Kissinger's Shadow: The Long Reach of America's Most Controversial Statesman, Greg Grandin, 2015
Grandin spends some time examining the influence of Oswald Spengler on Kissinger's metaphysical beliefs:
Spengler wrote as if decline was inevitable, as if the cycle he described - in which each civilization experiences its spring, summer, autumn, winter - were as unavoidable as the spinning of the earth. Once societies pass their great creative stage and the logicians, rationalists, and bureaucrats arrive on the scene, there is no turning back. Having lost a sense of purpose, civilization lurch outward to find meaning. They get caught up in a series of disastrous wars, propelled forward to doom by history's cosmic beat, power for power's sake, blood for blood's. Imperialism is the inevitable product, Kissinger wrote summing up The Decline of the West's argument, an outward thrust to hide the inner void. Kissinger acceped Spengler's critique of past civilizations but rejects his determinism.
The lesson of the Korean War for Kissinger was that the threat of nuclear annihilation had rendered America powerless. Kissinger believed that Moscow had to be convinced that a major war with the United States which he called the only real deterring threat was a significant possibility. To make the threat credible Kissinger developed his mad man president notion which he deployed for both Nixon and Ford to demonstrate (with Cambodia as the victim) that the president was just crazy enough to launch such a major war. Reagan followed this example by invading tiny Granada after assuming office to establish his credentials as a legitimate mad man.
In order to "test" power - that is, in order to create one's consciousness of power - one needed to be willing to act. And the best way to produce that willingness was to act.."inaction" has to be avoided so as to show that action is possible. Only action could overcome the systemic "incentive for inaction". Only action could overcome the paralyzing fear (that is, nuclear escalation) that might result from such "action". Only through "action" - including small wars in marginal areas like Vietnam - could America become vital again, could it produce the awareness by which it understands its power, breaks the impasse caused by an over reliance on nuclear technology, instills cohesion among allies, and reminds an increasingly ossified foreign policy bureaucracy of the purpose of American power.
"Power" is history's starting and ending point, history's "manifestation" and its "exclusive objective". He had built his own perpetual motion machine; the purpose of American power was to create an awareness of American purpose. And since Kissinger held to an extremely plastic notion of reality, other concepts he was associated with, such as "interests", were also pulled into the whirlpool of his reasoning; we can't defend our interests until we know what our interests are and we can't know our interests are until we defend them.
I know, Let's Secretly Bomb Cambodia!
Into this crazy circular metaphysics, American foreign policy was sucked starting in 1969. With Obama's endless war in more than a hundred countries we see the evidence of the ever growing whirlpool. Interestingly Kissinger uses Obama's drone strikes as justification for his 1969-1973 secret bombing of Cambodia which was the start of this whirlpool and is the central theme of this book.
Vietnam, he said in 2010, was America's first experience with limits in foreign policy, and it was something painful to accept. This is a disingenuous interpretation... Rather, the critics that most rankled Kissinger were those - protesters, Congress and former Harvard colleagues like Thomas Schelling - who told him that there were limits to what he could do to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam..."I don't see how it is possible to conduct foreign policy when there's a systematic attempt to destroy both your threats and your incentives".
Kissinger didn't use his time in office to "instruct" citizens in political realism, as he had earlier define the responsibilities of statesmen. Rather, he helped adapt the imperial presidency to new times, based on an increasingly mobilized and polarized citizenry, more spectacular displays of power, more secrecy, and ever more widening justifications for ever more war.
Kissinger and Mao with much admired Zhou Enlai
With the autocratic Mao (Tse-tung) he could fantasize about what it would be like to conduct foreign policy and not be tormented by the press and Congress.
Mao and Kissinger shared a mutual appreciation of German metaphysics. Mao: Do you pay attention or not to one of the subjects of Hegel's philosophy, that is the unity of opposites? Kissinger: Very much. I was much influenced by Hegel in my philosophical thinking...Mao: If it were not for Hegel and Feuerbach, there would not be Marxism,
But, as Nixon and Kissinger themselves put it, they used foreign policy to "break the back" of domestic opponents and "destroy the confidence of the American people in the American establishment. They had mixed results with the former but succeeded stunningly, with the latter. By the end of Kissinger's tenure, all of the institutional pillars of society that previous administrations could rely on to uphold government legitimacy - the press, universities, the movie and music industries, churches, courts, and Congress - seemed to be pushing against it, creating that entrenched adversary culture that so worried conservative.
From the New Yorker in 1973:
There was the Kissinger who "established relations with China, improved our relations with Russia, and successfully completed the first phase of SALT - and for these achievements, most Americans are grateful."...But then there was the Kissinger, who with Nixon, "planned the undisclosed bombing of Cambodia...initiated the unauthorized wiretapping of members of Kissinger's staff and of newsmen in 1969...planned the invasion of Cambodia in 1970...planned the use of American air power to support the invasion of Laos in 1971...planned the mining and blockading of North Vietnamese harbors...planned the 'Christmas bombing' of North Vietnam - all this done in secrecy and without Congressional consent. While the President and the men of Watergate were, it now appears, undermining our democratic system of government in domestic affairs, the President and Henry Kissinger were undermining the system in foreign affairs.
In the years following the end of the Vietnam War, Kissinger, in one region after another, executed policies that helped doom his own grand strategy. Then, once he was out of office, he threw in with America's new militarists, who were intent on tearing down Détente...By 1980, he was with them, sanctioning their jump-starting of the Cold War and their drive to retake the Third World...In a way, Kissinger did to the larger Third World what he did to Cambodia: he institutionalized a self-fulfilling logic of intervention.
What is certain is that individually, each of Kissinger's Middle East initiatives - banking on deposits, inflating the shah, providing massive amounts of aid to security forces that tortured and terrorized citizens, pumping up the US defense industry with recycled petrodollars, which in turn spurred a Middle East arms race financed by high gas prices, emboldened Pakistan's intelligence service, nurturing embryonic Islamic fundamentalism, playing Iran and the Kurds off Iraq, and then Iraq and Iran off the Kurds and committing Washington to defending Israel's occupation of Arab lands - has been disastrous in the long run.
On a personal note: this blogger had a college friend who was a conscientious objector, a varsity wrestler, and a violinist with the University orchestra. He was assigned to teach English in Laos as his alternate service. In 1969-1970, he witnessed the B52's and bombings as he sat on his porch playing his violin. When things got too dangerous, he left Laos, stopping briefly to visit us in Honolulu where we first learned of the secret bombing. He was later convicted of draft avoidance and sent to prison in Walla Walla.
Capitalism in the Age of Globalization, Samir Amin, 2014 (originally published in 1997)
Samir Amin is a French-Egyptian Marxian economist. He lives in Dakar, Senegal. Amin's primary focus in this work is this challenge:
The first (capitalism) wishes to fix evolution, more or less submitting it to the perspective of the unilateral action of capital. Socialism on the other hand permits one to see why this capitalist globalization remains truncated, generating, reproducing, and deepening global polarization step by step. The historical limit of capitalism is found exactly here: the polarized world that it creates is and will be more and more inhuman and explosive. Challenged by this enormity, socialism has a duty to propose an alternative vision of globalization, the means of achieving it in the true sense of the word and giving it a human and truly universalistic character. This is, in my opinion, the challenge.
Rejection of capitalism by turning to ethnicity and religious fundamentalism actually have become integrated into this brutal globalization and are made use of by it. They cannot be the answer to apocalyptic capitalism.
Capitalism today is sustained by the existence of five monopolies enumerated by Amin:
1. Technological Monopoly. This monopoly is sustained by huge state expenditures especially through military spending.
2. Financial Control of worldwide financial markets. With deregulation and the liberalization of rules governing finance, finance has become capital's most global component. Past empires like the British maintained financial control through trade surpluses. The US attempts to maintain its dominance and the dollar as the global currency despite massive trade deficits. As a result, today's financial system is extraordinarily fragile.
3. Monopolistic access to the planet's natural resources. The reckless environmental dangers of this monopolistic exploitation are dangerous and increasingly obvious.
4. Media and Communications monopolies. These lead to a uniformity of culture and provide effective means for political exploitation. These monopolies are a primary source of the erosion of democratic practices.
5. Monopolies over weapons of mass destruction. The US monopoly of 1945 was held in check through the cold war but today the US again has an unacceptable monopoly that cannot be held in check through international democratic controls.
Bangladesh Factory Collapse
Amin's central focus is the evolving social contract between Capital and Labor. The early 20th Century saw the spread of Fordism by which Amin not only refers to mass industrial production but to the rise of labor organization and negotiated social contracts between capital and labor. The name is perhaps unfortunate given Henry Ford's antipathy toward union organizing. By the end of WWII and up til about 1970, organized labor proved able to hold their own in upholding dignified social contracts with capital. Today, with capital able to physically relocate for tax and labor advantage, the social contracts enabling workers to enjoy a decent middle class living have evaporated to be replaced by a capital induced permanent state of unemployment or "surplus labor" as capital economists prefer to refer to it. Global capital uses subcontracting at the periphery to limit liability (from collapsing factories, indentured labor, environmental damage, etc.). Amin is not a numbers guy (in sharp contrast with French economist Piketty) but he does point out that modern finance is able to move capital around the globe at about 30 times the volume of trade. This has to exaggerate short term opportunism and instability as capital lurches from crisis to crisis.
Amin prefers to refer to the global economy as having a center and a periphery. This replaces the nomenclature of first, second, third, and forth worlds. As the global economy moves away from its center, the level of surplus labor increases until virtually the entire population is included in this category. This state of economic affairs makes modern capitalism inherently unstable lurching from crisis to crisis. Modern capital managers are trained in crisis management and little else. Capital has no long term objectives, vision, or dreams. It blindly lurches along putting out fires as best it can.
Amin equally decries the damage capital is doing to our environment seemingly without constraint or cost. The environmental damage, like "surplus labor" only intensifies as one moves from the center toward the periphery.
The US is the absolute center of destructive capitalism. There is potential for a second East Asian center of China, Japan, and the tigers. India is another potential regional center. The European EC has had some success in integrating markets and allowing some mobility of labor but capitalism intentionally created the EC with very weak central political structures including a weak central bank. The result is becoming a German dominated EC. Germany's current project is the "Latin Americanization" of Eastern Europe under German control. Already the Czech Republic has become a German protectorate. The EC must strengthen central democratic institutions if it is not to fall apart or become totally dominated by Germany. Amin spends some time examining the failed example of the Bandung Project, the loose coalition of 29 non aligned nations (neither aligned with the US nor the Soviet Union). Formed at the Bandung Conference in 1955, this coalition represented more than half the world's population.
A major objective of imperialism and colonization as controlled from the center was the Balkanization of Africa and the Middle East. Britain had the same objective in India but largely failed, only able to carve out the two Pakistans as they left India. This Balkanization makes it much more difficult to build regional solutions, whether in Eastern Europe, Africa, or the Middle East. All this leaves only the US-Canada as a continental region with the potential to do something about breaking up the five monopolies of capitalism.
Amin speculates that the IMF, the World Bank, and the GATT-WTO could potentially be reformed to serve to correct some of the extreme problems of global capital but today they serve the interests of global capital at the center and promote neoliberal objectives. Unless they are reformed they will continue to contribute and exaggerate the global economic crises and not abate those crises.
Amin decries the absence today to a towering intelligentsia like that of the enlightenment able to have a profound impact on thinking about new forms of social contract between capital and labor. Amin finds the academic apologists of capital with their non empirical talk of the magic and invisible markets risible and dangerous. Amin admires Marx's analysis of the problem but finds Marx fell far short of suggesting organizational and political solutions to the problem. He refers to the Soviet revolutionary experience as "Sovietism" and the Chinese revolutionary experience as "Maoism". He refuses to call either Communism. He believes there has to be a regional political organizational solution to the problem of capital and control over its five monopolies. Amin admits he doesn't have the answer.
Pay Any Price; Greed, Power, and Endless War, James Risen, 2014
Risen gives an eloquent rational for writing this book:
In 2009, when the new Obama administration continued the government's legal campaign against me, I realized, in a very personal way, that the war on terror had become a bipartisan enterprise. America was now locked into an endless war and unintended consequences were spreading. And so my answer -- both to the government's long campaign against me and to this endless war -- is this new book, Pay Any Price. Pay Any Price is my answer to how best to challenge the government's draconian efforts to crack down on aggressive investigative reporting and suppress the truth in the name of endless war. My answer is to keep writing, because I believe that if journalists ever stop uncovering abuses of power, and ever stop publishing stories about those abuses, we will lose our democracy.
Paul Bremer, Mastermind of Chaos
The book itself seems to have been written or at least published backward with the vaguest and weirdest stuff put first. In 2003 and 2004 $20 Billion in $100 bills was air lifted by military transport to Iraq. Serial numbers were not recorded and there was virtually no supervision or safeguards. Most of the money simply disappeared. Risen reports of one shipment of $1.6 Billion sent to a branch of the Iraq Central Bank in northern Iraq and stacked on the floor of the bank - not in a vault. The money vanished. When $1.6 Billion was reported found in a bunker in Lebanon, the US government couldn't even be bothered to investigate under either W or Obama. Overall the US spent $63 Billion on the reconstruction of Iraq, most of it going to US contractors. Many is not most of the contracts were never completed and some were never even started.
Risen then turns to fraudsters of the war on terror, featuring Dennis Montgomery who used phantom-ware to decode secret Al Quaeda messages hidden in Al Jazerra broadcasts. His reports caused the grounding of international flights and a serious discussion of shooting down commercial airliners. When he approached the French government, their experts quickly exposed the hoax. The US government, having been duped, buried the incident under a mountain of top secret documents.
Flying Blues Brothers
He features the Blue's brothers who bought an unmanned aircraft subsidiary, General Atomics, for $50 million and now have a privately held near monopoly on US war drones.
He turns to to KBR the former subsidiary of Halliburton (Dick Cheney CEO), the military's largest contractor. KBR built substandard housing for US troops using indentured third world untrained labor and with poor or nonexistent supervision and inspections. The result were showers that electrocuted soldiers. One mother persisted in finding out how her son died and then sued KBR. She won on appeal and the case has been appealed by KBR to the supreme court. Risen calls this section Too Big to Fail but it is really Too Big to Jail as with the banks who can't even get prosecuted for massive drug money laundering activity. The shower electrocutions pail in comparison to the damage caused by KBR's practice of burning trash (several hundreds of tons per day) in open pits using jet fuel. KBR burned anything including computers, batteries, and other electronics. This has led to the discovery of "war lung injury" this war's equivalent of Agent Orange in Vietnam and Gulf War syndrome from exposure to uranium shells in the first Gulf war. Returning soldiers were found with titanium and unusual bio masses in their lungs as a result of exposure to the burning pits. The VA and DOD have gone to great lengths to cover up the problem and have failed to survey returning soldiers, provide diagnosis and care, or even to acknowledge a problem. One VA researcher Stephen Coughlin uncovered some suppressed studies and went to Congress with his findings. He was forced to resign under enormous pressure. One DOD official, Charles Smith, stood up to KBR when auditors pointed out a $1 Billion overcharge. He proposed opening bidding to other contractors. Smith was sidelined and soon retired.
Risen talks about the prison torture and abuse scandals and the "few bad apples" campaign by the government to scapegoat low level guards. When one prosecution failed, the government abandoned its efforts at scapegoating but the whole prison guard experience ruined many lives. Risen focuses on the the role of psychologists and the APA who gave cover to the torture program. The APA used the old NAZI argument that if the activity was legal (according to W administration legal justifications) it must be ethical. The DOD and VA are the largest employers of psychologists and their careers and livelihoods depend on giving the government what it wants. The legal rational is based on the military use of the techniques in training, particularly the SERE navy training. Risen shows what nonsense the use of torture is by presenting the navy SERE's own PowerPoint presentation:
Why is torture the worst interrogation method?
Produces unreliable information
Negative world opinion
Subject to war crimes trials
Used as a tool for compliance
Brennan Defends Torture Dec 12, 2014
Yesterday, CIA director Brennan once again asserted that actionable intelligence was gained from the use of torture and it shouldn't be banned outright. Utter nonsense as Diane Feinstein rebutted him point by point. Obama refuses to pursue war crimes prosecutions.
Haskell Free Library and Opera House Canadian Border Line
Risen turns to the cost of the endless war on ordinary American citizens. Most obvious are airports that today resemble high security prisons that visitors must transit if they want to fly. He features two small towns on the border, one in Vermont and one in Quebec that built an opera house spanning the border. The house, with its painted black line is the main tourist attraction of the towns. For generations residents have freely traveled back and forth across the border to shop and visit. Most residents didn't even own passports since few travel abroad. All this changed after 9/11 when abusive homeland security outsiders started arriving in town. They build a fence and closed off all roads but one which is heavily guarded. Residents now require expensive passports and must endure abusive officials as they cross. When the local pharmacist was arrested for walking two blocks to pick up a pizza in Canada public outrage forced the reassignment of the homeland security official in charge. The draconian treatment eased but the fence and closed streets remain and passports are now required.
Risen turns to the story closest to him, NSA warrant less surveillance and gives the best account yet of all the insiders who attempted to blow the whistle on the illegal activity. The efforts cost each of them their jobs and the government has ruined many lives. Featured here is the little known story of Diane Roark, a staffer for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Her personal battle with NSA Director Michael Hayden dates from 2000 prior to 9/11 and the war on terror. It starts when NSA's Bill Binney discovers that a part of the program he had worked on was being misused with the built in protections against spying on Americans removed. When his internal efforts to stop the activity failed, Binney reached out the Roark who immediately recognized the illegality of the collections. Roark quickly discovered her contacts inside the NSA and the house had been secretly informed of the program and none were objecting. When Roark contacted the Chief Judge of the FISA court Coleen Kollar Kotelly, Kotelly not only did not respond but she notified the Justice Department to inform them Roark was asking questions. Roark was forced to resign but this was not enough for Hayden who insisted on meeting Roark in person. Roark took notes and these are a summary:
General Michael Hayden Repeatedly Lies to Congress
I (Roark) pushed hard and repeatedly about why he had dropped the protections (for American Citizens). He avoided answering until finally he said again that they didn't need them because they had the power.
Wyden Silenced by Classified Disclosures
Roark was stunned by this answer. The rest of the conversation was equally shocking. Hayden believed that seeking authorization would shed unwanted light on the program. That "It is now among us." I.E. the program is permanent and expanding. He told her he believed he would prevail if the program came before the supreme court and that he was considering leaking it to select Congress members to assure their silence. Among those silenced appears to be Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Hayden was telling Roark all this to warn her to drop her efforts to oppose the program. Still, Roark took a chance and wrote a letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist via hand delivery from Rehnquist's daughter. Rehnquist never responded. The FBI sent a phalanx of officers to Roark's Oregon home to seize all her files, computers, etc. Her lawyer advised her to ask for the affidavit in support of the search warrant and the FBI responded it was under seal and she couldn't see it. That same day the FBI raided the homes of three other NSA whistle blowers. A few months later they raided the home of NSA whistle blower Thomas Drake. This time the supporting affidavit was later discovered to indicate the FBI was looking for evidence that Drake was the source of the leaks to reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau. The NYT repeatedly killed the NSA story for two years from 2004 til 2006 when they published it just weeks before the release of Risen's book State of War. So much for the newspaper of record.
Risen comments that he fully understands why Edward Snowden felt compelled to leave the country before blowing the whistle on the NSA given the devastating personal experience of all previous NSA whistle blowers. In 2005 Risen reported on a botched harebrained CIA plan to give nuclear weapons blueprints to Iran. The government is still after Risen to reveal his source for this story and Risen faces jail time if he refuses to cooperate. The only way to go to jail in this country today is to be poor or to be an investigative reporter. Pretty sad.
No Place to Hide; Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, Glenn Greenwald, 2014
This book seems to be a collection of five articles. For this reader, Part One, Ten Days in Hong Kong, is the most interesting.
On Dec 1 2012 (The first published article, featuring the FISA Verizon order appeared in the Guardian on June 5,2013, more than five months later.) Glenn Greenwald (GG) receives an email from "Cincinnatus" saying he has important documents to share but GG must first install PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption on his computer. GG ignores the email. Three days later he receives another email from C asking him to confirm he received the first email. GG immediately says he got it and later that day he receives an email with detailed instructions for installing the encryption program. GG does nothing for seven weeks. He thinks encryption would be useful for his work so he emails C on Jan 28, 2013 saying he will get someone to help him install the encryption. GG still does nothing and C steps up his efforts, producing a ten minute video "PGP for Journalists" on how to install the program. GG does nothing.
PGP Public Key Encryption
On April 18, GG flew to New York to give some talks. On landing GG receives an email from Laura Poitras (LP) the documentary filmmaker saying she needs to meet him in person the next time he is in New York. GG had written an article detailing all the times Poitras was detained at US airports and her equipment seized. After the article the harassment at the airports stopped. GG arranged to meet LP at a restaurant in Yonkers. She changed tables several times at the restaurant and told GG to remove the batteries from his cellphone. She then showed GG a couple of emails she received asking LP to work with GG. GG thinks the sender is real but they do nothing and GG returns to Brazil.
On May 11 GG receives an email from a technical expert he and LP had worked with in the past asking GG if he is ready to install the PGP encryption. He responded yes and was told to expect a Fedex package in Rio de Janeiro. The package was held in customs for a week enhancing the paranoia. The day after the package finally arrives, GG receives an email from LP saying they need urgently to talk but only via OTR chat. GG figures the source must have sent LP some documents. LP is far less a technophobe than GG so must have installed PGP. GG had used OTR in the past and now managed to install it and sign up for an account. LP tells GG they need to go to Hong Kong immediately to meet the source. GG thinks the source has to be guy in his late fifties with a thirty year career with the NSA living somewhere along the Washington beltway. Hong Kong makes no sense.
The source was getting upset with LP and GG delays and was discussing involving the Washington Post. That finally got GG into gear. The source agreed to chat over OTR and GG assured him he was committed to the story but he still can't make sense of Hong Kong. LP had shared some PRISM material with the Washington Post and they responded with an army of lawyers and foot dragging, greatly worrying the source. GG asked to see some documents before he came to Hong Kong and the source patiently walked him keystroke at a time through the PGP installation process. GG was embarrassed by his lack of proficiency but the source assured him he had lots of free time then. Once installed, the source sent GG about 25 documents, the tip of the iceberg.
The documents convinced GG that he needed to go to Hong Kong immediately and that He would need major institutional support to get this material out. GG had been working at the Guardian for only nine months but had little contact with their editorial staff. GG immediately Skyped Janine Gibson British editor in chief of the US edition in New York gushing about the material. Gibson told GG to get off Skype immediately. GG flew to New York and agreed to meet LP in New York. GG arrived in NY May 31. GG and LP book a non stop flight from New York to Hong Kong but then Gibson drops that the Guardian insists on involving long time Guardian journalist Ewen MacAskill who will fly with them to Hong Kong. LP is furious and GG doesn't know their minder MacAskill. LP was afraid a third person might freak the source but GG understood that the Guardian wanted a long time company man on the scene. LP relents but only if MacAskill stays away from the source until she and GG are ready to introduce him.
Snowden Journalists MacAskill, Greenwald, and Poitras
LP insists that GG buy a new air gapped (never connected to the Internet) laptop before they leave. As they drive to the airport LP gives GG a tutorial on secure computer systems and hands him a thumb drive (with the full collection of documents). For the 16 hours of the flight GG can't stop reading. He is amazed by the level of organization and pre thought put into the document archive. He immediately locates the FISA Verizon order that all domestic phone metadata records must be handed to the NSA.
We now enter the realm so well captured in the 1997 Norwegian movie Insomnia where the crime detective sent north of the Arctic Circle to the land of midnight sun finds he can't sleep. GG doesn't sleep for the next 10 days. When he is about to collapse, he pops a pill and drops off for a couple hours and is then back at work. Part of this is because constant communication with New York Guardian staff is necessary but mostly that he is too excited after chasing the NSA story for years, proof of the whole horrible reality and scope of their surveillance activities has fallen in his lap.
GG wants to meet the source immediately but LP thinks that would look suspicious so they wait til tomorrow. The source gives LP elaborate spy trade-craft instructions of how and where to meet. GG is expecting a hideaway but instead they go to a Kowloon five star hotel. They are instructed to find a meeting room with an alligator (not real) on the floor where at a precise time they are to wait for exactly 2 minutes. If the source doesn't appear they are to leave making sure they are not being tailed. Twenty minutes later they are to return to the alligator for exactly 2 more minutes. If the source does arrive they will recognize him carrying a Rubiks cube (GG laughs). GG is expecting an older very senior Washington bureaucrat and is shocked when a young kid (Snowden was 29 but looks younger in a tee shirt jeans and nerd glasses) shows up carrying a Rubiks cube. GG thinks this kid can't possibly have had access to all those top secret documents. But they are now committed so follow Snowden to his room.
GG was once a practicing lawyer and treats the first meeting with Snowden as a legal deposition where the lawyer tries to trip up a witness forced to answer all questions. Snowden is calm, articulate, very organized and thoughtful and GG can't find any holes in his amazing story. GG can't contain his excitement. LP films the deposition. They plan the first release of articles and the time when Snowden wants to reveal himself as the whistle-blower.
The first article will be the FISA Verizon order and the Guardian plans to tell the government ahead of publication as has become standard practice. Gibson calls the government the morning of planned publication and then total silence. At 3PM an army of White House, NSA and other officials call Gibson back. They want to meet in about a week to explain why the Guardian shouldn't run the story, Gibson says they have until she hangs up to convince the Guardian. The government tries bullying and threats. They don't work. Their reasons are totally lame and Gibson decides to publish. London and the lawyers agree. At 5:40 May 5, 2013 the story goes live. GG spends the rest of the day and night on the phone with interviews, then starts the next cycle for the PRISM story where nine internet providers are giving the NSA all their data.
The same cycle between the Guardian and government repeats but this time someone in government give lap dog Washington Post a heads up and they rush to post the story they have been holding without publication. GG reads the Post story and realizes they haven't even asked the internet services for comment. The Guardian story which goes live 10 minutes after the Post's includes denials from all nine providers that they were cooperating with the government. GG figures the providers and NSA can fight out their denials in public. GG suddenly remembers Cincinnatus and sends an email to thank him for suggesting the PGP program. Snowden immediately emails back you are welcome. GG has never connected Cincinnatus to Snowden. Several more articles follow.
Finally the time arrives to announce the identity of the leaker who the NSA has been unable to identify. LP wants to include a video of Snowden but can't use the disjointed GG deposition. LP writes down a list of 20 questions and asks MacAskil, who everyone has come to trust, to read the questions while she films. The result is the 12 minute video we have all seen introducing us to Edward Snowden for the first time.
About the time of this release a Guardian lawyer is sent to Hong Kong who asks what is being done to protect Snowden once his identity is released. GG and LP and even Snowden seem to have given this little thought. As the last story began breaking an acquaintance of GG's, who lives in Hong Kong, called GG pointing out that everyone would now be looking for Snowden in Hong Kong and asking if they didn't need some qualified Hong Kong lawyers. He suggested two human rights specialists with good contacts in the Hong Kong government. The Guardian lawyer quickly vetted them via the Internet and decided they were good choices. GG agrees to meet and the friend tells him they are already in the Hotel lobby. When GG opens his door a swarm of reporters are waiting. They follow him into the elevator and GG finds still more reporters waiting in the lobby. He decides to give a short impromptu interview and within 15 minutes most reporter have left to file their stories.
GG was finally able to locate his friend and the lawyers. They suggested the lawyers accompany Snowden to a UN mission and from there to a safe house. But how to get Snowden out of his five star Hotel? Snowden is now ahead of them with a prepared disguise and he makes his way safely to an exit where the lawyers are waiting. So that is how the biggest story of GG's life got told.
Also featuring is GGs Brazilian partner David Miranda who comes across as a wise, intuitive advisor without whom GG would be even more indecisive. It is Miranda that first concludes the source is for real. He advises GG to pressure the Guardian so the story gets out there. Later, he becomes a story himself when LP and GG decide to use him to courier Snowden material from Berlin, where LP lives to Rio de Janiero where GG lives. It never occurs to either that Miranda is in danger as he transits the London airport. Miranda is stopped, his possessions seized and he is threatened and bullied for nine full hours under a British terror provision. Under pressure from the Guardian and Brazilian diplomats, Miranda was released to continue his journey after the full nine hours allowed under this dangerous law. Miranda arrived in Brazil a returning hero, but very frightened. Presumably the British government (or the US) has the thumb drive he was carrying but GG doesn't say.
Snowden prepared thumb drives for both LP and GG with all documents. He also prepared a separate thumb drive for the Guardian containing the documents pertaining to the British GCHQ activities. British authorities later descended on Guardian London offices demanding all Snowden documents. The Guardian refused but agreed to let the GCHQ supervise and observe the destruction of all computers at the Guardian. Before this happened, the GCHQ materials were forwarded to the New York Times where they must be sitting in limbo.
Snowden encrypted the documents and assured GG and LP that neither China nor Russia would have the capability to break the encryption. This reader assumes the US could break the encryption but only if they dedicated some super computers for several years to the effort. Even if the Miranda carried thumb drive is in either British or US hands, it is unlikely any attempt will be made to decrypt the material. It is likely that the NSA is still unaware of the full extent of the documents in the archive unless all are now located in the new Intercept archive.
One of the big lessons learned by GG in this adventure is the absolute necessity for investigative journalists to use encrypted communications. Their work will be impossible in the future without these tools. GG further advises all activists and any lawyer engaged with litigation against the government to encrypt all their communications. He uses the example of David Petraeus to illustrate how easy it is to destroy a career if unencrypted emails fall into the wrong hands.
Part two "Collect it All" highlights documents emphasizing the worldwide and universal scope of NSA ambitions.
Part three makes a strong case for the harm that Surveillance causes in a democracy. His strongest point comes in his conclusion. The public sector operates in total darkness and secrecy and privacy while the private sector is subjected to total surveillance of their activities with no place to hide. Somehow our system has become completely inverted. Snowden had expected Obama to reign in the illegal abuses and held off his release until it was clear things were worse than before.
Part Four is a discussion of the forth estate much of which (the corporate media) have become mere tools of the corporate state. GG was shocked that media personalities were at the forefront of attacks suggesting GG be prosecuted for his reporting. This is new. News organizations used to come immediately and strongly to the defense of journalists under Government attack. They no longer do this. The Obama administration has felt free to conduct open warfare against whistle blowers and their reporters who are trying to do investigative reporting as guaranteed in the Constitution. The Guardian's own lawyers suggested GG should avoid returning to the US and repeatedly failed to get assurances from the US government that GG would not be arrested and prosecuted should he return.
David Gregory shocks Glenn Greenwald David Gregory Calls for Greenwald to be Arrested for Snowden Reporting Live on Meet the Press.
Seymour Hersh (who broke the My Lai massacre and Abu Ghraib prison abuses stories) suggests that journalism would be greatly improved if about 900 corporate media types were to lose their jobs.
LP has now released her new documentary Citizenfour in a theatrical release. It will doubtless receive Academy Award nominations.
This Changes Everything; Capitalism vs the Climate, Naomi Klein, 2014
Naomi Klein in Vancouver BC. Photo taken by Jeff Chant
This was supposed to be a book to give hope to those that want to transition from greenhouse emitting fossil fuel consuming that will make the Earth uninhabitable to a world of renewable and sustainable energy. Klein starts by discussing the many studies that show, not only is such a transition possible, but that it can be accomplished with existing technologies and can happen very quickly, well within the time frames necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. Great, lets get going. In fact Denmark and Germany have transformed large parts of their energy sources to wind and solar more quickly then predicted, so quickly that existing German coal burning power plants are exporting their power to other countries. Unfortunately, the reader starts to feel like cartoon character Charlie Brown. Every time he gets ready to kick the football, Luci (Klein) yanks the ball away and the reader falls flat on his back.
Klein start with Genesis 1:18 written about 500 B.C.
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
The entire Judea-Christian culture is based on the fundamental notion that the Earth and its resources were created especially for man and man is to rule over them and use them however he wishes without limit. Klein contrasts this to the typical indigenous native view that the Earth provides for all living things but man with his intelligence has a particular responsibility to care for the Earth and all living things in it. Guess which view dominates.
She then gives us a brief history of industrialization which started its unstoppable acceleration with James Watt's invention of the steam engine in the 18th Century. Our burning of fossil fuels has been accelerating ever since. Most of the carbon in the atmosphere is the responsibility of the oldest large economies.
Klein returns to one of her favorite topics; neoliberalism (see The Shock Doctrine)
Indeed, the three pillars of the neoliberal age - privatization of the public sphere, deregulation of the corporate sector, and the lowering of income and corporate taxes, paid for with cuts to public spending - are each incompatible with many of the actions we must take to bring our emissions to safe levels.
We measure the success of our economies by the growth rate of the national GDP. A recent long term economic study by French economist Thomas Piketty shows that low GDP growth rates and low population growth has been the typical state of large economies from 1700 until 1914 (WWI) and he expects that in the 21st Century we will return to those stable states baring another major catastrophe like global climate change. But today's capitalism puts enormous pressure on executives to grow grow grow. No wonder they will go to extreme means and measures to achieve this unnatural growth. This form of unsustainable expansive capitalism must change or the Earth will be uninhabitable.
The deregulating Clinton administration and his climate change alarmist VP Al Gore pioneered worldwide trade agreements starting with NAFTA and creating the WTO that have brought into existence a global economy based on industrial agriculture, the search for lowest labor costs, and massive increase in the need to transport the resulting products and food; in other words an explosive increase in fossil fuel consumption. These same trade agreements have been used effectively to block locally generated alternate energy projects. Clinton also introduced the cap and trade carbon system late in the Kyoto talks and Gore pushed the idea through. There is little evidence that cap and trade has done anything to reduce emissions but it has created a world wide derivatives market (think sub prime mortgages) where a company in India is paid a large sum to produce ozone destroying refrigerants banned in most countries. Figure that one out. Carbon credits and derivatives are an open invitation to game the system.
Where is the environmental movement? Big green sold out to the energy companies who use them in PR campaigns to make them appear to support alternate energy sources - but we need a "transition period". Many of the biggest environmental groups receive most of their funding, some secretly, from big energy. The biggest, The Nature Conservatory, was given 2303 acres in southeast Texas by Mobil in 1995 to provide a preserve for the endangered Attwater prairie chicken. In 1999 the Conservatory put a gas well on the property. This was discovered and reported by the LA Times in 2002 forcing a promise not to drill again but the Conservatory put in an oil well in 2007. Big green - big carbon producer. By the way, the prairie chickens are all gone from the preserve. Guess they don't like oil drilling. The Sierra Club (setting a few personal scandals aside), Greenpeace, and 350.org are exceptions to the sellout.
Attwater Prairie Chicken estimated 60 remain in the wild
What do you do when your fortune and livelihood is dependent on producing a deadly product? Or you are a politician dependent on those producing that deadly product? You engage in magical thinking. Step 1 denial. The midterm election that swept Republicans into control of congress will assure that all environmental and energy committee positions will be filled with climate change deniers. Climate Denier James Inhofe new Senate Environment Chairman The alternative is that you are out of a job. Step 2 green billionaires will buy a solution. Richard Branson promised to use $3 Billion in profits from Virgin to develop alternate fuel sources. He also offered a $25 million prize for the inventor of a carbon sequestration system. Virgin flies more routes than ever, the $3 Billion never materialized and the prize has not been awarded. Brilliant PR campaign though. Gates, Pickens are others who have made some alternate energy noises, remain deeply invested in fossil fuel energy. Step 3 Bio engineer a solution (see Climate Engineering) This is the one where you put a sulphite shield in the stratosphere to simulate the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption. The effects on the climate worldwide are unknowable because you can't experiment to try it. What is really scary is that Klein admits that if she was desperate enough she might be willing to try it.
Big energy needs to grow and to do so they need to resort to more extreme methods and to extract closer to those more able to fight them, for example attempts to frack natural gas in Ithaca, New York, home to Cornell University - Big mistake. Cornell is the originator of some of the best studies showing how dirty fracking is in the release of methane gas, pollution of water, and earthquakes.
Coal mining in Montana with plans to ship the coal to China ran into the Indian - Cowboy collation with local ranchers joining with native tribes to prevent the hauling of coal over beautiful but dangerous Highway 12, prevented the building of a special rail line and, so far the building of a big port somewhere in the Northwest. Big energy better stay away from the Northwest. Lummi Totem Kwel Hoy (We Draw the Line) traveled 1300 km to the Montana coal site. Kwel Hoy has been planted near Vancouver looking out at the Pacific.
Kwel Hoy at proposed coal port in Bellingham Kwel Hoy visits Seattle
Klein is Canadian with a special interest and concern with the Alberta tar sands. She is on the board of directors of 350.org. Her big hopes here are that the pipelines needed to move the oil can be stopped (choke points like the Montana coal routes). Central to these efforts are native treaty rights and a series of recent court decisions upholding the native treaty rights. It seems, at least in Canada, that the native population never gave up their rights to much of Canada beyond the reservations but agreed to share the land. How to you share something that somebody else destroyed. The liabilities for the Canadian government are in the Trillions. But when natives asked the person responsible for Canada's AAA credit rating how this rating can be maintained in face of this liability, the individual responded basically you and what army are going to enforce those reparations? Can the native treaties be used to stop the tar sands pipelines or coal routes? We don't know.
Alberta Tar Sands
Klein talks about the growing divestment movement and hopes it is joined by an equally robust reinvestment in alternative energy sources. What is clear is that most of the stock value of energy companies relies on energy reserves and that extraction and use of those reserves will make the Earth uninhabitable. You can deny the science maybe but Mother Nature is non negotiable. There is now a group of divestment investors whose primary rationale is that values dependent on unusable reserves are not real and energy stock prices must crash at some point. Energy companies won't continue to be profitable and the window of opportunity is short to use energy profits for reinvestment in alternate energy.
So lets review our situation. The dominant world culture believes that the Earth was created for us to exploit. Capitalism must grow or perish. Globalism requires exploitation of the cheapest resources wherever they are found, prevents regulation of trade, and greatly expands energy needs. Big agriculture requires massive chemical inputs and massive transport and is unsustainable. The climate gets more extreme and unpredictable and climate disasters are vastly more expensive now. Worldwide, politicians are largely neoliberal favoring austerity measures to further their agenda and dependent on corporations for their survival. Courts are largely manned by pro corporate judges. The handful of billionaires that own half the world's wealth are insensitive to other's suffering to the point of allowing entire nations to be drowned in the rising seas believing their wealth will protect them from anything. Klein says you can buy an apartment in NYC where you can live underwater like in a submarine if necessary. I wonder what you eat in your submarine. Most of the world's population won't be able to grow food or have access to clean water.
Klein is clear that a broad based worldwide grass roots populist movement is the only thing that has a chance to change things. We know the alternative is possible. We just don't know how to force the changes needed to get there.
Put another way, only mass social movements can save us now. Because we know where the current system, left unchecked, is headed. We also know, I would add, how that system will deal with the reality of serial climate-related disasters: with profiteering and escalating barbarism to segregate the losers from the winners. To arrive at that dystopia, all we need to do is keep barreling down the road we are on. The only remaining variable is whether some countervailing power will emerge to block the road, and simultaneously clear some alternate pathways to destinations that are safer. If that happens, well, it changes everything.
Hence the title of the book. Hope you feel better.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty, 2014
An important new work based on many years of meticulous research and made possible by improvements in research materials and methods. French economist Piketty decries economic thought in the past from Malthus to Marx to Kuznets (and this reader adds Milton Friedman of the Chicago School) who first arrived at their theories and conclusions and then sought evidence to support their pre-conceived conclusions. He equally decries modern mathematical economics for trying to reduce a complex and human subject to a few sterile and usually unhelpful formulas.
Honore' de Balzac Jane Austen
Piketty was able to collect considerable data for the entire period from 1700 to the present. The most complete data are available for England and France for the entire period. The period from 1700-1914 was characterized by relative stability of the economies with national incomes growing at 0 to 1½% and with populations and inflation growing at about the same rate. Piketty's primary focus in this work is the inequalities in individual incomes and wealth. He uses the novels of Jane Austen in England and Honore' de Balzac in France to give a very specific sense of what it meant to be wealthy and how much income was necessary to live well. The novels are very specific giving numbers in Pounds and Francs so it was possible for readers up to 1914 to get an exact sense of the meaning of the character's income and wealth and their consequent place in society.
Piketty's first conclusion is that the relative stability of the period 1700-1914 is the typical state of the world's economy barring major upsets such as occurred in the period form 1914-1945 and that we are heading into another period of similar stability in the twenty-first century, barring new major catastrophes. The reason that those living today who grew up after WWII and therefore lived through an unusual period of higher growth as the world economies recovered from the catastrophes of 1914-1945 have an expectation of growth that it has been their personal lifetime experience. The data indicates that long term the outlook is for low income growth, low population growth, and low inflation.
Piketty's second conclusion is that individual wealth (capital) and its concentration grows over time because the return on capital exceeds the growth in output except in times of extreme catastrophes such as the period 1914-1945. Furthermore, wealthier individual's or institution's (like the Harvard $30+ billion endowment) return is higher than less wealthy individual's or institution's returns. This gives a long term trend toward an extreme concentration of wealth.
Piketty believes that messy and human democratic processes are the only viable means for societies to determine the proper role of government in society. For Piketty, public education, public health care, and aging security are minimum required functions of government. Public transportation and other infrastructure are also essential. These minimum public requirements cannot be privatized. Piketty specifically does not mention military defense security. To pay for these public functions, the government must raise money and they have a choice of taxation or debt to do so. Government debt requires repayment and so ultimately taxes must be raised to pay for government functions. Debt increases the cost of government, transfers the cost to a later time, and further enriches those wealthy enough to loan to the government. For all these reasons, Piketty believes that government debt must be limited. Big economies are very wealthy and Piketty finds no reason to worry that excessive government debt will transfer ownership to foreign sovereign funds or to any small number of wealthy individuals but excessive government debt is still undesirable and should be avoided. Talking about the recent Greek experiences with the large scale sale of public assets to private owners to reduce government debt levels, Piketty says that wealthy Greeks simply preferred this solution to paying more taxes which they could easily have done with little long term impact on their personal fortunes.
Even before 1914 the Europeans were experimenting with progressive taxes on individual incomes and with estate taxes on the inheritance of wealth. In the ensuing period 1914-1945 extreme tax rates up to 90 percent were levied on incomes and estates. These taxes along with extreme inflation (1913-1950 France averaged 13% and Germany averaged 17%) along with direct confiscation of assets caused a great decrease in wealth and income and a great decrease in income and wealth inequality. Piketty says that the French Revolution did not decrease income and wealth inequality in France as much as is commonly believed and wealth quickly consolidated again immediately following the first violence of the revolution. While revolutions, wars, and economic depression all reduce income and wealth inequality optimistic Piketty believes these goals should be achievable by less catastrophic means. The solution to reduced inequality is progressive income and inheritance wealth taxation and Piketty argues that far less extreme rates of progressive taxation can achieve the desired end of reducing inequality if moderate progressive taxation is maintained consistently over the long term. In 2010 taxes as a percentage of national income were 55% in Sweden, 50% in France, 40% in Britain, and 30% in the US. Up til 1910 wealthy countries taxes seldom exceeded 10%.
In comparing Europe and the US today, Piketty finds the US by far the least economically (and socially) mobile society. Most great US Universities are private and their students almost all have wealthy parents. Education in the US is no longer a path to upward mobility. Even the public Universities in the US have skyrocketing costs putting them out of reach of all but the wealthiest families. Oddly, Piketty does not discuss students accumulating massive er-reputable debt to finance their own educations going into indentured servitude to banks or the US government. Most of the top jobs and highest incomes are then given to graduates of the elite universities. He talks about the philanthropic uses of great wealth such as that of the Gates Foundation, but he clearly would prefer the society as a whole make these philanthropic decisions rather than a single wealthy individual. These decisions are the proper role of democratic decision making.
In 2010 the top 10% of the US working population got 58% of total income while in Europe the top 10% got 30%. In 2010 total wealth for the US top 10% was about 70% and for the top 1% was 35%. The top 10% of Europeans owned 90% of wealth in 1900 and that level dropped by 2010 to 60%. Piketty suspects that wealthy individuals and institutions hide one third or more of their actual income and capital. Judging by US Presidential candidate Romney, Piketty is probably underestimating the problem of hiding wealth from taxation.
Historically, Piketty notes that foreign ownership of capital was highest in France and Britain during the colonial period and dropped to negligible levels after WWII. He also notes that the capitalization of labor in the US slave south was a significant feature in US wealth up to the civil war. Capitalizing 40% of the total population of the US south meant that US slave owners were far wealthier than their European counterparts of the period. He notes, wryly, that Thomas Jefferson owned 600 slaves about which he held conflicting emotions.
Piketty is particularly sensitive to the lack of adequate data and record keeping which is essential to a fair and equitable tax system. Information on income and capital holdings must be made available automatically to the governments by banks and institutions and governments must freely share this information among themselves. Today there is a race to the bottom as countries compete with one another to offer lower tax rates on income and inheritance and some aggressively hide wealth held in their territories. Without a court order with proof of fraud or other illegality, Swiss banks will not release information on individual accounts held in Switzerland. Without the account information governments are hard pressed to bring evidence of illegality. There are many such places in the world. Too much of the world's individual and institutional wealth is hidden in secret shelters which creates problems for researchers and governments alike. Piketty thinks it makes more sense to base taxes on the location of the wealth and income rather than the residence of the individual. Piketty notes with envy that larger economies like the US and China have an easier time setting and enforcing tax policy than the smaller European countries. He talks at some length about the Euro-zone. A central bank for the Euro was created but with little thought to its actual role and function. Piketty holds little hope for the Euro-zone unless a corresponding legislative body with real authority can be established.
Piketty finishes with a discussion of economists' treatment of the climate change crisis which is widely viewed as the next huge and looming economic catastrophe. Economists are arguing about the proper discount rate to apply to this catastrophe while the world's governments seem unable to come up with any meaningful plans of action.
One of Piketty's big contributions to the discussion of wealth and income inequality is his insistence that you cannot just look at the top 10% or even the top 1% but you must continue down to the .1% the .01% etc because of the extreme concentrations of wealth. He notes that inherited wealth is still dominant but that with the recent extreme inequalities in income and high savings rates of top earners it is now possible to build sizable fortunes within one's lifetime. Piketty can find no rational economic justification for the extreme new top salaries but governments, unlike the war years when there were salary boards, does nothing to control runaway salary levels.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Piketty is optimistic that an international democratic consensus can be achieved with increased wealth and income transparency and reporting and with sensible tax policies that can slowly control and correct for income and wealth inequality.
Visions of Freedom, Havana, Washington, Pretoria and the struggle for Southern Africa, 1976-1991, Piero Gleijeses, 2013
This is a well researched history of Cuba's involvement in Angola and the role of Cuba in the ending of South Africa'a apartheid rule. There has been so much distorted and wrong history of these events that Gleijeses felt compelled to spend years amassing documents and interviewing principals to tell the real story as best he can determine it.
Angola Founding Father Sam Nujoma
It begins with South Africa's invasion of communist Angola in 1975 which led Cuba to send troops to Angola where they successfully drove the South Africans out of the country. The Cuban military was to remain in Angola until 1988 when they left as part of a four party settlement agreement between Cuba, Angola, South Africa, and the United States.
Namibian SWAPO slogans
South Africa again attacked and destroyed a Namibian refugee camp at Cassinga in Angola. International outrage led ultimately to UN Resolution 435 which called for free elections in Namibia which South Africa occupied militarily and ruled through a puppet government. South Africa signed the resolution but knew it would lose a free election to SWAPO so refused to implement 435 til forced to do so in 1988.
Angola had its own civil war with the communist MPLA government fighting insurgent Jonas Savimbi's UNITA. South Africa supported anti communist Savimbi militarily and economically. When Reagan became president, the US also began support of Savimbi. Savimbi spoke good English, was charismatic, and knew how to exploit anti communist sentiment. He had collaborated with Portugal in the colonial struggles and was a brutal and cruel terrorist. The Cubans made clear throughout their stay in Angola that they were there to stop South African incursions, not to help the government in its civil war.
UNITA Jonas Savimbi
The Soviets took a different view and helped plan and arm major MPLA offensives to destroy UNITA. The Soviets had no understanding of guerrilla warfare and wrongly believed that South Africa would stay out of their offensives. The first offensive was in 1985 and the MPLA lost about half its forces to South African artillery and air strikes. South Africa allowed the MPLA to retreat. The second disastrous attack was in 1987 and again MPLA lost many soldiers. This time South Africa pursued the MPLA with the intention of eliminating them altogether.
Cuba opposed both Soviet planned attacks but felt obligated to save the MPLA from South Africa. The counter offensive was planned by Fidel Castro himself in close consultation with his generals. Castro sent his best troops, MIG fighters, artillery and tanks and the latest Soviet anti aircraft weapons to Angola. This left him exposed at home but Gorbachev promised to send more weapons to Cuba.
Military Strategist Fidel in Angola
South Africa attempted to capture Cuito Cuanavale and the Cubans engaged them there. For the first time Cuba had air superiority and they prevailed. This time, Castro was determined to drive the South Africans out of Angola and developed a slow, careful, methodical campaign to achieve this objective. Reagan had set as his top priority in Africa to get the Cuban troops out of Angola. His diplomats, led by Chester Crocker, worked tirelessly trying to get the MPLA government to negotiate an agreement that would remove the Cubans but the Cubans were always excluded from these talks.
Reagan Crocker Discuss Angola
Once it was clear the Cubans were prevailing against the South Africans, American diplomats agreed to add Cuba to the negotiations. Cuba insisted that South Africa be added to the negotiations as well. Cuba had two non negotiable requirements; South Africa must implement UN Resolution 435 allowing free elections in Namibia; and South Africa must stop supporting Savimbi. After much posturing and bumbling, South Africa had to agree to the two conditions and to leave Angola. Cuba was in a position, not only to force South Africa out of Angola, but to attack South African bases in Namibia. Cuba agreed to leave Angola as part of the settlement in 1988. Free elections were held in Namibia and were won by SWAPO as expected. Free elections were also held in Angola and were won by MPLA. Savimbi refused to accept the results and US assistance was finally cut off for UNITA.
Fidel and Nelson
Pretoria Freedom Park Monument
Had these events happened only a year later when the Soviet system collapsed, Cuba would have been unable to force the removal of South Africa from Angola and force free elections in Angola and Namibia. Apartheid might still have ended under the pressure of an international boycott and sanctions but who knows if and when this would have happened. When Nelson Mandela visited Fidel Castro in 1991 he acknowledged that Cuba was centrally responsible for the fall of Apartheid in South Africa. The names of the 2000 Cubans who died in Angola are enshrined alongside those of the ANC on a monument in Pretoria's Freedom Park South Africa today.
The Way of the Knife, The CIA, A Secret Army, and a War at the ends of the Earth, Mark Mazzeti, 2013Dirty Wars, the World is a Battlefield, Jeremy Scahill, 2013Or How the ChickenHawks Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld institutionalized Presidential Assassinations
The political term Chickenhawk is defined in Wikipedia as:
Chickenhawk (also chicken hawk and chicken-hawk) is a political term used in the United States to describe a person who strongly supports war or other military action (i.e., a War Hawk), yet who actively avoided military service when of age.
The term indicates that the person in question is hypocritical for personally dodging a draft or otherwise shirking their duty to their country during a time of armed conflict while advocating that others do so. Generally, the implication is that chickenhawks lack the moral character to ask others to support, fight and perhaps die in an armed conflict. Those who avoid military service and continue to oppose armed aggression are not chickenhawks.
Chickenhawks 1980 and 2000
These two books explore how Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld , hereinafter referred to as CR, transformed the elite special forces (Navy Seals, Delta Forces, and Army Rangers) into the ultra secretive JSOC command, reporting directly to the President with a worldwide license to kill. CR largely insulated W from their decisions under the guise of denyability.
Prior to CR under W, these special forces were primarily famous for two disastrous actions, the aborted 1980 attempt to rescue the Iran hostages under Carter and the even more disastrous 1993 Black Hawk Down incident in Mogadishu Somalia under Clinton. The only group with a more disastrous history than the special forces was the CIA who Congress outlawed from initiating assassinations after the revelations of the Frank Church hearings in 1975. For more on CIA incompetence see Secrets in an Open Society.
A more minor enabling player in these books is the FBI with their proclivities to entrap innocent victims in their notorious sting operations. Two US citizen victims of drone assassinations were driven by previous FBI sting operations, Imam Anwar Awlaki was killed in September 2011 and Buffalo citizen Ahmed Hijazi (Kamal Derwish) was killed in November 2002 along with the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole attack, Abu Ali al Harithi. Awlaki was arrested twice in San Diego when FBI prostitute undercover agents approached him unsolicited. Hijazi was accused of being one of the Buffalo NY "Lackawanna Six" after his assassination. The FBI stings were instrumental in encouraging both men to leave their US homes for Yemen where they were assassinated. For more on FBI methods see Paranoid Ideologues.
The central theme of both books is how American policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and elsewhere has actually led to an increase in American insecurity and how policy makers refused to see how their policies were counterproductive. In each case, America either invaded directly to destroy an existing regime, or had proxies (Christian Ethiopians invading Islamic Somalia) destroy the existing regime or undermined the regimes by totally disregarding the country's sovereignty (Yemen and Pakistan). America always chose the wrong people to form new regimes and these US backed regimes always led to an increased presence of enemies of the US in the countries. For example, al Shabab, a Taliban like group in Somalia, has gone from a nonentity to a major force controlling more and more of Somalia. Unless American soldiers stay in Afghanistan, the Taliban will likely retake control of the country. Our good ally Pakistan likely welcomes this outcome. This universally disastrous foreign policy has cost hundreds of thousands of innocent lives and trillions of US taxpayer dollars. Enemies of the US have multiplied many fold. Yet none of these enemies pose an existential threat to the US, unlike the Soviet Union during the cold war. The disastrous policy of "war on terror" and "the world is a battlefield" is designed to continue forever.
Stanley McChrystal with Obama
CR authorized a secret JSOC facility camp in Iraq, NAMA under McChrystal, where JSOC personnel both captured and "interrogated" prisoners. NAMA was far worse than Abu Ghraib yet Americans were never told about it and its abuses. Tortured prisoners will say whatever the torturers want to hear, in this case WMD and al Queda. That the confessions were untrue didn't matter to true ideologues CR. When a major insurgency erupted, CR kept insisting it was just a few "dead enders" from the Hussein Baathist era. De-Baathification had created hundreds of thousands of unemployed, trained soldiers, with unlimited weapons. There were plenty of groups willing to exploit these soldiers for their own purposes. A Jordanian terrorist claiming to be associated with al Queda, and working in Iraq, Zarqawi, started chopping off heads, giving CR "evidence" that Hussein had harbored terrorists. The evidence was that Zarqawi had traveled to Iraq for medical treatment once prior to the American invasion. Hussein probably never heard of Zarqawi.
Obama and Brennen Terror Tuesdays
Obama, upon taking office and to everyone's surprise, kept W's security team of Petraeus, McChrystal, McRaven, Gates, and Brennen. Early in Obama's administration, Somali pirates mistakenly boarded an American flagship. They quickly realized their mistake and attempted to escape, taking the captain hostage. A battleship was ordered to the scene. Obama was informed that the planet's best snipers (the JSOC ninjas) were only 45 minutes away from the battleship. Obama ordered them to the scene and when they reported they had clear shots at the pirates, Obama gave the order to kill. Three shots, three dead Somali pirates. Obama loved it and invited the ninjas involved (members of Navy Seal Team 6) to the White House. Thus was born the era of Obama as assassin in Chief.
Who snatched Leon Panetta's Body?
Obama had appointed trusted ally Leon Panetta to head the CIA and under Obama the JSOC and CIA were to form a closer working relationship in their "targeted killing" program. This program has been expanded from the W era and has been largely successful in assassinating people on the kill lists although with countless innocent victims. Obama and Panetta announced the closing of the black sites (secret prisons), the end of torture interrogations, and the end of renditions, and then secretly continued all three.
The books recount discussions about the best way to kill a target, with an M16 or a drone strike. The drone strike is seen as more antiseptic but more difficult to confirm the kill. Occasionally, CIA operatives have been sent to strike sites to collect DNA samples and other evidence, but the strikes make such a mess that identification is difficult. Maybe the Ninjas should bring back the head after a kill. The reader is reminded of scenes from the movie "GoodFellas" and discussions among its psychotic characters. Kill or capture? If you capture you need a prison and you are expected to interrogate. Do you hold indefinitely or are you forced to try the "detainee"? Better to just kill the target and be done with it.
Obama condemns US citizen to death without due process >
Anwar's 16 year old son Abdulrahman also killed by US drone
In the case of Anwar Awlaki, the intelligence community seems to have concluded that his speeches and blogs were protected free speech and they never got evidence, despite Obama's false statements, that Awlaki was associated with al Queda or ever assisted any terrorist. This conclusion also included analysis of emails between Awlaki and Nidal Hasan the American soldier that killed 13 at Fort Hood Texas. Awlaki posted a blog after the killings supporting Hasan's actions which may have been the breaking point for Obama. Awlaki was killed simply to silence him. Nothing more. two weeks later a US drone strike "accidentally" killed Awlaki's son Abdulrahman. Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs comment: "Well I would suggest that he should have a more responsible father." Unbelievable.
Petraeus sells Obama on Afghan "surge"
When McChrystal was put in charge of the Afghanistan "surge" other military commanders expected the worst and got it. McChrystal reproduced his Iraq operation on steroids. JSOC operators multiplied, black ops prisons like NAMA were created, and targeted killings skyrocketed. Like Iraq, there were virtually no al Queda operating inside Afghanistan. The targets this time were mid level Taliban but the ninjas couldn't even tell the tribes apart, so the killing of innocents and allies multiplied. Hatred of Americans and sympathy if not support for the Taliban increased. One mistaken raid killed Daoud, an American trained regional head of intelligence, and members of his family. Realizing their mistake, the JSOC team refused to call medical assistance and starting digging their bullets out of the victims body while some were still alive. They died. The team was only able to recover only 17 of the 21 rounds fired in the raid. A dogged British journalist, Jerome Starkey, exposed the coverup and witnessed a scene where a fatigue wearing soldier with the name tag McRaven enacts a ritualistic sheep sacrifice in front of the family by way of apology. Starkey didn't even know who McRaven was at the time. Another example of foreign policy gone terribly wrong.
Raymond Davis contractor with license to kill Secret Wars is organized chronologically, jumping from Iraq to Afghanistan to Yemen to Somalia with Awlaki's story threaded throughout. Toward the end, we finally get to Pakistan where things get really strange. Remember that the CIA and Pakistan's ISI worked closely through the 1980's to support the Afghan Mujahedin (see Ghost Wars) in their fight against the Soviet occupation and that Pakistan is a nuclear power. In January 2011 American Raymond Davis killed two Pakistanis at a busy intersection in Lahore. Davis' rented Honda Civic was carrying enough arsenal to hold off a small army in addition to GPS, satellite communications, night vision equipment, multiple ids and cell phones, ATM cards, makeup and disguises and other trade craft. He would have made James Bond envious. The killed Pakistanis were ISI operatives who were following Davis and he shot them both through the windshield as only a trained assassin would have been able to do. He was in possession of sensitive photos of secret Pakistani military facilities including nuclear storage facilities. His cell phones showed he had made calls to both Tehrik-e-Taliban and Lahkar-e-Jhangvi Pakistani terror groups. Who was Davis working for? Was it the CIA, JSOC or someone we haven't heard of? People at his obvious level of experience have level after level of cover stor. He was released after admission that he worked for the CIA but the reality is probably deeper. What was he doing at the secret military sites? It seems that the US government has secret plans to secure (i.e. steal) Pakistan's nuclear arsenal in the event of a coup or other instability inside Pakistan. How wild is that? Why was he calling Pakistani terror groups?
Davis called for backup, calmly photographed the two Pakistani's he killed, and fled the scene in his Honda. A backup Land Cruiser with false license plates rushed to assist Davis but ran over a motorcycle killing its driver. The Land Cruiser fled but Davis' Honda was stopped by police two miles from the murders. ISI sent special forces to guard his prison cell and prevent a JSOC style rescue. Had Davis been put with the general prison population he would probably have had his throat slit. The backup team returned to the CIA-JSOC safe house, destroyed all their documents and equipment, and fled to the US Consulate where they were evacuated from the country before Pakistani officials could question them. They have not been identified.
The CIA had followed a courier to Osama bin Laden's safe house five months prior to the Davis incident and were awaiting confirmation that Osama was there and assassination plans were readied when the Davis incident happened. The US needed to get Davis out of Pakistan before they could initiate the assassination of bin Laden. Thus the negotiations with Pakistan and the ISI took on an urgency it would not have otherwise had. Then the wife of one of the ISI murder victims committed suicide leaving a video statement blaming the US. Davis's handlers apparently hid his true job from the white house and state department leading both to make embarrassing and false claims about Davis's job. Afraid that Davis might start talking and needing to proceed with bin Laden's assassination, top US military officials including Admiral Mullen and Petraeus met in Oman with their Pakistani counterparts in the military and ISI to hash out a solution. A very unusual Sharia court proceeding presented the families of the victims with $2.3 million and Davis was whisked out of the country on a CIA rendition plane.
William McRaven Mr. Cool
Six weeks later Osama bin Laden was assassinated in Abbottabad Pakistan. For bin Laden's murder, the JSOC ninjas under CIA direction shot and killed bin Laden, brought the entire body to a ship, and buried it at sea. It was not deemed necessary to share confirmation with the American people. Before the mission the team discussed not shooting bin Laden in the head since the reason for sending a team on a dangerous mission 150 miles inside sovereign Pakistan to a house a mile away from a military academy was to confirm the kill.
Matt Bissonnette Seal Team 6 Member
The first team member to encounter a tall man in the house shot him three times in the head. The next team member shot the body multiple times in the chest. Matt Bissonnette's job was to collect DNA samples (they had DNA from bin Laden's sister) and when he cleaned off the face he was surprised how young the man was and that his beard was completely black. Bissonnette had surely seen every photo and video of bin Laden in existence yet he didn't recognize the man in person. Bissonnette remembers thinking at the time that the American people don't need to see this (the messed up face and head). Even if this is the reason photos were not released there is no security reason why the DNA test results should not have released to the public. Guns were found in the house but none were loaded. Anyone there could have been captured without a fight but the mission was assassination. Four men and one woman were killed in the raid. Others, including children, were injured. Immediately after the raid Brennan said that the team had been in a firefight (false) and that bin Laden had used women as a shield (false). The Obama administration said just trust us then lied about so many aspects of the mission that Bissonnette felt compelled to write his own account No Easy Day. He would not have been privy to the DNA test results. We should trust them that the DNA test results were a match?
Michael Furlong Michele Ballarin The Way of the Knife includes a couple of characters (for comic relief?). Michael Furlong was an overweight long time government and military person who spoke in fast government-military speak that seemed to bedazzle whoever he met. He ran an operation where spyware was hidden in a cell phone game with information gathered and stored in an illegal database in the Czech Republic. Furlong showed up in Prague during sensitive negotiations over deploying a US missile defense system in the Czech Republic and US government officials had him thrown out the the country.
Michele Ballarin was a wealthy West Virginia Republican socialite who raised Lippizaner horses. She somehow inserted herself into Somali pirate ransom negotiations and pirates on one seized ship raised a sign asking specifically for her. She proposed setting up a food program for refugees in Somalia where she would collect intelligence about everyone who came to get aid that she could feed to US intelligence. The program was not approved.
Blackwater's Eric Prince appears in both books with activities no less bizarre but certainly not comic. Prince is drawn to unsavory characters around the world like a magnet. He outfitted his own small ship with an incredible arsenal, helicopter, and small speed boats, and offered to escort ships through the Somali pirate area of operations for $200,000 a trip. This was his sanest venture. He lives in Abu Dhabi to be close to the action and avoid taxes.
Amoxicillin For Sale, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, Ezra F. Vogel, 2011
A thorough (800 pages) account of the life and impact of Deng on the modernization of China. My Amoxicillin experience, Deng's history including his years in France, where he first met Zhou Enlai and Ho Chi Min, and Russia, his roles in the war against Japan and the Civil War against the Guomindang and the early years of the Communist rule of China up to the Cultural Revolution are covered in only 45 pages, Amoxicillin no prescription. The tale really begins in 1967, when Deng, Amoxicillin over the counter, age 63, is placed under house arrest. In 1969 with the plane crash that killed Lin Biao and the first Soviet incursions into Outer Mongolia, Mao has Deng sent to Jiangi province where he was given light factory work in an army controlled facility, online buy Amoxicillin without a prescription. He would not be recalled to Beijing until 1974, when Zhou Enlai had again fallen from Mao's grace and was dying of cancer and Mao himself was fast failing from Lou Gerhig's disease, Amoxicillin For Sale. After some success in restoring order to the railroads and key provinces, Deng again is attacked by Mao starting in 1975. Real brand Amoxicillin online, Zhou Enlai dies in early 1976 and Mao attempts a quiet ceremony only to see Beijing and Tiananmen overrun with spontaneous mourners. On April 5 1976 a massive demonstration is held in Tiananmen Square for Zhou and Deng. Jiang Qing (Mao's separated wife) and the Gang of Four (so named by Mao) set out to quell the demonstration and continue the criticism of Deng. Amoxicillin For Sale, Hua Guofeng is named Mao's successor and Mao dies on September 9, 1976. Hua immediately moves to arrest the Gang of Four who are tried and executed for their role in the Cultural Revolution and the purge following the April 5 demonstration, Amoxicillin without prescription. Deng immediately consolidates his power in the military and foreign affairs and quietly sets out to remove Hua. Deng never assumes the titles of leadership and never creates a cult of personality around himself. Buy cheap Amoxicillin no rx, The "Four Modernizations" to develop agriculture, industry, national defense, science and technology was formalized by Zhou Enlai in 1963 and underpinned the policies of Deng after 1977, Amoxicillin from canadian pharmacy. Mao had believed in the need for continuous revolution which resulted in the chaos and tragedies that were the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, Amoxicillin For Sale. Mao engaged in perpetual war against the landlords and capitalists. But Mao also attacked the intellectuals and educated Chinese and Deng led in the purges of the Hundred Flowers campaign starting in 1957. Amoxicillin trusted pharmacy reviews, By 1977, Deng had come to realize that China would need an educated class to promote education, research, and modernization, Amoxicillin recreational. Chinese universities had been largely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, were occupied by the army, Is Amoxicillin addictive, and were operating at a secondary school level. Amoxicillin For Sale, Deng moved to normalize relations with the US with a primary goal to send large numbers of Chinese students to US universities. He reformed the Universities to qualify students for admission to foreign Universities. Deng explained that working with your mind was the same as working with your hands and all work should be honored. Asked if Deng wasn't worried that the students would stay abroad, Amoxicillin overnight, Deng responded that it didn't matter because they were still Chinese and would help China wherever they chose to live and work. As it turned out sizable numbers of students did return to China where they played key roles in China's transformation.
Shenzhen old and new
Deng was famous for his memorable quotes "It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice." and "When you open the door, flies will get in." to explain his openness to economic and market experimentation and willingness to tolerate some corruption if economic progress results, Amoxicillin For Sale. Buy no prescription Amoxicillin online, The usual focus is on China's development of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) led by Shenzhen near Hong Kong which grew from a sleepy village of 20,000 to a metropolis of several million with tall modern buildings and all infrastructure needed to support modern manufacturing. But equally important to the transformation of China were allowing certain regions to move from collective farming to household farming resulting in huge increases in food production and the promotion of small enterprises at the collective and household level to produce and market products wanted and needed by the people Household farming and small scale enterprise came to produce half of China's GNP.
Particularly interesting were Vogel's reasons why China developed so differently from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Amoxicillin dose. He points out the China had a long history as a culturally unified area dominated by the Han people. Amoxicillin For Sale, The entire country had a single written language and Mandarin was long the official government spoken language. Mao simplified the written language and made sure all Chinese were taught Mandarin and simplified Chinese writing. Comprar en línea Amoxicillin, comprar Amoxicillin baratos, Second, China has a long coastline and many deep water seaports unlike the other Communist countries. This advantage makes it far easier to import technology and export products. Transportation in the interior of China was limited but the coastal cities were not held back by this limitation, Amoxicillin gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release. Third, China had the examples of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, (the dragons) and Japan to study and emulate, Amoxicillin For Sale. Finally, many millions of Chinese were living overseas throughout the developed world. Order Amoxicillin online c.o.d, China found these overseas Chinese very ready to assist in the modernization process. Deng was advised by Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and Hong Kong shipping magnate Y K Pao and several Chinese American Nobel laureates.
old steel and new
The largest foreign investor in China was Japan. Vogel points out that the eye opening trips made by Chinese leaders to Japan and Western countries in the late 1970s resembled the Iwakura Mission of 1871 in MeijiAmoxicillin For Sale, Japan. Like Japan, Amoxicillin wiki, these trips served to show the Chinese how far behind they were. This was brought home most tellingly when Deng visited an automated continuous production steel plant in Japan whose production was almost the equivalent of all China's antique plants combined. Amoxicillin results, With Japan's technical, financial, and management assistance, China today produces more steel than the US and Japan combined, Amoxicillin cost. Deng was equally interested in how Japan had converted from a war production economy during the war to a peacetime, consumer economy so quickly after the war ended.
Deng began his rule with two bold moves, Amoxicillin For Sale. No prescription Amoxicillin online, He authorized a lightning strike military invasion of Vietnam to demonstrate that China could threaten Hanoi anytime it chose. Troops took control of all northern county capitals then withdrew to China in only 28 days. Deng calculated that this surprise move would stall Vietnam's aggressions in Laos and Cambodia and to warn the Soviets to stay away from the southern region, would secure China for at least a decade, purchase Amoxicillin online no prescription, giving him time and space to implement his economic reforms. Second, Amoxicillin pics, Deng moved immediately to normalize relations with the US so that the Soviets would be detained from aggression, Chinese students could begin study in US universities to close the training gap, and the US could be encouraged to invest in China. Amoxicillin For Sale, Central in Deng's mind was US education of China's best students.
Vogel spends a lot of time discussing the Tiananmen Square student uprising of 1989, Amoxicillin for sale. Deng started his leadership by normalizing relations with the US and wanted to bookmark his regime with normalized relations with the Soviet Union. Gorbachev visited Beijing in late May 1989 to finalize the normalization agreement. Canada, mexico, india, Hu Yaobang, as General Secretary was a reformer promoting freedom and democracy much beloved by Chinese university students. Hu was removed from office and criticized for his failure to deal with student demonstrations in 1986, Amoxicillin For Sale. When he died in 1989, the students came to Tiananmen Square to honor Hu much like the earlier mourning demonstrations in honor of Zhou, Amoxicillin price. Hu replaced Zhou in the hearts of the students. Deng desperately wanted to clear the square by the time Gorbachev arrived. Herbal Amoxicillin, He wrote a tough editorial which only strengthened the resolve of the demonstrators. Amoxicillin For Sale, Days before Gorbachev and massive worldwide media arrived in Beijing the students started a hunger strike. Western press which came to cover the Gorbachev visit quickly turned their focus to the demonstrators. Deng tried to clear the square with unarmed soldiers but failed. He waited for Gorbachev and the Western press to leave then sent in heavily armed troops with orders to clear the square at any cost, online buying Amoxicillin hcl. Estimates of student deaths vary from 400 to several thousand. Zhao Ziyang was removed from power for disagreeing with Deng's handling of the demonstration, Amoxicillin For Sale.
Factions remained under Deng with the reformers on the right and the conservatives led by Chen Yun on the left. Amoxicillin class, The early success of creating a market economy in China resulted in double digit GNP growth for a number of years in succession. By the late 1980's the massive growth led to inflation anticipated to be 30% in 1989. Inflation was particularly hard on the mass of Chinese living with fixed incomes. Amoxicillin For Sale, Chen and the conservatives blamed the Tiananmen demonstrations on this inflation and moved too aggressively to contain it bringing the Chinese economy to a hard landing with growth under 4%. The conservatives remained in control until 1992 until Deng, Amoxicillin forum, then 87 years old initiated one final movement during his winter vacation in the south. During visits in Shenzhen, Amoxicillin pharmacy, Zhuhai, Guangzhou, and Shanghai, Deng spoke out colorfully and strongly for liberalization and expansion of his socialist market economy. Hong Kong media quickly picked up on Deng's tour and began broadcasting coverage of his talked via television which was now widely available in the regions near Hong Kong, generic Amoxicillin. Popular support for his views exploded and his hand picked successor Jiang Zemin quickly changed sides from the Chen led conservatives to the Deng led reformers. In his last movement, Order Amoxicillin no prescription, Deng thus set the stage for the resumption of the fast growth that continues to this day. From this time forward, inflation fighting measure assured that the economy would have a soft landing and rapid growth continue, Amoxicillin For Sale.
the Steel Factory melts the Iron Lady
The British handover of Hong Kong took place in 1997 just months after Deng's death. Preparations for the handover occupied a central part of Deng's attention during his rule. He knew that Hong Kong would be invaluable as a financial and trade center as it had since the revolution in 1949, low dose Amoxicillin. Deng consistency pressed the one country - two systems approach to dealing with Hong Kong. Amoxicillin For Sale, He continued to develop personal relationships with key Hong Kong businessmen and made sure that the right people from China were appointed to Hong Kong and that Hong Kong leaders were developed to be able to take over when the British administrators left. One of Vogel's better stories is the visit of Margaret Thatcher (the Iron Lady) to Deng (the Steel Factory) in September 1982. Where can i order Amoxicillin without prescription, Thatcher was riding high after her victory in the Falken Islands and intended to tell Deng that Britain had decided to keep administering Hong Kong indefinitely. Deng changed her mind for once and all. China would administer Hong Kong and warned Britain not to attempt to drain assets from Hong Kong prior to the handover.
China's efforts to reassure the residents of Hong Kong received a big setback after the Tiananmen Square repressions and individual residents continued to leave Hong Kong for Canada and other destinations taking as much wealth with them as possible, Amoxicillin For Sale. For all the drama, the handover went smoothly and Hong Kong continues its role today as financial center and trading center for China and Hong Kong's residents continue to prosper.
Modern Shanghai Bund
What about Shanghai, China's largest manufacturing center when Deng took over. Shanghai was initially excluded from the SEZ creations because of its size and complexity and because Deng was worried that the SEZs would be seen as a recreation of the colonial past with the foreign concessions. Shanghai was allowed to modernize later and Deng's successor Jiang Zemin made his reputation in Shanghai.
Amoxicillin For Sale, It is difficult for those in China an abroad who became adults after Deng stepped down to realize the enormity of the problems Deng faced as he began this journey; a country closed to fundamentally new ways of thinking; deep rifts between those who had been attacked during the Cultural Revolution and their attackers; proud military leaders who were resistant to downsizing and budget reductions; public animosity toward imperialists and foreign capitalists; an entrenched conservative socialist structure in both the countryside and the cities; a reluctance by urban residence to accept over 200 million migrants from the countryside; and dissension as some people continued to live in poverty while others became rich...It is doubtful that anyone else had the combination of authority, depth and breadth of experience, strategic sense, assurance, personal relationships, and political judgement needed to manage China's transformation with comparable success.
Another reason to study this work is for the insights it gives into the inner workings of the political system, the campaigns, the training and promotion of leaders, the complex intrigues between ruling cliques. Deng watched events unfold as labor unions struck in Poland, Nicolai Ceausescu was overthrown in Romania, and as Gorbachev set out to reform the communist party only to see the collapse of the entire Soviet system. Deng was determined to keep a strong single communist party with adherence to the thought of Lenin, Marx, and Mao (with Deng as the high priest of interpretation). At the same time he believed that leaders should experiment, make mistakes, admit their mistakes, correct their mistakes, and experiment again. He carefully avoided the Kruschev mistake of critizing Stalin, finding quotes from Mao that he was correct 70% of time, in other words Mao made mistakes such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, for which Mao accepted responsibility (he did?), corrected, and moved on to new experiments.
Deng believed that training leaders, giving them freedom to experiment, judging the results (did the cat catch mice, Amoxicillin For Sale. were the flies tolerable?), correcting mistakes, including changing leaders if necessary is the key role of the communist party leadership. Deng believed that reform and economic transformation could only be accomplished by the selection of the proper leadership at the national and regional levels. Deng and his cohort were the second and last generation to have experienced the wars as leaders. Deng was determined to force his cohort of old revolutionaries to retire with him and to pass the reigns to a much younger generation of leaders who grew up in very different conditions. We have now seem several and are about to see the next changing of the guard as the next generation assumes power in a peaceful transfer. All this is the rightful legacy of Deng.
Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Confidence Men, Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President, Ron Suskind 2011
The title is intended as a play on the word "confidence", used to describe the primary motivations of Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke and Larry Summers in dealing with the financial crisis as in "the proper role of government is to restore confidence in the financial institutions". The second intended meaning of Suskind is how this small group of men manipulated, conned, scammed the President into following their policies and not the policies actually desired if not ordered by the President. Pretty strong stuff.
The book is a long rambling story telling of events from the long run for President, through the financial meltdown and the first years of the Presidency with an emphasis on the financial crisis but with excursions into health care reform and the auto bailout. Buy cheap Amoxicillin no rx, It is so rambling that sometimes Suskind gets his facts mixed up as when he says health care insurers have revenues totaling $12 billion of the $2.5 trillion industry (page 193). Insurers profits alone exceed $12 billion, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. He sometimes loses the narrative as when he implies that Obama has already decided on an insurance mandate at the first health care summit where he gave the last word to insurance lobbyist Karen Ignagni. Then later in the book when health care reform again comes up for discussion it seems Obama has not decided on a mandate. And then Obama campaigned promising a public option. But here the problem may not be with the storyteller but with the man himself and this reader suggests this book is best seen as an imperfect study of the enigma that is our President. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, After all, it doesn't take a genius to figure out how these key players would act given their outsized egos, their personalities, and their history. Summers is a bully with highly toned rhetorical debating skills who is not embarrassed to dominate a discussion on subjects he knows nothing about. As Treasury Secretary in 1999 he was the moving force behind the Clinton administration dismantling of Glass-Steagall to allow Citibank to merge with Travelers Insurance bring Solomon and Smith Barney, two wall street investment banks into the Citi fold, Amoxicillin steet value. He also made sure that the derivatives market would remain unregulated. These acts make Summers next only to Fed Chair Greenspan the most culpable enablers of the financial meltdown. It is equally revealing that Summers existed totally in the shadow of Bob Rubin so long as Rubin was Treasury Secretary for Clinton, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Bullies know their place in the kicking order.
Geithner is a lifelong public servant who spend time in Washington and New York. At the New York Fed he was the shoe shine boy of wall street and the bankers who called him the "boy scout" behind his back. He and Bernanke together with former Goldman CEO ($750 million compensation) Hank Paulson engineered the bank rescue plan and further consolidation of finance as Wachovia, Amoxicillin class, Washington Mutual, Bear Sterns, and Merill Lynch were swallowed up by the big banks. Geithner is not a public Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, servant, he is a servant of Wall Street. It also turns out he is a tax cheat, failing to pay the IRS $34,000. Either he is cheating or he is incompetent, great choice, order Amoxicillin from United States pharmacy. Incidentally, it seems Geithner's father at the Ford foundation met Obama's mother at least once in Indonesia. From Wikipedia;
From January 1981 to November 1984, Dunham (Barack's mom) was the program officer for women and employment in the Ford Foundation's Southeast Asia regional office in Jakarta. While at the Ford Foundation, she developed a model of microfinance which is now the standard in Indonesia, a country that is a world leader in micro-credit systems, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Peter Geithner, father of Tim Geithner (who later became U.S. Kjøpe Amoxicillin på nett, köpa Amoxicillin online, Secretary of the Treasury in her son's administration), was head of the foundation's Asia grant-making at that time.
Bernanke Lavishes free $14 Trillion on Wall Street
Ben Bernanke was touted as an expert on the Great Depression when he became Chairman of the Fed at the beginning of the meltdown. He was at all the merger and bailout meetings but we only now are learning the extent to which the Fed was secretly lending money to troubled institutions throughout the period. Recent Freedom of Information material acquired by Bloomberg is finally starting to shed some light on the extent of the exposure of the public in Fed lending to the banksters. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The Fed has secretly loaned a peak of $1.2 Trillion to Wall Street and the banks including many European banks. Yes, public money has been loaned to European firms. That $1.2 trillion is the same total as all delinquent and foreclosed US home loans. Suskind put the figure at $3.5 trillion from 2007 to 2009, is Amoxicillin safe. This brings the total Fed issuance to $14 trillion. If that money is used to purchase Treasuries at 3% this free money would yield the banks about $350 billion. So much for lessons on the Great Depression, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.
But the problem is not these characters who would be expected to act as they have. The important question is how did the President come to appoint them to positions where they could do more damage. Even Bernanke could have been replaced in 2009 when his first term ended.
President elect with Paul Volcker and Austan Goolsbee
Suskind characterized this question as Team A verses Team B. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Team A, led by venerable Paul Volcker, was with Obama from the beginning of his candidacy and in-so-far as Obama's superior knowledge of the workings and problems in the financial sector secured him election, it is thanks to Team A education and advice. On team A were Volcker, Amoxicillin brand name, Austan Goolsbee, Robert Wolf (CEO of UBS and eyewitness of the meltdown meetings), Robert Reich, Stanley O'Neill, and William Donaldson. All expected significant rolls in the new administration, with Volcker as Treasury Secretary.
Obama Picks Team B
So how and why did Obama go with team B led by Geithner and Summers, purchase Amoxicillin for sale. We don't have a clue. Byron Dorgan, Senator from North Dakota put it most eloquently; "You've picked the wrong people...I don't understand how you could do this, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. You've picked the wrong people." We voters all felt the same way. Where's our change.
Daschle Master of Congress Left Behind
But Obama was not done yet. He needed to choose between longtime master of the senate, the low key, Buying Amoxicillin online over the counter, soft spoken, extremely tough Tom Daschle, and the brash, volatile, inexperienced, caustic, egotistical fourth ranked representative Rahm Emmanuel for his Chief of Staff, doorkeeper to the President, Amoxicillin alternatives. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Tough choice right. We'll go with the much hated in Congress Rahm. What is this man doing to himself. And even worse, Obama spent so much political capital getting Geithner appointed despite his personal tax problems that Obama loses entirely the services of Dacshle, who has a minor problem in failing to report the use of a lobbyist provide car while in Washington. Dacshle could have been confirmed before Geithner but not after. So Obama trades Dacshle for Geithner, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Ordering Amoxicillin online, During this transition period, Obama is reading up on FDR who in his first hundred day in office passed the Emergency banking and Glass-Steagall acts, establishes the FDIC to insure deposits, created the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Tennessee Valley Authority. He passed the Farm Credit, Truth in Securities, and the National Recovery Acts, and others, what is Amoxicillin. The basis of the entire New Deal were in place within 100 days of FDR assuming office. While detractors point out that full recovery did not happen until WWII started, there was never doubt in Americans minds that the country was back on track early in 1933. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Obama assumed office with no plans whatever; none; nada. So much for the legacy of FDR. And he appoints a team guaranteed to continue undermining the FDR legacy.
Two million people showed up in the freezing cold to watch the Obama inauguration and hope. Amoxicillin images, Elizabeth Warren first met Obama at a campaign event in Chicago. Afterward Obama talked about being inside the bubble; "I haven't been living in this bubble very long, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. I'm in it now, but not that long ago I had a real life."
"And she (Warren) would wonder, replaying that last conversation in her head, if it was really about the bubble or the character of the man inside the bubble, and if in Chicago she had seem what she hoped to see, rather than what was really there."
There are a lot of us wondering this same thing now.
Elizabeth Warren will not head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
See Warren As TARP Oversight Chair Take on Geithner
You can't run a policy based on a misdirection or a fiction, Amoxicillin used for. I don't know what the president is thinking. I don't see the president. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, He meets with bankers. He doesn't meet with me. But if he's involved in this at all, he's got to know that his angry words at Wall Street, and their recklessness and dangerous incentives in compensation, Buy Amoxicillin online no prescription, about how they do their business in ways utterly divorced from what's actually good for the economy - that he can't just say that sort of thing and then just dump money in their laps and be credible. Tim and Larry's whole plan is just like Argentina's in the 1980s. There was this giant hole marked "Banks" and the government just dumped money in that hole, as much as they had, while they lied about it. That's what Larry thinks, that the U.S, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. is Argentina."
Elizabeth Warren, who was the driving force in establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to which Obama failed to make its first head and which was crippled at its inception by placing it in the Federal Reserve - toothless. This leads Suskind to another startling theme that links Obama, Amoxicillin dose, Summers, Emmanuel, and Geithner, their seeming inability to deal with women professional as equals. Suskind suggests that Summers was fired from the Presidency of Harvard not only because he suggested that women were genetically unsuited to science, but because during his tenure only four women were promoted at Harvard. Buy Amoxicillin from canada, Hillary, as a world recognized force of nature is the sole exception, viewed not as a woman, but as a power base. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Suskind suggests that Christina Romer was given a "safe" ie. non threatening to Geithner and Summers appointment in a nod to gender equality.
Rubin Tanks Citigroup - Obama Wants to Dismantle Citi
Citigroup, under the leadership of Bob Rubin (himself now toxic in Washington) loaded up with toxic CDOs late in the game, was insolvent and ready to go under, Amoxicillin photos. Sheila Bair of FDIC tells the White House she is ready do an FDIC resolution of the bank, something the FDIC has been doing successfully since 1933 without a single mishap. Geithner panics because, of course, Citi is "too big to fail", but Bair points out that at heart Citi is a bank, Purchase Amoxicillin, unlike the Wall Street firms they were dealing with in the past so of course the FDIC knows exactly how to resolve it.
The White House has been discussing the coming implosion from the start and Obama has centered on a "Japan or Sweden" theme, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Japan repeatedly bailed out its financial institutions without insisting they clean up their toxic assets leading to the "lost decade" when Japan stopped growing economically. Sweden nationalized its banks, cleaned out the toxic assets, restructured and then closely moved to privatize the banks as they regained their feet. Sweden quickly recovered economically. Obama made it absolutely clear he favored Sweden.
Shiela Bair Ready to Resolve Citibank Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, When Bair announced her intention, Obama held a meeting at which he indicated his desire to restructure the entire banking industry. Having made his wishes known he left the meeting to have dinner with his family (dinner is more important than restructuring the financial system!) As soon as Obama leaves, herbal Amoxicillin, Rahm says restructuring the entire industry is a non-starter because Congress will never approve the funds necessary. Note that he waits for Obama to leave before scuttling the entire plan. Obama comes back and Summers tells him they can't afford the restructure the entire industry. Obama says, OK, we'll start with Citi and when we show that works we can ask Congress for money for the rest of the industry. New decision, new plan, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Amoxicillin schedule, By this time Summers and Romer are in favor of the restructuring.
Geithner is terrified of restructuring Citi and has Treasury working feverishly on bank stress tests as an alternative to determine the real state of health of the industry. Industry insiders roll their eyes because the big unknown of course are the extent of toxic CDOs which are usually kept off the books to deceive investors and regulators and will not be uncovered by stress tests. Geithner simply wants to buy time and is determined to pump money to shore up confidence. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, He never seriously considered a resolution of citibank.
Bizarrly, Shiela Bair, government's only expert on the resolving of banks is never consulted. Summers and Romer seem to think the ball is in Geithner's hands but unknown to them, order Amoxicillin no prescription, Geithner uses the excuse that the FDIC is too leak prone to discuss the possible restructuring of Citi. Geithner is, of course, doing nothing to plan for Citi's restructure. When Obama asks how the plan is coming Geithner only talks about stress tests. Geithner is directly defying the express wishes and orders of his President, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Nothing happens and Citi is never restructured. Order Amoxicillin from mexican pharmacy, Bair is never brought into the loop. Welcome to Japan (or are we now Argentina) - so long Sweden. Geithner keeps his job as Treasury Secretary after monumental insubordination.
After this, Summers felt free to "re-litigate" every decision Obama thought he had made. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Obama finds himself facing the same decisions over and over. More insubordination.
What is happening here is what seems increasingly to happen to Presidents, both Republican and Democratic, they are being managed by the staff that is supposed to support and implement their wishes, buy generic Amoxicillin. Only the President is elected by the people and only he has the mandate to govern. But in the modern Presidency including Clinton, W, and Obama, the staffs have taken the central policy development role and have their own constituencies. This has been true of three Treasury Secretaries to three Presidents; Rubin under Clinton, Paulson under W, and Geithner under Obama, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Who do these guys work for and who do they serve. Low dose Amoxicillin, Certainly not their Presidents. The isolation is increased with a Summers who controls what the President sees and who he hears and with Rahm who arbitrarily dictates what is legislatively possible. Generally nothing is said to be possible. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, A President who can assemble two million citizens on the Washington Mall can pass any legislation he wants to, at least for a while. And it was Rahm's job to figure out how to pass the President's wishes into law, not to tell what can't be done. Dacshle would have figured it out. So who is Obama and why has he allowed all this to happen - not happen.
Volcker reflects on Obama;
I think Obama understands everything intellectually, no prescription Amoxicillin online, very easily, near as I can see. What we don't know is whether he has the courage to follow through, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. He understands it, but does he feel it in the belly. I don't know.
Volcker was vehemently oppossed to Gethner's stress test idea because it puts the government into the position of choosing winners and losers. Finally fed up, Discount Amoxicillin, Volcker agreed to appear before Barney Frank's committee to give his opinion and Volcker pulled no punches. Glass-Steagall needed to be restored;
The point is not only the substantial risks inherent in capital market activities. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, There are deep seated, almost unmanageable, conflicts of interest with normal banking relationships - individuals, businesses, investment management clients, seeking credit, underwriting, and unbiased advisory services. I also think we have learned enough about the challenges and distractions for management posed by the risks and complexities of highly diversified activities.
Summers opined to many senior staff members in widely quoted terms;
We're home alone. There's no adult in charge. Clinton would never have allowed these mistakes.
Then there was the treatment of the many women on the staff. As Anita Dunn recalled;
This place would be in court for a hostile workplace...Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women.
Obama, Summers, Geithner, taking Amoxicillin, and Emmanuel are all implicated in creating this hostile workplace.
Early in his term Obama brings a group of Congressional leaders of both parties to the White House to discuss the budget, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Out of nowhere, Obama blurts out to the Republicans present "I'm prepared to give you tort reform. What will you give me?" What does tort reform have to do with the budget. This leads one participant to think of the movie Dave, where an actor look alike is brought into the White House to impersonate a secretly comatose President. Amoxicillin treatment, Obama assembled a team, led by M&A banker Steven Rattner, to deal with the auto industry crisis. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, So it is no surprise the team approached the auto industry totally from the perspective of a financial acquisition where 17 out of 20 firms end up being liquidated. The team called saving Chrysler rather than liquidating it and collaterally destroying the suppliers and dealers as a side effort of liquidation "a close call". No one in the room was looking out for the worker, the industry retiree, the jobs.
For the next 200 pages, Amoxicillin forum, Obama and the white house virtually disappear - in a book about the presidency.
The banks and Wall Street are back to normal behavior with over $35 trillion in outstanding credit default swaps by 2011. The repo (daily refinancing of off the books securities) is fully up and running, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Profits are at record levels as are compensations to the top executives. Then the Goldman scandal revealed by the SEC that hedge fund manager John Paulson was creating derivatives designed to fail that Goldman could then sell to suckers, like German Banks while they purchased CDS insurance against these same CDOs, reigniting the public furor at wall street's unethical and illegal behavior. Where can i buy cheapest Amoxicillin online, Goldman made $3.7 billion in 2007 from Paulson's hand crafted weapons of mass destruction. This was on top of the previous disclosure that large amounts of TARP funds had flowed through AIG directly to Goldman as 100% payment for CDS insurance claims. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, No haircut for Goldman.
Larry Fink $9 trillion toxic asset cover guy
Meanwhile Treasury handed off $9 trillion in toxic troubled mortgage assets to Blackrock to manage. $5.5 trillion came from Freddie and Fannie and the rest came largely from the Lehman bankrupcty and from the AIG CDs insurance payouts. Blackrock was paid $300 million a year to manage these "assets". Suskind doesn't pursue this but the reader thinks this means that the government and the Obama administration are the direct owners of a heck of a lot of mortgages. How many houses are still occupied, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Are restructured loans being offered. Are these loans being foreclosed on, where can i order Amoxicillin without prescription. What is the state of the paperwork on these loans. Are they fragments or tiers of CDOs or can whole mortgages be reconstructed. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, It seems there is a potential here to do a lot of good for people and the economy. It looks like Geithner and Treasury may be sitting on this toxic stuff just like Wall Street and banks so no one has to recognize the losses entailed.
The Dodd-Frank bank reform bill passes which promises to do nothing for bank reform. Even the Volcker rule has been neutered. Deriratives, Cheap Amoxicillin no rx, those weapons of mass destruction, may be moved to separate subsidiaries but no clearinghouse and no exchange required. Obama, who was MIA during its development publicly praises the bill, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription.
Gary Gensler, Scourge of Wall Street
Suskind spends some time on Gary Gensler, formerely of Goldman and now chair of the obscure regulatory agency Commodities Futures Trading Commission CFTC. As a condition of his senate approval Gensler had to promise Maria Cantwell (and Bernie Sanders) that he would push for derivatives to be traded through an exchange and with a formal clearinghouse.
He meets Voightman who ran Lehman's mortgage finance arm and asks him when he knew the mortgages were in trouble. Voightman said that by August 2005 10% of mortgagees were failing to make their first payment, doses Amoxicillin work. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, But he said Goldman saw mortgage underwriting standards deteriorate in 2004 and demand for CDOs skyrocketed. Goldman quickly realized someone was needed to take the short side or "downside" to assure the liquidity of these CDOs. "Goldman did that as fast as was humanly possible, and then some." Goldman anticipated the financial collapse in 2004!
Gensler studlied Morgan Stanley's financials and discovers they have an $80 billion derivatives book of which $55 billion is uncovered - un-collateralized; roughly 60%. Wall Street hasn't changed its behavior at all. Digging further he came across figures from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision whose conclusions supported that Morgan was not alone. Goldman, JP Morgan, insurance companies, and others have an over the counter derivatives book of $400 trillion of which more than half is unsecured or un-collaterized - there is nothing in reserve when these unregulated derivatives blow up, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. The next financial collapse is primed and ready. Amoxicillin from mexico, Gensler finds a former colleague is working for Senator Blanche Lincoln and works with them to develop a bill to require regulation of derivatives. Her bill passes committee. The bill fails, Lincoln attempts to attach it to other bills but it ultimately disappears. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Gensler is called the most dangerous man in Washington by Wall Street, he receives death threats, one threatener is arrested, and Gensler is assigned a security detail. Wall Street plays hardball to protect their sacred compensation which largely depends on unregulated derivatives. Gensler's initiatives missed Dodd-Frank but Gensler is still out there trying to reign in those derivatives. Obama is MIA.
Bernanke's first term ends in 2009 and Geithner recommends that Obama retain him. Summers, who thought he had an understanding with Obama that he would be the next Fed Chairman, is furious, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. He acts out like a little kid, throwing tantrums, and demanding new perks if he is to stay. He fortunately decides to leave. At the end we go through the complete staff reorganization at the White House. Only Geithner remains, but alongside Bernanke, that is all Wall Street needs. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Imagine Geithner's payoff once he leaves office in five years - unless the next financial meltdown has already begun.
Don't Prosecute Wall Street or Bank Executives
Missing from the book are some pretty significant details. Attorney General Eric Holder is mentioned once as a member of the committee to select a VP. Occupy Wall Street (and Michael Moore) wonder why there have been no arrests or prosecutions of Walls Street "banksters" for their frauds leading to the financial meltdown. The executives themselves maintain that they broke no laws, but their attorneys, as reported by Suskind, are actually advising them that their activities "would be hard to prosecute" - slightly different than not breaking any laws. The book also reports someone suggesting that a few hundred "perp" walks would do wonders to reform the behavior on Wall Street, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. The answer has to be that Obama or his administration has instructed Holder that there will be no prosecutions of Wall Street or the bankers, under the cover of "confidence". This would be consistent with Summer's and Geithner's "do no harm" wimpy non approach to financial reform. (Just paper over the problem with money!) This is a major and key oversight for Suskind. Criminal prosecutions would have changed the entire dynamic for this wimpiest of administrations. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, The SEC should have also figured in this book even if only to call attention to their lack of action. Finally (after the book is published) the SEC has announced fraud prosecution against top executives in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are both under control of the government. There is unlikely to be criminal charges coming out of this SEC action. To see how regulators are supposed to act in a financial crisis see William Black.
The environment doesn't even get a mention in this book it is so far down the list of Obama's priorities. We know he embraces "drill baby drill" and was only momentary delayed by the BP Gulf disaster from approving new drilling leases (including some to BP), Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. We know he overrode the EPA to soften air control standards. We know he is delaying action of international climate change carbon emissions commitments. We know he delayed a decision on the oil sands pipeline as a political expediency to get him through the next election before he has to make a choice. The Republicans are attempting to force him into a decision before the election knowing any decision will anger some of Obama's constituents. Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription, Wimp-in-chief.
We know Obama is secretly rebuilding the nuclear arsenal at enormous public expense. We know that Obama ordered that there would be no prosecutions of the W officials for war crimes. "Let's Look Forward. Move on." Obama promised to close Guantanamo, then failed to do so. Obama promised to end torture, then tortures American citizen Bradley Manning in America, Buy Amoxicillin Without Prescription. Not satisfied with torture, both Obama and Biden publicly declare Manning guilty of leaking the secrets, declare him a terrorist, leaving a fair trial for Manning impossible anywhere.
Adding to this outrage, Obama becomes "Assassin-in-Chief" ordering Osama Bin Laden killed illegally by having the military violate the territory of Pakistan to shoot, extract, and then dispose of the body at sea. What happened to due process, the rule of international law, the example of Nuremberg and Japan after WWII. He then expands on this assassin persona by killing American Citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. He also assassinated al-Awlaki's innocent 16 year old American son. Who is this Harvard trained law professor guy.