He Said That? 8/26/16

From Ernst Schumacher (1911-1977), British statistician and economist, Small is Beautiful (1973):

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.

The Bogus ‘Humanitarian’ War on Serbia, by John Pilger

Hillary Clinton and her cohorts like to wage “humanitarian” wars. Her husband waged a humanitarian war, in Serbia, and it didn’t turn out so well. It’s way past time to retrive this one from the memory hole, because that war had Hillary’s full-throated support and she’s running for president. For a look at the past that offers a view of the future if she is elected, John Pilger at consortiumnews.com:

The exoneration of a man accused of the worst of crimes, genocide, made no headlines. Neither the BBC nor CNN covered it. The Guardian allowed a brief commentary. Such a rare official admission was buried or suppressed, understandably. It would explain too much about how the rulers of the world rule.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague has quietly cleared the late Serbian president, Slobodan Milosevic, of war crimes committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, including the massacre at Srebrenica.

Far from conspiring with the convicted Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Milosevic actually “condemned ethnic cleansing,” opposed Karadzic and tried to stop the war that dismembered Yugoslavia. Buried near the end of a 2,590-page judgment on Karadzic last February, this truth further demolishes the propaganda that justified NATO’s illegal onslaught on Serbia in 1999.

Milosevic died of a heart attack in 2006, alone in his cell in The Hague, during what amounted to a bogus trial by an American-invented “international tribunal.” Denied heart surgery that might have saved his life, his condition worsened and was monitored and kept secret by U.S. officials, as WikiLeaks has since revealed.

Milosevic was the victim of war propaganda that today runs like a torrent across our screens and newspapers and beckons great danger for us all. He was the prototype demon, vilified by the Western media as the “butcher of the Balkans” who was responsible for “genocide,” especially in the secessionist Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Prime Minister Tony Blair said so, invoked the Holocaust and demanded action against “this new Hitler.”

Exaggerating the Death Toll

David Scheffer, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, declared that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59” may have been murdered by Milocevic’s forces.

This was the justification for NATO’s bombing, led by Bill Clinton and Blair, that killed hundreds of civilians in hospitals, schools, churches, parks and television studios and destroyed Serbia’s economic infrastructure.

It was blatantly ideological; at a notorious “peace conference” in Rambouillet in France, Milosevic was confronted by Madeleine Albright, the U.S. Secretary of State, who was to achieve infamy with her remark that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children were “worth it.”

Albright delivered an “offer” to Milosevic that no national leader could accept. Unless he agreed to the foreign military occupation of his country, with the occupying forces “outside the legal process,” and to the imposition of a neo-liberal “free market,” Serbia would be bombed.

This was contained in an “Appendix B,” which the media failed to read or suppressed. The aim was to crush Europe’s last independent “socialist” state.

Once NATO began bombing, there was a stampede of Kosovar refugees “fleeing a holocaust.” When it was over, international police teams descended on Kosovo to exhume the victims.

The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines.”

The final count of the dead in Kosovo was 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the pro-NATO Kosovo Liberation Front. There was no genocide. The NATO attack was both a fraud and a war crime.

To continue reading: The Bogus ‘Humanitarian’ War on Serbia

The Hater’s Ball, by The Zman

The alt-right is in the news. SLL claims now membership in that ill-defined group, although we’re probably fellow travelers on some issues. From The Zman at thezman.com via theburningplatform.com:

I got an e-mail from someone asking me questions about the alt-right. At first I thought it was a joke, but a little research revealed the person to be a reporter for a legitimate media site. Some guy from the Washington Post did a story on the hate think community the other day and he followed up with a primer for the good thinkers. Hillary Clinton is planning to bravely take on the alt-right in a speech somewhere, assuming they can sober her up and keep her from toppling over. Now that the Cloud People have a label, they plan to demonize anyone that opposes them as members of the alt-right.

I’m not sure of the protocol on these things so I’ll leave the identity of my correspondent out of this, but the query had the feel of an e-mail blast hoping someone would respond. One question was “When did you join the Alt-Right?” It’s the sort of question asked by people who have spent their life accumulating credentials in order to advance in the bureaucracy. “Comrade, I joined Party after leaving University, where I got degree in ideology and policy.” Managerial class types just assume everything works like the exam system of the managerial class.

I don’t consider myself in the alt-right, but I suppose that depends upon how you define it. If memory serves, Richard Spencer coined the term Alternative Right and his thing is white identity and white nationalism. I have no interest in those things and I don’t write much about race. I’m a biological realist and I think most of what we are as humans is in our genes, but I think forming a white ethno-state is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The only thing dumber is the blank slate nonsense that comes from the managerial class through the mass media.

On the other hand, big foot journalists are now applying the label “alt-right” to anyone outside the government approved Left-Right orbit so maybe that does place guys like me in the club. John Derbyshire coined the term “Dissident Right” which is probably a better label. I don’t dream of a honky paradise. I just want one of the political parties to be slightly to the right of the Democrats of 1960. Half a century of cultural lunacy is enough. Let’s go back to what used to work for the bulk of the citizens.

None of that is important. What is important is the people in charge feel they need to do something about the growing hate-think community. Having Clinton waddle out in front of other humans is a high risk stunt, given her brain injuries, but having her take on the alt-right suggests the Cloud People are worried. As Hitler said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Maybe it was Gandhi who said it. I get the two mixed up all the time.

To continue reading: The Hater’s Ball

Syrian Flashpoint, by Justin Raimondo

SLL has raised the possibility that Syria will be the cradle of World War III. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Even as top Turkish officials excoriate the United States for supposedly backing the failed coup attempt against President Recip Erdogan, Turkish troops and US Special Forces are coordinating with Syrian Islamist rebels to carry out a de facto invasion of Syria. Under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State, Erdogan’s Janissaries, thousands of “Free Syrian Army” jihadis, and 300 US “advisors” are moving to consolidate control over a large swathe of Syrian territory along the Turkish-Syrian border. The government of Bashar al-Assad immediately denounced the move as a “blatant violation” of Syria’s sovereignty.

Syria’s four-sided civil war just got more complicated – and much more dangerous.

The invasion commenced hours before the arrival of Vice President Joe Biden in Turkey, where he is on a mission to appease the cantankerous Turks. As an official traveling with Biden put it:

“The major goal of the trip is to make sure that our alliance remains rock-solid and that relations get back on track. We can’t afford any friction in our relationship right now, because we have a lot of business to do with the Turks.”

The “business” Biden has to take care of involves stabbing the Kurds in the back, reiterating US support for radical Islamist “rebels,” and furthering the US plan to overthrow Assad using the ambitious Erdogan as the spearhead.

Up until this point, the Kurdish YPG has been the recipient of US aid, with our “advisors” embedded in their ranks: enjoying US air support, they have managed to carve out a safe space which they call “Rojava,” protected from the depredations of both ISIS and the Turks. This sudden turn in US policy, however, means that their usefulness has perhaps come to an end – and that the Americans, having used them as cannon fodder, are now ready to dump them. As that official traveling with Biden told the Associated Press:

“In addition to helping the Turks in the Jarabulus offensive, he said, ‘we’re living up to our assurances to the Turks that the Kurds are not going to move north. . . . We’ve made it clear to [the YPG] that we won’t support them going north and, by the way, they can’t move without us providing air support.’”

The poor Kurds never learn their lesson: allying themselves with one or the other regional actor in a bid to gain some measure of independence, they have been continually betrayed just when they’re on the brink of achieving their goal. This most recent treachery, however, is the cruelest blow. For what it portends is the virtual annexation of a big chunk of Syrian territory and the extension of Turkish power into the heart of Syria. While the government in Damascus has, until recently, been relatively lax in enforcing its claims over the Kurdish Syrian enclave, even continuing to provide government services in areas it no longer really controls, the Turks are viscerally hostile to the idea of even limited Kurdish autonomy. Indeed, Ankara has waged a twenty year war against Kurdish “terrorists,” a conflict that is likely to be reignited in the very near future – and Joe Biden has made it very clear which side Washington will take. The Washington Post reports:

“Kurdish-led forces in Syria have partially withdrawn to the east of the Euphrates River, American and Turkish officials said Thursday, after Vice President Biden publicly threatened to pull U.S. support if the fighters remained in areas where Turkey says they pose a threat to its national security.”

To continue reading: Syrian Flashpoint

China’s Great Divide: A New Cultural Revolution? by Charles Hugh Smith

When China’s gargantuan debt bubble finally explodes and the shit hits the fan, China’s leadership may end up in worse shape than just having feces on their faces. They may well be gone. The economic collapse will be epic, so too may be the revolutionary ructions. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

The only question left for China (and every other debt/bubble-dependent nation) is what socio-political consequences will manifest when the credit bubble finally bursts?

In Asia, it’s generally seen as unpatriotic to criticize one’s country in public, even if you disagree with its direction and leadership. The cultural norm is to maintain the “face” of one’s country by hiding its ills from outsiders.

This reticence is especially evident in China, which suffers from the memory of being subjugated by the Western imperialist powers in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

As a general rule, you will rarely hear any profound criticism of China unless you are considered a trusted friend; giving China a black eye in public is frowned upon, even by its domestic critics.

For this reason, the majority of the Western media has very little grasp of what worries Chinese people. Recently, I have heard fears of a Second Cultural Revolution being expressed in private.

There is a Great Divide between generations in China: on the one side is the older generation that remembers the Maoist era with some nostalgia and the terrible adversities of the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976). On the other side is the young educated, prosperous generation which has only known consumerist prosperity and personal advancement.

The ideals of the old communes are an abstraction to the young generation, as are the terrible costs of the Cultural Revolution.

A resurgence of devotion to Mao has caught authorities off-guard; they can’t very well suppress public displays of secular worship of the Party’s founder, but raising Mao’s revolutionary ideals from the dustbin of history implicitly challenges the Party’s current leadership.

The older generation resents the young consumer-obsessed generation, and some would like to purge China of the excesses of wealth and consumerism.

It’s not too difficult to see how rising unemployment (China’s Hidden Unemployment Rate) and China’s enormous wealth inequality could spark a new Cultural Revolution that would target Party leaders who have benefited from the state-managed neoliberal capitalism that has greatly enriched the leaders and their family dynasties.

In effect, a return to the party’s Maoist roots would open divisive fissures in the Party and the nation. Farfetched? Perhaps not as much as the conventional sugar-coated media representation would suggest.

The status quo solution (in China, the U.S., Japan, the E.U., etc. etc.) to a weakening bubble-dependent economy is to inflate another even bigger bubble.If debt reached extremes that imploded, the solution is to expand debt far beyond the levels that triggered the implosion.

If fudging the numbers triggered a loss of confidence, the solution is to fudge the numbers even more, so they no longer reflect reality at all.

If the masses protest their powerlessness, the solution is to push them further from the centers of power.

And so on.

To continue reading: China’s Great Divide: A New Cultural Revolution?

Lots of Smoke Here, Hillary, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Hillary Clinton admits that there’s smoke from the Clinton Foundation, but won’t admit to the raging four-alarm fire that’s obvious to anyone with half a brain. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

Prediction: If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition.

For consider what the Associated Press reported this week:

The surest way for a person with private interests to get a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, or a phone call returned by her, it seems, was to dump a bundle of cash into the Clinton Foundation.

Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million.

Conclusion: Access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more.

To get to the seventh floor of the Clinton State Department for a hearing for one’s plea, the cover charge was high.

Among those who got face time with Hillary Clinton were a Ukrainian oligarch and steel magnate who shipped oil pipe to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions and a Bangladeshi economist who was under investigation by his government and was eventually pressured to leave his own bank.

The stench is familiar, and all too Clintonian in character.

Recall. On his last day in office, Jan. 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library.

The Clintons appear belatedly to have recognized their political peril.

Bill has promised that, if Hillary is elected, he will end his big dog days at the foundation and stop taking checks from foreign regimes and entities, and corporate donors. Cash contributions from wealthy Americans will still be gratefully accepted.

One wonders: Will Bill be writing thank-you notes for the millions that will roll in to the family foundation — on White House stationery?

By his actions, Bill is all but conceding that there is a serious conflict of interest between his foundation raking in millions that enhance the family’s prestige and sustain its travel and lifestyle, while providing its big donors with privileged access to the secretary of state.

Yet if Hillary Clinton becomes president, the scheme is unsustainable. Even the Obama-Clinton media might not be able to stomach this.

And even Clinton seems to be conceding the game is up. “I know there’s a lot of smoke, and there’s no fire,” she said in self-defense this week.

She is certainly right about the smoke.

And if, as Democratic apparatchik Steve McMahon assures us that there is “no smoking gun,” no quid-pro-quo, no open-and-shut case of Secretary Clinton taking official action in gratitude to a donor of the family foundation, how can we predict a special prosecutor?

Answer: We are not at the end of this scandal. We are at what Churchill called the “end of the beginning.”

To continue reading: Lots of Smoke Here, Hillary

The Disgusting Silence Fueling Crony Capitalism, by Mark St. Cyr

Does honest capitalism still have a chance? Now, the answer is unclear, but on current trend in a few years it will be no. From Mark St. Cyr via zerohedge.com:

“There’s a kind of hush, all over the world tonight. All over the world you can hear the sounds, of lovers in love….”

Those lyrics (by Les Reed and Geoff Stephens performed by Herman’s Hermits 1967) pretty much sum up what can only be called the coziest relationship big business has ever had with governments and their duly appointed central bakers, since the time of kings and their crony riddled courts.

Free market capitalism – the very heart, soul, and driving engine that has propelled technology, medicine, transportation, manufacturing, efficient markets, and so much more – is not only under assault; it is being left out to hang like some dried, dead leaf by the very people who should be at the forefront for its defense. i.e., CEO’s and business leaders of all stripes. Yet, so far – the silence is deafening.

If you turn to any business/financial main stream outlet, the only thing you’ll hear is either: what will Janet say tomorrow. Or second: how will the “markets” react. What you won’t hear is how an un-elected group of policy wonks, who have never run a business in the private sector, will decide the fate of much of the global economy via a dictate much along the lines of “Yes, no, maybe; of that you can be sure.”

The markets will react in their now typical reflexive manner via HFT (high frequency trading) algorithmic, parasitic, front running enabled programs, vacuuming up Billions of dollars across the global markets for the sole purpose of doing nothing more than enriching themselves, and the leeches which enable them.

To state these markets have anything to do with actual business formation is ludicrous. I used to call them “casinos” but I now feel I’m insulting casinos. After all; at least there you know what you’re getting into.

Today, pension funds, insurance providers, and any other business that needs the stability and safety of a stable and secure market product are left in dire straights. Savers, retirees, and small business people alike either can’t retire, stay retired, or sell their businesses allocating their funds to a stable product. But as bad as that is, it’s not the worst in my opinion.

What is absolutely disgusting is the deafening silence coming from big business in general, and the so-called business trade associations that say – they are the voice of business. i.e., Chamber of Commerce™ et al.

You hear a lot of , “Business climate blah, blah, blah.” “Financial climate blah, blah, blah.” “Employment climate blah, blah, blah.”

What you don’t hear is anything resembling: “And that is all secondary to the crony-capitalism running rampant within the business community. For the very fact that companies are allowed to just financially engineer their balance sheets, and be rewarded for that engineering via funds to purchase their stocks or bonds, or have others do the same using the Fed. (and others) as their piggy bank creates those very conditions of business apathy, stagnation, and more. Yet? (insert crickets here.)

To continue reading: The Disgusting Silence Fueling Crony Capitalism