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Here is the dirt Trump wanted from Zelensky about the Bidens and why Zelensky doesn’t want to give it to him

Eric Zuesse

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In order to understand why Ukraine’s President Voldomyr Zelensky doesn’t want the dirt about Joe Biden to become public, one needs to know that Hunter Biden’s boss and benefactor at Burisma Holdings was, at least partly, Zelensky’s boss and benefactor until Zelensky became Ukraine’s President, and that revealing this would open up a can of worms which could place that former boss and benefactor of both men into prison at lots of places. 

First, the falsehoods in the press have to be documented here, since this article will go up against virtually all U.S.-and-allied reporting on these events. And, in order to do such a thing, the bona fides of my main sources need to be presented:

Naked Capitalism is, as the article about it at Wikipedia, says, the blog of Susan Webber, pen-named “Yves Smith,” who “graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Business School. She had 20 years of experience in the financial services industry with Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Co., and Sumitomo Bank.[3] She has written articles for the New York Times, Bloomberg, and the Roosevelt Institute.[4][5] “The site has had over 60 million visitors since 2007, and was cited as among CNBC’s 2012 top 25 ‘Best Alternative Financial Blogs’, calling Smith ‘a harsh critic of Wall Street who believes that fraud was at the center of the financial crisis’.[2] The New York Times financial reporter Gretchen Morgenson cited Naked Capitalism as one of the ‘must-read financial blogs’ she reads regularly.[9]” 

Her blog is widely respected amongst both scholars and experts in the field of finance, and is among the top go-to sites for trustworthy investigative news reporting in their highly complex field. So as to be able to achieve this high degree of respect, day in and day out, for decades, she carefully selects and relies upon the expertise of a small team of investigators, one of whom is Richard Smith, who has done around 200 articles for her site. One of these was dated 21 May 2014 and headlined “R. Hunter Biden Should Declare Who Really Owns His New Ukrainian Employer, Burisma Holdings”, and it reported that the U.S. Vice President’s son had become “a new member of the board” and that this “Ukrainian energy company has retained the counsel of the vice president’s son and the Secretary of State’s close family friend and top campaign bundler.” Since these men were being paid by the corporation’s owner, Mr. Smith researched extensively to find out who that was, or they were. He reported “what one careful Ukrainian journalist dug up in 2012”:

“Burisma changed owners last year

[in 2011]

: instead of Zlochevsky and Lisin, the company was taken over by a Cypriot off-shore enterprise called Brociti Investments Ltd. Pari and Esko-Pivnich” and a “third company was already waiting for them in the same building – the above-mentioned Ukrnaftoburinnya,” and “The Privat Group is the immediate owner. This company was founded by Mykola Zlochevsky some time ago, but he later sold his shares to the Privat Group,” which “is a conglomerate controlled by the ferocious Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky,” who “is one of the oligarchs charged with holding down the Eastern provinces of Ukraine,” and who “is far too ebulliently Jewish to look like a neo-Nazi. A US connection with Kolomoisky might play well in circles keen to counter Russian complaints that the interim Kiev regime is dominated by ‘fascists’.” Those quotations are from Mr. Smith’s article, but the following is not. Examining the documents myself, I note especially that at their end is the conclusion: “Thus, Ihor Kolomoisky managed to seize the largest reserves of natural gas in Ukraine.” This was the conclusion of the “careful Ukrainian journalist,” which was actually not one but a team of three, who were employed at a Ukrainian non-profit, the Anticorruption Action Centre, which specialized in tracking down the actual persons who controlled corporations and which had a particular focus on finding “Offshore fronts for Yanukovych.” Yanukovych was the democratically elected Ukrainian President, who took office on 25 February 2010. So: this non-profit was an anti-Yanukovych organization, writing more than two years into his Presidency, on 28 August 2012.

A certain historical background is essential here; and this, too, goes up against American ‘news’-reporting and will therefore be linked to articles that, in turn, link to ultimate sources that are of unquestioned reliability on each of the particulars that are in question: There was a coup in Ukraine in February 2014, which is portrayed in the West as being a democratic revolution (but was actually a coup hidden behind anticorruption demonstrations, and that was entirely illegal), and it replaced the democratically elected President by a ruler who was selected by Victoria Nuland, whose boss was Secretary of State John Kerry, whose boss was Barack Obama. Nuland had been originally a protégé of Vice President Dick Cheney, and then of Kerry’s immediate predecessor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Obama assigned Nuland to carry out his plan for Ukraine, which plan was to turn its government away from being friendly toward its next-door neighbor Russia to becoming instead a satellite of the United States against Ukraine’s next-door neighbor. Consequently, fascists, and even outright racist-fascists (nazis), people who came from the groups that had supported Hitler against Stalin during World War II, were installed into this new government, such as the co-founder of the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, Andriy Parubiy. (The CIA instructed that Party, which was Ukraine’s main nazi party, to change its name to “Freedom Party” — Svoboda — so as to become acceptable to Americans; and Paribuy and his colleagues did it, in order to help the U.S. Government to fool the American people about what the U.S. was doing in Ukraine.)

At least until Zelensky was elected, Ukraine’s Government remained fascist. And so is Kolomoysky himself, as I had reported about him on 18 May 2014. As I reported there, 

On 12 May 2014, Burisma Holdings announced, “Hunter Biden Joins the Team of Burisma Holdings,” and reported that, “Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer, has expanded its Board of Directors by bringing on Mr. R Hunter Biden as a new director. R. Hunter Biden will be in charge of the Holdings’ legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations.” 

Promptly, Burisma’s website started presenting Burisma as if if were a Ukrainian-American if not outright American corporation. Devon Archer, shown there, was a business-partner of Hunter Biden. As the Washington Examiner  reported, on 27 August 2019:

At the time, Hunter Biden, now 49, and Christopher Heinz, the stepson of then-Secretary of State John Kerry, co-owned Rosemont Seneca Partners, a $2.4 billion private equity firm. Heinz’s college roommate, Devon Archer, was managing partner in the firm. In the spring of 2014, Biden and Archer joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company that was at the center of a U.K. money laundering probe. Over the next year, Burisma reportedly paid Biden and Archer’s companies over $3 million.

Subsequently, both Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were removed from Burisma’s board and replaced by a four-person board, which mysteriously had included ever since May 2013 (which still was after Zlochevsky no longer controlled the company) Alan Apter, of Sullivan & Cromwell, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Renaissance Capital. Apter now became the “Chairman of the Board of Directors”. Here are the other three Directors: Aleksander Kwaśniewski was the President of the Republic of Poland from 1995 to 2005 when it was being taken over by America, and when Kwaśniewski was also a member of the Atlantic Council (NATO’s PR arm), and of the Bilderberg Group. Joseph Cofer Black was the Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (1999-2002) and Ambassador at Large for counter-terrorism (2002-2004), while President George W. Bush was lying America into invading Iraq, and Black subsequently became the Vice Chairman at Blackwater Worldwide (now Academi), which the Bush Government hired to train and arm mercenaries to help conquer Iraq. (Blackwater/Academi is owned by Erik Prince, the brother of Betsy DeVos of the Amway fortune, who is the Trump Secretary of Education, and Prince also is a personal friend of Trump. Obama’s Government also hired Blackwater/Academi to kill independence fighters in the Dnieper Donets Basin, where Burisma owns the drilling rights for gas.) And the fourth Director is Karina Zlochevska, whom the site identifies hardly at all, but is actually the daughter of Mykola Zlochevsky. In other words: Zlochevsky probably does remain as a minority owner of the company, and she represents his interests there.

Virtually all of the Western press simply alleges that Mykola Zlochevsky owns Burisma Holdings and brought Biden on board and was his boss; however, I have never seen from any of those ‘news’-reports any evidence or documentation that it’s true — nothing like the sources that Richard Smith relied upon and linked to documenting that this was Kolomoysky’s company. Nothing, at all.

This is important — is it Zlochevsky or Kolomoysky? — because Zlochevsky was associated with the prior Government of Ukraine and its President Viktor Yanukovych, whom the U.S. Government had overthrown in an operation that started in 2011 and that ended very successfully in February 2014 with the American Government’s Victoria Nuland on 27 January 2014 telling the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine to get “Yats” Yatsenyuk appointed to run the country as soon as Yanukovych becomes successfully overthrown — which happened less than a month later, during February 20-22 — and Yatsenyuk then received the appointment on February 26th to run the country, just as Obama’s agent Nuland had instructed. Zlochevsky fled the country, because he had been politically allied with Yanukovych, who also fled the country. Obama’s Government constantly tried to get Zlochevsky prosecuted for alleged corruption, but Zlochevsky had sold the company to Kolomoysky even before Obama took over Ukraine. It’s not at all clear that Hunter Biden had ever so much as just met Zlochevsky.

Joseph Biden, as is well reported in the press, instructed the new Ukrainian Government to fire and replace the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, who had failed to prosecute Zlochevsky, and this action by Joe is reported as indicating that the senior Biden granted his son’s employer no favor but instead the opposite — that Joe insisted upon Hunter’s boss’s prosecution. 

For example, James Risen, of The Intercept, which is owned by one of the financial backers of the overthrow of Yanukovych, Pierre Omidyar (see this and this and this and this and this and this), headlined on September 25th, “I Wrote About the Bidens and Ukraine Years Ago. Then the Right-Wing Spin Machine Turned the Story Upside Down.”, and Risen reported that:

The then-vice president issued his demands for greater anti-corruption measures by the Ukrainian government despite the possibility that those demands would actually increase – not lessen — the chances that Hunter Biden and Burisma would face legal trouble in Ukraine.

Risen reported there that V.P. Biden’s “anti-corruption message might be undermined by the association of his son Hunter with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky.”

However, none of that press says Kolomoysky owned the company and was its boss. The presumption there is always that Zlochevsky needed to be prosecuted — not that Kolomoysky did. Kolomoysky is simply being written out of the picture altogether — whited-out from it

Also as is typical, the New York Times reported, on 1 May 2019, that Mykola Zlochevsky is the “owner of Burisma Holdings” and that “Mr. Lutsenko initially continued investigating Mr. Zlochevsky and Burisma, but cleared him of all charges within 10 months of taking office. The prosecutor general reversed himself and reopened an investigation into Burisma this year. Some see his decision as an effort to curry favor with the Trump administration.” For some mysterious reason, that article not only says that the replacement Prosecutor tried and failed and now tried again to prosecute Zlochevsky but that “Some see his decision as an effort to curry favor with the Trump administration,” though, actually, it was the Obama Administration that had been pressing Ukraine’s Government to prosecute Zlochevsky, who wasn’t Hunter Biden’s boss and didn’t control Burisma and was associated not with the 2014 Obama-installed Government of Ukraine but instead with the Government that had preceded it and was the last of all Ukraine’s democratic Governments, having been democratically elected by all of Ukraine including the two regions (Crimea and Donbass) that broke away from Ukraine when Obama in February 2014 overthrew the Government that those two now-breakaway regions had voted for, by over 75% in that 2010 election.

And here is from Wikipedia’s article on “Viktor Shokin”:The Biden connection[edit]

Since 2012, the Ukrainian prosecutor general had been investigating oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of the oil and natural gas company Burisma Holdings, over allegations of money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.[15] In 2014, then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden‘s son, Hunter Biden, joined the board of directors of Burisma Holdings.[16] In 2015, Shokin became the prosecutor general, inheriting the investigation. The Obama administration and other governments and non-governmental organizations soon became concerned that Shokin was not adequately pursuing corruption in Ukraine, was protecting the political elite, and was regarded as “an obstacle to anti-corruption efforts”.[17] Among other issues, he was slow-walking the investigation into Zlochevsky and Burisma – to the extent that Obama officials were considering launching their own criminal investigation into the company for possible money laundering.[15]

In March 2016, Joe Biden threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that if he did not fire Shokin, that the US would hold back its $1 billion in loan guarantees. “I looked at them and said, “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”[18] Shokin was dismissed by Parliament later that month.

Shokin claimed in May 2019 that he had been investigating Burisma Holdings.[19][20][21][22] However, Vitaliy Kasko, who had been Shokin’s deputy overseeing international cooperation before resigning in February 2016 citing corruption in the office, provided documents to Bloomberg News indicating that under Shokin, the investigation into Burisma had been dormant.[23] Hunter Biden’s ties to Burisma Holdings was criticized as a conflict of interest in a New York Times editorial, though Amos Hochstein has claimed to have never seen coordination between Joe Biden and his son on the matter.[24][25]

And here is from Wikipedia’s Article on “Burisma Holdings”: History[edit] Burisma Group was founded in 2002 by Ukrainian businessman Mykola Zlochevsky and Nikolay Lysin [uk]. Now it is owned by Mykola Zlochevskyi [uk], who was minister of natural resources under Viktor Yanukovych.[2] Zlochevsky returned to Ukraine in February 2018 after the corruption investigations into his Burisma Holdings had been completed in December 2017 with no charges filed against him.[3]

So, the myth that Zlochevsky was Hunter Biden’s boss and benefactor at Burisma isn’t only in the ‘news’-media that are controlled by U.S. Deep State that controls the CIA, which controls America’s major ‘news’-media, but it is also in the Web’s main encyclopedia, Wikipedia, which is not only edited by the CIA, but also, to some extent, written by the CIA

Furthermore, the CIA was the ‘whistleblower’ that made the impeachment-charge to the Democratic Party head of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Adam Schiff, who is the lead proponent of impeaching Donald Trump so that Trump can then become tried in the U.S. Senate, which then would possess the power to replace Trump and make President the current Vice President, Mike Pence, which Democrats, for some unexplained reason, seem to hope will happen. As Reuters reported on September 26th, “The whistleblower is a CIA officer and was assigned at one point to work at the White House, two sources familiar with the probe into his complaint said. The New York Times first identified the whistleblower as a CIA officer, which Reuters confirmed.” That report also asserted:

The call occurred after Trump had ordered a freeze of nearly $400 million in American aid to Ukraine, which was only later released. Before the call, Ukraine’s government was told that interaction between Zelenskiy and Trump depended on whether the Ukrainian leader would “play ball,” the whistleblower said.

The report said Trump acted to advance his personal political interests, risking national security.

“I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute ‘a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or executive order,’” the whistleblower complaint, dated Aug. 12, said.

The same CIA whose lies had ‘justified’ America’s invading Iraq in 2003, and invading Libya in 2011, and invading Syria starting in 2012 (and extending there up till at least 2018), is now ‘justifying’ congressional Democrats to replace Trump by Pence if they possibly can.

And Kolomoysky might be one of the world’s biggest thieves. On 19 April 2019, Graham Stack reported for OCCRP, a U.S.-and-allied-funded nonprofit anti-corruption investigatory organization that 

“‘Large-scale coordinated fraudulent actions of the bank [PrivatBank] shareholders and management caused a loss to the state of at least $5.5 billion,’ [Valeria] Hontareva [former chair of Ukranie’s central bank] said in March 2018. ‘This is 33 percent of the population’s deposits … [and] 40 percent of our country’s monetary base.’ … By the time regulators took over PrivatBank, the $5.5 billion had already been transferred to banks in Austria, Luxembourg, and Latvia. From there, the trail goes cold. … This account is based on a forensic audit by Kroll, the U.S.-based corporate investigation and risk consulting firm. The report … is based on PrivatBank’s own records and was obtained exclusively by OCCRP. … Ukraine nationalized PrivatBank in December 2016, saddling taxpayers with a $5.9 billion bailout.”

There’s nothing that Zlochevsky was even accused of which exceeded tens of millions  of dollars in losses. In Ukraine, that’s tiny.

Furthermore, the estimable and reliably accurate Moscow investigative journalist John Helmer reported on 19 February 2015 that “In March 2014, days after the ouster of Yanukovich in Kiev and the installation of a new regime, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) started investigating Zlochevsky. According to the evidence it presented to the Central Criminal Court between March and December of 2014, and according to Justice Blake, who assessed the evidence, there is no mention of Lisin, Deripon, Burrard or Kolomoisky.” Obama’s people (there via the U.S. regime’s lap-dog UK) were targeting Zlochevsky, certainly not Kolomoysky, who was instead on their team.

Zelensky, prior to becoming Ukraine’s President, had been the star of a popular comedy series on Ukrainian television that was telecast by Ihor Kolomoysky’s 1+1 Media group. On 19 May 2014, Forbes published a shockingly honest article, by Vladimir Golstein, “Why Everything You’ve Read About Ukraine Is Wrong”, which mentioned, about Kolomoysky, that, 

His business holdings include the largest Ukrainian media group, “1+1 Media,” the news agency “Unian,” as well as various internet sites, which enable him to whip public opinion into an anti-Putin frenzy. Andrew Higgins of The New York Times published a story with the headline, “Among Ukraine’s Jews, the Bigger Worry is Putin, Not Pogroms,” which praises Kolomoisky for adorning Dnepropetrovsk with “the world’s biggest Jewish community center” along with “a high tech Holocaust museum.” Higgins notes, however, that the museum “skirts the delicate issue of how some Ukrainian nationalists collaborated with Nazis.

Kolomoysky himself had become installed by the Obama Administration’s Ukrainian agents as the Governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine where his approximately $5 billion financial empire was based, and which in its north extends into the Dnieper Donets Basin where Burisma owns the drilling rights for gas. As this last link indicates, that Basin “is the major oil and gas producing region of Ukraine accounting for approximately 90 per cent of Ukrainian production and according to EIA  may have 42 tcf of shale gas resources technically recoverable from 197 tcf of risked shale gas in place.” That article, from the investment-oriented website Zero Hedge, sums up:

In a nutshell, Ukraine (or rather its puppetmasters) has decided to let no crisis (staged or otherwise) or rather civil war, go to waste, and while the fighting rages all around, Ukrainian troopers are helping to install shale gas production equipment near the east Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, which was bombed and shelled [by the Obama-installed Government] for the three preceding months, according to local residents cited by Itar Tass. The reason for the scramble? Under peacetime, the process was expected to take many years, during which Europe would be under the energy dictatorship of Putin. But throw in some civil war and few will notice let alone care that a process which was expected to take nearly a decade if not longer while dealing with broad popular objections to fracking, may instead be completed in months!

Ukraine’s bombing of that region (for examples, this and this and this) was in order to clear the land for a massive fracking operation. However, it turned out that not only Kolomoysky’s operation with Shell in the Dnieper Donets Basin in Ukraine’s far east, but also the Ukrainian Government’s own gas-exploration operation with Chevron in western Ukraine’s Olesska field, were uneconomic; or, as I headlined about them on 16 December 2014, “Ukraine’s Two Big Gas Deals Are Now Both Dry”. It seems that if Hunter Biden is to become a billionaire, it won’t come from Ukrainian gas. (Nor, of course will it have come from Zlochevsky, which the news-media would have it to be.)

As was reported on 20 May 2014 by Israel Shamir at the website of Paul Craig Roberts, under the headline “The Ukraine in Turmoil” (and his article there was the first comprehensive and accurate summary of what had recently happened to Ukraine):

These people had brought Ukraine to its present abject state. In 1991, the Ukraine was richer than Russia, today it is three times poorer because of these people’s mismanagement and theft. Now they plan an old trick: to take loans in Ukraine’s name, pocket the cash and leave the country indebted. They sell state assets to Western companies and ask for NATO to come in and protect the investment.

They play a hard game, brass knuckles and all. The Black Guard, a new SS-like armed force of the neo-nazi Right Sector, prowls the land. They arrest or kill dissidents, activists, journalists. Hundreds of American soldiers, belonging to the “private” company Academi (formerly Blackwater) are spread out in Novorossia [Donbass, the far-eastern region that became independent after Obama’s coup], the pro-Russian provinces in the East and South-East. IMF–dictated reforms slashed pensions by half and doubled the housing rents. In the market, US Army rations took the place of local food.

The new Kiev regime had dropped the last pretence of democracy by expelling the Communists from the parliament. This should endear them to the US even more. Expel Communists, apply for NATO, condemn Russia, arrange a gay parade and you may do anything at all, even fry dozens of citizens alive. And so they did.

The harshest repressions were unleashed on industrial Novorossia, as its working class loathes the whole lot of oligarchs and ultra-nationalists. After the blazing inferno of Odessa and a wanton shooting on the streets of Melitopol the two rebellious provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms and declared their independence from the Kiev regime.

And then, to top it off, there is the brilliant pewreport blogger, who, on 27 July 2014, headlined “USAID to Help Young Biden: The Burisma File”, and that anonymous person succinctly laid out the use of the U.S. Government to enable the families of some of its top officials to join America’s aristocracy, the billionaire class. It’s something that Trump himself is intimately involved with and exploits, but if America’s national and international police-agencies such as the FBI and CIA are trying (first with Russiagate, and now with Ukrainegate) to replace him by Pence in order to enable another friend of Obama to become installed (like Hillary was supposed to have been) as President and Commander-in-Chief, then this struggle between the agents of America’s Democratic Party billionaires versus those of its Republican Party billionaires could end up having consequences that no one is predicting.

Furthermore, the superb investigative journalist for The Hill  (which I consider to be America’s least-biased national news-medium), John Solomon, headlined on September 26th, “These once-secret memos cast doubt on Joe Biden’s Ukraine story”, and he reported that, “Hundreds of pages of never-released memos and documents — many from inside the American team helping Burisma to stave off its legal troubles — conflict with Biden’s narrative.” Clearly, Joe Biden as a public official was nothing at all like the objective and purely public-serving, non-partisan, and above-board, person that he claims to have been, and he was instead extremely partisan in his blatantly imperialistic demands upon what he and the rest of the Obama team pretend had not become a U.S. satellite-state on Russia’s border.  

It’s also important to point out here that Zelensky’s predecessor, Poroshenko, was not Obama’s first choice to win the 25 May 2014 Ukrainian election that followed the February 2014 coup and installation of Yatsenyuk to run the country on an interim basis. Yatsenyuk was supposed to run it until that election (after which Yatsenyuk still continued long in office, and Obama pushed as hard as possible for President Poroshenko to continue Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s policies). Obama’s first choice — and the planned winner — in the 25 May 2014 election, was an intense hater of Russia, Yulia Tymoshenko. Yatsenyuk had actually been her agent. Kolomoysky was perhaps her main financial backer. But she lost the election to Obama’s second choice, Poroshenko. Kolomoysky was enough of a supporter of Tymoshenko so that even after he returned to Ukraine on 16 May 2019 just prior to the latest Presidential election, he backed her even above Zelensky. But above all, he opposed Poroshenko, because Poroshenko had been forced by the main lenders to his Government to fire Kolomoysky as governor of Dnipropetrovsk and to nationalize his bankrupt PrivatBank due to Kolomoysky’s having been looting from Ukraine’s Government too much money via his bank and via his minority ownership of the Government’s gas company. Obama had wanted that money to go toward the war against Donbass, not into Kolomoysky’s pockets. (However, America’s Democratic-Party propaganda ‘non-profit’ Public Radio International gave a positive spin to Obama-team-member Kolomoysky even at the time of his firing by Poroshenko on 28 March 2015, saying of him, “He offered $10,000 bounties for captured pro-Russian insurgents. ‘People understand that this person came here to ensure stability,’ said Stanislav Zholudev, a local political analyst.” The euphemism “captured pro-Russian insurgents” was actually referring to their corpses — Kolomoysky was paying only for their corpses. Maybe for Obama-ites that’s “stability.” Kolomoysky was already paying the nazi Azov Battalion more than that per pro-Russian corpse, and now the Trump Administration wants Kolomoysky to be prosecuted for financial crimes instead of Zlochevsky to be prosecuted, and so Zelensky is being pushed one way by Democrats, and the opposite way by Republicans.) Kolomoysky has many enemies. The main holders of Ukraine’s debt are unknown, but besides Russia which had lent to the pre-coup Government (and were thus trying to get their senior money that’s owing from Ukraine to be paid to Russia before the newer creditors get theirs), the major creditors were said to be the IMF, America’s Franklin Templeton Fund, and Blackstone Group, the World Bank, and a group of mainly American billionaires “and private Eurobond holders” who are represented by the law firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges. The U.S. Government and EU countries were also said to be indirectly such holders via their ownership shares in the IMF and World Bank, but also perhaps more directly. (If Trump were a decent President, he’d be publicly pressing for the exact numbers on all of this.) Kolomoysky’s siphonings from Ukraine’s Government were at the expense of all of them. The pressures upon Poroshenko to halt it were mounting. And, so, Kolomoysky was fired; and, now, to the extent that Zelensky has to satisfy Kolomoysky, Zelensky (who publicly said of Kolomoysky “He is my business partner”) needs to resist some of the demands of the U.S. regime and of many other billionaires. Without their continued support, Ukraine’s Government will collapse in the short term instead of only (which is inevitable) in the long term. It’s no longer just a question of the Ukrainian regime’s war against Donbass. The change that Obama wrought is permanent, and Trump dithers back and forth about how to deal with it. He apparently has no strategy on that.

Zelensky might fear that if he complies with Trump’s request, then his own major benefactor, Kolomoysky, could end up in prison somewhere; and Trump might fear that if he presses Zelensky on that (as he did not do but Democrats say he did), then the entire Deep State — not only Democratic Party billionaires, but also now Republican ones — will become Trump’s enemies, and his 2020 re-election chances will therefore go to zero. Consequently: Trump will probably abandon the matter, and the till-now-unsupported and maybe unsupportable mere assumption, that Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian benefactor was Zlochevsky instead of Kolomoysky, will continue to be asserted virtually everywhere throughout the U.S. empire, for as long a time as the matter continues to remain in the ‘news’. Of course, if that turns out to be the case, then Joe Biden will continue to be portrayed in this matter as having been a crusader against corruption in Ukraine, instead of as having been the aspiring founder of yet another billionaire American dynasty.

Basically, the new Russiagate charges to replace Trump by Pence, Ukrainegate (as those charges were presented by the CIA ‘whistleblower’ on August 12th and published on September 26th), represent all of the Democratic Party’s billionaires, and many of the Republican Party’s ones, as well. It’s the pinnacle of the Obama-versus-Trump feud, because it represents the Democratic Party’s position on what was Obama’s top international achievement — his conquest (via a coup) against Ukraine. Trump refuses to condemn Obama’s coup against Ukraine, but if he cared about the truth, he would, and the worst that could happen to him then would be that, for once in his life, he’d be fighting for truth, and not just for himself. Apparently, that’s too big a leap for him to take.

What’s especially pathetic in all of this is that whenever the U.S. Government overthrows and destroys a country, it’s trumpeted as reflecting America’s standing-up for rule-of-law and opposition to corruption, and for support of democracy and protection of human rights; but whenever Russia or a nation that’s friendly toward Russia resists control by the U.S. and its allies, it’s portrayed as being a dictatorship and an opponent of democracy and of human rights. So, go figure.

Author’s note: first posted at The Saker

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Americas

How Bernie Sanders Will Destroy the Deep State if He Becomes President

Eric Zuesse

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Joe Lauria at Consortium News headlined on February 21st, “Apparent US Intel Meddling in US Election With ‘Report’ Russia is Aiding Sanders”, and he noted that,

If the story is true and if intelligence agencies are truly committed to protecting U.S. citizens, the Sanders campaign would have been quietly informed and shown evidence to back up the claims.

Instead the story wound up on the front page of the [Washington] Post, “according to people familiar with the matter.” Zero evidence was produced to back up the intelligence agencies’ assertion.

“It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken,” the Post reported. That would tell any traditional news editor that there was no story until it is known. 

Instead major U.S. media are again playing the role of laundering totally unverified “information” just because it comes from an intelligence source. Reporting such assertions without proof amounts to an abdication of journalistic responsibility. It shows total trust in U.S. intelligence despite decades of deception and skullduggery from these agencies.

Despite the untrustworthiness of the intelligence agencies that had told President George W. Bush that they would be able to present to the American public a “slam-dunk” case that Saddam Hussein had WMD and was to blame for the 9/11 attacks, and despite their similar serial lying up to the present time, Senator Sanders issued a public statement that “Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend. He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia.” Regardless of whether he actually believes that Putin is an “autocratic thug,” his saying this was necessary in the context of the ceaseless anti-Putin propaganda in America’s ‘news’-reporting and from America’s ‘intelligence’ agencies, all of which have for decades been effectively controlled by America’s billionaires, who are now terrified that Sanders might actually become President. Their agents are consequently smearing him. America’s hundreds of billionaires ARE America’s Deep State, and those hundreds of individuals are the only people who are actually represented by their media and ‘our’ Government.

This is the reason why we invaded and occupy and destroyed Iraq, all on the basis of lies.

This is the reason we invaded and destroyed Libya, all on the basis of lies.

This is the reason why we hired Al Qaeda in Syria to lead the hundreds of jihadist groups that have since been trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s secular non-sectarian President Bashar al-Assad.

None of the American billionaires’ fronts — not the CIA, nor any others — have publicized, but they instead all have hidden, all of these realities and basically all of the really important historical events during the past twenty years which shape the international world in which we all are living. Democracy in America is impossible under such circumstances as this. 

Back in 2002, Sanders was able to refuse to authorize George W. Bush to invade Iraq and yet still not have his career in Congress destroyed by that ‘unpatriotic’ (actually courageously patriotic) act. But in today’s environment, any member of Congress who fails to demonize Vladimir Putin is ‘unpatriotic’ — as if the Cold War which was ended by Russia in 1991 has secretly continued by America ever since — which it HAS.

America’s billionaires are even more opposed to ending the Cold War than they are opposed to increasing taxes on the rich up to international standards for industrialized nations. They will accept high taxes — and during the 1950s the super-rich accepted even a 90% marginal rate of taxation — but they will not, under any circumstances, accept ending America’s recent quest to replace the U.N as the basis of international law and order; they DEMAND that the U.S. Government, which they control, must control the entire world, including Russia. This is essential to their all-encompassing global empire, the global dictatorship by America’s international corporations. That is the core belief of the Deep State, and no Sanders Presidency will be able to succeed unless a President Sanders will strip America’s billionaires of the control they enjoy over the American Government through the Deep State. The Deep State is the U.S. billionaires; it is the control they have over the U.S. Government. Only by ending that control will America’s Deep State be brought to an end. Sanders is the only viable U.S. Presidential candidate who authentically does threaten the billionaires’ control over ‘our’ government; and the only way that he will be able to succeed is by destroying their Deep State, their control over the Government and over their press or ‘news’ media. This is an internal U.S. war, right now, between the Deep State and not only Donald Trump on the right (who constantly caves to their demands) but also Bernie Sanders on the left (who has yet to be in a position really to challenge their control over America).

So: how can Sanders do it, if he becomes the President? Fight like hell and be willing to sacrifice even himself, if need be, so as to destroy their control over America. Be what Trump only pretends to be. This is the only way that it might be able to be done. Sincerity. Determination. Mono-focus. And great courage. Never backtracking.

Right now, America accounts for about half of the entire world’s military expenditures, and that can’t go on if America is to take care of its real problems. Those corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, are not going to yield without there being now a second American revolution, a revolution of control. It will have to be a total revolution of control — not just over Wall Street, and not just over the hedge funds, and not just over the private equity funds, and not just over the healthcare system, and not just over the universities, and not just over the private foundations and other ‘non-profits’ (which largely privatize to billionaires the decisions as to what ‘needs’ to be done for the good of the entire country). Why do billionaires get tax-breaks for funding ‘nonprofits’ which expand their own power not only over commerce but especially over national priorities and the government itself? The corruption is so deep and so pervasive.

Right now, the corruption is focused on getting the Democratic Party’s superdelegates, instead of the voters in the primaries and caucuses, to choose whom the Party’s nominee for the U.S. Presidency will be.

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Can Anyone Beat Trump?

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Donald Trump may make fun of Elizabeth Warren and dub her Pocahontas but he better watch it.  She may be gunning for him in November.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, or as he prefers to be called, ‘Mike’, spent $400 million of his $60 billion fortune on ads, raising himself to third place among candidates as a can-do ‘Mighty Mike’.  It bought him a place at the Democratic debate last Wednesday.  But that $400 million, a colossal fortune for any of us, and in lottery terms what would count as one of the biggest wins ever, was blown away in a few minutes by Warren as she went after him on his racially-charged stop-and-frisk policy to fight crime in New York City.  That his efforts worked was made irrelevant by his clearly limited ability to debate.  Yet with $59.6 billion still in his kitty, probably growing at several billion a year, who can write him off in this age of TV ads?

Then there were his non-disclosure agreements with numerous women — though asked repeatedly he never gave a number.  His lame defense that these were voluntary, seemed to assume the audience were dupes.  Everyone knows the persons charging him with unwarranted advances received money as settlements and in exchange signed the agreements.

The Bloomberg charge thwarted, Bernie Sanders could be counted the real winner for leaving the debate unscathed.  He leads nationally by double digits with Biden second.

A botoxed Biden with whitewashed teeth tried to put a spring in his step with purchased ‘youth’.  He talked of present and past presidents of Mexico, and of other countries, he was acquainted with and how personal connections get things done — a mindset reminiscent of the Burisma job in Ukraine son Hunter was given when his father was Vice President with a major policy role in the Ukraine.  As board member of Burisma, Hunter Biden was paid up to $50,000 per month.  His function was to advise on corporate governance and legal issues yet never found it necessary to attend a board meeting or visit the company in Ukraine.  The company’s owner has been recently charged with corruption in obtaining licenses and tax fraud over the period of Hunter Biden’s tenure at his firm.

It’s all in a day’s work.  Personal connections, that’s how things get done.  Imagine the labels Trump will attach to him should he win the nomination. 

A normally chirpy Pete Buttigieg was skewered by Amy Klobuchar and appeared chastened.  Not too well prepared, he ascribed an astronomical $25 trillion cost to Bernie Sanders’ health plan.  Sanders responded the plan would save $400 billion and had the figures to prove it.  Not a successful outing for Pete.

But then Senator Klobuchar appeared to lose her cool when pressed on a case during her job as prosecutor, before she became a senator.  Visibly angry, she continued to press her claim as being highly electable but Sanders and Warren are elected senators too, and Sanders for much longer.  Senator Klobuchar also has the highest turnover of staff (36 percent) of any senator, and a rumored reputation of being abusive towards them.  Not the kind of quickly angered temperament one would choose to have in the White House, or for a person with a finger on the dreaded nuclear button.

Seems the best option we have is Sanders and Warren but political demographics preclude two liberals from the northeast on a ticket.  Born in 1941, Sanders  will be almost 80 when he takes office, an age when Warren would have left the White House were she to win and serve two terms.  Bernie is eminently likeable and a staunch fighter but it seems like Hillary Clinton stole his best shot at the presidency.

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Americas

The Overriding Strategic Threat: Donald Trump, American “Mass” And Nuclear War

Prof. Louis René Beres

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Carl G. Jung

“The mass crushes out the insight and reflection that are still possible with the individual, and this necessarily leads to doctrinaire and authoritarian tyranny if ever the constitutional State should succumb to a fit of weakness.”-Carl G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self (1957)

More than anywhere else, Donald Trump take his decisional cues from the American “mass.”  In present circumstances, this term  references a succession of  viscerally compliant private citizens and a seemingly endless chorus of similarly deferential public officials. If there should  still arise any further doubts about such a worrisome assessment, one need only consider Trump’s rancor-filled “rallies” or the undiminished  Republican Senate support for his always-accumulating leadership derogations.

What is to be done? Most concerning among these ample derogations are those actions that would impact a US presidential authorization of military force. In  an evidently worst case scenario, these impacts could include an actual use of nuclear weapons, either by the American side or by a pertinent adversarial state (e.g., North Korea).

Such  risks and dangers did not arise ex nihilo, out of nothing. Rather, Donald Trump’s very conspicuous derelictions – both in the past, and still-impending – are rooted in a population that disavows two complementary obligations. These obligations are the reinforcing imperatives of serious analysis and true learning.   “I  love the poorly educated,” exclaimed the successful US presidential candidate in 2016. “Intellect rots the brain,” shrieked Third Reich Chief of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels at his own Nazi rallies, back in 1935 and 1936.

Truth, however inconvenient or embarrassing, is always exculpatory. Any differences between the purposely dissembling statements of  President Trump and those of Minister Goebbels are minor at best. Reciprocally, the evident commonalities are distressingly plain and compelling. Both Donald Trump and his de facto German philosophical mentor represent champions of public disinformation or anti-thought.

Both seek or sought results without even a scintilla of human empathy or hint of compassionate intention.

At first, these comparisons may seem scandalous, even outrageous, but upon further reflection, they are not at all un reasonable or  unfair. Indeed, what would be more manifestly unfair or dishonest is for such tangible and information-based comparisons to be blithely dismissed or casually overlooked. This is because any such whimsical disregard could lead, ineluctably, to catastrophic war.

It’s not  a mysterious connection.  No sensible US war avoidance policies can be expected to emerge from a society that is being steadily weakened by a compliant and obsequious mass culture.[1] In any such anti-science context,  there exists a widespread American indifference to intellect or “mind.” .

More precisely, within the demeaning interstices of United States mass culture, any such  brazen indifference could result in irremediable misfortunes. These hard-to-imagine outcomes could arrive more-or-less immediately, or eventually, that is, in various foreseeable and unforeseeable increments.

Among these especially portentous prospects,  the most worrisome would be nuclear attack and/or nuclear war.

There is more. Though not readily apparent in America’s current national politics, nuclear violence in variously assorted forms represents the greatest possible risk posed. No such dire prediction could be expressed as a true mathematical probability (because any nuclear war would necessarily represent a unique event), but the broader connections between generalized American anti-intellectualism and American national security are recognizably evident.

There has never been any specific or general American outcry about an American president who proudly reads nothing, literally nothing at all. At his first Republican presidential convention, an early Trump-selected “speaker” was Duck Dynasty.  

Need anything more be said?

Still, there are always core lessons to be learned. Americans should look much more carefully  behind the news. Everything that we/they most genuinely need to know is not on  television or on  the internet. More generally, “The crowd,” noted the 19th-century Danish philosopher, Sören Kierkegaard, “is untruth.”  

In present-day United States, no single characterization could be more obvious or less contestable.

In this mass or crowd-based society, a continuing Trump presidency – the most  patently injurious result of America’s demeaning orientation to mass- could (sooner or later) become intolerable. “The  best lack all conviction,” warned the Irish poet W. B. Yeats in The Second Coming, “while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” For now at least for bewildered or beleaguered Americans, this existential warning remains confined to cerebral poetry.

But the stanza deserves a far wider audience,

Let all relevant assessments be forthright and candid. For the United States and certain of its allies,  a nuclear war is never really out of the question. At the moment, the most plausible site for any such unprecedented conflagration would be northeast Asia (US versus North Korea). Still, in light of a resurrecting “Cold War” with Russia (“Cold War II”), preliminary and contagious “sparks” could ignite virtually anywhere on earth. Most problematic, in this regard, would be southwest Asia (India/Pakistan)  

There is more. I have lectured and published widely on these issues since chairing Project Daniel for Israeli Prime Minister Arik Sharon back in 2003.

 Substantial nuclear conflict dangers will obtain in the Middle East even if Iran should somehow remain non-nuclear. This is the case, inter alia, because Israel could sometime need to rely upon nuclear deterrence or actual nuclear weapons use in response to certain non-nuclear forms of unconventional aggression (i.e., biological attack) and/or “only” massive conventional aggressions.

More than likely, this second category of risk would involve assorted “hybrid” aggressions launched (plausibly, in some definitive concert with Iran) by Hezbollah.

Already, the size and military capacity of this formidable Shiite militia exceeds that of many area armies.

 Let us look more closely at these strategic issues. What discernible linkages exist between mass society and nuclear war? Though mass thinking[2] or “crowd” thinking (Kierkegaard) is always “untruth,” Donald Trump is not the most genuinely root cause of America’s expanding atomic war perils. He is rather, an “outcome,”  a mere result, though a prospectively devastating result, of larger and far more deeply insidious national pathologies. More formally, knowledgeable scientists and philosophers (not this president’s mass “base”) would identify Trump’s incessantly demeaning incumbency as “epiphenomenal.”

But this does not make them any less dangerous.

There is more.Some complementary or corollary concerns aremore expressly legal than military or strategic.In these similarly urgent matters of US foreign policy making, President Donald Trump, leading a major world power that remains party to both the Geneva Convention (1949) and the Genocide Convention (1948), has no defensible legal right to call openly for international aggression.  But this is exactly what Trump demanded when he first threatened “total destruction” of North Korea in the earliest days of his presidency.

While the American president  intermittently claims (with evident pride)   that he and Kim Jung Un are “in love,” this allegedly deep affection remains an unreliable basis for nuclear war avoidance. Moreover, looking ahead dispassionately, the more visible and credible source of verbal belligerence between Washington and Pyongyang is the White House.

In law, there is no legitimate American right of tu quoque (Latin for “you too”). Among other historical instances, this legal defense was rejected at the original Nuremberg Trials of 1945-1946, and also at the later Tokyo Trials. A significant portion of Donald Trump’s seemingly endless legal derogations lies in his sweeping unfamiliarity with all normally recognizable instances of history and jurisprudence.

Even now, Donald Trump appears unaware of the basics.  International law remains an integral part of U.S. domestic (municipal) law. To date, at least, this president has been unable to nullify Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution (the “Supremacy Clause”) or any of the several major Supreme Court decisions detailing binding sources for “incorporation.” Among  seminally core case judgments linking valid international rules to United States obligations, the most plainly important are the Paquete Habana (1900) and Tel-Oren vs. Libyan Arab Republic (1984).

Does anyone reasonably expect that US President Trump or his personal lawyers would have even a tiny substantive notion about these landmark American decisions?

It’s a silly question.

This sort of essential information is discussed only by the Constitutional lawyers. Now, unassailably, our vaunted American democracy rests unsteadily on the retrograde sovereignty of wholly unqualified persons. Even now, in the Senate leadership of his own party, only a pitiful few are prepared to say emphatically and unambiguously: “This emperor is naked, irremediably naked. He has no clothes.”[3]

 In metaphoric candor, Donald Trump’s refractory authority has “slipped back,” to use the illuminating images of twentieth-century Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y’ Gasset, “through the wings, and on to the age-old stage of civilization.” This ancient “stage” remains shabby, shaky and profoundly anti-democratic. Cumulatively, it does not bode well for a secure American life at any level.

At the conceptual heart of our America’s “crowd” or “mass” problem, the current US president remains a malignant and determinative “symptom.” Any further American “slippage” into the presidentially-augmented mass will have discernible and distinctly palpable consequences. There are certain obvious and unstoppable reasons for this. Reasonably, no country so openly fearful of independent thought – no country so fervidly torn between its loud public proclamations of  “exceptionalism” and the silent estrangements of its grievously unhappy people –  can hope to overcome  its screaming declensions.      

We may continue this nuclear war background analysis.  No blustering affirmations of “America First” can supplant authentic thought.

Such painfully shallow affirmations, now repeated daily,  as if they were some sort of religious incantation, can only deflect America’s attention from what remains vitally important. Most urgently, Trump must better ensure that his seat-of-the-pants strategic posture toward North Korea (a posture drawn directly from the commercial worlds of real estate branding and casino gambling) does not sometime explode uncontrollably. Significantly, such an obviously unacceptable outcome may at first seem less likely or worrisome than is actually the case.

“Do not seek the higher man in the marketplace” warned  Friedrich Nietzsche in Zarathustra.As usual, the philosopher’s underscored wisdom was timeless.

Should North Korea and the United States enter into any outright hostilities or even an unintentional  nuclear war, the horrors of the earlier Vietnam conflict will be magnified many-fold. Before anything decent could ever be born from the rubble of such a conflict, an army of gravediggers would need to wield the “forceps.”

 Once upon a time in America, virtually every barely-attentive adult could recite some intuitively Spenglerian theory of decline. Today, at a very different historical moment – at an especially acquiescent national juncture where the riddle of human destiny has been reduced by American public life to vulgar and degrading entertainments –  almost no one can recognize The Decline of the West. “Logically,” this far-reaching lack of recognition should be expected whether we are speaking of a classic historical text written by a once-obscure German professor or some actual and precipitous historical declension.

What else should one now expect of a nation where the 2016 keynote presidential convention speaker of the victorious political party was Duck Dynasty.

In some respects, it is a very old story. Both frightened and repelled by any plausible expectations of genuine learning, expanding masses of Americans proceed blindly and in reassuring lockstep with crowds of similarly-fearful marchers. Consciously, this Trumpian “mass,” these obliging “crowds,” keep a desperate pace with all those other homogenized men and women who similarly loathe serious thought. Always, identifiably sizable segments of this submissive crowd coalesce energetically around a delusionary “pied-piper.”

In the present American case,  Trump reflects a president who promises multiple accessible scapegoats in compensation for citizens’ most stubborn  fears and personal failures. For the all-too-many listeners, these seductive promises are convenient, but untrue.

In the real American past, which has been “great” only selectively,  certain  circumstances have never been quite as degrading or ominous as today. In the words of Nixon-era White House advisor John Dean, speaking on CNN in March 2018, “Donald Trump is Richard Nixon on steroids and stilts.” That’s quite a telling (and accurate) metaphor.

Worldwide, this is hardly the first time in the past hundred years that a dissembling political wizard has promised self-blinding followers some sort of lascivious “redemption” in exchange for their total political obedience. In an easily best remembered example, the ultimate costs inflicted by Third Reich wizardry included the destruction of an entire continent and over100 million souls. The lesson for those Americans still willing to read and think?  It is that there is always a great and unforgivable price to be paid by societies that wittingly abjure intellect, history and capable thought.

Credo quia absurdum. “I believe because it is absurd.” At the very moment when an American president should be focusing systematically and analytically on prospective nuclear war dangers from  North Korea, China, Russia, and elsewhere,  Donald Trump prefers to lead his chanting crowds in strange and futile directions. Now, more than ever, these incoherent refrains are not “only” inane and irrelevant.  More portentously, they will drown out the still-surviving vestiges of any residually sensible American thought.

 In every presidential election, the American mass more-or-less indefatigably patronizes itself.  The difference in 2016 was that these results were effectively sui generis; that is, they were darkly unique in the most regrettable and forseeably sinister ways. Over time, as we have seen, the palpable consequences could include nuclear/existential harms.

The remedy? Above all, it must be founded upon a  meaningfully prior understanding: No society, including allegedly “exceptional” ones, can coexist together with mindlessly chanting crowds that masquerade as democracy.Unless we can finally display some sincere willingness to oppose the shrill and yelling American mass –  a crowd that increasingly becomes a corrosive solvent of social conformance and intellectual mediocrity – Americans will continue to find too little air to breathe. Inevitably, at some point in the declining Trump years, there will be no air to breathe at all.[4]

Asphyxiation, Americans would only then discover, is a bad way to die.

Every mass society, not just the United States, loves to chant deliriously and in some form of stupefied chorus. “We the people” continue to seek comforting resonances of “exceptionalism” in pitifully shallow slogans, raw commerce and blatantly vacuous political promises. Oddly enough, this elusive search for happiness, amid its convulsive shrieking and imitation, would be less perilous if it did not issue from a  depressingly terminal ailment.

What, more precisely, is the underlying malady? If Donald Trump is “merely” a symptom, what is the country’s true national pathology? The correct answer has much to do with understanding current war threats from North Korea or even Russia. This answer is logically antecedent to discovering hopeful solutions to still-growing existential threats.

At the most sorely critical “illness” levels of national despair, politics and government have become pretty much beside the point. In America’s battered landscape of clichéd wisdom, mass shootings, copycat violence and dreary profanity, there remains, at bottom, a recalcitrant and metastasizing sickness of the soul. Ironically, America’s national debility of personal surrender to crowds lurks mainly undisguised.  Conspicuously, it is most easily detectable in Donald Trump’s proudly flaunted hatreds of intellect, individualism and real learning.

Alas,” observed T.S. Eliot,in a still-unheeded warning, “Our dried voices, when we whisper together, Are quiet and meaningless.”

 At their very deepest levels, American politics and government remain determinably extraneous to whatever is genuinely important. The bewildered nation’s expanding ocean of personal addictions, now too vast for remediation by any normal reformist strategies, is already deep enough to drown entire  libraries of a once-sacred poetry.

In an earlier and foundational American national history, both liberals and conservatives read Lucretius, Cicero, Grotius, Vattel, Locke, Hobbes, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and (later) Blackstone. Excluding the eighteenth-century English jurist, whose refined thoughts were to become the starting point of all American jurisprudence, Thomas Jefferson read them all.

What does US President Donald Trump read or write?

Prima facie, this is a silly question.

Until just a few years ago, I had been a university professor for almost 50 years. For the most part, my students were less interested in exhibiting any high-thinking than in acquiring high net worth. Given a presumptive opportunity to earn impressive incomes without continuing their formal education, an overwhelming majority would have unhesitatingly grabbed at the “offer.” How do I know this?

Because, as an “experiment,” I occasionally asked them.

From year to year, the grimly anti-intellectual results never changed.

In our once still-ascendant American intellectual history, some time shortly after the literary ascendancies of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, a spirit of accomplishment earned commendably high marks . Then, more often than now, young people strove to rise originally, not by incessantly craving expensive and unnecessary goods, but as the still-confident proprietors of an exemplary American Self. Though Emerson and his fellow New England Transcendentalists had taught the flip side of “high thinking” must be “plain living,” current US citizenry generally seeks private wealth above any other barely competing objectives.

Nothing could possibly be more obvious.

This is true, at least in principle, for the poor and disregarded as well as for the very rich.

In America,  the truly telling question is implicit. Why bother to read or study literature? It has no cash value. Furthermore, as the current president can readily attest, it has no believable place in the acquisition of personal political power. Indeed, Americans now live in a land where visible intellectual deficits have become an unimpeachable political asset.

In the end, US President Donald Trump – however destructive his presidency eventually becomes  – must remain a symptom. On its face, with precious few exceptions, wealth is always taken as America’s final and quintessential form of personal validation. Many years back, economist Adam Smith concluded that wealth is most eagerly sought not because of any intrinsic purchasing power, but on account of its incomparable capacity to elicit envy. Later, Emerson expressed a very similar idea when he incautiously advised that any “foolish reliance upon property” is the inevitable result of “a want of self-reliance.”

In the end, the transient warmth of  an American mass or crowd promises each US citizen a concocted but still-comforting defense against loneliness. This reassuringly seductive mass quickly and expansively defiles whatever is pleasingly  wondrous, gracious and generous in American society. Already anticipating this lamentable development, Charles Dickens had observed, back in 1842:  “I do fear that the heaviest blow ever dealt at liberty will be dealt by this country (USA), in the failure of its example to the earth.”

Dickens was “spot on.” Americans have protected their political freedom from the most visible and invidious kinds of oppression, though even this key protection is now subject to reasonable doubt.  At the same time, they have wittingly sacrificed the coequal obligation to become authentically fulfilled persons. More openly deploring a life of some greater meaning and purpose than this one of calculated imitation and sterile accumulation, Americans now routinely substitute reality shows for real literature and a reality show “wizard” for capable national leadership.

What should they expect?

Is it any wonder that America already stands on the precarious  brink of irremediable nuclear confrontations?

In America’s sorely blemished democracy, a declining system of governance driven by what political “elite” theorists had long called the “iron law of oligarchy,”[5] those individual Americans who would still choose disciplined thought over fitting-into the crowd must accept related kinds of “punishment.” Usually, these sanctions are delivered as some form or other of social or professional ostracism, but sometimes they are meted out in corollary examples of “aloneness.” “The most radical division,” observed Spanish existentialist Jose  Ortega y Gasset in 1930, “is that which splits humanity…. those who make great demands on themselves…and those who demand nothing special of themselves…”

 In reality, American democracy and its closely corresponding presidential elections represent an inelegant and simultaneously lethal masquerade. Again and again, they seek to  cover-up and legitimize what has been constituted and consecrated by a backward-looking mass. Now, at long last, it is high time for such perilous camouflage in the inert American mass to yield tosomething better.     

Now, in America, even after such a patently catastrophic presidential selection in 2016, the people may have been granted one graspable last chance for being-challenged-in-the-world.

In the end, creating proper American governance is not all that complicated: Only those few individuals who would dare to reject an insistently demeaning amusement society can offer this imperiled nation any enduring hope.What next?

To proceed, there are pertinent corollaries. The strength and courage of America’s desperately-needed “inner-directedness” can never lie only in holding an advanced degree, in engaging with others during periodic  electoral contests or in advancing various intentional contrivances of language. In America, the indispensable qualities of individual authenticity must be sought, instead, in the potentially complementary powers of intellectual independence, social justice and spontaneous empathy.

This last power cannot be taught. Nonetheless, it can be encouraged by stepping back from a declining American culture that values endlessly crude consumption over intelligent erudition and independent thought.

Adam Smith, in his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), saw in capitalism not just an admirably rising productivity, but also a required foundation for political liberty. He also understood that a system of “perfect liberty” –  one that we might presently call an ideal democracy – could never be based upon smug and facile encouragements of needless consumption. The inexorable laws of the marketplace, he had reasoned, demanded a suitable disdain for all vanity-driven buying.

 For Adam Smith, the main problem of any dangerously orchestrated hyper-consumption was neither economic nor political, but psychological.

It was, in other words, a problem of unresisted absorption into the mass or  crowd.

For Adam Smith, contrary to very widespread misunderstandings of his complex thought, “conspicuous consumption,” a phrase that would later be used more explicitly and engagingly by sociologist Thorsten Veblen, must never be taken as evidence of economic or political progress. It follows that while the crowd call of American democracy may remain loud, crass or even alluringly persuasive, We the people must still  keep up the struggle against the suffocating mass, purposefully, and, above all else, asgenuine individuals. 

 Then Americans could finally lay bare the essential ingredients of a democracy that would offer more than the sum total of individual souls fleeing desperately from themselves.

Then, perhaps, Americans could avoid re-electing a president who stands in chaotic opposition to sensible foreign policies of nuclear war avoidance, and who substitutes ad hominem attacks for any minimally intelligent diplomacy. Then, determinedly,  the American nation could choose its presidents from among candidates who can understand that the United States is part of a much wider world. This means from those aspirants who could acknowledge that “America First” represents a potentially irreversible triumph of mass.

In the end, if ever the American constitutional State should succumb to what Swiss psychologist Carl G. Jung euphemistically called a “fit of weakness,”  such triumph could hasten the nation’s most utterly lethal declensions. A nuclear war would resemble any other terminal illness in at least one overarching respect. This is that the only “cure” would lie in prevention.


[1] “The mass-man,” we learn from Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y’ Gasset (The Revolt of the Masses, 1930), “has no attention to spare for reasoning; he learns only in his own flesh.”

[2] On the terrible possible outcomes of “mass,” see especially: C.G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self (1957); Jose Ortega y’ Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses (1932); and Karl Jaspers, Reason and Anti-Reason in our Time (1952). Of course, all three share as core intellectual mentor Friedrich Nietzsche, especially the 19th-centiry German philosopher’s still-incomparable classic, Zarathustra (1883).

[3] “Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large part of mankind gladly remains minors all their lives….” says Immanuel Kant in his classic essay: What is Enlightenment (1784).

[4] We learn, again, from Immanuel Kant’s 1784 essay, What is Enlightenment, that submission to deleterious mass is “self-imposed.” The core problem we read from the German philosopher, lies ultimately in a “lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance.”

[5] See especially: Vilfredo Pareto, The Mind and Society (1935); Gaetano Mosca, The Ruling Class (1939); and Robert Michels, The Iron Law of Oligarchy (1949).

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