Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over


Posted on 29th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by Dmitry Orlov

Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin’s speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn’t get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don’t think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of March 5, 1946.

In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.

The Russian blogger chipstone summarized the most salient points from Putin speech as follows:

1. Russia will no longer play games and engage in back-room negotiations over trifles. But Russia is prepared for serious conversations and agreements, if these are conducive to collective security, are based on fairness and take into account the interests of each side.

2. All systems of global collective security now lie in ruins. There are no longer any international security guarantees at all. And the entity that destroyed them has a name: The United States of America.

3. The builders of the New World Order have failed, having built a sand castle. Whether or not a new world order of any sort is to be built is not just Russia’s decision, but it is a decision that will not be made without Russia.

4. Russia favors a conservative approach to introducing innovations into the social order, but is not opposed to investigating and discussing such innovations, to see if introducing any of them might be justified.

5. Russia has no intention of going fishing in the murky waters created by America’s ever-expanding “empire of chaos,” and has no interest in building a new empire of her own (this is unnecessary; Russia’s challenges lie in developing her already vast territory). Neither is Russia willing to act as a savior of the world, as she had in the past.

6. Russia will not attempt to reformat the world in her own image, but neither will she allow anyone to reformat her in their image. Russia will not close herself off from the world, but anyone who tries to close her off from the world will be sure to reap a whirlwind.

7. Russia does not wish for the chaos to spread, does not want war, and has no intention of starting one. However, today Russia sees the outbreak of global war as almost inevitable, is prepared for it, and is continuing to prepare for it. Russia does not war—nor does she fear it.

8. Russia does not intend to take an active role in thwarting those who are still attempting to construct their New World Order—until their efforts start to impinge on Russia’s key interests. Russia would prefer to stand by and watch them give themselves as many lumps as their poor heads can take. But those who manage to drag Russia into this process, through disregard for her interests, will be taught the true meaning of pain.

9. In her external, and, even more so, internal politics, Russia’s power will rely not on the elites and their back-room dealing, but on the will of the people.

To these nine points I would like to add a tenth:

10. There is still a chance to construct a new world order that will avoid a world war. This new world order must of necessity include the United States—but can only do so on the same terms as everyone else: subject to international law and international agreements; refraining from all unilateral action; in full respect of the sovereignty of other nations.

To sum it all up: play-time is over. Children, put away your toys. Now is the time for the adults to make decisions. Russia is ready for this; is the world?

Text of Vladimir Putin’s speech and a question and answer session at the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s XI session in Sochi on 24 October 2014.

It was mentioned already that the club has new co-organizers this year. They include Russian non-governmental organizations, expert groups and leading universities. The idea was also raised of broadening the discussions to include not just issues related to Russia itself but also global politics and the economy.

An organization and content will bolster the club’s influence as a leading discussion and expert forum. At the same time, I hope the ‘Valdai spirit’ will remain – this free and open atmosphere and chance to express all manner of very different and frank opinions.

Let me say in this respect that I will also not let you down and will speak directly and frankly. Some of what I say might seem a bit too harsh, but if we do not speak directly and honestly about what we really think, then there is little point in even meeting in this way. It would be better in that case just to keep to diplomatic get-togethers, where no one says anything of real sense and, recalling the words of one famous diplomat, you realize that diplomats have tongues so as not to speak the truth.

We get together for other reasons. We get together so as to talk frankly with each other. We need to be direct and blunt today not so as to trade barbs, but so as to attempt to get to the bottom of what is actually happening in the world, try to understand why the world is becoming less safe and more unpredictable, and why the risks are increasing everywhere around us.

Today’s discussion took place under the theme: New Rules or a Game without Rules. I think that this formula accurately describes the historic turning point we have reached today and the choice we all face. There is nothing new of course in the idea that the world is changing very fast. I know this is something you have spoken about at the discussions today. It is certainly hard not to notice the dramatic transformations in global politics and the economy, public life, and in industry, information and social technologies.

Let me ask you right now to forgive me if I end up repeating what some of the discussion’s participants have already said. It’s practically impossible to avoid. You have already held detailed discussions, but I will set out my point of view. It will coincide with other participants’ views on some points and differ on others.

As we analyze today’s situation, let us not forget history’s lessons. First of all, changes in the world order – and what we are seeing today are events on this scale – have usually been accompanied by if not global war and conflict, then by chains of intensive local-level conflicts. Second, global politics is above all about economic leadership, issues of war and peace, and the humanitarian dimension, including human rights.

The world is full of contradictions today. We need to be frank in asking each other if we have a reliable safety net in place. Sadly, there is no guarantee and no certainty that the current system of global and regional security is able to protect us from upheavals. This system has become seriously weakened, fragmented and deformed. The international and regional political, economic, and cultural cooperation organizations are also going through difficult times.

Yes, many of the mechanisms we have for ensuring the world order were created quite a long time ago now, including and above all in the period immediately following World War II. Let me stress that the solidity of the system created back then rested not only on the balance of power and the rights of the victor countries, but on the fact that this system’s ‘founding fathers’ had respect for each other, did not try to put the squeeze on others, but attempted to reach agreements.

The main thing is that this system needs to develop, and despite its various shortcomings, needs to at least be capable of keeping the world’s current problems within certain limits and regulating the intensity of the natural competition between countries.

It is my conviction that we could not take this mechanism of checks and balances that we built over the last decades, sometimes with such effort and difficulty, and simply tear it apart without building anything in its place. Otherwise we would be left with no instruments other than brute force.

What we needed to do was to carry out a rational reconstruction and adapt it the new realities in the system of international relations.

But the United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, saw no need for this. Instead of establishing a new balance of power, essential for maintaining order and stability, they took steps that threw the system into sharp and deep imbalance.

The Cold War ended, but it did not end with the signing of a peace treaty with clear and transparent agreements on respecting existing rules or creating new rules and standards. This created the impression that the so-called ‘victors’ in the Cold War had decided to pressure events and reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests. If the existing system of international relations, international law and the checks and balances in place got in the way of these aims, this system was declared worthless, outdated and in need of immediate demolition. 

Pardon the analogy, but this is the way nouveaux riches behave when they suddenly end up with a great fortune, in this case, in the shape of world leadership and domination. Instead of managing their wealth wisely, for their own benefit too of course, I think they have committed many follies.

We have entered a period of differing interpretations and deliberate silences in world politics. International law has been forced to retreat over and over by the onslaught of legal nihilism. Objectivity and justice have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Arbitrary interpretations and biased assessments have replaced legal norms. At the same time, total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.

In a situation where you had domination by one country and its allies, or its satellites rather, the search for global solutions often turned into an attempt to impose their own universal recipes. This group’s ambitions grew so big that they started presenting the policies they put together in their corridors of power as the view of the entire international community. But this is not the case.

The very notion of ‘national sovereignty’ became a relative value for most countries. In essence, what was being proposed was the formula: the greater the loyalty towards the world’s sole power centre, the greater this or that ruling regime’s legitimacy.

We will have a free discussion afterwards and I will be happy to answer your questions and would also like to use my right to ask you questions. Let someone try to disprove the arguments that I just set out during the upcoming discussion.

The measures taken against those who refuse to submit are well-known and have been tried and tested many times. They include use of force, economic and propaganda pressure, meddling in domestic affairs, and appeals to a kind of ‘supra-legal’ legitimacy when they need to justify illegal intervention in this or that conflict or toppling inconvenient regimes. Of late, we have increasing evidence too that outright blackmail has been used with regard to a number of leaders. It is not for nothing that ‘big brother’ is spending billions of dollars on keeping the whole world, including its own closest allies, under surveillance.

Let’s ask ourselves, how comfortable are we with this, how safe are we, how happy living in this world, and how fair and rational has it become? Maybe, we have no real reasons to worry, argue and ask awkward questions? Maybe the United States’ exceptional position and the way they are carrying out their leadership really is a blessing for us all, and their meddling in events all around the world is bringing peace, prosperity, progress, growth and democracy, and we should maybe just relax and enjoy it all?

Let me say that this is not the case, absolutely not the case.

A unilateral diktat and imposing one’s own models produces the opposite result. Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, instead of sovereign and stable states we see the growing spread of chaos, and instead of democracy there is support for a very dubious public ranging from open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals.

Why do they support such people? They do this because they decide to use them as instruments along the way in achieving their goals but then burn their fingers and recoil. I never cease to be amazed by the way that our partners just keep stepping on the same rake, as we say here in Russia, that is to say, make the same mistake over and over.

They once sponsored Islamic extremist movements to fight the Soviet Union. Those groups got their battle experience in Afghanistan and later gave birth to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The West if not supported, at least closed its eyes, and, I would say, gave information, political and financial support to international terrorists’ invasion of Russia (we have not forgotten this) and the Central Asian region’s countries. Only after horrific terrorist attacks were committed on US soil itself did the United States wake up to the common threat of terrorism. Let me remind you that we were the first country to support the American people back then, the first to react as friends and partners to the terrible tragedy of September 11.

During my conversations with American and European leaders, I always spoke of the need to fight terrorism together, as a challenge on a global scale. We cannot resign ourselves to and accept this threat, cannot cut it into separate pieces using double standards. Our partners expressed agreement, but a little time passed and we ended up back where we started. First there was the military operation in Iraq, then in Libya, which got pushed to the brink of falling apart. Why was Libya pushed into this situation? Today it is a country in danger of breaking apart and has become a training ground for terrorists.

Only the current Egyptian leadership’s determination and wisdom saved this key Arab country from chaos and having extremists run rampant. In Syria, as in the past, the United States and its allies started directly financing and arming rebels and allowing them to fill their ranks with mercenaries from various countries. Let me ask where do these rebels get their money, arms and military specialists? Where does all this come from? How did the notorious ISIL manage to become such a powerful group, essentially a real armed force?  

As for financing sources, today, the money is coming not just from drugs, production of which has increased not just by a few percentage points but many-fold, since the international coalition forces have been present in Afghanistan. You are aware of this. The terrorists are getting money from selling oil too. Oil is produced in territory controlled by the terrorists, who sell it at dumping prices, produce it and transport it. But someone buys this oil, resells it, and makes a profit from it, not thinking about the fact that they are thus financing terrorists who could come sooner or later to their own soil and sow destruction in their own countries.

Where do they get new recruits? In Iraq, after Saddam Hussein was toppled, the state’s institutions, including the army, were left in ruins. We said back then, be very, very careful. You are driving people out into the street, and what will they do there? Don’t forget (rightfully or not) that they were in the leadership of a large regional power, and what are you now turning them into?

What was the result? Tens of thousands of soldiers, officers and former Baath Party activists were turned out into the streets and today have joined the rebels’ ranks. Perhaps this is what explains why the Islamic State group has turned out so effective? In military terms, it is acting very effectively and has some very professional people. Russia warned repeatedly about the dangers of unilateral military actions, intervening in sovereign states’ affairs, and flirting with extremists and radicals. We insisted on having the groups fighting the central Syrian government, above all the Islamic State, included on the lists of terrorist organizations. But did we see any results? We appealed in vain.

We sometimes get the impression that our colleagues and friends are constantly fighting the consequences of their own policies, throw all their effort into addressing the risks they themselves have created, and pay an ever-greater price.

Colleagues, this period of unipolar domination has convincingly demonstrated that having only one power centre does not make global processes more manageable. On the contrary, this kind of unstable construction has shown its inability to fight the real threats such as regional conflicts, terrorism, drug trafficking, religious fanaticism, chauvinism and neo-Nazism. At the same time, it has opened the road wide for inflated national pride, manipulating public opinion and letting the strong bully and suppress the weak.

Essentially, the unipolar world is simply a means of justifying dictatorship over people and countries. The unipolar world turned out too uncomfortable, heavy and unmanageable a burden even for the self-proclaimed leader. Comments along this line were made here just before and I fully agree with this. This is why we see attempts at this new historic stage to recreate a semblance of a quasi-bipolar world as a convenient model for perpetuating American leadership. It does not matter who takes the place of the centre of evil in American propaganda, the USSR’s old place as the main adversary. It could be Iran, as a country seeking to acquire nuclear technology, China, as the world’s biggest economy, or Russia, as a nuclear superpower.

Today, we are seeing new efforts to fragment the world, draw new dividing lines, put together coalitions not built for something but directed against someone, anyone, create the image of an enemy as was the case during the Cold War years, and obtain the right to this leadership, or diktat if you wish. The situation was presented this way during the Cold War. We all understand this and know this. The United States always told its allies: “We have a common enemy, a terrible foe, the centre of evil, and we are defending you, our allies, from this foe, and so we have the right to order you around, force you to sacrifice your political and economic interests and pay your share of the costs for this collective defense, but we will be the ones in charge of it all of course.” In short, we see today attempts in a new and changing world to reproduce the familiar models of global management, and all this so as to guarantee their [the US’] exceptional position and reap political and economic dividends.

But these attempts are increasingly divorced from reality and are in contradiction with the world’s diversity. Steps of this kind inevitably create confrontation and countermeasures and have the opposite effect to the hoped-for goals. We see what happens when politics rashly starts meddling in the economy and the logic of rational decisions gives way to the logic of confrontation that only hurt one’s own economic positions and interests, including national business interests.

Joint economic projects and mutual investment objectively bring countries closer together and help to smooth out current problems in relations between states. But today, the global business community faces unprecedented pressure from Western governments. What business, economic expediency and pragmatism can we speak of when we hear slogans such as “the homeland is in danger”, “the free world is under threat”, and “democracy is in jeopardy”? And so everyone needs to mobilize. That is what a real mobilization policy looks like.

Sanctions are already undermining the foundations of world trade, the WTO rules and the principle of inviolability of private property. They are dealing a blow to liberal model of globalization based on markets, freedom and competition, which, let me note, is a model that has primarily benefited precisely the Western countries. And now they risk losing trust as the leaders of globalization. We have to ask ourselves, why was this necessary? After all, the United States’ prosperity rests in large part on the trust of investors and foreign holders of dollars and US securities. This trust is clearly being undermined and signs of disappointment in the fruits of globalization are visible now in many countries.  

The well-known Cyprus precedent and the politically motivated sanctions have only strengthened the trend towards seeking to bolster economic and financial sovereignty and countries’ or their regional groups’ desire to find ways of protecting themselves from the risks of outside pressure. We already see that more and more countries are looking for ways to become less dependent on the dollar and are setting up alternative financial and payments systems and reserve currencies. I think that our American friends are quite simply cutting the branch they are sitting on. You cannot mix politics and the economy, but this is what is happening now. I have always thought and still think today that politically motivated sanctions were a mistake that will harm everyone, but I am sure that we will come back to this subject later.

We know how these decisions were taken and who was applying the pressure. But let me stress that Russia is not going to get all worked up, get offended or come begging at anyone’s door. Russia is a self-sufficient country. We will work within the foreign economic environment that has taken shape, develop domestic production and technology and act more decisively to carry out transformation. Pressure from outside, as has been the case on past occasions, will only consolidate our society, keep us alert and make us concentrate on our main development goals.

Of course the sanctions are a hindrance. They are trying to hurt us through these sanctions, block our development and push us into political, economic and cultural isolation, force us into backwardness in other words. But let me say yet again that the world is a very different place today. We have no intention of shutting ourselves off from anyone and choosing some kind of closed development road, trying to live in autarky. We are always open to dialogue, including on normalizing our economic and political relations. We are counting here on the pragmatic approach and position of business communities in the leading countries.

Some are saying today that Russia is supposedly turning its back on Europe – such words were probably spoken already here too during the discussions – and is looking for new business partners, above all in Asia. Let me say that this is absolutely not the case. Our active policy in the Asian-Pacific region began not just yesterday and not in response to sanctions, but is a policy that we have been following for a good many years now. Like many other countries, including Western countries, we saw that Asia is playing an ever greater role in the world, in the economy and in politics, and there is simply no way we can afford to overlook these developments.

Let me say again that everyone is doing this, and we will do so to, all the more so as a large part of our country is geographically in Asia. Why should we not make use of our competitive advantages in this area? It would be extremely shortsighted not to do so.

Developing economic ties with these countries and carrying out joint integration projects also creates big incentives for our domestic development. Today’s demographic, economic and cultural trends all suggest that dependence on a sole superpower will objectively decrease. This is something that European and American experts have been talking and writing about too.

Perhaps developments in global politics will mirror the developments we are seeing in the global economy, namely, intensive competition for specific niches and frequent change of leaders in specific areas. This is entirely possible.

There is no doubt that humanitarian factors such as education, science, healthcare and culture are playing a greater role in global competition. This also has a big impact on international relations, including because this ‘soft power’ resource will depend to a great extent on real achievements in developing human capital rather than on sophisticated propaganda tricks.

At the same time, the formation of a so-called polycentric world (I would also like to draw attention to this, colleagues) in and of itself does not improve stability; in fact, it is more likely to be the opposite. The goal of reaching global equilibrium is turning into a fairly difficult puzzle, an equation with many unknowns.
So, what is in store for us if we choose not to live by the rules – even if they may be strict and inconvenient – but rather live without any rules at all? And that scenario is entirely possible; we cannot rule it out, given the tensions in the global situation. Many predictions can already be made, taking into account current trends, and unfortunately, they are not optimistic. If we do not create a clear system of mutual commitments and agreements, if we do not build the mechanisms for managing and resolving crisis situations, the symptoms of global anarchy will inevitably grow.

Today, we already see a sharp increase in the likelihood of a whole set of violent conflicts with either direct or indirect participation by the world’s major powers. And the risk factors include not just traditional multinational conflicts, but also the internal instability in separate states, especially when we talk about nations located at the intersections of major states’ geopolitical interests, or on the border of cultural, historical, and economic civilizational continents.

Ukraine, which I’m sure was discussed at length and which we will discuss some more, is one of the example of such sorts of conflicts that affect international power balance, and I think it will certainly not be the last. From here emanates the next real threat of destroying the current system of arms control agreements. And this dangerous process was launched by the United States of America when it unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, and then set about and continues today to actively pursue the creation of its global missile defense system.

Colleagues, friends, I want to point out that we did not start this. Once again, we are sliding into the times when, instead of the balance of interests and mutual guarantees, it is fear and the balance of mutual destruction that prevent nations from engaging in direct conflict. In absence of legal and political instruments, arms are once again becoming the focal point of the global agenda; they are used wherever and however, without any UN Security Council sanctions. And if the Security Council refuses to produce such decisions, then it is immediately declared to be an outdated and ineffective instrument.

Many states do not see any other ways of ensuring their sovereignty but to obtain their own bombs. This is extremely dangerous. We insist on continuing talks; we are not only in favor of talks, but insist on continuing talks to reduce nuclear arsenals. The less nuclear weapons we have in the world, the better. And we are ready for the most serious, concrete discussions on nuclear disarmament – but only serious discussions without any double standards.

What do I mean? Today, many types of high-precision weaponry are already close to mass-destruction weapons in terms of their capabilities, and in the event of full renunciation of nuclear weapons or radical reduction of nuclear potential, nations that are leaders in creating and producing high-precision systems will have a clear military advantage. Strategic parity will be disrupted, and this is likely to bring destabilization. The use of a so-called first global pre-emptive strike may become tempting. In short, the risks do not decrease, but intensify.

The next obvious threat is the further escalation of ethnic, religious, and social conflicts. Such conflicts are dangerous not only as such, but also because they create zones of anarchy, lawlessness, and chaos around them, places that are comfortable for terrorists and criminals, where piracy, human trafficking, and drug trafficking flourish.

Incidentally, at the time, our colleagues tried to somehow manage these processes, use regional conflicts and design ‘color revolutions’ to suit their interests, but the genie escaped the bottle. It looks like the controlled chaos theory fathers themselves do not know what to do with it; there is disarray in their ranks.

We closely follow the discussions by both the ruling elite and the expert community. It is enough to look at the headlines of the Western press over the last year. The same people are called fighters for democracy, and then Islamists; first they write about revolutions and then call them riots and upheavals. The result is obvious: the further expansion of global chaos.

Colleagues, given the global situation, it is time to start agreeing on fundamental things. This is incredibly important and necessary; this is much better than going back to our own corners. The more we all face common problems, the more we find ourselves in the same boat, so to speak. And the logical way out is in cooperation between nations, societies, in finding collective answers to increasing challenges, and in joint risk management. Granted, some of our partners, for some reason, remember this only when it suits their interests.

Practical experience shows that joint answers to challenges are not always a panacea; and we need to understand this. Moreover, in most cases, they are hard to reach; it is not easy to overcome the differences in national interests, the subjectivity of different approaches, particularly when it comes to nations with different cultural and historical traditions. But nevertheless, we have examples when, having common goals and acting based on the same criteria, together we achieved real success.

Let me remind you about solving the problem of chemical weapons in Syria, and the substantive dialogue on the Iranian nuclear program, as well as our work on North Korean issues, which also has some positive results. Why can’t we use this experience in the future to solve local and global challenges?
What could be the legal, political, and economic basis for a new world order that would allow for stability and security, while encouraging healthy competition, not allowing the formation of new monopolies that hinder development? It is unlikely that someone could provide absolutely exhaustive, ready-made solutions right now. We will need extensive work with participation by a wide range of governments, global businesses, civil society, and such expert platforms as ours.

However, it is obvious that success and real results are only possible if key participants in international affairs can agree on harmonizing basic interests, on reasonable self-restraint, and set the example of positive and responsible leadership. We must clearly identify where unilateral actions end and we need to apply multilateral mechanisms, and as part of improving the effectiveness of international law, we must resolve the dilemma between the actions by international community to ensure security and human rights and the principle of national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of any state.

Those very collisions increasingly lead to arbitrary external interference in complex internal processes, and time and again, they provoke dangerous conflicts between leading global players. The issue of maintaining sovereignty becomes almost paramount in maintaining and strengthening global stability.

Clearly, discussing the criteria for the use of external force is extremely difficult; it is practically impossible to separate it from the interests of particular nations. However, it is far more dangerous when there are no agreements that are clear to everyone, when no clear conditions are set for necessary and legal interference.

I will add that international relations must be based on international law, which itself should rest on moral principles such as justice, equality and truth. Perhaps most important is respect for one’s partners and their interests. This is an obvious formula, but simply following it could radically change the global situation.

I am certain that if there is a will, we can restore the effectiveness of the international and regional institutions system. We do not even need to build anything anew, from the scratch; this is not a “greenfield,” especially since the institutions created after World War II are quite universal and can be given modern substance, adequate to manage the current situation.

This is true of improving the work of the UN, whose central role is irreplaceable, as well as the OSCE, which, over the course of 40 years, has proven to be a necessary mechanism for ensuring security and cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic region. I must say that even now, in trying to resolve the crisis in southeast Ukraine, the OSCE is playing a very positive role.

In light of the fundamental changes in the international environment, the increase in uncontrollability and various threats, we need a new global consensus of responsible forces. It’s not about some local deals or a division of spheres of influence in the spirit of classic diplomacy, or somebody’s complete global domination. I think that we need a new version of interdependence. We should not be afraid of it. On the contrary, this is a good instrument for harmonizing positions.

This is particularly relevant given the strengthening and growth of certain regions on the planet, which process objectively requires institutionalization of such new poles, creating powerful regional organizations and developing rules for their interaction. Cooperation between these centers would seriously add to the stability of global security, policy and economy.  But in order to establish such a dialogue, we need to proceed from the assumption that all regional centers and integration projects forming around them need to have equal rights to development, so that they can complement each other and nobody can force them into conflict or opposition artificially. Such destructive actions would break down ties between states, and the states themselves would be subjected to extreme hardship, or perhaps even total destruction.

I would like to remind you of the last year’s events. We have told our American and European partners that hasty backstage decisions, for example, on Ukraine’s association with the EU, are fraught with serious risks to the economy. We didn’t even say anything about politics; we spoke only about the economy, saying that such steps, made without any prior arrangements, touch on the interests of many other nations, including Russia as Ukraine’s main trade partner, and that a wide discussion of the issues is necessary. Incidentally, in this regard, I will remind you that, for example, the talks on Russia’s accession to the WTO lasted 19 years. This was very difficult work, and a certain consensus was reached.

Why am I bringing this up? Because in implementing Ukraine’s association project, our partners would come to us with their goods and services through the back gate, so to speak, and we did not agree to this, nobody asked us about this. We had discussions on all topics related to Ukraine’s association with the EU, persistent discussions, but I want to stress that this was done in an entirely civilized manner, indicating possible problems, showing the obvious reasoning and arguments. Nobody wanted to listen to us and nobody wanted to talk. They simply told us: this is none of your business, point, end of discussion. Instead of a comprehensive but – I stress – civilized dialogue, it all came down to a government overthrow; they plunged the country into chaos, into economic and social collapse, into a civil war with enormous casualties.

Why? When I ask my colleagues why, they no longer have an answer; nobody says anything. That’s it. Everyone’s at a loss, saying it just turned out that way. Those actions should not have been encouraged – it wouldn’t have worked. After all (I already spoke about this), former Ukrainian President Yanukovych signed everything, agreed with everything. Why do it? What was the point? What is this, a civilized way of solving problems? Apparently, those who constantly throw together new ‘color revolutions’ consider themselves ‘brilliant artists’ and simply cannot stop.

I am certain that the work of integrated associations, the cooperation of regional structures, should be built on a transparent, clear basis; the Eurasian Economic Union’s formation process is a good example of such transparency. The states that are parties to this project informed their partners of their plans in advance, specifying the parameters of our association, the principles of its work, which fully correspond with the World Trade Organization rules.

I will add that we would also have welcomed the start of a concrete dialogue between the Eurasian and European Union. Incidentally, they have almost completely refused us this as well, and it is also unclear why – what is so scary about it?

And, of course, with such joint work, we would think that we need to engage in dialogue (I spoke about this many times and heard agreement from many of our western partners, at least in Europe) on the need to create a common space for economic and humanitarian cooperation stretching all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Colleagues, Russia made its choice. Our priorities are further improving our democratic and open economy institutions, accelerated internal development, taking into account all the positive modern trends in the world, and consolidating society based on traditional values and patriotism.

We have an integration-oriented, positive, peaceful agenda; we are working actively with our colleagues in the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS and other partners. This agenda is aimed at developing ties between governments, not dissociating. We are not planning to cobble together any blocs or get involved in an exchange of blows.

The allegations and statements that Russia is trying to establish some sort of empire, encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbors, are groundless. Russia does not need any kind of special, exclusive place in the world – I want to emphasize this. While respecting the interests of others, we simply want for our own interests to be taken into account and for our position to be respected.

We are well aware that the world has entered an era of changes and global transformations, when we all need a particular degree of caution, the ability to avoid thoughtless steps. In the years after the Cold War, participants in global politics lost these qualities somewhat. Now, we need to remember them. Otherwise, hopes for a peaceful, stable development will be a dangerous illusion, while today’s turmoil will simply serve as a prelude to the collapse of world order.

Yes, of course, I have already said that building a more stable world order is a difficult task. We are talking about long and hard work. We were able to develop rules for interaction after World War II, and we were able to reach an agreement in Helsinki in the 1970s. Our common duty is to resolve this fundamental challenge at this new stage of development.

Thank you very much for your attention.

‘We Can’t Have Perpetual War': The Realism of Rand Paul


Posted on 29th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


Guest post by Justin Raimondo

Senator Rand Paul is everywhere: campaigning for Republican candidates during the crucial midterm elections, on Fox News explaining to Hannity why going into Iraq with ground troops is a mistake, teaming up with Cory Booker to call for reform of federal sentencing guidelines – and, as Olivia Nuzzi points out, the media is scrutinizing his every word as if he were already the GOP presidential nominee. When he gave his much-anticipated foreign policy speech to the Center for the National Interest, reporters were live-tweeting it as they would a presidential inaugural. And, unlike earlier media frenzies over such nonentities as Herman Cain, Michelle Bachman, and Chris “close the bridge” Christie, this level of attention is surely warranted.

Not since the days of Senator Robert A. Taft – another somewhat aloof, irascible, and highly intelligent GOP presidential wannabe – has the Eastern Republican establishment faced such an articulate and calculating challenger. And what annoys – and, now, frightens – GOP mandarins the most is Sen. Paul’s challenge to their failed foreign policy, which has given us so many years of bloodshed and misery, along with a multi-trillion bill we cannot possibly pay.

He started out taking some easy shots, reminding Francis Fukuyama that “history has not ended” – no kidding – and doing a little bit of pandering, albeit not to the people in the room. Russia, he averred, “slides backward vainly hoping to resurrect the Soviet Union” – a view not shared by many writers for The National Interest, who have mostly resisted Washington’s fashionable Russophobia. But this was just part of his Obama’s-foreign-policy-is-going-to-pot riff: also included was a vague warning about “the remarkable rise” of China’s “one-party state capitalism,” and, in the Middle East, the “rise of radical jihadist movements” who “represent the antithesis of liberal democracy.”

Seeking to explain these unsettling phenomena, the Senator attributes them (“in part”) to Washington’s failure to precisely define our national security interest in a new era:

“Our allies and our enemies are unsure where America stands. Until we develop the ability to distinguish, as George Kennan put it, between vital interests and more peripheral interests, we will continue to drift from crisis to crisis.”

Although I’m not sure how China’s rise can be at all attributed to anything having to do with Washington, Sen. Paul’s point is clear enough – especially as our current regime stumbles into Iraq War III, with no clear strategy or, for that matter, a believable rationale.

Paul’s peroration should dispel for all time the canard, spread by both John McCain and the tiny sectarian wing of the libertarian movement, that the Senator is compromising his anti-interventionist principles in the vain hope of getting a date with Jennifer Rubin. After the above-mentioned preliminaries, he strikes a theme continually repeated throughout:

“Americans want strength and leadership but that doesn’t mean they see war as the only solution. Reagan had it right when he spoke to potential adversaries: ‘Our reluctance for conflict should not be misjudged as a failure of will.’”

Citing “the tragedies of Iraq and Libya” – and let us stop here, for a moment, and acknowledge the wondrousness of a candidate considered the Republican frontrunner describing George W. Bush’s war as a tragedy – Paul lets the War Party have it:

“America shouldn’t fight wars where the best outcome is stalemate. America shouldn’t fight wars when there is no plan for victory. America shouldn’t fight wars that aren’t authorized by the American people, by Congress.”

Shouldn’t – don’t – think about it real hard: this is the woof and warp of the “conservative realism” the Senator espouses. But realism isn’t pacifism: indeed, it’s quite the opposite, as Sen. Paul makes clear:

“America should and will fight wars when the consequences….intended and unintended….are worth the sacrifice. The war on terror is not over, and America cannot disengage from the world.”

Even as he acknowledges the limits of the anti-interventionist impulse in an age of terrorism, you’ll note how the Senator also acknowledges what his warlike colleagues in Washington rarely admit: that even justified wars – i.e. defensive wars – are fraught with unpleasant possibilities. And while retaining – and emphasizing – his default opposition to overseas adventurism, he’s intellectually honest enough to admit that while “blowback” accounts for some degree of anti-Americanism in the Middle East, it surely isn’t the whole story.

Despite the threat inflation indulged in by the usual neocon suspects, there is indeed an enduring threat from an international jihadist movement that aims its main blow at the “far enemy,” i.e. the continental United States. Sen. Paul points to a RAND corporation study claiming “a 58 percent increase over the last three years in jihadist terror groups.”

Here’s where Paul’s vision starts to cloud over: proliferation of jihadist groups could be a sign either of weakness or of increasing strength, depending on whether it’s due to ideological splits or geographic extension. Falling back on the standard evocation of Ronald Reagan, Paul cites the Great Helmsman as saying ‘we will act” if we have to “preserve our national security.”

Simultaneously citing Reagan and an undefined concept of “national security” is the foreign policy equivalent of ordering combination plate #1 Chinese takeout: faced with the problem of deciphering the unknown, it’s always safe to go with what you think you know.

The problem is that what Sen. Paul and his advisors think they know about the “why do they hate us?” question isn’t exactly clear. “Will they hate us if we are less present?” asks Paul, whose speechwriters have developed the slightly dotty tic of having the Senator appear to be talking to himself. “Perhaps,” answers Paul’s invisible doppelganger, “but hatred for those outside the circle of ‘accepted’ Islam, exists above and beyond our history of intervention overseas.”

This is downright confusing. The phrase “outside the circle of ‘accepted Islam’” clearly refers to the internal conflicts of “radical Islam,” so-called: the sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shia. Yet this has nothing to do with the question of our continuing presence in the region except insofar as that presence intensifies the internecine battle (as, perhaps, it’s intended to).

Things get even more confusing when, in his very next breath, Senator Paul’s nod to the essentialists – who argue Islam is inherently hostile to American interests – is rudely contradicted:

​”The world does not have an Islam problem. The world has a dignity problem, with millions of men and women across the Middle East being treated as chattel by their own governments. Many of these same governments have been chronic recipients of our aid.”

So which is it – do we have an Islam problem or don’t we? Some confusion is inevitable when speeches are assembled by committees, rather than written by individuals, but in this case the Senator is in danger of exacerbating his growing reputation – perhaps unfairly acquired – as a champion flip-flopper. Nuance is fine, but it doesn’t win hearts and minds – or elections.

However, there is one aspect of Paul’s “dignity problem” thesis that, as far as I know, has been totally overlooked and yet seems clear as day.

Mocked by both neocons and our babbling sectarians for supposedly trying to appease the GOP’s Israel Firsters, Sen. Paul himself may or may not have been aware of just how much his description of the Middle East’s “dignity problem” conjures the Israeli occupation of Palestine – but whoever wrote those words surely did. Yes, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab kleptocracies have been recipients of US aid – but so has Israel, which does indeed treat its Palestinian subjects like chattel. The lack of specificity as to which countries are suffering from a dignity problem lends itself to my preferred interpretation – and I’m just waiting for Jenn Rubin to pick up on this, if she hasn’t already.

In spite of my impatience with nuance, I have to respect the Senator’s thoughtfulness when it comes to filling the Washington policy void when it comes to the Middle East. And it’s clear that in trying to strike a balance between necessary belligerence and an instinctive aversion to intervention, President Paul would lean toward the latter. This was underscored by his reference to Malala Yousafzai, the young girl who stood up to both the Taliban and an American President ordering drone strikes on her country: for every terrorist killed by the Western alliance, she told Obama, “500 and 5,000 rise against it and more terrorism occurs.”

“The truth is,” says Paul, “you can’t solve a dignity problem with military force.” Citing Secretary Robert Gates’s warning that our foreign policy is becoming “over-militarized,” the Senator got in a shot at John McCain and others eager to arm the “good’ Syrian Islamist rebels: “Yes,” Paul snarked, “we need a hammer ready, but not every civil war is a nail.” This is presumably true when it comes to Ukraine as well.

While I doubt quoting Otto von Bismarck to libertarians skeptical of Sen. Paul’s bonafides is going to win them over, it’s hard to contradict Paul’s view that “policy is the art of the possible.” And what’s possible, Paul avers, is “common sense conservative realism” which is, it turns out, a cancellation of the neoconservative project as enunciated by George W. Bush in his 2005 inaugural speech. With the neoconservative ascendancy in the GOP at its height, President Bush II ranted on about igniting “a fire in the mind” across the Middle East and indeed the whole world.

The conservative realism of President Paul, far from igniting any fires, would seek instead to tamp them down: “We can’t retreat from the world, but we can’t remake it in our own image either.”

Yes, Paul says, the war in Afghanistan was justified because the effort to deny Al Qaeda safe haven and bring Osama bin Laden to justice directly served American interests. He endorses the overthrow of the Taliban, but then proceeds to denounce the nation-building project undertaken by the Bush administration and continued by the Obamaites. Yet these two aspects of American policy are inseparable: once we decided to widen our war aims beyond narrowly targeting bin Laden & Co. Afghanistan was inevitably turned into a nation-building construction site.

In any case, in expressing his frustration with this outcome, Sen. Paul gives vent to some of his strongest dissent from the bipartisan interventionist consensus:

“After the killing of Bin Laden and the toppling of the Taliban, it is hard to understand our exact objective. Stalemate and perpetual policing seem to be our mission now in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. A precondition to the use of force must be a clear end goal. We can’t have perpetual war.”

We can’t have perpetual war: there, in a phrase, is “conservative realism” – and the basis for a successful appeal to Americans on both sides of the political spectrum to rein in the American empire.

Unfortunately, the Senator doesn’t leave it at that. Instead, he paves the way for perpetual war in Iraq by endorsing the first step down that road:

“I support a strategy of air strikes against ISIS. Our airpower must be used to rebalance the tactical situation in favor of the Kurds and Iraqis and to defend Americans and our assets in the region. Just as we should have defended our consulate in Benghazi, so too we must defend our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.”

To begin with, why is the United States the only power with “assets” in the region capable of launching air strikes against ISIS? Those elaborate weapons systems we sell the Saudis, the Jordanians, and the Gulf states surely ought to serve some purpose other than enriching our military-industrial-congressional complex. I can’t imagine why Sen. Paul is pretending he’s never asked this very same question himself.

Aside from the folly of encouraging the Kurds – and not revealing the exact nature of our other “assets” in the region – the absurdity of Paul’s argument culminates in the “we must defend our consulate/embassy” defense. This surely sets a new standard for US military intervention: is the Senator saying we should have bombed Tehran in response to the 1980 takeover of our embassy? Can he really be saying that anywhere we have a consulate we must commit ourselves to the military defense of the host nation? If so, that’s an awfully unrealistic position for an alleged “realist” to take.

Paul does a very good job of enunciating the core principles of a viable conservative realism: his big problem, however, is translating abstract ideas into credible and consistent policy options. And although this speech was supposed to be the Final Word on the question that’s been preoccupying the pundits and worrying the War Party – what would President Paul do in the Middle East, and what wouldn’t he do? – I rather doubt this is the last we’ll be hearing of it.



Posted on 25th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

They are grieving just like any family that has lost an upstanding, hard working, intelligent young man with such a bright future.

Michael Brown’s Mother and Grandma Brawl Over ‘Don’t Shoot’ T-Shirt Cash

i-am-mike-brown-t-shirtsby Jason DeWitt | Top Right News

As the “Michael Brown was murdered by a racist cop” narrative collapses with each new revelation from the media, the strain is clearly getting to Brown’s family, who are now battling each other for the rights to cash in on his death and the “protest” movement that sprung out from it.

In one incident, Brown’s Mother, grandmother and auntie actually brawled on a street corner in Ferguson over “I Am Mike Brown” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” T-shirt sales, with Brown’s cousin having his skull fractured by a metal pipe.

The brawl was captured by surveillance cameras.

As FOX 2 reported:

(A)bout 8:15 pm in the parking lot of Red’s BBQ. It`s the corner of Canfield and West Florissant, just blocks from where Michael Brown was shot and killed….Police sources tell us Brown`s Grandmother, Pearlie Gordon, along with Brown`s Cousin Tony Petty, were selling t-shirts and other Michael Brown merchandise.

A police report describes a car pulling up and several people getting out. One of those people, was reported to be Michael Brown`s Mom, Lesley McSpadden. A witness described McSpadden yelling ‘You can`t sell this s%$&” One of the relatives, who was selling, reportedly demanded McSpadden show a document proving she had a patent.

The police report says that`s when an unidentified person with McSpadden assaulted Petty so violently that it resulted in a 911 call. A witness tells Fox 2 that the weapon was a metal pipe or pole. The suspect reportedly struck Petty in the face. Medics then took him to Christian Northeast Hospital with a reported partial skull fracture. The witness said the assault suspect grabbed merchandise and a box of cash believed to contain about $1,400.

It appears surveillance cameras could have captured the fight and be part of police evidence. Police report no arrests at this time.

It is truly sad that this entire affair is now resulting in Brown’s own family resorting to violence against each other.  But this is what happens when an exploitative media and race-baiting hucksters like Al Sharpton and Eric Holder take a simple cop-assailant shooting and turn it into a fake national outrage over race.

After Trayvon Martin’s death two years ago, his mother Sabrina Fulton came under great criticism for trademarking slogans related to his death to sell merchandise.

Now that the media has finally been shown the truth about Michael Brown’s death and packed up their circus tents and left Ferguson, we hope the Brown family can finally mourn him and move on.

Fox 2 report below:

Embarrassing Economists


Posted on 24th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

Guest Post by Walter E. Williams

So as to give some perspective, I’m going to ask readers for their guesses about human behavior before explaining my embarrassment by some of my fellow economists.

Suppose the prices of ladies jewelry rose by 100 percent. What would you predict would happen to sales? What about a 25 or 50 percent price increase? I’m going to guess that the average person would predict that sales would fall.

Would you make the same prediction about auto sales if cars’ prices rose by 100 percent or 25 or 50 percent? Suppose that you’re the CEO of General Motors and your sales manager tells you the company could increase auto sales by advertising a 100 percent or 50 percent price increase. I’m guessing that you’d fire the sales manager for both lunacy and incompetency.

Let’s try one more. What would you predict would happen to housing sales if prices rose by 50 percent? I’m guessing you’d predict a decline in sales. You say, “OK, Williams, you’re really trying our patience with these obvious questions. What’s your point?”

It turns out that there’s a law in economics known as the first fundamental law of demand, to which there are no known real-world exceptions. The law states that the higher the price of something the less people will take of it and vice versa. Another way of stating this very simple law is: There exists a price whereby people can be induced to take more of something, and there exists a price whereby people will take less of something.

Some people suggest that if the price of something is raised, buyers will take more or the same amount. That’s silly because there’d be no limit to the price that sellers would charge. For example, if a grocer knew he would sell more — or the same amount of — milk at $8 a gallon than at $4 a gallon, why in the world would he sell it at $4? Then the question becomes: Why would he sell it at $8 if people would buy the same amount at a higher price?

There are economists, most notably Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who suggest that the law of demand applies to everything except labor prices (wages) of low-skilled workers. Krugman says that paying fast-food workers $15 an hour wouldn’t cause big companies such as McDonald’s to cut jobs. In other words, Krugman argues that raising the minimum wage doesn’t change employer behavior.

Before we address Krugman’s fallacious argument, think about this: One of Galileo’s laws says the influence of gravity on a falling body in a vacuum is to cause it to accelerate at a rate of 32 feet per second per second. That applies to a falling rock, steel ball or feather. What would you think of the reasoning capacity of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who’d argue that because human beings are not rocks, steel balls or feathers, Galileo’s law of falling bodies doesn’t apply to them?

Krugman says that most minimum-wage workers are employed in what he calls non-tradable industries — industries that can’t move to China. He says that there are few mechanization opportunities where minimum-wage workers are employed — for example, fast-food restaurants, hotels, etc. That being the case, he contends, seeing as there aren’t good substitutes for minimum-wage workers, they won’t suffer unemployment from increases in the minimum wage. In other words, the law of demand doesn’t apply to them.

Let’s look at some of the history of some of Krugman’s non-tradable industries. During the 1940s and ’50s, there were very few self-serve gasoline stations. There were also theater ushers to show patrons to their seats. In 1900, 41 percent of the U.S. labor force was employed in agriculture. Now most gas stations are self-serve. Theater ushers disappeared. And only 2 percent of today’s labor force works in agricultural jobs. There are many other examples of buyers of labor services seeking and ultimately finding substitutes when labor prices rise. It’s economic malpractice for economists to suggest that they don’t.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

The Braindead Megaphone


Posted on 22nd October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

I think Erin is going to do well in college. We will need many more Millennials like her to get us through this Fourth Turning with a positive outcome. Here is her paper for her freshman College Writing course.

Guest Post by BostonBob’s daughter Erin

George Saunders discusses the idea of a man with a megaphone drowning out all other voices in his essay “The Braindead Megaphone”. His omnipresence reaches each corner of the metaphorical party he attends. The sheer volume of his voice effects each of the party goers and their conversations due to the fact that they cannot produce any original thought over the musings of the man with the megaphone. This man is a symbol for the media that encompasses every day life. The numerous sources of information that bombard anyone who owns a television or has an internet connection can shape the discussions and opinions they have(Saunders 240). The Megaphone Man isn’t just the collective voice of the media; it is the surrounding people and environment that also contribute to the spreading of ideas.

George Saunders defines “…the Megaphone as the composite of the hundreds of voices we hear each day that come to us from people we don’t know, via high-tech sources…”(244). Saunders discussed is that the media is the equivalent of the megaphone man, however, the media is not just one man. While the man at the party is a singular being, the news is broadcasted from many outlets. Newspapers, journals, blogs, and television networks are only some of the ways people acquire news. Moreover, these media outlets are each a mass of people, news stations, reporters, along with online sources adding to these enormous information outlet. There is a hierarchy to the large news corporations that decide what will sell over what is important knowledge for the public.

The composite of voices, Saunders believes, is the collective sound of people behind the screens used by society on a daily basis. These “high tech sources” are full of people we may recognize but don’t know personally, however, information is learned by people we know as well. The ratings and approvals of news stories is more important than the relevancy or knowledge they supply. It is in the public’s sight around the clock whether they seek it out or not. One may not have an opinion on an issue, but it is almost guaranteed they have been exposed to it one way or another.

My tiny town is set half an hour from Boston. It is filled with like minded people who bond over the similarities of their views and opinions. While many kids in school find themselves unconcerned with politics they may have more opinions than they realize. They are engulfed in a media rich world which gives them insight into current affairs, as well as attending a school full of opinionated peers and living in a home with opinionated parents. Many students discussed their views in class by prefacing their ideas with “Well my parents think…” or “My mom told me…” and it was clear that this influence is huge.

The loudest megaphone that Saunders neglects to discuss is the environment each person is surrounded with. Parents lay the foundation for their children’s beliefs by molding them with ideas of their own. High schoolers often find the opinions of their friends at school matter to them and they match their own ideals. Children in my town are raised in a place where most people agree with the values of their parents. They are sent to a school full of teachers who will preach the same ideals, and are surrounded with other children who were raised the same way. These children all in turn bond over their ability to spit out what their guardians have planted in their heads, and the similarity of the roots.

Not only are the students of my hometown being born into certain opinions, they do not question what they’ve been told. Not every child is going to question the knowledge they gain from their parents because of the close relationship and trust that is built between them. Saunders extends his argument against the Megaphone Man by stating his “…responses are predicated not on his intelligence, his unique experience of the world, his powers of contemplation, or his ability with language, but on the volume and omnipresence of his voice”(240).

The people who are relaying their beliefs onto the youth may have some life experience, but they may not have any intelligence or ability to contemplate what they’ve heard themselves. Their children develop the habit of accepting information from sources that their community deems respectable. These people are a neverending sphere of influence.

The cycle that continues in small towns like mine perpetuates a common thought. Anyone who disagrees is an outsider labeled as confused or plainly wrong. In my physics class my junior year of high school there was clear tension between my liberal teacher and a conservative peer. Before every class my teacher would instigate a debate going as far as ordering a cardboard cutout of Barack Obama and placing it in front of the student’s desk. After weeks of passive aggressive comments and arguments the student was sent to the office. He had a choice to sit quietly but there is no reason a teacher should be antagonizing a member of their class.

This occurrence was met with a quiet response from other students due to the anxiety of being punished themselves. This demonstration and subsequent fear further leads to young people not expressing their beliefs or questioning those of authority. Constant information is fed into minds which doesn’t allow for original ideas to last. Saunders explains that the Megaphone Man’s voice overtakes entirety of conversation leaving nothing but his own words to discuss: “They’ll stop doing what guests are supposed to do: keep the conversation going per their own interest and concerns. They’ll become passive, stop believing in the validity of their own impressions. They may not even notice they’ve started speaking in his diction…”(240).

Not only are the conversations steered one way, but people who desire a change of subject lack the confidence and support to change the path of discussion. They also are at risk of losing the ability to discuss their own interests.

This environment is all encompassing and it leads to people who only seek out news that agrees with their views and ignore the sources saying otherwise. George Saunders would urge the people of my town to pop their surrounding bubble and question what they hear, instead of assuming that all of their favorite authors and anchors are the most intelligent providers(248).

Instead of following the flow of information people need to break from tradition and form their own opinions. News sources and relatives alike need to be questioned for their reputation and validity. Many people base their opinions on the man with the loudest megaphone and disagree just to disagree or agree to fit in. Whether one’s opinion coincides with the views of the majority or not, the public needs to ensure they are receiving intelligent information that is the foundation for their unique opinions.

Works Cited

Saunders, George. “The Braindead Megaphone.” Other Words. Ed. David Fleming. Dubuque: Kendall Hunt, 2009. 239-248. Print.

Socialist Party Demanding $20 Minimum Wage Insists It Should Not Be Subject To $20 Minimum Wage


Posted on 21st October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

The hypocrisy of leftist douchebags is delicious.


Via The Daily Caller

The socialist party in Seattle that wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $20 per hour but advertised a job last week for an experienced web developer paying just $13 per hour is now defending itself.

The Huffington Post, which was sued by a bunch of unpaid bloggers after founder Arianna Huffington sold the website for $315 million, has the story.

The argument from the Freedom Socialist Party is that it cannot afford the minimum wage it seeks to impose on every commercial entity in America. (RELATED: Seattle Socialist Party Wants $20 Per Hour Minimum Wage, Offers $13 Per Hour For Website Manager)

Doug Barnes, the Freedom Socialist Party’s national secretary, claimed that the collectivist political organization shouldn’t be subject to its own wage demands because it is a nonprofit that receives revenue from leftist contributors.

“We’re practicing what we’re preaching in terms of continuing to fight for the minimum wage,” Barnes told the HuffPo. “But we can’t pay a lot more than $13.”

Barnes also suggested that the Freedom Socialist Party would make more money off the backs of the low-wage workers he claims make many contributions if the federal government or state governments forced businesses to pay employees a minimum of $20 per hour.

“Our donor base would all be affected, and the low-wage workers who support us with $5 to $6 a month would be able to give more,” he told HuffPo. “That would affect our ability to pay higher wages as well.”

He noted that he personally supports a $22 per hour minimum wage.

According to his Facebook page, Barnes is a graduate of the Evergreen State College. (RELATED: The 13 Most Rabidly Leftist, Politically Correct Colleges For Dirty, Tree-Hugging Hippies)

His Facebook “likes” include Occupy Seattle, Syrian Revolution Support Bases, El Centro de la Raza, Mumia Abu Jamal and Bay Area Radical Women.

Despite his spirited defense of the help wanted ad, Barnes added that the Freedom Socialist Party has since removed its ad from both Indeed.com and Craigslist.

“The right-wing attack is very hypocritical,” the socialist — who wants a $20 minimum wage but has sought a $13-per-hour web developer — lamented.

The Daily Caller predicted such an outcome, by the way, and saved a screenshot of the ad as it appeared at Indeed.com. You can see it below.

In 2012, the Freedom Socialist Party’s national platform championed “full employment” and an increase in the minimum wage “to $20 an hour” for all employees in all jobs.

The Freedom Socialist Party’s 2012 political platform also demanded a 70 percent tax rate for “the top 1 percent”; “free multi-lingual public education, including ethnic studies, through college and trade school”; free abortions; bank nationalization; and the cancellation of all free-trade treaties.

Despite last week’s offer of a part-time, 20-hour-per-week, $13-per-hour job, the party also called for a 30-hour work week for everyone “with no cut in pay” and “a guaranteed annual income.”

A part-time web developer making $13 per hour and working 20 hours per week would bring home about $13,600 annually, before taxes.

The Seattle headquarters of the Freedom Socialist Party appears to be located in an apartment building directly across the street from a Bank of America branch.

Indeed Freedom Socialist Party screenshot

Follow Eric on Twitter. Like Eric on Facebook. Send education-related story tips to [email protected].

The Seven Sins Of Obama


Posted on 20th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues



Perhaps two of the most powerful empires the world has ever seen were the Roman Empire and the current American Empire. At the height of their power they had vast riches and powerful armies dwarfed any other power in the world. People of all races and nations admired and wanted to be apart of those empires. And those that did not, were crushed.

History has shown over and over again that all empires of this unrivaled power are never ever conquered, rather they suffer from the rot within.

Both the Roman and the American Empires collapsed internally as they descended into decadence, debt and death. Most historians typically cite the collapse of empires as a result of a constant state of foreign wars, growing bureaucracy of the state, and an increasingly ignorant masses deluded by bread and circuses. The combination of expenses and depreciating productivity that leads to the debasement of the currency and ultimately the end of the empire. While scholars would argue that story, we feel that there is a far larger issue that humanity is afraid to come to terms with.

The real cause of the collapse of the Roman and American empires was the psychopathic element that rots anything it touches.

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.” -Marcus Tullius Cicero

There are only two kinds of people in this world, those that want to be left alone and those that won’t leave you alone. Most people want to do what they want to do, love who they want to love and provide abundant love to the world. Then there are those that just have this sickness in them wants to destroy everything that is good.

It is not that power corrupts, it is the corrupt that seeks power. This psychopathic element gravitates to collective power like moths to a flame. They want control others and find positions of power to lord over others. This could be a small as a school board or the President of the Untied States. They just won’t leave you alone.

Knowing that they cannot maintain individual relationships for very long they thirst for collective power and rise to the top of every power structure as they seek to control everyone. It does not matter how large or small of the organization the cunning rise to the top. Most people cannot comprehend how the psychopath thinks and would rather suck the thumb of denial than to even contemplate the sickness in their sights. In time these cunning psychopaths work like a slow poison on any organization to force out the good and promote the bad.

As they become more powerful, the more compulsive and can no longer hide their sickness. Sensing the end of their unstable nature, they become more erratic and dangerous. The Roman Emperor Diolectian set fire to his own palace to distract the empire from his rot and blame the Christians. Other False Flags have been used throughout the ages to blame innocent victims and hide the psychopathic rot within.

When these power hungry psychopaths are confronted with their anti social behavior, most people turn a blind eye to the disturbing and cunning psychopaths. The Psychopath counts on good people doing nothing as they become more aggressive and powerful the end draws nearer.

The depraved Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus presided over the end of the Roman Empire. Nero was the last in the long line of the Julio-Claudian Roman Dynasty. He ruled with extravagant trips, lavish parties, monstrous debts, brutal wars and persecutions. Nero would often have Christians dipped in oil and set on fire to light his garden at night. Nero was a sick man at the top of the most powerful collective power the world had ever seen.

Nero is perhaps best know for fiddling while his Rome burned. Most people think that Nero was aloof as his empire burned, but they would be wrong. Nero actually loved the destruction of his empire as shown in his very own poem titled Civilization.

i33570obTraveling through pretty scenery,
orchards and valleys and so on,
we find a place that is brown
and barren with fifty pigs
lolling in the sun.

Stop everybody!

This is the landscape for me,
devastated by pigs
who’ve chewed up the last twig
and hosed out every gully with their urine,
a pasture for gourmets
who lick their plate clean.
Here a man can feel at home.

As the Roman Emperor Nero descended into depravity he eventually faced revolt from his generals across the empire as well as his own Praetorian Guard. Nero fled Rome and committed suicide June 9th 68 A.D. The Roman Empire was mortally wounded had four emperors in the following year. The depravity and arrogance of one psychopathic man destroyed the largest empire the world had ever seen. Forever stuck in silver, Nero rings clearly throughout the ages of what can happen when humanity collectively supports the worst in humanity.

Now is the time for the collapse of the American Empire as things that cannot go on forever, simply won’t. The slow motion collapse that has been in the works for decades as more power is given to the psychopathic element that only seeks more debt and death. Like the original Roman Republic, the once great American Republic has slowly been transformed into what can only be called a debt and death empire.

The American people go about their busy little lives never looking at what evil they empower everyday with their consumption, votes, and careers. The psychopathic element within the United States has consistently and methodically tear down our freedoms and further growth in the their means of our control.

SEVEN SINS OF OBAMA - PROOFOne man now sits on the throne of power a top the American Empire, Barack Hussein Obama. The one man that came out of nowhere on a wave of Hope and Change. The one man that has since only done more of the same. He will be the one man that future generations will look back and wonder how a nation so powerful, could fall for such a puppet.

We find that most criticism of Obama is purposefully and childishly focus on emotional hot button issues like his birth certificate, his mother’s pornography, his pot smoking, his sexual orientation or even the gender of his wife. These emotional distractions are purposely done to keep the false left right paradigm chugging along while never bringing into questions that transcend the puppets and challenges the institutions, systems or consciousness that allows these parasites to rise to power in the first place.

They cannot possibly allow any individuals to logical challenge the actual system because once people see the nature of this power structure, people will simply walk away and withdraw their power. These psychopathic parasites must keep you in their rigged game to prey upon your energy. Instead of hacking at the emotional hot button branches we will focus on the logical root of the problem.

Throughout this series we will see the real problems we face when we enable the worst in humanity and how individuals walking away from the inevitable collective collapse is the only true solution. Now we will look at his Seven Sins that will ultimately condemn this puppet politician to ring throughout the ages as the Nero of the American Empire.

Wealth Inequality Is Not A Problem, It’s A Symptom


Posted on 19th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

From Raúl Ilargi Meijer of The Automatic Earth

Wealth Inequality Is Not A Problem, It’s A Symptom

A comment on an article that comments on a book. I don’t think either provides, for the topic they deal with, the depth it needs and deserves. Not so much a criticism, more a ‘look further, keep digging, and ye shall find more’. And since the topic in question is perhaps the most defining one of our day and age, it seems worth it to me to try and explain.

The article in question is Charles Hugh Smith’s Why Nations (and organizations) Fail: Self-Serving Elites, and the book he references is Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.

Charles starts off by saying:

The book neatly summarizes why nations fail in a few lines:


(A nation) is poor precisely because it has been ruled by a narrow elite that has organized society for their own benefit at the expense of the vast mass of people. Political power has been narrowly concentrated, and has been used to create great wealth for those who possess it.

The Amazon blurb for the book states that the writers “conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it)”, and continues with examples used such as ancient Rome, North Korea, Zimbabwe, the Congo, to make the point that some countries get rich and others don’t, because of differences in leadership structures. That in itself certainly seems true, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the whole story.

In the case of the Congo, for instance, the perhaps richest place on earth when it comes to resources, there’s not only the devastating history it’s had to endure with incredibly cruel Belgian colonial powers, there’s to this day a lot of western involvement aimed at keeping the region off balance, and feed different tribes and peoples with weaponry up the wazoo, in order to allow the west to keep plundering it. It’s not just about national goings-on, it’s – also – a supra-national thing.

That’s one of two shortcomings in the material, the breadth and width of why nations and organizations fail their people but serve their masters. In the present day, national boundaries, whether they are physical or merely legal/political, are not the best yardsticks anymore by which to measure and gauge events.

The second shortcoming, in my view, is that inequality, a theme so popular that even Janet Yellen addressed it this week in what can only be seen as her worst possible impression of Marie Antoinette, and expressed her ‘worry’ about wealth inequality in America. The very person publicly responsible for that inequality thinks it’s ‘just awful’. Go bake a cake, gramps.

Wealth inequality is but a symptom of what goes on. Charles Hugh Smith has a few graphs depicting just how bad wealth inequality has become in the US. We all know those by now. It’s bad indeed. But where does that come from? Charles touches on it, but still hits a foul ball:

I submit that this dynamic of failure – the concentrated power and wealth of self-serving elites – is scale-invariant, meaning that it is equally true of communities, towns, cities, states, nations and empires alike: all fail when they’re run for the benefit of a narrow elite. There is a bitter irony in the ease with which American pundits discern this dynamic in developing-world kleptocracies while ignoring the same dynamic in America.


One would imagine it would be easier to see the elites-inevitably-cause-failure in one’s home country, but the pundits by and large are members of the Clerisy Upper Caste, well-paid functionaries, apparatchiks, lackeys, factotums, toadies, sycophants and apologists for the very elites that are leading America down the path of systemic failure as the ontological consequence of their self-serving consolidation of wealth and power.

Here’s the thing: especially after WWII, though before that already as well, the western world woke up to the need for international co-operation. Dozens of organizations were established to structure that co-operation. But then, in yet another fountain of unintended consequences, something man is better at than just about anything else, we let those organizations loose upon the world without ever asking what happened to what they were intended for, or whether the original grounds for founding them still existed, and whether they should perhaps be abolished or put on a tight leash.

These are questions that should be asked about any large-scale organization. Be they multinational corporations, global banks, Google or indeed the United States of America. We can’t just assume these powers, which gather more power as time goes by, share and serve the purposes of the people. What if they gradually come to serve only their own purpose, and it contradicts that of the people? Should we not get that leash out?

Turns out, we never do. If someone would suggest today to break up the USA, because its present status contradicts that which the Founding Fathers had in mind (and there are plenty of arguments to be made that such contradictions exist in plain view), (s)he would not even be sent to a nuthouse, because no-one would take him/her serious enough to do so.

But wealth inequality still rises rapidly within America, and it doesn’t serve the people. So why does it happen, and why do we let it? Because the inequality that matters most is not wealth, but power. And we’ve been made to believe that we still have that power, but we don’t. Voting in elections has the same function today as singing around a Christmas tree: everyone feels a strong emotional connection, but it’s all just become one giant TV commercial.

Even if families are genuinely happy to meet up and exchange gifts and stories, it’s all modeled after the building blocks handed to us by chain stores. It isn’t really our story anymore, and Jesus certainly wasn’t born in a manger: he was born in a MacMansion and the first thing the child saw was his mom’s fake boobs, a wall-sized TV and an iPhone.

In that same vein, we lost the stories bitterly fought and suffered for by our grandparents through two world wars and the brutal invasions of Vietnam and Iraq, the stories of how we can best keep ourselves safe and out of – international – trouble. Not just military trouble, but economic and political trouble. These things are no longer our decision. We founded supra-national, indeed global, institutions for that. And then let them slip out of our sight.

The US is a bit of an outlier here, simply because it’s older. But the IMF, the World Bank, UN, NATO and the EU absolutely all fit the picture of organizations that have – happily – grown beyond our range of view, and that exhibit the exact same inverted pyramid characteristics we see on wealth inequality, only for these organizations it’s not wealth that floats and concentrates increasingly from the bottom to the top, it’s power.

Wealth comes after that. And one shouldn’t confuse that order. Because power buys wealth infinitely faster than wealth buys power.

All these supra-national institutions were established with good intentions – at least from some of the founders. But then we forgot, ignored, to check on them, and they accumulated ever more power when we weren’t watching (we were watching TV, remember?)

And what we see now is that any effort, any at all, to break up the IMF, World Bank, UN, NATO and EU would be met with the same derision that an effort to break up the USA would be met with. We have built, in true sorcerer’s apprentice or Frankenstein fashion, entities that we cannot control. And they have taken over our lives. They serve the interests of elites, not of the people. So why do we let them continue to exist?

What powers do we have left when it comes to bailing out banks, invading countries, making sure our young people have jobs when they leave school? We have none. We lost the decision making power along the way, and we’re not getting it back unless we quit watching the tube (or the plasma) and fight for it. Until we do, power will keep floating to the top like so much excrement; it’s a law of – human – nature.

That the people we voluntarily endow with such control over our lives would also use that control to enrich themselves, is so obvious it barely requires mentioning. But that doesn’t mean this is about wealth inequality, that’s not the main issue, in fact it’s not much more than an afterthought. It’s about the power we have over our lives. Or rather, the power we don’t have.