The Real Russiagate: Obama’s Stasi State

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by Michael Hudson and Paul Craig Roberts Mike Whitney has written an excellent expose of the “Russiagate” cover story for Obama’s political use of national security to help his party oppose Republicans. Covert surveillance of politicians on Obama’s Nixon-like “Enemies List” has been going on for many years, but is only now being unmasked as a result of the failure of its cover story (“We weren’t spying on enemies; only on Russians to protect America”). Democratic-leaking mass media have passed on the cover story authored by former Obama-administration officials led by CIA director John Brennan, FBI director James Comey, the DNC, and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff. The loose ends in this cover-up have now been so widely exposed as hearsay and political ...

Wall Street First

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Trump is Obama’s Legacy. Will this Break up the Democratic Party? Nobody yet can tell whether Donald Trump is an agent of change with a specific policy in mind, or merely a catalyst heralding an as yet undetermined turning point. His first month in the White House saw him melting into the Republican mélange of corporate lobbyists. Having promised to create jobs, his “America First” policy looks more like “Wall Street First.” His cabinet of billionaires promoting corporate tax cuts, deregulation and dismantling Dodd-Frank bank reform repeats the Junk Economics promise that giving more tax breaks to the richest One Percent may lead them to use their windfall to invest in creating more jobs. What they usually do, of course, is ...

The Land Belongs to God

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Speech to the Union Theological Seminary, Columbia. The focus of my talk today will be Jesus' first sermon and the long background behind it that helps explain what he was talking about and what he sought to bring about. I've been associated with Harvard University's Peabody Museum for over thirty years in Babylonian economic archeology. And for more than twenty years I've headed a group out of Harvard, the International Scholars Conference on Ancient Near Eastern Economies (ISCANEE), writing a new economic history of the ancient Near East. The five colloquia volumes that we've published began in 1994. We decided we have to re-write the history to free it from the modern ideological preconceptions that have distorted much popular understanding. When I ...

Break Up the Democratic Party

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It’s Time for the Clintons, Rubin to Go – and Soros too. In the week leading up to last Tuesday’s election the press was busy writing obituaries for the Republican Party. This continued even after Donald Trump’s “surprising” victory – which, like the 2008 bank-fraud crash, “nobody could have expected.” The pretense is that Trump saw what no other politician saw: that the economy has not recovered since 2008. Democrats still seem amazed that voters are more concerned about economic conditions and resentment against Wall Street (no bankers jailed, few junk mortgages written down). It is a sign of their wrong path that party strategists are holding onto the same identity politics they have used since the 1960s to divide Americans ...

Rentier Capitalism – Veblen in the 21st century

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In 2012 a conference was held on Thorstein Veblen in Istanbul. It was sponsored by a socialist labor union, the Chamber of Electrical Engineers. We were asked why not focus on Marx. My answer was that Marx had died a generation earlier, and the major critique of finance capitalism had passed to Veblen. This book (from which my following remarks are excerpted) is a series of essays, including by myself and another NC friend, Michael Perelman. The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism Michael Hudson Edited excerpt from Michael Hudson and Ahmet Oncu, eds., Absentee Ownership and its Discontents: Critical Essays on the legacy of Thorstein Veblen (ISLET 2016, $35). Simon Patten recalled in 1912 that ...

Review of James Galbraith, Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice (2016)

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Tim Evans Galbraith’s articles and interviews collected in this book (ending in October 2015) traces his growing exasperation at the “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), IMF and EU bureaucracy – which refused to loosen their demand that Greece impoverish its economy to a degree worse than the Great Depression. The fight against Greece was, in a nutshell, a rejection of parliamentary democracy after the incoming Syriza coalition of left-wing parties won election in January 2015 on a platform of resisting austerity and privatization. The world has seen the result: In contrast to the support given to countries with right-wing regimes, the ECB and IMF tightened their financial screws on Greece. The incoming finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis – ...

Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate?

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by Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson September 28, 2016 William Engdahl recently explained how Washington used the corrupt Brazilian elite, which answers to Washington, to remove the duly elected President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, for representing the Brazilian people rather than the interests of Washington. Unable to see through the propaganda of unproven charges, Brazilians acquiesced in the removal of their protector, thereby providing the world another example of the impotence of democracy. Everyone should read Engdahl’s article. He reports that part of the attack on Rousseff stemmed from Brazil’s economic problems deliberately created by US credit rating agencies as part of Washington’s attack to down grade Brazilian debt, which set off an attack on the Brazilian currency. Brazil’s financial openness ...

Celebrating the One Percent: Is Inequality Really Good for the Economy?

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To paraphrase Mark Twain, everyone complains about inequality, but nobody does anything about it. What they do is to use “inequality” as a takeoff point to project their own views on how to make society more prosperous and at the same time more equal. These views largely depend on whether they view the One Percent as innovative, smart and creative, making wealth by helping the rest of society – or whether, as the great classical economists wrote, the wealthiest layer of the population consist of rentiers, making their income and wealth off the 99 Percent as idle landlords, monopolists and predatory bankers. Economic statistics show fairly worldwide trends in inequality. After peaking in the 1920s, the reforms of the Great Depression helped ...