The US Is a Financial Parasite on a Robust China – commentary

… The ‘Silk’ Road Will Delouse the Dragon

Dmitry Orlov – Club Orlov | Russia Insider

“Vis-à-vis China, the US looks like a typical 19th-century European colonial possession.”

The old Silk Road was an ancient trade route that tied together the Roman Empire and China, where silk came from. It was so called because silk was at the heart of the trade. Silk went to Europe, gold and luxury goods went back. Silk was important because silk garments worn against the skin prevented body lice, and wealthy Roman citizens were ready to pay for silk with gold, because the alternative was watching their wives and concubines scratch themselves.         

In addition to wearing silk, the Romans built baths, along with aqueducts to supply them.                 

The Roman delousing procedure involved getting all of your body hair plucked (ouch!), oiling yourself up, working up a sweat in pretend-wresting, then scraping your skin using a sickle-shaped implement called a strigil. Then they would soak in a hot bath, don silk undergarments, and remain itch-free until the next bath day.               

The Romans spent so much gold on the Chinese silk that they didn’t have enough left to pay their legionnaires, resulting in numerous revolts and revolutions, and eventually had to debase their currency, which, as the end of the Empire grew near, contained mostly copper. The gold ended up in China, where it caused no end of corruption, because imperial officials, who received the gold in exchange for the silk, which they obtained from the peasantry that raised the silkworm, used it to enrich themselves rather than the imperial treasury.

After experimenting with executing corrupt officials, it was discovered that they would always bury their treasure ahead of time, so that their families could recover it after their execution, and so Plan B was to execute the officials’ entire families. This, in turn, caused a dire shortage of imperial officials.

Thus, the silk trade caused two empires to collapse — the Roman and the Chinese — the former due to a shortage of gold, the latter due to its surplus, but all because of a certain skin parasite.

The original Silk Road, established between the Han dynasty in China and the Roman Empire in Europe around 130 BC, had the Sogdians act as the go-betweens. Eventually the Sogdian empire collapsed, and the Sogdians were replaced by Khazarian Jews, who also eventually came to a sticky end around 965 AD at the hands of Sviatoslav, prince of Kievan Rus.

Later, a technological breakthrough in ocean sailing ships obviated the need for a land-based trade route and caravans spanning the Eurasian continent came to an end.

But now the Silk Road is being resurrected as the New Silk Road, which will again connect China with Europe, with the European Union in place of the Roman Empire and with the Russian Federation in place of the Sogdians or the Khazars.

It will no longer have much to do with silk, since there are now far more effective ways to deal with lice than silk underwear, a working-over with a strigil and a plunge in the caldarium.

But, just as before, the purpose of the New Silk Road will be to control the infestation of a certain parasite — or, in this case, an entire country of parasites: The United States of America.

Some people say that the US is the world’s largest economy, but I beg to differ. Let’s do some simple math to come up with a reasonable GDP deflator for the US economy. An appendectomy (the most common operation performed) costs around $60,000 in the US. It costs around 8000 rubles, or $123 in Russia. The difference is a factor of 60,000/123 or around 500. Assuming that everything else in the US — not just medicine but also education, legal services, professional services, real estate, defense spending, election campaigns and all the other American swindles and rackets combined — is equally ridiculously overpriced, 2019 estimated US GDP is not $21 trillion but just $42 billion, many times smaller than Russia with $1,649 billion.

Some people say that the US is an important part of the world economy with many essential exports. Looking at the US-China, the most profitable exports from China to the US are: computers, electrical equipment, footwear, furniture, clothing, plastics and metals, cars, optical and photographic equipment.

Meanwhile, the most profitable US exports to China are: soybeans, wheat, animal feed, meat, cotton, metal ore, metal scrap, animal skins, pulp, cigarettes, gold, coal, fuel, rice, tobacco, fertilizer and glass.

Vis-à-vis China, the US looks like a typical 19th-century European colonial possession. The US runs a permanent, and very large, trade deficit with China, and just as a colony would be forced to borrow the difference, so does the US.

What allows it to be a parasite is that it does so in its own currency, which it can print at will, and to force other countries to invest in it at low rates of interest, all because it has been able to militarily dominate the ocean trade routes and to punish those who refuse to play this game, either financially (by destroying their currencies), politically (by overthrowing their governments and installing ones their people don’t get to choose) or militarily (by blowing them up).

Meanwhile, somewhat analogously to the original Silk Road, gold has been flowing from the US to China. The US still claims to have the largest gold reserves on Earth — on paper — but those countries that have stored their gold in the US and have requested to have it returned have either been rebuffed or have been forced to wait, only to be returned gold that wasn’t theirs. It would therefore not come as a surprise to discover, when all other options are exhausted and the gold vaults have to be opened, that the gold they were supposed to hold is no longer there.

It is easy to stop at the geographical analogy between the original Silk Road and the new one. They both traverse the same geography. But why stop there, when there is an obvious deeper analogy lurking just under the surface:

Both of these Silk Roads were/are efforts to control a parasite. Why is the new Silk Road a “silk” road even though silk itself is a vanishingly small part of the trade? Because it just sounds nice? Or because silk controls parasites?

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Comments

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    Here are the Differences between a Special Counsel, a Special Prosecutor, and an Independent Counsel

    Veronika Bondarenko | Business Insider

    The Justice Department appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into the ties between Russia and Trump campaign officials.

    As calls from lawmakers and the public for an independent investigation had surged, the terms special counsel, special prosecutor, and independent counsel had been bandied about interchangeably.

    And while all three refer to a person tasked to investigate potential legal breaches amid conflicts of interest in the government, the three terms have been used at different points in time and for different reasons.

    A SPECIAL COUNSEL is a government prosecutor who has been appointed to oversee a criminal investigation where the Justice Department has a conflict of interest or under certain circumstances where it would be ” in the public interest” to appoint an investigator outside the department.

    In the case of the Trump/Russia investigation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal, as well the heightened scrutiny after the firing of FBI director James Comey, prompted Deputy Attorney General to appoint Mueller as special counsel. He cited the “unique circumstances of this matter.”

    The appointment of a special counsel by the attorney general or deputy attorney general is “unreviewable”, according to the Center for Legal and Economic Studies.

    The term special counsel simply replaced the term ” special prosecutor” that was used throughout the 1980s, after which the laws around special prosecutors expired and were not renewed, therefore retiring the term.

    Both terms refer to an INDEPENDENT OVERSEER who can investigate governmental records and press criminal charges.

    The term INDEPENDENT COUNSEL, comes from Congress’s post-Watergate decision to authorize the creation of an INDEPENDENT SPECIAL COUNSEL for investigations in 1978 with the Ethics in Government Act. The law dictated that a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, appoint the counsel.

    The law, which was reauthorized several times until 1999, was used more than a dozen times to initiate investigations, according to PBS Frontline. It was used perhaps most famously in the 1990s to appoint Kenneth Starr to oversee investigations into President Bill Clinton’s conduct.

    The current term used is “SPECIAL COUNSEL” and can be appointed only by the president, the attorney general or the deputy attorney general.

    As special counsel, Robert Mueller, once he is finished with the Trump-Russia investigation, can either pass his findings to Congress or leave the decision on what to do with the findings with the attorney general.

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