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16 September 2016

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LondonBob

The nationalists are Putin's most dangerous opponents whom he then persecutes periodically, although in current Western terms Putin is a nationalist in Russian terms he is not. In my experience, as Russia was previously a multinational empire, the Russian people understand that there are different peoples with different interests, and that Russians must pursue their own if they are not suffer at the hands of Armenians, Georgians, Jews etc.

I would say Putin is like Trump, he has, and has had, many Jewish associations. Whilst he is not an antisemite he is aware that Jews have their own interests and that is something he is cognisant of. Of course for some that would be evidence of antisemitism...

jld

Ha! Ha!
Imported troll from MOA?
No much chance here...

James Loughton

michael brenner
knows absolutely nothing about Rice University, its culture, or its student body. As a 73 Rice graduate, I can tell you the following: There are no fraternities or sororities at Rice because the "Greek" culture has been prohibited to all Rice students since the University's founding in 1911. Entrance to Rice is highly competitive, based solely on standardized test scores and academic achievement. All of its students come to Rice having been standout students in their high schools. For some, the quality of the student body comes as a bit of a shock. You will meet lots of people whose intelligence is at least equal to your own, and some in who you can only be in awe. Rice is known for a rather serious and conservative attitude toward getting a first rate education. It is not known as a party school. There are no "gentleman's C's" at Rice. All regular courses are graded on the curve. Many Freshmen who have gotten A's all their lives will be shocked to receive their first C's and D's. One third of each entering class will drop out prior to graduation to complete their studies at less rigorous institutions. There certainly was not a "rape culture" on campus.

Mr. Brenner, your ignorant and bigoted slurs against Rice call into question your other opinions as well.

MRW

@Jack,What is your definition of a sovereign currency? And who have such currencies?

A sovereign currency is non-convertible, meaning that it can’t be exchanged for a metal, and has a floating exchange rate, as opposed to a fixed exchange rate as we did pre-1933. These currencies are legally created **only** by the ‘sovereign’ government and backed by that government’s full faith and credit. They have the exclusive unlimited power to create their sovereign currencies, and don’t need to borrow to meet their expenses. Neither do they to tax at the federal level to meet their expenses.

These federal governments can pay for anything they want to buy (aka “spending”), and hire anyone domestically that they want to hire, in order to provision themselves—which is how the federal government creates jobs in the private sector and grows the economy—because they pay in currency that they issue, which is effectively limitless. They cannot go broke. They cannot default. Not unless the government voluntarily does it, which can happen when you have elected idiots in power, like Russia/Yeltsin stupidly did in 1998 when he didn’t have to. The only constraint is inflation.

Canada, the US, Australia, the UK, Japan, and China are monetarily sovereign. Japan, for example, has a debt-to-GDP ratio over 200%, yet it has the third strongest currency in the world, a highly educated population, strong manufacturing and industrial base, vibrant economy, and high living standard. The bond vigilantes can’t touch it, even though it has a credit rating below Botswana, because Japan doesn’t need to borrow money from other countries, just like we don’t have to. It suffers from deflation, just like we are right now; we’ve been trying to reach 2% inflation since 2008, currently at 1.1%. The bond vigilantes are what killed Greece. We can become the next Japan, but we can’t become the next Greece.

The Zimbabwean dollar disappeared in 2009. They now use a basket of other countries’ currencies.

The Venezuelan bolivar is pegged to the USD. That’s a fixed exchange rate. It’s not sovereign.

The Swiss franc went off its Euro peg 18 months ago.

I don’t know about Israel, and don’t feel like looking it up. But it is constantly hitting us up for bucks. And it needs USD to buy oil; it doesn’t have the industrial or manufacturing export base to provide for its needs on its own, even with the 1985 Free Trade Agreement (our first) with the US, a completely one-sided agreement in Israel’s favor. We are banned from selling many of our products there.

MRW

Robert Friedman wrote Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America. The Russian mob put a $100,000 contract on him after the book came out for exposing them.

While he was interviewing the top meanest banana in Brighton Beach (aka “Little Odessa”), he tried to use his Jewishness to forge a bond with the Jewish gangster. It fell on deaf ears. The gangster didn’t give a shit, and wouldn’t answer any questions. The only question he would answer was where he was born, some dinky Russian village in the middle of nowhere.

Friedman said, “That’s where my grandfather’s from!”

The gangster asked him his grandfather’s last name (different than Friedman’s), and knew the family. It was like Open Sesame, Friedman said. He became the gangster’s new best friend who took him to the Little Odessa clubs, introducing him around, and telling him how the Mafiya really worked.

Friedman wrote that he came to realize that in Russia, Jews weren’t united by religion the way they are here, “Is it good for the Jews?” with American Jewish groupthink and community exclusivity. Russians are united by the village or place they come from. Friedman discovered it is part of the whole “Mother Russia” thing, land, place, and religion has nothing to do with it. The anti-semitism of the Soviet days was also anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim, anti-any religion.

When I visited Russia just out of high school in the early 70s for three months, I went with a group of similar students, the majority of whom were Jewish. They would interview the Jews they met about anti-semitism. I remember these older Jews being puzzled and not understanding the question, or the importance of it. And It certainly puzzled the Jewish students who thought the Russian Jews were just too scared to talk. They weren’t; they were just blasé.

I didn’t understand it until I read Friedman. All religions were banned when I was there, including Russian Orthodox. The churches were for visiting, like mini-museums, to look at the icons and different architecture, and god knows I went to an endless round of them from St. Petersburg to Armenia, courtesy of the mandatory Russian tour guide who was having an affair with one of the students so she showed us stuff and took us places we weren’t supposed to see.

MRW

@Babak,

The 1% are going to continue to rule and clean up as long as the 99% don’t know how federal accounting works, how the closed system of the US dollar works transactionally. I am not talking politics here, or any Republican, Democratic, Independent, or Green Party agenda. Politics or social engineering is what you determine after you figure out what you have to work with. And people don’t know. A helluva lot did in the 1940s. Not now.

I’m talking plain how it works. Every soldier can tell you that when you need to clean your gun you take it apart in a certain order, and you reassemble in reverse order or it won’t work. Period. It has nothing to do with who you want to kill, what war you’re fighting, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, in Vietnam or Baltimore, or if you want to use your rifle to shoot ducks. Cleaning a gun is transactional. First this. Then that.

That is all I’ve been harping about here in repeated posts over the past year and half. [Incidentally, commenter William Cummings agreed with me. He worked for the US Treasury in the 1970s. I don’t know where he is. Is he still alive? Or ill?]

The 1% stepped in to clean up once we ended the gold standard internationally in 1971, and suffered the oil embargo inflation of the 1970s, because they started to figure out how money could travel internationally and make them enormous profits. But they had to get the laws changed to be able to maneuver. They needed Reagan. They systematically changed our economy from industrial capitalism to finance capitalism. The workers be damned.

There was one event in the 70s that few know about that precipitated this. I’m tired right now and not thinking clearly. So if this is disjointed, I apologize. When oil shot up from $3/barrel to $30/barrel in seven years—10X--it drove the price of oil, cost of creating and transporting food, heating and cooling houses, and so many necessities of life sky-high for the time. It was what we call cost-push inflation.

ANOTHER THING HAPPENING ON THE SIDE
In addition, Carter installed Paul Volker as Fed Chairman, a regular ordinary commercial banker who had zero clue, I mean ZERO understanding, of how Federal Reserve transactions worked. Volker moved Fed HQ from the DC Fed to the New York Fed—bad move—and he thought if he restricted the amount of money that the Fed loaned to banks to handle the nation’s payment system and interbank transactions, he could control the inflation (caused by the price of oil). Not realizing that there are two kinds of inflation: cost-push (pressure on the supply side, price of oil and commodities) and demand-push (where too few dollars chase too few goods, which we haven’t had since WWII). Interest rates, the cost of doing business, the cost of money lent to businesses, shot through the roof. 21% at one point. He eventually dropped that lunacy, but not without causing enormous damage.

BACK TO EXPLAINING THE ONE EVENT
Union contracts in the mid-70s introduced an automatic cost of living clause in it, which immediately raised wages when certain consumer indexes rose (I forget them at the moment). Which they did in spades with the high price increases of all the things in my previous paragraph. These automatic wage increases—there was a specific name for them—crippled a lot of companies. Businesses became anti-union. Businesses started looking for overseas labor for production. That’s why they wanted Reagan because they thought he could save them.

Reagan deregulated many industries to help them, starting with the banks which produced the S&L Crisis. But Reagan’s big mistake was deregulating the media in 1985…the means by which the people could stay informed and were informed by responsible newsmen and reporters. Before 1985, nobody could own newspapers and radio stations and TV stations in multiple states. So you had what could loosely be called 50 different voices nationwide, because owners were restricted to ownership in their state, and subject to punishing fines if they violated them.

Therefore corporate owners came in: Cap Cities bought ABC. Murdoch made his first foray into the US (Congress insisted he become an American citizen). Today there are five or six über-owners of the entire US print and broadcast media. A disgrace.

TV and print salaries rose. National reporters started to hobnob with corporate sponsors and government officials. The pundit class started, and the infotainment news. But the main thing was that the national reporters and anchors living in high lifestyle cities like Manhattan and DC had huge monthly nuts to cover. When I left NYC, some of them needed $50,000/month just to meet basic expenses: rent or mortgage and co-op payments, private schools, in-house meals, maybe a couple of nights out a month, and city, state, and federal taxes, which in Manhattan then came to a combined total of 57%. They can’t afford to be gumshoe reporters now, confrontational; they can be replaced with more pliable ones who will toe the corporate line. What do Hannity and O’Reilly earn now? $35 million? $50 million? No way they’re going to threaten that livelihood.

That's how we got dumbed down. it all started with that oil embargo the consequence of which Kissinger never saw coming when as a newly minted SecState and without getting Nixon’s permission (Nixon was embroiled with the Watergate tapes and the newly discovered 19 missing 19 minutes) he urged Sadat in September 1973 to bomb Israel to get them to come to the table and give back the lands Israel captured in 1967. (Sadat was worried about his re-election and had discussed it with Kissinger when he was running the National Security Council the year before; Kissinger promised he would get Israel to the table if Sadat expelled the Russians from Egypt, which Sadat did in 1972.) Kissinger never warned Golda Meir, she despised Kissinger, who thought her country was doomed and loaded 13 nuclear warheads aimed at Damascus and Russia, and King Faisal was furious with Kissinger’s inept advice to Sadat and slapped on the OPEC embargo in retaliation. Kissinger had promised Sadat his little war would be a cakewalk, and Sadat guaranteed King Faisal that it would be and that the US would back them.

Kaboom.

MRW

convinced many in the United States, over decades, that Social Security is "Bad", "Socialized Medicine" is Bad, Pensions are Bad, Taxes are Bad, everything is bad, bad, bad until all government services - at all levels: municipal, county, state, and federal - are dismantled.

Yeah, so much for government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The economy should be serving the public and its "general welfare," just as the preamble to the Constitution states, not the financial industry.

MRW

correction to the recent long post. It’s “demand-pull (where too many dollars chase too few goods, which we haven’t had since WWII)” not "demand-push" inflation and "too few dollars."

The Twisted Genius

pl and all,

Sorry for the delayed response. I just got back tonight from my latest housewright's retreat in Halfmoon. I agree with Degringolade. None of the pictures and videos of these SOF getting booed out of al-Rai appear to be SF. They look much more like the commandos of JSOC, the forces sometimes referred to as Blue, Green, Orange or some other new unit of operators I know nothing about. A big part of what these people do consists of being liaison elements to everyone under the sun. If I would hazard a guess, I would say these guys showed up out of the blue, as directed, to liaise with the FSA groups involved. They lack finesse.

A while back I looked at a France24 film trying to spot the real SF among the SOF commandos assisting the Kurds. Those who I identified as possible SF may or may not be so, but the spirit is certainly there.

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/04/wheres-waldo-a-followup-to-special-forces-in-rojava.html

jsn

You might enjoy this, it documents statistically what you are saying:
http://peterturchin.com/blog/2016/09/17/the-ghosts-of-empires-past/

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you very kindly. I had not seen this work by Dr. Turchin.

turcopolier

Degringolade

i don't have an e-mail address for you. pl

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