similar possibilities elsewhere. Perhaps it is not so totally rare that diligent researchers whose ideological zeal sufficiently exceeds their mental ability may spend enormous time and effort gathering information but then interpreting it in a manner exactly contrary to its obvious meaning.
These thoughts recently came to my mind when I decided to read a remarkable analysis of the American military by Joseph W. Bendersky of Virginia Commonwealth University, a Jewish historian specializing in Holocaust Studies and the history of Nazi Germany. Last year, I had glanced at a few pages of his text for my long article on Holocaust Denial , but I now decided to carefully read the entire work, published in 2000.
Bendersky devoted ten full years of research to his book, exhaustively mining the archives of American Military Intelligence as well as the personal papers and correspondence of more than 100 senior military figures and intelligence officers. The "Jewish Threat" runs over 500 pages, including some 1350 footnotes, with the listed archival sources alone occupying seven full pages. His subtitle is "Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army" and he makes an extremely compelling case that during the first half of the twentieth century and even afterward, the top ranks of the U.S. military and especially Military Intelligence heavily subscribed to notions that today would be universally dismissed as "anti-Semitic conspiracy theories."
Put simply, U.S. military leaders in those decades widely believed that the world faced a direct threat from organized Jewry, which had seized control of Russia and similarly sought to subvert and gain mastery over America and the rest of Western civilization.
In these military circles, there was an overwhelming belief that powerful Jewish elements had financed and led Russia's Bolshevik Revolution, and were organizing similar Communist movements elsewhere aimed at destroying all existing Gentile elites and imposing Jewish supremacy throughout America and the rest of the Western world. While some of these Communist leaders were "idealists," many of the Jewish participants were cynical opportunists, seeking to use their gullible followers to destroy their ethnic rivals and thereby gain wealth and supreme power. Although intelligence officers gradually came to doubt that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was an authentic document, most believed that the notorious work provided a reasonably accurate description of the strategic plans of the Jewish leadership for subverting America and the rest of the world and establishing Jewish rule.
Although Bendersky's claims are certainly extraordinary ones, he provides an enormous wealth of compelling evidence to support them, quoting or summarizing thousands of declassified Intelligence files, and further supporting his case by drawing from the personal correspondence of many of the officers involved. He conclusively demonstrates that during the very same years that Henry Ford was publishing his controversial series The International Jew , similar ideas, but with a much sharper edge, were ubiquitous within our own Intelligence community. Indeed, whereas Ford mostly focused upon Jewish dishonesty, malfeasance, and corruption, our Military Intelligence professionals viewed organized Jewry as a deadly threat to American society and Western civilization in general. Hence the title of Bendersky's book.The International Jew The World's Foremost Problem HENRY FORD • 1920 • 323,000 WORDS
These widespread beliefs had important political consequences. In recent decades, our leading immigration restrictionists have regularly argued that anti-Semitism played absolutely no role in the 1924 Immigration Act drastically curtailing European immigration; and the debates and speeches found in the Congressional Record have tended to support their claims. However, last year, I speculated that the widespread awareness of the Jewish leadership of the Bolshevik Revolution may have been a large factor behind the legislation, but one that was kept away from the public record. Bendersky's research fully confirms my suspicions, and he reveals that one of the former military officers most fearful of Jewish immigrant subversion actually played a crucial role in orchestrating the legislation, whose central unstated goal was eliminating any further influx of Eastern European Jews.
The bulk of the fascinating material that Bendersky cites comes from intelligence reports and official letters contained in permanent military archives. Therefore, we must keep in mind that the officers producing such documents would surely have chosen their words carefully and avoided putting all their controversial thoughts down on paper, raising the possibility that their actual beliefs may have been far more extreme. A particular late 1930s case involving one top general provides insight into the likely opinions and private conversations of at least some of those individuals.
Although his name would mean nothing today, Deputy Chief of Staff George Van Horn Moseley spent most of the 1930s as one of America's most highly-regarded generals, having been considered for the top command of our armed forces and also serving as a personal mentor to Dwight D. Eisenhower, future Secretary of State George C. Marshall, and numerous other leading military figures. He seems to have been well-liked within our military establishment, and had an excellent personal reputation.
Moseley also had very strong opinions on the major public issues of the day, and after his retirement in 1938 freed him from military discipline, he began to aggressively promote these, going on a nationwide speaking tour. He repeatedly denounced Roosevelt's military buildup and in an early 1939 speech, he declared that "The war now being proposed is for the purpose of establishing Jewish hegemony throughout the world." He stated that only Jews would profit from the war, claimed that leading Wall Street Jews had financed the Russian Revolution, and warned Americans not to let history repeat itself. Although Moseley's outspokenness soon earned him a reprimand from the Roosevelt Administration, he also received private letters of support from other top generals and former president Herbert Hoover.
In his Congressional testimony just before the outbreak of World War II, Moseley became even more outspoken. He declared that the "murder squads" of Jewish Communists had killed "millions of Christians," but that "fortunately, the character of the German people was aroused" against these traitors within their midst and that therefore "We should not blame the Germans for settling the problem of the Jew within their borders for all time." He even urged our national leaders to "benefit" from the German example in addressing America's own festering domestic Jewish problem.
As might be expected, Moseley's 1939 praise of Germany's Jewish policy in front of Congress provoked a powerful media backlash, with a lead story in The New Republic denouncing him as a Nazi "fifth columnist" and The Nation attacking him in similar fashion; and after war broke out, most public figures gradually distanced themselves. But both Eisenhower and Marshall continued to privately regard him with great admiration and remained in friendly correspondence for many years, strongly suggesting that his harsh appraisal of Jews had hardly been a deep secret within his personal circle.
Bendersky claims that Moseley's fifty boxes of memoirs, private papers, and correspondence "embody every kind of anti-Semitic argument ever manifested in the history of Western civilization," and based on the various extreme examples he provides, few would dispute that verdict. But he also notes that Moseley's statements differed little from the depictions of Jews expressed by General George S. Patton immediately after World War II, and even from some retired generals well into the 1970s.
Although I would not question the accuracy of Bendersky's exhaustive archival research, he seems considerably less sure-footed regarding American intellectual history and sometimes allows his personal sentiments to lead him into severe error. For example, his first chapter devotes a couple of pages to E.A. Ross, citing some of his unflattering descriptions of Jews and Jewish behavior, and suggesting he was a fanatic anti-Semite, who dreaded "the coming catastrophe of an America overrun by racially inferior people."
But Ross was actually one of our greatest early sociologists, and his 26 page discussion of Jewish immigrants published in 1913 was scrupulously fair-minded and even-handed, describing both positive and negative characteristics, following similar chapters on Irish, German, Scandinavian, Italian, and Slavic newcomers. And although Bendersky routinely denounces his own ideological villains as "Social Darwinists," the source he actually cites regarding Ross correctly identified the scholar as one of America's leading critics of Social Darwinism. Indeed, Ross's stature in left-wing circles was so great that he was selected as a member of the Dewey Commission, organized to independently adjudicate the angry conflicting accusations of Stalinists and Trotskyites. And in 1936, a Jewish leftist fulsomely praised Ross's long and distinguished scholarly career in the pages of The New Masses , the weekly periodical of the American Communist Party, only regretting that Ross had never been willing to embrace Marxism.The Old World in the New The Eastern European Hebrews E.A. ROSS • 1914 • 5,000 WORDS
Similarly, Bendersky is completely out of his depth in discussing scientific issues, especially those involving anthropology and human behavior. He ridicules the "scientific racism" that he noted was widely found among the military officers he studied, claiming that such theories had already been conclusively debunked by Franz Boas and his fellow cultural anthropologists. But modern science has firmly established that the notions he so cavalierly dismisses were substantially if not entirely correct while those of Boas and his disciples were largely fallacious, and the Boasian conquest of the academic world actually imposed a half-century Dark Age upon the anthropological sciences, much like Lysenko had done in Soviet biology. Indeed, the views of Boas, an immigrant Jew, may have been primarily motivated by ideological considerations, and his most famous early work seemed to involve outright fraud: he claimed to have proven that the shape of human heads was determined by diet, and rapidly changed among immigrant groups in America.
But far more serious than Bendersky's lapses in areas outside of his professional expertise are the massive, glaring omissions found at the very heart of his thesis. His hundreds of pages of text certainly demonstrate that for decades our top military professionals were extremely concerned about the subversive activities of Jewish Communists, but he seems to casually dismiss those fears as nonsensical, almost delusional. Yet the actual facts are quite different. As I briefly noted last year after my cursory examination of his book:
The book runs well over 500 pages, but when I consulted the index I found no mention of the Rosenbergs nor Harry Dexter White nor any of the other very numerous Jewish spies revealed by the Venona Decrypts, and the term "Venona" itself is also missing from the index. Reports of the overwhelmingly Jewish leadership of the Russian Bolsheviks are mostly treated as bigotry and paranoia, as are descriptions of the similar ethnic skew of America's own Communist Party, let alone the heavy financial support of the Bolsheviks by Jewish international bankers. At one point, he dismisses the link between Jews and Communism in Germany by noting that "less than half" of the Communist Party leadership was Jewish; but since fewer than one in a hundred Germans came from that ethnic background, Jews were obviously over-represented among Communist leaders by as much as 5,000%. This seems to typify the sort of dishonesty and innumeracy I have regularly encountered among Jewish Holocaust experts.
Admittedly, Bendersky's book was published just 18 months after the seminal first Venona volume of John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr appeared in early 1999. But the Venona Decrypts themselves had been declassified in 1995 and soon begun circulating within the academic community. For Bendersky to stubbornly ignore the undeniable reality that a large and overwhelmingly Jewish network of Stalinist agents was situated near the top of the Roosevelt Administration, while ridiculing the military officers who made such claims at the time, raises severe doubts about his credibility as an objective historian.
As I pointed out earlier this year:
From 1941 to 1944 FDR's Vice President was Henry Wallace, who would have succeeded to the presidency if Roosevelt had renominated him in that latter year or had died prior to early 1945. And although Wallace himself was not disloyal, his top advisors were mostly Communist agents. Indeed, he later stated that a Wallace Administration would have included Laurence Duggan as Secretary of State and Harry Dexter White as Secretary of the Treasury, thereby installing Stalinist henchmen at the top of the Cabinet, presumably supported by numerous lower-level officials of a similar political ilk. One might jokingly speculate whether the Rosenbergs -- later executed for treason -- would have been placed in charge of our nuclear weapons development program.
That America's national government of the early 1940s actually came within a hair's breadth -- or rather a heart-beat -- of falling under Communist control is a very uncomfortable truth. And our history books and popular media have maintained such total silence about this remarkable episode that even among today's well-educated Americans I suspect that fewer than five in one hundred are aware of this grim reality.
The Venona Project constituted the definitive proof of the massive extent of Soviet espionage activities in America, which for many decades had been routinely denied by many mainstream journalists and historians, and it also played a crucial secret role in dismantling that hostile spy network during the late 1940s and 1950s. But Venona was nearly snuffed out just a year after its birth. In 1944 Soviet agents became aware of the crucial code-breaking effort, and soon afterwards arranged for the Roosevelt White House to issue a directive ordering the project shut down and all efforts to uncover Soviet spying abandoned. The only reason that Venona survived, allowing us to later reconstruct the fateful politics of that era, was that the determined Military Intelligence officer in charge of the project risked a court-martial by directly disobeying the explicit Presidential order and continuing his work.
That officer was Col. Carter W. Clarke, but his place in Bendersky's book is a much less favorable one, being described as a prominent member of the anti-Semitic "clique" who constitute the villains of the narrative. Indeed, Bendersky particularly condemns Clarke for still seeming to believe in the essential reality of the Protocols as late as the 1970s, quoting from a letter he wrote to a brother officer in 1977:
If, and a big -- damned big IF, as the Jews claim the Protocols of the Elders of Zion were f -- - cooked up by Russian Secret Police, why is it that so much they contain has already come to pass, and the rest so strongly advocated by the Washington Post and the New York Times .
Our historians must surely have a difficult time digesting the remarkable fact that the officer in charge of the vital Venona Project, whose selfless determination saved it from destruction by the Roosevelt Administration, actually remained a lifelong believer in the importance of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion .
Let us take a step back and place Bendersky's findings in their proper context. We must recognize that during much of the era covered by his research, U.S. Military Intelligence constituted nearly the entirety of America's national security apparatus -- being the equivalent of a combined CIA, NSA, and FBI -- and was responsible for both international and domestic security, although the latter portfolio had gradually been assumed by J. Edgar Hoover's own expanding organization by the end of the 1920s.
Bendersky's years of diligent research demonstrate that for decades these experienced professionals -- and many of their top commanding generals -- were firmly convinced that major elements of the organized Jewish community were ruthlessly plotting to seize power in America, destroy all our traditional Constitutional liberties, and ultimately gain mastery over the entire world.
I have never believed in the existence of UFOs as alien spacecraft, always dismissing such notions as ridiculous nonsense. But suppose declassified government documents revealed that for decades nearly all of our top Air Force officers had been absolutely convinced of the reality of UFOs. Could I continue my insouciant refusal to even consider such possibilities? At the very least, those revelations would force me to sharply reassess the likely credibility of other individuals who had made similar claims during that same period.
As I wrote in 2018:
Some years ago, I came across a totally obscure 1951 book entitled The Iron Curtain Over America by John Beaty, a well-regarded university professor. Beaty had spent his wartime years in Military Intelligence, being tasked with preparing the daily briefing reports distributed to all top American officials summarizing available intelligence information acquired during the previous 24 hours, which was obviously a position of considerable responsibility.
As a zealous anti-Communist, he regarded much of America's Jewish population as deeply implicated in subversive activity, therefore constituting a serious threat to traditional American freedoms. In particular, the growing Jewish stranglehold over publishing and the media was making it increasingly difficult for discordant views to reach the American people, with this regime of censorship constituting the "Iron Curtain" described in his title. He blamed Jewish interests for the totally unnecessary war with Hitler's Germany, which had long sought good relations with America, but instead had suffered total destruction for its strong opposition to Europe's Jewish-backed Communist menace.
Beaty also sharply denounced American support for the new state of Israel, which was potentially costing us the goodwill of so many millions of Muslims and Arabs. And as a very minor aside, he also criticized the Israelis for continuing to claim that Hitler had killed six million Jews, a highly implausible accusation that had no apparent basis in reality and seemed to be just a fraud concocted by Jews and Communists, aimed at poisoning our relations with postwar Germany and extracting money for the Jewish State from the long-suffering German people.
He was scathing toward the Nuremberg Trials, which he described as a "major indelible blot" upon America and "a travesty of justice." According to him, the proceedings were dominated by vengeful German Jews, many of whom engaged in falsification of testimony or even had criminal backgrounds. As a result, this "foul fiasco" merely taught Germans that "our government had no sense of justice." Sen. Robert Taft, the Republican leader of the immediate postwar era took a very similar position, which later won him the praise of John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage . The fact that the chief Soviet prosecutor at Nuremberg had played the same role during the notorious Stalinist show trials of the late 1930s, during which numerous Old Bolsheviks confessed to all sorts of absurd and ridiculous things, hardly enhanced the credibility of the proceedings to many outside observers.
Then as now, a book taking such controversial positions stood little chance of finding a mainstream New York publisher, but it was soon released by a small Dallas firm, and then became enormously successful, going through some seventeen printings over the next few years. According to Scott McConnell, founding editor of The American Conservative , Beaty's book became the second most popular conservative text of the 1950s, ranking only behind Russell Kirk's iconic classic, The Conservative Mind .
Bendersky devotes several pages to a discussion of Beaty's book, which he claims "ranks among the most vicious anti-Semitic diatribes of the postwar era." He also describes the story of its tremendous national success, which followed an unusual trajectory.
Books by unknown authors that are released by tiny publishers rarely sell many copies, but the work came to the attention of George E. Stratemeyer, a retired general who had been one of Douglas MacArthur's commanders, and he wrote Beaty a letter of endorsement. Beaty began including that letter in his promotional materials, drawing the ire of the ADL, whose national chairman contacted Stratemeyer, demanding that he repudiate the book, which was described as a "primer for lunatic fringe groups" all across America. Instead, Stratemeyer delivered a blistering reply to the ADL, denouncing it for making "veiled threats" against "free expression and thoughts" and trying to establish Soviet-style repression in the United States. He declared that every "loyal citizen" should read The Iron Curtain Over America , whose pages finally revealed the truth about our national predicament, and he began actively promoting the book around the country while attacking the Jewish attempt to silence him. Numerous other top American generals and admirals soon joined Statemeyer in publicly endorsing the work, as did a couple of influential members of the U.S. Senate, leading to its enormous national sales.
Having now discovered that Beaty's views were so totally consistent with those of nearly all our Military Intelligence professionals, I decided to reread his short book, and found myself deeply impressed. His erudition and level-headedness were exactly what one would expect from an accomplished academic with a Columbia Ph.D. who had risen to the rank of colonel during his five years of service in Military Intelligence and on the General Staff. Although strongly anti-Communist, by all indications Beaty was very much a moderate conservative, quite judicious in his claims and proposals. Bendersky's hysterical denunciation reflects rather badly upon the issuer of that fatwa .
Beaty's book was written nearly 70 years ago, at the very beginning of our long Cold War, and is hardly free from various widely-held errors of that time, nor from deep concerns about various calamities that did not come to pass, such as a Third World War. Moreover, since it was published just a couple of years after Mao's victory in China and in the midst of our own involvement in the Korean War, its discussion of those large contemporary events is far more lengthy and detailed than would probably be of interest to present-day readers. But leaving aside those minor blemishes, I think the account he provides of the true circumstances behind America's involvement in both the First and Second World Wars and their immediate aftermath is greatly superior to the heavily slanted and expurgated versions we find in our standard history books. And Beaty's daily wartime responsibility for collating and summarizing all incoming intelligence information and then producing a digest for distribution to the White House and our other top officials surely provided him a far more accurate picture of the reality than that of the typical third-hand scribe.
At the very least, we should acknowledge that Beaty's volume provides an excellent summary of the beliefs of American Military Intelligence officers and many of our top generals during the first half of the twentieth century. With copyright having long lapsed, I'm pleased to make it available in convenient HTML format, allowing those so interested to read it and judge for themselves:The Iron Curtain Over America JOHN BEATY • 1951 • 82,000 WORDS
Despite Bendersky's fulminations, Beaty seems to have been someone of quite moderate sentiments, who viewed extremism of any type with great disfavor. After describing the ongoing seizure of power in American society by Jewish immigrants, mostly aligned with international Zionism or international Communism, his suggested responses were strikingly inoffensive. He urged American citizens to demonstrate their disapproval by writing letters to their newspapers and elected officials, signing petitions, and providing their political support to the patriotic elements of both the Democratic and Republican parties. He also argued that the most dangerous aspect of the current situation was the enfolding "Iron Curtain" of Jewish censorship that was preventing ordinary Americans from recognizing the great looming threat to their freedoms, and claimed that combating such media censorship was a task of the highest importance.
Others of similar background and views sometimes moved in far more extreme directions. About a dozen years ago I began noticing scattered references on fringe websites to a certain Revilo P. Oliver, an oddly-named political activist of the mid-twentieth century, apparently of enormous stature in Far Right circles. According to these accounts, after important World War II service at the War Department, he began a long and distinguished career as a Classics professor at the University of Illinois. Then, beginning in the mid-1950s, he became active in politics, establishing himself as a leading figure in the early days of both National Review and the John Birch Society, though he eventually broke with both those organizations when he came to regard them as too politically-compromised and ineffective. Thereafter, he gradually became more angry and extreme in his views, and by 1974 had become friendly with William Pierce of the National Alliance, suggesting the theme for his novel The Turner Diaries which sold hundreds of thousands of copies as a huge underground bestseller and according to federal prosecutors later served as the inspiration for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings.
Although I had never heard of Oliver nor his unusual career, most of the facts I could verify seemed correct. The early years of National Review had carried more than 100 of his articles and reviews and a major feature in The Saturday Evening Post discussed his rancorous break with The John Birch Society. A few years later, I became sufficiently curious that I ordered his 1981 book America's Decline: The Education of a Conservative , containing his personal memoir and many of his writings. So few were available, that by chance the one I received was the author's own personal copy, with his address label glued to the cover and including a few pages of his personal correspondence and errata notes sent to his publisher. These days, the numerous copies available for sale on Amazon start at an outrageous price of almost $150, but fortunately the book is also freely available for reading or downloading at Archive.org .
When I first read Oliver's book seven or eight years ago, it constituted one of my earliest exposures to the literature of the Far Right, and I was not at all sure what to make of it. His enormous classical erudition was quite apparent, but his political rhetoric seemed totally outrageous, with the word "conspiracy" used with wild abandon, seemingly on almost every other page. Given his bitter political feuds with so many other right-wingers and the total lack of any mainstream endorsements, I viewed his claims with a great deal of skepticism, though a number of them stuck in my mind. However, after having very recently absorbed the remarkable material presented by Bendersky and reread Beaty, I decided to revisit Oliver's volume, and see what I thought of it the second time round.
Revilo P. Oliver, 1963. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Bendersky makes no mention of Oliver, which is unfortunate since all the spurious accusations he had leveled against Ross and Beaty would have been entirely correct if made against Oliver. Unlike most right-wingers, then or now, Oliver was a militant atheist, holding scathing views towards Christianity, and he instead placed racial conflict at the absolute center of his world-view, making him exactly the sort of outspoken Social Darwinist not uncommon in the early years of the twentieth century, but long since driven into hiding. A good indication of the explicit harshness of Oliver's sentiments appears on the very first page of his preface, when he ridicules the total ineffectiveness of conservatives in combating "the existing situation, which has resulted from the invasion of their country by hordes of aliens who are, by a biological necessity, their racial enemies." This sort of statement would have been unimaginable in Beaty, who emphasized Christian charity and goodwill.
More than half of the fairly long text consists of pieces that appeared during 1955-1966 in National Review , American Opinion (the Birch magazine), and Modern Age , generally book reviews. Most of the topics are hardly of great current interest, and discuss the internal conflicts of Ancient Rome, or perhaps provide Oliver's views on Spengler, Toynbee, John Dewey, or Haitian history; but the material certainly establishes the impressive intellectual breadth of the author. According to the book's introduction, Oliver was conversant in eleven languages, including Sanskrit, and I can well credit that claim.
As mentioned, Oliver particularly despised Christianity and Christian preachers, and he devoted a substantial portion of the remainder of the book to ridiculing them and their doctrines, often deploying his great scholarship laced with crude invective, and generally writing in an arch, rather droll style. Although not of much interest to me, I'd think that those who share Oliver's religious disinclinations might find his remarks rather amusing.
However, the remaining one-third or so of the volume is focused on factual and political matters, much of the material being quite significant. According to the back cover, Oliver had spent World War II as director of a secret research group at the War Department, leading a staff that eventually grew to 175, and afterward being cited for his outstanding government service. His statements certainly present himself as extremely knowledgeable about the "hidden history" of that war, and he minced absolutely no words about his views. The combination of his strong academic background, his personal vantage point, and his extreme outspokenness would make him a uniquely valuable source on all those matters.
But that value is tempered by his credibility, cast into serious doubt by his often wild rhetoric. Whereas I would consider Beaty's book quite reliable, at least relative to the best information available at the time, and might place Henry Ford's The International Jew in much the same category, I would tend to be far more cautious in accepting Oliver's claims, especially given the strong emotions he expressed. Aside from his many reprinted articles, the rest of the book was written when he was in his seventies, and he repeatedly expressed his political despair concerning his many years of total failure in various right-wing projects. He declared that he had lost any hope of ever restoring the Aryan-controlled America of 1939, and instead foresaw our country's inevitable decline, alongside that of the rest of Western civilization. Moreover, many of the events he recounts had occurred three or four decades earlier, and even under the best of circumstances his recollections might have become a little garbled.
That being said, in rereading Oliver I was struck by how much of his description of America's involvement in the two world wars seemed so entirely consistent with Beaty's account, or that of numerous other highly-regarded journalists and historians of that era, such as the contributors to Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace . I had encountered this material some years after reading Oliver's book, and it greatly buttressed his credibility.
But unlike those other writers, Oliver often framed the same basic facts in extremely dramatic fashion. For example, he denounced Churchill's 1940 aerial bombing strategy as the most monstrous sort of war crime:
Great Britain, in violation of all the ethics of civilized warfare that had theretofore been respected by our race, and in treacherous violation of solemnly assumed diplomatic covenants about "open cities", had secretly carried out intensive bombing of such open cities in Germany for the express purpose of killing enough unarmed and defenceless men and women to force the German government reluctantly to retaliate and bomb British cities and thus kill enough helpless British men, women, and children to generate among Englishmen enthusiasm for the insane war to which their government had committed them.
It is impossible to imagine a governmental act more vile and more depraved than contriving death and suffering for its own people -- for the very citizens whom it was exhorting to "loyalty" -- and I suspect that an act of such infamous and savage treason would have nauseated even Genghis Khan or Hulagu or Tamerlane, Oriental barbarians universally reprobated for their insane blood-lust. History, so far as I recall, does not record that they ever butchered their own women and children to facilitate lying propaganda .In 1944 members of British Military Intelligence took it for granted that after the war Marshal Sir Arthur Harris would be hanged or shot for high treason against the British people
At the time I originally read those words, my knowledge of World War II was mostly limited to half-remembered portions of my old History 101 textbooks, and I was naturally quite skeptical at Oliver's astonishing charges. But during subsequent years, I discovered that the circumstances were exactly as Oliver claimed, with so notable a historian as David Irving having fully documented the evidence. So although we may question Oliver's exceptionally harsh characterization or his heated rhetoric, the factual case he makes seems not to be under serious dispute.
His discussion of America's own entrance in the war is equally strident. He emphasizes that his colleagues in the War Department had completely broken the most secure Japanese codes, giving our government complete knowledge of all Japanese plans:
Perhaps the most exhilarating message ever read by American Military Intelligence was one sent by the Japanese government to their Ambassador in Berlin (as I recall), urging him not to hesitate to communicate certain information by telegrams and assuring him that "no human mind" could decipher messages that had been enciphered on the Purple Machine. That assurance justified the merriment it provoked
However, just as many others have alleged, Oliver claims that Roosevelt then deliberately allowed the attack on Pearl Harbor to proceed and failed to warn the local military commanders, whom he then ordered court-martialed for their negligence:
Everyone now knows, of course, that the message to the Japanese Ambassador in Washington, warning him that Japan was about to attack the United States, was read by Military Intelligence not long after the Ambassador himself received it, and that the frantic cover-up, involving some successful lying about details, was intended, not to preserve that secret, but to protect the traitors in Washington who made certain that the Japanese attack, which they had labored so long to provoke, would be successful and produce the maximum loss of American lives and destruction of American ships.
Numerous historians seem to have thoroughly established that Roosevelt did everything he could to provoke a war with Japan. But Oliver adds a fascinating detail that I have never seen mentioned elsewhere:
In January 1941, almost eleven months before Pearl Harbor, preparation for it began in Washington when Franklin D Roosevelt summoned the Portuguese Ambassador to the United States and, enjoining him to the utmost secrecy, asked him to inform Premier Salazar that Portugal need have no concern for the safety of Timor and her other possessions in Southeast Asia; the United States, he said, had decided to crush Japan forever by waiting until her military forces and lines of communication were stretched to the utmost and then suddenly launching an all-out war with massive attacks that Japan was not, and could not be, prepared to resist. As expected, the Portuguese Ambassador communicated the glad tidings to the head of his government, using his most secure method of communication, an enciphered code which the Portuguese doubtless imagined to be "unbreakable," but which Roosevelt well knew had been compromised by the Japanese, who were currently reading all messages sent in it by wireless. The statement, ostensibly entrusted in "strict secrecy" to the Portuguese Ambassador, was, of course, intended for the Japanese government, and, as a matter of fact, it became certain that the trick had succeeded when the contents of the Portuguese Ambassador's message to Salazar promptly appeared in a Japanese message enciphered by the Purple Machine. Roosevelt had only to wait for Japan to act on the "secret" information about American plans thus given her, and to order naval movements and diplomatic negotiations that would appear to the Japanese to confirm American intentions.
The fact that I have just mentioned is really the ultimate secret of Pearl Harbor, and seems to have been unknown to Admiral Theobald when he wrote his well-known book on the subject.
Oliver notes that Roosevelt had long sought to have America participate in the great European war whose outbreak he had previously orchestrated , but had been blocked by overwhelming domestic anti-war sentiment. His decision to provoke a Japanese attack as a "back door" to war only came after all his military provocations against Germany had failed to accomplish a similar result:
His first plan was defeated by the prudence of the German government. While he yammered about the evils of aggression to the white Americans whom he despised and hated, Roosevelt used the United States Navy to commit innumerable acts of stealthy and treacherous aggression against Germany in a secret and undeclared war, hidden from the American people, hoping that such massive piracy would eventually so exasperate the Germans that they would declare war on the United States, whose men and resources could then be squandered to punish the Germans for trying to have a country of their own. These foul acts of the War Criminal were known, of course, to the officers and men of the Navy that carried out the orders of their Commander-in-Chief, and were commonly discussed in informed circles, but, so far as I know, were first and much belatedly chronicled by Patrick Abbazia in Mr. Roosevelt's Navy: the Private War of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, 1939-1942 , published by the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis in 1975.
Although the U.S. Navy's acts of outrageous piracy on the high seas were successfully concealed from the majority of the American people before Pearl Harbor, they were, of course, well known to the Japanese, and partly account for Roosevelt's success in deceiving them with his "confidences" to the Portuguese Ambassador they assumed that when Roosevelt was ready to attack them, his power over the American press and communications would enable him to simulate an attack they had not in fact made. That the deception was successful was, of course, shown in December 1941, when they made a desperate effort to avert the treacherous blow they feared.
Once America thus entered the war, Oliver then focuses on the horrific way the Allies waged it, using aerial bombardment to deliberately slaughter the civilian population of Germany:
Both British and Americans have always claimed to be humane and have loudly condemned unnecessary bloodshed, mass massacres, and sadistic delight in the infliction of pain in 1945 their professions could still be credited without doubt, and that meant they would be stricken with remorse for a ferocious act of unmitigated savagery unparalleled in the history of our race and unsurpassed in the record of any race. The bombing of the unfortified city of Dresden, nicely timed to insure an agonizing death to the maximum number of white women and children, has been accurately described by David Irving in The Destruction of Dresden (London, 1963), but the essentials of that sickening atrocity were known soon after it was perpetrated. To be sure, it is true that such an act might have been ordered by Hulagu, the celebrated Mongol who found pleasure in ordering the extermination of the population of all cities that did not open their gates to him -- and of some that did -- so that the severed heads of the inhabitants could be piled up into pyramids as perishable but impressive monuments to his glory. The Americans and British, however, deem themselves more civilized than Hulagu and less sadistic.
He also harshly condemns the very brutal nature of the American occupation of Germany that followed the end of the war:
with the American invasion of German territory began the innumerable atrocities against her civilian population -- the atrocities against prisoners began even earlier -- that have brought on our people the reputation of Attila's hordes. The outrages were innumerable and no one, so far as I know, has even tried to compile a list of typical incidents of rape and torture and mayhem and murder. Most of the unspeakable atrocities, it is true, were committed by savages and Jews in American uniforms, but many, it must be confessed, were perpetrated by Americans, louts from the dregs of our own society or normal men crazed with hatred. All victorious armies, it is true, contain elements that want to outrage the vanquished, and few commanders in "democratic" wars can maintain the tight discipline that made Wellington's armies the marvels of Europe or the discipline that generally characterized the German armies in both World Wars; what so brands us with shame is that the atrocities were encouraged by our supreme commander in Europe, whose orders, presumably issued when he was not drunk or occupied with his doxies, made it difficult or hazardous for responsible American generals to observe what had been the rules of civilized warfare. Almost every American soldier in Germany had witnessed the barbarous treatment of the vanquished, the citizens of one of the greatest nations of Western civilization and our own kinsmen, and -- despite the efforts to incite them to inhuman hate with Jewish propaganda -- many of our soldiers witnessed such outrages with pity and shame. The cumulative effect of their reports when they returned to their own country should have been great. It is needless to multiply examples, some of which may be found in F.J.P. Veale's Advance to Barbarism (London, 1953).
And he suggests that the Nuremberg Tribunals brought everlasting shame upon his own country:
I was, of course, profoundly shocked by the foul murders at Nuremberg that brought on the American people an indelible shame. Savages and Oriental barbarians normally kill, with or without torture, the enemies whom they have overcome, but even they do not sink so low in the scale of humanity as to perform the obscene farce of holding quasi-judicial trials before they kill, and had the Americans -- for, given their absolute power, the responsibility must fall on them, and their guilt cannot be shifted to their supposed allies -- had the Americans, I say, merely slaughtered the German generals, they could claim to be morally no worse than Apaches, Balubas, and other primitives. Civilized peoples spare the lives of the vanquished, showing to their leaders a respectful consideration, and the deepest instincts of our race demand a chivalrous courtesy to brave opponents whom the fortunes of war have put in our power.
To punish warriors who, against overwhelming odds, fought for their country with a courage and determination that excited the wonder of the world, and deliberately to kill them because they were not cowards and traitors, because they did not betray their nation -- that was an act of vileness of which we long believed our race incapable. And to augment the infamy of our act, we stigmatized them as "War Criminals" which they most certainly were not, for if that phrase has meaning, it applies to traitors who knowingly involve their nations in a war contrived to inflict loss, suffering, and death on their own people, who are thus made to fight for their own effective defeat -- traitors such as Churchill, Roosevelt, and their white accomplices. And to add an ultimate obscenity to the sadistic crime, "trials" were held to convict the vanquished according to "laws" invented for the purpose, and on the basis of perjured testimony extorted from prisoners of war by torture
The moral responsibility for those fiendish crimes, therefore, falls on our own War Criminals, and, as a practical matter, nations always bear the responsibility for the acts of the individuals whom they, however mistakenly, placed in power. We cannot reasonably blame Dzhugashvili, alias Stalin: he was not a War Criminal, for he acted, logically and ruthlessly, to augment the power and the territory of the Soviet Empire, and he (whatever his personal motives may have been) was the architect of the regime that transformed a degraded and barbarous rabble into what is now the greatest military power on earth.
Oliver's memoirs were published by a tiny London press in a cheap paper binding, lacked even an index, and were hardly likely to ever reach a substantial audience. That, together with the internal evidence of his text, leads me to believe that he was quite sincere in his statements, at least with regard to all these sorts of historical and political matters. And given those beliefs, we should hardly be surprised at the heated rhetoric he directs against the targets of his wrath, especially Roosevelt, whom he repeatedly references as "the great War Criminal."
Sincerity is obviously no guarantee of accuracy. But Bendersky's extensive review of private letters and personal memoirs reveals that a large portion of our Military Intelligence officers and top generals seemed to closely share Oliver's appraisal of Roosevelt, whose eventual death provoked widespread "exultation" and "fierce delight" in their social circle. Finally, one of them wrote, "The evil man was dead!"
Moreover, although Oliver's words are as heated as those of Beaty are measured, the factual claims of the two authors are quite similar with regard to World War II, so that all the high-ranking generals who enthusiastically endorsed Beaty's bestselling 1951 book may be regarded as providing some implicit backing for Oliver.
Consider also the personal diaries and reported conversations of Gen. George S. Patton, one of our most renowned field commanders. These reveal that shortly after the end of fighting he became outraged over how he had been totally deceived regarding the circumstances of the conflict, and he planned to return to the U.S., resign his military commission, and begin a national speaking-tour to provide the American people with the true facts about the war. Instead, he died in a highly-suspicious car accident the day before his scheduled departure, and there is very considerable evidence that he was actually assassinated by the American OSS.
Oliver's discussion of the Second World War provides remarkably vivid rhetorical flourishes and some intriguing details, but his basic analysis is not so different from that of Beaty or numerous other writers. Moreover, Beaty had a far superior vantage point during the conflict, while his book was published just a few years after the end of fighting and was also far more widely endorsed and distributed. So although Oliver's extreme candor may add much color to our historical picture, I think his memoirs are probably more useful for their other elements, such as his unique insights into the origins of both National Review and the John Birch Society, two of the leading right-wing organizations established during the 1950s.
Oliver opens his book by describing his departure from DC and wartime government service in the fall of 1945, fully confident that the horrific national treachery he had witnessed at the top of the American government would soon inspire "a reaction of national indignation that would become sheer fury." As he puts it:
That reaction, I thought, would occur automatically, and my only concern was for the welfare of a few friends who had innocently and ignorantly agitated for war before the unspeakable monster in the White House successfully tricked the Japanese into destroying the American fleet at Pearl Harbor. I wondered whether a plea of ignorance would save them from the reprisals I foresaw!
He spent the next decade entirely engaged in his Classical scholarship and establishing an academic career, while noting some of the hopeful early signs of the political uprising that he fully expected to see:
In 1949 Congressman Rankin introduced a bill that would recognize as subversive and outlaw the "Anti-"Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the formidable organization of Jewish cowboys who ride herd on their American cattle In both the Houses of Representatives and the Senate committees were beginning investigations of covert treason and alien subversion Then Senator McCarthy undertook a somewhat more thorough investigation, which seemed to open a visible leak in the vast dike of deceit erected by our enemies, and it was easy to assume that the little jet of water that spurted through that leak would grow hydraulically until the dam broke and released an irresistible flood.
However, by 1954 he recognized that McCarthy's political destruction was at hand, and the opposing forces he so despised had gained the upper hand. He faced the crucial decision of whether to involve himself in politics, and if so, what form that might take.
One of his friends, a right-wing Yale professor named Wilmoore Kendall, argued that a crucial factor in the Jewish domination of American public life was their control over influential opinion journals such as The Nation and The New Republic , and that launching a competing publication might be the most effective remedy. For this purpose, he had recruited a prize student of his named William F. Buckley, Jr., who could draw upon the financial resources of his wealthy father, long known in certain circles for his discreet sponsorship of various anti-Jewish publications and "his drastic private opinion about the aliens' perversion of our national life."
A few years earlier, H.L. Mencken's famous literary monthly The American Mercury had fallen on hard times and been purchased by one of America's wealthiest men, Russell Maguire, who hoped to use it partly as a vehicle for his extremely strong anti-Jewish sentiments. Indeed, one of Maguire's senior staffers for a couple of years was George Lincoln Rockwell, best known for later founding the American Nazi Party. But according to Oliver, enormous concerted pressure by Jewish interests upon both newstands and printers had caused great difficulties for that magazine, which were to eventually force Maguire to abandon the effort and sell the magazine.
Kendall and Oliver hoped that Buckley's new effort might succeed where Maguire's was failing, perhaps by avoiding any direct mention of Jewish issues and instead focusing upon threats from Communists, socialists, and liberals, who were far less risky targets to attack. Buckley had previously gained some journalistic experience by working at the Mercury for a couple of years, so he was probably well aware of the challenging political environment he might face.
Although L. Brent Bozell, another one of his young Yale proteges, would also be working with Buckley on the new venture, Kendall told Oliver that he had failed to locate a single university professor willing to risk his name as a contributor. This prompted Oliver to take up the challenge with such determination that more of his pieces appeared in National Review during the 1950s than almost any other writer, even ahead of Kendall himself. Apparently Oliver had already been friendly with Buckley, having been a member of the latter's 1950 wedding party .
But from Oliver's perspective, the project proved a dismal failure. Against all advice, Buckley founded his magazine as a profit-making enterprise, circulating a prospectus, selling stock and debentures, and promising his financial backers an excellent financial return. Instead, like every other political magazine, it always lost money and was soon forced to plead for donations, greatly irritating his initial investors.
Another concern was that just before launch, a couple of Jewish former Communists then running an existing conservative magazine caught wind of the new publication and offered to betray their employer and bring over all their existing subscribers if they were given senior roles. Although they were duly brought on board, their planned coup at The Freeman failed, and no promised bounty of subscribers appeared. In later hindsight, Oliver became deeply suspicious of these developments and how the publication had been so quickly diverted from its intended mission, writing:
it was only long after Professor Kendall had been shouldered out of the organization and I had severed my connections with it that I perceived that whenever a potentially influential journal is founded, it receives the assistance of talented "conservative" Jews, who are charged with the duty of supervising the Aryan children and making certain that they play only approved games.
Oliver also emphasized the severe dilemma faced by the magazine and all other organizations intended to combat the influence of Jews and Communists. For obvious reasons, these almost invariably centered themselves around strong support for Christianity. But Oliver was a militant atheist who detested religious faith and therefore believed that such an approach inevitably alienated "the very large number of educated men who were repelled by the hypocrisy, obscurantism, and rabid ambitions of the clergy." Thus, Christian anti-Communist movements often tended to produce a large backlash of sympathy for Communism in elite circles.
Small ideological publications are notorious for their bitter intrigues and angry disputes, and I have made no effort to compare Oliver's brief sketch of the creation of National Review with other accounts, which would surely provide very different perspectives. But I think his basic facts ring true to me.
By 1958 Oliver had established himself as one of National Review 's leading contributors, and he was contacted by a wealthy Massachusetts businessman named Robert Welch, who had been an early investor in the magazine but was greatly disappointed by its political ineffectiveness, so the two men corresponded and gradually became quite friendly. Welch said he was concerned that the publication focused largely on frivolity and pseudo-literary endeavors, while it increasingly minimized or ignored the conspiratorial role of the Jewish aliens who had gained such a degree of control over the country. The two men eventually met, and according to Oliver seemed to be entirely in agreement about America's plight, which they discussed in complete candor.
Late that same year, Welch described his plans for regaining control of the country by the creation of a semi-secret national organization of patriotic individuals, primarily drawn from the upper middle classes and prosperous businessmen, which eventually became known as the John Birch Society. With its structure and strategy inspired by the Communist Party, it was to be tightly organized into individual local cells, whose members would then establish a network of front organizations for particular political projects, all seemingly unconnected but actually under their dominant influence. Secret directives would be passed along to each local chapter by the word of mouth via coordinators dispatched from Welch's central headquarters, a system also modeled after the strict hierarchical discipline of Communist movements.
Welch privately unveiled his proposal to a small group of prospective co-founders, all of whom with the exception of Oliver were wealthy businessmen. He candidly admitted his own atheism and explained that Christianity would have no role in the project, which cost him a couple of potential supporters; but about a dozen committed themselves, notably including Fred Koch, founding father of Koch Industries. Minimal emphasis was to be placed upon Jewish matters, partly to avoid drawing media fire and partly in hopes that a growing schism between Zionist and non-Zionist Jews might weaken their powerful adversary, or if the former gained the upper hand, perhaps help ensure the removal of all Jews to the Middle East.
As the project moved forward, a monthly magazine called American Opinion was launched and Oliver took responsibility for a large portion of each issue. Given his academic and political prominence, he also became one of the leading speakers for the organization in public venues and also an influential visitor to many of its local chapters.
Although Oliver remained a top figure in the organization until 1966, in later years he concluded that Welch's serious mistakes had doomed the project to failure within just a couple of years after its establishment. Very early on, a Jewish journalist had obtained a copy of some of Welch's secret, controversial writings and their public disclosure had panicked one of the most prominent Birch leaders, soon producing a major media scandal. Welch repeatedly vacillated between defending and denying his secret manuscript, forcing his associates to take contradictory positions, and making the entire leadership seem both dishonest and ridiculous, a pattern that was to be repeated in future years.
According to Oliver, nearly eighty thousand men and women enlisted in the organization during the first decade, but he feared that their energetic efforts and commitment were entirely wasted, producing nothing of any value. As the years went by, the organization's ineffectiveness became more apparent, while Welch's autocratic control blocked any necessary changes from within since his executive council functioned merely as a powerless fig-leaf. Although Oliver remained convinced that Welch had been sincere when he began the effort, the accumulation of so many unnecessary missteps eventually led him to suspect deliberate sabotage. He claimed that his careful investigation revealed that the organization's financial problems had forced Welch to turn in desperation to outside Jewish donors, who then became his secret overlords, leading Oliver to rancorously break with the organization in 1966 and denounce it as a fraud. Although I have no easy means of verifying most of Oliver's claims, his story hardly seems implausible.
Oliver also makes an important point about the severe dilemma produced by Welch's strategy. One of the central goals of the organization had been to combat organized Jewish influence in America, but any mention of Jews was forbidden, so the officially designed term for their subversive foes was the "International Communist Conspiracy." Oliver admitted that the usage of that ubiquitous phrase became "forced" and "monotonous," and indeed it or its variants appear with remarkable regularity in his articles reprinted from the Birch magazine.
According to Oliver, the intent was to allow members to draw their own logical conclusions about who was really behind the "conspiracy" they opposed while allowing the organization itself to maintain plausible deniability. But the result was total failure, with Jewish organizations fully understanding the game being played, while intelligent individuals quickly concluded that the Birch organization was either dishonest or delusional, hardly an unreasonable inference. As an example of this situation, the late investigative journalist Michael Collins Piper in 2005 told the story of how at the age of sixteen he had embraced a 'One-Minute' Membership in the John Birch Society . Indeed, by the late 1960s, any public expressions of anti-Semitism by Birch members became grounds for immediate expulsion, a rather ironic situation for an organization originally founded just a decade earlier with avowedly anti-Semitic goals.
Following his 1966 rupture with Welch, Oliver greatly reduced his political writing, which henceforth only appeared in much smaller and more extreme venues than the Birch magazine. His book contains just a couple of such later pieces, but the second of these, published in a right-wing British magazine during 1980, is of some interest.
Just as we might expect, Oliver had always been particularly scathing towards the supposed Jewish Holocaust, and near the very beginning of his book, he states his own views in typically forceful fashion:The Hoax of the Twentieth Century The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry ARTHUR R. BUTZ • 1976/2015 • 225,000 WORDS
The Americans were howling with indignation over the supposed extermination by the Germans of some millions of Jews, many of whom had taken the opportunity to crawl into the United States, and one could have supposed in 1945 that when the hoax, devised to pep up the cattle that were being stampeded into Europe, was exposed, even Americans would feel some indignation at having been so completely bamboozled.
The prompt exposure of the bloody swindle seemed inevitable, particularly since the agents of the O.S.S., commonly known in military circles as the Office of Soviet Stooges, who had been dispatched to conquered Germany to set up gas chambers to lend some verisimilitude to the hoax, had been so lazy and feckless that they merely sent back pictures of shower baths, which were so absurd that they had to be suppressed to avoid ridicule. No one could have believed in 1945 that the lie would be used to extort thirty billion dollars from the helpless Germans and would be rammed into the minds of German children by uncouth American "educators" -- or that civilized men would have to wait until 1950 for Paul Rassinier, who had been himself a prisoner in a German concentration camp, to challenge the infamous lie, or until 1976 for Professor Arthur Butz's detailed and exhaustive refutation of the venomous imposture on Aryan credulity.
In his republished article, Oliver discussed this same topic at far greater length and in the context of its broader theoretical implications. After recounting various examples of historical frauds and cover-ups, starting with the possibly forged letter of the younger Pliny, he expressed his amazement at the continuing widespread acceptance of the Holocaust story, despite the existence of hundreds of thousands of direct eyewitnesses to the contrary. He suggested that such an astonishing scholarly situation must force us to reassess our assumptions about the nature of evidentiary methods in historiography.
Oliver's peremptory dismissal of the standard Holocaust narrative led me to take a closer look at the treatment of the same topic in Bendersky's book, and I noticed something quite odd. As discussed above, his exhaustive research in official files and personal archives conclusively established that during World War II a very considerable fraction of all our Military Intelligence officers and top generals were vehemently hostile to Jewish organizations and also held beliefs that today would be regarded as utterly delusional. The author's academic specialty is Holocaust studies, so it is hardly surprising that his longest chapter focused on that particular subject, bearing the title "Officers and the Holocaust, 1940-1945." But a close examination of the contents raises some troubling questions.
Across more than sixty pages, Bendersky provides hundreds of direct quotes, mostly from the same officers who are the subject of the rest of his book. But after carefully reading the chapter twice, I was unable to find a single one of those statements referring to the massive slaughter of Jews that constitutes what we commonly call the Holocaust, nor to any of its central elements, such as the existence of death camps or gas chambers.
The forty page chapter that follows focuses on the plight of the Jewish "survivors" in post-war Europe, and the same utter silence applies. Bendersky is disgusted by the cruel sentiments expressed by these American military men towards the Jewish former camp inmates, and he frequently quotes them characterizing the latter as thieves, liars, and criminals; but the officers seem strangely unaware that those unfortunate souls had only just barely escaped an organized mass extermination campaign that had so recently claimed the lives of the vast majority of their fellows. Numerous statements and quotes regarding Jewish extermination are provided, but all of these come from various Jewish activists and organizations, while there is nothing but silence from all of the military officers themselves.
Bendersky's ten years of archival research brought to light personal letters and memoirs of military officers written decades after the end of the war, and in both those chapters he freely quotes from these invaluable materials, sometimes including private remarks from the late 1970s, long after the Holocaust had become a major topic in American public life. Yet not a single statement of sadness, regret, or horror is provided. Thus, a prominent Holocaust historian spends a decade researching a book about the private views of our military officers towards Jews and Jewish topics, but the one hundred pages he devotes to the Holocaust and its immediate aftermath contains not a single directly-relevant quote from those individuals, which is simply astonishing. A yawning chasm seems to exist at the center of his lengthy historical volume, or put another way, a particular barking dog is quite deafening in its silence.
I am not an archival researcher and have no interest in reviewing the many tens of thousands of pages of source material located at dozens of repositories across the country that Bendersky so diligently examined while producing his important book. Perhaps during their entire wartime activity and also the decades of their later lives, not a single one of the hundred-odd important military officers who were the focus of his investigation ever once broached the subject of the Holocaust or the slaughter of Jews during World War II. But I think there is another distinct possibly.
As mentioned earlier, Beaty spent his war years carefully reviewing the sum-total of all incoming intelligence information each day and then producing an official digest for distribution to the White House and our other top leaders. And in his 1951 book, published just a few years after the end of fighting, he dismissed the supposed Holocaust as a ridiculous wartime concoction by dishonest Jewish and Communist propagandists that had no basis in reality. Soon afterward, Beaty's book was fully endorsed and promoted by many of our leading World War II generals, including those who were subjects of Bendersky's archival research. And although the ADL and various other Jewish organizations fiercely denounced Beaty, there is no sign that they ever challenged his absolutely explicit "Holocaust denial."
I suspect that Bendersky gradually discovered that such "Holocaust denial" was remarkably common in the private papers of many of his Military Intelligence officers and top generals, which presented him with a serious dilemma. If only one or two of those individuals had expressed such sentiments, their shocking statements could be cited as further evidence of their delusional anti-Semitism. But what if a substantial majority of those officers -- who certainly had possessed the best knowledge of the reality of World War II -- held private beliefs that were very similar to those publicly expressed by their former colleagues Beaty and Oliver? In such a situation, Bendersky may have decided that certain closed doors should remain in that state, and entirely skirted the topic.
At the age of 89, Richard Lynn surely ranks as the "grand old man" of IQ research, and in 2002 he and his co-author Tatu Vanhanen published their seminal work IQ and the Wealth of Nations . Their volume strongly argued that mental ability as measured by standardized tests was overwhelmingly determined by hereditary, genetic factors, and for nearly two decades their research findings have constituted a central pillar of the IQ movement that they have long inspired. But as I argued in a major article several years ago, the massive quantity of evidence they presented actually demonstrates the exact opposite conclusion:
We are now faced with a mystery arguably greater than that of IQ itself. Given the powerful ammunition that Lynn and Vanhanen have provided to those opposing their own "Strong IQ Hypothesis," we must wonder why this has never attracted the attention of either of the warring camps in the endless, bitter IQ dispute, despite their alleged familiarity with the work of these two prominent scholars. In effect, I would suggest that the heralded 300-page work by Lynn and Vanhanen constituted a game-ending own-goal against their IQ-determinist side, but that neither of the competing ideological teams ever noticed.
For ideologically-blinkered scholars to sometimes produce research that constitutes "a game-ending own-goal" may be much more common than most of us would expect. Janet Mertz and her zealously feminist co-authors expended enormous time and effort to conclusively establish that across nearly all nations of the world, regardless of culture, region, language, the group of highest-performing math students has almost always been roughly 95% male and just 5% female, a result that would seem to deeply undercut their hypothesis that men and women have equal mathematical ability.
Similarly, ten years of exhaustive archival research by Joseph Bendersky produced a volume that seems to utterly demolish our conventional narrative of Jewish political activism in both Europe and America between the two world wars. Moreover, when carefully considered I think his text constitutes a dagger aimed with deadly accuracy straight at the heart of our conventional Holocaust narrative, his own lifelong area of study and a central pillar of the West's current ideological framework.
Over the last year or two, pressure from the ADL and other Jewish activist organizations has induced Amazon to ban all books that challenge the Holocaust or other beliefs deeply held by organized Jewry. Most of these purged works are quite obscure, and many are of indifferent quality. In general, their public impact has been severely diminished by the real or perceived ideological associations of their authors.
Meanwhile, for nearly twenty years a book of absolutely devastating historical importance has sat on the Amazon shelves, freely available for sale and bearing glowing cover-blurbs by mainstream, reputable scholars, but by its Amazon sales-rank, selling almost no copies, a massive, unexploded shell whom nearly no one seems to have properly recognized. I suggest that interested readers purchase their copies of Bendersky's outstanding opus before steps are taken to permanently flush it down the memory hole.
American Pravda: The Bolshevik Revolution and Its Aftermath American Pravda: Was General Patton Assassinated? American Pravda: Our Great Purge of the 1940s American Pravda: Our Deadly World of Post-War Politics American Pravda: Holocaust Denial
anonymous  Disclaimer , says: June 10, 2019 at 5:37 am GMTFB , says: Website June 10, 2019 at 5:37 am GMT
One wonders how it serves them that they allow unz.com to continue. Giant Honey Pot? Social safety valve? In any case, I look forward to more as Weimerica continues it's trajectory. Thank you Ron.Blake , says: June 10, 2019 at 6:43 am GMT
A very insightful article only not in the way Mr Unz intended
Ostensibly an article about the Bendersky book, which treats the longstanding issue of anti-Semitism in the US military the article actually devotes 90 percent of its 12,000 words to an obscure crackpot a creature of the long past days of open race hate one Revilo P Oliver
Now I understand the 'intellectual' nourishment that the troglodytes writing and commenting on this site have been nourished on I'm sure there are many more Olivers and his ilk in the dark past of the United States which is actually still ongoing but only among the truly developmentally challenged that flock to this site fortunately for all good and decent people a mere numerical irrelevance of harmless outliers
As for Mr Unz's conclusion that the Bendersky book is somehow devoid of its center the Holocaust well it's because 'none' of the anti Semites in the US military mentioned in the book, actually talk about the Holocaust gee go figure anti-Semites not talking about gas chambers ?
Mr Unz's conclusion about the 'fatal flaw' of Bendersky rests on that one single sentence none of these Jew haters mentioned the slaughter of Jews ergo it didn't happen LOL
And of course one might ask Mr Unz if these people mentioned in the Bendersky book are representative of the entire cadre of military men familiar with the genocide or if not, what percentage this important question remains a mystery so the reader has zero clue as to whether these downplayers of the Holocaust constitute near unanimity or a tiny minority ?
HmmBlake , says: June 10, 2019 at 6:49 am GMT
Fantastic resources as always. Much appreciated@FBj2 , says: June 10, 2019 at 7:10 am GMT
Honestly get a life.Bruno , says: June 10, 2019 at 7:23 am GMT
Nice article. But I comment your article of the IQ. There you state about twin studies:
"These individual results, usually based on relatively small statistical samples of adopted twins or siblings, seemingly demonstrate the extreme rigidity of IQ -- the "Strong IQ Hypothesis" -- while we have also seen the numerous examples above of large populations whose IQs have drastically shifted over relatively short periods of time. How can these contradictory findings be squared? I do not have the solution, but it would seem a very worthwhile subject for further research, on both theoretical and practical grounds."[MORE]
j2 , says: June 10, 2019 at 7:31 am GMT
Btw, i was even more I nterested by the example than buy the main point, the olympiad in math is the best example of IQ power but it seems to be hard to grasp (selecting with math predicts math scores. So what ?).
Field medal is harder to get than Nobel prize in physics or Bank of Sweden prize in economy : you have 10 000 PhD every year and a bit less than 1 fields medal (4, sometimes 3 or 2 every 4 year)
The test is very low on math knowledge (high school level) but very high on complexity. It's not noble math. It's only about being astute and quick. That's why many good mathematician despize it like they despize scholastic MCQ.
But it's prediction of research stellar power is incredible.
Consider this : Field Medals are given in a 1:2:3:6 model so that there is 40/50 gold medalists for around 500/600 participants (1 in 12). 5 to 6 participants are selected by each country.
There are 6 problems scored 7 points each. Bronze score starts at 16/42 wich is the median score. Silver is 19. Golden is 24. USA math University tenured professor average 15.[MORE]
@anonymousVojkan , says: June 10, 2019 at 7:52 am GMT
"One wonders how it serves them that they allow unz.com to continue."
"in hopes that a growing schism between Zionist and non-Zionist Jews might weaken their powerful adversary, or if the former gained the upper hand, perhaps help ensure the removal of all Jews to the Middle East."
The reason for fomenting anti-Semitism (e.g. with the Protocols) in the end of the 19th century up to 1948 was to get people to Israel. A bit later the reason for fomenting anti-Semitism in Iraq was to have Iraqi Jews to move to Israel to get more people there.Bruno , says: June 10, 2019 at 7:53 am GMT
Mrs Mertz visibly doesn't excel at math herself. "Men being on average better at math" doesn't logically imply that "females cannot excel at mathematics".
But then, ideology and science just don't go and never will go together. If reality contradicts the theory, ideologues adapt reality to suit the theory, while scientists adapt the theory to suit reality. Somehow, the ideologues' approach always has either failed miserably, in the better cases, or created catastrophes, in the worse cases.
The problem with scientific research today is that it has to be ideology and / or plutocracy compatible to attract funds, so little room is left for true science.LondonBob , says: June 10, 2019 at 7:57 am GMT
So International math Olympiad competition test is the best and clearest available example I know – Genome wide association stat maybe a thing in the future – that measurable individual ability differences is a real world fact.Franz , says: June 10, 2019 at 8:09 am GMT
When I was doing a course at MIT the teaching assistant had been at Harvard with the twins and Zuckerberg. Despite being a very nerdy guy he said the Winklevoss twins were great people and Zuckerberg was a weasel.swamped , says: June 10, 2019 at 8:43 am GMT
Revilo P. Oliver is mostly known for his suicide (he and his wife) and his hectoring and totally unreadable prose, with his anti-Christian book so badly executed it's been seen as an advertisement for the faith.
Oliver's error was thinking WWII is over. An error shared by many. Wm F. Buckley, Jr, started American Conservative, Inc, as a witches coven of anti-Midwest isolationism which Buckley pretty well acknowledged in the first few issues. Buckley was inducted into Skull & Bones (AKA brotherhood of death) in 1950, at midcentury, which is a Red Flag. As WFB was an ostentatious Roman Catholic, it was forbidden in that era for a Catholic to join any secret society much less a masonic subdivision at Yale. This ban was not lifted by the Church till the mid-1980s. Buckley either lied about his faith or is real masters, your bet is as good as any. Either way he lied to somebody for a whole generation.
The real conspiracy isn't the Birch, or Revilo Oliver, or even commies or the Jewish whatever. It's the ball-less American Right and the misfits and tossers who guide it, use it, rise to the top of it and all the while accomplish nothing whatsoever.
And it's a string of total failure stretching now back nearly a century. Time to call bullshit on the right and note the commies were right from the start: It was and is phony, and not an especially edifying one at that.
"This striking disconnect between a study's purported findings and its actual results should alert us to similar possibilities elsewhere" but not in the same article. There is much food for thought here but it would probably have been easier to digest if it were split into two separate essays: one on the follies of feminism(s) & the other on the Jewish-Bolshevik nudge (shove!) of America into WW2 & beyond. There's too great a "disconnect" between the two; although, they're both enticing subjects in their own right. (ha! three different there-eir-y're's & two too's in one sentence).
But just so as not to disconnect from the oblique opening of this regaling romp , back to the slimy Summers, who "Moreover had previously denounced anti-Israel activism by Harvard students and faculty members as 'anti-semitic'": i.e."Profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-semitic in their effect if not their intent."(Lawrence Summers, 17 September 2002)
And just a couple of months ago on Twitter, Summers again:
"The US Department of State's definition of anti-Semitism explicitly identifies singling out Israel policy for criticism in a way different from other countries and drawing comparisons between it and the Nazis as anti-Semitic.
https://www.state.gov/s/rga/resources/267538.htm#.XKYyGfZfyyE.twitter (from @StateDept)
Lawrence H. Summers
By this standard, BDS and Israel Apartheid week @Harvard are anti-Semitic in both effect and intent.
9:36 AM – 4 Apr 2019"
The guy's a lost cause!
Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com
"The purpose of a military conquest is to take control of foreign economies, to take control of their land and impose tribute. The genius of the World Bank was to recognize that it's not necessary to occupy a country in order to impose tribute, or to take over its industry, agriculture and land. Instead of bullets, it uses financial maneuvering. As long as other countries play an artificial economic game that U.S. diplomacy can control, finance is able to achieve today what used to require bombing and loss of life by soldiers."
I'm Bonnie Faulkner. Today on Guns and Butter: Dr. Michael Hudson. Today's show: The IMF and World Bank: Partners In Backwardness . Dr. Hudson is a financial economist and historian. He is President of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trend, a Wall Street Financial Analyst, and Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
His most recent books include " and Forgive them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year "; Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy , and J Is for Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception . He is also author of Trade, Development and Foreign Debt , among many other books.
We return today to a discussion of Dr. Hudson's seminal 1972 book, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire , a critique of how the United States exploited foreign economies through the IMF and World Bank, with a special emphasis on food imperialism.
... ... ...
Bonnie Faulkner : In your seminal work form 1972, Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire , you write: "The development lending of the World Bank has been dysfunctional from the outset." When was the World Bank set up and by whom?
Michael Hudson : It was set up basically by the United States in 1944, along with its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Their purpose was to create an international order like a funnel to make other countries economically dependent on the United States. To make sure that no other country or group of countries – even all the rest of the world – could not dictate U.S. policy. American diplomats insisted on the ability to veto any action by the World Bank or IMF. The aim of this veto power was to make sure that any policy was, in Donald Trump's words, to put America first. "We've got to win and they've got to lose."
The World Bank was set up from the outset as a branch of the military, of the Defense Department. John J. McCloy (Assistant Secretary of War, 1941-45), was the first full-time president. He later became Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank (1953-60). McNamara was Secretary of Defense (1961-68), Paul Wolfowitz was Deputy and Under Secretary of Defense (1989-2005), and Robert Zoellick was Deputy Secretary of State. So I think you can look at the World Bank as the soft shoe of American diplomacy.
Bonnie Faulkner : What is the difference between the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the IMF? Is there a difference?
Michael Hudson : Yes, there is. The World Bank was supposed to make loans for what they call international development. "Development" was their euphemism for dependency on U.S. exports and finance. This dependency entailed agricultural backwardness – opposing land reform, family farming to produce domestic food crops, and also monetary backwardness in basing their monetary system on the dollar.
The World Bank was supposed to provide infrastructure loans that other countries would go into debt to pay American engineering firms, to build up their export sectors and their plantation sectors by public investment roads and port development for imports and exports. Essentially, the Bank financed long- investments in the foreign trade sector, in a way that was a natural continuation of European colonialism.
In 1941, for example, C. L. R. James wrote an article on "Imperialism in Africa" pointing out the fiasco of European railroad investment in Africa: "Railways must serve flourishing industrial areas, or densely populated agricult5ural regions, or they must open up new land along which a thriving population develops and provides the railways with traffic. Except in the mining regions of South Africa, all these conditions are absent. Yet railways were needed, for the benefit of European investors and heavy industry." That is why, James explained "only governments can afford to operate them," while being burdened with heavy interest obligations.  What was "developed" was Africa's mining and plantation export sector, not its domestic economies. The World Bank followed this pattern of "development" lending without apology.
The IMF was in charge of short-term foreign currency loans. Its aim was to prevent countries from imposing capital controls to protect their balance of payments. Many countries had a dual exchange rate: one for trade in goods and services, the other rate for capital movements. The function of the IMF and World Bank was essentially to make other countries borrow in dollars, not in their own currencies, and to make sure that if they could not pay their dollar-denominated debts, they had to impose austerity on the domestic economy – while subsidizing their import and export sectors and protecting foreign investors, creditors and client oligarchies from loss.
The IMF developed a junk-economics model pretending that any country can pay any amount of debt to the creditors if it just impoverishes its labor enough. So when countries were unable to pay their debt service, the IMF tells them to raise their interest rates to bring on a depression – austerity – and break up the labor unions. That is euphemized as "rationalizing labor markets." The rationalizing is essentially to disable labor unions and the public sector. The aim – and effect – is to prevent countries from essentially following the line of development that had made the United States rich – by public subsidy and protection of domestic agriculture, public subsidy and protection of industry and an active government sector promoting a New Deal democracy. The IMF was essentially promoting and forcing other countries to balance their trade deficits by letting American and other investors buy control of their commanding heights, mainly their infrastructure monopolies, and to subsidize their capital flight.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Now, Michael, when you began speaking about the IMF and monetary controls, you mentioned that there were two exchange rates of currency in countries. What were you referring to?
MICHAEL HUDSON : When I went to work on Wall Street in the '60s, I was balance-of-payments economist for Chase Manhattan, and we used the IMF's monthly International Financial Statistics every month. At the top of each country's statistics would be the exchange-rate figures. Many countries had two rates: one for goods and services, which was set normally by the market, and then a different exchange rate that was managed for capital movements. That was because countries were trying to prevent capital flight. They didn't want their wealthy classes or foreign investors to make a run on their own currency – an ever-present threat in Latin America.
The IMF and the World Bank backed the cosmopolitan classes, the wealthy. Instead of letting countries control their capital outflows and prevent capital flight, the IMF's job is to protect the richest One Percent and foreign investors from balance-of-payments problems.
The World Bank and American diplomacy have steered them into a chronic currency crisis. The IMF enables its wealthy constituency to move their money out of the country without taking a foreign-exchange loss. It makes loans to support capital flight out of domestic currencies into the dollar or other hard currencies. The IMF calls this a "stabilization" program. It is never effective in helping the debtor economy pay foreign debts out of growth. Instead, the IMF uses currency depreciation and sell-offs of public infrastructure and other assets to foreign investors after the flight capital has left and currency collapses. Wall Street speculators have sold the local currency short to make a killing, George-Soros style.
When the debtor-country currency collapses, the debts that these Latin American countries owe are in dollars, and now have to pay much more in their own currency to carry and pay off these debts. We're talking about enormous penalty rates in domestic currency for these countries to pay foreign-currency debts – basically taking on to finance a non-development policy and to subsidize capital flight when that policy "fails" to achieve its pretended objective of growth.
All hyperinflations of Latin America – Chile early on, like Germany after World War I – come from trying to pay foreign debts beyond the ability to be paid. Local currency is thrown onto the foreign-exchange market for dollars, lowering the exchange rate. That increases import prices, raising a price umbrella for domestic products.
A really functional and progressive international monetary fund that would try to help countries develop would say: "Okay, banks and we (the IMF) have made bad loans that the country can't pay. And the World Bank has given it bad advice, distorting its domestic development to serve foreign customers rather than its own growth. So we're going to write down the loans to the ability to be paid." That's what happened in 1931, when the world finally stopped German reparations payments and Inter-Ally debts to the United States stemming from World War I.
Instead, the IMF says just the opposite: It acts to prevent any move by other countries to bring the debt volume within the ability to be paid. It uses debt leverage as a way to control the monetary lifeline of financially defeated debtor countries. So if they do something that U.S. diplomats don't approve of, it can pull the plug financially, encouraging a run on their currency if they act independently of the United States instead of falling in line. This control by the U.S. financial system and its diplomacy has been built into the world system by the IMF and the World Bank claiming to be international instead of an expression of specifically U.S. New Cold War nationalism.
BONNIE FAULKNER : How do exchange rates contribute to capital flight?
MICHAEL HUDSON : It's not the exchange rate that contributes. Suppose that you're a millionaire, and you see that your country is unable to balance its trade under existing production patterns. The money that the government has under control is pesos, escudos, cruzeiros or some other currency, not dollars or euros. You see that your currency is going to go down relative to the dollar, so you want to get our money out of the country to preserve your purchasing power.
This has long been institutionalized. By 1990, for instance, Latin American countries had defaulted so much in the wake of the Mexico defaults in 1982 that I was hired by Scudder Stevens, to help start a Third World Bond Fund (called a "sovereign high-yield fund"). At the time, Argentina and Brazil were running such serious balance-of-payments deficits that they were having to pay 45 percent per year interest, in dollars, on their dollar debt. Mexico, was paying 22.5 percent on its tesobonos .
Scudders' salesmen went around to the United States and tried to sell shares in the proposed fund, but no Americans would buy it, despite the enormous yields. They sent their salesmen to Europe and got a similar reaction. They had lost their shirts on Third World bonds and couldn't see how these countries could pay.
Merrill Lynch was the fund's underwriter. Its office in Brazil and in Argentina proved much more successful in selling investments in Scudder's these offshore fund established in the Dutch West Indies. It was an offshore fund, so Americans were not able to buy it. But Brazilian and Argentinian rich families close to the central bank and the president became the major buyers. We realized that they were buying these funds because they knew that their government was indeed going to pay their stipulated interest charges. In effect, the bonds were owed ultimately to themselves. So these Yankee dollar bonds were being bought by Brazilians and other Latin Americans as a vehicle to move their money out of their soft local currency (which was going down), to buy bonds denominated in hard dollars.
BONNIE FAULKNER : If wealthy families from these countries bought these bonds denominated in dollars, knowing that they were going to be paid off, who was going to pay them off? The country that was going broke?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Well, countries don't pay; the taxpayers pay, and in the end, labor pays. The IMF certainly doesn't want to make its wealthy client oligarchies pay. It wants to squeeze ore economic surplus out of the labor force. So countries are told that the way they can afford to pay their enormously growing dollar-denominated debt is to lower wages even more.
Currency depreciation is an effective way to do this, because what is devalued is basically labor's wages. Other elements of exports have a common world price: energy, raw materials, capital goods, and credit under the dollar-centered international monetary system that the IMF seeks to maintain as a financial strait jacket.
According to the IMF's ideological models, there's no limit to how far you can lower wages by enough to make labor competitive in producing exports. The IMF and World Bank thus use junk economics to pretend that the way to pay debts owed to the wealthiest creditors and investors is to lower wages and impose regressive excise taxes, to impose special taxes on necessities that labor needs, from food to energy and basic services supplied by public infrastructure.
BONNIE FAULKNER: So you're saying that labor ultimately has to pay off these junk bonds?
MICHAEL HUDSON: That is the basic aim of IMF. I discuss its fallacies in my Trade Development and Foreign Debt , which is the academic sister volume to Super Imperialism . These two books show that the World Bank and IMF were viciously anti-labor from the very outset, working with domestic elites whose fortunes are tied to and loyal to the United States.
BONNIE FAULKNER : With regard to these junk bonds, who was it or what entity
MICHAEL HUDSON : They weren't junk bonds. They were called that because they were high-interest bonds, but they weren't really junk because they actually were paid. Everybody thought they were junk because no American would have paid 45 percent interest. Any country that really was self-reliant and was promoting its own economic interest would have said, "You banks and the IMF have made bad loans, and you've made them under false pretenses – a trade theory that imposes austerity instead of leading to prosperity. We're not going to pay." They would have seized the capital flight of their comprador elites and said that these dollar bonds were a rip-off by the corrupt ruling class.
The same thing happened in Greece a few years ago, when almost all of Greece's foreign debt was owed to Greek millionaires holding their money in Switzerland. The details were published in the "Legarde List." But the IMF said, in effect that its loyalty was to the Greek millionaires who ha their money in Switzerland. The IMF could have seized this money to pay off the bondholders. Instead, it made the Greek economy pay. It found that it was worth wrecking the Greek economy, forcing emigration and wiping out Greek industry so that French and German bondholding banks would not have to take a loss. That is what makes the IMF so vicious an institution.
BONNIE FAULKNER : So these loans to foreign countries that were regarded as junk bonds really weren't junk, because they were going to be paid. What group was it that jacked up these interest rates to 45 percent?
MICHAEL HUDSON : The market did. American banks, stock brokers and other investors looked at the balance of payments of these countries and could not see any reasonable way that they could pay their debts, so they were not going to buy their bonds. No country subject to democratic politics would have paid debts under these conditions. But the IMF, U.S. and Eurozone diplomacy overrode democratic choice.
Investors didn't believe that the IMF and the World Bank had such a strangle hold over Latin American, Asian, and African countries that they could make the countries act in the interest of the United States and the cosmopolitan finance capital, instead of in their own national interest. They didn't believe that countries would commit financial suicide just to pay their wealthy One Percent.
They were wrong, of course. Countries were quite willing to commit economic suicide if their governments were dictatorships propped up by the United States. That's why the CIA has assassination teams and actively supports these countries to prevent any party coming to power that would act in their national interest instead of in the interest of a world division of labor and production along the lines that the U.S. planners want for the world. Under the banner of what they call a free market, you have the World Bank and the IMF engage in central planning of a distinctly anti-labor policy. Instead of calling them Third World bonds or junk bonds, you should call them anti-labor bonds, because they have become a lever to impose austerity throughout the world.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Well, that makes a lot of sense, Michael, and answers a lot of the questions I've put together to ask you. What about Puerto Rico writing down debt? I thought such debts couldn't be written down.
MICHAEL HUDSON : That's what they all said, but the bonds were trading at about 45 cents on the dollar, the risk of their not being paid. The Wall Street Journal on June 17, reported that unsecured suppliers and creditors of Puerto Rico, would only get nine cents on the dollar. The secured bond holders would get maybe 65 cents on the dollar.
The terms are being written down because it's obvious that Puerto Rico can't pay, and that trying to do so is driving the population to move out of Puerto Rico to the United States. If you don't want Puerto Ricans to act the same way Greeks did and leave Greece when their industry and economy was shut down, then you're going to have to provide stability or else you're going to have half of Puerto Rico living in Florida.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Who wrote down the Puerto Rican debt?
MICHAEL HUDSON : A committee was appointed, and it calculated how much Puerto Rico can afford to pay out of its taxes. Puerto Rico is a U.S. dependency, that is, an economic colony of the United States. It does not have domestic self-reliance. It's the antithesis of democracy, so it's never been in charge of its own economic policy and essentially has to do whatever the United States tells it to do. There was a reaction after the hurricane and insufficient U.S. support to protect the island and the enormous waste and corruption involved in the U.S. aid. The U.S. response was simply: "We won you fair and square in the Spanish-American war and you're an occupied country, and we're going to keep you that way." Obviously this is causing a political resentment.
BONNIE FAULKNER : You've already touched on this, but why has the World Bank traditionally been headed by a U.S. secretary of defense?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Its job is to do in the financial sphere what, in the past, was done by military force. The purpose of a military conquest is to take control of foreign economies, to take control of their land and impose tribute. The genius of the World Bank was to recognize that it's not necessary to occupy a country in order to impose tribute, or to take over its industry, agriculture and land. Instead of bullets, it uses financial maneuvering. As long as other countries play an artificial economic game that U.S. diplomacy can control, finance is able to achieve today what used to require bombing and loss of life by soldiers.
In this case the loss of life occurs in the debtor countries. Population growth shrinks, suicides go up. The World Bank engages in economic warfare that is just as destructive as military warfare. At the end of the Yeltsin period Russia's President Putin said that American neoliberalism destroyed more of Russia's population than did World War II. Such neoliberalism, which basically is the doctrine of American supremacy and foreign dependency, is the policy of the World Bank and IMF.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Why has World Bank policy since its inception been to provide loans for countries to devote their land to export crops instead of giving priority to feeding themselves? And if this is the case, why do countries want these loans?
MICHAEL HUDSON : One constant of American foreign policy is to make other countries dependent on American grain exports and food exports. The aim is to buttress America's agricultural trade surplus. So the first thing that the World Bank has done is not to make any domestic currency loans to help food producers. Its lending has steered client countries to produce tropical export crops, mainly plantation crops that cannot be grown in the United States. Focusing on export crops leads client countries to become dependent on American farmers – and political sanctions.
In the 1950s, right after the Chinese revolution, the United States tried to prevent China from succeeding by imposing grain export controls to starve China into submission by putting sanctions on exports. Canada was the country that broke these export controls and helped feed China.
The idea is that if you can make other countries export plantation crops, the oversupply will drive down prices for cocoa and other tropical products, and they won't feed themselves. So instead of backing family farms like the American agricultural policy does, the World Bank backed plantation agriculture. In Chile, which has the highest natural supply of fertilizer in the world from its guano deposits, exports guano instead of using it domestically. It also has the most unequal land distribution, blocking it from growing its own grain or food crops. It's completely dependent on the United States for this, and it pays by exporting copper, guano and other natural resources.
The idea is to create interdependency – one-sided dependency on the U.S. economy. The United States has always aimed at being self-sufficient in its own essentials, so that no other country can pull the plug on our economy and say, "We're going to starve you by not feeding you." Americans can feed themselves. Other countries can't say, "We're going to let you freeze in the dark by not sending you oil," because America's independent in energy. But America can use the oil control to make other countries freeze in the dark, and it can starve other countries by food-export sanctions.
So the idea is to give the United States control of the key interconnections of other economies, without letting any country control something that is vital to the working of the American economy.
There's a double standard here. The United States tells other countries: "Don't do as we do. Do as we say." The only way it can enforce this is by interfering in the politics of these countries, as it has interfered in Latin America, always pushing the right wing. For instance, when Hillary's State Department overthrew the Honduras reformer who wanted to undertake land reform and feed the Hondurans, she said: "This person has to go." That's why there are so many Hondurans trying to get into the United States now, because they can't live in their own country.
The effect of American coups is the same in Syria and Iraq. They force an exodus of people who no longer can make a living under the brutal dictatorships supported by the United States to enforce this international dependency system.
BONNIE FAULKNER : So when I asked you why countries would want these loans, I guess you're saying that they wouldn't, and that's why the U.S. finds it necessary to control them politically.
MICHAEL HUDSON : That's a concise way of putting it Bonnie.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Why are World Bank loans only in foreign currency, not in the domestic currency of the country to which it is lending?
MICHAEL HUDSON : That's a good point. A basic principle should be to avoid borrowing in a foreign currency. A country can always pay the loans in its own currency, but there's no way that it can print dollars or euros to pay loans denominated in these foreign currencies.
Making the dollar central forces other countries to interface with the U.S. banking system. So if a country decides to go its own way, as Iran did in 1953 when it wanted to take over its oil from British Petroleum (or Anglo Iranian Oil, as it was called back then), the United States can interfere and overthrow it. The idea is to be able to use the banking system's interconnections to stop payments from being made.
After America installed the Shah's dictatorship, they were overthrown by Khomeini, and Iran had run up a U.S. dollar debt under the Shah. It had plenty of dollars. I think Chase Manhattan was its paying agent. So when its quarterly or annual debt payment came due, Iran told Chase to draw on its accounts and pay the bondholders. But Chase took orders from the State Department or the Defense Department, I don't know which, and refused to pay. When the payment was not made, America and its allies claimed that Iran was in default. They demanded the entire debt to be paid, as per the agreement that the Shah's puppet government had signed. America simply grabbed the deposits that Iran had in the United States. This is the money that was finally returned to Iran without interest under the agreement of 2016.
America was able to grab all of Iran's foreign exchange just by the banks interfering. The CIA has bragged that it can do the same thing with Russia. If Russia does something that U.S. diplomats don't like, the U.S. can use the SWIFT bank payment system to exclude Russia from it, so the Russian banks and the Russian people and industry won't be able to make payments to each other.
This prompted Russia to create its own bank-transfer system, and is leading China, Russia, India and Pakistan to draft plans to de-dollarize.
BONNIE FAULKNER : I was going to ask you, why would loans in a country's domestic currency be preferable to the country taking out a loan in a foreign currency? I guess you've explained that if they took out a loan in a domestic currency, they would be able to repay it.
MICHAEL HUDSON : Yes.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Whereas a loan in a foreign currency would cripple them.
MICHAEL HUDSON : Yes. You can't create the money, especially if you're running a balance of payments deficit and if U.S. foreign policy forces you into deficit by having someone like George Soros make a run on your currency. Look at the Asia crisis in 1997. Wall Street funds bet against foreign currencies, driving them way down, and then used the money to pick up industry cheap in Korea and other Asian countries.
This was also done to Russia's ruble. The only country that avoided this was Malaysia, under Mohamed Mahathir, by using capital controls. Malaysia is an object lesson in how to prevent a currency flight.
But for Latin America and other countries, much of their foreign debt is held by their own ruling class. Even though it's denominated in dollars, Americans don't own most of this debt. It's their own ruling class. The IMF and World Bank dictate tax policy to Latin America – to un-tax wealth and shift the burden onto labor. Client kleptocracies take their money and run, moving it abroad to hard currency areas such as the United States, or at least keeping it in dollars in offshore banking centers instead of reinvesting it to help the country catch up by becoming independent agriculturally, in energy, finance and other sectors.
BONNIE FAULKNER : You say that: "While U.S. agricultural protectionism has been built into the postwar global system at its inception, foreign protectionism is to be nipped in the bud." How has U.S. agricultural protectionism been built into the postwar global system?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Under Franklin Roosevelt the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 called for price supports for crops so that farmers could earn enough to invest in equipment and seeds. The Agriculture Department was a wonderful department in spurring new seed varieties, agricultural extension services, marketing and banking services. It provided public support so that productivity in American agriculture from the 1930s to '50s was higher over a prolonged period than that of any other sector in history.
But in shaping the World Trade Organization's rules, the United States said that all countries had to promote free trade and could not have government support, except for countries that already had it. We're the only country that had it. That's what's called "grandfathering". The Americans said: "We already have this program on the books, so we can keep it. But no other country can succeed in agriculture in the way that we have done. You must keep your agriculture backward, except for the plantation crops and growing crops that we can't grow in the United States." That's what's so evil about the World Bank's development plan.
BONNIE FAULKNER : According to your book: "Domestic currency is needed to provide price supports and agricultural extension services such as have made U.S. agriculture so productive." Why can't infrastructure costs be subsidized to keep down the economy's overall cost structure if IMF loans are made in foreign currency?
MICHAEL HUDSON : If you're a farmer in Brazil, Argentina or Chile, you're doing business in domestic currency. It doesn't help if somebody gives you dollars, because your expenses are in domestic currency. So if the World Bank and the IMF can prevent countries from providing domestic currency support, that means they're not able to give price supports or provide government marketing services for their agriculture.
America is a mixed economy. Our government has always subsidized capital formation in agriculture and industry, but it insists that other countries are socialist or communist if they do what the United States is doing and use their government to support the economy. So it's a double standard. Nobody calls America a socialist country for supporting its farmers, but other countries are called socialist and are overthrown if they attempt land reform or attempt to feed themselves.
This is what the Catholic Church's Liberation Theology was all about. They backed land reform and agricultural self-sufficiency in food, realizing that if you're going to support population growth, you have to support the means to feed it. That's why the United States focused its assassination teams on priests and nuns in Guatemala and Central America for trying to promote domestic self-sufficiency.
BONNIE FAULKNER : If a country takes out an IMF loan, they're obviously going to take it out in dollars. Why can't they take the dollars and convert them into domestic currency to support local infrastructure costs?
MICHAEL HUDSON : You don't need a dollar loan to do that. Now were getting in to MMT. Any country can create its own currency. There's no reason to borrow in dollars to create your own currency. You can print it yourself or create it on your computers.
BONNIE FAULKNER: Well, exactly. So why don't these countries simply print up their own domestic currency?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Their leaders don't want to be assassinated. More immediately, if you look at the people in charge of foreign central banks, almost all have been educated in the United States and essentially brainwashed. It's the mentality of foreign central bankers. The people who are promoted are those who feel personally loyal to the United States, because they that that's how to get ahead. Essentially, they're opportunists working against the interests of their own country. You won't have socialist central bankers as long as central banks are dominated by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements.
BONNIE FAULKNER : So we're back to the main point: The control is by political means, and they control the politics and the power structure in these countries so that they don't rebel.
MICHAEL HUDSON : That's right. When you have a dysfunctional economic theory that is destructive instead of productive, this is never an accident. It is always a result of junk economics and dependency economics being sponsored. I've talked to people at the U.S. Treasury and asked why they all end up following the United States. Treasury officials have told me: "We simply buy them off. They do it for the money." So you don't need to kill them. All you need to do is find people corrupt enough and opportunist enough to see where the money is, and you buy them off.
BONNIE FAULKNER : You write that "by following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail." What is food blackmail?
MICHAEL HUDSON : If you pursue a foreign policy that we don't like -- for instance, if you trade with Iran, which we're trying to smash up to grab its oil -- we'll impose financial sanctions against you. We won't sell you food, and you can starve. And because you've followed World Bank advice and not grown your own food, you will starve, because you're dependent on us, the United States and our Free World Ó allies. Canada will no longer follow its own policy independently of the United States, as it did with China in the 1950s when it sold it grain. Europe also is falling in line with U.S. policy.
BONNIE FAULKNER : You write that: "World Bank administrators demand that loan recipients pursue a policy of economic dependency above all on the United States as food supplier." Was this done to support U.S. agriculture? Obviously it is, but were there other reasons as well?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Certainly the agricultural lobby was critical in all of this, and I'm not sure at what point this became thoroughly conscious. I knew some of the World Bank planners, and they had no anticipation that this dependency would be the result. They believed the free-trade junk economics that's taught in the schools' economics departments and for which Nobel prizes are awarded.
When we're dealing with economic planners, we're dealing with tunnel-visioned people. They stayed in the discipline despite its unreality because they sort of think that abstractly it makes sense. There's something autistic about most economists, which is why the French had their non-autistic economic site for many years. The mentality at work is that every country should produce what it's best at – not realizing that nations also need to be self-sufficient in essentials, because we're in a real world of economic and military warfare.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Why does the World Bank prefer to perpetrate world poverty instead of adequate overseas capacity to feed the peoples of developing countries?
MICHAEL HUDSON : World poverty is viewed as solution , not a problem. The World Bank thinks of poverty as low-priced labor, creating a competitive advantage for countries that produce labor-intensive goods. So poverty and austerity for the World Bank and IMF is an economic solution that's built into their models. I discuss these in my Trade, Development and Foreign Debt book. Poverty is to them the solution, because it means low-priced labor, and that means higher profits for the companies bought out by U.S., British, and European investors. So poverty is part of the class war: profits versus poverty.
BONNIE FAULKNER : In general, what is U.S. food imperialism? How would you characterize it?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Its aim is to make America the producer of essential foods and other countries producing inessential plantation crops, while remaining dependent on the United States for grain, soy beans and basic food crops.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Does World Bank lending encourage land reform in former colonies?
MICHAEL HUDSON : No. If there is land reform, the CIA sends its assassination teams in and you have mass murder, as you had in Guatemala, Ecuador, Central America and Columbia. The World Bank is absolutely committed against land reform. When the Forgash Plan for a World Bank for Economic Acceleration was proposed in the 1950s to emphasize land reform and local-currency loans, a Chase Manhattan economist to whom the plan was submitted warned that every country that had land reform turned out to be anti-American. That killed any alternative to the World Bank.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Does the World Bank insist on client governments privatizing their public domain? If so, why, and what is the effect?
MICHAEL HUDSON : It does indeed insist on privatization, pretending that this is efficient. But what it privatizes are natural monopolies – the electrical system, the water system and other basic needs. Foreigners take over, essentially finance them with foreign debt, build the foreign debt that they build into the cost structure, and raise the cost of living and doing business in these countries, thereby crippling them economically. The effect is to prevent them from competing with the United States and its European allies.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Would you say then that it is mainly America that has been aided, not foreign economies that borrow from the World Bank?
MICHAEL HUDSON : That's why the United States is the only country with veto power in the IMF and World Bank – to make sure that what you just described is exactly what happens.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Why do World Bank programs accelerate the exploitation of mineral deposits for use by other nations?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Most World Bank loans are for transportation, roads, harbor development and other infrastructure needed to export minerals and plantation crops. The World Bank doesn't make loans for projects that help the country develop in its own currency. By making only foreign currency loans, in dollars or maybe euros now, the World Bank says that its clients have to repay by generating foreign currency. The only way they can repay the dollars spent on American engineering firms that have built their infrastructure is to export – to earn enough dollars to pay back for the money that the World Bank or IMF have lent.
This is what John Perkins' book about being an economic hit man for the World Bank is all about. He realized that his job was to get countries to borrow dollars to build huge projects that could only be paid for by the country exporting more – which required breaking its labor unions and lowering wages so that it could be competitive in the race to the bottom that the World Bank and IMF encourage.
BONNIE FAULKNER : You also point out in Super Imperialism that mineral resources represent diminishing assets, so these countries that are exporting mineral resources are being depleted while the importing countries aren't.
MICHAEL HUDSON : That's right. They'll end up like Canada. The end result is going to be a big hole in the ground. You've dug up all your minerals, and in the end you have a hole in the ground and a lot of the refuse and pollution – the mining slag and what Marx called the excrements of production.
This is not a sustainable development. The World Bank only promotes the U.S. pursuit of sustainable development. So naturally, they call their "Development," but their focus is on the United States, not the World Bank's client countries.
BONNIE FAULKNER : When Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire was originally published in 1972, how was it received?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Very positively. It enabled my career to take off. I received a phone call a month later by someone from the Bank of Montreal saying they had just made $240 million on the last paragraph of my book. They asked what it would cost to have me come up and give a lecture. I began lecturing once a month at $3,500 a day, moving up to $6,500 a day, and became the highest-paid per diem economist on Wall Street for a few years.
I was immediately hired by the Hudson Institute to explain Super Imperialism to the Defense Department. Herman Kahn said I showed how U.S. imperialism ran rings around European imperialism. They gave the Institute an $85,000 grant to have me go to the White House in Washington to explain how American imperialism worked. The Americans used it as a how-to-do-it book.
The socialists, whom I expected to have a response, decided to talk about other than economic topics. So, much to my surprise, it became a how-to-do-it book for imperialists. It was translated by, I think, the nephew of the Emperor of Japan into Japanese. He then wrote me that the United States opposed the book being translated into Japanese. It later was translated. It was received very positively in China, where I think it has sold more copies than in any other country. It was translated into Spanish, and most recently it was translated into German, and German officials have asked me to come and discuss it with them. So the book has been accepted all over the world as an explanation of how the system works.
BONNIE FAULKNER : In closing, do you really think that the U.S. government officials and others didn't understand how their own system worked?
MICHAEL HUDSON : Many might not have understood in 1944 that this would be the consequence. But by the time 50 years went by, you had an organization called "Fifty Years Is Enough." And by that time everybody should have understood. By the time Joe Stiglitz became the World Bank's chief economist, there was no excuse for not understanding how the system worked. He was amazed to find that indeed it didn't work as advertised, and resigned. But he should have known at the very beginning what it was all about. If he didn't understand how it was until he actually went to work there, you can understand how hard it is for most academics to get through the vocabulary of junk economics, the patter-talk of free trade and free markets to understand how exploitative and destructive the system is.
BONNIE FAULKNER : Michael Hudson, thank you very much.
MICHAEL HUDSON : It's always good to be here, Bonnie. I'm glad you ask questions like these.
I've been speaking with Dr. Michael Hudson. Today's show has been: The IMF and World Bank: Partners in Backwardness. Dr. Hudson is a financial economist and historian. He is president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trend, a Wall Street financial analyst and Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. His 1972 book, Super Imperialism : The Economic Strategy of American Empire , a critique of how the United States exploited foreign economies through the IMF and World Bank, the subject of today's broadcast, is posted in PDF format on his website at michael-hudson.com. He is also author of Trade, Development and Foreign Debt , which is the academic sister volume to Super Imperialism. Dr. Hudson acts as an economic advisor to governments worldwide on finance and tax law. Visit his website at michael-hudson.com.
Guns and Butter is produced by Bonnie Faulkner, Yarrow Mahko and Tony Rango. Visit us at gunsandbutter.org to listen to past programs, comment on shows, or join our email list to receive our newsletter that includes recent shows and updates. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow us on Twitter at #gandbradio.
Jun 29, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
snake , Jun 28, 2019 10:45:32 PM | 90worth repeating=> wagelaborer @ 16 said;
"The neoliberal economic plan is to suck the wealth out of the working class and funnel it up to the top 10%, especially the 1%. How to keep the working class from noticing the theft? How about divide and conquer?
Absolutely right on target..
@21 also with;
"Meanwhile, our ruling overlords pick their next puppet, let us all "vote" on computerized machines, and then the talking heads announce the "winner".And it all starts over. Just about covers it..
Putin's statesmanship is obvious...ben @ 72
juliania , Jun 28, 2019 11:04:54 PM | 91C I eh? , Jun 29, 2019 3:58:10 AM | 112 BG , Jun 29, 2019 4:18:59 AM | 113
At the end of the interview, Putin is asked to name someone he admires (I might have misremembered so do correct me if that wasn't the question). His answer surprised me - Peter the Great. That answer surprised me as there are some things about Peter the Great that wouldn't seem so admirable, but then I suppose much flowed from his reign.
Dostoievski did have roots in the liberalism of the day, being a Saint Petersburg resident and all, and his great talent was achieved thanks to the Europeanization which Peter helped bring about for Russia. His, Dostoievski's novels draw on European literature but bring to it a quality that is uniquely Russian. So too does their classical music, the ballet, opera - and Russian's know full well that their own Tchaikovski and many of their great dancers were and are gay.
Do you then condemn and reject? No, you do not. They are great artists; you cannot. There's the depth of Russian complexity - it is both east and west and its Christianity, as well as its atheism, is too.
It was Dostoievski after all, who found solace in the belief that the Russian people were the source of Russia's greatness, while embracing the slavic heritage; so indeed there is an interesting mixture there of elite and not so elite, which refuses really to be categorized as this or that 'ism'. It's like the idea of multipolarity - all fervent beliefs are to be respected but not one dominating over all the rest.Has everybody forgotten the mess Russia was in during the late 90s? The Russians have not.arby , Jun 29, 2019 7:49:42 AM | 124
In 1999, Shamil Basaev and his gang were on the verge of taking over Dagestan and completely cutting Russian land connection to the Eastern parts of the Caucasus. After it became clear how serious the situation was, Putin became Prime minister and on New Year's day Yeltsin resigned transferring power to Putin.
The first thing Putin did as acting president was to visit the troops in Chechnya and raise morale. In two years, the war was basically over, the rest being mop-up ops only.
Do you remember that one of the first things that he did when first elected was to gather the oligarchs and make them sign in !public! that from now on they will start paying taxes, treat their workers as humans and not mess in politics. The famous moment when Deripaska forgot to give Putin back his pen, the "please, give me my pen back" by Putin and the scared look on Deripaska's face?
Didn't Putin say in the early 2000s:"It is best for you to keep your money in Russia. Or you may found yourself choked by dust chasing for your money fruitlessly in Western courts"? Oh, the irony, 15 years later...
How much taxes did Yukos/Khodorkovsky pay? Anyone aware of the famous scheme where crude oil was classified in accounting as "earthen liquid", then bought from subsiduaries for nothing, so no taxes were paid. And now Gazprom or Rosneft announce that they have an annual income of 100 billion USD (figures are as an example) and that they paid 50 billion of it as taxes to the state?
The situation in Russia in Putin's early years was so dire that there was no other future but breakup and misery. You make your conclusions.
---Seems a lot of folks think these "Russian Oligarchs" just showed up out of the blue.Russia was a communist country so how did a few 20/30 year olds communists manage to become billionaire oligarchs in 10 years or less after the fall of communism? My guess is money from the west supplied to a few to buy up Russia for less than pennies on the dollar.Peter AU 1 , Jun 29, 2019 8:10:09 AM | 126
Putin described Oligarchs as people that influence the government in ways that create even more wealth for themselves. In that regard he said there are no more oligarchs in Russia.
Those billionaires have all fled Russia it seems.arby 124somebody , Jun 29, 2019 9:15:52 AM | 131
This is a good video on the rise of the oligarchs.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLNKqbwec0s
It is some time since I watched it, but a big part of how the oligarchs came to control most of the state assets was in the way Anatoly Chubais went about privatisation. From memory all citizens were given paper that gave them part ownership of state assets. The wannabe oligarchs snapped these up for peanuts and owned the bulk of what were state assets.128 arbysomebody , Jun 29, 2019 9:33:49 AM | 132
I don't know about "coddling". But it is clear that - apart from the military-industrial complex, the securitiy services and state controlled oil and gas, this is where the power is in Russia.
Putin is in the role of mediator between these power centers. He also tries to rally the population (Russians know what revolution means) by religion, "traditional values", the promise of security and stability, and yes - Make Russia Great Again - therefore - Peter the Great.
The problem is that Russian oligarchy is without legitimacy. Most oligarchy world wide is based on historical robbery but in Russia it is within this generation . They used to be part of the Soviet nomenklatura Communist Party network. It IS conceivable to litigate the riches robbed from the people in the 1990's (and has been done to oligarchs "not close to Putin") and the only shield between "the oligarchs" and Russians considering this idea is Putin's popularity and "Russian conservatism".The problem of rule by law in Russia.somebody , Jun 29, 2019 9:36:32 AM | 133These high-profile cases suggest that Russian legal outcomes, while unpredictable if one goes by the content of the law, are entirely predictable if one knows the preferences of the political sovereign: the Kremlin always wins.
However, this predictability is exaggerated. Outside a few very salient cases, the Kremlin either does not reveal its preferences or simply has no preferences.
When the Kremlin's position is uncertain, lower-level political actors, the prosecution, and judges try to guess the politically correct outcome and this guessing game introduces significant unpredictability into the legal regime. In addition, when political actors vie for relative power within the regime, they often seek to demonstrate that power by influencing court decisions in politically relevant cases.
Consider the frequent conflicts between mayors of major cities and regional governors. These conflicts are often fought vicariously through court cases, with each side attempting to mobilize enough political resources up the power ladder to secure a victory in court. Judges face the tough task of interpreting the signals that come from judicial superiors and the extrajudicial actors to deliver a decision that would be acceptable to whoever represents power (vlast') in that concrete case.add to 132 - So the only security for Russian oligarchs is to legalize their riches abroad - which they have done - or - if forced to keep their capital in Russia because of sanctions - Putin.Jen , Jun 29, 2019 9:41:37 AM | 134Somebody @ 119:
The proposed legislation that was known as Rotenberg's Law (after Italy sanctioned Arkady Rotenberg's properties in that country) passed a first reading in the Duma in October 2014. That is not the same as being declared law: there is a second reading in the Duma the legislation should have undergone and passed, and that second reading appears not to have been done . Objections to the legislation were raised by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Arbitration Court, and the Minister for Economic Development at the time (late 2014) also raised concerns.
It seems odd that every business venture that might need some government funding or funding to develop necessary infrastructure has to undergo deliberation twice by lower houses in a country's parliament and then passed through the senate or its equivalent before the venture can go ahead?
If business people talk to Putin or people close to him, that does not mean their venture can go ahead without being put to tender or subjected to scrutiny to see that it complies with current regulations. I merely observed that it seems that business people who happen to meet Putin or talk to him about a venture they might have, seem to get tarred with the "Putin crony" brush.
The Moscow Times is an English-language weekly newspaper with a small circulation (about 55,000) which is given away for free. For several years it was published by a Finnish company (Sanoma Corporation). The newspaper is currently owned by a Dutch-based owner and its CEO runs a catering business for commercial airlines. For a leading English-language Russian newspaper, The Moscow Times seems to have a poor business model.
Jun 01, 2019 | consortiumnews.com
elmerfudzie , May 30, 2019 at 17:37
Tainted tenure indeed! No one asks the right questions anymore. For example, where did all that Brexit cash come from? As I commented previously at CONSORTIUMNEWS and it is redacted here; “The Panama Papers signaled a need for radical change(s) in the EU banking laws. Hiding money, legit or not from, fair and open taxation, has become increasingly difficult for the upper crust….”
The BREXIT cash originated, no surprise folks, from a Gibraltar based firm, where a Mr Arron Banks (big bucks Banks) a guy with money to burn, with corporate holdings in the Isle of Man and too, one of his buddies, an Alan Kentish of the STM group specializing in, oh you’ll love this, offshore wealth preservation! LOL
And again, a Mr. Jim Mellon a for real billionaire, several times over I should think, the same guy who carpetbagged Russia after the collapse of the CCCP. His gleanings were called “privatization”… of poor mother Russia. Well, to make a long story short, Mr Kentish, the original pro-BREXITeer was arrested in Gibraltar under the UK’s Crime Act for such suspicious money funneling(s). My oh my Ms May, what strange political bedfellows you seem to have!
Apr 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Piotr Berman , Apr 27, 2019 3:26:43 PM | link
I think that at least some weapon systems that USA makes or develops can be indeed superior. The most acute loss from the approach of "invest in over-extending and un-balancing the opponent" is that USA, while powerful, cannot do everything in the same time.
My favorite comparison chart is timeliness of subway systems in major metropolitan areas. Honestly, I cannot find it, because the search is swamped with the tales of woe of subway commuters in NYC. As befits the greatest financial center, cultural metropolis etc. etc., NYC has a transportation system that is comparable in its extend to other metropolitan areas like Tokyo, Paris or London. However, the performance is uninspiring. On the chart in NYT that I can't find out at the moment, only Mexico City had a lower percentage of train rides delayed by less than 10 minutes. I checked Moscow that has a larger subway system (compared to NY) and which was not on the chart. They pride themselves with frequency of delays that is 5 times smaller than in Paris (50 times smaller than in NYC?). Moscovites can actually plan their daily lives assuming that their commutes will arrive on time.
This is the most glaring example of a lost opportunity to take care of domestic needs, but the quality of education, healthcare etc. is mediocre compared with the rest of OECD, although there is always the southern neighbor that saves USA from being dead last.
Incidentally, NYC subway is not exactly underfunded, instead, it may have the most irrational management among major metropolitan areas which accurately reflects deficiencies of American political system. Bloated costs are pervasive across many areas, surely in military, healthcare and broadly meant policing, and their originate in lobbo-cracy, a plethora of lobbies grabbing chunks of monies either directly spent or (mis)regulated by the government. The activity of these lobbies is tightly regulated by elaborate rules, but the end effect is as if USA were pathetically corrupted (say, half as corrupted as Nigeria).
Piotr Berman , Apr 27, 2019 3:46:11 PM | link
Concerning the capability of wrecking finances of other states, USA is not a slouch, the most powerful weapon is economic advise. If I interpret news correctly, it were experts of Goldman Sachs that help Greek government to borrow about twice as much as they could handle in the long run. The wreckage in Russia was as impressive, but, alas, hard to repeat, so now it remains to carp about their "bad behavior".
Sanctions are also powerful when directed at small/medium size economies. Russia, although disparaged as "a smaller economy than Italy", but in actuality, Italy has "GDP per capity PPP" that is 40% larger than Russia, and Russia has 2.4 times larger population, so quite a bit larger economy in terms of "purchasing parity", and the most glaring domestic production deficiency are fruit and vegetables that, according to latest news, have a number of potential suppliers that are most glad when they can sell their produce.
Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
bevin , Apr 17, 2019 9:13:07 AM | link
Craig Murray has a piece on this today. There is nothing very new in what he writes but he sees the significance of this story, which is not about ducks or children or Donald Trump's personality but a concerted and thorough campaign, carried out largely by British state actors, to deepen the 'west's' isolation of Russia.
The real story of both the Cold War and the continually recurring propaganda stories about the "millions" of "victims of communism" is that the Soviet Union was manipulated throughout its history by capitalist control over the international economy. Like a demonic organist capitalist governments pulled out all the stops to control the moods and the policies of a state that the Bolsheviks never did get to rule.
In the end the Politburo gave in and did what the 'west' had always been wanted which is to hand over the country, lock, stock and population to the cannibals of capital.
The result being what was probably, after the 1930-45 war, the largest kill off of Russians in modern history: Yeltsin plus Harvard Business School being responsible for many more deaths than even the intoxicated propagandist Robert Conquest ever dreamed of.
It is that total control over Russia, through the manipulation of its economy, and the direction of its capitalists, that is behind the long series of sanctions, which are being added to every day: their purpose is to re-invent Yeltsinism, re-empower the Fifth Column in the Kremlin, and, in a stroke, re-establish the inevitable and eternal hegemony of the Washington centered Empire.
In this work the assistance of the 'cousins'in MI6 and GCHQ, plus the entire British military establishment has been crucial in a period in which the subservience of POTUS to the Deep State was, thanks to the underestimation of his electoral chances, very much in question. During a period in which Trump had to be tamed and brought under control the UK Establishment's assistance in coming up with a series of highly publicised interventions was crucia l.
Lysias points out that Haspel had acted as the CIA's Head of Station in London in 2016. It was in London that the entire "Russiagate" nonsense was put together, with British based actors continually prodding Congress, the media and the Democrats to act on revelations regarding Papadopolous, Mifsud, Stefan Halper.Skripal was just one more effort to tighten sanctions against Putin's allies in the Russian oligarchy and isolate Trump from foreign policy initiatives not approved by the Deep State. The significance of the NY Times story, then, is that, inadvertently it reinforces the reality that in the matter of Russiagate and Trump all roads lead to London, the Tory Establishment, which has been living off US-Russian tensions for seventy years and security agencies doing what the CIA cannot do for itself.
Apr 05, 2019 | larrysummers.com
March 28, 2019
Tax reform debates have been transformed in recent weeks by a shift in emphasis from revenue raising and progressivity to an emphasis on going after the rich for the sake of equality and justice. Bold proposals from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on top earners, and from Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts -- a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate -- for a wealth tax on those worth more than $50 million have attracted widespread attention.
Warren's proposal aspires to raise roughly 1 percent of GDP ($2.75 trillion in the next decade). Ocasio-Cortez's proposal is estimated to generate around one-third of 1 percent ($720 billion in the next decade). By way of comparison, the Trump tax cuts will cost the federal government about $2 trillion over the next decade. We agree with Ocasio-Cortez and Warren that increases in tax revenue of at least this magnitude are necessary. We also agree that the way forward is by generating more revenue from the most affluent Americans. Indeed, it may well be necessary and appropriate to raise more than Warren's targeted 1 percent of GDP from those at the top.
Where we differ from Warren and Ocasio-Cortez is in our belief that the best way to begin raising additional revenue from highest income tax payers is with a traditional tax reform approach of base broadening and loophole closing, improved compliance, and closing of shelters. We show that these measures, along with partial repeal of the Trump tax cut, can raise far more than recent proposals. These measures will increase economic efficiency, make our tax system more fair, and are perhaps more politically feasible than a wealth tax or large hikes of top rates. It may be that measures beyond base-broadening are appropriate and desirable given the magnitude of the revenue challenge we face. But base-broadening is the right place to begin.
Below we outline proposals for broadening the tax base that meet a stringent test: These are measures that would be desirable even if we did not have revenue needs. They are progressive and attack those who have received special breaks for too long. And together, the revenue-raising potential of these measures exceeds that of the 70 percent top rate or the wealth tax. We believe this is where the progressive tax policy debate should begin.
Emphasis on compliance and auditing of the rich. In 2017, the IRS had only 9,510 auditors -- down from over 14,000 in 2010. The last time the IRS had fewer than 10,000 auditors was in the mid-1950s. Since 2010, the IRS budget has decreased by over 20 percent in real terms. The result is that individuals and corporations are shirking their responsibilities: The most recent estimate by the IRS suggests that taxpayers paid only around 82 percent of owed taxes, losing the IRS over $400 billion a year.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that spending an additional $20 billion on enforcement in the next decade could bring in $55 billion in additional tax revenues. This excludes the indirect deterrent effects of greater enforcement, which the Treasury Department has estimated are three times higher. Outlays at this level would still leave the IRS operating with budgets in real terms that were nearly 10 percent below peak levels, which themselves were leaving large amounts of revenue on the table.
In addition to the level of investment in enforcement, there is the question of the allocation of enforcement resources. It has been estimated that an extra hour spent auditing someone who earns more than $1 million a year generates an extra $1,000 in revenue. And yet in 2017 the IRS audited only 4.4 percent of returns with income of $1 million or higher, less than half the audit rate a decade prior. Remarkably, recipients of the earned income tax credit, who never have incomes above $50,000, are twice as likely to be audited as those who make $500,000 annually.
No one can know exactly the potential for increased enforcement to raise revenue. Suppose instead of investing an extra $20 billion over the next decade, we invested $40 billion and focused on wealthy taxpayers, perhaps taking the audit rate for million-dollar earners up to 25 percent. Considering the direct benefits and the multiplier from deterrence, it is not unreasonable to suppose that over a decade $300 billion to $400 billion could be raised.
This revenue increase -- unlike a revenue increase from new taxes or higher rates -- will have favorable incentive effects. It will encourage people to participate in the above-ground economy. And what could be more of a step toward fairness than collecting from wealthy scofflaws?
Closing corporate tax shelters. All too often, corporations are able to make use of tax havens, differences in accounting treatment across jurisdictions, and other devices to reduce tax liabilities. Economist Kimberly Clausing estimates that profit-shifting to tax havens costs the United States more than $100 billion a year. Although the Trump tax plan sought to reduce the incentives for profit-shifting, various exemptions and design flaws mean that the new system does little to deter shifting revenues to tax havens. Fairly incremental changes will have a large impact: For example, a per-country corporate minimum tax rather than a global minimum tax will increase tax revenues by nearly $170 billion in a decade.
But there is much more to be done. A robust attack on tax shelters -- that included, for example, tariffs or penalties on tax havens as well as stricter penalties for lawyers and accountants who sign off on dubious shelters -- could raise twice the revenue attainable from a per-country minimum tax, or about 30 billion annually. It would also encourage the location of economic activity in the United States and discourage the vast intellectual ingenuity that currently goes into tax avoidance.
Closing individual tax shelters. Like the corporations they own, wealthy individuals make use of myriad loopholes in the tax code to shelter their personal income from taxation. Most high-income taxpayers pay a 3.8 percent tax that pays into entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. However, some avoid these payroll taxes by setting up pass-through businesses and re-characterizing large shares of their income as profits from business ownership, rather than wage income. The Obama administration's proposals to close payroll tax loopholes were estimated to generate $300 billion over a decade.
Another egregious loophole is 1031 exchanges, which allow real estate investors to sell property, take a profit, and defer paying taxes on those profits so long as they reinvest them in similar investments. There is no limit on the number of these exchanges that investors can make. Consequently, the wealthy use 1031 exchanges to build up long-term tax-deferred wealth that can eventually be passed down to their heirs without taxes ever being paid. Outright repeal of 1031 exchanges were estimated in 2014 to raise around $40 billion in a decade and would raise almost $50 billion today.
Another tool used to shelter individual income from taxation is carried interest. Income that flows to partners of investment funds is often treated as capital gains and taxed at lower rates than ordinary income. This creates a tax-planning opportunity for investors to convert ordinary income into long-term capital gains that receive much more generous tax treatment. President Trump repeatedly vowed that his signature tax cuts would eliminate the carried-interest loophole, saying it was unfair that the ultra-wealthy were "getting away with murder." However, in the face of significant lobbying pressure, the administration abandoned these plans. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that taxing carried profits as ordinary income would generate over $20 billion in a decade.
Other ways in which individuals can shelter income include misvaluing interests such as shares in investment partnerships when putting them in retirement accounts as well as schemes involving nonrecourse lending.
Closing tax shelters would level the playing field in favor of investments by companies that create jobs and to the detriment of various kinds of financial operators. This would raise employment and incomes as well as contributing to fairness.
Eliminating "stepped-up basis." Wealth tax advocates rightly point to an important gap in our current system. An entrepreneur starts a company that turns out to be highly successful. She pays herself only a small salary, and shares in the company do not pay dividends, so the company can invest in growth. The entrepreneur becomes very wealthy without ever having paid appreciable tax, as the income that made the wealth possible represents unrealized capital gains.
Unrealized capital gains explain how Warren Buffett can pay only a few million dollars in taxes in a year when his wealth goes up by billions. Astoundingly, no capital gains tax is ever collected on appreciation of capital assets if they are passed on to heirs. Specifically: When an investor buys a stock, the cost of that purchase is the tax basis. If the stock rises in value and is then sold, the investor pays taxes on the gains. If an investor dies and leaves stock to her heir, that cost basis is "stepped up" to its price at the time the stock is inherited. The gain in value during the investor's life is never taxed.
Implementing the Obama administration's proposals for constructive realization of capital gains at death would raise $250 billion in the next decade. This is a progressive change that would impact only the very wealthy: Ninety-nine percent of the revenue from ending stepped-up basis will be collected from the top 1 percent of filers.
Eliminating stepped-up basis will also make the economy function better and so would be desirable even if it did not raise revenue. The fact that capital gains passed on to children entirely escape taxation provides aging small-business owners or real estate owners a strong incentive not to sell them to those who could operate them better while they are alive. It also makes it much more expensive to realize capital gains and use the proceeds to make new investments than it would be if the capital gains tax was inescapable.
Capping tax deductions for the wealthy. Today, a homeowner in the top tax bracket (post-Trump tax cuts, 37 percent) who makes a $1,000 mortgage payment saves $370 on her tax bill. Under an Obama administration proposal to limit the value of itemized deductions to 28 percent for all earners, that same write-off would save this wealthy taxpayer just $280. Importantly, such a cap would raise tax burdens only for the rich: Those with marginal rates under the cap would still be able to claim the full value of their itemized deductions. The plan to cap top-earners' itemized deductions was estimated to raise nearly $650 billion in a decade. Recognizing that the Trump tax plan scaled back the mortgage interest deduction and state and local tax deductions, we estimate that additional limits on top-earner deductions could generate around $250 billion in a decade.
As with the elimination of stepped-up basis, the distributional case for capping tax deductions is strong. The mortgage interest deduction provides a tax advantage to homeowners; promoting homeownership is a worthy goal. But there is little rationale for subsidizing home ownership at higher rates for richer rather than poorer taxpayers.
End the 20 percent pass-through deduction. Perhaps the most notorious of the Trump tax changes, the pass-through deduction provides a 20 percent deduction for certain qualified business income. This exacerbated the tax code's existing bias in favor of noncorporate business income and so reduces economic efficiency. And the complex maze of eligibility is arbitrary, foolish, and a drain on government resources: The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this provision will reduce federal revenues by $430 billion in the next decade. Eliminating the pass-through deduction will reduce incentives for tax gaming and raise revenue primarily from taxpayers making more than $1 million annually.
Broaden the estate tax base. Prior to the Trump tax reform, only 5,000 Americans were liable for estate taxes. The recent changes more than halved that small share by doubling the estate tax exemption to $22.4 million per couple. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this change costs around $85 billion, with the benefits accruing entirely to 3,200 of the wealthiest American households. Repealing the Trump administration's changes and applying estate taxes even more broadly -- for example, as the Obama administration proposed, by lowering the threshold to $7 million for couples -- would raise around $320 billion in a decade. The estate tax would still only impact 0.3 percent of decedents.
In addition to the question of the appropriate floor on estates, there is also ample room to attack the many loopholes that enable wealthy families to largely avoid paying taxes when transferring wealth to their progeny during their lifetimes. This happens through a mix of trust arrangements, intra-family loans, and dubious valuation practices to evade gift-tax liability. Strengthening the taxation of estates would raise revenue and be efficient, diverting resources from tax planning and increasing work incentives for the children of the wealthy. We are enthusiastic about proposals, notably by Lily Batchelder, that call for the conversion of the estate tax into an inheritance tax, to appropriately tax inherited privilege and discourage large concentrations of wealth.
Increasing the corporate tax rate to 25 percent. When corporations began lobbying efforts on corporate tax reform, their stated objective was a 25 percent corporate rate. Business leaders produced estimates showing how this 25 percent rate would have prevented foreign purchases of thousands of companies and shifted billions in corporate taxable income to the United States. The Trump tax cuts delivered more than the business community asked, slashing the corporate rate to 21 percent. The CBO estimates that a 1 percentage point increase in the corporate tax rate will generate $100 billion in the next decade. Based on this estimate, a 4 percentage point increase to 25 percent will generate an additional $400 billion in revenue.
Raising the corporate tax rate would not increase the tax burden on most new investment, because it would raise in equal measure the value of the depreciation deductions that corporations could take when they undertook investments. The principle losers from an increase in the rate would be those earning economic rents in the form of monopoly profits and those who had received enormous windfalls from the Trump tax cut.
Closing tax shelters used by the wealthy alone raises more revenue than Ocasio-Cortez's proposal. And together, the reforms we propose raise far more than a 70 percent top tax rate, and more too than Warren claims her wealth tax will generate. These base-broadening, efficiency-enhancing reforms are the best way to start raising revenue as progressively and efficiently as possible. To be sure, it may well be that wealth taxation or large increases in top rates are necessary to adequately fund government activities. But we advocate these approaches only after the revenue-raising potential of base-broadening is exhausted.
Tomorrow: The challenges in the rate hike and wealth tax proposals.
Apr 04, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
Academics have different interests from practitioners. Publications, tenure and mentoring students are university responsibilities, not responsibilities for governing the world. ( It is an open question whether [neoliberal] academics sub-consciously want to govern the world .)
Harvard University has a rule – known as the Kissinger rule – that faculty can only take two years off to do other activities such as government work in Washington.
David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest is a damning recounting of how the Harvard elite failed to understand the Vietnam War because of its arrogance.)
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
S , Mar 30, 2019 8:51:37 PM | link@b:What is the purpose of making that claim?
The purpose is very simple: to create the perception that the government of Russia still somehow controls or manipulates the US government and thus gains some undeserved improvements in relations with the U.S. Once such perception is created, people will demand that relations with Russia are worsened to return them to a "fair" level. While in reality these relations have been systematically destroyed by the Western establishment (CFR) for many years.
It's a typical inversion to hide the hybrid war of the Western establishment against Russian people. Yes, Russian people. Not Putin, not Russian Army, not Russian intelligence services, but Russian people. Russians are not to be allowed to have any kind of industries, nor should they be allowed to know their true history, nor should they possess so much land.
Russians should work in coal mines for a dollar a day, while their wives work as prostitutes in Europe. That's the maximum level of development that the Western establishment would allow Russians to have (see Ukraine for a demo version). Why? Because Russians are subhumans.
Whatever they do, it's always wrong, bad, oppressive, etc. Russians are bad because they're bad. They must be "taught a lesson", "put into their place". It would, of course, be beneficial and highly profitable for Europeans to break with Anglo-Saxons and to live in peace and harmony with Russia, but Europeans simply can not overcome their racism towards Russians. The young Europeans are just as racist, with their incessant memes about "squatting Russians in tracksuits", "drunken Russians", etc., as if there's nothing else that is notable about a country of 147 million people.
The end goal of the Western establishment is a complete military, economic, psychological, and spiritual destruction of Russia, secession of national republics (even though in some of them up to 50% of population are Russians, but this will be ignored, as it has been in former Soviet republics), then, finally, dismemberment of what remains of Russia into separate states warring with each other.
The very concept of Russian nation should disappear. Siberians will call their language "Siberian", Muscovites will call their language "Moscovian", Pomorians will call their language "Pomorian", etc. The U.S. Department of State will, of course, endorse such terminology, just like they endorse the term "Montenegrian language", even though it's the same Serbo-Croatian language with the same Cyrillic writing system.
Mar 07, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.comYves here. Larry Summers, like Hillary Clinton, does not seem willing to get the message that it would behoove him to retreat from public life.
By J. D. Alt, author of The Architect Who Couldn't Sing , available at Amazon.com or iBooks. Originally published at www.realprogressivesusa.com
Lawrence Summers, according to Lawrence Summers, is a "serious economist." He has just written an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he seriously explains why Modern Money Theory -- as proposed by "fringe economists," as he calls them -- is a recipe for disaster. I am going to leave it to the "fringe economists" to rebut Mr. Summers; (I'm confident that professors Wray, Kelton, Tcherneva, Tymoigne, and Fullwiler can take care of that job quite easily). What I want to consider is something even more fundamental: How is it that someone who presents himself as a "serious economist" can get away with speaking incoherently while expecting us -- the everyday citizens of America -- to take what he is saying as true?
Here is Summers' first point about why MMT is a recipe for disaster: "Modern monetary theory holds out the prospect that somehow by printing money, the government can finance its deficits at zero cost. In fact, in today's economy, the government pays interest on any new money it creates, which takes the form of its reserves held by banks at the Federal Reserve. Yes, there is outstanding currency in circulation, but because that can always be deposited in a bank, its quantity is not controlled by the government. Even money-financed deficits cause the government to incur debt."
Yes, that's very clear and logical, isn't it? The government "prints" money and then pays interest on it? The interest it pays become the "reserves" in the Federal Reserve system? And what exactly does that have to do with "outstanding currency in circulation"? And what is it exactly that happens when that "outstanding currency" gets deposited in a bank? And if "money-financed" deficits cause the government to incur debt, maybe we should think about financing our deficits with something other than money? These are all serious economic questions.
Summers' incoherent rambling reminds me of another case of incoherent ramblings reported, coincidentally, in the same edition of the Washington Post: Donald Trump's CPAC speech as evaluated by columnist Eugene Robinson . Here are a few instances of Trump apparently giving his best impersonation of Lawrence Summers:
"When the wind stops blowing, that's the end of your electric. Let's hurry up. 'Darling -- Darling, is the wind blowing today? I'd like to watch television, Darling.' No, but it's true . Now Robert Mueller never received a vote, and neither did the person that appointed him. And as you know, the attorney general says, 'I'm going to recuse myself. I'm going to recuse.' And I said, why the hell didn't he tell me that before I put him in? How do you recuse yourself?"
Lawrence Summers' second point about the fallacy of MMT goes like this: "Contrary to the claims of modern monetary theorists, it is not true that governments can simply create new money to pay all liabilities coming due and avoid default. As the experience of any number of emerging markets demonstrates, past a certain point, this approach leads to hyperinflation. Indeed, in emerging markets that have practiced modern monetary theory, situations could arise where people could buy two drinks at bars at once to avoid the hourly price increases. As with any tax, there is a limit to the amount of revenue that can be raised via such an inflation tax. If this limit is exceeded, hyperinflation will result."
Really, that all must be true, because Summers is a serious economist. Didn't really know there were third world countries that have been practicing Modern Money Theory for a long time -- but obviously it didn't work out well for them. And, clearly, you can't tax people more than they possess, so that proves it: hyperinflation!
Donald Trump had more to ramble about as well: "And they showed -- they showed from the White House all the way down There were people. Nobody has ever seen it. The Capitol down to the Washington Monument -- people. But I saw pictures that there were no people. Those pictures were taken hours before . They had to walk with high-heels, in many cases. They had to walk all the way down to the Washington Monument and then back. And I looked, and I made a speech, and I said, before I got on -- I said to the people who were sitting next to me, 'I've never seen anything like this.'"
Lawrence Summers' third denunciation of MMT is as follows: "Modern monetary theorists typically reason in terms of a closed economy. But a policy of relying on central bank finance of government deficits, as suggested by modern monetary theorists, would likely result in a collapsing exchange rate. This would in turn lead to increased inflation, increased long-term interest rates (because of inflation), risk premiums, capital fleeing the country, and lower real wages as the exchange rate collapsed and the price of imports soared."
But of course! That's all obvious, isn't it? Mr. Summers is just pointing it out. Exchange rates would collapse. It's the most obvious thing any reader of his argument can easily grasp and understand -- and that means "risk premiums" too (which clearly nobody wants).
At one point in his CPAC speech Donald Trump says this: "You know I'm totally off-script right now. And this is how I got elected, by being off-script. True. And if we don't go off-script, our country is in big trouble, folks. Because we have to get it back."
What strikes me is that our country is, indeed, in big trouble -- but it's because the "script" that's being read to us by our political leaders, commentators, and "serious economists" is nothing more than an incoherent babbling.
bruce wilder , March 7, 2019 at 10:15 am
"somehow by printing money" is a significant tell -- the stupider the clichéd metaphor, the more incoherent the economics. Summers in using that cliche is confusing currency with money, which error really ought to embarrass him, but obviously does not.
paulmeli , March 7, 2019 at 12:06 pm
Summers' Op-Ed is bafflegab of the highest order. It's sad that that's what passes for informed commentary these days, but I think for monetary issues that's always been the case. Any school that dares to teach monetary economics is defunded, exiled to 2nd or 3rd tier status.
There has been a lot of pushback on this Op-Ed and Krugman's from unexpected sources (Forbes, Bloomberg). This response is especially good:
Also, demonstrating what a careerist Krugman is: Paul Krugman to Bernard Lietaer: "Never touch the money system" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6nL9elK0EY . (short – 44 sec.)
Carey , March 7, 2019 at 12:33 pm
Good stuff! Thanks for those links.
Susan the Other , March 7, 2019 at 2:05 pm
Well of course Krug, "never look at money" because if you do you'll be blinded by reality.
sgt_doom , March 7, 2019 at 2:10 pm
Krugman has been a member of the lobbyist group for the central bankers, the Group of Thirty (www.group30.org) ever since it was founded by the Rockefeller Foundation back in 1978.
Carla , March 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm
I read the John T Harvey piece this a.m. because Yves had it in Links. It was so good I sent him a fan letter.
Tomonthebeach , March 7, 2019 at 4:27 pm
I read it 2 days ago and felt no compulsion to praise. Harvey includes some Summersian bullshit of his own. For example: "Just as the President's daughter said days ago, people like to work. Quite right."
Harvey clearly does not live on the beach where the slacker-surfer lifestyle dominates. Likewise, it seems likely that he has never had to manage human resources in a large organization where more than just a few workers are obviously not liking what they are doing.
The biggest barrier to full-employment is that not everybody wants to work or at least work very hard. That causes co-worker resentment, an unproductive workplace climate, and if ignored long enough, it can impair productivity to the extent that everybody becomes out of work.
Grebo , March 7, 2019 at 5:56 pm
So, you don't consider surfing work? Perhaps you're right, but I don't consider lack of enthusiasm for bullshit jobs evidence that people don't want to work.
paulmeli , March 7, 2019 at 6:02 pm
The biggest barrier to full-employment is that not everybody wants to work or at least work very hard.
Thank God for those people, it makes my life so much easier. You wouldn't like working in a world where everyone and anyone could replace you.
I've never worked in an environment where everyone pulled their own weight, but it's also true that we tend to hold others to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.
At any rate, I still don't want them to starve.
tegnost , March 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm
I'm not sure where you're surfing but in my experience it's doctors, lawyers, mba, engineers, and their kids. This link tells the story of the modern day surfer vs the stereotypical slacker surfer
wetsuits cost hundreds of dollars, my cheapest new board was an ellington for $400 like 15 years ago (no, it can't really be that long ago?) My brothers quiver is easily worth $10,000, which is lucky for me because he can't ride them all at once. Not to say there isn't a large transient population, beaches have bathrooms and showers, but the surfer/slacker may not be a real thing?
tegnost , March 7, 2019 at 6:46 pm
#12. In a survey about surfing in the United Kingdom, surfers were disproportionally represented in managerial, professional, or business-owning employment classes. Nearly 80% of surfers fit into these employment categories, compared to just 54% of the general population. (Surfers Against Sewage)
#13. Surfers also have a higher level of education attainment compared to the general population. In the UK, 64% of surfers reported having a higher education, compared to just 27% of the general population. (Surfers Against Sewage)
Carey , March 7, 2019 at 5:14 pm
I thought it was notably good too, and clearly written. Agree or not, what he was saying was not in question, unlike Summers's/ Krugman's slippery stuff.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Larry Summers is on a list of people I've created where if I read or hear something they write or say and agree with it, I go back and check my premise on said topic.
Have never had to do so with Summers. This entire editorial reeks of Upton Sinclair's famous quote "it's impossible to get someone to understand something when his paycheck depends on him not understanding it."
John Harvey in Forbes takes Summers, Rogoff, and clown prince Krugman down point by point as well.
Phil in KC , March 7, 2019 at 10:18 am
Because I have only a single college course in Macro (taken 40 years ago), I am hardly any kind of economist, certainly not a serious one. But I do have some ability to parse a sentence and figure out the meaning–usually. Thanks for pointing out that the garble I can make no sense of is just garble. I thought I was just one of the uninitiated and ignorant masses.
I am curious about the audience Summers had in mind when he wrote or uttered this. Who are they?
voteforno6 , March 7, 2019 at 11:58 am
I think the important information is conveyed to his intended audience via the title – the rest of it is filler, to justify printing it.
You're not alone in your interpretation of his column. I have enough confidence in my reading comprehension abilities to state affirmatively that his column is full of Thomas Friedman-like gibberish.
polecat , March 7, 2019 at 12:51 pm
Tatooine IS a hard language to parse, afterall ..
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:01 pm
this effort by Summers is the editorial equivalent of spinning wheels furiously in a pit of mud
Carey , March 7, 2019 at 2:37 pm
I see it more as a holding action by the usual cast of characters.
For how long will it work?
Colonel Smithers , March 7, 2019 at 10:19 am
Thank you, Yves.
In the UK, we have a what you may call reverse Churchill problem, i.e. Churchill provokes mixed emotions in the UK, but is revered in the US. In the US, Summers provokes mixed emotions, but is revered in the UK, at least by the usual neo-liberal suspects. God Forbid. The family blogger has even been floated as a potential successor to Carney, probably a ploy by his vermin acolytes at the FT.
You will be delighted to hear that Summers' vicar on earth, or at least in the UK, New Labour family blogger Ed Balls was ousted from the Commons and some of public life by Andrea Jenkins. Jenkins is an Ultra Brexiteer, but History will be kind to her for sparing the long-suffering UK public from more of Balls. Oh, yes, she will be elevated to the Pantheon for that ouster alone.
diptherio , March 7, 2019 at 10:53 am
Larry Summers, famous for stating that there is a "good economic case" to be made for exporting all our toxic waste to Africa. Larry Summers, famous for claiming that there aren't more women in STEM fields because "girls are bad at math." Larry Summers, beloved of neo-liberals everywhere.
allan , March 7, 2019 at 10:57 am
How Larry Summers' memo hobbled Obama's stimulus plan [Dean Baker in The Guardian, 2012]
How Larry begat Donald. Austerity has consequences – who knew?
susan the Other , March 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm
allan , March 8, 2019 at 10:41 am
Fiscal space and the aftermath of financial crises: How it matters and why [Christina Romer
and David Romer]
Abstract: In OECD countries over the period 1980–2017, countries with lower debt-to-GDP ratios responded to financial distress with much more expansionary fiscal policy and suffered much less severe aftermaths. Two lines of evidence together suggest that the relationship between the debt ratio and the policy response is driven partly by problems with sovereign market access, but even more so by the choices of domestic and international policymakers. First, although there is some relationship between more direct measures of market access and the fiscal response to distress, incorporating the direct measures attenuates the link between the debt ratio and the policy response only slightly. Second, contemporaneous accounts of the policymaking process in episodes of major financial distress show a number of cases where shifts to austerity were driven by problems with market access, but at least as many where the shifts resulted from policymakers' choices despite an absence of difficulties with market access. These results point to a twofold message: conducting policy in normal times to maintain fiscal space provides valuable insurance in the event of financial crises, and domestic and international policymakers should not let debt ratios determine the response to crises unnecessarily. [emphasis added]
If only one of the authors had been in a position to shape the administration's response in early 2009
La vendetta è un piatto che va servito freddo.
JCC , March 7, 2019 at 4:29 pm
Not to mention the article published here on NC back in 2013:
The very thing that the former endowment chiefs had worried about and warned of for so long then came to pass. Amid plunging global markets, Harvard would lose not only 27 percent of its $37 billion endowment in 2008, but $1.8 billion of the general operating cash – or 27 percent of some $6 billion invested. Harvard also would pay $500 million to get out of the interest-rate swaps Summers had entered into, which imploded when rates fell instead of rising. The university would have to issue $1.5 billion in bonds to shore up its cash position, on top of another $1 billion debt sale. And there were layoffs, pay freezes, and deep, university-wide budget cuts.
shinola , March 7, 2019 at 4:40 pm
From that article:
"Summers is your man if you are a banker, looter, or plutocrat."
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:04 pm
Churchill is revered in America by people whose memory only goes back to 1941 and even then, only plays the highlights.
This American thinks he was a war criminal many times over and in a just world would have died in a prison cell, but I recognize I'm the minority in my country
RBHoughton , March 7, 2019 at 8:39 pm
I don't believe anyone is completely useless. Al Gore made a follow-up film "An Inconvenient Sequel" which mentioned, inter alia, the likely failure of COP21 because India needed hundreds of gigawatts of new energy and the banks would dun them 13% on loans plus 2% for the exchange if they opted for green energy. Gore got onto Summers and a deal was thrashed out that was satisfactory to India. The country then signed the agreement along with the rest of the world. A man with that kind of clout with the hooligans in banking as valuable.
pretzelattack , March 7, 2019 at 8:47 pm
does he still have that kind of clout?
Redlife2017 , March 8, 2019 at 3:21 am
+1000 for some beautiful snark
Nina , March 7, 2019 at 10:21 am
I have considered Larry's presence in any political campaign the kiss of death, since Obama first ran for president. Fair warning, contenders for 2020! You do not want to be seen so much as shaking Larry's hand in public!
Matt Young , March 7, 2019 at 10:48 am
MMT is what we do. We cycle like MMT says we should, we tax and sequester like MMT says we should, we devalue once a generation as MMT says we should. We are MMT, Larry SUmmers is simply faking it to protect the Keynesian form of MMT. The difference between Keynes and MMT? MMTers have no assumption about smooth trajectories.
This is all the most useless debate among economists I have seen, and I have watched a ton of useless debates in the ten years of the last 'MMT' cycle. So, let us get on with the next MMT cycle, starting with a period of extraordinary means, followed by Tax and sequester, then if we are lucky, we get a devaluation, in proper MMT order.
bushtheidiot , March 7, 2019 at 12:19 pm
Bingo this guy gets it, we already print off a bunch of money to finance spending, lower interest rates to prop up spending and decrease debt costs, etc. Except the way we do it now benefits the rich by forcing the rest of us to spend spend spend because our money does nothing in the savings account. Meantime, the money gets pushed into stocks and bonds which benefits only a certain class.
This essentially paves the way for MMT, which is just to reallocate who gets the benefit of this money printing from the rich to the rest of us.
The current system clearly doesn't work, however, and the idea that we can just spend money we make up out of thin air as a stable plan is nonsense. Just like it was in 2008, and just like it is now with a 23 trilliion national debt.
We want medicare for all, increase the payroll tax and a small income tax, and that will do it. Charge everyone a "premium" for health coverage in their pay check that is far cheaper than what it is now, or let employers pay for it and get a tax deduction.
No need to print monopoly money for anyone–rich or poor. We are wealthy enough to afford this stuff.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:08 pm
the rich have had socialism for decades. it has worked so well for them, now the rest of us want a bite.
Oh , March 7, 2019 at 3:28 pm
I agree regarding Medicare for all but it should be free. If money's needed, let's tax the banksters to pay for it. After all the owe us $23 trillion.
jsn , March 7, 2019 at 1:59 pm
This is really no different from the dust big tobacco kicked up for 30 years to deny cancer, or big oil and climate denialism: there are a bunch of greedy b******s out there who have been making a killing off of looting, asset stripping and environmental and social market externalities doing all they can to milk the last dollar from a completely rotten system.
Summers is pitching in to obscure perceptions of the rot that serves him so well.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:07 pm
Stop any significant % of the war machine spending $1T+ per year and spend it at home in the US on crushing the price of housing and providing a jobs guarantee; you wouldn't be able to run from the economic boom anywhere
shinola , March 7, 2019 at 11:03 am
How dare anyone question Mr. Summers proclamations!
He has the credentials, the experience, the insights of a world class economist!
Just look at what Mr. Summers & his crew did for the Russian economy after the collapse of the USSR.
Summers is the pet economist of the ultra neoliberal crowd.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:10 pm
the word for people like Summers is "gatekeeper". He's doing his best to keep things within "the acceptable parameters of debate."
His is failing, will ultimately fail completely, and be discredited. I just hope he lives long enough to see it all happen.
Yves Smith Post author , March 7, 2019 at 4:12 pm
Look at what he did to Harvard! Wrecked its endowment by a stupid interest rate swaps bet. Harvard had to get rid of hot breakfasts and an expansion in Alford as a result.
John Wright , March 7, 2019 at 11:20 am
Disclaimer: I'm no economist as my degree is in electrical engineering.
I prefer to look at MMT as somewhat similar to a company issuing additional common and preferred stock.
The company, in this case is a government.
In this view, common stock issuance (that pays no dividend) is new currency issued and preferred stock issuance = US treasury certificates that pay interest ( similar to a preferred stock dividend ).
One can argue that "the market" will not penalize a company (or government) when it raises funds via new stock issuance, IF the proceeds are perceived will be invested wisely.
But if the new stock issuance proceeds are perceived to be used foolishly than one would expect the issuing "company" will see the value of their preferred and common stock drop (as inflation decreases the value of its currency).
For example, if MMT minded US government issues new monetary "common/preferred stock" (creates new currency and issues treasury securities) and uses this purchasing power to improve US infrastructure, improve the bloated USA healthcare/financial industries or educates its people more cost effectively, then the global market could be completely happy with this use of the world's resources.
And the relative value of the US currency might be stable or even increase.
On the other hand, if the MMT minded US government issues more currency/securities and funds a destructive war, one might expect the existing global holders of the USA's currency and securities to be disappointed and push the relative value down.
Just as a corporation has to have some sort of resources (IP, customer list, inventories, market dominance, new products in development) that are valued for it to issue stock, a MMT minded government must be viewed as having resources and power.
For example, Haiti is a sovereign nation with its own currency, the Haitian gourde.
But I suspect Haiti will have a very difficult time using MMT (issuing gourde denominated securities) to improve its economy as it is perceived has having few resources and a prior history of resource squandering corruption (Papa/Baby Doc Duvalier) .
deplorado , March 7, 2019 at 2:55 pm
This is an excellent and very useful analogy, thank you!
Tomonthebeach , March 7, 2019 at 4:37 pm
I betcha that Haiti's debts are not in Gourdes but in Euros, Pounds, and Dollars. Most US debit to itself and foreign countries in our own currency. As Mosler points out, inflation often hurts our trading partners worse than it does us.
jsn , March 7, 2019 at 7:37 pm
A great analogy! And the value of a nations currency is a statement of market perception of the quality and effectiveness of its institutions.
charles 2 , March 8, 2019 at 12:37 am
I share your analogy 100% and I think this is the right way to present monetary theory (I don't want to say "modern" because it is more than a century that it works like this already). Although, I would add a twist : the government also distributes dividends in non monetary terms, by providing, say, free roads, free education or free healthcare ( In the preceding century, there were actually railroads issuing bonds that paid interest with free tickets !)
Of course, the amount of "paid in kind" dividend is similar whether one holds one dollar in the pocket or a million, so it is not popular with the wealthy class.
I think it is an important component to point out because one frequently encounters people who frequently complain that a dollar today is worth less than a dollar yesterday, but forget that between yesterday and today, the government provided services to the dollar holder regardless of him/her earning an income and paying taxes.
PlutoniumKun , March 7, 2019 at 11:22 am
I was going to ask the serious question 'how did Larry Summers get to his esteemed position in the first place ?' Nothing I've ever read by or about him over the years has indicated that he is anything but a second rate bluffer with a talent for impressing other bluffers, and yet in many quarters he seems to be held in significant awe.
But mindful of the rules here about 'setting homework' I looked up his career in Wikipedia. It seems he was quite influential in developmental economics, which no doubt led to his gig in the World Bank. So someone who is considered a Harvard expert in development economics writes:
Lawrence Summers' second point about the fallacy of MMT goes like this: "Contrary to the claims of modern monetary theorists, it is not true that governments can simply create new money to pay all liabilities coming due and avoid default. As the experience of any number of emerging markets demonstrates, past a certain point, this approach leads to hyperinflation. Indeed, in emerging markets that have practiced modern monetary theory, situations could arise where people could buy two drinks at bars at once to avoid the hourly price increases. As with any tax, there is a limit to the amount of revenue that can be raised via such an inflation tax. If this limit is exceeded, hyperinflation will result."
If someone talking in a bar said that, you'd consider him an idiot, or at best, someone who just hasn't read very much. And yet a Harvard professor can, without embarrassment, write such nonsense. And still be taken seriously. It really is unbelievable.
Mel , March 7, 2019 at 12:08 pm
The argument, shorn of the beebling and handwaving, does make some sense. A Haitian government, say, that tries to issue more gourdes (HTG) to pay off a US$ (or ECU, or anything foreign) debt is going to find out that no number of gourdes will be enough. It will have to be US$, and they will only be acquired on the terms the US$ creditor specifies. This has been true ever since independence, when the whole world insisted that the Haitians buy themselves back from France.
They can used gourdes to mobilize their own efforts and their own resources, and hope to achieve something with those.
Grant , March 7, 2019 at 12:30 pm
"A Haitian government, say, that tries to issue more gourdes (HTG) to pay off a US$"
That is a government creating its own currency, which it then has to exchange for another currency. That is roughly what Germany was forced to do with after the massive WWI debts were forced on it and it went through hyperinflation. The issue is owing money in another currency. MMT economists have said again and again that countries should try to avoid, if they can, owing money in a foreign currency. Obviously, many poor countries have no option. Different than a government issuing bonds in its own currency. If the Haitian government injected its own currency into the economy, then issued bonds in its own currency as a means of reaching its central bank's targeted interest rate, and Haiti owed money in its own currency, that would be a good comparison to our situation. Summers doesn't understand (or pretends not to) the problem of bringing up hyperinflation in places like Peru and Venezuela, or the problems poor countries face in regards to external debt, versus what the situation is in the US. We are in no way comparable to those countries or situations. It's absurd, and he knows better, or he should.
In regards to the debt of developing and underdeveloped countries; the big issue is the need for a massive debt write down (among a host of other things). On that, Éric Toussaint's work is hugely important.
a different chris , March 7, 2019 at 12:58 pm
>The issue is owing money in another currency.
Even in this case -- the point is how much of your own currency can you create? The runaway debt inflation is just getting the information the hard way. And it is irreversible, unless you can send out assassins to kill your off-shore debt holders.
If you can come up with a good idea of how much you can safely print, why borrow it? If there was just some academic profession that could come up with useful answers to that question
Grant , March 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm
"Even in this case -- the point is how much of your own currency can you create? "
This has been discussed many times. The broad limit is the productive capacity of the economy. Are we at full employment, are we at full productive capacity? If the change in the money stock is proportionally larger than the value of the goods and services created with that money, then you could have inflation. Could, because inflation is more complex than that. If the government were to create a bunch of money (forget private credit creation for a second since we can't control that much right now), but that money went to rich people that hoarded it, if it was used by companies to buy up their own shares, if it was used to buy goods from other countries, if it was put in a tax shelter, among countless other things, that money wouldn't circulate around the economy and wouldn't cause much inflation. It is possible for the government to create lots of money and for deflation to set it. Happened after the crash in 1929, that was Friedman's argument as to why the Great Depression happened. He said that even though the Fed was creating lots of money, the economy was contracting at a greater rate and so in real terms the money supply was shrinking. Steve Keen responded to that and showed the problems with that argument, but this dynamic is well known. Private banks creating credit money are a part of this and the crash in 1929 too. After the crash in 2007/2008, it is pretty well established that while the government did create a lot of money, it didn't create enough and it didn't channel to the parts of the economy that could have led to a recovery for working people. So, not only how much money is created, but where that money goes in the economy, whether or not more stuff can be produced, expectations of the future, among other things, will determine inflation.
"If you can come up with a good idea of how much you can safely print, why borrow it? If there was just some academic profession that could come up with useful answers to that question "
Not trying to be rude, but have you actually read MMT literature? Cause all this stuff is addressed. We don't borrow money in the way you think. The government, the US government, doesn't need to borrow or tax in order to spend. The particular way we have chosen to create money was developed decades ago, when we were on the gold standard and had either the value of dollars fixed to an ounce of gold, or later all currencies fixed to the dollar which could be exchanged in a given amount for gold. We aren't on gold anymore. We could just have the government spend the money into the economy and use taxes to manage inflation. We don't have to issue bonds, and Wray I believe has said that states that have control over their own currencies shouldn't issue bonds in this way anymore. But those bonds come with no risk at all (the government will not default on the bonds unless forced to by politicians) and they accrue interest, so investors like them, especially when there is uncertainty. But we don't have to issue bonds AFTER the government spends to manage inflation. My understanding is that the Fed is the buyer of last resort on the secondary market for bonds, and those that take part in bond auctions are required to actually bid. I don't see why investors would all of a sudden not like US bonds (it would have to be something with geopolitical implications) but even if they did, the situations could be dealt with, and again, we don't need to even issue bonds in order to spend anyway. That is a radically different situation than Haiti owing money in another currency and being massively in debt to other countries in other currencies, with little ability to export value added goods that have strong terms of trade. Read up on the amount of debt owed by Haiti to France since the Haitian revolution, and the amount of debt paid but still owed by developing and underdeveloped countries in the post-WWII era. You think Summers cares? How in the world is that comparable to the US in 2019? It is ridiculous, and Summers knows it.
Oh , March 7, 2019 at 3:38 pm
ChrisPacific , March 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm
That is true and it's one of the key factors that can lead to hyperinflation. However, Summers isn't talking about that scenario. Nothing in his argument mentions foreign currency denominated debt. He's simply claiming that there is some upper limit on deficit spending beyond which the economy will automatically tip over into hyperinflation. I'd love to see him point out one instance in history where that's happened without external factors like foreign currency debt playing a role. The closest thing I can think of is credit bubbles, but those are self-correcting in the long run and can't spiral out of control like hyperinflation.
urblintz , March 7, 2019 at 2:07 pm
He was brought into politics by wait for it. Ronald Reagan.
"Summers was on the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan in 1982–1983." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers#Public_official
And most people still don't know how he helped plunder post-Soviet Russia and the real scandal he survived at Harvard.
WheresOurTeddy , March 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm
he came in with the armada of economic pirates that was 1981 and has been looting ever since
Yves Smith Post author , March 7, 2019 at 4:14 pm
He has two uncles each of whom was a Nobel Prize winners: Paul Samuelson and Ken Arrow. Summers was to the economic manor born.
PlutoniumKun , March 7, 2019 at 6:01 pm
Wow, I'd no idea of that. Whatever about Samuelson (yes, I suffered through his textbook), Arrow did some very interesting and incisive work. I guess Summers was, as the Vietnamese would say 'second rice crop'.
charles 2 , March 8, 2019 at 12:50 am
'how did Larry Summers get to his esteemed position in the first place?'
Larry Summers became a famous economist like Donald Trump became a famous property developer : through family
From his own website :
"I remember the fall night in 1972, after Kenneth was awarded the Nobel Prize. The other American Nobel Prize winner at that moment, Paul Samuelson, also my uncle, hosted a party for Kenneth and the Cambridge economics community. I was a sophomore economics major at MIT, so I was hardly appropriate company for such an august gathering, but I was a little unique in being related to both the host and the honoree, so I was invited and I participated as best I could in the conversation."
timbers , March 7, 2019 at 11:39 am
Reminds me a scene in John Carpenter's Christine: "There's no smoking in this garage!" the owner says having gotten up from a card game where all his buddies are sitting around a table waiting for him to rejoin them, as they all smoke." "Sir, those men over there are smoking. You better them them to stop."
Jerry B , March 7, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Here is an article discussing the recent dust up on MMT:
From the article a quote from Keynes:
"The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds."
And this from the author of the article:
"Those prominent economists aren't even so much rejecting MMT as holding tight to their own orthodox views. This is not necessarily on purpose, but it's extremely difficult for anyone to make a paradigm shift. MMT, aka macroeconomics done properly, is, as Keynes says, "extremely simple and should be obvious." The problem we have here is the difficulty in escaping from antiquated notions of macro modeling (Krugman), inflation (Summers), and debt financing (Rogoff)."
I think one of the problems we have in this country and the world is that what we think of as the mainstream educational model is actually socialization, indoctrination, brainwashing, and or ideological training. And then "jobs" are based on how well you bought in to that brainwashing.
Various education reformers over the past decades such as Ivan Illich and John Taylor Gatto have mentioned similar critiques of education in the US and the world in that our educational system does not foster problem solving and critical thinking.
It is my belief that our educational system creates a type of false self in people. In order to get the "right" answers and do well on tests, etc, you have to compromise your truth, your experience, and your true self and allow yourself to be programmed in the particular models of your profession.
Maybe in Summers, Hillary, and Trump's case, as they have gotten older that "programming memory/false self" is starting to become fractured due to cognitive decline, physical issues, stress, fatigue, etc. and as they desperately try to regurgitate their brainwashing it is coming out in an incoherent mess.
As Summers is only 64, before Yves jumps on me for equating cognitive decline with being older or in one's 60's I think it is specific to each individual. I just turned 60 and my brain is as sharp as ever, it is my body that is slowing the train down!!
To illustrate my point, a while back I read Anthony Atkinson's book, Inequality: What Can Be Done? He mentions in the book that Greg Mankiw's Principle of Micro/Macro economics textbooks have very little on the subject of inequality. How could a mainstream textbook on economics not have a significant portion on inequality?? IMO because in Mankiw's case inequality does not fit his ideology.
NC has a way of posting articles the same day that can be connected. I think this post can be related to the " Is a Harvard MBA Bad for You?" post. The MBA becomes brainwashing. Instead of trying to solve a problem MBA'ers and other professions try to fit the ideology of what they were taught in school to the problem.
To use an analogy: there are usually multiple routes to get from one town to the other. It does not always have to be the "main road". Sometimes the main road is not always the fastest, shortest, etc. And sometimes by taking the same road all the time, one's perspective becomes narrow and hinders thinking outside of the box.
To borrow Henry Ford's quote: "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."
After decades of allowing ourselves to be brainwashed, I think we are starting to, as J.D. Alt mentions above, "question the scripts" and are finding them to be a house of cards.
Susan the Other , March 7, 2019 at 2:32 pm
Well you are just a kid. I'm 72 and I think I'm a family blogging genius but it could be just the first symptom. Whatever I'm going to tell you guys what I think about this stuff until I get politely censored. I never studied economics – but I studied languages until words were falling out of my ears. And in my lexicon Larry doesn't even have the integrity of an idiot. Sometimes an idiot is spot on. Larry is a deceptive, self-serving power tripper dedicated to a time gone by and never to return. Too bad.
Jerry B , March 7, 2019 at 3:27 pm
Thanks Susan! Recently I went to my doctor and he asked me how I was feeling. I said physiological (my term for non-skeletal) I am 40. Structurally (arthritis, herniated discs, etc. etc.) I feel like I am 70!
===but I studied languages until words were falling out of my ears===
I have always had an intuitive sense for language. Verbal and non verbal language. The words used, tone, inflections, etc. Andrew Carnegie once said that the older he became the less he paid attention to what people said and the more he paid attention to their behavior. And I think that is partly true but language is important.
And as you mention language can be used to convey power. Pierre Bourdieu wrote Language and Symbolic Power which I have been wanting to read. I have also skimmed through some of Michel Foucault's work on discourse analysis.
Also I have read some of Kenneth Burke's work such as A Grammar of Motive's and A Rhetoric of Motives. After reading Burke's books I became more curious about people's motives behind their language and behavior, and also the idea of rhetoric. IMO Obama is a master at rhetoric and hence could fool a lot of people, while Trump sucks at it.
If you have not done so already I suggest looking up the Logical Fallacies links on NC's policies page. I believe a lot of language uses for power are in snowing the public in using arguments or propaganda that contain logical fallacies and heuristics. I have learned a lot in examining what people say and their arguments from NC.
Grant , March 7, 2019 at 12:18 pm
Yeah, I found what he said to be absolutely absurd. He seems to believe that MMT describes something we might do, as opposed to explaining how things are, at least in countries like the US. If he can't understand, or pretends to not understand, the difference between a country owing money in a foreign currency versus issuing bonds in a country's own currency, and the actual role of bonds in the US system or how money is actually created, then he isn't trying. Cause, whatever we want to say about Summers and all he represents, he isn't a stupid man. I haven't seen a single critique of MMT from the likes of Krugman or Summers that demonstrates that they understand the thing they think they are critiquing, or that they understand how things actually work. In response to MMT, they either respond with some models that they were taught that aren't based in reality, or they just lie about MMT. It is the economic version of people like Pelosi lying about single payer in the political sphere using ridiculous logic.
That, to me, is frightening, given how much power he has and who he has been hired to give advice to. People like Summers seem to freak out, really when you look at it, by the fact that we are questioning a fantasy account of how things are. They want to continue to make policies on the assumption that things are in reality what they say they are in their models, and there is a huge gap between the assumptions in their models and reality. If he were to acknowledge the insights from MMT about how things work, many of the excuses those in power have for doing nothing as the country falls apart would crumble, and those doing nothing are then more directly responsible for the impact of their policies. Once you realize that they are not investing in communities being neglected by private interests, they aren't investing in things needed to deal with the environmental crisis, they aren't helping to fund programs to get people healthcare or things like clean water (communities like Flint say hello) because they are paid by interests to do those things, and for ideological and class reasons, they can no longer pretend that the government "can't afford" those things. The debate switches to a place they don't want to be in, and they are then more responsible for the decisions they make. It is no longer about circumstances forcing themselves on these worthless politicians.
skippy , March 7, 2019 at 1:26 pm
Larry Summer: We Print Our Own Money
Published on Apr 3, 2014
I also think some need to observe that Keynes was not a Keynesian in the manner that mainstream use the IS-LM. One is the use of econometrics and the other is the IS-LM was a – starting point – of observation that needed more fleshing out and not some "economic law [tm] carried down the mount.
Would additionally point out good old Ralph Musgrave over at TJN proclaiming his long support for MMT with caveats, sadly anyone with with a functional memory would know key MMT'ers stance with Musgrave does not support those claims.
PS. great start to the day 50kg black German Sheppard just bound up on the bed – all wet – and wanted to share his eagerness for the day .
Gary Gray , March 7, 2019 at 3:36 pm
Keynes believed in governments planning more investment, especially during down times. This is the blunder modern day "sheep" don't understand. It isn't deficits that matter, but pushing the investment into usage/production. Deficits like we have now are nothing more than public debt underwriting private debt expansion via financial engineering. Of course market statists would hate the government with a bigger % of total investment, as they would lose control of the economic system and bow to the will of another.
Its amazing how dopamine release and other "feel good" consumption based games and circuses so rules the people. All they live for is the fix. The bourgeois sells it them as "their fix", "their ownership" of said fix while they rake in profits and destroy the environment. Truly like the Roman end times. No wonder the Christians are so worried. They see themselves replaced like the old rituals and traditions that proceeded it.
WestcoastDeplorable , March 7, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Yves, I'm not a MMT fan, but you're spot-on about Summers. Didn't he lose the Harvard Endowment over $1 Billion with his "sage management"? He's an idiot.
skippy , March 7, 2019 at 2:28 pm
One would think after the Chicago boys foray with Born and its after math people would question the use of such people as PR tools – well must be running dry.
Suggest you look into the groundings of MMT and not emotive processes – see link above. Keynes started a process to refute orthodox thinking, seems some post morte folded parts [tm] into orthodox thinking so they could own – manage that perspective. Hence when needed mainstream will utilize Keynes to say money is not a problem and then completely reverse azimuth and say Keynes said money is a problem ..
Can't wait till they take Marx out of context to support some elitist social views ..
Grant , March 7, 2019 at 3:03 pm
I am curious, just want to know. When you say you aren't a fan of MMT, what is the reason? I am interested in good critiques of its insights, just hard to come by, since it does seem to describe present really pretty well.
Adam1 , March 7, 2019 at 2:25 pm
As with most "serious economists" he's really an overpaid fraud. The man professes to understand government deficits, yet he has no idea how the accounting works.
From Warren Mosler
"Several years ago I had a meeting with Senator Tom Daschle and then Asst. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. I had been discussing these innocent frauds with the Senator, and explaining how they were working against the well being of those who voted for him. So he set up this meeting with the Asst. Treasury Secretary who was also a former Harvard economics professor and had two uncles who had won Nobel prizes in economics, to get his response and hopefully confirm what I was saying.
I opened with a question: "Larry, what's wrong with the budget deficit?"
To which he replied: "It takes away savings that could be used for investment".
To which I replied: "No it doesn't, all Treasury securities do is offset operating factors at the Fed. It has nothing to do with savings and investment".
To which he replied: "Well, I really don't understand reserve accounting so I can't discuss it at that level".
Senator Daschle was looking at all this in disbelief. The Harvard professor of economics Asst. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers didn't understand reserve accounting? Sad but true."
Susan the Other , March 7, 2019 at 3:06 pm
Note to Larry, please follow this logic: Money is Fiat; Fiat is cooperation; Cooperation is fiscal control; and fiscal control is civilization. Nowhere in this chain of thought does debt; interest; austerity; or any of your other little techniques even exist. Those bizarre ideas exist in more primitive thinking about power and slavery and savage exploitation. You know the routine.
Gary Gray , March 7, 2019 at 3:19 pm
Maybe, but debt expansion is debt expansion. Globally debt exhaustion looks to have been reached and we are at the top of the mountain. We are at the first stage, the next stage is what triggers the recession. The last stage, the Minsky moment.
Summers is a cluck, but a useful one in this case. The move from a mixed economy to financial engineering is very addictive to the "people". Moving back to a mixed economy won't be all giggles for everybody as consumption is naturally cut.
Like all junkies, the detox won't be easy and in some cases, fatal.
Susan the Other , March 8, 2019 at 10:09 am
Yes, it is what is so frightening about our current breakdown. Debt is the whole system. It was necessary to maintain that system. But there's no reason why debt can't be put in what banksters call a "bad bank" and just let it run off the books. It can all be done in some resolution that forgives some and allows some to linger without interfering in the economy anymore. There will always be private debt, so caveat friends and neighbors. But there's no reason to suffer an impossible debt burden as a sovereign nation. And from here on in we should not buy anything unless it can be purchased in US dollars/treasuries. The debt to ourselves doesn't matter. The thing that matters is how we spend our money, do we waste time on bad projects or do we create a more valuable civilization with good ones? Debt is just a monkeywrench, useful to gamblers and middlemen. We could configure a completely different economics with very little pain if we put our minds to it.
Samuel Conner , March 7, 2019 at 4:45 pm
I find it profoundly encouraging that it seems that the best that the best credentialed opponents of MMT can do is what is described here.
They aren't ridiculing MMT; they are embarrassing themselves.
KLG , March 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm
Another good link to Larry Summers, Serious Economist. I remembered this passage from Herman Daly's book, and the magic of DuckDuckGo found this. Long but worth the few minutes. NB, I don't know anything about this blogger:
Carey , March 7, 2019 at 7:16 pm
Yes, that was a good link. Bookmarked that site.
The Rev Kev , March 7, 2019 at 7:32 pm
Not much love for Larry Summers here – and rightly so. I remember reading a conversation that he was in where he explained how things worked. I'll see if I can summarize it-
Larry Summers is a serious person.
Important people listen to serious people.
This is how serious people express power – by having important people listen to them.
Golden rule is that serious people never criticize each other in public – ever.
I'm sure that people here can pick out the flaw in this arrangement – as in Garbage In, Garbage Out as far as important people are concerned and the information & opinions that they receive.
KLG , March 7, 2019 at 9:57 pm
I saw what you did there.
charles 2 , March 8, 2019 at 1:07 am
Seriously, what would you expect from a person who writes this at the first paragraph for his biography (emphasis mine) :
"Dr. Summers' tenure at the U.S. Treasury coincided with the longest period of sustained economic growth in U.S. history. He is the only Treasury Secretary in the last half century to have left office with the national budget in surplus . Dr. Summers has played a key role in addressing every major financial crisis for the last two decades."
Change "addressing" by "participating in the genesis of", and you are quite close to the truth
Susan the Other , March 8, 2019 at 10:19 am
Mmmm, and all that treasury surplus was accrued by Larry's Austerity which exponentiated the private debt and turned into the 2008 tsunami. Heck of a job, Larry.
Mike Barry , March 8, 2019 at 7:14 am
Larry Summers, a Serious Economist
"You cannot be serious." -- John Mcenroe
Stillfeelinthebern , March 8, 2019 at 9:30 pm
"Larry Summers, like Hillary Clinton, does not seem willing to get the message that it would behoove him to retreat from public life."
Love this sentence!
Fazal Majid , March 9, 2019 at 12:11 am
Larry Summers is useful as a canary. The day Obama appointed him as an adviser (before his inauguration) was the day I understood Obama would do diddly squat about fixing the root causes of the Great Recession.
The part I don't understand is how he gained his prominence, other than literal nepotism. You'd think the fact he lost Harvard's endowment a cool billion would have killed his career given how prominent Harvard grads are in the US' power structure.
Sound of the Suburbs , March 9, 2019 at 3:50 am
2008 was the wakeup call global policymakers slept through.
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein
This is exactly what we've been trying to do since 2008.
Our policymakers thought this was a "black swan", and if your economics doesn't consider debt it is.
One question led me to the answer. "How does money get destroyed in the system?"
This is what happened, how did it happen?
It can't happen if banks are financial intermediaries as our policymaker's believe.
Other people have been looking into this and so there is a lot of work that has already been done to help you get to the answer.
The central bankers later confirmed how money gets destroyed in the system.
We were flying blind during globalisation and policymakers didn't understand the monetary system.
The FT revealed the Chinese were undertaking a major study of the West.
I think they must have worked out things are fundamentally wrong as they have made all the classic mistakes everyone else has made since 2008.
They have already worked out inflated asset prices and the private debt-to-GDP ratio are indicators of coming financial crises and these were the indicators that showed 1929 and 2008 were coming.
By the time they understood what was going on the Minsky Moment was dead ahead, and they could no longer use the debt fuelled growth model they had used before.
When US policymakers understand the monetary system they may be able to make some valid comments.
Mar 04, 2019 | www.unz.com
MEFOBILLS , says: February 18, 2019 at 4:26 pm GMT@jeff stryker Reality much?AriusArmenian , says: February 18, 2019 at 5:14 pm GMT
Russia just passed up the U.S. in grain exports. Their economy in real terms grows year on year. Russia has more natural wealth available to exploit than USA that includes lands rich in minerals, timber, water, etc.
With regards to traitorous fifth column atlantacists and oligarchy, Russia's shock therapy (induced by the Harvard Boys) in the 90's helped Russian's figure out who the real enemy is. Putin has marginalized most of these ((Oligarchs)), and they longer are allowed to influence politics. Many have also been stripped of their ill gotten gains, for example the Rothschild gambit to grab Yukos and to own Russia was thwarted. Dollar debts were paid off, etc.
Russia could go further in their symphony of church and state, and copy Justinian (Byzyantine empire) and prevent our (((friends))) from teaching in schools,bein control of money, or in government.
With regards to China, they would be not be anywhere near where they are today if the West had not actively transferred their patrimony in the form of transplanted industry and knowledge.
China is only temporarily dependent on export of goods via their Eastern seaboard, but as soon as belt and road opens up, she will pivot further toward Eurasia. If the U.S. factories withdrew from China tomorrow, China already has our "knowledge" and will find markets in Eurasia and raw materials in Africa, etc.
People need to stop whistling past the graveyard.
The Atlantics strategy has run its course, internal development of U.S. and linking up with belt and road would be in America's best future interests. But, to do that requires first acknowledging that money's true nature is law, and not private bank credit. Further, the U.S. is being used as whore of Babylon, where her money is "Federal Reserve Notes" and are international in character. The U.S is not sovereign. Deep state globalism does not recognize national boundaries, or sovereignty.That US elites that are split on who to go after first compromised by going after both Russia and China at the same time is a definition of insanity. The US doesn't have a chance in hell of subduing or defeating the Russia/China alliance. The US is already checkmated. The more it goes after some big win the worse will be its defeat.Cratylus , says: February 18, 2019 at 5:56 pm GMT
So the question (for me) is not which side will win, the question is the scenario of the decline of the US Empire. Someone here mentioned the EU turning East. At some point the EU will decide that staying a US vassal is suicide and it will turn East. When that happens then the virus of US insanity will turn inwards into itself.
The US has recently focused on South America by installing several fascist regimes and is now trying to get Venezuela. But the US backed regimes are laying the groundwork for the next wave of revolution soon to come. Wherever I look the US is its own worst enemy. The big question is how much suffering before it ends.Anon  Disclaimer , says: February 18, 2019 at 6:24 pm GMT
... ... ...
Huawei now sells more cell phones worldwide than Apple ( https://gearburn.com/2018/08/huawei-smartphone-sales-2018/ ). And Huawei does this even though it is effectively excluded from the US market (You cannot find it in stores) whereas Apple has unfettered access to the enormous Chinese market. You find Huawei everywhere -- from Italy to Tanzania. How would Apple fare if China stopped purchases of its products? Not so well I am afraid.Usa is at war against everyone , from China to Latinamerica , from Europe to India , from the islamic world to Africa . Usa is even at war against its own citizens , at least against its best citizens .wayfarer , says: February 18, 2019 at 6:55 pm GMTChina's "Petro-Yuan": The End of the U.S. Dollar Hegemony?WorkingClass , says: February 18, 2019 at 7:09 pm GMTWhen we speak of the culture war or the war on drugs or the war between the sexes or a trade war we are misusing the word war.AnonFromTN , says: February 18, 2019 at 9:04 pm GMT
War with China means exactly shooting and bombing and killing Chinese and American people. Expanding the meaning of the word only makes it meaningless.
We are NOT already at war with China.@joe webb Russia and China are certainly not natural allies. However, deranged international banditry of the US (called foreign policy in the DC bubble) literally forced them to ally against a common threat: dying demented Empire.Anonymous  Disclaimer , says: February 18, 2019 at 9:34 pm GMT
As you call Chinese "Chinks", I suggest you stop using everything made in China, including your clothes, footwear, tools, the light bulbs in your house, etc. Then, using your likely made in China computer and certainly made in China mouse, come back and tell us how great your life has become. Or you can stick to your principles of not using China-made stuff, write a message on a piece of paper (warning: make sure that neither the paper nor the pen is made in China), put it into a bottle, and throw it in the ocean. Be patient, and in a few centuries you might get an answer.@joe webb Russia is currently trying to get China to ally against the West:peter mcloughlin , says: February 19, 2019 at 1:55 pm GMT
" Russia to China: Together we can rule the world "
In the halls of the Kremlin these days, it's all about China -- and whether or not Moscow can convince Beijing to form an alliance against the West.
Russia's obsession with a potential alliance with China was already obvious at the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual gathering of Russia's biggest foreign policy minds, in 2017.
At their next meeting, late last year, the idea seemed to move from the speculative to something Russia wants to realize. And soon
Seen from Moscow, there is no resistance left to a new alliance led by China. And now that Washington has imposed tariffs on Chinese exports, Russia hopes China will finally understand that its problem is Washington, not Moscow.
In the past, the possibility of an alliance between the two countries had been hampered by China's reluctance to jeopardize its relations with the U.S. But now that it has already become a target, perhaps it will grow bolder. Every speaker at Valdai tried to push China in that direction.Where a war begins -- or ends -- can be hard to define. Michael Klare is right, 'War' and 'peace' are not 'polar opposites'. We often look at wars in chronological abstraction: the First World War started on the 28th July 1914. Or did it only become a global war one week later when Great Britain declared war on Germany? The causes can be of long duration. The decline of the Ottoman Empire, for which the other Great Powers were positioning themselves to benefit, might have begun as far back as 1683 when the Turks were defeated at the Battle of Vienna. It ultimately led to the events of 1914.
Great power rivalry has always led to wars; in the last hundred years world wars. Graham Allison wrote that the US can 'avoid catastrophic war with China while protecting and advancing American national interests' if it follows the lessons of the Cold War. History shows that wars are caused by the clash of interests, that's always at some else's expense. When core interests collide there is no alternative to war -- however destructive.
Feb 22, 2019 | www.unz.com
MEFOBILLS , says: February 21, 2019 at 9:28 pm GMT@TKK https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html
The U.S. is an Oligarchy.
Western Oligarchs raped Russia in the 90's. OK, most of them were Jews – but still Western. The (((harvard))) boys foisted dollar debts on Russia, and then converted Russia to an extraction economy. Putin cleverly taxed the Oligarchs and prevented them from further predations.
No country can survive if it has an internal hostile elite. Nobody here can claim that Russia's government is hostile to its people. A fair claim can be made that the "international" elite that infest America IS HOSTILE. Why would you immigrate a replacement population if not hostile? Why would you export your industry if not hostile?
You don't dig out and convert your economy to first world standards overnight.
So, the trend lines are clear. The West and U.S. is a finance oligarchy in decline, while Russia is on a ascendant path. These lines will cross over at some point in near future. One could even squint and say that Russia is no longer an Oligarchy of special interests, and is moving into Byzantium mode e.g. symphony of Church and State. Many Russian thinkers are projecting another 40 years or so to consolidate the gains.
Even more alarming is Bugajski's argument that the goal should not be self-determination for breakaway Russian territories, but the annexing of these lands to other countries . "Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.comLike many contemporary cold warriors, Bugajski toggles back and forth between overhyping Russia's might and its weaknesses, notably a lack of economic dynamism and a rise in ethnic and regional fragmentation. But his primary argument is unambiguous: That the West should actively stoke longstanding regional and ethnic tensions with the ultimate aim of a dissolution of the Russian Federation, which Bugajski dismisses as an "imperial construct."
It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.
So who is Janusz Bugajski, and who is he speaking for?
The author bio on the Hill's piece identifies him as a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. But CEPA is no ordinary talk shop: Instead of the usual foundations and well-heeled individuals, its financial backers seem to be mostly arms of the US government, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Mission to NATO, the US-government-sponsored National Endowment for Democracy, as well as as veritable who's who of defense contractors, including Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Textron. Meanwhile, Bugajski chairs the South-Central Europe area studies program at the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State.
To put it in perspective, it is akin to a Russian with deep ties to the Kremlin and arms-makers arguing that the Kremlin needed to find ways to break up the United States and, if possible, have these breakaway regions absorbed by Mexico and Canada. (A scenario which alas is not as far-fetched as it might have been a few years ago; many thousands in California now openly talk of a "Calexit," and many more in Mexico of a reconquista .)
green dragon , 2 hours ago link
CatInTheHat , 3 hours ago link
The breakup of the USSR was planned also. It was followed by the formation of oligarchs, IMF loans, and asset stripping. The economic advice and help Russia received from the west almost accomplished the goal of breaking up Russia.
Russia is well aware that war with NATO cannot be avoided in the long run. One only has to talk to Russians to see that they understand they are in a Cold war that they have to survive. From their view they did not seek this confrontation. They truly thought they would be embraced by the West after the fall and a new relationship benefiting both sides could have emerged. So now Russia has to turn to China and prepare for a future war within a decade with NATO!
August , 1 hour ago link
Disgusting projection of US imperialism. The elite never forgave Putin for throwing US Rothschild elites out of Russia so they could no longer plunder Russias extensive wealth under Yeltsin..
Let's see what happens when neocunts start that hot war, how Americans then feel about Russia
We truly have dumbfucks in this country who love the thought of other as enemy other than THEMSELVES. They never ONCE consider that in demonizing another countries leader, they are demonizing a whole nation of peoples too. I wonder how Americans would feel if constant demonizing and threats coming their way, with also say regime change in Mexico to provoke them?
US neocons are psychopaths that care nothing for Americans. What they do to others in regime change they will do to us. Oh, wait. They already have #9/11
Fluff The Cat , 4 hours ago link
Poles actively pushing for the dismembering of Russia have been around for a long time.
CatInTheHat , 3 hours ago link
Published in the Hill under the dispassionate title "Managing Russia's dissolution," author Janusz Bugajski makes the case that the West should not only seek to contain "Moscow's imperial ambitions" but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.
If that is the intended goal then wouldn't it be accurate to state that America, or at least its government, has imperial ambitions?
The rationale for dissolution should be logically framed: In order to survive, Russia needs a federal democracy and a robust economy; with no democratization on the horizon and economic conditions deteriorating, the federal structure will become increasingly ungovernable...
Russia already tried "democracy" and the end result spelled disaster for their country. Minorities were put on a pedestal while their economy was in shambles, all the while the oligarchs, who were mostly Jewish, made a fortune plundering their natural resources. Sound familiar?
Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past."
The hypocrisy in this statement is breathless. Is America going to return Alaska to Russia? Allow Hawaii to once again be an autonomous entity? Cease the illegal occupation of countries throughout the Middle East? Remove their Neo-Nazi stooges from Ukraine?
It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.
The idea seems to be to stoke regional tensions in order to provoke Russia and start a conflict where the surrounding countries are put on the front lines while being provided with logistics from the outside, meaning the US. Washington could then play up the plausible deniability angle, even while technology from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other Western contractors is primarily being used against the Russians.
Russia is not a direct threat to Western nations, only to their (((governments))), because during any attempted implementation of a JWO (as in the EU for example), Russia will serve as a reminder to all Western peoples - especially white people - as to what their nations once were: independent, sovereign and self-determined. Russia prevented ISISrael from taking over Syria, thwarted their Oded Yinon plan and threw out their oligarchs, so World Judaism is using America as their bludgeon against the Russian Federation while preventing us from forming an alliance.
back to basics , 5 hours ago link
Browder a ******* fraud who owes Russia hundreds of millions in back taxes.
And along with **** Cardin, DEMOCRAT, helped to fraudulently create the Magnistky Act
6 hours ago Bug-aj-ski - neocon shrill writing for and paid by the MIC it looks like from the sponsors of this think tank
74 years after Nazi Germany miscalculated Russian resolve some idiot dreams of carving Russia up like it's a Thanksgiving turkey and some people actually take him seriously. Yeah, good luck with that.
let;s have a look see at their website
https://www.cepa.org/international-advisory-council - more neocons
oh yah Brzezinski - deceased tho - oops -
Albright - not dead yet
https://www.cepa.org/experts - and more "expert" neocons
"Cultivating new sources of competitive advantage for U.S. strategy."
no list of sponsors tho I can see from the website - real MIC platform it sounds like from the article
6 hours ago Yep, it's a Zbigniew Brzezinski memorial. The money seems to come mostly from the MIC and the usual Cold War think tanks, like the Harry and Lynde Bradley Foundation. 5 hours ago These necons need to remember that chess is the national passtime of Russians, while making mudpies is the what they do in the West. These "think-tanks" are very childish. 3 hours ago 9 hours ago here's where some of it started/got turbocharged:
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n02/seymour-m-hersh/the-vice-presidents-men LA_Goldbug 10 hours ago The only way I can understand this twat is to think that he is just earning his shekels. He knows what the Party Line is in DC requires and is writing accordingly. I just checked a bit of his BS and this one is definitely written for the uninformed or deeply indoctrinated Western sheep.
"Taking Stock of Ukraine's Achievements Amidst Russia's Aggression
Five years ago, the Ukrainian people staged a peaceful "revolution of dignity" against a corrupt regime sponsored by the Kremlin. They stood firm even under gunfire and it was the discredited President Viktor Yanukovych who eventually retreated and took refuge in Russia. With Moscow engaging in renewed attacks against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov it is important to take stock of Ukraine's achievements since those fateful days in Kyiv's Independence Square."
You need to be brain dead to think it was peaceful !!!!
Jan 11, 2019 | www.unz.com
TheJester , says: Next New Comment January 11, 2019 at 11:51 am GMTLet me be optimistic that the path to the eventual economic, national, and cultural collapse of the United States will follow the path of the Soviet Union: quick collapse followed by a slow process of national, cultural, and religious regeneration.Svigor , says: Next New Comment January 11, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
In this model, Trump is playing out the script written for "Yeltsin" a reckless buffoon exposing the hypocrisy and inherent weakness of Soviet ideology, economics, and culture.
Trump has done us a favor. Without Yeltsin, the Soviet Union might have lumbered for a few more decades as a decadent, geriatric patient in a hospice awaiting inevitable death. With Yeltsin's help, the end came quickly. Taking advantage of the anarchy, a conspiratorial elite consisting of a cabal of billionaires raped the Soviet Union of its wealth while there was still something left to steal and absconded to safe havens in London, New York, and Israel. This made the end of the Soviet system inevitable.
Are we already in the phase of oligarchical plunder? Yes, it's obvious.
Russia achieved its "MRGA" with Putin, backed by a core of Russian nationalists and patriots who rejected the multicultural diversity and globalism inherent in Marxist dogma. Russia is returning to its pre-1917 culture and traditions. Let's hope we can also achieve our "MAGA" by rediscovering the confident Anglosphere that created the post-WWII world.
Bye-bye feminism, multicultural diversity, and the decadent "globohomo" ideology that came to define the "Empire".@TheJester I'll remain agnostic as to whether the US is facing financial collapse, but point out that USSR's collapse doesn't imply US has to have one (not that you intended the reference that way).
USSR had a command economy, US doesn't. That said, I do think our military-industrial complex is long overdue for a collapse, having long since lost its only real justification, the Soviet threat.
Trimming the huge amount of Defense and entitlement fat we're carrying would help a lot.
Jan 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
... ... ...
In 2007 Naomi Klein got quite a bit of attention and mostly favorable comment for her book, Shock Doctrine. It promulgated that global elites used periods of crisis around the world to force damaging neoliberal policies derived from the Chicago School and Washington Consensus upon unhappy populations that suffered greatly as a result. This was "shock therapy" that was more like destructive electroshock than any sort of therapy . There is a lot of truth to this argument, and it highlighted underlying ideological arguments and outcomes.
The argument largely seems to hold for the original poster boy example in Chile with the Pinochet coup against the socialist Allende regime. A military coup replaced a democratically government. While Chile was experiencing a serious inflation, it was not in a full-blown economic collapse. The coup was supported by US leaders Nixon and Kissinger, who saw themselves preventing the emergence of pro-Soviet regime resembling Castro's Cuba. Thousands were killed, and a sweeping set of laisssez faire policies were imposed with the active participation of "Chicago Boys" associated with Milton Friedman. In fact, aside from bringing down inflation these reforms did not initially improve economic performance, even as foreign capital flowed in, especially into the copper industry, although the core of that industry remained nationalized. After several years the Chicago Boys were sent away and more moderate policies, including a reimposition of controls on foreign capital flows, the economy did grow quite rapidly. But this left a deeply unequal income distribution in place, which would largely remain the case even after Pinochet was removed from power and parliamentary democracy returned.
This scenario was argued to happen in many other nations, especially those in the former Soviet bloc as the Soviet Union disintegrated and its successor states and the former members of the Soviet bloc in the CMEA and Warsaw Pact also moved to some sort of market capitalism imposed from outside with policies funded by the IMF and following the Washington Consensus.
Although he has since expressed regret for this role in this, a key player linking what was done in several Latin American nations and what went down after 1989 in Eastern and Central Europe was Jeffrey Sachs .
Klein's discussion especially of what went down in Russia also looks pretty sound by and large, without dragging through the details, although in these cases the political shift was from dictatorships run by Communist parties dominated out of Moscow to at least somewhat more democratic governments, although not in all of the former Soviet republics such as in Central Asia and with many of these later backsliding towards more authoritarian governments later.
In Russia and in many others large numbers of people were thrown into poverty from which they have not recovered. Klein has also extended this argument to other nations, including South Africa after the end of apartheid.
Jan 08, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press
A conversation in the radio studio "Komsomolskaya Pravda" with the Hero of the Soviet Union, the first and the last vice-president of Russia, Alexander Rutskoi and the former head of the President's Security Service (by definition, the closest person to Yeltsin's body), Alexander Korzhakov.
Twenty-two years ago, Moscow shuddered from the tank volleys, and people all over the country clung to TV screens, on which Western TV stations broadcasted how Yeltsin's loyal troops fire at the rebel troops of the Supreme Soviet (Parlament) of Russia. The opposition of the Armed Forces and the President Yeltsin with his team, on the one hand, and Rutskoi and Khasbulatov with the deputies, on the other, ended in great blood. Incongruous with the one that spilled two years earlier, when the Emergency Committee tried to keep the USSR. This was the beginning of our conversation in the radio studio "Komsomolskaya Pravda" with the Hero of the Soviet Union, the first and the last vice-president of Russia, Alexander Vladimirovich Rutskoi and the former head of the President's Security Service (by definition, the closest person to Yeltsin's body), Alexander Vasilyevich Korzhakov.
Oct 04, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Declassified Clinton-Yeltsin Telcons Show U.S. Support No Matter What Embassy Cables and Oral Histories Detail Complex Conflict and U.S. Motivations Today's Russian Opposition Sees Crucial Turning Point Towards Today's Autocracy ... ... ...
Cable from White House Washington DC to American Embassy Moscow. Memorandum of Conversation: Memcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russia, July 10, 1993, Tokyo 1993-07-16 Source: U.S. Department of State declassification M-2006-01499
This is a copy of a cable containing the memcon between Yeltsin and Clinton with a cover note from Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Strobe Talbott instructing him to review the memcon before his forthcoming meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov. In the handwritten notes he also records his impressions from the meeting. He is "struck by [ ] B[ill] C[linton]'s command of the issues [ ] his dominance in [meeting] (hard to do with Yeltsin), and "no rhetoric or posturing on either side."
This memcon is important because it shows the impressive variety of issues on which Clinton and Yeltsin had a productive exchange and agreed to cooperate: replacing COCOM with a new regime; a deal on highly enriched uranium (HEU) that Russia was going to remove from the nuclear warheads being withdrawn from Kazakhstan; Ukraine and Belarus and partly return to Ukraine as fuel for nuclear power stations and partly sell to the United States in the framework of the Megatons for Megawatts program; working with Ukraine to return the nuclear weapons to Russia; progress on CTBT; non-proliferation, and specifically limiting Russia's sales of reactors, missiles, and submarines to Iran and India; getting North Korea to the negotiating table; peacekeeping in Georgia and Nagorny Karabakh; and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltics.
On the latter, Yeltsin made an official request that the U.S. side conduct an investigation of the laws in Estonia to determine if they discriminate against ethnic Russians (Christopher in his cover note recommends giving Yeltsin a proper legal response even if it is negative). The breadth of issues helps one understand that Yeltsin truly was an indispensable partner for Clinton across the range of U.S. priorities in the former Soviet Union and even globally. Only once is there a signal that Yeltsin is in a complicated place domestically. Mentioning that the Supreme Soviet has just passed a bill declaring Sevastopol a Russian city, Yeltsin says, characteristically, "Thank God no one takes the Supreme Soviet seriously!"
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation: Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation. 1993-09-21 Source: U.S. Department of State declassification M-2006-01499
Clinton calls Yeltsin immediately after the Russian president makes a speech announcing his Presidential Decree 1400-dissolving the Parliament and setting the date for early elections to a new legislature and a referendum for the draft Constitution. Clinton expresses his full support for Yeltsin but also a concern about the fate of reform and democratic process in Russia. In response, Yeltsin paints a black-and-white picture of the political struggle saying that the Supreme Soviet "has totally gone out of control. It no longer supports the reform process. They have become communist." He assures his U.S. partner that "there will be no bloodshed," and that "all the democratic forces are supporting me." Clinton underscores the importance of holding the elections "in a fully democratic manner," and providing the opposition full access to free press without hindrance. Yeltsin promises to stick to democratic principles and reiterates his commitment to peaceful solutions. Clinton mentions that a $2.5 billion assistance package is being considered by Congress at the moment and the preservation of democratic order would be important for its passing. Yeltsin promises that now the "reforms will go much faster" and thanks the U.S. president for his continuous support. Document 04 Ambassador Thomas Pickering Oral History Excerpt 2007-02-19 Source: Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection, Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, Arlington, Virginia, www.adst.org , https://adst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Pickering-Thomas-Reeve.pdf , pp. 357-362 ( 15th of December, the Ides of December 2006) and pp. 386-391 ( 19th of February 2007) . This extremely useful oral history collection includes interviews with more than 2,000 former U.S. diplomats. The interviews with Tom Pickering took place over an extended period from 2003 to 2007 after his retirement from the Foreign Service, and produced a transcript totaling 722 pages ranging from his ancestry to postings as far afield as Zanzibar and San Salvador. Pickering served as U.S. ambassador to Moscow from 1993 to 1996, among the most momentous years in Russia's post-Soviet history, and a large section of the oral history covers his time in Russia. The particular pages related to the October 1993 events are in two parts, one from pages 357 to 362 on the overall policy and the Clinton-Yeltsin relationship, and the other, his extremely detailed eyewitness account of the assault on the White House, from pages 386 to 391. Pickering recounts his strong advice to Washington that there was "no choice" other than to back Yeltsin. He says, "There are some who argue that he, Yeltsin, was illegal in his actions and preemptory in his decisions and wrong in the outcomes. I totally disagreed with that . Were Yeltsin to have failed to do what he did, there was a good chance that there would have been another effort at the top to return Russia to communism. I cannot but believe that would have resulted in greater bloodshed and a long civil conflict." (p. 362) On the possibility of a negotiated settlement, Pickering comments, "[T]here were talks back and forth, not very fruitful ones because the Russian government then was in a position of deciding whether it was going to treat with these people and deal with compromises or take back the White House. They decided that they were going to take back the White House. They had the troops and the capability of doing that."
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation: Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of Russian Federation. 1993-10-05 Source: William J. Clinton Presidential Library declassification 2015-0782-M-1
This phone call takes place on the day after Yeltsin ordered tanks to fire on the building of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow(the "White House, the same building outside which Yeltsin had stood on a tank to reisist the hard-line coup attempt in August 1991), Clinton calls him to express support and inquire about the Russian president's plans for the upcoming elections and political settlement after the constitutional crisis. Yeltsin calls his opponents "fascist," putting all the blame on the opposition, telling Clinton that the supporters of the Parliament "brought to Moscow a gang of people from the Transdniester region, the Riga OMON-these were special forces. They had them come here, gave them machine guns and grenade launchers, and had them fire on peaceful civilians." He says he had no alternative than using force. Yeltsin expresses regret that "some people were killed," [ ] "thirty-nine people have now been killed on our side," (estimates of casualties range in the hundreds) but assures Clinton that now both the transition to democracy and market reform will move faster and he might call for early presidential elections because at the time "no real rivals to me are visible." (Vice President Rutskoy and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Khasbulatov were in prison, the prosecutor general was forced to resign and the Constitutional Court was suspended after its Chairman declared Yeltsin's decree 1400 unconstitutional.) None of that appears to undermine Yeltsin's democratic credentials in Clinton's eyes. Clinton never asks about the loss of life among civilians and the opposition. He says just what Yeltsin wants to hear: "you did everything exactly as you had to and I congratulate you for the way you handled it." The Russian president responds: "Thank you for everything. I embrace you with all my heart."
Memorandum for the President from Anthony Lake: Clarification on Your October 5 Telephone Conversation with President Yeltsin. 1993-10-07 Source: William J. Clinton Presidential Library declassification 2015-0782-M-1
This memo from National Security Advisor Anthony Lake clarifies two items in the October 5 conversation with Yeltsin (see Document 4). When Yeltsin referred to armed persons from Riga and Moldova who came to Moscow to support the opposition, Lake points out, they were "from the elite Russian security forces stationed in Riga and Moldova," not representatives of the Moldovan or Latvian governments. The second important correction refers to the fact that Yeltsin did not answer Clinton's question about freedom of the press in the period before the scheduled December elections. Yeltsin only said that there "would be no restrictions on the elections," and his interpreter translated it as "no restrictions on the press." In fact many oppositional newspapers were banned. President Clinton writes on the memo: "OK-but it wasn't the time for me to raise the newspaper issue on the 5 th ."
Cable from American Embassy Moscow to Secretary of State: Secretary's Visit to Moscow: Domestic Political Dynamics. 1993-10-19 Source: Department of State Declassification, Date/Case ID; 6 MAR 2003 200001030
Chargé d'Affaires and future Ambassador to Russia James Collins sends Secretary Christopher a briefing cable in advance of his visit to Moscow where he is expected to meet with Yeltsin and other government officials. This is the first visit of any Western senior official to Moscow after Yeltsin's dissolution of the Parliament and the October 3-4 bloodshed in the center of Moscow. In the cable, Collins describes the pre-electoral landscape in Russia on the eve of Christopher's visit. Although 92 parties are registered for the election, that in itself does not guarantee free and fair elections.
The cable describes Yeltsin's decision to push through the new "half-baked" Constitution, which concentrates the "preponderance of authority in the hands of the chief executive." Collins points out that "even many reformers worry about establishing a new Russian democracy so heavily tilted toward presidential power." The cable describes the split within the reformist camp into "radical" and "cautious" reformers, the confusion at the regional levels regarding whether the elections would be held for regional legislatures, and the continuing ban on nationalist and right-wing parties and their newspapers.
Collins notes the personal nature of the confrontation: "Boris Yeltsin's face during his October 6 speech was proof the Russian President had cast his hardline opponents into a personal anathema." He also raises concern about the methods used by Moscow police and city government in implementing the state of emergency, such as "systematic police cleansing of non-Russian people from Central Asian and Caucasian states," and racist remarks about dark-skinned people by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. In the end of the cable, Collins cautions that although the actual voting is likely to be fair, "the question will be the democratic content of the entire electoral process."
Cable from American Embassy Moscow to Secretary of State: Your October 21-23 Visit to Moscow-Key Foreign Policy Issues 1993-10-20 Source: U.S. Department of State. Date/Case ID: 04 MAY 2000 200000982
In the follow-up to the previous cable (Document 6), Chargé d'Affaires Collins reviews foreign policy issues Christopher is expected to cover in Moscow in his meetings with Yeltsin and Kozyrev and emphasizes that Yeltsin is looking for gestures of support from the United States. New elections are scheduled for December and Yeltsin needs all the support from the West he can get. Collins advises the secretary of state to be sensitive to Yeltsin's and Kozyrev's need for Russia to be seen domestically as a partner with whom the West consults and does not just take for granted, and he lists some controversial issues: NATO expansion, the post-Soviet space, and Ukraine.
On NATO, Collins notes that the Russians are aware that the U.S. internal debate is reaching a crucial moment about expansion and they want to be assured that the door is open to Russia, not just to East Europeans. In Collins' view, "what the Russians hope to hear from you is that NATO is not moving precipitously and that any policy NATO adopts will apply equally to them." Their "neuralgic" attitude stems from the fear that they will "end up on the wrong side of a new division of Europe." Therefore, Collins counsels Christopher to make sure the Russians know that the U.S. is actively promoting Russia's "complete reintegration into the family of Western states."
Secretary Christopher's Meeting with Foreign Minister Kozyrev: NATO, Elections, Regional Issues 1993-10-25 Source: U.S. Department of State. Date/Case ID: 11 MAR 2003 200001030
On his trip to Europe to explain the U.S. position on NATO expansion, Secretary Christopher comes to Moscow after meetings in Budapest. He and special ambassador Strobe Talbott meet with Foreign Minister Kozyrev and his deputy, Yuri Mamedov, before they visit Yeltsin at his country residence. Christopher raises concerns about the fairness of the upcoming elections with his Russian counterparts. He mentions that the United States has $12 million to contribute and is willing to send monitors or observers, which Kozyrev welcomes, saying they might help to guard against fraud by communist-leaning local authorities in rural areas where "the old kolkhoz mentality" still prevails. Christopher puts special emphasis on ensuring a free press since the order banning opposition newspapers was still not lifted. Kozyrev does not have a definitive answer to the question regarding banned newspapers and he says only six or seven political organizations will be banned from participating in the elections.
In this memo about the Kozyrev meeting, Christopher is very brief about the NATO discussion. He tells Kozyrev that the U.S. is sensitive to the Russian position and has developed a new proposal as a result: the Partnership for Peace (PFP), which would be open to all countries on an equal basis. Christopher does not directly address Kozyrev's concern about the decision regarding expansion, but, misleadingly, lets it sound as if PFP is the alternative for the time being.
The rest of the conversation deals with crucial issues on which the United States needs Russian cooperation, such as support for Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia and the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ukraine.
Secretary Christopher's Meeting with President Yeltsin, 10/22/1993, Moscow 1993-10-22 Source: U.S. Department of State. Date/Case ID: 08 MAY 2000 200000982
Christopher is taken to Yeltsin's country house, Zavidovo, for a meeting that lasts only 45 minutes. Yeltsin has most likely already been briefed by Kozyrev about his conversation with the secretary of state. In the beginning of the conversation, Yeltsin reviews the events of September 21-October 4 in Moscow and expresses "special appreciation to President Clinton and Secretary Christopher for their early and very supportive backing. The Russian president talks about the upcoming elections, which he calls "the first free and fair election for the parliament since 1917," and assures Christopher that the country has calmed down after the crisis. Yeltsin praises the new Constitution that is "up to the standards of the best Western democracies," which would allow them to "end the old totalitarian regime with the power assigned to the soviets." He also welcomes the Clinton visit to Moscow planned for January 1994.
Christopher starts with strong praise for Yeltsin's handling of the constitutional crisis with the Parliament, passing on "high appreciation" and emphasizing that Clinton is "extremely supportive" of his "superb handling of the crisis." According to Christopher, Clinton "admired the restraint" that Yeltsin has practiced since September 21 and that in the end he acted in a way that "caused the least loss of life." He adds that "on Sunday October 3, the President also closely followed events and wanted to tell President Yeltsin that [ ] our thoughts were with you in Moscow all day." Christopher offers technical assistance for the election and notes that "there are already numbers of our experts here who could be helpful but we would like to assist in any way in which we could do so." Essentially, Christopher lauds Yeltsin's handling of the crisis and never raises any concerns mentioned in Collins' cable (see Document 6, above) about irregularities in the electoral process or the nature of Yeltsin's constitution.
At the end of the conversation they briefly touch on the sensitive question of NATO expansion. Christopher leaves Yeltsin with the impression that the Partnership for Peace is an alternative to expansion (see Document 8 in National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 621 [tk: Rinat, please add link]). Yeltsin is extremely pleased with everything Christopher says at the meeting. He concludes "by saying that he appreciated immensely President Clinton's early continuing and extremely generous support and that he wanted to pass on his highest esteem for the President."
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation: Telcon with President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation. 1993-12-22 Source: William J. Clinton Presidential Library declassification 1015-0782-M-1
Clinton calls Yeltsin to check on the political situation after the elections and talk about his upcoming visit to Russia in January 1994. At the beginning of the conversation both presidents put the best spin on the disastrous election results where the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky finished with 23 percent, the Communist Party of Gennady Zyuganov with 12 percent and Yeltsin's party, Russia's Choice, headed by Yegor Gaidar, only got 15 percent. Clinton is concerned about Yeltsin's ability to continue his economic reform with the strong nationalist-communist-agrarian opposition in Parliament. Yeltsin assures him that he is committed to the reform and will be able to work with the Parliament, "especially since the working relationship is supported by a strong democratic foundation in the new constitution." He says that now "there is no room for extremism or fascism in the new parliament." At the same time, he asks the U.S. president not to invite opposition party leaders to a meeting when Clinton comes to Moscow "so as not to give them an exaggerated opinion of themselves." Clinton tells Yeltsin that they decided not to talk much about Zhirinovsky and "to play him down."
The rest of the conversation focuses on preparations for the upcoming summit with Clinton's three-part agenda: "economic assistance to support your reforms; our common effort to convince Ukraine to go non-nuclear; and our foreign policy agenda." He promises to start a "quiet study" of how to increase IMF and World Bank assistance to Russia. Yeltsin is grateful for the support and emphasizes the importance of cooperation on denuclearization of Ukraine. He enthusiastically accepts Clinton's program.
Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev Oral History Excerpt 2015-00-00 Source: Interview conducted by Petr Aven and Alfred Kokh and ultimately published in their book, Gaidar's Revolution: The Inside Account of the Economic Transformation of Russia (London: I. B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 297-333.
Two of Yegor Gaidar's close associates during the "second Russian revolution" of 1989-1992 went back 20 years later, after Gaidar's death, to interview 10 of the other key players in that period, including the Defense Minister Pavel Grachev (the only American interviewed was former Secretary of State James Baker). Aven and Kokh published short versions of each interview in the Russian edition of Forbes between 2010 and 2012, and longer versions in their book. In the biographical listing in the back of the book, the authors sneer at Grachev as a corrupt incompetent, while for most others listed they simply provide the dates and titles of their positions. But they give Grachev more than 30 pages of space to recount his versions of multiple controversial topics. This excerpt, titled "The Army and the Putsch of 1993," from pages 325 to 330, includes Grachev's story of his 3 a.m. discussions with Yeltsin and his security chief Korzhakov, during which "we drank a little," leading to the assault on the White House. Grachev says he personally gave the orders for a tank to fire "inert" projectiles into specific windows in the White House, after which "a fire started. It was beautiful." When Aven asks how many they killed in the assault, Grachev answers, "a lot." When Aven says, "from 200 to 400, by various estimates," Grachev responds, "many, in short."
 The main editor of Novaya Gazeta , Sergey Kozheurov, elected for the second time in November 2017, was the founding editor of the newspaper from 1993 to 1995.
 Talbott, The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy , (New York: Random House, 2002) p. 55
Published at https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2018-10-04/yeltsin-shelled-russian-parliament-25-years-ago-us-praised-superb-handling Read also: Haley and Binomo (Trump and his People)
Read also: US complain Russians do not let them dominate the Middle East!!!
Feb 17, 2004 | www.harbus.org
"Russia is not a normal country," said Professor Marshall Goldman, an internationally recognized authority on Russian politics and economics, in his meeting with HBS students on February 9th. Professor Goldman of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University came to campus to talk about his recent book "The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry".
The event, hosted by the Eastern European Association, attracted significant interest from the HBS community. Surrounded by dozens of students in a packed room at Cumnock Hall, Professor Goldman shared his prospective on the past and future of the Russian reforms, and answered a number of intriguing questions. His expert opinion was sought to add academic clarity to the recent publicized debate around 'the real facts about Russia'.
In his lecture, Professor Goldman gave a critical assessment of the approach to the economic reforms taken by the Russian government after the collapse of Soviet Union. Citing the examples of Poland and China, he argued that more gradual liberalization and privatization would generate wider social benefits in a less corrupt environment.
In addition, Marshall Goldman didn't miss the opportunity to pick on 'the guys across the river', referring to Harvard Professors Andrei Shleifer and Jeffrey Sachs (now at Columbia) who consulted Russian authorities in early nineties and advocated 'shock therapy' reforms. He also quoted Shleifer's recent publication about Russia, 'A normal country'.
Professor Goldman talked at length about the genesis of the 'oligarchs', Russia's largest and most controversial businessmen. In the last few years, Russia 'delegated' 19 billionaires to the Forbes' World's Richest People list – more than Britain or France, for instance. In examining this unique Russian phenomenon, Marshall Goldman emphasized that the 'oligarchs' propelled themselves to riches after the start of perestroika in 1987. Coming from the ranks of Soviet government officials or black market dealers, these people took advantage of immature regulatory environment to build wealth, first through financial and export-import operations, and then by privatizing the country's natural resources and mass media.
Oligarchs reached the peak of their influence in the late nineties after they ventured into politics and helped re-elect Boris Yeltsin the President of Russia. Ironically, the demise of the oligarchs follows the same route but in reverse: stripped of their media assets by President Putin, they lost their political weight, and are now gradually losing control over natural resources. The recent arrest of the oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky served as an obvious indication of this trend.
In examining the current situation in Russia, Professor Goldman deplored the excesses of the 'rule of law' and the cutbacks on the democratic freedoms, primarily freedom of speech. At the same time he admitted considerable advances made by Russia in the economic area. Fuelled by high commodity prices and liberal tax reforms (with income tax at 13% flat), the Russian economy developed briskly in the last five years, posting a whopping 7% GDP increase in 2003. Although this growth remains driven more by greater resource utilization than by factor productivity, Marshall Goldman was generally positive about the prospects of Russian businesses. In answering a student's question 'Is Russia a good place to invest?', he said that most probably yes, pointing at the burgeoning consumer market, growing foreign investment and recent moves by Moody's and Standard & Poor's to raise Russian sovereign ratings to the investment grade.
In closing, Professor Goldman expressed his hope that Russia will manage to keep the current fine balance between both the liberal economic policies and sub-democratic political regime. He also invited HBS students to attend weekly academic seminars held at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard.
Feb 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
DidierF , Feb 21, 2018 2:03:08 AM | linkSad but definitely correct. The first casualty of war is the truth. It's dead in the USA and allies. Therefore, they're at war with Russia and China. If Russia is down, China will be dealt with.V. Arnold , Feb 21, 2018 2:13:54 AM | link
The horrible thing with the US attitude is that you do a white thing, you're attacking them and if you do a black thing, you're attacking them too. This attitude is building hostility against Russia. It's like programming a pet to be afraid of something. The western people are being programmed into hating Russia, dehumanizing her people, cutting every tie with Russia and transforming any information from Russia into life threatening propaganda. A war for our hearts is running. The US population is being coerced into believing that war against Russia is a vital necessity.
It will be a war of choice from the US "elites". Clinton announced it and the population had chosen Trump for that reason.
You're wondering why they're doing it. I suppose that their narrative is losing its grip on the western populations. They're also conscious of it. If they lose it, they'll have to face very angry mobs and face the void of their lives. Everything they did was either useless or poisonous. It means to be in a very bad spot. They're are therefore under an existential threat.
Russia proved time and again that it's possible to get out of their narrative. Remember their situation when Eltsin was reelected with the western help.
The Chicago boys were telling the Russian authorities how to run the economy and they made out of the word democrat a synonym of thief. They were in the narrative and the result was a disaster. Then, they woke up and started to clean the house. I remember the "hero" of democracy whose name was "Khodorovsky (?)". In the west he was a freedom fighter and in Russia he stole something like Rosneft. This guy and others of the same sort were described in the west as heroes, pioneers and so on. They were put back into submission to the law. The western silence about their stealing, lies and cheating is still deafening me.
It was the first Russian crime. The second one was to survive the first batch of sanctions against them (I forgot the reason of the sanctions). They not only survived they thrived. It was against the western leading economic ideology. A third crime was to push back Saakachvili and his troops with success.
The fourth was to put back into order the Tchechen. Russia was back into the world politics and history. They were not following the script written for them in Washington and Brussels. They were having a political system putting limits to the big companies. And, worst of it, it works.
Everybody in the west who can read and listen would have noticed that they are making it.
More, with RT and Sputnik giving info outside the allowed ones or asking annoying questions (western journalists lost that habit with their new formation in the schools of journalism - remember the revolution in their education was criticised and I missed why - very curious to discover why), they were exposing weaknesses of the western narrative. On the other side their narrative became so poor and so limited that any regular reader would feel bored reading the same things time and again and being asked to pay for it at a time his salary was decreased in the name of competitivity. The threat to their narrative was ready. They had to fight it.
It's becoming a crime to think outside their marks. It's becoming a crime to read outside their marks. I don't even talk about any act outside their marks. Now, it's going to be a crime of treason to them in war time.
I do feel sadness because many will die from their fear of losing their grip on our minds. I do feel sadness because they have lost and are in denial about it. I do feel sadness because those death aren't necessary. I do feel sadness because those people can't face the consequences of their actions. They don't have the necessary spine. Their lives were useless and even toxic. They could start repairing or mitigating their damages but it would need a very different worldview, a complete conversion to another meaning of life outside the immediate and maximal profit.DidierF | Feb 21, 2018 2:03:08 AM | 46Ger , Feb 21, 2018 7:52:44 AM | link
You have aptly described the most dangerous country on this planet. That country must not be appeased, at any cost, because it would surely end us forever...Dan @ 4
It is partially tied direct to the economy of the warmongers as trillions of dollars of new cold war slop is laying on the ground awaiting the MICC hogs. American hegemony is primarily about stealing the natural resources of helpless countries. Now in control of all the weak ones, it is time to move to the really big prize: The massive resources of Russia.
They (US and their European Lackeys) thought this was a slam dunk when Yeltsin, in his drunken stupors, was literally giving Russia to invading capitalist. Enter Putin, stopped the looting .........connect the dots.
Dec 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.orgMontreal , Dec 27, 2018 2:01:23 PM | link
bevin , Dec 27, 2018 10:21:32 AM | link
" ....The oligarchs have been destroyed in the early 00s: Gusinsky (the media oligarch), Berezovsky (the political broker oligarch), Khodorkovsky (the oil oligarch). These people were real oligarchs, i.e. they were using their wealth to control political processes through black media propaganda, having their own MPs/Ministers/Governors, etc..." @85
I'm inclined to agree. And this is why there is so much anger against Putin, in particular, in the 'west': the Russian oligarchs wield enormous power through the media which is at the service of anyone with money. Bill Browder being a prime example.
The oligarchs were the tools that the City of London and Wall St employed to plunder Russia's socialised wealth and resources.
The hate campaign against Putin, who is in many ways a very conservative economist pursuing the sort of neo-liberal policies that capitalist financiers approve of, is inexplicable unless we understand that the end game is a return to the looting that took place under the Empire's anointed, Boris Yeltsin.
I don't understand the people here who write that VVPutin is in thrall to the Zionists, the Oligarchs, or that he's lining his own pocket etc etc. IMHO his strategy has always been clear and direct, since the beginning. He values first of all stability - time for Russia to rebuild herself. Secondly, he performs a clever balancing act between the competing centres of power in Russia.
His mistake, however, when he became president, was to believe quite sincerely that the West - and particularly Washington (the important one) - shared a desire for peaceful partnership with Russia. Doubts emerged in 2011 - he realised that he was being played - and the doubts became certainties in 2014, since when some fairly radical reorganisations has been taking place. Russia is - again, IMHO - now ready to take its real place in the international order.
I take great pleasure in reading and listening to his - and Sergei Lavrov's - words, at the same time regretting the low standard of our own representatives.
Many thanks to b and all of you who continue always to inform me and sometimes enchant me.
Jul 24, 2017 | www.nbcnews.com
As Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya tells it, she met with Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump aides in New York last summer to press her case against a widely accepted account of Russian malfeasance, one that underpins a set of sanctions against Russians.
It's a cause Veselnitskaya has been pursuing for years. So, too, has Rinat Akhmetshin, the colorful Russian-born American lobbyist she brought with her to Trump Tower.
Trump Jr., who agreed to the June 2016 meeting at the request of a Russian business associate with a promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton , has said he didn't find much to interest him in the presentation. And little wonder: The subject is a dense and tangled web, hinging on a complex case that led Congress to pass what is known as the Magnitsky Act. The law imposed sanctions on individual Russians accused of human rights violations. It has nothing to do with Clinton.
The Trump Tower meeting has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia's election interference . The topic of the meeting, many observers have said, is almost beside the point.
But the substance of what the pair of Russian advocates say they came to discuss has a fascinating backstory.
It's an epic international dispute -- one that has pitted the grandson of a former American Communist who made a fortune as a capitalist in Russia against a Russian leader who pines for the glory days of his country's Communist past.
In a cinematic twist, one person on the side advocated by Vladimir Putin, Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin is a former American newspaper reporter turned investigator named Glenn Simpson. He is the same Glenn Simpson whose firm, Fusion GPS, helped craft the controversial dossier alleging that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian intelligence .
That dossier, published by Buzzfeed , made other, more salacious allegations about Trump, and FBI Director James Comey briefed the Republican about it before he took office. The dossier is not favorable to Putin and the Russian government.
Simpson's role on both sides of the Putin divide is set to be explored in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday examining the Justice Department's requirements for foreign lobbying disclosures.
Due to testify at the hearing is Simpson's longtime opponent in the Magnitsky dispute, William Browder, an American-born hedge-fund investor who made millions investing in post-Soviet Russia and gave up his U.S. citizenship in 1997.
Simpson's lawyer said he would defy a subpoena to appear Wednesday because he was on vacation, and that he would decline to answer questions anyway, citing his right against self-incrimination.
Browder, whose grandfather Earl led the American Communist Party, accuses Simpson of peddling falsehoods as an agent of the Russian government. The law firm Simpson worked with on the case accused Browder in court papers of perpetrating a web of lies. Both men dispute the allegations.The Death of Sergei Magnitsky
The story begins with the November 2009 death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax accountant who was working for Browder, and who later died in prison .
Browder's account of Magnitsky's death triggered international outrage. According to Browder, Magnitsky was a lawyer who had been investigating a theft of $230 million in tax rebates paid to Browder's companies in Russia. Browder says his companies had been taken over illegally and without his knowledge by corrupt Russian officials.
Browder says Magnitsky was arrested as a reprisal by those same corrupt officials, and then was tortured and beaten to death. Browder presented documents suggesting that some officials who benefited from the alleged fraud purchased property abroad.
That account led Congress to pass the so-called Magnitsky Act in 2012, imposing sanctions on the Russian officials who were alleged to have violated Magnitsky's human rights.
The Russian government soon imposed a ban on American adoptions of Russian children, ostensibly for other reasons but done in response, many experts say, to the Magnitsky sanctions.
Forty-four Russians are currently on the Magnitsky sanctions list maintained by the U.S. Treasury Department, meaning their U.S. assets are frozen and they are not allowed to travel to the U.S.
Once a Putin supporter, Browder became one of the Russian leader's most ardent foes, spearheading a campaign to draw international attention to the Magnitsky case. He and his employees at Hermitage Capital Management presented information to governments, international bodies and major news organizations.
Browder's advocacy marks a shift from 2004, when, as one of Russia's leading foreign investors, he praised Putin so vigorously that he was labeled Putin's "chief cheerleader" by an analyst in a Washington Post article. Browder has said that Magnitsky's death spurred him to reexamine his view of Putin.
The State Department, lawmakers of both parties and the Western news media have described the Magnitsky case in a way that tracks closely with Browder's account. Browder's assertions are consistent with the West's understanding of the Putin government -- an authoritarian regime that has been widely and credibly accused of murdering journalists and political opponents.
In 2013, the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office sued a Russian company, accusing it of laundering some of the proceeds of the fraud Magnitsky allegedly uncovered. The complaint incorporated Browder's account about what happened to Magnitsky.
That lawsuit set in motion a process through which that version of events would come under challenge.
The defendant, a company called Prevezon, is owned by Denis Katsyv, who became wealthy while his father was vice governor and transport minister for the Moscow region, according to published reports. The father, Pyotr Katsyv, is now vice president of the state-run Russian Railways. Veselnitskaya has long represented the family.
Prevezon hired a law firm, BakerHostetler, and a team that included a longtime New York prosecutor, John Moscow. Also working on Prevezon's behalf were Simpson, Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin.
Simpson, a former investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, declined to comment.
Simpson also worked with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in the creation of the dossier that asserts Trump collusion with Russian election interference. A source close to him said his work on the dossier was kept confidential from his other clients.
The federal civil lawsuit by the Manhattan U.S. attorney against Prevezon was the first opportunity for the U.S. government to publicly present whatever evidence it had to support its legal assertions regarding Magnitsky. It was also an opportunity for the defendants to conduct their own investigation.
Prevezon's American legal team alleged that Browder's story was full of holes -- and that the U.S. and other governments had relied on Browder's version without checking it. Browder and the U.S. government disagreed.
The chief American investigator, Todd Hyman of the Department of Homeland Security, testified in a deposition that much of the evidence in the government's complaint came from Browder and his associates. He also said the government had been unable to independently investigate some of Browder's claims.
In court documents, Prevezon's lawyers alleged that Magnitsky was jailed not because he was a truth-seeker -- but because he was helping Browder's companies in tax evasion.
The Prevezon attorneys charged that Browder "lied," and "manipulated" evidence to cover up his own tax fraud.
The story was "contrived and skillfully sold by William F. Browder to politicians here and abroad to thwart his arrest for a tax fraud conviction in Russia," says a 2015 federal court filing by one of Prevezon's lawyers, Mark Cymrot of BakerHostetler.
A Russian-born filmmaker named Andrei Nekrasov made a similar set of arguments in a docudrama released last year. Neither Prevezon nor the Russian government had a role in funding or making the film, both parties say, though Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin helped promote it.
Sep 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Stumpy , Sep 22, 2018 6:38:58 PM | link
Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 22, 2018 5:17:51 PM | 22
Well, as long as you support the #METOO-ish school of legal doctrine, i.e. whereupon a simple charging is sufficient to establish culpability, you will surely enjoy the following article, on The Nation, The Harvard Boys Do Russia, May, 1998, which you can search for and fact-check with your own tools of choice.
Perhaps consider the idea that within Russia in the 1990s that was systematically sold off to US interests, facilitated by Russian government officials, the Russian social immune system kicked in and gave rise to Vladimir Putin to protect his homeland's interests. Consider further that Trump is dealing with a horde of malignant backstabbing little bitches that are doing their best to rape their own homeland. Maybe the US social immune system is working better than you think, despite attempts to deflect blame towards Trump and Putin, and actual, indictable charges against Clintonian operatives cannot be suppressed much longer.
The DNC is broke. What does that tell you?
Aug 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
There is less shame in being undone by a "master of deceit." When J. Edgar Hoover coined that description, he had Communists in mind. Back then, though, "Ruskies" and "Commies" – it was all the same. Americans were conditioned to live in fear that the Russians were coming.
That nonsense should have ended when Communism more or less officially expired in 1989, followed two years later by the demise of the Soviet Union itself. For a long time, it seemed that it had. At first, the reaction in Western, especially American, political and media circles was triumphalist. The war was over and our side won. Beneath the surface, however, there was mourning in America.
With the Cold War, the death merchants, the masters of war, the neocons, and a host of others had had a good thing going. Having been born into it, the political class was comfortable with the status quo too; and generations of Americans had grown up imbibing Russophobia in their mother's milk (or infant formula).
It turned out, though, that American triumphalism was only a phase. Before long, it became clear that our economic and political masters had nothing to worry about, that Cold War anti-Communism was more robust than Communism itself.
However, in the final days of Bush 41 and then at the dawn of the Clinton era, nobody knew that. Nobody gave America's propaganda system the credit it deserved.
Also, nobody quite realized how devastating Russia's regression to capitalism would be, and nobody quite grasped the savagery of the kleptocrats who had taken charge of what remained of the Russian state.
For more than a decade, the situation in that late great superpower was too dire to sustain the old fears and animosities. Capitalism had made Russia wretched again.
That suited Bill Clinton and his First Lady, the former Goldwater Girl. Boris Yeltsin, Russia's leader, was their man. He was a godsend, a Trump-like cartoon character and a drunkard to boot – with an economy in tatters, and no rightwing base egging him on.
But anti-Communism (without Communism) and its close cousin, Russophobia, could not remain in remission forever. The need for them was too great.
In the Age of Obama, the Global War on Terror, with or without that ludicrous Bush 43-era name, wasn't cutting it anymore. It was, and still is, good for keeping America's perpetual war regime going and for undoing civil liberties, but there had never been much glory in it, only endless misery for all. Also it was getting old and increasingly easy to see through.
The time was therefore right for a return of the repressed -- for full-blooded, fifties-style, anti-Communist (= anti-Russian) hysteria, or, since that still seemed far-fetched, for anti-Communist (= anti-Chinese) hysteria.
This was not the only factor behind the Obama administration's "pivot towards Asia," its largely failed attempt to take China down a notch or two, but it was an important part of the story.
However, by the time Obama and his team decided to pivot, China had become too important to the United States economically to make a good Cold War enemy. Worse still, it had for too long been an object of pity and contempt, not fear.
When the Soviet Union was an enemy, China was an enemy too, most glaringly during the Korean War. It remained an enemy even after the Sino-Soviet split became too obvious to deny. However, unlike post-1917 Russia, it had never quite become an historical foe.
Moreover, as Russia began to recover from the Yeltsin era, the Russian political class, and many of the oligarchs behind them, sensing the popular mood, decided that the time was ripe "to make Russia great again." Putin is not so much a cause as he is a symptom – and symbol – of this aspiration.
And so, there it was: the longed for new Cold War would be much like the one that seemed over a quarter century ago.
As everyone who has seen, heard or read anything about the 2016 election "knows," Russian intelligence services (= Putin) meddled. Everyone also "knows" that, with midterm elections looming, they are at it again.
This, according to the mainstream consensus view, is a bona fide casus belli , a justification for war. To be sure, what they want is a war that remains cold; ending life on earth, as we know it, is not on their agenda.
But inasmuch as cold wars can easily turn hot, this hardly mitigates the recklessness of their machinations. Humankind was extraordinarily lucky last time; there is no guarantee that all that luck will hold.
Exactly what "Putin," the shorthand name for all that is Russian and nefarious, did, or is still doing, remains unclear. But this does not seem to bother purveyors of the conventional wisdom. Neither is ostensibly informed public opinion fazed by the fact that the evidence supporting the consensus view comes mainly from American intelligence services and from their counterparts in the UK and other allied nations.
Time was when anyone with any sense understood that these intelligence services, the American ones especially, are second to none in meddling in the affairs of other nations, and that the American national security state – essentially our political police -- is comprised, by design, of liars and deceivers.
How ironic therefore that nowadays it is mainly bamboozled Trump supporters in the Fox News demographic -- people who could care less about peace or, for that matter, about truth -- who are wary of the CIA and skeptical of the FBI's claims!
Try as they might, the manufacturers and guardians of conventional wisdom have so far been unable to concoct a plausible story in which Russian meddling affected the outcome of the 2016 election in any serious way. The idea that the Russians defeated Hillary, not Hillary herself, is, to borrow a phrase from Jeremy Bentham, "nonsense on stilts." Leading Democrats and their media flacks don't seem to mind that either.
They do not even seem to notice that what they allege, vague as it is, is trifling compared to the massive and very open meddling of American plutocrats, Republican vote suppressers and gerrymanderers, and the governments of supposedly friendly nations – like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, and Israel.
Nevertheless, it probably is true that the Russians meddled. Cold War revivalists can therefore rest easy, confident that their propagandists will have at least a few facts with which they can work to restore the perils of their vanished youth.
Even so, the level of their hypocrisy is appalling. Russia, along with former Soviet republics and former members of the Warsaw Pact, has been bearing the brunt of far worse American meddling for far longer than anything sanctimonious defenders of so-called American "democracy" can plausibly allege.
Moreover, it should go without saying that the democracy they purport to care so much about has almost nothing to do with "the rule of the demos." It doesn't even have much to do with free and fair competitive elections – unless "free and fair" means that anything goes, so long as the principals and perpetrators are homegrown or citizens of favored nations.
Self-righteous posturing aside, Putin's real sin in the eyes of the American power elite is that, in his own small way, he has been defying America's "right" to run the world as it sees fit.
When Clinton was president, Serbia did that, and lived to regret it. Cuba has been suffering for nearly six decades for the same reason, and now Venezuela is paying its dues. The empire is merciless towards nations that rebel.
With Soviet support and then with sheer determination and grit, Cuba has been able to withstand the onslaught to some extent from Day One. Venezuela may not be so lucky – especially now that Republicans and Democrats feel threatened by the growing number of "democratic socialists" in their midst. Already, the propaganda system is targeting Venezuelan "socialism," blaming it for that country's woes, and warning that if our newly minted, homegrown socialists prevail, a similar fate will be in store for us.
This is ludicrous, of course – American hostility and the vagaries of the global oil market deserve the lion's share of the blame. But the on-going propaganda blitz could nevertheless pave the way for horrors ahead, should Trump decide to start a war America could actually win.
Inconsequential Russian meddling is a big deal on the "liberal" cable networks, on NPR, and in the "quality" press. Democrats and a few Republicans love to bleat on about it. But it is Ukraine that made Russia our "adversary" and its president Public Enemy Number One.
Hypocrisy reigns here too. It was the Obama administration – run through with neocons, liberal imperialists, and other holdovers from Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State – that did all it could to exacerbate longstanding tensions between that country's Ukrainian and Russian speaking populations, the better to complete NATO's encirclement of the Russian federation. And it was American meddling that led to the empowerment of virulently anti-Russian, fascisant Ukrainian politicians, much to the detriment of Russian speaking Ukrainians in the east.
But never mind: Putin – that is, the Russia government – violated international law by sending troops briefly into beleaguered Russian-speaking parts of the country. That they were generally welcomed by the people living there is of no importance.
Worst of all, Russia annexed Crimea – a territory integral to the Russian empire since the eighteenth century. Since long before the Russian Revolution, Crimea has been home to a huge naval base vital to Russia's strategic defense.
The story line back in the day was that anything that could be described as Russian aggression outside the Soviet Union's agreed upon sphere of influence had to do with spreading Communism. In fact, the Soviets did everything they could to keep Communist and other insurgencies from upending the status quo. The mainstream narrative was wrong.
Now Communism is gone and nothing has taken its place. Even so, the idea that Russia has designs on its neighbors for ideological reasons is hard to shake – in part because it is actively promoted by propagandists who have suddenly and uncharacteristically become defenders of international law.
Meanwhile, of course, the hypocrisies keep piling on. It is practically a tenet of the American civil religion that international law applies to others, not to the United States. This is why, when it suits some perceived purpose, America flaunts its violations shamelessly.
Thus nothing the Russians did or are ever likely to do comes close to the shenanigans Bill Clinton displayed – successfully, for the most part – in his efforts to tear Kosovo away from Serbia. Clinton even went so far as to bomb Belgrade; Putin never bombed Kiev.
The Cold War that began after World War II involved a clash of rival political economic systems. The Cold War that reignited a few years ago involves a clash of rival imperialist centers. Its world more nearly resembles the one that existed before World War I than the one that emerged after World War II.
However, the difference may be more superficial than it seems. The ease with which Cold War revivalists have been able to get the Cold War up and running again, even without Communism, suggests what a few observers have long maintained -- that the Cold War, on Russia's part, had little, if anything, to do with spreading Communism around the world, and everything to do with maintaining a cordon sanitaire around Russia's borders in order to protect against a demonstrably aggressive "free world."
George W. Bush claimed that 9/11 happened because "they hate our freedom." "They" would be radical Islamists of the kind stirred into action in Afghanistan by Zbigniew Brzezinski and his co-thinkers in the Carter administration. Their objective was to undermine the Soviet Union by getting it bogged down in a quagmire like the one that did so much harm to the United States in Vietnam.
That part of Brzezinski's plan was at least a partial success. But inasmuch as Bush's "they" are still there, still spreading murder and mayhem throughout the Greater Middle East, America and the world has been paying a high price for the benefits, such as they were, that ensued.
The never-ending wars set in motion by the "pivot" towards radical Islamism decades ago never quite succeeded in producing an enemy as serviceable as the USSR. But now that Putin's Russia has been pressed into service, that problem is potentially "solved."
However, the American public is not as naïve as it used to be, and it is impossible to say, at this point, how well this new story line will work.
Efforts to recycle Bush's "they hate our freedom" nonsense ought to be non-starters. But this is the best Cold War revivalists have come up with so far. The Russians, they say, simply cannot deal with the fact that we Americans are so damned free.
It is hard to believe, but there are people who are actually buying this but, with a lot of corporate media assistance, there are. No matter how clear it is that they are not worth being taken seriously, Cold War mythologies just won't die.
However, it is worth pondering why today's Russia would do what it is alleged to have done; and why, as is also alleged, it is still doing it.
From a geopolitical point of view, Russia does have an interest in doing all it can to ward off Western aggression. It also has an interest in undermining strategic alliances aimed at blocking anything and everything that challenges American supremacy. And, until sanity prevails in Washington and other Western capitals, it arguably also has an interest in aiding and abetting rightwing nationalists in order to exacerbate tensions within Western societies.
However, in view of prevailing power relations, these are interests it cannot do much to advance. Acting as if this were not the case only puts Russia in a bad light -- not for meddling, but for meddling stupidly.
No doubt, for reasons both fair and foul, Putin wanted Hillary to lose the election two years ago. So, but for one little problem, would anyone whose head is screwed on right. That problem's name is Donald Trump.
Clinton is bad, but Trump is worse -- not just by most measures but by all. Her fondness for war and preparations for war was alarming; she was bellicosity personified. But it was plain even before the election that Trump, a mentally unhinged narcissist, would be even more likely than she to bring on massive devastation. A vote for Trump was and still is a vote for catastrophe.
Putin's enemy was Trump's enemy, and it is axiomatic that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" -- except sometimes it isn't. Sometimes, my enemy's enemy is an enemy far worse.
For reasons that remain obscure, Putin and Trump seem to have a "thing" going on between them. Some day perhaps we will know what that is all about. For now, though, the hard and very relevant fact is that Trump has done nothing to help, and quite a few things to harm, Russia.
It isn't just ordinary Russians who have been made worse off. Trump has been at least as hard on oligarchs close to Putin as Clinton would have been.
If those damned Russians were half as smart as they are made out to be, they would have realized long ago that, for getting anything done that bucks the tide, Trump is too inept to be of any use at all; and that anything he sets out to do is likely to turn out badly not just for America and its allies but for Russia too.
Therefore, if there really was Russian meddling, as there probably was, Putin should be ashamed – not so much for the DNC reasons laid out 24/7 on MSNBC and CNN, but for overestimating Trump's abilities and for underestimating the extent to which what started out as a maneuver of Hillary Clinton's, concocted to excuse her incompetence, would take a perilously "viral" turn, becoming a major threat to peace in a political culture that never quite got beyond the lunacy of the First Cold War.
Andrew Levine is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).
Sep 08, 2018 | gordonhahn.com
In the post-Soviet period, in addition to the color revolutions supported by the West outside Russia, the West has been involved inside Russia as well. Washington was also involved in helping Boris Yeltsin resist the August 1991 and October 1993 coups. Washington was indirectly involved in Boris Yeltsin's 1996 re-election campaign. As I have mentioned several times, a VERY reliable source confided to me that the xerox copying paper box filled with half a million dollars being transported for later use by Yeltsin's pro-democracy camp but intercepted by Yeltsin's hardline operatives consisted of U.S. funds. For a less revealng inkling of the kind of involvement see Time magazine's July 1996 article "Saving Boris"( http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19960715,00.html or https://offgraun.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/201612201405.pdf ). McFaul noted that the three American consultants to Russian President Boris Yeltsin's 1996 re-election campaign -- George Gorton, Joe Shumate, and Richard Dresner -- contracted by Oleg Soskovets, a former first deputy prime minister whom Yeltsin named head of his campaign, were "breaking Russia's law against foreigners' working directly in campaigns" ( www.weeklystandard.com/yanks-brag-press-bites/article/8538 ). In addition, the IMF released a several billion dollar tranche of economic assistance on the election's eve to buttress Yeltsin further. Yeltsin's government was infested with US advisors, some of whom engaged in corrupt practices of insider trading on the Russian stock market as part of their 'democracy-promotion' efforts.
The U.S. government's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty , among other government organs, carried out propaganda defending post-Soviet Russia's jihadi separatists for years (see https://gordonhahn.com/2015/02/18/caucasus-jihadism-through-western-eyes-the-failure-of-american-rusology-to-understand-the-north-caucasus-mujahedin/ and https://gordonhahn.com/2017/11/04/whos-been-interfering-in-whose-politics/ ). One 'small' example among very many was noted in a paper I published seven years ago: "Less than three weeks after CE (Caucasus Emirate or 'Imarat Kavkaz') amir Umarov sent a suicide bomber to attack Moscow's Domodedovo Airport killing 37 and wounding more than 200, RFERL 's 'chief Caucasus correspondent' Liz Fuller praised him as a 'father' who restrains the mujahideen: "If these young men [the CE's younger mujahideen] have not become the callous brutes Khasbulatov anticipated, much of the credit must surely lie with the older commanders who were fathers before they became ghters, and have since assumed the role of father gures to the younger generation of insurgents: the natural-born pedagogue Abdullayev; Tarhan; Mansur; and even Umarov, seen receiving a lial embrace from Hadji-Murat at the very end of this clip" [Liz Fuller, "Chechnya's Youngest Insurgents," RFERL , February 14, 2011, www.rferl.org/content/blog/2308952.html , last accessed on 28 February 2018 and cited in Gordon M. Hahn, Getting the Caucasus Emirate Right (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 2011), p. 14, fn 14]. Again, the 'Umarov' RFERL 's Liz Fuller, whose salary was paid from your taxes, was the amir of the Caucasus Emirate while it carried out nearly 60 suicide bombings and several thousand other terrorist attacks in Russia from 2007-2013, after which the bulk of its 'Chechen national resistance' fighters (most not frm Chechnya but from Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and elsewehere in Russia as well as from abroad) ensconced to Syria and Iraq to 'fight for Chechen independence' while those back home officially joined the Islamic State (ISIS). For a similar Fuller article hailing the 'work' of the small Islamo-ultranationalist Chechen, non-CE terrorist cell, see "Remembering Mansur," RFERL , March 17, 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/caucasus_re- port_remembering_mansur/2341725.html.
The main reason for Russia's restrictions on NGO activity inside the country is that the very same Western government-tied organizations that funded color revolutionary activity in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and elsewhere -- USAID, NED, DNI, RNI, and so on -- were funding indirectly Russian political opposition-oriented organizations. The reason media are now included under these restrictive regime lies in the West's massive propaganda, disinformation, and strategic communications infrastructure – typified in its output by articles such as the one supporting jihadi and Islamo-nationalist terrorists in Russia – in comparison with which Russia's is a weak imitation ( https://gordonhahn.com/2018/01/22/russian-propaganda-machine-much-ado-about-little-as-compared-with-western-stratcomm-update/ ).
About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California, www.cetisresearch.org .
Dr. Hahn is the author of Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the 'New Cold War (McFarland Publishers, 2017) and three previously and well-received books: Russia's Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction Publishers, 2002); Russia's Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007); and The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia's North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014).He has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media and has served as a consultant and provided expert testimony to the U.S. government.
Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. He has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Kennan Institute in Washington DC as well as the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Sep 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
So, we drove onto St. Petersburg mostly on a two-lane road cut through the boreal forest of the northern latitudes. It was here that I witnessed something that amazed all of us – how vehicle drivers cooperated to turn two lanes into de facto four lanes of traffic.
As faster drivers moved to pass slower vehicles, the slower vehicles would move onto the asphalt shoulder and even as our bus moved over the center line, the oncoming traffic would shift to the right, too. It all was spontaneously coordinated and everyone on the road was in on the scheme.
Entering St. Petersburg was an experience in itself. With five million people spread over a number of islands, we saw new high-rises standing alongside the old Soviet-era apartment buildings. No one, however, comes to St. Petersburg to see the relics of the U.S.S.R. Instead, they come to see the czarist palaces and the stunning 18thand 19th century architecture that dominates the city. It may be the birthplace of the Bolshevik Revolution, but people come to pay homage to the way of life the Bolsheviks wanted to destroy and to Czar Nicholas II and his family, infamously and brutally murdered on Lenin's orders in 1918.
A century later, the bones of the last royal family of Russia lie safely in St. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Despite more than 70 years of communist rule, and despite all of the blood spilled to keep the likes of Lenin, Stalin, and the others in power, and despite the massive propaganda that ordinary people in the U.S.S.R. had to endure, St. Petersburg is the city of the czars, not the Bolsheviks.
Parts of St. Petersburg are run down – as nearly the entire city was during the days of communism – but other parts of it absolutely are amazing to see. Likewise, I enjoyed interacting with the locals and especially the young people that made up most of the workforce of our hotel, from running the desks to cleaning our rooms. The legendary dour Soviet worker was replaced by a competent employee who patiently answered our questions and took care of whatever we needed. For all of the talk in the USA that Russia is a dictatorship under the iron thumb of Vladimir Putin, Russia did not seem like a dictatorship. Our Russian tour guide often would take a swipe at Putin (including likening his face to a painting of dogs at the Hermitage) and life itself there seemed to have the kind of normalcy that could not have been possible when people were compelled to inform on one another.
The St. Petersburg we visited was not the Leningrad that Logan Robinson described in his humorous 1982 book An American in Leningrad , which described life as a post-graduate student living among Russian students and developing friendships with local writers, artists, and musicians, people who often harassed, persecuted, and arrested by local authorities. That city was an armed camp full of soldiers and had been relegated to being a backwater by Joseph Stalin and his successors who made Moscow the Soviet "showplace," leaving the city founded by Peter the Great to succumb to the northerly elements.
... ... ...
Americans cannot fathom what it is like to have entire cities destroyed or badly-damaged by bombs and artillery and have ruthless armies fight each other over their territories. Nor can we imagine having governments carry out massive executions of people whose only "crime" was not being what the government leadership wanted them to be. We cannot imagine the starvation, the disease, and watching family and friends be shipped off to places like Siberia where they surely would die terrible deaths.
spooz ,moon_unit ,
This article is red-baiting propaganda, aren't we getting enough of that from the Democratic party Everybody with a brain realizes that there are differences between communism and the democratic socialism that is becoming popular in the US, but some the Mises misers like to dupe the ignorant into conflating the two.
In very simplistic terms, paraphrasing from A. J. Elwood, Democratic Socialism:
- Work together to ensure social equality and to improve one another's lives.
- Reject the exploitation of all peoples and uphold the principles of equality.
- Value the environment and use our natural resources in a sustainable manner.
- Ensure free and open elections, where each citizen has a voice and a vested interest in his or her government.
- Provide free education to all to ensure equal opportunity and the free flow of ideas, opinions, and information.
- Protect and assist the disadvantaged using surplus from both public and privately owned enterprise.
- Deliver quality health care to all citizens, regardless of their needs or socio-economic status
The US has let the excesses of Capitalism control our country, with wealthy owning our legislature and receiving bail outs and tax cuts to preserve their wealth, while a growing percentage of the formerly middle class is thrown under the bus, with no savings and no way to make a living wage. Those millennials don't see any way of achieving what used to be the American Dream and are looking for some help with their struggle.
Most modern countries have a mix of socialism and capitalism.
"The United Nations World Happiness Report 2013 shows that the happiest nations are concentrated in Northern Europe, where the Nordic model of social democracy is employed, with Denmark topping the list." (wikipedia)LA_Goldbug ,
Bill Anderson travels, but sometimes he sees what he wants to see.
Let's take some points:
-He saw a "*small* railroad boxcar". Very romantic but - Soviet boxcars were fricken' huge, the rail gauge is massive. Pics with a person next to it, or it didn't happen. IF it was very small, it was more likely a technical wagon for railway engineers, not for "cargo" of any kind. Plus, anyone alive bitching about it clearly had parents , most likely that never left to go anywhere , you know what I'm saying here?
-He went to Jurmala sea resort and misunderstood it, thought it was "all Soviet", all built for "nomenklatura". This is not unusual to think so, but he was wrong - it was largely built as a Spa town in the 1850s during the Russian Empire times by the majority wealthy *German* ethnic group in Riga. In fact German was the main language in the city up to 1891. Most of those large spa town wooden houses were built for German traders - who traded with the locals outside Riga, Brits and Russians. The city had a British Mayor George Armitstead from 1901 - 1912 during the Russian Empire - a civil engineer and the city's most popular mayor ever, who built the first tram lines, hospitals, covered markets and so on.
The Balts kicked those German traders out starting from around 1880 or so. If you check out cemeteries you will see a sudden transition from elegant old German noble script to badly-spelled early variant local language with German styles and lettering. Of course that improved as they created formalised spellings for words in the local languages.
The author fails to mention all the other occupants that he doesn't want you to know about - briefly-
-German Crusaders (Knights of the Livonian Order / Teutonic Knights)- Holy Roman Empire - 12thC
-Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 16thC
-Russian Tsarist Empire 1710 - 1918 -trading with German Riga / Brits and Russian language only imposed officially in 1891
-Local people perpetrators - no kidding, Herberts Cukurs, Viktors Arajs?
Photos of people in mass graves - sure you didn't "make a mistake"? - if you mean at Skede beach, Rumbuli and Bikernieki forests, and Salapspils, those were killed by everyones "special Germans* (and of course the local militia commanders Cukurs and Arajs) in everyone's "special German 3-year era" from 1942-44. Oddly, no-one seems interested in the hundreds of years of genuine Geman noble culture and trading in what was essentially a German Empire freeport ...
Certainly there was a book about some Soviet killing mass graves elsewhere but it turns out the book about that was funded and printed by a certain Josef Goebbels? No doubt it was true, but aren't people a little embarrassed at carrying that book, perhaps a different author at least, maybe a historian would be less shameful to carry around?
-Freer wealthier - oh sure, if you put aside mass emigration, houses without heat or water or sewerage, destitute pensioners walking in the streets in winter with supermarket bags on their legs to try to avoid frostbite - not always successfully , by the way.
-"The citizens of the Baltic countries were not the only ones suffering under communism. No other city in the U.S.S.R. underwent the horror of a 900-day siege by German armies during World War II" - that's hardly their fault, now is it?
-"as I sat in the Old Town section of Riga eating and drinking and listening to live music, I strained to imagine the place as a battle zone with death and destruction all around where now I sat" - yeah, like when the Russians and Brits were trying to keep out Napoleon's armies? Hmmm?
-"I imagined the stores that now are full of goods and restaurants with food and drink being empty or stocked with subpar merchandise in the aftermath of the war as the Soviets imposed their primitive communist system and oppressed the people in the name of "liberating" them for many decades until they finally left in the early 1990s"- you have a great imagination. You should write film scripts for Hollywood. Some of those people are still walking around, try telling them they are primitives.
-"No, I cannot see people in our cities having experienced anything like what the people of the Baltics and St. Petersburg had to tolerate for decades." - tolerate things like electronics factories, car and van production, science institutes, shipbuilding and repair, ladies who aren't afraid of math or computers, that kind of thing? But sure, they couldn't get debt, mass prostitution, Hasselhoff and blue jeans, consumer junk or type II diabetes, that is a total provocation, right you are .demoses ,
I also smell a lot of BS in this article. I visited Eastern Europe before and know exactly what is being mentioned. Elites IN ALL COUNTRIES have their favorite hideaways. That is a norm in the West, East and anywhere else.
Boxcars at train stations are nothing new. Latvia is poor and probably has lots of them from way way back because THAT WAS THE STANDARD design for a multi-purpose wagon in Eastern Europe. Why throw away something that does the job ?? But to say it was "the one" used to transport people to camps is a huge stretch. Hell I could point to Boeings and say "That is the one sending people to Guantanamo".Nexus789 ,
As an eastern European I can tell you that I do not get triggered by old monuments / words / city names. I guess that is a "no real problems" American problem... where you lack other problems and have a hard time looking around what could trigger you... "oh no! A company called MANpower!!! MAN???" and maybe "country called MonteNEGRO? How dare they?" ;)LA_Goldbug ,
These Mises wankers write as if they have found utopia and the US is some kind of 'market' paradise They are foot soldiers for the one percent.Atalanta ,
Here is how Utopia looks lest the Eu readers think otherwise.
Seeing the splinter in other men eyes. Not the tree in own. After the USSR birth, a U.S, with friends, invaded Russia. From that moment to now history is full of conflicted horrors. Standing out WW 2, and many more like Korea and Vietnam. Scars can be seeing all over the planet except the U.S. The writer of article must be a exceptional person.CaptainObvious ,
Their best weapon is "weaponized credit" which sheep see but don't understand.OverTheHedge ,
"Americans cannot fathom what it is like to have entire cities destroyed or badly-damaged by bombs and artillery and have ruthless armies fight each other over their territories."
Sure we can. Look at Detroit. Look at Baltimore. Look at Chicago. Those look pretty warn-torn to me. But I guess the "War on Poverty" and the "War on Drugs" don't count, eh? And I guess drive-by shootings and purposefully-fomented riots and civil asset forfeiture and excessive taxation aren't weapons of mass destruction either.
"Nor can we imagine having governments carry out massive executions of people whose only "crime" was not being what the government leadership wanted them to be."
Yeah, we tax mules are pretty familiar with the bowel-crippling fear that any envelope marked "IRS" causes. Men have certainly been introduced to the economic execution of being stripped of all their assets because they knocked some slut up. People of all ages and colors have been locked away in jail for 50 years for having a baggy of green stuff in their pocket. And, the horror!, it's now a crime punishable by jail time to call someone by the wrong gender pronouns in the People's Republic of Kalifornia. But yeah, economic execution and unjustified imprisonment don't happen here in the Land of the Free ™ , so it's all good.
"We cannot imagine the starvation, the disease, and watching family and friends be shipped off to places like Siberia where they surely would die terrible deaths."
Oh, sure we can. We see starving people every day on the streets, made homeless by a drug addiction that was introduced to them by a licensed physician. We watch family and friends shipped off to Bankruptcy court because some fucktarded jury awarded a scam artist seven figures for manufacturing a slip-and-fall in the Mom & Pop Pizza Palace. We watch our loved ones die every day from medical malpractice and toxic prescriptions.
No equivalency, you say? Well, to that I say balls. Russia was never free. After they abolished serfdom in the nineteenth century, the system was still in place that the aristocracy held most of the land and the peasants farmed that land for a pittance. In America, the laws abolished slavery and sweatshops, but the system is still in place that the tycoons own most of the assets and the peasants sweat their best years away in a cubicle, or behind a cash register, or under someone else's machinery, for a pittance.
Am I advocating for communism? Hell, no! I'm advocating for an end to the corporatocracy and small-business-killing legislation. Most ordinary Americans who become wealthy do so because they had the gumption to start their own business. But they can't do that if all laws favor the already-established, and they can't do that if they're required to burn half a lifetime's worth of cash for an official piece of paper from a gubmint-subsidized center of indoctrination, and they can't do that if they're supposed to be licensed and bonded to do something simple like trim the hair of another human.ddiduck ,
Hyperbole to make your point is fine, but the reality is that fat, soft seppos have absolutely no idea.
And then there is the good guys' work:
Actually, that last one proves me wrong - there are SOME Americans who know precisely what a destroyed city looks like - they have been doing the destroying for the last 20 years, and at fully up to speed with what it entails. The question will be: who will they be destroying for, should it ever come home to roost?louie1,
The [neoliberal] deep state is about impoverishing the masses so that they keep their mouths shut, they don't give a rats ass if your liberal or conservative, black or white, yellow or orange, just keep your mouth shut about them.
Best is if you fight amongst yourselves and play make believe. Do you feel prosperous now? They like it when you you really get violent toward each other, great scam huhhh? It is called misdirection, want to toast some asses start with Soros, Rothschilds nad Rockefeller, greatest criminals against humanity! By the way, these mother fk'rs are satanic and bleed children out regularly! Now take pause and consider this when deciding who the real villain in your unfair world is!
Like all Zionist globalist neocon revolutions they are bloody, indiscriminate and sociopathic. The same gang are running the USA now. And the world central banking system.
Sep 03, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
leveymg on Sun, 09/02/2018 - 4:13pm
We helped put the Oligarchs into business, Putin reigned them in so he has to go
From before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has been cultivating a commercial and political elite abroad that we could "work with." As in most of the developing world during the Cold War, that meant that post-communist Russia was an oligarchy kept in money and power by IMF loans, graft, private militias and death squads.
Such was the case during the Boris Yeltsin's government that presided over the Russian Federation, a self-contained trading bloc shorn of half of its richest territories. The result of loss of most military spending and trade resulted in an average 50% loss in real living standards for the typical Russian in the depths of the Depression during the early 1990s. What grew out of the rubble was the New Russia controlled by the Oligarchs, run by returning members of Russian ethnic organized crime families once scattered around the world and remnants of the KGB, party bosses, and former Soviet military who couldn't move enough their assets out of the country while the door was still open. For Deripaska, that door closed the other way in 2006, when he lost his US B-1 visa, which meant that he had to make a deal with the FBI's McCabe and other US intelligence handlers to reenter the U.S. to access his stash deposited in Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Is Oleg really Putin's "closest oligarch", as is again repeated here in the Times?
The arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the owner of Yukos Oil Co., one of the world's major oil suppliers on October fifth, 2003 was a signal that things would never be the same for the oligarchs. By the time he took his third term as Russian President in 2012, Putin had put highly concentrated large industries increasingly under state supervision, curtailing the effective power and range of operation of many oligarchs, restricting the movement of private wealth out of the country, including that of Oleg Deripaska, whom he publicly humiliated in 2009, as seen in this video.
Sep 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.orgkarlof1 , Sep 1, 2018 7:26:22 PM | 137the testimony before the Outlaw US Empire's Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Wess Mitchell:
"Russia and China are serious competitors that are building up the material and ideological wherewithal to contest U.S. primacy and leadership in the 21st Century. It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration's foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundaments of American power."
Mitchell mentions a document I wasn't able to locate, the "Russia Integrated Strategy," but I was able to find what appears to be its predecessor , "Russia Project Strategy, 2014-2017."
Surely, this conforms to the Outlaw US Empire's Imperialism via which its goal is the Full Spectrum Domination (FSD) of the planet and its people.
Some would consider that as Totalitarianism -- the doctrine of total control. During its drive to attain FSD, certain aspects must be masked from the Empire's public since relatively unfettered freedom is featured as one of its alleged values, which is why the many undemocratic aspects of various "trade" agreements are never discussed and negotiated in secret, for example. What do we call a government that directly lies to its populous? What sort of ism is in play?
Mitchell's testimony was done in public so it didn't remain secret very long, was written about in Russian, then the analysis was translated into English .
Hopefully barflies and others will read these documents and shudder, although I'm sure a few will say "So, what's new?" Well, this goes far beyond the millennia long, ongoing Class War, and confirms what I've been saying for awhile now -- We're already within a Hybrid Third World War being waged by people who want everything or nothing.
What sort of ism's that? In my book, it's the worst form of Authoritarianism anyone might imagine.
Sep 02, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
CB on Sun, 09/02/2018 - 11:12pmPutin demanded several more caveats
in addition to staying out of politics:
1) You pay your taxes
2) You pay your employees
3) There will be no asset stripping
Bill Browder (of Magnitsky fame) broke all these rules while pillaging Russia. From 1995–2006 his company, Hermitage Capital Management, siphoned untold billions of dollars out of Russia into offshore accounts while paying no taxes and cheating workers of wages and pensions.
Putin put an end to US and UK backed shysters stealing Russia blind. Is it any wonder the western oligarchs hate him with such a passion?
If Russia were trying to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, it wouldn't be attempting to change the US system but to prevent it from trying to change Russia's, argues Diana Johnstone.
Sojourner Truth , August 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm
Some perspective on Khordokovsky, et al can be found here:
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 1:39 pm
A rather vague statement, Dick Vain, but it appears you support the 'unipolar hegemony'? Hard to tell what you intend by use of 'privilege'. Diana Johnstone's article documents the activities of Khodorkovsky, Browder, Gessen, who continue to agitate against Putin. There are others. So what's your point, and what's the b.s.?
The evidence is clear, Biden and Obama got the Magnitsky Act passed, and one of those two is not 'white', which is not the issue, anyway -- the issue is money, power and control.
Jerry Alatalo , August 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm
Diana Johnstone's immeasurably important, timely, extraordinary exposition of true facts – truth rarely, if ever, acknowledged in the United States Congress and/or Western media – represents what can most certainly be described as "historic gamechanger".
Dick Vain , August 28, 2018 at 12:59 pm
How much privilege does it take to write these words:
"Russian interference in American politics is totally welcome so long as it helps turn public opinion against "multipolar" Putin, glorifies American democracy, serves U.S. interests, including the military industries, helps break down national borders (except those of the United States and Israel) and puts money in appropriate pockets in the halls of Congress."
By estimate it doesn't matter as long as it's white
Trading in one devil for another
People who support this bullshit upside down line of thinking are welcome to jump off a cliff really.
Walter , August 28, 2018 at 12:07 pm
About the Secret State or Power Elite Thierry Meyssan wrote about a new and signal event http://www.voltairenet.org/article202622.html
The Power Elite are facing an abyss, of real war and defeat, or simply defeat as "assets" are prepared in Syria for a showdown, with dozens of warships and so forth Meantime they drivel about trivial stuff in "news" from the fascist press, and the Germans prepare to make nice with Ivan (the satrapies are switching sides, alas!)
" The Western powers are moving inexorably towards Internet censorship, thereby facilitating the dissemination of propaganda and war indoctrination in their countries. In this context, an extremely violent tension is tearing apart the international scene. Aware of the increasing risk of general confrontation, Moscow is attempting to find credible interlocutors in the UNO and the United States. What is happening at the moment has seen no equivalent since 1938, and could degenerate in the same way.,,,"
and (darkly) : "From Moscow's point of view, the war of aggression – by the intervention of jihadist proxies – against Syria must cease, and the unilateral sanctions by the US, Canada and the European Union against Russia must be lifted. The problem that we must all now face is not the defence [sic] of democracy, but the danger of war.
Void of any legitimacy, a parallel hierarchy in New York and Washington intends to plunge the world into a generalised [sic] conflict."
robjira , August 28, 2018 at 11:35 pm
Outstanding article by Meyssan; thanks for linking.
anastasia , August 28, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Really good elucidation of the double standard in American politics as it concerns Russian interference.
modern99angel , August 28, 2018 at 11:46 am
"The greatest tool at the disposal of globalists is the use of false paradigms to manipulate public perception and thus public action. The masses are led to believe that at the highest levels of geopolitical and financial power there is such a thing as "sides." This is utter nonsense when we examine the facts at hand.
We are told the-powers-that-be are divided by "Left" and "Right" politics, yet both sides actually support the same exact policy actions when it comes to the most important issues of the day and only seem to differ in terms of rhetoric, which is meaningless and cosmetic anyway. That is to say, it's nothing but Kabuki theater.
The abuses of one "side" are being used to push us into the arms of the other side, which is just as abusive.
In terms of geopolitics, we are told that national powers stand "at cross-purposes;" that they have different interests and different goals, which has led to things like "trade wars" and sometimes shooting wars. Yet, when we look at the people actually pulling the strings in most of these countries, we find the same names and institutions. Whether you are in America, Russia China, the EU, etc., globalist think tanks and international banks are everywhere, and the leaders in all of these countries call for MORE power for such institutions, not less.
These wars, no matter what form they take, are a circus for the public. They are engineered to create controlled chaos and manageable fear. They are a means to influence us towards a particular end, and that end, in most cases, is more social and economic influence in the hands of a select few. In each instance, people are being convinced to believe that the world is being divided when it is actually being centralized."
Lee Anderson , August 28, 2018 at 12:15 pm
Angel, you are on point. What you describe about the two sides is the Hegelian Dialectic in action. This is why the shadow rulers are desperate to maintain two-party duopoly.
Very enlightening article, by the way. Well done.
Walter , August 28, 2018 at 11:37 am
Russia does have an evident Policy to demonstrate and illuminate the "fissures in our tapestry [of lies]".
This tapestry itself is US Policy, as incoming CIA boss Casey said: ""We'll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False." (look it up). RT and other Russian source keep showing the Americans and the rest of the world that the "tapestry" is infested. This is a iconoclastic Policy burning the false gods of myth.
It would not work if American propaganda told the truth but it happens that they must lie – it's Policy set by the secret state, the "power elite" as C. Wright Mills termed it. And it is a signal of proximate disaster read MacBeth "Hang those who speak of fear" on the cusp of Banquo's defeat of poor old Mac .
The Quakers say "Tell the truth and shame the devil" – that's about what the Ruskies are doing shaming the devil by exposing his lies.
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 11:37 am
An overlooked meddler is George Soros, who was also a player in the takedown of Russia and has been kicked out by Putin and the Duma, his NGOs are not allowed to operate in Russia. Orban has had him banned in Hungary. There are constant neoliberal apologists for Soros, but his hidden hand working behind the scenes has been well documented. Russia, especially Putin, is Soros' "white whale", as Alex Christoforou states in "Leaked Memo Exposes George Soros' plan to overthrow Putin", 7/19/18: . "how the billionaire uses his vast wealth to create global chaos in a neverending push to deliver his neoliberal euphoria to the peasant classes". Alex Christoforou, sovereignnations.com, originally published on The Duran.
Larry Gates , August 28, 2018 at 10:45 am
Brilliant, insightful, lucid, full of interesting details. It is articles like this that keep me coming back to Consortioum News.
phillip sawicki , August 28, 2018 at 2:32 pm
I agree. We'd be much more ignorant of the facts without Johnstone.
Herman , August 28, 2018 at 10:27 am
"Needless to say, Khodorkovsky's Corbiere Trust lobbied hard to get Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act. This type of "Russian interference intended to influence policy" goes unnoticed while U.S. authorities scour cyberspace for evidence of trolls."
America has the gall to accuse Russia of doing something we do openly and to a far greater extent.
Great article. Not sure about the mechanics of how a select few stole Russia's wealth. Somewhere I read the thieves did not have to put up their own money, but performed the conversion through Russian loans. The purchase prices were so low compared to the real value of the assets that they became overnight billionaires. Don't now if they repaid the loans.
Someone may have a different understanding of how it was done.
Bob Van Noy , August 28, 2018 at 9:12 am
Thanks to all. It is crucial at this point to keep the so called Russiagate story in context beyond the pages and discussion here at CN. To that extent I will offer an excellent article from off Guardian by Eric Zuesse including some excellent links especially one leading to an interview of Anne Williamson about her book on the subject. I will link the off Guardian piece but I encourage those inclined to carefully follow all the links and video's so that we can offer a clear counter to what happened in Russia and why
Jessika , August 28, 2018 at 8:45 am
The political theater dubbed "Russiagate" (aren't we getting "gated" to death?) is looking more and more like cover for the dirty deeds of Clinton, throwing more and more pooh at the already-fatigued American public, trying to make Trump look like the bad guy so nobody notices what really went on in Clinton world.
Tobey , August 28, 2018 at 8:28 am
Hermitage Capital Management can you correct that typo ?
mike k , August 28, 2018 at 8:07 am
Trying to predict what the crazy greedy power hungry bastards leading the human world to it's extinction will do next, is the maddening game we are forced to play by their suicidal games. No one can guess exactly how they will blunder into destroying us all, but their moves in this direction are apparent,
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 6:31 am
This is a really good article entitled "Fixers":
"If there's one thing that is exposed in the sorry not-so-fairy tale of former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, it's that Washington is a city run by fixers. Who often make substantial amounts of money. Many though by no means all, start out as lawyers and figure out that let's say 'the edges of what's legal' can be quite profitable.
And it helps to know when one steps across that edge, so having attended law school is a bonus. Not so much to stop when stepping across the edge, but to raise one's fees. There's a lot of dough waiting at the edge of the law. None of this should surprise any thinking person. Manafort and Cohen are people who think in millions, with an easy few hundred grand thrown in here and there. [ ]
Lanny Davis is a lawyer, special counsel even, for the Clintons. Has been for years. Which makes it kind of curious that Michael Cohen would pick him to become his legal representation. But that's not all Davis is involved in. Like any true fixer, he has his hands in more cookie jars than fit in the average kitchen. [ ]
And now Davis, the Clinton fixer, is Michael Cohen's lawyer. The fixer defending a fixer. So who pays the bill? Well, ostensibly no-one, because Davis started a Go Fund Me campaign where people can donate so Cohen "can tell people the truth about Trump". The goal is $500,000. Which goes to .. Lanny Davis. [ ]
In the end, I can draw only one conclusion: there are so many sharks and squids swimming in the swamp that either it should be expanded or the existing one should be cleaned up and depopulated. So bring it: investigate the FBI, the Clintons, and fixers like Lanny Davis and Michael Avenatti, the same way the Trump camp has been.
Because if you don't do that, you can only possibly end up in an even bigger mess. You can't drain half a swamp."
Lanny Davis proceeds to go on a whole bunch of talk shows, claiming the sky is falling, and then in the next couple of days walks all of it back.
Another tactic of a psychopath: lie, lie and lie. Get the lie(s) out there any way you can, create lots of damage. Then when you're called on what you've said, you just say something like, "Yeah, I guess I had that wrong." The "walking back" is never covered as much as the original lie.
Michael , August 28, 2018 at 8:20 am
The number of Establishment politicians and their lawyers protecting their turf (Ukraine and Russia) seems to be multiplying. When Mueller did not arrest the Podesta Group and Greg Craig, it was clear that his investigation was a partisan "get Trump" witch hunt; Mueller destroyed his own credibility by not removing all the bad apples, just the Trump-brand ones.
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 5:57 am
You can't even keep up with the actors and players in Russiagate's Theatre of the Absurd. The Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC hire Perkins Coie, a law firm, in order to hide the fact that they're doing opposition research with campaign funds. Perkins Coie hires Fusion GPS, a research firm, and Fusion GPS hires Christopher Steele, a former MI6 British agent to come up with some dirt on Trump. Then there's all of the DOJ, FBI and CIA actors who were in on setting up Trump. Add the media into the mix and you've got quite a story of lies and corruption.
Tomorrow Bruce Ohr (a lawyer and former number four official at the DOJ) gives testimony before the House Intelligence Committee to explain his 70+ interactions with Christopher Steele. His wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Glen Simpson at Fusion GPS, and apparently Bruce Ohr accidentally failed to mention that his wife was working for Fusion GPS on his DOJ disclosure form.
Nellie Ohr, Harvard graduate in Russian history/literature and fluent in Russian, suddenly decides to get her HAM radio licence in May of 2016. Could she have gotten this to get around being tracked? Who knows.
Good article, Diana Johnstone.
Realist , August 28, 2018 at 4:46 am
This article makes the precipitous decline of America's middle class a bit clearer in retrospect. The lawless free-for-all that was unleashed on America's economy after all the rules and regulations were stricken from the books during the Clinton years was already being put into effect in Russia–which theretofore had no need for laws to regulate rampant capitalism which had completely disappeared from the country 70 years earlier. The elite insiders in America saw how quickly and effectively a country could be picked clean in the absence of restraints. By the time our own safeguards were erased during the 90's whilst Russia was being pillaged, the transnational oligarchs were all set to pick America clean during the Bush years, which they did using the MIC and the Wall Street financial institutions against a background of deliberate war, fear and societal confusion.
By the time Candyman Obama took office, Main Street America was on the verge of economic collapse, just like Russia. People were losing their jobs, their homes, their health, their families, their self-respect and their hope. Obviously, the job the Obama administration was chosen to do was to stabilise, but not cure the patient. Money stolen from future generations of taxpayers through government borrowing was used to prop up the financial institutions on the verge of collapse just as surely as Yeltsin's Russia stole from the collective to create its oligarchs. But little to nothing was done to help the middle class so their economic death spiral continues (any help for them would represent that demonic force called "socialism!"), as it will until the vampire capitalists have extracted whatever life force remains, whereupon they shall simply move on to their next targets–one of the "developing countries" or "emerging economies" they are struggling mightily to control by whatever means necessary, as if it is totally natural and permissible to preclude trade between all of Central Asia and its neighbors in China or Russia, to say nothing of monopolizing all relations with the America's, Europe, Africa, India and probably Mars. Nothing is to be permitted unless Jeff Bezos says so.
This business of collecting NATO allies across the globe is simply setting them up for future economic exploitation. And when sometime past mid-century after the resources have all played out and ruined economies litter the landscape, I suppose the "masters of the universe" orchestrating all of this will ultimately have to unleash their final solution for "down-sizing" the population to fit the economic realities, be it a war, a plague, or simply mass starvation. I don't think psychopaths will be burdened too much by guilt, besides there won't be too many people left to cast blame on them. With all the computational resources of the world at their disposal, I'm sure a million scenarios have been run on the supercomputers in some bunker under a mountain near Davos looking for the tidiest fix. Not that WE would know, but they may already be implementing some scheme drawn up by HAL9000, who by now probably walks around in a flawless fembot body. (Ooops. Didn't realise I was plagiarizing Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" with that last bit.)
Dave P. , August 28, 2018 at 7:48 pm
What an accurate sketch! Along with the future scenario planned for the humanity on the planet. As always, your comments are closest to reality as one can get. Your comments are valued very much.
backwardsevolution , August 28, 2018 at 12:03 am
"In 2016, Winer received the highest award granted by the Secretary of State, for 'extraordinary service to the U.S. government' in avoiding the massacre of over 3,000 members of an Iranian dissident group in Iraq, and for leading U.S. policy in Libya 'from a major foreign policy embarrassment to a fragile but democratic, internationally recognized government.'"
OMG, high-fives and booyahs! Just look at what you get for failing!
Eduardo Cohen , August 27, 2018 at 11:54 pm
Excellent article. Very informative. I'm just surprised that in the listing of nations from which people are welcome to seek
the interference of U.S. power to settle old scores or overthrow their government (Iraq, Libya, Iran, Russian, Cuba) the very current examples of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Syria are not mentioned. But still a great article.
Joe Tedesky , August 27, 2018 at 10:44 pm
At the rate the U.S. Hegemony Project is going America will be a leader with no followers.
Joe Tedesky , August 28, 2018 at 8:08 am
Here's more to read .
David G , August 27, 2018 at 10:32 pm
This Diana Johnstone piece actually dovetails really well with the recent CN article by Caitlin Johnstone, "How to Beat a Manipulator". https://consortiumnews.com/2018/08/17/how-to-beat-a-manipulator/#comments
"Manipulators particularly use projection as a tactic to hide what they're doing to you in plain sight. A manipulator can have you chasing your tail by simply suggesting that you or others are doing what you are seeing them doing with your own eyes. DNC caught rigging the election? Oh no, it was actually Russia who rigged the election by catching the DNC rigging the election. See what I did there? It's so dumb, but it works."
Here DJ clues us in on another of the same sort of con, or more precisely, another aspect of the same big con.
David G , August 27, 2018 at 9:46 pm
"One may question the selectivity of Bill Clinton's concern for international law enforcement, which certainly did not cover violating international law by bombing defenseless countries."
or catching international fugitives like Marc Rich.
Tom Kath , August 27, 2018 at 8:52 pm
We cannot jump to conclusions regarding Putin's MULTIpolar vision. At this stage BIpolar would seem a more accurate description. – Still, a step in the right direction from UNIpolar hegemony.
Gary Weglarz , August 27, 2018 at 10:15 pm
Tom Kath – and your reason for describing Russia as supporting a "Bipolar" rather than multi-polar world would be the some 21 Russian military bases versus the U.S. having almost 900 such bases? Perhaps you're referring to Russia's recent invasions and/or attempted destabilizations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran – oh, wait, that's the U.S. list. Help me out here – what am I missing Tom? Do I need to tune into to Rachel for a few days to get up to snuff?
Gary Weglarz , August 27, 2018 at 8:17 pm
Excellent post. The anti-Russian absurdist psycho-carnival taking place for two years now in U.S. mainstream media should be enough (in a sane society) to topple this house of cards – along with its fantasy goal of "full spectrum dominance" – yet it soldiers on. Perhaps only a self-inflicted nuclear winter can stop this mad machine and the assorted array of absolute dolts at the helm. Oddly they would seem to vastly prefer this option to accepting a multi-polar world – which of course speaks volumes regarding what passes for "sanity" in U.S. ruling circles these days.
Jeff Harrison , August 27, 2018 at 8:13 pm
I vote for Vladimir Putin's multipolar vision of the world and against the US's vision of a new Roman Empire.
Aug 19, 2018 | www.bostonglobe.com
FOR ONE OF THE world's major powers to interfere systematically in the presidential politics of another country is an act of brazen aggression. Yet it happened. Sitting in a distant capital, political leaders set out to assure that their favored candidate won an election against rivals who scared them. They succeeded. Voters were maneuvered into electing a president who served the interest of the intervening power. This was a well-coordinated, government-sponsored project to subvert the will of voters in another country -- a supremely successful piece of political vandalism on a global scale.
The year was 1996. Russia was electing a president to succeed Boris Yeltsin, whose disastrous presidency, marked by the post-Soviet social collapse and a savage war in Chechnya, had brought his approval rating down to the single digits. President Bill Clinton decided that American interests would be best served by finding a way to re-elect Yeltsin despite his deep unpopularity. Yeltsin was ill, chronically alcoholic, and seen in Washington as easy to control. Clinton bonded with him. He was our "Manchurian Candidate."
"I guess we've just got to pull up our socks and back ol' Boris again," Clinton told an aide. "I know the Russian people have to pick a president, and I know that means we've got to stop short of giving a nominating speech for the guy. But we've got to go all the way in helping in every other respect." Later Clinton was even more categorical: "I want this guy to win so bad it hurts." With that, the public and private resources of the United States were thrown behind a Russian presidential candidate.
Part of the American plan was public. Clinton began praising Yeltsin as a world-class statesman . He defended Yeltsin's scorched-earth tactics in Chechnya, comparing him to Abraham Lincoln for his dedication to keeping a nation together. As for Yeltsin's bombardment of the Russian Parliament in 1993, which cost 187 lives, Clinton insisted that his friend had "bent over backwards" to avoid it. He stopped mentioning his plan to extend NATO toward Russia's borders, and never uttered a word about the ravaging of Russia's formerly state-owned economy by kleptocrats connected to Yeltsin. Instead he gave them a spectacular gift.
Four months before the election, Clinton arranged for the International Monetary Fund to give Russia a $10.2 billion injection of cash. Yeltsin used some of it to pay for election-year raises and bonuses, but much quickly disappeared into the foreign bank accounts of Russian oligarchs. The message was clear: Yeltsin knows how to shake the Western money tree. In case anyone missed it, Clinton came to Moscow a few weeks later to celebrate with his Russian partner. Oligarchs flocked to Yeltsin's side. American diplomats persuaded one of his rivals to drop out of the presidential race in order to improve his chances.RELATED
Four American political consultants moved to Moscow to help direct Yeltsin's campaign. The campaign paid them $250,000 per month for advice on "sophisticated methods of polling, voter contact and campaign organization." They organized focus groups and designed advertising messages aimed at stoking voters' fears of civil unrest. When they saw a CNN report from Moscow saying that voters were gravitating toward Yeltsin because they feared unrest, one of the consultants shouted in triumph: "It worked! The whole strategy worked. They're scared to death!"
Yeltsin won the election with a reported 54 percent of the vote. The count was suspicious and Yeltsin had wildly violated campaign spending limits, but American groups, some funded in part by Washington, rushed to pronounce the election fair. The New York Times called it "a victory for Russia." In fact, it was the opposite: a victory by a foreign power that wanted to place its candidate in the Russian presidency.
American interference in the 1996 Russian election was hardly secret. On the contrary, the press reveled in our ability to shape the politics of a country we once feared. When Clinton maneuvered the IMF into giving Yeltsin and his cronies $10.2 billion, the Washington Post approved: "Now this is the right way to serve Western interests. . . It's to use the politically bland but powerful instrument of the International Monetary Fund." After Yeltsin won, Time put him on the cover -- holding an American flag. Its story was headlined, "Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisors Helped Yeltsin Win." The story was later made into a movie called "Spinning Boris."
This was the first direct interference in a presidential election in the history of US-Russia relations. It produced bad results. Yeltsin opened his country's assets to looting on a mass scale. He turned the Chechen capital, Grozny, into a wasteland. Standards of living in Russia fell dramatically. Then, at the end of 1999, plagued by health problems, he shocked his country and the world by resigning. As his final act, he named his successor: a little-known intelligence officer named Vladimir Putin. It is a delightful irony that shows how unwise it can be to interfere in another country's politics. If the United States had not crashed into a presidential election in Russia 22 years ago, we almost certainly would not be dealing with Putin today.
Aug 24, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org
The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was ostensibly a conflict between two ideologies, two socio-economic systems.
All that seems to be over. The day of a new socialism may dawn unexpectedly, but today capitalism rules the world. Now the United States and Russia are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight between capitalists. At first glance, it may seem to be a classic clash between rival capitalists. And yet, once again an ideological conflict is emerging, one which divides capitalists themselves, even in Russia and in the United States itself. It is the conflict between globalists and sovereignists, between a unipolar and a multipolar world. The conflict will not be confined to the two main nuclear powers.
The defeat of communism was brutally announced in a certain "capitalist manifesto" dating from the early 1990s that proclaimed: "Our guiding light is Profit, acquired in a strictly legal way. Our Lord is His Majesty, Money, for it is only He who can lead us to wealth as the norm in life."
The authors of this bold tract were Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who went on to become the richest man in Russia, before spending ten years in a Russian jail, and his business partner at the time, Leonid Nevzlin, who has since retired comfortably to Israel.
Loans For Shares
Those were the good old days in the 1990s when the Clinton administration was propping up Yeltsin as he let Russia be ripped off by the joint efforts of such ambitious well-placed Russians and their Western sponsors, notably using the "loans for shares" trick.
In a 2012 Vanity Fair article on her hero, Khodorkovsky, the vehemently anti-Putin journalist Masha Gessen frankly summed up how this worked:The new oligarchs -- a dozen men who had begun to exercise the power that money brought -- concocted a scheme. They would lend the government money, which it badly needed, and in return the government would put up as collateral blocks of stock amounting to a controlling interest in the major state-owned companies. When the government defaulted, as both the oligarchs and the government knew it would, the oligarchs would take them over. By this maneuver the Yeltsin administration privatized oil, gas, minerals, and other enterprises without parliamentary approval.This worked so well that from his position in the Communist youth organization, Khodorkovsky used his connections to get control of Russia's petroleum company Yukos and become the richest oligarch in Russia, worth some $15 billion, of which he still controls a chunk despite his years in jail (2003-2013). His arrest made him a hero of democracy in the United States, where he had many friends, especially those business partners who were helping him sell pieces of Yukos to Chevron and Exxon. Khodorkovsky, a charming and generous young man, easily convinced his American partners that he was Russia's number one champion of democracy and the rule of law, especially of those laws which allow domestic capital to flee to foreign banks and foreign capital to take control of Russian resources.
Vladimir Putin didn't see it that way. Without restoring socialism, he dispossessed Khodorkovsky of Yukos and essentially transformed the oil and gas industry from the "open society" model tolerated by Yeltsin to a national capitalist industry. Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev were accused of having stolen all the oil that Yukos had produced in the years 1998 to 2003, tried, convicted and sentenced to 14 years of prison each. This shift ruined US plans, already underway, to "balkanize" Russia between its many provinces, thereby allowing Western capital to pursue its capture of the Russian economy.
The dispossession of Khodorkovsky was certainly a major milestone in the conflict between President Putin and Washington. On November 18, 2005, the Senate unanimously adopted resolution 322 introduced by Joe Biden denouncing the treatment of the Khodorkovsky and Lebedev as politically motivated.
Who Influences Whom?
Now let's take a look at the history of Russian influence in the United States. It is obvious that a Russian who can get the Senate to adopt a resolution in his favor has a certain influence. But when the "deep state" growls about Russian influence, it isn't talking about Khodorkovsky. It's talking about a joking response Trump made to a reporter's snide question during the presidential campaign. In a variation of the classic "when did you stop beating your wife?" the reporter asked if he would call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "stay out" of the election.
Since a stupid question does not deserve a serious answer, Trump said he had "nothing to do with Putin" before adding, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
Aha! Went the Trump haters. This proves it! Irony is almost as unwelcome in American politics as honesty.
When President Trump revoked his security clearance earlier this month, former CIA chef John Brennan got his chance to spew out his hatred in the complacent pages of the New York Times.
Someone supposed to be smart enough to head an intelligence agency actually took Trump's joking invitation as a genuine request. "By issuing such a statement," Brennan wrote, "Mr. Trump was not only encouraging a foreign nation to collect intelligence against a United States citizen, but also openly authorizing his followers to work with our primary global adversary against his political opponent."
The Russians, Brennan declared, "troll political, business, and cultural waters in search of gullible or unprincipled individuals who become pliant in the hands of their Russian puppet masters."
Which Russians do that? And who are those "individuals"?
'The Fixer in Chief'
To understand the way Washington works, nothing is more instructive than to examine the career of lawyer Jonathan M. Winer, who proudly repeats that in early 2017, the head of the Carnegie Endowment Bill Burns introduced him as "the Fixer in Chief". Winer has long been unknown to the general public, but this may soon change.
Let's see what the fixer has fixed.
Under the presidency of fellow Yalie Bill Clinton, Winer served as the State Department's first Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Law Enforcement, from 1994-1999. One may question the selectivity of Bill Clinton's concern for international law enforcement, which certainly did not cover violating international law by bombing defenseless countries. In any case, in 1999, Winer was awarded for "virtually unprecedented achievements". Later we shall examine one of those important achievements.
At the end of the Clinton administration, from 2008 to 2013, the Fixer in Chief worked as high up consultant at one of the world's most powerful PR and lobbying firms, APCO Worldwide. This is how the Washington revolving door functions: after a few years in government finding out how things work, one then goes into highly paid "consultancy" to sell this insider information and influential contacts to private clients.
APCO got off to a big start some thirty years ago lobbying for Philip Morris and the tobacco industry in general.
In 2002, APCO launched something called the "Friends of Science" to promote skepticism concerning the harmful effects of smoking. In 1993, the campaign described its goals and objectives "encouraging the public to question – from the grassroots up – the validity of scientific studies."
While Winer was at APCO, one of its major activities was hyping the Clinton Global Initiative, an international networking platform promoting the Clinton Foundation. APCO president and CEO Margery Kraus explained that the consultancy was there to "help other CGI members garner interest for the causes they are addressing, demonstrate their success and highlight the wide-ranging achievements of CGI as a whole." Considering that only five percent of Clinton Foundation turnover went to donations, they needed all the PR they could get.
Significantly, donations to the Clinton Global Initiative have dried up since Hillary lost the presidential election. According to the Observer : "Foreign governments began pulling out of annual donations, signaling the organization's clout was predicated on donor access to the Clintons, rather than its philanthropic work."
This helps explain Hillary Clinton's panic when she lost in 2016. How in the world can she ever reward her multi-million-dollar donors with the favors they expected?
As well as the tobacco industry and the Clinton Foundation, APCO also works for Khodorkovsky. To be precise, according to public listings, the fourth biggest of APCO's many clients is the Corbiere Trust, owned by Khodorkovsky and registered in Guernsey. The trust tends and distributes some of the billions that the oligarch got out of Russia before he was jailed. Corbiere money was spent to lobby both for Resolution 322 (supporting Khodorkovky after his arrest in Russia) and for the Magnitsky Act (more later). Margery Kraus, APCO's president and CEO, is a member of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's son Pavel's Institute of Modern Russia, devoted to "promoting democratic values" – in other words, to building political opposition to Vladimir Putin.
In 2009 Jonathan Winer went back to the State Department where he was given a distinguished service award for having somehow rescued thousands of stranded members of the Muhahedin-e Khalq from their bases in Iraq they were trying to overthrow the Iranian government. The MeK, once officially recognized as a terrorist organization by the State Department, has become a pet instrument in US and Israeli regime change operations directed at Iran.
However, it was Winer's extracurricular activities at State that finally brought him into the public spotlight early this year – or rather, the spotlight of the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman Devin Nunes (R-Cal) named him as one of a network promoting the notorious "Steele Dossier" which accused Trump of illicit financial dealing and compromising sexual activities in Russia. By Winer's own account , he had been friends with former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele since his days at APCO. Back at State, he regularly channeled Steele reports, ostensibly drawn from contacts with friendly Russian intelligence agents, to Victoria Nuland, in charge of Russian affairs, and top Russian experts. These included the infamous "Steele dossier". In September 2016, Winer's old friend Sidney Blumenthal – a particularly close advisor to Hillary Clinton – gave him notes written by a more mysterious Clinton insider named Cody Shearer, repeating the salacious attacks.
All this dirt was spread through government agencies and mainstream media before being revealed publicly just before Trump's inauguration, used to stimulate the "Russiagate" investigation by Robert Mueller. The dossier has been discredited but the investigation goes on and on.
So, it is all right to take seriously information allegedly obtained from "Russian agents" and spread it around, so long as it can damage Trump. As with so much else in Washington, double standards are the rule.
Jonathan Winer and the Magnitsky Act
Jonathan Winer played a major role in Congressional adoption of the "Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012" (the Magnitsky Act), a measure that effectively ended post-Cold War hopes for normal relations between Washington and Moscow. This act was based on a highly contentious version of the November 16, 2009 death in prison of accountant Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky, as told to Congress by hedge fund manager Bill Browder (grandson of Earl Browder, head of the Communist Party USA 1934-1945). According to Browder, Magnitsky was a lawyer beaten to death in prison as a result of his crusade for human rights.
However, as convincingly established by dissident Russian film-maker Andrei Nekrasov's (banned) investigative documentary, the unfortunate Magnitsky was neither a human rights crusader, nor a lawyer, nor beaten to death. He was an accountant jailed for his role in Browder's business dealings, who died of natural causes as a result of inadequate medical treatment. The case was hyped up as a major human rights drama by Browder in order to discredit Russian charges against himself.
In any case, by adopting a law punishing Magnitsky's alleged persecutors, the US Congress acted as a supreme court judging internal Russian legal issues.
The Magnitsky Act also condemns legal prosecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Browder, on a much smaller scale, also made a fortune ripping off Russians during the Yeltsin years, and later got into trouble with Russian tax collectors. Since Browder had given up his US citizenship in order to avoid paying US taxes, he had reason to fear Russian efforts to extradite him for tax evasion and other financial misdeeds.
It was Jonathan Winer who found a solution to Browder's predicament.
As Winer tells it :When Browder consulted me, [ ] I suggested creating a new law to impose economic and travel sanctions on human-rights violators involved in grand corruption. Browder decided this could secure a measure of justice for Magnitsky. He initiated a campaign that led to the enactment of the Magnitsky Act. Soon other countries enacted their own Magnitsky Acts, including Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and most recently, the United Kingdom.Russian authorities are still trying to pursue their case against Browder. In his press conference following the Helsinki meeting with Trump, Vladimir Putin suggested allowing US authorities to question the Russians named in the Mueller indictment in exchange for allowing Russian officials to question individuals involved in the Browder case, including Winer and former US ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul. Putin observed that such an exchange was possible under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty signed between the two countries in 1999, back in the Yeltsin days when America was posing as Russia's best friend.
But the naïve Russians did not measure the craftiness of American lawyers.
As Winer wrote:"Under that treaty, Russia's procurator general can ask the US attorney general to arrange for Americans to be ordered to testify to assist in a criminal case. But there is a fundamental exception: The attorney general can provide no such assistance in a politically motivated case ." (My emphasis.)"I know this", he wrote, "because I was among those who helped put it there. Back in 1999, when we were negotiating the agreement with Russia, I was the senior State Department official managing US-Russia law-enforcement relations."
So, the Fixer in Chief could have said to the worried Browder, "No problem. All that we need to do is make your case a politically motivated case. Then they can't touch you."
Winer's clever treaty is a perfect Catch-22. The treaty doesn't apply to a case if it is politically motivated, and if it is Russian, it must be politically motivated.
In a July 15, 2016, complaint to the Justice Department, Browder's Heritage Capital Management accused both American and Russian opponents of the Magnitsky Act of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA; adopted in 19938 with Nazis in mind). Among the "lobbyists" cited was the late Ron Dellums (falsely identified in the complaint as a "former Republican congressman").
The Heritage Capital Management brief declared that: "While lawyers representing foreign principals are exempt from filing under FARA, this is only true if the attorney does not try to influence policy at the behest of his client." However, by disseminating anti-Magnitsky material to Congress, any Russian lawyer was "clearly trying to influence policy" was therefore in violation of FARA filing requirements."
Catch-22 all over again.
Needless to say, Khodorkovsky's Corbiere Trust lobbied heavily to get Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which also repeated its defense of Khodorkovsky himself. This type of "Russian interference intended to influence policy" is not even noticed, while US authorities scour cyberspace for evidence of trolls.
The basic ideological conflict here is between Unipolar America and Multipolar Russia. Russia's position, as Vladimir Putin made clear in his historic speech at the 2007 Munich security conference, is to allow countries to enjoy national sovereignty and develop in their own way. The current Russian government is against interference in other countries' politics on principle. It would naturally prefer an American government willing to allow this.
The United States, in contrast, is in favor of interference in other countries on principle: because it seeks a Unipolar world, with a single "democratic" system, and considers itself the final authority as to which regime a country should have and how it should run its affairs .
So, if Russians were trying to interfere in US domestic politics, they would not be trying to change the US system but to prevent it from trying to change their own. Russian leaders clearly are sufficiently cultivated to realize that historic processes do not depend on some childish trick played on somebody's computer.
US policy-makers practice interference every day. And they are perfectly willing to allow Russians to interfere in American politics – so long as those Russians are "unipolar" like themselves, like Khodorkovsky, who aspire to precisely the same unipolar world sought by the State Department and George Soros. Indeed, the American empire depends on such interference from Iraqis, Libyans, Iranians, Russians, Cubans – all those who come to Washington to try to get US power to settle old scores or overthrow the government in the country they came from. All those are perfectly welcome to lobby for a world ruled by America.
Russian interference in American politics is totally welcome so long as it helps turn public opinion against "multipolar" Putin, glorifies American democracy, serves US interests including the military-industrial complex, helps break down national borders (except those of the United States and Israel) and puts money in appropriate pockets in the halls of Congress.
Aug 23, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
Linda Wood on Thu, 08/23/2018 - 12:16pmThe gap between
@Dr. John Carpenter
[The difference between] what the average American knows about Russia and reality is frightening.]
What happened with Putin is that he went to the left of Yeltsin, our boy, our Bushworld plaything, poster boy of "unfettered" capitalism, the raping of Russia.
Bushworld didn't just deregulate mining and resource extraction in Russia, it deregulated everything, the abuse of labor, the destruction of education, the corruption of everything previously socialist and plunged Russia into an organized crime free fire zone.
The standard of living fell to pieces and huge fortunes were made by U.S., British, and other western speculators.
Putin has apparently moved to the left of that nightmare, and for that we are supposed to fear him, for insisting speculators pay their taxes and pay living wages and support social systems like education and healthcare as well as public infrastructure.
For that we are supposed to go to war and contribute the destruction of huge parts of the United States in a nuclear war so Assholes like Albright and her followers can live the lives of potentates.
Aug 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft | Aug 21, 2018 4:17:31 PM | 28
Russians hold as much as one trillion in USD assets outside Russia that were stolen from Russia in the 90's and number far greater if including all of the FSU. The stimulus to the global and US economy was enormous and created asset bubbles until the great collapse in 2008. The current bubble was due to quantitative easing of central banks as the flows from Russia and FSU dried up.
Much of this was held in tax havens and then moved to the US after cleaning via shelf companies. Trumps empire was rebuilt with Russian oligarchs/mafia money as real estate was a favorite investment for money launderers
During the Ukrainian conflict Putin began an amnesty program asking oligarchs to repatriate these assets by waiving penalties and taxes. He restarted it at the end of last year, hence the need to expand the list of assets to be seized before they fly the coop.
Trump may know where a lot of these assets are parked. Perhaps he had been a good informant of the FBI/CIA like his partner Felix Sater
Browder who helped facilitate the looting before he was kicked out of Russia and the Magnitsky Act are all part of the efforts to seize or at least contain as much of the loot as possible and keep it from Russia
Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Jim Kunstler Exposes The Democratic Party's "Three-Headed Monster"
by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/17/2018 - 14:35 132 SHARES Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
The faction that used to be the Democratic party can be described with some precision these days as a three-headed monster driving the nation toward danger, darkness, and incoherence.
Anyone interested in defending what remains of the sane center of American politics take heed:
The first head is the one infected with the toxic shock of losing the 2016 election. The illness took hold during the campaign that year when the bureaucracy under President Obama sent its lymphocytes and microphages in the "intel community" -- especially the leadership of the FBI -- to attack the perceived disease that the election of Donald Trump represented. The "doctors" of this Deep State diagnosed the condition as "Russian collusion." An overdue second opinion by doctors outside the Deep State adduced later that the malady was actually an auto-immune disease.
The agents actually threatening the health of the state came from the intel community itself: Mr. Brennan, Mr. Clapper, Mr. Comey, Mr. Strzok, Mr. McCabe, Mr. Ohr, Ms. Yates. Ms. Page, et. al. who colluded with pathogens in the DNC, the Hillary campaign, and the British intel service to chew up and spit out Mr. Trump as expeditiously as possible.
With the disease now revealed by hard evidence, the chief surgeon called into the case, Robert Mueller, is left looking ridiculous -- and perhaps subject to malpractice charges -- for trying to remove an appendix-like organ called the Manifort from the body politic instead of attending to the cancerous mess all around him. Meanwhile, the Deep State can't stop running its mouth -- The New York Times , CNN, WashPo , et al -- in an evermore hysterical reaction to the truth of the matter: the Deep State itself colluded with Russia (and perhaps hates itself for it, a sure recipe for mental illness).
The second head of this monster is a matrix of sinister interests seeking to incite conflict with Russia in order to support arms manufacturers, black box "security" companies, congressmen-on-the-take, and an army of obscenely-rewarded Washington lobbyists in concert with the military and a rabid neocon intellectual think-tank camp wishing to replay the cold war and perhaps even turn up the temperature with some nuclear fire. They are apparently in deep confab with the first head and its Russia collusion storyline. Note all the current talk about Russia already meddling in the 2018 midterm election, a full-fledged pathogenic hallucination.
This second head functions by way of a displacement-projection dynamic. We hold war games on the Russian border and accuse them of "aggression." We engineer and pay for a coup against the elected government of Ukraine, and accuse Russia of aggression. We bust up one nation after another in Middle East and complain indignantly when Russia acts to keep Syria from becoming the latest failed state. We disrupt the Russian economy with sanctions, and the Russian banking system with a cut-off of SWIFT international currency clearing privileges, and accuse them of aggression. This mode of behavior used to be known as "poking the bear," a foolish and hazardous endeavor. The sane center never would have stood for this arrant recklessness. The world community is not fooled, though. More and more, they recognize the USA as a national borderline personality, capable of any monstrous act.
The third head of this monster is the one aflame with identity politics. It arises from a crypto-gnostic wish to change human nature to escape the woes and sorrows of the human condition -- for example, the terrible tensions of sexuality. Hence, the multiplication of new sexual categories as a work-around for the fundamental terrors of human reproduction as represented by the differences between men and women. Those differences must be abolished, and replaced with chimeras that enable a childish game of pretend, men pretending to be women and vice-versa in one way or another: LBGTQetc. Anything BUT the dreaded "cis-hetero" purgatory of men and women acting like men and women. The horror .
Its companion is the race hustle and its multicultural operating system. The objective has become transparent over the past year, with rising calls to punish white people for the supposed "privilege" of being Caucasian and pay "reparations" in one way or another to underprivileged "people of color." This comes partly from the infantile refusal to understand that life is difficult for everybody, and that the woes and sorrows of being in this world require fortitude and intelligence to get through -- with the final reward being absolutely the same for everybody.
Creative_Destruct -> Got The Wrong No Fri, 08/17/2018 - 16:30 PermalinkChad Thunderfist -> venturen Fri, 08/17/2018 - 14:56 Permalink
"We engineer and pay for a coup against the elected government of Ukraine, and accuse Russia of aggression. We bust up one nation after another in Middle East and complain indignantly when Russia acts to keep Syria from becoming the latest failed state. We disrupt the Russian economy with sanctions, and the Russian banking system with a cut-off of SWIFT international currency clearing privileges, and accuse them of aggression. This mode of behavior used to be known as "poking the bear," a foolish and hazardous endeavor. "
And this shit has been going on since the Soviet Union broke up and the "Harvard Boys" helped turn Russia into a corrupt Oligarchy, something the Left was first to identify.STP -> edotabin Fri, 08/17/2018 - 17:36 Permalink
I was talking to someone, who knows a lot about the 'inner workings' and we were discussing, not only the US, but Europe's situation as well.
The rising of the Populist parties in the UK, Germany, especially Italy and now Sweden, portends an interesting trend, not just nationally, but world wide...
Aug 11, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
Yet the political realm is where Soros has made his most audacious wager. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, he poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the former Soviet-bloc countries to promote civil society and [neo]liberal democracy. It was a one-man Marshall Plan for Eastern Europe, a private initiative without historical precedent. It was also a gamble that a part of the world that had mostly known tyranny would embrace ideas like government accountability and ethnic tolerance. In London in the 1950s, Soros was a student of the expatriated Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, who championed the notion of an "open society," in which individual liberty, pluralism and free inquiry prevailed. Popper's concept became Soros's cause.
... ... ...
...In the 1990s, he was portrayed by the far left as an agent of American imperialism, helping to foist the so-called neoliberal agenda (mass privatization, for example) on Eastern Europe. For some critics, Soros's Wall Street background has always been a mark against him.
Last autumn, he signaled that same sense of defiance when he announced that he was in the process of transferring the bulk of his remaining wealth, $18 billion in total at the time, to the O.S.F. That will potentially make it the second-largest philanthropic organization in the United States, in assets, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is already a sprawling entity, with some 1,800 employees in 35 countries, a global advisory board, eight regional boards and 17 issue-oriented boards. Its annual budget of around $1 billion finances projects in education, public health, independent media, immigration and criminal-justice reform and other areas
... ... ...
He decided that his goal would be opening closed societies. He created a philanthropic organization, then called the Open Society Fund, in 1979 and began sponsoring college scholarships for black South African students. But he soon turned his attention to Eastern Europe, where he started financing dissident groups. He funneled money to the Solidarity strikers in Poland in 1981 and to Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. In one especially ingenious move, he sent hundreds of Xerox copiers to Hungary to make it easier for underground publications to disseminate their newsletters. In the late 1980s, he provided dozens of Eastern European students with scholarships to study in the West, with the aim of fostering a generation of [neo]liberal democratic leaders. One of those students was Viktor Orban, who studied civil society at Oxford. From his Manhattan trading desk, Soros became a strange sort of expat anticommunist revolutionary.
... ... ...
In one campaign rally in Budapest, Orban referred to Soros as "Uncle George," telling tens of thousands of supporters that "we are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the world." Along with the fiery speeches, there were the billboards, which featured a picture of a smiling Soros and the message, "Let's not let George Soros have the last laugh."
... ... ...
Orban's coalition won 49 percent of the vote, enough to give it a supermajority in Parliament. But the anti-Soros campaign didn't end with the election. Days after the vote, a magazine owned by a pro-Orban businesswoman published the names of more than 200 people in Hungary that it claimed were Soros "mercenaries."
... ... ...
There have been mistakes; by his own admission, Soros erred in championing Mikheil Saakashvili, the mercurial former president of Georgia, and also became too directly involved in the country's politics in the early 2000s. He clearly misjudged Orban. But as Victoria Nuland, a former American diplomat who worked for both Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton, put it when I spoke to her recently, "George is a freedom fighter."
alexander hamilton new york July 17Conservative Democrat WV July 17
"Billionaire philanthropist?" Really? Does that make the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelstein "philanthropists" too, or does that label apply only to left-leaning individuals seeking political leverage many times that of the average citizen?
One citizen, 1 vote. ALL citizens should be limited to $100 contributions for their senators, representatives and the President. NO citizen should be able to contribute to a campaign in a state where he/she is not a full-time permanent resident.
And NO citizen should be able to contribute more than $100 to his/her own campaign. We don't need more Kennedys, Clintons, Bloombergs, Trumps, Perots or Forbes buying (or trying to buy) their way into public office, using their millions.
Of the people, by the people, for the people. That's the model, folks. Depart from it at your peril.Maqroll North Florida July 17 Times Pick
For a man that purportedly promotes democracy, Mr. Soros conveniently overlooked public opinion when it came to promoting open borders.
In its essence, democracy is all about the wisdom and will of those governed, and not about what a billionaire thinks is best for them.WPLMMT New York City July 17 Times Pick
Soros--a "European at heart." Must have brought some much-needed smiles to the UK following the recent Trump Tour of Destruction. How soon we forget--in the 90s, Soros broke the pound as the Brits were trying to unify European currencies--with unfortunate conditions that weakened the effort and Soros smartly exploited.
Who can blame a globalist from crashing a poorly devised govt scheme and walking away with a cool $1B--back when a billion dollars was a lot of money? I am not the person to say whether Soros may qualify as an honest proponent of democracy, but I strongly suspect that he is a poster boy of the ultra-nationalists as they battle globalization.
In a way, Soros epitomizes the failure of globalization, which may or may not benefit the classic, labor-intensive industries of manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and mining, but always benefits, sometimes wildly, the financial "industry."
As far as I'm concerned, Soros is merely making reparations. And, sorry to say, George, it's prob too little, too late.gpickard Luxembourg July 17 Times Pick
I always thought George Soros was a dangerous [neo]liberal but after reading this article and seeing the damage he has created around the world it has been confirmed. Nigel Farage, the British politician, recently said on television that Mr. Soros is out to destroy the world. It certainly appears to be the case when you see what he did to the British and Thai economies. He was so concerned with helping immigrants and refugees that he had little regard for the citizens that actually lived in those countries that are being affected. People lost their livelihoods but that did not matter to him.
Mr. Soros fights for all the [neo]liberal causes no matter the consequences. He ... does not care who he hurts as long as he promotes his progressive agenda. He wants to allow as many immigrants to enter a nation as possible even if it adversely affects that country while he lives in luxury and is not inconvenienced by this invasion. He has billions and will probably never be touched by massive immigration.
I am glad that the conservatives and others are finally seeing his true colors and are trying to subdue him the best they can. He must be called out on this negative behavior before it is too late. It is reassuring that many of the European nations are implementing policies that are favorable to their countries and looking out for their people. Europeans must be protected and George Soros stopped. I am glad they see him for what he truly is which is frightening.c smith Pittsburgh July 17
As Mr. Soros said of himself, "I am a confirmed egoist." He has used his money to make the world as he thinks is best. But having money does not give you a better moral view of how the world should be governed nor make you a god to decide for the rest of us.
I think this kind of undue influence (money in politics) is what is driving some of the back-lash against [neo]liberal democracy. So many of the "[neo]liberal" proponents of an open society, like George Soros and Bill Gates, seem to have an inordinate power to effect political outcomes because of their money.
The making of such huge amounts of money is not done with any charitable purpose. Only later, does charity come to mind.Karekin USA July 17
Soros is an enemy of the middle and working classes in America. Yes, a billion people around the world are better off because of the forces of "globalization" (this total most definitely includes Soros himself), but millions of Americans have suffered economically as a result. GATT, NAFTA and the entire alphabet soup of trade deals have lined the pockets of the globalists, while grinding the fortunes of U.S. working and middle class laborers into dust.Tim DC area July 17 Times Pick
Great article. Now, more than ever, American politics is defined by money, so it's important to understand how it is used in that context by those who have it. At this juncture, I think the American people deserve to see an expose of all those millionaires and billionaires who have and continue to support Trump. It's only fair, to lay the money trail on the table, on all sides, for everyone to see.Samuel Spade Huntsville, al July 17
What about the devastating effects that free trade and globalization have had on the spread of inequality throughout the world... Huge corporations consistently use "free trade" or globalization as an excuse to offer the lowest possible wages, and move manufacturing to places with the least environmental protections and human rights.
Immigration policies are also sometimes used in ways to suppress wages, and even more worse, enacted with very little thought given to assimilation. Most of the poorer areas, or ghettoes surrounding Paris for example are populated with huge numbers of Muslim immigrants that face extremely daunting odds of fully assimilating into French culture.
While the wealthier (sometimes elite [neo]liberals) Parisians almost certainly live in gated or posh neighborhoods with hardly any immigrants as their neighbors. Despite the generous financial support Soros (and some other elites) gives to human rights causes, he rarely outright discusses some of these problems associated with free trade, globalization and mass immigration. These seeming hypocrisies and inconsistencies then become much easier fodder for those of Orban's ilk to manipulate and ultimately consolidate power.Ivory Tower Colorado July 17
Soros didn't bet on Democracy, he bet on his version of it which he tried to buy through individual politicians on the take and the Democratic Party. Better he quit manipulating pols and gave his money to charity.Concerned EU Resident Germany July 17
First, Hungary is not xenophobic, they merely want to protect their culture. Second, George Soros wants plenty of wealth for him and his family, yet he wants those of us in the middle class to dive up our meager assets with the world's poorest. Third, his personal wealth has often been generated by destroying currencies and the middle class who owns those currencies. Fourth, he promotes open borders without consulting the citizenry of said borders as to their opinion regarding their own national sovereignty. Our world would be a much better place without George Soros.geezer117 Tennessee July 17
Soros is a criminal by any other name. He hedged against the UK Pound 20 years ago, and earned $1B. He earned billions by manipulating the market. With his profits he wanted to create his own society where his money could be used to buy politicians and pass legislation according to his one man agenda. He's selfish, an egomaniac, and dangerous.Rose Philadelphia July 17
Soros employs his vast wealth to create the society he dreams of, regardless of what the rest of us want. When the democratic process veers away from his vision, he uses the power of his wealth to steer it back.
So he's just another wealthy and powerful elite trying to remake the world as he prefers it. Such arrogance!Jonas Seattle July 17
Sucking money out of the world's economies so that he can direct it as HE sees fit does not make a man great. Rather, I would argue that such actions contributed to the rise of both Brexiteers and Trumpsters.
If Soros really wants to contribute to society, he would lobby for financial industry reform - less favorable tax treatment for hedge funds (what value do they really provide to society) and a transaction tax on trades to reduce speculation. Then fight for minimum wage increases.Peter Albany. NY July 17
This is a horrifying interview and does not improve the image of George Soros. "My ideology is nonideological," he says while spending billions on politics, which he defines as "In politics, you are spinning the truth, not discovering it." He describes Obama as his greatest disappointment because Obama "closed the door on me," as in he expected Obama should work with him and take his advice. Soros uses his billions to fund politicians and meddle in elections... this is a man who enjoys influencing and manipulating politics and becomes frustrated when his efforts backfire or are not successful.Marian Maryland July 17
This man is the absolute worst! His no borders policy has done more to hurt Europe then Russia ever could. The Soros gang has zero respect and tolerance for nation-state sovereignty and local governance. Talk about a global elite! He and his gang epitomize that arrogance.Al Nino Hyde Park NY July 17
George Soros bet big on open borders,one world governance and destroying the working class through unfair trade agreements. Yes he appears to be losing. Thank God for small favors.Charles Becker Sonoma State University July 17
It cracks me up to read these type of article in the NYT and then read another story in the NYT about how if you can pay the money you can have yourself a private waiting area in a major airport to separate yourself from the chaos of the masses in the public waiting areas. Maybe democracy wouldn't be in trouble around the world if it worked as well for the "slobs" in the public waiting areas as it did for those in the exclusive waiting rooms. This is globalization in a nutshell. It works great for the rich, not so well for the rest of us slobs. This is a government of the rich people, by the rich people, for the rich people. The slobs realise their government doesn't really care that their jobs are disapearing and their standard of living is going down.John Medina Holt July 17
I am not interested in windfall investing profits. Soros is *not* my hero: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-george-soros-broke-the-bank-of-thaila... . Wretched.Richard L. Wilson Moscow, Russia July 17
To say that George Soros is funding [neo]liberal democracy is a misnomer. What Soros is funding is open borders. Where national interests are set aside, global interests prevail. This is precisely what George Soros is advocating. Tired of having to face multitude regulatory systems in his effort to build a global financial empire, Soros is quite right in discerning that a borderless, global regulatory system would increase his financial power exponentially. Nations are right to resist the encroachment of Soros because global interests, by definition, are not local interests. Nationalism, so loathed by Soros and his open border lackeys, serves as a check and balance on men like Soros who would be god and would dictate to the world from some point of central governance what their truth and value should be. George Soros and his globalist kin should be resisted. The true threat to global interests is not nationalism, it is globalism.elizabeth renant new mexico July 17
Soros, and American [neo]liberalism, economic and social [neo]liberalism championed by Soros and the NYT, is in its death throes. Call us fascists, totalitarians, racists--- understand clearly: we do not care. Europe is waking up. [neo]liberalism is close to being dead. No spectres or phantoms are haunting Europe. Blood is standing up and answering our ancestors.We are not commodoties, consumers, meat for your wars. You have attacked us, belittled us, turned our queen of continents into latrines of filth. You, American [neo]liberalism, have destroyed us.Now, we take our nations back.Larry Left Chicago's High Taxes July 17
It's amusing to read phrases like "nationalism and tribalism are resurgent". It never does to underestimate tribalism; as long as groups feel safe they are tolerant. But when groups feel threatened, tribalism rears up in what is not so much a resurgence but more like an awakening from a nap.
The older cultures of Europe are waking up from a nap and realizing that unless they reassess a few long-held assumptions, they will eventually be ethnically diminished and culturally pressured.
Denmark has banned the burka and legislated some of the harshest migration, immigration, asylum, and naturalization laws in Europe. It is implementing laws to ensure integration, including stopping benefits to families whose children are not integrating. Do the author and Mr. Soros think that Denmark exercising control over its future demographics and preserving its culture are malign?
The Danes some years ago elected the Danish People's Party to significant power; the DPP is often referred to as a far right party, but is a typical left-wing party in everything except pushing Denmark toward "multiculturalism".
Sweden's centre-left government, on the other hand, brought in hundreds of thousands of Third World immigrants and then refused even to admit, let alone discuss, the glaring problems with integration within its immigrant community.
Result: the Sweden Democrats, a bona fide neo-Nazi party, are set to do extremely and alarmingly well in Sweden's September elections.
Yes - in Sweden.Burton Austin, Texas July 17
This super-rich elitist from Hungary is trying to buy American democracy and reshape it in his image regardless of what We The People want. And the Democrats are on his payroll and totally owned by this foreign agent!Ned Flarbus Berkeley July 17
Soros' flaw is that he only tolerates centralized socialist democracy. He cannot stand the idea of democracy in the form of a federal republic with a weak central government. Interestingly, he made his billions as a predatory capitalist now he turns on capitalism. He also exhibits a particularly vicious elitism: No one should be allowed to own guns except his private security guards. He knows that umarmed men are always someone's slaves.Philly Expat July 17
Soros is a hypocrite who did one thing and is now out to create a legacy. All is shows is he is driven by both greed and ego. His blatant hypocrisy probably did more harm than good - common denominator, it's always about him. Hey Soros, don't do us plebes any more favors, ok?David Brisbane July 17
Democracy is alive and well, regardless of what Soros thinks. He does not represent democracy, he was never been elected to any public office. He represents open borders mass migration, as the name of one of his NGOs implies, Open Society Foundation. Brexit voters, and other voters across the west are increasingly voting against his philosophy. Voters in the US, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, etc, have democratically chosen as their leaders conservative controlled borders leaders, and to underscore, all were elected via the democratic process.
Open Borders and globalism that Soros is pushing is increasingly being rejected in voting booths in the EU and the US.
It is hardly undemocratic to increasingly vote against what Soros is selling – chaotic mass migration made possible by open borders.
He represents [neo]liberal democracy, and voters increasingly favor conservative democracy.idimalink usa July 17
George Soros is the epitome of corruption – penetration and distortion of political process by obscene wealth. It does not matter what his true intentions are – he can say whatever he wants but we will never know for sure. And stop calling that "philanthropy".
Red Cross and Salvation Army is philanthropy. What Soros is doing is imposing his personal political beliefs and ideas on everybody by buying political influence with his money - that is called "corruption" pure and simple.
Sure, he is not the only one doing that, but he is the one doing that most overtly and blatantly. He seems to relish being the face of the elitist disregard for the masses. What he does is not democracy promotion - it is the exact opposite – democracy destruction. It is good to know that he is failing in that effort.Jose Pardinas Collegeville, PA July 18
Neoliberalism has failed to improve democratic governance and reduced distribution of wealth, just as leftists predicted. Soros benefitted financially, which has increased his privilege to participate in governance voters cannot achieve. Despite Soros' wealth, successfully manipulating currency markets does not easily transfer to manipulating electorates. Even if Soros believes his projects would produce good governance, he lacks the ability to convince voters what is in their best interests.
I am elated to hear that George Soros might be losing.
What pharaonic globalist plutocrats like him mean by "Liberal Democracy" encompasses a sinister set of objectives. Prominent among which are these two:
1). Full support for neocon/neoliberal destabilization, confrontation, and military interventionism.
2). The destruction of borders, nations, and cultures -- particularly Western Culture here and in Europe.
Soros and his peers want unhindered unlimited access to cheap Third World labor as well as to have complete control over the entire global economy. To his class nationalism and culture are speed bumps on the way to those self-serving goals.
Aug 04, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Within four weeks they bought $6.5 billion and transferred most of it to foreign banks.  Most of the rest of IMF loan was a stealth bailout for western financial institutions which had some $200 billion worth of loans and investments in Russia. The banks feared the prospect of Russian default which would leave them with crippling losses. These risks became even more acute in the aftermath of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis that would engulf Russia in 1998.
In a testimony before the U.S. Congress, veteran investor Jim Rogers characterized IMF's assistance to Russia as follows: " The activities of the organization are gussied up in sanctimonious prose about aiding the poor and raising the living standards of the third world. Don't be fooled. These bailouts are really about protecting interests of Chase Manhattan, J.P. Morgan, and Fidelity Investments ." 
In addition to loading Russia up with unproductive debt, IMF also engineered Russia's hyperinflation and liquidity crisis. After eliminating price controls, IMF obliged Russia to maintain the ruble as the common currency for all Soviet Union successor states, giving each of the 15 new countries the incentive to issue ruble credits for their own benefit while fueling inflation for all others. Sachs reported that he strenuously argued with the IMF against this measure but " for inexplicable reasons, " he was consistently rebuked.
The result was a one-year delay in the introduction of national currencies for the former Soviet republics, pushing Russia into hyperinflation and needlessly prolonging its economic depression. At this same time, the IMF engineered Russia's staggering liquidity crisis that made it almost impossible for enterprises to pay their suppliers and workers. Under IMF's dictate, Russian economy struggled along on less than one sixth of the currency required to operate an economy of its size.
The extent of IMF's iron-fisted control over Russian economy was exemplified in a letter from the IMF's representative Yusuke Horaguchi to Russia's central bank chairman Sergei Dubinin . The letter specified the precise schedule of Russia's ruble supply along with " harshly worded " instructions regarding bank credits, the state budget, energy policy, price levels, trade tariffs and agricultural policies. Horaguchi's letter even included a warning that any acts of the parliament contravening the IMF mandates would be vetoed by president Yeltsin. 
It is clear that shock "therapy" was little more than a relentless, cruel strangulation of Russia's economy to facilitate looting of her vast industrial and resource wealth . Nonetheless, most Western-published analyses of this episode tended to treat it as failure of good intentions. While lamenting the outcomes and certain questionable practices, most analysts essentially attribute the failure of Russian transition to honest errors, Russia's endemic corruption, and perhaps inexperience in many of the drama's protagonists.Goldman Marshall of Harvard and the Council of Foreign Relations wrote: " To be sure, there were unsettling reports of shady dealings during the takeovers, but most observers explained them away as inevitable side effects of such a far-reaching transformation. "
Naturally, Marshall fails to detail how or where he polled these "most observers," but his message to the readers is unmistakable: move along folks, there's nothing to see here – especially pay no attention to the fact that many of those thousands of Westerners who came to Russia " for the best of reasons ," including Bill Browder , Andrei Schleifer and Jonathan Hay ,  returned from Russia as multi-millionaires. Financial reporter Anne Willamson , who covered Russia for the New York Times and Wall Street Journal rightly remarked in her Congressional testimony that, " Americans, who thought their money was helping a stricken land, have been dishonored; and the Russian people who trusted us are now in debt twice what they were in 1991 and rightly feel themselves betrayed. "
 During his time managing the HIID's Moscow operation, Andrei Schleifer and Jonathan Hay took advantage of their position and relationships to make personal investments in Russia. An investigation by the FBI and U.S. Justice Department found evidence of fraud and money laundering by Harvard's consultants. In 2004, Schleifer was found guilty of fraud and he agreed to pay a $31 million fine to settle the case. Not only did Harvard University persist in defending Schleifer over the 8 years of investigations and trials, it paid the bulk of Schileifer's fine and kept him on university's faculty.
Jul 24, 2018 | www.unz.com
Greg Bacon , Website July 24, 2018 at 7:43 am GMTThe Alarmist , July 24, 2018 at 10:37 am GMT
" American politicians like Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham, Ben Cardin and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman "
American? I beg to differ. All of those turncoats serve their Master Israel and kiss the nether regions of those TBTF Wall Street Casinos.
Browder is one of those nine Russian oligarchs -- eight of whom are Jews -- who stole hundreds of billions from Russia when it was decompressing from being the USSR, helped by the drunken buffoon Yeltsin and a battery of Wall Street financial sharpies who also filled their pockets.
Watch the tough guy Browder run like a scared bunny rabbit in NYC from a process server.
Browder needs to be arrested by Interpol, tried, convicted and spend the rest of his sorry life in a Super Max prison for his thefts, frauds and helping to poison the relationship between the USA & Russia, in an effort to save his sorry ass from prosecution.geokat62 , July 24, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT
"Yeltsin had won a fraudulent election in 1996 supported by the oligarch-controlled media and by President Bill Clinton, who secured a $20.2 billion IMF loan that enabled him to buy support. Today we would refer to Clinton's action as "interference in the 1996 election," but at that time a helpless and bankrupt Russia was not well placed to object to what was being done to it."
So Mother Russia was raped, and by Bill Clinton, of all people. Where is the outrage? #MeToo@Greg BaconAnonymous lurker , July 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm GMT
Browder needs to be arrested by Interpol
Although I posted this comment under another thread, I think it bears repeating here (especially relevant to your point is the bolded part):
I think debunking the vulture capitalist Bill Browder's false claim of being, of all things, a human rights advocate is the key to unraveling the Russia-gate hoax. I also think the following information goes a long way in doing that:
1. Nekrasov's documentary, The Magnitsky Act: Behind The Scenes, now available for viewing
2. Alex Krainer's The Killing of William Browder, now available online; and
3. Bill Browder's Previzon deposition in which he claims "I can't remember" at least 50 times and answers "I don't know" fully 211 times.
Notwithstanding these facts, it appears Mr. Browder is an untouchable. The Russians have issued a Red Notice at least six times and he has managed to walk away scot free on each occasion.
The zinger was when the Senate Judiciary Committee invited him to testify as an expert witness against Fusion GPS, arguing that it should have registered under FARA because it was working on behalf of a foreign government, in this case the Russian. The irony of this scene was incredible. The hallowed chamber in which this inquiry took place is completely bought and paid for by The Lobby but not a peep about having it register under FARA. Totally surreal!An interesting thing about this that has gone almost completely unreported is that HSBC quietly held a series of closed-door meetings with Russian authorities earlier this year regarding the tax fraud charges leveled at Browder and his businesses (HSBC jointly managed Hermitage) and decided to pay up some of the cash he illegally siphoned out of the country (22 million dollars I believe, so a drop in the ocean given the scale of his endeavors, but it's something.)Anonymous  Disclaimer , July 24, 2018 at 12:11 pm GMT
"Bill Browder declined to comment" according to one of the few articles on the matter.
Isn't all of that more or less tantamount to an admission of guilt?Questions I have:Johnny Smoggins , July 24, 2018 at 1:04 pm GMT
(1) Why is he so protected?
(2) How does a respectable congress pass a law based solely on the testimony of someone convicted of a crime by another country? No jury in the world would reach a verdict based solely on the word of a convict, without it being substantiated by numerous pieces of other circumstantial and direct evidence.
(3) Even if he paid everyone oodles of money and brought a thousand lawsuits, why would gazillionaire corporations cave in to his demands to ban books, movies, organizations, etc.?
There is something more powerful about Bill Browder than just his pile of money.You'd think that a man who gave up his US citizenship to dodge his tax bill would be seen as a villain, not defended by presidents and congressmen.Andrei Martyanov , Website July 24, 2018 at 1:24 pm GMT@AnonymousAnatoly Karlin , Website July 24, 2018 at 1:28 pm GMT
How does a respectable congress pass a law based solely on the testimony of someone convicted of a crime by another country?
US Congress has an approval rating slightly above that of Al Qaeda and Ted Bundy.
In fact, most (not all) US lawmakers long ago became a euphemism for incompetence, corruption and lies. So, no -- modern US Congress is not respectable by people and numbers reflect that. Hopefully, sometime in the future, some honorable and loyal to their country people will make it there.Couple of other standard narrative-critical articles on the Magnitsky Affair:John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , July 24, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
* kovane: Sergei Magnitsky, Bill Browder, Hermitage Capital Management and Wondrous Metamorphoses
* Lucy Komisar: The Man Behind the Magnitsky Act Did Bill Browder's Tax Troubles in Russia Color Push for Sanctions?Can someone help me remember the names of those 9 oligarchs?
These are the ones I remember:
1) Anatoly Chubais
3) Boris Berezovsky
4) Mikhail Khodorkovsky
5) Vladimir Gusinsky
Who were the others? Thanks.
Of these 5, Chubais remained in Russia but the others fled. Chubais was the one who was instrumental in starting the loans-for-shares scheme. My understanding is that those who fled are real scum, since Putin offered all oligarchs the chance to keep their money so long as they avoided politics. Most vulture capitalists agreed to this arrangement, but the worst of the Jewish oligarchs were too greedy and lustful to give in. So I have heard, anyway.
Jul 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Creative_Destruct -> King of Ruperts Land Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:23 Permalink
" The US fabricated evidence to start the Vietnam war and the US fabricated WMD talk on the second war in Iraq. US intelligence had no idea the Berlin Wall was about to fall. The US meddled in Russia supporting a drunk named Yeltsin because we erroneously thought we could control him."
It's amusing to me that the Leftist's NOW have a blind-faith trust in government, whereas during the Vietnam war, and at the start of the Iraq war the opposite was (justifiably) the case.
And remember, the [neoliberal] Left was all OVER how we manipulated Russia into an Oligarchy:
May 25, 2018 | www.paulcraigroberts.org
This is the lecture I would have given if I had been able to accept the invitation to address the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia this weekend.
From the standpoint of Russia's dilemma, this is an important column. Putin's partial impotence via-a-vis Washington is due to the grip that neoliberal economics exercises over the Russian government. Putin cannot break with the West, because he believes that Russian economic development is dependent on Russia's integration within the Western economy. That is what neoliberal economics tells the Russian economic and financial establishment.
Everyone should understand that I am not a pro-Russian anti-American. I am anti-war, especially nuclear war. My concern is that the inability of the Russian government to put its foot down is due to its belief that Russian development, despite all the talk about the Eurasian partnership and the Silk Road, is dependent on being integrated with the West. This totally erroneous belief prevents the Russian government from any decisive break with the West. Consequently, Putin continues to accept provocations in order to avoid a decisive break that would cut Russia off from the West. In Washington and the UK this is interpreted as a lack of resolve on Putin's part and encourages an escalation in provocations that will intensify until Russia's only option is surrender or war.
If the Russian government did not believe that it needed the West, the government could give stronger responses to provocations that would make clear that there are limits to what Russia will tolerate. It would also make Europe aware that its existence hangs in the balance. The combination of Trump abusing Europe and Europe's recognition of the threat to its own existence of its alignment with an aggressive Washington would break the Western alliance and NATO. But Putin cannot bring this about because he erroneously believes that Russia needs the West.
If the neoconservatives had self-restraint, they would sit back and let America's Fifth Column -- Neoliberal Economics -- finish off Russia for them. Russia is doomed, because the country's economists were brainwashed during the Yeltsin years by American neoliberal economists. It was easy enough for the Americans to do. Communist economics had come to naught, the Russian economy was broken, Russians were experiencing widespread hardship, and successful America was there with a helping hand.
In reality the helping hand was a grasping hand. The hand grasped Russian resources through privatization and gave control to American-friendly oligarchs. Russian economists had no clue about how financial capitalism in its neoliberal guise strips economies of their assets while loading them up with debt.
But worse happened. Russia's economists were brainwashed into an economic way of thinking that serves Western imperialism.
For example, neoliberal economics exposes Russia's currency to speculation, manipulation, and destabilization. Capital inflows can be used to drive up the value of the ruble, and then at the opportune time, the capital can be pulled out, dropping the ruble's value and driving up domestic inflation with higher import prices, delivering a hit to Russian living standards. Washington has always used these kind of manipulations to destabilize governments.
Neo-liberal economics has also brainwashed the Russian central bank with the belief that Russian economic development depends on foreign investment in Russia. This erroneous belief threatens the very sovereignty of Russia. The Russian central bank could easily finance all internal economic development by creating money, but the brainwashed central bank does not realize this. The bank thinks that if the bank finances internal development the result would be inflation and depreciation of the ruble. So the central bank is guided by American neoliberal economics to borrow abroad money it does not need in order to burden Russia with foreign debt that requires a diversion of Russian resources into interest payments to the West.
As Michael Hudson and I explained to the Russians two years ago, when Russia borrows from the West, the US for example, and in flow the dollars, what happens to the dollars? Russia cannot spend them domestically to finance development projects, so where do the dollars go? They go into Russia's foreign exchange holdings and accrue interest for the lender. The central bank then creates the ruble equivalent of the borrowed and idle dollars and finances the project. So why borrow the dollars? The only possible reason is so the US can use the dollar debt to exercise control over Russian decision making. In other words, Russia delivers herself into the hands of her enemies.
Indeed, it is the Russian government's mistaken belief that Russian economic development is dependent on Russia being included as part of the West that has caused Putin to accept the provocations and humiliations that the West has heaped upon Russia. The lack of response to these provocations will eventually cause the Russian government to lose the support of the nationalist elements in Russia.
Putin is struggling to have Russia integrated into the Western economic system while retaining Russia's sovereignty (an unrealistic goal), because Putin has been convinced by the element in the Russian elite, which had rather be Western than Russian, that Russia's economic development depends on being integrated into the Western economy. As the neoliberal economic elite control Russia's economic and financial policy, Putin believes that he has to accept Western provocations or forfeit his hopes for Russian economic development.
Russian economists are so indoctrinated with neoliberal economics that they cannot even look to America to see how a once great economy has been completely destroyed by neoliberal economics.
The US has the largest public debt of any country in history. The US has the largest trade and budget deficits of any country in history. The US has 22 percent unemployment, which it hides by not counting among the unemployed millions of discouraged workers who, unable to find jobs, ceased looking for jobs and are arbitrarily excluded from the measure of unemployment. The US has a retired class that has been stripped of any interest payment on their savings for a decade, because it was more important to the Federal Reserve to bail out the bad loans of a handful of "banks too big to fail," banks that became too big to fail because of the deregulation fostered by neoliberal economics. By misrepresenting "free trade" and "globalism," neoliberal economics sent America's manufacturing and tradeable professional skill jobs abroad where wages were lower, thus boosting the incomes of owners at the expense of the incomes of US wage-earners, leaving Americans with the lowly paid domestic service jobs of a Third World country. Real median family income in the US has been stagnant for decades. The Federal Reserve recently reported that Americans are so poor that 41 percent of the population cannot raise $400 without selling personal possessions.
Young Americans, if they have university educations, begin life as debt slaves. Currently there are 44,200,000 Americans with student loan debt totalling $1,048,000,000,000 -- $1.48 trillion! https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/
In the US all 50 states have publicly supported universities where tuition is supposed to be nominal in order to encourage education. When I went to Georgia Tech, a premier engineering school, my annual tuition was less than $500. Loans were not needed and did not exist.
What happened? Financial capitalism discovered how to turn university students into indentured servants, and the university administrations cooperated. Tuitions rose and rose and were increasingly allocated to administration, the cost of which exploded. Today many university administrations absorb 75% of the annual budget, leaving little for professors' pay and student aid. An obedient Congress created a loan program that ensnares young American men and women into huge debt in order to acquire an university education. With so many of the well-paying jobs moved offshore by neoliberal economics, the jobs available cannot service the student loan debts. A large percentage of Americans aged 24-34 live at home with parents, because their jobs do not pay enough to service their student loan debt and pay an apartment rent. Debt prevents them from living an independent existence.
In America the indebtedness of the population produced by neoliberal economics -- privatize, privatize, deregulate, deregulate, indebt, indebt -- prevents any economic growth as the American public has no discretionary income after debt service to drive the economy. In America the way cars, trucks, and SUVs are sold is via zero downpayment and seven years of loans. From the minute a vehicle is purchased, the loan obligation exceeds the value of the vehicle.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Mike Meru, a dentist earning $225,000 annually, has $1,060,945.42 in student loan debt. He pays $1,589.97 monthly, which is not enough to cover the interest, much less reduce the principal. Consequently, his debt from seven years at the University of Southern California grows by $130 per day. In two decades, his loan balance will be $2 million. https://www.wsj.com/articles/mike-meru-has-1-million-in-student-loans-how-did-that-happen-1527252975
If neoliberal economics does not work for America, why will it work for Russia? Neoliberal economics only works for oligarchs and their institutions, such as Goldman Sachs, who are bankrolled by the central bank to keep the economy partially afloat. Washington will agree to Russia being integrated into the Western system when Putin agrees to resurrect the Yeltsin-era practice of permitting Western financial institutions to strip Russia of her assets while loading her up with debt.
I could continue at length about the junk economics, to use Michael Hudson's term, that is neoliberal economics. The United States is failing because of it, and so will Russia.
John Bolton and the neocons should just relax. Neoliberal economics, which has the Russian financial interests, the Russian government and apparently Putin himself in its grip, will destroy Russia without war.
May 27, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Turning on Russia 11/05/2018
In this first of a two-part series, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould trace the origins of the neoconservative targeting of Russia.
By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel last September reported that, "Stanley Fischer, the 73–year-old vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is familiar with the decline of the world's rich. He spent his childhood and youth in the British protectorate of Rhodesia before going to London in the early 1960s for his university studies. There, he experienced first-hand the unravelling of the British Empire Now an American citizen, Fischer is currently witnessing another major power taking its leave of the world stage the United States is losing its status as a global hegemonic power, he said recently. The U.S. political system could take the world in a very dangerous direction "
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the creation of the so called Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992 during the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush, the United States claimed the mantle of the world's first and only. Unipower with the intention of crushing any nation or system that would oppose it in the future. The New World Order, foreseen just a few short years ago, becomes more disorderly by the day, made worse by varying degrees of incompetence and greed emanating from Berlin, London, Paris and Washington.
As a further sign of the ongoing seismic shocks rocking America's claim to leadership, by the time Fischer's interview appeared in the online version of the Der Spiegel , he had already announced his resignation as vice chair of the Federal Reserve -- eight months ahead of schedule. If anyone knows about the decline and fall of empires it is the "globalist" and former Bank of Israel president, Stanley Fischer. Not only did he experience the unravelling of the British Empire as a young student in London, he directly assisted in the wholesale dismantling of the Soviet Empire during the 1990s.
As an admitted product of the British Empire and point man for its long term imperial aims, that makes Fischer not just empire's Angel of Death, but its rag and bone man.
Alongside a handful of Harvard economists led by Jonathan Hay, Larry Summers, Andrei Shleifer, and Jeffry Sachs, in the "Harvard Project," plus Anatoly Chubais, the chief Russian economic adviser, Fischer helped throw 100 million Russians into poverty overnight – privatizing, or as some would say piratizing – the Russian economy. Yet, Americans never got the real story because a slanted anti-Russia narrative covered the true nature of the robbery from beginning to end.
As described by public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine R. Wedel in her 2009 book Shadow Elite: "Presented in the West as a fight between enlightenment Reformers trying to move the economy forward through privatization, and retrograde Luddites who opposed them, this story misrepresented the facts. The idea or goal of privatization was not controversial, even among communists the Russian Supreme Soviet, a communist body, passed two laws laying the groundwork for privatization. Opposition to privatization was rooted not in the idea itself but in the particular privatization program that was implemented, the opaque way in which it was put into place, and the use of executive authority to bypass the parliament."
Intentionally set up to fail for Russia and the Russian people under the cover of a false narrative, she continues "The outcome rendered privatization 'a de facto fraud,' as one economist put it, and the parliamentary committee that had judged the Chubais scheme to 'offer fertile ground for criminal activity' was proven right."
If Fischer, a man who helped bring about a de facto criminal-privatization-fraud to post-empire Russia says the U.S. is on a dangerous course, the time has arrived for post-empire Americans to ask what role he played in putting the U.S. on that dangerous course. Little known to Americans is the blunt force trauma Fischer and the "prestigious" Harvard Project delivered to Russia under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. According to The American Conservative's James Carden "As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted back in 2011 'the IMF's intervention in Russia during Fischer's tenure led to one of the worst losses in output in history, in the absence of war or natural disaster.' Indeed, one Russian observer compared the economic and social consequences of the IMF's intervention to what one would see in the aftermath of a medium-level nuclear attack."
Neither do most Americans know that it was President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1970s grand plan for the conquest of the Eurasian heartland that boomeranged to terrorize Europe and America in the 21 st century. Brzezinski spent much of his life undermining the Communist Soviet Union and then spent the rest of it worrying about its resurgence as a Czarist empire under Vladimir Putin. It might be unfair to say that hating Russia was his only obsession. But a common inside joke during his tenure as the President's top national security officer was that he couldn't find Nicaragua on a map.
If anyone provided the blueprint for the United States to rule in a unipolar world following the Soviet Union's collapse it was Brzezinski. And if anyone could be said to represent the debt driven financial system that fueled America's post-Vietnam Imperialism, it's Fischer. His departure should have sent a chill down every neoconservative's spine. Their dream of a New World Order has once again ground to a halt at the gates of Moscow.
Whenever the epitaph for the abbreviated American century is written it will be sure to feature the iconic role the neoconservatives played in hastening its demise. From the chaos created by Vietnam they set to work restructuring American politics, finance and foreign policy to their own purposes. Dominated at the beginning by Zionists and Trotskyists, but directed by the Anglo/American establishment and their intelligence elites, the neoconservatives' goal, working with their Chicago School neoliberal partners, was to deconstruct the nation-state through cultural co-optation and financial subversion and to project American power abroad. So far they have been overwhelmingly successful to the detriment of much of the world.
From the end of the Second World War through the 1980s the focus of this pursuit was on the Soviet Union, but since the Soviet collapse in 1991, their focus has been on dismantling any and all opposition to their global dominion.
Shady finance, imperial misadventures and neoconservatism go hand in hand. The CIA's founders saw themselves as partners in this enterprise and the defense industry welcomed them with open arms. McGill University economist R.T. Naylor, author of 1987's Hot Money and the Politics of Debt , described how "Pentagon Capitalism" had made the Vietnam War possible by selling the Pentagon's debt to the rest of the world.
"In effect, the US Marines had replaced Meyer Lansky's couriers , and the European central banks arranged the 'loan-back,'" Naylor writes. "When the mechanism was explained to the late [neoconservative] Herman Kahn – lifeguard of the era's chief 'think tank' and a man who popularized the notion it was possible to emerge smiling from a global conflagration – he reacted with visible delight. Kahn exclaimed excitedly, 'We've pulled off the biggest ripoff in history! We've run rings around the British Empire.'" In addition to their core of ex-Trotskyist intellectuals early neoconservatives could count among their ranks such establishment figures as James Burnham, father of the Cold War Paul Nitze, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Brzezinski himself.
From the beginning of their entry into the American political mainstream in the 1970s it was known that their emergence could imperil democracy in America and yet W