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IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement

Beware of Americans bearing loans

Finance is war. Finance is the new kind of warfare, using finance and forced sell-offs in a new kind of battlefield

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Introduction

IMF is not the agency to help other countries with the economic development. Under neoliberalism (and that means since 80th) it became the major instrument for redistributing wealth up and enslaving countries with debt that can't be repaid.  As a tool for the redistribution it works extremely  efficiently both on local level (producing local oligarchs) and on international level -- ensuring prosperity of G7 and USA in particular.

The U.S. economy has benefited immensely from its ability to extract tribute from other nations, including the U.S. financial community's probable engineering of crises in developing nations in order to scoop up devalued assets on the cheap.  One of the most important instruments of this extraction, plunder of weaker nations, is IMF.

The standard IMF policy is to approach countries in financial crises with the same rather crude recipies that favour large Wall Street banks. In this case IMF staff acts like like vulture fund managers  rather than economists. They try to force a country with a fiscal deficit to reduce government spending, privatage industries and take on additional debt. Reducing government spending reduces aggregate demand, which in turn reduces government income, and make the deficit worse. So the country need to take more loads, inflicting more pain on the population. The reason that the IMF does this, is that it is meant to "restore confidence in the markets". But once a crisis starts, foreign investors tend to bail out anyway, so all it buys the country is a small breathing space before default.  Country is better off introducing strict capital controls and accepting the fact that speculative foreign investors are gone. It should not allow them to enter the market in the first place and focus on growth.

The other thing is the immense level of hypocrisy of the US administrations that control IMF, which forced policies on emerging markets, which it would never accept itself.

In fact, the IMF more or less took instructions from the US Treasury during the 1990s, and certainly my sense at the time was that some  IMF staffers were very frustrated at the policies that the US government forced them to follow. The point though, is that while the US government was battling the balanced budget amendment at home, on the reasonable grounds that it limited their freedom to manage demand, they were essentially enforcing a balanced budgets on the emerging markets via IMF condition for loans. They are forcing central banks to focus only on inflation. They are forcing emerging markets to open their markets, while protecting US farmers from imports.

The economic restructuring programs imposed on poor countries has benefited U.S. and other foreign investors while creating a small but powerful class of wealthy individuals (fifth column of neoliberalisation) in China, Mexico, South Korea, Ukraine, Russia, etc.

Unsustainable level of debt creates the potentially catastrophic financial situation for those countries that take IMF loads.

Debt that can't be paid back, won't be paid back. That simple idea is the key to debt enslavement of people and nations.  One of the key mechanisms is ensuring that loads to state were looted by local oligarchy, turning being eye to money laundering or, as was the case in post 1991 Russia, actively supporting money laundering as the way to decimate former opponent and drive it into vassal status.

There is a strong alliance of Western governments and local oligarchs in this dirty game with IMF serving as an enforcer of debt slavery enabling buying countries assets by transnational for penny on a dollar.     Corrupt officials burden taxpayers with unsustainable amounts of debt for unproductive, grossly overpriced projects.

The TPP and TTIP are integral initiatives in this effort of extending financial obligations, debt, and control.

This is why these corporatists and statists hate gold and silver, by the way. And why it is at the focal point of a currency war. It provides a counterweight to their monetary power. It speaks unpleasant truths. It is a safe haven and alternative, along with other attempts to supplant the IMF and the World Bank, for the rest of the world. So when you say, the Philippines deserved it, Iceland deserved it, Ireland deserved it, Africa deserves it, Jefferson County deserved it, Detroit deserved it, and now Greece deserves it, just keep in mind that some day soon they will be saying that you deserve it, because you stood by and did nothing.

Because when they are done with all the others, for whom do you think they come next? If you wish to see injustice stopped, if you wish to live up to the pledge of 'never again,' then you must stand for your fellows who are vulnerable. The economic hitmen have honed their skills among the poor and relatively defenseless, and have been coming closer to home in search of new hunting grounds and fatter spoils.

You may also find some information about the contemporary applications of these methods in The IMF's 'Tough Choices' On Greece by Jamie Galbraith.

The basic mechanism of debt enslavement

The whole mechanism of debt enslavement is polished to perfection on developing countries.

  1. Questionable projects. Often peddled by IMF. Sometimes by EU. Sometimes of home origin. In case of Greece it was basically spending big on arms   http://www.analyzegreece.gr/interviews/item/145-frank-slijper-an-insane-level-of-military-spending-led-greece-to-massive-debts-for-weapons-does-not-need The US is the major supplier of Greek arms, with the Americans supplying 42 per cent of its arms,  Germany supplying 22.7 per cent, and France 12.5 per cent of Greece's arms purchases.
  2. The country elite takes large loans for those projects or takes loans to placate the population who is sliding into neoliberal poverty/unemployment swamp of poverty and unemployment in order to survive politically.
  3. Part of the money is immediately stolen by local neoliberal oligarchy (which profess "greed is good" religion with probably more enthusiasm then their counterparts) and quickly repatriated to Western banks.
  4. The rest is partially wasted due to various factors including mismanagement, nepotism, the fact that equipment and often materials were bought from the country that gave the loan at inflated prices.
  5. The net result of the project is growth of the debt.
  6. Bank crisis
  7. Conversion of private loans into state debt (according to standard neoliberalism mechanism of wealth redistribution "appropriate gains, shift losses to public")
  8. Austerity regime is enforced which guarantees that this condition is a permanent one.
  9. The country became a cheap supplier of the raw materials and workforce to G7.

 

 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Here are some relevant Amazon reviews of the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man  that discusses IMF policies since 1980th.

gordon macgregoron May 2, 2015

IMF forced lending to poor countries of sums far in excess of their needs ...

Absolutely fascinating, pulling back the veil of the inner workings of the IMF as it does. Confirms a lot of things people have long suspected and been shouted down for voicing.

Shows the IMF as an organization bent on capturing the resources of countries around the world via various highly unethical means. e.g forced lending to poor countries of sums far in excess of their needs or means, for inappropriate purposes, leading to big profits for Western firms, the beggaring of the recipient nations, and forced capture of natural resources by large corporations. Surprising that the IMF has not been subject to deep investigation by the UN after this expose.

johnnyjohnnyon April 25, 2015

learn what's going on. read this book. gives a clue to MONSANTO's model of world domination

truly a remarkable book that has been proven with events and facts that have come out since the book was written back in the day.

the model of economic control, back in the good ole days when the International Monetary Fund & U.S. congressionally funded loans to third world countries was the way to pull the strings, and get our largest corporations huge projects that third worlders didn't need and couldn't pay for...but brought the bucks home.

if you ever had a suspicion about recent wars, the billion$ they brought to large contractors, and the reason for those interventions, go back to the early days of this model of international control from someone who was there. and yes, halliburton (aka Kellogg Brown and Root back then) was involved.

James Kenney on April 1, 2015

Should I simply take him at his own word, that he is a liar?

This is a very believable book on a topic of vital importance to the world today: the extent to which "economic development aid" is designed not to benefit the target country, but to ensnare it into the global culture as a debtor nation with assets never designed to be profitable, but merely to serve as an "economic gateway drug".

Somehow, though, while the book is eminently readable, and a bit unnerving, I just couldn't shake off a feeling that I was being "had", by Mr. John Perkins. Look at the number of reviews here! Clearly, this book touched a nerve...but if the author is as unscrupulous as he claims to be (or to have been, since he also claims to have experienced a remarkable conversion, like Paul on the road to Damascus), a fundamental question arises: why should we believe him?

This question is even more essential, since many of us who would even read such a book believe in our hearts that, yes, American capitalism, aided by the IMF, and the World Bank, is seeking to enslave the world. Of course! It's almost a given, an article of faith. No wonder the rest of the world hates us!

I too felt the lure of Perkins' mesmerizing description of an unspoken conspiracy to take over the world by bankrupting it. Certainly, the events of 2008 and 2009 showed the moral bankruptcy of the Big Banks and those who cynically packaged sliced and diced debt into impossible to understand financial instruments, then peddled them to school boards and public pension plans.

Now that I come to review the book, though, I almost feel as if I should wash my hands first. Just picking it up, seeing its jaunty cover, remembering its schmaltzy "spy coming in from the cold" ending, I feel...taken in. I don't know why I feel that way, but the feeling is definitely there. There is something exploitive about this book, as if the author had not changed his skin, only his target: as if now, instead of ensnaring struggling nations, he is ensnaring readers all too willing to believe the worst about ourselves and the economic system in which we too are ensnared.

Even the title sounds phony. Perkins may well be right, he may well be telling it like it is, he may have become a champion bravely taking on a system he helped create, a modern David fighting an economic Goliath. Heavens knows, after stories of regulators sniffing cocaine off a toaster oven with those they are supposed to be regulating, nothing seems unbelievable, and in a sense this book sounds almost inevitable, natural, and important.

It may be. But one of the things I was taught as a historian, is to consider your sources, and the chief question is, how credible are they? When a self-proclaimed liar, swindler and cheat tells me the "system is rigged", should I believe him? Or should I simply take him at his own word, that he is a liar?

I gave this ugly tale 4 stars simply for readability. Fact or fiction, it is certainly that: readable.

DH Koester on March 24, 2015

Truth Enslaves

Well, well, well---another piece to the puzzle as to what constitutes the United States of America!

Besides the curse of blood-stained hands from endless wars of aggression there is another sinister side to this country's quest for empire and world domination--the enslavement of countries and peoples through cleverly devised debt imposition--the same method our government uses on its own people. This debt imposition on foreign countries serves to enrich foreign rulers and US corporations while impoverishing the common people.

Perkins was one of the people--a cog in the wheel --that made it all possible and when his conscience finally got the better of him he wrote a book about it.
Students will not read about these economic hit men ion any American textbook. Nor will they, as adults, read about it in any periodical or hear about it on any newscast. Politicians will not tell them about it nor will their religious leaders. Yet there is this book by John Perkins describing the process in detail. But those in power--those responsible for this immoral conduct--will allow it to be published and made available to the public without fear of reprisal or consequences--just as they have the countless other books that have spoken truth to power detailing corruption, war-making and deceit by those in the highest offices.

Why?? Because the average citizen in this country doesn't care one iota about anything that he perceives as not directly affecting the welfare of himself or his family. That plus the fact that very few people will ever hear of or read this book. People don't read any more--they are plugged into their machines of instant gratification and get the bulk of what they think is news from inane sources such as the Letterman show. Even if some do read it, they will soon forget and move on--continuing with their mundane lives completely oblivious to the world that is suffering and burning outside their doors.

And me?? I know the truth--but even those who know the truth, they are powerless. There is nothing that can be done to stop the insanity. It is like death---Death eventually smiles at us all and the best a man can do is smile back.

I give this book 5 Stars not because it was particularly well written but because it informs in a world desperately in need of being informed. Read it if you will but with the understanding and full knowledge that the truth shall not set you free.

"And There I Was" by DH Koester

David Lupo "David Lupo" on February 21, 2015

Do you wonder why the world hates us? Read this book.

When I was in college, I took another course after Sociology 101, called Social Issues. It was a great course, eye-opening, but sad, because I learned about how skewed the world really is today. There were discussions on the Ford Pinto death-trap story, and stories about how grocery stores sell third-rate products at high prices, to keep the poor poor. There were other stories about how the corporation wields great power over the average citizen. I went to college in the 80s, long after we were told lies about the Great Oil Shortage in the 70s, when oil companies made a killing.

The book by John Perkins gives the historical background of how our government, working with the corporation has done some nasty things in recent decades to places around the globe. Economic Hit Men, and those in league with them have played national leaders against their people for the great financial gain that the US reaps. The corporation not only wields great power over the US citizen; it seeks this same control in the world. John Perkins highlights how this has played out in his corporate life, to the people that he knew.

I also notice that despite the harm he caused as an EHM, he escapes any sort of punishment, since he is spilling the beans on how the game is played, and has been played across the globe. That was a drawback. But today he is trying to do better things for the good of humanity, and that has to count for something.

White Rabbiton January 7, 2015

soft-minded lola granola platitudes

This book can be summarized in one sentence: America "forces" loans on third world countries based on inflated projections of resulting economic growth, that we know the recipient country will never be able to repay.

we then leverage their debt to strong-arm collateral benefits such as construction and service contracts (for the industry they got loans to build) or use their land for military bases, thereby increasing and securing our growing empire.

Perkins says this on every page of his 220 page book.

there is NO analysis or explanation of why development is automatically bad, and preserving rain forests and shaman lifestyles is automatically good, and even if it is good, why it is our problem, as a sovereign nation, to devote our resources to preserving other peoples' lifestyles. i am not asserting that industrial development is automatically "good," but there is simply no thoughtful analysis of the issues at all. Nor is there any nuts-and-bolts explanations of how he structured the economic deals that are supposedly so wicked.

There is just a lot of soft-minded liberal clap-trap about "using less oil; reading a book instead of going shopping; "dreaming" the world into existence; and -- you guessed it -- "shapeshifting." While I doubt any reader of a non-fiction book without pictures with "economic" in the title thinks that industrial development is an unmitigated boon, there have always been significant discrepancies in wealth throughout history, in every culture, country, and time, and there has always been tension (& disruption) in "progress" in any form.

Perhaps there are reasons for this besides the greed and evil of white european males, especially since the "haves" have not always been white or European (and sometimes not even male). Even (or especially) in underdeveloped countries, there are LOTS of people who would prefer medicine and basic sanitation to relying on shamanistic rain dances when their children are sick.

There are compelling and undeniable reasons why manual workers get paid less than highly specialized ones, and simply reiterating Marx's Communist Manifesto is not convincing to any thinking person, or to anyone who clawed their way out of those countries that tried to implement his pipe dream. Reminds me of the rebels' kvetching in Monty Python's Life of Brian: "Well, except for the roads, and the aqueducts, and education, and bread, and medicine, and peace, and security, what else have the Romans done for us?"

 A. Kumaron January 1, 2015

Read it to get a general idea of aid programs but discard personal anecdotes as fiction

The book is clearly a combination of fact and fiction. The facts are based on the well known criticisms of the IMF and World Bank and how they have destroyed various countries. The fiction part is where the author speaks of personal experiences.

Two points give away the fact that the book is semi-fiction. The first is that the author has only used criticisms that were already made on the internet at the time of publication of the book. The second is that the author subconsciously projects his political biases based on his country's Republican vs. Democrat politics and selectively attacks Republicans while letting off the Democrats. Thus, Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes are villains while Jimmy Carter is a hero and American interference in foreign economies during the Clinton era is completely missing from the book. This despite the fact that the era of globalization and the creation of WTO and foisting the American agenda through WTO happened during the Clinton regime and Jimmy Carter started the Iran-Iraq war. Clinton was also responsible for the war on Yugoslavia which lasted all through the 1990s.

The author's list of heroes is also selective and are Communists from Latin America. He is also selective in his list of villains. Bechtel and Halliburton come in for criticism just like on the internet. And just like on the internet, there is no criticism of defense contractors whose executives support the Democratic Party. So you won't see much criticism of Raytheon or Northrop Grumman.

Most of the criticism of the aid programs was well known especially in Latin America and India. In 2000, the combination of the Seattle protests against WTO and the fact that the internet was new made the information become popular. The author seems to have picked up on that data and written a book. There is also a touch of self-delusion that it is the White man's burden to save the world. Whether it is Indonesia or Panama, there is always a character in the book who appeals to the White hero and says he will show him a side of the country that only the locals have access to and that the Whites must somehow fix it. In no country do the locals lack self-respect that they will actually indulge in such behavior.

That said, writing a first person account is an innovative idea and the author is not wrong in highlighting the true nature of aid programs. The book is successful in conveying the general idea that aid programs exist to help the American corporations. The public needs to know this sort of information and the author has done a good job at it.

Margaret M. Pratton December 14, 2014

It's amazing he's still alive to tell his tale

It's amazing he's still alive to tell his tale! John Perkins is quite frank about how he became an 'economic hit man', producing inflated optimistic economic data to persuade leaders in foreign countries to invest in building up their infrastructure (think dams, etc.) through loans they will never be able to pay back, how US industries profit through this, and his own complicity for quite a few years.

And then his slow change of heart when he began to face the actual effect of his contribution to the downward spiral of these countries. It's a real eye-opener. And yes, it does matter who's President.

Malcolm McIntyre, on October 16, 2014

Groundbreaking, although naive on the role of conspiracy

BOOK REVIEW: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins

“Economic hit men are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars [through the perversion of foreign aid funds … using] fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalisation.”

This book is a decade old and the activities that Perkins exposes have become widely known since 2004, for which his work shares much of the credit. It remains a valuable primer for anyone seeking to understand current international events; and will reward greatly even those already aware of the casual criminality of the U.S.’s political, financial and business elites.

Perkins’ career as an economic hit man (EHM) began in 1971 and ended in 1980, after his conscience prevailed. It was sandwiched between a Peace Corps stint in the jungles of South America and a post-EHM career which included establishing a successful alternative energy company. He wrote the passage at the head of this review in 1982, but was persuaded not to go ahead with the book at that time. Four more delays were occasioned by threats or bribes.

So, how does an Economic Hit Man operate? “We are an elite group of men and women who utilize international financial organisations to foment conditions that make other nations subservient to the corporatocracy running our biggest corporations, our government, and our banks. Like our counterparts in the Mafia, EHMs provide favors. These take the form of loans to develop infrastructure – electric generating plants, highways, ports, airports, or industrial parks.

“A condition of such loans is that engineering and construction companies from our own country must build all these projects. In essence, most of the money never leaves the United States; it is simply transferred from banking offices in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston, or San Francisco.

“Despite the fact that the money is returned almost immediately to corporations that are members of the corporatocracy (the creditor), the recipient country is required to pay it all back, principal plus interest. If an EHM is completely successful, the loans are so large that the debtor is forced to default on its payments after a few years. When this happens, then like the Mafia we demand our pound of flesh.

“This often includes one or more of the following: control over United Nations votes, the installation of military bases, or access to precious resources such as oil or the Panama Canal. Of course, the debtor still owes us the money – and another country is added to our global empire.”

Perkins is not anti-American, but rather one of the diminishing remnant of Americans who believe the U.S. Constitution still means something. “The longer version [of why he finally wrote the book] relates to my dedication to the country where I was raised, to my love of the ideals expressed by our Founding Fathers, to my deep commitment to the American republic that today promises ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ for all people, everywhere, and to my determination after 9/11 not to sit idly by any longer while EHMs turn that republic into a global empire.”

Having finally got around to reading Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, I will certainly be following up with his 2008 The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World and 2011’s Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man reveals why the global economy imploded – and how to fix it. One area of interest will be whether his understanding of conspiracy – or, more accurately in terms of Confessions, lack of conspiracy – has changed.

“Some would blame our current problems on an organised conspiracy. I wish it were so simple. Members of a conspiracy can be rooted out and brought to justice,” he says in the preface. “This system, however, is fuelled by something far more dangerous than conspiracy. It is driven not by a small band of men but by a concept that has become accepted as gospel: the idea that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits.”

This idea of the concept of benefit for humankind driving the agenda is a somewhat naïve construction. The reality is that there is a relatively small band of psychopathic men (more women in the gang these days and they are no prettier) driving the agenda. The “benefit for mankind” schtick is merely one of the concepts used in their propaganda.

“The corporatocracy is not a conspiracy, but its members do endorse common values and goals,” Perkins says, adding shortly after: “People like me are paid outrageously high salaries to do the system’s bidding. If we falter, a more malicious form of hit man, the jackal, steps to the plate. And if the jackal fails, then the job falls to the military.”

The United States has 40,000 troops in Germany and 50,000 in Japan – they are still occupied countries, more than half a century after World War 2. The U.S. has more than 600 overseas bases. Wikipedia can usually be relied upon in simple matters such as this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_deployments although not in more sensitive matters which attract hasbara and intelligence operatives to the editing function. Also worth a read are http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-worldwide-network-of-us-military-bases/5564 and http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/14/ron-paul/ron-paul-says-us-has-military-personnel-130-nation/

Other than the EHM books mentioned so far, Perkins has written several about spiritual/indigenous matters, based on his experiences before and after his Hit Man service. They are listed at his web site http://www.johnperkins.org/books/

I found out more than I really wanted to know.

CWOK: Ex-Navy, on October 15, 2014

Dubious " Confessions "...

I just finished reading, " Confessions of an Economic Hit Man ", by John Perkins, in which the author recounts his alleged career as an ` Economic Hit Man ` (He uses the abbreviation ` EHM `) for a major corporation, exploiting the resources and people of under-developed countries for the financial gain of his company, with the support, or at least acquiescence, of the US Government, from the early 1970's until after the SEP 11 2001, when he finally wrote a book which includes descriptions about alleged ' black 'operations that occurred all over the world, including: Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, & Colombia.

To be clear, I am NOT making a judgment as to the ultimate truth regarding all of the historical events referenced in Perkins's book, or all the allegations surrounding them.

However, I myself have experience in Investigative and Intelligence Work, and so my focus is Perkins's representation that he has First-Hand Knowledge of these historical events himself, and how this representation affects his own credibility:

* Perkins asserts that the Central Intelligence Agency was responsible for the deaths of at least two Latin-American leaders, " ...in a series of CIA Assassinations... (p. 161), during the Reagan-Bush Administrations of the 1980's.

Yet his source for this claim is John Dean's 1973 Watergate testimony, despite the fact that this testimony occurred BEFORE either Reagan or Bush took office (George H.W. Bush did serve under then President Nixon, but did not become head of the CIA until after Nixon left office, and Perkins presents ZERO evidence that Bush himself was ever involved in any such plot.)

Moreover, Perkins does not state anywhere in " Confessions " that he ever had any direct contact with the CIA at any time at all, & so what First-Hand Knowledge of the CIA's activities could Perkins possibly have?

* Perkins repeatedly-and frustratingly-makes vague, unattributed, & unverifiable statements such as:

 " ...The EHM presence was very strong in Baghdad during the 1980's... "

* Yet despite both the gravity, and the number, of Perkins's claims, he still provides ZERO documentation of his own to corroborate any of them (merely a copy of his professional resume from the 1970's).

Of the MANY books and accounts that I have read involving the topic of international intrigue, this is the ONLY one with such a glaring omission.

Perkins instead lists his sources as previously written books and articles from news magazines, which he appears to have had no personal involvement with himself.

* Perhaps most telling of all, Perkins states how early on in his career as an EHM, he felt guilty about the ` Corrupt ` system that he was a part of.

Yet despite this supposed guilt, he STAYED in that ` Corrupt ` system, AND accepted all the benefits that came with it; Money, Women, Perks, Etc., AND stayed silent about it, for 30 years!

Perkins states his reasons/justifications/rationalizations/excuses as to why he STAYED in that ` Corrupt ` system, AND accepted all the benefits that came with it; Money, Women, Perks, Etc., AND stayed silent about it, for 30 years.

But, regardless, he nevertheless STAYED in that ` Corrupt ` system, AND accepted all the benefits that came with it; Money, Women, Perks, Etc., AND stayed silent about it, for 30 years!

This becomes all the more troubling because, according to Perkins's own statistics, 24,000 people die each day due to hunger (P. 192)!

IF this is true, then Perkins himself took all that blood-money, for all those years, while knowingly and silently acquiescing to the deaths of BILLIONS of people!!!

Therefore, based on my own professional experience in Investigative and Intelligence Work, it is my opinion that Perkins has NOT established that he is credible.

Until he does so, I regard Perkins's book not as a true autobiography, but rather an historical novel, in which Perkins uses some actual events as the bare bones, on which he adds a LOT of fiction.

MCK

Amazon Customer, on September 11, 2014

Americorp and the dictatorship kept us illiterate and very poor. We also lost many young lives fighting this ...

I am from Nicaragua and breathed and lived the consequences of the acts of these Economic Hit Men. We had a dictatorship put in place by the US, Inc.on my country for more than 40 years.

'Americorp" had the full access to our resources, one of them gold, we never saw the benefits of this gold. Americorp and the dictatorship kept us illiterate and very poor. We also lost many young lives fighting this dictatorship because it refused to give us the choice of electing who we wanted to lead us. It was until 1979 when the USA finally gave up supporting the dictatorship, not because of our lost of lives but because the dictator became an embarrassment to US, Inc. just like Noriega, Saddam, etc.

Very true though is the fact that the opposition was mostly supported by the USSR and Cuba.

 Also very true is that the Sandinistas did not believe in property rights and believe everything belongs to the State. we went from Satan's arms to the Devil's bed.

Sucks being a poor underdeveloped nation with vultures waiting to pounce around you and tear out your eyes. Love the American People, hate its foreign policy which they are mostly kept blinded by propaganda.

Prissyon July 7, 2014

The Ugly Truth of Corporate America and Government's incestuous plan for Globalization

I've meant to read this book for years...the irony is I downloaded on Kindle while in Latin America and read it all the way through. I always suspected (from my own experience spending time on the Hill, knowing journalists, bankers, etc) this stuff went on. But Perkins fills in all the missing pieces.

I'm literally sick that I have a degree in American criminal justice and this book goes against everything I was taught of how "this country" operates. It may have come as a shock to have the dirty details to me, but my Latin American friends have known these empire building ways all along, because they've lived with it all of their lives.

I hope one thing people take away from this book are Perkins suggestions to begin at the grass roots level (school boards, county commissioners, etc) to change the way we do business and speak out when you know the truth. This is the raw, ugly truth, dear readers. I'm still attempting to digest what I know in my heart of hearts is that I have been fighting corruption of those who sugar coat it and when its pointed out, will do everything they can to disparage your credibility, no matter how impeccable it is or how well you present it. Hiring a private company to get around government checks and balances (not that there are that many) only makes sense from a globalists point of view.

Don't sit there-DO something, anything...I know- I sat out of the fray for a long time, it IS easier. But that's the coward's way out and the founding father's were anything but that. Remember, we are supposed to be the home of the brave. Are you right or left? I'd rather be active, accurate and correct...

Case of Greece

Greece story is another classic of neoliberal debt enslavement: first corrupt neoliberal government (in case of Greece successive governments) got loans that were partially stolen, partially wasted, enriching top 1% of the country and improving living conditions of the top 20%.  Then those loans from private banks were converted into public debt by attempt to save insolvent banks. And when the next wave of crisis occurred due to Greece inability to service those (now state) loans without drastic reduction of standard of living of most of the population IMF acts as enforcer. It now essentially dictates what should be done in Greece economy. No matter if previous recommendation  led to disastrous consequences. 

European neoliberal elite headed by Merkel is threatening to expel Greece from the Euro zone, scaring voters. It is very important to understand that anti-crisis policies have two main approaches – cyclical and counter-cyclical. The neo-liberals response is always "only wellbeing of banks matters"

Neoliberals key postulate is that the "invisible hand" of the market works better than government regulation, then the government should allow the market to work independently. The only think government should do is to balance the budget by slashing spending synchronously with falling revenues. Which led in cas of Greece to 60% unemployment among young people.

In other word "the invisible hand" does not work and instead country is sliding in real debt slavery when load became permagreen and interest will be paid forever.  Forecasts of neoliberal institutions such as IMF that austerity will allow Greece to pay debts, were not justified.

Countercyclical stabilization policy is based on the opposite basis: with the reduction of budget revenues not need to cut spending in order to reduce the current deficit, but rather to increase them, thereby increasing the tax base, and along with receiving political support from the population. This should be done considering all the risks carefully assessing the consequences. The trouble is that in specific Greek terms it also doesn't work very well.

Even of part of the debt was written off by the creditors, if you can't grow the real economy, the budget crisis will be renewed. But the Greek industry was killed by accession to the EU. It was decided by EU brass that the specialization of southern Europe within Europe United should be the services sector. If this was somehow forgotten that in services industries (primarily tourism) tax collection is much lower than in industry and agriculture. Demands of the "Troika" to increase taxes on the tourism industry will lead to the withdrawal of this sector into the shadows, or to the ruin of a vast number of small and medium enterprises. If you go with the demands of Brussels and reduce subsidies to agriculture (and this was one of the main requirements of the latest Memorandum of the Troika) the destruction of the economy will be complete.

And while the entire Greek economy is suffering from a terrible level of unemployment, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the borders are open, so Greeks can compete for low paid jobs in Germany. In other words, Greece has to spend money on the education of engineers, scientists and other high-demand in the EU professionals, but to find word they need  have to go to Germany and most end working as janitors and other low paid jobs. Greece which spend a lot of public money to train those professionals will be left our, and all the benefits from this  get more developed countries. This is actually explicit policy of the EU, which consider Southern countries to be EU "village".

Increase of exports in the current circumstances is a very difficult undertaking. It is impossible to increase export to Russia where there is some space for Greek products, as the EU has declared sanctions. That means that he crisis is expanding, and within the framework imposed on Greece anti-crisis policy  there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Cuts in public expenditure will inevitably lead to a reduction in domestic demand for the products of national industry and national agriculture. Besides falling living standards, the reduction of pensions and salaries in the public sector will be a big hit for the most vulnerable part of the population: two-thirds of Greek pensioners are already living below the poverty line.

Five months of fruitless negotiations, a new government understood that Greek people will not forgive the capitulation to EU demands.  Another "cannibalistic" austerity program. So it  announced the referendum on the adoption of the requirements of the Troika, shifting the responsibility for making decisions to ordinary Greeks. Still not very clear whether the Cabinet is really to declare a default, or this  is only a means of pressure on the Troika. In the end, in politics the most important things is to remain in power and if Greeks vote Yes to EU demands that the end of the current government.  What will happen to the country next is unclear. Probably the parties that brought the country to the current collapse (PASOK and New democracy) will return to power helped by Brussels neoliberals, who can throw a bone to them in a form of some minor compromises, compromise to which they would never agree with the current government, which is considered to be "hostile" by neoliberal stooges which now want the regime change in Greece.

But the mere decision to go the referendum caused in shakeup and hysteria in all centers of neoliberal power such as Brussels, Berlin and Washington. However, we cannot exclude that such a reaction is a mean to increase the pressure on Tsipras.

As Neil Irwin's in his at The Upshot  column (NYT, June 28, 2015) noted
Greek leaders think the offer on the table from European governments and the International Monetary Fund is lousy, requiring still more pension cuts and tax increases in a depressed economy, and intend to throw to voters the question of whether to accept it.

spartacus, July 1, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I think things are a little more complicated than that. According to the preliminary report of the commission set up by the Greek government to look into the origins of this debt, it appears that a big chunk of it is a consequence of the government stepping in to recapitalize troubled banks. Then the report also mentions excessive and unjustified military spending, loss of tax revenues due to illicit capital outflows. The report can be accessed via this link:

http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/en/Enimerosi/Grafeio-Typou/Deltia-Typou/?press=f660f87e-9410-414c-9476-a4bb016e6c48

The problem is that after so much austerity the debt now stands at 177% of GDP, higher than ever, because GDP took a little bit of a nosedive. The Troika recipe for success was crap.

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/greece/gdp

The “lazy Greek” line is just that. A line peddled by the MSM in order to demonize the Greek people, as opposed to the “hard working” Germans. If you look at the OECD statistic provided by the following link, you will see that, in reality, the exact opposite is true.

http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS

This is not about lavish lifestyle. Is about starvation, homelessness and suicide.

http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/1/e005619

kirill says:

July 1, 2015 at 2:28 pm

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-real-causes-of-the-catastrophic-crisis-in-greece-and-the-left/5365013

Greece was screwed over by foremost the Germans. The whole German shtick of pretending to have “fed Greece” is grotesque obscenity.

Wikipedia on Greek government-debt crisis

Greek government-debt crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charges of hypocrisy

Hypocrisy has been alleged on multiple bases. "Germany is coming across like a know-it-all in the debate over aid for Greece", commented Der Spiegel, while its own government did not achieve a budget surplus during the era of 1970 to 2011, although a budget surplus indeed was achieved by Germany in all three subsequent years (2012–2014). A Bloomberg editorial, which also concluded that "Europe's taxpayers have provided as much financial support to Germany as they have to Greece", described the German role and posture in the Greek crisis thus:

In the millions of words written about Europe's debt crisis, Germany is typically cast as the responsible adult and Greece as the profligate child. Prudent Germany, the narrative goes, is loath to bail out freeloading Greece, which borrowed more than it could afford and now must suffer the consequences. [… But] irresponsible borrowers can't exist without irresponsible lenders. Germany's banks were Greece's enablers.

German economic historian Albrecht Ritschl describes his country as "king when it comes to debt. Calculated based on the amount of losses compared to economic performance, Germany was the biggest debt transgressor of the 20th century." Despite calling for the Greeks to adhere to fiscal responsibility, and although Germany's tax revenues are at a record high, with the interest it has to pay on new debt at close to zero, Germany still missed its own cost-cutting targets in 2011, and also fell behind on its goals for 2012.

There have been widespread accusations that Greeks are lazy, but analysis of OECD data shows that the average Greek worker puts in 50% more hours per year than a typical German counterpart, and the average retirement age of a Greek is, at 61.7 years, older than that of a German.

US economist Mark Weisbrot has also noted that while the eurozone giant's post-crisis recovery has been touted as an example of an economy of a country that "made the short-term sacrifices necessary for long-term success", Germany did not apply to its economy the harsh pro-cyclical austerity measures that are being imposed on countries like Greece,[151] In addition, he noted that Germany did not lay off hundreds of thousands of its workers despite a decline in output in its economy but reduced the number of working hours to keep them employed, at the same time as Greece and other countries were pressured to adopt measures to make it easier for employers to lay off workers. Weisbrot concludes that the German recovery provides no evidence that the problems created by the use of a single currency in the eurozone can be solved by imposing "self-destructive" pro-cyclical policies as has been done in Greece and elsewhere.

Arms sales are another fountainhead for allegations of hypocrisy. Dimitris Papadimoulis, a Greek MP with the Coalition of the Radical Left party:

If there is one country that has benefited from the huge amounts Greece spends on defence it is Germany. Just under 15% of Germany's total arms exports are made to Greece, its biggest market in Europe. Greece has paid over €2bn for submarines that proved to be faulty and which it doesn't even need. It owes another €1bn as part of the deal. That's three times the amount Athens was asked to make in additional pension cuts to secure its latest EU aid package. […] Well after the economic crisis had begun, Germany and France were trying to seal lucrative weapons deals even as they were pushing us to make deep cuts in areas like health. […] There's a level of hypocrisy here that is hard to miss. Corruption in Greece is frequently singled out as a cause for waste but at the same time companies like Ferrostaal and Siemens are pioneers in the practice. A big part of our defence spending is bound up with bribes, black money that funds the [mainstream] political class in a nation where governments have got away with it by long playing on peoples' fears.

Thus allegations of hypocrisy could be made towards both sides: Germany complains of Greek corruption, yet the arms sales meant that the trade with Greece became synonymous with high-level bribery and corruption; former defence minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos was gaoled in April 2012 ahead of his trial on charges of accepting an €8m bribe from Germany company Ferrostaal. In 2000, the current German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, was forced to resign after personally accepting a "donation" (100,000 Deutsche Mark, in cash) from a fugitive weapons dealer, Karlheinz Schreiber.

Another is German complaints about tax evasion by moneyed Greeks. "Germans stashing cash in Switzerland to avoid tax could sleep easy" after summer 2011, when "the German government […] initialled a beggar-thy-neighbour deal that undermine[d] years of diplomatic work to penetrate Switzerland's globally corrosive banking secrecy." Nevertheless, Germans with Swiss bank accounts were so worried, so intent on avoiding paying tax, that some took to cross-dressing, wearing incontinence diapers, and other ruses to try and smuggle their money over the Swiss–German border and so avoid paying their dues to the German taxman. Aside from these unusual tax-evasion techniques, Germany has a history of massive tax evasion: a 1993 ZEW estimate of levels of income-tax avoidance in West Germany in the early 1980s was forced to conclude that "tax loss [in the FDR] exceeds estimates for other countries by orders of magnitude." (The study even excluded the wealthiest 2% of the population, where tax evasion is at its worst). A 2011 study noted that, since the 1990s, the "effective average tax rates for the German super rich have fallen by about a third, with major reductions occurring in the wake of the personal income tax reform of 2001–2005."

Alleged pursuit of national self-interest[edit]

Listen to many European leaders—especially, but by no means only, the Germans—and you'd think that their continent's troubles are a simple morality tale of debt and punishment: Governments borrowed too much, now they're paying the price, and fiscal austerity is the only answer.

"An Impeccable Disaster"
Paul Krugman, 5 November 2013

Since the euro came into circulation in 2002—a time when the country was suffering slow growth and high unemployment—Germany's export performance, coupled with sustained pressure for moderate wage increases (German wages increased more slowly than those of any other eurozone nation) and rapidly rising wage increases elsewhere, provided its exporters with a competitive advantage that resulted in German domination of trade and capital flows within the currency bloc. As noted by Paul De Grauwe in his leading text on monetary union, however, one must "hav[e] homogenous preferences about inflation in order to have a smoothly functioning monetary union." Thus Germany broke what the Levy Economics Institute has called "the golden rule of a monetary union" when it jettisoned a common inflation rate.

The violation of this golden rule led to dire imbalances within the eurozone, though they suited Germany well: the country's total export trade value nearly tripled between 2000 and 2007, and though a significant proportion of this is accounted for by trade with China, Germany's trade surplus with the rest of the EU grew from €46.4 bn to €126.5 bn during those seven years. Germany's bilateral trade surpluses with the peripheral countries are especially revealing: between 2000 and 2007, Greece's annual trade deficit with Germany nearly doubled, from €3 bn to €5.5 bn; Italy's more than doubled, from €9.6 bn to €19.6 bn; Spain's well over doubled, from €11 bn to €27.2 bn; and Portugal's more than quadrupled, from €1 bn to €4.2 bn. German banks played an important role in supplying the credit that drove wage increases in peripheral eurozone countries like Greece, which in turn produced this divergence in competitiveness and trade surpluses between Germany and these same eurozone members.

Germans see their government finances and trade competitiveness as an example to be followed by Greece, Portugal and other troubled countries in Europe, but the problem is more than simply a question of southern European countries emulating Germany. Dealing with debt via domestic austerity and a move toward trade surpluses is very difficult without the option of devaluing your currency, and Greece cannot devalue because it is chained to the euro. Roberto Perotti of Bocconi University has also shown that on the rare occasions when austerity and expansion coincide, the coincidence is almost always attributable to rising exports associated with currency depreciation. As can be seen from the case of China and the US, however, where China has had the yuan pegged to the dollar, it is possible to have an effective devaluation in situations where formal devaluation cannot occur, and that is by having the inflation rates of two countries diverge. If inflation in Germany is higher than in Greece and other struggling countries, then the real effective exchange rate will move in the strugglers' favour despite the shared currency. Trade between the two can then rebalance, aiding recovery, as Greek products become cheaper. Paul Krugman estimated that Spain and other peripherals would need to reduce their 2012 price-levels relative to Germany by around 20 percent to become competitive again:

If Germany had 4 percent inflation, they could do that over 5 years with stable prices in the periphery—which would imply an overall eurozone inflation rate of something like 3 percent. But if Germany is going to have only 1 percent inflation, we're talking about massive deflation in the periphery, which is both hard (probably impossible) as a macroeconomic proposition, and would greatly magnify the debt burden. This is a recipe for failure, and collapse.

This view, that German deficits are a crucial factor in assisting eurozone recovery, is shared by leading economics commentators,[171] by the OECD, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Standard & Poor's, the European Commission, and the IMF. The Americans, too, asked Germany, repeatedly and heatedly, to loosen fiscal policy, though without success.[181] This failure led to the US taking a more high-powered tack: for the first time, the Treasury Department, in its semi-annual currency report for October 2013, singled out Germany as the leading obstacle to economic recovery in Europe.

Therefore, it is argued, the problem is Germany continuing to shut off this adjustment mechanism. "The counterpart to Germany living within its means is that others are living beyond their means", agreed Philip Whyte, senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform. "So if Germany is worried about the fact that other countries are sinking further into debt, it should be worried about the size of its trade surpluses, but it isn't."

This chorus of criticism, however, germinates in the very poorest of soil because, in October 2012, Germany chose to legislate against the very possibility of stimulus spending, "by passing a balanced budget law that requires the government to run near-zero structural deficits indefinitely." OECD projections of relative export prices—a measure of competitiveness—showed Germany beating all euro zone members except for crisis-hit Spain and Ireland for 2012, with the lead only widening in subsequent years.

Even with such policies, Greece and other countries would have faced years of hard times, but at least there would be some hope of recovery. During 2012, it seemed as though the status quo was beginning to change as France began to challenge German policy, and even Christine Lagarde called for Greece to at least be given more time to meet bailout targets. Further criticism mounted in 2013: a leaked version of a text from French president Francois Hollande's Socialist Party openly attacked "German austerity" and the "egoistic intransigence of Mrs Merkel"; Manuel Barroso warned that austerity had "reached its limits"; EU employment chief Laszlo Andor called for a radical change in EU crisis strategy—"If there is no growth, I don't see how countries can cut their debt levels"—and criticised what he described as the German practice of "wage dumping" within the eurozone to gain larger export surpluses; and Heiner Flassbeck (a former German vice finance minister) and economist Costas Lapavitsas charged that the euro had "allowed Germany to 'beggar its neighbours', while also providing the mechanisms and the ideology for imposing austerity on the continent".

Battered by criticism, the European Commission finally decided that "something more" was needed in addition to austerity policies for peripheral countries like Greece. "Something more" was announced to be structural reforms—things like making it easier for companies to sack workers—but such reforms have been there from the very beginning, leading Dani Rodrik to dismiss the EC's idea as "merely old wine in a new bottle." Indeed, Rodrik noted that with demand gutted by austerity, all structural reforms have achieved, and would continue to achieve, is pumping up unemployment (further reducing demand), since fired workers are not going to be re-employed elsewhere. Rodrik suggested the ECB might like to try out a higher inflation target, and that Germany might like to allow increased demand, higher inflation, and to accept its banks taking losses on their reckless lending to Greece. That, however, "assumes that Germans can embrace a different narrative about the nature of the crisis. And that means that German leaders must portray the crisis not as a morality play pitting lazy, profligate southerners against hard-working, frugal northerners, but as a crisis of interdependence in an economic (and nascent political) union. Germans must play as big a role in resolving the crisis as they did in instigating it." Paul Krugman described talk of structural reform as "an excuse for not facing up to the reality of macroeconomic disaster, and a way to avoid discussing the responsibility of Germany and the ECB, in particular, to help end this disaster." Furthermore, as Financial Times analyst Wolfgang Munchau observed, "Austerity and reform are the opposite of each other. If you are serious about structural reform, it will cost you upfront money." Claims that Germany had, by mid-2012, given Greece the equivalent of 29 times the aid given to West Germany under the Marshall Plan after World War II completely ignores the fact that aid was just a small part of Marshall Plan assistance to Germany, with another crucial part of the assistance being the writing off of a majority of Germany's debt.

Artificially low exchange rate[edit]

Though Germany claims its public finances are "the envy of the world", the country is merely continuing what has been called its "free-riding" of the euro crisis, which "consists in using the euro as a mechanism for maintaining a weak exchange rate while shifting the costs of doing so to its neighbors." With eurozone adjustment locked out by Germany, economic hardship elsewhere in the currency block actually suited its export-oriented economy for an extended period, because it caused the euro to depreciate, making German exports cheaper and so more competitive.[201] The weakness of the euro, caused by the economy misery of peripheral countries, has been providing Germany with a large and artificial export advantage to the extent that, if Germany left the euro, the concomitant surge in the value of the reintroduced Deutsche Mark, which would produce "disastrous" effects on German exports as they suddenly became dramatically more expensive, would play the lead role in imposing a cost on Germany of perhaps 20–25% GDP during the first year alone after its euro exit. November 2013 saw the European Commission open an in-depth inquiry into German's surplus, which hit a new record in spring 2015. As the German current accounts surplus looked set to smash all previous records again in Spring 2015, one commentator noted that Germany was "now the biggest single violator of the eurozone stability rules. It would face punitive sanctions if EU treaty law was enforced." 2015 is "the fifth consecutive year that Germany's surplus has been above 6pc of GDP," it was pointed out. "The EU's Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure states that the Commission should launch infringement proceedings if this occurs for three years in a row, unless there is a clear reason not to."

Advocacy of internal devaluation for peripheral economies[edit]

The version of adjustment offered by Germany and its allies is that austerity will lead to an internal devaluation, i.e. deflation, which would enable Greece gradually to regain competitiveness. "Yet this proposed solution is a complete non-starter", in the opinion of one UK economist. "If austerity succeeds in delivering deflation, then the growth of nominal GDP will be depressed; most likely it will turn negative. In that case, the burden of debt will increase." A February 2013 research note by the Economics Research team at Goldman Sachs again noted that the years of recession being endured by Greece "exacerbate the fiscal difficulties as the denominator of the debt-to-GDP ratio diminishes", i.e. reducing the debt burden by imposing austerity is, aside from anything else, utterly futile.[210] "Higher growth has always been the best way out the debt (absolute and relative) burden. However, growth prospects for the near and medium-term future are quite weak. During the Great Depression, Heinrich Brüning, the German Chancellor (1930–32), thought that a strong currency and a balanced budget were the ways out of crisis. Cruel austerity measures such as cuts in wages, pensions and social benefits followed. Over the years crises deepened". The austerity program applied to Greece has been "self-defeating", with the country's debt now expected to balloon to 192% of GDP by 2014. After years of the situation being pointed out, in June 2013, with the Greek debt burden galloping towards the "staggering" heights previously predicted by anyone who knew what they were talking about, and with her own organization admitting its program for Greece had failed seriously on multiple primary objectives and that it had bent its rules when "rescuing" Greece; and having claimed in the past that Greece's debt was sustainable—Christine Lagarde felt able to admit publicly that perhaps Greece just might, after all, need to have its debt written off in a meaningful way. In its Global Economic Outlook and Strategy of September 2013, Citi pointed out that Greece "lack[s] the ability to stabilise […] debt/GDP ratios in coming years by fiscal policy alone",:7 and that "large debt relief" is probably "the only viable option" if Greek fiscal sustainability is to re-materialise;:18 predicted no return to growth until 2016;:8 and predicted that the debt burden would soar to over 200% of GDP by 2015 and carry on rising through at least 2017.:9 Unfortunately, German Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had just a few months prior already spoken out again against any debt relief for Greece, claiming that "structural reforms" (i.e. "old wine in a new bottle", see Rodrik et al. above) were the way to go and—astonishingly—that "debt sustainability will continue to be assured".[219]

Strictly in terms of reducing wages relative to Germany, Greece had been making 'progress': private-sector wages fell 5.4% in the third quarter of 2011 from a year earlier and 12% since their peak in the first quarter of 2010. The second economic adjustment programme for Greece called for a further labour cost reduction in the private sector of 15% during 2012–2014.

German views on inflation as a solution[edit]

The question then is whether Germany would accept the price of inflation for the benefit of keeping the eurozone together. On the upside, inflation, at least to start with, would make Germans happy as their wages rose in keeping with inflation. Regardless of these positives, as soon as the monetary policy of the ECB—which has been catering to German desires for low inflation[224] so doggedly that Martin Wolf describes it as "a reincarnated Bundesbank"—began to look like it might stoke inflation in Germany, Merkel moved to counteract, cementing the impossibility of a recovery for struggling countries.

All of this has resulted in increased anti-German sentiment within peripheral countries like Greece and Spain.[227] German historian Arnulf Baring, who opposed the euro, wrote in his 1997 book Scheitert Deutschland? (Does Germany fail?): "They (populistic media and politicians) will say that we finance lazy slackers, sitting in coffee shops on southern beaches", and "[t]he fiscal union will end in a giant blackmail manoeuvre […] When we Germans will demand fiscal discipline, other countries will blame this fiscal discipline and therefore us for their financial difficulties. Besides, although they initially agreed on the terms, they will consider us as some kind of economic police. Consequently, we risk again becoming the most hated people in Europe." Anti-German animus is perhaps inflamed by the fact that, as one German historian noted, "during much of the 20th century, the situation was radically different: after the first world war and again after the second world war, Germany was the world's largest debtor, and in both cases owed its economic recovery to large-scale debt relief." When Horst Reichenbach arrived in Athens towards the end of 2011 to head a new European Union task force, the Greek media instantly dubbed him "Third Reichenbach"; in Spain in May 2012, businessmen made unflattering comparisons with Berlin's domination of Europe in WWII, and top officials "mutter about how today's European Union consists of a 'German Union plus the rest'". Almost four million German tourists—more than any other EU country—visit Greece annually, but they comprised most of the 50,000 cancelled bookings in the ten days after the 6 May 2012 Greek elections, a figure The Observer called "extraordinary". The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises estimates that German visits for 2012 will decrease by about 25%. Such is the ill-feeling, historic claims on Germany from WWII have been reopened, including "a huge, never-repaid loan the nation was forced to make under Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1945."

Analysis of the Greek rescue[edit]

Unbalanced scales.svg The neutrality of this section is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2015)

One estimate is that Greece actually subscribed to €156bn worth of new debt in order to get €206bn worth of old debt to be written off, meaning the write-down of €110bn by the banks and others is more than double the true figure of €50bn that was truly written off. Taxpayers are now liable for more than 80% of Greece's debt. One journalist for Der Spiegel noted that the second bailout was not "geared to the requirements of the people of Greece but to the needs of the international financial markets, meaning the banks. How else can one explain the fact that around a quarter of the package won't even arrive in Athens but will flow directly to the country's international creditors?" He accused the banks of "cleverly manipulating the fear that a Greek bankruptcy would trigger a fatal chain reaction" in order to get paid. According to Robert Reich, in the background of the Greek bailouts and debt restructuring lurks Wall Street. While US banks are owed only about €5bn by Greece, they have more significant exposure to the situation via German and French banks, who were significantly exposed to Greek debt. Massively reducing the liabilities of German and French banks with regards to Greece thus also serves to protect US banks.

Creditors of Greece 2011 and 2015

According to Der Spiegel "more than 80 percent of the rescue package is going to creditors—that is to say, to banks outside of Greece and to the ECB. The billions of taxpayer euros are not saving Greece. They're saving the banks." One study found that the public debt of Greece to foreign governments, including debt to the EU/IMF loan facility and debt through the eurosystem, increased by €130 bn, from €47.8 bn to €180.5 billion, between January 2010 and September 2011. The combined exposure of foreign banks to Greek entities—public and private—was around 80bn euros by mid-February 2012. In 2009 they were in for well over 200bn. The Economist noted that, during 2012 alone, "private-sector bondholders reduced their nominal claims by more than 50%. But the deal did not include the hefty holdings of Greek bonds at the European Central Bank (ECB), and it was sweetened with funds borrowed from official rescuers. For two years those rescuers had pretended Greece was solvent, and provided official loans to pay off bondholders in full. So more than 70% of the debts are now owed to 'official' creditors", i.e. European taxpayers and the IMF. With regard to Germany in particular, a Bloomberg editorial noted that, before its banks reduced its exposure to Greece, "they stood to lose a ton of money if Greece left the euro. Now any losses will be shared with the taxpayers of the entire euro area."


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[Sep 27, 2020] After almost 30 years in power Lykashenko proved to be vulnatable to color revolutioon technologies: Belarusian police make almost 200 arrests as Minsk other cities stage large anti-Lukashenko rallies

www.moonofalabama.org
The tragedy of this situation the most of people who constitute fifth column will be royally fleeced if this color revolution succeeds. As Ukrainian experience had shown the immediate result will be the drop (2-3 times) of national currency against the dollar, mass sellout of assets to the West at bargain process (for pennies on the dollar) as well as continuation of the destruction of Soviet infrastructure. Western powers want 90% of Byelorussian people to live on the level slightly above starvation and they have numerous methods of achieving this goal directly and indirectly.
In two to three year Belorussia will be a regular debt slave of the West.
27 Sep, 2020 Around 200 have been detained as the Belarusian capital, Minsk and other cities host rallies, during which the opposition plans to hold a "people's inauguration" of former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

The action was called in response to the secret inauguration staged by long-time President Alexander Lukashenko for himself earlier this week. Tikhanovskaya won't be attending the protest, as she fled Belarus for Lithuania after the August 9 election, which the opposition insists was rigged.

Thousands marched along Independence Avenue in Minsk, despite security forces thoroughly preparing for the unsanctioned event and urging people to stay at home. Mobile internet speed has been reduced in the capital. A local mobile operator said it has been ordered to do so by the government. It may have been done to complicate communication among demonstrators.

The city's largest squares were blocked off, with seven subway stations in the center also shut down. A convoy of armored vehicles has also been spotted outside Lukashenko's heavily guarded residence.

Music was played from loudspeakers along the route of the march to drown out the chants of the demonstrators, calling for Lukashenko's immediate resignation and a new, fair election.

Police say that almost 200 people have been arrested in Minsk and other cities where protests took place on Sunday.

The protests in Belarus have been marred by mass arrests from the very start, with thousands of anti-government demonstrators detained in the weeks since the election. Police have also been accused of using excessive force against demonstrators and mistreating detainees. Three protesters have been killed during the unrest, according to official data, with hundreds, including many officers, wounded.

ALSO ON RT.COM WATCH Belarusian police use tear gas & flashbang devices against anti-Lukashenko protesters in Gomel

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[Sep 26, 2020] From Conflict to Crisis - The Danger of U.S. Actions by Jeanne M. Haskin

A brilliant book !
Sep 26, 2020 | www.amazon.com

The rich understand that capitalism is a game of musical chairs. It's systemic class warfare conducted on a grand scale to discourage solidarity across lines that might otherwise threaten the system, and with each market re-set arranged by the Federal Reserve, more of the country's resources fall into wealthy hands.

Examining what happens when a society favors old money over new and breaks all the rules to make the world safe for finance, author Jeanne Haskin predicts increasing volatility and violence in the United States if we do not significantly change course.

For a preview of what lies ahead for the U.S., the author takes us for a quick exemplary trip through Central America.

A society that is reared on competition will face unsettling challenges to authority if it doesn't set certain functions outside the arena of battle, via systematic enrichment of the affluent minority that has always had the power to topple and ruin the system.

Today's preoccupation with America's revolutionary history is not just a piece of theater. At the heart of America's outrage is an inability to lash out and demand redemption from the source of its distress because the pain is inflicted, not by hatred, but by the fundamental lack of stability built into our way of life.

Now that a fifth of the population is suffering job loss, foreclosures, or exclusion from employment due to prejudice, poor credit, a lack of skills or education, a glut of competition and insufficient opportunity, the failure to provide for the helpless majority means the system is at an impasse. Because the system can't or won't perform, the Tea Party's rise was preemptive with all its implied violence and 'real' American theater as the means to channel our anger into voting out Obama so reform can proceed unimpeded...with all its inherent dangers.

After reviewing some foreign examples that erupted in the environments of colonialism and post-colonialism, neoliberalism, militarism and oligarchies, the author filters through the head-spinning social and political noise that stands in for responsible debate in America today. Ms. Haskin's richly documented essay sees a bonfire prepared as social tensions are increased and inter-group pressures are encouraged to mount. So much for "One nation..."

Title Pagev
Table of Contentsxi
Introduction1
Chapter One- Unearthing the Bones7
Chapter Two- Instilling the Illusion of Choice19
Chapter Three- Political Strategizing23
Chapter Four- Behavioral Economics27
Chapter Five- Favoring Old Money over New33
Chapter Six- Making the World Safe for Finance39
Chapter Seven- The Colonial History of Belize51
Chapter Eight- Belize -- Party Politics and Debt65
Chapter Nine- Belize -- Recommendations of the IMF83
Chapter Ten- Nicaragua 1522–193991
Chapter Eleven- Nicaragua -- The Somoza Dynasty107
Chapter Twelve- Nicaragua -- Opposition to the Sandinistas119
Chapter Thirteen- Nicaragua -- Implementing Neoliberalism133
Chapter Fourteen- El Salvador -- The Military and the Oligarchy151
Chapter Fifteen- El Salvador -- The War and Its Aftermath165
Chapter Sixteen- Honduras -- Land of Instability179
Chapter Seventeen- Honduras -- The Impact of the Contras191
Chapter Eighteen- Fast-Forward to a Volatile USA205
Bibliography227
Index25

[Sep 26, 2020] What is predatory capitalism

Highly recommended!
Sep 26, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Extracted from: From Conflict to Crisis- The Danger of U.S. Actions by Jeanne M. Haskin

CHAPTER TWO: INSTILLING THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE

Selfishness may be exalted as the root and branch of capitalism, but it doesn't make you look good to the party on the receiving end or those whose sympathy he earns. For that, you need a government prepared to do four things, which each have separate dictums based on study, theorization, and experience. Coercion: Force is illegitimate only if you can't sell it. Persuasion: How do I market thee? Let me count the ways. Bargaining: If you won't scratch my back, then how about a piece of the pie? Indoctrination: Because I said so. (And paid for the semantics.)

Predatory capitalism is the control and expropriation of land, labor, and natural resources by a foreign government via coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and indoctrination.

At the coercive stage, we can expect military and/or police intervention to repress the subject populace. The persuasive stage will be marked by clientelism, in which a small percentage of the populace will be rewarded for loyalty, often serving as the capitalists' administrators, tax collectors, and enforcers. At the bargaining stage, efforts will be made to include the populace, or a certain percentage of it, in the country's ruling system, and this is usually marked by steps toward democratic (or, more often, autocratic) governance.

At the fourth stage, the populace is educated by capitalists, such that they continue to maintain a relationship of dependency.

The Predatory Debt Link

In many cases, post-colonial states were forced to assume the debts of their colonizers. And where they did not, they were encouraged to become in debt to the West via loans that were issued through international institutions to ensure they did not fall prey to communism or pursue other economic policies that were inimical to the West. Debt is the tie that binds nation states to the geostrategic and economic interests of the West.

As such, the Cold War era was a time of easy credit, luring postcolonial states to undertake the construction of useless monoliths and monuments, and to even expropriate such loans through corruption and despotism, thereby making these independent rulers as predatory as colonizers. While some countries were wiser than others and did use the funds for infrastructural improvements, these were also things that benefited the West and particularly Western contractors. In his controversial work Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins reveals that he was a consultant for an American firm (MAIN), whose job was to ensure that states became indebted beyond their means so they would remain loyal to their creditors, buying them votes within United Nations organizations, among other things.

Predatory capitalists demand export-orientations as the means to generate foreign currency with which to pay back debt. In the process, the state must privatize and drastically slash or eliminate any domestic subsidies which are aimed at helping native industry compete in the marketplace. Domestic consumption and imports must be radically contained, as shown by the exchange rate policies recommended by the IMF. The costs of obtaining domestic capital will be pushed beyond the reach of most native producers, while wages must be depressed to an absolute bare minimum. In short, the country's land, labor, and natural resources must be sold at bargain basement prices in order to make these goods competitive, in what one author has called "a spiraling race to the bottom," as countries producing predominantly the same goods engage in cutthroat competition whose benefactor is the West.

Under these circumstances, foreign investment is encouraged, but this, too, represents a loaded situation for countries that open their markets to financial liberalization.

[Sep 23, 2020] Never Forget- Smoking Gun Intel Memo From 1990s Warned Of Frankenstein The CIA Created

Notable quotes:
"... knew and bluntly acknowledged ..."
"... War on The Rocks ..."
"... The U.S. State Dept.'s own numbers at the height of the war in Syria: access the full report at STATE.GOV ..."
Sep 23, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.com
SOURCE: ZEROHEDGE

As Americans pause to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 which saw almost 3,000 innocents killed in the worst terror attack in United States history, it might also be worth contemplating the horrific wars and foreign quagmires unleashed during the subsequent 'war on terror'.

Bush's so-called Global War on Terror targeted 'rogue states' like Saddam's Iraq, but also consistently had a focus on uprooting and destroying al-Qaeda and other armed Islamist terror organizations (this led to the falsehood that Baathist Saddam and AQ were in cahoots). But the idea that Washington from the start saw al-Qaeda and its affiliates as some kind of eternal enemy is largely a myth.

Recall that the US covertly supported the Afghan mujahideen and other international jihadists throughout the 1980's Afghan-Soviet War, the very campaign in which hardened al-Qaeda terrorists got their start. In 1999 The Guardian in a rare moment of honest mainstream journalism warned of the Frankenstein the CIA created -- among their ranks a terror mastermind named Osama bin Laden .

But it was all the way back in 1993 that a then classified intelligence memo warned that the very fighters the CIA previously trained would soon turn their weapons on the US and its allies. The 'secret' document was declassified in 2009, but has remained largely obscure in mainstream media reporting, despite being the first to contain a bombshell admission.

A terrorism analyst at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research named Gina Bennett wrote in the 1993 memo "The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous," that --

"support network that funneled money, supplies, and manpower to supplement the Afghan mujahidin" in the war against the Soviets, "is now contributing experienced fighters to militant Islamic groups worldwide."

The concluding section contains the most revelatory statements, again remembering these words were written nearly a decade before the 9/11 attacks :

US support of the mujahidin during the Afghan war will not necessarily protect US interests from attack.

...Americans will become the targets of radical Muslims' wrath. Afghan war veterans, scattered throughout the world, could surprise the US with violence in unexpected locales.

There it is in black and white print: the United States government knew and bluntly acknowledged that the very militants it armed and trained to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars would eventually turn that very training and those very weapons back on the American people .

And this was not at all a "small" or insignificant group, instead as The Guardian wrote a mere two years before 9/11 :

American officials estimate that, from 1985 to 1992, 12,500 foreigners were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and urban guerrilla warfare in Afghan camps the CIA helped to set up .

But don't think for a moment that there was ever a "lesson learned" by Washington.

Instead the CIA and other US agencies repeated the 1980s policy of arming jihadists to overthrow US enemy regimes in places like Libya and Syria even long after the "lesson" of 9/11. As War on The Rocks recounted :

Despite the passage of time, the issues Ms. Bennett raised in her 1993 work continue to be relevant today. This fact is a sign of the persistence of the problem of Sunni jihadism and the "wandering mujahidin." Today, of course, the problem isn't Afghanistan but Syria. While the war there is far from over, there is already widespread nervousness, particularly in Europe, about what will happen when the foreign fighters return from that conflict.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1304385396692914177&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.blacklistednews.com%2Farticle%2F77999%2Fnever-forget-smoking-gun-intel-memo-from-1990s-warned-of-frankenstein-the-cia.html&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

On 9/11 we should never forget the innocent lives lost, but we should also never forget the Frankenstein of jihad the CIA created .

* * *

The U.S. State Dept.'s own numbers at the height of the war in Syria: access the full report at STATE.GOV

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[Sep 20, 2020] The Criminal Prosecution Of Boeing Executives Should Begin

Sep 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Damning details of purposeful malfeasance by Boeing executives emerged in a Congressional investigation.

FAA, Boeing Blasted Over 737 MAX Failures

On Wednesday, the Transportation Committee Blasted FAA, Boeing Over 737 MAX Failures

The 238-page document, written by the majority staff of the House Transportation Committee, calls into question whether the plane maker or the Federal Aviation Administration has fully incorporated essential safety lessons, despite a global grounding of the MAX fleet since March 2019.

After an 18-month investigation, the report, released Wednesday, concludes that Boeing's travails stemmed partly from a reluctance to admit mistakes and "point to a company culture that is in serious need of a safety reset."

The report provides more specifics, in sometimes-blistering language, backing up preliminary findings the panel's Democrats released six months ago , which laid out a pattern of mistakes and missed opportunities to correct them.

In one section, the Democrats' report faults Boeing for what it calls "inconceivable and inexcusable" actions to withhold crucial information from airlines about one cockpit-warning system, related to but not part of MCAS, that didn't operate as required on 80% of MAX jets.

Other portions highlight instances when Boeing officials, acting in their capacity as designated FAA representatives, part of a widely used system of delegating oversight authority to company employees, failed to alert agency managers about various safety matters .

Boeing Purposely Hid Design Flaws

The Financial Times has an even more damning take in its report Boeing Hid Design Flaws in Max Jets from Pilots and Regulators .

Boeing concealed from regulators internal test data showing that if a pilot took longer than 10 seconds to recognise that the system had kicked in erroneously, the consequences would be "catastrophic" .

The report also detailed how an alert, which would have warned pilots of a potential problem with one of their anti-stall sensors, was not working on the vast majority of the Max fleet . It found that the company deliberately concealed this fact from both pilots and regulators as it continued to roll out the new aircraft around the world.

In Bed With the Regulators

Boeing's defense is the FAA signed off on the reviews. Lovely. Boeing coerced or bribed the FAA to sign off on the reviews now tries to hide behind the FAA.

There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing. Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution.

adr , 1 hour ago

Remember, Boeing spent enough on stock buybacks in the past ten years to fund the development of at least seven new airframes.

Instead of developing a new and better plane, they strapped engines that didn't belong on the 737 and called it safe.

SDShack , 21 minutes ago

What is really sad is they already had a perfectly functional and safe 737Max. It was the 757. Look at the specs between the 2 planes. Almost same size, capacity, range, etc. Only difference was the 757 requires longer runways, but I would think they could have adjusted the design to improve that and make it very similar to the 737Max without starting from scratch. Instead Boeing bean counters killed the 757 and gave the world this flying coffin. Now the world bean counters will kill Boeing.

Tristan Ludlow , 1 hour ago

Boeing is a critical defense contractor. They will not be held accountable and they will be rewarded with additional bailouts and contract awards.

MFL5591 , 1 hour ago

Can you imagine a congress of Criminals Like Schiff, Pelosi and Schumer prosecuting someone else for fraud? What a joke. Next up will be Bill Clinton testifying against a person on trial for Pedophilia!

RagaMuffin , 1 hour ago

Mish is half right. The FAA should join Boeing in jail. If they are not held responsible for their role, why have an FAA?

Manthong , 1 hour ago

"There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing.

Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution."

Correction:

There is only one way to stop regulator criminals like those in government.

Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their pensions and ill gotten wealth a nd hand the money out for restitution.

Elliott Eldrich , 43 minutes ago

"There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing.

Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution."

Ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA! Silly rabbit, jail is for poors...

Birdbob , 1 hour ago

Accountability of Elite Perps ended under Oblaba's reign of "Wall Street and Technocracy Architects" .White collar criminals were granted immunity from prosecution. This was put into play by Attorney Genital Eric Holder. This was the beginning of having an orificial Attorney Genital that facilitated the District of Criminals organized crime empire ending the 3 letter agencies' interference. https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/8310187817727287761/1843903631072834621

Dash8 , 1 hour ago

You don't seem to understand the basic principle of aircraft design...it must not require an extraordinary response for a KNOWN problem.

Think of it this way; Ford builds a car that works great most of the time, but occasionally a wheel will fall off at highway speeds...no problem, right? ....you just guide the car to the shoulder on the 3 remaining wheels and all good.

Now, put your wife and kids in that car, after a day at work and the kids screaming in the back.

Still feel good about your opinion?

canaanav , 1 hour ago

I wrote software on the 787. You are right. This was not a known problem and the Trim Runaway procedure was already established. The issue was that the MAX needed a larger horizontal stab and MCAS would have never been needed. The FAA doesnt have the knowledge to regulate things like this. Boeing lost talent too, and gets bailouts and tax breaks to the extent that they dont care.

Dash8 , 1 hour ago

But it was a known problem, Boeing admits this.

Argon1 , 41 minutes ago

LGBT & Ethnicity was a more important hiring criteria than Engineering talant.

gutta percha , 1 hour ago

Why is it so difficult to design and maintain reliable Angle Of Attack sensors? The engineers put in layers and layers of complicated tech to sense and react to AOA sensor failures. Why not make the sensors _themselves_ more reliable? They aren't nearly as complex as all the layers of tech BS on top of them.

Dash8 , 1 hour ago

It's not, but it costs $$....and there you have it.

Argon1 , 37 minutes ago

Its the Shuttle Rocketdyne problem, the upper management phones down to the safety committee and complains about the cost of the delay, take off your engineer hat and put on your management hat. All of a sudden your project launches on schedule and the board claps and cheers at their ability to defy physics and save $ millions by just shouting at someone for about 60 seconds..

canaanav , 1 hour ago

Each AOA sensor is already redundant internally. They have multiple channels. I believe they were hit with a maintenance stand and jammed. That said, AOA has never been a control system component. It just runs the low-speed cue on the EFIS and the stick shaker. It's an advisory-level system. Boeing tied it to Flight Controls thru MCAS. The FAA likely dictated to Boeing how they wanted the System Safety Analysis (SSA) to look, Boeing wrote it that way, the FAA bought off on it.

Winston Churchill , 43 minutes ago

More fundamental is why an aerodynamically stable aircraft wasn't designed in the first place,love of money.

HardlyZero , 13 minutes ago

Yes. In reality the changed CG (Center of Gravity) due to the larger fan engine really did setup as a "new" design, so the MAX should have been treated as "new" and completely evaluated and completely tested as a completly new design. As a new design it would probably double the development and test cost and schedule...so be it.

DisorderlyConduct , 1 hour ago

"Lovely. Boeing coerced or bribed the FAA to sign off on the reviews now tries to hide behind the FAA."

No - what a shoddy analysis.

The FAA conceded many of their oversight responsibilities to Boeing - who was basically given the green light to self-monitor. The FAA is the one that is in the wrong here.

Well, how the **** else was that supposed to end up? This is like the IRS letting people self-audit...

Astroboy , 1 hour ago

Just as the Boeing saga is unfolding, we should expect by the end of the year other similar situations, related to drug companies, pandemia and the rest.

https://thenewroads.com/2019/12/09/forecast-for-2020/

https://thenewroads.com/2020/07/21/great-conjunction-jupiter-and-saturn-next-to-the-solstice-of-december-2020/
play_arrow

highwaytoserfdom , 1 hour ago

It is political economy...

8. The internet was invented by the US government, not Silicon Valley

Many people think that the US is ahead in the frontier technology sectors as a result of private sector entrepreneurship. It's not. The US federal government created all these sectors.

The Pentagon financed the development of the computer in the early days and the Internet came out of a Pentagon research project. The semiconductor - the foundation of the information economy - was initially developed with the funding of the US Navy. The US aircraft industry would not have become what it is today had the US Air Force not massively subsidized it indirectly by paying huge prices for its military aircraft, the profit of which was channeled into developing civilian aircraft.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-20/what-piketty-didnt-say-13-facts-they-dont-tell-you-about-economics

LoneStarHog , 1 hour ago

People believe that corporate executives are immune from prosecution and protected by the fact that they are within the corporation. This is false security. If true purposeful and intended criminal activities are conducted by any corporate executive, the courts can do what is called "Piercing The Corporate Veil" . It is looking beyond the corporation as a virtual person and looking at the actual individuals making and conducting the criminal activities.

Jamie Dimon should be first on this list.

[Sep 12, 2020] Never Forget- Smoking Gun Intel Memo From 1990s Warned Of 'Frankenstein The CIA Created' - Zero Hedge

Sep 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

As Americans pause to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 which saw almost 3,000 innocents killed in the worst terror attack in United States history, it might also be worth contemplating the horrific wars and foreign quagmires unleashed during the subsequent 'war on terror'.

Bush's so-called Global War on Terror targeted 'rogue states' like Saddam's Iraq, but also consistently had a focus on uprooting and destroying al-Qaeda and other armed Islamist terror organizations (this led to the falsehood that Baathist Saddam and AQ were in cahoots). But the idea that Washington from the start saw al-Qaeda and its affiliates as some kind of eternal enemy is largely a myth.

Recall that the US covertly supported the Afghan mujahideen and other international jihadists throughout the 1980's Afghan-Soviet War, the very campaign in which hardened al-Qaeda terrorists got their start. In 1999 The Guardian in a rare moment of honest mainstream journalism warned of the Frankenstein the CIA created -- among their ranks a terror mastermind named Osama bin Laden .

1998 CNN still of Osama bin Laden, right, along with Egyptian jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan, CNN/Getty Images

But it was all the way back in 1993 that a then classified intelligence memo warned that the very fighters the CIA previously trained would soon turn their weapons on the US and its allies. The 'secret' document was declassified in 2009, but has remained largely obscure in mainstream media reporting, despite being the first to contain a bombshell admission.

A terrorism analyst at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research named Gina Bennett wrote in the 1993 memo "The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous," that --

"support network that funneled money, supplies, and manpower to supplement the Afghan mujahidin" in the war against the Soviets, "is now contributing experienced fighters to militant Islamic groups worldwide."

UNCLASSIFIED

SECRET/NOFORWNOCONTRACT/ORCON

RELEASED IN FULL

United States Department of State
Bureau of Intelligence and Research

WEEKEND EDITION

21-22 August 1993

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE
REVIEW AUTHORITY: FRANK II PEREZ
DATEj'CASK ID: 23 NOV 2007 200605437

The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous

During the war in Afghanistan, eager Arab
youths volunteered en masse to fight a historic "jihad"
against the Soviet •'infidel." The support network
that funneled money, supplies, and manpower to sup-
plement the Afghan mujahidin is now contributing
experienced fighters to militant Islamic groups world-
wide. Veterans of the Afghan jihad are being inte-

... ... ...

dump hundreds more devout fighters into the net-
work. exacerbating the problems of governments that
are accepting the wandering mujahidin.

* * *

When the Boys Come Home

The concluding section contains the most revelatory statements, again remembering these words were written nearly a decade before the 9/11 attacks :

US support of the mujahidin during the Afghan war will not necessarily protect US interests from attack.

...Americans will become the targets of radical Muslims' wrath. Afghan war veterans, scattered throughout the world, could surprise the US with violence in unexpected locales.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

ue until wc throw India out," apparently is well armed
and operating about 80 miles southeast of Srinagar.

Mujahidin in Every Corner

Beyond the Middle East and South Asia, small
numbers of Afghan war veterans are taking up causes
from Somalia to the Philippines. Mujahidin connections
to the larger network heighten the chances that even
an ad hoc group could carry out destructive insurgent
attacks. Veterans joining small opposition groups can
contribute significantly to their capabilities; therefore,
some militant groups are actively recruiting returning
veterans, as in the Philippines where the radical Mus-
lim Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) reportedly is using muja-
hidin members' connections to the network to bolster
funding and broker arms deals. The ASG is believed
to have carried out the May bombings of Manila's
light rail system.

Focus on the United States

The alleged involvement of veterans of the Af-
ghan war in the World Trade Center bombing and the
plots against New York targets arc a bold example of
what tactics some fop^r mujahidin are willing in use
in their ongoing jihad (see box, p. 3). US support of
the mujahidin during the Afghan war will not neces-
sarily protect US interests from attack.

The growing perception by Muslims that the US
follows a double standard with regard to Islamic issues --
particularly in Iraq, Bosnia, Algeria, and the Isracli-
occupicd territories -- heightens the possibility that
Americans will become the targets of radical Muslims'
wrath. Afghan war veterans, scattered throughout the
world, could surprise the US with violence in unex-
pected locales.

(Gina BennoB. INfVTNA)

There it is in black and white print: the United States government knew and bluntly acknowledged that the very militants it armed and trained to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars would eventually turn that very training and those very weapons back on the American people .

And this was not at all a "small" or insignificant group, instead as The Guardian wrote a mere two years before 9/11 :

American officials estimate that, from 1985 to 1992, 12,500 foreigners were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and urban guerrilla warfare in Afghan camps the CIA helped to set up .

But don't think for a moment that there was ever a "lesson learned" by Washington.

Frankenstein the CIA created

So he found a different theatre for his holy war and achieved a different sort
of martyrdom. Three years ago, he was convicted of planning a series of
massive explosions in Manhattan and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Hampton-el was described by prosecutors as a skilled bomb-maker. It was
hardly surprising. In Afghanistan he fought with the Hezb-i-Islami group of
mujahideen, whose training and weaponry were mainly supplied by the CIA.

He was not alone. American officials estimate that, from 1985 to 1992,12,500

foreigners were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and urban guerrilla

warfare in Afghan camps the CIA helped to set up.

Instead the CIA and other US agencies repeated the 1980s policy of arming jihadists to overthrow US enemy regimes in places like Libya and Syria even long after the "lesson" of 9/11. As War on The Rocks recounted :

Despite the passage of time, the issues Ms. Bennett raised in her 1993 work continue to be relevant today. This fact is a sign of the persistence of the problem of Sunni jihadism and the "wandering mujahidin." Today, of course, the problem isn't Afghanistan but Syria. While the war there is far from over, there is already widespread nervousness, particularly in Europe, about what will happen when the foreign fighters return from that conflict.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1304385396692914177&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fnever-forget-1993-smoking-gun-intel-memo-warned-frankenstein-cia-created&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST

ZEROHEDGE DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX

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

On 9/11 we should never forget the innocent lives lost, but we should also never forget the Frankenstein of jihad the CIA created .

* * *

The U.S. State Dept.'s own numbers at the height of the war in Syria: access the full report at STATE.GOV

19 June 2015, From US Department of
State, Country Report on Terrorism 2014:
"The rate of foreign terrorist fighter travel to Syria
[during 2014]- totaling more than 16,000 foreign
terrorist ficjhters from more than 90 countries as
of late December - exceeded the rate of foreign
terrorist fighters who traveled to Afghanistan and
Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in
the last 20 years"

me name=

[Sep 11, 2020] MSM's attempts to spin Trump's attacks on senseless wars as disrespect for military at large are a dismal distortion of reality -- RT Op-ed

Notable quotes:
"... By Tony Cox , a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. ..."
"... "Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief," ..."
"... "despicable comments" ..."
"... "Killing generals could get to be a habit with me." ..."
"... "right and authority" ..."
"... "when it's required for national security and a last resort." ..."
"... "pattern of public statements ..."
"... Like this story? Share it with a friend! ..."
Sep 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

MSM's attempts to spin Trump's attacks on senseless wars as disrespect for military at large are a dismal distortion of reality 11 Sep, 2020 12:06 Get short URL © Getty Images / David Dee Delgado 29 Follow RT on RT

By Tony Cox , a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. The New York Times and CNN are desperate to paint Donald Trump as an enemy of the military, due to his desire not to get involved in pointless wars. But this is simply not true, and Trump has the backing of many soldiers.

Someone should tell the New York Times, CNN and other mainstream media outlets that soldiers don't actually like getting killed or maimed for no good reason. Nor do they like generals and presidents who spill their blood in vain.

Alas, ignorance of these obvious truths probably isn't the issue. This is likely just another case of the biggest names in news pretending to not get the point so they can take the rest of us along for a ride in their confidence game of alternative reality.

The latest example is the New York Times spinning President Donald Trump's critique this week of Pentagon leadership and the military industrial complex as disrespect for the military at large. "Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief," the Times quoted retired US Marines General Anthony Zinni as saying. Zinni cited Trump's alleged "despicable comments" about the nation's war dead – reported last week by The Atlantic , citing anonymous sources – as one of the reasons Trump "must go."

ALSO ON RT.COM After Trump helps crush ISIS, end Korea nuke tests and avoid new wars, Republican haters warn he 'imperiled America's security'

Never mind that Trump and all on-the-record administration sources denied The Atlantic's report. The Times couldn't resist when the pieces seemed to fit so well together for the military's latest propaganda campaign against Trump. First the president disses the troops, calling them "losers" and "suckers," then he has the temerity to say Pentagon leaders want to fight wars to keep defense contractors happy.

Except the pieces don't fit. The many people who occupy so-called boots on the ground don't have the same interests as the few people who send them to war. In fact, combat troops are given reason to hate the generals who send them to die when there's not a legitimate national security reason for the war they're fighting. And the US has fought a long line of wars that didn't serve the nation's national security interests. Even when a war is justified, the interests of top brass and front-line soldiers often clash.

Remember that great 1967 war movie, ' The Dirty Dozen' ? A group of 12 soldiers who were condemned to long prison sentences or execution in military prison for their crimes were sent on a 1944 suicide mission to kill high-ranking German officers at a heavily defended chateau far behind enemy lines. After succeeding in the mission and escaping the Germans, the lone surviving convict, played by tough-guy actor Charles Bronson, told the mission leader, "Killing generals could get to be a habit with me."

ALSO ON RT.COM NATO cannot survive a second Trump term

So no, New York Times, speaking out against ill-advised wars does not equal bashing the military. And sorry, General Zinni, but generals, defense contractors and their media mouthpieces don't get to decide who has the "right and authority" to be commander in chief. The voters decided that already, and they expressed clearly that they don't want senseless and endless wars and foreign interventions.

The Times cited General James McConville, the Army's chief of staff, as saying Pentagon leaders would only recommend sending troops to combat "when it's required for national security and a last resort." And no, it wasn't a comedy skit. What's the last US war or combat intervention that measured up to that standard? Let's just say the late Bronson, who died in 2003 at the age of 81, was a young man the last time that happened.

CNN tried a similar ploy on Sunday, while trying to sell the "losers" and "suckers" story in an interview with US Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie. Host Dana Bash said the allegations fit a "pattern of public statements " by the president because Trump called US Senator John McCain a "loser" in 2015 and said McCain shouldn't be considered a hero for being captured in the Vietnam War. She repeatedly suggested to Wilkie, who didn't take the bait, that Trump's attacks on McCain, who died in 2018, showed disrespect for the troops.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1302611067995074561&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F500455-trump-military-media-lies%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

Apparently, this follows the same line of propagandist thought which told us that saying there are rapists among the illegal aliens entering the US from Mexico – which is undeniably true – equals saying all Mexicans are rapists. In CNN land, a bad word about McCain is a bad word about all soldiers.

McCain was a warmonger who didn't mind getting US troops killed or backing terrorist groups in Syria. If he had his way , many more GIs would be dead or disabled, because the intervention in Syria would have been escalated and the US might be at war with Iran. Soldiers wouldn't want their lives wasted in such conflicts.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=339455679800700928&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fop-ed%2F500455-trump-military-media-lies%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

All wars are hard on the people who have to fight them, but senseless wars are spirit-crushing. An average of about 17 veterans commit suicide each day in the US, according to Veterans Administration data . Veterans account for 11 percent of the US adult population but more than 18 percent of suicides.

The media's deceiving technique of trying to pretend that ruling-class chieftains and front-line grunts are in the same boat reflects a broader campaign of top-down revolution against populism. The military is just one of several pro-Trump segments of the population that must be turned against the president. Other pro-Trump segments, such as police , are demonized and attacked.

Trump has managed to keep the US out of new wars and has drawn down deployments to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan – despite Pentagon opposition. His rival, Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, can be expected to rev up the war machine if he takes charge. His foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken, lamented in a May interview with CBS News that Trump had given up US "leverage" in Syria.

Trump also has turned around the VA hospital system, ending decades of neglect that left many veterans to die on waiting lists.

Like past campaigns to oust Trump, the notion that he's not sufficiently devoted to the troops might be a tough sell. No matter how good their words may sound, the people who promote endless wars without clear objectives aren't true supporters of the rank and file.

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[Aug 27, 2020] A couple of lessons for Belarus, if it has a government capable of learning from the mistakes of others rather than insisting upon making them itself before learning

Aug 27, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN August 25, 2020 at 5:27 pm

A couple of lessons for Belarus, if it has a government capable of learning from the mistakes of others rather than insisting upon making them itself before learning; the first – Ukraine.

The Biggest Little Country In Yurrup has just voted, in an extraordinary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada, to beg the EU for a further loan of $1.2 Billion. For that mess of pottage, it will accept enhanced external governance.

"With this memorandum, Ukraine undertakes to increase the role of international structures in the judicial system, law enforcement agencies, and state-owned enterprises' executive boards (with the restoration of their cosmic salaries)."

Of course, that's the selfish Russian perspective; it comes from Stalker Zone. The 'reality' as Ukrainians see it might be a lot more lighthearted, like going on an adventure with some foreign friends! And it might not even happen, considering the Ukrainian plan to get half the money up front, without having to satisfy any of the conditions, although even the full $1.2 Billion seems to me a bargain price to gain control of Ukrainian state institutions. If I had $1.2 Billion lying around doing nothing, I might buy them myself.

https://www.stalkerzone.org/the-verkhovna-rada-sold-the-remnants-of-ukraines-sovereignty/

The second is the collapse of Latvian industry under capitalism and foreign investment. There but for the grace of God go you, Belarus.

https://www.stalkerzone.org/the-same-awaits-maz-and-belaz-how-latvias-no-1-plant-was-killed/

When you think about it, it is amazing how willing eastern Europeans are to believe the siren song of western capital investment, since as soon as they control the company, they break it up and sell it, and the locals are left with nothing but western newspapers to keep their bums from freezing. But it happens over and over.

PATIENT OBSERVER August 25, 2020 at 5:48 pm

It's the lottery mentality, most of the poor saps will only get poorer but the chance of winning big (especially if you have a few connections) overwhelms logic and common sense. It what makes capitalism so attractive – dreams of big wealth and leaving your poor slum behind make the most miserable life somehow tolerable.

And it what makes socialism so boring – you may be, on average, better off but little prospect for that life-changing jackpot.

There is more to it than that but the dreams of a big payday explains much of why so many Eastern Europeans put up with, if not embrace, capitalism BS.

PATIENT OBSERVER August 26, 2020 at 5:41 pm

The carrot always seemingly just out of reach works for most until the day you die. And if you do reach the carrot, you will soon realize that it is rotten.

Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to the money then you die.
– Bittersweet Symphony

[Jul 19, 2020] The Global Reset Unplugged -The Deep State by Peter Koenig

Notable quotes:
"... In addition to the key international financial institutions, WB and IMF, there are the so-called regional development banks and similar financial institutions, keeping the countries of their respective regions in check. ..."
Jul 18, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
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Authored by Peter Koenig via GlobalResearch.ca,

Imagine, you are living in a world that you are told is a democracy – and you may even believe it – but in fact your life and fate is in the hands of a few ultra-rich, ultra-powerful and ultra-inhuman oligarchs. They may be called Deep State, or simply the Beast, or anything else obscure or untraceable – it doesn't matter. They are less than the 0.0001%.

For lack of a better expression, let's call them for now "obscure individuals".

These obscure individuals who pretend running our world have never been elected . We don't need to name them. You will figure out who they are, and why they are famous, and some of them totally invisible. They have created structures, or organisms without any legal format. They are fully out of international legality. They are a forefront for the Beast. Maybe there are several competing Beasts. But they have the same objective: A New or One World Order (NWO, or OWO).

These obscure individuals are running, for example, The World Economic Forum (WEF – representing Big Industry, Big Finance and Big Fame), the Group of 7 – G7, the Group of 20 – G20 (the leaders of the economically" strongest" nations). There are also some lesser entities, called the Bilderberg Society, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Chatham House and more.

The members of all of them are overlapping. Even this expanded forefront combined represents less than 0.001%. They all have superimposed themselves over sovereign national elected and constitutional governments, and over THE multinational world body, the United Nations, the UN.

In fact, they have coopted the UN to do their bidding. UN Director Generals, as well as the DGs of the multiple UN-suborganizations, are chosen mostly by the US, with the consenting nod of their European vassals – according to the candidate's political and psychological profile. If his or her 'performance' as head of the UN or head of one of the UN suborganizations fails, his or her days are counted. Coopted or created by the Beast(s) are also, the European Union, the Bretton Woods Organizations, World Bank and IMF, as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO) – and – make no mistake – the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. It has no teeth. Just to make sure the law is always on the side of the lawless.

In addition to the key international financial institutions, WB and IMF, there are the so-called regional development banks and similar financial institutions, keeping the countries of their respective regions in check.

In the end its financial or debt-economy that controls everything. Western neoliberal banditry has created a system, where political disobedience can be punished by economic oppression or outright theft of national assets in international territories. The system's common denominator is the (still) omnipresent US-dollar.

"Unelected Individuals"

The supremacy of these obscure unelected individuals becomes ever more exposed. We, the People consider it "normal" that they call the shots, not what we call – or once were proud of calling, our sovereign nations and sovereignly elected governments. They have become a herd of obedient sheep. The Beast has gradually and quietly taken over. We haven't noticed. It's the salami tactic: You cut off slice by tiny slice and when the salami is gone, you realize that you have nothing left, that your freedom, your civil and human rights are gone. By then it's too late. Case in point is the US Patriot Act. It was prepared way before 9/11. Once 9/11 "happened", the Patriot Legislation was whizzed through Congress in no time – for the people's future protection – people called for it for fear – and – bingo, the Patriot Act took about 90% of the American population's freedom and civil rights away. For good.

We have become enslaved to the Beast. The Beast calls the shots on boom or bust of our economies, on who should be shackled by debt, when and where a pandemic should break out, and on the conditions of surviving the pandemic, for example, social confinement. And to top it all off – the instruments the Beast uses, very cleverly, are a tiny-tiny invisible enemy, called a virus, and a huge but also invisible monster, called FEAR. That keeps us off the street, off reunions with our friends, and off our social entertainment, theatre, sports, or a picnic in the park.

Soon the Beast will decide who will live and who will die, literally – if we let it. This may be not far away. Another wave of pandemic and people may beg, yell and scream for a vaccine, for their death knell, and for the super bonanza of Big Pharma – and towards the objectives of the eugenicists blatantly roaming the world – see this . There is still time to collectively say NO. Collectively and solidarily.

Take the latest case of blatant imposture. Conveniently, after the first wave of Covid-19 had passed, at least in the Global North, where the major world decisions are made, in early June 2020, the unelected WEF Chairman, Klaus Schwab , announced "The Great Reset". Taking advantage of the economic collapse – the crisis shock, as in "The Shock Doctrine" – Mr. Schwab, one of the Beast's frontrunners, announces openly what the WEF will discuss and decide for the world-to-come in their next Davos Forum in January 2021. For more details see this .

Will, We, The People, accept the agenda of the unelected WEF?

It will opportunely focus on the protection of what's left of Mother Earth; obviously at the center will be man-made CO2-based "Global Warming". The instrument for that protection of nature and humankind will be the UN Agenda 2030 – which equals the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It will focus on how to rebuild the willfully destroyed global economy, while respecting the ("green") principles of the 17 SDGs.

Mind you, it's all connected. There are no coincidences. The infamous Agenda 2021 which coincides with and complements the so-called (UN) Agenda 2030, will be duly inaugurated by the WEF's official declaration of The Great Reset, in January 2021. Similarly, the implementation of the agenda of The Great Reset began in January 2020, by the launch of the corona pandemic – planned for decades with the latest visible events being the 2010 Rockefeller Report with its "Lockstep Scenario" , and Event 201, of 18 October in NYC which computer-simulated a corona pandemic, leaving within 18 months 65 million deaths and an economy in ruin, programmed just a few weeks before the launch of the actual corona pandemic. See COVID-19, We Are Now Living the "Lock Step Scenario" and this and this .

The Race Riots

The racial riots, initiated by the movement Black Lives Matter (funded by the Ford Foundation and Soros' Open Society Foundation), following the brutal assassination of the Afro-American George Floyd by a gang of Minneapolis police, and spreading like brush-fire in no time to more than 160 cities, first in the US, then in Europe – are not only connected to the Beast's agenda, but they were a convenient deviation from the human catastrophe left behind by Covid-19. See also this .

The Beast's nefarious plan to implement what's really behind the UN Agenda 2030 is the little heard-of Agenda ID2020 . See The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic: The Real Danger is "Agenda ID2020" . It has been created and funded by the vaccination guru Bill Gates, and so has GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations), the association of Big Pharma – involved in creating the corona vaccines, and which funds along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) a major proportion of WHO's budget.

The Great Reset, as announced by WEF's Klaus Schwab , is supposedly implemented by Agenda ID2020. It is more than meets the eye. Agenda ID2020 is even anchored in the SDGs, as SDG 16.9 "by 2030 provide legal [digital] identity for all, including free birth registration" . This fits perfectly into the overall goal of SDG 16: " Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels ."

Following the official path of the UN Agenda 2030 of achieving the SDGs, the 'implementing' Agenda ID2020 – which is currently being tested on school children in Bangladesh – will provide digitized IDs possibly in the form of nano-chips implanted along with compulsory vaccination programs, will promote digitization of money and the rolling out of 5G – which would be needed to upload and monitor personal data on the nano chips and to control the populace. Agenda ID2020 will most likely also include 'programs' – through vaccination? – of significantly reducing world population. Eugenics is an important component in the control of future world population under a NOW / OWO – see also Georgia Guidestones , mysteriously built in 1980.

The ruling elite used the lockdown as an instrument to carry out this agenda. Its implementation would naturally face massive protests, organized and funded along the same lines as were the BLM protests and demonstrations. They may not be peaceful – and may not be planned as being peaceful. Because to control the population in the US and in Europe, where most of the civil unrest would be expected, a total militarization of the people is required. This is well under preparation.

In his essay "The Big Plantation" , John Steppling reports from a NYT article that a

"minimum of 93,763 machine guns, 180,718 magazine cartridges, hundreds of silencers and an unknown number of grenade launchers have been provided to state and local police departments in the US since 2006. This is in addition to at least 533 planes and helicopters, and 432 MRAPs -- 9-foot high, 30-ton Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles with gun turrets and more than 44,900 pieces of night vision equipment, regularly used in nighttime raids in Afghanistan and Iraq."

He adds that this militarization is part of a broader trend. Since the late 1990s, about 89 percent of police departments in the United States serving populations of 50,000 people or more had a PPU (Police Paramilitary Unit), almost double of what existed in the mid-1980s. He refers to these militarized police as the new Gestapo.

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Even before Covid, about 15% to 20% of the population was on or below the poverty line in the United States. The post-covid lockdown economic annihilation will at least double that percentage – and commensurately increase the risk for civil turbulence and clashes with authorities – further enhancing the reasoning for a militarized police force.

China's Crypto RMB

None of these scenarios will, of course, be presented to the public by the WEF in January 2021. These are decisions taken behind closed doors by the key actors for the Beast. However, this grandiose plan of the Great Reset does not have to happen. There is at least half the world population and some of the most powerful countries, economically and militarily – like China and Russia – opposed to it. "Reset" maybe yes, but not in these western terms. In fact, a reset of kinds is already happening with China about to roll out a new People's Bank of China backed blockchain-based cryptocurrency, the crypto RMB, or yuan . This is not only a hard currency based on a solid economy, it is also supported by gold.

While President Trump keeps trashing China for unfair trade, for improperly managing the covid pandemic, for stealing property rights – China bashing no end – that China depends on the US and that the US will cut trading ties with China – or cut ties altogether, China is calling Trump's bluff. China is quietly reorienting herself towards the ASEAN countries plus Japan (yes, Japan!) and South Korea, where trade already today accounts for about 15% of all China's trade and is expected to double in the next five years.

Despite the lockdown and the disruption of trade, China's overall exports recovered with a 3.2% increase in April (in relation to April 2019). This overall performance in China exports was nonetheless accompanied by a dramatic decline in US-China trade. China exports to the US decreased by 7.9% in April (in relation to April 2019).

It is clear that the vast majority of US industries could not survive without Chinese supply chains. The western dependence on Chinese medical supplies is particularly strong. Let alone Chinese dependence by US consumers. In 2019, US total consumption, about 70% of GDP, amounted to $13.3 trillion, of which a fair amount is directly imported from China or dependent on ingredients from China.

The WEF-masters are confronted with a real dilemma. Their plan depends very much on the dollar supremacy which would continue to allow dishing out sanctions and confiscating assets from those countries opposing US rule; a dollar-hegemony which would allow imposing the components of The Great Reset scheme, as described above.

At present, the dollar is fiat money, debt-money created from thin air. It has no backing whatsoever. Therefore, its worth as a reserve currency is increasingly decaying, especially vis-à-vis the new crypto-yuan from China. In order to compete with the Chinese yuan, the US Government would have to move away from its monetary Ponzi-scheme, by separating itself from the 1913 Federal Reserve Act and print her own US-economy- and possibly gold-backed (crypto) money – not fiat FED-money, as is the case today. That would mean cutting the more than 100-year old ties to the Rothschild and Co. clan-owned FED, and creating a real peoples-owned central bank. Not impossible, but highly improbable. Here, two Beasts might clash, as world power is at stake.

Meanwhile, China, with her philosophy of endless creation would continue forging ahead unstoppably with her mammoth socioeconomic development plan of the 21st Century, the Belt and Road Initiative, connecting and bridging the world with infrastructure for land and maritime transport, with joint research and industrial projects, cultural exchanges – and not least, multinational trade with "win-win" characteristics, equality for all partners – towards a multi-polar world, towards a world with a common future for mankind.

Today already more than 120 countries are associated with BRI – and the field is wide open for others to join – and to defy, unmask and unplug The Great Reset of the West.

[Jul 13, 2020] Here's a great must-see 36-minute piece by Abby Martin about the US perpetual occupation of Afghanistan.

Jul 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Canadian Cents , Jul 13 2020 0:04 utc | 115

Here's a great must-see 36-minute piece by Abby Martin about the US perpetual occupation of Afghanistan.

It was posted on YouTube on June 26, but I only came across it last night thanks to a Paul Craig Roberts article, and I don't think it's been mentioned here at MoA yet by anyone yet (at least I wasn't able to find any mentions using the MoA search.)

I'm sure many of us have come across many of the points over the years, but she does a great job of reviewing and bringing it all together.

Afghanistan War Exposed: An Imperial Conspiracy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3LFbOSPfrE

Google/Youtube has of course made the video "age-restricted", though I don't really see why, requiring sign-in and probably greatly reducing its viewership as a result.

This alternate link to the same video doesn't seem to require sign-in:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/C3LFbOSPfrE

[Jul 05, 2020] Afghanistan and the Endless War Caucus by DANIEL LARISON

Looks like Liz Cheney words for Russians. Her action suggest growing alliance between Bush repoblicans and neolibral interventionaistsof the Democratic Party. The alliance directed against Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... As Boland explains, the amendment passed by the committee yesterday sets so many conditions on withdrawal that it makes it all but impossible to satisfy them: ..."
"... The longer that the U.S. stays at war in Afghanistan, the more incentives other states will have to make that continued presence more costly for the U.S. When the knee-jerk reaction in Washington to news of these bounties is to throw up obstacles to withdrawal, that gives other states another incentive to do more of this. ..."
"... Prolonging our involvement in the war amounts to playing into Moscow's hands. For all of their posturing about security and strength, hard-liners routinely support destructive and irrational policies that redound to the advantage of other states. This is still happening with the war in Afghanistan, and if these hard-liners get their way it will continue happening for many years to come. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The immediate response to a story that U.S. forces were being targeted is to keep fighting a losing conflict.

Barbara Boland reported yesterday on the House Armed Services Committee's vote to impede withdrawal of U.S. from Afghanistan:

The House Armed Services Committee voted Wednesday night to put roadblocks on President Donald Trump's vow to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, apparently in response to bombshell report published by The New York Times Friday that alleges Russia paid dollar bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S troops.

It speaks volumes about Congress' abdication of its responsibilities that one of the few times that most members want to challenge the president over a war is when they think he might bring it to an end. Many of the members that want to block withdrawals from other countries have no problem when the president wants to use U.S. forces illegally and to keep them in other countries without authorization for years at a time. The role of hard-liner Liz Cheney in pushing the measure passed yesterday is a good example of what I mean. The hawkish outrage in Congress is only triggered when the president entertains the possibility of taking troops out of harm's way. When he takes reckless and illegal action that puts them at risk, as he did when he ordered the illegal assassination of Soleimani, the same members that are crying foul today applauded the action. As Boland explains, the amendment passed by the committee yesterday sets so many conditions on withdrawal that it makes it all but impossible to satisfy them:

Crow's amendment adds several layers of policy goals to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, which has already stretched on for 19 years and cost over a trillion dollars. As made clear in the Afghanistan Papers, most of these policy goals were never the original intention of the mission in Afghanistan, and were haphazardly added after the defeat of al Qaeda. With no clear vision for what achieving these fuzzy goals would look like, the mission stretches on indefinitely, an unarticulated victory unachievable.

The immediate Congressional response to a story that U.S. forces were being targeted is to make it much more difficult to pull them out of a war that cannot be won. Congressional hawks bemoan "micromanaging" presidential decisions and mock the idea of having "535 commanders-in-chief," but when it comes to prolonging pointless wars they are only too happy to meddle and tie the president's hands. When it comes to defending Congress' proper role in matters of war, these members are typically on the other side of the argument. They are content to let the president get us into as many wars as he might want, but they are horrified at the thought that any of those wars might one day be concluded. Yesterday's vote confirmed that there is an endless war caucus in the House, and it is bipartisan.

The original reporting of the bounty story is questionable for the reasons that Boland has pointed out before, but for the sake of argument let's assume that Russia has been offering bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. When the U.S. keeps its troops at war in a country for almost twenty years, it is setting them up as targets for other governments. Just as the U.S. has armed and supported forces hostile to Russia and its clients in Syria, it should not come as a shock when they do to the same elsewhere. If Russia has been doing this, refusing to withdraw U.S. forces ensures that they will continue to have someone that they can target.

The longer that the U.S. stays at war in Afghanistan, the more incentives other states will have to make that continued presence more costly for the U.S. When the knee-jerk reaction in Washington to news of these bounties is to throw up obstacles to withdrawal, that gives other states another incentive to do more of this.

Because the current state of debate about Russia is so toxic and irrational, our political leaders seem incapable of responding carefully to Russian actions. It doesn't seem to occur to the war hawks that Russia might prefer that the U.S. remains preoccupied and tied down in Afghanistan indefinitely.

Prolonging our involvement in the war amounts to playing into Moscow's hands. For all of their posturing about security and strength, hard-liners routinely support destructive and irrational policies that redound to the advantage of other states. This is still happening with the war in Afghanistan, and if these hard-liners get their way it will continue happening for many years to come.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

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kouroi a day ago

One needs to mention the democratic deficit in the US. All the members voting yes are representatives, they represent the people in their constituencies, and presumably vote for what the majority in those constituencies would want, or past promises.

Any poll shows that Americans would rather have the troops brought back home, thank you very much. But this is not what their representatives are voting for. Talk about democracy!

Fran Macadam a day ago

For elite war profiteers and the politicians they own, the only war that is lost is one that ends. No lives matter.

chris chuba a day ago

And what's the logic, if you make an accusation against someone you don't like it must be true. Okay well then let's drone strike Putin. If you are going to be Exceptional and consistent, Putin did everything Soleimani did so how can Liz Cotton argue for a different punishment?
1. Killed U.S. troops in a war zone, 2. planning attacks on U.S. troops.

The entire Russian military plans for attacks all the time just like ours does but the Neocons have declared that we are the only ones allowed to do that. Verdict, death penalty for Putin.

kouroi chris chuba a day ago

If you have watched Oliver Stone's interview with Putin, it comes through that in fact there were at least three or four attempts to Putin's life...

William Toffan chris chuba 21 hours ago

Death penalty for Putin = Death Penalty for continental USA.

RBH 15 hours ago

So you can get into a war without Congressional approval, but you can't get out of one without Congressional approval. Gotcha.

Lavinia 10 hours ago • edited

Interesting, well reasoned article as usual from Mr. Larison. However, I have to say that I don't see why Russia would want the US in Afghanistan indefinitely. In primis, they have a strategic partnership with China (even though we've got to see how Russia will behave now when there is the India-China rift), and China has been championing the idea of rebuilding the Silk Road (brilliant idea if you ask me) so in this sense it's more reasonable to assume that they might be aiming to get stability in the region rather than keep it in a state of unrest (as to be strategic partners you need to have some kind of common strategy, or at least not a completely different strategy). In 2018 they (Russia) actually were trying to organise a mediation process which would have the Afghan Gvt. and the Talibans discuss before the US would retire the troops, and it was very significative as they managed to get all the parties sitting around a table for the very first time (even the US participated as an observer).

Secondly, Russia also has pretty decent relations with Iran (at least according to Iranian press, which seems to be realistic as Russia is compliant to the JCPOA, is not aggressive towards them, and they're cooperating in the Astana process for a political solution for Syria, for example), and it wouldn't be so if Russia would pursue a policy which would aim to keep the US in the Middle East indefinitely, as Iran's WHOLE point is that they want the US out of the region, so if Russia would be trying to keep the US in the Middle East indefinitely, that would seriously upset Iran.

Thirdly, Russia is one of the founders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which now includes most of the states in Central Asia, China, India and Pakistan. The association never made overt statements about their stance on the US's presence in the region; yet they've been hinting that they don't approve of it, which is reasonable, as it is very likely that those countries would all have different plans for the region, which might include some consideration for human and economic development rather than constant and never-ending militarisation (of course Pakistan would be problematic here, as the funds for the Afghan warlords get channeled through Pakistan, which receives a lot of US money, so I don't know how they're managing this issue).

Last but not least, I cannot logically believe that the Talibans, who've been coherent in their message since the late 70's ("we will fight to the death until the invaders are defeated and out of our national soil") would now need to be "convinced" by the Russians to defeat and chase out the invader. This is just NOT believable at all. Afghanistan is called the Graveyard of Empires for a reason, I would argue.

In any case I am pleased to see that at TAC you have been starting debunking the Russia-narrative, as it is very problematic - most media just systematically misrepresents Russia in order to justify aggressive military action (Europe, specifically Northern Europe, is doing this literally CONSTANTLY, I'm so over it, really). The misrepresentation of Russia as an aggressive wannabe-empire is a cornerstone of the pro-war narrative, so it is imperative to get some actual realism into that.

wynn an hour ago • edited

As if the Afghan freedom fighters need additional incentive to eliminate the invaders? In case Amerikans don't know, Afghans, except those on the US payroll, intensely despise Amerika and its 'godless' ways. Amerikans forces have been sadistic, bombing Afghan weddings, funerals, etc.

Even if the Russians are providing bounties to the Afghans, to take out the invaders, don't the Amerikans remember the 80s when Washington (rightfully) supported the mujahedin with funds, arms, Stinger missiles, etc.? Again, the US is on shaky ground because of the neocons.

Afghanistan is known through the ages to be the graveyard of empires. They have done it on their own shedding blood, sweat, and tears. Also, the Afghan resistance have been principled about Amerikans getting out before making deals.

Blood Alcohol wynn an hour ago

Same argument goes for the Iraqi people.

[Jul 03, 2020] Every American Should Watch Abby Martin's Afghanistan War Exposed- An Imperial Conspiracy

Jun 29, 2020 | www.mintpressnews.com

By MintPress News Desk

T he perpetual occupation of Afghanistan has become so normalized that it mostly serves as background noise to most Americans. It's even jokingly referred to as the "Forever War," accepted as just another constant reality. A soldier dies now and again, a couple of dozen civilians get killed in another bombing. It's never enough to stir the population to pressure Washington enough to stop it. And the endless war drags on.

From George W. Bush to Barack Obama, to Donald Trump, every U.S. president has promised to end the war. But their plans to bring the troops home inevitably require first sending more troops to the country. You can't look at all this rhetoric and reality and not conclude that the United States wants to stay in Afghanistan forever. And there is a reason, despite an unresolvable military quagmire, that the Empire won't let go of Afghanistan.

In this latest "Empire Files" documentary, journalist Abby Martin covers reveals the reality of America's Wars in Afghanistan, from the CIA construct of the 1980s through today's senseless stalemate. MintPress brings you documentary in its entirety, published with permission from filmmaker Abby Martin.

[Jun 28, 2020] SEC Issues Devastating Risk Alert on Private Equity Abuses; Effectively Admits Failure of Last 5+ Years of Enforcement by Yves Smith

Jun 26, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

We've embedded an SEC Risk Alert on private equity abuses at the end of this post. 1 What is remarkable about this document is that it contains a far longer and more detailed list of private abuses than the SEC flagged in its initial round of examinations of private equity firms in 2014 and 2015. Those examinations occurred in parallel with groundbreaking exposes by Gretchen Morgenson at the New York Times and Mark Maremont in the Wall Street Journal. At least some of the SEC enforcement actions in that era look to have been triggered by the press effectively getting ahead of the SEC. And the SEC even admitted the misconduct was more common at the most prominent firms.

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

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

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

The SEC's Abject Failure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The agency is operating in such a cozy manner with private equity firms that as one investor described it:

It's like FBI sitting down with the Mafia to tell them each year, "Don't cross these lines because that's what we are focusing on."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why This Risk Alert Now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______

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

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

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skippy , June 26, 2020 at 4:27 am

Peter Sellers I'll say now – ????

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

vlade , June 26, 2020 at 4:35 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maritimer , June 26, 2020 at 5:04 am

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

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

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

(Can I get my economics degree now?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plus we transcribed his fawning remarks.

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

And he resigned three weeks later.

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

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

Jesper , June 26, 2020 at 6:36 am

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

Is the executive working for the common good or for the interests of big business?
Is the legislature working for the common good or for the interests of big business?
Is the judiciary working for the common good or for the interests of big business?

In my opinion too much power has been centralised, too much of the productivity gains of the past 40 years have been monetised and therefore made possible to hoard and centralise.

SEC should (in my opinion) try to enforce more but without more support then I do not believe (it is my opinion, nothing more and nothing less) that they can accomplish much.

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

The SEC is a mysterious agency which (?) must fall under the jurisdiction of the Treasury because it is a monetary regulatory agency in the business of regulating securities and exchanges. But it has no authority to do much of anything. The Treasury itself falls under the executive administration but as we have recently seen, Mnuchin himself managed to get a nice skim for his banking pals from the money Congress legislated. That's because Congress doesn't know how to effectuate a damn thing – they legislate stuff that morphs before our very eyes and goes to the grifters without a hitch. So why don't we demand that consumer protection be made into hard law with no wiggle room; that since investing is complex in this world of embedded funds and glossy prospectuses, we the consumer should not have to wade through all the nonsense to make decisions – that everything be on the table. And if PE can't manage to do that and still steal its billions then PE should be declared to be flat-out illegal.

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

Please stop spreading disinformation. This is the second time on this post.

The SEC has nada to do with the Treasury. It is an independent regulatory agency.

It however is the only financial regulator that does not keep what it kills (its own fees and fines) but is instead subject to Congressional appropriations. Andrew Levitt, for instance, complained bitterly that Joe Lieberman would regularly threaten to cut the SEC's budget for allegedly being too aggressive about enforcement. Lieberman was the Senator from Hedgistan.

Edward , June 26, 2020 at 7:16 am

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

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

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

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

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

Kouros , June 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm

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

Glen , June 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Can we come up with a better descriptor for "private equity"?

I suggest "billionaire looters".

Olivier , June 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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

flora , June 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

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

flora , June 26, 2020 at 3:19 pm

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

https://www.theregister.com/2020/06/26/olympus_closes_cameras/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/marksparrow/2020/06/25/olympus-exits-the-camera-market-after-three-years-without-a-profit/#1fdef9db5fc6

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

Where is the SEC when Bain Capital (Romney) wipes out Toys-R-Us and Dianne Feinstein's husband Richard Blum wipes out Payless Shoes. They gain control of the companies, pile on massive debt and take the proceeds of the loan, and they know the company cannot service the loan and a BK is around the corner. Thousands lose their jobs. And this is legal? And we also lost Glass-Steagal and legalized stock buy-backs.The Elite are screwing the people. It's Socialism for the Rich, the Politicians and Govt Employees and Feudalism for the rest of us.

[Jun 24, 2020] Russia heavily subsidised Ukrainian energy imports for decades gas and oil; the USA converted Ukraine into a debt slave, sells Ukraine expensive weapons and cornered their energy industry; The level of fleecing Ukraine by the USA after Euromaidan can be compared only with fleecing of Libya.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Russia heavily subsidised Ukrainian energy imports for decades – gas and oil. In a similar fashion, Russia is doing this with Belarus until the present time. Russia is the only possible consumer of what Ukraine used to manufacture – a market that has disappeared. Gas turbines used to be made in Ukraine. Now, this has moved to Russia. Of course, the skilled Ukrainians went to Russia with their know-how. ..."
"... To the best of my knowledge the USSR was the only empire that actually subsidized its colonies – Poland, East Germany, Ukraine etc. Russia is far better off without them. ..."
"... Ukrainian supermarkets are overflowing with French/German/Italian products. European supermarkets are devoid of Ukrainian products. ..."
Jun 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Likbez, June 24, 2020 at 4:02 am GMT

@Mr. Hack

Only a complete and utter incompetent (or a rabid Ukrainian nationalist) can call Ukraine an independent state. It is de-facto a colony of the West. A debt slave.

I applaud the US response of supporting Ukraine's aspirations for a freer, more Western-oriented country and that it continues to support Ukraine's territorial interests over those of Russia's.

This was not about supporting Ukrainian aspirations for a freer, more Western-oriented country. It is about kicking out Russia from Ukrainian markets and plundering Ukraine all by themselves. Mainly by Germany and the USA -- to major players of Euromaydan color revolution. For Germans this is return to "Drang nach Osten" on a new level, on the level of neoliberal neocolonialism.

They used Western nationalists as their fifth column, but Western Ukrainian suffered from the results no less then people in Eastern Ukraine. Many now try to move to Kiev, Kiev region and further East in order to escape poverty and unemployment. Seasonal labor to Russia (mainly builders) diminished rapidly. Train communication now is blocked, and for Western Ukraine only Poland now represents a chance to earn money for the family to survive the winter.

For the USA this is first of all about selling Ukraine expensive weaponry, wasting precious Ukrainian resources on permanent hostility with Russia (with Donbas conflict as a real win to further the USA geopolitical ambitions -- in line with the "Full spectrum dominance" doctrine) , cornering Ukrainian energy market (uranium supplies for power stations, etc.), destruction, or buy-out of a few competing industries other than extracting industries and maquiladoras, getting better conditions for the EU exports and multinationals operating in Ukraine (and initially with plans for re-export products to Russia tax free) and increasing the country debt to "debt slave" level.

In other words this is a powerful kick in a chin by Obama to Putin. Not a knockdown, but very close.

For Ukraine first of all that means rapid accumulation of a huge external debt -- conditions of economic slavery, out of which there is no escape. Ukrainian people paid a very dear price for their Euromaydan illusions. They became mass slave labor in Poland. Prostitutes in Germany. Seasonal picker of fruits in some other EU countries (GB, France). A new European blacks, so to speak.

The level of fleecing Ukraine by the USA after Euromaidan can be compared only with fleecing of Libya. The currency dropped 300%, and 80% Ukrainians now live in abysmal poverty, while neoliberal oligarchs allied with the West continue to plunder the country. Gold reserves were moved to the USA.

If I had to choose between two colonizers, I probably would prefer Russians. They are still colonizers, but they are less ruthless and brutal colonizers.

Alfred , says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2020 at 7:45 am GMT

@likbez If I had to choose between two colonizers, I probably would prefer Russians. They are still colonizers, but they are less ruthless and brutal colonizers.

I agree with 90% of what you wrote, but I would like to correct the above.

Russia heavily subsidised Ukrainian energy imports for decades – gas and oil. In a similar fashion, Russia is doing this with Belarus until the present time. Russia is the only possible consumer of what Ukraine used to manufacture – a market that has disappeared. Gas turbines used to be made in Ukraine. Now, this has moved to Russia. Of course, the skilled Ukrainians went to Russia with their know-how.

To the best of my knowledge the USSR was the only empire that actually subsidized its colonies – Poland, East Germany, Ukraine etc. Russia is far better off without them.

Ukrainian supermarkets are overflowing with French/German/Italian products. European supermarkets are devoid of Ukrainian products.

[Jun 24, 2020] Only a complete and utter incompetent (or a rabid Ukrainian nationalist) can call Ukraine an independent state. It is de-facto a colony of the West. A debt slave

Jun 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

likbez , says: Show Comment June 24, 2020 at 4:02 am GMT

@Mr. Hack Only a complete and utter incompetent (or a rabid Ukrainian nationalist) can call Ukraine an independent state. It is de-facto a colony of the West. A debt slave.

I applaud the US response of supporting Ukraine's aspirations for a freer, more Western-oriented country and that it continues to support Ukraine's territorial interests over those of Russia's.

This was not about supporting Ukrainian aspirations for a freer, more Western-oriented country. It is about kicking out Russia from Ukrainian markets and plundering Ukraine all by themselves. Mainly by Germany and the USA -- to major players of Euromaydan color revolution. For Germans this is return to "Drang nach Osten" on a new level, on the level of neoliberal neocolonialism.

They used Western nationalists as their fifth column, but Western Ukrainian suffered from the results no less then people in Eastern Ukraine. Many now try to move to Kiev, Kiev region and further East in order to escape poverty and unemployment. Seasonal labor to Russia (mainly builders) diminished rapidly. Train communication now is blocked, and for Western Ukraine only Poland now represents a chance to earn money for the family to survive the winter.

For the USA this is first of all about selling Ukraine expensive weaponry, wasting precious Ukrainian resources on permanent hostility with Russia (with Donbas conflict as a real win to further the USA geopolitical ambitions -- in line with the "Full spectrum dominance" doctrine) , cornering Ukrainian energy market (uranium supplies for power stations, etc.), destruction, or buy-out of a few competing industries other than extracting industries and maquiladoras, getting better conditions for the EU exports and multinationals operating in Ukraine (and initially with plans for re-export products to Russia tax free) and increasing the country debt to "debt slave" level.

In other words this is a powerful kick in a chin by Obama to Putin. Not a knockdown, but very close.

For Ukraine first of all that means rapid accumulation of a huge external debt -- conditions of economic slavery, out of which there is no escape. Ukrainian people paid a very dear price for their Euromaydan illusions. They became mass slave labor in Poland. Prostitutes in Germany. Seasonal picker of fruits in some other EU countries (GB, France). A new European blacks, so to speak.

The level of fleecing Ukraine by the USA after Euromaidan can be compared only with fleecing of Libya. The currency dropped 300%, and 80% Ukrainians now live in abysmal poverty, while neoliberal oligarchs allied with the West continue to plunder the country. Gold reserves were moved to the USA.

If I had to choose between two colonizers, I probably would prefer Russians. They are still colonizers, but they are less ruthless and brutal colonizers.

[Jun 08, 2020] Wall Street was founded on slavery and, to this day, it remains a key pillar in upholding racial inequality and economic oppression.

Jun 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jun 7 2020 20:42 utc | 27

Wall Street is a highly influential financial district but its history is rarely talked about. In order to understand the largesse of Wall Street and the system of global capitalism, it is crucial to know Wall Street's history. Wall Street was founded on slavery and, to this day, it remains a key pillar in upholding racial inequality and economic oppression.

https://adamhudson.org/2012/01/28/wall-street-was-founded-on-slavery/

[May 29, 2020] The USA effectively controls world semiconductor industry and this fact will hurt Huaway at least in a short run

May 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The administration also took off the gloves with China over U.S. listings by mainland companies that fail to follow U.S. securities laws. This came after the Commerce Department finally moved to limit access by Huawei Technologies to high-end silicon chips made with U.S. lithography machines. The trade war with China is heating up, but a conflict was inevitable and particularly when it comes to technology.

At the bleeding edge of 7 and 5 nanometer feature size, American tech still rules the world of semiconductors. In 2018, Qualcomm confirmed its next-generation Snapdragon SoC would be built at 7 nm. Huawei has already officially announced its first 7nm chip -- the Kirin 980. But now Huawei is effectively shut out of the best in class of custom-made chips, giving Samsung and Apple a built-in advantage in handsets and network equipment.

It was no secret that Washington allowed Huawei to use loopholes in last year's blacklist rules to continue to buy U.S. sourced chips. Now the door is closed, however, as the major Taiwan foundries led by TSMC will be forced to stop custom production for Huawei, which is basically out of business in about 90 days when its inventory of chips runs out. But even as Huawei spirals down, the White House is declaring financial war on dozens of other listed Chinese firms.

President Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox Business News that forcing Chinese companies to follow U.S. accounting norms would likely push them to list in non-U.S. exchanges. Chinese companies that list their shares in the U.S. have long refused to allow American regulators to inspect their accounting audits, citing direction from their government -- a practice that market authorities here have been unwilling or unable to stop.

The attack by the Trump Administration on shoddy financial disclosure at Chinese firms is long overdue, but comes at a time when the political evolution in China is turning decidedly authoritarian in nature and against any pretense of market-oriented development. The rising power of state companies in China parallels the accumulation of power in the hands of Xi Jinping, who is increasingly seen as a threat to western-oriented business leaders. The trade tensions with Washington provide a perfect foil to crack down on popular unrest in Hong Kong and discipline wayward oligarchs.

The latest moves by Beijing to take full control in Hong Kong are part of the more general retrenchment visible in China. "[P]rivate entrepreneurs are increasingly nervous about their future," writes Henny Sender in the Financial Times . "In many cases, these entrepreneurs have U.S. passports or green cards and both children and property in America. To be paid in U.S. dollars outside China for their companies must look more tempting by the day." A torrent of western oriented Chinese business leaders is exiting before the door is shut completely.

The fact is that China's position in U.S. trade has retreated as nations like Mexico and Vietnam have gained. Mexico is now America's largest trading partner and Vietnam has risen to 11th, reports Qian Wang of Bloomberg News . Meanwhile, China has dropped from 21 percent of U.S. trade in 2018 to just 18 percent last year. A big part of the shift is due to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact, which is expected to accelerate a return of production to North America. Sourcing for everything from autos to semiconductors is expected to rotate away from China in coming years.

China abandoned its decades-old practice of setting a target for annual economic growth , claiming that it was prioritizing goals such as stabilizing employment, alleviating poverty and preventing risks in 2020. Many observers accept the official communist party line that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic made it almost impossible to fix an expansion rate this year, but in fact the lasting effects of the 2008 financial crisis and the aggressive policies of President Trump have rocked China back on its heels.

As China becomes increasingly focused inward and with an eye on public security, the economic situation is likely to deteriorate further. While many observers viewed China's "Belt & Road" initiative as a sign of confidence and strength, in fact it was Beijing's attempt to deal with an economic realignment that followed the 2008 crisis. The arrival of President Trump on the scene further weakened China's already unstable mercantilist economic model, where non-existent internal demand was supposed to make up for falling global trade flows. Or at least this was the plan until COVID-19.

"Before the Covid-19 outbreak, many economists were expecting China to set a GDP growth target of 6% to 6.5% to reflect the gradual slowdown in the pace of expansion over the past few years," reports Caixin Global . "Growth slid to 6.1% in 2019 from 6.7% in 2018. But the devastation caused by the coronavirus epidemic -- which saw the economy contract 6.8% year-on-year in the first quarter -- has thrown those forecasts out of the window."

Out of the window indeed. Instead of presiding over a glorious expansion of the Chinese sphere of influence in Asia, Xi Jinping is instead left to fight a defensive action economically and financially. The prospective end of the special status of Hong Kong is unlikely to have any economic benefits and may actually cause China's problems with massive internal debt and economic malaise to intensify. Beijing's proposed security law would reduce Hong Kong's separate legal status and likely bring an end to the separate currency and business environment.


M Orban 20 hours ago

I honestly don't know if this article is or is not correct... But I wonder...
AmConMag publishes a major anti-China article on most days now. What is happening? What is the mechanics of this... "phenomenon"?
chris chuba M Orban 12 hours ago
For any of their flaws AmConMag was a sweet spot.

A place where where Americans opposed to U.S. hegemony because it's harm on everyone without being overwhelmed by the Neocon acolytes where can we go, anyone ever try to get a word in on foxnews ?

If you try to reach out to twitter on Tom Cotton or Mike Waltz dismisses you as a 'Chinese govt / Iranian / Russian bot'

You know what, God will judge us and we will all be equal in he eyes of Him
Why should I be afraid. Why should I be silent. And thank you TAC for the opportunity to post.

M Orban chris chuba 6 hours ago
I too came here for interesting commentary, - and even better comments... five years ago or so?
I found the original articles mostly okay, often too verbose, meandering for my taste but the different point of view made them worthwhile. The readers' comments, now that is priceless. That brings the real value. That's where we learn. That's where I learn, anyway. :)
It never occurred to me to message to any politician, I think my voice would be lost in the cacophony.
The target of my curiosity is that when all these articles start to point in one direction (like belligerence toward China) how does it happen? Is there a chain of command? It seems coordinated.
MPC M Orban 2 hours ago • edited
It's possible to be anti-neocon, for their being too ideological, and not pacifist. That is basically my position.

I agree with most here on Russia and Iran. They are not threats, and in specific cases should be partners instead. Agree on American imperialism being foolish and often evil. I believe in a multipolar world as a practical matter. I don't take a soft view of China however. I believe they do intend to replace nefarious American hegemony with their own relevant, but equally nefarious, flavor of hegemony. There are few countries in the world with such a pathological distrust of their own people. I truly believe that country is a threat that needs to be checked at least for a couple of decades by the rest of the world.

As to the editorial direction, I think it is merely capitalism. China's perception in the world is extremely bad lately. I would fully expect the always somewhat Russophile environment here to seize the moment to say 'see! Russia is not a true threat! It's China!' RT itself soon after Trump's election I recall posted an article complaining about total disregard for Chinese election meddling.

Barry_II M Orban 7 hours ago
You can see when the people holding the leash give a tug on the collar. And it's clear that the GOP is feeling the need for a warlike political environment.

The most blatant presstitution example, of course, was the National Review, going from 'Never Trump' to full time servicing.

M Orban Barry_II 6 hours ago
In case of AmConMag, who is holding the leash?

[May 26, 2020] Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI

May 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 26 2020 17:41 utc | 1

The New York Times has a 4,000 words long piece about the war on Afghanistan. It tries to explain why the Taliban won the war.

How the Taliban Outlasted a Superpower: Tenacity and Carnage

It is also a remarkable attempt to ignore the factual history:

[The Taliban] have outlasted a superpower through nearly 19 years of grinding war. And dozens of interviews with Taliban officials and fighters in three countries, as well as with Afghan and Western officials, illuminated the melding of old and new approaches and generations that helped them do it.

After 2001, the Taliban reorganized as a decentralized network of fighters and low-level commanders empowered to recruit and find resources locally while the senior leadership remained sheltered in neighboring Pakistan.

That is simply wrong. Between the end of 2001 and 2007 there were no Taliban. The movement had dissolved.

The author later acknowledges that there were no Taliban activity throughout those years. But the narrative is again skewed:

Many Taliban commanders interviewed for this article said that in the initial months after the invasion, they could scarcely even dream of a day they might be able to fight off the U.S. military. But that changed once their leadership regrouped in safe havens provided by Pakistan's military -- even as the Pakistanis were receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in American aid.

From that safety, the Taliban planned a longer war of attrition against U.S. and NATO troops. Starting with more serious territorial assaults in 2007, the insurgents revived and refined an old blueprint the United States had funded against the Soviets in the same mountains and terrain -- but now it was deployed against the American military.

Even before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan the Taliban had recognized that they lacked the capability to run a country. They had managed to make Afghanistan somewhat secure. The warlords who had fought each other after the Soviet draw down were suppressed and the streets were again safe. But there was no development, no real education or health system and no money to create them.

When the U.S. invaded the Taliban dispersed. On December 5 2001 Taliban leader Mullah Omar resigned and went into hiding within Afghanistan. For one day the Taliban defense minister Mullah Obaidullah became the new leader. From the The Secret Life of Mullah Omar by Bette Dam:

The next day, Mullah Obaidullah drove up north to Kandahar's Shah Wali Kot district to meet with Karzai and his supporters. In what has become known as the "Shah Wali Kot Agreement", Mullah Obaidullah and the Taliban agreed to lay down their arms and retire to their homes or join the government. The movement effectively disbanded itself. Karzai agreed, and in a media appearance the next day, he announced that while al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were the enemies of Afghanistan, the Taliban were sons of the soil and would effectively receive amnesty. For the moment, the war was over.

The Taliban fighters went back to their home villages and families. Most stayed in Afghanistan. Some of the leaders and elder members went back to the tribal regions of Pakistan where their families had been living as refugees since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

The Taliban did not plan a longer war of attrition - at least not between 2001 and 2006. The movement had simply ended to exist.

The big question is then why it came back but the New York Times has little to say about that:

From the start, the insurgents seized on the corruption and abuses of the Afghan government put in place by the United States, and cast themselves as arbiters of justice and Afghan tradition -- a powerful part of their continued appeal with many rural Afghans in particular. With the United States mostly distracted with the war in Iraq, the insurgency widened its ambitions and territory.

No, the 'corruption and abuses of the Afghan government' were not the reason the Taliban were reestablished. It were the abuses of the U.S. occupation that recreated them. The publicly announced amnesty Karzai and Mullah Obaidullah had agreed upon, was ignored by the U.S. commanders and politicians.

The CIA captured random Afghans as 'Taliban' and brutally tortured them - some to death. U.S. Special Forces randomly raided private homes and bombed whole villages to rubble. The brutal warlords, which the Taliban had suppressed, were put back into power. When they wanted to grab a piece of land they told their U.S. handlers that the owner was a 'Taliban'. The U.S. troops would then removed that person one way or the other. The behavior of the occupiers was an affront to every Afghan.

By 2007 Mullah Omar and his helper Jabbar Omari were hiding in Siuray, a district around twenty miles southeast of Qalat. A large U.S. base was nearby. Bette Dam writes of the people's mood:

As the population turned against the government due to its corruption and American atrocities, they began to offer food and clothing to the house-hold for Jabbar Omari and his mysterious friend.

It was the absurd stupidity and brutality with which the U.S. occupied the country that gave Afghans the motive to again fight against an occupier or at least to support such a fight.

At the same time the Pakistani military had come to fear a permanent U.S. presence in its backyard. It connected the retired Taliban elders with its sponsors in the Gulf region and organized the logistics for a new insurgency. The Taliban movement was reestablished with new leadership but under the old name.

The old tribal command networks where again activates and the ranks were filled with newly disgruntled Afghans. From that point on it was only a question of time until the U.S. would have to leave just like the Soviets and Brits had to do before them.

By December 2001 the war against the Taliban had ended. During the following five years the U.S. fought against an imaginary enemy that no longer existed. It was this war on the wider population that by 2007 created a new insurgency that adopted the old name.

A piece that claims to explain why the Taliban have won the war but ignores the crucial period between 2001 and 2007 misses the most important point that made the Taliban victory possible.

The will of the Afghan people to liberate their country from a foreign occupation. Thanks b for doing a good job in restating the record. IMO, the Outlaw US Empire followed the same MO as it did in Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines well before them all, all of which were based on the White Supremacist Settler credo underlying the culture of the US military that was just called out--again-- in this very powerful NY Times Editorial , and Iraq was no different either. The contrast between the Editorial Board and its Newsroom writers is quite stark when their products are compared--one lies about recent history while the other attempts to educate more fully about the very sordid past of the most revered federal government institution.


Don Bacon , May 26 2020 18:03 utc | 3

Bombing civilians is recruiting more enemies. Also, in this mistaken adventure the US has been stupidly allied with and funding the neighboring country (Pakistan) which is supporting the people (Taliban) who are killing Americans.

General McChrystal's Report to President Obama, Aug 30, 2009:

'Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. . .and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI [Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence ]. . . .Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India." . . .Simply put, Pakistan didn't want to be in an Indian sandwich with its mortal enemy on two sides.

President Obama was then in the process of more than tripling the US military strength in Afghanistan, sending 70,000 more troops to that graveyard of empires (UK, Russia). Three months later, December 1, 2009 at West Point, Obama gave a rah-rah speech to cadets including: . . ."Third, we will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan."

LuBa , May 26 2020 19:56 utc | 6
This article wants on purpose link taliban to Pakistan..there is no connection between Talibans and yanks backed Pakistani militias..and there is no pakistani talibans..they want to hide the truth confusing the people but the truth is that the violent and illegal occupation of Afghanistan created a strong resistance in an already strong population.The puppet-method didn't work there and this article is the last (I hope) attempt to give a false narrative of the events.18 years of war for nothing..what the empire has gained from this war?nothing.
arby , May 26 2020 20:03 utc | 7
LuBa--
"what the empire has gained from this war?nothing"

Hmmm, not sure about that. First of all it has kept Russia out of Afghanistan, and somewhere I read that Afghanistan is very central to controlling Eurasia.

I'm pretty sure that attacking Afghanistan was planned before 911 as well, so there must be some reason for that.

Jen , May 26 2020 20:18 utc | 8
The writer of that NYT piece, Mujib Mashal, studied history (presumably the history of Afghanistan and western and southern Asia) at Columbia University - O'Bomber's alma mater, I believe - and in-between working as an NYT intern in Kabul and his current senior correspondent role, worked for a time with Al Jazeera in Doha. One wonders how much effort Mashal and other NYT writers with similar backgrounds put into reordering reality to fit whatever fairy-tale narratives they were taught at Columbia University.

The underlying aim in MM's hit-piece must surely be to set up Pakistan as a target for criticism. Some sort of narrative arc leading to removing Imran Khan as Prime Minister there can't be too far away.

uncle tungsten , May 26 2020 21:02 utc | 10
Michael Hastings was a real journalist. His demolition of McChrystal the goof US war criminal should be read again and again. Vale brave journalist.
vato , May 26 2020 21:44 utc | 13
Soviet invasion? The Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty signed in December 1978 permitted - inter alia - military assistance and advice to the Afghani government if requested. Saying the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan is like saying Russia invaded Syria.
Sakineh Bagoom , May 26 2020 21:46 utc | 14
Opium production is now seven-fold since the arrival of the empire. It is afflicting Afghanistan and neighboring countries with addiction all the while paying for CIA operations.
Mission Accomplished.

Let's not forget the MOAB, we are told was detonated over -- caves?

cirsium , May 26 2020 22:01 utc | 15
@LuBa, May 26
what the empire has gained from this war?nothing.

Millions of dollars earned off-the-books from drug trafficking plus enough product to carry out narco-aggression against Iran, Russia, China and the 'stans is nothing?

bevin , May 26 2020 22:03 utc | 16
Superb.
The relationship with Pakistan has two aspects : the borders between the countries, imposed by the British, make no sense, dividing the Pashtun people artificially. The second is that the US has long used Pakistan as a pawn in the region. This goes back to the foundation of the country in 1948 and malign US influence in Pakistan has been the major factor in the country's problems. It is a reminder that there are no known limits to the hypocrisy of the people running the USA that the links between the Taliban, nurtured under US sponsorship in Pakistan which was used as a secure base beyond Kabul's writ, and Pakistan are attributed to Pakistan's initiative.
Another matter which one supposes that the New York Times neglected to mention is that under US sponsorship since 2001 the Heroin industry, reduced almost to nothing by the Taliban government has ballooned into the proportions we have grown to expect where US influence is established. Besides the corpses of those bombed, tortured and shot to death by the imperialist armies there are millions of victims of the drug trades, ranging from those killed by death squads in the producing countries, and those in, for example Colombia and Honduras, victimised by narco governments to the millions of addicts around the world.
Part of the truth of Afghanistan is that the US and its allies have been protecting the criminal narcotics trade in order to employ its profits for their own evil purposes.
Gerhard , May 26 2020 22:12 utc | 17
Hello!

Please allow to add to b 's very good overview another subject: drug planting, producing and dealing in Afghanistan. The Taliban first were against drugs (religious reasons), but when they saw that the people were exhausted by the Americans and their corrupt Afghan friends, and had no more income, they allowed the farmers to plant opium poppy for the EXPORT. Soon they also realized the profits for themselves (to change into weapons). And so it happened that Afghanistan became a major producer for the world market. It's an open question (at least for me) how much international networks with connections to US-people and US-institutions (like CIA) are involved in this drug dealing business originating in Afghanistan.

arby | 7 wrote:

I'm pretty sure that attacking Afghanistan was planned before 911 as well, so there must be some reason for that.

Interesting question (more see below)! A few days ago I made some research to a parallel problem: was "homeland security" also in the development before 9/11? Parallel to the war against Afghanistan another war was started: against the American people. Under the roof of 'Homeland Security' in the interior; parallel zu 'National Security' as a topic in foreign politics. Bush jun. appointed Tom Ridge within 28 days, did they have some plans before? I found some remarks in Edward LIPTON's book, Homeland Security Office (2002), indicating plannings as early as Dec. 2000 and Jan. 2001. Please also remember that there were anthrax mailings parallel to 9/11. Please remember that Homeland Security Act has some paragraphs about defense against bioweapon attacks and has some paragraphs about vaccine, too. Please remember that early plannings of homeland security had also controlling american people with the help of lockdowns. That trail was followed during the next years in 'hidden' further plannings as You may find them here:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article209776.html

https://www.voltairenet.org/article209808.html

And that all now will be further developed into future as outlined here:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article210000.html

Next interesting question: when did THEY begin to focus on the twin towers? WTC area was public property and administration. Very profitable. Then SIVLERSTEIN bought the WTC7 ground and started to built and rented it, among others, to CIA. And then THEY were looking just out of the window to see the twin towers. And then these very pofitable buildings were privatized - why? And they were insured. That privatization was a very dramatic poker which was won by SILVERSTEIN, too. Why? Some 'renovation' had to be done of course when SILVERSTEIN took over the property. I remember that companies included were overseen by one of the Bush sons (Jebb?), and so on ...

Back to the questions about planning of War against Afghanistan. There should be documents available (foreign policy planning & military planning) because the background primarily was (according to my estimation) geopolitical. But there is a greater framework within which the war against terrorism has to be seen. On the day after 9/11 a document was published for the first time which had been collected under Bush Sen. in the 1980s: 'Report of the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism'. It says that terrorism follows overpopulation in undeveloped countries. So we are here within the idea of depopulation, and realizing that we can look on the Bill & Melinda Gates' Charitable Works as a far more human version. For further reading three LINKs are given below.

Concluding, I would like to say: unterstanding and commenting the past doesn't help much. THEY are acting and THEY are planning, day by day. Things only will change if 'we' are planning and acting, too. And if 'we' want a better world our instruments must be better than THEIRs.

Kind regards, Gerhard (Germany)


Regarding DEPOPULATION:

https://www.population-security.org (look also into INTRO)

https://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/book-review-empty-planet-explores-the-world-s-next-biggest-population-threat-1.848236 (opposite perspective but the same thinking; pure academic stuff)
~~~~~~~
The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies (hrsg. von Donald Bloxham, A. Dirk Moses)

karlof1 , May 26 2020 22:26 utc | 18
Et Tu @12--

The New York Times occasionally publishes something worthy of reading. One such item I linked to @ 1 above.

DeQuincey , May 27 2020 0:57 utc | 21
vato 13 wrote
Soviet invasion? The Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty signed in December 1978 permitted - inter alia - military assistance and advice to the Afghani government if requested. Saying the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan is like saying Russia invaded Syria.

Treaty of friendship, good-neighbourliness and co operation. Signed at Moscow on 5 December 1978

b fix the error in your report please.

Richard Steven Hack , May 27 2020 1:34 utc | 22
Posted by: arby | May 26 2020 20:03 utc | 7 I'm pretty sure that attacking Afghanistan was planned before 911 as well, so there must be some reason for that.

It's called 1) oil pipeline, and 2) heroin for the CIA to finance their "black black" operations. That's not a typo: there are "black budget" operations not identified in the Federal budget - and "black black" operations that are financed outside the Federal budget. No one knows how much that is.

The "official" Black Budget operations are described in a Harvard University document as:


On March 18, 2019 the Office the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), announced its request for the largest sum ever, $62.8 billion, for funding U.S. intelligence operations in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.1This request spans the classified funding from more than a dozen agencies that make up the National Intelligence Program (NIP).2 The U.S. Government spends these funds on data collection, counterintelligence, and covert action.3 The DNI also requested $21.2 billion for FY 2019 for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) devoted to intelligence activity in support of U.S. military operations.4 For FY2020, it is likely to request a similar figure, for a total estimated request of approximately $85 billion for the "Black Budget," t he U.S. Government's secret military and intelligence expenditures.

Interesting article here that shows how some of this has been done in Asia, Saudi Arabia, Central America, etc.

CIA Funding: Never Constrained by its Congressional Budget
https://whowhatwhy.org/2014/12/12/cia-funding-never-constrained-congressional-budget/

And from The Intercept - another clear example:

The U.S. Quietly Released Afghanistan's "Biggest Drug Kingpin" From Prison. Did He Cut a Deal?
https://theintercept.com/2018/05/01/haji-juma-khan-afghanistan-drug-trafficking-cia-dea/


Before his arrest, the alleged drug trafficker worked with the CIA and the DEA, received payments from the government, and, at one point, visited Washington and New York on the DEA's dime. ,/BLOCKQUOTE

From the Federation of American Scientists:

A Tangled Web: A History of CIA Complicity in Drug International Trafficking
https://fas.org/irp/congress/1998_cr/980507-l.htm

[May 26, 2020] Michael Hudson Debt, Liberty and "Acts of God"

May 26, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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Fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power Recent Items Michael Hudson: Debt, Liberty and "Acts of God" Posted on May 26, 2020 by Yves Smith Yves here. Michael Hudson recaps the logic of debt jubilees and other forms of debt relief, as practiced in ancient times, when borrowers through circumstances outside their control were unable to make good. Monarchs recognized the danger of letting creditors create a permanent underclass.

This is a short, high-level treatment and makes for an easy-to-digest introduction to Hudson's research and ideas.

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

Western civilization distinguishes itself from its predecessors in the way it has responded to "acts of God" disrupting the means of support and leaving debts in their wake.

The great question always has been who will lose under such conditions. Will it be debtors and renters at the bottom of the economic scale, or creditors and landlords at the top? This age-old confrontation between creditors and debtors, landlords and tenants over how to deal with the unpaid debts and back rents is at the economic heart of today's 2020 coronavirus pandemic that has left large and small businesses, farms, restaurants and neighborhood stores – along with their employees who have been laid off – unable to pay the rents, mortgages, other debt service and taxes that have accrued.

For thousands of years ancient economies operated on credit during the crop year, with payment falling due when the harvest was in – typically on the threshing floor. Normally this cycle provided a flow of crops and corvée labor to the palace and covered the cultivator's spending during the crop year, with interest owed only when payment was late. But bad harvests, military conflict or simply the normal hardships of life occasionally prevented this buildup of debt from being paid, threatening citizens with bondage to their creditors or loss of their land rights.

Mesopotamian palaces had to decide who would bear the loss when drought, flooding, infestation, disease or military attack disrupted economic activity and prevented the settlement of debts, rents and taxes. Recognizing that this was an unavoidable fact of life, rulers proclaimed amnesties for taxes and the various debts that were incurred during the crop year. These acts saved smallholders from having to work off their debts by personal bondage and ultimately to lose their land.

Classical antiquity, and indeed subsequent Western civilization, rejected such Clean Slates to restore social balance. Since Roman times it has become normal for creditors to use social misfortune as an opportunity to gain property and income at the expense of families falling into debt. In the absence of kings or democratic civic regimes protecting debtor rights and liberty, pro-creditor laws obliged debtors to lose their land or other means of livelihood to foreclosing creditors, sell it under distress conditions and fall into bondage to work off their debts, becoming clients or quasi-serfs to their creditors without hope of recovering their former free status.

Giving priority to creditor claims leads to widespread bankruptcy. At first glance, it seems to violate our society's ideas of fairness and distributive justice to insist on payment of debt and rent arrears, threatening to evict debtors from their homes and forfeit whatever property they have if they cannot pay the rent arrears and other charges without revenue having come in. Bankruptcy proceedings would force businesses and farms to forfeit what they have invested. It also would force U.S. cities and states to cope with plunging sales- and income-tax revenue by slashing social services and depleting their pension funds savings to pay bondholders.

But the West's pro-creditor legal and financial philosophy has long blocked debt relief to renters, mortgagees and other debtors. Banks, landlords and insurance companies insist that writing down of debts and rents owed to them by wage-earners and small business is unthinkable. So something has to give: either the broad economic interest of most of the population, or the interest of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector. Banks claim that non-payment of rent would cause debt defaults and wipe out bank capital. Insurance companies claim that to make their policy holders whole would bankrupt them. So the insurance companies, banks, landlords and bondholders insist that labor, industry and the government bear the cost of arrears that have built up during the economic slowdown, not themselves.[1]

Yet for thousands of years Near Eastern rulers restored viability for their economies by writing down debts in emergencies, and more or less regularly to relieve the normal creeping backlog of debts. These Clean Slates extended from Bronze Age Sumer and Babylonia in the 3 rd millennium BC down to classical antiquity through the Near East, including the neo-Assyrian, neo-Babylonian and Persian Empires.

Near Eastern Protection of Economic Resilience in the Face of Acts of God

For the palatial economies of Mesopotamia and its neighbors, resilience meant stabilization of fiscal revenue. Letting private creditors (often officials in the palace's own bureaucracy) demand payment out of future production threatened to deprive rulers of crop surpluses and other taxes, and corvée labor or even service in the military. Individual creditors looked to their own advantage, not that of the overall economy.

To preserve the flow of rents, taxes and basic corvée labor duties and service in the military, Near Eastern rulers proclaimed Clean Slates that wiped out personal and agrarian debts. That restored normal economic relations – an idealized status quo ante – by rolling back the consequence of debts – bondage to creditors, and loss of land and its crop yield. From the palace's point of view as tax collector and seller of many key goods and services, the alternative would have been for debtors to owe their crops, labor and even liberty to their creditors, not to the palace. So cancelling debts to restore normalcy was simply pragmatic, not utopian idealism as was once thought.

The pedigree for "act-of-God" rules specifying what obligations need not be paid when serious disruptions occur goes back to the laws of Hammurabi c. 1750 BC. Their aim was to restore economic normalcy after major disruptions. §48 of Hammurabi's laws proclaim a debt and tax amnesty for cultivators if Adad the Storm God has flooded their fields, or if their crops fail as a result of pests or drought. Crops owed as rent or fiscal payments were freed from having to be paid. So were consumer debts run up during the crop year, including tabs at the local ale house and advances or loans from individual creditors. The ale woman likewise was freed from having to pay for the ale she had received from palace or temples for sale during the crop year.

Whoever leased an animal that died by an act of God was freed from liability to its owner (§266). A typical such amnesty occurred if the lamb, ox or ass was eaten by a lion, or if an epidemic broke out. Likewise, traveling merchants who were robbed while on commercial business were cleared of liability if they swore an oath that they were not responsible for the loss (§103).

It was realized that hardship was so inevitable that debts tended to accrue even under normal conditions. Every ruler of Hammurabi's dynasty proclaimed a Clean Slate cancelling personal agrarian debts (but not normal commercial business loans) upon taking the throne, and when military or other disruptions occurred during their reign. Hammurabi did this on four occasions.[2]

In an epoch when labor was the scarcest resource, a precondition for survival was to prevent rising indebtedness from enabling creditors to use debt leverage to obtain the labor of debtors and appropriate their land. Early communities could not afford to let bondage become chronic, or creditors to become a wealthy class rivaling the power of palace rulers and seeking gains by impoverishing their debtors.

Yet that is precisely what is occurring as today's economy polarizes between creditors and debtors.

_______

[1] Lawsuits are exploding over the role of insurance companies supposed to protect business from such interruptions. See Julia Jacobs, "Arts Groups Fight Their Insurers Over Coverage on Virus Losses," The New York Times , May 6, 2020, reports that "insurance companies have issued a torrent of denials, prompting lawsuits across the country and legislative efforts on the state and federal levels to force insurers to make payments. The insurance industry has argued that fulfilling all of these requests would bankrupt the industry."

[2]I provide a detailed history of Clean Slate acts from the Bronze Age down through Biblical times and the Byzantine Empire in " and forgive them their debts" (ISLET 2018).


Fresh Cream , May 26, 2020 at 5:58 am

This is a case of the law of the jungle-the strong eat the weak- vs the law of civilization-the strong protect the weak.

Astrid , May 26, 2020 at 6:00 am

The historical overlook ignores the function of bankruptcy to create the clean slate. Sure, a few sentences are thrown in, but somehow completely overlooks entire types of bankruptcy that allow corporate and individual restructuring to occur and preserve underlying value.

The whole debt jubilee ideas is just so unfair. Access to debt is by and large a privileged position in the modern world. The rich have access to huge amount of capital at minimal cost while the poor have to pay outrageous rates to buy a used car or pay for an emergency. To wipe the slate clean is overwhelmingly beneficial to the rich and connected, while the poor remains renters stuck in wage slavery. And the aftermath of a general debt jubilee means the poor will have even greater difficulty with accessing credit to buy housing, durable goods, and things that allow them to build wealth.

There's already a much better solution that actually stimulates the economy and redistributes wealth. Just give every natural person the same amount of money until the economy gets to where it needs to be. It can also be channeled through building public goods like free college education and universal free healthcare and public housing. For everything else, just let bankruptcies happen and clean out natural and unnatural persons addicted to debt. Then the natural person get their fresh start and the unnatural corporate persons can die a well deserved death.

Merf56 , May 26, 2020 at 6:59 am

You must be joking re bankruptcy.
And you completely misunderstand what Hudson is talking about for our modern day 'Little people' debt issues. I suggest a far more thorough reading of Hudson.

rob , May 26, 2020 at 7:56 am

"why do people say," you ought to go read what the author REALLY means".. as opposed to looking at what was said?
I think what Astrid says is completely valid.
What about what was said ,doesn't reflect reality?
There is unequal treatment and how much money /credit you have completely changes "what you can get away with".
Poor people don't go bankrupt they get evicted they go homeless.. their cars are repossessed. They don't have the money for a lawyer to file bankruptcy papers..
Donald trump "goes bankrupt".. and comes out smiling on the other side

anon19 , May 26, 2020 at 7:12 am

Just give every natural person the same amount of money until the economy gets to where it needs to be. Astrid

Yes, Steve Keen's solution. But also, all government privileges for private credit creation should be abolished to eliminate perverse incentives to go into debt, which include the punishment of legitimate* saving.

Also, an ongoing Citizen's Dividend, to replace all fiat creation for private interests, is a way, in addition to saving, for all citizens to build equity for rainy days such as these.

*as opposed to excess saving, i.e. fiat hoarding.

TomDority , May 26, 2020 at 7:55 am

'Just give every natural person the same amount of money until the economy gets to where it needs to be'
Astrid – a basic income has been discussed but, due to the structures in our tax system and in the operation of the so called 'Free Market' (a complete inversion of it's original meaning) -- I would think that income would immediately be taken away by the fire sector interests and be used to balloon up asset prices.
The fact that the cost of living – food, rent, housing has gone up is not really a natural market force – (there is no natural market force or some magical invisible hand or some as yet undetermined phenomena to be discovered) – because the market is man made.
In my view, the heaping on of debt fueled speculation combined with corruption's many companions – co-joined political capture and tax favored status is driving the fundamental asset inflation which is making everything so damned expensive – everything that used to make living and doing business less expensive has been captured by creditors and their co-joined cohorts.
Below is a comment from the mid 1920's – don't know who wrote it

In spite of the ingenious methods devised by statesmen and financiers to get more revenue from large fortunes, and regardless of whether the maximum sur tax remains at 25% or is raised or lowered, it is still true that it would be better to stop the speculative incomes at the source, rather than attempt to recover them after they have passed into the hands of profiteers.
If a man earns his income by producing wealth nothing should be done to hamper him. For has he not given employment to labor, and has he not produced goods for our consumption? To cripple or burden such a man means that he is necessarily forced to employ fewer men, and to make less goods, which tends to decrease wages, unemployment, and increased cost of living.
If, however, a man's income is not made in producing wealth and employing labor, but is due to speculation, the case is altogether different. The speculator as a speculator, whether his holdings be mineral lands, forests, power sites, agricultural lands, or city lots, employs no labor and produces no wealth. He adds nothing to the riches of the country, but merely takes toll from those who do employ labor and produce wealth.
If part of the speculator's income – no matter how large a part – be taken in taxation, it will not decrease employment or lessen the production of wealth. Whereas, if the producer's income be taxed it will tend to limit employment and stop the production of wealth.
Our lawmakers will do well, therefore, to pay less attention to the rate on incomes, and more to the source from whence they are drawn.

rob , May 26, 2020 at 8:04 am

How to give everyone "some money"

First pass"the need act"
https://www.congress.gov/bill/112-thcongress/house-bill/2990/text
Then, as the US gov't would be able to create money debt free .
They could distribute the money to Everyone . and not just wall street to get that money into circulation . and drive the economy .. not too much not too little.

The an idea like the one of digital greenbacks..
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rhockett/2020/05/17/digital-greenbacks/#12f6140d3b88

The Historian , May 26, 2020 at 9:28 am

I think you are missing who Hudson said the "clean slates" were for. They were not for the big creditors and rentiers, rather they were for the farmers and average people who had suffered some loss that made them unable to provide their payments to their creditors and rentiers. It would be as if today, those people who cannot work because of Covid-19 were forgiven their debts, so that when this pandemic was over, they could start out fresh. That would be so much more a help to Main Street's economy than just giving money to the top corporations.

I'm not against your ideas about free education and universal healthcare and I doubt Hudson is against those either, but there is much more to the economy that just education and healthcare – things like food production and the manufacturing of necessary items, and Hudson is looking at what has worked historically.

anon21 , May 26, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Hudson's plan does nothing for non-rich, non-debtors whom the current banking model has also cheated.

So a traditional debt jubilee is unfair under the current system.

Steve Keen's a Modern Debt Jubilee does not have that problem though it should be combined with a moratorium on rent increases.

The Historian , May 26, 2020 at 4:07 pm

Ah, Americans! "If there is nothing in it for me, then I'm against it!"

Haven't we had enough of that kind of thinking? Is someone else getting a break from their debt REALLY going to hurt the rest of Americans? In fact, if it makes American's Main Street economy stronger, doesn't that actually help all Americans? I hear that kind of thinking all the time when I talk about forgiving student debt – as though somehow that debt is coming out of THEIR pockets when it is not.

Too many Americans sound like temporarily distressed billionaires in their attitudes (it's all about ME) instead of people who want all Americans to succeed.

anon22 , May 26, 2020 at 6:57 pm

Justice is justice and Hudson's plan would do nothing for rent slaves while giving houses to those who used what is, in essence, the public's credit but for private gain to buy them.

Also, rent slaves tend to be poorer than those who "own" their own homes so Hudson's plan is a form of welfare for the richer rather than a promotion of the general welfare.

In fact, if it makes American's Main Street economy stronger, doesn't that actually help all Americans? The Historian

Our focus should be on citizens, i.e. people, not businesses since justice for people is what ultimately matters. What you are promoting is Main Street trickle-down.

JEHR , May 26, 2020 at 2:10 pm

Astrid, please re-read Hudson's article. He has been studying this subject for years and knows what he is talking about. He deserves a closer read than what you gave him!

jsn , May 26, 2020 at 2:48 pm

"Access to debt is by and large a privileged position in the modern world." While this statement is narrowly true, in the US it isn't. Subprime debt, debt laddled onto those least able to pay it, was behind the largest financial collapse in US history (so far) just 12 years ago.

"To wipe the slate clean is overwhelmingly beneficial to the rich and connected, while the poor remains renters stuck in wage slavery." In a rentier economy, to eliminate the debts would be to eliminate income streams for the rich and connected, Jerome Powell and Josh Hawley are already worried about what it means to not bail out the poor. The Democrats can't hear this from the left, maybe when it becomes Republican policy they will like it, that's typically how they roll.

"And the aftermath of a general debt jubilee means the poor will have even greater difficulty with accessing credit to buy housing, durable goods, and things that allow them to build wealth." This is a studiously complete missreading of the point of the article: centralized State action to relieve debtors of financial burdens and social stigma, to restore their freedom because their freedom is the strength of the State or civilization.

Finally, read the article, a few paragraphs, yes they include a few sentences too:

"Giving priority to creditor claims leads to widespread bankruptcy. At first glance, it seems to violate our society's ideas of fairness and distributive justice to insist on payment of debt and rent arrears, threatening to evict debtors from their homes and forfeit whatever property they have if they cannot pay the rent arrears and other charges without revenue having come in. Bankruptcy proceedings would force businesses and farms to forfeit what they have invested. It also would force U.S. cities and states to cope with plunging sales- and income-tax revenue by slashing social services and depleting their pension funds savings to pay bondholders.

But the West's pro-creditor legal and financial philosophy has long blocked debt relief to renters, mortgagees and other debtors. Banks, landlords and insurance companies insist that writing down of debts and rents owed to them by wage-earners and small business is unthinkable. So something has to give: either the broad economic interest of most of the population, or the interest of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector. Banks claim that non-payment of rent would cause debt defaults and wipe out bank capital. Insurance companies claim that to make their policy holders whole would bankrupt them. So the insurance companies, banks, landlords and bondholders insist that labor, industry and the government bear the cost of arrears that have built up during the economic slowdown, not themselves."

Steve H. , May 26, 2020 at 8:17 am

Depressions are how we harvest the wealth accumulated by the lower classes.

rick shapiro , May 26, 2020 at 8:43 am

And iuris romana led directly to the serfdom and prolonged depression of the "dark ages", as the church spread roman law throughout Europe. If Hayak had bothered to study history he would have found that the "road to serfdom" is (to borrow a locution from one of Hayak's acolytes) always and everywhere a result of extreme laissez faire, particularly heritable debts. For modern incarnations of serfdom, look at India, Pakistan and Mali.

Norm , May 26, 2020 at 9:56 am

Dr. Hudson spends much time in China. It would be interesting if he were to comment upon how debt and default were handled in China during its many different dynasties. For example, how did ancient Chinese policies compare with those of the ancient Middle East?

deplorado , May 26, 2020 at 2:49 pm

+ 1!

RBHoughton , May 26, 2020 at 7:02 pm

Yes, that should tie him up for several lifetimes and ensure he does not assemble a following in the world today. We can't have these loose cannon revealing a way out of unfairness and inequality, eh?

Sound of the Suburbs , May 26, 2020 at 10:01 am

Debt looks like the solution to every problem when you use an economics that doesn't consider debt.

The economics of globalisation has always had an Achilles' heel.
In the US, the 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.
Not considering private debt is the Achilles' heel of neoclassical economics.

In 2008 the Queen visited the revered economists of the LSE and said "If these things were so large, how come everyone missed it?"
It's that neoclassical economics they use Ma'am, it doesn't consider debt.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6
At 18 mins.
It wasn't even hard.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 26, 2020 at 10:02 am

The neoliberal ideology was just a wrapper, hiding the dodgy, old 1920s neoclassical economics lurking underneath.
The international elite swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

Neoclassical economics, probably the worst economics in the world.
(I bet they drink Karlsburg. – UK joke)

The economics of globalisation has always had an Achilles' heel.
In the US, the 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.
Not considering private debt is the Achilles' heel of neoclassical economics.

Policymakers run the economy on debt until they get a financial crisis.

At 25.30 mins you can see the super imposed private debt-to-GDP ratios.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6
Policymakers run the economy on debt until they get a financial crisis.
1929 – US
1991 – Japan
2008 – US, UK and Euro-zone
The PBoC saw the Chinese Minsky Moment coming and you can too by looking at the chart above.

Susan the other , May 26, 2020 at 12:23 pm

In the beginning it had nothing to do with god. It was unquestioned cooperation. I'll give you help and you can help me later. It was unspoken. It was spontaneous. Ever notice how careful wild animals are? And, by contrast, how foolish humans are? That's gotta be because god is our scapegoat. Just suppose that it's because over the millennia of civilization helping each other was standardized, formalized and abstracted into money. When money accumulated it became wealth itself, replacing the value of a good society. It became money without social cooperation. It has even become a medium of exchange and trade. Contracts were substituted for cooperation. Leaving morality and caution out entirely. There's really nothing moral about turning debt into an "asset" which can be collected by law or bought and sold for a profit. An asset that must be paid in full after a certain use, plus interest. Debt itself has become dissociated from society. So now what have we got? We've got a planet being destroyed not by god, but by humans. From now on in it's gonna be devastation by "act of man". Full tilt. And poetically, there will be few profits available to "service" debt. It's time to legislate a few things, like good societies to meet the needs of people and planet alike. No speculating and no profiteering. And no debt transmogrified into assets. Our debt is to the planet now. And survival. End of sermon.

Kouros , May 26, 2020 at 1:27 pm

Maybe Abraham left Summer because of the "Clean Slate" policies?

JEHR , May 26, 2020 at 2:13 pm

Sumer? maybe.

Kouros , May 26, 2020 at 7:55 pm

Yes, thank you

deplorado , May 26, 2020 at 2:46 pm

>> or creditors to become a wealthy class rivaling the power of palace rulers and seeking gains by impoverishing their debtors.

Does this make the case that a benevolent individual ruler (i.e. a monarch, or dictator, or tyrant) would have a natural interest in protecting balance between creditor-debtor so as not to have his power threatened?
Is formal democracy then more vulnerable to allowing creditors to seize the power of state as there is no counterbalancing interest? It seems to me that what Prof. Hudson is saying could certainly be interpreted that way. I believe also originally the concept of a tyrant in ancient Greece was synonymous with just government (cant provide references right now).

CovertCalifornia , May 26, 2020 at 3:52 pm

Debt and contract amnesties did not only exist in ancient times. See Terry Boughton's "Taming Democracy" about how the American Revolutionaries understood currency. The early state of Pennsylvania regularly issued relief, and the Federal Constitution limited states' abilities to break these contracts due to acts of god. Boughton's book is eye-opening also in terms of how money works.

Craig Dempsey , May 26, 2020 at 6:37 pm

Notice that Hudson is discussing the kind of debt that was paid on the threshing floor. These were debts of the working people. Commercial "silver" debts were not cancelled in a clean slate. Trying to write a concise report above Hudson did not fully spell this out. Take a look at the very first section of his book, beginning on page ix.

The Overview beginning on page 1 addresses the issue of how "American" all this is. He traces the history of the Liberty Bell and the torch of the Statue of Liberty back to ancient clean slates. They ring and shine with freedom from onerous debt. Yes, the huddled masses were yearning to be free; free from debt! On page 5 he quotes Hammurabi's law epilogue, " that the strong might not oppress the weak, that justice might be dealt to the orphan and widow I write my precious words on my stele To give justice to the oppressed." And Hudson was just getting warmed up on why a certain would-be king took a whip to the moneychangers in the temple!

k teh , May 26, 2020 at 9:14 pm

No new class, policy or ideology is going to fix economic degradation over generations destroying the work ethic. It's a computer-controlled machine that systematically eliminates people from the economy and pays its owners in ones and zeros, to consume natural resources ever more efficiently. China was just the contract manufacturor. Nature is responding.

The economic bridge is all about the multiplier effects of operational leverage. Why would anyone responsible for multiplier effects work for equal pay, and if an entire generation is pissed off at the corporations catering to it, why would anyone expect anything other than negative multiplier effects. When individual rights are removed, there are no rights, for anyone.

There's a reason why monetary expansion has been rotated geographically, to consume natural resources, and why the globalists cling to electronic money in virtual space – fintech. A debt jubilee doesn't change the inbred behavior of consumerism.

[May 23, 2020] China is still in great danger. Of the existing 30 or so high-tech productive chains, China only enjoys superiority at 2 or 3

Highly recommended!
May 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , May 22 2020 21:02 utc | 28

China is still in great danger. Of the existing 30 or so high-tech productive chains, China only enjoys superiority at 2 or 3 (see 6:48).

It is still greatly dependent on the West to development and still is a developing country.

So, yes, the West still has a realistic chance of destroying China and inaugurating a new cycle of capitalist prosperity.

What happens with the "decoupling"/"Pivot to Asia" is that, in the West, there's a scatological theory [go to 10th paragraph] - of Keynesian origin - that socialism can only play "catch up" with capitalism, but never surpass it when a "toyotist phase" of technological innovation comes (this is obviously based on the USSR's case). This theory states that, if there's innovation in socialism, it is residual and by accident, and that only in capitalism is significant technological advancement possible. From this, they posit that, if China is blocked out of Western IP, it will soon "go back to its place" - which is probably to Brazil or India level.

If China will be able to get out of the "Toyotist Trap" that destroyed the USSR, only time will tell. Regardless, decoupling is clearly not working, and China is not showing any signs so far of slowing down. Hence Trump is now embracing a more direct approach.

As for the USA, I've put my big picture opinion about it some days ago, so I won't repeat myself. Here, it suffices to say that, yes, I believe the USA can continue to survive as an empire - even if, worst case scenario, in a "byzantine" form. To its favor, it has: 1) the third largest world population 2) huge territory, with excellent proportion of high-quality arable land (35%), that basically guarantees food security indefinitely (for comparison, the USSR only had 10% of arable land, and of worse quality) 3) two coasts, to the two main Oceans (Pacific and Atlantic), plus a direct exit to the Arctic (Alaska and, de facto, Greenland and Canada) 4) excellent, very defensive territory, protected by both oceans (sea-to-sea), bordered only by two very feeble neighbors (Mexico and Canada) that can be easily absorbed if the situation asks to 4) still the financial superpower 5) still a robust "real" economy - specially if compared to the micro-nations of Western Europe and East-Asia 6) a big fucking Navy, which gives it thalassocratic power.

I don't see the USA losing its territorial integrity anytime soon. There are separatist movements in places like Texas and, more recently, the Western Coast. Most of them exist only for fiscal reasons and are not taken seriously by anyone else. The Star-and-Stripes is still a very strong ideal to the average American, and nobody takes the idea of territory loss for real. If that happens, though, it would change my equation on the survival of the American Empire completely.

As for Hong Kong. I watched a video by the chief of the PLA last year (unfortunately, I watched it on Twitter and don't have the link with me anymore). He was very clear: Hong Kong does not present an existential threat to China. The greatest existential threat to China are, by far, Xinjiang and Tibet, followed by Taiwan and the South China Sea. Hong Kong is a distant fourth place.

Those liberal clowns were never close.

[May 21, 2020] How free trade actually works

May 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

TomDority , , May 20, 2020 at 8:16 am

Me, being a cynic and all – I thought the way trade worked in the real world (not the one described by well paid economists) was a multi step process

1) target developing country by undermining their core farming, self sustaining activity and export industries through cheap importation of grains and crops and other goods – thus making it impossible for locals to survive through their own industry

2) simultaneous loans (investment) to the country (economic aid) and corruption of political leaders designed to enable step three

3) Whence said country is indebted – force country to export whatever (mineral) wealth onto a glutted market to pay back its debts – this is easily done as the labor component is ripe for the picking/ fleecing

4) crush the country into economic austerity for as long as it takes to enslave its citizens and grab everything of value from the country

5) pretend that the IMF etc did such a great job – but the countries people (victims) or government did not do enough and must take care of themselves better

The Rev Kev , , May 20, 2020 at 9:58 am

I think that you covered the Standard Operation Procedure here in better detail than I could. I would only add to point 2) that the bankers will go to these local leaders and show them how to hide their money and help them set up accounts in a place like the Caymans as part of the service.

And if that economist wants to find where all of Africa's wealth is going, he might want to start in the City of London and New York first.

[May 10, 2020] Iraq and IMF loans

May 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , May 10 2020 13:46 utc | 71

BM | May 10 2020 11:37 utc on "Peek on Syria".

[Iraq] will have to borrow a lot of money most likely from the IMF. The money may come with U.S. conditions.

BM: Hmm. Iraq has a big pile of problems on its hands, but the way the "answer" is worded seems rather USA-flavoured, as though Iraq borrowing from the IMF is even remotely viable politically, given that would automatically make its other political problems far more intractible. Does not sound like a "Bernhard" statement to me. may come with U.S. conditions.??? Is that what is commonly referred to as an "understatement"?

Piotr: Actually, this is a HUGE blunder in the article. I have only one data point: Trump administration threatened to freeze 35 billions on Iraqi funds in American banks if Iraq completes the expulsion of American forces. One f...d up thing in Iraq is the failure of restoring electricity production, and the dependence on Iranian electricity and Iranian gas for the power station. As we know, it is much cheaper to build power stations that run on natural gas than on crude or coal, and the fuel costs are lower, so it seems that Americans blocked the most economic solutions to the problem. And as a bonus (for Americans), the failures in electricity supplies were a major motivation in riots that caused government crisis.

This there is no problem with IMF borrowing money to Iraq or not, but the direct dependency on USA that can give the access to Iraq's money or not. Extremely colonial dependency, without using "international tools" like IMF.

[May 10, 2020] Then the USSR dissolved, and the IMF suddenly took the WB's place as the capitalist spearhead in the Third World. It's prestige spiked through the roof with the subjugation of Russia (Yeltsin Era), Latin America (specially Argentina and Brazil) and others.

Notable quotes:
"... Pretty near stopped reading right there. IMF and World Bank are primary tools of imposing empire on the rest of the world. There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to any of their predictions, except to keep up with what is this week's propaganda. ..."
"... with the neoliberal reforms of 1975-1997, the IMF quickly rose in importance. Mexico's bankruptcy of the mid-1980s was just the prelude. Then the USSR dissolved, and the IMF suddenly took the WB's place as the capitalist spearhead in the Third World. It's prestige spiked through the roof with the subjugation of Russia (Yeltsin Era), Latin America (specially Argentina and Brazil) and others. When the Asian Tigers crisis broke out (1997), the IMF gained police power, which only rose its importance as a capitalist instrument of hegemony. By 2001 - when the Asian Tigers crisis was essentially over - the IMF basically became sacrosanct, a fact of life of capitalism, a status it still enjoys in the present. ..."
"... IMF's accidental rise to power - coupled with the decline of the World Bank - is a very strong evidence and a poetic illustration of the metamorphosis of the American Empire from an industrial-financial superpower (i.e. a capitalist superpower) to a strictly financial superpower. ..."
"... YES to that. IMF is the imperialist tool of enslavement. It is the entry point for private capital hoarders to prise loose the fabric of social cohesion and turn the threads into rope to bind the people to repay national debt. What did Joe Biden do in Ukraine? He arranged US and IMF loans to the government, stole a larger chunk of the deposit through his son and other vectors via the Burisma board etc as he slinked off back home. Then tried the same in China where he was perhaps ensnared in a compromise sting. In all cases the public repays the debt to the IMF or USA. ..."
May 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yevgeny , May 9 2020 20:09 utc | 25

>Gita Gopinath, the super-smart Director of the IMF's Research Department,

Pretty near stopped reading right there. IMF and World Bank are primary tools of imposing empire on the rest of the world. There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to any of their predictions, except to keep up with what is this week's propaganda.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 9 2020 18:41 utc | 20

Same. Maybe the crazies are right, is b even here anymore?

vk , May 9 2020 20:15 utc | 26

@ Posted by: Trailer Trash | May 9 2020 18:41 utc | 20

The history of the IMF is a curious one. It was one of the many international post-war institutions created in 1944-45, during the world peace hysteria that accompanied the Cold War.

Initially, though, it was expected that the IMF would play, at best, a very peripheral role. It should be, in theory, just a fund to be used in exceptional circumstances, for very tiny problems. Maybe some basket case in Africa would need a couple billions to fix itself someday, but nothing more than that. It was definitely not taken seriously, and was just a footnote in the long list of newly founded international institutions.

The capitalist star of the show during the High Cold War (1945-1975) was the World Bank, more specifically, its infrastructure investment branch, the IBRD.

However, with the neoliberal reforms of 1975-1997, the IMF quickly rose in importance. Mexico's bankruptcy of the mid-1980s was just the prelude. Then the USSR dissolved, and the IMF suddenly took the WB's place as the capitalist spearhead in the Third World. It's prestige spiked through the roof with the subjugation of Russia (Yeltsin Era), Latin America (specially Argentina and Brazil) and others. When the Asian Tigers crisis broke out (1997), the IMF gained police power, which only rose its importance as a capitalist instrument of hegemony. By 2001 - when the Asian Tigers crisis was essentially over - the IMF basically became sacrosanct, a fact of life of capitalism, a status it still enjoys in the present.

IMF's accidental rise to power - coupled with the decline of the World Bank - is a very strong evidence and a poetic illustration of the metamorphosis of the American Empire from an industrial-financial superpower (i.e. a capitalist superpower) to a strictly financial superpower.

uncle tungsten , May 9 2020 22:39 utc | 33
Trailer Trash #20

YES to that. IMF is the imperialist tool of enslavement. It is the entry point for private capital hoarders to prise loose the fabric of social cohesion and turn the threads into rope to bind the people to repay national debt. What did Joe Biden do in Ukraine? He arranged US and IMF loans to the government, stole a larger chunk of the deposit through his son and other vectors via the Burisma board etc as he slinked off back home. Then tried the same in China where he was perhaps ensnared in a compromise sting. In all cases the public repays the debt to the IMF or USA.

The IMF employs connivers in the service of global private finance. Some might call them super-smart but 'criminally smart' would be a better term.

[Mar 03, 2020] Neoliberals curse

Mar 03, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

It took a rabid nationalist like Donald Trump to end the war in Afghanistan , whereas faithful neoliberal Barack Obama kept the war around because it provided "markets" for weapons corporations.

[Mar 02, 2020] It appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Mar 1 2020 20:58 utc | 30

appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejects Taliban prisoner release under U.S deal


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected on Sunday a Taliban demand for the release of 5,000 prisoners as a condition for talks with Afghanistan's government and civilians – included in a deal between the United States and the Islamist militants.

"The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners," Ghani told reporters in Kabul, a day after the deal was signed in Qatar to start a political settlement aimed at ending the United States' longest war.[.]

was the Afghan government not a party to the negotiations? Strange!

[Mar 02, 2020] The myth of the mujaheddin victory over the Soviets

It was a stalemate, in which Afghan government held power over central towns and mujahidins over part of provinces. Neither can defeat each other. This stalemate was ruptured by the collapse of the USSR.
Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Mar 1 2020 18:54 utc | 17
Afghanistan
Now that the Americans have been defeated in Afghanistan perhaps they'll go back with a more critical eye to look at what happened in the Afghan-Soviet war against the mujaheddin. The Soviet Union decided to withdraw because it had reached a stalemate but the communist government managed to soldier on for three more years, and it was the collapse of the Soviet Union for financial reasons that resulted in funds being cutoff to the communist government that in turn led to the collapse of the government, so the Soviet Union was not brought down/defeated by the mujaheddin.
Will coronavirus lead to the collapse of the Washington establishment? I don't know if it will but the descendants of the mujaheddin will no doubt claim responsibility for the defeat of the United States if it occurs.
Yet again, Washington demonstrates that it doesn't really understand war.

[Feb 29, 2020] Learning Nothing From the Ghost of Congress Past by Andrew J. Bacevich

The USA is an imperial country. And wars is how empire is sustained and expanded. Bacevich does not even mention this fact.
Notable quotes:
"... While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis. ..."
"... This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become. ..."
"... we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. ..."
"... The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now. ..."
"... Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans. ..."
"... By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money ..."
"... Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Afghanistan Papers could have been the start of redemption, but it's all been subsumed by impeachment and an uninterested public.

....

While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis.

This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become.

Take seriously the speechifying heard on the floor of the House of Representatives in recent days and you'll be reassured that the United States remains a nation of laws, with Democrats and Republicans alike affirming their determination to defend our democracy and preserve the Constitution, even while disagreeing on what that might require at present.

Take seriously the contents of the Afghanistan Papers and you'll reach a different conclusion: we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. U.S. military expenditures and the Pentagon's array of foreign bases far exceed those of any other nation on the planet. In our willingness to use force, we (along with Israel) lead the pack. Putative adversaries such as China and Russia are models of self-restraint by comparison. And when it comes to cumulative body count, the United States is in a league of its own.

Yet since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, U.S. forces have rarely accomplished the purposes for which they are committed, the Pentagon concealing failure by downsizing its purposes. Afghanistan offers a good example. What began as Operation Enduring Freedom has become in all but name Operation Decent Interval, the aim being to disengage in a manner that will appear responsible, if only for a few years until the bottom falls out.

So the real significance of the Post 's Afghanistan Papers is this: t hey invite Americans to contemplate a particularly vivid example what our misplaced infatuation with military power produces. Sadly, it appears evident that we will refuse the invitation. Don't blame Trump for this particular example of Washington's egregious irresponsibility.

Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , will be published next month.


Sid Finster a day ago
The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now.

Anyway, nobody likes a bipartisan fiasco that cannot be neatly blamed on Team R (or Team D).

John Achterhof Sid Finster 12 hours ago
Just give credit where it is due: the Post's reporting on the Afghanistan Papers is journalism at its very best.
Fayez Abedaziz 21 hours ago
Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans.

By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money. What a joke this nations foreign policy is and the ignorant, don't care American people have become. Like never before. There were years when people actually talked about subjects. Not now, if you mention the weather they cower and look pained. The old days really were better.

One example aside from the above: compare President Kennedy to Trump. What a riot...

polistra24 21 hours ago
Well, these documents are highly unsurprising. Everybody has known the facts for a long time. Everybody also knows that the US "government" will not change its ways. Its sole purpose and mission is to obliterate everything except Israel, and these documents are evidence of massive SUCCESS in its mission, not evidence of failure.
Richard 13 hours ago
When the troops start to mutiny, the war will end.
Marcus 9 hours ago
Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort.

This is also to say that misleading documents and briefings from the military about progress in Afghanistan, while contemptible, did not cause the strategic failure. Contemporary reports from the press and other agencies indicated the effort was not working out plainly to anyone who wanted to pay attention. Our political leaders chose to ignore the truth for political gain.

A more realistic temperament chastened by experience would have been more inclined to criticize and make corrections, and summon the courage to cut our losses rather than crow ignominiously about "cutting and running." Few such temperaments, it seems at least, make it to the top thee days.

[Feb 22, 2020] Was anyone aware that in 1991 in the Ukraine almost 100% of the population had indoor running water, but as of 2014 that was down to 87%?

That's typical deterioration of the standard of living for the country that was converted into the debt slave and de facto US colony
Feb 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Feb 22 2020 11:56 utc | 9
Was anyone aware that in 1991 in the Ukraine almost 100% of the population had indoor running water, but as of 2014 that was down to 87%? I'm talking of the western portion of the Ukraine here and not the part being attacked by neo-Nazis where it is unsurprising that infrastructure is being destroyed.

I was curious what happened to the Ukraine's infrastructure since the Soviet Union was dissolved so I asked some Ukrops what was up. Apparently Putin himself has been sneaking into the Ukraine at night and stealing the plumbing right out of people's houses. I kid thee not! Putin did it! Ukrops wouldn't lie about that, would they?

If you think what Putin is doing to America is bad, then just be thankful you are not in Ukropistan! Over there Putin causes people to stub their toes on the furniture when they get out of bed to take a leak at night. He tricks people into not bringing their umbrellas on days that it rains. He even causes babies to foul their diapers right after they were changed. Putin's evil knows no bounds!

[Feb 14, 2020] On Afghanistan deal from NEO

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Feb 13 2020 3:25 utc | 113

On Afghanistan from NEO
However, according to some reports, the United States and the Taliban have recently managed to define the main terms of a future peace deal:

- The Taliban guarantee that they will not allow international terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda (banned in Russia) to use Afghanistan as a training ground for attacks abroad;

– The US must withdraw its troops from the country. In particular, the terms include the following:
About 5,000 US soldiers are expected to be withdrawn immediately after the peace deal is signed, and the remaining troops will leave the country within the next two years;

– Against the backdrop of an indefinite truce in Afghanistan, the conflicting parties should begin an internal political dialogue.


The Taliban must be naive not to insist on a total cessation to military air assaults and reconnaissance. There is no way the USA will stop bombing Afghanistan into the stone age - because it can AND good live training for its murderous home pilots.


And then the predictable USA treachery and ingredient to walk back the treaty:

The Kabul government, however, is not taking part in those talks at the insistence of the Taliban, which considers the current official government to be a puppet. But the US is in favor of Kabul reaffirming its commitment to the peace terms, because otherwise the last condition of the agreement will not be fulfilled.

[Feb 14, 2020] An unusually well written piece on the US leaving Afghanistan.

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

J Swift , Feb 12 2020 18:05 utc | 38

I guess most of these open threads are going to gravitate to electoral politics--tis the season--but before it gets lost I did want to share what I thought was an unusually well written piece on the US leaving Afghanistan.

The author doesn't just go on a diatribe of criticism of the US, although obviously he feels the US needs to be leaving--the sooner the better, and likely will eventually be leaving whether it wants to or not. But he points out several "tells" related to just how serious the US might be any time it starts talking about leaving, or indeed starts leaving. I would highly recommend reading this article. Really thought provoking.

https://theduran.com/getting-out/

AntiSpin , Feb 12 2020 19:21 utc | 49

@ J Swift | Feb 12 2020 18:05 utc | 38

Thanks much for this link --
https://theduran.com/getting-out/

A very hard-hitting exposé of the US combination of criminality and blundering in Afghanistan, and what seems to be a comprehensive and completely rational plan for getting out of that country under the best possible terms for the people of that country, and for the people of the US.

Not so good for the US military and civilian satraps who are tearing things up, and raking it in.

Tough.

[Feb 14, 2020] From the very beginning conscious plan to destroy Greece! Defend Democracy Press

Feb 14, 2020 | www.defenddemocracy.press

From the very beginning: Α conscious plan to destroy Greece! 10/02/2020

Seven years of demanding the impossible in Greece

By Yiannis Mouzakis
16/02/2017

In a recent presentation of his book, Laid Low , which examines the International Monetary Fund's role in the eurozone crisis, author and journalist Paul Blustein disclosed a memo dated May 4, 2010, from the IMF's then head of research Olivier Blanchard, to Poul Thomsen, who headed the Greek mission at the time.

In his missive, Blanchard warned that the cumulative fiscal adjustment of 16 percentage points being demanded of Greece in such a short period of time and with such a high level of frontloading had never been achieved before.

. @PaulBlustein : in 2010, @ojblanchard1 warned austerity cld go awry,even if done to plan. DSK broached debt restructuring: Trichet said "no!" pic.twitter.com/1cFFPsKszf

-- Trineesh Biswas (@TrineeshB) January 31, 2017

According to Blanchard, not only was the task unprecedented, but Greece was being asked to achieve the impossible in unfavourable external circumstances, when everyone was barely recovering from the 2008 global financial crisis and without any other policy levers (low interest rates or exchange rate adjustment).

Blanchard foresaw what became a reality only about a year later: Even with "perfect policy implementation" the programme will be thrown off track rather quickly and the recession will be deeper and longer than expected, he warned.

Blanchard's scepticism and warnings were ignored. Instead, political limitations took hold of the decision-making process and domestic-focussed calculations pushed Greece into trying to achieve the impossible.

This week, the former IMF chief economist admitted on Twitter that although he was not the one that leaked the memo he was not unhappy that the truth has been revealed because "it is seven years and still there is no clear/realistic plan" for Greece.

I did not leak, but am not too unhappy that it did leak :). 7 years already, and still no clear/realistic plan. https://t.co/8mCzO3TYvL

-- Olivier Blanchard (@ojblanchard1) February 14, 2017

Athens is currently under pressure to adopt another 2 percent of GDP in new fiscal measures, which relate to the tax-free threshold and pension spending. Since 2010, Greece has adopted revenue-raising measures and spending cuts that are equivalent to more than a third of its economy and more than double what Blanchard had described as unprecedented almost seven years ago.

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The Greek economy has been burdened with 35.6 billion euros in all sorts of taxes on income, consumption, duties, stamps, corporate taxation and increases in social security contributions. When totting all this up, it is remarkable that the economy still manages to function.

During the same period, the state has also found savings of 37.4 billion euros from cutting salaries, pensions, benefits and operational expenses. Discretionary spending is now so lean that even the IMF argues that in certain areas it needs to increase if Greece is to meet the minimum requirements in the provision of public services.

When this misery started, Greece had to correct a primary deficit of 24 billion euros. But the painful fiscal adjustment Greeks have had to endure had turned out to be three times as much.

The IMF's Thomsen, now the director of its European Department, recently argued that Greece doesn't need any more austerity but brave policy implementation. Somehow, though, the discussion has ended up being about finding another 3.5 billion euros in taxes and cuts to pension spending. Bravery is nowhere to be seen.

Published at http://www.macropolis.gr/?i=portal.en.the-agora.5256

[Feb 14, 2020] Paul Thomsen, the Danish hitman who destroyed Greece Defend Democracy Press

Feb 14, 2020 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Paul Thomsen, the Danish hitman who destroyed Greece 10/02/2020

Poul Thomsen, the IMF assassin of Greece leaves with a pension of more than 18.000 Dollars. He contributed, along with German leaders, to the death of thousands of Greeks who committed suicide and to the destruction of the life of millions of Greeks. More than half of Greek pensioners are living now on pensions less of 500 euros, in a country where prices are the same as in France or Germany and the social protection network much worse. All Thomsen's estimations have been proven wrong. In fact they were not errors, they were necessary to pursue the program of "execution" of Greece and its people, by an alliance of the "Empire of Finance" and German and other European elites, through EU, ECB and IMF. Thomsen, a white collar international criminal has also worked and contributed to the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia and of Russia before getting busy with Greece.
DK Wikileaks: Thomsen/Velkouleskou. Greek Default and Brexit "is going to be a disaster"

Wikileaks has just published the records of a discussion between the IMF director of European Affairs Paul Thomsen and the Mission Chief in Greece, Delia Velkouleskou. In it, the two officials share their worry that the third bailout deal will end up in disaster, in fact foreseeing a synchronism between a Greek default and a Brexit. Read the piece by Julian Assange

by Julian Assange
April 2, 2016

Today, 2nd April 2016, WikiLeaks publishes the records of a 19 March 2016 teleconference between the top two IMF officials in charge of managing the Greek debt crisis – Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF's European Department, and Delia Velkouleskou, the IMF Mission Chief for Greece. The IMF anticipates a possible Greek default co-inciding with the United Kingdom's referendum on whether it should leave the European Union ('Brexit').

"This is going to be a disaster" remarks Velkouleskou in the meeting.
According to the internal discussion, the IMF is planning to tell Germany that it will abandon the Troika (composed of the IMF, European Commission and the European Central Bank) if the IMF and the Commission fail to reach an agreement on Greek debt relief.

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Thomsen: "Look you, Mrs. Merkel, you face a question: you have to think about what is more costly, to go ahead without the IMF–would the Bundestag say 'The IMF is not on board?', or [to] pick the debt relief that we think that Greece needs in order to keep us on board?"

Remaining in the Troika seems an increasingly hard sell internally for the IMF, because non-European IMF creditor countries view the IMF's position on Greece as a violation of its policies elsewhere of not making loans to countries with unsustainable debts.

In August the IMF announced it would not participate in last year's €86 billion Greek bailout, which was covered by EU member states. IMF Chief Christine Lagarde stated at the time that the IMF's future participation was contingent on Greece receiving "significant debt relief" from creditors. Lagarde announced that a team would be sent to Greece, headed by Velkouleskou.

Thomsen said internally that the threat of an imminent financial catstrophe is needed to force the other players into a "decision point". For Germany, on debt relief, and In the case of Greece, to accept the IMF's austerity "measures," -- including raising taxes and cutting Greek pensions and working conditions. However the UK "Brexit" referendum in late June will paralyse European decision making at the critical moment.

"I am not going accept a package of small measures. I am not " said Thomsen. "What is going to bring it all to a decision point? In the past there has been only one time when the decision has been made and then that was when [the Greeks] were about to run out of money seriously and to default. [ ] And possibly this is what is going to happen again. In that case, it drags on until July, and clearly the Europeans are not going to have any discussions for a month before the Brexits "

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Last year Greek Finance Minister Tsakalotos accused the IMF of imposing "draconian measures," including on pension reform. While Velkouleskou concedes in the meeting that "What is interesting though is that [Greece] did give in they did give a little bit on both the income tax reform and on the . both on the tax credit and the supplementary pensions."

But Thomsen's view is that the Greeks "are not even getting close [to coming] around to accept[ing] our views." Velkouleskou argues that "if [the Greek government] get pressured enough, they would But they don't have any incentive and they know that the Commission is willing to compromise, so that is the problem."

Velkouleskou: "We went into this negotiation with the wrong strategy, because we negotiated with the Commission a minimal position and we cannot go further [whereas] the Commission is just starting from this one and is willing to go much further. So, that is the problem. We didn't negotiate with the Commission and then put to the Greeks something much worse, we put to the Greeks the minimum that we were willing to consider and now the Greeks are saying [that] we are not negotiating."

While the Commission insists on a Primary Government Budget Surplus (total tax minus all government expenditure excluding debt repayments) of 3.5%; the IMF thinks that this target should be set at 1.5% of GDP. As Thomsen puts it, "if [Greece] come around to give us 2.5% [of GDP in tax hikes and pension-wage-benefits cuts] we should be fully behind them." -- meaning that the IMF would, in exchange for this fresh austerity package, support the reduction of the Primary Surplus Target imposed upon them from the 3.5% that the European Commission insists on to 1.5%.

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These targets are described as "very crucial" to the IMF. The IMF officials ask Thomsen "to reinforce the message about the agreement on the 2.5%, because that is not permeating and it is not sinking very well with the Commission."

At one point, Velkouleskou refers to an unusual solution: to split the problem into two programs with two different targets: "The question is whether [the Europeans] could accept the medium term targets of the Commission, for the purposes of the program, and our targets for the purposes of debt relief." Thomsen further explains that "They essentially need to agree to make our targets the baseline and then have something in that they hope that will overperform. But if they don't, they will still disburse."

The EWG [Euro Working Group] needs to "take a stand on whether they believe our projections or the Commission's projections." The IMF's growth projections are the exact opposite of the Commission's. The Commission projects a GDP growth of 0.5%, and the IMF a GDP decline of 0.5% (even if Greece accepts all the measures imposed by the IMF).

You may find the original post here

Published at https://thepressproject.gr/wikileaks-thomsenvelkouleskou-greek-default-and-brexit-is-going-to-be-a-disaster/

SOURCE thepressproject.gr

[Jan 28, 2020] Our losses in Afghanistan are negligible

Notable quotes:
"... It would be highly ironic if these American military aircraft were shot down with the (in)famous US Stinger missiles that America gave to Afghan jihadists against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. ..."
"... Uncle Sam has declared War on the World, thinking it is just a bunching bag. Now he is finding out that sometimes punching bags can punch back... ..."
Jan 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Jan 27 2020 16:17 utc | 4

If the $1.6 trillion cost of the US military being in Afghanistan is correct, then the loss of 4 helicopters and even the E11 won't significantly increase US overall spend there. $1.6 trillion over 18 years is a tad under $250 million per day

Walter , Jan 27 2020 17:24 utc | 16

...I recall a quotation from that good man, Winston C, who wrote long ago about Afghanistan...{populated by} "poverty-stricken illiterate tribesmen possessed of the finest Martini-Henry Rifles..."

That was over 100 years ago...

Now, it seem, "possessed of the finest surface to air missiles."

Well now, who'd a think...

ak74 , Jan 27 2020 17:37 utc | 20
It would be highly ironic if these American military aircraft were shot down with the (in)famous US Stinger missiles that America gave to Afghan jihadists against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Reap what you sow.

Trailer Trash , Jan 27 2020 17:42 utc | 23
Uncle Sam has declared War on the World, thinking it is just a bunching bag. Now he is finding out that sometimes punching bags can punch back...

[Jan 27, 2020] MANPADS represent a large leap in the 'death by 1000 cuts' equation for the US forices in Afghanistan

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Chevrus , Jan 27 2020 17:29 utc | 17

9K38-Igla-M
MANPADS represent a large leap in the 'death by 1000 cuts' equation.

The stinger missile made a huge difference in the battle dynamics when the Soviets were in Afganistan. 2000 Iglas trickled into Afganistan would be a huge headache for occupying forces. No more close air support, very dangerous take-off and landings along with possible higher altitude interceptions.

In regard to the financing of the ongoing operations, war profiteers are happy to continue that ad infinitum. The American war in Viet-Nam was a test run of sorts, how to keep things running for maximum profit and burn. Weapons in and commodities (hmmmm...)out makes for quite a killing.

The sense I get is that the escalation cause by the various air strikes and assassinations was designed as a last ditch effort to keep things escalating lest peace and stability break out. Granted that is a distant horizon, but if Iran and the KSA found some common ground, Syria was mopped up and Lebanon was able to shake off the elements that continually throw spanners in the works USA/isreal interests would definitely be less likely to prosper. Given the pattern of provocation by the USA trying to get Iran to do something extreme in order to justify all out war, the murder of the highly prized generals seems not to have worked as intended. Rather than striking out impulsively, the Resistance appears to have engaged in a broad spectrum highly controlled campaign to do just what it has promised. Expel the USA from the MidEast.

We live in world of countermeasures and gone are the days of total domination by the usual suspects. Anti aircraft missile defense is the current keystone to this balance. As with many things MANPADS are very much a double edged sword, so one must be judicious with sales and distribution. There is nothing stopping them from biting the manufacturer in the arse.

Not long ago such missiles would be easier to trace, but given the amount of exports and knock-offs they could filter into the Afgan theater from anywhere. If there are in fact a quantity of them in play, then the occupiers are going to have a very bad day(s) indeed.


Per/Norway , Jan 27 2020 17:30 utc | 18

"4) Can't understand Yankee justification for hammering Afghanistan, unless it involved stealing sovereign wealth."

Posted by: Ant. | Jan 27 2020 17:03 utc | 10

It is ALL about the cia opium trade,, Afghanistan is the "poppy greenhouse" of the cia and fukus terrorist regimes..

Per/Norway , Jan 27 2020 17:34 utc | 19
"WHAT are the Americans actually bombing?
Let me suggest - nothing, just an opportunity to use up the existing arsenal."

Posted by: Alex_Gorsky | Jan 27 2020 17:14 utc | 12
No, they are bombing homes and trying to genocide the Pashtuns that live on/over a fortune in minerals and whatnot,.-
Try to research how many Pashtun children the united states of terrorist and nato terrorists have raped and killed, ALL just to steal Afghanistans wealth.

A P , Jan 27 2020 18:42 utc | 33
To Ant 10, Per/Norway 18: Afghanistan is a vast source of mineral wealth, and has valuable potential oil/gas pipeline routes. As usual, US/ZATO wants to "protect" these for their pet corporate thieves. That the CIA/Mossad runs the opium industry is just a cash-cow to pay-off the local drug kingpins/warlords.

The Taliban had decimated the opium industry a couple times, but the CIA/Mossad always pushes back in and keeps the country in chaos.

The Taliban are no angels, but at least they eradicate the opium industry. If the US/ZATO and CIA/Mossad got out of Afghanistan, it wouldn't take long for the locals to throw out the Taliban. The locals put up with the Taliban because they are slightly less destructive than the US/ZATO/CIA/Mossad thugs.

Red Ryder , Jan 27 2020 18:49 utc | 34
Ukies got Javelin anti-tank weapons. (though the US controls them or half of them would be sold off).
Then, there was a counter-move. Not in Donbass. Elsewhere.
Taliban have MANPADS.

Soon, the Iraqi PMF will have MANPADS.

It's a weapons war that the US cannot win.

Too many people want the Hegemon out of their country.

We see this weapons war in Africa. Russia and China are there to teach the weapons' use.

You don't need big nukes and aircraft to win a war.

Vietnam won with artillery, sappers and AK-47s.
Houthis are winning with homemade missiles and drones.

Taliban will force out the US. Russia and China will do whatever they can to see that will be the outcome.

DFC , Jan 27 2020 19:16 utc | 39
There must be some Iranian special Quods force operating deep inside Afghanistan using their own SAM, not giving them to the Taliban, who are their longtgerm enemies.

The Iranians will choose how, when and where they are going to kill US soldiers and CIA opertatives with total deniability if required; probably in this plane there were some CIA dudes involved in dirty operations in the ME affecting Iran, now they have reaped what they sown

Montreal , Jan 27 2020 19:20 utc | 40
If I wanted to attack the US I would do it in Afghanistan. Hostile territory, hostile population, impossible lines of communication. If it isn't Taliban, then it probably someone in alliance with them. China? Shares a border with Afghanistan (even if a bit inaccessible). Pakistan? Iraq? Iran? Russia (I doubt it but you never know). There must be so much general ordnance kicking around in the Middle East, most of it supplied or sourced by the US. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before. Certainly, if whoever it is has a regular supply of surface to air missiles, Bhagram, and the US are toast.
Mckinnon , Jan 27 2020 19:27 utc | 41
The afghans canteach the iraqi how to bring down those planes, then the NATO would be a sitting duck in Iraq and the only option to get out alive would be a peacedeal the israeli can not refuse.
karlof1 , Jan 27 2020 19:35 utc | 43
Quixotic 1 @38--

I tend to agree with that thinking. The Outlaw US Empire will need to be ousted from wherever it occupies as with 'Nam, although there's still the question of the Current Oligarchy's domestic viability and ability to retain control over the federal government. What's promising in the latter regard is the very strong pushback aimed at DNC Chair Perez's committee appointments , which is being called Trump's Re-election Campaign Committee for good reasons. However IMO, people need to look beyond Trump and the Duopoly at those pulling the strings. And the easiest way to cut the strings is to elect people without any.

ben , Jan 27 2020 19:41 utc | 44
This ongoing war in Afghanistan has morphed into a live fire training program for the U$ military. Totally illegal and disgusting.

"it's just business, get over it."

Oh, but DJT promised to end it, did he not?

karlof1 , Jan 27 2020 19:48 utc | 45
DFC @39--

Hard to say just what the Iranian-Taliban relationship is at this juncture. Tehran continues to deny supplying them, but it's clear Taliban are the only force capable to defeating the Outlaw US Empire's Terrorist Foreign Legion it imported into the Afghan theatre. Iran's watched the Taliban up close and personal for 24+ years now, so I'd be very surprised if there wasn't at least a strong backchannel com between them. IIRC, Iran okayed Taliban's inclusion in the Moscow talks and has suggested they become a part of any future Afghan government.

Likklemore , Jan 27 2020 20:14 utc | 49
@ 38 Quixotic 1
Guarantee you- "the Empire is not going to cede its position anywhere on the globe. It's not going to leave Syria, it's not going to leave Iraq, and it certainly is not going to leave it's foothold in the underbelly of Eurasia.
Because to do so would mean the end of the Hegemonic project.

I have 1st dibs on that Guarantee
by 2025. Be ready to deliver in gold.

Here is how. Watch KSA and that old 1973 deal to price oil in USD$; follows then ALL countries need USD to buy oil. Fast Forward. KSA wants in on their share of oil to China AND the price will be paid in Yuan. Ask Qatar.

See the historical Timeline of currencies at link.

The USD is losing its appeal because Uncle Sam foolishly weaponized its currency. A review of history: Bullies have a limited life as do Reserve Currencies all things end. And sanctions are wearing thin.

The epitaph reads "US$, aka the greenback, met its demise by sanctions."

DFC , Jan 27 2020 20:41 utc | 51
@ karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 19:48 utc | 45

Well may be the Iranians could supply the Taliban with weapons, or may be they supply them to the Hazara, that are much more close to them and are the real allies in Afghanistan, and it is a way to protect them un a post-US future. So may be the Hazara could become the new Houthies in Afghanistan

DFC , Jan 27 2020 21:33 utc | 61
@ james | Jan 27 2020 21:16 utc | 57

Johan Galtung predicted, in the year 2000, the end of the US Empire in 2020, he also predicted, in the year 1980, the end of the Soviet Empire before the end of that decade, and he nailed.

This is an interview in 2010, but the book with his predictions is much old:

https://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/7/johan_galtung_on_the_fall_of

He said:
"It's an empire against a wall; an empire in despair; an empire, I would say, in its last phase. My prediction in the book that is here, that you mentioned, The Fall of the US Empire–And Then What?, is that it cannot last longer than 'til about 2020. In 1980, I predicted for the Soviet empire that it will crack at its weakest point, the wall of Berlin, within ten years, and it happened in November 1989, and the Soviet empire followed. So my prediction is a similar one for the US empire"

In another interview he said that after the cracks in the Empire and the loss of the Imperial Wealth Pump:

"The most dangerous variable is the definitive end of the American dream, due to domestic hardship. This would lead to the functional breakdown of the establishment and Treaty of the Union, which would be the political end of the North American multi-state entity. At this point, Galtung says, the empire would be split into a confederation of states, more or less powerful, that would seek an independent solution to the external and internal crisis."

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/2020-and-the-end-of-the-american-empire/

occupatio , Jan 27 2020 23:35 utc | 79
Can someone explain to mean what 'ZATO' (as in 'US/ZATO') means on this site?

As for China being a possible source for the anti-aircraft missiles, I doubt it is via the Xinjiang/Afghanistan border and must instead be using established smuggling routes and intermediaries groups.

I've heard it said that the missiles fired by Houthis on the Abqaiq oil facility are based on Iran designs, some of which are in turn copies or reverse-engineered from Chinese designs. If the Afghanistan situation is like that, then the Chinese connection is mediated instead of immediate, such as via Iran. The missiles doesn't even need to be reverse-engineered --- just swap out some parts for generic ones. For various reasons, such as plausible deniability, I doubt that China would directly supply Taliban with such equipment.

bevin , Jan 28 2020 0:08 utc | 84
Native people were classified as militarily apt and militarily inept, and recruitment to
colonial armies was guided by that principle. Arabs were typically classified as inept,
unlike Gurkhas and the Sikh. Persians were not recruited, but they were known to colonial
leaders who had education in classics."
iotr Berman@48
This is Raj History 101 bullshit recycled. Far from being classified as inept- Arabs, particularly Sunni
desert Arabs were very highly regarded by the British for their military prowess. Hence the entrusting to
the current Gulf rulers of the British protectorates handed back in the 1960s.
The Arab Legion in 1948 came out of the war with its reputation intact.
So far as their educational achievements are concerned: it was the Arabs who brought Europe the Renaissance.
Anyone who really believes that Arabs are incapable of developing IEDs is likely to be
part of that unfortunate portion of humanity that holds them to be 'sand niggers' etc. And likely to suffer
the fate of racist fools throughout history.
karlof1 , Jan 28 2020 0:09 utc | 85
psychohistorian @83--

I continue to see Twitter reports, like this one that the Prince of Darkness aka Mike de Andrea was killed in that shootdown. As with the commander at the base Iran attacked in Iraq who is now rumored to have died, the easiest refutation would be for them to appear in public.

Piotr Berman , Jan 28 2020 0:41 utc | 89
2) The Soviet Union never invaded Afghanistan, they were invited in in by then sovereign UN-recognised Gov of Afghan (golly wonder why)

Posted by: Ant. | Jan 27 2020 17:03 utc | 10

Wiki (quite accurate): Meanwhile, increasing friction between the competing factions of the PDPA -- the dominant Khalq and the more moderate Parcham -- resulted (in July–August 1979) in the dismissal of Parchami cabinet members and the arrest of Parchami military officers under the pretext of a Parchami coup.[62]

In September 1979, President Taraki was assassinated in a coup within the PDPA orchestrated by fellow Khalq member Hafizullah Amin, who assumed the presidency. The situation in the country deteriorated under Amin and thousands of people went missing.[63] The Soviet Union was displeased with Amin's government and decided to intervene and invade the country on 27 December 1979, killing Amin that same day.[64]

A Soviet-organized regime, led by Parcham's Babrak Karmal but inclusive of both factions (Parcham and Khalq), filled the vacuum.

------

Perhaps Taraki invited Soviets just as he was beset by assassins, or Amin did it for reasons he never got a chance to explain. Honestly, left to their own devices, PDPA, the Afghan Communists, were making royal mess. In any case, the western supported anti-progress guerilla, fighting horrors like schools for girls, predated Soviet "invasion".

necromancer , Jan 28 2020 0:58 utc | 91
Easiest route for Afghan Taliban to obtain weapons is from Pakistani Taliban, with ISI permission.
Remember Pakistani ISI ran Al-Qaeda back in the day.
It is also forgotten that the Tallys prevent the muj warlords from raping the country's teenagers, of both genders, their favorite sport. Thus they are forgiven for suppressing the poppy farming.
karlof1 , Jan 28 2020 2:16 utc | 93
The Prince of Darkness's death seems to be as confirmed as we might get according to this and its thread :

"The US govt seems to be actively hiding this information from the public, but the Taliban has verified this to the Iranians, who in turn passed the message to the GCC states. There is a gruesome photograph of one of the passengers who died, & he has the same profile as D'Andrea."

And:

"The CIA's Michael D'Andrea, who was in charge of the CIA's anti-Iran operations, was in fact killed yesterday in a plane crash in Afghanistan, which the Iranian-backed Taliban claims to have downed. He was killed alongside 4 other people, including 2 USAF pilots & 2 CIA figures."

Not equivalent in stature to Soleimani but important nonetheless. I'll add a small caveat that this still isn't 100% confirmed.

TEP , Jan 28 2020 2:26 utc | 94
@ S (club) 7 and karlofi 93
Yes I'm hearing Ayatollah Mike was one of the several CIA officers among the dead. BIG loss for US and good retaliatory strike (if true) for Iran. The Dark Prince Mike was indeed head of CIA anti-Iran operations and likely played a big part in the Soleimani assassination. We may never know for sure, but the premature departure of CIA officers is always good for the rest of humankind.
psychedelicatessen , Jan 28 2020 2:35 utc | 95
DFC @ 39

Claims of high ranking CIA officers aboard. I suppose U.S. missiles would have been appropriate. Stock from Obama and Clinton's private arms dealing perhaps?

dltravers , Jan 28 2020 2:49 utc | 98
I have long wondered why the Russians have not paid back the US for their aid to the Afghan guerrilla in the 1980's. The US supplied stinger missiles and other anti-aircraft systems and at one point they were knocking down one Russian aircraft a day. Maybe the Russians smell Western blood on the water and have chosen this as the time to pay them back with select arms deliveries to the Taliban.

It was this loss of aviation support that hastened their departure and it would certainly hasten a US departure. I do not think the US has it in them to ramp it up at this point...

Let us remember...

The Soviet War in Afghanistan, 1979 - 1989

[Jan 06, 2020] Neoliberal IMF admits neoliberalism fuels inequality and hurts growth The Grayzone

Jan 06, 2020 | thegrayzone.com

Neoliberal IMF admits neoliberalism fuels inequality and hurts growth Share Tweet Top International Monetary Fund (IMF) researchers have conceded that neoliberal policies of austerity, privatization, deregulation often hurt much more than help economies. By Ben Norton / Salon

The world's largest evangelist of neoliberalism, the International Monetary Fund, has admitted that it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Neoliberalism refers to capitalism in its purest form. It is an economic philosophy espoused by libertarians -- and repeated endlessly by many mainstream economists -- one that insists that privatization, deregulation, the opening up of domestic markets to foreign competition, the cutting of government spending, the shrinking of the state, and the "freeing of the market" are the keys to a healthy and flourishing economy.

Yet now top researchers at the International Monetary Fund, or IMF, the economic institution that has proselytized -- and often forcefully imposed -- neoliberal policies for decades, have conceded that the "benefits of some policies that are an important part of the neoliberal agenda appear to have been somewhat overplayed."

"There are aspects of the neoliberal agenda that have not delivered as expected," the economists write in " Neoliberalism: Oversold? ", a study published in the June volume of the IMF's quarterly magazine Finance & Development.

In analyzing two of neoliberalism's most fundamental policies, austerity and the removing of restrictions on the movement of capital, the IMF researchers say they reached "three disquieting conclusions."

One, neoliberal policies result in "little benefit in growth."

Two, neoliberal policies increase inequality, which produces further economic harms in a "trade-off" between growth and inequality.

And three, this "increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth."

The top researchers conclude noting that the "evidence of the economic damage from inequality suggests that policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are."

In some cases, they add, the consequences "will have to be remedied after they occur by using taxes and government spending to redistribute income."

"Fortunately, the fear that such policies will themselves necessarily hurt growth is unfounded," the IMF economists stress -- that is to say, increasing taxes and boosting government spending will not necessarily hurt growth.

The collapse of neoliberalism

These statements represent an enormous reversal for the IMF. It is somewhat like the Pope declaring that there is no God; it is a volte-face on almost everything that the IMF has ever stood for.

Since the 2008 financial collapse, widespread rebellions have been waged against these failed neoliberal policies, with Occupy Wall Street in the U.S. and similar grassroots movements around the world.

Before the 1970s, neoliberalism was relegated to the obscure margins of mainstream economics, preached by free-market fundamentalists like Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

In the last few decades, however, it became the hegemonic ideology. The IMF has been one of the most crucial institutions, along with the World Bank, in the spread of neoliberalism.

By the end of the Cold War, socialist alternatives to capitalism had been brutally crushed in a long series of wars. By the 1980s, with the rise of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the U.K. and President Ronald Reagan in the U.S., neoliberalism had come to dominate the new world order.

Even before the Thatchers and the Reagans, however, there were the Pinochets. The policies the IMF advocated for decades were rooted in extreme violence and repression.

Chile's violent neoliberal dictatorship

Chile was the first country to implement neoliberal policies. Still today, neoliberal ideologues quote Milton Friedman, speaking of the legacy of the reign of far-right, U.S.-backed capitalist dictator Augusto Pinochet as Chile's "economic miracle." What they overlook is how Pinochet used a bloodstained iron fist to implement these neoliberal policies.

A bloody CIA-backed 1973 coup toppled Chile's popular democratically elected Marxist leader, Salvador Allende, and replaced him with Pinochet. For millions of Chileans, his "economic miracle" was a disaster.

Pinochet combined fascistic police state repression with extreme free-market policies, killing, disappearing and torturing tens of thousands of Chilean leftists, labor organizers and journalists, forcing hundreds of thousands more into exile.

"Chile's pioneering experience with neoliberalism received high praise from Nobel laureate Friedman, but many economists have now come around to" more nuanced views, the IMF researchers note in their article.

Boom and bust cycles 'are the main story'

The study was co-authored by three members of the IMF's research department -- Jonathan Ostry, the deputy director, Prakash Loungani, a division chief, and Davide Furceri, an economist.

The researchers don't throw neoliberalism out completely. "There is much to cheer in the neoliberal agenda," they write. But it fails in some crucial regards.

For one, opening emerging economies up to some types of unrestricted foreign capital inflows frequently leads to financial crises, the IMF researchers note, which in turn create large declines in economic output and "appreciably" increase inequality.

These boom and bust cycles are not merely "a sideshow they are the main story," the economists add.

"Capital controls are a viable, and sometimes the only, option," the IMF concludes. This is a huge reversal. The researchers themselves point out that "the IMF's view has also changed -- from one that considered capital controls as almost always counterproductive to greater acceptance of controls to deal with the volatility of capital flows."

Austerity can lead to an 'adverse loop' of economic decline

Moreover, the study notes that it is often better for indebted governments to allow "the debt ratio to decline organically through growth," rather than to impose austerity. This is another reversal.

The IMF has for many years ordered countries to cut spending, gutting social services in order to pay off debt. This has in turn led to a shrinking of the economy, trapping countries in a spiral of debt. Greece is a painful contemporary example , although there are many more.

"Austerity policies not only generate substantial welfare costs," the IMF researchers continue, "they also hurt demand -- and thus worsen employment and unemployment."

Austerity results in "drops rather than by expansions in output." Studies show that, when government deficits and debts are reduced with a fiscal consolidation of 1 percent of a country's GDP, the long-term unemployment rate often increases by 0.6 percentage point and income inequality grows by 1.5 percent within five years.

Taken in conjunction, these effects could lead to an "adverse loop," the IMF warns, where austerity fuels inequality, which decreases growth that neoliberals insist must be cured with more austerity.

"The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting," the IMF researchers write. "There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth."

The importance of this study is hard to overstate. The IMF is essentially admitted that many of the policies that it demanded countries implement for decades only made things worse.

The International Monetary Fund appears to be inching toward a more Keynesian economic position.

To be clear, just because IMF researchers acknowledge the economic reality billions of working people in the world intimately understand does not mean the IMF as an institution will act on their research and end these policies -- just as the U.S. government does not necessarily act on the research of State Department, which has acknowledged Israel's crimes .

But the IMF's recognition that neoliberalism is not the panacea that cures all economic ills establishes an incredibly significant precedent, and is a huge victory in the fight for economic justice -- and in the class war.

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

[Jan 04, 2020] American Meddling in the Ukraine by Publius Tacitus

Highly recommended!
Ukraine is now a pawn in a big geopolitical game against Russia. Which somehow survived 90th when everybody including myself has written it off.
That's why the USA, EU (Germany) and Russia pulling the country in different directions. But the victory of Ukrainian nationalists is not surprising and is not solely based on the US interferences (although the USA did lot in this direction) pursuit its geopolitical game against Russia. Distancing themselves from Russa is a universal trend in Post-Soviet space. And it often takes ugly forms.
So Ukraine in not an exception here. It is part of the "rule". Essentially the dissolution of the USSR revised the result on WWII. And while the author correctly calls Ukrainian leader US stooges, they moved in this direction because they feel that it is necessary for maintaining the independence. In other words anti-Russian stance is considered by the Ukrainian elite as a a pre-condition for mainlining independence. Otherwise people like Parubiy would be in jail very soon. They are tolerated and even promoted because they are useful.
It repeats the story of Baltic Republics, albeit with a significant time delay. There should be some social group that secure independence of the country and Ukrainian nationalists happen to be such a group. That's why Yanukovich supported them and Svoboda party (with predictable results).
Notable quotes:
"... The ideological fissures that are growing in the United States are beginning to resemble the warring camps that characterize the Ukrainian political world. The divide in Ukraine pits groups who are described as "right wing" and many are ideological descendants of real Nazis and Nazi sympathizers against groups with a strong affinity to Russia. This kind of gap cannot be bridged through conventional negotiations. ..."
"... Jump ahead now to the April 2014 "uprising" of anti-Russian forces in the Ukraine (Maidan 2). The US was firmly on the side of the protesters, who ultimately succeeded in ousting the elected President. And who were helping lead this effort? ..."
"... The US support, both overt and covert, for Ukrainian politicians is grounded in an anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) ideology. We have convinced ourselves that Russia is hell bent on world domination. Therefore we must do whatever is necessary to stop Russia, which includes uncritical, blind support for elements in Ukraine that also detest the Russians. But in doing so we have closed our eyes to the filthy underbelly of the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks in western Ukraine. ..."
"... US meddling in the Ukraine is astonishing in its breadth. It ranges from the fact that the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department. Do you think there would be no complaints if Melania Trump was born in Russia and had served in the Russian Foreign Ministry? Yet, most Americans are happily ignorant of such facts. ..."
"... US interference was not confined to serendipitous relationships, such as the Yushchenko marriage. It also included the open and active funding of certain political groups and media outlets. The US State Department sent money through a variety of outlets. One of these was the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening aka CEPPS. ..."
"... This is : ..."
"... Count me as one of the people who is outraged by the hypocrisy and stupidity now on display in the United States. I am not talking about Trump. I am referring to the Republicans and Democrats and pundits and media mouthpieces who are fuming about Russian citizens writing on Facebook as one of the worst catastrophes since Pearl Harbor or 9-11. ..."
"... There clearly is meddling going on in America's political landscape. But it isn't the Russian Government. No. There are foreign and domestic forces aligned who are keen on portraying Russia as a threat to world order that must be opposed by more defense spending and tougher sanctions. That is the propaganda that dominates the media in the United States these days. And that is truly dangerous to our nation's safety and freedom. ..."
"... A CIA guy recently said the US only interferes to 'promote democracy' - tell that to Australia, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Congo, Russia, Ukraine...it's a long long list. ..."
"... An independent Ukraine was also a project of German foreign policy after the Brest-Litowsk Treaty (the equivalent of the Versailles Treaty, only aimed at Russia) SO I have o wonder how much of the enthusiasm for Vicky Nuland's Israel friendly Nazi state-let (oh what irony!) is a product of Germany wanting to reassert itself in the east, using NATO solidarity as a fig leaf. Maybe they will make Ukraine import a lot o Africans "refugees" so that Soros' project of creating a brown Europe will be advanced in the Slavic sphere as well as the west. ..."
"... The liberal party - who provides the prime-minister - EU leader Hans van Baalen and Belgian ex-prime minister Guy Verhostad held a controversial speech on the Maidan square in support of the protesters that the EU will support them. ..."
"... I wouldn't put to much stress on Bandera having been a bad guy. His enemies were no better. They just won the war and the victors write history. The deeper problem of Ukraine is the fact that in the East of the country (and maybe even the majority of the country) Bandera is indeed regarded as a villain. But in the West he is a hero to this day. Even in Soviet times people from Western Ukraine were regarded as "fascists" by much of the rest of the country. No wonder as there were anti soviet partisans until late in the fifties. ..."
"... "Prorussian" Kutshma turned into a Ukrainian "patriot" (such is the logic of statehood) and the same thing happened with Yanukovich. People forget that he would have signed an association agreement with Europe had Europe not refused because he was insufficiently "democratic". ..."
"... But the West wanted it all. They wanted Ukraine firmly in the "Western" camp. Thereby they ripped the country apart. As a good friend of mine who has studied in Kiev in Soviet times remarked: to ask Ukraine to choose between East and West is like asking a child in divorce proceedings who it liked more: daddy or mummy? ..."
"... A very interesting conversation between Victoria Nulland and ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, caught at picking the future rulers of liberated Ukraine : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QxZ8t3V_bk This is not meddling. This is a defensive (preemptive?) action against Russian agression. ..."
"... I've never seen such an intense barrage of propaganda before in my life. America is fracturing apart like Ukraine. This is no coincidence. In both countries, oligarchs have seized power, the rule of law abandoned and there is a rush of corruption. ..."
"... What we did to Ukraine is shameful in every way. A remember a video of a pallet of money being unloaded from a USG place at Kiev during Maidan 2. That's in addition to Nuland's bag of cookies. I always thought that one of the objectives of our meddling in Ukraine was to make Sevastopol into a NATO naval base. ..."
"... Our leaders are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. The Ukraine was almost evenly divided between pro-Western and pro-Russian sides. Our government, rather than waiting for an election, assisted an armed rebellion against the elected pro-Russian government. Among the groups our government allied with in this endeavor were out and out Nazis. ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The ideological fissures that are growing in the United States are beginning to resemble the warring camps that characterize the Ukrainian political world. The divide in Ukraine pits groups who are described as "right wing" and many are ideological descendants of real Nazis and Nazi sympathizers against groups with a strong affinity to Russia. This kind of gap cannot be bridged through conventional negotiations.

Who is the United States government and media supporting? The Nazis . You think I'm joking. Here are the facts, but we must go back to World War II :

When World War II began a large part of western Ukraine welcomed the German soldiers as liberators from the recently enforced Soviet rule and openly collaborated with the Germans. The Soviet leader, Stalin, imposed policies that caused the deaths of almost 7 million Ukrainians in the 1930s--an era known as the Holomodor).

Ukrainian divisions, regiments and battalions were formed, such as SS Galizien, Nachtigal and Roland, and served under German leadership. In the first few weeks of the war, more than 80 thousand people from the Galizien region volunteered for the SS Galizien, which later known for its extreme cruelty towards Polish, Jewish and Russian people on the territory of Ukraine.

Members of these military groups came mostly from the organization of Ukrainian nationalists aka the OUN, which was founded in 1929. It's leader was Stepan Bandera, known then and today for his extreme anti-semitic and anti-communist views.

CIA documents just recently declassified show strong ties between US intelligence and Ukrainian nationalists since 1946.

Jump ahead now to the April 2014 "uprising" of anti-Russian forces in the Ukraine (Maidan 2). The US was firmly on the side of the protesters, who ultimately succeeded in ousting the elected President. And who were helping lead this effort?

Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council is Andriy Parubiy. Parubiy was the founder of the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled on Hitler's Nazis, with membership restricted to ethnic Ukrainians.

The Social National Party would go on to become Svoboda, the far-right nationalist party whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok was one of the three most high profile leaders of the Euromaidan protests. . . .

Overseeing the armed forces alongside Parubiy as the Deputy Secretary of National Security is Dmytro Yarosh , the leader of the Right Sector – a group of hardline nationalist streetfighters, who previously boasted they were ready for armed struggle to free Ukraine.

The US support, both overt and covert, for Ukrainian politicians is grounded in an anti-Soviet (now anti-Russian) ideology. We have convinced ourselves that Russia is hell bent on world domination. Therefore we must do whatever is necessary to stop Russia, which includes uncritical, blind support for elements in Ukraine that also detest the Russians. But in doing so we have closed our eyes to the filthy underbelly of the virulent anti-Semitism that lurks in western Ukraine.

US meddling in the Ukraine is astonishing in its breadth. It ranges from the fact that the wife of former President Viktor Yuschenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department. Do you think there would be no complaints if Melania Trump was born in Russia and had served in the Russian Foreign Ministry? Yet, most Americans are happily ignorant of such facts.

But Viktor Yushchenko is not an American who speaks a foreign language. He is very much a Ukrainian nationalist and steeped in the anti-Semitism that dominates the ideology of western Ukraine. During the final months of his Presidency, Yushchenko made the following declaration:

In conclusion I would like to say something that is long awaited by the Ukrainian patriots for many years I have signed a decree for the unbroken spirit and standing for the idea of fighting for independent Ukraine. I declare Stepan Bandera a national hero of Ukraine.

Without hesitation or shame, Yushchenko endorsed the legacy of Bandera, who had happily aligned with the Nazis in pursuit of his own nationalist goals. Those goals, however, did not include Jews. And here is the ultimate irony--Bandera was born in Austria, not the Ukraine. So much for ideological consistency.

US interference was not confined to serendipitous relationships, such as the Yushchenko marriage. It also included the open and active funding of certain political groups and media outlets. The US State Department sent money through a variety of outlets. One of these was the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening aka CEPPS.

This is : a USAID program with other National Endowment for Democracy-affiliated groups: the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. In 2010, the reported disbursement for CEPPS in Ukraine was nearly $5 million.

The program's efforts are described on the USAID website as providing "training for political party activists and locally elected officials to improve communication with civic groups and citizens, and the development of NGO-led advocacy campaigns on electoral and political process issues."

Anyone prepared to argue that it would be okay for Russia, through its Foreign Ministry, to contribute several million dollars for training party activists in the United States?

What we do not know is how much money was being spent on covert activities directed and managed by the CIA. During the political upheaval in April 2014 (Maidan 2), there was this news item:

Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan travelled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine's communications systems – and Washington isn't about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.

Do you think Americans would be outraged if the head of Russia's version of the CIA, the SVR or FSB, traveled quietly to the United States to meet with Donald Trump prior to his election? I think that would qualify as meddling.

Count me as one of the people who is outraged by the hypocrisy and stupidity now on display in the United States. I am not talking about Trump. I am referring to the Republicans and Democrats and pundits and media mouthpieces who are fuming about Russian citizens writing on Facebook as one of the worst catastrophes since Pearl Harbor or 9-11.

There clearly is meddling going on in America's political landscape. But it isn't the Russian Government. No. There are foreign and domestic forces aligned who are keen on portraying Russia as a threat to world order that must be opposed by more defense spending and tougher sanctions. That is the propaganda that dominates the media in the United States these days. And that is truly dangerous to our nation's safety and freedom.

Posted at 01:24 PM in Publius Tacitus , Russiagate | Permalink


james , 23 February 2018 at 02:11 PM

Good post pt.. thanks... i never knew ''the wife of former President Viktor Yushchenko was an American citizen and former senior official in the US State Department.'' That is informative.. i recall following this closely back in 2014.. the hypocrisy on display in the usa at present is truly amazing and frightening at the same time.. it appears that the public can be cowed very easily..
Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , 23 February 2018 at 02:29 PM
good points well made.

On the twitters, you would be accused of "whatabouttism" - which is the crime of excusing Putin's diabolism by pointing out American interference with the internal politics an elections of other nations. A CIA guy recently said the US only interferes to 'promote democracy' - tell that to Australia, Vietnam, Mexico, Chile, Congo, Russia, Ukraine...it's a long long list.

An independent Ukraine was also a project of German foreign policy after the Brest-Litowsk Treaty (the equivalent of the Versailles Treaty, only aimed at Russia) SO I have o wonder how much of the enthusiasm for Vicky Nuland's Israel friendly Nazi state-let (oh what irony!) is a product of Germany wanting to reassert itself in the east, using NATO solidarity as a fig leaf. Maybe they will make Ukraine import a lot o Africans "refugees" so that Soros' project of creating a brown Europe will be advanced in the Slavic sphere as well as the west.

Adrestia , 23 February 2018 at 02:39 PM
It's not only the US. The EU borg are also meddling. In my country we had a referendum about Ukraine. The population voted "Against" on the question: "Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Ukraine%E2%80%93European_Union_Association_Agreement_referendum,_2016

This was the only referendum that was done since it was implemented in 2015. A second one is being organized on the Intelligence and Security Services which has controversial parts with regard to access to internet traffic.

This referendum will take place on March 21, 2018 and will probably be voted against because of the controversial elements (in part because there is still living memory of our Eastern neighbors in the second world war)

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wet_op_de_inlichtingen-_en_veiligheidsdiensten_2017

These 2 will probably be the last. Our house of representatives have voted yesterday to end the referendum law (with a majority vote of 76 out of 150 representatives!)

So much for democracy. The reason stated that the referendum was controversial (probably because they voted against the EU borg). Interesting is that the proposal was done by the party that wanted the referendum as a principal point. This will almost certainly ensure that the little respect left for traditional parties is gone and they will not be able to get a majority next elections.

The liberal party - who provides the prime-minister - EU leader Hans van Baalen and Belgian ex-prime minister Guy Verhostad held a controversial speech on the Maidan square in support of the protesters that the EU will support them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIL1FWCIlu8

Tom , 23 February 2018 at 03:22 PM

I wouldn't put to much stress on Bandera having been a bad guy. His enemies were no better. They just won the war and the victors write history. The deeper problem of Ukraine is the fact that in the East of the country (and maybe even the majority of the country) Bandera is indeed regarded as a villain. But in the West he is a hero to this day. Even in Soviet times people from Western Ukraine were regarded as "fascists" by much of the rest of the country. No wonder as there were anti soviet partisans until late in the fifties.

Even in the nineties anybody who travelled in Ukraine could feel the tension between East and West. The Russians were certainly aware of it and mindful not to rip the country apart they cut the Ukrainians an enormous amount of slack. Of course they supported "their" candidates and shoveled money into their insatiable throats. Only to be disappointed time and again. "Prorussian" Kutshma turned into a Ukrainian "patriot" (such is the logic of statehood) and the same thing happened with Yanukovich. People forget that he would have signed an association agreement with Europe had Europe not refused because he was insufficiently "democratic". Really the West should have been content with things as they were.

But the West wanted it all. They wanted Ukraine firmly in the "Western" camp. Thereby they ripped the country apart. As a good friend of mine who has studied in Kiev in Soviet times remarked: to ask Ukraine to choose between East and West is like asking a child in divorce proceedings who it liked more: daddy or mummy?

Really the West (not only the US -the Eu is also guilty) is to blame. It is long past time to get down from the high horse and stop spreading chaos and mayhem in the name of democracy,

Jony Kanuck , 23 February 2018 at 03:27 PM
Publius,

An informative column. The coup & later developments soured me on the MSMedia. I'm an initiate into modern Russian history: NATO in the Ukraine = WW3!

Some additional history:

A Ukrainian nation did not exist until after WW1; one piece was Russian, another Polish and another Austrian. The Holodomor is exaggerated for political purposes; the actual number dead from famine appears to be 'only' 2M. It wasn't Soviet bloody mindedness, it was Soviet agricultural mismanagement; collectivizing agriculture drops production.

They did this right before the great drought of the 1930s - remember the dustbowl. There was a famine in Kazakestan at the same time; 1.5M died.

The Nazis raised 5 SS divisions out of the Ukraine. As the Germans were pushed back they ran night drops of ordnance into the Ukraine as long as they could. The Soviets had to carry on divisional level counter insurgency until 1956. After the war, Gehlen, Nazi intelligence czar, kept himself out of jail by turning over his files, routes & agents to the US. He also stoked anti Soviet paranoia.

The Brits ended up with a whole Ukr SS division that they didn't want, so they gave it to Canada. Which is why Canada has such cranky policy around the Ukraine!

bluetonga , 23 February 2018 at 03:28 PM
A very interesting conversation between Victoria Nulland and ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, caught at picking the future rulers of liberated Ukraine : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QxZ8t3V_bk This is not meddling. This is a defensive (preemptive?) action against Russian agression.
Publius Tacitus -> Tom... , 23 February 2018 at 03:31 PM
Tom,

I'm sure you'd like us to ignore Bandera. I bet he liked children and dogs. Just like Hitler. Bandera was a genuine bad guy. There is no rehabilitating that scourge on society. Nice try though.

Publius Tacitus -> bluetonga... , 23 February 2018 at 03:36 PM
I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that your final comment is sarcasm. When you have two senior US Government officials who will and will not constitute a foreign government, you have gone beyond meddling. It is worse.
VietnamVet , 23 February 2018 at 03:57 PM
PT

The media is hysterical. Today, Putin's Facebook Bot Collaborator contacted the Kremlin before his mercenaries attacked Americans in Syria.

I've never seen such an intense barrage of propaganda before in my life. America is fracturing apart like Ukraine. This is no coincidence. In both countries, oligarchs have seized power, the rule of law abandoned and there is a rush of corruption.

A World War is near. The realists are gone. The Moguls are pushing Donald Trump pull the trigger. Either in Syria with an assault to destroy Hezbollah (Iran) for good or American trainers going over the top of trenches in Donbass in a centennial attack of the dead.

The Twisted Genius , 23 February 2018 at 03:59 PM
Publius Tacitus,

Hallelujah and jubilation! We're in full agreement on this subject. What we did to Ukraine is shameful in every way. A remember a video of a pallet of money being unloaded from a USG place at Kiev during Maidan 2. That's in addition to Nuland's bag of cookies. I always thought that one of the objectives of our meddling in Ukraine was to make Sevastopol into a NATO naval base.

I would definitely want to see a full account of what support we provided to the nazi thugs of Svoboda and Pravy Sektor. We have a long history of meddling, at least twice as long as the Soviet Union/Russia. But that does not mean we should stop investigating the Russian interference in our 2016 election. Just stop hyperventilating over it. It no more deserves risking a war than our continuing mutual espionage.

TimmyB , 23 February 2018 at 04:08 PM
Our leaders are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. The Ukraine was almost evenly divided between pro-Western and pro-Russian sides. Our government, rather than waiting for an election, assisted an armed rebellion against the elected pro-Russian government. Among the groups our government allied with in this endeavor were out and out Nazis.

As a result of this rebellion, the Russian majority in Crimea overwhelming voted to leave the Ukraine and rejoin Russia, which they had been part of for over 150-years. While our government continues to provide military aid to Israel, which used force of arms take over the West Bank, it imposed sanctions against Russia when the people of Crimea voted to join their former countrymen. Mind boggling.

[Jan 04, 2020] Good point Afghanistan. The newly appointed General Ghaani was active in Afghanistan. As he is famimiar with the place, that may well be where he decides to retaliate.

Jan 04, 2020 | thesaker.is

Serbian girl on January 03, 2020 , · at 5:00 pm EST/EDT

Good point Afghanistan. The newly appointed General Ghaani was active in Afghanistan. As he is famimiar with the place, that may well be where he decides to retaliate.

In case the link does not work, Elijah magnier's and Roberto Neccia's tweet.
https://mobile.twitter.com/neccia1/status/1213045008204533760

Str8arrow62 on January 03, 2020 , · at 5:18 pm EST/EDT
The introduction of manpads would be no less significant an impact on the occupying force as it was when the Soviet's were there when the SEE EYE AYE showered the Afghani's with Stingers. It completely changed the modus of the Soviet army once they were introduced. Helicopters became dangerous to be in and could no longer fly near the ground. Good observations though, the assassination of Assad could prove to be magnitudes greater a spark than any of us could imagine. I hope for the sake of, among the many, the Christians he's been protecting from the foreign merc's. that he stays safe. He must keep a low profile and let's hope the S400's will take care of any Predator drones that try to fly the Damascus airspace. ­
C. Khosta y Alzamendi on January 03, 2020 , · at 6:43 pm EST/EDT
It seems US (or perhaps Israel) didn't give you time enough to think about what could be the next move (breaking news from Sputinik, 23:30 GMT): vehicle convoy carrying Iraqi PMF leaders hit by airstrike, 6 dead at least.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202001041077936776-two-car-convoy-north-of-baghdad-under-aerial-attack -- reports/

Chad on January 03, 2020 , · at 3:34 pm EST/EDT
Thanks for posting this. I wonder if Soleimani consciously ( on many human and beyond human levels) wanted to offer the Yanks a "target" (a type of sacrifice, namely himself) that was just too big to ignore, knowing that the stupid enemy would take the bait, and having a secure knowledge that his death would set in motion a chain of events that will (underline will) result in the final terrible fall of the US, and Israel. Stupid American "leaders", right now, they are dancing in idiotic joy, saying foolish words for which we will pay, also knowing what the future holds: the death of countless people, throughout not only the Middle East, but here in the US as well. Yes, I do hate them for what they have unleashed.

Rest In Peace, Soleimani. You very well may achieve far more in death that you attained in your eventful life.

What do we know about Esmail Ghaani?

[Jan 01, 2020] FDA Failed to Police Opioids Makers, Thus Fueling Opioids Crisis

Jan 01, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

FDA Failed to Police Opioids Makers, Thus Fueling Opioids Crisis Posted on January 1, 2020 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

I had hoped to welcome 2020 with a optimistic post.

Alas, the current news cycle has thrown up little cause for optimism.

Instead, what has caught my eye today: 2019 closes with release of a new study showing the FDA's failure to police opioids manufacturers fueled the opioids crisis.

This is yet another example of a familiar theme: inadequate regulation kills people: e.g. think Boeing. Or, on a longer term, less immediate scale, consider the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency, in so many realms, including the failure to curb emissions so as to slow the pace of climate change.

In the opioids case, we're talking about thousands and thousands of people.

On Monday, Jama Internal Medicine published research concerning the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) program to reduce opioids abuse. The FDA launched its risk evaluation and mitigation strategy – REMS – in 2012. Researchers examined nearly 10,000 documents, released in response to a Freedom of Information ACT (FOA) request, to generate the conclusions published by JAMA.

As the Gray Lady tells the story in As Tens of Thousands Died, F.D.A. Failed to Police Opioids :

In 2011, the F.D.A. began asking the makers of OxyContin and other addictive long-acting opioids to pay for safety training for more than half the physicians prescribing the drugs, and to track the effectiveness of the training and other measures in reducing addiction, overdoses and deaths.

But the F.D.A. was never able to determine whether the program worked, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found in a new review, because the manufacturers did not gather the right kind of data. Although the agency's approval of OxyContin in 1995 has long come under fire, its efforts to ensure the safe use of opioids since then have not been scrutinized nearly as much.

The documents show that even when deficiencies in these efforts became obvious through the F.D.A.'s own review process, the agency never insisted on improvements to the program, [called a REMS]. . .

The FDA's regulatory failure had serious public health consequences, according to critics of US opioids policy, as reported by the NYT:

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis, said the safety program was a missed opportunity. He is a leader of a group of physicians who had encouraged the F.D.A. to adopt stronger controls, and a frequent critic of the government's response to the epidemic.

Dr. Kolodny, who was not involved in the study, called the program "a really good example of the way F.D.A. has failed to regulate opioid manufacturers. If F.D.A. had really been doing its job properly, I don't believe we'd have an opioid crisis today."

Now, as readers frequently emphasize in comments: pain management is a considerable problem – one I am all too well aware of, as I watched my father succumb to cancer. He ultimately passed away at my parents' home.

That being said, as CNN tells the story in The FDA can't prove its opioid strategy actually worked, study says :

Although these drugs "can be clinically useful among appropriately selected patients, they have also been widely oversupplied, are commonly used nonmedically, and account for a disproportionate number of fatal overdoses," the authors write.

The FDA was unable, more than 5 years after it had instituted its study of the opioids program's effectiveness, to determine whether it had met its objectives, and this may have been because prior assessments were not objective, according to CNN:

Prior analyses had largely been funded by drug companies, and a 2016 FDA advisory committee "noted methodological concerns regarding these studies," according to the authors. An inspector general report also concluded in 2013 that the agency "lacks comprehensive data to determine whether risk evaluation and mitigation strategies improve drug safety."

In addition to failing to evaluate the effective of the limited steps it had taken, the FDA neglected to take more aggressive steps that were within the ambit of its regulatory authority. According to CNN:

"FDA has tools that could mitigate opioid risks more effectively if the agency would be more assertive in using its power to control opioid prescribing, manufacturing, and distribution," said retired FDA senior executive William K. Hubbard in an editorial that accompanied the study. "Instead of bold, effective action, the FDA has implemented the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy programs that do not even meet the limited criteria set out by the FDA."

One measure the FDA could have taken, according to Hubbard: putting restrictions on opioid distribution.

"Restricting opioid distribution would be a major decision for the FDA, but it is also likely to be the most effective policy for reducing the harm of opioids," said Hubbard, who spent more than three decades at the agency and oversaw initiatives in areas such as regulation, policy and economic evaluation.

The Trump administration has made cleaning up the opioids crisis – which it inherited – a policy priority. To little seeming effect so far. although to be fair, this is not a simple problem to solve. And litigation to apportion various costs of the damages various prescription drugmakers, distributors, and doctors caused it far from over – despite some settlements, and judgements (see Federal Prosecutors Initiate Criminal Probe of Six Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors ; Four Companies Settle Just Before Bellwether Opioids Trial Was to Begin Today in Ohio ; Purdue Files for Bankruptcy, Agrees to Settle Some Pending Opioids Litigation: Sacklers on Hook for Billions? and Judge Issues $572 Million Verdict Against J & J in Oklahoma Opioids Trial: Settlements to Follow? )

Perhaps the Johns Hopkins study will spark moves to reform the broken FDA, so that it can once again serve as an effective regulator. This could perhaps be something we can look forward to achieving in 2020 (although I won't hold my breath).

Or, perhaps if enacting comprehensive reform is too overwhelming, especially with a divided government, as a starting point: can we agree to stop allowing self-interested industries to finance studies meant to assess the effectiveness of programs to regulate that very same industry? Please?

This is a concern in so many areas, with such self-interested considerations shaping not only regulation, but distorting academic research (see Virginia Supreme Court Upholds Ruling that George Mason University Foundation Is Not Subject to State FOIA Statute, Leaving Koch Funding Details Undisclosed ).

What madness!

[Dec 24, 2019] After Blowing $3 Trillion On Lies In Afghanistan, Congress Just Authorized A Trillion More For 2020

Dec 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

It's rare that I read something on the Washington Post that I don't find highly biased, even repugnant. But with their recent article on the Afghanistan Papers, they truly knocked the ball out of the park.

The facts they shared should have every American protesting in the streets.

Trillions of dollars have been spent on a war that the Pentagon knew was unwinnable all along. More than 2300 American soldiers died there and more than 20,000 have been injured. More than 150,000 Afghanis were killed, many of them civilians, including women and children.

And they lied to us constantly.

Congress just proved that the truth doesn't matter, though. A mere 22 hours after the release of this document, the new National Defense Authorization Act that breezed through the House and Senate was signed by the President. That bill authorized $738 billion in military spending for 2020 , actually increasing the budget by $22 billion over previous years.

So, how is your representation in Washington, DC working out for you?

What are the Afghanistan Papers?

The Afghanistan Papers are a brilliant piece of investigative journalism published by the Washington Post and the article is very much worth your time to read. I know, I know – WaPo. But believe me when I tell you this is something all Americans need to see.

This was an article that took three years of legal battles to bring to light. WaPo acquired the documents using the Freedom of Information Act and got more than 2000 pages of insider interviews with "people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials." These documents were originally part of a federal investigation into the "root failures" of the longest conflict in US history – more than 18 years now.

Three presidents, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, have been involved in this ongoing war. It turns out that officials knew the entire time this war was "unwinnable" yet they kept throwing American lives and American money at it.

Here's an excerpt from WaPo's report. Anything that is underlined is taken verbatim from the papers themselves – you can click on them to read the documents.

In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.

With a bluntness rarely expressed in public, the interviews lay bare pent-up complaints, frustrations and confessions, along with second-guessing and backbiting.

"We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan -- we didn't know what we were doing," Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House's Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: "What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

"If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost," Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. "Who will say this was in vain? " ( source )

The important thing to note about these interviews is that the interviewees never expected their words to become public. They weren't "blowing the whistle." They were answering questions for a federal investigation. So they didn't hold back. These aren't "soundbites." It's what the real witnesses are saying.

The U.S. government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent on the war in Afghanistan, but the costs are staggering.

Since 2001, the Defense Department, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have spent or appropriated between $934 billion and $978 billion, according to an inflation-adjusted estimate calculated by Neta Crawford, a political science professor and co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University.

Those figures do not include money spent by other agencies such as the CIA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is responsible for medical care for wounded veterans.

"What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?" Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, "After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan." ( source )

The US government deliberately misled the American people.

What's more, if you officials, up to and including three presidents, knew they were throwing money at something that could never be achieved. They did it anyway and they lied to our faces about it.

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul -- and at the White House -- to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible," Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. "Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone . ( source )

It's been an epic 18-year-long exercise in CYA. (Cover Your A$$). I don't see how anyone could fail to be outraged by this. And what I've cited here is just the crap icing on the maggot cupcake. It's a festering mess and I urge you, if you really want to know the truth, to read this article on WaPo and click on these links.

How was all this money spent?

A lot of it went to building infrastructure in Afghanistan. It was flagrantly and frivolously used there while we live in a place where people are going bankrupt at best and dying at worst because they can't afford medical care and there are places in our country without clean running water or toilets.

One unnamed executive with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) guessed that 90 percent of what they spent was overkill: "We lost objectivity. We were given money, told to spend it and we did, without reason."

One unidentified contractor told government interviewers he was expected to dole out $3 million daily for projects in a single Afghan district roughly the size of a U.S. county. He once asked a visiting congressman whether the lawmaker could responsibly spend that kind of money back home: "He said hell no. 'Well, sir, that's what you just obligated us to spend and I'm doing it for communities that live in mud huts with no windows.'  " ( source )

Aren't you angry about this? Don't you feel betrayed as more Americans struggle to pay their bills and eat food and keep a roof over their heads each month?

Who benefits from this?

As usual, follow the money.

The defense industry certainly reaped rewards and it's highly likely a lot of people who had the power to allow it to go on made some "wise investments" that have paid off for them. But for the rest of us, this conflict has done nothing except ensure that our tax dollars are not here improving our infrastructure or helping Americans lead better and more productive lives.

Dr. Ron Paul refers to this as the crime of the century.

It is not only members of the Bush, Obama, and Trump Administrations who are guilty of this massive fraud. Falsely selling the Afghanistan war as a great success was a bipartisan activity on Capitol Hill. In the dozens of hearings I attended in the House International Relations Committee, I do not recall a single "expert" witness called who told us the truth. Instead, both Republican and Democrat-controlled Congresses called a steady stream of neocon war cheerleaders to lie to us about how wonderfully the war was going. Victory was just around the corner, they all promised. Just a few more massive appropriations and we'd be celebrating the end of the war.

Congress and especially Congressional leadership of both parties are all as guilty as the three lying Administrations. They were part of the big lie, falsely presenting to the American people as "expert" witnesses only those bought-and-paid-for Beltway neocon think tankers.

What is even more shocking than the release of this "smoking gun" evidence that the US government wasted two trillion dollars and killed more than three thousand Americans and more than 150,000 Afghans while lying through its teeth about the war is that you could hear a pin drop in the mainstream media about it. Aside from the initial publication in the Washington Post, which has itself been a major cheerleader for the war in Afghanistan, the mainstream media has shown literally no interest in what should be the story of the century. ( source )

And it's most likely that nobody will ever face punishment for this deception. If this is not the very definition of the term "war crimes" I can hardly imagine what is. Dr. Paul continues:

We've wasted at least half a year on the Donald Trump impeachment charade – a conviction desperately in search of a crime. Meanwhile one of the greatest crimes in US history will go unpunished. Not one of the liars in the "Afghanistan Papers" will ever be brought to justice for their crimes. None of the three presidents involved will be brought to trial for these actual high crimes. Rumsfeld and Lute and the others will never have to fear justice. Because both parties are in on it. There is no justice . ( source )

The response? Silence and a budget increase.

The people in government don't care that we know about all this. Sure, it's mildly inconvenient but "whatever."

How do I know this?

Simple. Less than a full day after the story broke, the new NDAA ended up on President Trump's desk and was signed, authorizing an additional 22 billion dollars for next year's defense spending. And all anyone can talk about is, "Oooohhhh Space Force!!!"

Government: "Merry Christmas. We're going to blow through more of your tax money and you won't get a damned thing for it."

I couldn't make this up if I tried. In a notable, must-read op-ed , Darius Shahtahmasebi cited some horrific incidents and concluded:

We can't let this recent publication obscure itself into nothingness. The recent reaction from Congress is a giant middle finger designed to tell you that (a) there will never be anything you can do about it and (b) they simply don't care how you feel. Democracy at its finest from the world's leading propagator of democratic values. ( source )

When is enough going to be enough? Why are we not enraged en masse? Why haven't we recalled these treasonous bastards and taken our country and our budget back?

For a country that is ready to take up arms and waste countless hours "impeaching" Trump over something he said on a phone call, it sure says a lot about those same people ignoring 18 years of treasonous behavior by three separate administrations.

Why isn't the media raising hell over this? Why aren't these lives important? Why isn't sending trillions of our dollars to be frittered away an outrage?

People love to say "America First" and "impeach Trump for treason" and all that jazz. They love to call anti-war people "un-American" and recommend a quick, one-way trip to Somalia if we don't "support our troops." However, I think is far more evidence of supporting our troops to want out of there, not risking their lives based on a castle of lies that further enriches powerful and wealthy people who have nothing to lose.

Most people love to be outraged about frivolous matters. But when a report like this and its following insult are met with resounding silence, it's pretty obvious that hardly anybody is really paying attention.

[Dec 23, 2019] When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable by Daniel R. DePetris

Notable quotes:
"... Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable?

Even after the release of the Afghanistan Papers, our elites are still determined to escape without blame. CERNOBBIO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Chairman of the KKR Global Institute David Howell Petraeus attends the Ambrosetti International Economic Forum 2019 "Lo scenario dell'Economia e della Finanza" on September 6, 2019 in Cernobbio, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Almost two weeks after the Washington Post 's Craig Whitlock published his six-part series on the trials, tribulations, and blunders of Washington's 19-year-long social science experiment in Afghanistan, those involved in the war effort are desperately pointing fingers as to who is to blame. An alternative narrative has emerged among this crop of elite policymakers, military officers, and advisers that while American policy in Afghanistan has been horrible, the people responsible for it really did believe it would all work out in the end. Call it the "we were stupid" defense.

There were no lies or myths propagated by senior U.S. officials, we are told, just honest assessments that later proved to be wrong. Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who has advised U.S. commanders on Afghanistan war policy, wrote that "no, there has not been a campaign of disinformation, intentional or subliminal." Former defense secretary Jim Mattis, who led CENTCOM during part of the war effort, called the Post 's reporting "not really news" and was mystified that the unpublished interviews from the U.S. special inspector general were generating such shock. Others have faulted the Post for publishing the material to begin with, claiming that public disclosure would scare future witnesses from cooperating and threaten other fact-finding inquiries (the fact that the newspaper was legally permitted to publish the transcripts after winning a court case against the government is apparently irrelevant in the minds of those making this argument).

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

All of these claims and counter-claims should be seen for what they truly are: the flailings of a policymaking class so arrogant and unaccountable that it can't see straight. That they're blaming the outrage engendered by the Afghanistan Papers on anything other than themselves is Exhibit A that our narcissistic policy elite is cocooned in their own reality.

Analysts have been pouring over the Afghanistan interview transcripts for over a week in order to determine how the war went wrong. Some of the main lessons learned have long been evident. The decision to impose a top-down democratic political order on a country that operated on a system of patronage and tribal systems from the bottom-up was bound to be problematic. Throwing tens of billions of dollars of reconstruction assistance into a nation that had no experience managing that kind of money -- or spending it properly -- helped fuel the very nationwide corruption Washington would come to regret. Paying off warlords to fight the Taliban and keep order while pressuring those very same warlords into following the rules was contradictory. The mistakes go on and on and on: as Lieutenant General Douglas Lute said, "We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

One of the most salient findings about this ghastly two-decade-long misadventure surfaced after the Afghanistan Papers were released: the commentariat will stop at nothing to absolve themselves of the slightest responsibility for the disaster they supported. The outright refusal of the pundit class to own up to its errors is as disturbing as it is infuriating. And even when they do acknowledge that errors were committed, they tend to minimize their own role in those mistakes, explaining them away as unfortunate consequences of fixed withdrawal deadlines, inter-agency tussling, Afghanistan's poor foundational state, or the inability of the Afghans to capitalize on the opportunities Washington provided them. Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal.

It's always somebody else's fault.

Whether out of arrogance, ego, or fear of not being taken seriously in Washington's foreign policy discussions, the architects of the war refuse to admit even the most obvious mistakes. Instead they duck and weave like a quarterback escaping a full-on defensive rush, attempting yet again to fool the American public.

But the public has nothing to apologize for. It is those who are making excuses who have exercised disastrous judgment on Afghanistan. And they owe the country an apology.

Daniel R. DePetris is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and a contributor to The American Conservative.

[Dec 20, 2019] Singer became notorious for what he did to Argentina after he bought their debt, and he is pretty upfront about not caring who objects by Andrew Joyce

Highly recommended!
Jewish financists are no longer Jewish, much like a socialist who became minister is no longer a socialist minister. Unregulated finance promotes a set of destructive behaviors which has nothing to do with nationality or ethnicity.
Of course that Joyce is peddling his own obsessions, but I have to admit that Singer & comp. are detestable. I know that what they're doing is not illegal, but it should be (in my opinion), and those who are involved in such affairs are somehow odious. The same goes for Icahn, Soros etc. Still Ethnic angle is evident, too: how come Singer works exclusively with his co-ethnics in this multi-ethnic USA? Non-Jewish & most Jewish entrepreneurs don't behave that way.
Dec 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

It was very gratifying to see Tucker Carlson's recent attack on the activities of Paul Singer's vulture fund, Elliot Associates, a group I first profiled four years ago. In many respects, it is truly remarkable that vulture funds like Singer's escaped major media attention prior to this, especially when one considers how extraordinarily harmful and exploitative they are. Many countries are now in very significant debt to groups like Elliot Associates and, as Tucker's segment very starkly illustrated, their reach has now extended into the very heart of small-town America. Shining a spotlight on the spread of this virus is definitely welcome. I strongly believe, however, that the problem presented by these cabals of exploitative financiers will only be solved if their true nature is fully discerned. Thus far, the descriptive terminology employed in discussing their activities has revolved only around the scavenging and parasitic nature of their activities. Elliot Associates have therefore been described as a quintessential example of a "vulture fund" practicing "vulture capitalism." But these funds aren't run by carrion birds. They are operated almost exclusively by Jews. In the following essay, I want us to examine the largest and most influential "vulture funds," to assess their leadership, ethos, financial practices, and how they disseminate their dubiously acquired wealth. I want us to set aside colorful metaphors. I want us to strike through the mask.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IdwH066g5lQ?feature=oembed

Who Are The Vultures?

It is commonly agreed that the most significant global vulture funds are Elliot Management, Cerberus, FG Hemisphere, Autonomy Capital, Baupost Group, Canyon Capital Advisors, Monarch Alternative Capital, GoldenTree Asset Management, Aurelius Capital Management, OakTree Capital, Fundamental Advisors, and Tilden Park Investment Master Fund LP. The names of these groups are very interesting, being either blankly nondescript or evoking vague inklings of Anglo-Saxon or rural/pastoral origins (note the prevalence of oak, trees, parks, canyons, monarchs, or the use of names like Aurelius and Elliot). This is the same tactic employed by the Jew Jordan Belfort, the "Wolf of Wall Street," who operated multiple major frauds under the business name Stratton Oakmont.

These names are masks. They are designed to cultivate trust and obscure the real background of the various groupings of financiers. None of these groups have Anglo-Saxon or venerable origins. None are based in rural idylls. All of the vulture funds named above were founded by, and continue to be operated by, ethnocentric, globalist, urban-dwelling Jews. A quick review of each of their websites reveals their founders and central figures to be:

Elliot Management -- Paul Singer, Zion Shohet, Jesse Cohn, Stephen Taub, Elliot Greenberg and Richard Zabel Cerberus -- Stephen Feinberg, Lee Millstein, Jeffrey Lomasky, Seth Plattus, Joshua Weintraub, Daniel Wolf, David Teitelbaum FG Hemisphere -- Peter Grossman Autonomy Capital -- Derek Goodman Baupost Group -- Seth Klarman, Jordan Baruch, Isaac Auerbach Canyon Capital Advisors -- Joshua Friedman, Mitchell Julis Monarch Alternative Capital -- Andrew Herenstein, Michael Weinstock GoldenTree Asset Management -- Steven Tananbaum, Steven Shapiro Aurelius Capital Management -- Mark Brodsky, Samuel Rubin, Eleazer Klein, Jason Kaplan OakTree Capital -- Howard Marks, Bruce Karsh, Jay Wintrob, John Frank, Sheldon Stone Fundamental Advisors -- Laurence Gottlieb, Jonathan Stern Tilden Park Investment Master Fund LP -- Josh Birnbaum, Sam Alcoff

The fact that all of these vulture funds, widely acknowledged as the most influential and predatory, are owned and operated by Jews is remarkable in itself, especially in a contemporary context in which we are constantly bombarded with the suggestion that Jews don't have a special relationship with money or usury, and that any such idea is an example of ignorant prejudice. Equally remarkable, however, is the fact that Jewish representation saturates the board level of these companies also, suggesting that their beginnings and methods of internal promotion and operation rely heavily on ethnic-communal origins, and religious and social cohesion more generally. As such, these Jewish funds provide an excellent opportunity to examine their financial and political activities as expressions of Jewishness, and can thus be placed in the broader framework of the Jewish group evolutionary strategy and the long historical trajectory of Jewish-European relations.

How They Feed

In May 2018, Puerto Rico declared a form of municipal bankruptcy after falling into more than $74.8 billion in debt, of which more than $34 billion is interest and fees. The debt was owed to all of the Jewish capitalists named above, with the exception of Stephen Feinberg's Cerberus group. In order to commence payments, the government had instituted a policy of fiscal austerity, closing schools and raising utility bills, but when Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017, Puerto Rico was forced to stop transfers to their Jewish creditors. This provoked an aggressive attempt by the Jewish funds to seize assets from an island suffering from an 80% power outage, with the addition of further interest and fees. Protests broke out in several US cities calling for the debt to be forgiven. After a quick stop in Puerto Rico in late 2018, Donald Trump pandered to this sentiment when he told Fox News, "They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street, and we're going to have to wipe that out." But Trump's statement, like all of Trump's statements, had no substance. The following day, the director of the White House budget office, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters: "I think what you heard the president say is that Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out a way to solve its debt problem." In other words, Puerto Rico is going to have to figure out a way to pay its Jews.

Trump's reversal is hardly surprising, given that the President is considered extremely friendly to Jewish financial power. When he referred to "your friends on Wall Street" he really meant his friends on Wall Street. One of his closest allies is Stephen Feinberg, founder and CEO of Cerberus, a war-profiteering vulture fund that has now accumulated more than $1.5 billion in Irish debt , leaving the country prone to a " wave of home repossessions " on a scale not seen since the Jewish mortgage traders behind Quicken Loans (Daniel Gilbert) and Ameriquest (Roland Arnall) made thousands of Americans homeless . Feinberg has also been associated with mass evictions in Spain, causing a collective of Barcelona anarchists to label him a "Jewish mega parasite" in charge of the "world's vilest vulture fund." In May 2018, Trump made Feinberg chair of his Intelligence Advisory Board , and one of the reasons for Trump's sluggish retreat from Afghanistan has been the fact Feinberg's DynCorp has enjoyed years of lucrative government defense contracts training Afghan police and providing ancillary services to the military.

But Trump's association with Jewish vultures goes far beyond Feinberg. A recent piece in the New York Post declared "Orthodox Jews are opening up their wallets for Trump in 2020." This is a predictable outcome of the period 2016 to 2020, an era that could be neatly characterised as How Jews learned to stop worrying and love the Don. Jewish financiers are opening their wallets for Trump because it is now clear he utterly failed to fulfil promises on mass immigration to White America, while pledging his commitment to Zionism and to socially destructive Jewish side projects like the promotion of homosexuality. These actions, coupled with his commuting of Hasidic meatpacking boss Sholom Rubashkin 's 27-year-sentence for bank fraud and money laundering in 2017, have sent a message to Jewish finance that Trump is someone they can do business with. Since these globalist exploiters are essentially politically amorphous, knowing no loyalty but that to their own tribe and its interests, there is significant drift of Jewish mega-money between the Democratic and Republican parties. The New York Post reports, for example, that when Trump attended a $25,000-per-couple luncheon in November at a Midtown hotel, where 400 moneyed Jews raised at least $4 million for the America First [!] SuperPAC, the luncheon organiser Kelly Sadler, told reporters, "We screened all of the people in attendance, and we were surprised to see how many have given before to Democrats, but never a Republican. People were standing up on their chairs chanting eight more years." The reality, of course, is that these people are not Democrats or Republicans, but Jews, willing to push their money in whatever direction the wind of Jewish interests is blowing.

The collapse of Puerto Rico under Jewish debt and elite courting of Jewish financial predators is certainly nothing new. Congo , Zambia , Liberia , Argentina , Peru , Panama , Ecuador , Vietnam , Poland , and Ireland are just some of the countries that have slipped fatefully into the hands of the Jews listed above, and these same people are now closely watching Greece and India . The methodology used to acquire such leverage is as simple as it is ruthless. On its most basic level, "vulture capitalism" is really just a combination of the continued intense relationship between Jews and usury and Jewish involvement in medieval tax farming. On the older practice, Salo Baron writes in Economic History of the Jews that Jewish speculators would pay a lump sum to the treasury before mercilessly turning on the peasantry to obtain "considerable surpluses if need be, by ruthless methods." [1] S. Baron (ed) Economic History of the Jews (New York, 1976), 46-7. The activities of the Jewish vulture funds are essentially the same speculation in debt, except here the trade in usury is carried out on a global scale with the feudal peasants of old now replaced with entire nations. Wealthy Jews pool resources, purchase debts, add astronomical fees and interests, and when the inevitable default occurs they engage in aggressive legal activity to seize assets, bringing waves of jobs losses and home repossessions.

This type of predation is so pernicious and morally perverse that both the Belgian and UK governments have taken steps to ban these Jewish firms from using their court systems to sue for distressed debt owed by poor nations. Tucker Carlson, commenting on Paul Singer's predation and the ruin of the town of Sidney, Nebraska, has said:

It couldn't be uglier or more destructive. So why is it still allowed in the United States? The short answer: Because people like Paul Singer have tremendous influence over our political process. Singer himself was the second largest donor to the Republican Party in 2016. He's given millions to a super-PAC that supports Republican senators. You may never have heard of Paul Singer -- which tells you a lot in itself -- but in Washington, he's rock-star famous. And that is why he is almost certainly paying a lower effective tax rate than your average fireman, just in case you were still wondering if our system is rigged. Oh yeah, it is.

Aside from direct political donations, these Jewish financiers also escape scrutiny by hiding behind a mask of simplistic anti-socialist rhetoric that is common in the American Right, especially the older, Christian, and pro-Zionist demographic. Rod Dreher, in a commentary on Carlson's piece at the American Conservative , points out that Singer gave a speech in May 2019 attacking the "rising threat of socialism within the Democratic Party." Singer continued, "They call it socialism, but it is more accurately described as left-wing statism lubricated by showers of free stuff promised by politicians who believe that money comes from a printing press rather than the productive efforts of businesspeople and workers." Dreher comments: "The productive efforts of businesspeople and workers"? The gall of that man, after what he did to the people of Sidney."

What Singer and the other Jewish vultures engage in is not productive, and isn't even any recognisable form of work or business. It is greed-motivated parasitism carried out on a perversely extravagant and highly nepotistic scale. In truth, it is Singer and his co-ethnics who believe that money can be printed on the backs of productive workers, and who ultimately believe they have a right to be "showered by free stuff promised by politicians." Singer places himself in an infantile paradigm meant to entertain the goyim, that of Free Enterprise vs Socialism, but, as Carlson points out, "this is not the free enterprise that we all learned about." That's because it's Jewish enterprise -- exploitative, inorganic, and attached to socio-political goals that have nothing to do with individual freedom and private property. This might not be the free enterprise Carlson learned about, but it's clearly the free enterprise Jews learn about -- as illustrated in their extraordinary over-representation in all forms of financial exploitation and white collar crime. The Talmud, whether actively studied or culturally absorbed, is their code of ethics and their curriculum in regards to fraud, fraudulent bankruptcy, embezzlement, usury, and financial exploitation. Vulture capitalism is Jewish capitalism.

Whom They Feed

Singer's duplicity is a perfect example of the way in which Jewish finance postures as conservative while conserving nothing. Indeed, Jewish capitalism may be regarded as the root cause of the rise of Conservative Inc., a form or shadow of right wing politics reduced solely to fiscal concerns that are ultimately, in themselves, harmful to the interests of the majority of those who stupidly support them. The spirit of Jewish capitalism, ultimately, can be discerned not in insincere bleating about socialism and business, intended merely to entertain semi-educated Zio-patriots, but in the manner in which the Jewish vulture funds disseminate the proceeds of their parasitism. Real vultures are weak, so will gorge at a carcass and regurgitate food to feed their young. So then, who sits in the nests of the vulture funds, awaiting the regurgitated remains of troubled nations?

Boston-based Seth Klarman (net worth $1.5 billion), who like Paul Singer has declared "free enterprise has been good for me," is a rapacious debt exploiter who was integral to the financial collapse of Puerto Rico, where he hid much of activities behind a series of shell companies. Investigative journalists eventually discovered that Klarman's Baupost group was behind much of the aggressive legal action intended to squeeze the decimated island for bond payments. It's clear that the Jews involved in these companies are very much aware that what they are doing is wrong, and they are careful to avoid too much reputational damage, whether to themselves individually or to their ethnic group. Puerto Rican journalists, investigating the debt trail to Klarman, recall trying to follow one of the shell companies (Decagon) to Baupost via a shell company lawyer (and yet another Jew) named Jeffrey Katz:

Returning to the Ropes & Gray thread, we identified several attorneys who had worked with the Baupost Group, and one, Jeffrey Katz, who -- in addition to having worked directly with Baupost -- seemed to describe a particularly close and longstanding relationship with a firm fitting Baupost's profile on his experience page. I called Katz and he picked up, to my surprise. I identified myself, as well as my affiliation with the Public Accountability Initiative, and asked if he was the right person to talk to about Decagon Holdings and Baupost. He paused, started to respond, and then evidently thought better of it and said that he was actually in a meeting, and that I would need to call back (apparently, this high-powered lawyer picks up calls from strange numbers when he is in important meetings). As he was telling me to call back, I asked him again if he was the right person to talk to about Decagon, and that I wouldn't call back if he wasn't, and he seemed to get even more flustered. At that point he started talking too much, about how he was a lawyer and has clients, how I must think I'm onto some kind of big scoop, and how there was a person standing right in front of him -- literally, standing right in front of him -- while I rudely insisted on keeping him on the line.

One of the reasons for such secrecy is the intensive Jewish philanthropy engaged in by Klarman under his Klarman Family Foundation . While Puerto Rican schools are being closed, and pensions and health provisions slashed, Klarman is regurgitating the proceeds of massive debt speculation to his " areas of focus " which prominently includes " Supporting the global Jewish community and Israel ." While plundering the treasuries of the crippled nations of the goyim, Klarman and his co-ethnic associates have committed themselves to "improving the quality of life and access to opportunities for all Israeli citizens so that they may benefit from the country's prosperity." Among those in Klarman's nest, their beaks agape for Puerto Rican debt interest, are the American Jewish Committee, Boston's Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Honeymoon Israel Foundation, Israel-America Academic Exchange, and the Israel Project. Klarman, like Singer, has also been an enthusiastic proponent of liberalising attitudes to homosexuality, donating $1 million to a Republican super PAC aimed at supporting pro-gay marriage GOP candidates in 2014 (Singer donated $1.75 million). Klarman, who also contributes to candidates who support immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, has said "The right to gay marriage is the largest remaining civil rights issue of our time. I work one-on-one with individual Republicans to try to get them to realize they are being Neanderthals on this issue."

Steven Tananbaum's GoldenTree Asset Management has also fed well on Puerto Rico, owning $2.5 billion of the island's debt. The Centre for Economic and Policy Research has commented :

Steven Tananbaum, GoldenTree's chief investment officer, told a business conference in September (after Hurricane Irma, but before Hurricane Maria) that he continued to view Puerto Rican bonds as an attractive investment. GoldenTree is spearheading a group of COFINA bondholders that collectively holds about $3.3 billion in bonds. But with Puerto Rico facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and lacking enough funds to even begin to pay back its massive debt load, these vulture funds are relying on their ability to convince politicians and the courts to make them whole. The COFINA bondholder group has spent $610,000 to lobby Congress over the last two years, while GoldenTree itself made $64,000 in political contributions to federal candidates in the 2016 cycle. For vulture funds like GoldenTree, the destruction of Puerto Rico is yet another opportunity for exorbitant profits.

Whom does Tananbaum feed with these profits? A brief glance at the spending of the Lisa and Steven Tananbaum Charitable Trust reveals a relatively short list of beneficiaries including United Jewish Appeal Foundation, American Friends of Israel Museum, Jewish Community Center, to be among the most generously funded, with sizeable donations also going to museums specialising in the display of degenerate and demoralising art.

Following the collapse in Irish asset values in 2008, Jewish vulture funds including OakTree Capital swooped on mortgagee debt to seize tens of thousands of Irish homes, shopping malls, and utilities (Steve Feinberg's Cerberus took control of public waste disposal). In 2011, Ireland emerged as a hotspot for distressed property assets, after its bad banks began selling loans that had once been held by struggling financial institutions. These loans were quickly purchased at knockdown prices by Jewish fund managers, who then aggressively sought the eviction of residents in order to sell them for a fast profit. Michael Byrne, a researcher at the School of Social Policy at University College Dublin, Ireland's largest university, comments : "The aggressive strategies used by vulture funds lead to human tragedies." One homeowner, Anna Flynn recalls how her mortgage fell into the hands of Mars Capital, an affiliate of Oaktree Capital, owned and operated by the Los Angeles-based Jews Howard Marks and Bruce Karsh. They were "very, very difficult to deal with," said Flynn, a mother of four. "All [Mars] wanted was for me to leave the house; they didn't want a solution [to ensure I could retain my home]."

When Bruce Karsh isn't making Irish people homeless, whom does he feed with his profits? A brief glance at the spending of the Karsh Family Foundation reveals millions of dollars of donations to the Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Center, and the United Jewish Fund.

Paul Singer, his son Gordin, and their Elliot Associates colleagues Zion Shohet, Jesse Cohn, Stephen Taub, Elliot Greenberg and Richard Zabel, have a foothold in almost every country, and have a stake in every company you're likely to be familiar with, from book stores to dollar stores. With the profits of exploitation, they fund campaigns for homosexuality and mass migration , boost Zionist politics, invest millions in security for Jews , and promote wars for Israel. Singer is a Republican, and is on the Board of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He is a former board member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, has funded neoconservative research groups like the Middle East Media Research Institute and the Center for Security Policy, and is among the largest funders of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He was also connected to the pro-Iraq War advocacy group Freedom's Watch. Another key Singer project was the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group that was founded in 2009 by several high-profile Jewish neoconservative figures to promote militaristic U.S. policies in the Middle East on behalf of Israel and which received its seed money from Singer.

Although Singer was initially anti-Trump, and although Trump once attacked Singer for his pro-immigration politics ("Paul Singer represents amnesty and he represents illegal immigration pouring into the country"), Trump is now essentially funded by three Jews -- Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, together accounting for over $250 million in pro-Trump political money . In return, they want war with Iran. Employees of Elliott Management were one of the main sources of funding for the 2014 candidacy of the Senate's most outspoken Iran hawk, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who urged Trump to conduct a "retaliatory strike" against Iran for purportedly attacking two commercial tankers. These exploitative Jewish financiers have been clear that they expect a war with Iran, and they are lobbying hard and preparing to call in their pound of flesh. As one political commentator put it, "These donors have made their policy preferences on Iran plainly known. They surely expect a return on their investment in Trump's GOP."

The same pattern is witnessed again and again, illustrating the stark reality that the prosperity and influence of Zionist globalism rests to an overwhelming degree on the predations of the most successful and ruthless Jewish financial parasites. This is not conjecture, exaggeration, or hyperbole. This is simply a matter of striking through the mask, looking at the heads of the world's most predatory financial funds, and following the direction of regurgitated profits.

Make no mistake, these cabals are everywhere and growing. They could be ignored when they preyed on distant small nations, but their intention was always to come for you too. They are now on your doorstep. The working people of Sidney, Nebraska probably had no idea what a vulture fund was until their factories closed and their homes were taken. These funds will move onto the next town. And the next. And another after that. They won't be stopped through blunt support of "free enterprise," and they won't be stopped by simply calling them "vulture capitalists."

Strike through the mask!

Notes

[1] S. Baron (ed) Economic History of the Jews (New York, 1976), 46-7.

(Republished from The Occidental Observer by permission of author or representative)


anon [631] Disclaimer , says: December 19, 2019 at 2:34 am GMT

To what extent is Jewish success a product of Jewish intellect and industry versus being a result of a willingness to use low, dirty, honorless and anti-social tactics which, while maybe not in violation of the word of the law, certainly violate its spirit?

An application of "chutzpah" to business, if you will -- the gall to break social conventions to get what you want, while making other people feel uncomfortable; to wheedle your way in at the joints of social norms and conventions -- not illegal, but selfish and rude.

Krav Maga applies the same concept to the martial arts: You're taught to go after the things that every other martial art forbids you to target: the eyes, the testicles, etc. In other sports this is considered "low" and "cheap." In Krav Maga, as perhaps a metaphor for Jewish behavior in general, nothing is too low because it's all about winning .

Colin Wright , says: Website December 19, 2019 at 3:07 am GMT
On a related subject

There's a rather good article on the New Yorker discussing the Sacklers and the Oxycontin epidemic. It focusses on the dichotomy between the family's ruthless promotion of the drug and their lavish philanthropy. 'Leave the world a better place for your presence' and similar pieties and Oxycontin.

The article lightly touches on the extent of their giving to Hebrew University of Jerusalem -- but in general, treads lightly when it comes to their Judaism.

understandably. The New Yorker isn't exactly alt-right country, after all. But can Joyce or anyone else provide a more exact breakdown on the Sacklers' giving? Are they genuine philanthropists, or is it mostly for the Cause?

Colin Wright , says: Website December 19, 2019 at 3:21 am GMT
@anon 'To what extent is Jewish success a product of Jewish intellect and industry versus being a result of a willingness to use low, dirty, honorless and anti-social tactics which, while maybe not in violation of the word of the law, certainly violate its spirit? '

It's important not to get carried away with this. Figures such as Andrew Carnegie, while impeccably gentile, were hardly paragons of scrupulous ethics and disinterested virtue.

Lot , says: December 19, 2019 at 3:36 am GMT
I won't defend high finance because I don't like it either. But this is a retarded and highly uninformed attack on it.

1. The article bounces back and forth between two completely different fields: private equity and distressed debt funds. The latter is completely defensible. A lot of bondholders, probably the majority, cannot hold distressed or defaulted debt. Insurance companies often can't by law. Bond mutual funds set out in their prospectuses they don't invest in anything rated lower than A, AA, or whatever. Even those allowed to hold distressed debt don't want the extra costs involved with doing so, such as carefully following bankruptcy proceedings and dealing with delayed and irregular payments.

As a result, it is natural that normal investors sell off such debt at a discount to funds that specialize in it.

2. Joyce defends large borrowers that default on their debt. Maybe the laws protecting bankrupts and insolvents should be stronger. But you do that, and lenders become more conservative, investment declines, and worthy businesses can't get investments. I think myself the laws in the US are too favorable to lenders, but there's definitely a tradeoff, and the question is where the happy middle ground is. In Florida a creditor can't force the sale of a primary residence, even if it is worth $20 million. That's going too far in the other direction.

3. " either blankly nondescript or evoking vague inklings of Anglo-Saxon or rural/pastoral origins "

More retardation. Cerberus is a greek dog monster guarding the gates of hell. Aurelius is from the Latin word for gold. "Hemisphere" isn't an Anglosaxon word nor does in invoke rural origins.

Besides being retardedly wrong, the broader point is likewise retarded: when English-speaking Jews name their businesses they shouldn't use English words. Naming a company "Oaktree" should be limited to those of purely English blood! Jews must name their companies "Cosmopolitan Capital" or RosenMoses Chutzpah Advisors."

4. The final and most general point: it's trivially easy to attack particular excesses of capitalism. Fixing the excesses without creating bigger problem is the hard part. Two ideas I favor are usury laws and Tobin taxes.

Dutch Boy , says: December 19, 2019 at 5:09 am GMT
Jewishness aside, maximizing shareholder is the holy grail of all capitalist enterprises. The capitalist rush to abandon the American working class when tariff barriers evaporated is just another case of vulturism. Tax corporations based on the domestic content of their products and ban usury and vulturism will evaporate.
ANZ , says: December 19, 2019 at 5:26 am GMT
Someone with the username kikz posted a link to this article in the occidental observer. I read it and thought it was a great article. I'm glad it's featured here.

The article goes straight for the jugular and pulls no punches. It hits hard. I like that:

1. It shines a light on the some of the scummiest of the scummiest Wall Street players.
2. It names names. From the actual vulture funds to the rollcall of Jewish actors running each. It's astounding how ethnically uniform it is.
3. It proves Trump's ties with the most successful Vulture kingpin, Singer.
4. It shows how money flows from the fund owners to Zionist and Jewish causes.

This thing reads like a court indictment. It puts real world examples to many of the theories that are represents on this site. Excellent article.


Robjil , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT

Paul Singer is a world wide terrorist. Here is what he did to Argentina.

https://qz.com/1001650/hedge-fund-billionaire-paul-singers-ruthless-strategies-include-bullying-ceos-suing-governments-and-seizing-their-navys-ships/

Elliott Management is perhaps most notorious for its 15-year battle with the government of Argentina, whose bonds were owned by the hedge fund. When Argentine president Cristina Kirchner attempted to restructure the debt, Elliott -- unlike most of the bonds' owners -- refused to accept a large loss on its investment. It successfully sued in US courts, and in pursuit of Argentine assets, convinced a court in Ghana to detain an Argentine naval training vessel, then docked outside Accra with a crew of 22o. After a change of its government, Argentina eventually settled and Singer's fund received $2.4 billion, almost four times its initial investment. Kirchner, meanwhile, has been indicted for corruption.

UncommonGround , says: December 19, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
@Lot You give partial information which seem misleading and use arguments which are also weak and not enlightening.

1- Even if its natural that unsafe bonds are sold, this doesn't justify the practices and methods of those vulture fonds which buy those fonds which are socially damaging. I'm not certain of the details because it's an old case and people should seek more information. Very broadly, in the case of Argentina most funds accepted to make an agreement with the country and reduce their demands. Investors have to accept risks and losses. Paul Singer bought some financial papers for nothing at that time and forced Argentina to pay the whole price. For years Argentina refused to pay, but with the help of New York courts and the new Argentinian president they were forced to pay Singer. This was not conservative capitalism but imperialism. You can only act like Singer if you have the backing of courts, of a government which you control and of an army like the US army. A fast internet search for titles of articles: "Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer's ruthless strategies include bullying CEOs, suing governments and seizing their navy's ships". "How one hedge fund made $2 billion from Argentina's economic colapse".

Andrew Sayer, professor in an English university, says in his book "Why we can't afford the rich" that finances as they are practiced now may cost more than bring any value to a society. It's a problem if some sectors of finances make outsized profits and use methods which are more than questionable.

2- You say that if borrowers become more protected "lenders become more conservative, investment declines, and worthy businesses can't get investments." I doubt this is true. In the first place, risk investments by vulture fonds probably don't create any social value. The original lenders who sold their bonds to such vulture fonds have anyway big or near total losses in some cases and in spite of that they keep doing business. Why should we support vulture fonds, what for? What positive function they play in society? In Germany, capitalism was much more social in old days before a neoliberal wave forced Germany to change Rhine capitalism. Local banks lended money to local business which they knew and which they had an interest that they prosper. Larger banks lended money to big firms. Speculation like in neoliberal capitalism wasn't needed.

3- The point which you didn't grasp is that there is a component of those business which isn't publicly clear, the fact that they funcion along ethnic lines.

4- It would be easy to fix excesses of capitalism. The problem is that the people who profit the most from the system also have the power to prevent any change.

Robjil , says: December 19, 2019 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Robjil This is an example of what I was saying. Less Euro whites in the world is not going to be a good world for Big Js. Non-Euros believe in freedom of speech.

https://www.abeldanger.org/vulture-lord-paul-singer-postmodern/

Jewish Bigwigs can't get control of businesses in East Asia. They have been trying. Paul Singer tried and failed. In Argentina he got lots of "success". Why? Lots of descendants of Europeans there went along with "decisions" laid out by New York Jews.

Little Paulie tried to get control of Samsung. No such luck for him in Korea. In Korea there are many family monopolies, chaebols. A Korean chaebol stopped him. Jewish Daniel Loeb tried to get a board seat on Sony. He was rebuffed.

I was moved to reflect on the universality of this theme recently when surveying media coverage on Korean and Argentinian responses to the activities of Paul Singer and his co-ethnic shareholders at Elliott Associates, an arm of Singer's Elliott Management hedge fund. The Korean story has its origins in the efforts of Samsung's holding company, Cheil Industries, to buy Samsung C&T, the engineering and construction arm of the wider Samsung family of businesses. The move can be seen as part of an effort to reinforce control of the conglomerate by the founding Lee family and its heir apparent, Lee Jae-yong. Trouble emerged when Singer's company, which holds a 7.12% stake in Samsung C&T and is itself attempting to expand its influence and control over Far East tech companies, objected to the move. The story is fairly typical of Jewish difficulties in penetrating business cultures in the Far East, where impenetrable family monopolies, known in Korea as chaebols, are common. This new story reminded me very strongly of last year's efforts by Jewish financier Daniel Loeb to obtain a board seat at Sony. Loeb was repeatedly rebuffed by COO Kazuo Hirai, eventually selling his stake in Sony Corp. in frustration.

Here is how the Koreans fought off Paul Singer.

The predominantly Jewish-owned and operated Elliott Associates has a wealth of self-interest in preventing the Lee family from consolidating its control over the Samsung conglomerate. As racial outsiders, however, Singer's firm were forced into several tactical measures in their 52-day attempt to thwart the merger. First came lawsuits. When those failed, Singer and his associates then postured themselves as defending Korean interests, starting a Korean-language website and arguing that their position was really just in aid of helping domestic Korean shareholders. This variation on the familiar theme of Jewish crypsis was quite unsuccessful. The Lee family went on the offensive immediately and, unlike many Westerners, were not shy in drawing attention to the Jewish nature of Singer's interference and the sordid and intensely parasitic nature of his fund's other ventures.

Cartoons were drawn of Singer being a vulture.

Other cartoons appearing at the same time represented Elliott, literally, as humanoid vultures, with captions referring to the well-known history of the fund. In the above cartoon, the vulture offers assistance to a needy and destitute figure, but conceals an axe with which to later bludgeon the unsuspecting pauper.

ADL got all worked about this. The Koreans did not care. It is reality. Freedom of speech works on these vultures. The west should try some real freedom of speech.

After the cartoons appeared, Singer and other influential Jews, including Abraham Foxman, cried anti-Semitism. This was despite the fact the cartoons contain no reference whatsoever to Judaism – unless of course one defines savage economic predation as a Jewish trait. Samsung denied the cartoons were anti-Semitic and took them off the website, but the uproar over the cartoons only seemed to spur on even more discussion about Jewish influence in South Korea than was previously the case. In a piece published a fortnight ago, Media Pen columnist Kim Ji-ho claimed "Jewish money has long been known to be ruthless and merciless." Last week, the former South Korean ambassador to Morocco, Park Jae-seon, expressed his concern about the influence of Jews in finance when he said, "The scary thing about Jews is they are grabbing the currency markets and financial investment companies. Their network is tight-knit beyond one's imagination." The next day, cable news channel YTN aired similar comments by local journalist Park Seong-ho, who stated on air that "it is a fact that Jews use financial networks and have influence wherever they are born." It goes without saying that comments like these are unambiguously similar to complaints about Jewish economic practices in Europe over the course of centuries. The only common denominator between the context of fourteenth-century France and the context of twenty-first-century South Korea is, you guessed it, Jewish economic practices.

The Koreans won. Paulie lost. Good win for humanity. The Argentines were not so lucky. They don't have freedom speech like the Koreans and East Asians have.

In the end, the Lee strategy, based on drawing attention to the alien and exploitative nature of Elliott Associates, was overwhelmingly effective. Before a crucial shareholder vote on the Lee's planned merger, Samsung Securities CEO Yoon Yong-am said: "We should score a victory by a big margin in the first battle, in order to take the upper hand in a looming war against Elliott, and keep other speculative hedge funds from taking short-term gains in the domestic market." When the vote finally took place a few days ago, a conclusive 69.5% of Samsung shareholders voted in favor of the Lee proposal, leaving Elliott licking its wounds and complaining about the "patriotic marketing" of those behind the merger.

Mefobills , says: December 19, 2019 at 11:08 pm GMT
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen Adrian Salbuchi, an economist from Argentina, does a good job of exposing Zionist plans in Patagonia.

If you google his name along with Patagonia then it will come up with links in Spanish.

Here is a Rense translation:

https://rense.com/general95/pata.htm

What our Jewish friends have done to Argentina, through maneuvering the elections, killing dissidents, and marking territory, is a cautionary tale to anybody woke enough to see with their own eyes.

Zion had the opportunity to go to Uganda and Ugandans were willing, but NO Zion had to have Palestine, and they got it through war, deception, and murder. It was funded by usury, as stolen purchasing power from the Goyim.

The fake country of Israel, is not the biblical Israel, and it came into being by maneuverings of satanic men determined to get their way no matter what, and is supported by continuous deception. Even today's Hebrew is resurrected from a dead language, and is fake. Many fake Jews (who have no blood lineage to Abraham), a fake country, and fake language. These fakers, usurers, and thieves do indeed have their eyes set on Patagonia, what they call the practical country.

Johan , says: December 19, 2019 at 11:15 pm GMT
@Anon "If debts can simply be repudiated at will, capitalism cannot function."

Is this children's capitalist theory class time? throwing around some simple slogans for a susceptible congregation of future believers?

Should be quite obvious that people, groups of people, if not whole nations , can be forced and or seduced into depths by means of certain practices. There are a thousand ways of such trickery and thievery, these are not in the theory books though. In these books things all match and work out wonderfully rationally

Then capitalism cannot function? Unfortunately it has become already dysfunctional, if not a big rotten cancer.

MarkinLA , says: December 20, 2019 at 12:14 am GMT
@silviosilver https://qz.com/1001650/hedge-fund-billionaire-paul-singers-ruthless-strategies-include-bullying-ceos-suing-governments-and-seizing-their-navys-ships/

Yes, but the Argentine bond situation was particulary crappy and not what happens when a typical bondhoder is forced to take a hit.

anon [125] Disclaimer , says: December 20, 2019 at 3:44 am GMT
Lobelog ran some articles in Singer, Argentina, Iran Israel and the attorney from Argentina who died mysteriously . Singer is a loan shark. Argentinian paid dearly .

Google search –

NYT's Argentina Op-Ed Fails to Disclose Authors – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/nyts-argentina-op-ed-fails-to-disclose-authors-financial-conflict-of-interest/
Dec 13, 2017 Between 2007 and 2011, hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer contributed $3.6 million to FDD. That coincided with his battle to force Argentina to

Following Paul Singer's Money, Argentina, and Iran – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/following-paul-singers-money-argentina-and-iran-continued/
May 8, 2015 As Jim and Charles noted, linking Singer to AIPAC and FDD doesn't between Paul Singer's money and those critical of Argentina, Sen.

Paul Singer – LobeLog

https://lobelog.com/tag/paul-singer/
Paul Singer NYT's Argentina Op-Ed Fails to Disclose Authors' Financial Conflict of Interest by Eli Clifton On Tuesday, Mark Dubowitz and Toby Dershowitz, two executives at the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), took

The Right-Wing Americans Who Made a Doc About Argentina

https://lobelog.com/the-right-wing-americans-who-made-a-doc-about-argentina/
Oct 7, 2015 One might wonder why a movie about Argentina, in Spanish and . of Nisman's and thought highly of the prosecutor's work, told LobeLog, FDD, for its part, has been an outspoken critic of Kirchner but has From 2008 to 2011, Paul Singer was the group's second-largest donor, contributing $3.6 million.

NYT Failed to Note Op-Ed Authors' Funder Has $2 Billion

https://fair.org/home/nyt-failed-to-note-op-ed-authors-funder-has-2-billion-motive-for-attacking-argentina/
Dec 16, 2017 Paul Singer FDD has been eager to promote Nisman's work. Singer embarked on a 15-year legal battle to collect on Argentina's debt payments by This alert orginally appeared as a blog post on LobeLog (12/13/17).

Digital Samizdat , says: December 20, 2019 at 12:18 pm GMT
@Mefobills

What our Jewish friends have done to Argentina, through maneuvering the elections, killing dissidents, and marking territory, is a cautionary tale to anybody woke enough to see with their own eyes.

Yup. And don't forget that ongoing Zionist psy-op known as the AMIA bombing: https://thesaker.is/hezbollah-didnt-do-argentine-bombing-updated/

[Dec 19, 2019] MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels

Highly recommended!
Dec 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, December 19, 2019 6:58 pm

Afghan war demonstrated that the USA got into the trap, the Catch 22 situation: it can't stop following an expensive and self-destructive positive feedback loop of threat inflation and larger and large expenditures on MIC, because there is no countervailing force for the MIC since WWII ended. Financial oligarchy is aligned with MIC.

This is the same suicidal grip of MIC on the country that was one of the key factors in the collapse of the USSR means that in this key area the USA does not have two party system, It is a Uniparty: a singe War party with two superficially different factions.

Feeding and care MIC is No.1 task for both. Ordinary Americans wellbeing does matter much for either party. New generation of Americans is punished with crushing debt and low paying jobs. They do not care that people over 50 who lost their jobs are essentially thrown out like a garbage.

"41 Million people in the US suffer from hunger and lack of food security"–US Dept. of Agriculture. FDR addressed the needs of this faction of the population when he delivered his One-Third of a Nation speech for his 2nd Inaugural. About four years later, FDR expanded on that issue in his Four Freedoms speech: 1.Freedom of speech; 2.Freedom of worship; 3.Freedom from want; 4.Freedom from fear.

Items 3 and 4 are probably unachievable under neoliberalism. And fear is artificially instilled to unite the nation against the external scapegoat much like in Orwell 1984. Currently this is Russia, later probably will be China. With regular minutes of hate replaced by Rachel Maddow show ;-)

Derailing Tulsi had shown that in the USA any politician, who try to challenge MIC, will be instantly attacked by MIC lapdogs in MSM and neutered in no time.

One interesting tidbit from Fiona Hill testimony is that neocons who dominate the USA foreign policy establishment make their living off threat inflation. They literally are bought by MIC, which indirectly finance Brookings institution, Atlantic Council and similar think tanks. And this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact. Rephrasing Samuel Johnson's famous quote, we can say, "MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels."

[Dec 19, 2019] The Afghanistan Fiasco and the Decline and Fall of the American Military by Philip Giraldi

Dec 17, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The Washington Post, through documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, has published a long investigation into Afghanistan. Journalists have collected over 400 testimonies from American diplomats, NATO generals and other NATO personnel, that show that reports about Afghanistan were falsified to deceive the public about the real situation on the ground.

After the tampering with and falsification of the report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), we are witnessing another event that will certainly discomfit those who have hitherto relied on the official reports of the Pentagon, the US State Department and international organizations like the OPCW for the last word.

There are very deliberate reasons for such disinformation campaigns. In the case of the OPCW, as I wrote some time back, the aim was to paint the Syrian government as the fiend and the al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked "moderate rebels" as the innocent souls, thereby likely justifying a responsibility-to-protect armed intervention by the likes of the US, the UK and France. In such circumstances, the standing and status of the reporting organization (like the OPCW) is commandeered to validate Western propaganda that is duly disseminated through the corporate-controlled mainstream media.

In this particular case, various Western capitals colluded with the OPCW to lay the groundwork for the removal of Assad and his replacement with the al-Nusra Front as well as the very same al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked armed opposition officially responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

As if the massaging of the OPCW reports were not enough in themselves to provoke international outrage, this dossier serves to give aid and comfort to jihadi groups supported by the Pentagon who are known to be responsible for the worst human-rights abuses, as seen in Syria and Iraq in the last 6 years.

False or carefully manipulated reports paint a picture vastly different from the reality on the ground. The United States has never really declared war on Islamic terrorism, its proclamations of a "War on Terror" notwithstanding. In reality, it has simply used this justification to occupy or destabilize strategically important areas of the world in the interests of maintaining US hegemony, intending in so doing to hobble the energy policies and national security of rival countries like China, Iran and the Russian Federation.

The Post investigation lays bare how the US strategy had failed since its inception, the data doctored to represent a reality very different from that on the ground. The inability of the United States to clean up Afghanistan is blamed by the Post on incorrect military planning and incorrect political choices. While this could certainly be the case, the Post's real purpose in its investigation is to harm Trump, even as it reveals the Pentagon's efforts to continue its regional presence for grand geopolitical goals by hiding inconvenient truths.

The real issue lies in the built-in mendacity of the bureaucratic and military apparatus of the United States. No general has ever gone on TV to say that the US presence in Iraq is needed to support any war against Iran; or that Afghanistan is a great point of entry for the destabilization of Eurasia, because this very heart of the Heartland is crucial to the Sino-Russian transcontinental integration projects like the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative. In the same vein, the overthrow of the Syrian government would have ensured Israel a greater capacity to expand its interests in the Middle East, as well as to weaken Iran's main regional ally.

The Post investigation lays bare the hypocrisy of the military-industrial complex as well as the prevailing political establishments of Europe and the United States. These parties are not interested in human rights, the wellbeing of civilians or justice in general. Their only goal is to try and maintain their global hegemony indefinitely by preventing any other powers from being able to realize their potential and thereby pose a threat to Atlanticist preeminence.

The war in Iraq was launched to destabilize the Middle East, China's energy-supply basin crucial to fueling her future growth. The war in Syria served the purpose of further dismantling the Middle East to favor Saudi Arabia and Israel, the West's main strategic allies in the Persian Gulf. The war in Afghanistan was to slow down the Eurasian integration of China and Russia. And the war in Ukraine was for the purposes of generating chaos and destruction on Russia's border, with the initial hope of wresting the very strategically area of Crimea from Russia.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and this has been on full display in recent times. Almost all of Washington's recent strategic objectives have ended up producing results worse than the status quo ante. In Iraq there is the type of strong cooperation between Baghdad and Tehran reminiscent of the time prior to 1979. Through Hezbollah, Iran has strengthened its position in Syria in defense of Damascus. Moscow has found itself playing the role of crucial decider in the Middle East (and soon in North Africa), until only a few years ago the sole prerogative of Washington. Turkey's problems with NATO, coupled with Tel Aviv's open relation with Moscow are both a prime example of Washington's diminishing influence in the region and Moscow's corresponding increase in influence.

The situation in Afghanistan is not very different, with a general recognition that peace is the only option for the region being reflected in the talks between the Afghans, the Taliban, the Russians, Chinese, Indians and Pakistanis. Beijing and Moscow have well known for over a decade the real intent behind Washington's presence in the country, endeavoring to blunt its impact.

The Post investigation only further increases the public's war weariness, the war in Afghanistan now having lasted 18 years, the longest war in US history. Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Post, is a bitter opponent of Trump and wants the president to come clean on the Afghanistan debacle by admitting that the troops cannot be withdrawn. Needless to say, admitting such would not help Trump's strategy for the 2020 election. Trump cannot afford to humiliate the US military, given that it, along with the US dollar, is his main weapon of "diplomacy". Were it to be revealed that some illiterate peasants holed up in caves and armed with AK-47s some 40 years ago are responsible for successfully keeping the most powerful army in history at bay, all of Washington's propaganda, disseminated by a compliant media, will cease to be of any effect. Such a revelation would also humiliate military personnel, an otherwise dependable demographic Trump cannot afford to alienate.

The Washington Post performed a service to the country by shedding light on the disinformation used to sustain endless war. But the Post's intentions are also political, seeking to undermine Trump's electoral chances by damaging Trump's military credentials as well as his standing amongst military personnel. What Washington's elite and the Post do not know, or perhaps prefer to ignore, is that such media investigations directed against political opponents actually end up doing irreparable damage to the political and military prestige of the United States.

In other words, when journalist do their job, the military industrial complex finds it difficult to lie its way through wars and failures, but when a country relies on Hollywood to sustain its make-believe world, as well as on journalists on the CIA payroll, on compliant publishers and on censored news, then any such revelations of forbidden truths threaten to bring the whole facade crashing down.

Philip Giraldi Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest

[Dec 15, 2019] Calling Afghanistan a military failure is a bit like calling 9/11 an intelligence failure

Dec 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul Damascene , Dec 16 2019 0:29 utc | 17

Shaun @ 2:
Another article by Kit Knightly at the Off-Guardian goes to the heart of the point I see you making:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/12/15/the-afghanistan-papers-deep-state-narrative-management/

It's a bit like calling 9/11 an intelligence failure. First, identify the actual measure of success against which this outcome should really be judged...

An excerpt:

"Here's the real "secret history" of the Afganistan war: It wasn't a failure, it was a success. In every facet, on every front, Afghanistan is exactly what America needed it to be. They dripfeed in the blood of young Americans, they destroy 100,000s of Afghan lives, and they reap the rewards they always intended to reap:
The permanent slow-simmer conflict gives them an excuse to keep thousands of US military personnel in a country which borders Iran, Pakistan AND China. (Not to mention a host of ex-Soviet states).

It keeps military expenditure nice and high, so Congressman, ex-generals and everyone else on the boards of Boeing or Lockheed Martin get great big bonuses every year.

They have sole access to the rare-Earth elements and other vital metals in the Afghan mountains. Lithium, most importantly of all.

They have control of the world's opium industry. A vital cog in the relations of the US intelligence agencies, and organised crime. It's essentially reverse money-laundering – turning tax-payer funds into dark money that can be spent hiring mercenaries, organising assassinations, arranging coups or simply be stolen.

They have access to all the "radicalised" young men they could ever want. A little Jihadi farm, where "terrorists" can be named, trained and sent off to fight proxy wars in Syria, or spread fear and chaos in the West."

[Dec 14, 2019] In a 1969 interview, Zahir Shah said that he is "not a capitalist. But I also don't want socialism. I don't want socialism that would bring about the kind of situation [that exists] in Czechoslovakia. I don't want us to become the servants of Russia or China or the servant of any other place

Dec 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

angie11 -> ID3119269 , 10 Dec 2019 16:05

"I wish that people would realize that to interfere, in any way shape or form in wars that occur in Islamic States is pissing into the wind.

We simply cannot and do not understand the religious/tribal and feudal component of these societies.

It is better that we just let them go at each other. Sooner or later one despot will end up being top dog - so be it."

Hmm. Do you know the history of colonialism in MENA? I did not think so.

My guess is that your 'knowledge' of Afghanistan and its history is based on your obvious xenophobia aka Islamophobia and lofty Western superiority complex. Don't feel alone, that's what folks use to make themselves feel better and able to sleep at night. Check this out:

"Despite close relations to the Axis powers, Zahir Shah refused to take sides during World War II and Afghanistan remained one of the few countries in the world to remain neutral. In 1944 and 1945, Afghanistan experienced a series of revolts by various tribes.[13] After the end of the Second World War, Zahir Shah recognised the need for the modernisation of Afghanistan and recruited a number of foreign advisers to assist with the process.[14] During this period Afghanistan's first modern university was founded.[14] During his reign a number of potential advances and reforms were derailed as a result of factionalism and political infighting.[15] He also requested financial aid from both the United States and the Soviet Union, and Afghanistan was one of few countries in the world to receive aid from both the Cold War enemies.[16] In a 1969 interview, Zahir Shah said that he is "not a capitalist. But I also don't want socialism. I don't want socialism that would bring about the kind of situation [that exists] in Czechoslovakia. I don't want us to become the servants of Russia or China or the servant of any other place."[17]

Zahir Shah was able to govern on his own during 1963[9] and despite the factionalism and political infighting a new constitution was introduced during 1964 which made Afghanistan a modern democratic state by introducing free elections, a parliament, civil rights, women's rights and universal suffrage.[14]"

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

[Dec 13, 2019] Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Richard Thorton , 10 Dec 2019 15:03

Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does. The main points of what war does:

1. Transfers wealth from social services to the military industrial complex. Americans don't have education, infrastructure, or healthcare, but they do have a generation of soldiers with PTSD, national debt, worldwide hatred, and an ever increasing sense of exceptionalism.

2. Traps Americans in a cycle of fear and persecution. Americans don't need a bogeyman, but our corporate overlords do, its how they monetize the populace. Find some disparate population of brown people who want self autonomy, send in the CIA to fuck them up, and when they retaliate tell Americans that people who live in a 3rd world land locked country several thousands of miles away are a threat to their very existence and way of life because they don't like God and Walmart.


CourgetteDream , 10 Dec 2019 14:36

Sadly the US uses the MIC to keep a large chunk of its population under control, as well as providing a convenient coverup of the actual numbers of people who are unemployable or would be unemployed if it were'nt for the taxpayer funding humungous spending in the so-called defence sector, which needs a a constant supply of conflict to keep going. The frankly moronic 'thank you for your service' soundbite drives me insane but it shows how much the American public has been brainwashed.
jimbomatic -> Michael Knoth , 10 Dec 2019 14:36
For years my home state of Washington had a New Deal Democrat Senator named Henry Jackson, AKA the Senator from Boeing.
He did good things for the state & was hugely popular here. One reason being that because he brought the Federal pork back home.
IMO the things Gen. Butler wrote about in the 1920s are still the modus operandi of US foreign policy.
Rikyboy , 10 Dec 2019 14:11
If the Afghanistan war ends, the USA will go to war with someone else. You cannot spend so much on military & not be at war. America must have an enemy. And, don’t forget, they always have “God on our side!”
Mauryan , 10 Dec 2019 13:05
The neocons in power during 2001 were hell bent on taking out Saddam Hussein. When 9/11 happened, they were looking for avenues to blame Iraq so that they could launch the war on that nation. Since things could not be put together, and all evidence pointed to Afghanistan, they took a detour in their war plan with a half hearted approach.

In fact Afghanistan was never the problem - It was Pakistan that held Afghanistan on the string and managed all terror related activities. Everything related to 9/11 and beyond pointed directly at Pakistan. Whatever threat Bush and his cronies projected about Iraq was true in the case of Pakistan. The war was lost when they made Pakistan an ally on the war on terror. It is like allying with Al Capone to crack down on the mafia.

Pakistan bilked the gullible American war planners, protected its assets and deflected all the rage on to the barren lands of Afghanistan. They hid all key Al Qaeda operatives and handed off the ones that did not align with their strategic interests to the US, while getting reward for it. War in Iraq happened in a hurry because the Bush family had scores to settle in Iraq. Pressure was lifted on Afghanistan. This is when the war reached a dead end.

The Taliban knew time was on their hands and waited it out. Obama did understand the situation and tried to put Af-Pak together and tightened the grip on Pakistan. He got the troops out of Iraq. Pakistan is almost bankrupt now for its deep investment on terror infrastructure. The US has drained billions of dollars and lives in Afghanistan due to misdirected goals. I am surprised Bush and Cheney have not been sent to jail on lies to launch the Iraq war and botching the real war on terror.

[Dec 13, 2019] Lindsey Graham, Mattis, and Tillerson all opposed the withdrawal from Afghanistan and spoke to Trump in person about it. They all just kept saying that we needed troops in Afghanistan "to prevent the next 9/11."

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Redswordfish , 10 Dec 2019 15:05

I read Bob Woodward's book, "FEAR: Trump in the White House" which has a section talking about a time when Trump wanted to withdraw a substantial number of troops from Afghanistan. Lindsey Graham, Mattis, and Tillerson all opposed the withdrawl and spoke to him in person about it. They all just kept saying that we needed troops in Afghanistan "to prevent the next 9/11." Lindsey Graham was especially forceful about this. "If you withdraw those troops, then you're responsible for the next 9/11" he says [paraphrase].

This is the only section of the book where I actually found myself agreeing with Trump. How exactly does keeping troops in Afghanistan "prevent the next 9/11"? It seems like a bizarre non sequitur.

GalahadThreepwood , 10 Dec 2019 12:37
And this is a surprise because? There is a revolving door between Washington D.C. and defence contractors. When you have a multi trillion dollar industry making stuff that goes bang, the customers will want to use it. And the more the industry can encourage them to use it, the more money they make. Better still, when they have finished blowing a foreign country to hell, their friends in the civil engineering and construction companies can make more trillions rebuilding it all.

And if you then claim victory and withdraw enough of your troops, the incumbent Neanderthals can start slaughtering their own people all over again, giving the perfect excuse to go back in and blow it all to hell again.

With careful planning, you can maintain the cycle of profits for decades, if not centuries.

Next week - bears implicated in forest defecation scandal.

[Dec 13, 2019] The Afghanistan war is more than a $1 trillion mistake. It's a travesty Ben Armbruster Opinion The Guardian

Dec 13, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

he American people have known that the war in Afghanistan was a lost cause for quite some time. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans' views of the war started to go south right around the end of 2011, until eventually a majority started seeing the writing on the wall about two years later.

That's why the Washington Post report this week on the so-called "Afghanistan Papers", detailing how US officials "deliberately mislead the public" on the war's progress, is almost sort of unremarkable. If the piece took away any shred of innocence left from this ghastly enterprise, it's that perhaps some of us thought our leaders, while failing miserably at building a nation thousands of miles away, were at least acting in good faith.

At the same time, the Post report is rage inducing, not just because of the sheer stupidity of American leaders continuing to fight a war they knew they could not win, but also how their unwillingness to take responsibility for a failed policy caused so much death, destruction and heartbreak, particularly among those American families who have admirably dedicated their lives to serving their country, and the countless number of Afghan civilians trapped in a cycle of endless war they have nothing to do with.

Of course, the "Afghanistan Papers" immediately recalled memories of the Pentagon variety leaked to the New York Times nearly a half century ago because they too were government documents outlining how numerous American administrations had lied to the public about Vietnam – another long, costly and unnecessary war with no military solution.

But there's one major difference: the war in Afghanistan doesn't have as direct an impact on the lives of everyday Americans as the Vietnam war did, when the military draft meant that everyone had to deal with the cold war proxy conflict in south-east Asia one way or another . Therefore, it's entirely possible, likely even, that this major and important report from the Post will drift into the wilderness just like the dozens of Trump-era stories that would have, for example , taken down any other US president in "normal times".

But there's one big question the Post report raises but does not address: why? Why did so many people – from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials – feel the need to lie about how the war in Afghanistan was going?

The easy answer is that there's a long tradition in Washington, particularly among the foreign policy establishment, that self-reflection, taking responsibility and admitting failure is a big no-no. Heck, you can get convicted of lying to Congress about illegal arms sales, and cover up brutal atrocities and still get a job at the state department . Did you torture anyone? No problem .

While DC's culture of no culpability certainly plays a role in this case, the more compelling answer lies somewhere near the fact that once the American war machine kicks into gear, no amount of facts undermining its very existence is going to get in the way.

Indeed, the United States has so far doled out nearly one trillion dollars for the war in Afghanistan (the true cost of the war will be trillions more ) and everyone's on the take: from defense industry executives, lobbyists and US political campaign coffers to Afghan government officials and poppy farmers to anyone and anything in between.

What's more is that this military-industrial-congressional complex is largely insulated from public accountability, so what's the incentive to change course? The Pentagon's entire budget operates in much the same way: unprecedented amounts in unnecessary appropriations resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Yet Congress continues to throw more and more money at the defense department every year without ever requiring it to account for how it spends the money. In fact, the war in Afghanistan is small potatoes by comparison.

The bottom line is that the Afghanistan Papers clearly show that a lot of people were killed, injured and subject to years, if not lifetimes, of psychological trauma and financial hardship because a bunch of men – yes, mostly men – in Washington didn't want to admit publicly what they knew privately all along. If we don't start holding these people to account – and it's not just about Afghanistan – the DC foreign policy establishment will continue to act with impunity, meaning that it's probably more likely than not that in 50 years there'll be another batch of "papers" revealing once again that we've failed to learn obvious lessons from the past.

Ben Armbruster is the managing editor of ResponsibleStatecraft.org , the news and analysis publishing platform of the Quincy Institute

[Dec 09, 2019] Our Lying Military, Our Lying Government by Rod Dreher

Dec 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Everybody's talking about the FBI report today, but as far as I'm concerned, this long piece in the Washington Post is the real news. Here's how it begins:

The documents include transcripts of interviews with soldiers, diplomats, and others with direct experience in the war effort. Excerpts:

"We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan -- we didn't know what we were doing," Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House's Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: "What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

"If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost," Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. "Who will say this was in vain?"

More:

"What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?" Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, "After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan."

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

Look at this:

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul -- and at the White House -- to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

"Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible," Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. "Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone."

One more:

As commanders in chief, Bush, Obama and Trump all promised the public the same thing. They would avoid falling into the trap of "nation-building" in Afghanistan.

On that score, the presidents failed miserably. The United States has allocated more than $133 billion to build up Afghanistan -- more than it spent, adjusted for inflation, to revive the whole of Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.

The Lessons Learned interviews show the grandiose nation-building project was marred from the start.

Read it all.

If you can get through it all, good for you. I got so mad that I had to quit reading not long after the paragraph above. We have lost about 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, and sustained about 21,000 casualties of war. (Not to mention all the dead innocent Afghan civilians, and the dead and wounded troops of our NATO allies.) We have spent altogether almost $1 trillion on that country. The Afghan officials stole a fortune from us. We never knew what to do there. And every one of our leaders lied about it. Lied! All those brave American soldiers, dead or maimed for life, for a war that our leaders knew that we could not win, but in defense of which they lied.

It's the Pentagon Papers all over again. You know this, right.

Trump is negotiating now with the Taliban over the possibility of US withdrawal. The story says US officials fought the Post in court over these documents, and have said most recently that publishing them would undermine the administration's negotiating position. I don't care. Tell the truth, for once. Let's cut our losses and go before more Americans die in this lost cause. Poor Afghanistan is going to fall under the tyrannical rule of the mullahs. But if, after 18 years, a trillion dollars, and all those dead and wounded Americans, we couldn't establish a stable and decent Afghan regime, it's not going to happen.

If any of my children want to join the US military, I'm going to go to the mat to talk them out of it. I do not want them, or anybody's sons or daughters, sent overseas to die in hopeless countries in wars that we cannot win, and shouldn't have fought, but kept doing because of bipartisan Establishment foreign policy delusions. To be clear, we should have bombed the hell out of Afghanistan after 9/11. The Taliban government gave shelter to Al Qaeda, and brought retribution upon itself. But the Bush Administration's nation-building insanity was never going to work. Eight years of Obama did not fix this. Nor, so far, has three years of Trump, though maybe he will be the one to stop the bleeding. If he does withdraw, I hope he blasts the hell out of his two predecessors and the military leadership for what they've done here.

I've been writing lately in this space, and in the book I'm working on, about the parallels between late-imperial Russia and our own time and place. And I've been writing about what Hannah Arendt had to say about the origins of totalitarianism. Arendt says that one precursor of totalitarianism is a widespread loss of faith in a society's and a government's institutions. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, the US military is one of the few institutions that enjoys broad confidence. How can anybody possibly believe them after this? How can we believe our Commanders-in-Chief? According to the secret documents, the men in the field have been were their commanders for a long time that this Afghan thing was not working, and wasn't ever going to work. But they kept sending them back in.

Why? Pride? Too full of themselves to admit that it was a failure? As soldier John Kerry turned antiwar activist said back in the 1970s, about Vietnam, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" No more American dying in and for Afghanistan. Bring the troops home. They did not fail. Their superiors did.

How do you convince young people to join an institution whose leadership -- civilian as well as military -- is prepared to sacrifice them for a lost cause, and then lie, and lie, and lie about it? How do you convince mothers and fathers to send their sons and daughters with confidence to that military? How do you convince taxpayers to support throwing more money into the sh*thole that is the Pentagon's budget?

The questions that are going to come up sooner than most of us think, and, in some version, from both the Left and the Right: just what kind of order do we have in America anyway? Why do I owe it my loyalty? What does it mean to be a patriot when you cannot trust the nation's leaders and institutions?

These are the kinds of questions that, depending on how they are answered, can lead to the unraveling, and even the overthrow, of a regime. It has been said that the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan was a prime mover in the ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet system. We are not the Soviet Union -- but I wouldn't be so quick to take comfort in that, if I were a political or military leader.

We learned nothing from Vietnam, did we? Not a damn thing. It is beyond infuriating. It is beyond demoralizing. And you know, the only thing more infuriating and more demoralizing than this will be if there are no consequences for it, or if people fall back into partisan positions. The report makes clear that this is a disaster that was launched by a Republican administration, continued under a Democratic administration, and has been overseen by another Republican administration.

One of the reasons Donald Trump is president today, and not some other Republican, is he was the one Republican primary candidate who denounced the wars. If he can't get us out of Afghanistan, what good is he?

UPDATE: I was just thinking about something a military friend told me almost 15 years ago, based on his direct personal knowledge of the situation: that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was lying to the nation about how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were going. And if Rumsfeld was lying, so was the administration. My friend was deeply discouraged. Rumsfeld left office in 2006 -- but the habit remained with our leadership.


Sid Finster 29 minutes ago • edited

The only thing that surprised me in the WaPo article was that it was published in the CIA's house organ.

EDIT: I should have added that the squandering of blood and treasure, fighting a pointless war that benefits nobody but the financiers, contractors, arms manufacturers and generals, all while the politicians and generals proclaim that victory is just at hand, we can't turn back now, - all this reminds me of nothing so much as a smaller scale WWI.

Tony55398 13 minutes ago
Trump wants us out of Afghanistan, but Iran is a different story. He's sending more troupes to Saudi Arabia to defend the Saudi's from Iran, how is that disentangling from the ME. I think the Saudi's Wahhabism, basically the same as ISIS practices, is the most dangerous religion in the word today and they are busy exporting it to the rest of the world. I really think Trump is a false prophet, a lying prophet, who serves first himself.
disqus_nocmkvBMwY 10 minutes ago
Didn't vote for Trump - but: He has attempted to stand up to the elite establishment intelligence-military-arms manufacturing complex and start cutting back the forever wars. Everyone attacks him for this--establishment Republicans, Democrats, State Department, Military, Intelligence, Media--everybody. The attacks are immediate and intense. He is almost always forced to pull back. He seems determined to keep trying, but, as is evident, they will do anything it takes to stop him.

[Dec 06, 2019] Robert Bork Was the Judicial Activist He Warned Us About

Dec 06, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

As the Chicago revolution took hold, Bork's views crept into the judiciary. Eventually in a fit of activism, the courts did away with the prohibition on predatory pricing. In its 1993 decision in Brooke Group Ltd. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation , the United States Supreme Court completely re-imagined the Robinson-Patman Act.

The case originally involved the tobacco oligopoly controlled by six firms. Liggett had introduced a cheap generic cigarette and gained market share. When Brown & Williamson saw that generics were undercutting their shares, it undercut Liggett and sold cigarettes at a loss. Liggett sued, alleging that the predatory behavior was designed to pressure it to raise prices on its generics, thus enabling Brown & Williamson to maintain high profits on branded cigarettes.

In its decision, the Court held that in order for there to be a violation of the Clayton Act and the Robinson-Patman Act, a plaintiff must show not only that the alleged predator priced the product below the cost of its production but also that the predator would be likely to recoup the losses in the future. The recoupment test dealt a death blow to predatory pricing lawsuits because it is, of course, impossible to prove a future event.

The Supreme Court parroted Bork, noting that "predatory pricing schemes are rarely tried, and even more rarely successful ." The Court also argued that it was best not to pursue predatory pricing cases because doing so would "chill the very conduct the antitrust laws are designed to protect."

The result has been severe. After 1993, no plaintiff alleging predatory pricing has prevailed at the federal level, and most cases are thrown out in summary judgement. The DOJ and FTC have completely ignored the law and ceased enforcing it.

Through judicial activism and executive neglect, the laws regarding antitrust and predatory pricing have become odd relics, like those on greased pigs and cannibalism.

Predatory pricing is symptomatic of the broader problems when it comes to antitrust. Today, except in extreme circumstances such as outright monopoly, courts are unlikely to block mergers over an increase in market concentration. The Supreme Court has now tilted so far the other way that it prefers to allow too much concentration rather than too little. It made this clear in its Verizon Communications Inc. v. Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko LLP decision, where it stated its preference for minimizing incorrect merger challenges rather than preventing excessive concentration.

In the Trinko case, for example, Justice Scalia suggested that those who enforce antitrust laws ought to be deferential to firms with monopoly power, which are "an important element of a free market system."

Scalia continued: "Against the slight benefits of antitrust intervention here, we must weigh a realistic assessment of its costs ." The opportunity to acquire monopoly power and charge monopoly prices is "what attracts 'business acumen' in the first place," he said, and "induces risk taking that produces innovation and economic growth." He wrote that the "mere possession of monopoly power, and the concomitant charging of monopoly prices, is not only not unlawful; it is an important element of the free-market system."

The result of all this has been an increase of monopolies. Professor John Kwoka reviewed decades of merger cases and concluded that "recent merger control has not been sufficiently aggressive in challenging mergers." The overall effect has been "approval of significantly more mergers that prove to be anticompetitive."

The Sherman Act and the Robinson-Patman Act may be deeply misguided; perhaps they should even be repealed. But they haven't been. Passing new legislation is the proper way to change laws one disagrees with. Getting rid of them in practice via judicial activism or an an unwilling executive is not democratic.

The death of antitrust and predatory pricing reflects not only a failure of jurisprudence but of economics. For all the claims of up-to-the-minute economic sophistication that activist judges have used in the field of antitrust, the scholarship on predatory pricing is wildly out of date. Brooke made Robinson-Patman irrelevant by citing "modern" economic scholarship, yet the research the Supreme Court relied on goes back to studies by John McGee and Roland Koller, published in 1958 and 1969 respectively.

Predatory pricing has only become more rational in a world where winner-take-all platforms are happy to sustain short-term losses for the sake of long-term market share gains. What they lose on one side with free shipping or below cost products, they make up for in other parts of their business.

The rationality of predatory pricing is not some new economic finding. Almost 20 years ago, Patrick Bolton , a professor at Columbia Business School, wrote that "several sophisticated empirical case studies have confirmed the use of predatory pricing strategies. But the courts have failed to incorporate the modern writing into judicial decisions, relying instead on earlier theory no longer generally accepted."

According to Bork, predatory pricing didn't work in theory, but does it work in practice? Antitrust experts remember the Brooke case, but none seem to recall what actually happened to the companies involved in the lawsuit.

After the Supreme Court decision left it without any legal remedy, Liggett succumbed to pressure from Brown & Williamson and raised its prices. The entire industry raised prices too. In the end, Liggett was not able to attract enough market share and ended up selling most of its brands to Phillip Morris a few years later. Ever since, the tobacco oligopoly has raised prices in lockstep twice a year with no competition. No company is foolish enough to lower prices for fear of predatory pricing.

The losers from the judicial activism of Brooke are consumers and the rule of law. The winners are the oligopolies and monopolies who protect their markets.

When it comes to enforcing antitrust, it's worth remembering the words of Robert Bork. As he wrote in 1971 in his seminal piece " Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems ," "If the judiciary really is supreme, able to rule when and as it sees fit, the society is not democratic."

Jonathan Tepper is a founder of Variant Perception , a macroeconomic research company, and co-author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition . He is also TAC 's senior fellow on economic concentration issues. This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors.


polistra24 a day ago

The Supremes have been the Federal legislature since 1803. Recommending restraint is the same thing as ordering one party in a legislature to surrender to the opposite party regardless of majorities.
Kent a day ago
Monopolization is the core of Free Market economics. Free, literally, means free to become a monopoly, free to practice vulture capitalism, free to use superior capitalization to destroy competition, free to move your factory to China.

Free Market is a buzz phrase among bankers and other well-to-do to increase their income at your expense instead of through superior production, design, and advertising methods. If you want to know why we live in such a dysfunctional economy, its because we've abandoned competitive capitalism for a free market economy.

Sid Finster Kent a day ago
Adam Smith (yes, that Adam Smith) noted in Wealth of Nations that if you put two competing businessmen in a room together, not only do they get along just fine, their conversation quickly turns to the subject of how they can work work together to rig markets and screw the consumer for moar profitt.

Adam Smith was a much more interesting and sophisticated thinker than the B-school Cliffs Notes version.

northernobserver a day ago
Libertarian policy corruption, the American Right's original sin.
ElitCommInc. a day ago
I think we could us more purist views of capitalism in conversations about capitalism. The kinds of behaviors engaged designed to put others out of business described in the article is not exemplary of capitalism.

The purpose of capitalism is not explicated with models of destroying competition. And it certainly does not have mechanisms in which the government acts as an arm of business. The notion that the business of "America" (the US) is business is misleading. Because when it comes the government of the US her role is to ensure fair play. And power dynamics used to destroy the ability of another to tap into the available market share is not a capitalist principle. When one reads about the level and kinds of antics that corporate boards and CEO's play to damage competition, to include the use of campaign funds to "buy" or influence unique favors at cost to consumers - then we are talking about kind of faux "law of the jungle". Bailing out business but not the defrauded customers of those same businesses -- mercantilism not capitalism.

And it is these types of behaviors guised as capitalism, that fuels liberal demands for a system of governance that is more akin to communism and socialism. They note the abuses, but apply the wrong remedy.

I would agree that predatory pricing actually undercuts better pricing, improved products or innovation (product creativity).

Liam781 a day ago
Yes he was.
=marco01= 18 hours ago
Conservatives are outraged, still, that Democrats refused to confirm Bork to the Supreme Court.

Never mind the fact the Democrats were fully within their rights not to confirm, advise and consent does not mean rubber stamp, Bork was the guy who actually carried out Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre. Why would conservatives want a corrupt and unethical person like this in the Supreme Court in the first place?

Conservatives' outraged is very ironic considering Reagan still got to nominate another candidate, which the Dems confirmed. Meanwhile in a completely unprecedented and vindictive move, Republicans denied a Democratic president outright his right to a Supreme Court appointment. There is no comparison between these two episodes.

[Nov 30, 2019] Ukraine Land Privatization Demanded by IMF, Links to Biden Graft Scandal. Engineered Bankruptcy of National Economy by Dmitriy Kovalevich

Notable quotes:
"... November in Ukraine has been marked by the adoption of the so called 'land reform', in accordance of the demands made by the IMF amongst other international financial organizations. The reform opens the way for the mass privatization of Ukraine's agricultural lands. The IMF has been making these demands for many years but assorted Ukrainian presidents have tried to postpone such an unpopular decision. Recent polls show that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians of all political persuasions are opposed to land privatization, from far-right to far-left. ..."
"... After an intensive period of deindustrialization, which has taken place in recent years, agricultural land remain the only asset with any value in Ukraine but even so, it may be bought for very little. A remarkable fact is that one of the deputies from the ruling party 'Servant of the people,' Nikita Poturayev , while pressing his colleagues at the Parliament to vote for the bill on land reform, claimed [1] that this would be 'settling scores with maniac V. Lenin', i.e. the purpose of the bill was to abolish the land nationalization carried out following the October revolution. ..."
"... Ukrainian political expert Ruslan Bortnik says that the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and his team came to power under an obligation to sell out the agricultural land of Ukraine to foreign companies. Those who buy these lands, according to Bortnik, will only be thinking about making the quickest possible buck. "Foreign companies are already operating on Ukrainian soil [renting land]," said Bortnik, ..."
"... "But they are competing with large Ukrainian agricultural holdings. They do not dominate. If the adopted land market model is launched, then only large foreign companies will remain in our market Let's be honest – we are not a sovereign country. At least our government is under external control. And this is a part of the obligations of this government. This is the condition under which they came to power. They are paying the debts through privatization." [2] ..."
"... Ukrainian farmers who still are landowners, formally at least – they just can't sell it – are the same people who are unable to pay their gas and electricity bills, especially after the recent raising of energy prices – another IMF demand. ..."
"... For the most part, it was in the region of $7.4 billion of stolen Ukraine's public money, from which only a "small share" was used to bribe Western politicians, like Hunter Biden. The deputies have stressed that, according to the investigation of Ukraine's general prosecution, the withdrawn and laundered money was then invested back into Ukraine. In particular through the Franklin Templeton Investments, the money was used to buy domestic government bonds (DGB), issued by Kiev at high interest rate. ..."
"... Ukrainian prosecutor Konstantin Kulik recently stated [4] in an interview that Ukraine takes IMF loans to pay out on these debt obligations (DGB). As deputy Aleksandr Dubinsky stressed at the press conference, 40% of the current public budget goes towards the payment of the public debt of Ukraine, including the repayment of DGB at inflated interest rates. ..."
Nov 28, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

New Cold War 28 November 2019 Region: Europe , Russia and FSU , USA Theme: Global Economy In-depth Report: UKRAINE REPORT

November in Ukraine has been marked by the adoption of the so called 'land reform', in accordance of the demands made by the IMF amongst other international financial organizations. The reform opens the way for the mass privatization of Ukraine's agricultural lands. The IMF has been making these demands for many years but assorted Ukrainian presidents have tried to postpone such an unpopular decision. Recent polls show that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians of all political persuasions are opposed to land privatization, from far-right to far-left.

After an intensive period of deindustrialization, which has taken place in recent years, agricultural land remain the only asset with any value in Ukraine but even so, it may be bought for very little. A remarkable fact is that one of the deputies from the ruling party 'Servant of the people,' Nikita Poturayev , while pressing his colleagues at the Parliament to vote for the bill on land reform, claimed [1] that this would be 'settling scores with maniac V. Lenin', i.e. the purpose of the bill was to abolish the land nationalization carried out following the October revolution.

Ukraine's fertile soil up for grabs

It has long been known that Ukraine's soil is very fertile. Indeed, during WW2 the invading Nazis made a point of appropriating quantities of it; forcing POWs to collect the top soil and load it onto trains en route to Germany. Now these same lands could fall into the hands of international agro-holdings.

Ukrainian political expert Ruslan Bortnik says that the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and his team came to power under an obligation to sell out the agricultural land of Ukraine to foreign companies. Those who buy these lands, according to Bortnik, will only be thinking about making the quickest possible buck. "Foreign companies are already operating on Ukrainian soil [renting land]," said Bortnik,

"But they are competing with large Ukrainian agricultural holdings. They do not dominate. If the adopted land market model is launched, then only large foreign companies will remain in our market Let's be honest – we are not a sovereign country. At least our government is under external control. And this is a part of the obligations of this government. This is the condition under which they came to power. They are paying the debts through privatization." [2]

Ukrainian farmers who still are landowners, formally at least – they just can't sell it – are the same people who are unable to pay their gas and electricity bills, especially after the recent raising of energy prices – another IMF demand. Obviously, their financial desperation will mean that many will have to sell their land at a low price, certainly well below the market value. Meanwhile, Ukraine remains the poorest country on the continent of Europe and Ukrainian agricultural land remains the cheapest. Moreover, the lands may be bought up as repaying large loans collected by the Kiev government following the Euromaidan coup in 2014.

This scheme of buying up Ukraine's land is connected with the ongoing corruption scandal in the US: the one related to Joe Biden and the gas company 'Burisma'. At the end of November, Ukrainian MPs (non-factional people's deputy Andrey Derkach; a deputy from the Batkivshchyna Party Aleksey Kucherenko; and a deputy from the ruling Servant of the People party, Aleksandr Dubinsky) revealed it at the press-conference [3].

The point here is that the former Minister of Ecology of Ukraine Nikolay Zlochevsky , an owner of "Burisma" gas company, in 2014 introduced a number of Western politicians to the board of directors of his company, which helped him to avoid accusations of corruption. Hunter Biden , son of former US Vice President Joe Biden , received monthly large payments for his "consultancy services". As a result Ukraine's General prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the corruption schemes of the company, was forced – under pressure – to resign by Joe Biden, who even boasted about it in the US media.

GMO Crops for Ukraine: The West's Agri-Business Conglomerates Snap up Ukraine's Bread Basket

Ukrainian MPs have now claimed at a press-conference that the money used to bribe the son of the former Vice President of the United States was in fact stolen. "Biden received money, the source of which is not the successful activity of Burisma, brilliant business moves, or recommendations. It is the money of the citizens of Ukraine. It was obtained by criminal means," said the MP Andrey Derkach. The ultimate goal of all this fraud, in which the Bidens were deeply involved, will be the bankruptcy of Ukraine in 2020-2021, through the formation of a pyramid of public debt.

Laundering scheme to withdraw money from Ukraine

According to Ukrainian deputies, this was a part of a bigger laundering scheme to withdraw money from Ukraine via Latvian banks and the fund 'Franklin Templeton Investments,' which is close to the United States Democratic Party. The founder of the foundation, John Templeton Jr., was one of the main sponsors of the campaign of former US President Barack Obama.

For the most part, it was in the region of $7.4 billion of stolen Ukraine's public money, from which only a "small share" was used to bribe Western politicians, like Hunter Biden. The deputies have stressed that, according to the investigation of Ukraine's general prosecution, the withdrawn and laundered money was then invested back into Ukraine. In particular through the Franklin Templeton Investments, the money was used to buy domestic government bonds (DGB), issued by Kiev at high interest rate.

The principle of this scheme is that with the assistance of American funds, the laundered money was legalised and invested in government bonds at 6-8% in dollars and 15-17% in Ukrainian currency (hryvnia). This is leading to enormous growth in the Ukrainian public debt and eventually the bankruptcy of the country's economy.

Eventual bankruptcy of the economy

Ukrainian prosecutor Konstantin Kulik recently stated [4] in an interview that Ukraine takes IMF loans to pay out on these debt obligations (DGB). As deputy Aleksandr Dubinsky stressed at the press conference, 40% of the current public budget goes towards the payment of the public debt of Ukraine, including the repayment of DGB at inflated interest rates.

According to him, bankruptcy on the debts could happen by the end of 2020 or 2021.

And this scheme is connected with land privatization, as adopted by Kiev in November in accordance with the IMF demand. "DGBs are a financial instrument by which the state owes all its property when paying off the DGB. And if the land market is opened, the state will have no other valuable property, with the exception of land," said Dubinsky, demanding the suspension of debt payments to international creditors.

As a result of this unpopular land reform and the widespread violations of labour rights, Ukraine's trade-unions called a general strike [5] for November 14 and began preparations. For the first time in the history of independent Ukraine, a strike committee was formed at the all-national level. This committee was joined by trade unions, individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, agricultural producers and farmers.

Management fires workers, pays themselves millions in bonuses

On November 14, Ukrainian railroad workers protested [6] in front of the Presidential office in Kiev against the announced plans to fire some 50% of railroad personnel. The workers demanded the railroad management should resign instead. The deputy head of the railroad trade-union, Alexander Mushenok, recently said [7] that currently "only 20 workers are employed where 60 workers are needed." At the same time the workers claim that the top-level management of the company are paying themselves millions in bonuses. One of the IMF demands requires that the Kiev authorities privatize the railroad system as well. In practice, this means that the few profitable routes will be privatized by western companies, while the majority of non-profitable routes – to poorly developed provinces – will remain state-owned, making the railway transport even less profitable.

The entire course of privatization, as promoted by the IMF, can be summarized by the principle 'privatization of profits, nationalization of losses." And the new Kiev government is far too dependent to protest against the imposition of this policy; however, this will effectively mean that this government will lose its credibility and trustworthiness among the people.

*

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Notes

The original source of this article is New Cold War Copyright © Dmitriy Kovalevich , New Cold War , 2019

[Nov 22, 2019] The Independent Ukraine s painful journey through the five stages of grief by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... Is it not possible to have an article on Ukraine without all the N@ZI references? Might have been a non-biased article, but many of us will never know... ..."
"... They certainly aren't National Socialists, and arguably not nationalists. Nationalists are open to what is best for "the nation" regardless of where it lies on the political spectrum. Since they don't consider the people in Donbas to be part of "the nation", that means, if anything, they are useful idiots of Zionism. ..."
Nov 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

In my July 25th article " Zelenskii's dilemma " I pointed out the fundamental asymmetry of the Ukrainian power configuration following Zelenskii's crushing victory over Poroshenko: while a vast majority of the Ukrainian people clearly voted to stop the war and restore some kind of peace to the Ukraine, the real levers of power in the post-Maidan Banderastan are all held by all sorts of very powerful, if also small, minority groups including:

The various "oligarchs" (Kolomoiskii, Akhmetov, etc.) and/or mobsters Arsen Avakov's internal security forces including some "legalized" Nazi death squads The various non-official Nazi deathsquads (Parubii) The various western intelligence agencies who run various groups inside the Ukraine The various western financial/political sponsors who run various groups inside the Ukraine The so-called "Sorosites" (соросята) i.e. Soros and Soros-like sponsored political figures The many folks who want to milk the Ukraine down to the last drop of Ukrainian blood and then run

These various groups all acted in unison, at least originally, during and after the Euromaidan. This has now dramatically changed and these groups are now all fighting each other. This is what always happens when things begin to turn south and the remaining loot shrinks with every passing day,

Whether Zelenskii ever had a chance to use the strong mandate he received from the people to take the real power back from these groups or not is now a moot point: It did not happen and the first weeks of Zelenskii's presidency clearly showed that Zelenskii was, indeed, in " free fall ": instead of becoming a "Ukrainian Putin" Zelenskii became a "Ukrainian Trump" – a weak and, frankly, clueless leader, completely outside his normal element, whose only "policy" towards all the various extremist minorities was to try to appease them, then appease them some more, and then even more than that. As a result, a lot of Ukrainians are already speaking about "Ze" being little more than a "Poroshenko 2.0". More importantly, pretty much everybody is frustrated and even angry at Zelenskii whose popularity is steadily declining.

... ... ...

Another major problem for Zelenskii are two competing narratives: the Ukronazi one and, shall we say, the "Russian" one. I have outlined the Ukronazi one just above and now I will mention the competing Russian one which goes something like this:

The Euromaidan was a completely illegal violent coup against the democratically elected President of the Ukraine, whose legitimacy nobody contested, least of all the countries which served as mediators between Poroshenko and the rioters and who betrayed their word in less than 24 hours (a kind of a record for western politicians and promises of support!).

... ... ...

Some of the threats made by these Ukronazis are dead serious and the only person who, as of now, kinda can keep the Ukrainian version of the Rwandan " Interahamwe " under control would probably be Arsen Avakov, but since he himself is a hardcore Nazi nutcase, his attitude is ambiguous and unpredictable. He probably has more firepower than anybody else, but he was a pure " Porokhobot " (Poroshenko-robot) who, in many ways, controlled Poroshenko more than Poroshenko controlled him. The best move for Zelenskii would be to arrest the whole lot of them overnight (Poroshenko himself, but also Avakov, Parubii, Iarosh, Farion, Liashko, Tiagnibok, etc.) and place a man he totally trusts as Minister of the Interior. Next, Zelenskii should either travel to Donetsk or, at least, meet with the leaders of the LDNR and work with them to implement the Minsk Agreements. That would alienate the Ukronazis for sure, but it would give Zelenskii a lot of popular support.

Needless to say, that is not going to happen. While Zelenskii's puppet master Kolomoiskii would love to stick this entire gang in jail and replace them with his own men, it is an open secret that powerful interest groups in the US have told Zelenskii "don't you dare touch them". Which is fine, except that this also means "don't you dare change their political course either".

...are going through the famous Kübler-Ross stages of griefs: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance: currently, most of them are zig-zagging between bargaining and depression; acceptance is still far beyond their – very near – horizon. Except that Zelenskii has nothing left to bargain with.


Alfred , says: November 14, 2019 at 9:51 am GMT

Thank you for a rational article about Ukraine. The sad thing is that it might take years to reach the "acceptance" phase.

It would take someone like Hitler to clean out the stables. Arrest is not a viable option as they will bribe their way out. These people need to be put down like rabid dogs. That is the only way to put an end to their mischief and it would be a deterrent to their replacements.

Personally, I suspect that the Ukraine is being deliberately depopulated to make way for waves of "refugees" from Israel. Another country that is still in the "denial" phase. Its military and political leaders know full-well that their strategic aims have all failed. The boot is now firmly on the other foot.

I suspect that Crimea was their preferred destination and hence the massive non-stop propaganda against Russia on that score. To give you an idea of how ridiculous it has all become, the UK no longer accepts medical degrees awarded by universities in Crimea.

AWM , says: November 14, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
Is it not possible to have an article on Ukraine without all the N@ZI references? Might have been a non-biased article, but many of us will never know...
Kateryna , says: November 14, 2019 at 5:18 pm GMT
It's "Ukraine", not "the Ukraine".
Spycimir Mendoza , says: November 14, 2019 at 5:30 pm GMT
Roman Dmowski, one of the creators of independent Poland, wrote in 1931 about Ukraine:
http://www.mysl-polska.pl/node/164
Commentator Mike , says: November 14, 2019 at 5:33 pm GMT
@Alfred

I suspect that the Ukraine is being deliberately depopulated to make way for waves of "refugees" from Israel.

You got that right – what it's all about is building a New Khazaria. But they're neither giving up on their Greater Israel project between the two rivers, and hence more wars, conflict and chaos to drive out the native Arabs from the Middle East.

I suspect that Crimea was their preferred destination and hence the massive non-stop propaganda against Russia on that score.

SeekerofthePresence , says: November 14, 2019 at 7:31 pm GMT
'Murka in boundless greed seizes Ukraine,
"Vital US national interest."
US now run by the likes of Strain,
'Nother hide to post in Pinterest.
Curmudgeon , says: November 14, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
@AWM They certainly aren't National Socialists, and arguably not nationalists. Nationalists are open to what is best for "the nation" regardless of where it lies on the political spectrum. Since they don't consider the people in Donbas to be part of "the nation", that means, if anything, they are useful idiots of Zionism.
tolemo , says: November 15, 2019 at 12:06 am GMT
@Curmudgeon They may not be real n@zis but they sure do look like it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vhw4IdIO6Lg&feature=youtu.be
Alfred , says: November 15, 2019 at 10:14 am GMT
@bob sykes Kolomoiskii is the real hidden owner/controller of the company that bribed the Bidens. He has a finger in lots of pies. His pretense to leaning towards Russia is his way to try to get the Americans to stop attempts to get at the many millions that he stole from his own Ukrainians bank – fake loans to his companies.

Of course, the Russians understand all of that. This theater is aimed at the Americans – not at the Russians.

Igor Kolomoisky Makes A Mistake, And The New York Times Does What It Always Does

Felix Keverich , says: November 15, 2019 at 9:43 pm GMT
For the Ukrainian state to break up, there need to be some forces interested in a break-up. You won't find such forces inside the Ukraine.

What is Ukrainian South-East? In pure political terms, "South-East" is a bunch of oligarchs, who are all integrated into Ukrainian system, and have no reason to seek independence from Kiev, especially if it means getting slapped with Western sanctions.

Even the Kremlin doesn't show much interest in breaking up the Ukraine, so why the hell would it break up?

It's worth pointing out that the so-called "Novorossia movement" started out as Akhmetov's project to win concessions from new Kiev regime. It was then quickly hijacked by Strelkov, a man who actually wanted to break up the Ukraine, and it is because of Strelkov, that Donetsk and Lugansk are now de-facto independent. Without similar figures to lead secessionist movements elsewhere in the Ukraine, this break-up that Saker keeps talking about will never happen.

Marshall Lentini , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:28 am GMT
Twenty-one occurrences of "Nazi".
Marshall Lentini , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:30 am GMT
@Nodwink Do you doubt it'll come to that? Krakow is on its way to becoming Little Bombay. Gotta have that "tech".
Carlton Meyer , says: Website November 17, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT
How 98% of Americans feel about the Ukraine BS:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Evj_qduJY7U?feature=oembed

Skeptikal , says: November 17, 2019 at 2:02 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Tucker nails it -- with humor, to boot.

His ratings must be sky-high, because otherwise I cannot imagine why Fox would allow him to continue to use their network as a medium to broadcast common sense.

Of course the Dems are making it so easy.
Schiff, Kent, Taylor, Yanovitch -- what a pathetic, nauseating crew.

[Nov 22, 2019] How 98% of Americans feel about the Ukraine BS

Tucker is definitely an interesting commentator.
Nov 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

Carlton Meyer , says: Website November 17, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT

How 98% of Americans feel about the Ukraine BS:

Tucker Democrats have no actual plan for impeachment - YouTube

Antares , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:42 am GMT
@Alfred I had the same thoughts. Zelenskii should show a similar coffin with the text "This one is still empty" and then start rounding up the terrorists. He finally has a good excuse.
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:58 am GMT
Thank you Saker and Unz for the very interesting article .

I wonder what has been the role of Germany in the Ukrainian disaster . ...I have the feeling , just the suspicion , that they contributed to the ucranian disaster out of their genetic Drang nach Osten Nordic greed , is that right ?

Anyway since the Ukrainian disaster the cohesion of the EU is going going down . Germany which was gifted with the german reunification , is less and less trusted spetially in south Europe , and even less in the EU far west , in England which is going out of the EU .

Most of the people in the EU would like to keep collaborating with the US , of course , but also with Russia and with the rest of the world . Most of the people in the UE are scared of the dark forces operating in Ukraine trying to provoke a war with Russia .

As a curiosity in 1945 the jewery asked Stalin to give Crimea to the jews , Stalin refused .
https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/164673/crimea-as-jewish-homeland

Z-man , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:21 am GMT
@Mr. Hack Do you work for Victoria Nudleman?
awry , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:41 am GMT
The stupid name-calling like the term "ukronazi" makes this article look like a rant like North Korean communiques or the ravings of some Arab despot's propagandist. It is not better than calling "The Saker" a "Moskal", "Sovok" or "Putler's stooge" etc. He should keep this lingo to directly "debating" "Ukronazis" on twitter or youtube commentst etc. not for an article that is supposed to be a serious analysis.
I understand that it is hard for a Russian nationalist to accept that the majority of Ukrainians don't want to belong to their dream Russkiy Mir, they were seduced by the West, which is more attractive with all its failings, because mostly of simple materialistic reasons. Ukrainians happily go to EU countries that now allow them in as guest workers. The fact, like it or not that majority of them chose the West over Russkiy Mir despite being very close to Russians in culture, language, history etc. He is still in the first stage of grief it seems.
Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 12:38 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack Touching. (Really, no sarcasm implied.)

All in all, Ukrainians are probably way above average in most human characteristics. The area of Ukraine is by planetary standards one of the best available: arable land, great rivers, Black see, pleasant and liveable.

But it is 2019 and life in Ukraine is barely better than it was 25-50 years ago, population has actually dropped from its peak in early 1990's. Millions of Ukrainians live abroad (I know some of them) and have – to be polite – at best an ambivalent attitude towards their homeland. Almost all of them prefer to be somewhere else, even to become someone else.

Now why is that? A normal society would have enough introspection to discuss this, to look for answers. Throwing a temper-tantrum on a big square in Kiev every few years is not looking for a solution. That is escapism, Orange-this, Maidan-that, 'Russians bad', 'we are going West', 'golden toilets', and always 'Stalin did it'.

I don't agree with the facile name-calling that sees Nazis everywhere and exaggerates throw-away symbolism. But Ukraine has not been functioning and it can't go like this much longer. Not because it will collapse, it won't, but because during an era of general prosperity Ukraine can't be a unstable exception (oh, I get it, they are better than Moldova, good for them.)

Rebellions against geography are doomed. Projecting one's personal frustrations on external enemies (Kremlin!) has never worked. Ukraine needs rationality – accepting that they will not be in EU, that attempting to join Nato would destroy Ukraine, and that they can't beat Russia in a war. And following advise of half-mad and half-ignorant well-wishers from Washington or Brussels is a road to ruin. Nulands, Bidens and Tusks will never live in Ukraine, they really deeply don't care about it. They have no skin in that game, it is just entertainment for them.

Or alternatively you can pray that Russia collapses – good luck waiting for that.

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT
@Anon

.genetic drang nach osten nordic greed

There is not much 'drang' left in Germany, so I think this is mostly fingers on the map post dinner empty talk.

in 1945 the jewery asked Stalin to give Crimea to the jews , Stalin refused

Crimea is a jewel, but has one big problem: not enough water. But that's also true about Izrael, maybe there is a deep genetic memory of coming out of a desert environment.

During WWII, Germany actually established settlements in Crimea. Think about it: there is a massive war, you have like 1-2 years, short on transport and resources, and you start sending settlers to Crimea – that's how much drang-nach-osten types wanted it. And the Turks, etc This must be driving them absolutely nuts.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:34 pm GMT
The mexicans are able to make fun of themselves , that`s a good thing . They have a joke which aplies also to Ukraina ( and other countries )

The mexicans say : when God created Mexico He gave Mexico everything ; land , mountains , plains , tropical forests , deserts , two oceans , agriculture , gold , silver , oil . then God saw how beautiful and perfect Mexico was and He though that He should also give something bad to the country to prevent the sin of pride , and then he populated Mexico with pure pendejos ,( idiots ) .

The same aplies to Ukraina . pure pendejos .

Skeptikal , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:49 pm GMT
@AWM "Is it not possible to have an article on Ukraine without all the N@ZI references?

If you want a decent analysis of current events in the Ukraine, which is what The Saker provides, I guess you'll just have to put up with his terminology.

The world won't miss a thing if Curmudgeon or AWM goes off in a huff, to sit on his toilet and read the "one joke per dump" volume lodged on the tank and stops reading The Saker's very thorough analysis as a protest action!

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:55 pm GMT
@Anon My experience is that Ukrainians individually are far from being pendejos . But they are unable to act as a group or as a nation. (Well, they 'act', but it mostly somehow fails.)

Maybe it is the relative shallow and heterogenous history of Ukraine. Or – and this is what I have observed – a fundamental inner disloyalty to the Ukraine as a homeland. When one observes the assorted Porkys, Timoshenkas, Yanuks, the oligarchs, but also the crowds on Maidan, I get a sense that they are all about to leave Ukraine or are thinking about leaving. Societies can't be built with one foot always at the airport, or in an old car in a 5-km column waiting on the border of Poland. Or Russia.

GMC , says: November 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
Another good article – thanks – Yep, the US/EU NWO is not going to let their "West Ukraine Isis" battalions and intel gang lose their funding , arms trafficking ops, or terrorist reputation. This is a no win situation in Ukraine and the West knows it – Even if NovoRossiya gets some independence, the Ukraine Isis will/can reek havoc and murder for a long time along the border. The modern Cheka { Ukraine Isis } has been modified for the security of the new Farmland owners – Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont and the rest of the Globalist Corporations and their ports close to Odessa.
Hapalong Cassidy , says: November 17, 2019 at 2:01 pm GMT
One point of contention since it wasn't made clear in this article – Novorussia consists of Luhansk and Donetsk, but not Kharkov. While Kharkov has more Russians than most other provinces of Ukraine do, it does not have a plurality like Donetsk and Luhansk.
Epigon , says: November 17, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

All of Ukraine's doomsayers have been crying about Ukraine's demise for the lat 25 years, yet the fact is that it' s getting stronger and stronger every year,

USA diaspora keeps on delivering.

Shoutout to quarter/half Poles USA citizens LARPing as Ukrainian patriots in the comments.

Alfred , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich Even the Kremlin doesn't show much interest in breaking up the Ukraine, so why the hell would it break up?

Follow the money my friend!

Some provinces send much more money to Kiev then they get back in "services". So long as more loans from the EU, The USA and the IMF were forthcoming, that situation was not too bad. Now, the spigot is being closed. Hence the sad face of Mr Z when he met Trump in Washington.

This means that the provinces that are losing most from this internal transfer are going to be strongly motivated to stop sending money to Kiev. Kiev will lose control and that will fragment the country.

The Donbass was a big contributor to Kiev and got little in return – that was a major reason for their dissatisfaction. Everyone there could see that Kiev sent the money west and kept much for itself.

If the French provinces were to stop sending money to Paris, the Yellow movement would be totally unnecessary.

Skeptikal , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT
@awry About 2.5 million Ukrainians have "emigrated" (you could also say "fled") to the RF since 2014.
Per Bloomberg most of the outflow not to Russia has been to countries of Eastern Europe, esp. Poland.
Alfred , says: November 17, 2019 at 5:34 pm GMT
@AP "Ukraine was historically a marsh of Poland for centuries before it was a historical marsh of Russia"

That was mostly Galicia and Volhynia. It is a tiny part of today's the Ukraine. In these areas, the Poles were landowners, the Jews their rent/tax collectors and the peasants were Ukrainian-speaking Slavs. Now, they are planning to sell the best farmland to "foreigners" (i.e. Jews) and the Slavs will become serfs once again.

Ukraine's plan to sell farmland raises fears of foreigners

It did not include many important cities – Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov and a great many smaller ones. There was no access to the sea.

If you go further back in time, you can also claim that Smolensk and Moscow belonged to Poland.

Beckow , says: November 17, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack The problem with your argument is that the 'war' in the east was entirely predicable. So was Crimea leaving and joining Russia. The people in charge in Kiev – presumably with 3-digit IQ – would think about it, plan for it, etc They obviously didn't. Instead they provided a needed catalyst to make it worse by voting in February 2014 to ban Russian language in official use, and the idiotic attacks on Russian speakers like in Odessa, that were neither prevented nor punished. The other side – in this case Russia and Russian speakers living in Donbas and Crimea – rationally took care of their own interests. Post-Maidan Kiev handed them all they could on a silver platter while busying themselves with silly slogans and videos of golden saunas.

Russia is actually one of the least susceptible countries to an economic collapse in the world – it is largely self-sufficient, has enormous resources that others will always buy, and has a very minimal percentage of its economy that deals with foreign trade. What they are susceptible to is the loss of value for their currency – and that has already largely happened since 2014. When it comes to energy, the countries that are low-cost producers are least impacted – who you should worry about are the numerous higher-cost producers like US shale, coal miners, or LNG gas that have huge upfront fixed costs and built-in high transportation costs. Russia and Saudis will be fine.

Back to the drawing board, what exactly is the plan in Kiev? If they know that having a war costs them investments, how do they end that war? It is highly unlikely that it would end with a victorious Kiev army conquering Donetsk (or Crimea). So what's the plan?

chris , says: November 17, 2019 at 6:45 pm GMT
It's amazing how spectacularly inept all these interventions over the last decades have been. Iraq, Lybia, Syria, Yemen, the coup in Turkey but also Ukraine.

And I know that in the ME, the Isrseli policy, as iterated by Michael Orin is to let all sides bleed each other to death, and that part has been relatively successful until recently.

But in Ukraine, they were going to consolidate their control over the country from Kiev and force-march the Russians out of Sevastopol. And that part didn't work at all, except as leverage to impose sanctions on Russia; but the long term goal of using Ukraine to overthrow Putin is now stuck in the Donbas.

My point being that it is the great fortune of the world that these criminal nitwits and fools in the State (War) Department and their helpers in the "intelligence" community are so arrogant and incompetent.

Arioch , says: November 17, 2019 at 7:41 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack Putin did not courted Yanukovich.

Putin courted (gave loans to) Yulia Timoshenko, the same way as later Putin gave loans to Marine Le Pen of France

You don't know even the most recent and public history of ze Ukraine .
Well, how is the land so are the patriots.

Arioch , says: November 17, 2019 at 7:52 pm GMT
@Anon Merkel (who herself was studying in Donetsk for few months) definitely has a hand in ze EuroUkrainian mess.

Afterall she met with Right Sector representatives one dayt before the final, bloody part of the coup started. And that meeting of "reporting on delivering at our commitments and asking Merkel about her delivery of her commitments" both with the next day start of "offence at the government" was announced by Right Sector yet another day before, 16 February 2014.

However i have reservations about Merkel representing German peoples, especially some alleged "genetical" trend of them to invade eastwards.
It was public, that Merkel's everything including public phone is spied upon by USA "intelligence community", and Merkel considered it normal and proper.

So it is clearly stated what she considers her allegiance and whom she considers her employees. Not citizens of Germany.

EliteCommInc. , says: November 17, 2019 at 7:53 pm GMT
"Each of these countries is as inorganic and disunited as Ukraine, or worse, made up as they are of various racial and ethnic groups who don't identify with each other."

I am dubious about this suggestion. But more importantly, Ukraine or the Ukraine has had a violent revolution about every ten years. You simply cannot develop a stable government, economy or safe social system if you you overturn the the government via violence every ten tears.

That is the key differences and essential to any successful government, and more so for a democracy that holds as innate belief, a tolerance for difference even competing ideas held by its population. It is as if the only the only we are exporting is revolution as solution to differences.

Arioch , says: November 17, 2019 at 8:58 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack > Russia has never been able to lead with a carrot, but only with a stick.

Russia offered dozen billions of loans and years ahead orders for Ukrainian industries. Those that Yatzenyuk begged to be re-started when he destroyed democratic government of Ukraine.

EuroMaidan tried to stole the carrot from Ukraine, and while it succeeded in stealing what Ukraine already picked, about 10%, the rest was kept safe of usurpers' reach, and so they started looting Ukrainian economy instead. Hrivna fallen 3-fold – more than ruble.

> Positive outside influence into Ukraine's internal development in the form of investments and economic development

EuroMaidan usurpers stopped real and ongoing investments from China and Russia by looting what investments arrived into Ukraine already. But at least they got $5 billions of investments from Nulland.

I like how "economic development" is listed as "outside influence". I thought that any state or nation would claim being capable of their own economic development, but for EuroMaidania it is quoted as some miracle that can only be given from outside.

> foreign investments being delayed until the war in the east is resolved

And that was why EuroMaidan usurpers invaded Donbass and started the war. To preclude investments from the West after they stopped investments form China and Russia.

> create a chaotic situations

EuroMaidan proponent blaming chaotic situations. Precious. "Bees against honey" movement.

> Since the West changed the dynamics of the energy game around the world

Did it? how exactly? By making Ukrainian pipelines liability no one wants to touch with a pole?

> It's learned to better feed itself, and that's about it

But that is exactly what Ukraine knew how to do, and what EuroMaidania can not do.
While Russia is gaining this experience – EuroMaidania was and is destroying it, for the sake of being "not like Russia". Way to go!

> One more jolt like in 2014

You mean the one when rouble fallen two-fold and hrivna three-fold?
Guess if the West could do it again – they would. But they can't.

> where are Russia's automobiles, televisions, medical equipment, computers, pharmaceuticals etc; within the world markeplace?

Russia is not packaging consumer goods. Russia is sending technologies, which others pack as consumer goods.

https://www.quora.com/Does-Russia-make-and-export-things-I-have-never-seen-anything-made-in-Russia

Ukraine could become one of those salesmen, packing Russian technologies into pretty wraps and selling around.
EuroMaidan usurpers feared that and prevented that.

EuroMaidan even destroyed Antonov company, which was one of just 4 companies in the world capable of building large airframes. Ensuring AirBus+Boeing+Tupolev/Ilyushin would have one competitor less. And as Antonov was el-cheapo vendor with strategy based on dumping – it was especially dangerous for Russian company, of the three. Thank you, guys, for removing this riddance out of Russian pathway. You did great service!

Arioch , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:19 pm GMT
@Hapalong Cassidy Beckow> the crowds on Maidan, I get a sense that they are all about to leave Ukraine or are thinking about leaving.

You do not need to "have a feeling"

The promise of "visa-less living and working in EU" was exactly what EuroMaidan crowd paraded as their aim and treasure, somehow magically warranted by the "Deep Association" that Yatzenyuk and Poroshenko later dragged feet for months, trying to delay signing of this economy suicide pact.

They were very public and honest about it. They claimed Yanukovich was somehow putting ball and chain on them all by giving the second thought to orders from Brussels. Aid in leaving Ukraine was the price they sold Ukrainian economy for. Ther were never shy in 2014 to speak about it.

Hapalong Cassidy> While Kharkov has more Russians than most other provinces of Ukraine do, it does not have a plurality like Donetsk and Luhansk.

There is a point. Kharkov in North-East and Odessa in South-West were trading cities, routing the official and smuggled goods streams and hosting the largest foreign goods markets. This clearly had impact upon mindsets of citizens and even more of cities elites.

People in Kharkov went to the streets right after the coup commited and without support they were at least equally numerous to all-Ukraine sponsored gathering of EuroMaidan #2.
But their leaders did not seek for independence, Kharkov city mayor Kernes openly shook hands with Andrey "White Fuhrer" Byletsky and expressed his care about his (not Kharkov citizens) safety in the night of Rymarskaya street murders, 2014 March 14th AFAIR.

People in Kharkov went against nazi from westernmost Ukraine regions (and even policemen) and stormed those out of their district government building. Who else did then?

They had a huge impulse, but they also focused the most efforts from usurpers to deflect and dissipate it. And little free resources the usurpers had back then.
Month later, in April, Kharkov was exhausted and pacified. But other regions of Ukraine were overlooked those two months.

However, it was that first month which gave people in Donetsk and Lugansk both time and examples to understand what is really going on (it was almost unbelievable that something like that can actually happen in XXI century in Europe, wasn't it?) and learn their Ukrainian elites are prostituting them, and then find some other leaders which would have enough skin in the game to not sell them out.

You may rightly say Kharkov citizens did not resist for long. But have to admit the resistance of Donbass and Lugansk was in significant part based upon time Kharkov bought them in March and April 2014, and upon self-exposing that Kharkov's fleeting but furious resistance forced EuroMaidan usurpers into.

Anon [301] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
"All, repeat, ALL the steps taken to sever crucial economic and cultural links between Russia and the Ukraine were decided upon by Ukrainian leaders, never by Russia who only replied symmetrically when needed.
Even with international sanctions directed at her, Russia successfully survived both the severance of ties with the Ukraine and the AngloZionist attempts at hurting the Russian economy. In contrast, severing economic ties with Russia was a death-sentence for the Ukrainian economy which has now become completely deindustrialized."

No wonder saker deletes posts to his website containing info like these:

https://wits.worldbank.org/CountryProfile/en/Country/UKR/Year/LTST/TradeFlow/Export/Partner/by-country/Product/Total

https://wits.worldbank.org/CountryProfile/en/Country/UKR/Year/LTST/TradeFlow/Import/Partner/by-country/Product/Total

http://www.democracyhouse.com.ua/en/2018/ukraine-russia-trade-ties-trends-and-forecasts/

The top trade partner of *the* Ukraine is Russia. So his thesis is a little 'shoddy math' ish. The links have not been severed as he pretends.

" the severance of ties with Russia " The Ukraine is more tied to Russia than any other country, by recent trade volumes (as well as in traditional culture). Saker doesn't like these facts to muddy up his thesis.

Felix Keverich , says: November 17, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Alfred

This means that the provinces that are losing most from this internal transfer are going to be strongly motivated to stop sending money to Kiev.

You don't get it. Ukraine's South-Eastern provinces are inanimate objects . They have no consciousness, no self-interest or free will. They don't decide anything.

Donbass never decided to break away from the Ukraine. That choice was made for it by Strelkov, when he and his men occupied Slovyansk and began an armed confrontation.

Felix Keverich , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:04 pm GMT
@Anon The Ukraine used to export something like $20 billion worth of goods to Russia annually. It's now closer to $5 billion, and Ukrainians are a lot poorer as a result.
Anon [301] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:24 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich The point is saker maintains it is completely de-industrialized. It is 'dead'. Total trade of >40 B all partners, isn't dead by a long shot. See what he says? 'Death sentence'. Far from it. A decrease isn't death. No doubt there has been a plunge. But saker is over stating it. Russia is still a center of gravity for the Ukraine.
anonymous [191] Disclaimer , says: November 17, 2019 at 10:27 pm GMT
I am so sick and tired of hearing the term nazi this and nazi that when referring to the situation in the Ukraine. The term nazi died in 1945 and should be left dead and buried. It was a stupid word created by the British during the war because of their inability to pronounce the German name for the NSDAP. The British and American media have a fetish for the word and will call any "right-wing" movement "nazi" if given any opportunity. This shows their total lack of creativity to come up with anything new and their deep obsession with anything to do with Hitler which borders on religious worship. I say get rid of the usage of the word on this site unless one is referring to the actual NSDAP party that existed until 1945.
Gerard2 , says: November 18, 2019 at 2:26 am GMT
@AWM You are an absurd cretin. Of course referring to current Ukraine as being controlled by Nazi's is 100% accurate.

Ukronazis and Hitler Nazi's have many alignments with eachother:

1. Bizarre, fundamentally paganist usage of ahistoric/religious images from a millenia ago as national symbols that should have had no connection to national identity of either state in the 1930's or now ( swastika and Tryzub) even the UPA flag has more sense about it to any "Ukrainian " state

2. Mass arrests and persecution of political opponents I'm fairly sure that Ukronazi's have arrested ( and maybe even killed) far more people in their first 5 years, that the Nazi's ever did in their 6 year, pre-war time in charge

3. Mass killing and torture of the people of the Donbass- now take on board this is with Russia fighting the war of fighting the war that they are not even there and Russia/DNR/LNR basically conducting huge talks with west/Banderastan and making huge concessions every time they have been in a a hugely advantageous position or made a big breakthrough in the war. Even Nazi's wouldn't have used such a lousy pretext for instigating war against the people of Donbass – although at least the Nazi's could govern their state ukrops can't govern f ** k all without it descending into farce

4. Above average representation of freaks and/or highly camp idiots Goebbels, Goering and Ribbentrop versus Avakov, "Yats" the yid, Poroshenko, Turchynov and many more – a lamentable contest

5. Neither would have got off the ground without Anglo-American funding

Just because the Nazi's in the 30's and 40's were more competent does not take away the similarities

Anon [301] Disclaimer , says: November 18, 2019 at 2:41 am GMT
*the * Ukraine is not dead nor dying contrary to saker:

https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/gdp . (click on 10 y timescale)

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG?locations=UA

again, click on 10 y timescale or ad lib;

https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/exports

https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/imports

" a death-sentence for the Ukrainian economy which has now become completely deindustrialized."

saker has lost it:

"Now that the Ukraine has been completely deindustrialized, all she can export are either people or land/soil."

saker needs to do some fact checking.

Contraviews , says: November 18, 2019 at 3:43 am GMT
Upon reading this article it should become even more evident who were responsible for the downing of MH17
renfro , says: November 18, 2019 at 3:58 am GMT
@Anon Pick whatever you want to believe.

Ukraine Special Focus Note
Tapping Ukraine's growth potential
May 23, 2019
http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/927141558601581077/Ukraine-Special-Focus-Note-Spring-2019-en.pdf

Structural bottlenecks and slow reform progress lead to anemic growth in Ukraine
The rate of economic growth in Ukraine remains too low to reduce poverty and reach income levels of neighboring European countries. Following the 16 percent cumulative contraction of the economy in 2014-15, economic growth has recovered to 2.4 percent in 2016-17 and 3.3 percent in 2018. Faster economic growth for a sustained period of time is needed to reduce poverty which remains above pre-crisis levels. More needs to be done if Ukraine's aspiration is to become a high-income country and to close the income gap with advanced economies. Today Ukraine is far from that goal. In terms of GDP-per-capita, Ukraine remains one of the poorest countries in the region -- at levels of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia. Ukraine's GDP per capita in purchasing power parity terms is about three times lower than in Poland, despite having similar income levels in 1990.
At the growth rate of recent years, it will take Ukraine more than 50 years to reach income levels of today's Poland. If Ukraine's productivity growth and investment rate remains at the low levels observed in recent years, overt the medium-term the growth rate will converge to almost zero per annum -- productivity growth is offset by declining contribution of labor as Ukraine undergoes the demographic transition. Boosting total factor productivity growth to 3 percent per year and investment to 30 percent of GDP would result in sustained growth of about 4 percent per year over the medium- to long-term. Given declining total population this translates to GDP per capita growth of about 4.5 percent per year. These trends will not improve on their own, they can happen only through the implementation of appropriate policies that boost productivity and increase the returns on factors of production.

Ukraine – Economic Indicators- Moody's
https://www.economy.com/ukraine/indicators

Arioch , says: November 18, 2019 at 3:58 pm GMT
@Anon This your link has few problems.

1. It does not split trade to industries. Hi-tech big added value and lo-tech slim added value – falls into the same "total"
2. It only shows one snapshot, not YoY dynamics.
3. The column "Export Product" shows exactly the same value – literally, 100% – for ALL the countries, all the rows. I wonder what we should deduce from it

What about this, a perspective ?

https://wits.worldbank.org/CountryProfile/en/Country/UKR/StartYear/2011/EndYear/2018/TradeFlow/Export/Indicator/XPRT-TRD-VL/Partner/RUS/Product/Total

Russian Federation 19,819,713.34 17,631,749.45 15,077,259.13 9,799,143.63 4,827,717.88 3,592,865.62 3,943,217.84

2012 – $19,8B
2013 – $17,6B – the start of the coup
2014 – $15B – the coup won power but did not entrenched yet and did not had time yet to enforce its ideals
2015 – $9.8B – the work started
2016 – $4.8B – 80% of 2012 exports are cut off, EuroMaidan means business
2017 – $3.6B – 82% of 2013 exports are cut off, coming to plateau ?
2018 – $3,9B – a slight rebound, plateau reached

AnonFromTN , says: November 18, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@bob sykes I'd dismiss this, as Putin is apparently doing. Kolomoisky is looking who else would provide money that he can steal. He, Porky, and others of their ilk stole Western loans so blatantly, that even US-controlled IMF is balking at giving Ukraine more money. So, Kolomoisky hopes that Russia will, so that he has more to steal. I hope that his hopes are in vain.
Truth3 , says: November 18, 2019 at 9:26 pm GMT
The entire Ukraine farce can be explained as a simple project

Khazaria 2.0.

I met a Jew (American) in Ukraine over 20 years ago.

He told me the plan Jews were returning to historically Jewish cities in Ukraine by the hundreds buying up for kopecki on the Gryvnia anything they could.

Media outlets, banks, factories, beachfront land, farmland, apartments, etc.

The idea? Make Ukraine the next EU Country, and benefit from the huge potential of Ukraine.

I agreed with him at the time, that Ukraine had huge potential, I was there as an engineer working for German companies but his lust for what could be 'looted' disgusted me.

AnonFromTN , says: November 18, 2019 at 11:02 pm GMT
@Truth3

the snipers perch on the square

This is a standard CIA scenario, used in Sarajevo and Deraa before Kiev. So, Ukrainians bought an old stale show, swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

But the Georgian snipers brought in 2014 to Kiev by Saakashvili started dying in suspicious circumstances, so those who are still alive rushed to Belarus and started deposing their testimony. They implicated a lot of Ukies, including former speaker Parubii, former MP Pashinsky, etc. It was well known (to those who did not keep their eyes wide shut for political reasons) that the sniper fire in 2014 on Maidan was from the building controlled by the coup leaders, who later tried to blame Yanuk for it. That's why post-coup Ukrainian authorities got rid of the trees on Maidan: bullet holes in those trees indicated where the fire was coming from. But this recent testimony implicated particular people, who (surprise, surprise!) happened to be among the coup leaders.

Seraphim , says: November 19, 2019 at 2:36 am GMT
@Truth3 The truth is that you are absolutely right. 'Ukrainians' boasted that they are the 'Khazars' since Mazeppa and Orlyk of the 'Constitution of Bendery' fame, while parading a distaste for 'the adherents of deceitful Judaism' and noisy adherence to Orthodoxy.
Look at this entry of the http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com and see if anything changed:

"After Mazepa's death, on 16 April 1710, Orlyk was elected hetman, with the backing of Charles XII of Sweden, in Bendery. The chief author of the Constitution of Bendery, he pursued policies aimed at liberating Ukraine from Russian rule. He gained the support of the Zaporozhian Host, concluded a treaty with Charles XII* in May 1710, and sought to make the Ukrainian question a matter of international concern by continuing Mazepa's attempts at establishing an anti-Russian coalition ** . Orlyk signed a treaty with the Crimean khan Devlet-Girei in February 1711, negotiated with the Ottoman Porte, which formally recognized his authority over Right-Bank Ukraine and the Zaporizhia in 1712, conducted talks with the Don Cossack participants in Kondratii Bulavin's revolt who had fled to the Kuban, and even contacted the Kazan Tatars and the Bashkirs. In 1711–14 he led Cossack campaigns against the Russians in Right-Bank Ukraine. Despite initial victories they ultimately failed, because of Turkish vacillation and because the pillaging, raping, and taking of many civilian captives by Orlyk's Crimean Tatar allies resulted in the loss of public and military support on the Right Bank".
Nowhere does the 'first "European" constitution' speak about 'ukrainians', but of 'Exercitu Zaporoviensi genteque Rossiaca" (Zapo­rozhian Host and the Ruthenian people) living in "Parva Rossia"/Little Russia.

* putting Ukraine under the protection of the King of Sweden.
** an plot of 'European' and Islamic powers with an intense 'Masonic-Kabbalistic' coloring (and Jewish financial support) against Russian 'Tsardom' and 'Patriarchal' Church. 'Ukraine' was an anti-Russian project from the get go. Brzezinski's quip: "Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire" reflects only the revival of the old plan in new circumstances.

Arioch , says: November 19, 2019 at 10:18 am GMT
@Seraphim " Brzezinski's quip: "Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot "

Old Zbieg was as lunatic as Pole can be and as cunning as Jew can be (was he?).

The Poles were so desiring to became Slavic superpower, and on the height of their might in 15th century – they could become. They occupied Russian lands – oh, that mythical Kievan Rus oppressed by Moscow for centuries. And they even occupied Moscow for few months – more than unified Europe managed to do under both Napoleon and Hitler combined! Polska was really stronk then.

.well, they ate themselves from inside and sold their statehood to all the foreign bidders while boasting about Polish pride. Like ukropeans do today. They lost their strength, they lost their eastern colony, and for a while they even lost Poland itself.

They could never move over it.

Zbieg – coming from Galicia, the last shrink of Poland-occupied lands – had this specifically Polish resentment burning in him. And he managed to make USA fight Polish fights. Managed to use American incompetence in history and geography to sell them that idea that the Ukraine – the borderlands between Poland and Russia have "geopolitical" importance. For USA, no less. Wow!

Okay, USA invested at very least $5B into buying Ukrainian warchiefs, and we don't know how much more was added by EU and Germany. They now have this "geopolitical asset" as Zbieg urged them to do. What are they gonna do with it now? How do they gonna make Ukrainians pay back the money they spent? Old Zbieg preached about the world "paid by Russia to fight against Russia". This is that very "Russia, occupy the Ukraine finally, we are tired of fruitless waiting!" whining they repeat again and again. But if this won't work, just like it did not work yet, how do they think to make Ukrainians pay for it? Or whom else? I wonder

Anon [301] Disclaimer , says: November 19, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Arioch "> My point is the ukraine isn't dead. It isn't dying.

In which quality? As a swath of land inhabited by few peasants here and there – it surely will remain.
As an economically vibrant country, one of UN founders, with economy larger than German and closing on France – what it used to be – it is dead.
As a laws-bound polity it is dead since 2014, though was dying even before.
As STEM engineering and education stronghold it was in USSR – it is dead.
As one in just four in the whole world producers of really large airplanes – it is dead.
As one of the few ICBM producers – it is dead, know-how sold to Saudi.
As one of the few turbojet engines producers – it is dead, know-how sold to China.
As one of the reliable and well known tanks and APCs producer – it is dead, even USA-occupied Iraq does not buy this trash.
As the country, living from the geographic rent, just providing roads and hotels for cargo traffic, it is almost dead. Bridges are collapsing, roads – neither for cars nor railways – are not maintained."

Bravado, anyone can see.

Dead countries don't produce electricity. Real economists look at things like this. Not just at industrial reorganization. That is the only point you have. Industrial reorganization. Not death of industry.

https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/electricity-production
click on ten years
28th in world rankings. far from dead.

Anon [301] Disclaimer , says: November 19, 2019 at 5:04 pm GMT
@Anon BTW, most *live* countries of the world do not produce ICBMs, nor jet engines, nor APCs etc, nor super heavy aircraft. The military industrial complex remnants from the SU are not industries that most of the planet's countries have. Specialties. Those can not be measures of whether a country is living or dead. Use some real measures.
Arioch , says: November 19, 2019 at 5:51 pm GMT
@Anon Actually a good point. Mass cargo logistics and energy generation. Indeed.

The thing here is, that as of now the Ukraine is enjoying its privileged position from times Ukrainians ruled USSR (IOW, after Stalin died in 1953 and of few coup leaders Khruschev became top dog in 1956). The Ukraine is reeking with then top-tech nuclear power plants, that very few of other USSR republics had (one in Ignalina in Baltics, one in Armenia, and dozen in Russia, that is all. Ukraine was #2 with huge gap).

There is a switch, though. What do you do with electricity you produced?
And, what kind of electricity you produce?

The second question is tangential to "green energy" fad.
The generation is split to "base" generation, which covers required minimum and should be steadily generating around the clock, and "maneuvering" generation which can be turned on and off in a matter of few minutes, to accommodate with daytime traits, like "people awoke in between 7-8am, took shower, cooked breakfast and departed to school/work".
In general, base generation is predictable, thus does not need big reserves, can use economy of scales and cut costs. Maneuvering one has to increase costs, dealing with unpredictable mode changes and extra wearing it puts on the equipment and employees.

The first question, as you can not pour electricity into a tank and keep it for months there, can be roughly split to
1) use at home, for things like washing, cleaning, entertaining (TV, computers), air conditioning in summer and heating in winter.
2) use in industries, this is perhaps what "real economists" look for. Those should had less daily spikes, they might even have near constant consumption around the clock.
3) export to the countries, who need it, but does not want to build their own power plants

The export is significant thing. There is so called Byrshtyn Island, a constellation of power plants in Western Ukraine, that was cut off from Ukrainian grid and plugged to Polish grid, to act as maneuvering damper for Polish citizens' daylight cycles.

http://www.ukrenergoexport.com/index.php/en/Electricity-Export

You chart shows that between 2014 and 2015 there was strong (about 2000 GWH) decrease in production, which remained more or less stable after that. It also shows huge seasonal variation.
It probably means Ukrainian industries and households enjoy a lot of winter-time heating, but very little of summer-time AC. Just like it was built during USSR times.

Ukrainian electricity export seems rising. Were there new power plants put to service? I did not heard. Then it means that domestic consumption shrunk.

2019 – http://112.international/politics/ukraine-raises-electricity-exports-by-4-in-january-2019-37406.html

2018 – https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/economic/532757.html

There are some hard numbers, but they sadly end at 2016
https://knoema.com/atlas/Ukraine/topics/Energy/Electricity/Electricity-exports

There was also a streak of Nuclear Power Plants accidents in the news of 2017-2019.
This can stem from two factors:
1) increased reliance on NPP as other power plants go belly-up, especially forcing those giant NPPs into maneuvering modes, which they were not designed for. You can find news sources that Ukrainian NPPs were being tested to 105% of normative capacity and to maneuvering modes, the modes that just do not make sense when together.
2) decreased maintenance

Anyway, those NPPs are of old Soviet design of 1980-s, they are closing to end of life. We'll see if new ones will be built. Or if they will just be used regardless of aging until some hard failure, "run to the ground". And what will come after.

Of course, as long as they operate – no mater how harmful to locals – EU will buy cheap energy.
And since EuroMaidan government is living on debts, it will have no choice than to sell. Even if domestic power consumption will get zero, the EU will buy the power.

But I do not think EU would invest into building new power plants there when Soviet ones finally crack.

Arioch , says: November 19, 2019 at 6:00 pm GMT
@Anon Indeed, only Airbus and Boeing can produce super-heavy aircrafts.
China and Russia are contenders. Ukraine used to be, but stepped out.

Does it mean, USA and France are hell-bent over their military industrial complex? Maybe.
Does it make them run worse?

Bombardier and EmBraer factories are bought by Airbus and Boeing, not vice versa.
Avro of Canada once used to be a pillar, now is memory.

And all the other countries have to kiss up to political powers that allow them purchasing Boeing and Airbus jets and maintenance as a privilege for their lapdogging.

Iran wanted to buy Airbus badly, how did it work out?

So, yeah, specialties. Those specialties that can not be replaced – for master races.
And those that can easily – for lapdogs.

New Zealand can produce good beef. But so can Brazil and Argentina. And Ukraine too.
But Brazil can not produce irreplaceable large cargo aircrafts. And even mid-size they can not produce independently.

Dr Scanlon , says: November 19, 2019 at 6:57 pm GMT
All nations are completely artificial along with the gods, ideologies, fiat money & all the rest if the human fictions. If humans went extinct overnight would the US, Russia et al still exist? No, nor would their thousands of gods.

That little trick with the maps can be done with many countries. The US is a fine example. 1st map = 13 colonies – keep adding new maps for every new state they added after France paid for & won US independence & include the theft/conquest of Mexican territory & Hawaii.

The Ukraine is a huge basket case made much worse by the US, but your (Orlov too) Rabid Russian nationalism blinds you. IOW, like the empires propagandists, you too are spinning a narrative, albeit more truthful than empires, but a narrative (emotional) nonetheless.

Anon [301] Disclaimer , says: November 19, 2019 at 8:47 pm GMT
And it means nothing that ukraine is a top grain producer? The dead don't produce anything. Farming is an industry.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/02/ukraine-takes-worlds-largest-grain-exporter-title-from-russia-a66250

Also, check construction spending:
https://tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/gdp-from-construction
click on 10 year

It looks like to me that there is too much activity there in various sectors to conclude that it is dead or dying. It isn't dead or dying.

Arioch , says: November 19, 2019 at 9:03 pm GMT
@Dr Scanlon Maybe we just compare real Ukraine with what it was promised to become?

Michael Saakashvili, 2014-08-26, "Exactly one year from today Ukraine would send humanitarian aid to Russia. Mark my words.". I am still trying to find that aid around me, no luck

There also was a much more extended timetable, year by year, how Ukraine would rocket to the future and how Russia would fall down to middle ages. Wanted to re-read it but could not find.

AnonFromTN , says: November 19, 2019 at 9:11 pm GMT
@Anon Or yea, sure. Even Ukrainian statistics (which in terms of reliability might be somewhat better than Nostradamus, at least sometimes) report 53 births for 100 deaths, with the population shrinking due to this differential alone by more than 200,000 per year. If you count in emigration, the picture becomes very bleak. Millions work in Russia, Poland, and elsewhere. Mind you, temporary emigration for work easily becomes permanent. For example, I have a cousin who used to live in Lvov. He worked in Russia for 20+ years, and since 2014 never visited Ukraine. I guess he is still counted, as he remains a Ukrainian citizen.
Seraphim , says: November 20, 2019 at 12:39 am GMT
@Mr. Hack OK, let's go to the original of the constitution 'ratified' by "His Majesty the King of Sweden" (cum consensu S-ae R-ae Maiestatis Sueciae, Protectoris Nostri/with the consent of His Majesty the King of Sweden, our protector):

"It is no secret that Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky of glo­rious memory, with the Zaporozhian Host, took up arms and began a just war against the Polish Commonwealth for no other reason (apart from rights and liberties) except their Orthodox faith, which had been forced as a result of various encumbrances placed on it by the Polish authorities into union with the Roman church. Similarly, after the alien new Roman reli­gion had been eradicated from our fatherland, he with the said Zapo­rozhian Host and Ruthenian [Rossiaca] people, sought and submitted him­self to the protection of the Muscovite tsardom for no other reason than "that it shared the same Orthodox religion". Therefore, if God our Lord, strong and mighty in battle, should assist the victorious armies of His Royal Majesty the King of Sweden to liberate our fatherland from the Muscovite yoke of slavery, the present newly elected Hetman will be bound by duty and put under obligation to take special care that no alien religion is introduced into our Ruthenian [Rossiacam] fatherland. Should one, however, appear anywhere, either secretly or openly, he will be bound to extirpate it through his authority, not allow it to be preached or dissem­inated, and not permit any dissenters, MOST OF ALL THE ADHERENTS OF DECEITFUL JUDAISM, to live in Ukraine, and will be bound to make every possible effort that only the Orthodox faith of the Eastern confession, under obedi­ence to the Holy Apostolic See of Constantinople, be established firmly for ever and be allowed to expand and to flourish, like a rose among thorns, among the neighbouring countries following alien religions, for the greater glory of God, the building of churches, and the instruction of Ruthenian [Rossiacis] sons in the liberal arts. And for the greater authority of the Kievan metropolitan see, which is foremost in Little Russia [Parva Rossia], and for a more efficient administration of spiritual matters, His Grace the Hetman should, after the liberation of our fatherland from the Muscovite yoke, obtain from the Apostolic See of Constantinople the original power of an exarch in order thereby to renew relationship with and filial obedi­ence to the aforementioned Apostolic See of Constantinople, from which it , was privileged to have been enlightened in the holy Catholic faith by the preaching of the Gospel".
"neque ignotum est, gloriosae me­moriae Ducem Theodatum Chmielniccium cum Exercitu Zaporoviensi non ob aliam causam praeter iura libertatis commotum fuisse iustaque contra Rempublicam Polonam arma arripuisse, solum pro Fide sua Orthodoxa, quae va­riorum gravaminum compulsu a potestate Polonorum coacta fue­rat ad unionem cum Ecclesia Romana; post extirpatam quoque e patria Neoromanam exoticam Religionem, non alio motivo cum eodem Exercitu Zaporoviensi genteque Rossiaca protectione Imperii Moscovitici dedisse et libere se subdidisse, solum ob Religionis Orthodoxae unionem. Igitur modernus neoelectus lllustrissimus Dux, quando Dominus Deus fortis et potens in praeliis iuvabit felicia sacrae S-ae R-ae Maiestatis Sueciae arma ad vindicandam patriam nostram de servitutis iugo Moscovitico tenebitur et debito iure obstringetur singularem volvere curam fortiterque obstare, ut nulla exotica Religio in patriam nostram Rossiacam introducatur, quae si alicubi clamve , palamve apparuerit, tune activitatem suam extirpandae ipsi debebit, praedicari ampliarique non permittet, asseclis eiusdem, PRAESERTIM VERO PRAESTIGIOSO IUDAISMO cohabitationem in Ucraina non concedet et omni virium conatu sollicitam impendet curam, ut sola et una Orthodoxa Fides Orientalis Confessionis sub obedienta S-tae Apostoiicae sedis Constantinopolitanae in perpetuum sit firmanda, atque cum amplianda gloria Divina, erigendis ecclesiis exercendisque in artibus liberalibus filiis Rossiacis dilatetur, ac tanquam rosa inter spinas, inter vicina exoticae Religionis Dominia virescat et florescat. Propter vero majorem authoritatem primariae in Parva Rossia sedis Metropolitanae Kiiovensis faciliorique in Spiritualibus regimine, impositam sibi idem Illustrissimus Dux vindicata patria nostra de iugo Moscovitico geret provinciam cir­ca procurandam et impertiendam a sede Apostolica Constantinopolitana Exarchicam primitivam potestatem, ut hoc actu renovetur relatio et filialis patriae nostrae obedientia ad praefatam Apostolicam sedem Constantinopolitanam, cuius praedicatione Evangelii in Fide Sancta Catholica illuminari firmarique dignata est".
ТHЕ PYLYP ORLYK CONSTITUTION, 1710@http://www.lucorg.com/block.php/block_id/26

And it is not 'panageric' but 'panegyric'.

Arioch , says: November 20, 2019 at 12:40 am GMT
@Anon > Also, check construction spending – click on 10 year

.now how can i account there for the fact, that UAH in 2013 costed three times more than UAH in 2015 ?

> Farming is an industry.

Grain industry – is low added value one, it is highly competitive market because grain from any country on Earth is just grain.

USSR used to buy grain, as it sponsored bread production and peasants all around were buying bead to feed their hens, goats, pigs, etc. Official meat production was large too.

It is definitely better to export at least something than nothing. But it also is better to export high added value goods.

Before WW1 a minister of Russian Empire said "Let our peasants starve but we will export all the grains we contracted" – few years later Russian Empire ceased to exist.

In 1931 and 1932 Stalin tenfold decreased then banned grains export breaking the contracts. 15 years later USSR won WW2.

Franlky, it is just weird that Ukraine and Russia together produce most world's traded grain, like there is no other fertile soil on Earth. Also Russia and Ukraine are both to the north from USA, so USA should be able to produce more grains in its warmer climate. Why isn't USA world #1 grains exporter?

This is not grains, it is more added-value product and
https://www.dw.com/en/how-ukrainian-poultry-becomes-eu-produce/a-49125767

and EU just whimsically bans Ukrainian meat beyond some arbitrary quota.
EU will easily find where to buy meet.
Can Ukraine reciprocate by banning Airbus or Boeing purchases? I wonder
EU can pressure Ukrainian government, and Ukraine can do little in defense.

[Nov 15, 2019] Trump And Zelensky Want Peace With Russia. The Fascists Oppose That

Notable quotes:
"... "In direct contravention of U.S. interests" says the NBC and quotes a member of the permanent state who declares "it is clearly in our national interest" to give weapons to Ukraine. ..."
"... But is that really in the national U.S. interest? Who defined it as such? ..."
"... And that's where the policy community and I part company. It is the president, not the bureaucracy, who was elected by the American people. That puts him -- not the National Security Council, the State Department, the intelligence community, the military, and their assorted subject-matter experts -- in charge of making policy. If we're to remain a constitutional republic, that's how it has to stay. ..."
"... The constitution does not empower the "U.S. government policy community", nor "the administration", nor the "consensus view of the interagency" and certainly not one Lt.Col. Vindman to define the strategic interests of the United States and its foreign policy. It is the duly elected president who does that. ..."
"... Mr. Kolomoisky, widely seen as Ukraine's most powerful figure outside government, given his role as the patron of the recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, has experienced a remarkable change of heart: It is time, he said, for Ukraine to give up on the West and turn back toward Russia. ..."
"... "They're stronger anyway. We have to improve our relations," he said, comparing Russia's power to that of Ukraine. "People want peace, a good life, they don't want to be at war. And you" -- America -- "are forcing us to be at war , and not even giving us the money for it." ..."
"... Mr. Kolomoisky [..] told The Times in a profanity-laced discussion, the West has failed Ukraine, not providing enough money or sufficiently opening its markets. ..."
"... Instead, he said, the United States is simply using Ukraine to try to weaken its geopolitical rival. "War against Russia," he said, "to the last Ukrainian." Rebuilding ties with Russia has become necessary for Ukraine's economic survival, Mr. Kolomoisky argued. He predicted that the trauma of war will pass. ..."
"... Kolomoisky's interview is obviously a trial balloon for the policies Zelensky wants to pursue. He has, like Trump, campaigned on working for better relations with Russia. He received nearly 73% of all votes. ..."
"... Ambassador Taylor and the other participants of yesterday's clown show would certainly "mess it up and get in the way" if Zelensky openly pursues the policy he promised to his voters. They are joined in this with the west-Ukrainian fascists they have used to arrange the Maidan coup: ..."
"... Only some 20% of the Ukrainians are in favour of continuing the war against the eastern separatists who Russia supports. During the presidential election Poroshenko received just 25% of the votes. His party European Solidarity won 8.1% of the parliamentary election. Voice won 5.8%. ..."
"... on Yovanovitch, She added: "If our chief representative is kneecapped, it limits our effectiveness to safeguard the vital national security interests of the United States." ..."
"... She wasn't fired, she was kneecapped, and Ukraine is a US vital national security interest, especially after it installed a new government with neo-fascism support.. . .Kneecapping is a form of malicious wounding, often as torture, in which the victim is injured in the knee ..."
Nov 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

NBC News is not impressed by the first day of the Democrats' impeachment circus. But it fails to note what the conflict is really about:

It was substantive, but it wasn't dramatic.

In the reserved manner of veteran diplomats with Harvard degrees, Bill Taylor and George Kent opened the public phase of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Wednesday by bearing witness to a scheme they described as not only wildly unorthodox but also in direct contravention of U.S. interests.

"It is clearly in our national interest to deter further Russian aggression," Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, said in explaining why Trump's decision to withhold congressionally appropriated aid to the most immediate target of Russian expansionism didn't align with U.S. policy.

But at a time when Democrats are simultaneously eager to influence public opinion in favor of ousting the president and quietly apprehensive that their hearings could stall or backfire, the first round felt more like the dress rehearsal for a serious one-act play than the opening night of a hit Broadway musical.

"In direct contravention of U.S. interests" says the NBC and quotes a member of the permanent state who declares "it is clearly in our national interest" to give weapons to Ukraine.

But is that really in the national U.S. interest? Who defined it as such?

President Obama was against giving weapons to Ukraine and never transferred any to Ukraine despite pressure from certain circles. Was Obama's decision against U.S. national interest? Where are the Democrats or deep state members accusing him of that?

Which brings us to the really critical point of the whole issue. Who defines what is in the "national interest" with regards to foreign policy? Here is a point where for once I agree with the right-wingers at the National Review where Andrew McCarthy writes :

[O]n the critical matter of America's interests in the Russia/Ukraine dynamic, I think the policy community is right, and President Trump is wrong. If I were president, while I would resist gratuitous provocations, I would not publicly associate myself with the delusion that stable friendship is possible (or, frankly, desirable) with Putin's anti-American dictatorship, which runs its country like a Mafia family and is acting on its revanchist ambitions.

But you see, much like the policy community, I am not president. Donald Trump is.

And that's where the policy community and I part company. It is the president, not the bureaucracy, who was elected by the American people. That puts him -- not the National Security Council, the State Department, the intelligence community, the military, and their assorted subject-matter experts -- in charge of making policy. If we're to remain a constitutional republic, that's how it has to stay.

We have made the very same point :

The U.S. constitution "empowers the President of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements between the United States and other countries."

The constitution does not empower the "U.S. government policy community", nor "the administration", nor the "consensus view of the interagency" and certainly not one Lt.Col. Vindman to define the strategic interests of the United States and its foreign policy. It is the duly elected president who does that.

and :

The president does not like how the 'American policy' on Russia was built. He rightly believes that he was elected to change it. He had stated his opinion on Russia during his campaign and won the election. It is not 'malign influence' that makes him try to have good relations with Russia. It is his own conviction and legitimized by the voters.
...
[I]t is the president who sets the policies. The drones around him who serve "at his pleasure" are there to implement them.

There is another point that has to be made about the NBC's assertions. It is not in the interest of Ukraine to be a proxy for U.S. deep state antagonism towards Russia. Robber baron Igor Kolomoisky, who after the Maidan coup had financed the west-Ukrainian fascists who fought against east-Ukraine, says so directly in his recent NYT interview :

Mr. Kolomoisky, widely seen as Ukraine's most powerful figure outside government, given his role as the patron of the recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, has experienced a remarkable change of heart: It is time, he said, for Ukraine to give up on the West and turn back toward Russia.

"They're stronger anyway. We have to improve our relations," he said, comparing Russia's power to that of Ukraine. "People want peace, a good life, they don't want to be at war. And you" -- America -- "are forcing us to be at war , and not even giving us the money for it."
...
Mr. Kolomoisky [..] told The Times in a profanity-laced discussion, the West has failed Ukraine, not providing enough money or sufficiently opening its markets.

Instead, he said, the United States is simply using Ukraine to try to weaken its geopolitical rival. "War against Russia," he said, "to the last Ukrainian." Rebuilding ties with Russia has become necessary for Ukraine's economic survival, Mr. Kolomoisky argued. He predicted that the trauma of war will pass.
...
Mr. Kolomoisky said he was feverishly working out how to end the war, but he refused to divulge details because the Americans "will mess it up and get in the way."

Kolomoisky's interview is obviously a trial balloon for the policies Zelensky wants to pursue. He has, like Trump, campaigned on working for better relations with Russia. He received nearly 73% of all votes.

Ambassador Taylor and the other participants of yesterday's clown show would certainly "mess it up and get in the way" if Zelensky openly pursues the policy he promised to his voters. They are joined in this with the west-Ukrainian fascists they have used to arrange the Maidan coup:

Zelenskiy's decision in early October to accept talks with Russia on the future of eastern Ukraine resulted in an outcry from a relatively small but very vocal minority of Ukrainians opposed to any deal-making with Russia. The protests were relatively short-lived, but prospects for a negotiated end to the war in the eastern Donbas region became more remote in light of this domestic opposition.
...
The supporters for war with Russia are ex-president Poroshenko and two parliamentary factions, European Solidarity and Voice, whose supporters are predominantly located in western Ukraine. Crucially, however, they can also rely on right-wing paramilitary groups composed of veterans from the hottest phase of the war in Donbas in 2014-5.

Only some 20% of the Ukrainians are in favour of continuing the war against the eastern separatists who Russia supports. During the presidential election Poroshenko received just 25% of the votes. His party European Solidarity won 8.1% of the parliamentary election. Voice won 5.8%.

By pursuing further conflict with Russia the deep state of the United States wants to ignore the wishes not only of the U.S. voters but also those of the Ukrainian electorate. That undemocratic mindset is another point that unites them with the Ukrainian fascists.

Zelensky should ignore the warmongers in the U.S. embassy in Kiev and sue for immediate peace with Russia. (He should also investigate Biden's undue influence .) Reengaging with Russia is also the easiest and most efficient step the Ukraine can take to lift its desolate economy.

It is in the national interest of both, the Ukraine and the United States.

Posted by b on November 14, 2019 at 18:23 UTC | Permalink


pretzelattack , Nov 14 2019 18:28 utc | 1

next page " agree with mccarthy about who conducts foreign policy, disagree about who the aggressor is; it's the USA, trying to weaken Russia, which is the aggressor.
james , Nov 14 2019 18:48 utc | 2
thanks b... typo - immediate piece with Russia - 'peace' is the spelling here...

the comments from Kolomoisky in the recent nyt interview are very telling.. aside from being a first rate kleptomaniac who will willingly play both sides if he can profit from it, he is also speaking a moment of truth..for him Ukraine is available to the highest bidder... he could give a rats ass about Ukraine or the people... but still, it is refreshing that the NYT published his comments in this regard..

the quote "the Americans "will mess it up and get in the way." is very true... it was true before kolomisky picked a side too.. this guy is very shrewd.. i wonder if his own country is able to see thru him?

national interest.... yes, trump gets to decide and he won on the idea of having closer relations with russia, but the cia-msm has been lambasting him and anyone else associated with him since before the election over the clinton e mails... they have painted a scenario that it is all russias fault and have been relentless in this portrayal... hoping trump is going to turn this around is like hoping someone is going to turn the titanic around from hitting a giant iceberg... the usa is too far gone and will be hitting the iceberg.. they are in fact...

michael lacey , Nov 14 2019 19:00 utc | 3
Good article what the American people miss is good articles instead of the mind numbing BS! They actually receive!
Piotr Berman , Nov 14 2019 19:01 utc | 4
From NYT about Kolomo???? (spelling in English is highly variable)

George D. Kent, a senior State Department official, said he had told Mr. Zelensky that his willingness to break with Mr. Kolomoisky -- "somebody who had such a bad reputation" -- would be a litmus test for his independence. [If is good to be independent, i.e. to do what we want.]

And William Taylor, the acting ambassador in Kiev, said he had warned Mr. Zelensky: "He, Mr. Kolomoisky, is increasing his influence in your government, which could cause you to fail." [La Paz is a fresh reminder for Kiev?]

Bemildred , Nov 14 2019 19:07 utc | 5
Well the thing about Zelensky is he's still there, and he is making changes in Donbass.

Kolomoisky was interested in the fracked gas in Donbass, the completion of NordStream II has made a mess of that idea. It is good that he has seen the light, as it means Zelensky will have support in his attempts to adapt to reality. But Kolomoisky is still a crook no doubt.

Montreal , Nov 14 2019 19:14 utc | 6
My immediate reaction was that Kolomoisky realises he has to act - the Ukrainian oligarchs have got too close to America. I agree with James that he is a extremely clever man. Ukraine's traditional business is playing both ends against the middle and sending the proceeds to Switzerland (or the Caribbean in Porosyonok's case). Since 1990 a few of these robber barons have made a very good business winding up the west against Russia, it could go on ever - why spoil it by lifting the rock and seeing all the insects scurrying around in the light?

Another rock that has been lifted is in Washington, where the khokhol diaspora are desperately trying to get Uncle Sam to right the wrongs of a century ago.

Montreal , Nov 14 2019 19:25 utc | 7
I should have written: the "perceived" wrongs" of a century ago.
Babyl-on , Nov 14 2019 19:26 utc | 8
"Deep state" is misleading and actually a false construction.

There is an Imperial State (the ruling faction)which consists of imperial apparatchiks placed in every key position in government.

There is one and only one Western Empire and its deep state spreads throughout Western governments and society. They are the owners oif the world and they run the world they own.

chet380 , Nov 14 2019 19:28 utc | 9
... @ b -- "Only some 20% of the Ukrainians favor to continue the war against the eastern separatists who Russia supports."

The are not 'separatists', but rather Ukrainians who want to stay in a federated Ukraine as 'provinces' with powers to pass their regional laws, similar to those in Canada.

psychohistorian , Nov 14 2019 19:35 utc | 10
The segment of empire in the US that are against Russia act so because it was Russia that stymied them in Syria and continues to be in their way of expanding the control from that part of empire...the US segment.

I still believe that the global private finance core segment of empire is behind Trump and throwing America(ns) under the bus as the world turns more multilateral. The cult of global private finance intends on still having some overarching super-national role in the new multilateral world and holding debt guns to everyones heads to make it ongoing.

I don't believe that strategy will work but as long as they can be fronted by a MAD player of some sort (Occupied Palestine comes to mind) they can be bully players in international matters.

As the world economies grind to a "halt" there will be lots of pressure everywhere and very little clarity about the key civilization war over public/private finance, IMO

NOBTS , Nov 14 2019 19:37 utc | 11
For a military dictatorship, diplomacy is the continuation of war by other means. The US has been at war with Russia since the right-wing coup at the Democratic convention of 1944. All presidents have been servants of the military, which includes the police/intel/security apparatus; the few who did not entirely accept their figurehead role were "dealt with." Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and now Trump. The Washington permanent state bureaucrats are shocked and understandably offended; they have after all, been running US foreign policy for 75 years!
karlof1 , Nov 14 2019 19:39 utc | 12
Wow! The depth of delusion on display is as breathtaking as its complete projection of the intentions and actions of the Evil Outlaw US Empire! Oh so many saying I'm displaying four fingers instead of two. Too bad there isn't a padded cell big enough to contain all the lunatics. I recall the pre- and post-coup discussions from 2014--that Russia was going to make NATO own Ukraine until it was forced to concede it has no business being there; that Russia would teach the would-be leaders of Ukraine a serious lesson in where their national interests lay. NATO is ready to cede and the lesson's been learned.

IMO, two referendums must be held. The first within Russia: Will you accept portions of Ukraine wanting to merge with Russia: Yes/No? Second to be given within Ukraine provided Yes wins in #1: Do you wish to join Russia or remain in Ukraine? IMO, this is a very longstanding unresolved issue of consequence for the people involved. The political leaders of Russia and Ukraine might both be against such a vote, but IMO that merely kicks the can further down the road and opens the door for more mischief making by the Evil Outlaw US Empire. Assuming a Yes from Russia and some from Ukraine, a strategic threat to Russia and Europe would be mitigated. Additional questions about those parts of Ukraine not wanting to join Russia could be solved via additional referenda in the Ukraine and neighboring nations that might prove willing to absorb the remnants and their people. Such action would of course negate the Minsk Agreements.

Given the ideological passions of those living in Western and Northern Ukraine, I don't see any hope for the continuation of the Ukrainian state as currently arranged, thus the proposed referenda. However, if Russia says Nyet, then Minsk must be implemented.

TG , Nov 14 2019 19:39 utc | 13
Ah, well said, but missing the point.

"Democracy" is not about letting the people as a whole have a say in how the country is governed. That would be fascist, and racist, and populist, and LITERALLY HITLER. Letting the people decide on things like foreign policy, is literally anti-democratic.

No, "Democracy" is about privatizing power and socializing responsibility. The elites get to set the policy, but the public at large gets to take responsibility when things go wrong. Because you see, we are a "Democracy."

jayc , Nov 14 2019 19:41 utc | 14
Breaking off long established economic and cultural ties with a large neighbouring country, virtually overnight, is a rash act, and certain to create dislocation and hardship. The craziness of the idea was only achievable through the traumatizing psy-op of the sniper event, leading directly to the coup and the state of war. The EU and the US were clearly malevolent in orchestrating the Association agreement with its ridiculous terms and the corresponding Maidan pressures.

The fools in Hong Kong, after protester-sponsored screenings of the World On Fire documentary, were actually quoted as presuming the Maidan protests had "won" and expressed their hopes that they too could "win". Good luck to them.

AntiSpin , Nov 14 2019 19:49 utc | 15
Ukraine Timeline

for anyone who hasn't had the time to get caught up on the topic, by Ray McGovern
https://www.opednews.com/articles/Ukraine-For-Dummies-by-Ray-McGovern-Crimea_Ignorance_Intelligence_Media-191114-285.html

Taffyboy , Nov 14 2019 19:50 utc | 16
Kolomoisky and Zelensky know what needs to be done, but they fear the blood that will flow with Nazi-Banderist scum! Zelinski's balls are not that big, and has no options left after compromising his position from day one. Who will make the first move, I fear not him? Russia has time, and patience, which is sorely lacking in the west who feel they have to push the envelope.
Don Bacon , Nov 14 2019 19:57 utc | 17
The Minsk II protocol was agreed to on 12 February 2015 by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany, It included provisions for a halt in the fighting, the withdrawal of foreign forces, new constitution to allow special status for Donbass, and election in Donbass for local self governance. Control of the present border of Ukraine would be restored to the Ukraine government. Donbass would continue to be in Ukraine with some autonomy here (scroll down).
There are many such autonomous zones in the world, and in Europe, seen here .
The problem in Ukraine is that the neo-Nazi factions promoted by the US don't want to see a resolution, and will fight it with US support.
flankerbandit , Nov 14 2019 19:59 utc | 18
Kolomoysky is obviously a master thief and general scumbag...but he is no fool...

I think the writing on the wall became obvious with the Nordstream 2 finalization, where, it is noted, Denmark came in just under the wire in terms of not disrupting the timetable...

Obviously the interests of German business have prevailed...and rightly so in this case...

And what of the famous EU line about 'protecting' Ukraine as a gas transit corridor...?

LOLOLOL...that is in the same category of nothingburger as the EU noises about 'alternate payment' mechanisms for trade with Iran...

As soon as the Denmark story broke, Gazprom and Russian energy analysts talked openly about the tiny volumes that Ukraine could expect to see transiting its territory...as part of a new agreement to replace the one that has expired...

It works out to a small fraction of the several billion dollars in transit fees the Ukraine was getting...

Also considering that the IMF appears to be finally shutting off the tap of loans to this failed gangster state...and that the promises from the EU in 2013 were just so much fairy tales...hard-nosed operators like Kolomoysky are recalculating...

The chaos and national ruin has really cost these gangster capitalists nothing [in fact they have profited wildly]...so it is easy for them to reverse course and come begging back to Russia...

Bryan MacDonald has a good piece about this today in RT...

Ukraine's most powerful oligarch states the obvious: Ukraine has to turn back towards Russia

So, here we are, almost six years since the first "EuroMaidan" protests in Kiev, and Ukraine's most prominent oligarch has finally voiced the unmentionable: the project has failed.

As for Kolomoysky...like Trump, there is something to like about dirtballs who speak their minds openly...LOL

Vonu , Nov 14 2019 20:08 utc | 19
According to Kevin Shipp, the National Security Council really runs the executive branch, not the president. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=XHbrOg092GA
PJB , Nov 14 2019 20:11 utc | 20
Quite a turnaround by Kolomoisky. Wasn't he once caught on a tapped phone call admitting while chuckling about Ukrainian complicity in shooting down MH-17? i.e. NOT Donbas rebels and NOT Russia.
james , Nov 14 2019 20:13 utc | 21
@12 karlof1... a referendum... as if the usa would agree to that, lol.... look how they processed the one in crimea...

@18 flankerbandit... last line is true, but it pales in relation to the ugliness these 2 exhibit 99% of the time, although the 1% when they don't it's refreshing! ukraine will continue to be used as a tool by the west..

forget about any referendum.. that makes too much sense and won't be allowed..

Kadath , Nov 14 2019 20:23 utc | 22
Nordstream 2 will come online in less than 2 months and the Ukrainian gas exports at that time will cease (I.e. no oil for the Oligarchs to steal), no matter what the US says they can't replace the Russian oil exports in terms of money & support to Ukraine, so the Oligarchs are now positioning themselves to abandon the US in order for the Russians to keep even a tiny bit of oil flowing into their pockets
J Swift , Nov 14 2019 20:31 utc | 23
It's a tough balancing act, being a Ukrainian oligarch. For two decades they stole what they could from the Ukraine (and from perverting the various sweetheart deals Russia was providing). Once the industry and energy money was stripped, and Russia started closing the spigots, they managed to get the West to pump in ungodly amounts of cash so long as they would agree to talk mean about Russia, and didn't mind the US machine taking its cut of the loot.

But now the Ukrainian thieves are beginning to realize that the Western thieves are going to steal the very ground from under their feet, so there will be no more Ukraine to steal from. That's not a very good business model. Plus they're no doubt seeing how the US treats its partners in crime in Syria and elsewhere, and realize they could easily find themselves the next meal for the US beast. Pretty easy to see why the smarter ones are getting nervous.

DannC , Nov 14 2019 20:37 utc | 24
they need to make peace with Russia or they will be left out in the cold, literally. They seemed to have previously bought into some insane lie that they'd be a part of the EU and NATO if theyd do Washington's bidding. The Deep state vastly underestimated Putin's resolve when it became clear to the Russians that Washington may try and turn Crimea into a NATO port one day. The game is over. Ukraine needs to find a way forward now for itself or it will be a failed state in the near future. It's clear Merkel and Europe want no part of this headache
flankerbandit , Nov 14 2019 20:42 utc | 25
I don't think Russians want to 'own' any part of Ukraine...at least that is the nearly unanimous opinion of my own contacts and colleagues in Russia...so I don't think any referenda will be on the table...

What I do think is possible is what Yanukovich and Russia agreed to in terms of a trade and economic deal...which was a lot more practical [not to mention generous] than the EU 'either or' nonsense...

Ukraine has run itself into the ground, literally...now they are selling vast tracts of agricultural land to huge Euro agribusiness concerns...literally dispossessing themselves of their own food security...

At the time of the Soviet dissolution, Ukraine had the highest living standards and some of the world's prime industry and technology...including for instance the Yuzhnoye design bureau [rocket engines and spacecraft] and many more such cutting edge aerospace concerns...

For years these crucial enterprises were able to keep going due to the Russian market...that all ended in 2014 [and in fact was tapering off even before due to the massive corruption]...

Now the Chinese are looking to scoop up these gems at firesale prices...

It is really quite unbelievable that the nutcases in the Ukraine would be willing to cut off their own arm just to bleed on Russia's shirt...

Why did the Ukraine never recover from the gangster capitalism like Russia did...because no Putin ever came along to reign in the oligarchy...[It could be argued Putin hasn't done nearly enough in this regard].

The Ukraine is actually a preview of what we can expect to see in our own future...as the unleashed oligarchy similarly runs everything into the ground in order to extract maximal wealth for a parasite elite...already we are nothing but a Ponzi Scheme on the verge of toppling...

Jackrabbit , Nov 14 2019 20:49 utc | 26
Disappointed in b's analysis.

Kolomoisky is talking his book and helping USA to make the case that Nordstream is a NATO security issue. To pretend that he's serious about a rapproachment with Russia just plays into that effort.

And b ignores my comment on the prior thread that he references (about Trump being Constitutionally charged with foreign policy). Repeating: the "Imperial Presidency" has flung off Constitutional checks and balances by circumventing the need to get Congressional approval for spending. Wars (like Syria) are now be funded by Gulf Monarchies, black ops, and black budgets.

While for practical reasons the Executive Branch of USA government has the power to negotiate treaties and manage foreign relations, Constitutionally he does so for the sovereign (the American people) and his efforts are subject to review and approval of the people's representatives via the power of the purse.

Ignoring how the "Imperial Presidency" has usurped power leads to faulty analysis that supports that power grab.

Ukrainegate IS a farce, but for other reasons. Chief among them being the inherent fakery of 'managed democracy' which manifests as kayfabe.

uncle tungsten , Nov 14 2019 20:50 utc | 27
Babyl-on #8
There is an Imperial State (the ruling faction)which consists of imperial apparatchiks placed in every key position in government.

There is one and only one Western Empire and its deep state spreads throughout Western governments and society. They are the owners of the world and they run the world they own.

Nicely put:- that is the reality. Thanks b for your intrepid reports.

Paul Craig Roberts has a deeply aggrieved rant at zero hedge if barflies want a chuckle. What a shitshow.

uncle tungsten , Nov 14 2019 20:58 utc | 28
flankerbandit #25

YES to all that and we are all getting the same split and plunder treatment.

Indonesia is the trial ground and has been where the methods were in place the longest as Andre Vitchek reports .

That is our future unless we intervene and throw the USA out of our countries.

jo6pac , Nov 14 2019 21:06 utc | 29
Long but a good read on the Ukraine by David Stockman.

https://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2019/11/12/the-ukrainian-influence-peddling-rings-a-microcosm-of-how-imperial-washington-rolls/

flankerbandit , Nov 14 2019 21:16 utc | 30
Agree with Uncle on Indonesia...yes that Vltchek piece [and much of his previous work on Indonesia] is pretty sobering...this is our future folks...
Duncan Idaho , Nov 14 2019 21:21 utc | 31
Crimea?
It has been part of Russia about as long as the USA has been a country.
9 out of 10 residents are of Russian origin, and Russian is the spoken language.
I guess it could be returned to the 10%-- but out of fairness, we must turn the USA over to its original occupants.
If you live in the USA, get your ass ready to leave.
bevin , Nov 14 2019 21:47 utc | 32
One of the problems that the anti-nazis face in Ukraine is that there are occupying armies in the country. Armies which cannot be trusted to obey instructions which are not agreed upon by NATO warmongers.
One such army is Canadian, commanded I believe by a descendant of the Ukrainian SS refugees and reporting to the Foreign Minister in Ottawa, a Russophobe with a family background of nazi collaboration.
The actual political situation is much more delicate than media reports suggest: what are called elections feature, in the Washington approved fashion, the banning of socialist and communist candidates. Bans which are enforced by a combination of fascist commanded police forces and, even less responsible, private nazi militias. Opponents of the Maidan regime are driven into exile, jailed or murdered.
Those who wonder as Jackrabbit, in a rare essay into rationality, does above, about the nature of the US Constitution after decades of the erosion of checks and balances thanks to the Imperial Presidency, will recognise that a dialectic is at work here. Washington's support for fascism abroad has instituted fascism at home which has led in turn to the installation of fascist regimes abroad, not just occasionally but routinely. Wherever the US intervenes it leaves a fascist regime, in which socialists are banned and persecuted, behind it.
And what this means is that, among other things, the ability of the population to effect political change is cancelled: there is no way that the people of Ukraine can decide what they want because the decisions have been taken for them, in weird cult like gatherings of SS worshiping Bandera supporters in Toronto and Chicago. It is no accident that most of the 'Ukrainians' being wheeled out by the Democrats to testify against Trump are actually greedy expatriates who have never really lived in Ukraine.
There was a moment, not long ago, when it looked as if the Minsk accords promised a path to peace and reconciliation. Unfortunately the plain people of Ukraine, the poorest in Europe though living in one of the richest countries, Washington, Ottawa and NATO didn't like the sound of Minsk. Nor did the fascists in the Baltic states and Poland, for whom, for centuries, Ukraine has been a cow to milk, its people slaves to be exploited and its rich resources too tempting to ignore.
michael , Nov 14 2019 21:56 utc | 33
As Thomas Jefferson explained the President's role in foreign affairs in 1790, and the lack of advisors' policy making decisions: ''as the President was the only channel of communication between the United States and foreign nations, it was from him alone 'that foreign nations or their agents are to learn what is or has been the will of the nation'; that whatever he communicated as such, they had a right and were bound to consider 'as the expression of the nation'; and that no foreign agent could be 'allowed to question it,' or 'to interpose between him and any other branch of government, under the pretext of either's transgressing their functions.' Mr. Jefferson therefore declined to enter into any discussion of the question as to whether it belonged to the President under the Constitution to admit or exclude foreign agents. 'I inform you of the fact,' he said, 'by authority from the President.'
Sadness , Nov 14 2019 22:04 utc | 34
Might also be worth yesterdays hero's asking if dear Mr Kolomoisky, joint Uki/Israeli national, took a part in authorising the shoot down of MH17 as a news cover for Operation Protective Edge. Heave ho zionist USA ....et al.
steven t johnson , Nov 14 2019 22:11 utc | 35
1.The decisions to with hold and release aid have nothing to do with the President making foreign policy but with his campaign. Saying it was about foreign policy is a damned lie.
2.Trump as president is supposed to lead foreign policy, which means actually setting a policy. Military aid to Ukraine, yes, except no, except yes, personal handling without asking anybody with experience how to achieve the national goal desired, national agenda kept secret from the people who have to carry it out, abuse of officials, demands for dubiously legal actions without rationale...Saying it was about the president's executive role is a damned lie.
3.Trump has not made even a tweet that questions US support for fascists. That not even a issue for Trump. Saying this is about support for fascism is a damned lie.
4.Kolomoyskiy is a bankroller of fascists. It is not impossible even a billionaire might get frightened by the genie he's let out of the bottle, even if he's Jewish and rich enough to run away. But actually undoing the fascist regime means taming the paramilitaries and this is not even on the horizon. Given the rivalry between Poroshenko and Kolomoyskiy it's not even certain it's a real change of heart or just soothing words for the non-fascist people. Nor is it even clear the Zelensky will follow even the Steinmeier formula. If he does, good, but until something actually happens? Saying it's about the antifascist turn is a damned lie.

The only thing that isn't a lie is that Trump was not committing treasons, "merely" a campaign violation. But then, Clinton never did either. The crybabies who dished it out but can't take it deserve zero respect, and zero time.

Don Bacon , Nov 14 2019 22:16 utc | 36
@ michael 34
There's a major difference between being a national spokesman and being a national decision-maker.
Don Bacon , Nov 14 2019 22:17 utc | 37
@ stj 36
Trump as president is supposed to lead foreign policy, which means actually setting a policy.
There's no basis for that in the Constitution.
Jen , Nov 14 2019 22:32 utc | 38
Curious to know how Kolomoisky is working "feverishly" to end the war in the Donbass region. Wonder if he is planning to come clean on what he knows of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 shootdown and crash in an area not far from Slavyansk and near where his Privat Group's subsidiary company Burisma Holdings holds a licence to drill for oil and natural gas. What does he know about Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk air traffic control personnel's direction to MH17 to fly at 10,000 metres in the warzone and not an extra 1,000 metres above as the flight crew had requested? He had been governor of Dnepropetrovsk region at the time.
ben , Nov 14 2019 22:47 utc | 39
A quote from b's article;"It is clearly in our national interest to deter further Russian aggression".

Spoken by two sycophants for the empire.

It would be in our "national interest" if we could stop our aggression's around the globe.

DJT, IMO, only favors peace with Russia, or any one else,if, it furthers HIS personal, and his families enrichment.

He has a record of shafting people, I just wish people would inform themselves about it, and see what he's done with his life, not what says about it.

Paul Damascene , Nov 14 2019 22:56 utc | 40
Somewhere I read it alleged that the actual owner of Burisma was or is Kolomoiski.

Anything to this?

And via John Helmer (via Checkpointasia and dances with bears) comes the perspective that it's not so much Kolomoiski floating trial balloons (though that may also be true) but that K is being given space in the NYT to build his credentials as the new Borg villain, thereby making it still harder for Zelensky to reconcile with Russia.

ben , Nov 14 2019 22:56 utc | 41
fb @ 25 said;"The Ukraine is actually a preview of what we can expect to see in our own future...as the unleashed oligarchy similarly runs everything into the ground in order to extract maximal wealth for a parasite elite...already we are nothing but a Ponzi Scheme on the verge of toppling..."

Yup, aided and abetted by our current regime, while pretending not to...

Really?? , Nov 14 2019 23:23 utc | 42
@23
"It's a tough balancing act, being a Ukrainian oligarch. For two decades they stole what they could from the Ukraine (and from perverting the various sweetheart deals Russia was providing). Once the industry and energy money was stripped, and Russia started closing the spigots, they managed to get the West to pump in ungodly amounts of cash so long as they would agree to talk mean about Russia, and didn't mind the US machine taking its cut of the loot."

This is it in a nutshell. The Russians were fed up with Ukraine stealing gas. Hence, Nord Stream 2. That was always the plan. Whether the Yanks truly grasped the rationale here ---Russia is cutting off gas to Ukraine, simple---has never been clear to me. Although it is a fairly simple plot. The Russians had decades of shenanigans with the Ukes and said Basta. By not overreacting to the Ukrainian-USA freakout and keeping their eyes on the prize (Nord Stream and disengaging, gas-wise, from Uk), they have managed to reach their goal of getting Nord Stream 2 online.

oldhippie , Nov 14 2019 23:25 utc | 43
Kolomoiski is the bankroller and commander of the Azov Battalion. Has close arrangements with other paramilitaries. And is the current principal of Burisma. And is Privatbank, the only bank left in Ukraine. He gets a cut of all the action.

When Trump queries Zelensky, all that Zelensky is thinking is this guy does not know the score. This guy does not know who's on first. He wants me to investigate the boss? Let him talk to the boss. And who does Z talk to in D.C.? Pointless getting into detail with Trump.

Trump has no team. No one in D.C. is on his side. He's unable to finish anything.

OutOfThinAir , Nov 14 2019 23:45 utc | 44
1) Say the fantasy happens and the US/Russia become BFFs like US/UK...

- Say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss?

- Tough to answer, many unknowns- Russia may act different once its on top, actors may derail schemes, Deep State temper tantrum, etc...

In general, governments are the order-providing solution for chaos and problems that only first existed inside the minds of those seeking power over others.

Zedd , Nov 14 2019 23:50 utc | 45
Kolomoiski is a U.S. asset. His interview with the NYTimes proves it.

His threats are meant to mobilize NATO and Russia haters in general; because Trump and most of his cadre care nothing for Ukraine.

Does anyone think Russia will give Kolomoiski 100 million dollars? Why was he given an opportunity to threaten the USA? For no reason? Something else is afoot but Russia still won't take the bait because they are winning.

Russia is quite happy with the status quo. The war in Ukraine keeps the war against Russia on a level which is easy to manipulate and therefore geostrategically beneficial. Kolomoiski will get nothing.

Steve , Nov 15 2019 0:03 utc | 46
Thank you, b, for that snippet from NY Interview with Kolomoisky . I had glanced the headline on RT but didn't read it because of RT's usual clumsy writing.
evilempire , Nov 15 2019 0:51 utc | 47
Kolomoiski is taunting the empire: investigate my crimes and
ukraine will seek reconciliation and alliance with russia.
Russia won't fall for it. They want kolomoiski's scalp even
more than the empire. From the statements putin has made, maybe
the only concession russia would accept is the dissolution of
ukraine as a sovereign entity and reintegration with russia, minus galicia.
Putin has remarked that they are not one people but one state. Ukraine
already knows that its domestic industry is only viable in competition
with the eu industrial powerhouses if it is integrated with russia.
flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 0:59 utc | 48
Jen said...
What does [Kolomoysky] know about Kiev and Dnepropetrovsk air traffic control personnel's direction to MH17 to fly at 10,000 metres in the warzone and not an extra 1,000 metres above as the flight crew had requested?

Okay..so an interesting can of worms here...

First is the fact that Kolomoysky was the governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast at the time...

Now as to the flight and Dnipro Radar [the regional air traffic control facility that controls a very big chunk of airspace over eastern Ukraine]...

First the issue of the airplane cruising altitude...the crew had filed their flight plan to climb from flight level 330 [33,000 ft] to FL350 after passing a certain waypoint in eastern Ukraine...

Now the controllers did instruct the crew to go ahead and climb to their planned altitude, but the crew declined the clearance and opted to stay at FL330...this was done very likely because the atmospheric conditions at that height were better for fuel economy...

[To be even more specific...the Boeing manual gave an optimum flight altitude of 33,800 ft, but flying eastward you only have odd numbered flight levels to choose from, so the crew figured they would be better off staying at 33 than climbing to 35...]

BUT...there are a couple of very curious things here...

First is the fact that Dnipro controllers deviated the airplane from its flight plan just before it went down...ostensibly due to other traffic...

We can see this in the following map, which is what's called a high altitude en route chart, which is used by pilots to plan and execute their flight...

Here we see the route of MH17 superimposed on the chart...

You will note a couple of things here...the airplane is flying on the L980 airway [basically a highway in the sky] when it is turned south by controllers to the RND waypoint, which is in Russian territory...

This is NOT the route filed by the crew...which can be seen here...

They were supposed to continue flying on L980 right to the TAMAK waypoint, which is visible on the previous chart and is right on the border with Russia...

They would have continued on the A87 airway to their next waypoint in Russia which is TIKNA...

Now here is the thing...right after they were turned south, they got shot down...

According to the radio transcripts, the crew acknowledged the course change, but did not object...however, usually these kinds of course changes aren't appreciated on the flight deck because the crew is trying to minimize wasted time and wasted fuel on course deviations...

Most times you will just not bother to complain to controllers...but for sure there will always be chatter between the captain and copilot about being yanked around like that...

No mention is made in the Dutch Safety Board report about such chatter from the cockpit voice recorder, which I find very odd...

Also odd is the fact that Dnipro ATC primary radar was down, and only the so-called 'secondary' was working which uses the transponder signals from the airplane...

This is very busy airspace because a lot of flights from western Europe to South Asia traverse this territory...the plan is always to fly what's called a 'great circle route' which is basically a straight line, if you flattened out the globe...

Plus considering that you have a war going on underneath...it's very unusual to have your PRIMARY radar inoperable...

This is significant also because military aircraft will not be using transponders and so will not be visible to the secondary surveillance...

The Russian primary radar did pick up two other aircraft very nearby MH17...but the Dutch have made some kind of excuse about that data not being in 'raw' form and thus not usable...

So we see some very suspicious anomalies here...

The Ukrainian authorities did have a NOTAM [notice to airmen] in effect up to FL320 [32,000 ft] so commercial traffic could not fly under that height...but clearly they should have closed the airspace over the hot conflict area...

They didn't do that...and Kolomoysky was in charge...


Kiza , Nov 15 2019 1:12 utc | 49
The Deep State's view on the members' God given right to make foreign policy decisions (it must be the God who has give it to them, because the people certainly have not) just reminds the of the general attitude of the Government's bureaucracy. Give any fartbag a position in the government and he/she becomes "a prince/princes over the people", give him or her a monopoly over violence and you got yourself a king/queen. All these police and military kings & queens milling around and lording over us. "Deep State" is such a totally natural consequence of the government bureaucracy corrupted by power that it appropriated. Pillaging taxes from the sheeple (and taking young maidens like Sheriff of Nottingham/Epstein) could have never ever been enough. Did you seriously think that the Deep Staters would constrain themselves to only stealing your money, taking your children for their pleasure and to die in their wars of conquest, and putting you into a totally unsafe airplanes to die for their profit? Constrain themselves when there is a whole globe out there to be lorded over, like Bidens over Ukraine? It is the poor people of Ukraine who just have too much money, thus had to give it through the gas monopoly to the Biden gang, which selflessly brought them "democracy" at $5B in US taxpayers' expense. Therefore, it is the Deep State which has been chosen by God, or someone just like that, to make the decisions about the imperialist/globalist foreign policy and have billions of dollars thrown by the grateful natives into their own pockets, as consulting fees:
https://www.zerohedge.com/political/leaked-bank-records-confirm-burisma-biden-payments-morgan-stanley-account

So far the only clear-cut globalization is that one of crime, which has become global.

dh , Nov 15 2019 1:42 utc | 50
What is the US National Interest b asks? Who defines it as such?

Ome magazine that might know is none other than The National Interest. Hopefully I won't get attacked for quoting from what seems like a fairly sane article to me....

"The US should consider whom they are giving weapons to. Ukraine is a debt-ridden state and only five years beyond an extralegal revolution. Should the government collapse again, then American weapons could end up in the possession of any number of dubious paramilitary groups.

It wouldn't be the first time. In the 2000s, CIA operatives were forced to repurchase Stinger missiles that had fallen into the hands of Afghani warlords -- at a markup. Originally offered to the Mujahideen in the 1980s, the Stingers came to threaten American forces in the region. Similarly, many weapons provided with US authorization to Libyan rebels in 2011 ended up in the possession of jihadists."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/dressed-kill-arming-ukraine-could-173200746.html

karlof1 , Nov 15 2019 1:47 utc | 51
It's difficult to find clean information on happenings within Ukraine and those involving Russia. The Ministry of Foreign affairs has this page dedicated to the "Situation Around Ukraine." Of the three most recent listings, this one --"Comment by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the NATO Council's visit to Ukraine"--from 1 November is quite important as it deals with the reality on the ground versus the circus happening thousands of miles away, although it's clear the delusions in Washington and Brussels are the same and "continue to be guided by the Cold War logic of exaggerating the nonexistent 'threat from the East' rather than the interests of pan-European security."

In the second most recent listing --"Remarks by Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the OSCE Vladimir Zheglov at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine and the need to implement the Minsk Agreements, Vienna, October 31, 2019"--the following was noted:

"There's more to it. The odious site Myrotvorets continues to function using servers located in the United States. The UN has repeatedly stated that this violates the presumption of innocence and the right to privacy. Recently, Deputy Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Benjamin Moreau, reiterated the recommendation to shut down this website. A similar demand was made by other representatives of the international community, including the German government. The problem was brought to the attention of the European Court of Human Rights. The other day, the representative of Ukraine at the ECHR was made aware of the groundlessness of the Ukrainian government's excuses saying that it allegedly 'has no influence' on the above website.

"In closing, recent opinion polls in Ukraine indicate that its residents are expecting the government to do more to bring peace to Donbas. The path to a settlement is well known, that is, the full implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures of February 12, 2015, that was approved by the UN Security Council."

Clearly, Zelensky's government is much like Poroschenko's when it comes to listening to those who empowered it, the above citation is one of several from the overall report.

The latest report deals with an ongoing case at the International Court of Justice at The Hague that reveals some of the anti-Russian bias there. It has no bearing on this discussion, although it does provide evidence of the contextual background against which the entire affair, including the circus in Washington, operates.

MoA consensus is Minsk backed NATO and its Ukrainian minions into a corner from which there's only one way out, which is the implementation of the Accords they continue to oppose to implement despite their promise to do so. Clearly an excellent example of not being agreement capable that hasn't changed since 2015.

If the Republicans had any brains, they'd turn the Ukrainian aspect of the hearings into an indictment against Obama/Biden for illegally overthrowing Kiev and trying to obtain their piece-of-the-action, but then that would be the logical thing to do and thus isn't an option. The prospect of each day providing similar spectacle is mind numbing as it airs the sordid, unwashed underwear if the Evil Outlaw US Empire.

Kiza , Nov 15 2019 2:01 utc | 52
I normally do not reply to trolls, but I make an exception for you. Pedo-dollar? Do you have any more such crap to dilute the valid points discussed here?
james , Nov 15 2019 2:36 utc | 53
@41 paul damascene... regarding the helmer article - thanks for pointing it out.. IGOR KOLOMOISKY MAKES A MISTAKE, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES DOES WHAT IT ALWAYS DOES

i liked what @ 32 tod said - "he's just doing the old Jewish threatening/begging dance!
"And you are forcing us to be at war, and not even giving us the money for it." Wink! Wink!"

stating the obvious is one remedy for any possible confusion here..

@54 karlof1... i don't believe trump is allowed to shine any light on the usas illegal actions as that would be sacrilege to all the americans who see their country in such a great, exceptional-ist light... how would trumps MAGA concept swallow that? it wouldn't, so it won't happen...

UnionHorse , Nov 15 2019 2:40 utc | 54
I just watched Seven Days in May for the first time in a long while. It is worth the time. It resonates loudly today.
Kiza , Nov 15 2019 2:50 utc | 55
@flankerbandit 18

You are a bit off on that story. NS2 pipeline will increase the capacity not transitioning via Ukraine and reduce the price banditry by the Ukrainian & US gangs, but it will not make gas transit via Ukraine unnecessary. The planned switch off of the German nuclear and coal power plants will gradually increase the German demand for gas, that is the Russian gas by so much that NS1 and NS2 will not be enough. Primarily, NS2 is a signal to the Ukrainian & US Democrat gangs that if they try excessive transit fees and stealing of gas again, that they will be circumvented within a few years by NS 3,4,5 ...

BTW, the globalized pillaging of the population is clearly not an invention of the DNC crime gang only. For example, the 737Max is a product of primarily Republican activity on deregulating what should have never been deregulated and subjugation to the Wall Street (aka financialization). The pillaging of the World is strictly bipartisan, just differently packaged:
1) R - packaging the deregulation to steal & kill as "freedom" or
2) D - packaging the regime change as responsibility to protect R2P (such regime change and stuffing of own pockets later).

Grieved , Nov 15 2019 3:01 utc | 56
karlof1 @54 - "Minsk backed NATO and its Ukrainian minions into a corner from which there's only one way out, which is the implementation of the Accords"

Yes. As you well know, and as we have well discussed, Minsk was in its very essence the surrender terms dictated to the US by NAF and Russia in return for letting the NATO contractors go free and secretly out of the Debaltsevo cauldron. Either actually or poetically, this was the basis. The US lost against NAF. The only way to prevent Donbass incursion into the rest of Ukraine was to freeze the situation. The US had no choice, and surrendered.

Out of the heat and fog of warfare came a simple document made of words which, even so, illustrated perfectly just how elegantly the Kremlin had the entire situation both war-gamed and peace-gamed. Minsk from that day until forever has locked the Ukraine play into a lost war of attrition for the US sponsors, with zero gain - except for thieves.

To attempt to parse Ukraine in terms of statecraft is to miss the point that Ukraine can only be parsed in terms of thievery. This is not cynicism, simply truth.

Now they sell their land because this is all there is left to sell. Kolomoisky proposes selling the entire country to Russia for $100 billion but not only will Russia not bite, the country isn't worth even a fraction of that - because of Minsk, it can cause zero harm to Russia. But this ploy raises the perceived value (Kolomoisky hopes) in the eyes of the west, and starts the bidding.

In Russia the people see all this very clearly, including on their TV. Yakov Kedmi in this Vesti News clip of Vladimir Soloviev's hugely popular talk show, discusses the situation. He baits Soloviev by saying that the Ukrainian thieves are only doing what the Russian thieves did in the 1990's - and one must filter through this badinage to take out the nuggets he supplies. Here are three:

1. Zelensky has no security apparatus that follows his command, therefore how can he be considered the leader of the country?
2. There is no power in Ukraine, only forces that contend over the scraps of plunder.
3. These forces are creating the only law there is, which is the sacred nature of private property for the rich - the only thing the US holds sacred.

Therefore sell the very soil.

~~

The Minsk agreement is a sheer wall of ice reaching to the sky. No force imaginable can scale it or break it. Against that ultimate, immovable wall the US pounds futilely, with Ukraine caught in the middle, while Russia waits for Ukraine to devolve into whatever it can.

And the Russian people and government regard the people of the Ukraine as brothers and sisters. But until the west has worn itself down, and either gone away or changed the equation through a weakening of its own position in some significant way, nothing can be done by Russia except to wait.

Kiza , Nov 15 2019 3:09 utc | 57
What Tod @32 described is spot-on, "the old Jewish threatening/begging dance". It is not that the Russians do not know this about Kolomoyskyi. They will play along not expecting anything from the Zelo-on-a-String and his master. The Russians like to let those scumbags (Erdo comes to mind) huff & puff and embarrass themselves by flips. They know - it could always be worse if those did something intelligent. Kolomoyskyi is vile but he ain't no genius, not any more than Erdo.
flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 3:42 utc | 58
You are a bit off on that story.

Sure Cheeza...everybody's a 'bit off' except you...

Gazprom is talking about 10 bcm a year through Ukraine for the new 10 year deal, as opposed to the 60 bcm [billion cubic meters] that Ukraine is hoping for...

The Vesti report right here...

james , Nov 15 2019 3:47 utc | 59
@62 grieved.. nice to see you back.. thanks of the link with yako kedmi talking.. that was fascinating.. i think the guy is bang on..
snake , Nov 15 2019 3:58 utc | 60

"Deep state" is misleading and actually a false construction.

There is an Imperial State (the ruling faction/)which consists of imperial apparatchiks placed in every key position in government. Babyl-on @ 8

? before I begin , how do you measure the political and economic power of money as opposed to the political and economic power of the intentions and needs of the masses. Does $1 control a 100 people? A million dollars control 100,000,000 people? How do we measure the comparative values between money power and people power? I think the divisions of economics and the binaries of politics established by the nation state system means that the measurement function (political and economic values) varies as a function of the total wealth vs the total population in each nation state. If true, become obvious how it is that: foreign investments displaces the existing homeostatis in any particular nation state, the smaller the poorer the nation state, the more impact foreign wealth can have; in other words outside wealth can completely destroy the homeostatis of an existing nation state. I think it is this fact which makes globalization so attractive to the ruling interest (RI) and so damning to the poorest of the poor.

Change by amendment is impossible There is one and only one Western Empire but there is also an Eastern Empire, a southern empire, and a Northern Empire and I believe the ruling interest (faction) manipulate all nations through these empires. In fact, they can do this in any nation they wish. The world has been divided into containers of humans and propaganda and culture have highly polarized the humans in one container against the humans in other containers. <=divide, polarize, then exploit: its like pry the window, and gain access to the residence, then exploit. It is obvious that the strength of the resistance to ruling class exploitation is a function of common cause among the masses. But money allows to control both the division of power and the polarization of the masses. The persons who have the powers described in Article II of the US Constitution since Lincoln was murdered can be controlled (Epstein, MSM directed propaganda, impeachment, assassination, to accomplish the objects of the ruling interest (faction). Article II of the USA constitution removes foreign activity of the USA from domestic view of the governed at home Americans. Article II makes it possible for the POTUS to use American assets and resources to assist his/her feudal lords in exploiting foreign nations almost at will and there is no way governed Americans can control who the ruling interest place in the Article II position.

A little History Immigration to NYC from Eastern (the poor) and Western (the rich) Europe transitioned NYC and other cities from Irish majority to a Jewish majority; and the wealthy interest used the Jewish majorities in key cities to take control over both Article I and Article II constitutional powers by electing field effect controlled politicians (political puppets are elected that can be reprogrammed while they are in office to suit the ruling interest. The source code is called rule of law, and money buys the programmers who write the code. So the ruling interest can reprogram in field effect fashion, any POTUS they wish. Out of sight use of the resources of America in foreign lands is nothing new, it was established when the constitution was written in Philadelphia in 1787 and ratified in 1788.

Propaganda targeted to the Jewish Immigrants allowed the wealthy interest to control the outcome of the 1912 election. That election allowed to destroy Article I, Section 9, paragraph 4 " No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid unless in Proportion to the Census of enumeration herein before directed to be taken". and to enact a law which privatized the USA monopoly on money into the hands of private bankers (the federal reserve act of 1913)

What was the grand design Highly competitive, independent too strong economic Germany was interfering with Western hegemony and the oil was in the lands controlled by the Ottomans. It took two wars, but Germany was destroyed, and the Ottoman empire (basically the entire Middle East) became the war gained property of the British (Palestine), the French (Syria) and the USA (Israel). Since then, the ruling interest have used their (field effect devices to align governments so the wealthy could pillage victim societies the world over. Field effect programming allows wealth interest to use the leaders of governments to use such governments to enable pillage in foreign places. The global rich and powerful, and their corporations are the ruling interest.

psychohistorian says it well "..the global private finance core segment of empire is behind Trump and throwing America(ns) under the bus as the world turns more multilateral. The cult of global private finance intends on still having some overarching super-national role in the new multilateral world and holding debt guns to everyone's heads to make it ongoing..." by psychochistorian @ 10


NOBITs @ 11 says it also "All presidents have been servants of the military, which includes the police/intel/security apparatus; the few who did not entirely accept their figurehead role were "dealt with." Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and now Trump. The Washington permanent state bureaucrats are shocked and understandably offended; they have after all, been running US foreign policy for 75 years!" by: NOBTS @ 11

According to TG @ 13 "Democracy" is about privatizing power and socializing responsibility. The elites get to set the policy, but the public at large gets to take responsibility when things go wrong. Because you see, we are a "Democracy."by: TG @ 13 <= absolutely not.. the constitution isolates governed Americans from the USA, because the USA is a republic and republics are about privatizing power and socializing responsibility; worse, there ain't nothing you can do about it.


Vonu @ 19 says "According to Kevin Shipp, the National Security Council really runs the executive branch, not the president. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=11&v=XHbrOg092GA" by: Vonu @ 19 <=but it is by the authority of Ariicle II that the NSC has the power to run the executive branch?

KAdath @ 22 says "the Oligarchs are now positioning themselves to abandon the US in order for the Russians to keep even a tiny bit of oil flowing into their pockets by: Kadath @ 22" <=exactly.. but really its not abandoning the USA, its abandoning the oligarchs local to the pillaged nation..

J Swift @ 23 says "the US treats its partners in crime in Syria and elsewhere," [poorly] but its not the USA per say, because only one person has the power to deal in foreign places. Its that the POTUS, or those who control the Article II powers vested in the POTUS, have or has been reprogrammed.. J. Switft @23>>

flankerbandit @ 25 says " Ukraine has run itself into the ground, literally...now they are selling vast tracts of agricultural land to huge Euro agribusiness concerns...literally dispossessing themselves of their own food security..." flankerbandit @ 25 <=Not really the wealthy (investor interest) have pushed the pillage at will button.. since there is no resistance remaining, the wealthy will take it all for a song..


Jackrabbit @ 26 says "Trump [is].. Constitutionally charged with foreign policy. Repeating: the "Imperial Presidency" has flung off Constitutional checks and balances by circumventing the need to get Congressional approval for spending. Wars (like Syria) are now be funded by Gulf Monarchies, black ops, and black budgets.by Jackrabbit @ 26 <== Trumps orders military to take 4 million day from Syria in oil?
your observation that the money has circumvented Article I of the COUS explains why the democraps are so upset.. the wealthy democrap interest has been left to rot? Your comment suggest s mafia is in charge?

Tod @ 32 says "As soon as some money goes his way, he'll discover democracy again.
Sorry to burst you bubbles." by: Tod @ 32" <==understatement of the day.. thanks.

Bevin @ 32 says "a dialectic is at work here. Washington's support for fascism abroad has instituted fascism at home which has led in turn to the installation of fascist regimes abroad, not just occasionally but routinely. Wherever the US intervenes it leaves a fascist regime, in which socialists are banned and persecuted, behind it. this means.. the ability of the population to effect political change is cancelled" by bevin @ 33 <= yes but there is really no difference in a republic and its rule of law, and a fascist government and its military police both rule without any influential input from the governed.

michael @ 34 reaffirms "The President was the only channel of communication between the United States and foreign nations, it was from him alone 'that foreign nations or their agents are to learn what is or has been the will of the nation'" michael @ 34 well known to barflies, the design of national constitutions is at the heart of the global problem. Until constitutional powers are placed in control of the governed there will never be a change in how the constitutional powers ( in case of the USA Article II powers) are used and abused.

OutofThinAir @45 says "In general, governments are the order-providing solution for chaos and problems that only first existed inside the minds of those seeking power over others.by: OutOfThinAir @ 45" <+governments are the tools of wealth interest and the governors their hired hands.

by: War is Peace @48 " Trump is a moron, groomed by Jewish parents ( Mother was Jewish, Father buried at biggest Jewish cementary in NYC ) to be a non-Jew worked for the mob under Cohen ( lawyer for 1950's McCarthy ); Became the 'Goyim Fool" real estate developer as a cover for laundering mob money. So that it didn't appear that it was Jewish Mafia Money, so they could work with the Italian Mafia. Trump went on for his greatest role ever to be the "fool in Chief" of the USA for AIPAC. What better way to murder people, than send out a fool, it causes people to drop their guard. by War is Peace @48 <= yes this is my take, What does it mean. com suggest the global wealth interest may be planning to reprogram Trump to better protect the interest of the global wealthy.
Kiza @ 51 the reason for globalization is explained see above=> response to Babyl-on @ 8

dh @ 53 says ""The US should consider whom they are giving weapons to." by dh @53 < the USA cannot consider anything, if its foreign the POTUS (Article II) makes all decisions because Art II gives the POTUS a monopoly on talking to, and dealing with, foreign governments.

Deagel @ 56 says "The American people don't care, they're all drugged out, and shitting on the side-walks all over the USA, and sleeping in their own shit. This is the best time in USA history for the Zionists to do anything they wish." by: Deagel @ 56 <= I think you under estimate the value Americans place on democracy and human rights, until recently governed Americans believed the third party privately produced MSM delivered propaganda that nearly all overseas operations by the USA were to separate the people in those places from their despotic leaders, and to help those displaced people install Democracy.. many Americans have come to understand such is far from the case.. the situation in the Ukraine has been an eye opener for many Americans. thoughts are sizzling, talk is happening, and people are trying to shut google out of their lives. that is why i think Trump is about to be reprogrammed from elected leader to .. God in charge

wealth interest example

flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 4:01 utc | 61
Grieved...thanks for that magnificent analysis...

I watched that Soloviev segment with Kedmi the other day...always interesting to say the least...

Btw...I'm not really up to speed on that whole Debaltsevo cauldron thing...I've heard snippets here and there...[there is a guy, Auslander, who comments on the Saker blog that seems to have excellent first hand info, but I've only caught snippets here and there]...

I hadn't heard this part of the story before about Nato contractors as bargaining chips...if you care to shed a bit more light I will be grateful...

karlof1 , Nov 15 2019 4:55 utc | 62
flankeerbandit @67--

I suggest going to The Saker Blog and enter Debaltsevo Cauldron into the site's search box and click Submit where you'll be greeted with numerous results.

Grieved @62--

Thanks for your reply and excellent recap. As I recall, Putin wants Donbass to remain in Ukraine and Ukraine to remain a whole state, although I haven't read his thoughts on the matter for quite some months as everything has revolved around implementing Minsk. The items at the Foreign Ministry I linked to are also concerned with Minsk.

The circus act in DC is trying to avoid any mention of Minsk, the coup or anything material to the gross imperial meddling done there to enrich the criminal elite, which includes Biden, Clinton, other DNC members--a whole suite of actors that omits Trump in this case, although they're trying to pin something on him. The issue being studiously ignored is Obama/Biden needed to be busted for their actions at the time, but in time-honored fashion weren't. And the huge rotted sewer of corruption related to that action and ALL that came before is the real problem at issue.

Kiza , Nov 15 2019 5:12 utc | 63
@flankerbandit 64

Typical reaction of a zelf-zentered person as evidenced by The New Yorker 737Max article in the previous thread. This good article could only be measured by how much it agrees with your own opinion that MCAS was put in to mimic the pilots' usual fly-stick feel. If anyone does his home work, such as the journalist of this article, then he must agree with you, right? With experts such as you out there, why would anyone dare apply common sense and say that it would be an unimaginably stupid idea to put in ANY AUTOMATED SYSTEM which pushes the plane's nose down during ascent (the most risky phase of a civilian flight, when almost desperately trying to get up and up and up) for any DUMBLY POSSIBLE REASON !? What could ever go wrong with such an absolutely dumbly initiated system relying on one sensor? Maybe it was a similar idea to putting a cigarette lighter right next to the car's gas tank because it lights up cigarettes better when there are gasoline vapors around. Or maybe an idea of testing the self-driving lithium battery (exploding & flammable) cars near kindergartens (of some other people's children)!?

An intelligent person would have said - whatever the reason was to put in MCAS it was a terribly dumb idea, instead of congratulating himself on understanding the "true reason".

dickr , Nov 15 2019 6:49 utc | 64
flankerbandit @18 good analysis thx.
Ike , Nov 15 2019 6:55 utc | 65
"If I were president, while I would resist gratuitous provocations, I would not publicly associate myself with the delusion that stable friendship is possible (or, frankly, desirable) with Putin's anti-American dictatorship, which runs its country like a Mafia family and is acting on its revanchist ambitions."

Really?

From what have gleaned from the alternative media available on the internet ,of which MOA is an important part. Putin and Lavrov are the two most moral and diplomatic statesmen on the world stage today Compared to Trump, Johnson, Macron, Merkel, Stoltenberg, Pompeo, Bolton and whoever else blights the international scene these days these two are colossi.

To describe them as like a Mafia family seems to me to be 180 degrees wrong. Maybe Putin overreacted, in his early days in power, to the Chechen conflict but look at the situation today.

Look at how Gorbachev and Yeltsin were played by the west. I appreciate you did not write the words quoted above but you said you agree with them and I find that startling given I am usually very admiring of your insight and knowledge of geopolitical events.

Fly , Nov 15 2019 7:14 utc | 66
According to the Impeachniks, it is Schiff's staff who decides how Schiff votes and his policies. It would be illegal for Schiff to make decisions. But Schiff's recommendation will make or break the careers of his staff, so elected Schiff has some influence. That's not true for elected Trump, because those in his service already have made careers and/or a host of outsiders looking to place them.
dickr , Nov 15 2019 7:32 utc | 67
@50 flankerbandit - wow!
QuietRebel , Nov 15 2019 8:47 utc | 68
Although, he didn't get impeached for it Obama did get criticized for not sending the aid to Ukraine. He was also criticized when he did intervene, but not fast enough for the deep state. Remember "leading from behind" in response to Libya. Obama was much more popular and circumspect than Trump, which protected him from possible impeachment when he went off the deep state's script.
Walter , Nov 15 2019 9:12 utc | 69

Discussion of the USC and the responsibilities assigned therein is probably a foolish and merely moot exercise, as law is, ultimately simply custom over time, and since '45 or so the custom has become dissociated from the documents' provisions, particularly with regard to war-making and the "licensed" import and sale of dangerous drugs, dope. The custom in place is essentially ukase - rule by decree. Many decree are secret.

I do not object, simply pointing to the obvious.

This is a public secret anybody can know. Inter alia see The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (McCoy)

...........

Custom includes also permitted theft, blackmail, trafficking children and so forth.

...........

zerohedge put up some documents tying TGM Hunter B to the money from Ukraine...


................

I would not worry about the name of the person called president. The real sitrep is more like watching rape and murder from the dirty windows of a runaway train.

ralphieboy , Nov 15 2019 11:24 utc | 71
Upon the dissolution of the USSR, Ukraine was left with the fifth-largest nuclear arsenal in the world. In exchange for financial assistance in the costs of removing all the nukes, the West guaranteed to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity.

In the meantime, Russia has annexed the Crimea and rebels have taken control of parts of Eastern Ukraine. The West has not provided any direct military assistance to restore those territorial infringements.

Since the West has reneged on its end of the deal, would it not only be fair to return Ukraine's nukes so it can defend itself like the Big Boys do, namely with threat of nuclear annihilation?

Christian J Chuba , Nov 15 2019 12:36 utc | 72
Ukrainians are dying

I hate this trope. The Russian Fed. is not launching offensive operations to capture Kharkov or Kiev. Western Ukraine is shelling ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. What would U.S. Congressman say if these were Jews? (I would condemn that as well).

The next time someone pontificates, 'Ukrainians are dying because Trump held up aid' ask them how many. The number is ZERO. Javelins are not being used on the front line.

Seamus Padraig , Nov 15 2019 12:47 utc | 73
Wow. My opinion of Kolomoisky has just improved ... somewhat.
deschutes , Nov 15 2019 13:25 utc | 74
Mr. Kolomoisky is spot on, i.e. when he says that the Americans will only use Ukrainians as their little bitches to fight and die for America's gain against Russia. Just like the Americans fucked over the Kurds in Syria, using them as proxy fighters to do USA/Israel's dirty work. Wherever the USA shows up and starts interfering, everything turns into shit: Iraq...Afghanistan...Venezuela...Bolivia...Ukraine...Libya...Yemen...Nicaragua...Ecuador...the list is quite long. It remains to be seen if Mr. Kolomoisky can bring about rapprochement with Russia. He'd better watch his back.
William Gruff , Nov 15 2019 13:30 utc | 75
"Wow. My opinion of Kolomoisky has just improved ... somewhat." --Seamus Padraig @73

Yes, Kolomoisky has moved up a notch in my estimation as well; from the low of "monstrously inhuman spawn of satan" all the way up to "rabid dog" . That's quite the dramatic improvement, I must admit.

juliania , Nov 15 2019 14:13 utc | 76
I am very glad to see you back, Grieved, and your 'wall of ice' metaphor is indeed accurate. To me, the promising signs in Ukraine were even as here in the US when voters fought back against what b calls Deep State, which I am sure in my heart was even more of an overwhelming surge than registered - the best the corrupters of the system could do was make it close enough to be a barely legitimate win for their side, and they didn't succeed. Maybe somewhere along their line of shenanigans a small cog in the wheel got religion and didn't do their 'job'. An unsung hero who will sing when it's safe.

I hope, dearly hope, it gets safe in Ukraine very soon. They are us only further down the line than we are, but we will get there if we can't totally remove the cancer in our midst. That's our job; I wish Ukraine all the best in removing theirs.

Peter AU1 , Nov 15 2019 14:39 utc | 77
Jen 70

I believe the Russian presentation on MH17 showed a military aircraft climbing in the vicinity of, or towards MH17.

flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 14:47 utc | 78
Jen...I should have made clear that the two aircraft picked up by Russian PRIMARY RADAR were unidentified...

The two commercial flights you mention were in the area and were known to both Russian and Ukrainian controllers by means of the SECONDARY SURVEILLANCE RADAR, which picks up the aircraft transponder signals...

However, secondary WILL NOT pick up military craft that have their transponders off...which is normal operating procedure for military craft...

So the airspace situation was this...you can see this from one of the illustrations I provided from the DSB prelim report...

You had MH17...you had that other flight coming from the opposite direction [flying west]...and you had that airplane that overtook the MH17 from behind [they were in a hurry and were going faster, so when MH17 decided to stay at FL330, they were cleared to climb to FL350 so they could safely overtake with the necessary vertical separation...]

Those three aircraft were all picked up on the Ukrainian SECONDARY [transponder] surveillance...as well as the Russians...on both their PRIMARY AND SECONDARY...

But what the Russians picked up were two craft ONLY ON THEIR PRIMARY...those would have been military aircraft flying with their transponders off [they're allowed to do that and do that most of the time in fact]...

That's why those two DIDN'T SHOW UP ON THE SECONDARY DATA HANDED OVER TO THE INVESTIGATORS BY THE UKRAINIANS...

Only primary radar would pick those up...and, very conveniently, the Dnipro primary was inop at the time...[so the data handed to investigators by the Ukrainians would have no trace of any military aircraft nearby]...

But with the Russian primary radar data, there is in fact evidence that there were military airc