This is from an editorial at Investor’s Business Daily:
As Russia’s ruble plunges, its economy is fast melting down. …
Russia’s central bank raised official interest rates to 17% from 10.5% in a bid to halt the ruble’s stunning plunge, the largest since 1998’s ruble crisis. But on Tuesday, even that desperate rate-hike move failed, as the ruble continued to dive another 4%.
Next up, in all probability, will be capital controls. Putin might even confiscate citizens’ savings by forcing them to swap dollar-based savings accounts for debased ruble ones. This kind of shabby thievery has been done before, but mostly by Latin American dictators. …
How could Russia’s economy go into meltdown mode so fast? …
The major reason for Russia’s implosion is the decline in oil prices. The country relies on selling oil to earn dollars, and the more than 30% drop in oil prices has hit the economy and the currency hard.
A recent estimate by Russia’s Finance Ministry says oil has to average about $117 a barrel for the government to balance its budget. At a current oil price under $60 a barrel, Russia is a fiscal disaster.
The U.S. fracking revolution is a big reason for this. America now puts out more than 9 million barrels of oil a day — up from 7 million barrels just two years ago.
The oil and natural gas fracking boom is happening on private and states’ lands – against the will and the policy of the Obama administration.
As crude prices have declined, oil producers from Venezuela to Saudi Arabia to Iran have felt extraordinary economic pain. Now Russia’s feeling it too, and with political turmoil growing, Russian and foreign investors are leaving the country in droves — and taking their hard currency with them. …
Capital flight is a disaster for the ruble, and is likely to set off double-digit inflation soon.
Interest rates may have to go even higher to stave off a total ruble collapse – 20%? 25%? 30%? No one knows.
But higher rates, soaring inflation, a 60% decline in the stock market and reduced oil revenues mean 2015 is likely to be a nasty year for Russia’s caving economy. …
“Putin’s consistent policy of increasing state economic control may well be leading Russia on the path to stagnation and economic decline,” according to a report issued by the Heritage Foundation in September. …
[Russia’s] reliance on oil exports, the trigger for this crisis, is an obvious one. … Russia also faces a shocking demographic decline — its population is actually shrinking, and it has the odious distinction of being the only industrialized nation in which the average life span is falling. … Russians with skills and schooling are leaving in large numbers, a brain drain. A 2013 survey found 45% of university students wanted to leave the country and live permanently outside the former USSR. What’s left to run Russia’s enfeebled economy is a shrinking, unproductive remnant.
Russia should try a free market economy. It is the only way to prosperity. And then we could have peaceful trading relations with Russia at last. But Russia is very unlikely to do that. The Russian people have never known freedom under the rule of law. They have never wanted it. They get the governments they deserve.
Today we post under Pages (listed at the top of our margin) the next essay in the series by Jillian Becker titled The Darkness of This World (Part Two).
The title of the new essay is The French Pandemonium (One).
It continues a discussion of the Romantic movement which – the series argues – arises from the same need in the human psyche that requires religion. In France, the most influential poets, novelists, essayists and philosophers have been those who have cultivated rebellion against what they call “bourgeois society”. Some of the most eminent of them bluntly declare that their rebellion is a choice of Evil.
Of course not all the French writers of the post-Enlightenment centuries have been Romantics or conscious advocates of Evil. But those who “chose Evil” stoked the fires of destructive rebellion in generations of European intellectuals and have had by far the greater effect on history. In the twentieth century they became so popular and powerful that they helped create the New Left; incited seasons of violent protest demonstrations on city streets throughout Europe and even on other continents; inspired the formation of European terrorist gangs; and implanted their anti-civilization ideology as a new dogma in schools and academies throughout the Western world, including America. As the series continues it will explain how the anti-Americanism of the Left, even in America itself, springs from the European intellectual movement against our civilization.
Here is the first part of the essay:
A pandemonium is a gathering of all the demons or devils. Devils are expected to be noisy, so the word has come to mean a deafening cacophony of shrieking voices.
What the voices of this pandemonium clamor for, is “Evil”. It is not an insult to call them demons; it is an acknowledgment of their choice. They choose Evil, they call for Evil, they acclaim Evil, they are for Evil.
And what are they against? They are against What Is. They are against our civilization. They are against the bourgeois, whom they hold responsible for everything that’s wrong with our civilization: free enterprise industrialization; liberal democracy; parliamentarianism; conservatism.
It was in France that the clamor was loudest among certain poets and novelists and philosophers to épater le bourgeois – shock the bourgeois – in the nineteenth century, reaching a crescendo between the world wars of the twentieth century, rising again after the end of the second. A racket of foaming hate; a literary hue and cry after the middle-class citizen.
As you may have noticed, the bourgeoisie is, in fact, the all-achieving class. Almost everything of value since the Enlightenment, including the Enlightenment itself, has issued from the middle-class; every invention, every discovery, every advance, with so few exceptions they can be counted on a few of your fingers. But to the demons of poetry and philosophy and revolution, the bourgeois was everything that was wrong with Life: the bourgeois with his politesse, his prudence, his order and cleanliness, his comfortable house, his good-quality clothes, his well-stocked larder, his prosperity, his faithfulness to duty, his thrifty habits … “No, no,” the scornful voices yell, interrupting me. “Its not just that, it’s … it’s … it’s his complacency, his bad taste, his narrow-mindedness, his privilege, his exploitation of underdogs, his obsession with material things – and his stupid sexual inhibition. Those, don’t you see, are the unbearable traits that make him a worthy target of our artistic fury. He does not, cannot feel as we do. Down with him! Grind him into the dust! ”
But it is the againstness itself that characterizes the demons. If every one of those despicable things about the bourgeois were overcome or destroyed (as every one of them was in Communist Russia), and civilization wholly laid to waste, the urge would rage on, its hunger unappeased, hunting its everlasting prey: What Is. To them, as to the Gnostics of old, everything that is here is bad; the good lies beyond.
Whatever words have been used to describe the Paris fashions in scorn – modernism, post-modernism, structuralism, post-structuralism, deconstruction – they are all expressions of rebellion. To be a rebel is to be heroic. Despised and rejected by the bourgeois herd, the rebel is a martyr to his deep passion for art, his higher vision of a better world.
To protest against the bourgeois idea of what is good, the demons advocated doing whatever the bourgeois considered evil. They placed themselves in a French counter-tradition, a line that runs from Rousseau with his belief in the primacy of feeling and sentiment, through Robespierre with his Terror, the Marquis de Sade with his penchant for sexual torture, the nineteenth century poets Charles Baudelaire with his Flowers of Evil and Arthur Rimbaud with his Season in Hell, and on through the intellectual trend-setters – whom we will come to – of twentieth century French literature and their continuing effects. There are still reigning French demons in the twenty-first century. It is a dynasty of the defiant. …
You can find all of it here.
James O’Keefe exposes voter fraud – which Attorney General Eric Holder says does not exist:
We do not generally like news people hounding individuals. But when the person being hounded is Lois Lerner, who viciously hounded so many people when she worked for the IRS, we think there is justification for it.
An article by Sharyl Attkisson at the Daily Signal uncovers deep and shameless corruption in Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
It is a shocking story. If it is true – and it certainly rings true – it should not merely put Hillary Clinton out of the running for the presidency, but bring her reputation into such disrepute that the best thing she could do is retire permanently from public life. It should also launch a legal investigation if the Obama DOJ under Eric Holder were not equally corrupt.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, a chief officer in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, was one of the four totally innocent people “disciplined” for unspecified wrong-doing over the Benghazi attack. In other words, they were scapegoated, while those guilty of letting four Americans, including the Ambassador – the high representative of the United States of America – be murdered in Benghazi, have been exonerated by a white-washing Accountability Review Board (ARB).
It is Maxwell who reveals what happened.
His department “was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe”.
On a certain week-end, “confidants” of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (how many is not told) gathered in a basement room where documents were stored, and separated some before handing over a batch to the ARB.
“I was not invited to that after-hours endeavor, but I heard about it and decided to check it out on a Sunday afternoon,” Maxwell says.
When he arrived … he observed boxes and stacks of documents. A State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though technically she worked for him, he hadn’t been consulted about her weekend assignment.
“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light’.”
“Seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.
“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Those are our orders’.”
A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says, in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.
They were two more of Hillary Clinton’s “confidants”: Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff and former White House counsel who defended President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial; and Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, who previously worked on Hillary Clinton’s and then Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.
“When Cheryl saw me, she snapped, ‘Who are you?’” Maxwell says. “Jake explained, ‘That’s Ray Maxwell, an NEA Deputy Assistant Secretary. She conceded, ‘Well, OK’.”
The two Clinton “confidants” (“conspirators” would be a better word for them) “appeared to check in on the operation and soon left”.
Maxwell “did not feel good” about what was going on, and walked out.
He views the after-hours operation he witnessed in the State Department basement as “an exercise in misdirection”.
In May 2013, when critics questioned the ARB’s investigation as not thorough enough, co-chairmen Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen responded that “we had unfettered access to everyone and everything including all the documentation we needed.” Maxwell says when he heard that statement, he couldn’t help but wonder if the ARB — perhaps unknowingly — had received from his bureau a scrubbed set of documents with the most damaging material missing.
“Perhaps unknowingly”? Maxwell put that in, but he does not have faith in the ARB.
Maxwell also criticizes the ARB as “anything but independent,” pointing to Mullen’s admission in congressional testimony that he called [Cheryl] Mills to give her inside advice after the ARB interviewed a potential congressional witness.
Smell a rat? The smell of a whole nest of rats is strong enough to bring the exterminators without a call to summon them.
Maxwell also criticizes the ARB for failing to interview key people at the White House, State Department and the CIA, including not only Clinton but Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who managed department resources in Libya; Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro; and White House National Security Council Director for Libya Ben Fishman.
Those three officials must have been suspected of being honest.
“The ARB inquiry was, at best, a shoddily executed attempt at damage control, both in Foggy Bottom and on Capitol Hill,” Maxwell says.
Maxwell “spent a year on paid administrative leave with no official charge ever levied against him”. He was eventually “cleared of wrong-doing” and reinstated. Soon after that he retired, in November 2013.
Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman.
“She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you’.”
But his reputation had been besmirched. He was being named by the media as a man who had contributed to the disaster of Benghazi.
“I told her that my name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me. Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016′.”
The question now is: will the mainstream media report the story?
You don’t believe so? Neither do we.
We’re delighted by every sign that the Obama henchmen – and henchwomen – are scared of what Fox News is discovering and broadcasting about Benghazi, where the regime allowed the US ambassador and three other Americans to be killed by Libyan terrorists. Fox News has found more and more evidence that the administration refused to send help, and that they’ve been trying to cover up their guilt ever since. Now Greta van Susteren reveals yet another effort to stop the truth emerging.
We took this excellent though horrifying video from Front Page.
We feel the need to comment on only one thing. At the end, Bill Whittle says that Obama is “up against” the mass murderer Putin. But we doubt Obama sees Putin as an opponent. Obama was raised as a Communist. We think he is more likely to see Putin – even now – as an ideological ally than as an enemy.
How corrupt the executive branch of the US federal government has become under the rule of the Democratic Party! Or let’s say – since it’s unlikely that there was no corruption before that – how much more visible its corruption has become.
Taking only one of the scandals (all of them “phony” according to Obama), you can see the size of the rot in the childishly transparent attempt the Internal Revenue Service is making to cover up its abuse of power.
We quote from an IBD editorial:
An internationally accredited information-technology asset-management firm says the IRS has some explaining to do as our patience is taxed with tales of even more convenient computer crashes.
Private-sector organizations as vast as the Internal Revenue Service typically have redundancy built into their information technology systems, as secure record keeping is the key to managing their businesses and staying in business. Such records … are often required to be kept by law, and often by the IRS itself.
As we have noted, Lois Lerner’s lost emails from the critical period when the IRS was serving as a political arm of the Obama administration and targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups suggest by themselves a conspiracy to obstruct justice as well as being a violation of the Federal Records Act, which requires paper copies of such critical emails to be printed and stored just in case of computer problems.
This conspiracy to obstruct justice is further suggested by some Lerner emails that she and the Obama administration wished had been lost — especially one sent by Lerner to a Maria Hooke.
“I had a question today about OCS,” Lerner stated in the email. “I was cautioning folks about email, how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails — so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”
OCS is the IRS’s Office Communications Server, a form of online chat system that circumvents email.
When she learned that OCS messages were not set to automatically save, Lerner wrote, “Perfect.”
Clearly Lerner had a keen interest in keeping her communications from Congress and the American people.
Lerner’s hard drive allegedly crashed, which cannot be verified because her hard drive has since been destroyed and/or recycled. That questionable hard-drive direction came just 10 days after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, the Republican from Michigan, first wrote a letter asking if the IRS was targeting nonprofit groups. …
On Monday, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers [IAITAM], which deals with such technical questions regarding computer hardware and record retention on a regular basis and which has reacted with the same incredulity as the rest of us, released a list of six basic questions the IRS needs to answer.
1. First, what happened to the IRS’s IT asset managers who seemingly vanished during this critical period? IAITAM , which runs the only worldwide certification program for IT asset managers, says its records show that at least three IRS IT asset managers were moved out of their positions at the time of the May 2013 inspector general’s report that detailed the agency’s targeting practices. What can they tell us?
2. The hard drives in question are federal property and cannot be destroyed or recycled without proper documentation. … Where are these records?
3. IAITAM asks if the drives were destroyed by an outside IT asset destruction unit, a not-unusual practice among federal agencies. If so, it adds an entire second layer of documentation of the destruction of these assets, including who approved it.
4. What are the IRS’ specific policies and procedures on document retention when hard drives are damaged or destroyed? In most large private-sector organizations, hard drives and computers are just not tossed in the dumpster or dropped off at the local recycling center until recovery of the lost data is assured.
5. What is the disaster recovery policy at the IRS, an agency responsible for our most sensitive tax information, particularly in light of its statistically implausible number of hard drive crashes?
6. Where are Lerner’s emails from her BlackBerry device and what is on the enterprise server? Some have even suggested Lerner may have off-loaded her emails to what is known as a USB flash drive and still has them in her possession, another federal offense.
The IRS is counting on the general public’s relative ignorance of computer technology to believe its smoke-and-mirror cover-up.
But in the age of the iPad and iPhone, even a child knows that something does not compute here.
Conspiracies seldom work, because conspirators betray them. This is a huge conspiracy. Surely sooner or later some of those who know about the plot, those shabbily-treated IT asset managers, or the ones who can’t keep a secret, or the ones with a conscience (if they exist), will spill the beans? Or the ones without a conscience but an ability to perceive and seize a golden opportunity, will sell what they know for a big bag of greenbacks? Hasn’t that idea occurred to any of them? They just might get enough to compensate them for losing their job.
UN watch 4
July 23, 2014. The United Nations holds an emergency session on the battle in Gaza as the Israeli Defense Force destroys the invasion-tunnels and rocket bases of the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas.
Delegates from countries that specialize in mass murder, such as Sudan, Syria, Cuba, and Iran, accuse Israel of “war crimes”. Most of the rest of the world’s delegates are on the terrorists’ side too.
A lone voice defends Israel, and accuses its accusers. It is the voice of Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
The United Nations must be destroyed.
Whether the earth is getting a wee bit warmer, or a wee bit cooler, or staying much the same in this wee bit of time in which the present generations live, is of no importance. None. What is important is that a few thousand people are trying to undo our civilization, return the human race to the life of savages (“solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”, as Thomas Hobbes described it), or even wipe it off the face of the earth*. And all to preserve the planet, they say. For whom? For what? They are obsessed madmen, religious fanatics. (Yes, environmentalism is a religion.) And they are winning. They have the ear of Western governments. They command government agencies. Some of them – such as the despots of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – have immense power. Their word is law.
Of the tactics they use, the one that is working best for them and worst for their victims, is stopping Western technology spreading to the Third World, thus keeping poor countries poor, and allowing disease to kill millions upon millions, year after year.
Big Green activists say anything other than solar panels and bird-butchering wind turbines would not be “sustainable”. Like climate change, “sustainability” is infinitely elastic and malleable, making it a perfect weapon for anti-development activists. Whatever they support is sustainable. Whatever they oppose is unsustainable. To them, apparently, the diseases and death tolls are sustainable, just, ethical and moral. Whatever they advocate also complies with the “precautionary principle”. Whatever they disdain violates it. Worse, their perverse guideline always focuses on the risks of using technologies – but never on the risks of not using them. It spotlights risks that a technology – coal-fired power plants, biotech foods or DDT, for example – might cause, but ignores risks the technology would reduce or prevent.
We quote an article by Paul Driessen at Canada Free Press:
Fossil fuel and insurance company executives “could face personal liability for funding climate denialism and opposing policies to fight climate change”, Greenpeace recently warned several corporations. In a letter co-signed by WWF International and the Center for International Environmental Law, the Rainbow Warriors ($155 million in 2013 global income) suggested that legal action might be possible.
Meanwhile, the WWF ($927 million in 2013 global income) filed a formal complaint against Peabody Energy for “misleading readers” in advertisements that say coal-based electricity can improve lives in developing countries. The ads are not “decent, honest and veracious”, as required by Belgian law, the World Wildlife ethicists sniffed. Other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) make similar demands. …
They are demands which – we ardently hope – will rebound in their green faces.
In fact, the rebounding has begun.
India’s Intelligence Bureau recently identified Greenpeace as “a threat to national economic security”, noting that these and other groups have been “spawning” and funding internal protest movements and campaigns that have delayed or blocked numerous mines, electricity projects and other infrastructure programs vitally needed to create jobs and lift people out of poverty and disease. The anti-development NGOs are costing India’s economy 2-3% in lost GDP every year, the Bureau estimates.
The Indian government has now banned direct foreign funding of local campaign groups by foreign NGOs like Greenpeace, the WWF and US-based Center for Media and Democracy. India and other nations could do much more. Simply holding these über-wealthy nonprofit environmentalist corporations to the same ethical standards they demand of for-profit corporations could be a fascinating start.
Greenpeace, WWF and other Big Green campaigners constantly demand environmental and climate justice for poor families. They insist that for-profit corporations be socially responsible, honest, transparent, accountable, and liable for damages and injustices that the NGOs allege the companies have committed, by supposedly altering Earth’s climate and weather, for example.
Meanwhile, more than 300 million Indians (equal to the US population) still have no access to electricity, or only sporadic access. 700 million Africans likewise have no or only occasional access. Worldwide, almost 2.5 billion people (nearly a third of our Earth’s population) still lack electricity …
These energy-deprived people do not merely suffer abject poverty. They must burn wood and dung for heating and cooking, which results in debilitating lung diseases that kill a million people every year. They lack refrigeration, safe water and decent hospitals, resulting in virulent intestinal diseases that send almost two million people to their graves annually. The vast majority of these victims are women and children.
The energy deprivation is due in large part to unrelenting, aggressive, deceitful eco-activist campaigns against coal-fired power plants, natural gas-fueled turbines, and nuclear and hydroelectric facilities in India, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and elsewhere. The Obama Administration joined Big Greeen in refusing to support loans for these critically needed projects, citing climate change and other claims.
As American University adjunct professor Caleb Rossiter asked in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Where is the justice when the US discourages World Bank funding for electricity-generation projects in Africa that involve fossil fuels, and when the European Union places a ‘global warming’ tax on cargo flights importing perishable African goods?”
Where is the justice in Obama advisor John Holdren saying ultra-green elites in rich countries should define and dictate “ecologically feasible development” for poor countries? …
Imagine your life without abundant, reliable, affordable electricity and transportation fuels. Imagine living under conditions endured by impoverished, malnourished, diseased Indians and Africans whose life expectancy is 49 to 59 years. And then dare to object to their pleas and aspirations, especially on the basis of “dangerous manmade global warming” speculation and GIGO [garbage in, garbage out] computer models. …
Genetically engineered Golden Rice incorporates a gene from corn (maize) to make it rich in beta-carotene, which humans can convert to Vitamin A, to prevent blindness and save lives. The rice would be made available at no cost to poor farmers. Just two ounces a day would virtually end the childhood malnutrition, blindness and deaths. But Greenpeace and its “ethical” collaborators have battled Golden Rice for years, while eight million children died from Vitamin A deficiency since the rice was invented.
In Uganda malnourished people depend as heavily on Vitamin A-deficient bananas, as their Asian counterparts do on minimally nutritious rice. A new banana incorporates genes from wild bananas, to boost the fruit’s Vitamin A levels tenfold. But anti-biotechnology activists repeatedly pressure legislators not to approve biotech crops for sale.
Other crops are genetically engineered to resist insects, drought and diseases, reducing the need for pesticides and allowing farmers to grow more food on less land with less water. However, Big Green opposes them too, while millions die from malnutrition and starvation.
Sprayed in tiny amounts on walls of homes, DDT repels mosquitoes for six months or more. It kills any that land on the walls and irritates those it does not kill or repel, so they leave the house without biting anyone. No other chemical – at any price – can do all that. Where DDT and other insecticides are used, malaria cases and deaths plummet – by as much as 80 percent. Used this way, the chemical is safe for humans and animals, and malaria-carrying mosquitoes are far less likely to build immunities to DDT than to other pesticides, which are still used heavily in agriculture and do pose risks to humans.
But in another crime against humanity, Greenpeace, WWF and their ilk constantly battle DDT use – while half a billion people get malaria every year, making them unable to work for weeks on end, leaving millions with permanent brain damage, and killing a million people per year, mostly women and children.
India and other countries can fight back, by terminating the NGOs’ tax-exempt status, as Canada did with Greenpeace. They could hold the pressure groups to the same standards they demand of for-profit corporations: honesty, transparency, social responsibility, accountability and personal liability. They could excoriate the Big Green groups for their crimes against humanity – and penalize them for the malnutrition, disease, economic retractions and deaths they perpetrate or perpetuate.
* See our posts: The evil that Greenpeace does, January 16, 2010; The vast left-wing conspiracy, January 18, 2010; The blind cruelty of Greenpeace, January 20, 2010; Fresh wild raw uninhabited world, January 2, 2012.