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June 26, 2018 | What the Feds Won’t Say About Russian Meddling

Is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of the daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist.

POITOU, FRANCE – “Trade fears hit stocks,” began this morning’s typical Wall Street report.

Yesterday, we promised not to mention trade again. But we had our fingers crossed!

Besides, through no fault of our own, it popped back into the headlines.

The Dow dropped more than 400 points yesterday… but then recovered some of the loss. It ended down only 328 points.

Investors seemed to realize that even fake fears of trade wars… Chinese perfidy… or dangerous immigrants can blow up into real calamities.

But if they had a better sense of what was really headed their way, we suspect the Dow would have gone down a lot more.

 

Late Degenerate Empire

Late degenerate empires like the U.S. seem to induce paradoxical feelings of extreme fear, delusion, and paranoia.

Instinctively, people know things are going to Hell in a handbasket. But they don’t know what is wrong. So they entertain hallucinations from both sides of the spectrum…

On the one side, they’re the brass of God’s chosen people… who can do no wrong… and who, thanks to their hard work, their sagacity, and the genius of their new president… have the most competitive economy ever known to man…

And on the other, they are the most timorous, faint-hearted people God ever created. They see rapists under every bed… terrorists in every pair of sandals… and economic doom in every statistic.

Today, no matter what direction they look in, they see danger.

 

Send ’Em Back

Across the stormy Atlantic, God-fearing Americans see Europeans taking market share from their auto companies – unfairly, of course.

On the other side of the Pacific, the inscrutable Chinese are stealing their intellectual property while using cheap labor and government subsidies to underprice their consumer exports.

South of the Rio Grande is teeming with millions of rapists, thieves, and murderers – all of them trying to sneak across the border. With no skills and a lazy “mañana” attitude – they don’t even speak English! – the Mexicans are stealing their jobs.

Here’s POTUS himself, speaking for the American people: “Give us your tired, your poor, huddled masses,” he says… “and we’ll send ’em right back.”

We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country… When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.

And those wily Canadians, flooding the U.S. market with their pulp products… while buying up precious U.S. shoes and leaving Americans barefoot!

And that’s just the beginning. All over the world, and perhaps out in the galaxy, too, terrorists, insurgents, extremists, and freedom fighters… oops, we mean “separatists”… have it in for Americans.

We already have more guns than people… and spend on “defense” at least ten times more than our nearest rival…

But our military/industrial/security/crony complex won’t rest until every potential threat has been exterminated.

 

Finely Tuned Democracy

Meanwhile, the Russians are bound and determined to hit America where it really hurts – in its lovely, finely tuned democracy.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the feds’ new “foreign influence” task force got together the top tech companies to warn that the Russians were getting ready to attack:

Eight of the tech industry’s most influential companies, in anticipation of a repeat of the Russian meddling that occurred during the 2016 presidential campaign, met with United States intelligence officials last month to discuss preparations for this year’s midterm elections.

[…] But the people who attended described a tense atmosphere in which the tech companies repeatedly pressed federal officials for information, only to be told – repeatedly – that no specific intelligence would be shared.

American intelligence officials have offered blunt warnings that Russia and other foreign governments are already meddling in the closely watched midterm election campaign.

This “Russian meddling” story has been explored by a special prosecutor and followed daily by the press. But it is still as much a mystery to us as the virgin birth. We’re as puzzled as the tech execs.

What are the Russians trying to do? Elect the best candidate? Or the worst? Voters can’t decide which is which. How can they?

In the end, Americans can generally be counted on to pick the worst of them. So if the Russians wanted to skew the results, they’d have to get behind the best candidates. What would be wrong with that?

And how would they do it?

The Russian economy is about the size of Canada’s, and less than one tenth that of the U.S. There is no way Russia could afford to pour enough resources into the elections to overpower all the spending (influencing) coming from U.S. sources.

And it is not likely that Russians will be any more talented than their U.S. counterparts at inventing fake news stories that might tilt the balance.

So what gives? What do America’s 17 security agencies know that we don’t?

The spooks wouldn’t say. Nothing. Nada. Nyet. Not how. Not why. Or anything else that might be credible or helpful. Or even remotely reasonable.

Instead, they left the tech executives scratching their heads. “What was that all about?” they wondered.

We’ll return to this subject tomorrow…

We’ll see beyond the fake threat posed by foreigners… to the real one posed by our own, home-grown saboteurs.

Regards,

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Bill

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June 26th, 2018

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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