Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Eisenhower Remembered (No Labels Scam) Upon Winning This Election, Republicans Target Rest of Consumer Protections (Why You Must Vote Against It Once You Understand The Deep State's Implications) Supporting Slave Labor

Has the U.S. Republican party (and associated Blue Dog Democrats) truly lost their minds since Eisenhower's presidency?


The original passage, from a letter Eisenhower wrote to his brother Edgar on Nov. 8, 1954, went as follows:

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.

Or did those Texas oil millionaires, politicians and businessmen take his words as a challenge?*

Scott Walker Knows the Best Way to Support Equal Pay Is to Repeal Equal Pay Laws

A bizarre ad from Walker touts his support for equal pay - after he weakened equal pay laws

No Labels’ Colorado Sham: Why They’re Working Very Hard to Help Tea Party Senator Win

The centrist "problem solvers" have determined that Mark Udall is apparently a huge problem who must be destroyed

Our morally superior post-ideological post-political friends at the No Labels organization seem really intent on getting Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner elected to the Senate.

The centrist advocacy group, founded in 2010 “to move America from the old politics of point-scoring toward a new politics of problem-solving,” has obviously had zero success in that — except in providing a modest amount of cover-by-association to politicians in unfriendly territory. Think Joe Manchin in West Virginia. He is a Democrat, but being a member of No Labels allows him to say that he is against political partisanship. And so on. Convenient.

. . . As Yahoo also reported at the time, No Labels had poisoned its relationship with Democrats earlier this year when it decided to “support” Gardner over Sen. Mark Udall. That doesn’t seem like much of a post-political problem-solving move so much as a means of helping Republicans gain control of the Senate.

No Labels found itself in an uncomfortable position over the summer when a confidential strategy memo prepared for its executive board leaked to the press. The document mentioned how Republican control of the Senate would present excellent business opportunities for No Labels.

. . . What’s especially strange about No Labels’ insistence on terminating Udall’s Senate career is that he does have bipartisan gravitas — just not on an issue that No Labels deems important. There are plenty of other cookie-cutter Democrats out there who’ve done nothing. But Udall has been a leading voice on one of the few issues over the past couple of years that does corral a bipartisan coalition:  surveillance reform.

Udall, like Rand Paul, has been railing against NSA overreach both before and after the Edward Snowden disclosures. And he sits on the intelligence committee, where his rank would rise in the next Congress. He’d have significant sway on this issue that alarms segments of both the Democratic and Republican parties. That sounds like a significantly stronger qualification for the Problem Solvers Caucus than offering some rote babble about how you’ll work to create a million bajillion jobs over the next 20 years by cutting Social Security or whatever.

Down With Tyranny shows us the future if we don't elect real Democrats in droves this next election:

Republicans will likely target the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and capital requirements on insurance companies if they take the Senate.

. . . Banksters have already been getting away with murder - whenever conservatives can assert influence over the regulatory process. This week, a news report in Bloomberg asked the simple question: "have regulators been too soft on Wall Street?"

. . . And it’s all about ideology, an overwhelming hostility to government spending of any kind. This hostility began as an attack on social programs, especially those that aid the poor, but over time it has broadened into opposition to any kind of spending, no matter how necessary and no matter what the state of the economy.

Paul Clements cannot be bought, thereby signifying what the election of real Democrats will bring back to our country:

Conservative Victories Next Week Mean More Power To The Banksters - More Watering Down Of Dodd-Frank

This week, Paul Ryan has been pushing a new GOP talking point about how Dodd-Frank is to the banking system what Obamacare is for the healthcare system. In other words, he's way on board with Wall Street whore and House Financial Services Committee chair Jeb Hensarling in wanting to repeal or dismantle the consumer (and societal) protections, as weak as they were, in Dodd-Frank.

The two clowns claim they just want to liberate people from bureaucracy. Like wrecking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which, says Hensarling, is "the single most unaccountable agency in the history of America... We’ve all heard about Wall Street greed. I think people are now starting to be a little bit more sensitized to Washington greed - the greed for power and control over our lives and our economy."

Ryan's analogy linking the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank may be mostly fodder for grotesquely ignorant GOP base voters, but there is a valid point, albeit not one that could have possibly crossed Ryan's teeny-weeny mind.

Both were half-assed, timid political solutions to urgent problems. Instead of universal single payer, Obamacare leaves people still at the mercy of predatory insurance and drug companies and instead of an end to "too big to fail," Wall Street (political donors) are still in the cat bird's seat (instead of prison).

This week MarketWatch predicted that if the Republicans get control of the Senate, they will work towards destroying even the incremental reform in Dodd-Frank. New Dems and Blue Dogs are eager to help them, particularly Wall Street's best paid Democratic whores like Jim Himes (New Dem-CT, $955,124 this cycle alone), Joe Crowley (New Dem-NY, $1,018,372 this cycle alone), Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL, $836,200 this cycle alone), and Steve Israel (Blue Dog-NY, $809,600 this cycle alone).

My own congressman, Blue Dog/New Dem Adam Schiff has taken $1,023,186 from the Finance Sector since first being elected to Congress in 2000. The corrupt, conservative Schiff, who was redistricted into one of the most progressive districts in the country, has no Republican opponent next week. Establishment Republicans love him; he represents their sick worldview.

But a progressive independent, Steve Stokes, is fighting a Quixotic battle against him - and one of the issues Stokes keeps bringing up is the inadequancy of Dodd-Frank. He points out that the act was "Congress' attempt to show voters they were getting tough on lenders. Dodd-Frank was a Trojan horse diversion to make it appear that big banks were being regulated.

When the Dodd-Frank Act was passed to regulate the financial industry it did so by placing crippling and unnecessary restrictions on independent financial professionals to the benefit of the large banks. Congress was able to say 'look we reformed the financial system' but all they did was make it even easier for big corporations to dominate the market and more expensive for the American consumer. The part of the law that pertained to regulating big banks was watered down due to the influence of the banking lobby."

With Barbara Boxer retiring in 2016, Schiff is hoping to represent the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in the unseemly scramble for her seat that has begun behind the scenes. A vote for Stokes by CA-28 progressive voters next Tuesday probably won't defeat Schiff in his reelection effort, but it could help slow down his disgusting Senate ambitions.

Adam Schiff:  Blue Dog, New Dem, Military Industrial Complex handmaiden

The ruling on state Medicaid expansion by the Roberts' court shows how the Republican Supreme Court choices have fatally affected the health care of millions of those who cannot help themselves for years to come:

The future makeup of the Supreme Court is totally dependent on the results of this election. These results will impact my state, North Carolina, viscerally. (And I'm not kidding.)

The effects of John Roberts re-writing the ACA’s Medicaid expansion are felt in Mississippi.

. . . This reflects an infliction of pain and suffering and death than was eminently avoidable. If you’ll forgive me for reiterating, it’s nearly impossible to overstate how terrible this decision was. It would be one thing if this denial of access of medical care to millions of people was enforcing some explicit constitutional provision, but it wasn’t. If this judicially invented at least protected some meaningful individual liberty interest it might be a little more understandable, but it doesn’t. At best, the lives of millions of people have been made worse — with consequences up to and including death — in order to prioritize inferential states’ “rights” over human rights.

But here’s the kicker:  Sebelius does not even provide any significant protection for state autonomy. Congress remains free to create a Medicaid program that requires everyone up to 138% of the federal poverty line to be covered and makes all Medicaid funding contingent on meeting these conditions. It simply would have to structure it by formally repealing the previous Medicaid and replacing it with “Medicaid II: The Quest For Ron Paul’s GOLD,” thus evading the Supreme Court’s newly minted requirement that existing funding can sometimes be made contingent on accepting new conditions and sometimes can’t and we’ll let you know ex post facto whether this completely arbitrary line has been crossed.

Congress can pursue identical means with identical ends; the ACA’s constitutional Medicaid expansion is not different in any substantive way whatsoever from the hypothetical constitutional Medicaid II. The state interest being protected here doesn’t even rise to the level of being trivial.

The fact that so much misery was created for so little should permanently shame the justices who voted for it. It’s judicial review at its least defensible.

I've quoted Peter Dale Scott as an excellent source of anti-received-wisdom commentary more than a few times at this blog. His books are fascinating and compelling history treatises that reinterpret events in ways that are discomforting to foreign policy authority figures (and illuminating to citizens).

WhoWhatWhy thinks so too.

The following essay contains an insightful discussion of the origins of the anti-Soviet thrust of the West, while still maintaining important ties and being allied with the Soviet Union, arising in the power equation presupposed to exist after the conclusion of World War II. No thought of a peaceful, allied world was allowed in the minds of those running the OSS-CIA/State Department cabal then.

Or now.

The Deep State and the Bias of Official History

By Peter Dale Scott on Oct 26, 2014


How do Wall Street, oil companies and the shadow government agencies like the CIA and NSA really shape the global political order?

That’s the question author Peter Dale Scott examines in his forthcoming book “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack On U.S. Democracy,” due out on Nov. 12. Scott, a professor emeritus of English at Berkeley and former Canadian diplomat, is considered the father of “Deep Politics” — the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected.

In the American Deep State, Scott takes a compelling look at the facts lurking behind the official histories of events to uncover the real dynamics in play. In this exclusive excerpt — the first of several we will feature on WhoWhatWhy — he looks at the revolving door between Wall Street and the CIA, and what that demonstrates about where power truly resides.

In the last decade it has become more and more obvious that we have in America today what the journalists have called … America’s “deep state.” (1)

This expansion of a two-level or dual state has been paralleled by two other dualities:  the increasing resolution of American society into two classes — the “one percent” and the “ninety-nine percent” — and the bifurcation of the U.S. economy into two aspects: the domestic, still subject to some governmental regulation and taxation, and the international, relatively free from governmental controls. (2)

All three developments have affected and intensified each other — particularly since the Reagan Revolution of 1980, which saw American inequality of wealth cease to diminish and begin to increase. (3) Thus for example Wall Street — the incarnation of the “one percent” — played a significant role in creating the CIA after World War II, and three decades later the CIA and big oil played a significant role in realigning American politics for the Reagan Revolution.

There is an ambiguous symbiosis between two aspects of the American deep state:

  1. The Beltway agencies of the shadow government, like the CIA and NSA, which have been instituted by the public state and now overshadow it, and
  2. The much older power of Wall Street, referring to the powerful banks and law firms located there.
Top-level Treasury officials, CIA officers, and Wall Street bankers and lawyers think much alike because of the “revolving door” by which they pass easily from private to public service and back.

But a much larger role for the private sector has come with the increased outsourcing of the government’s intelligence budget. Tim Shorrock revealed in 2007 that “about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends every year on . . . intelligence” is now outsourced to private intelligence contractors like Booz, Allen & Hamilton (now Booz Allen Hamilton) and SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation). (4)

The Overworld

I shall argue that in the 1950s, Wall Street was a dominating complex. It included not just banks and law firms but also the oil majors whose cartel arrangements were successfully defended against the U.S. government by the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, home to the Dulles brothers. This larger complex is what I mean by the Wall Street overworld.

There seems to be little difference in Allen Dulles’s influence whether he was a Wall Street lawyer or a CIA director. Although he did not formally join the CIA until November 1950, he was in Berlin before the start of the 1948 Berlin Blockade, “supervising the unleashing of anti-Soviet propaganda across Europe.” (5) In the early summer of 1948, he set up the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), in support of what became, by the early 1950s, “the largest CIA operation in Western Europe.” (6)

The CIA never abandoned its dependency on funds from outside its official budget to conduct its clandestine operations. In Southeast Asia in particular, its proprietary firm Sea Supply Inc. supplied an infrastructure for a drug traffic supporting a CIA-led paramilitary force, PARU. [Two CIA proprietaries, Sea Supply Inc. and Civil Air Transport (CAT) Inc. (later Air America), initially supplied the KMT 93rd Division in Burma that organized opium mule trains down to Thailand, where opium sales were still legal.

Later, when the USG officially distanced itself from the KMT drug army, the CIA organized an offensive and defensive paramilitary unit, PARU, inside the Thai Border Police (BPP). Like the BPP, PARU financed itself by seizing KMT opium and turning it in to the Thai Government, receiving a bounty payment of 12.5 percent of the retail value.] (7)

The CIA appears also to have acted in coordination with slush funds from various U.S. government contracts, ranging from the Howard Hughes organization to the foreign arms sales of U.S. defense corporations like Lockheed and Northrop. (8)

The international lawyers of Wall Street did not hide from each other their shared belief that they understood better than Washington the requirements for running the world.

This mentality exhibited itself in 1952, when Truman’s Justice Department sought to break up the cartel agreements whereby Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) and four other oil majors controlled global oil distribution. (The other four were Standard Oil Company of New York or Socony [later Mobil], Standard Oil of California [now Chevron], Gulf Oil, and Texaco. Together with Royal Dutch Shell and Anglo-Iranian, they comprised the so-called “Seven Sisters” of the cartel.)

Faced with a government order to hand over relevant documents, Exxon’s lawyer Arthur Dean at Sullivan and Cromwell, where Foster Dulles was senior partner, refused:  “If it were not for the question of national security, we would be perfectly willing to face either a criminal or a civil suit. But this is the kind of information the Kremlin would love to get its hands on.” (9)

Overthrowing Iran

At this time the oil cartel was working closely with the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC, later BP) to prevent AIOC’s nationalization by Iran’s Premier Mossadeq by instituting, in May 1951, a successful boycott of Iranian oil exports. “In May 1951 the AIOC secured the backing of the other oil majors, who had every interest in discouraging nationalisation. . . . . None of the large companies would touch Iranian oil; despite one or two picturesque episodes, the boycott held.” (10)

Mohammad Mossadeq

Mohammad Mossadeq

But Truman declined, despite a direct personal appeal from Churchill, to have the CIA participate in efforts to overthrow Mossadeq, and instead dispatched Averell Harriman to Tehran in a failed effort to negotiate a peaceful resolution of Mossadeq’s differences with London. (11)

All this changed with the election of Eisenhower in November 1952 (with considerable support from the oil industry), followed by the appointment of the Dulles brothers to be Secretary of State and head of CIA.

In November 1952 CIA officials began planning to involve the CIA in the efforts of MI6 and the oil companies in Iran (12) although its notorious Operation TP/AJAX to overthrow Mossadeq was not finally approved by Eisenhower until July 22, 1953. (13)

Dr. Mossadeq entering court for his trial.

Dr. Mossadeq entering court for his trial.

Nearly all recent accounts of Mossadeq’s overthrow treat it as a covert intelligence operation, with the oil cartel (when mentioned at all) playing a subservient role. However the chronology, and above all the belated approval from Eisenhower, suggest that it was CIA that came belatedly in 1953 to assist an earlier oil cartel operation, rather than vice versa.

In terms of the deep state, in 1951 the oil cartel or deep state initiated a process that the American public state only authorized two years later. Yet the inevitable bias in academic or archival historiography, working only with those primary sources that are publicly available, is to think of the Mossadeq tragedy as simply a “CIA coup.”


1.  Mike Lofgren, “A Shadow Government Controls America,” Reader Supported News, February 22, 2014, -a-shadow-government-controls.

2.  To take a single telling example, six of Sam Walton’s heirs are now reportedly wealthier than the bottom 30 percent of Americans, or 94.5 million people (Tim Worstall, “Six Waltons Have More Wealth Than the Bottom 30% of Americans,” Forbes, December 14, 2011,

3.  See Kevin Phillips, The Politics of Rich and Poor:  Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath (New York:  HarperCollins, 1991).

4.  Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire:  The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing (New York:  Simon & Schuster, 2008), 6.

5.  Gordon Thomas, Secret Wars:  One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6 (New York:  Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2009), 98.

6.  Richard Aldrich, The Hidden Hand:  Britain, America, and Cold War Secret Intelligence (Woodstock, NY:  Overlook Press, 2001), 343. Dulles also chaired the executive committee of the companion National Committee for a Free Europe (behind the Iron Curtain), whose legal affairs were handled by Sullivan and Cromwell (Wilson D. Miscamble, George F. Kennan and the Making of American Foreign Policy, 1947–1950 [Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press, 1992], 204).

7.  Scott, American War Machine, 65–67, 87–96.

8.  Norman Mailer, “A Harlot High and Low:  Reconnoitering Through the Secret Government,” New York, August 16, 1976 (Hughes); Michael Schaller, Altered States:  The United States and Japan Since the Occupation (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1997), 294 (Lockheed).

9.  Ovid Demaris, Dirty Business:  The Corporate-Political Money-Power Game (New York:  Avon, 1974), 213–14.

10.  J. P. D. Dunbabin, International Relations Since 1945:   A History in Two Volumes, 
Vol. 2, (London:  Longman, 1994), 344. The Boycott Is Denied Without Argumentation in Exxon’s Corporate History (Bennett H. Wall et al., Growth in a Changing Environment:  A History of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), Exxon Corporation, 1950–1975, vol. 4 (New York:  McGraw-Hill, 1988), 476.

11.  Mostafa Elm, Oil, Power, and Principle:  Iran’s Oil Nationalization and Its Aftermath (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1992), 198–99 (Churchill); Robert Moskin, American Statecraft:  The Story of the U.S. Foreign Service (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2013), 627–28 (Harriman).

12.  William Roger Louis, “Britain and the Overthrow of Mossadeq,” in Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, eds., Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran (Syracuse, NY:  Syracuse University Press, 2004), 168. Cf. William R. Clark, Petrodollar Warfare:  Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar (Gabriola Island, BC:  New Society Publishers, 2005), 125:  “The Dulles brothers had already conceived a plot when Eisenhower became president in January 1953;” Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes:  The History of the CIA (New York:  Doubleday, 2007), 83:  “[In November 1952] “The CIA was setting out to depose [Mossadeq] without the imprimatur of the White House.”

13.  Scot Macdonald, Rolling the Iron Dice:  Historical Analogies and Decisions to Use Military Force in Regional Contingencies (Westport, CT:  Greenwood Press, 2000), 98. Cf. Richard H. Immerman, John Foster Dulles:  Piety, Pragmatism, and Power in U.S. Foreign Policy (Wilmington, DE:  Scholarly Resources, 1999), 67. Allen Dulles played a personal role in TP/AJAX, by flying to Italy and persuading the frightened Shah to return to Tehran.

A final word on our electoral choices from Lawyers, Guns and Money:

How Many Products That You Buy Drive Human Rights Abuses? Many.

October 29, 2014 | Erik Loomis

This Vox piece on 5 products you buy that drive human rights abuses is good enough. I talk about the shrimp industry at some length in my forthcoming capital mobility book. If you are buying frozen shrimp, just assume you are either supporting slave labor or something way too close to it. The apparel industry is of course notorious for its exploitation, as is chocolate production.

But the larger point that the author doesn’t make is that most of the products you buy engage in outright exploitation because the system of capital mobility allows corporations to exploit workers and destroy ecosystems around the globe with impunity and the outsourcing and subcontracting system further makes protects corporations from accountability. So sure, these are horrible industries but if we want to do anything about them we have to think systemically about the system of modern global capitalism that creates these horrors. And the article doesn’t really do that.

Amanda Hess has a few words on the slavery that many women face in their daily lives (and if you don't believe it, you should walk in their shoes a few days to test out your thesis):

Whenever I bring up the topic of street harassment with men, they tell me they just don’t see it. Literally:  When they’re walking down the street with a woman, other men don’t make a noise. Enter Hollaback!, an anti-street harassment organization, which recently teamed up with the video marketing agency Rob Bliss Creative to show what it’s like to walk down the street alone as a woman:  totally exhausting, reliably demeaning, and occasionally, terrifying.

. . . Some men, though, still aren’t seeing it. On Twitter, some are pushing back against the video, claiming that it’s not harassment, it’s just annoying, and that refusing to reply is, frankly, impolite.

Of course, it’s largely women who are singled out for constant annoyance just for stepping outside, and are dismissed as rude for not accepting it graciously. If you don't get it after watching this video, the problem isn't just the guys caught yelling at Roberts. The problem is you.

Click here for video if the embed doesn't appear below.

The conservative movement that has taken over the GOP was nursed on hatred of Eisenhower’s moderation. The eight years of peace and prosperity he gave Americans are remembered by conservatives as a dark age of “me-too” Republicanism, brightened only by the founding of the Ike-smiting National Review in 1955. The anti-heroic bent of the proposed Eisenhower memorial, with its refusal to acknowledge that there was anything great or admirable about its subject, may well be a source of considerable satisfaction to many on the right as well as the left. But it’s important to remember that the relationship between the 1950s conservative movement and its contemporaneous Republican President was one of mutual ill-will. Conservatives had expected that Eisenhower, as the first Republican president since 1932, would repeal the New Deal; instead he augmented and expanded programs like Social Security, thereby giving them bipartisan legitimacy as well as added effectiveness. Conservatives had expected that the president would support Senator Joseph McCarthy’s crusade to tar all liberals as pro-Communist; instead he denied McCarthy the authority to subpoena federal witnesses and receive classified documents, thereby precipitating the red-baiter’s overreach and fall. Eisenhower governed as a moderate Republican. While he failed to take bold action against Southern segregation as Democratic liberals and Republican progressives urged him to do, he helped to cool the overheated partisan rhetoric of the preceding two decades and built a middle-of-the-road consensus that marginalized extremists of left and right. He was well aware that his moderation earned him the implacable enmity of GOP conservatives. As he put it, “There is a certain reactionary fringe of the Republican Party that hates and despises everything for which I stand.” But this did not greatly bother him, since he also believed that “their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
End of Farmers Market Interlude

Sunday, October 26, 2014

(Flood of Dem Voting Paramount To Middle-Class Survival) Kill the Economics Jester? (David F. Brooks:  They're Coming for You Ha Ha!) Delaware Court Allows Companies to Write By-Laws that Make Shareholders Pay Company's Legal Cost If They Lose Case Filed Against Company (Net Positive of QE)

It seems rather obvious at this time in U.S. history that if there's not a flood of Democrats elected (especially in the Senate) during this next election (North Carolina being one of the GOP-Koch-ad-imperiled), that the downward-trajectory spiral being endured by the middle class will be heading into Depression territory.

Vote like your life depends on it.

The Republican Party’s Electoral Philosophy: Cheating Wins

Chevron Greases Local Elections With Dark Money

7 Facts That Show the American Dream Is Dead

A living wage, retirement security and a life free of debt are now only accessible to the country's wealthiest

From our bestest Beat the Press (we wish) source (Dean Baker):

David Brooks' Great Adventures in Fantasy Land

Friday, 24 October 2014

David Brooks has a tough job. He is supposed to present an intellectually respectable case for a political party that denies human caused global warming and has questions about evolution and the shape of the earth. This is why he must depart from the truth in laying out the path forward for the economy in his column this morning.

He gives us four items to move the economy forward, but we don't have to get beyond the first one to realize that he is not serious. Brooks tells us:

"If you get outside the partisan boxes, there’s a completely obvious agenda to create more middle-class, satisfying jobs. The federal government should borrow money at current interest rates to build infrastructure, including better bus networks so workers can get to distant jobs. The fact that the federal government has not passed major infrastructure legislation is mind-boggling, considering how much support there is from both parties."

Really? There is bipartisan support for having the federal government borrow money (i.e. run larger deficits) to build up the infrastructure? Is Paul Ryan calling for this? Ted Cruz? Marco Rubio? John Boehner? Who are the Republicans who are there demanding that the government run larger deficits to build up the infrastructure?
Brooks could do the country an enormous public service here by naming names.
The reality is that President Obama has been unable to get any notable Republican support for even nickel and dime infrastructure projects. It probably wouldn't even matter if he agreed to restrict the spending to Republican congressional districts.
Then we get Brooks telling us:
"The government should reduce its generosity to people who are not working but increase its support for people who are. That means reducing health benefits for the affluent elderly."
There are two questions that come up here. First what is the definition of "affluent" and second what counts as "generosity."  When we were debating tax brackets in 2012 the Republicans insisted that you wouldn't be wealthy enough to pay higher taxes unless your income was above $400,000 a year. By contrast, President Obama put the cutoff at $250,000.
If we accept either of these definitions and think that the excessive generosity takes the form of Social Security and Medicare benefits, then we can stop right here. The money involved is too trivial to make any difference in the lives of working people. In order to have anything worth the trouble we would have (to) redefine affluent to something like an income of $40,000 a year.

Of course if we include payments of interest on government bonds to affluent people as part of the government's generosity, it would be a different story.
Wealthy people who are not working get a huge amount of interest on government bonds.

If we took that away from them, then we would have lots of money to help working people. Some folks may object that the rich paid for these bonds, but of course the "affluent" elderly also paid for their Social Security and Medicare. So we need clear guidance from Brooks on where he wants to go on this one.
Next we have Brooks endorsing a tax plan from two Republican senators:
"But at least we could have the sort of tax reform that Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have suggested, which would simplify the code while subsidizing middle-class families. The fact that Washington hasn’t even made a run at serious tax reform is another sign of utter political malpractice."
I searched the web and the two senators' web sites. The only evidence I could find of Senators Rubio and Lee's tax plan is this oped in the Wall Street Journal. This piece tells us that they want to add $2,500 to the child tax credit. Their credit would be refundable and even go to rich people who are not working (so much for Brooks' complaint in the prior paragraph). This means it would cost around $180 billion a year. That's roughly 1.0 percent of GDP or 5.0 percent of the budget, or 220 percent of the food stamp budget.
Their proposal also calls for lowering corporate income taxes and individual tax rates. However, if you thought that Rubio and Lee have a way to pay for these tax cuts you would be imagining things. This is the Wall Street Journal and a David Brooks column, not places where numbers are expected to add up. (I'm fine with larger budget deficits, but I know these folks aren't.)
The Rubio and Lee column includes the annoyingly inaccurate comment:
"They [parents] of course pay payroll taxes, like everyone else. But unlike adults without children, they also shoulder the financial burden of raising the next generation of taxpayers, who will grow up to fund the Social Security and Medicare benefits of all future seniors."
Actually, adults without children pay taxes that educate children. Perhaps those taxes should be higher, but their assertion here is simply not true. Also, we do not need anyone in the United States to have children to "fund the Social Security and Medicare benefits of all future seniors." It is almost inconceivable to imagine a scenario in which the country could not produce enough supply (remember we are suffering now from too much supply) to meet the needs of people on Social Security and Medicare. Furthermore, if there ever is a problem with a labor shortage in the United States, there is no shortage of foreigners who would be happy to come here and work.
In short, it's great that people are having kids and we should have a country where they can be raised properly without impoverishing their parents. However, people having kids are not doing a public service.
Then we have Brooks' call on immigration:
"Third, the immigration system should turn into a talent recruiting system, a relentless effort to get the world’s most gifted and driven people to move to our shores."
Hmmm, our doctors are paid twice as much as their counterparts in other wealthy countries. If we use immigration to get their wages in line, it would lead to large gains to the economy and a substantial reduction in inequality. (Almost all doctors are in the top 2.0 percent.) Somehow I don't think immigration of doctors and other highly paid professionals is on Brooks' agenda. (We can use the taxes from doctor immigrants from developing countries to reimburse them for their education so that they can train 2-3 doctors for everyone that comes here.)

Finally, we get silliness about college education.
"Fourth, there has to be a doubling-down on human capital, from early-education programs to community colleges and beyond. Today, too many people are focused on the top 1 percent. But, as economist David Autor has shown, if you took all the wealth gains the top 1 percent made between 1979 and 2012 and spread it to the bottom 99 percent, each household would get a payment of only $7,000. But if you take a two-earner, high-school-educated couple and get them college degrees, their income goes up by $58,000 per year. Inequality is mostly a human capital problem."
It's hard to know where to start on that one. First, why take the wealth of the top 1 percent rather than redirect the annual income flows? The shift over the last 30 years comes to about $1.2 trillion annually. That comes to $12,000 a year for an average family of the bottom 80 percent. On the education side, there are already many people, especially men, who do not benefit from a college education. This number would vastly increase if we massively expanded college enrollment. It is probably a good idea to have more people go to college, but it is an illusion to imagine that this is a solution to inequality.

min/max Comments (17)Add Comment
written by djb, October 24, 2014
so the real figures are 1.2 trillion annually wealth transfer to the 1 percent

but brooks says is it 7000 per household implying that is TOTAL for the entire 35 year period 79 to 2012

that would be about 1 trillion, vs the real figure of maybe 35 trillion

how can you have a serious discussion with a guy like that
written by Mike Martin, October 24, 2014
Brooks is without doubt the worse paid op ed columnist ever, and there is stiff competition (I'm talking about you Taxi Tommy). I could not see any connection between his thesis (meritocracy) and the rest of the essay. We are defined by what we do, therefore we all need to be MBAs?
written by JDM, October 24, 2014
In the non-Brooksian world, even $7,000 is a very sizeable increase in wealth (more than 10% increase for the median family). 12 grand a year is of course even better.
written by PeonInChief, October 24, 2014
First, while better public transit is a good idea, it would make far more sense to build affordable housing near job centers, so that the proletariat wouldn't have to travel long distances to work. But then people like David Brooks would have to live next door to restaurant servers, baristas and janitors, and that would bring down property values.

Second, the people who will be collecting Social Security have already paid for it. I'm sorry that the rich don't want to pay the money back, but that's what happens when you borrow money. Oops, I forgot that the people who don't want to pay it back are rich people. Sorry.
written by urban legend, October 24, 2014
Attacking Social Security and Medicare is a genuflection people like Brooks simply must make. Logic or analysis has absolutely nothing to do with it.
written by Noni Mausa, October 25, 2014
"...Brooks says "Third, the immigration system should turn into a talent recruiting system, a relentless effort to get the world’s most gifted and driven people to move to our shores." ..."

So, having outsourced manufacturing and finance to other countries, we should now outsource the raising and training of new citizens too? News flash -- North America is doing that already. The US and Canada would have no population growth if it weren't for immigration.

But, another news flash -- the best and brightest foreigners look askance at the US with its crazy health system, xenophobic culture, and suspicion of intelligence and expertise. They may visit, might take work contracts, but are shy of diving right into the melting pot.


Please, please, please click on the Comments link above (as I really enjoy and want to share how those commenting laugh almost as loudly (just kidding!) as Dean does at Brooks' ignorant (purposely?) rant).

More Dean below:

In Case You Wondered Why CEOs in the United States Make So Much Money

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Okay, there are a few hundred people who believe that the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars pocketed by CEOs reflect their worth in the market. (And most of those people write for newspapers or teach in business schools.) The rest understand that CEOs get incredibly rich by being able to rip off the companies that they supposedly work for. This is because the rules are rigged to give them effective control over the company.

Gretchen Morgenson has a good piece explaining one way in which CEOs and other top management rig the deck. Her column today talks about a Delaware court ruling that allows companies to write by-laws that make shareholders pay the company's legal cost if they lose a case filed against the company. For example, this could mean that if shareholders sued a company because it rewrote the strike price on options given to an incompetent CEO, and then lost the case, then the shareholders would have to pay the company's legal expenses.(Most U.S. companies are chartered in Delaware, so this ruling makes a big difference.)

Since companies that overpay incompetent CEOs tend to have hugely overpaid lawyers, this is likely to be a very serious expense. This would be a major disincentive to shareholder suits, making it easier for CEOs to rip off the companies for which they work.

It is worth noting that courts always had the authority to require losers to pay the winners' legal fees in frivolous cases. The Delaware ruling means that losers would always be required to pay the company's legal fees, even if the loss was due to a technical issue, such as a missed filing deadline.

Comments (7)

Krugman on Quantitative Easing and Inequality

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Paul Krugman is on the mark in his comments on quantitative easing and inequality. The policy has helped boost the economy and create jobs, it is almost certainly a net gainer from the standpoint of distribution. I would make three additional points, all going in the same direction.

First, when comparing the real value of the stock market to prior levels, we should expect an upward trend. The economy grows through time, as do profits, just assuming that profit share remains constant. The profit share has, of course, grown in recent years. This means that if the price to earnings ratio remains constant, then the value of the market should grow at roughly the same rate as the economy.

If we assume a 2.4 percent trend growth rate between 2007 and the present, the market should be roughly 17 percent higher in real terms today than in 2007, assuming no increase in trend profit shares. In other words, the market is pretty much in line with where we would expect it to be if there were no extraordinary monetary policy in place and the economy had followed it trend path. Crediting or blaming the Fed for the market's bounceback from the 2008-2009 lows is just silly.

The second point is that the impoverished masses with large interest incomes (that's a joke) also would benefit from the increase in asset prices, if they held any longer term bonds. When the interest rates on 10-year and 30-year bonds plummeted, the price of these bonds soared. This would have increased the wealth of middle income people who held these bonds. It's possible that they don't want to sell the bonds (after all, they can't get a high interest rate if they re-invest the money elsewhere), but this the same story for rich people who hold lots of stock. The high stock price doesn't do them any good unless they sell some stock.

Anyhow, the point is that in order for our middle-income people to be hurt on net by the fall in interest rates, not only would it be necessary that all their money was in interest bearing assets (as opposed to stock), but it would have to be in short-term assets like savings accounts or certificates of deposits. This is a very small group of people. (I know everyone has an aunt who has $50k in a savings account - sorry, someone is lying in that story.)

Finally, normal middle-income people tend to be big net payers of interest because of something called a "mortgage." They may also have student loan debt. Lower interest rates have allowed tens of millions of people to have substantially lower mortgage and student loan payments. This is a huge plus on the distributional side. That doesn't mean that mortgage and student loan payments are not a major burden in many cases, but they would be a much bigger burden if the interest payments were 1-2 percentage points higher.

In short, the distributional effects of QE were almost certainly a net positive, in spite of the fact that everyone's aunt got hurt.

Comments (25)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NC GOP Senate Candidate Exposed:  How Thom Tillis Helped Banks Shaft Poor Borrowers and Then Convinced Them To Vote for Him

And they think, of course, that they are "soon-to-be rich" Republicans, and thus, they vote for him at every opportunity. Thom Tillis's much-touted, self-made educational background has become much more well known since his Linked-In resume raised questions about his bona fides. Not to mention his campaigned-for public education cuts and increases to charter school funding.

Tillis defeated an incumbent Republican to join the legislature in 2006. He became Republican Whip as a sophomore and helped engineer the 16-seat gain in the 2010 elections that made the conservative party a majority and Tillis its presiding officer. Just one year later, Tillis was named national “Legislator of the Year” by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. In addition to his widely-noted pro-business reform, Tillis and his House colleagues have pushed a ban on gay marriage, pro-life protection laws, and required drug testing for welfare recipients.

Rick Glazier has served North Carolina superbly for years in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Thom Tillis has served himself and his backers (Duke Power/Progress Energy, American Financial Services Association, Americans for Prosperity, ALEC (American Legislation Exchange Council, a secretive group, which was created to get state legislatures to approve bills that had been drafted by its corporate donors, in which Tillis was a member for years, serving on its Board of Directors) and Karl Rove's Crossroads Groups).

North Carolina is expected to be the most expensive Senate race in history.

Nearly $80 million in political ads have already flooded the state, a figure that could rise as high as $100 million by Election Day.
. . . North Carolina has one Republican senator already, a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled state legislature. But Democrats are making inroads in North Carolina, as President Obama won the state in 2008 and Hagan defeated former Sen. Elizabeth Dole.
Though Obama’s approval rating is abysmal here, Tillis, the state House speaker, has struggled to energize the Republican base.

He ties Hagan to the president at every chance, but Tillis can’t separate from her in the polls.

Thus, North Carolina is a purple state forever? Thanks, racialistas!

According to Tillis, ALEC is a “great organization” and the sneaky way that it does business through backroom deals and politicians trading votes away to corporate lobbyists is “a great collaboration between legislators and businesses.”
ALEC’s influence on Tillis’ policies is clear — and so is the impact those policies are having on public education.
“We have had a record number of teachers — good teachers — leave the profession since his leadership began in 2010,” said (NC Educator Vivian) Connell. “That’s because under his leadership the North Carolina General Assembly has passed regressive education polices.”

It's almost funny (not the humorous type) that the white middle class,who are being ferociously propagandized by the Republicans (Reince Priebus has just made a nervous appearance in Raleigh),  are the ones being taken advantage of just as much if not more than the poor.

But the Republicans assure them they are not poor.

They are just Democrats (and they need to change parties to be rich).

Thom Tillis and Reince Priebus campaigned together at a rally in Raleigh Saturday.

Thom Tillis and Reince Priebus campaigned together at a rally in Raleigh Saturday. Photo: Josh Siegel/The Daily Signal

GOP Senate Candidate Exposed:  How Thom Tillis Helped Banks Shaft Poor Borrowers

A new report sheds light on how the North Carolina House speaker went to bat for his financial industry backers

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
Luke Brinker

The New York Times has an in-depth look this morning at how several states are updating their lending laws to allow lenders to increase the fees and interest rates they charge borrowers with poor credit scores. Among the states to loosen lending laws was North Carolina, where Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis helped guide the overhaul to passage. Tillis is now the GOP’s nominee against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

According to the Times, lenders have lobbied for the changes by citing “the increased costs of doing business, including running branches and hiring employees.” It’s a rich argument to make at a time when bank profits are near record levels. Moreover, the Times points out, regulatory filings show that lending to borrowers with subpar credit scores can itself prove “a highly profitable business.”

The effort to loosen North Carolina’s lending law started in 2011, after Republicans took control of the state Legislature. Military commanders at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune lobbied vigorously against the overhaul, the Times notes, warning that it could saddle soldiers with “out-of-control debt.” The commanders’ opposition to the bill proved too much for the industry to overcome that year.

But last year, lenders revived their push. With some commanders fatigued from their previous battles against loosening lending laws and others new to their posts, the state’s military commanders opted to remain neutral. The Times notes that the Center for Responsible Lending also abandoned its opposition “after the industry agreed to slightly lower the proposed rate increases at the last minute.”

Whereas the 2011 legislation would have permitted lenders to charge 30 percent interest on loans up to $1,000 and 18 percent on a remaining balance of $6,500, the 2013 legislation permits up to 30 percent interest on a loan’s first $4,000 and 24 percent for the next $4,000.

At the center of the fight was Tillis, who has been pivotal in pushing conservative policies like voter ID legislation, cuts to unemployment benefits, tax cuts for the wealthy, and abortion restrictions through the Legislature.
Tillis, the Times observes, “has received more money from the American Financial Services Association than any other Senate candidate.”

Tillis’ campaign manager told the Times that Tillis was simply taking account of “the risks [that] can drive up the rates” when he voted for the legislation, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law. Rick Glazier, a Democratic state representative, offered the Times a sharply different take on the new law.

It was one of the most brazen efforts by a special interest group to increase its own profits that I have ever seen,” Glazier told the paper.

Luke Brinker is Salon's deputy politics editor. Follow him on Twitter at @LukeBrinker.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Indispensable Nations Always End Up in Graveyards (ALEC’s New Assault on America:  Why the Far Right Isn’t Relying on Congress)


Is this a new vocabulary word?

From Tom at the Dispatch:

You get (the) idea. We are ... go ahead, chant it: indispensable! And this is:  our century ... if you don’t mind my completing the phrase ... to screw up totally. As it happens, that word “indispensable” is often used without any indication of what exactly our indispensability consists of. Evidence from the last 13 years, however, suggests that we have been exceptionally, indispensably, undeniably, inscrutably important when it comes to destabilizing significant chunks of the planet and encouraging the growth of jihadist organizations.

Now, in the post-9/11 exceptionalist sweepstakes, President Obama and his crew (with the Republican wolves of war baying at his heels) have evidently decided to outdo themselves by launching yet another war, even lamer than the previous ones, based on an expanding bombing campaign that's going nowhere. Today, State Department whistleblower and TomDispatch regular Peter Van Buren offers a sweeping worst-case vision of American indispensability in the Middle East. And as an account of disasters to come - I don’t hesitate to say it! - it is both exceptional and indispensable reading as the latest iteration of the American Century goes down in flames.


I don't like the idea of being a witness to the end times of civilization (especially mine, and my family's), and yet that's what I've felt like since the Republican Clinton 90's.  A society in desperate need of some truth-telling only receives more lies about unlimited growth, extracting unlimited energy from the reserves built up by millions of years of existence (and running out of the easy stuff after a mere hundred since the Industrial Revolution), no pressing need for national health care in the face of all types of new threats to the national well being, and the need to abjure the Geneva Treaties in order to murder innocents in search of national majesty.

Woe be to civilizations that choose pretty, smooth-talking, paid-off storytellers for their national myths.

ALEC continues to wreak its exceptional, indispensable (to its funders) mayhem.

And if you think logically about the state of our world/politics, if you give a myopic, power-crazy group enough money (and we have), why wouldn't they use it to be sure we'll never take it back (and ensure the end of us)?

ALEC’s New Assault On America:  Why the Far Right Isn’t Relying on Congress

Heather Digby Parton

While the nation fixates on Congressional midterm results, here's what Big Money's front group has its eye on

You know it’s getting close to an election when every political junkie gets obsessed with polling, and men like Nate Silver and Sam Wang are spoken of in hushed tones usually reserved for sports stars and religious figures. As of today it’s not looking good for team D to hold the Senate and there are a lot of reasons why that’s a bad thing for America. Not the least of those is that the Republican party has lost its mind and they are likely going to elect some more fringe characters along the lines of Ted Cruz to the allegedly “greatest deliberative body in the world.”

I had been of the opinion that this wasn’t going to be such a travesty since it’s probably going to last only last two years, but the advent of this new ISIS war and the hysteria around immigration and Ebola means that the Congress has quite a bit of leverage over the administration and could demand some very ugly concessions just to keep the government working in a time of crisis. (Yes, they will do that, don’t kid yourself.) So it’s probably a mistake to be sanguine about this election not being important.

When the world is blowing up you really need the government to work properly.

As I said, the field is much more favorable to Democrats in 2016 so there’s something to hang on to if the worst happens. But this story from Mother Jones about the continuing rightward turn in the state legislatures is enough to give you nightmares.

Republicans already hold total power in 23 states and are about to take control of 2 more. And let’s just say they aren’t exactly Eisenhower Republicans. Across the country where they’ve won full control, they’ve tried to enact as extreme an agenda as they can get away with. And when you have all three branches, as many of them do, the agenda is very extreme indeed.

As we’ve seen in states like Wisconsin and Michigan, they’ve decimated public employee unions, Arizona led the way to legalized harassment of anyone who looks “foreign (partially struck down by the Supreme Court), and the constitutional right to abortion has been attacked at every turn, Texas women being the latest casualties.

Some of these initiatives, such as Oklahoma’s lone brave battle to prohibit the imminent enforcement of Sharia Law in our towns and villages is not taken seriously (although you never know.) But many, such as the NRA’s program to flood the nation’s streets with guns and ammunition along with the state-by-state GOP strategy to pass laws to suppress the vote of people who are likely to vote Democratic have been hugely successful.

As I mentioned in this piece, the GAO released a study last week showing that these vote-suppression laws have succeeded in cutting turnout by several points in some states which could determine the outcome of a close election. The courts have recently stayed a number of vote suppression laws in some states that were implemented so close to the election that they’ve left the officials unable to properly educate and inform the voters. But there’s not a lot of reason to believe that the Supreme Court will revisit its ruling on voter ID any time soon so we can expect this crusade to continue.

You cannot have this discussion without mentioning American Legislative Exchange Council, the Big Money right-wing front group that provides these legislators and Governor with “model legislation” they can just dust off and pass without having to do all the unpleasant work involved in writing it yourself. explains it this way:

Through the secretive meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council, corporate lobbyists and state legislators vote as equals on ‘model bills’ to change our rights that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line at public expense. ALEC is a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on ‘task forces’ to advance their legislative wish lists and can get a tax break for donations, effectively passing these lobbying costs on to taxpayers.

Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. They have their own corporate governing board which meets jointly with the legislative board. (ALEC says that corporations do not vote on the board.)

Corporations fund almost all of ALEC’s operations.

Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations — without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills.

ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law.
It is mostly funded by right-wing corporations and billionaires. (The good news is that the exposure of their hidden agenda has led many previously involved corporations to withdraw their participation. It seems they think it’s not good for business to be publicly associated with extremists. Who knew?)

All of this is adding up to a majority of states being run by right-wing politicians at the behest of big corporations

You may wonder what the difference is between them and any other political body in the U.S., and that’s fair enough. Money does play an outsized role in both parties and at every level and it’s a toxic influence on our democracy. But there is a distinction between everyone else and the red state governments that are openly doing the bidding of their corporate masters while fulfilling every crackpot need of their very socially conservative base.

Take California for instance, a state fully in Democratic hands which was predicted to crater economically due to its unwillingness to adopt full austerity during a recession

The Legislative Affairs Office finds between July 1 and the end of September, California collected $455 million more than revenue projections made by Governor Jerry Brown’s administration. The number would have been higher, but the state returned more than $340 million in sales taxes to local governments to correct for a prior year accounting discrepancy.
Business doesn’t seem to be leaving the state in droves and rich people are staying and paying their taxes

In fact, the economy is getting better all the time. Yes, there are problems as well but I would guess that 99 percent of Californians have no idea who is on the ballot against Governor Jerry Brown, so assured is his re-election. 

Meanwhile we have that other “experiment” in one Party rule, Kansas, which I wrote about last week. Under Governor Sam Brownback and a far right majority in the legislature the state has slashed taxes and enacted some of the most extreme laws in the nation and it should be instructive:   the state is in economic hell and Brownback may be one of the few Republicans to lose his seat next month.

If the polls are right, the pundits and political wags will spin this election as a big loss for Democrats — and if history is any guide, Democratic political operatives will seize the opportunity to lecture the people that this is a sign the Democrats must move right

But everyone should look a little bit more critically at what that means for real people these days. The GOP in Washington is bad enough, but the GOP in the states is little short of fanatical. One can only hope that a Brownback loss will turn on the light bulb that illuminates the real consequences of this rightward surge:   it’s tragic.

Heather Digby Parton

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bought Journalists  (Confess!)  Is It True That the CIA Owns Everyone in Major Media As William Colby Stated?

"The Family Jewels" is the informal name used to refer to a set of reports that detail activities conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Considered illegal or inappropriate, these actions were conducted over the span of decades, from the 1950s to the mid-1970s.[1] William Colby, who was the CIA Director in the mid-1970s and helped in the compilation of the reports, dubbed them the "skeletons" in the CIA's closet.[1] Most of the documents were publicly released on June 25, 2007, after more than three decades of secrecy.[2]

Not much of a secret it seems.

Or surprising. (OK. Amazing, but not surprising.)

But who knew?

If you've been limited to the U.S. media for your news sources, you might not know now, nor have never known that the following information about the CIA was published decades ago, and just recently has been highlighted in world news again.


The CIA struck and having struck strikes on . . .

USA USA usa!

William Colby, the CIA Director, and compiler of "The Family Jewels," as directed by Senator Frank Church's Committee in 1975, who "developed the strategy of training and arming local troops to assist with counterinsurgency during the Vietnam War - the same tactic in use today by U.S. and NATO forces" was one of the pioneers of the Phoenix Program, which

armed Vietnamese soldiers and helped them root out suspected Communist insurgents - much like American intelligence agents do today by training Afghan soldiers to find and fight al Qaeda militants. But the plan resulted in the deaths of more than 20,000 Vietnamese villagers at the hands of their countrymen, leading human rights activists to liken it to a U.S.-backed assassination program.
But Jonathan Colby compared civilian deaths in the Phoenix program to President Obama's use of CIA drones in the tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have unintentionally killed civilians, alongside their intended targets:  members of al Qaeda's leadership. "Do people think Obama and Gen. [David] Petraeus are 'tortured souls' over this?" he asked rhetorically. "Of course not."

William Colby's body was pulled from the Chesapeake Bay after a boating accident (not suspicious to those in charge at all if you can believe that). The thought occurs as to why anyone would want to harm an old man who had been an important figure in the CIA some 20 years before? The details of the death saga are disturbing, but at least it doesn't seem like the Mafia was involved. Not the Italian Mafia anyway.

The following paragraphs can be researched and explored at length by clicking on the link above. I found his second wife's employment by AID to also be a very interesting tidbit.

An opened wine bottle, with not much missing, was found on the table in the sunroom. Colby was the kind of guy who would have capped the bottle before leaving and put it in the fridge.

There was another suspicious point. On the kitchen table was his black leather wallet. It contained $296 (14 twenties and 16 ones), a comb, a file, and various membership and credit cards, a driver's license. There was also a silver key ring with five keys. When Colby was found, his pockets were empty, no identification at all.

Alice Stokes phoned Sally Shelton Colby in Houston. Policewoman Sharon Walsh asked to speak to her. Walsh reported: "Ms. Shelton was inquisitive yet calm. She stated she was 'numb.'"

Sally Shelton described two possible canoe routes Colby might have taken. He was known to go canoeing for a few minutes sometimes around twilight. But on both routes he hugged the shoreline and stayed in shallow water.

Local rescue workers and divers arrived, then Coast Guard representatives. They found nothing. This was Sunday night. Nothing would really start until the next morning.

. . . A massive search effort began on Monday morning and went on day and night for the next few days. Over a dozen navy divers, aided by two helicopters, and volunteers in boats scoured the area. They used drag-lines to troll the two routes Colby took when he went canoeing. All together, there were around a hundred searchers.

I talked to Lt Mark Sanders of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. He was chief of the search effort. Drowning accidents were common around Cobb Island. The searchers were practiced and knew what they were doing. Yet even working 24 hours a day, they couldn't find his body.

Something else they didn’t find:  Colby’s life jacket.

When Colby went canoeing, he took the life jacket from the shed and put it in the boat. He didn’t wear it, but the life jacket was always with him. When he returned, he put it back in the shed. The life jacket had distinctive markings that made it easy to identify.

The search team found more than a dozen life jackets when they scoured the area. But not Colby’s. People who preferred to believe Colby had drowned — even his son Paul — remarked to me on this puzzlement. It was missing from the shed.

Colby’s body was found nine days later, on a Monday morning, about 40 meters from where Kevin Akers found the canoe. Both places were easily accessible by car and foot from a branch of Rock Point Road, which reached a dead-end at that point. Colby’s body was found by an assistant to LT Mark Sanders, on the edge of the shore, looking like he’d just been tossed in.

Divers had searched that area numerous times.

I was trying to develop a timeline to explain Colby’s last day. This, I discovered, no one else had tried to do, not the police, not his family.

He had stopped by a well-known fish restaurant on Cobb Island, Captain John’s, to buy a dozen clams after he left the marina about 5:30 or 6 p.m. He called his wife 7 p.m. And sometime after 7:15 p.m. he had prepared his meal of clams and corn on the cob.

Carroll Wise estimated he would have finished up in the yard around 8 p.m. Maybe he finished a little earlier, maybe a little later, but I decided to call my wife Claude, who was considered a formidable cook, to give me her analysis.

Claude had met Colby in Saigon in 1970. She was a French medical journalist who had been captured and held for a week by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. I met her in connection with my investigation of the missing photographers Flynn and Stone.

Claude and I were having a drink one evening on the Continental Terrace when Colby saw us in passing and joined us. Colby had studied in France when he was young, and he and Claude hit it off immediately. She was very interested in my research on his case.

"Claude," I said. "The sun sets at 7:57 p.m. Colby enters his house about that time and presumably begins to prepare dinner. How long does it take him?"

"Oh, Colby is seventy-six," Claude said. "He's not going to be moving around very fast. He's going to steam the clams, boil the corn, open a bottle of wine. You say he laid down a place mat in the sunroom facing the water?"


"That means he is not in a hurry," Claude said. "Otherwise he would eat at the kitchen table. So we're talking about 20 to 30 minutes."

The timeline was looking like something close to 8:30 p.m. when Colby supposedly jumped up from his unfinished meal and left to go canoeing. At 8:30 it was completely dark.

This drowning incident didn’t ring true.*

From Paul Craig Roberts' blog we gain deeper insight into the mindset of William Colby and what the rest of the world has known about the U.S.'s overseas operations for almost half a century.

“The CIA Owns Everyone of Any Significance in the Major Media.”

Posted by Paul Craig Roberts

October 16, 2014

As a former member of the major media prior to its concentration in few hands by the Clinton regime, I have reported on many occasions that the Western media is a Ministry of Propaganda for Washington. In the article below one of the propagandists confesses.

Published on "Russia Insider News" ( [1])

“The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” — former CIA Director William Colby

Our Exclusive Interview with German Editor Turned CIA Whistleblower

Fascinating details emerge. Leading US-funded think-tanks and German secret service are accessories. Attempted suppression by legal threats. Blackout in German media.

Exclusively for "RI," Dutch journalist Eric van de Beek interviews the senior German editor who is causing a sensation with his allegations that the CIA pays German media professionals to spin stories to follow US government goals.  
We wrote about this two weeks ago, and the article shot up in views, becoming one of the most read articles on our site.
Udo Ulfkotte reveals in his bestseller Bought Journalists, how he was “taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public.”
The former editor of "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung," which is one of Germany’s largest newspapers, was secretly on the payroll of the CIA and German secret service, spinning the news in a way that was positive for the United States and bad for its opponents.
In his latest interview, Ulfkotte alleges that some media are nothing more than propaganda outlets of political parties, secret services, international think tanks and high finance entities.
Repenting for collaborating with various agencies and organisations to manipulate the news, Ulkotte laments, “I’m ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this.”
Some highlights from the interview:
I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.” 
“Most journalists from respected and big media organisations are closely connected to the German Marshall Fund, the Atlantik-Brücke or other so-called transatlantic organisations … once you’re connected, you make friends with selected Americans. You think they are your friends and you start cooperating. They work on your ego, make you feel like you’re important. And one day one of them will ask you ‘Will you do me this favor’…”
“When I told the "Frankfurter Allgemeine" that I would publish the book, their lawyers sent me a letter threatening with all legal consequences if I would publish any names or secrets – but I don’t mind.”
“[The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"] hasn’t sued me. They know that I have evidence on everything.”
“No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book.
Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”
Bought journalists,” who are they?
“We’re talking about puppets on a string, journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.”

And you were one of them, and now you are the first to blow the whistle.
I’m ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this. Although my superiors at the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" approved of what I did, I’m still to blame. But yes, to my knowledge I am the first to accuse myself and to prove many others are to blame.”
How did you become a bought journalist?
“It started very soon after I started working at the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung". I learned to regard luxury invitations as quite acceptable and to write positive articles in return. Later on I was invited by the German Marshall Fund of The United States to travel the United States. They paid for all my expenses and put me in contact with Americans they’d like me to meet.

In fact, most journalists from respected and big media organisations are closely connected to the German Marshall Fund, the Atlantik-Brücke or other so-called transatlantic organisations. Many of them are even members or ‘fellows.’

I am a fellow of the German Marshall Fund. The thing is, once you’re connected, you make friends with selected Americans. You think they are your friends and you start cooperating. They work on your ego, make you feel like you’re important. And one day one of them will ask you ‘Will you do me this favor’ and then another will ask you ‘Will you do me that favor’. Bye and bye you get completely brainwashed. I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the Bundesnachrichtendienst.”
You said your superiors approved of that?
“They did. From my private point of view, in retrospective, they even sent me to spy. For instance in 1988 they put me on a plane to Iraq, where I traveled to the border with Iran. In those days Saddam Hussein was still seen as a good guy, a close ally to the US. The Americans supported him in his war against Iran.

About 35 kilometers from the border, in an Iranian place called Zubaidad, I witnessed the Iraqis killing and injuring thousands of Iranians by throwing poison gas at them. I did exactly what my superiors had asked me to do. I made photos of the gas attacks. Back in Frankfurt it appeared my superiors didn’t show much interest in the atrocities I had witnessed.

They allowed me to write an article about it, but they severely limited the size of it as if it wasn’t of much importance. At the same time they asked me to hand over the photos that I had made to the German association of chemical companies in Frankfurt, Verband der Chemischen Industrie. This poison gas that had killed so many Iranians was made in Germany.”
What’s your opinion on press trips? Journalists usually excuse themselves by saying they are perfectly able to follow their own judgment and that they don’t commit themselves to anything or anybody. 
I’ve been on a thousand press trips and never reported bad about those who paid all the expenses. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. That’s where corruption starts. And that’s the reason why magazines like "Der Spiegel" don’t allow their journalists to accept invitations to press trips unless they pay for their own expenses.”
The consequences of becoming a whistleblower can be serious. Do you have any indications people tried to prevent the publication of your book?
“When I told the "Frankfurter Allgemeine" that I would publish the book, their lawyers sent me a letter threatening with all legal consequences if I would publish any names or secrets – but I don’t mind. You see, I don’t have children to take care of. And you must know I was severely injured during the gas attack I witnessed in Iran in 1988. I’m the sole German survivor from a German poison gas attack. I’m still suffering from this. I’ve had three heart attacks. I don’t expect to live for more than a few years.”
In your book you mention many names of bought journalists. How are they doing now? Are they being sacked? Are they trying to clear their names?
No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about the book. Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.

More shocking:  We have respected journalists who seem to have gone deep sea diving for a long time. It’s an interesting situation. I expected and hoped that they would sue me and bring me to court. But they have no idea what to do. The respected "Frankfurter Allgemeine" just announced they will fire 200 employees, because they’re losing subscribers very rapidly and in high numbers. But they don’t sue me. They know that I have evidence on everything.” [2]
When Colby vanished in rough waters on a late-night, solo canoe trip in 1996, local sheriffs ruled out suicide before they even found his body. A lifetime of espionage meant Colby had enemies from Baltimore to Bali, and conspiracy theories about his death still circulate between Georgetown mansions and CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., today, despite an official ruling of accidental death.

Up to this point, conspiracy theories have focused mainly on the possibility of foul play -- not on suicide. But this may be changing.

Fifteen years after Colby drowned in Maryland's Wi(com)ico River, his son, filmmaker Carl Colby, has produced a documentary about him, "The Man Nobody Knew." The film portrays his father as a man who was wracked with guilt over his actions in the Vietnam War, and whose life fell apart after he left the CIA in 1975. By the time William Colby took his canoe out for one last trip, Carl says "he had had enough of this life."

A narrative that suggests the possibility of suicide is convenient for the film, but for the rest of the Washington-based Colby clan, Carl's public revision of their father's death is painful, and they strongly believe, inaccurate.

Carl Colby's film presents an alternative to the medical examiner's report. "[My father's] death was ruled an accident - a stroke or a heart attack - but I think he was done. He didn't have a lot left to live for. And he never wanted to grow old," Carl told Vanity Fair.

But interviews with family members and with Colby's biographer, Randall Woods, paint a very different picture of William Colby's emotional life than Carl's movie does. They portray him as a straightforward, unrepentant soldier who did what he felt was necessary without agonizing too much over the costs. Colby's family also provided "The Huffington Post" with the coroner's report, which has never been released before, available here.

The Coroner's Report

"I respect my brother's movie, but the implication that my father took his life is not correct, and we felt it was important for people to see the final report of how he died in writing," Jonathan Colby, William Colby's eldest son, said in an interview at his downtown D.C. office Thursday.

The official cause of death is listed as "drowning and hypothermia associated with arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease," meaning that either a stroke or a heart attack debilitated Colby, who was 76 years old, and caused him to fall out of the canoe into the freezing water, where he drowned.

Carl Colby, meanwhile, told "The Washington Post" that his father "had had enough long before [he drowned]." Asked whether he believes his father committed suicide, Carl was cryptic, though his movie carries strong implications. "I think he just got tired," he said.

But Colby had severe plaque buildup in his arteries, and not just any arteries: specifically the left, anterior descending artery - known for producing heart attacks so massive that it's nicknamed the widow-maker.

Another clue Jonathan pointed out was the fact that Colby's body was found without his shoes, likely the result of his kicking the water, and largely inconsistent with suicide, he said.

Methinks they protest too much.

And how do we turn this mess around and begin the process to recover our murdered democracy?
_ _ _ _

And what about Oliver's Stones?

He never gives up.

Friday, Oct 17, 2014

An RI Exclusive, Oliver Stone's Full Moscow Interview On Russia and Ukraine

The iconic film maker totally nails it, understands Russia and Ukraine better than the whole US media combined


Adam Shatz

The CIA paid the salaries of Mobutu’s allies, supplied him with planes piloted by Cuban exiles when a Lumumbist uprising erupted in eastern Congo in 1964, and helped him end the Katangan secession. Mobutu would rule for 32 years. In a 1968 cable, the US ambassador to Congo, Robert McBride, wrote that Mobutu ‘has apparently risen in soufflé-like grandiloquence’.