Discussion in 'Politics' started by Richard Stanley, Jan 5, 2016.
Veith gave a similar & updated talk at a conference in Copenhagen, Oct. 2017, which Rick posted & discussed here:
I had noticed this video, but got distracted by other matters. I think this might be a sequel talk that he gave on the next day. Will watch later, after I discuss Leviathan, and the Return of the King that is.
The following long article from The Atlantic is about the career of Paul Manafort, who made the Washington Swamp what it is today (meaning now and before Trump came along). When Manafort started his first lobbying firm with such as Roger Stone there were about 100 registered professional DC lobbyists, and now there are about 10,000 of them. Manfort personally changed the techniques and ethics of lobbying, combining lobbying with running political campaigns.
As the guy who constantly said he would drain the Swamp, Trump hired the guy who did more than anybody to create it in the form it became.
I selected the following excerpt for the name that popped up in relation to Russian oligarchs, and thus a possible nexus with Agent Orange Leaks.
VII. The Master of Kiev
During the 1980s and ’90s, an arms dealer had stood at the pinnacle of global wealth. In the new century, post-Soviet oligarchs climbed closer to that position. Manafort’s ambitions trailed that shift. His new firm found its way to a fresh set of titans, with the help of an heir to an ancient fortune.
In 2003, Rick Davis, a partner in Manafort’s new firm, was invited to the office of a hedge fund in Midtown Manhattan. The summons didn’t reveal the name of the man requesting his presence. When Davis arrived, he found himself pumping the hand of the Honorable Nathaniel Philip Victor James Rothschild, the British-born financier known as Nat. Throughout his young career, Nat had fascinated the London press with his love interests, his residences, and his shrewd investments. For his 40th birthday, he threw himself a legendary party in the Balkan state of Montenegro, which reportedly cost well over $1 million—a three-day festival of hedonism, with palm trees imported from Uruguay.
Russian oligarchs were drawn to Rothschild, whose name connoted power—and he to them. “He likes this wild world,” Anders Åslund, a friend of Rothschild’s, told me. Rothschild invested heavily in post-communist economies and became a primary adviser (and a friend) to the young Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
Rothschild and Deripaska fed off each other’s grand ambitions. Like a pair of old imperialists, they imagined new, sympathetic governments across eastern Europe that would accommodate and protect their investments. Their project required the type of expertise that Manafort had spent years accumulating. In 2004, Rothschild hired Manafort’s new firm to resurrect the influence of an exiled Georgian politician, a former KGB operative and friend of Deripaska’s then living in Moscow. This made for a heavy lift because the operative had recently been accused in court as a central plotter in a conspiracy to assassinate the country’s president, Eduard Shevardnadze. (He denied involvement.) The rehabilitation scheme never fully developed, but a few years later, Rick Davis triumphantly managed a referendum campaign that resulted in the independence of Montenegro—an effort that Deripaska funded with the hope of capturing the country’s aluminum industry.
Deripaska’s interests were not only financial. He was always looking to curry favor with the Russian state. An August 2007 email sent by Lauren Goodrich, an analyst for the global intelligence firm Stratfor, and subsequently posted on WikiLeaks, described Deripaska boasting to her about how he had set himself up “to be indispensable to Putin and the Kremlin.” This made good business sense, since he had witnessed the Kremlin expropriate the vast empires of oligarchs such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky who’d dared to challenge Putin. In fact, the Kremlin came to consider Deripaska an essential proxy. When the United States denied Deripaska a visa, the Russians handed him a diplomatic passport, which permitted him to make his way to Washington and New York.
Manafort understood how highly Deripaska valued his symbiotic relationship with the Kremlin. According to the Associated Press, he pitched a contract in 2005, proposing that Deripaska finance an effort to “influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet Republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government.” (Deripaska says he never took Manafort up on this proposal.) ...
Trump's new Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell, is another Georgetown graduate. He's the first non-Jewish Fed chair since Paul Volcker. The early betting is that he'll be an inflation-fighter like Volcker was.
Or in other words: even while Trump was touting the lofty height of the stock market in his State of the Union message, he was preparing its downfall behind the scenes.
Compare and contrast Jerome Powell's silence in the wake of the flash crash on his first day at work to Alan Greenspan -- who got on an airplane the day after the Black Monday crash of 1987, canceling an appearance he was to have made, and reassuring the markets with a statement on Tuesday morning that the Federal Reserve was standing by and ready and willing and available to satisfy any kind of disruption in the banking and financial systems. That was the day -- October 20, 1987 -- that the Greenspan put was born.
My issue with the mainstream media these past few weeks is that they have been insistent on the fact that there is going to be a Powell put to follow the Greenspan, then Bernanke, and then Yellen put. I've been pushing back against that conventional wisdom, mainly because of A) the release of the 2012 FOMC transcripts when we finally got to hear words coming out of Powell's mouth which showed that he was no pushover and B) the fact that he worked for a $1 salary to educate the Congress on the perils of the Untied States defaulting on its debt.
Powell himself has stated that was concerned that quantitative easing would end up being habit-forming for the markets.
So I read his silence these last few days as prudent and cleaving to the original intention of the Federal Reserve being lender of last resort; not babysitter to the stock market.
If memory serves me correctly, Greenspan's initial action was an 180 degree about-face from his previous career stance, so who knows what we'll get with Powell?
The Trumpian chaos otherwise has been overwhelming lately, hard to know what to report on. I guess that has ironically been good for getting back to work on history and such.
The following excerpted article further discusses Trump's extensive financial conflicts of interest, mostly via his real estate leasing deals. I have mentioned these in prior posts on this thread. In this article Forbes made detailed estimates on annual income based on what they believe are 75% of the assets in question. Trump's multiple assurances that he would eliminate any such conflicts were superficial, at best. Of which one instance is discussed in the excerpt. The Chinese government bank mentioned is a large leaseholder in Trump Tower.
There is a discussion of the larger known conflicts of interest in the wider article.
Shortly before President Trump's inauguration, one of his lawyers, Sheri Dillon, stood inside Trump Tower with the soon-to-be commander-in-chief and revealed his plans to maintain his business interests while insulating his presidency from foreign influence. "President-elect Trump has decided, and we are announcing today," the lawyer said, "that he is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the United States Treasury. This way, it is the American people who will profit."
Left unsaid: The Trump Organization makes more money from the Chinese bank alone than it ever could expect from hotel visits by members of a foreign government. And the president has made no pledge to hand over that money. Or the incoming rent from the state-owned Bank of India, which leases space in San Francisco, part of a deal that expires in 2019.
The point of anticorruption laws is to prevent the possibility of outside influence, so that no one has to wonder, after the fact, whether it happened. Yet one of the country's primary conflict-of-interest laws doesn't apply to the president. By holding on to his assets, Trump has chosen to test whether the Emoluments Clause follows suit (he got one case dismissed in January; two others are active). So the president remains in business with the world's two most populous countries. Even if he tries to avoid a bias, there's a clear feeling in foreign capitals that currying favor with his business can't hurt. It's a global perception problem, at best. "He does not forget his friends," said Emin Agalarov, who helped broker the infamous Russia campaign meeting in Trump Tower, according to Donald Trump Jr. When President Trump announced a travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries, it was hard to miss that the ban excluded Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates--all places where he had previously pursued business deals. In May the prime minister of Georgia made a visit to the White House, where, according to two of Trump's former business partners, the president asked about his old project in the former Soviet republic. ...
The following excerpted article discusses Trump Jr.'s current trip to India to hawk luxury condos there, all the while giving a speech on foreign policy. As the article discusses, the Indians are lapping it up for a number of topical reasons. It probably doesn't hurt that Indian culture and Trump have gaudy fetishes for everything gold.
Trump Jr.’s visit to India not only suggests that the Trump Organization wants to lean into its investments in India — it almost seems designed to invite corrupt behavior.
Experts say Junior is selling access to himself — and by proxy, to the president of the US — in exchange for buying his products. He knows that if a member of the Indian elite wants a chance to advocate for a policy that they’d like to see enacted, buying Trump property is a simple way to do it.
But what makes it crystal clear that Trump Jr. wants to use his political ties to advance his business interests is the fact that he’s planning to deliver a speech on Indo-Pacific relations at an event in India on Friday. (It’s a serious affair — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be speaking at the same summit.)
Unlike his sister Ivanka, Trump Jr. is not a formal member of the White House. He’s technically just a businessman running the Trump Organization on behalf of his father.
But by delivering a foreign policy speech, Trump Jr. is signaling to Indians that he’s in their country as a businessman and as a surrogate for the US government. If any wealthy Indians were on the fence about whether it was worth buying a condo just to talk to Trump Jr. about, say, trade policy, the fact that he’s delivering that speech should make it seem worthwhile. Trump Jr. is sending a clear signal that he wants to talk policy.
And since he is deliberately blurring the lines between his role as a businessman and as the son of the president, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to conclude that President Trump’s foreign policy could be for sale to the highest bidder.
Experts say the Trump brand is thriving in India in part because Trump himself appeals to large swaths of the population, both for his politics and for his perceived business acumen.
“[Trump is] popular on the right, especially among supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the current ruling party in India, who admire his Islamophobic rhetoric and blunt nationalism,” Aditya Dasgupta, a scholar of Indian politics and economics at the University of California Merced, told me.
The Trump administration has spoken highly of its partnership with India and taken aim at India’s major rivals over the past year. Trump announced that he was suspending military aid to Pakistan in January and is on the path to a trade fight with China after criticizing its practices for years — moves that make India feel better about its own ties to the US.
A Pew Research Center survey released last fall found that Trump’s approval rating in India was about twice his approval rating in other countries in the region like Japan and Indonesia.
But Trump’s popularity among Indians also stems from the way he symbolizes wealth and power.
“India has a rapidly growing and prospering urban middle and upper class, which often looks aspirationally to American society for symbols, brands, and status markers to emulate,” Dasgupta explained. “It’s no surprise that the Trump brand, and the conspicuous consumption it is meant to signal, would attract buyers.”
Niranjan Sahoo, a senior fellow with the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank in New Delhi, told me the Trump Organization is also reaping the benefits of taking a gamble on India’s market. He said that many other foreign companies have stayed away from India’s real estate market due to concerns about corruption and bureaucracy.
“The Trump Organization has taken a sort of risk, which is now paying off, particularly after Trump became president,” Sahoo told me.
The following excerpted article counters an increasing trend in the MSM to hedge on the outcome of the Russiagate investigations. The article examines such hedging arguments in a recent Politico article (see highlighted in red), and in the process gets to some aspects of Trump's behavior, which I and others have been asserting are really more indicative that he is a Lifetime Actor, built for his present role.
As such is the discussion of whether Trump is merely a buffoonish dolt or not, the Vox piece arguing that Trump is not a dolt. Also, that we are seeing so many leaked 'revelations' only because the whole Trump operation has been unprecedentedly opaque, about everything (also leading to its Samsonesque chaos effects). Various matters are simply too sloppy for any real "collusion". Perhaps this is the way this was all intended to be perceived by the public, especially if such as sowing a loss of public confidence in the institutions is the main goal.
Brought up as one of the aspects that showed Trumpian competence was the ease in crushing the Republican primary field. I have asserted on this thread that this aspect seems more to have been scripted by the provision of just under 20 Republican primary contenders, which was not in line with the always tightly controlled Republican tradition -- until it changed only in the prior 2012 election cycle. The "preparing of the way" also seems to me to have extended to the exceptional incompetence of the Hillary campaign, despite the Clinton's legendary political campaign history.
In the above vein, Comey's odd behavior in his revelations and the insane election timing of the re-opening of the Hillary e-mail investigation makes more sense. We are being played "both sides against the middle", ... or is it more the reverse?
All of this is why I am highly suspicious about claims for the Seth Rich murder. I think it was much more Machiavellian than most figure.
Paul Manafort left his job working as the Kremlin’s favorite expat political consultant in Ukraine in the spring of 2016 to run his old acquaintance Donald Trump’s long-shot presidential campaign on a volunteer basis.
Soon after, Moscow-backed hackers transmitted thousands of stolen Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks, whose release was artfully timed to make trouble for Trump’s Democratic opponents. They became the basis of Trump campaign rhetoric in the months before Election Day.
Emerging conventional wisdom in Washington, however, remains that there’s little reason to believe that Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation will end up proving much of interest. Politico magazine editor-in-chief Blake Hounshell this weekend wrote one of the buzziest pieces advocating a skeptical approach to Mueller’s ongoing inquiry, titled “Confessions of a Russiagate Skeptic,” throwing cold water on the notion of high-level cooperation between Trumpworld and the Russians.
But to believe this, frankly, requires a much greater suspension of disbelief than to posit that the president colluded with Russia. You have to believe that after a decade of paying Manafort millions for his expertise to help pro-Russian candidates win elections in Ukraine, no one from Moscow thought to consult with him about how to help a pro-Russia candidate win an election in the United States.
Last but by no means least, it seems clear that whether or not there was an explicit or tacit agreement on this point, Trump entered office intending to pivot American foreign policy in a more pro-Russian direction and installed Flynn as national security adviser and Rex Tillerson as secretary of state with a view toward implementing that agenda.
The investigation — dating back to before Comey’s firing and Mueller’s appointment — seems to have played a big role in scuttling this and pushing Trump to maintain broad continuity with prior American foreign policy.
The one place I do agree with Mueller skeptics is that liberals shouldn’t get their hopes up that the special counsel will “save” them or the country from Trump. Trump appeared on national television and explained to an NBC News audience that he improperly used his powers of office to remove the FBI director in an effort to shield his friends and associates from criminal scrutiny. The institutional Republican Party shrugged that off, and eventually, the public moved on.
My guess is that whatever revelations are forthcoming from Mueller will fit a similar pattern — most people already have a negative view of Trump, so it’s hard to move the needle too much more on public opinion, and the whole GOP has already wagered so heavily on the Trump experiment that they’re not going to pull the plug regardless of what happened.
But politics aside, the suspicion of illicit collaboration between the highest-ranking members of the Trump campaign and the Russian pro-Trump information operation is well-founded, and the ongoing criminal investigation into that possibility is steadily bearing fruit. There’s no earthly reason for journalists to adopt a stance of preemptively exonerating Trump when, so far, suspicion has been validated at nearly every turn.
Isn't this jumping to conclusions? I thought there was no actual evidence that these were "Moscow-backed hackers". What little evidence there is, points to Seth Rich. And you can speculate all you want, but we don't have any evidence that he was "Moscow backed" or who killed him.
The suspicion might be well-founded, but where is this "fruit" of the investigation? Does Vox mean the defendants named in the recent indictment? Or is the reporter claiming some inside information? Or is this, again, sheer speculation?
As things have played out: if Trump was intending to create a state of amiable relations with the Russians, what's been achieved is the opposite. The Democrats are on the warpath, and Trump and the Republicans are competing to show that they can be just as aggressive as the Neolib wing of the War Party.
And if that's Trump's true role in this Machiavellian plan, I suppose it's working well.
IMO the timing of matters trumps everything else, such as when document dumps occurred immediately after Trump calls for Russia "to find the missing emails"; or that Trump Jr. is happy to take a meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer, with connections to a Putin oligarch and the Kremlin, offering dirt on Hillary (but she really only wants to talk about adoption of Russian orphans ... wink, wink).
Who said that Seth Rich was "Moscow backed"? Not me. I don't know Seth from Adam, and for all I know he might be in the Hidden Resort. Or, a very convenient, and silent, fall guy. And considering the domestic and foreign (Russian) political machinations that Paul Manafort and Roger Stone have had over the years, I certainly wouldn't put anything past Vltchek's Russian saints.
None of this is to my point, ... that we are being led down a primrose path. My assertion is that the whole scenario is a psy-op scam, and Trump and Hillary, Putin and Mueller are all in on it. Mueller is the guy who did such a great job on sewing up 9/11. And along the way he even told us, in a public speech, that the magic passport of Atta's was just that ... magic.
Similarly, I have stated that I don't buy the Flynn boy scout narrative, in that, in his official spook positions, he had to have known about the actual nature of the Afghan opium trade and the origins of the Taliban ...
Results aside, Trump is hypercritical of pretty much anything and anybody, ... except Russia and Vltchek ... for some reason.
Separate names with a comma.