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America’s Billionaires Battle Each Other for Political Control Over Europe

Two ‘philanthropists’ will now be fighting for control over Europe’s political markets (or institutions).

Eric Zuesse

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Authored by Eric Zuesse. Originally posted at strategic-culture.org:


A contest for political control of Europe is gearing up between two American teams, one headed by the long-established George Soros, and the other now being set up by the upstart Steve Bannon, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign-manager. Soros has long led America’s liberal billionaires in controlling Europe, and Bannon is now organizing a team of America’s conservative billionaires to wrest that control from the liberal ones. Whereas Soros claims to represent the public’s interests, Bannon claims to represent the population’s interests — that’s the ‘populist’ side of America’s billionaires, versus the established ‘public-interest’ (Soros) side of them.

Two American brands of ‘philanthropists’ will thus now be fighting for control over Europe’s political markets (or institutions).

It’s a battle to serve either ’the public’ or else ’the people’, and each political brand will be struggling to keep Europe as an ally in American billionaires’ war against Russia (which all American billionaires want to defeat), but each team does this from a different ideological perspective, one being ‘liberal’, and the other being ‘conservative’.

Just as there is liberal-conservative political polarization between billionaires domestically within a nation, there also is such political polarization between billionaires regarding their given nation’s foreign policies; and America’s billionaires are politically very highly polarized, both nationally and, increasingly, internationally as well. None of them is progressive, or left-populist. The only ‘populism’ that any billionaire currently promotes is right-‘populist’, which is Bannon’s team. (Stalin was left-‘populist’; and Hitler was right-‘populist’; but neither dictator really was at all populist, which is simply democratic and against the aristocracy.) Both teams demonize each other within the United States for control over the U.S. Government, but both are now competing against each other internationally for control over the entire world, by two different brands: liberal versus conservative. Both brands endorse ‘democracy’ or “the allies”; and both support spreading that ‘democracy’ by means of invading and occupying ‘dictatorships’ or “the enemies.” In Europe, this is called “imperialism”; in America, it is called “neo-conservatism” or “neoconservatism”; but no American billionaire actively opposes it (because to oppose it would be to oppose the aristocracy itself, the billionaires’ control over the Government — the very system that has been enormously successful for them, far more than the public itself recognizes).

After World War II, America’s billionaires took control of, first western Europe, and, then, after 1990, once the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance ended, they gradually took all of Europe. They did this not only by expanding NATO after 1990 (even as its mirror-organization the Warsaw Pact had disappeared and thus NATO’s nominal raison d’etre was actually gone) but by means of the EU, which was created in the 1950s as a joint effort by American and European billionaires and their agents — all of them being anti-Russian (or, as the public line at the time went, ‘anti-communist’). Their real aim was conquest, first of all absorbing all allies of Russia, and then ultimately of absorbing Russia itself — complete global conquest.

The public announcement of this new war by American billionaires for control over Europe, appeared on 20 July 2018, in the U.S. neoconservative (i.e., pro-imperialism) neoliberal propaganda-site, The Daily Beast (it’s pro-Soros, anti-Bannon; and so says that Soros has “given away $32 billion to liberal causes” instead of “paid $32 billion to liberal causes” — for isolating and ultimately defeating Russia). This “liberal” article, against the “conservative” Bannon, opened as follows:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-bannons-plan-to-hijack-europe-for-the-far-right

HELLFIRE CLUB

Inside Bannon’s Plan to Hijack Europe for the Far-Right

Bannon is moving to Europe to set up The Movement, a populist foundation to rival George Soros and spark a right-wing revolt across the continent.

NICO HINES  07.20.18 9:57 PM ET LONDON — Steve Bannon plans to go toe-to-toe with George Soros and spark a right-wing revolution in Europe.

Trump’s former White House chief advisor told The Daily Beast that he is setting up a foundation in Europe called The Movement which he hopes will lead a right-wing populist revolt across the continent starting with the European Parliament elections next spring. …

Bannon has spent his career after the U.S. military as an agent for various U.S. billionaires, most recently for the ones that backed Donald Trump in the Republican primaries and so bought the Party’s nomination for him. Whereas the chief brain behind Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign was Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, the chief brain behind Donald Trump’s was Steve Bannon who had been hired for this purpose by billionaire mathematician and private-equity chief Robert Mercer who partnered on the operation with billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel. After Trump won the nomination, Bannon stayed on and his operation came to be funded most by the U.S.-Israeli casino billionaire couple, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson. But all of the Republican billionaires (Jewish, evangelical Christian, and even some otherwise) were big supporters of Israel. Israel, of course, is allied with the Sauds, who own Saudi Arabia; and both Israel and the Sauds are even more focused on destroying Iran than on destroying Russia (the U.S. aristocracy’s chief goal). Only America’s billionaires are obsessed to conquer Russia. They’ve been that way ever since World War II ended.

As the columnist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard accurately summarized in Britain’s Telegraph, “The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover”:

US intelligence funded the European movement secretly for decades, and worked aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into the project. 

As this newspaper first reported when the treasure became available, one memorandum dated July 26, 1950, reveals a campaign to promote a full-fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen William J Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the Central Inteligence Agency. 

The key CIA front was the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), chaired by Donovan. Another document shows that it provided 53.5 per cent of the European movement’s funds in 1958. The board included Walter Bedell Smith and Allen Dulles, CIA directors in the Fifties, and a caste of ex-OSS officials who moved in and out of the CIA.

Bill Donovan, legendary head of the war-time OSS, was later in charge of orchestrating the EU project.

Papers show that it [ACUE] treated some of the EU’s ‘founding fathers’ as hired hands, and actively prevented them finding alternative funding that would have broken reliance on Washington.

There is nothing particularly wicked about this. The US acted astutely in the context of the Cold War. The political reconstruction of Europe was a roaring success.

However, his opinion at the end there isn’t entirely true, because at the same time, the CIA was working with thousands of secret Nazi and Fascist agents in Europe, whom the OSS had secretly collected and protected at the end of WWII and who continued secretly throughout the Cold War to carry out CIA operations to subvert not just communist agents in Europe but, even more than that, to subvert democratic agents in Europe who favored not subordination to the U.S. but instead the democratic sovereignty of Europeans, over their own land’s politics. Therefore, from the very get-go, the EU was a means to impose, upon Europeans, control by U.S. international corporations, for the benefit of corporate America. That was the overriding purpose of the EU — subordination to America’s billionaires, no authentic democracy. Vassalage within the U.S. empire was and is the goal of them all — to conquer, first, Europe, and then, the world.

Evans-Pritchard urges his readers: “In my view, the Brexit camp should be laying out plans to increase UK defence spending by half to 3pc of GDP, pledging to propel Britain into the lead as the undisputed military power of Europe.” This pro-imperialist view of his, is an extension of that by Cecil Rhodes late in the 1800s, for a UK-U.S. global empire in which those two imperial powers — the old one and the new one — would gradually take control over the entire world. George Soros has been working for that objective feverishly. Steve Bannon is against that ‘internationalist’ viewpoint, and he favors instead the ‘nationalist’ one, but in both the liberal and the conservative versions, America’s billionaires will take in an increasing proportion of the world’s wealth. The contest between these two teams is over how best to achieve this objective.

There is also a second reason why America’s billionaires are rabid against today’s Russia, above and beyond that of America’s billionaires demanding to control the world. This reason is that, under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s policy has been to demand that all billionaires, both domestic and foreign, accept that in Russia, the welfare of the Russian public takes precedence over and above the welfare of any and all billionaires. This is a principle that billionaires everywhere, and especially the American ones who prior to Putin’s leadership were robbing the Russian federal treasury, cannot tolerate. So: in siding with America’s billionaires, Europeans have been siding also with billionaires as a class — siding with the super-rich — against the public, everywhere. Why would Europeans be doing such a thing? Aren’t they supposed to have at least some degree of choice in such a matter? Aren’t they supposed to live in a democracy?

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Donald Trump open to lifting Russian sanctions

Comments in interview with Reuters indicate that the doors are not entirely slammed shut between the US and Russia regarding sanctions.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On Wednesday August 22, the latest sanctions set against Russia by the US go into effect. These sanctions have already exacted a toll on the Ruble sending it into the high sixties against the dollar last week. At the time of this writing the ruble has only slightly improved from the worst level since the announcement, and this round of sanctions is the most painful since the Ruble hit a crippling level of 83 to the dollar in late 2015.

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However, US President Trump indicated once again that the US is open to working with Russia and to making a deal which would ease sanctions in place.

This report, by both RIA Novosti and TASS offer some detail:

President of the United States Donald Trump would be ready to consider the possibility of lifting the US sanctions on Russia if Moscow begins taking joint steps with Washington, including on Syria and Ukraine, he said this on Monday in an interview with Reuters.

Trump said that the question of lifting US sanctions on Russia was not brought up during his recent meeting with Vladimir Putin, however, he stated a condition for its possible withdrawal. “I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us. But I wouldn’t consider it without that,” he said.

Trump added that at the meeting the parties talked about Israel, Syria, Ukraine, Crimea, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.

The United States began imposing extensive sanctions against Russia in 2014 after the reunification of Crimea with Russia. Restrictions were subsequently expanded and updated many times, they concern both individuals and legal entities. In the following years, Washington found many other reasons for imposing sanctions against Moscow, including alleged interference in the presidential election of 2016, alleged involvement of Russian officials in violation of human rights. So far, there has been no substantive discussion on the removal of restrictions from Russia.

The Reuters interview had more to say about this:

ON HIS RECENT MEETING WITH RUSSIA’S PUTIN

“It was only Fake News that criticized. … We had a very good, I guess, close to two-hour meeting. We had another good meeting with a lot of our representatives there. We talked about Israel, we talked about insecurity for Israel, we talked about Syria, we talked about Ukraine.”

“I mentioned Crimea, sure. I always mention Crimea whenever I mention Ukraine. Putin and I had a very good discussion. It was a very — I think it was a very good discussion for both parties. I mentioned the gas pipeline going to Germany.”

ON WHETHER PUTIN ASKED TRUMP TO LIFT U.S. SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

“No, he did not. He never brought it up.”

ON WHETHER HE WOULD CONSIDER LIFTING SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

“No. I haven’t thought about it. But no, I’m not considering it at all. No. I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us. But I wouldn’t consider it without that. In other words, I wouldn’t consider it, even for a moment, unless something was go — we have a lot of things in common. We have a lot of things we can do good for each other. You have Syria. You have Ukraine. You have many other things. I think they would like economic development. And that’s a big thing for them.”

This interview was held the day before the new sanctions were to go into effect. President Trump actually made no direct reference to the new sanctions, but this series of statements brings up an interesting thought.

President Putin has been silent on the matter of sanctions, even though the lower level government officials have spoken out about the injustice that is a fact, given the nature and cause of the sanctions. But an anonymous observer offered the interesting thought that, contrary to appearances, the American president may be trying to project the image of “strength against Russia” that is vital for him to pass through the midterm elections without losing the House.

If he loses the House to the Democrat Party, the new House leadership would almost certainly bring impeachment proceedings against the President. While this, like Russiagate, would be an absolute farce, it would have the effect of severely impairing the President’s agenda. While the House remains in GOP hands, this at least will not happen. The source mentioned that with such a strategy in place, if the midterms went the GOP’s way then Trump would be able to lift the sanctions later.

While this seems to be a very speculative thought, it is interesting that it was suggested only hours before the Reuters interview became publicly known. It would seem possible that this was a very gentle signal of willingness on the part of the American President to continue seeking better relations with Russia.

One thing is certain: a lot of policy is riding on the outcome of the midterms. How they go will shape US policy and foreign policy very strongly. This is truly a critical election approaching – for the US and for the world.

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Denmark As A Model For American Socialists?

In Denmark, everyone pays at least the 25% value-added tax (VAT) on all purchases. Income tax rates are high.

The Duran

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Authored by Lars Hedegard via The Gatestone Institute:


Here are some facts to consider before American “democratic socialists” look to Denmark for guidance, as Senator Bernie Sanders did during the 2016 presidential campaign.

First of all, Danes actually pay for their brand of socialism through heavy taxation. In Denmark, everyone pays at least the 25% value-added tax (VAT) on all purchases. Income tax rates are high. If you receive public support and are of working age and healthy enough to work, the state will require that you look for a job or it will force a job on you.

The willingness of all the Danes to pay high taxes is predicated on the country’s high degree of homogeneity and level of citizens’ trust in each other, what sociologists call “social capital.” By and large, Danes do not mind paying into the welfare state because they know that the money will go to other Danes like themselves, who share their values and because they can easily imagine themselves to be in need of help — as most of them, from time to time, will be.

Whenever politicians propose tax cuts, they are met with vehement opposition: So, you want to cut taxes? What part of the welfare state are you willing to amputate? And that ends the debate.

Danes, in contrast to American socialists gaining ground in the Democratic Party, are increasingly aware that the welfare state cannot be sustained in conditions of open immigration. A political party agitating for “no borders” could never win a Danish election. Danes do not suffer from historical guilt: they have not attacked any other country for more than two centuries and have never committed a genocide.

Moreover, there is an even deeper truth to ponder: Denmark is not really socialist but constitutes a sui generis fusion of free-market capitalism and some socialist elements. Denmark has no minimum wage mandated by law. Wages, benefits and working conditions are determined through negotiations between employers and trade unions. 67% of Danish wage-earners are members of a union, compared to 19% in Germany and 8% in France. Strikes and lockouts are common, and the government will usually stay out of labor conflicts unless the parties are unable to agree.

It is uncomplicated for enterprises to fire workers, which gives them great flexibility to adapt to shifting market conditions. To alleviate the pain, the state has in place a number of arrangements such as generous unemployment benefits and programs to retrain and upgrade redundant workers.

Danish companies must make ends meet or perish. They generally will not get handouts from the government.

Denmark is more free-market oriented than the US. According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, Denmark is number 12, ahead of the United States (number 18). Venezuela is at the bottom, one place ahead of number 180, North Korea.

Mads Lundby Hansen, chief economist of Denmark’s respected pro-free-market think tank CEPOS, comments:

“Very high taxes and the vast public sector clearly detract in the capitalism index and reduce economic freedom. But Denmark compensates by protecting property rights, by low corruption, relatively little regulation of private enterprise, open foreign trade, healthy public finances and more. This high degree of economic freedom is among the reasons for Denmark’s relatively high affluence.”
Trish Regan recently claimed on Fox Business that Danes pay a “federal tax rate” of 56% on their income. This is misleading. The 55.8% is the levied on the marginaltax for the top income bracket, only on the part of their income above DKK 498,900 ($76,500). Any income under DKK 498,900 is taxed at lower rates. And the 55.8% marginal rate does not represent a “federal” or “national” rate. It represents the total of all taxes on income: national tax, regional tax, municipal tax and labor market tax. It does not, however, include Denmark’s 25% value-added tax (VAT), paid on all purchases.

Regan also claimed that Danes pay a 180% tax on cars. While it is true that there was once a maximum tax of 180% on care in Denmark, the vehicle tax rates have been lowered in recent years. Today, the first DKK 185,100 ($28,400) of the price of a gas- or diesel-powered car is taxed at 85%, and if the car’s price is above DKK 185,100, the remaining amount is taxed at 150% — which is of course bad enough.

Denmark’s total tax burden amounts to 45.9% of GDP, the highest of all countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

As pointed out in the Fox Business segment, all education for Danes is tuition-free, all the way through to a Ph.D. Not only that; the state will, within certain time constraints, pay students to study. For students at university level no longer living with their parents, the monthly cash grant comes to almost $1,000 per month. No fewer than 325,000 students out of a total population of 5.6 million benefit from this generous arrangement setting the state back to the tune of DKK 20.9 billion or 1% of GDP (latest 2018 figures just in and supplied by Mads Lundby Hansen). Denmark even pays student support to 20,000 foreign students.

Attempts by fiscal conservatives to cut down on payments to students have been successfully resisted by the vociferous and influential student organizations; at present it would appear impossible to muster anything like a parliamentary majority to limit the student handouts.

Fox Business is right that a great many Danes are on public transfer payments. Government figures from 2017 indicate that 712,300 Danes of working age (16-64) — not including recipients of student benefits — get public financial support. But Regan’s claim that most Danes do not work is ludicrous. According to Statistics Denmark, 69.9% of Danes aged 16-64 are active in the labor market.

How can Denmark pay for its comprehensive welfare state, which includes free medical care regardless of the severity of your condition? Regan claims that Denmark is “heavily in debt.” Not so. As it turns out, Denmark is among the least indebted countries in the world, even when compared to other Western countries. The Danish government’s gross debt stands at 35.9% of GDP. Compare that to, e.g., The United Kingdom (86.3 %), The United States (108%), Belgium (101%), Canada (86.6%), France (96.3%), Germany (59.8%), The Netherlands (53.5%), Italy (129.7%), Spain (96.7%) and even Switzerland (41.9%).

Comparing Denmark to the US, Madsen notes that the latter has a problem with fiscal sustainability that may necessitate tax increases. Denmark enjoys what he labels fiscal “oversustainability” (“overholdbarhed”).

At a time when socialism appears to be popular among certain sections of the American population, its proponents would do well not to cite Denmark as a model. The Danish fusion of free-market capitalism and a comprehensive welfare state has worked because Denmark is a small country with a very homogeneous population. This economic and social model rests on more than 150 years of political, social and economic compromises between peasants and landowners, business-owners and workers, and right- and left-leaning political parties. This has led to a measure of social and political stability that would be hard to emulate in much larger and more diverse counties such as the United States.


Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Speech Society, is based in Denmark.

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Ron Paul: Protectionism Abroad and Socialism at Home

One of the most insidious ways politicians expand government is by creating new programs to “solve” problems created by politicians.

Ron Paul

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Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity:


One of the most insidious ways politicians expand government is by creating new programs to “solve” problems created by politicians. For example, government interference in health care increased health care costs, making it difficult or even impossible for many to obtain affordable, quality care. The effects of these prior interventions were used to justify Obamacare.

Now, the failures of Obamacare are being used to justify further government intervention in health care. This does not just include the renewed push for socialized medicine. It also includes supporting new laws mandating price transparency. The lack of transparency in health care pricing is a direct result of government policies encouraging overreliance on third-party payers.

This phenomenon is also observed in foreign policy. American military interventions result in blowback that is used to justify more military intervention. The result is an ever-expanding warfare state and curtailments on our liberty in the name of security.

Another example of this is related to the reaction to President Trump’s tariffs. Many of America’s leading trading partners have imposed “retaliatory” tariffs on US goods. Many of these tariffs target agriculture exports. These tariffs could be devastating for American farmers, since exports compose as much as 20 percent of the average farmer’s income.

President Trump has responded to the hardships imposed on farmers by these retaliatory tariffs with a 12 billion dollars farm bailout program. The program has three elements: direct payments to farmers, use of federal funds to buy surplus crops and distribute them to food banks and nutrition programs, and a new federal effort to promote American agriculture overseas.

This program will not fix the problems caused by Tramp’s tariffs. For one thing, the payments are unlikely to equal the money farmers will lose from this trade war. Also, government marketing programs benefit large agribusiness but do nothing to help small farmers. In fact, by giving another advantage to large agribusiness, the program may make it more difficult for small farmers to compete in the global marketplace.

Distributing surplus food to programs serving the needy may seem like a worthwhile use of government funds. However, the federal government has neither constitutional nor moral authority to use money taken by force from taxpayers for charitable purposes. Government-funded welfare programs also crowd out much more effective and compassionate private efforts. Of course, if government regulations such as the minimum wage and occupational licensing did not destroy job opportunities, government farm programs did not increase food prices, and the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies did not continuously erode purchasing power, the demand for food aid would be much less. By increasing spending and debt, the agriculture bailout will do much more to create poverty than to help the needy.

Agriculture is hardly the only industry suffering from the new trade war. Industries — such as automobile manufacturing — that depend on imports for affordable materials are suffering along with American exporters. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (who supports tariffs) has called for bailouts of industries negatively impacted by tariffs. He is likely to be joined in his advocacy by crony capitalists seeking another government handout.

More bailouts will only add to the trade war’s economic damage by increasing government spending and hastening the welfare–warfare state’s collapse and the rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status. Instead of trying to fix tariffs-caused damage through more corporate welfare, President Trump and Congress should pursue a policy of free markets and free trade for all and bailouts for none.

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