A letter from Professor Geoffrey R. Stone, liberal advocate of a police state

Tom Carter

We invited Professor Geoffrey R. Stone to respond to the article, “Liberal advocates of a police state turn savagely against Edward Snowden,” by David North and Eric London, posted on the World Socialist Web Site on June 14 [reproduced below]. In the article, the authors condemned those erstwhile liberal commentators who had jumped on the reactionary campaign to label NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a “traitor” and a “criminal.” Specifically, North and London observed that Professor Stone’s recent anti-Snowden article in the Huffington Post “advances arguments in support of authoritarian rule that totally contradict positions” he previously advanced. Professor Stone responded by email to Eric London on June 19. His letter, in its entirety, reads as follows:

“Thanks for sharing. What you seem not to understand is that situations are different and not everything is or should be on one side of the line or the other. Everything I’ve said about Snowden is perfectly consistent with everything I’ve ever said on this subject. Although I think we need a healthy distrust of our public officials, I also oppose the arrogance of a single, unelected individual who takes it upon himself, with no lawful authority or justification, to disclose properly classified information to persons unauthorized to receive it just because HE thinks the information shouldn’t be classified. The plain and simple fact is that Snowden betrayed the rule of law and the trust of the American people when he decided, without any legal authority, to disregard the judgments of the executive branch, the Congress and the judiciary in a way that put the security of the nation at risk. Even if what he did has beneficial consequences, he had no legal or moral right to do it. He is a criminal.”

The WSWS takes the opportunity presented by Professor Stone’s response to reply to his letter and explain its significance. From the first line to the last, Professor Stone’s letter confirms the WSWS’s frequent warning that the entire political establishment—including its “liberal” sections—is openly hostile to the democratic principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and in the later Civil War amendments. Professor Stone speaks for a significant section of academic intellectuals who are repudiating their previous commitment to democratic rights and advancing positions that would legitimize the establishment of a military-police dictatorship in the United States. Let us proceed to an examination of Stone’s condemnation of Edward Snowden.

US escalates threats against governments considering asylum for Snowden

Thomas Gaist

Top US officials escalated their threats over the weekend against any government that grants asylum to Edward Snowden, the source of leaks detailing illegal government surveillance programs directed at the population of the United States and the entire world.

On Friday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said that the country would offer Snowden “humanitarian asylum,” and the leaders of Nicaragua and Bolivia both indicated that Snowden could receive asylum in those countries as well. The statements came in the wake of the forced grounding of Bolivian president Evo Morales’s plan last week under suspicions that Snowden may have been on board.

An anonymous State Department official said over the weekend:

“There is not a country in the hemisphere whose government does not understand our position at this point.” The official asserted that granting Snowden asylum “would put relations in a very bad place for a long time to come.” The official continued, “If someone thinks things would go away, it won’t be the case.”

The Rational Market Myth

Paul Craig Roberts

One of the myths of economics is that markets are rational. Theories are based on this assumption, and the belief that markets are rational fuels the argument against regulation. The market response to the Federal Reserve’s June 19 statement that it will taper off its bond purchases if its forecast comes true is unequivocal proof that markets are irrational.

The Federal Reserve’s statement that it “currently anticipates that it would be appropriate to moderate the monthly pace of purchases [of bonds] later this year” depends on a very big if. The if is the correctness of the Fed’s forecast of moderate economic growth and employment gains.

The Fed has not stopped purchasing $85 billion of bonds each month. So nothing real has changed. Indeed, there was no new information in the Fed’s statement. It has been known for some time that, according to the Fed, its bond purchases will gradually cease.

In response to this repeat of old information, the stock and bond markets sold off in a major way on June 19-20. This market response to the Fed’s statement indicates that the Fed’s forecast is unlikely to come true. Low interest rates and a high stock market are totally dependent on the liquidity that the Fed is injecting by printing $1,000 billion per year. If this liquidity is not injected, what will sustain the markets? If the markets crash and interest rates rise, how can the Fed expect recovery?

In other words, the participants in the stock and bond markets know that the markets are bubbles created by the printing press. There is no real basis for the high stock and bond prices. The prices are an artificial reality created by the printing press. Rational markets would take into account the printing press element and would price stocks and bonds at a much lower level. Zero real interest rates mean that there are no risks. But how can there be no risk in Treasury bonds when the debt is growing faster than the economy?

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