Tag Archives: Oligarchs

The Tycoon Plot, by Israel Shamir

Is there a group of multi-billionaires who aspire to be real life Bond villains? From Israel Shamir at unz.com:

Millionaires want to make money. Billionaires want to make history. We may add that multi-billionaires take it further; they want mankind to adapt to their needs and wishes. As for people who control trillions, why, they care about our wishes as much as we care about ants while sweeping the garden. We do not apply ant-killer until anthills encroach on our flowerbeds; but we do not hesitate if we deem it necessary. Mankind came across many megalomaniacs; some of them had a lot of power. Genghis Khan was one. However, they were always territorially limited. Mighty Genghis could send tremors all the way to Rome, but the English and French didn’t have to care about the rising Mongol empire. New super-tycoons have no such limitations. Globalisation has allowed them to think outside the box. Their moves had been long anticipated by cinema, the world of dreams. As dreams allow a psychologist to ponder man’s desires and fears, cinematography offers insights into the collective ego of mankind. What did we fear in the relatively free Seventies?

A classic villain of 1970s and 80s was the evil tycoon. James Bond took on some of them. Meet Hugo Drax of the Moonraker, or Karl Stromberg of The Spy Who Loved Me; these guys were willing to destroy mankind to replace it with a better version. Stromberg planned to trigger a global nuclear war and survive it underwater. Drax intended to poison mankind with his deadly gas and repopulate the world with his new chosen ones. Another one was de Wynter, the super-villain of The Avengers, played by Sean Connery. He controlled the world weather, and could kill us all off by hurricanes and tsunamis.

Before the tycoons, when the Cold war raged, a villain was a KGB agent or a Chinese operative. As détente calmed relations between the blocks, the agents went out of fashion; later, the fantastic villains of Marvel came into a vogue. The evil tycoons were uncomfortably close to the real thing; and they moved from the cinematic world into our reality.

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The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. is Very Real, and Has Nothing To Do With Trump, by Glenn Greenwald

They’ve been calling Trump an authoritarian fascist for four years, but they’ll authoritarian fascists are the Joe Biden crowd. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The COVID-driven centralization of economic power and information control in the hands of a few corporate monopolies poses enduring threats to political freedom.

(L-R): Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY,TOBIAS SCHWARZ,ANGELA WEISS,MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Asserting that Donald Trump is a fascist-like dictator threatening the previously sturdy foundations of U.S. democracy has been a virtual requirement over the last four years to obtain entrance to cable news Green Rooms, sinecures as mainstream newspaper columnists, and popularity in faculty lounges. Yet it has proven to be a preposterous farce.

In 2020 alone, Trump had two perfectly crafted opportunities to seize authoritarian power — a global health pandemic and sprawling protests and sustained riots throughout American cities — and yet did virtually nothing to exploit those opportunities. Actual would-be despots such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán quickly seized on the virus to declare martial law, while even prior U.S. presidents, to say nothing of foreign tyrants, have used the pretext of much less civil unrest than what we saw this summer to deploy the military in the streets to pacify their own citizenry.

But early in the pandemic, Trump was criticized, especially by Democrats, for failing to assert the draconian powers he had, such as commandeering the means of industrial production under the Defense Production Act of 1950, invoked by Truman to force industry to produce materials needed for the Korean War. In March, The Washington Post reported that “Governors, Democrats in Congress and some Senate Republicans have been urging Trump for at least a week to invoke the act, and his potential 2020 opponent, Joe Biden, came out in favor of it, too,” yet “Trump [gave] a variety of reasons for not doing so.” Rejecting demands to exploit a public health pandemic to assert extraordinary powers is not exactly what one expects from a striving dictator.

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Unipolarism vs. Multipolarism – The Real Russian Interference in US Politics, by Diana Johnstone

Certain officially approved Russians have interfered with impunity in US politics. From Diana Johnstone at roninstitute.org:

The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was ostensibly a conflict between two ideologies, two socio-economic systems.

All that seems to be over. The day of a new socialism may dawn unexpectedly, but today capitalism rules the world. Now the United States and Russia are engaged in a no-holds-barred fight between capitalists. At first glance, it may seem to be a classic clash between rival capitalists. And yet, once again an ideological conflict is emerging, one which divides capitalists themselves, even in Russia and in the United States itself. It is the conflict between globalists and sovereignists, between a unipolar and a multipolar world. The conflict will not be confined to the two main nuclear powers.

The defeat of communism was brutally announced in a certain “capitalist manifesto” dating from the early 1990s that proclaimed: “Our guiding light is Profit, acquired in a strictly legal way. Our Lord is His Majesty, Money, for it is only He who can lead us to wealth as the norm in life.”

The authors of this bold tract were Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who went on to become the richest man in Russia, before spending ten years in a Russian jail, and his business partner at the time, Leonid Nevzlin, who has since retired comfortably to Israel.

Loans For Shares

Those were the good old days in the 1990s when the Clinton administration was propping up Yeltsin as he let Russia be ripped off by the joint efforts of such ambitious well-placed Russians and their Western sponsors, notably using the “loans for shares” trick.

In a 2012 Vanity Fair article on her hero, Khodorkovsky, the vehemently anti-Putin journalist Masha Gessen frankly summed up how this worked:

The new oligarchs—a dozen men who had begun to exercise the power that money brought—concocted a scheme. They would lend the government money, which it badly needed, and in return the government would put up as collateral blocks of stock amounting to a controlling interest in the major state-owned companies. When the government defaulted, as both the oligarchs and the government knew it would, the oligarchs would take them over. By this maneuver the Yeltsin administration privatized oil, gas, minerals, and other enterprises without parliamentary approval.

To continue reading: Unipolarism vs. Multipolarism – The Real Russian Interference in US Politics