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 TeasersPaul Craig Roberts Blogview

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Writing for Americans, unless for their entertainment, is a challenging undertaking. One reason is that many, especially of the younger generations, no longer have a concept of objective truth.

For them “truth” is simply a bias reflecting one’s race, gender, upbringing or predisposition. Emotion overwhelms fact. Biases are not considered to be equal. Some are worthy and some or not. The biases of white people are defined as “hate speech,” “white supremacy,” and “hate crimes.” Today America has many self-hating whites, especially in the media and Democratic Party.

Another reason is that many Americans confuse an explanation with a justification. An explanation of an event is seen as a justification of the event. For example, if one provides an explanation of slavery the assumption is that the writer approves of slavery. A defense of a disapproved category is taken as a demonstration of your own unworthiness. For example, if you defend white people from the propagandistic accusations leveled at them by Identity Politics, you are a “white supremacist.”

Yet another reason is that some races and genders have succeeded in defining any criticism of themselves as an expression of bias. For example, criticism of Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians or of the Israel Lobby’s power makes one an “anti-semite.” Similarly, if you criticize a black person, you are a racist and your argument is dismissed as an expression of your bias. If you criticize a woman, you are a misogynist, and your criticism of a woman proves it.

If you express skepticism of false flag events, you are dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist.”

Another reason is that American patriots regard criticism of US policies, especially wars, as anti-American and as taking the side of the enemy against one’s own country. To prevent a recurrence of the Vietnam war protests, when Washington invaded Afghanistan and Iraq the Bush regime came up with the slogan, “Support the Troops.” If you criticized the wars, you weren’t supporting the troops and were aligning yourself with the enemy: “You are with us or against us.” When President Trump met with President Putin, CIA director John Brennan accused Trump of treason. When US Representative Tulsi Gabbard met with Assad of Syria, she was accused of supporting dictatorship. ( If her critics had accused her of meeting with Assad because she was a bimbo who didn’t know any better, her critics would have been dismissed as misogynists.)

In a world such as this, honest ordinary language is risky as many are not attending to the cogency of the analysis but looking for indications of racism and sexism. Exposure of government deceptions gets one branded “anti-American” with the result that people cling more tightly to the lie that deceives them.

It has always been the case that readers look for writers who reinforce their beliefs by telling them what they want to hear. The king kills the messenger who brings unwanted news. Consequently there are few messengers. The result is a dysfunctional democracy in which the agendas of those who control explanations dominate.

For the most part, readers of this website are different. They are a self-selected group who are motivated to escape being controlled by official explanations. To their purpose I lend my knowledge and experience. The website has a devoted readership as your response to my March quarterly appeal testifies.

A few of you are impatient for solutions, but there can be no solutions until there is recognition of the problems. Moreover, every solution can be interpreted as favoring some interest group with its advocate being dismissed as a servant of the favored group. For example, President Reagan’s solution to stagflation was accused of being a scheme for the rich. The people have to find solutions, but first they must be informed. As this article makes clear, that is a difficult enough undertaking.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Political Correctness 
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Morris Dees, founder and director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an element of the Israel Lobby that smears and demeans truth-tellers, was fired. The article reporting Dees’ removal speculates that he was fired for sexual harassment. More likely he was fired for having to pay out $60 million of the SPLC’s $500,000,000 endowment to settle defamation lawsuits. https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/03/if_there_is_an_justice_the_firing_of_its_founder_should_to_launch_the_collapse_and_liquidation_of_the_southern_poverty_law_center.html

Ask yourself how is it that an organization committed to smearing people has an endowment of a half billion dollars and not the Institute for Political Economy that focuses on providing truthful information that is contrary to official explanations. Clearly, there is far more money available for “hit man” organizations dedicated to destroying truth tellers than there is for the targets of such organizations.

If truth tellers criticize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, the truth tellers are branded “anti-Semites.”

If truth tellers question official government explanations such as 9/11, they are branded “conspiracy theorists.”

If truth tellers correct the official lies that portray Russia as a dire threat to the United States and Russia’s President Putin as the “New Hitler,” they are branded “Russian agents,” and “Putin dupes.”

$500,000,000 is a huge endowment for a reputation-smearing organization operating in Montgomery, Alabama. Where did that money come from?

Why, in contrast, are organizations struggling to present facts and rational analysis operating on shoe strings?

The philanthropic foundations, which once supported information independent of government and private agendas, have been taken into the propaganda Matrix that has blinded Americans to the demise of their liberties. Every day another piece of America withers away. Soon there will be nothing left.

Readers need to understand that there is an infinite number of people worldwide who are devoid of all morality and all integrity. Their only concern is money, and they will do anything to get it. Many are paid to smear truth tellers on Internet sites that have comment sections and on Facebook and other social media. Entire websites, such as ProporNot, have been created in order to discredit truth tellers. Government agencies and special interests employ agents to spread propaganda via social media in order to create public support for overthrowing targeted governments such as Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Iran.

It is very expensive for a person to exercise the right of free speech for the purpose of telling the truth. But if you attack truth, you get a half billion dollar endowment.

In the United States the only hope for truth lies in the pocket book of ordinary people. If they do not support the alternative media websites that are dedicated to truth, truth will wither away with the country.

Support IPE: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/donate/

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Political Correctness, SPLC 
Be Interesting to see if they all are fired
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A global coalition of employees of the Microsoft Corporation is demanding that a contract for work with the U.S. Army be dropped.

Some employees —I don’t know the percentage—have sent an open letter to both the CEO and the president/chief legal officer of Microsoft stating alarm that “Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the U.S. Military, helping one country’s government ‘increase lethality’ using tools we built. We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used.”

The employees say that Microsoft has previously licensed technology to the US military, but until a recent contract Microsoft has not crossed the line into weapons development. “With this contract, it does. The application of HoloLens within the IVAS system is designed to help people kill. It will be deployed on the battlefield, and works by turning warfare into a simulated ‘video game,’ further distancing soldiers from the grim stakes of war and the reality of bloodshed.”

The employees tell the company that ‘intent to harm is not an acceptable use of our technology” and that they “do not want to become war profiteers.” The employees demand that the IVAS contract be cancelled, that Microsoft cease developing weapons technologies and appoint an external ethics review board to ensure Microsoft does not “empower the U.S. Army’s ability to cause harm and violence.”

One wonders why the employees’ demand left out the Air Force, Navy, CIA and NSA. Nevertheless it is encouraging that after 20 years of murderous mayhem created in the world by the criminal and corrupt Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump Regimes, some people finally found their voice.

I owe my awareness of this protest by Microsoft employees to RootsAction.org. The protest is vastly under reported. RootsAction.org supplies this news source: https://www.euronews.com/2019/02/23/microsoft-employees-demand-military-contract-be-dropped and the letter to management from the employees: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5746790-Microsoft-HoloLens-Letter.html

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Microsoft 
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The Internet is seen as a savior that will take over the function of honest reporting and free speech now that the print and TV media and NPR serve as the Ministry of Propaganda. This is true only if people migrate from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and so forth, to the alternatives that do not block content at odds with official explanations.

Unfortunately, people tend to be stuck in their ways. They are accustomed to Google, Facebook, and Twitter, don’t know of the alternatives, and if they did, are disinclined to spend their time to set up differently.

Liberal America created a society that is heavily into denunciation, a primary function of social media. Even icons of the left are denounced when they fall behind the pace of hatred set by Identity Politics. See: https://www.rt.com/news/453482-liberal-icons-dared-express-opinion/

As for free speech, Western society has reached the point where anyone who expresses an opinion finds themselves grovelling in apologies. Debate is nonexistent. A person’s opinions are fashioned for the person, who still has to be careful to express the current opinion of the moment, and not yesterday’s version or the one an hour ago.

The result is an unsupporting milieu for truth.

This website is independent of official explanations and political correctness. In the 21st Century Western world, it is impossible to tell the truth and not be demonized. Demonization of truth scares away those who have been taught that they cannot have an opinion of their own.

If the American people, indeed the Western world, are to have a future, it will be due to websites such as this one. Support of this website is a strike against The Matrix.

Some readers suggest that I should take advantage of the large readership and have ads. That would be the end of the website. Ads are the way they control you and corrupt you. A website dependent on ads is in Google’s clutches. If you say the wrong thing, there go the ads and the website’s financing. If you say the right things, in comes the money and out goes the truth. The website becomes just another hired voice.

This is why this website depends on donations from those who can think for themselves. My readers, for the most part, are seeking information, not confirmation of their biases.

The donors are very supportive of the website. The vast majority of donors contribute monthly. My quarterly appeals are to the many readers who do not support the website.

Truth has never had an easy time, but in the 21st Century there is an all out war against truth. Agendas are prevailing over truth. People need to support the few places truth can still be found.

In the 20th Century there were liberal and conservative philanthropic foundations that supported the First Amendment and dissident opinion. No more. The conservative foundations have fallen to the neoconservatives and their agenda of American (and Israeli) hegemony. The liberal foundations have been aligned with Identity Politics and pump money into the destruction of social cohesion. There is no big money for truth. The task of supporting truth lies with ordinary everyday people.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Censorship 
Washington and the Convict Appointed to Overthrow Venezuela Continue the Lies
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Don’t you think something is fishy when the presstitutes orchestrate a fake news “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela, but totally ignore the real humanitarian crises in Yemen and Gaza?

Don’t you think something is really very rotten when the expert, Alfred Maurice de Zayas, sent by the UN to Venezuela to evaluate the situation finds no interest by any Western media or any Western government in his report?

Don’t you think it is a bit much for Washington to steal $21 billion of Venezuela’s money, impose sanctions in an effort to destabilize the country and to drive the Venezuelan government to its knees, blame Venezuelan socialism (essentially nationalization of the oil company) for bringing “starvation to the people,” and offer a measly $21 million in “humanitarian aid.”

As the United States is completely devoid of any print or TV media, it falls upon internet media such as this website to perform the missing function of honest journalism.

As for the alleged starvation and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, Zayas has this to say:

The December 2017 and March 2018 reports of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) list food crises in 37 countries. “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is not among them.”

“In 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because Venezuela ‘is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible’.”

The “crisis” in Venezuela “cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others.”

Alfred Maurice de Zayas expresses concern about the level of polarization and disinformation that surrounds every narrative about Venezuela. In paragraph 42 of his report he notes: “A disquieting media campaign seeks to force observers into a preconceived view that there is a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. An independent expert must be wary of hyperbole, bearing in mind that ‘humanitarian crisis’ is a terminus technicus that can be misused as a pretext for military intervention.”

In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being “weaponized” against rivals.

In paragraph 37 of his report, de Zayas says: “Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns with the intention of forcing them to surrender. Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees. A difference, perhaps, is that twenty-first century sanctions are accompanied by the manipulation of public opinion through ‘fake news’, aggressive public relations and a pseudo-human rights rhetoric so as to give the impression that a human rights ‘end’ justifies the criminal means. There is not only a horizontal juridical world order governed by the Charter of the United Nations and principles of sovereign equality, but also a vertical world order reflecting the hierarchy of a geopolitical system that links dominant States with the rest of the world according to military and economic power. It is the latter, geopolitical system that generates geopolitical crimes, hitherto in total impunity.”

He expresses concern about the level of polarization and disinformation that surrounds every narrative about Venezuela. “A disquieting media campaign seeks to force observers into a preconceived view that there is a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. An independent expert must be wary of hyperbole, bearing in mind that ‘humanitarian crisis’ is a terminus technicus that can be misused as a pretext for military intervention.”

In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being ‘weaponized’ against rivals.

A political solution is blocked because “certain countries [the US] do not want to see a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan conflict and prefer to prolong the suffering of the people of that country, with the expectation that the situation will reach the threshold of a humanitarian crisis and provoke a military intervention to impose a regime change.”

Washington’s attack on Venezuela is in violation of established international law. “The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions, notably 2625 (XXV) and 3314 (XXIX), and in the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. Article 32 of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States, adopted by the General Assembly in 1974, stipulates that no State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights.” Chapter 4, article 19, of the Charter of the OAS stipulates that “No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.”

Zayas reports that an atmosphere of intimidation accompanied the mission, attempting to pressure him into a predetermined matrix. He received letters from American-financed NGOs asking him not to proceed on his own, dictating to him the report he should write. Prior to his arrival in Venezuela, a propaganda campaign was launched against him on Facebook and Twitter questioning his integrity and accusing him of bias. https://off-guardian.org/2019/02/09/what-the-press-hides-from-you-about-venezuela/

As Washington’s sanctions and currency manipulations constitute geopolitical crimes, Zayas asks what reparations are due to the victims of sanctions. He recommends that the International Criminal Court investigate Washington’s coercive measures that can cause death from malnutrition and lack of medicines and medical equipment.

“Despite being the first UN official to visit and report from Venezuela in 21 years, Mr de Zayas said his research into the causes of the country’s economic crisis has so far largely been ignored by the UN and the media, and caused little debate within the Human Rights Council.

“He believes his report has been ignored because it goes against the popular narrative that Venezuela needs regime change.” https://off-guardian.org/2019/02/09/what-the-press-hides-from-you-about-venezuela/

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and an abundance of other natural resources including gold, bauxite and coltan. But under the Maduro government they’re not accessible to US and transnational corporations.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Venezuela 
The Moral Bankruptcy of the Western World
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“The persecution of Julian Assange is the conquest of us all: of our independence, our self respect, our intellect, our compassion, our politics, our culture.” — John Pilger

The next time an American, Britisher, or Australian goes on about the freedom, democracy, and humanitarianism of his country, show them this: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51204.htm

The Australian government refuses to defend a citizen, Julian Assange, who the United Nations has ruled is held in arbitrary detention by the UK and US governments in the absence of any charges for no other reason than to exact revenge on a journalist who told truth that embarrassed Washington.

In effect, Assange has been cast into a dungeon by governments whose behavior is precisely that of a lawless medieval robber baron.

As John Pilger says, the behavior of our governments reflects on our own characters. What kind of people are we that we accept the lawlessness of our governments? The US, UK, and Australian governments are not worthy of the people’s support. The governments are criminal organizations. They do criminal things. They murder vast numbers of peoples on the basis of lies, such as “weapons of mass destruction” and “use of chemical weapons” and steal the lands of other peoples. They have imprisoned Assange in one room of the Ecuadorian embassy in London without presenting any charges shown to any judge or jury. They lie and commit perjury every time they open their mouths. They steal $21 billion from Venezuela and accuse Maduro, not themselves, of theft and corruption. They spy illegally on their own citizens. They are their own citizens worst enemy.

While the idiots that comprise Western punditry wring their hands over the offense given by female athletes who protest having to compete against men who claim to be women ( https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/03/no_author/fury-as-ex-olympian-sharron-davies-says-trans-women-should-not-compete-in-womens-sport/ ), a real hero has been incarcerated for 7 years without trial or conviction, and the pundits, who regard themselves as the salt of the earth, cannot find a word with which to protest the injustice.

The Prisoner Says No To Big Brother

By John Pilger

March 04, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – Whenever I visit Julian Assange, we meet in a room he knows too well. There is a bare table and pictures of Ecuador on the walls. There is a bookcase where the books never change. The curtains are always drawn and there is no natural light. The air is still and fetid.

This is Room 101.

Before I enter Room 101, I must surrender my passport and phone. My pockets and possessions are examined. The food I bring is inspected.

The man who guards Room 101 sits in what looks like an old-fashioned telephone box. He watches a screen, watching Julian. There are others unseen, agents of the state, watching and listening.

Cameras are everywhere in Room 101. To avoid them, Julian manoeuvres us both into a corner, side by side, flat up against the wall. This is how we catch up: whispering and writing to each other on a notepad, which he shields from the cameras. Sometimes we laugh.

I have my designated time slot. When that expires, the door in Room 101 bursts open and the guard says, “Time is up!” On New Year’s Eve, I was allowed an extra 30 minutes and the man in the phone box wished me a happy new year, but not Julian.

Of course, Room 101 is the room in George Orwell’s prophetic novel, 1984, where the thought police watched and tormented their prisoners, and worse, until people surrendered their humanity and principles and obeyed Big Brother.

Julian Assange will never obey Big Brother. His resilience and courage are astonishing, even though his physical health struggles to keep up.

Julian is a distinguished Australian, who has changed the way many people think about duplicitous governments. For this, he is a political refugee subjected to what the United Nations calls “arbitrary detention”.

The UN says he has the right of free passage to freedom, but this is denied. He has the right to medical treatment without fear of arrest, but this is denied. He has the right to compensation, but this is denied.

As founder and editor of WikiLeaks, his crime has been to make sense of dark times. WikiLeaks has an impeccable record of accuracy and authenticity which no newspaper, no TV channel, no radio station, no BBC, no New York Times, no Washington Post, no Guardian can equal. Indeed, it shames them.

That explains why he is being punished.

For example:

Last week, the International Court of Justice ruled that the British Government had no legal powers over the Chagos Islanders, who in the 1960s and 70s, were expelled in secret from their homeland on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and sent into exile and poverty. Countless children died, many of them, from sadness. It was an epic crime few knew about.

For almost 50 years, the British have denied the islanders’ the right to return to their homeland, which they had given to the Americans for a major military base.

In 2009, the British Foreign Office concocted a “marine reserve” around the Chagos archipelago.

This touching concern for the environment was exposed as a fraud when WikiLeaks published a secret cable from the British Government reassuring the Americans that “the former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve.”

The truth of the conspiracy clearly influenced the momentous decision of the International Court of Justice.

WikiLeaks has also revealed how the United States spies on its allies; how the CIA can watch you through your I-phone; how Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took vast sums of money from Wall Street for secret speeches that reassured the bankers that if she was elected, she would be their friend.

In 2016, WikiLeaks revealed a direct connection between Clinton and organised jihadism in the Middle East: terrorists, in other words. One email disclosed that when Clinton was US Secretary of State, she knew that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding Islamic State, yet she accepted huge donations for her foundation from both governments.

She then approved the world’s biggest ever arms sale to her Saudi benefactors: arms that are currently being used against the stricken people of Yemen.

That explains why he is being punished.

WikiLeaks has also published more than 800,000 secret files from Russia, including the Kremlin, telling us more about the machinations of power in that country than the specious hysterics of the Russiagate pantomime in Washington.

This is real journalism — journalism of a kind now considered exotic: the antithesis of Vichy journalism, which speaks for the enemy of the people and takes its sobriquet from the Vichy government that occupied France on behalf of the Nazis.

Vichy journalism is censorship by omission, such as the untold scandal of the collusion between Australian governments and the United States to deny Julian Assange his rights as an Australian citizen and to silence him.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Julian Assange 
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Dear Readers:

I have had to take measures to strengthen the website from outside interference. The entirety of the interview archive disappeared off the website. Readers complained that they had ceased receiving the newsletter notices of new postings to the website. Soren Korsgaard helped to restore the interview archive, and has moved the website’s email to an encrypted provider.

He explains here the expanding censorship that is being used to control explanations and arms you with information that you can use to protect your privacy and your continuing access to factual and truthful explanations:

Truth-tellers Are Being Censored

Soren Korsgaard

A large number of readers have complained that they do no longer receive the newsletter of paulcraigroberts.org. In absence of a logical explanation this is likely the result of Google censorship and shadow banning. Conspicuously, Paul Craig Roberts’ quarterly request for donations in December had the weakest response in the history of the website.

Governments have politicized truth and allocated large resources to imprison, censor, and shut down vocal critics while putting pressure on digital media moguls to expell critical information related to 9/11, the psychopharmaceutical complex, the military/security complex, the Israel lobby, Wall Street, the big banks and US imperialism and unilateralism. Facts have become persona non grata as “official explanations” are the new truth.

In order to receive the newsletter consistently, disconnect yourself from mail clients that are owned by Google and corporations subject to government influence, such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo, and opt for an encrypted mail that does not log personal information about you, such as www.protonmail.com which is free and end-to-end encrypted. Just like emails are spied on, Google’s search engine is essentially worthless for researching politically inconvenient material; fortunately, the powerful search engine https://duckduckgo.com/ does not track its users or censor material.

Recently, Google updated their algorithms, greatly affecting content and searches on its Orwellian platform www.YouTube.com. However, nothing forces people to use Google’s services and there exists many alternatives. See for example: http://www.earnwithanish.com/sites-like-youtube-without-censorship/ .

Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social media platforms are also deeply embedded in censorship and shadow banning information that western governments do not want the public to know about. If you don’t like it don’t use it. For social media alternatives see: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-23/new-social-media-alternatives-facebook-youtube-twitter-and-other-big-tech-platforms .

Governments can only control the narrative and public perception to a certain extent as people can freely choose which service to use.

To support: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/donate/

Subscribe to Paul Craig Robert’s newsletter: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/signup-pcrs-newsletter/

Dear Readers:

Other ways that truth-tellers are attacked is through websites, such as PropOrNot, that catagorize truth-tellers as “Russian agents” and provide a list for Google, et. al., to censor, and by using hirelings to discredit truth-tellers with libel and personal attacks. For example, Wikipedia labels me as a “conspiracy theorist” because I report, and sometimes comment on, experts’ evaluations of the official 9/11 story, and the Israel lobby group ADL labels me an anti-Semite because I report, and sometimes comment on, Israel’s dispossession of the Palesinians of both life and property and on the Israel Lobby’s extraordinary influence over Congress, media, entertainment, economic policy and academic appointments. Others label me as a “racist” because I point out that Identity Politics produces disunity and false histories that serve to demonize white people.

The purpose of ad hominem attacks and misrepresentations is to scare readers away from truth-tellers. Caitlin explains how smears work: https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/03/how-and-how-not-to-beat-a-smear-campaign/

The way America works today, in order for a person to have a sterling reputation, a person has to lie and support the ruling ideology and official explanations.

To remind: This is your website. I took it up at your urging. The deal is that I suffer the slings and arrows and you support the website. This is my quarterly call for your support. Your website depends on it.

PCR

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Censorship 
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Putin’s approval rating is high, but it has declined over the past year. The decline is mainly related to domestic policy. Apparently, the public perceives recent Kremlin economic policy as a continuation of the disastrous policies that Washington imposed on Russia in the 1990s when Russia was loaded up with foreign debt while state assets were privatized and plundered by oligarchs sponsored by the West who “cashed out” by selling the assets to foreigners.

The approval rating of Putin and the government dropped in response to the recent increases in the retirement age and value added tax. The former raised concerns about pension security and reminded Russians of the collapse of Soviet pensions. The latter reduced consumer disposable income and lowered consumer demand and the economic growth rate. These policies represent austerity imposed on the domestic population instead of on foreign creditors and reflect the neoliberal view that austerity leads to prosperity.

Russia is experiencing capital outflows due to the Russian private sector’s repayment of loans to Western creditors. Russia has experienced over $25 billion a year of capital outflows since the early 1990s, accumulating to over a trillion dollars. This money could have been invested in Russia itself to raise the productivity and living standards of its citizens. The outflow puts the ruble under pressure, and the interest payments draw money out of the country away from Russian uses. If it were not for these outflows, the value of the ruble and Russian wages would be higher.

The US sanctions give Russians every reason not to repay their foreign loans; yet Russians continue to enable their own exploitation by foreigners, as neoliberal economists have told them that there is no alternative.

Russia’s economic problems are due to the looting of the country during the Yeltsin years, to the imposition of neoliberal economics by the Americans, and to financialization as a result of the privatizations.

Russia’s stock market became the darling of the West in the mid-1990s as underpriced mining, oil and infrastructure were sold for a fraction of their value to foreigners, thus transferring Russian income streams abroad instead of leaving the income to be invested in Russia. In effect, Russians were told that the way for their country to get rich was to let kleptocrats, oligarchs, and their U.S. and British stock brokers make hundreds of billions of dollars by privatizing Russia’s public domain.

Washington took advantage of the gullible and trusting Yeltsin government to do as much political and economic damage as possible to Russia. The country was torn apart. Historic parts of Russia such as Ukraine were split off into separate countries. Washington even insisted that Crimea, long a part of Russia and the country’s warm water port, was retained by Ukraine when the Soviet Union was dismembered.

People’s savings (called the “overhang”) were wiped out with hyperinflation. Privatization was not accompanied by new investment. The economy was not industrialized, but financialized. The proceeds from privatization were deposited by the Russian government in private banks where the money was used to privatize more Russian assets. The banking system thus served to finance the transfer of ownership, not to fund new investment, and the proceeds were transferred abroad. Russia was turned into a financial colony in which proconsuls created wealth at the top.

Today privatization continues in the de facto privatization of public assets, such as charging fees for use of federal highways. As the Russian economic profession has been brainwashed by the Americans, the country is devoid of economic leadership.

We have pointed out on more than one occasion that it is nonsensical for Russia to in-debt itself by borrowing abroad in order to finance investments. The Russians were sold a bill of goods that the central bank cannot issue rubles unless the rubles are backed by dollars. This advice served to prevent Russia from using its own central bank to fund public infrastructure and private investment projects by issuing rubles. In other words, Russia might as well not have a central bank.

Apparently, Russian economists do not understand that Russia does not spend borrowed foreign currencies inside Russia. If Russia takes a foreign loan, the borrowed money goes into central bank reserves. The central bank then issues the ruble equivalent to be spent on the project, and the cost of the project goes up by the pointless interest paid to the foreign lender.

As far as we can tell, the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences is so brainwashed by neoliberal economics that their minds are closed to correct policies. The failure of Russian economic leadership imposes far more costs on the Russian economy than do Washington’s sanctions.

Intellectual leadership is weak with many in the intellectual class favoring integration with the West rather than with the East. To be part of the West has been an important goal since Peter the First and Catherine the Great, and the Russian Atlanticist Integrationists cannot let go of the ancient goal. This goal no longer makes sense. Not only does it imply Russian vassalage, but also Europe is no longer the center of power. The East is rising, and China is the center and will be until the Chinese destroy themselves by copying the Western neoliberal policy of financializing the economy.

Although Putin is a leader and has a sense of Russian purpose, many officials use their office not in service to Russia but in service to their own wealth, much of which is held abroad. Corruption and embezzlement seem to be the purpose of many office holders. Scandals abound among members of government and reflect badly on Putin and Medvedev.

 
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An accurate description of the US orchestrated event today at Venezuela’s border with Colombia was posted on The Saker’s website 3 days ago. http://thesaker.is/alert-this-would-be-the-plan-for-next-february-23-2019/

Most of the world sees this as “US gangsterism.” But no one does anything about it.

John Wight asks: “Does anybody really think that Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Elliott Abrams care one bit about the welfare of the Venezuelan people? These are thugs in tailored suits whose views are far closer to Al Capone than to Thomas Jefferson.” https://www.rt.com/news/452274-venezuela-us-intervention-gangsterism/

President Maduro’s failure to arrest Juan Guaido, the puppet chosen by Washington to be the Empire’s front man in Venezuela, might spell the end of Venezuelan democracy. The Venezuelan military will wonder why they are at risk when all Maduro has to do is to arrest Guaido, try the traitor, and execute him.

Chavez’s lack of decisive action against the elite enemies of Venezuelan democracy is now being repeated by Maduro. This sends the signal of a lack of confidence, and it is this lack of confidence that has given birth to the American coup.

Maduro even made the mistake of allowing American and British media to be on the scene of the orchestrated “humanitarian aid” border crossing to make propaganda films against him.

Bolivia will be next.

 
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Atlantic Bridge, a German front organization set up by Washington to propagandize Germans to serve Washington, has failed in the job. The latest survey conducted by the front group shows that 85% of Germans are alienated from the US. The front group’s chairman acknowledged “the great lost of trust in the United States.” By a margin of two to one, Germans see China as a more reliable partner for Germany than the US. https://www.translatetheweb.com/?from=de&to=en&refd=www.microsofttranslator.com&rr=UC&a=https://www.atlantik-bruecke.org/vertrauen-in-der-krise/

Americans have come to the same conclusion about the US government as have Germans. The latest Gallup Poll reveals that Americans regard America’s top problem to be the US government. Twice as many respondents regard the US government to be the top problem than regard immigration, and Americans see Washington to be six times the problem that health care is. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/02/23/americans-call-their-government-americas-top-problem.html

As many have concluded, the United States is not a democracy. It is an oligarchy ruled by monied private interest groups. http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/america-is-one-dollar-one-vote-not-really-one-person-one-vote/

There has clearly been a revolution in America. An aristocracy has overthrown the people. Democracy is dead. We live in the Oligarchy United Against the People.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Media, Germany 
Paul Craig Roberts
About Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts has had careers in scholarship and academia, journalism, public service, and business. He is chairman of The Institute for Political Economy.

Dr. Roberts has held academic appointments at Virginia Tech, Tulane University, University of New Mexico, Stanford University where he was Senior Research Fellow in the Hoover Institution, George Mason University where he had a joint appointment as professor of economics and professor of business administration, and Georgetown University where he held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy in the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Dr. Roberts was associate editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He was a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles. In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.

President Reagan appointed Dr. Roberts Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and he was confirmed in office by the U.S. Senate. From 1975 to 1978, Dr. Roberts served on the congressional staff where he drafted the Kemp-Roth bill and played a leading role in developing bipartisan support for a supply-side economic policy. After leaving the Treasury, he served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Commerce.