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Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
and Alliance of Transnational Elites

Neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization

Who Rules America > Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism

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

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

Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henry C K Liu Views

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


PART 1: A Structural Link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monetary Imperialism and Dollar Hegemony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The victimization of Japan and China

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

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

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

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

Emerging markets are new colonies of monetary imperialism

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

Denial of corporate social responsibility

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

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

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

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

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

Marx's concept of Fetishism of Commodities

Marx wrote in Das Kapital:[1]

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

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

Democracy threatened by the corporate state

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

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

High pay for CEOs

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

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

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

Superman capitalism

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

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

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

An introduction to economic populism

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

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

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

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

Inequality only a new worry?

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

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

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

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

Carter the granddaddy of deregulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reagan's anti-government fixation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clinton and telecommunications deregulation

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

Regulation Q

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

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

The party of Lincoln taken over by corporate interests

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

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

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

Next: PART 2: Global war on labor

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

Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Samuel Brittan: The wrong kind of Third Way

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon.com

The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy, September 17, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finance is a form of imperial warfare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Great Deception

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

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

Trade for life

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

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

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

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

Web of Deceit

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

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

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

Unpeople

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

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

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

Alliance of transnational elites

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

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

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

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

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

Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti

Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti

By Michael Parenti

24 June, 2011
Michaelparenti.org

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

Across the Entire Globe

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

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

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

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

The Dynamic of Capital Expansion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Necessary, Just Compelling

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

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

Myths of Underdevelopment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artificially Converted to Poverty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Development Theory

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

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

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

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

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

Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti

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


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Neocolonialism Bulletin, 2015 Neocolonialism Bulletin, 2014

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

[Apr 22, 2019] C>urrent Neo-McCarthyism hysteria as a smoke screen of the UK and the USA intent to dominate European geopolitics and weaken Russia and Germany

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine. ..."
"... But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad ..."
Jul 24, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , July 24, 2018 12:23 am

@run75441 July 23, 2018 2:02 pm

Best bet is for Russia to want to trade with the US and Europe. The gas pipeline will not be enough leverage on Germany as it provides 9% of their needs.

Yes. And that's against the USA interests (or more correctly the US-led neoliberal empire interests). North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine.

As you know, nothing was proven yet in Russiagate (and DNC hacks looks more and more like a false flag operation, especially this Guccifer 2.0 personality ), but sanctions were already imposed. And when the US government speaks "Russia" in most cases they mean "China+Russia" ;-). Russia is just a weaker link in this alliance and, as such, it is attacked first. Russiagate is just yet another pretext after MH17, Magnitsky and such.

To me the current Anti-Russian hysteria is mainly a smokescreen to hide attempt to cement cracks in the façade of the USA neoliberal society that Trump election revealed (including apparent legitimization of ruling neoliberal elite represented by Hillary).

And a desperate attempt to unite the society using (false) war propaganda which requires demonization of the "enemy of the people" and neo-McCarthyism.

But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad (for example, military alliance means the end of the USA global military domination; energy alliance means that is now impossible to impose a blockade on China energy supplies from Middle East even if Iran is occupied)

In this sense the recent descent into a prolonged fit of vintage Cold War jingoistic paranoia is quite understandable. While, at the same time, totally abhorrent. My feeling is that unless Russia folds, which is unlikely, the side effects/externalities of this posture can be very bad for the USA. In any case, the alliance of Russia and China which Obama administration policies forged spells troubles to the global neoliberal empire dominated by the USA.

Trump rejection of existing forms of neoliberal globalization is one sign that this process already started and some politicians already are trying to catch the wind and adapt to a "new brave world" by using preemptive adjustments.

Which is why all this Trump-Putin summit hysteria is about.

Neither hard, nor soft neoliberals want any adjustments. They are ready to fight for the US-led neoliberal empire till the last American (excluding, of course, themselves and their families)

[Apr 22, 2019] Brzezinski s Warning to America by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... What most people don't realize about Brzezinski, is that he dramatically changed his views on global hegemony a few years after he published his 1997 masterpiece The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperative. In his 2012 book, Strategic Vision, Brzezinski recommended a more thoughtful and cooperative approach that would ease America's unavoidable transition (decline?) without creating a power vacuum that could lead to global chaos. ..."
"... Haass's critique illustrates the level of denial among elites who are now gripped by fear of an uncertain future. ..."
"... Confrontation will only accelerate the pace of US decline and the final collapse of the liberal world order. ..."
"... "The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today" Thanks for the laugh. It was over with the passing of the 1947 National Security Act. ..."
"... It is not a coincidence that this anti-Russian climate of hatred started back when Putin showed up the left's president, Barack Obama, over Libya. ..."
"... political globalists who wanted a liberal world order but didn't think about the economic side of things much and so let their economic policy be decided by the central banking mafia ..."
"... You should think more about US being aced. Syria was a masterstroke, but so was Ukraine, and not for Russia. Russia lost an extremely valuable ally and a trully brother nation, maybe forever. Ukraine, in the grand scheme of things, is a huge defeat for Russia. ..."
"... You definitely missed last 25 years of Russian-Ukrainian relations. You also, evidently, have very vague understanding of the Ukrainian inner dynamics. I am not sure we can speak of "brother nation" because Ukraine as political nation (and she did form as such by early 2000s) can not be "brother nation" to Russia by definition. In fact, being anti-Russia is the only natural state of Ukrainian political nation ..."
"... As it turned out, Russia is doing just fine without Ukraine. In a long run, if what is called Ukraine today decides to commit suicide by the cop, she sure can try to place US military bases East of Dniepr and we will observe a rather peculiar case of fireworks. ..."
"... It would have been a total catastrophe for Russia had she lost Sebastopol; but so long as Crimea is safely in Moscow's hands, Ukraine is not make-or-break. Russia's global position now, in fact, is even stronger than it was in 2014. ..."
"... Western corporations have been competing with each other (for decades now) to offshore everything to reduce costs /increase profits. The idea is to sell at Western prices and produce at Eastern prices, and this arbitrage has reached crazy proportions. ..."
"... Jews also hate nationalism since it threatens their (minority) power and highlights dual loyalty (or no loyalty) so the Zio-Glob are on one side, and the public on the other, with little common ground between them. ..."
"... At least Brzezinski became well aware of this shift. So many of America's neo-conservatives have largely failed in expressing this defeat. Between Brzezinski and Boot, & the Others, they've all turned out to be fanatic ideologues. ..."
Apr 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today, is rapidly collapsing. The center of gravity is shifting from west to east where China and India are experiencing explosive growth and where a revitalized Russia has restored its former stature as a credible global superpower. These developments, coupled with America's imperial overreach and chronic economic stagnation, have severely hampered US ability to shape events or to successfully pursue its own strategic objectives. As Washington's grip on global affairs continues to loosen and more countries reject the western development model, the current order will progressively weaken clearing the way for a multipolar world badly in need of a new security architecture. Western elites, who are unable to accept this new dynamic, continue to issue frenzied statements expressing their fear of a future in which the United States no longer dictates global policy.

At the 2019 Munich Security Conference, Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, underscored many of these same themes. Here's an excerpt from his presentation:

"The whole liberal world order appears to be falling apart – nothing is as it once was Not only do war and violence play a more prominent role again: a new great power confrontation looms at the horizon. In contrast to the early 1990s, liberal democracy and the principle of open markets are no longer uncontested .

In this international environment, the risk of an inter-state war between great and middle powers has clearly increased .What we had been observing in many places around the world was a dramatic increase in brinkmanship, that is, highly risky actions on the abyss – the abyss of war .

No matter where you look, there are countless conflicts and crises the core pieces of the international order are breaking apart, without it being clear whether anyone can pick them up – or even wants to. ("Who will pick up the pieces?", Munich Security Conference )

Ischinger is not alone in his desperation nor are his feelings limited to elites and intellectuals. By now, most people are familiar with the demonstrations that have rocked Paris, the political cage-match that is tearing apart England (Brexit), the rise of anti-immigrant right-wing groups that have sprung up across Europe, and the surprising rejection of the front-runner candidate in the 2016 presidential elections in the US. Everywhere the establishment and their neoliberal policies are being rejected by the masses of working people who have only recently begun to wreak havoc on a system that has ignored them for more than 30 years. Trump's public approval ratings have improved, not because he has "drained the swamp" as he promised, but because he is still seen as a Washington outsider despised by the political class, the foreign policy establishment and the media. His credibility rests on the fact that he is hated by the coalition of elites who working people now regard as their sworn enemy.

The president of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, summed up his views on the "weakening of the liberal world order" in an article that appeared on the CFR's website. Here's what he said:

"Attempts to build global frameworks are failing. Protectionism is on the rise; the latest round of global trade talks never came to fruition. .At the same time, great power rivalry is returning

There are several reasons why all this is happening, and why now. The rise of populism is in part a response to stagnating incomes and job loss, owing mostly to new technologies but widely attributed to imports and immigrants. Nationalism is a tool increasingly used by leaders to bolster their authority, especially amid difficult economic and political conditions .

But the weakening of the liberal world order is due, more than anything else, to the changed attitude of the U.S. Under President Donald Trump, the US decided against joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. It has threatened to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. It has unilaterally introduced steel and aluminum tariffs, relying on a justification (national security) that others could use, in the process placing the world at risk of a trade war .America First" and the liberal world order seem incompatible." ("Liberal World Order, R.I.P.", Richard Haass, CFR )

What Haass is saying is that the cure for globalisation is more globalization, that the greatest threat to the liberal world order is preventing the behemoth corporations from getting more of what they want; more self-aggrandizing trade agreements, more offshoring of businesses, more outsourcing of jobs, more labor arbitrage, and more privatization of public assets and critical resources. Trade liberalization is not liberalization, it does not strengthen democracy or create an environment where human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law are respected. It's a policy that focuses almost-exclusively on the free movement of capital in order to enrich wealthy shareholders and fatten the bottom line. The sporadic uprisings around the world– Brexit, yellow vests, emergent right wing groups– can all trace their roots back to these one-sided, corporate-friendly trade deals that have precipitated the steady slide in living standards, the shrinking of incomes, and the curtailing of crucial benefits for the great mass of working people across the US and Europe. President Trump is not responsible for the outbreak of populism and social unrest, he is merely an expression of the peoples rage. Trump's presidential triumph was a clear rejection of the thoroughly-rigged elitist system that continues to transfer the bulk of the nation's wealth to tiniest layer of people at the top.

Haass's critique illustrates the level of denial among elites who are now gripped by fear of an uncertain future.

As we noted earlier, the center of gravity has shifted from west to east, which is the one incontrovertible fact that cannot be denied. Washington's brief unipolar moment –following the breakup of the Soviet Union in December, 1991 -- has already passed and new centers of industrial and financial power are gaining pace and gradually overtaking the US in areas that are vital to America's primacy. This rapidly changing economic environment is accompanied by widespread social discontent, seething class-based resentment, and ever-more radical forms of political expression. The liberal order is collapsing, not because the values espoused in the 60s and 70s have lost their appeal, but because inequality is widening, the political system has become unresponsive to the demands of the people, and because US can no longer arbitrarily impose its will on the world.

Globalization has fueled the rise of populism, it has helped to exacerbate ethnic and racial tensions, and it is largely responsible for the hollowing out of America's industrial core. Haass's antidote would only throw more gas on the fire and hasten the day when liberals and conservatives form into rival camps and join in a bloody battle to the end. Someone has to stop the madness before the country descends into a second Civil War.

What Haass fails to discuss, is Washington's perverse reliance on force to preserve the liberal world order, after all, it's not like the US assumed its current dominant role by merely competing more effectively in global markets. Oh, no. Behind the silk glove lies the iron fist, which has been used in over 50 regime change operations since the end of WW2. The US has over 800 military bases scattered across the planet and has laid to waste one country after the other in successive interventions, invasions and occupations for as long as anyone can remember. This penchant for violence has been sharply criticized by other members of the United Nations, but only Russia has had the courage to openly oppose Washington where it really counts, on the battlefield.

Russia is presently engaged in military operations that have either prevented Washington from achieving its strategic objectives (like Ukraine) or rolled back Washington's proxy-war in Syria. Naturally, liberal elites like Haass feel threatened by these developments since they are accustomed to a situation in which 'the world is their oyster'. But, alas, oysters have been removed from the menu, and the United States is going to have to make the adjustment or risk a third world war.

What Russian President Vladimir Putin objects to, is Washington's unilateralism, the cavalier breaking of international law to pursue its own imperial ambitions. Ironically, Putin has become the greatest defender of the international system and, in particular, the United Nations which is a point he drove home in his presentation at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 28, 2015, just two days before Russian warplanes began their bombing missions in Syria. Here's part of what he said:

"The United Nations is unique in terms of legitimacy, representation and universality .We consider any attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. It may result in the collapse of the entire architecture of international relations, leaving no rules except the rule of force. The world will be dominated by selfishness rather than collective effort, by dictate rather than equality and liberty, and instead of truly sovereign nations we will have colonies controlled from outside."(Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly )

Putin's speech, followed by the launching of the Russian operation in Syria, was a clear warning to the foreign policy establishment that they would no longer be allowed to topple governments and destroy countries with impunity. Just as Putin was willing to put Russian military personnel at risk in Syria, so too, he will probably put them at risk in Venezuela, Lebanon, Ukraine and other locations where they might be needed. And while Russia does not have anywhere near the raw power of the US military, Putin seems to be saying that he will put his troops in the line of fire to defend international law and the sovereignty of nations. Here's Putin again:

"We all know that after the end of the Cold War the world was left with one center of dominance, and those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that, since they are so powerful and exceptional, they know best what needs to be done and thus they don't need to reckon with the UN, which, instead of rubber-stamping the decisions they need, often stands in their way .

We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress.

It seems, however, that instead of learning from other people's mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are "democratic" revolutions. Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa already mentioned by the previous speaker. Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention indiscriminately destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.

I'm urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you've done?" (Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly)

Here Putin openly challenges the concept of a 'liberal world order' which in fact is a sobriquet used to conceal Washington's relentless plundering of the planet. There's nothing liberal about toppling regimes and plunging millions of people into anarchy, poverty and desperation. Putin is simply trying to communicate to US leaders that the world is changing, that nations in Asia are gaining strength and momentum, and that Washington will have to abandon the idea that any constraint on its behavior is a threat to its national security interests.

Former national security advisor to Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, appears to agree on this point and suggests that the US begin to rethink its approach to foreign policy now that the world has fundamentally changed and other countries are demanding a bigger place at the table.

What most people don't realize about Brzezinski, is that he dramatically changed his views on global hegemony a few years after he published his 1997 masterpiece The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperative. In his 2012 book, Strategic Vision, Brzezinski recommended a more thoughtful and cooperative approach that would ease America's unavoidable transition (decline?) without creating a power vacuum that could lead to global chaos. Here's a short excerpt from an article

he wrote in 2016 for the American Interest titled "Toward a Global Realignment":

"The fact is that there has never been a truly "dominant" global power until the emergence of America on the world scene .That era is now ending .As its era of global dominance ends, the United States needs to take the lead in realigning the global power architecture .The United States is still the world's politically, economically, and militarily most powerful entity but, given complex geopolitical shifts in regional balances, it is no longer the globally imperial power.

America can only be effective in dealing with the current Middle Eastern violence if it forges a coalition that involves, in varying degrees, also Russia and China .

A constructive U.S. policy must be patiently guided by a long-range vision. It must seek outcomes that promote the gradual realization in Russia that its only place as an influential world power is ultimately within Europe. China's increasing role in the Middle East should reflect the reciprocal American and Chinese realization that a growing U.S.-PRC partnership in coping with the Middle Eastern crisis is an historically significant test of their ability to shape and enhance together wider global stability.

The alternative to a constructive vision, and especially the quest for a one-sided militarily and ideologically imposed outcome, can only result in prolonged and self-destructive futility.

Since the next twenty years may well be the last phase of the more traditional and familiar political alignments with which we have grown comfortable, the response needs to be shaped now . And that accommodation has to be based on a strategic vision that recognizes the urgent need for a new geopolitical framework." ("Toward a Global Realignment", Zbigniew Brzezinski, The American Interest )

This strikes me as a particularly well-reasoned and insightful article. It shows that Brzezinski understood that the world had changed, that power had shifted eastward, and that the only path forward for America was cooperation, accommodation, integration and partnership. Tragically, there is no base of support for these ideas on Capital Hill, the White House or among the U.S. foreign policy establishment. The entire political class and their allies in the media unanimously support a policy of belligerence, confrontation and war. The United States will not prevail in a confrontation with Russia and China any more than it will be able to turn back the clock to the post war era when America, the Superpower, reigned supreme. Confrontation will only accelerate the pace of US decline and the final collapse of the liberal world order.


Walt , says: April 13, 2019 at 11:22 pm GMT

Zbig has fially admitted that America needs to become friends with Russia. We can not handle the world alone,but with Russia we would have 90% of the worlds nuclear weapons and vast geopolitical ifluence. Americans do hot have anything against Russia. It is the neocon cabal that is fostering conflict . Thet just can not get over the fact that they tried and failed to take control of Russia. They are trying to do so to the u.S.A.
Walt , says: April 13, 2019 at 11:24 pm GMT
Zbig is right. We need to be friends with Russia , not enemies.
China girl , says: April 14, 2019 at 2:30 am GMT
"2. Russia should become the real leader of the new process. (It has already become it but not yet aware of the fact.) The West and Israel need a strategic alliance with the Muslim world more than anything else, and this alliance is possible only through Russia. Only Russia in an alliance with the Muslim world can keep China in check without conflicts, helping it find its new place in the world as another super-power.

3. Leaders of Russia, America, Israel, Europe, Iran, India, and international financial capitals must initiate a dialogue over leaving this crisis behind and preventing events like those which swept America on September 11.

A time of change is upon us, and it's futile to wish we were living in some other era. We have to change ourselves and change the world "

Novaya Gazeta
No. 75
October 2001
THE THIRD FORCE OF WORLD WAR III

[MORE]

"THE AMERICANS DON'T REALIZE IT YET, BUT CHINA HAS WRITTEN ITS OWN SCRIPT FOR SQUEEZING THE UNITED STATES OFF THE WORLD STAGE. CHINA SUPPORTS ACTIONS OF THE WEST AIMED AT MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION OF RUSSIA AND THE MUSLIM WORLD. THE WEST, RUSSIA, ISRAEL, AND THE MUSLIM WORLD MUST WORK TOGETHER.

THE WESTERN SCRIPT

[ ]

"Using techniques of manipulating public opinion, the West is trying to establish the illusion of a global forces with the fascist- like ideology of Wahhabi fundamentalism. As far as the West is concerned, Wahhabi and Islam are the same thing. It is because of this that the essential terrorism of Wahhabi ideas is being formulated so simply for public consumption: all Muslims are terrorists by nature.

The preliminary objective of brainwashing (Islam is the basis of terrorism) is thus achieved. "

"This script becomes possible when we assume that some Western elites and secret services made a kind of covert pact with this still-unknown Player."

THE CHINESE SCRIPT

[ ]

" Throw a great deal of dollars into the market all at once, and the dollar will crash. A conflict with Taiwan may follow. It will be a conflict waged with American money, with American weapons, investment, and high technology. Add the nuclear factor here. Suffice it to recall the recent scandal when Chinese intelligence obtained all major nuclear secrets of the United States. "

Author: Viktor Minin
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, http://www.wps.ru/e_index.html%5D

http://www.russialist.org/archives/5497-14.php

MarkinLA , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:24 am GMT
What most people don't realize about Brzezinski, is that he dramatically changed his views on global hegemony a few years after he published his 1997 masterpiece The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperative. In his 2012 book, Strategic Vision, Brzezinski recommended a more thoughtful and cooperative approach that would ease America's unavoidable transition (decline?) without creating a power vacuum that could lead to global chaos.

So somebody put forth a deluded crack-pot idea that got great traction and made a lot of people very rich and powerful who want to stay that way, but the originator now says he was wrong and we should change. Yeah, those rich and powerful people just have to agree to give up some of that. How likely is that without a major catastrophe forcing them, given what we know about human nature?

Maybe the lesson is to have realistic ideas about foreign policy and relations in the future. Did anybody seriously believe countries with long histories like Russia and China were always going to be happy playing second fiddle to the US?

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 14, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT

Haass's critique illustrates the level of denial among elites who are now gripped by fear of an uncertain future.

True, but their problem is compounded with their fear which is anchored in the past, whose real history blows all current, being discredited as I type this, narratives out of the water. This, plus most of them, Haas and CFR included, do not operate with actual facts and data.

anon [423] Disclaimer , says: April 14, 2019 at 12:45 pm GMT
"The West and Israel need a strategic alliance with the Muslim world"

Unfortunately, this is probably not entirely feasible considering the United States's inappropriately close relationship to Israel and the American government's radical stance of forcing LGBTQ issues; as San Jose proves, these people aren't simply going to leave you alone, but rather they will make you conform under threat. Probably what will happen in the future is a Japan-EU-Russia alliance that makes peace with the Middle East and contains the Chinese military as much as possible.

The US could very well find itself cut out at some point. It has already proved itself both reckless and incompetent with its handling of Iran, Israel, and Venezuela. Also, I suspect that neither ordinary EU citizens nor Asians will want to be ruled over by a group of POC racists who discriminate against Europeans, Asian males, and traditional families.

I think the rest of the world should begin considering alternate defense arrangements. The US cannot afford to defend their interests forever with an aging, shrinking white Caucasian population and a growing, less capable and less conscientious replacement population less willing to die in imperial wars. Increasingly, the US will be less capable of defending others in the Pacific from China as it Affirmative Actions its air force; Obama was trying to do that throughout the whole of the American military and accomplished his objective by lowering standards. I think this process should continue in the future with disastrous results.

In the future, Asia will try to make peace with China before they get too strong and China will reciprocate with generous territorial concessions in exchange for neutrality. For example, the Chinese may relinquish territorial claims in the Philippines in exchange for a treaty stating that the Philippines will not base the American military or buy weapons from them, but they would be allowed to buy weapons from third parties such as the Russians. A series of moves like this might dramatically weaken the American position in the region, allowing China to jumpskip to Africa and the Middle East more effectively. Perhaps a similar deal will be worked out with Taiwan: autonomy and a peace treaty in exchange for no weapon purchases or defense arrangements with the US, but Taiwan could still buy Russian weapons.

"Zbig has fially admitted that America needs to become friends with Russia."

As Karlin has noted, I don't see this happening in the near future, not with the insane levels of anti-Russian hate coming from the American left, some of which is just pure racial hatred of whites projected onto Russians.

bro3886 , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:08 pm GMT
All this is irrelevant in the long run. America will be a third-world country in 50 years or less. Imagine a government filled with AOCs, Omars, and Bookers, with a constituency that matches. Brazil of the North isn't going to be a superpower. We can look on that as a silver lining.
Republic , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:35 pm GMT

The United States will not prevail in a confrontation with Russia and China any more than it will be able to turn back the clock to the post war era when America, the Superpower, reigned supreme. Confrontation will only accelerate the pace of US decline and the final collapse of the liberal world order.

Very dangerous times are ahead. A declining superpower in late empire mode may make risky decisions. I wonder if America will have a Suez event in the upcoming decade? The 1956 Suez crisis heralded the rise of a new superpower and the eclipse of another one.

dearieme , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
@anon some of which is just pure racial hatred of whites projected onto Russians

That hadn't occurred to me. But can it be true?

Bill Jones , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:53 pm GMT
"The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today" Thanks for the laugh. It was over with the passing of the 1947 National Security Act.
Bill Jones , says: April 14, 2019 at 1:57 pm GMT
@Walt I don't know how fucked up you have to be to use "We" to refer to the murderous US State but you should seek competent professional psychiatric assistance, Soon.
anon [275] Disclaimer , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:42 pm GMT
"That hadn't occurred to me. But can it be true?"

The attitudes and political beliefs of your average Russian are very similar to many Red State conservatives, as has been noted on this webzine at least once in recent memory (and with an accompanying political map with similarities noted between American Blue and Red States compared with Russia). The American left projects its racist hate onto the Russians in response to those similarities.

It is not a coincidence that this anti-Russian climate of hatred started back when Putin showed up the left's president, Barack Obama, over Libya.

That also explains the left's hypocrisy on war: their tribe's racial leader, Obama, wanted war in Libya, so war is now good; Russia opposed it and later prevented war in Syria (which Obama wanted), so the Russians are now the bad guys. It's purely a matter of tribal affiliation and racial hate on the part of the American left.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 14, 2019 at 4:21 pm GMT
@Republic

I wonder if America will have a Suez event in the upcoming decade?

She already had it and one is unfolding right this moment. For an empire of this size and influence, granted declining dramatically, it takes a sequence of events. "Suez Moment" for Britain happened during WW II, the actual Suez crisis was merely a nominal conclusion to British Empire dying in WW II.

Anon [332] Disclaimer , says: April 14, 2019 at 4:51 pm GMT
""Suez Moment" for Britain happened during WW II, the actual Suez crisis was merely a nominal conclusion to British Empire dying in WW II."

True. Syria might have been the American Suez Moment. We'll see in the coming years if we get a crisis that lays it all bare.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 14, 2019 at 5:22 pm GMT
@Anon

We'll see in the coming years if we get a crisis that lays it all bare.

Ongoing real Revolution in Military Affairs and US losing conventional (and nuclear) arms race is what unfolds right now. Realistically, Putin's March 1, 2018 Speech to Federal Assembly was also one of these moments -- as I said, the process is protracted and at each of its phases US geopolitical cards have been aced and trumped, NO pun intended.

notanon , says: April 14, 2019 at 6:04 pm GMT
when i read these people i get the impression there are two camps:

1) political globalists who wanted a liberal world order but didn't think about the economic side of things much and so let their economic policy be decided by the central banking mafia

and

2) The central banking mafia who understood globalization was simply their criminal looting of the West backed up by a big military who could be rented out from a corrupted political class.

it seems the first group still don't understand that it was the banking mafia's neoliberal economics
– currency debasement
– usury
– cheap labor
that destroyed their dream.

the same three things have been destroying civilizations for 3000 years.

notanon , says: April 14, 2019 at 6:12 pm GMT

The West and Israel need a strategic alliance with the Muslim world more than anything else, and this alliance is possible only through Russia.

i think this is short-sighted. The global north needs to combine to contain the global south or the central banking mafia will eventually use them to destroy the north's genetic advantages and all our descendants will end up as 85 IQ slave-cattle.

Priss Factor , [AKA "Asagirian"] says: Website April 14, 2019 at 8:37 pm GMT
The liberal world order, which lasted from the end of World War 2 until today, is rapidly collapsing.

Really? Where? US is still in Middle East and now threatens war with Iran. Venezuela is on the brink. Japan and EU are the ever loyal dogs of the US. If they've been upset with Trump, it's not because he wants to exert more influence but less.

Republic , says: April 14, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

the actual Suez crisis was merely a nominal conclusion to British Empire dying in WW II

The Atlantic charter signed aboard the HMS Prince of Wales, in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland on August 14, 1941 by FDR and Churchill was probably the moment when the old British empire traded places with the new global power, the United States. So you are correct in your analysis.

hgw , says: April 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm GMT
@MarkinLA This is not really about history, it is about power. Many of the US allies have much longer histories, but that does not help them in the power department. China and Russia have enough power to stand only on their own two feet.
hgw , says: April 14, 2019 at 10:54 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov You should think more about US being aced. Syria was a masterstroke, but so was Ukraine, and not for Russia. Russia lost an extremely valuable ally and a trully brother nation, maybe forever. Ukraine, in the grand scheme of things, is a huge defeat for Russia.
Anon [341] Disclaimer , says: April 14, 2019 at 11:13 pm GMT

The West and Israel need a strategic alliance with the Muslim world more than anything else, and this alliance is possible only through Russia.

Sberbank calls on UAE businesses to invest in Russia, offers help

"According to the statement, the Gulf countries' total capital available for investment is estimated at more than $3.2 trillion but only "a small part" of capital earmarked for investing in Russia has actually gone into Russia-based projects."

"The Russian visitors set out Sberbank's technology strategy and described achievements by the Moscow-based lender in artificial intelligence development.

They also "pointed out interest in Islamic finance", the statement said."

http://emergingmarkets.me/sberbank-calls-on-uae-businesses-to-invest-in-russia-offers-help/

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 15, 2019 at 12:00 am GMT
@hgw

Ukraine, in the grand scheme of things, is a huge defeat for Russia.

You definitely missed last 25 years of Russian-Ukrainian relations. You also, evidently, have very vague understanding of the Ukrainian inner dynamics. I am not sure we can speak of "brother nation" because Ukraine as political nation (and she did form as such by early 2000s) can not be "brother nation" to Russia by definition. In fact, being anti-Russia is the only natural state of Ukrainian political nation.

There is another twist to all this–these are Russians now, who do not want to deal with Ukraine in any of her manifestations and, to rub the salt into the wound, Zbig was delusional when thought that denying Ukraine to Russia would spell the end of Russian "imperialism". As it turned out, Russia is doing just fine without Ukraine. In a long run, if what is called Ukraine today decides to commit suicide by the cop, she sure can try to place US military bases East of Dniepr and we will observe a rather peculiar case of fireworks.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website April 15, 2019 at 12:11 am GMT
@Republic

The Atlantic charter signed aboard the HMS Prince of Wales,in Placentia Bay,Newfoundland on August 14, 1941 by FDR and Churchill was probably the moment when the old British empire traded places with the new global power, the United States.

This happened in 1941 at secret ABC (America-Britain-Canada) consultations where Lord Halifax was trying to recruit American resources for defense of Britain's imperial interests. US "politely" declined. Big Three became Big Two and a Half at 1943 Tehran Conference at which Stalin was very specific that USSR wanted American as a head of Overlord.

All this pursuant to a strategic scandal between US and British Empire at Casablanca where General Stanley Embick of Marshall's OPD accused Britain in his memorandum of avoiding fighting main Nazi forces due to Britain's imperial interests. Churchill knew the significance of Tehran and suffered non-stop bouts of jealousy and suspicion towards FDR and Stalin.

I am sure Sir Winston knew that FDR wanted to meet Stalin without him. Stalin refused to do so without Churchill. As per "global power"–sure, except for one teeny-weeny fact (or rather facts), since WW II "global power" didn't win a single war against even more-or-less determined enemy.

Digital Samizdat , says: April 15, 2019 at 11:16 am GMT
@hgw

Ukraine, in the grand scheme of things, is a huge defeat for Russia.

It would have been a total catastrophe for Russia had she lost Sebastopol; but so long as Crimea is safely in Moscow's hands, Ukraine is not make-or-break. Russia's global position now, in fact, is even stronger than it was in 2014.

neutral , says: April 15, 2019 at 12:22 pm GMT
@bro3886

Brazil of the North

It will be much worse than Brazil, Brazil managed to cover up the reality that whites dominate politics and the economy (although there is a new push to copy the American affirmative action ideology). In America whites will not be able to do what is happening in Brazil, all politics will be non white dominated, likewise the woke corporate blue haired brigade will ensure that non whites dominate all companies, no exceptions allowed. The end result of this is predictable, Americans will be wishing they were like Brazil.

neutral , says: April 15, 2019 at 1:31 pm GMT
@Republic No it was earlier, it was when it decided to declare war on the Third Reich. It decided that Poland was more important than keeping its empire.
Miro23 , says: April 15, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT

Globalization has fueled the rise of populism, it has helped to exacerbate ethnic and racial tensions, and it is largely responsible for the hollowing out of America's industrial core.

Western corporations have been competing with each other (for decades now) to offshore everything to reduce costs /increase profits. The idea is to sell at Western prices and produce at Eastern prices, and this arbitrage has reached crazy proportions.

The US has in fact exported whole industrial sectors (with the jobs and innovation). Same in Europe with a company such as Decathlon (Europe's Nº1 sport goods supplier) entirely sourcing its products outside Europe.

Conclusion that if globalization fails, then so do these companies, and they have a massive incentive buy political protection from Western governments – which they are doing. Nationalism and America First are anathema to them and they have (amazingly) managed to built globalization and open frontiers into the ethos of the EU and US – with all the self-serving multicultural Save the World blah.

Jews also hate nationalism since it threatens their (minority) power and highlights dual loyalty (or no loyalty) so the Zio-Glob are on one side, and the public on the other, with little common ground between them.

This doesn't mean that it's impossible to stop outsourcing. If it happened, then Decathlon would either go bankrupt or have to switch production to Rumania or Portugal = higher prices, but at least the money would stay in Europe. Same with the other industries, and the first step has to be to cut down the power of the EU bureaucracy and Washington.

notanon , says: April 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT
@neutral the banking mafia wanted war cos Hitler closed down the German branch of the central bank.

the rest was puppetry.

Willie , says: Website April 18, 2019 at 12:22 am GMT
Just prepare fort the impending surge in Totalitarian methods to halt the inevitable in the USA.
The rest of the world is not our playground.
Good luck.
Alfred , says: April 20, 2019 at 5:42 am GMT
@Andrei Martyanov Haas and CFR included, do not operate with actual facts and data.

Absolutely correct. Without an honest media, it is impossible to make good decisions.

Those Zionists who control the media in the West are deluding themselves. They will be the biggest losers when ordinary people finally wake up to the fact that they have been lied to for over 100 years – WW1, WW2, Palestine, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Russia, Crimea, MH-17, Skripals, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, 9/11 and many other instances.

Oristayne , says: April 20, 2019 at 6:36 am GMT
This is a phenomenal article. What an incredibly written piece; much respect to you Mike Whitney.
Ma Laoshi , says: April 20, 2019 at 7:20 am GMT
Not so fast. OK, so maybe Zbig had some second thoughts about the whole project in 2012. But didn't the same Zbig opine in 2015, at the start of Russia's Syria intervention, that the US should strike hard and fast before the Russkies managed to complete their buildup there? To me that sounded rather much like an unprovoked attack on Russian troops, who were legally in Syria at the invitation of its internationally recognized government.

Bottom line, for all of his far-too-long career Mr. Brzezinski has been exactly what one would expect from the spiritual father of al-Qaeda: a vile and reckless individual. Anyone looking that way for salvation needs some time out for reflection.

Iris , says: April 20, 2019 at 10:58 am GMT

This strikes me as a particularly well-reasoned and insightful article. It shows that Brzezinski understood that the world had changed, that power had shifted eastward,

This is an excellent article, which addresses the key historic driver of our time. By 2015, world GDP had already passed the threshold where the GDP share of the West had become lesser than the share of the Rest.

The major share of global wealth shifting towards Asia is an ineluctable historic re-alignment; it is a natural return to the long-term historic balance pre-Industrial Revolution.

Western politicians ' problem is that they don't want to "break the news" to their people that Western standards of living are going to degrade ineluctably over the coming years , because that would expose their incompetence, as well as highlight the need to address wealth inequality in the West .

It is easier instead to the blame the disenfranchised, pauperised citizens voting for Trump, Brexit, and other "extreme" political parties.

Ahuehuete , says: April 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
@bro3886 When you think about it, the USA is going to become the next South Africa.
Zbig , says: April 20, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
Zbig was, and still is, even tho' he is dead now. He was the original zio-neocon illuminist satantic globalist elite.
Rubby2 , says: April 21, 2019 at 3:24 am GMT
@Walt

At least Brzezinski became well aware of this shift. So many of America's neo-conservatives have largely failed in expressing this defeat. Between Brzezinski and Boot, & the Others, they've all turned out to be fanatic ideologues.

Endgame Napoleon , says: April 21, 2019 at 11:48 pm GMT
@notanon Ralph Nader used to say the big issue is money in politics -- the money that "Congress Critters" use to get their government jobs at $174k. To get one of those government jobs, you don't have to understand something as complex as the banking system, which is made more opaque by the globalist neoliberals who want to maintain the Cheap Labor Lobby's beloved status quo.

You don't have to be Nomi Prins, someone who actually worked on Wall Street and knows its nooks and crannies, to get a Congress Critter job. You just have to be the right kind of pander bear with the right kind of faux outrage at selective moments.

The other problem is that -- like most of us in the general public -- Congress Critters have to rely on people in the financial system to navigate the terrain. It's a math-heavy field. Politicians have apparently always done this. They have created more than one era with too-big-to-fail institutions. That is what one of Prins' books describes.

But it does not matter whether it's bankers or the manufacturers, employing welfare-assisted illegal aliens or foreign nationals on foreign soil. And it does not matter that Congress Critters occasionally put the bigwigs on the hot seat as a PR stunt. They aren't going to do anything to actually change policy unless the corporate masters who fund their campaigns give them the go ahead. And they don't really even understand why.

[MORE]

If you think Congress Critters understand the global banking system, you should watch the banking committee hearing on C-SPAN, where they grilled the Treasury Secretary, dressing him down like he was a $10-per-hour call center worker. It makes for good theater.

Just like at a call center, the humiliation parade had nothing to do with the details of the work or getting anything done other than convincing voters that a bunch of fabulously wealthy legislators (every one) with a 212-day work year really care, especially about predatory factors in the financial system that supposedly affect only oppressed skin-pigmentation factions, located in their districts.

You vicariously enjoy rebellious facial expressions that you could never exhibit during a frequently absentee mom manager's tirades for fear of being fired from a churn job that does not cover the cost of rent that has risen by 72% over 25 years, even when you add any paltry commission for taking the trouble to always meeting your numbers. But that will be the extent of it. It is for show.

My favorite part was Empire-related; it involved the Rep. from Guam, a Congress Critter from one of US's far-flung territories. His mild and precise disposition made a strong contrast with the Chairwoman's fiery ambiguity. Since his questions were math-related and about specific budgetary matters, the Treasury Secretary seemed more frazzled than when he was receiving the emotional Sermon from the gavel-happy chairwoman.

Guam Rep asked the Treasury Secretary about a massive transference of funds from the budget, affecting things like the territory's education budget, trying to clarify whether the Earned Income Tax Credit was actually a "liability."

The language of most of our legislators reflects how bought off they are by the Cheap Labor Lobby. Which is why this Rep from Guam's straight-forward language was so refreshing.

By design, the "Child" "Tax" "Credit" and the Earned Income Tax Credit sound like things that would not subtract from the overall budget to me, too, but this is not money going to people who paid too much income tax. This is money that is credited back to people who make too little to pay income tax.

The moms often call it their "taxes," when explaining to you what they plan to spend it on. It is not education, Rep. from Guam. It is stuff like trips to the beach with a boyfriend and tattoos. That's doable for many low-wage mom workers since their major monthly bills are covered by government.

I enjoyed the Treasury Secretary's facial expressions at this point as well. It appeared to be two math types who didn't really thrive on the process of figuring out how to spin this fiscal irresponsibility, squirming in their chairs and / or looking kind of aghast at the absurdity of the situation.

It would have been nice if the Rep from Guam had been honest enough to narrow that down even more, explaining that the small amount of EITC money going to non-womb-productive, non-welfare-eligible citizens who mostly don't bother to claim such a paltry sum is the not the big issue.

It is the Refundable Child Tax Credit up to $6,431, not so much the smaller maximum EITC of up to $451. It is the big check, given as an additional reward to single-breadwinner, womb-productive households that also often receive free EBT food, reduced-cost rent, monthly cash assistance and free electricity when the single breadwinner works part-time, keeping her income under the earned-income limits for the programs.

He mentioned that Guam has a lot of poor workers like that, but so does the mainland. It is one of the big reasons for the impending collapse: undremployment of prime-aged citizens.

If it is due to technology, it is just because employers of office workers now mostly need data entry people since advanced software does most of the mid-level analytical work. And employers love to hire a near-100% womb-productive "diversity"of childbearing-aged moms with spousal income, rent-covering child support or welfare and refundable child tax credit cash who do not need decent pay or full-time hours. "It would mess them up with the government," as one all-mom employer put it.

Employers benefit from a welfare-fueled workforce that does not need higher pay. The Cheap Labor Lobby benefits. Congress Critters at $174k benefit via fat campaign war chests, but the many welfare-ineligible job seekers who need for pay alone to cover all household bills are screwed royally in this rigged system.

It is also screwing the SS Trust Fund that is no longer running surpluses and a lot of other things.

Guam Rep asked the Treasury Secretary if he was responsible and, specifically, what could he done to help restore fiscal order. Of course, the Treasury Secretary isn't responsible for the mid-allocation of funds. Pandering Congress Critters are. They have the "power of the purse" per US Constitution. The Treasury Sec. just tries to balance the books.

But it was nice that at least one of them showed some non-theatrical concern for finding out which of the six-figure Critters is responsible. He sounded like he wanted constructive action to stop the Neoliberal House of Cards from just putting more structurally unsound cards on the deck.

Good luck with that

[Apr 21, 2019] It is stunning that the entirety of federal law enforcement, intelligence, and State department embraced and fortified Russian misinformation in their jihad against Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Nevertheless, while it appeared to the Clinton partisans in the Obama White House, in the DoJ, the CIA, the FBI and overseas in the UK, that the e-mail case had been quashed sufficiently to preserve the likelihood of Clinton's accession, they had enough reservations to exploit a garbage pail of political dirt to take out an "insurance policy." ..."
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

blue peacock , 21 April 2019 at 12:15 PM

Who is taking the over/under on whether Barr will actually investigate the origins of the attempted entrapment of Trump in Russia collusion and the roles played by key players in US law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as the Brits & Aussie government agencies therein?

I'm willing to bet that it will all be swept under the rug and that Clapper, Brennan, Comey, Lynch & Rice will not be testifying to any grand jury. Barr has received multiple criminal & conspiracy referrals from Rep. Devin Nunes. However, Trump himself disregarded Nunes recommendation to declassify several documents & communications including the FISA application on Carter Page. The question is does Trump want to get to the bottom of the conspiracy? So far all he's done is tweet. IMO, Barr is the epitome of a Swamp Rat.

Tom22ndState -> blue peacock... , 21 April 2019 at 05:43 PM
"Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." – Sun Tzu

I have a feeling that President Trump will declassify and release the relevant documents in a manner that they will have maximum effect. It is stunning that the entirety of federal law enforcement, intelligence, and State department embraced and fortified Russian misinformation in their jihad against Trump.

This must never happen again. At least the operation was run by political hacks, former analysts who fancied themselves as operators. Their ham- fisted prints are over this shit storm. Thank you God for Comey, Brennan, and Clapper -- the three stooges of espionage.

Mad Max_22 , 21 April 2019 at 06:17 PM
I suppose that it's possible that AG Barr's DoJ will mount a serious investigation into the many tentacles ongoing governmental debacle that began with the Lynch DoJ providing political direction and cover for Comey's FBI to lie down on the Clinton e-mail investigation. Which came first, the cover up, or the capitulation, is not completely clear. Perhaps it was a hand in glove affair. Suffice it to say that by any standard of competence, it was a faux effort.

In my opinion, what was not done should constitute the elements of an obstruction violation. It would be a difficult charge to argue before a jury. Was the level of incompetence such that a reasonable person could not believe that it could not exist in the FBI, that there had to be malicious intent?

Nevertheless, while it appeared to the Clinton partisans in the Obama White House, in the DoJ, the CIA, the FBI and overseas in the UK, that the e-mail case had been quashed sufficiently to preserve the likelihood of Clinton's accession, they had enough reservations to exploit a garbage pail of political dirt to take out an "insurance policy."

Once again the question, could they possibly have been so incompetent. "What the heck" appears to have been the launching pad; Clinton's going to win anyway, Trump will be crushed under the unmaskings, leaks, and innuendo; and no one will ever find out.

But Trump wins, and the unwholesome political cabal is now stuck with an investigation of an incoming President whom they had tried to frag on the skimpiest evidentiary grounds imaginable. And worse, he appears to be sensing there is something rotten in the state of Denmark, and Cardinal Jim Comey is a shitty liar, and now he's out, and what is going to happen to this garbage scow they've launched, now with Comey gone. How do they kill this thing? Worse, how do they kill the political riot this thing has caused. They can't; they double down; they take out another insurance policy - Jim Comey's good bud, Bob Mueller with a posse of partisan attorneys, many vets of the Obama DoJ, a couple of squads of FBI Agents, including two who were prominent in the e mail case and the Steele inquiry, and a set up akin to a shadow DoJ. What could go wrong? They would hound the bastard out of office.

Which returns us to the question of whether Barr will mount a serious investigation into the political scandal of the last 100 years, at least. I suppose it is possible, but right now I'm not optimistic. For one thing Barr appeared at the big press conference with Rod Rosenstein. Rod Rosenstein is at minimum a critical witness. There is every reason to suspect that Comey, McCabe, Mueller, and Rosenstein conferred before Comey's leak to the NYT via a lawyer friend in furtherance of Mueller's appointment.

Going side by side with Rosenstein at this juncture doesn't augur well.

On the other hand, the continuing lunatic behavior of the demented left may give Barr no other choice but to sort the mess out once and for all for the good of the country. We'll see.

jdledell , 21 April 2019 at 06:28 PM
The biggest take I got out of the Mueller report is that Trump is a sleazy character and that is not what I want from the president, the Face of America to the rest of the world. Whether the Deep State went after Trump in an organized fashion is just noise in my ears. To me that is just normal political infighting the same as Trump and other Republicans went after Obama for being an illegitimate President as a non-citizen.
turcopolier , 21 April 2019 at 06:28 PM
Sorry, but it IS NOT "normal political infighting" for the cabal to have sought and still to seek the overthrow of of the legitimate head of state and government.

[Apr 21, 2019] Even if we got a candidate against the War Party the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump betayal his voters, surrounded himself with neocons, continues to do Bibi's bidding, and ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?

Highly recommended!
Here we need to look at the candidate political history, their actions before the election. "Trump scam" like "Obama scam" was based on the fact that they do not have political history, they were what Romans called "Tabula rasa". A "clean state" politician into which voters can project their wishes about domestic and foreign policy. That was a dirty. but very effective trick.
But the most important factor in Trump win was the he was competing against despicable warmonger Hillary Clinton, the establishment candidate who wanted to kick the neoliberal globalization can down the road. So the "lesser evilism" card was also in play consciously or unconscionably as well. So with Hillary as the opposition candidate it was a kind of implementation of the USSR style elections on a new level. but with the same with zero choice. Effectively the US electorate was disenfranchised when FBI has thrown Sander under the bus by exonerating Hillary. In a way FBI was the kingmaker in 2016 elections.
And please note that the Deep State launched a color revolution against Trump to keep him in check. Only later it became evident that he from the very beginning was a pro-Israel neoconservative, probably fully controlled by pro-Israel forces. That Trump electorate bought MIGA instead of MAGA from the day one.
Notable quotes:
"... The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down? ..."
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

blue peacock -> turcopolier ... , 21 April 2019 at 12:36 PM

Col. Lang,

In a recent call from Trump requesting his opinion on China, Jimmy Carter noted that China has not spent a dime on war since 1979, whereas we've spent trillions & continue to spend even more.

China invested trillions in their infrastructure while ours crumbles. They've invested in building the world's manufacturing capacity while we dismantled ours. We spend twice per capita on healthcare compared to any other western country, yet chronic diseases like diabetes keeps growing. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined yet how superior is our weaponry compared to the Russians who spend one-tenth of what we spend? We've financialized our economy and socialized speculative losses of Wall St mavens but when some politicians talk about spending on the commons then socialism is labeled bad.

https://www.epsilontheory.com/this-is-water/

The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?

[Apr 21, 2019] Muller report implicates Obama administration in total and utter incompetence, if not pandering to the foreign intervention into the USA elections. The latter is called criminal negligence in legal speak.

Highly recommended!
Apr 21, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , April 20, 2019 2:30 am

"Within approximately five hours of Trump's statement, GRU officers targeted for the first time Clinton's personal office. "
The report shows that Russia coordinated with Trump even if he was unaware of it.

Do you understand that you implicate Obama administration in total and utter incompetence, if not pandering to the foreign intervention into the USA elections. The latter is called criminal negligence in legal speak.

So all our three letter agencies with their enormous budgets and staff including NSA which intercepts all incoming/outgoing communications (and probably most internal communications) can't protect the USA elections from interference that they knew about ? Why they did not warn Trump?

Or NSA assumed that it was yet another CIA "training exercise" imposing as Russian hackers?

It not clear why Russia need such a crude methods as, for example, hacking Podesta email via spearfishing (NSA has all the recodings in this case), as you can buy, say a couple of Google engineers for less then a million dollars (many Google engineers hate Google with its cult of performance reviews and know that they are getting much less then their Facebook counterparts, so this might well be not that difficult) and get all you want without extra noise.

Historically Soviet and, especially, East German intelligence were real experts in utilizing "humint". With the crash of neoliberal ideology that probably is easier for Russians now then it was for Soviets or East Germans in 60th-80th.

For example, from my admittedly nonprofessional point of view, the most logical assumption about DNC hack is that it was a mixture of the internal leak (download of the files to the UCB drive) and Crowdstrike false flag operation (cover up operation which included implanting Russian (or Ukrainian) malware from Vault 7 to blame Russians.

And that Gussifer 2.0 was most probably a fake personality created specifically to increase credibility of this false flag operation (see for example http://g-2.space/ and https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/guccifer-2-clinton-foundation-hack-leak/ )

likbez , April 20, 2019 1:12 pm

Arne,

April 20, 2019 11:15 am

"Do you understand that you implicate Obama administration"

They did screw up.

Wrong. The fact that they did not warn/brief Trump suggests that this was an a deliberate and pre-planned attempt to entrap him by initiating Russian contacts by FBI/CIA/MI6 moles

We have some cursory evidence of at least four attempts to link Trump to Russians supposedly conducted by intelligence services ( https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/russiagate/ ):

  1. Moscow Trump Tower set up (via FBI mole Felix Saters), https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/the-fbi-tried-and-failed-to-entrap-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html
  2. DNC email setup (via CIA and FBI contractor Crowdstrike ) https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/test-it-yourself-the-2-second-rounding-fact-pattern-in-the-dnc-emails-by-william-binney-and-larry-jo.html
  3. Veselnitskaya Trump tower meeting set up (via MI6 mole Rob Goldstone). https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/04/httpstruepunditcomexclusive-six-u-s-agencies-conspired-to-illegally-wiretap-trump-british-intel-used-as-fr.html
  4. Papadopoulos set up ( via Josef Misfud (MI6) and Stefan Halper (CIA) ). At the time Halper probably was reporting to the current CIA director Gina Haspel who was at this time CIA station chief in GB. She is a Brennan protégé, of recent Skripals dead ducks hoax fame.

Surveillance was specifically established to collect compromising material on Trump and his associates with high level official in Obama administration (and probably Obama himself) playing coordinating role.

Colonel Lang's blog is a good source of information on those issues with posts by former intelligence specialists.

And please note that I am not a Trump supporter. I resent him and his policies.

[Apr 21, 2019] The US Deserves Its Own Nuremberg Trials

Mar 23, 2019 | www.truthdig.com

Gordon begins her comparison by exploring the main charge levied against Nazis during the Nuremberg trials, which was committing a crime against peace due to Germany's breach of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact, which, she explains, "essentially outlawed war." American prosecutors in the mid-20th century insisted that this initial crime was the unlawful act from which all other crimes committed by the Nazis originated.

"By comparison," the author tells Scheer, "I look at the Bush-Cheney administration's decision to make an unnecessary and illegal war, both in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq.

"It's very clear from the documentary record that exists that the main reason people were being tortured [by the U.S. before the Iraq War began] was because they wanted to get somebody somewhere to say that Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaida, so that there could be an excuse for invading Iraq," Gordon says.

Throughout the so-called war on terror, the ethics expert says, the U.S. has also violated several rules set forth in just-war theory, including what constitutes collateral damage and proportionality, in its slaughter of countless Iraqi civilians.

"We took what had been one of the most vibrant, developed and cosmopolitan countries in that part of the world -- which was Iraq -- and we essentially did what [U.S. military officials] used to say they wanted to do to North Vietnam: bombed it back to the Stone Age," Gordon says.

Listen to Scheer and Gordon discuss a range of moral issues that Americans for several generations have swept under the rug as the government both openly and secretly commits crimes in their name abroad. You can also read a transcript of the interview below the media player.

Robert Scheer: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence. The intelligence comes from my guests. In this case, it's Rebecca Gordon. And she has her doctorate in ethics and social theory. I teach ethics at USC; you teach at the University of San Francisco, which is a Catholic school, so presumably with all their difficulties they're still concerned about ethics. And actually we have a good pope, in major ways, who's dealing with the subject I want to talk to you about: the ethics of war making, and the violence that has been unleashed on the world. And you wrote two very important books, maybe the most important in some ways. One is called Mainstreaming Torture, and another is called American Nuremberg. So the question I want to ask you, you know, because we've always treated the crimes of others, particularly the Germans, the worst crimes of modern history, as an aberration in the development of the human race. Those people went berserk, crazy, and they were evil; now we have another category, Muslims are evil, they do terrible things. We're recording this on a day where in New Zealand, some 48 people trying to practice their religion were killed. So we see a lot of crime against Muslims, as there was obviously a lot of crimes against Jews and other people. And in your writing, you're very clear that the crimes of Nuremberg, of the Nazis, are a low level of evil. But the real question is, the Germans are so much like Americans. They were–largest number of immigrants in this country were Germans; they're a white, Anglo-Saxon population; they're highly educated, probably the highest level of music and science at that point. And can it happen here?

Rebecca Gordon: And that, of course, is the question many of us have been asking at least since the election of 2016, and probably before that. And the answer in some ways, of course, is that it did happen here with the invasion of the Americas by people from Europe, and the destruction of all the peoples who were living here at the time. So there has been a genocide on this continent and in South America that, you know, we just forget about, because it happened a while ago. But coming to Nuremberg, what I was trying to do in the book is to say how important the principle was that was established at Nuremberg, which is that international law is real law. And when you break international law, there are genuine consequences, and people can and should be held accountable. So what I looked at was the conduct of this so-called War on Terror in the post-September 11th period, and asked: Could the United States be accused of the same categories of crimes for which the Nazi leadership were held accountable? And there were three categories that were established by the prosecution, and these were crimes against peace; ordinary war crimes, which had already been well described in the body of international law; and a new category, crimes against humanity, which was created in order to take in the enormity of what had been done in Europe by the Nazis. But what was very interesting is that it was Americans who insisted that the first of these crimes should be crimes against peace. So what's that? That means making an aggressive war. It means starting a war that was not a war of self-defense, that was not a war of so-called necessity, but making an aggressive war. Why was that illegal? It was illegal because Germany and the United States and many other countries in Europe had signed a treaty in 1928 called the Kellogg–Briand Treaty, which essentially outlawed war. It said that nations will not use war to settle their disputes. And the argument that the U.S. prosecutors made was that all the other crimes that the Germans committed actually sprang from this first crime of making this aggressive, unnecessary, illegal war. And so by comparison, I look at the Bush-Cheney administration's decision to make an unnecessary and illegal war, both in Afghanistan and especially in Iraq. And just as the Nazi crimes arose from this making of a war that was wrong and illegal, the U.S. crimes–and specifically now because my area of expertise is torture, I look at the reasons why the United States became involved in torture. And in the beginning, it's very clear from the documentary record that exists, that the main reason people were being tortured, both in the CIA dark sites and also at Guantanamo under the Department of Defense, was because they wanted to get somebody somewhere to say that Saddam Hussein was in league with Al-Qaeda, so that there could be an excuse for invading Iraq. And so the other crimes–

RS: But wait, let's be very clear about that. This would be like the Nazis saying, Jewish bankers destroyed our economy and colluded with Western powers, and therefore made life untenable in Germany. That was the vicious scapegoating argument to justify Nazi expansion and destruction of other societies. So this thing of whether Bush–you know, it's kind of become part of folklore–they lied us into the war in Iraq. But what you're saying, and very clearly, the very idea of going to war in Iraq over the 9/11 incident, which not only did Saddam Hussein have–

RG: Nothing to do with.

RS: –nothing to do with, but actually he was opposed to Al-Qaeda, and it was the one country where Al-Qaeda could not operate in, was Iraq. But instead of going to war with Pakistan, or going to war, you know, elsewhere–no. We–

RG: Or Saudi Arabia.

RS: Well, of course, Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 hijackers–

RG: Came from.

RS: –came from. You could actually make an argument to go into–hey, you attacked us, you supplied the money and so forth. No, we whitewashed the Saudi Arabia thing and went to war with Iraq. So your analogy, listeners should understand, is very precise. It is inventing an excuse, a defensive excuse, to engage an offensive invasion.

RG: Exactly. And from that spring all of these other kinds of crimes. So then I look at ordinary war crimes, and if you go over the Geneva Conventions and the various other laws of war, you can see that there are a number of categories of crimes. Many of them have to do with failing to make the distinction between civilians and fighters, combatants. And of course the Bush-Cheney administration very early on decided to create a third, nonexistent category called unlawful combatants. But this designation doesn't exist in the International Red Cross's understanding; it doesn't exist in the Geneva Convention's. It was just a convenient way of saying this particular group of people, whoever it is that we choose to capture, detain forever, torture–they have no legal standing in the world. They exist outside of international law.

RS: So let me pick up on that also. And I don't want to lose the earlier thread of the invention of war, and connecting with this incredibly important work you've done on torture. And you made the statement, which I think people should ponder: the reason we were torturing these people was not to get information about a future attack. We already had Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and everything, we knew everything about it, and so forth. The real reason for it was to invent an alibi for the invasion, to get somebody to say Saddam Hussein was backing them. And I think that's a very important–a reason, by the way, to read your book, Mainstreaming Torture ; let me give a plug here. But this other argument is also interesting, the whole idea of the noncombatant. And we are doing this interview at a time when Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, is in prison–

RG: Yes.

RS: –again, because they want to fabricate a story about WikiLeaks and all that, and get everybody off the hook for all of the crimes and torture and everything they've done. But the interesting thing is, if you look at what did WikiLeaks–and they were just like in the position of the Washington Post with the Pentagon Papers, they're the publisher–what did Chelsea Manning reveal? She revealed the death of noncombatants, including journalists. So why don't you develop that a little bit, because that is so critical to the moment, that no one–no one has been prosecuted for those attacks that she revealed with the data. But she is now sitting in prison.

RG: And this is, of course–the fate of whistleblowers all over the world, and certainly in this country, is exactly that. That the matters that they have revealed disappear in a story that becomes about the crimes of the revealer. And of course in the war in Iraq, there was tremendous amounts of civilian death. And it falls into a number of categories; one category is those people who had actually been detained and were being held by U.S. forces. And for example at Abu Ghraib, we know–which is the prison outside of Baghdad that had been Saddam Hussein's major torture site, and which the U.S. decided in its wisdom would be the perfect place to hold detainees, and where we know a group of reservists ended up torturing people. But the real torture was going on upstairs, by the employees of various C.I.A. contractors, and by the C.I.A. itself. And that's where people actually died. So there's that whole category of people, but that's a much smaller category than the category of ordinary civilians whose lives were either ended or destroyed by the regular U.S. use of warfare in places like Fallujah and other cities. So that we took what had been one of the most vibrant, developed, and cosmopolitan countries in that part of the world–which was Iraq–and we essentially did what they used to say they wanted to do to North Vietnam, bombed it back to the Stone Age. And so in just war theory, there are these rules about discriminating between combatants and noncombatants, and you are permitted a certain number of civilian deaths as long as they are side effects of your attempt to go after some legitimate military target. And this is called collateral damage; it's, collateral means on the side, right? But in fact, in Iraq, we don't know because there are many different counts, but anywhere between 500,000 and a million people have died in the U.S. invasion and occupation in Iraq. And when you lay that against the 3,000 people who died on September 11th, none of whom were killed by anyone even from Iraq, you also see that we have violated another rule of just war theory, which is proportionality. We have destroyed human life out of all proportion.

RS: And let me just–you know, it's so difficult to grapple with these questions. And you are teaching at one of the major Catholic universities here.

RG: It's a Jesuit university, and that's a little different. And these are the left-wing Jesuits.

RS: I'm not putting down your school. [Laughter] Hey, I teach ethics at the University of Southern California–

RG: Enough said.

RS: –and clearly, yes, we are ethically challenged at this moment. I was about to actually celebrate the pope in this regard. And so there is a certain necessity for being consistent in the application of these principles, or they mean nothing.

RG: Exactly.

RS: And I think that's the body of your life's work, to remind us of that. So in a sense, you are at a good place where you're teaching. I'm just wondering, how is this disregarded so widely? I mean, people make a big deal about don't kill the unborn child. You know, I could see arguments about that. But if that's the beginning of a consistent, pro-life position, yes, it makes certain sense. If it's the end of a pro-life position, and then you end welfare and you don't care what happens to the baby and so forth, you're into a deep immorality. And it seems to me you're at a very interesting place. Because for better or worse, this pope seems to be the only one able to challenge, let's call it U.S. imperialism or imperial ventures, on a moral basis.

RG: I think that's right. He certainly is doing a better job of that than either of his last two predecessors.

RS: Or the major–

RG: Other major, yeah. No, I think that's right. And I think, you know, it's interesting that at USF, we have Reserve Officers' Training Corps. We have people who are training to be second lieutenants when they leave university in the U.S. Army. And I have had students tell me, I had a student from Guam who told me, you know, Professor Gordon, I know that when they send me to basic training, they're going to try to take me apart and change me from being a person into being a soldier. And I just want you to know that I'm not going to let them do that to me. He said, but you know, ROTC was my ticket off the island, and I have a duty now to follow through with my promise. And I just, my heart broke for him. Because what they do to you in basic training is actually a slightly lighter version of what they do when they train torturers. Everyone who becomes a torturer–and people don't just torture on a whim; people are trained to be torturers. And part of that training involves being brutalized first yourself, and having survived that ordeal, you emerge with this sense of yourself as an elite person who therefore has the right, as a superior being, and now the skills, to turn around and abuse and torture people who come along behind you. And the U.S. has its own methods of training, and its own locations where this happens.

RS: [omission for station break] I'm back after our break with Professor and Doctor Rebecca Gordon. And we were just talking about how we train people to be torturers. And this is fascinating, because if you don't consider this question, that you're getting basically good people to do horrible things, you're missing the whole point. But I just want to say something about the good German. Because the basic appeal of Hitler was the solid–you know, he was going to make Germany great again. And this is, I'm not demonizing Germans here, but Donald Trump's father was obviously familiar with this in his lineage, in that tradition. And the whole appeal, even though this dictator Hitler was this funny-looking guy, hardly the Aryan model–was to a notion of order. And even in the concentration camps, keeping direct bookkeeping of how many teeth you pulled and gold you found in the teeth, and so forth. But it's not–manners. They had the manners. And what bothers me about the very simplistic Trumpwashing that we're going through now, that Trump is uniquely evil–it's all about manners. He's crude, he's boorish, he's a misogynist, he says these things, he does these things, he grabs people's private parts, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. That's not his crime. His crime is he's continuing a tradition of bombing people who we have no right to bomb. And so I want to push this a little bit more, the whole question of manners. Because what Nuremberg did is unmask the manners. And this was also true in the Eichmann trial that Hannah Arendt talked about, when she talked about the banality of evil. Evil can be masked by manners. Smile while you learn to kill, right?

RG: That's exactly right. And I especially know, when you talk about the meticulous records that they kept, this is a hallmark of torture regimes all over the world. This very careful record-keeping, this documentation of the work that's been done–because there's no shame about the work. The process of becoming a torturer includes developing a sense of yourself as doing something uniquely courageous, uniquely necessary, a unique sacrifice that you as the torturer, more in sorrow than in anger, are being forced to do by the tremendous evil that confronts you. And so you're absolutely right that especially among upper-class liberals in the United States, the objection to Trump is his manner, and his manner is crude and obnoxious, as you say. But what he's really doing is not only continuing to kill people, and in fact increasing the number of drone strikes, for example, over the already great number that the Obama administration–

RS: A man of impeccable manners. Barack Obama. I even feel that way about Bill Clinton. When Bill Clinton's on television, I smile. I like him. He's warm, he's encouraging. And then I forget, he's the guy that ended the welfare system, for example. Yes.

RG: Exactly. Exactly right. And you know, Trump is now with his, I don't know if you've taken a look at his so-called budget, but he's planning to take away our Medicare and Medicaid, just in case you might have wanted to have healthcare. Obviously, that's dead on arrival. But nonetheless, the point is that he is masking what he is actually doing by distracting us with this bombastic display. And in fact, one of his officials in the EPA actually recently said exactly that, that they've been able to make all these regulatory changes because every time it looks as though the press is going to notice, Trump fires off a tweet, and everybody's like, ooh, shiny!

RS: This is a really important point. Because if you look at the Nuremberg Trial or you look at the Eichmann trial, these people all hid behind manners. They were well spoken, they were well educated, and they were following a Charlie Chaplinesque figure, a ludicrous figure; Hitler was certainly a, yes, he was a more ludicrous figure than Trump, in terms of manners and style and everything. But his popularity was largely based on being a sort of comic figure, in a way. He inspired a whole nation of logical, scientific, well-educated–probably the best-educated population in the world. And so I've had this experience, I've talked to people in the business community and they say well, you know, but Trump is good for business. And we did have a mess before, and then look at what's happened to unemployment, and so forth and so on. And so we are really at the limit of manners as a guide. And that's really what Nuremberg is about. Nuremberg was unmasking manners. Now, we didn't continue after that; we had the brief Eichmann trial. But what we didn't really ever do in this country–and this is why I want people to listen or to read your book, better to read it, although listening is great–we never really took apart the Nazi experience. Because we wanted the ex-Nazis and other Germans to be our allies in the Cold War. So we have never had that investigation of how an incredibly well-educated, Christian, law-and-order nation goes into madness.

RG: Not only that, we never did what the next step was supposed to be, which is establish a venue in which U.S. war crimes could also be examined in World War II. And there were a number of people who developed the Nuremberg principles, and worked on the original trial, who really honestly believed that this would be the prelude to establishing an international court for trying offenses committed during war, and expected that the United States would in fact be held accountable, not only for the firebombing of German cities, but for the destruction of up to 60 Japanese cities which were constructed of wood and paper and reduced to ashes, in a campaign that really very few people in this country even know about. Although Robert McNamara actually describes it in that excellent documentary–

RS: The Fog of War , yeah.

RG: -- The Fog of War.

RS: And it's excellent because you see that McNamara was involved in designing the bombing of Japan and Germany. But also, I mean–like, we talk about Korea. Oh, North Korea, animals, and Kim Il-sung and his progeny–nobody I ever run into knows we leveled every single structure in North Korea during the Korean War. Again, a war that was not needed; it was an attempt to get a Chinese communist who had come to power the year before. I mean, it's bizarre. Then you look at what we did to North Vietnam, and the carpet bombing, and everything. So this is critical. American exceptionalism–I've mentioned this a number of times on this podcast–to my mind, is a really, it's the most profound problem that American people have to face.

RG: It's a vicious idea. And it's been taken up in different ways by both the liberal democratic world, and by the, you know, the hard right in this country. The idea that by definition, the United States can do no wrong, because we are the leader of the so-called free world. Which is a locution I don't even understand anymore, given that we're not competing anymore with the unfree communist world that supposedly we were in opposition to. But the idea that–and this was the argument, actually, that the Bush administration made about torture. By definition, the United States is a country that does not torture. Therefore, whatever it is that you are observing, it cannot be torture, because that would be a logical contradiction, because we are the nation that doesn't do that. And it's almost impossible to enter into that understanding of the world, because no amount of evidence that you can present to the person who believes that is going to break that worldview. And so American exceptionalism allows us not only to have military bases in over 100 countries around the world; not only to conduct secret wars that the people in this country don't even know about–we just suddenly woke up and said, oh my gosh, we're having a war in Somalia! Who knew. And not to mention Yemen–I was very heartened to see that the Senate had actually voted with the House to reprimand the U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia in Yemen. But leave that aside. This whole idea that we are a unique bearer of human rights and democracy in the world–it's very hard to break, because it's a concealed, hermetically sealed worldview that people imbibe in grade school. And they imbibe it as they grow up, and it takes a lot of effort to break through. And one of the sad things that I see, especially with younger people that I've worked with in organizations like War Times/Tiempo de Guerras, is that once you've broken through, it then becomes very hard to imagine that the United States is not permanently and always going to be the hegemon. It almost, having made the effort and understood the danger the U.S. actually presents to the world, it becomes almost impossible to recognize when the U.S. actually loses one. And I think it's very important we claim our victories.

RS: Well you know, you hit it clearly with this, the abandonment by the Democratic Party of any serious oppositional role. [With] control of the House now, there should be hearings about what are we doing in these different countries. And instead they're actually criticizing Trump for being, kind of selling out by getting out of Afghanistan, or not fighting more aggressively in Syria. And we've actually sort of lost the peace movement, in a way, is a theme I get back to once in a while here. And we forget, actually, most of the terrible wars since World War II have been fought under democrats, and financed enthusiastically. So I want to get back to basic moral principles, because they don't mean anything if you're not consistent. You have to call out people on the left or on the right, you have to call out war crimes, you have to call out the attacks on homosexuals, black people, Jewish people–anybody, any other, and so forth. It's something that Jesus reminded us of in the tale of the Good Samaritan, if you can believe that Luke is the word of God, and not the others, [Laughter] where the Good Samaritan doesn't appear. I don't want to get into your whole Catholic university thing here. But it's interesting to me, this notion of consistency. Because it's painful to be consistent. It requires examining the motives of people you voted for. And this was the problem of Germany: people forget Hitler was elected. People forget Germany had all the trappings of a–

RG: Of a democracy.

RS: –of a democracy. And more important, the conceit that somehow education–education, and manners–will prevent genocide is a lie. Maybe it's time to recognize this whole notion of American greatness is the end of thought; if you are by definition great, there's nothing to question. And it seems to me that main religions that we've had, their one demand that they have in common is you must question not only your nation's morality, but your own. The devil is in you. We have to struggle with this devil, we have to struggle with these forces. Yet as a nation, we think America the beautiful absolves us all. And that's what you're saying in your torture book. That basically, you take these young recruits that have a very limited knowledge of our history, and you convince them that they are the agents, really, of a higher power.

RG: Absolutely right. And in doing that, you pervert the very virtues that we say the United States is supposed to represent. The virtue of courage, for example, becomes the courage to suppress your squeamishness at causing pain to another human being. And justice becomes the idea that you give the punishment first and the trial later, if ever. Right? And this is exactly what we see in the way our detainees have been treated. And honestly, another locus of this that we don't often recognize is what goes on on the U.S. soil prisons and jails in this country, where we have 2.2 million people locked up in cages, and where torture is a regular feature of prison life. It's no accident that the reservists who were downstairs at Abu Ghraib, they were from West Virginia, and most of them in their civilian life were prison guards. They were corrections officers. And there's a famous email that one of the ringleaders, Charles Graner, sent home which said: The Christian in me knows it's wrong, but the corrections officer in me loves to see a grown man piss himself. And that is exactly the attitude of the people who are caging up 2.2 [million] largely, vastly disproportionately, black and Latino, Latinx, people in this country today. And so torture actually is a red thread that runs through the entire history of the United States, beginning with the Native American population. Slavery itself would not have been as successful as it was at allowing the amassing of capital–which is, you know if you're a good Marxist, the congealed labor of these unpaid, captive people, who when they got to the United States, or what was not even yet the United States, would not work unless, the farmers figured out, they were caused physical pain. And it was the use, the concerted, intentional, well-documented use of physical pain in the cotton fields a century later that forced people to develop a physical technology of their bodies that allowed them, in the course of 40 years, to multiply by eight times the amount of cotton a human being could pick in a day, because the alternative was to have the skin taken off your back with a whip.

RS: You know, increasingly in my life I have been a bad Marxist. And I've embraced some truths that seemed to come out of these religions that, growing up, really frightened me or were intimidating, and also were on the wrong side. But let's take it back to the pope, let's take it back to the Jesuit school, University of San Francisco, where you teach. There's a wisdom that I daresay Karl Marx did not sufficiently embrace. It is that we all have a capacity for evil. That we have virtue; we care, we bring children into this world, we nurture them, we care about others, we can cry over a refugee. On the other hand, the 2.2 million–I've been on Death Row quite recently interviewing Kevin Cooper, who I believe is an innocent man. And fortunately, the governor of California has suspended the death penalty, and I think Gavin Newsom deserves great credit for his courage. But–and it is a cage, and we don't care; we don't care about these people. And we don't care about the people we bomb, and we don't care–they're expendable, they're throwaway people. You want them out of sight, out of mind. It's very deliberate. And the problem is, if Marxism were accurate [Laughter]–I don't know, not too many people care, anyway, but since the two of us are talking about it–you know, if it was just the economic motive, we'd probably do better. The libertarians, for instance–to the degree that they're right, they're right, yes. But the wars don't make sense. And growing that cotton that way didn't ultimately make sense. And slavery didn't make sense. Except–except if we have a barbaric part of our nature, if we have a need to exploit others. Not just for economic reasons; if power corrupts. And this, not to quote Marx, but to quote Jefferson or Washington, these people who came to power in this great experiment of ours, with all its contradictions–I repeat this ad nauseum on these podcasts. All their, yes, white, male, I got it, I got it, slave owners, the whole thing–they were on to a wisdom about their own corruption. And the reason we have the First Amendment, the reason we have all the amendments, the reason we have separation of powers, is that power corrupts.

RG: Absolutely.

RS: And what comes through in these torture stories and so forth–I talked, I have one student, just like you, I've had students go off to these wars. I had one who ended up at Abu Ghraib and at Guantanamo, a reserve officer. He was outside with the families. I'm not going to compromise his privacy. But he told me what shook him up was he was being told all these things about the people inside the jail, but his job was to herd the families that were trying to visit. And he could not deny that there was some kind of humanity going on with these people inside, or why would all these people care so much about them. And I think we need to be reminded of our own capacity for evil. I think that's what Nuremberg was about, that the people who commit evil don't present as evil and are not inherently more evil than we are.

RG: Exactly.

RS: And we have to struggle with this. And the good liberals who accommodate this, and say well, you know, Barack Obama had to do this with the drones, and governor so-and-so had to kill these people even though he didn't believe in the death penalty–we have to challenge that. Because that is the fount of evil.

RG: So, my favorite virtue, Aristotle calls it phronesis, or practical wisdom. St. Thomas Aquinas calls it prudentia, prudence. But what it really is, is that capacity of the mind that allows you to actually understand the moral questions that are in front of you. And not to be fooled by the fog of American exceptionalism, by the distraction of a Trumpian tweet, but to be able to actually examine and really see, in this case, the effects of U.S. policy on actual human beings around the world. And this requires a kind of courage to be willing to accept that your own self-understanding, and the understanding of your people, your country, might be wrong. But it also requires a willingness to look, to actually see and examine what's in front of you. And if there's one virtue I would like to see developed, and that I try to develop in my own students, it's this virtue of practical wisdom, where you actually are responsible for what the effects of your actions can reasonably be foreseen to be. And this is something that we in the United States really don't have. It's trained out of us, we don't have it. And part of it, yes, is that capacity to understand that the ability to do evil things exists in all of us, and it's also to understand that when you multiply that capacity by the technological and economic power that a country like the United States has, the results–well, the results

[Apr 21, 2019] Psywar: Propaganda during Iraq war and beyond

Highly recommended!
Powerful video about US propaganda machine. Based on Iraq War propaganda efforts. This is a formidable machine.
Shows quite vividly that most US politicians of Bush era were war criminal by Nuremberg Tribunal standards. Starting with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. They planned the war of aggression against Iraq long before 9/11.
Apr 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Desolation Row , Apr 20, 2019 10:21:11 PM | link

Desolation Row | Apr 20, 2019 10:09:06 PM | 41

Psywar

Source: https://vimeo.com/14772678 @ 48:15

[Apr 21, 2019] Escobar The Deep State Vs. WikiLeaks by Pepe Escobar

Notable quotes:
"... John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch. ..."
"... But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire. ..."
"... This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart. ..."
"... The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically. ..."
"... The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why. ..."
"... Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak. ..."
"... Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel. ..."
"... he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking." ..."
"... No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency" ..."
"... Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange. ..."
"... George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s ..."
"... Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Made-by-FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals...

But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.

In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it's that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don't get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/456414-assange-wkileaks-asylum-london/video/5cb1c797dda4c822558b463f

Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil's Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes);

"The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request."

That's far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange's legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d'oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.

All about Vault 7

John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

It was all about criminalizing WikiLeaks and personally smearing Assange, using "shock troops enlisted in the media -- those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth."

This plan remains more than active – considering how Assange's arrest has been covered by the bulk of US/UK mainstream media.

By 2012, already in the Obama era, WikiLeaks detailed the astonishing "scale of the US Grand Jury Investigation" of itself. The USG always denied such a grand jury existed.

"The US Government has stood up and coordinated a joint interagency criminal investigation of Wikileaks comprised of a partnership between the Department of Defense (DOD) including: CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for USFI (US Forces Iraq) and 1st Armored Division (AD); US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit (CCIU); 2nd Army (US Army Cyber Command); Within that or in addition, three military intelligence investigations were conducted. Department of Justice (DOJ) Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). In addition, Wikileaks has been investigated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive (ONCIX), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB (President's Intelligence Advisory Board)."

But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire.

This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart.

WikiLeaks got Vault 7 in early 2017. At the time WikiLeaks had already published the DNC files – which the unimpeachable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) systematically proved was a leak, not a hack.

The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically.

There was some movement towards a deal, brokered by one of Assange's lawyers; WikiLeaks would not publish the most damning Vault 7 information in exchange for Assange's safe passage to be interviewed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why.

It's a leak, not a hack

Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak.

Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel.

There was nothing for Comey to "investigate". Or there would have, if Comey had ordered the FBI to examine the DNC servers. So why talk to Julian Assange?

T he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking."

No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency", usually manipulated by Russia.

Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange.

It's a long and winding road, to be traversed in at least two years, if Julian Assange is ever to be extradited to the US. Two things for the moment are already crystal clear. The USG is obsessed to shut down WikiLeaks once and for all. And because of that, Julian Assange will never get a fair trial in the "so-called 'Espionage Court'" of the Eastern District of Virginia, as detailed by former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Meanwhile, the non-stop demonization of Julian Assange will proceed unabated, faithful to guidelines established over a decade ago. Assange is even accused of being a US intel op, and WikiLeaks a splinter Deep State deep cover op.

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood. It's all ultra-high-stakes shadow play – and the show has not even begun.


JailBanksters , 40 minutes ago link

Not to mention the Pentagram has silenced 100,000 whistleblower complaints by Intimidation, threats, money or accidents over 5 years . A Whistleblower only does this when know there is something seriously wrong. Just Imagine how many knew something was wrong but looked the other way.

ExPat2018 , 47 minutes ago link

George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s

Betrayed , 2 hours ago link

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood.

Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it.

besnook , 2 hours ago link

assange and wikileaks are the real criminals despite being crimeless. the **** is a sanctioned criminal, allowed to be criminal with the system because the rest of the sanctioned criminals would be exposed if she was investigated.

this is not the rule of laws. this is the law of rulers.

_triplesix_ , 2 hours ago link

Anyone seen Imran Awan lately?

Four chan , 34 minutes ago link

yeah those ***** go free because they got everything on the stupid dems and they are muslim.

assange exposes the podesta dws and clinton fraud against bernie voters+++ and hes the bad guy. yeah right

hillary clinton murdered seth rich sure as **** too.

[Apr 21, 2019] Mark Ames: The FBI Has No Legal Charter But Lots of Kompromat

Notable quotes:
"... Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico). ..."
"... The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005. ..."
"... Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself. ..."
"... Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either. ..."
May 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Mark Ames, founding editor of the Moscow satirical paper The eXile and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast with Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan). Subscribe here . Originally published at The Exiled

I made the mistake of listening to NPR last week to find out what Conventional Wisdom had to say about Trump firing Comey, on the assumption that their standardized Mister-Rogers-on-Nyquil voice tones would rein in the hysteria pitch a little. And on the surface, it did-the NPR host and guests weren't directly shrieking "the world is ending! We're all gonna die SHEEPLE!" the way they were on CNN. But in a sense they were screaming "fire!", if you know how to distinguish the very minute pitch level differences in the standard NPR Nyquil voice.

The host of the daytime NPR program asked his guests how serious, and how "unprecedented" Trump's decision to fire his FBI chief was. The guests answers were strange: they spoke about "rule of law" and "violating the Constitution" but then switched to Trump "violating norms"-and back again, interchanging "norms" and "laws" as if they're synonyms. One of the guests admitted that Trump firing Comey was 100% legal, but that didn't seem to matter in this talk about Trump having abandoned rule-of-law for a Putinist dictatorship. These guys wouldn't pass a high school civics class, but there they were, garbling it all up. What mattered was the proper sense of panic and outrage-I'm not sure anyone really cared about the actual legality of the thing, or the legal, political or "normative" history of the FBI.

For starters, the FBI hardly belongs in the same set with concepts like "constitutional" or " rule of law." That's because the FBI was never established by a law. US Lawmakers refused to approve an FBI bureau over a century ago when it was first proposed by Teddy Roosevelt. So he ignored Congress, and went ahead and set it up by presidential fiat. That's one thing the civil liberties crowd hates discussing - how centralized US political power is in the executive branch, a feature in the constitutional system put there by the holy Founders.

In the late 1970s, at the tail end of our brief Glasnost, there was a lot of talk in Washington about finally creating a legal charter for the FBI -70 years after its founding. A lot of serious ink was spilled trying to transform the FBI from an extralegal secret police agency to something legal and defined. If you want to play archeologist to America's recent history, you can find this in the New York Times' archives, articles with headlines like "Draft of Charter for F.B.I. Limits Inquiry Methods" :

The Carter Administration will soon send to Congress the first governing charter for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The proposed charter imposes extensive but not absolute restrictions on the bureau's employment of controversial investigative techniques, .including the use of informers, undercover agents and covert criminal activity.

The charter also specifies the duties and powers of the bureau, setting precise standards and procedures for the initiation ,and conduct of investigations. It specifically requires the F.B.I. to observe constitutional rights and establishes safeguards against unchecked harassment, break‐ins and other abuses.

followed by the inevitable lament, like this editorial from the Christian Science Monitor a year later, "Don't Forget the FBI Charter". Which of course we did forget-that was Reagan's purpose and value for the post-Glasnost reaction: forgetting. As historian Athan Theoharis wrote , "After 1981, Congress never seriously considered again any of the FBI charter proposals."

The origins of the FBI have been obscured both because of its dubious legality and because of its original political purpose-to help the president battle the all-powerful American capitalists. It wasn't that Teddy Roosevelt was a radical leftist-he was a Progressive Republican, which sounds like an oxymoron today but which was mainstream and ascendant politics in his time. Roosevelt was probably the first president since Andrew Jackson to try to smash concentrated wealth-power, or at least some of it. He could be brutally anti-labor, but so were the powerful capitalists he fought, and all the structures of government power. He met little opposition pursuing his imperial Social Darwinist ambitions outside America's borders-but he had a much harder time fighting the powerful capitalists at home against Roosevelt's most honorable political obsession: preserving forests, parks and public lands from greedy capitalists. An early FBI memo to Hoover about the FBI's origins explains,

"Roosevelt, in his characteristic dynamic fashion, asserted that the plunderers of the public domain would be prosecuted and brought to justice."

According to New York Times reporter Tim Wiener's Enemies: A History of the FBI , it was the Oregon land fraud scandal of 1905-6 that put the idea of an FBI in TR's hyperactive mind. The scandal involved leading Oregon politicians helping railroad tycoon Edward Harriman illegally sell off pristine Oregon forest lands to timber interests, and it ended with an Oregon senator and the state's only two House representatives criminally charged and put on trial-along with dozens of other Oregonians. Basically, they were raping the state's public lands and forests like colonists stripping a foreign country-and that stuck in TR's craw.

TR wanted his attorney general-Charles Bonaparte (yes, he really was a descendant of that Bonaparte)-to make a full report to on the rampant land fraud scams that the robber barons were running to despoil the American West, and which threatened TR's vision of land and forest conservation and parks. Bonaparte created an investigative team from the US Secret Service, but TR thought their report was a "whitewash" and proposed a new separate federal investigative service within Bonaparte's Department of Justice that would report only to the Attorney General.

Until then, the US government had to rely on private contractors like the notorious, dreaded Pinkerton Agency, who were great at strikebreaking, clubbing workers and shooting organizers, but not so good at taking down down robber barons, who happened to also be important clients for the private detective agencies.

In early 1908, Attorney General Bonaparte wrote to Congress asking for the legal authority (and budget funds) to create a "permanent detective force" under the DOJ. Congress rebelled, denouncing it as a plan to create an American okhrana . Democrat Joseph Sherley wrote that "spying on men and prying into what would ordinarily be considered their private affairs" went against "American ideas of government"; Rep. George Waldo, a New York Republican, said the proposed FBI was a "great blow to freedom and to free institutions if there should arise in this country any such great central secret-service bureau as there is in Russia."

So Congress's response was the opposite, banning Bonaparte's DOJ from spending any funds at all on a proposed FBI. Another Congressman wrote another provision into the budget bill banning the DOJ from hiring Secret Service employees for any sort of FBI type agency. So Bonaparte waited until Congress took its summer recess, set aside some DOJ funds, recruited some Secret Service agents, and created a new federal detective bureau with 34 agents. This was how the FBI was born. Congress wasn't notified until the end of 1908, in a few lines in a standard report - "oh yeah, forgot to tell you-the executive branch went ahead and created an American okhrana because, well, the ol' joke about dogs licking their balls. Happy New Year!"

The sordid history of America's extralegal secret police-initially named the Bureau of Investigation, changed to the FBI ("Federal") in the 30's, is mostly a history of xenophobic panic-mongering, illegal domestic spying, mass roundups and plans for mass-roundups, false entrapment schemes, and planting what Russians call "kompromat"- compromising information about a target's sex life-to blackmail or destroy American political figures that the FBI didn't like.

The first political victim of J Edgar Hoover's kompromat was Louis Post, the assistant secretary of labor under Woodrow Wilson. Post's crime was releasing over 1,000 alleged Reds from detention facilities near the end of the FBI's Red Scare crackdown, when they jailed and deported untold thousands on suspicion of being Communists. The FBI's mass purge began with popular media support in 1919, but by the middle of 1920, some (not the FBI) were starting to get a little queasy. A legal challenge to the FBI's mass purges and exiles in Boston ended with a federal judge denouncing the FBI. After that ruling, assistant secretary Louis Post, a 71-year-old well-meaning progressive, reviewed the cases against the last 1500 detainees that the FBI wanted to deport, and found that there was absolutely nothing on at least 75 percent of the cases. Post's review threatened to undo thousands more FBI persecutions of alleged Moscow-controlled radicals.

So one of the FBI's most ambitious young agents, J Edgar Hoover, collected kompromat on Post and his alleged associations with other alleged Moscow-controlled leftists, and gave the file to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives-which promptly announced it would hold hearings to investigate Post as a left subversive. The House tried to impeach Post, but ultimately he defended himself. Post's lawyer compared his political persecutors to the okhrana (Russia, again!): "We in America have sunk to the level of the government of Russia under the Czarist regime," describing the FBI's smear campaign as "even lower in some of their methods than the old Russian officials."

Under Harding, the FBI had a new chief, William Burns, who made headlines blaming the terror bombing attack on Wall Street of 1920 that killed 34 people on a Kremlin-run conspiracy. The FBI claimed it had a highly reliable inside source who told them that Lenin sent $30,000 to the Soviets' diplomatic mission in New York, which was distributed to four local Communist agents who arranged the Wall Street bombing. The source claimed to have personally spoken with Lenin, who boasted that the bombing was so successful he'd ordered up more.

The only problem was that the FBI's reliable source, a Jewish-Polish petty criminal named Wolf Lindenfeld, turned out to be a bullshitter-nicknamed "Windy Linde"-who thought his fake confession about Lenin funding the bombing campaign would get him out of Poland's jails and set up in a comfortable new life in New York.

By 1923, the FBI had thoroughly destroyed America's communist and radical labor movements-allowing it to focus on its other favorite pastime: spying on and destroying political opponents. The FBI spied on US Senators who supported opening diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union: Idaho's William Borah, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; Thomas Walsh of the Judiciary Committee, and Burton K Wheeler, the prairie Populist senator from Montana, who visited the Soviet Union and pushed for diplomatic relations. Harding's corrupt Attorney General Dougherty denounced Sen. Wheeler as "the Communist leader in the Senate" and "no more a Democrat than Stalin, his comrade in Moscow." Dougherty accused Sen. Wheeler of being part of a conspiracy "to capture, by deceit and design, as many members of the Senate as possible and to spread through Washington and the cloakrooms of Congress a poison gas as deadly as that which sapped and destroyed brave soldiers in the last war."

Hoover, now a top FBI official, quietly fed kompromat to journalists he cultivated, particularly an AP reporter named Richard Whitney, who published a popular book in 1924, "Reds In America" alleging Kremlin agents "had an all-pervasive influence over American institutions; they had infiltrated every corner of American life." Whitney named Charlie Chaplin as a Kremlin agent, along with Felix Frankfurter and members of the Senate pushing for recognition of the Soviet Union. That killed any hope for diplomatic recognition for the next decade.

Then the first Harding scandals broke-Teapot Dome, Veterans Affairs, bribery at the highest rungs. When Senators Wheeler and Walsh opened bribery investigations, the FBI sent agents to the senators' home state to drum up false bribery charges against Sen. Wheeler. The charges were clearly fake, and a jury dismissed the charges. But Attorney General Dougherty was indicted for fraud and forced to resign, as was his FBI chief Burns-but not Burns' underling Hoover, who stayed in the shadows.

"We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail This must stop."

With the Cold War, the FBI became obsessed with homosexuals as America's Fifth Column under Moscow's control. Homosexuals, the FBI believed, were susceptible to Kremlin kompromat-so the FBI collected and disseminated its own kompromat on alleged American homosexuals, supposedly to protect America from the Kremlin. In the early 1950s, Hoover launched the Sex Deviates Program to spy on American homosexuals and purge them from public life. The FBI built up 300,000 pages of files on suspected homosexuals and contacted their employers, local law enforcement and universities to "to drive homosexuals from every institution of government, higher learning, and law enforcement in the nation," according to Tim Weiner's book Enemies. No one but the FBI knows exactly how many Americans' lives and careers were destroyed by the FBI's Sex Deviants Program but Hoover-who never married, lived with his mother until he was 40, and traveled everywhere with his "friend" Clyde Tolson .

In the 1952 election, Hoover was so committed to helping the Republicans and Eisenhower win that he compiled and disseminated a 19-page kompromat file alleging that his Democratic Party rival Adlai Stevenson was gay. The FBI's file on Stevenson was kept in the Sex Deviants Program section-it included libelous gossip, claiming that Stevenson was one of Illinois' "best known homosexuals" who went by the name "Adeline" in gay cruising circles.

In the 1960s, Hoover and his FBI chiefs collected kompromat on the sex lives of JFK and Martin Luther King. Hoover presented some of his kompromat on JFK to Bobby Kennedy, in a concern-trollish way claiming to "warn" him that the president was opening himself up to blackmail. It was really a way for Hoover to let the despised Kennedy brothers know he could destroy them, should they try to Comey him out of his FBI office. Hoover's kompromat on MLK's sex life was a particular obsession of his-he now believed that African-Americans, not homosexuals, posed the greatest threat to become a Kremlin Fifth Column. The FBI wiretapped MLK's private life, collecting tapes of his affairs with other women, which a top FBI official then mailed to Martin Luther King's wife, along with a note urging King to commit suicide.

FBI letter anonymously mailed to Martin Luther King Jr's wife, along with kompromat sex tapes

After JFK was murdered, when Bobby Kennedy ran for the Senate in 1964, he recounted another disturbing FBI/kompromat story that President Johnson shared with him on the campaign trail. LBJ told Bobby about a stack of kompromat files - FBI reports "detailing the sexual debauchery of members of the Senate and House who consorted with prostitutes." LBJ asked RFK if the kompromat should be leaked selectively to destroy Republicans before the 1964 elections. Kennedy recalled,

"He told me he had spent all night sitting up and reading the files of the FBI on all these people. And Lyndon talks about that information and material so freely. Lyndon talks about everybody, you see, with everybody. And of course that's dangerous."

Kennedy had seen some of the same FBI kompromat files as attorney general, but he was totally opposed to releasing such unsubstantiated kompromat-such as, say, the Trump piss files-because doing so would "destroy the confidence that people in the United States had in their government and really make us a laughingstock around the world."

Imagine that.

Which brings me to the big analogy every hack threw around last week, calling Trump firing Comey "Nixonian." Actually, what Trump did was more like the very opposite of Nixon, who badly wanted to fire Hoover in 1971-2, but was too afraid of the kompromat Hoover might've had on him to make the move. Nixon fell out with his old friend and onetime mentor J Edgar Hoover in 1971, when the ailing old FBI chief refused to get sucked in to the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers investigation, especially after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times. Part of the reason Nixon created his Plumbers team of black bag burglars was because Hoover had become a bit skittish in his last year on this planet-and that drove Nixon crazy.

Nixon called his chief of staff Haldeman:

Nixon: I talked to Hoover last night and Hoover is not going after this case [Ellsberg] as strong as I would like. There's something dragging him.

Haldeman: You don't have the feeling the FBI is really pursuing this?

Nixon: Yeah, particularly the conspiracy side. I want to go after everyone. I'm not so interested in Ellsberg, but we have to go after everybody who's a member of this conspiracy.

Hoover's ambitious deputies in the FBI were smelling blood, angling to replace him. His number 3, Bill Sullivan (who sent MLK the sex tapes and suicide note) was especially keen to get rid of Hoover and take his place. So as J Edgar was stonewalling the Daniel Ellsberg investigation, Sullivan showed up in a Department of Justice office with two suitcases packed full of transcripts and summaries of illegal wiretaps that Kissinger and Nixon had ordered on their own staff and on American journalists. The taps were ordered in Nixon's first months in the White House in 1969, to plug up the barrage of leaks, the likes of which no one had ever seen before. Sullivan took the leaks from J Edgar's possession and told the DOJ official that they needed to be hidden from Hoover, who planned to use them as kompromat to blackmail Nixon.

Nixon decided he was going to fire J Edgar the next day. This was in September, 1971. But the next day came, and Nixon got scared. So he tried to convince his attorney general John Mitchell to fire Hoover for him, but Mitchell said only the President could fire J Edgar Hoover. So Nixon met him for breakfast, and, well, he just didn't have the guts. Over breakfast, Hoover flattered Nixon and told him there was nothing more in the world he wanted than to see Nixon re-elected. Nixon caved; the next day, J Edgar Hoover unceremoniously fired his number 3 Bill Sullivan, locking him out of the building and out of his office so that he couldn't take anything with him. Sullivan was done.

The lesson here, I suppose, is that if an FBI director doesn't want to be fired, it's best to keep your kompromat a little closer to your chest, as a gun to hold to your boss's head. Comey's crew already released the piss tapes kompromat on Trump-the damage was done. What was left to hold back Trump from firing Comey? "Laws"? The FBI isn't even legal. "Norms" would be the real reason. Which pretty much sums up everything Trump has been doing so far. We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"-and while those norms may mean everything to the ruling class, it's an open question how much these norms mean to a lot of Americans outside that club.

Huey Long , May 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

Wow, and this whole time I thought the NSA had a kompromat monopoly as they have everybody's porn site search terms and viewing habits on file.

I had no idea the FBI practically invented it!

3.14e-9 , May 16, 2017 at 3:04 am

The Native tribes don't have a great history with the FBI, either.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/thing-about-skins/comey-fbi-destructive-history-native-people/

voteforno6 , May 16, 2017 at 6:06 am

Has anyone ever used the FBI's lack of a charter as a defense in court?

Disturbed Voter , May 16, 2017 at 6:42 am

The USA doesn't have a legal basis either, it is a revolting crown colony of the British Empire. Treason and heresy all the way down. Maybe the British need to burn Washington DC again?

Synoia , May 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Britain burning DC, and the so call ed "war" of 1812, got no mention in my History Books. Napoleon on the other hand, featured greatly

In 1812 Napoleon was busy going to Russia. That went well.

Ignim Brites , May 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

Wondered how Comey thought he could get away with his conviction and pardon of Sec Clinton. Seems like part of the culture of FBI is a "above and beyond" the law mentality.

Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 7:56 am

Back in the early 1970s a high school friend moved to Alabama because his father was transferred by his employer.

My friend sent a post card describing among other things the fact that Alabama had done away with the requirement of a math class to graduate high school, and substituted a required class called "The Evils of Communism" complete with a text-book written by J. Edgar Hoover; Masters of Deceit.

JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

In Dallas,Texas my 1959 Civics class had to read the same book. We all were given paperback copies of it to take home and read. It was required reading enacted by Texas legislature.

Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm

So I'd guess you weren't fooled by any of those commie plots of the sixties, like the campaigns for civil rights or against the Vietnamese war.

I can't really brag, I didn't stop worrying about the Red Menace until 1970 or so, that's when I started running into returning vets who mostly had no patience for that stuff.

Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 8:35 am

We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"

Or as David Broder put it (re Bill Clinton): he came in and trashed the place and it wasn't his place.

It was David Broder's place. Of course the media play a key role with all that kompromat since they are the ones needed to convey it to the public. The tragedy is that even many of the sensible in their ranks such as Bill Moyers have been sucked into the kompromat due to their hysteria over Trump. Ames is surely on point in this great article. The mistake was allowing secret police agencies like the FBI and CIA to be created in the first place.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 8:37 am

Sorry, my initial reaction was that people who don't know the difference between "rein" and "reign" are not to be trusted to provide reliable information. Recognizing that as petty, I kept reading, and presently found the statement that Congress was not informed of the founding of the FBI until a century after the fact, which seems implausible. If in fact the author meant the end of 1908 it was quite an achievement to write 2008.

Interesting to the extent it may be true, but with few sources, no footnotes, and little evidence of critical editing who knows what that may be?

Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 9:12 am

Do you even know who Mark Ames is?

Petty .yes.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

Who he is is irrelevant. I don't take things on faith because "the Pope said" or because Mark Ames said. People who expect their information to be taken seriously should substantiate it.

Bill Smith , May 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Yeah, in the first sentence

Interesting article though.

Fiery Hunt , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

Yeah, Kathatine, you're right .very petty.

And completely missed the point.

Or worse, you got the point and your best rejection of that point was pointing out a typo.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

I neither missed the point nor rejected it. I reserved judgment, as I thought was apparent from my comment.

sid_finster , May 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

But Trump is bad. Very Bad.

So anything the FBI does to get rid of him must by definition be ok! Besides, surely our civic-minded IC would never use their power on the Good Guys™!

Right?

JTMcPhee , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

Ah yes, the voice of "caution." And such attention to the lack of footnotes, in this day when the curious can so easily cut and paste a bit of salient text into a search engine and pull up a feast of parse-able writings and video, from which they can "judiciously assess" claims and statements. If they care to spend the time, which is in such short supply among those who are struggling to keep up with the horrors and revelations people of good will confront every blinking day

Classic impeachment indeed. All from the height of "academic rigor" and "caution." Especially the "apologetic" bit about "reign" vs "rein." Typos destroy credibility, don't they? And the coup de grass (sic), the unrebuttable "plausibility" claim.

One wonders at the nature of the author's curriculum vitae. One also marvels at the yawning gulf between the Very Serious Stuff I was taught in grade and high school civics and history, back in the late '50s and the '60s, about the Fundamental Nature Of Our Great Nation and its founding fathers and the Beautiful Documents they wrote, on the one hand, and what we mopes learn, through a drip-drip-drip process punctuated occasionally by Major Revelations, about the real nature of the Empire and our fellow creatures

PS: My earliest memory of television viewing was a day at a friend's house - his middle-class parents had the first "set" in the neighborhood, I think an RCA, in a massive sideboard cabinet where the picture tube pointed up and you viewed the "content" in a mirror mounted to the underside of the lid. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5onSwx7_Cn0 The family was watching a hearing of Joe McCarthy's kangaroo court, complete with announcements of the latest number in the "list of known Communists in the State Department" and how Commyanism was spreading like an unstoppable epidemic mortal disease through the Great US Body Politic and its Heroic Institutions of Democracy. I was maybe 6 years old, but that grainy black and white "reality TV" content had me asking "WTF?" at a very early age. And I'd say it's on the commentor to show that the "2008" claim is wrong, by something other than "implausible" as drive-by impeachment. Given the content of the original post, and what people paying attention to all this stuff have a pretty good idea is the general contours of a vast corruption and manipulation.

"Have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no."

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:19 am

It is the author's job to substantiate information, not the reader's. If he thinks his work is so important, why does he not make a better job of it?

Edward , May 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

I think the MLK blackmail scheme is well-established. Much of the article seems to be based on Tim Wiener's "Enemies: A History of the FBI".

nonsense factory , May 16, 2017 at 11:16 am

Interesting article on the history of the FBI, although the post-Hoover era doesn't get any treatment. The Church Committee hearings on the CIA and FBI, after the exposure of notably Operation CHAOS (early 60s to early 70s) by the CIA and COINTELPRO(late 1950s to early 1970s) by the FBI, didn't really get to the bottom of the issue although some reforms were initiated.

Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico).

The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005.

Maybe this is legitimate, but this only applies to their protection of the interests of large corporations – as the 2008 economic collapse and aftermath showed, they don't prosecute corporate executives who rip off poor people and middle-class homeowners. Banks who rob people, they aren't investigated or prosecuted; that's just for people who rob banks.

When it comes to political issues and national security, however, the FBI has such a terrible record on so many issues over the years that anything they claim has to be taken with a grain or two of salt. Consider domestic political activity: from the McCarthyite 'Red Scare' of the 1950s to COINTELPRO in the 1960s and 1970s to targeting of environmental groups in the 1980s and 1990s to targeting anti-war protesters under GW Bush to their obsession with domestic mass surveillance under Obama, it's not a record that should inspire any confidence.

Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself.

As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences. The Saudi intelligence agency role in 9/11 was buried for over a decade, as well. Since 9/11, most of the FBI investigations seem to have involved recruiting mentally disabled young Islamic men in sting operations in which the FBI provides everything needed. You could probably get any number of mentally ill homeless people across the U.S., regardless of race or religion, to play this role.

Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either.

Ultimately, this is because FBI executives are paid off not to investigate Wall Street criminality, nor shady U.S. government activity, with lucrative positions as corporate board members and so on after their 'retirements'. I don't doubt that many of their junior members mean well and are dedicated to their jobs – but the fish rots from the head down.

Andrew Watts , May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences.

The Clinton Administration had other priorities. You know, I think I'll let ex-FBI Director Freeh explain what happened when the FBI tried to get the Saudis to cooperate with their investigation into the bombing of the Khobar Towers.

"That September, Crown Prince Abdullah and his entourage took over the entire 143-room Hay-Adams Hotel, just across from Lafayette Park from the White House, for six days. The visit, I figured, was pretty much our last chance. Again, we prepared talking points for the president. Again, I contacted Prince Bandar and asked him to soften up the crown prince for the moment when Clinton, -- or Al Gore I didn't care who -- would raise the matter and start to exert the necessary pressure."

"The story that came back to me, from "usually reliable sources," as they say in Washington, was that Bill Clinton briefly raised the subject only to tell the Crown Prince that he certainly understood the Saudis; reluctance to cooperate. Then, according to my sources, he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the still-to-be-built Clinton presidential library. Gore, who was supposed to press hardest of all in his meeting with the crown Prince, barely mentioned the matter, I was told." -Louis J. Freeh, My FBI (2005)

In my defense I picked the book up to see if there was any dirt on the DNC's electoral funding scandal in 1996. I'm actually glad I did. The best part of the book is when Freeh recounts running into a veteran of the Lincoln Brigade and listens to how Hoover's FBI ruined his life despite having broken no laws. As if a little thing like laws mattered to Hoover. The commies were after our precious bodily fluids!

verifyfirst , May 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

I'm not sure there are many functioning norms left within the national political leadership. Seemed to me Gingrich started blowing those up and it just got worse from there. McConnell not allowing Garland to be considered comes to mind

lyman alpha blob , May 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Great article – thanks for this. I had no idea the FBI never had a legal charter – very enlightening.

JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Thanks to Mark Ames now we know what Pres. Trump meant when he tweeted about his tapes with AG Comey. Not some taped conversation between Pres. Trump & AG Comey but bunch of kompromat tapes that AG Comey has provided Pres. Trump that might not make departing AG Comey looked so clean.

[Apr 21, 2019] CIA created ISIS and it went out of control

Notable quotes:
"... "I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before. ..."
"... Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall." ..."
"... My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil. ..."
"... I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them. ..."
"... Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so. ..."
"... The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list. ..."
"... CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection. ..."
"... CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings. ..."
"... No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today! Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame. ..."
"... The Devil's Chessboard ..."
Nov 23, 2015 | Zero Hedge

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," warns former CIA Director Jack Devine, saying that, with "frankly uncivilized" ISIS, there is a greater risk of violence worldwide than ever before.

According to The Hill,

"I think this is the most dangerous time in terms of sustained violence," he said on "The Cats Roundtable" in an interview airing Sunday on New York's AM-970.

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Devine cited the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an unprecedented threat in terms of its wanton disregard for human life...

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

"You have a group in ISIS today that is frankly uncivilized. These folks could get stronger and stronger. We basically have to destroy ISIS over there," Devine said.

Devine argued that dismantling ISIS's command structure is crucial for minimizing the danger it presents, much like al Qaeda before them. "We killed three-fourths of their leadership," he said of al Qaeda. "We have to do the same thing with ISIS. "We have to destroy their refuge over there. When they start to lose, their recruiting numbers start to fall."

Devine, who mainly served during the Cold War, said ISIS is a scourge without parallel because it has no concern for self-preservation.

"There is nothing that can be compared with nuclear weapons and their use," he said of tensions between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

"[But] people felt safe in the sense there was countervailing balance," he added. "Early in our contest with the Russians, it was clear we had checks and balances."

Finally Devine admits...

"If there's blame to be put, it's on our failure to have done that by this point."

Selected Skeptical Comments

i_call_you_my_base

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s..."

"And by dealt I mean trained and funded."

Looney

John Kerry to the MSM:

Do not use "Al Qaeda" or "Al Nustra" - just call them "Allies" (pronounced Al Lies). ;-)

Looney

Vatican_cameo

"I have never felt more uncomfortable than I do today," he told host John Catsimatidis. "Some percentage of the world today is always either unbalanced or radicalized. When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

By small group he means CIA, Right? I thought he would have been a little clearer.

Occident Mortal

My guess is that Iran have done a deal with Putin in that once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe. Russia is allowing Iran into the European gas market because Bandar threatened Sochi, and Putin wants to end the House of Saud in retaliation. Two weeks from now the world is going to make laws that pushes countries towards natural gas and away from coal and oil.

Paveway IV

"...once ISIS is swept away Iran gets to build a gas pipeline through Iraq (which it controls) and through Syria into Europe..."

I would say that's accurate, since the U.S. put ISIS there to block the Iran - Iraq - Syria pipeline. When Russia destroys ISIS, the previously planned pipeline can proceed. It has nothing to do with Russian 'permission' - Putin expects someone to eventually be sending gas up from the Middle East once the slaughter stops. He doesn't care who it is or how much. It's not going to displace more than a fraction of the Russian supply to Europe. Syria rejected the Qatari pipeline for its own reasons - probably because Qatar was planning on killing Assad and replacing him with a Western stooge well before the Qatari-Turkey pipeline was announced. In fact, the announcement was pretty much an insult to Syria. Qatar quite arrogantly announced that they WOULD be building the pipeline through Syria without bothering to ask them.

The U.S. blocked the first Iran pipeline (called the Persian Pipeline) FROM IRAN to Iraq in 2010 by forcing the Swiss company that partnered with Iran to back out due to Israeli - ooops, 'Western' sanctions on Iran. The second Iran-sourced NG pipeline from Iran through Iraq and Syria - called the Friendship Pipeline - was agreed to in 2012 by the countries involved. That's when the U.S. launched it's failed coup attempt in Syria and let its ISIS mad-dogs loose in Iraq. Tyler usually refers to this by the derogatory label of "Islamic Pipeline" - a snide label that Kagan-PNAC and Western oil companies used. Tyler never refers to the Western-backed Qatari pipeline as the Jihadi Pipeline, nor does he refer to the Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline as the Jewish Pipeline. I'm not sure about the inconsistency - maybe he's trying to make some point.

Putin negotiates with everyone. He was even talking with Israel about helping them with the Leviathan pipeline. The U.S. seems to favor 'regime change' as the preferred strategy to expand its oil interests where it has no business doing so.

goldhedge

The CIA guy doesn't mention the House of Saud.

Pfft.

Jack Burton

Good catch! And there never do.

CIA and House of Saud have done a long term deal to look out for each other in this world. The CIA serves no master, it is the fucking master. It does deals that are anti American, and they don't care, because America is just a sugar daddy to them. We are the chumps who pay their bills, while they put half of all honest Americans on their enemies list.

CIA is international, not American. They are the hit men for the biggest corporations on earth, and most especially the biggest energy firms. Oil and CIA go together, and there is the Saudi connection.

CIA is the lead agent if world Islamic extremism, they don't fight it, they nurture it! Their long term goal is to use mass Islamic terror armies to do what the CIA and Corporate masters want done. Need a police state in America? Do a hit on America 9/11. Need to eliminate Russia? Create ISIS and direct them against Russia's allies. And you can take it from there. It will continue on as before. Nobody left has the power to take down the CIA terror rings.

scrappy

Somewhere it's 3:00 AM

Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton Claims Saudi Arabia is the Largest Donor to "Salafism Terrorists" Worldwide

http://refreshingnews99.blogspot.in/2015/11/wikileaks-hillary-clinton-cl...

Clinton Foundation's Colombian 'Private Equity Fund' Deletes Website

http://investmentwatchblog.com/clinton-foundations-colombian-private-equ...

sgt_doom

"I dealt with terrorists in South America in the 1970s, but they never attacked innocent women and children indiscriminately," he said.

No shit, sherlock, and it's because of you and the most vile mass murderer of all time, the CIA (and DIA, and NSA, and FBI, etc.), but predominantly the CIA and the Pentagon, that ISIS and such exists today!

Whether it was Allen Dulles coordinating the escape of endless number of mass murderering Nazis, who would end up in CIA-overthrown countries, aiding and abetting their secret police (Example: Walter Rauff, who was responsible for at least 200,000 deaths, ending up as an advisor to Augusto Pinochet's secret police or DINA) or the grandson of the first chairman of the Bank for International Settlements, Richard Helms and his MKULTRA, you devils are to blame.

Recommended reading (to better understand why the USA is known as the Great Satan):

The Devil's Chessboard, by David Talbot

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=the+devil%27s+chessboard&tag=googhydr-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=78875381302&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2565125617248777980&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_34lcz93rcf_e_p4

logicalman
Funny how these fucks can come out and say this kind of shit and get away with it. The fucker's basically pleading guilty to murder, FFS.
Ms No
They didn't kill anybody in South America my ass.... The school of Americas, Operation Condor, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Guatamala, El Salvador .... who the hell are they kidding? The CIA has always been covered and nobody ever cared.
Perimetr
"If there's blame to be put. . ."

It's on the CIA for running its global terrorist operations, funded by the $1 trillion dollars a year coming from its Afghanistan heroin operation.

Noplebian

US Gives Their Proxy Army ISIS 45 Minute Warning Before Air Strikes......

http://beforeitsnews.com/conspiracy-theories/2015/11/us-gives-their-prox...

blindman

sirs and madams,
.
"Christmas celebration this year is going to be a charade because the whole world is at war. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.

It's all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be-a little here, a little there-there is no justification.

What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now? What shall remain? Ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims, and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers."

Francis I
.
http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2015/11/here-is-british-banned-...

Dinero D. Profit

Ladies and gentlemen of ZH.

In history, what must be, will be.

The discovery of America by Europe had to happen. The savages had to be eliminated and The Revolutionary War had to happen. Slavery had to begin, and after it, segregation had to begin, but, what must be, will be, slavery and segregation had to end. Old School colonization of poor nations had to happen. The Boer War had to happen. The Spanish American War had to happen. The Main had to be sunk. WWI had to happen. Calvary charges had to end. Totalitarian Communism had to happen. Germany's 20's depression had to happen, reactionary jingoism had to happen, and Kristallnacht and the Reichstag fire had to happen. The Allies had to win WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki had to be publicity stunts, and the Cold War had to begin. JFK had to be wacked, the Vietnam War had to happen, the FED still was happening. Civil Rights laws had to be passed. Recognition of China had to happen, going off the gold standard had to happen, and Nixon had to be kicked out of office. Corporate Globalization had to begin. After Carter an actor had to be President. Unions had to be stifled. Perestroika and glasnost had to happen. The Berlin Wall had to come down. The MIC had to find another enemy, and suddenly 9/11 had to happen.

Over population has to happen, poisoning the environment has to happen, and the NWO has to happen.

Ladies and gentlemen, the NWO is here, and there is nothing you can do, and nothing you could have done to stop it.

Edit. I see none of our supposed enemies 'truth bombing' 9/11, 7/7, and the 13th Paris attacks. I see no trade embagoes, I see no arguments in the Security Council over the illegality of US/Nato bombing in Syria.

blindman

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/jimmy-carter-is-correct-t_b_79...
Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the U.S. Is No Longer a Democracy
Posted: 08/03/2015 11:48 am EDT
.
On July 28, Thom Hartmann interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and, at the very end of his show (as if this massive question were merely an afterthought), asked him his opinion of the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns. Carter answered:

It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members. So, now we've just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. ... At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell." ...
.
it is the money "system", man.

blindman

corporations and hoodwink powers ride on the indifference of the damned, the silence of the dead and doomed.

Dinero D. Profit

The Satus Quo can rely upon the loyalty of their employees, Congress, the military, the military industrial contractors, their workers and family members, the crime control establishment, all Uniersity professors and employees, and every employee of all publically traded companies, and every person employed by the MSM.

The dead and doomed are irrelevant. If you have an establishment job, you'll obey and ask no vital questions.

Dick Buttkiss
Sunnis and Shiites hate each other far more than they hate Christians, Jews, or anyone else. If it weren't for oil, the USG wouldn't give a flyiing fuck if they anihilated each other. Instead, it conspires with them in ways far beyond its ability to comprehend, much less navigate. Thus is the US ship of state heading for the shoals of its destruction, the only question being how much of the country and the outside world it takes down with it.
ross81
thats bullshit Western propaganda that Shiites hate Sunnis and vice versa. In the same way that the Brits stirred up Protestant hatred of Catholics in Ulster for centuries, the US/Israel/Saudi does the same with Sunnis vs Shiites on a much bigger scale in the Middle East. Divide and Conquer.
geno-econ
This is getting scary in that one or two more attacks will result in travel freezes, flow of Middle East oil and result in huge increase in military as well as Homeland security costs. A depression or economic collapse a real possibility Perhaps time for a Peace Conference of all interested parties. The US started this shit and should be the first to call for a Peace Conference. Macho talk will only make things worse.
moonmac
We can print trillions out of thin air at the drop of a hat but we can't kill a small group of terrorists. Got it!
sgt_doom
Or, we pour billions of dollars every year into the CIA, NSA, and DIA, and only a poor old fart such as myself can figure out that Bilal Erdogan is the ISIS connection to oil trading (Turkish president, Erdogan's son) and Erdogan's daughter is with ISIS?
GRDguy
Ex-CIA boss gets it wrong, again.

"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

should be:

"When you have a small group of financial sociopaths willing to lie-to, steal-from and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

and you'll probably be punished, jailed or shot for tryin' to protect yourself and your family.

Ban KKiller
War profiteer. That is it. Along wth James Comey, James Clapper, Jack Welch and the list is almost endless...
BarnacleBill
"When you have a small group of people who are willing to lose their lives and kill anyone they can, we're all vulnerable."

Simply take out the word "their", and the description perfectly fits the CIA, MI6 and their like. For them, it's all a business deal, nothing more - a massive slum-clearance project. Destroy people's houses, provide accommodation and food, ship them somewhere else; do it again and again until the money-printing machine conks out. It's money for old rope.

http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2015/11/slum-clearance-on-massive-scale.html

And, yes, we're all vulnerable. The man got that right.

Duc888
"You get the politicians you deserve."

CIA types are appointed, not elected.

Duc888
I do not know if there are any Catherine Austin Fitts fans on this web site but this is definitely worth the time. The FEDGOV came after her non stop for 6 years when she worked for HUD under Bush Sr. If nothing else this lady is tenacious. In this presentation she uncorks exactly HOW the deep black budgets are paid for...and it ain't your tax dollars. What she uncovered while at HUD was simply amazing..... and she made an excellent point. At the top... it's NOT "fraud" because that's how it was all deigned right from the get go after wwII. It brings to mind the funny computer saying....."it's a feature, not a bug".

She digs right into how the CIA was funded... Truly amazing stuff. ...of course the dick head brigade will come along here and deride her because of the conference she is speaking at.... well, who the fuck cares, her presentation is excellent and filled with facts.

Yes it is 1 hour 20 minutes long but imho it is well worth the watch...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0mimIp8mr8

Dragon HAwk
After reading all these posts my only question is why does the CIA allow Zero Hedge to Exist ?

except of course to collect names...

[Apr 21, 2019] Deciphering Trumps Foreign Policy by Oscar Silva-Valladares

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. ..."
"... The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player. ..."
"... Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance. ..."
"... Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline. ..."
"... Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. ..."
"... A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions ..."
"... Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination. ..."
Oct 28, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Donald Trump's presidency, like preceding ones, is trapped by the interests of the power elite that has ruled America since World War II. The constraints imposed on domestic policy by this elite inevitably have a direct impact on America's foreign policy. Alternative social forces, like the ones behind Trump's presidential triumph, only have a limited impact on domestic and ultimately on foreign policy. A conceptual detour and a brief on history and on Trump's domestic setting when he was elected will help clarifying these theses.

Beyond the different costumes that it wears (dealing with ideology, international law, and even religion), foreign policy follows domestic policy. The domestic policy actors are the social forces at work at a given point of time, mainly the economic agents and their ambitions (in their multiple expressions), including the ruling power elite. Society's aspirations not only relate to material welfare, but also to ideological priorities that population segments may have at a given point of time.

From America's initial days until the mid 1800s, there seems to have been a broad alignment of US foreign policy with the wishes of its power elite and other social forces. America's expansionism, a fundamental bulwark of its foreign policy from early days, reflected the need to fulfill its growing population's ambitions for land and, later on, the need to find foreign markets for its excess production, initially agricultural and later on manufacturing. It can be said that American foreign policy was broadly populist at that time. The power elite was more or less aligned in achieving these expansionist goals and was able to provide convenient ideological justification through the writings of Jefferson and Madison, among others.

As the country expanded, diverging interests became stronger and ultimately differing social forces caused a significant fracture in society. The American Civil War was the climax of the conflicted interests between agricultural and manufacturing led societies. Fifty years later, a revealing manifestation of this divergence (which survived the Civil War), as it relates to foreign policy, is found during the early days of the Russian Revolution when, beyond the ideological revulsion of Bolshevism, the US was paralyzed between the agricultural and farming businesses seeking exports to Russia and the domestic extractive industries interested in stopping exports of natural resources from this country.

The growing misalignment between government policies and people's yearnings coincides with the ascent of the military establishment within the power elite that rules America. Despite the country's aggressive expansionism, America's power elite was initially driven mainly by political and economic forces and much less by its growing military strength. It is fair to say that the military establishment, as an influential component of the American power elite, only appeared in the context of World War II. Nowadays, it is a dominant player.

Today's power elite in America is fundamentally the same as the one that emerged after World War II and which was accurately described by C. Wright Mills in the 1950s. Consequently, the main forces shaping US domestic and foreign policies have not changed since then. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War did not make irrelevant the existing power elite at that time. The elite only became more vocal in its efforts to justify itself and this explains today's existence of NATO, for instance.

Despite its economic and entrepreneurial might, the US distilled version of capitalism is unable to attain the needs of a growing number of its population, as the Great Recession of 2008 has shown. Within the OECD, arguably the club with the highest levels of economic and social development in the world, US rankings are abysmal, for instance concerning education and health, as it lays at the bottom in learning metrics and on critical health measures such as obesity. The wealth gap has widened and the social fabric is broken. American economic decline is evident and growing social conflict across economic, social and geographic lines is just a reaction to this decline.

Trump won his presidency because he was able to get support from the country's growing frustrated white population. His main social themes (bringing jobs to America by stopping the decline of its manufacturing industry, preventing further US consumer dependence on foreign imports and halting immigration) fitted well with the electors' anger. Traditional populist themes linked to foreign policy (like Russophobia) did not play a big role in the last election. But whether or not the Trump administration can align with the ruling power elite in a manner that addresses the key social and economic needs of the American people is still to be seen.

Back to foreign policy, we need to distinguish between Trump's style of government and his administration's actions. At least until now, focusing excessively on Trump's style has dangerously distracted from his true intentions. One example is the confusion about his initial stance on NATO which was simplistically seen as highly critical to the very existence of this organization. On NATO, all that Trump really cared was to achieve a "fair" sharing of expenditures with other members and to press them to honor their funding commitments.

From immigration to defense spending, there is nothing irrational about Trump's foreign policy initiatives, as they just reflect a different reading on the American people's aspirations and, consequently, they attempt to rely on supporting points within the power elite which are different from the ones used in the past.

Concerning China, Trump is learning about the limits of his ability to successfully challenge it economically. It seems virtually impossible to reverse China's momentum which, if it continues, will consolidate its economic domination. A far-reaching lesson, although still being ignored, is that China's economic might is showing that capitalism as understood in the West is not winning, much less in its American format. It also shows that democracy may not be that relevant, as it is not necessarily a corollary or a condition for economic development. Perhaps it even shows the superiority of China's economic model, but this is a different matter.

As Trump becomes more aware about his limitations, he has naturally reversed to the basic imprints of America's traditional foreign policy, particularly concerning defense. His emphasis on a further increase in defense spending is not done for prestigious or national security reasons, but as an attempt to preserve a job generating infrastructure without considering the catastrophic consequences that it may cause.

On Iran, Obama's initiative to seek normalization was an attempt to walk a fine line (and to find a less conflictive path) between supporting the US traditional Middle East allies (mainly the odd combination of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey) and recognizing Iran's growing aspirations. Deep down, Obama was trying to acknowledge Iran's historical viability as a country and a society that will not disappear from the map, while Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, may not be around in a few years. Trump's Iran policy until now only represents a different weighing of priorities, although it is having far reaching consequences on America's credibility as a reliable contractual party in international affairs.

In the case of Afghanistan, Trump's decision to increase boots on the ground does not break the inertia of US past administrations. Aside from temporary containment, an increasing military presence or a change in tactics will not alter fundamentally this reality.

Concerning Russia, and regardless of what Trump has said, actions speak more than words. A continuous deterioration of relations seems inevitable.

Trump will also learn, if he has not done so already, about the growth of multipolar forces in world's events. Russia has mastered this reality for several years and is quite skillful at using it as a basic tool of its own foreign goals. Our multipolar world will expand, and Trump may even inadvertently exacerbate it through its actions (for instance in connection with the different stands taken by the US and its European allies concerning Iran).

While fulfilling the aspirations of the American people seems more difficult within the existing capitalist framework, there are also growing apprehensions coming from America's power elite as it becomes more frustrated due to its incapacity of being more effective at the world level. America's relative adolescence in world's history will become more and more apparent in the coming years.

A fundamental weakness of American foreign policy is its inability to understand war in all its different dimensions. The US has never suffered the consequences of an international conflict in its own backyard. The American Civil War, despite all the suffering that it caused, was primarily a domestic event with no foreign intervention (contrary to the wishes of the Confederation). The deep social and psychological damage caused by war is not part of America's consciousness as it is, for instance in Germany, Russia or Japan. America is insensitive to the lessons of history because it has a very short history itself.

Despite the need to see through Trump's true intentions beyond his pomp and circumstance, there is an important warning to be made. Trump's eventual inability to fulfill his promises, combined with his bravado and America's incapacity to take a more sobering approach to world events is a dangerous combination.

Oscar Silva-Valladares is a former investment banker that has lived and worked in North and Latin America, Western & Eastern Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the Philippines and Western Africa. He currently chairs Davos International Advisory, an advisory firm focused on strategic consulting across emerging markets.


Related

[Apr 21, 2019] CNN s Dana Bash Warns Trump If You Cross The Deep State, They Will Get Back At You; Even If You re The President by Tim Hains

Video
May 17, 2017 | www.realclearpolitics.com
On CNN Tuesday evening, reporter Dana Bash responded to this report in the day's New York Times alleging that Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to end investigations into former national security advisor Mike Flynn by quipping that the "deep state" -- intelligence agencies and the DoD -- "know how t get back" at people who cross them, "even if you're the president of the United States."

DANA BASH, CNN: So explosive. So incredibly serious. The Times report also says that James Comey created similar memos after the other meetings that he had with the president. So this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe the most explosive, but it's very clear that James Comey wanted to get out there that this happened, created this paper trail real time, contemporaneously rather, in order to protect himself from exactly what happened last week, him being fired, him being blamed. You know, wanting to know that he has sort of the information at his disposal if, in fact, this happened...

If you just take a step back, Wolf, just in the past 24 hours, right or wrong, what this president has done, his first 100 plus days, even before he came into office is pick fights with the intelligence community and now the law enforcement community. Particularly the way, never mind he fired James Comey, but the way in which he did it, not giving him the respect of actually telling him in person or at least not having him find out from cable news.

So we know that they talk about the deep state -- well these are communities that have a lot of loyalty within -- and know how to get back, even if you're the president of the United States.

And the fact is that when the intelligence community found out about the conversation that the president had with the Russians, talking about classified information, we don't know all the details.

We're told that it wasn't as bad as it might have seemed initially, that's what the White House sources are saying, but still, the intelligence community leaked that out. Now we know that the FBI director was keeping notes on many things. But the fact that this is the first one that he made clear and made public.

It's so incredibly explosive, as Jeff said, is the clearest most dangerous sign yet of potential obstruction of justice. Makes you think, what else is going to happen? And it's very hard for Republicans who have in the past 24 hours been more aggressively critical of the president begging for a crisis-free day or crisis-free hour, very hard for them not to take this incredibly seriously.

[Apr 20, 2019] Did Assange lied about Seth Rich?

Assange actually undermined the key pre-condition of the Deep state existence -- secrecy.
Notable quotes:
"... Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. ..."
"... The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire. ..."
"... HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

I'm just going to toss this one here at the end because I'm seeing it go around a lot in the wake of the Mueller report.

Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich.

This claim is unsubstantiated because, as we discussed in Smear 4, the public has not seen a shred of evidence proving who was or was not WikiLeaks' source, so there's no way to know there was any deception happening there. We've never seen any hard proof, nor indeed anything besides official narrative, connecting the Russian government to Guccifer 2.0 and Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks, and Daniel Lazare for Consortium News documents that there are in fact some major plot holes in Mueller's timeline. Longtime Assange friend and WikiLeaks ally Craig Murray maintains that he knows the source of the DNC Leaks and Podesta Emails were two different Americans, not Russians, and hints that one of them was a DNC insider. There is exactly as much publicly available evidence for Murray's claim as there is for Mueller's.

Mainstream media has been blaring day after day for years that it is an absolute known fact that the Russian government was WikiLeaks' source, and the only reason people scoff and roll their eyes at anyone who makes the indisputably factual claim that we've seen no evidence for this is because the illusory truth effect causes the human brain to mistake repetition for fact.

The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire.

And I guess that's it for now. Again, this article is an ongoing project, so I'll be updating it and adding to it regularly as new information comes in and new smears need refutation. If I missed something or got something wrong, or even if you spotted a typo, please email me at admin@caitlinjohnstone.com and let me know. I'm trying to create the best possible tool for people to refute Assange smears, so I'll keep sharpening this baby to make sure it cuts like a razor. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who helped! Phew! That was long.


motherjones , 52 minutes ago link

We don't have to like Julian Assange, but the release of the "Collateral Damage" video alone is enough to justify defending Assange and the freedom of the press.

Ozymandiasssss , 1 hour ago link

She really didn't debunk the thing about Seth Rich very well. Basically just said that whatever Mueller said wasn't true, which doesn't go very far for me. He definitely did imply that he got at least some of his info from Rich so if there is some sort of proof of that, it needs to be supplied; otherwise Mueller's story is the only one.

bh2 , 1 hour ago link

HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

beemasters , 2 hours ago link

I have recently seen a political cartoon with Dotard then saying: "I love Wikileaks" + " I will throw her in jail" and now saying: "I know nothing about Wikileaks" + "I will throw him in jail"

It summed up perfectly that swine's lack of integrity.

Downtoolong , 2 hours ago link

It's so simple. Assange and Wikileaks exposed Hillary, Podesta, and the entire DNC to be lying, deceiving, hypocritical, disingenuous, elitist bastards. His crimes are miniscule compared to that, and all who attempt to condemn Assange only show us that they are members of that foul group.

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

Yet Dotard didn't push hard at all to get Killary, Podesta & friends charged...not even tweets calling for it since he got elected.

TotalMachineFail , 3 hours ago link

Excellent thorough content. And Kim Schmitz pointed out they'll drag things on for as long as possible and try to add additional things as they go. Such a bunch of sad, pathetic control freaks. Covering up their own failures, crimes and short comings with a highly publicized distraction putting the screws to a single journalist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBs1dgYL-7w

When the next world leader is Kashoggied nobody is going to care.

freedommusic , 3 hours ago link

“ Ty Clevenger has FOIAed information from NSA asking for any data that involved both Seth Rich and also Julian Assange .

And they responded by saying we’ve got 15 files , 32 pages , but they’re all classified in accordance with executive order 13526 covering classification, and therefore you can’t have them.

That says that NSA has records of communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange. I mean, that’s the only business that NSA is in — copying communications between people and devices.”

—Bill Binney (NSA 30 year vet)

( source )

RussianSniper , 3 hours ago link

Long story!

Important topic!!

Assange and Snowden are freedom fighters, exposing the duplicitous, corrupt, and criminals to the entire world.

The hundreds of millions of mindless zombies are so brainwashed by the fake news industry, that if Assange and Snowden are not spies, they are criminal in some capacity.

I have liberal, conservative, and libertarian leaning friends, and virtually every one of them believe Assange and Snowden are traitors to America, got innocent people killed, are rapists, or too cowardly to stand trial in the USA.

What has happened to common sense and some necessary cynicism?

Dugald , 2 hours ago link

The trouble with Common Sense is it's not all that common.....

LetThemEatRand , 3 hours ago link

Why even bother arguing with these people. Assange gave up his liberty to reveal the truth, and the American public said in essence "so what." No one except the leakers and whistle-blowers faced any punishment, and I can't think of a single national politician who even talks about doing anything about the misconduct that was revealed. Yeah, a small percentage of the population is outraged at what was revealed, but the vast majority literally don't give a ****.

fezline , 3 hours ago link

Hehe... I guess you will find out how wrong you are in 2020 :-) His release of Hillary's emails gave Trump 2016... and him turning his back on Assange took away his chances in 2020

chunga , 3 hours ago link

Most regular readers on ZH know but this is an echo chamber for "Always Trumpers" so there won't be many commenters on this article. Rather than defend his DOJ's extradition attempts with implausible theories they'll be chattering back and forth about the Mueller Report.

/winning

LetThemEatRand , 2 hours ago link

Agreed. It's amazing to me that people who claim to be believers of the MAGA message don't see the harm associated with the arrest of Assange, and all of the other uniparty **** Trump is perpetuating. A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.

ZENDOG , 3 hours ago link

Whole lot of yadda yadda yadda about someone 99.9% of Americans don't know.

And even less who give a ****.

Hillary dead yet?

fezline , 3 hours ago link

Yeah and yet.... everyone seemed to credit Hillary's loss to the release of her emails on wikileaks... Hmm that narrative that seems to be trying to minimize the impact on Trumps chances in 2020 really breaks down in the face of that fact doesn't it?? Trump has no hope... just stop... get behind a republican that has a chance... Trump doesn't... he lost half of his base... get over it...

[Apr 20, 2019] Here is an interesting interpretation of Trumps selection of cabinet and advisor positions

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's main problem in this respect is that the diversity of viewpoints within the military, the NSA or other government agencies might already be too narrow and he needs a Republican version of Stephen Cohen who has always advocated for engagement with Russia, along with other people from outside Washington DC but with experience in state legislatures for the various departments. ..."
"... I agree and I suspect Trump regards Putin as a fellow CEO and perhaps the best one on the planet. ..."
"... A more fundamental problem is that the US has not yet reached rock bottom. So, its delusions remain strong. Trump, as said before, may be a false dawn unless the bottom is closer than suspected and he has new allies (perhaps foreign allies). ..."
Nov 20, 2016 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , November 19, 2016 at 8:41 am

Here is an interesting interpretation of Trump's selection of cabinet and advisor positions:

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201611191047623363-trump-administration-analysis/

It is not about politics, but Trump's peculiar management style, Timofey Bordachev, Director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at Russia's High School of Economics, told RIA Novosti.

"Those who have been studying the business biography of the newly elected president have noted that he has always played off his high-ranking employees against each other. While doing so he remained above the fight," he said.

And

Gevorg Mirzayan, an assistant professor of the Political Science department at the Financial University in Moscow pointed out two purposes for the nominations.

"Trump needs to consolidate the Republican Party, hence he should nominate representatives of different party groups to key positions in his administration to win the support of the whole party," he told RIA Novosti. Surveillance © Photo: Pixabay Trump National Security Team Reportedly Wants to Dismantle Top US Spy Agency The second purpose is to form an administration that doesn't look too "dovish" or too "hawkish" to be able to avoid further accusations of excessive loyalty towards Moscow, he suggested. Thus without an image of a 'dove" who neglects the national interests, he will be able to normalize Russian-American relations, the expert said.

The above brings rationality to the diverse selections made by Trump.

However, the black swan event will be an economic collapse (fast or protracted over several years). That will be the defining event in the Trump presidency. I have no inkling how he or those who may replace him would respond.

Jen , November 19, 2016 at 12:18 pm
I had guessed myself that Trump was going to run the government as a business corporation. Surrounding himself with people of competing viewpoints, and hiring on the basis of experience and skills (and not on the basis of loyalty, as Hillary Clinton might have done) would be two ways Trump can change the government and its culture. Trump's main problem in this respect is that the diversity of viewpoints within the military, the NSA or other government agencies might already be too narrow and he needs a Republican version of Stephen Cohen who has always advocated for engagement with Russia, along with other people from outside Washington DC but with experience in state legislatures for the various departments.

If running the US government as a large mock business enterprise brings a change in its culture so it becomes more open and accountable to the public, less directed by ideology and identity politics, and gets rid of people engaged in building up their own little