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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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[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] 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 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 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 aircraft in the air at the time...just that the Dutch investigators simply decided to exclude the very vital Russian radar data on some stupid technicality...

[Really this is a very poorly done report, both prelim and final, and I've read many over the years...]

The other thing I should have emphasized more clearly is about that course deviation that controllers steered MH17 to, just seconds before it was hit...

The known traffic was those three commercial aircraft, as shown on the chart... here it is again...

Those three commercial flights are clearly labeled...and the big question is... why was MH17 DIVERTED SOUTH...OFF ITS PLANNED ROUTE...?

We can see the deviation track by the dotted red line...

Clearly there was no 'other traffic' that required MH17 to be vectored south by the controllers...

In fact we see that there was a FOURTH commercial flight [another B777] that was flying south exactly to that same waypoint that MH17 was diverted to...we see this airplane is flying west on the M70 airway and is heading to the RND waypoint...

This does not make sense...why would you divert MH17 from going to TAMAK as flight planned...in order to go south toward RND where another airplane is heading...

If nothing else this is very bad controller practice right there...yet again, the DSB [Dutch Safety Board] does not even raise this question...

Like I said, leaving aside any guesswork, these are the simple facts and they raise serious questions...both about the competence of the Dutch report, and the way the controllers handled that flight...

S , Nov 15 2019 14:53 utc | 79
Ukrainian think tank Ukrainian Institute of the Future and Ukrainian media outlet Zerkalo Nedeli (both anti-Russian, but slightly more intellectual than typical Ukrainian outlets) have contracted a Kharkov-based pollster to conduct a poll among DNR/LNR residents from October 7 to October 31 (method: face-to-face interviews at the homes of the respondents, sample size: 806 respondents in DNR and 800 respondents in LNR, margin of error: 3.2%) and published its results in an article: Тест на сумісність [Compatibility Test] (in Ukrainian).

It's a long and rambling article, interspersed with Ukrainian propagandistic clichés (perhaps to placate Ukrainian nationalists), but the numbers look solid, so I've extracted the numbers I consider important and put them in a table format. Here they are:

GENERAL INFORMATION

Gender
46.5% male
53.5% female

Age
8.3% <25 years old
91.7% ≥25 years old

Education
31.5% no vocational training or higher education
45.2% vocational training
23.3% higher education

Employment
24% public sector
24% private sector
5% NGOs
45% unemployed

Religion
57% marry and baptize their children in Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)
31% believe in God, but do not go to any church
12% other churches, other religions, atheists

Political activity
3% are members of parties
97% are not members of parties

Language
90% speak Russian at home
10% speak other languages at home

Nationality
55.4% consider themselves Ukrainians
44.6% do not consider themselves Ukrainians

ECONOMY

Opinion about the labor market
24.3% there are almost no jobs
39.3% high unemployment, but it's possible to find a job
15.7% there are jobs, even if temporary
17.1% key enterprises are working, those who want to work can find a job
2.9% there are not enough employees

Personal financial situation
4.9% are saving on food
36.4% enough money to buy food, but have to save money to buy clothing
43.6% enough money to buy food and clothing, but have to save money to buy a suit, a mobile phone, or a vacuum cleaner
12% enough money to buy food, clothing, and other goods, but have to save money to buy expensive goods (e.g. consumer electronics)
2.7% enough money to buy food, clothing, and expensive goods, but have to save money to buy a car or an apartment
0.4% enough money to buy anything

Personal financial situation compared to the previous year
28.4% worsened
57.3% stayed the same
14.2% improved

Personal financial situation expectations for the next year
21% will worsen
58.6% will stay the same
18.7% will improve

Opinion on the Ukraine's (sans DNR/LNR) economic situation compared to the previous year
50.3% worsened
41.4% stayed the same
6.3% improved

CITIZENSHIP

Consider themselves citizens of
57.8% the Ukraine
34.8% DNR/LNR
6.8% Russia

Russian citizenship
42.9% never thought about obtaining it
15.5% don't want to obtain it
34.2% would like to obtain it
7.4% already obtained it

Considered leaving DNR/LNR for
5.2% the Ukraine
11.1% Russia
2.9% other country
80.8% never considered leaving

Visits to the Ukraine over the past year
35.1% across the DNR/LNR–Ukraine border (overwhelming majority of them -- 32.2% of all respondents -- are pensioners who visit the Ukraine to receive their pensions)
2.6% across the Russia–Ukraine border
62.3% have not visited the Ukraine

WAR

Is the war in Donbass an internal Ukrainian conflict?
35.6% completely agree
40.5% tend to agree
14.1% tend to disagree
9.3% completely disagree

Was the war started by Moscow and pro-Russian groups?
3.1% completely agree
6.4% tend to agree
45.1% tend to disagree
44.9% completely disagree

Who must pay to rebuild DNR/LNR? (multiple answers)
63.6% the Ukraine
29.3% Ukrainian oligarchs
18.5% DNR/LNR themselves
17% the U.S.
16.5% the EU
16% Russia
13% all of the above

ZELENSKIY

Opinion about Zelenskiy
1.9% very positive
17.2% positive
49.6% negative
29.3% very negative

Has your opinion about Zelenskiy changed over the past months?
2.7% significantly improved
7.9% somewhat improved
44.8% stayed the same
22.9% somewhat worsened
20.5% significantly worsened

Will Zelenskiy be able to improve the Ukraine's economy?
1.4% highly likely
13.3% likely
55.3% unlikely
30% highly unlikely

Will Zelenskiy be able to bring peace to the region?
1.7% highly likely
12.5% likely
59% unlikely
26.5% highly unlikely

MEDIA

Where do you get your information on politics? (multiple answers)
84.3% TV
60.6% social networks
50.9% relatives, friends
45.9% websites
17.4% co-workers
10% radio
7.4% newspapers and magazines

What social networks do you use? (multiple answers)
70.7% YouTube
61% VK
52.3% Odnoklassniki
49.8% Viber
27.1% Facebook
21.4% Instagram
12.4% Twitter
11.1% Telegram

FUTURE

Desired status of DNR/LNR
5.1% part of the Ukraine
13.4% part of the Ukraine with a special status
16.2% independent state
13.4% part of Russia with a special status
50.9% part of Russia

Desired status of entire Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts
8.4% part of the Ukraine
10.8% part of the Ukraine with a special status
14.4% independent state
13.3% part of Russia with a special status
49.6% part of Russia

Really?? , Nov 15 2019 15:12 utc | 80
Just listening to a bit of the testimony of the ex-ambassador to Ukraine.

It is all BS hearsay!

Also, this lady doesn't seem to grasp that as an employee of the State Department, she answers to Trump. Trump is her boss.

The questioning is full of leading questions that contains allegations and unproved premises built into them. I can't imagine that such questioning would be allowed in a normal court of justice in the USA.

Sure, Trump is a boor. But he is still the boss and he gets to pull out ambassadors if he wants to.

This is total grandstanding.

Also, a lot of emotional stuff like "I was devastated. I was shocked. Color drained from my face as I read the telephone transcript . . . "
This is BS!

I hope it is as obvious to others as to me.

I do

Seamus Padraig , Nov 15 2019 15:28 utc | 81
@ Posted by: Jen | Nov 15 2019 10:26 utc | 70

IIRC the Russian radar showed that the two mystery planes in questions were flying in MH17's blindspot . That's way too close to be half an hour away. Also, the fact that the two planes were flying over a war zone with their transponders turned off (which is why they couldn't be conclusively identified) strongly suggests that they were military.

@ Posted by: ralphieboy | Nov 15 2019 11:24 utc | 71

When the US launched a coup in Kiev, wasn't that a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty too?

@ Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Nov 15 2019 12:36 utc | 72

You know the real reason why they have yet to deliver the javelins to Ukraine? It's because they're afraid that they'll be sold on the black market and end up in the ME somewhere targeting US tanks. That's why.

@ Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 15 2019 13:30 utc | 75

That's quite the dramatic improvement, I must admit.
Well, I did use the qualifier 'somewhat'. ;-)
Don Bacon , Nov 15 2019 15:34 utc | 82
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

flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 15:52 utc | 84
Cheeza decides to launch a personal attack...also completely off topic...
Typical reaction of a zelf-zentered person [sic]...With experts such as you out there, why would anyone dare apply common sense...an intelligent person would have said...blah blah blah...

Look man...I'm not going to take up a lot of space on this thread because it's not about the MAX...

BUT...I need to set the record straight because you are accusing me here of somehow muddying the waters on the MAX issue...

That is a complete inversion of the truth...I have been very explicit in my [professional] comments about the MAX...and it is the exact opposite of what you are trying to tar me with here...

An example of my one of my comments here...

Yes, it is important to understand these things...which is why I have made the effort to explain the issue more clearly for the layman audience...

Your pathetic attack here shows you have no shame, nor self-respect...

Let's rewind the tape here...I said that Gazprom is looking to cut supplies to Ukraine in the new 10 year deal that comes up for negotiation in January...and that they are going to be pumping much less gas through Ukraine because NS2 now allows to bypass Ukraine...

You took a run at this comment, calling it wrong, and putting up a bunch of your own hypothesizing...

I responded by linking to the Russian news report quoting officials saying exactly that...that gas to Ukraine will be greatly reduced...

Instead of responding to that by admitting you were full of shit...you decide to attack me on the MAX issue...everybody here knows my [professional] position on the MAX...and that I have said repeatedly THAT IT CANNOT BE FIXED...[which is also why I have offered detailed technical explanations...]

I'm not going to let you screw with my integrity here...everything you attributed to me on the MAX is completely FALSE and in fact turning the truth on its head...

Realist , Nov 15 2019 16:08 utc | 87
Well done Peter. You totally f'd up the thread width once again.

Thanks a lot, you selfish incompetent c**t

Peter AU1 , Nov 15 2019 16:32 utc | 91
Realist 87

If you weren't such a dickhead you would see my links dont even reach text margins.

c1ue , Nov 15 2019 16:33 utc | 92
@flankerbandit #18

As Kiza #55 noted - Nordstream 1 and 2, combined, only equal half of Ukraine's transit capacity. The primary impact is that Ukraine can't hold far Western European customer gas hostage anymore with its gas transit "negotiations" as Nordstream allows Russia to sell directly to Germany.

There can still be Russian gas sold via Ukraine, but this will be mostly to near-Ukraine neighbors: Romania, Slovakia, Austria, Czech as well as Ukraine itself.
Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania can transit from Turk Stream, but there are potential Turk (and Bulgarian) issues.

Poland is already committing to LNG in order to not be dependent on Russian gas transiting Ukraine - a double whammy. The ultimate effect is to remove Ukraine's stranglehold position over Russian gas exports, which in turn severely undercuts Ukraine's ability to both get really cheap Russian gas and additional transit fees - a major blow to their economy.

That part of your analysis is accurate.

flankerbandit , Nov 15 2019 17:13 utc | 97
A fool piped in...
Nordstream 1 and 2, combined, only equal half of Ukraine's transit capacity.

Look...I'm not going to waste more time on bullshit...where are the FACTS about what you CLAIM here...?

The two Nordstream pipes equal 110 bcm per year...plus there are other pipeline routes that do not go through Ukraine...

Here is a study of the Euro gas imports from Russia from a few months ago...

The Conclusion...page 9

Therefore, the continuation of gas transit via Ukraine in volumes greater than the 26 bcm/y suggested above will depend on the European Commission and European gas importers, and their insistence that gas transit via Ukraine continues.

Otherwise, gas transit via Ukraine will be reduced to delivering limited volumes for European storage re-fills in the 'off-peak' summer months...

This prospect will undoubtedly complicate any negotiations between Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterparty over a new contract to govern the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine, once the existing contract expires at the end of December 2019.

...Gazprom may be willing to commit to only limited annual transit volumes...

European gas importers don't give a shit about Ukraine...and they have the final word...they care only about getting the gas they need from Russia in a reliable way and at a good price...

The news report I linked to makes it perfectly clear that the Europeans are demanding that the Ukranians get their act together on the gas issue, or they will be dropped altogether...

You know...FOOL...it really makes me wonder how fools like you decide to make statements here with a very authoritative tone...when it is quite clear you are talking out your rear end...

Nobody needs that kind of bullshit here...if you don't know a subject sufficiently well, then maybe you should keep quiet...or when making a statement, phrase it as your own OPINION and nothing more...

[Nov 13, 2019] Vindman in his opening remarks made it clear that the consensus policy of experts (like John Bolton) had been following an agenda from the Obama administration (or before, but implemented under Obama, Biden and Nuland) and it is verboten to change anything, despite these people at best only having advisory roles. The Ukrainian Americans involved in the coup are deeply committed since 2014, and they expect to reap the benefits and are probably much more corrupt than Ukrainians governing their country before 2014.

Notable quotes:
"... So the Ukrainians traded their corrupt Ukrainian elected President, mostly accumulating stuff in Ukraine, for corrupt neocon/ neolib Democrat bureaucrats and Ukrainian/ Americans, who now cannot be denied their pound of flesh (which will quickly exit Ukraine, taking much of that country's value with it). ..."
"... Even the anti-corruption agencies are corrupt! So American policy now is set by such bureaucrats, who not only play military adventurism games (to justify all that money in loans, grants, and weapons), but even pass the corruption level of the Native Ukrainians in skimming that incoming money and getting rich, and of course steal whatever isn't nailed down (American policy as previewed in "Confessions of an Economic Hitman"). ..."
Nov 13, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

michael , November 13, 2019 at 10:50

"to a one they are turf-conscious careerists who think they set U.S. foreign policy and resent the president for intruding upon them. It is increasingly evident that Trump's true offense is proposing to renovate a foreign policy framework that has been more or less untouched for 75 years (and is in dire need of renovation)."

This may be even worse than Lawrence depicts. It is clear that Vindman in his opening remarks made it clear that the consensus policy of experts (like John Bolton) had been following an agenda from the Obama administration (or before, but implemented under Obama, Biden and Nuland) and it is verboten to change anything, despite constitutionally these people at best only having advisory roles to the President (and constitutionally the President can ask for their opinions in writing; CYA even back then!) The Ukrainian Americans involved in the coup (national security from Vindman's perspective) are deeply committed since 2014, and they expect to reap the benefits with no interference from Trump. And the Democrats/ Ukraine-Americans "running the show" are probably much more corrupt than Ukrainians governing their country before 2014.

I have started Oliver Bullough's "Money Land" and was aghast at the luxury items Yanukovich had stolen through corruption and accumulated at his many properties. Surely with so much money going to corrupt Yanukovich and his henchmen, the coup would have been a blessing for the Ukrainian people! Right? I was shocked to find that after the overthrow of Yanukovich in 2014, the median per capita household income in Ukraine, which had risen steadily from $2032 in 2010 to $2601 in 2013, had dropped over 50% to $1110 to $1135 in 2015 and 2016, and has only risen to $1694 in 2018 (ceicdata.com).

So the Ukrainians traded their corrupt Ukrainian elected President, mostly accumulating stuff in Ukraine, for corrupt neocon/ neolib Democrat bureaucrats and Ukrainian/ Americans, who now cannot be denied their pound of flesh (which will quickly exit Ukraine, taking much of that country's value with it).

Even the anti-corruption agencies are corrupt! So American policy now is set by such bureaucrats, who not only play military adventurism games (to justify all that money in loans, grants, and weapons), but even pass the corruption level of the Native Ukrainians in skimming that incoming money and getting rich, and of course steal whatever isn't nailed down (American policy as previewed in "Confessions of an Economic Hitman").

[Nov 09, 2019] Paying CEOs fat bonuses for stock performance doesn't work -- Cornell study

Notable quotes:
"... There is no strong evidence of a positive impact of TSR plans on firm performance ..."
"... "Despite the fact that just under 50% of S&P 500 firms have this pay metric as part of their executive compensation plans and that this pay metric is designed to align the interest of shareholders and executives," Enayati told Yahoo Finance, "we find that there's no relationship between the pay metric and top-line business outcomes like 1-, 3-, or 5-year total shareholder return, return on equity, earnings per share growth, or revenue growth." ..."
Oct 03, 2015 | finance.yahoo.com

The analysis, done in conjunction with consultants Pearl Meyer & Partners, examined a decade's worth of data from every company in the S&P 500 (^GSPC). It compared companies that offer their top brass a total shareholder return (TSR) plan to those that don't and found the increasingly popular pay plans haven't significantly boosted any of a number of key metrics.

Total shareholder return is how well an investment in a company has done over a given period. It's a combination of the stock's price change and dividends paid. With TSR plans, managers are rewarded with shares, options, or even cash to give them a stake in how well the stock does.

For a growing number of corporate heads, big bonuses based on stock performance is a large part of their pay.

In 2004, just 17% of S&P 500 companies gave CEOs and top executives some form of a TSR plan. A decade later, nearly half of the companies in the index offered it.

As for those S&P 500 CEOs that have TSR plans, it represents on average some 29% of their total direct compensation, though that percentage is a decline from 38% a decade ago. That's because as more companies adopt TSR plans, they are doing so with less weight than companies who took on these kinds of bonuses earlier.

The average CEO of an S&P 500 company made $13.8 million – or 204 times their average employee – in 2014, according to job website Glassdoor.com.

Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App

Nonetheless, giving CEOs more for total shareholder return doesn't make a difference, according to the Cornell study.

"There is no strong evidence of a positive impact of TSR plans on firm performance," wrote Hassan Enayati, Kevin Hallock, and Linda Barrington of Cornell University's Institute for Compensation Studies.

"Despite the fact that just under 50% of S&P 500 firms have this pay metric as part of their executive compensation plans and that this pay metric is designed to align the interest of shareholders and executives," Enayati told Yahoo Finance, "we find that there's no relationship between the pay metric and top-line business outcomes like 1-, 3-, or 5-year total shareholder return, return on equity, earnings per share growth, or revenue growth."

Interestingly, the researchers discovered that while the number of companies paying top executives for shareholder return incentives is increasing, the size of those bonuses relative to total compensation is on the decline.

According to Enayati, part of that has to do with companies decreasing the weight of total shareholder return compensation plans. "But then also the new adopters are coming in at lower weights, perhaps just to test the water," he explained.

But Enayati doesn't rule out other performance bonuses. "While there's no evidence that this tool hits the mark, that isn't to say that other metrics shouldn't be pursued as a solid way to align those incentives," he said.

People on Twitter seemed interested in this:
Paying CEOs fat bonuses for stock performance doesn't work, by Lawrence Lewitinn, Yahoo Finance: It turns out offering CEOs huge bonuses to boost shareholder returns doesn't actually work, according to a new study from Cornell University.

The analysis, done in conjunction with consultants Pearl Meyer & Partners, examined a decade's worth of data from every company in the S&P 500. It compared companies that offer their top brass a total shareholder return (TSR) plan to those that don't and found the increasingly popular pay plans haven't significantly boosted any of a number of key metrics. ...

likbez said...

Looks to me like a generic problem of any neoliberal regime that became more acute as secular stagnation of economics became a "new normal".

High compensation (which is just a part of generic redistribution of wealth up -- the goal on neoliberalism) drives up ruthless sociopaths making short term stock performance the priority and displaces engineers who are capable drive the firm into the future.

Short termism and financial machinations to boost the stock price are probably among key reasons of decline of IBM and HP.

Paradoxically Icahn recently provided us with some interesting insights into bizarre world of stock buybacks. See video on http://carlicahn.com/

[Nov 04, 2019] The Taliban wiped out poppy production in 2000. Americans retored it

Nov 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Stephanie , 03 November 2019 at 09:57 AM

Gosh, the Taliban wiped out poppy production in 2000. The Twin Towers were destroyed in 2001. Bush (son of CIA Bush) invaded Afghanistan to... well, to do what? To defeat the Taliban? Why? To restore poppy production? To find bin Laden? Didn't really do that. After all he was in Pakistan. And what has happened to poppy farming since we invaded? Booming. For 17 years. Those farming families are doing really well under the protection of U.S. troops. Just like the oil families in Syria that are protected by U.S. troops. Now, Trump seems to be throwing a spanner in all this. Of course, "We came, we saw, he died [giggle, giggle]" Clinton would have never committed Trump's crimes. Trump's just a loose cannon.

Angleton, quoting Jesus, said "In my Father's house are many mansions."

I guess we know which mansion Brennan inhabits.


May 20, 2001
The first American narcotics experts to go to Afghanistan under Taliban rule have concluded that the movement's ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year, officials said today.

The American findings confirm earlier reports from the United Nations drug control program that Afghanistan, which supplied about three-quarters of the world's opium and most of the heroin reaching Europe, had ended poppy planting in one season.

But the eradication of poppies has come at a terrible cost to farming families, [A TERRIBLE COST TO FARMING FAMILIES, OH, THOSE POOR FARMING FAMILIES]and experts say it will not be known until the fall planting season begins whether the Taliban can continue to enforce it.

''It appears that the ban has taken effect,'' said Steven Casteel, assistant administrator for intelligence at the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington.

The findings came in part from a Pakistan-based agent of the administration who was one of the two Americans on the team just returned from eight days in the poppy-growing areas of Afghanistan.

Tue 11 Sep 2001: 9/11

Tue 25 Sep 2001:
In a dramatic and little-noticed reversal of policy, the Taliban have told farmers in Afghanistan that they are free to start planting poppy seeds again if the Americans decide to launch a military attack.
Drug enforcement agencies last night confirmed that they expect to see a massive resumption of opium cultivation inside Afghanistan, previously the world's biggest supplier of heroin, in the next few weeks.

The Taliban virtually eradicated Afghanistan's opium crop last season after an edict by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader.

In July last year he said that growing opium was "un-Islamic" and warned that anyone caught planting seeds would be severely punished.

Taliban soldiers enforced the ruling two summers ago and made thousands of villagers across Afghanistan plough up their fields. Earlier this year UN observers agreed that Afghanistan's opium crop had been completely wiped out.

[Nov 04, 2019] https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Latvia

Nov 04, 2019 | www.numbeo.com
Rent Per Month [ Edit ]
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 347.60 € 200.00 - 500.00
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 254.24 € 150.00 - 350.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 619.85 € 350.00 - 1,000.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 439.12 € 250.00 - 600.00
Buy Apartment Price [ Edit ]
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment in City Centre 151.90 € 60.39 - 232.26
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre 94.23 € 46.45 - 139.35
Salaries And Financing [ Edit ]
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) 755.46 €

[Nov 03, 2019] The Saker interviews Michael Hudson by Michael Hudson and The Saker

Nov 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

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Introduction: I recently spoke to a relative of mine who, due to her constant and voluntary exposure to the legacy AngloZionist media, sincerely believed that the three Baltic states and Poland had undergone some kind of wonderful and quasi-miraculous economic and cultural renaissance thanks to their resolute break with the putatively horrible Soviet past and their total submission to the Empire since. Listening to her, I figured that this kind of delusion was probably common amongst those who still pay attention and even believe the official propaganda. So I asked Michael Hudson, whom I consider to be the best US economists and who studied the Baltics in great detail, to reply to a few very basic questions, which he very kindly did in spite of being very pressed on time. Once again, I want to sincerely thank him for his kind time, support and expertise.

* * *

The Saker: The US propaganda often claims that the three Baltic states are a true success, just like Poland is also supposed to be. Does this notion have a factual basis? Initially it did appear that these states were experiencing growth, but was that not mostly/entirely due to EU/IMF/US subsidies? Looking specifically at the three Baltic states, and especially Latvia, these were the "showcase" Soviet republics, with a high standard of living (at least compared to the other Soviet republics) and a lot of high-tech industries (including defense contracts). Could you please outline for us what truly happened to these economies following independence? How did they "reform" their economies going from an ex-Soviet one to the modern "liberal" one?

Michael Hudson: This is a trick question, because it all depends on what you mean by "success."

The post-Soviet neoliberalism has been a great success for kleptocrats at the top. They gave themselves the public domain, from key industries to prime real estate. But the Balts largely let their Soviet industries collapse, making no effort to salvage or reorganize them.

Much of the problem, of course, was that all the linkages to Soviet-era industry were torn apart as the Soviet Union was disbanded. With their supplier and final markets closed down from Russia to Central Asia, the Baltic economies had to start afresh – with a very right-wing tax policy and no government help whatsoever, as the government itself had become privatized in the hands of former officials and grabitizers.

Lithuania was marginally better in having some industrial policy. EU and NATO accession in 2004, along with easy credit, kicked off property bubbles in the Baltics, largely inflated by Swedish banks that made a bonanza off these countries that lacked their own banks or public credit creation. The resulting 2008 crashes were the largest in the world as a percent of GDP, with Latvia suffering the world's biggest contraction.

The neoliberal western advisors who took control of these economies – as if this was the only alternative to Soviet bureaucracy – imposed crushing austerity programs to restore macroeconomic "stability" meaning security of their land and infrastructure grabs. This was applauded by Europe's bankers, who thought the Balts had discovered a workable recipe allowing austerity governments to retain power in a seeming democracy. These policies would have collapsed governments anywhere else, but the ability to emigrate, plus ethnic divisions against Russian speakers, allowed these governments to survive.

It's a historically specific situation, but Europe's bankers promote it as a generalized model. George Soros's INET and his associated front institutions have been leaders in subsidizing this financialization-cum-grabitization. The result has been a massive exodus of prime working age people from Lithuania and Latvia. (Estonians simply commute to Finland.) Meanwhile, their economies are buoyed by foreign bank lending, which sends profits back to home countries and can be reversed at any time.

Politically, the neoliberal revolution also has been a success for U.S. Cold Warriors, who sent over native Balts from Georgetown and other universities to impose "free market" doctrine – that is, a market "free" of domestic regulation against theft of the public domain, against monopolies, against land taxes and other income taxes. The Baltic states, like most of the rest of the former Soviet Union, became the Wild East.

What was left to the Baltic countries was land and real estate. Their forests are being cut down to sell wood abroad. I describe all this in my book Killing the Host .

The Saker: After independence, the Baltic states had tried to cut as many ties with Russia as possible. This included building (rather silly looking) fences, to forcing the Russians to develop their ports on the Baltic, to shutting down large (or selling to foreign interests which then shut them down) and profitable factories (including a large nuclear plant I believe), etc. What has been the impact of this policy of "economic de-Sovietization" on the local economies?

Michael Hudson: Dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that Baltic countries lost their traditional markets, and had to shift their focus to Western Europe and, to some extent, Asia.

Latvia and Estonia had been assigned computer and information technology, and they have found this to be much in demand. When I was in Japan, for instance, CEOs told me that they were looking to Latvia above all to outsource computer work.

Banking also was a surviving sector. Gregory Lautchansky, former vice-rector at the University of Riga had been a major player already in the 1980s for moving out Russian oil and KGB money. (His company, Nordex, was sold to Mark Rich.) Many banks continued to shepherd Russian flight capital via offshore banking centers into the United States, Britain and other countries. Cyprus of course was another big player in this.

The Saker: Russians are still considered "non-citizens" in the Baltic republics; what has been the economic impact of this policy, if any, of anti-Russian discrimination in the Baltic states?

ORDER IT NOW

Michael Hudson: Russian-speakers, who do not acquire citizenship (which requires passing local language and history tests), are blocked from political office and administrative work. While most Russian speakers below retirement age have now acquired that citizenship, the means by which citizenship must be acquired has caused divisions.

Early on in independence, many Russians were blocked from government, and they went into business, which was avoided by many native Balts during the Soviet era because it was not as remunerative as going into government and profiting from corruption. For instance, real estate was a burden to administer. Russian-speakers, especially Jewish ones, have wisely focused on real estate.

The largest political party is Harmony Center, whose members and leadership are mainly Russian-speaking. But the various neoliberal and nationalist parties have jointed to block its ability to influence law in Parliament.

Since Russian speakers are only able to "vote with their feet," many have joined in the vast outflow of emigration, either back to Russia or to other EU countries. Moreover, the poor quality of social benefits has led to few children being born.

The Saker: I often hear that a huge number of locals (including non-Russians) have emigrated from the Baltic states. What has caused this and what has been the impact of this emigration for the Baltic states?

Michael Hudson: The Baltic states, especially Latvia, have lost about 30 percent of their population since the 1990s, especially those of working age. In Latvia, about 10 percent of the loss were Russians who exited shortly after independence. The other 20 percent have subsequently emigrated.

The European Commission forecasts that Latvia's working-age population will decline by 1.6% annually for the next 20 years, while the birth rate remains as stagnant as it was in the late 1980s. The retired population (over age 65) will rise to half a million people by 2030, more than a quarter of today's population, and perhaps about a third of what remains. This is not a domestic market that will attract foreign or local investment.

And in any case, the European Union has viewed the post-Soviet economies simply as markets for their own industrial and agricultural exports, not as economies to be built up by public subsidy as the European countries themselves, the U.S. and Chinee economies have done. The European motto is, "Give a man a fish, and he will be fed all day with your surplus fish and consumer goods – but give him a fishing rod and we will lose a customer."

Readers who are interested might want to look at the following books and articles. I think the leading work has been done by Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson.

The Saker: Finally, what do you believe is the most likely future for these states? Will the succeed in becoming a "tiny anti-Russia" on Russia's doorstep? The Russians appear to have been very successful in their import-substitution program, at least when trying to replace the Baltic states: does that mean that the economic ties between Russia and these states is now gone forever? Is it now too late, or are there still measures these countries could take to reverse the current trends?

Michael Hudson: Trump's trade sanctions against Russia hurt the Baltic countries especially. One of their strong sectors was agriculture. Lithuania, for instance, was known for its cheese, even in Latvia. The sanctions led Russian dairy farming to develop their own cheese-making, and agriculture has become one of Russia's strongest performing sectors.

This is a market that looks like it will be permanently lost to the Baltic states. In effect, Trump is helping Russia follow precisely the policy that made American agriculture rich: agricultural isolation has forced domestic replacement for hitherto foreign food. I expect that this will lead to consumer goods and other products as well.

The Saker: thank you for your time and replies!


PeterMX , says: November 3, 2019 at 7:01 am GMT

I am in Tallinn, Estonia right now. Just how good an economy is performing is often hard to determine by talking to people, because like economists, many people have different perceptions. I was just talking to a Russian-Estonian who was telling me how much better Lithuanians and Latvians are then Estonians at doing things and how much cheaper things are there. It is true that things are much cheaper in the other Baltic countries because Estonia (a tiny country of just over 1 million people) has taken off. Since the 2008 econmic collapse housing prices have shot up and in Tallinn there is building going on all over the city. But, my acquaintance is wrong about other things. Estonians do things very well and Tallinn is a very nice city, with beautiful cafes, clean and well kept streets and crime is very low. It is a very good city, except it is now very expensive, especially considering how much people make here. The weather is not nice, except for in the summer and there are friendly Estonians but they don't have a reputation for being particularly friendly, even among themselves. I have not been back to Latvia yet, but when I was in Riga years ago, it was a gorgeous city, bigger than Tallinn too. I think they do things very well there too. The Russians I speak to here are often friendly and based on what I have been told, relations between Russians and Estonians are much better than when I was here in the early 2000's.

No offense is intended to Russians, but the Baltic countries had large German populations that played a key role in the development of the cultures and peoples of these countries. There were also many Jews here prior to WW II. By the time WW II had begun the German populations were much smaller than they had been and at the end of the war the Jewish populations were much smaller. Jews were targeted in Latvia and Lithuania and many Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians were shipped off to far off places in the USSR during the war. I believe the Jews were largely pro communist and welcomed the Soviet takeover of these countries in 1940, while the Latvian and Estonian peoples were pro German, thus explaining the hard feelings between Balts and Jews.. They wanted independence and formed legions to fight alongside the German army during WW II.

These countries were very advanced before WW II, having engineering industries and the Russian Empire's first auto company was formed in Riga before WW I. While engineering may have been restarted after WW II, these countries populations were decimated and they never returned to their former heights. Perhaps they still can.

GMC , says: November 3, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT
I'm assuming that these 3 East European countries are being bombarded with the same propaganda as the Ukies are, so Russian speakers and those intelligent enough to see the game being played will be belittled and isolated. But the Russian folks living in Russia have a birds eye view of what is going on in the west and their puppet countries. Russia TV and debate programs, just have to show the delinquencies that are daily happenings in the States, and Europe, in order to make the Ru people say – No Thanks to that way of life. As far as the new Russian cheeses that are now in the markets -lol – they make a lightly smoked gouda that is really good and is about 120-140 roubles a kilo. And, they are making more cheddar that is a white medium taste as well. No scarcity of good natural food in Russia and No POlice state. Spacibo Unz Rev.
Anonymous [159] Disclaimer , says: November 3, 2019 at 8:18 am GMT
The trade volume between Russia and the Baltic states has actually risen, despite the sanctions. The Baltics send food products and booze to Russia (and another 150 countries, food exports to Russia actually grew in 2016-2018). As well as chemical products and pharmaceuticals. Meldonium, btw, is made in Latvia and is still being sent to Russia (as well as 20 other countries), not for athletes, but for regular folks. Work is being carried out on a new generation Meldonium pill (the biggest market will be Russia).

Growth in the Baltic states has been 3-4% in the last few years. GDP per capita, as well as HDI, is higher than in Russia. Foreign investment, including from Russia, has been growing (Russia was the second largest investor in Latvia in 2018). Savings rates are growing, too. After a relative quiet period after 2010, the number of Russian (and other tourists) has grown again.

Estonia's population stopped shrinking in 2016 and is now growing in fact. They've seen immigration from Finland, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, as well as returning Estonians.

Emigration is a problem, of course, but this is partly because the Baltic states are the only former USSR republics whose citizens were even given work permits in the West, imagine what would happen if these permits were given to Russians from the regions.

Neo-liberal policies are of course bad and certain types of investment should be controlled, but to say that there are no social services in the Baltic states is complete nonsense. Due to generous parental payments, birthrates have risen significantly since the 1990s – in fact, birthrates in the Baltics are now slightly higher than the EU average. Life expectancy is also growing. Latvia covers IVF treatments in full. There are free school lunches.

Yes, it is true that some of the Soviet era factories should've been salvaged but the problem was they were not competitive globally at that time (and there was no capital to remodel them). The Soviet market was a closed one. However, some businesses were salvaged. There is local manufacturing (electronics, pharmaceuticals, etc).

Not everything is ideal, but it is also not the kind of gloom and doom as you paint.

Jake , says: November 3, 2019 at 11:46 am GMT
If the Anglo-Zionist Empire comes to save you, you should expect to be raped: culturally and religiously as well as economically.
onebornfree , says: Website November 3, 2019 at 3:48 pm GMT
Saker says: "Initially it did appear that these states were experiencing growth, but was that not mostly/entirely due to EU/IMF/US subsidies?"

"Foreign Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt":

"Any time a government hands out money, not just foreign aid, it breeds corruption And there are few better examples than Ukraine – just don't tell the House impeachment hearings. Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism .If U.S. aid was effective, Ukraine would have become a rule of law paradise long ago . The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid."

http://jimbovard.com/blog/2019/10/29/foreign-aid-makes-corrupt-countries-more-corrupt/

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 3, 2019 at 5:16 pm GMT
@onebornfree The EU gives every year about 2,500 million euros to the 3 Baltic countries ( 6 million people the three of them ) , and 9000 million euros to Poland ( 38 million people ) , plus more billions to other eastern members .

Older members of the EU , spetially the UK which is going out , Greece witch was tortured ( again ) economically by Germany , and south Europe in general are not very happy about admitting so many ex-soviets countries en the EU and subsidizing them .

AnonFromTN , says: November 3, 2019 at 9:31 pm GMT
@SeekerofthePresence

Recovery and self-sufficiency since Yeltsin show the brilliance of the Russian people

It's not so much brilliance as sheer necessity to survive under sanctions. But some results were better than anyone expected. Say, food before sanctions used to be so-so in the provinces and downright bad in Moscow because of abundance of imported crap. Now the food is exclusively domestic, fresh and tasty. Russia never had traditions of making fancy cheeses. Now, to bypass sanctions, quite a few Italian and French cheese-makers started production in Russia, so in the last 2-3 years domestically made excellent fancy cheeses appeared in supermarkets. Arguably, Russian agriculture benefited by sanctions more than any other sector, but there are success stories virtually in every industry. Sanctions and Ukrainian stupidity served as a timely wake up call for Russian elites, who earlier wanted to sell oil and natural gas and buy everything else. Replacing imports after the sanctions were imposed had a significant cost in the short run, but in the long run it made Russia much stronger, economically and militarily. Speak of unintended consequences.

Kazlu Ruda , says: November 3, 2019 at 11:58 pm GMT
My mom is from Lithuania and I've been there several times. We have second cousins our age.

Her father was a surveyor for the Republic in the 20s and 30s, charged with breaking up the manors and estates and the state distributing the land to the peasantry. It was near-feudalism. There was very little industrialization; that which existed were in a few urban centers. One interesting comment from her was that the "Jews were communists". From what I've read they were the urban working class, but perhaps part of the socialist/Jewish Bund?

There is no doubt that the Soviet period unleashed considerable industrialization and modernization. Lithuania had some of the best infrastructure in the USSR. Its traditional culture was really celebrated.

When I first visited, not long after the fall of the USSR, there were enormous, vacant industrial plants. The collective farms were in the process of being sold off the western European agribusiness firms. One relative through marriage was from the Ukraine, with a PhD in Physics and had been employed in the military industries -- she was cleaning houses thereafter.

Any usable industrial enterprises were quickly sold off. The utilities are all foreign owned. Part of EU mandates are "open" electricity "markets", which resulting in DC interconnections costing hundreds of millions with the west to import very high priced electricity. The EU has paid for "Via Baltica", a highway running from Poland to Estonia; it is choked with trucks carrying imports and there are huge distribution and fulfillment centers along the highway. Such progress, huh?

There had been good public transport in the earlier years of independence, but that has been replaced with personal automobiles -- usually western European used cars that pollute a lot. Trakai is a commuter town to Vilnius with a medieval castle (restored in Soviet times). First time I went it was very pleasant. Second time in 2018 the place was choked with cars and not very nice at all.

The impact of emigration cannot be over-stated. College educated young people leave by the hundreds of thousands. Those that remain are paid very low wages (e.g., 1000 euros for a veterinarian or dentist), but pay west European prices for many essentials. Housing is cheaper than the west.

Last time in Kazlu Ruda there were huge NATO exercises in progress and even bigger ones planned for 2020. German units were billeted at an airbase nearby, rumored to have been a CIA black site. How fitting, as the Germans with the Lithuanian Riflemens Union exterminated a quarter of a million Jews in a matter of months (see Jager Report on Wikipedia). There is a Red Army graveyard in the town that has the remains of perhaps 350 soldiers killed in the area driving out the Nazis. I was frankly surprised it was still there.

Lithuania hasn't been independent since the days of the Pagans and Vytautas. It surely isn't independent today.

Anecdotal -- yes. But based on personal observation.

AnonFromTN , says: November 4, 2019 at 12:29 am GMT
Who cares about Baltic statelets? Their populations decline:
Latvia:
https://www.politico.eu/article/latvia-a-disappearing-nation-migration-population-decline/
Lithaunia:
https://www.tudelft.nl/en/2017/bk/extreme-population-decline-threatens-stability-of-lithuania/
Estonia:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-20/europe-s-depopulation-time-bomb-is-ticking-in-the-baltics
The decline in Latvia is faster than in Lithuania, in Lithuania it is faster than in Estonia, but so what? If they disappear, who's going to notice? Russia is not interested in acquiring the parasites the USSR used to stupidly feed, their new masters are greedy If someone attacks (which is doubtful), NATO is going to protect them exactly like the UK and France protected Poland in 1939. Let them fend for themselves.

[Nov 03, 2019] Foreign Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt

Nov 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Foreign Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt by Tyler Durden Sun, 11/03/2019 - 07:00 0 SHARES Authored by James Bovard at jimbovard.com ,

Any time a government hands out money, not just foreign aid, it breeds corruption... And there are few better examples than Ukraine - just don't tell the House impeachment hearings.

Barricade with the protesters at Hrushevskogo street on January 26, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine.Sasha Maksymenko / cc

Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism. After closed House of Representatives impeachment hearings heard testimony on President Trump's role in delaying U.S. aid to Ukraine, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer declared:

" Numbers don't lie . It's even more clear now that President Trump is not the anti-corruption crusader he claims to be."

Most of the press coverage has tacitly assumed that American assistance is vital to fighting corruption in Ukraine. But that ignores foreign aid's toxic record and Ukraine's post-Soviet history.

A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that "increases in [foreign] aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption," and that "corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States."

That was the year President George W. Bush launched a new foreign aid program, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Bush declared, "I think it makes no sense to give aid , money, to countries that are corrupt." But the Bush administration continued delivering billions of dollars in handouts to many of the world's most corrupt regimes. By 2004, the State Department had codified what amounted to backtracking: " The MCA is an incentive-based supplement to other U.S. aid programs." The Bush team found excuses to give MCA aid to some of the world's most corrupt governments as well, including Georgia.

In 2010, President Barack Obama proclaimed at the United Nations that America was " leading a global effort to combat corruption ." Obama's "aides said the United States in the past has often seemed to just throw money at problems ," the Los Angeles Times reported. But the reform charade was exposed the following year when the Obama administration fiercely resisted congressional efforts to curb wasteful aid. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests "has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients."

The Obama administration continued pouring tens of billions of American tax dollars into sinkholes such as Afghanistan, which even its president, Ashraf Ghani, admitted in 2016 was "one of the most corrupt countries on earth ." And the deluge of aid the Afghan government received only worsened the corruption. As John Sopko, the heroic Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), observed, " We need to understand how US policies and practices unintentionally aided and abetted corruption. We must recognize the danger of dealing with characters or networks of unsavory repute, tolerating contracting abuses, accepting shoddy performance and delivering unsustainable projects."

The closed House impeachment hearings last week heard from acting U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr., who testified that he " had authority over the bulk of the U.S. effort to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion and to help it defeat corruption." The Washington Post lauded Taylor as someone who " spent much of the 1990s telling Ukrainian politicians that nothing was more critical to their long-term prosperity than rooting out corruption and bolstering the rule of law , in his role as the head of U.S. development assistance for post-Soviet countries."

Transparency International, which publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, shows that corruption surged in Ukraine during the late 1990s and remains at obscene levels (though recent years have shown slight improvements). Taylor was ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, when corruption sharply worsened despite hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid . Ukraine is now ranked as the 120th least corrupt nation in the world -- lower than Egypt and Pakistan, two other major U.S. aid recipients. What Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is to the NFL, Taylor appears to be to the anti-corruption cause.

Bribing foreign politicians to encourage honest government makes as much sense as distributing free condoms to encourage abstinence. Rather than encouraging good governance practices, foreign aid is more likely to produce kleptocracies, or governments of thieves. As a Brookings Institution analysis observed, "The history of U.S. assistance is littered with tales of corrupt foreign officials using aid to line their own pockets, support military buildups, and pursue vanity projects." And both American politicians and bureaucrats are want to continue the aid gravy train, regardless of how foreign regimes waste the money or use it to repress their own citizens.

If U.S. aid was effective, Ukraine would have become a rule of law paradise long ago. The country's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, may be sincere in his efforts to root out corruption. But it is an insult to both him and his nation to pretend that Ukraine cannot clean up its act without help from Donald Trump. The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid.

[Nov 01, 2019] The Piece of Presstitute Excrement known as the NYTimes Has Had to Admit that Yes there Is a Deep State at War with President Trump by Paul Craig Roberts

Nov 01, 2019 | www.unz.com

This is a surprisingly good report from Robert Merry. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52461.htm

The only mistake Merry makes is his erroneous statement that Trump held up aid to Ukraine to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate the Ukrainian firm that made $1,750,000 payments to the corrupt Biden and his corrupt son. The transcript of the telephone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president shows no Quid Pro Quo, and the Ukrainian president says there was none. The Quid Pro Quo was entirely on Biden's part when he told the president of Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating the firm that was paying him and his son seven figures in protection money or forfeit $1 billion in US aid. You can watch it here: https://www.wsj.com/video/opinion-joe-biden-forced-ukraine-to-fire-prosecutor-for-aid-money/C1C51BB8-3988-4070-869F-CAD3CA0E81D8.html

Moreover, even it Trump did threaten to withhold aid from a country that was covering up corruption by a US vice president and his son, that is the US president's right. There is no reason whatsoever that a president should permit US taxpayers' money to be given to a government that covers up corruption by a vice president of the United States.

We know for a fact that there was corruption by Vice President Biden. He bragged about it before the Council on Foreign Relations. You can watch him doing so here: https://www.wsj.com/video/opinion-joe-biden-forced-ukraine-to-fire-prosecutor-for-aid-money/C1C51BB8-3988-4070-869F-CAD3CA0E81D8.html

Biden's son has admitted that he used poor judgment taking money from a firm in order to protect it from prosecution.

Even if Trump did what the Democrats allege, which he did not, there is nothing illegal or unethical about it whatsoever. Compared to the tactics US prosecutors use to convict the innocent, Trump's conversation with the president of Ukraine is far above the highest ethics known to US prosecutors.

Why aren't the Democrats complaining about the criminally illegal treatment of Julian Assange and Manning? The reason is that the Democrats, the most utterly corrupt political organization on the face of the Earth, are bought and paid for by the Deep State. The Democrats are dog excrement to the core. They are traitors to America and to our Constitutional order. The entire party should be arrested and put on trial for sedition to overthrow the government of the United States.

[Oct 30, 2019] Read full terms and conditions

Oct 30, 2019 | docs.disqus.com

Dr. Rieux a day ago ,

Chuck Schumer is Senate Minority Leader.

Kenneth_Almquist a day ago ,

"Most of the press coverage has tacitly assumed that American assistance is vital to fighting corruption in Ukraine."

Then I must have missed most of the press coverage. First of all, most of the reporting I've seen has been about Trump's attempts to convince Ukraine to dig up dirt on Trump's political opponents. The purpose of the aid package is a minor part of the story, but when it has been discussed the reporting I've seen has indicated that the purpose of the aid package that Trump held up was to help the Ukrainian military, not to fight corruption. So I can't help wondering: where does James Bovard gets his news?

Wise_pharaoh Kenneth_Almquist 12 hours ago ,

Very true!!! This author set up a straw man argument in the second paragraph, then proceeds to knock it down. I expect better than this on this site.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) Kenneth_Almquist 10 hours ago ,

Then you've missed the point of this article. It's neither about the purpose of that aid. It's about the aid as such leading to corruption. Do you really think Ukrainians will have any troubles with selling those weapons out to some Middle Eastern or African caudillos? Or maybe you think that a single penny from the sums obtained as a result of that sellout will end up in the hands of their average citizens, and not in those of local mobsters and oligarchs?

IanDakar a day ago ,

I believe I am reading this right: That providing foreign aid is always going to lead to corruption. That what Trump did with Ukraine is basically drinking the same sauce others have in the past and anyone else will do in the future. That then suggests that the solution is to close the tap and end using foreign aid because, whatever the initial motive, it's too corrupting an influence.

In that... honestly that's the best argument I've heard against foreign aid. Typically I hear arguments from economic standpoints, which seemed silly when many of the targetted examples are in the millions-pennies by US standards.

But putting it from a control standpoint: that leadership, present or future, will either use foreign aid as a cover for corrupt means or take an active use of foreign aid as a wedge against a foreign country.

I can hear a counterargument that "we are a superpower. We should be helping others." And the response I hear in my head is "given our inability to truly help others without such corruption and how we abuse the status, maybe we really do need to let that title go." It means giving it up to Russia or China, but we aren't doing a good job holding them back, even if we should be doing so.

Ignoring the world really isn't an option. But our priority should probably be to focus on home as we can and better ourselves rather than ruining yourselves while ruining everyone who brushes with us.

So yeah. I can see the idea behind pulling back from these foreign aid elements.

The "just don't tell the House impeachment hearings." did seem rather clickbaity. It suggests this is an argument against the impeachment hearings as if their mistaken believe in supporting foreign aid is a mark against the hearings themselves. The article itself doesn't seem to go that route. "just don't tell congress" would've done far better. But that's a nitpick combined with all of this impeachment discussion leaving me rather kneejerky.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 20 hours ago • edited ,

Not only Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe, it's also the poorest on the continent. It became such after all American aid and after all, much, much bigger IMF loans. Which makes one kind of suggest that the known level of corruption there is only a tip of the iceberg.

But, getting back home, I just love those "closed impeachment hearings". Paraphrasing the famous quotation, why so closed? Afraid that, being it open, any half-literate first-year law college student (not to mention Rudy and the DoJ) would tear the so-called "evidence" asunder?

jeff Alex (the one that likes Ike) 12 hours ago ,
It became such after all American aid and after all, much, much bigger IMF loans

I feel like you're glossing over some other major events that have happened in the South and East of the country which have contributed to the sluggish economic development and hampered the corruption fight...

marqueemoons Alex (the one that likes Ike) 10 hours ago ,

The open hearings will come, Alex. They're closed because those are the rules Republicans abided by with the Benghazi hearings. However it's going to take a lot more than Rudy and the DoJ to combat testimony from Trump-appointed ambassadors who've been plucked from retirement to help with Ukraine and say that there was a quid pro quo.

Grace Austin • 20 hours ago ,

So what's the point here, foreign aid to corrupt governments is standard American policy, so Presidential corruption in distributing that aid is no big deal.

"The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid."

This is a point that can and has been argued. I remember having just that debate in relation to aid to Africia in the '80s.

However, the House is investigating Presidential coruption in the distribution of that aid and that would seem to be a different matter.

=marco01= 19 hours ago • edited ,

If you think Trump cares about corruption in Ukraine, I have a Trump U course to sell you.

Trump tried to extort a foreign leader to help him win an election, this is beyond dispute to anyone who isn't ignoring the facts. He wanted the president of Ukraine to make a public announcement that he was investigating Hunter Biden. Whether the investigation would turn up anything was irrelevant, Trump knew an appearance of Biden corruption could work wonders for him.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) =marco01= 10 hours ago ,

Oh yes... The purported presence of the "evidence" of the said "extortion" is precisely why the House hearings are closed. And, of course, Trump's most vital necessity was kicking the weakest of his opponents out of the race, so that Democrats could pick someone with better chances, instead of the continuation of the DNC's idiotic course aimed at nominating that one at all costs, which persists even now.

HarryTruman2016 17 hours ago ,

Just like the corrupt aid we have been giving to dictatorships since WW II ended. The difference is the president in previous decades did not use the aid as a bribe to foreign leaders to conduct nefarious investigations on US citizens. I can only imagine the columns TAC would write if Obama called the Saudi Crown Prince in 2010 and told him that military aid is contingent on information about their business dealings with the Bush family because Jeb might run in 2012.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) HarryTruman2016 9 hours ago ,

Then where's the evidence of that "bribe" having even happened? As of yet we have only a clownery called "closed hearings" and the idea that Trump would be interested in getting rid of the weakest of his possible opponents which defies the mere principles of logic.

gdpbull 16 hours ago ,

From the article,

"Ukraine is now ranked as the 120th least corrupt nation in the world -- lower than Egypt and Pakistan"

I predict the following - A Washington Post headline will be

"Obama Administration brought Ukraine onto the list of least corrupt nations in the world."

Jon Lester 15 hours ago ,

Zelensky still needed an oligarch's backing, so I wouldn't get my hopes up.

, Sid Finster Trump=Obama 13 hours ago ,

Hogwash. Tell us how "Russian interference" has forced the Ukrainian junta to be as corrupt, brutal and incompetent as it has been since it became a full-fledged US puppet?

Rossbach 13 hours ago ,

A better use of our hard-earned tax dollars would be for the US government to put its own house in order before addressing problems of "corruption" abroad.

Sid Finster 13 hours ago ,

This has been old news since at least Vietnam.

AdmBenson 11 hours ago ,

Corruption is incidental to the political control that foreign aid provides to the US. In other words, it's a feature and not a bug. The exception to this rule is Israel, where US foreign aid is turned around to exert influence on American politicians. Again, a feature and not a bug.

Don't hold your breath waiting for this situation to change.

marqueemoons 10 hours ago ,

There's a counter-point to this; American aid in Germany and Japan did not produce corrupt cultures.

Jett_Rucker 8 hours ago ,
bureaucrats are want to continue the aid

Letting the children take care of the editing, again?

Ken T • 8 hours ago ,

The purpose of foreign aid is not to end corruption. It is to show the corrupt that we can outbid anyone else they are contemplating turning to.

Jett_Rucker 6 hours ago ,

Charitable (non-government) aid typically nurtures corruption, too
Arm's-length dealing is the cure and the preventive, and it's the only one.
I know - sounds cruel, doesn't it?
I usually do - just ask my children

[Oct 30, 2019] U.S. Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt

Oct 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

U.S. Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt Our 'democracy building' assistance to certain countries--including Ukraine--has produced kleptocracies, or worse. By James Bovard October 30, 2019

Barricade with the protesters at Hrushevskogo street on January 26, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Sasha Maksymenko / cc Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism. After closed House of Representatives impeachment hearings heard testimony on President Trump's role in delaying U.S. aid to Ukraine, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared: " Numbers don't lie . It's even more clear now that President Trump is not the anti-corruption crusader he claims to be."

Most of the press coverage has tacitly assumed that American assistance is vital to fighting corruption in Ukraine. But that ignores foreign aid's toxic record and Ukraine's post-Soviet history.

A 2002 American Economic Review analysis concluded that "increases in [foreign] aid are associated with contemporaneous increases in corruption," and that "corruption is positively correlated with aid received from the United States."

That was the year President George W. Bush launched a new foreign aid program, the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). Bush declared, "I think it makes no sense to give aid , money, to countries that are corrupt." But the Bush administration continued delivering billions of dollars in handouts to many of the world's most corrupt regimes. By 2004, the State Department had codified what amounted to backtracking: " The MCA is an incentive-based supplement to other U.S. aid programs." The Bush team found excuses to give MCA aid to some of the world's most corrupt governments as well, including Georgia.

In 2010, President Barack Obama proclaimed at the United Nations that America was " leading a global effort to combat corruption ." Obama's "aides said the United States in the past has often seemed to just throw money at problems ," the Los Angeles Times reported. But the reform charade was exposed the following year when the Obama administration fiercely resisted congressional efforts to curb wasteful aid. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that restricting handouts to nations that fail anti-corruption tests "has the potential to affect a staggering number of needy aid recipients."

The Obama administration continued pouring tens of billions of American tax dollars into sinkholes such as Afghanistan, which even its president, Ashraf Ghani, admitted in 2016 was "one of the most corrupt countries on earth ." And the deluge of aid the Afghan government received only worsened the corruption. As John Sopko, the heroic Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), observed, " We need to understand how US policies and practices unintentionally aided and abetted corruption. We must recognize the danger of dealing with characters or networks of unsavory repute, tolerating contracting abuses, accepting shoddy performance and delivering unsustainable projects."

The closed House impeachment hearings last week heard from acting U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr., who testified that he " had authority over the bulk of the U.S. effort to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion and to help it defeat corruption." The Washington Post lauded Taylor as someone who " spent much of the 1990s telling Ukrainian politicians that nothing was more critical to their long-term prosperity than rooting out corruption and bolstering the rule of law, in his role as the head of U.S. development assistance for post-Soviet countries."

Transparency International, which publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, shows that corruption surged in Ukraine during the late 1990s and remains at obscene levels (though recent years have shown slight improvements). Taylor was ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, when corruption sharply worsened despite hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid . Ukraine is now ranked as the 120th least corrupt nation in the world -- lower than Egypt and Pakistan, two other major U.S. aid recipients. What Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is to the NFL, Taylor appears to be to the anti-corruption cause.

Bribing foreign politicians to encourage honest government makes as much sense as distributing free condoms to encourage abstinence. Rather than encouraging good governance practices, foreign aid is more likely to produce kleptocracies, or governments of thieves. As a Brookings Institution analysis observed, "The history of U.S. assistance is littered with tales of corrupt foreign officials using aid to line their own pockets, support military buildups, and pursue vanity projects." And both American politicians and bureaucrats are want to continue the aid gravy train, regardless of how foreign regimes waste the money or use it to repress their own citizens.

If U.S. aid was effective, Ukraine would have become a rule of law paradise long ago. The country's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, may be sincere in his efforts to root out corruption. But it is an insult to both him and his nation to pretend that Ukraine cannot clean up its act without help from Donald Trump. The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid.

James Bovard is the author of Lost Rights , Attention Deficit Democracy , and Public Policy Hooligan . He is also a USA Today columnist. Follow him on Twitter @JimBovard .

[Oct 27, 2019] The Plundering Of Ukraine By Corrupt American Democrats

Notable quotes:
"... Burisma Gas company had to pay extortion money to the president Poroshenko. Eventually its founder and owner Mr Nicolai Zlochevsky decided to invite some important Westerners into the company's board of directors hoping it would moderate Poroshenko's appetites. He had brought in Biden's son Hunter, John Kerry, Polish ex-President Kwasniewski; but it didn't help him. ..."
"... Poroshenko became furious that the fattened calf may escape him, and asked the Attorney General Shokin to investigate Burisma trusting some irregularities would emerge. AG Shokin immediately discovered that Burisma had paid these 'stars' between 50 and 150 thousand dollar per month each just for being on the list of directors. This is illegal by the Ukrainian tax code; it can't be recognised as legitimate expenditure. ..."
"... These [neoliberal] politicians are the absolute dregs of our society. Human cesspits. They make the pirates of old look like kindergarten. And they mass murder to get the loot. ..."
"... Author does not mention approx 40 tons of gold transferred to US at night, covered lorries, darkened airfield. Coincidentally just a few hours before MH370 went missing ..."
"... Implementation of Western values and democracy cost Libia more than 134 ton of gold. Not including shares and valuable papers..How democracy working in Libya? ..."
"... Regarding the Ukraine, about 12 oligarch holding of 60% of the wealth.Today the Ukrainian oligarch have to pay USA democrats oligarch for protection. Whatever who is Ukraine President-they must to pay to USA.Ukraine today is like banana republic :Honduras or Guatemala with 60% of population living below poverty line. Just do the homework all of you readers. ..."
"... All Democrats and RINO's who are currently participating in the impeachment hoax in order to keep themselves from being indicted, prosecuted, and imprisoned for their parts in this corruption are automatically guilty of obstruction of justice, because that's exactly what they're doing. ..."
"... She was never supposed to lose. ..."
"... DNC types always show up at these poor countries to plunder them. Haiti: Clinton Foundation. Ukraine: Clinton Foundation. Ukraine: Biden Family foundation. ..."
Oct 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Indeed, John Kerry, the Secretary of State in Obama's administration, was his partner-in-crime. But Joe Biden was number one. During the Obama presidency, Biden was the US proconsul for Ukraine, and he was involved in many corruption schemes. He authorised transfer of three billion dollars of the US taxpayers' money to the post-coup government of the Ukraine; the money was stolen, and Biden took a big share of the spoils.

It is a story of ripping the US taxpayer and the Ukrainian customer off for the benefit of a few corruptioners, American and Ukrainian. And it is a story of Kiev regime and its dependence on the US and IMF. The Ukraine has a few midsize deposits of natural gas, sufficient for domestic household consumption. The cost of its production was quite low; and the Ukrainians got used to pay pennies for their gas. Actually, it was so cheap to produce that the Ukraine could provide all its households with free gas for heating and cooking, just like Libya did. Despite low consumer price, the gas companies (like Burisma) had very high profits and very little expenditure.

After the 2014 coup, IMF demanded to raise the price of gas for the domestic consumer to European levels, and the new president Petro Poroshenko obliged them. The prices went sky-high. The Ukrainians were forced to pay many times more for their cooking and heating; and huge profits went to coffers of the gas companies. Instead of raising taxes or lowering prices, President Poroshenko demanded the gas companies to pay him or subsidise his projects. He said that he arranged the price hike; it means he should be considered a partner.

Burisma Gas company had to pay extortion money to the president Poroshenko. Eventually its founder and owner Mr Nicolai Zlochevsky decided to invite some important Westerners into the company's board of directors hoping it would moderate Poroshenko's appetites. He had brought in Biden's son Hunter, John Kerry, Polish ex-President Kwasniewski; but it didn't help him.

Poroshenko became furious that the fattened calf may escape him, and asked the Attorney General Shokin to investigate Burisma trusting some irregularities would emerge. AG Shokin immediately discovered that Burisma had paid these 'stars' between 50 and 150 thousand dollar per month each just for being on the list of directors. This is illegal by the Ukrainian tax code; it can't be recognised as legitimate expenditure.

At that time Biden the father entered the fray. He called Poroshenko and gave him six hours to close the case against his son. Otherwise, one billion dollars of the US taxpayers' funds won't pass to the Ukrainian corruptioners. Zlochevsky, the Burisma owner, paid Biden well for this conversation: he received between three and ten million dollars, according to different sources.

AG Shokin said he can't close the case within six hours; Poroshenko sacked him and installed Mr Lutsenko in his stead. Lutsenko was willing to dismiss the case of Burisma, but he also could not do it in a day, or even in a week. Biden, as we know, could not keep his trap shut: by talking about the pressure he put on Poroshenko, he incriminated himself. Meanwhile Mr Shokin gave evidence that Biden put pressure on Poroshenko to fire him, and now it was confirmed. The evidence was given to the US lawyers in connection with another case, Firtash case.

... ... ...

This is not the only case of US-connected corruption in Ukraine. There is Amos J. Hochstein, a protege of former VP Joe Biden, who has served in the Barack Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources. He still hangs on the Ukraine. Together with an American citizen Andrew Favorov, the Deputy Director of Naftogas he organised very expensive "reverse gas import" into Ukraine. In this scheme, the Russian gas is bought by Europeans and afterwards sold to Ukraine with a wonderful margin. In reality, gas comes from Russia directly, but payments go via Hochstein. It is much more costly than to buy directly from Russia; Ukrainian people pay, while the margin is collected by Hochstein and Favorov. Now they plan to import liquefied gas from the United States, at even higher price. Again, the price will be paid by the Ukrainians, while profits will go to Hochstein and Favorov.

In all these scams, there are people of Clinton and spooks who are fully integrated in the Democratic Party. A former head of CIA, Robert James Woolsey, now sits on the Board of Directors of Velta, producing Ukrainian titanium. Woolsey is a neocon, a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), pro-Israel think-tank, and a man who relentlessly pushed for Iraq war. A typical Democrat spook, now he gets profits from Ukrainian ore deposits.

One of the best Ukrainian corruption stories is connected with Audrius Butkevicius, the former Minister of Defence (1996 to 2000) and a Member of the Seimas (Parliament) of post-Soviet Lithuania. Mr AB is supposedly working for MI6, and now is a member of the notorious Institute for Statecraft, a UK deep state propaganda outfit involved in disinformation operations, subversion of the democratic process and promoting Russophobia and the idea of a new cold war. In 1991 he commanded snipers that shoot Lithuanian protesters. The kills were ascribed to the Soviet armed forces, and the last Soviet President Mr Gorbachev ordered speedy withdrawal of his troops from Lithuania. Mr AB became the Minister of Defence of his independent nation. In 1997 the Honourable Minister of Defence "had requested 300,000 USD from a senior executive of a troubled oil company for his assistance in obtaining the discontinuance of criminal proceedings concerning the company's vast debts", in the language of the court judgement. He was arrested on receipt of the bribe, had been sentenced to five years of jail, but a man with such qualifications was not left to rot in a prison.

In 2005 he commanded the snipers who killed protesters in Kyrgyzstan, in Georgia he repeated the feat in 2003 during the Rose Revolution. In 2014 he did it again in Kiev, where his snipers killed around a hundred men, protesters and police. He was brought to Kiev by Mr Turchinov, who called himself the "acting President" and who countersigned Joe Biden's billion dollars' grant.

In October 2018 the name of Mr AB came up again. Military warehouses of Chernigov had caught fire; allegedly thousands of shells stored for fighting the separatists had been destroyed by fire. And it was not the first fire of this kind: the previous one, equally huge, torched Ukrainian army warehouses in Vinnitsa in 2017. Altogether, there were 12 huge army arsenal fires for the last few years. Just for 2018, the damage was over $2 billion.

When Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine Anatoly Matios investigated the fires, he discovered that 80% of weapons and shells in the warehouses were missing. They weren't destroyed by fire, they weren't there in the first place. Instead of being used to kill the Russian-speaking Ukrainians of Donetsk, the hardware had been shipped from the port of Nikolaev to Syria, to the Islamic rebels and to ISIS. And the man who organised this enormous operation was our Mr AB, the old fighter for democracy on behalf of MI6, acting in cahoots with the Minister of Defence Poltorak and Mr Turchinov, the friend of Mr Biden. (They say Mr Matios was given $10 million for his silence).

The loss was of Ukrainian people, and of US taxpayers, while the beneficiaries were the Deep State, which is probably just another name for the deadly mix of spooks, media and politicians.


mog , 4 hours ago link

The Plundering Of Ukraine By Corrupt American Democrats. Whats new. The plundering of Syria - the Golan. Genie oil - Every leading democrat name is on that Shareholder's list. Plundering of Serbia. Kosovo, its Gold mines and Minerals. Speciality per Madeleine Albright . Wesley Clark and the Clintons. Sniff around where the Libyan gold went....not Fort Knox

These [neoliberal] politicians are the absolute dregs of our society. Human cesspits. They make the pirates of old look like kindergarten. And they mass murder to get the loot.

JPHR , 4 hours ago link

Excellent explanation for Democrats trying to undercut Trump/Giuliani in any way they can (or can't actually).

deplorableX , 5 hours ago link

Author does not mention approx 40 tons of gold transferred to US at night, covered lorries, darkened airfield. Coincidentally just a few hours before MH370 went missing .

Franko , 4 hours ago link

Implementation of Western values and democracy cost Libia more than 134 ton of gold. Not including shares and valuable papers..How democracy working in Libya?

Franko , 5 hours ago link

Fantastic article. Thanks for Israel. Thanks God, whatever you believe or not, majority of the World citizens are good and friendly. Were did not nuke each other despite 1% of our corrupted elites. They hold about 90% of media, can give Hollywood Oscar Price or Nobel Price to my lovely dog. If I paid them.

Regarding the Ukraine, about 12 oligarch holding of 60% of the wealth.Today the Ukrainian oligarch have to pay USA democrats oligarch for protection. Whatever who is Ukraine President-they must to pay to USA.Ukraine today is like banana republic :Honduras or Guatemala with 60% of population living below poverty line. Just do the homework all of you readers.

B52Minot , 5 hours ago link

You will NOT see once micron of this on the lame stream Media.....nor out of the mouths of Dems anywhere.....THIS info if true should ensure the Dem corrupt Party is dissolved and a new one using pro-USA model is erected.

That we have seen little of this story in the Wall Street Journal nor Fox News shows just who controls those networks for sure.....This story MUST become a part of the Congressional record....ASAP.....and ALL these folks no matter which Party MUST be held accountable for lost US Funds...OUR TAX DOLLARS. Imagine what could be done with 3 BILLION for OUR Vets or the homeless......yet you see little exposure of this corruption any where in US papers or even conservative outfits...????

LightBeamCowboy , 5 hours ago link

All Democrats and RINO's who are currently participating in the impeachment hoax in order to keep themselves from being indicted, prosecuted, and imprisoned for their parts in this corruption are automatically guilty of obstruction of justice, because that's exactly what they're doing.

She was never supposed to lose.

blindfaith , 5 hours ago link

And the winner is: George Soros

JPHR , 4 hours ago link

Soros still alive because the devil is wise enough to refuse "regime change" operators.

Jackprong , 5 hours ago link

DNC types always show up at these poor countries to plunder them. Haiti: Clinton Foundation. Ukraine: Clinton Foundation. Ukraine: Biden Family foundation.

Zhaupka , 5 hours ago link

Corrupt American Democrats AND Corrupt American Republicans . . . who gave Standing Ovations in Washington, District of Columbia, United States Capitol for the Murders and Burning Humans Alive. United States President Trump never received 5 minute Standing Ovations in Washington, District of Columbia, United States Capitol by the Capitalist Political Party composed of two factions: Corrupt American Republicans AND Corrupt American Democrats.

Idaho potato head , 4 hours ago link

But Poroshenko did.

PeterLong , 6 hours ago link

So Shamir says that Tsarev is claiming Daniluk is the "whistleblower"? A foreigner can be a whistleblower?

And " Daniluk was supposed to accompany President Zelensky on his visit to Washington; but he was informed that there is an order for his arrest. He remained in Kiev." ?? An order to arrest Daniluk in Washington, is that the claim? Why and who would arrest him in Washington?

We would all be better off, including the Ukrainians, if they had stayed with Russia, where they were.

[Oct 27, 2019] The nature of former Ukrainian president revealed on one small typo

He really proved to be pathologically greedy bastard.
Oct 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Oct 27 2019 0:30 utc | 45

james #39
are you familiar with the name porkoshenko


Barfly award to you for best typo this thread. :))

james , Oct 27 2019 1:23 utc | 53
@45 uncle t - lol... porky for short! that is mostly how i think of him..

[Oct 26, 2019] The Plundering of Ukraine by Corrupt American Democrats by Israel Shamir

Highly recommended!
Money quote: “Top Dems are involved in the plundering of the Ukraine: new names, mind-boggling accounts."
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, John Kerry, the Secretary of State in Obama's administration, was his partner-in-crime. But Joe Biden was number one. During the Obama presidency, Biden was the US proconsul for Ukraine, and he was involved in many corruption schemes. He authorised transfer of three billion dollars of the US taxpayers' money to the post-coup government of the Ukraine; the money was stolen, and Biden took a big share of the spoils. ..."
"... Two years ago, (that is already under President Trump) the United States began to investigate the allocation of 3 billion dollars; it was allocated in 2014, in 2015, in 2016; one billion dollars per year. The investigation showed that the documents were falsified, the money was transferred to Ukraine, and stolen. The investigators tracked each payment, discovered where the money went, where it was spent and how it was stolen. ..."
"... The money was allocated with the flagrant violation of American law. There was no risk assessment, no audit reports. Normally the USAID, when allocating cash, always prepares a substantial package of documents. But the billions were given to Ukraine completely without documents. The criminal case on the embezzlement of USAID funds had been signed personally by the US Attorney General, so these issues are very much alive. ..."
"... Poroshenko was aware of that; he gave orders to declare Sam Kislin persona non grata. Once the old man (he is over 80) flew into Kiev airport and he was not allowed to come in; he spent the night in detention and was flown back to the US next day. Poroshenko had been totally allied with Clinton camp. ..."
"... In all these scams, there are people of Clinton and spooks who are fully integrated in the Democratic Party. A former head of CIA, Robert James Woolsey, now sits on the Board of Directors of Velta , producing Ukrainian titanium. Woolsey is a neocon, a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), pro-Israel think-tank, and a man who relentlessly pushed for Iraq war. A typical Democrat spook, now he gets profits from Ukrainian ore deposits. ..."
"... The loss was of Ukrainian people, and of US taxpayers, while the beneficiaries were the Deep State, which is probably just another name for the deadly mix of spooks, media and politicians. ..."
"... The globalist criminal elites will not be held responsible for any of these crimes. They're bound together by ties of blackmail forged by guys like Epstein, mutually assured incrimination in serial swindles which cross Left and Right political boundaries and literal murder in the case of guys like Seth Rich. ..."
"... If they were only stealing money it would be bad enough, but the fact that these same grifters are our "diplomats" and warmakers is positively Orwellian. Watching these petty hoodlums play nuclear chicken with Russia so they can squeeze more shekels from the supine Ukraine would be laughable if I could get the first-strike nightmares of my Cold War childhood out of my head long enough to laugh. ..."
Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

A talk with Oleg Tsarev reveals the alleged identity of the "Trump/Ukraine Whistleblower" Israel Shamir October 25, 2019 2,400 Words 6 Comments Reply

Top Dems are involved in the plundering of the Ukraine: new names, mind-boggling accounts. The mysterious 'whistleblower' whose report had unleashed the impeachment is named in the exclusive interview given to the Unz Review by a prominent Ukrainian politician, an ex-Member of Parliament of four terms, a candidate for Ukraine's presidency, Oleg Tsarev.

Mr Tsarev, a tall, agile and graceful man, a good speaker and a prolific writer, had been a leading and popular Ukrainian politician before the 2014 putsch; he stayed in the Ukraine after President Yanukovych's flight; ran for the Presidency against Mr Poroshenko, and eventually had to go to exile due to multiple threats to his life. During the failed attempt to secede, he was elected the speaker of the Parliament of Novorossia (South-Eastern Ukraine). I spoke to him in Crimea, where he lives in the pleasant seaside town of Yalta. Tsarev still has many supporters in the Ukraine, and is a leader of the opposition to the Kiev regime.

Oleg, you followed Biden story from its very inception. Biden is not the only Dem politician involved in the Ukrainian corruption schemes, is he?

Indeed, John Kerry, the Secretary of State in Obama's administration, was his partner-in-crime. But Joe Biden was number one. During the Obama presidency, Biden was the US proconsul for Ukraine, and he was involved in many corruption schemes. He authorised transfer of three billion dollars of the US taxpayers' money to the post-coup government of the Ukraine; the money was stolen, and Biden took a big share of the spoils.

It is a story of ripping the US taxpayer and the Ukrainian customer off for the benefit of a few corruptioners, American and Ukrainian. And it is a story of Kiev regime and its dependence on the US and IMF. The Ukraine has a few midsize deposits of natural gas, sufficient for domestic household consumption. The cost of its production was quite low; and the Ukrainians got used to pay pennies for their gas. Actually, it was so cheap to produce that the Ukraine could provide all its households with free gas for heating and cooking, just like Libya did. Despite low consumer price, the gas companies (like Burisma) had very high profits and very little expenditure.

After the 2014 coup, IMF demanded to raise the price of gas for the domestic consumer to European levels, and the new president Petro Poroshenko obliged them. The prices went sky-high. The Ukrainians were forced to pay many times more for their cooking and heating; and huge profits went to coffers of the gas companies. Instead of raising taxes or lowering prices, President Poroshenko demanded the gas companies to pay him or subsidise his projects. He said that he arranged the price hike; it means he should be considered a partner.

Burisma Gas company had to pay extortion money to the president Poroshenko. Eventually its founder and owner Mr Nicolai Zlochevsky decided to invite some important Westerners into the company's board of directors hoping it would moderate Poroshenko's appetites. He had brought in Biden's son Hunter, John Kerry, Polish ex-President Kwasniewski; but it didn't help him.

Poroshenko became furious that the fattened calf may escape him, and asked the Attorney General Shokin to investigate Burisma trusting some irregularities would emerge. AG Shokin immediately discovered that Burisma had paid these 'stars' between 50 and 150 thousand dollar per month each just for being on the list of directors. This is illegal by the Ukrainian tax code; it can't be recognised as legitimate expenditure.

At that time Biden the father entered the fray. He called Poroshenko and gave him six hours to close the case against his son. Otherwise, one billion dollars of the US taxpayers' funds won't pass to the Ukrainian corruptioners. Zlochevsky, the Burisma owner, paid Biden well for this conversation: he received between three and ten million dollars, according to different sources.

AG Shokin said he can't close the case within six hours; Poroshenko sacked him and installed Mr Lutsenko in his stead. Lutsenko was willing to dismiss the case of Burisma, but he also could not do it in a day, or even in a week. Biden, as we know, could not keep his trap shut: by talking about the pressure he put on Poroshenko, he incriminated himself. Meanwhile Mr Shokin gave evidence that Biden put pressure on Poroshenko to fire him, and now it was confirmed. The evidence was given to the US lawyers in connection with another case, Firtash case.

What is Firtash Case?

The Democrats wanted to get another Ukrainian oligarch, Mr Firtash, to the US and make him to confess that he illegally supported Trump's campaign for the sake of Russia. Firtash had been arrested in Vienna, Austria; there he fought extradition to the US. His lawyers claimed it is purely political case, and they used Mr Shokin's deposition to substantiate their claim. For this reason, the evidence supplied by Shokin is not easily reversible, even if Shokin were willing, and he is not. He also stated under oath that the Democrats pressurised him to help and extradite Firtash to the US, though he had no standing in this purely American issue. It seems that Mrs Clinton believes that Firtash's funds helped Trump to win elections, an extremely unlikely thing [says Mr Tsarev].

Talking about Burisma and Biden; what is this billion dollars of aid that Biden could give or withhold?

It is USAID money, the main channel of the US aid for "support of democracy". First billion dollars of USAID came to the Ukraine in 2014. This was authorised by Joe Biden, while for Ukraine, the papers were signed by Mr Turchinov, the "acting President". The Ukrainian constitution does not know of such a position, and Turchinov, "the acting President" had no right to sign neither a legal nor financial document. Thus, all the documents that were signed by him, in fact, had no legal force. However, Biden countersigned the papers signed by Turchynov and allocated money for Ukraine. And the money was stolen – by the Democrats and their Ukrainian counterparts.

Two years ago, (that is already under President Trump) the United States began to investigate the allocation of 3 billion dollars; it was allocated in 2014, in 2015, in 2016; one billion dollars per year. The investigation showed that the documents were falsified, the money was transferred to Ukraine, and stolen. The investigators tracked each payment, discovered where the money went, where it was spent and how it was stolen.

As a result, in October 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a criminal case for "Abuse of power and embezzlement of American taxpayers' money". Among the accused there are two consecutive Finance Ministers of the Ukraine, Mrs Natalie Ann Jaresko who served 2014-2016 and Mr Alexander Daniluk who served 2016-2018, and three US banks. The investigation caused the USAID to cease issuing grants since August 2019. As Trump said, now the US does not give away money and does not impose democracy.

The money was allocated with the flagrant violation of American law. There was no risk assessment, no audit reports. Normally the USAID, when allocating cash, always prepares a substantial package of documents. But the billions were given to Ukraine completely without documents. The criminal case on the embezzlement of USAID funds had been signed personally by the US Attorney General, so these issues are very much alive.

Sam Kislin was involved in this investigation. He is a good friend and associate of Giuliani, Trump's lawyer and an ex-mayor of New York. Kislin is well known in Kiev, and I have many friends who are Sam's friends [said Tsarev]. I learned of his progress, because some of my friends were detained in the United States, or interrogated in Ukraine. They briefed me about this. It appears that Burisma is just the tip of the scandal, the tip of the iceberg. If Trump will carry on, and use what was already initiated and investigated, the whole headquarters of the Democratic party will come down. They will not be able to hold elections. I have no right to name names, but believe me, leading functionaries of the Democratic party are involved.

Poroshenko was aware of that; he gave orders to declare Sam Kislin persona non grata. Once the old man (he is over 80) flew into Kiev airport and he was not allowed to come in; he spent the night in detention and was flown back to the US next day. Poroshenko had been totally allied with Clinton camp.

And President Zelensky? Is he free from Clintonite Democrats' influence?

If he were, there would not be the scandal of Trump phone call. How the Democrats learned of this call and its alleged content? The official version says there was a CIA man, a whistle-blower, who reported to the Democrats. What the version does not clarify, where this whistle-blower was located during the call. I tell you, he was located in Kiev, and he was present at the conversation, at the Ukrainian President Zelensky's side. This man was (perhaps) a CIA asset, but he also was a close associate of George Soros, and a Ukrainian high-ranking official. His name is Mr Alexander Daniluk . He is also the man the investigation of Sam Kislin and of the DoJ had led to, the Finance Minister of Ukraine at the time, the man who was responsible for the embezzlement of three billion US taxpayer's best dollars. The DoJ issued an order for his arrest. Naturally he is devoted to Biden personally, and to the Dems in general. I would not trust his version of the phone call at all.

Daniluk was supposed to accompany President Zelensky on his visit to Washington; but he was informed that there is an order for his arrest. He remained in Kiev. And soon afterwards, the hell of the alleged leaked phone call broke out. Zelensky administration investigated and concluded that the leak was done by Mr Alexander Daniluk, who is known for his close relations with George Soros and with Mr Biden. Alexander Daniluk had been fired. (However, he did not admit his guilt and said the leak was done by his sworn enemy, the head of president's administration office, Mr Andrey Bogdan , who allegedly framed Daniluk.)

This is not the only case of US-connected corruption in Ukraine. There is Amos J. Hochstein , a protege of former VP Joe Biden, who has served in the Barack Obama administration as the Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources. He still hangs on the Ukraine. Together with an American citizen Andrew Favorov , the Deputy Director of Naftogas he organised very expensive "reverse gas import" into Ukraine. In this scheme, the Russian gas is bought by Europeans and afterwards sold to Ukraine with a wonderful margin. In reality, gas comes from Russia directly, but payments go via Hochstein. It is much more costly than to buy directly from Russia; Ukrainian people pay, while the margin is collected by Hochstein and Favorov. Now they plan to import liquefied gas from the United States, at even higher price. Again, the price will be paid by the Ukrainians, while profits will go to Hochstein and Favorov.

In all these scams, there are people of Clinton and spooks who are fully integrated in the Democratic Party. A former head of CIA, Robert James Woolsey, now sits on the Board of Directors of Velta , producing Ukrainian titanium. Woolsey is a neocon, a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), pro-Israel think-tank, and a man who relentlessly pushed for Iraq war. A typical Democrat spook, now he gets profits from Ukrainian ore deposits.

One of the best Ukrainian corruption stories is connected with Audrius Butkevicius , the former Minister of Defence (1996 to 2000) and a Member of the Seimas (Parliament) of post-Soviet Lithuania. Mr AB is supposedly working for MI6, and now is a member of the notorious Institute for Statecraft , a UK deep state propaganda outfit involved in disinformation operations, subversion of the democratic process and promoting Russophobia and the idea of a new cold war. In 1991 he commanded snipers that shoot Lithuanian protesters. The kills were ascribed to the Soviet armed forces, and the last Soviet President Mr Gorbachev ordered speedy withdrawal of his troops from Lithuania. Mr AB became the Minister of Defence of his independent nation. In 1997 the Honourable Minister of Defence "had requested 300,000 USD from a senior executive of a troubled oil company for his assistance in obtaining the discontinuance of criminal proceedings concerning the company's vast debts", in the language of the court judgement. He was arrested on receipt of the bribe, had been sentenced to five years of jail, but a man with such qualifications was not left to rot in a prison.

In 2005 he commanded the snipers who killed protesters in Kyrgyzstan, in Georgia he repeated the feat in 2003 during the Rose Revolution. In 2014 he did it again in Kiev, where his snipers killed around a hundred men, protesters and police. He was brought to Kiev by Mr Turchinov, who called himself the "acting President" and who countersigned Joe Biden's billion dollars' grant.

In October 2018 the name of Mr AB came up again. Military warehouses of Chernigov had caught fire; allegedly thousands of shells stored for fighting the separatists had been destroyed by fire. And it was not the first fire of this kind: the previous one, equally huge, torched Ukrainian army warehouses in Vinnitsa in 2017. Altogether, there were 12 huge army arsenal fires for the last few years. Just for 2018, the damage was over $2 billion.

When Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine Anatoly Matios investigated the fires, he discovered that 80% of weapons and shells in the warehouses were missing. They weren't destroyed by fire, they weren't there in the first place. Instead of being used to kill the Russian-speaking Ukrainians of Donetsk, the hardware had been shipped from the port of Nikolaev to Syria, to the Islamic rebels and to ISIS. And the man who organised this enormous operation was our Mr AB, the old fighter for democracy on behalf of MI6, acting in cahoots with the Minister of Defence Poltorak and Mr Turchinov, the friend of Mr Biden. (They say Mr Matios was given $10 million for his silence).

The loss was of Ukrainian people, and of US taxpayers, while the beneficiaries were the Deep State, which is probably just another name for the deadly mix of spooks, media and politicians.


Exile , says: October 25, 2019 at 6:42 pm GMT

The globalist criminal elites will not be held responsible for any of these crimes. They're bound together by ties of blackmail forged by guys like Epstein, mutually assured incrimination in serial swindles which cross Left and Right political boundaries and literal murder in the case of guys like Seth Rich. The cozy proximity of recently-murdered Epstein himself to crypto-converso AG Barr's family only makes me more certain that they will get away with this heist like they've done with dozens of other billion-dollar swindles.

If they were only stealing money it would be bad enough, but the fact that these same grifters are our "diplomats" and warmakers is positively Orwellian. Watching these petty hoodlums play nuclear chicken with Russia so they can squeeze more shekels from the supine Ukraine would be laughable if I could get the first-strike nightmares of my Cold War childhood out of my head long enough to laugh.

romar , says: October 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm GMT
Who will hold then responsible? The country appears to have been entirely taken over by crookish spooks and politicians.
The US is now confirmed as a cleptocracy.
Si1ver1ock , says: October 25, 2019 at 9:28 pm GMT
Kind of makes me wish I owned a national newspaper. This would be a great front page story.
Walt , says: October 26, 2019 at 12:22 am GMT
Ukraine is corrupted by outsiders (those who are not Ukrainian/Russian). In past centuries there was a simple but effective answer to foreigners corrupting their country. The Cossacks would sharpen up their sabres. saddle up their horses and have a slaughter. It was effective then and would be effective today. Get rid of those who are not Slavic.
Erebus , says: October 26, 2019 at 3:37 am GMT
The last act of an Imperial elite is to loot the Empire.

[Oct 26, 2019] The most dangerous aspect of Western logic of hegemony in general, and the American logic of hegemony in particular, is their basic belief that they own the world, and have the right to hegemony due to their supremacy in several fields

The USA is a real leader in technology and arm production. This is the country that created PC, Internet and smartphones, which changed the world. So technical supremacy paves the way to imperial behaviour.
CIA is one of the most powerful tools of the empire, the force that is instrumental in peeking the USA on globalist path now (looks at Russiagate) .
Oct 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

redmudhooch , says: October 26, 2019 at 1:37 am GMT

The CIA! http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30605.htm The CIA: 70 Years of Organized Crime: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47873.htm Regime Change and Capitalism: https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/07/regime-change-and-capitalism/

Hassan Nasrallah should know:

The path of U.S.-Israeli arrogance and domination, with its various dimensions, and with its direct and indirect extensions and alliances, which is witnessing military defeats and political failures, reflected successive defeats for the American strategies and plans, one after the other. All this has led [the U.S.] to a state of indecision, retreat, and inability to control the progress of events in our Arab and Islamic world. There is a broader international context for this – a context that, in its turn, helps to expose the American crisis, and the decline of the [U.S.] unipolar hegemony, in the face of pluralism, the characteristics of which are yet to be stabilized.

"The crisis of the arrogant world order is deepened by the collapse of U.S. and international stock markets, and by the confusion and powerlessness of the American economy. This reflects the height of the structural crisis of the model of capitalist arrogance. Therefore, it can be said that we are in the midst of historic transformations that foretell the retreat of the USA as a hegemonic power, the disintegration of the unipolar hegemonic order, and the beginning of the accelerated historic decline of the Zionist entity.

After World War II, the U.S. has adopted the leading, central hegemonic project. At its hands, this project has witnessed great development of the means of control and unprecedented subjugation. It has benefited from an accumulation of multi-faceted accomplishments in science, culture, technology, knowledge, economy, and the military, which was supported by an economic political plan that views the world as nothing but open markets subject to the laws of [the U.S.].

"The most dangerous aspect of Western logic of hegemony in general, and the American logic of hegemony in particular, is their basic belief that they own the world, and have the right to hegemony due to their supremacy in several fields. Thus, the Western, and especially American, expansionist strategy, when coupled with the enterprise of capitalist economy, has become a strategy of a global nature, whose covetous desires and appetite know no bounds.

The barbaric capitalism has turned globalism into a means to spread disintegration, to sow discord, to destroy identities, and to impose the most dangerous form of cultural, economic, and social plunder. Globalization reached its most dangerous phase, when it was transformed into military globalization by the owners of the Western hegemony enterprise, the greatest manifestation of which was evident in the Middle East, from Afghanistan to Iraq, to Palestine, and to Lebanon.

There is no doubt that American terrorism is the source of all terrorism in the world. The Bush administration has turned the U.S. into a danger threatening the whole world, on all levels. If a global opinion poll were held today, the United States would emerge as the most hated country in the world.

The most important goal of American arrogance is to take control of the peoples politically, economically, and culturally, and to plunder their resources.

– Hassan Nasrallah December 8, 2009

... ... ...

[Oct 25, 2019] IMF loans always backfire for the country

Oct 25, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Roy Blakeley on Thu, 10/24/2019 - 2:01pm

@wendy davis that takes them out. However, for the oligarchs and right wing politicians of those countries, they pay off. Lots of income from corruption, privatization, etc.
for the citizens

@Roy Blakeley

they backfire, indeed. but just now in the global IMF austerity resets, the citizenries are raising such a ruckus against them that some oligarchical leaders are having to rescind the 'austeries' put on them. time will tell how it plays out even for ecuador, but for now the indigenous seem to be winning. wish i had a link at hand.

but this is the brilliant bruce cockburn's ode to the IMF ; ):

tle on Thu, 10/24/2019 - 9:40pm
If only I could get information of this quality

from a "news"paper.

I was puzzled by what little I'd read at various "news" sites. Thank you for fleshing out the real story and linking to more info.

[Oct 20, 2019] Impeachment as election gambit. Schiff fraud is exposed, but it does not matter: who cares so long as Trump slowly roasts in the court of public opinion

Notable quotes:
"... Just to remind you: the charge against Trump is that he tried to expose a massive rip off of the people of Ukraine, made practical thanks to the US replacing an elected President with a bunch of neo-nazis in uniforms, for political advantage. ..."
"... And that is to put aside the obvious point that nothing could be more advantageous to any Presidential candidate than to have to run against Joe Biden, supported by Hillary Clinton. ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Oct 20 2019 15:31 utc | 16

"Will he be convicted in the Senate? Who cares so long as he slowly roasts in the court of public opinion."

Do you not see how unlikely it is that a story which demonstrates the utter corruption, personally, of Joe Biden and, institutionally, of the Obama regime will, as it unwinds, turn the people against Trump?

Just to remind you: the charge against Trump is that he tried to expose a massive rip off of the people of Ukraine, made practical thanks to the US replacing an elected President with a bunch of neo-nazis in uniforms, for political advantage.

And that is to put aside the obvious point that nothing could be more advantageous to any Presidential candidate than to have to run against Joe Biden, supported by Hillary Clinton.

... ... ...

[Oct 20, 2019] How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area. ..."
"... Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials. ..."
"... Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind. ..."
"... A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion? ..."
"... As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. ..."
"... The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones. ..."
"... Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US. ..."
"... We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay. ..."
"... Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that. ..."
Oct 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Dan Hayes says: October 4, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT • 100 Words @Ron Unz Proprietor Ron,

Thanks for your sharing you views about Prof Cohen, a most interesting and principled man.

Only after reading the article did I realize that the UR (that's you) also provided the Batchelor Show podcast. Thanks.

I've been listening to these broadcasts over their entirety, now going on for six or so years. What's always struck me is Cohen's level-headeness and equanimity. I've also detected affection for Kentucky, his native state. Not something to be expected from a Princeton / NYU academic nor an Upper West Side resident.

And once again expressing appreciation for the UR!


sally , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:47 am GMT

How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion.. NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area.

Behind NATO lies the reason for Bexit, the Yellow Jackets, the unrest in Iraq and Egypt, Yemen etc.

Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials.
Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind.

I think [private use of public force for private gain] is what Trump meant when Trump said to impeach Trump for investigating the Ukraine matter amounts to Treason.. but it is the exactly the activity type that Hallmarks CIA instigated regime change.

A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion?

Beckow , says: October 4, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT

The key question is what is the gain in separating Ukraine from Russia, adding it to NATO, and turning Russia and Ukraine into enemies. And what are the most likely results, e.g. can it ever work without risking a catastrophic event?

There are the usual empire-building and weapons business reasons, but those should function within a rational framework. As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. And an increase in tensions in the region with inevitable impact on the business there. So what exactly is the gain and for whom?

eah , says: October 4, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
The Washington-led attempt to fast-track Ukraine into NATO in 2013–14 resulted in the Maidan crisis, the overthrow of the country's constitutionally elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and to the still ongoing proxy civil war in Donbass.

Which exemplifies the stupidity and arrogance of the American military/industrial/political Establishment -- none of that had anything to do with US national security (least of all antagonizing Russia) -- how fucking hypocritical is it to presume the Monroe Doctrine, and then try to get the Ukraine into NATO? -- none of it would have been of any benefit whatsoever to the average American.

Roberto Masioni , says: October 4, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
According to a recent govt study, only 12% of Americans can read above a 9th grade level. This effectively mean (((whoever))) controls the MSM controls the world. NOTHING will change for the better while the (((enemy))) owns our money supply.
Pamela , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
There was NO "annexation" of Crimea by Russia. Crimea WAS annexed, but by Ukraine.
Russia and Crimea re-unified. Crimea has been part of Russia for long than America has existed – since it was taken from the Ottoman Empire over 350 yrs ago. The vast majority of the people identify as Russian, and speak only Russian.

To annex, the verb, means to use armed force to seize sovereign territory and put it under the control of the invading forces government. Pretty much as the early Americans did to Northern Mexico, Hawaii, etc. Russia used no force, the Governors of Crimea applied for re-unification with Russia, Russia advised a referendum, which was held, and with a 96% turnout, 97% voted for re-unification. This was done formally and legally, conforming with all the international mandates.

It is very damaging for anyone to say that Russia "annexed" Crimea, because when people read, quickly moving past the world, they subliminally match the word to their held perception of the concept and move on. Thus they match the word "annex" to their conception of the use of Armed Force against a resistant population, without checking.

All Cohen is doing here is reinforcing the pushed, lying Empire narrative, that Russia invaded and used force, when the exact opposite is true!!

follyofwar , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer One wonders if Mr. Putin, as he puts his head on the pillow at night, fancies that he should have rolled the Russian tanks into Kiev, right after the 2014 US-financed coup of Ukraine's elected president, which was accomplished while he was pre-occupied with the Sochi Olympics, and been done with it. He had every justification to do so, but perhaps feared Western blowback. Well, the blowback happened anyway, so maybe Putin was too cautious.

The new Trump Admin threw him under the bus when it installed the idiot Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, whose first words were that Russia must give Crimea back. With its only major warm water port located at Sevastopol, that wasn't about to happen, and the US Deep State knew it.

Given how he has been so unfairly treated by the media, and never given a chance to enact his Russian agenda, anyone who thinks that Trump was 'selected' by the deep state has rocks for brains. The other night, on Rick Sanchez's RT America show, former US diplomat, and frequent guest Jim Jatras said that he would not be too surprised if 20 GOP Senators flipped and voted to convict Trump if the House votes to impeach.

The deep state can't abide four more years of the bombastic, Twitter-obsessed Trump, hence this Special Ops Ukraine false flag, designed to fool a majority of the people. The smooth talking, more warlike Pence is one of them. The night of the long knives is approaching.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones.

The "logic" of the Dem party is remarkable. Dems don't even deny that Biden is corrupt, that he blatantly abused the office of Vice-President for personal gain. What's more, he was dumb enough to boast about it publicly. Therefore, let's impeach Trump.

These people don't give a hoot about the interests of the US as a country, or even as an Empire. Their insatiable greed for money and power blinds them to everything. By rights, those who orchestrated totally fake Russiagate and now push for impeachment, when Russiagate flopped miserably, should be hanged on lampposts for high treason. Unfortunately, justice won't be served. So, we have to be satisfied with an almost assured prospect of this impeachment thing to flop, just like Russiagate before it. But in the process incalculable damage will be done to our country and its institutions.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Pamela In fact, several Western sources reluctantly confirmed the results of Crimean referendum of 2014:
German polling company GFK
http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf
Gallup
http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

Those who support the separation of Kosovo from Serbia without Serbian consent cannot argue against separation of Crimea from Ukraine without the consent of Kiev regime.

On the other hand, those who believe that post-WWII borders are sacrosanct have to acknowledge that Crimea belongs to Russia (illegally even by loose Soviet standards transferred to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1956), Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Soviet Union should be restored, and Germany should be re-divided.

Alden , says: October 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
At least now I know why Ukraine is so essential to American national security. It's so even more of my and my families' taxes can pay for a massive expansion of Nato, which means American military bases in Ukraine. Greenland to the borders of China.

We're encircling the earth, like those old cartoons about bankers.

chris , says: October 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm GMT
@Ron Unz I had to stop listening after the 10th min. where the good professor (without any push-back from the interviewer) says:

Victor Yanukovich was overthrown by a street coup . at that moment, the United States and not only the United States but the Western European Governments had to make a decision would they acknowledge the overthrow of Yannukovic as having been legitimate, and therefore accept whatever government emerged, and that was a fateful moment within 24hours, the governments, including the government of president Obama endorsed what was essentially a coup d'etat against Yanukovich.

Has the good Professor so quickly forgotten about Victoria Nuland distributing cookies with John McCain in the Maidan as the coup was still unfolding? Her claim at the think tank in DC where she discusses having spent $30million (if I remember correctly) for foisting the Ukraine coup ?

Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US.

These are not simple omissions but willful acts of misleading of fools. The good professor's little discussed career as a resource for the secret services has reemerged after seemingly having been left out in the cold during the 1st attempted coup against Trump.

No, the real story is more than just a little NATO expansion as the professor does suggest, but more directly, the attempted coup that the US is still trying to stage in Russia itself, in order to regain control of Russia's vast energy resources which Putin forced the oligarchs to disgorge. The US desperately wants to achieve this in order to be able to ultimately also control China's access to those resources as well.

In the way that Iraq was supposed to be a staging post for an attack on Iran, Ukraine is the staging post for an attack on Russia.

The great Russian expert stirred miles very clear of even hinting at such scenarios, even though anyone who's thought about US world policies will easily arrive at this logical conclusion.

Anonymous [855] • Disclaimer , says: October 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
What about the theft of Ukraine's farmland and the enserfing of its rural population? Isn't this theft and enserfing of Ukrainians at least one major reason the US government got involved, overseeing the transfer of this land into the hands of the transnational banking crime syndicate? The Ukraine, with its rich, black soil, used to be called the breadbasket of Europe.

Consider the fanatical intervention on the part of Victoria Nuland and the Kagans under the guise of working for the State Dept to facilitate the theft. In a similar fashion, according to Wayne Madsen, the State Dept. has a Dept of Foreign Asset Management, or some similar name, that exists to protect the Chabad stranglehold on the world diamond trade, and, according to Madsen, the language spoken and posters around the offices are in Hebrew, which as a practical matter might as well be the case at the State Dept itself.

According to an article a few years ago at Oakland Institute, George Rohr's NCH Capital, which latter organization has funded over 100 Chabad Houses on US campuses, owns over 1 million acres of Ukraine farmland. Other ownership interests of similarly vast tracts of Ukraine farmland show a similar pattern of predation. At one point, it was suggested that the Yinon Plan should be understood to include the Ukraine as the newly acquired breadbasket of Eretz Israel. It may also be worth pointing out that now kosher Ivy League schools' endowments are among the worst pillagers of native farmland and enserfers of the indigenous populations they claim to protect.

AnonFromTN , says: October 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mikhail Well, if we really go into it, things become complicated. What Khmelnitsky united with Russia was maybe 1/6th or 1/8th of current Ukraine. Huge (4-5 times greater) areas in the North and West were added by Russian Tsars, almost as great areas in the South and East taken by Tsars from Turkey and affiliated Crimean Khanate were added by Lenin, a big chunk in the West was added by Stalin, and then in 1956 moron Khrushchev "gifted" Crimea (which he had no right to do even by Soviet law). So, about 4/6th of "Ukraine" is Southern Russia, 1/6th is Eastern Poland, some chunks are Hungary and Romania, and the remaining little stub is Ukraine proper.
AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@anon American view always was: "yes, he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". That historically applied to many obnoxious regimes, now fully applies to Ukraine. In that Dems and Reps always were essentially identical, revealing that they are two different puppets run by the same puppet master.

Trump is hardly very intelligent, but he has some street smarts that degenerate elites have lost. Hence their hatred of him. It is particularly galling for the elites that Trump won in 2016, and has every chance of winning again in 2020 (unless they decide to murder him, like JFK; but that would be a real giveaway, even the dumbest sheeple would smell the rat).

Skeptikal , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm GMT
@follyofwar The only reason I can imagine that Putin/Russia would want to "take over" Ukraine and have this political problem child back in the family might be because of Ukraine's black soil.

But it is probably not worth the aggravation.

Russia is building up its agricultural sector via major greenhouse installations and other innovations.

Beckow , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
@AP Well, you are a true simpleton who repeats shallow conventional views. You don't ever seem to think deeper about what you write, e.g. if Yanukovitch could beat anyone in a 1-on-1 election than he obviously wasn't that unpopular and that makes Maidan illegal by any standard. You say he could beat Tiahnybok, who was one of the leaders of Maidan, how was then Maidan democratic? Or you don't care for democracy if people vote against your preferences?

Trade with Russia is way down and it is not coming back. That is my point – there was definitely a way to do this better. It wasn't a choice of 'one or the other' – actually EU was under the impression that Ukraine would help open up the Russian market. Your either-or wasn't the plan, so did Kiev lie to EU? No wonder Ukraine has a snowball chance in hell of joining EU.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Skeptikal Russia moved to the first place in the world in wheat exports, while greatly increasing its production of meat, fowl, and fish. Those who supplied these commodities lost Russian market for good. In fact, with sanctions, food in Russia got a lot better, and food in Moscow got immeasurably better: now it's local staff instead of crap shipped from half-a-world away. Funny thing is, Russian production of really good fancy cheeses has soared (partially with the help of French and Italian producers who moved in to avoid any stupid sanctions).

So, there is no reason for Russia to take Ukraine on any conditions, especially considering Ukraine's exorbitant external debt. If one calculates European demand for transplantation kidneys and prostitutes, two of the most successful Ukrainian exports, Ukraine will pay off its debt – never. Besides, the majority of Russians learned to despise Ukraine due to its subservient vassalage to the US (confirmed yet again by the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Ze), so the emotional factor is also virtually gone. Now the EU and the US face the standard rule of retail: you broke it, you own it. That infuriates Americans and EU bureaucrats more than anything.

annamaria , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger "Demography statistic won't support fairy tales by solzhenicin and his kind."

-- What's your point? Your post reads like an attempt at saying that Kaganovitch was white like snow and that it does not matter what crimes were committed in the Soviet Union because of the "demography statistic" and because you, Sergey Krieger, are a grander person next to Solzhenitsyn and "his kind." By the way, had not A. I. S. returned to Russia, away from the coziness of western life?

S.K.: "You should start research onto mass dying of population after 1991 and subsequent and ongoing demographic catastroph in Russia under current not as "brutal " as soviet regime."

-- If you wish: "The Rape of Russia: Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives, September 21, 1999:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/Harvard_mafia/testimony_of_anne_williamson_before_the_house_banking_committee.shtml

"Economic rape of post-USSR economic space was by design not by accident:"
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#Economic_rape_of_post_USSR_economic_space_was_by_design_not_by_accident

"MI6 role in economic rape of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet republics:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#MI6_role_

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 11:39 pm GMT
@AP Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) and lots of other laws. And that's not the worst part of it. But it already happened, there is no going back for Ukraine. It's a "yes or no" thing, you can't be a little bit pregnant. We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide. Some say this project was doomed from the start. I think Ukraine had a chance and blew it.
AP , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:39 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) a

Illegal revolution (are there any legal ones? – was American one legal?) rather than coup. Violations of Constitution began under Yanukovich.

We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide.

LOL. Were you the one comparing it to Somalia?

Here is "dead" Ukraine:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DDWAobR8U0c?start=3017&feature=oembed

What a nightmare.

Compare Ukraine 2019 to Ukraine 2013 (before revolution):

GDP per capita PPP:

$9233 (2018) vs. $8648 (2013)

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=UA-AM-GE-MN-AL&name_desc=false

GDP per capita nominal:

$3110 (2018) vs. $3160 (2013)

Given 3% growth in 2019, it will be higher.

Forex reserves:

$20 billion end of 2013, $23 billion currently

Debt to GDP ratio:

40% in 2013, 61% in 2018. Okay, this is worse. But it is a decline from 2016 when it was 81%.

Compare Ukraine's current 61% to Greece's 150%.

Military: from ~15,000 usable troops to 200,000.

Overall, not exactly a "suicide."

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
@AnonFromTN I usually refrain from labelling off-cycle changes in government as revolutions or coups – it clearly depends on one's views and can't be determined.

In general, when violence or military is involved, it is more likely it was a coup. If a country has a reasonably open election process, violently overthrowing the current government would also seem like a coup, since it is unnecessary. Ukraine had both violence and a coming election that was democratic. If Yanukovitch would prevent or manipulate the elections, one could make a case that at that point – after the election – the population could stage a ' revolution '.

AP is a simpleton who repeats badly thought out slogans and desperately tries to save some face for the Maidan fiasco – so we will not change his mind, his mind is done with changes, it is all about avoiding regrets even if it means living in a lie. One can almost feel sorry for him, if he wasn't so obnoxious.

Ukraine has destroyed its own future gradually after 1991, all the elites there failed, Yanukovitch was just the last in a long line of failures, the guy before him (Yushenko?) left office with a 5% approval. Why wasn't there a revolution against him? Maidan put a cherry on that rotting cake – a desperate scream of pain by people who had lost all hope and so blindly fell for cheap promises by the new-old hustlers.

We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay.

Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that.

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@AP You intentionally omitted the second part of what I wrote: 'a reasonably democratic elections', neither 18th century American colonies, nor Russia in 1917 or Romania in 1989, had them. Ukraine in 2014 did.

So all your belly-aching is for nothing. The talk about 'subverting' and doing a preventive 'revolution' on Maidan to prevent 'subversion' has a very Stalinist ring to it. If you start revolutionary violence because you claim to anticipate that something bad might happen, well, the sky is the limit and you have no rules.

You are desperately trying to justify a stupid and unworkable act. As we watch the unfolding disaster and millions leaving Ukraine, this "Maidan was great!!!" mantra will sound even more silly. But enjoy it, it is not Somalia, wow, I guess as long as a country is not Somalia it is ok. Ukraine is by far the poorest large country in Europe. How is that a success?

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@Beckow True believers are called that because they willfully ignore facts and logic. AP is a true believer Ukie. Ukie faith is their main undoing. Unfortunately, they are ruining the country with their insane dreams. But that cannot be helped now. The position of a large fraction of Ukrainian population is best described by a cruel American saying: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN You are right, it can't be helped. Another saying is that it takes two to lie: one who lies, and one to lie to. The receiver of lies is also responsible.

What happened in Ukraine was: Nuland&Co. went to Ukraine and lied to them about ' EU, 'Marshall plan', aid, 'you will be Western ', etc,,,'. Maidanistas swallowed it because they wanted to believe – it is easy to lie to desperate people. Making promises is very easy. US soft power is all based on making promises.

What Nuland&Co. really wanted was to create a deep Ukraine-Russia hostility and to grab Crimea, so they could get Russian Navy out and move Nato in. It didn't work very well, all we have is useless hostility, and a dysfunctional state. But as long as they serve espresso in Lviv, AP will scream that it was all worth it, 'no Somalia', it is 'all normal', almost as good as 2013 . Right.

Robjil , says: October 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
Ukraine is an overseas US territory.

It is not a foreign nation at all.

Trump dealt with one of our overseas territories.

Nuland said that US invested 5 billion dollars to get Ukraine.

She got Ukraine without balls that is Crimea. Russia took back the balls.

US cried, cried a Crimea river about this. They are still crying over this.

DESERT FOX , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Robjil Agree, and like Israel the Ukraine will be a welfare drain on the America taxpayers as long as Israel and the Ukraine exist.
Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
@AP I don't disagree with what you said, but my point was different:

lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians

Without the unnecessary hostility and the break in business relations with Russia the living standards in Ukraine would be higher. That, I think, noone would dispute. One can trace that directly to the so-far failed attempt to get Ukraine into Nato and Russia out of its Crimea bases. There has been a high cost for that policy, so it is appropriate to ask: why? did the authors of that policy think it through?

Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@AP I don't give a flying f k about Yanukovitch and your projections about what 'would be growth' under him. He was history by 2014 in any case.

One simple point that you don't seem to grasp: it was Yanuk who negotiated the association treaty with EU that inevitably meant Ukraine in Nato and Russia bases out of Crimea (after a decent interval). For anyone to call Yanuk a 'pro-Russian' is idiotic – what we see today are the results of Yanukovitch's policies. By the way, the first custom restrictions on Ukraine's exports to Russia happened in summer 2013 under Y.

If you still think that Yanukovitch was in spite of all of that somehow a 'Russian puppet', you must have a very low opinion of Kremlin skills in puppetry. He was not, he was fully onboard with the EU-Nato-Crimea policy – he implemented it until he got outflanked by even more radical forces on Maidan.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
@Beckow Well, exactly like all Ukrainian presidents before and after him, Yanuk was a thief. He might have been a more intelligent and/or more cautious thief that Porky, but a thief he was.

Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilled milk: history has no subjunctive mood. Ukraine has dug a hole for itself, and it still keeps digging, albeit slower, after a clown in whole socks replaced a clown in socks with holes. By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

There is no turning back. Regardless of Ukrainian policies, many things it used to sell Russia won't be bought any more: Russia developed its own shipbuilding (subcontracted some to South Korea), is making its own helicopter and ship engines, all stages of space rockets, etc. Russia won't return any military or high-tech production to Ukraine, ever. What's more, most Russians are now disgusted with Ukraine, which would impede improving relations even if Ukraine gets a sane government (which is extremely unlikely in the next 5 years).

Ukraine's situation is best described by Russian black humor saying: "what we fought for has befallen us". End of story.

Sergey Krieger , says: October 6, 2019 at 4:15 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev How many millions? It is same story. Ukraine claims more and more millions dead from so called Hilodomor when in Russia liberals have been screaming about 100 million deaths in russia from bolsheviks. Both are fairy tales. Now you better answer what is current population of ukraine. The last soviet time 1992 level was 52 million. I doubt you got even 40 million now. Under soviet power both ukraine and russia population were steadily growing. Now, under whose music you are dancing along with those in Russia that share your views when die off very real one is going right under your nose.
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:03 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

Have you noticed that the Republicans, while seeming to defend Trump, never challenge the specious assertion that delaying arms to Ukraine was a threat to US security? At first I thought this was oversight. Silly me. Keeping the New Cold War smoldering is more important to those hawks.

Tulsi Gabbard flipping to support the impeachment enquiry was especially disappointing. I'm guessing she was under lots of pressure, because she can't possibly believe that arming the Ukies is good for our security. If I could get to one of her events, I'd ask her direct, what's up with that. Obama didn't give them arms at all, even made some remarks about not inflaming the situation. (A small token, after his people managed the coup, spent 8 years demonizing Putin, and presided over origins of Russiagate to make Trump's [stated] goal of better relations impossible.)

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The ukrops are pureblooded nazis

Not really. Ukies are wonnabe Nazis, but they fall way short of their ideal. The original German Nazis were organized, capable, brave, sober, and mostly honest. Ukie scum is disorganized, ham-handed, cowardly, drunk (or under drugs), and corrupt to the core. They are heroes only against unarmed civilians, good only for theft, torture, and rape. When it comes to the real fight with armed opponents, they run away under various pretexts or surrender. Nazis should sue these impostors for defamation.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AP

So uprising by American colonists was a coup?

How about what happened in Russia in 1917?

Or Romania when Communism fell?

Talk about false equivalencies.

Yanukovych signed an internationally brokered power sharing agreement with his main rivals, who then violated it. Yanukovych up to that point was the democratically elected president of Ukraine.

Since his being violently overthrown, people have been unjustly jailed, beaten and killed for politically motivated reasons having to do with a stated opposition to the Euromaidan.

Yanukovych refrained from using from using considerably greater force, when compared to others if put in the same situation, against a mob element that included property damage and the deaths of law enforcement personnel.

In the technical legal sense, there was a legit basis to jail the likes of Tymoshenko. If I correctly recall Yushchenko offered testimony against Tymoshenko. Rather laughable that Poroshenko appointed the non-lawyer Lutsenko into a key legal position.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Beckow The undemocratic aspect involving Yanukovych's overthrow included the disproportionate number of Svoboda members appointed to key cabinet positions. At the time, Svoboda was on record for favoring the dissolution of Crimea's autonomous status
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:17 am GMT
@AP Grest comment #159 by Beckow. Really, I'm more concerned with the coup against POTUS that's happening right now, since before he took office. The Ukraine is pivotal, from the Kiev putschists collaborating with the DNC, to the CIA [pretend] whistleblowers who now subvert Trump's investigation of those crimes.

Tragic and pitiful, the Ukrainians jumped from a rock to a hard place. Used and abandoned by the Clinton-Soros gang, they appeal to the next abusive Sugar-Daddy. Isn't this FRANCE 24 report fairly objective?

Revisited: Five years on, what has Ukraine's Maidan Revolution achieved?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RtUrPKK73rE?feature=oembed

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:24 am GMT
@AP This from BBC is less current. (That magnificent bridge -the one the Ukies tried to sabotage- is now in operation, of course.) I'm just trying to use sources that might not trigger you.

Crimea: Three years after annexation – BBC News

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 3:55 am GMT
@AP Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@AP "Whenever people ask me how to figure out the truth about Ukraine, I always recommend they watch the film Ukraine on Fire by director @lopatonok and executive produced by @TheOliverStone. The sequel Revealing Ukraine will be out soon proud to be in it."
– Lee Sranahan (Follow @stranahan for Ukrainegate in depth.)
" .what has really changed in the life of Ukrainians?"

REVEALING UKRAINE OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER #1 (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Nj_bdtO0SI0

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
@Malacaay Baltics, Ukrainians and Poles were part of the Polish Kingdom from 1025-1569 and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1764.

This probably explains their differences with Russia.

Russia had this area in the Russian Empire from 1764-1917. Russia called this area the Pale of Settlement. Why? This Polish Kingdom since 1025 welcomed 25000 Jews in, who later grew to millions by the 19th century. They are the Ashkenazis who are all over the world these days. The name Pale was for Ashkenazis to stay in that area and not immigrate to the rest of Russia.

The reasoning for this was not religious prejudice but the way the Ashkenazis treated the peasants of the Pale. It was to protect the Russian peasants. This did not help after 1917. A huge invasion of Ashkenazis descended all over Russia to take up positions all over the Soviet Union.

Ukraine US is like the Pale again. It has a Jewish President and a Jewish Prime Minister.

Ukraine and Poland were both controlled by Tartars too. Ukraine longer than Russia. Russia ended the Tartar rule of Crimea in 1783. The Crimean Tartars lived off raiding Ukraine, Poland, and parts of Russia for Slav slaves. Russia ended this Slav slave trade in 1783.

[Oct 19, 2019] How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics? The short answer is NATO expansion

Notable quotes:
"... As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. ..."
"... The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones. ..."
"... Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US. ..."
"... We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay. ..."
"... Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that. ..."
Oct 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Dan Hayes says:

October 4, 2019 at 4:46 am GMT • 100 Words @Ron Unz Proprietor Ron,

Thanks for your sharing you views about Prof Cohen, a most interesting and principled man.

Only after reading the article did I realize that the UR (that's you) also provided the Batchelor Show podcast. Thanks.

I've been listening to these broadcasts over their entirety, now going on for six or so years. What's always struck me is Cohen's level-headeness and equanimity. I've also detected affection for Kentucky, his native state. Not something to be expected from a Princeton / NYU academic nor an Upper West Side resident.

And once again expressing appreciation for the UR!

Read More • Replies: @Mikhail Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments

sally , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:47 am GMT

How did the United States become so involved in Ukraine's torturous and famously corrupt politics?

The short answer is NATO expansion <= maybe something different? I like pocketbook expansion..
NATO Expansion provides cover and legalizes the private use of Presidential directed USA resources to enable a few to make massively big profits at the expense of the governed in the target area.

Behind NATO lies the reason for Bexit, the Yellow Jackets, the unrest in Iraq and Egypt, Yemen etc.

Hypothesis 1: NATO supporters are more corrupt than Ukraine officials.
Hypothesis 2: NATO expansion is a euphemism for USA/EU/ backed private party plunder to follow invade and destroy regime change activities designed to dispossess local Oligarchs of the wealth in NATO targeted nations? Private use of public force for private gain comes to mind.

I think [private use of public force for private gain] is what Trump meant when Trump said to impeach Trump for investigating the Ukraine matter amounts to Treason.. but it is the exactly the activity type that Hallmarks CIA instigated regime change.

A lot of intelligence agency manipulation and private pocketbook expanding corruption can be hidden behind NATO expansion.. Please prove to me that Biden and the hundreds of other plunders became so deeply involved in Ukraine because of NATO expansion?

Beckow , says: October 4, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT
The key question is what is the gain in separating Ukraine from Russia, adding it to NATO, and turning Russia and Ukraine into enemies. And what are the most likely results, e.g. can it ever work without risking a catastrophic event?

There are the usual empire-building and weapons business reasons, but those should function within a rational framework. As it is right now, the most likely outcome of the Western initiative in Ukraine will be substantially lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians. And an increase in tensions in the region with inevitable impact on the business there. So what exactly is the gain and for whom?

eah , says: October 4, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
The Washington-led attempt to fast-track Ukraine into NATO in 2013–14 resulted in the Maidan crisis, the overthrow of the country's constitutionally elected president Viktor Yanukovych, and to the still ongoing proxy civil war in Donbass.

Which exemplifies the stupidity and arrogance of the American military/industrial/political Establishment -- none of that had anything to do with US national security (least of all antagonizing Russia) -- how fucking hypocritical is it to presume the Monroe Doctrine, and then try to get the Ukraine into NATO? -- none of it would have been of any benefit whatsoever to the average American.

Roberto Masioni , says: October 4, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
According to a recent govt study, only 12% of Americans can read above a 9th grade level. This effectively mean (((whoever))) controls the MSM controls the world. NOTHING will change for the better while the (((enemy))) owns our money supply.
Pamela , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
There was NO "annexation" of Crimea by Russia. Crimea WAS annexed, but by Ukraine.
Russia and Crimea re-unified. Crimea has been part of Russia for long than America has existed – since it was taken from the Ottoman Empire over 350 yrs ago. The vast majority of the people identify as Russian, and speak only Russian.

To annex, the verb, means to use armed force to seize sovereign territory and put it under the control of the invading forces government. Pretty much as the early Americans did to Northern Mexico, Hawaii, etc. Russia used no force, the Governors of Crimea applied for re-unification with Russia, Russia advised a referendum, which was held, and with a 96% turnout, 97% voted for re-unification. This was done formally and legally, conforming with all the international mandates.

It is very damaging for anyone to say that Russia "annexed" Crimea, because when people read, quickly moving past the world, they subliminally match the word to their held perception of the concept and move on. Thus they match the word "annex" to their conception of the use of Armed Force against a resistant population, without checking.

All Cohen is doing here is reinforcing the pushed, lying Empire narrative, that Russia invaded and used force, when the exact opposite is true!!

follyofwar , says: October 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer One wonders if Mr. Putin, as he puts his head on the pillow at night, fancies that he should have rolled the Russian tanks into Kiev, right after the 2014 US-financed coup of Ukraine's elected president, which was accomplished while he was pre-occupied with the Sochi Olympics, and been done with it. He had every justification to do so, but perhaps feared Western blowback. Well, the blowback happened anyway, so maybe Putin was too cautious.

The new Trump Admin threw him under the bus when it installed the idiot Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, whose first words were that Russia must give Crimea back. With its only major warm water port located at Sevastopol, that wasn't about to happen, and the US Deep State knew it.

Given how he has been so unfairly treated by the media, and never given a chance to enact his Russian agenda, anyone who thinks that Trump was 'selected' by the deep state has rocks for brains. The other night, on Rick Sanchez's RT America show, former US diplomat, and frequent guest Jim Jatras said that he would not be too surprised if 20 GOP Senators flipped and voted to convict Trump if the House votes to impeach.

The deep state can't abide four more years of the bombastic, Twitter-obsessed Trump, hence this Special Ops Ukraine false flag, designed to fool a majority of the people. The smooth talking, more warlike Pence is one of them. The night of the long knives is approaching.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
The US actions in Ukraine are typical, not exceptional. Acting as an Empire, the US always installs the worst possible scum in power in its vassals, particularly in newly acquired ones.

The "logic" of the Dem party is remarkable. Dems don't even deny that Biden is corrupt, that he blatantly abused the office of Vice-President for personal gain. What's more, he was dumb enough to boast about it publicly. Therefore, let's impeach Trump.

These people don't give a hoot about the interests of the US as a country, or even as an Empire. Their insatiable greed for money and power blinds them to everything. By rights, those who orchestrated totally fake Russiagate and now push for impeachment, when Russiagate flopped miserably, should be hanged on lampposts for high treason. Unfortunately, justice won't be served. So, we have to be satisfied with an almost assured prospect of this impeachment thing to flop, just like Russiagate before it. But in the process incalculable damage will be done to our country and its institutions.

AnonFromTN , says: October 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Pamela In fact, several Western sources reluctantly confirmed the results of Crimean referendum of 2014:
German polling company GFK
http://www.gfk.com/ua/Documents/Presentations/GFK_report_FreeCrimea.pdf
Gallup
http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2014/06/Ukraine-slide-deck.pdf

Those who support the separation of Kosovo from Serbia without Serbian consent cannot argue against separation of Crimea from Ukraine without the consent of Kiev regime.

On the other hand, those who believe that post-WWII borders are sacrosanct have to acknowledge that Crimea belongs to Russia (illegally even by loose Soviet standards transferred to Ukraine by Khrushchev in 1956), Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Soviet Union should be restored, and Germany should be re-divided.

Alden , says: October 4, 2019 at 5:35 pm GMT
At least now I know why Ukraine is so essential to American national security. It's so even more of my and my families' taxes can pay for a massive expansion of Nato, which means American military bases in Ukraine. Greenland to the borders of China.

We're encircling the earth, like those old cartoons about bankers.

chris , says: October 4, 2019 at 9:11 pm GMT
@Ron Unz I had to stop listening after the 10th min. where the good professor (without any push-back from the interviewer) says:

Victor Yanukovich was overthrown by a street coup . at that moment, the United States and not only the United States but the Western European Governments had to make a decision would they acknowledge the overthrow of Yannukovic as having been legitimate, and therefore accept whatever government emerged, and that was a fateful moment within 24hours, the governments, including the government of president Obama endorsed what was essentially a coup d'etat against Yanukovich.

Has the good Professor so quickly forgotten about Victoria Nuland distributing cookies with John McCain in the Maidan as the coup was still unfolding? Her claim at the think tank in DC where she discusses having spent $30million (if I remember correctly) for foisting the Ukraine coup ?

Has he forgotten the historical conversation of Nuland and Payatt picking the next president of Ukraine "Yats is our guy" and "Yats" actually emerging as the president a week later ? None of these facts are in any way remotely compatible with passive role professor Cohen ascribes to the US.

These are not simple omissions but willful acts of misleading of fools. The good professor's little discussed career as a resource for the secret services has reemerged after seemingly having been left out in the cold during the 1st attempted coup against Trump.

No, the real story is more than just a little NATO expansion as the professor does suggest, but more directly, the attempted coup that the US is still trying to stage in Russia itself, in order to regain control of Russia's vast energy resources which Putin forced the oligarchs to disgorge. The US desperately wants to achieve this in order to be able to ultimately also control China's access to those resources as well.

In the way that Iraq was supposed to be a staging post for an attack on Iran, Ukraine is the staging post for an attack on Russia.

The great Russian expert stirred miles very clear of even hinting at such scenarios, even though anyone who's thought about US world policies will easily arrive at this logical conclusion.

Anonymous [855] • Disclaimer , says: October 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
What about the theft of Ukraine's farmland and the enserfing of its rural population? Isn't this theft and enserfing of Ukrainians at least one major reason the US government got involved, overseeing the transfer of this land into the hands of the transnational banking crime syndicate? The Ukraine, with its rich, black soil, used to be called the breadbasket of Europe.

Consider the fanatical intervention on the part of Victoria Nuland and the Kagans under the guise of working for the State Dept to facilitate the theft. In a similar fashion, according to Wayne Madsen, the State Dept. has a Dept of Foreign Asset Management, or some similar name, that exists to protect the Chabad stranglehold on the world diamond trade, and, according to Madsen, the language spoken and posters around the offices are in Hebrew, which as a practical matter might as well be the case at the State Dept itself.

According to an article a few years ago at Oakland Institute, George Rohr's NCH Capital, which latter organization has funded over 100 Chabad Houses on US campuses, owns over 1 million acres of Ukraine farmland. Other ownership interests of similarly vast tracts of Ukraine farmland show a similar pattern of predation. At one point, it was suggested that the Yinon Plan should be understood to include the Ukraine as the newly acquired breadbasket of Eretz Israel. It may also be worth pointing out that now kosher Ivy League schools' endowments are among the worst pillagers of native farmland and enserfers of the indigenous populations they claim to protect.

AnonFromTN , says: October 5, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mikhail Well, if we really go into it, things become complicated. What Khmelnitsky united with Russia was maybe 1/6th or 1/8th of current Ukraine. Huge (4-5 times greater) areas in the North and West were added by Russian Tsars, almost as great areas in the South and East taken by Tsars from Turkey and affiliated Crimean Khanate were added by Lenin, a big chunk in the West was added by Stalin, and then in 1956 moron Khrushchev "gifted" Crimea (which he had no right to do even by Soviet law). So, about 4/6th of "Ukraine" is Southern Russia, 1/6th is Eastern Poland, some chunks are Hungary and Romania, and the remaining little stub is Ukraine proper.
AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@anon American view always was: "yes, he is a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch". That historically applied to many obnoxious regimes, now fully applies to Ukraine. In that Dems and Reps always were essentially identical, revealing that they are two different puppets run by the same puppet master.

Trump is hardly very intelligent, but he has some street smarts that degenerate elites have lost. Hence their hatred of him. It is particularly galling for the elites that Trump won in 2016, and has every chance of winning again in 2020 (unless they decide to murder him, like JFK; but that would be a real giveaway, even the dumbest sheeple would smell the rat).

Skeptikal , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm GMT
@follyofwar The only reason I can imagine that Putin/Russia would want to "take over" Ukraine and have this political problem child back in the family might be because of Ukraine's black soil.

But it is probably not worth the aggravation.

Russia is building up its agricultural sector via major greenhouse installations and other innovations.

Beckow , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT
@AP Well, you are a true simpleton who repeats shallow conventional views. You don't ever seem to think deeper about what you write, e.g. if Yanukovitch could beat anyone in a 1-on-1 election than he obviously wasn't that unpopular and that makes Maidan illegal by any standard. You say he could beat Tiahnybok, who was one of the leaders of Maidan, how was then Maidan democratic? Or you don't care for democracy if people vote against your preferences?

Trade with Russia is way down and it is not coming back. That is my point – there was definitely a way to do this better. It wasn't a choice of 'one or the other' – actually EU was under the impression that Ukraine would help open up the Russian market. Your either-or wasn't the plan, so did Kiev lie to EU? No wonder Ukraine has a snowball chance in hell of joining EU.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Skeptikal Russia moved to the first place in the world in wheat exports, while greatly increasing its production of meat, fowl, and fish. Those who supplied these commodities lost Russian market for good. In fact, with sanctions, food in Russia got a lot better, and food in Moscow got immeasurably better: now it's local staff instead of crap shipped from half-a-world away. Funny thing is, Russian production of really good fancy cheeses has soared (partially with the help of French and Italian producers who moved in to avoid any stupid sanctions).

So, there is no reason for Russia to take Ukraine on any conditions, especially considering Ukraine's exorbitant external debt. If one calculates European demand for transplantation kidneys and prostitutes, two of the most successful Ukrainian exports, Ukraine will pay off its debt – never. Besides, the majority of Russians learned to despise Ukraine due to its subservient vassalage to the US (confirmed yet again by the transcript of the conversation between Trump and Ze), so the emotional factor is also virtually gone. Now the EU and the US face the standard rule of retail: you broke it, you own it. That infuriates Americans and EU bureaucrats more than anything.

annamaria , says: October 6, 2019 at 8:10 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger "Demography statistic won't support fairy tales by solzhenicin and his kind."

-- What's your point? Your post reads like an attempt at saying that Kaganovitch was white like snow and that it does not matter what crimes were committed in the Soviet Union because of the "demography statistic" and because you, Sergey Krieger, are a grander person next to Solzhenitsyn and "his kind." By the way, had not A. I. S. returned to Russia, away from the coziness of western life?

S.K.: "You should start research onto mass dying of population after 1991 and subsequent and ongoing demographic catastroph in Russia under current not as "brutal " as soviet regime."

-- If you wish: "The Rape of Russia: Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the Committee on Banking and Financial Services of the United States House of Representatives, September 21, 1999:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/Harvard_mafia/testimony_of_anne_williamson_before_the_house_banking_committee.shtml

"Economic rape of post-USSR economic space was by design not by accident:"
http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#Economic_rape_of_post_USSR_economic_space_was_by_design_not_by_accident

"MI6 role in economic rape of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet republics:" http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Pseudoscience/harvard_mafia.shtml#MI6_role_

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 11:39 pm GMT
@AP Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) and lots of other laws. And that's not the worst part of it. But it already happened, there is no going back for Ukraine. It's a "yes or no" thing, you can't be a little bit pregnant. We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide. Some say this project was doomed from the start. I think Ukraine had a chance and blew it.
AP , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:39 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

Maidan was an illegal coup that violated Ukrainian constitution (I should say all of them, there were too many) a

Illegal revolution (are there any legal ones? – was American one legal?) rather than coup. Violations of Constitution began under Yanukovich.

We can either commiserate with Ukraine or gloat, but it committed suicide.

LOL. Were you the one comparing it to Somalia?

Here is "dead" Ukraine:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DDWAobR8U0c?start=3017&feature=oembed

What a nightmare.

Compare Ukraine 2019 to Ukraine 2013 (before revolution):

GDP per capita PPP:

$9233 (2018) vs. $8648 (2013)

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=UA-AM-GE-MN-AL&name_desc=false

GDP per capita nominal:

$3110 (2018) vs. $3160 (2013)

Given 3% growth in 2019, it will be higher.

Forex reserves:

$20 billion end of 2013, $23 billion currently

Debt to GDP ratio:

40% in 2013, 61% in 2018. Okay, this is worse. But it is a decline from 2016 when it was 81%.

Compare Ukraine's current 61% to Greece's 150%.

Military: from ~15,000 usable troops to 200,000.

Overall, not exactly a "suicide."

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT
@AnonFromTN I usually refrain from labelling off-cycle changes in government as revolutions or coups – it clearly depends on one's views and can't be determined.

In general, when violence or military is involved, it is more likely it was a coup. If a country has a reasonably open election process, violently overthrowing the current government would also seem like a coup, since it is unnecessary. Ukraine had both violence and a coming election that was democratic. If Yanukovitch would prevent or manipulate the elections, one could make a case that at that point – after the election – the population could stage a ' revolution '.

AP is a simpleton who repeats badly thought out slogans and desperately tries to save some face for the Maidan fiasco – so we will not change his mind, his mind is done with changes, it is all about avoiding regrets even if it means living in a lie. One can almost feel sorry for him, if he wasn't so obnoxious.

Ukraine has destroyed its own future gradually after 1991, all the elites there failed, Yanukovitch was just the last in a long line of failures, the guy before him (Yushenko?) left office with a 5% approval. Why wasn't there a revolution against him? Maidan put a cherry on that rotting cake – a desperate scream of pain by people who had lost all hope and so blindly fell for cheap promises by the new-old hustlers.

We don't know what happens next, but we know the following: Ukraine will not be in EU, or Nato. It will not be a unified, prosperous country. It will continue losing a large part of its population. And oligarchy and 'corruption' is going to stay.

Another Maidan would most likely make things even worse and trigger a complete disintegration. Those are the wages of stupidity and desperation – one can see an individual example with AP, but they all seem like that.

Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@AP You intentionally omitted the second part of what I wrote: 'a reasonably democratic elections', neither 18th century American colonies, nor Russia in 1917 or Romania in 1989, had them. Ukraine in 2014 did.

So all your belly-aching is for nothing. The talk about 'subverting' and doing a preventive 'revolution' on Maidan to prevent 'subversion' has a very Stalinist ring to it. If you start revolutionary violence because you claim to anticipate that something bad might happen, well, the sky is the limit and you have no rules.

You are desperately trying to justify a stupid and unworkable act. As we watch the unfolding disaster and millions leaving Ukraine, this "Maidan was great!!!" mantra will sound even more silly. But enjoy it, it is not Somalia, wow, I guess as long as a country is not Somalia it is ok. Ukraine is by far the poorest large country in Europe. How is that a success?

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@Beckow True believers are called that because they willfully ignore facts and logic. AP is a true believer Ukie. Ukie faith is their main undoing. Unfortunately, they are ruining the country with their insane dreams. But that cannot be helped now. The position of a large fraction of Ukrainian population is best described by a cruel American saying: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
Beckow , says: October 7, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN You are right, it can't be helped. Another saying is that it takes two to lie: one who lies, and one to lie to. The receiver of lies is also responsible.

What happened in Ukraine was: Nuland&Co. went to Ukraine and lied to them about ' EU, 'Marshall plan', aid, 'you will be Western ', etc,,,'. Maidanistas swallowed it because they wanted to believe – it is easy to lie to desperate people. Making promises is very easy. US soft power is all based on making promises.

What Nuland&Co. really wanted was to create a deep Ukraine-Russia hostility and to grab Crimea, so they could get Russian Navy out and move Nato in. It didn't work very well, all we have is useless hostility, and a dysfunctional state. But as long as they serve espresso in Lviv, AP will scream that it was all worth it, 'no Somalia', it is 'all normal', almost as good as 2013 . Right.

Robjil , says: October 5, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
Ukraine is an overseas US territory.

It is not a foreign nation at all.

Trump dealt with one of our overseas territories.

Nuland said that US invested 5 billion dollars to get Ukraine.

She got Ukraine without balls that is Crimea. Russia took back the balls.

US cried, cried a Crimea river about this. They are still crying over this.

DESERT FOX , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:53 pm GMT
@Robjil Agree, and like Israel the Ukraine will be a welfare drain on the America taxpayers as long as Israel and the Ukraine exist.
Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 6:54 pm GMT
@AP I don't disagree with what you said, but my point was different:

lower living standards than there would be otherwise for most Ukrainians

Without the unnecessary hostility and the break in business relations with Russia the living standards in Ukraine would be higher. That, I think, noone would dispute. One can trace that directly to the so-far failed attempt to get Ukraine into Nato and Russia out of its Crimea bases. There has been a high cost for that policy, so it is appropriate to ask: why? did the authors of that policy think it through?

Beckow , says: October 5, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@AP I don't give a flying f k about Yanukovitch and your projections about what 'would be growth' under him. He was history by 2014 in any case.

One simple point that you don't seem to grasp: it was Yanuk who negotiated the association treaty with EU that inevitably meant Ukraine in Nato and Russia bases out of Crimea (after a decent interval). For anyone to call Yanuk a 'pro-Russian' is idiotic – what we see today are the results of Yanukovitch's policies. By the way, the first custom restrictions on Ukraine's exports to Russia happened in summer 2013 under Y.

If you still think that Yanukovitch was in spite of all of that somehow a 'Russian puppet', you must have a very low opinion of Kremlin skills in puppetry. He was not, he was fully onboard with the EU-Nato-Crimea policy – he implemented it until he got outflanked by even more radical forces on Maidan.

AnonFromTN , says: October 6, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
@Beckow Well, exactly like all Ukrainian presidents before and after him, Yanuk was a thief. He might have been a more intelligent and/or more cautious thief that Porky, but a thief he was.

Anyway, there is no point in crying over spilled milk: history has no subjunctive mood. Ukraine has dug a hole for itself, and it still keeps digging, albeit slower, after a clown in whole socks replaced a clown in socks with holes. By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

There is no turning back. Regardless of Ukrainian policies, many things it used to sell Russia won't be bought any more: Russia developed its own shipbuilding (subcontracted some to South Korea), is making its own helicopter and ship engines, all stages of space rockets, etc. Russia won't return any military or high-tech production to Ukraine, ever. What's more, most Russians are now disgusted with Ukraine, which would impede improving relations even if Ukraine gets a sane government (which is extremely unlikely in the next 5 years).

Ukraine's situation is best described by Russian black humor saying: "what we fought for has befallen us". End of story.

Sergey Krieger , says: October 6, 2019 at 4:15 am GMT
@Peter Akuleyev How many millions? It is same story. Ukraine claims more and more millions dead from so called Hilodomor when in Russia liberals have been screaming about 100 million deaths in russia from bolsheviks. Both are fairy tales. Now you better answer what is current population of ukraine. The last soviet time 1992 level was 52 million. I doubt you got even 40 million now. Under soviet power both ukraine and russia population were steadily growing. Now, under whose music you are dancing along with those in Russia that share your views when die off very real one is going right under your nose.
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 6, 2019 at 7:03 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

By now this new clown is also a murderer, as he did not stop shelling Donbass, although so far he has committed fewer crimes than Porky.

Have you noticed that the Republicans, while seeming to defend Trump, never challenge the specious assertion that delaying arms to Ukraine was a threat to US security? At first I thought this was oversight. Silly me. Keeping the New Cold War smoldering is more important to those hawks.

Tulsi Gabbard flipping to support the impeachment enquiry was especially disappointing. I'm guessing she was under lots of pressure, because she can't possibly believe that arming the Ukies is good for our security. If I could get to one of her events, I'd ask her direct, what's up with that. Obama didn't give them arms at all, even made some remarks about not inflaming the situation. (A small token, after his people managed the coup, spent 8 years demonizing Putin, and presided over origins of Russiagate to make Trump's [stated] goal of better relations impossible.)

AnonFromTN , says: October 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The ukrops are pureblooded nazis

Not really. Ukies are wonnabe Nazis, but they fall way short of their ideal. The original German Nazis were organized, capable, brave, sober, and mostly honest. Ukie scum is disorganized, ham-handed, cowardly, drunk (or under drugs), and corrupt to the core. They are heroes only against unarmed civilians, good only for theft, torture, and rape. When it comes to the real fight with armed opponents, they run away under various pretexts or surrender. Nazis should sue these impostors for defamation.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AP

So uprising by American colonists was a coup?

How about what happened in Russia in 1917?

Or Romania when Communism fell?

Talk about false equivalencies.

Yanukovych signed an internationally brokered power sharing agreement with his main rivals, who then violated it. Yanukovych up to that point was the democratically elected president of Ukraine.

Since his being violently overthrown, people have been unjustly jailed, beaten and killed for politically motivated reasons having to do with a stated opposition to the Euromaidan.

Yanukovych refrained from using from using considerably greater force, when compared to others if put in the same situation, against a mob element that included property damage and the deaths of law enforcement personnel.

In the technical legal sense, there was a legit basis to jail the likes of Tymoshenko. If I correctly recall Yushchenko offered testimony against Tymoshenko. Rather laughable that Poroshenko appointed the non-lawyer Lutsenko into a key legal position.

Mikhail , says: • Website October 7, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Beckow The undemocratic aspect involving Yanukovych's overthrow included the disproportionate number of Svoboda members appointed to key cabinet positions. At the time, Svoboda was on record for favoring the dissolution of Crimea's autonomous status
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:17 am GMT
@AP Grest comment #159 by Beckow. Really, I'm more concerned with the coup against POTUS that's happening right now, since before he took office. The Ukraine is pivotal, from the Kiev putschists collaborating with the DNC, to the CIA [pretend] whistleblowers who now subvert Trump's investigation of those crimes.

Tragic and pitiful, the Ukrainians jumped from a rock to a hard place. Used and abandoned by the Clinton-Soros gang, they appeal to the next abusive Sugar-Daddy. Isn't this FRANCE 24 report fairly objective?

Revisited: Five years on, what has Ukraine's Maidan Revolution achieved?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RtUrPKK73rE?feature=oembed

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 2:24 am GMT
@AP This from BBC is less current. (That magnificent bridge -the one the Ukies tried to sabotage- is now in operation, of course.) I'm just trying to use sources that might not trigger you.

Crimea: Three years after annexation – BBC News

anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 3:55 am GMT
@AP Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire
Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
anon [113] • Disclaimer , says: October 8, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@AP "Whenever people ask me how to figure out the truth about Ukraine, I always recommend they watch the film Ukraine on Fire by director @lopatonok and executive produced by @TheOliverStone. The sequel Revealing Ukraine will be out soon proud to be in it."
– Lee Sranahan (Follow @stranahan for Ukrainegate in depth.)
" .what has really changed in the life of Ukrainians?"

REVEALING UKRAINE OFFICIAL TEASER TRAILER #1 (2019)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=Nj_bdtO0SI0

Robjil , says: October 15, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
@Malacaay Baltics, Ukrainians and Poles were part of the Polish Kingdom from 1025-1569 and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1569-1764.

This probably explains their differences with Russia.

Russia had this area in the Russian Empire from 1764-1917. Russia called this area the Pale of Settlement. Why? This Polish Kingdom since 1025 welcomed 25000 Jews in, who later grew to millions by the 19th century. They are the Ashkenazis who are all over the world these days. The name Pale was for Ashkenazis to stay in that area and not immigrate to the rest of Russia.

The reasoning for this was not religious prejudice but the way the Ashkenazis treated the peasants of the Pale. It was to protect the Russian peasants. This did not help after 1917. A huge invasion of Ashkenazis descended all over Russia to take up positions all over the Soviet Union.

Ukraine US is like the Pale again. It has a Jewish President and a Jewish Prime Minister.

Ukraine and Poland were both controlled by Tartars too. Ukraine longer than Russia. Russia ended the Tartar rule of Crimea in 1783. The Crimean Tartars lived off raiding Ukraine, Poland, and parts of Russia for Slav slaves. Russia ended this Slav slave trade in 1783.

[Oct 19, 2019] Precious! After all those years Ukraine tried to force Gazprom to prolong transportation contracts, including in western Courts, now it is EUROCOMMISSION that plays their 3rd Energy Package card, but how!

Oct 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Arioch , says: October 9, 2019 at 4:21 pm GMT

(RUS) http://geoenergetics.ru/2019/10/08/ukrainskij-gazovyj-tranzit-ostavsheesya-okno-vozmozhnostej/

Precious! After all those years Ukraine tried to force Gazprom to prolong transportation contracts, including in western Courts, now it is EUROCOMMISSION that plays their 3rd Energy Package card, but how!

After Zelensky so daringly kissed up to Trump and talk dirt about Merkel and Macron – EC says the prolongation of Gazprom-NaftaGaz contract is "not legally possible" and that Ukraine has to kill and "unbundle" NaftaGaz, and when they done – only then the new pipes-only company would be free to try negotiate a new unrelated contract for gas transportation.

The Holy Grail of Ukrainian foreign economics is dead, backstabbed by EU.
What a fine present to President Ze :-DDDD

[Oct 08, 2019] Southwest Pilots Blast Boeing in Suit for Deception and Losses from -Unsafe, Unairworthy- 737 Max -

Notable quotes:
"... The lawsuit also aggressively contests Boeing's spin that competent pilots could have prevented the Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crashes: ..."
"... When asked why Boeing did not alert pilots to the existence of the MCAS, Boeing responded that the company decided against disclosing more details due to concerns about "inundate[ing] average pilots with too much information -- and significantly more technical data -- than [they] needed or could realistically digest." ..."
"... The filing has a detailed explanation of why the addition of heavier, bigger LEAP1-B engines to the 737 airframe made the plane less stable, changed how it handled, and increased the risk of catastrophic stall. It also describes at length how Boeing ignored warning signs during the design and development process, and misrepresented the 737 Max as essentially the same as older 737s to the FAA, potential buyers, and pilots. It also has juicy bits presented in earlier media accounts but bear repeating, like: ..."
"... Then, on November 7, 2018, the FAA issued an "Emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51," warning that an unsafe condition likely could exist or develop on 737 MAX aircraft. ..."
"... Moreover, unlike runaway stabilizer, MCAS disables the control column response that 737 pilots have grown accustomed to and relied upon in earlier generations of 737 aircraft. ..."
"... And making the point that to turn off MCAS all you had to do was flip two switches behind everything else on the center condole. Not exactly true, normally those switches were there to shut off power to electrically assisted trim. Ah, it one thing to shut off MCAS it's a whole other thing to shut off power to the planes trim, especially in high speed ✓ and the plane noise up ✓, and not much altitude ✓. ..."
"... Classic addiction behavior. Boeing has a major behavioral problem, the repetitive need for and irrational insistence on profit above safety all else , that is glaringly obvious to everyone except Boeing. ..."
"... In fact, Boeing 737 Chief Technical Pilot, Mark Forkner asked the FAA to delete any mention of MCAS from the pilot manual so as to further hide its existence from the public and pilots " ..."
"... This "MCAS" was always hidden from pilots? The military implemented checks on MCAS to maintain a level of pilot control. The commercial airlines did not. Commercial airlines were in thrall of every little feature that they felt would eliminate the need for pilots at all. Fell right into the automation crapification of everything. ..."
Oct 08, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

At first blush, the suit filed in Dallas by the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SwAPA) against Boeing may seem like a family feud. SWAPA is seeking an estimated $115 million for lost pilots' pay as a result of the grounding of the 34 Boeing 737 Max planes that Southwest owns and the additional 20 that Southwest had planned to add to its fleet by year end 2019. Recall that Southwest was the largest buyer of the 737 Max, followed by American Airlines. However, the damning accusations made by the pilots' union, meaning, erm, pilots, is likely to cause Boeing not just more public relations headaches, but will also give grist to suits by crash victims.

However, one reason that the Max is a sore point with the union was that it was a key leverage point in 2016 contract negotiations:

And Boeing's assurances that the 737 Max was for all practical purposes just a newer 737 factored into the pilots' bargaining stance. Accordingly, one of the causes of action is tortious interference, that Boeing interfered in the contract negotiations to the benefit of Southwest. The filing describes at length how Boeing and Southwest were highly motivated not to have the contract dispute drag on and set back the launch of the 737 Max at Southwest, its showcase buyer. The big point that the suit makes is the plane was unsafe and the pilots never would have agreed to fly it had they known what they know now.

We've embedded the compliant at the end of the post. It's colorful and does a fine job of recapping the sorry history of the development of the airplane. It has damning passages like:

Boeing concealed the fact that the 737 MAX aircraft was not airworthy because, inter alia, it incorporated a single-point failure condition -- a software/flight control logic called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System ("MCAS") -- that,if fed erroneous data from a single angle-of-attack sensor, would command the aircraft nose-down and into an unrecoverable dive without pilot input or knowledge.

The lawsuit also aggressively contests Boeing's spin that competent pilots could have prevented the Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crashes:

Had SWAPA known the truth about the 737 MAX aircraft in 2016, it never would have approved the inclusion of the 737 MAX aircraft as a term in its CBA [collective bargaining agreement], and agreed to operate the aircraft for Southwest. Worse still, had SWAPA known the truth about the 737 MAX aircraft, it would have demanded that Boeing rectify the aircraft's fatal flaws before agreeing to include the aircraft in its CBA, and to provide its pilots, and all pilots, with the necessary information and training needed to respond to the circumstances that the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 pilots encountered nearly three years later.

And (boldface original):

Boeing Set SWAPA Pilots Up to Fail

As SWAPA President Jon Weaks, publicly stated, SWAPA pilots "were kept in the dark" by Boeing.

Boeing did not tell SWAPA pilots that MCAS existed and there was no description or mention of MCAS in the Boeing Flight Crew Operations Manual.

There was therefore no way for commercial airline pilots, including SWAPA pilots, to know that MCAS would work in the background to override pilot inputs.

There was no way for them to know that MCAS drew on only one of two angle of attack sensors on the aircraft.

And there was no way for them to know of the terrifying consequences that would follow from a malfunction.

When asked why Boeing did not alert pilots to the existence of the MCAS, Boeing responded that the company decided against disclosing more details due to concerns about "inundate[ing] average pilots with too much information -- and significantly more technical data -- than [they] needed or could realistically digest."

SWAPA's pilots, like their counterparts all over the world, were set up for failure

The filing has a detailed explanation of why the addition of heavier, bigger LEAP1-B engines to the 737 airframe made the plane less stable, changed how it handled, and increased the risk of catastrophic stall. It also describes at length how Boeing ignored warning signs during the design and development process, and misrepresented the 737 Max as essentially the same as older 737s to the FAA, potential buyers, and pilots. It also has juicy bits presented in earlier media accounts but bear repeating, like:

By March 2016, Boeing settled on a revision of the MCAS flight control logic.

However, Boeing chose to omit key safeguards that had previously been included in earlier iterations of MCAS used on the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus, a military tanker derivative of the Boeing 767 aircraft.

The engineers who created MCAS for the military tanker designed the system to rely on inputs from multiple sensors and with limited power to move the tanker's nose. These deliberate checks sought to ensure that the system could not act erroneously or cause a pilot to lose control. Those familiar with the tanker's design explained that these checks were incorporated because "[y]ou don't want the solution to be worse than the initial problem."

The 737 MAX version of MCAS abandoned the safeguards previously relied upon. As discussed below, the 737 MAX MCAS had greater control authority than its predecessor, activated repeatedly upon activation, and relied on input from just one of the plane's two sensors that measure the angle of the plane's nose.

In other words, Boeing can't credibly say that it didn't know better.

Here is one of the sections describing Boeing's cover-ups:

Yet Boeing's website, press releases, annual reports, public statements and statements to operators and customers, submissions to the FAA and other civil aviation authorities, and 737 MAX flight manuals made no mention of the increased stall hazard or MCAS itself.

In fact, Boeing 737 Chief Technical Pilot, Mark Forkner asked the FAA to delete any mention of MCAS from the pilot manual so as to further hide its existence from the public and pilots.

We urge you to read the complaint in full, since it contains juicy insider details, like the significance of Southwest being Boeing's 737 Max "launch partner" and what that entailed in practice, plus recounting dates and names of Boeing personnel who met with SWAPA pilots and made misrepresentations about the aircraft.

If you are time-pressed, the best MSM account is from the Seattle Times, In scathing lawsuit, Southwest pilots' union says Boeing 737 MAX was unsafe

Even though Southwest Airlines is negotiating a settlement with Boeing over losses resulting from the grounding of the 737 Max and the airline has promised to compensate the pilots, the pilots' union at a minimum apparently feels the need to put the heat on Boeing directly. After all, the union could withdraw the complaint if Southwest were to offer satisfactory compensation for the pilots' lost income. And pilots have incentives not to raise safety concerns about the planes they fly. Don't want to spook the horses, after all.

But Southwest pilots are not only the ones most harmed by Boeing's debacle but they are arguably less exposed to the downside of bad press about the 737 Max. It's business fliers who are most sensitive to the risks of the 737 Max, due to seeing the story regularly covered in the business press plus due to often being road warriors. Even though corporate customers account for only 12% of airline customers, they represent an estimated 75% of profits.

Southwest customers don't pay up for front of the bus seats. And many of them presumably value the combination of cheap travel, point to point routes between cities underserved by the majors, and close-in airports, which cut travel times. In other words, that combination of features will make it hard for business travelers who use Southwest regularly to give the airline up, even if the 737 Max gives them the willies. By contrast, premium seat passengers on American or United might find it not all that costly, in terms of convenience and ticket cost (if they are budget sensitive), to fly 737-Max-free Delta until those passengers regain confidence in the grounded plane.

Note that American Airlines' pilot union, when asked about the Southwest claim, said that it also believes its pilots deserve to be compensated for lost flying time, but they plan to obtain it through American Airlines.

If Boeing were smart, it would settle this suit quickly, but so far, Boeing has relied on bluster and denial. So your guess is as good as mine as to how long the legal arm-wrestling goes on.

Update 5:30 AM EDT : One important point that I neglected to include is that the filing also recounts, in gory detail, how Boeing went into "Blame the pilots" mode after the Lion Air crash, insisting the cause was pilot error and would therefore not happen again. Boeing made that claim on a call to all operators, including SWAPA, and then three days later in a meeting with SWAPA.

However, Boeing's actions were inconsistent with this claim. From the filing:

Then, on November 7, 2018, the FAA issued an "Emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2018-23-51," warning that an unsafe condition likely could exist or develop on 737 MAX aircraft.

Relying on Boeing's description of the problem, the AD directed that in the event of un-commanded nose-down stabilizer trim such as what happened during the Lion Air crash, the flight crew should comply with the Runaway Stabilizer procedure in the Operating Procedures of the 737 MAX manual.

But the AD did not provide a complete description of MCAS or the problem in 737 MAX aircraft that led to the Lion Air crash, and would lead to another crash and the 737 MAX's grounding just months later.

An MCAS failure is not like a runaway stabilizer. A runaway stabilizer has continuous un-commanded movement of the tail, whereas MCAS is not continuous and pilots (theoretically) can counter the nose-down movement, after which MCAS would move the aircraft tail down again.

Moreover, unlike runaway stabilizer, MCAS disables the control column response that 737 pilots have grown accustomed to and relied upon in earlier generations of 737 aircraft.

Even after the Lion Air crash, Boeing's description of MCAS was still insufficient to put correct its lack of disclosure as demonstrated by a second MCAS-caused crash.

We hoisted this detail because insiders were spouting in our comments section, presumably based on Boeing's patter, that the Lion Air pilots were clearly incompetent, had they only executed the well-known "runaway stabilizer," all would have been fine. Needless to say, this assertion has been shown to be incorrect.


Titus , October 8, 2019 at 4:38 am

Excellent, by any standard. Which does remind of of the NYT zine story (William Langewiesche Published Sept. 18, 2019) making the claim that basically the pilots who crashed their planes weren't real "Airman".

And making the point that to turn off MCAS all you had to do was flip two switches behind everything else on the center condole. Not exactly true, normally those switches were there to shut off power to electrically assisted trim. Ah, it one thing to shut off MCAS it's a whole other thing to shut off power to the planes trim, especially in high speed ✓ and the plane noise up ✓, and not much altitude ✓.

And especially if you as a pilot didn't know MCAS was there in the first place. This sort of engineering by Boeing is criminal. And the lying. To everyone. Oh, least we all forget the processing power of the in flight computer is that of a intel 286. There are times I just want to be beamed back to the home planet. Where we care for each other.

Carolinian , October 8, 2019 at 8:32 am

One should also point out that Langewiesche said that Boeing made disastrous mistakes with the MCAS and that the very future of the Max is cloudy. His article was useful both for greater detail about what happened and for offering some pushback to the idea that the pilots had nothing to do with the accidents.

As for the above, it was obvious from the first Seattle Times stories that these two events and the grounding were going to be a lawsuit magnet. But some of us think Boeing deserves at least a little bit of a defense because their side has been totally silent–either for legal reasons or CYA reasons on the part of their board and bad management.

Brooklin Bridge , October 8, 2019 at 8:08 am

Classic addiction behavior. Boeing has a major behavioral problem, the repetitive need for and irrational insistence on profit above safety all else , that is glaringly obvious to everyone except Boeing.

Summer , October 8, 2019 at 9:01 am

"The engineers who created MCAS for the military tanker designed the system to rely on inputs from multiple sensors and with limited power to move the tanker's nose. These deliberate checks sought to ensure that the system could not act erroneously or cause a pilot to lose control "

"Yet Boeing's website, press releases, annual reports, public statements and statements to operators and customers, submissions to the FAA and other civil aviation authorities, and 737 MAX flight manuals made no mention of the increased stall hazard or MCAS itself.

In fact, Boeing 737 Chief Technical Pilot, Mark Forkner asked the FAA to delete any mention of MCAS from the pilot manual so as to further hide its existence from the public and pilots "

This "MCAS" was always hidden from pilots? The military implemented checks on MCAS to maintain a level of pilot control. The commercial airlines did not. Commercial airlines were in thrall of every little feature that they felt would eliminate the need for pilots at all. Fell right into the automation crapification of everything.

[Oct 05, 2019] A Secretive Committee of Wall Street Insiders controls NY FED

Oct 05, 2019 | www.institutionalinvestor.com

A Secretive Committee of Wall Street Insiders Is the Least of the New York Fed's Concerns.

In July 17, Mary Callahan Erdoes, head of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s $2.2 trillion asset and wealth management division, walked into the wood-paneled tenth-floor conference room at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to address some fellow Wall Street luminaries -- Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio, Dawn Fitzpatrick of Soros Fund Management, short-seller Jim Chanos, and LBO kingpin David Rubenstein among them.

All are members of the Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets (IACFM) -- a forum to provide financial insight to the New York Fed. Chairing the meeting was New York Fed president John C. Williams, vice chair of the powerful, rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, who was a year into his tenure.

Erdoes held forth at the meeting, which included a buffet lunch.

---

And so on.

This is us, we have a unexhaustable desire for these secret meetings to meet, so we vote, every year to convene them. If these secret meeting did not occur then we could never do a deal with the super wealthy and our precious will not be insured.
Reply Saturday, October 05, 2019 at 06:04 PM

[Sep 24, 2019] Have some fun with this imperialist Raguram Rajan: "The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

Sep 24, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Paine , September 14, 2019 at 04:38 PM

Have some fun with raguram

"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

". Meanwhile, the system's multilateral institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund, helped countries in dire need of funds, provided they followed the rules."

anne -> Paine ... , September 14, 2019 at 04:43 PM
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-trade-war-damage-by-raghuram-rajan-2019-09

September 5, 2019

The True Toll of the Trade War

Behind the escalating global conflict over trade and technology is a larger breakdown of the postwar rules-based order, which was based on a belief that any country's growth benefits all. Now that China is threatening to compete directly with the United States, support for the system that made that possible has disappeared.
By RAGHURAM G. RAJAN

CHICAGO – Another day, another attack on trade. Why is it that every dispute – whether over intellectual property (IP), immigration, environmental damage, or war reparations – now produces new threats to trade?

For much of the last century, the United States managed and protected the rules-based trading system it created at the end of World War II. That system required a fundamental break from the pre-war environment of mutual suspicion between competing powers. The US urged everyone to see that growth and development for one country could benefit all countries through increased trade and investment.

Under the new dispensation, rules were enacted to constrain selfish behavior and coercive threats by the economically powerful. The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith. Meanwhile, the system's multilateral institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund, helped countries in dire need of funds, provided they followed the rules....

likbez -> anne... , September 14, 2019 at 08:30 PM
"The US served as a benevolent hegemon, administering the occasional rap on the knuckles to those acting in bad faith"

USA foreign policy since 70th was controlled by neocons who as a typical Trotskyites (neoliberalism is actually Trotskyism for the rich) were/are hell-bent of world domination and practice gangster capitalism in foreign policy. Bolton attitude to UN is very symptomatic for the neocons as a whole.

Madeline "not so bright" Allbright was the first swan. As well as Clinton attempts to bankrupt and subdue Russia and criminal (in a sense of no permission from the UN) attack on Yugoslavia. Both backfired: Russia became permanently hostile. The fact he and his coterie were not yet tried by something like Nuremberg tribunal is only due to the USA dominance at this stage of history.

The truth is that the dissolution of the USSR the USA foreign policy became completely unhinged. And inside the country the elite became cannibalistic, as there was no external threat to its dominance in the form of the USSR.

The USA stated to behave like a typical Imperial state (New Rome, or, more correctly, London) accepting no rules/laws that are not written by themselves (and when it is convenient to obey them) with the only difference from the classic imperial states that the hegemony it not based on the military presence/occupation ( like was the case with British empire)

Although this is not completely true as there are 761 US Military Bases across the planet and only 46 Countries with no US military presence. Of them, seven countries with 13 New Military Bases were added since 09/11/2001. In 2001 the US had a quarter million troops posted abroad.

Still as an imperial state that is the center of neoliberal empire the USA relies more on financial instruments and neoliberal comprador elite inside the country.

I recently learned from https://akarlin.com/2010/04/on-liberasts-and-liberasty/ that the derogatory term for the neoliberal part of the Russian elite is "liberasts" and this term gradually slipping into English language ( http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/liberast ;-)

With the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 the USA centered neoliberal empire experiences first cracks. Brexit and election of Trump widened the cracks in a sense of further legitimizing the ruling neoliberal elite (big middle finger for Hillary was addressed to the elite as whole)

If oil price exceed $100 per barrel there will yet another crack or even repetition of the 2008 Great Recession on a new level (although we may argue that the Great Recession never ended and just entered in Summers terms "permanent stagnation" phase)

Although currently with unhinged Trump at the helm the USA empire still going strong in forcing vassals and competitors to reconsider their desire to challenge the USA. Trump currently is trying to neutralize the treat from China by rejecting classic neoliberal globalization mechanism as well as signed treaties like WTO. He might be successful in the short run.

In the long run the future does not look too bright as crimes committed by the USA during triumphal period of neoliberalism hangs like albatross around the USA neck.

EU now definitely wants to play its own game as Macron recently stated and which Merkel tacitly supports. If EU allies with Russia it will became No.1 force in the world with the USA No. 2. With severe consequences for the USA.

If Russia allied with China the USA No.1 position will hinge of keeping EU vassals in check and NATO in place. Without them it will became No.2 with fatal consequences for the dollar as world reserve currency and sudden change of the USA financial position due to the level of external debt and required devaluation of the dollar.

Looks like 75 year after WWII the world started to self-organize a countervailing force trying to tame the USA with some interest expressed by such players as EU, Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. As well as ( in the past; and possibly in the future as neoliberal counterrevolutions in both countries probably will end badly) by Brazil and Argentina.

Only Canada, Australia and probably UK can be counted as the reliable parts of the USA empire. That's not much.

ilsm -> likbez... , September 15, 2019 at 07:21 AM
"If Russia allied with China the USA No.1 position "........

Think Italy moving into the Axis in 1937? Or the Soviet German Non Aggression Pact. Nuclear weapons removes the incentive for large "rearmaments" or not?

Would the Britain to France 1938 relationship describe the US to EU? Thinking in 1939 (1914?) terms Europe is less stitched together than in 1936.

ilsm -> Paine ... , September 14, 2019 at 06:43 PM
"Beliefs" must be sustained by trust and justice... Which are clearly missing in the US' sacred cold war and post history "postwar rules-based order".

[Sep 22, 2019] Searching for Kissinger's 'Decent Interval' in Afghanistan

Notable quotes:
"... Yet in spite of all this American sacrifice, the Taliban controls more territory than at any time since 2001. ..."
"... After all, President Trump hasn't even signed off on Khalilzad's draft deal, and even if he does, he could always change his mind. The ability of the Blob to swallow presidents is not to be underestimated -- and Trump is a case in point. For decades, reaching back to his career as a businessman, Trump had been a skeptic of foreign military engagements, and he explicitly campaigned against "endless wars" in 2016. ..."
"... Yet since then, the Blob has been extending pseudopods of keep-the-status-quo cajolery deep within his administration. Trump has thus been persuaded to keep the U.S. engaged, or, if one prefers, quagmired ..."
"... The Taliban are not an invading military force. The struggle as it is has been one of internal forces and players sharing the land and never having been but various communities that fought, lived and negotiated agreements all nearly all of the countries history, unlike Vietnam which has almost entire history had a North/South division. ..."
"... Quit calling the Kabul regime a "client". It's a puppet. The minute US forces leave Afghanistan, the puppet government in Kabul will fall. Don't be surprised if it collapses before the last US transport has its landing gear all the way up. Notwithstanding 2., yes, it's over. Time to pack up and move on. However, Trump can't do that. ..."
"... If Trump had really wanted to leave Afghanistan, the time to do it was when he first entered office. Blame his predecessors and wash his hands of the situation while the political price was at its lowest. But Trump is weak, stupid and easily manipulated. He listened to the generals, and the price of leaving has only risen and will only keep rising. ..."
"... They aren't much good for anything but staging, but Trump wants those Afghan outposts for the war on Iran that his Saudi owners and Israeli masters so crave. ..."
"... All the Democrats should be on the bandwagon for withdrawal yesterday because Trump's October Surprise could be announcing peace in our time and getting the hell out. It is a promise he can actually keep. It is not like he is getting his wall. ..."
"... Trump has become, himself, part of "the Blob." By hiring Pompeo and Bolton to head his foreign policy team he has abandoned any pretense of being an anti-war pro-restraint president. He's gone full neo-con and it's long past time conservatives stop pretending he hasn't. ..."
Sep 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Needless to say, the news from Afghanistan is always murky, and the U.S. is far from gone. Still, the BBC headline from September 3 tells us a lot: "Afghanistan war: US-Taliban deal would see 5,400 troops withdraw." U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has hammered out an agreement, "in principle," with the Taliban.

He has now shared some of the details with the Afghan government -- which, revealingly, hasn't been involved in the negotiations -- and with the world as well. In other words, the U.S. has been bypassing its Kabul client regime in pursuit of a deal with the Taliban. Obviously, the fact that our Afghan ally has been left out of the negotiations is not a good sign for its relevance -- or its viability.

To be sure, even if those 5,400 American troops leave, another 8,600 would remain, plus an unknown number of contractors and operatives. Yet it's obvious that if the U.S. couldn't pacify Afghanistan with 100,000 troops at the beginning of this decade, it's not going to do much with a tiny fraction thereof. In fact, our current dealings with the Taliban recall our dealings with North Vietnam in the early '70s.

Back then, President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger were looking to negotiate with North Vietnam to find a way out. Their hope was for "peace with honor." Yet the appearance of "peace with honor" is not necessarily the same thing as the reality . Behind the scenes, it was grubbier. Nixon and Kissinger understood that the South Vietnamese government was deathly afraid of a U.S. deal with North Vietnam because Saigon understood that any such agreement would leave it in the lurch, unable to defend itself. North Vietnam, after all, was supported by both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. And so Nixon and Kissinger simply pushed South Vietnam out of the loop. Indeed, South Vietnamese fears would have been fully confirmed had they heard Kissinger speaking to Nixon inside the White House in October 1972, as recorded by the notorious secret taping system.

As Kissinger put it, the U.S. should be hoping for a "decent interval" between the American departure and the inevitable fall of the Saigon government. And that's what happened: the Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 27, 1973, and barely more than two years later, on April 30, 1975, Saigon fell. Understandably, millions of South Vietnamese sought to flee the communists, and that, again, is how D.C. -- and the U.S. as a whole -- gained so many new restaurants. All that history is familiar to the policymakers and pundits of today. And so inside the Beltway, the debate over the future of Afghanistan -- more precisely, U.S. involvement in the conflict -- is far from over.

As TAC contributor Doug Bandow noted on August 29, the foreign policy establishment, a.k.a. "the Blob," is perpetually in favor of staying in Afghanistan, because, well, establishments are always perpetually in favor of doing everything that they're doing, perpetually. After all, who wants to admit a mistake? Especially when establishmentarians can snugly oversee the war from their armchairs in a Massachusetts Avenue think-tank? In the meantime, American losses continue to mount. On August 29, another G.I. was killed in Afghanistan; that would be Army Sergeant First Class Dustin B. Ard of Idaho Falls, Idaho. He leaves behind his pregnant wife Mary and daughter Reagan. Ard's death was the 15th this year, bringing the total of American military deaths in Afghanistan to nearly 2,400 .

Yet in spite of all this American sacrifice, the Taliban controls more territory than at any time since 2001. Indeed, the Taliban has proven its ability to strike anywhere, including inside Kabul; just on September 3, suicide bombers struck an international compound, killing at least 19. Tellingly, local Afghans now want the international residents out of their neighborhood, because they know the presence of foreigners is a magnet for Taliban killers -- whom nobody seems able to stop.

We can pause to observe that such popular fatalism dooms a regime. It makes people -- especially those with links to the West -- likely to flee. To be sure, there's no telling exactly when the Kabul government will crumble, as well as how, exactly, it will crumble.

After all, President Trump hasn't even signed off on Khalilzad's draft deal, and even if he does, he could always change his mind. The ability of the Blob to swallow presidents is not to be underestimated -- and Trump is a case in point. For decades, reaching back to his career as a businessman, Trump had been a skeptic of foreign military engagements, and he explicitly campaigned against "endless wars" in 2016.

Yet since then, the Blob has been extending pseudopods of keep-the-status-quo cajolery deep within his administration. Trump has thus been persuaded to keep the U.S. engaged, or, if one prefers, quagmired .

Remarkably, in August 2017, Trump even delivered a primetime speech on Afghanistan in which he pledged "victory." Even if Trump doesn't talk up victory anymore, nobody can say what exactly he will do. Does he want to get credit for extricating the U.S., finally, from an unpopular war?

Or does he not want to see a foreign capital fall on his watch? Whatever the case, it seems evident that the remaining sand is running out of the Afghan hourglass.

In the two years since that go-get-'em speech, Trump has expended zero rhetorical effort in support of the Afghan mission; instead he and his administration have shifted their focus to China. (And yes, there's also that fascination with Iran, although there again, because Trump is Trump, it's hard to know what will come of it. It could be anything from an armed conflict to a Kim Jong-un-ish summit.) In the meantime, the Democrats, too, have moved on. It wasn't that long ago that Barack Obama was referring to Afghanistan as the "good war," while surging American troops; Obama, too, was pseudopod-ed by the Blob. And while the 44th president soon enough realized that the new doctrine of counter-insurgency wasn't working any better than the old doctrine of counter-terrorism, he chose not to get cross-wise with the Blob -- and so American troops stayed. Yet today, nobody in the 2020 Democratic presidential field -- not even Obama alum Joe Biden -- has any enthusiasm for the Afghan mission. So whether it's a re-elected Trump or a newly elected Democrat in the White House in 2021, the U.S. is going to be looking for that fig-leafy "decent interval." It could come in the form of a bilateral agreement, or perhaps an international conference, complete with the promise of U.N. peacekeepers (although unless they're Pakistani or Chinese "peacekeepers," any foreign force will likely wilt in the face of the Taliban, which is nothing if not good at killing). Yes, it's intriguing to note that Afghanistan has trillions of dollars' worth of natural resources waiting to be mined. And so if a stable regime could ever be established in that war-crossed land, great wealth could spring forth. But that's a manifest destiny for someone else, not Uncle Sam. What we're going to get stateside when this misadventure finally comes to an end is a lot of new refugees -- and a lot of new restaurants.

James P. Pinkerton is an author and contributing editor at . He served as a White House policy aide to both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.


Peter913 a day ago

IMHO, we should have left Afghanistan years ago. I'll settle for yesterday. To hell with the Rare Earth and our warmongers running/ruining foreign affairs!
Late Jan 2021 21 hours ago
Too late. The "decent interval" ended well over fifteen years ago.

I'm actually surprised that Trump isn't getting us out of there. He's told a lot of lies and broken a lot of promises, but that's one that would have been easy to keep, and he didn't do it. No spine.

EliteCommInc. 10 hours ago
This all depends on one simple factor. The integrity of the Taliban verses the integrity of the communists in North Vietnam.

And trying to hedge a "we lost in Vietnam" slip and slide assail has no more veracity here than it had in 1975.

The Taliban are not an invading military force. The struggle as it is has been one of internal forces and players sharing the land and never having been but various communities that fought, lived and negotiated agreements all nearly all of the countries history, unlike Vietnam which has almost entire history had a North/South division.

We are going to have foreign restaurants regardless, but interventions just invite more of them.

Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Quit calling the Kabul regime a "client". It's a puppet. The minute US forces leave Afghanistan, the puppet government in Kabul will fall. Don't be surprised if it collapses before the last US transport has its landing gear all the way up. Notwithstanding 2., yes, it's over. Time to pack up and move on. However, Trump can't do that.

a. If Trump were to order a withdrawal from Afghanistan, his political opponents would pounce. Expect lots of cries of "Putin puppet", angry denunciations of "Who lost Afghanistan?" and heart-rending images depicting the fates of suffering girls. Not to mention the grisly fates those persons so foolish as to cooperate with the United States.

Let us not kid ourselves - some of these images will in fact be genuine.

Also, Sunni Islamicists will be emboldened. It took some 18 years, but in the end, they sent the Americans home packing.

No matter how you spin it, they won and we lost. Yes, the much hyped and much bloated United States military was unable to defeat some medieval farmers in flip flops, who cannot boast so much as a Piper Cub to their name, much less a drone or a cluster bomb.

If Trump had really wanted to leave Afghanistan, the time to do it was when he first entered office. Blame his predecessors and wash his hands of the situation while the political price was at its lowest. But Trump is weak, stupid and easily manipulated. He listened to the generals, and the price of leaving has only risen and will only keep rising.

b. They aren't much good for anything but staging, but Trump wants those Afghan outposts for the war on Iran that his Saudi owners and Israeli masters so crave.

Of course, eighteen odd years and countless dollars, only to be defeated by peasants without a single fighter jet or drone is not exactly great PR for the folks trying to convince us that they really can win this time, why, Iran will be a walk in the park!

Trump is an imbecile, of course, but he is doing about the only thing he can do in Afghanistan, which is, to try and maintain a semblance of control over major population centers and pretend we're not losing.

Patrick O'Connor 6 hours ago
All the Democrats should be on the bandwagon for withdrawal yesterday because Trump's October Surprise could be announcing peace in our time and getting the hell out. It is a promise he can actually keep. It is not like he is getting his wall.
stevek9 6 hours ago
'Does he want to get credit for extricating the U.S., finally, from an unpopular war? Or does he not want to see a foreign capital fall on his watch?'

Any politician with sense knows that the American public could not care less about the fall of Kabul (what's a kabul?). That's the American people. Campaign contributions from the MIC is a different matter.

Clyde Schechter 6 hours ago
Trump has become, himself, part of "the Blob." By hiring Pompeo and Bolton to head his foreign policy team he has abandoned any pretense of being an anti-war pro-restraint president. He's gone full neo-con and it's long past time conservatives stop pretending he hasn't.
Rossbach 4 hours ago
Who gets to decide how many "refugees" the US will get from Afghanistan? Some of us would gladly forgo all these wonderful new restaurants to protect our communities from yet another "refugee" surge.

[Sep 20, 2019] Trump Whistleblower Drama Puts Biden In The Hot Seat Over Ukraine

Highly recommended!
If this not of the Biden run, I do not know what can be. He now has an albatross abound his neck in the form of interference in Ukrainian criminal investigation to save his corrupt to the core narcoaddict son. Only the raw power of neoliberal MSM to suppress any information that does not fit their agenda is keeping him in the race.
But a more important fact that he was criminally involved in EuroMaydan (at the cost to the USA taxpayers around five billions) is swiped under the carpet. And will never be discussed along with criminality of Obama and Nuland.
As somebody put it "with considerable forethought [neoliberal MSM] are attempting to create a nation of morons who will faithfully go out and buy this or that product, vote for this or that candidate and faithfully work for their employers for as low a wage as possible."
Sep 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

For days we've been treated to MSM insinuations that President Trump may have betrayed the United States after a whistleblower lodged an 'urgent' complaint about something Trump promised another world leader - the details of which the White House has refused to share.

Then, we learned it was a phone call.

Then, we learned it was several phone calls.

Now, we learn it wasn't Russia or North Korea - it was Ukraine!

Here's the scandal; It appears that Trump, may have made promises to newly minted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky - very likely involving an effort to convince Ukraine to reopen its investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, after Biden strongarmed Ukraine's prior government into firing its top prosecutor - something Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have pursued for months . There are also unsupported rumors that Trump threatened to withhold $250 million in aid to help Ukraine fight Russian-backed separatists.

And while the MSM and Congressional Democrats are starting to focus on the sitting US president having a political opponent investigated, The New York Times admits that nothing Trump did would have been illegal , as "while Mr. Trump may have discussed intelligence activities with the foreign leader, he enjoys broad power as president to declassify intelligence secrets, order the intelligence community to act and otherwise direct the conduct of foreign policy as he sees fit."

Moreover, here's why Trump and Giuliani are going to dig their heels in; last year Biden openly bragged about threatening to hurl Ukraine into bankruptcy as Vice President if they didn't fire their top prosecutor , Viktor Shokin - who was leading a wide-ranging corruption investigation into a natural gas firm whose board Hunter Biden sat on.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees , sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn't immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. - The Hill

"I said, ' You're not getting the billion .' I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ' I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money, '" bragged Biden, recalling the conversation with Poroshenko.

" Well, son of a bitch, he got fired . And they put in place someone who was solid at the time," Biden said at the Council on Foreign Relations event - while insisting that former president Obama was complicit in the threat.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q0_AqpdwqK4?start=3128

In short, there's both smoke and fire here - and what's left of Biden's 2020 bid for president may be the largest casualty of the entire whistleblower scandal.

And by the transitive properties of the Obama administration 'vetting' Trump by sending spies into his campaign, Trump can simply say he was protecting America from someone who may have used his position of power to directly benefit his own family at the expense of justice.

Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, are acting as if they've found the holy grail of taking Trump down. On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) interviewed inspector general Michael Atkinson, with whom the whistleblower lodged their complaint - however despite three hours of testimony, he repeatedly declined to discuss the content of the complaint .

Following the session, Schiff gave an angry speech - demanding that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire share the complaint , and calling the decision to withhold it "unprecedented."

"We cannot get an answer to the question about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress," said Schiff, adding "We're determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is to make sure that the national security is protected."

According to Schiff, someone "is trying to manipulate the system to keep information about an urgent matter from the Congress There certainly are a lot of indications that it was someone at a higher pay grade than the director of national intelligence," according to the Washington Post .

me title=

On thursday, Trump denied doing anything improper - tweeting " Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. "

"Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially 'heavily populated' call. "

me title=

Giuliani, meanwhile, went on CNN with Chris Cuomo Thursday to defend his discussions with Ukraine about investigating alleged election interference in the 2016 election to the benefit of Hillary Clinton conducted by Ukraine's previous government. According to Giuliani, Biden's dealings in Ukraine were 'tangential' to the 2016 election interference question - in which a Ukrainian court ruled that government officials meddled for Hillary in 2016 by releasing details of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's 'Black Book' to Clinton campaign staffer Alexandra Chalupa.

me title=

And so - what the MSM doesn't appear to understand is that President Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden over something with legitimate underpinnings.

Which - of course, may lead to the Bidens' adventures in China , which Giuliani referred to in his CNN interview. And just like his Ukraine scandal , it involves actions which may have helped his son Hunter - who was making hand over fist in both countries.

Journalist Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash and now Secret Empires discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two - and two weeks later, Hunter's Journalist Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash and now Secret Empires discovered that in 2013, then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter flew together to China on Air Force Two - and two weeks later, Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China , which expanded to $1.5 billion

Meanwhile, speculation is rampant over what this hornet's nest means for all involved...

Dan Bongino ✔ @dbongino

The latest intell hit on Trump tells me that the deep-state swamp rats are in a panic over the Ukrainian/Obama admin collusion about to be outed in the IG report. They're also freaked out over Biden's shady Ukrainian deals with his kid.


blindfaith , 18 seconds ago link

Hunter's firm inked a private equity deal for $1 billion with a subsidiary of the Chinese government's Bank of China , which expanded to $1.5 billion

Lets clarify this a bit. The 1 billion came from the RED CHINESE ARMY, lets call spade a spade here. And why? To buy into (invest in ) DARPA related contractors. The RED CHINESE NAVY was so impressed with little sonny's performance (meaning daddy's help), that they handed over an additions 500,000.

Without daddy's influence as VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and that FREE PLANE RIDE on Air Force TWO with daddy holding sonny's little hand, little sonny never would have gotten past the ticket booth.

n0vocaine , 24 seconds ago link

"House Democrats are also looking into whether Giuliani flew to Ukraine to 'encourage' them to investigate Hunter Biden and his involvement with Burisma."

LOL looking into someone looking into a crime that may have been committed by a Democrat... they're some big brained individuals these dummycrats.

Tom Angle , 1 minute ago link

Putting him in the hot seat would be to ask why he sponsored a coup and backed a neo Nazi party. When he starts to lie, put up images of the party he back wearing inverted Das Reich arm bands and flying flags. Now that would be real journalism.

TahoeBilly2012 , 2 minutes ago link

"Blame your enemies for your crimes"

Everybodys All American , 12 minutes ago link

It's awfully clear that the US department of justice is not going to do a damn thing about the Biden family's corruption.

NotGonnaTakeItAnymore , 13 minutes ago link

The Bidens show precisely that power corrupts. They both need to be investigated and then jailed. To the countries of the world that depend on the USA for any kind of help, they had to deal with Joe 'what's in-it-for-me' Biden? What a disgrace for America.

I think every sitting President, Vice President, senator, and representative needs a yearly lie-detector test that asks but one question: "did you do anything in your official duties that personally benefited you or your family?"

Didn't you ever wonder how so many senators and representatives end up multi-millionaires after a couple terms in office?

The EveryThing Bubble , 14 minutes ago link

Why the fuuk do we have have to put up with this jackass. All the talk on cable, etc, is all ********. Trump is a fuuking crook, and Barr is his bag man,. He has surrounded hinmself with toadies, cowards , incompetents and a trash family. Rise up, call your representatives, March on DC get this crook out of office.
Call anyone you can think of, challenge them to overcome their cowardice, including members of congress, cabinet, your governor

And finally Vote this bastard out in 2020

RozKo , 11 minutes ago link

Same could be said for the Democrats and all their Russian collusion lies and Beto wants to FORCE people to sell their weapons to the government, right.......

RabbitOne , 14 minutes ago link

" ...The complaint <against the president> involved communications with a foreign leader and a "promise" that Trump made, which was so alarming that a U.S. intelligence official <who monitored Trumps call> who had worked at the White House went to the inspector general of the intelligence community, two former U.S. officials said. ..."

What this tells:

1. If president Trump is monitored this way our spooks know the number of hairs in our crotches...

2. If we convicted on promises most in congress would be hung by the neck til dead for treason for not following the constitution...

turbojarhead , 58 seconds ago link

Anybody that thinks that Trump, having had Roy Cohn as his mentor, and working in cut-throat NY real estate for years, AND having dealt with political snakes for many years..would allow himself to be taped saying something on a call that he KNOWS the Intel Community is listening in, is not paying attention.

This will backfire on the Dems and the media. Trump set them all up again..

My guess is the Dems will be hounding the IC for the complaint, will call Barr and the DNI in an investigation ran live on CNN and MSNBC..that will show how corrupt Biden was. Everytime you hear Alexandra Chalupa's name come up, look for the MSM to go ballistic..she is the tell in this one also. It cannot be allowed for the plebes to find out how Manafort was setup, Ukraine assisted the DNC in the fake Russian election interference farce..hey, guess what, guess who is an ardent Ukraininan nationalist? The head of Crowdstrike. Chalupa and Alparovich, the names that will bring down more dirty Dems than anyone in history.

Gold Banit , 15 minutes ago link

I have a trick question for for all of the DemoRats posters here!

Who is your President and will be for the next 6 years?

Hint

It is not your Hillary or your Putin......Fact......LMFAO

schroedingersrat , 21 minutes ago link

For days we've been treated to MSM insinuations that President Trump may have betrayed the United States

Trump is a traitor, but he does not work for either Ukraine nor Russia but instead he works for Israel first and foremost! He even admits it himself. Lol he doesn't even give a shite when Israel taps his phone :)

blindfaith , 27 minutes ago link

House Democrats are also looking into whether Giuliani flew to Ukraine to 'encourage' them to investigate Hunter Biden and his involvement with Burisma.

This bunch of filthy swine should be looking up each others asses for answers. Actually the Ukrainians have been screaming for over a year at the DOJ and FBI to take the evidence they have. But the rotten to the core Democrat socialist lefties wanted to block it.

otschelnik , 25 minutes ago link

Six ways to Sunday. This is another **** bomb that'll blow up in the dimocrat's faces, it will take Biden down.

Warren = Trump 2020.

Ex-Kalifornian , 27 minutes ago link

This does nothing to Biden because he gets a free pass on corruption like every other dem.....

vasilievich , 27 minutes ago link

This is all beginning to read like one those Roman histories of the decay of the Empire.

[Sep 18, 2019] FAA Hoist on Its Own Boeing 737 Max Petard Multiagency Panel to Issue Report Criticizing Agency Approval Process, Call for Cer

Notable quotes:
"... The aim of the panel, called the Joint Authorities Technical Review, was to expedite getting the 737 Max into the air by creating a vehicle for achieve consensus among foreign regulators who had grounded the 737 Max before the FAA had. But these very regulators had also made clear they needed to be satisfied before they'd let it fly in their airspace. ..."
"... The FAA hopes to give the 737 Max the green light in November, while the other regulators all have said they have issues that are unlikely to be resolved by then. The agency is now in the awkward position of having a body it set up to be authoritative turn on the agency's own procedures. ..."
"... the FAA had moved further and further down the path of relying on aircraft manufactures for critical elements of certification. Not all of this was the result of capture; with the evolution of technology, even the sharpest and best intended engineer in government employ would become stale on the state of the art in a few years. ..."
"... Although all stories paint a broadly similar picture, .the most damning is a detailed piece at the Seattle Times, Engineers say Boeing pushed to limit safety testing in race to certify planes, including 737 MAX ..The article gives an incriminating account of how Boeing got the FAA to delegate more and more certification authority to the airline, and then pressured and abused employees who refused to back down on safety issues . ..."
"... In 2004, the FAA changed its system for front-line supervision of airline certification from having the FAA select airline certification employees who reported directly to the FAA to having airline employees responsible for FAA certification report to airline management and have their reports filtered through them (the FAA attempted to maintain that the certification employees could provide their recommendations directly to the agency, but the Seattle Times obtained policy manuals that stated otherwise). ..."
"... On Monday, the Post and Courier reported about the South Carolina plant that produced 787s found with tools rattling inside that Boeing SC lets mechanics inspect their own work, leading to repeated mistakes, workers say. These mechanic certifications would never have been kosher if the FAA were vigilant. Similarly, Reuters described how Boeing weakened another safety check, that of pilot input. ..."
"... As part of roughly a dozen findings, these government and industry officials said, the task force is poised to call out the Federal Aviation Administration for what it describes as a lack of clarity and transparency in the way the FAA delegated authority to the plane maker to assess the safety of certain flight-control features. The upshot, according to some of these people, is that essential design changes didn't receive adequate FAA attention. ..."
"... But the report could influence changes to traditional engineering principles determining the safety of new aircraft models. Certification of software controlling increasingly interconnected and automated onboard systems "is a whole new ballgame requiring new approaches," according to a senior industry safety expert who has discussed the report with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. ..."
"... For instance, the Journal reports that Canadian authorities expect to require additional simulator training for 737 Max pilots. Recall that Boeing's biggest 737 Max customer, Southwest Airlines, was so resistant to the cost of additional simulator training that it put a penalty clause into its contract if wound up being necessary. ..."
"... Patrick Ky, head of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, told the European Parliament earlier this month, "It's very likely that international authorities will want a second opinion" on any FAA decision to lift the grounding. ..."
"... Most prominently, EASA has proposed to eventually add to the MAX a third fully functional angle-of-attack sensor -- which effectively measures how far the plane's nose is pointed up or down -- underscoring the controversy expected to swirl around the plane for the foreseeable future. ..."
"... It's hard to see how Boeing hasn't gotten itself in the position of being at a major competitive disadvantage by virtue of having compromised the FAA so severely as to have undercut safety. ..."
"... has Boeing developed a plan to correct the trim wheel issue on the 787max? i haven't seen a single statement from them on how they plan to fix this problem. is it possible they think they can get the faa to re-certify without addressing it? ..."
"... Don't forget that the smaller trim wheels are in the NG as well. any change to fix the wheels ripples across more planes than just the Max ..."
"... The self-inflicted wound caused by systematic greed and arrogance – corruption, in other words. Boeing is reaping the wages of taking 100% of their profits to support the stock price through stock buybacks and deliberately under-investing in their business. Their brains have been taken over by a parasitic financial system that profits by wrecking healthy businesses. ..."
"... Shareholder Value is indeed the worst idea in the world. That Boeing's biggest stockholder, Vanguard, is unable to cleanup Boeing's operations makes perfect sense. I mean vanguards expertise is making money, not building anything. Those skills are completely different. ..."
"... One maxim we see illustrated here and elsewhere is this: Trust takes years to earn, but can be lost overnight. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The FAA evidently lacked perspective on how much trouble it was in after the two international headline-grabbing crashes of the Boeing 737 Max. It established a "multiagency panel" meaning one that included representatives from foreign aviation regulators, last April. A new Wall Street Journal article reports that the findings of this panel, to be released in a few weeks, are expected to lambaste the FAA 737 Max approval process and urge a major redo of how automated aircraft systems get certified .

The aim of the panel, called the Joint Authorities Technical Review, was to expedite getting the 737 Max into the air by creating a vehicle for achieve consensus among foreign regulators who had grounded the 737 Max before the FAA had. But these very regulators had also made clear they needed to be satisfied before they'd let it fly in their airspace.

The JATR gave them a venue for reaching a consensus, but it wasn't the consensus the FAA sought. The foreign regulators, despite being given a forum in which to hash things out with the FAA, are not following the FAA's timetable. The FAA hopes to give the 737 Max the green light in November, while the other regulators all have said they have issues that are unlikely to be resolved by then. The agency is now in the awkward position of having a body it set up to be authoritative turn on the agency's own procedures.

The Seattle Times, which has broken many important on the Boeing debacle, reported on how the FAA had moved further and further down the path of relying on aircraft manufactures for critical elements of certification. Not all of this was the result of capture; with the evolution of technology, even the sharpest and best intended engineer in government employ would become stale on the state of the art in a few years.

However, one of the critical decisions the FAA took was to change the reporting lines of the manufacturer employees who were assigned to FAA certification. From a May post :

Although all stories paint a broadly similar picture, .the most damning is a detailed piece at the Seattle Times, Engineers say Boeing pushed to limit safety testing in race to certify planes, including 737 MAX ..The article gives an incriminating account of how Boeing got the FAA to delegate more and more certification authority to the airline, and then pressured and abused employees who refused to back down on safety issues .

As the Seattle Times described, the problems extended beyond the 737 Max MCAS software shortcomings; indeed, none of the incidents in the story relate to it.

In 2004, the FAA changed its system for front-line supervision of airline certification from having the FAA select airline certification employees who reported directly to the FAA to having airline employees responsible for FAA certification report to airline management and have their reports filtered through them (the FAA attempted to maintain that the certification employees could provide their recommendations directly to the agency, but the Seattle Times obtained policy manuals that stated otherwise).

Mind you, the Seattle Times was not alone in depicting the FAA as captured by Boeing. On Monday, the Post and Courier reported about the South Carolina plant that produced 787s found with tools rattling inside that Boeing SC lets mechanics inspect their own work, leading to repeated mistakes, workers say. These mechanic certifications would never have been kosher if the FAA were vigilant. Similarly, Reuters described how Boeing weakened another safety check, that of pilot input.

One of the objectives for creating this panel was to restore confidence in Boeing and the FAA, but that was always going to be a tall order, particularly after more bad news about various 737 Max systems and Boeing being less than forthcoming with its customers and regulators emerged. From the Wall Street Journal :

As part of roughly a dozen findings, these government and industry officials said, the task force is poised to call out the Federal Aviation Administration for what it describes as a lack of clarity and transparency in the way the FAA delegated authority to the plane maker to assess the safety of certain flight-control features. The upshot, according to some of these people, is that essential design changes didn't receive adequate FAA attention.

The report, these officials said, also is expected to fault the agency for what it describes as inadequate data sharing with foreign authorities during its original certification of the MAX two years ago, along with relying on mistaken industrywide assumptions about how average pilots would react to certain flight-control emergencies .

The FAA has stressed that the advisory group doesn't have veto power over modifications to MCAS.

But the report could influence changes to traditional engineering principles determining the safety of new aircraft models. Certification of software controlling increasingly interconnected and automated onboard systems "is a whole new ballgame requiring new approaches," according to a senior industry safety expert who has discussed the report with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

If the FAA thinks it can keep this genie the bottle, it is naive. The foreign regulators represented on the task force, including from China and the EU, have ready access to the international business press. And there will also be an embarrassing fact on the ground, that the FAA, which was last to ground the 737 Max, will be the first to let it fly again, and potentially by not requiring safety protections that other regulators will insist on. For instance, the Journal reports that Canadian authorities expect to require additional simulator training for 737 Max pilots. Recall that Boeing's biggest 737 Max customer, Southwest Airlines, was so resistant to the cost of additional simulator training that it put a penalty clause into its contract if wound up being necessary.

It's a given that the FAA will be unable to regain its former stature and that all of its certifications of major aircraft will now be second guessed subject to further review by major foreign regulators. That in turn will impose costs on Boeing, of changing its certification process from needing to placate only the FAA to having to appease potentially multiple parties. For instance, the EU regulator is poised to raise the bar on the 737 Max:

Patrick Ky, head of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, told the European Parliament earlier this month, "It's very likely that international authorities will want a second opinion" on any FAA decision to lift the grounding.

Even after EASA gives the green light, agency officials are expected to push for significant additional safety enhancements to the fleet. Most prominently, EASA has proposed to eventually add to the MAX a third fully functional angle-of-attack sensor -- which effectively measures how far the plane's nose is pointed up or down -- underscoring the controversy expected to swirl around the plane for the foreseeable future.

A monopoly is a precious thing to have. Too bad Boeing failed to appreciate that in its zeal for profits. If the manufacturer winds up facing different demands in different regulatory markets, it will have created more complexity for itself. Can it afford not to manufacture to the highest common denominator, say by making an FAA-only approved bird for Southwest and trying to talk American into buying FAA-only approved versions for domestic use only? It's hard to see how Boeing hasn't gotten itself in the position of being at a major competitive disadvantage by virtue of having compromised the FAA so severely as to have undercut safety.


kimyo , September 17, 2019 at 4:42 am

Boeing Foresees Return Of The 737 MAX In November – But Not Everywhere

Even if Boeing finds solutions that international regulators can finally accept, their implementation will take additional months. The AoA sensor and trim wheel issues will likely require hardware changes to the 600 or so existing MAX airplanes. The demand for simulator training will further delay the ungrounding of the plane. There are only some two dozen 737 MAX simulators in this world and thousands of pilots who will need to pass through them.

has Boeing developed a plan to correct the trim wheel issue on the 787max? i haven't seen a single statement from them on how they plan to fix this problem. is it possible they think they can get the faa to re-certify without addressing it?

marku52 , September 17, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Don't forget that the smaller trim wheels are in the NG as well. any change to fix the wheels ripples across more planes than just the Max

divadab , September 17, 2019 at 8:36 am

The self-inflicted wound caused by systematic greed and arrogance – corruption, in other words. Boeing is reaping the wages of taking 100% of their profits to support the stock price through stock buybacks and deliberately under-investing in their business. Their brains have been taken over by a parasitic financial system that profits by wrecking healthy businesses.

It's not only Boeing – the rot is general and it is terrible to see the destruction of American productive capacity by a parasitic finance sector.

Dirk77 , September 17, 2019 at 9:12 am

+1

Shareholder Value is indeed the worst idea in the world. That Boeing's biggest stockholder, Vanguard, is unable to cleanup Boeing's operations makes perfect sense. I mean vanguards expertise is making money, not building anything. Those skills are completely different.

Noel Nospamington , September 17, 2019 at 10:41 am

Shareholder value does what it intended to do, which is to maximise stock value in the short term, even if it significantly cuts value in the long term.

By that measure allowing Boeing to take over the FAA and self-certify the 737-MAX was a big success, because of short term maximization of stock value that resulted. It is now someone else's problem regarding any long term harm.

Dirk77 , September 17, 2019 at 8:59 am

Having worked at Boeing and the FAA, this report is very welcome. One thing: federal hiring practices in a way lock out good people from working there. Very often the fed managing some project has only a tenuous grasp is what is going on.

But has the job bc they were hired in young and cheap, which is what agencies do with reduced budgets. That and job postings very often stating that they are open only to current feds says it all.

So deferring to the airline to "self-certify" would be a welcome relief to feds in many cases. At this point, I doubt the number of their "sharpest and best intended" engineers is very high.

If you want better oversight, then increase the number and quality of feds by making it easier to hire, and decrease the number of contractors.

Arthur Dent , September 17, 2019 at 10:54 am

I deal with federal and state regulators (not airplane) all the time. Very well meaning people, but in many cases are utterly unqualified to do the technical work. So it works well when they stick to the policy issues and stay out of the technical details.

However, we have Professional Engineers and other licensed professionals signing off on the engineering documents per state law. You can look at the design documents and the construction certification and there is a name and stamp of the responsible individual.

The licensing laws clearly state that the purpose of licensing is to hold public health and safety paramount. This is completely missing in the American industrial sector due to the industrial exemptions in the professional engineering licensing laws. Ultimately, there is nobody technically responsible for a plane or a car who has to certify that they are making the public safe and healthy.

Instead, the FAA and others do that. Federal agencies and the insurance institute test cars and give safety ratings. Lawyers sue companies for defects which also helps enforce safety.

Harry , September 17, 2019 at 1:44 pm

But how can individuals take responsibility? Their pockets arn't deep enough,.

XXYY , September 17, 2019 at 2:57 pm

One maxim we see illustrated here and elsewhere is this: Trust takes years to earn, but can be lost overnight.

Boeing management and the FAA, having lost the trust of most people in the world through their actions lately, seem to nevertheless think it will be a simple matter to return to the former status quo. It seems as likely, or perhaps more likely, that they will never be able to return to the former status quo. They have been revealed as poseurs and imposters, cheerfully risking (and sometimes losing) their customers' lives so they can buy back more stock.

This image will be (rightfully) hard for them to shake.

notabanker , September 17, 2019 at 9:24 pm

So people are going to quit their jobs rather than fly on Boeing planes? Joe and Marge Six-Pack are going to choose flights not based on what they can afford but based on what make of plane they are flying on? As if the airlines will even tell them in advance?

There are close to zero consequences to Boeing and FAA management. Click on the link to the Purdue Sacklers debacle. The biggest inconvenience will be paying the lawyers.

Tomonthebeach , September 17, 2019 at 11:29 am

FAA & Boeing: It's deja vu all over again.

From 1992 to 1999 I worked for the FAA running one of their labs in OKC. My role, among other things, was to provide data to the Administrator on employee attitudes, business practice changes, and policy impact on morale and safety. Back then, likely as now, it was a common complaint heard from FAA execs about the conflict of interest of having to be both an aviation safety regulatory agency and having to promote aviation. Congress seemed fine with that – apparently still is. There is FAA pork in nearly every Congressional district (think airports for example). Boeing is the latest example of how mission conflict is not serving the aviation industry or public safety. With its headquarters within walking distance of Capitol Hill, aviation lobbyists do not even get much exercise shuttling.

The 1996 Valuejet crash into the Florida swamps shows how far back the mission conflict problem has persisted. Valuejet was a startup airline that was touted as more profitable than all the others. It achieved that notoriety by flying through every FAA maintenance loophole they could find to cut maintenance costs. When FAA started clamping down, Senate Majority Leader Daschle scolded FAA for not being on the cutting edge of industry innovation. The message was clear – leave Valuejet alone. That was a hard message to ignore given that Daschle's wife Linda was serving as Deputy FAA Administrator (the #2 position) – a clear conflict of interest with the role of her spouse – a fact not lost on Administrator Hinson (the #1 position). Rather than use the disaster as an opportunity to revisit FAA mission conflict, Clinton tossed Administrator Hinson into the volcano of public outcry and put Daschle in charge. Nothing happened then, and it looks like Boeing might follow Valuejet into the aviation graveyard.

Kevin , September 17, 2019 at 12:34 pm

Boeing subsidies:

Mike , September 17, 2019 at 3:22 pm

Nothin' like regulatory capture. Along with financialized manufacturing, the cheap & profitable will outdo the costly careful every time. Few businesses are run today with the moral outlook of some early industrialists (not enough of them, but still present) who, through zany Protestant guilt, cared for their reputations enough to not make murderous product, knowing how the results would play both here and in Heaven. Today we have PR and government propaganda to smear the doubters, free the toxic, and let loose toxins.

From food to clothing, drugs to hospitals, self-propelled skateboards to aircraft, pesticides to pollution, even services as day care & education, it is time to call the minions of manufactured madness to account. Dare we say "Free government from Murder Inc."?

VietnamVet , September 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm

This is an excellent summary of the untenable situation that Boeing and the Federal Government have gotten themselves into. In their rush to get richer the Elite ignored the fact that monopolies and regulatory capture are always dangerously corrupt. This is not an isolated case. FDA allows importation of uninspected stock pharmaceutical chemicals from China. Insulin is unaffordable for the lower classes. Diseases are spreading through homeless encampments. EPA approved new uses of environmentally toxic nicotinoid insecticide, sulfoxaflor. DOD sold hundreds of billions of dollars of armaments to Saudi Arabia that were useless to protect the oil supply.

The Powers-that-be thought that they would be a hegemon forever. But, Joe Biden's green light for the Ukraine Army's attack against breakaway Donbass region on Russia's border restarted the Cold War allying Russia with China and Iran. This is a multi-polar world again. Brexit and Donald Trump's Presidency are the Empire's death throes.

RBHoughton , September 17, 2019 at 8:40 pm

NC readers know what the problem is as two comments above indicate clearly. Isn't the FAA ashamed to keep conniving with the money and permitting dangerous planes to fly?

Boeing just got a WTO ruling against Airbus. It seems that one rogue produces others. Time to clean the stable and remove the money addiction from safety regulation

The Rev Kev , September 17, 2019 at 11:26 pm

I think that I can see an interesting situation developing next year. So people will be boarding a plane, say with Southwest Airlines, when they will hear the following announcement over the speakers-

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. On behalf of myself and the entire crew, welcome aboard Southwest Airlines flight WN 861, non-stop service from Houston to New York. Our flight time will be of 4 hours and 30 minutes. We will be flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet at a ground speed of approximately 590 miles per hour.

We are pleased to announce that you have now boarded the first Boeing 737 MAX that has been cleared to once again fly by the FAA as being completely safe. For those passengers flying on to any other country, we regret to announce that you will have to change planes at New York as no other country in the world has cleared this plane as being safe to fly in their airspace and insurance companies there are unwilling to issue insurance cover for them in any case.

So please sit back and enjoy your trip with us. Cabin Crew, please bolt the cabin doors and prepare for gate departure."

Arizona Slim , September 18, 2019 at 6:32 am

And then there's this -- Southwest is rethinking its 737 strategy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoRPhfARWkg

[Sep 17, 2019] The Devolution of US-Russia Relations by Tony Kevin

Highly recommended!
Sep 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

A retired Australian diplomat who served in Moscow dissects the emergence of the new Cold War and its dire consequences.

I n 2014, we saw violent U.S.-supported regime change and civil war in Ukraine. In February, after months of increasing tension from the anti-Russian protest movement's sitdown strike in Kiev's Maidan Square, there was a murderous clash between protesters and Ukrainian police, sparked off by hidden shooters (we now know that were expert Georgian snipers) , aiming at police. The elected government collapsed and President Yanukevich fled to Russia, pursued by murder squads.

The new Poroshenko government pledged harsh anti-Russian language laws. Rebels in two Russophone regions in Eastern Ukraine took local control, and appealed for Russian military help. In March, a referendum took place in Russian-speaking Crimea on leaving Ukraine, under Russian military protection. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, a request promptly granted by the Russian Parliament and President. Crimea's border with Ukraine was secured against saboteurs. Crimea is prospering under its pro-Russian government, with the economy kick-started by Russian transport infrastructure investment.

In April, Poroshenko ordered full military attack on the separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. A brutal civil war ensued, with aerial and artillery bombardment bringing massive civilian death and destruction to the separatist region. There was major refugee outflow into Russia and other parts of Ukraine. The shootdown of MH17 took place in July 2014.

Poroshenko: Ordered military attack.

By August 2015, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates, 13,000 people had been killed and 30,000 wounded. 1.4 million Ukrainians had been internally displaced, and 925,000 had fled to neighbouring countries, mostly Russia and to a lesser extent Poland.

There is now a military stalemate, under the stalled Minsk peace process. But random fatal clashes continue, with the Ukrainian Army mostly blamed by UN observers. The UN reported last month that the ongoing war has affected 5.2 million people, leaving 3.5 million of them in need of relief, including 500,000 children. Most Russians blame the West for fomenting Ukrainian enmity towards Russia. This war brings back for older Russians horrible memories of the Nazi invasion in 1941. The Russia-Ukraine border is only 550 kilometres from Moscow.

Flashpoint Syria

Russian forces joined the civil war in Syria in September 2015, at the request of the Syrian Government, faltering under the attacks of Islamist extremist rebel forces reinforced by foreign fighters and advanced weapons. With Russian air and ground support, the tide of war turned. Palmyra and Aleppo were recaptured in 2016. An alleged Syrian Government chemical attack at Khan Shaykhun in April 2017 resulted in a token U.S. missile attack on a Syrian Government airbase: an early decision by President Trump.

NATO, Strategic Balance, Sanctions

An F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron takes off from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, March 6, 2014. The 48th Fighter Wing sent an additional six aircraft and more than 50 personnel to support NATO's air policing mission in Lithuania, at the request of U.S. allies in the Baltics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nunez/Released)

Tensions have risen in the Baltic as NATO moves ground forces and battlefield missiles up to the Baltic states' borders with Russia. Both sides' naval and air forces play dangerous brinksmanship games in the Baltic. U.S. short-range, non-nuclear-armed anti-ballistic missiles were stationed in Poland and Romania, allegedly against threat of Iranian attack. They are easily convertible to nuclear-armed missiles aimed at nearby Russia.

Nuclear arms control talks have stalled. The INF intermediate nuclear forces treaty expired in 2019, after both sides accused the other of cheating. In March 2018, Putin announced that Russia has developed new types of intercontinental nuclear missiles using technologies that render U.S. defence systems useless. The West has pretended to ignore this announcement, but we can be sure Western defence ministries have noted it. Nuclear second-strike deterrence has returned, though most people in the West have forgotten what this means. Russians know exactly what it means.

Western economic sanctions against Russia continue to tighten after the 2014 events in Ukraine. The U.S. is still trying to block the nearly completed Nordstream Baltic Sea underwater gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Sanctions are accelerating the division of the world into two trade and payments systems: the old NATO-led world, and the rest of the world led by China, with full Russian support and increasing interest from India, Japan, ROK and ASEAN.

Return to Moscow

In 2013, my children gave me an Ipad. I began to spend several hours a day reading well beyond traditional mainstream Western sources: British and American dissident sites, writers like Craig Murray in UK and in the U.S. Stephen Cohen, and some Russian sites – rt.com, Sputnik, TASS, and the official Foreign Ministry site mid.ru. in English.

In late 2015 I decided to visit Russia independently to write Return to Moscow , a literary travel memoir. I planned to compare my impressions of the Soviet Union, where I had lived and worked as an Australian diplomat in 1969-71, with Russia today. I knew there had been huge changes. I wanted to experience 'Putin's Russia' for myself, to see how it felt to be there as an anonymous visitor in the quiet winter season. I wanted to break out of the familiar one-dimensional hostile political view of Russia that Western mainstream media offer: to take my readers with me on a cultural pilgrimage through the tragedy and grandeur and inspiration of Russian history. As with my earlier book on Spain 'Walking the Camino' , this was not intended to be a political book, and yet somehow it became one.

I was still uncommitted on contemporary Russian politics before going to Russia in January 2016. Using the metaphor of a seesaw, I was still sitting somewhere around the middle.

My book was written in late 2015 – early 2016, expertly edited by UWA Publishing. It was launched in March 2017. By this time my political opinions had moved decisively to the Russian end of the seesaw, on the basis of what I had seen in Russia, and what I had read and thought during the year.

I have been back again twice, in winter 2018 and 2019. My 2018 visit included Crimea, and I happened to see a Navalny-led Sunday demonstration in Moscow. I thoroughly enjoyed all three independent visits: in my opinion, they give my judgements on Russia some depth and authenticity.

Russophobia Becomes Entrenched

Russia was a big talking point in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the initially unlikely Republican candidate Donald Trump's chances improved, anti-Putin and anti-Russian positions hardened in the outgoing Obama administration and in the Democratic Party establishment which backed candidate Hillary Clinton.

Russia and Putin became caught up in the Democratic Party's increasingly obsessive rage and hatred against the victorious Trump. Russophobia became entrenched in Washington and London U.S. and UK political and strategic elites, especially in intelligence circles: think of Pompeo, Brennan, Comey and Clapper. All sense of international protocol and diplomatic propriety towards Russia and its President was abandoned, as this appalling Economist cover from October 2016 shows.

My experience of undeclared political censorship in Australia since four months after publication of 'Return to Moscow' supports the thesis that:

We are now in the thick of a ruthless but mostly covert Anglo-American alliance information war against Russia. In this war, individuals who speak up publicly in the cause of detente with Russia will be discouraged from public discourse.

In the Thick of Information War

When I spoke to you two years ago, I had no idea how far-reaching and ruthless this information war is becoming. I knew that a false negative image of Russia was taking hold in the West, even as Russia was becoming a more admirable and self-confident civil society, moving forward towards greater democracy and higher living standards, while maintaining essential national security. I did not then know why, or how.

I had just had time to add a few final paragraphs in my book about the possible consequences for Russia-West relations of Trump's surprise election victory in November 2016. I was right to be cautious, because since Trump's inauguration we have seen the step-by-step elimination of any serious pro-detente voices in Washington, and the reassertion of control over this haphazard president by the bipartisan imperial U.S. deep state, as personified from April 2018 by Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Adviser Bolton. Bolton has now been thrown from the sleigh as decoy for the wolves: under the smooth-talking Pompeo, the imperial policies remain.

Truth, Trust and False Narratives

Let me now turn to some theory about political reality and perception, and how national communities are persuaded to accept false narratives. Let me acknowledge my debt to the fearless and brilliant Australian independent online journalist, Caitlin Johnstone.

Behavioural scientists have worked in the field of what used to be called propaganda since WW1. England has always excelled in this field. Modern wars are won or lost not just on the battlefield, but in people's minds. Propaganda, or as we now call it information warfare, is as much about influencing people's beliefs within your own national community as it is about trying to demoralise and subvert the enemy population.

The IT revolution of the past few years has exponentially magnified the effectiveness of information warfare. Already in the 1940s, George Orwell understood how easily governments are able to control and shape public perceptions of reality and to suppress dissent. His brilliant books 1984 and Animal Farm are still instruction manuals in principles of information warfare. Their plots tell of the creation by the state of false narratives, with which to control their gullible populations.

The disillusioned Orwell wrote from his experience of real politics. As a volunteer fighter in the Spanish Civil War, he saw how both Spanish sides used false news and propaganda narratives to demonise the enemy. He also saw how the Nazi and Stalinist systems in Germany and Russia used propaganda to support show trials and purges, the concentration camps and the Gulag, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, German master race and Stalinist class enemy ideologies; and hows dissident thought was suppressed in these controlled societies. Orwell tried to warn his readers: all this could happen here too, in our familiar old England. But because the good guys won the war against fascism, his warnings were ignored.

We are now in Britain, U.S. and Australia actually living in an information warfare world that has disturbing echoes of the world that Orwell wrote about. The essence of information control is the effective state management of two elements, trust and fear , to generate and uphold a particular view of truth. Truth, trust and fear : these are the three key elements, now as 100 years ago in WWI Britain.

People who work or have worked close to government – in departments, politics, the armed forces, or top universities – mostly accept whatever they understand at the time to be 'the government view' of truth. Whether for reasons of organisational loyalty, career prudence or intellectual inertia, it is usually this way around governments. It is why moral issues like the Vietnam War and the U.S.-led 2003 invasion of Iraq were so distressing for people of conscience working in or close to government and military jobs in Canberra. They were expected to engage in 'doublethink' as Orwell had described it:

Even in Winston's nightmare world, there were still choices – to retreat into the non-political world of the proles, or to think forbidden thoughts and read forbidden books. These choices involved large risks and punishments. It was easier and safer for most people to acquiesce in the fake news they were fed by state-controlled media.

'Trust, Truth and False Narratives'

Fairfax journalist Andrew Clark, in the Australian Financial Review , in an essay optimistically titled "Not fake news: Why truth and trust are still in good shape in Australia", (AFR Dec. 22, 2018), cited Professor William Davies thus:

"Most of the time, the edifice that we refer to as "truth" is really an investment of trust in our structures of politics and public life' 'When trust sinks below a certain point, many people come to view the entire spectacle of politics and public life as a sham."

Here is my main point: Effective information warfare requires the creation of enough public trust to make the public believe that state-supported lies are true.

The key tools are repetition of messages, and diversification of trusted voices. Once a critical mass is created of people believing a false narrative, the lie locks in: its dissemination becomes self-sustaining.

Caitlin Johnstone a few days ago put it this way:

" Power is being able to control what happens. Absolute power is being able to control what people think about what happens. If you can control what happens, you can have power until the public gets sick of your BS and tosses you out on your ass. If you can control what people think about what happens, you can have power forever. As long as you can control how people are interpreting circumstances and events, there's no limit to the evils you can get away with."

The Internet has made propaganda campaigns that used to take weeks or months a matter of hours or even minutes to accomplish. It is about getting in quickly, using large enough clusters of trusted and diverse sources, in order to cement lies in place, to make the lies seem true, to magnify them through social messaging: in other words, to create credible false narratives that will quickly get into the public's bloodstream.

Over the past two years, I have seen this work many times: on issues like framing Russia for the MH17 tragedy; with false allegations of Assad mounting poison gas attacks in Syria; with false allegations of Russian agents using lethal Novichok to try to kill the Skripals in Salisbury; and with the multiple lies of Russiagate.

It is the mind-numbing effect of constant repetition of disinformation by many eminent people and agencies, in hitherto trusted channels like the BBC or ABC or liberal Anglophone print media that gives the system its power to persuade the credulous. For if so many diverse and reputable people repeatedly report such negative news and express such negative judgements about Russia or China or Iran or Syria, surely they must be right?

We have become used to reading in our quality newspapers and hearing on the BBC and ABC and SBS gross assaults on truth, calmly presented as accepted facts. There is no real public debate on important facts in contention any more. There are no venues for dissent outside contrarian social media sites.

Sometimes, false narratives inter-connect. Often a disinformation narrative in one area is used to influence perceptions in other areas. For example, the false Skripals poisoning story was launched by British intelligence in March 2018, just in time to frame Syrian President Assad as the guilty party in a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma the following month.

The Skripals Gambit

The Skripals gambit was also a failed British attempt to blight the Russia –hosted Football World Cup in June 2018. In the event, hundreds of thousands of Western sports fans returned home with the warmest memories of Russian good sportsmanship and hospitality.

How do I know the British Skripals narrative is false? For a start, it is illogical, incoherent, and constantly changes. Allegedly, two visiting Russian FSB agents in March 2018 sprayed or smeared Novichok, a deadly toxin instantly lethal in the most microscopic quantities, on the Skripals' house front doorknob. There is no video footage of the Skripals at their front door on the day. We are told they were found slumped on a park bench, and that is maybe where they had been sprayed with nerve gas? Shortly afterwards, Britain's Head of Army Nursing who happened to be passing by found them, and supervised their hospitalisation and emergency treatment.

Allegedly, much of Salisbury was contaminated by Novichok, and one unfortunate woman mysteriously died weeks later, yet the Skripals somehow did not die, as we are told. But where are they now? We saw a healthy Yulia in a carefully scripted video interview released in May 2018, after an alleged 'one in a million' recovery. We were assured her father had recovered too, but nobody has seen him at all. The Skripals have simply disappeared from sight since 16 months ago. Are they now alive or dead? Are they in voluntary or involuntary British custody?

A month after the poisoning, the UK Government sent biological samples from the Skripals to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons , for testing. The OPCW sent the samples to a trusted OPCW laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland.

Lavrov Spiez BZ claims, April 2018

A few days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dramatically announced in Moscow that the Spiez lab had found in the samples a temporary-effect nerve agent BZ, used by U.S. and UK but not by Russia, that would have disabled the Skripals for a few days without killing them. He also revealed the Spiez lab had found that the Skripal samples had been twice tampered with while still in UK custody: first soon after the poisoning, and again shortly before passing them to the OPCW. He said the Spiez lab had found a high concentration of Novichok, which he called A- 234, in its original form. This was extremely suspicious as A-234 has high volatility and could not have retained its purity over a two weeks period. The dosage the Spiez lab found in the samples would have surely killed the Skripals. The OPCW under British pressure rejected Lavrov's claim, and suppressed the Spiez lab report.

Let's look finally at the alleged assassins.

'Boshirov and Petrov'

These two FSB operatives who visited Salisbury under the false identities of 'Boshirov' and 'Petrov' did not look or behave like credible assassins. It is more likely that they were sent to negotiate with Sergey Skripal about his rumoured interest in returning to Russia. They needed to apply for UK visas a month in advance of travel: ample time for the British agencies to identify them as FSB operatives, and to construct a false attempted assassination narrative around their visit. This false narrative repeatedly trips over its own lies and contradictions. British social media are full of alternative theories and rebuttals. Russians find the whole British Government Skripal narrative laughable. They have invented comedy skits and video games based on it. Yet it had major impact on Russia-West relations.

The Douma False Narrative

I turn now to the claimed Assad chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018.This falsely alleged attack triggered a major NATO air attack on Syrian targets, ordered by Trump. We came close to WWIII in these dangerous days. Thanks to the restraint of the then Secretary of Defence James Mattis and his Russian counterparts, the risk was contained.

The allegation that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used outlawed chemical weapons against his own people was based solely on the evidence of faked video images of child victims, made by the discredited White Helmets, a UK-sponsored rebel-linked 'humanitarian' propaganda organisation with much blood on its hands. Founded in 2013 by a British private security specialist of intelligence background, James Le Mesurier, the White Helmets specialised in making fake videos of alleged Assad regime war crimes against Syrian civilians. It is by now a thoroughly discredited organisation that was prepared to kill its prisoners and then film their bodies as alleged victims of government chemical attacks.

White Helmets

As the town of Douma was about to fall to advancing Syrian Government forces, the White Helmets filled a room with stacked corpses of murdered prisoners, and photographed them as alleged victims of aerial gas attack. They also made a video alleging child victims of this attack being hosed down by White Helmets. A video of a child named Hassan Diab went viral all over the Western world.

Hassan Diab later testified publicly in The Hague that he had been dragged terrified from his family by force, smeared with some sort of grease, and hosed down with water as part of a fake video. He went from hero to zero overnight, as Western governments and media rejected his testimony as Russian and Syrian propaganda.

In a late development, there is proof that the OPCW suppressed its own engineers' report from Douma that the alleged poison gas cylinders could not have possibly been dropped from the air through the roof of the house where one was found, resting on a bed under a convenient hole in the roof.

I could go on discussing the detail of such false narratives all day. No matter how often they are exposed by critics, our politicians and mainstream media go on referencing them as if they are true. Once people have come to believe false narratives, it is hard to refute them.

So it is with the false narrative that Russian internet interference enabled Trump to win the 2016 U.S. presidential elections: a thesis for which no evidence was found by [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, yet continues to be cited by many U.S. liberal Democratic media as if it were true. So, even, with MH17.

Managing Mass Opinion

This mounting climate of Western Russophobia is not accidental: it is strategically directed, and it is nourished with regular maintenance doses of fresh lies. Each round of lies provides a credible platform for the next round somewhere else. The common thread is a claimed malign Russian origin for whatever goes wrong.

So where is all this disinformation originating? Information technology firms in Washington and London that are closely networked into government elites, often through attending the same establishment schools or colleges like Eton and Yale, have closely studied and tested the science of influencing crowd opinions through mainstream media and online. They know, in a way that Orwell or Goebbels could hardly have dreamt, how to put out and repeat desired media messages. They know what sizes of 'internet attraction nodes' need to be established online, in order to create diverse critical masses of credible Russophobic messaging, which then attracts enough credulous and loyal followers to become self-propagating.

Firms like the SCL Group (formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories) and the now defunct Cambridge Analytica pioneered such work in the UK. There are many similar firms in Washington, all in the business of monitoring, generating and managing mass opinion. It is big business, and it works closely with the national security state.

Starting in November 2018, an enterprising group of unknown hackers in the UK , who go by the name 'Anonymous', opened a remarkable window into this secret world. Over a few weeks, they hacked and dumped online a huge volume of original documents issued by and detailing the activities of the Institute for Statecraft (IfS) and the Integrity initiative (II). Here is the first page of one of their dumps, exposing propaganda against Jeremy Corbyn.

We know from this material that the IfS and II are two secret British disinformation networks operating at arms' length from but funded by the UK security services and broader UK government establishment. They bring together high-ranking military and intelligence personnel, often nominally retired, journalists and academics, to produce and disseminate propaganda that serves the agendas of the UK and its allies.

Stung by these massive leaks, Chris Donnelly, a key figure in IfS and II and a former British Army intelligence officer, made a now famous seven-minute YouTube video in December 2018, artfully filmed in a London kitchen, defending their work.

He argued – quite unconvincingly in my opinion – that IfS and II are simply defending Western societies against disinformation and malign influence, primarily from Russia. He boasted how they have set up in numerous targeted European countries, claimed to be under attack from Russian disinformation, what he called 'clusters of influence' , to 'educate' public opinion and decision-makers in pro-NATO and anti-Russian directions.

Donnelly spoke frankly on how the West is already at war with Russia, a 'new kind of warfare', in which he said 'everything becomes a weapon'. He said that 'disinformation is the issue which unites all the other weapons in this conflict and gives them a third dimension'.

He said the West has to fight back, if it is to defend itself and to prevail.

We can confirm from the Anonymous leaked files the names of many people in Europe being recruited into these clusters of influence. They tend to be significant people in journalism, publishing, universities and foreign policy think-tanks: opinion-shapers. The leaked documents suggest how ideologically suitable candidates are identified: approached for initial screening interviews; and, if invited to join a cluster of influence, sworn to secrecy.

Remarkably, neither the Anonymous disclosures nor the Donnelly response have ever been reported in Australian media. Even in Britain – where evidence that the Integrity Initiative was mounting a campaign against [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn provoked brief media interest. The story quickly disappeared from mainstream media and the BBC. A British under-foreign secretary admitted in Parliamentary Estimates that the UK Foreign Office subsidises the Institute of Statecraft to the tune of nearly 3 million pounds per year. It also gives various other kinds of non-monetary assistance, e.g. providing personnel and office support in Britain's overseas embassies.

This is not about traditional spying or seeking agents of influence close to governments. It is about generating mass disinformation, in order to create mass climates of belief.

In my opinion, such British and American disinformation efforts, using undeclared clusters of influence, through Five Eyes intelligence-sharing, and possibly with the help of British and American diplomatic missions, may have been in operation in Australia for many years.

Such networks may have been used against me since around mid-2017, to limit the commercial outreach of my book and the impact of its dangerous ideas on the need for East-West detente; and efficiently to suppress my voice in Australian public discourse about Russia and the West. Do I have evidence for this? Yes.

It is not coincidence that the Melbourne Writers Festival in August 2017 somehow lost all my sign-and-sell books from my sold-out scheduled speaking event; that a major debate with [Australian writer and foreign policy analyst] Bobo Lo at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne was cancelled by his Australian sponsor, the Lowy institute, two weeks before the advertised date; that my last invitation to any writers festival was 15 months ago, in May 2018; that Return to Moscow was not shortlisted for any Australian book prize, though I entered it in all of them ; that since my book's early promotion ended around August 2017, I have not been invited to join any ABC discussion panels, or to give any talks on Russia in any universities or institutes, apart from the admirable Australian Institute of International Affairs and the ISAA.

My articles and shorter opinion commentaries on Russia and the West have not been published in mainstream media or in reputable online journals like Eureka Street, The Conversation, Inside Story or Australian Book Review . Despite being an ANU Emeritus Fellow, I have not been invited to give a public talk or join any panel in ANU (Australian National University) or any Canberra think tank. In early 2018, I was invited to give a private briefing to a group of senior students travelling on an immersion course to Russia. I was not invited back in 2019, after high-level private advice within ANU that I was regarded as too pro-Putin.

In all these ways – none overt or acknowledged – my voice as an open-minded writer and speaker on Russia-West relations seems to have been quietly but effectively suppressed in Australia. I would like to be proved wrong on this, but the evidence is there.

This may be about "velvet-glove deterrence" of my Russia-sympathetic voice and pen, in order to discourage others, especially those working in or close to government. Nobody is going to put me in jail, unless I am stupid enough to violate Australia's now strict foreign influence laws. This deterrence is about generating fear of consequences for people still in their careers, paying their mortgages, putting kids through school. Nobody wants to miss their next promotion.

There are other indications that Australian national security elite opinion has been indoctrinated prudently to fear and avoid any kind of public discussion of positive engagement with Russia (or indeed, with China).

There are only two kinds of news about Russia now permitted in our mainstream media, including the ABC and SBS: negative news and comment, or silence. Unless a story can be given an anti-Russian sting, it will not be carried at all. Important stories are simply spiked, like last week's Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivistok, chaired by President Putin and attended by Prime Ministers Abe, Mahathir and Modi, among 8500 participants from 65 countries.

The ABC idea of a balanced panel to discuss any Russian political topic was exemplified in an ABC Sunday Extra Roundtable panel chaired by Eleanor Hall on July, 22 2018, soon after the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki. The panel – a former ONA Russia analyst, a professor of Soviet and Russian History at Melbourne University, and a Russian émigré dissident journalist introduced as the 'Washington correspondent for Echo of Moscow radio' spent most of their time sneering at Putin and Trump. There were no other views.

A powerful anti-Russian news narrative is now firmly in place in Australia, on every topic in contention: Ukraine, MH17, Crimea, Syria, the Skripals, Navalny and public protest in Russia. There is ill-informed criticism of Russia, or silence, on the crucial issues of arms control and Russia-China strategic and economic relations as they affect Australia's national security or economy. There is no analysis of the negative impact on Australia of economic sanctions against Russia. There is almost no discussion of how improved relations with China and Russia might contribute to Australia's national security and economic welfare, as American influence in the world and our region declines, and as American reliability as an ally comes more into question. Silence on inconvenient truths is an important part of the disinformation tool kit.

I see two overall conflicting narratives – the prevailing Anglo-American false narrative; and valiant efforts by small groups of dissenters, drawing on sources outside the Anglo-American official narrative, to present another narrative much closer to truth. And this is how most Russians now see it too.

The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July 2018 was damaged by the Skripal and Syria fabrications. Trump left that summit friendless, frightened and humiliated. He soon surrendered to the power of the U.S. imperial state as then represented by [Mike] Pompeo and [John] Bolton, who had both been appointed as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in April 2018 and who really got into their stride after the Helsinki Summit. Pompeo now smoothly dominates Trump's foreign policy.

Self-Inflicted Wounds

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Gage Skidmore)

Finally, let me review the American political casualties over the past two years – self-inflicted wounds – arising from this secret information war against Russia. Let me list them without prejudging guilt or innocence. Slide 20 – Self-inflicted wounds: casualties of anti-Russian information warfare.

Trump's first National Security Adviser, the highly decorated Michael Flynn lost his job after only three weeks, and soon went to jail. His successor H R McMaster lasted 13 months until replaced by John Bolton. Trump's first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lasted just 14 months until his replacement by Trump's appointed CIA chief (in January 2017) Mike Pompeo. Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon lasted only seven months. Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now in jail.

Defence Secretary James Mattis lasted nearly two years as Secretary of Defence, and was an invaluable source of strategic stability. He resigned in December 2018. The highly capable Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman lasted just two years: he is resigning next month. John Kelly lasted 18 months as White House Chief of Staff. Less senior figures like George Papadopoulos and Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen both served jail time. The pattern I see here is that people who may have been trying responsibly as senior U.S. officials to advance Trump's initial wish to explore possibilities for detente with Russia – policies that he had advocated as a candidate – were progressively purged, one after another . The anti-Russian U.S. bipartisan imperial state is now firmly back in control. Trump is safely contained as far as Russia is concerned .

Russians do not believe that any serious detente or arms control negotiations can get under way while cold warriors like Pompeo continue effectively to control Trump. There have been other casualties over the past two years of tightening American Russophobia. Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning come to mind. The naive Maria Butina is a pathetic victim of American judicial rigidity and deep state vindictiveness.

False anti-Russian Government narratives emanating from London and Washington may be laughed at in Moscow , but they are unquestioningly accepted in Canberra. We are the most gullible of audiences. There is no critical review. Important contrary factual information and analysis from and about Russia just does not reach Australian news reporting and commentary, nor – I fear – Australian intelligence assessment. We are prisoners of the false narratives fed to us by our senior Five Eyes partners U.S. and UK.

To conclude: Some people may find what I am saying today difficult to accept. I understand this. I now work off open-source information about Russia with which many people here are unfamiliar, because they prefer not to read the diverse online information sources that I choose to read. The seesaw has tilted for me: I have clearly moved a long way from mainstream Western perceptions on Russia-West relations.

Under Trump and Pompeo, as the Syria and Iran crises show, the present risk of global nuclear war by accident or incompetent Western decision-making is as high as it ever was in the Cold War. The West needs to learn again how to dialogue usefully and in mutually respectful ways with Russia and China. This expert knowledge is dying with our older and wiser former public servants and ex-military chiefs.

These remarks were delivered by Tony Kevin at the Independent Scholars Association of Australia in Canberra, Australia on Wednesday.

Watch Tony Kevin interviewed Friday night on CN Live!

Tony Kevin is a retired Australian diplomat who was posted to Moscow from 1969 to 1971, and was later Australia's ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. His latest book is Return to Moscow, published by UWA Publishing.


Bruce , September 17, 2019 at 08:58

Excellent article. It's very interesting to see how the state and its media lackey set the narrative.

Most of this comment relates to the Skripals but also applies to other matters (the Skripals writing was some of Craig Murray's finest work in my opinion). One of the hallmarks of a hoax is a constantly evolving storyline. I think governments have learned from past "mistakes" with their hoaxes/deception where they've given a description of events and then scientists/engineers/chemists etc have come in and criticised their version of events with details and scientific arguments. Nowadays, governments are very reluctant to commit to a version of events, and instead rely on the media (their propaganda assets) to provide a scattergun set of information to muddy the waters and thoroughly confuse the population. The government is then insulated from some of the more bizarre allegations (the headlines of which are absorbed nonetheless), and can blame it on the media (who would use an anonymous government source naturally). Together with classifying just about everything on national security grounds, they can stonewall for as long as they want.

The British are masters of propaganda. They maintained a global empire for a very long time, and the prevailing view (in the west at least) was probably one of tea-drinking cricket playing colonials/gentlemen. But you don't maintain an empire without being absolutely ruthless and brutal. They've been doing this for a very long time.

When we hear something from the BBC or ABC, we should think "State Media".
That's probably why its got a nice folksy nickname of "aunty" .build up the trust.

Leslie Louis , September 17, 2019 at 04:00

Society is suffering the extreme paradox; there is the potential for everyone to have a voice, but the last vestiges of free speech have been whittled away. Fake news is universal, assisted by the fake "left". It is impossible to get published any challenge to even the most outlandish versions of identity politics. As the experience of Tony Kevin exemplifies, all avenues for dissent against hegemonic orthodoxies are closed off.
Disinformation is now an essential weapon in waging hot and cold wars. Cold War historians are well informed on false flags, "black ops", and other organised dirty tactics. I do not know what happened to the Skripals, and while it is legitimate to bear in mind KGB assassinations, despite the enormous resources at its disposal, the English security state has been unable to construct a credible case. Surely scepticism is provoked by the leading role being played by the notorious Bellingcat outfit.

Zenobia van Dongen , September 17, 2019 at 00:29

Here is part of an eyewitness account:
"After the Orange Revolution which began in Kiev, the country was divided literally into two parts -- the supporters of integration with Russia and the supporters of an independent Ukraine. For almost 100 years belonging to the Soviet Union, the propaganda about the assistance and care from our "big brother" Russia, in Ukraine as a whole and the Donbass in particular has borne fruit. At the end of February 2014, some cities of the Southeast part were boiling with mass social and political protest against the new Ukrainian government in defense of the status of the Russian language, voicing separatist and pro-Russian slogans. The division took place in our city of Sloviansk too. Some people stood for separation from Ukraine, while Ukrainian patriots stood for the unity of our country.
On April 12, 2014 our city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region was seized by Russian mercenaries and local volunteers. From that moment onward, armed assaults on state institutions began. The city police department, the Sloviansk City Hall, the building of the Ukraine Security Service was occupied. Armed militants seized state institutions and confiscated private property. They threatened and beat people, and those who refused to obey were taken away to an unknown destination and people started disappearing. The persecution and abduction of patriotic citizens began."

Michael McNulty , September 16, 2019 at 11:36

Watching Vietnam news coverage as a kid in the '60s I noticed the planes carpet-bombing South East Asia were American, not Russian. And as I only watched the footage and never listened to the commentary (I was waiting for the kids programs that followed) the BS they came out with to explain it all never reached me. I saw with my own eyes what the US really was and is, and always believed growing up they were the belligerent side not Russia. Once the USSR fell it was clear there were no longer any constraints on US excesses.

dean 1000 , September 15, 2019 at 18:17

Doublethink, not to mention doublespeak, is so apt to describe what is happening. If Orwell was writing today it would have to be classified as non-fiction.

Free speech is impossible unless every election district has a radio/TV station where candidates, constituents, and others can debate, discuss and speak to the issues without bending a knee to large campaign contributors or the controllers of corporate or government media. It may start with low-power pirate radio/TV broadcasts. No, the pirate speakers will not have to climb a cell tower to broadcast an opinion to the neighborhood or precinct.
If genuine free speech is going to exist it will start as something unauthorized and unlawful. If it sticks to the facts it will quickly prove its value.

Download a free pdf copy of '1984.' https://www.planetebook.com/free-ebooks/1984.pdf

Njegos , September 15, 2019 at 03:39

Excellent article. The only exhibit missing was reference to Bill Browder's lies. Browder's rubbish has been exposed by intrepid journalists and documentary makers such as Andrei Nekrasov, Sasha Krainer and Lucy Komisar but to read or listen to our media, you'd think BB was some sort of human rights hero. That's because BB's fairy tale fits nicely into the MSM's hatred of Putin and Russia. Debunk Browder and a major pillar of anti-Russia prejudice collapses. Therefore, Browder will never face any serious questions by the MSM.

John A , September 16, 2019 at 09:18

judges of the European Court of Human Rights published a judgement a fortnight ago which utterly exploded the version of events promulgated by Western governments and media in the case of the late Mr Magnitskiy. Yet I can find no truthful report of the judgement in the mainstream media at all.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/09/the-magnitskiy-myth-exploded/

MSM propaganda by omission. Anything that doesn't fit the government narrative gets zero publicity.

Jim Ingram , September 14, 2019 at 21:12

Well said and needing to be said Tony.

Mr. Dan , September 14, 2019 at 19:41

I have stopped following australian mainstream media including the darlings of the 'left' ABC/SBS over a decade ago, completely. My disgust with their 'coverage' of the 2008 GFC was more than enough. Since 2008-9 things have deteriorated drastically into conspiracy theory propaganda by omission la-la land *it seems*, given I don't tune in at all.

The author has a well supported view. I find it a little naive in him thinking that the MSM has that much power over shaping public opinion in australia.

People who want to be informed do so. The half intelligent conformists on hamster wheel of lifetime mortgage debt have 'careers' to hold onto, so parroting the group think or living in ignorance is much easier. The massive portion of australian racists, inbred bogans and idiots that make up the large LNP, One Nation etc. voting block are completely beyond salvation or ability to process, and critically evaluate any information. The smarter ones drool on about the 'UN Agenda 21' conspiracy at best. Utterly hopeless.

I don't expect things to change as the australian economy is slowly hollowed out by the rich, and the education system (that has always been about conforming, wearing school uniform and regurgitating what the teacher/lecturer says at best) is gutted completely. Welcome to australistan.

Fran Macadam , September 14, 2019 at 19:21

Note that the prohibition against false propaganda to indoctrinate the domestic population by the American government was lifted by President Obama at the tail end of his administration. The Executive Order legalizes all the deceptive behavior Tony itemizes in his article.

Josep , September 17, 2019 at 04:10

I thought it was Reagan who did that by abolishing the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. At least in terms of television and radio (?) broadcasts.

Stephen Morrell , September 14, 2019 at 19:02

Thank you Tony for your thoughtful talk (and interview on CN Live! too).

What's encouraging is this cohort of what might be called 'millennial journalists' coming through willing to do 'shoe-leather' journalism and stand up to smears and flack for revealing uncomfortable facts and truth. They're the online 5th estate holding the 4th to account (to steal Ray McGovern's apt view), and they're congealing against the onslaught.

Some include Max Blumenthal and Rania Kahlek (both now being pilloried by MSM and others for visiting Syrian government held areas and reporting that life isn't hellish as MSM would have everyone believe heaven forbid); Vanessa Bealey who's exposed a lot of White Helmet horrors and false-flag attacks in Syria (and being attacked by all and sundry for exposing the White Helmets in particular); Abby Martin whose Empire Files are excellent and always edifying; Dan Cohen who has written the best expose of the actors behind the Hong Kong rioting and co-authored the best expose of the background of Guaido et al.; Whitney Webb of Mint Press whose series on Epstein is overwhelming and likely a ticking timebomb; Caitlin Johnstone of course; and Aaron 'Buzzsaw' Mate who made his first mark with a wonderful takedown interview of Russiaphobe MI6 shill Luke Harding. Others too of course, with most appearing or having