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Monday, June 06, 2016

Bernie Sanders

Bill Clinton’s Legacy of Denial

Editor’s note: This column was originally published on June 21, 2011, and is being reposted, says Truthdig Editor in Chief Scheer, “as a cautionary tale, given that Hillary Clinton has promised to turn over the task of job creation to her husband if she is elected president.”

Does Bill Clinton still not grasp that the current economic crisis is in large measure his legacy? Obviously that’s the case, or he wouldn’t have had the temerity to write a 14-point memo for Newsweek on how to fix the economy that never once refers to the home mortgage collapse and other manifestations of Wall Street greed that he enabled as president.  

Endorsing the Republican agenda of financial industry deregulation, reversing New Deal safeguards, President Clinton pursued policies that in the long run created more damage to the American economy than any other president since Herbert Hoover, whose tenure is linked to the Great Depression. Now, in his Newsweek piece, Clinton has the effrontery to once again revive his 1992 campaign mantra, “It’s the economy, stupid,” as the article’s title without any sense of irony, let alone accountability. But that has always been the man’s special gift—to rise above, and indeed benefit from, the messes he created.

His list of safe nostrums—painting tar-surface roofs white and seeking more efficient solar and battery production—to be featured at his lavishly funded Clinton Global Initiative conference in Chicago next week is vintage Clinton hype. All of those solutions are of the win/win sort that he loved to ballyhoo as president; who in his or her right mind would be against green job creation? But that hardly speaks to a crisis in which, as was reported Tuesday, the housing meltdown continues unabated as the toxic mortgages sold and packaged by the leading banks and investment houses clog the real estate market, destroying consumer confidence and hobbling job creation. 

Conceding that the bailed-out banks are sitting on $2 trillion that they won’t lend, Clinton offers not a word about mortgage relief for swindled homeowners. With an all-time high of 44 million Americans living below the poverty line, Clinton once again brags of his success in ending the federal welfare program. 

There is only a one-sentence reference in the Clinton article to the era of financial greed: “The real thing that has killed us in the last 10 years is that too much of our dealmaking creativity has been devoted to expanding the financial sector in ways that don’t create new businesses and more jobs and to persuading people to take on excessive debt loads to make up for the fact that their incomes are stagnant.” Now that’s a clear description of the consequence of President Clinton’s policy of radical deregulation of the financial industry, but he writes as if that outcome has nothing to do with him. 

Clinton signed off on the reversal of the Glass-Steagall Act, the legislative jewel of the Franklin Roosevelt administration designed to prevent financial institutions from getting too big to fail. In signing the Financial Services Modernization Act, which broke down the barrier between high-rolling Wall Street investment firms and consumer banks carrying the deposits of ordinary folk, Clinton gushed in 1999, “Over the [past] seven years we have tried to modernize the economy. … And today what we are doing is modernizing the financial services industry, tearing down those antiquated laws and granting banks significant new authority.”

The first beneficiary of that legislation was Citigroup, a corporation that resulted from a merger that would have been banned by Glass-Steagall. Upon signing the law, Clinton handed one of the pens he used to a beaming Sandy Weill, Citigroup CEO and a close friend and financial supporter of the president. Clinton’s treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, then went off to be a $15-million-a-year exec at Citigroup and was in a key position there when the bank made those toxic derivative packages that would have forced it into bankruptcy had U.S. taxpayers not bailed the bank out. 

So much for the “modernizing” that Clinton had bragged about.

A year later a variation of that same word appeared in the title of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which Clinton signed and which exempted from government regulation all of the collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps that would later prove so toxic. That legislation led to the explosion of the market in unregulated mortgage-based securities, the key source of the financial-sector “dealmaking” that Clinton now bemoans.

In his memoir Clinton pays tribute to Rubin as “the best and most important treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton.” He wrote that line in 2004, when Rubin, who had come to Clinton from a top job at Goldman Sachs and later left for Citigroup, was already clearly defined as someone who profited mightily from the very bills that he had pushed through while working for Clinton.  

As with so much in the Clinton record, the former president remains in deep denial over having any culpability for his misdeeds. In his thousand-page memoir there is no reference to the above-mentioned radical deregulation of the economy that he presided over. As evidenced by his Newsweek article, the man has long been convinced that there is no problem or contradiction of his that cannot be simply plastered over with blather. Sadly, he may be right.

Read more of Robert Scheer’s writings about Bill Clinton herehere and here.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s new book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”

Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.


  1. Washington (CNN)Bernie Sanders unleashed a sharp attack on Hillary Clinton over foreign policy on Sunday, casting her as too eager to use U.S. military force and saying her family charity’s acceptance of foreign countries’ contributions could be a conflict of interest.

    The Vermont senator told CNN’s Jake Tapper the former secretary of state is too quick to "rush in" and remove dictators and he criticized Clinton's approaches to Iraq, Libya and Syria.

    "I worry about that, yeah, I do. I think her support for the war in Iraq was not just an aberration,” Sanders said of Clinton's vote to authorize the Iraq War, in the interview that aired on "State of the Union."

    “I think that her willingness to kind of push President (Barack) Obama to overthrow (Libyan leader Moammar) Gaddafi and lead to the kind of instability that we're seeing now in Libya -- not inconsistent with her other views on Syria, where she wants a no-fly zone, which I think can suck us into never-ending conflict in that area," he said.

    Sanders’ sharp critiques come as Clinton is on the cusp of being declared the presumptive Democratic nominee, through a combination of pledged and superdelegates.

    Speaking about Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi, Sanders said: "These are terrible, brutal dictators. But our job is to think what happens the day after these people are removed -- the kind of instability that occurs.”

    “The world would be better off with these dictators out of power, but there are ways to get them out of power without causing mass instability and the deaths of many, many, many hundreds of thousands of people," Sanders said.

    He conceded that “no, it's not that easy, but you bring the entire world together."

    Sanders was also sharply critical of the Clinton Foundation -- the Clinton family’s charitable organization -- for accepting millions of dollars in donations from countries like Saudi Arabia during her tenure as America's top diplomat.

    "Do I have any problems when a sitting secretary of state and a foundation run by her husband collect many millions of dollars from foreign governments which are dictatorships?" Sanders said. "You don't have a lot of civil liberties or democratic rights in Saudi Arabia. You don't have a lot of respect there for opposition points of view, for gay rights, for women's rights."
    "Yes," he said. "Do I have a problem with that? Yeah, I do.”

    Asked if he thinks those donations create the appearance of a conflict of interest, Sanders said: "Yeah, I do. I do."

  2. After eliminating the Bush family, let’s get rid of the Clintons once and for all.

  3. Despite having a more massive, technologically advanced, and better funded military than any other power or even group of powers on the planet, in the last decade and a half of constant war across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa, the U.S. has won nothing, nada, zilch. Its unending wars have, in fact, led nowhere in a world growing more chaotic by the second. Its militarized “milestones,” like the recent drone-killing in Pakistan of the leader of the Taliban, have proven repetitive signposts on what, even in the present fog, is surely the road to hell.

    It’s been relatively easy, if you live here, to notice little enough of all this and -- at least until Donald Trump arrived to the stunned fascination of the country (not to speak of the rest of the planet) -- to imagine that we live in a peaceable land with most of its familiar markers still reassuringly in place. We still have elections, our tripartite form of government (as well as the other accoutrements of a democracy), our reverential view of our Constitution and the rights it endows us with, and so on. In truth, however, the American world is coming to bear ever less resemblance to the one we still claim as ours, or rather that older America looks increasingly like a hollowed-out shell within which something new and quite different has been gestating.

    After all, can anyone really doubt that representative democracy as it once existed has been eviscerated and is now -- consider Congress exhibit A -- in a state of advanced paralysis, or that just about every aspect of the country’s infrastructure, is slowly fraying or crumbling and that little is being done about it? Can anyone doubt that the constitutional system -- take war powers as a prime example or, for that matter, American liberties -- has also been fraying? Can anyone doubt that the country’s classic tripartite form of government, from a Supreme Court missing a member by choice of Congress to a national security state that mocks the law, is ever less checked and balanced and increasingly more than “tri”?

    In the Vietnam era, people first began talking about an “imperial presidency.” Today, in areas of overwhelming importance, the White House is, if anything, somewhat less imperial, but only because it’s more in thrall to the ever-expanding national security state. Though that unofficial fourth branch of government is seldom seriously considered when the ways in which our American world works are being described and though it has no place in the Constitution, it is increasingly the first branch of government in Washington, the one before which all the others kneel down.


    1. Both Clinton and Trump will make it worse. The unanswered question is which will make it more worse, Some choice.

    2. Clinton will make SCOTUS far worse.
      For sure.

    3. Which is a big BIG reason to vote for Trump.

  4. Glad to read that BillyGoat is responsible for the home mortgage collapse.

    "the home mortgage collapse and other manifestations of Wall Street greed that he enabled as president"

    This puts 'The End' to Ruf's continual blaming it all on Bush.

    (even though I think Sheer is a big b.s.er)

    1. Sheer is an even older fart than I. Back in the day he was a big 'New Lefty', vomiting out praise for commie revolutions, hymns of praise to Fidel and Che, and all that sort of shit.

      It's way past time for him to finally shut up, and think on love, death, karma and the world to come.

  5. The route of the near death march:

    The parking structure entrance was HALF A BLOCK AWAY from the Convention Center!


  6. My first criterion is for the occupant of the White House to be sane.

    After that:

    1) We must get more money out of lock-up, and in circulation. The best way to accomplish that is to increase the minimum wage.

    2) Increase access to Healthcare - important from a moral consideration, and also aids in accomplishing #1.

    3) Education - k thru 16 Needs support, badly.

    4) Alternative Energy

    My decision is a no-brainer.

    1. We get the no brain aspect of your decision making.


    2. I agree it is a no brainer. That is Bernie Sanders.

    3. The problem is, Hillary "Locks Up" the nomination Tuesday.

    4. Three of us affirm Ruf is lacking in brains for supporting Hillary the Criminal !

      The judgement has been rendered.

    5. (of course the same applies to those supporting the 'Venezuelan')

    6. Well, Rufus has shocked me with that.

      He's even stupider than I imagined.

      Free Money will fix everything, even "education."

      (Has he ever read anything regarding the correlation between money and educational outcomes?)

      "Many people believe that lack of funding is a problem in public education,[10] but historical trends show that American spending on public education is at an all-time high. Between 1994 and 2004, average per-pupil expenditures in American public schools have increased by 23.5 percent (adjusted for inflation). Between 1984 and 2004, real expenditures per pupil increased by 49 percent.[11] These increases follow the historical trend of ever-increasing real per-student expenditures in the nation's public schools. In fact, the per-pupil expenditures in 1970-1971 ($4,060) were less than half of per-pupil expenditures in 2005-2006 ($9,266) after adjusting for inflation."

    7. ...and the quality of a k-12 education has gone down.

  7. It is about time that Americans get over this childish hero worship over someone wearing a military uniform. Anyone that served in the military knows that there are some real bad actors.


    TOKYO — The U.S. Navy imposed a total ban on alcohol consumption Monday and ordered all American personnel confined to their bases for non-essential activities to thwart a string of crimes by current or former servicemembers that has provoked outrage among Japanese.

    The announcement followed the arrest early Sunday of an American sailor on drunken-driving charges. A Japanese woman was hospitalized and a man was slightly injured after Okinawa police said the sailor drove the wrong way on a busy highway late Saturday, striking two other cars head on. The sailor was not injured but was arrested by Japanese police after she was found to have a blood-alcohol level six times Japan’s legal limit, according to Japan’s Kyodo News service.

    The arrest came just a week after U.S. authorities announced that all military personnel on Okinawa would be banned from drinking alcohol off base as part of a 30-day period of “unity and mourning.”

    The mourning period was declared after a U.S. base worker, who is a former Marine, was arrested May 19 and charged with the brutal rape and murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman. Her body was found stuffed in a suitcase and dumped in a wooded area.

  8. Deuce ☂Mon Jun 06, 11:49:00 AM EDT
    It is about time that Americans get over this childish hero worship over someone wearing a military uniform. Anyone that served in the military knows that there are some real bad actors.

    Yep there are.

    But when I said almost the same thing here at the blog, you scolded me for being un-American because I did not serve.

    No matter my father, uncles and cousins did, no matter some were wounded and one even was killed in Nam.

  9. The California Primary: Millennials' Last Fling
    Jeffrey Folks

    America's newest voting generation can flirt with Bernie Sanders for a little while, but these special snowflakes are going to have to grow up very soon.


    Growing up is hard.

  10. San Jose, CA, "America"


  11. How Will Trump Choose a VP?

    He knows the game — he'll go big or go home

    by Eddie Zipperer

    But, since the media has decided on a permanent narrative that Trump lacks the temperament to be trusted with foreign policy — cooperating with Hillary, who’s making that a mantra — he will consider a VP who has enough foreign policy clout to calm such fears. Here are three candidates who might suffice: Lt. Col. Allen West, Rep. Martha McSally, and Sen. Joni Ernst. All veterans, all of sound and competent mind.

    A Women's Champion
    In the first GOP debate way back in 2015, Megyn Kelly called Trump out on his rhetoric toward women, and that concern has not disappeared. Hillary has already attacked Trump on the issue several times, and she isn't going to let up anytime soon.

    Of course, every Republican nominee faces accusations of phantom gender bias, but Trump will be hit harder with the accusation than any of his predecessors for two big reasons:

    1.) He's likely to be running against Clinton, who considers herself the greatest champion of American women (even though she was repeatedly cuckolded by a philandering husband).

    2.) Scroll through his Twitter and you'll see fodder for the mainstream media.

    A female defender on the campaign trail with Trump will be able to parry Clinton's attacks better than Trump can and better than any male VP candidate will be able to.

    Since Mitt Romney probably isn't willing to lend Trump his binders full of women, here's a list of women who would be excellent choices, who've also been mentioned above: Ernst, Haley, Love, Brewer, Martinez, McSally, and a sleeper, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    Trump Branding
    You think running for president is much different than what the Kardashians do? Think again. Genius branding is how Trump created his empire. It's where his greatest talents lie. And for branding purposes, nobody out there beats Mia Love. With the media, the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Party, and even part of the GOP accusing Trump of hating this group of people or that group of people in every single news cycle, you can't beat the branding of every single bumper sticker, button, and billboard reading "Trump/Love".


  12. San Jose police chief who allowed mob attacks on Trump supporters is affiliated with La Raza - 6/6/16
    Oops, didn't scrub his Twitter feed in time.


  13. EXCLUSIVE - 'Child slaves' making uniforms for Isis: Inside the Turkish sweatshop where children as young as nine work 12 hours a day stitching combat gear used in battle by Islamic State

    Syrian refugee children forced to work in a military uniform sweatshop that sells camouflage to ISIS

    Unable to go to school and desperate for money on the Turkish border the boys work 12 hour days for £10

    Factory owner Abu Zakour has no problem selling uniforms to ISIS: 'It doesn’t matter where my customers are from'

    He also supplies Al Qaeda group Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and other rebel FSA fighters with military garb

    See more of the latest Islamic State news updates as Syrian refugee children make uniforms for ISIS in Turkey

    By Isabel Hunter and Salem Rizk In Antakya For Mailonline and Photographs By Jodi Hilton On The Turkish-syrian Border

    Published: 07:57 EST, 6 June 2016 | Updated: 14:06 EST, 6 June 2016


  14. We're actually in a recession - (no matter what Rufus says)

    Did we actually lose jobs in May?

    posted at 10:41 am on June 6, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

    The May jobs report showed that job creation in the US economy has lost ground in relation to population growth, but did we actually have a net loss of jobs last month? A Johns Hopkins professor wrote an analysis for the Brookings Institution with that conclusion. Rather than a net gain of 38,000, we actually lost 4,000 jobs, and inaccurate seasonal adjustments obscured the actual results:

    Nonfarm payrolls actually declined 4,000 during the month, according to Jonathan Wright, a Johns Hopkins economic professor who wrote an analysis Friday for the Brookings Institution, a generally left-leaning think tank.

    That number compares to the already-dismal 38,000 count released Friday morning from the Labor Department. The report triggered a decline in the stock market and, perhaps more importantly, a sharp drop in expectations for interest rate hikes this year.

    Wright said he arrived at his number by diverging from the government in the way seasonal adjustments are made to the numbers. Whereas the Bureau of Labor Statistics “puts very heavy weight on the current and last two years of data,” the Wright method involves going back over six years to measure seasonal patterns, “which makes them more stable over time than in the current BLS seasonal adjustment method,” he wrote.

    No matter which measure gets used, the results over the last three months look poor:

    Over the past three months, the BLS count has showed average growth of only about 116,000, with March and April revisions subtracting 59,000 from the initially reported numbers. The Wright method puts that average at an even gloomier 107,000 and just 114,000 for all of 2016.

    “Unfortunately, neither the alternative seasonal adjustment, nor the weather adjustment, makes today’s jobs report any more hopeful,” Wright wrote. “They make little difference and, if anything, make the picture more gloomy.”

    The three-month averages, in either calculation, demonstrate the decline in job creation. As noted on Friday in the jobs-report analysis, the US population grows at about 2.5 million people per year. To keep up with that growth at current civilian workforce participation rates (the lowest in almost 40 years), we need to add 131,000 jobs a month; at healthier CWP rates, it should be more like 136,000. That’s just what’s needed to maintain the status quo — anything less than that is a decline when factoring in population growth.

    Over the last three months, we’ve fallen short of the more modest goal by at least 15,000 jobs a month for three straight months, on the BLS calculation. Using Wright’s seasonal calculations, we have declined by 24,000 jobs a month for the last three months, or 15,000 a month for each of the last five months on average. We are losing ground each month....


  15. Shock Report on Jobs
    Signals Obama Economy
    Is on Brink of Recession


  16. Good article but not for those with a short attention span -

    Fallujah and the Failed Iraqi State


  17. For those confused about 'the nature of things' - :)

    The Biggest Myth About the Big Bang

    Posted by Ross Pomeroy

    Nifty Image

    13.8 billion years ago, the Universe exploded into existence. Or at least that's what most laypeople probably think of the Big Bang. But as astronomically alluring as that image is, it's also a myth. The simple fact is that physicists aren't certain exactly how the Universe began, or even if it did.

    After all, the primordial Universe could have counterintuitively "popped" into being from nothing at all. Or perhaps it existed eternally in another nascent form? Maybe it oozed out of some higher dimension? Heck, as science fiction author Douglas Adams imagined, it could easily have been sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure.

    All of these are perfectly cromulent possibilities (though some are certainly less likely than others), owing to a simple fact: Physics' reach is currently limited to roughly one second after the "Big Bang." Everything before then is left to learned speculation and hypothesis.

    “We don’t have any idea what happened at the purported moment of the Big Bang," Caltech astrophysicist Sean Caroll recently admitted on Science Friday. "Cosmologists… sometimes exaggerate a little bit about what it means."

    That's not to say that cosmologists don't know anything. Boatloads of evidence and observation support the notion that the entire Universe was once unfathomably dense and hot, and confined to a vastly smaller area. Moreover, it expanded and cooled into everything that is today.

    Another Nifty Image

    "The Big Bang model… the general idea that the universe has been expanding from a hot, dense early state, that’s 100 percent true…" Carroll clarified.

    But the "Bang" itself is very much a myth. On Science Friday, Carroll furnished a far more correct, although decidedly less dramatic definition.

    “It’s the time at which we don’t understand what the Universe was doing."

    (Image: NASA: Theophilus Britt Griswold – WMAP Science Team)


  18. .

    An Impending Coup at St. John's College: Liberal Arts Education Takes Another Hit

    On June 18, the Board of Visitors and Governors at St. John’s College will vote on a proposal to alter the structure of the college radically. If passed, we can say goodbye to the St. John’s that we have known for the past 79 years. It will be a very sad moment for higher education in this country—and I say this fully cognizant of the fact that higher education is in a state of crisis all over, partly for economic reasons, partly because of a failure of intellectual nerve and cultural confidence.

    St. John’s is tiny. Its two campuses—one in Annapolis, Md., one in Santa Fe, N.M.—comprise fewer than 900 students. But the college makes up in intellectual seriousness what it lacks in size. There are few institutions that offer such a deep and sustained engagement with the substance of a traditional liberal arts education. It is all the sadder, then, that St. John’s may be just about to turn its back on that and fade into the beige-on-beige porridge of politically correct mediocrity and bureaucratic homogenization.

    I’ll come to the particulars of this unhappy contingency below. First, a little history. I have known about St John’s since I was myself in college, back in those prelapsarian days when “trigger warnings” were posted only on the rifle range and no one worried that bathrooms were labeled “M” and “F.” Because of various contingencies that needn’t detain us, I later learned a good deal about St. John’s, and eventually served for a few years on its Board of Visitors and Governors...

    The old guard is being forced out by a new group of 'forward thinkers' and 'change agents' who wish to make the college 'relevant' and 'progressive' and assure it meets its 'social justice' needs. No doubt St. John's will like other 'progressive' bastions like Harvard and Missou soon be advertising the 'safes places' it provides for every imaginable interest group, well, better make that every imaginable 'acceptable interest group' from Lesbian Muslims L.L.C. to the 'Ban Shakespeare Sisterhood'.

    Even St. John's couldn't withstand the wave of progressive bullshit infecting our college and university campuses. In their case, I blame it on the fact that they opened a second campus in California. In the '60s. It was only a matter of time.


    1. In their case, I blame it on the fact that they opened a second campus in California


      That is very perceptive.

    2. I seriously considered going there.

    3. so long ago, I forgot about it.

    4. .

      Everyone says with all the progress we have made that this is the greatest time to be alive.

      Sometimes I'm not so sure.


    5. Great time to have a 4X4 pickup. These new ones are works of art, best human invention ever.

      Other than that....

  19. "In their case, I blame it on the fact that they opened a second campus in California."


    That is very perceptive.

    1. Oops....disappearing/reappearing post syndrome....

      I must really mean it....

  20. .

    The Guardian posted 25 photos of Muhammad Ali.


    The first picture caught my attention. It's how I always remembered Ali when his name was mentioned. A beautiful picture. However, my favorite is near the end. It's the one of Ali and Frazier taken in 2003 showing how the years had worn on the two champs.


  21. BernieLand - and they are floating in oil....

    Venezuelan social order collapsing as looting, robbery and murder become the norm

    posted at 10:01 pm on June 6, 2016 by John Sextox

    The socialist revolution in Venezuela has resulted in a country with sky-high inflation, no medicine, no food and, finally, no security. The Los Angeles Times has an excellent piece on the rise of robbery, kidnapping and murder that have made the nation a place where dead bodies in the street are a common sight:

    Savvy motorists avoid certain thoroughfares after dark, when carjack gangs set up ambushes, sometimes laying down nail-embedded strips to puncture tires of vehicles ferrying potential quarry. Motorists speak matter-of-factly of spotting body parts along roadways.

    The exact murder rate in Venezuela is a subject of debate but an outside group puts the number at 27,875 murders in 2015, which works out to 90 per every 100,000 people. And because most of the murderers are never arrested, much less convicted, many have given up on the police. Some Venezuelans are resorting to gruesome revenge attacks on those they believe responsible:

    In a country where most perpetrators are never found, mobs are increasingly launching impromptu revenge attacks, often dousing suspected muggers with gasoline and setting them alight — inevitably targeting the innocent by mistake at times. There have been 74 possible lynchings this year, according to authorities.

    With the streets to dangerous to travel by night, many businesses now close early:

    “The police still make their rounds, but we have been robbed three times,” said Carlos Castillo, 47, owner of a bar-restaurant in Chacaito, a mostly middle-class district in eastern Caracas.

    Once open until 11 each evening, the establishment now closes at 7 p.m., a common scenario here.

    Meanwhile, Reuters reports people desperate for food are resorting to looting. Reuters reports that one woman looter was shot in the face by a police officer today:

    Relatives of hotel worker Jenny Ortiz, 42, said she died in hospital after being shot during the melee late on Sunday in San Cristobal, a town near the border of Colombia, where looting and antigovernment protests have occurred in recent months.

    Family including her mother-in-law Carmen Rosa, 58, who said she saw the incident, alleged that a policeman shot Ortiz.

    Again, this is not a 20-something looting an electronics store. This is a middle-aged woman in a crowd of hundreds who is desperate to find food. People are close to panic and the ruling socialist government has done nothing but blame the misery on an economic conspiracy theory involving the United States.