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Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
and Alliance of Transnational Elites

Neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization

Who Rules America > Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism

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Fifth Column of Globalization Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries US Department of Imperial Expansion Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
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Introduction

All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education, by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.

Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS

Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig

The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and/or official are corrupted, and/or the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install). They use the installed puppets to mandate austerity, burden the country with debt  and facilitate condition under which most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West.

But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):

After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interests. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant) or by arming and training  jihadists (using Saudi and Gulf monarchies money) and tribal elements to depose the government (Libya and Syria variants) who kill as much, if nor more. 

A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine,  Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece. 

In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)

In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse, imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilize the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.

This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperialist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions.

This ambitious power project centered on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.

...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.

...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model.

In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenda, limits the possible outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.

In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.

Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.

The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both  population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or.

So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil"  escape the current plato,  Western financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival.  Essentially they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability.  That connection was discovered by Hyman Minsky. Minsky explored a form of instability that is embedded in neoliberal/financialized economies resulting from the use of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. he argued that such an economy automatically generates bubbles, bursting of which result in periodic deep economic crisis. Which are not an exception, but a feature of neoliberal capitalism (aka "supercapitalism", or "casino capitalism).  

When Minsky crisis hits  some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony...  Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves thus serves as a substitute for economic growth.

What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. For example after EuroMaydan color revolution the standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level of the most poor countries of Africa  (less then $2 a day for the majority of population).

This is a pretty instructive example.   It qlso cur domestic consumption of fuels and minerals, consumer goods, and food.  As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced them directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages). But the currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. For example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 28 grivna to dollar, or approximately 350%.

This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” (facilitated by a huge foreign debt) to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy. This is the essence of the status of debt slave country. Civil war it a perfect tool to accelerate this process. 

Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar now can be called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that is a grim reality of "debt slave" countries, where populations are indentured laborers of international capital. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender" ( Wikipedia ):

An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.

The whole point of creating debt is to gain control of and rule over such countries.  Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this point admirably.

At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, all rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.

Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia

Henry C K Liu Views

One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM


PART 1: A Structural Link

Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).

Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.

Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".

The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.

The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.

Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.

A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.

In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.

Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.

Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.

Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.

Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).

Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism:

"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).

Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.

The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.

Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire.

No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.

Monetary Imperialism and Dollar Hegemony

Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for  international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.

Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.

The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.

The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.

Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.

The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.

Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.

Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.

Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.

The victimization of Japan and China

Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.

China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.

The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.

Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.

Emerging markets are new colonies of monetary imperialism

Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.

Denial of corporate social responsibility

In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.

Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.

Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.

Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.

Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".

Marx's concept of Fetishism of Commodities

Marx wrote in Das Kapital:[1]

The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.
Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.

Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.

Democracy threatened by the corporate state

While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.

Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.

High pay for CEOs

Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.

Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.

The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)

Superman capitalism

As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.

Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.

System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.

An introduction to economic populism

To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".

The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.

And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."

Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.

Inequality only a new worry?

But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.

It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.

The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.

Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.

Carter the granddaddy of deregulation

The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.

The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.

Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.

Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.

After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.

In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.

Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.

Reagan's anti-government fixation

The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.

Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.

According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.

Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.

Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".

Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".

Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.

The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.

Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.

Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.

Clinton and telecommunications deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.

Regulation Q

The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.

The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.

The party of Lincoln taken over by corporate interests

During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.

New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.

Note
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.

Next: PART 2: Global war on labor

Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.

Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu

Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]

William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.

Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.

Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.

In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."

The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.

Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...

Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)

Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal, May 24, 2006

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This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)

Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)

It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.

The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.

It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.

The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.

In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."

I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.

Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.

If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.

If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.

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Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

An awkward argument with moments of brilliance, November 3, 2004

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Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.

Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.

What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.

The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".

I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.

And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?

My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.

It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.

The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.

Samuel Brittan: The wrong kind of Third Way

FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.

During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.

It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.

Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.

But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".

Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".

I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.

Supercapitalism The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy, September 17, 2007

By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)

According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.

Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."

As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.

This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.

The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.

Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.

It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.

I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.

Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us

Aftershock The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:

"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.

Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.

Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:

"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."

I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.

His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.

This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.

Finance is a form of imperial warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.

The Great Deception

In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.

Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.

Trade for life

Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.

The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.

Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.

His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.

Web of Deceit

In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.

Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.

Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.

Unpeople

In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.

Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.

Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.

Alliance of transnational elites

From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.

While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.

Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti

Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti

By Michael Parenti

24 June, 2011
Michaelparenti.org

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

Across the Entire Globe

By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.

The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.

Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.

The Dynamic of Capital Expansion

Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.

Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.

Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.

North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.

Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.

Not Necessary, Just Compelling

Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.

The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.

Myths of Underdevelopment

The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.

The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.

Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.

We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.

What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.

More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.

It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.

Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.

This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.

Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.

Artificially Converted to Poverty

What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.

Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.

Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.

Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.

Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.

Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).

Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.

In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.

Development Theory

When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.

According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.

This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.

People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.

The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.

Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream

Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.

Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.

After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.

Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.

After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.

The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.

In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.

In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.

Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/


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[Dec 14, 2019] Spotlight on defense authorization bill: Saudi Arabia wins big with assist from Kushner

Dec 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

barrisj , December 13, 2019 at 3:35 pm

From al-Monitor's ME lobbying update note:

Spotlight on defense authorization bill: Saudi Arabia wins big with assist from Kushner

The White House secured a major reprieve for Saudi Arabia this week by convincing Congress to drop several provisions from its annual defense bill before the House passed it on Wednesday. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week. Gone are sanctions on key Saudi officials for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and restrictions on US support for Riyadh's campaign in Yemen. The New York Times reports that President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner – who reportedly maintains a direct WhatsApp line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – played a key role in the negotiations.

The United Arab Emirates also came out ahead as the final bill removes language taking aim at the $8 billion in emergency arms sales to Gulf countries that Trump authorized in May citing the threat of Iran. The UAE had lobbied against these provisions and also opposed calls for a report detailing the "military activities" of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other international actors in Libya. . The final bill no longer singles out specific countries but still requires "a detailed description of the military activities of external actors" in the country.

https://linkst.al-monitor.com/view/5d1841f924c17c7feec17e30b8vfs.u9/46c21583

We always stick by our friends, through thick and thin and murder, and war crimes, and terrorism, and well, all of it. After all, what are friends for?

[Dec 14, 2019] Why Do They Hate Us? by Jacob G. Hornberger

Dec 10, 2019 | www.fff.org

The recent shootings of three U.S. soldiers in Florida at the hands of a Saudi citizen raises a standard question in the U.S. government's perpetual "war on terrorism": "Why do they hate us?"

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, the official mantra began being issued: The terrorists just hate us for our "freedom and values." No other explanation for motive was to be considered. If anyone suggested an alternative motive -- such as "They are retaliating for U.S. governmental killings over there" -- U.S. officials and interventionists would immediately go on the attack, heaping a mountain of calumny on that person, accusing him of treason, hating America, loving the terrorists, and justifying their attacks.

It happened to me and other libertarians who dared to challenge the official motive behind the 9/11 attacks. Shortly after the attacks, I spoke at a freedom conference in Arizona consisting of both libertarians and conservatives. When I pointed out that the attacks were the predictable consequence of a foreign policy that kills people over there, another of the speakers was filled with anger and rage over such an "unpatriotic" suggestion. Then, a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks, FFF published an article by me entitled, " Is This the Wrong Time to Question Foreign Policy? " in which I pointed out the role that U.S. interventionism had played in the attacks. FFF was hit with the most nasty and angry attacks I have ever seen.

Eighteen years later, the evidence is virtually conclusive that the reason that the United States has been suffering a constant, never-ending threat of terrorism is because U.S. military and CIA forces have been killing people in the Middle East and Afghanistan since at least the end of the Cold War, and even before.

After all, if the terrorists hate us for our "freedom and values," why haven't they been attacking the Swiss? They have pretty much the same freedom and values that Americans have. And they are much closer geographically to Middle East terrorists than the United States is. Why haven't the terrorists been attacking them?

The answer is simple: the Swiss government, unlike the U.S. government, hasn't been killing, maiming, and injuring people and hasn't been bombing and destroying countries in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

A long history of U.S. interventionism

U.S. interventions in the Middle East began, of course, long before the 9/11 attacks. There was the 1953 CIA coup that destroyed Iran's experiment with democracy with a coup that replaced the democratically elected prime minister of the country with a tyrannical pro-U.S. dictator. Not surprisingly, that produced the violent Iranian revolution almost 25 years later. The Iranian revolutionaries didn't hate America for its "freedom and values." They hated America for the U.S. government's installation, training, and support of the tyrannical regime against which they revolted.

In the 1980s, there was the sending of U.S. troops into Lebanon as interventionist "peacekeepers." The terrorists ended up blowing up a Marine barracks, killing 241 U.S. soldiers. The terrorists didn't hate America for its "freedom and values." They hated America for the federal government's interventionism into Lebanon. As soon as all U.S. troops were withdrawn from Lebanon, which was the right thing to do, there were obviously no more deaths of U.S. soldiers in that country.

It was after the Pentagon and the CIA lost their official Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union (i.e., Russia), that they proceeded headlong into the Middle East and began killing multitudes of people. There was the Persian Gulf War, waged without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war, where thousands of Iraqis were killed or injured. That was followed by a decade of brutal sanctions against Iraq, which contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

Thus, when Ramzi Yousef, one of the terrorists who tried to bring down the World Trade Center with a bomb in 1993, appeared before a federal judge for sentencing, he angrily told the judge that it was U.S. officials who were the butchers, for killing multitudes of innocent children in Iraq.

As those Iraqi children were dying, there were retaliatory terrorist strikes on the USS Cole and the U.S. embassies in East Africa. Once again, however, U.S. officials continued to steadfastly maintain that was all about hatred for America's "freedom and values" and had nothing to do with the deadly and destructive U.S. interventionism in the Middle East.

Then came Osama bin Laden's declaration of war against the United States, in which he expressly cited U.S. interventionism in the Middle East as his motivating factor. That was followed by the 9/11 attacks, along with other terrorist attacks both here and abroad. Through it all, U.S. officials and interventionists have blindly maintained that the terrorists hate us for our "freedom and values," not because the U.S. government kills, maims, injures, and destroys people over there.

The recent Florida killings

And now we have the latest killing spree, this one at the hands of a Saudi citizen in Florida. According to a story in yesterday's Washington Post about the killing of three U.S. soldiers, the killer, Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani was described as "strange" and "angry." "He looked like he was angry at the world," said one person who knew him. Another said that he looked at people in an "angry, challenging" way.

The article says that "the FBI has not yet determined a motive for the mass shooting."

Well, of course it hasn't. That's undoubtedly because the FBI hasn't yet found any statements in which the killer states that he hates America for its "freedom and values."

But the Post article does point out something quite interesting. The article states: "The gunman, who was shot dead by a sheriff's deputy responding to the shooting, is thought to have written a 'will' that was posted to the account a few hours before the rampage. In it, he blasts U.S. policies in Muslim countries."

Well, isn't that interesting! Unfortunately, the Post didn't provide a verbatim transcript of the killer's "will" in which he "blasts U.S. policies in the Muslim countries." The Post does point out though that "the writer says he does not dislike Americans per se -- 'I don't hate you because of your freedoms,' he begins -- but that he hates U.S. policies that he views as anti-Muslim and 'evil.'"

I n an article at antiwar.com entitled, " Pensacola: Blowback Terrorism ," Scott Horton provides a verbatim transcript of the killer's "will," in which the killer states in part:

I'm not against you for just being American, I don't hate you for your freedom, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding, and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity. I am against evil, and America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil. What I see from America is the supporting of Israel which is invasion of Muslim countrie, I see invasion of many countries by it's troops, I see Guantanamo Bay. I see cruise missiles, cluster bombs and UAV.

Now, if one goes back to Ramzi Yousef's sentencing hearing in 1995 -- some 24 years ago -- one will see that Yousef angrily said much the same thing to the federal judge who was getting ready to sentence him to jail for his 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Americans have a choice:

One, continue the U.S. government's decades-long killing spree in the Middle East, in which case America will continue to experience never-ending terrorist retaliation, the perpetual "war on terrorism, and the ongoing destruction of our liberty and privacy at the hands of our government, which is purportedly protecting us from the terrorist threats that it produces with its foreign interventionism.

Or, two, stop U.S. forces from killing any more people, bring them all home and discharge them, which would help get America back on the right track, one toward liberty, peace, prosperity, morality, normality, and harmony with the world.

This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show Freedom Watch . View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context . Send him email .

[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 14, 2019] The military-industrial-congressional complex is largely insulated from public accountability

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
Dec 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

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.

[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] Savages, indeed. Zero accountability and Britain still playing faithful lap dog.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

cephalus , 10 Dec 2019 12:11

The US lied about the Gulf of Tonkin in order to justify attacking North Vietnam, it then proceeded to lie about the conduct of the war and the terrible genocide it was committing. No lesson learned because in a heartbeat the US was lying about Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Nicaragua and El Salvador, committing a wide range of atrocities in each.

Add Somalia, Libya, proxy wars in Angola and Yemen, efforts to destabilize Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, illegal wars in the Lebanon and Syria, the annihilation of Afghanistan in retaliation for what was actually a Saudi terrorist act, the destruction of modern Iraq and her people using trumped up claims, to say nothing of Clinton's cheery disregard for the welfare of Balkan residents when the US rained (illegal) uranium bombs down on the hapless inhabitants.

And now the WP and Congress are worked up over spending a trillion dollars when plainly they could care less about the Afghan casualties and American war crimes. Heck this goes back to Theodore Roosevelt seizing Cuba claiming he was saving it from the ravages of Spain or even further back to government backed settler land grabs "saving their white women from the savages". Savages, indeed. Zero accountability and Britain still playing faithful lap dog.

Irascible45 , 10 Dec 2019 12:08
My take on this is that the American Department of Defense war machine remained in a state of perpetual excitement after their successes in WW11.. almost as if they had to continuously invent an enemy in order to maintain their war time budget.. (and therefore demonstrate their ongoing prowess etc etc) in a cycle of wars starting with Korea and bringing us up to date with Afghanistan.. so that's nearly 70 years worth of international hubris on display.


All on the excuse of spreading their version of democracy.. is money talks!!

UnrepentantPunk -> NadaZero , 10 Dec 2019 11:57

It wasn't a mistake. It was a deliberate decision from a bunch of warmongers

The last patriotic Republican, President Dwight D Eisenhower, warned US against the military-industrial complex in his farewell address .

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

DoctorWibble , 10 Dec 2019 11:55
That both the Afghan war and the invasion of Iraq could happen at all tells us that the UN Security Council is not fit for purpose. These wars also told us that British pretense at being the voice of reason or the steadying hand that prevents US foreign policy being subsumed by the visceral and synthesised reactions of a US public is no more than empty cant.

If the US is unable to prevent foreign and defence policy being captured by money interests and remains inclined to deliver revenge to its public on demand howsoever it might be misdirected then the US should not be on the UN Security Council at all. They are fast becoming the number one major rogue state. And the outlook suggests this is more likely to get worse than improve. Whatever happens to Trump One more (and likely smarter) Trumps are coming down the track. More Dick Cheneys too. More Bushes, more Rumsfelds, more Nixons, Boltons, Kissingers, Johnsons and a host of others we'd all much rather were one offs. The US is the biggest extant threat to world peace. It is too powerful and far too easily played by warmongers and terrorists of every stripe and every persuasion. And by those seeking to profit from war.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 Dec 2019 11:54
To call war profiteering and murder a geopolitical "mistake" is to EXCUSE criminal activity.

Anyone responding to this latest revelation of military dishonest as a "mistake" is actually part of the crime. They are aiding the abettors. Everyone in Congress knows what everyone in this comments section knows: our military and its global actions are, first and foremost, a financial fraud.

thedisciple516 -> sijacks , 10 Dec 2019 11:50
But not American oil companies which were basically shut out outside of a few minor service and procurement contracts. Looks like all the "Blood for Oil" poster were BS.

The Iraq War was only partly, however, about big profits for Anglo-American oil conglomerates - that would be a bonus (one which in the end has failed to materialise - not for want of trying though).

- Nafeez Ahmen Guardian 2014

thedisciple516 -> Boltedhorse01 , 10 Dec 2019 11:42
Yes, and it made no conclusion as to whether the war was legal or not.

" The inquiry did not reach a view on the legality of the war , saying this could only be assessed by a "properly constituted and internationally recognised court", but did make a damning assessment of how the decision was made."

- Guardian 2016

Cronus Titan , 10 Dec 2019 11:40
Just think - the USA spends more on its military then the combined amount of the next 10 nations in the list (incl. China/Russia/India). That is a major major spend commitment. A small percentage of that could be used for US citizens to fund their healthcare - but I suppose they prefer to spend it to threaten and bomb other nations to their will.

Just to think - a similar report was produced post Vietnam and in the 50's even Eisenhower was worried about the US military backed by private companies becoming a perpetual spending machine.

capatriot , 10 Dec 2019 11:39

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?

Because "how the war is going" is not the operating question. Because it does not matter if the war is just or unjust, whether it's winnable or not winnable, nor whether it's supported in the "homeland" or not. No, the operating principle is that there is a war. By its existence, the war creates funding and jobs and profits for the people that matter, the people the author mentions, from the Security/Military complex corporations all the way to careerists in the Pentagon and State.

So, it is NOT a waste of $1 trillion dollars ... it is just as it was supposed to be. That is why the war president (W), the peace president (Obama), and the swamp drainer (Trump) have all supported it. The war is doing what it's supposed to do.

GraphiteCommando , 10 Dec 2019 11:36
In time, the US national debt will force them to rein in their military spending. By lowering taxes while continuing to spend like drunken sailors on military adventures the national debt is ballooning. US government debt is currently rated AA whereas Canada is AAA. US debt to GDP is significantly higher than Canada's. (and that's just Canada vs the US). Trump is trying to create a mafia style protection racket to force other countries to subsidize reckless US military spending. "Pay up or who knows what might happen?" It is high time US taxpayers ask why the US can't lower its' out of control military spending rather than pressuring others to match their profligate ways? Some US citizens say they pay low taxes but it seems they get nothing in return; no health care, no equal access to education, decaying public infrastructure, etc. The rest feel overtaxed when they realize they get nothing in return but don't question the elephant in the room. If other countries maintain responsible levels of military spending the US will dig itself deeper into debt until the debt markets force them to see sense.
DenryMachin , 10 Dec 2019 11:22
Military spending is a fine way to transfer wealth from the general population to the rich. War has always been a fabulous business opportunity, but what has never been so very clear is how, even for the winning side, it represents a major defeat as wealth is transferred from the common good into the hands of the rich.

In such matters always consider 'Who will prosper'.
Follow the money...

kropotkinsf , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Considering the United States has been involved in one war or another, directly or indirectly, for all but about 20 years of its existence, this latest revelation shouldn't shock anyone. We're a violent country with a violent history and never more so than now, with our built-on-conflict empire losing steam. We point fingers ("It's the Russians!" "It's the Chinese!" It's the Iranians!") to deceive ourselves and others, but we're the real threat to peace. Us. The United States.
CTanner52 , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Every time I see a person on the street nobly collecting 50ps or the odd fiver for a good cause like Cancer Research or some other charity, I wonder why they have to do this when the US has spent over a USD$1 trillion on the Afghan war and other militaries continue to soak up massive amounts of funding. How much more could we have achieved by now for the real good of humanity if these funds were focused on research and real human need?
damientrollope , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
Te US military has been practicing genocide around the world since WW2, millions have been murdered and still are. But hey, they are the leaders of the free world, the corruption in the US government, corporations, and military has no bounds. Their own poorer members of this society are dying in their thousands for lack of medical care, innocent black people are murdered by police, yet the greed must go on nothing else matters. The only question now being, which country will they invade next, which government will they plot to overthrow. How many will be murdered in the process, not that it matters, greed cannot be measured in dead people.
BaronVonAmericano , 10 Dec 2019 11:09
For crying out loud, it was never a mistake.

World peace and the safety of the American public has never been a priority. Entirely the opposite. Standard procedure: foment fear to wage immoral, endless, profitable war.

This isn't conjecture or "conspiracy theory"; it's as obvious as the sun rising. Anyone casting this in any other way is either behind the curve or dangerously soft pedaling -- or lying to stave off actual accountability.

Please stop pretending that our "leaders" are mistaken. They aren't They're doing the jobs for which they were paid.

manoftheworld , 10 Dec 2019 11:00
It's worse even than a crime... it's insanity to keep excusing a failed 18 year strategy costing a trillion dollars, resulting in the death of more than 100,000, and the country ending up worse than when they started. The military, politicians and the media are all to blame. The military for being too frightened and too stupid to admit they were losing and had no idea how to correct it.. the politicians for being too frightened to call out their beloved but incompetent military, and for not "getting it" after more than a trillion dollars had already been spent; the press and media for being embedded (sometimes literally) with the military and acting as no more than unquestioning cheerleaders for a self-evidently failed strategy. It is a terrible indictment of the US on so many levels... where were the public anti-war protests or activists? Couldn't they see or didn't they care? Either way it's pathetic.

Almost every year US generals stood before the media and politicians, jutting jaws and feeble minds, to say that this year was going to be decisive against the Taliban. The fact is, after Al Qaeda was scattered in 2001, the US picked on the Taliban pointlessly. They stayed pretending they were engaged in countering the return of al Qaeda (that was never going to happen) but actually made a new enemy of the Taliban by picking the wrong side in what was a civil war. The US never understood what it was trying to do so it lied and lied out of fear of being found out. I find it sickening that this country -the US - pretends it is a force for good in the world when they are quite prepared to keep killing innocent people in order to mask the generals' cowardice about facing the truth of their own incompetence.

tenientesnafu , 10 Dec 2019 10:55
A terrible but interesting dichotomy. You have Governments and a broad part of the public fiercely opposed to public spending and any kind of redistribution. It is all about the individual.

Yet they sport and actually worship an institution where the individual counts for naught. In the military it always is about the collective. They throw huge swaths of money to the military. Which is the only place in the US where dreaded universal healthcare, pensions and free education exists. Not only that, even the army shops sell goods as subsidised prices, something unthinkable outside the barracks.

lalaeuro -> GeraldLobOn , 10 Dec 2019 10:53
Entirely intentional according the PNAC document Rebuilding America's Defences, Orwellian for we're going to make a lot of pointless weapons with huge mark-ups for profit by bombing the shit out of foreigners.
kapsiolaaaaa , 10 Dec 2019 10:37
I was listening to NPR about how Veterans turned against the Vietnam war. The people of south Vietnam would collect shells and explosives that did not detonate and gave to US troops for a small financial reward. In one such case - the shell exploded killing few kids and injuring a girl. That girl was refused treatment from US medics because she was one of them. That soldier involved later joined the anti war movement.
All the veterans were surprised with the image that soldiers coming back from war were spat at and disrespected by the anti war protesters - this could not have been further from truth.

Back in Vietnam you were taught how to destroy a village, poison drinking water sources etc. And understandably many GIs fought back.

There are similar stories out of Afghanistan - the naked prisoners with soldiers acting as if they are engaging in a sexual act and many such shameless incidents. These soldiers were acquitted which is another way of saying - An Afghan and his life and honor are below us. It has de-stabilized the region for many decades.

There is a bright side to Donny and his conmen - maybe there will be less intervention and more introspection - which can only be good for the World.

[Dec 13, 2019] The process of waging war is lucrative - positive outcomes (gas and oil) are a bonus.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

NickStanford , 10 Dec 2019 12:24

I think it should have been seen as a thirty year campaign and the same with Iraq and Libya. The northern Ireland campaign took 30 years and many people are as bitter as they ever were much of it secondhand from younger people who weren't even alive during the conflict. The idea of a quick war is a very big mistake I think and flawed short-term thinking.
Piet Pompies -> MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:24
Most decorated Marine officer ever? I thought that was Chesty Puller?
sammer -> tenientesnafu , 10 Dec 2019 12:24
That was very well put. Thank you for being so succinct.
easterman -> MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:23
The process of waging war is lucrative - positive outcomes (gas and oil) are a bonus.
MyViewsOnThis , 10 Dec 2019 12:22
The West and the USA in particular have always taken the stand that their ideology is the only right one. That they have a right to interfere in the interns, affairs of other countries but their own internal affairs are sacrosanct.

So - USA, with UK support decided that Saddam Hussein had to be removed. They moved in to do so - they killed Saddam but had no plan to return the country to a functioning nation. Instead they facilitated the unleashing of internal wars and have now left the citizens of that country in utter turmoil.

& then went and repeated the exercise n Libya.

Decades ago, Britain decided that Palestinians could be thrown out of their homes to make way for the creation of Israel and laid the foundation for the Middle-East turmoil that has caused untold misery and suffering. They followed that up with throwing out the Chagosians out of their homes and making them homeless. Invited Caribbean's to the 'Mother Country' to serve their erstwhile lords, ladies, masters and mistresses only to then drive to despair the children and grandchildren of the invitees who had contributed to the 'Mother Country' for decades.

easterman , 10 Dec 2019 12:21
Lest we forget Cheney salivating over the gas in the Caspian Basin http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/west_asia/37021.stm
Piet Pompies -> cephalus , 10 Dec 2019 12:19
Yep, biggest terrorist state in the world, ever.
KoreyD , 10 Dec 2019 12:19
We are 18 years into an illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. We are the invaders, the terrorists. The Taliban are fighting for their country, they may use brutal methods but so did the French, Dutch, Russian freedom fighters during the Nazi invasions. America's puppet regime in Afghanistan is reminiscent of the Quislings of WW2. And to use drones to kill Afghans and to say it is progress that there is more transparency is the height of hubris. All it does is show the corrosive effect of unfettered power in America and it's military. Why do we tolerate this inhuman action on another country's society? America is by far the greatest contributor to the rise in terrorism in the world and if not somehow stopped the greatest threat to world peace. It keeps on invading country after country with it's MSM propaganda machine claiming it is spreading Democracy throughout the globe. Thank you America !

[Dec 13, 2019] On Rogues and Rogue States by Fred Reed

Dec 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

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I have just finished reading William Shirer's Berlin Diary . (This may not fascinate you, but I am coming to something.) I first encountered it in high school. It is of course Shirer's account as a correspondent in Germany of the rise of the Nazis. Most of it is well known to the educated. The Nazis, who had control over the domestic press, convinced the German population that the Poles were threatening Germany, as plausible as Guatemala threatening the United States. The Poles were said to be committing atrocities against Germans.

Then the Reich, with no justification whatever, having absolute air superiority, attacked Poland, bombing undefended cities and killing huge numbers of people. It was a German pattern several times repeated. Many reporters told of the smell of rotting bodies, of refugees dying of hunger and thirst. Today the Reich is endlessly remembered as a paragon of evil. It was.

How did Nazi Germany differ from the United States today? There is the same lying. Washington insisted that Iraq was about to get nuclear weapons, biological agents, that it had poisonous gas. None of this was true. The government, unimpeded by the media, persuaded over half of the American population that Iraq was responsible for Nine-Eleven. Now it says that Iran works to get nuclear weapons, and of course that the Russians are coming. The American press, informally but strictly controlled, carefully doesn't challenge any of this.

Having prepped the American public as the Nazis prepped theirs, Washington unleashed a savage attack against Iraq, deliberately destroying infrastructure, leaving the country without power or purified water. The slaughter was godawful. But, said America, the war was to rid the Iraqi people of an evil dictator, to bring them democracy, freedom, and human rights. (The oil was entirely incidental. The oil is always incidental.)

Fallujah, Iraq, after the American military brought it democracy, human rights, and freedom. Guernica, after the visit of the Kondor Legion. For the historically challenged, this was the Spanish city bombed during the Spánish Civil War by the Germans in support of the Falangists.

Washington never sleeps in its campaigns to improve the lives of people whose most fervent wish is that America stop improving their lives. To give the Afghans democracy, human rights, and American values, the US has for eighteen years been bombing, bombing, bombing a largely illiterate population in a nation where America has no business. It is a coward's war with warplanes butchering peasants who have no defenses. The pilots and drone operators who do this deserve contempt, as does the country that sends them. How many more years? For what purpose? And how were the German Nazis different?

The German Gestapo perpetrated sickening torture in hidden basements. America does the same, mainltaining torture prisons around the world. In these, men, and no doubt women, are hung by their wrists for days, naked in very cold rooms, kept awake and periodically beaten (exactly as described by survivors of Soviet torture. Nazis, whether American, Russian, or German, are Nazis.)

Photos of Iraqis at the American torture operation at Abu Ghraib showed prisoners, almost naked, lying in pools of blood. Tell me, please, how this differs from what was done by the Reich? (The bloodier photos are no longer online. Many that remain seem to have been edited.)

Abu Ghraib. A happy American girl soldier. Note rubber gloves. The US military used many female soldiers for this duty. They apparently were kinky, as they seemed to get a kick out of it. A female general ran the operation.

Gina Haspel, head of the CIA, is a sadist who tortured Moslem prisoners, reminiscent of Ilse Koch, the notorious Nazi torturess, who also worked in prisons. It is easy to find victims there, I suppose.

An Abu Ghraib pic apparently no longer online. I found it on an ancient memory stick. Are we having fun yet?

President Trump has just pardoned several American war criminals, saying he wanted to give US soldiers the "confidence to fight." This amounts to blanket permission to commit atrocities. A purpose of military training being to extirpate human decency and mercifulness, the obscene barbarism is not surprising. Atrocities are what soldiers do, and will do as long as the wars go on, being furiously denied by the government. (When I covered Force Recon, the Marine Corps Special Forces, the motto on the wall was "Crush Their Skulls and Eat Their Faces.")

Perhaps the best known example of implied approval was Nixon's pardon of Lt. Calley, who ordered the murder of Vietnamese villagers, for which he received three years of house arrest.

The Germans wanted empire, lebensraum, and resources, in particular oil. Americans want empire and oil, control of which allows control of the world They go about getting them by invasion and intimidation. Thus America wants to bring democracy and human rights to Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, and Nigeria, which have lots of oil, while it has occupation troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and elsewhere in the Mideast. What part of Syria is Trump occupying? Surprise, surprise! The part with the oil. Oil for the Americans, land for the Germans.

As Shirer points out, the German public was not enthusiastic about the war, at least not through 1940, as neither is the American public today. Neither public showed any concern about the hideousness its government inflicted around the world. What is the difference?

The parallels with the Reich are not complete. Washington does not essay genocide against Jews or blacks or any other internal population, being content with killing whoever its bombs fall upon. Trump cannot reasonably be likened to Hitler. He lacks the vision, the backbone, and apparently the viciousness. Hitler was a very smart, very evil man who knew exactly what he was doing, at least politically. This cannot be said of Trump. However, Hitler was, and Trump is, surrounded by freak-show curiosities of great bellicosity. Adolf had Goering, Goebbels, Himler, Rheinhardt Heydrich, Julius Streicher, Eichman. Trump has John Bolton, as amoral and pathologically aggressive as any in the Fuehrer's entourage, or under a log. Pompeo, a bloated toad of a man, bears an uncanny resemblance to Goering. Both he and Pence are Christian heretics, Evangelicals, who believe they are connected to God on broadband. O'Brien sounds like Bolton. All want war with Iran and perhaps with China and Russia. Sieg heil, and run like hell.

My Lai, after Lt. Calley of the SS Totenkopf Div excuse me, the Americal Division, I meant to say, brought human rights, freedom, and the American way.

Wikipedia: "Between 347 and 504 unarmed people were killed by U.S. Army soldiers Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated as were children as young as 12.")

For this Calley got three years house arrest, less than the sentence for a bag of methamphetamine, until pardoned by Nixon. Many Americans said, and many still say, that he should not have been punished at all, that we needed to take the gloves off, let the troops fight. Again, this is what Trump said.

The German Nazis worshiped Blood and Soil, the land of Germany and the Teutonic race, which they believed to be genetically superior to all others. Americans can't easily worship race. Instead they think themselves Exceptional, Indispensable, a Shining City on a Hill, the greatest civilization the world has known. Same narcissism and arrogance, slightly different foundation.

Nazi Germany was, like Nazi America, intensely militaristic. The US has hundreds of bases around the world (China has one overseas base, in Djibouti), spends appallingly on the military despite the lack of a credible military enemy. It currently buys new missile submarines (the Columbia class), aircraft carriers (the Ford class), intercontinental nuclear bombers (the B21), and fighter planes (the F-35).

Nazi Germany attacked Poland, Norway, Belgium, France, Russia, America, and England. America? Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, supports a brutal proxy war against Yemen (Yemen is a grave threat to America), threatens Venezuela, China, and Iran with attack, embargoes Cuba. These are recent. Going back a bit, we have Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, the intervention in Panama, on and on. Millions and millions killed.

The Third Reich was, and America is, the chief threat to peace on the planet, a truly rogue state.

Is this something to be proud of?

Other stuff

La FIL, Feria Internacional de Libros , International Book Fair, Guadalajara, an annual event. I post the photo with the joyous sense of mischief of an eleven-year-old poking a nest of wasps. It will infuriate the Dissident Right, or Alt Right, or Race Realists. Their leaders excepted, most of these are ill-tempered naifs who insist, and seem to hope desperately, that Latin Americans are illiterate. I occasionally have conservative friends down and they are astonished to find that Guadalajara, a large international city, has the sorts of bookstores had by large international cities. Duh. (If interested, here are a couple of dozen.)

Another and cherished conceit of the Dissident Right is that Latin Americans who can read must be white. Well, I guess. Why, you could easily mistake the crowd above for Norwegians. Their ancestors probably arrived with Leif Erikson.

Merry Christmas to all! Happy "Winter Holidays" to none.

Write Fred at jet.possum@gmail.com . Put the letters "pdq" anywhere in the subject line to avoid autodeletion. All read, reply not guaranteed due to volume.

This meritorious and beneficial column will go into hibernation until after New Year, after which it will likely return.

[Dec 13, 2019] It's almost a century since Smedley Butler wrote his incisive pamphlet War is a Racket

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

MrMopp , 10 Dec 2019 12:18

It's almost a century since Smedley Butler wrote his incisive pamphlet War is a Racket.

If you've never read it, it takes about 15-20 minutes to do so. It will astound, anger and depress you that the only thing that's changed is the number or zeroes on the eye waterering profits. Oh, and the players. What is it exactly that makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia untouchable? (Answers on a postcard C/O Beelzebub.)

Smedley Butler knew of what he lectured about, being the most decorated officer in the history of the Marine Corps.

A brief insight into this insightful all American action man man Hollywood seems to have overlooked:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street.

"The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

"During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

There's been a century of endless war and profits since then with this century shaping up nicely for the racketeers, whose finest day might well have been September 11th, 2001.

Anyway, here's a link to a pdf file of War is a Racket if you're interested.

https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

[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 13, 2019] The Afghan war is 18 years old now. It's no longer a minor in the eyes of the law. It's old enough to think for itself, to vote, to move out of the house and get it's own place

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Chiropolos , 10 Dec 2019 15:56

This war is 18 years old. It's no longer a minor in the eyes of the law. It's old enough to think for itself, to vote, to move out of the house and get it's own place. Afghanistan will figure it out. Once we withdraw to allow Afghanistan to return to self-governance.

[Dec 13, 2019] 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 the wars the USA is engaged?

Notable quotes:
"... This is because it's easy cash cow for the old boys club by sending working class kids to be killed in a far off land. ..."
Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

yemrajesh , 10 Dec 2019 16:54

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?

This is because it's easy cash cow for the old boys club by sending working class kids to be killed in a far off land.

The pentagon with the full cooperation of MSM will sell it as we are defending our ways of life by fighting a country 10,000 kms away. This show the poor literacy, poor analytical thinking of US population constantly brain washed by MSM, holy men, clergy, other neo con organisations like National rifle club etc.

sorrymess , 10 Dec 2019 15:00

i been to Cambodia a few years ago.

I never knew USA dropped 2.7 millions tons of bombs and now so many left unexploded and its same in Vietnam, Cambodia as neutral,
but i met so many injured kids etc from the bombs,.

the total MADNESS OF USA IS NAZI SM AT ITS BEST,.NO SHAME OR COMPASSION FOR THE VICTIMS.

I cannot comprehend the money it cost USA,. AN ALSO PROFITS FOR SOME,.

Heisham , 10 Dec 2019 14:10
With the exceptions of two attacks on American soil-Pearl Harbor and 911- the American people and for the most part their legislative representatives in Congress- will always remain cluless what the United States Government does overseas.

This country runs on its own drum beats. The ordinary man on the street needs to take care of his economic needs. The Big Boys always take care of themselves. That includes the military establishment, that is always entitled to an absurd amounts of monies, fueled by an empire building machinery, pushed by the elites that control the fate of economic might, and political orchestra that feeds its ego and prestige.
Time and again, our American sociopaths in power have a strangle hold on us, regardless of the destruction and animosity they heap on distant peoples and lands the world over in the name of national security and the democratic spiel, as they like to tell us ....
Richard Nixon, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson- Vietnam and the South East Asian countries of Laos , Cambodia, are an example .
Years later, the establishment manufactures blatant cover-ups with lies upon lies to accuse on record, as general Powell eloquently presented at the United Nations: That Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and needs to be held accountable.And now, this report on Afghanistan with all this pathological violence.

Is it reasonable to conclude that our democracy and its pathological actors in government and big business will always purchase it by demagoguery and self vested interest, because the ordinary man whose vote should count will never have the ultimate say when it comes to war and destruction!

[Dec 09, 2019] One of the best indicators of imperial violence is displaced persons

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Russ , Dec 9 2019 9:32 utc | 77

A User , Dec 9 2019 7:13 utc | 72

One of things which concerns me most about this site and most others inhabited by contrarian blokes of a certain age is the way that topics discussed are most often the same topics as those fed to the mugs via corporate media.

Sure the opinions are vastly different, but the subjects are not. So much energy and time wasted on pointless topics like the amerikan prez when we all know that it really doesn't matter who jags that gig nothing meaningful will alter for amerikans or the people outside amerika oppressed by empire.

Now the prez thing is a bit of a troll since so many amerikans have been intensely indoctrinated right through their lives to believe that all the prezdency guff is meaningful when it so obviously isn't. That in reality the odds of any amerikan suddenly having an epiphany about the pointlessness of DC kibuki from reading this, or something similar written by someone else, are negligible.

So we have to accept, to a degree, that Washington Housewives and Days of Our Lives DC will continue to feature at MoA.

But what happens when the corporate media chooses not to consider much larger, more pernicious forms of imperialism than is currently occurring in the ME because that imperialism is nascent, awful things are being done to humans western populations who have not been sufficiently propagandised against, so may not greet the tales of murder and mayhem generated by the actions of french foreign legionaires, english SAS or amerikan special forces with sufficient approval?

Easy, we just don't talk about it except when told to or where there is no choice because some action by the imperial thugs for hire has attracted too much attention. In that case the barest of details make it into the news and we will be told that whoever it was who had their families butchered belonged to an organisation which 'western intelligence' said was 'associated with ISIS'. No specificity, not details at all apart from the one unsubstantiated claim, which lets face it says any village of humans anywhere that contains a single resident which western intelligence believes is somehow associated with ISIS, is worthy of being genocided out of existence.

I reckon one of the best indicators of imperial violence is displaced persons. We saw in the ME that various forms of ethnic cleansing were practised to persuade people to move off their traditional lands in order to either exploit the natural resources in the area (see Saudi Amerika driving tribes from the newly discovered hydrocarbon prospects in North Yemen), or to create lebensraum for another group of humans currently held in favour by the empire (see the shifting of arabs and Turkamen from North Syria to give ready made villages to Kurds which only lasted for as long as the Kurds were needed by empire).

So many people were displaced in the ME during the first half of the teens that shock, horror some european countries felt obliged to allow a few of those whose lives had been destroyed into their communities.

That was then, yet we still all talk about the ME as though it is where the empire is committing its most egregious harm, but that is no longer the case.

If you check this Pew Center article you will see The total number of people living in sub-Saharan Africa who were forced to leave their homes due to conflict reached a new high of 18.4 million in 2017, up sharply from 14.1 million in 2016 -- the largest regional increase of forcibly displaced people in the world" .

If one checks the chart Pew has provided we can see that the numbers of decent humans in the ME who have been displaced from their land is alleged to currently be 21.5 million while the number of persons displaced in sub-Sahara Africa is about 3 million less at 18.4 million.

See so more action in the ME still. No, firstly the ME curve has flattened right out over the years since 2016 meaning that new displacements are relatively low unless of course it is your whanau that has been displaced in which case it wouldn't feel nearly as benign.
Secondly if you look at the fine-print on that chart you will see the 21.5 million line is labelled "Middle East-North Africa".

Libya is an African state which happens to have a proportion of arabic speaking people in its population, it also contains Berbers (e.g. Muammar Ghadaffi) and what the chart calls "sub-Saharan Africans when they want say negro but the unfortunate connotations associated with that term (99% the result of horrific whitefella behaviour) means that negro is no longer a la mode in whitefella land.

Not enough to rape, steal & steal from black Africans, now we also remove the means to identify them as a distinct group.

The Libya africa/ME issue matters a great deal because prior to the fukusi rape of Libya, that nation acted as a bulwark for all the supra-saharan nations, some Saharan eg Niger and that was just as likely a reason for amerika to destroy Libya setting loose the ethno-centrists of Misratah to kill black africans, standover Berbers & Turks to ensure that only Arab speaking semites can get control. This is the deal the empire struck. Not to enable italy to get some of that sweet sweet crude at the sort of bargain basement prices Italy hadn't enjoyed since Mussolini invaded Libya - that was purely a minor side benefit, now the good colonel was no more, fukus became the only game in town.
There was no longer any white knight determined to protect his/her neigbours from the outright theft, extortion, bribery, rape & murder which are the empire's stock in trade.

It began with aa team of US military nuclear experts in Niger .

It is foolish and counterproductive to ignore the horrors that a US-led fukus mission which runs across the entire African continent has created in the name of more billions to the already rich.
Do it if you want, but all you are really achieving is enabling the arseholes.

There is a scarcity of relevant links for the usual reasons. Not only are you more likely to put faith in info from sources you already know & trust, getting there will help you comprehend this crime far better than something easily digestible from a user, and most importantly the final paras were done long after the sun rose over the yardarm here.

@ A User 72

All very true. I would place the de jure war onslaughts within the overall context of globalization and in particular the imperialistic assault of corporate industrial agriculture upon Africa, the last great semi-frontier which wasn't fully assimilated by the first "Green Revolution" onslaught. A main goal as the global empire faces decline or collapse is to seize control of all land and drive the people OUT.

Globalization acts to destroy all local production and distribution. It destroys this outright or seizes control of it in order to force it into the global commodity framework. It seizes control of indigenous land and resources. It dumps subsidized Western goods. It destroys any functional politics and democracy. It imposes the control of multinational corporations over every part of life it can. It does this purely in the power interests of Western elites. Any benefits it lets trickle down to locals are purely calculated payouts to accomplices. Much of the global South has been crushed under the corporate boot this way, and Africa has already been subject to the IMF and World Bank’s debt indenture shock treatment (“structural adjustment”).

All this has been accompanied by the systematic ravaging of African ecosystems, culminating in the rising climate chaos driven by the patterns of energy consumption, waste, and ecological destruction practiced and imposed by Western industrialized productionism and consumerism. Climate change is caused by these actions. Since corporate state elites and their supporters have long known this and in spite of lots of lip service have refused to do anything to avert the worst of it, it’s long been true that climate change is an intentional campaign of aggression against the Earth and all vulnerable peoples. Thus climate change takes its place as the most extreme and far-reaching of the corporate campaigns designed to cause disaster, destruction, and chaos. According to this pattern of disaster capitalism the corporations then proceed to use the crises they intentionally generate as further opportunities for aggression and profit. All corporate sectors practice this, and corporate agriculture is the most aggressive and destructive practitioner of all. Today Africa is its primary new target.

Corporate control of agriculture and food has always been at the core of the globalization onslaught. In accordance with its food weapon the US government systematically has waged economic, political, chemical, biological (both of the former in the form of poison-based agriculture and other pretexts for systemic and systematic environmental poisoning), and often literal shooting warfare. Throughout this history of war and sublimated war, corporate agriculture has been a constant weapon and battleground as well as its aggrandizement being a constant goal.

[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 09, 2019] As is usual when members of neo-Nazi groups carry out political attacks, the Right Sector and their former battalion commander fraudulently attempted to distance themselves from Lavrega and Semenov, claiming they had lost contact with them since they left Ukraine's armed forces in June. These claims are not credible.

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Dec 8 2019 19:17 utc | 25

"A botched assassination attempt against Ukrainian politician and businessman Vyacheslav Sobolev has resulted in the death of his three-year-old son, Alexander.

"While Sobolev and his wife were leaving his high-end restaurant "Mario" in Kiev this past Sunday, right-wing thugs opened fire on Sobolev's Range Rover, missing him but hitting his son who was seated in the back of the vehicle. The three-year-old died on the way to the hospital.

"Police later apprehended two men who had fled the scene in a black Lexus sedan, Oleksiy Semenov, 19, and Andrei Lavrega, 20. Both are veterans of the war in Donbass in eastern Ukraine where they served as members of the fascist Right Sector's paramilitary formation until June of this year.
"The Right Sector was instrumental in the US- and EU-backed, fascist-led coup in February 2014 that toppled the Yanukovitch government and replaced it with a pro-Western and anti-Russian regime. Since then, the Right Sector has been among the far-right forces that have been heavily involved in the war against Russian-backed separatists in East Ukraine.

"As is usual when members of neo-Nazi groups carry out political attacks, the Right Sector and their former battalion commander fraudulently attempted to distance themselves from Lavrega and Semenov, claiming they had lost contact with them since they left Ukraine's armed forces in June. These claims are not credible.

"Lavrega, who has been identified as the principal shooter in the killing, has been a member of the Right Sector for at least half a decade. He had participated in the Maidan movement of 2014 as a member of the Right Sector and perfected his shooting skills as a sniper killing separatist soldiers in eastern Ukraine. According to his Right Sector battalion commander, Andrei Herhert, Lavrega -- also known as "Quiet" -- was "one of the best snipers in the war" and "very ideological."

"As a thanks for his service to the right-wing Kiev government, Lavrega received a military decoration from former President Petro Poroshenko for "courage" just last year, in October of 2018." ..........

"Whoever is ultimately responsible for ordering this political assassination and the murder of the three-year-old boy, it is clear that the same far-right forces that were instrumental in the coup in February 2014 and the civil war are now being employed to carry out political assassinations by the Ukrainian oligarchy.

"Since the 2014 coup, the number of targeted political assassinations by right-wing neo-Nazi groups like C14 and the Right Sector has skyrocketed. At least 15 people have been murdered in such hit jobs by the far right since 2014. Among them was the well-known Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet and the politician Kateryna Handziuk, who was killed in a horrific acid attack by right-wing thugs last year.

"In virtually all these cases, the perpetrators have been protected from serious legal prosecution. One of the murderers of Handziuk received a barely three-year prison sentence. A critical role in shielding the neo-Nazis is played by Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs' Arsen Avakov, who controls the country's police force and possesses well-known ties to Ukraine's most notorious fascist militia, the Azov Battalion.

"Avakov is one of the few members of the previous Poroshenko government that have remained in the current Cabinet of Ministers under President Volodmyr Zelensky. He was recently praised by former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch while testifying before the House of Representatives regarding the Trump impeachment investigation (see also: "The impeachment crisis and American imperialism").

"President Zelensky, who was elected in April this year on the basis of promises that he would bring an end to the widely despised civil war in eastern Ukraine that has claimed the lives of over 13,000 people, has maintained a conspicuous silence on this latest political assassination attempt by the far right. Instead, the day after the murder, he posted a message on Facebook to honor two Ukrainian soldiers who were killed while fighting in eastern Ukraine this past weekend."
The rest of the story can be found at the WSWS
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/12/07/ukra-d06.html

The Right Sector links with the former US Ambassador-Democratic heroine- are topical.


cirsium , Dec 9 2019 0:03 utc | 53

@bevin, 25. - this article from The Stalkerzone provides information on the killers and suggests that they intended to kill the child as a message to the father
https://www.stalkerzone.org/ato-monsters-in-ukraine-a-market-of-hired-serial-killers-appeared/
uncle tungsten , Dec 9 2019 8:19 utc | 75
psychohistorian #68

Thank you for that insight. I cannot see how Zelensky will manage the Nazi Ukrainians short of a virtual civil war against one western district. The USA will foment a major insurrection to destroy him if he does a deal with Gazprom. Your suggestion as to where those issues are discussed would be welcome.

A User #72

Thank you and well said. The eurocentric kabuki does mesmerise the information providers. I too seek escape from that dominance and spent a good time today researching the Power of Siberia implications and issues of South America. The global assault on all things African is a matter of deep despair for me and I feel totally powerless to reverse the relentless assault on their world.

[Dec 09, 2019] US and UK Military-Intelligence Apparatus Campaigns to Destroy Jeremy Corbyn by Ben NORTON, Max BLUMENTHAL

Dec 09, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org
Days before Britain's historic election, the UK's military-intelligence apparatus is turning to the corporate media and US government-funded NATO cut-outs to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with evidence-free Russiagate allegations.

Ben NORTON, Max BLUMENTHAL

The popular socialist leader of Britain's Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn , could be on the verge of becoming prime minister of the United Kingdom . And the mere possibility is terrifying British intelligence services and the US government.

Since Corbyn was elected to the head of the Labour Party in 2015, in a landslide victory after running on a staunch leftist and anti-war platform, the corporate media has waged a relentless campaign to demonize and delegitimize him.

With just days remaining before UK's national election on December 12, British intelligence agencies and US government-backed organizations have escalated their attacks on Corbyn , borrowing tactics from America's Russiagate hysteria and going to great efforts to portray him -- without any substantive evidence -- as a supposed puppet of the dastardly Kremlin.

These government-sponsored attacks on Corbyn, a lifelong anti-imperialist and former chair of the Stop the War Coalition , are far from new. In December, The Grayzone reported on the Integrity Initiative , a UK government-funded secret network of spies, journalists, and think tanks that rehabilitated Cold War-era information warfare to demonize Corbyn and smear anti-war leftists as Vladimir Putin's unwitting foot soldiers.

But as polls show more and more popular enthusiasm for Labour and its socialist program on the eve of the vote, and as the prospects of a Corbyn-led government become increasingly plausible, Western government spooks have rapidly laundered avalanches of disinformation through the press, desperately trying to undermine the party's electoral efforts.

Dozens of misleading hit pieces are circulating in the press that treat PSYOP specialists and regime-change lobby groups funded to the hilt by Washington, NATO, and the weapons industry as trustworthy and impartial.

British journalist Matt Kennard has documented at least 34 major media stories that rely on officials from the UK military and intelligence agencies in order to depict Corbyn as a threat to national security .

A powerful trans-Atlantic disinformation network sponsored by NATO-related entities and dedicated to spreading fear about Russian meddling has set its sights on the leftist Labour leader.

Western intelligence cut-outs blame Corbyn's exposure of NHS scandal on Russia

On November 27, the Jeremy Corbyn campaign revealed a 451-page dossier containing details of secret negotiations between the UK's Conservative government and the US to privatize Britain's National Health Service (NHS) as part of the Brexit deal. The explosive revelation put the lie to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's promise that the NHS was not up for negotiation.

Less than a week later, a peculiar story dropped in the British media. A December 2 headline in the pro-Tory Telegraph blared that the NHS dossier deployed by Corbyn "points to Russia." The liberal Guardian published a similar report asserting that the leaked papers had been "put online by posters using Russian methods." And the story gravitated across the Atlantic thanks to the neoconservative Daily Beast tabloid.

In every case, the media relied on a single source to link the NHS dossier – and Corbyn himself – to Russian interference: a supposed data consulting firm called Graphika, and its director, supposed "information expert" Ben Nimmo.

Assuring the public that the leak of the documents "closely resembles a known Russian operation," Nimmo simultaneously conceded that "we do not have all the data that allows us to make a final determination in this case."

Ben Nimmo at the DFRLab's 2018 Digital Sherlocks conference in Berlin, Germany

Not one outlet covering story bothered to inform readers who Nimmo was, or offered any detail on the powerful state forces behind Graphika.

In fact, Nimmo is not a data expert or a journalist, but a former NATO press officer who previously consulted for the covert Integrity Initiative propaganda farm, which was funded by the UK Foreign Office and dedicated to spawning conflict with Russia.

me title=

Nimmo put his lack of journalistic precision on display when he launched a bungled 2018 witch-hunt against Twitter users whose postings diverged from the NATO line, branding several real live humans as Russian bots.

His victims included Mariam Susli , a well-known Syrian-Australian social media personality, the famed Ukrainian concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa , and a British pensioner named Ian Shilling.

This April, Nimmo was hired as Director of Investigations by Graphika. Humbly describing itself as "the best in the world at analyzing how online social networks form, evolve, and are manipulated," Graphika's partners include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon's Minerva Initiative, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and the Syria Campaign – the billionaire-funded public relations arm of the Syrian White Helmets .

Nimmo also works as a senior fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) at the Atlantic Council, NATO's unofficial think tank in Washington.

As The Grayzone has reported , the Atlantic Council is a corruption-stained money dump for Ukrainian and Middle Eastern oligarchs, as well as Gulf monarchies, the arms industry, the British Foreign Office and the US State Department.

Its DFRLab was enlisted by Facebook to "identify, expose, and explain disinformation during elections around the world," and subsequently received $1 million from Mark Zuckerberg's social media empire to carry out its work.

Last October, with guidance from Nimmo and the Atlantic Council's DFRLab, Facebook and Twitter deleted the accounts of hundreds of users , including many alternative media outlets maintained by American citizens.

Among those targeted in the coordinated purge were popular alternative news sites that scrutinized police brutality and militarism, along with the pages of professional journalists .

Now, in the UK, the Atlantic Council is injecting itself into a national election campaign, exploiting an atmosphere of Russia hysteria that its self-styled "information experts" have helped to stoke.

On December 6, Reddit announced that its platform had been used by "suspected" Russian actors to publish the scandalous NHS dossier that become a centerpiece of Corbyn's campaign against Johnson. As usual, the primary source for Reddit's claim was the Atlantic Council, which it credited with "provid[ing] us with important attribution."

Reddit's Director of Policy, Jessica Ashooh, is the Atlantic Council's former Middle East Strategy Task Force Deputy Director, and an ex-official of the government of the United Arab Emirates. She was hired by the social media giant in 2017, at around the same time that Senate Select Intelligence Committee co-chair Sen. Mark Warner was demanding more government control over Reddit on the grounds that it was a potential vehicle for Russian influence.

me title=

In a 2016 column for Foreign Policy, Ashooh likened Donald Trump to self-proclaimed ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and appeared to lament that "drone strikes on Trump Tower are probably not coming any time soon."

She complained that Trump was "giving voice to troubling narratives of marginalization and disenchantment with the status quo," and chided the "elite class" for underestimating him.

Those same elite grievances have animated the campaign to destroy Corbyn, a left-wing populist whose political views are alternately opposed to Trump's. And the same cynical tactics honed in the paranoid passion play of Russiagate have been redeployed against the Labour leader.

In the most recent intelligence-backed assault on Corbyn, corporate media outlets have even relied on Nazis and neo-fascist blogs as sources.

Using literal Nazi blog posts to smear Corbyn as a terrorist sympathizer

One of the most shockingly dishonest smears of Jeremy Corbyn was published in the British tabloid The Sun on December 7.

The story, hyperbolically titled "' HIJACKED LABOUR ' Ex-British intelligence officers say Jeremy Corbyn is at the centre of a hard-left extremist network," claimed the "Labour leader's spider's web of extensive contacts stretch from Marxist intellectuals to militant groups and illegal terror organisations."

The piece uncritically echoes the opinions of a right-wing lobby group called Hijacked Labour, which was founded by former military intelligence officers with the express goal of ousting Corbyn and purging the Labour Party's anti-imperialist faction.

In lieu of any actual evidence, the report relied on a graphical web created by these conservative disgruntled ex-spies, which attempts to link Corbyn to terrorism through many degrees of separation -- and cites neo-Nazis to do so.

The conspiratorial web does not show any tangible ties between these figures, and impugns Corbyn with vague far-right buzzwords like "global Marxism" and "postmodern neo-Marxism." The latter term is a non-existent and paradoxical concoction of ultra-conservative pundit Jordan Peterson , based on the fascist anti-Semitic myth of " Cultural Marxism ," which is itself rooted in Nazi Germany's propaganda on " Cultural Bolshevism ."

In fact, the Hijacked Labour website directly references the right-wing pundit, recommending a Jordan Peterson lecture titled " Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism ." The Peterson screed was published by The Epoch Times , a right-wing media outfit run by the fascist Chinese cult Falun Gong , which maintains that science and race-mixing are demonic and insists Donald Trump was sent by God to destroy the Communist Party of China.

The anti-Corbyn group of British spooks also implored readers to watch a video by Thomas DiLorenzo, a right-wing neoliberal economist at the libertarian Mises Institute, which Hijacked Labour claims "works against the deconstructive and destructive effects of Cultural Marxism."

Given the conspiratorial web's reliance on far-right terminology, it might not have been a surprise that it also cited literal Nazis as a source.

Critics on Twitter quickly pointed out that the Hijacked Labour website used by the British media to attack Corbyn cited a neo-Nazi website called Aryan Unity.

me title=

Together with this white supremacist page, the former British military intelligence officers cited a critique of antifascists published by the far-right website The Millennium Report. This blog has run blatantly anti-Semitic posts with titles like, " Why are the Jews so reviled worldwide ? Have they brought this judgment on themselves?", " New World Order Pledged To Jews ," and " This is how the 'Court Jews' have been strategically placed into power families over millennia."

me title=

After facing backlash on social media, The Sun article was removed from the website. And the new URL for the post includes the term "legal-removal," suggesting that the publication may have been threatened with legal action for publishing the absurd story.

me title=

But this was far from the only corporate media attack on Corbyn that relied on military intelligence apparatus as a source.

British journalist Mark Curtis has expanded his colleague Matt Kennard's tally and shown that some 40 media stories have been published in major corporate media outlets smearing Jeremy Corbyn with the unsubstantiated claims of British spies.

me title=

The UK's military intelligence apparatus has demonstrated a striking ability to influence the mainstream media, stirring pseudo-scandals almost every week. Desperate to prevent the election of the first authentically left-wing British prime minister, it is no longer disguising its role in the assault on Corbyn.

But there is one weapon Corbyn boasts that this unelected, opaque element can only hope for: the hearts and minds of masses of British people. And this December 12, the people get to decide.

thegrayzone.com The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Tags: Jeremy Corbyn Mass Media United Kingdom United States Print this article December 9, 2019 | Editor's Сhoice US and UK Military-Intelligence Apparatus Campaigns to Destroy Jeremy Corbyn Days before Britain's historic election, the UK's military-intelligence apparatus is turning to the corporate media and US government-funded NATO cut-outs to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with evidence-free Russiagate allegations.

Ben NORTON, Max BLUMENTHAL

The popular socialist leader of Britain's Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn , could be on the verge of becoming prime minister of the United Kingdom . And the mere possibility is terrifying British intelligence services and the US government.

Since Corbyn was elected to the head of the Labour Party in 2015, in a landslide victory after running on a staunch leftist and anti-war platform, the corporate media has waged a relentless campaign to demonize and delegitimize him.

With just days remaining before UK's national election on December 12, British intelligence agencies and US government-backed organizations have escalated their attacks on Corbyn , borrowing tactics from America's Russiagate hysteria and going to great efforts to portray him -- without any substantive evidence -- as a supposed puppet of the dastardly Kremlin.

These government-sponsored attacks on Corbyn, a lifelong anti-imperialist and former chair of the Stop the War Coalition , are far from new. In December, The Grayzone reported on the Integrity Initiative , a UK government-funded secret network of spies, journalists, and think tanks that rehabilitated Cold War-era information warfare to demonize Corbyn and smear anti-war leftists as Vladimir Putin's unwitting foot soldiers.

But as polls show more and more popular enthusiasm for Labour and its socialist program on the eve of the vote, and as the prospects of a Corbyn-led government become increasingly plausible, Western government spooks have rapidly laundered avalanches of disinformation through the press, desperately trying to undermine the party's electoral efforts.

Dozens of misleading hit pieces are circulating in the press that treat PSYOP specialists and regime-change lobby groups funded to the hilt by Washington, NATO, and the weapons industry as trustworthy and impartial.

British journalist Matt Kennard has documented at least 34 major media stories that rely on officials from the UK military and intelligence agencies in order to depict Corbyn as a threat to national security .

A powerful trans-Atlantic disinformation network sponsored by NATO-related entities and dedicated to spreading fear about Russian meddling has set its sights on the leftist Labour leader.

Western intelligence cut-outs blame Corbyn's exposure of NHS scandal on Russia

On November 27, the Jeremy Corbyn campaign revealed a 451-page dossier containing details of secret negotiations between the UK's Conservative government and the US to privatize Britain's National Health Service (NHS) as part of the Brexit deal. The explosive revelation put the lie to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's promise that the NHS was not up for negotiation.

Less than a week later, a peculiar story dropped in the British media. A December 2 headline in the pro-Tory Telegraph blared that the NHS dossier deployed by Corbyn "points to Russia." The liberal Guardian published a similar report asserting that the leaked papers had been "put online by posters using Russian methods." And the story gravitated across the Atlantic thanks to the neoconservative Daily Beast tabloid.

In every case, the media relied on a single source to link the NHS dossier – and Corbyn himself – to Russian interference: a supposed data consulting firm called Graphika, and its director, supposed "information expert" Ben Nimmo.

Assuring the public that the leak of the documents "closely resembles a known Russian operation," Nimmo simultaneously conceded that "we do not have all the data that allows us to make a final determination in this case."

Ben Nimmo at the DFRLab's 2018 Digital Sherlocks conference in Berlin, Germany

Not one outlet covering story bothered to inform readers who Nimmo was, or offered any detail on the powerful state forces behind Graphika.

In fact, Nimmo is not a data expert or a journalist, but a former NATO press officer who previously consulted for the covert Integrity Initiative propaganda farm, which was funded by the UK Foreign Office and dedicated to spawning conflict with Russia.

me title=

Nimmo put his lack of journalistic precision on display when he launched a bungled 2018 witch-hunt against Twitter users whose postings diverged from the NATO line, branding several real live humans as Russian bots.

His victims included Mariam Susli , a well-known Syrian-Australian social media personality, the famed Ukrainian concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa , and a British pensioner named Ian Shilling.

This April, Nimmo was hired as Director of Investigations by Graphika. Humbly describing itself as "the best in the world at analyzing how online social networks form, evolve, and are manipulated," Graphika's partners include the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon's Minerva Initiative, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and the Syria Campaign – the billionaire-funded public relations arm of the Syrian White Helmets .

Nimmo also works as a senior fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) at the Atlantic Council, NATO's unofficial think tank in Washington.

As The Grayzone has reported , the Atlantic Council is a corruption-stained money dump for Ukrainian and Middle Eastern oligarchs, as well as Gulf monarchies, the arms industry, the British Foreign Office and the US State Department.

Its DFRLab was enlisted by Facebook to "identify, expose, and explain disinformation during elections around the world," and subsequently received $1 million from Mark Zuckerberg's social media empire to carry out its work.

Last October, with guidance from Nimmo and the Atlantic Council's DFRLab, Facebook and Twitter deleted the accounts of hundreds of users , including many alternative media outlets maintained by American citizens.

Among those targeted in the coordinated purge were popular alternative news sites that scrutinized police brutality and militarism, along with the pages of professional journalists .

Now, in the UK, the Atlantic Council is injecting itself into a national election campaign, exploiting an atmosphere of Russia hysteria that its self-styled "information experts" have helped to stoke.

On December 6, Reddit announced that its platform had been used by "suspected" Russian actors to publish the scandalous NHS dossier that become a centerpiece of Corbyn's campaign against Johnson. As usual, the primary source for Reddit's claim was the Atlantic Council, which it credited with "provid[ing] us with important attribution."

Reddit's Director of Policy, Jessica Ashooh, is the Atlantic Council's former Middle East Strategy Task Force Deputy Director, and an ex-official of the government of the United Arab Emirates. She was hired by the social media giant in 2017, at around the same time that Senate Select Intelligence Committee co-chair Sen. Mark Warner was demanding more government control over Reddit on the grounds that it was a potential vehicle for Russian influence.

me title=

In a 2016 column for Foreign Policy, Ashooh likened Donald Trump to self-proclaimed ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and appeared to lament that "drone strikes on Trump Tower are probably not coming any time soon."

She complained that Trump was "giving voice to troubling narratives of marginalization and disenchantment with the status quo," and chided the "elite class" for underestimating him.

Those same elite grievances have animated the campaign to destroy Corbyn, a left-wing populist whose political views are alternately opposed to Trump's. And the same cynical tactics honed in the paranoid passion play of Russiagate have been redeployed against the Labour leader.

In the most recent intelligence-backed assault on Corbyn, corporate media outlets have even relied on Nazis and neo-fascist blogs as sources.

Using literal Nazi blog posts to smear Corbyn as a terrorist sympathizer

One of the most shockingly dishonest smears of Jeremy Corbyn was published in the British tabloid The Sun on December 7.

The story, hyperbolically titled "' HIJACKED LABOUR ' Ex-British intelligence officers say Jeremy Corbyn is at the centre of a hard-left extremist network," claimed the "Labour leader's spider's web of extensive contacts stretch from Marxist intellectuals to militant groups and illegal terror organisations."

The piece uncritically echoes the opinions of a right-wing lobby group called Hijacked Labour, which was founded by former military intelligence officers with the express goal of ousting Corbyn and purging the Labour Party's anti-imperialist faction.

In lieu of any actual evidence, the report relied on a graphical web created by these conservative disgruntled ex-spies, which attempts to link Corbyn to terrorism through many degrees of separation -- and cites neo-Nazis to do so.

The conspiratorial web does not show any tangible ties between these figures, and impugns Corbyn with vague far-right buzzwords like "global Marxism" and "postmodern neo-Marxism." The latter term is a non-existent and paradoxical concoction of ultra-conservative pundit Jordan Peterson , based on the fascist anti-Semitic myth of " Cultural Marxism ," which is itself rooted in Nazi Germany's propaganda on " Cultural Bolshevism ."

In fact, the Hijacked Labour website directly references the right-wing pundit, recommending a Jordan Peterson lecture titled " Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism ." The Peterson screed was published by The Epoch Times , a right-wing media outfit run by the fascist Chinese cult Falun Gong , which maintains that science and race-mixing are demonic and insists Donald Trump was sent by God to destroy the Communist Party of China.

The anti-Corbyn group of British spooks also implored readers to watch a video by Thomas DiLorenzo, a right-wing neoliberal economist at the libertarian Mises Institute, which Hijacked Labour claims "works against the deconstructive and destructive effects of Cultural Marxism."

Given the conspiratorial web's reliance on far-right terminology, it might not have been a surprise that it also cited literal Nazis as a source.

Critics on Twitter quickly pointed out that the Hijacked Labour website used by the British media to attack Corbyn cited a neo-Nazi website called Aryan Unity.

me title=

Together with this white supremacist page, the former British military intelligence officers cited a critique of antifascists published by the far-right website The Millennium Report. This blog has run blatantly anti-Semitic posts with titles like, " Why are the Jews so reviled worldwide ? Have they brought this judgment on themselves?", " New World Order Pledged To Jews ," and " This is how the 'Court Jews' have been strategically placed into power families over millennia."

me title=

After facing backlash on social media, The Sun article was removed from the website. And the new URL for the post includes the term "legal-removal," suggesting that the publication may have been threatened with legal action for publishing the absurd story.

me title=

But this was far from the only corporate media attack on Corbyn that relied on military intelligence apparatus as a source.

British journalist Mark Curtis has expanded his colleague Matt Kennard's tally and shown that some 40 media stories have been published in major corporate media outlets smearing Jeremy Corbyn with the unsubstantiated claims of British spies.

me title=

The UK's military intelligence apparatus has demonstrated a striking ability to influence the mainstream media, stirring pseudo-scandals almost every week. Desperate to prevent the election of the first authentically left-wing British prime minister, it is no longer disguising its role in the assault on Corbyn.

But there is one weapon Corbyn boasts that this unelected, opaque element can only hope for: the hearts and minds of masses of British people. And this December 12, the people get to decide.

thegrayzone.com © 2010 - 2019 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org . The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Also from EDITOR'S CHOICE EDITOR'S CHOICE The Saudi/US Partnership: Evil Begets Evil How middle class Bolivia learned to stop worrying and love the coup Aux Armes, Citoyens! The Americans Attack Fake News By Omission -- The Mass Media's Cowardly Distortion Tool New York's Other Hopelessly Corrupt Candidate Sign up for the Strategic Culture Foundation Newsletter Subscribe


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me title=

[Dec 09, 2019] Crisis amid Plenty: The Politics of Soviet Energy under Brezhnev and Gorbachev

Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

pogohere , Dec 9 2019 1:25 utc | 57

john brewster @ 18

Speaking of Shane Gustafson: this is an excellent book:

Crisis amid Plenty: The Politics of Soviet Energy under Brezhnev and Gorbachev (Princeton Legacy Library) Paperback – February 1, 1991

Although the Soviet Union has the most abundant energy reserves of any country, energy policy has been the single most disruptive factor in its industry since the mid-1970s. This major case study treats the paradox of the energy crisis as an essential part of larger economic problems of the Soviet Union and as a key issue in determining the fate of the Gorbachev reforms.

One of the theses of the book is that the Soviet industry had a "silo" structure: the various components (exploration, drilling, production, transport, export) didn't coordinate with one another and depended on the glue of communist party apparatchiks to keep the system functioning. Gorbachev is said to have eliminated that glue and chaos ensued.

Schmoe@ 36

Re: "Due to an EU ruling related to foreign-affiliated pipelines (or some variation of that), it will likely be forced to operate at 50% of capacity."

[Dec 09, 2019] We will see on Nordstream 2 sanctions' effectiveness. Generally, US sanctions, when aggressively enforced, are extremely effective (and lethal in many cases).

Notable quotes:
"... The sanctions against Russia are not that broad but they have impacted Russian energy E&P efforts in difficult to reach environments. ..."
"... That is just common sense...large Euro energy companies are partners in Nordstream and have invested billions...do you think they are just going to throw up their hands and say 'Ok we give up'...? ..."
"... And supposedly the owners of those ships [there is actually only one company in the world, Swiss-based Allseas, that operates these deep sea pipe-laying ships] are going to drop Nordstream because they don't want to lose potential US business in the Gulf of Mexico... ..."
"... That is bullshit...what pipelines are being planned for the Gulf...?...Zero... ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Walter , Dec 8 2019 20:32 utc | 35

@ 17 in re "...strong Nordstream 2 sanctions..."

We shall see how strong. I'd put money on the Germans doing business with their natural Eastern partners. Business is business, suzerain occupation since 75 years notwithstanding.

Actually I harbor doubts about the strength of imperial ability, as the natural reaction every time they use dollarweapon, is the weakening of the weapon...

That Good Man V Putin, I'm sure we all recall, recently spoke to this matter...signing off with "they (or the dollar) will collapse soon."

zerohedge > "The Dollar Enjoyed Great Trust Around The World. But For Some Reason It Is Being Used As A Political Weapon, Imposing Restrictions. Many Countries Are Now Turning Away From The Dollar As A Reserve Currency. US Dollar Will Collapse Soon."


Schmoe , Dec 8 2019 20:50 utc | 36

karlof1, c1ue

We will see on Nordstream 2 sanctions' effectiveness. Generally, US sanctions, when aggressively enforced, are extremely effective (and lethal in many cases). The sanctions against Russia are not that broad but they have impacted Russian energy E&P efforts in difficult to reach environments.

I would also add that:

a) LNG prices are currently at incredibly low levels and if they hold at these levels importation of LNG could minimize Germany's hit, and Qatar last week announced it will expands its LNG export capabilities;

b) Russia / Gazprom did not finance Nordstream 2's construction; initially I believe Gazprom did so but a consortium of 4 Netherlands (including Royal Dutch Shell), Austrian and German companies later assumed the financing obligation;

c) Due to an EU ruling related to foreign-affiliated pipelines (or some variation of that), it will likely be forced to operate at 50% of capacity.

Based on a) - c) there is much less than meets to eye for Nordstream 2.

A more likely outcome than violation of US sanction IMO is an asymmetric response from Germany; perhaps the EU aviation authorities will deny whatever Band Aid Boeing puts our for the 737 Max's MCAS system. Or Germany approves Huawei's 5g equipment.

Schmoe , Dec 9 2019 3:42 utc | 63
@pogohere

I'm not sure how I missed those Nov 16 posts so thanks for forwarding. This quote will be interesting:

"With some 85% of the pipeline already laid, new congressional sanctions aimed at companies participating in the pipeline's construction will not stop it.

Instead, they will become a new bone of contention between the United States and Europe.

That is just common sense...large Euro energy companies are partners in Nordstream and have invested billions...do you think they are just going to throw up their hands and say 'Ok we give up'...?

Even a child can see this Spiegel diarrhea for what it is...

And supposedly the owners of those ships [there is actually only one company in the world, Swiss-based Allseas, that operates these deep sea pipe-laying ships] are going to drop Nordstream because they don't want to lose potential US business in the Gulf of Mexico...

That is bullshit...what pipelines are being planned for the Gulf...?...Zero...

Yet the Russians are the world's gas and pipeline superpower and have more pipeline projects in the works...

As if Allseas is going to risk their biggest customer for some bullshit US sanctions...[they are also laying the Turkstream pipeline..."

Any company whose operations are all international will unfortunately have to think long and hard about losing accessing to dollars. Open violations of US Sanctions are still almost unheard of - Rosneft in Venezuala, Reliance Industries might now be buying Venezuelan oil - so I would not be pollyanish about their power. Note that European companies will not use Instinex out of fear of losing access to dollars.

mk , Dec 9 2019 8:10 utc | 74
@Nick 58

Your questions are absolutely justified. The original story was written by Georg Mascolo, the German Dana Milbank, i.e. the chief mouth piece of the intelligence services. This is an obvious attempt to put pressure on Merkel to hamper relations with "Evil Russia" just prior to a possible breakthrough in the Normandy talks. The German services, especially the BND, are the last strongholds of Transatlanticism here, and they try to brace themselves against any rapprochment between Russia and Germany. But this will be in vain. It's simply that the geopolitical imperative is too strong: the two countries fit together perfectly in terms of their respective needs and abilities.

[Dec 08, 2019] As Winter Comes Pipeline Wars Heat Up -- Strategic Culture

Dec 08, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Tom Luongo December 8, 2019 © Photo: Wikimedia For all of 2019 December has been a magnet. A number of major geopolitical issues come to head this month and many of them have everything to do with energy. This is the month that Russian gas giant Gazprom was due to finish production on three major pipeline projects – Nordstream 2, Turkstream and Power of Siberia.

Power of Siberia is here. It's finished. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping christened the pipeline to begin the month. Next month Putin will travel to Turkey to join President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to open the first of four potential trains of the Turkstream pipeline.

It is only Nordstream 2 that continues to lag behind because of insane levels of pressure from the United States that is dead set against this pipeline coming online.

And the reason for that is the last of the major energy issues surrounding Gazprom needing resolution this month, the gas transit contract between it and Ukraine's Naftogaz.

The two gas companies have been locked in legal disputes for years, some of which center on Crimea's decision to break away from Ukraine and rejoin Russia in 2014. Most of them, however, involve disputes over costs incurred during the previous and expiring gas transit contract.

The particulars today are ultimately irrelevant as these lawsuits have been used as nothing more than blackmail to keep a new contract from getting signed. Ukraine has sued Gazprom in courts, like in Sweden, that rule not by the tenets of contract law but rather through the lens of social justice.

These have been political decisions that allowed Naftogaz to seize Gazprom's European assets, further complicating any resolution to the conflict. These policies were pursued aggressively by former Ukrainian President and long-time US State Department asset Petro Poroshenko and they have done nothing to help Ukraine.

All they have done is strip-mine the country of its assets while keeping a war to prevent the secession of the Donbass alive.

This dovetails with the external pressure applied to EU member states, like Denmark, to delay if not outright thwart completion of Nordstream 2.

Opposition to Nordstream 2 in the US is all about leveraging influence in Ukraine and turn it into a client state hostile to Russia sharing a border with Russia. If there's no gas transit contract and there's no Nordstream 2 then US LNG suppliers can sell gas there and deprive Russia of the revenues and the business.

It's truly that simple. But that strategy has morphed over the years into a convoluted chess match of move/countermove in the vain hope of achieving something that looks like a victory. But this isn't a game of real chess but rather a timed match.

Because the end of 2019 was always coming. And Ukraine would eventually have to decide as to which direction it wanted to go. Moreover, that same choice was put in front of the EU who have clearly, in the end, realized that the US under President Trump is not a long-term reliable partner, but rather a bully which seeks its goals through threat and intimidation.

Stay with the US or green light Nordstream 2. The choice in Europe was clear. Nordstream 2 gets finished, as Denmark finally granted the final environmental permit for its construction in October.

That delay moves the completion date out into 2020. And that now gives the US Senate one last chance to stop the completion of the pipeline because everything else to this point has failed, including the EU changing the rules on its gas pipeline rules to force Gazprom to 'unbundle' the pipeline from the gas flowing through it.

Germany amended that directive to allow Nordstream 2 to be regulated at the German federal level and not at the EU level. This was as much of a win as could have been hoped for.

This prompted the response from the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee head Jim Risch who wants to sanction anyone assisting Gazprom building the pipeline to be sanctioned and forced out of business.

"The reason for the push is that this window is closing. A lot of Nord Stream is done already. It will cost them dearly. I think if those sanctions pass [the companies] will shut down, and I think the Russians will have to look for another way to do this if they can do this," Risch said.

In reality the window has closed.

At the end of the day even if this legislation passes there will be no way to stop the pipeline from being completed or the gas to flow through it. With so little of the pipeline left to complete there is no practical way to stop it from happening. Risch and other US senators are hoping to strand Nordstream 2 as an unfinished boondoggle but that's folly.

The German government wants this pipeline, therefore the German government will put up the funds to ensure the contractors are paid and the pipeline completed.

There is a limit to the extent which sanctions can block commerce and once completed the US will have no ability to sanction the gas flowing through the pipeline. It's a sad and pathetic state of affairs that so much time, manpower and capital was wasted to stop a pipeline that is necessary for Germany's future.

It also highlights the hypocrisy of US policy since there isn't a peep out of the US on Turkstream, which will stitch NATO ally Turkey to Russia via 15.75 cm of natural gas every year. Eventually it will replace the lost South Stream pipeline as the other trains are built and contracted for.

All of the countries in eastern Europe are hungry for a piece of Turkstream's future. Serbia Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy and Greece are all potential customers.

And all of these countries that currently get their gas from Ukraine are at risk if nothing gets resolved between it and Russia. This is why the meeting between Putin and Ukrainian President Zelensky is so important. It has the opportunity to begin reversing the damage done to the basic fabric of Ukraine and Europe by agreeing to a path to ending the war in the Donbass and coming to an agreement on gas transit.

There are more than $12 billion in lawsuits outstanding that Naftogaz has pending against Gazprom. With Nordstream 2 a fait accompli that is all the leverage Zelensky has at that meeting.

This game is a microcosm of the way the US foreign policy establishment uses Europe as the battleground in the war against Russia. And given the way the political winds are shifting, Europeans are getting very tired of it.

This is why gas storage facilities in Europe are full, there is real fear that Gazprom will walk away from the talks with Ukraine and will wait out the completion of Nordstream 2. Gazprom offered an extension of the current contract on the condition that Ukraine drop the lawsuits.

Naftogaz said no. We'll see if Zelensky is smart enough to say yes.

[Dec 08, 2019] WSJ Article Runs Through The Greatest Hits of a Dysfunctional Foreign Policy Debate

Notable quotes:
"... Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force. ..."
"... These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved. ..."
"... September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it. ..."
"... For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific." ..."
"... The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. ..."
"... This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com . ..."
Dec 08, 2019 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The unrivaled and unchallenged exertion of American military power around the world, or what's known as "primacy," has been the basis for U.S. Grand Strategy over the past 70 years and has faced few intellectual and political challenges. The result has been stagnant ideas, poor logic, and an ineffective foreign policy. As global security challenges have evolved, our foreign policy debate has remained in favor of primacy, repeatedly relying on a select few, poorly conceived ideas and arguments. Primacy's greatest hits arguments are played on repeat throughout the policy and journalism worlds and its latest presentation is in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, written by its chief foreign policy correspondent, titled, "America Can't Escape the Middle East." The piece provides a case study in how stagnant these ideas have become, and how different actors throughout the system present them without serious thought or contemplation.

Hyping the threat of withdrawal

The WSJ piece trotted out one of the most well-worn cases for unending American military deployments in the region. "The 2003 invasion of Iraq proved to be a debacle," it rightly notes. However, there's always a "but":[B]ut subsequent attempts to pivot away from the region or ignore it altogether have contributed to humanitarian catastrophes, terrorist outrages and geopolitical setbacks, further eroding America's standing in the world."

Primacists often warn of the dire security threats that will result from leaving Middle East conflict zones. The reality is that the threats they cite are actually caused by the unnecessary use of force by the United States in the first place. For example, the U.S. sends military assets to deter Iran, only to have Iran increase attacks or provocations in response. The U.S. then beefs up its military presence to protect the forces that are already there. Primacists use the security threats that are responding to the unnecessary use of U.S. military force to justify why the U.S. shouldn't stop, or in fact increase, the use of force.

These stale arguments claim there will be consequences of leaving while conveniently ignoring the consequences of staying, which of course are far from trivial. For example, veteran suicide is an epidemics and military spending to perpetuate U.S. primacy continues at unnecessarily high rates. The presence of U.S. soldiers in these complex conflicts can even draw us into more unnecessary wars. The United States can engage the world in ways that don't induce the security dilemma to undermine our own security; reduce our military presence in the Middle East, engage Iran and other states in the region diplomatically and economically, and don't walk away from already agreed upon diplomatic arraignments that are favorable to all parties involved.

Terrorism safe havens

And how many times have we heard that we must defend some undefined geographical space to prevent extremists from plotting attacks? "In the past, jihadists used havens in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Iraq to plot more ambitious and deadly attacks, including 9/11," the WSJ piece says. "Though Islamic State's self-styled 'caliphate' has been dismantled, the extremist movement still hasn't been eliminated -- and can bounce back."

The myth of the terrorism safe havens enabling transnational attacks on the United States has persisted despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and significant scholarly research that contradicts it. The myth persists because it provides a simple and comforting narrative that's easy to understand. September 11th was planned in Germany and the United States, the ability to exist in Afghanistan under the Taliban without persecution didn't enable 9/11, and denying this space wouldn't have prevented it.

Terrorists don't need safe havens to operate, and only gain marginal increases in capabilities by having access to them. Organizations engage in terrorism because they have such weak capabilities in the first place. These movements are designed to operate underground with the constant threat of arrest and execution. The Weatherman Underground in the United States successfully carried out bombings while operating within the United States itself. The Earth Liberation Front did the same by organizing into cells where no cell knew anything about the other cells to prevent the identification of other members if members of one cell were arrested. Organizations that engage in terrorism can operate with or without safe havens.

Although safe havens don't add significantly to a terrorist groups' capabilities, governing your own territory is something completely different. ISIS is a commonly used, and misused, example for why wars should be fought to deny safe havens. A safe haven is a country or region in which a terrorist group is free from harassment or persecution. This is different from what ISIS created in 2014. What ISIS had when it swept across Syria and Iraq in 2014 was a proto-state. This gave them access to a tax base, oil revenues, and governing resources. Safe havens don't provide any of this, at least not at substantial levels. The Islamic State's construction of a proto-state in Syria and Iraq did give them operational capabilities they wouldn't have had otherwise, but this isn't the same as the possible safe havens that would be gained from a military withdrawal from Middle Eastern conflicts. The conditions of ISIS's rise in 2014 don't exist today and the fears of an ISIS resurgence like their initial rise are unfounded .

Credibility doesn't work how you think it works

For those arguing to maintain the ongoing forever wars, American credibility will always be ruined in the aftermath of withdrawal. Here's the WSJ piece on that point: "When America withdraws from the Middle East unilaterally, the Russians internalize this and move into Crimea and Ukraine; the Chinese internalize it and move into the South China Sea and beyond in the Pacific."

Most commentators have made this claim without recognition of their own contradictions that abandoning the Kurds in Syria would damage American credibility. They then list all the other times we've abandoned the Kurds. Each of these betrayals didn't stop them from working with the United States again, and this latest iteration will be the same. People don't work with the United States because they trust or respect us, they do it because we have a common interest and the United States has the capability to get things done. As we were abandoning the Kurds this time to be attacked by the Turks, Kurdish officials were continuing to share intelligence with U.S. officials to facilitate the raid on ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because both the United States and the Kurds wanted Baghdadi eliminated and only the United States had the capability to get it done.

Similarly, the idea that pulling out militarily in one region results in a direct chain of events where our adversaries move into countries or areas in a completely different region is quite a stretch of the imagination. Russia moved into Crimea because it's a strategic asset and it was taking advantage of what it saw as an opportunity: instability and chaos in Kiev. Even if we left troops in every conflict country we've ever been in, Russia would have correctly assessed that Ukraine just wasn't important enough to spark a U.S. invasion. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, did the United States invade Cuba? What alliance did the Soviets or Chinese abandon before the United States entered the Korean War? Assessments of credibility , especially in times of crisis (like that in Ukraine), are made based on what leaders think the other country's interests are and the capabilities they have to pursue those interests. There is no evidence to support -- in fact there is a lot of evidence that contradicts -- the idea that withdrawing militarily from one region or ending an alliance has any impact on assessments of a country's reliability or credibility.

Not all interests are created equal

Threat inflation isn't just common from those who promote a primacy-based foreign policy, it's necessary. Indeed, as the WSJ piece claimed, "There is no avoiding the fact that the Middle East still matters a great deal to U.S. interests."

The exorbitant costs of the U.S.'s numerous military engagements around the world need to be justified by arguing that they secure vital U.S. interests. Without it, Primacists couldn't justify the cost in American lives. Whether the military even has the ability to solve all problems in international relations aside, not all interests are equal in severity and importance. Vital interests are those that directly impact the survival of the United States. The only thing that can threaten the survival of the United States is another powerful state consolidating complete control of either Europe or East Asia. This would give them the capabilities and freedom to strike directly at the territorial United States. This is why the United States stayed in Europe after WWII, to prevent the consolidation of Europe by the Soviets. Addressing the rise of China -- which will require some combination of cooperation and competition -- is America's vital interest today and keeping troops in Afghanistan to prevent a terrorism safe haven barely registers as a peripheral interest. There are U.S. interests in the Middle East, but these interests are not important enough to sacrifice American soldiers for and can't easily be secured through military force anyway.

Consequences

Most of these myths and arguments can be summarized by the claim that any disengagement of any kind by the United States from the Middle East comes with consequences. This isn't entirely wrong, but it isn't really relevant either unless compared with the consequences of continuing engagement at current levels. We currently have 67,000 troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan and those troops are targets of adversaries, contribute to instability, empower hardliners in Iran, and provide continuing legitimacy to insurgent and terrorist organizations fighting against a foreign occupation. One article in The Atlantic argued that the problem with a progressive foreign policy is that restraint comes with costs, almost ironically ignoring the fact that the U.S.'s current foreign policy also comes with, arguably greater, costs. A military withdrawal, or even drawdown, from the Middle East does come with consequences, but it's only believable that these costs are higher than staying through the perpetuation of myths and misconceptions that inflate such risks and costs. No wonder then that these myths have become the greatest hits of a foreign policy that's stuck in the past.

This article originally appeared on LobeLog.com .

[Dec 08, 2019] What is our strength? by Andrey Bezrukov

Redacted Google translation...
This is the net result of Clinton policies and neocon dominance in the USA foreign policy. And it is not a pretty picture. It might difficult to win Russia back as an ally after those Russiagate nonsense. They feel really offended by it and might overreact as is evident from the test below.
I'll just say again that imbecilization is a completely normal historical phenomenon in declining empires, Empires also tend to have a very flexible conception of truth, that is, they believe they can fabricate reality for the simple reason they are geopolitically dominant.
The fact that the MSM have become mouthpieces for the CIA/deep state has played a huge role in the brainwashing of academia and the rise of neoliberalism. The false narratives these "trusted sources" of information have been serving up create a very real Matrix, a false reality that is ingrained into those who rely upon them for their daily "news".
May 04, 2018 | vz.ru

It feels like the world has gone crazy. They push someone's wallet in our pocket, and then shout "catch the thief!". We try to debunt this false flag, show surveillance footage, which clearly shows the setup. But the continue shout in chorus - " thief, thief, thief!". Acquaintances turn away, hide their eyes. Those "Western partners" iare numerous and they silence our weak attempts to protest. We were driven into a corner... They try to strangulate us with sanctions.

Unfortunately, this is our new reality. For the next decade. The question is "Why?" Because we are a force in international arena again. We're ruining their racketeering business. We are a vivid example that it is possible to escape the system of the global racket of which they feed, That there is an alternative.

So now there is a player who does not wan to pay the racketeers, And he is still alive. This means that others may not pay either. They hate such a situation, because other players may refuse to pay, and that also means that sooner or later they might be force to live within this own meanss. It has been a long time since they live within their means, and they completely lost the habit of doing so. So they want to "solve" the problem with us now ones and forever, while others are still afraid of them.

Plus they have a new gang leader. Like all newbies, he wants to be the toughest. And raises the stakes.

Let's face the truth. They won't let us go easily. It's pointless to explain. We will be hunted, subjected to the array of false flags, persecuted and sanctioned to death. And if they feel the slack – they will beta us to the death, much more thoroughly then they did in 1990th. The question of whether this can be avoided is no longer worth asking. Today we have one question – how to survive the next two decades?

We need finally exhale and turn on the brain... The key to victory, as Sun Tzu wrote – is in knowing the enemy and knowing yourself.

What is their strength?

First, there are many. And they have money. They can buy everything, including witnesses and judges. We'll be blamed for for anything; they will attack and we will be framed as the attacker.

Second, they scream loudly. In chorus. That control world mass communications. And their propaganda works. It is useless to argue otherwise. All our arguments are useless. They will fall of death ear and will be ignored. Nobody will question their validity -- they will be simply swipe under the carpet. No matter how ridiculous is their "version of events" is (Skripals, Russiagate, Ukrainegate) the label "the guilty party" is already put on us like a yellow patch on the Jews in Nazi Germany. Before any investigation or God forbid judicial process. And most people on the planet still take their word for it.

What is their weakness?

As opponents these guys, I mean their neoliberal elites are the second grade; they belong to the "grey zone", the zone of mediocrity. Too greedy, too arrogant, and too lazy. Sometime semi-senile. Their previous generation was much stronger. They respected us. And we them.

We do not respect this new neoliberal elite and they feel that. And we don't respect them because such mediocrities do not deserve our respect, and are not trustworthily partner. They generally can be classified as "Unable to adhere to any legal treaties" (Nedogovorosposobnie") . And that scares us, almost to death, because you need to deal with completely unpredictable, bizarre partner for whom treaties and agreements are not worth the paper they were printed on. But they will avoid open fight, unless the success guaranteed. We need to ensure that such situation never occur.

Their nervousness, their fidgeting, their second-rateness now is staring to be felt by other countries who would prefer to hedge their bet and join only a sure winner. They see that the outcome of the USA quest for Full Spectrum Dominance is not yet decided.

In addition, our opponents are now engaged in brutal showdown with each other. Western Europe recovered and became competitor of the USA. They also are openly laughing over their new chief. Half of the major Europium countries leadership probably hates him. For how long he can stay in power is completely unclear. But this is a new and unexpected development. .

And those in the second row, the stooges, are generally ready to escape from this virtual battlefield. It became too expensive to catch hot potatoes for Uncle Sam as the amount of loot for partners shrunk dramatically. And problems with neoliberalism at home mounted. Neoliberal chickens start coming to roost. They were promised money and a share of loot, not a beating in a real fight with a strong determined opponent.

What is our strength?

First of all we no longer have any illusions about the the USA or West in general, illusions that cost us so dearly in 1990th. They are predators who want to colonize, fleece and dismember our nation. An having no illusions means that they can't repeat economic rape they committed in 1990th. Now we know what awaits us if we give up. They'll devour us completely. Those gangsters will kick the lying opponent with feet until he is dead. They won't let us survive a second time.

We also have a grenade as the last resort. They know it, and they're terrified we'll pull the pin.

They don't understand how we can be defeated, so they try new ways to make us surrender without a fight. Looking for a weak spot.

What is our weakness?

Our first problem is that we are alone. We are a big and clumsy country with a lot of internal problems and convoluted history. Which refuse to became the USA vassal. We were a difficult neighbor in the past. Some people are afraid of us because or our past.

Our second and main problem is the lack of money for economic reconstruction. We don't have enough money for the restoration of the economy and the standard of living of our people after 1990th rape to the level we deserve as the major European country. Say the level the Germany managed to achieve, despite being defeated in WWII. And nobody is going to help us, at least on acceptable conditions. They will try to slow down our economic development by all mean possible. that's why they already imposed sanctions under bogus pretext. They will impose more to slow down the process. They will manipulate oil prices and engage us in "gas wars." If we can solve this problem and restore the economy and the standard of living of people after 1990 collapse other problems will be easier to take on.

Also a nice thing about having money is that you instantly have a lot of fiends ;-) At once.

Now some panoramic view on the situation like in oil painting.

First of all out willingness to fight back is a guarantee that they will not get into a real fight. We need to hold out for the next ten-twenty years or so. I think this is what we can expect for neoliberalism to last before the collapse.

But that doesn't solve all our problems. We need that they stop punching us with new sanctions. Better forever but, at least for the next twenty years. Until their racket finally falls apart.

So the second goal is to earn to earn money need to reconstruction of the economy and creating first class infrastructure. Which will allow us to grow. and we need to do this while there is time. That probably means that invest our money in growth and stop saving "for a rainy day" in US treasures and Western banks. Otherwise, this rainy day may come in a very unexpected fashion and way too soon: money will simply be confiscated as long as they can do it with impunity.

Andrey Bezrukov is the associate Professor of the chair of applied analysis of international problems, MGIMO

[Dec 07, 2019] China suspends Hong Kong visits by U.S. military ships, aircraft, sanctions U.S. NGOs

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , December 02, 2019 at 02:11 PM

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-12/02/c_138600158.htm

December 2, 2019

China suspends Hong Kong visits by U.S. military ships, aircraft, sanctions U.S. NGOs

BEIJING -- The Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing applications to visit Hong Kong by U.S. military ships and aircraft starting Monday, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

China will also take sanctions against some U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for their role in the disturbances in Hong Kong, Hua said at a press conference.

The NGOs include the National Endowment for Democracy, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House.

A lot of facts and evidence have shown that the aforementioned NGOs supported anti-China rioters in Hong Kong in various ways, abetted their extreme and violent criminal behavior and incited separatist activities for "Hong Kong independence", Hua said, adding that these organizations bear major responsibilities for Hong Kong's chaotic situation and should be sanctioned and pay their price.

The spokesperson said the United States has seriously violated the international law and basic norms governing international relations, and interfered in China's internal affairs by signing the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 into law despite China's firm opposition.

"China urges the U.S. to correct its mistake and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs or interfering in China's other internal affairs by any word and act," Hua said.

China will take further necessary actions in accordance with the development of the situation to firmly defend the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, she said.

[Dec 07, 2019] China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline is now operational

Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , December 02, 2019 at 06:52 AM

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-12/02/c_138600270.htm

December 2, 2019

China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline in operation

HARBIN -- The China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline was put into operation on Monday.

At the gas-distributing and compressing station in the city of Heihe, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, the data screen was switched on, indicating parameter variations of the gas passage. The station is the first stop after the Russia-supplied natural gas enters China.

The pipeline is scheduled to provide China with 5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in 2020 and the amount is expected to increase to 38 billion cubic meters annually from 2024, under a 30-year contract worth 400 billion U.S. dollars signed between the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Russian gas giant Gazprom in May 2014.

The cross-border gas pipeline has a 3,000-km section in Russia and a 5,111-km stretch in China.

Shao Hua, general manager of Heihe City Natural Gas Development Co., Ltd. of China Gas, said that the border city of Heihe still largely relies on coal for heat. With the Sino-Russian natural gas pipeline's operation, the city now has access to a stable supply of clean energy.

Heihe has registered 30,000 households for switching to natural gas for heating. It will take one year to complete full coverage of the gas network in the city, according to the company.

China's natural gas consumption reached 280.3 billion cubic meters in 2018. The country's demand for natural gas will continue to soar toward 2040, outstripping domestic output by around 43 percent, according to an International Energy Agency report.

China aims to raise the use of natural gas to 10 percent of the country's energy mix by 2020 and 15 percent by 2030, said the National Development and Reform Commission.

anne -> anne... , December 02, 2019 at 06:56 AM
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-25/how-russia-china-gas-pipeline-changes-energy-calculus-quicktake

November 25, 2019

How Russia-China Gas Pipeline Changes Energy Calculus
By Olga Tanas, Anna Shiryaevskaya and Dan Murtaugh - Bloomberg

Russia is pivoting its energy business to the east. The world's largest exporter of natural gas has built an enormous pipeline running from Siberia to the Chinese border to feed China's insatiable energy appetite. The new conduit, called the Power of Siberia, is part of a plan by Russian President Vladimir Putin to reduce his country's dependence on gas markets in Europe and tap into the fast-growing economies of Asia. For China, whose domestic energy production can't keep up with demand, the pipeline offers a vital new source of supply....

Paine -> anne... , December 02, 2019 at 08:09 AM
"Deep Sam "
Is pushing Russia and China together. It's good for great game high jinx to have a formidable opponent. Nixon be damned

[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.

[Dec 06, 2019] The 11 nations of the United States and their cultures - Business Insider

Dec 06, 2019 | www.businessinsider.com

This map shows how the US really has 11 separate 'nations' with entirely different cultures Andy Kiersz and Allana Akhtar Dec 4, 2019, 7:56 PM Facebook Icon The letter F. Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email. Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url. Twitter icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting. LinkedIn icon The word "in". Fliboard icon A stylized letter F. More icon Three evenly spaced dots forming an ellipsis: "...". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification.

11 Nations 11 Nations <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/55b273a2371d2211008b9793?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" />
The 11 nations of North America
Colin Woodward and Tufts/Brian Stauffer

America may be divided into 50 states, but many areas are culturally similar.

In his fourth book, " American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America ," award-winning author Colin Woodard identifies 11 distinct cultures that have historically divided the US.

"The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately including state roles and individual liberty," Woodard, a Maine native who won the 2012 George Polk Award for investigative reporting, told Business Insider. "[But] in order to have any productive conversation on these issues," he added, "you need to know where you come from."

Woodard also believes the nation is likely to become more polarized, even though America is becoming a more diverse place every day. He says this is because people are "self-sorting."

"People choose to move to places where they identify with the values," Woodard says. "Red minorities go south and blue minorities go north to be in the majority. This is why blue states are getting bluer and red states are getting redder and the middle is getting smaller."

Here's how Woodard describes each nation:

Matthew Speiser contributed to a previous version of this article. Yankeedom values education, and members are comfortable with government regulation. <

Syracuse New York <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/59b2be5c45e2381d008b5876?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> debra millet/Shutterstock
>

Encompassing the entire Northeast north of New York City and spreading through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, Yankeedom values education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and citizen participation in government as a shield against tyranny. Yankees are comfortable with government regulation. Woodard notes that Yankees have a "Utopian streak." The area was settled by radical Calvinists. New Netherland in the New York area has a "materialistic" culture. <

soho New York city <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de800e9fd9db247a976a267?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> Ryan DeBerardinis/Shutterstock
>

A highly commercial culture, New Netherland is "materialistic, with a profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity and an unflinching commitment to the freedom of inquiry and conscience," according to Woodard. It is a natural ally with Yankeedom and encompasses New York City and northern New Jersey. The area was settled by the Dutch. The Midlands, largely located in the Midwest, opposes government regulation. <

The Liberty Bell. <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de80a7ffd9db23e5a1dd0f7?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> Matt Rourke / AP
>

Settled by English Quakers, The Midlands are a welcoming middle-class society that spawned the culture of the "American Heartland." Political opinion is moderate, and government regulation is frowned upon. Woodard calls the ethnically diverse Midlands "America's great swing region." Within the Midlands are parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. Tidewater started as a feudal society that embraced slavery. <

Harrisburg, North Carolina <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5d60177b00ef2b6aa56bf1e1?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> Shutterstock
>

Tidewater was built by the young English gentry in the area around the Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina. Starting as a feudal society that embraced slavery, the region places a high value on respect for authority and tradition. Woodard notes that Tidewater is in decline, partly because "it has been eaten away by the expanding federal halos around D.C. and Norfolk." Greater Appalachia encompasses parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Texas. <

kentucky derby <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de80db9fd9db252bf4b2083?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> Michael Hickey/Getty Images
>

Colonized by settlers from the war-ravaged borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands, Greater Appalachia is stereotyped as the land of hillbillies and rednecks. Woodard says Appalachia values personal sovereignty and individual liberty and is "intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike." It sides with the Deep South to counter the influence of federal government. Within Greater Appalachia are parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas. Deep South adopts a rigid social structure and opposition to government regulation. <

university of alabama football fans <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de80dfcfd9db2413c3a5eea?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> Dave Martin/Getty Images
>

The Deep South was established by English slave lords from Barbados and was styled as a West Indies-style slave society, Woodard notes. It has a very rigid social structure and fights against government regulation that threatens individual liberty. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina are all part of the Deep South. El Norte has a dominant Hispanic culture. <

mexican american flag <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de80748fd9db24dc40f4fe2?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> David McNew/Reuters
>

Composed of the borderlands of the Spanish-American empire, El Norte is "a place apart" from the rest of America, according to Woodard. Hispanic culture dominates in the area, and the region values independence, self-sufficiency, and hard work above all else. Parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California are in El Norte. The Left Coast, located in coastal California, is a lot like Yankeedom and Greater Appalachia. <

San Francisco <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de8079efd9db239ec1a8f34?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" />
California has permanently moved up its presidential primary from June to March.
Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
>

Colonized by New Englanders and Appalachian Midwesterners, the Left Coast is a hybrid of "Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration," Woodard says, adding that it is the staunchest ally of Yankeedom. Coastal California, Oregon, and Washington are in the Left Coast. The Far West spans states in the central US including Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. <

South Dakota <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de80e54fd9db2417a02be09?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> Scott Olson/Getty Images
>

The conservative west. Developed through large investment in industry, yet where inhabitants continue to "resent" the Eastern interests that initially controlled that investment. The Far West spans several states, including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Oregon, and California. New France inhabitants are comfortable with government involvement in the economy. <

louisiana music new orleans <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de8086cfd9db24eb80e8128?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" /> Max Becherer/AP
>

A pocket of liberalism nestled in the Deep South, its people are consensus driven, tolerant, and comfortable with government involvement in the economy. Woodard says New France is among the most liberal places in North America. New France is focused around New Orleans in Louisiana as well as the Canadian province of Quebec. First Nation, most of whose people live in the northern part of the country, is made up of Native Americans. <

PIPELINE NATIVE AMERICANS <img src="https://image.businessinsider.com/5de808bdfd9db23afd1df6e8?width=600&format=jpeg&auto=webp" />
Protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. September 9, 2016.
REUTERS/Andrew Cullen
>

Made up of Native Americans, the First Nation's members enjoy tribal sovereignty in the US. Woodard says the territory of the First Nations is huge, but its population is under 300,000, most of whose people live in the northern reaches of Canada. SEE ALSO: 50 maps that explain how America lives, spends, and believes DON'T MISS: The best books of 2019 on how we can rethink today's capitalism and improve the economy

[Dec 06, 2019] Why Are Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Joining the Hong Kong Protests - Sputnik International

Dec 06, 2019 | sputniknews.com

Prominent Ukrainian neo-Nazi figures have been spotted in the Hong Kong protests just weeks after hosting an "academy of street protest" in Kiev. Leaders of far-right Ukrainian groups that rose to prominence in the 2014 coup d'etat they helped orchestrate, including the Azov Battalion and Right Sektor , have recently traveled to Hong Kong to participate in the anti-Beijing protests there. It's unclear why the groups, sporting the apparel of a far-right hooligan group called "Honor" or "Gonor," have gone to Hong Kong, but the fact that both the 2014 Ukrainian coup and the present protests in Hong Kong have enjoyed extensive support from the CIA-spawned National Endowment for Democracy may give a clue.

"Hong Kong welcomed us as relatives," Serhii Filimonov wrote on Facebook Saturday, sharing a video of himself and other Ukrainian far-right figures in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Filimonov once headed the Kiev branch of the Azov Civilian Corps, a support group for the ultra-nationalist Azov Battalion that's thinly veiled as a civilian NGO.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fserhii.filimonov.98%2Fvideos%2F160773771798497%2F&show_text=1&width=560 photos posted the following day include Ihor Maliar, an Azov Battalion veteran who sports a "victory or Valhalla" tattoo across his neck, and Serhii Sternenko, who headed the Odessa section of Right Sektor when it torched the Trade Unions House on May 2, 2014, killing 42 people and injuring hundreds in the street violence before and after. Sternenko also helped found the "People's Lustration" fascist gang, which harassed, beat up and humiliated former officials of the Ukrainian government in the months following the 2014 Euromaidan coup. Sputnik Screenshot Screenshot of a Facebook post by Serhii Filimonov showing "Gonor" members in Hong Kong

Several of the men wear paraphernalia of the far-right "Honor" or "Gonor" so-called youth group founded by Filimonov in 2015, sporting a stylized version of the "trident," a symbol with ancient meaning in Ukraine adopted by ultra-nationalists, as three daggers. Several also have neo-Nazi tattoos, such as swastikas.

Actual swastika tattoos, just in case you were left in any doubt these are actual neo-nazis. pic.twitter.com/z2HqMWNXuO

-- Hong Kong Hermit (@HongKongHermit) December 2, 2019

​The men also posed in front of the wrecked Hong Kong Polytechnic University , where an intense two-week showdown between police and protesters saw more than 1,000 students detained and thousands of weapons seized, including petrol bombs and explosives.

Sputnik Screenshot Serhii Filimonov post showing Ukrainian far-right figures posing in front of Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Early last month, Filimonov, Sternenko and Maliar spoke at an "academy of street protest" in Kiev, the posters of which featured a molotov cocktail emblazoned with the "Gonor" logo.

Sputnik Screenshot Poster for an "academy of street protest" featuring lectures by several Ukrainian far-right figures

A Ukrainian Facebook page that came to the defense of the Gonor crew and their trip Monday afternoon seems to bridge the gap between the two movements. Calling itself the "Free Hong Kong Center," the page posts about the supposed strong links between the Hong Kong and 2014 Ukraine protests, complete with the words "umbrella" and "dignity" on their banner, referencing what demonstrators in Hong Kong called their 2014 protests, seen as a precursor to the present unrest, and by far-right Ukrainians to the 2014 coup.

The Center came to the defense of Gonor on Monday, posting that they are "simple activists" now and "are not connected to any Azov movements any more."

"They assured us they are really against nazism and another kind of alt-right ideology," they posted, dismissing the neo-Nazi imagery as traditional Ukrainian symbols.

Sputnik Screenshot Facebook post by "Free Hong Kong Center" defending "Gonor" members' visit to Hong Kong

It's not clear exactly what these "simple activists" were doing in Hong Kong. However, it's worth noting the extensive groundwork laid for both the 2014 uprising in Ukraine and the 2019 protests in Hong Kong via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

In the three years before the 2014 coup, the CIA-backed NED sunk $14 million into regime change efforts in Ukraine, and the NED has been cultivating anti-Beijing attitudes in Hong Kong since the mid-1990s, before the territory was returned to Chinese rule by the British Empire.

Whether Filimonov and associates are there at the NED's behest or as simply a bit of protest tourism is anybody's guess.

[Dec 06, 2019] The Gas war led to the creation of Russia-China pipeline and lessened the dependence of Russia on sales of the gas to the Westtern countries

Dec 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

POWER OF SIBERIA. Putin and Xi turned on the pipeline on Monday . It carries gas from Russia's Far East into China and has a carrying capacity of 61 billion M 3 per year . There'll be more .

This has no small strategic significance: previously, for foreign sales, Russia was dependent on customers in Europe who are all, to a greater or lesser extent, subject to pressure from the war party.

Added to which transport was affected by Kiev's whims. Turkstream (scheduled to start next month) and the two pipelines to Germany help with the second problem and this one with the first. Sooner or later, Russia-China pipelines would have appeared but I think Ishchenko's argument that the Western war on Russia speeded up the process is credible.

(Come to think of it, now that Putin's hand is imagined everywhere, maybe it's time to consider that he's the American war party's real backer; after all, everything it's touched has turned to dust: from the forever wars, to Iran's increased influence, to the Russia-China alliance and now the furore in the USA over Ukraine – itself another disastrous project.)

[Dec 02, 2019] The Clintons And Soros were behind Russiagate and now most probably they are behind Ukraingate by Wayne Madsen

Ukrainegate has definite signs of Soros funded operation
Notable quotes:
"... America's globalists and interventionists are already pushing the meme that because so many establishment and entrenched national security and military "experts" opposed Trump's candidacy, Trump is "required" to call on them to join his administration because there are not enough such "experts" among Trump's inner circle of advisers. ..."
"... Discredited neo-conservatives from George W. Bush's White House, such as Iraq war co-conspirator Stephen Hadley, are being mentioned as someone Trump should have join his National Security Council and other senior positions. George H. W. Bush's Secretary of State James Baker, a die-hard Bush loyalist, is also being proffered as a member of Trump's White House team. ..."
"... There is absolutely no reason for Trump to seek the advice from old Republican fossils like Baker, Hadley, former Secretaries of State Rice and Powell, the lunatic former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and others. There are plenty of Trump supporters who have a wealth of experience in foreign and national security matters, including those of African, Haitian, Hispanic, and Arab descent and who are not neocons, who can fill Trump's senior- and middle-level positions. ..."
"... Trump must distance himself from sudden well-wishing neocons, adventurists, militarists, and interventionists and not permit them to infest his administration. ..."
"... PNAC: Project for New American Century. The main neocon lobby, it focused first on invading Iraq. Founded 1997, by William Kristol & Robert Kagan. First action: open letter to Clinton advocating Iraq war. Members in the Iraq-War clique: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, BOLTON, Libby, Abrams, Wurmser, Perle. ..."
"... HE PROMISED he would appoint a special prosecutor, PROMISED... ..."
"... Trump should reverse the McCain Feingold bill. That would take some wind out of Soros' sails, at least temporarily because that was Soros' bill. He wanted campaign finance reform which actually meant that he wanted to control campaign finance through 501C3 groups, or foundations such as Open Society, Moveon.org, Ella Baker society, Center for American progress, etc. He has a massive web of these organizations and they fund smaller ones and all kinds of evil. ..."
"... Tyler, please rerun this! How George Sorros destroys countries, profits from currency trading, convinces the countries to privatize its assets, buys them and then sells them for yet another profit: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-08/how-george-soros-singlehandedly... ..."
"... We know so little about Trump ... he's neoCon friendly to start with (remember he hired neoCon Grandee James Woolsey as an advisor)... and remember too Trump is promising his own war against Iran ... ..."
"... JFK was gunned down in front of the whole world. ..."
"... If Trump really is a nationalist patriot he'll need to innoculate the Population about the Deep State... they in turn will unleash financial disintegration and chaos, a Purple Revolution and then assassinate Trump (or have his own party impeach him) ..."
"... Organizing a means to receive the protestors' complaints may co-opt any organized effort to disrupt good political interaction and it will also separate out the bad elements cited by Madsen. ..."
"... AMERICAN SPRING: She practiced overseas in Tunisia, Algeria, Oman, Jordan, Libya, Egypt... Now it's time to apply the knowledge in her own country! ..."
"... Really good chance these subversive operations will continue. Soros has plenty of money ..."
Nov 12, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Wayne Madsen via Strategic-Culture.org,

Defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is not about to "go quietly into that good night". On the morning after her surprising and unanticipated defeat at the hands of Republican Party upstart Donald Trump, Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, entered the ball room of the art-deco New Yorker hotel in midtown Manhattan and were both adorned in purple attire. The press immediately noticed the color and asked what it represented. Clinton spokespeople claimed it was to represent the coming together of Democratic "Blue America" and Republican "Red America" into a united purple blend. This statement was a complete ruse as is known by citizens of countries targeted in the past by the vile political operations of international hedge fund tycoon George Soros.

The Clintons, who both have received millions of dollars in campaign contributions and Clinton Foundation donations from Soros, were, in fact, helping to launch Soros's "Purple Revolution" in America. The Purple Revolution will resist all efforts by the Trump administration to push back against the globalist policies of the Clintons and soon-to-be ex-President Barack Obama. The Purple Revolution will also seek to make the Trump administration a short one through Soros-style street protests and political disruption.

It is doubtful that President Trump's aides will advise the new president to carry out a diversionary criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton's private email servers and other issues related to the activities of the Clinton Foundation, especially when the nation faces so many other pressing issues, including jobs, immigration, and health care. However, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said he will continue hearings in the Republican-controlled Congress on Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and Mrs. Clinton's aide Huma Abedin . President Trump should not allow himself to be distracted by these efforts. Chaffetz was not one of Trump's most loyal supporters.

America's globalists and interventionists are already pushing the meme that because so many establishment and entrenched national security and military "experts" opposed Trump's candidacy, Trump is "required" to call on them to join his administration because there are not enough such "experts" among Trump's inner circle of advisers.

Discredited neo-conservatives from George W. Bush's White House, such as Iraq war co-conspirator Stephen Hadley, are being mentioned as someone Trump should have join his National Security Council and other senior positions. George H. W. Bush's Secretary of State James Baker, a die-hard Bush loyalist, is also being proffered as a member of Trump's White House team.

There is absolutely no reason for Trump to seek the advice from old Republican fossils like Baker, Hadley, former Secretaries of State Rice and Powell, the lunatic former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and others. There are plenty of Trump supporters who have a wealth of experience in foreign and national security matters, including those of African, Haitian, Hispanic, and Arab descent and who are not neocons, who can fill Trump's senior- and middle-level positions.

Trump must distance himself from sudden well-wishing neocons, adventurists, militarists, and interventionists and not permit them to infest his administration. If Mrs. Clinton had won the presidency, an article on the incoming administration would have read as follows:

"Based on the militarism and foreign adventurism of her term as Secretary of State and her husband Bill Clinton's two terms as president, the world is in store for major American military aggression on multiple fronts around the world. President-elect Hillary Clinton has made no secret of her desire to confront Russia militarily, diplomatically, and economically in the Middle East, on Russia's very doorstep in eastern Europe, and even within the borders of the Russian Federation. Mrs. Clinton has dusted off the long-discredited 'containment' policy ushered into effect by Professor George F. Kennan in the aftermath of World War. Mrs. Clinton's administration will likely promote the most strident neo-Cold Warriors of the Barack Obama administration, including Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, a personal favorite of Clinton".

President-elect Trump cannot afford to permit those who are in the same web as Nuland, Hadley, Bolton, and others to join his administration where they would metastasize like an aggressive form of cancer. These individuals would not carry out Trump's policies but seek to continue to damage America's relations with Russia, China, Iran, Cuba, and other nations.

Not only must Trump have to deal with Republican neocons trying to worm their way into his administration, but he must deal with the attempt by Soros to disrupt his presidency and the United States with a Purple Revolution

No sooner had Trump been declared the 45th president of the United States, Soros-funded political operations launched their activities to disrupt Trump during Obama's lame-duck period and thereafter. The swiftness of the Purple Revolution is reminiscent of the speed at which protesters hit the streets of Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in two Orange Revolutions sponsored by Soros, one in 2004 and the other, ten years later, in 2014.

As the Clintons were embracing purple in New York, street demonstrations, some violent, all coordinated by the Soros-funded Moveon.org and "Black Lives Matter", broke out in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Oakland, Nashville, Cleveland, Washington, Austin, Seattle, Philadelphia, Richmond, St. Paul, Kansas City, Omaha, San Francisco, and some 200 other cities across the United States.

The Soros-financed Russian singing group "Pussy Riot" released on YouTube an anti-Trump music video titled "Make America Great Again". The video went "viral" on the Internet. The video, which is profane and filled with violent acts, portrays a dystopian Trump presidency. Following the George Soros/Gene Sharp script to a tee, Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova called for anti-Trump Americans to turn their anger into art, particularly music and visual art. The use of political graffiti is a popular Sharp tactic. The street protests and anti-Trump music and art were the first phase of Soros's Purple Revolution in America.

President-elect Trump is facing a two-pronged attack by his opponents. One, led by entrenched neo-con bureaucrats, including former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and Bush family loyalists are seeking to call the shots on who Trump appoints to senior national security, intelligence, foreign policy, and defense positions in his administration. These neo-Cold Warriors are trying to convince Trump that he must maintain the Obama aggressiveness and militancy toward Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries. The second front arrayed against Trump is from Soros-funded political groups and media. This second line of attack is a propaganda war, utilizing hundreds of anti-Trump newspapers, web sites, and broadcasters, that will seek to undermine public confidence in the Trump administration from its outset.

One of Trump's political advertisements, released just prior to Election Day, stated that George Soros, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, and Goldman Sachs chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein, are all part of "a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities". Soros and his minions immediately and ridiculously attacked the ad as "anti-Semitic". President Trump should be on guard against those who his campaign called out in the ad and their colleagues. Soros's son, Alexander Soros, called on Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner, to publicly disavow Trump. Soros's tactics not only seek to split apart nations but also families. Trump must be on guard against the current and future machinations of George Soros, including his Purple Revolution.

Pinto Currency nmb Nov 11, 2016 8:37 PM ,

Purple must be the color of pedophiles.

Soros, Clintons, Podestas, amd apparently Obama are all into it as we are learning from Comet Ping Pong scandal:

https://i.sli.mg/ayI6QF.jpg

https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/5b1qtf/comet_ping_pong_pizz...

https://dcpizzagate.wordpress.com/

https://i.redd.it/3l20mhvrxtvx.png

http://investmentwatchblog.com/breaking-from-the-anon-who-brought-you-th...

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a1c_1478546206

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/04/the-strange-case-of-gord...

http://www.newsdailystudio.com/2016/11/05/bill-clinton-wasnt-the-only-on...

Keep your eye on Jared Kushner, who is Trump's son-in-law. He refused to have his newspaper the NY Observer endorse Trump. That is not a good sign.

MalteseFalcon Pinto Currency Nov 11, 2016 8:39 PM ,
"It is doubtful that President Trump's aides will advise the new president to carry out a diversionary criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton's private email servers and other issues related to the activities of the Clinton Foundation, especially when the nation faces so many other pressing issues, including jobs, immigration, and health care."

None of those "pressing issues" involve the DOJ or the FBI.

Investigate, prosecute and jail Hillary Clinton and her crew.

Trump is going to need a hostage or two to deal with these fucks.

If he doesn't, they will deal with him.

letsit Occident Mortal Nov 11, 2016 8:45 PM ,
Netanyahu, the greatest neocon of all, endorsed Trump. All TRUE neocons love Trump.

https://biblicisminstitute.wordpress.com/views-of-news/#trumpmeans

Husk-Erzulie nmewn Nov 12, 2016 9:48 AM ,
Big series of protests being planned. Recruiting ads in Craigslist nationwide. Purple ties and dresses all over MSM this morning.

This is when the Purple Hats, Flags, Balloons start coming out.

Kill it before it grows.

https://twitter.com/AustinChas/status/797445221122506752

any_mouse californiagirl Nov 12, 2016 2:54 AM ,
Purple and royalty? Purple in Rome?

News for the Clintons, The R's and D's already united to vote against Hillary.

I do not understand why they think street protests will bring down a POTUS? And that would be acceptable in a major nation.

Why isn't the government cracking down the separatists in Oregon, California, and elsewhere? They are not accepting the legal outcome of an election. They are calling for illegal secession. (Funny in 1861 this was a cause for the federal government to attack the joint and seveal states of the union.) If a group of whites had protested Obama's election in 2008?

The people living in Kalispell are reviled and ridiculed for their separatist views. Randy Weaver and family for not accepting politically correct views. And so on.

This is getting out of hand. There will be no walking this back.

Erek any_mouse Nov 12, 2016 7:47 AM ,
Purple is the color of royalty!

Are these fuckers proclaiming themselves as King and Queen of America?

If so, get the executioner and give them a "French Haircut"!

X_in_Sweden Grimaldus Nov 12, 2016 10:58 AM ,
You say
Grimaldus ,

"Yes. And who are the neocons really? Progressives. Neocon is a label successfully used by criminal progressives to shield their brand."

Well let's go a little bit deeper in examing the 'who' thing:

"The neoconservative movement, which is generally perceived as a radical (rather than "conservative") Republican right, is, in reality, an intellectual movement born in the late 1960s in the pages of the monthly magazine Commentary , a media arm of the American Jewish Committee , which had replaced the Contemporary Jewish Record in 1945. The Forward , the oldest American Jewish weekly, wrote in a January 6th, 2006 article signed Gal Beckerman: " If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it.... "

From the article By Laurent Guyénot ,

*Who Are The Neoconservatives?*

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35106.htm

Are you connecting the dots.......folks......?

. . . _ _ _ . . . Bendromeda Strain Nov 11, 2016 11:04 PM ,

Great avatar!

GROWTH IS THE ULTIMATE PONZI SCHEME

Lavada Chupacabra-322 Nov 12, 2016 10:41 AM ,
The idea of arresting the Clinton Crime, Fraud and Crime Family would be welcomed. BUT, who is going to arrest them? Loretta Lynch, James Comey, WHO? The problem here is that our so called "authorities" are all in the same bed. The tentacles of the Eastern Elite Establishment are everywhere in high office, academia, the media, Big Business, etc. The swamp is thoroughly infested with this elite scum of those in the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, Chatham House, Club of Rome, Committee of 300, Jason Society and numerous other private clubs of the rich, powerful and influential. The Illuminati has been exposed, however they aren't going down lightly. They still have massive amounts of money, they own the media and the banking houses. Some have described it as MIMAC, the Military Industrial Media Academic Complex. A few months ago here at Zero Hedge, there was an article which showed a massive flow chart of the elites and their organization

They could IF and WHEN Trump gets to Washington after 20 Jan 2017, simply implode the economy and blame t it on Trump. Sort of what happened to Herbert Hoover in the late 1920's. Unfortunately the situation in the US will continue to deteriorate. George Soros, a major financial backer of Hillary will see to that. Soros is a Globalist and advocate of one world government. People comment that Soros should be arrested. I agree, BUT who is going to do that?

Grimaldus ShortCommonSense Nov 12, 2016 9:12 AM ,
Agree. I think Trump will yank all the "aid" to Israel as well as "aid" to the Islamic murderers of the Palitrashian human garbage infesting the area. This "aid" money is simply a bribe to keep both from killing each other. F**k all of them. None of our business what they do.

We got progressives ( lots and lots of Jews in that group) who are the enemy of mankind and then we got Islam who are also the enemy of mankind. Why help either of them? Makes no sense.

Wile-E-Coyote Bastiat Nov 12, 2016 5:35 AM ,
How come Soros never got picked up by Mossad for war crimes against his own people?

And if he is such a subversive shit why hasn't a government given him a Polonium 210 enema.

Martian Moon Wile-E-Coyote Nov 12, 2016 8:13 AM ,
Always wondered about that

Soros is hated in Israel and has never set foot there but his foundations have done such harm that a bill was recently passed to ban foreign funding of non profit political organizations

Chupacabra-322 RopeADope Nov 11, 2016 9:03 PM ,
The fact that we all have to worry about the CIA killing a President Elect simply because the man puts America first, really says it all.

The Agency is Cancer. Why are we even waiting for them to kill another one of our people to act? There should be no question about the CIA's future in the US.

Dissolved & dishonored. Its members locked away or punished for Treason. Their reputation is so bad and has been for so long, that the fact that you joined them should be enough to justify arrest and Execution for Treason, Crimes Against Humanity & Crimes Against The American People.

King Tut Chupacabra-322 Nov 11, 2016 9:11 PM ,
JFK made the mistake of publicly stating his intention of smashing the CIA instead of just doing it quickly and quietly
Chupacabra-322 King Tut Nov 11, 2016 9:30 PM ,
There are entirely way too many Intelligence Agencies. Plus the Contractors, some of who shouldn't have high level clearance to begin with which the US sub contracts the Intel / work out to.

For Fucks sake, Government is so incompetent it can't even handle it own Intel.

Something along the lines of Eurpoe's Five Eyes would be highly effective.

Fuck those Pure Evil Psychopaths at the CIA They're nothing more than a bunch of Scum Fuck murdering, drug running, money laundering Global Crime Syndicate.

HowdyDoody Chupacabra-322 Nov 11, 2016 10:59 PM ,
Five Eyes isn't European, it is US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. If you note carefully, the NSA etc think we can't count.
chubbar Pinto Currency Nov 11, 2016 8:46 PM ,
The FBI is still investigating the Clinton Foundation, Trump needs to encourage that through backdoor channels. Soro's needs to be investigated, he has been tied to a conspiracy to incite violence, this needs to be documented and dealt with. Trump can not ignore this guy. If any of these investigations come back with a recommendation to indict then that process needs to be started. Take the fight to them, they are vulnerable!
Chupacabra-322 chubbar Nov 11, 2016 9:12 PM ,
Make a National APB Warrent for the apprehension & arrest of George Sooros for inciting violence, endsrgerimg the public & calling for the murder of our Nations Police through funding of the BLM Group.

Have every Law Informent Agency in the Nation on alert. Also, issue a Bounty in the Sum of $5,000,000 for his immediate apprehension.

kwc chubbar Nov 12, 2016 4:50 AM ,
Trump needs to replace FBI chickenshits & sellouts with loyal people then get the FBI counter-terrorism to investigate and shut down Soros & the various agencies instigating the riots. It's really simple when you quit over-thinking a problem. It's domestic terrorism. It's the FBI's job to stop it.
Laddie nmb Nov 11, 2016 8:43 PM ,
I read what Paul said this morning and thought, despite Paul's hostility to Trump during the primaries most likely due to his son, Rand's loss, that Paul gave good advice to Trump.
Let's face it Donald Trump is a STOP GAP measure. And demographic change over the next 4 years makes his re-election very, very UNLIKELY. If he keeps his campaign promises he will be a GREAT president. However as ZH reported earlier he appears to be balking from repealing Obamacare, I stress the word APPEARS.

Let us give him a chance. This is all speculation. His enemies are DEADLY as they were once they got total control in Russia, they killed according to Solzhenitsyn SIXTY-SIX MILLION Russian Christians. The descendants of those Bolsheviks are VERY powerful in the USSA. They control the Fed, Hollyweird, Wall Street, the universities...

Professor Kevin MacDonald's 'The Culture of Critique' Reviewed

Like the South Africans the Tribe TALKED us out of our nation.

Mechanisms for Cuckservatives and Other Misguided White People by Dr. Kevin MacDonald September 22, 2016

Much of the media and advertising exist by pushing buttons that trigger appropriate financially lucrative reflexes in their audiences, from pornography to romantic movies to team sports. Media profits are driven by competition over how best to push those buttons. But the effort to produce politically and racially cuckolded Whites adds a layer of complexity: What buttons do you push to make Whites complicit in their own racial and cultural demise?

Actually, there are a whole lot of them, which shouldn't be surprising. This is a very sophisticated onslaught, enabled by control over all the moral, intellectual, and political high ground by the left. With all that high ground, there are a lot of buttons you can push.

Our enemies see this as a pathetic last gasp of a moribund civilization and it is quite true for our civilization is dying. Identity Christians describe this phase as Jacob's Troubles and what the secular Guillaume Faye would, I think, describe as the catastrophe required to get people motivated. The future has yet to be written, however I cannot help but think that God's people, the White people, are stirring from their slumber.

King Tut Laddie Nov 11, 2016 8:49 PM ,
See: The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon- Rudyard Kipling
Paul Kersey -> Paul Kersey Nov 11, 2016 8:20 PM ,
"PNAC: Project for New American Century. The main neocon lobby, it focused first on invading Iraq. Founded 1997, by William Kristol & Robert Kagan. First action: open letter to Clinton advocating Iraq war. Members in the Iraq-War clique: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, BOLTON, Libby, Abrams, Wurmser, Perle.

JINSA, The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. "explaining the link between U.S. national security and Israel's security" Served on JINSA's Advisory Board: Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith, BOLTON, Perle."

Mini-Me Nov 11, 2016 8:18 PM ,
If Trump has probable cause on the Soros crimes, have his DoJ request a warrant for all of Soros's communications via the NSA, empanel a grand jury, indict the bastard, and throw his raggedy ass in prison. It would be hard for him to run his retarded purple revolution when he's getting ass-raped by his cell mate.
Hurricane Baby -> Mini-Me Nov 11, 2016 8:41 PM ,
I agree. Thing is, I think as president he can simply order the NSA to cough up whatever they have, just like Obama could have done at any point. The NSA is part of the Defense Department, right? What am I missing here?
Dilluminati Nov 11, 2016 8:26 PM ,
Funny: Clinton swears Comey did her in and the DNC blames arrogant Hillary.

http://www.usnews.com/news/the-run-2016/articles/2016-11-11/dnc-staff-ar...

But in respect to Soro's money and the Dalas shooting or other incited events, there should be a grand jury empanelled and then charges brought against him. I think nothing short of him hiding in an embassy with all his money blocked by Swift is justice for the violence that he funded.

... ... ...

Skiprrrdog Nov 11, 2016 8:57 PM ,
It is doubtful that President Trump's aides will advise the new president to carry out a diversionary criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton's private email servers and other issues related to the activities of the Clinton Foundation, especially when the nation faces so many other pressing issues, including jobs, immigration, and health care. However, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said he will continue hearings in the Republican-controlled Congress on Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and Mrs. Clinton's aide Huma Abedin. President Trump should not allow himself to be distracted by these efforts. Chaffetz was not one of Trump's most loyal supporters.

And so it begins; I really hope that this is just some misinformation/disinformation, because HE PROMISED he would appoint a special prosecutor, PROMISED...

johnwburns Nov 11, 2016 9:10 PM ,
The likes of Bill Kristol, Ben Shapiro and Jonah Goldberg get to catch up on their Torah for the forseeable future but the likes of Lloyd Blankfein will probably get to entertain the court since they have probably crossed paths doing business in NYC. The "real conservative" deeply introspective, examine-my-conscience crowd screwed themselves to the wall, god love them.
Ms No Nov 11, 2016 9:05 PM ,
Trump should reverse the McCain Feingold bill. That would take some wind out of Soros' sails, at least temporarily because that was Soros' bill. He wanted campaign finance reform which actually meant that he wanted to control campaign finance through 501C3 groups, or foundations such as Open Society, Moveon.org, Ella Baker society, Center for American progress, etc. He has a massive web of these organizations and they fund smaller ones and all kinds of evil.
Rebel yell Nov 11, 2016 9:36 PM ,
Tyler, please rerun this! How George Sorros destroys countries, profits from currency trading, convinces the countries to privatize its assets, buys them and then sells them for yet another profit: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-08/how-george-soros-singlehandedly...
Posa Nov 12, 2016 10:25 AM ,
We know so little about Trump ... he's neoCon friendly to start with (remember he hired neoCon Grandee James Woolsey as an advisor)... and remember too Trump is promising his own war against Iran ... (just in case you confused him with Mother Theresa).. But then again JFK took office with a set of initiatives that were far more bellicose and provocative (like putting huge Jupiter missile launchers on the USSR border in Turkey)... once he saw he light and fired the pro Nazi Dulles Gang , JFK was gunned down in front of the whole world.

If Trump really is a nationalist patriot he'll need to innoculate the Population about the Deep State... they in turn will unleash financial disintegration and chaos, a Purple Revolution and then assassinate Trump (or have his own party impeach him)

I'm guessing though that deep down Trump is quite comfortable with a neoCon cabinet... hell he already offered Jamie Diamon the office of Treasry Secretary... no doubt a calculated gesture to signal compliance with the Deep State.

rocknrollinhone... Nov 11, 2016 9:59 PM ,
Soros is heavily invested in the globalist agenda. Wouldn't be surprised if they don't take a shot at assassinating Trump.
bsdetector Nov 11, 2016 11:10 PM ,
The Clintons do not do things by accident. Coordination of colors at the concession speech was meant for something. Perhaps the purple revolution or maybe they want to be seen as royals. It doesn't really matter why they did it; the fact is they are up to something. They will not agree to go away and even if they offered to just disappear with their wealth we know they are dishonest. They will come back... that is what they do.

They must be stripped of power and wealth. This act must be performed publicly.

In order to succeed Mr. Trump I suggest you task a group to accomplish this result. Your efforts to make America great again may disintegrate just like Obamacare if you allow the Clintons and Co. to languish in the background.

bsdetector Nov 12, 2016 12:06 AM ,
The protestors are groups of individuals who may seek association for any number of reasons. One major reason might be the loss of hope for a meaningful and prosperous life. We should seek out and listen to the individuals within these groups. If they are truly desirous of being heard they will communicate what they want without use of violence. Perhaps individuals join these protest groups because they do not have a voice.

Organizing a means to receive the protestors' complaints may co-opt any organized effort to disrupt good political interaction and it will also separate out the bad elements cited by Madsen.

The articles reporting that Mr. Trump has changed his response to the protestors is a good effort to discover the protestors' complaints and channel their energy into beneficial political activity. Something must be done quickly though, before the protests get out of hand, for if that happens the protestors will be criminals and no one will want to work with them.

In order to make America great again we need input from all of America. Mr. Trump you can harness the energy of these protestors and let them know they are a part of your movement.

Batman11 -> Batman11 Nov 12, 2016 3:09 AM ,
Classical economists are experts on today's capitalism, it is 18th and 19th Century capitalism, it's how it all started.

Adam Smith would think we are on the road to ruin.

"But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin."

Exactly the opposite of today's thinking, what does he mean?

When rates of profit are high, capitalism is cannibalizing itself by:

1) Not engaging in long term investment for the future

2) Paying insufficient wages to maintain demand for its products and services.

Got that wrong as well.

Adam Smith wouldn't like today's lobbyists.

"The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."

OH NO, It's ALL WRONG

dogismycopilot Nov 12, 2016 5:39 AM ,
First five minutes of Alex Jones' video today is clips of people saying "Donald Trump will never be president". Full Show - Soros-Funded Goons Deployed to Overthrow America - 11/11/2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPH26ohO_DY

CoCosAB Nov 12, 2016 7:04 AM ,
AMERICAN SPRING: She practiced overseas in Tunisia, Algeria, Oman, Jordan, Libya, Egypt... Now it's time to apply the knowledge in her own country!