Category Archives: Book Reviews

Diana Johnstone Dissects Hillary, Queen of Chaos, by John V. Walsh

The Republicans have had little success spotlightling various Bill and Hillary depredations through the years. Rolling into 2016, they might have more luck with Hillary if they stuck to her abysmal record and her policies on foreign intervention. Too bad those policies are virtually identical to those of the Republican  frontrunners. From John V. Walsh, reviewing Diane Johnstone’s recently published Queen of Chaos at antiwar.com (SLL has not read the book, but it looks intriguing):

Were Diana Johnstone, author of Queen of Chaos, to bump into Samantha Power in a dark alley, both would be instantly annihilated in a blaze of energy. For Johnstone, is the anti-Samantha Power, best known for her book, Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Illusions, where she meticulously uncovers the truth about the war on Serbia, thereby dismantling the fairy tale constructed by Power to justify the NATO assault on the Balkans. That fairy tale has been a model for similar sagas rolled out to whiten the sepulchers of the many “humanitarian” wars since, every one of which bears some of Hillary’s fingerprints.

Daughter of Empire in Its Heyday.

Johnstone’s new book, Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton, is a must read, but it must be read carefully. It is a must read because it is a capsule history of the US Empire’s depredations over the past 25 years since the end of the Cold War when the Clintons came upon the national scene. Given the ever sharper confrontation which our elite is engineering with Russia and China, one that could well lead to nuclear war, this is a history we all need to review and understand correctly. Our very survival may well depend on it. And the book must be read carefully because, being both slim and comprehensive, it is packed tightly with information and pointed political insight. Such an eloquent and compact chronicle is of enormous usefulness right now.

Queen is not a gossipy bio, delineating Hillary’s shallow, belligerent, mendacious, psychopathic character, although such a tome, necessarily massive, would be welcome. These characteristics of Hillary’s necessarily emerge to some degree in Queen of Chaos. but personality portrayal is not the core of the book. Rather the book is historical. Johnstone sees Clinton as both a product of her times – privileged child of the U.S. Empire, white, Wellesley, Yale, a dishonest and ultimately fired operative on the Watergate committee right out of law school – as well as a ruthless actor in a global drama growing ever more deadly. The book is more history than Hillary. But by going this route Johnstone grasps the essential Clinton with crystal clarity.

To continue reading: Queen of Chaos

Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy of Peace Is Central to the Message of Freedom, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

From Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. at davidstockmanscontracorner.com:

Ronald Reagan used to be called the Teflon president, on the grounds that no matter what gaffe or scandal engulfed him, it never stuck: he didn’t suffer in the polls. If Reagan was the Teflon president, the military is America’s Teflon institution. Even people who oppose whatever the current war happens to be can be counted on to “support the troops” and to live by the comforting delusion that whatever aberrations may be evident today, the system itself is basically sound.
To add insult to injury, whenever the US government gears up for yet another military intervention, it’s people who pretend to favor “limited government,” and who pride themselves on not falling for government propaganda, who can be counted on to stand up and salute.

I had the rare honor of serving as Ron Paul’s congressional chief of staff, and observed him in many proud moments in those days, and in his presidential campaigns. But Ron’s new book Swords into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity, a plainspoken and relentless case against war that ranks alongside Smedley Butler’s classic War Is a Racket, is possibly the proudest Ron Paul moment of all.

It’s been calculated that over the past 5,000 years there have been 14,000 wars fought, resulting in three and a half billion deaths. In the United States, between 1798 and 2015 there have been 369 uses of military force abroad. We have been conditioned to accept this as normal, or at the very least unavoidable. We are told to stifle any moral qualms we may have about mass killing on the question-begging grounds that, after all, “it’s war.”

Ron, on this as on a wide array of other topics, isn’t prepared to accept the conventional platitudes, and a recurring theme in his book involves speculating on whether, in the same way the human race has advanced so extraordinarily from a technological point of view, we might be capable of a comparable moral advance as well.

There is much in this book for libertarians and indeed all opponents of war to enjoy – for starters, a refutation of the claim that war is “good for the economy,” a discussion of the dangers of “blowback” posed by foreign interventionism, and an overview of the War on Terror from a noninterventionist perspective. But there is a profoundly personal dimension to this book as well, as we follow Ron’s life from his childhood to the present and the evolution of his thought on war. I’ll leave readers to discover these gems for themselves.

To continue reading: Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy and the Message of Freedom

Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal, by Jo Becker and Mike McIntire

Let’s face it, if Hillary Clinton were captured on video murdering someone, 95 percent of those who are “ready” for her would still be ready. The mainstream media and Democratic party are supine, and the Clinton’s counterattack machine is ruthless and vicious. Which means the following article, from The New York Times, may turn out to be enormously important. It details a fairly simple story that goes far beyond the usual Clinton scandal allegations, involving hefty donations to the Clinton Foundation and later, payment of a half-a-million dollars speaker’s fee to Bill Clinton from a Canadian company, Uranium One, and its officials in 2010, while the sale of its majority control to a Russian company was under consideration by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), on which Hillary was a member. The Canadian company controlled 20 percent of US uranium production and two important mines in Kazakhstan. Neither Russia nor the US are self-sufficient in uranium.

The implications of the story are inescapable, but the subtext is important as well. The New York Times could have sat on, or downplayed, this story, as it has done many times for the Clintons. That it published this story now may simply be a matter of strategic positioning: Peter Schweizer’s book, Clinton Cash, will be released next month; he has allowed the Times a preview; the book details some of the connections between Uranium One and the Clintons. Even if that is the case, however, through the years the Times has ignored countless meritorious books and stories in other news outlets about the Clintons’ scandals. This one appears to be both too big and too straightforward to ignore: the Clinton’s accept money to allow a company based in Russia, almost by definition in bed with the Russian government, the head of which Hillary last year likened to Adolf Hitler, to buy up a good chunk of the world’s productive capacity of what is obviously one of its most important strategic minerals, uranium. Anyone who wants to mount a defense of Hillary, and undoubtedly many will try, has to explain why the donations to the Clinton Foundation were not disclosed, in clear contravention of Hillary’s pledge to do so when she became Secretary of State.

The New York Times and The Washington Post are to the Democratic party what The Wall Street Journal and Fox News are to the Republican party. That the Times has published this story suggests that perhaps the Democratic powers that be have decided that there are just too many scandals and Hillary is just too maladroit a campaigner to carry the party to victory in 2016. Therefore, it’s time to cut her loose, while there is still time to come up with another candidate (the Democrats don’t have much of a bench). That, however, is conjecture; stay tuned. From Jo Becker and Mike McIntire at nytimes.com:

The headline on the website Pravda trumpeted President Vladimir V. Putin’s latest coup, its nationalistic fervor recalling an era when its precursor served as the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin: “Russian Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

The article, in January 2013, detailed how the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over a Canadian company with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers and brought Mr. Putin closer to his goal of controlling much of the global uranium supply chain.

But the untold story behind that story is one that involves not just the Russian president, but also a former American president and a woman who would like to be the next one.

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

To continue reading: Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal

China Targets Dollar, Washington Has Conniptions, by Wolf Richter

Outside of Washington, the world makes way for a rising power and its currency. From Wolf Richter, at wolfstreet.com:

Now even Israel – joined at the hip to the US though the relationship has run into rough waters – has applied to become a founding member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Despite US gyrations to keep them from it, over 40 countries, including bosom buddies Australia, Britain, and Germany, have signed up to join. Japan is still wavering politely.

The US government sees the China-dominated AIIB as competition to the US-dominated World Bank and Asian Development Bank. But now that it is clear even to the White House that the US can’t stop the tide, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew backpedaled vigorously on Tuesday. The government would welcome the AIIB, he suddenly said, as long as certain conditions are met, such as adequate transparency.

So after this bruising setback, the US now has another opportunity to oppose China’s financial and monetary ambitions.

China is trying to get the IMF to bestow reserve currency status on the yuan, which would add the yuan to a glorious basket that includes the dollar and the euro – currently the dominant reserve currencies with a 63% and 22% share respectively. So it has been lobbying core members of the IMF behind the scenes for support, and they’re coming around despite US conniptions, the Wall Street Journal reported.

China also wants the yuan to become part of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights “in the foreseeable future,” Yi Gang, Director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China, pointed out a couple of weeks ago. With the yuan, SDRs – which currently include only the dollar, the euro, the yen, and the British pound – would “undoubtedly” be more “representative” of the global economic landscape, Yi said.

Numerous countries are already publicly supporting the yuan as a payment currency. Excluding transactions between China and Hong Kong, the yuan’s use as payment currency is still tiny and edged down last year, handicapped also by China’s restrictions on capital flows. But hey, those are minor details. By now, there are 15 yuan clearing centers around the world, including in London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Luxembourg.

And oops, the rebellious city of Los Angeles, in the rebellious state of California, has signed such a deal with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China late last year, without apparently asking distant Washington for permission. So this is happening, whether the US government wants it or not.

http://wolfstreet.com/2015/04/02/china-targets-dollar-us-government-has-conniptions-yuan-reserve-currency-sdr/

To continue reading: China Targets Dollar, Washington Has Conniptions

He Said That? 1/14/15

From Kevin O’Neill, a lawyer at Squire Patton Boggs representing two fraternities at the University of Virginia that have refused to sign an agreement governing, among other matters, alcohol consumption at fraternity parties:

The fact is the university has never acknowledged that they made a mistake in suspending 25 percent of the student body that had nothing to do with an article that proved to be erroneous. The university has not apologized and has not explained why they took this action.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2015-01-14/two-uva-frats-refuse-to-sign-agreement-forged-after-rape-story.html

The article in question is a Rolling Stone article alleging that a woman named “Jackie” was a gang-raped at a fraternity party by seven men. The story was subsequently discredited when it was discovered that it did not comport with verifiable facts. Rolling Stone acknowledged errors in the story, among which were its failure to seek comment from the accused fraternity and its members. Before the story was discredited, the university suspended all fraternities. The university owes an apology to the fraternities for taking action against the entire group based on an unsubstantiated allegation against one of them. The two hold-out fraternities should be commended for refusing a punishment based on transgressions that did not happen.

The WSJ Looks At “Non-GAAP” Earnings, Is Horrified By What It Finds, from Zero Hedge

From Zero Hedge, 1/8/15:

There is a reason why, when looking at S&P 500 earnings, we only care about GAAP numbers: the reason is that any non-GAAP “data” has become as meaningless as “adjusted EBITDA” – a goalseeked, procyclical placeholder which gives zero indication of the true financial state of the company and is merely a propaganda tool used by management and its preferred investment bank to raise capital or its stock price (and hence, equity-linked executive compensation) to naive investors…

…Well, we are delighted that finally others too are starting to look at the real gimmicks used and abused by corporations everywhere to “report” better than expected numbers. Enter the WSJ, which came, saw at Non-GAAP “numbers”, and was horrified to find the costs companies are “stripping out of those measures to enable themselves to show profits seem to be getting ever more eyebrow-raising.”

For anyone who spends any time examining financial statements, or reading Zero Hedge, this is not news. However, as is so often the case, the mainstream media has now blessed a “truth” long ago uncovered and discussed on non-mainstream web sites. The simple truth here, for those eleven people who still do fundamental analysis of companies’ financials, is that reported numbers, especially those which are some company-designed metric, have to be taken with a shaker of salt. But never mind that, what’s the Fed going to do next?

For the rest of the Zero Hedge article: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-08/wsj-looks-non-gaap-earnings-horrified-what-it-finds

Entomology 101, A Review of David Stockman’s The Great Deformation by Robert Gore

by Robert Gore

David Stockman tells the truth and knows what he is talking about. Either virtue disqualifies him for Washington or the major media, so he blogs (davidstockmanscontracorner.com) and writes books. An insider as President Reagan’s budget director and then a partner in private equity powerhouse Blackstone Group, Stockman now loses friends and influences malcontents from his chosen perch on the outside. Ignore his book, The Great Deformation, The Corruption of Capitalism in America, at your peril. It chronicles the deterioration of the welfare-warfare state and reveals the economic, financial, social, and political horror show America has become. This polemic perforates the media’s stock-market fueled happy talk, war propaganda, and endless trivia that divert attention from our dysfunctional economy and corrupt, bankrupt government. Continue reading