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Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy

There is no economics, only political economy, stupid

News Casino Capitalism Recommended Links Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Number racket Efficient Market Hypothesis Economism and abuse of economic theory in American politics
Supply Side or Trickle down economics Invisible Hand Hypothesys Twelve apostles of deregulation Monetarism fiasco Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Samuelson's bastard Keynesianism Greenspan as the Chairman of Financial Politburo
Libertarian Philosophy Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Deep State
Free Market Fundamentalism Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Lawrence Summers Corruption of Regulators Glass-Steagall repeal Rational expectations scam Free Markets Newspeak
In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Mathiness GDP as a false measure of a country economic output Introduction to Lysenkoism Republican Economic Policy Think Tanks Enablers  Small government smoke screen
Hyman Minsky John Kenneth Galbraith  Bookshelf History of Casino Capitalism Casino Capitalism Dictionary :-) Humor Etc
Is it really necessary for every economist to be brain-dead apologist for the rich and powerful and predatory, in every damn breath?

Bruce Wilder in comments to Clash of Autonomy and Interdependence

Smith briskly takes a sledgehammer to any number of plaster saints cluttering up the edifice of modern economics:

"assumptions that are patently ridiculous: that individuals are rational and utility-maximizing (which has become such a slippery notion as to be meaningless), that buyers and sellers have perfect information, that there are no transaction costs, that capital flows freely"

And then...papers with cooked figures, economists oblivious to speculative factors driving oil prices, travesty versions of Keynes's ideas that airbrush out its most characteristic features in the name of mathematical tractability.

And then...any number of grand-sounding theoretical constructs: the Arrow-Debreu theorem, the Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium model, the Black-Scholes option model, Value at Risk, CAPM, the Gaussian copula, that only work under blatantly unrealistic assumptions that go by high falutin' names - equilibrium, ergodicity, and so on.

The outcome of this pseudo-scientific botching is an imposing corpus of pretentious quackery that somehow elevates unregulated "free markets" into the sole mechanism for distribution of the spoils of economic activity. We are supposed to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum indulgence of human greed results in maximum prosperity for all. That's unfair to alchemy: compared with the threadbare scientific underpinnings of this economic dogma, alchemy is a model of rigor.

How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism

How many others are being paid for punditry? Or has the culture of corruption spread so far that the question is, Who isn't?

PAUL KRUGMAN, NYT, December 19, 2005

"MIT and Wharton and University of Chicago created the financial engineering instruments which, like Samson and Delilah, blinded every CEO. They didn't realize the kind of leverage they were doing and they didn't understand when they were really creating a real profit or a fictitious one."

Paul Samuelson


When you see this "neoclassical" gallery of expensive intellectual prostitutes (sorry, respectable priests of a dominant religion) that pretend to be professors of economics in various prominent universities, it is difficult not to say "It's political economy stupid". Those lackeys of ruling elite are just handing microphone bought by financial oligarchy.  Here is am review of  ECONned How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism eBook Yves Smith that  states this position well:

Neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy

There are many good reviews of the book published already and I don't want to repeat them. But I think there is one aspect of the book that was not well covered in the published reviews and which I think is tremendously important and makes the book a class of its own: the use of neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy. I hope that the term "econned" will became a new word in English language.

Neoclassical economics has become the modern religion with its own priests, sacred texts and a scheme of salvation. It was a successful attempt to legitimize the unlimited rule of financial oligarchy by using quasi-mathematical, oversimplified and detached for reality models. The net result is a new brand of theology, which proved to be pretty powerful in influencing people and capturing governments("cognitive regulatory capture"). Like Marxism, neoclassical economics is a triumph of ideology over science. It was much more profitable though: those who were the most successful in driving this Trojan horse into the gates were remunerated on the level of Wall Street traders.

Economics is essentially a political science. And politics is about perception. Neo-classical economics is all about manipulating the perception in such a way as to untie hands of banking elite to plunder the country (and get some cramps from the table for themselves). Yves contributed to our understanding how "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, economics professors from Chicago, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton and some other places warmed by flow of money from banks for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping Wall Street to plunder the country. The rhetorical question that a special counsel to the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, asked Senator McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency?" applies.

The main effect of neoclassical economics is elevating unregulated ( "free" in neoclassic economics speak) markets into the key mechanism for distribution of the results of economic activity with banks as all-powerful middlemen and sedating any opposition with pseudo-mathematical mumbo-jumbo. Complexity was used as a powerful smoke screen to conceal greed and incompetence. As a result financial giants were able to loot almost all sectors of economics with impunity and without any remorse, not unlike the brutal conquerors in Middle Ages.

The key to the success of this nationwide looting is that people should be brainwashed/indoctrinated to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum level of greed results in maximum prosperity for all. Collapse of the USSR helped in this respect driving the message home: look how the alternative ended, when in reality the USSR was a neo-feudal society. But the exquisite irony here is that Bolsheviks-style ideological brainwashing was applied very successfully to the large part of the US population (especially student population) using neo-classical economics instead of Marxism (which by-and-large was also a pseudo-religious economic theory with slightly different priests and the plan of salvation ;-). The application of badly constructed mathematical models proved to be a powerful tool for distorting reality in a certain, desirable for financial elite direction. One of the many definitions of Ponzi Scheme is "transfer liabilities to unwilling others." The use of detached from reality mathematical models fits this definition pretty well.

The key idea here is that neoclassical economists are not and never have been scientists: much like Marxist economists they always were just high priests of a dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the benefit of the sect (and indirectly to their own benefit). All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: state support was and still is here, it is just working more subtly via ostracism, without open repressions. Look at Shiller story on p.9.

I think that one of lasting insights provided by Econned is the demonstration how the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the neoclassical economic school that has dominated the field at least for 30 or may be even 50 years. And that this ideological coup d'état was initiated and financed by banking establishment who was a puppeteer behind the curtain. This is not unlike the capture of Russia by Bolsheviks supported by German intelligence services (and Bolshevics rule lasted slightly longer -- 65 years). Bolsheviks were just adherents of similar wrapped in the mantle of economic theory religious cult, abeit more dangerous and destructive for the people of Russia then neoclassical economics is for the people of the USA. Quoting Marx we can say "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce".

That also means that there is no easy way out of the current situation. Ideologies are sticky and can lead to the collapse of society rather then peaceful evolution.

So it's no surprise that there is a strong evidence that neo-classical economics is not a science, it's a political ideology of financial oligarchy masquerading as science. Or a religious cult, if you wish.

So it's no surprise that there is a strong evidence that neo-classical economics is not a science, it's a political ideology of financial oligarchy masquerading as science. Or a religious cult, if you wish.

The cult which served as a Trojan horse for bankers to grab power and wealth by robbing fellow Americans. In a way this is a classic story of a parasite killing the host. The powers that be in academia put their imprimatur on economic ‘theory,’ select and indoctrinate its high priests to teach it, and with a host of media players grinding out arguments pro and con this and that, provide legitimacy sufficient for cover of bankers objectives. Which control the disposition and annuity streams of pension fund assets and related financial services. In his new documentary Inside Job, filmmaker Charles Ferguson provides strong evidence of a systematic mass corruption of economic profession (Yahoo! Finance):

Ferguson points to 20 years of deregulation, rampant greed (a la Gordon Gekko) and cronyism. This cronyism is in large part due to a revolving door between not only Wall Street and Washington, but also the incestuous relationship between Wall Street, Washington and academia.

The conflicts of interest that arise when academics take on roles outside of education are largely unspoken, but a very big problem. “The academic economics discipline has been very heavily penetrated by the financial services industry,” Ferguson tells Aaron in the accompanying clip. “Many prominent academics now actually make the majority of their money from the financial services industry, not from teaching or research. [This fact] has definitely compromised the research work and the policy advice that we get from academia.”

... ... ...

Feguson is astonished by the lack of regulation demanding financial disclosure of all academics and is now pushing for it. “At a minimum, federal law should require public disclosure of all outside income that is in any way related to professors’ publishing and policy advocacy,” he writes. “It may be desirable to go even further, and to limit the total size of outside income that potentially generates conflicts of interest.”

The dismantling of economic schools that favor financial oligarchy interests over real research (and prosecuting academic criminals -- many prominent professors in Chicago, Harvard, Columbia and other prominent members of neo-classical economic church) require a new funding model. As neoliberalism itself, the neoclassical economy is very sticky. Chances for success of any reform in the current environment are slim to non existent.

Here is one apt quote from Zero Hedge discussion of Gonzalo Lira article On The Identity Of The False Religion Behind The Mask Of Economic Science zero hedge

"They analyze data for Christ sakes"

Just like Mishkin analyzed Iceland for $120k? a huge proportion in US [are] on Fed payroll, or beneficiaries of corporate thinktank cash; they are coverup lipstick and makeup; hacks for hire.

Like truth-trashing mortgage pushers, credit raters, CDO CDS market manipulators and bribe-fueled fraud enablers of all stripes -- they do it for the dough -- and because everybody else is doing it.

It's now a common understanding that "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, professors  of neoclassical economics from Chicago, Harvard and some other places are warmed by flow of money from financial services industries for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping financial oligarchy to destroy the country. This role of neo-classical economists as the fifth column of financial oligarchy is an interesting research topic. Just don't expect any grants for it ;-).

As Reinhold Niebuhr aptly noted in his classic Moral Man and Immoral Society
Since inequalities of privilege are greater than could possibly be defended rationally, the intelligence of privileged groups is usually applied to the task of inventing specious proofs for the theory that universal values spring from, and that general interests are served by, the special privileges which they hold.

I would like to stress it again: they are not and never have been scientists: they are just high priests of dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the sect (and that means their own) benefits. Fifth column of financial oligarchy. All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: at some point state support became obvious as financial oligarchy gained significant share of government power (as Glass-Steagall repeal signified). It is just more subtle working via ostracism and flow of funding, without open repressions. See also Politicization of science and The Republican War on Science

Like Russia with Bolsheviks, the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the Chicago economic school that has dominated the field for approximately 50 years ( as minimum over 30 years). Actually the situation not unlike the situation with Lysenkoism is the USSR. It's pretty notable that the USA suffered 30 years of this farce, actually approximately the same amount of time the USSR scientific community suffered from Lysenkoism (1934-1965)

Rules of disclosure of sources of financing for economic research are non-existent

"Over the past 30 years, the economics profession—in economics departments, and in business, public policy, and law schools—has become so compromised by conflicts of interest that it now functions almost as a support group for financial services and other industries whose profits depend heavily on government policy.

The route to the 2008 financial crisis, and the economic problems that still plague us, runs straight through the economics discipline. And it's due not just to ideology; it's also about straightforward, old-fashioned money."

Peter Dormat noticed amazing similarity between medical researchers taking money from drug companies and economists. In case of medical researchers widespread corruption can at least be partially kept in check by rules of disclosure. Universities are being called out for their failure to disclose to public agencies the other, private grants researchers are pulling in. This is not perfect policing as the universities themselves get a cut of the proceeds, so that the conflict of interest exists but at least this is theirs too.

But there is no corresponding policy for economics. So for them there are not even rules to be broken. And this is not a bug, this is  feature.  In a sense corruption is officially institualized and expected in economics. Being a paid shill is the typical career of many professional economists. Some foundations require an acknowledgment in the published research they support, but that's all about “thank you”, not disclaimer about the level of influence of those who pay for the music exert on the selection of the tune. Any disclosure of other, privately-interested funding sources by economists is strictly voluntary, and in practice seldom occurs. Trade researchers can be funded by foreign governments or business associations and so on and so forth.

In this atmosphere pseudo-theories have currency and are attractive to economists who want to enrich themselves. That situation is rarely reflected in mainstream press. For example, there some superficial critiques of neo-classical economics as a new form of Lysenkoism (it enjoyed the support of the state) but MSM usually frame the meltdown of neo-classical economic theory something like "To all you corrupt jerks out there: shake off the old camouflage as it became too visible and find a new way misleading the masses...". At the same time it's a real shocker, what a bunch of toxic theories and ideologies starting from Reagan have done to the US economy.

That suggests that neo-economics such as Milton Friedman (and lower level patsies like Eugene Fama ) were just paid propagandists of a superficial, uninformed, and simplistic view of the world that was convenient to the ruling elite. While this is somewhat simplistic explanation, it's by-and-large true and that was one of the factors led the USA very close to the cliff... Most of their theories is not only just nonsense for any trained Ph.D level mathematician or computer scientist, they look like nonsense to any person with a college degree, who looks at them with a fresh, unprejudiced mind. There are several economic myths, popularized by well paid propagandists over the last thirty years, that are falling hard in the recent series of financial crises: the efficient market hypothesis, the inherent benefits of globalization from the natural equilibrium of national competitive advantages, and the infallibility of unfettered greed as a ideal method of managing and organizing human social behavior and maximizing national production.

I would suggest that and economic theory has a strong political-economic dimension. The cult of markets, ideological subservience and manipulation, etc. certainly are part of neo-classical economics that was influenced by underling political agenda this pseudo-theory promotes. As pdavidsonutk wrote: July 16, 2009 16:14

Keynes noted that "classical theorists resemble Euclidean geometers in a non Euclidean world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight --as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions. Yet in truth there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels to work out a non-Euclidean geometry. SOMETHING SIMILAR IS REQUIRED IN ECONOMICS TODAY. " [Emphasis added]

As I pointed out in my 2007 book JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (Mentioned in this ECONOMIST article as a biography "of the master") Keynes threw over three classical axioms: (1) the neutral money axiom (2) the gross substitution axiom, and (3) the ergodic axiom.

The latter is most important for understanding why modern macroeconomics is dwelling in an Euclidean economics world rather than the non-Euclidean economics Keynes set forth.

The Ergodic axiom asserts that the future is merely the statistical shadow of the past so that if one develops a probability distribution using historical data, the same probability distribution will govern all future events till the end of time!! Thus in this Euclidean economics there is no uncertainty about the future only probabilistic risk that can reduce the future to actuarial certainty! In such a world rational people and firms know (with actuarial certainty) their intertemporal budget constrains and optimize -- so that there can never be an loan defaults, insolvencies, or bankruptcies.

Keynes argued that important economic decisions involved nonergodic processes, so that the future could NOT be forecasted on the basis of past statistical probability results -- and therefore certain human institutions had to be develop0ed as part of the law of contracts to permit people to make crucial decisions regarding a future that they "knew" they could not know and still sleep at night. When the future seems very uncertain, then rational people in a nonergodic world would decide not to make any decisions to commit their real resources -- but instead save via liquid assets so they could make decisions another day when the future seemed to them less uncertain.

All this is developed and the policy implications derived in my JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (2007) book. Furthermore this nonergodic model is applied to the current financial and economic crisis and its solution in my 2009 book THE KEYNES SOLUTION: THE PATH TO GLOBAL PROSPERITY (Palgrave/Macmillan) where I tell the reader what Keynes would have written regarding today's domestic crisis in each nation and its international aspects.

Paul Davidson ghaliban wrote:

July 16, 2009 15:34

I think you could have written a shorter article to make your point about the dismal state of economics theory and practice, and saved space to think more imaginatively about ways to reform.

A bit like biology, economics must become econology - a study of real economic systems. It must give up its physics-envy. This on its own will lead its practitioners closer to the truth.

Like biological systems, economic systems are complex, and often exhibit emergent properties that cannot be predicted from the analysis of component parts. The best way to deal with this is (as in biology) to start with the basic organizational unit of analysis - the individual, and then study how the individual makes economic decisions in larger and larger groups (family/community), and how groups take economic decisions within larger and larger forms of economic organization. From this, econologists should determine whether there are any enduring patterns in how aggregate economic decisions are taken. If there are no easily discernable patterns, and aggregate decisions cannot be predicted from a knowledge of individual decision-making preferences, then the theory must rely (as it does in biology) on computer simulations with the economy replicated in as much detail as possible to limit the scope for modeling error. This path will illuminate the "physiology" of different economies.

A second area of development must look into "anatomy" - the connections between actors within the financial system, the connections between economic actors within the real economy, and the connections between the real and financial economies. What are the precise links demand and supply links between these groups, and how does money really flow through the economic system? A finer knowledge of economic anatomy will make it easier to produce better computer simulations of the economy, which will make it a bit easier to study economic physiology.

"Markets uber alles" or more correctly "Financial oligarchy uber alles"

In her interview What Exactly Is Neoliberalism  Wendy Brown advanced some Professor Wolin ideas to a new level and provide explanation why "neoclassical crooks" like Professor  Frederic Mishkin (of Financial Stability in Iceland fame) still rule the economics departments of the USA. They are instrumental in giving legitimacy to the neoliberal rule favoured by the financial oligarchy:

"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."

"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."

"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."

"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."

"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."

"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."

"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."


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Old News ;-)

I find an attempt to elevate academic finance and economics to sciences by using the word "scientism" to be bizarre. Finance models like CAPM, Black-Scholes and VAR all rest on assumptions that are demonstrably false, such as rational investors and continuous markets.

May 11, 2012 at 1-40 pm

[Jun 19, 2018] How The Last Superpower Was Unchained by Tom Engelhardt

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits. ..."
"... This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained." ..."
"... In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows"). ..."
"... The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels. ..."
Jun 19, 2018 |

Authored by Tom Engelhardt via The Asia Times,

Think of it as the all-American version of the human comedy: a great power that eternally knows what the world needs and offers copious advice with a tone deafness that would be humorous, if it weren't so grim.

If you look, you can find examples of this just about anywhere. Here, for instance, is a passage in The New York Times from a piece on the topsy-turvy Trumpian negotiations that preceded the Singapore summit. "The Americans and South Koreans," wrote reporter Motoko Rich, "want to persuade the North that continuing to funnel most of the country's resources into its military and nuclear programs shortchanges its citizens' economic well-being. But the North does not see the two as mutually exclusive."

Think about that for a moment. The US has, of course, embarked on a trillion-dollar-plus upgrade of its already massive nuclear arsenal (and that's before the cost overruns even begin). Its Congress and president have for years proved eager to sink at least a trillion dollars annually into the budget of the national security state (a figure that's still rising and outpaces by far that of any other power on the planet), while its own infrastructure sags and crumbles. And yet it finds the impoverished North Koreans puzzling when they, too, follow such an extreme path.

"Clueless" is not a word Americans ordinarily apply to themselves as a country, a people, or a government. Yet how applicable it is.

And when it comes to cluelessness, there's another, far stranger path the United States has been following since at least the George W Bush moment that couldn't be more consequential and yet somehow remains the least noticed of all. On this subject, Americans don't have a clue. In fact, if you could put the United States on a psychiatrist's couch, this might be the place to start.

America contained

In a way, it's the oldest story on Earth: the rise and fall of empires. And note the plural there. It was never – not until recently at least – "empire," always "empires." Since the 15th century, when the fleets of the first European imperial powers broke into the larger world with subjugation in mind, it was invariably a contest of many. There were at least three or sometimes significantly more imperial powers rising and contesting for dominance or slowly falling from it.

This was, by definition, the history of great powers on this planet: the challenging rise, the challenged decline. Think of it for so many centuries as the essential narrative of history, the story of how it all happened until at least 1945, when just two "superpowers," the United States and the Soviet Union, found themselves facing off on a global scale.

Of the two, the US was always stronger, more powerful, and far wealthier. It theoretically feared the Russian Bear, the Evil Empire , which it worked assiduously to " contain " behind that famed Iron Curtain and whose adherents in the US, always modest in number, were subjected to a mania of fear and suppression.

However, the truth – at least in retrospect – was that, in the Cold War years, the Soviets were actually doing Washington a strange, if unnoted, favor. Across much of the Eurasian continent, and other places from Cuba to the Middle East, Soviet power and the never-ending contest for influence and dominance that went with it always reminded American leaders that their own power had its limits.

This, as the 21st century should have (but hasn't) made clear, was no small thing. It still seemed obvious then that American power could not be total. There were things it could not do, places it could not control, dreams its leaders simply couldn't have. Though no one ever thought of it that way, from 1945 to 1991, the United States, like the Soviet Union, was, after a fashion, "contained."

In those years, the Russians were, in essence, saving Washington from itself. Soviet power was a tangible reminder to American political and military leaders that certain areas of the planet remained no-go zones (except in what, in those years, were called "the shadows").

The Soviet Union, in short, rescued Washington from both the fantasy and the hell of going it alone, even if Americans only grasped that reality at the most subliminal of levels.

That was the situation until December 1991 when, at the end of a centuries-long imperial race for power (and the never-ending arms race that went with it), there was just one gigantic power left standing on Planet Earth. It told you something about the thinking then that, when the Soviet Union imploded, the initial reaction in Washington wasn't triumphalism (though that came soon enough) but utter shock, a disbelieving sense that something no one had expected, predicted, or even imagined had nonetheless happened. To that very moment, Washington had continued to plan for a two-superpower world until the end of time.

America uncontained

Soon enough, though, the Washington elite came to see what happened as, in the phrase of the moment, " the end of history ." Given the wreckage of the Soviet Union, it seemed that an ultimate victory had been won by the very country its politicians would soon come to call "the last superpower," the " indispensable " nation, the " exceptional " state, a land great beyond imagining (until, at least, Donald Trump hit the campaign trail with a slogan that implied greatness wasn't all-American any more).

In reality, there were a variety of paths open to the "last superpower" at that moment. There was even, however briefly, talk of a "peace dividend" – of the possibility that, in a world without contesting superpowers, taxpayer dollars might once again be invested not in the sinews of war-making but of peacemaking (particularly in infrastructure and the well-being of the country's citizens).

Such talk, however, lasted only a year or two and always in a minor key before being relegated to Washington's attic. Instead, with only a few rickety "rogue" states left to deal with – like gulp North Korea, Iraq and Iran – that money never actually headed home, and neither did the thinking that went with it.

Consider it the good fortune of the geopolitical dreamers soon to take the reins in Washington that the first Gulf War of 1990-1991, which ended less than a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, prepared the way for quite a different style of thinking. That instant victory led to a new kind of militarized dreaming in which a highly tech-savvy military, like the one that had driven Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in such short order, would be capable of doing anything on a planet without serious opposition.

And yet, from the beginning, there were signs suggesting a far grimmer future. To take but one infamous example, Americans still remember the Black Hawk Down moment of 1993 when the world's greatest military fell victim to a Somali warlord and local militias and found itself incapable of imposing its will on one of the least impressive not-quite-states on the planet (a place still frustrating that military a quarter-century later).

In that post-1991 world, however, few in Washington even considered that the 20th century had loosed another phenomenon on the world, that of insurgent national liberation movements, generally leftist rebellions, across what had been the colonial world – the very world of competing empires now being tucked into the history books – and it hadn't gone away. In the 21st century, such insurgent movements, now largely religious, or terror-based, or both, would turn out to offer a grim new version of containment to the last superpower.

Unchaining the indispensable nation

On September 11, 2001, a canny global jihadist by the name of Osama bin Laden sent his air force (four hijacked US passenger jets) and his precision weaponry (19 suicidal, mainly Saudi followers) against three iconic targets in the American pantheon: the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and undoubtedly the Capitol or the White House (neither of which was hit because one of those jets crashed in a field in Pennsylvania). In doing so, in a sense bin Laden not only loosed a literal hell on Earth, but unchained the last superpower.

William Shakespeare would have had a word for what followed: hubris. But give the top officials of the Bush administration (and the neocons who supported them) a break. There had never been a moment like it: a moment of one. A single great power left alone, triumphant, on planet Earth. Just one superpower – wealthy beyond compare, its increasingly high-tech military unmatched, its only true rival in a state of collapse – had now been challenged by a small jihadist group.

To president Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, and the rest of their crew, it seemed like nothing short of a heaven-sent opportunity. As they came out of the shock of 9/11, of that " Pearl Harbor of the 21st century ," it was as if they had found a magic formula in the ruins of those iconic buildings for the ultimate control of the planet. As secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld would instruct an aide at the Pentagon that day, "Go massive. Sweep it up. Things related and not."

Within days, things related and not were indeed being swept up. The country was almost instantly said to be "at war," and soon that conflict even had a name, the Global War on Terror. Nor was that war to be against just al-Qaeda, or even one country, an Afghanistan largely ruled by the Taliban. More than 60 countries said to have "terror networks" of various sorts found themselves almost instantly in the administration's potential gunsights. And that was just to be the beginning of it all.

In October 2001, the invasion of Afghanistan was launched. In the spring of 2003, the invasion of Iraq followed, and those were only the initial steps in what was increasingly envisioned as the imposition of a Pax Americana on the Greater Middle East.

There could be no doubt, for instance, that Iran and Syria, too, would soon go the way of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush's top officials had been nursing just such dreams since, in 1997, many of them formed a think-tank (the first ever to enter the White House) called the Project for the New American Century and began to write out what were then the fantasies of figures nowhere near power. By 2003, they were power itself and their dreams, if anything, had grown even more grandiose.

In addition to imagining a political Pax Republicana in the United States, they truly dreamed of a future planetary Pax Americana in which, for the first time in history, a single power would, in some fashion, control the whole works, the Earth itself.

And this wasn't to be a passing matter either. The Bush administration's "unilateralism" rested on a conviction that it could actually create a future in which no country or even bloc of countries would ever come close to matching or challenging US military power. The administration's National Security Strategy of 2002 put the matter bluntly: The US was to "build and maintain" a military, in the phrase of the moment, " beyond challenge ."

They had little doubt that, in the face of the most technologically advanced, bulked-up, destructive force on Earth, hostile states would be "shocked and awed" by a simple demonstration of its power, while friendly ones would have little choice but to come to heel as well. After all, as Bush said at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in 2007, the US military was "the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known."

Though there was much talk at the time about the "liberation" of Afghanistan and then Iraq, at least in their imaginations the true country being liberated was the planet's lone superpower. Although the Bush administration was officially considered a "conservative" one, its key officials were geopolitical dreamers of the first order and their vision of the world was the very opposite of conservative. It harkened back to nothing and looked forward to everything.

It was radical in ways that should have, but didn't, take the American public's breath away; radical in ways that had never been seen before.

Shock and awe for the last superpower

Think of what those officials did in the post-9/11 moment as the ultimate act of greed. They tried to swallow a whole planet. They were determined to make it a planet of one in a way that had never before been seriously imagined.

It was, to say the least, a vision of madness. Even in a moment when it truly did seem – to them at least – that all constraints had been taken off, an administration of genuine conservatives might have hesitated. Its top officials might, at least, have approached the post-Soviet situation with a modicum of caution and modesty.

But not George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and pals. In the face of what seemed like the ultimate in possibilities they proved clueless when it came to the possibility that anything on Earth might have a shot at containing them.

Even among their critics, who could have imagined then that, more than 16 years later, having faced only lightly armed enemies of various sorts, still wealthy beyond compare, still with a military funded in a way the next seven countries couldn't cumulatively match, the United States would have won literally nothing?

Who could have imagined that, unlike so many preceding imperial powers (including the US of the earlier Cold War era), it would have been able to establish control over nothing at all; that, instead, from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq deep into Africa, it would find itself in a state of " infinite war " and utter frustration on a planet filled with ever more failed states , destroyed cities , displaced people , and right-wing "populist" governments, including the one in Washington?

Who could have imagined that, with a peace dividend no longer faintly conceivable, this country would have found itself not just in decline, but – a new term is needed to catch the essence of this curious moment – in what might be called self-decline?

Yes, a new power, China, is finally rising – and doing so on a planet that seems itself to be going down . Here, then, is a conclusion that might be drawn from the quarter-century-plus in which America was both unchained and largely alone.

The Earth is admittedly a small orb in a vast universe, but the history of this century so far suggests one reality about which America's rulers proved utterly clueless: After so many hundreds of years of imperial struggle, this planet still remains too big, too disparate, too ornery to be controlled by a single power. What the Bush administration did was simply take one gulp too many and the result has been a kind of national (and planetary) indigestion.

Despite what it looked like in Washington once upon a time, the disappearance of the Soviet Union proved to be no gift at all, but a disaster of the first order. It removed all sense of limits from America's political class and led to a tale of greed on a planetary scale. In the process, it also set the US on a path to self-decline.

The history of greed in our time has yet to be written, but what a story it will someday make. In it, the greed of those geopolitical dreamers will intersect with the greed of an ever wealthier, ever more gilded 1%, of the billionaires who were preparing to swallow whole the political system of that last superpower and grab so much of the wealth of the planet, leaving so little for others.

Whether you're talking about the urge to control the planet militarily or financially, what took place in these years could, in the end, result in ruin of a historic kind. To use a favored phrase from the Bush years, one of these days we Americans may be facing little short of "regime change" on a planetary scale. And what a piece of shock and awe that's likely to prove to be.

All of us, of course, now live on the planet Bush's boys tried to swallow whole. They left us in a world of infinite war, infinite harm, and in Donald Trump's America where cluelessness has been raised to a new power.

[Jun 19, 2018] Study Confirms Most Psychopaths Live in Washington DC by Joe Jarvis

Jun 19, 2018 |

by Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

Murphy also included the District of Columbia in his research, and found it had a psychopathy level far higher than any other state. But this finding is an outlier, as Murphy notes, as it's an entirely urban area and cannot be fairly compared with larger, more geographically diverse, US states. That said, as Murphy notes, "The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy (2016) that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere."

Surprised? I didn't think so. But still, fun to get some scientific confirmation.

Psychos are drawn to power . It is not just that power corrupts, it is that already corrupt people seek power . Government is the best industry to be in for someone with no morals.

The study is called Psychopathy By State , conducted by Ryan Murphy . He surveyed samples from the lower 48 states and Washington D.C. to find the prevalence of personality traits which correspond to psychopathy.

The personality traits generally corresponding to psychopathy are low neuroticism, high extraversion, low agreeableness, and low conscientiousness.

Of course, D.C. came in first by far. But as he notes, that this is not exactly a fair comparison, as it is a city being compared to entire states. The study finds that urban areas, in general, correspond to more psychopathic personality traits.

Another interesting finding is that a higher concentration of lawyers predicts higher psychopathy prevalence. I kid you not.

So removing D.C. can you guess which states come in the top three? I bet you can.

  1. Connecticut
  2. California
  3. New Jersey

New York ties for the fourth highest concentration of psychopaths among U.S. states. Interestingly, it ties with Wyoming which I would not have expected. But the author notes there was a relatively small sample surveyed from Wyoming.

The least psychopathic states are :

  1. West Virginia
  2. Vermont
  3. Tennessee
  4. North Carolina
  5. New Mexico

And it should not be surprising that the main correlation was that state with the lowest percentage of people living in urban areas also had the lowest concentration of psychopaths.

Perhaps psychopaths need to be around more victims, or constantly switch out their friends and acquaintances as they become wise to their antisocial behaviors. Note that antisocial does not mean loner, it means lacking empathy, remorse, and behaving in a manipulative way that hurts others .

It is possible that psychopaths are more easily recognized and ostracized in smaller communities and rural settings. Since humans could speak, gossip has been a regulator of social behavior . This has its benefits and detriments of course.

But to be clear, the paper is not so much identifying where all the psychopaths live, as much as identifying general population traits which correspond to psychopathy.

This certainly leads to a higher frequency of psychiatrically identifiable true psychopaths. But it also means that a large percentage of the population behaves in a somewhat psychopathic manner.

While a very small percentage of individuals in any given state may actually be true psychopaths, the level of psychopathy present, on average, within an aggregate population (i.e., not simply the low percentages of psychopaths) is a distinct research question. While empirical operationalizations of psychopathy frequently treat it as a binary categorization, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (Hare 1991) treats it as a spectrum. The operationalization of psychopathy found here is consistent with psychopathy as thought of as a spectrum.

The study concludes:

Areas of the United States that are measured to be most psychopathic are those in the Northeast and other similarly populated regions. The least psychopathic are predominantly rural areas. The District of Columbia is measured to be far more psychopathic than any individual state in the country, a fact that can be readily explained either by its very high population density or by the type of person who may be drawn [to] a literal seat of power (as in Murphy 2016).

Hailing originally from Massachusetts, I can attest to the highest corresponding personality trait being "Temperamental & Uninhibited." Where did you think the term Masshole came from.

If you aren't a psychopath when you enter the state, you soon become one from the traffic alone. And I wonder if just being in such close proximity to people makes it a necessary adaptation to care a little less about how your actions affect others.

There are just too many variables, so you become numb to the plight of others, and just need to get the hell out of this traffic jam before I go insane!

But if you feel held captive among psychopaths, maybe it is time to start on your two-year plan to free yourself.

You don't have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:

How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim 3 Specific Freedoms.

This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It's not as hard as you think

Identify. Plan. Execute .

Yes, deliver THE DAILY BELL to my inbox!

[Jun 18, 2018] Second FBI Informant Tried To Entrap Trump Campaign With $2 Million Offer For Hillary Dirt Roger Stone Zero Hedge

Jun 18, 2018 |

Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Michael Caputo say that a meeting Stone took in late May, 2016 with a Russian appears to have been an " FBI sting operation " in hindsight, following bombshell reports in May that the DOJ/FBI used a longtime FBI/CIA asset, Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, to perform espionage on the Trump campaign.

When Stone arrived at the restaurant in Sunny Isles, he said, Greenberg was wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt and hat. On his phone, Greenberg pulled up a photo of himself with Trump at a rally, Stone said.

The meeting went nowhere - ending after Stone told Greenberg " You don't understand Donald Trump... He doesn't pay for anything ." The Post independently confirmed this account with Greenberg.

Aftter the meeting, Stone received a text message from Caputo - a Trump campaign communications official who arranged the meeting after Greenberg approached Caputo's Russian-immigrant business partner.

" How crazy is the Russian? " Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted "big" money, Stone replied: "waste of time." - WaPo

Stone and Caputo now think the meeting was an FBI attempt to entrap the Trump administration - showing the Post evidence that Greenberg, who sometimes used the name Henry Oknyansky, " had provided information to the FBI for 17 years, " based on a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status.

He attached records showing that the government had granted him special permission to enter the United States because his presence represented a "significant public benefit."

Between 2008 and 2012, the records show, he repeatedly was extended permission to enter the United States under a so-called "significant public benefit parole." The documents list an FBI agent as a contact person. The agent declined to comment.

Greenberg did not respond to questions about his use of multiple names but said in a text that he had worked for the "federal government" for 17 years.

"I risked my life and put myself in danger to do so, as you can imagine," he said. - WaPo

"Wherever I was, from Iran to North Korea, I always send information to" the FBI, Greenberg told The Post . " I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger . Based on my information, there is so many arrests criminal from drugs and human trafficking, money laundering and insurance frauds ."

Stone and Caputo say it was a "sting operation" by the FBI:

" I didn't realize it was an FBI sting operation at the time, but it sure looks like one now ," said Stone.

"If you believe that [Greenberg] took time off from his long career as an FBI informant to reach out to us in his spare time, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you," Caputo said in an interview.

Greenberg told WaPo he stopped working with the FBI "sometime after 2013."

In terms of the timeline , here's where the Greenberg meeting fits in:

April 26, 2016 - Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud allegedly tells Trump campaign aide George Paoadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton

Papadopoulos' statement of offense also detailed his April 26, 2016, meeting with Mifsud at a London hotel. Over breakfast Mifsud told Papadopoulos "he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian governmental officials." Mifsud explained "that on that trip he (the Professor) learned that the Russians had obtained 'dirt' on then-candidate Clinton." Mifsud told Papadopoulos "the Russians had emails of Clinton." - The Federalist

May 10, 2016 - Papadopoulos tells former Australian Diplomat Alexander Downer during an alleged " drunken barroom admission " that the Russians had information which "could be damaging" to Hillary Clinton.

Late May, 2016 - Stone is approached by Greenberg with the $2 million offer for dirt on Clinton

July 2016 - FBI informant (spy) Stefan Halper meets with Trump campaign aide Carter Page for the first time, which would be one of many encounters.

July 31, 2016 - the FBI officially launches operation Crossfire Hurricane , the code name given to the counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign.

September, 2016 - Halper invites Papadopoulos to London, paying him $3,000 to work on an energy policy paper while wining and dining him at a 200-year-old private London club on September 15.

Foggy memory

Stone and Caputo say they didn't mention the meeting during Congressional testimony because they forgot, chalking it up to unimportant "due diligence." Apparently random offers for political dirt in exchange for millions are so common in D.C. that one tends to forget.

Stone and Caputo said in separate interviews that they also did not disclose the Greenberg meeting during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because they had forgotten about an incident that Stone calls unimportant "due diligence" that would have been "political malpractice" not to explore . - WaPo

While Greenberg and Stone's account of the meeting mostly checked out (after Greenberg initially denied Stone's account), Greenberg said that a Ukrainian friend named "Alexi" who was fired by the Clinton Foundation attended as well, and was the one asking for the money - while Stone said Greenberg came alone to the meeting.

"We really want to help Trump," Stone recalled Greenberg saying during the brief encounter.

Greenberg says he sat at a nearby table while Alexei conducted the meeting. " Alexei talk to Mr. Stone, not me ," he wrote.

The Clinton Founation has denied ever employing anyone with the first name of Alexi.

Caputo's attorney on Friday sent a letter amending his House testimony, and he plans to present Caputo's account of the Greenberg incident to the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice, which has announced it is examining the FBI's use of informants during the Russia probe. Stone said his attorney has done the same. - WaPo

Second FBI informant

Caputo hinted at the interaction in late May when he said that there were multiple government informants who approached the Trump campaign:

"Let me tell you something that I know for a fact," Caputo said during a May 21 interview on Fox News. " This informant, this person [who] they tried to plant into the campaign he's not the only person who came into the campaign . And the FBI is not the only Obama agency who came into the campaign."

" I know because they came at me ," Caputo added. " And I'm looking for clearance from my attorney to reveal this to the public. This is just the beginning. "

Stone told the Post that he may be indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and charged "with a crime unrelated to the election in order to silence him," and that he anticipates the meeting with Greenberg may be used to try and pressure him to testify against President Trump (leaving no Stone unturned), which he told the Post he would never do.

roadhazard Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

Roger Stone has his own problems. Great source for truth and credibility.

Cambridge Analytica folks now working for Trump 2020.

gregga777 -> roadhazard Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:17 Permalink

There were several times during the Roman Empire when the Praetorian Guard murdered the Emperor and then auctioned off the Emperor's position to the highest bidder. We're probably close to that point ourselves where the FBI and CIA just dispense with the pretense and murder the President and auction it off themselves to the highest bidder.

yrad Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

What a wicked web we weave...

NidStyles -> yrad Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:15 Permalink

Indeed, trying to entrap a President.

Ms No Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Greenberg.... another of a long list of coincidences.

[Jun 17, 2018] The Necessity of a Trump-Putin Summit by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Decimation of anti-war forces and flourishing of Russophobia are two immanent features of the US neoliberalism. As long as the maintinace fo the US global neoliberal empire depends of weakening and, possibly, dismembering Russia it is naive to expect any change. Russian version of soft "national neoliberalism" is not that different, in principle form Trump version of hard "netional neoliberalism" so those leaders might have something to talk about. In other words as soon as the USA denounce neoliberal globalization that might be some openings.
Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Jun 06, 2018 |

Ten ways the new US-Russian Cold War is increasingly becoming more dangerous than the one we survived.

  1. The political epicenter of the new Cold War is not in far-away Berlin, as it was from the late 1940s on, but directly on Russia's borders, from the Baltic states and Ukraine to the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Each of these new Cold War fronts is, or has recently been, fraught with the possibly of hot war. US-Russian military relations are especially tense today in the Baltic region, where a large-scale NATO buildup is under way, and in Ukraine, where a US-Russian proxy war is intensifying. The "Soviet Bloc" that once served as a buffer between NATO and Russia no longer exists. And many imaginable incidents on the West's new Eastern Front, intentional or unintentional, could easily trigger actual war between the United States and Russia. What brought about this unprecedented situation on Russia's borders -- at least since the Nazi German invasion in 1941 -- was, of course, the exceedingly unwise decision, in the late 1990s, to expand NATO eastward. Done in the name of "security," it has made all the states involved only more insecure.

  2. Proxy wars were a feature of the old Cold War, but usually small ones in what was called the "Third World" -- in Africa, for example -- and they rarely involved many, if any, Soviet or American personnel, mostly only money and weapons. Today's US-Russian proxy wars are different, located in the center of geopolitics and accompanied by too many American and Russian trainers, minders, and possibly fighters. Two have already erupted: in Georgia in 2008, where Russian forces fought a Georgian army financed, trained, and minded by American funds and personnel; and in Syria, where in February scores of Russians were killed by US-backed anti-Assad forces . Moscow did not retaliate, but it has pledged to do so if there is "a next time," as there very well may be. If so, this would in effect be war directly between Russia and America. Meanwhile, the risk of such a direct conflict continues to grow in Ukraine, where the country's US-backed but politically failing President Petro Poroshenko seems increasingly tempted to launch another all-out military assault on rebel-controlled Donbass, backed by Moscow. If he does so, and the assault does not quickly fail as previous ones have, Russia will certainly intervene in eastern Ukraine with a truly tangible "invasion." Washington will then have to make a fateful war-or-peace decision. Having already reneged on its commitments to the Minsk Accords, which are the best hope for ending the four-year Ukrainian crisis peacefully, Kiev seems to have an unrelenting impulse to be a tail wagging the dog of war. Certainly, its capacity for provocations and disinformation are second to none, as evidenced again last week by the faked "assassination and resurrection" of the journalist Arkady Babchenko.

  3. The Western, but especially American, years-long demonization of the Kremlin leader, Putin, is also unprecedented. Too obvious to reiterate here, no Soviet leader, at least since Stalin, was ever subjected to such prolonged, baseless, crudely derogatory personal vilification. Whereas Soviet leaders were generally regarded as acceptable negotiating partners for American presidents, including at major summits, Putin has been made to seem to be an illegitimate national leader -- at best "a KGB thug," at worst a murderous "mafia boss."

  4. Still more, demonizing Putin has generated a widespread Russophobic vilification of Russia itself , or what The New York Times and other mainstream-media outlets have taken to calling " Vladimir Putin's Russia ." Yesterday's enemy was Soviet Communism. Today it is increasingly Russia, thereby also delegitimizing Russia as a great power with legitimate national interests. "The Parity Principle," as Cohen termed it during the preceding Cold War -- the principle that both sides had legitimate interests at home and abroad, which was the basis for diplomacy and negotiations, and symbolized by leadership summits -- no longer exists, at least on the American side. Nor does the acknowledgment that both sides were to blame, at least to some extent, for that Cold War. Among influential American observers who at least recognize the reality of the new Cold War , "Putin's Russia" alone is to blame. When there is no recognized parity and shared responsibility, there is little space for diplomacy -- only for increasingly militarized relations, as we are witnessing today.
  5. Meanwhile, most of the Cold War safeguards -- cooperative mechanisms and mutually observed rules of conduct that evolved over decades in order to prevent superpower hot war -- have been vaporized or badly frayed since the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, as the UN General Secretary António Guterres, almost alone, has recognized : "The Cold War is back -- with a vengeance but with a difference. The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present." Trump's recent missile strike on Syria carefully avoided killing any Russians there, but here too Moscow has vowed to retaliate against US launchers or other forces involved if there is a "next time," as, again, there may be. Even the decades-long process of arms control may, we are told by an expert , be coming to an "end." If so, it will mean an unfettered new nuclear-arms race but also the termination of an ongoing diplomatic process that buffered US-Soviet relations during very bad political times. In short, if there are any new Cold War rules of conduct, they are yet to be formulated and mutually accepted. Nor does this semi-anarchy take into account the new warfare technology of cyber-attacks. What are its implications for the secure functioning of existential Russian and American nuclear command-and-control and early-warning systems that guard against an accidental launching of missiles still on high alert?

  6. Russiagate allegations that the American president has been compromised by -- or is even an agent of -- the Kremlin are also without precedent. These allegations have had profoundly dangerous consequences, among them the nonsensical but mantra-like warfare declaration that "Russia attacked America" during the 2016 presidential election; crippling assaults on President Trump every time he speaks with Putin in person or by phone; and making both Trump and Putin so toxic that even most politicians, journalists, and professors who understand the present-day dangers are reluctant to speak out against US contributions to the new Cold War.

  7. Mainstream-media outlets have, of course, played a woeful role in all of this. Unlike in the past, when pro-détente advocates had roughly equal access to mainstream media, today's new Cold War media enforce their orthodox narrative that Russia is solely to blame. They practice not diversity of opinion and reporting but "confirmation bias." Alternative voices (with, yes, alternative or opposing facts) rarely appear any longer in the most influential mainstream newspapers or on television or radio broadcasts. One alarming result is that "disinformation" generated by or pleasing to Washington and its allies has consequences before it can be corrected. The fake Babchenko assassination (allegedly ordered by Putin, of course) was quickly exposed, but not the alleged Skripal assassination attempt in the UK, which led to the largest US expulsion of Russian diplomats in history before London's official version of the story began to fall apart. This too is unprecedented: Cold War without debate, which in turn precludes the frequent rethinking and revising of US policy that characterized the preceding 40-year Cold War -- in effect, an enforced dogmatization of US policy that is both exceedingly dangerous and undemocratic.

  8. Equally unsurprising, and also very much unlike during the 40-year Cold War, there is virtually no significant opposition in the American mainstream to the US role in the new Cold War -- not in the media, not in Congress, not in the two major political parties, not in the universities, not at grassroots levels. This too is unprecedented, dangerous, and contrary to real democracy. Consider only the thunderous silence of scores of large US corporations that have been doing profitable business in post-Soviet Russia for years, from fast-food chains and automobile manufacturers to pharmaceutical and energy giants. And contrast their behavior to that of CEOs of PepsiCo, Control Data, IBM, and other major American corporations seeking entry to the Soviet market in the 1970s and 1980s, when they publicly supported and even funded pro-détente organizations and politicians. How to explain the silence of their counterparts today, who are usually so profit-motivated? Are they too fearful of being labeled "pro-Putin" or possibly "pro-Trump"? If so, will this Cold War continue to unfold with only very rare profiles of courage in any high places? 9. And then there is the widespread escalatory myth that today's Russia, unlike the Soviet Union, is too weak -- its economy too small and fragile, its leader too "isolated in international affairs" -- to wage a sustained Cold War, and that eventually Putin, who is "punching above his weight," as the cliché has it, will capitulate. This too is a dangerous delusion. As Cohen has shown previously , "Putin's Russia" is hardly isolated in world affairs, and is becoming even less so, even in Europe, where at least five governments are tilting away from Washington and Brussels and perhaps from their economic sanctions on Russia. Indeed, despite the sanctions, Russia's energy industry and agricultural exports are flourishing. Geopolitically, Moscow has many military and related advantages in regions where the new Cold War has unfolded. And no state with Russia's modern nuclear and other weapons is "punching above its weight." Above all, the great majority of Russian people have rallied behind Putin because t hey believe their country is under attack by the US-led West . Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Russia's history understands it is highly unlikely to capitulate under any circumstances.

  9. Finally (at least as of now), there is the growing war-like "hysteria" often commented on in both Washington and Moscow. It is driven by various factors, but television talk/"news" broadcasts, which are as common in Russia as in the United States, play a major role. Perhaps only an extensive quantitative study could discern which plays a more lamentable role in promoting this frenzy -- MSNBC and CNN or their Russian counterparts. For Cohen, the Russian dark witticism seems apt: "Both are worst" ( Oba khuzhe ). Again, some of this American broadcast extremism existed during the preceding Cold War, but almost always balanced, even offset, by truly informed, wiser opinions, which are now largely excluded.

Is this analysis of the dangers inherent in the new Cold War itself extremist or alarmist? Even SOME usually reticent specialists would seem to agree with Cohen's general assessment. Experts gathered by a centrist Washington think tank thought that on a scale of 1 to 10, there is a 5 to 7 chance of actual war with Russia. A former head of British M16 is reported as saying that "for the first time in living memory, there's a realistic chance of a superpower conflict." And a respected retired Russian general tells the same think tank that any military confrontation "will end up with the use of nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia."

In today's dire circumstances, one Trump-Putin summit cannot eliminate the new Cold War dangers. But US-Soviet summits traditionally served three corollary purposes. They created a kind of security partnership -- not a conspiracy -- that involved each leader's limited political capital at home, which the other should recognize and not heedlessly jeopardize. They sent a clear message to the two leaders' respective national-security bureaucracies, which often did not favor détente-like cooperation, that the "boss" was determined and that they must end their foot-dragging, even sabotage. And summits, with their exalted rituals and intense coverage, usually improved the media-political environment needed to enhance cooperation amid Cold War conflicts. If a Trump-Putin summit achieves even some of those purposes, it might result in a turning away from the precipice that now looms

[Jun 17, 2018] Mr. Trump Attacks Aluminum, Russia Attacks The Debt by Tom Luongo

Notable quotes:
"... The net result will be more of the aluminum market will flow through the Yuan rather than the dollar, neatly avoiding sanctions and any future threats. Because with the insanity caused by the overnight chaos in April, any aluminum supplier/consumer will be wary of another such edict from the naked Emperor in D.C. ..."
"... Rusal will be one of the main beneficiaries since Russian banks are already sanctioned. ..."
"... Abusing your customers is never a winning marketplace strategy and that's exactly what Trump's sanctions policy is doing, abusing customers of the dollar. Trust has been the dollar's strongest attribute for a long time now and it is the primary reason why it has dominated trade and reserves. ..."
"... But there is a limit to how much your customers will take. And Trump is pushing well beyond that limit. And when the benefits of using the dollar are eclipsed by the liabilities, people will naturally shift away from it. ..."
"... Putin has and will use future mini-crises like this to further clean up the rot left over from the Yeltsin years, like Deripaska, while building a Russia insulated from future attacks like this. ..."
"... The struggle for most Americans regarding this issue is the fact that the Ministry of Truth has always told us "Russia Bad!" while "US Good!". The Ole good guy vs bad guy paradigm. I grew up in the 80's and am very familiar with that paradigm. I am an American through and through but our government has become the most corrupt bunch of whoring thieves on the planet. ..."
"... True Americans have awakened to realize the power of our corrupt government lies in the dollar hegemony. True Americans hate it, and hate the power and control it wields in our own lives. We see it at work around the world. We see DC squeeze our lives to subsidize it's world empire. An empire is seeks to maintain for various reasons that are debated regularly. ..."
"... The USA is drunk on power with their dollar as they see it as invincible. It will be their own undoing. The world is eager and preparing to drop/run/destroy the dollar. One day they'll all lick their wounds take their losses and forget the dollar completely. ..."
"... The US will have to do one of the hardest things in the history of the nation. She'll have to stop LYING to herself! All those recommending weaponization of the petrodollar, are charlatans. The USA cannot get through restructuring via antagonism, that only tightens the economic noose. ..."
"... What is needed, is bankruptcy protection, via honest cooperation with the emergent economic powers in the East. This comes with a price, retrenchment of imperium. This in turn, requires sobriety that, the game while not completely lost, as in national decomposition, is nevertheless, unwinnable, as in rebuilding can only follow retrenchment. ..."
"... Exceptionalism Delenda Est!... ..."
Jun 17, 2018 |

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Looking at the unfolding trade war between Donald Trump and the world the phrase that should come to mind is "One good turn deserves another."

In the case of the insane sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and Russian Aluminum giant, Rusal, back in April, we finally got some clarity as to how Russia can and will respond to future events.

In yesterday's Treasury International Capital (TIC) report, we saw clearly that Russia activated its nearly $100 billion in U.S. Treasury debt to buy dollars in April.

More than $47 billion in U.S. debt was dumped into the market to cover the chaos engendered by Trump's overnight diktat for the world to stop doing business with Rusal.

Also of note, U.S. ally Japan continues to shed Treasuries at around 8-10 billion per month. Ireland dumped $17 billion and Luxembourg nearly $8 billion.

While China dropped $5 billion this is noise, ultimately as its holdings of U.S. debt have been stable for over a year now. What is interesting is Belgium, the home of Euroclear, seeing a $12 billion inflow. Likely that's where some of the Russian-held debt was traded to.

The Russians likely sold from their balance on reserve with the Federal Reserve. Here's the latest iteration of the chart I keep for just such an occasion.

Rusal's shares and bonds went bidless but the damage wasn't contained there as major Russian banks like VTB and Sberbank were hit hard as well. So, while Rusal didn't have much in the way of dollar-denominated debt. It did have major dollar-related obligations as accounts receivable on its balance sheet because of the sheer size of its trade conducted in dollars.

And that's why there was such an outflow from Russia's stock of Treasuries. But, here's the thing. It didn't matter one whit. Why? It didn't undermine Russia's Foreign Exchange Reserves.

No Dip in Russia's Foreign Exchange Reserves During Rusal Crisis

Russia just sold Treasuries into the market, raised dollars and swapped out Rusal's bonds, holding them as collateral for a Repo.

The Bank of Russia Intervened to keep Rusal and Other Banks Solvent by Dumping U.S. Treasuries

This went on for most of the month and into May. Zerohedge's reporting on this leads the way.

This mass dumping of U.S. debt caused the long end of the U.S. yield curve to blow out past significant resistance points, like the 10 year pushing above 3.05% in sympathy with the Fed's policy to dry up dollar liquidity. If this first-order analysis by Zerohedge is correct, then we can assume Russia has been holding a lot of long-dated Treasuries versus say China which we know has shortened up the average maturity of their massive bond portfolio.

In times past we may have not seen such a massive dump of U.S. debt by Russia. They may have simply sold dollars directly or swapped euros or yuan for them. But, these are different times. Trump has taken the use of sanctions to a level that hasn't been seen before.

Putin is the master of parallel aggression. You take an action against Russia, he will generally hit you back along some other vector.

In this case it was a direct confrontation to Trump's bringing the full weight of U.S. financial dominance down on its rivals and allies, who are all heavily exposed to Rusal's market position.

Russia is not out of the water with this situation which is why Oleg Deripaska, the majority owner of Rusal and the one targeted by the Trump administration, is looking still to find ways to satisfy the U.S.'s demands on this issue.

Putin's Pivot

But, don't think this isn't working to Putin's advantage as Deripaska is not one of his supposed favored oligarchs. This report from Bloomberg spelled out the situation well back in April.

As for Deripaska, he will get help from the Russian government again. {which he did, see above} Rusal has warned that the sanctions might mean a default on a portion of its debt. That's most likely to happen to its more than $1 billion in dollar-denominated debt. But, as ever, the company's biggest creditors are Russian state banks, and the Kremlin will keep Rusal solvent one way or another as it reorients toward Asian markets. It won't be a huge headache for Putin: He's seen worse, including with Rusal during the financial crisis.

And that's the most important part.

Once the current positions are wound down and the aluminum market adjusts to the new reality of U.S. hyper-aggression to restart an industry we really don't need (smelting aluminum? really?) just to satisfy Trump's outdated views on trade (which they are MAGA-pedes) Rusal's business will not be so U.S.-centric.

And therefore the world will become less exposed, over time, to the depredations of U.S. financial attack. I told you before that China has responded to this by issuing new yuan-denominated futures contracts for industrial metals.

Why do you think they did that?

Will it create pain in the short-term? Yes. Europe will experience even more of this as will Asia.

Will a lot of companies fear being sanctioned and fined by the U.S. for doing business with Rusal? Yes. It's happening now. Will this exacerbate underlying economic conditions in Europe? Of course.

But, if Deripaska submits, like it looks like he will, then the aluminum market will calm down and Trump's sanctions will look silly.

Sanctions Bite Both Ways

The net result will be more of the aluminum market will flow through the Yuan rather than the dollar, neatly avoiding sanctions and any future threats. Because with the insanity caused by the overnight chaos in April, any aluminum supplier/consumer will be wary of another such edict from the naked Emperor in D.C.

And, as such, they will diversify the currencies they buy and sell aluminum in. It won't be a sea change overnight. Those least exposed will jump ship first. Rusal will be one of the main beneficiaries since Russian banks are already sanctioned.

But it will be a trend, that once started will gain steam.

China can and will tie convertibility of its futures contracts to gold through the Shanghai exchange to allay worries about getting money out of the country.

Abusing your customers is never a winning marketplace strategy and that's exactly what Trump's sanctions policy is doing, abusing customers of the dollar. Trust has been the dollar's strongest attribute for a long time now and it is the primary reason why it has dominated trade and reserves.

But there is a limit to how much your customers will take. And Trump is pushing well beyond that limit. And when the benefits of using the dollar are eclipsed by the liabilities, people will naturally shift away from it.

Look at the TIC chart above and note the total. This is a $6.3 trillion synthetic short position against the dollar. He's inviting countries to dump treasuries to defend their currencies as the dollar strengthens while shifting their primary materials buying to the biggest rival's currency.

This is why Russia continues to run a very tight financial ship while it leads the charge away from the dollar. It's inviting customers into the ruble with both a strong national balance sheet and relatively higher interest rates. This has the U.S. fuming.

Putin has and will use future mini-crises like this to further clean up the rot left over from the Yeltsin years, like Deripaska, while building a Russia insulated from future attacks like this.

Remember, even the U.S. has limits. It cannot sanction people for refusing to trade in dollars. Even the U.S. doesn't have that power. It can try but it will fail. New systems, new banks, new institutions can always be created.

PrayingMantis -> cowdiddly Sun, 06/17/2018 - 09:24 Permalink

... " ... in the case of the insane sanctions on Oleg Deripaska and Russian Aluminum giant, Rusal, back in April, we finally got some clarity as to how Russia can and will respond to future events .. . " ...

... most recently, Trump had been focusing on protecting steel and "aluminum" on world trading ... could there be an underlying reason behind these sanctions? ... who is Trump really protecting here? ...

... let's follow the money ... these links might let us connect the (((dots))) ...


Should the London Metal Exchange allow Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Glencore to own aluminium warehouses even as they trade the metal?

... >>>

... (Senate report: Metro Detroit warehouses gave Goldman Sachs influence over aluminum pricing ) ...

... >>> ... (Goldman's Secret Cash Cow: Detroit Warehouses Full of Metal ) ...

... >>> ... (Following the Money: How Goldman Sachs Manipulates Commodity Prices ) ...

... why aluminum? ... why not any other commodities?

... ever wonder what Trump is up to now to please his talmudic Rothschild banksters overlords?

... you be the judge ....

bshirley1968 -> PrayingMantis Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:21 Permalink

The struggle for most Americans regarding this issue is the fact that the Ministry of Truth has always told us "Russia Bad!" while "US Good!". The Ole good guy vs bad guy paradigm. I grew up in the 80's and am very familiar with that paradigm. I am an American through and through but our government has become the most corrupt bunch of whoring thieves on the planet.

True Americans have awakened to realize the power of our corrupt government lies in the dollar hegemony. True Americans hate it, and hate the power and control it wields in our own lives. We see it at work around the world. We see DC squeeze our lives to subsidize it's world empire. An empire is seeks to maintain for various reasons that are debated regularly.

The rub comes when we see that the only force capable of standing up to this corrupt empire is a country that we have been told all our lives is evil. Russia wasn't always the communist soviet union.....and is no longer that today. But in the minds of many Americans that is all that it will ever be. Russia has the resources, military, intelligence, and skill to control it's own destiny. It has everything it needs to tell the US empire, "No!" I respect that....admire that.....cheer that....and wish them success in their stand. For those of us looking for a way to bust the evil cabal now running our own country, Russia's rebellion of US dominance is a ray of hope. It's not that we don't love our own country or want to be Russians, but we don't care about supporting a world empire that requires wars, taxes, and a strategy that strip us of our individual sovereignty by contaminating our country with people that don't belong here and will never think like an American.

People need to put aside their "fan-boy" biases, drop the blind loyalty, and start dealing with reality. We are not rooting for Putin and Russia, rather we are rooting for the downfall of thus evil banking cartel that is slowly killing us all and taking more and more of our freedoms. To those of you that say that will cause pain and we STILL have the greatest country on earth, I say, somethings are worth the pain.....and we can be a lot better. We have got to change direction....and the sooner we get off this road of empire destruction, the better.

Raisin Hail -> PrayingMantis Sun, 06/17/2018 - 12:40 Permalink

Maybe it is because The Aluminum Company of America (formerly ALCOA now Arconic an others) is going broke. Check out their stock price for the last 10 years or so. Are they still part of the DOW Index? Bonehead move to include them years ago.

are we there yet -> Raisin Hail Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

If the US dollar weakens, then the US exports and jobs go up, while US imports go down.

Demologos -> Escrava Isaura Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

Trump is worth what, a couple of billion? And those assets are encumbered by a lot of debt held by US banks. That does not an oligarch make. When it comes to US oligarchs, Trump is a piker compared to the massive family trusts that can move markets and voting results.

... ... ...

PrivetHedge -> Demologos Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

Trump is worth exactly the debt that the Israeli Sheldon Adelson holds over him IIRC. Far from being independent he is owned by America's biggest parasite and enemy: Israel.

peopledontwanttruth -> 07564111 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 09:24 Permalink

The USA is drunk on power with their dollar as they see it as invincible. It will be their own undoing. The world is eager and preparing to drop/run/destroy the dollar. One day they'll all lick their wounds take their losses and forget the dollar completely.

The USA and Israel aka banksters will start WWIII to prove literally they will destroy the world if need be instead of lose their power over mankind

Scipio Africanuz -> Ambrose Bierce Sun, 06/17/2018 - 10:16 Permalink

The US will have to do one of the hardest things in the history of the nation. She'll have to stop LYING to herself! All those recommending weaponization of the petrodollar, are charlatans. The USA cannot get through restructuring via antagonism, that only tightens the economic noose.

What is needed, is bankruptcy protection, via honest cooperation with the emergent economic powers in the East. This comes with a price, retrenchment of imperium. This in turn, requires sobriety that, the game while not completely lost, as in national decomposition, is nevertheless, unwinnable, as in rebuilding can only follow retrenchment.

Now, US policy wonks must be imbibing some real potent hallucinogens, to be unable to see what's right in front of their noses that, no matter the strategy, if it's not one of cooperation, the game is forfeit! The only strategy that helps the US retain great power status, is one whereby clear eyed, hard nosed assessment of assets and liabilities, are carried out.

The East is helping the USA buy time, the exceptionalists are once again, squandering the opportunity, just like they did in 91. They somehow believe the US military can change the trajectory of events. This is not possible any longer except humanity signs up for civilizational extinction.

To cut a long story short, it's time to declare mea culpa, and request a recalibration of goals, objectives, tactics, and critically, strategy. The strategy going forward? Honest cooperation to resolve issues that are creating global tensions, foremost amongst them, the one where the West gets to live like kings, at the expense of billions. This is the major issue, and it cannot be resolved without humility on the part of the West, and indemnity on the part of victims.

Humanity will only move forward through forgiveness, which cannot be activated without contrition.

Exceptionalism Delenda Est!...

You Only Live Twice Sun, 06/17/2018 - 08:19 Permalink

If Russia is selling Treasuries, it may be ahead of the market selling to prevent losses down the road. There is a shift happening not just with Russia as the long-standing bankers like the Rothschilds, etc. have been also selling their UST holdings and moving the money to Asia as per their reports for the last year.

The other thing to watch is the Vienna OPEC meeting later this month. The Saudis and Russia have now setup a long-term partnership to control the Oil market, including speculation on the markets as of today's press, so a discussion of abandoning the Petrodollar may not be off the table as there are portions of that deal that have been announced as secretive and this may be part of the plan.

[Jun 17, 2018] Nomi Prins: The Central Banking Heist That Put The World At Risk by Liam Halligan

Jun 17, 2018 |

Authored by Liam Halligan via,

"The 2008 financial crisis was the consequence of a loosely regulated banking system in which power was concentrated in the hands of too limited a cast of speculators, " Nomi Prins tell me. "And after the crisis, the way the US government and the Federal Reserve dealt with this corrupt and criminal banking system was to give them a subsidy."

Such strong, withering analysis is, perhaps, unexpected from someone who has held senior roles at Wall Street finance houses such as Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs. But Prins is no ordinary former banker.

The US author and journalist left the financial services industry in 2001. She did so, in her own words, "partly because life was too short", and "partly out of disgust at how citizens everywhere had become collateral damage, and later hostages, to the banking system".

Since then, Prins has chronicled the closed and often confusing world of high finance through the 2008 crisis and beyond. Her writing combines deep insider knowledge with on-the-ground reporting with sharp, searing prose. Alongside countless articles for New York Times , Forbes and Fortune , she has produced six books – including Collusion: how central bankers rigged the world , which has just been published.

Her main target in the new work is "quantitative easing" – described by Prins as "a conjuring trick" in which "a central bank manufactures electronic money, then injects it into private banks and financial markets". Over the last decade, she tells me when we meet in London, "under the guise of QE, central bankers have massively overstepped their traditional mandates, directing the flow of epic sums of fabricated money, without any checks or balances, towards the private banking sector".

Since QE began, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, "the US Federal Reserve has produced a massive $4.5 trillion of conjured money, out of a worldwide QE total of around $21 trillion", says Prins. The combination of ultra-low interest rates and vast monetary expansion, she explains, has caused "speculation to rage... much as a global casino would be abuzz if everyone gambled using everyone else's money".

Much of this new spending power, though, has remained "inside the system", with banks shoring up their balance sheets. "So lending to ordinary firms and households has barely grown as a result of QE," says Prins, "nor have wages or prosperity for most of the world's population". Instead, "the banks have gone on an asset-buying spree", she explains, getting into her stride, "with the vast flow of QE cash from central banks to private banks ensuring endless opportunities for market manipulation and asset bubbles – driven by government support".

Prins describes "the power grab we've seen by the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks". Using QE, she argues, "these illusionists have altered the nature of the financial system and orchestrated a de facto heist that has enabled the most dominant banks and central bankers to run the world".

She says all this looking me straight in the eye, with the deadpan delivery, supreme confidence and unflinching focus of the senior investment banker she was. But the words are those of an angry and committed activist – someone who is absolutely determined to do what she can to reform global finance, starting in her native country.

Nomi Prins deals in bold statements and fearless analysis. While often accused of hyperbole, her deep research, financial expertise and former 'insider status' means only a fool would dismiss her. She is just at home within academia as she is on the political front line – a regular on the university lecture circuit, Prins was also a member of Senator Bernie Sanders' team of economic experts, advising on central bank reform. Yet, such is her reputation that she commands a place among those she chides – and is regularly consulted, formally and informally, by senior officials at the Fed, the ECB and other major central banks.

Surveying the history of the response to the 2008 financial crisis, Prins tells me that explicit bank bailouts were only a small part of the story. "First, there was the $700bn package agreed in Congress to save the US banks that caused the crisis," she says. "But the real bailout was the trillions of dollars of QE produced by the Fed – a massive subsidy to banks and financial markets, that has created an enormous bubble, a subsidy agreed by unelected officials and barely debated or remarked upon."

After initiating QE in late 2008, the Fed then "exported the idea – and that required the collusion of other major central banks", Prins argues. She points out that even though the Fed and the Bank of England have currently stopped doing QE, new money amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars a month is still being pumped out by central banks elsewhere, not least the ECB and the Bank of Japan.

"When the asset bubble pops, the fragile financial system and the broader economic environment could be thrown into deep depression and turmoil," she says.

"That's why the QE baton has been passed from the US to other nations, and why the central banks are so desperate to collude."

I put to Prins the conventional wisdom: there was no alternative to QE, and without it, the global banking system would have collapsed in 2008, causing untold economic and political damage. While she accepts there was a need for immediate post-crisis action, she argues the time for emergency measures has now long since passed. "If financial markets so much as wobble, the world's leading central banks, between them, do more QE," she says. "The insiders maintain the status quo of subsidies to the financial system – but there is no world war, aliens are not invading our planet, this is totally unjustified."

Prins says that QE has been "a massive deceit and a huge factor in driving inequality – a dedicated effort by institutions with the ability to create money, deciding that it doesn't go to ordinary people". While it was sold "as a massive trickle-down programme, helping the incomes of regular households, the benefits have been focused at the very top".

Stock markets have benefitted, she acknowledges, "but a mere 10% of Americans own 85% of the market". Prins also argues that low interest rates have harmed most Americans. "We need to normalise the rate environment, so ordinary people get some kind of return on their pensions and savings," she says.

QE and low rates, says Prins, have also caused "a debt explosion" – as not only have governments taken on more borrowing but financial institutions have too, keen to boost the scale of their investments in QE-driven markets that look like a one-way bet. US government debt has soared from $9 trillion to over $20 trillion since the financial crisis, Prins observes. "And public and private debt combined amount to a staggering 225% of global GDP – much of it accumulated since the financial crisis," she says.

"The next financial crisis will be sparked by a debt failure somewhere – then this QE bubble will pop very quickly," Prins predicts. "And when the new crisis comes, rates are already low and we have little in the way of fiscal ammunition, so mitigation will be very tough – and it will be ordinary people who suffer the most".

In response to the financial crisis, Prins maintains it would have been far cheaper and more effective for the state to intervene directly, providing explicit assistance to cash-strapped householders struggling to service the distressed mortgages at the heart of the crisis. "There was half a trillion dollars of sub-prime mortgages across the US in 2008," she recalls. "You could have bought up these properties, or just temporarily covered the loans," she says. "That would have cost much less than half a trillion, and would also have helped the banks by turning their junk assets into performing loans."

Prins says the "banks and central banks together" instead concocted QE. "We've allowed a grotesque $21 trillion global subsidy which has seen the bankers not only avoid punishment for the huge mess they created, but then entrench their financial advantage even more."

What we need, she says, is "better regulation" – in particular, a return to the "Glass-Steagall environment where investment banks can't leverage their balance sheets by so much and rely on government support". Since the Depression-era separation between risky investment banking and run-of-the-mill commercial banking was repealed by the Clinton administration in 1997, "a financial crisis was unavoidable", she says. "As long as the deposits of ordinary people and companies can be used by investment bankers as fodder for reckless speculation, in the knowledge those deposits are backed by the state, the world is at risk."

Prins is dismayed at how easily on-going QE, continuing years after the financial crisis, has been accepted by the political and media classes. "There is joint approval across the middle of the left-right spectrum," she says. "The economics profession and almost all commentators don't seem to care that this money is completely unaccountable and untracked – and has caused an enormous bubble." The reason, she observes, is that contemplating the end of QE is too difficult. "The unwind will cause pain and could result in a meltdown, as the markets and the debt mountain collapse."

In Collusion , Prins takes us on a whistle-stop tour of global finance, describing how the leaders of the Banco de México tried to navigate their country's complicated relationship with the Fed and how Brazil has led the charge in challenging the dollar's all-important "reserve currency status". The book goes to China , where we learn how Beijing is using "dark money" to upend dollar-hegemony, helping to drive the country's ascent as a global superpower.

We read how Europe's response to the financial crisis has heightened tension between the ECB and Germany – fuelling intra-EU resentments that have fuelled populism and help explain Brexit. Prins describes how Japan "leverages the rivalry between the US and China", while embarking on "the most ambitious money-conjuring scheme to date".

But it is in the US where the bulk of the narrative is set and it is there the arguments Prins makes will be most keenly read. The Federal Reserve has just lifted interest rates by a quarter point, and signalled that two more increases are likely in 2018. As the world's most important central bank continues the long, gradual march away from emergency measures, and with the ECB also committed soon to ending QE, the warnings in this important book about extent of today's asset price bubbles, and the role central banks have played in causing them, are about to be severely tested.

"What we've witnessed, since 2008, is the unbridled ability of the so-called people at the top to implement socialism for the banks," Prins tells me. "If anyone had said we are going to give $21 trillion to the global banking sector, it would never have happened – so we've had a backdoor process instead, under the pretense it would help ordinary people."

Leaning forward for the first time, Prins ups the ante. "Well, real people don't believe that – and they'll believe it even less as and when we have another crash, a crash off the back of ten years of emergency measures that were supposed to fix the system."

"The issue isn't whether this money-conjuring game can continue," she says as she prepares to leave. "The issue is that central banks have no plan B in the event of another crisis – and that's going to create an even more massively negative view among ordinary people towards those who see themselves as elites."

Listen to Liam Halligan's interview with Nomi Prins here:

Tags Business Finance Banks - NEC Outdoor Advertising Brokerage Services Investment Banking Investment Banking & Brokerage Services - NEC

Comments Vote up! 26 Vote down! 0

Oldguy05 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:24 Permalink

I love you Nomi ;)

house biscuit -> Oldguy05 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:29 Permalink

If she's getting regularly published in the standard MSM rags, then she is leading you down the wrong path; full stop

TBT or not TBT -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:32 Permalink

Hers is an absolutely novel thesis, particularly here on ZH, where we think all is going for the best in the best of all possible worlds .

Blue Steel 309 -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:39 Permalink

One of her obfuscations is the concentrating on "asset bubbles" rather than the fact that these Banksters are obtaining ownership of the worlds real assets without having to pay for them. As if they didn't have enough power.

Ownership of corporations (and control of them), is one of the subjects carefully avoided by the Rotschild media machine.

There is only one group of people who it is illegal to question in a good number of ethnic European countries.

PhilofOz -> Blue Steel 309 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:13 Permalink

Prins describes "the power grab we've seen by the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks".

Replace "....the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other central banks" with "....the Rothschild Crime Family" would be a more appropriate comment.

The Rothschild Crime Family own and control every central bank on the planet except three, Iran, North Korea and Cuba, lending money at interest to governments everywhere. Do you have debt, a home loan, a car loan, student debt, credit card debt?! What about the debt your Federal, State and Local governments have on behalf of you, your children and grand-children? Just imagine that over 50% of all that debt is owed and the interest continually paid to the Rothschild clan and their tight knit group of international bankers. Do you feel good about yourself still, being nothing more than a serf to them? Money makes money, and in this case the biggest crime syndicate that will ever exist, one that has the military of various countries continuing their protection racket for them as well as IRS type institutions doing their debt collecting, will never be satisfied until they have everything!

Jack Oliver -> house biscuit Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:33 Permalink

Alternative thinking would suggest that Prins is spot on ! The reason she gets MSM 'coverage' is because she has not revealed the true enormity of it ! The scenario's she suggests have definitely played out !

Although, she is withholding the TRUE scale of it - it's MASSIVE !

There is NO plan B and there is NO way out !

Apart from WAR !!

TheSilentMajority -> Oldguy05 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 04:21 Permalink

Buy high, sell low, works every time!

GotAFriendInBen Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:25 Permalink

Same things said here

Juggernaut x2 -> VolAnarchist Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

Absolute power corrupts absolutely and that is what the banks have- absolute power- "The banks run this place(Congress)"- Sen Dick Durbin(IL) 2008.

Not if_ But When Sat, 06/16/2018 - 17:48 Permalink

I just received her new book "Collusion: how the central bankers rigged the world" through special order with my library. She is by far the best writer on central banks and the financial crisis. Her "It Takes a Pillage" is superb and easily followed. The problem is, hardly anyone outside of the few who care (or know) read it.

Balance-Sheet Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:30 Permalink

A 1950s outlook repeated for 6 books. We are not going anywhere near 20th Century anything and this is populist. Glass-Steagall is DEAD but promoting its return sells!

Now the money the Fed creates is "Outside Money" injected to the banking system which creates the "Inside Money" that usually finances the economy. The INTENTION of the "Outside Money" being injected into the banking system is to prevent the banking system from dying after which it would no longer be able to create the "Inside Money" you borrow.

The Fed is NOT going to send individual citizens their mortgage payments. This is also populist tripe.

If this were to be done Congress would have to legislate it and the Fed would assist in arranging the financing for such a deficit.

The Congress DOES send trillions to all the people through various transfer and entitlement programs and this coming year will be 2.8T from the federal level alone as well as arranging all the student and mortgage loans.

As long as it is taken to be entertainment any of this is fine. Oh yeah, NO GOLD Standard, Bimetal money, or any sort of commodity currency EVER again.


Jun 17, 2018 |


Today, June 16, is the 85th anniversary of the signing of the Banking Act of 1933, otherwise known as the Glass Steagall Act. When President Franklin Roosevelt signed Glass Steagall into law, he set off a 66 year epoch of relatively sound banking, during which time there was no big financial crash, as occurred in 1929 and again, after Glass Steagall's repeal, in 2008. Under Glass Steagall, commercial depository banks were totally separated from investment banks. Later, insurance companies were also cut off from any ties to commercial banks. During the same wave of early New Deal legislation, the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was established, insuring commercial bank deposits and successfully deterring bank panics.

The repeal of Glass Steagall was a long-standing priority for Wall Street. In 1984, JP Morgan Bank launched an internal study on how to repeal Glass Steagall. That study, "Rethinking Glass Steagall," proposed a war of attrition against the principle of complete bank separation. The war was launched in 1987, with the appointment of Alan Greenspan as the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Greenspan had been a partner at JP Morgan and had chaired the study group which devised the war plan against Glass Steagall. As Fed Chairman, Greenspan used his discretionary powers to increase the amount that commercial banks to lend to investment institutions. By the mid-1990s, enforcement of Glass Steagall had eroded. Citibank at that point moved to purchase both an investment bank and an insurance company, in violation of Glass Steagall restrictions. That set the clock going to a two-year deadline. Citi had to either divest of the purchases or Glass Steagall had to be repealed.

Wall Street poured $300 million into a lobbying campaign to kill Glass Steagall. In 1999, both Houses of Congress passed the Gramm Leach Bliley bill, killing Glass Steagall. For the first time in 66 years, commercial banks could merge with investment banks and insurance companies. It was only a matter of time before the investment banking divisions devoured the commercial bank deposits and directed them into a speculative binge beyond all previous financial bubbles. When Lehman Brothers went under in 2008, the system crashedEnemies of Glass Steagall argued that Lehman Brothers was not a commercial bank and so the repeal of Glass Steagall had no causal relationship with the financial crisis. Not so. It was the repeal of Glass Steagall that allowed commercial banks to pour money into the gambling casino--including into Lehman BrothersAn article today in The Guardian by US correspondent Ganesh Sitaraman noted that there is renewed interest in Glass Steagall today--across the political spectrum. He noted that progressive Democrats have been pushing reinstating of Glass Steagall for years. It was included in the Republican Party platform in 2016. That is just the tip of the iceberg. There are bills to reinstate Glass Steagall in both Houses of Congress and they are bipartisan bills. Even candidate Donald Trump called for the reinstatement of Glass Steagall, before he was gagged by Wall Street cabinet officials like Steven Mnuchin and Gary CohenThe IMF, the Bank for International Settlements, the Federal Reserve and Bloomberg News are all warning that we are headed for another major financial "correction" sometime soon. They point to the consequences of a decade of post-2008 quantitative easing and zero interest rates, which led to a 63 percent jump in corporate bonds. The median bond rating today is BBB- just one rung above junk bond status, and S&P Global estimates that more than 25 percent of all corporations can be categorized as "zombies" because the amount they must spend servicing their corporate debt is greater than their cash flow.

There is a growing consensus that we are again headed for a big financial shock. Wouldn't it be wise to move to insulate the commercial banking sector from another fiasco before the next crisis? Are the White House and Congress ready to act or are we heading blindly to a replay of 2008?

[Jun 17, 2018] We Had Whistleblowers Nunes Reveals Good FBI Agents Tipped Off Congress About Comey Team

Jun 17, 2018 |

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) revealed that in late September 2016, "Good FBI agents" stepped forward as whistleblowers to tell them about additional Hillary Clinton emails "sitting" on Anthony Weiner's laptop.

"I've never actually said this before," said Nunes. " We had whistleblowers that came to us in late September of 2016 who talked to us about this laptop sitting up in New York that had additional emails on it." In other words, the New York FBI "rebelled" - as Rudy Giuliani puts it - which former FBI Director James Comey tried to quash, twice .

The FBI sat on the revelation that previously unknown emails from Hillary Clinton's private server were recovered on the laptop of sex-crimes convict Anthony Weiner for just under a month, according to a review by the Department of Justice's Inspector General.

The stated rationale was to prioritize the Russia investigation, which was a decision made by Peter Strzok, a top FBI agent involved in both investigations and who texted his lover that he would "stop" Donald Trump from becoming president . - Daily Caller

Appearing Friday on Fox and Friends , Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said that FBI agents in the New York office "rebelled" and "had a revolution" which Comey could not keep quiet - forcing him to reopen the Clinton email investigation.

" The agents in the NY office - we all know this, rebelled. They had a revolution. And Comey made two attempts to quiet them down and then realized "I can't do that, I'm gonna look terrible here. If she gets elected I'll look terrible, if she doesn't.." -Rudy Giuliani

Recall that the DOJ Inspector General found that Andrew McCabe lied about leaking a self-serving story to Devlin Barrett of the Wall Street Journal that he was not stalling (or "slow walking") the Hillary Clinton email investigation at a time in which McCabe had come under fire for his wife taking a $467,500 campaign contribution from Clinton proxy pal, Terry McAuliffe.

Last month we reported that "rank and file" FBI agents want Congress to subpoena them so that they can step forward and reveal dirt on Comey and McCabe , reports the Daily Caller , citing three active field agents and former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova.

" There are agents all over this country who love the bureau and are sickened by [James] Comey's behavior and [Andrew] McCabe and [Eric] Holder and [Loretta] Lynch and the thugs like [John] Brennan –who despise the fact that the bureau was used as a tool of political intelligence by the Obama administration thugs," former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova told The Daily Caller Tuesday.

" They are just waiting for a chance to come forward and testify ." -Joe diGenova

DiGenova - a veteran D.C. attorney who President Trump initially wanted to hire to represent him in the Mueller probe - only to have to step aside due to conflicts , has maintained contact with "rank and file" FBI agents as well as a counterintelligence consultant who interviewed an active special agent in the FBI's Washington Field Office (WFO) - producing a transcript reviewed by The Caller .

These agents prefer to be subpoenaed to becoming an official government whistleblower , since they fear political and professional backlash, the former Trump administration official explained to TheDC.

More than just Hillary's emails...

The FBI's whistleblowers didn't stop Weiner's laptop... In March of 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that Rep. Nunes revealed to him that a "whistleblower type person" had stepped forward with information about the surveillance of the Trump campaign .

"He had told me that a whistleblower type person had given him some information that was new, that spoke to the last administration and part of this investigation," Ryan said in late March.

"What Chairman Nunes said was he came into possession of new information he thought was valuable to this investigation and he was going to go and inform people about it."

me title=

The week before Ryan made these statements, Nunes revealed that an unidentified source showed him evidence that the U.S. intelligence community "incidentally surveilled" Trump's transition team before inauguration day.

Of course, we now know it goes much, much deeper. As Rudy Giuliani also said on Friday:

Let's look at it this way ... Peter Strzok was running the Hillary investigation. That's a total fix . That's a closed-book now, total fix. Comey should go to jail for that. And Strzok. But then what does Comey do? He takes Strzok - who wanted to get Trump in any way possible - he puts him in charge of the Russia investigation .

How come they're not finding any evidence of collusion? Because the President didn't do anything wrong and he's being investigated corruptly.

A higher loyalty indeed... Vote up! 4 Vote down! 0

Scipio Africanuz -> VWAndy Sat, 06/16/2018 - 15:10 Permalink

This is what you get under imperium, under a Republic, it's almost impossible! Patriots will stand up, and answer to their pedigree but under imperium, integrity is the first virtue to wither, after that the other virtues quickly atrophy.

Let us my friends, determine with every fiber of our being, fight to RESTORE THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC!!!...

MK13 -> I woke up Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:37 Permalink

US gov is trying to have a cake and it eat too - aka blow up certain parts of FIB/CIA without destroying credibility of

It's a political comedy show, enjoy it.

oncemore1 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:07 Permalink

Drump is an idiot.

Why are those people still with DOJ and with FBI?

Stupid Trump.

MadHatt -> oncemore1 Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:20 Permalink


James Comey? James Baker? Lisa Page? Mike Kortan? Josh Campbell? David Laufman? John Carlin? Sally Yates? Mary McCord? Rachel Brand? Andrew McCabe?

These cant be the people you are referring to, as they are no longer employed.

Assuming others are stupid and refusing to look up what you are talking about is ironically funny.

otschelnik Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:07 Permalink

Looking retrospectively I always thought that it was uncanny how the Trump campaign parted with Carter Page and then Paul Manafort,brought in Kellyanne Conway. They seemed to be dodging bullets.

Pollygotacracker -> roadhazard Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:10 Permalink

Nunes, Desantis, Jordan, and Gaetz are the only halfway decent guys in the Congress.

SergeA.Storms -> VWAndy Sat, 06/16/2018 - 18:53 Permalink

99% are not cops, most wouldn't even make it as a cop. They are lawyers, accountants, statisticians, analysts and scientists with a basic gun qualification. They have a lot of cool forensic things at their disposal and in some instances can be helpful in a major investigation. Real cops (like the NYPD investigators that caught the Weiner laptop fiasco and preserved the evidence) don't need the FBI other than to access some of their whiz-bang shit. They'll talk for hours over a two minute task. The rest in higher echelons is politics, dirty politics.

That said. My biggest complaint is the lack of action taken by the 'concerned agents'. Horseshit, cops get arrested 'in house' for stupid shit they've done and the info doesn't get printed because in local areas it can ruin families. This by no means infers light treatment, for example DUI (misdemeanor level in CA) will get you all the aspects of a first DUI that any citizen gets, plus 30-60 days off with no pay, a 'work improvement contract' for a year or two, and a stint in a dry out center. You will possibly keep your job. Repeat offense, fired. Embezzlement, fires, lying in an investigation, fired with a Brady Jacket. Domestic Violence, fired. The Thin Blue Line is just that, 'thin'. If you think the old days of saying nothing still exists or a partner will cover you, your not living in modern times. No one will risk their pension for your sorry ass. You'll be advised by old dogs, don't be a dumbass, dumbass.

[Jun 16, 2018] Neither party serves the people. Both parties serve only themselves. They have morphed into two sides of the same neoliberal coin.

Jun 16, 2018 |

Cloud9.5 -> Bill of Rights Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:24 Permalink

The Democratic Party was founded in 1828. The Republican Party was founded in 1854. Neither party serves the people. Both parties serve only themselves. They have morphed into two sides of the same neoliberal coin. The primary reason Trump won the election was the simple. Even though he ran on the Republican ticket, he was not a Republican. He was the best choice open to the populist. Whether he is a populist or not does not matter. What matters is that people want an America first, Populist Party. We are tired of the wars. We are tired of the government. And, we are tired of the neocons...

edotabin -> Bill of Rights Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

"Ha ha ha ha ha the party of losers and users is OVER"

Instead of worrying who will fill the void, they should focus on the void of their ways. As Nietzsche said, " And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. " It's no wonder they are consuming themselves.

The people are starting to see through the lower end of their BS. Oddly enough, it's figuring out the low end stuff that will create the most rage. Zombie awakening.

As for Obama, I think he realizes what's going on and probably wants no part of it.

null Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:33 Permalink

Debbie's DNC-cesspool member calling Clinton "toxic"?

The party is toxic ... literally corrosive to American People.

But not just toxic ... look how it infected the other party ... toxic and contagious ... LBJ would be sooooo proud.

momololo Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:42 Permalink

Biggest rallies in US presidential history were for Bernie Sanders who ran as a Democrat. Dems don't want him because they don't want to get off the corporate lobbyist gravytrain. They would rather lose the presidency.

The republicans are the same. Crooks. All this bullshit on Zero Hedge comments about one being better than the other is simpleton thinking.

hooligan2009 -> momololo Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

its the lessor of two weevils.

the choice will always be between a douche and a turd sandwich.

the difference between trumps faults and clintons faults was a chasm.

if there ever was a leader for either party that halved the pentagon budget by making it "smart", eliminating waste, repatriating troops, closing overseas bases AND came up with a plan to make QUALITY portable and fungible across the country, AND found a way to educate rather than indoctrinate children AND found a way to repay the national debt whilst funding medicare/medicaid (both bankrupt) AND found a way to get the federal government completely out of the housing market (get rid of fraudie and funny and the FHA) and, etc etc.. the country would be back on track.

clinton wanted the opposite of all that, trump wants less of it and at least understands what a fucking pain in the ass federal involvement in anything actually is.

[Jun 16, 2018] There's Fking No One Else; DNC Strategist Laments Over Broken Party; Bill Clinton Toxic, Carter Too Old Zero Hedge

Jun 16, 2018 |

Following a Monday report that President Obama is "secretly" meeting with top Democratic contenders for the 2020 election, The Hill notes that desperate Democrats beset with Clinton fatigue are freaking out over the fact that the much "blue wave" appears to be crashing on the rocks , and there's nobody around to salvage the party ahead of midterms and the 2020 election.

" There's f---ing no one else ," one frustrated Democratic strategist said. " Bill Clinton is toxic, [former President] Carter is too old, and there's no one else around for miles ." - The Hill

In the hopes of reinvigorating the DNC (of which up to 40 state chapters stand accused of funneling up to $84 million to the Clinton campaign), downtrodden dems are hoping that Obama will get off the sidelines and help rally support.

" He's been way too quiet ," said one longtime Obama bundler who rarely criticizes the former president, according to The Hill . " There are a lot of people who think he's played too little a role or almost no role in endorsing or fundraising and he's done jack shit in getting people to donate to the party. "

After the GOP made sweeping gains in the 2016 election, the DNC was left in disarray - and anyone who might be able to lead the party, be it Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, may run in 2020. Bernie Sanders is of course out because he may run and he's not a Democrat.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was among five possible contenders for the Democratic crown attending the "We the People" conference in Washington on Wednesday. He received the loudest applause and heard chants of "Bernie."

But he can't play the elder role for the party, both because he may run for president and because he's not a Democrat.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), two other possibilities, have mass followings but also may join the 2020 race. - The Hill

That leaves the spotlight squarely on Barrack Hussein Obama - whose lack of endorsements during the primary season and general absence has frustrated Democrats.

Bill Clinton, who is more radioactive than ever after making ill-advised comments over "what you can do to somebody against their will," has endorsed several candidates since leaving office, yet Obama has declined to do the same thus far.

"You have all these people running for office, some of them against other Democrats, and his strategy has been to not endorse anyone and that's what's been so f---ing ridiculous because not only are you not helping them, you're hurting them ," said the bundler.

Former aides and Democratic strategists said Obama has sought to maintain a lower profile not only for his party to find new life, but also to avoid playing a foil to President Trump and Republicans.

A source close to Obama said the former president is looking forward to hitting the campaign trail, fundraising and issuing more endorsements closer to the midterms. But the source added that injecting himself into day-to-day politics would do the Democratic Party a disservice by making it more difficult for other Democratic voices to rise to prominence. - The Hill

Others say that Obama has remained the unofficial leader of the Democratic Party since leaving office.

"He always wanted to help, without a doubt. He cares tremendously about our country and our party. But I think he always intended to be a little more on the sidelines than he's been," said one former Obama aide. "I think he realizes he is needed and needed badly."

Former Obama aides say that the ex-President is unsettled by policies flowing from the Trump administration, along with the "tone and tenor" of the White House (but not enough to aggressively help active Democrats fight, apparently).

According to Democratic strategist David Wade: " It's certainly not the post-presidency he might've preferred. "

Maybe Obama is just having a good time hanging out?

Tags Politics

Vote up! 26 Vote down! 1

JimmyJones -> BandGap Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:29 Permalink

The Neo-cons, excuse me Democrats better get moving. (its so hard to tell them apart these days) The clock is ticking, November is coming and more reports showing criminal behavior are on the way.

$60,000 dollars worth of "Succulent Hot dogs"

Theosebes Goodfellow -> TeamDepends Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:36 Permalink

~"Many of you impatient homos are whining about no arrests or indictments have been made yet. When will it happen? I'll tell you: Early October."~


The dems have another problem and appear too stupid to focus on it. They apparently much rather worry about having a figurehead to lead them, but their real problem is much, much larger. Simply put, they have no message, save "Hate Trump!!!" What exactly do they promise voters these days? Trump impeachment as an economic program?

Also curious is the fact they want no part of Hillary. Do they admit she's as tainted as a leper?

crazzziecanuck -> TeamDepends Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

The problem with that will be people will see through it as cheap, partisan electioneering. The result will be an EASIER time to motivate Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts.

There's as much chance of an implosion of Democrats in 2018 as there were back in 2006 when the GOP was nearly blasted out of existence then too. Remember how all the predictions about the imminent doom of the GOP were front and centre?

Journalists are so lazy, they're just using Liquid Paper to erase "Republican" to "Democrat" and change the date from stuff they wrote back in 2006.

Doesn't matter if Republicans or Democrats win. In the end, everyone else simply loses. How much you lose is proportional to the distance from the party elite you actually are.

07564111 -> JimmyJones Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:38 Permalink

Interesting shit. The world should now conclude that there are no qualified people left in the USA.

Is it that all are corrupt or none are corrupt enough. ??

[Jun 16, 2018] I noticed the DNC created a tiny plaque above a crappy bike rack for him

Jun 16, 2018 |

Vote up! 8 Vote down! 1

Ms No -> el buitre Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:40 Permalink

Found an interesting article about some developments with Seth Rich. Hard to make sense of. I noticed the DNC created a tiny plaque above a crappy bike rack for him. They don't want anybody to remember him. Probably Hillary's idea.

forexskin -> Ms No Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:26 Permalink

this article merits wider play - interesting angle that the family won't authorize wikileaks to release their info.

Thought Processor -> Ms No Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:30 Permalink

Seth uploaded the files into a DropBox (per Sy Hersh) and also may have given others the password to it. He was trying to make sure that the information got out. He very likely also asked that he never be named as the leaker, for obvious reasons.

His family could possibly confirm that he was the leaker if they knew at the time, though I'm sure that they were heavily pressured to do otherwise as soon as Seth Rich was murdered. They would have simply been given a choice along with some thinly veiled threats.

Thought Processor -> Four chan Fri, 06/15/2018 - 15:26 Permalink

Rumor is that Bernie is setting up his crew now for another run at it. Makes me wonder who the next Seth Rich will be.

pparalegal -> Thought Processor Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:51 Permalink

Bernie sold his mooing cow followers out last time. The DNC will make him an offer he can't refuse. Biden is a tit grabbing corrupt cartoon. I say Crusty the clown has a good chance. Do it for the children!

[Jun 15, 2018] President Barack Obama gave Mueller original ten-year term a two-year extension, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover ."

Jun 15, 2018 |

francis scott Fri, 06/15/2018 - 19:34 Permalink

...Robert Mueller, who was Director of the FBI from September 4, 2001 to September 4, 2013. In those 12 years as Director, he served as Obama's FBI Director for 5 years, from Jan. 2009 until Sept. 2013. "President Barack Obama gave his original ten-year term a two-year extension, making him the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover ."

He knows where every unconstitutional skeleton in both Baby Bush and Barack Obama's is buried...

[Jun 15, 2018] Tulsi Gabbard might be a viable candidate

Notable quotes:
"... Clinton turned the Democratic party into a Mafia organization ..."
Jun 15, 2018 |

trillion_dolla Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:22 Permalink

They do have someone and her name is Tulsi Gabbard. But, shes not a raving neoliberal. So, the base ignores her.

hooligan2009 -> trillion_dolla Fri, 06/15/2018 - 16:59 Permalink

agreed - classy, smart lady.

if she ever goes "stateswoman like" by not bitching at opponents and just beingalways positive she would attract a lot of votes.

one of the few demoNrats i would enjoy having dinner or a drink with.

Chief Joesph Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:10 Permalink

Democrats can lament all they want, but they did have a very good candidate that they allowed to be thrown under the bus. That was Bernie Sanders. Despite his "socialist" leanings, (for you conservatives), he was really fresh blood to the Democratic party. And even though Jimmy Carter is old, he has a very good working mind, better than all that are currently in the Democratic party. Clinton turned the Democratic party into a Mafia organization, taking orders from her, paving the way for her, knocking off anyone that looked like potential trouble, like Seth Rich, John Ashe, Joe Montano, Victor Thorn, and Shawn Lucas. All five of these guys died within 6 weeks of each other. Strange? Not if you are operating an old style mafia organization. Democrats need to resign the party, and form something new, that has fresh ideas, and people who are not there for self-coronations. The most honest democrat you have left is Jimmy Carter. Democrats are not honest today.

kudocast -> Chief Joesph Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:31 Permalink

I would add Howard Dean and Elizabeth Warren to Jimmy Carter.

kudocast Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:29 Permalink

They need to purge the leadership of the DNC - Perez, Clinton and the gang, they are the ones that shoved Hillary Clinton down Democrats throats instead letting Bernie Sanders, the real nominee, win the nomination. The DNC fucked over themselves, no one else is to blame.

Howard Dean is the one that got Obama elected the first time. From 2005 to 2009, he headed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and successfully implemented the 50 State Strategy, which aimed for Democrats to be competitive in places considered Republican-dominated territory. As a result, during the midterms in 2006, Democrats won the House back and gained seats in the Senate. In 2008 Barack Obama also used the same strategy to win his presidential bid.

Just like the DNC and Democratic bourgeoise fucked over Bernie, they fucked over Howard Dean. Obama didn't select Howard Dean for his cabinet for Secretary of Health and Human Services - even though he was a successful governor, is a medical doctor, and was one of the main reasons Obama won in 2008.

Howard Dean should run as an Independent in 2020.

PrivetHedge Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

Funny, I thought they had a red-hot candidate called - err - Bernie Sanders.

Shame they sabotaged him and his political future, oh well.

bwdiii Fri, 06/15/2018 - 18:14 Permalink

Is that a $65,000 Chicago foot long the ex pres is busy with? Or just a hotdog?