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Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime

Crony capitalism and the elimination of accountability

News Corporatism Recommended Links Casino Capitalism Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Control Fraud
 (crisis of corporate governance)
Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry Bill Clinton, the man who sold Democratic Party to Wall Street and helped FIRE sector to convert the country into casino Audatioues Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Propaganda of Shareholder Value  Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite
Deregulation as crony capitalism Revolving Doors as Corruption Brooksley Born and Three Marketeers Lack of transparency, problems with following GAAP standards Principal-agent problem Revolving Doors as Corruption
Corruption of Regulators Corruption at the SEC Corruption of FED Corruption of Treasury Corruption of Congress John Dugan and the corruption of Office of Comptroller of currency
Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy America’s Financial Oligarchy Banking Bonuses as Money Laundering Numbers racket Wrecking Crew: Notes on Republican Economic Policy
Quiet coup Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money" Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The Great Transformation Kleptocracy Wall Street Propaganda Machine
Credibility Trap Privatization as a special case of corruption        
Think Tanks Enablers The Maestro Has No Clothes Glass-Steagall repeal Phil Gramm Financial Humor Etc

"At its heart, therefore, the financial crisis was a breakdown in the rule of law in America."

-- James Galbraith

In philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, corruption is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement. Government, or 'political', corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption

Systemic fraud was the second nature of corporatist regimes from its humble beginning in the first half of the XX century in Mussolini Italy to reincarnation of corporatism by Reagan. In this sense the terms corporatism and the term crony capitalism reflect the same social phenomenon. Both means the elimination of accountability. And first and foremost elimination of accountability for the financial sector, as fish rots from the top. According to Wikipedia corruption occurred on several different scales:

Scales of corruption

Corruption can occur on different scales. There is corruption that occurs as small favors between a small number of people (petty corruption), corruption that affects the government on a large scale (grand corruption), and corruption that is so prevalent that it is part of the every day structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime (systemic corruption).

Wikipedia conveniently omitted neoliberalism as the source of system corruption.  At a deeper level it is corruption that form the backbone to globalization. As neoliberal regimes enforce deregulation, privatization, and structural adjustment policies, requiring civil service to shrink, the side effect of externality of this policies is outflow of money iether to G7 countries (for the third worlds) or to offshore jurisdictions (for the USA and other G7 countries). While Western governments, the World Bank and IMF denounce corruption, their own policies promote it on a systemic level. 

Like Mussolini used to say (or was it attributed to him) the essence of corporatism is  to [corporate] friends everything, to enemies the law. And that's the essence of Clinton-Bush-Obama regime if we are talking about high level executives. Small fish still can be fried, but big sharks are untouchable. No executives went to jail after 2008 financial crisis. No executives went to jail due to deception of people before Iraq war or due to incompetence or worse during 9/11. 

Mussolini claimed that by elimination of accountability the dynamic (or heroic) capitalism based on private initiative could be prevented from degenerating into stale crony capitalism.  But opposite is actually true. There is a short initial period when deregulation unleashed private energy, but after that corruption emerges and the situation can deteriorate deeper that it was under stale state capitalism regime.

Many analysts assert that China is one of the main examples of state capitalism in the 21st century. But this is only partially true as elements of corporatism in China are very strong. The same was actually true for the USSR. All those three regimes are just different flavor of general corporatist model. As Margaret Thatcher used to say "There is no alternative".

The difference is only in degree of state involvement in economics, not in the substance of the social regime.  Bremmer describes state capitalism the following way (We're All State Capitalists Now - By Niall Ferguson Foreign Policy):

In this system, governments use various kinds of state-owned companies to manage the exploitation of resources that they consider the state's crown jewels and to create and maintain large numbers of jobs. They use select privately owned companies to dominate certain economic sectors. They use so-called sovereign wealth funds to invest their extra cash in ways that maximize the state's profits. In all three cases, the state is using markets to create wealth that can be directed as political officials see fit. And in all three cases, the ultimate motive is not economic (maximizing growth) but political (maximizing the state's power and the leadership's chances of survival). This is a form of capitalism, but one in which the state acts as the dominant economic player and uses markets primarily for political gain.

Just replace the word capitalism with corporatism in the last sentence and you will get pretty apt definition of both China and USSR social models.

Mussolini also aptly characterized corporatism as "state socialism turned on its head": instead of state controlling the corporations, in corporatism corporations are controlling the state.

In the last half of the 19th century people of the working class in Europe were beginning to show interest in the ideas of socialism and syndicalism. Some members of the intelligentsia, particularly the Catholic intelligentsia, decided to formulate an alternative to socialism which would emphasize social justice without the abolition of private property. It was this intellectual tradition that led to Corporatism, as the key is the attempt to merge corporate power with the state power. Such a system does not nessesary need to take form of national socialism. It became dominant in XX century in various, often milder forms (including BTW the "New Deal" in the USA).

Due to its origin Corporatism has been attractive social model in the Latin countries of Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy and France) and Latin America, where it resonated with Catolisism. Germany also has significant catholic population which, by some accounts, was the core of the NSDP. The connection between Catholicism and the Continental corporatism movements is also obvious in the various Christian Democrat parties (where for ‘Christian’ we should read ‘Roman Catholic’). In USA corporatism initially got fertile ground in states with significant Catholic population such as Wisconsin with its high percentage of German Catholics (senator McCartney represented Wisconsin in the US senate). However, its influence goes much wider.

The key idea of corporatism is to eliminate or at least lessen the inherent conflict between the owners of capital represented by management and labor represented by unions.  And one way to do it and to institualize trade unions as the only legitimate representatives of workers and work with its corrupted leadership, not with charismatic leaders of the strikes or, worse, communists. This way demands of workers were partially accommodated in a form that was acceptable to large capital. And the key here are interest of large capital as it is the primary political force in any corporatist regime. Quoting Benito Mussolini: "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.

Later in the USA large corporations understood that outsourcing of labor represents a lever that makes negotiation with trade union unnecessary. Globalization makes possible by-and-large ignore labor demand using outsourcing as a powerful wedge issue. Due to this development, in core of which was the dramatic rise of international communication and Internet, corporatism mutated into a different form in which demands of lower classes were just ideologically suppressed in a way that was done under communist dictatorships using Marxist ideology and labor was split using verge issues and brainwashed to vote against its own political interests. Paradoxically part of organized labor especially in mid-Western states became a staunch supporter of Republican Party (What's the matter with Kansas)

The resulting social order took a very specific form of "free market capitalism" (aka Neoliberalism) which like some previous forms of corporatism such as national socialism has very strong ideological component. Actually so strong that was able to defeat Marxism on international arena and series of neolibral revolutions shook former Soviet camp. Some states like China internally transformed into neoliberal form, avoiding "color revolution" stage.

As an ideology neoliberalism represent eclectic set of pseudoscience theories that somewhat mirror of Hitler theories of superiority of Arian race in economic terms  (replace the Arian race with corporations and "free market").  Like Marxism it became powerful global in its reach secular religion, with its own set of prophets, martyrs, holy books, and the plan of salvation.

In reality free market plays the role of Heaven in Christianity, an idealized but unachievable construction. There was never was and will never be any real "free market" in any neoliberal states  for a simple reason as it is impossible and contracts the fact that neoliberalism as a form of corporatism is a merge of power of large corporations and the state. As such large corporation, and under neoliberalism especially large financial players are always subsidized (and rescued) by state because they control the state. It is the same merger of state power and corporations as in classic corporatism  but with more prominent role of financial oligarchy in the mix: Johnson (The Quiet Coup - Magazine - The Atlantic) called acquiring by financial oligarchy dominant influence on the state a "Quiet coup" (not very dissimilar to NSDP takeover of power in Germany).

But religious component of neoliberalism are so strong that all concerns about this issue are suppressed in "true believers" (which constitute the majority of population in major Western countries).

That's why corruption of government is an immanent feature of corporatist regimes and it instantly became a prominent feature of the US capitalism (and a real problem) immediately after election of Reagan, which signifies political victory of neoliberalism in the USA (with Saving and Loan Crisis was the first act of this corruption drama). And it goes without saying that it became pervasive under Clinton-Bush-Obama regimes. Paradoxically it was especially acute under Clinton administration during which all "socialist" elements of "New Deal" (government regulation of private sector) were completely dismantled.


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Old News ;-)

[Oct 24, 2017] The Blind Justice Lady is real

Oct 24, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

AlaricBalth -> Creepy_Azz_Crackaah , Oct 24, 2017 1:03 PM

"Our justice system is represented by a blind-folded woman holding a set of scales. Those scales do not tip to the right or the left; they do not recognize wealth, power, or social status. The impartiality of our justice system is the bedrock of our republic..."

Spewed coffee after reading this quote.

E.F. Mutton -> Gerry Fletcher , Oct 24, 2017 12:57 PM

The Blind Justice Lady is real, she just has a .45 at the back of her head held by Hillary

And don't even ask where Bill's finger is

[Oct 23, 2017] Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction David Harvey, 2007

This article is 10 year old but the analysis presented still remain by-and-large current.
You can read full article in Neoliberalism As Creative Destruction - David Harvey by Open Critique - issue
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism is a theory of political economic practices proposing that human well-being can best be advanced by the maximization of entrepreneurial freedoms within an institutional framework characterized by private property rights, individual liberty, unencumbered markets, and free trade. ..."
"... Furthermore, if markets do not exist (in areas such as education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution), then they must be created, by state action if necessary. ..."
"... State interventions in markets (once created) must be kept to a bare minimum because the state cannot possibly possess enough information to second-guess market signals (prices) and because powerful interests will inevitably distort and bias state interventions (particularly in democracies) for their own benefit. ..."
"... State after state, from the new ones that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union to old-style social democracies and welfare states such as New Zealand and Sweden, have embraced, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes in response to coercive pressures, some version of neoliberal theory and adjusted at least some of their policies and practices accordingly. Post apartheid South Africa quickly adopted the neoliberal frame and even contemporary China appears to be headed in that direction. Furthermore, advocates of the neoliberal mindset now occupy positions of considerable influence in education (universities and many "think tanks"), in the media, in corporate board rooms and financial institutions, in key state institutions (treasury departments, central banks), and also in those international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) that regulate global finance and commerce. Neoliberalism has, in short, become hegemonic as a mode of discourse and has pervasive effects on ways of thought and political-economic practices to the point where it has become incorporated into the commonsense way we interpret, live in, and understand the world. ..."
"... Neoliberalization has in effect swept across the world like a vast tidal wave of institutional reform and discursive adjustment. While plenty of evidence shows its uneven geographical development, no place can claim total immunity (with the exception of a few states such as North Korea). Furthermore, the rules of engagement now established through the WTO (governing international trade) and by the IMF (governing international finance) instantiate neoliberalism as a global set of rules. All states that sign on to the WTO and the IMF (and who can afford not to?) agree to abide (albeit with a "grace period" to permit smooth adjustment) by these rules or face severe penalties. ..."
"... For any system of thought to become dominant, it requires the articulation of fundamental concepts that become so deeply embedded in commonsense understandings that they are taken for granted and beyond question. For this to occur, not any old concepts will do. A conceptual apparatus has to be constructed that appeals almost naturally to our intuitions and instincts, to our values and our desires, as well as to the possibilities that seem to inhere in the social world we inhabit. The founding figures of neoliberal thought took political ideals of individual liberty and freedom as sacrosanct -- as the central values of civilization. And in so doing they chose wisely and well, for these are indeed compelling and greatly appealing concepts. Such values were threatened, they argued, not only by fascism, dictatorships, and communism, but also by all forms of state intervention that substituted collective judgments for those of individuals set free to choose. They then concluded that without "the diffused power and initiative associated with (private property and the competitive market) it is difficult to imagine a society in which freedom may be effectively preserved." 1 ..."
"... The U.S. answer was spelled out on September 19, 2003, when Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, promulgated four orders that included "the full privatization of public enterprises, full ownership rights by foreign firms of Iraqi U.S. businesses, full repatriation of foreign profits . . . the opening of Iraq's banks to foreign control, national treatment for foreign companies and . . . the elimination of nearly all trade barriers." 4 The orders were to apply to all areas of the economy, including public services, the media, manufacturing, services, transportation, finance, and construction. Only oil was exempt. A regressive tax system favored by conservatives called a flat tax was also instituted. The right to strike was outlawed and unions banned in key sectors. An Iraqi member of the Coalition Provisional Authority protested the forced imposition of "free market fundamentalism," describing it as "a flawed logic that ignores history." 5 Yet the interim Iraqi government appointed at the end of June 2004 was accorded no power to change or write new laws -- it could only confirm the decrees already promulgated. ..."
"... The redistributive tactics of neoliberalism are wide-ranging, sophisticated, frequently masked by ideological gambits, but devastating for the dignity and social well-being of vulnerable populations and territories. The wave of creative destruction neoliberalization has visited across the globe is unparalleled in the history of capitalism. Understandably, it has spawned resistance and a search for viable alternatives. ..."
Oct 23, 2017 | journals.sagepub.com

Neoliberalism has become a hegemonic discourse with pervasive effects on ways of thought and political-economic practices to the point where it is now part of the commonsense way we interpret, live in, and understand the world. How did neoliberalism achieve such an exalted status, and what does it stand for? In this article, the author contends that neoliberalism is above all a project to restore class dominance to sectors that saw their fortunes threatened by the ascent of social democratic endeavors in the aftermath of the Second World War. Although neoliberalism has had limited effectiveness as an engine for economic growth, it has succeeded in channeling wealth from subordinate classes to dominant ones and from poorer to richer countries. This process has entailed the dismantling of institutions and narratives that promoted more egalitarian distributive measures in the preceding era.

Neoliberalism is a theory of political economic practices proposing that human well-being can best be advanced by the maximization of entrepreneurial freedoms within an institutional framework characterized by private property rights, individual liberty, unencumbered markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices. The state has to be concerned, for example, with the quality and integrity of money. It must also set up military, defense, police, and juridical functions required to secure private property rights and to support freely functioning markets. Furthermore, if markets do not exist (in areas such as education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution), then they must be created, by state action if necessary. But beyond these tasks the state should not venture. State interventions in markets (once created) must be kept to a bare minimum because the state cannot possibly possess enough information to second-guess market signals (prices) and because powerful interests will inevitably distort and bias state interventions (particularly in democracies) for their own benefit.

For a variety of reasons, the actual practices of neoliberalism frequently diverge from this template. Nevertheless, there has everywhere been an emphatic turn, ostensibly led by the Thatcher/Reagan revolutions in Britain and the United States, in political-economic practices and thinking since the 1970s. State after state, from the new ones that emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union to old-style social democracies and welfare states such as New Zealand and Sweden, have embraced, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes in response to coercive pressures, some version of neoliberal theory and adjusted at least some of their policies and practices accordingly. Post apartheid South Africa quickly adopted the neoliberal frame and even contemporary China appears to be headed in that direction. Furthermore, advocates of the neoliberal mindset now occupy positions of considerable influence in education (universities and many "think tanks"), in the media, in corporate board rooms and financial institutions, in key state institutions (treasury departments, central banks), and also in those international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) that regulate global finance and commerce. Neoliberalism has, in short, become hegemonic as a mode of discourse and has pervasive effects on ways of thought and political-economic practices to the point where it has become incorporated into the commonsense way we interpret, live in, and understand the world.

Neoliberalization has in effect swept across the world like a vast tidal wave of institutional reform and discursive adjustment. While plenty of evidence shows its uneven geographical development, no place can claim total immunity (with the exception of a few states such as North Korea). Furthermore, the rules of engagement now established through the WTO (governing international trade) and by the IMF (governing international finance) instantiate neoliberalism as a global set of rules. All states that sign on to the WTO and the IMF (and who can afford not to?) agree to abide (albeit with a "grace period" to permit smooth adjustment) by these rules or face severe penalties.

The creation of this neoliberal system has entailed much destruction, not only of prior institutional frameworks and powers (such as the supposed prior state sovereignty over political-economic affairs) but also of divisions of labor, social relations, welfare provisions, technological mixes, ways of life, attachments to the land, habits of the heart, ways of thought, and the like. Some assessment of the positives and negatives of this neoliberal revolution is called for. In what follows, therefore, I will sketch in some preliminary arguments as to how to both understand and evaluate this transformation in the way global capitalism is working. This requires that we come to terms with the underlying forces, interests, and agents that have propelled the neoliberal revolution forward with such relentless intensity. To turn the neoliberal rhetoric against itself, we may reasonably ask, In whose particular interests is it that the state take a neoliberal stance and in what ways have those interests used neoliberalism to benefit themselves rather than, as is claimed, everyone, everywhere?

In whose particular interests is it that the state take a neoliberal stance, and in what ways have those interests used neoliberalism to benefit themselves rather than, as is claimed, everyone, everywhere?

The "Naturalization" of Neoliberalism

For any system of thought to become dominant, it requires the articulation of fundamental concepts that become so deeply embedded in commonsense understandings that they are taken for granted and beyond question. For this to occur, not any old concepts will do. A conceptual apparatus has to be constructed that appeals almost naturally to our intuitions and instincts, to our values and our desires, as well as to the possibilities that seem to inhere in the social world we inhabit. The founding figures of neoliberal thought took political ideals of individual liberty and freedom as sacrosanct -- as the central values of civilization. And in so doing they chose wisely and well, for these are indeed compelling and greatly appealing concepts. Such values were threatened, they argued, not only by fascism, dictatorships, and communism, but also by all forms of state intervention that substituted collective judgments for those of individuals set free to choose. They then concluded that without "the diffused power and initiative associated with (private property and the competitive market) it is difficult to imagine a society in which freedom may be effectively preserved." 1

Setting aside the question of whether the final part of the argument necessarily follows from the first, there can be no doubt that the concepts of individual liberty and freedom are powerful in their own right, even beyond those terrains where the liberal tradition has had a strong historical presence. Such ideals empowered the dissident movements in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union before the end of the cold war as well as the students in Tiananmen Square. The student movement that swept the world in 1968 -- from Paris and Chicago to Bangkok and Mexico City -- was in part animated by the quest for greater freedoms of speech and individual choice. These ideals have proven again and again to be a mighty historical force for change.

It is not surprising, therefore, that appeals to freedom and liberty surround the United States rhetorically at every turn and populate all manner of contemporary political manifestos. This has been particularly true of the United States in recent years. On the first anniversary of the attacks now known as 9/11, President Bush wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times that extracted ideas from a U.S. National Defense Strategy document issued shortly thereafter. "A peaceful world of growing freedom," he wrote, even as his cabinet geared up to go to war with Iraq, "serves American long-term interests, reflects enduring American ideals and unites Americas allies." "Humanity," he concluded, "holds in its hands the opportunity to offer freedom s triumph over all its age-old foes," and "the United States welcomes its responsibilities to lead in this great mission." Even more emphatically, he later proclaimed that "freedom is the Almighty's gift to every man and woman in this world" and "as the greatest power on earth [the United States has] an obligation to help the spread of freedom." 2

So when all of the other reasons for engaging in a preemptive war against Iraq were proven fallacious or at least wanting, the Bush administration increasingly appealed to the idea that the freedom conferred upon Iraq was in and of itself an adequate justification for the war. But what sort of freedom was envisaged here, since, as the cultural critic Matthew Arnold long ago thoughtfully observed, "Freedom is a very good horse to ride, but to ride somewhere." 3 To what destination, then, were the Iraqi people expected to ride the horse of freedom so selflessly conferred to them by force of arms?

The U.S. answer was spelled out on September 19, 2003, when Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, promulgated four orders that included "the full privatization of public enterprises, full ownership rights by foreign firms of Iraqi U.S. businesses, full repatriation of foreign profits . . . the opening of Iraq's banks to foreign control, national treatment for foreign companies and . . . the elimination of nearly all trade barriers." 4 The orders were to apply to all areas of the economy, including public services, the media, manufacturing, services, transportation, finance, and construction. Only oil was exempt. A regressive tax system favored by conservatives called a flat tax was also instituted. The right to strike was outlawed and unions banned in key sectors. An Iraqi member of the Coalition Provisional Authority protested the forced imposition of "free market fundamentalism," describing it as "a flawed logic that ignores history." 5 Yet the interim Iraqi government appointed at the end of June 2004 was accorded no power to change or write new laws -- it could only confirm the decrees already promulgated.

What the United States evidently sought to impose upon Iraq was a full-fledged neoliberal state apparatus whose fundamental mission was and is to facilitate conditions for profitable capital accumulation for all comers, Iraqis and foreigners alike. The Iraqis were, in short, expected to ride their horse of freedom straight into the corral of neoliberalism. According to neoliberal theory, Bremers decrees are both necessary and sufficient for the creation of wealth and therefore for the improved well-being of the Iraqi people. They are the proper foundation for an adequate rule of law, individual liberty, and democratic governance. The insurrection that followed can in part be interpreted as Iraqi resistance to being driven into the embrace of free market fundamentalism against their own will

It is useful to recall, however, that the first great experiment with neoliberal state formation was Chile after Augusto Pinochet s coup almost thirty years to the day before Bremers decrees were issued, on the "little September 11th" of 1973. The coup, against the democratically elected and leftist social democratic government of Salvador Allende, was strongly backed by the CIA and supported by U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. It violently repressed all left-of-center social movements and political organizations and dismantled all forms of popular organization, such as community health centers in poorer neighborhoods. The labor market was "freed" from regulatory or institutional restraints -- trade union power, for example. But by 1973, the policies of import substitution that had formerly dominated in Latin American attempts at economic regeneration, and that had succeeded to some degree in Brazil after the military coup of 1964, had fallen into disrepute. With the world economy in the midst of a serious recession, something new was plainly called for. A group of U.S. economists known as "the Chicago boys," because of their attachment to the neoliberal theories of Milton Friedman, then teaching at the University of Chicago, were summoned to help reconstruct the Chilean economy. They did so along free-market lines, privatizing public assets, opening up natural resources to private exploitation, and facilitating foreign direct investment and free trade. The right of foreign companies to repatriate profits from their Chilean operations was guaranteed. Export-led growth was favored over import substitution. The subsequent revival of the Chilean economy in terms of growth, capital accumulation, and high rates of return on foreign investments provided evidence upon which the subsequent turn to more open neoliberal policies in both Britain (under Thatcher) and the United States (under Reagan) could be modeled. Not for the first time, a brutal experiment in creative destruction carried out in the periphery became a model for the formulation of policies in the center. 6

The fact that two such obviously similar restructurings of the state apparatus occurred at such different times in quite different parts of the world under the coercive influence of the United States might be taken as indicative that the grim reach of U.S. imperial power might lie behind the rapid proliferation of neoliberal state forms throughout the world from the mid-1970s onward. But U.S. power and recklessness do not constitute the whole story. It was not the United States, after all, that forced Margaret Thatcher to take the neoliberal path in 1979. And during the early 1980s, Thatcher was a far more consistent advocate of neoliberalism than Reagan ever proved to be. Nor was it the United States that forced China in 1978 to follow the path that has over time brought it closer and closer to the embrace of neoliberalism. It would be hard to attribute the moves toward neoliberalism in India and Sweden in 1992 to the imperial reach of the United States. The uneven geographical development of neoliberalism on the world stage has been a very complex process entailing multiple determinations and not a little chaos and confusion. So why, then, did the neoliberal turn occur, and what were the forces compelling it onward to the point where it has now become a hegemonic system within global capitalism?

Why the Neoliberal Turn?

Toward the end of the 1960s, global capitalism was falling into disarray. A significant recession occurred in early 1973 -- the first since the great slump of the 1930s. The oil embargo and oil price hike that followed later that year in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war exacerbated critical problems. The embedded capitalism of the postwar period, with its heavy emphasis on an uneasy compact between capital and labor brokered by an interventionist state that paid great attention to the social (i.e., welfare programs) and individual wage, was no longer working. The Bretton Woods accord set up to regulate international trade and finance was finally abandoned in favor of floating exchange rates in 1973. That system had delivered high rates of growth in the advanced capitalist countries and generated some spillover benefits -- most obviously to Japan but also unevenly across South America and to some other countries of South East Asia -- during the "golden age" of capitalism in the 1950s and early 1960s. By the next decade, however, the preexisting arrangements were exhausted and a new alternative was urgently needed to restart the process of capital accumulation. 7 How and why neoliberalism emerged victorious as an answer to that quandary is a complex story. In retrospect, it may seem as if neoliberalism had been inevitable, but at the time no one really knew or understood with any certainty what kind of response would work and how.

The world stumbled toward neoliberalism through a series of gyrations and chaotic motions that eventually converged on the so-called 'Washington Consensus" in the 1990s. The uneven geographical development of neoliberalism, and its partial and lopsided application from one country to another, testifies to its tentative character and the complex ways in which political forces, historical traditions, and existing institutional arrangements all shaped why and how the process actually occurred on the ground.

There is, however, one element within this transition that deserves concerted attention. The crisis of capital accumulation of the 1970s affected everyone through the combination of rising unemployment and accelerating inflation. Discontent was widespread, and the conjoining of labor and urban social movements throughout much of the advanced capitalist world augured a socialist alternative to the social compromise between capital and labor that had grounded capital accumulation so successfully in the postwar period. Communist and socialist parties were gaining ground across much of Europe, and even in the United States popular forces were agitating for widespread reforms and state interventions in everything ranging from environmental protection to occupational safety and health and consumer protection from corporate malfeasance. There was. in this, a clear political threat to ruling classes everywhere, both in advanced capitalist countries, like Italy and France, and in many developing countries, like Mexico and Argentina.

Beyond political changes, the economic threat to the position of ruling classes was now becoming palpable. One condition of the postwar settlement in almost all countries was to restrain the economic power of the upper classes and for labor to be accorded a much larger share of the economic pie. In the United States, for example, the share of the national income taken by the top 1 percent of earners fell from a prewar high of 16 percent to less than 8 percent by the end of the Second World War and stayed close to that level for nearly three decades. While growth was strong such restraints seemed not to matter, but when growth collapsed in the 1970s, even as real interest rates went negative and dividends and profits shrunk, ruling classes felt threatened. They had to move decisively if they were to protect their power from political and economic annihilation.

The coup d'état in Chile and the military takeover in Argentina, both fomented and led internally by ruling elites with U.S. support, provided one kind of solution. But the Chilean experiment with neoliberalism demonstrated that the benefits of revived capital accumulation were highly skewed. The country and its ruling elites along with foreign investors did well enough while the people in general fared poorly. This has been such a persistent effect of neoliberal policies over time as to be regarded a structural component of the whole project. Dumenil and Levy have gone so far as to argue that neoliberalism was from the very beginning an endeavor to restore class power to the richest strata in the population. They showed how from the mid-1980s onwards, the share of the top 1 percent of income earners in the United States soared rapidly to reach 15 percent by the end of the century. Other data show that the top 0.1 percent of income earners increased their share of the national income from 2 percent in 1978 to more than 6 percent by 1999. Yet another measure shows that the ratio of the median compensation of workers to the salaries of chief executive officers increased from just over thirty to one in 1970 to more than four hundred to one by 2000. Almost certainly, with the Bush administrations tax cuts now taking effect, the concentration of income and of wealth in the upper echelons of society is continuing apace. 8

And the United States is not alone in this: the top 1 percent of income earners in Britain doubled their share of the national income from 6.5 percent to 13 percent over the past twenty years. When we look further afield, we see extraordinary concentrations of wealth and power within a small oligarchy after the application of neoliberal shock therapy in Russia and a staggering surge in income inequalities and wealth in China as it adopts neoliberal practices. While there are exceptions to this trend -- several East and Southeast Asian countries have contained income inequalities within modest bounds, as have France and the Scandinavian countries -- the evidence suggests that the neoliberal turn is in some way and to some degree associated with attempts to restore or reconstruct upper-class power.

We can, therefore, examine the history of neoliberalism either as a utopian project providing a theoretical template for the reorganization of international capitalism or as a political scheme aimed at reestablishing the conditions for capital accumulation and the restoration of class power. In what follows, I shall argue that the last of these objectives has dominated. Neoliberalism has not proven effective at revitalizing global capital accumulation, but it has succeeded in restoring class power. As a consequence, the theoretical utopianism of the neoliberal argument has worked more as a system of justification and legitimization. The principles of neoliberalism are quickly abandoned whenever they conflict with this class project.

Neoliberalism has not proven effective at revitalizing global capital accumulation, but it has succeeded in restoring class power.

Toward the Restoration of Class Power

If there were movements to restore class power within global capitalism, then how were they enacted and by whom? The answer to that question in countries such as Chile and Argentina was simple: a swift, brutal, and self-assured military coup backed by the upper classes and the subsequent fierce repression of all solidarities created within the labor and urban social movements that had so threatened their power. Elsewhere, as in Britain and Mexico in 1976, it took the gentle prodding of a not yet fiercely neoliberal International Monetary Fund to push countries toward practices -- although by no means policy commitment -- to cut back on social expenditures and welfare programs to reestablish fiscal probity. In Britain, of course, Margaret Thatcher later took up the neoliberal cudgel with a vengeance in 1979 and wielded it to great effect, even though she never fully overcame opposition within her own party and could never effectively challenge such centerpieces of the welfare state as the National Health Service. Interestingly, it was only in 2004 that the Labour Government dared to introduce a fee structure into higher education. The process of neoliberalization has been halting, geographically uneven, and heavily influenced by class structures and other social forces moving for or against its central propositions within particular state formations and even within particular sectors, for example, health or education. 9

It is informative to look more closely at how the process unfolded in the United States, since this case was pivotal as an influence on other and more recent transformations. Various threads of power intertwined to create a transition that culminated in the mid-1990s with the takeover of Congress by the Republican Party. That feat represented in fact a neoliberal "Contract with America" as a program for domestic action. Before that dramatic denouement, however, many steps were taken, each building upon and reinforcing the other.

To begin with, by 1970 or so, there was a growing sense among the U.S. upper classes that the anti-business and anti-imperialist climate that had emerged toward the end of the 1960s had gone too far. In a celebrated memo, Lewis Powell (about to be elevated to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon) urged the American Chamber of Commerce in 1971 to mount a collective campaign to demonstrate that what was good for business was good for America. Shortly thereafter, a shadowy but influential Business Round Table was formed that still exists and plays a significant strategic role in Republican Party politics. Corporate political action committees, legalized under the post-Watergate campaign finance laws of 1974, proliferated like wildfire. With their activities protected under the First Amendment as a form of free speech in a 1976 Supreme Court decision, the systematic capture of the Republican Party as a class instrument of collective (rather than particular or individual) corporate and financial power began. But the Republican Party needed a popular base, and that proved more problematic to achieve. The incorporation of leaders of the Christian right, depicted as a moral majority, together with the Business Round Table provided the solution to that problem. A large segment of a disaffected, insecure, and largely white working class was persuaded to vote consistently against its own material interests on cultural (anti-liberal, anti-Black, antifeminist and antigay), nationalist and religious grounds. By the mid-1990s, the Republican Party had lost almost all of its liberal elements and become a homogeneous right-wing machine connecting the financial resources of large corporate capital with a populist base, the Moral Majority, that was particularly strong in the U.S. South. 10

The second element in the U.S. transition concerned fiscal discipline. The recession of 1973 to 1975 diminished tax revenues at all levels at a time of rising demand for social expenditures. Deficits emerged everywhere as a key problem. Something had to be done about the fiscal crisis of the state; the restoration of monetary discipline was essential. That conviction empowered financial institutions that controlled the lines of credit to government. In 1975, they refused to roll over New York's debt and forced that city to the edge of bankruptcy. A powerful cabal of bankers joined together with the state to tighten control over the city. This meant curbing the aspirations of municipal unions, layoffs in public employment, wage freezes, cutbacks in social provision (education, public health, and transport services), and the imposition of user fees (tuition was introduced in the CUNY university system for the first time). The bailout entailed the construction of new institutions that had first rights to city tax revenues in order to pay off bond holders: whatever was left went into the city budget for essential services. The final indignity was a requirement that municipal unions invest their pension funds in city bonds. This ensured that unions moderate their demands to avoid the danger of losing their pension funds through city bankruptcy.

Such actions amounted to a coup d'état by financial institutions against the democratically elected government of New York City, and they were every bit as effective as the military overtaking that had earlier occurred in Chile. Much of the city's social infrastructure was destroyed, and the physical foundations (e.g., the transit system) deteriorated markedly for lack of investment or even maintenance. The management of New York's fiscal crisis paved the way for neoliberal practices both domestically under Ronald Reagan and internationally through the International Monetary Fund throughout the 1980s. It established a principle that, in the event of a conflict between the integrity of financial institutions and bondholders on one hand and the well-being of the citizens on the other, the former would be given preference. It hammered home the view that the role of government was to create a good business climate rather than look to the needs and well-being of the population at large. Fiscal redistributions to benefit the upper classes resulted in the midst of a general fiscal crisis.

Whether all the agents involved in producing this compromise in New York understood it at the time as a tactic for the restoration of upper-class power is an open question. The need to maintain fiscal discipline is a matter of deep concern in its own right and does not have to lead to the restitution of class dominance. It is unlikely, therefore, that Felix Rohatyn, the key merchant banker who brokered the deal between the city, the state, and the financial institutions, had the reinstatement of class power in mind. But this objective probably was very much in the thoughts of the investment bankers. It was almost certainly the aim of then-Secretary of the Treasury William Simon who, having watched the progress of events in Chile with approval, refused to give aid to New York and openly stated that he wanted that city to suffer so badly that no other city in the nation would ever dare take on similar social obligations again. 11

The third element in the U.S. transition entailed an ideological assault upon the media and upon educational institutions. Independent "think tanks" financed by wealthy individuals and corporate donors proliferated -- the Heritage Foundation in the lead -- to prepare an ideological onslaught aimed at persuading the public of the commonsense character of neoliberal propositions. A flood of policy papers and proposals and a veritable army of well-paid hired lieutenants trained to promote neoliberal ideas coupled with the corporate acquisition of media channels effectively transformed the discursive climate in the United States by the mid-1980s. The project to "get government off the backs of the people" and to shrink government to the point where it could be "drowned in a bathtub" was loudly proclaimed. With respect to this, the promoters of the new gospel found a ready audience in that wing of the 1968 movement whose goal was greater individual liberty and freedom from state power and the manipulations of monopoly capital. The libertarian argument for neoliberalism proved a powerful force for change. To the degree that capitalism reorganized to both open a space for individual entrepreneurship and switch its efforts to satisfy innumerable niche markets, particularly those defined by sexual liberation, that were spawned out of an increasingly individualized consumerism, so it could match words with deeds.

This carrot of individualized entrepreneurship and consumerism was backed by the big stick wielded by the state and financial institutions against that other wing of the 1968 movement whose members had sought social justice through collective negotiation and social solidarities. Reagan's destruction of the air traffic controllers (PATCO) in 1980 and Margaret Thatchers defeat of the British miners in 1984 were crucial moments in the global turn toward neoliberalism. The assault upon institutions, such as trade unions and welfare rights organizations, that sought to protect and further working-class interests was as broad as it was deep. The savage cutbacks in social expenditures and the welfare state, and the passing of all responsibility for their well-being to individuals and their families proceeded apace. But these practices did not and could not stop at national borders. After 1980, the United States, now firmly committed to neoliberalization and clearly backed by Britain, sought, through a mix of leadership, persuasion -- the economics departments of U.S. research universities played a major role in training many of the economists from around the world in neoliberal principles -- and coercion to export neoliberalization far and wide. The purge of Keynesian economists and their replacement by neoliberal monetarists in the International Monetary Fund in 1982 transformed the U.S.-dominated IMF into a prime agent of neoliberalization through its structural adjustment programs visited upon any state (and there were many in the 1980s and 1990s) that required its help with debt repayments. The Washington Consensus that was forged in the 1990s and the negotiating rules set up under the World Trade Organization in 1998 confirmed the global turn toward neoliberal practices. 12

The new international compact also depended upon the reanimation and reconfiguration of the U.S. imperial tradition. That tradition had been forged in Central America in the 1920s, as a form of domination without colonies. Independent republics could be kept under the thumb of the United States and effectively act, in the best of cases, as proxies for U.S. interests through the support of strongmen -- like Somoza in Nicaragua, the Shah in Iran, and Pinochet in Chile -- and a coterie of followers backed by military assistance and financial aid. Covert aid was available to promote the rise to power of such leaders, but by the 1970s it became clear that something else was needed: the opening of markets, of new spaces for investment, and clear fields where financial powers could operate securely. This entailed a much closer integration of the global economy with a well-defined financial architecture. The creation of new institutional practices, such as those set out by the IMF and the WTO, provided convenient vehicles through which financial and market power could be exercised. The model required collaboration among the top capitalist powers and the Group of Seven (G7), bringing Europe and Japan into alignment with the United States to shape the global financial and trading system in ways that effectively forced all other nations to submit. "Rogue nations," defined as those that failed to conform to these global rules, could then be dealt with by sanctions or coercive and even military force if necessary. In this way, U.S. neoliberal imperialist strategies were articulated through a global network of power relations, one effect of which was to permit the U.S. upper classes to exact financial tribute and command rents from the rest of the world as a means to augment their already hegemonic control. 13

Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction

In what ways has neoliberalization resolved the problems of flagging capital accumulation? Its actual record in stimulating economic growth is dismal. Aggregate growth rates stood at 3.5 percent or so in the 1960s and even during the troubled 1970s fell to only 2.4 percent. The subsequent global growth rates of 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent for the 1980s and 1990s, and a rate that barely touches 1 percent since 2000, indicate that neoliberalism has broadly failed to

In what ways has neoliberalization resolved the problems of flagging capital accumulation? Its actual record in stimulating economic growth is dismal. Aggregate growth rates stood at 3.5 percent or so in the 1960s and even during the troubled 1970s fell to only 2.4 percent. The subsequent global growth rates of 1.4 percent and 1.1 percent for the 1980s and 1990s, and a rate that barely touches 1 percent since 2000, indicate that neoliberalism has broadly failed to stimulate worldwide growth. 14 Even if we exclude from this calculation the catastrophic effects of the collapse of the Russian and some Central European economies in the wake of the neoliberal shock therapy treatment of the 1990s, global economic performance from the standpoint of restoring the conditions of general capital accumulation has been weak.

Despite their rhetoric about curing sick economies, neither Britain nor the United States achieved high economic performance in the 1980s. That decade belonged to Japan, the East Asian "Tigers," and West Germany as powerhouses of the global economy. Such countries were very successful, but their radically different institutional arrangements make it difficult to pin their achievements on neoliberalism. The West German Bundesbank had taken a strong monetarist line (consistent with neoliberalism) for more than two decades, a fact suggesting that there is no necessary connection between monetarism per se and the quest to restore class power. In West Germany, the unions remained strong and wage levels stayed relatively high alongside the construction of a progressive welfare state. One of the effects of this combination was to stimulate a high rate of technological innovation that kept West Germany well ahead in the field of international competition. Export-led production moved the country forward as a global leader.

In Japan, independent unions were weak or nonexistent, but state investment in technological and organizational change and the tight relationship between corporations and financial institutions (an arrangement that also proved felicitous in West Germany) generated an astonishing export-led growth performance, very much at the expense of other capitalist economies such as the United Kingdom and the United States. Such growth as there was in the 1980s (and the aggregate rate of growth in the world was lower even than that of the troubled 1970s) did not depend, therefore, on neoliberalization. Many European states therefore resisted neoliberal reforms and increasingly found ways to preserve much of their social democratic heritage while moving, in some cases fairly successfully, toward the West German model. In Asia, the Japanese model implanted under authoritarian systems of governance in South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore also proved viable and consistent with reasonable equality of distribution. It was only in the 1990s that neoliberalization began to pay off for both the United States and Britain. This happened in the midst of a long-drawn-out period of deflation in Japan and relative stagnation in a newly unified Germany. Up for debate is whether the Japanese recession occurred as a simple result of competitive pressures or whether it was engineered by financial agents in the United States to humble the Japanese economy.

So why, then, in the face of this patchy if not dismal record, have so many been persuaded that neoliberalization is a successful solution? Over and beyond the persistent stream of propaganda emanating from the neoliberal think tanks and suffusing the media, two material reasons stand out. First, neoliberalization has been accompanied by increasing volatility within global capitalism. That success was to materialize somewhere obscured the reality that neoliberalism was generally failing. Periodic episodes of growth interspersed with phases of creative destruction, usually registered as severe financial crises. Argentina was opened up to foreign capital and privatization in the 1990s and for several years was the darling of Wall Street, only to collapse into disaster as international capital withdrew at the end of the decade. Financial collapse and social devastation was quickly followed by a long political crisis. Financial turmoil proliferated all over the developing world, and in some instances, such as Brazil and Mexico, repeated waves of structural adjustment and austerity led to economic paralysis.

On the other hand, neoliberalism has been a huge success from the standpoint of the upper classes. It has either restored class position to ruling elites, as in the United States and Britain, or created conditions for capitalist class formation, as in China, India, Russia, and elsewhere. Even countries that have suffered extensively from neoliberalization have seen the massive reordering of class structures internally. The wave of privatization that came to Mexico with the Salinas de Gortari administration in 1992 spawned unprecedented concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few people (Carlos Slim, tor example, who took over the state telephone system and became an instant billionaire).

With the media dominated by upper-class interests, the myth could be propagated that certain sectors failed because they were not competitive enough, thereby setting the stage for even more neoliberal reforms. Increased social inequality was necessary to encourage entrepreneurial risk and innovation, and these, in turn, conferred competitive advantage and stimulated growth. If conditions among the lower classes deteriorated, it was because they failed for personal and cultural reasons to enhance their own human capital through education, the acquisition of a protestant work ethic, and submission to work discipline and flexibility. In short, problems arose because of the lack of competitive strength or because of personal, cultural, and political failings. In a Spencerian world, the argument went, only the fittest should and do survive. Systemic problems were masked under a blizzard of ideological pronouncements and a plethora of localized crises.

If the main effect of neoliberalism has been redistributive rather than generative, then ways had to be found to transfer assets and channel wealth and income either from the mass of the population toward the upper classes or from vulnerable to richer countries. I have elsewhere provided an account of these processes under the rubric of accumulation by dispossession. 15 By this, I mean the continuation and proliferation of accretion practices that Marx had designated as "primitive" or "original" during the rise of capitalism. These include

(1) the commodification and privatization of land and me forceful expulsion or peasant populations {as in Mexico and India in recent times);

(2) conversion of various forms of property rights (common, collective, state, etc.) into exclusively private property rights;

(3) suppression of rights to the commons;

(4) commodification of labor power and the suppression of alternative (indigenous) forms of production and consumption;

(5) colonial, neocolonial, and imperial processes of appropriation of assets (including natural resources); (6) monetization of exchange and taxation, particularly of land;

(7) the slave trade (which continues, particularly in the sex industry); and

(8) usury, the national debt, and, most devastating of all, the use of the credit system as radical means of primitive accumulation.

The state, with its monopoly of violence and definitions of legality, plays a crucial role in backing and promoting these processes. To this list of mechanisms, we may now add a raft of additional techniques, such as the extraction of rents from patents and intellectual property rights and the diminution or erasure of various forms of communal property rights -- such as state pensions, paid vacations, access to education, and health care -- won through a generation or more of social democratic struggles. The proposal to privatize all state pension rights (pioneered in Chile under Augusto Pinochet s dictatorship) is, for example, one of the cherished objectives of neoliberals in the United States.

In the cases of China and Russia, it might be reasonable to refer to recent events in "primitive" and "original" terms, but the practices that restored class power to capitalist elites in the United States and elsewhere are best described as an ongoing process of accumulation by dispossession that grew rapidly under neoliberalism. In what follows, I isolate four main elements.

1. Privatization

The corporatization, commodification, and privatization of hitherto public assets have been signal features of the neoliberal project. Its primary aim has been to open up new fields for capital accumulation in domains formerly regarded off-limits to the calculus of profitability. Public utilities of all lands (water, telecommunications, transportation), social welfare provision (public housing, education, health care, pensions), public institutions (such as universities, research laboratories, prisons), and even warfare (as illustrated by the "army" of private contractors operating alongside the armed forces in Iraq) have all been privatized to some degree throughout the capitalist world.

Intellectual property rights established through the so-called TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement within the WTO defines genetic materials, seed plasmas, and all manner of other products as private property. Rents for use can then be extracted from populations whose practices had played a crucial role in the development of such genetic materials. Bio-piracy is rampant, and the pillaging of the worlds stockpile of genetic resources is well under way to the benefit of a few large pharmaceutical companies. The escalating depletion of the global environmental commons (land, air, water) and proliferating habitat degradations that preclude anything but capital-intensive modes of agricultural production have likewise resulted from the wholesale commodification of nature in all its forms. The commodification (through tourism) of cultural forms, histories, and intellectual creativity entails wholesale dispossessions (the music industry is notorious for the appropriation and exploitation of grassroots culture and creativity). As in the past, the power of the state is frequently used to force such processes through even against popular will. The rolling back of regulatory frameworks designed to protect labor and the environment from degradation has entailed the loss of rights. The reversion of common property rights won through years of hard class struggle (the right to a state pension, to welfare, to national health care) into the private domain has been one of the most egregious of all policies of dispossession pursued in the name of neoliberal orthodoxy.

The corporatization, commodification, and privatization of hitherto public assets have been signal features of the neoliberal project.

All of these processes amount to the transfer of assets from the public and popular realms to the private and class-privileged domains. Privatization, Arundhati Roy argued with respect to the Indian case, entails "the transfer of productive public assets from the state to private companies. Productive assets include natural resources: earth, forest, water, air. These are the assets that the state holds in trust for the people it represents. ... To snatch these away and sell them as stock to private companies is a process of barbaric dispossession on a scale that has no parallel in history." 16

2. Financialization

The strong financial wave that set in after 1980 has been marked by its speculative and predatory style. The total daily turnover of financial transactions in international markets that stood at $2.3 billion in 1983 had risen to $130 billion by 2001. This $40 trillion annual turnover in 2001 compares to the estimated $800 billion that would be required to support international trade and productive investment flows. 17 Deregulation allowed the financial system to become one of the main centers of redistributive activity through speculation, predation, fraud, and thievery. Stock promotions; Ponzi schemes; structured asset destruction through inflation; asset stripping through mergers and acquisitions; and the promotion of debt incumbency that reduced whole populations, even in the advanced capitalist countries, to debt peonage -- to say nothing of corporate fraud and dispossession of assets, such as the raiding of pension hinds and their decimation by stock and corporate collapses through credit and stock manipulations -- are all features of the capitalist financial system.

The emphasis on stock values, which arose after bringing together the interests of owners and managers of capital through the remuneration of the latter in stock options, led, as we now know, to manipulations in the market that created immense wealth for a few at the expense of the many. The spectacular collapse of Enron was emblematic of a general process that deprived many of their livelihoods and pension rights. Beyond this, we also must look at the speculative raiding carried out by hedge funds and other major instruments of finance capital that formed the real cutting edge of accumulation by dispossession on the global stage, even as they supposedly conferred the positive benefit to the capitalist class of spreading risks.

3. The management and manipulation of crises

Beyond the speculative and often fraudulent froth that characterizes much of neoliberal financial manipulation, there lies a deeper process that entails the springing of the debt trap as a primary means of accumulation by dispossession. Crisis creation, management, and manipulation on the world stage has evolved into the fine art of deliberative redistribution of wealth from poor countries to the rich. By suddenly raising interest rates in 1979, Paul Volcker, then chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, raised the proportion of foreign earnings that borrowing countries had to put to debt-interest payments. Forced into bankruptcy, countries like Mexico had to agree to structural adjustment. While proclaiming its role as a noble leader organizing bailouts to keep global capital accumulation stable and on track, the United States could also open the way to pillage the Mexican economy through deployment of its superior financial power under conditions of local crisis. This was what the U.S. Treasury/Wall Street/IMF complex became expert at doing everywhere. Volker s successor, Alan Greenspan, resorted to similar tactics several times in the 1990s. Debt crises in individual countries, uncommon in the 1960s, became frequent during the 1980s and 1990s. Hardly any developing country remained untouched and in some cases, as in Latin America, such crises were frequent enough to be considered endemic. These

debt crises were orchestrated, managed, and controlled both to rationalize the system and to redistribute assets during the 1980s and 1990s. Wade and Veneroso captured the essence of this trend when they wrote of the Asian crisis -- provoked initially by the operation of U.S.-based hedge funds -- of 1997 and 1998:

Financial crises have always caused transfers of ownership and power to those who keep their own assets intact and who are in a position to create credit, and the Asian crisis is no exception . . . there is no doubt that Western and Japanese corporations are the big winners. . . . The combination of massive devaluations pushed financial liberalization, and IMF-facilitated recovery may even precipitate the biggest peacetime transfer of assets from domestic to foreign owners in the past fifty years anywhere in the world, dwarfing the transfers from domestic to U.S. owners in Latin America in the 1980s or in Mexico after 1994. One recalls the statement attributed to Andrew Mellon: "In a depression assets return to their rightful owners." 18

The analogy to the deliberate creation of unemployment to produce a pool of low-wage surplus labor convenient for further accumulation is precise. Valuable assets are thrown out of use and lose their value. They lie fallow and dormant until capitalists possessed of liquidity choose to seize upon them and breathe new life into them. The danger, however, is that crises can spin out of control and become generalized, or that revolts will arise against the system that creates them. One of the prime functions of state interventions and of international institutions is to orchestrate crises and devaluations in ways that permit accumulation by dispossession to occur without sparking a general collapse or popular revolt. The structural adjustment program administered by the Wall Street/Treasury/ IMF complex takes care of the first function. It is the job of the comprador neoliberal state apparatus (backed by military assistance from the imperial powers) to ensure that insurrections do not occur in whichever country has been raided. Yet signs of popular revolt have emerged, first with the Zapatista uprising in Mexico in 1994 and later in the generalized discontent that informed anti-globalization movements such as the one that culminated in Seattle in 1999.

4. State redistributions

The state, once transformed into a neoliberal set of institutions, becomes a prime agent of redistributive policies, reversing the flow from upper to lower classes that had been implemented during the preceding social democratic era. It does this in the first instance through privatization schemes and cutbacks in government expenditures meant to support the social wage. Even when privatization appears as beneficial to the lower classes, the long-term effects can be negative. At first blush, for example, Thatchers program for the privatization of social housing in Britain appeared as a gift to the lower classes whose members could now convert from rental to ownership at a relatively low cost, gain control over a valuable asset, and augment their wealth. But once the transfer was accomplished, housing speculation took over particularly in prime central locations, eventually bribing or forcing low-income populations out to the periphery in cities like London and turning erstwhile working-class housing estates into centers of intense gentrification. The loss of affordable housing in central areas produced homelessness for many and extraordinarily long commutes for those who did have low-paying service jobs. The privatization of the ejidos (indigenous common property rights in land under the Mexican constitution) in Mexico, which became a central component of the neoliberal program set up during the 1990s, has had analogous effects on the Mexican peasantry, forcing many rural dwellers into the cities in search of employment. The Chinese state has taken a whole series of draconian measures through which assets have been conferred upon a small elite to the detriment of the masses.

The neoliberal state also seeks redistributions through a variety of other means such as revisions in the tax code to benefit returns on investment rather than incomes and wages, promotion of regressive elements in the tax code (such as sales taxes), displacement of state expenditures and free access to all by user fees (e.g., on higher education), and the provision of a vast array of subsidies and tax breaks to corporations. The welfare programs that now exist in the United States at federal, state, and local levels amount to a vast redirection of public moneys for corporate benefit (directly as in the case of subsidies to agribusiness and indirectly as in the case of the military-industrial sector), in much the same way that the mortgage interest rate tax deduction operates in the United States as a massive subsidy to upper-income home owners and the construction of industry. Heightened surveillance and policing and, in the case of the United States, the incarceration of recalcitrant elements in the population indicate a more sinister role of intense social control. In developing countries, where opposition to neoliberalism and accumulation by dispossession can be stronger, the role of the neoliberal state quickly assumes that of active repression even to the point of low level warfare against oppositional movements (many of which can now conveniently be designated as terrorist to garner U.S. military assistance and support) such as the Zapatistas in Mexico or landless peasants in Brazil.

In effect, reported Roy, "India's rural economy, which supports seven hundred million people, is being garroted. Farmers who produce too much are in distress, farmers who produce too little are in distress, and landless agricultural laborers are out of work as big estates and farms lay off their workers. They're all flocking to the cities in search of employment." 19 In China, the estimate is that at least half a billion people will have to be absorbed by urbanization over the next ten years if rural mayhem and revolt is to be avoided. What those migrants will do in the cities remains unclear, though the vast physical infrastructural plans now in the works will go some way to absorbing the labor surpluses released by primitive accumulation.

The redistributive tactics of neoliberalism are wide-ranging, sophisticated, frequently masked by ideological gambits, but devastating for the dignity and social well-being of vulnerable populations and territories. The wave of creative destruction neoliberalization has visited across the globe is unparalleled in the history of capitalism. Understandably, it has spawned resistance and a search for viable alternatives.

[Sep 21, 2017] After 2.5 Years, A Lawsuit To Unseal Draft Whitewater Indictments Against Hillary Gets Its Day In Court

Sep 21, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

McClatchy points out, since March 2015 Judicial Watch has been engaged in a back and forth battle with the National Archives which argues that "the documents should be kept secret [to preserve] grand jury secrecy and Clinton's personal privacy."

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that files Freedom of Information Act requests, wants copies of the documents that the National Archives and Records Administration has declined to release. It filed a FOIA request for the documents in March 2015 and in October 2015 the group sued for the 238 pages of responsive records.

According to Judicial Watch: " The National Archives argues that the documents should be kept secret, citing grand jury secrecy and Clinton's personal privacy."

But Judicial Watch says that because so much about the Whitewater case has already been made public, "there is no secrecy or privacy left to protect."

The documents in question are alleged drafts of indictments written by Hickman Ewing, the chief deputy of Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel appointed to investigate Bill and Hillary Clinton's alleged involvement in fraudulent real estate dealings dating back to the 70's.

Ewing told investigators he drafted the indictments in April 1995. According to Judicial Watch, the documents pertain to allegations that Hillary Clinton provided false information and withheld information from those investigating the Whitewater scandal.

Meanwhile, for those who haven't been alive long enough to remember some of the original Clinton scandals dating back to the 1970's, the Whitewater scandal revolved around a series of shady real estate deals in the Ozarks, not to mention a couple of illegal, federally-insured loans, back when Bill was Governor of Arkansas.

Of course, like with all Clinton scandals, while several other people ended up in jail as a result of the FBI's Whitewater investigation, Bill and Hillary emerged unscathed. Wikipedia offers more details:

The Whitewater controversy, Whitewater scandal (or simply Whitewater), was an American political episode of the 1990s that began with an investigation into the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal, in the Whitewater Development Corporation, a failed business venture in the 1970s and 1980s.

A March 1992 New York Times article published during the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign reported that the Clintons, then governor and first lady of Arkansas, had invested and lost money in the Whitewater Development Corporation. The article stimulated the interest of L. Jean Lewis, a Resolution Trust Corporation investigator who was looking into the failure of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, also owned by Jim and Susan McDougal.

Lewis looked for connections between the savings and loan company and the Clintons, and on September 2, 1992, she submitted a criminal referral to the FBI naming Bill and Hillary Clinton as witnesses in the Madison Guaranty case. Little Rock U.S. Attorney Charles A. Banks and the FBI determined that the referral lacked merit, but Lewis continued to pursue the case. From 1992 to 1994, Lewis issued several additional referrals against the Clintons and repeatedly called the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock and the Justice Department regarding the case. Her referrals eventually became public knowledge, and she testified before the Senate Whitewater Committee in 1995.

David Hale, the source of criminal allegations against the Clintons, claimed in November 1993 that Bill Clinton had pressured him into providing an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, the Clintons' partner in the Whitewater land deal. The allegations were regarded as questionable because Hale had not mentioned Clinton in reference to this loan during the original FBI investigation of Madison Guaranty in 1989; only after coming under indictment himself in 1993, did Hale make allegations against the Clintons. A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation resulted in convictions against the McDougals for their role in the Whitewater project. Jim Guy Tucker, Bill Clinton's successor as governor, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to four years of probation for his role in the matter. Susan McDougal served 18 months in prison for contempt of court for refusing to answer questions relating to Whitewater.

Neither Bill Clinton nor Hillary were ever prosecuted, after three separate inquiries found insufficient evidence linking them with the criminal conduct of others related to the land deal.

Just more attempts to "criminalize behavior that is normal"...

jamesmmu , Sep 21, 2017 6:36 PM

Understanding The Battle Between The Deep State – And "One Nation Under God" – The Holy War Within The United States Of America.

http://investmentwatchblog.com/understanding-the-battle-between-the-deep...

knukles -> jamesmmu , Sep 21, 2017 7:00 PM

"National Security" Will Prevail Again. Hillary's health and mental condition are at risk.

Hillary/Diezapam 2020

Holy war? FFS people, this shit's straight out of the End of Days stories or numerous religious, spiritual and philosophical belief systems. Yes, the war between good and evil is real and evil has the upper hand at the moment. Greatly has the upper hand.

Edit and More Importantly, Andre Ward's announced his retirement from boxing Man was a thing of beauty in the ring....

Four chan -> knukles , Sep 21, 2017 7:27 PM

the first work the clintons did for the cia

booboo -> Four chan , Sep 21, 2017 8:22 PM

Didn't Sandy Berger get caught stealing Clinton related documents from the National Archives?

Wonder what else he make off in his socks?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16706-2005Mar31.html

Lumberjack -> Lumberjack , Sep 21, 2017 6:48 PM

Was Hillary Clinton Fired from the Nixon Impeachment Inquiry?

https://www.cato.org/blog/was-hillary-clinton-fired-nixon-impeachment-in...

In 1999, nine years before the Calabrese interview, Zeifman told the Scripps-Howard news agency: "If I had the power to fire her, I would have fired her." In a 2008 interview on "The Neal Boortz Show," Zeifman was asked directly whether he fired her. His answer: "Well, let me put it this way. I terminated her, along with some other staff members who were ! we no longer needed, and advised her that I would not ! could not recommend her for any further positions."

Blankenstein -> YourAverageJoe , Sep 21, 2017 8:29 PM

They owned the property of what was most likely a drug smuggling operation in Paron, Arkansas.

That property has ties with the Rose law firm in Little Rock , in which Hillary Rodham Clinton was formerly a partner. While some observers believe the property was intended as an additional presidential residence - the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, for example, reported it was rumored to be a "White House West"; and contractors who worked on it whimsically tagged it "Camp Chelsea" - there are strong indications something quite different might be taking place in Paron

Simultaneous with this, residents said there was an increase in low-flying airplanes over the property. Unlike the military aircraft that occasionally fly over the area, these were "small Cessna-like" aircraft, according to Hill. He said the planes typically fly through a pass in the Cockspur Mountains on Southeast's property, several miles from the main road.

"After the planes leave, 20 to 30 minutes will go by, and small trucks and Jeeps leave the property at two different entrances," said Hill. He added that neighbors, during a flurry of aircraft activity, had logged the details, which they then passed on to federal authorities

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/993980/posts

Blankenstein -> insanelysane , Sep 21, 2017 8:23 PM

The ones with Vince Foster's fingerprints on them?

" After nearly two years of searches and subpoenas, the White House said this evening that it had unexpectedly discovered copies of missing documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton's law firm that describe her work for a failing savings and loan association in the 1980's.

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/06/us/elusive-papers-of-law-firm-are-foun...

"The mysterious appearance of the billing records, which had been the specific subject of various nvestigative subpoenas for two year s, sparked intense interest about how they surfaced and where they had been"

"But Whitewater investigators believe that the billing records show significant representation. They argue that the records prove that Ms. Clinton was not only directly involved in the representation of Madison, but more specifically, in providing legal work on the fraudulent Castle Grande land deal."

"Investigators believe this suggests that, at some point, this copy was passed from Vince Foster to Hillary Clinton for her review.

In addition, investigators had the FBI conduct fingerprint analysis of the billing records. Of significance, the prints of Vince Foster and Hillary Clinton were found."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/arkansas/docs/recs.html

Rebelrebel7 , Sep 21, 2017 7:22 PM

It is extremely unfortunate that criminal behavior is now considered normal! The Clintons are responsible for that.

The Clintons were extremely guilty of Whitewater for profiteering on a failed real estate deal at Arkansas' residents expense, in addition to dozens of other crimes! I often wonder how life could be much better if the Clintons were never elected! The invasive and rampant corruption in virtually every sector of our society, has made this country 100% dysfunctional!

There had been criminal activity at the local level in government in some regions, but Clinton nationalized it, and legitimized it. Nixon was impeached, and resigned, giving people belief that nobody was above the law.

Now, Trump has not committed a single impeachable offense, and all that they ever talk about is impeachment!

I recall reading that Starr had DNC loyalties. My guess is that Republicans were more concerned with a President Gore, than a President Clinton.

Chippewa Partners , Sep 21, 2017 7:49 PM

The Rose Law Firm billings records? They were found sitting on her night stand next to her bed FFS...........

This is a great article on her prowess in cattle trading ......all of you wanna-be traders should try to emulate her ability!!!

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436066/hillary-clintons-cattle-fut...

Anunnaki , Sep 21, 2017 8:17 PM

The real scandal is how Hellary turned 1000$ into 100k in cattle futures. They said it would be like winning the lottery two days in a row

[Sep 21, 2017] Emails Hillary Clinton Sought Russian Officials For Pay-To-Play Scheme

Sep 21, 2017 | www.mintpressnews.com

Although Hillary Clinton has blamed numerous factors and people for her loss to Donald Trump in last year's election, no one has received as much blame as the Russian government. In an effort to avoid blaming the candidate herself by turning the election results into a national scandal, accusations of Kremlin-directed meddling soon surfaced. While such accusations have largely been discredited by both computer analysts and award-winning journalists like Seymour Hersh, they continue to be repeated as the investigation into Donald Trump's alleged collusion with the Russian government picks up steam.

However, newly released Clinton emails suggest that that the former secretary of state's disdain for the Russian government is a relatively new development. The emails, obtained by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, show that the Russian government was included in invitations to exclusive Clinton Foundation galas that began less than two months after Clinton became the top official at the U.S. State Department.

In March of 2009, Amitabh Desai, then-Clinton Foundation director of foreign policy, sent invitations to numerous world leaders, which included Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Desai's emails were cc'd to Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro and later forwarded to top Clinton aide Jake Sullivan.

The Clinton Foundation's activities during Hillary's tenure as secretary of state have been central to the accusations that the Clinton family used their "charitable" foundation as a means of enriching themselves via a massive "Pay to Play" scheme. Emails leaked by Wikileaks, particularly the Podesta emails , offered ample evidence connecting foreign donations to the Clintons and their foundation with preferential treatment by the U.S. State Department.

[Sep 19, 2017] Time for a Conservative Anti-Monopoly Movement by Daniel Kishi

Sep 19, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Amazon, Facebook and Google: The new robber barons?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2010. Credit: /CreativeCommons/SteveJurvetson Earlier this month Amazon, announced its plans to establish a second headquarters in North America. Rather than simply reveal which city would become its second home, the Seattle-based tech company opted instead to open a bidding war. In an eight page document published on its website, Amazon outlined the criteria for prospective suitors, and invited economic developers to submit proposals advocating for why their city or region should be the host of the new location.

Its potential arrival comes with the claim that the company will invest more than $5 billion in construction and generate up to 50,000 "high paying jobs." Mayors and governors, hard at work crafting their bids, are no doubt salivating at the mere thought of such economic activity. Journalists and editorial teams in eligible metropolises are also playing their parts, as newspapers have published a series of articles and editorials making the case for why their city should be declared the winner.

Last Tuesday Bloomberg reported that Boston was the early frontrunner, sending a wave of panic across the continent. Much to the relief of the other contenders, Amazon quickly discredited the report as misinformation, announcing in a series of tweets on Wednesday that it is "energized by the response from cities across [North America]" and that, contrary to the rumors, there are currently no front-runners on their "equal playing field."

That Amazon is "energized" should come as no surprise. Most companies would also be energized by the taxpayer-funded windfall that is likely coming its way. Reporters speculate that the winner of the sweepstakes!in no small part to the bidding war format!could be forced to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local subsidies for the privilege of hosting Amazon's expansion.

Amazon has long been the beneficiary of such subsidies, emerging in recent years as a formidable opponent to Walmart as the top recipient of corporate welfare. According to Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C. organization dedicated to corporate and government accountability, Amazon has received more than $1 billion in local and state subsidies since 2000. With a business plan dedicated to amassing long-term market share in lieu of short-term profits, Amazon, under the leadership of its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, operates on razor-thin profit margins in most industries, while actually operating at a loss in others. As such, these state and local subsidies have played an instrumental role in Amazon's growth

Advocates of free market enterprise should be irate over the company's crony capitalist practices and the cities and states that enable it. But more so than simply ruffling the feathers of the libertarian-minded, Amazon's shameless solicitation for subsidies capped off a series of summer skirmishes in the Democratic left's emerging war against monopolies.

Earlier this summer when Amazon announced its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, antitrust advocates called upon the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission's Antitrust Division to block the sale and update the United States government's legal definition of monopoly. Although the acquisition!which was approved in August!only gives Amazon a 1.5 percent market share in the grocery industry, it more importantly provides the tech giant with access to more than 450 brick-and-mortar Whole Foods locations. Critics say that these physical locations will prove invaluable to its long term plan of economic dominance, and that it is but the latest advance in the company's unprecedented control of the economy's underlying infrastructure.

Google also found itself in the crosshairs of the left's anti-monopoly faction when, in late June, the European Union imposed a $2.7 billion fine against the tech company for anti-competitive search engine manipulation in violation of its antitrust laws. The Open Markets Program of the New America Foundation subsequently published a press release applauding the EU's decision. Two months later, the Open Markets Program was axed . The former program director Barry Lynn claims that his employers caved to pressure from a corporation that has donated more than $21 million to the New America Foundation. The fallout emboldened journalists to share their experiences of being silenced by the tech giant, and underscores the influence Google exerts over think tanks and academics

Most recently, Facebook faced criticism after it was discovered that a Russian company with ties to the Kremlin purchased $100,000 in ads from the social media company in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. Facebook, as a result, has become the latest subject of interest in Robert Mueller's special investigation into Russian interference in last fall's election. But regardless of whether the ads influenced the outcome, the report elicited demands for transparency and oversight in a digital ad marketplace that Facebook, along with Google, dominates . By using highly sophisticated algorithms, Facebook and Google receive more than 60 percent of all digital ad revenue, threatening the financial solvency of publishers and creating a host of economic incentives that pollute editorial autonomy.

While the Democratic left!in an effort to rejuvenate its populist soul !has been at the front lines in the war against these modern-day robber barons, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, suggests that opposition to corporate consolidation need not be a partisan issue. In a piece published in The Atlantic , Mitchell traces the bipartisan history of anti-monopoly sentiment in American politics. She writes :

If "monopoly" sounds like a word from another era, that's because, until recently, it was. Throughout the middle of the 20th century, the term was frequently used in newspaper headlines, campaign speeches, and State of the Union addresses delivered by Republican and Democratic presidents alike. Breaking up too-powerful companies was a bipartisan goal and on the minds of many voters. But, starting in the 1970s, the word retreated from the public consciousness. Not coincidentally, at the same time, the enforcement of anti-monopoly policy grew increasingly toothless.

Although the modern Republican Party stands accused of cozying up with corporate interests, the history of conservative thought has a rich intellectual tradition of being skeptical!if not hostile!towards economic consolidation. For conservatives and libertarians wedded to the tenets of free market orthodoxy!or for Democrats dependent on campaign contributions from a donor class of Silicon Valley tycoons!redefining the legal definition of monopoly and rekindling a bipartisan interest in antitrust enforcement are likely non-starters.

But for conservatives willing to break from the principles of free market fundamentalism, the papal encyclicals of the Roman Catholic Church, the distributist thought of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton, the social criticism of Christopher Lasch, and the observations of agrarian essayist Wendell Berry provide an intellectual framework from which conservatives can critique and combat concentrated economic power. With a respect for robust and resilient localities and a keen understanding of the moral dangers posed by an economy perpetuated by consumerism and convenience, these writers appeal to the moral imaginations of the reader, issuing warnings about the detrimental effects that economic consolidation has on the person, the family, the community, and society at large.

The events of this summer underscore the immense political power wielded by our economy's corporate giants. To those who recognize the dangers posed by our age of consolidation, the skirmishes from this summer could serve as a rallying cry in a bipartisan war for independence from our corporate crown.

Daniel Kishi is an editorial assistant at The American Conservative . Follow him on Twitter at @DanielMKishi

[Jun 26, 2017] After the collapse of the USSR neoliberal vultures instantly circled the corpse and have had a feast. Geopolitical goals of the USA played important role in amplifying the scope of plunder of Russia

Notable quotes:
"... The reasoning was simple and is not hard to understand: Carthago delenda est. ..."
"... In a way McCain can be viewed now as a caricature of the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who is said to have used it as the conclusion to all his speeches. ..."
Jun 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , June 25, 2017 at 04:31 PM

1994

China's experience does not show that gradual reform is superior to the shock therapy undertaken in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union....

-- Jeffrey Sachs and Wing Thye Woo

[ Of course, China's experience had already showed and continues all these years after just the opposite. This is very, very important. ]

libezkova -> anne... , June 26, 2017 at 08:09 AM
Your discussion just again had shown that there is no economics, only a political economy.

And all those neoliberal perversions, which are sold as an economic science is just an apologetics for the financial oligarchy.

Apologetics of plunder in this particular case.

In a way the USSR with its discredited communist ideology, degenerated Bolshevik leadership (just look at who was at the Politburo of CPSU at the time; people much lower in abilities then Trump :-) and inept and politically naïve Mikhail Gorbachev at the helm had chosen the most inopportune time to collapse :-)

And neoliberal vultures instantly circled the corpse and have had a feast. Geopolitical goals of the USA also played important role in amplifying the scope of plunder.

No comparison of performance of Russia vs. China makes any sense if it ignores this fact.

Paine -> anne... , June 25, 2017 at 06:30 PM
Lesson for the week

Deng ?
yes

Sachs ?
Nyet

anne -> Paine ... , June 25, 2017 at 07:11 PM
While I would argue with the economic advice given the Russian government after 1988, I am simply trying to understand the reasoning behind the advice, no more than that.
libezkova -> anne... , June 26, 2017 at 08:15 AM
The reasoning was simple and is not hard to understand: Carthago delenda est.

In a way McCain can be viewed now as a caricature of the Roman senator Cato the Elder, who is said to have used it as the conclusion to all his speeches.

History repeats "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

[Jun 26, 2017] After 1991 Eastern Europe and FSU were mercilessly looted. That was tremendous one time transfer of capital (and scientists and engineers) to Western Europe and the USA. Which helped to secure Clinton prosperity period

Notable quotes:
"... If America were a free and democratic country, with a free press and independent publishing houses (and assuming, of course, that Americans were a literate people), Williamson's book would topple the Clinton regime, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the rest of the criminal cabal that inhabits the world of modern corporate statism faster than you could say "Jonathan Hay." ..."
"... Hay, for those who need an introduction to the international financial buccaneers who control our lives, was the general director of the Harvard Institute of International Development (HIID) in Moscow (1992-1997), who facilitated the crippling of the Russian economy and the plundering of its industrial and manufacturing infrastructure with a strategy concocted by Larry Summers, Andre Schliefer (HIID's Cambridge-based manager), Jeffrey Sachs and his Swedish sidekick Anders Aslund, and a host of private players from banks and investment houses in Boston and New York - a plan approved and assisted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. ..."
"... These third-generation Bolsheviks - led by former Pravda hack Yegor Gaidar, grandson of a Bolshevik who achieved prominence as the teenage mass murderer of White Army officers, now heads the Moscow-based Institute for Economies in Transition - became instant millionaires (or billionaires) and left the Russian workers virtual slaves of them and their new foreign investors. ..."
"... Ironically, when Harvard's Sachs and Hay started identifying Russians they could work with, they ignored - or shunned - the most capable talent at hand: those numerous Russian economists who for 20 years had been studying the Swiss economist Wilhelm von Roepke and his disciple, Ludwig Erhard, father of Germany's "economic miracle" in anticipation of the day when Communism would collapse. Somewhat sardonically, Williamson notes that one, probably unintended, benefit of Gorbachev's perestroika was the recruitment of these Russian economists by top U.S. universities. ..."
"... On another level, Contagion is about the workings of international finance, the consolidation of capital into fewer and fewer hands, and the ruthless, death-dealing policies it inflicts on its target countries through currency manipulation, inflation, depression, taxation and war - with emphasis on Russia but with attention also given to Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, the Balkans, and other countries, and how it uses its control over money to produce social chaos. ..."
"... Those who read Williamson's book will find particularly interesting her treatment of the Federal Reserve, and how this "bank" was designed to plunder the wealth of America through war, debt, and taxation, in order to maintain what is nothing more nor less than a giant pyramid scheme that depends on domination of the earth and its resources. ..."
"... The policies inflicted on Russia by the banks were cruel to the Nth degree; but the policy implementers - Williamson employs the derogatory Russian word m yakigolovy ("soft-headed ones") applied to the Americans - were a foppish lot, streaming into Russia by the thousands (the IMF, alone, with 150 staffers) with their outrageous salaries and per diem allowances, renting out the finest dachas, bringing in their exotic consumer goods, driving up prices for goods and rents, spurring a boom in the drug and prostitution businesses, and then watching, cold-heartedly, the declining fortunes of their hosts as they lost everything - including the artistic heritage of the country. ..."
"... Gore, who was raised to be President, has impeccable Russian connections. His father, of course, was Lenin financier Armand Hammer's pocket senator, and it was Hammer who paid for Al Jr.'s expensive St. Alban's Prep schooling; and, as Williamson reports, Al Jr.'s daughter married Andrew Schiff, grandson of Jacob, who, as a member of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., underwrote anti-czarist political agitation for two decades before Lenin's coup, and congratulated Lenin upon his successful revolution. ..."
"... By March 1999, Russia was now a financial basket case, and billions, if not tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer-backed loans had vanished into the secret bank accounts of both Russian and American gangster capitalists, and the news was starting to make little vibrations on Capitol Hill. "The U.S. administration's response to the debacle was repulsively similar to a typical Bill Clinton bimbo-eruption operation: Having ruined Russia by cosseting her in debt, meddling ignorantly in her internal affairs, and funding a drunken usurper, his agents denied all error and slandered ('slimed') her," writes Williamson. ..."
"... The cost to the American taxpayers of Clinton regime bailouts in a three-and-a-half-year period, Williamson notes, is more than $180 billion! The "new financial architecture" Clinton has erected, she writes, "isn't new at all, but rather something the international public lenders have been wanting for decades, i.e., an automatic bailout for their own bad practices." ..."
"... As the extent of the corruption of the Clinton-Yeltsin "reform" plan for Russia unfolded last year, with the attendant Bank of New York scandal, the mysterious death of super banker Edmond Safra in his Monte Carlo penthouse, the collapse of the Russian stock market, and the whiplash effect in Southeast Asia, Congress was pressed to hold hearings. ..."
"... What resulted, as Williamson accurately narrates it, was just a smoke screen, show hearings that barely rose above the seriousness of a Gilbert and Sullivan farce - though they did result in proposed new domestic banking laws that, if passed, will effectively make banks another federal police force responsible for reporting to the U.S. government the most minute financial transactions of U.S. citizens. ..."
"... In this regard, it is instructive to quote Williamson at length: "If the FBI, [Manhattan District Attorney] Robert Morgenthau, or Congress were serious about getting to the bottom of the plundering of Russia's assets and U.S. taxpayers' resources, they would show far more professional interest in exactly what was said and agreed in the private meetings [U.S. Treasury secretary] Larry Summers, Strobe Talbott, and [former Treasury Secretary] Robert Rubin conducted with Anatoly Chubais [former Russian finance minister, who oversaw the distribution and sale of Russian industries], and Sergie Vasiliev [Yeltsin's principal legal adviser, and a member of the Chubais clan], and later Chubais again in June and July of 1998. ..."
"... And why did Michel Camdessus [who left the presidency of the IMF earlier this year] announce his sudden retirement so soon after Moscow newspapers reported that a $200,000 payment was made to him from a secret Kremlin bank account? . . . ..."
"... You see, as this book explains, the Clinton's Russia policy did not just plunder Russians, leaving them destitute while creating a new and ruthless class of international capitalist gangsters at U.S. taxpayer expense; it had the double consequence of bringing all Americans deeper into the bankers' New World Order by increasing their debt load, decreasing their privacy, and restricting their civil rights. If only Americans cared. ..."
Jun 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova -> anne..., June 25, 2017 at 06:47 PM

After 1991 Eastern Europe and FSU were mercilessly looted. That was tremendous one time transfer of capital (and scientists and engineers) to Western Europe and the USA. Which helped to secure "Clinton prosperity period"

China were not plundered by the West. Russia and Eastern Europe were. That's the key difference.

For Russia this period was called by Anne Williamson in her testimony before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives "The economic rape of Russia"

http://thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Economics&Finance/+Doc-Economics&Finance-GovernmentInfluence&Meddling/BankstersInRussiaAndGlobalEconomy.htm

Paul Likoudis has an interesting analysis of this event: https://paullikoudis.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/the-plunder-of-russia-in-the-1990s/

Sorry long quote

How Clinton & Company & The Bankers Plundered Russia by Paul Likoudis

May 4, 2000

The other day I was surprised to learn that Jeffrey Sachs, the creator of "shock therapy" capitalism, who participated in the looting of Russia in the 1990s, is now NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top adviser for health care. So we in NY will get shock therapy, much as the Russians did two decades ago. Here is a story I wrote for The Wanderer in 2000:

===

How Clinton & Company & The Bankers Plundered Russia

by Paul Likoudis

In an ordinary election year, Anne Williamson's Contagion would be political dynamite, a bombshell, a block-buster, a regime breaker.

If America were a free and democratic country, with a free press and independent publishing houses (and assuming, of course, that Americans were a literate people), Williamson's book would topple the Clinton regime, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the rest of the criminal cabal that inhabits the world of modern corporate statism faster than you could say "Jonathan Hay."

Hay, for those who need an introduction to the international financial buccaneers who control our lives, was the general director of the Harvard Institute of International Development (HIID) in Moscow (1992-1997), who facilitated the crippling of the Russian economy and the plundering of its industrial and manufacturing infrastructure with a strategy concocted by Larry Summers, Andre Schliefer (HIID's Cambridge-based manager), Jeffrey Sachs and his Swedish sidekick Anders Aslund, and a host of private players from banks and investment houses in Boston and New York - a plan approved and assisted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Contagion can be read on many different levels.

At its simplest, it is a breezy, slightly cynical, highly entertaining narrative of Russian history from the last months of Gorbachev's rule to April 2000 - a period which saw Russia transformed from a decaying socialist economy (which despite its shortcomings, provided a modest standard of living to its citizens) to a "managed economy" where home-grown gangsters and socialist theoreticians from the West, like Hay and his fellow Harvardian Jeffrey Sachs, delivered 2,500% inflation and indescribable poverty, and transferred the ownership of Russian industry to Western financiers.

Williamson was an eyewitness who lived on and off in Russia for more than ten years, where she reported on all things Russian for The New York Times, Th e Wall Street Journal, and a host of other equally reputable publications. She knew and interviewed just about everybody involved in this gargantuan plundering scheme: Russian politicians and businessmen, the new "gangster" capitalists and their American sponsors from the IMF, the World Bank, USAID, Credit Suisse First Boston, the CIA, the KGB - all in all, hundreds of sources who spoke candidly, often ruthlessly, of their parts in this terrible human drama.

Her account is filled with quotations from interviews with top aides of Yeltsin and Clinton, all down through the ranks of the two hierarchical societies to the proliferating mass of Russian destitute, pornographers, pimps, drug dealers, and prostitutes. Some of the principal characters, of course, refused to talk to Williamson, such as Bill Clinton's longtime friend from Oxford, Strobe Talbott, now a deputy secretary of state and, Williamson suspects, a onetime KGB operative whose claim to fame is a deceitful translation of the Khrushchev Memoirs. (A KGB colonel refused to confirm or deny to Williamson that Clinton and Talbott visited North Vietnam together in 1971 - though he did confirm their contacts with the KGB for their protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam in Moscow. See especially footnote 1, page 210.)

The 546-page book (the best part of which is the footnotes) gives a nearly day-by-day report on what happened to Russia; left unstated, but implied on every page, is the assumption that those in the United States who think what happened in Russia "can't happen here" better realize it can happen here.

Once the Clinton regime and its lapdogs in the media defined Russian thug Boris Yeltsin as a "democrat," the wholesale looting of Russia began. According to the socialist theoreticians at Harvard, Russia needed to be brought into the New World Order in a hurry; and what better way to do it than Sachs' "shock therapy" - a plan that empowered the degenerate, third-generation descendants of the original Bolsheviks by assigning them the deeds of Russia's mightiest state-owned industries - including the giant gas, oil, electrical, and telecommunications industries, the world's largest paper, iron, and steel factories, the world's richest gold, silver, diamond, and platinum mines, automobile and airplane factories, etc. - who, in turn, sold some of their shares of the properties to Westerners for a song, and pocketed the cash, while retaining control of the companies.

These third-generation Bolsheviks - led by former Pravda hack Yegor Gaidar, grandson of a Bolshevik who achieved prominence as the teenage mass murderer of White Army officers, now heads the Moscow-based Institute for Economies in Transition - became instant millionaires (or billionaires) and left the Russian workers virtual slaves of them and their new foreign investors.

When Russian members of the Supreme Soviet openly criticized the looting of the national patrimony by these new gangsters early in the U.S.-driven "reform" program, in 1993, before all Soviet institutions were destroyed, Yeltsin bombed Parliament.

Ironically, when Harvard's Sachs and Hay started identifying Russians they could work with, they ignored - or shunned - the most capable talent at hand: those numerous Russian economists who for 20 years had been studying the Swiss economist Wilhelm von Roepke and his disciple, Ludwig Erhard, father of Germany's "economic miracle" in anticipation of the day when Communism would collapse. Somewhat sardonically, Williamson notes that one, probably unintended, benefit of Gorbachev's perestroika was the recruitment of these Russian economists by top U.S. universities.

In the new, emerging global economy, it's clear that Russia is the designated center for heavy manufacturing - just as Asia is for clothing and computers - with its nearly unlimited supply of hydroelectric power, iron and steel, timber, gold and other precious metals.

This helps explain why America's political elites don't give a fig about the closing down of American industries and mines. As Williamson observes, Russia is viewed as some kind of "closet."

What is important for Western readers to understand - as Williamson reports - is that when Western banks and corporations bought these companies at bargain basement prices, they bought more than just industrial equipment. In the Soviet model, every unit of industrial production included workers' housing, churches, opera houses, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, etc., and the whole kit-and-caboodle was included in the selling price. By buying large shares of these companies, Western corporations became, ipso facto, town managers.

Another Level

On another level, Contagion is about the workings of international finance, the consolidation of capital into fewer and fewer hands, and the ruthless, death-dealing policies it inflicts on its target countries through currency manipulation, inflation, depression, taxation and war - with emphasis on Russia but with attention also given to Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, the Balkans, and other countries, and how it uses its control over money to produce social chaos.

Those who read Williamson's book will find particularly interesting her treatment of the Federal Reserve, and how this "bank" was designed to plunder the wealth of America through war, debt, and taxation, in order to maintain what is nothing more nor less than a giant pyramid scheme that depends on domination of the earth and its resources.

Williamson is of that small but noble school of economics writers who believe that the academic field of economics is not some esoteric science that can only be comprehended by those with IQs in four digits, and she - drawing on such writers as Hayek and von Mises, Roepke and the late American Murray Rothbard - explains in layman's vocabulary the nuts and bolts of sound economic principles and the real-world effects of the Fed's policies on hapless Americans.

Contagion also serves up a severe indictment of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the other international "lending" agencies spawned by the Council on Foreign Relations and similar "councils" and "commissions" which are fronts for the big banks run by the Houses of Rockefeller, Morgan, Warburg, et al.

The policies inflicted on Russia by the banks were cruel to the Nth degree; but the policy implementers - Williamson employs the derogatory Russian word m yakigolovy ("soft-headed ones") applied to the Americans - were a foppish lot, streaming into Russia by the thousands (the IMF, alone, with 150 staffers) with their outrageous salaries and per diem allowances, renting out the finest dachas, bringing in their exotic consumer goods, driving up prices for goods and rents, spurring a boom in the drug and prostitution businesses, and then watching, cold-heartedly, the declining fortunes of their hosts as they lost everything - including the artistic heritage of the country.

Williamson describes brilliantly that heady atmosphere in Moscow in the early days of the IMF/USAID loan-scamming: a 24-hour party. There were bars like the Canadian-operated Hungry Duck, which lured Russian teenage girls into its bar with a male striptease and free drinks, "who, once thoroughly intoxicated, were then exposed to crowds of anxious young men the club admitted only late in the evening."

The Third Level

At a third and more intriguing level, Contagion is about America's criminal politics in the Clinton regime, and, inevitably, the reader will put Williamson's book down with the sense that Al Gore will be the next occupier of the White House.

Gore, who was raised to be President, has impeccable Russian connections. His father, of course, was Lenin financier Armand Hammer's pocket senator, and it was Hammer who paid for Al Jr.'s expensive St. Alban's Prep schooling; and, as Williamson reports, Al Jr.'s daughter married Andrew Schiff, grandson of Jacob, who, as a member of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., underwrote anti-czarist political agitation for two decades before Lenin's coup, and congratulated Lenin upon his successful revolution.

Williamson also documents Gore's intimate involvement with powerful Wall Street financial houses, and his New York breakfast meeting with multibillionaire George Soros (a key Russian player) just as the Russian collapse was underway.

Williamson tells an interesting story of Gore's response to the IMF/World Bank/USAID plunder of U.S. taxpayers for the purpose of hobbling Russia.

By March 1999, Russia was now a financial basket case, and billions, if not tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer-backed loans had vanished into the secret bank accounts of both Russian and American gangster capitalists, and the news was starting to make little vibrations on Capitol Hill. "The U.S. administration's response to the debacle was repulsively similar to a typical Bill Clinton bimbo-eruption operation: Having ruined Russia by cosseting her in debt, meddling ignorantly in her internal affairs, and funding a drunken usurper, his agents denied all error and slandered ('slimed') her," writes Williamson.

"Pundits and academics joined government officials in bemoaning Mother Russia's thieving ways, her bottomless corruption and constant chaos, all the while wringing their soft hands with a schoolmarm's exasperation. Russia's self-appointed democracy coach Strobe Talbott ('Pro-Consul Strobe' to the Russians) would get it right. An equally sanctimonious Albert Gore - the same Al Gore who'd been so quick to return the CIA's 1995 report detailing Viktor Chernomyrdin's and Anatoly Chubais' personal corruption with the single word 'Bullshit' scrawled across it - took the low road and sniffed that the Russians would just have to get their own economic house in order and cut their own deal with the IMF. . . ."

The cost to the American taxpayers of Clinton regime bailouts in a three-and-a-half-year period, Williamson notes, is more than $180 billion! The "new financial architecture" Clinton has erected, she writes, "isn't new at all, but rather something the international public lenders have been wanting for decades, i.e., an automatic bailout for their own bad practices."

As the extent of the corruption of the Clinton-Yeltsin "reform" plan for Russia unfolded last year, with the attendant Bank of New York scandal, the mysterious death of super banker Edmond Safra in his Monte Carlo penthouse, the collapse of the Russian stock market, and the whiplash effect in Southeast Asia, Congress was pressed to hold hearings.

What resulted, as Williamson accurately narrates it, was just a smoke screen, show hearings that barely rose above the seriousness of a Gilbert and Sullivan farce - though they did result in proposed new domestic banking laws that, if passed, will effectively make banks another federal police force responsible for reporting to the U.S. government the most minute financial transactions of U.S. citizens.

Double Effect

In this regard, it is instructive to quote Williamson at length: "If the FBI, [Manhattan District Attorney] Robert Morgenthau, or Congress were serious about getting to the bottom of the plundering of Russia's assets and U.S. taxpayers' resources, they would show far more professional interest in exactly what was said and agreed in the private meetings [U.S. Treasury secretary] Larry Summers, Strobe Talbott, and [former Treasury Secretary] Robert Rubin conducted with Anatoly Chubais [former Russian finance minister, who oversaw the distribution and sale of Russian industries], and Sergie Vasiliev [Yeltsin's principal legal adviser, and a member of the Chubais clan], and later Chubais again in June and July of 1998.

"Instead of allowing Larry Summers to ramble casually in response to questions at a banking committee hearing, the Treasury secretary should be asked exactly who suckered him - his Russian friends, his own boss [former Harvard associate Robert Rubin, his boss at Treasury who was once cochairman at Goldman Sachs], or private sector counterparts of the Working Committee on Financial Markets [a White House group whose membership is drawn from the country's main financial and market institutions: the Fed, Treasury, SEC, and the Commodities & Trading Commission]. . . . Or did he just bungle the entire matter on account of wishful thinking? Or was it gross incompetence?

"The FBI and Congress ought to be very interested in establishing for taxpayers the truth of any alleged 'national security' issues that justified allowing the Harvard Institute of International Development to privatize U.S. bilateral assistance. It too should be their brief to discover the relationship between the [Swedish wheeler-dealer and crony of Sachs, Anders] Aslund/Carnegie crowd and Treasury and exactly what influence that relationship may have had on the awarding of additional grants to Harvard without competition. On what basis did Team Clinton direct their financial donor, American International Group's (AIG) Maurice Greenberg (a man nearly as ubiquitous as any Russian oligarch in sweetheart public-funding deals), to Brunswick Brokerage when sniffing out a $300 million OPIC guarantee for a Russian investment fund. . . .

And why did Michel Camdessus [who left the presidency of the IMF earlier this year] announce his sudden retirement so soon after Moscow newspapers reported that a $200,000 payment was made to him from a secret Kremlin bank account? . . .

"American and Russian citizens can never be allowed to learn what really happened to the billions lent to Yeltsin's government; it would expose the unsavory and self-interested side of our political, financial, and media elites. . . . Instead, the [House] Banking Committee hearings will use the smoke screen of policing foreign assistance flows to pass legislation that will effectively end U.S. citizens' financial privacy while making them prisoners of their citizenship. . . . The Banking Committee will use the opportunity the Russian dirty money scandal presents to reanimate the domestic 'Know Your Customer' program, which charges domestic banks with monitoring and reporting on the financial transactions in which middle-class Americans engage. This data is collected and used by various government agencies, including the IRS; meaning that if a citizen sells the family's beat-up station wagon or their 'starter' home, the taxman is alerted immediately that the citizen's filing should reflect the greater tax obligation in that year of the sale. . . . Other data on citizens for which the government has long thirsted will also be collected by government's newest police force, the banks. . . ."

You see, as this book explains, the Clinton's Russia policy did not just plunder Russians, leaving them destitute while creating a new and ruthless class of international capitalist gangsters at U.S. taxpayer expense; it had the double consequence of bringing all Americans deeper into the bankers' New World Order by increasing their debt load, decreasing their privacy, and restricting their civil rights. If only Americans cared.

[Jun 18, 2017] Amazon is monopolist which just became bigger

Jun 18, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , June 17, 2017 at 01:59 AM

(Is this anything?)

The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern
Economy https://nyti.ms/2sxhIkx via @UpshotNYT
NYT - Neil Irwin - June 16

With Amazon buying the high-end grocery chain Whole Foods, something retail analysts have known for years is now apparent to everyone: The online retailer is on a collision course with Walmart to try to be the predominant seller of pretty much everything you buy.

Each one is trying to become more like the other - Walmart by investing heavily in its technology, Amazon by opening physical bookstores and now buying physical supermarkets. But this is more than a battle between two business titans. Their rivalry sheds light on the shifting economics of nearly every major industry, replete with winner-take-all effects and huge advantages that accrue to the biggest and best-run organizations, to the detriment of upstarts and second-fiddle players.

That in turn has been a boon for consumers but also has more worrying implications for jobs, wages and inequality.

To understand this epic shift, you can look not just to the grocery business, but also to my closet, and to another retail acquisition announced Friday morning. ...

Walmart to Buy Bonobos, Men's Wear Company, for $310 Million https://nyti.ms/2tuGhf9

paine - , June 17, 2017 at 08:10 AM
When you lose confidence in your
existing biz you buy bizes
Fred C. Dobbs - , June 17, 2017 at 10:19 AM
It turns out Neil Irwin has
a thing for fine dress shirts.
pgl - , June 17, 2017 at 10:41 AM
WTF? Amazon has not lost confidence in creating a monopsony for buying and selling stuff. It just expanded their empire to groceries.
Paine - , June 17, 2017 at 12:35 PM
Cornering as many markets as possible
is a fools mission

The problem
corporations get to keep their cash flow

Review the nonsense oil companies got into when rolling in cash
Thanks to OPEC

pgl - , June 17, 2017 at 02:38 PM
WTF? You clearly never looked at Amazon's income statement.
JohnH - , June 17, 2017 at 04:28 PM
Amazon's business model is to become the dominant intermediary between producers and consumers.

Whole Foods positions it to ideally serve this role in every local market in America...one stop shopping, whether you're buying from China or from the local Chinatown.

When a company like Amazon is capturing market share, profits don't matter, as its stock price shows.

And Bezos ownerships of the Washington Post gives him a powerful bully pulpit against anyone with thoughts about anti-trust...that and his deep pockets.

cm - , June 17, 2017 at 12:38 PM
I wouldn't call it confidence. Any line or mode of business can be grown only to a certain size. At some point S-curve effects and scale complexity lead to diminishing returns, even if the business is managed as well as it can be. Also in some cases there may simply not be enough demand for the one or few things the company does.

Then companies have to branch out into other ways of business, typically outside their current activities. Sometimes there is synergy, sometimes not, and it's just about buying market and revenue with the imagination one can manage it better to a higher rate of profit.

Paine - , June 17, 2017 at 01:31 PM
Or

They can turn into passive cash cows

cm - , June 17, 2017 at 04:40 PM
Yes, though usually there is a growth mandate imposed by management or "investors".
Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 07:11 AM
Now we are in the heart of darkness

Growth mandates
Where growth is earnings
Or revenues or market shares or

And indeed too often
management v stock holders mandates overt or tacit obtain

Gibbon1 - , June 17, 2017 at 10:19 PM
Comment over brunch: Must be getting late in the cycle. Amazon shrewdly using it's internet valuation to buy tangible things.
Paine - , June 18, 2017 at 07:11 AM
True

[May 30, 2017] The tendency toward monopoly among data gathering disrupters

May 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview
point May 26, 2017 at 05:55 AM
https://promarket.org/big-data-competition/

An enlightening discussion on the tendency toward monopoly among data gathering disrupters. Especially important seems to be the possibility of fine-grained price discrimination. While saying not all price discrimination is considered negative by economists without studying it, it does seem discrimination should be taken as prima facie evidence of monopoly.

While the article talks about monopoly and capture in this area, let me reiterate that looking around the more regular corporate ecosystem there is increasing concentration among buyers and often among suppliers that seems not to attract anti-trust attention as long as the final consumer seems to be not harmed. "Not harmed" does not include missing out on falling prices no longer competed for.

[May 27, 2017] "Markets Today Are Radically Different Than What We Believe - We Have the Façade of Competition -

May 27, 2017 | promarket.org

Valletti, who is also a Professor of Economics at the Imperial College Business School and the University of Rome Tor Vergata, discussed the EC's investigation into the Facebook-WhatsApp merger during the panel. Facebook, he said, had "lied" to European regulators about its ability to absorb WhatsApp's user data, but the larger issue was market definition.

"Would the decision on the merger have changed had the Commission known that information at the time?" asked Valletti, who joined theEC in 2016. "At the time, the Commission defined the relevant market as non-search advertising. This is a huge market. In that ocean, even Facebook doesn't have a lot of market power. If instead the market definition had been, for instance, advertising on social networks, [it's]likely theywould have concluded that Facebook would have been dominant in that particular market, and that integrating that useful information from [WhatsApp] could have enhanced its market power." Valletti also stressedthe importance of having individual-level data when discussing issues like competition at the advertising market, and not just looking at market shares.

Pasquale and Taplin, meanwhile, criticized U.S. antitrust authorities, with Taplin saying that digital platforms have "done very well because they have a certain regulatory capture" and Pasquale remarkingthat "U.S. antitrust policy is rapidly becoming a pro-trust policy."

As an example of this "pro-trust" policy, Pasquale cited the FTC's lawsuit against online contact lens retailer 1-800 Contacts . 1-800 Contacts was sued by the FTC last yearfor having reached agreements with 14 other online contact lens sellers that they would not advertise to customers who had searched for 1-800 Contacts online."You would imagine that given the power of these [companies], and given the activity in Europe and many other nations, our enforcers would be extremely concerned about these platforms. They are-they're concerned about little companies hurting the platforms," he said.

The FTC, added Pasquale, had pursued the 1-800 Contacts case aggressively. "I'm not here to comment on the merits of this case, but I think that the choice of this enforcement target speaks volumes. What does it say? It says that if small firms arebeing exploited or hurt by a big digital behemoth, or think [they]are, don't try in any way to coordinate or maintain your independence. What you should do is all combine and merge and become a giant, say, contacts firm. In the media, they should all combine and merge and maybe all be bought by Comcast, so that then they can negotiate with Google in a way that they are relatively of the same size and power. That's the pro-trust message we're getting under current non-enforcement U.S. antitrust policy."

[Apr 28, 2017] Monopolization Amazon-style

Notable quotes:
"... Eros the bittersweet ..."
Apr 28, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Carla , April 26, 2017 at 4:11 pm

You mean if Borders had become Barnes & Noble? Well, B&N is struggling, too.

Just like Walmart, Amazon's business model ELIMINATES the competition. In my view, every Amazon purchase is a rock thrown through the window of a local retailer, large or small. Personally, if I ever throw rocks, they're going to be aimed bigger and better targets than that.

Octopii , April 26, 2017 at 7:55 pm

B&N closed their Georgetown (DC) store a couple of years ago, IIRC right before the xmas season got started. It was an oasis on a side of town that would rather sell you a $500 pair of pants dotted with embroidered lobsters. The building was a nicely reclaimed three-floor warehouse space with coffee and lounging areas, and it had become a nice excuse to go into DC and hang out.

jrs , April 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm

because noone can afford what a new (dead tree) book costs. I get everything used for a few bucks a book.

RUKidding , April 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm

but but but used books have to start as new books sometime

Uahsenaa , April 26, 2017 at 5:34 pm

I'm not sure this is entirely true. Just as an example, a trade paperback I bought in 1998 for a cover price of $12.95 (Anne Carson's Eros the bittersweet ) now has a cover price of $13.95, only a dollar more. The BLS's CPI calculator says the book should cost $19.54 in today's dollars.

That doesn't strike me as unaffordable. It's possible that if I went out and bought a copy of the book now, the printing might be worse, or the paper of a lower quality, but I cannot imagine it being much worse than the copy I already own.

Tertium Squid , April 26, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Use interlibrary loan and never buy another book at all.

[Apr 17, 2017] Clinton was always a sclezy dealer on word of whom only fool can rely

Apr 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

Agent76 , April 16, 2017 at 3:19 pm GMT \n

October 18, 1994 Remarks on the Nuclear Agreement With North Korea William J. Clinton

Good afternoon. I am pleased that the United States and North Korea yesterday reached agreement on the text of a framework document on North Korea's nuclear program.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=49319

[Apr 06, 2017] Inequality and the Lake Wobegon Effect

Apr 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
"Our Efforts to Deal With Tech Firms' Market Dominance in the U.S. Have Been an Abject Failure" : ...Q: The five largest internet and tech companies-Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft-have outstanding market share in their markets. Are current antitrust policies and theories able to deal with the potential problems that arise from the dominant positions of these companies and the vast data they collect on users?
Our efforts to deal with the problems in the United States have been an abject failure. ...I might note that Facebook's dominant position in the market is due in part to its role as an innovator and partly to "network externalities"... Microsoft's dominant position is also attributable in part to network externalities...
But the antitrust agencies have not taken sufficient measures to remedy abuses of this advantage.
Q: Is there a connection between the growing inequality in the U.S. and concentration, dominant firms, and winner-take-all markets?
I believe there is. The evidence of rising wealth inequality, especially through the work of Piketty and co-authors, is compelling. Less well known is evidence compiled at M.I.T. of strongly rising inequality of compensation, especially at the top executive levels. The nexus has not to my knowledge been fully articulated.
Here's my hypothesis: In recent decades, most publicly-traded corporations, at least in the United States, have embraced executive compensation consultants to advise the board of directors on executive compensation levels. Those consultants provide data on compensation averages and distributions for companies in peer industries. But then the Lake Wobegon effect goes to work. The boards say, "Surely, our guy isn't below average," to the average reported by the compensation consultants becomes the minimum standard for compensation. If each top executive receives at least the minimum reported pay and often more, the average rises steadily.
Indeed, and here I tread on weaker ground, those compensation costs are built into the costs considered by companies in their product pricing decisions (in a kind of rent-seeking model), and so price levels rise to accommodate rising compensation. I might note that this dynamic applies not only for chief executives, but trickles down to embrace most of companies' management personnel. ...
JohnH , March 22, 2017 at 11:04 AM
As I said a couple days ago, "Good to see economists finally addressing issues that John Kenneth Galbraith raised 50 years ago...but were largely ignored since then by 'librul' economists who didn't want to cross the folks who had funded their academic chairs."

For the past 40 years, corporate strategic planning has been all about market dominance. Back in the late 1970s Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter was all the rage along with the Boston Consulting Group, Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, and GE's Jack Welch. the mantra was that if you couldn't dominate a market, best get out. Weaker players were tolerated mostly to allay anti-trust intrusion.

Meanwhile, Republicans tacitly supported it, Democrats turned a blind eye, and 'librul' economists were off doing whatever they do.

Maximilian , March 22, 2017 at 12:44 PM
Evidence in support of Sherer's hypothesis can be found in Tom DiPrete et al's 2010 article in AJS: Compensation Benchmarking, Leapfrogs, and the Surge in Executive Pay. They write: "Scholars frequently argue whether the sharp rise in chief executive officer (CEO) pay in recent years is "efficient" or is a consequence of "rent extraction" because of the failure of corporate governance in individual firms. This article argues that governance failure must be conceptualized at the market rather than the firm level because excessive pay increases for even relatively few CEOs a year spread to other firms through the cognitively and rhetorically constructed compensation networks of "peer groups," which are used in the benchmarking process to negotiate the compensation of CEOs. Counterfactual simulation based on Standard and Poor's ExecuComp data demonstrates that the effects of CEO "leapfrogging" potentially explain a considerable fraction of the overall upward movement of executive compensation since the early 1990s."
https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac%3A139538
point , March 22, 2017 at 01:08 PM
The story told is nearly exactly the one Warren Buffett has been telling since 95, maybe earlier, so I do not know who was prior.

[Mar 22, 2017] Market power in the U.S. economy today

Notable quotes:
"... Labor market anyone -- where market power also translates to political power -- if labor has decent market power? Toothless (as in no penalty for crushing unions for 80 years) institutions are the reality. ..."
"... Do you guys ever talk about anything other but what the other guys talk about? ..."
Mar 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Overview The U.S. economy has a "market power" problem, notwithstanding our strong and extensive antitrust institutions. The surprising conjunction of the exercise of market power with well-established antitrust norms, precedents, and enforcement institutions is the central paradox of U.S. competition policy today. Market power in the U.S. economy today : As this policy brief explains, the harms from the exercise of firms' market power may extend beyond individual markets affected to include slower overall economic growth and increased economic inequality. The implications for future economic productivity and welfare are troubling, but before detailing these consequences, it is necessary to understand why market power is a major issue despite well-established antitrust enforcement institutions and legal precedents. ...

anne : , March 20, 2017 at 11:34 AM

https://promarket.org/convincing-evidence-concentration-rising/

March 19, 2017

"There Is Convincing Evidence That Concentration Has Been Rising"
Interview of John E. Kwoka

mulp : , March 20, 2017 at 12:26 PM
Five Walmarts competing with each other would not raise worker wages above the wages Walmart pays. In fact, it would lower wages.

I remember Milton Friedman's Newsweek columns circa 1970 which are deep behind a paywall so I can't even find a date and title.

I remember one where he argued for utility deregulation and introduction of competition to lower prices of electricity and telephone service.

He argued that the PUC was captured by the utility that by regulation made a business profit only on ROIC plus a small rent on operating costs. By regulation, capital was always depreciating, thus a power plant or the wires and poles distributing power were constantly falling in value. The depreciation was an expense plus the labor costs which determined the base rate, with a 8-10% return on capital, the original labor costs of the power plant and wires and poles minus depreciation and a rent on operating labor.

So, how does a utility earn higher profit?

It must pay workers with capital to build more assets, more power plants, more and better power wires and poles. And it must pay more to workers to operate the utility.

In other words, profit increased the more paid to labor. The PUC had to approve these labor costs as prudent, but paying prevailing union wages was prudent. Thus, the utility could meet the demands of unions for higher wages, for more people on the job.

Worse, the PUC would get hammered with complaints if the utility was unreliable, so most regulators approved utility requests to build redundant power plants and build redundant power lines, plus hire redundant workers who could be put to work recovering from storm damage.

Thus, in Milton Friedman's view, government sanctioning a monopoly resulted in too much, too reliable service that paid too many workers too much money at the expense of all customers, especially customers who did not need the reliability.

Worse, the utilities were constantly trying to get customers to buy more to justify building more capital assets to increase profits.

And even worse, too many workers were paid too much which resulted in too much consumption, thus too much production, and that created too much demand for labor, driving up wages and increasing the number of workers, driving up I incomes and consumption.

He noted that the rush to build nuclear power plants was driven by their high capital costs and nearly purely utility labor operating costs - the utility did not pay for coal for which it got no business profit.

Thus his efforts to deregulate utilities: cutting labor costs, cutting business profits. He argued for fewer workers operating utilities and building capital assets, with economic profits driving investment decisions. Ie, a 20% profit would drive more investment, but a 5% profit would drive layoffs and cuts in reliability. Any individual who needed reliability would simply pay more to get higher reliability.

And as utilities were deregulated as he called or as best as it could be done, we have seen job losses, pay cuts, higher unreliability, sometimes bankruptcy, and other times extremely high profits, often both at the same time. When PURPA was implemented by States and utilities forced to sell power generation, then nuclear power plants were sold below the book capital cost, by these forced sales were deemed takings, so the losses from sales became stranded costs added to the rate base as depreciation. Meanwhile, as investment in new power plants fell, nuclear power plants became very profitable as market prices rose. So, the utility was going bankrupt after forced to sell assets while the assets were generating 20% or more on purchase price returns, but less than 10% on construction cost.

Friedman made the same argument for passenger airlines. Airlines paid high wages and had large cabin crews and most were profitable enough to work hard to increase customer demand. They got approval to offer low fares at the last minute to students and other classes of non-customers. Thanks to regulation. Then deregulation happened, and every airline but one went bankrupt, service quality declined, worker wages slashed, crews in the air and on the ground cut.

Friedman argued that everyone benefits from competition and is harmed by monopoly, especially regulated monopoly, because too many workers are paid too much, and those workers consume too much, and everyone is forced to pay too much to live.

Thus the creation of free lunch economics: Driving down prices but increasing profits will make everyone better off as those evil workers get less pay, costing consumers much less.

Workers are not valued consumers. Valued consumers are not workers.

Milton Friedman was not a worker, but a valued intellectual and consumer.

pgl -> mulp... , March 20, 2017 at 01:09 PM
"Five Walmarts competing with each other would not raise worker wages above the wages Walmart pays. In fact, it would lower wages."

So you accept the Economism view of labor markets where monopsony power does not exist? Sorry but the labor market evidence questions this perfectly competitive view of labor markets.

JohnH : , March 20, 2017 at 01:09 PM
Good to see economists finally addressing issues that John Kenneth Galbraith raised 50 years ago...but were largely ignored since then by 'librul' economists who didn't want to cross the folks who had funded their academic chairs.
pgl -> JohnH... , March 20, 2017 at 01:10 PM
So John Kenneth Galbraith was a right winger? Could you please stop this silly parade that liberal economists have never talked about what they often talk about. It is beyond pointless.
JohnH -> pgl... , March 20, 2017 at 01:45 PM
Oh, please. 'Librul' economists have mostly ignored monopoly and oligopoly for years. And Galbraith was definitely NOT a conservative, but academic economists largely ignored his valuable contributions.

Pay attention!

JohnH -> JohnH... , March 20, 2017 at 01:52 PM
As a measure of 'librul' concern about monopoly and oligopoly, Krugman talks about this even less than he talks about inequality...less than twice a year.
JohnH -> pgl... , March 20, 2017 at 07:05 PM
Market concentration, monopoly, and oligopoly aren't even listed as categories at economistsview!

Yet pgl tries to assure us that 'librul' economists take this issue seriously...guffaw, guffaw.

Flat Eric -> JohnH... , March 21, 2017 at 06:58 AM
Nor are labor economics, trade or public economics. So what?

Competition economics is still a huge and very active topic within the discipline. Indeed, the last but one Nobel winner, Jean Tirole, works extensively in this area.

Denis Drew : , March 20, 2017 at 02:08 PM
"Overview The U.S. economy has a "market power" problem, notwithstanding our strong and extensive antitrust institutions."

Labor market anyone -- where market power also translates to political power -- if labor has decent market power? Toothless (as in no penalty for crushing unions for 80 years) institutions are the reality.

Do you guys ever talk about anything other but what the other guys talk about?

point : , March 20, 2017 at 05:54 PM
"The U.S. economy has a "market power" problem, notwithstanding our strong and extensive antitrust institutions. The surprising conjunction of the exercise of market power with well-established antitrust norms, precedents, and enforcement institutions is the central paradox of U.S. competition policy today."

Left off the subsequent list of possible explanations is that the first above statement just may be false.

point -> point... , March 20, 2017 at 09:46 PM
Thinking especially about the "notwithstanding our strong and extensive antitrust institutions" part.

[Jan 26, 2017] But Clintons negative effects were also related to the weakening the only countervailing force remaining on the way of the neoliberalism -- trade unionism. So he played the role of subversive agent in the Democratic Party. His betrayal of trade union political interests and his demoralizing role should be underestimated.

Notable quotes:
"... Most of the major changes he mentions are clearly and explicitly the consequence of policy changes, mostly by Republicans, starting with Reagan: deregulation, lower taxes on the wealthy, a lack of antitrust enforcement, and the like. ..."
Jan 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
DrDick, January 25, 2017 at 11:07 AM
This is frankly rather disingenuous. Most of the major changes he mentions are clearly and explicitly the consequence of policy changes, mostly by Republicans, starting with Reagan: deregulation, lower taxes on the wealthy, a lack of antitrust enforcement, and the like.

libezkova -> DrDick... January 25, 2017 at 09:29 PM

The first POTUS who cut tax rates was JFK.

sanjait -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 11:20 AM
Read through the link and it's not nearly that simple, especially when you consider the fact that some trends, though plausibly or certainly reinforced through policy, aren't entirely or even primarily caused by policy.
DrDick -> sanjait... , January 25, 2017 at 01:45 PM
I did not say they were the *only* factors, but they are the primary causes. If you look at the timelines and data trends it is pretty clear. Reagan broke the power of the Unions and started deregulation (financialization is a consequence of this), which is the period when the big increases began. Automation plays a secondary role in this. what has happened is that the few industries which are most conducive to automation have remained here (like final assembly of automobiles), while the many, more labor intensive industries (automobile components manufacturing) have been offshored to low wage, not labor or environmental protections countries.
libezkova -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 05:39 PM
Both parties participated in the conversion of the USA into neoliberal society. So it was a bipartisan move.

Clinton did a lot of dirty work in this direction and was later royally remunerated for his betrayal of the former constituency of the Democratic Party and conversion it into "yet another neoliberal party"

Obama actually continued Bush and Clinton work. He talked about 'change we can believe in' while saving Wall street and real estate speculators from jail they fully deserved.

DrDick -> libezkova... , January 25, 2017 at 07:40 PM
Clinton contributed, but the Republicans did all the real heavy lifting. I was in my late 20s and early 30s during Reagan.
libezkova -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 09:25 PM
Very true. Republicans were in the vanguard and did most heavy lifting. That's undeniable.

But Clinton's negative effects were also related to the weakening the only countervailing force remaining on the way of the neoliberalism -- trade unionism. So he played the role of "subversive agent" in the Democratic Party. His betrayal of trade union political interests and his demoralizing role should be underestimated.

[Jan 20, 2017] The Clinton Foundation Is Dead - But The Case Against Hillary Isn't

Jan 19, 2017 | www.investors.com

hile everyone's been gearing up for President Trump's inauguration, the Clinton Foundation made a major announcement this week that went by with almost no notice: For all intents and purposes, it's closing its doors.

In a tax filing, the Clinton Global Initiative said it's firing 22 staffers and closing its offices, a result of the gusher of foreign money that kept the foundation afloat suddenly drying up after Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.

It proves what we've said all along: The Clinton Foundation was little more than an influence-peddling scheme to enrich the Clintons, and had little if anything to do with "charity," either overseas or in the U.S. That sound you heard starting in November was checkbooks being snapped shut in offices around the world by people who had hoped their donations would buy access to the next president of the United States.

And why not? There was a strong precedent for it in Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state. While serving as the nation's top diplomat, the Clinton Foundation took money from at least seven foreign governments - a clear breach of Clinton's pledge on taking office that there would be total separation between her duties and the foundation.

Is there a smoking gun? Well, of the 154 private interests who either officially met or had scheduled phone talks with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state, at least 85 were donors to the Clinton Foundation or one of its programs.

... ... ...

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch in August obtained emails (that had been hidden from investigators) showing that Clinton's top State Department aide, Huma Abedin, had given "special expedited access to the secretary of state" for those who gave $25,000 to $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. Many of those were facilitated by a former executive of the foundation, Doug Band, who headed Teneo, a shell company that managed the Clintons' affairs.

As part of this elaborate arrangement, Abedin was given special permission to work for the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and Teneo - another very clear conflict of interest.

As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time, "These new emails confirm that Hillary Clinton abused her office by selling favors to Clinton Foundation donors."

The seedy saga doesn't end there. Indeed, there are so many facets to it, some may never be known. But there is still at least one and possibly four active federal investigations into the Clintons' supposed charity.

Americans aren't willing to forgive and forget. Earlier this month, the IBD/TIPP Poll asked Americans whether they would like President Obama to pardon Hillary for any crimes she may have committed as secretary of state, including the illegal use of an unsecured homebrew email server. Of those queried, 57% said no. So if public sentiment is any guide, the Clintons' problems may just be beginning.

Writing in the Washington Post in August of 2016, Charles Krauthammer pretty much summed up the whole tawdry tale : "The foundation is a massive family enterprise disguised as a charity, an opaque and elaborate mechanism for sucking money from the rich and the tyrannous to be channeled to Clinton Inc.," he wrote. "Its purpose is to maintain the Clintons' lifestyle (offices, travel accommodations, etc.), secure profitable connections, produce favorable publicity and reliably employ a vast entourage of retainers, ready to serve today and at the coming Clinton Restoration."

Except, now there is no Clinton Restoration. So there's no reason for any donors to give money to the foundation. It lays bare the fiction of a massive "charitable organization," and shows it for what it was: a scam to sell for cash the waning influence of the Democrats' pre-eminent power couple. As far as the charity landscape goes, the Clinton Global Initiative won't be missed.

[Jan 01, 2017] The Death of Clintonism

Twenty-five years ago, Bill Clinton almost single-handedly sold the Democratic Party to Wall Street making it the second neoliberal party in the USA (soft neoliberals) and betaying interest of working class and middle class. The political base of the party became "neoliberal intelligencia" and minority groups, such as sexual minorities, feminists (with strong lesbian bent) deceived by neoliberals part of black community (that part that did not manage to get in jail yet ;-) , etc. Clintonism (aka "soft" neoliberalism) as an ideology was dead after 2007, but still exists in zombie stage. and even counterattacks in some countries.
The author is afraid using the term "neoliberalism" like most Us MSM. Which is a shame. In this sense defeat of Hillary Clinton was just the last nail in the coffin of "soft neoliberalism" (Third Way) ideology. Tony Blair was send to dustbin of history even earlier then that. Destruction of jobs turned many members of trade unions hostile to Democrats (so much for "they have nowhere to go" Bill Clinton dirty trick) and they became easy pray of far right. In this sense Bill Clinton is the godfather of far right in the USA and he bears full personal responsibility for Trump election.
In foreign policy Clinton was a regular bloodthirsty neocon persuing glibal neoliberal empire led by the USA, with Madeline Albright as the first (but not last) warmonger female Secretary of State
Notable quotes:
"... Twenty-five years ago, Bill Clinton almost single-handedly repositioned the Democratic Party for electoral success, co-opting and defusing Republican talking points ..."
"... "New Democrat" he'd once exemplified was now extinct, a victim first of Clinton's own successes, and then of the economic and social dislocations of the globalism whose inevitability he foresaw when he predicted that Americans would one day "change jobs four or five times in their lifetimes!" ..."
"... Bill Clinton's "Third Way" ideology was also undone by sheer geopolitical realities ..."
"... ..."People thought she'd been conceived in Goldman Sachs' trading desk," says one veteran Clinton aide ..."
"... his personal and sexual misconduct in office, and his and his wife's tendency toward legalistic corner-cutting-a point Sanders also drove home, even as he disavowed any interest in "her damn emails." ..."
Dec 30, 2016 | www.politico.com

their quarter-century project to build a mutual buy-one, get-one-free Clinton dynasty has ended in her defeat, and their joint departure from the center of the national political stage they had hoped to occupy for another eight years. Their exit amounts to a finale not just for themselves, but for Clintonism as a working political ideology and electoral strategy.

Twenty-five years ago, Bill Clinton almost single-handedly repositioned the Democratic Party for electoral success, co-opting and defusing Republican talking points and moving the party toward the center on issues like welfare and a balanced budget, in the process becoming the first presidential nominee of his party since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win two consecutive terms.

... ... ...

"New Democrat" he'd once exemplified was now extinct, a victim first of Clinton's own successes, and then of the economic and social dislocations of the globalism whose inevitability he foresaw when he predicted that Americans would one day "change jobs four or five times in their lifetimes!"

Bill Clinton's "Third Way" ideology was also undone by sheer geopolitical realities -- there are almost no Blue Dog Democrats left after a generation of redistricting, primary challenges and electoral defeats in the South

...while Hillary Clinton recognized the change intellectually, she seemed unable to catch up to the practical realities of its political implications for her campaign

..."People thought she'd been conceived in Goldman Sachs' trading desk," says one veteran Clinton aide

...Obama had not only largely overlooked the concerns of white working-class voters but, with his health care overhaul, had been seen as punishing them financially to provide new benefits to the poorest Americans. Fairly or not, he lost the public argument.

...Bill Clinton himself was far from an unalloyed asset in Hillary's campaign this year. The rosy glow that had come to surround much of his post presidency, and his charitable foundation's good works around the world, receded in the face of Trump's relentless reminders of his personal and sexual misconduct in office, and his and his wife's tendency toward legalistic corner-cutting-a point Sanders also drove home, even as he disavowed any interest in "her damn emails."

[Dec 31, 2016] What Happened to Obamas Passion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael August 7, 2011

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

Bill Levine August 7, 2011

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

AnAverageAmerican August 7, 2011

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

cdearman Santa Fe, NM August 7, 2011

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

SP California August 7, 2011

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

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

farospace san francisco August 7, 2011

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

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

Richard Katz American in Oxford, UK August 7, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

An Ordinary American Prague August 7, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

martin Portland, Oregon August 7, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps all of these are true.

[Dec 27, 2016] Class Struggle In The USA

Notable quotes:
"... Rich individuals (who are willing to be interviewed) also express concern about inequality but generally oppose using higher taxes on the rich to fight it. Scheiber is very willing to bluntly state his guess (and everyone's) that candidates are eager to please the rich, because they spend much of their time begging the rich for contributions. ..."
"... Of course another way to reduce inequality is to raise wages. Buried way down around paragraph 9 I found this gem: "Forty percent of the wealthy, versus 78 percent of the public, said the government should make the minimum wage "high enough so that no family with a full-time worker falls below the official poverty line." ..."
"... The current foundational rules embedded in tax law, intellectual property law, corporate construction law, and other elements of our legal and regulatory system result in distributions that favor those with capital or in a position to seek rents. This isn't a situation that calls for a Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. It is more a question of how elites have rigged the system to work primarily for them. ..."
"... the problem is incomes and demand, and the first and best answer for creating demand for workers and higher wages to compete for those workers is full employment. ..."
"... if you are proposing raising taxes on the rich SO THAT you can cut taxes on the non rich you are simply proposing theft. ..."
"... what we are looking at here is simple old fashioned greed just as stupid and ugly among the "non rich" as it is among the rich. ..."
"... you play into the hands of the Petersons who want to "cut taxes" and leave the poor elderly to die on the streets, and the poor non-elderly to spend their lives in anxiety and fear-driven greed trying to provide against desperate poverty in old age absent any reliable security for their savings.) ..."
"... made by the ayn rand faithful. it is wearisome. ..."
"... The only cure for organized greed is organized labor. ..."
"... A typical voice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues" ..."
Mar 29, 2015 | Angry Bear

Noam Scheiber has a hard hitting article on the front page of www.nytimes.com "2016 Candidates and Wealthy Are Aligned on Inequality"

The content should be familiar to AngryBear readers. A majority of Americans are alarmed by high and increasing inequality and support government action to reduce inequality. However, none of the important 2016 candidates has expressed any willingness to raise taxes on the rich. The Republicans want to cut them and Clinton (and a spokesperson) dodge the question.

Rich individuals (who are willing to be interviewed) also express concern about inequality but generally oppose using higher taxes on the rich to fight it. Scheiber is very willing to bluntly state his guess (and everyone's) that candidates are eager to please the rich, because they spend much of their time begging the rich for contributions.

No suprise to anyone who has been paying attention except for the fact that it is on the front page of www.nytimes.com and the article is printed in the business section not the opinion section. Do click the link - it is brief, to the point, solid, alarming and a must read.

I clicked one of the links and found weaker evidence than I expected for Scheiber's view (which of course I share

"By contrast, more than half of Americans and three-quarters of Democrats believe the "government should redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich," according to a Gallup poll of about 1,000 adults in April 2013."

It is a small majority 52% favor and 47% oppose. This 52 % is noticeably smaller than the solid majorities who have been telling Gallup that high income individuals pay less than their fair share of taxes (click and search for Gallup on the page).

I guess this isn't really surprising - the word "heavy" is heavy maaaan and "redistribute" evokes the dreaded welfare (and conservatives have devoted gigantic effort to giving it pejorative connotations). The 52% majority is remarkable given the phrasing of the question. But it isn't enough to win elections, since it is 52% of adults which corresponds to well under 52% of actual voters.

My reading is that it is important for egalitarians to stress the tax cuts for the non rich and that higher taxes on the rich are, unfortunately, necessary if we are to have lower taxes on the non rich without huge budget deficits. This is exactly Obama's approach.

Comments (87)

Jerry Critter

March 29, 2015 10:40 pm

Get rid of tax breaks that only the wealthy can take advantage of and perhaps everyone will pay their fair share. The same goes for corporations.

amateur socialist

March 30, 2015 11:42 am

Of course another way to reduce inequality is to raise wages. Buried way down around paragraph 9 I found this gem: "Forty percent of the wealthy, versus 78 percent of the public, said the government should make the minimum wage "high enough so that no family with a full-time worker falls below the official poverty line."

I'm fine with raising people's taxes by increasing their wages. A story I heard on NPR recently indicated that a single person needs to make about $17-19 an hour to cover most basic necessities nowadays (the story went on to say that most people in that situation are working 2 or more jobs to get enough income, a "solution" that creates more problems with health/stress etc.). A full time worker supporting kids needs more than $20.

You double the minimum wage and strengthen people's rights to organize union representation. Tax revenues go up (including SS contributions btw) and we add significant growth to the economy with the increased purchasing power of workers. People can go back to working 40-50 hours a week and cut back on moonlighting which creates new job opportunities for the younger folks decimated by this so called recovery.

Win Win Win Win. And the poor overburdened millionaires don't have to have their poor tax fee fees hurt.

Mark Jamison, March 30, 2015 8:09 pm

How about if we get rid of the "re" and call it what it is "distribution". The current foundational rules embedded in tax law, intellectual property law, corporate construction law, and other elements of our legal and regulatory system result in distributions that favor those with capital or in a position to seek rents.

This isn't a situation that calls for a Robin Hood who takes from the rich and gives to the poor. It is more a question of how elites have rigged the system to work primarily for them. Democrats cede the rhetoric to the Right when they allow the discussion to be about redistribution. Even talk of inequality without reference to the basic legal constructs that are rigged to create slanted outcomes tend to accepted premises that are in and of themselves false.

The issue shouldn't be rejiggering things after the the initial distribution but creating a system with basic rules that level the opportunity playing field.

coberly, March 30, 2015 11:03 pm

Thank You Mark Jamison!

An elegant, informed writer who says it better than I can.

But here is how I would say it:

Addressing "inequality" by "tax the rich" is the wrong answer and a political loser.

Address inequality by re-criminalizing the criminal practices of the criminal rich. Address inequality by creating well paying jobs with government jobs if necessary (and there is necessary work to be done by the government), with government protection for unions, with government policies that make it less profitable to off shore

etc. the direction to take is to make the economy more fair . actually more "free" though you'll never get the free enterprise fundamentalists to admit that's what it is. You WILL get the honest rich on your side. They don't like being robbed any more than you do.

But you will not, in America, get even poor people to vote to "take from the rich to give to the poor." It has something to do with the "story" Americans have been telling themselves since 1776. A story heard round the world.

That said, there is nothing wrong with raising taxes on the rich to pay for the government THEY need as well as you. But don't raise taxes to give the money to the poor. They won't do it, and even the poor don't want it except as a last resort, which we hope we are not at yet.

urban legend, March 31, 2015 2:07 am

Coberly, you are dead-on. Right now, taxation is the least issue. Listen to Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker: the problem is incomes and demand, and the first and best answer for creating demand for workers and higher wages to compete for those workers is full employment. Minimum wage will help at the margins to push incomes up, and it's the easiest initial legislative sell, but the public will support policies - mainly big-big infrastructure modernization in a country that has neglected its infrastructure for a generation - that signal a firm commitment to full employment.

It's laying right there for the Democrats to pick it up. Will they? Having policies that are traditional Democratic policies will not do the job. For believability - for convincing voters they actually have a handle on what has been wrong and how to fix it - they need to have a story for why we have seem unable to generate enough jobs for over a decade. The neglect of infrastructure - the unfilled millions of jobs that should have gone to keeping it up to date and up to major-country standards - should be a big part of that story. Trade and manufacturing, to be sure, is the other big element that will connect with voters. Many Democrats (including you know who) are severely compromised on trade, but they need to find a way to come own on the right side with the voters.

coberly, March 31, 2015 10:52 am

Robert

i wish you'd give some thought to the other comments on this post.

if you are proposing raising taxes on the rich SO THAT you can cut taxes on the non rich you are simply proposing theft. if you were proposing raising taxes on the rich to provide reasonable welfare to those who need it you would be asking the rich to contribute to the strength of their own country and ultimately their own wealth.

i hope you can see the difference.

it is especially irritating to me because many of the "non rich" who want their taxes cut make more than twice as much as i do. what we are looking at here is simple old fashioned greed just as stupid and ugly among the "non rich" as it is among the rich.

"the poor" in this country do not pay a significant amount of taxes (Social Security and Medicare are not "taxes," merely an efficient way for us to pay for our own direct needs . as long as you call them taxes you play into the hands of the Petersons who want to "cut taxes" and leave the poor elderly to die on the streets, and the poor non-elderly to spend their lives in anxiety and fear-driven greed trying to provide against desperate poverty in old age absent any reliable security for their savings.)

Kai-HK, April 4, 2015 12:23 am

coberly,

Thanks for your well-reasoned response.

You state, 'i personally am not much interested in the "poor capitalist will flee the country if you tax him too much." in fact i'd say good riddance, and by the way watch out for that tarriff when you try to sell your stuff here.'

(a) What happens after thy leave? Sure you can get one-time 'exit tax' but you lose all the intellectual capital (think of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Steve Jobs leaving and taking their intellectual property and human capital with them). These guys are great jobs creators it will not only be the 'bad capitalists' that leave but also many of the 'job creating' good ones.

(b) I am less worried about existing job creating capitalists in America; what about the future ones? The ones that either flee overseas and make their wealth there or are already overseas and then have a plethora of places they can invest but why bother investing in the US if all they are going to do is call me a predator and then seize my assets and or penalise me for investing there? Right? It is the future investment that gets impacted not current wealth per se.

You also make a great point, 'the poor are in the worst position with respect to shifting their tax burden on to others. the rich do it as a matter of course. it would be simpler just to tax the rich there are fewer of them, and they know what is at stake, and they can afford accountants. the rest of us would pay our "taxes" in the form of higher prices for what we buy.'

Investment capital will go where it is best treated and to attract investment capital a market must provide a competitive return (profit margin or return on investment). Those companies and investment that stay will do so because they are able to maintain that margin .and they will do so by either reducing wages or increasing prices. Where they can do neither, their will exit the market.

That is why, according to research, a bulk of the corporate taxation falls on workers and consumers as a pass-on effect. The optimum corporate tax is 0. This will be the case as taxation increases on the owners of businesses and capital .workers, the middle class, and the poor pay it. The margins stay competitive for the owners of capital since capital is highly mobile and fungible.Workers and the poor less so.

But thanks again for the tone and content of your response. I often get attacked personally for my views instead of people focusing on the issue. I appreciate the respite.

K

coberly, April 4, 2015 12:34 pm

kai

yes, but you missed the point.

i am sick of the whining about taxes. it takes so much money to run the country (including the kind of pernicious poverty that will turn the US into sub-saharan africa. and then who will buy their products.

i can't do much about the poor whining about taxes. they are just people with limited understanding, except for their own pressing needs. the rich know what the taxes are needed for, they are just stupid about paying them. of course they would pass the taxes through to their customers. the customers would still buy what they need/want at the new price. leaving everyone pretty much where they are today financially. but the rich would be forced to be grownup about "paying" the taxes, and maybe the politics of "don't tax me tax the other guy" would go away.

as for the sainted bill gates. there are plenty of other people in this country as smart as he is and would be happy to sell us computer operating systems and pay the taxes on their billion dollars a year profits.

nothing breaks my heart more than a whining millionaire.

Kai-HK

April 4, 2015 11:32 pm

Sure I got YOUR point, it just didn't address MY points as put forth in MY original post. And it still doesn't.

More importantly, you have failed to defend YOUR point against even a rudimentary challenge.

K

coberly, April 5, 2015 12:45 pm

kai,

rudimentary is right.

i have read your "points" about sixteen hundred times in the last year alone. made by the ayn rand faithful. it is wearisome.

and i have learned there is no point in trying to talk to true believers.

William Ryan, May 13, 2015 4:43 pm

Thanks again Coberly for your and K's very thoughtful insight. You guys really made me think hard today and I do see your points about perverted capitalism being a big problem in US. I still do like the progressive tax structure and balanced trade agenda better.

I realize as you say that we cannot compare US to Hong Kong just on size and scale alone. Without all the obfuscation going Lean by building cultures that makes people want to take ownership and sharing learning and growing together is a big part of the solution Ford once said "you cannot learn in school what the world is going to do next".

Also never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level then beat you with experience. The only cure for organized greed is organized labor. It's because no matter what they do nothing get done about it. With all this manure around there must be a pony somewhere! "

Last one.

coberly , May 16, 2015 9:57 pm

kai

as a matter of fact i disagree with the current "equality" fad at least insofar as it implies taking from the rich and giving to the poor directly.

i don't believe people are "equal" in terms of their economic potential. i do beleive they are equal in terms of being due the respect of human beings.

i also believe your simple view of "equality" is a closet way of guarantee that the rich can prey upon the poor without interruption.

humans made their first big step in evolution when they learned to cooperate with each other against the big predators.

Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 12:10 am

it is mildly progressive up to about $75,000 per year where the rate hits 30%. But from there up to $1.542 million the rate only increases to 33.3%.

I call that very flat!

Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 11:20 am

"i assume there are people in this country who are truly poor. as far as i know they don't pay taxes."

Read my reference and you will see that the "poor" indeed pay taxes, just not much income tax because they don't have much income. You are fixated on income when we should be considering all forms of taxation.

Jerry Critter, May 17, 2015 9:25 pm

Oh Kai, cut the crap. Paying taxes Is nothing like slavery. My oh my, how did we ever survive with a top tax rate of around 90%, nearly 3 times the current rate? Some people would even say that the economy then was pretty great and the middle class was doing terrific. So stop the deflection and redirection. I think you just like to see how many words you can write. Sorry, but history is not on your side.

[Dec 26, 2016] AT T To Cough Up $88 Million For Cramming Mobile Customer Bills

Notable quotes:
"... The matter with ATT was originally made public in 2014 and also involved two companies that actually applied the unauthorized charges, Tatto and Acquinity. ..."
Dec 26, 2016 | news.slashdot.org
(networkworld.com) 37

Posted by BeauHD on Thursday December 08, 2016 @06:25PM from the money-back-guaranteed dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World:

Some 2.7 million ATT customers will share $88 million in compensation for having had unauthorized third-party charges added to their mobile bills , the Federal Trade Commission announced this morning. The latest shot in the federal government's years-long battle against such abuses, these refunds will represent the most money ever recouped by victims of what is known as "mobile cramming," according to the FTC.

From an FTC press release :

"Through the FTC's refund program, nearly 2.5 million current ATT customers will receive a credit on their bill within the next 75 days, and more than 300,000 former customers will receive a check. The average refund amount is $31. [...] According to the FTC's complaint, ATT placed unauthorized third-party charges on its customers' phone bills, usually in amounts of $9.99 per month, for ringtones and text message subscriptions containing love tips, horoscopes, and 'fun facts.' The FTC alleged that ATT kept at least 35 percent of the charges it imposed on its customers."

The matter with ATT was originally made public in 2014 and also involved two companies that actually applied the unauthorized charges, Tatto and Acquinity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Popular Vote for Hillary Clinton by over 2.8 Million

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

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

It is not any more complex than that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:33 pm ( 31 )

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

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

likbez 11.18.16 at 4:48 pm 121

bruce wilder 11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30

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

Notable quotes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 11, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

kidneystones 11.10.16 at 10:39 am 161

... .. ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best to you all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from 11/08/2016, Batchelor segment page

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second McWilliams quote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make your own list.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rationalism in Politics and other essays (1962)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.realclearpolitics.com

RealClearPolitics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Fox News (@FoxNews) November 3, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

- Fox News (@FoxNews) November 3, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

speisa.com

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

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

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

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

The FBI started to investigate the pardon the year after.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pollock wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon Day is the Republican National Committee Co-Chair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Has this been cleared by CNN for me to view?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any sources on that, like the foundation spending?

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

In contrast to your unsourced allegations:

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

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

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

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

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

[Oct 26, 2016] The Vichy left – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their own prosperity and support the candidate who intends to protected it, everybody else be damned

Notable quotes:
"... Pretty consistent, I agree. IMHO Sanjait might belong to the category that some people call the "Vichy left" – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their 'own' prosperity and support the candidate who intends to protect it, everybody else be damned. ..."
"... Very neoliberal approach if you ask me. Ann Rand would probably be proud for this representative of "creative class". ..."
"... Essentially the behavior that we've had for the last 8 years with the king of "bait and switch". ..."
Oct 24, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Sanjait -> Sandwichman ... October 24, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Some paranoid claptrap to go along with your usual anti intellectualism.

Interestingly, with your completely unrelated non sequitur, you've actually illustrated something that does relate to Krugmans post. Namely that there are wingnuts among us. They've taken over the Republican Party, but the left has some too. Fortunately though the Democratic Party hasn't been taken over by them yet, and is still mostly run by grown ups.

Sandwichman -> Sanjait... , October 24, 2016 at 10:42 AM

I am confident that what you say here is consistent with your methods and motivations.
likbez -> Sandwichman ...
"I am confident that what you say here is consistent with your methods and motivations."

Pretty consistent, I agree. IMHO Sanjait might belong to the category that some people call the "Vichy left" – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their 'own' prosperity and support the candidate who intends to protect it, everybody else be damned.

Very neoliberal approach if you ask me. Ann Rand would probably be proud for this representative of "creative class".

Essentially the behavior that we've had for the last 8 years with the king of "bait and switch".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

nypost.com

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

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

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

An excellent article

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oct 22, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Cry Shop October 22, 2016 at 4:10 am

Bill Clinton has a mysterious shell-company

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Oct 13, 2016] Donald Trump Is Accusing the Clintons of Cashing In on Haiti's 2010 Earthquake

That should have been done long ago.
fortune.com

Donald Trump is accusing the Clintons of cashing in on Haiti's deadly 2010 earthquake.

The Republican nominee cited State Department emails obtained by the Republican National Committee through a public records request and detailed in an ABC News story.

At issue is whether friends of former President Bill Clinton, referred to as "friends of Bill," or "FOB," in the emails, received preferential treatment or contracts from the State Department in the immediate aftermath of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. More than 230,000 people died, the U.S. has said.

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You follow this, writing:

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

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

    Now for the false equivalencies:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    James Murdoch
    Chief Operating Officer of 21st Century Fox

    Newsmax Media
    Florida-based conservative media network

    Thomson Reuters
    Owner of the Reuters news service

    $500,000-$1,000,000

    Google

    News Corporation Foundation
    Philanthropic arm of former Fox News parent company

    $250,000-$500,000

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Publisher

    Richard Mellon Scaife
    Owner of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    $100,000-$250,000

    Abigail Disney
    Documentary filmmaker

    Bloomberg Philanthropies

    Howard Stringer
    Former CBS, CBS News and Sony executive

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

    $50,000-$100,000

    Bloomberg L.P.

    Discovery Communications Inc.

    George Stephanopoulos
    ABC News chief anchor and chief political correspondent

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

    Time Warner Inc.
    Owner of CNN parent company Turner Broadcasting

    $25,000-$50,000

    AOL

    HBO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Keep the faith!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 15, 2016 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

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

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton

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

9:32 AM - 14 Sep 2016

---

Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton

Hillary Clinton Retweeted Donald J. Trump

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

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

7:53 PM - 11 Dec 2015

9:48 AM - 14 Sep 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


[Sep 03, 2016] The Real Clinton Foundation Revelation

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

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

... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

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

Majortrout, is a trusted commenter Montreal 2 days ago

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

chichimax, albany, ny 2 days ago

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

Lori, San Francisco 2 days ago

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

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

Ange, Boston 2 days ago

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

Crabby Hayes, Virginia 2 days ago

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

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

Randy, Largent 2 days ago

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

Isa Ten, CA 2 days ago

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

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

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

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

David Keltz, Brooklyn 2 days ago

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

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

John D., Out West 2 days ago

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

James Lee, Arlington, Texas August 31, 2016

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

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

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

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

confetti, MD August 31, 2016

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

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

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

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

Alexander K., Minnesota August 31, 2016

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

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

Great editorial.

Michael Belmont, Hewitt, New Jersey 2 days ago

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

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

Chris, 10013 2 days ago

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

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

Robert, Minneapolis 2 days ago

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

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

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

Madelyn Harris, Portland, OR 2 days ago

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

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

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

Lori, San Francisco 2 days ago

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

John D., Out West 2 days ago

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

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

RNW, Albany, CA 2 days ago

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

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

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

Tembrach, Connecticut 2 days ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought Bubble, New Jersey 2 days ago

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

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

Sep 02, 2016 |

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

Does that make Hillary corrupt? Yes. It does.

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

That's irrelevant. She's still corrupt.

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

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

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

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

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

The point is: access is corruption.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

curlydan , September 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

HRC: "The Great Graspy"

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , September 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pat , September 2, 2016 at 3:02 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pat , September 2, 2016 at 3:52 pm

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

Just saying.

timbers , September 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Yes. And this too:

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

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

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

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

pretzelattack , September 2, 2016 at 4:40 pm

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

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

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

I had the pleasure of interviewing Charles Ortel yesterday:

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

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

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

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

grayslady , September 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm

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

[Aug 29, 2016] Reince Priebus Demands Public Release of All Communications Between Clinton Foundation and State Department

www.breitbart.com

Breitbart

Hillary Clinton's pay-for-play scandal is threatening to derail her campaign. Public outrage follows revelations that the Foundation took foreign cash during Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, that Clinton aide Huma Abedin was helping Foundation donors get favors and access from the State Department, and that Clinton aide Cheryl Mills was doing assignments for the Clinton Foundation while on the State Department payroll.

In a letter Monday to Foundation president Donna Shalala, Priebus demands transparency.

"I am writing to you to call on the Clinton Foundation and all of the entities under its umbrella to release all correspondence its officials had with the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state," Priebus added.

As I am sure you are well aware, a spate of recent news reports involving the Clinton Foundation's relationship with the Clinton State Department has renewed serious concerns about conflicts of interest and whether donors to the foundation benefitted from official acts under then-Secretary Clinton.

[Aug 29, 2016] Why Did Saudi Regime Other Gulf Tyrannies Donate Millions to Clinton Foundation?

"It isn't just "suspicious." It's influence peddling, which is corrupt by definition. And there's a whole infrastructure, institutional and technical, to support it." Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Notable quotes:
"... here you have Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton having this Clinton Foundation, with billions of dollars pouring into it from some of the world's worst tyrannies ..."
"... Bill and Hillary Clinton are being personally enriched by those same people, doing speeches, for many hundreds of thousands of dollars, in front of them, at the same time that she's running the State Department, getting ready to run for president, and soon will be running the executive branch. ..."
"... the problem here is that the Clintons have essentially become the pioneers of eliminating all of these lines, of amassing massive wealth from around the world, and using that to boost their own political power, and then using that political power to boost the interests of the people who are enriching them in all kinds of ways. ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | Democracy Now!

[W]hat Donna Brazile said in that video that you played is nothing short of laughable. It's not questioned when Republicans do favors for their donors? Of course it is. In fact, it's been a core, central critique of the Democratic Party, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, for years, that Republicans are corrupt because they serve the interest of their big donors. One of the primary positions of the Democratic Party is that the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court has corrupted politics because it allows huge money to flow into the political process in a way that ensures, or at least creates the appearance, that people are doing favors for donors.

And so, here you have Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton having this Clinton Foundation, with billions of dollars pouring into it from some of the world's worst tyrannies, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and other Gulf states, other people who have all kinds of vested interests in the policies of the United States government. And at the same time, in many cases, both Bill and Hillary Clinton are being personally enriched by those same people, doing speeches, for many hundreds of thousands of dollars, in front of them, at the same time that she's running the State Department, getting ready to run for president, and soon will be running the executive branch.

And so, the problem here is that the Clintons have essentially become the pioneers of eliminating all of these lines, of amassing massive wealth from around the world, and using that to boost their own political power, and then using that political power to boost the interests of the people who are enriching them in all kinds of ways. And of course questions need to be asked, and suspicions are necessarily raised, because this kind of behavior is inherently suspicious. And it needs a lot of media scrutiny and a lot of attention, and I'm glad it's getting that.

[Aug 29, 2016] Justice Stevens dissent in Citizens United (via @ggreenwald ) shreds the central argument of Hillarys defenders

Notable quotes:
"... On numerous occasions we have recognized Congress' legitimate interest in preventing the money that is spent on elections from exerting an "'undue influence on an officeholder's judgment"' and from creating "4he appearance of such influence,"' beyond the sphere of quid pro quo relationships. I ..."
"... Corruption can take many forms. Bribery may be the paradigm case. But the difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind. And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one's behalf. ..."
"... Corruption operates along a spectrum, and the majority's apparent belief that quid pro quo arrangements can be neatly demarcated from other improper influences docs not accord with the theory or reality of politics. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
On numerous occasions we have recognized Congress' legitimate interest in preventing the money that is spent on elections from exerting an "'undue influence on an officeholder's judgment"' and from creating "4he appearance of such influence,"' beyond the sphere of quid pro quo relationships. Id., at 150; see also. e.g., id., at 143-144. 152-154; Colorado II, 533 U. S.. at 441; Shrink Missouri. 528 U. S., at 389.

Corruption can take many forms. Bribery may be the paradigm case. But the difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind. And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one's behalf.

Corruption operates along a spectrum, and the majority's apparent belief that quid pro quo arrangements can be neatly demarcated from other improper influences docs not accord with the theory or reality of politics.

It certainly does not accord with the record Congress developed in passing BCRA. a record that stands as a remarkable testament to the energy and ingenuity with which corporations, unions, lobbyists, and politicians may go about scratching each other's backs - and which amply supported Congress' determination to target a limited set of especially destructive

[Aug 29, 2016] If Clinton gets elected, she will be under investigation prior to the inauguration.

Notable quotes:
"... Hillary will win, and it will be more than business as usual. Influence peddling and pay to play will accelerate. The neocon money will flow into the system and foreign policy will be a debacle. We may very well be approaching WWIII. ..."
"... Under a Clinton II presidency, long-term international turmoil and confrontation lie ahead no matter what their family foundation may attempt to achieve. ..."
Aug 28, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Scott in MD , August 26, 2016 at 6:20 am

If Clinton gets elected, she will be under investigation prior to the inauguration. The Republicans will use their hold on the house to start several investigations on November 9.

However, the GOP (continuing a party tradition) will cruise right past several true issues, and lock onto the one thing they believe will hold the most shock value. This will turn out to not be provable, or not be all that interesting to anyone but die-hard GOP supporters, and she will exit the investigations as powerful, if not more so, than before.

There are plenty of reasons to investigate the Clinton machine, but if you expect this clown show to do it competently I have a bridge to sell you…

collin , August 26, 2016 at 9:47 am
No this one is backfiring already as most of the donors were people HRC would have met anyway, including Nobel Peace winners! and the 89 out of 154 people has not been released. And the article does not note any mischief but that there were meetings!

Or that there are a ton of other government officials have spouses that run well run charities. Matt Yglesias has de-bunked this one a lot and my guess disappears relatively quickly.

This is as worthless evidence as Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.

Johann , says: August 26, 2016 at 9:50 am

Hillary will win, and it will be more than business as usual. Influence peddling and pay to play will accelerate. The neocon money will flow into the system and foreign policy will be a debacle. We may very well be approaching WWIII.

The economy will continue to hollow out due to central bank hubris, government stimulus, and non-free trade deals. Income inequality will get worse. The middle class will continue to shrink.

We are well on our way to third world status.

Samuel Hooper , says: August 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm
After leaving office, Bill Clinton could have devoted his energies to Habitat for Humanity (like Jimmy Carter) or thrown his energies into helping an existing organisation (like the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation). He didn't, because he wanted the "fruits" of his philanthropic work to accrue to him and his family. And so it is not unreasonable to ask exactly what those fruits are, especially those gained while Hillary Clinton was serving as the nation's chief diplomat.
Steve Thompson \, says: August 26, 2016 at 2:41 pm
Here is an article that quite succinctly explains, in her own words, Hillary Clinton's views of America's role in the world:
http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/08/rebuilding-globe-in-hillary-clintons.html

Under a Clinton II presidency, long-term international turmoil and confrontation lie ahead no matter what their family foundation may attempt to achieve.

[Aug 29, 2016] Clinton under new threat as email woes and foundation questions merge by David UsborneF:\Private_html\author.txt

independent.co.uk

The two sources of her problems are beginning to merge much as two weather depressions might collide and become a hurricane. One is the already well-trodden matter of her use of a private email server while Secretary of State. The other relates to the Clinton Foundation and whether donors received preferential access to her while she served in that post.

Two bombs dropped on the Clinton campaign at once on Monday. First it emerged that the FBI has collected and delivered to the State Department almost 15,000 new emails not previously seen and a federal judge ordered the department to accelerate their release to the public. Meanwhile, a conservative group called Judicial Watch released details of still more emails detailing exactly how donors to the foundation set about trying to get Ms Clinton's attention.

... ... ...

Questions have been swirling for weeks about whether or not Ms Clinton was drawn into giving special favours to some of her husband's pals in return for their giving generously to the charitable foundation he set up after leaving the presidency – a pay and play arrangement. On Monday, Judicial Watch unveiled details that showed exactly how that might have happened thanks to emails it had accessed through the courts sent to and from Huma Abedin, a close Clinton confidante and her deputy chief of staff during her four years at the State Department.

... ... ...

In attempt to forestall the trouble that is already upon his wife, Mr Clinton announced this week that should she win the presidency, several things will change at his Foundation. First and foremost it would cease to take money from any foreign governments and donors and only from US-based charities and individuals. He would also step down from the foundation entirely and cease personally to raise funds for it.

...many voters are simply afraid that with Ms Clinton in the White House the whole tawdry cycle will just start all over again and nothing else with get done in Washington

[Aug 29, 2016] Hillary Clinton pushes fundraising limits with $200,000 tickets for single Silicon Valley house party

independent.co.uk

It was only one in a long parade of late-August fundraisers Ms Clinton has attended, but it stands out for the generosity required of those who attended. The price of admission for the 20-odd guests who obliged was a stunning $200,000. That was double the $100,000 charged for guests who mingled recently with Ms Clinton in Omaha at the home of Susan Buffett, the daughter of Warren Buffett, the veteran investment oracle.

... ... ...

As of Monday, she and Mr Kaine had harvested no less than $32 million for the Hillary Victory Fund, which will be distributed to her campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties. A lot of was raised in last week as Ms Clinton hopscotched from party to party on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Code in Massachusetts.

[Aug 27, 2016] Artists Impression Of Hillary Clintons Old Office

Notable quotes:
"... Source: MichaelPRamirez.com ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Presented with no comment...

Source: MichaelPRamirez.com

Here2Go d nmewn •Aug 27, 2016 8:37 PM
Is that Huma in a blue dress under the Resolute desk?
Pairadimes d Here2Go •Aug 27, 2016 9:14 PM
Ramirez is a genius.
zeronetwork d debtor of last resort •Aug 27, 2016 8:15 PM

The thought process Donald has started is not going to fade very soon. Still few weeks before election. I am sure Donald got some more cards in his sleeve.
are we there yet •Aug 27, 2016 8:36 PM
I have a solution for Hillary's in-continuance and mobility declining problems. The chair behind the presidents desk should be a wheelchair with a bedpan. Otherwise the term 'campaign trail' will take on a whole new meaning.

[Aug 26, 2016] Lots of Smoke Here, Hillary

Notable quotes:
"... If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition. ..."
"... Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million. ..."
"... Conclusion: access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more. ..."
"... On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library. ..."
Aug 26, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Prediction: If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition.

... ... ...

Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million.

Conclusion: access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more.

To get to the seventh floor of the Clinton State Department for a hearing for one's plea, the cover charge was high. Among those who got face time with Hillary Clinton were a Ukrainian oligarch and steel magnate who shipped oil pipe to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions and a Bangladeshi economist who was under investigation by his government and was eventually pressured to leave his own bank.

The stench is familiar, and all too Clintonian in character.

Recall. On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library.

The Clintons appear belatedly to have recognized their political peril.

Bill has promised that, if Hillary is elected, he will end his big-dog days at the foundation and stop taking checks from foreign regimes and entities, and corporate donors. Cash contributions from wealthy Americans will still be gratefully accepted.

One wonders: will Bill be writing thank-you notes for the millions that will roll in to the family foundation-on White House stationery?

[Aug 21, 2016] Ukraine Releases More Details on Payments for Trump Aide, Paul Manafort

What a bunch of neoliberal piranha, devouring the poorest country in Europe, where pernneers exist on $1 a day or less, with the help of installed by Washington corrupt oligarchs (Yanukovich was installed with Washington blessing and was controlled by Washington, who was fully aware about the level of corruption of its government; especially his big friend vice-president Biden).
Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Kalyuzhny was also a founding board member of a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, that hired the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm that received $1.02 million to promote an agenda generally aligned with the Party of Regions. ..."
"... Because the payment was made through a nongovernmental organization, the Podesta Group did not register as a lobbyist for a foreign entity. A co-founder of the Podesta Group, John D. Podesta, is chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and his brother, Tony Podesta, runs the firm now. ..."
"... The Podesta Group, in a statement, said its in-house counsel determined the company had no obligation to register as a representative of a foreign entity in part because the nonprofit offered assurances it was not "directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party." ..."
"... On Monday, Mr. Manafort issued a heated statement in response to an article in The New York Times that first disclosed that the ledgers - a document described by Ukrainian investigators as an under-the-table payment system for the Party of Regions - referenced a total of $12.7 million in cash payments to him over a five-year period. ..."
"... In that statement, Mr. Manafort, who was removed from day-to-day management of the Trump campaign on Wednesday though he retained his title, denied that he had personally received any off-the-books cash payments. "The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical," he said. ..."
Aug 18, 2016 | The New York Times

MOSCOW - The Ukrainian authorities, under pressure to bolster their assertion that once-secret accounting documents show cash payments from a pro-Russian political party earmarked for Donald J. Trump's campaign chairman, on Thursday released line-item entries, some for millions of dollars.

The revelations also point to an outsize role for a former senior member of the pro-Russian political party, the Party of Regions, in directing money to both Republican and Democratic advisers and lobbyists from the United States as the party tried to burnish its image in Washington.

The former party member, Vitaly A. Kalyuzhny, for a time chairman of the Ukraine Parliament's International Relations Committee, had signed nine times for receipt of payments designated for the Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, according to Serhiy A. Leshchenko, a member of Parliament who has studied the documents. The ledger covered payments from 2007 to 2012, when Mr. Manafort worked for the party and its leader, Viktor F. Yanukovych, Ukraine's former president who was deposed.

Mr. Kalyuzhny was also a founding board member of a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, that hired the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm that received $1.02 million to promote an agenda generally aligned with the Party of Regions.

Because the payment was made through a nongovernmental organization, the Podesta Group did not register as a lobbyist for a foreign entity. A co-founder of the Podesta Group, John D. Podesta, is chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and his brother, Tony Podesta, runs the firm now.

The role of Mr. Kalyuzhny, a onetime computer programmer from the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, in directing funds to the companies of the chairmen of both presidential campaigns, had not previously been reported. Mr. Kalyuzhny was one of three Party of Regions members of Parliament who founded the nonprofit.

The Associated Press, citing emails it had obtained, also reported Thursday that Mr. Manafort's work for Ukraine included a secret lobbying effort in Washington that he operated with an associate, Rick Gates, and that was aimed at influencing American news organizations and government officials.

Mr. Gates noted in the emails that he conducted the work through two lobbying firms, including the Podesta Group, because Ukraine's foreign minister did not want the country's embassy involved. The A.P. said one of Mr. Gates's campaigns sought to turn public opinion in the West against Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister who was imprisoned during Mr. Yanukovych's administration.

The Podesta Group, in a statement, said its in-house counsel determined the company had no obligation to register as a representative of a foreign entity in part because the nonprofit offered assurances it was not "directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party."

Reached by phone on Thursday, a former aide to Mr. Kalyuzhny said he had lost contact with the politician and was unsure whether he remained in Kiev or had returned to Donetsk, now the capital of a Russian-backed separatist enclave.

Ukrainian officials emphasized that they did not know as yet if the cash payments reflected in the ledgers were actually made. In all 22 instances, people other than Mr. Manafort appear to have signed for the money. But the ledger entries are highly specific with funds earmarked for services such as exit polling, equipment and other services.

On Monday, Mr. Manafort issued a heated statement in response to an article in The New York Times that first disclosed that the ledgers - a document described by Ukrainian investigators as an under-the-table payment system for the Party of Regions - referenced a total of $12.7 million in cash payments to him over a five-year period.

In that statement, Mr. Manafort, who was removed from day-to-day management of the Trump campaign on Wednesday though he retained his title, denied that he had personally received any off-the-books cash payments. "The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical," he said.

Mr. Manafort's statement, however, left open the possibility that cash payments had been made to his firm or associates. And details from the ledgers released Thursday by anticorruption investigators suggest that may have occurred. Three separate payments, for example, totaling nearly $5.7 million are earmarked for Mr. Manafort's "contract."

Another, from October 2012, suggests a payment to Mr. Manafort of $400,000 for exit polling, a legitimate campaign outlay.

Two smaller entries, for $4,632 and $854, show payments for seven personal computers and a computer server.

The payments do not appear to have been reported by the Party of Regions in campaign finance disclosures in Ukraine. The party's 2012 filing indicates outlays for expenses other than advertising of just under $2 million, at the exchange rate at the time. This is less than a single payment in the black ledger designated for "Paul Manafort contract" in June of that year for $3.4 million.

Ukrainian investigators say they consider any under-the-table payments illegal, and that the ledger also describes disbursements to members of the central election committee, the group that counts votes.


Correction: August 20, 2016

Because of an editing error, an article on Friday about the political activities in Ukraine of Donald J. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, misidentified the office once held by Yulia V. Tymoshenko, a rival of Mr. Manafort's client, the former president Viktor F. Yanukovych. Ms. Tymoshenko served as prime minister of Ukraine, not its president.

[Aug 01, 2016] Progressive Leaders Urge Voters To Wait To #DemExit Until After State Primaries

Notable quotes:
"... Progressives who are fed up with the Democratic leadership's adherence to the status quo are calling for a major #DemExit on July 29. ..."
www.inquisitr.com

Progressives who are fed up with the Democratic leadership's adherence to the status quo are calling for a major #DemExit on July 29. However, progressive groups, such as Black Men for Bernie, are urging voters to stay in the party until they have a chance to vote in their states' primaries, especially if they live in closed or semi-closed primary states.

Abstaining from #DemExit until after state and local primaries is especially important for Florida, which has a closed primary. On August 30, Professor and legal expert Tim Canova has a chance to unseat Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, whose tenure as the head of the Democratic Party has been fraught with controversy and more recently, allegations of election fraud and rigging.

A mass exodus, therefore, could sabotage progressives' own agenda to elect officials who are challenging incumbents and establishment candidates. As of now, 23 states and territories have local and state primaries up until September 13, so it is imperative for current members of the Democratic party to stay until they've voted and then commit to #DemExit.

[Sep 27, 2015] Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russian Foreign Ministry, grades Nuland's paper

September 16, 2015 | Fort Russ/Komsomolskaya Pravda

It is impossible to deal with cockroaches in one room while at the same time laying out little plates of bread crumbs on the other side of the wall.

Translated from Russian by Tom Winter

Translator's note: this press account is based on a post on Maria Zakharova's facebook page, and I have changed this account slightly in alignment with Zakharova's original text. It was not clear in KP what was Zakharova and what was KP. I think it is in this translation...

Head of the Information Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote a "critical review" on the "Yalta speech" of the assistant US Secretary of State.

In Kiev, there was a conference "Yalta European Strategy". Already amazing. Yalta is in the Russian Crimea, and the "Yalta" conference was held in the Ukrainian capital. Well and good -- you couldn't miss that one!. But at this Yalta conference came the assistant US Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. Yes, the same one that passed out the cookies. But now, considered a shadow ruler of Ukraine, she points out to the Kiev authorities what to do. This time, Nuland said in a public speech:

- There should be no tolerance for those oligarchs who do not pay taxes. There must be zero tolerance for bribery and corruption, to those who would use violence for political ends.

And these words of the grande dame of the State Department could not be overlooked. Just think, Americans don't like it when their loans to Ukraine get stolen. And anti-oligarchic Maidan brought the very oligarchs to power, and corruption in the country has become even greater. Some of us have grown weary of this talk. But, let Nuland drone on ...

But then Russian Foreign Ministry official spokesman Maria Zakharova replied. So much so that not a stone was left on stone in the American's "Yalta speech":

"All this a little bit, just a little, looks like a lecture to the fox about how bad it is to steal chickens, but actually it surprised in other ways. As soon as Russian authorities began exposing the tax evasion, bribery, or corruption of the oligarchs, Victoria Nuland's office hastened to call zero tolerance "political repression" - Zakharova wrote on her facebook page.

It would be great to see the Department of State "show that same zero tolerance and inquire a bit about how the initial capital of the Russian (and Ukrainian would not hurt) oligarchs got started, those oligarchs who have been accused of corruption at home, but who, once in London, feel protected by the authorities, enjoying all the benefits of membership in the Club of Victims of Political Persecution" - continued Zakharova.

"It is impossible to deal with cockroaches in one room while at the same time laying out little plates of bread crumbs on the other side of the wall. Giving the green light to the dirty money from Russia and the former Soviet Union, the Western world is only boosting the zeal with which the domestic thieves shove their loot in foreign bins."

"Though perhaps," wonders the Foreign Minstiry spokesman "this is the actual purpose of the imaginary zero tolerance?"

"Why do people on Interpol's lists, by the decision of the Russian courts, prove their financial immorality, as they thrive in the Western capitals, and no alarm bells go off in the State Department?"

It turns out to be an interesting story: Taking fetid streams of notes, the West has just one requirement at the border crossing. Scream "victim of the regime." That's it! and you're in spades!

This calls to mind the old Soviet bribery password translated into modern American:

- In Soviet times, it was common phrase, revealing corrupt intent to proceed with plans insidious in varying degrees: "I'm from Ivan Ivanovich." Today the corresponding "Open Sesame" that opens the doors "in Europe and the best houses in Philadelphia," is the phrase "I'm running away from Vladimir".

Victoria, if you're going to start cleaning out the cockroaches, stop feeding them on your side.

[Jul 15, 2015] When connected turns into corrupted

Los Angeles Times

CRONY CAPITALISM is the name of the Republican game. Their slogan is "take care of your friends and leave the risks of the free market for the suckers." That would be John Q. Public.

From Halliburton's overcharging in Iraq to Enron's manipulation of the California energy crisis and now the emerging hurricane reconstruction boondoggle, we witness what happens when the federal government is turned into a glorified help desk and ATM machine for politically connected corporations.

But the defining case study on the deep corruption of the Bush administration and the GOP is emerging from the myriad investigations of well-connected Republican fundraiser and lobbyist Jack Abramoff. For starters, Abramoff, a $100,000-plus fundraiser for George W. Bush's presidential campaigns, is under federal indictment on wire fraud and conspiracy charges. He is also under congressional and FBI investigations.

In the last fortnight alone, the spreading stain of Abramoff's legacy is seen in the possible undoing of Bush's nominee to the nation's No. 2 law enforcement position, the resignation and arrest of the Office of Management and Budget's former procurement chief and another blow to the already tawdry reputation of top Bush political advisor Karl Rove.

It was reported last week that Timothy Flanigan, Tyco International Ltd. general counsel and Bush's nominee for deputy attorney general, stated that Abramoff's lobbying firm had boasted that his access to the highest levels of Congress could help Tyco fight tax liability legislation and that Abramoff later said he "had contact with Mr. Karl Rove" about the issue.

Flanigan's statement was in response to scathing criticism from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee - which is considering his nomination - that he had not been sufficiently responsive in his testimony. Records and interviews show that Flanigan supervised Abramoff's successful efforts two years ago to lobby Congress to kill the legislation, which would have penalized companies such as Bermuda-based Tyco that avoid taxes by moving offshore. Abramoff's firm was paid $1.7 million by Tyco in 2003 and 2004.

In his statement, Flanigan said Abramoff also boasted of his ties to Tom DeLay, the House majority leader. DeLay once described Abramoff as "one of my closest and dearest friends" and accompanied him on several foreign junkets. DeLay denies that the Abramoff-arranged trips were political favors. DeLay continues to be tangled in myriad ethics investigations, many of them linked to his relationship with Abramoff.

Another episode in the rapidly evolving Abramoff scandal involves David Safavian, one of the Bush administration's top federal procurement officials. He resigned shortly before being arrested last week for allegedly lying to officials and obstructing a Justice Department investigation in connection with his relationship with Abramoff. Safavian received a golf trip to Scotland with the lobbyist, allegedly as a quid pro quo for helping Abramoff in his efforts to buy federal properties. Safavian and Abramoff once worked together at a powerful Washington lobbying firm.

Before Safavian resigned, he reportedly was working on contracting policies for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. Don't expect the GOP Congress to look askance at this. Safavian's wife is chief counsel for oversight and investigations on the House Government Reform Committee, which oversees procurement matters, although she's said she'll recuse herself.

The hurricane season is proving to be a windfall for GOP-connected companies such as Halliburton, which are being rewarded with lucrative contracts despite their shoddy performance in Iraq. In the vocabulary of crony capitalism, the word "shame" does not exist.

The players may change, given the occasional criminal indictment, but the game goes on. On the day of Safavian's arrest, former Tyco Chief Executive L. Dennis Kozlowski was sentenced to eight to 25 years in prison for bilking millions from the company, which we are now expected to believe has been reborn virtuous.

Tyco's current lobbyist, Edward P. Ayoob, who once worked with Abramoff at a Washington law firm, is lobbying for another cause these days: Flanigan's confirmation as the nation's second-highest law enforcement officer. Ayoob insisted last week that he is acting on his own and not on behalf of Tyco. And, oh yes, Flanigan promises that, if confirmed, he will recuse himself from any Abramoff investigation involving Tyco. Sure.

[May 23, 2015] The Children of the Abyss

May 20, 2015 | Jesse's Café Américain
"He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his."

J.H.Newman, The Times of Antichrist

People do not wake up one day and suddenly decide to become monsters, giving birth to unspeakable horrors.

And yet throughout history, different peoples have done truly monstrous things. The Americans were pioneers in forced sterilization and state propaganda. The British invented concentration camps, and were masters of predatory colonization. They even turned a large portion of the capital of their Empire into a festering ghetto through the Darwinian economics of neglect. None have clean hands. No one is exceptional.

What do they have in common? They all take a walk down a long and twisted path, one cold-hearted and 'expedient' decision at a time, shifting responsibility by deflecting the choice for their actions on their leaders.

There is always some crackpot theory. some law of nature, from scientists or economists to support it. What else could they do? It is always difficult, but necessary.

They cope with their actions by making their victims the other, objectified, different, marginalized. And what they marginalize they cannot see. What they cannot see, by choice, is easily ignored.

And so they destroy and they kill, first by neglect and then by more efficient and decisive actions.

They walk slowly, but almost determinedly, into an abyss of their own creation.

But they all seem to have one thing in common. First they come for the old, the weak, the disabled, and the different, in a widening circle of scapegoats for their plunder.

"There is one beautiful sight in the East End, and only one, and it is the children dancing in the street when the organ-grinder goes his round. It is fascinating to watch them, the new-born, the next generation, swaying and stepping, with pretty little mimicries and graceful inventions all their own, with muscles that move swiftly and easily, and bodies that leap airily, weaving rhythms never taught in dancing school.

I have talked with these children, here, there, and everywhere, and they struck me as being bright as other children, and in many ways even brighter. They have most active little imaginations. Their capacity for projecting themselves into the realm of romance and fantasy is remarkable. A joyous life is romping in their blood. They delight in music, and motion, and colour, and very often they betray a startling beauty of face and form under their filth and rags.

But there is a Pied Piper of London Town who steals them all away. They disappear. One never sees them again, or anything that suggests them. You may look for them in vain amongst the generation of grown-ups. Here you will find stunted forms, ugly faces, and blunt and stolid minds. Grace, beauty, imagination, all the resiliency of mind and muscle, are gone. Sometimes, however, you may see a woman, not necessarily old, but twisted and deformed out of all womanhood, bloated and drunken, lift her draggled skirts and execute a few grotesque and lumbering steps upon the pavement. It is a hint that she was once one of those children who danced to the organ-grinder. Those grotesque and lumbering steps are all that is left of the promise of childhood. In the befogged recesses of her brain has arisen a fleeting memory that she was once a girl. The crowd closes in. Little girls are dancing beside her, about her, with all the pretty graces she dimly recollects, but can no more than parody with her body. Then she pants for breath, exhausted, and stumbles out through the circle. But the little girls dance on.

The children of the Ghetto possess all the qualities which make for noble manhood and womanhood; but the Ghetto itself, like an infuriated tigress turning on its young, turns upon and destroys all these qualities, blots out the light and laughter, and moulds those it does not kill into sodden and forlorn creatures, uncouth, degraded, and wretched below the beasts of the field.

As to the manner in which this is done, I have in previous chapters described it at length; here let Professor Huxley describe it in brief:-

"Any one who is acquainted with the state of the population of all great industrial centres, whether in this or other countries, is aware that amidst a large and increasing body of that population there reigns supreme . . . that condition which the French call la misere, a word for which I do not think there is any exact English equivalent. It is a condition in which the food, warmth, and clothing which are necessary for the mere maintenance of the functions of the body in their normal state cannot be obtained; in which men, women, and children are forced to crowd into dens wherein decency is abolished, and the most ordinary conditions of healthful existence are impossible of attainment; in which the pleasures within reach are reduced to brutality and drunkenness; in which the pains accumulate at compound interest in the shape of starvation, disease, stunted development, and moral degradation; in which the prospect of even steady and honest industry is a life of unsuccessful battling with hunger, rounded by a pauper's grave."

In such conditions, the outlook for children is hopeless. They die like flies, and those that survive, survive because they possess excessive vitality and a capacity of adaptation to the degradation with which they are surrounded. They have no home life. In the dens and lairs in which they live they are exposed to all that is obscene and indecent. And as their minds are made rotten, so are their bodies made rotten by bad sanitation, overcrowding, and underfeeding. When a father and mother live with three or four children in a room where the children take turn about in sitting up to drive the rats away from the sleepers, when those children never have enough to eat and are preyed upon and made miserable and weak by swarming vermin, the sort of men and women the survivors will make can readily be imagined."

Jack London, The People of the Abyss

[May 09, 2015] Nomi Prins The Clintons & Their Banker Friends

May 08, 2015 | Zero Hedge
In the coming months, however many hours Clinton spends introducing herself to voters in small-town America, she will spend hundreds more raising money in four-star hotels and multimillion-dollar homes around the nation. The question is: "Can Clinton claim to stand for 'everyday Americans,' while hauling in huge sums of cash from the very wealthiest of us?" This much cannot be disputed: Clinton's connections to the financiers and bankers of this country - and this country's campaigns - run deep. As Nomi Prins questions, who counts more to such a candidate, the person you met over that chicken burrito bowl or the Citigroup partner you met over crudités and caviar?

Via TomDispatch.com,

The Clintons and Their Banker Friends
The Wall Street Connection (1992 to 2016)

[This piece has been adapted and updated by Nomi Prins from chapters 18 and 19 of her book All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power, just out in paperback (Nation Books).]

The past, especially the political past, doesn't just provide clues to the present. In the realm of the presidency and Wall Street, it provides an ongoing pathway for political-financial relationships and policies that remain a threat to the American economy going forward.

When Hillary Clinton video-announced her bid for the Oval Office, she claimed she wanted to be a "champion" for the American people. Since then, she has attempted to recast herself as a populist and distance herself from some of the policies of her husband. But Bill Clinton did not become president without sharing the friendships, associations, and ideologies of the elite banking sect, nor will Hillary Clinton. Such relationships run too deep and are too longstanding.

To grasp the dangers that the Big Six banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) presently pose to the financial stability of our nation and the world, you need to understand their history in Washington, starting with the Clinton years of the 1990s. Alliances established then (not exclusively with Democrats, since bankers are bipartisan by nature) enabled these firms to become as politically powerful as they are today and to exert that power over an unprecedented amount of capital. Rest assured of one thing: their past and present CEOs will prove as critical in backing a Hillary Clinton presidency as they were in enabling her husband's years in office.

In return, today's titans of finance and their hordes of lobbyists, more than half of whom held prior positions in the government, exact certain requirements from Washington. They need to know that a safety net or bailout will always be available in times of emergency and that the regulatory road will be open to whatever practices they deem most profitable.

Whatever her populist pitch may be in the 2016 campaign -- and she will have one -- note that, in all these years, Hillary Clinton has not publicly condemned Wall Street or any individual Wall Street leader. Though she may, in the heat of that campaign, raise the bad-apples or bad-situation explanation for Wall Street's role in the financial crisis of 2007-2008, rest assured that she will not point fingers at her friends. She will not chastise the people that pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop to speak or the ones that have long shared the social circles in which she and her husband move. She is an undeniable component of the Clinton political-financial legacy that came to national fruition more than 23 years ago, which is why looking back at the history of the first Clinton presidency is likely to tell you so much about the shape and character of the possible second one.

The 1992 Election and the Rise of Bill Clinton

Challenging President George H.W. Bush, who was seeking a second term, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton announced he would seek the 1992 Democratic nomination for the presidency on October 2, 1991. The upcoming presidential election would not, however, turn out to alter the path of mergers or White House support for deregulation that was already in play one iota.

First, though, Clinton needed money. A consummate fundraiser in his home state, he cleverly amassed backing and established early alliances with Wall Street. One of his key supporters would later change American banking forever. As Clinton put it, he received "invaluable early support" from Ken Brody, a Goldman Sachs executive seeking to delve into Democratic politics. Brody took Clinton "to a dinner with high-powered New York businesspeople, including Bob Rubin, whose tightly reasoned arguments for a new economic policy," Clinton later wrote, "made a lasting impression on me."

The battle for the White House kicked into high gear the following fall. William Schreyer, chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch, showed his support for Bush by giving the maximum personal contribution to his campaign committee permitted by law: $1,000. But he wanted to do more. So when one of Bush's fundraisers solicited him to contribute to the Republican National Committee's nonfederal, or "soft money," account, Schreyer made a $100,000 donation.

The bankers' alliances remained divided among the candidates at first, as they considered which man would be best for their own power trajectories, but their donations were plentiful: mortgage and broker company contributions were $1.2 million; 46% to the GOP and 54% to the Democrats. Commercial banks poured in $14.8 million to the 1992 campaigns at a near 50-50 split.

Clinton, like every good Democrat, campaigned publicly against the bankers: "It's time to end the greed that consumed Wall Street and ruined our S&Ls [Savings and Loans] in the last decade," he said. But equally, he had no qualms about taking money from the financial sector. In the early months of his campaign, BusinessWeek estimated that he received $2 million of his initial $8.5 million in contributions from New York, under the care of Ken Brody.

"If I had a Ken Brody working for me in every state, I'd be like the Maytag man with nothing to do," said Rahm Emanuel, who ran Clinton's nationwide fundraising committee and later became Barack Obama's chief of staff. Wealthy donors and prospective fundraisers were invited to a select series of intimate meetings with Clinton at the plush Manhattan office of the prestigious private equity firm Blackstone.

Robert Rubin Comes to Washington

Clinton knew that embracing the bankers would help him get things done in Washington, and what he wanted to get done dovetailed nicely with their desires anyway. To facilitate his policies and maintain ties to Wall Street, he selected a man who had been instrumental to his campaign, Robert Rubin, as his economic adviser.

In 1980, Rubin had landed on Goldman Sachs' management committee alongside fellow Democrat Jon Corzine. A decade later, Rubin and Stephen Friedman were appointed cochairmen of Goldman Sachs. Rubin's political aspirations met an appropriate opportunity when Clinton captured the White House.

On January 25, 1993, Clinton appointed him as assistant to the president for economic policy. Shortly thereafter, the president created a unique role for his comrade, head of the newly created National Economic Council. "I asked Bob Rubin to take on a new job," Clinton later wrote, "coordinating economic policy in the White House as Chairman of the National Economic Council, which would operate in much the same way the National Security Council did, bringing all the relevant agencies together to formulate and implement policy... [I]f he could balance all of [Goldman Sachs'] egos and interests, he had a good chance to succeed with the job." (Ten years later, President George W. Bush gave the same position to Rubin's old partner, Friedman.)

Back at Goldman, Jon Corzine, co-head of fixed income, and Henry Paulson, co-head of investment banking, were ascending through the ranks. They became co-CEOs when Friedman retired at the end of 1994.

Those two men were the perfect bipartisan duo. Corzine was a staunch Democrat serving on the International Capital Markets Advisory Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (from 1989 to 1999). He would co-chair a presidential commission for Clinton on capital budgeting between 1997 and 1999, while serving in a key role on the Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Treasury Department. Paulson was a well connected Republican and Harvard graduate who had served on the White House Domestic Council as staff assistant to the president in the Nixon administration.

Bankers Forge Ahead

By May 1995, Rubin was impatiently warning Congress that the Glass-Steagall Act could "conceivably impede safety and soundness by limiting revenue diversification." Banking deregulation was then inching through Congress. As they had during the previous Bush administration, both the House and Senate Banking Committees had approved separate versions of legislation to repeal Glass-Steagall, the 1933 Act passed by the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that had separated deposit-taking and lending or "commercial" bank activities from speculative or "investment bank" activities, such as securities creation and trading. Conference negotiations had fallen apart, though, and the effort was stalled.

By 1996, however, other industries, representing core clients of the banking sector, were already being deregulated. On February 8, 1996, Clinton signed the Telecom Act, which killed many independent and smaller broadcasting companies by opening a national market for "cross-ownership." The result was mass mergers in that sector advised by banks.

Deregulation of companies that could transport energy across state lines came next. Before such deregulation, state commissions had regulated companies that owned power plants and transmission lines, which worked together to distribute power. Afterward, these could be divided and effectively traded without uniform regulation or responsibility to regional customers. This would lead to blackouts in California and a slew of energy derivatives, as well as trades at firms such as Enron that used the energy business as a front for fraudulent deals.

The number of mergers and stock and debt issuances ballooned on the back of all the deregulation that eliminated barriers that had kept companies separated. As industries consolidated, they also ramped up their complex transactions and special purpose vehicles (off-balance-sheet, offshore constructions tailored by the banking community to hide the true nature of their debts and shield their profits from taxes). Bankers kicked into overdrive to generate fees and create related deals. Many of these blew up in the early 2000s in a spate of scandals and bankruptcies, causing an earlier millennium recession.

Meanwhile, though, bankers plowed ahead with their advisory services, speculative enterprises, and deregulation pursuits. President Clinton and his team would soon provide them an epic gift, all in the name of U.S. global power and competitiveness. Robert Rubin would steer the White House ship to that goal.

On February 12, 1999, Rubin found a fresh angle to argue on behalf of banking deregulation. He addressed the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, claiming that, "the problem U.S. financial services firms face abroad is more one of access than lack of competitiveness."

He was referring to the European banks' increasing control of distribution channels into the European institutional and retail client base. Unlike U.S. commercial banks, European banks had no restrictions keeping them from buying and teaming up with U.S. or other securities firms and investment banks to create or distribute their products. He did not appear concerned about the destruction caused by sizeable financial bets throughout Europe. The international competitiveness argument allowed him to focus the committee on what needed to be done domestically in the banking sector to remain competitive.

Rubin stressed the necessity of HR 665, the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, that was officially introduced on February 10, 1999. He said it took "fundamental actions to modernize our financial system by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act prohibitions on banks affiliating with securities firms and repealing the Bank Holding Company Act prohibitions on insurance underwriting."

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Marches Forward

On February 24, 1999, in more testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Rubin pushed for fewer prohibitions on bank affiliates that wanted to perform the same functions as their larger bank holding company, once the different types of financial firms could legally merge. That minor distinction would enable subsidiaries to place all sorts of bets and house all sorts of junk under the false premise that they had the same capital beneath them as their parent. The idea that a subsidiary's problems can't taint or destroy the host, or bank holding company, or create "catastrophic" risk, is a myth perpetuated by bankers and political enablers that continues to this day.

Rubin had no qualms with mega-consolidations across multiple service lines. His real problems were those of his banker friends, which lay with the financial modernization bill's "prohibition on the use of subsidiaries by larger banks." The bankers wanted the right to establish off-book subsidiaries where they could hide risks, and profits, as needed.

Again, Rubin decided to use the notion of remaining competitive with foreign banks to make his point. This technicality was "unacceptable to the administration," he said, not least because "foreign banks underwrite and deal in securities through subsidiaries in the United States, and U.S. banks [already] conduct securities and merchant banking activities abroad through so-called Edge subsidiaries." Rubin got his way. These off-book, risky, and barely regulated subsidiaries would be at the forefront of the 2008 financial crisis.

On March 1, 1999, Senator Phil Gramm released a final draft of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and scheduled committee consideration for March 4th. A bevy of excited financial titans who were close to Clinton, including Travelers CEO Sandy Weill, Bank of America CEO, Hugh McColl, and American Express CEO Harvey Golub, called for "swift congressional action."

The Quintessential Revolving-Door Man

The stock market continued its meteoric rise in anticipation of a banker-friendly conclusion to the legislation that would deregulate their industry. Rising consumer confidence reflected the nation's fondness for the markets and lack of empathy with the rest of the world's economic plight. On March 29, 1999, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 10,000 for the first time. Six weeks later, on May 6th, the Financial Services Modernization Act passed the Senate. It legalized, after the fact, the merger that created the nation's biggest bank. Citigroup, the marriage of Citibank and Travelers, had been finalized the previous October.

It was not until that point that one of Glass-Steagall's main assassins decided to leave Washington. Six days after the bill passed the Senate, on May 12, 1999, Robert Rubin abruptly announced his resignation. As Clinton wrote, "I believed he had been the best and most important treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton... He had played a decisive role in our efforts to restore economic growth and spread its benefits to more Americans."

Clinton named Larry Summers to succeed Rubin. Two weeks later, BusinessWeek reported signs of trouble in merger paradise -- in the form of a growing rift between John Reed, the former Chairman of Citibank, and Sandy Weill at the new Citigroup. As Reed said, "Co-CEOs are hard." Perhaps to patch their rift, or simply to take advantage of a political opportunity, the two men enlisted a third person to join their relationship -- none other than Robert Rubin.

Rubin's resignation from Treasury became effective on July 2nd. At that time, he announced, "This almost six and a half years has been all-consuming, and I think it is time for me to go home to New York and to do whatever I'm going to do next." Rubin became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee and a member of the newly created "office of the chairman." His initial annual compensation package was worth around $40 million. It was more than worth the "hit" he took when he left Goldman for the Treasury post.

Three days after the conference committee endorsed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill, Rubin assumed his Citigroup position, joining the institution destined to dominate the financial industry. That very same day, Reed and Weill issued a joint statement praising Washington for "liberating our financial companies from an antiquated regulatory structure," stating that "this legislation will unleash the creativity of our industry and ensure our global competitiveness."

On November 4th, the Senate approved the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act by a vote of 90 to 8. (The House voted 362–57 in favor.) Critics famously referred to it as the Citigroup Authorization Act.

Mirth abounded in Clinton's White House. "Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the twenty-first century," Summers said. "This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy."

But the happiness was misguided. Deregulating the banking industry might have helped the titans of Wall Street but not people on Main Street. The Clinton era epitomized the vast difference between appearance and reality, spin and actuality. As the decade drew to a close, Clinton basked in the glow of a lofty stock market, a budget surplus, and the passage of this key banking "modernization." It would be revealed in the 2000s that many corporate profits of the 1990s were based on inflated evaluations, manipulation, and fraud. When Clinton left office, the gap between rich and poor was greater than it had been in 1992, and yet the Democrats heralded him as some sort of prosperity hero.

When he resigned in 1997, Robert Reich, Clinton's labor secretary, said, "America is prospering, but the prosperity is not being widely shared, certainly not as widely shared as it once was... We have made progress in growing the economy. But growing together again must be our central goal in the future." Instead, the growth of wealth inequality in the United States accelerated, as the men yielding the most financial power wielded it with increasingly less culpability or restriction. By 2015, that wealth or prosperity gap would stand near historic highs.

The power of the bankers increased dramatically in the wake of the repeal of Glass-Steagall. The Clinton administration had rendered twenty-first-century banking practices similar to those of the pre-1929 crash. But worse. "Modernizing" meant utilizing government-backed depositors' funds as collateral for the creation and distribution of all types of complex securities and derivatives whose proliferation would be increasingly quick and dangerous.

Eviscerating Glass-Steagall allowed big banks to compete against Europe and also enabled them to go on a rampage: more acquisitions, greater speculation, and more risky products. The big banks used their bloated balance sheets to engage in more complex activity, while counting on customer deposits and loans as capital chips on the global betting table. Bankers used hefty trading profits and wealth to increase lobbying funds and campaign donations, creating an endless circle of influence and mutual reinforcement of boundary-less speculation, endorsed by the White House.

Deposits could be used to garner larger windfalls, just as cheap labor and commodities in developing countries were used to formulate more expensive goods for profit in the upper echelons of the global financial hierarchy. Energy and telecoms proved especially fertile ground for the investment banking fee business (and later for fraud, extensive lawsuits, and bankruptcies). Deregulation greased the wheels of complex financial instruments such as collateralized debt obligations, junk bonds, toxic assets, and unregulated derivatives.

The Glass-Steagall repeal led to unfettered derivatives growth and unstable balance sheets at commercial banks that merged with investment banks and at investment banks that preferred to remain solo but engaged in dodgier practices to remain "competitive." In conjunction with the tight political-financial alignment and associated collaboration that began with Bush and increased under Clinton, bankers channeled the 1920s, only with more power over an immense and growing pile of global financial assets and increasingly "open" markets. In the process, accountability would evaporate.

Every bank accelerated its hunt for acquisitions and deposits to amass global influence while creating, trading, and distributing increasingly convoluted securities and derivatives. These practices would foster the kind of shaky, interconnected, and opaque financial environment that provided the backdrop and conditions leading up to the financial meltdown of 2008.

The Realities of 2016

Hillary Clinton is, of course, not her husband. But her access to his past banker alliances, amplified by the ones that she has formed herself, makes her more of a friend than an adversary to the banking industry. In her brief 2008 candidacy, all four of the New York-based Big Six banks ranked among her top 10 corporate donors. They have also contributed to the Clinton Foundation. She needs them to win, just as both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton did.

No matter what spin is used for campaigning purposes, the idea that a critical distance can be maintained between the White House and Wall Street is naïve given the multiple channels of money and favors that flow between the two. It is even more improbable, given the history of connections that Hillary Clinton has established through her associations with key bank leaders in the early 1990s, during her time as a senator from New York, and given their contributions to the Clinton foundation while she was secretary of state. At some level, the situation couldn't be less complicated: her path aligns with that of the country's most powerful bankers. If she becomes president, that will remain the case.

[May 06, 2015] Clinton Cash: errors dog Bill and Hillary exposé – but is there any 'there' there? by Ed Pilkington

May 05, 2015 | The Guardian

In an interview with the sympathetic Fox News (owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Harper, the publisher of Clinton Cash) it was put to Schweizer that he hadn't "nailed" his thesis. "It's hard for any author to nail it – one of the strategies of the Clinton camp is to set a bar for me as an author that is impossible to meet," he replied.

... ... ...

Certainly, pundits were warning about the problem of the large sums of money flowing into the Clinton Foundation's coffers even before Hillary Clinton took up her position as Obama's global emissary-in-chief. A month before she became secretary of state, the Washington Post warned in an editorial that her husband's fundraising activities were problematic. "Even if Ms Clinton is not influenced by gifts to her husband's charity, the appearance of conflict is unavoidable."

Since the foundation was formed in 2001, some $2bn has been donated, mainly in big lump sums. Fully a third of the donors giving more than $1m, and more than a half of those handing over more than $5m, have been foreign governments, corporations or tycoons. (The foundation stresses that such largesse has been put to very good use – fighting obesity around the globe, combating climate change, helping millions of people with HIV/Aids obtain antiretroviral drugs at affordable prices.)

Schweizer may have made mistakes about aspects of Bill Clinton's fees on the speaker circuit, but one of his main contentions – that the former president's rates skyrocketed after his wife became secretary of state – is correct. Politifact confirmed that since leaving the White House in 2001 and 2013, Bill Clinton made 13 speeches for which he commanded more than $500,000; all but two of those mega-money earners occurred in the period when Hillary was at the State Department.

Though Schweizer has failed to prove actual corruption in the arrangement – at no point in the book does he produce evidence showing that Bill's exorbitant speaker fees were directly tied to policy concessions from Hillary – he does point to several glaring conflicts of interest. Bill Clinton did accept large speaker fees accumulating to more than $1m from TD Bank, a major shareholder in the Keystone XL pipeline, at precisely the time that the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton within it, was wrestling with the vexed issue of whether to approve it.

It is also true that large donations to the foundation from the chairman of Uranium One, Ian Telfer, at around the time of the Russian purchase of the company and while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, were never disclosed to the public. The multimillion sums were channeled through a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation, CGSCI, which did not reveal its individual donors.

Such awkward collisions between Bill's fundraising activities and Hillary's public service have raised concerns not just among those who might be dismissed as part of a vast rightwing conspiracy. Take Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham university who has written extensively on political corruption in the US.

Teachout, who last year stood against Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic party nomination for New York governor, points out that you don't have to be able to prove quid pro quo for alarm bells to ring. "Our whole system of rules is built upon the concept that you must prevent conflicts of interests if you are to resist corruption in its many forms. Conflicts like that can infect us in ways we don't even see."

Teachout said that the Clintons presented the US political world with a totally new challenge. "We have never had somebody running for president whose spouse – himself a former president – is running around the world raising money in these vast sums."

... ... ...

Though Bill Clinton insisted this week that his charity has done nothing "knowingly inappropriate", that is unlikely to satisfy the skeptics from left or right. They say that a family in which one member is vying for the most powerful office on Earth must avoid straying into even the unintentionally inappropriate.

In the wake of Clinton Cash, the foundation has admitted that it made mistakes in disclosing some of its contributions. It has also implemented new rules that will see its financial reporting increase from once annually to four times a year, while large donations from foreign governments will be limited in future to six countries including the UK and Germany.

But with Bill refusing doggedly to give up his speaker engagements – "I gotta pay our bills" – and foreign corporations and super-rich individuals still able to donate to the family charity, it looks like this controversy may run and run. Politically, too, Hillary Clinton is confronted with a potential credibility gap between her appeal to ordinary Americans on the presidential campaign trail and the millions that continue to flow to the foundation.

"Is she going to be in touch with the needs and dreams of poor America when her spouse and daughter are working with the world's global elite?" said Dave Levinthal of the anti-corruption investigative organization, the Center for Public Integrity. "That's a question she will have to answer, every step of the way."

mkenney63 5 May 2015 20:39
It would be nice to know how much Saudi and Chinese money her "Foundation" has taken-in. I can tell you how much Bernie has taken - $0. Bernie, the only truly progressive in the race, raised $1.5 million in one day from ordinary working people like you and me who have the smarts to know who's really in their corner. When I look at Hillary I ask myself, do we really want parasitic people like this running our country? Is there anything she has ever touched that isn't tainted by a lust for money?
foggy2 gixxerman006 5 May 2015 20:38
I am in the process of reading the actual book. He does have actual sources for many things but what is missing is the information controlled by that now cleaned off server and the details of just who contributed to them, their foundation, and who hired them for those gold plated speeches. Those names never were made public and now the related tax forms are being "redone." Wonder how long that will take.

The author was able to get pertinent data from the Canadian tax base information and that is important because some of the heavier hitters are Canadians who needed help in the US and other places to make piles of money on their investments. And many statements made by people are documented as are some cables sent TO the state department.

AlfredHerring raffine 5 May 2015 20:33

It's funny that free-market Tea Party Republicans criticize the Clintons

There's a broad populist streak in the Tea Party. They may be social conservatives and opposed to government telling them they MUST buy health insurance from a private company (that's where it started) but on many issues they're part of the Teddy Roosevelt trust busting and Franklin Roosevelt New Deal traditions.

[May 05, 2015] Ben Bernanke's Bad Example

It's a pay off for doing what Big Finance wants. It's ironic that Bernanke, who didn't recognize the biggest bubble in financial history until it popped is being paid millions of dollars for uncovering economic trends.

Economist's View

At MoneyWatch:

Ben Bernanke's bad example, by Mark Thoma: The recent announcements that former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has accepted a position as a senior adviser at Pimco and a similar position at hedge fund Citadel have raised questions about whether the "revolving door" between government and private sector jobs ought to be restricted.
Perhaps, for example, Federal Reserve officials should be subject to a five-year waiting period before they can take jobs in the financial sector. The idea would be to reduce the chance that bank regulators could be influenced through formal and informal ties to previous Fed officials.
My concern is somewhat different: The incentive for Federal Reserve Board members to step down before their terms are up and accept lucrative private sector positions has the potential to damage the Fed as an independent institution...

Syaloch -> pgl...

"For 2014, the Chairman's annual salary is $201,700. The annual salary of the other Board members (including the Vice Chairman) is $181,500."

http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/about_12591.htm

$201,700 isn't a good salary? Sure, maybe it's peanuts to someone working on Wall Street, but doesn't that kinda go to the point that Thoma was making?

"[Bernanke's] stepping down isn't the main problem. It's the idea that it's OK for a former Fed member -- and its chair, no less -- to take these kinds of jobs once you leave. If Bernanke had returned to academia or limited himself to his position at the Brookings Institution, that wouldn't be a problem.

"However, if the chair can cash out, then other board members will also have an incentive to resign their positions as Fed governors after a few years to pursue financial interests in the private sector. Bernanke's acceptance of positions at Citadel and Pimco sets a bad precedent because it encourages other board members to do the same."

pgl -> Syaloch...

Where on earth did I say he made minimum wages? I said he did a good job and $200,000 a year was a bargain even if it was not slave wages.

DrDick -> pgl...

It is much more than most academic economists make. It is, in fact, a very good salary by any reasonable standard. The fact that people on Wall Street are paid obscene amounts for no useful product is beside the point.

am -> Syaloch...

US$200,000 is about GBP133,333.

Now here is the salary for the BOE equivalent.

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2014/06/17/mark-carneys-salary-at-the-bank-of-england-is-four-times-what-janet-yellen-is-paid-at-the-fed/

Kind of puts U$200,000 in perspective. Anyone who takes the FED job sure ain't doing it for the money. Must be for prestige or future earnings when they retire or resign.

Bit of a shock to a European to see how poorly paid some US civil servants are.

Ellis

It's a pay off for doing what Big Finance wants.

It's ironic that Bernanke, who didn't recognize the biggest bubble in financial history until it popped is being paid millions of dollars for uncovering economic trends.

pgl -> Ellis...

Pray tell - who did foresee this bubble and its busting? Robert Lucas even in 2009 was arguing no one could have foreseen it as he was supposed to be the Dean of Macroeconomics back then.

supersaurus -> pgl...

uhhh...http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/08/opinion/08krugman.html . that's "dr. nobody", right?

Ellis -> pgl...

Dean Baker and Nouriel Roubini, off the top of my head.

You could see it coming a mile away, especially given the worsening financialization and boom-bust pattern over the last four decades.

Of course, Bernanke said the exact opposite, that we were in the middle of the Great Moderation. Like most politicians, he's a liar, covering for the banks that made a fortune off the bubble, and then insulated from the catastrophe by the government and Fed.

Ellis -> pgl...

Dean Baker and Nouriel Roubini, off the top of my head.

You could see it coming a mile away, especially given the worsening financialization and boom-bust pattern over the last four decades.

Of course, Bernanke said the exact opposite, that we were in the middle of the Great Moderation. Like most politicians, he's a liar, covering for the banks that made a fortune off the bubble, and then insulated from the catastrophe by the government and Fed.

pgl -> Ellis...

The trio was also mocked by many at the time. Yes - they got it right and they deserve credit for doing so. But none of them have ever attacked Bernanke for not being as fore sighted.

But hey - I guess it is beat up on Ben day so have at it!

DrDick -> pgl...

While I think he could have done better at the Fed, I think he was decent in that position. He should not be allowed to take this job, however.

Ellis -> pgl...

Yes, they were mocked -- which is not surprising, given the financial and career advancement incentives -- which is exactly the point. Have you seen the documentary "Inside Job"? It has a good section on corruption among top economists.

Your wrong on your second point: Check out the post by Dean Baker in Beat the Press, April 30, "The Man Who Completely Missed the Housing Bubble and Was Convinced Financial Disruption Would be Restricted to the Subprime Market Deserves Two Seven-Figure Sinecures?"

Sorry for being so "mean and nasty" about Bernanke. But compare that to all those who lost everything, as a result of the crisis that he oversaw? His big salaries, of course, are little more than a tip from the big boys, who made out so well.

Roger Gathmann -> pgl...

You really see no difference between economic journalists and the head of the FED? Uh, that is pretty incredible.

How could Bernanke have found out more? Well, maybe he could have operated a bit more like Steve Eisman at frontpoint who did the math, as reported by Michael Lewis in The Big Short.
Really, to pretend that the FED has the same capacities as a newspaper columnist or economics professor, that the voices, and there were more than two or three, in the financial industry warning that there was something deeply wrong, is to apologize for Bernanke by saying, hey, he was a complete doofus, but he did all right after he sank the ship.
Greenspan and Bernanke were the worst FED chairmen in the Fed's history. The record, which should be read in terms of the health of the general economy, bears this out. Granted, after three crashes that seemed not to result in Depressions, Greenspan might not seem as bad, but it was his spirit and ideas that created the de-regulatory box and the market can do no wrong ethos at the Fed, which Bernanke continued. Bernanke even got a second chance after Bear Stearns fell. But no, between May and September, 2008, the Fed pretty much sat on its hands.

Roger Gathmann

Bernanke served the hedge fund sector well during his reign of terror at the Fed. Who can forget the loans to even a semi-criminal hedge fund like Yorkville from the ever understanding Fed, once the roof fell in? Or to all the other moneyed interests?
And who can forget the prophet Bernanke? The one who, in 2005, looked about and said yeah, there is no housing bubble, and anyway, housing prices don't decline:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/26/AR2005102602255.html

"U.S. house prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years, noted Bernanke, currently chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, in testimony to Congress's Joint Economic Committee. But these increases, he said, "largely reflect strong economic fundamentals," such as strong growth in jobs, incomes and the number of new households."
I like the strong increase in incomes remark particularly. No wonder Bush, who had shown an eye for characters like Bernanke - Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney shared a similar bogus confidence in their "facts" - appointed him. And he didn't disappoint. This is the guy who said that the Fed shouldn't be second guessing on the price of assets - free market, don't you know? - whose response to Stock market declines in 2006 and 2007 with a series of cuts was all about - keeping up the price of assets. But these were special assets, the kind of assets mainly held by the upper 20 percent income group. Not the tawdry assets held by the lower 80 with their homes.

Here he is, in his speech on the state of the economy in March, 2007, giving us more prophetic Ben:

http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/testimony/bernanke20070328a.htm

Although the turmoil in the subprime mortgage market has created severe financial problems for many individuals and families, the implications of these developments for the housing market as a whole are less clear. The ongoing tightening of lending standards, although an appropriate market response, will reduce somewhat the effective demand for housing, and foreclosed properties will add to the inventories of unsold homes. At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency."

Bear Stearns collapsed two months after everything was contained, in May. Now, did Mr Bernanke think maybe there needed to be some urgent work done to make sure other big banks weren't at risk? Were he and his friend in Treasury in firefighing mode? Of course not. That would not be serving the hedge fund community well.

Not that he was without ideas. Obviously, you wouldn't want to regulate a market in CDOs - it would be irresponsible to suggest such things! - but you could recommend that the bottom 80 percent be better informed about the risks they were taking.

Ace idea. Maybe even the top 1 percent should have been informed about the risks they were running? oh, but they have the computers and the smarts, of course. No need to rush right in.
Of course, I'm just a crazy leftist with these views. And the crazy leftists who issued the Financial Crisis Inquiry report in 2011 echoed them.

"The majority report finds fault with two Fed chairmen: Alan Greenspan, who led the central bank as the housing bubble expanded, and his successor, Ben S. Bernanke, who did not foresee the crisis but played a crucial role in the response. It criticizes Mr. Greenspan for advocating deregulation and cites a "pivotal failure to stem the flow of toxic mortgages" under his leadership as a "prime example" of negligence.

It also criticizes the Bush administration's "inconsistent response" to the crisis - allowing Lehman Brothers to collapse in September 2008 after earlier bailing out another bank, Bear Stearns, with Fed help - as having "added to the uncertainty and panic in the financial markets."

Like Mr. Bernanke, Mr. Bush's Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., predicted in 2007 - wrongly, it turned out - that the subprime collapse would be contained, the report notes."

Bernanke like his companeros in the Bush administration was smug, incompetent, and a key player in a disaster that impacted negatively on most Americans and the world at large. The result of his continuation of Greenspan's policies and his reaction to the onset of the crisis contributed to the reduction of the median net worth of American households by a third:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/business/the-typical-household-now-worth-a-third-less.html
Salut, Ben! You deserve every penny.


Roger Gathmann

I mentioned rather cryptically the Yorkville hedge fund that was helped out by the ever hedge friendly Ben Bernanke. In the dark winter of 2008 - 2009, some people thought of the retirement funds that were evaporating, the foreclosures, the unemployment. But the Fed was thinking in larger terms about who should get premium loans at Uncle Ben's We loan for less window. Yorkville was one of them.

"A Jersey City, N.J., hedge fund under Securities and Exchange Commission investigation received more than $230 million in federal loans as part of a government bailout program.

Yorkville Advisors has been part of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility Program since last year. Under TALF, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has up to $1 billion to lend as part of an effort to inject liquidity into the ABS market.
Yorkville received some $233 million of that financing, using it to buy $253 million in securities last year for its flagship, YA Global Investments. The TALF deals were made via a subsidiary of the fund, New Earthshell Corp., and placed with a special-purpose entity called YA TALF Holdings, Forbes reports. The hedge fund still owes the Fed $162 million."
http://www.finalternatives.com/node/13981

This is of course a pennyante amount. You, my friend, may not be able to get one cent from the Fed even if you write them and ask pretty please and include pics of your starving kids, but to other of the higher players in the Wallfare world, that loan is pocket change.
Since it isn't pocket change to me, though (if I and one thousand of my clones worked one thousand years at the rate in which I make money, we would not have collected anything near 230 million dollars), I figure that it might be a good idea to poke around Yorkville Associates, and see what they are about.

So what does Yorkville do, and why would we want to loan it money?

Here's a good summary of one of Yorkville's big money makers:

"Yorkville Advisors, founded by 38-year-old Mark Angelo in 2001, is one of the largest hedge fund firms specializing in investing in thinly-traded and often illiquid outfits by making private investments in public equities, also known as PIPEs. The hedge fund firm reported nearly $1 billion in assets as recently as 2008. Angelo's variation on PIPEs is a structured product called a standby equity distribution agreement, which like most PIPEs often causes the stock of the company receiving the investment to drop because it results in Yorkville's funds collecting discounted shares.

A report prepared by Sagient Research's PlacementTracker shows that Yorkville has entered into $762 million in PIPE deals since 2001, causing the underlying stocks to drop 38% on average in the first year. Most of those investments were made by Yorkville's Cornell Capital Partners, which later changed its name to YA Global Investments.
YA Global Investments reported a total return of 6.04% in 2009 and 6.22% in 2008, its financial statements say. It reported a net investment loss of 0.09% in 2009 and net investment income of 5.43% in 2008.

According to the one-page independent auditor's report prepared on August 13 by McGladrey & Pullen, YA Global Investments' consolidated financial statements include investments valued at $804 million, representing 94% of its partners' capital plus the amounts due to certain Yorkville special purpose vehicles, "whose fair values have been estimated" by Yorkville Advisors "in the absence of readily ascertainable fair values."

Now, that seems a bit curious. We gave this outfit money so that it could use the money to mount a play to make selected stock prices drop, which made it money.

Hmm, how is this possible? Well, here's an explanation of PIPE action as it pertains to another fund, the NIR group, written by Matthew Goldstein at Reuters:

"But what's surprising to me is why the SEC is just looking into the NIR funds now, given that it has been a dominant player in so-called "death spiral" convertible market. These securities have gotten a bad rap over the years because they include a trigger that permits bonds to be converted into common shares whenever there is a precipitous drop in the prices of a company's stock.

Roger Gathmann -> pete...

The accusation is that the loose set up of Talf was Bernanke's baby, not that he was personally on the phone to Yorkville associates.

The Bureau of Mine head wasn't personally in contact with BP when Deep Horizon blew, he had simply helped produced the regulatory environment that made it possible.

Carola Binder said...

A few weeks ago I blogged about Bernanke's decision to join Citadel, hoping the move will catalyze a change in Fed governance: http://carolabinder.blogspot.com/2015/04/on-bernanke-and-citadel.html

Interesting WSJ article on Fed's links to Citadel and Pimco: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/04/29/ben-bernanke-signs-on-with-pimco-another-firm-not-regulated-by-the-fed-but-with-deep-ties/

Roger Gathmann

Checking out Citadel's history of tax avoidance and taking advantage of loopholes in regulation, Bernanke obviously saw a corporate culture he could admire. As early as 2007, the NYT featured an article about their innovative program of helping employees avoid tax through a system of off shore accounts.

One of the flagship funds at Citadel, a $13.5 billion hedge fund, for example, has deferred at least $1.7 billion since it was founded at the end of 1990. And that does not count what might have been taken out already. Citadel declined to comment.

"We pile advantage on advantage for these managers and there doesn't seem to be any economically logical basis for it," said John C. Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group. "It's a very well-gilded lily to allow these tax deferrals."

This tax advantage is now coming under scrutiny in Washington, where Congress is looking for ways to reduce the budget deficit, to pay for the Iraq war and to help cover the exploding retirement and health care costs of aging baby boomers.

For now, many hedge fund managers are enjoying not only extraordinary profits but the extra benefit of a system almost encouraging them to set up offshore accounts.

Most hedge funds are private partnerships; managers are usually paid 2 percent of the money they manage plus 20 percent of the profits the partnership earns. If the fund operates in the United States, any deferral of the pay of the managers means investors lose the tax deduction associated with the compensation expense. As a result, deferred compensation in domestic funds is very uncommon.

By setting up an offshore fund, though, hedge fund managers avoid socking their investors with extra taxes. At the same time, it serves to attract tax-exempt investors like pension funds and endowments, as well as foreign investors, two of the most active groups investing in hedge funds today."

At the end of 2008, things did look bad for Citadel. But they got some help at least from the Government, as did any household who had experienced a bad year - NOT! Just joking. That is when Citadel got a 200 million dollars from the payout of AIG with money loaned from the Fed. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/17/aig-bailout-chicago-based_n_175748.html?

Life is sweet. True, what's 200 million between friends? after all, citadel's ceo made 900 million dollars in 2009. That's how they roll.

Roger Gathmann

After the senate report on the financial meltdown, Bernanke, in a country where the elite were more vulnerable to shame, would have stepped down. Actually, if a cashier at a grocery store had a record that was comparably as bad as Bernanke's at the Fed, that cashier would have been fired, with no reference.

But cashiers are peons and proles - they have to take responsibility for what they do. Sweetly enough, our elite has liquidated that notion as far as it refers to themselves. America is such a lovely place to live in like that - if you have an income of above 500 thou a year.

For the rest, well, in an ownership society you gotta take your risks, suckers.

[May 05, 2015] The Higher Immorality

Excerpts from the book The Power Elite by C.Wright Mills Oxford Press, 1956

The higher immorality can neither be narrowed to the political sphere nor understood as primarily a matter of corrupt men in fundamentally sound institutions. Political corruption is one aspect of a more general immorality; the level of moral sensibility that now prevails is not merely a matter of corrupt men. The higher immorality is a systematic feature of the American elite; its general acceptance is an essential feature of the mass society.

Of course, there may be corrupt men in sound institutions, but when institutions are corrupting, many of the men who live and work in them are necessarily corrupted. In the corporate era, economic relations become impersonal-and the executive feels less personal responsibility. Within the corporate worlds of business, war-making and politics, the private conscience is attenuated-and the higher immorality is institutionalized. It is not merely a question of a corrupt administration in corporation, army, or state; it is a feature of the corporate rich, as a capitalist stratum, deeply intertwined with the politics of the military state.

***

There is still one old American value that has not markedly declined: the value of money and of the things money can buy-these, even in inflated times, seem as solid and enduring as stainless steel. 'I've been rich and I've been poor,' Sophie Tucker has said, 'and believe me, rich is best.' As many other values are weakened, the question for Americans becomes not Is there anything that money, used with intelligence, will not buy?' but, 'How many of the things that money will not buy are valued and desired more than what money will buy?' Money is the one unambiguous criterion of success, and such success is still the sovereign American value.

Whenever the standards of the moneyed life prevail, the man with money, no matter how he got it, will eventually be respected. A million dollars, it is said, covers a multitude of sins. It is not only that men want money; it is that their very standards are pecuniary. In a society in which the money-maker has had no serious rival for repute and honor, the word 'practical' comes to mean useful for private gain, and 'common sense,' the sense to get ahead financially. The pursuit of the moneyed life is the commanding value, in relation to which the influence of other values has declined, so men easily become morally ruthless in the pursuit of easy money and fast estate-building.

A great deal of corruption is simply a part of the old effort to get rich and then to become richer. But today the context in which the old drive must operate has changed. When both economic and political institutions were small and scattered-as in the simpler models of classical economics and Jeffersonian democracy-no man had it in his power to bestow or to receive great favors. But when political institutions and economic opportunities are at once concentrated and linked, then public office can be used for private gain.

Governmental agencies contain no more of the higher immorality than do business corporations. Political men can grant financial favors only when there are economic men ready and willing to take them. And economic men can seek political favors only when there are political agents who can bestow such favors. The publicity spotlight, of course, shines brighter upon the transactions of the men in government, for which there is good reason. Expectations being higher, publics are more easily disappointed by public officials. Businessmen are supposed to be out for themselves, and if they successfully skate on legally thin ice, Americans generally honor them for having gotten away with it. But in a civilization so thoroughly business-penetrated as America, the rules of business are carried over into government-especially when so many businessmen have gone into government. How many executives would really fight for a law requiring a careful and public accounting of all executive contracts and 'expense accounts'? High income taxes have resulted in a network of collusion between big firm and higher employee. There are many ingenious ways to cheat the spirit of the tax laws, as we have seen, and the standards of consumption of many high-priced men are determined more by complicated expense accounts than by simple take-home pay. Like prohibition, the laws of income taxes and the regulations of wartime exist without the support of firm business convention. It is merely illegal to cheat them, but it is smart to get away with it. Laws without supporting moral conventions invite crime, but much more importantly, they spur the growth of an expedient, amoral attitude.

A society that is in its higher circles and on its middle levels widely believed to be a network of smart rackets does not produce men with an inner moral sense; a society that is merely expedient does not produce men of conscience. A society that narrows the meaning of 'success' to the big money and in its terms condemns failure as the chief vice, raising money to the plane of absolute value, will produce the sharp operator and the shady deal. Blessed are the cynical, for only they have what it takes to succeed.

***

It is the proud claim of the higher circles in America that their members are entirely self-made. That is their self-image and their well-publicized myth. Popular proof of this is based on anecdotes its scholarly proof is supposed to rest upon statistical rituals whereby it is shown that varying proportions of the men at the top are sons of men of lower rank. We have already seen the proportions of given elite circles composed of the men who have risen. But what is more important than the proportions of the sons of wage workers among these higher circles is the criteria of admission to them, and the question of who applies these criteria. We cannot from upward mobility infer higher merit. Even if the rough figures that now generally hold were reversed, and 90 per cent of the elite were sons of wage workers-but the criteria of co-optation by the elite remained what they now are-we could not from that mobility necessarily infer merit. Only if the criteria of the top positions were meritorious, and only if they were self-applied, as in a purely entrepreneurial manner, could we smuggle merit into such statistics-from any statistics-of mobility. The idea that the self-made man is somehow 'good' and that the family-made man is not good makes moral sense only when the career is independent, when one is on one's own as an entrepreneur. It would also make sense in a strict bureaucracy where examinations control advancement. It makes little sense in the system of corporate co-optation.

There is, in psychological fact, no such thing as a self-made man. No man makes himself, least of all the members of the American elite. In a world of corporate hierarchies, men are selected by those above them in the hierarchy in accordance with whatever criteria they use. In connection with the corporations of America, we have seen the current criteria. Men shape themselves to fit them, and are thus made by the criteria, the social premiums that prevail. If there is no such thing as a self-made man, there is such a thing as a self-used man, and there are many such men among the American elite.

Under such conditions of success, there is no virtue in starting out poor and becoming rich. Only where the ways of becoming rich are such as to require virtue or to lead to virtue does personal enrichment imply virtue. In a system of co-optation from above, whether you began rich or poor seems less relevant in revealing what kind of man you are when you have arrived than in revealing the principles of those in charge of selecting the ones who succeed.

All this is sensed by enough people below the higher circles to lead to cynical views of the lack of connection between merit and mobility, between virtue and success. It is a sense of the immorality of accomplishment, and it is revealed in the prevalence of such views as: 'it's all just another racket,' and 'it's not what you know but who you know.' Considerable numbers of people now accept the immorality of accomplishment as a going fact

***

Moral distrust of the American elite-as well as the fact of organized irresponsibility-rests upon the higher immorality, but also upon vague feelings about the higher ignorance. Once upon a time in the United States, men of affairs were also men of sensibility: to a considerable extent the elite of power and the elite of culture coincided, and where they did not coincide they often overlapped as circles. Within the compass of a knowledgeable and effective public, knowledge and power were in effective touch; and more than that, this public decided much that was decided.

'Nothing is more revealing,' James Reston has written, 'than to read the debate in the House of Representatives in the Eighteen Thirties on Greece's fight with Turkey for independence and the Greek-Turkish debate in the Congress in 1947. The first is dignified and eloquent, the argument marching from principle through illustration to conclusion; the second is a dreary garble of debating points, full of irrelevancies and bad history. George Washington in 1783 relaxed with Voltaire's 'letters' and Locke's 'On Human Understanding'; Eisenhower read cowboy tales and detective stories. For such men as now typically arrive in the higher political, economic and military circles, the briefing and the memorandum seem to have pretty well replaced not only the serious book, but the newspaper as well. Given the immorality of accomplishment, this is perhaps as it must be, but what is somewhat disconcerting about it is that they are below the level on which they might feel a little bit ashamed of the uncultivated style of their relaxation and of their mental fare, and that no self-cultivated public is in a position by its reactions to educate them to such uneasiness.

By the middle of the twentieth century, the American elite have become an entirely different breed of men from those who could on any reasonable grounds be considered a cultural elite, or even for that matter cultivated men of sensibility. Knowledge and power are not truly united inside the ruling circles; and when men of knowledge do come in contact with the circles of powerful men, they come not as peers but as hired men. The elite of power, wealth, and celebrity do not have even a passing acquaintance with the elite of culture, knowledge and sensibility; they are not in touch with them-although the ostentatious fringes of the two worlds sometimes overlap in the world of the celebrity.

Most men are encouraged to assume that, in general, the most powerful and the wealthiest are also the most knowledgeable or, as they might say, 'the smartest.' Such ideas are propped up by many little slogans about those who 'teach because they can't do,' and about 'if you're so smart, why aren't you rich?' But all that such wisecracks mean is that those who use them assume that power and wealth are sovereign values for all men and especially for men 'who are smart.' They assume also that knowledge always pays off in such ways, or surely ought to, and that the test of genuine knowledge is just such pay-offs. The powerful and the wealthy must be the men of most knowledge, otherwise how could they be where they are? But to say that those who succeed to power must be 'smart,' is to say that power is knowledge. To say that those who succeed to wealth must be smart, is to say that wealth is knowledge.

The prevalence of such assumptions does reveal something that is true: that ordinary men, even today, are prone to explain and to justify power and wealth in terms of knowledge or ability. Such assumptions also reveal something of what has happened to the kind of experience that knowledge has come to be. Knowledge is t no longer widely felt as an ideal; it is seen as an instrument. In a society of power and wealth, knowledge is valued as an instrument of power and wealth, and also, of course, as an ornament in conversation.

***

The American elite is not composed of representative men whose conduct and character constitute models for American imitation and aspiration. There is no set of men with whom members of the mass public can rightfully and gladly identify. In this fundamental sense, America is indeed without leaders. Yet such is the nature of the mass public's morally cynical and politically unspecified distrust that it is readily drained off without real political effect. That this is so, after the men and events of the last thirty years, is further proof of the extreme difficulty of finding and of using in America today the political means of sanity for morally sane objectives.

America - a conservative country without any conservative ideology-appears now before the world a naked and arbitrary power, as, in the name of realism, its men of decision enforce their often crackpot definitions upon world reality. The second-rate mind is in command of the ponderously spoken platitude. In the liberal rhetoric, vagueness, and in the conservative mood, irrationality, are raised to principle. Public relations and the official secret, the trivializing campaign and the terrible fact clumsily accomplished, are replacing the reasoned debate of political ideas in the privately incorporated economy, the military ascendancy, and the political vacuum of modern America.

The men of the higher circles are not representative men; their high position is not a result of moral virtue; their fabulous success is not firmly connected with meritorious ability. Those who sit in the seats of the high and the mighty are selected and formed by the means of power, the sources of wealth, the mechanics of celebrity, which prevail in their society. They are not men selected and formed by a civil service that is linked with the world of knowledge and sensibility. They are not men shaped by nationally responsible parties that debate openly and clearly the issues this nation now so unintelligently confronts. They are not men held in responsible check by a plurality of voluntary associations which connect debating publics with the pinnacles of decision. Commanders of power unequaled in human history, they have succeeded within the American system of organized irresponsibility.

[Apr 14, 2015] The Message from the 22 Year Old Suicide at the Nation's Capitol

Apr 14, 2015 | Jesse's Café Américain

Suicide is a prohibited form of violence in my own belief, as are all other forms of murder. Therefore I would not hold this type of protest up as an example to anyone.

However, an even worse offense would be to completely ignore the message which this young man delivered, as most of the mainstream media has done in the US.

I did not even know what really happened until I read this article below from Wall Street On Parade today. The police and media referred to it as a 'social protest.'

Before he killed himself, the young man held up a sign that said "Tax the One Percent."

Perhaps an even more pointed message might be 'shut down the loopholes for the Top .01%.' Those who make their money from wages and ordinary income pay fairly significant taxes.

However, the uber-rich have so many loopholes and tax avoidance schemes that they often pay much lower percentage than even those in the lowest income levels. The top .01% use the upper middle class as shields for their antics.

You may read the entire article about this here.

Rather than one young light be extinguished and quickly overlooked by the powerful, perhaps it would be better if a million people were to march on the Capitol, and effective shut it down in protest this Summer. That might get their attention. Alas, the apathy in the people is pervasive, at least for now.

Wall Street On Parade

22-Year Old Commits Suicide at Capitol to Send Congress a Message

By Pam Martens: April 14, 2015

At approximately 1:07 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, April 11, during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival celebrating springtime in the Nation's Capitol, a 22-year old man took his own life with a gun on the Capitol grounds with a protest sign taped to his hand. According to the Washington Post, the sign read: "Tax the one percent."

Yesterday, the Metropolitan Police Department released the young man's name. He was Leo P. Thornton of Lincolnwood, Illinois. Based on what is currently known, the young man had traveled to Washington, D.C. for the express purpose of making a political statement with his sign and then ending his young life.

The Chicago Tribune reported that "Thornton's parents filed a missing persons report on the morning of April 11 after he never came home from work on April 10, Lincolnwood Deputy Police Chief John Walsh said."

Those are the tragic facts of the incident itself. But there is a broader tragedy: the vacuous handling of this story by corporate media. The Washington Post headlined the story with this: "Rhythms of Washington Return after Illinois Man's Suicide Outside Capitol." The message he delivered to his Congress – tax the one percent – has yet to be explored by any major news outlet in America in connection with this tragedy.

Was the message of Leo P. Thornton of Lincolnwood, Illinois a critical piece of information for this Congress to hear at this moment in American history. You're damn right it was. Outside of Wall Street's wealth transfer system, provisions in the U.S. tax code are the second biggest wealth transfer system to the one percent. Together, these two systems have created the greatest income and wealth inequality since the economic collapse in the Great Depression. They threaten a repeat of the 2008 financial collapse because the majority of Americans do not have the wages or savings to support the broader economy...

Profiles In Hypocrisy, In the Garden of Beasts

08 April 2015 | Jesse's Café Américain

"The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy."

William Hazlitt

"The U.S. went off the gold standard in August 1971. With no benchmark, central banks could print money and debase currencies. That opened the door for huge bailouts after big banks screwed up in a big way. Taxpayers-not incompetent bankers-paid the price.

By [the late 1980's], the Federal Reserve Bank and large U.S. banks had established a pattern to control the public relations damage each time banks had a major screw-up: accountants and regulators let banks lie about the size of the problem to stall for time; the Federal Reserve blew smoke at the media; finally, the Fed would bail out the banks in a way that most taxpayers would not understand.

Banks didn't have to get smarter or more competent. The Fed trained the banks that uninformed taxpayers would eat the losses, and fake accounting would let bank officers keep their positions and their money."

Janet Tavakoli, Decisions: Life and Death on Wall Street

Gold and silver were pushed back to their assigned round numbers, with gold barely holding above 1200 and silver pushed well below the 17 handle.

Ted Butler has a rather striking piece about the rigging in the silver market which you can read here.

Speaking of silver it appears that Turkey had record imports of silver bullion in March. You can read about that here. I am not sure how significant that is. We can certainly keep an eye on it to see if this is a one time thing or a trend.

Thoughts of silver drachmas and dirhams come to mind, but it is most likely improbably premature. Still, this is a currency war and things seem to be building to a reckoning of sorts. Who can say what desperate people might do to end repression?

Nothing really happened at the Bucket Shop on the Hudson. A few contracts of silver were claimed, and inventory was shoved around the plate in the warehouses. The real action is taking place in the Mideast and Asia.

We have become a coarse and careless people, smugly confident in our 'Exceptionalism.' We are no longer shocked about lies, but instead critique the style and performance of the liars, and try to emulate them in our own professions.

How can we not cringe at some of the more shocking abuses that pass for generally acceptable behavior in public figures these days? And we encourage it, by both our silence and our acceptance.

Oh yes, we recoil in horror at any kind of sex, at the human form, with great puritanical umbrage, but stealing and cheating, and abusing the poor and the defenseless in even the most petty and vicious ways is looked upon with admiration, because we are in love with power.

Power is our new golden calf. Even some so-called 'reformers' are falling all over themselves at a chance to move near the circles of power, to have influence, to be seen as connected. All we seem to want is to get paid, to get ahead, to 'win.'

Hypocrites!

And the example of our cultural and societal icons are certainly leading to a general corrosion of all morals and civilities. And that is a shame, which eventually will have significant repercussions and consequences for us as a people and a society.

Where will we finally draw the line and come to our senses? How far are we willing to go? How many crimes and abuses, how much theft and torture are we willing to overlook? Why do we allow our society to be defined by sociopaths?

When will we finally look about, and see that we too, despite all our smug superiority, have created our own garden of beasts?

[Apr 12, 2015] Portrait Of American Oligarchy The Very Troubling Income & Wealth Trends Since 1989 by Mike Krieger

Quote: "As of 2013, this group's median annual income stood at about $45,000, down 16 percent in inflation-adjusted terms from 1989, with a big part of the drop occurring since 2001. "
Apr 10, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

One of the primary purposes of Liberty Blitzkrieg is to dispel the myth that America is politically a democracy and economically a free market, and prove that it is in fact a centrally planned oligarchy. If the people were well aware of this and fine with it, that's one thing, but my contention is that the vast majority of the public is merely buying into the myth. This is why the population is so passive and easily controlled. They simply don't understand what is happening to them. The proverbial frog slowing boiling to death.

Whenever I note that real median incomes in America haven't increased for decades, many people have a hard time believing it. Nevertheless, as John Adams famously proclaimed: "facts are stubborn things." Indeed they are, and an article published today by Bloomberg View provides some disturbingly stubborn facts that must be admitted to and faced. We learn that:

If you worry about the declining fortunes of the U.S. middle class, take heed: It might be worse than you realized.

Tracking the middle class can be difficult, because the group is hard to define. Typically, researchers look at households with incomes or net worth in the middle of the entire population. This approach, though, might provide a falsely rosy picture.

Two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - William Emmons and Bryan Noeth - sought to address this shortcoming by focusing on households' demographic characteristics, rather than income or wealth. Specifically, they looked at families whose breadwinner was at least 40 years old and had achieved a level of education that would typically allow a middle-class standard of living. Whites and Asians needed exactly a high-school diploma to qualify. For blacks and Hispanics, it took a two-year or four-year college degree - a stark recognition of persistent racial inequality.

The results are not pretty. As of 2013, this group's median annual income stood at about $45,000, down 16 percent in inflation-adjusted terms from 1989, with a big part of the drop occurring since 2001. Over the same period, a more commonly used measure of the middle class's fortunes - the median income for all families - declined just 1 percent.

Yep, since 2001. This is not a coincidence. This is when America reacted like a bunch of scared imbeciles to a terrifying terrorist attack, and squandered what was left of freedom, civil liberties and common sense (see: How I Remember September 11, 2001). But moving along…

The picture for wealth is no better. The group's median net worth (assets minus debt) was about $127,000 in 2013, down an inflation-adjusted 27 percent from 1989 and 38 percent from 2007, just before the financial crisis hit. By comparison, the median net worth for all families declined just 4 percent over the whole period (it's also lower overall because it includes younger families that haven't yet saved much).

While the numbers revealed by this alternative methodology are downright devastating, I'd note that even by the conventional measurement income and wealth are still DOWN since 1989. Don't worry though, oligarchs are more wealthy and more powerful than ever. This is no accident, it's baked into the system.

* * *

For related articles, see:

[Apr 10, 2015] The Government's Revolving-est Doors

Apr 07, 2015 | Zero Hedge

Former employees of federal agencies can often find good (and lucrative) jobs as lobbyists, capitalizing on the connections that they forged while in public service. As OpenSecrets exposes, the numbers of revolving-door-enthusiasts is reminiscent of the Ebola epidemic as this deadly-to-democracy disease spreads from department to department ripping away 'hope and change' wherever it appears. "Revolvers" include those as powerful - and well connected - as secretaries of state and as far from Washington as Peace Corps volunteers... but The Department of Commerce tops the list...

The agencies shown here have employed the greatest number of former lobbyists - or sent the greatest number of former employees to lobbying firms and interest groups.

Agency Number of revolving door people profiled
Dept of Commerce 1736
Dept of Defense 1688
Dept of State 1452
Dept of Health & Human Services 1225
White House 1216
Dept of Agriculture 1112
Dept of Army 1080
US House of Representatives 876
Dept of Justice 864
Dept of Energy 840
Dept of Transportation 750
Dept of Interior 700
Dept of Labor 555
Dept of Housing & Urban Development 530
Dept of Homeland Security 520
Dept of the Treasury 444
Dept of Navy 428
Dept of Education 412
Dept of Air Force 312
US Senate 256

Source: OpenSecrets.org

[Apr 10, 2015] Rahm Emanuel and Rick Perry Hold Public in Bipartisan Contempt by Lambert Strether

April 7, 2015 | nakedcapitalism.com

Lambert here: This post is short and sweet. It's worth reminding ourselves that on some axes of evaluation, Republicans and Democrats are far more alike than different.

By PEU Report. Originally posted on their blog, Private Equity Report.

Holding the public in contempt is a bipartisan effort. Consider the following stories. The first involves Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas:

Information contained in a blistering state audit shows that at least five of the recipients… which got tens of millions of dollars from the fund - never actually submitted formal applications. At issue are at least five recipients of Texas Enterprise Fund money: Vought Aircraft…

Texas Governor Rick Perry gave Vought, a Carlyle Group affiliate, $35 million for fifteen years. Ten years later it's unclear if Vought provided even one additional new job. Governor Perry's job number is fanciful and the recent audit gives no overall job number. In 2010 Carlyle sold Vought for $1.44 billion but not one penny was returned to Texas taxpayers.

Chicago's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel is as free with taxpayer money for his political benefactors and purposely evasive about those relationships:

Emanuel's administration has for weeks blocked the release of correspondence between his administration and one of the Democratic mayor's top donors, Michael Sacks. The administration has also refused to release details about tens of millions of dollars in shadowy no-bid city payments to some of Emanuel's largest campaign contributors.

Rahm's top donor is a private equity underwriter (PEU):

The CEO of the Chicago private equity firm Grosvenor, Sacks has been described as Emanuel's closest ally in the private sector, and has been called Emanuel's "go-to guy" and his "top troubleshooter."

PEU sponsored politicians are above the law:

Illinois' open records law mandates that communications to and from public officials like Emanuel be made available for public inspection.

Back to how Rahm rewards his donors:

…firms that have received tens of millions of dollars' worth of shadowy "direct voucher payments" (DVPs) from the Emanuel administration have given more than $775,000 worth of campaign contributions to the mayor's political organizations.

Chicago's DVP process is permitted thanks to loopholes in Illinois' procurement law that allow municipal officials to circumvent the traditional contracting process. Unlike standard government contracts, DVP payouts do not require any type of public documentation. Emanuel appointees retain substantial discretionary authority to approve DVPs. The payments are not required to go to the lowest bidder; vendors receiving the payments do not have to list their qualifications and never need to document the services they provide to the city in return for the money. The DVPs appear to have been used for everything from phone service to interest payments to financial firms, but unlike the George W. Bush administration's no-bid contracts, DVP payments do not even require a formal contract, so it is impossible to verify what the money purchased.

No application, no contract and no accountability. It's our PEU world, where politicians Red and Blue love PEU.

[Nov 20, 2014] The NY Fed's Attempt To Explain That It Is Not A Subsidiary Of Goldman Sachs

Nov 20, 2014 | zerohedge.com

The most shocking, if already completely buried, news of the day was that - in yet another confirmation that Goldman Sachs is in charge of the New York Fed - a NY Fed staffer was colluding and leaking confidential, material information to a 29-year-old Goldman vice president, himself a former Federal Reserve employee.

This only happened because on the day Carmen Segarra disclosed her 47 hours of "secret Goldman tapes" on This American Life, Goldman executives asked the former Fed staffer where he had gotten what appeared to be confidential information from.

To nobody's surprise the answer was: The New York Fed. So as the latter, also known as the biggest hedge fund of the western world with $2.7 trillion in AUM, is scrambling to once again prove it is shocked, shocked, that it has become merely the latest subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, Inc., it released the following statement explaining what "really" happened.

From the NY Fed:

As soon as we learned that Goldman Sachs suspected one of its employees may have inappropriately obtained confidential supervisory information, we alerted law enforcement authorities. We have been working with law enforcement authorities since then. Because any public statement about the investigation could be prejudicial to a potential future criminal case, we are unable to comment on the specific facts that are under investigation.

As a general matter, we have detailed rules and controls protecting confidential information. All employees with access to confidential supervisory information need to agree to safeguard that information appropriately, and not to disclose it without the necessary approval. Employees receive training relating to the handling and protection of confidential supervisory information and other information security matters. Employees are informed that a violation of these restrictions could lead to criminal prosecution.

Employees also receive ongoing ethics training and are required to do an annual certification that they understand and will adhere to the Bank's Code of Conduct. In addition, we use off-boarding procedures to confirm with departing employees that no confidential information may be taken. With respect to all New York Fed staff, departing Officers may have no official contact with the Federal Reserve System for a period of one year. In addition, all departing New York Fed employees may not have substantive business contacts with the New York Fed relating to any particular matter that he or she had worked on when employed by the New York Fed. Further, with respect to employees departing from the financial institution supervision group, if the departing employee had served as a senior supervisory officer or central point of contact at a large and complex banking organization, that employee may not receive compensation from the supervised organization as an employee, officer, director or consultant for a period of one year. Finally, the New York Fed has in place technology to help identify and prevent the forwarding of confidential information in violation of our rules.

So did this technology fail? Or is Goldman simply one of the exempted parties?

Selected Skeptical Comments

hedgeless_horseman

Is the NY FED trying to say that Goldman Sachs does not own shares in the New York Federal Reserve Bank?

The 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by the
Congress as the operating arms of the nation's central banking system,
are organized similarly to private corporations--possibly leading to
some confusion about "ownership." For example, the Reserve Banks issue
shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is
quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve
Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of
stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System
. The stock may
not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are,
by law, 6 percent per year.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/about_14986.htm

Because...

Goldman Sachs Bank USA ("GS Bank") is a New York State-chartered bank and a member of the Federal Reserve System.

http://www.goldmansachs.com/what-we-do/investing-and-lending/banking/

Which is why it is a complete farce and racket to have The NY Federal Reserve Bank be responsible for regulating the member banks that own it.

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has supervisory and regulatory authority over a wide range of financial institutions, including state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System (state member banks), bank holding companies, thrift holding companies and foreign banking organizations that have a branch, agency, a commercial lending company subsidiary or a bank subsidiary in the United States...

http://www.ny.frb.org/banking/supervisionregulate.html

SoberOne
Nice HH.

" Finally, the New York Fed has in place technology to help identify and prevent the forwarding of confidential information in violation of our rules. "

Fancy way of saying the NSA, eh?

insanelysane

insanelysane's picture

It takes two to tango. Goldman wacked a couple of employees but the FED has kept all of theirs. Apparently law enforcement led by Mr. Holder are undertaking another extensive "investigation."

Either that or they are waiting for a memo from Goldman detailing what their "investigation" found.

Bay of Pigs

They don't need to explain anything. The William Dudley's bio....

"Prior to joining the Bank in 2007, Mr. Dudley was a partner and managing director at Goldman, Sachs & Company and was the firm's chief U.S. economist for a decade."

http://www.newyorkfed.org/aboutthefed/orgchart/dudley.html

madbraz

If this was a just country, by now the FBI would have an undercover operation, bug Dudley and KHenry and obtain irrefutable evidence that would be enough to end the NY FED and put them behind bars.

As we don't, and Goldman owns the FBI, we watch and cringe at these masters of arrogance and corruption.

JR

To understand Goldman's ticket to monopoly, the key is the Fed's chain of command.

Since the days of Alexander Hamilton the investment banks have made their home and impact in the Empire State. There, the concentration of big banks has made the NY Federal Reserve Bank powerful enough to outmaneuver, outvote and override all other regional interests. Its Fed ownership position, extensive size, holdings, insiders operating in the Fed and its New York contacts guarantees Goldman Sachs the leverage when needed to direct the Federal Reserve System.

It boils down to this: when you have the kind of leverage Goldman and the TBTFs have, this Wall Street money trust can make the critical decisions. One consortium, Goldman Sachs, tells the NY Fed what to do; it tells the FOMC and it relays its decision to Janet Yellen, representing 90 percent of the banking power. It means the government of the United States is under the direction of the Wall Street money trust.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the feature of how centralized, incestuous and tyrannical America's financial system has become. It is the New York Fed that literally gives the first and last word on who gets what and when in financial America. In other words, when the money trust picks its winners and losers, it's here's where the decisions are made....

Because of the extensive holdings and connections of New York based investment banks, what influence could a St. Louis or Dallas banker possible make on Fed policy? And since the domination of the Fed by Ben Strong of J.P. Morgan Trust and Governor of the New York Fed from 1914 until his death in 1928, no Fed decision is made without the New York stamp.

The president of the New York Fed is a permanent voting member of the FOMC and traditionally is selected as its vice chairman. The other presidents serve one-year terms on a rotating basis. All of the presidents participate in FOMC discussions, but only the five who are members of the Committee vote on policy decisions.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has several unique responsibilities associated with its presence in the financial capital of the United States.

At the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve's top monetary policy-making group, the New York Fed executes domestic open market operations on behalf of the System.

Open market operations-the buying and selling of U.S. government securities in the secondary market-are the principal means through which the System implements monetary policy. Although the FOMC decides what policy to follow, the System's portfolio is directed, on a daily basis, by the Manager of the System Open Market Account at the New York Fed. The Manager, along with the rest of the Open Market Department, constantly monitors bank reserves and acts to ensure that the FOMC's directive is being fulfilled.

In addition to its domestic trading desk responsibilities, the New York Fed, at the direction of the FOMC and U.S. Treasury, conducts all foreign exchange trading for the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System. In this role, the New York Fed intervenes in foreign exchange markets to achieve dollar exchange rate policy objectives and to counter disorderly conditions in foreign exchange markets.

The New York Fed also is responsible for maintaining relations with, and providing financial services for, foreign central banks and international organizations. One of these services is the New York Reserve Bank's unique custodial responsibility for the gold reserves of about five dozens countries, central banks, and international organizations. The New York Fed's gold vault stores approximately one-quarter of the world's official gold supply-the largest concentration of monetary gold in the world.

Foreign official gold reserves have been held at the New York Fed since 1924 for numerous reasons, including the stability of the U.S. political system, the concentration of international trade and finance in New York City, and the convenience of centralizing gold holdings in a place where international payments can be made quickly.

The truth is, Goldman Sachs is one of the Fed owners, but it is so big, it is pushing everybody else around, at the moment.

The most recent information from observers says that just eight families, four of which reside in the US, own 80 percent of the NY Federal Reserve Bank. They are, according Dean Henderson of Global Research in 2011, Goldman Sachs, Rockefellers, Lehmans and Kuhn Loebs of New York; the Rothschilds of Paris and London; the Warburgs of Hamburg; the Lazards of Paris; and the Israel Moses Seifs of Rome.This ownership information was provided by J.W. McCallister, an oil industry insider with House of Saud connections, writing in "The Grime Reaper," information he acquired from Saudi bankers.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-federal-reserve-cartel-the-eight-families/25080

[Nov 19, 2014] Matt Stoller: Lobbying Used to Be a Crime: A Review of Zephyr Teachout's New Book on the Secret History of Corruption in America by Yves Smith

November 18, 2014

Yves here. You can also read Zephyr Teachout answering questions about her book at last weekend's Book Salon at Firedoglake.

By Matt Stoller, who writes for Salon and has contributed to Politico, Alternet, The Nation and Reuters. You can reach him at stoller (at) gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller. Originally published at Medium and Firedoglake

If there's one way to summarize Zephyr Teachout's extraordinary book Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United, it is that today we are living in Benjamin Franklin's dystopia. Her basic contention, which is not unfamiliar to most of us in sentiment if not in detail, is that the modern Supreme Court has engaged in a revolutionary reinterpretation of corruption and therefore in American political life. This outlook, written by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the famous Citizens United case, understands and celebrates America as a brutal and Hobbesian competitive struggle among self-interested actors attempting to use money to gain personal benefits in the public sphere.

What makes the book so remarkable is its scope and ability to link current debates to our rich and forgotten history. Perhaps this has been done before, but if it has, I have never seen it. Liberals tend to think that questions about electoral and political corruption started in the 1970s, in the Watergate era. What Teachout shows is that these questions were foundational in the American Revolution itself, and every epoch since. They are in fact questions fundamental to the design of democracy.

Teachout starts her book by telling the story of a set of debates that took place even before the Constitution was ratified - whether American officials could take gifts from foreign kings. The French King, as a matter of diplomatic process, routinely gave diamond-encrusted snuff boxes to foreign ambassadors. Americans, adopting a radical Dutch provision banning such gifts, wrestled with the question of temptation to individual public servants versus international diplomatic norms. The gifts ban, she argues, was evidence of a particular demanding notion of corruption at the heart of American legal history. These rules, 'bright-line' rules versus 'corrupt-intent' rules, govern temptation and structure. They cover innocent and illicit activity, as opposed to bribery rules which are organized solely around quid pro quo corruption.

The Constitution is full of such bright-line rules. For instance, the residency requirement was intended to protect against 'adventurers' and the takings clause protects private property and has an anti-monopoly interpretive framework. The census, rules on representation of House members, the regular electoral cycle of two year terms, age requirements (to prevent dynasties), requirements for legislative journals, salary payments for legislators, and prohibitions on holding legislative and other offices are all anti-corruption provisions. The founders, Teachout argues, were obsessed with corruption. They had seen their beloved British system fall into the trap of corruption, with 'place men' (members of parliament dependent on the king) and rotten boroughs, and sought to prevent a recurrence in America.

Teachout points out something fairly obvious, but not recognized today - the theoretical underpinning of the American revolution was that a corrupt government had no legitimacy to govern. This is something the founders well recognized. The debates they had - Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington, Hamilton, and people in the culture at large - reflected a divide between political philosophers Thomas Hobbes versus Baron de Montesquieu. Hobbes's vision, echoed today among the Chicago school's law and economics scholars, was that corruption as a concept made no sense. Life was a brutal competition among selfish actors. In such a paradigm, a revolution would simply be a question of raw power, rather than any set of principles.

The founders roundly repudiated this view, adopting Montesquieu's arguments that there is such a thing as a public interest and that people could orient themselves around it given sufficient personal virtue and adequate structural incentives to do so. Montesquieu is best-known for his promotion of the concept of different branches of government, but that concept came from his moral view of human nature. Teachout shows that questions of bribery were fairly insignificant in the dialogue over the structure of the new republic, whereas anti-corruption as a Montesquieu-influenced deliberative design principle was the key animator of the shaping of the country.

This debate continued, in some sense, throughout the two hundred plus years of American legal and cultural history. The first significant test of the revolutionary anti-corruption doctrine was the 1795 'Yazoo' controversy, when a Georgia legislature sold a massive d process never went away.

In her discussion of the 19th century robber baron era, she includes the critical yet forgotten law of 19th century lobbying. Lobbying today is considered a Constitutionally protected free speech activity, an unfortunate but necessarily tolerated side effect of the First Amendment. That, however, is a relatively recent legal status.

In the 19th century, lobbying was perceived as an illegitimate and inherently corrupt activity, a betrayal of one's own citizenship. The Georgia draft Constitution in 1877 made lobbying a crime. "Throughout the country, from the early 1830s through the early 1930s, the sale of personal influence was treated as a civic wrong in the eyes of the law," she writes. "A citizen did not have a personal right to pay someone else to press his or her legislative agenda." This anti lobbying sentiment was not enforced through criminal law, but through civil law. Contracts for lobbying were unenforceable by courts, as the case Trist vs Child showed.

In 1890, the first law requiring lobbyists to register was passed in Massachusetts. This began the legitimization of lobbying as a profession. In 1927, the Supreme Court began chipping away at the de fact prohibition on lobbying via contract law, but as late as 1941 it still upheld Trist vs. Child.

Corruption in this era was widespread, as was the reaction against it. The Pendleton Act, which created the civil service, and the secret ballot, were both bright-line rule innovations to reduce the temptation of corruption. The country also began wrestling with the increasingly high cost of campaigns, which was a pivotal factor in the election of 1896 contest between populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan and Republican William McKinley. Banks were assessed a .25% charge on capital to finance McKinley's run, which amounted to roughly $5 billion in today's money. This led to, among other things, Teddy Roosevelt's anti-monopoly crusades and his work to ban corporate contributions in the early 20th century.

Corruption was more than just bribery, it was a threat to self-government and individual citizenship. It was a moral problem. Mark Twain's novel The Gilded Age, from which the era took its namesake, was a story of an innocent woman turned sophisticated amoral lobbyist. Corruption as a problem had religious overtones.

Gradually, this ardor has cooled. It was only in the post-World War II era that courts began carving out a First Amendment right on lobbying. Lobbying in the post-war administrative state was a necessity, and the increasing expense of public campaigns suggested that restrictions were necessary. But in 1976, the Supreme Court ushered in the modern Hobbesian view of political economy with its ruling in Buckley vs. Valeo. This case invalidated restrictions on campaign spending, and began the reinterpretation of corruption to simply mean quid pro quo bribery. The court argued that spending on elections in a First Amendment right, though the government had a valid anti-corruption interest in limiting speech. Contribution limits were valid, but spending limits were not. Post Buckley, the only limits on campaign spending became corruption-based, so scholars and lawyers began defining their policy preferences in terms of corruption, twisting and warping the term.

The book's final chapters are a discussion of Citizens United, the Supreme Court's makeup, and a legal proscription of how to restore the more appropriate conception of corruption in our national life.

According to Teachout, Citizens United was a decision in which the Supreme Court ignored the historic record to narrow the definition of corruption to mean a simple quid pro quo transaction. It found that the First Amendment protects "political speech regardless of the identity of the speaker," and that the Court found no sufficient "government interest in limiting corporate political advertising." It equated favoratism and influence with 'democratic responsiveness'. This was, as Teachout shows earlier, what Benjamin Franklin saw to be a dystopian view of how the American republic would be organized.

... ... ...


Minor Heretic, November 17, 2014 at 11:04 pm

A fallacy at the root of the modern 1st Amendment interpretation of campaign finance is just that: money as speech. Consider that high spending candidates win congressional primaries 98% of the time. That 98% is literal – see USPIRG's work on this. That makes donating money analogous to voting, not speaking. Last I checked, we were each supposed to have an equal number of votes, namely one.

Just throwing this out: Limit political donations (to candidates, parties, PACs, ballot initiative movements, lobbying organizations, 501(c)4…) to a day's wages at the federal minimum wage. It would also be the annual maximum. That's $58 at the present level. David Koch and the guy who mows David Koch's lawn would have equal clout.

Going further with the idea of money-as-vote, there should be a constituency restriction. Why should a resident of Ohio be able to influence the outcome of an election or ballot initiative in California? For that matter, why should a resident of Ohio congressional District 1 influence the elections of a representative for Ohio District 2? In neither case would the donor have legal party status.

I'm going to read Teachout's book. I should note that her sister Woden co-wrote an excellent book called "Slow Democracy," about the practice of direct deliberative democracy, including (but not limited to) town meetings.


Sam Kanu, November 18, 2014 at 8:54 am

"Money = free speech" is the ultimate fallacy. If money is equal to speech, then per definition, speech cannot be free or equal, as we have huge disparities in wealth. And in turn that means we dont have a democracy.

So basically the courts have dictated that democracy is dead. But that is not news on these pages, where it has long been obvious that we live in an oligarchy….


Paul Tioxon, November 18, 2014 at 5:53 am

The corruption of the Gilded Age included the buying of US Senate offices. Mark Twain in particular wrote against the practice whereby state legislatures picked the US Senators for a state, without any direct election by the citizenry. One of the richest men in world, William A. Clark, The Copper King of Montana, paid off the entire legislature of that state to become its appointed Senator. Finally, the the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution provided for the direct election of US Senators. Today, another institutional barrier to democratic elective office is the Congressional District. When I vote for a Senator, we have state wide elections, not 1 of 2 Senatorial Districts. When I vote in PA for my Congressional representation, I am only voting for a tiny fraction of my full representation, due to my being forced to vote for only one candidate in my congressional district. PA has 18 districts because it has to follow the law that provides for this organization. I should get to vote for all 18 of the federal representatives, because I am a citizen of Pennsylvania, which enter the Union of the USofA.

The districts are not hallowed institutions, because they keep changing with the growth in population of the nation. And I, get to vote for some frequently redrawn district that keep the amount of Republicans going to Washington DC in numbers greater than the total vote count for their party for each of their district races. I want a vote fore each representative, no matter how many there are for my state. Some small states with only 1 representative have a statewide election. That is what I want for all of the citizens with more than 1 representative. If I had 18 votes, I could vote 18 times for a Democratic slate of reps or maybe 12 Dems and 6 Green Party reps. As it stands now, 17 or the 18 people who represent my state get to go to DC without my consent. I am not 1/18th Pennsylvanian and I don't want 1/18th of a voice in Congress. One person, One vote, for One Candidate. How come I can't vote for the rest of my state's delegation to Congress. Oh yeah, we might take over the government mechanism of decision making.

beene, November 18, 2014 at 7:54 am

To me this is the most outrageous settle law that we have failed to address in over two hundred years (to the Supreme Court, where in 1810, in Fletcher v Peck, the court said that the sanctity of the contract must be upheld even in the face of corruption. In a nod to today's logic of brutal tolerance of corruption, the court argued that corruption may be problematic, but there was nothing the state could do about it. This was a highly consequential decision, and prioritized contract rights over anti-corruption.).

cabjoe mentioned voters being able to vote on approval of any new law passed by our representatives seems like an excellent correction to a lot of corruption by law makers.

Linda Amick, November 18, 2014 at 8:30 am

As a post grad student of Historical Philosophy, I find it absolutely shocking that our societal first principles are Hobbesian. His view of human dynamics and behaviors is MIGHT MAKES RIGHT. Human beings are nothing more than brutes.

If our societal viewpoint was Aristotelian with man being a rational animal and part of the living organism of the earth and solar system with a responsibility to respect all parts, maybe our society would find its basis in something more akin to the Golden Rule.


Jim, November 18, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Mr. Hobbes, I believe, has inappropriately been maligned by many of the posts on this particular thread when making allusions to his moral psychology.

If you take a more careful look at his writings you might notice that Hobbes is concerned with cultivating a personality type concerned with honor. Hobbes says

"That which gives to human actions the relish of justice is a certain nobleness or gallantness of courage, rarely found, by which a man scorns to be beholden for the contentment of his life to fraud, or breach of promise. The justice of the manners is that which is meant, where justice is called a virtue, and injustice a vice." (Leviathan, Chapter 14).

When talking about the first steps in the transition from the state of nature to a social contract Hobbes seems to believe that at least some members of the original society have to be of a sufficiently magnanimous temperament that they are willing to take unprecedented risks for the benefit of all.

Hobbes identifies magnanimity with the just conduct that springs from a "contempt" of injustice, and he seems to recognize that men are often prepared to risk their lives rather than suffer some sorts of shame. He also says that "magnanimity is a sign of power."(Leviathan, Chapter 10)

JTMcPhee , November 18, 2014 at 8:31 am

Speaking of corruption, moral hazard and all that related badness, years ago I was in the man cave of a person busy in the open-outcry activity at the CME. Up on his wall in a florid frame was the front page from a Chicago Tribune dated as I recall in august 1852. The headline story reported he criminal conviction of two fellas for engaging in "speculation" on the future price of corn, or maybe pork - back then, the stock in trade of the CBOT/CME today was totally illegal, even barred by the Illinois constitution, for a lot of reasons that reflect the pain that smartass "speculation" and derivatization have and continue to cause:

The Struggle for Legitimacy

Nineteenth century America was both fascinated and appalled by futures trading. This is apparent from the litigation and many public debates surrounding its legitimacy (Baer and Saxon 1949, 55; Buck 1913, 131, 271; Hoffman 1932, 29, 351; Irwin 1954, 80; Lurie 1979, 53, 106). Many agricultural producers, the lay community and, at times, legislatures and the courts, believed trading in futures was tantamount to gambling. The difference between the latter and speculating, which required the purchase or sale of a futures contract but not the shipment or delivery of the commodity, was ostensibly lost on most Americans (Baer and Saxon 1949, 56; Ferris 1988, 88; Hoffman 1932, 5; Lurie 1979, 53, 115).

Many Americans believed that futures traders frequently manipulated prices. From the end of the Civil War until 1879 alone, corners – control of enough of the available supply of a commodity to manipulate its price – allegedly occurred with varying degrees of success in wheat (1868, 1871, 1878/9), corn (1868), oats (1868, 1871, 1874), rye (1868) and pork (1868) (Boyle 1920, 64-65). This manipulation continued throughout the century and culminated in the Three Big Corners – the Hutchinson (1888), the Leiter (1898), and the Patten (1909). The Patten corner was later debunked (Boyle 1920, 67-74), while the Leiter corner was the inspiration for Frank Norris's classic The Pit: A Story of Chicago (Norris 1903; Rothstein 1982, 60).14 In any case, reports of market corners on America's early futures exchanges were likely exaggerated (Boyle 1920, 62-74; Hieronymus 1977, 84), as were their long term effects on prices and hence consumer welfare (Rothstein 1982, 60).

By 1892 thousands of petitions to Congress called for the prohibition of "speculative gambling in grain" (Lurie, 1979, 109). And, attacks from state legislatures were seemingly unrelenting: in 1812 a New York act made short sales illegal (the act was repealed in 1858); in 1841 a Pennsylvania law made short sales, where the position was not covered in five days, a misdemeanor (the law was repealed in 1862); in 1882 an Ohio law and a similar one in Illinois tried unsuccessfully to restrict cash settlement of futures contracts; in 1867 the Illinois constitution forbade dealing in futures contracts (this was repealed by 1869); in 1879 California's constitution invalidated futures contracts (this was effectively repealed in 1908); and, in 1882, 1883 and 1885, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas, respectively, passed laws that equated futures trading with gambling, thus making the former a misdemeanor (Peterson 1933, 68-69).

Two nineteenth century challenges to futures trading are particularly noteworthy. The first was the so-called Anti-Option movement. According to Lurie (1979), the movement was fueled by agrarians and their sympathizers in Congress who wanted to end what they perceived as wanton speculative abuses in futures trading (109). Although options were (are) not futures contracts, and were nonetheless already outlawed on most exchanges by the 1890s, the legislation did not distinguish between the two instruments and effectively sought to outlaw both (Lurie 1979, 109).

In 1890 the Butterworth Anti-Option Bill was introduced in Congress but never came to a vote. However, in 1892 the Hatch (and Washburn) Anti-Option bills passed both houses of Congress, and failed only on technicalities during reconciliation between the two houses. Had either bill become law, it would have effectively ended options and futures trading in the United States (Lurie 1979, 110).

A second notable challenge was the bucket shop controversy, which challenged the legitimacy of the CBT in particular. A bucket shop was essentially an association of gamblers who met outside the CBT and wagered on the direction of futures prices. These associations had legitimate-sounding names such as the Christie Grain and Stock Company and the Public Grain Exchange. To most Americans, these "exchanges" were no less legitimate than the CBT. That some CBT members were guilty of "bucket shopping" only made matters worse! http://eh.net/encyclopedia/a-history-of-futures-trading-in-the-united-states/

The Players reported on in that Tribune article, as I recall, were convicted of multiple felonies, and sentenced to something like 15 years each in pre-privatization Illinois prison.

And another example of the fun and games, and how libertarianism actually operates if allowed: Remember the Onion Corner scam, again centered in Chicago? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onion_Futures_Act

I'm old enough and cynical enough to know that there's an irreducible amount of corruption, some cheerful but most perverse, in any social organization. The constant problem is managing what I'd call "slack," the apparently necessary "play" in the system, that like mechanical tolerances in timepieces and transmissions, keeps friction and heat from locking up the mechanisms. I doubt we humans will ever be very successful at keeping the "sharpest" among us from fattening themselves via fraud, abuse, theft, combination and all that - there are no incorruptible mechanisms that can keep the "slack" to a level that like, our gut bacteria population does not proliferate and degenerate into a disease state that threatens to kill us, the organism of ordinary people that keep all this going with our work and our little bits of wealth…

blucollarAl November 18, 2014 at 9:15 am

The entire philosophical and ideological foundation of modern capitalism, the almost always unquestioned because unrecognized and assumed anthropological and moral premises of the system of organizing economic and social life, is Hobbesian in its roots and accepts a Hobbesian picture of the universe. What passes today for the "American Conservative Movement", that collection of foreign policy neo-cons and economic/social neo-liberals that deceptively calls itself "conservative", suggesting a respect for if not a reverence for the traditional and older ways, represents in fact a radical, anti-American tradition of Hobbesian political philosophy as Treachout seems to recognize in her book (I have not yet read it).

Still the best treatment of the Hobbes and modern capitalism are Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism", Chapter 5, "The Political Emancipation of the Bourgeoise", and C.B. McPherson, "The Political Philosophy of Hobbes". Read them and weep.

So we have a radical, anti-American, anti-human philosophy based on a picture of human nature as pure passion, aggression, power-hungry greed, appealing to ordinary Americans under the guise of "conservative" respect for their cherished (what's left) customs, traditions, and respect for decency. It is as if we have all fallen into a deep trance with no one, certainly not today's Democrat Party, there to wake us up.

JTMcPhee November 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Even The Capitalist Tool, and the Economist (sic), and the OECD (and of course the keepers of order, the military and state security types) know the pot is already simmering, the flame is turned up and all that:

Even that apologia for More Of The Same, The Economist: "For richer, for poorer: Growing inequality is one of the biggest social, economic and political challenges of our time. But it is not inevitable, says Zanny Minton Beddoes," http://www.economist.com/node/21564414 (Neither are heart disease and cancer, sort of…)

On the Big War side of things, " Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown: Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements," http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jun/12/pentagon-mass-civil-breakdown, and unless one really enjoys depression and self-flagellation, it does not pay to research the crowd control technologies our young innovators are handing to the rich shits and their "people."

The "elite," having lucked into the knack of creating a Black Hole to suck in all the resources and wealth of everyone else, of course need "Security" to not only hang tight to what they have grabbed, but to keep anyone else from picking off a few crumbs. More from Forbes:

Security Concerns Of The Super-Rich

Worried about someone hacking into your offshore bank account? Kidnapping you and holding you for ransom because of your high net worth? Breaking into your Caribbean villa while you're working from lower Manhattan?

Those aren't concerns for most of us, but for the extremely wealthy they could be. Trite as it may seem, the rich really are different from you and me. Especially when it comes to security…." http://www.forbes.com/sites/brianwingfield/2010/10/20/security-concerns-of-the-super-rich/

And all those ex-imperial military types, loaded for bear and needing a paycheck… "retainers", isn't that the old term?

Katie, bar the door!

ex-PFC Chuck November 18, 2014 at 11:43 am

Judging from this review, Teachout's book covers much of the same ground that Larry Lessig did three years ago in Republic, Lost. In that book, Lessig drew considerably on Teachout's earlier work in this area. He used the terms "dependence corruption" and "systematic corruption," to describe features and practices that undermine the peoples' influence on government but are not illegal, and differentiates them from quid pro quo corruptions such as bribery. He describes at length how dependence corruption was a major concern of the founders. Here are some links for people interested in doing something useful in this area:
movetoamend.org
http://wilpf.org/CvDCmte
http://www.wilpf.org/docs/ccp/corp/ACP/CP_article%2Btimeline.pdf >

juliania November 18, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Many thanks for this review, Yves!

"…Teachout shows, through painstaking historical research, that this popular conception of corruption is actually far more consistent with the intent of the Constitutional framers than the odd and anomalous John Roberts-led Hobbesian majority…"

In my small liberal arts college back in the early '60′s we were reading the papers of the framers of the Constitution, after having read works by the English philosophers, and what I remember of Hobbes boils down to his description of the lives of human beings as being 'nasty, brutish, and short.' (Consequently when I think of Hobbes in my mind he takes on that persona – nasty, brutish, and short.) Teachout's analysis of Citizens United is extremely interesting; I always thought the Constitution was crafted with Hobbesian realities in mind; that was what 'checks and balances' were all about. It was never 'just a piece of paper' but you had to toe the line it brightly (love that appellation) laid out.

Always until now the better angels of our nature were not just folderol propaganda, given occasional lip service and nothing further, but also verities enshrined in our founding documents, to be treasured and protected – how far we have come away from that glorious heritage!

Maybe we are approaching the turning point.

Sluggeaux, November 18, 2014 at 4:18 pm

"I believe that the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos, and murder." - Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man

As one of the few people in this country who seems to have actually read the opinions which make up the Citizens United decision, I believe that our Constitution represents an effort to overcome a Hobbesian world by those who well understood the brutish instincts of their fellow human beings.

Kennedy actually relies on dissents penned by William O. Douglas and Earl Warren to decisions affirming the muzzling of collective political action by organized labor under the Taft-Hartley Act passed in the wake of the Second World War at the beginning of the McCarthyite Red Scare.

Eight of the nine Justices agreed with Kennedy that collectively spending money on political communication is protected by the First Amendment, but that the Congress may constitutionally require that the speaker(s) be transparently identified (only Thomas dissented from this view).

It is the Congress which has corruptly failed to act on the Supreme Court's invitation to ban "Dark Money" and force political speakers to identify themselves and their agendas. Such sunshine would make their corruption far more difficult.

Jim, November 18, 2014 at 5:55 pm

I think you should try to keep in mind that Hobbes was also a theoretician of skepticism, something which seems in extremly short supply in 2014.

Hobbes's has said "For the thoughts are to the desires, as scouts, and spies, to range abroad, and find the way to the things desired (Leviathan, Chapter 8).

As with Hume, Mr Hobbes argues for a certain type of circularity in our arguments where the reasons generated by reason are largely concerned with clarifying the ends to which are passions are driving us and in figuring out the most expeditious means for getting there.

In other words, in contrast to, say, the political theorists of MMT (at least in their earlier versions) there is a powerful argument in both Hobbes and later Hume for the primacy of the prescriptive over the descriptive -– if we are honest with ourselves.

Jim, November 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm

"The founders…adopting Montesquieu's arguments that there is such a thing as a public interest and that people could orient themselves around it given sufficient personal virtue and the adequate structural incentives to do so."

But if the general public tends to lack virtue and "double government" becomes institutionalized then what are we to do?

The recent article/book by Michael J Glennon "National Security and the Double Government" deals directly with the profound issues of personal virtue and structural checks and balances.

Glennon argues that we have created, especially in the area of national security, a type of double government–one part public (Congress, the President, and the courts) and the other more concealed were several hundred executive officers in the military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies are basically responsible for protecting the nation's security and have acquired unchecked power–which accounts for the same imperial foreign policy no matter who is Preseident as well as our incrementally collective moves towards totalitarianism,.

The result of such an situation, according to Glennon, is a negative feedback loop were resuscitating the more Madisonian institutions (Congress, Presidency, Courts) requires an informed, engaged electorate (civic virtue) which is simultaneously faced with a political structure that has locked them out–thus voters have little incentive to become informed or engaged and in fact often appear to be moving toward greater unengagement

Glennon finishes his analysis with a quote from John Adams: "The nation which will not adopt an equilibrium of power must adopt a despotism. There is no other alternative."

Walter Antoniotti, November 18, 2014 at 8:04 pm

What bothers me is how few educated people don't know this. John Hamilton, a bootlegger, paid for the Minutemen so he would not have to pay taxes for British protection. People should read Lies My Teacher Told Me and Don't Know Much about history.

People like David Brooks really thinks now is a really bad time. Compared to 1962-1982 things are great. Lets compare US citizens killed in wars, assassinations, the misery index, the social net, income of old people, corrupt politics, riots in cities, students killed on college campuses…

[Nov 17, 2014] Bill Black and Marshall Auerback Discuss Why Economists and Regulators Don't Use "Fraud"

Quote: "I believe that the fraudulent nature of the GWOT (Global War on Terror) should be a key ingredient of any analysis of our political situation and it should be looked at as a part of the massive financial fraud of that period–the two are not separate. "
November 15, 2014 | nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Bill Black discusses his favorite topic, fraud, with Marshall Auerback of the Institute of New Economic Thinking. Some of this talk is familiar terrain for those who know Black's work, such as Black's well-argued criticism of the failure of financial regulators to make criminal referrals for misconduct in the runup to the financial crisis.

Even so, many readers are likely to find new information here, such as the number of FBI agents assigned to handle white collar fraud, and how some regulators during the savings & loan crisis defied Congressional pressure to go easy on failing and defrauded banks, and the career costs they paid.

Watt4Bob, November 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

In retrospect it seems likely that taking the FBI off the financial crimes beat and putting them on terrorism beat was a strategic move on the part of DOJ, at the behest of Wall$t interests.

After all, they passed the bankruptcy reform act well ahead of time because they foresaw the need to prevent our escape from the coming crisis, evidence they have some overall understanding of the likely results of their behavior.

Why then would we doubt they plan ahead to forestall prosecution for their crimes by systematic gelding of regulators and Justice to create a backstop?

(Not mention the missing $ trillions Rumsfeld admitted to congress on 9/10/01, and the subsequent attack on the Pentagon that managed to destroy only the offices of the guys auditing the MIC books?)

Banger, November 15, 2014 at 10:02 am

The way officials dealt with the massive financial fraud during the aughts, particularly the Obama Administration, was the final nail on the coffin of the U.S. government. There is no way to argue that we have a legitimate government in Washington. First 9/11 and the Global War on Terror a totally bogus and Orwellian enterprise that took FBI agents out of their jobs chasing wild geese or focusing on dissidents like Occupy protesters. I believe that the fraudulent nature of the GWOT should be a key ingredient of any analysis of our political situation and it should be looked at as a part of the massive financial fraud of that period–the two are not separate.

The rest of the federal government will collapse into the most sordid kind of political corruption eventually though this will take some time since most bureaucrats, dispirited as many of them are, are not constitutionally corrupt or corruptable – but eventually the Washington maxim of "no good deed goes unpunished" will win out. When I say corrupt, btw, I mean structural corruption not a few people selling their services to the people they regulate – I mean the corruption we have today is sytemic and incurable. Reform cannot happen at this time–there are no political forces that have a) articulated how bad the situation actually is (if criminals suffer no consequences then criminals will flourish); and b) know how to do anything to remedy the situations. The mainstream media and even the financial press is an integral part of the system that is focused on disinformation and misdirection with, at least, the occasional article that shows a little glimpse of the ankle of this situation.

Anyone familiar with the work of Black and many others that does not grasp that a system that rewards its worse criminals is, essentially, a criminal system. It is as if organized crime has taken over the U.S. and we haven't even noticed! Where is Batman?

fresno dan, November 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

The one good line Kinsley has, "the outrage is not what's illegal, its what's legal".

The 0.1% have 24/7 access, and no one else does. These government people cannot even fathom what is wrong, because they are never actually exposed to another viewpoint…

susan the other, November 15, 2014 at 2:59 pm

That Holder said it might be "fraud" but he wasn't touchin' it with a 10-ft pole, is a quote to die for. I must ask then, isn't the US financial system a classic SOE? Indeed it is.

China eat your heart out. So it follows that MMT doesn't necessarily apply in this case because our system divvies up the money unequally by design and not equally (also by design) – ergo corporatist design. Nevermind that 90% (?) of our corporations are terminal.

Giving the banksters (partners in crime) a lavish allotment mostly to allow them to then support the MIC and etc. God praise private banking, er, agency banking. So what's not to love about Bill Black's wonderfully graphic description about the authorities denying "fraud" as "suddenly realizing you are in an elevator with a crazy person."

And it then almost makes me think, in my entrenched paranoia, that the S&L crisis might have merely been a dry run.

EconCCX, November 15, 2014 at 8:39 pm

I do not know "SOE". What does it refer to?

State-owned enterprise, probs. "China eat your heart out."

barbara gibbs, November 15, 2014 at 4:10 pm

When you have CEO's like Jamie Diamon who goes before Congress wearing White House cufflinks, he pretty much gave the finger to Congress. and Obama saying they did nothing wrong, is why I lost my support for President Obama.

Obama why did you have to suck Diamon's dick?

TedWa, November 15, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Even the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) was told they could never use the word "Fraud" in their investigations. Sick, isn't it – and sickening.

I can't wait to hear how Holder is going to answer the questions about Alayne Fleischmann, the former JPMorgan Chase securities lawyer who tried to blow the whistle on "massive criminal securities fraud" by the bank and Jamie Dimon, only to have the government try to silence her with a $9 billion settlement.

Like we've been trying to say for years, you can prosecute the TBTF's.

Cultural Capture and the Financial Crisis By James Kwak

October 9, 2014 | The Baseline Scenario | 41 comments
A few years ago, while still in law school, I was invited to write a chapter for a Tobin Project book on regulatory capture. It was a bit intimidating, being part of a project that included luminaries like David Moss, Dan Carpenter, Luigi Zingales, Richard Posner, Tino Cuellar, and the deans of two of the best law schools in the country. I was asked to write something about an idea that I had slipped into 13 Bankers, almost in passing, about the cultural prestige of the financial industry and the political and regulatory benefits the industry derived from that prestige. My chapter turned into a discussion of the various mechanisms by which status and social networks can influence regulators, creating the equivalent of regulatory capture even without traditional materialist incentives (cash under the table, promises of future jobs, etc.).

Two weeks ago, an investigation by ProPublica and This American Life illustrated the culture of deference, risk aversion, and general sucking-upitude among New York Fed bank examiners that effectively resulted in the capture of regulators by the banks they were supposed to be regulating. As David Beim wrote in a confidential report about the New York Fed, the core problem was "what the culture expected of people and what the culture induced people to do."

I wrote about the story for the Atlantic and referred to my book chapter, but at the time the chapter was not available for free on the Internet (at least not legally). The good people at the Tobin Project have since put it up on the book's website, from which you can download it (legally!). Note that they are only allowed to put up one chapter at a time and they rotate them, so this is a limited-time offer.

Anonymous | October 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

Regulatory Capture is a very serious issue. When groups or individuals have a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory they often focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, are unable to do anything about it.

Cladia | October 9, 2014 at 10:23 am

When groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy they often focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, have no power to effect the outcome.

this is a pure form of hierarchy.

joebhed | October 9, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Sorry, the relevant paradigm goes far beyond the natural outcome of having a regulator work within a bank, people being people and all.

But that administrative failure and its resulting Rolex-seeking bedfellows all pale in comparison to the deeper realty present having to do with the dual mandate of the Fed to regulate the banks while being in charge of the money system that those banks operate to maintain our economic output and stability.
Be either the regulator or the promoter of the banking industry.

The Fed's mandate to do both, from the same room, is morally perplexing to good people, and is economically paralyzing.

We can't have the money to put us back to work until bankers see robust creditwortiness for lending and profit opportunities , which cannot happen without more money ….. to make them more creditworthy.. Catch 22 of debt-based money.

This is why Martin Wolf says the government should issue the money.

One less moral hazard.

Henry | October 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

It is sickening how regulators seek personal benefit, with complete disregard for the needs of the many that should outweigh the needs of the very few. The fact that the same people have to both regulate and promote banking activity is a recipe for corruption. Regardless of cultural background of regulators and examiners, they should not have the power causing them to reach a moral dilemma.

tonyforesta | October 13, 2014 at 1:30 am

Crimes were committed by all the financial oligarchs on an epic scale. Fraud, insidertrading, price manipulation, tax evasion, naked massive theft, bribery, collusion, market rigging, and the list is long and festering and putrid. The same crimes, by these same oligarchs, peopled with the same den of vipers and thieves continue today unabated on an even more epic, epochal scale.. There is nothing "unconscious" in the capture and conduct of the socalled regulators. Both those pursuing the capture and the socalled captured are equally guilty of the same crimes, for the same unholy pyshopathic reasons. Wealth and power.

Either regulators regulate and enforce existing laws. or there are no laws. The laws are reduced to endless reams of meaningless words on worthless paper, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." The conjuring of debt products into assets is a criminal activity, a Ponzi scheme. Derivative products amount to (and the numbers are nebulous) a $600Billion exposure. 3/4′s of a Quadrillion. How is this possible? How will this exposure ever be reconciled? The entire global GDP is only 70+ trillion. There is no fixing this rank evil, there is no balm in Gilead. How will this unholy and criminal math ever be reconciled???? I beg anyone to answer any of these inquiries.

Part of the problem is the cognitive capture of academics, politicians, regulators, law enforcement, and the dimsheeple these shaitans rob, pillage, incarcerate, murder, and otherwise abuse. The language used itself deceptive and cloaked in the insular supremist ideologies and beliefs in wealth and subsequent power as the singular measurements of status and greatness, of socalled "masters of the universe". Terms like captilalism, market efficiency, freemarkets, jobcreators, patriotism, and christianity, freedom, democracy have been intentionally and ruthlessly mangled and dismembered and redefined by decades of wingnut propaganda covens information domination operations, and disinformation campaigns. For example. – I double dare any of you erudite experts to define capitalism or democracy or freemarkets, or market efficiency and get back to me. The definitions no longer apply to the realities or the facts. Fascists and oligarchs rule Amerika and control the wealth and resources nation and all the conduct of the socalled government, enforced by militarized mass murdering biggoted pigs, – I mean police, – excused and shielded by partisan judges, including the fascists in the supreme court, and the captured regulatory apparatus, who favor, shield, protect, advance and insulate the fascists predatorclass and their mindless thugs – so obviously – we here in the land of Oz no longer inhabit a democracy,

Capitalism? Freemarkets? If there ever were such things, – they certainly does not exist today The markets are better defined as bandit capitalism and certainly not free, or fair, – wherein an entrenched predatorclass den of vipers and thieves are free, because of massive systemic criminality and theft, and the ensuing absurd illgotten imponderable wealth, to wantonly rob and pillage the people and manipulate markets, commodities, resources, the socalled judicial system, the socalled regulatory apparatus, the mass murdering militarized pigs, – I mean socalled law enforcement, and the socalled government, with absolute impunity and immunity, and zero accountability.

Market efficiency? The socalled mastersoftheuniverse were and are today wildly and dangerously stupid and horribly inefficient, and are singularly responsible for the most catastrophic economic FAILURE in the sordid history of the world, – a catastrophic FAILURE that is ongoing, and metastasizing on an exponential level today.

Christianity? Personally loath all institutional religions, as they are all awash in oceans of innocent blood, and seek only profit and power through the manipulation of religion – but also a student of comparison religion, including the bible, the apocrypha, and the Nag Hamadi texts. Any fiend or shaitan that would besmirch, bastardize, and claim the Nazarene to justify their evils promoting wealth, and biggotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia – is obviously woefully uneducated on the true teachings of christianity.

You are all victims of "pecuniary logic" and "pecuniary – psuedo truth" beliefs, – where in lies are majikally shapeshifted into truths, and truths denounced and the babbling of conspiratorialists.

The EPA, note the key term ENVIRONMENTAL in the name of the agency should be "captured by ENVIRONMENTAL types. That is the point the the purpose of in protection mandate in service of the people.

The creature from Jekyll Island, or the socalled FED is a horrific FAILURE, or a CRIMINAL CARTEL, or both. Regardless of the incessant bruting of the complicit parrots in the MSM, and the spaniels in the regulatory apparatus – there is no growth, there are and never will be any meaningful jobs, and inflation (again setting aside the manipulated and intentionally deceptive conjured numbers these shaitans and fiends pimp) is rampant and brutal, for the 99%. Price bacon, or cheese, or any staple, or healthcare, or rent, or car insurance, and get to me biiiiiaaatches.

The fact is CRIMES were committed. The economy collapsed.to the great disadvantage and disregard of the poor and middle class, while the predatorclass has absconded unfathomable wealth and protections. And the shaitans and fiends in the socalled government and regulatory apparatus chose to shield advance, protect, and immunize the den of vipers and thieves who are singularly responsible and culpable for this horrorshow.

Insular supremists pimp and brute the fiction that if the banks were not bailed out at the taxpayer expense, – the world would have come to an end.

Why would any intelligent free thinking individual, knowing what this den of vipers and thieves were responsible for, recognizing how much imponderable wealth these shaitans absconded believe this fiction and myth.

We'll never know. But a resolutiontrustlikeentitiy could have commandeered the banks, dissolved their criminal enterprizes, sold what was left in the open markets, sent those responsible to court, and eventually jail, – and no of you could ever convince me – that those in my circles would not be much better off.

Defenders of the predatorclass are pathological liars. CONSCIOUSLY, for inclusion and the grim hope someday walking the earth as predatorclass.

This is psychopathic and sociopathic depravity, criminality and insanity, only possible when one renounces every particle of humanity, decency, morality and compassion – and any concern for their fellow man.

The reality predatorclass shaitans and fiends and vipers and thieves will face – beyond the inevitable and certain collapse of the socalled global financial system – is that some of us in the 99% will not forget or forgive, and there will be a reckoning, and there will be blood.

In a world where there are no laws, – there are no laws for anyone predatorclass biiiiiiaaaatches.
Burn it all down. Reset. It's the only hope for the 99%.. .

Annie | October 13, 2014 at 8:32 pm

For Tony Foresta:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way

At most, the estimate is that there are 400 billion stars in the Milky Way….

Any questions on why the price of oil is falling? LOL

Considering that the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) has never been audited, based on what they DID is all we can go on to ascertain whether they are a criminal cabal. So there is no other answer other than "Yes, they are" based on the 4 requirements for launching a "Just War" – since we are all here repeating ourselves, I am also – you all know where to find the "list"….right?

The FRB keeps lording it that they have ABSOLUTE control over "employment" in USA – so that clinches it that they DID conduct economic genocide when all those jobs disappeared as the Bush Cabal packed up their derivative piece on the way out of town…

@Jeb – you wrote, "But that administrative failure and its resulting Rolex-seeking bedfellows all pale in comparison to the deeper realty present having to do with the dual mandate of the Fed to regulate the banks while being in charge of the money system that those banks operate to maintain our economic output and stability."

You have to add their manipulation of "employment"….no?

Totalitarian Nihilism…"cosmic insanity" - still just low life scum bag THEFT of real $$ by trillions of Fiat $$$$s…a virtual cloud game for sadists and psychos….and they DO HAVE A LEADER, btw….The Urantia Book has leveled the playing field – info in the Book approved for ALL of humanity by none other than JC :-)

Page 759 – "….The Caligastia scheme for the immediate reconstruction of human society in accordance with his own ideas of individual freedom and group liberties, proved a swift and more or less complete failure. Society quickly sank back to its old biologic level, and the forward struggle began all over, starting not very far in advance of where it was at the Caligastia regime, this upheaval having left the world in confusion worse confounded."

That was 250, 000 years ago – looks like "social media" is not all that….

Sill never bending my knee to the GLOBAL War, Drug and Slave Lords stood up by the FRB's retarded shenanigans.

Math never was and never will be the paper that covers the rock that is SCIENCE…

400 BILLION stars from all that FIAT evergy :-)

Anonymouse | October 20, 2014 at 7:25 am

Frankly Annie, I have come to learn that over all, people are not KIND. Disbelief and denial follow, but do not sooth the mind. And that same non kindness includes family and friends in a tit for tat war that has no meaning or logical conclusion.

Sure we ask how it could have happened, but i'm certain if we got the chance somehow to do it all over again, this family would top the charts, the talent was undeniable, the timing was not.

[Nov 3, 2014] How Much Does It Cost To Keep JPMorgan FX-Riggers Out Of Jail?

11/03/2014 | zerohedge.com

More than originally estimated, apparently...

Another day, another major bank adjust its reported data based on 'all-new' information about regulatory probes over its market manipulation. Last week was Citi, this week it's JPMorgan... with a double-whammy:

First, The SEC sanctioned 13 firms - including JPMorgan - for violating a rule primarily designed to protect retail investors in the municipal securities market in the sale of Puerto Rico bonds earlier this year...

All municipal bond offerings include a "minimum denomination" that establishes the smallest amount of the bonds that a dealer firm is allowed to sell an investor in a single transaction. Municipal issuers often set high minimum denomination amounts for so-called "junk bonds" that have a higher default risk that may make the investments inappropriate for retail investors. Because retail investors tend to purchase securities in smaller amounts, this minimum denomination standard helps ensure that dealer firms sell high-risk securities only to investors who are capable of making sizeable investments and more prepared to bear the higher risk.

In its surveillance of trading in the municipal bond market, the SEC Enforcement Division's Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit detected improper sales below a $100,000 minimum denomination set in a $3.5 billion offering of junk bonds by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico earlier this year. The SEC's subsequent investigation identified a total of 66 occasions when dealer firms sold the Puerto Rico bonds to investors in amounts below $100,000. The agency instituted administrative proceedings against the firms behind those improper sales: Charles Schwab & Co., Hapoalim Securities USA, Interactive Brokers LLC, Investment Professionals Inc., J.P. Morgan Securities, Lebenthal & Co., National Securities Corporation, Oppenheimer & Co., Riedl First Securities Co. of Kansas, Stifel Nicolaus & Co., TD Ameritrade, UBS Financial Services, and Wedbush Securities.

The enforcement actions are the SEC's first under Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) Rule G-15(f), which establishes the minimum denomination requirement. Each firm agreed to settle the SEC's charges and pay penalties ranging from $54,000 to $130,000.

"These actions demonstrate our commitment to rigorous enforcement of all types of violations in the municipal bond market," said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "We will act quickly and use all available tools to protect investors in municipal securities."

LeeAnn G. Gaunt, Chief of the SEC's Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit added, "These firms violated a straightforward investor protection rule that prohibits the sale of muni bonds in increments below a specified minimum. We conduct frequent surveillance of trading in the municipal bond market and will penalize abuses that threaten retail investors."

The SEC's orders against the 13 dealers find that in addition to violating MSRB Rule G-15(f) by executing sales below the minimum denomination, they violated Section 15B(c)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which prohibits violations of any MSRB rule. Without admitting or denying the findings, each of the firms agreed to be censured. They also agreed to review their policies and procedures and make any changes that are necessary to ensure proper compliance with MSRB Rule G-15(f).

The SEC's investigation, which is continuing, is being conducted by Joseph Chimienti, Sue Curtin, Heidi M. Mitza, and Jonathon Wilcox with assistance from Kathleen B. Shields. The case is supervised by Kevin B. Currid and Mark R. Zehner. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the MSRB.

* * *
• Charles Schwab & Co. – $61,800
• Hapoalim Securities USA – $54,000
• Interactive Brokers LLC – $56,000
• Investment Professionals Inc. – $67,800
J.P. Morgan Securities – $54,000
• Lebenthal & Co. – $54,000
• National Securities Corporation – $60,000
• Oppenheimer & Co. – $61,200
• Riedl First Securities Co. of Kansas – $130,000
• Stifel Nicolaus & Co. – $60,000
• TD Ameritrade – $100,800
• UBS Financial Services – $56,400
• Wedbush Securities Inc. – $67,200

So that should teach them a lesson eh!!!

But then, second, JPMorgan was forced to admit to some more market manipulation was beinmg investigated:

From JPMorgan's 10-Q: Foreign Exchange Investigations and Litigation.

DOJ is conducting a criminal investigation, and various regulatory and civil enforcement authorities, including U.S. banking regulators, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC"), the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (the "FCA") and other foreign government authorities, are conducting civil investigations, regarding the Firm's foreign exchange ("FX") trading business.

These investigations are focused on the Firm's spot FX trading activities as well as controls applicable to those activities. The Firm continues to cooperate with these investigations and is currently engaged in discussions with DOJ, and various regulatory and civil enforcement authorities, about resolving their respective investigations with respect to the Firm. There is no assurance that such discussions will result in settlements.

Since November 2013, a number of class actions have been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against a number of foreign exchange dealers, including the Firm, for alleged violations of federal and state antitrust laws and unjust enrichment based on an alleged conspiracy to manipulate foreign exchange rates reported on the WM/Reuters service. In March 2014, plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended class action complaint, which defendants moved to dismiss in May 2014.

When the bank that has a fortress balance sheet has 7 pages of double sided tiny print Litigation in its 10-Q, something is wrong!!

* * *

So back to the question at the start of the post... how much does it cost to keep JPMorgan FX-riggers out of jail? The answer is - at least $24,341 per employee (243,388 employees and a $5.9 billion allocation)

[Oct 24, 2014] Henry Giroux On the Rise of Neoliberalism As a Political Ideology

A very important article. Should be read in full. Large quote below does not cover all the content of the article.
Oct 19, 2014 : truth-out.org

"There is a lack of critical assessment of the past. But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past."

Ryszard Kapuscinski

Are they incapable, or merely unwilling? That is the credibility trap, the inability to address the key problems because the ruling elite must risk or even undermine their own undeserved power to do so.

I think this interview below highlights the false dichotomy between communism and free market capitalism that was created in the 1980's largely by Thatcher's and Reagan's handlers. The dichotomy was more properly between communist government and democracy, of the primacy of the individual over the primacy of the organization and the state as embodied in fascism and the real world implementations of communism in Russia and China.

But we never think of it that way any more, if at all. It is one of the greatest public relation coups in history. One form of organizational oppression by the Russian nomenklatura was replaced by the oppression by the oligarchs and their Corporations, in the name of freedom.

Free market capitalism, under the banner of the efficient markets hypothesis, has taken the place of democratic ideals as the primary good as embodied in the original framing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

It is no accident that the individual and their concerns have become subordinated to the corporate welfare and the profits of the upper one percent. We even see this in religion with the 'gospel of prosperity.' In their delusion they make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, so that after they may be received into their everlasting habitations.

The market as the highest good has stood on the shoulders of the 'greed is good' philosophy promulgated by the pied pipers of the me generation, and has turned the Western democracies on their heads, as a series of political leaders have capitulated to this false idol of money as the measure of all things, and all virtue.

Policy is now crafted to maximize profits as an end to itself without regard to the overall impact on freedom and the public good. It measures 'costs' in the most narrow and biased of terms, and allocated wealth based on the subversion of good sense to false economy theories.

Greed is a portion of the will to power. And that madness serves none but itself.

This is a brief excerpt. You may read the entire interview here.

Henry Giroux on the Rise of Neoliberalism
19 October 2014
By Michael Nevradakis, Truthout

"...We're talking about an ideology marked by the selling off of public goods to private interests; the attack on social provisions; the rise of the corporate state organized around privatization, free trade, and deregulation; the celebration of self interests over social needs; the celebration of profit-making as the essence of democracy coupled with the utterly reductionist notion that consumption is the only applicable form of citizenship.

But even more than that, it upholds the notion that the market serves as a model for structuring all social relations: not just the economy, but the governing of all of social life...

That's a key issue. I mean, this is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility, that these things get in the way.

And I think the consequences of these policies across the globe have caused massive suffering, misery, and the spread of a massive inequalities in wealth, power, and income. Moreover, increasingly, we are witnessing a number of people who are committing suicide because they have lost their pensions, jobs and dignity.

We see the attack on the welfare state; we see the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection between private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, deregulations, an unchecked emphasis on self-interest, the refusal to tax the rich, and really the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes to the ruling class, the elite class, what the Occupy movement called the one percent. It really has created a very bleak emotional and economic landscape for the 99 percent of the population throughout the world."

"This is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility."
I think that as a mode of governance, it is really quite dreadful because it tends to produce identities, subjects and ways of life driven by a kind of "survival of the fittest" ethic, grounded in the notion of the free, possessive individual and committed to the right of individual and ruling groups to accrue wealth removed from matters of ethics and social cost.

That's a key issue. I mean, this is a particular political and economic and social project that not only consolidates class power in the hands of the one percent, but operates off the assumption that economics can divorce itself from social costs, that it doesn't have to deal with matters of ethical and social responsibility, that these things get in the way. And I think the consequences of these policies across the globe have caused massive suffering, misery, and the spread of a massive inequalities in wealth, power, and income. Moreover, increasingly, we are witnessing a number of people who are committing suicide because they have lost their pensions, jobs and dignity. We see the attack on the welfare state; we see the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection between private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, deregulations, an unchecked emphasis on self-interest, the refusal to tax the rich, and really the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working classes to the ruling class, the elite class, what the Occupy movement called the one percent. It really has created a very bleak emotional and economic landscape for the 99 percent of the population throughout the world.

And having mentioned this impact on the social state and the 99%, would you go as far as to say that these ideologies have been the direct cause of the economic crisis the world is presently experiencing?

Oh, absolutely. I think when you look at the crisis in 2007, what are you looking at? You're looking at the merging of unchecked financial power and a pathological notion of greed that implemented banking policies and deregulated the financial world and allowed the financial elite, the one percent, to pursue a series of policies, particularly the selling of junk bonds and the illegality of what we call subprime mortgages to people who couldn't pay for them. This created a bubble and it exploded. This is directly related to the assumption that the market should drive all aspects of political, economic, and social life and that the ruling elite can exercise their ruthless power and financial tools in ways that defy accountability. And what we saw is that it failed, and it not only failed, but it caused an enormous amount of cruelty and hardship across the world. More importantly, it emerged from the crisis not only entirely unapologetic about what it did, but reinvented itself, particularly in the United States under the Rubin boys along with Larry Summers and others, by attempting to prevent any policies from being implemented that would have overturned this massively failed policy of deregulation.

It gets worse. In the aftermath of this sordid crisis produced by the banks and financial elite, we have also learned that the feudal politics of the rich was legitimated by the false notion that they were too big to fail, an irrational conceit that gave way to the notion that they were too big to jail, which is a more realistic measure of the criminogenic/zombie culture that nourishes casino capitalism.

[Oct 23, 2014] Rebuilding Trust in Finance We Can Do Better by Robert Johnson

Quote: "That's because of the persistent belief that the financial sector is functioning less like the nerve system of the economy and more like an autoimmune disease feeding on its host. This perception is not entirely unjustified."
September 17, 2013 | The Institute for New Economic Thinking
Trust is an essential part of a functioning economy, yet it is often one of the least understood variables in economics. That's why the Institute for New Economic Thinking is supporting the Thomson Reuters TRust index, which provides concrete metrics for understanding the level of trust in the financial system using a benchmark of the top 50 global financial institutions as a proxy for the sector as a whole.

While trust is difficult to understand and measure in the context of economics, this type of innovative work enables new and important conversations about trust and how it affects the economy. The Institute will be exploring this issue and the new economic thinking it facilitates In a series of essays over the next week. Stay tuned for more.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, distrust in the financial sector was widespread. Even after the mess appeared to be cleaned up, the uncertainty over whether the worst was over remained real.

But since that time, financial institutions have shored up their balance sheets as their earnings and capital cushions have improved and leverage ratios have shrunk. In short, banks today are safer than they were before the crash. So surely trust should have returned as the likelihood of systemic collapse declined.

That, however, does not appear to be the case, as is demonstrated by the persistent negative levels of trust shown by the Thomson Reuters TRust index.

Many people in the financial sector feel this distrust. But they aren't sure what to do about it. How can they win back the public's trust? Aren't record profits enough?

Apparently, there are some things that money can't buy.

Trust is an essential part of a functioning economy. It provides an antidote to the fundamental uncertainty that is part of any economic decision. Without trust, you would likely spend all of your energy and resources protecting yourself rather than working on productive activities.

For the financial sector, trust is especially important. Finance is the nerve center of our economy, and trust is an essential component of the financial system. As we saw in 2008, without trust and a properly functioning financial system the economy breaks down. If people don't trust in financial institutions, the entire economic system can be thrown out of balance.

This lack of trust leads to many dysfunctional symptoms. When people don't trust where to put their savings, they hoard cash, or commodities like gold, which reached its highest price in history in the aftermath the 2008 crisis. Similarly, when trust in the financial sector is low, corporations also are more likely to hoard cash and less likely to invest in expansion or hire new employees, leading to stagnant economic growth and persistent unemployment.

Despite the financial sector's economic resurgence, we are still dealing with these economic problems today. The situation is a reflection of the distrust the public still feels for our financial institutions.

After 2008, when so many banks were rescued the public rightly felt that it was owed systemic reform so it wouldn't be put in the position of having to rescue the financial sector again. And while there has been an increase in regulation with Dodd-Frank, none of the changes have addressed the fundamental issues underpinning the lasting distrust in the financial system. I'm talking about major obstacles such as too big to fail, derivatives regulation, and the revolving door between regulators and those they are supposed to regulate. Eric Holder's comment before the United States Senate in March of this year that some banks are simply too big to effectively prosecute suggests that the system is still very far out of balance.

So while profits have returned, if the financial sector wants to regain the public's trust, it needs to offer something more than earnings reports.

That's because of the persistent belief that the financial sector is functioning less like the nerve system of the economy and more like an autoimmune disease feeding on its host. This perception is not entirely unjustified. Large multinational banks have been forced to pay billions of dollars in fines for misdeeds leading up to and during the crisis. And yet fundamental change remains illusive in the industry. As Holder's comments suggest, the ungovernability of some of the most powerful entities in our society is a big barrier to reestablishing trust in our financial system.

While some in the financial sector may profess dismay at this state of affairs, most of the leaders of behemoth banks have shown themselves more eager to coerce the process rather than agreeing to necessary reform.

For example, consider the way underwater mortgage holders were treated when the housi