Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

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

News American Imperialism Recommended Links Predator state Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism IMF as a key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Debt enslavement Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement Provisional government as an instrument for Ukraine's debt enslavement "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Looting pays dividends to empire
Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows Divide and conquer strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Deep State Why did we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong ?
American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism The Grand Chessboard New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Iron Law of Oligarchy Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
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
Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions EuroMaidan The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Narcissism as Key American Value
Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Machiavellism Right to protect Big Uncle is Watching You Industrial Espionage
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

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
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

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

See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

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.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Comment Comment (1)

Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

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

See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

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/


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Neocolonialism Bulletin, 2015 Neocolonialism Bulletin, 2014

Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[Oct 22, 2018] Is China Waiting Us Out The American Conservative

Obama was a neocon, Trump is a neocon. what's new ?
Chinese leaders appeared to be acting on the advice of the 6th century BC philosopher and general Sun Tzu, who wrote in The Art of War, "there is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare."
Oct 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Candidate Trump railed against the invasion of Iraq during his campaign, at one point blaming George W. Bush directly and saying, "we should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East." As president-elect, Trump continued to promise a very different foreign policy, one that would "stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn't be involved with."

The election of Donald Trump gave the international community pause: Trump appeared unpredictable, eschewed tradition, and flouted convention. He might well have followed through on his promise to move the U.S. away from its long embrace of forever war. China's government in particular must have worried about such a move. If the U.S. focused on its internal problems and instead pursued a restrained foreign policy that was constructive rather than destructive, it might pose more of an impediment to China's rise to global power status.

But the Chinese need not have worried. With a continued troop presence in Afghanistan and Syria, a looming conflict with Iran, and even talk of an intervention in Venezuela, Trump is keeping the U.S. on its perpetual wartime footing.

This is good news for Beijing, whose own foreign policy could not be more different. Rather than embracing a reactive and short-sighted approach that all too often ignores second- and third-order consequences, the Chinese strategy appears cautious and long-ranging. Its policymakers and technocrats think and plan in terms of decades, not months. And those plans, for now, are focused more on building than bombing.

This is not to say that China's foreign policy is altruistic-it is certainly not. It is designed to cement China's role as a great power by ensnaring as many countries as possible in its economic web. China is playing the long game while Washington expends resources and global political capital on wars it cannot win. America's devotion to intervention is sowing the seeds of its own demise and China will be the chief beneficiary.

[Oct 21, 2018] Naftogaz has now begun to help itself to money from Russia's gas-transit payments, arguing that it is owed money from the Stockholm Arbitration ruling which Gazprom has refused to pay

Oct 21, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman October 13, 2018 at 10:22 pm

Naftogaz has now begun to help itself to money from Russia's gas-transit payments, arguing that it is owed money from the Stockholm Arbitration ruling which Gazprom has refused to pay.

https://www.naturalgasworld.com/ukraine-takes-9mn-from-gazprom-penalty-payment-65062

Apparently Russia is still paying the old rate, from before the ruling (because to do otherwise would be to recognize the debt and accept responsibility for it), which results in an overpayment since it is higher than Naftogaz would charge, if I understand correctly. So Naftogaz has decided to confiscate it as owing.

This, obviously, sets the stage for another shutdown of European gas supplies, just as winter is coming on. Perhaps Ukraine has realized that nothing it can do or say is going to stop Nord Stream II from going ahead, and so it might as well recover what it can, and who cares if it results in a shutdown of Europe's gas, regardless where the blame ends up? Once again Ukraine's maneuvering puts Russia in a difficult spot – it can recognize the Stockholm award and pay Ukraine $2.6 Billion or whatever it was. Or it can accept that Ukraine will keep part of its transit payments against the debt until it can shut down gas transit across Ukraine altogether. Or it can shut off the gas now.

If it were up to me, I would take the middle option. Let Ukraine congratulate itself on one-upping me with its native cleverness (assuming here that I am Russia), and let them keep $9 or $10 million of the transit fees each month; that would probably be a lot cheaper than acknowledging the Stockholm award and paying Ukraine billions, in view of the fact that Ukraine never paid back the money it was lent by Russia; Stockholm neatly solved that for them, by awarding them huge damages, part of which was understood to be the amount Ukraine owed. Okay, that goes toward Ukraine's debt to Russia, and now you owe Ukraine $2.6 Billion more.

I would just focus on getting Nord Stream II completed. Then I would not only stop gas transit through Ukraine, I would tell them to kiss my ass if they wanted to buy gas for themselves. You were so pleased with yourselves for not buying any gas from Russia last year – obviously you can get along fine without it. But I sure hope Europe is going to keep giving you money to buy European gas forever.

[Oct 21, 2018] Russian Deputy FM Ludicrous 'meddling' charges an excuse for more sanctions and to play 'Russia card' ahead of midterm elections

Oct 21, 2018 | www.sott.net

Washington is concocting ludicrous charges against a Russian national for alleged election meddling merely to find reasons for new sanctions and to play the 'Russia card' ahead of the midterms, a top Kremlin official has warned.

The US is bringing up "ludicrous accusations" with a "laughable 'body of proof'" simply to slap Moscow with a new round of sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a statement on Saturday. He added that "certain" US politicians hope to use charges against Russia to gain the upper hand in "interparty brawls" ahead of the midterm elections, slated for November 6.

Ryabkov made his remarks after the US Department of Justice officially leveled charges against Russian national Elena Khusyaynova, who allegedly served as the chief accountant for 'Project Lakhta.' The officials suspect her of handling the funds used to pay online trolls for posting comments to "sow discord in the US political system," and to "undermine faith" in US democracy. These alleged activities were part of what Washington calls Russian strategic efforts to meddle in the 2016 US presidential race and as well as the upcoming midterms.

... ... ...

Russian official Ryabkov dismissed the charges as "flagrant lies" and yet another element of the "shameful slanderous campaign" unleashed by Washington against Moscow.

"The US clearly overestimates its capabilities," the deputy foreign minister said.

"While exhibiting hostility towards Russia and looking down on the whole world, they will only meet tougher pushback."

[Oct 20, 2018] According to Global Wealth Report by the personal wealth of the population Ukraine is in the 123rd place (out of 140 countries ranked).

Oct 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

AP says: October 18, 2018 at 9:58 pm GMT 100 Words @Gerard2

This months gas tariff for "Ukrainians" increases by 24%!!

The context is that Ukrainian consumers have the lowest gas rate in Europe. Moldovan households pay more for gas than do Ukrainian ones. Even with a 24% price increase Ukraine will still have the cheapest gas in Europe for its consumers:

https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Natural_gas_price_statistics

AP says: October 19, 2018 at 12:46 am GMT @Gerard2

The price increase will go past 40% in May

Which will make gas prices for Ukrainian consumers more or less tied with those in Moldova as the cheapest in Europe.

For whatever reason IMF wanted Ukrainian consumers not be subsidized as much as they have been.

AnonFromTN , says: October 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT

@Anon According to Global Wealth Report ( https://www.credit-suisse.com/corporate/en/articles/news-and-expertise/global-wealth-report-2018-us-and-china-in-the-lead-201810.html ), by the personal wealth of the population Ukraine is in the 123rd place (out of 140 countries ranked).
By this measure Ukraine is behind Nepal, Cameroon, Kenia, Bangladesh, and Lesotho, just ahead of Zambia. But there are 135 people in Ukraine with personal wealth greater than $50 million.

A huge line for free food at the charity kitchen in Kiev can be seen here: http://rusvesna.su/news/1539952343 (those who read Russian can find details in the accompanying news item).

I guess all of this is a great achievement of Maidan. Ukies, please comment.

[Oct 19, 2018] Ukrainian religious shism as a part of color revolution

Attempt to split the church were pretty much predictable, as it increases the level of sovereignty of the Ukrainian state. So Poroshenko position is logical.
The problem here that there are not that many believers in eastern part of Ukraine. But there is substantial number of Uniate believers in Western part of Ukraine.
Notable quotes:
"... Could it be that the Vatican is the principal force behind the 2014 Maidan uprising in Kiev, the regime-change operation in Ukraine, as a part of its millennium-old war against Russian Orthodoxy? ..."
"... a very clear way the textbook activities of color revolution conducted by that most powerful and respectable institution of soft power, a religious university - the Ukrainian Catholic University - with its own media group, its own business academy, and funding and contacts with many "philanthropies" from the west. It's also headed by an American bishop, with a substantial provenance and respected standing in US elite circles. ..."
"... The Catholic Church is losing its hold over the masses, losing its power, and yet continues with its war against the Orthodox side of the schism, and doubles down on tools of domination, experimenting in Ukraine and some other eastern European countries with ways to control a society - a clear threat to western Europe if it could but see it. ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Oct 19, 2018 12:08:14 AM | link

Could it be that the Vatican is the principal force behind the 2014 Maidan uprising in Kiev, the regime-change operation in Ukraine, as a part of its millennium-old war against Russian Orthodoxy?

The Saker is carrying a long article by Russian author Aleksandr Voznesensky, translated heroically by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard. It's cross-posted from StalkerZone, but there are some comments on Saker, and I know we can link there, so here goes:
How the Vatican Is Preparing to Launch a Religious War in Ukraine with the Help of the Constantinople Patriarchate and the Uniates

The article is a keeper - I recommend bookmarking it for reference if nothing else. It details the events leading up to and following the Maidan, and illustrates in a very clear way the textbook activities of color revolution conducted by that most powerful and respectable institution of soft power, a religious university - the Ukrainian Catholic University - with its own media group, its own business academy, and funding and contacts with many "philanthropies" from the west. It's also headed by an American bishop, with a substantial provenance and respected standing in US elite circles.

Although the article is long, it's very readable, and well translated.

Towards the end, it poses a view that I had never considered, but which resonates with the trajectory of the more secular US empire. The Catholic Church is losing its hold over the masses, losing its power, and yet continues with its war against the Orthodox side of the schism, and doubles down on tools of domination, experimenting in Ukraine and some other eastern European countries with ways to control a society - a clear threat to western Europe if it could but see it.

I don't understand much about the recent moves of the Church in Ukraine, but anyone can see how fraught are the faithful because of these lawless acts. I often forget the old battle by Rome against Constantinople, but I have every inclination to believe it completely. This article does a splendid job of detailing it and making it very visible.

[Oct 19, 2018] You'll learn a great many things you didn't know before from Putin and Lavrov interviews. I certainly did!

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ross , Oct 18, 2018 6:08:19 PM | link

@ben | Oct 18, 2018 5:09:50 PM | 40

If you are finding your way out of the dark forest of propaganda there are two speeches by Putin that I point people toward. First, at the Munich Security Conference in 2007. Video here : Transcript here

Second, at the UN General Assembly September 2015, Video here : Transcript here .

I fail to see how any rational person could disagree with the sentiments he expresses. Warning! You may become a Putin-bot!

karlof1 , Oct 18, 2018 8:40:07 PM | link

Lots of interviews: Putin, Medvedev, and Lavrov twice. The only two I haven't linked to are Lavrov's --done!

Putin's Valdai Club transcript isn't 100% complete yet, but the summary I linked to earlier @11 has the video. The Medvedev link's @21.

You'll learn a great many things you didn't know before from these interviews. I certainly did!

[Oct 19, 2018] For the $TRILLIONS hoovered up by Deep State and their war profiteering minions, we could have put every Afghan male of military age through Harvard Business School.

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

b , Oct 18, 2018 9:28:57 AM | link

The governor General Abdul Raziq, the police chief and the intelligence chief of Kandahar have all been killed today. Bodyguards turned their guns on them. Two U.S. soldiers were wounded. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan was present but not hurt.

Raziq was a brut, thief, killer, drug baron and the CIA's man in Kandahar.

In 2011 Matthieu Atkins portrait him: Our Man in Kandahar
Abdul Raziq and his men have received millions of dollars' worth of U.S. training and equipment to help in the fight against the Taliban. But is our ally -- long alleged to be involved in corruption and drug smuggling -- also guilty of mass murder?


Anton Worter , Oct 18, 2018 10:05:07 AM | link

b

Been there. Done that. Kandahar is beautiful.

The United States, specifically Cheney and Petraeus and Rodham, imposed the Imperial Executor form of Federalist government upon a people who were a well-organized heirarchical society while William the Conqueror was still head chopping Anglo-Saxons in bear skins.

Cheny wrote the Afghan petroleum and strategic resources laws *in English* at the beginning of the 2001 invasion. The US imposed a new flag, a new pledge of allegiance, a new national song and even a new national currency on the Afghan people, then imposed the first imperial caesar, Karzai.

You break it, you own it!

For the $TRILLIONS hoovered up by Deep State and their war profiteering minions, we could have put every Afghan male of military age through Harvard Business School.

On to Tehran!! Lu,lu,lu,lu,lu!

Anton Worter , Oct 18, 2018 2:36:09 PM | link
12

Cheney, Petraeus and Rodham ALSO created the Federal Republican Guard ANA and ANP, goombahs, renegade hijackers and shakedown artists who, like those same ANA/ANP 'personal guards' mentioned in b's article, assassinated the governor and the others. And umm, yes, I've been on the muzzle end of those ANA/ANP thugs in an attempted kidnapping, so been there, done that.

AFA Russ' defense of William the Conqueror as some 'high point' of a Western Civilization of Red Haired Yettis, they were still head-chopping each other in England while Afghanistan ruled from East Persia to Western India, an advanced civilization far more ancient than Anglo-Saxon bearskin cave dwelling knuckle draggers, at the time.

Of course, now today we have the White Scientocratic Triumphal Exceptionalist Civilization and its Miracle of the Two Planes and Three Towers to prove it, even if Johnny and Jillian can't read, write or do their ciphers.

[Oct 19, 2018] This is about spreading our liberal values" (translation: the American people don't need to be informed about the region are changes are non-negotiable).

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kadath , Oct 18, 2018 5:49:18 PM | link

just watched the Atlantic council's Championing the Frontlines of Freedom: Erasing the "Grey Zone", only interesting thing to come out of the conference was Kurt Volker's (US Special Representative for Ukraine) comments;

  1. Escalating sanctions vs Russia every 1-2 months there will be new & expanded sanctions on Russia.
  2. Stable borders should not be a requirement to be a part of NATO, "Occupied" states can be taken into NATO and receive support from NATO to liberate themselves (he stressed that the US would not be escalate the conflict, but how the hell could anyone guarantee that).
  3. Opposition to Russia is now bipartisan, regardless of the Nov elections, US Senate & Congress are unified against Russia
  4. when asked how "We" (the Atlantic council) can make political elites care about Baltic states (plus Ukraine/Georgia), WITHOUT knowing the historical and political details of these states he, unsurprisingly answered "this is about spreading our liberal values" (translation: the American people don't need to be informed about the region are changes are non-negotiable). the long and the short of the 3 hour conference was the new cold war vs Russia will continue indefinitely, I would say this is the start of another generation conflict that will last 10-20 years at least

Mark2 , Oct 18, 2018 5:55:03 PM | link

Ok i'l stick my neck out !
It's over for America ! That's my assessment their day is d d d done ! Am basing my view on the worldwide picture politically, the mind set of the general public I talk to, the many sites I visit on the net left and right. Plus overall wisdom and overstanding (a Rasta thing) Empires fall, this one has more than had its day. If it was a buseness what does it produce ? And at what cost? It just robs other peoples hard earned resources and assets! For all it's wealth it treats it's own public like dirt milking them dry. It's intelligent public it curupt's. Nature abbor's greed, and wil correct that imbalance.

I think Putin understands this, and understands as I do 'desperate people do desperate things' hence his speech.
Censoring the truth on a massive network like the internet is truly impossible and plainly desperate !!!

[Oct 19, 2018] Merkel Coalition Gets Overdue Spanking in Bavaria but 5 years Too Late to Save Germany

Oct 19, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

In Bavaria's state elections, German voters sent a powerful message to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been harshly criticized for opening up Germany's borders to the free flow of migration. But strangely enough the pro-immigrant Green Party took a solid second place.

Merkel and her fragile coalition, comprised of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Social Democrats Party (SPD) and Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) suffered staggering losses in Bavaria on Sunday, losses not experienced by the two powerhouse conservative parties for many decades.

The CSU won just 37.3 percent of the vote, down 12.1 percent from 2013, thus failing to secure an absolute majority. It marked the worst showing conservative Christian Bavaria, where the CSU has ruled practically unilaterally since 1957. But the political mood in Germany has changed, and Merkel's so-called sister party will now be forced to seek a coalition to cover its losses.

Meanwhile, the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), in an awkward alliance with their conservative allies, secured just 9.5 percent of the Bavarian vote, down almost 10.9 percent from its 2013 showing.

The dismal results were not altogether unexpected. CSU leader Horst Seehofer has regularly clashed with Angela Merkel over the question of her loose refugee policies, which saw 1.5 million migrants pour into Germany unmolested in 2015 alone. In January 2016, when the number of arrivals had peaked, Bavaria grabbed headlines as Peter Dreier, mayor of the district of Landshut, sent a busload of refugees to Berlin, saying his city could not handle any more new arrivals.

Yet, despite such expressions of frustration, and even anger, Germany, perhaps out of some fear of reverting back to atavistic nationalistic tendencies that forever lurks in the background of the German psyche, has not come out in full force against the migrant invasion, which seems to have been forced upon the nation without their approval. As with the young girl in the video below, however, some Germans have come forward to express their strong reservations with the trend.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/uGfP8CyJAhg

In general, however, the German people, in direct contradiction to the stereotype of them being an orderly and logical people, do not seem overly concerned with the prospects of their tidy country being overrun by the chaos of undocumented and illegal migrants. This much seemed to be confirmed by the strong showing of the pro-immigration Green Party, which took second place with 18.3 percent of the votes, a 9 percent increase since the last elections.

Katharina Schulze, the 33-year old co-leader of the Bavarian Greens, told reporters "Bavaria needs a political party that solves the problems of the people and not create new ones over and over again."

However, a political platform that seems fine with open borders seems to contradict Schulze's claim to not creating new problems "over and over again." Today, thanks to Merkel's disastrous refugee non-plan, which the Greens applaud, every fifth person in Germany comes from immigration, a figure that will naturally increase over time, placing immense pressure on the country's already overloaded social welfare programs, not to mention disrupting the country's social cohesiveness.

Thus Schulze may find it an impossible challenge "solving the problems of the people," one of the vaguest campaign pledges I have ever heard, while embracing a staunchly refugee-friendly platform that seems doomed to ultimate disaster.

Indeed, Germany appears to be on a collision course between those who accept the idea of being the world's welcome center for refugees, and those who think Germany must not only close its borders, but perhaps even send back many refugees. After all, it has been proven that many of these new arrivals are in reality ' economic migrants' who arrived in Europe not due to any persecution back home, but rather from the hope of improving their lot in life. While it's certainly no crime to seek out economic opportunities, it becomes a real problem when it comes at the expense of the domestic population.

From an outsider's perspective, I cannot fathom how it is possible that Angela Merkel is still in power. Although there is no term limit on the chancellorship, people must still go to the polls and vote for this woman and the CDU, which the majority continues to do – despite everything.

In a search for answers, I found an explanation by one Arne Trautmann, a German lawyer from Munich.

"I think the answer lies in German psychology. We do not like instability. We had our experience with it (hyperinflation, wars and such) and it did not work very well. Angela Merkel offers such stability. Simply because she has been around for so long."

Still, that answer just drags up more questions that perhaps only the Germans can answer. After all, if the German people "do not like instability," then the specter of their borders being violated on a daily basis such be simply unacceptable to them. Perhaps I am missing something.

In any case, there was a consolation prize of sorts in the Bavarian elections, as the anti-immigrant AfD party took fourth place (behind the Free Voters) with 10.2 percent of the votes, an increase of 10 percent from their 2013 performance.

This will give the AfD parliamentary power in the state assembly for the first time, which should work to put the brakes on illegal migrants entering the country. For the future of Germany, it may be the last hope.

[Oct 19, 2018] Women's March On The Pentagon Puts The 'Pro' Back In 'Protest' PopularResistance.Org by Cindy Sheehan

Jun 03, 2018 | popularresistance.org
| Resist! Women's March On The Pentagon Puts The 'Pro' Back In 'Protest' 2018-06-03 2018-06-03 https://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2017/12/popres-shorter.png PopularResistance.Org https://popularresistance-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2018/06/womens-march-on-the-pentagon-graphic.jpg 200px 200px

After eight years of the Obama regime expanding the Bush regime's wars from around two to around seven (with very little opposition from the so-called antiwar movement ), the Women 's March on the Pentagon is rebuilding a movement from practically scratch.

We are struggling to not get trapped in the antiwar old ways which never have been truly successful. If the anti-Vietnam war movement, its tactics, and energy were so awesome, then why is the US currently mired so deeply in at least seven wars for Empire with 1000 bases in over 130 countries around the world and continued support for the apartheid, colonial, illegal state of Israel?

We are planning to march on the Pentagon. The Pentagon is not a typical target because many activists are afraid of offending the military despite recognizing that the US military is the largest terrorist organization in the world. We are also having a rally on the 21st of October and are committed to "Occupying" the Pentagon until Veteran's Day, November 11th.

We are also reimagining new ways to state what the Women 's March on the Pentagon is doing.

Yes, we are against the US Empire's perpetual and devastating wars but being "anti" war was never enough. Being "pro" peace is also deficient because peace is just not an absence of war -- it is also the presence of social justice and social safety nets.

WMOP is putting the PRO back in PROtest but before we are PRO-peace, we feel we need to be each of the following. The list that follows is not exhaustive, but it is a good start.

PRO-woman: Every single woman on this planet, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, economic status or national origin, is entitled to the same quality of life as wealthy, white women in the USA -- including being free from military occupation (and all the horrors that brings, including rape and the murder of children) and other oppression.

PRO-equality: Every human is entitled to every good thing, including the right to PRO-test wrong things.

PRO-planet: The Pentagon's War Machine is responsible for a hugely disproportionate amount of pollution, waste, environmental degradation and use of fossil fuels. The Pentagon seriously needs to be reduced to a size where it can be drowned in a bucket before we can save human life from extinction on our only planet, our Mother Earth.

PRO-education: Education is a human right and the trillions of dollars spent on active wars and empire maintenance robs our communities and schools from money needed to give our children a high-quality and free education from Pre to University. In all levels, our children should feel safe to attend school without the horrors of mass-shootings and police state oppression.

PRO-gun control: As long as guns, ammunition, bombs and other weapons of murder are taken from the Pentagon and police forces first. Our mothers and grandmothers in occupied lands, inner cities, and other economically disadvantaged areas should not have to worry themselves sick when their young ones leave the home that they will be executed by a killer cop or drone-bombed by the USA. Our sisters in other countries should not have to bury their children, or flee their homes in fear for their lives, because of the US Empire.

PRO-health care: Women bear the burden of ill children and are likely the ones to miss work when a child is ill. Health care must be free and high-quality, but it must also serve families and communities with healthy food, water, air and opportunities for care for ill children (or elderly relatives) when the woman needs or wants to go to work. Health care must be comprehensive and include dental, mental, chiropractic and any other holistic treatment/prevention that is needed/wanted. Prescriptions must be free and no woman/family should have to choose between life-saving medication and/or food.

PRO-labor at a living wage and PRO-basic guaranteed income

PRO-housing/food: In a nation as wealthy as the US, not one person should exist without shelter or healthy and abundant food. Housing and food are human rights, not privileges. Most homeless people work hard, but cannot afford a place to live. 19% of the United States of American children (14 million) go to bed hungry every night in the land of plenty and plenty of waste. These statistics are shameful and abominable but can be changed after the commodification and privatization of everything for profit over people ends.

PRO-redistribution of resources: Ending the Pentagon, the billions of dollars of waste and more than a trillion dollar budget would go a long way to address the horrendous human rights' abuses and fundamental economic crises 2/3 of the people in the US face.

Once there is justice, environmental sustainability, economic equality and celebration of diversity, combined with the end of the US Military Empire, THEN, and only then, will we live in relative peace in our communities and families.

If one woman is living under military occupation, colonial rule, or otherwise oppressed, none of us are free!

Join the Women 's March on the Pentagon!

[Oct 19, 2018] I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

Notable quotes:
"... I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question. ..."
"... She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe. ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Seamus Padraig , , October 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe.

So, three cheers for Trump embarrassing Merkel on this issue!

[Oct 18, 2018] Germany Clashes With The US Over Energy Geopolitics

Notable quotes:
"... This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach . ..."
"... By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
"... As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest. ..."
"... She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open. ..."
"... What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018. ..."
"... Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana. ..."
"... IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere. ..."
"... So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines. ..."
"... Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA. ..."
"... It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong? ..."
"... The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/ ..."
"... I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question. ..."
"... She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe. ..."
Oct 18, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach .

Yves here. It's not hard to see that this tiff isn't just about Russia. The US wants Germany to buy high-priced US LNG.

By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice

The United States and the European Union (EU) are at odds over more than just the Iran nuclear deal – tensions surrounding energy policy have also become a flashpoint for the two global powerhouses.

In energy policy, the U.S. has been opposing the Gazprom-led and highly controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project , which will follow the existing Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. EU institutions and some EU members such as Poland and Lithuania are also against it, but one of the leaders of the EU and the end-point of the planned project -- Germany -- supports Nord Stream 2 and sees the project as a private commercial venture that will help it to meet rising natural gas demand.

While the U.S. has been hinting this year that it could sanction the project and the companies involved in it -- which include not only Gazprom but also major European firms Shell, Engie, OMV, Uniper, and Wintershall -- Germany has just said that Washington shouldn't interfere with Europe's energy choices and policies.

"I don't want European energy policy to be defined in Washington," Germany's Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andreas Michaelis said at a conference on trans-Atlantic ties in Berlin this week.

Germany has to consult with its European partners regarding the project, Michaelis said, and noted, as quoted by Reuters, that he was "certainly not willing to accept that Washington is deciding at the end of the day that we should not rely on Russian gas and that we should not complete this pipeline project."

In July this year, U.S. President Donald Trump said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that "Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply." Related: The Implications Of A Fractured U.S., Saudi Alliance

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline," President Trump said.

Germany continues to see Nord Stream 2 as a commercial venture, although it wants clarity on the future role of Ukraine as a transit route, German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said last month.

Nord Stream 2 is designed to bypass Ukraine, and Ukraine fears it will lose transit fees and leverage over Russia as the transit route for its gas to western Europe.

Poland, one of the most outspoken opponents of Nord Stream 2, together with the United States, issued a joint statement last month during the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Washington, in which the parties said , "We will continue to coordinate our efforts to counter energy projects that threaten our mutual security, such as Nord Stream 2."

The United States looks to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European market, including to Germany , to help Europe diversify its energy supply, which is becoming increasingly dependent on Russian supplies. Related: High Prices Benefit Iran Despite Lost Oil Exports

The president of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), Dieter Kempf, however, told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung last month, that he had "a big problem with a third country interfering in our energy policy," referring to the United States. German industry needs Nord Stream 2, and dropping the project to buy U.S. LNG instead wouldn't make any economic sense, he said. U.S. LNG currently is not competitive on the German market and would simply cost too much, according to Kempf.

The lower price of Russian pipeline gas to Europe is a key selling point -- and one that Gazprom uses often. Earlier this month Alexey Miller, Chairman of Gazprom's Management Committee, said at a gas forum in Russia that "Although much talk is going on about new plans for LNG deliveries, there is no doubt that pipeline gas supplies from Russia will always be more competitive than LNG deliveries from any other part of the world. It goes without saying."

The issue with Nord Stream 2 -- which is already being built in German waters -- is that it's not just a commercial project. Many in Europe and everyone in the United States see it as a Russian political tool and a means to further tighten Russia's grip on European gas supplies, of which it already holds more than a third. But Germany wants to discuss the future of this project within the European Union, without interference from the United States.


Alex V , October 18, 2018 at 4:43 am

Thankfully liquefying gas and then reconstituting it uses no additional energy, and transportation into major harbors is perfectly safe.

Capitalism inaction!

Quentin , October 18, 2018 at 6:23 am

Maybe the US thinks it will also have to go out of its way to accommodate Germany and the EU by offering to construct the necessary infrastructure in Europe for the import of LNG at exorbitant US prices. MAGA. How long would that take?

disillusionized , October 18, 2018 at 7:03 am

The question is, is it inevitable that the EU/US relationship goes sour?

Continentalism is on the rise generally, and specifically with brexit, couple this with the geographical gravity of the EU-Russia relationship makes a EU-Russia "alliance" make more sense than the EU-US relationship.

Ever since the death of the USSR and the accession of the eastern states to the EU, the balance of power in the EU-US relationship has moved in ways it seems clear that the US is uncomfortable with.

To all of this we must add the policy differences between the US and the EU – see the GDPR and the privacy shield for example.

I have said it before – the day Putin dies (metaphorically or literally) is a day when the post war order in Europe may die, and we see the repairing of the EU-Russia relationship (by which I mean the current regime in Russia will be replaced with a new generation far less steeped in cold war dogma and way more interested in the EU).

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm

"The post war order in Europe will doe and we see the repairing of the EU/Russian relationship "

I think you mean the German/Russian relationship and that repair has been under way for more than a decade. The post war order is very very frayed already and looks close to a break point.

This Nord Stream 2 story illustrates more than most Germany's attitudes to the EU and to the world at large. Germany used its heft within the EU to 1 ) get control of Russian gas supplies into Central Europe (Germany insisted that Poland could not invest in the project apparently and refused a landing point for the pipeline in Poland. Instead it offered a flow back valve from Germany into Poland that the Germans would control) 2) thumb its nose at the US while outwardly declaring friendship through the structures provided by EU and NATO membership.

Even Obama suspected the Germans of duplicity (the Merkel phone hacking debacle).

It's is this repairing relationship that will set the tone for Brexit, the Ukraine war, relations between Turkey and EU and eventually the survival of the EU and NATO. The point ? Germany doesn't give a hoot about the EU it served its purpose of keeping Germany anchored to the west and allowing German reunification to solidify while Russia was weak. Its usefulness is in the past now, however from a German point of view.

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Putin dying isn't going to change Washington. As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest.

Come to think of it, maybe Merkel dying off would improve German-Russian relations

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open.

Germany won't lose if NATO and the EU break up. It would free itself from a range increasingly dis-functional entities that, in its mind, restrict its ability to engage in world affairs.

Susan the other , October 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I think you are right. Russia and Germany are coming together and there's nothing we can do about it because "private commercial venture." Poetic justice.

And the economic link will lead to political links and we will have to learn a little modesty. The ploy we are trying to use, selling Germany US LNG could not have been anything more than a stopgap supply line until NG from the ME came online but that has been our achilles heel.

It feels like even if we managed to kick the Saudis out and took over their oil and gas we still could no longer control geopolitics. The cat is out of the bag and neoliberalism has established the rules. And it's pointless because there is enough gas and oil and methane on this planet to kill the human race off but good.

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

@Susan

That exactly right. and Gerhard Schroder has been developing those political relationships for more than a decade. The political/economic links already go very deep on both sides.

if the rapprochement is occurring, Brexit, the refugee crisis and Italy's approaching debt crisis are all just potential catalysts for an inevitable breakup. Germany likely views these as potential opportunities to direct European realignment rather than existential crises to be tackled.

JimL , October 18, 2018 at 7:08 am

What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:49 am

The US produces annually about 33,000,000 million cubic feet and consumes 27.000.000 million according to the EiA . So there is an excess to export indeed.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Leaving 6,000,000 million to be exported, until the shale gas no longer flows. How farsighted.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:42 am

Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana.

I don't know much about NG markets in Poland but according to Eurostat prices for non-household consumers are very similar in Poland, Germany, Lithuania or Spain.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:36 am

Gas contracts are usually linked to oil prices. A lot of LNG is traded as a fungible product like oil, but that contract seems different – most likely its constructed this way because of the huge capital cost of the LNG facilities, which make very little economic sense for a country like Poland which has pipelines criss-crossing it. I suspect the terminals have more capacity that the contract quantity – the surplus would be traded at market prices, which would no doubt be where the profit margin is for the supplier (I would be deeply sceptical that unsubsidised LNG could ever compete with Russia gas, the capital costs involved are just too high).

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 8:26 am

IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere.

IMO, the folks responsible for this waste are as usual, ignoring the 'externalities', the costs to the environment of course, but also the cost of infrastructure and transport related to turning this situation to their advantage.

So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines.

This doesn't even take into account the possibility that the whole fracked gas supply may be a short-lived phenomenon, associated with what we've been describing here as basically a finance game.

Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:39 am

Just to clarify, fracked gas is not usually a by-product of oil fracking – the geological beds are usually distinct (shale gas tends to occur at much deeper levels than tight oil). Gas can however be a byproduct of conventional oil production. 'wet' gas (propane, etc), can be a by-product of either.

Synapsid , October 18, 2018 at 11:14 am

PlutoniumKun,

It's common for oil wells both fracked and conventional to produce natural gas (NG) though not all do. The fracked wells in the Permian Basin are producing a great deal of it.

Natural gas does indeed form at higher temperatures than oil does and that means at greater depth but both oil and NG migrate upward. Exploration for petroleum is hunting for where it gets captured at depth, not for where it's formed. Those source rocks are used as indicators of where to look for petroleum trapped stratigraphically higher up.

Steve , October 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong?

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

What could go wrong?

I wonder what the secret industry studies say about the damage possible from an accident at a LNG port terminal involving catastrophic failure and combustion of the entire cargo of a transport while unloading high-pressure LNG.

They call a fuel-air bomb the size of a school bus 'The Mother of all bombs', what about one the size of a large ocean going tanker?

Anarcissie , October 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

Many years ago, someone was trying to build an LNG storage facility on the southwest shore of Staten Island 17 miles SW of Manhattan involving very large insulated tanks. In spite of great secrecy, there came to be much local opposition. At the time it was said that the amount of energy contained in the tanks would be comparable to a nuclear weapon. Various possible disaster scenarios were proposed, for example a tank could be compromised by accident (plane crashes into it) or terrorism, contents catch fire and explode, huge fireball emerges and drifts with the wind, possibly over New Jersey's chemical farms or even towards Manhattan. The local opponents miraculously won. As far as I know, the disused tanks are still there.

Wukchumni , October 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

This was a fuel-air bomb @ Burning Man about a dozen years ago, emanating from an oil derrick of sorts.

I was about 500 feet away when it went up, and afterwards thought maybe we were a bit too close to the action, as we got blasted with heat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyc6LTVxhJA

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:56 am

Does this page help Watt4Bob?

https://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/LNG/app4.htm

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

That last one was a doozy as they say!

Nigeria 2005;

A 28-inch LNG underground pipeline exploded in Nigeria and the resulting fire engulfed an estimated 27 square kilometers.

Here's one from Cleveland;

On 20 October 1944, a liquefied natural gas storage tank in Cleveland, Ohio, split and leaked its contents, which spread, caught fire, and exploded. A half hour later, another tank exploded as well. The explosions destroyed 1 square mile (2.6 km2), killed 130, and left 600 homeless.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm

The locals in Nigeria drill hole in pipeline to get free fuel.

The Nigeria Government has been really wonderful about sharing the largess and riches of their large petroleum field in the Niger delta. Mostly with owners of expensive property around the world.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 9:05 am

I am trying to think of what might be in it for the Germans to go along with this deal but cannot see any. The gas would be far more expensive that the Russian deliveries. A fleet of tankers and the port facilities would have to be built and who is going to pick up the tab for that? Then if the terminal is in Louisiana, what happens to deliveries whenever there is a hurricane?

I cannot see anything in it for the Germans at all. Trump's gratitude? That and 50 cents won't buy you a cup of coffee. In any case Trump would gloat about the stupidity of the Germans taking him up on the deal, not feel gratitude. The US wants Germany to stick with deliveries via the Ukraine as they have their thumb on that sorry country and can threaten Germany with that fact. Nord Stream 2 (and the eventual Nord Stream 3) threaten that hold.

The killer argument is this. In terms of business and remembering what international agreements Trump has broken the past two years, who is more reliable as a business partner for Germany – Putin's Russia or Trump's America?

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 10:20 am

Apart from cost issues, If American companies rely on shale gas to keep or increase production will they be able to honor 20 year supply contracts?

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:37 am

I find it impossible to believe that a gas supplier would keep to an artificially low LNG contract if, say, a very cold winter in the US led to a shortage and extreme price spike. They'd come up with some excuse not to deliver.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:40 am

Good question that. Poland has just signed a 20 year agreement with the US so I will be curious how that works out for them. Story at - https://www.rt.com/business/441494-poland-us-gas-lng/

jsn , October 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Trumps argument appears to be that Germany as a NATO member relies on US DOD for defense, to pay for that they must buy our LNG.

jefemt , October 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

My recollection was that there was a law that prohibited export-sales of domestic US hydrocarbons. That law was under attack, and went away in the last couple years?

LNG with your F35? said the transactional Orangeman

Duck1 , October 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The fracked crude is ultralight and unsuitable for the refineries in the quantities available, hence export, which caused congress to change the law. No expert, but understand that it is used a lot as a blender with heavier stocks of crude, quite a bit going to China.

oh , October 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

The petroleum industry has been bribing lobbying the administration for quite a while to get this policy in place, The so called surplus of NG today (if there is), won't last long. Exports will create a shortage and will result in higher prices to all.

vidimi , October 18, 2018 at 10:43 am

also, if Germany were to switch to American LNG, for how long would this be a reliable energy source? Fracking wells are short lived, so what happens once they are depleted? who foots the bill?

John k , October 18, 2018 at 12:48 pm

We do. Shortage here to honor export contracts, as has happened in Australia.

Big Tap , October 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe.

So, three cheers for Trump embarrassing Merkel on this issue!

Unna , October 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Putting money aside for a moment, Trump, as well as the entire American establishment, doesn't want Russia "controlling" Germany's energy supplies. That's because they want America to control Germany's energy supplies via controlling LNG deliveries from America to Germany and by controlling gas supplies to Germany through Ukraine. This by maintaining America's control over Ukraine's totally dependent puppet government. The Germans know this so they want Nord Stream 2 & 3.

Ukraine is an unreliable energy corridor on a good day. It is run by clans of rapacious oligarchs who don't give one whit about Ukraine, the Ukrainian "people", or much of anything else except business. The 2019 presidential election may turn into a contest among President Poroshenko the Chocolate King, Yulia Tymoshenko the Gas Princess, as well as some others including neo Nazis that go downhill from there. What competent German government would want Germany's energy supplies to be dependent on that mess?

It has been said that America's worst geopolitical nightmare is an economic-political-military combination of Russia, Iran, and China in the Eurasian "heartland". Right up there, if not worse, is a close political-economic association between Germany and Russia; now especially so since such a relationship can quickly be hooked into China's New Silk Road, which America will do anything to subvert including tariffs, sanctions, confiscations of assets, promotion of political-ethnic-religious grievances where they may exist along the "Belt-Road", as well as armed insurrections, really maybe anything short of all out war with Russia and China.

Germany's trying to be polite about this saying, sure, how about a little bit of LNG along with Nord Stream 2 & 3? But the time may come, if America pushes enough, that Germany will have to make an existential choice between subservience to America, and pursuit of it's own legitimate self interest.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:33 pm

The Empire fights Back.

Study a map of the ME, and consider the silk road Terminii.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm

It's hard to make NG explode, as it is with all liquid hydrocarbons. It is refrigerated, and must change from liquid to gaseous for, and be mixed with air.

I've also worked on a Gas Tanker in the summer vacations. The gas was refrigerated, and kept liquid. They is a second method, used for NG, that is to allow evaporation from the cargo, and use it as fuel for the engine (singular because there is one propulsion engine on most large ships) on the tanker.

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 5:31 pm

I dunno, there are other opinions .

[Oct 16, 2018] Defeat in Bavaria delivers knockout punch to Merkel's tenure as Chancellor (Video)

Oct 16, 2018 | theduran.com

The stunning CSU defeat in Bavaria means that the coalition partner in Angela Merkel's government has lost an absolute majority in their worst election results in Bavaria since 1950.

In a preview analysis before the election, Deutsche Welle noted that a CSU collapse could lead to Seehofer's resignation from Merkel's government, and conceivably Söder's exit from the Bavarian state premiership, which would remove two of the chancellor's most outspoken critics from power , and give her room to govern in the calmer, crisis-free manner she is accustomed to.

On the other hand, a heavy loss and big resignations in the CSU might well push a desperate party in a more volatile, abrasive direction at the national level. That would further antagonize the SPD, the center-left junior partners in Merkel's coalition, themselves desperate for a new direction and already impatient with Seehofer's destabilizing antics, and precipitate a break-up of the age-old CDU/CSU alliance, and therefore a break-up of Merkel's grand coalition. In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel's fall.

The Financial Times reports that the campaign was dominated by the divisive issue of immigration, in a sign of how the shockwaves from Merkel's disastrous decision to let in more than a million refugees in 2015-16 are continuing to reverberate through German politics and to reshape the party landscape.

The Duran's Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning Bavarian election defeat of the CSU party, and the message voters sent to Angela Merkel, the last of the Obama 'rat pack' neo-liberal, globalist leaders whose tenure as German Chancellor appears to be coming to an end.

[Oct 16, 2018] Pompeo's North Korea Fantasy

Oct 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

SteveM, October 16, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Pompeo puts on his Global Cop Gorilla suit again making absolute demands as a condition for even continuing negotiations.

However the big question is how much North and South Korea move ahead in spite of the ham-fisted United States. Then the revealed scenario will be much more stark. I.e., it's not what the Korea's want that matters, it's what the Gorilla wants.

The play then will be driven by China and Russia. They don't want North Korea with nuclear weapons either because it's bad for business. As they work with the Korea's toward a settlement, the question then becomes it what way will the U.S. subvert any settlement in which it alone does not define the outcome.

P.S. like with the Russia led Minsk agreement and the Astana talks in which the U.S. has been shut out, the U.S. cares little about attaining the fundamental peace objectives in Korea, only that it calls the tune in every regard.

SteveM , says: October 16, 2018 at 1:04 pm
Re: Correction:

the question then becomes it what way will the U.S. subvert any settlement in which it alone does not define the outcome?

Note that this lack of total control by the U.S. in Korea and other venues may eventually induce a pathologically dangerous response on several fronts when the Washington Nomenklatura becomes fully aware of its asymmetric weaknesses. I.e., When a War Machine hammer is all you got, everything else is a nail.

Sid Finster , says: October 16, 2018 at 3:51 pm
Pompeo's demands are intended to be something that no sovereign government can agree to, like Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia in august 1914.

[Oct 16, 2018] CIA Whistleblower claims Nikki Haley will run for president in 2024

Oct 16, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

During a discussion with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace, hosts of RT show Watching the Hawks , CIA Whistleblower, John Kiriakou, revealed that Nikki Haley who recently resigned from her position as US ambassador to the United Nations, is planning to run for president in 2024.

As Kiriakou said:

I actually had occasion to speak with a former very senior member of the Trump campaign, and he told me a fascinating story. He told me that Henry McMaster, who is currently the governor of South Carolina and had been a lieutenant governor, was the first elected official in America to endorse Donald Trump in early 2016.

And by the end of the year, Donald Trump had won the presidency and the campaign contacted McMaster and said 'what do you want as a reward?' And he said 'I want to be governor of South Carolina.'

Well, Nikki Haley was the governor of South Carolina. So, what is Nikki Haley want? Nikki Haley wants to be President of the United States, and she had zero foreign policy experience.

So, what they did, is they moved Haley to the United Nations to give her a foreign policy experience, Henry McMaster now is a very happy governor of South Carolina. Haley only wanted to be in the position long enough to say she had been in the position and she knew a lot about foreign policy.

So, now she's resigning. She's going to campaign for Republicans running for Congress - She's gonna campaign for the president in 2020 - She's gonna make a lot of money in the meantime. And then, she's gonna run for president in 2024. During a discussion with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace, hosts of RT show Watching the Hawks , CIA Whistleblower, John Kiriakou, revealed that Nikki Haley who recently resigned from her position as US ambassador to the United Nations, is planning to run for president in 2024.

As Kiriakou said:

I actually had occasion to speak with a former very senior member of the Trump campaign, and he told me a fascinating story. He told me that Henry McMaster, who is currently the governor of South Carolina and had been a lieutenant governor, was the first elected official in America to endorse Donald Trump in early 2016.

And by the end of the year, Donald Trump had won the presidency and the campaign contacted McMaster and said 'what do you want as a reward?' And he said 'I want to be governor of South Carolina.'

Well, Nikki Haley was the governor of South Carolina. So, what is Nikki Haley want? Nikki Haley wants to be President of the United States, and she had zero foreign policy experience.

So, what they did, is they moved Haley to the United Nations to give her a foreign policy experience, Henry McMaster now is a very happy governor of South Carolina. Haley only wanted to be in the position long enough to say she had been in the position and she knew a lot about foreign policy.

So, now she's resigning. She's going to campaign for Republicans running for Congress - She's gonna campaign for the president in 2020 - She's gonna make a lot of money in the meantime. And then, she's gonna run for president in 2024.

https://youtu.be/ETgiMtZk92c

[Oct 14, 2018] Empire Loyalists Grieve Resignation of Moderate Psychopath Nikki Haley

Notable quotes:
"... Describing Nikki Haley as a "moderate Republican" is like describing Jeffrey Dahmer as "a moderate meat eater". Besides John Bolton there is nobody within the depraved Trump administration who's been a more reliable advocate for war, oppression and American/Israeli supremacism, no more virulent a proponent of the empire's photogenic version of fascism than she. ..."
"... But because she only advocates establishment-sanctioned mass murders (and perhaps partly because she wears the magical "Woman of Color" tiara), Haley can be painted as a sane, sensible adult-in-the-room by empire lackeys who are paid to normalize the brutality of the ruling class. ..."
"... Haley will be departing with a disgusting 75 percent approval rating with Republicans and 55 percent approval with Democrats, because God is dead and everything is stupid. ..."
Oct 14, 2018 | medium.com

Empire Loyalists Grieve Resignation of Moderate Psychopath Nikki Haley "Describing Nikki Haley as a 'moderate Republican' is like describing Jeffrey Dahmer as 'a moderate meat eater'" Caitlin Johnstone Thu, Oct 11, 2018 | 820 words 3,560 164

World War Three proponent and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has announced her resignation today, to the dismay of establishment bootlickers everywhere.

"Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations, has resigned, leaving the administration with one less moderate Republican voice," tweeted the New York Times, without defining what specifically is "moderate" about relentlessly pushing for war and starvation sanctions at every opportunity and adamantly defending the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian protesters with sniper fire.

"Too bad Nikki Haley has resigned," tweeted law professor turned deranged Russia conspiracy theorist Laurence Tribe. "She was one of the last members of Trumplandia with even a smidgen of decency."

"Thank you @nikkihaley for your remarkable service. We look forward to welcoming you back to public service as President of the United States," tweeted Mark Dubowitz, Chief Executive of the neoconservative think tank/ covert Israeli war psyop firm Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

"Thank you @nikkihaley for your service in the @UN and unwavering support for Israel and the truth," tweeted the fucking IDF. "The soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces salute you!"

I'm not going to go over every single fawning, sycophantic tweet, but if you ever ingest poison and can't afford to go to the hospital because of America's disastrous healthcare system, you can always try going to Haley's Twitter page and looking at all the empire loyalists she's been retweeting who've been falling all over themselves to paint her as something other than the bloodthirsty psychopath that she is. If that doesn't empty your stomach contents all over your screen, you are made of stronger stuff than I.

Describing Nikki Haley as a "moderate Republican" is like describing Jeffrey Dahmer as "a moderate meat eater". Besides John Bolton there is nobody within the depraved Trump administration who's been a more reliable advocate for war, oppression and American/Israeli supremacism, no more virulent a proponent of the empire's photogenic version of fascism than she.

Whether it's been blocking any condemnation of or UN investigation into the slaughter of unarmed Palestinian protesters via sniper fire, calling for a coalition against Syria and its allies to prevent them from fighting western-backed terrorist factions, outright lying about Iran to advance this administration's regime change agenda in that nation, her attempts to blame Iran for Saudi Arabia's butchery of Yemeni civilians with the help of the US and UK, her calls for sanctions against Russia even beyond those this administration has been willing to implement, her warmongering against North Korea , and many, many examples from a list far too long to get into here, Haley has made death and destruction her life's mission every day of her gore-spattered tenure.

But because she only advocates establishment-sanctioned mass murders (and perhaps partly because she wears the magical "Woman of Color" tiara), Haley can be painted as a sane, sensible adult-in-the-room by empire lackeys who are paid to normalize the brutality of the ruling class. While you still see Steve Bannon routinely decried as a monster despite his being absent from the Trump administration for over a year, far more dangerous and far more powerful ghouls are treated with respect and reverence because they know what to say in polite company and never smoked cigars with Milo Yiannopoulos. All it takes to be regarded as a decent person by establishment punditry is the willingness to avoid offending people; do that and you can murder as many children with explosives and butterfly bullets as your withered heart desires.

Haley will be departing with a disgusting 75 percent approval rating with Republicans and 55 percent approval with Democrats, because God is dead and everything is stupid. It is unknown who will replace her once she vacates her position (I've got my money on Reaper drone in a desk chair), but it's a safe bet that it will be someone who espouses the same neoconservative imperialist foreign policy that this administration has been elevating since the beginning. Whoever it is should be watched closely, as should the bipartisan beltway propagandists whose job it is to humanize them.

UPDATE: Had to include this gem from the New York Times editorial board:


Source: Medium.com

[Oct 14, 2018] Nobody in the adults world will miss Haley

Notable quotes:
"... They should definitely send more women to the places they messed up - Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Iran etc. They should never send them to Iran as they will have a fit when they see how civilised and courteous ordinary people are over there. For some strange reason, most Iranians like America. I could never understand that. ..."
Oct 14, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Canosin 3 days ago ,

what a poisonous snake.. .... nobody in the adults world will miss this piece of lying shit.....

Alberto Canosin 2 days ago ,

Samantha Power was terrible too. Hard to say which is worse. They share the same discourse. No difference between democrats and Republicans. Both defend the Empire by resorting to invasions, conspiracies, and murder.

Seán Murphy Alberto 2 days ago ,

Think Power had slightly more between her ears... but the same warmongering attitudes. What's wrong with women when they get into positions of power, that so many of them become warhawks? Think Power, Haley, Rice (both of them), Clinton, Albrighton, Thatcher, et al?
And them the feminists tell us that the world would be a more just and peaceful place if there were more of them in office!

Nassim7 Seán Murphy 2 days ago ,

"What's wrong with women when they get into positions of power, that so many of them become warhawks?"

They should definitely send more women to the places they messed up - Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Iran etc. They should never send them to Iran as they will have a fit when they see how civilised and courteous ordinary people are over there. For some strange reason, most Iranians like America. I could never understand that.

franz kafka Nassim7 2 hours ago ,

The US propaganda was effective. It worked in the USSR too... but only once.

Alberto Seán Murphy 2 days ago ,

Because women in power want to imitate men's behavior. Don't want to differentiate themselves. Bad news for bad feminism. U.S. feminists adore people like Albright or H Clinton. They are not credible.

JIMI JAMES Alberto 2 days ago ,

They all suffer severe complex mental deficiencies, this is why the people rejected likes of clintons, bush +co's

Kjell Hasthi Gonzogal 3 days ago ,

US and its 100,000 Intelligence community working for "Monaco" makes as much sense as Hitler worked for Luxembourgh. With 22 new Capitol Hill size buildings in Washington DC for CIA since 2001, they could house whole Israeli state administration alone

Billo Kjell Hasthi 2 days ago ,

I think maybe they do.

[Oct 13, 2018] New Documents Show State Department and USAID Working with Soros Group to Channel Money to 'Mercenary Army' of Far-Left Activists in Albania

Notable quotes:
"... Judicial Watch v. US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development ..."
"... Fair Use Excerpt. Read the rest here . ..."
Oct 12, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Judicial Watch today released 49 pages of new documents obtained from the US Department of State about US Agency for International Development (USAID) funding for George Soros's left-wing nonprofit organizations in Albania. The documents deal primarily with the activities of Soros' top operative in Albania, Andri Dobrushi, the director of Open Society Foundation-Albania, who was actively engaged in channeling funding to what Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban calls Soros' " mercenary army ." The documents show US grant money flowing through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that profess to promote "civil society," while in fact attacking traditional, pro-American groups, governments and policies.

Judicial Watch filed a May 26, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the US Department of State and USAID after they failed to respond to March 31, 2017, FOIA requests ( Judicial Watch v. US Department of State and the US Agency for International Development (No. 1:17-cv-01012)).

The records reveal that Soros operative Dobrushi was the first person on a list of invitees by then US Ambassador to Albania Donald Lu to attend an " election rollout event " held at the US Embassy on April 27, 2015. The event was intended to "launch US assistance for the June local elections," being held in Tirana, Albania. As Judicial Watch previously reported in an April 4, 2018, press release , Ambassador Lu has been closely associated with Soros and the socialist government in Albania, which he assisted by denying US visas to conservative jurists from the conservative party in Albania. Lu has since been nominated by the Trump administration to become US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan.

Additionally, a June 18, 2015, email from Ilva Cuko , a Program Specialist in the Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy in Tirana, invites several people, including Dobrushi , to a " Donors Grant Reviewing meeting " at the US Embassy, in which the participants would review applications for grants submitted by NGOs seeking US taxpayer grant money from the State Department. Cuko says she would "like to invite you in a discussion on these proposals. Your valuable input and comments will be used by the US Embassy's Democracy Commission, which has the ultimate authority in awarding the grants."

Cuko on August 28, 2015, also invited Dobrushi to attend another US Embassy Democracy Commission Small Grants Program " Grant Proposal Technical Review " meeting on September 3 at the US Embassy. At this meeting, Cuko said they would focus on applications dealing with "anticorruption." Ironically, under the leadership of Soros' close friend, socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama, who took power in 2013, corruption in Albania has soared, with cannabis trafficking in the country increasing 300 percent between 2016 and 2017.

In a February 22, 2016, email, Cuko again invites several people, including Dobrushi, to another " Donors Grant Reviewing Meeting " held at the US Embassy on February 26 where Dobrushi would be able to influence Embassy officials who have "the ultimate authority in awarding the grants."

Fair Use Excerpt. Read the rest here .



[Oct 13, 2018] Haley's Poor Record at the U.N. The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Haley lied a lot, but maybe half the time at least probably had no idea she was lying. Don't give her too much credit. Remember "Binomo." ..."
Oct 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Harry Kazianis reviews Nikki Haley's record as ambassador to the U.N. and finds it very lacking:

That was my problem with the ambassador. Not that she did a bad job, not that she was a terrible representative of our nation's interests, but simply that she lacked of the experience and natural abilities needed in such a role. Spitting back Trumpian rhetoric is not enough to be credible on the world's stage.

Kazianis is right that Haley was ill-prepared for the job, and I would add that she made a habit of making false claims , unreasonable demands, and unnecessary threats . Whether she was threatening military action over missile tests, telling lies about the nuclear deal with Iran , or warning that the U.S. would be "taking names" of the states that didn't fall in line, Haley proved herself to be a poor diplomat and an ineffective representative of the United States. Her time at the U.N. was marked by unwarranted, cruel actions to punish the Palestinian civilian population, a disgraceful defense of the massacre of protesters in Gaza, and a misguided decision to withdraw from the Human Rights Council. While the world's worst humanitarian crisis intensified in Yemen with U.S. support for the Saudi coalition, Haley was too busy trying to distract everyone's attention by shouting about Iran.

Haley didn't have a good grasp of substance, and instead relied on talking points to a fault. Kazianis quotes a Republican consultant's view of the ambassador:

"Haley was a great spokesperson for the administration; in fact, she was great at parroting whatever lines Trump wanted her to deliver," the consultant continued. "But for anyone who has ever interacted with her, one thing became very clear. The second she left the land of talking points, any time she was asked to discuss any issue in any depth, it was apparent there was nothing there. And that is not what we need as ambassador at the UN."

It is a sign of how little many of her fellow hawks care about substantive knowledge that several of them greeted news of her resignation with dismay. Max Boot described her resignation as a "sad moment," and Bill Kristol began fantasizing about a primary challenge to Trump that will never happen. When these are the people touting Haley's record, it is a safe bet that the U.S. will be better off being represented by someone else at the U.N.


b. October 10, 2018 at 2:14 pm

"When these are the people touting Haley's record, it is a safe bet that the U.S. will be better off being represented by someone else at the U.N."

Sara Palin? She can see 2022 from here house, too.

b. , says: October 10, 2018 at 2:20 pm
Haley was just another Cargo Cult politician.

Following Reagan and Trump, the only reason we don't see actual actors hired for candidacies and campaigns is because the best Judas Goat for any election rodeo is one that believes its own BS.

Blimbax , says: October 10, 2018 at 4:26 pm
Thaomos says, "A diplomat is a person sent to lie on behalf of their country. Maybe Haley just got tired of doing it."

Haley lied a lot, but maybe half the time at least probably had no idea she was lying. Don't give her too much credit. Remember "Binomo."

Minnesota Mary , says: October 10, 2018 at 7:48 pm
Let's face it. Trump did not have an army of qualified people to fill government and administration posts. He had to fill positions from the Neocon pool of bureaucrats. Nikki Haley is a mind-numbed robot, drunk on Neocon Kool-Aid and Premillenial Dispensationalism. Really sad that Trump picked her for the UN slot. Even sadder is he will replace her with someone just as bad, but more clever at disguising a rotten foreign policy.

[Oct 12, 2018] Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

Oct 12, 2018 | southfront.org

Institutional Corruption

If one had to identify the main reason behind the utter failure of the U.S. political establishment and military leadership, both civilian and in uniform, to identify and prioritize weapons programs and procurement that was truly in line with the national defense needs of the country, it would be the institutional corruption of the U.S. military industrial complex. This is not a fault of one party, but is the inevitable outcome of a thoroughly corrupted system that both generates and wastes great wealth at the expense of the many for the benefit of the few.

Massive defense budgets do not lead to powerful military forces nor sound national defense strategy. The United States is the most glaring example of how a nation's treasure can be wasted, its citizens robbed for generations, and its political processes undermined by an industry bent on maximizing profitability by encouraging and exacerbating conflict. At this point it is questionable that the United States' could remain economically viable without war, so much of its GDP is connected in some way to the pursuit of conflict.

There is no doubt that the War Department was renamed the Department of Defense in an Orwellian sleight of hand in 1947, just a few years after end of World War II. The military industrial complex grew into a monolith during the war, and the only way to justify the expansion of the complex, was by finding a new enemy to justify the new reality of a massive standing military, something that the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids. This unlawful state of affairs has persisted and expanded into a rotten, bloated edifice of waste. Wasted effort, wasted wealth and the wasted lives of millions of people spanning every corner of the planet. Tens of thousands of brave men and women in uniform, and millions of civilians of so many nations, have been tossed into the blades of this immoral meat grinder for generations.

President Donald Trump was very proud to announce the largest U.S. military budget in the nation's history last year. The United States spent (or more accurately, borrowed from generations yet to come) no less than $874.4 billion USD. The declared base budget for 2017 was $523.2 billion USD, yet there are also the Overseas Contingency Operations and Support budgets that have to be considered in determining the total cost. The total DOD annual costs have doubled from 2003 to the present. Yet, what has the DOD really accomplished with so much money and effort? Very little of benefit to the U.S. tax payer for sure, and paradoxically the exorbitant waste of the past fifteen years have left every branch of the U.S. military weaker.

The U.S. Congress has the duty and responsibility of reigning in the military adventurism of the executive branch. They have the sole authority to declare war, but more importantly, the sole authority to approve the budget requests of the military. It is laughable to think that the U.S. Congress will do anything to reign in military spending. The Congress and the Senate are as equally guilty as the Executive in promoting and benefitting from the military industrial complex. Envisioned as a bulwark against executive power, the U.S. Congress has become an integral component of that complex. No Senator or Representative would dare to go against the industry that employs so many constituents within their state, or pass up on the benefits afforded them through the legalized insider-trading exclusive to them, or the lucrative jobs that await them in the defense industry and the many think tanks that promote continued prosecution of war.

[Oct 12, 2018] Kuwait and Bahrein might reevaluate relations with Syria, the UAE might slowly move out the Yemen war

Oct 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Virgile , Oct 12, 2018 10:40:45 AM | link

Qatar is jubilating! Turkey, too! Saudi Arabia will be criticized and isolated as most GCC countries would dissaprove and prefer to dissociate from such a crime. Dismembering the body of a dead moslem man is a very serious crime in Islam.

Kuwait and Bahrein are already cozyng up with Syria, the UAE is slowly moving out the Yemen war and reviewing ist relation with Syria.

Kashoogi's alleged martyr may save Yemenis lives and may have the Western world faced to the reality that in the region, the evil is not Iran but their best friend, Saudi Arabia and its smiling monster MBS.

Kashoogi may have succeeded unintentionally to destabilize MBS and probably trigger his removal. The USA will have no problem in sacrificing MBS for the sake of keeping the Saudi milking under control. The only problem will be that it will reflect on Kushner-MBS Grand Palestinian plan.

Maybe Kashoogi's love for fiancee made him take the risk to get a divorce paper from the Saudi Arabia consulate and be killed.

A sad ending to a love story.

dh , Oct 12, 2018 3:19:01 PM | link

@75 Why should Trump make a big issue about some dead Arab? Because he was a journalist? Trump hates journalists.

If bleeding heart progressives want to make a fuss so be it. He knows his base don't give a shit about the world outside the USA as long as they buy American arms.

[Oct 12, 2018] The US deep state want a ''middle easternization'' in South America.

Oct 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nick , Oct 11, 2018 10:55:41 PM | link

I don't know what is happening in Brazil, but from what I have read from some Russians and some German geopolitical analysts it seems that the far right Jair Bolsonaro will be the key of a future American proxy war against Venezuela. The US deep state want a ''middle easternization'' in South America.

[Oct 12, 2018] If the gas pipeline project is indeed implemented, then Kiev will demand that a penalty against against Russia be awarded the Ukraine for the loss it will suffer because of the redundancy of its gas transport system.

Oct 12, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile October 5, 2018 at 12:58 am

... .. ...

Ukraine Naftogaz Commercial Director Yuriy Vitrenko, in an interview with "The Fifth Channel" has spoken of a plan that has been prepared in order to protect Naftogaz interests in the event of the launch of "Nord Stream-2".

According to him, if the gas pipeline project is indeed implemented, then Kiev will demand that a penalty against against Russia be awarded the Ukraine for the loss it will suffer because of the redundancy of its gas transport system.

The loss incured has been estimated by the Ukraine to be $12 billion. A lawsuit has already been filed by Naftogaz for international arbitration.

https://www.rbc.ru/politics/05/10/2018/5bb704ec9a7947bd43fa167c?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=desktop

Right!

So for several years I have been shopping at a Pyatyorochka supermarket around the corner from our house. Now there's a new Billa supermarket around the other corner. It has a wider range of goods and is very competitive as regards its Pyatorocka prices, so I now do most of my shopping at Billa.

Does this mean Pyatyorachka can sue me for damages because of the loss of income it is suffering because of my choice to use another retail outlet?

I shall check with the Swedish court of arbitration.

Stay tuned!

Mark Chapman October 5, 2018 at 8:30 am
Perhaps they would get further by suing the US Department of State. I'm pretty sure that if it were not for them, Ukraine's gas transit system would still be in use. Ukraine could at least make a sensible case, which they cannot do against Russia. Mind you, a UK judge would probably rule in their favour, because simply wanting to get at Russia seems to be good enough these days – making a sensible case is not required.

[Oct 12, 2018] Like the values and rules that led the NSA to eavesdrop on Chancellor Merkel's phone calls for years, and to use American Embassies as listening posts. Mutti Merkel was very understanding, considering they were only doing it to keep us all safe.

Oct 12, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman October 4, 2018 at 11:02 am

"the GRU's disregard for global values and rules that keep us all safe".

Like the values and rules that led the NSA to eavesdrop on Chancellor Merkel's phone calls for years, and to use American Embassies as listening posts. Mutti Merkel was very understanding, considering they were only doing it to keep us all safe.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/cover-story-how-nsa-spied-on-merkel-cell-phone-from-berlin-embassy-a-930205.html

The British and the Dutch – and doubtless all America's many 'allies' – have no real pride left. They just keep bending over further.

[Oct 11, 2018] Most American LNG cargoes thus far to Europe are promptly sold on to someplace else where the Europeans can get more for it.

Oct 11, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman October 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm

In another stellar example of simply making up an optimistic headline that makes readers feel good – those readers who only read headlines, for example – a French analyst is apparently willing to go out on a limb and say that Nord Stream II 'won't be built as planned'. That's already a little hedgy, but if you read the article itself, he doesn't say anything remotely like that. In fact, he says Russian gas is the cheapest option, and most American LNG cargoes thus far to Europe are promptly sold on to someplace else where the Europeans can get more for it.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/interview/french-analyst-nord-stream-2-wont-be-built-as-planned/

The major issue is that US LNG may come if we have higher prices. But why would we need them? They are quite high already. If China is prepared to overbid us, we don't need the American gas. We can ask for more Russian gas

Mark Chapman October 8, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Russia's Energy Minister sees the potential to double Russian gas exports by 2035. Russia's gas exports are growing by 6-7%/yr while global gas demand growth is at 2.6%/yr until 2035.

https://www.naturalgasworld.com/russian-producers-eye-doubling-exports-64936?#signin

Probably not the greatest news for the environment, as most analysts agree we need to start immediately moving away from a petroleum-based energy policy. But getting rid of all use of coal would be a good start for the present; gas is relatively clean, although I don't know if that makes any real difference to greenhouse-gas emissions.

[Oct 11, 2018] NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on October 7 in Belgrade that NATO conducted the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 with the aim of protecting the civilian population against the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic.

This guy smokes or drinks something really strong.
Oct 11, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile October 7, 2018 at 10:39 am

In Belgrade today, Stoltenberg has explained to the Serbs why NATO bombed them:

Генсек НАТО объяснил сербам причины бомбардировок Югославии
7 октября 2018, 14:09

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on October 7 in Belgrade that NATO conducted the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999 with the aim of protecting the civilian population against the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic.

"I said that we did this to protect the civilian population and prevent further actions of the Milosevic regime", said Stolberg.

He also stressed that his most important message was the need to"look to the future".

I am sure those Serbs appreciate the great concern NATO had for their well-being.

Mark Chapman October 7, 2018 at 11:16 am
Sound familiar? It's the old western elitist argument – Nobody could have foreseen this. This is no time for finger-pointing. We all have to work together to solve the problem.
Fern October 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm
That's really shameful – even for NATO. Stoltenberg knows perfectly well that NATO deliberately, contrary to various Geneva Conventions, targeted civilian infrastructure. Tony Blair is on record 'celebrating' this – he vigorously supported the bombing of the Serbian TV station which killed many civilians including such enemies of the civilised world as make-up ladies. It all began in Yugoslavia – the whole R2Protect nonsense. The West got away with it there and this facilitated the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and, waiting in the wings, Iran.
kirill October 7, 2018 at 4:56 pm
NATzO "double tapped" the TV station with its Tomohawks. They sent another round 15 minutes later to kill the emergency responders. NATzO bombed a passenger train as it was crossing a bridge. It claimed the train was collateral damage and produced a sped-up video meant to convince the NATzO consumer sheeple that poor NATzO pilots didn't have time to react. The fuckers had no business bombing every civilian bridge in Serbia in the first place. It wasn't WWII but some illegal "policing" operation. NATzO also bombed Nis with cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch and the rest of the phony NATzO "human rights organizations" couldn't be bothered to complain. But they claimed use of cluster weapons as grotesque war crimes in 2008 in South Ossetia (no such weapons were used and the fuckers showed a spent Israeli casing as "proof", i.e. it was Georgian forces that used them).

But the main achievement of NATzO is to be the air force of the UCK terrorists and enabled the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo i Metohija of hundreds of thousands of Serbs. Before WWII, Albanians were 30% of the population of this province and have zero claim on it as some ancestral land. Albanians love to cite Roman sources as supposedly proving that they lived there for 2000+ years. This is BS and they migrated to the Balkans like basically every other ethic group there (the Dacians, now Romanians, and Greeks have been there the longest). Romans also recorded that the lands they observed occupied were empty at later times. The 1800th century concept of nation was totally alien even 1000 years ago.

Patient Observer October 7, 2018 at 5:46 pm
Tito allowed/induced Albanians to live in Kosovo as part of a concerted anti-Serb campaign. He was the West's greatest political success in post WW II (assuming Gorbachev was not an agent of the West).

Serbia gave the SU the break it needed to survive and eventually defeat the West in WW II. They gave Russia the break it needed to survive and to eventually defeat the West in the 21st century.

I hope that Russia will help Serbia to recover its history and its independence.

[Oct 11, 2018] Telegraph propaganda honchos as " "Highly likely" jerks

Oct 11, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

moscowexile

October 10, 2018 at 6:20 pm
A suspected third member of the Kremlin hit squad behind the Salisbury nerve agent attack has been named, according to a respected Russian news website.

Sergey Fedotov, 45, travelled to the UK on the same day as the two assassins already charged by British authorities – and boarded the same flight home.

The Telegraph had previously reported the existence of a third member of the Russian intelligence hit squad and a trawl of flight records by the Fontanka news agency matched it to Fedotov.

According to Fontanka, Fedotov flew to the UK on a passport whose number differs by only a few digits from those used by the two GRU military intelligence agents officially wanted for the nerve agent attack.

It is almost certain Fedotov is not the passenger's real name but an alias. No traces of Sergei Fedotov have been found in documentary databases or on social media. He has no property, vehicles or telephone numbers registered to his name in Russia, according to Fontanka.

Telegraph

No "alleged"in "Kremlin hit squad behind the Salisbury nerve agent attack but It is almost certain Fedotov is not the passenger's real name but an alias.

Highly likely indeed!

[Oct 11, 2018] Can the replacement be worse than Haley?

Oct 11, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

James lake October 9, 2018 at 6:59 am

Breaking!

Nikki Haley resigns as US ambassador to UN, reports say
Sources say Donald Trump has accepted Haley's resignation

I have no doubt the replacement will be worse than her.

I thought no one could be as bad as Samantha power until Nikki came along!!

Northern Star October 9, 2018 at 11:15 am
https://www.businessinsider.com/nikki-haley-resign-investigation-flights-free-private-jets-2018-10

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/watchdog-demanded-investigation-into-nikki-haleys-private-flights-before-she-resigned

Pavlo Svolochenko October 10, 2018 at 7:41 am
If she was forced out for something that petty, Trump must have been looking for an excuse to get rid of her.
Mark Chapman October 10, 2018 at 7:55 am
Or those who hate him – and they are legion – wanted her out, because if Trump wanted her out her replacement would already have been announced. I saw on one of those 'sponsored content' trash teaser clickbait headlines that it was going to be Ivanka, but not even Trump would do that. Although you never know – it's not as if Haley brought any wealth of foreign-policy knowledge to the table, and she was mostly there to be a partisan spoiler of initiatives the USA did not want to pass. I suppose anyone could do that.
Mark Chapman October 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm
Maybe this loon is still available.

https://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/563fd2451400006f023ca344.jpeg?ops=scalefit_720_noupscale

[Oct 11, 2018] Nikki Haley's Surprising Departure

Oct 11, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Dear Friends of the Ron Paul Institute:

Nikki Haley's resignation as President Trump's Ambassador to the United Nations yesterday came as quite a surprise. Haley seemed pleased to play her imagined role as the world's procurator, as she used her UN perch to incessantly threaten and condemn all the global enemies of her fellow neoconservatives. She came to the job with no foreign policy experience and she will be leaving exactly as she arrived.

If Haley's departure came as a surprise, so too did her appointment in the first place. During the primaries, she was famously in the " anyone but Donald Trump " camp of neocons, saying that Trump was "everything a governor doesn't want in a president."

Trump soon returned the compliment, Tweeting that, "The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!"

Nevertheless, like many neocons who had been critical of Trump, she found herself rewarded with a top position in the Administration. From her position she had consistently gotten ahead of her boss, the President, in policy pronouncements and at almost every turn she appeared to be pushing a Haley foreign policy rather than a Trump foreign policy.

For example, just as President Trump was returning from his historic summit meeting in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the US President spoke very optimistically about a new approach to US/Russian relations, Nikki Haley gave an interview in which she said, "we don't trust Russia, we don't trust Putin; we never will...they're never going to be our friend...that's a fact."

Last September she acted as if she, rather than Trump, were the commander-in-chief, Tweeting of North Korea, "we cut 90% of trade and 30% of oil. I have no problem kicking it to Gen. Mattis because I think he has plenty of options." The idea that she, and not her boss, would "kick it" to Defense Secretary Mattis was preposterous, but contradicting and countermanding Trump's disappointingly rare bobs toward diplomacy and disengagement over bluster and bombs was a chief characteristic of Haley's reign as UN chief finger-wagger.

President Trump had been extremely critical of Syria's Assad, particularly after he fell for two false-flag rebel gas attacks blamed on Assad, but he had been careful not to explicitly set US policy as "Assad must go," as had his predecessor. Nevertheless Nikki Haley again got out ahead of official US policy with her own policy, stating in September 2017 that, "we're not going to be satisfied until we see a solid and stable Syria, and that is not with Assad in place."

Nikki Haley had long been associated with neocon warhawk John Bolton and had also benefited from the largesse of GOP moneybags Sheldon Adelson, the Israel-obsessed casino magnate who bankrolled Haley's PAC to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars in 2016 alone. Haley was Adelson's kind of governor: While South Carolina's executive, she signed the nation's first law making it a criminal offense to support a boycott of Israel.

How did the mainstream media handle the surprise resignation of such an extreme warhawk? Someone one might consider on the far fringe of US political life? The New York Times mourned the departure of Ambassador Haley, Tweeting that it would be "leaving the administration with one less moderate Republican voice."

"Moderate" voice?

For such a pro-war extremist to be considered "moderate" by the newspaper of record may strike some as odd, but as Glenn Greenwald so accurately explained :

The reason NYT calls her "moderate" is because she affirms all of the standard pro-war, pro-imperial orthodoxies that are bipartisan consensus in Washington. That's why @ BillKristol reveres her. She was a Tea Party candidate, but "moderate" means: loves US wars & hegemony.
That's it in a nutshell. Because in Washington being extreme pro-interventionist and pro-war is the orthodoxy. The facade that there are real differences between the Republican and Democrat party is carefully crafted by the mainstream media to cover the fact that we do live in a one-party state. Pro-war, pro-intervention, pro-bombing, pro-overthrow, pro-meddling - these are moderate positions. For Washington and the mainstream media, the extremists are the ones who wish to abide by the admonitions of our Founding Fathers that we go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

Well, it seems there are plenty of monsters closer to home.

So good riddance to Nikki Haley...but don't hold your breath that it means the end of Nikki Haley-ism, which is the foundation of US foreign policy. Clearly we have much work left to do.

Your tax deductible contributions to the Ron Paul Institute allow us to provide you with real analysis of breaking issues. Our continued ability to provide a counter-balance to the mainstream media's false narrative depends on your financial support . We thank you for standing with us.

Sincerely yours,

Daniel McAdams
Executive Director
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

[Oct 11, 2018] I still don't understand why her UN staff did not know until this morning that she was resigning.

Oct 11, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Pat Lang Mod , a day ago

OK, but I still don't understand why her UN staff did not know until this morning that she was resigning.
Ken Roberts -> Pat Lang , a day ago
My guess: DT had delegated to NH the management of UN interface. She flubbed, badly, DT being laughed at during his address. Out she goes!
confusedponderer -> Pat Lang , a day ago
Pat,
" why her UN staff did not know until this morning that she was resigning. "

Dunno, but what about the possibility that she herself didn't knew she was to "retire" until this morning? That she didn' quit but just quietly (which would be very un-Trumpish) got the boot?

As for firing people, Trump made a TV show out of that, though usually he prefers to "use megaphones over whispering".

That'd be the sort of retirement that's more frankly called " get the eff out and shut the eff up on your way out, and don't forget to say thank you! ".

All it needed for that to happen is the orange king having a "fart sit crosswise". As for Harper's good riddance, indeed.

Kooshy -> confusedponderer , 14 hours ago
IMO, at least she knew she is a goner since last week, I also think she agreed to leave on a non-embarrassing way, meaning not to be fired in mob boss' favorite way as in Apprentice. Like Colonel suggest neocons and her Israeli backers like to preserve her for a later day, she is a useful idiot. IMO, Trump, like the mob boss he think he is, and acts like, believes she was cause of his embarrassing performance/program at UN, again like mob bosses Don Trump doesn't give a second chance to anyone.
Walrus -> Pat Lang , a day ago
Because she believes they are big leakers like herself? Narcissists assume others have identical (rotten) behaviours as their own.
im cotton -> Pat Lang , a day ago
Trump is a master of political timing. Perhaps for whatever reason he wanted to move on from the Kavanaugh hubbub to something else--like Haley resigning. It has dominated the news cycle moreso than if it had been leaked by a staffer. Just my guess.
Tony -> Pat Lang , a day ago
Maybe because she didn't know?

[Oct 11, 2018] HARPER NIKKI FINDS THE DOOR

Oct 11, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

[Oct 11, 2018] Nikki Haley Just Screwed Conservatives Going Into Midterms: Bannon

Haley-Binomo was a liability not an asset.
Oct 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon slammed UN ambassador Nikki Haley's decision on Tuesday to announce her resignation, calling it "suspect" and "horrific," and that it overshadowed positive news that Trump and the Republicans need to build support going into midterms, according to Bloomberg .

The timing was exquisite from a bad point of view ," Bannon told Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait on Wednesday at the Bloomberg Invest London forum. " Everything she said yesterday and everything she said about stepping down could have been done on the evening of November 6. The timing could not have been worse. "

Haley's announcement, according to Bannon, took White House officials by surprise - and distracted attention from Brett Kavanaugh's first day as a justice on the Supreme Court, along with headlines over the lowest US unemployment rate in five decades. Haley's decision undermines Trump's message to Republican voters, said Bannon.

In the Oval Office on Tuesday, Trump said Haley told him six months ago she wanted a break after spending two years in the post. She'll continue in her role until year-end. Haley said Tuesday that she was ready for a break after two terms as South Carolina's governor and two years at the United Nations. - Bloomberg

Bannon also says that he took Haley at her word that she has no political aspirations - particularly when it comes to running against Trump in 2020. She says that she looks forward to campaigning for Trump in two years. That said, Bannon calls Haley "ambitious" and "very talented," though he said so using a backhanded compliment.

"I think she is incredibly politically ambitious," Bannon added. " Ambitious as Lucifer but that is probably...I am probably taking Milton out of context."

Trump defended the timing of Haley's departure on Wednesday, saying "there's no good time" for her to have announced her resignation - and that if she'd waited until after midterms, it would have raised questions as to whether her motive was based on the results.


Yen Cross , 19 seconds ago link

Bannon is unhinged. Nikki Haley was horrible in her position! If Bannon payed attention to voter base of Trump, he'd see Haley was a thorn in the side of the Trump administration.

One of the best appointments Trump has made, is Mike Pompeo. I thought he'd be some crazed warmonger, but has turned out to be quite the opposite.

He's got this kind of easy going swagger and confidence about him. He's chubby, and his every day guy, sort of approach, is affable.

Grandad Grumps , 1 minute ago link

She is not human. Maybe she eats babies.

I am Groot , 1 minute ago link

Back to Binomo ! Don't let the door hit you in your *** on the way out Nimrata. And take your Obamacare curtains with you.

Prosource , 13 minutes ago link

Busted for the NYT memo ?

Whatever the cause, good riddance.

Bat-Shiite crazy with a dangerously big war mongering mouth.

Bannon is totally wrong on this one. Conservatives saw right through her.

The November vote won't be harmed, may even be bolstered.

Is Bannon's point that because she is a woman, it hurts Trump with women?

Regardless, the sooner these neo-con fake patriots are gone, the better

Albertarocks , 16 seconds ago link

Yes sir... her rhetoric is pure deep state war mongering of the most evil kind. She was told to stir up as much hatred and fear at the UN as possible and try to get the opposition to do something stupid in response to her remarks. That's not Trump talk for damned sure... that's deep state talk.

Yippie21 , 23 minutes ago link

He makes a GREAT point that occurred to me immediately. If you are resigning effective at the end of the year and everything is awesome, just time to move on.... why the hell are you publicly announcing it 3 weeks before a VERY contentious midterm election and only a day or so after a brutal SCOTUS nomination conclusion? Why? Why now? Very curious and a unforced error.

Vigilante , 44 minutes ago link

I never trusted Haley

The timing was no co-incidence for sure

She trashed Trump during the election season if you remember

[Oct 10, 2018] A Decalogue of American Empire-Building A Dialogue by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC ..."
"... This is not new and has been going for at least a century. And the US elites have a long tradition of false flags to to get the people of America riled up for war. ..."
"... As Petras says: "The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism" because, I feel, they are the same values that defined the British Colonial Empire. ..."
Oct 10, 2018 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire's carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders' proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, 'legislatures' under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times , Washington Post , the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes 'meddled' on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia's revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled 'non-governmental organizations' (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israelis have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

ORDER IT NOW

In the US the buyers and brokers are called 'lobbyists' – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a 'political purge' even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

Bread and circuses are integral parts of empire building – especially in promoting urban street mobs to overthrow independent and elected governments.

Imperial financed mobs – provided the cover for CIA backed coups in Iran (1954), Ukraine (2014), Brazil (1964), Venezuela (2003, 2014 and 2017), Argentina (1956), Nicaragua (2018), Syria (2011) and Libya (2011) among other places and other times.

Masses for empire draw paid and voluntary street fighters who speak for democracy and serve the elite. The "mass cover" is especially effective in recruiting leftists who look to the street for opinion and ignore the suites which call the shots.

Thesis 10

The empire is like a three-legged stool it promotes genocide, to secure magnicide and to rule by homicide. Invasions kills millions, capture and kill rulers and then rule by homicide – police assassinating dissenting citizens.

The cases are readily available: Iraq and Libya come to mind. The US and its allies invaded, bombed and killed over a million Iraqis, captured and assassinated its leaders and installed a police state.

A similar pattern occurred in Libya: the US and EU bombed, killed and uprooted several million people, assassinated Ghadaffy and fomented a lawless terrorist war of clans, tribes and western puppets.

"Western values" reveal the inhumanity of empires built to murder "a la carte" – stripping the victim nations of their defenders, leaders and citizens.

Conclusion

The ten theses define the nature of 21 st century imperialism – its continuities and novelties.

The mass media systematically write and speak lies to power: their message is to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons to continue to plunder the world.


Jeff Stryker , says: August 11, 2018 at 4:26 am GMT

When was the last time "Nation building" resulted in a livable country. Iraq? Libya? Americans, and I am one, can barely keep their own country from sinking into a pit of decay.

Why "deliver Democracy" when Dubai makes much of the US look like shit in terms of infrastructure, crime and poverty.

RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 , says: August 11, 2018 at 6:57 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker

When was the last time "Nation building" resulted in a livable country.

Why "deliver Democracy" when Dubai makes much of the US look like shit

Because what a ZOG does with it's host nation has nothing to do with improving anything for the occupied peoples.

Think of it like the Communist Manifesto. They thump it around, preaching utopia and equality and all that sugar and honey. This is because they want you to buy what they are selling. But they don't have any intention of ever delivering. None whatsoever.

All they're really trying to do is whip up an army of useful idiots to be used as blunt instruments. And once these useful idiots are done fulfilling their role in the redistribution of wealth and power, they are discarded only to realize too little too late that they have been working against their own interests all along.

The same thing goes for exporting Democracy. It's never been about improving anyone's lives. In the West or any of their target nations. It's been about whipping useful idiots up into an army that can be used as a blunt instrument against the obstacles in the way of (((someone's))) geopolitical ambitions.

... ... ..

Malla , says: August 11, 2018 at 6:58 am GMT
This is not new and has been going for at least a century. And the US elites have a long tradition of false flags to to get the people of America riled up for war.

False Flag Events Behind the Six Major Wars

False flags to fool Americans into the Spanish American War, WW1, WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War and the War on terror.

jilles dykstra , says: August 11, 2018 at 7:28 am GMT
Interesting is that a USA textbook already describes USA imperialism, without using the word: Barbara Hinckley, Sheldon Goldman, 'American Politics and Government, Structure, Processes, Institutions and Policies', Glenview Ill., 1990
jilles dykstra , says: August 11, 2018 at 7:37 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker Ockam's Razor: the simplest theory that explains the facts is the best.

There is no effort to create livable countries, the objective is to destroy them.

Under Saddam's dictatorschip Iraq was a prosperous country, without liberty, true.

Under old Assad, I visited Syria in the mid eighties, the same, though less prosperous, at the time, as far as I know, no Syrian oil or gas.

Aleppo, a cosmolitan and lively city, the suq, now destroyed, a great thing to have seen, medieval, but with happy looking people.

... ... ...

Den Lille Abe , says: August 11, 2018 at 8:10 am GMT
Nation building? When did that happen? I must have been asleep for 60 years.
Jeff Stryker , says: August 11, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
@RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 Geopolitical ambitions?

Vietnam was a mess for a decade at least and created an immigration crisis in Australia. The US had a surplus budget when Clinton left office. When Bush left office, oil prices were sky-high and the economy was dreadful. Who benefits. Israel? Syria is a mess that threatens their borders.

annamaria , says: August 11, 2018 at 11:31 am GMT
A great comment with the proper name calling for the ZUSA in relation to the current situation in Turkey: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/08/how-turkeys-currency-crisis-came-to-pass.html#comments
Excerpts:
" The Dollar op indicates that the USA ( or rather those who pull the strings in the US ) finally admits that our Ally is responsible for almost all mischievous events which took place in Turkey.
The USA is not a country, but rather a useful contract killer on a larger scale compared to the PKK-FETO-ISIS etc.
The US is now stepping forward fearlessly because 'the arms of the octopus', as Erdogan put last week, has been severed in Turkey."

These two definitions do stick:
1. the US is manipulated by the puppeteers -- people (the US citizenry at large) have no saying in the US decisions (mostly immoral and often imbecile); the well-being of the US is not a factored in the decisions
2. the US has become a "contract killer" for the voracious puppeteers

JackOH , says: August 11, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
Prof. Petras, thanks. A while back I read something called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (?) in which the writer describes his efforts to put other nations into debt to American institutions and American-controlled or -influenced international institutions for the ulterior purpose of political control. Sounded plausible enough, and I saw the author speak on TV on his book tour.

How do any of us know we're living in a country gone massively wobbly? Can a German sipping wine in Koblenz in 1936 even imagine Hitler's Germany will be a staple of American cable shows eighty years hence, and not in a good way? Can a Russian in the same year imagine that the latest round of arrests won't be leading to a Communist utopia now, or ever?

FWIW-my guess is America's imperial adventures are heavily structural, being that foreign policy is strongly within the President's purview, and Congress can be counted on to rubber-stamp military expeditions. Plus, empire offers a good distraction from domestic politics, which are an intractable mess of rent-seeking, racial animus, and corporate interests.

I don't like it much having to live in a racketeerized America, but there's not a whole lot we can do.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: August 11, 2018 at 12:11 pm GMT
Professor Petras glasses are becoming little bit foggy, but his scalpel still cuts to the bone. But this article is lecture for beginner class, or the aliens visitors who just landed on Earth
jacques sheete , says: August 11, 2018 at 12:55 pm GMT

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media.

A damned good article, Sir! And bless you for calling bankster propaganda anything but "mainstream."

Ours is a problem in which deception has become organized and strong; where truth is poisoned at its source; one in which the skill of the shrewdest brains is devoted to misleading a bewildered people.

-Walter Lippman, A Preface to Politics ( 1913 ), quoted in The Essential Lippmann, pp. 516-517

Lippman was an Allied propagandist among many other things.

Anonymous [317] Disclaimer , says: August 11, 2018 at 12:57 pm GMT
The 10 theories that led Petras to conclude "{the message is "to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons" to continue to plunder the world}" is an example, that the American people are clueless about how events documented by Petras research, led Petras to conclude the USA is about plunder of the world .

There is a distinct difference between USA governed Americans and the 527 persons that govern Americans.

Access by Americans to the USA 1) in person with one of its 527 members, 2) by communication or attempted communication via some type of expression or 3) by constitutionally allowed regime change at election time. None of these methods work very well for Americans , if at all; but they serve the entrenched members of the USA, massive in size corporations and upstream wealthy owners, quite well.

Secondly, IMO, Mr. Petras either does not understand democracy or has chosen to make a mockery of it? The constitution that produced the USA produced not a democracy, but a Republic. A republic which authorized a group ( an handful of people) to rule America by rules the USA group decides to impose. Since the group can control the meaning of the US Constitution as well as change it's words, the group has, unlimited power to rule, no matter the subject matter or method (possible exceptions might be said to be within the meaning of the bill of rights; but like all contract clauses, especially a contract of the type where one side can amend, ignore, change or replace or use its overwhelming military and police powers to enforce against the other side, leaving the other side no recourse, is not really a contract; it might better be called an instrument announcing the assumption of power which infringes inalienable human rights).

Therefore just because 527 members of the USA government might between themselves practice Democracy does not mean the governed enjoy the same freedoms.

So the USA is ruled by puppets, 527 of them, puppets of the Oligarchs. Since the ratification of the USA constitution, Americans have been governed by the USA [The US constitution (ratified 1778) overthrew and disposed of the Articles of Confederation (Government of America founded 1776). Not a shot was fired, but there was a war none-the-less (read Federalist vs Anti-Federalist and have a look at the first few acts of the USA).

(Note: The AOC, was the American government that defeated the British Armies [1776-1783], the 1776 American AOC American Government was the government that surveyed all of the land taken from the British by the AOC after it defeated the entire British military and stopped the British aristocrat owed, privately held corporate Empires from their continuous raping of America and abuse of Americans. those who did the work.

The AOC was the very same American Government that hired G. Washington to defeat and chase the British Aristocratic Corporate Colonial Empires out of America. The 1776 American AOC Government was the very same government that granted freedom to its people (AOC really did practice democracy, and really did try to divide and distribute the vast American lands taken from the British Corporate Colonial Empire equally among the then living Americans. The AOC ceased to exist when the US Constitution installed the USA by a self proclaimed regime change process , called ratification). There were 11 presidents of the AOC, interestingly enough, few have heard of them.

Once again the practice of political self-determination democracy is limited to the 525 USA members who have seats in the halls of the Congress of the USA or who occupy the offices of the President of USA or the Vice-President of the USA. All persons in America, not among the 527 salaried, elected members of the USA, are governed by the USA.

jilles dykstra , says: August 11, 2018 at 3:22 pm GMT
@Heisendude Israel has no constitution, and therefore no borders. A constitution also describes borders. An Israeli jew one asked Ben Gurion why Israel has no defined borders, the answer was something like 'we do not want to define borders, if we did, we cannot expand'.
AnonFromTN , says: August 11, 2018 at 4:50 pm GMT
@Jeff Stryker Why does Israel assist all sorts of bandits, including, but not limited to, ISIS, in Syria? Just recently Israel helped in extracting the White Helmets, a PR wing of Nusra (Syrian branch of Al Qaida) from South Syria. Please explain.
AnonFromTN , says: August 11, 2018 at 4:56 pm GMT
@Anonymous Those 527 are bought and paid for lackeys. We don't know how many real owners of the USA there are, don't know many of their names, but we do know that when those lackeys imagine that they are somebodies and try to govern, they are eliminated (John Kennedy is the most unambiguous example).
RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 , says: August 11, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Jeff Stryker

Geopolitical ambitions?

You may have heard of it. Globalism, N(J)ew World Order. That which the (((internationalists))) are always working towards. A one world government with them at the top, the ruling class.

Vietnam was a mess for a decade at least and created an immigration crisis in Australia.

Australia is a white nation. All white nations are supposed to suffer and ultimately collapse upon the creation of their New World Order. Vietnam was a complete success for the one's who really wanted that war.

The US had a surplus budget when Clinton left office. When Bush left office, oil prices were sky-high and the economy was dreadful.

Bush was a neocon, wars for Israel with that 'surplus' were the intention all along. As wars under Hillary would have been as well. And as they potentially could still be if Trump proves to be a lap dog for Israel as well. He campaigned on no pointless wars, but there's no saying for sure until he either brings all our troops home or capitulates and signs Americans up to be cash cows and cannon fodder for more Israeli geopolitical ambitions.

Who benefits.

Those same rootless cosmopolitans that always benefit from playing both sides of the field, seeding conflict and then cashing in on the warmongering, genocidal depopulation and population displacement in the name of their geopolitical ambitions.

Israel? Syria is a mess that threatens their borders.

Israel made that mess. Threatened their borders with war. Land theft. Y'know. Golan Heights. Genocide land theft and displacement are all Israel does. Their borders have expanded every year since their creation.

Everything that's happening in the Middle East is because of the Rothschild terror state of Israel and the Zionist Jews who reside in it .. as well as in our various western ZOGs.

Have you really never heard of the Oded Yinon Plan ? Their genocidal outline for waging wars of aggression for the purpose of expanding their borders and becoming the dominant regional superpower by balkanizing the surrounding Arab world.

The only nations of significance left on their check list are as follows : Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia. And many will argue that the House of Saud has always been crypto, helping Israel behind the scenes. Their sudden post-coup cooperation with their former 'enemies' is little more than a sign that they are needed as a wartime ally more in the current phase of their Yinon Plan than as controlled opposition funding and arming ISIS while keeping the public eye off of Israel's role in their creation and direction. Sure enough, it seems there is a rather strong push for an alliance between KSA, Israel and the US for war with Iran.

Here you go:

https://archive.fo/U7XTH

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: August 11, 2018 at 6:59 pm GMT
Technological progress, particularly the progress in information technology is pushing mankind with accelerated speed toward final solution and final settlement.
renfro , says: August 11, 2018 at 8:34 pm GMT
Good article

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

Yep. I have been ranting for years calling for a Anti-Corruption Political Party Platform by some group.
The corruption of our politicians is the cause of all the problems everyone else is ranting about.

In some ways I think most people deserve what they are going to get eventually because they ignore the corruption of their heroes .whether it be Trump, Hillary or any other.

I tell you sheeple .if someone will cheat and lie to others they will do the same thing to you ..you are stone cold stupid if you think other wise.

Jim Bob Lassiter , says: August 12, 2018 at 1:09 am GMT
@Biff Jeff and Mikeat are both correct if my friend's account of his participation in a recent trade show there is true. My friend's wife is a ding bat Hillarybot and she got to yammering to me after returning about all the wonderful diversity she saw in the streets of Dubai, but I shut her down pretty quickly by pointing out that the diversity darlings in Dubai were paid help for the Sheikdom and weren't even second class temporary residents by US standards; that they can be (and are) summarily deported to some slave market in Yemen if they don't mind their Ps and Qs VERY carefully in that society. She's also a wino, but confessed that the Trader Joe's box grade merlot sold for about US$18 to $25 a goblet in a tourist zone food and beverage joint. (and that didn't slow her down one bit) Hubby had to watch her close, as obvious public drunkenness (even in the tourist zone) has high potential for extreme justice.

The New Economy plan being promoted there is the development of a sort of Disneyworld on steroids international vacation attraction, as the leaders seem to think that their oil is going to run out soon.

jilles dykstra , says: August 12, 2018 at 7:50 am GMT
@peterAUS CNN, Washpost and NYT since a very long time suffer from a serious mental disorder.
It reminds me of Orwell's The Country of the Blind.
When the man who could see was cured all was well.
Anon [317] Disclaimer , says: August 12, 2018 at 12:31 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX While the Fed is a focal point, it is not the central issue. If Americans, were actually in voting control of the central issue Americans could and probably would abolish the fed and destroy its income by removing the income tax laws, very early on.

But if the Fed and Income taxes are not the central issue, what is the central issue? Could it be majority will "control of the structure and staffing of that structure" that often people call government? Look back to the creation of the US Constitution! There the central issue for the old British Aristocracy accustomed to having their way, was: can Aristocrats stay in control (of the new American democracy) and if so, how should "such control" be established so that British corporate power, British Aristocratic wealth and British Class Privilege can all survive the American revolution? {PWP}.

The question was answered by developing a form of government that enabling the Oligarch few to make the rules [rule of law] that could control the masses and to produce a government that had a monopoly on the use of power, so that it could enforce the laws it makes, against against the masses and fend off all challenges. The constitution blocked the people's right to self determination; it empowered the privileged, it favored the wealthy, and most of all it protected and saved pre-war British owned PWP as post war PWP.

Today those who operate the government do so in near perfect secrecy (interrupted only occasionally by Snowden, Assange, and a few brave others). It spies on each person, records each human breath taken by the masses, relates relationships between the masses, because those in charge fear the power of the masses should the masses somehow find a way to impose their will on how things are to be. How can rules made by Aristocrats in secret, be considered to be outcomes established by self- determination of the masses who are to be governed?

Ratification is the process that abolished Democracy in America. The story of those who imposed ratification has not yet been told. Ratification was used to justify the overthrow of the Articles of the Confederation (AOC was America's government from 1776 to 1789). To defeat the British empire the AOC hired the most wealthy man it could find to organize an Army capable to defeat the British Military. The AOC warred on the British Armies with the intent to stop colonial corporate empires from continuing to rape American productivity and exploit the resources in America for the benefit of the British Corporate Empires [Read the Declaration of Independence].

You might research.. How did George Washington achieve his massive, for its time, wealth? I don't think tossing coins across the mile wide Potomac made him a dime? How did GW attain such wealth in British owned, corporately controlled Colonial America? Why was George Washington able to keep that British earned wealth after the British were chased out of America? More importantly many gave their all, life, liberty and property to help chase the British out, GW gave ..?

Title by land grants [Virginia and West Virginia] are traceable to GWs estate.

What the land grant landowners feared most was that the new American democracy, might allow the masses to revoke or deny titles to real estate in America, if such title derived from a foreign government (land grant). The Articles of Confederation government was talking about dividing up all of the lands in America, and parceling it out, in equal portions, to all living AOC governed America. Deeds from kings and queens of England, France, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands to land in America would not be recognized in the chain of title? Such lands would belong to the new AOC government or to the states who were members of the AOC.

You might check out Article 6, (Para 1) of the US Constitution.. it says in part
" All Debts contracted and Engagements[land grants and British Corporate Charters] entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the confederation.

(meaning loans to British Banks would be repaid and land deals made with foreign nations and corporations including those that resulted in creating a land Baron in British Colonial America, were to be treated as valid land titles by US Constitution. Consider the plight of Ex British Land Grant Barron Aristocrat [EBLGBA] who finds himself in now independent democratic America? Real Americans might decide EBLGBAs were some kind of terrorist, or spies. Under such circumstances, the EBLGA might look at Americans as a threat to their Aristocracy, a threat to their PWP..

Example: A Spanish Land Grant property in America ( King of Spain gave 5 million acres of land in America to ZZ in 1720 (ZZ is a Spanish Corporation ZZ doing business in America), the land transaction was recognized as valid under British Colonial Law in America. But would Independent AOC America recognize a deed issued by a Spanish King, or British Queen to Real Estate in America?

After the Revolution, the question does a EBLGBA retain ownership in the American located land that is now part of Independent America? Ain't no dam deed from a Spanish government going to be valid in America. King of England cannot give a deed to land that is located in independent America.

So if, a corporation, incorporated under British Law, claims it owns 5 million acres of American land because the Queen of England deeded it the the corporation: does that mean the 5 million acres still belongs to British Corporation X, and of course to the person made Aristocrat by virtue of ownership of the British Corporation). Is a British Corporation now to be an American Corporation? British Landed Gentry (land grant owners) in independent post war America, were quick to lobby for the constitution because the constitution protected their ownership in land granted to them by a foreign king or queen in fact the constitution protected the PWP.

I agree with your Zionist communist observation. It is imperative for all persons interested in what is happening to study the takeover of Russia from the Tzar by Lenin and his Zionist Communist because what the Zionist did to the Christians in Russia in 1917 seems to be approaching for it to happen here in America and because that revolution was a part of the organized Zionist [1896, Hertzl] movement to take control of all of the oil in the world. Let us not forget, Lenin and crew exterminated 32 million White Russians nearly all of whom were educated Christians living in the Ukraine.

As Petras says: "The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism" because, I feel, they are the same values that defined the British Colonial Empire.

jacques sheete , says: August 12, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
@Anonymous

So the USA is ruled by puppets, 527 of them, puppets of the Oligarchs. Since the ratification of the USA constitution, Americans have been governed by the USA [The US constitution (ratified 1778) overthrew and disposed of the Articles of Confederation (Government of America founded 1776). Not a shot was fired, but there was a war none-the-less (read Federalist vs Anti-Federalist and have a look at the first few acts of the USA).

What a relief to find that there are a few (very few) others who have a clue. The "constitution" was effectively a coup d'etat. We proles, peasants and other pissants have been tax and debt slaves ever since, and the situation has continuously worsened. Lincoln's war against Southern independence, establishment of the Federal Reserve, Wilson's and especially FDR's wars, and infiltration of the US government and industry by Commies, Zionists and other Eastern European goon-mafiosi scum have completely perverted what this country is supposedly about.

I doubt the situation will ever begin to improve unless and until the mass of brainwashed dupes understand what you wrote.

jacques sheete , says: August 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm GMT
@Anon Please comment more often. Excellent info there.

You might research.. How did George Washington achieve his massive, for its time, wealth?

True. Especially since the guy was a third rate, (probably mostly incompetent), Brit military officer and terrorist who treated the men under his command like sh!t.

Reminds me of Ol Johnny Boy McCain and other such scum.

annamaria , says: August 12, 2018 at 8:53 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra "Ben Gurion: 'we do not want to define borders, if we did, we cannot expand'. -- Right. Hence the mass slaughter in the Middle East.
Hapless Canada is going to accept the "humanitarian" terrorists from While Helmets organization. The rescue is a joint Israel-Canada enterprise: https://www.rt.com/op-ed/435670-white-helmets-canada-syria/
-- -- -- -
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland (a committed banderist and admirer of Ukrainian neo-Nazis) and Robin Wettlaufer (Canada's representative to the Syrian Opposition and a harsh critic of Assad "regime") have been playing a key role in the evacuation of the White Helmets. But there are some questions to Robin: "Did Canadians get to vote on whether or not to bring potential terrorists or supporters of terrorists to Canada? No. No vote in the Parliament, no public discussion. Why did the Canadian government refuse the entry of 100 injured Palestinian children from Gaza in 2014, a truly humanitarian effort, and yet will fast-track the entry of potentially dangerous men with potential ties to terrorists?" https://www.rt.com/op-ed/435670-white-helmets-canada-syria/
-- Guess Robin Wettlaufer, due to her ethnic solidarity, would be fine with these injured Palestinian children being smothered by someone, but the well-financed White Helmets are the extremely valuable material for realizing Oded Yinon plan for Eretz Israel (see Ben Gurion answer).
Kratoklastes , says: August 17, 2018 at 12:20 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker

The US had a surplus budget when Clinton left office

It turns out that 'budget surplus' does not mean what most people think it means. When your household has a budget surplus, its rate of debt accumulation reverses (i.e., the total value of household debt falls). Credit cards get paid down, mortgages get paid off, and eventually you end up with a large and growing positive net worth. That's what running a 'budget surplus' means , right?

Not so for governments : the US government could run perpetual budget 'surpluses' and still grow government debt without bound – because they do not account for things the way they insist that we serfs account for things there are a bunch of their expenditures that they simply don't count in their 'budget'.

It's a bit like if you were to only count the amount your household spent on groceries , and declare your entire budget to be in 'surplus' or 'deficit' based on whether or not there's change after you do your weekly shopping. Meanwhile, you're spending more than you earn overall, and accumulating debt at an expanding rate.

Runaway debt is what destroys – whether it's families or countries.

There has only been one year since 1960 in which the US Federal Debt has fallen : 1969 .

During the much-touted "Clinton Surpluses", the US Federal Debt rose by almost a quarter- trillion dollars . The first two Bush years had larger surpluses than either of the two Clinton surpluses – but still added $160 billion to the Federal debt.

I know those don't sound like big numbers anymore – much given that Bush added $602 billion per year on average, and Obama added twice Bush 's amount (1.19 trillion per year).

[Oct 10, 2018] Nikki Haley Trump's Baghdad Bob by Harry J. Kazianis

She should leave directly after Binomo hoax...
Notable quotes:
"... Her biggest problem as UN ambassador was simple: she was totally out of her depth. ..."
Oct 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Her biggest problem as UN ambassador was simple: she was totally out of her depth. "She was picked for UN Ambassador for one reason," explained a senior GOP political consultant to me, reacting to the news that Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, had just resigned from the Trump administration. "She was supposed to present a feminine, or supposedly softer version of Trump's America First message. Instead she became the administration's national security sledgehammer."

"Haley was a great spokesperson for the administration; in fact, she was great at parroting whatever lines Trump wanted her to deliver," the consultant continued. "But for anyone who has ever interacted with her, one thing became very clear. The second she left the land of talking points, any time she was asked to discuss any issue in any depth, it was apparent there was nothing there. And that is not what we need as ambassador at the UN."

Perhaps I can come up with a better description of Nikki Haley. She was Donald Trump's very own "Baghdad Bob," the propaganda chief under Saddam Hussein who appeared on TV during the 2003 Iraq invasion and said anything the regime wanted, no matter how inflammatory or wrong. While Haley was never forced to claim anything so preposterous as that Saddam's Republican Guard was winning a war against a superpower, her ability to trump even Trump in crazy talk was a rare talent -- and not a welcome one.

That was my problem with the ambassador. Not that she did a bad job, not that she was a terrible representative of our nation's interests, but simply that she lacked of the experience and natural abilities needed in such a role. Spitting back Trumpian rhetoric is not enough to be credible on the world's stage. It would be like asking me to become a plumber: sure, I could figure it out at some point, but I would leave behind quite a few clogged toilets and busted faucets along the way.

Haley left behind some busted faucets, that's for sure. If she did make any sort of major impression, it was thanks to her tough talk on North Korea and Iran. But it was her hard-hitting rhetoric leveled at the Kim regime that stuck out the most. In an almost comical attempt to parrot the words of President Trump, who in early September said at the UN that America "has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," Haley stated in November that "if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed."

That's just for starters. There were also the clear missteps, when we could see her lack of expertise and preparation at work. In a primetime interview with Fox News nighttime anchor Martha MacCallum, Haley was asked about the 2018 Olympics and whether U.S. athletes would participate. North Korea experts knew this was the question that would have to be asked, and were keen to see what Haley would have to say.

She blew it, big time. The interview, conducted in January, at a time when some thought a war with the Kim regime was still very possible, drove headlines the world over, as Haley said she would not commit to U.S. citizens participating, stating, "there's an open question." MacCallum pounced on Twitter, and rightly so, writing that "Amb. Nikki Haley not certain we should send our athletes to the Olympics. Will depend on NK situation."

Now, to be fair to Haley, the remarks were more qualified than the press made them out to be. Still, they were confusing to say the least, and show that she was not ready for what was an obvious question. In fact, Haley seemed to stumble, adding, "I have not heard anything about that" and "I do know in the talks that we have -- whether it's Jerusalem or North Korea -- it's about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?"

Nikki Haley: The Bold Scold of the Trump Administration America Forfeits Its Influence at the UN

What? As another Republican put it to me just a day later: "She had no idea what the hell she was talking about."

Haley even scared some very senior diplomats, who wondered exactly what the administration was planning if Washington would not send its citizens or athletes to the Olympics. "Is America getting ready to attack North Korea? Is that where this is headed?" asked a senior diplomat here in Washington minutes after the interview was over.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. President Trump can do far better than Haley.

Harry J. Kazianis ( @grecianformula ) is director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest and executive editor of its publishing arm The National Interest. Previously, he led the foreign policy communications efforts of the Heritage Foundation, and served as editor-in-chief of The Diplomat and as a fellow at CSIS:PACNET. The views expressed are his own.

[Oct 10, 2018] Nikki Haley's shock resignation prompts various theories

Oct 10, 2018 | www.rt.com

Immediately after she resigned, Twitter lit up with theories and opinions about the reason, with many suggesting Haley could be the Trump administration official behind a highly critical anonymous op-ed published by the New York Times last month.

[Oct 10, 2018] Freedom fighters of Binomo and other notable quotes

Notable quotes:
"... "It was abusive, how bad the international community was to Israel. It reminded me of a kid being bullied in the playground I just wasn't going to have it. It was just so upsetting to see, that I just started yelling at everybody " ..."
"... We had the back of Israel, and if they were going to mess with Israel they had to mess with the US. ..."
"... As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally. The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us. ..."
"... We don't trust Russia. We don't trust Putin. We never will. They're never going to be our friend. That's just a fact. ..."
"... "They are aggressive and they can be difficult to work with in the Council... And they do try to cause some disruption, but we manage them and we continue to remind them what their place is." ..."
"... "weapon of choice and we have to make sure we get in front of it." ..."
"... When a country can come interfere in another country's elections, that is warfare. ..."
"... We are going to fight for Venezuela and we are going to continue doing it until [President Nicolas] Maduro is gone! ..."
"... If there are chemical weapons that are used, we know exactly who's going to use them. ..."
"... Judging by how it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the UN's greatest failure. It has taken the idea of human dignity and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics. ..."
"... "Its members included some of the worst human rights violators – the dictatorships of Cuba, China and Venezuela all have seats on the Council," ..."
"... We're aware of that. We've been watching that [Binomo situation] very closely. And I think we will continue to watch as we deal with the issues that keep coming up about the South China Sea. ..."
Oct 10, 2018 | www.rt.com

'Mess with Israel – you'll mess with US'

Israel seems to be most upset by Haley's resignation from her UN job, since the envoy for Washington often ended up championing Israeli interests at the world body. Statements like this one perfectly explain Tel Aviv's grief:

"It was abusive, how bad the international community was to Israel. It reminded me of a kid being bullied in the playground I just wasn't going to have it. It was just so upsetting to see, that I just started yelling at everybody "

We had the back of Israel, and if they were going to mess with Israel they had to mess with the US.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"I would like to thank Ambassador @nikkihaley , who led the uncompromising struggle against hypocrisy at the UN, and on behalf of the truth and justice of our country. Best of luck!" pic.twitter.com/Lr6IvkM5U9

-- PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) October 9, 2018

The US envoy was also never shy to pressure the UN member states into voting the way Washington saw fit. The most notable example of such extortion was the vote on recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital last December.

As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally. The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us.

The threats did not work, however, as the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly rejected Washington's unilateral recognition of the disputed city as Israeli capital.

Russia is 'never going to be our friend'

When it came to relations with Moscow, the top US diplomat just wasn't very diplomatic on many occasions, instead choosing to amplify Russophobic rhetoric put forth by Trump's opposition.

We don't trust Russia. We don't trust Putin. We never will. They're never going to be our friend. That's just a fact.

"They are aggressive and they can be difficult to work with in the Council... And they do try to cause some disruption, but we manage them and we continue to remind them what their place is."

FILE PHOTO: Haley laughing with her Russian counterpart at the UN Vassily Nebenzia © Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Haley was fully on board with accusations that Moscow meddled in the 2016 US election, calling them aggression on Russia's part. Election meddling, she said, is Russia's "weapon of choice and we have to make sure we get in front of it."

When a country can come interfere in another country's elections, that is warfare.

'Fight until they're gone'

The ambassador showed no sign of awareness that her comments about interference sounded ironic and hypocritical when placed next to some others she made – regarding places like Venezuela or Syria.

Last month, Haley joined Venezuelan protesters outside the UN headquarters in New York, shouting into the megaphone:

We are going to fight for Venezuela and we are going to continue doing it until [President Nicolas] Maduro is gone!

Haley takes part in Venezuelans' anti-Maduro protest in New York on September 27, 2018 © AFP/Jim Watson

The US envoy even showed hints of psychic powers, as she tried to downplay Russia's warnings that Western-backed terrorists were preparing a false flag chemical attack in Syria in order to set up Damascus. Gazing straight into the future, she appeared to point her finger at President Bashar Assad's government.

If there are chemical weapons that are used, we know exactly who's going to use them.

In July, the US stunned the international community by withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, and the American ambassador had some strong words to back the move.

Judging by how it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the UN's greatest failure. It has taken the idea of human dignity and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics.

"Its members included some of the worst human rights violators – the dictatorships of Cuba, China and Venezuela all have seats on the Council," Haley fumed.

Freedom fighters of Binomo

When dealing with other states, the US envoy tried her best to uphold an image of an expert on international affairs including on those nation that... well, didn't even exist.

In a scandalous YouTube recording made by two Russian pranksters, posing as a high-ranked Polish official, Haley was asked to comment on the aspirations of the nation of Binomo in the South China Sea.

We're aware of that. We've been watching that [Binomo situation] very closely. And I think we will continue to watch as we deal with the issues that keep coming up about the South China Sea.

She also said that Russia "absolutely" meddled in the country's election as well – a truly extraordinary achievement, given that Binomo was entirely made up.

[Oct 10, 2018] Report Nikki Haley Is Resigning by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... The Peter Principle is alive and well in the fractured U.S. governance model. ..."
"... Is there any advanced country on the planet with a political class saturated with so much mediocrity? ..."
"... BTW, the BoD scam is a standard political payoff. Susan Bayh the wife of former Senator Evan Bayh is a middling attorney who made over $2 Million a year flitting from BoD meeting to BoD meeting. Must be nice ..."
"... How did this woman move herself from the dignified, elected position of Governor to trump underling and Israeli bull horn? The things we do for greed! ..."
"... Good riddance. An embarrassment to US diplomacy. Her full throated echoing of Trump's stupidest and most destructive ideas should end her political career, especially coming on the heels of earlier denunciations of Trump. ..."
"... She leaves Turtle Bay with no achievements and the sound of jeering delegate laughter at the General Assembly still ringing in her ears. ..."
"... Out of her depth. Completely. ..."
Oct 08, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
NBC News reports that Nikki Haley will be resigning from her position as ambassador to the United Nations:

In an unexpected development, President Donald Trump's U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, plans to resign, NBC News has confirmed.

Haley informed her staff that she plans to resign. The news, first reported by Axios, comes ahead of an announcement she plans to make with President Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday morning.

Haley's tenure as U.N. ambassador was fairly brief and not very successful. The Security Council did approve additional North Korea sanctions during her time there. Otherwise, she was known mostly for ineffectively promoting the administration's Iran obsession , picking fights with most other states over Israel, and calling attention to how isolated the U.S. has become following the withdrawal from the JCPOA. Her last big effort at the U.N. was the Security Council session last month that was originally supposed to focus on criticizing Iran. The administration changed the subject of the meeting to nonproliferation, but that still allowed all of the other members to tout their support for the nuclear deal and criticize U.S. withdrawal from the agreement. If that was meant to be Haley's crowning achievement before she left, it didn't work out very well.

Trump's decision to appoint Haley to this position struck me as odd from the beginning. Haley had no diplomatic or foreign policy experience, and beyond the usual knee-jerk "pro-Israel" reactions she did not have any record of talking or thinking about foreign policy. It is taken for granted that she took the job to build up her credentials on foreign policy, but her stint as ambassador has been so short that I'm not sure that it will do her very much good in future political campaigns. When she was appointed, I said that "this may prove to be a rather fruitless detour for the next few years." Haley's resignation after less than two years in the job suggests that she concluded that there was no point in sticking around any longer.

gus October 9, 2018 at 11:09 am

The speculation I've seen, that after the election Trump fires Sessions, appoints Graham, and Haley gets appointed to Graham's Senate seat, makes a ton of sense. She'll be back, and she'll run for President someday, guaranteed.
G , says: October 9, 2018 at 11:26 am
One theory I've heard is that Nikki Haley was thought to be the top contender for a potential primary challenge to Trump in 2020 (if things didn't go well for the Trump administration). As you previously noted, she was a vocal critic of Donald Trump in the primaries (the President doesn't easily forgive or forget criticism). So she was dumped into the UN as a way to keep her from going rogue. The President doesn't like to see figures in his administration outshining him, so as she began to make a name for herself as being exceptionally tough on Iran, Trump kicked the legs out from under that policy directive and sent her to haplessly defend "non-proliferation".

End result? Two years have passed and Nikki Haley has no real accomplishment to show for it (Sad!), while at the same time by virtue of working within the Trump Administration, she's been effectively silenced for two years in her once-vocal criticism. Trump: 1, Haley 0.

SteveM , says: October 9, 2018 at 11:43 am
The Peter Principle is alive and well in the fractured U.S. governance model.

Of course when that Nitwit Hack transitions to the "private sector" she will be invited to sit on various BoD's to be a potted plant at Board meetings. And she will also live large from the remuneration for just showing up. And don't forget the honorary degrees Nikki will be awarded. It's like the Tin Man getting an honorary "Th.D", (Doctor of Thinkology) from the Wizard of Oz.

Is there any advanced country on the planet with a political class saturated with so much mediocrity?

BTW, the BoD scam is a standard political payoff. Susan Bayh the wife of former Senator Evan Bayh is a middling attorney who made over $2 Million a year flitting from BoD meeting to BoD meeting. Must be nice

rayray , says: October 9, 2018 at 11:52 am
Yeah, agreed with all of the above. Although it's unclear to me that anyone associated with the Trump administration will walk away with a leg up to seek higher office.

By virtue of most folks disinterest in foreign policy or the UN Haley may have the advantage over the others in the Trump administration. Getting out early is smart.

As for her lack of competence and knee-jerk Israel supporting bent this may not hurt her in the long run either with a GOP that has proven itself to be on a path of less and less competence, less and less integrity, and (one can only hope) less and less relevance.

PAX , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm
Well said. She is more the ambassador for Isreal than for America. One can only hope that Trump realizes this and appoints a diplomat with skills and an even keel. Hope he does not have Jared Kushner in mind?
Ninth and Hennepin , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:51 pm
The odd thing about Trump's appointment of Haley was *not* that she had virtually no record of talking or thinking about foreign policy.

It was that, unlike most of Trump's cabinet, she had no record of working to sabotage the very department she was appointed to lead.

Janet , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:12 pm
Wherever she ends up, it'll have to be someplace she can exercise her big mouth and small brain, because that's all she did at the UN.
swb , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:49 pm
It appears that an ethics inquiry into free rides on corporate jets has been requested.

https://www.businessinsider.com/nikki-haley-resign-investigation-flights-free-private-jets-2018-10

Just another day in the Trump administration.

One Guy , says: October 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm
There are stories that she accepted gifts she wasn't supposed to accept (no, not curtains). I think she resigned to head those off, as well as to be available for other positions that might open up (Senator? President?).

Whatever, it's just the latest in an unprecedented amount of people leaving this administration. If Trump only hires the best people, why do those smart people keep leaving him?

Talltale , says: October 9, 2018 at 2:47 pm
How did this woman move herself from the dignified, elected position of Governor to trump underling and Israeli bull horn? The things we do for greed!
One Guy , says: October 9, 2018 at 4:55 pm
Trump claims he knew about her leaving six months ago, but he hasn't lined up a replacement.

Or maybe he can't get anyone to accept the position who isn't an outright joke. Ted Nugent? Sarah Palin? Rudy Giuliani?

Ken T , says: October 9, 2018 at 5:09 pm
With regard to her possible 2020 WH run:

1. Yes, she has the Trump stench on her. But by resigning now she has two years to try to wash it off.

2. To a certain segment of the GOP base, being completely ineffectual at the UN will be seen as a feature, not a bug.

3. She has one huge advantage over some other potential rivals (Flake, for example) in that by not being in the Senate this past week she played no part in the Kavanaugh fiasco. Since she never had to vote on it, she can still try to play it both ways.

Bog Man , says: October 9, 2018 at 5:45 pm
Good riddance. An embarrassment to US diplomacy. Her full throated echoing of Trump's stupidest and most destructive ideas should end her political career, especially coming on the heels of earlier denunciations of Trump.

Instead, she'll be bankrolled by some rich Zionist creeps, a la Rubio, and turn up again in 2020 or 2024 offering to keep us bogged down in Middle East wars another four years.

belleville , says: October 9, 2018 at 7:03 pm
She leaves Turtle Bay with no achievements and the sound of jeering delegate laughter at the General Assembly still ringing in her ears.

After a year and a few months of failure and eye-rolling from UN colleagues, she knew that all that lay ahead was more of the same.

Out of her depth. Completely.

[Oct 09, 2018] US Russia Sanctions Are 'A Colossal Strategic Mistake', Putin Warns

Oct 09, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of making a "colossal" but "typical" mistake by exploiting the dominance of the dollar by levying economic sanctions against regimes that don't bow to its whims.

"It seems to me that our American partners make a colossal strategic mistake," Putin said.

"This is a typical mistake of any empire," Putin said, explaining that the US is ignoring the consequences of its actions because its economy is strong and the dollar's hegemonic grasp on global markets remains intact. However "the consequences come sooner or later."

These remarks echoed a sentiment expressed by Putin back in May, when he said that Russia can no longer trust the US dollar because of America's decisions to impose unilateral sanctions and violate WTO rules.

... ... ...

With the possibility of being cut off from the dollar system looming, a plan prepared by Andrei Kostin, the head of Russian bank VTB, is being embraced by much of the Russian establishment. Kostin's plan would facilitate the conversion of dollar settlements into other currencies which would help wean Russian industries off the dollar. And it already has the backing of Russia's finance ministry, central bank and Putin.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin is also working on deals with major trading partners to accept the Russian ruble for imports and exports.

In a sign that a united front is forming to help undermine the dollar, Russia's efforts have been readily embraced by China and Turkey, which is unsurprising, given their increasingly fraught relationships with the US. During joint military exercises in Vladivostok last month, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that their countries would work together to counter US tariffs and sanctions.

"More and more countries, not only in the east but also in Europe, are beginning to think about how to minimise dependence on the US dollar," said Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's spokesperson. "And they suddenly realise that a) it is possible, b) it needs to be done and c) you can save yourself if you do it sooner."

[Oct 09, 2018] During the attack on Serbia, US flew more than 90% of NATO missions and it managed to destroy three missile batteries and one radar station (using HARM)

Notable quotes:
"... Thanks to media, to this day very few people in the West know that towards the end of the 78-day war, US and UK deliberately targeted several completely civilian facilities (bridges, hospitals and schools) and in just a few days of such targeting killed about 200 civilians. ..."
Oct 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Kiza says: October 7, 2018 at 7:50 am GMT 500 Words @Quartermaster I am not going to insult you personally, but as a cheap paid troll you have absolutely no clue about the subject you are typing about for your Israeli masters. FB has not explained everything perfectly but what he wrote is correct. It is not true that an airforce would target radar installations only with HARM missiles, which all NATO countries and Israel have, but in practice HARM are the only missiles to reliably target mobile air defence. During the attack on Serbia, US flew more than 90% of NATO missions and it managed to destroy three missile batteries and one radar station (using HARM). But the mobility of the Serbian immobile air defences had two major effects:
1) Unlike Iraq, Serbia let NATO bomb targets without always switching on its air defences to be detected and destroyed; this grossly reduced NATOs air effectiveness because with every bomber they had to constantly send at least one support plane with jammers, HARMs etc. NATO tried to claim a virtue out of this by saying that they were soft on Serbia and will get tougher, but in reality their military attack was becoming difficult to manage, expensive and risky (the NATO unity was beginning to fray).
2) It was a running joke in Serbia how NATO planes would attack some completely empty hill (Serbia is a relatively hilly country), create literally free fireworks for the villagers, just because there was an air defense installation on the hill maybe 5-10 hours ago. A similar joke was how the Serbian military or even the local villagers would spread a strip of black builders plastic over a river and NATO planes flying at above 5 km to avoid manpads would blast this $2 bridge with $200,000 worth of bombs (adding mission cost to the cost of bombs).

Regarding US F117, it was more "stealth" than F35 and similar stealth to the smaller F22, but the Serbians used the Checkoslovakian TAMARA passive radar, using ionospheric scatter, and also launched multiple operator guided missiles at F117 without a proper engagement radar to be HARMed. Self-confident in stealth the pilots of F117 did not manoeuvre, thus it was easy to predict their path even without the targeting and engagement radar.

Forcing US to retire F117 was the second costliest damage the Serbians have done (Lockheed did not cry, through their lobbyists they turned the loss into an opportunity to sell more rubbish). But the biggest cost to US was that Milosevic sold several unexploded cruise missiles and all F117 parts to China and used the money to rebuild and repair all civilian buildings in Serbia destroyed by NATO. Later, UK and US did a colour revolution in Serbia, got their hands on Milosevic, who then died from a health "accident" in NATO jail.


Kiza , says: October 7, 2018 at 8:16 am GMT

@Cyrano You are spot-on. The Serbian military fought NATO to a draw, proven by the fact that the peace treaty signed in Kumanovo in FYRM, did not contain the Rambouye clauses and even left Kosovo under Serbian jurisdiction as per UNSC 1244.

Even this military draw was forced on Serbia by increased bombardment of civilian targets in Serbia combined with open threats of carpet bombing by US B57. Serbia is a fairly densely populated country, no jungles to hide in as in Vietnam. The civilian targets were bombed to show that they could do carpet bombing with impunity (with the help of MSM). Thanks to media, to this day very few people in the West know that towards the end of the 78-day war, US and UK deliberately targeted several completely civilian facilities (bridges, hospitals and schools) and in just a few days of such targeting killed about 200 civilians.

Naturally, any agreements with the West are totally pointless. After the Kumanovo agreement, US and UK organized a color revolution in Serbia, took Kosovo away and got their Serbian puppets to agree to all Rambouye demands. Serbia did not lose the war, but it lost the agreement peace with the West.

FB , says: October 8, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT
@Kiza

' to my knowledge the Serbians did not use a radiating radar to shoot-down one/two F117. They used a passive radar, which does not emit at all, it only receives a rough and noisy location of the stealth plane '

This is complete nonsense once again you choose to pontificate on things in which you have no knowledge

In your earlier comment, you identified this 'passive radar' allegedly used by the Serbs as the Czech 'Tamara' system which the Serbs did not possess

Not only that but this kind of system is not used for guiding SAM shots, and is certainly not any kind of 'anti-stealth' weapon this category of device is known as an emitter locator system [ELS], and is used to listen in on radio emissions from hostile aircraft and to then track them, by means of a number of geometrically deployed antennas that can then triangulate the bearing and direction of the aircraft

However, the basic physics involved means that these emitter locators are effective at tracking signals OTHER THAN the aircraft's onboard radar this would include the IFF [identification friend or foe transponder signal] and other onboard radio emitters which are OMNIDIRECTIONAL emitters

An aircraft radar's narrow pencil beam could not reach multiple [at least 2] ELS antenna [which would be geographically dispersed] to provide the needed triangulation

Once again Dr Carlo Kopp provides an excellent technical overview of ELS systems here

' A topic which appears to crop up with monotonous regularity [is] Warsaw Pact equipment "capable of detecting stealth aircraft".

These claims invariably involve either the Czech designed and built Tesla-Pardubice KRTP-86 Tamara or ERA Vera Emitter Locating Systems, or the Ukrainian designed and built Topaz Kolchuga series of Emitter Locating Systems.

More than often this equipment is described as 'anti-stealth radar', 'radar' or 'passive radar', all of which are completely incorrect.

Much of everything else you have farted out here regarding the Serb takedown of the F117 is similar bullshit

The 3′rd battery of the 250′th Air Defense missile Brigade, commanded by then Lt Col Zoltan Dani killed both F117s [the second one made it back to Aviano, Italy but was scrapped, as USAF Col Riccioni confirms in his F22 report I linked to earlier] as well as the kill on the F16 of then 555′th squadron Commander, then Lt Col David Goldfein, who, since 2016 happens to be Gen Goldfein and the USAF Chief of Staff

Here is Goldfein's F16 canopy and tail feathers on display at the Belgrade Aviation Museum

Incidentally, Col Riccioni mentions in that same report that Goldfein was doing 'other than what he was supposed to be doing' when shot down I guess in today's USAF that means you have the 'right stuff' to become The Chief

Also incidentally, the Goldfein kill was overseen by Col Dani's Deputy Maj Bosko Dotlic, as Col Dani was off duty at the time

The point is that that one single S125 battery accounted for ALL the confirmed kills of the Serb IADS in 1999 [although there are many more 'probable' kills that either ditched in the Adriatic, or limped back but were scrapped]

This speaks to my earlier point about human competence and the 'hawks' and 'doves' just like a small fraction of fighter pilots rack up the overwhelming majority of kills the same goes for air defense commanders, submarine captains, tank commanders etc

You have spewed here a whole lot of garbage about 'secret' anti-stealth weapons and 'lucky shots' etc which is a complete insult to the historical record and the great work by Col Dani and his men and to the entire principle of working and training hard to achieve professional competence in a military skill

Here is a picture of the side of the 3′rd Battery Command Cabin, with Three kills stenciled in the F117 [black] on top a B2 [not confirmed] and Goldfein's F16 in white at bottom

The battery used the standard SNR125 'Low Blow' engagement radar [1960s vintage technology] which operates at 9 GHz, so it is NOT a low-frequency radar proving that low frequency is not necessary to take out 'stealth' aircraft

As per standard Russian air defense design doctrine, the S125 uses a separate acquisition and tracking radar which DOES operate at a lower frequency in this case the P15 'Flat Face' which operates in the decimetric wavelength band [which is similar to ATC radar frequency of about 1.2 to 1.4 GHz...ie L band]

As explained previously the acquisition radar serves to find and track the target at long range and cues the engagement radar to scan a precise sector where the acquisition radar has found the target the engagement radar's increased precision [due to its higher frequency and antenna size] then provides pinpoint accuracy to guide the missile

It is this combination of separate radars working together that allows the targeting of low observable aircraft and what the 3′rd Battery did was a textbook example of using the equipment to its full potential despite the fact that this old radar technology was in fact susceptible to jamming, which the Nato forces employed massively

Col Dani also trained his men hard to be able to disassemble their radar and launchers within 90 minutes and load everything up on trucks and move to another location he also exercised strict discipline with regard to emissions allowing the radar to be turned on only for very short bursts at a time about a minute or two at most

This is all textbook Soviet operating procedure and the difference was the exceptional work ethic and competence that Col Dani maintained in his unit

It should be noted here that the Serb air defense was in fact very successful overall war is a game of survival and attrition and what the Serbs accomplished was noted by air combat practitioners

'The air campaign over Kosovo severely affected the readiness rates of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command during that period. Units in the United States were the most badly affected, as they were were stripped of their personnel and spare parts to support ACC (Air Combat Command) and AMC (Air Mobility Command) units involved in Operation Allied Force.

The Commander of the USAF's Air Combat Command, General Richard E Hawley, outlined this in a speech to reporters on 29 April, 1999.[10] Further, many aircraft will have to be replaced earlier than previously planned, as their planned fatigue life was prematurely expended.

PGM inventories needed to be re-stocked, the warstock of the AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile dropping to 100 or fewer rounds.[11] Of the more than 25,000 bombs and missiles expended, nearly 8,500 were PGMs, with the replacement cost estimated at $US1.3 billion.[12]

Thus the USAF suffered from virtual attrition of its air force without having scored a large number of kills in theatre. Even if the United States' best estimates of Serbian casualties are used, the Serbians left Kosovo with a large part of their armoured forces intact.

–Andrew Martin RAAF [retired]

Incidentally, several years ago the downed USAF pilot Col Dale Zelko, traveled to Serbia to visit the man who shot him down Col Dani a film The Second Meeting was made here is a trailer

PS I will have more to say later, as you have littered this thread with all kinds of technically incorrect crapola

Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:25 am GMT
@Johnny Rico NATO failed to defeat the Yugoslav army so NATO targeted Serbian civilians. You have suffered far more losses than you acknowledge so you started killing women and children. You rained the main marked and the main hospital of my hometown with cluster bombs. That's why Serbia accepted UN resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo agreement. Given the ultimatum in Rambouillet, that's not what I would call a capitulation. The only reason Serbia signed was because you threatened to mass murder Serbian civilians. Why would you threaten to massacre civilians if you had so soundly defeated the Yugoslav army? Never have so many American military died during training exercises than during the aggression against Serbia. We consider you to be shit at war. Extremely armed fags who pee in their pants when they face opposition. But believe what you want.
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:44 am GMT
@Kiza The Russians failed to defend Serbia in 1999. That's the Serbian approach.
Why on Earth would Russians defend Serbs who only remember "Russian" brothers when they're in dire straits?
Why would the Russian "love" us more than we "love" them? What is their interest? Because Serbs love "Tolstoevsky"?
Don't blame the Russian for Serbian failures. In true love as in a true contract, you have to give in order to take. Russia has given us a lot with no expectance of return. If she expected anything, we have given her nothing. We aren't Russia's spoiled child.
peterAUS , says: October 9, 2018 at 12:55 am GMT
@Vojkan

NATO failed to defeat the Yugoslav army so NATO targeted Serbian civilians.

Actually, they started to target civilian infrastructure. The objective was to intimidate the regime in Belgrade into surrender by pushing the country towards stone age.

I guess you could be onto something here:

You have suffered far more losses than you acknowledge .

and

Never have so many American military died during training exercises than during the aggression against Serbia.

As for

That's why Serbia accepted UN resolution 1244 and the Kumanovo agreement.

there was a little matter of Russia guaranteeing something too, I guess. While the drunkard was in the Kremlin.

Perceptions aside (Argentinians still believe they sank Royal Navy aircraft carrier in '82, for example) NATO delivered what its political masters wanted at the time.
Serbs lost .BADLY.

That's all what matters, really.

Beefcake the Mighty , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:43 am GMT
@Vojkan Yes. It's pretty much standard American practice to bomb civilian infrastructure immediately, regardless of the degree of resistance put up by the opposing military.
Cyrano , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:48 am GMT
@Vojkan I don't mean to interfere in inter-Serbian squabble, but I'll volunteer an opinion anyway. I think you are exaggerating what Russia has done for Serbia for example. How so? As a proud Balkaneer ( I am exaggerating here a little bit myself – the proud part) I have to say that we in the Balkans have always benefited from the simple fact that usually Russia's enemies are our enemies too, so when Russia takes care of their enemies, they automatically take care of our enemies too.

But I don't think that the Russians would necessarily put their neck on the line for the Balkan Slavs to defend them against enemies that are not their enemies as well. So, unfortunately for Serbia, that equation didn't work for them in the 90's – simply put – Serbia's enemies were not automatically Russia's enemies too. Russia was still trying to be friends with the west. I forgot who it was, but some prominent Russian politician at the time said: "We are not going to start nuclear war with US over Serbia".

But it seems that Serbia is always the canary in the mine – whenever someone attacks Serbia – Russia is next. That's why that buffoon Yeltsin had to go. Friendship with the west was over the moment they attacked Yugoslavia (Serbia). Now the Russia didn't start a nuclear war over Serbia, but they still might have to – to defend themselves, and as always Serbia will benefit from this – if anything is left over from this world after things go nuclear.

Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 1:54 am GMT
@peterAUS Serbs did lose badly. Albeit not on the battlefield. Though there never was a real battlefield.
I have no reason to doubt the accounts of my friends in the military who sought in the rare conversations I've had with them on the subject, to humble down their achievements.
I believe Russians capitalised on the Serb's defeat. I can't blame them for that. No one is responsible for what happened to Serbs, as it happened, but Serbs. They're so keen on making the wrong decisions for the sake of appearing glorious, you can't blame the devil for that. It's their informed choice
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 2:09 am GMT
@Beefcake the Mighty To be fair, they only did it after they realised that the Serb military were too smart to be depleted by aerial bombardment and that in order to defeat them, you'd have to fight them on the ground. That's why NATO bombarded civilians. On a man to man basis, Serbs and Russians are the best soldiers in the world. No navy seal, no marine, no SAS can match them. Fighting for their homes gives them the little bit of adrenaline needed to prevail.
Vojkan , says: October 9, 2018 at 2:40 am GMT
@Cyrano My point was never "Russians" are our brothers. My point is, whatever cultural, religious or blood affinity I have with the Russians, they have their interests and we have ours. I cannot expect of Russians to defend Serbia for "ses beaux yeaux". The same goes the other way around. To some people Russia has "betrayed" Serbia, to some other Serbia has "betrayed" Russia. Yet the West sees us as one whole, Russia and little "Russia". I didn't ask myself before but now I love Russia infinetely more than the West. Russia has asked me nothing, has given me nothing and is expecting nothing from me.
If we can have a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia, great. We will never have that with the USA or the UK or Germany or France. They're guilty of the spoilation of Serbs' lives and private properties. Russians never spoiled Serbs of anything.

[Oct 09, 2018] The idea of 'stealth' aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors

Oct 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

FB , says: October 6, 2018 at 7:24 pm GMT

@Frederick V. Reed The idea of 'stealth' aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors it doesn't actually work very well at all, as proved in 1999 when the Serb air defense, using ancient Soviet surface to air missiles of 1950s vintage, shot down the USAF F117 aircraft and damaged another that was then written off, and therefore counts as a kill

–F117 canopy displayed at the Belgrade Aviation Museum

But let's look at the idea of 'low observable' aircraft technology in a little more detail, and how it may be countered by air defense

Let's start at the beginning the physics behind 'stealth' was developed by a Russian scientist named Petr Ufimtsev who is now known as the 'father of stealth'

Ufimtsev, working at the Moscow Institute of Radio Engineering, developed a coherent theory on the behavior of radio wave scattering off solid objects he published his seminal work Method of Edge Waves in the Physical Theory of Diffraction in 1962 the Soviet military saw no real value in this and allowed it to be published

In 1971, the USAF translated this work into English and a couple of engineers at Lockheed realized that Ufimtsev had provided the mathematical foundation to predict how radar waves deflect off an aircraft it was a lightbulb moment the main insight of Ufimtsev's work was that the size of a radar return was more a function of the edge geometry of the aircraft than its actual size

Retired USAF Lt Colonel William B O'Connor, who flew the F117 gives a good telling of the story here

The end result is that the F117 and B2 were developed by programming Ufimtsev's math into powerful computers in order to come up with aircraft shaping geometry that minimized radar reflection subsequent 'low observable' aircraft like the F22 and F35 all build on this basic physics

Now while the idea of reducing an aircraft's radar return sounds good in principle it has a lot of real-world drawbacks for instance the shaping can only be optimized for one particular aspect, such as a head-on if the aircraft turns into a bank for instance its radar return will increase by as much as 100 fold owing to the simple fact that a banking aircraft exposes its broad underbelly, which has no way to be optimized to also be 'stealthy' the shaping cannot accomplish the same result of scattering radio waves off in all directions, from all angles

There are other challenges the vertical tail surfaces will also bounce back radio waves this is why a tailless, flying wing design like the B2 is better suited to the task but this kind of configuration brings with it compromises in aircraft maneuverability and agility

Aside from the aircraft geometry, which is the main means of achieving 'low observability' there are also special coatings that are designed to 'absorb' radio waves although this is only of limited effectiveness and depends a lot on the thickness of the rubbery coating I had the opportunity to physically examine a piece of the wreckage of that F117 shot down in Serbia, and the thickness and weight of that coating was surprising it was about 1/16 inch thick in places along the vertical stabilizers and seemed to weigh more than the underlying composite honeycomb structure itself [typical of Lockheed lightweight structural design]

This additional weight is a major disadvantage of 'stealth' aircraft aircraft must be as light as possible to perform well that is just basic physics but these logical design considerations have seemingly been sidelined in what can only be explained as a money-making gimmick that only detracts from actual aircraft capability

Col Everest E Riccioni, one the USAF's most legendary test pilots and Air Force Academy instructors has probably done more than anyone to debunk the 'stealth' nonsense his 2005 report on the F22 is insightful reading and proved quite prescient about the failure of this aircraft to become anything more than a glorified hangar queen

The F35 is far worse of course but Col Riccioni passed away before he could fully train his guns on this very deficient aircraft

The fact of the matter is that the F117 was more 'stealthy' than the F22 or F35 this due to its faceted design wherein the airframe shape was defined largely by a series of flat plates [remember that the whole physics of radio reflection boils down to edge geometry...]

The current MIC propaganda is that the faceted shape is not necessary due to improved supercomputers that can calculate the math for curved surfaces well, the physical fact is that curved surfaces reflect in all directions and no amount of 'supercomputing' can change that Col Riccioni, who is no slouch in physics, having designed and taught the first graduate-level course in astronautics at the USAF Academy, confirms that the F117 was a more 'stealthy' design than the F22 and the F35 is considered not as stealthy as the F22

As for defending against 'low observable' aircraft with surface to air missiles [SAMs] let us review some of the pertinent factors that go into this equation a SAM system consists basically of powerful radars that spot and track enemy aircraft and guide a missile shot to the target the only way to kill a SAM system by means of an attacking aircraft is to target its radars with a special type of missile that homes in on radio signals known as anti-radiation missiles [HARMs] such as the US AGM88

The problem becomes one of reach how far can the SAM missiles reach and how far can the HARMs reach ?

A long range SAM like the S300/400 wins this contest easily the S300 can hit targets as far as 250 km away [400 km for S400] while the best Harms can reach about 150 km at most and that's if fired at high aircraft speed and altitude so it becomes a question of how do you get within the SAM missile kill zone to fire your Harm in the first place ?

In the 1999 bombing of Serbia, the US and 18 participating Nato allies mustered over 1,000 aircraft and fired a total of over 700 Harms at Serb air defenses, over the course of 78 days but managed to knock out only three 1970s era mobile SAM units the 2K12 'Kub'

A good account of that operation was published by Dr Benjamin Lambeth in 2002, in the USAF's flagship technical publication, Aerospace Power Journal

This campaign was truly a David vs Goliath match, yet the Serbs effectively fought the alliance to a draw

NATO never fully succeeded in neutralizing the Serb IADS [integrated air defense system], and NATO aircraft operating over Serbia and Kosovo were always within the engagement envelopes of enemy SA-3 and SA-6 missiles -- envelopes that extended as high as 50,000 feet.

Because of that persistent threat, mission planners had to place such high-value surveillance-and-reconnaissance platforms as the U-2 and JSTARS in less-than-ideal orbits to keep them outside the lethal reach of enemy SAMs.

Even during the operation's final week, NATO spokesmen conceded that they could confirm the destruction of only three of Serbia's approximately 25 known mobile SA-6 batteries.'

Lambeth notes that things could have been much different had the Serbs had the S300

'One SA-10/12 [early S300 variant] site in Belgrade and one in Pristina could have provided defensive coverage over all of Serbia and Kosovo. They also could have threatened Rivet Joint, Compass Call, and other key allied aircraft such as the airborne command and control center and the Navy's E-2C operating well outside enemy airspace.

Fortunately for NATO, the Serb IADS did not include the latest-generation SAM equipment currently available on the international arms market.'

Since 1999, the last major SEAD [suppression of enemy air defense] operation by Nato the Russian air defense capabilities have only become more lethal the radars employed on the S300/400 series are phased array types which are very difficult to jam and much more precise in guiding a missile to the target

Phased array means that instead of a parabolic dish, the antenna consists of several thousand individual antenna elements that are electronically steered in order to create a very precise radar beam [instead of a dish antenna being mechanically rotated and tilted]

When it comes to air defense it's really mostly about the radar Dr Carlo Kopp, an expert on Russian air defense systems notes that even the early iterations of the S300 engagement radar were a huge step forward in capability

'With electronic beam steering, very low sidelobes and a narrow pencil beam mainlobe, the 30N6 phased array is more difficult to detect and track by an aircraft's warning receiver when not directly painted by the radar, and vastly more difficult to jam.

While it may have detectable backlobes, these are likely to be hard to detect from the forward sector of the radar. As most anti-radiation missiles rely on sidelobes to home in, the choice of engagement geometry is critical in attempting to kill a Flap Lid.'

Shown is the latest generation 92N6 'Grave Stone' engagement radar used with S300/400 systems the engagement radar actually guides the missile shot, while separate early warning and acquisition and tracking radars first detect the target, then cue the engagement radar to point to the target and guide the missile shot

Another important point with the S300 transfer to Syria that is overlooked in this article is the option to hybridize the Syrian S200 missiles with the S300 radars

In this scenario the weakest link of the S200 is eliminated its obsolete parabolic dish type engagement radar the S200 missile is instead guided to the target by the formidable new S300/400 radars

'In this arrangement, an SA-20/21 system with its high power aperture and highly jam resistant acquisition and engagement radars prosecutes an engagement, but rather than launching its organic 48N6 series missile rounds, it uses the SA-5 Gammon round instead

The challenge which a hybrid SA-5/SA-20/SA-21 system presents is considerable. The SA-20/21 battery is highly mobile, and with modern digital frequency hopping radars, will be difficult to jam.

Soft kill and hard kill become problematic. In terms of defeating the SA-5 component of the hybrid, the only option is to jam the missile CW homing seeker, the effectiveness of which will depend entirely on the vintage of the 5G24N series seeker and the capabilities of the jamming equipment. If the customer opts for an upgrade to the seeker electronics, the seeker may be digital and very difficult to jam.'

This could be the most important part of the story, since the Syrians have a large number of S200 systems it is certain that a number of additional S300/400 radars have been delivered as part of that '49 pieces' reported in Russian media and these powerful and fully mobile radars [truck mounted] will be used to modernize the S200 network

It is worth noting also that SAM mobility is a key advance of the S300/400 systems the various radars and the missile launchers are all mounted on large trucks and are designed for five minute shoot and scoot this mobility proved key to the Nato difficulty with Serbian SAMs, even though those old systems were not designed for that, but the Serbs nonetheless would dismantle and move the fixed radars and launchers on a regular basis

In order to attack a SAM with an aircraft you first have to know where it is the only way to know is when it turns on its radar at which point it may be too late if it is pointed at you after taking the shot, the whole thing packs up and moves in five minutes flat [the Patriot takes 30 minutes by comparison]

It should be noted here that these mobile Russian search and acquisition radars are extremely powerful the 'Big Bird' series is in the same class as the Aegis radar mounted on USN missile cruisers and destroyers

'The 64N6E Big Bird is the key to much of the improved engagement capability, and ballistic missile intercept capability in the later S-300P variants.

This system operates in the 2 GHz band and is a phased array with a 30% larger aperture than the US Navy SPY-1 Aegis radar, even accounting for its slightly larger wavelength it amounts to a mobile land based Aegis class package. It has no direct equivalent in the West.'

The final piece of the puzzle when it comes to countering 'stealth' aircraft is a special category of radar designed specifically for that purpose these operate at much lower frequencies [ie longer wavelength] which renders the stealth shaping useless since the physics dictates that aircraft features shorter than the radar wavelength cannot produce the desired scattering effect as Col Riccioni notes

[The F22's] radar signature is admittedly small in the forward quarter but only to airborne radars. The aircraft is detectable by high-power, low-frequency ground based radars

it is physically impossible to design shapes and radar absorptive material to simultaneously defeat low power, high-frequency enemy fighter radars, and high power, low-frequency ground based radars.'

Kopp gives a good overview of the advanced Russian anti-stealth radars in this category

The system uses a series of radars of varying wavelength each mounted on a mobile chassis as with all the modern Russian SAM radars the long wavelength radar finds the 'stealth' target easily and then cues a shorter wavelength radar to further pinpoint the target, which, in turn, cues the engagement radar that guides the missile shot

Shown is such a deployment of three radars and a command vehicle in the background

All told, the upgrade of the Syrian air defenses now presents a very formidable system it should be noted that the S200 missile when used with these powerful radars could be an especially deadly combination this rocket was until 2009 the longest range SAM rocket in the world, with a maximum range of up to 375 km

Unlike modern SAM missiles that use solid propellant rocket motors [basically a bottle rocket] the S200 uses a real liquid fuel rocket engine it has a top speed of 2.5 km/s which is actually faster than the S400 rockets and the liquid engine means it can be throttled to decrease or increase its speed [minimum flying speed is 700 m/s] something that a solid rocket cannot do

In the right hands, this combination of advanced S300 radars and the superb kinematic performance of the S200 missile could be a deadly combination the fact that Syria has a lot of these S200 missiles means that adding those S300 radars makes it a whole new ballgame we already saw back in February when an S200 shot down an Israeli F16 in Israeli airspace there are unconfirmed reports that a second aircraft was hit and possibly destroyed

The question of Israeli F35s trying to attack these mobile S300 SAMs is not really a serious consideration for any air combat practitioner the F35 has terrible flight characteristics such as very high wing loading, which directly affects its turning ability [think of running with a 100 lb backpack and how that might affect your maneuverability]

The basic flight physics of this airplane are terrible, as many qualified experts have pointed out it would be difficult to envisage how it could play a role in mounting an attack against these Syrian S300s

The only realistic option to attack such an air defense zone would be to use the mountainous terrain along the Levant coast and fly a nap of the earth mission with highly maneuverable fighters like the F15 and F16 to try to hide from radar in the mountains and get close enough to deliver a Harm missile to an S300 radar

But this would be a very risky mission especially considering that the Russians are flying their AWACS planes over Syria, so even terrain following is not going to work in trying to hide

[Oct 09, 2018] How to Maliciously Smear Your Critics (and Not Get Away with It) by C.J. Hopkins

Notable quotes:
"... focus as much attention on the tactics and the motives of the smearers as possible ..."
Oct 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Because that is precisely how the smear game works. The way it works is, the smearers bait the smearee into defending himself against the defamatory content of the smears. Once the smearee has done that, the smearers have him. From then on, the focus of the debate becomes whether or not the smears are accurate, rather than why he's being smeared, how he's being smeared, and who is smearing him .

This is the smearers' primary objective, i.e., to establish the boundaries of the debate, and to trap the target of the smears within them. If you've followed the fake "Labour Anti-Semitism" scandal, you've witnessed this tactic deployed against Corbyn , who unfortunately fell right into the trap and gave the smearers the upper hand.

No, the only way to effectively counter a smear campaign (whether large-scale or small-scale), is to resist the temptation to profess your innocence, and, instead, focus as much attention on the tactics and the motives of the smearers as possible . It is difficult to resist this temptation, especially when the people smearing you have significantly more power and influence than you do, and are calling you a racist and an anti-Semite, but, trust me, the moment you start defending yourself, the game is over, and the smearers have won.

Peasant , says: October 1, 2018 at 2:20 pm GMT

@Justsaying The evidence is that before Cockburn died Counterpunch would routinely publish articles which were basically honest about Israel (ie not terribly flattering) and now does not (as it states in the article above viewpoints of the extreme left and right ie genuine critique will not be tolerated so only critique from inside established paradigms will be allowed-just like every other media outlet).

Counterpunch used to be outside of the Jewish paradigm (ie it was genuinely leftist) but now will be just another gelded publication. Cockburn did a good job of fending off criticism-Counterpunch was a rather niche publication so it flew under the radar of the Jews.

Counterpunch was routinely critical of the neocons and even pointed out their Jewishness but a lot of liberal Jews did not like the neocons. Israel was and is the real litmus test.

The Guardian always had Alan Rusbridger who I beleive was Jewish. It is not exactly funded by Jewish money- it mainly subsists off of government departments advertising public sector jobs. Before the rise of the internet and gumtree etc it was mainly funded by sales of autotrader a car trading magazine (lol at the nost po faced anti pollution newspaper being funded by the sales of cars).

What changed is that the Jews are no longer able to control the narrative- they used to feel they could afford semi-critical comments about Israel before but not any more. This has gone hand in hand with increased efforts to censor the internet. The Jews were able to infiltrate BDS and subvert it, they were able to use their explicit power to pass anti BDS laws but they were not able to really turn the tide of public opinion. They have resorted to outright censorship.

As you say it is not suprising that Counterpunch was taken over any publication/organisation that wants to work outside of established Jewish limits on intellectual discourse will eventually be subverted. Just look at the British Labour party. Corbyn is an old school lefists (ie he wants to give people options other than the new labour globalist neo liberalism) and a very principaled one. He stands up for the Palestinians (some people say he just does this because of his Muslim constituents but that is not the case-he has always stood up for them) and as a result has been smeared time and time again by the Jewish press.

There is a power struggle in the Labour party (Muslim ethnics weight of numbers vs Jewish money) and it looks like the Jews will win.

It's very sad and like I said I hope the new Counterpunch will fold leaving Cockburn's histroy of excellent journalism unsullied.

[Oct 08, 2018] NATO Bombed You To Protect You Stoltenberg Explains 1999 Bombings During Visit To Serbia

Oct 08, 2018 | southfront.org

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that people having "poor" memories of NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia are wrong because the military bloc did this to protect civilians and save lives.

"I stressed that we did this to protect civilians and to stop the Milosevic regime," Stoltenberg stated during a meeting with the students of Belgrade University.

The NATO secretary stated further that the bloc supports a "dialogue" between Serbia and its breakaway region [now a self-proclaimed state] of Kosovo. According to him, Belgrade has to "look into the future" for furher cooperation between the two sides.

The attitude showed by Stoltenberg is a common example how the US-NATO propaganda works. Any actions, incluindg illegal military interventions, false flag provocations and mass civilian casualties, are being explained by the need to "defend democracy", "protect civilians" and "save lives".

https://www.youtube.com/embed/2M42BAJAk84?feature=oembed

[Oct 08, 2018] The idea of 'stealth' aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors

Oct 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

pogohere , Oct 7, 2018 7:50:12 PM | link

Greece @ 25

"Also do not forget that all invisible stuff that US army had during the Clinton/HRC era, were easily visible. F-117 in Serbia,"

See: Comment #43: (very detailed, links to open source US mil docs)

"The idea of 'stealth' aircraft is in fact mostly a gimmick designed to enrich the military contractors it doesn't actually work very well at all, as proved in 1999 when the Serb air defense, using ancient Soviet surface to air missiles of 1950s vintage, shot down the USAF F117 aircraft and damaged another that was then written off, and therefore counts as a kill "

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/s-300s-and-other-military-hardware-for-syria/#comment-2558132

Grieved , Oct 7, 2018 9:05:49 PM | link

@26 pogohere

Thanks for that link. That's an essay in itself, and I'm still reading it. Fascinating and valuable background on stealth.

First takeaway for me is that the Russians invented stealth but considered it impracticable at the time. The US designers took the Russian equations and ran with them, throwing out many other considerations of plane-worthiness in order to promote this dud of a magic bullet.

[Oct 06, 2018] America s new aristocracy lives in an accountability-free zone by David Sirota

Notable quotes:
"... Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history ..."
"... September began with John McCain's funeral – a memorial billed as an apolitical celebration of the Arizona lawmaker, but which served as a made-for-TV spectacle letting America know that everyone who engineered the Iraq war is doing just fine. ..."
"... The underlying message was clear: nobody other than the dead, the injured and the taxpayer will face any real penalty for the Iraq debacle. ..."
"... Meanwhile, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon garnered non-Onion headlines by floating the idea of running for president – a reminder that a decade after his firm played a central role in destroying countless Americans' economic lives, he remains not only unincarcerated and gainfully employed, but so reputationally unscathed that he is seen as a serious White House candidate. ..."
Oct 05, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Accountability is for the little people, immunity is for the ruling class. If this ethos seems familiar, that is because it has preceded some of the darkest moments in human history

'If there are no legal consequences for profiteers who defrauded the global economy into a collapse, what will deter those profiteers from doing that again?' Illustration: Mark Long/Mark Long for Guardian US W hen the former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was released from prison a few weeks ago, the news conjured memories of a corporate scandal that now seems almost quaint – and it was also a reminder that Enron executives were among the last politically connected criminals to face any serious consequences for institutionalized fraud.

Since Skilling's conviction 12 years ago, our society has been fundamentally altered by a powerful political movement whose goal is not merely another court seat, tax cut or election victory. This movement's objective is far more revolutionary: the creation of an accountability-free zone for an ennobled aristocracy, even as the rest of the population is treated to law-and-order rhetoric and painfully punitive policy.

Let's remember that in less than two decades, America has experienced the Iraq war, the financial crisis, intensifying economic stratification, an opioid plague, persistent gender and racial inequality and now seemingly unending climate change-intensified disasters. While the victims have been ravaged by these crime sprees, crises and calamities, the perpetrators have largely avoided arrest, inquisition, incarceration, resignation, public shaming and ruined careers.

That is because the United States has been turned into a safe space for a permanent ruling class. Inside the rarefied refuge, the key players who created this era's catastrophes and who embody the most pernicious pathologies have not just eschewed punishment – many of them have actually maintained or even increased their social, financial and political status.

The effort to construct this elite haven has tied together so many seemingly disparate news events, suggesting that there is a method in the madness. Consider this past month that culminated with the dramatic battle over the judicial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

September began with John McCain's funeral – a memorial billed as an apolitical celebration of the Arizona lawmaker, but which served as a made-for-TV spectacle letting America know that everyone who engineered the Iraq war is doing just fine.

The event was attended by Iraq war proponents of both parties, from Dick Cheney to Lindsey Graham to Hillary Clinton. The funeral featured a saccharine eulogy from the key Democratic proponent of the invasion, Joe Lieberman, as well the resurrection of George W Bush. The codpiece-flaunting war president who piloted America into the cataclysm with "bring 'em on" bravado, "shock and awe" bloodlust and "uranium from Africa" dishonesty was suddenly portrayed as an icon of warmth and civility when he passed a lozenge to Michelle Obama. The scene was depicted not as the gathering of a rogues gallery fit for a war crimes tribunal, but as a venerable bipartisan reunion evoking nostalgia for the supposed halcyon days – and Bush promptly used his newly revived image to campaign for Republican congressional candidates and lobby for Kavanaugh's appointment .

The underlying message was clear: nobody other than the dead, the injured and the taxpayer will face any real penalty for the Iraq debacle.

Next up came the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis – a meltdown that laid waste to the global economy, while providing lucrative taxpayer-funded bailouts to Wall Street firms.

To mark the occasion, the three men on whose watch it occurred – Fed chair Ben Bernanke, Bush treasury secretary Hank Paulson and Obama treasury secretary Tim Geithner – did not offer an apology, but instead promised that another financial crisis will eventually occur, and they demanded lawmakers give public officials more power to bail out big banks in the future.

In a similar bipartisan show of unity, former Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn gave an interview in which he asked "Who broke the law?" – the implication being that no Wall Street executives were prosecuted for their role in the meltdown because no statutes had been violated. That suggestion, of course, is undermined by banks ' own admissions that they defrauded investors (that includes admissions of fraud from Goldman Sachs – the very bank that Cohn himself ran during the crisis). Nonetheless, Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder – who has now rejoined his old corporate defense law firm – subsequently backed Cohn up by arguing that nobody on Wall Street committed an offense that could have been successfully prosecuted in a court of law.

Meanwhile, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon garnered non-Onion headlines by floating the idea of running for president – a reminder that a decade after his firm played a central role in destroying countless Americans' economic lives, he remains not only unincarcerated and gainfully employed, but so reputationally unscathed that he is seen as a serious White House candidate.

Again, the message came through: nobody who engineered the financial crisis will pay any real price for wreaking so much havoc.

Then as Hurricane Florence provided the latest illustration of climate change's devastation, ExxonMobil marched into the supreme court to demand an end to a state investigation of its role denying and suppressing climate science. Backed by 11 Republican attorneys general , the fossil fuel giant had reason to feel emboldened in its appeal for immunity: despite investigative reporting detailing the company's prior knowledge of fossil fuel's role in climate change, its executives had already convinced the Securities and Exchange Commission to shut down a similar investigation.

Once again, the message was unavoidable: in the new accountability-free zone, companies shouldn't be bothered to even explain – much less face punishment for – their role in a crisis that threatens the survival of the human species.

... ... ...

The answer is nothing – which is exactly the point for the aristocracy. But that cannot be considered acceptable for the rest of us outside the accountability-free zone.

David Sirota is a Guardian US columnist and an investigative journalist at Capital & Main. His latest book is Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now

[Oct 05, 2018] Putin on Trump push of the USA LNG to EU

Oct 05, 2018 | en.kremlin.ru

Ryan Chilcote : Let's return to energy, or at least more directly to energy, President Putin, and talk about Nord Stream 2. That's the pipeline that Gazprom wants to build between Russia and Germany. Again, the President of the United States has said his opinion about this. He says that Germany is effectively a hostage already of Russia, because it depends on Russia for so much of its energy and gas supplies, and that it's vulnerable to "extortion and intimidation" from Russia. What do you make of that?

Vladimir Putin : My response is very simple. Donald and I talked about this very briefly in Helsinki. In any sale, including the sale of our gas to Europe, we are traditionally the supplier, of pipeline gas I mean. We have been doing this since the 1960s. We are known for doing it in a highly responsible and professional manner, and at competitive prices for the European market. In general, if you look at the characteristics of the entire gas market, the price depends on the quantity and on sales volumes. The distance between Russia and Europe is such that pipeline gas is optimal. And the price will always be competitive, always. This is something all experts understand.

We have a lot of people here in this room, in the first row, who could easily be seated next to me, and I would gladly listen to them, because each one is an expert, so each of them can tell you that. And so Nord Stream 2 is a purely commercial project, I want to emphasise this, warranted by rising energy consumption, including in Europe, and falling domestic production in European countries. They have to get it from somewhere.

Russian gas accounts for around 34 percent of the European market. Is this a lot or a little? It is not insubstantial, but not a monopoly either. Europe certainly can and does actually buy gas from other suppliers, but American liquefied gas is about 30 percent more expensive than our pipeline gas on the European market. If you were buying products of the same quality and you were offered the same product for 30 percent more , what would you choose? So, what are we talking about?

If Europe starts buying American gas for 30 percent more than ours, the entire economy of Germany, in this case, would quickly become dramatically less competitive. Everyone understands this; it is an obvious fact.

But business is business, and we are ready to work with all partners. As you know, our German partners have already begun offshore construction. We are ready to begin as well. We have no problems with obtaining any permits. Finland agreed, and so did Sweden, Germany, and the Russian Federation. This is quite enough for us. The project will be implemented.

< >

Ryan Chilcote : President Putin, did you want to jump in here?

Vladimir Putin: (following up on the remarks by CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden) We understand the realities and treat all our partners with respect. We have very good, amiable long-term relations with all our partners, including the company represented by my neighbour on the left. This company is working in the Russian market and working with great success, but we understand everything very well and understand the realities. We are carrying out the project ourselves. We do not and will not have any problems here. That is to say, they may arise, of course, but we will resolve them.

Some things are beyond the realm of political intrigue. Take supplies to the Federal Republic of Germany. Not everyone knows that the decision was made there to shut down the nuclear power industry. But that is 34 percent of its total energy balance. We are proud of the development of the nuclear power industry in the Russian Federation, although the figure for us is just 16 percent. We are still thinking about how to raise it to 25 percent and are making plans. Theirs is 34 percent and everything will be closed down. What will this vacuum be filled with? What?

Look at LNG [liquefied natural gas ] which is sold by our various competitors and partners. Yes, LNG can and should be in the common basket of Europe and Germany. Do you know how many ports built in Europe are used for LNG transfer? Just 25 percent. Why? Because it is unprofitable.

There are companies and regions for which it is profitable to supply LNG and this is being done. The LNG market is growing very fast. But as for Europe, it is not very profitable, or unprofitable altogether.

Therefore, in one way or another we have already seen Nord Stream 1 through and its performance is excellent. Incidentally, our gas supplies to Europe are continuously growing. Last year, I believe, they amounted to 194 billion cubic metres and this year they will add up to 200 billion cubic metres or maybe even more.

We have loaded practically all our infrastructure facilities: Blue Stream to Turkey, Nord Stream 1 is fully loaded. Yamal-Europe is fully loaded – it is almost approaching 100 percent, while the demand is going up. Life itself dictates that we carry out such projects.

Ryan Chilcote : President Trump's position on American LNG exports is perhaps a little bit more nuanced. His point is that instead of buying Russian gas, even perhaps if it's a bit more expensive, the Germans and other European allies of the United States, because the United States is paying for their defence, should be buying American gas even if there is, I guess the argument suggests, a little bit of a higher price for that

Vladimir Putin : You know, this argument doesn't really work, in my opinion. I understand Donald. He is fighting for the interests of his country and his business. He is doing the right thing and I would do the same in his place.

As for LNG, as I have already said, it is not just a little more expensive in the European market but 30 percent more. This is not a little bit more, it is a lot more, beyond all reason, and is basically unworkable.

But there are markets where LNG will be adopted, where it is efficient, for instance in the Asia-Pacific region. By the way, where did the first shipment of LNG from our new company Yamal-LNG go? Where did the first tanker go? To the United States, because it was profitable. The United States fought this project but ended up buying the first tanker. It was profitable to buy it in this market, at this place and time, and it was purchased.

LNG is still being shipped to the American continent. It's profitable.

It makes no sense to fight against what life brings. We simply need to look for common approaches in order to create favourable market conditions, including, for example, conditions conducive to the production and consumption of LNG in the United States itself and securing the best prices for producers and consumers. This could be achieved by coordinating policy, rather than just imposing decisions on partners.

As for the argument, "We defend you, so buy this from us even if it makes you worse off", I don't think it is very convincing either. Where does it lead? It has led to the Europeans starting to talk about the need to have a more independent defence capability, as well as the need to create a defence alliance of their own that allegedly will not undermine NATO while allowing the Europeans to pursue a real defence policy. This is what, in my view, such steps are leading to.

This is why I am sure that a great many things will be revised. Life will see to that.

[Oct 05, 2018] The recent history of the Supreme Court has been one of Justices playing the part of politicians in robes

Oct 05, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

CitizenOne , October 2, 2018 at 11:19 pm

The recent history of the Supreme Court has been one of Justices playing the part of politicians in robes. Perhaps no better example was the nullification of the recount in the Bush v Gore election with the "Brooks Brothers Riot" where paid operatives of the republicans stormed the election office in Florida and declared the recount over in an extra judicial action which was backed up by the members of the Supreme Court leading to their moniker "politicians in robes". The Supreme Court basically stole that election by upholding the use of violence as a tool to stop the recount instead of reacting on its own to denounce the use of such tactics.

The Supreme Court has become weaponized as a force for right wing agendas and it has taken a partisan position many times due to justices who have become radicalized to advance right wing views. This is part of a vast right wing well funded and well oiled political money machine. Little debut over the 10 million dollars spent by anonymous donors greasing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. The $10 million effort to win federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation, funded by unknown donors to a conservative interest group called the Judicial Crisis Network, follows a successful $7 million effort last year to block President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. The group calls it "the most robust operation in the history of confirmation battles."

Billionaires are funding the selection and nomination of Supreme Court Justices for one reason. So that the Supreme Court is stacked by loyal conservatives who will side with big industrialist businesses on every case brought against big industrialists.

This is a long term strategy funded with hundreds of millions of dollars poured into efforts to create a three point strategy. Fund AstroTurf phony grass roots populist organizations which claim they are formed by housewives and farmers and middle class folk but who really serve the interests of the billionaire class. Fund politicians and judges who are begging to get the money to win elections by promising they will do everything to support the uber class and groveling at their feet for the cash to be had. Create laws to serve the interests of billionaires.

So far each effort has been a phenomenal success. Funded with hundreds of millions of dollars willing recipients of all the corporate cash have created the ostensible populist front defending wedge issues like abortion, gun control and anti immigration along with a health dose of anti establishment hatred of the government. Their real aim is to serve the corporate interests.

Donald Trump is perhaps the biggest benefactor of the money machine having won election based on this populist jargon while spending little of his own money but really serving the corporate interests most obviously by supporting the 1.9 Trillion dollar tax breaks for billionaires.

It is unlikely that the average American would get angry about health care or their own social security which is funded by workers not billionaires unless they were propagandized by every main stream media outlet with Fox News and other more extremely radical right wing media outlets and all the rightwing websites and right wing syndicated media pundits.

Average Americans have been suckered to believe that what is in their own interests is very bad for America and Freedom and Democracy etc. They have been hoodwinked into voting for politicians who want to strip them of healthcare, social security, financial security and basic rights to privacy and access to the judicial system with arbitration clauses attached to every product down to toothbrushes and sunglasses. They have come to believe that defending wedge issues means they will vote for republicans no matter how bad their economic future is compromised and their future put at risk by predatory businesses which offer paycheck loans, balloon mortgages, sky high interest and insurance rates, multiple bank accounts with lots of surcharges (Pinkerton Bank) and promise to end Medicare and Social Security because its Okay to give trillions to billionaires but not Okay to help average hard working people.

Donald Trump is the pinnacle of this usurpation of power capturing the Executive Branch funded by free advertising from the media and running on a fake AstroTurf populist campaign strategy while delivering all the money to the billionaires as he entertains guests for huge fees at his Florida Property against the Emoluments Clause which appears to be dead. No president should economically benefit from the position of the highest office in the land for personal enrichment yet the Tax Cuts seem to have been perfectly tailored for Trumps own enrichment via a little known clause which allows property investment owners to pass the profits gained via those holdings to other entities like his kids at greatly lower taxes. What a windfall for Trump who has investment pass through properties all over the place. It's a really nice deal" for Trump and pass-through owners like him, said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

So much for the little guy as republicans now demand that the giant deficit created by their enormous tax cuts for the wealthy now be shrunk by eliminating all social welfare programs like Social Security which if funded by workers under the payroll deduction tax. Payroll taxes are taxes imposed on employers or employees, and are usually calculated as a percentage of the salaries that employers pay their staff. Payroll taxes generally fall into two categories: deductions from an employee's wages, and taxes paid by the employer based on the employee's wages. These taxes fund Social Security/ Workers earnings are garnished to pay for Social Security. The Government does not steal this money from rich people. They take it from every worker according to a schedule.

How stupid we are to willingly call this wasteful government spending and buy the BS of the republicans that it must end. What will they do with all the money once none of us is going to see a dime of what we donated under law? Why they will steal it of course.

Who has the authority to declare all social welfare programs unconstitutional? The Supreme Court. Who has the power to decline any case brought against and well monied entity including the President? The Supreme Court.

It is not so much about beer and drunkenness and abuse of women but about the continued abuse of us all by the republican party which is funded by the rich and operated by the rich for the rich and only for the rich.

[Oct 04, 2018] US Sanctions Against Russia Are A Colossal Strategic Mistake, Putin Warns

Oct 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

US Sanctions Against Russia Are "A Colossal Strategic Mistake", Putin Warns

by Tyler Durden Thu, 10/04/2018 - 07:20 3 SHARES

As Russia is preparing plans to wean its banking system off the dollar, advancing a trend of de-dollarization among the US's largest economic and geopolitical rivals, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of making a "colossal" but "typical" mistake by exploiting the dominance of the dollar by levying economic sanctions against regimes that don't bow to its whims.

"It seems to me that our American partners make a colossal strategic mistake," Putin said.

"This is a typical mistake of any empire," Putin said, explaining that the US is ignoring the consequences of its actions because its economy is strong and the dollar's hegemonic grasp on global markets remains intact. However "the consequences come sooner or later."

These remarks echoed a sentiment expressed by Putin back in May, when he said that Russia can no longer trust the US dollar because of America's decisions to impose unilateral sanctions and violate WTO rules.

While Putin's criticisms are hardly new, these latest remarks happen to follow a report in the Financial Times, published Tuesday night, detailing Russia's efforts to wean its economy off of the dollar. The upshot is that while de-dollarization may be painful, it is, ultimately doable.

The US imposed another round of sanctions against Russia over the summer in response to the poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, and the US Senate is considering measures that would effectively cut Russia's biggest banks off from the dollar and largely exclude Moscow from foreign debt markets.

With the possibility of being cut off from the dollar system looming, a plan prepared by Andrei Kostin, the head of Russian bank VTB, is being embraced by much of the Russian establishment. Kostin's plan would facilitate the conversion of dollar settlements into other currencies which would help wean Russian industries off the dollar. And it already has the backing of Russia's finance ministry, central bank and Putin.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin is also working on deals with major trading partners to accept the Russian ruble for imports and exports.

In a sign that a united front is forming to help undermine the dollar, Russia's efforts have been readily embraced by China and Turkey, which is unsurprising, given their increasingly fraught relationships with the US. During joint military exercises in Vladivostok last month, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that their countries would work together to counter US tariffs and sanctions.

"More and more countries, not only in the east but also in Europe, are beginning to think about how to minimise dependence on the US dollar," said Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's spokesperson. "And they suddenly realise that a) it is possible, b) it needs to be done and c) you can save yourself if you do it sooner."

Still, there's no question that US sanctions have damaged Russia's currency and contributed to a rise in borrowing costs. And whether Russia - which relies heavily on energy exports - can convince buyers of its oil and natural gas to accept payment in rubles remains an open question. Increased trade with China and other Asian countries has helped reduce Russia's dependence on the dollar. But the greenback still accounted for 68% of Russia's payment inflow.

But, as Putin has repeatedly warned, that won't stop them from trying. The fact is that Russia is a major exporter, with a trade surplus of $115 billion last year. As the FT pointed out, Russia's metals, grain, oil and gas are consumed around the world - even in the west, despite the tensions surrounding Russia's alleged involvement in the Skripal poisoning and its annexation of Crimea.

To be sure, abandoning the dollar as the currency of choice for oil-related payments would be no easy feat. But China has already taken the first step and show that it can be done by launching a yuan-denominated futures contract that trades in Shanghai - striking the most significant blow to date against the petrodollar's previously unchallenged dominance.

That should embolden Putin to continue with his experiment - not that the US is leaving him much choice.

[Oct 02, 2018] War time propaganda serves for the USA elite as a tool to contain/constrain discontent of allies and citizenry as they attempt to damage or destroy the Russian and Chinese economies.

Notable quotes:
"... Along these lines, the Trump Administration has informed Russia in April 2017 that the period of "strategic patience" is over (well, at least official 'cause being 'patient' didn't seem to deter regime change and covert ops) . They now employ a policy of "maximum pressure" instead. ..."
"... Also note: The Trump Administration has officially labeled Russia and China as enemies when they called them "recidivist" nations in the National Defense Authorization Act in late 2017. (Note: "recidivist" because Russia and China want to return to a world where there is not a hegemonic power, aka a "multi-polar" world). ..."
"... we're already within an ongoing Hybrid Third World War, which is more readily apparent with Trump's Trade War escalation. ..."
"... the "real" US economy is only 5 Trillion, only 25% of what's claimed as the total economy ..."
"... at's clearly happening--and it's been ongoing for quite awhile--for those with open eyes is the Class War between the 1% and 99%. The domestic battle within the Outlaw US Empire for Single Payer/Medicare For All healthcare is one theatre of the much larger ongoing war. ..."
"... Clearly, the upcoming financial crisis must spark a massive political upheaval larger than any ever seen before to prevent institution of the 2008 "solution." ..."
"... The primary dynamic of history is war. This has caused immense suffering. It is now becoming exponentially worse ..."
"... If we think of humankind as a large complex living entity, then like all such entities it will expire at some point. So in the larger picture, what we are moving towards is natural, and to be expected. ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder , Oct 2, 2018 12:26:42 PM | link

Here is a detailed look at what the United States is getting for its $700 billion defense budget:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/voting-for-war.html

It is rather surprising that the Democrats who have demonized Donald Trump at every turn have voted in favour of the this extremely bloated defense budget, putting even more military might into the hands of a President and Commander-in-Chief that they seem to despise and who they are demonizing because of his alleged collusion with Russia.

m , Oct 2, 2018 1:33:28 PM | link

Speaking of WWIII...
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/10/02/us-switching-ukraine-location-start-world-war-iii-against-russia.html
Mike Maloney , Oct 2, 2018 1:55:09 PM | link
We've been in WW3 for several years now. Bolton went "Full Monty" with his declaration that U.S. forces will stay in Syria until Iran vacates. The introduction of a Yemen War Powers Resolution in the House last week is a hopeful sign. A reason to root for a Blue Wave in November. Dem leadership, already on record backing the War Powers Resolution, would be obligated to block U.S. enabling genocide in Yemen.
Jackrabbit , Oct 2, 2018 2:25:59 PM | link
m @9

I disagree with Eric Zusse's belief that USA wants to start WWIII. I think they want to contain/constrain discontent of allies and citizenry as they attempt to destroy the Russian and Chinese economies. War is only a last resort. But heightened military tensions mean that the major protagonists have to divert resources to their military, causing a drag on the economies.

Along these lines, the Trump Administration has informed Russia in April 2017 that the period of "strategic patience" is over (well, at least official 'cause being 'patient' didn't seem to deter regime change and covert ops) . They now employ a policy of "maximum pressure" instead.

The big concern for me is that "maximum pressure" also means an elevated chance of mistakes and miscalculations that could inadvertently cause WWIII.

Also note: The Trump Administration has officially labeled Russia and China as enemies when they called them "recidivist" nations in the National Defense Authorization Act in late 2017. (Note: "recidivist" because Russia and China want to return to a world where there is not a hegemonic power, aka a "multi-polar" world).

PS IMO Trump election and the Kavanaugh and Gina Haspel nominations are key to the pursuit of global hegemony.

karlof1 , Oct 2, 2018 3:02:57 PM | link
Most warnings have centered on a financial meltdown, as this article reviews . As most know, IMO we're already within an ongoing Hybrid Third World War, which is more readily apparent with Trump's Trade War escalation.

As noted in my link to Escobar's latest, the EU has devised a retaliatory mechanism to shield itself and others from the next round of illegal sanctions Trump's promised to impose after Mid-term elections.

In an open thread post, I linked to Hudson's latest audio-cast; here's what he said on the 10th anniversary of the 2008 crash: "So this crash of 2008 was not a crash of the banks. The banks were bailed out. The economy was left with all the junk mortgages in place, all the fraudulent debts."

Another article I linked to in a comment to james averred the "real" US economy is only 5 Trillion, only 25% of what's claimed as the total economy . Hudson again: "Contrary to the idea that bailing out the banks helps the economy, the fact is that the economy today cannot recover without a bank failure ." [My emphasis]

Wh at's clearly happening--and it's been ongoing for quite awhile--for those with open eyes is the Class War between the 1% and 99%. The domestic battle within the Outlaw US Empire for Single Payer/Medicare For All healthcare is one theatre of the much larger ongoing war.

As Hudson's stated many times, the goal of the 1% is to reestablish Feudalism via debt-peonage. All the other happenings geopolitically serve to mask this Class War within the Outlaw US Empire. Clearly, the upcoming financial crisis must spark a massive political upheaval larger than any ever seen before to prevent institution of the 2008 "solution." Many predict that this crisis will be timed to occur in 2020 constituting the biggest election meddling of all time.

The crisis will likely be blamed on China without any evidence for hacking Wall Street and causing the subsequent crash -- a Financial False Flag to serve the same purpose as 911.

karlof1 , Oct 2, 2018 3:44:26 PM | link
james @16--

Much can occur and be obscured during wartime. The radical changes to USA from 1938-1948 is very instructive--the commonfolk were on the threshold of gaining control over the federal government for the first time in US history only to have it blocked then reversed (forever?) by FDR and the 1% who tried to overthrow him in 1933.

Same with the current War OF Terror's use to curtail longstanding civil liberties and constitutional rights and much more. To accomplish what's being called "Bail-In" within the USA, Martial Law would need to be emplaced since most of the public is to be robbed of whatever cash they have, and World War would probably be the only way to get Martial Law instituted--and accepted by the military which would be its enforcer.

A precedent exists for stealing money from the people--their gold--via Executive Order 6102 , which used a law instituted during WW1 and still on the books.

mike k , Oct 2, 2018 3:51:45 PM | link
The primary dynamic of history is war. This has caused immense suffering. It is now becoming exponentially worse . Critical graphs are going off their charts. The end is near.

If we think of humankind as a large complex living entity, then like all such entities it will expire at some point. So in the larger picture, what we are moving towards is natural, and to be expected.

Like individual humans, the human population as a whole can pursue activities that maintain it's health, or it can indulge in activities that create disease and hasten it's death. Humankind is deep in toxifying behaviors that signal it's demise in the near future.

[Oct 02, 2018] The danger of false accusations from women who have a grudge or female sociopaths

This is ridiculous. "Me too" movement actually propagandizing Islam.
Oct 02, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The #MeToo movement hits a block when it gets reduced to party politics, as we are witnessing...

... ... ...

A young woman marching in support of Kavanaugh put it this way: "This could be our brother, our dad, our boyfriend "

[Oct 01, 2018] US Navy Aircraft Carrier Deployments Fall as Financial Concerns Loom - Sputnik International

Oct 01, 2018 | sputniknews.com

After 9/11," said US Navy Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran, "our focus was supporting the ground fight, which meant we were operating that force a lot, and when you operate the force a lot it eats up a lot of your cash, it eats up a lot of your service life."

Operating a Nimitz-class carrier runs about $298 million per year, the Government Accountability Office estimated in a 1997 study. The current carrier fleet is made up entirely of Nimitz-class carriers, with the lone ship of the new Ford-class still undergoing sea trials.

"Add on to this the cost of the air wing, the combat power behind the aircraft carrier," a US Navy lieutenant commander wrote in thesis paper from 2012. "An average current air wing is composed of four fighter/attack squadrons of 10-12 aircraft each, an electronic warfare squadron of four aircraft, an airborne command and control squadron of four aircraft, two onboard delivery aircraft and a helicopter squadron of six aircraft."

The workhorse F/A-18 carrier aircraft, according to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller, costs about $10,507 to fly per hour. Brett Odom, former F/A-18 pilot and financial expert at Fighter Sweep, has disputed the Pentagon's cost accounting, however, on the grounds that it only covers marginal costs.

Odom estimated that the cost to pay pilots and support crews, conduct engine maintenance and fuel the aircraft for an hour was $11,140 -- approximately in line with DoD's estimate. But then there is the cost of the aircraft itself: an F/A-18 runs about $65 million. Odom refers to this figure as capital cost. Incorporating the average acquisition cost smoothed out over an expected life of 6,000 flight hours into the equation, the expert reached $22,000 in cost per flight hour.

"There are valid reasons to ignore capital costs and treat them as sunk costs in certain situations. However, by ignoring capital costs, the Department of Defense is implicitly stating that its fighter aircraft are free, or -- like the pyramids -- they can be expected to function forever," Odom wrote for Fighter Sweep in 2016.

"This has all been building up" for 17 years "through overuse of the carrier force and naval aviation," former Pentagon official Bob Work said in comments to USNI.

"When we kept two carriers in the Persian Gulf for a period of time, we kept telling the senior leadership that this was going to have a downstream effect, and it would really put a crimp maintenance-wise, and there would be gaps both in the Pacific as well as the Middle East. That is coming home to roost," Work said.

While the US Navy carrier fleet was taxed abroad, Washington's defense budgets continued to grow.

"It's fairly obvious that corporate interests for the defense industry like Raytheon and others have driven a lot of our spending in the last 20 years or so, especially given the War on Terror post-9/11," Daniel Sankey, a California-based financial policy analyst, said in an interview with Sputnik News.

"We've carried this huge, outsized expenditure," he noted. "Eventually the money supply starts going down. It's not infinite, even though the US pockets are pretty deep."

The carrier force is now facing the music of the Pentagon's "credit card wars" since 9/11, conflicts that have been paid for with mostly borrowed funds. Brown University's Institute for International and Public Affairs found that post-9/11 war expenses add up to about $5.6 trillion.

"You have a thoroughbred horse in the stable that you're running in a race every single day. You cannot do that. Something's going to happen eventually," Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer told reporters in August.

[Sep 29, 2018] US forced to evacuate consulate in Iraq

Sep 29, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

span y gjohnsit on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 9:16pm Last week the Trump Administration ranted against OPEC because the Iranian sanctions are driving up oil prices .
That's called blowback.
Today we see the next level of blowback.

The State Department says the U.S. consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra is being evacuated following attacks blamed on Iran-backed militias. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad will provide full consular services for Basra and the surrounding area, the State Department said.

What's most notable is the reaction by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo directly threatened retaliation against Iran on Friday, after accusing Iranian forces of repeatedly directing attacks against US diplomatic facilities in Iraq.

"Iran should understand that the United States will respond promptly and appropriately to any such attacks," Mr Pompeo said in a statement, adding both the US consulate general in Basrah and the US embassy in Baghdad had been targeted.

Recently, #Iran -supported militias in Iraq launched rocket attacks against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and our consulate in Basra. We'll hold #Iran 's regime accountable for any attack on our personnel or facilities, and respond swiftly and decisively in defense of American lives. pic.twitter.com/nqbmogbeCA

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 25, 2018

What is happening in Iraq could lead directly to a proxy war with Iran in Iraq.
The Pentagon says U.S. forces will stay in Iraq "as long as needed". There are about 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, versus about 100,000 Shia militiamen.

Pompeo is working with Saudi Arabia to form an anti-Iran coalition known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance.
As recently as April, the U.S. was telling those Shia militias were welcome in Iraq.
Last month those Shia militias threatened to attack foreign troops in Iraq if they didn't leave.

span y Amanda Matthews on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 9:59pm
The irony! It burnzzzzz

" Has the regime in #Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Look around the world and you'll see the answer is a deafening "no."

span y jim p on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 10:55pm
Paging Mr Orwell...

"Iran-backed militias." That would be Iraqis, no? Is the ultimate plan then to, um, eliminate Iraq's Shia? I expect to hear, soon, that Iraqi Shia test their chemical weapons on children.

span y snoopydawg on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 11:24pm
Hypocrisy at its finest
The UN Charter calls for nations to "live together in peace with one another as good neighbors." Has the regime in #Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Look around the world and you'll see the answer is a deafening "no."

Why the leaders of the rest of the world didn't walk out on Trump when he threatened other countries is beyond my comprehension. How much longer will they waste their citizen's lives and their money just because we told them to jump?

Remember when Obama said that "no country should have to tolerate bombs dropping on them from outside their borders?

[Sep 29, 2018] EU, UK, Russia, China Join Together To Dodge US Sanctions On Iran

I think those measure have implicit blessing from Washington, which realized how dangerous withdrawal of Iraq oil from the market can be for the USA economy
Sep 29, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York is a place where world leaders are able to hold important meetings behind closed doors. Russia, China, the UK, Germany, France, and the EU seized that opportunity on Sept. 24 to achieve a real milestone.

The EU, Russia, China, and Iran will create a special purpose vehicle (SPV), a "financially independent sovereign channel," to bypass US sanctions against Tehran and breathe life into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) , which is in jeopardy. "Mindful of the urgency and the need for tangible results, the participants welcomed practical proposals to maintain and develop payment channels, notably the initiative to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports, including oil," they announced in a joint statement. The countries are still working out the technical details. If their plan succeeds, this will deliver a blow to the dollar and a boost to the euro.

The move is being made in order to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. According to Federica Mogherini , High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the SPV will facilitate payments for Iran's exports, such as oil, and imports so that companies can do business with Tehran as usual. The vehicle will be available not just to EU firms but to others as well. A round of US sanctions aimed at ending Iranian oil exports is to take effect on November 5. Iran is the world's seventh-largest oil producer. Its oil sector accounts for 70% of the country's exports. Tehran has warned the EU that it should find new ways of trading with Iran prior to that date, in order to preserve the JCPOA.

The SPV proposes to set up a multinational, European, state-backed financial intermediary to work with companies interested in trading with Iran. Payments will be made in currencies other than the dollar and remain outside the reach of those global money-transfer systems under US control. In August, the EU passed a blocking statute to guarantee the immunity of European companies from American punitive measures. It empowers EU firms to seek compensation from the United States Treasury for its attempts to impose extra-territorial sanctions. No doubt the move will further damage the already strained US-EU relationship. It might be helpful to create a special EU company for oil exports from Iran.

Just hours after the joint statement on the SPV, US President Trump defended his unilateral action against Iran in his UNGA address . US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the EU initiative , stating:

"This is one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional global peace and security."

To wit, the EU, Russia, and China have banded together in open defiance against unilateral steps taken by the US. Moscow and Beijing are in talks on how to combine their efforts to fend off the negative impacts of US trade tariffs and sanctions. A planned Sept 24-25 visit by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu, who was coming to the United States for trade talks, was cancelled as a result of the discord and President Trump added more fuel to the fire on Sept. 24 by imposing 10% tariffs on almost half of all goods the US imports from China. "We have far more bullets," the president said before the Chinese official's planned visit. "We're going to go US$200 billion and 25 per cent Chinese made goods. And we will come back with more." The US has recently imposed sanctions on China to punish it for the purchase of Russian S-400 air-defense systems and combat planes. Beijing refused to back down. It is also adamant in its desire to continue buying Iran's oil.

It is true, the plan to skirt the sanctions might fall short of expectations. It could fail as US pressure mounts. A number of economic giants, including Total, Peugeot, Allianz, Renault, Siemens, Daimler, Volvo, and Vitol Group have already left Iran as its economy plummets, with the rial losing two-thirds of its value since the first American sanctions took effect in May. The Iranian currency dropped to a record low against the US dollar this September.

What really matters is the fact that the leading nations of the EU have joined the global heavyweights -- Russia and China -- in open defiance of the United States.

This is a milestone event.

It's hard to underestimate its importance. Certainly, it's too early to say that the UK and other EU member states are doing a sharp pivot toward the countries that oppose the US globally, but this is a start - a first step down that path. This would all have seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago - the West and the East in the same boat, trying to stand up to the American bully!

[Sep 29, 2018] Washington's Sanctions Machine by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... According to media reports, the Chinese Department purchased the weapons from Rosoboronexport, Russia's principal arms exporter. This violated a 2017 law passed by Congress named, characteristically, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which sought to punish the Russian government and its various agencies for interfering in in the 2016 US election as well as its alleged involvement in Ukraine, Syria and its development of cyberwar capabilities. Iran and North Korea were also targeted in the legislation. ..."
"... Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation . ..."
Sep 27, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org
Perhaps it is Donald Trump's business background that leads him to believe that if you inflict enough economic pain on someone they will ultimately surrender and agree to do whatever you want. Though that approach might well work in New York real estate, it is not a certain path to success in international relations since countries are not as vulnerable to pressure as are individual investors or developers.

Washington's latest foray into the world of sanctions, directed against China, is astonishing even when considering the low bar that has been set by previous presidents going back to Bill Clinton. Beijing has already been pushing back over US sanctions imposed last week on its government-run Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Central Military Commission and its director Li Shangfu for "engaging in significant transactions" with a Russian weapons manufacturer that is on a list of US sanctioned companies. The transactions included purchases of Russian Su-35 combat aircraft as well as equipment related to the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system. The sanctions include a ban on the director entering the United States and blocks all of his property or bank accounts within the US as well as freezing all local assets of the Equipment Development Department.

More important, the sanctions also forbid conducting any transactions that go through the US financial system. It is the most powerful weapon Washington has at its disposal, but it is being challenged as numerous countries are working to find ways around it. Currently however, as most international transactions are conducted in dollars and pass through American banks that means that it will be impossible for the Chinese government to make weapons purchases from many foreign sources. If foreign banks attempt to collaborate with China to evade the restrictions, they too will be sanctioned.

So in summary, Beijing bought weapons from Moscow and is being sanctioned by the United States for doing so because Washington does not approve of the Russian government. The sanctions on China are referred to as secondary sanctions in that they are derivative from the primary sanction on the foreign company or individual that is actually being punished. Secondary sanctions can be extended ad infinitum as transgressors linked sequentially to the initial transaction multiply the number of potential targets.

Not surprisingly, the US Ambassador has been summoned and Beijing has canceled several bilateral meetings with American defense department officials. The Chinese government has expressed "outrage" and has demanded the US cancel the measure.

According to media reports, the Chinese Department purchased the weapons from Rosoboronexport, Russia's principal arms exporter. This violated a 2017 law passed by Congress named, characteristically, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which sought to punish the Russian government and its various agencies for interfering in in the 2016 US election as well as its alleged involvement in Ukraine, Syria and its development of cyberwar capabilities. Iran and North Korea were also targeted in the legislation.

Explaining the new sanctions, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a statement elaborating that the initial sanctions on Russia were enacted "to further impose costs on the Russian government in response to its malign activities." She added that the US will "urge all countries to curtail relationships with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors, both of which are linked to malign activities worldwide."

As engaging in "malign activities" is a charge that should quite plausibly be leveled against Washington and its allies in the Middle East, it is not clear if anyone but the French and British poodles actually believes the rationalizations coming out of Washington to defend the indefensible. An act to "Counter America's Adversaries Through Sanctions" is, even as the title implies, ridiculous. Washington is on a sanctions spree. Russia has been sanctioned repeatedly since the passage of the fraudulent Magnitsky Act, with no regard for Moscow's legitimate protests that interfering in other countries' internal politics is unacceptable. China is currently arguing reasonably enough that arms sales between countries is perfect legal and in line with international law.

Iran has been sanctioned even through it complied with an international agreement on its nuclear program and new sanctions were even piled on top of the old sanctions. And in about five weeks the US will be sanctioning ANYONE who buys oil from Iran, reportedly with no exceptions allowed. Venezuela is under US sanctions to punish its government, NATO member Turkey because it bought weapons from Russia and the Western Hemisphere perennial bad boy Cuba has had various embargoes in place since 1960.

It should be noted that sanctions earn a lot of ill-will and generally accomplish nothing. Cuba would likely be a fairly normal country but for the US restrictions and other pressure that gave its government the excuse to maintain a firm grip on power. The same might even apply to North Korea. And sanctions are even bad for the United States. Someday, when the US begins to lose its grip on the world economy all of those places being sanctioned will line up to get their revenge and it won't be pretty.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .

[Sep 29, 2018] The Schizophrenic Deep State is a Symptom, Not the Disease by Charles Hugh Smith

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse ... shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained." ..."
"... If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. ..."
"... If we consider the state of the nation from 40,000 feet, several key indicators of profound political disunity within the elites pop out: ..."
"... Psychopaths with no moral principles. The nation's elites are not just divided--they're exhibiting signs of schizophrenic breakdown : disassociation and a loss of the ability to discern the difference between reality and their internal fantasies. ..."
"... A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available , i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets , and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on. ..."
"... But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic. ..."
"... As the Power Elites squabble over the dwindling crumbs left by the various rentier rackets, there's no one left to fight for the national interest because the entire Status Quo of self-interested fiefdoms and cartels has been co-opted and is now wedded to the Imperial Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security. ..."
"... The divided Deep State is a symptom of this larger systemic political disunity. I have characterized the divide as between the Wall Street-Neocon-Globalist Neoliberal camp--currently the dominant public face of the Deep State, the one desperately attempting to exploit the "Russia hacked our elections and is trying to destroy us" narrative--and a much less public, less organized "rogue Progressive" camp, largely based in the military services and fringes of the Deep State, that sees the dangers of a runaway expansionist Empire and the resulting decay of the nation's moral/political center. ..."
Jul 31, 2018 | russia-insider.com

"a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse ... shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained."

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines.

If we consider the state of the nation from 40,000 feet, several key indicators of profound political disunity within the elites pop out:

  1. The overt politicization of the central state's law enforcement and intelligence agencies: it is now commonplace to find former top officials of the CIA et al. accusing a sitting president of treason in the mainstream media. What was supposed to be above politics is now nothing but politics.
  2. The overt politicization of the centralized (corporate) media: evidence that would stand up in a court of law is essentially non-existent but the interpretations and exaggerations that fit the chosen narrative are ceaselessly promoted--the classic definition of desperate propaganda by those who have lost the consent of the governed.
Psychopaths with no moral principles.
The nation's elites are not just divided--they're exhibiting signs of schizophrenic breakdown : disassociation and a loss of the ability to discern the difference between reality and their internal fantasies.

I've been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, for example, The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare . The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew over 300,000 views.

It's impossible to understand the divided Deep State unless we situate it in the larger context of profound political disunity , a concept I learned from historian Michael Grant, whose slim but insightful volume The Fall of the Roman Empire I have been recommending since 2009.

As I noted in my 2009 book Survival+ , this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.

A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available , i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets , and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.

But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic.

Meanwhile, diverting the national income into a few power centers is also destabilizing , as Central Planning and Market Manipulation (a.k.a. the Federal Reserve) are intrinsically unstable as price can no longer be discovered by unfettered markets. As a result, imbalances grow until some seemingly tiny incident or disruption triggers a cascading collapse, a.k.a. a phase shift or system re-set.

As the Power Elites squabble over the dwindling crumbs left by the various rentier rackets, there's no one left to fight for the national interest because the entire Status Quo of self-interested fiefdoms and cartels has been co-opted and is now wedded to the Imperial Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security.

The divided Deep State is a symptom of this larger systemic political disunity. I have characterized the divide as between the Wall Street-Neocon-Globalist Neoliberal camp--currently the dominant public face of the Deep State, the one desperately attempting to exploit the "Russia hacked our elections and is trying to destroy us" narrative--and a much less public, less organized "rogue Progressive" camp, largely based in the military services and fringes of the Deep State, that sees the dangers of a runaway expansionist Empire and the resulting decay of the nation's moral/political center.

What few observers seem to understand is that concentrating power in centralized nodes is intrinsically unstable. Contrast a system in which power, control and wealth is extremely concentrated in a few nodes (the current U.S. Imperial Project) and a decentralized network of numerous dynamic nodes.

The disruption of any of the few centralized nodes quickly destabilizes the entire system because each centralized node is highly dependent on the others. This is in effect what happened in the 2008-09 Financial Meltdown: the Wall Street node failed and that quickly imperiled the entire economy and thus the entire political order, up to and including the Global Imperial Project.

Historian Peter Turchin has proposed that the dynamics of profound political disunity (i.e. social, financial and political disintegration) can be quantified in a Political Stress Index, a concept he describes in his new book Ages of Discord .

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. There is no other possible output of a system of highly concentrated nodes of power, wealth and control and the competing rentier rackets of these dependent, increasingly fragile centralized nodes.

[Sep 29, 2018] New Book Argues US Foreign Policy is Doomed to Fail

Neoliberal hegemony provides the foreign policy elite with many attractive career opportunities, since dominating the whole globe is a very labor intensive enterprise. This is a classic example of parasitic rents under neoliberalism.
Also neocon elite that occupied the State Department and the US foreign policy in general brazenly thinks that it has know how for intervention into politics of other countries that produce the desired effect. The whole school of "color revolution: was created to this effect.
Notable quotes:
"... Read an excerpt from "The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities" here ..."
Sep 29, 2018 | news.wttw.com

After the end of the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy officials prided themselves on bringing communism to an end. Decades earlier, they claimed victory over the defeat of fascism.

Both were viewed as part of the country's mission to spread liberal values – such as human rights and an open economy – to the rest of the world, in hopes that other nations would become replicas of the United States. But a local scholar argues that this kind of foreign policy, called "liberal hegemony," is doomed to fail, if it hasn't already.

"Liberal hegemony is basically where the U.S. tries to remake the world in its own image," said John J. Mearsheimer , author of the new book, " The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities ."

Mearsheimer, a political science professor and co-director of the University of Chicago's Program on International Security Policy, said liberal hegemony involves three tasks: spreading liberal democracy around the world; getting other nations "hooked" on capitalism by creating an open, international economy; and including countries in international institutions that the U.S. has played a key role in creating.

Ultimately, that kind of foreign policy will run up against nationalism and realism, Mearsheimer argues in his new book.

"With regards to nationalism, that's the most powerful ideology on the planet, and foreign countries do not like the United States occupying them and trying to arrange their politics to pursue American interests," he told Chicago Tonight, citing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as examples.

"So as we begin to push towards Russia and China and think about regime change, which is what liberal hegemony is all about, you get a realist backlash from countries like Russia and China," Mearsheimer continued. "And that's when you get something like the Ukrainian crisis."

Mearsheimer joins us in discussion.

Read an excerpt from "The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities" here

[Sep 29, 2018] Trump Surrenders to the Iron Law of Oligarchy by Dan Sanchez

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's nationalist fans are sick of the globalist wars that America never seems to win. They are hardly against war per se. They are perfectly fine with bombing radical Islamists, even if it means mass innocent casualties. But they have had enough of expending American blood and treasure to overthrow secular Arab dictators to the benefit of Islamists; so, it seemed, was Trump. They also saw no nationalist advantage in the globalists' renewed Cold War against Assad's ally Russian president Vladimir Putin, another enemy of Islamists. ..."
"... The Syrian pivot also seemed to fulfill the hopes and dreams of some antiwar libertarians who had pragmatically supported Trump. For them, acquiescing to the unwelcome planks of Trump's platform was a price worth paying for overthrowing the establishment policies of regime change in the Middle East and hostility toward nuclear Russia. While populism wasn't an unalloyed friend of liberty, these libertarians thought, at least it could be harnessed to sweep away the war-engineering elites. And since war is the health of the state, that could redirect history's momentum in favor of liberty. ..."
"... But then it all evaporated. Shortly after Bannon's ouster from the NSC, in response to an alleged, unverified chemical attack on civilians, Trump bombed one of Assad's airbases (something even globalist Obama had balked at doing when offered the exact same excuse), and regime change in Syria was top priority once again. The establishment media swooned over Trump's newfound willingness to be "presidential." ..."
"... Since then, Trump has reneged on one campaign promise after another. He dropped any principled repeal of Obamacare. He threw cold water on expectations for prompt fulfillment of his signature promise: the construction of a Mexico border wall. And he announced an imminent withdrawal from NAFTA, only to walk that announcement back the very next day. ..."
"... Poor white people, "the forgotten men and women of our country," have been forgotten once again. Their "tribune" seems to be turning out to be just another agent of the power elite. ..."
"... Who yanked his chain? Was there a palace coup? Was the CIA involved? Has Trump been threatened? ..."
"... Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy ..."
"... Even in a political system based on popular sovereignty, Michels pointed out that, "the sovereign masses are altogether incapable of undertaking the most necessary resolutions." This is true for simple, unavoidable technical reasons: "such a gigantic number of persons belonging to a unitary organization cannot do any practical work upon a system of direct discussion." ..."
"... " while Trump might be able to seize the presidency in spite of establishment opposition, he will never be able to wield it without establishment support." ..."
May 02, 2017 | original.antiwar.com
Did the Deep State deep-six Trump's populist revolution?

Many observers, especially among his fans, suspect that the seemingly untamable Trump has already been housebroken by the Washington, "globalist" establishment. If true, the downfall of Trump's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn less than a month into the new presidency may have been a warning sign. And the turning point would have been the removal of Steven K. Bannon from the National Security Council on April 5.

Until then, the presidency's early policies had a recognizably populist-nationalist orientation. During his administration's first weeks, Trump's biggest supporters frequently tweeted the hashtag #winning and exulted that he was decisively doing exactly what, on the campaign trail, he said he would do.

In a flurry of executive orders and other unilateral actions bearing Bannon's fingerprints, Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, declared a sweeping travel ban, instituted harsher deportation policies, and more.

These policies seemed to fit Trump's reputation as the " tribune of poor white people ," as he has been called; above all, Trump's base calls for protectionism and immigration restrictions. Trump seemed to be delivering on the populist promise of his inauguration speech (thought to be written by Bannon), in which he said:

"Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now." [Emphasis added.]

After a populist insurgency stormed social media and the voting booths, American democracy, it seemed, had been wrenched from the hands of the Washington elite and restored to "the people," or at least a large, discontented subset of "the people." And this happened in spite of the establishment, the mainstream media, Hollywood, and "polite opinion" throwing everything it had at Trump.

The Betrayal

But for the past month, the administration's axis seems to have shifted. This shift was especially abrupt in Trump's Syria policy.

Days before Bannon's fall from grace, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley declared that forcing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from power was no longer top priority. This too was pursuant of Trump's populist promises.

Trump's nationalist fans are sick of the globalist wars that America never seems to win. They are hardly against war per se. They are perfectly fine with bombing radical Islamists, even if it means mass innocent casualties. But they have had enough of expending American blood and treasure to overthrow secular Arab dictators to the benefit of Islamists; so, it seemed, was Trump. They also saw no nationalist advantage in the globalists' renewed Cold War against Assad's ally Russian president Vladimir Putin, another enemy of Islamists.

The Syrian pivot also seemed to fulfill the hopes and dreams of some antiwar libertarians who had pragmatically supported Trump. For them, acquiescing to the unwelcome planks of Trump's platform was a price worth paying for overthrowing the establishment policies of regime change in the Middle East and hostility toward nuclear Russia. While populism wasn't an unalloyed friend of liberty, these libertarians thought, at least it could be harnessed to sweep away the war-engineering elites. And since war is the health of the state, that could redirect history's momentum in favor of liberty.

But then it all evaporated. Shortly after Bannon's ouster from the NSC, in response to an alleged, unverified chemical attack on civilians, Trump bombed one of Assad's airbases (something even globalist Obama had balked at doing when offered the exact same excuse), and regime change in Syria was top priority once again. The establishment media swooned over Trump's newfound willingness to be "presidential."

Since then, Trump has reneged on one campaign promise after another. He dropped any principled repeal of Obamacare. He threw cold water on expectations for prompt fulfillment of his signature promise: the construction of a Mexico border wall. And he announced an imminent withdrawal from NAFTA, only to walk that announcement back the very next day.

Here I make no claim as to whether any of these policy reversals are good or bad. I only point out that they run counter to the populist promises he had given to his core constituents.

Poor white people, "the forgotten men and women of our country," have been forgotten once again. Their "tribune" seems to be turning out to be just another agent of the power elite.

Who yanked his chain? Was there a palace coup? Was the CIA involved? Has Trump been threatened? Or, after constant obstruction, has he simply concluded that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em?

The Iron Law of Oligarchy

Regardless of how it came about, it seems clear that whatever prospect there was for a truly populist Trump presidency is gone with the wind. Was it inevitable that this would happen, one way or another?

One person who might have thought so was German sociologist Robert Michels, who posited the "iron law of oligarchy" in his 1911 work Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy .

Michels argued that political organizations, no matter how democratically structured, rarely remain truly populist, but inexorably succumb to oligarchic control.

Even in a political system based on popular sovereignty, Michels pointed out that, "the sovereign masses are altogether incapable of undertaking the most necessary resolutions." This is true for simple, unavoidable technical reasons: "such a gigantic number of persons belonging to a unitary organization cannot do any practical work upon a system of direct discussion."

This practical limitation necessitates delegation of decision-making to officeholders. These delegates may at first be considered servants of the masses:

"All the offices are filled by election. The officials, executive organs of the general will, play a merely subordinate part, are always dependent upon the collectivity, and can be deprived of their office at any moment. The mass of the party is omnipotent."

But these delegates will inevitably become specialists in the exercise and consolidation of power, which they gradually wrest away from the "sovereign people":

"The technical specialization that inevitably results from all extensive organization renders necessary what is called expert leadership. Consequently the power of determination comes to be considered one of the specific attributes of leadership, and is gradually withdrawn from the masses to be concentrated in the hands of the leaders alone. Thus the leaders, who were at first no more than the executive organs of the collective will, soon emancipate themselves from the mass and become independent of its control.

Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy. In every organization, whether it be a political party, a professional union, or any other association of the kind, the aristocratic tendency manifests itself very clearly."

Trumped by the Deep State

Thus elected, populist "tribunes" like Trump are ultimately no match for entrenched technocrats nestled in permanent bureaucracy. Especially invincible are technocrats who specialize in political force and intrigue, i.e., the National Security State (military, NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.). And these elite functionaries don't serve "the people" or any large subpopulation. They only serve their own careers, and by extension, big-money special interest groups that make it worth their while: especially big business and foreign lobbies. The nexus of all these powers is what is known as the Deep State.

Trump's more sophisticated champions were aware of these dynamics, but held out hope nonetheless. They thought that Trump would be an exception, because his large personal fortune would grant him immunity from elite influence. That factor did contribute to the independent, untamable spirit of his campaign. But as I predicted during the Republican primaries:

" while Trump might be able to seize the presidency in spite of establishment opposition, he will never be able to wield it without establishment support."

No matter how popular, rich, and bombastic, a populist president simply cannot rule without access to the levers of power. And that access is under the unshakable control of the Deep State. If Trump wants to play president, he has to play ball.

On these grounds, I advised his fans over a year ago, " don't hold out hope that Trump will make good on his isolationist rhetoric " and anticipated, "a complete rapprochement between the populist rebel and the Republican establishment." I also warned that, far from truly threatening the establishment and the warfare state, Trump's populist insurgency would only invigorate them:

"Such phony establishment "deaths" at the hands of "grassroots" outsiders followed by "rebirths" (rebranding) are an excellent way for moribund oligarchies to renew themselves without actually meaningfully changing. Each "populist" reincarnation of the power elite is draped with a freshly-laundered mantle of popular legitimacy, bestowing on it greater license to do as it pleases. And nothing pleases the State more than war."

Politics, even populist politics, is the oligarchy's game. And the house always wins.

Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org , including articles and courses. The originally appeared on the FEE website and is reprinted with the author's permission.

[Sep 28, 2018] Trump Folds on Nordstream 2 Because ... Logic - Gold Goats 'n Guns

Notable quotes:
"... The Davos Crowd, ..."
"... So, Donald Trump finally folding on stopping Nordstream 2 is yet another example of the limits of what power the U.S. has and of its threats. When he denounced the project he said, ..."
"... "I never thought it was appropriate. I think it's ridiculous. And I think it's certainly a very bad thing for the people of Germany. And I've said it very loud and clear." ..."
"... But notice that he never said why. Because there is no downside for Germany. That's the point. Russian piped gas is simply cheaper and more reliable than LNG produced more than 3000 miles away. The downside is for the U.S. ..."
"... It begins the process of Germany and Russia re-establishing stronger economic ties cut in half by the 2014 sanctions over Crimea. It keeps Merkel in power a little while longer having stood up to the bully Trump and showing some German independence. ..."
"... Most importantly, this gas will be paid for in euros, not dollars. And this further undermines the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions as Gazprom will have a steady supply of euros to pay back its investors and diversify Russia's currency reserves. ..."
"... We saw this last winter when vicious cold snaps forced a hostile Britain to buy a few tankers of Yamal LNG from Novatek to keep its citizens from freezing. With the planet cooling rapidly, expect this source of spot demand to Europe to increase. ..."
"... But, for Germany, and the EU as a whole, more cheap energy is the path to remaining somewhat relevant in the global economy. With Germany ending the use of nuclear power it needs the type of energy Nordstream 2 supplies. In fact, Germany will eventually need Nordstream 3. ..."
"... talking their book. ..."
Sep 28, 2018 | tomluongo.me

Since its first announcement I have been convinced the Nordstream 2 pipeline would be built. I have followed every twist of this story from my days writing for Newsmax.

And the reason for my confidence can be summed up in one word. Money.

Nordstream 2 simply makes too much economic sense for any amount of political whining from the U.S. and Poland to stop it. Poland has no power within the European Union.

Germany does. And while I'm no fan of Angela Merkel getting another political weapon to hold over the heads of the Poles, their attempts to derail the project were always going to end in tears for them.

And so now Poland and the U.S. cried a lot of crocodile tears recently when President Trump finally acceded to reality and ended the threat of sanctioning five of the biggest oil majors in the world over doing business with Gazprom over Nordstream 2.

Nordstream 2's investors are Uniper, OMV, Wintershall, Royal Dutch Shell and Engie. After all the permits were issued and construction begun the only thing that could stop Nordstream from happening was these five companies folding to U.S. pressure and backing out of the project by calling in their loans to Gazprom.

And when they were unwilling to do that, Trump had to fold because you can't cut these companies out of the western banking system and starve them of dollars and euros without an extreme dislocation in oil prices and global trade.

Bluff called. Nordstream 2? Holding Aces.

Trump? Holding two-seven offsuit.

Lack of Polish

The big loser here is Poland unless they come down off their Russophobic high horse.

Why is Nordstream 2 so important to Poland? Because it forces Poland into choosing between two things the current ruling Law and Justice Party doesn't like.

  1. Renegotiating a gas transit deal with Gazprom through Ukrainian pipelines without as much leverage. Because the current agreement expires at the end of 2019.
  2. If they reject this first option then they are at the mercy of buying gas from Nordstream 2 putting them politically in the hands of Germany.

Merkel is angry with Poland for trying to assert its sovereignty having begun Article 7 proceedings over their law putting Supreme Court justices under review from the legislature, which the EU has termed a violation of its pledge to protect 'human rights.'

And so, expect Poland to now open up talks with Gazprom to negotiate a new deal or be stupid and buy LNG from the U.S. at two to three times the price they can get it from Gazprom.

Keeping Them Distant

From the U.S. side of the equation there are few things in this life that Donald Trump and Barack Obama agree upon, and stopping Nordstream 2 was one of them. This, of course, tells you that this opposition is coming from somewhere a lot higher than the Presidency.

U.S. and British foreign policy has been obsessed for more than a hundred years with stopping the natural alliance between Germany's industrial base and Russia's vast tracts of natural resources as well as Russia's own science and engineering prowess.

These two countries cannot, in any version of a unipolar world dominated by The Davos Crowd, be allowed to form an economic no less political alliance because the level of coordination and economic prosperity works directly against their goals of lowering everyone's expectations for what humans can accomplish.

That is their greatest source of power. The complacency of our accepting low expectations.

So, Donald Trump finally folding on stopping Nordstream 2 is yet another example of the limits of what power the U.S. has and of its threats. When he denounced the project he said,

"I never thought it was appropriate. I think it's ridiculous. And I think it's certainly a very bad thing for the people of Germany. And I've said it very loud and clear."

But notice that he never said why. Because there is no downside for Germany. That's the point. Russian piped gas is simply cheaper and more reliable than LNG produced more than 3000 miles away. The downside is for the U.S.

It begins the process of Germany and Russia re-establishing stronger economic ties cut in half by the 2014 sanctions over Crimea. It keeps Merkel in power a little while longer having stood up to the bully Trump and showing some German independence.

This is something she sorely needs right now coming into regional elections in October.

Most importantly, this gas will be paid for in euros, not dollars. And this further undermines the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions as Gazprom will have a steady supply of euros to pay back its investors and diversify Russia's currency reserves.

The Flow of Money

There is no way for U.S. LNG supplies to be competitive in Europe without massive artificial barriers-to-entry for Russian gas. And even if Nordstream 2 was somehow stopped by the U.S., Russia's massive Yamal LNG facility on the Baltic Sea would still out compete U.S LNG from Cheniere's terminal in Louisiana.

Location. Location. Location.

We saw this last winter when vicious cold snaps forced a hostile Britain to buy a few tankers of Yamal LNG from Novatek to keep its citizens from freezing. With the planet cooling rapidly, expect this source of spot demand to Europe to increase.

And this is why Russia also benefits from Poland building an LNG terminal. Because don't for a second think Poles will suffer extreme cold because Andrej Duda hates Russians.

That's just funny, right thar!

But, for Germany, and the EU as a whole, more cheap energy is the path to remaining somewhat relevant in the global economy. With Germany ending the use of nuclear power it needs the type of energy Nordstream 2 supplies. In fact, Germany will eventually need Nordstream 3.

Each intervention by the U.S. or one of its satraps (and Poland's leadership certainly fills that bill) to block any further business between Russia and Europe, but especially Germany, keeps the world on edge and inches us closer to a military confrontation while open trade and travel moves us farther from that outcome.

And anyone who argues otherwise is simply talking their book. They profit from war and tension. They profit from manipulating markets and, in effect, stealing the wealth someone else created.

So, this is not to say that Nordstream 2 is some kind of messianic gift from the gods or anything. It is the result of massive interventions into the free market for energy born of necessity in a world governed by nation-states for more powerful than they have any right to be because of control of the issuance of money and the rent-seeking behavior of the people who most benefit from the creation of endless supplies of that money.

But, that said, in the current state of things, rapprochement between Germany and Russia via projects like the Nordstream 2 points us towards a future without such nonsense.

I said points, not achieves. It's a beginning not an end. Lost in all of this discussion of European energy security is the fact that even at the height of the Cold War the U.S.S.R. never once shut off gas supplies to its enemies. And under Putin that fact remains.

And how's that for an inconvenient truth.


To support more work like this and get access to exclusive commentary, stock picks and analysis tailored to your needs join my more than 180 Patrons on Patreon and see if I have what it takes to help you navigate a world going slowly mad.

[Sep 27, 2018] The power elites goal is to change its appearance to look like something new and innovative to stay ahead of an electorate who are increasingly skeptical of the neoliberalism and globalism that enrich the elite at their expense.

Highly recommended!
Sep 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
james , Sep 26, 2018 10:19:13 PM | link

Pft , Sep 26, 2018 9:58:02 PM | link

In my own words then. According to Cook the power elites goal is to change its appearance to look like something new and innovative to stay ahead of an electorate who are increasingly skeptical of the neoliberalism and globalism that enrich the elite at their expense.

Since they do not actually want change they find actors who pretend to represent change , which is in essence fake change. These then are their insurgent candidates

Trump serves the power elite , because while he appears as an insurgent against the power elite he does little to change anything

Trump promotes his fake insurgency on Twitter stage knowing the power elite will counter any of his promises that might threaten them

As an insurgent candidate Trump was indifferent to Israel and wanted the US out of Syria. He wanted good relations with Russia. He wanted to fix the health care system, rebuild infrastructure, scrap NAFTA and TTIPS, bring back good paying jobs, fight the establishment and Wall Street executives and drain the swamp. America First he said.

Trump the insurgent president , has become Israel's biggest cheerleader and has launched US missiles at Syria, relations with Russia are at Cold War lows, infrastructure is still failing, the percentage of people working is now at an all time low in the post housewife era, he has passed tax cuts for the rich that will endanger medicare, medicaid and social security and prohibit infrastructure spending, relaxed regulations on Wall Street, enhanced NAFTA to include TTIPS provisions and make US automobiles more expensive, and the swamp has been refilled with the rich, neocons , Koch associates, and Goldman Sachs that make up the power elites and Deep State Americas rich and Israel First

@34 pft... regarding the 2 cook articles.. i found they overly wordy myself... however, for anyone paying attention - corbyn seems like the person to vote for given how relentless he is being attacked in the media... i am not so sure about trump, but felt cook summed it up well with these 2 lines.. "Trump the candidate was indifferent to Israel and wanted the US out of Syria. Trump the president has become Israel's biggest cheerleader and has launched US missiles at Syria." i get the impression corbyn is legit which is why the anti-semitism keeps on being mentioned... craig murrary is a good source for staying on top of uk dynamics..

Piotr Berman , Sep 26, 2018 10:23:41 PM | link

For Trump to be "insurgent" he should

(a) talk coherently
(b) have some kind of movement consisting of people that agree with what is says -- that necessitates (a)

Then he could staff his Administration with his supporters rather than a gamut of conventional plutocrats, neocons, and hacks from the Deep State (intelligence, FBI and crazies culled from Pentagon). As it is easy to see, I am describing an alternate reality. Who is a Trumpian member of the Administration? His son-in-law?

karlof1 , Sep 26, 2018 11:42:43 PM | link
Pft @34--

Yes. just like Obama before him--another snake in the swamp!

Pft , Sep 27, 2018 12:53:59 AM | link
Karlof1@39

The swamps been filled with all kinds of vile creatures since the Carter administration. This is when the US/UK went full steam ahead with neoliberal globalism with Israel directing the war on terror for the Trilateral Empire (following Bibis Jerusalem conference so as to fulfill the Yinon plan). 40 years of terror and financial mayhem following the coup that took place from 1963-1974. After Nixons ouster they were ready to go once TLC Carter/Zbig kicked off the Trilateral era. Reagan then ran promising to oust the TLC swamp but broke his promise, as every President has done since .

div>
">link
">link

[Sep 27, 2018] Hiding in Plain Sight Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... But strangely most of us are much readier to concede the corrupting influence of the relatively small power of individuals than we are the rottenness of vastly more powerful institutions and structures. We blame the school teacher or the politician for abusing his or her power, while showing a reluctance to do the same about either the education or political systems in which they have to operate. ..."
"... It is relatively easy to understand that your line manager is abusing his power, because he has so little of it. His power is visible to you because it relates only to you and the small group of people around you ..."
"... It is a little harder, but not too difficult, to identify the abusive policies of your firm – the low pay, cuts in overtime, attacks on union representation ..."
"... It is more difficult to see the corrupt power of large institutions, aside occasionally from the corruption of senior figures within those institutions, such as a Robert Maxwell or a Richard Nixon ..."
"... But it is all but impossible to appreciate the corrupt nature of the entire system. And the reason is right there in those aphorisms: absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption. If that were not the case, we wouldn't be dealing with serious power – as should be obvious, if we pause to think about it ..."
"... The current neoliberal elite who effectively rule the planet have reached as close to absolute power as any elite in human history. And because they have near-absolute power, they have a near-absolute control of the official narratives about our societies and our "enemies", those who stand in their way to global domination ..."
"... What is clear, however, is that the British intelligence services have been feeding the British corporate media a self-serving, drip-drip narrative from the outset – and that the media have shown precisely no interest at any point in testing any part of this narrative or even questioning it. They have been entirely passive, which means that we their readers have been entirely passive too ..."
"... Journalists typically have a passive relationship to power, in stark contrast to their image as tenacious watchdog. But more fundamental than control over narrative is the ideology that guides these narratives. Ideology ensures the power-system is invisible not only to us, those who are abused and exploited by it, but also to those who benefit from it. ..."
"... It is precisely because power resides in structures and ideology, rather than individuals, that it is so hard to see. And the power-structures themselves are made yet more difficult to identify because the narratives created about our societies are designed to conceal those structures and ideology – where real power resides – by focusing instead on individuals ..."
"... Before neoliberalism there were other systems of rule. There was, for example, feudalism that appropriated a communal resource – land – exclusively for an aristocracy. It exploited the masses by forcing them to toil on the land for a pittance to generate the wealth that supported castles, a clergy, manor houses, art collections and armies. For several centuries the power of this tiny elite went largely unquestioned ..."
"... Neoliberalism, late-stage capitalism, plutocratic rule by corporations – whatever you wish to call it – has allowed a tiny elite to stash away more wealth and accrue more power than any feudal monarch could ever have dreamt of. And because of the global reach of this elite, its corruption is more endemic, more complete, more destructive than any ever known to mankind ..."
"... A foreign policy elite can destroy the world several times over with nuclear weapons. A globalised corporate elite is filling the oceans with the debris from our consumption, and chopping down the forest-lungs of our planet for palm-oil plantations so we can satisfy our craving for biscuits and cake. And our media and intelligence services are jointly crafting a narrative of bogeymen and James Bond villains – both in Hollywood movies, and in our news programmes – to make us fearful and pliable ..."
"... The system – whether feudalism, capitalism, neoliberalism – emerges out of the real-world circumstances of those seeking power most ruthlessly. In a time when the key resource was land, a class emerged justifying why it should have exclusive rights to control that land and the labour needed to make it productive. When industrial processes developed, a class emerged demanding that it had proprietary rights to those processes and to the labour needed to make them productive. ..."
"... In these situations, we need to draw on something like Darwin's evolutionary "survival of the fittest" principle. Those few who are most hungry for power, those with least empathy, will rise to the top of the pyramid, finding themselves best-placed to exploit the people below. They will rationalise this exploitation as a divine right, or as evidence of their inherently superior skills, or as proof of the efficiency of the market. ..."
"... And below them, like the layers of ball bearings, will be those who can help them maintain and expand their power: those who have the skills, education and socialisation to increase profits and sell brands. ..."
"... None of this should surprise us either. Because power – not just the people in the system, but the system itself – will use whatever tools it has to protect itself. It is easier to deride critics as unhinged, especially when you control the media, the politicians and the education system, than it is to provide a counter-argument. ..."
"... so neoliberalism is driven not by ethics but the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of the planet. ..."
"... The only truth we can know is that the western power-elite is determined to finish the task of making its power fully global, expanding it from near-absolute to absolute. It cares nothing for you or your grand-children. It is a cold-calculating system, not a friend or neighbour. It lives for the instant gratification of wealth accumulation, not concern about the planet's fate tomorrow. ..."
Sep 27, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

I rarely tell readers what to believe. Rather I try to indicate why it might be wise to distrust, at least without very good evidence, what those in power tell us we should believe.

We have well-known sayings about power: "Knowledge is power", and "Power tends to corrupt, while absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." These aphorisms resonate because they say something true about how we experience the world. People who have power – even very limited power they hold on licence from someone else – tend to abuse it, sometimes subtly and unconsciously, and sometimes overtly and wilfully.

If we are reasonably self-aware, we can sense the tendency in ourselves to exploit to our advantage whatever power we enjoy, whether it is in our dealings with a spouse, our children, a friend, an employee, or just by the general use of our status to get ahead.

This isn't usually done maliciously or even consciously. By definition, the hardest thing to recognise are our own psychological, emotional and mental blind spots – and the biggest, at least for those born with class, gender or race privileges, is realising that these too are forms of power.

Nonetheless, they are all minor forms of power compared to the power wielded collectively by the structures that dominate our societies: the financial sector, the corporations, the media, the political class, and the security services.

But strangely most of us are much readier to concede the corrupting influence of the relatively small power of individuals than we are the rottenness of vastly more powerful institutions and structures. We blame the school teacher or the politician for abusing his or her power, while showing a reluctance to do the same about either the education or political systems in which they have to operate.

Similarly, we are happier identifying the excessive personal power of a Rupert Murdoch than we are the immense power of the corporate empire behind him and on which his personal wealth and success depend.

And beyond this, we struggle most of all to detect the structural and ideological framework underpinning or cohering all these discrete examples of power.

Narrative control

It is relatively easy to understand that your line manager is abusing his power, because he has so little of it. His power is visible to you because it relates only to you and the small group of people around you.

It is a little harder, but not too difficult, to identify the abusive policies of your firm – the low pay, cuts in overtime, attacks on union representation.

It is more difficult to see the corrupt power of large institutions, aside occasionally from the corruption of senior figures within those institutions, such as a Robert Maxwell or a Richard Nixon.

But it is all but impossible to appreciate the corrupt nature of the entire system. And the reason is right there in those aphorisms: absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption. If that were not the case, we wouldn't be dealing with serious power – as should be obvious, if we pause to think about it.

Real power in our societies derives from that which is necessarily hard to see – structures, ideology and narratives – not individuals. Any Murdoch or Trump can be felled, though being loyal acolytes of the power-system they rarely are, should they threaten the necessary maintenance of power by these interconnected institutions, these structures.

The current neoliberal elite who effectively rule the planet have reached as close to absolute power as any elite in human history. And because they have near-absolute power, they have a near-absolute control of the official narratives about our societies and our "enemies", those who stand in their way to global domination.

No questions about Skripals

One needs only to look at the narrative about the two men, caught on CCTV cameras, who have recently been accused by our political and media class of using a chemical agent to try to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia back in March.

I don't claim to know whether Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov work for the Russian security services, or whether they were dispatched by Vladimir Putin on a mission to Salisbury to kill the Skripals.

What is clear, however, is that the British intelligence services have been feeding the British corporate media a self-serving, drip-drip narrative from the outset – and that the media have shown precisely no interest at any point in testing any part of this narrative or even questioning it. They have been entirely passive, which means that we their readers have been entirely passive too.

That there are questions about the narrative to be raised is obvious if you turn away from the compliant corporate media and seek out the views of an independent-minded, one-time insider such as Craig Murray.

A former British ambassador, Murray is asking questions that may prove to be pertinent or not. At this stage, when all we have to rely on is what the intelligence services are selectively providing, these kinds of doubts should be driving the inquiries of any serious journalist covering the story. But as is so often the case, not only are these questions not being raised or investigated, but anyone like Murray who thinks critically – who assumes that the powerful will seek to promote their interests and avoid accountability – is instantly dismissed as a conspiracy theorist or in Putin's pocket.

That is no meaningful kind of critique. Many of the questions that have been raised – like why there are so many gaps in the CCTV record of the movements of both the Skripals and the two assumed assassins – could be answered if there was an interest in doing so. The evasion and the smears simply suggest that power intends to remain unaccountable, that it is keeping itself concealed, that the narrative is more important than the truth.

And that is reason enough to move from questioning the narrative to distrusting it.

Ripples on a lake

Journalists typically have a passive relationship to power, in stark contrast to their image as tenacious watchdog. But more fundamental than control over narrative is the ideology that guides these narratives. Ideology ensures the power-system is invisible not only to us, those who are abused and exploited by it, but also to those who benefit from it.

It is precisely because power resides in structures and ideology, rather than individuals, that it is so hard to see. And the power-structures themselves are made yet more difficult to identify because the narratives created about our societies are designed to conceal those structures and ideology – where real power resides – by focusing instead on individuals.

That is why our newspapers and TV shows are full of stories about personalities – celebrities, royalty, criminals, politicians. They are made visible so we fail to notice the ideological structures we live inside, which are supposed to remain invisible.

News and entertainment are the ripples on a lake, not the lake itself. But the ripples could not exist without the lake that forms and shapes them.

Up against the screen

If this sounds like hyperbole, let's stand back from our particular ideological system – neoliberalism – and consider earlier ideological systems in the hope that they offer some perspective. At the moment, we are like someone standing right up against an IMAX screen, so close that we cannot see that there is a screen or even guess that there is a complete picture. All we see are moving colours and pixels. Maybe we can briefly infer a mouth, the wheel of a vehicle, a gun.

Before neoliberalism there were other systems of rule. There was, for example, feudalism that appropriated a communal resource – land – exclusively for an aristocracy. It exploited the masses by forcing them to toil on the land for a pittance to generate the wealth that supported castles, a clergy, manor houses, art collections and armies. For several centuries the power of this tiny elite went largely unquestioned.

But then a class of entrepreneurs emerged, challenging the landed artistocracy with a new means of industrialised production. They built factories and took advantage of scales of economy that slightly widened the circle of privilege, creating a middle class. That elite, and the middle-class that enjoyed crumbs from their master's table, lived off the exploitation of children in work houses and the labour of a new urban poor in slum housing.

These eras were systematically corrupt, enabling the elites of those times to extend and entrench their power. Each elite produced justifications to placate the masses who were being exploited, to brainwash them into believing the system existed as part of a natural order or even for their benefit. The aristocracy relied on a divine right of kings, the capitalist class on the guiding hand of the free market and bogus claims of equality of opportunity.

In another hundred years, if we still exist as a species, our system will look no less corrupt – probably more so – than its predecessors.

Neoliberalism, late-stage capitalism, plutocratic rule by corporations – whatever you wish to call it – has allowed a tiny elite to stash away more wealth and accrue more power than any feudal monarch could ever have dreamt of. And because of the global reach of this elite, its corruption is more endemic, more complete, more destructive than any ever known to mankind.

A foreign policy elite can destroy the world several times over with nuclear weapons. A globalised corporate elite is filling the oceans with the debris from our consumption, and chopping down the forest-lungs of our planet for palm-oil plantations so we can satisfy our craving for biscuits and cake. And our media and intelligence services are jointly crafting a narrative of bogeymen and James Bond villains – both in Hollywood movies, and in our news programmes – to make us fearful and pliable.

Assumptions of inevitability

Most of us abuse our own small-power thoughtlessly, even self-righteously. We tell ourselves that we gave the kids a "good spanking" because they were naughty, rather than because we established with them early on a power relationship that confusingly taught them that the use of force and coercion came with a parental stamp of approval.

Those in greater power, from minions in the media to executives of major corporations, are no different. They are as incapable of questioning the ideology and the narrative – how inevitable and "right" our neoliberal system is – as the rest of us. But they play a vital part in maintaining and entrenching that system nonetheless.

David Cromwell and David Edwards of Media Lens have provided two analogies – in the context of the media – that help explain how it is possible for individuals and groups to assist and enforce systems of power without having any conscious intention to do so, and without being aware that they are contributing to something harmful. Without, in short, being aware that they are conspiring in the system.

The first :

When a shoal of fish instantly changes direction, it looks for all the world as though the movement was synchronised by some guiding hand. Journalists – all trained and selected for obedience by media all seeking to maximise profits within state-capitalist society – tend to respond to events in the same way.

The second :

Place a square wooden framework on a flat surface and pour into it a stream of ball bearings, marbles, or other round objects. Some of the balls may bounce out, but many will form a layer within the wooden framework; others will then find a place atop this first layer. In this way, the flow of ball bearings steadily builds new layers that inevitably produce a pyramid-style shape. This experiment is used to demonstrate how near-perfect crystalline structures such as snowflakes arise in nature without conscious design.

The system – whether feudalism, capitalism, neoliberalism – emerges out of the real-world circumstances of those seeking power most ruthlessly. In a time when the key resource was land, a class emerged justifying why it should have exclusive rights to control that land and the labour needed to make it productive. When industrial processes developed, a class emerged demanding that it had proprietary rights to those processes and to the labour needed to make them productive.

Our place in the pyramid

In these situations, we need to draw on something like Darwin's evolutionary "survival of the fittest" principle. Those few who are most hungry for power, those with least empathy, will rise to the top of the pyramid, finding themselves best-placed to exploit the people below. They will rationalise this exploitation as a divine right, or as evidence of their inherently superior skills, or as proof of the efficiency of the market.

And below them, like the layers of ball bearings, will be those who can help them maintain and expand their power: those who have the skills, education and socialisation to increase profits and sell brands.

All of this should be obvious, even non-controversial. It fits what we experience of our small-power lives. Does bigger power operate differently? After all, if those at the top of the power-pyramid were not hungry for power, even psychopathic in its pursuit, if they were caring and humane, worried primarily about the wellbeing of their workforce and the planet, they would be social workers and environmental activists, not CEOs of media empires and arms manufacturers.

And yet, base your political thinking on what should be truisms, articulate a worldview that distrusts those with the most power because they are the most capable of – and committed to – misusing it, and you will be derided. You will be called a conspiracy theorist, dismissed as deluded. You will be accused of wearing a tinfoil hat, of sour grapes, of being anti-American, a social warrior, paranoid, an Israel-hater or anti-semitic, pro-Putin, pro-Assad, a Marxist.

None of this should surprise us either. Because power – not just the people in the system, but the system itself – will use whatever tools it has to protect itself. It is easier to deride critics as unhinged, especially when you control the media, the politicians and the education system, than it is to provide a counter-argument.

In fact, it is vital to prevent any argument or real debate from taking place. Because the moment we think about the arguments, weigh them, use our critical faculties, there is a real danger that the scales will fall from our eyes. There is a real threat that we will move back from the screen, and see the whole picture.

Can we see the complete picture of the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury; or the US election that led to Trump being declared president; or the revolution in Ukraine; or the causes and trajectory of fighting in Syria, and before it Libya and Iraq; or the campaign to discredit Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party; or the true implications of the banking crisis a decade ago?

Profit, not ethics

Just as a feudal elite was driven not by ethics but by the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of land; just as early capitalists were driven not by ethics but by the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of mechanisation; so neoliberalism is driven not by ethics but the pursuit of power and wealth through the control of the planet.

The only truth we can know is that the western power-elite is determined to finish the task of making its power fully global, expanding it from near-absolute to absolute. It cares nothing for you or your grand-children. It is a cold-calculating system, not a friend or neighbour. It lives for the instant gratification of wealth accumulation, not concern about the planet's fate tomorrow.

And because of that it is structurally bound to undermine or discredit anyone, any group, any state that stands in the way of achieving its absolute dominion.

If that is not the thought we hold uppermost in our minds as we listen to a politician, read a newspaper, watch a film or TV show, absorb an ad, or engage on social media, then we are sleepwalking into a future the most powerful, the most ruthless, the least caring have designed for us.

Step back, and take a look at the whole screen. And decide whether this is really the future you wish for your grand-children.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

[Sep 27, 2018] Let Americans Visit North Korea Now by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. should help Kim pull his country back from seven decades of confrontation. Kim's apparent reasonableness may turn out to be fake, but it is in Washington's interest to create positive incentives for the North. If President Donald Trump can do it right -- imagine a White House signing ceremony for a peace treaty with Kim, China's Xi Jinping, and South Korea's Moon Jae-in -- a Nobel Peace Prize might just be within reach. ..."
"... The other half of the ban is almost entirely symbolic, intended mainly to demonstrate that the Muslim "travel ban" is, well, not a Muslim travel ban. Other than DPRK officials, the only North Koreans likely to hop on a plane to America are defectors. And they should be welcomed. ..."
"... Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extended the prohibition another year on September 1, for no obvious reason other than the fact he could do so. It was an extraordinarily foolish step, given Kim's evident desire to improve trust. If the president believes that the supreme leader is prepared to disarm, he should listen to Kim's conditions and encourage expanded private ties. ..."
"... But Pyongyang does not just kidnap Americans. The 17 detained over the last couple decades all "did something," as the head of a U.S. NGO told me while I was visiting the North last year. That is, every one of them fell afoul of DPRK rules, several by evangelizing. Of course, what they did should not be crimes, but in that the North is not alone. Show up in, say, Pakistan and tell people what you think of the prophet Mohammed: the result might be deadly. ..."
"... And Washington should not stop there. Political relations should be made formal. It is time for diplomatic recognition. This step should be treated as communication rather than reward. Imagine the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, without any reliable channels between the two governments. Or what if the U.S. and the People's Republic of China had been in contact as allied forces neared the Yalu in late 1950? Washington and Beijing might have found a modus vivendi to avoid war. ..."
Sep 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Let Americans Visit North Korea Now Kim has expressed his desire for contact with Americans. The Trump administration should give it to him.

North Korea is changing. That doesn't mean Kim Jong-un is mimicking Mikhail Gorbachev or even Deng Xiaoping, at least not yet. But it does increasingly appear that Kim intends to chart a more moderate course for his nation -- that is, make it less threatening, though not more democratic.

The U.S. should help Kim pull his country back from seven decades of confrontation. Kim's apparent reasonableness may turn out to be fake, but it is in Washington's interest to create positive incentives for the North. If President Donald Trump can do it right -- imagine a White House signing ceremony for a peace treaty with Kim, China's Xi Jinping, and South Korea's Moon Jae-in -- a Nobel Peace Prize might just be within reach.

Of course, good policy is critical. The supreme leader is a ruthless survivor who appears to have eliminated all serious domestic rivals. He is unlikely to turn over his nuclear weapons up front, sacrificing his leverage in the hope that Washington, where the president's national security advisor has counseled war, will join him in a Kumbaya songfest. And even if he does make other worthwhile concessions that reduce the risk of conflict in Northeast Asia, he may want to keep a few of his nukes.

But more diplomacy is necessary. Kim has expressed his desire for contact with Americans. The Trump administration should give it to him, starting with a repeal of the ban on travel to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Even before the Kim-Trump summit, the supreme leader was quoted by South Koreans as saying: "If we meet often and build trust with the United States, and if an end to the war and nonaggression are promised, why would we live in difficulty with nuclear weapons?" Moreover, the short summit communique was structured to reflect this perspective: the two governments would first "establish new U.S.-DPRK relations" reflecting a mutual desire "for peace and prosperity." Next they would "build a lasting and stable peace regime." Then they would work towards denuclearization, however defined.

Which makes sense. Assume that Kim is serious about improved ties with the U.S. and improving his standing worldwide. Further assume that he is open to the idea of at least curbing or even eliminating his nuclear ambitions. Then he has to trust that Washington won't follow its policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and pursue regime change. The case of Libya is particularly chastening. At the time of its civil war, the DPRK blamed the old fool Moammar Gaddafi for giving up his missiles and nukes, which allowed him to be driven from power the moment the U.S. and Europe had an opportunity.

If anything could generate both shared interest and trust, it would be creating a relationship characterized not just by official meetings, but even more human contacts. If Americans and other foreigners are visiting the North, investing in and trading with North Korean entities, staging cultural and sporting events, and more, U.S. bombers are less likely to pay a hostile visit to Pyongyang. The starting point for such an approach should be to eliminate the dual travel ban imposed on the DPRK.

Right now, North Koreans cannot come to America and Americans cannot go to North Korea. The latter matters most, having ended a tourist trade involving around 1,000 U.S. visitors annually, and hindering everyone else from aid workers to journalists seeking to go to the North. Exemptions for visiting the North are available, but representatives of NGOs with whom I've spoken indicate that the approval process remains both bureaucratic and uncertain.

Patience and a Powerful Military are the Keys to Success with North Korea Accepting a Nuclear North Korea to Contain China

The other half of the ban is almost entirely symbolic, intended mainly to demonstrate that the Muslim "travel ban" is, well, not a Muslim travel ban. Other than DPRK officials, the only North Koreans likely to hop on a plane to America are defectors. And they should be welcomed.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extended the prohibition another year on September 1, for no obvious reason other than the fact he could do so. It was an extraordinarily foolish step, given Kim's evident desire to improve trust. If the president believes that the supreme leader is prepared to disarm, he should listen to Kim's conditions and encourage expanded private ties.

Moreover, every American who visits the North helps pry open another door or window into the Hermit Kingdom. Indeed, that nickname no longer really applies to the DPRK. The country is more open, elites are enjoying greater prosperity, market incentives are present throughout the economy, threats of war have disappeared from the regime's lexicon, Kim has dramatically stepped out onto the international stage, and America no longer is the domestic demon du jour.

The excuse for last year's prohibition was the horrific plight of Virginia college student Otto Warmbier, who was in a comatose state when he was returned from North Korean custody -- he was taken off life support and died shortly after -- and conveniently forgotten this year when Trump shifted strategies. Warmbier did not deserve whatever happened to him, but the best evidence, attested to by his doctors and the coroner who examined his body, was that he was not beaten. In fact, it was in the North's interest to keep him alive. (There is still no official explanation for his brain damage, however.)

But Pyongyang does not just kidnap Americans. The 17 detained over the last couple decades all "did something," as the head of a U.S. NGO told me while I was visiting the North last year. That is, every one of them fell afoul of DPRK rules, several by evangelizing. Of course, what they did should not be crimes, but in that the North is not alone. Show up in, say, Pakistan and tell people what you think of the prophet Mohammed: the result might be deadly.

Anyway, given the North's strong push for respectability, no repeat is likely. Even more important than visitors are aid workers, journalists, businessmen and women, and others who can demonstrate the benefits of international contact. With Kim apparently interested in a more respectable foreign role, the Trump administration should enlist other Americans to set forth a vision of a well-connected and well-rewarded DPRK. Maybe Kim is not serious, but the U.S. should proceed on the assumption that he is. The cost of doing so is small while the benefits of success would be great.

And Washington should not stop there. Political relations should be made formal. It is time for diplomatic recognition. This step should be treated as communication rather than reward. Imagine the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, without any reliable channels between the two governments. Or what if the U.S. and the People's Republic of China had been in contact as allied forces neared the Yalu in late 1950? Washington and Beijing might have found a modus vivendi to avoid war.

Washington could start small, with an offer of consular relations. The administration could insist that ensuing discussions be wide-ranging, including not only denuclearization but human rights. Such ties would also provide a channel for dealing with errant American tourists. In this way providing Pyongyang with something it values would enable the U.S. to push forward on topics uncomfortable for the Kim regime. Positive movement would justify fully normal ties. There is very little downside to treating the North like most other nations.

Establishing these kinds of relationships would lead naturally to the next step in the U.S.-DPRK summit statement: creating a peace regime. Most obvious would be a peace treaty to end what remains a formal state of war. One criticism is that such a pact would benefit the North, yet all parties should desire an end to hostilities. If Pyongyang is not serious, that will be obvious in its behavior. The fact that Washington and Moscow are formally at peace has not stopped the U.S. from conducting a quasi-containment/Cold War strategy against Russia.

The second complaint is that the South might respond to a peace treaty by evicting U.S. troops and ending the alliance. Yet Washington's defense commitment and troop deployment are means to an end, not ends themselves. The Republic of Korea enjoys overwhelming advantages compared to the DPRK and is capable of defending itself. America should take the lead in shifting defense responsibility to South Koreans. A peace treaty would help formalize such a step.

No one knows how the president's North Korean gambit will turn out. But he deserves credit for upending conventional wisdom and making peace at least seem possible. Much needs to be done. However, a good start would be for the administration to encourage contacts between peoples as well as governments. There is no guarantee of success. But having moved this far, the president should push the bilateral relationship to the next level.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire.

[Sep 27, 2018] When Fake Countries Go to War by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... Instead of being countries, they resemble country clubs, in which a dominant few paying customers effectively make the rules and hire others to implement them. A large share of their populations are foreign and live in the shadows, with few rights and no opportunity to participate politically in the societies in which they live. ..."
"... "To survive, the Gulf governments need to look beyond simple questions of labor-force nationalization and economic austerity." ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Until recently, life in Qatar was quite pleasant. But then Saudi Arabia, backed by President Donald Trump, who has gone from critic to fan of the ruling royals there, led an effort to isolate its smaller neighbor. With supreme irony, Riyadh, whose people have done more to fund and man terrorist attacks on Americans than any other nation, accused Doha of backing terrorists.

It's impossible to predict the outcome of Saudi Arabia's hypocritical jihad. More moderate Kuwait has not joined Saudi Arabia, whose leaders, among the most licentious in the Muslim world, run a government that may also be the least tolerant. Despite President Trump's Saudi swoon, the Defense and State Departments have taken more measured positions. Turkey rushed to Qatar's defense, Iran airlifted food, and Russia, ever more active in the Mideast, called for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict.

The Gulf countries really cannot afford to be at odds. The half-dozen Gulf states share a critical characteristic: all are essentially fake countries. To be sure, they have governments, diplomats, and military. But they are monarchies, some of recent vintage, in a world that long ago abandoned primogeniture.

And all contract out the hardest work, from manual to professional, to foreigners. Instead of being countries, they resemble country clubs, in which a dominant few paying customers effectively make the rules and hire others to implement them. A large share of their populations are foreign and live in the shadows, with few rights and no opportunity to participate politically in the societies in which they live.

That Qatar could not operate without its foreign workers is evident when landing in Doha. Almost any practical job of importance is performed by a foreigner. It's the same in the other Gulf States.

It's not unusual for governments to contract out work. Western governments do so, though usually to their own citizens, and in order to save money. What makes the Gulf States unique is the scale of reliance on foreign labor and the reason for doing so: to ensure that their own citizens need not be bothered having to work, or at least work unduly hard.

The increased role of expatriates reflects oil wealth. In the early 1970s the number of foreigners in the Gulf was modest. But as oil prices rose, starting in 1973 the disposable income of these states rose dramatically -- as did demand for expatriate labor. The number trebled within a decade. And the numbers have continued to rise. At the same time the proportion of non-Arabs (and non-Muslims) rose.

Estimates of the share of expatriates are rough but striking. Up to 90 percent (some estimates are a bit lower) of the residents of the United Arab Emirates are foreigners. Roughly 85 percent of Qatar's population is foreign. Kuwait comes in at 70 percent. Bahrain's expat share is 55 percent. Both Oman, the least visible of the Gulf nations, and Saudi Arabia, the most populous of the six, fall in at 30 percent. In the latter even the smaller percentage means there are upwards of eight million foreigners in the Desert Kingdom. In sharp contrast are Iran, Iraq, and Yemen, which have followed a different path.

Money obviously can buy comfort, if not happiness. It seems to have worked for the Gulf States. But the fall in oil prices has put the Gulf model under severe stress. Once addicted to free spending, the countries are facing deficits and being forced to borrow to maintain current outlays. Yet even the latter is no longer easy. Bahrain and Oman have seen their credit ratings downgraded to junk status.

Kuwait, with a democratically elected National Assembly, has faced popular resistance to retrenchment, particularly reductions in social benefits and economic subsidies. Roughly half of the Assembly members elected last November formed an unofficial opposition. Even the most dictatorial of the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, feels the pressure. The deputy crown prince led efforts to trim expensive social benefits and subsidies as well as government salaries last fall, but the monarchy recently reversed those cuts. This will exacerbate the underlying economic problems.

Another austerity target is expat labor. For years governments have officially committed to labor force nationalization, without great effect. Some recently launched new efforts to reduce reliance on expats: taxes on hiring foreigners, requirements for domestic hiring for particular occupations, and employment quotas in some industries. A few have even rounded up and deported some expats. But an increased cash crunch may provide the most powerful incentive of all to change.

Nevertheless, moving toward a more normal balance in the labor force won't be easy. First is the sheer magnitude of expatriate hiring. A nation that brings in nine times as many foreigners as it has citizens cannot easily replace the former's labor. Although many of the jobs are nonessential, such as domestic servants, they remain popular.

Lack of adequate skills is another issue. Some jobs require specialized training or professional education, which takes time and commitment. Local interest in such occupations doesn't match demand. Even worse, many locals exhibit a minimal work ethic.

Equally problematic, the sense of entitlement runs deep. The number of nationals employed in private business has been increasing. But government remains the preferred type of employment. Even locals joke at the difference: Kuwaiti officials privately talk dismissively of the willingness of their fellow citizens to work. Many Gulf residents believe their national oil wealth entitles them to easy but remunerative employment.

More fundamentally, citizenship has a feeling of being transactional. Monarchs of dubious legitimacy get to rule so long as they share enough revenue with their citizens to provide lives of relative ease. In effect, foreign labor becomes part of the deal, essentially an entitlement of citizenship available only to a privileged few. Although the regimes usually retain control of security agencies, there are creative exceptions, such as Bahrain importing Sunni Muslims from Bangladesh and Pakistan as emergency service workers and policemen.

Plenty of Americans and Europeans like their welfare states and clamor for more benefits. Yet in all those nations the same people pay taxes and sometimes are required to perform military or other national service. Most see their political community as a larger whole and perceive citizenship as something beyond mutual transactions. The Gulf States feel differently.

While the Saudi-led attack on Qatar is dominating today's headlines, a more fundamental challenge faces the Gulf. Can artificial states dependent on buying the loyalty of their own citizens while farming out the toughest work to others survive forever?

Iran scares Riyadh and its neighbors because the former poses a moral rather than military threat. Islamist rule in Tehran is odious, but offers meaning to people who believe in more than money. Transactional rule is tenuous even in the best of times. It becomes more dubious as the cash flow slows.

To survive, the Gulf governments need to look beyond simple questions of labor-force nationalization and economic austerity. They must adopt political reforms that give their peoples a greater stake in their own societies. Ultimately the best way to defeat Iran is to offer a more convincing governing philosophy and a genuine sense of community -- characteristics now absent from the monarchies that are America's closest Arab allies in the region.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire. MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Poland Wants an American Garrison: Let Germany Do It! Angela Merkel, Teflon No Longer Hide 24 comments 24 Responses to When Fake Countries Go to War

Ken'ichi July 4, 2017 at 12:30 am

" Instead of being countries, they resemble country clubs, in which a dominant few paying customers effectively make the rules and hire others to implement them. A large share of their populations are foreign and live in the