4:46 AM 8/11/2018 – A classic Witch and a classic “Small Devil” – “Melkiy Bes”: These personages look like they descended from the pages of M. Bulgakov’s book “Master i Margarita”. Ole probably liked this book. 

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A classic Witch

Image: Roger Stone, Kristin Davis

Roger Stone and Kristin Davis leave court in New York on March 30, 2017.Seth Wenig / AP file

And a classic “Small Devil” – “Melkiy Bes

These personages look like the descended from the pages of M. Bulgakov‘s book “The Master and Margarita“. Ole probably liked this book. 

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‘Manhattan Madam’ linked to Trump confidant Roger Stone to testify in …

CNBC18 hours ago
Eliot Spitzer, was subpoenaed by Mueller last month as part of his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Mueller subpoenas Manhattan Madam from Spitzer case

Washington TimesJul 20, 2018
Attorneys for Special Counsel Robert Mueller is subpoenaing Kristin Davis, also known as the “Manhattan Madam,” TMZ reported Friday.
Mueller team wants to talk to ‘Manhattan Madam’
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The former “Manhattan Madam” has met with Robert Mueller’s team

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Now, NBC News is reporting that prosecutors have subpoenaed Davis. … Eliot Spitzer was linked to a different prostitution ring. (Davis claimed …
Ex-‘Manhattan Madam’ Meets With Russia Investigators
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Mueller subpoenas ‘Manhattan madam’ Kristin Davis who worked for …

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The “Manhattan Madam” made famous in the sex scandal that toppled former Governor Eliot Spitzerhas been subpoenaed by special counsel …

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‘Manhattan Madam’ Kristin Davis set to testify before Mueller grand …

<a href=”http://NBCNews.com” rel=”nofollow”>NBCNews.com</a>Aug 6, 2018
… and other people who worked with Stone had already been subpoenaed. … She said Eliot Spitzer, New York’s governor at the time, had been …

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Report: ‘Manhattan Madam’ Kristin Davis Subpoenaed by Mueller

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Spitzer ‘Madam’ Kristin Davis Wasn’t the Only Trumpster Caught in FBI …

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The one-time “Manhattan Madam,” who claims to have supplied then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer with prostitutes a decade ago, …

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Valley News – Column: Time For Mueller to Bring Out the Big Guns
 

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Even as Special Counsel Robert Mueller marches forward with his prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and as the case that President Donald Trump engaged in criminal conduct grows stronger, the president and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani continue their tango about whether the president will deign to answer questions from Mueller’s team.

Said Giuliani on the possibility of an interview: “If they can come to us and show us the basis and that it’s legitimate and that they have uncovered something, we can go from there and assess their objectivity.”

Giuliani added to his list of prerequisite demands that he wants to know about the origins of the FBI probe before agreeing to some form of interview. Then on Wednesday, Giuliani announced that the president’s team issued yet another counter-proposal to Mueller, declining to specify the terms.

So if Mueller can prove the legitimacy of his case, and if Giuliani and Trump conclude it’s objective, and if they receive sufficient information about the probe’s origins, then they might consider answering some questions in writing.

Enough is enough. It’s time to subpoena the president.

Mueller has been extraordinarily deferential and patient while Trump and his representatives engaged in their scarcely credible gamesmanship. Notwithstanding Giuliani’s representations that Trump is pawing the stall eager to submit to an interview under oath, it has become increasingly apparent that neither Trump nor anyone in his orbit has any interest in his answering Mueller’s questions. In a word, they are playing Mueller, and in the process, playing the country.

Mueller surely recognizes this, but he likely has resisted forcing the issue into court for a combination of practical and legal reasons, including the months-long delay a court resolution would require and the need to show every possible respect to the office of the president (if not its officeholder).

Trump’s intransigence raises the prospect that Mueller will need to submit his report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with no input from the president. This is simply an unacceptable resolution for a probe of this gravity.

Mueller’s mission is not just to investigate and charge crimes. It is also to determine what happened. Indeed, he is the country’s only hope for some clear picture of the facts. As the recently released tapes of Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., makes clear, congressional Republicans are determined to avoid any serious investigation, and the media can probe only so far.

A stunning feature of the drama Trump has inflicted on the country is that we have become inured to daily dishonesty of an unprecedented sweep and magnitude. We acquiesce, or at least cease to push back against, the argument that lying to the media and public is no crime.

Consider, though, the consequences of the president’s denials and obfuscations on issue after issue in this probe (combined with the cravenness of congressional Republicans). Trump’s successful dodging would leave a permanent hole in the historical record, particularly on a hostile foreign power’s attempt to influence our elections. There will be no future David Frost interviews to fill in the facts, and if there were, we could never believe them anyway.

It is true, of course, that Trump could respond to a subpoena by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. He is not legally required to fill in Mueller’s case for him. But that act would speak volumes to the country, while subjecting the president to historical ignominy.

And there is no constitutional reason it shouldn’t: We are not an impaneled jury, but a citizenry entitled to know whether the president committed crimes and conspired with a hostile foreign power to try to swing the election.

It is also conceivable that the Supreme Court could agree with the president to quash the subpoena, but it is highly unlikely. Precedents in the cases of presidents Nixon and Clinton strongly indicate the subpoena would be enforceable. And it is in the interest of the country to get a definite resolution of the question from the Supreme Court in any event.

Assuming Trump contested the subpoena, it would take months to reach the Supreme Court, even on an expedited basis. But Mueller’s probe has longer than that to go with respect to matters other than obstruction, so it wouldn’t extend the overall investigation. It would mean that the obstruction report would not be delivered by November, thereby leaving the probe to hang over Republicans during midterm elections. But that probably would be — and certainly should be — ascribed to Trump’s resistance to lawful process.

In any event, the long-term stakes are too high to permit Trump’s obduracy to win the day. He needs to be brought to heel by the rule of law and provide some answers, under oath, and there is no good reason to wait any longer to initiate the process.

Harry Litman teaches constitutional law at the University of California at San Diego and practices law at the firm Constantine Cannon. He was U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1998 to 2001.

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Kristin Davis, also known as the “Manhattan Madam,” was expected to testify before a grand jury Friday in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
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Ex-bank exec: Paperwork for Manafort’s $16M loan differed from usual …

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A former exec of a bank that lent Paul Manafort $16 million told his boss to “take a deep breath” before he showed him paperwork for one of the loans because it …

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In late 2016, with mounting debts and his political consulting firm on the financial ropes, Paul Manafortsought millions of dollars in loans from Federal Savings …
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Takeaways from day nine of the Paul Manafort trial

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Alexandria, Virginia (CNN) As prosecutors neared the end of presenting their case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, …
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Are there any limits to Paul Manafort’s greed?

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Rick Gates Shivs Paul Manafort

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Germany’s Anti-Trump Strategy Begins to Take Shape

SPIEGEL ONLINEJul 27, 2018
During an official visit to Japan, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas … The outlines of the Germangovernment’s new anti-Trump strategy are …

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Sounding off: The world respects the US and president Trump

Tribune-ReviewJul 21, 2018
When I hear the anti-Trump media outlets “report” that there is “rapid decline in … In Germany the rightist party (AFD) got more votes than ever before on a … coast to stem the flow (much like Trump’s Mexican border strategy).

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Crisis and Conviction: US Grand Strategy in Trump’s Second Term

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By “grand strategy,” I mean a state’s way of orchestrating means and ends … They point to Trump’s antagonisms with allies such as Angela Merkel’s Germany, …. As Steve Bannon once observed, once you remove anti-Trump …

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Douglas Turner: For the country’s sake, vote in November

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The German phrase “lugenpresse,” or lying press, was a favorite among … the strategy, as always, must be to rouse Democrats and anti-Trump …
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The Original Gotham – Gotham, England – Atlas Obscura

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The sleepy medieval village of Gotham, or “Goat’s Town,” near Nottingham, England, has by some accounts been painted as town of fools. But other stories …

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Wise Men of Gotham – Wikipedia

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Wise Men of Gotham is the early name given to the people of the village of Gotham, … or other which convinced the king’s servants that it was a village of fools, whence arose the old adage, “the wise men of Gotham” or “the fools of Gotham“.

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Gotham City – Wikipedia

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Gotham City or simply Gotham, is a fictional American city appearing in American comic books … Irving took the name from the village of Gotham, Nottinghamshire, England, a place inhabited, according to folklore, by fools. The village’s name derives from Old English gāt ‘goat’ and hām “home”, literally “homestead where …

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The Wise Men of Gotham – The story behind the real Nottinghamshire …

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Aug 22, 2016 – Gotham is now a friendly village popular with families, but a few … leading to the saying: “There are more fools pass through Gotham than …

So, Why Do We Call It Gotham, Anyway? | The New York Public Library

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Jan 25, 2011 – Theatres — U.S. — Brooklyn, NY — Gotham. … English proverbs tell of a village called Gotham or Gottam, meaning “Goat’s … Folk tales of the Middle Ages make Gotham out to be the village of simple-minded fools, perhaps …

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The Fools of Gotham. – Nottinghamshire History

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Nov 11, 2007 – Our county historian tells us that after the Conquest Gotham came to be … In other words, why are there not many villages of fools traceable to a …

The Wise Men of Gotham – The Gold Scales

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Humorous Tales about the Wise Men of Gotham. … “Well,” said another man, “why not catch one of the birds and keep it with us always?” ….. At any rate, Gotham near Nottingham became the ‘best known’ village of fools because of the …

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Wise fools of Gotham – Under the influence!

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Feb 24, 2016 – Posts about Wise fools of Gotham written by ztevetevans. … Gotham is a village in Nottinghamshire, England that has acquired … “Because the cuckoo brings the spring and we shall keep the spring with us forever if we fence …

At the Edge: The Wise Men of Gotham – Indigo

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Let us begin with the printed text and work backwards. … As previously stated, Gotham only became the ‘best known’ village of fools because of the published …

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Совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности • Президент России
 

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Владимир Путин провёл совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.

14:10
Московская область, Ново-Огарёво
Министр обороны Сергей Шойгу перед началом совещания с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.
Совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.
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Совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.

Затрагивалась тема возможных новых недружественных шагов со стороны Вашингтона в виде торговых ограничений. Подчёркнута полная нелегитимность подобных действий с точки зрения международного права.

Совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности • Президент России
 

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  • Министр обороны Сергей Шойгу перед началом совещания с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.
  • Секретарь Совета Безопасности Николай Патрушев перед началом совещания с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.
  • Директор Федеральной службы безопасности Александр Бортников перед началом совещания с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.
  • Руководитель Администрации Президента Антон Вайно (слева) и Министр обороны Сергей Шойгу перед началом совещания с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.
  • Совещание с постоянными членами Совета Безопасности.
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Why didn’t the FBI warn Trump like they warned Feinstein?
 

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In order to get Lindsey Graham’s point in this discussion with Harris Faulkner, first you’d have to know about the spy on Dianne Feinstein’s staff. Thanks to the collective silence of most media outlets, the audience for this argument might be somewhat limited — but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. Graham wants to know why the FBI warned Dianne Feinstein about a suspected spy but never bothered to tell Donald Trump about their suspicions over Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

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“Great point,” responded The Right Scoop (starts ~2:40):

I’m gonna send a letter to Director Wray next week and ask him what is the policy? Why didn’t you tell president Trump that you had concerns about Carter Page? Is there a double standard here?

If this was a counter-intelligence investigation and not a criminal investigation, the FBI should have told President Trump they had concerns about Papadopoulos and Page. Why didn’t they do for Trump what they did for Feinstein?

Let’s not forget that the penetration in Feinstein’s case was much more significant, too. The warning from the FBI came after the man had been in Feinstein’s employ for “two decades,” as the local CBS affiliate noted last week. The FBI had evidence of direct and covert contact between the suspect and China’s intelligence operatives. Feinstein was also a high-value target as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, with access to the most sensitive information held by the US government, including from our intelligence partners around the globe. And yet, the FBI reached out to Feinstein rather than open a counter-intelligence probe with her as a potential target, even though Feinstein’s family has profited extensively through contacts with China during her tenure.

In contrast, Donald Trump was a businessman running for president with three questionable advisers. Graham doesn’t see why the FBI didn’t prioritize hygiene over investigation in that case as they did with Feinstein:

Why do you tell a Democrat when they hire somebody connected to China – it could happen to anybody’s office. When the FBI finds out that somebody’s working for us that may have connections to a foreign government, they should tell us…

When it comes to the Trump campaign, why didn’t they tell him about Papadopoulos and Cater Page? And at the end of the day, what has Carter Page done wrong? He’s still walking around a free man.

Here’s the point. A counter-intelligence investigation is designed to protect American institutions from infiltration. The right thing for the FBI to do is if they find somebody working for a political campaign, a bank, or any part of the government, is to inform the people in charge that this person you hired has got unsavory connections. That’s what they did for Feinstein. Why did they not do that when it came to Manafort, Gates and Papadopoulos?

That’s a very good question … if we know for sure that the FBI didn’t give a specific warning to Trump about those three men. Are we positive about that? The FBI has said that they gave a standard security briefing to both the Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns after they locked up their respective nominations. The campaigns are responsible for properly vetting their staff and their advisers, after all, especially after getting even a generic counterintelligence briefing by the FBI about the need to do so.

If the FBI didn’t follow up when specific suspicions were raised about Carter Page, however, Graham’s got at least a good point about the differences between their treatment of Feinstein and Trump. Too bad readers of the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times won’t know what Graham’s talking about.

Update: I wrote “Congress” where I meant “president.” Thanks to the Monster for the heads-up on my error.

How the financial crisis led to the West’s confrontation with Putin
 

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NEW YORK (Project Syndicate) – Ten years ago this week, Russian tanks halted a few hours’ march short of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. That short war in the Caucasus brought down the curtain on nearly two decades of post-Cold War Western hegemony in Europe.

Encouraged by President George W. Bush’s administration, Georgia had initiated North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership talks, impelling Russian President Vladimir Putin to defend the red line he had drawn the previous year. Russia, Putin announced at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007, would regard any further eastward expansion of Western institutions as an act of aggression.

In August 2008, European diplomats scrambled to stop the fighting. Within weeks, however, the onset of the global financial crisis captured the world’s attention. In Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, and Moscow, preventing bank failures, not military escalation, was the most pressing problem.

At first glance, the Georgian war and the global financial crisis seem unrelated. But this is to neglect the deeper currents driving the confrontation.

The absorption of post-communist Europe into the West was not simply a matter of velvet revolutions. What Bush’s defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, called “new Europe” — the post-communist NATO allies and European Union members — depended on hundreds of billions of dollars in investment. The loans came from the same European banks that helped fuel the U.S. real-estate boom and inflate the even bigger housing bubbles in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Spain.

The most extreme real-estate inflation in the world between 2005 and 2007 was on NATO’s Eastern frontier in the Baltics.

Along with a security guarantee against Russia, the post-communist countries craved prosperity. By the early 2000s, former Soviet republics like Georgia and Ukraine, which had not gained admission to either NATO or the EU, feared being left behind. Their desire to “catch up” prompted the so-called color revolutions of 2003 and 2004, reflecting their belief that economic growth, democratization, and a pro-Western orientation went hand in hand.

But it was not only the Soviet Union’s former satellites that benefited from the debt-fueled global boom. The authority and power of Putin’s regime, too, was (largely) a function of globalization — specifically, the huge surge in oil prices. In 2008, it seemed that Russia’s state-controlled energy giant GazpromGAZ, +0.80%  , benefiting from unprecedented growth in emerging-markets demand, led by China, might soon become the world’s largest corporation.

In 2008, two pressure fronts of global capitalism were rushing toward each other across Eurasia. While Western investment drove economic growth in Central and Eastern Europe, the commodity boom sustained Russia’s geopolitical revival. Of course, these trends need not have led to a clash. According to the mantra of globalization, at least, trade benefits all sides.

Saudi Rappers Fight for the Right to Party

The EU insists on the innocence of its model of integration. The goal is peace, stability, and the rule of law, not geopolitical advantage, its senior representatives guilelessly maintain.

Whether or not they truly believe it, the EU’s new post-communist members saw it differently. For them, NATO and EU membership were part of an anti-Russian package, just as they had been for West European countries in the 1950s.

Whenever Germany pushed détente with Russia too far, tensions flared. In response to the agreement in 2005 to construct the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Poland’s then-foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, denounced it as a new version of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Although Ukraine, too, applied for NATO membership in 2008, it did not provoke Russian intervention. But the war in Georgia split the Ukrainian political class three ways, between those who favored alignment with the West, those who favored Russia, and those who preferred a policy of balance. These tensions were further exacerbated by the impact of the financial crisis.

No part of the world economy was hit harder by that crisis than the former Soviet sphere. When global lending imploded, the most fragile borrowers were cut off first. Followed closely by a collapse in commodity prices, it dealt a devastating shock to the “transition economies.”

As one of the world’s largest oil and gas exporters, Russia was one of the worst affected. But after the humiliation of the financial crises of the late 1990s, Putin had seen to it that Russia was armed with substantial dollar reserves — the third largest after China and Japan. Reserves of $600 billion enabled Russia to ride out the storm of 2008 without external help.

The same was not true of its former satellites. Their currencies plunged. Interest rates soared. Inflows of foreign capital stopped. Some found themselves turning to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help.

In fact, the impact of the 2008 crisis split Central and Eastern Europe. The political leadership of the Baltic states toughed it out, accepting savage austerity to continue on their path toward euro membership. In Hungary, the governing parties were discredited, opening the door to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s illiberal regime.

But no country in the region was strategically more important, more fragile politically, or worse hit economically than Ukraine.

In a matter of weeks, Ukraine was dealt a devastating one-two punch by the war in Georgia and the financial crisis. This opened the door to the successful presidential candidacy of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych in 2010, and set in train desperate financial negotiations with the IMF, the EU, and Russia, culminating in the crisis of 2013. Given current talk of trade wars, it bears recalling that it was an argument over Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU that led to Yanukovych’s overthrow and an undeclared war with Russia.

Back in 1989, the end of the Cold War seemed to suggest that market-driven economic growth was an irrepressible force that gave the edge to the U.S.-led West. It was a small step from there to assuming that extending capitalism to the post-Soviet world would continue to shift the balance of power in the West’s direction.

The events of August and September 2008 taught two painful and deeply disconcerting lessons. First, capitalism is prone to disasters. Second, global growth did not necessarily strengthen the unipolar order. Truly comprehensive global growth breeds multipolarity, which, in the absence of an overarching diplomatic and geopolitical settlement, is a recipe for conflict.

Ten years later, the West is still struggling to come to terms with these disconcerting realizations. Today all eyes are on Asia, the rise of China, and its growing influence across Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America. But Putin’s Russia continues to be a spoiler.

So we should not forget the Georgian crisis of August 2008, when it first became obvious how dangerous the new global economic dispensation might become.

This article was published with permission of Project Syndicate — The Turning Point of 2008.

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